Chapter XII

The especial Principle of Obedience unto the Person of Christ; which is Love--Its Truth and Reality Vindicated.

That which does enliven and animate the obedience whereof we have
discoursed, is love. This himself makes the foundation of all that is
acceptable unto him. "If," saith he, "ye love me, keep my
commandments," John 14: 15. As he distinguisheth between love and
obedience, so he asserts the former as the foundation of the latter.
He accepts of no obedience unto his commands that does not proceed
from love unto his person. That is no love which is not fruitful in
obedience; and that is no obedience which proceeds not from love. So
he expresseth on both sides: "If a man love me, he will keep my
words;" and, "He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings," Verses
23, 24.

In the Old Testament the love of God was the life and substance of
all obedience. "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart,
with all thy soul, thy mind and strength," was the sum of the law.
This includes in it all obedience, and, where it is genuine, will
produce all the fruits of it; and where it was not, no multiplication
of duties was accepted with him. But this in general we do not now
treat of.

That the person of Christ is the especial object of this divine love,
which is the fire that kindles the sacrifice of our obedience unto him-

  • his is that alone which at present I design to demonstrate. The apostle has recorded a very severe denunciation of divine wrath
    against all that love him not: "If any man love not the Lord Jesus
    Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha," 1 Cor. 16: 22. And what was
    added unto the curse of the Law we may add unto this of the Gospel:
    "And all the people shall say, Amen," Dent. 27: 26. And, on the other
    hand, he prays for grace on all that "love him in sincerity," Eph 6:
    24. Wherefore, none who desire to retain the name of Christian, can
    deny, in words at least, but that we ought, with all our hearts, to
    love the Lord Jesus Christ.

    I do not so distinguish love from obedience as though it were not
    itself a part, yea, the chiefest part, of our obedience. So is faith
    also; yet is it constantly distinguished from obedience, properly so
    called. This alone is that which I shall demonstrate--namely, that
    there is, and ought to be, in all believers, a divine, gracious love
    unto the person of Christ, immediately fixed on him, whereby they are
    excited unto, and acted in, all their obedience unto his authority.
    Had it been only pleaded, that many who pretend love unto Christ do
    yet evidence that they love him not, it is that which the Scripture
    testifieth, and continual experience does proclaim. If an application
    of this charge had been made unto them whose sincerity in their
    profession of love unto him can be no way evidenced, it ought to be
    borne with patience, amongst other reproaches of the same kind that
    are cast upon them. And some things are to be premised unto the
    confirmation of our assertion.

    1. It is granted that there may be a false pretence of love unto
    Christ; and as this pretence is ruinous unto the souls of them in whom
    it is, so it ofttimes renders them prejudicial and troublesome unto
    others. There ever were, and probably ever will be, hypocrites in the
    church and a false pretence of love is of the essential form of
    hypocrisy. The first great act of hypocrisy, with respect unto Christ,
    was treachery, veiled with a double pretence of love. He cried, "Hail,
    Master! and kissed him," who betrayed him. His words and actions
    proclaimed love, but deceit and treachery were in his heart. Hence the
    apostle prays for grace on them who love the Lord Jesus "en
    aftharsiai"--without dissimulation or doubling, without pretences and
    aims at other ends, without a mixture of corrupt affections; that is,
    in sincerity, Eph 6: 24. It was prophesied of him, that many who were
    strangers unto his grace should lie unto him, Ps. 18: 44, "benei
    nechar jechachashu-li"--feignedly submit, or yield feigned obedience
    unto him. So is it with them who profess love unto him, yet are
    enemies of his cross, "whose end is destruction, whose god is their
    belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things,"
    Phil. 3: 18, 19. All that are called Christians in the world, do, by
    owning that denomination, profess a love unto Jesus Christ; but
    greater enemies, greater haters of him, he has not among the children
    of men, than many of them are. This falsely pretended love is worse
    than avowed hatred; neither will the pretence of it stand men in stead
    at the last day. No other answer will be given unto the plea of it, be
    it in whom it will, but "Depart from me, I never knew you, ye workers
    of iniquity." Whereas, therefore, he himself has prescribed this rule
    unto all who would be esteemed his disciples, "If ye love me, keep my
    commandments," we may safely conclude, all who live in a neglect of
    his commands, whatever they pretend or profess, they love him not. And
    the satisfaction which men, through much darkness, and many corrupt
    prejudices, have attained unto in the profession of Christian
    religion, without an internal, sincere love unto Christ himself, is
    that which ruins religion and their own souls.

