A Sermon Delivered On Sunday Evening, June 3, 1860, By Pastor C. H. Spurgeon, At New Park Street Chapel, Southwark.
Oh love the Lord all you his saints. (Ps 31:23)
1. Love Jehovah—so the text runs. God the Father demands your love, and he deserves the warmest affection of your hearts. He has chosen you from before the foundation of the world. He has given his Son that he might redeem you with his precious blood. He has taken you into his family by divine adoption. He has “begotten you again to a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” It is to him that you address your prayers; it is he who grants you your requests. It is he who glorified his Son Jesus, receiving him into the heavens as your representative; and he will glorify him yet again by gathering you together with all his people into the mansions provided for the blessed. “Oh love the Lord all you his saints.” Love the Son! It is he whose delights were with the sons of men of old, he who entered into suretyship and covenant engagement on the behalf of his elect. It is he who with his precious blood has ransomed our souls and delivered them “from going down into the pit.” He is our mediator through whom we pray, and our intercessor who prays for us. He is our head, our husband, our king. He it is, even Jesus, who took our nature, and wears a body like our own. It is he who imparts to us his mind now, and promises that hereafter we shall bear his likeness in glory. “Oh love the Lord all you his saints.” Love the Holy Spirit! He has been revealed to us, and is known by us as “the Comforter.” How endearing!
He in our hearts of sin and woe
Has bidden streams of grace arise,
Which to endless glory flow.
He has quickened us when we were dead in sins; he has given us the grace of repentance and of faith; he has sanctified us, and kept and preserved us up until now. He has taken the things of Christ and has showed them to us; he has lived in our poor hearts, he has been our comforter, our instructor, and our daily teacher; it is he who convicted us of sin when as yet we did not perceive its malignity; and it is he who inspires our hearts and souls with the supernatural will and disposition of living for God. It is by the Holy Spirit that we are born again and made partakers of the new creation. It is by the same Spirit we are ultimately to be changed into the image of our Lord from glory to glory. “Oh love the Lord all you his saints.” If a blind world sees no beauty in its God, and therefore does not love him, yet oh you saints, love your God. If the enemies of the Most High set up other gods, and bow down before them, if they turn aside into crooked ways, and go a fornicating after their false gods, yet, oh you saints of his, stand fast and turn to your Jehovah, and love him for evermore. Do not merely serve him, but love him. Oh house of Israel! do not be his slaves; do not serve your God as the heathen serve their gods, out of terror and fear, but “love the Lord all you saints.” Do not be like the subjects of Pharaoh, flogged to their work with the whip, but be the dutiful children of your loving Father. Serve him, I say, and rejoice before him. Let love sweeten all your services; give him all your hearts; make him the object still supreme of all your heart’s desire. Always live for him as you live by him.
2. I shall have to ask for your patience this evening, while I take a liberty with my text. It is this; I mean to confine its exhortation to one person of the Divine Trinity. I have already accepted it in its comprehensiveness, “Oh love Jehovah, all you his saints.” Tonight, I propose to use it as consonant with such an occasion as the present, when we shall celebrate the supper of our Lord;—“Oh love the Lord Jesus all you his saints;” and I shall endeavour, as the Holy Spirit shall enable me, first of all to stir you up to love Jesus, by showing how acceptable and fitting it is that you should do so; and then I shall seek to show the excellencies of loving Jesus; how profitable it will be to your spirit, if your heart is wholly inflamed with love for him.
3. I. First, then, my beloved, let one sentiment stir every mind, and one emotion fill every heart. “Oh love the Lord all you his saints.” I feel in beginning to exhort you to love Christ, that love is a stream which must flow spontaneously, a fountain that must bubble up by itself. When grace makes a man love Christ, it does not do it by force, for love is a wine that cannot be trodden out of the grapes with pressure; it must freely distil. The heart cannot be forced to love. It is true it can be constrained by love, but by no other constraint. Moses, with all the thunders that gave extraordinary sanction to his mission, never could make a heart love God. There is nothing except love that can create love, and love itself comes like droppings from the honeycomb. The only pressure it will deign to endure is the pressure of love. “Draw me,” says love, “I will run after you: drive me and I can only resist—my desire cannot even stir, much less can I run after you with fervent attachment. My heart melted while my beloved spoke, because he was my beloved. Because he loved me, and spoke very lovingly, my heart melted; had he been angry with me, had he spoken with coarse words my soul might have melted with fear, but it never could have been dissolved with love.” Love, I say, is the only pressure which may be used to produce love, and yet, I think, I may “stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance,” for it may so happen that while I strike some fear sparks, they may touch the inflammable passion of your newly born spirits; the breath of the Spirit may fan them, and nurture them, until the love of your heart will seem as if it had received new fire.
