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loves you.' It is true, indeed (and as I told you), that 'I will pray the Father to send you the Spirit, the Comforter,' and with him all the gracious fruits of his love; but yet in the point of love itself, free love, eternal love, there is no need of any intercession for that, for eminently the Father himself loves you; resolve of that, that you may hold communion with him in it, and be no more troubled about it. Yea, as your great trouble is, about the Father's love, so you can no way more trouble or burden him, than by your unkindness in not believing of it. So it must needs be where sincere love is questioned.

(4.) The apostle teaches the same, Rom. v. 5. The love of God is shed abroad in your hearts by the Holy Ghost that is given unto you.' God, whose love this is, is plainly distinguished from the Holy Ghost, who sheds abroad that love of his. And, ver. 8. he is also distinguished from the Son; for it is from that love of his, that the Son is sent; and therefore it is the Father of whom the apostle here specially speaketh. And what is it that he ascribes to him? even love; which also, ver. 8. he commendeth to us, sets it forth in such a signal and eminent expression, that we may take notice of it, and close with him in it. To carry this business to its height; there is not only most frequent peculiar mention of the love of God, where the Father is eminently intended, and of the love of the Father expressly, but he is also called the God of love,' 2 Cor. xiii. 11. and is said to be love, so that whoever will know him, 1 John iv. 8. or dwell in him by fellowship or communion, ver. 16. must do it as he is love.

(5.) Nay, whereas there is a twofold divine love, beneplaciti and amicitia, a love of good pleasure and destination, and a love of friendship and approbation, they are both peculiarly assigned to the Father in an eminent manner.

1. John iii. 16. God so loved the world, that he sent,' &c. that is, with the love of his purpose and good pleasure, his determinate will of doing good. This is distinctly ascribed to him, being laid down as the cause of sending his Son. So Rom. ix. 11, 12. Eph. i. 4, 5. 2 Thess. ii. 13, 14. 1 John iv. 8, 9.

2. John xiv. 23. there isf mention of that other kind of

f Diligi a patre, recipi in amicitiam, summi Dei ; a Deo foveri, adeoque Deo esse in deliciis. Bucerus. in loc.

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love whereof we speak. ' he will keep my words, and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.' The love of friendship and approbation is here eminently ascribed to him; says Christ, we will come,' even Father and Son to such a one, and dwell with him, that is, by the Spirit; but yet he would have us take notice, that in point of love, the Father hath a peculiar prerogative: My Father will love him.'

If any man love me,' saith Christ,

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(6.) Yea, and as this love is peculiarly to be eyed in him, so it is to be looked on as the fountain of all following gracious dispensations. Christians walk oftentimes with exceedingly troubled hearts, concerning the thoughts of the Father towards them: they are well persuaded of the Lord Christ, and his good will: the difficulty lies, in what is their acceptance with the Father, what is his heart towards them? Shew us the Father and it shall suffice;' John xiv. 8. Now this ought to be so far away, that his love ought to be looked on as the fountain from whence all other sweetnesses flow. Thus the apostle sets it out, Tit. iii. 4. After that the kindness and love of God our Saviour, toward man appeared.' It is of the Father of whom he speaks; for, ver. 6. he tells us, that he makes out unto us, or 'sheds that love upon us abundantly, through Jesus Christ our Saviour.' And this love he makes the hinge, upon which the great alteration, and translation, of the saints doth turn: for, saith he, ver. 3. we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice, and envy, hateful, and hating one another.' All naught, all out of order, and vile. Whence then is our recovery? The whole rise of it is from this love of God, flowing out by the ways there described. For when the kindness and love of God appeared, that is, in the fruits of it, then did this alteration ensue. To secure us hereof, there is not any thing that hath a loving and tender nature in the world, and doth act suitably thereunto, which God hath not compared himself unto. Separate all weakness and imperfection which is in them, yet great impressions of love must abide. He is as a father, a mother, a shepherd, a hen over

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Te quod attinet non sumus solliciti,-illud modo desideramus, ut patrem nobis vel semel intueri concedatur. Cartwright Har. in John xiv. 8.

chickens, and the like. Psal. ciii. 13. Isa. lxiii. 16. Matt. vi. 6. Isa. lxvi. 13. Psal. xxiii. 1. Isa. xl. 11. Matt. xxiii. 37.

I shall not need to add any more proofs; this is that which is demonstrated. There is love in the person of the Father peculiarly held out unto the saints, as wherein, he will and doth hold communion with them.

Now to complete communion with the Father in love, two things are required of believers;

(1.) That they receive it of him.

(2.) That they make suitable returns unto him.

(1.) That they do receive it. Communion consists in giving and receiving. Until the love of the Father be received, we have no communion with him therein. How then is this love of the Father to be received, so as to hold fellowship with him? I answer, by faith. The receiving of it, is the believing of it. God hath so fully, so eminently revealed his love, that it may be received by faith. You believe in God, John xiv. 1. that is, the Father; and what is to be believed in him? His love; for, he is love; 1 John viii. 8.