    2. As there is a false pretence of love unto Christ, so there is, or
    may be, a false love unto him also. The persons in whom it is may in
    some measure be sincere, and yet their love unto Christ may not be
    pure, nor sincere--such as answers the principles and rules of the
    gospel; and as many deceive others, so some deceive themselves in this
    matter. They may think that they love Christ, but indeed do not so;
    and this I shall manifest in some few instances.

    (1.) That love is not sincere and incorrupt which proceedeth not from-

  • which is not a fruit of faith Those who do not first really believe on Christ, can never sincerely love him. It is faith alone that
    worketh by love towards Christ and all his saints. If, therefore, any
    do not believe with that faith which unites them unto Christ, which
    within purifies the heart, and is outwardly effectual in duties of
    obedience, whatever they may persuade themselves concerning love unto
    Christ, it is but a vain delusion. Where the faith of men is dead,
    their love will not be living and sincere.

    (2.) That love is not so which ariseth from false ideas and
    representations that men make of Christ, or have made of him in their
    minds. Men may draw images in their minds of what they most fancy, and
    then dote upon them. So some think of Christ only as a glorious person
    exalted in heaven at the right hand of God, without farther
    apprehensions of his natures and offices. So the Roman missionaries
    represented him unto some of the Indians--concealing from them his
    cross and sufferings. But every false notion concerning his person or
    his grace--what he is, has done, or doth-- corrupts the love that is
    pretended unto him. Shall we think that they love Christ by whom his
    divine nature is denied or that those do so who disbelieve the reality
    of his human nature? Or those by whom the union of both in the same
    person is rejected? There cannot be true evangelical love unto a false
    Christ, such as these imaginations do fancy.

    (3.) So is that love which is not in all things--as to causes,
    motives, measures, and ends regulated by the Scripture. This alone
    gives us the nature, rules, and bounds of sincere spiritual love. We
    are no more to love Christ, than to fear and worship him, according
    unto our own imaginations. From the Scripture are we to derive all the
    principles and motives of our love. If either the acts or effects of
    it will not endure a trial thereby, they are false and counterfeit;
    and many such have been pretended unto, as we shall see immediately.

    (4.) That is so, unquestionably, which fixeth itself on undue
    objects, which, whatever is pretended, are neither Christ nor means of
    conveying our love unto him. Such is all that love which the Romanists
    express in their devotion unto images, as they fancy, of Christ;
    crucifixes, pretended relics of his cross, and the nails that pierced
    him, with the like superstitious representations of him, and what they
    suppose he is concerned in. For although they express their devotion
    with great appearance of ardent affections, under all outward signs of
    them--in adorations, kissings, prostrations, with sighs and tears; yet
    all this while it is not Christ which they thus cleave unto, but a
    cloud of their own imaginations, wherewith their carnal minds are
    pleased and affected. That is no god which a man hews out of a tree,
    though he form it for that end, though he falls down unto it and
    worshippeth it, and prayeth unto it, and saith, "Deliver me, for thou
    art my god," Isa.44: 17. The authors of this superstition, whereby the
    love of innumerable poor souls is depraved and abused, do first frame
    in their minds what they suppose may solicit or draw out the natural
    and carnal affections of men unto it, and then outwardly represent it
    as an object for them. Wherefore some of their representations of him
    are glorious, and some of them dolorous, escorting as they aim to
    excite affections in carnal minds. But, as I said, these things are
    not Christ, nor is he any way concerned in them.

    (5.) I acknowledge there have been great pretences of such a love
    unto Christ as cannot be justified. Such is that which some of the
    devotionists of the Roman Church have endeavoured rather to express
    out of their fancy than declare out of their experience. Raptures,
    ecstasies, self-annihilations, immediate adhesions and enjoyments,
    without any act of the understanding, and with a multitude of other
    swelling words of vanity, they labour to set off what they fancy to be
    divine love. But there wants not evidences of truth sufficient to
    defeat these pretences, be they ever so specious or glorious. For--

    [1.] As it is by them described, it exceedeth all Scripture
    precedents. For men to assume unto themselves an apprehension that
    they love Christ in another manner and kind, in a higher degree at
    least, and thence to enjoy more intimacy with him, more love from him,
    than did any of the apostles--John, or Paul, or Peter, or any other of
    those holy ones whose love unto him is recorded in the Scripture--is
    intolerable vanity and presumption. But no such things as these
    devotees pretend unto are mentioned, or in the least intimated
    concerning them, and their love to their Lord and Master. No man will
    pretend unto more love than they had, but such as have none at all.

