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a Divine nature, making it in a sort natural to us to love God and goodness, though not as the brutish nature, which is exercised by necessity, and without reason. And this new nature of holy love, is called the new creature and the Holy Ghost dwelling in us, and the Spirit of adoption ; and is our new-name, the white-stone, the witness in ourselves that Christ is the Saviour, and that we are the regenerate children of God, the pledge, the earnest, the first-fruits, and the foretaste of life eternal,
And all the works of a Christian are so far truly holy, as they are the effects of holy love. for 1. Holy love is but a holy will; and the will is the man, in point of morality. 2. And the love of God is our final act upon the final object; and all other gracious acts are but means subservient to this end : and the end is it that informeth all the means, they being such only as are adapted to the end.
And in this sense it is true which is said in the schools, (though many Protestants misunderstanding, have contradicted it) that love is the form of all other graces; that is, the heart of the new creature; or that by which the man is morally to be reputed and denominated : it is the final grace which animateth or informeth the rest. And thus it is true, that when you
will prove any grace to be sincere and saving, or any evidence certain, you must prove it to participate of the love of God and goodness, or you have failed and said nothing, Yea, you must prove it to be conjunct with predominant love, which setteth God above all creatures. And if you will prove
any good work to be acceptable to God, prayer, praise, alms, justice, &c., you must prove that it cometh from this predominant love. For it is so far and no further acceptable to God.
And their ignorance is but to be pitied, who tell you that this is to make our love of God to be instead of Christ to us, or to set up an acceptable righteousness or merit in ourselves: for we dream not that our love of God was a sacrifice for our sins, and the expiatory atonement and satisfaction to justice, nor that merit which procured us love itself, or purchased us the Holy Ghost. Our meaning is that goodness is the only proper object of love: that God loveth his essential goodness first, and created goodness next : and our moral goodness which is his image, is holy love, produced by and joined with holy wisdom and vitality. And so though God love us in Christ, or as related to him, it is as holy members of him ; and not that he loveth complacentially the haters of God for their relation to Christ, without respect to any goodness in themselves. And to say, that Christ maketh us acceptable and amiable to God, is all one as to say that he procureth us the pardon of sin, and the gift of the Holy Ghost, and maketh us holy lovers of God: or that he is indeed our Saviour. He that commendeth health as wrought by his physician, doth not set health instead of the physician : Christ is the physician ; the Holy Ghost or holy love in us, is our health : to procure and give us the Holy Ghost, is Christ's office. He pardoneth our sin when he pardoneth the punishment: the privation of the Holy Ghost and his operations is our principal punishment : and
therefore not all, but the principal part of our pardon lieth in giving us the Holy Ghost.
But some will say, “That if God love nothing but goodness, and love us no further than we are good, how then did he love us
first, and while we were his enemies ! Are not Election, Creation, Redemption and Conversion, acts of love ? And is not our love, the fruit of his love ?'
Answ. Thus names by confounding heads, are made the matter of a thousand contro-, versies. As our love is nothing but our will, so the word love is taken strictly and properly, or largely and less properly. A man's will is considered as efficient or as final: as it respecteth a future effect, or a present exigent good. And so God's will as it is final, and respecteth things existent, either 1. ' In esse cognito.'
2. or • in esse reali,' is called complacence, and only complacence is love in the strict and proper
But God's will as efficient of good, may in a laxer sense be called love. God's will is the fountain or efficient cause of all good, natural and moral, in the world. And so you may call God's causing or making good, by the name of love, if you please ; remembering that it is but the name that is questioned: but his complacency in good foreseen, or existent, is strictly called his love. And so still God loveth nothing in either sense but good. For 1. He causeth nothing but good. 2. And he is pleased in nothing but good as good.
Quest. But how then doth God love his enemies?'
Answ. 1. He maketh us men, which may be called one act of efficient love: and he redcemeth
men; and he giveth them all the good things which they possess; and he sanctified some, and maketh them lovers of him : that is, holy. And thus he willeth their good, while they are nothing or evil ; which is called benevolence, and love efficient.
2. And he hath true love of complacency in them, 1. As they have the good of human nature. 2. And thereby are capable of grace, and all the love and service which after they may perform. 3. And as they are related to Christ as his redeemed ones. 4. And as by relation they are those that God foreknoweth will love and serve him here, and in the perfections of eternal glory. There is all this good even in some enemies of God, to be the matter of his complacency. And beyond their goodness he hath no complacency in them.
3. And to clear up all this, still remember that though man's will is changed by or upon various objects, yet so is not the will of God. And therefore all these words signify no variety or change in God; but only how his simple immutable essential will, is variously related to and denominated from, the connotation of effects and objects.
4. Also it must be noted, as included in the text, that God loveth all that truly love him; for to be known of him, meaneth here to be known with approbation and love as his peculiar people. As Psal. i. 6, it is said, “The Lord knoweth the way of the righteous ;' and so of the wicked, (Matt. xxv. 12.) “Depart from me, I know you not.” God owneth with love all those that love him. What parts, what quality, what degree soever men are of, whatever difference else there be among them, if they are true lovers of God, they are certainly approved and beloved by him. This being the very heart and essence of the new creature, and the Divine nature in us; must needs make that man amiable to God that hath it. Other things are true marks of a child of God, only so far as they participate of love : but love is the primary proper character, which proveth us adopted directly of itself.
And that God doth most certainly love all that love him, besides the forementioned proofs is further evident.
1. The love of God and goodness is the Divine nature: and God cannot but love his own nature in us : it is his image, which, as in its several degrees, he loveth for himself, and next to himself.
2. The love of God is the rectitude of man's soul, its soundness, health and beauty : and God loveth the rectitude of his creatures.
3. The love of God is the final, perfect operation of the soul; even that end which it was created and redeemed for, and God loveth to have his works attain their end, and to see them in their perfection.
4. The love of God is the goodness of the soul itself: and goodness is amiableness, and must needs be loved by him that is goodness and perfection itself.
5. The love of God is our uniting adhesion to him : and God that first draweth up the soul to this union, will not himself reject us, and avoid it:
6. Love is a pregnant, powerful, pleasing grace; it delivereth up ourselves, and all that we