That Doctrine which most endeareth Christ to a Soul.
Christ Dying, & Drawing Sinners to Himself,
... And the 1st Use I am at, is, That no Doctrine so endeareth Christ to a Soul, as this of particular Redemption and Free grace separating one from another, Psalm 147.12. Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem: And, amongst many Grounds, here is one, verse 19, He sheweth his Word unto Jacob, his Statutes and his Judgments to Israel, verse 20, He hath not dealt so with any Nation: And he speaketh not of the Measure, as if God had revealed the same Grace in nature, but in an inferior Degree, to other Nations; for he saith, As for his Judgments, they have not known them; and then, being full of God, for this separating Mercy, he addeth, Praise ye the Lord. Christ esteems this the Flower of Grace, the Grace of Grace, and blesseth his Father for it, Matt. 11.25, I bless thee, O Father, Lord of Heaven and Earth, because thou hast hid these Things from the Wise and Prudent, and hast revealed them to Babes. Now, because Arminians say, The Pride of the Self-wise, and the Humility of Babes, are the Causes separating the one from the other, and so Free-will is to share with the Father in the Praise of the revealed Glory of the Gospel, and the discovered Excellency of Christ to Babes, rather than to wise Men; a literal Revelation no doubt was common to all Babes and Prudent, the swelled Pharisees, and humbled Sinners; Christ praiseth the Eminency, the Blossom of Grace, the Bloom of Free-love, in that the Free-will of the Humble and the Proud made not the Separation, but the good Pleasure of God, verse 27, No Man knows the Son but the Father; neither knoweth any Man the Father but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him.
2. That which is common to all, shall never leave an Impression of Wonder and thankful Admiration. 'I' and 'we' are swelled, lofty and proud Things; and the Spirit of God commends Grace highly, in that it falls upon Pronouns and Persons, and not on others, 1 Cor. 15.9, [Gr. Ego] I am the least of the Apostles,verse 10, By the Grace of God, I am that I am: And his Grace [Gr. eis eme] toward me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all; [Gr. houk ego dè] but not I, but the Grace of God [Gr. he sen emói.] in me, Titus 3.3. [Gr. Kaì hemeis] For we our selves also were sometime out of our Wits, disobedient, &c. verse 4, But when the Kindness and Man-love of God our Saviour appeared, verse 5,[Gr. esosen hemâs] he saved us. 1 Tim 1.15, [Gr. Ego] I am the chief of Sinners; verse 16, But for this Cause I obtained Mercy, [Gr. hina en pro ô] that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all Long suffering. Gal. 2.20, I am crucified with Christ, but I live, [Gr. ouk etì egò] yet not I, but Christ lives in me, [Gr. en emoì] and the Life that I now live in the Flesh, I live by the Faith of the Son of God, who has loved me, and given himself for me; [Gr. mè huper emû] Ephes. 2.1, [Gr. Kaì humâs] And you, who were dead in Sins and Trespasses, hath he quickened, verse 4, For his great Love wherewith he loved us, [hemâs] verse 5, Even when we were dead in Sins and Trespasses, he hath quickened us [hemâs] together with Christ. Verse 13, But now, in Christ Jesus, ye who sometimes were far off, are made near by the Blood of Christ. The passing by my Father and Mother, and Brother and Sister, Neighbour and Friend, and taking me, is a most endearing Favour.
Of all in Scotland and England, all in Europe, all Adam's Seed, that ever were Masters of a living Soul, in the Womb or out of it; the Lord passed by so many Thousands and Millions, and the Lot of Free-grace fell upon me precisely by Name, and upon us, and not upon Thousands besides, no less eligible than I was. What Thoughts will you have of the free Lot of Love that fell upon you, ever since God was God, when Christ shall lay such a Load of Love, such a high Weight and Mass of Love on you! Ye shall then think, O how came I hither to sit in heavenly Places with Christ? That Body, that is trimmed, clothed, and doubly embroidered with pure and unmixed Glory, is just made of the same Lump of Earth, with the Body of Judas or Cain, that are now flaming and sinking to the Bottom of the black and sad River of Brimstone. The Lord saith, Ezek. 18.4, Behold, all Souls are mine: And when your Soul shall be loaden with Glory, and Thousands of Souls blowing and spitting out Blasphemies on the Majesty of God, out of the Sense of the Torment of the gnawing Worm that never dies; and ye consider the Soul of Judas might have been in my soul's stead, and my Soul in the same Place of Torment that his is now in; what Wonder then John cry out, Behold, what Love!