    [2.] It is no way directed, warranted, approved, by any command,
    promise, or rule of the Scripture. As it is without precedent, so it
    is without precept. And hereby, whether we will or no, all our graces
    and duties must be tried, as unto any acceptation with God. Whatever
    pretends to exceed the direction of the Word may safely be rejected--
    cannot safely be admitted. Whatever enthusiasms or pretended
    inspirations may be pleaded for the singular practice of what is
    prescribed in the Scripture, yet none can be allowed for an approved
    principle of what is not so prescribed. Whatever exceeds the bounds
    thereof is resolved into the testimony of every distempered
    imagination. Nor will it avail that these things amongst them are
    submitted unto the judgment of the church. For the church has no rule
    to judge by but the Scripture; and it can pass but one judgment of
    what is not warranted thereby--namely, that it is to be rejected.

    [3.] As it is described by those who applaud it, it is not suited
    unto the sober, sedate actings of the rational faculties of our souls.
    For whereas all that God requireth of us, is that we love him with all
    our souls and all our minds, these men cry up a divine love by an
    immediate adhesion of the will and the affections unto God, without
    any actings of the mind and understanding at all. Love, indeed, is the
    regular acting of our whole souls, by all their faculties and rational
    powers, in an adherence unto God. But these men have fancied a divine
    love for them whom they would admire and extol, which disturbs all
    their regular acting, and renders them of little or no use in that
    which, without their due exercise, is nothing but fancy. And hence it
    is that, under pretence of this love, sundry persons among them--yea,
    all that have pretended unto it--have fallen into such ridiculous
    excesses and open delusions as sufficiently discover the vanity of the
    love itself pretended by them.

    Wherefore we plead for no other love unto the person of Christ but
    what the Scripture warrants as unto its nature; what the gospel
    requireth of us as our duty; what the natural faculties of our minds
    are suited unto and given us for; what they are enabled unto by grace;
    and without which in some degree of sincerity, no man can yield
    acceptable obedience unto him.

    These things being premised, that which we assert is, that there is,
    and ought to be, in all believers, a religious, gracious love unto the
    person of Christ, distinct from, and the reason of, their obedience
    unto his commands;--that is, it is distinct from all other commands;
    but is also itself commanded and required of us in a way of duty.

    That there is in the church such a love unto the person of Christ,
    the Scripture testifies, both in the precepts it gives for it and the
    examples of it. And all those who truly believe cannot apprehend that
    they understand any thing of faith, or love of Christ, or themselves,
    by whom it is called in question. If, therefore, I should enlarge on
    this subject, a great part of the doctrine of the Scripture from first
    to last must be represented and a transcript of the hearts of
    believers, wherein this love is seated and prevalent, be made,
    according to our ability. And there is no subject that I could more
    willingly enlarge upon. But I must at present contract myself, in
    compliance with my design. Two things only I shall demonstrate: 1.
    That the person of Christ is the object of divine love; 2. What is the
    nature of that love in us; what are the grounds of it, and the motives
    unto it, in them that do believe.

    In reference unto the first of these, the ensuing position shall be
    the subject of the remainder of this chapter.

    The person of Christ is the principal object of the love of God, and
    of the whole creation participant of his image. The reason why I thus
    extend the assertion will appear in the declaration of it.

    (1.) No small part of the eternal blessedness of the holy God
    consisteth in the mutual love of the Father and the Son, by the
    Spirit. As he is the only-begotten of the Father, he is the first,
    necessary, adequate, complete object of the whole love of the Father.
    Hence he says of himself, that from eternity he was "by him, as one
    brought up with him: and was daily his delight, rejoicing always
    before him," Prov. 8: 30--which place was opened before. In him was
    the ineffable, eternal, unchangeable delight and complacency of the
    Father, as the full object of his love. The same is expressed in that
    description of him, John 1: 18, "The only-begotten Son, who is in the
    bosom of the Father." His being the only-begotten Son declares his
    eternal relation unto the person of the Father, of whom he was
    begotten in the entire communication of the whole divine nature.
    Hereon he is in the bosom of the Father--in the eternal embraces of
    his love, as his only-begotten Son. The Father loves, and cannot but
    love, his own nature and essential image in him.

