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ted to express the religion of all saints, in all ages, as well as the religion of the psalmist. And it is moreover to be observed, that David, in the book of Psalms, speaks not as a private person, but as the Psalmist of Israel, as the subordinate head of the church of God, and leader in their worship and praises; and in many of the psalms he speaks of the name of Christ, as personating him in these breathings forth of holy affections; and in many others he speaks in the name of the church.
Another instance I shall observe, is the apostle Paul ; who was, in many respects, the chief of all the ministers of the New Testament; being above all others a chosen vessel unto Christ, to bear his name before the Gentiles. He was made the chief instrument of propagating and establishing the Christian church in the world, and of distinctly revealing the glorious mysteries of the gospel, for the instruction of the church in all ages; and (as not improbably thought by some) was the most eminent servant of Christ that ever lived, and received the highest rewards in the heavenly kingdom of his Master. By what is said of him in the scripture, he appears to have been a person full of affection; and it is very manifest, that the religion he expresses in his epistles, consisted very much in holy affections. It appears by all his expressions of himself, that he was, in the course of his life, inAlamed, actuated, and entirely swallowed up, by a most ardent love to bis glorious Lord, esteeming all thing as loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of him, and esteeming them but dung that he might win him. He represents himself as overpowered by this holy affection, and as it were compelled by it to go forward in his service, through all difficulties and sufferings, 2 Cor. v. 14, 15. And his epistles are full of expressions of an overflowing affection towards the people of Christ : he speaks of his dear love to them, 2 Cor. xii. 19. Phil. iv. 1. 2 Tim. i. 2. of his abundant love, 2 Cor. ii. 4.; and of his affectionate and tender love, as of a nurse towards her children, 1 Thess. ii. 7, S.
9 But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children: so being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us. So also he speaks of his bowels of love, Phil. i. 8. Philem. 5. 12. and 20. of his earnest care for others, 2 Cor. viii. 16. of bis bowels of pity or mercy towards them, Phil. ii. 1.; and of his concern for others, even to anguish of heart, 2 Cor. ii. 4. For out of much affliction and anguish of heart, I wrote unto you with many tears ; not that you should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you. He speaks of the great conflict of his soul for them, Col. ii. 1. and of great and continual grief he had in his heart from compassion to the Jews, Rom. ix... He speaks of his mouth being opened, and his heart enlarged towards christians, 2 Cor. vi. 11. Oye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged. He often speaks of his affectionate and longing desires, (1 Thess. ii. 8. Rom. i. 11. Phil. i. 8. and chap iv. 1. 2 Tim. i. 4.)
The same apostle very often, in his epistles, expresses the affection of joy, (2 Cor. i. 12. and chap. vii. 7. and ver. 9. 16. Phil. i. 4. and chap. ii. 1, 2. and chap. iii. 3. Col. i. 24. 1 Thess. iii. 9.) He speaks of his rejoicing with great joy, (Phil. iv. 10. Philem. 1. 7.) of his joying and rejoicing, (Phil. ii. 1. 7.) of his rejoicing exceedingly, (2 Cor. vii. 13.) being filled with comfort exceeding joyful, (2 Cor. vii. 4.) and always rejoicing, (2 Cor. vi. 10.) So he speaks of the triumphs of his soul, (2 Cor. ii. 14.) and of his glorying in tribulation. (2 Thess. i. 4. and Rom. v. 3.) In Phil. i. 20. he speaks of his earnest expectation, and his hope. He likewise expresses an affection of godly jealousy, 2. Cor. xi. 2, 3. And it appears by his whole history, after his conversion, that the affection of zeal, as having the cause of his Master and the interest and prosperity of his church for its object, was mighty in him, continually inflaming his heart, strongly engaging to great and constant labours, in instructing, exhorting, warning, and reproving others, travailing in birth with them; conflicting with those powerful and innumerable enemies who continually opposed him, wrestling with principalities and powers, not fighting as one who beats the air, running the race set before him, continually pressing forwards through all manner of difficulties and sufferings; so that others thought him quite beside himself. And how full he was of affection further appears by his being so full of tears: in 2 Cor. ii. 4. be speaks of his many tears ; and so Acts xx. 19. and of his tears that he shed continually, night and day, ver. 31.
Now if any one can consider these accounts given in the scripture of this great apostle, and which he gives of himself, and yet not see that his religion consisted much in affection, must have a strange faculty of managing his eyes in order to shut out the light which shines most full in his face.
The other instance I shall mention, is that of the apostle John, the beloved disciple, who was the nearest and dearest to his Master of any of the twelve, and who was by him admitted to the greatest privileges of any of them. He was not only one of the three who were admitted to be present with him in the mount at his transfiguration, and at the raising of Jairus' daughter, and whom he took with him when he was in his agony, and one of the three spoken of by the apostle Paul, as the three main pillars of the christian church, but he was favoured above all, in being admitted to lean on his Master's bosom at his last supper, and in being chosen by Christ as the disciple to whom he would reveal his
wonderful dispensations towards his church to the end of time. By him was shut up the canon of the New Testament, and of the whole scripture; and he was preserved much longer than all the rest of the apostles, to set all things in order in the christian church after their death.
It is evident by all his writings, that he was a person remarkably full of affection: his addresses to those whom he wrote to being inexpressibly tender and pathetic, breathing nothing but the most fervent love, as though he were all made up
of sweet and holy affection. The proofs of which cannot be given without disadvantage, unless we should transcribe his whole writings.
