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desires, for a sealed aod clear interest in his love this day : Tell him, it is a mercy thou valuest above life; thy favour is better than life, Psal. Ixii. 3. Tell him, thou art oot able to live with the jealousies and suspicions of his love; thou art but a torment to thyself, whilft thy interest in his love abides under a cloud. Beseech him to pity thy poor afflicted soul, which hath lain down and risep so long with these fears and tremblings, and been a stranger to comfort for so many days. Tell him, how weak thy hands have been, and still are, in duties of obedience, for want of this strength and encouragement. Engage thy soul to him this day, to be more active, chearful, and fruitful, io his service; if it will please him now, to free thee from those fears and doubts, that have clogged thee in all thy former duties. O, cry unto him in the words, and with the deep fedre of the spaule in this text; '“ Set me as a seal upon thy heart, “ (which hath a most vehement heat,) as a seal upon thise " arm: for love is strong as death ; jealousy is cruel as the “ grave; the coals thereof are coals of fire,” &c.
knowledge. THE knowledge of Chrilt, and of his love, is deservedly, in
this place, let down among the desiderata Christianorum, the mult defirable enjoyments of believers in this world. This love of Christ had centered the apoftle's heart; he was swallowed up in the meditation and admiration of it, and would have all hearts ipflamed and affected with it, as his was.
Some think the apostle speaks extatically in this place, and knows not how to make the parts of his discourse consistent with each other, when he puts them upon endeavours to know that love of Christ, which himself confesses to pass knowledge. ! But though his heart was ravished with the love of Christ, yet there is no contradiction or inconsistency in his discourse. He doth earnestly desire for the Ephesians, that they may know the love of Christ; i. e. that they might experimentally koow his love, which passeth knowledge: That is, as some expound it, all other kinds of knowledge ; yea, and all knowledge of Chrilt, which is not practical and experimental. Or thos:
Labour to get the clearest and fullest apprehensive knowledge of Christ, and his love, that is attaioable in this world, though you canbot arrive to a perfect comprehensive knowledge of either. Mens humana hoc et capit, et non capit ; atque in eo capit, quod rapitur in admirationem ; as others reconcile it. . 1 The note from it is, Doct. That the love of Christ furpasses, and transcends, the
knowledge of the most illuminated believers. The love of Christ is too deep for any created understandiog to fathom ; it is unfearchable love, aod it is so in divers re. fpects.
1. It is up searchable, in respect of its antiquity : No understanding of man cao trace it back to its first Ipring; it flows from one eternity to another. We receive the fruits and effects of it now; but, o how apcient is that root that bears them! He loved us before this world was made, and will continue so to do, when it shall be reduced into ashes. It is said, Prov. viii. 20%. 30, 31. “ When he gave the sea his decree, when he appoint“ ed the foundations of the earth ; then was I by him, as one “ brought up with him; and I was daily his delight, rejoicing " always before him : rejoicing in the habitable parts of his “ earth, and my delights were with the fons of men.”
2. The freeness of the love of Christ passes knowledge. No mao koows, nor can any words exprefs, how free the love of Christ to his people is : It is said, Ifa. lv. 8. My thoughts are not your thoughts. The meaning is, My grace, mercy, and love to you, is one thing, as it is in my thoughts, and quite another thing when it comes into your thoughts. lo my thoughts, it is like itself, free, rich, and unchangeable ; but in your thoughts it is limited and narrowed, pinched in within your Itrait and narrow conceprions; that it is not like itself, but altered according to the model and platform of creatures, according to which you draw it in your minds. Alas! we do bus alter and spoil his love, when we thiok there is any thing jo us, or done by us, that can be a motive, ioducement, or recompepce to it. His love is so frce, that ic pitched itself upon us, before we had any loveliness in us at all : “ When we were " in our blood, he said unto us, live ;” and that was the time of love. It did not stay till we had our ornaments upon us ; but embraced, us in our blood, in our most loathsome state; and of all seasons, that is the season of love, the chosen time of love, Ezek. xvi. 7, 8. Chris loved us, not upon the account of any foreseen excellency in us, or upon any expectation of recompence from us : Nay, he loved us not only without, but
your thous is one thin comes into
and uachabled in
against our deserts. Nothing in nature is found so free, as the love of Christ is ; our thoughts therefore of this love going beyond all eximples and inftances that are found amongst men, quickly lose themfelves ia an immedle ocean of free grace, where they can find aeither bank oor bottom.
The bounty and liberality of the love of Christ to his peopla, paffech knowledge. Who cao qumber, or value the fruir of his love? They are more than the fands upon the fea shore. It would weary the arm of an angel, to write down the thou. fandth part of the effects of his love, which come to the share of any particular Christian in this world. Who can tell how many fios ir pardons ? " The free gift is of many offences “ unto justification;" Rom. V. 10. How many dangers it preveots; or how many wants it supplies ? This, we koow, that “ of his fulaefs we all receive grace for grace;" Joha i. 16. But how full of grace Christ is, and how many mercies have flowed, and thall now to us out of that fountain of love ; this is uoknown to men, to the best, wiselt, and most observant men. O if the records of the mercies of our lives were, or could be gathered and kept, what vast volumes would they fwell to! It is true, indeed, you have the total sum given you in Cor. iii. 22. All are yours; but it is fuch a oumber, as no mao can qumber.
