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CHAPTER VIII.

THE LOVE OF GOD AND THE LORD JESUS CHRIST A

REASON FOR EARLY PIETY.

§ 1. History relates, that one of those happy and triumphant saints, who passed through the sorrows of martyrdom, to the glories of heaven, just before he expired, lifting up his burning hands from the midst of the flames, exclaim. ed, “None but Christ, none but Christ!” In this, and ten thousand other instances, martyrdom itself was cheerfully borne, through love to the adorable Saviour: but whence sprung this fervent love? The apostle's words reply, We love him, because he first loved us. My young friend, let me call your attention to this most pleasing and most powerful motive, for devoting your youth to God. Martyrs loved their God, because he had first loved them.

- Martyrs died for their Redeemer, because he had first died for them; but consider, I beseech you, that all which was done for them, was done for you. That love which won their hearts, has been manifested for you as well as them. God in the gospel, is as kind to you as he was to them; heaven as open to you as it was to them; and Jesus died for you as well as for them. Spend then, a few serious moments, in meditating on divine love. I have glanced at this subject before, but now entreat you to consider more fully the love of God, and the love of Christ.

§ 2. In the works of the Most High you may discern his love. The fruits we gather, the sum. mers we enjoy, the harvests we reap, the air we

THE

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are

OF GOD IN GIVING CHRIST.

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breathe; healthful

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proofs of the love of God. Your raiment

, your your easy nights, your food, your from the God of love. tender friends; all these are gifts

He crowns successive seasons with his goodness; and seed-time and harvest,

summer and winter, are fraught with his blessings. In infancy, childhood, and youth, you have experienced his kindness. Unnumbered mercies descended from him to you, before you could be conscious whence they came; and the streams of his kindness have continued full even to your present day; and should

you

choose him as your God and portion, then his kindness will endure while eternal ages roll. It is in the gift of his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, that his divinest love is manifested. “God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”. $3. The gift of Christ is uniformly represent

as caused by the love of God. That blessed book assures us, that the divine Redeemer did all that he did, and endured all that he endured, in consequence

of the love of God to a ruined world. The testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ to this momentous truth, is given in the words just quoted; his inspired apostles as

“God commendeth his love tous,

in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

• Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” Does the motive Of a giver, enhance the value of a gift? how then

value Jesus, the best gift of God! In the gospel the infinite Lord of lords is displayed,

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Should you

1 John, iv. 10.

Rom. v. 8.

John. iii. 16.

136 THE NATURE OF CHRIST INCOMPREHENSIBLE. as stooping from the throne of his eternal majes. ty, to interest himself in your behalf; and love to helpless and guilty man, appears the directing motive even in the conduct of the Most High. God so loved the world.

§ 4. The love of God, to your immortal soul, is displayed in the greatness of the gift, which he gave for your redemption. Think of the Giver, and adore; think of the Gift, and praise and won. der. The brightest throne in glory was made va. cant on our account; and Jesus, the delight of heaven, for us became a sufferer upon earth. He is with God, and is God; and is one with the Father, in a way which none can comprehend. On this subject, curious inquiry is fruitless; devout belief, in what God has declared, and humble adoration best become us. A worm or a mole cannot conceive the nature of the sun, or dive into the secrets of revolving planets, of stars fixed, or comets wandering for ages in the depths of

but worms and moles might better at. tempt to unfold the mysteries of the starry firmament, than man try to unfold the more inexplicable mysteries, contained in the nature of Christ. Look on him as God with man; the well-belov. ed of the Father. By his hands the worlds were formed, and he is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. He framed the skies; yet, by his Father's appointment, bled for you. He was the object of his Father's infinite delight; yet such is the compassion of your injured God, that he gave even Jesus, his dearest treasure, to be the price of your redemption.

§ 5. The love of God, in giving his beloved Son for your salvation, is enhanced by his own

John, i. 1; x. 30. --- Matt. xi. 27.

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THE LOVE OF GOD.

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Jest infinite excellencies. Join all the most noble can be representations of power and majesty, and all diese fall short of him at last. Heap together all

the most splendid descriptions of glory and

greatness, and apply them to the Almighty, pa and they will but dishonour him at best. If

you imagine, as some philosophers dream, every star to be in reality another sun, and every sun attended by its revolving worlds; yet God, the great and glorious God, excels them more, than they united would excel one glimmering spark. Think of God, and what is man! Surely but the insect of a moment, on the atom of a day. Yet in redemption, to man the meanest, did God the highest stoop from his eternal throne. With an eye of softest compassion, he looked down, unutterably low, upon a perishing and guilty world; no help was seen, but his own arm brought salvation. In the gift of Christ also, we see the Most Holy stooping to visit the most polluted. The sun has its dark spots; but the God of heaven has not the shadow of a defect. He is as holy as he is high, as pure as he is powerful; while miserable man is polluted with all depravity, stained with every sin, black with every crime.

$ 6. The love of God was still further enbanced, by his knowledge of the deep abasement and cruel neglect, which awaited his beloved Son. Before Jesus left the bosom of the Father, he foresaw through what scenes his beloved Son would pass. He saw the Saviour on the cross, before the cross was formed; and heard his ex

piring groan, before that groan was uttered. A There parent parting with his beloved son, may dismiss

him more readily, if assured that everywhere a

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THE LOVE OF GOD IN

kind reception would await himn; but with regret, if conscious that nothing but sorrow and distress would attend him. A stranger to the world might have expected, that the blessed Jesus would have met with an infinitely welcome reception here. It might have been supposed, that desiring nations would have been ready to hail his arrival ; to offer him the throne of the world, as some humble compensation for learing his own; to echo the shouts of glory to God in the highest, for peace on earth and good-will towards men, to receive the illustrious visitant as an object of universal admiration, esteem, and love. But the Most High knew that the blessed Jesus would not be thus loved, admired, and followed; he knew that gracious friend of sinners would have for his attendants a few despised and persecuted, men ; would be without a dwelling, except the chance one which a few friends afforded, and sometimes in the most literal sense, without a place to lay his head. He knew the shouts which awaited his beloved Son were, Crucify him, crucify him! away with him! not this man, but Barabbas! his blood be on us, and on our children! This was the reception the blessed Sufferer met with from the world he came to save; a reception foreseen hy his heavenly Father, who displayed his own boundless love, in be. stowing such a gift on such a world. On a world, too, of which the greater part would still make their own destruction sure; and in spite of all these miracles of love, would still prefer the dross of earth to a dying Saviour and a gracious God. Well might Christ God so loved the world. His compassion is beyond description. O, the heights, and depths, and breadths, and lengths

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