4. Oh love! let me bring forth some of your delicious sweets. Let me reason with the tenderest logic of the heart. “Love the Lord Jesus all you his saints,” because his Father loves him. It must always be right for us to love whom God loves. Now the Father has much love, but his pre-eminent love is for his only begotten Son. One with the Father from before all worlds, one in essence, as well as in dwellingplace and attributes, our Jesus was always so dear to his Father’s heart, that no tongue can tell, nor even heart conceive, how deep the well spring from where love flowed from the Father to the Son. “The Father has loved the Son, and given all things into his hand.” He has loved him, not only because of the unity of their nature, and because of their being one God, but the Father’s love has flowed out to Christ as the Mediator. He has loved him for his obedience which he perfected, for the sufferings which he endured, for the ransom which he paid, for the battle which he fought, for the victory which he won. There was one eye that always followed Christ more closely than any other; there was one heart that always understood his pains, and one face that was always filled with celestial delight, when Jesus Christ overcame his enemies. “He who did not spare his own Son but freely delivered him up for us all.” When he had delivered him up I think his heart yearned for him, his heart followed him, and his soul loved him, as he saw him rising superior to every enemy he stooped to meet, victorious in every conflict he deigned to wage, bearing every cross he condescended to undergo, and casting every load away from him when he had borne it for the predestined time. The Father, I say, has loved the Son, because of the great things he has done, and therefore he has delivered all things into his hand. And, oh heavenly Father! do you love the Lord Jesus, and shall my heart refuse to love him? Am I your child, and shall not the object of my Father’s love be the darling of my heart? What you delight in shall be my delight; where you see beauty, my eye shall gaze with rapture; and where your heart finds solace, there my heart shall find unceasing repose and ineffable joy. Does Christ lie in your bosom—he shall lie in mine; is his name engraved on your heart—oh let it be engraved on mine also; do you love him—love him so that you could not love him more—may it my privilege to love him thus with all the force and vehemence of my ransomed renovated nature, giving up all my spirit to be devoured by that consecrated fire of love for the Lord Jesus Christ.
5. Again, may I not stir you up my brethren, to love Jesus Christ, by reminding you how the angels love him? They have always loved him since they have known him. It is true they are only the creatures of yesterday compared with him; he is the Everlasting Father; he is the Eternal One, and they, though they are excellent in strength, are only created ones, yet, oh how they have loved him! It was their greatest pleasure to fly at his will before he descended from heaven to earth. He had only to speak and it was done. His angels were spirits, and his ministers were flames of fire to do his will. Whatever had been the service he demanded of them, they would have thought it to be their highest joy to have performed his will. And when he left the shrine of the blessed to come to earth and to suffer, you know my brethren how they followed him along his starry road, how they would not leave him until the last parting moment, and then their songs pursued him down to earth, while they chanted “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.” You know how ever afterwards they watched over him, how they came to him in the desert after his great battle with the enemy, and ministered to him. You know how he was seen by angels all along his pilgrimage, how in the garden there appeared to him an angel strengthening him. You understand how around the bloody tree they pressed in strong desire to see a God in agonies, and wondered what it all could mean, until he said—“It is finished.” They visited his tomb; an angel descended from heaven to roll the stone away from the door of the sepulchre; even more, angels formed his escort when he ascended up to the realms of heaven. Well have we been taught to sing—
They brought his chariot from on high,
To bear him to his throne,
Clapped their triumphant wings and cried,
The glorious work is done.
