A Good Way to Think of the Love of Christ
Jonathan Edwards explains how romantic love helps us understand Jesus' feelings towards the church (Miscellanies #189, spacing added):
We see how great love the human nature is capable of, not only to God but fellow creatures. How greatly are we inclined to the other sex! Nor doth an exalted and fervent love to God hinder this, but only refines and purifies it.
God has created the human nature to love fellow creatures, which he wisely has principally turned to the other sex; and the more exalted the nature is, the greater love of that kind that is laudable is it susceptive of; and the purer and better natured, the more is it inclined to it.
Christ has an human nature as well as we, and has an inclination to love those that partake of the human [nature] as well as we. That inclination which in us is turned to the other sex, in him is turned to the church, which is his spouse.
He is as much of a purer and better and more benevolent nature than we, whereby he is inclined to a higher degree of love, as he is of a greater capacity, whereby he is capable of a more exalted, ardent and sweet love. Nor is his love to God, in him more than in us (nor half so much), an hindrance or diversion to this love; because his love to God and his love to the saints are an hundred times nearer akin than our love to God and our love to the other sex.
Therefore when we feel love to anyone of the other sex, 'tis a good way to think of the love of Christ to an holy and beautiful soul.
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