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echoes of thought in love with God through Christ crucified

There is a special obligement upon friends to be helpful to one another… The laws of friendship require a discovery of that which endangers one another. You would count him unworthy the name of a friend, who knowing a thief or an incendiary to lurk in your family, with a design to kill, or rob, or burn your house, would conceal it from you, and not acquaint you with it on his own accord. There is no such thief, murderer, incendiary, as sin: it more endangers us, and those concernments that are more precious than goods, or house, or life; and that most endangers us, by which the Lord’s anger is already kindled against us. Silence or concealment in this case is treachery. He is the most faithful friend, and worthy of most esteem and affection, that deals most plainly with us, in reference to the discovery of our sin. He that is reserved in this case is but a false friend, a mere pretender to love, whereas, indeed, he hates his brother in his heart (see Lev 19:17).

—David Clarkson
The Works of David Clarkson, 2:216.

More and more people imagine that Christ exists for our sake, while the much richer notion of our existing for the sake of Christ does not arise.

—Abraham Kuyper
Pro Rege

The love of God to His saints is not only from eternity in its being, but in its foundation; i.e. the love of God to His saints has not its foundation in anything temporal.

There are some that will allow that the love of God to the saints in its being is from eternity, but not in its foundation; but hold that it has its foundation in God’s foresight of that which is temporal, as particularly in the foresight of their holiness and good works. They suppose that the saints’ faith, and repentance, and obedience is the foundation of God’s love to them, and that God loves the saints from eternity no otherwise than as he foresees that they will in time believe, and repent, and live holy lives. So that though they allow the love itself in its being to be eternal, yet assert that ’tis the foresight of something temporal that is the foundation of it. But the love of God to His saints has not its foundation in anything temporal.

The ground of the love is eternal as the love itself.

He doesn’t love them from eternity, because he foresees that they will believe, and repent, and the like. The ground of His eternal love is not to be sought for in the saints, but in God’s own heart; that God loves the saints is from Himself, and not from them. His love is a free and sovereign love, and is from His own sovereign good pleasure, as we are taught. “According as he hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love: having predestinated us unto the adoption of children [by Jesus Christ] to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will” (Ephesians 1:4–5). The love of God towards His people is self-moved. “The Lord did not set His love  upon you, nor choose you, because you were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: but because the Lord loved you” (Deuteronomy 7:7–8).

The faith and holiness of the saints is so far from being the foundation of the eternal love of God that ’tis the fruit of it.

God has loved them from all eternity, and that is the reason that he has given them faith and holiness, and has brought them home to Himself truly to believe in, and love, and fear, and serve God; as in the verse of the text, “I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.”

—Jonathan Edwards
“The Everlasting Love of God,” Sermons and Discourses, 1734-1738, 478–479.

When a mother has a sick child, it is marvellous how quick her ears become while attending it. Good woman, we wonder she does not fall asleep. If you hired a nurse, it is ten to one she would. But the dear child in the middle of the night does not need to cry for water, or even speak; there is a little quick breathing—who will hear it? No one would except the mother; but her ears are quick, for they are in her child’s heart. So, if there is a heart in the world that longs for God, God’s ear is already in that poor sinner’s heart. He will hear it. There is not a good desire on earth but the Lord has heard it. I recollect when at one time I was a little afraid to preach the gospel to sinners as sinners, and yet wanted to do so, I used to say, “If you have but a millionth part of a desire, come to Christ.” I dare say more than that now, but at the same time I will say that at once—if you have a millionth part of a desire, if you have only a little breathing, if you desire to be reconciled, if you desire to be pardoned, if you would be forgiven, if there is only half a good thought formed in your soul, do not check it, do not stifle it, and do not think that God will reject it.

—Charles H. Spurgeon
Flashes of Thought (Passmore and Alabaster, 1874).

That the glory of God is the highest and last end of the work of redemption is confirmed by the song of the angels at Christ’s birth. Luke 2:14, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace and good will towards men.” It must be supposed that they knew what was God’s last end in sending Christ into the world: and that in their rejoicing on the occasion of his incarnation, their minds would be most taken up with, and would most rejoice in that which was most valuable and glorious in it; which must consist in its relation to that which was its chief and ultimate end. And we may further suppose that the thing which chiefly engaged their minds, as what was most glorious and joyful in the affair, is what would be first expressed in that song which was to express the sentiments of their minds, and exultation of their hearts.

The glory of the Father and the Son is spoken of as the end of the work of redemption, in Philippians 2:6–11, very much in the same manner as in John 12:23, John 12:28, John 13:31–32, and John 17:1, John 12:4–5. “Who being in the form of God…  made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross: wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name, etc… that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow… and every tongue confess, that Jesus is the Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” So God’s glory, or the praise of his glory, is spoken of as the end of the work of redemption, in Ephesians 1:3 ff., “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: according as he hath chosen us in him… Having predestinated us to the adoption of children… to the praise of the glory of his grace.” And in the continuance of the same discourse concerning the redemption of Christ, in what follows in the same chapter, God’s glory is once and again mentioned as the great end of all. Several things belonging to that great redemption are mentioned in the following verses: such as God’s great wisdom in it (Ephesians 1:8). The clearness of light granted through Christ (Ephesians 1:9). God’s gathering together in one all things in heaven and earth in Christ (Ephesians 1:10). God’s giving the Christians that were first converted to the Christian faith from among the Jews, an interest in this great redemption (Ephesians 1:11). Then the great end is added, “That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ” (Ephesians 1:12). And then is mentioned the bestowing of the same great salvation on the Gentiles, in its beginning or first fruits in the world, and in the completing it in another world, in the two next verses. And then the same great end is added again, “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also, after that ye believed, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:13–14). The same thing is expressed much in the same manner, in 2 Corinthians 4:14–15,  “He which raised up the Lord Jesus, shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, that the abundance of grace might through the thanksgiving of many, redound to the glory of God.”

—Jonathan Edwards
“Concerning the End for which God Created the World,” The Works of Jonathan Edwards, 486–488.

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