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"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God; he that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love. If God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us." So 1 John iii. 10, 11. 14. 16-18. No wonder if, by this love, we know that we are translated from death to life; and if by it the children of God be known from the children of the devil; 1 John iii. 10, 11. 14. For love is the very nature and image of our Father. No wonder if this be the new commandment, which had newly such a powerful motive, and president: and no wonder if it be the great distinguishing character, by which all men shall know that we are the disciples of Christ; John xiii. 35. When he had set us such a copy, and taught us this lesson by such effectual means, writing it out for us in lines of blood, even of his own most precious blood, and shedding it abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost.
But if we should come down to the particular benefits of Christ's death, and see what love is manifested in them, even in our calling, our justification, our adoption or sanctification, our preservation, and our everlasting glorification, we should find ourselves in an ocean that hath neither banks nor bottom; and when we have fathomed as far as we can, we must be contented to stand and admire it, and to say with the beloved apostle, "Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God!" 1 John iii. 1.
And this is the blessed employment of the saints, which they are called to by the Gospel, to live in the participation and consideration, and admiration of this wondrous love, that "Christ may dwell in their hearts by faith, and so being rooted and grounded in love, they may be able to comprehend with all saints, what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, and be filled with all the fulness of God;" Ephes. iii. 17-19. And withal, "to be followers of God as dear children, and walk in love as Christ hath loved us, and given himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God, for a sweet-smelling savour;" Eph. v. 1, 2. " And to love without dissimulation;" Rom. xii. 9, 10. Even from a pure heart fervently;" 1 Pet. i. 22. That we love as brethren, being compassionate, pitiful, and courteous; not
rendering evil for evil, but contrariwise blessing; knowing that we are thereunto called, that we should inherit a blessing;" 1 Pet. iii. 8, 9. "And that we keep ourselves in the love of God," (Jude 21.), "that nothing may be able to separate us from it;" Rom. viii, 35-37. And if we thus imitate our heavenly pattern, "the God of love and peace will be with us ;" 2 Cor. xiii. 11. And thus I have shewed you the principal ends of the undertaking of Christ in the work of our redemption, especially as they are attained directly by his cross and resurrection.
(6.) Another end also is apparent in the Scripture; which is the glorifying of God's rewarding justice, together with his mercy in the salvation of his elect. This end he partly attaineth here: (God hath his ends continually.) In this life his servants have much of his mercy; and the beginnings of their reward in the beginning of their salvation; but the fulness is hereafter in their glorification. All his promises he performeth in their seasons. Even in the present pardon of our sins he honoureth his faithfulness and justice; 1 John i. 9. His faithfulness in making good his promise, and his justice in rewarding the performers of the condition, and giving what his promise had made their due; that so men may even here in part" discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God, and him that serveth him not; while they see God's esteem of his people as his jewels, and spare them as a man spareth his son that serveth him;" Mal. iii. 17, 18. "The King of Zion is just, having salvation;" Zech. ix. 8. "The righteousness of God is manifested in our justification;" Rom. iii. 21, 22. "Even the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all, and upon all them that believe; for there is no difference; for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ, whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation, through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God. To declare, I say, at this time, his righteousness, that he might be just, and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus;" Rom. iii. 25, 26.
But it is most eminently at judgment, and in the world to come, that this remunerative justice with mercy will be glorified.
"When Christ shall come (purposely) to be glorified
in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe," (not only in himself, but in them), and that because they were believers; 2 Thess. i. 10. When "we have fought the good fight, and finished our course, and kept the faith, we shall find that there is laid up for us a crown of righteousness, which the Lord the righteous Judge shall give us, and all that love his appearing at that day;" 2 Tim. iv. 8. He will justify and applaud them before all the world, yea, and judge them to everlasting life, with a "Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord. I will make thee ruler over many things; even because they had been faithful in a little;" Luke xix. 17. Matt. xxv. 21. 23. Because they shewed their love to him in his members, he will say to them," Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; Matt. xxv. 34-36. He that now commandeth us to say to the righteous, "It shall be well with him," (Isa. iii. 10.), will in righteousness cause it then to be well with him. "Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father;" Matt. xiii. 43. And the righteousness and mercy of their Father shall as conspicuously and gloriously shine in them. For it is a day appointed for the "revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who will render to every man according to his deeds :" Rom. ii. 5, 6. "The present faith and patience of the saints in all the persecutions and tribulations which they endure, is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that they may be accounted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which they suffer. It being a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble us, and to us that are troubled, rest with the saints;" 2 Thess. i. 5-7. "For the righteous Lord loveth righteousness;" Psal. xi. 7. "And in righteousness will he judge the world;" Acts xvii. 31. Rev. xix. 11. And, therefore, "in the keeping of his word there is a great reward;" Psal. xix. 11. Yea, a cup of water given in love to him, shall not be unrewarded; Matt. x. 41, 42. "To him that soweth righteousness shall be a sure reward;" Prov. xi. If in this life men are forced to say, "Verily there is a reward for the righteous; verily, there is a God that judgeth in the earth;" Psal. lviii. 11. Much more when we receive the reward of the inheritance;" Col. iii. 24. This causeth the saints to forsake the pleasures of sin, because
they have respect to the recompence of reward; Heb. xi. 29. This is that that maketh them rejoice and be exceeding glad in their persecutions, because that great is their reward in heaven. And, therefore, it is that they cast not away their confidence, because it hath great recompence of reward; Heb. x. 25. If we let no man beguile us of our reward, (Col. ii. 18.), and if we look to ourselves that we lose not those things that we have wrought, we shall receive a full reward; 2 John viii. For the Lord hath said, "Behold, I come quickly, and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be; Rev. xxii. 12.
