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GOD'S LOVE-TRULY SOVEREIGN.
subject)—which especially declares this wondrous aspect of the love of God. It is in the epistle of Paul to the Romans, (Chap. v. 8)“God commendeth his love towards us”—that is, (as the expression oungtau signifies)recommends-extols—holds it forth to admiration-like one who earnestly recommends some person or property-which he desires should be duly appreciated or purchased by another. But, on what special account does God extol, or thus recommend the peculiar excellence of His love above all other love ? In this—that while we were yet sinners, yet ungodly, yet enemies,] Christ died for us. The expression “YET,” is exceedingly remarkable. It denotes that in no respect,-past,-present,
-or future, was God's compassionate love called forth to any sinner,—by first perceiving any, the least, meritorious goodness in him; but that, in the full view of our unworthiness and wickedness—he so loved us, as to give his Son to die for us.
Thus, it was at Calvary,—at the foot of the Cross on which his beloved Son was expiring in agony for our sins—that the Lord—so to speak, took his stand while expounding the nature and extent—the glory—the unchangeableness
THE EXPOSITION AT CALVARY.
of his love to the world—in harmony with truth and righteousness. Inviting the whole world to draw near, and pointing to the crucified Lambhe exclaimed-For whom have I thus given up my Son to shame-to torture -and to die an ignominious death? For my erring though devoted servants ? friends ?—My returning subjects ? No. But for the altogether ungodly'—the altogether sinners '—for My murderous enemies !"
Hence, we perceive that the revealed love of God to man in the Gospel is not to be confounded, as it too frequently is—with approbation or complacency. For God has not -cannot possibly have any complacency to sinners in their unreconciled unpardoned state. For, though his compassion to every member of the human race is unspeakably great—though he has made, through the death of his Son, a grand provision for their honourable deliverance; and has repeatedly and most emphatically declared—that he has no pleasure in their death, but rather that they should turn and live-yet, nevertheless, in the midst of all this unutterable pity—their characters are held in greatest abhorrence. He is “angry with the wicked-(that is, with those who de
CHRIST'S LOVE TO HIS CHURCH.
terminedly go on in their wickedness)-every day.” And if they yield not to the gracious manifestations of his love in the gospel—if they in consequence return not to him in this the season of their merciful visitation- What remains ? Will his love save them ? No verily.. His Holiness—Justice and Truth—his character on the one hand, and the safety of the universe on the other—demand, that they shall be left to perish as monumental warnings to others ;—even like those over whom the Redeemer wept and bewailed on Mount Olivet!
Far otherwise, however, is it in regard to those — who, having been arrested his grace, and become through faith in the blood of atonement united to his Son-are therefore emphatically termed HIS PEOPLE. For them, viewed in that august relation, -as actual recipients of his Holy Spirit—and as in some degree conformed to the moral image of the Redeemer HE HAS THE MOST COMPLACENT
Who can describe it ? He rejoices over them- while he rests in his love. They are now (since their return to the Lord)— virtually one with his Son-being ried” to Him—(Romans vii. 4.)—"members
CHRIST'S LOVE TO HIS CHURCH.
of His body”-(Eph. v. 30.)—sharers in His. infinite privileges and glorious prospects. (1 John i. 3.) They reflect in one degree or other, even here—His spiritual glory—and ere long shall be presented without spot or blemish before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy.
But, while the return of sinners to God thus discloses the full fountain of His love -it is, nevertheless, not a new affectionstrictly speaking—which He thus exhibits but rather a new manifestation or different aspect of the same eternal love which He revealed to the whole human family, when He gave
His Son to be a sacrifice for their guilt.
Thus, the distinction between the feelings manifested by God to men when they are far from Him-living in rebellion, and those again which He reveals when they become actually reconciled to him-may be faintly illustrated by the successive feelings of a father over the fluctuating history-dark or bright-of a beloved son.
Behold the parent, at one time weeping in secret over his lost son, when confirmatory accounts had newly arrived of his darkening wayward career ;-and then, at
MANIFESTATIONS OF PARENTAL LOVE.
another time, regard his overflowing joy and serene delight-when seated with his restored child in harmony and peace,—What do we perceive in these chequered feelings—but different manifestations of the same deep-rooted affections? In the former case, the love was shown by pungent grief-and parental solicitude,-in the latter-by complacent satisfaction. But what then,--these were but different fruits or aspects of the same love.
Had Absalom, the son of David, disbanded his rebellious army, and returned to the king with deepest contrition, and sued for pardonthis return, if known to be sincere, would not have created love in the heart of David ;—for that existed there already in all its force. But it would have changed the compassionate -heart-broken emotions, into complacent delight—and thus produced a new manifestation of his love. Instead of the heart-rending grief-which he afterwards manifested, when the parricide fell in the field of battle,--he would — when convinced of his repentance, have embraced him with transports of joy.
Oh! the love of God to the human race is but distantly illustrated by such cases—or even by that inimitable parable, drawn by the