Images de page

commendeth His Love toward us," we are told, "in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." But it cannot be supposed that God has for sinners any love of moral esteem. He who is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity cannot regard iniquity with complacency. God's moral estimate of a world lost in sin, even while He had it at heart to save them by the Sacrifice of His Son, is thus painted by the Psalmist : "God looked down from Heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that would understand, and seek after God. But they are all gone out of the way, they are altogether become abominable; there is also none that doeth good, no not one." And it is clear that among men also a feeling of benevolence towards miserable and degraded fellow-creatures may find place, even where there is (and can be) no feeling at all of moral esteem. A good man may strive with great earnestness to restore one who has lost his character, and to reinstate him in the position from which he has fallen, while the very fact of the object of this kindness having lost character precludes all esteem for the present. Then the question arises, whether this love of benevolence can be exercised towards God? Surely it may. It has been defined as the love which prompts good wishes and endeavours on behalf of another. Now ought not our hearts to be fondly set upon, and our endeavours directed towards, God's glory? Should we not long to further the interests of Christ by every means in our power? Should

we not eagerly push in, wherever there is an opening, to promote His cause? Alas! it is not a question; there can be no doubt that this spirit should animate us all; there can be no doubt that by this spirit we all profess to be animated, as often as we pray, "Hallowed be Thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in Heaven." But putting aside our professions, what is the real state of the case as regards our hearts? How many of us can honestly say that our most fervent wishes are embarked in the cause of Christ? There is plenty of room, God knows, for the advancement of that cause. There are souls steeped in misery, ignorance, and sin all around us. There are good enterprises on foot by the hundred, which may be furthered by our money, or, if we have not money to spend, by an expenditure of time and labour. There are heathens abroad, waiting to be converted; and there are baptized heathens at home, waiting to be instructed in their privileges, and taught their high vocation. Now are we occupying to the best of our ability any single corner of this vast field of usefulness? Have we ever seriously said to ourselves, "I wish to do something for my Lord and in His interests before I die,-I wish to push His cause forward in my generation with all the energy I can muster"? To say this seriously is to exercise towards God, and Christ who is God, the benevolence. And until we can in some measure say it seriously, we cannot say our Lord's Prayer

love of

quite sincerely; for this prayer assuredly implies that God's interests are nearer to the petitioner's heart than the supply of his own wants. Oh, this Lord's Prayer, what a canon does it supply for testing and correcting our spiritual state! How surely and infallibly does conformity to the spirit of it imply growth in grace! Therefore, Lord, conform us more and more to its spirit, and

"Teach us this, and every day,

To live more nearly as we pray."



"En the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, Ef any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. . . . ‘Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth this is the Prophet. Others said, This is

the Christ."-JOHN vii. 37, 38. 40, 41.


HE above weighty saying of Our Blessed Lord produced among some of His hearers an immediate conviction that He was the Prophet whom the Jews looked for,-that He was the Christ. We gather from hence that these words meet some instinct of the human heart; that Our Lord, when uttering them, struck a note which vibrated in the inmost souls of His hearers. Now what shall we suppose to have been the secret of their effect?

It was no doubt this, that many of the audience (all those of them, probably, in whom there was any seriousness or thoughtfulness of character) felt that they them

selves were in a spiritual sense athirst, that there was a craving in the inner man after light, and truth, and love, which nothing upon earth met. When, therefore, the very remarkable Personage, who had recently appeared in their midst, stood forth and said, "If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink," they felt that He was making an offer, of which they had need to avail themselves, that His word interpreted the longing of their souls, and held out a hope of satisfying it. They are convinced of His claims, by His offering them exactly what they had felt the want of.

We have been led, in the course of the argument of this work, to the subject of the love of God; and we begin by observing that, in order to the existence of love between two parties, there must be a secret affinity between them, in virtue of which one supplies what the other needs. This is visible in all the forms of human friendship. Friendship by no means seems to take root most deeply between persons of similar characters and sentiments. Rather the contrary as a general rule. Friendship is not a monotony, in which each of the characters sounds forth the same note; but a harmony, in which two notes are combined, which have some relation immediately recognized by the ear. Thus it is, to take the most obvious instance, in the case of friendship between the sexes, to which the name of love is commonly appropriated. The general foundation of that affection is just this, that one sex supplies


« PrécédentContinuer »