William Bradford Institute
for Study of the
Early Settlement of America

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Love the Lord Jesus Christ!


by Thomas Brooks


Look that ye love the Lord Jesus Christ with a superlative love, with an
overtopping love. There are none have suffered so much for you as Christ; there
are none that can suffer so much for you as Christ. The least measure of that
wrath that Christ hath sustained for you, would have broke the hearts, necks,
and backs of all created beings.

O my friends! There is no love but a superlative love that is any ways suitable
to the transcendent sufferings of dear Jesus. Oh, love him above your lusts,
love him above your relations, love him above the world, love him above all your
outward contentments and enjoyments; yea, love him above your very lives; for
thus the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, saints, primitive Christians, and the
martyrs of old, have loved our Lord Jesus Christ with an overtopping love: Rev.
xii. 11, 'They loved not their lives unto the death;' that is, they slighted,
contemned, yea, despised their lives, exposing them to hazard and loss, out of
love to the Lamb, 'who had washed them in his blood.' I have read of one Kilian,
a Dutch schoolmaster, who being asked whether he did not love his wife and
children, answered, Were all the world a lump of gold, and in my hands to
dispose of, I would leave it at my enemies' feet to live with them in a prison;
but my soul and my Saviour are dearer to me than all. If my father, saith
Jerome, should stand before me, and my mother hang upon, and my brethren should
press about me, I would break through my brethren, throw down my father, and
tread underfoot my mother, to cleave to Jesus Christ. Had I ten heads, said
Henry Voes, they should all off for Christ. If every hair of my head, said John
Ardley, martyr, were a man, they should all suffer for the faith of Christ. Let
fire, racks, pulleys, said Ignatius, and all the torments of hell come upon me,
so I may win Christ. Love made Jerome to say, O my Saviour, didst thou die for
love of me?-a love sadder than death; but to me a death more lovely than love
itself. I cannot live, love thee, and be longer from thee. George Carpenter,
being asked whether he did not love his wife and children, which stood weeping
before him, answered, My wife and children!- my wife and children! are dearer to
me than all Bavaria; yet, for the love of Christ, I know them not. That blessed
virgin in Basil being condemned for Christianity to the fire, and having her
estate and life offered her if she would worship idols, cried out, 'Let money
perish, and life vanish, Christ is better than all.' Sufferings for Christ are
the saints' greatest glory; they are those things wherein they have most
gloried: Crudelitas vestra, gloria nostra, your cruelty is our glory, saith
Tertullian. It is reported of Babylas, that when he was to die for Christ, he
desired this favour, that his chains might be buried with him, as the ensigns of
his honour. Thus you see with what a superlative love, with what an overtopping
love, former saints have loved our Lord Jesus; and can you, Christians, who are
cold and low in your love to Christ, read over these instances, and not blush?
Certainly the more Christ hath suffered for us, the more dear Christ should be
unto us; the more bitter his sufferings have been for us, the more sweet his
love should be to us, and the more eminent should be our love to him. Oh, let a
suffering Christ lie nearest your hearts; let him be your manna, your tree of
life, your morning star. It is better to part with all than with this pearl of
price. Christ is that golden pipe through which the golden oil of salvation
runs; and oh. how should this inflame our love to Christ! Oh that our hearts
were more affected with the sufferings of Christ! Who can tread upon these hot
coals, and his heart not burn in love to Christ, and cry out with Ignatius,
Christ my love is crucified? Cant. viii. 7,8. If a friend should die for us, how
would our hearts be affected with his kindness! and shall the God of glory lay
down his life for us, and shall we not be affected with his goodness i John x.
17, 18. Shall Saul be affected with David's kindness in sparing his life, 1 Sam.
xxiv. 16, and shall not we be affected with Christ's kindness, who, to save our
life, lost his own? Oh, the infinite love of Christ, that he should leave his
Father's bosom, John i. 18, and come down from heaven, that he might carry you
up to heaven, John xiv. 1-4; that he that was a Son should take upon him the
form of a servant, Phil. ii. 5-8; that you of slaves should be made sons, of
enemies should be made friends, of heirs of wrath should be made heirs of God
and joint-heirs with Christ, Rom. viii. 17; that to save us from everlasting
ruin, Christ should stick at nothing, but be willing to be made flesh, to lie in
a manger, to be tempted, deserted, persecuted, and to die upon a cross!
Oh what flames of love should these things kindle in all our hearts to Christ!
Love is compared to fire; in heaping love upon our enemy, we heap coals of fire
upon his head, Rom. xii. 19, 20; Prov. xxvi. 21. Now the property of fire is to
turn all it meets with into its own nature: fire maketh all things fire; the
coal maketh burning coals; and is it not a wonder then that Christ, having
heaped abundance of the fiery coals of his love upon our heads, we should yet be
as cold as corpses in our love to him. Ah! what sad metal are we made of, that
Christ's fiery love cannot inflame our love to Christ! Moses wondered why the
bush consumed not, when he sees it all on fire, Exod. iii. 3; but if you please
but to look into your own hearts, you shall see a greater wonder; for you shall
see that, though you walk like those three children in the fiery furnace, Dan.
iii., even in the midst of Christ's fiery love flaming round about you; yet
there is but little, very little, true smell of that sweet fire of love to be
felt or found upon you or in you. Oh, when shall the sufferings of a dear and
tender-hearted Saviour kindle such a flame of love in all our hearts, as shall
still be a-breaking forth in our lips and lives, in our words and ways, to the
praise and glory of free grace? Oh that the sufferings of a loving Jesus might
at last make us all sick of love! Cant. ii. v. Oh let him for ever lie betwixt
our breasts, Cant. i. 13, who hath left his Father's bosom for a time, that he
might be embosomed by us for ever.

 

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