We must love Jesus, as carrying on this great work of our salvation. Go on then, O my soul, put fire to the earth, blow thy little spark, set before thee God’s love, and thou canst not but love.
In God’s love consider, 1. The time. 2. The properties. 3. The effects of it.
1. For the time. — 1. He loved thee before the world was made. Hast thou not heard, and wilt thou ever forget it — were not those ancient loves from all eternity? — 2. He loved thee in the very beginning of the world. Was not the promise expressed to Adam intended for thee? As thou sinnedst in his loins, so didst thou in his loins receive the promise. “It shall bruise thy head.” And not long after, when God established his covenant with Abraham and his seed, wast thou not one of that seed of Abraham? 3. He loves thee now more especially, not only with a love of benevolence, as before, but with a love of complacency: not only hath he struck covenant with Christ, with Adam, with Abraham, in thy behalf, but particularly and personally with thyself. And Oh! what love is this? If a woman lately conceiving, love her future fruit; how much more doth she love it when it is born and embraced in her arms? So, if God loved thee before thou hadst a being, yea, before the world, or any creature in it, had a being; how much more now?
Oh the height, and depth, and length, and breadth, of this immeasurable love! O my soul, I cannot express the love of God in Christ to thee. I do but draw the picture of the sun with a coal, when I endeavor to express God’s love in Christ.
2. For the properties of this love. — 1. God’s love to thee is a free love. “I will love them freely,” saith God. And, “The Lord did not set his love upon you, and choose you, because ye were more in number than any people, — but because the Lord loved you.” There can be no other reason why the Lord loved thee, but because he loved thee. 2. God’s love to thee is the love of all relations. Look, what a friend’s love is to a friend, or what a father’s love is towards a child, or what an husband’s love is towards a wife, such is God’s love to thee: thou art his friend, his son, his daughter, his spouse; and God is thy all in all.
3. For the effects of his love. — 1. God so loves thee, as that he hath entered a covenant with thee. Oh, what a love is this! Tell me, O my soul, is there not an infinite disparity betwixt God and thee? He is God above, and thou art a worm below: he is the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is holy, and thon art less than the least of all the mercies of God. O wonder at such a condescension! that such a potter, and such a former of things, should come on terms of bargaining with such clay as is guilty before him! Had we the tongues of men and angels, we could never express it.
God so loves thee, as that in the covenant he gives thee all his promises. Indeed, what is the covenant but a heap of promises? As a cluster of stars makes a constellation, so a mass of promises concurreth in the covenant of grace. Wherever
Christ is, clusters of divine promises grow out of him, as the rays and beams are from the sun. As God hath given thee his Son, so he hath given thee himself, and in that God hath given thee his Son and himself; this is a greater degree of love.
Christians! stand amazed. Oh, what love is this to the children of men! Oh, that we should live to have our ears filled with this sound from heaven! “I will be a God to thee and to thy seed after thee; I am the Lord thy God, I will be their God, and they shall he my people.” O my soul, where hast thou been? Rouse up, and set before thee all these passages of God’s love in Christ: are not these strong attractives to gain thy love? Canst thou choose to love the Lord thy God? Shall not all this love of God in Christ to thee constrain thy love? God in Christ is the very element of love. Every element will to its proper place. Now God is love, and whither should thy love be carried, but to this ocean or sea of love? “Come, my beloved,” said the spouse to Christ, “let us go up early to the vineyards, let us see if the vines flourish, whether the tender grapes appear; there will I give thee my loves.” The flourishing of the vine, and the appearing of the tender grapes, are the fruits of the graces of God in the assemblies of his saints. When thou comest to the word, prayer, meditation, be sure of this, to give Christ thy love. Isaac Ambrose