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The offenses and falls of others must not impede you in your love, for even great grace can coexist with great corruption—how much more this is true when grace is feeble. You do not know how much strife another has concerning these faults, how much he grieves over them in secret, and with how many tears and prayers he seeks forgiveness.

Wilhelmus À Brakel, The Christian’s Reasonable Service, Chapter 82 – Love for one’s neighbor

If you wish to increase in love:

(1) Take your life, honor, possessions, and all that you have, and surrender them to the Lord. Let Him care for them and do not concern yourself about them, so that you can readily part with them if love toward God requires this.

(2) Display the image of God which is in you—however small or great it may be—and show the world that you have a different nature, being in covenant with God.

(3) Believe in God‘s love toward you and rejoice in this.

(4) Pray for the increase of love.

(5) Have continual fellowship with those who love God, and be their companion.

(6) Abstain from willful sins and be zealous to do the will of God. If you fall, do not continue in this sin, but with sorrow humble yourself, as having sinned against love, and arise again—holding fast to the unchangeable love of God and the immutability of the covenant. While thus acquainting yourself with the Lord, you will go on from strength to strength and become more abundant in love.

―And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God‖ (2 Thess 3:5).

a’Brakel

A’Brakel writes:

However, since all that glitters is not gold, everything that has the appearance of holiness and is called holiness is not holiness … There are three requisites for holiness:

(1) it proceeds from a good root: faith;

(2) it functions according to a good rule: the will of God as revealed in the law; and

(3) it has a good objective: the honor of God.

First, all that is worthy of being called holiness must proceed from a holy principle. Faith is the primary element of conversion as far as order is concerned. This faith unites a person with Christ who is our life. It does not only make us a partaker of His benefits, but first and foremost, of the Person Himself. … [Faith] actuality, unites the soul with Christ, and thus life and strength flow out of Him into the soul …

Secondly, to holiness belongs a good rule with which the disposition of the heart and one‘s deeds must agree. This is nothing but the will of God alone, as presented in the law of the ten commandments.

Thirdly, to holiness belongs a holy objective. [i.e. the glorification of God]

Silly worm

The counsels of a boundless being are not to be scanned by the brain of a silly worm, that hath breathed but a few minutes in the world. Since eternity cannot be comprehended in time, it is not to be judged by a creature of time.

Source: Stephen Charnock, “Existence and Attributes of God”

  1. God has regenerated them by his Holy Spirit
  2. God has decreed from eternity that in time he would adopt them from the human race to be His children and heirs of eternal life.
  3. God has betrothed them to his son … In the Song of Solomon the Lord Jesus therefore frequently calls them his bride: "My sister, my bride" … As the father of the bridegroom also becomes the father of the bride by reason of marriage, the father of our Lord Jesus Christ likewise becomes the father of believers.
  4. They have children by reason of being united to the son of God.

Wilhelmus à Brakel (1700 A.D.) p.419

Answer: (1) Christ did indeed suffer eternal damnation, for eternal damnation, death, and pain consist in total separation from God, in the total manifestation of divine wrath, and all of this for such a duration until the punishment upon sin was perfectly and satisfactorily born. However, Christ has suffered all this to the fullest extent, as has been demonstrated earlier. He suffered as long and in such a measure until He could say, “It is finished” (John 19:30), and “I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do” (John 17:4). (2) Christ did not need to be locally in hell, for this does not belong to the essence of eternal damnation. His suffering did not have to be endless or eternal in duration. Man is subject to this due to his inability to endure punishment exhaustively and at the same time restore himself into a state of perfection. Consequently man would have to remain subject to it until he would make full satisfaction, which could not occur to all eternity. Since, however, the Surety has suffered everything to the most perfect degree and with utmost exertion, that is, as much as was necessary to satisfy divine justice, and since He fulfilled the demands of the law by His perfect obedience, it was neither possible to extend His suffering any further, nor “that He should be holden of” death (Acts 2:24). Additional Objection: Christ’s human nature, in which He suffered, was finite and thus was not capable of bearing infinite wrath. Consequently His suffering was not sufficient to atone for sin which merits eternal punishment. Answer: We cannot determine to what degree Christ’s human nature was fortified, but it always remained finite. In this nature Christ endured a total being forsaken by, and the full wrath of, the infinite God against whom the elect had sinned. One should note, however, that it was not the human nature which suffered, but the Person according to this nature, and since the Person is infinite, all that He suffered was of infinite efficacy and value.

Wilhelmus à Brakel (1700 A.D.)

This glorified Jesus is beyond the reach of the children of this world, and therefore they gravitate towards occupying their minds with earthly objects and find some delight in doing so, there being nothing else for them. But believers, you who know and love Jesus, with what else should the eye of your understanding be occupied than in beholding the King in His beauty (Isa 33:17)? If one begins to get a view of Him, all that is here below will of itself lose its luster and glory and it will be a light task to withdraw your love and attachment from the earth. … Suppose that the Lord Jesus were to take you by the hand and lead you into His inner chamber, revealing to you all the heavenly mysteries pertaining to the work of redemption, revealing Himself to you in His divine perfections and in all the glory He has received as Mediator. Let us suppose furthermore that He would assure you with love that all His glory and fullness is for you and to your benefit, that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have been mutually engaged to exalt you to incomprehensible and unspeakable felicity, and to satisfy and encompass you both now and hereafter in eternity with His love and all-sufficiency. In your opinion, can there be anything more delightful than this? … Beholding Him as such will cause the soul to be more intimately united with Jesus; and hence, the more virtue will go out from Him. The more the soul may receive the strength and influence of the Spirit, the less strength sin will have within him, and the more zealous he will be to be pleasing unto the Lord. From all this it may therefore convincingly be concluded that beholding the glorified Jesus has a sanctifying influence.

Wilhelmus à Brakel (1700 A.D.) p.655-658

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