The Love of God — its Objects, Gift, and Design
by John Eadie, 1865
'For God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish — but have everlasting life.' John 3:16
Can it be so? Can this extraordinary announcement be received as actual truth? Dare we credit it, or lift up our guilty hearts to comprehend its terms? Oh, it is so strange and thrilling, that it seems to stun us — and only on recovering from our amazement, are we able at length to reflect on the blessed declaration. There is so much of God in it, that we recognize His solemn presence, and fear as we are entering 'into the cloud.'
'God loved the world.' If I use the expression, God created the world, or God preserves the world, or God governs the world — the language which I employ is, to my mind, the symbol of infinite wisdom, power, and benignity; but when I repeat this statement, 'God loved the world,' the simple clause reveals at once a depth and an amount of meaning at which the mind is almost startled into incredulity; and it feels as if it were temerity to lay hold on this divine charter of human salvation. And yet these precious words afford the solution of many a living mystery.
Why, for example, may the saint exclaim, have I been brought into the conscious possession of peace and joy, and the dark shadows that lay on my mind have all fled away; or why does the throne of the universe now stand out as a throne of grace to which there is for me daily access, continual welcome, and rich response; or why are there in Heaven, the spirits of my human kindred, whose bodies are lying yet in the darksome pollution and thralldom of the grave — are not such changes, privileges, and blessings to be traced upward and backward to the grand and ultimate fact, that God has loved the world?
Now, the introductory 'for' shows that this verse presents itself as the reason of a previous statement. The reference in it is to a remarkable incident in the history of ancient Israel. They had, in one of their periodic fits of national insanity, so provoked their divine Guardian and Provider, that He sent among them 'fiery flying serpents,' and many of them were bitten, and died. But to modify and counteract the chastisement, and make its terror a means of beneficial impression, Moses was commanded to frame a brazen representation of one of the poisonous reptiles, and place it on the summit of a flag-staff, so that any wounded Hebrew might be able to see it from the extremity of the camp. And every one, no matter how sorely he felt the poison in his fevered veins, if he could only turn his languid vision to the sacred emblem — was instantly healed.
It is then asserted that salvation is a process of equal simplicity, facility, and certainty — 'so also must the Son of man be lifted up,' that 'every one believing in Him may not perish, but have everlasting life.' But why are belief and salvation so connected, and why is it that anyone, every one, confiding in the Son of man, is rescued and blessed — saved from the death which he has merited, and elevated to a life which he had forfeited? This pledge of safety and glory to the believer, has its origin in nothing else but the truth under our consideration. Belief and life are in this wondrous and inseparable union: 'For God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son — that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.'
The scheme of salvation is here presented to us in its Origin, its Means, and its Design. Or we may contemplate the love of God:
first, in its object — the world;
secondly, in the provision He has made for its deliverance — the gift of his Son;
thirdly, in the instrumentality by which this provided salvation is brought into individual possession — the exercise of faith.
I. The OBJECT of God's Love
1.Again we recur to the starting thought. If God loved, and so loved this guilty world — then what an unplumbed depth of grace must be in His heart! For the object of His love is not the world in its first condition, such as it was when, His eyes resting on it with beaming complacency, He pronounced it 'very good' — but that same world ruined by sin, and condemned for its apostasy! There would have been no wonder had the divine Lawgiver assumed the stem functions of Judge, and doomed our guilty earth to the death which it deserved. Might it not have been enveloped in flames, which, gleaming far into other orbits, would have taught other races that 'our God is a consuming fire'?
But though He had armed His law with a terrible penalty, and allowed the incipient elements of the menace to fall upon the sinner; though the holiness of His nature and the interests of His government seemed to demand that punishment shall instantly and immediately follow transgression — yet, without any change in His claims or character, He loved us. And that love is not a mere relenting which might lead to a respite, or a simple regret which might end in a sigh — but, thrice blessed be His name, it is a positive affection. It is as true as His existence, as real as our sin.
Now, there is no merit in loving what is lovely, for by a necessity of our emotional nature, our affection throws itself out upon any object that presents an aspect of loveliness. Such an instinct within us is only the reflection of a similar law in the character and actings of God. He cannot but love what bears His image; and therefore the bright and happy Essences who surround His throne are forever sunning themselves in His ineffable smile.