You know how now they bow before him, casting their crowns at his feet, and how they join the everlasting song of “Glory, and honour, and majesty, and power, and dominion, and might be to him who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb for ever and ever.” Do the angels love him—the angels who have never tasted of his flesh, that never needed to be washed in his blood, and shall not my heart love him? Spirits, spirits, spotless ones! do you cry, “Worthy the Lamb”—my heart shall echo back your notes in louder strains—
“Worthy the Lamb that died,” they cry,
“To be exalted thus;”
“Worthy the Lamb,” our lips reply,
“For he was slain for us.”
Stand back you angels! give to man the first place in love; you may adore, but you cannot love as we love, for he is our brother, bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh. “He did not take on him the nature of angels, but he took on him the seed of Abraham.” He is ours more then he is yours; he is man, he was never an angel; he is our brother and kinsman, our next in blood. Jesus our souls must love you; we cannot permit even angels to be our rivals here; we will be jealous even of them. We press nearer to your throne than even they can do.
6. On each of these themes I am compelled to be short, though there would indeed be enough room for expansion, “Oh love the Lord all you his saints,” because your brothers that are caught up to the third heavens love him. And here let us just seek to bring this theme home to each one of us. How many dear friends and relatives according to the flesh we have up there, where the clouds do not float, and winters are not known, where tears trickle from no eyes, and furrows mar no brows! Up there we have friends; how often do we speak of them as lost, but how foolish we are; they were never more truly found. Is that mariner lost who has escaped from a shipwrecked vessel and stands upon the rock? No, no; they, do not need our pity; they might rather commiserate with us, if there could be such a thing. We are struggling in the surf to reach the shore as they have done. And oh, my brethren, I think that whatever they do above should be sufficient example for us to do the same here below. And now, listen, hear how they sing before the throne! I think among those glad voices I can distinguish some of friends, of fellow labourers here below, of parents, of husbands, of wives, of children, that worshipped with us here, but have now gone up there to the higher seats of the divine synagogue, to sing in more noble strains than we can do. Listen to how they sing, and what their theme—
Jesus, the Lord their hearts employ
Jesus, my love, they sing;
Jesus, the life of both our joys,
Sounds loud from every string.
And, oh, how they love him! I think I see them; they have no tears, but joy may moisten their eyes as they looked at that dear face, and as they talk to one another with their hearts burning;—burning with fiercer fire and clearer flame than those favoured disciples who went to Emmaus with their Lord. They say to one another, “How glorious he is, and we are like him.” I think I hear their sweet conversation, as they count the crowns upon his brow; as they bow down and adore; as they stand up and admire, and then, transported with delight, fly into his arms again. With him in paradise continually, in sweet communion with him,—oh, how they love! we are such cold creatures; our hearts are like icebergs, but theirs are like flames of fire. Oh, shall it not be enough to stir us up to love the Saviour, when we think how they love him who have crossed the Jordan, and have gone before.
7. But, come, we will give another reason. Surely I need not say to you, let us love the Lord Jesus, because everything that could possibly enamour our souls and constrain our love is to be found in him. There is a thing called beauty which wins over the hearts of men. Strong Samson is weak as a child before its enchantment. Mighty men, not a few, have bowed before it, and paid it homage; but if you want beauty, look into the face of Jesus; that marred visage has more loveliness in it than in all the smiles of Cleopatra or of the fabled maidens of days of yore. There is no beauty anywhere except in Christ, oh sun, you are not fair, when once compared with him. You stars, you are not bright, if you are set side by side with his eyes, that burn like lamps of fire. Oh fair world, and grand creation of a glorious God, you are only a dim and dusky blot compared with the splendours of his face. When you shall see Christ, my brethren, you will be compelled to say that you never knew what loveliness was before. When the clouds are swept away, when the curtains that hide him from your view are drawn aside, you will find that not anything you have seen will stand a moment’s comparison with him. You will be ready to break out “Oh, black sun, black moon, dark stars, as compared with my lovely Lord Jesus.” I say, my brethren, if you want one to love fairer than the children of men, who shall always be worthy of your love, and always show to the eyes of others, that there was a sufficient reason for your giving up your heart to him. Love Jesus, for there never was such beauty in the world as there is in him.