It is true, there is not an immediate acting of faith upon the Father, but by the Son. He is the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by him;' John xiv. 6. He is the merciful high-priest over the house of God, by whom we have access to the throne of grace; by him is our manuduction unto the Father. By him we believe in God; 1 Pet. i. 21. But this is that I say: When by and through Christ, we have an access unto the Father, we then behold his glory also, and see his love that he peculiarly bears unto us, and act faith thereon. We are then, I say, to eye it, to believe it, to receive it, as in him; the issues and fruits thereof, being made out unto us, through Christ alone. Though there be no light for us, but in the beams, yet we may by beams see the sun, which is the fountain of it. Though all our refreshment actually lie in the streams, yet by them we are led up unto the fountain. Jesus Christ, in respect of the love of the Father, is but the beam, the stream, wherein though actually all our light, our refreshment lies, yet by him we are led to the fountain, the sun of eternal love itself. Would believers exercise themselves Eph. ii. 18.

herein, they would find it a matter of no small spiritual improvement in their walking with God.

This is that which is aimed at. Many dark and disturbing thoughts are apt to arise in this thing. Few can carry up their hearts and minds to this height by faith, as to rest their souls in the love of the Father; they live below it, in the troublesome region of hopes and fears, storms and clouds. All here is serene and quiet. But how to attain to this pitch they know not. This is the will of God, that he may always be eyed as benign, kind, tender, loving, and unchangeable therein; and that peculiarly as the Father, as the great fountain and spring of all gracious communications, and fruits of love. This is that which Christ came to reveal; God as a Father; John i. 18. that name which he declares to those who are given him out of the world; John xvii. 6. And this is that which he effectually leads us to by himself, as he is the only way of going to God, as a Father; John xiv. 5, 6. that is, as love; and by doing so, gives us the rest which he promiseth; for the love of the Father is the only rest of the soul. It is true, as was said, we do not this formally in the first instant of believing. We believe in God through Christ; I Pet. i, 21. faith seeks out rest for the soul. This is presented to it by Christ, the Mediator, as the only procuring cause. Here it abides not, but by Christ it hath an access to the Father, Eph. ii. 18. into his love, finds out that he is love, as having a design, a purpose of love, a good pleasure towards us from eternity; a delight, a complacency, a good will in Christ; all cause of anger, and aversation being taken away, The soul being thus by faith through Christ, and by him brought into the bosom of God, into a comfortable persuasion, and spiritual perception and sense of his love, there reposes and rests itself. And this is the first thing the saints do, in their communion with the Father, of the due improvement whereof, more afterward.

(2.) For that suitable return which is required, this also (in a main part of it, beyond which I shall not now extend it) consisteth in love. God loves, that he may be beloved.

i Deut. vi. 4-6.

k Amor superne descendens ad divinam pulcritudinem omnia convocat, Proclus lib. de Anima. et Dæm.


When he comes to command the return of his received love to complete communion with him, he says, 'My son, give me thy heart;' Prov. xxiii. 26. thy affections, thy love. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind;' Luke x. 27. this is the return that he demandeth. When the soul sees God in his dispensation of love, to be love, to be infinitely lovely and loving, rests upon, and delights in him as such, then hath it communion with him in love. This is love, that God loves us first, and then we love him again. I shall not now go forth into a description of divine love; generally, love' is an affection of union and nearness, with complacency therein. So long as the Father is looked on, under any other apprehension, but only as acting love upon the soul, it breeds in the soul a dread and aversation. Hence the flying and hiding of sinners, in the Scriptures. But when he who is the Father, is considered as a father, acting love on the soul, this raises it to love again. This is in faith, the ground of all acceptable obedience; Deut. v. 10. Exod. xx. 6. Deut. x. 12. xi. 1. 13. xiii. 3.



Thus is this whole business stated by the apostle; Eph. i. 4. According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.' It begins in the love of God and ends in our love to him. That is it, which the eternal love of God, aims at in us, and works us up unto. It is true, our universal obedience falls within the compass of our communion with God; but that is with him as God, our blessed sovereign lawgiver and rewarder; as he is the Father, our Father in Christ, as revealed unto us to be love, above and contrary to all the expectations of the natural man, so it is in love that we have this intercourse with him. Nor do I intend only that love, which is as the life and form of all moral obedience; but a peculiar delight and acquiescing in the Father revealed effectually as love unto the soul.

1 Unio substantialis est causa amoris sui ipsius, similitudinis, est causa amoris alterius; sed unio realis quam amans quærit de re amata, est effectus amoris. Th. 12. q. 28. 1.3. m Josh. xxii. 5. xxiii. 11. Nehem. i. 5.

n Psal. xviii. 1. xxxi. 23. xcvii. 10. cxvi. 1. 1 Cor. ii. 9. James i. 12. Isa. lvi. 6. Matt. xxii. 37. Rom. viii. 28.

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