Of domesticall duties eight treatises. I. An exposition of that part of Scripture out of which domesticall duties are raised. ... VIII. Duties of masters. By William Gouge.
Gouge, William, 1578-1653.

§. 27. Of the example of Christs loue.

The note of comparison (*Euen as) requireth no equality, as if it were possible for an Husband in that measure to loue his wife, as Christ loued his Church; (for as Christ in excellency and greatnesse exceedeth man, so in loue and tendernesse) But it noteth an equity, and like quality.

An equitie, because there is as great reason that Husbands by vertue of their place should loue their Wiues, as that Christ by vertue of his place should loue the Church.

A like quality, because the loue which Christ beareth to the Church is euery way without exception: and a loue which tur∣neth to the good and benefit of the Church. Hence note two points.

Page  45 1. Husbands must come as neare as they can to Christ in louing their wiues. In which respect, because they can neuer loue so much as Christ did, they must neuer thinke they haue loued enough.

2. Though their loue in measure cannot equall Christs loue, yet in the manner thereof it must be like Christs, a preuenting, true, free, pure, exceeding, constant loue.

The measure and manner of Christs loue is distinctly noted, Treat. 4. §. 61. &c. and the loue which an husband oweth his wife paralleld & applied ther∣to, which application may be also made of that Christian mutuall loue which we owe one to another.

The loue of Christ to the Church is amplified,

  • 1. By an Effect thereof, in these words, He gaue himselfe for it.
  • 2. By the End of that effect, largely set downe, verse 26, 27.

The effect is noted partly as a Confirmation of the truth of Christs loue.
Declaration of the measure    

The Act (he gaue) sheweth that his loue was in deed and truth: not only in shew and pretence.

The Object (himselfe) sheweth that he loued his Church more then his owne life. A greater euidence of loue could not be giuen: for greater loue hath no man then this, that a man*lay downe his life for his friend.

The end of Christs loue (set forth vers. 26, 27.) is noted to shew that he so loued his Church for her good and happi∣nesse, rather then for any aduantage to himselfe.

As this example of Christs loue to his Church is set before husbands: so it may and ought also to be applied to all Chri∣stians: and that in a double respect.

1. As a motiue to stirre them vp to loue both Christ him∣selfe, and also their brethren.

2. As a patterne to teach them how to loue.

A motiue it is to loue Christ, because loue deserueth loue: especially such a loue, of such a person as the loue of Christ is. Yea, our loue of Christ is an euidence that we are loued of Christ, as smoake is a signe of fire. Wherefore both in thank∣fulnesse to Christ, for his loue to vs, and for assurance to our owne soules of Christs loue to vs, we ought in all things that we can to testifie our loue to Christ.

Page  46 A motiue it is also to loue our brethren, because Christ being in heauen, our bgoodnesse extendeth not to him: but our brethren on earth stand in his stead, and the loue we shew to them, we shew to him; and he accepteth it as done to him: cYe fed me, yee visited me, saith Christ to them that fed and visited his brethren. This loue also, euen the d loue of our brethren, is an euidence that we are loued of God. Wherefore eif Christ so loued vs, we ought also to loue one another.

How the loue of Christ is a patterne, I will * afterwards shew.