    Herein originally is God love: "For God is love," 1 John 4: 8. This
    is the fountain and prototype of all love, as being eternal and
    necessary. All other acts of love are in God but emanations from
    hence, and effects of it. As he does good because he is good, so he
    loveth because he is love. He is love eternally and necessarily in
    this love of the Son; and all other workings of love are but acts of
    his will, whereby somewhat of it is outwardly expressed. And all love
    in the creation was introduced from this fountain, to give a shadow
    and resemblance of it.

    Love is that which contemplative men have always almost adored. Many
    things have they spoken to evince it to be the light, life, lustre and
    glory of the whole creation. But the original and pattern of it was
    always hid from the wisest philosophers of old. Something they reached
    after about God's love unto himself, with rest and complacency in his
    own infinite excellencies; but of this ineffable mutual love of the
    Father and the Son, both in and by that Spirit which proceeds from
    them both, they had neither apprehension nor conjecture. Yet, as
    herein does the principal part (if we may so speak) of the blessedness
    of the holy God consist, so is it the only fountain and prototype of
    all that is truly called love;--a blessing and glory which the
    creation had never been made partaker of, but only to express,
    according to the capacity of their several natures, this infinite and
    eternal love of God! For God's love of himself--which is natural and
    necessary unto the Divine Being--consists in the mutual complacency of
    the Father and the Son by the Spirit. And it was to express himself,
    that God made any thing without himself. He made the heavens and the
    earth to express his being, goodness, and power. He created man "in
    his own image," to express his holiness and righteousness; and he
    implanted love in our natures to express this eternal mutual love of
    the holy persons of the Trinity. But we must leave it under the veil
    of infinite incomprehensibleness; though admiration and adoration of
    it be not without the highest spiritual satisfaction.

    Again, he is the peculiar object of the love of the Father, of the
    love of God, as he is incarnate--as he has taken on him, and has now
    discharged, the work of mediation, or continues in the discharge of
    it; that is, the person of Christ, as God-man, is the peculiar object
    of the divine love of the Father. The person of Christ in his divine
    nature is the adequate object of that love of the Father which is "ad
    intra"--a natural necessary act of the divine essence in its distinct
    personal existence; and the person of Christ as incarnate, as clothed
    with human nature, is the first and full object of the love of the
    Father in those acts of it which are "ad extra", or are towards
    anything without himself. So he declares himself in the prospect of
    his future incarnation and work, "Behold my servant, whom I uphold;
    mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth," Isa. 42: 1. The delight of
    the soul of God, his rest and complacency--which are the great effects
    of love--are in the Lord Christ, as his elect and servant in the work
    of mediation. And the testimony hereof he renewed twice from heaven
    afterwards, Matt. 3: 17, "Lo, a voice from heaven, saying, This is my
    beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased;" as it is again repeated,
    Matt. 17: 5. All things are disposed to give a due sense unto us of
    this love of God unto him. The testimony concerning it is twice
    repeated in the same words from heaven. And the words of it are
    emphatical unto the utmost of our comprehension: "My Son, my servant,
    mine elect, my beloved Son, in whom I rest, in whom I delight, and am
    well pleased." It is the will of God to leave upon our hearts a sense
    of this love unto Christ; for his voice came from heaven, not for his
    sake, who was always filled with a sense of this divine love, but for
    ours, that we might believe it.

    This he pleaded as the foundation of all the trust reposed in him,
    and all the power committed unto him. "The Father loveth the Son, and
    has given all things into his hand," John 3: 35. "The Father loveth
    the Son, and showeth him all things that himself does," John 5: 20.
    And the sense or due apprehension of it is the foundation of Christian
    religion. Hence he prays that we may know that God has loved him, John
    17: 23, 26.

