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First, The grounds of a Christian's affects jön to Chrift.
In general, the foundationis laid in his faith. * Thouges saith is only mentioned expressly in the later part of the verse, as the ground of a Christian's joy ; yet it must equally be presupposed to his love. Having not seen him, the people in the text could have no other ground for their love : and if they had seen. him, and personally conversed with him ; yet, without believing more concerning him than fight could inform them of, they could. never have had the affection required by the Gospel. But a firm afsent to the testimony of God concerning Christ will furnishi us with all the motives to affection which personal converse could suggest; and superadd all those which fight and sense could never furnih.. Now.. he who truly believes in Christ, loves him, . :
1. For his own personal excellencies, or,':because of what he is in himself; both as God and man." We beheld,” says St. John's * his glory.; the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, John i. 14. His disciples, who conversed. with him in the days of his flesh, had some view of his glorious perfections. Thining out through all the cloud of his meanness, while they heard his divine discourses, and beheld his mighty works, worthy of the Son of God :: “ Full of grace, and truth;" breathing out the richeft grace and good-wilkto finful men; yand publishing those divine and heavenly truths which none but Göd could reveal,
"none but "he who came out of the bofom of the Father,” ver. 18. They had some mani. festations of his glory : we have the same difcoveries, which were made to them posed. to our faith in the Gospel-relation; and a great deal more than they were particularly instructed in, till Jesus was removed out of their light. The gospel represents him to us, as one in whose blessed person all uncreated and created excellencies meet ; as one whom dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily:" who by his dwine perfections deferves our highest veneration; and yet by condescending to partake of our nature, pre. vents the terror which would arise from unveiled divinity: 5 The Lord of glory” is be.come our brothor, “bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh." He is proposed to us, as possessed of the all-susficiency 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 such, as hath all the excellencies of our na-ture, without any of the defiling stains : such 'as makes hirta molt familiar to us, because " in all things made like unto us;" and yet he was full of wisdom, grace and sufficiency to the utmost capacity of a finite limited nature, because "anointed with the oil of glade ness above his fellows." Such is the representation made to our faith of his personal excellencies; which makes him upon that account worthy of our adoring thoughts, and uniting affections.
9. Because of the near resemblance he bears to God, as man and Mediator, and the high esteem which God hath expressed for him as fuch. The supreme affection of a Christian is to the blessed God: he looks upon him
as the best of beings, and the standard of excel Tence; 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 meafure; to love God with all our hearts, so as to have no competitor with him ; and therea upon to give other things a share in our affection according to God's allowance, according to the degrees of his image which they bear; and according to the esteem which he discov: ers for them. Our value and affection for all other things in the whole order of beingsga fhould rise or fall by this rule. Now a true Christian proceeds by this measure 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 same reason, the blessed Jesus is raised in his esteem above all other things. Not only as in his divine nature: 66 he is the brightness of his Fathers glory, and the express image of his person," Heb.i.
even in his human naturex: and in his mediatorial character, he bears more. of the divine image than any other creature ; as perfe&tly holy, entirely obedient, and the moit faithful feryant to his Father. And there..
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 also. The testimonies which God has given of his complaçency 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 ; dis- . pose a Christian to be well pleased with him also, and to reverence his name. The Medi. ator, as such, has the next interest in his affections to God himself; because God has put a greater chara&ter of distinction upon him, than upon any other.
3. Because of the excellence of his work, and the unspeakable love and benignity he has expressed in it. This may all pafs for nothing with a stupid inconfiderate finner : " he may go on in an ungrateful forgetfulness and disregard of all the kindness which the Redeemer has fhewn." But a true Christian has his soul fix. ed in attention to bis wondrous works; and the springs of gratitude are set afloat by the consideration of them. "His love and value are drawn out by the contemplation of the Son of God's early compassion for us; when in the counsel of peace he engaged to vail his glory, to assume the form of a servant, and to make his soul an offering for sin, that he might reconcile the honour of heaven with the happiness of fallen men. He views him actually executing his engagement in the fulness of time ; taking part of our nature ; becoming ainan.of sorrows.and acquainted with grief ;
enduring the contradiction of sinners against
himself; and, after a life of continual sabase. ment, feeling the extremelt agonies of soul, and anguish of body, suffering from every.. quarter and in every part ; in a word, giving himself for us," that he might bring us to God. The love conspicuous in every part of his sufferings, kindles a lively affection and gratitude in the heart of a Christian." The. more he thinks of it, the more he sees himself to be infinitely indebted. When he follows him up from his cross to his crown of glory, he sees him there still minding our interests, acting for our welfare, and with a heart as tenderly affecled towards as ever. fent glories of his human nature do not extinguish his concern for us, or his fympathy with us here on earth. Unbelieving minds can hear such things as these frequently concerning him, without the least spark of ingenuity excited in their breafts : but a Christian, who believes them with the heart, feels a difposition to receive kindly and becoming impressions from the Redeemer's grace, and to study what he shall render.
4. As the most necessary 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 sensibled
that though they had all the world, they are * still as much as ever to seek for happiness,
without an interest in God. Or if they have Tome apprehension, that it must be a miserable case to have God for an enemy , yet they hope for his favour at random, or think they