But, ah! man has fully lost his moral loveliness. Originally like God, he is now as unlike Him as he can be, and there is nothing about him but his misery to attract God's love. Paradise loathed and expelled him, and the globe into which he was exiled out of Eden has been cursed for his sake. 'The whole creation groans and travails in pain together.'
The bleak rock on which no seed can vegetate;
the eternal snows where no animal can breathe;
the blasted oak of the forest stretching its leafless arms to the wintry sky;
the beach spread over with the wreck and corpses of the hurricane;
the desolations of the volcanic fires and the rocking and chasms of the earthquake;
the bed on which tosses the invalid to whom 'wearisome days and nights are appointed;'
the hand which the laboring man uplifts to wipe the perspiration from his brow;
and those monuments of war that tell of thousands lying beneath them uncoffined and unknelled —
these are the tongues by which nature proclaims, in melancholy emphasis, that she has wandered from her God!
And this sin of man is not man's misfortune — but his fault! Sometimes those around us are overborne in providence: wave after wave breaks upon them, and, as they stagger and fall, they are more to be pitied than to be blamed. Alas! on the contrary, man is not only a ruined — but a self-ruined creature. He has lowered himself to what he is — the victim of his own pride and disobedience!
I presume not to solve the mystery of the origin of evil. I cannot tell why, with God's possession of infinite power and purity and love — that sin was ever permitted to find its way into our world; but this I know, that amidst all subtle speculations on this dark theme — amidst all daring and devious attempts to climb these heights of eternal providence — this one truth is very apparent: 'God made man upright — but they have each turned to follow their own downward path!' There is therefore no palliation of our crime. Our Master is not an 'austere' one, 'harvesting where He has not sown, and gathering where He has not scattered seed.'
The law under which man was placed, was 'holy, and just, and good,' and he was furnished with powers of perfect obedience. The test by which he was tried was an easy one, and he was — but 'for one restraint — lord of all the world besides.' It was simply a respect for the divine will which could lead him to obedience. But man broke this simple covenant, and wantonly disobeyed the clear injunction not to eat of the tree!
And yet that world, which has in this way made itself so guilty and helpless through its perversity and disloyalty, is not thrown off by God — is not flung into oblivion by Him, and covered with His frown — is not merely tolerated, or, like a condemned criminal, indulged with a few providential and minor kindnesses — but is really loved by Him!
The marvel is this: there is nothing He hates so much as sin, and yet no one He has loved so much as a sinner. In spite of our alienation and hostility, in spite of our vile and loathsome repugnance, in the midst of so much that He hates and condemns and nauseates — God has loved, yes, has so loved the world. What infinite grace in this amazing love of God!
2. If God loved, and so loved this little world — then surely His love was wholly unselfish in its nature. Should some large and important province of an empire rise in rebellion, the sovereign will use every means to induce it to return to its allegiance before he proceed to war against it; but should an insignificant legion be involved in insurrection, summary vengeance will be taken at once on its folly!
Now, our rebellious world was only a small portion of God's universe. What a melancholy thought, did we look up to that sky and see in every orb a wreck, and in every star a prison of ruined spirits!
The great unfallen universe is a vast territory on which its Creator can still look with delight. If, therefore, worlds unnumbered roll around His throne, brighter in their glories of light and mass, of structure and motion, than ours; if the absence of our earth from creation would be as little felt as the removal of a single particle of sand from the mound which girds the ocean; and if another divine fiat could at once fill its room with a new orb and with another population, whose obedience would be equal with their existence and coextensive with their faculties — then can it be conjectured that it was from any selfish motive, or with any selfish purpose, that God has prolonged our existence, when life and all its enjoyments had been forfeited, or that we are of so much importance to himself, His happiness, or the harmony of His empire — that, rather than allow us to perish, He gave up His only-begotten Son to the death?
Far from us be such vain imaginations! 'When I consider Your Heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have ordained — what is man that You are mindful of him?'
Even more amazing is the fact, that He sends higher beings to be the servants of believing humanity:
'The exceeding grace
Of highest God, that loves His creatures so,
And all His works with mercy does embrace
That blessed angels He sends to and fro,
To serve to wicked man — to serve His wicked foe!'
The same truth has been pictured out to us by the great Teacher: The shepherd had a hundred sheep, and only one of them had gone astray. Bit his fond anxieties go out after it; and leaving the ninety-nine in comparative neglect, he flees into the wilderness and seeks everywhere, until he comes upon the object of his solicitude — the one poor wanderer. And when he finds it, there is more joy in His heart over the recovery of the solitary straggler — than over the entire flock that had not deserted the fold.
