« PreviousContinue »
enough to part with for him. The more I reflect upon the love of God, the more I hate myself for the base and disingenuous requital of it. I could not have thought that I had been half so wicked, if I had not seen so much of the love of God to me.
Or, perhaps, you would wish to have faith in exercise. Why, then, think of the love of God. We are backward to trust those of whose love we are suspicious. But when we are persuaded that they are sincere in their professions of kindness and friendship, we can easily and entirely confide in them. It is so here. If God had been a perfect stranger to me, or one that I had only heard of by the hearing of my ear, but had never any familiar intercourse with him, it would have been no great wonder if I had been sometimes diffident and distrustful : but now that I have known him so long, and known him so well, now that he has in so many ways discovered his love to me, and told me of still greater and better things which he has in store for me hereafter, I must believe him. It is impossible to doubt his making good his promise. I could trust him for any thing.
Once more. Perhaps you would wish to have your love more vigorous and inflamed. Why, then, think of the love of God; for, as we say,
Love begets love;" and endeavour to think of it with appropriation.
The Father himself loveth you. O if I could but be sure of that, I should love him with all my heart, and with all my soul, and with all my mind, and with all my strength; but now I am afraid it would be presumption. Presumption is, indeed, a dangerous thing, and too common. But without entering into an argument about the matter, I ask, in one word, Do you love God? Why, then, you may be sure that he loves you. For, as the apostle says,
“ We love him because he first loved us.” If you can hope that this is your case, then make an attempt to apply those discoveries of God's love in the instances before mentioned.
O, my soul, is it really so; that the great God of heaven has a regard for me? Does the Father himself love me? What ! such a sinful provoking worm as I ? Does God think of me thoughts of peace, and not of evil ? Does he vouchsafe to dwell with me now; and does he design to take me to dwell with him in his kingdom above for ever? Is he well pleased with my poor prayers ? Has he bestowed such gifts upon me? Now I know that he loves me, seeing he has not withheld his Son, his only Son from me. What! and is Jesus mine? His wisdom mine ? His righteousness mine? His power mine? His glory mine ? Is it really so, and my heart still unaffected ? 0 thou who touchest the mountains and they smoke, touch my frozen heart with a live coal from the altar, that,
while I am musing upon this amazing love of God I may
love to him kindled into a bright and heavenly flame; that I may be gradually made meet for that better world, of more perfect vision and enjoyment; where I shall know as I am known, and love as I am loved.
Haste my Beloved, and remove
These interposing days;
And all my powers be praise.
“ For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread : and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come.” 1 Cor. xi. 23-26.
Christians, you have been now contemplating and admiring the love of God to you, and most solemnly professing your love and gratitude to him. It remains now to make it appear,
love not in word only, but in deed and in truth. While you are here round his table, with such sights before you, it is impossible not to love him. But the time will be, when you go out again into the world; when this thing entices, and that thing entices; when you meet with many things that solicit your affections : then imagine that you hear God whispering,
“ Lovest thou me more than these ? Show that you do by giving up every competition.”
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. Know ye not, that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
The Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ. Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts, and stablish yon in every good word and work.
[October 1, 1786.)
PROVERBS XXIlI. 1.
WHEN THOU SITTEST TO EAT WITH A RULER, CONSIDER
DILIGENTLY WHAT IS BEFORE THEE.
Tus is a seasonable caution: that, when Jesus has brought us into his banquetting house, and condescends to offer to sup with us, and invites us to sup with him, we may not, by an unsuitable behaviour, spoil all.
You can easily imagine what you should do if you were invited to the table of an earthly prince. Not a little pleased with the honour that was done you by the invitation, when so many of your neighbours were left out, you would be anxiously wishing for the time, and anticipating the pleasure you expected at the royal banquet; and, when the day was come, you would be early at your preparations ; and, when introduced into the palace, and bid to take your place among the guests, the presence of the sovereign, and so many of the nobility, would strike an awe upon your minds, and you would be