1 Peter 1:6-9
Wherein you greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, you are in heaviness through manifold temptations:…
I. THE GENERAL NATURE OF LOVE TO CHRIST. There are four essential acts that form the perfect notion of love. First, there is esteem, which is as the groundwork of love. And on all accounts Christ deserves this in the highest degree. Again, there is inclination of goodwill to the party beloved. This is called a benevolential esteem, as the former is complacential. The former considers its object as fit to do us good or give us pleasure. The latter regards its object as worthy to receive good, whether absolutely or from us or others. Esteem and benevolence, then, are the two leading branches of love, and both find room enough in Christ. The two remaining, desire, fitly enough called love in motion, and delight or complacency, called love at rest, rank themselves under each of the former respectively; for it is of the nature of true love to desire and delight in the happiness of the object as really as its own proceeding from it.
II. THE OBJECT OF THE CHRISTIAN'S LOVE — the Lord Jesus Christ — with the grounds that are found with Him, of our loving Him. And here we might first observe how the many names, titles, and characters which Christ bears in Scripture, that convey various ideas of beauty, use, and pleasure, do of themselves recommend Him to our highest love. The particular grounds of love to Christ which His various names import and lead to.
1. If the greatest personal excellencies and beauties imaginable.
2. If the most intimate relation to God and His manifestative glory, joined with the highest interest in His favour and respect.
3. If the most amazing love to us.
4. If the most arduous and excellent works performed for our service and advantage.
5. If the most numerous, valuable, benefits conferred on us or promised to us.
III. THE PARTICULAR ACTS AND EXPRESSIONS OF A GENUINE LOVE TO CHRIST.
1. In the first place, wherever love to Christ is found, it will certainly show itself in frequent thoughts, attended ever and anon with discourse of Him. And what thoughts are they which love to Christ will inspire? They are thoughts of a noble elevation and of a comprehensive reach — thoughts which dignify our understandings. Further, the thoughts influenced by the love of Christ will be with regard to ourselves, and other things viewed in comparison with Christ, humbling and disdaining. Again, the thoughts about Christ which love to Him prompts are the most chosen and pleasing thoughts of any that can employ the mind. Finally, the thoughts that love to Christ inspires are affectionate thoughts and influential into the heart from whence they are united.
2. Love to Christ will express itself in desires towards Him accompanied with suitable endeavours, and these of two sorts, such as respect ourselves immediately, or Christ for ourselves, and such as respect Him for Himself.
IV. THE PROPERTIES AND CHARACTERS OF GENUINE LOVE TO CHRIST. True love to Christ is sincere and unfeigned, love incorrupt.
2. True love to Christ is a judicious and rational affection. Though Christians love an unseen, they do not love an unknown Saviour.
3. Love to Christ is free, as being the effect of rational choice; and yet more free still, as being a supernatural habit influenced by Divine grace.
4. True love to Christ is of a very active and fruitful nature. There is a great deal of life, strength, and sprightliness in the affection of love.
5. True love to Christ is entire and universal. He must be loved in His whole character, or He is not loved at all.
6. It must be supreme.
7. It is constant.
8. This love to Christ is great, so as to become unspeakable and full of glory.
V. HOW FAITH ACCOUNTS FOR THIS LOVE IN WANT OF SIGHT, so that this should not in reason be any obstruction to, while yet it is a commendation of it.
1. Let us see how faith contains a just reason for loving Christ, though never seen. Than which nothing will appear more manifest, if we only consider what faith is, in these two parts wherein the apostle sums it up (Hebrews 11:1).
2. Want of seeing Christ, though no reasonable bar against loving Him, must be allowed to import some greater commendation of love under this circumstance than in the case of personal sight.
1. How much should we be concerned to observe the too obvious want of love to Christ in the Christian world, and withal to inquire whether it be not wanting in our own hearts also!
2. Suffer the word of exhortation, to give to Christ all the love we are capable of, suitable to His glorious dignity, and the obligations He has laid on us, heartily and bitterly lamenting withal our sin and folly in having withheld from Him so long and so much what has been His due.
Parallel VersesKJV: Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: