Fifthly, Faith purging the conscience, and purifying the heart, works by love. Love is the fruit of faith. Love is the stream that flows out of a pure heart and a good conscience. By love, we mean principally love to God, or Jesus Christ, and then love to the saints next to our Saviour. This is often mentioned in scripture, "Hope maketh not ashamed, (Rom. v.5) because the love of God is shed abroad in your hearts by the Holy Ghost." This love is the consequence of the peace which a justified man obtains by faith, Rom. v.1, 2; 2 Cor. v.14. The constraining love of Christ flows from this ground, that a man judges Christ to have died for him, from faith's taking up of Christ in that noble expression of his love, (John v.40, 42.) "And ye will not come unto me that ye may have life. I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you." Faith works by love. Love is faith's hand put out in action for Christ, and as the mind commands the outward man, whether it will or not, so doth faith command love, Eph. iii.17. The rooting and building up in love is a fruit of Christ's dwelling in the heart by faith. Love is the branch that grows in faith's root. These are often joined together, and comprehend the substance of the law and gospel, 1 Tim. i.14, 2 Tim. i.13. Faith fulfils the obedience to the gospel, and love is the fulfilling of the whole law, (Rom. xiii.10) so that faith leads a man back again to the command, that he fled to faith from. Faith hath reconciled them and taken up the difference. We shall then show how faith and a good conscience and a pure heart contribute to love.
First, Faith is the eye and sense of the soul to take up Jesus Christ. Nothing is loved but as it is known and apprehended to be good. The affections of themselves are blind, and cannot go forth but as led by the direction of faith. Faith is the mind to present love's object. The world sees no beauty nor form in the commands, that they should desire them. Even Jesus Christ himself is but foolishness to a natural mind, he neither knows his need of him, nor Christ's suitableness to his need. But faith is the first opening of the eyes, when we are turned from darkness to light, and from the power of sin and Satan unto God, Acts xxvi.18. Christ becomes the believer's wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, 1 Cor. i.30. The day spring from on high visits them who sit in darkness, to guide their feet in the way of peace, Luke i.78, 79. The light of the knowledge of the glory of God shining in the face of the Sun of righteousness, doth arise and shine into their hearts. The man sees himself in a dangerous condition, and says, Oh I where am I? And faith discovers, on the other hand, all things in Christ Jesus suitable to such a case. He sees nothing but vanity, emptiness, and misery, sin, and condemnation in the creature, he sees grace, mercy, holiness, righteousness and free salvation in Christ. Set these beside one another, and judge ye if the soul cannot choose to run out in affection and longing desire. Oh! says he, to be one with him. Faith presents all the motives and attractives of the heart, and then there needs no more to make it love. Faith discovers a man's self unto himself, and lets him see all misery within, complete woe within doors, and it holds forth bread without the ports(479) for the saint, and salvation for the lost. It brings in an amiable person, who is fairer than the children of men, who is all love, and hath no spot in him. Is it not a sweet word, a Redeemer to captives, a Saviour to sinners? And will not the soul rise up, and go forth out of itself? And will it not choose to flit(480) unto him who is the desire of all nations? Will it not go unto him for food and clothing? Love then is the soul's journey and motion towards Jesus, whom faith hath brought in such a good report of. But,
Secondly. When faith hath given the answer of a good conscience, and brought Jesus nearer hand to the soul, or the soul nearer unto him, then love is stronger, and grows like a fire that many waters cannot quench. It is like jealousy, that is cruel as the grave, many floods cannot drown it. Union is the ground of love, union in nature, or sympathy, or likeness, is the ground of affection. According as faith brings Christ nearer to the heart, the flame increases. All things are desired and loved as good, but more desired, as not only good in themselves, but good unto us. Gold in the Indies will not much move the heart, but bring it hither, and ye shall see who loves it. The first act of faith puts a man in great need of a Saviour, and discovers a possibility of redemption through Jesus, and in so far he is loved. But when once faith has gone that length as to make a good conscience, and to calm and silence the woes of a troubled mind, by the actual application of that desired possible redemption, and when it can particularly apply the common salvation, O then what burning affection! "Who is a God like unto thee, who pardoneth iniquity, and passest by the transgression of his heritage, because he delights in mercy?" "Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee." "I will love the Lord, because he hath heard my voice, I will call upon him so long as I live," as if it had never loved before. They will love much to whom much is forgiven. Love, without such a faith, is full of jealousies and suspicions, but when faith hath brought in Christ to dwell in the heart, then it is rooted and built up in love, (Eph. iii.17) and then perfect love casts out fear, 1 John iv.18. Love before such an assurance, is but a tormenting love, and hath much fear in it, saying, "Oh I may want him, and then I will be more miserable than if I had not known him." But faith, giving the answer of a good conscience, casts out horror and fear, and then perfects love, and the soul then closes with Christ as a Mediator and friend, and closes with God as a merciful Father, now reconciled unto him through Christ, and not any more as a stern or severe Judge. But,
Thirdly. When faith hath purified the heart, and cleansed the affections, then the soul burns with a purer flame of affection and zeal to God, and is, as it were, delivered from the earthly weight put upon it. When the heart is purified, love is like the flame, whereas, if he be not so purged, there may be some heat and fire latent in the ashes, covered with corruption. But a pure heart is a spiritual heart, and minds spiritual things, (Col. iii.1) and it is a heart going back unto its own place, Christ hath touched it with his own heart, and with his salvation, and it looks aye(481) sure to him in the heavens. The love of the world is inconsistent with the love of the Father, 1 John ii.15. The love of the world plucks the heart downward, and the lusts of the flesh are so many weights upon the believer, that he can not mount up in a spiritual cloud of divine affection to Jesus Christ. But the pure and spiritual heart is now more refined, and delivered from these impediments, and it is like a pure lamp of oil burning upward. When a man's heart is engaged to any thing of this world, love cannot be perfect. For love is a man's master, and no man can serve two masters.