« PrécédentContinuer »
love yourself away, to Him you love; you lack feeling that He will grudge you any good thing, yet a full, faithful, and final surrender of all. if you let Him see that you are entirely deHere is the secret of your life-failure, and the pendent upon Him. No; God indeed wants you only secret of blessing. “Bring ye now all the to be rich, and have great possessions; but this tithes into my Storehouse, Christ Jesus, and can only be on one condition-"as having
, prove Me now herewith if I will not open to you nothing, and yet possessing all things.” Sit the windows of heaven, and pour you out a loose to all, and so lose none. blessing, so that there shall not be room enough See, then, how He deals with those whom He to receive it." Reader, “ Prore me now.” But truly loves. He puts His finger on the failing,
, lo! at once his countenance fell, his pursuit the fault, the weakness, the idol, the sin, and after holiness ceases; sad and sullenly he with this in the utmost tenderness and love. Young drew, and left the Saviour, because he could man, thou doest well to keep the commandnot leave his possessions, for he had, we read, ments; young man, I greatly honour thy zeal great possessions. He little knew what much and holy ambition; but, young ruler, let me regreater possessions he was leaving behind in mind you of this, if thou wilt have treasure in Jesus, which he might have had then and heaven, sell whatsoever thou hast. There is there in addition to his own, if he had only first one idol which is a stumbling-block in your brought his own to Jesus—immediate peace, heart and in your path. There is idolatry in undying joy, and inalienable glory. But it thy poor heart. Let that go, and all is thine. is necessary that both hands should be empty And so let us deal honestly with Him to-day, to take these away.
whether rich or poor: let us each run and kneel, And how many there are in our own day and ask, “What lack I yet?" and wait till He who are doing the very same thing-running places His finger on the secret sin, or the with all eagerness, and kneeling with all humi- allowed failing, or the idol buried out of sight, liation, and crying with all importunity at the and wait on till He sets that secret thing in the feet of Jesus, " What lack I yet ?” They have sight of His countenance, and then take it back done much, walked consistently, and served again if you dare. zealously, and they cannot understand where is One thing is quite enough to exclude the the source of failure, and how it is they do not blessing. Adam's one sin let in all sin. Moses' realise fulness of joy and power. They are
one sin-or weakness, as we should now call it bent on getting everything that is to be got. -shut out the fulness of the blessing. And it They are bound to have the last spiritual gift, is remarkable that the Pentateuch, or Book of the latest spiritual novelty—they are deter- the Law, begins and ends with the solemn conmined to get it : “What lack I yet ?” Nay, sequences of a single sin. The first expelled believer, the inquiry should rather be, IVhat from Eden, and the second excluded from does God lack yet? “They that will be rich," Canaan. “One thing thou lackest." Christ is even in this sense, may fall into a snare through still saying it in our ears, and gazing upon us self-aggrandizement.
with that look of searching, sifting, and yet You want to build up a noble self, a nobler alluring love. “One thing thou lackest.” Shall self it may be, which shall have all at any cost. we not say instantly, Lord, show me what it is, But God wants Himself to have all at any cost, and there shall be none. and must have all; and what is more, it must be brought to Him in a broken self; for there “THOU GAVEST ME NO KISS." must be no reserve--nothing left clinging to Child ! servant ! thou art serving Me apart; the vessel-no suspicion of God, as an austere Draw near, and taste the sweetness of my heart; man, who will not give anything back, and Drink from my lips the love that shall warm thine; therefore you must keep back something - no Bring thy best gifts, and freely take of mine.
Thou doest well to call Me Master ! Lord !
that new commandment which has proved such And bid Me welcome to thy home, and board, a priceless benefit to the Church. Thus did the To give the choicest things thou hast in store; Saviour convert the sin of man and the wrath of But this poor erring one has loved Me more. devils into an instrument for His Father's glory.
Yes, LOVE was wanting, terribly wanting, in that She gives herself—she pours from her sad eyes
distinguished circle, and Jesus came to command, The water which thy lack of love denies ;
to illustrate, to bestow it. As the King of Love, And kisses, with which thou hast failed to greet,
He commanded it. Because “all His biddings were She lavishes upon my weary
enablings,” He was there to bestow it. And He Thou hast a treasure which thou dost withhold,
presented HIMSELF as Love's Pattern. So that More precious than thy silver, or thy gold ;
this one verse exhibits Jesus as (a) the Prince, (6) An alabaster box of fragrant store,
the Pattern, and (c) the Power of Love. Thou dost not, like this loving one, outpour.
TIIE PRINCE OF LOVE. I do accept thy service, though so cold
“This is My commandment.” He speaks as (But hers is dearer far a hundredfold).
one having authority; as a Lawgiver; as a King Thy little love prepared the way for hers,
against whom there is no rising up" (Prov. xxx. Her tenderness, her penitence and tears.
