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a very arduous and elaborate business, which cannot be achieved in a short time. Nature says that approaches must be thrown up by prayers, and fastings, and ordinances, before we can come at the footstool of an offended God. That, moreover, we must draw near to Him after the established and methodized system, humbling ourselves first, and dreading His vengeance, then lifting up our heads in hope, and finally, after such due preparation, offering our prayer for mercy. Now is not all this going round, when we might go direct to the point at once? And if this policy is made a plea for delay in returning, is it not most hazardous, inasmuch as only the present moment of life is ours for certain ? What saith the Scripture ? “Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much.” A loving confidence in the God we have offended, though not of course in any shape meritorious, is the key to His heart, the key which unlocks the treasury of His grace. What is the object in all religion? What is the thing to be done, the end to be arrived at? “Love out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.” Then would it not be wiser, shorter, better, to make straight for this end at once ? Nature whispers that, having been unfaithful to Him, I ought to go to God in tears. So I ought; but if the tears were not shed by love, they would not be acceptable. Then, with a perfect confidence in the power of the Blood of Christ to wash away this (as every other) stain from the conscience, let me walk straight up to my Heavenly Father with the utmost amount of filial affection, filial confidence, filial yearning, which I can muster. My filial relationship to Him cannot be ruptured by my sin. And God's fatherly compassion, founded upon that relationship, cannot be expunged from His heart, even should His holiness and justice oblige Him to banish me. Then let me take my stand upon that compassion which prompted the gift of Christ for me, and plead it with Him, and tell Him that I want a free forgiveness, in order that I may return again to His guidance with as little delay as may be. Tears will be in the way to flow, when I think upon His. much abused love, and try my best to return it. For great are His gifts to the slightest exercise of confidence on the part of His children. Rich is His answer to the prayer, in which He hears even a single note of filial sentiment. When the prodigal is yet a great way off, the father sees him, and runs, and falls on his neck and kisses him. Verily we do Him wrong to think that He, Who hath given up His Son for us all, requires laborious preparations before we can approach Him, or can be pleased with any thing short of love. Balak's three times seven altars and seven rams were quite beside the mark, as a means of winning the Divine acceptance. He asked ?
I have taken Bishop Butler's view of the meaning of this passage in Micah (vi. 5, 6), without however being ignorant of what is to be said again it. According to this view there is no break between v. 5 and 6; but vu. 6, 7 give Balak’s “consulta
(and it is the question which Nature always asks), “Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old ? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil ?" And how was he answered by the Prophet ?—that love to man, and a humble affectionate trust in God, is the only available sacrifice. “He hath showed thee, O man, what is good ; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?"
tion,” and v. 8, “what Balaam, the son of Beor, answered him.” It makes no difference to my argument, whether this, or the contrary view be adopted. Either way, the lesson of vv. 6, 7, 8 is just the same.
OF THE VARIOUS SENTIMENTS EMBRACED IN THE
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind.”—LUKE X. 27.
sometimes impairs our perception of its force. Nor are the inspired sentences of Holy Scripture exceptions to this rule. As by dissecting a dead body in an anatomy school you could gain no notion of the contour, general bearing, and power of the living body ; as by bringing a microscope to bear upon the vein of an insect's wing you could form no just conception of that insect, as it disports itself in the summer sun; so by entering with too great minuteness into the language of Holy Scripture, it is possible to miss (or at least to apprehend but feebly) its great purport. Accordingly, I do not propose to draw any fanciful distinctions between the several faculties here specified as “the
“ heart," "the soul," "the strength," and "the mind." The great scope of the precept obviously is that we should love God with all our powers. Whatever fibres there are in our nature, by which we cling and cleave to those around us, these fibres must all throw themselves out towards Him, and embrace Him as their first object.
Yet without appropriating any distinct force to each of the words of which our text is made up, we may remark generally in illustration of it that there are several senses in which the word “love” is used, or rather several kinds of love, between which we need not hesitate to draw a distinction, because such a distinction rests upon a real and palpable difference.
We saw in our last Chapter that the love of God is the sum and substance of all true Religion, and that in the pursuit of Holiness this love and the exercise of it must be kept steadily before us as our end. The love of God, then, in its different varieties, demands some amount of study from all who would follow after Holiness, and it will not be giving it too prominent a place in our argument if we devote to it several Chapters. In the present Chapter we will trace only the divisions of the subject, taking up afterwards more fully any of those divisions which it seems most necessary to enlarge upon.
1. The first idea which starts into the mind at the mention of the word “love,” the earliest form in which love presents itself to us, is that of natural affection. The little child loves its parents, clings to its mother,