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prescience of God must be eternal, universal, and perfect. From everlasting, therefore, all future vo→ litions of the human heart, with all their tendencies and effects, must have been completely foreknown by the Omniscient. Whence it follows, that no new thoughts, concerning any creature, can ever arise in his eternal mind,

It is equally clear, that the estimate formed by the Eternal, before any creature existed, of his own character and excellence, must be always the same, and always perfect. Consequently, the supreme perfection of his nature forbids our supposing, that he can have any fresh views, either of himself, or of us. His love, therefore, though variable in its delightful and sanctifying manifestations, must be perfectly steady, and always the same, with regard to his favoured objects. He is Jehovah and changes not, in the counsels of his will, or the purposes of his heart. He is in one mind, and who can turn him? Whomsoever he loves, it is from everlasting, and to perfection.*

The love of God to his people is MOST CERTAIN OF OBTAINING ITS END. This is its crowning excellence. Mortals may love one another sincerely, and with great fervour: they may exert themselves to the ut

* In an INFINITE MIND-all things must be always and eternally in view; whence no new object of desire can happen, nor, therefore, change in the will-In a necessarily Infinite Intellect, all things must be always and necessarily present. From necessary Infinity of knowledge, all the purposes of wisdom and reason must be willed by one indesinent act. No new object can offer to the understanding; no mutability can happen, therefore, to the will: nor, therefore, can there be any rising or falling of pleasure and happiness. An Inquiry into the Nature of the Human Soul, vol. ii. p. 435, London, 1737.

most, in order to give the benevolent passion its full effect: and yet the objects of their affection be very unhappy-But as the love of God to his chosen people is from everlasting, and absolutely free in its nature; as it is completely wise in its exercise, and consummately fervent in its expressions; as, finally, it is most holy in its designs, and inviolably steady to all its objects; it cannot but be supremely deserving of everlasting honour, in obtaining its highest end, by rendering all its objects for ever completely blessed.

That the Divine Father's love to sinful men should finally fail of delivering any of its objects from guilt, depravity, and ruin-THAT love, the greatness of which he never could have expressed, without delivering up his only begotten Son, under the character of a Sponsor for his people, to the stroke of penal justice and the death of the cross;

must not be supposed.. Nor is the love of our adorable Jesus less deeply interested in the certain, complete, and everlasting felicity of all its objects, - than that of the Divine Father. For those objects are called emphatically HIS OWN; whom he so loved as to give his infinitely precious life a ransom for them: which love is represented by the apostle, as having a breadth, and length, and depth, and height, that surpass created knowledge. Surely this love of the Father and of the Son, being no other than Divine Goodness delighting in the happiness of its objects, cannot be feeble, wavering, or inefficient; but must, in its exercise, be inseparably connected with omnipotence and all-sufficiency. Did an antient prophet assert, concerning the people of God; Jehovah will save, he will rejoice over thee with


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joy; he will rest in his love; he will joy over thee with singing? Does the Psalmist say, 'The Lord shall rejoice in his works ?** and may we not safely conclude, that the God of all grace, who, by his own direction, bears the name of LOVE, will for ever take divine delight in every exercise, display, and fruit, of his eternal, immutable, infinite love, respecting each of its innumerable objects? But of this we cannot conceive, unless that love ultimately obtain its noblest end.

So various and so admirable are the excellencies of divine philanthropy, as displayed in the gospel of our salvation, that we have no reason to wonder at Paul expressing himself with superlative confidence, when reasoning on the love of the Father and of the Son, respecting the inviolable safety of all those who are interested in it. In the boldest assertions, and the strongest conclusions; in challenging every enemy, and in defying every danger; he speaks in the following unparalleled manner.


If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all * Zeph.-iii. 17. Psalm civ. 31,

these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.'-Surely, if any language be capable of expressing the certainty of every one whom the Father loved, and for whom he gave his own Son-of every one whom Jesus loved, and for whom he died, being finally happy: here we have it!

Such being the admirable excellencies of divine love, it is manifestly adapted to encourage hope, and to promote holiness. It has every property which is necessary to encourage hope in the guilty breast. Being perfectly free, an interest in it must not be considered as the result of performing conditions, as the reward of merit, or as indicating the possession of amiable qualities; but as the fruit of sovereign pleasure, and as bestowed*-remarkable term, in this connection!-Yes, as bestowed upon the unworthy. No mortal, therefore, has the least reason for despondency, on account of his enormous transgressions, his great depravity, or his compli cated baseness of character.

Having an invariable regard, in its exercise, to the mediation of Jesus Christ, and being absolutely holy in all its designs, none have any ground of apprehension, that the grant of those blessings which proceed from it, and are necessary to their happiness, would interfere with the honour of God, or the rights of his government. Interfere!-so far

1 John iii. 1.

from it, that he will to eternity receive the highest revenue of glory and praise from holy creatures, for the bestowment of those blessings in that way.

Being completely wise in its exercise, uniformly steady to its objects, and sure of obtaining its ultimate end; those who have real evidence of interest in it, are ascertained of eternal felicity. For, be their own weakness ever so great, their spiritual enemies ever so powerful, or their difficulties ever so many, they shall finally prevail, and be more than conquerors through Him that loves them.

It is equally adapted to promote holiness. For who that knows by experience this divine love, can forbear to admire it, or not have his affections engaged by it? Being revealed in the gospel, and shed abroad in the heart, it must have a sacred, sanctifying influence upon the whole soul: on the conscience, to make it peaceful; on the affections, to render them spiritual; and on the life, to adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour.

We love God, because he first loved us, is an apostolic maxim; is confirmed by all christian experience; and worthy of the highest regard. He, however, that loveth not his neighbour, his brother, and his divine Lord, knoweth not the true character of God: for God is love. Whereas he who cultivates benevolence toward his neighbours, an unfeigned love to the disciples of Jesus Christ, and an adoring affection for God; is virtuous, is holy, is heavenlyminded. He rejoices in the gospel, as the word of grace; and he reveres the law, as his rule of moral duty. From the former, he derives his hope; by the latter, he directs his conduct. Divine love, manifested in the glad tidings, excites him to love

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