31). We are given no choice. His word is absolute.
We are to love or to die. It is a "new command. Now to thy lofty soul let her unfold
ment” (ch. xiii. 34); not newly published, but The secret of devotion ; here behold
re-cast; newly kept, newly exemplified. It once was, The fallen one uplifted, and forgiven,
“Love thy neighbour as thou lovest thyself" (Lev. The lost of earth, become the joy of heaven.
xix. 18). But self-love had become so hopelessly
intertwined with selfishness that no one living could See how the lowly heart draws near to mine;
tell where self-love ended, and where selfishness In self-abandonment 0 give Me thine ! Then shall thy spirit feel my healing touch,
began. Now, the great characteristic of the Lord
Jesus was this—that He seemed to have no self, so And be like hers restored, by loving much.
that He was able to keep this second great command Richmond.
ment as God meant it to be kept, and as it had never been kept before ; He understood it; He un
covered its meaning, and lived it out. Therefore it JESUS; THE PRINCE, THE PATTERN
is called New, because it reads no longer, “ Love as AND THE POWER OF LOVE.
thou lovest thyself;" but because it reads, “Love
as Jesus hath loved thee.” What are we commanded "This is My commandment, that ye love one another, as
to do? To love. Never was conviction of sin more I have loved you”—John xv. 12.
gentle, more almighty. He did not say with anger THERE was a river flowing through that upper and with asperity that they were destitute of love. chamber that memorable night, unheard, invisible; He simply says, “ Love ;'' but there lay beneath that but deep and broad, and rapid ; it was the river of command the knowledge of the fact, or else the
1 Love, pouring from God the Father's bosom into command would have been superfluous. That simple the bosom of His Son, and from the bosom of His word “ Love" is as full of wounds as it is full of Son into the bosom of His disciples. But there its healing. It carries this message to the soul—that waters, like the waters of the Jordan pouring into love is wanting; it pierces and penetrates, and the Dead Sea, were confined and perished. Finding wakes up bitter recollections. Forms arise around no vent, no outlet, they became stagnant and bitter. us of those whom we cannot truly say we love—the The disciples certainly loved the Lord Jesus, but form of someone contrary to us in business, conHe observed, with infinite pain, that they did not trary to us in the Church, contrary to us in the love each other. This was the blemish in which social circle, yea, even contrary to us in the home; Satan gloried, the one darkest of all spots in their it may be a servant, a brother, a sister, or, perChristian character ; one so dark that it called forth chance, a husband, a wife, a parent! Alas, to have
BY REV, H. B. MACARTNEY.
THE LOSS OF NOT LOVING.
lived without love was to live in sin: and the
“ Owe no of sin is death! But what is love ? Love is desire. man anything, but to love one another."
“ This is It is, in Saxon, to lean forward, to be drawn towards the message, ... that we should love one another.' It is the soul going forth from itself. It is the great “This is His commandment, that we ... love one heart of a man in motion towards an object-to another.” · Beloved, let us love one another." take delight in it, to study it, to be near it, to “Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love
one another, God us here? Not the Lord Himself; not the Father; dwelleth in us, and His love is perfected in us." not the sinner ; but the believer--the many mem- Have you ever observed that just as love is one of bers of the believing body. We are to love one the twelve fruits of the Spirit, yielded by Jesus the another ! The object is a compound one : partly tree of life, so love bears twelvefold fruit-prefergood, partly evil; partly Adam, partly Christ. This ring, edifying, receiving, admonishing, having the constitutes the difficulty of obedience. If believers same care one for another, serving, bearing one were mainly or altogether holy, to love them would another's burdens, forbearing, forgiving, comforting, be easy. But the admixture, the preponderance of exhorting, considering one another? The brethren sin, the much of self, the little of God that we detect of the Lord are often left neglected, wounded, comin them, makes obedience hard. Yet obedience is fortless, naked, just because we have not love. For imperative. “This is My commandment !" want of it we are ill, morose, impatient, petulant,
easily provoked, oftentimes unkind. A well of love
makes oases everywhere, makes the wilderness to Not to love is transgression. An unloving state blossom. Alas, for the wrongs we have never righted, , is a state of sin ; and a state of sin, to say the for the griefs we have never shared, for the tears we least of it, involves tremendous Loss. It involves have never wiped, for the burdens we have never a loss to God, a loss peculiarly grievous to His borne ! It involves a loss to the whole world. nature as a Father. He can pay no visit of love to Their eyes are holden. The Master they cannot a loveless heart, even though that heart be the see. The servant is to them the only visible object. heart of His child. It is only where love is that They judge of the One by the other. A believer God unveils, comes to manifest Himself, and comes without love defames, belies, calumniates his Lord; to