(Owen, Christologia, Part 12)

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. 

John Owen, Christologia

(continued in Part 13...)

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