Solitude Sweetened

by James Meikle, 1730-1799

Love in God

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!