7. He whom God sent into the world, to be the light of the world and the head of the whole church, and the perfect example of true religion and virtue for the imitation of all, the Shepherd whom the whole flock should follow wherever he goes, even the Lord Jesus Christ, was of a remarkably tender and affectionate heart; and his virtue was expressed very much in the exercise of holy affections. He was the greatest instance of ardency, vigour, and strength of love, to both God and man, that ever was. It was these affections which got the victory, in that mighty struggle and conflict of his affections, in his agonies, wheu he prayed more earnestly, and offered strong crying and tears, and wrestled in tears and in blood. Such was the power of the exercises of his holy love, that they were stronger than death, and in that great struggle, overcame those strong exercises of the natural affections of fear and grief, when he was sore amazed, and his soul was exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.
He also appeared to be full of affection, in the course of his life. We read of his great zeal, fulfilling that expression in the 69th Psalm, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up, John ji. 17. We read of his grief for the sins of men, Mark iii. 5. He looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts; and his breaking forth in tears and exclamations, from the consideration of the sin and misery of ungodly men, and on the sight of the city of Jerusalem, which was full of such inhabitants, Luke xix. 41, 42. And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. With chap. xiii. 34. 0 Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee : how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not ? We read of Christ's earnest desire, Luke xxii. 15. With desire have I desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer. We often read of the affection of pity or compassion in Christ, (Matth. xv. 32. and xviii. 34. Luke vii. 13.) and of his being mored with compassion, (Matth. ix. 36. and xiv. 14. and Mark vi. 34.) And how tender did his heart appear to be, on occasion of Mary's and Martha's mourning for their brother, and coming to him with their complaints and tears ?
Their tears soon drew tears from his eyes; he was affected with their grief, and wept with them; though he knew their sorrow should so soon be turned into joy, by their brother being raised from the dead; see John xi. And how ineffably affectionate was that last and dying discourse, which Jesus had with his eleven disciples the evening before he was crucified; when he told them he was going away, and foretold them the great difficulties and sufferings they should meet with in the world, when he was gone ; and comforted and counselled them, as his dear little children, and bequeathed to them his Holy Spirit, and therein his peace, his comfort and joy, as it were in his last will and testament, in the 13th, 14th, 15th, and 16th chapters of John; and concdlued the whole with that affectionate intercessory prayer for them, and his whole church, in chap. xvii. Of all the discourses ever penned or uttered by the mouth of any man, this seems to be the most affectionate, and affecting.
8. The religion of heaven consists very much in affection.There is doubtless true religion in heaven, and true religion in its utmost purity and perfection. But according to the scripture representation of the heavenly state, the religion of heaven consists chiefly in holy and mighty love and joy, and the expression of these in most fervent and exalted praises. So that the religion of the saints in heaven, consists in the same things with that religion of the saints on earth, which is spoken of in our text, viz. lore and joy unspeakable, and full of glory. Now, it would be very foolish to pretend, that because the saints in heaven are not united to flesh and blood, and have no animal fluids to be moved (through the laws of union of soul and body) with those great emotions of their souls, that therefore their exceeding love and joy are no affections. We are not speaking of the affections of the body, but those of the soul, the chief of which are love and joy. When these are in the soul, whether that be in the body or out of it, the soul is affected and moved. And when they are in the soul, in that strength in which they are in the saints in heaven, it is mightily affected and moved, or, which is the same thing, has great affections. It is true, we do not experimentally know what love and joy are in a soul out of a body, or in a glorified body ; i. e. we have not had experience of love and joy in a soul in these circumstances; but the saints on earth do know what divine love and joy in the soul are, and they know that love and joy are of the same kind with the love and joy which are in heaven, in separate souls there. The love and joy of the saints on
earth, is the beginning and dawning of the light, life, and blessedness of heaven, and is like their love and joy there; or rather, the same in nature, though not the same in degree and circumstances.* It is unreasonable therefore to suppose, that the love and joy of the saints in heaven differ not only in degree and circumstances, from the holy love and joy of the saints on earth, but also in nature, so that they are no affections; and merely because they have no blood and animal spirits to be set in motion by them. The motion of the blood and animal spirits is not of the essence of these affections, in men on earth, but the effect of them; although by their reaction they may make some circumstantial difference in the sensation of the mind. There is a sensation of the mind which loves and rejoices, antecedent to any effects on the fluids of the body; and therefore, does not depend on these motions in the body, and so may be in the soul without the body. And wherever there are the exercises of love and joy, there is that sensation of the mind, whether it be in the body or out; and that inward sensation, or kind of spiritual feeling, is what is called affection. The soul, when it is thus moved, is said to be affected, and especially when this inward sensation and motion are to a very high degree, as they are in the saints in heaven. If we can learn any thing of the state of heaven from the scripture, the love and joy that the saints have there, is exceeding great and vigorous; impressing the heart with the strongest and most lively sensation of inexpressible sweetness, mightily moving, animating, and engaging them, making them like to a flame of fire. And if such love and joy be not affections, then the word affection is of no use in language.—Will any say, that the saints in heaven, in beholding the face of their Father and the glory of their Redeemer, in contemplating his wonderful works, and particularly his laying down his life for them, have their hearts nothing moved and affected by all which they behold or consider ?
Hence, therefore, the religion of heaven, being full of holy love and joy, consists very much in affection : and therefore, undoubtedly, true religion consists very much in affection. The way to learn the true nature of any thing, is to go where that thing is to be found in its purity and perfection. If we would know the nature of true gold, we must view it, not in the ore, but when it is refined. If we would learn what true religion is, we must go where there is true religion, and nothing but true religion, and in its highest perfection, without any defect or mixture. All who are truly religious are not of this world, they are strangers
This is evident by many scriptures, as Prov. iv. 18. John iv. 14. and chap. vi. 40. 47. 50, 51, 54. 58. ' 1 John üi. 15. 1 Cor. xiii. 8-12. VOL. V.