tarry. Jesus said, “If a man love Me, he will his life is a picture of God's dear Son, to be hung keep My word; and My Father will love him; and in the world's gallery, and shame on him that he we will come unto him, and make our abode takes no pains in the painting of it. A believer, with him.” (Ch. xiv. 23.) It involves a loss to on the other hand, when full of love, attracts the ourselves. Where the spring of love is dry, there world by his own great personal beauty. At first is a loss of ASSURANCE. “Hereby do we know that worldlings say contemptuously—“What is thy Bewe know Him, if we keep His commandments. loved more than another beloved ?" and yet they Whoso keepeth His word, in him verily is the love add—“O thou fairest among women" (Song iv. of God perfected; hereby know we that we are in 9). But when, utterly unconscious of any beauty Him” (1 John ii. 3-5). There is also loss of joy. but His beauty, the believer breaks forth into His To have the emotion of love in the heart, even praises, a desire to see Him is awakened, and they without a special Divine manifestation, is no ordi- exclaim-“Whither is thy Beloved gone, O thou nary pleasure. To have God Himself entering the fairest among women? Whither is thy Beloved garden of the soul is the most intense pleasure of turned aside ? that we may seek Him with thee" which we are capable. To have neither love nor (Song vi. 1). Love for Christ in Himself, for the God of love must be an indescribable loss. Christ in His people, is our badge, our banner, our There may even be the loss of LIFE. “For he that token. “By this shall all men know that ye are loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can My disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John he love God whom he hath not seen ?” (1 John xiii. 35). Souls are dying for want of love. Let iv. 20.) It involves a loss to the whole Church. us awake to righteousness and sin not. May God Observe the great stress which the Holy Spirit lays cleanse from blood guiltiness and keep us on obedience in this particular. “Love the brother-clean.
THE PATTERN OF LOVE.
a ceaseless tide, irrespective of the merits of its “A8 I have loved you." The Lord Jesus insists object. On, that I might knew where I might find it ! on love, and He is our pattern in love. A form, I do know. It is in Jesus. It is “a perfume, a an image on which to gaze mentally, to which confection after the art of the apothecary, tempered to conform our life, is as necessary to us as the together, pure and holy.” There is no other like it image which God showed Moses was necessary
in all the world. Christ's own love to His own to Bezaleel, the son of Uri, when constructing the children belongs to His own self. It is rare, pecutabernacle. He had, as we have, three essential
liar, and alone. It is one and indivisible ; but, things—the command, the power, and the pattern blessed be His glorious name, it is transmissible ; it
— (Ex. xxxi.).
is communicable. They who abide in Christ abide Jesus, to be a pattern of brotherly love, had to in the very atmosphere of His love ; and all their become a brother. To become a brother, He had to garments smell of stacte, and onycha, and galbanum, empty Himself of all His glory and to sit in dust! and pure frankincense ! It is a holy anointing oil His was no love of yesterday ; it was a love of from God, for Aaron and for his sons (Ex. xxx. 30,
; remote antiquity, culminating now in sacrifice. If 38). No one should be without it. Christ's love you want to measure His love, take the meanest for Christ's people at all times should occupy an
in angel in heaven's host as a point midway between
every what Jesus was and what He became. Behold that
LOVE'S DEEDS. young man's countenance, it is like lightning! His
The acts of the Lord Jesus stand as a pattern beauty, it is to our eyes transcendent ! His raiment,
of love hitherto unknown. His Church had, I know, verily I say unto you, that even Solomon in all His glory was not arrayed like one of these! Take this
been chosen before the foundation of the world, but
, least of all the angels, I say, as a central point, and do you remember that the evening before its birth, I
I measure upwards from him to the unutterable glory which Paul and John and Isaiah and Ezekiel and
continued all night in prayer to God”? and when it
was born He counted it and cared for it as His own Daniel saw, and measure downwards from him to the crimson corpse on Calvary, and you will only
flesh, "for no man ever yet hated his own flesh, but
nourisheth and cherisheth it even as the Lord the have measured one span of Jesu's infinite love.
Church." And yet His measure is our measure, our guide, our
St. Mark (iii. 14), in a few short words, As He descended in love from the gives us one of the grandest pictures of Christ's love highest heights to depths untrodden, dread, unutter to His disciples. He says, “ He ordained twelve, able; so must the best, the richest of us descend that they should be with Him ;" with Him at all to any place, how vile soever, where less than the hours, by night and day; with Him in honour, and
, least of all saints is lying, to any spot to which in dishonour ; with Him in the common round, Jesus Himself would come, if He were here, to and in the grandest periods of His history; with
, touch most loathsome diseases, to do most menial Him by land and sea ; with Him in famine and in acts, to serve the mind, the body, or the soul.