8. Does wisdom will the love of men? Is he not wise—wiser than all the sons of man? Does strength win love? Do martial triumphs, prowess, and renown subdue the heart? Daughters of Jerusalem, would you love a hero? Go forth and meet King Jesus as he returns red from the battlefield, glorious in triumph. Do men sometimes give their love because they at first are led to reverence the character, and then afterwards to esteem the person? Oh, think of the matchless character of Christ Jesus! Were there ever such perfections as meet in him? He does not just have the excellency of one man, but of all men, without the faults of any. He is not merely the Rose of Sharon, but he is the Lily of the Valley. He may not only be compared at one time to the citron among the trees of the wood, but immediately he is as the goodly cedar. All types of beauty fail, and “apples of gold in pictures of silver,” lose their force when we come to describe him. We must coin new words before we can describe the excellencies of Christ. In fact, we cannot use tongues, but must go into that land where spirits utter their thoughts without the motion of lip or the expiration of breath, before we shall be able to express the surpassing beauty, the unutterable excellency of the glorious character of Christ. Oh, love him then, you people of God; love him; look into his face, and see if you can help it; look, I say, at his character, and see if you can resist it. But I tell you, if you do not love him, it is because you do not know him.
His worth if all the nations knew
Sure the whole earth must love him too.
It would be impossible to know Christ, and yet not to have the heart affected by him; you must be overpowered by his charms. One look of his eyes, one touch of his hand, shall ravish your heart. Once be able to see his face, and let him only flash a glance at you, your two hearts must be united. Is your soul to you like a river rippling in its bed alone; and is Christ over there, like another river gloriously flowing towards the sea? Pray the Lord to bend the stream of your love until it falls into the river of his love, and then you are as two streams, whose banks were once divisions, but both are now flowing into one. You can then say with the apostle, “For me to live is Christ,” I run in the same channel; “and for me to die would be gain,” I shall be lost in the ocean, swallowed up in boundless and eternal love. “Oh love the Lord all you his saints.”
9. Yet once more, and this perhaps shall be the best reason I can give, the one which, after all, has the most effect upon us. We love him—why? Because the Father loved him? Oh no; we are too gross for that. Do we love him because the angels love him? We are not wise enough for that. Do we love him because the redeemed love him? I fear, my brethren, we are still too carnal for that. Do we love him because of his own excellencies? I do not think so at first: that is a later attainment of grace. We love him, because he first loved us. Come, then, love him, oh you saints, because he first loved you.
10. Here is a theme before me which almost imposes silence on my tongue. There are some themes which make one wish that some teacher more able would accept the responsibility of explaining them, because we are afraid of marring their symmetry while we grapple with their details. The picture stretches out, as it were, before my mind’s eye with dazzling glory, but I cannot sketch it so that others can see all its grandeur. We sometimes guess at Christ’s love to us, but, ah, it is so far beyond our thoughts, our reasonings, our praises, and our apprehension too, in the sweetest moments of our most spiritual ecstasy,—who can describe it? “Oh, how he loved us!” When Jesus wept at the grave of Lazarus the Jews exclaimed with surprise—“Behold how he loved him.” Truly you might say the same with deeper emphasis. There was nothing in you to make him love you, but he left heaven’s throne for you. As he came down the celestial hills, I think the angels said “Oh, how he loved them.” When he lay in the manger as an infant, they gathered around and said, “Oh how he loves.” But when they saw him sweating in the garden, when he was put into the crucible, and began to be melted in the furnace, then indeed, the spirits above began to know how much he loved us. Oh Jesus! when I see you mocked and spit upon—when I see your dear cheeks become a reservoir for all the filth and spittle of unholy mouths—when I see your back torn with knotted whips—when I behold your honour and your life both trailing in the dust—when I see you charged with madness, with treason, with blasphemy—when I behold your hands and your feet pierced, your body stripped naked and exposed—when I see you hanging on the cross between earth and heaven, in dire and excruciating torments—when I hear you cry “I thirst,” and see the vinegar thrust to your lips—when I hear your direful cry, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me,” my spirit is compelled to say, “Oh how he loves!” He could die, but he could not cease to love; he could be torn in pieces, but he could not be torn away from his people; he could be buried in the grave, but his love could not be buried; it must live, it must exist, it cannot be extinguished for his chosen.
