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the churches under their names. Hence we may conclude, that the churches from the beginning, had sufficient evidence, that the sacred books were written by the men, whose names they bear.

The books of the New Testament appear to have been written in the time when their reputed authors lived. They were at that time publicly known and received as the genuine works of those men. They were acknowledged as such in the next age, both by friends and enemies. They have been conveyed to us by an uninterrupted series of vouchers. They must therefore be regarded as the genuine works of the men, to whom they are ascribed.

This signature, which Paul affixes to his epistles, speaks the goodness and benevolence of his heart. "The love of Christ be with you all." But while he wishes to all the grace of Christ for their eternal salvation, he reminds them, that in order to obtain this grace, they must love the author of it in sincerity. "If any man love not our Lord Jesus Christ, he will be accursed when the Lord shall come."

Our text leads us to consider, in what respects Christ is an object of our love-what it is to love him in sincerity-how a sincere love to Christ will discover itself and the benediction connected with this love.

I. We will consider on what accounts Christ is entitled to our love.

Love, which is the inclination and attachment of the soul toward an object, supposes an apprehension of something which is good and excellent in that object.

Jesus Christ once dwelt on earth, and there were those who saw him and beheld his glory. But he is now gone to the invisible world, and we behold him only by faith: And the ground of our faith is the exhibition made of him in the gospel.

Christ is a divine person. The scripture calls him "the true God;" ascribes to him divine perfections and works, and pays him religious honors. Love to

him, in this view of him, is the same as love to God; for, in respect of his divine nature, "He and the Father are one."

The gospel teaches us, that "God was manifest in the flesh"--that "the word was made flesh, and dwelt with men"-that "in Christ dwelt the fullness of the godhead bodily." In the man Christ Jesus, appeared every virtuous quality which can dignify and adorn human nature. Benevolence, humility, condescension, patience, resignation, fortitude, contempt of the world and a heavenly conversation, were conspicuous in his character. In this view he is an object worthy of our love: And love, regarding him in this character, is the same as love to our fellow Christians, only with the difference resulting from the want of that per, fection in them, which we contemplate in him.

The Apostle says, "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, hath declared him." As God is a Spirit invisible to the eye of sense, we can have no direct view of him: But in Jesus Christ, who became man, the divine character is rendered visible. An immediate display of the glory of God would overpower our feeble nature: In Christ the glory of God shines upon us in a soft and gentle light, being kindly mitigated in passing through the veil of his flesh. He is the mighty God:" But as he appears in human flesh, the terrors of divinity are prevented. He, as God, is full of power and justice; but, as man, he can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities. As God, he is infinitely above us; but as man, he is familiar to us. The bright beams of divine glory, thus blended with the softer rays of human virtue, exhibit to our view an object of peculiar amiableness and delight.

Farther: Christ's mediatorial offices entitle him to our love.

A sense of our wants adds worth to an object suited to relieve them. An apprehension of our guilty and

helpless condition in ourselves, will lead us to esteem and admire Christ in the character of a Redeemer. When Paul perceived the vanity of that righteousness of his own, in which once he trusted, he could suffer the loss of all things to win Christ, and be found in him.

Jesus is such a Saviour as we need. His offices and powers are adapted to our weaknesses and necessities. Conscious of guilt, we may rely on his atonement for pardon. Surrounded with enemies, we may apply to his power for protection. Pressed with affliction, we may lean on his grace for support. Feeling our weak. ness, we may repair to his throne for help. Sensible of our unworthiness, we may come before God in his name. It hath pleased the Father, that in him all fullness should dwell; and of his fullness we may all receive even grace for grace. In this view of Christ, as a sufficient and suitable Saviour, love operates by complacence and joy.

Again: Christ is an object of our love on account of his kindness to us. "We love him, because he first loved us." "We know his grace, that, though he was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor, that we through his poverty might be rich." When we contemplate this heavenly friend, early covenanting with the Father to make his soul an offering for sin, and in the fulness of time assuming our nature, submitting to labor and sorrow, enduring the contradiction of sinners, bearing our sins in his body, suffering a dreadful death in our place, rising from the dead and ascending to heaven as our forerunner and intercessor, shall we not admire such high and unexampled goodness? "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive honor, and glory, and blessing, for he hath redeemed us to God by his blood." Love contemplating Christ as a divine benefactor, operates in a way of gratitude and hope.

II. The Apostle inserts an essential qualification of love to Christ, which is sincerity.

The sincerity of our love implies, that it be real, universal, supreme, persevering and active.

Our love to Christ must be real, not pretended. There are some, who, while they profess to esteem him, are in heart enemies to him. True love is a temper conformed to his gospel, and assimilated to his character. While the love of sin reigns in us, we shall not embrace him as one who came to save us from sin. As a Saviour from misery he may appear desirable, but as a Saviour from sin he is lovely to those only who hate sin, and long for deliverance from it.

Our love to Christ must be universal; it must respect his whole character. Many, when they consider him as one who came to ransom the guilty from destruction, rejoice in him, and are pleased with the thought, that such a Saviour has appeared. But when they view him as the ruler and judge of men, as one who commands all men to repent, who has revealed the wrath of God against all impenitent sinners; their hearts rise against him, and their inward language is, "We will not have this man to reign over us." The true believer regards and loves Christ in the view in which the gospel exhibits him, not only as a redeemer from misery, but as a teacher of righteousness; not only as a propitiation for sin, but as a pattern of holiHe not only appreciates Christ's gracious promises, but justifies his awful threatenings; and he desires as well to be sanctified from his pollutions by the influence of Christ's grace, as to be saved from wrath by the merit of his blood.

ness.

Sincere love to Christ is supreme. It gives him the preference to all earthly interests and connexions. Thus the Saviour himself has taught us, "He that loveth father or mother, son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me."-" If any man come to me, and hate not," or do not comparatively disesteem "his

father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple." We must love Christ more than these.

Sincere love is persevering. It holds out against temptations, lives amidst worldly cares and operates in times of affliction. It is a flame, which waters cannot quench, nor floods drown. They whom Christ Owns as his disciples, are such as continue in his love -such as abide in him, and have his word abiding in them. Finally True love to Christ is active. It is not a cold and indolent opinion of him; but such a sensible regard to him as interests the heart, and influences the life. There is "the labor of love," as well as "the work of faith." I proceed to shew,

III. How sincere love to Christ will discover itself. This will make us careful to please him. Our obedience is the proper evidence of a regard for his character. "If a man love me," says he, "he will keep my sayings He that loveth me not, keepeth not my words. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you."

This holy principle will be accompanied with humility. When we discern the amiableness of Christ's character, we shall think soberly of our own. When we see what human nature was in him, we shall be ashamed to think, what it is in us. Our value for his favor will awaken a cautious fear, lest we fail of it. Paul, under the influence of this principle, was jealous of himself, lest by any means he should be a castaway.

We are fond of imitating those whom we love. If we love Christ, we shall follow his steps, and walk as he walked.

Our love to him will animate us to promote his interest, and oppose his enemies. He has purchased a

church with his blood. For the sake of this he is made head over all things. The enlargement of his

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