“God is love.” 1 John 4:16
“The only real mystery of the Bible,” says an old writer, “is a mystery of Love.” “God so loved the world — that He gave His only begotten Son.” What? For a lost and ruined world — the Prince of Life should leave His Throne of glory, travel down to a valley of tears, and expire by an ignominious death on the bitter tree! Love unutterable! Love unspeakable! The reflection of the skeptic of a by-gone age, may have formed at times the musing of better minds, “This is far too great — it is far too good to be true!” Infinite majesty — compassionating infinite weakness! The great Sun of heaven, the Fountain of uncreated light — undergoing an eclipse of darkness and blood for the sake of a candle that glimmered in nothingness, in comparison with His beams.
“God so loved the world!” Man never can get farther in the solution of the wondrous problem. Eternity itself will form a ladder — the saints climbing step by step its ascending glories — but, as the prospect widens, each will elicit the same confession, “The love of Christ, which surpasses knowledge!”
My soul! seek to enter into the secrets of this Love of your adorable Redeemer! Before all time — that love began. We have glimpses of it bursting out from the recesses of a past eternity, “Then I was by Him, as one brought up with Him, and I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him!” And “when the fullness of the time had come,” though He foresaw all His untold sufferings — nothing would deter Him from pursuing His anguished path, “He set His face steadfastly to go to Jerusalem.” More — as if longing for the hour of victory, He exclaimed, “There is a terrible baptism ahead of Me — and I am under a heavy burden until it is accomplished!”
Think of that love now! The live coals, in the censer of old, form a feeble type of the burning ardor of affection still manifested by our Great High Priest within the veil, in behalf of His own people. There He bears the name of each of them, indelibly engraved on His breastplate. Loving them at the beginning — He will love them even unto the end. Earthly love may grow cold and changeable; earthly love may die. Not so the love of this “Friend of friends.” His love is as strong as death — surviving death — no, as deathless as eternity! Listen to His own exponent of its intensity, “As the Father has loved Me — so have I loved you!” “You see in Him;” says an old writer, “an ocean of love without bottom, without bounds, overflowing the banks of Heaven, streaming down to this world to wash away the vileness of man!”
Blessed Jesus! how cold, and fitful, and transient has been my love to You — in comparison of Your love to me! Bring me more under its constraining influence. May this be the superscription on all my thoughts and actions — on all my occupations and my time, ‘I am not my own. Lord, I am Yours! How can I love You enough, Who so loves me! My life shall henceforth be one thank-offering of praise for Your redeeming mercies!’
Standing this night on the shores of this illimitable ocean — surveying its length and breadth — every wave murmuring, “Peace on earth — and good-will to men,” “I will both lie down and sleep in peace, for You alone, O Lord, make me live in safety!” Psalm 4:8