11. Think, too, my brethren, how much he must have loved you when you were going on in sin. You used to call his ministers hypocrites—his people fools; his Sabbaths were idle days with you; his book, his precious book, was unread; you never sought his grace. Sometimes, perhaps, you used to curse him, perhaps persecute him in his children, and yet he loved you. And when his Spirit came after you, you tried to quench it; you would not attend the place where the arrow had first stuck in your conscience; you went to the theatre, you tried to quench the Spirit, but his love would not be mastered by you; he had resolved to have you, and the bridegroom would will your heart. Oh how he loved you, when he received you all black and filthy to his heart, gave you the kiss of his lips, and greeted you as his own fair spouse. Since then do you remember, how he has watched over you in sickness, how he has carried you in his bosom when the road was rough, how he has covered you with his wings, and nurtured you with his feathers. Think, I beseech you, how he seems to have heaven and earth to bless you; how he has always had a ready ear to hear your prayer, and a swift foot to run to your immediate help. Remember this, above all things—how poorly you have requited all his love. You have served him very little, given him the leftovers, you have brought him no sweet cane, neither have you filled him with the fat of your sacrifices. You have given him no young bulls out of your fold, no he goats out of your flock. You have offered to him the blind and the maimed; you have given him sacrifice, but have you requited him according to his kindness? He bled for you; have you resisted to blood striving against sin? He gave his whole self for you; have you given your whole being up to him? There was not a single nerve in his body which did not thrill with love for you; there was not a drop of blood which had not in its red fluid your name. Surely his entire body was all yours—his humanity and his Godhead too; and are you all his, and can you say—no, I will not ask you, you cannot say—that you have made a dedication to him, as truly as he made for you. Oh, love him then, because of his love for you. I am sure you do not know how much he loved, because if you did it would break your heart to think you love him so little. Sweet Master if you were here tonight to tell your people how you love them, you would break their hearts. I am a poor spokesman for you, Jesus! Oh that you would speak yourself Come here—indeed, you are here; you are wherever two or three are met together. Come here to your people then, and wrap them in your crimson vest, and tell them all your name! Speak to them and say, “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” Shed your love in their hearts. May they have an infinite consciousness of your infinite, your boundless, your fathomless, your endless love for them, and then your work is done; there will be no need for your poor servant to cry, “Oh love the Lord all you his saints,” for they will love you to the full.
12. II. In the second part of my subject I am now to show you some of THE EXCELLENCIES OF LOVING JESUS.
13. “Oh love the Lord all you his saints.” There are many excellencies which flow from love. Love is an ointment that gives forth a sweet smell: but better than that, it is an ointment which heals wounds, that gives health to the marrow of the bones. Love has a wondrous power. It may seem very little in itself, but it makes men giants. He who bathes in the stream of love, becomes invulnerable, indeed, he becomes omnipotent. When he does not love he is weak; but so far as he loves he is strong beyond all thought of weakness. Brethren, one of the first things which love for Christ will do for you, is, it will make you bear suffering for Christ with joyfulness. Remember the martyr Lambert, one of the earliest of the martyrs burned for Christ’s sake, by the Papists. He was treated as badly as any could have been, for when he was tied to the stake, the fagots were green, and the fire exceedingly slow, and he burnt away by slow degrees, feet and legs being consumed, while life was still in the body; and that poor soul, when the fire was just about to take life, though he had been hours burning, was seen to lift up such poor hands as he had—black and charred things—and clap them as best he could, and say, out of that poor black face, that looked like a cinder in the flame, “None but Jesus; none but Jesus.” With that he rode in his chariot of fire up to Christ. Perhaps you have to endure some cruel mockings at times. It may be that to serve Christ becomes arduous work for you. Love him, and you cannot tell how easy it will be to suffer for him. In fact, the more you have to suffer for him the more happy you will be. You will count it all joy; indeed, you will rejoice in that day, and leap for joy when you are allowed to suffer for the name of him who suffered so much for you. As sure as ever you flinch at the little fire which these mild and gentle days can afford you, as sure as ever you fall back at the faint rebukes which the world gives you now, you may infer that you do not love your Master as you ought; for when you love him, then you will feel that anything and everything that the world can do, can never move you from him.
