Monday, September 07, 2015

Demonstrations of His Love

Pursue peace with everyone, and the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
—Hebrews 12:14
He saved them out of their distress.
He sent his word to save;
he healed them and delivered them,
and kept them from the grave.
Let them give thanks now to the Lord
for love that never ends,
and for his works of wonder done
to women, children, men.
—Psalm 107:19b-21
Suggested tune (New Jerusalem):
When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. The more I called them, the more they went from me; they kept sacrificing to the Baals, and offering incense to idols. Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk, I took them up in my arms; but they did not know that I healed them. I led them with cords of human kindness, with bands of love. I was to them like those who lift infants to their cheeks. I bent down to them and fed them.
—Hosea 11:1-4
It is an argument of secret atheism in the heart, that in the confluence of mercies we enjoy, we do not look up to the Author of them as if common mercies were the effects of chance, and not of providence. If a person constantly relieves our wants, we judge it the most barbarous disingenuity not to repay love to that person. But God loads us with his benefits every day; his wisdom is always busied to serve his mercy, and his mercy to serve our necessities. But we are insensible and unaffected; and yet the meanest mercy as it comes from God has an excellence stamped upon it. We should upbraid our souls for our coldness to God. Everywhere we encounter obvious demonstrations of his love to us; in every moment of our lives we have some pledges of his goodness. Let us light our torch at this mountain of fire; let the renewed act of his bounty constrain us to love him. We should love him for his excellency, even if we had no benefit from him; indeed, even if he hated us, we are bound to love him, as he is truly amiable in himself. How much more, when he draws us with "the cords of human kindness, with bands of love"? Whosoever requites the love of God with hatred (as every impenitent sinner does) puts off their human nature, and degenerates into a devil.
—Wm. Bates
Thanks be to thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, for all the benefits which thou hast given us; for all the pains and insults which thou hast borne for us. O most merciful redeemer, friend and brother, may we know thee more clearly, love thee more dearly, and follow thee more nearly; for thine own sake. Amen.
—Richard of Chichester

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