    In this sense, the person of Christ is the "prooton dektikon"--the
    first recipient subject of all that divine love which extends itself
    unto the church. It is all, the whole of it, in the first place fixed
    upon him, and by and through him is communicated unto the church.
    Whatever it receives in grace and glory, it is but the streams of this
    fountain--love unto himself. So he prays for all his disciples, "that
    the love," saith he, "wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and
    I in them," John 17: 26. They can be partakers of no other love,
    neither in itself nor in its fruits, but that alone wherewith the
    Father first loved him. He loveth him for us all, and us no otherwise
    but as in him. He makes us "accepted in the Beloved," Eph 1: 6. He is
    the Beloved of the Father "kath' exochen"; as in all things he was to
    have the preeminence, Col. 1: 18. The love of the body is derived unto
    it from the love unto the Head; and in the love of him does God love
    the whole church, and no otherwise. He loves none but as united unto
    him, and participant of his nature.

    Wherefore the love of the Father unto the Son, as the only begotten,
    and the essential image of his person, wherein the ineffable delight
    of the divine nature does consist, was the fountain and cause of all
    love in the creation, by an act of the will of God for its
    representation. And the love of God the Father unto the person of
    Christ as incarnate, being the first adequate object of divine love
    wherein there is anything "ad extra," is the fountain and especial
    cause of all gracious love towards us and in us. And our love unto
    Christ being the only outward expression and representation of this
    love of the Father unto him, therein consists the principal part of
    our renovation into his image. Nothing renders us so like unto God as
    our love unto Jesus Christ, for he is the principal object of his
    love,--in him does his soul rest--in him is he always well pleased.
    Wherever this is wanting, whatever there may be besides, there is
    nothing of the image of God. He that loves not Jesus Christ, let him
    be Anathema Maranatha; for he is unlike unto God,--his canal mind is
    enmity against God.

    (2.) Among those who are in the image of God, the angels above are of
    the first consideration. We are, indeed, as yet much in the dark unto
    the things that are "within the veil." They are above us as unto our
    present capacity, and hid from us as unto our present state; but there
    is enough in the Scripture to manifest the adhesion of angels unto the
    person of Christ by divine love. For love proceeding from sight is the
    life of the church above; as love proceeding from faith is the life of
    the church below. And this life the angels themselves do live. For--

    [1.] They were all, unto their inexpressible present advantage and
    security for the future, brought into that recovery and recapitulation
    of all things which God has made in him. He has "gathered together in
    one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on
    earth, even in him," Eph 1: 10. The things in heaven, and things on
    earth--angels above, and men below--were originally united in the love
    of God. God's love unto them, whence springs their mutual love between
    themselves, was a bond of union between them, rendering them one
    complete family of God in heaven and earth, as it is called, Eph 3:
    15. On the entrance of sin, whereby mankind forfeited their interest
    in the love of God, and lost all love unto him, or anything for him,
    this union was utterly dissolved, and mutual enmity came into the
    place of its principle in love. God is pleased to gather up these
    divided parts of his family into one--in one head, which is Christ
    Jesus. And as there is hereby a union established again between angels
    and the church in love, so their adherence unto the head, the centre,
    life, and spring of this union, is by love, and no otherwise. It is
    not faith, but love, that is the bond of this union between Christ and
    them; and herein no small part of their blessedness and glory in
    heaven does consist.

    [2.] That worship, adoration, service, and obedience, which they
    yield unto him, are all in like manner animated with love and delight.
    In love they cleave unto him, in love they worship and serve him. They
    had a command to worship him on his nativity, Heb. 1: 6; and they did
    it with joy, exultation, and praises--all effects of love and delight-

  • Luke 2: 13, 14. And as they continue about the throne of God, they say, with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive
    power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory,
    and blessing," Rev. 5: 12. Their continual ascription of glory and
    praise unto him is an effect of reverential love and delight; and from
    thence also is their concernment in his gospel and grace, Eph 3: 9,
    10; 1 Peter 1: 12. Nor without this love in the highest degree can it
    be conceived how they should be blessed and happy in their continual
    employment. For they are "all ministering spirits, sent forth to
    minister for the heirs of salvation," Heb. 1: 14. Were they not acted
    herein by their fervent love unto Christ, they could have no delight
    in their own ministry.