The cords that bind around my heart,
Tortures and racks may rend them off,
But they can never, never part
The hold I have on Christ my Lord.
Love will not only make suffering easy, but further, it will make service joyous. Oh, do you not know in the Church how much shrinking there is from labour for Christ? Why is it in any Church that there are found brethren who are always getting others to work, and not wishing to do it themselves? It is lack of love, my brethren; for as soon as ever we love we shall be wanting to do something for Christ. When we love each other, what things we think of in order to give pleasure. With what solicitude does the wife think what she could do to bring the smile upon her husband’s face; and how will the loving husband think of some means by which he can show his love for his wife. So it is with parents and with children. Have not you seen the mother sitting up night after night without any sleep, and yet she was not weary? Oh, she was very, very weary, but she did not know it; her love would not let her feel it. Have you never seen the tender spouse watching over her husband at the brink of death never taking her eyes from him, forgetting to eat food, thinking of nothing but him? She sleeps as she sits in that chair. It is hardly for a moment. Did he move? She awakens. Was not the fever heavy on him? She is always awake all the while she holds on though her eyes are red with sleeplessness. She says she could do it, and she certainly could do it too, night after night, and never flag. And so, only get your heart full of love for Christ, and it is wondrous what you can do for him. Nothing you can do for him will be too much. See how the Moravians served their Master. There was an island in the West Indies, upon which some of the Moravians came to land, and they wanted to preach the gospel to the blacks. They asked what would be the condition upon which they would be allowed to land. The cruel terms were these—that they must themselves become slaves. Two of those Moravian brethren became slaves; they bent their back to the lash so that they might toil by day, in order to have the opportunity by night of preaching the gospel to their poor black companions in captivity. You will remember too, that when there was found somewhere in Africa a place where there were lepers confined, people whose limbs had rotted away with foul disease, two Moravians were found to go in there, and though they knew they could not come out alive, and that they must soon be the subjects of leprosy themselves, and die by slow degrees. They were ready enough, and willing enough to do it all. The love of the Moravians, brethren, seemed to me to be one of the chiefest examples of what the love of every Christian should be. There should never be any choice nor halting. Does Jesus want me here? Can he make better use of me dead than alive? Let me die. Will he be more honoured in my poverty than in my wealth? Let me be poor. Will he be more glorified by my toil than by my rest, or by my sickness than by my health? Then so be it. Just as he surrendered all to the Father, so I will surrender all to him. Just as the Father gave all into his hands, so I will give my all into his hands to be his for ever and ever. Love for Jesus will make all service for him to be joyous.
14. Again, love for Christ will make obedience sweet. “Love makes our willing feet in swift obedience move.” What things we will do for those we love that we would not do for anyone else. So for Christ we will do many things, because we love him, without consulting our feelings, or considering whether any benefit is to accrue, or whether, as some say, it will be of any use. Whether it is absolutely a command, or more gently, a counsel: “whatever he says to you, do it.” Sometimes when I think of many good brothers and sisters here who know it to be their duty to be baptized in his name, and come to his table and celebrate his ordinance in remembrance of him, and they do not do it, though Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments,” I do not know what to say for them, I must let them speak for themselves. I sometimes think, surely if they loved their Master better, they would consider obedience a pleasure. I think they would say, “I made haste, and did not delay to keep your commandments,” and they would be ready at once to run in the Lord’s way, without making exceptions to any of his commandments.
