Images de page


The love of God being our end in religion, it is proposed to
investigate it somewhat fully-different kinds of love exemplified
in human life-I. the love of natural affection—its distinction from
the love of gratitude, and from that of moral esteem-it is of the
nature of an instinct-is seen even in the lower animals-God
being our Father, this love should fasten upon Him, as its supreme
object the tender love of God for all His creatures-the still
tenderer bond of Fatherhood, which binds Him to His offspring—
this love will spring up in the heart, if we listen to Our Lord's
announcement of God's Fatherhood-II. the love of gratitude-it
is not the benefit conferred which gives rise to it, but the kind
sentiment of the benefactor-how this is apparent in children—the
love of gratitude the great moral engine which the Gospel em-


[ocr errors]

Man, alone of all creatures, made in God's Image-from the
consideration of the affinity, resulting from the correspondence
between man's needs and God's fulness, we pass to the affinity
involved in man's filial relationship to God-man's likeness to
God-I. in the constitution of his nature-human nature presents
an image of the Trinity in Unity-" body, soul, and spirit," their
distinctness, and yet their unity in each man-the mystery of the
Divine Nature hardly greater than that of the human-II. in his
natural powers-(a) intellectual-man a creator in art, in poetry, in
music, in civilization generally-the lower animals only producers
(b) in his moral powers-free-will, with the rational counsel
involved in it-how a firm assurance of the self-determining power
of the will may be of service to us in the moment of temptation-
how the fact that all men are made in God's Image, and thus bear
marks of sonship to Him, is compatible with the Scriptural ascrip-
tion of sonship only to the believing and baptized—man, originally

Incompetency of sentiments, as distinct from principles, to work

a change of character-the difficulty of loving God without a
definite conception of Him, and the difficulty of definitely con-
ceiving Him-what are affection and sympathy, as they exist in
the Divine Nature?-but the Nature of God is made by the In-
carnation level to our conceptions-illustration from the sunlight,
which can only be intelligently studied by looking at it through
the medium of the prism or the raindrops-God made level to our
apprehensions in the Person of Christ--the stern elements in Our
Lord's character, and their adjustment with the tender elements-
God made level to our sympathies in the Person of Christ-the
emotions of Our Lord's heart are a translation into the language of
humanity of the (to us incomprehensible) affections of the Divine
Mind-yet, as we have never seen Christ, how is His Incarnation
such an advantage to us, as supplying us with definite conceptions
of God?-admitted difficulty of believing and loving without seeing
--we must remember that acquaintance with Christ upon earth was
attended with compensating disadvantages, from which our view of
Him is free-also we must bear in mind the exact portraiture of
Him by the Evangelists, and the four different points of view from
which those portraits are taken-do we love the whole character

The love of gratitude defined to be a sense of God's love-distinc-

tion between this and a feeling awakened by God's love-illustration

from nature the quickening of the seed by the sun's warmth is an

effect produced by the sun; but the lustre of the moon is only sun-

light reflected from the moon-so our love to God is actually God's

love to us, shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost-I. if this

be so, the more fully we expose our hearts to the love of God, the

more we shall love Him-groundless apprehensions of sinners feel-

ing free to sin, if the love of God is too fully and freely exhibited to

them the jewel cannot sparkle without light which it may reflect;

nor the heart without love which it may reflect-II. there can be

no merit in merely giving back that which God sheds on us--no

merit therefore in loving Him-and therefore no merit in any form

of human virtue-III. what hinders us from so realizing God's love

as to love Him in return-the spiritual state of the heathen com-

pared to that part of the earth's surface which is turned away from

the sun-the spiritual state of the unbelieving Christian compared

to that of a man who hides himself in a hovel from the surrounding

light of day-two great truths which must be kept in sight, in seek-

ing a realizing faith--from which truths flow these counsels

I. seek for faith in prayer-earnestness in prayer is itself an answer

to such prayers, because we cannot pray earnestly without a certain

measure of faith-II. make the love of God in the free gift of His

Son for sinners a subject of meditation-think what love the

sacrifice of a Son must import-III. act as if you had the faith

and love to which you aspire, and in feebly practising, the Divine

Power shall come to you

« PrécédentContinuer »