(7.) Another end of Christ's undertaking in this blessed work, is, the complacency and glory of God in the love and praise, and service of his redeemed ones; in some measure here, but in perfection when they are perfected. Sin had made us unserviceable to God. And bringeth us back into a fitness for his service. He disposeth us Godward by faith and love. And he hath " redeemed us from our iniquity, and purifieth to himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works;" Tit. ii. 14. "To which he createth us, that we should walk in them;" Ephes. ii. 10. And with such sacrifice God is wellpleased; Heb. xiii. 16. Phil. iv. 18. "The blood of the covenant" was, therefore, shed, "to make us perfect in every good work to do his will, who worketh in us that which is wellpleasing in his sight;" Heb. xiii. 20, 21. "And this must be our care, to walk worthy of the Lord in all well-pleasing, being fruitful in in every good work;" Col. i. 10. "And then whatsoever we ask, we shall receive of him, because we keep his commandment, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight;" 1 John iii. 22. See 1 Thess. i. Heb. xi. 6. Rom. viii. 8. 2 Tim. ii. 4. 1 Cor. vii. 32. Heb. xi. 5.
But principally when we are glorified, and fitted by our perfection for the perfect love and praises of God, then will God perfectly take pleasure in us, and in our love and praise. The glory of the new Jerusalem and the harmony of everlasting praise and thanksgiving will be his delight. "He will rejoice over us with joy, he will rest in his love; he will joy over us with singing;" Zeph. iii. 17.
(8.) Another end of Christ's undertaking this blessed work, is, the everlasting glory of God which shall shine forth in the glorified manhood of the Redeemer, and the
everlasting complacency that God will have in him, for his own perfection, and the work that he hath wrought.
Though Christ had no need to suffer for any sin or want of his own, yet was it his personal dignity, dominion, and everlasting glory, as well as our salvation, that was intended by him and by the Father in this work, and which he was to receive as the reward of his performances; Rom. xiv. 7. Phil. ii. 8-10. Matt. xxviii. 18, 19. Heb. i. 3, 4.6. Eph. i. 22. Nay, if we may make comparisons, this seemeth the highest part of God's end in the sending of his Son. As there is no part of all the works of God to be compared to the person of the Redeemer, so consequently there is none in which the glory of God will shine forth so admirably and illustriously as in Christ. If on earth the heavenly voice bear witness that it was in "him that the Father was wellpleased," (Matt. iii. 17. xvii. 5. xii. 18.) which was uttered both at his baptism, and his transfiguration, when his disciples saw a glimpse of his glory, and he was the "chosen servant of God, in whom his soul delighted; Isa. xlii. 1. much more is it apparent, that in his heavenly glory he will be the Father's everlasting pleasure and delight and in him, and by him, and for the work that he hath wrought, the redeemed in glory will honour him for ever; Rev. v. 9. “He is the head of the body, the church, the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father, that in him should all fulness dwell;" Col. i. 17-19. And, therefore, in him the glory of God will shine in fulness, and he shall have the ' preeminence in the Father's everlasting love. When Christ prayed (John xii. 28.), "Father, glorify thy name," he was answered by a voice from heaven, "I have glorified it, and will glorify it again :" even in the Son that thus desired it. He hath done it on earth, and he will do it again more perfectly in heaven. "He hath glorified the Son, that the Son also may glorify him ;" John xvii. 1. As he "glorified his Father on earth, and finished the work which he gave him to do," so the Father hath now glorified him with himself, that in his glory he may be yet more glorified; John xvii. 4, 5. In his transfiguration his face did shine as the sun; John xvii. 2. And in his appearance to Paul, his shining light did cast him blindfold and trembling on the earth; Acts ix.