15. Still more, my brethren, love for Christ will make communion very sweet. How pleasant it is to talk to those we love. Give us a good friend, and you have given us a very great boon. A rainy day indoors with a good companion is very pleasant; but the best landscape on a sunny day, in the society of those for whom we have no affection, is very a poor thing. Let me be with Christ in the lowest place, rather than with the sinner in his high places. Luther used to say “I would rather fall with Christ than stand with Caesar;” and might you not say you would rather be with Christ in poverty than with anyone else in all the glory and grandeur of this world? Once love Christ, and you will never be content to be far away from him. You will say with the spouse, “As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.” Friend, how long has it been since you had fellowship with Christ? Ask the question all around, brethren. Each man, and each woman, answer it. You are a believer, your faith is in Christ; how long has it been since you have seen your Master? How long since you have talked with him? How long since he has spoken to you? Pass that question around again, I say, and let every man answer it. I am afraid there are some Christians who have not had communion with Christ for a whole month, indeed, I fear for a whole year. Oh, what kind of Christians must you be? Where is that wife’s love who never wishes for a husband’s smile all through the year? Would there be much affection between two friends who could live in the same house, and not speak? Oh, brothers and sisters let us examine ourselves, and begin to doubt if we can be happy without fellowship with Christ. Christ is so precious to a believer, that the believer and Christ should be like two turtle doves, that cannot live unless they are in each other’s company. Of the turtle dove it is said, that when its mate is gone you can never make the turtle dove consort with another, bring all the doves you wish. It is a lonely dove, and will not be consoled; there it sits, and pines and coos itself death, mourning for its mate. The only way to kill a Christian would be to take Christ from him. You might bring him other things, and yet never find another name, never another to whom his heart would be knit. Indeed, if you took up all the saints that have been buried, you could never find one that the believer could consort with as he has consorted with Christ, and held fellowship with him. Let us all be like the dove then, and cleave to the Lord with full purpose of heart.
16. I think there is no need to say any more on this point, or add another syllable, except it is just this one—love for Christ will make trust easy. I say love for Christ will make trust easy. You have heard that often told story of the wife on board ship who saw her husband cool and calm when the wind was blowing hurricanes and the masts were creaking. She asked how it was, and the husband, reaching a sword, ran upon her, put it to her very breast, and the wife did not flinch for a minute. “Wife,” he said, “how is it that you are not afraid? This sword is sharp.” “Oh,” she says, “but it is in my husband’s hand.” “Well,” he said, “and though that wind is terrible, it is in my Father’s hands.” Love can trust under any circumstances. It is wonderful how some men have been betrayed into trust. You could not excuse them at first; they have put their hand and become security for another, because they really loved the person so much that they could not think it was possible that he could deceive them, and we must not be too severe, because we do not know the circumstances between the two in these cases. We love because we cannot help it: we trust where we love. How the child trusts the mother! The mother has lost her way; she is on a bleak hill; the snow is falling, and she cannot find the track. The path is covered, and there may be a wolf in the distance, and the mother may hear it, but the infant is not startled; he sleeps on her breast, and if he awakens he toys with the mother’s cheek, and while she is full of alarm, he knows no fear because he loves. And see how the child will spring into your arms, though he is on some height, and if he should fall he would hurt himself. “I will catch you child,” and it is done; he jumps. And so, where there is love there will be trust. Do you find it hard to believe Christ? Love him better, and it will be easy. Do you find it hard to think that all things will work together for your good? Love him, and you will be sure of it; you will be quite sure of it. “It cannot be,” you say, “that my sweet Lord Jesus will ever do me an ill turn; I love him so well, and he loves me so well. Let him strike me, and I will kiss his hand; I am sure that he means it in love, it is only a love pat upon a child. Even when he frowns at me I will still believe that he has a smiling face, only he conceals it to make better known the purpose of his grace. Yes, though he kills me, yet I will trust in him. I will say, he did it, I will trust in him.”
17. Thus, brethren, I think I have given you ample reasons for loving Christ. As for those of you who have never trusted him, I cannot say to you love him; trust him first, and you shall love him afterwards. Give your soul up into his hands. I charge you by the living God, be done with your self-righteousness, and flee to Christ who has bled on the cross, and when you have been washed in his blood, and robed in his righteousness, then you shall love him. Oh Jesus, oh Jesus, come forth and win men’s hearts tonight! You heavenly lover, our sweet Master, come we beseech you! When I tell your story, men will not love you; indeed, if should I tell it with tears in my eyes they would not believe me. Come, tell it yourself to them. on their way home break their hearts in love to you. May they tonight fulfil the verse we have often sung in your honour—
Dissolved by your goodness,
I fall to the ground
And weep to the praise
Of the mercy I’ve found.
Jesus! bring the wanderers home. Reclaim your lost sheep! May there be joy on earth, and joy in heaven, over sinners whom you have found, sinners whom you came to seek and to save. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved, and your house.” The Lord add his blessing for Jesus’ sake.