Oh, there is more of the heart of God exhibited in our salvation — than in all His benignity to the universe beyond us. This orb is truly a 'little one;' and yet it has called out emotions which other and mightier spheres had failed to elicit. Now, such is its moral magnitude, that in its connection with Christ — it stands out in unrivaled glory from other worlds, and over its redeemed inhabitants, is the chant raised, 'This my son was dead and is alive again, was lost and is found!'
Surely this love to a world so insignificant, when compared with the gigantic and numerous planets that revolve in the Heavens, must be purely unselfish! 'Our goodness reaches not to Him.' 'Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us — but unto Your name give glory; even for Your mercy, and for Your truth's sake!'
3. If God loved this world — this world of fallen men, and not the world of fallen angels — then His love must be sovereign in its essence. For man was not the only sinful being in His dominions! Beings of higher nature, and having their position in Heaven itself, were mysteriously involved in the guilt and doom of apostasy, and expelled from their bright domain! And yet, though they dwelt in Heaven — they are not summoned back to it!
No pardon is offered to them;
no means of redemption are provided for them;
no mediator has taken on him the 'nature of angels,' in order to make atonement for them.
They are left to the endurance of eternal death and
damnation — ever sinning, ever suffering; while pardon and restoration have
been proclaimed to the human family —
our weak and erring race,
so nearly allied to the ground they tread,
so proud in their debility, and
so impious in their thraldom!
Would it not have been a more reasonable plan, so to speak — for God to have saved these lofty angelic exiles, and called them back to the Heaven in which they once lived, and for which they were created — than to select this distant and miserable world of ours; and, by an abnormal and mighty process, to purify and refine its wretched and earthy outcasts for a realm of existence to which they are strangers, and to which they would never have been able to penetrate?
The reasons inducing the Infinite Wisdom to make this sovereign choice to redeem man, and not the fallen angels — we may neither search nor discover. This preference of fallen man to fallen angels, as the recipient of divine love — can only be resolved into a mysterious exercise of divine sovereignty. 'For surely it is not angels He helps, but Abraham's descendants.' Hebrews 2:16.
He has loved fallen men on earth — and not fallen angels in Hell. Both might have been punished with eternal penalty, and neither the one nor the other, could have complained of the justice of its doom.
On the other hand, both might have been forgiven and redeemed, and both would have equally felt its salvation due to Jehovah's tender pity.
Nay, though fallen angels in Hell had been redeemed — and all the fallen men on earth had been left in their sin; though only the demons, the first transgressors, had been saved, and brought again to the solemn presence before which they once bowed, the bright myriads with which they once mixed, and the hallelujahs which they once choired — while this sinful world was left to pine and groan hopeless and helpless — (one shudders to contemplate this dreadful alternative!) — who would have dared to impeach the God of grace, who has the right to give as He pleases — where none have any claim on His bounty!
But, O let His name be extolled — -earth has not been passed over; it has been selected in His sovereign regard. Ay, God so loved the WORLD!
It was a vain conceit which supposed that redeemed men were taken up into Heaven to supply the vacancy caused by the lapse and loss of the angels. Though God banished the apostates in one moment, their places might have been all filled the next, and the change might have been not merely compensative — but at the same time the means of augmented splendor. 'Be not high-minded — but fear.' 'God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to Hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment!' 2 Peter 2:4. And if you are spared in His patience, and kept on earth, drawn with 'cords of love,' plied with the offers of His grace, and set apart and sanctified unto glory — you have no reason to boast! Oh no; but every cause to 'rejoice with trembling.'
4. But the fervor and mightiness of this love
arrests our attention! 'God SO loved the world' — loved it with such ardor
and indescribable generosity — loved it SO — that He gave His only-begotten
Son! Oh the immensity of the gift! A divine gift from a divine Giver! The
grandeur of His love may be seen in its results. If you can measure the
gift — you may gauge the depth of the love which bestowed it. But
the gift is 'unspeakable.' That gift is God's own provision for the world's
salvation; and while we contemplate the means — we shall also be able
still to illustrate the greatness of the love!
II. The GIFT of God's Love
We estimate the value of a gift — by various criteria.
