William Bradford Institute
for Study of the
Early Settlement of America

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Love Him Because of His Love to You


by Thomas Shepard
His Wonderful Love


Consider he makes love to thee. Not one soul that hears me this day but the Lord
Jesus is a suitor unto, that now ye would be espoused to him; "He came unto his
own, and they received him not." Whatever the secret purpose of Christ is, I
regard not. In this evangelical dispensation of grace, he makes love to all.
John 1:12. It is clear. Matt. 22:2, 3. If there be a gospel in the world, there
is this love of Christ yearning toward all, especially all that have this gospel
of peace sent to them. Luke 2:10. "It is tidings of great joy to all people," as
law is tidings of great sorrow to all people. Luke 2:14. Angels from heaven
preached this good will towards men. For if the challenge of love from men
should be founded on his actual love to some, having died for some, then the
offer would be particular. But it is grounded, 1. On his own worth and glory,
and hence he challengeth love. 2. On this, for aught I know, he has loved me. So
that thou art not so vile but the Lord Jesus' heart is toward thee, and his eye
is upon thee for love. But it is not all love, but only some that overcomes. 1.
Now it is real love. 2. Frequent love. 3. Constant. 4. Pure love he makes to
thee.

1. It is real love. When the gospel and ministers seek for love, the Lord is
real in his desires, there is no collusion or dissembling, (2 Cor. 5:20,) in
Christ's stead, "He that receiveth you receiveth me;" thou thinkest the Lord
cares not for thee, nor doth not desire thee, though he doth others; but,
1. Either the Lord would have thee loathe him or love him. What think you?
2. If the Lord did not make love to thee, he would not be really angry for
rejecting of this love; but the Lord is really angry for rejecting it, and wroth
with nothing so much as that. Ps. 2:12. Here he swears in his wrath, (Ps.
95:11,) when he opens his bosom for thee to rest in, and thou wilt not.
3. Look but upon the dealings of God with thee. 1. Hast thou not oft thought
some in hell better than thee? Why, the ruin of millions of men is to win love
from thee. Jer. 3:8,9,10. 2. Hath not the Lord sent many a mercy to thee, not
one but was to win thee? Ps. 81:10,11,12. 3. Hath not the Lord withheld many
from thee, as here in this wilderness? Jer. 3:3,4. 4. Hath not the Lord sent
many sorrows, terrors, fears, cares, wearisome businesses, that thou hast wished
an end of life? This is love. Hos. 2:6. 5. Hath not the Lord moved thy heart
many a time toward him by persuasions, arguments which have a power to move the
heart? This is love, (Hos. 11:4,) "cords of a man." 6. Hath not the Lord oft
melted thy heart for mercies, as David, when he might have killed Saul? Truly,
you may feel his love which is much toward you; that which keeps off thy heart
from love is, the Lord intends it not to me, he is not plain with me. But he
sends to thee his plain gospel, which thou art to attend unto; and he takes
fittest seasons to speak to thee now in the time of thy health. And does he not
oft visit thy heart when thou art alone?

2. It is fervent, vehement, earnest love. Sometimes a suitor is real, but he is
not earnest. Now, thus the Lord is. 1. The Lord longs for this. Deut. 5:29. 2.
Pleads for this, (Jer. 2:5,) "What iniquity," etc. 3. Thinks long for this time,
(Jer. 13:27,) "Jerusalem will not be made clean; when shall it once be?" 4.
Mourns when he hath not this, (Ezek. 6:9,) "Broken with their whorish heart." 5.
Content to give away any thing for it, all the love of Christ is founded on
this. 6. If thou comest not presently, he is content to wait that he may be
gracious.

3. It is constant and continual; there is not a moment, thou dost not so oft
breathe, as thou mayst see and taste love. Isa. 27:3, 65:2. 1. After all thy
whorish departing from God, that if man should do so, no man would own, yet he
saith, "Return to me;" thou seest never a creature but thou hast loved more than
Christ; yet return. 2. When God threatens most terribly, and sets his fury on
record, yet then there he minds nothing but love. Jer. 36:2,3. 3. When none else
will own and pity thee, thou art so vile, yet (Ezek. 16:2,3) the Lord saith,
"Live, then is a time of love." 4. Nay, when thou hast cast away thyself as a
forlorn creature, yet (Hos. 14:3) "In thee the fatherless find mercy." 5. When
he hath thee in his arms ready to give thee up, yet then, "How shall I give thee
up, O Ephraim?" Hos. 11:8. I tell thee, if one sparkle of his eternal blasting
displeasure should fall upon thee, it would be so intolerable that it would sink
thee; his love is as strong as death; no water can quench it. O, it is not so
with man, or great men. Once repulsed is enough; why should the Lord do so here?
Many think time is past. It is not so. It is the temptation of them that have
time, not of them that want it. Take heed this make thee not despise him.
4. It is a pure love. Others make love for their own ends, but the Lord hath no
need of thee, or of thy love. He could raise up of stones children of praise; he
could have gone to others; he could have, and can fetch, his glory out of thy
ruin. He was blessed before all worlds: and by all thy sins thou dost but throw
stones against the wind, or snowballs against the sun. Why doth he do it? O, it
is thy good. He pities thee, as once Jerusalem, to look upon thy destruction and
desolation. As it is with the elect, they have wrath before their eyes, and
hence persuade others; so the Lord Jesus.

Christ's Wonderful Love

Consider it is nothing else but love the Lord looks for, or cares for. Love
looks for nothing but love, (Prov. 8:17,) and this is the end of all election,
to be holy before him in love; and, mark it, if it be a stayed love that
constrains thee to him, you can not wrong him. As if you come and persuade one
to murder his child, he can not; so if persuaded to despise, O, bowels of
heartbreaking love. 2 Cor. 5: And surely it is admirable love. What if it were
thy goods, thy Isaac to be sacrificed, thy body to be burned, it was nothing;
but he desires only love, only thy heart, which has forged so much villany
against him. Let him never be called upon, or professed, if not worthy of this.
After all, is this all? Yes, no portion he cares for; and when he has this, he
has all. Wonder at this, O angels!


 

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