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Firft, The grounds of a Chriftian's affe&t ion to Chrift.


abIn general, the foundation is laid in his faith. Thou faith is only mentioned exprefsly in the latter part of the verfe, as the ground of a Chriftian's joy; yet it muft equally be prefuppofed to his love. Having not feen him,the people in the text could have no other ground for their love and if they had feen. him, and perfónally converfed with him;. yet, without believing more concerning him than fight could inform them of, they could. never have had the affection required by the Gofpel. But a firm affent to the testimony of God concerning Chrift will furnish us with all the motives to affection which perfonal converfe could fuggeft; and fuperadd all those which fight and fenfe could never furnifh. Now he who truly believes in Chrift, loves him,.

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1. For his own perfonal excellencies, or, because of what he is in himfelf; both as God and man. "We beheld," fays St. John,.

his glory; the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth," John i. 14. His difciples, who converfed with him in the days of his flesh, had fome view of his glorious perfections fhining out through all the cloud of his meanness, while they heard his divine difcourfes, and beheld his mighty works, worthy of the Son of God:: "Full of grace, and truth;" breathing out the richeft grace and good-will to finful men; and publishing thofe divine and heavenly truths which none but God could reveal,


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"none but "he who came out of the bofom of the Father," ver. 18. They had fome manifeftations of his glory: we have the fame difcoveries, which were made to them pofed F to our faith in the Gospel-relation; and a great deal more than they were particularly inftructed in, till Jefus was removed out of their fight. The gospel reprefents him to us, as one in whose bleffed perfon all uncreated and created excellencies meet; as one in whom dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily:" who by his divine perfections deferves our higheft veneration; and yet by condescending to partake of our nature, prevents the terror which would arife from unveiled divinity. "The Lord of glory" is be-come our brothor, "bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh." He is propofed to us, as poffeffed of the all-fufficiency of God, and yet" found in fashion as a man ;" as having a divine fulness, with a human way of communicating it. And his human nature itself is fuch, as hath all the excellencies of our nature, without any of the defiling ftains: fuchas makes him moft familiar to us, because


in all things made like unto us;" and yet he was full of wifdom, grace and fufficiency to the utmost capacity of a finite limited nature, becaufe" anointed with the oil of glad. nefs above his fellows." Such is the reprefentation made to our faith of his perfonal excellencies; which makes him upon that account worthy of our adoring thoughts, and uniting affections.


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2. Because of the near refemblance he bears to God, as man and Mediator, and the high esteem which God hath expreffed for him as fuch. The fupreme affection of a Chriftian is to the bleffed God: he looks upon him as the best of beings, and the standard of excel Fence; and his love to God is the regulating measure of his love to other things. This was the original' temper of innocence; God was loved above all, and other things only in fubordination to him. Sin was the breach of this rule of righteousness and all is out of order with us, till we return to our first mea-fure; to love God with all our hearts, fo as to have no competitor with him; and therea upon to give other things a fhare in our affec-. tion according to God's allowance, according to the degrees of his image which they bear, and according to the efteem which he difcoyers for them. Our value and affection for all other things in the whole order of beings,, fhould rife or fall by this rule. Now a true Chriftian proceeds by this meafure in the prevailing bent of his heart. Hence he delights in the excellent of the earth, more than in other men, Pfal. xvi. 2: And for the fame reason, the bleffed Jefus is raised in his efteem above all other things. Not only as in his divine nature"he is the brightnefs of his Father glory, and the exprefs image of his perfon," Heb. i. 3. but as, even in his human nature, and in his mediatorial character, he bears more. of the divine image than any other creature ; as perfectly holy, entirely obedient, and the moft faithful feryant to his Father. And there... fore:


fore God has highly honoured him, as he has honoured God more than any other has done. Hence the Chriftian pays a high regard to him alfo. The teftimonies which God has given of his complacency in him; by voices from heaven," This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleafed;" by raising him from the dead; by highly exalting him, and giving him a name above every name; difpofe a Chriftian to be well pleafed with him alfo, and to reverence his name. The Medi ator, as fuch, has the next intereft in his affections to God himfelf; because God has put a greater character of diftinction upon him, than upon any other.


3. Because of the excellence of his work, and the unspeakable love and benignity he has expreffed in it. This may all pafs for nothing. with a ftupid inconfiderate finner: he may go on in an ungrateful forgetfulness and difregard of all the kindnefs which the Redeemer has fhewn. But a true Chriftian has his foul fixed in attention to his wondrous works; and the fprings of gratitude are fet afloat by the confideration of them. His love and value are drawn out by the contemplation of the Son of God's early compaffion for us; when in the counfel of peace he engaged to vail his glory, to affume the form of a fervant, and to make his foul an offering for fin, that he might reconcile the honour of heaven with the happinefs of fallen men. He views him actually executing his engagement in the fulness of time; taking part of our nature; becoming amman of forrows and acquainted with grief; enduring,


enduring the contradiction of finners againft himself; and, after a life of continual abasement, feeling the extremeft agonies of foul, and anguish of body, fuffering from every.. quarter and in every part; in a word, "giving himself for us," that he might bring us to God. The love confpicuous in every part of his fufferings, kindles a lively affection and gratitude in the heart of a Chriftian. The more he thinks of it, the more he sees himself to be infinitely indebted. When he follows him up from his crofs to his crown of glory, he fees him there ftill minding our interefts, acting for our welfare, and with a heart as tenderly affected towards as ever. The prefent glories of his human nature do not extinguifh his concern for us, or his fympathy with us here on earth. Unbelieving minds can hear fuch things as thefe frequently concerning him, without the leaft fpark of ingenuity excited in their breafts: but a Chriftian, who believes them with the heart, feels a difpofition to receive kindly and becoming impreffions from the Redeemer's grace, and to ftudy what he fhall render.

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4. As the most neceflary medium of our happiness. The men of the world place their happiness wrong; not in the favour of God, but in worldly good. They are not fenfible, that though they had all the world, they are ftill as much as ever to feek for happiness, without an intereft in God. Or if they have Tome apprehenfion, that it must be a miferable. cafe to have God for an enemy; yet they hope for his favour at random, or think they


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