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crookedfingers
Looking Unto Jesus by Issac Ambrose 
14th-Dec-2017 08:51 am


"Sect. VI. -- Of Loving Jesus in that respect

Let us love Jesus, as carrying on the great work of our salvation at his first coming
or incarnation. O my soul, canst thou possibly light on any object more attractive
than the incarnation of Jesus Christ? If love be the loadstone of love, what an
attractive is this before thee! Methinks the very sight of Christ incarnate is enough
to ravish thee with the apprehension of his infinite goodness. See how he calls out,
or, as it were, draws out the soul to union, vision, and participation of his glory! O
come and yield thyself up unto him: give him thyself, and conform all thy
affections and actions to his will. O love him, not with a divided, but with all thy
heart.

But to excite this love, I shall only propound the object, which will be argument
enough. Love causeth love: now as God’s first love to man was in making man like
himself, so his second great love was in making himself like to man. Stay then a
while upon this love; for I take it, this is the greater love of the two. The evangelist
expresseth it thus, “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son”;
he gave him to be incarnate, to be made flesh, and to suffer death; but the
extension of his love lies in that expression, he so loved. So! how? why, so fully,
so freely, as no tongue can tell, no heart can think.

It is usually said, that it is a greater love of God to save a soul, than to make a
world; and I think it was a greater love of God to take our nature, than simply to
save our souls: for a king to dispense with the law, and by his own prerogative to
save a murderer from the gallows, is not such an act of love and mercy as to take
the murderer’s clothes, and to wear them as his richest livery? Why, God in taking
our nature, hath done thus, and more than thus: he would not save us by his mere
prerogative, but he takes our clothes, our flesh, and in that flesh he personates us,
and in that flesh he will die for us, that we might not die, but live through him for
evermore. Surely this was love, that God will be no more God, as it were, simply,
but he will take up another nature, rather than the brightness of his glory shall undo
our souls.

It will not be amiss (whilst I am endeavoring to draw a line of God’s love in Christ
from first to last in saving souls) that here we look back a little, and summarily
contract the passages of love from that eternity before all worlds unto this present.
1. God had an eternal design to discover his infinite love to some besides himself.
Oh, the wonder of this! Was there any necessity of such a discovery? Though God
was one, and in that respect alone, yet God was not solitary; in that eternity within
his own essence there were three divine Persons, and betwixt them there was a
blessed communication of love. Though in that eternity there was no creature to
whom these three persons could communicate their love; yet was there a glorious
communication and breaking out of love from one to another. Before there was a
world, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost did infinitely glorify themselves, John xvii.
5. What need then was there of the discovery of God’s love to any one besides
himself? only thus was the pleasure of God; “Even so, Father, for so it seemed
good in thy sight.” Such was the love of God, that it would not contain itself within
that infinite ocean of himself, but it would needs have rivers and channels, into
which it might run and overflow.

2. God, in prosecution of his design, creates a world of creatures; some rational,
and only capable of love; others irrational, and serviceable to that one creature,
which he makes the top of the whole creation; then it was that he set one man,
Adam, as a common person, to represent the rest; to him he gives abundance of
glorious qualifications, and him he sets over all the work of his hands. If we should
view the excellency of this creature, either in the outward or inner man, who would
not wonder? His body had its excellency, which made the psalmist say, “I will
praise thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made, and curiously wrought in the
lowest parts of the earth,” Psalm cxxxix. 14. It is a speech borrowed from those
who work arras-work: the body of man is a piece of curious tapestry, consisting of
skin, bones, muscles, sinews, and the like. What a goodly thing the body of man
was before the fall, may be guessed from the excellent gifts found in the bodies of
some men since the fall. If all these were but joined in one, as certainly they were
in Adam, what a rare body would such a one be? But what was this body in
comparison of that soul? The soul was it that was especially made after the image
of God: the soul was it that was tempered in the same mortar with the heavenly
spirits: the soul was God’s sparkle, a beam of his divine glory, a ray or emanation
of God himself: as man was the principal part of the creation, so the soul was the
principal part of man. Here was it that God’s love and glory were centred. Here
was it that God’s love fixed itself in a special manner, whence flowed that
communion of God with Adam, and that familiarity of Adam with God.

3. Within a while, this man, the object of God’s love, fell away from God, and as
he fell, so all that were in him, even the whole world, fell together with him; and
hereupon God’s face was hid. Not a sight of him but in flaming fire, ready to seize
on the sons of men. And yet God’s love would not thus leave the object: he had yet
a further reach of love, and out of this dark cloud he lets fall some glimpses of
another discovery: these glimpses were sweet; but, alas! they were so dark that
very few could make any comfortable application of them; but by degrees God
hints it out more, he points it out by types and shadows, he makes some model of it
by outward ceremonies, and yet so dark, that in four thousand years men were but
guessing and hoping through promises for a manifestation of God’s love. This is
the meaning of the apostle, who tells us of the mystery that was hid from ages and
from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints. This love of God was hid
in the breast of God from the sons of men for an age, so that they knew not what to
make of this great design: I speak of the generality of men; for in respect of some
particulars, the Lord made his love clear to them; and still the nearer to Christ, the
clearer and clearer was the covenant of grace.

4. At last, God fully opens himself; in the fullness of time, God takes the flesh of
those poor sinners which he had so loved, and joins it to himself, and calls it
Christ, a Saviour. Now was it that God descended, and lay in the womb of a virgin;
now was it that he is born as we are born; now was it that he joined our flesh so
nigh to himself, as that there is a communication of properties betwixt them both;
that being attributed to God which is proper to flesh, as to be born, to suffer and
that being attributed to flesh which is proper to God, as to create, to redeem. Who
can choose but wonder, that God should be made flesh, and dwell amongst us? that
flesh should infinitely provoke God, and yet God, in the same flesh, should be
infinitely pleased? that God should veil himself, and darken his glory with our
flesh, and yet unveil at the same time the deepest and darkest of his designs in a
comfortable way to our souls? O my soul! how shouldst thou contain thyself within
thyself? how shouldst thou but leap out of thyself, if I may so speak, as one that is
lost in the admiration of this love? Surely God never manifested himself in such a
strain of love as this before.

Well, hitherto we have followed the passages of his love, and now we see it at fullsea.
If anything will beget our love to God, surely Christ incarnate will do it. Come
then, O my soul, I cannot but call on thee to love thy Jesus; and to provoke thy
love, fix thy eye on this lovely object. Draw yet a little nearer; consider what an
heart of love is in this design: God is in thy own nature, to take upon him all the
miseries of thy nature." Issac Ambrose

One can find the full text 'Looking Unto Jesus' by Issac Ambrose here-
http://ebooks.regent-college.edu/Ambrose-Looking-1658/#16
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