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 noonday 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 but choose
to 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 from 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!