The constaocy of Christ's love to his people palleth know. ledge: No length of time, no distance of placez no change of condition, either with him or us, can possibly make any alteration of his affections towards us; “ He is the same yesterday; “ to-day, and for ever,” Heb. xiii. 8. It is noted also by the evangelist, Joho xiii. 1. " That having loved his own whichi es were in the world, he loved them to the end." It is true, his condition is altered; he is no more in this world conversiog with his people, as he did once in the days of his flesh: He is now at the right-hand of God, in the highest glory; but yet his heart is the same that ever it was, for love and tenderness to his people. Our condirions also are ofteó altered in this world ; but his love suffers no alteration. Yea, which is much more admirable, we do many things daily, that grieve him, and offend him ; yet he takes pot away his loving-kindness from us, nor suffers his faithfulness to fail. We pour out so much cold water of unkindoess aod provocation, as is enough to cool and quench any love in the world, except his love; but potwithing all, he continues unchangeable in love to us. This Peter 'fouod, potwithstanding that great offence of his : No sooner was the Lord rifeo from the dead, but he greets him is the file of his former love and antient respect ; Go tell the disciples, i and tell Peter.
So then the love of Chrill is a love transcending all creatures love, and human understanding. We read in Rom. v. 7, 8. that “peradventure for a good man, fome would even dare to s die ;" but we never find where any, beside Jesus Christ, would lay down his life for coemies. It is recorded as an unparalleled instance of love in Damon and Pythias, the two Siciliaä philofophers, that each had courage enough to die for his friend One of them being coödemoed to die by the tyrant ; and desiring to give the last farewel to his family; his friend went into prison for him, as his surety to die for him, if he returned not at the appointed time : But he did not die ; yea, he had such a confidence id his friend, that he would not fufter him by default io die for him; and if he had, yet he had died for his frieod, Bur fuch was the love of Christ, that it did not only pät him into danger of death, but púe him actually un to death, yea, the worst of deaths, and that for his enemies. O what manner of love is this ! We read of the love that Jacob had for Rachel, and how he endured both the cold of winter, and heat of summer, for her fake. But whát is this to the love of Jesus, who for us endured the heat of God's wrath ? Beside, she was beautiful, but we onlovely. David wilhed for Ablalom his son, Would God I had died for thee! But it was but á wish; and had it come to the proof, David would have frisked from death, for all the affection he bare his beautiful fon. But Christ actually gave his life for us, and did not voly will he had done it. O love, transcending the love of creatures ; yea, and surmounting all creature-knowledge! ;
The uses follow. : 1. Use. If the love of Christ pafs knowledge, O then admire it! gea, live and die in the wonder and admiration of the love of Chrift! As it is a sigo of great weakness, to ašmire fmal and common things; so it speaks great stupidity not to be af. fected with great and unusual things, o Christian ! if thou bé on that converfest with the thoughts of this love, thou canst not but adıbire it; and the more thou studiest, the more fiill wilt thou be astonished at it. And among the many wonders that will appear in the love of Christ, these two will most of all affect thee, viz."
1. That ever it pitched at first on thee. • 2. Thar it is not, by so many sins, quepched towards thee. 1. It is admirable, that ever che love of Christ pitched at first VOL. VIII.
3. juft matter dings is his loveangeable lose.ll, he is fill day
upon thee; for are there not millions in the world, of sweeter tempcrs, and better constitutions than thyself, whom it haik passed by, and yet embraced thee? “ Lord, (faid the disci“ ples) how is it, that thou wilt manifest thyself onto us, and « pot unto the world ?" John xiv, 22. Surely he did oot fet his love' upon thee, nor chuse thee, because thou waft better than others, but because he loved thee.
2. It is admirable, that his love to thee is not extinguished by so many sins, as thou hast committed agaiost him. Lay thy hand, Christiao, this day upon thy heart; and bethink thyfelf, how many have been the provocations, wrongs, aod dishonours thou hast beep guilty of against thy God, and that fioce he called thee by his grace, and fet his love upon thee. What, and yet love thee Mill! Yea, potwithstanding all, he is still thy God, and loves thee with 30 unchangeable love. O, with how maoy potwithstandings is his love continued to thy soul! All this is just matter of admiration and wonder for ever.
3. Is the love of Christ past koowledge, an upsearchable love? Then learn, whence and why it is, that the souls of believers never are, nor can be tired, in beholding and enjoying Jesus Christ. We use to say, one thing is tirefome; and it is very true, if it e an earthly thing, it will be so, how sweet or excellept soever it seems at first : And the reason is, becaule the best creature-enjoyment is but a shallow thing, aod a few thoughts will fouod it to the bottom ; and there being oo supply of new matter, 10 feed the huogry soul upon, it is quickly fated and cloyed with the repetition of the same thing over and over. But it is far otherwise in Christ: For though he be but one, yet in that oue thing all things are virtually and eminently contained; fo that every day he seems a new Christ for sweetness, and yet is the same Christ Nill. And in heaven the redeemed shall view him with as much wonder, and love him with as much ardour, after millions of years, as they did at their first sight of him. O, there is no bottom in the love of Christ; it passeth knowledge.
4. In a word; Beltow your best and chiefeft love upon Christ, whose love to you pasleth all knowledge. Let no creature be loved equally with Chrift; but as his love to you paffeth all creature-love, so let yours to him be a matchless love.
Believer ; Christ loves thee with an ur searchable love ; he loves thee more than the dearest friend, that is as thine own foul, loves thee. He loves thee more than thou loveft thy child, or the wife of thy bosom; more than thy soul loves thy body, with which it is so intimately united : And wilt thou CCDIEDE