1. First, the resources of the giver must be taken into the account. If a man is loaded with the blessings of fortune himself, and occasionally parts with some of his excess, such a small fraction, if estimated by its proportion to what remains behind it — is really far less in value than another gift that does not possess its semblance of magnitude. Our Lord reckoned by this scale, when He declared that the poor widow, who cast her last mite into the treasury, gave truly more than the wealthy worshipers, with the ringing shekels of their 'abundance;' for 'she gave her all.'
Nor can the motives of the giver be left out of the calculation. One may heap favors on the head of a fallen foe — to wound his pride and produce within him a rankling sense of his inferiority; but such a donation suffers a sad discount, when compared with others and, in themselves, smaller benefactions bestowed in cordial warmth and generosity of spirit.
The manner, too, in which a gift is conferred must enter into the estimate. If it is withheld until it be wrung out of the donor by repeated and humiliating importunity; or if it is offered in a surly spirit, and its amount boasted about; or if it be meted out slowly, and with a prolonged comment upon the trouble and self-denial it has cost the benefactor — it sinks at once in importance, especially if placed in contrast with a lesser blessing given in sincere and spontaneous sympathy — the donor all the while looking and speaking as if he were the person obliged.
Nor must the condition of the recipient be overlooked. Presents heaped on those who are themselves wallowing in opulence — are not rated even at their intrinsic worth — a grain or two, more or less, passing unnoticed in the heap. But when the needy are benefitted — they can appreciate the contribution. And if relief comes to them in their deep necessity, in the very crisis of their necessity, and in the last moment of that crisis — and completely frees them from danger and difficulty — then such discreet liberality transcends both description and gratitude.
Especially does the blessing rise in utility and magnitude, when it is adapted to him who receives it. To a man who had lost his way, and had wandered until faintness and hunger had seized him — a crust and a cup of water, would be a munificence far far beyond a bag of gold, for his trembling arm could not lift it!
Now, let the love of God be tried by any of these criteria — and you will at once conclude it to be beyond measurement!
Look, then, with enlightened veneration, at the resources of the Giver. Are they not infinite and endless! The riches of the universe are at His disposal. But oh, when He gave His Son — did He not give His all? What other gift remained superior to Him — or equal to Him? There was no second Christ to confer. The divine treasury contained many gifts, which could easily have been conferred; but it was exhausted when Christ was given! Beings of noble nature, yes, the angels might have formed the blessing, and the vacancy would have been immediately supplied by the unwearied arm of Omnipotence.
But in the donation of Christ (we shrink from saying it,
and yet we must), you see at once the limits of possibility. For He is no
creature — but the 'only-begotten Son.' The epithet certainly implies His
possession of a divine nature — one identical in essence and attributes with
the Father, having in it . . .
the same majesty of uncreated existence,
the same wisdom of universal range and grasp,
the same power of unlimited operation,
the same moral lineaments of character, and
the same immutability casting its bright mantle of perfection over them all.
And as a Son — He enjoyed the infinite attachment of the Father, and reciprocate it in eternal, boundless, and unchanging union! If Christ is God — then what gift superior to Him can be presented? What richer love could be exhibited? Gifts might have chased each other from His hand, each greater and more godlike than the one which preceded it, and though the number and grandeur of such gifts might defy our arithmetic and outreach our imagination — such benefactions might continue through eternity! But when God loved the world, and gave His only-begotten Son, He gave a solitary gift — and one so immense and exhaustive — that it could not be repeated.
What unfathomed meaning in the monosyllable — SO! God SO loved us, that He gave His only-begotten Son — so like Him as to be His very image, and so loved by Him as to lie in His very bosom! He gave His only-begotten Son up to suffering and death — to redeem a lost and rebellious world! Only in the mind of Him who is love — could such a love be fathomed!
And the gift is enhanced by the motives of the Giver. There was in Him no selfish tinge. It was His profound pity for us in our low and lost estate — which prompted Him to bestow the unequaled gift. Undeservedly and unexpectedly were we blessed with the wondrous gift. There was no entreaty on the part of man. The sky was not rent with earnest and universal cries for help; the heart of God was not moved and melted — because His ear was filled with the echoes of shrieking and clamorous humanity. No! His love was not so slow or reluctant; for salvation was provided for us in purpose, before yet we fell into the need of it. His love, in its eagerness, anticipated our fall, and made preparation for it!