festivity. He loved their society. They were never
a burden to Him, notwithstanding their manifold LOVE'S CONSTANCY.
imperfections. Love made delightful the drudgery As a pattern of brotherly love, Jesus felt as a of serving them. He yearned for the close commubrother. One of the loveliest features of His love nion which His last evening on earth with them • was its constancy. It was a constancy that knew would afford—“With desire have I desired to eat itself, and knew that it could survive inconstancy this passover with you before I suffer.” He yearned in others. Fully aware that His disciples would for their very presence—“Tarry ye here, and watch desert Him in the hour of danger, still He said, with Me." He never let them stray far out of His “After that I am risen again, I will go before you sight—"While I was with them in the world, I into Galilee." “Having loved His own which were kept them in Thy name." He fain would have in the world, He loved them unto the end." To carried them with Him to view the bitter end, but, love, therefore, as He loved, we must by some means failing that, He paved the way for fresh, renewed become possessed of a love that pours itself forth in companionship in the eternal city, making this
request—" Father, I will that they also whom Thou our lives for the brethren! Oh for such a love hast given Me be with Me where I am.” But they kindling in the soul; a love to others—to others are more to Him than companions. He includes whom Christ loves; a love that leans forward over them among His nearest and dearest—“Behold my the crag from which we are viewing the Church of mother and my brethren.” Yea, beyond the exalted Jesus in stern and dire necessity, labouring in the rank of kinsmen, He calls them into a still inner, very fire, and, though the fire was hell itself, taking more sacred circle, and makes them bosom friends the final plunge! This is consecration to the cause (John xv. 15). How His love cares even for their of God, and love shrinks not from it. bodies ! He washes their feet. He numbers the
“O Lord, that I could waste my life for others, hairs of their head. Fearless, He calms their ner.
With no ends of my own; vous fears with “ Peace, be still.” The Mighty One
That I could pour myself into my
And live for them alone." compassionates their human weakness, and crosses the rugged waters to relieve them when “ toiling in
THE POWER OF LOVE. rowing." Able Himself to fast for forty days, Ho This longing Christ alone satisfies. He can do remembers the pangs of their hunger; and when so, because He is the Fount of Love, containing they were far out of sight He sees that they lack that very thing which you want within Himself. nothing. Himself taken prisoner, He cries, “Let He does do so—First, by knowledge ; by causing these go their way." How His love cared for their you to understand that love is only part of all His understandings! How much had to be untaught! fulness, and that you have never perceived, or How simple His teaching ! How wise in letting in valued, or thirsted for, this portion of His fulness the light of heaven little by little, as they were able before—but that it is as free to you as any other to bear it, on the gross darkness and corruption of part, such as pardon and peace. the mind ! How He encourages conversation! How Secondly, by an act of consecration on your part, silent is He even in the presence of conspicuous whereby all goods, time, tastes—all lusts, passions faults, when faultfinding would do no good! Con- and proclivities, are rendered up and laid on the sider His love in sharing with them His glorious altar for burning—whereby every member of the power over sickness, devils, and disease! Consider body which used to serve sin is laid on the altar His love in being as one who had been deaf and for service. Unlike the man of the world, who, by blind in His previous intercourse with them, and his “last will and testament," bequeaths everything meeting them sooner than He had promised, just that he possesses to his heirs and assigns for ever, after the flush and joy of Resurrection! What and then returns to live as long as ever he can, and depth in a love that outlived habitual misunder- to make possession of his property by others as standing and unbelief! Never a word of His remote as possible--unlike this, I say, our act of received as literally true! Himself never trusted ! consecration must be; a giving Christ instant posJudas, loving his money-bag more than the Master session of all that we carnally hold dear, a making of heaven's mint, and all the eleven watching Him the Heir and Lord of all, and then in an for a kingdom that should be brighter than their instantaneous death with Christ—His death on King! What love there was in His taking thought Calvary-a death in another's death, yet awfully, for their approaching necessities during the very gloriously real—a death which should preclude the moments that they were doubting, wrangling, and possibility of recovery to the old manner of life incredulous about His death! What love in pro- again. viding, by anticipation, all the gifts, and all the And lastly, by the prayer of faith, which, at the strange emotions of Pentecost, and the overwhelm- same moment, makes the request for love, and takes ing gladness, the new surprises of the Latter Day ! Christ, the Prince of Love, the thing requested, Above all what love, not only in bearing with the once to begin with, and ever onwards with a faith sin, but in bearing the sin itself, in all its naked which groweth exceedingly; and by the study of the horrors-with all its crushing weight and killing Word of God, which shows us what Jesus was in curse !
daily life, and what He is, and what He will be. Brethren, we are commanded to love like this-Given this knowledge, this faith, this prayer, and to love now—to love even unto death--to lay down this surrender, the issue is certain-Jesus rejoices,