Love in the saints is a noble grace—but superlatively glorious in God. On it
angels look, and admire; and I should look, and adore. Everything in God has
the majesty of a God. Hence, his mercy is in the heavens; his
truth reaches to the clouds; his justice is like majestic
mountains; his judgments are a great deep; his pity is like
that of a father; his patience great to a miracle; he is ready to forgive;
his goodness is abundant unto all; and his love, in height,
breadth, depth, and length—past knowledge.
Although the mercy-seat that dwells so long between the
cherubim of gospel-grace shall in a short time, be turned into the fiery
throne of judgment; and long-abused patience turned into indignation and
wrath; when the royal signet that sealed the salvation of thousands, shall
stamp the irreversible doom of an unbelieving world; yet love in God shall
undergo no change, Here, in his present world, God's love shines as the
morning-star, through the scattered clouds. In eternity, it shall shine as
the noon-day sun, in the illuminated regions of glory.
"From everlasting to everlasting," is the epithet of
love. A love without beginning and without end—gives a bliss without
limits and bounds! This amazing love of God produces a sweet similitude
in the love of his saints; so that, as the one measures with the existence
of God, from everlasting to everlasting, the other measures with the
existence of the new creature, from the hour of conversion to all eternity.
Their gifts shall end, their graces change, faith be turned into vision,
hope into fruition. But their love shall neither end nor change! It shall
heighten and brighten in the altitude of glory, when the drop is lost in the
ocean, when the soul arrives at its center, and rests, with ineffable
delight, and unspeakable ravishment in God!
Again, O how free is this love of God! nothing
moving him to love. When we love, it is for something we think excellent and
agreeable to us. But God loves the naked child when weltering in its blood,
and, as a proof of his astonishing love—cleanses, clothes and makes it
lovely through his loveliness being put upon it.
Again, his love is a full love. The oceans ebb and
flow; if at one time they cover the shores, at another time they leave their
beds bare and dry. But his love is perfect in its plenitude, notwithstanding
the boundless oceans oceans of his love, that have already watered the whole
universe; that have run in mighty torrents among the angelic and seraphic
multitudes above, and in amazing inundations among fallen men below. Though
there be repeated manifestations of love to his hidden ones, and thousands
of his favorites feast on this heavenly food, while traveling through this
waste howling wilderness; yes, though the manifestation of his love, through
the unnumbered ages of eternity, shall be continued to the glorified throng,
still its ardor and exuberance will be evermore the same. The ocean of his
love, will not be one drop less for all the waterings of the fields of
bliss. After the sun of righteousness, through a duration in eternity beyond
conception, and above the reach of thought—has illuminated the spacious
continent of glory with his beams—not one ray, not one irradiation, shall be
in the least diminished.
Again, his love is efficient, active, and
an operative love. I may love a fellow-creature, or an absent friend,
and yet avail them nothing, nor they so much as know it. But the love of
God, like the light, reveals itself wherever it is. His love effectually
draws us—and we run to him. His love constrains and compels our love. For a
pardoned sinner cannot choose but love the one who so lovingly pardons.
Wherever the heavenly spark falls, it sets the soul in a flame!
Again, the love of God is a fixed and
unchangeable love; and the more the soul is in sorrow or distress, the
more free and full are the communications of divine love. In the time of
need, the world's love will give us the slip; but in the most calamitous
circumstances, sacred love performs the part of two loves, and sticks closer
than a brother. Mortal love, (alas! how many can attest the truth of this!)
may today appear ardent, steadfast and sincere—but tomorrow be entirely
cooled; yes, converted into slander, hatred, and revenge! But let all the
sons of God know, that divine love shall be to them what the holy waters
were to the prophet, ever on the increase, until it is an ocean to swim in
forever! Against fears on every side this is comfort—that God will rest in
his immutable love to his people.
Divine love is also a beneficent love. Jonathan
loved David exceedingly—but could not do much for him, nor save him from
being expelled his native country. But the love of God is fruitful of every
blessing. It is the tree which bears all kinds of fruits that nourish the
soul, and feast every grace. The love of poor men can bring no advantage to
the people loved: but when God sets his love upon a sinner, all at once, he
who had nothing—has all things—life, liberty, friends, riches, glory, a
kingdom; sufficiency here, and all-sufficiency hereafter; in a word, all
that can be named, sought after, wished for, or thought upon! Then, you sons
of earth! hug yourselves in the embrace of wealth, and bless your own
condition—but presume not that you are the favorites of heaven because his
common providence pours upon you. As for me, may I be the object of this
love, and, in spite of poverty—I am rich; in spite of sin—I am forgiven and
secure, and walk on triumphing to the better country.
But again, the love of God is an intimate love. O
how the high and lofty One reveals the secrets of his covenant, and the
sweets of his love to that soul—where he condescends to come and dwell! When
by the Holy Spirit, the love of God is shed abroad in the soul, what
heavenly joy refreshes the whole inner man! "I know you by name," says Job.
"I beseech you show me your glory," says Moses. The intimacy begun in
time—is the bliss of eternity—and in greater or lesser degree is the
privilege of every believer. The more our fellowship is with the Father, and
his son Jesus Christ, the more of his divine likeness we shall put on; and
in the eternal world, in the different degrees of assimilation to God,
consist the different degrees of glory.
Again, the love of God is infinite—and what that
is, none but an infinite Being knows. Our love is a spark—his is the sun!
Our love is a drop—his is the ocean!
Again, his love is uninterrupted. Not sin within
us; not hell outside us; nor Satan accusing us at the throne—can interrupt
his love. This is encouragement to serve him in spite of sin; and in the
face of enemies.
Lastly, his love is eternal. Heaven and earth
shall pass away—but his love will not. Time must end—but his love attends
the saints beyond the grave. Death cools the love of the nearest
relations—but cannot separate from us the love of God. Love is—the
quintessence of bliss, the heart of heaven, the joy of angels, the song of
the redeemed, and the character of God. O happy day! when I shall rise to
enjoy that love, which transcends the glory of the redeemed, and all the
anthems of angelic choirs!