Again, this gift of His own and only Son is the only gift that could have profited us. There is in Christ, every blessing we need, and every blessing is brought near us in the only form in which we can avail ourselves of it. For His complete salvation is also a free salvation, sealed and applied by the Holy Spirit. Guilt is pardoned — and pollution is removed; our relations to God, and our nature are equally changed; no element of perfection or felicity is withheld, and the germs engrafted now, are destined forever to mature and expand.
No previous qualification is requisite by us, and no subsequent merit is anticipated. Works are wholly excluded as meritorious causes, and even the faith that brings a gratuitous justification — is itself the gift of God.
Christ includes a full and free forgiveness, an incipient and progressive sanctification — peace, hope, freedom, and joy — the deliverance of the soul, the final resurrection of the body, and the preparation of our entire nature to see, enjoy, and glorify God!
What adaptation in this gift to a frail and guilty
world — which could not win its way back to purity and paradise! Surely it
comes in its fitness, from Him who 'knows our frame.' Is it not Infinite
Love robed in Infinite Wisdom! Oh, then, if the gift is of such a
nature . . .
in intrinsic value,
in nobility of motive,
in largeness of efficacy, and
fitness of adaptation —
if it is the Son of God,
out of the heart of God,
gifted to a thoughtless and hostile race,
to bless it with Himself and all the fullness that is in Him
— will we not, under the impulse of such a reflection, be induced to exclaim, 'Herein is love, not that we loved God — but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins!'
God so loved the world, that He gave, unsolicited and freely — the noblest gift in His means to confer — His second Self — His only-begotten Son. If you reason from the gift — to the love which bestowed it — then by what name shall you call it — where shall you find adequate descriptions and epithets to heap upon it? On this subject, hyperbole — is tameness; and seeming extravagance — is actual barrenness of language!
Thus have we considered the amazing fact, that God has loved this guilty, rebellious and insignificant world — and selected it to be the object of His tender mercy. Nay, that He has SO loved it, as to make provision for its deliverance, in the gift of His Son — that bright and matchless display of His loving-kindness!
III. The DESIGN of God's Love
But the same fervor of the divine love is seen also, in the end contemplated, and in the peculiar instrumentality by which that end is achieved. He gave His only-begotten Son for this purpose, 'that whoever believes in Him should not perish — but have everlasting life.' The language plainly implies that the race are in a lost condition. The Son of God is given to keep them from perishing — from sinking into irretrievable ruin! It was a great and terrible perdition, which sin had produced. What a frightful spectacle! A soul in ruins — far away from God, and hostile to Him; His image gone; His glory in the dust; a darkened mind; a vile and sensualized heart; a spirit in thraldom; the carnal appetite predominant; the divine law forgotten; conscience bribed, hushed, or quelled! And the end of man's being not only unrealized — but, by a hostility of inclination, fought against; and the end that was at the opposite extreme — pursued and gained!
And so the soul perishes — sinks, and sinks lower and lower still — until it falls into unending agony, and suffers the eternal penalty of disloyal transgression.
The most terrible imagery is employed in Scripture, to
depict the fate of the wicked:
the intensity of unquenchable fire,
the blackness of unbroken gloom,
the ceaseless descent into a bottomless abyss,
the gnawing of an undying worm, and
the living pains of the second death!
The main spirit of the language is that of anguish of a soul, which, in Hell, realizes its severance from God, and feels itself to be the guilty cause of this alienation which shuts out all hope or idea of return — and is ever reminded by all around it, in scenery and companionship, that it is lost — and lost forever; that it must be an anguish so intolerable — as to be above all description, and beyond all relief!
Now, there may be many aspects of retribution.
If memory recalls the multitudes of opportunities neglected, and wrings the spirit with remorse — may not imagination create a torture by picturing out to itself, the cross — and be so haunted with the spectral symbol, as to be forced, ever and always to gaze upon it — while the vision must pierce the heart with unutterable pangs, because it looked and was not saved, when the day of grace was there, and a look of faith would have brought salvation?
Or may not fierce and turbulent passion, in unchecked ascendancy, and yearning for gratification and finding none, devour itself in increasing bitterness? If the teaching of the parable of the talents is pondered — there we learn that gifts misimproved are taken away; that genius abused shall wither under the curse of sterility and helplessness, forever stung with the consciousness that itself has done it, and impelled to cry in agony to the Avenger, 'You are justified when You speak, and clear when You judge!'