4. How much Love for Extension, and Intention; for one Man, and every one in Covenant! Psalm 106.45, Multitudes of Mercies, and Psalm 130.7, Plenteous Redemption; one David must have Multitudes of tender Mercies, Psalm 51.1, Psalm 69.13,16. 'Tis not one Love, but Loves, many Loves, Ezek 16.8; Cant. 1.12. He gives many Salvations to one, as if one Heaven, and one Crown of Glory were not enough; Eph. 2.4, He is rich in Mercy; and he quickened us, when we were dead in Sins, [Gr. dia pollen agapèn] For his multiplied Love: Every Man has a particular Act of Love, a particular Act of Atonement bestowed on him. Can ye multiply Figures with a Pen, and write from the East to the West, and then begin again, and make the Heaven of Heavens all circular Lines of Figures; it should weary the Arm of Angels to write the multiplied Loves of Christ. Christ's Love desires to engage many: How many Millions be there of Elect Angels and Men? Every one of them, for his own Part, must have a Heaven of Love; and Christ thinks it little enough that the First-born's Love be on them all, and that they all be First-born: Col. 1.20, It pleased the Father, by Christ to reconcile all Things in Heaven and in Earth to himself: All the Angels are Christ's Vassals, and he is their Head, Col. 2.10. Then Christ must have two Eyes, yea, seven Eyes, to see for every one, and two Legs for every Angel to walk withal; Christ must have a huge Host, and numerous Troops in his Family. (2.) Who then can Number the Sums of all the Debts of Free-grace, that Angels and Men owe Christ, and when they shall be paid? Though Sins shall be acquitted, yet Debts of undeserved Love shall stand for ever and ever. O how unsearchable are the Riches of Christ's Grace! Know ye, O Angels, O glorified Spirits, where is the Brim, or where is the Bottom of Free-grace? Yet not one Sinner can have less Grace than he has, he has need of all; he has no Oil to spare, to lend to his Neighbour, Matt. 25. Our deep Diseases, and festered Wounds, could have no less to cure them, than infinite Love, and Free-grace, passing all Knowledge. It was a broad Wound, that required a Plaister as long and broad, as infinite Jesus Christ.
Paul bows his Knee to the Master of the Families of Heaven and Earth, for this Act of Grace, to weigh the Love of Christ, Eph. 3.18, I pray (saith he) that ye may comprehend, or overtake the Love of God.
2. How many are set on Work to compass that Love? as if one Man could not be able to do it: Yet I pray, that ye with all the Saints may comprehend what is the Breadth; 'tis broader than the Sea, or the Earth: And what is the Length of it? 'tis longer than between East and West; though ye could Measure between the Extremity of the highest Circle of the Heaven of Heavens: And then it hath Depth and Height more than from the Centre of the Earth to the Circle of the Moon, and up through all the Orbs of the seven Planets, and to the Orb of Stars and highest Heavens: Who can comprehend either the Diameter or Circumference of so great a Love? Love is an Element, that all the Elect, Men and Angels, swim in; the Banks of the River swell above the Circle of the Sun, to the highest of the highest Heavens.
Christ's Love in the Gospel takes all alive, as a mighty Conqueror; his Seed for Multitude is like the Drops of Dew that come out of the Womb of the Morning, Psalm 110, and they are the Dew of the Youth of Christ; for Christ, as a strong and vigorous young Man full of Strength, who never fails through old Age, brings in the Forces of the Gentiles, like the Flocks of Kedar, Isaiah 60.5,6.
5. Christ's Love outworks Hell and Devils. Can ye seal up the Sun that it cannot rise? or can ye hinder the Flowing of the Sea? or lay a Law upon the Winds that they blow not? far less can ye hinder Christ's Wilderness to blossom as a Rose, or his Grace to blow, to flow over Banks, or to fly with Eagles Wings. O how strong an Agent is Christ's Love, that bears the Sins of the World! John 1.29. It works as Fire doth, by Nature, rather than by Will; and none can bind up Christ's Heart, or restrain his Bowels, but he must work all to Heaven that he has loved.