    We have not, we cannot have, in this world, a full comprehension of
    the nature of angelical love. Our notions are but dark and uncertain,
    in things whereof we can have no experience. Wherefore, we cannot have
    here a clear intuition into the nature of the love of spirits, whilst
    our own is mixed with what derives from the acting of the animal
    spirits of our bodies also. But the blessedness of angels does not
    consist in the endowments of their nature--that they are great in
    power, light, knowledge, and wisdom; for, notwithstanding these
    things, many of them became devils. But the excellency and blessedness
    of the angelical state consist in these two things:--1st, That they
    are disposed, and able constantly, inseparably, universally,
    uninterruptedly, to cleave unto God in love. And as they do so unto
    God, so they do unto the person of Christ; and through him, as their
    head, unto God, even the Father. 2dly, Add hereunto that gracious
    reflex sense which they have of the glory, dignity, eternal sweetness,
    and satisfaction, which arise from hence, and we have the sum of
    angelical blessedness.

    (3.) The church of mankind is the other part of the rational creation
    whereon the image of God is renewed. Love unto the person of Christ,
    proceeding from faith, is their life, their joy, and glory.

    It was so unto the church under the Old Testament. The whole Book of
    Canticles is designed to no other purpose, but variously to shadow
    forth, to insinuate and represent, the mutual love of Christ and the
    church. Blessed is he who understands the sayings of that book, and
    has the experience of them in his heart. The 45th Psalm, among others,
    is designed unto the same purpose. All the glorious descriptions which
    are given of his person in the residue of the prophets, were only
    means to excite love unto him, and desires after him. Hence is he
    called "chemdat kol-hagohim", Hag.2: 7, "The Desire of all nations"--
    he alone who is desirable unto, and the only beloved of the church
    gathered out of all nations.

    The clear revelation of the person of Christ, so as to render him the
    direct object of our love, with the causes and reasons of it, is one
    of the most eminent privileges of the New Testament. And it is
    variously attested in precepts, promises, instances, and solemn

    Wherever he supposeth or requireth this love in any of his disciples,
    it is not only as their duty, as that which they were obliged unto by
    the precepts of the Gospel, but as that without which no other duty
    whatever is accepted by him. "If," saith he "ye love me, keep my
    commandments," John 14: 15. He so requires love unto himself, as not
    to expect or approve of any obedience unto his commands without it. It
    is a great and blessed duty to feed the sheep and lambs of Christ; yet
    will not he accept of it unless it proceeds out of love unto his
    person. "Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Feed my lambs," John 21:
    15-17. Three times did he repeat the same words to him who had failed
    in his love towards him, by denying him thrice. Without this love unto
    him, he requires of none to feed his sheep, nor will accept of what
    they pretend to do therein. It were a blessed thing, if a due
    apprehension hereof did always abide with them that are called unto
    that work.

    Hereunto does he annex those blessed promises which comprise the
    whole of our peace, safety, and consolation in this world. "He," saith
    he, "that loveth me, shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him,
    and manifest myself unto him," John 14: 21; and verse 23, "My Father
    will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with
    him." What heart can conceive, what tongue can express, the glory of
    these promises, or the least part of the grace that is contained in
    them? Who can conceive aright of the divine condescension, love, and
    grace that are expressed in them? How little a portion is it that we
    know of God in these things! But if we value them not, if we labour
    not for an experience of them according unto our measure, we have
    neither lot nor portion in the gospel. The presence and abode of God
    with us as a Father, manifesting himself to be such unto us, in the
    infallible pledges and assurances of our adoption--the presence of
    Christ with us, revealing himself unto us, with all those ineffable
    mercies wherewith these things are accompanied--are all contained in
    them. And these promises are peculiarly given unto them that love the
    person of Christ, and in the exercise of love towards him.

    Hereunto are designed the Gospel Gerizim and Ebal--the denunciation
    of blessings and curses. As blessings are declared to be their portion
    "who love the Lord Jesus in sincerity," Eph. 6: 24,--so those who love
    him not, have the substance of all curses denounced against them, even
    "Anathema Maranatha," 1 Cor. 16: 22. So far shall such persons be,
    whatever they may profess of outward obedience unto the Gospel, from
    any blessed interest in the promises of it, as that they are justly
    liable unto final excision from the church in this world, and eternal
    malediction in that which is to come.

    It is evident, therefore, that the love of the church of believers
    unto the person of Christ is not a distempered fancy, not a deluding
    imagination, as some have blasphemed; but that which the nature of
    their relation unto him makes necessary--that wherein they express
    their renovation into the image of God--that which the Scripture
    indispensably requires of them, and whereon all their spiritual
    comfort do depend. These things being spoken in general, the
    particular nature, effects, operations, and motives of this divine
    love, must now be farther inquired into.

    This document (last modified January 13, 1996) from