But no matter in what form this perdition is felt, the fact is, that a soul which comes short of the end of its being — the glorification and enjoyment of God — is a lost soul! If it cannot enjoy God, if it cannot look in His face with confidence, if it cannot exult in His presence, if it does not feel Him to be its only portion and satisfaction, if it shrinks and trembles before Him and shuns Him, conscious that it is hostile to Him and unlike Him — oh, then, it is lost! For what can bless it or restore it? It must prey upon itself, and its essential immortality becomes its curse! It cannot die, or fall into non-existence. Oh, no! Could it cease to think or feel — there might be refuge; could it cast itself into stupor — there might be remedy. Without faith in God, or love to Him — it cannot but perish; and then there is no sphere where it can be happy, no state in which it can gladden itself or escape.
Thus the entire race of people, having wrested itself out of fellowship with God, having cast off His authority and incurred His just displeasure — might have perished, and most certainly would have perished — if the mercy of God had not prevented the dreadful doom! It had severed itself from God's throne, and would have fallen, and fallen forever — if the hand of Him that sits upon that throne had not arrested its descent, and a voice of ineffable love had cried, 'Deliver him from going down to the pit! I have found a ransom!'
But the object of the gift of Christ, is not merely to free sinners from danger, keep them from doom, and bring them into an existence of negative safety. He was given that positive blessings might be conferred; that rescue from danger — might be followed by renewal of heart; that the fallen spirit might not only be stopped in its downward progress — but raised, and brought back, and reunited to the only source of life and joy. The disease is not simply checked, and the patient kept in weakness — but health and activity are fully restored. The prodigal son has not a portion sent him to keep him from starvation in the 'far country,' and among the unclean herds which he tends; nor is he detained at the spot where his father met him and embraced him, and there washed and fed and clothed him; but he is at once brought into the household, to its inner chamber, clad in its best robe, feasted at its upper table and upon its richest viands! The believer in Christ not only does not perish — but has 'everlasting life.'
What a mine of indescribable happiness is in that term — LIFE! It is the sum of all blessing, the elixir of all enjoyment. Life, how eagerly cherished by all!
The young hope for it,
the aged are reluctant to leave it,
the sick man tugs for it,
the bad man dreads its termination, and
the good man prays for its continuance.
The whole struggle of the world, is for life — for means
to enliven and prolong it. Mankind is full of contrivances to
shut out the idea of death. Now, if there is such concern for the
present life — a life that is brief and chequered by
clouds and trials; a life that is rarely stretched to threescore and ten
years, and is ended amidst pains and tears — then oh, what intense
aspirations and prayers and wrestlings — should there not be after . . .
a life that is not measured by millenniums;
a life far above change and sorrow;
a life as serene as the bosom of its Giver,
a life as endless as God's own eternity!
For this eternal life, is not mere immortality — but a
happy immortality. It is the perfection of our spiritual being, enjoyed
in the presence of God:
the intellect acting in an atmosphere of unclouded truth;
the heart throbbing in a region of universal love;
life having found its highest aim and its noblest development in the praise and service of God!
This is life — to be in Him, near Him, like Him!
Himself the giver — and Himself the gift!
Himself the portion — and Himself the song!
"And not to one created thing
Shall our embrace be given;
But all our joy shall be in God,
For only God, is Heaven!"
'Sin has reigned unto death; but grace reigns through righteousness unto eternal life, by Christ Jesus our Lord.' How glorious, therefore, the purpose of the divine gift of the Son of God — to confer life; to give man the best of blessings — eternal life!
For this life never dies; it is 'everlasting life.' Ah, how chilly would our enjoyment of Heavenly glory be — if we had any suspicions of its termination! The faintest doubt of its coming to an end — would wither the laurel, and unstring the harp! All this glory would have the pall of gloom over it — if this life should come to its last moment! How saddening and vexatious must be the thought of such a possibility!
No! The life is everlasting — as it springs from the 'fountain of life.' The grace that conferred it never wearies in giving and never revokes its blessing! The throne before which it throbs and sings, is never eclipsed! The merit of its Redeemer's work can never be exhausted! The human spirit is itself endowed with an undying essence, and therefore this life of life lasts forever. The lamp which is kindled at the divine radiance, and burning so near the source which feeds it — can never be extinguished! So long as God lives and dwells in love — so long shall the redeemed live in Him, and dwell in His love! This is the high end of believing humanity — an end so godlike, that you cannot doubt that God has designed it, and prepared you for it!