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Proprietor of the world which He made; to Him it of right belongs. He is its Governor, to whom every creature owes the most devoted obedience during every moment of its existence; since it is His bounty which supplies all our wants, which giveth us all things richly to enjoy. His benefits conferred upon us demand our gratitude and submission to His authority, in whom we live and move and have our being. He is to come. He lives for evermore; having the power of an endless life.24 “ Eternal ages saw Him shine, He shines eternal ages hence.” Such is our Lord Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever. 24 Of none besides the infinitely holy Lord God Almighty, is it true, that He was and is, and is to come, from everlasting to everlasting. We are but of yesterday, the creatures of His power. We are indebted to Him for every comfort we possess, or are capable of enjoying, seeing He giveth to all life and breath and all things. He was our Creator. He is our Governor. He will be our Judge. Great are our obligations to Him, and solemn is the account that we must render before Him. Let us seek His grace earnestly and diligently, to prepare us to meet Him at His second coming, that then we may be found of Him in peace, and may partake of His and everlasting salvation.
22 1 Tim. vi. 17. 23 Acts xvii. 28, 25. 24 Heb. vii.16; xiii. 8.
FIRST SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY.
LOVE TO GOD AND MAN.
1 John iv. 21.
AND THIS COMMANDMENT HAVE WE FROM
HIM, THAT HE WHO LOVETH GOD LOVE HIS BROTHER ALSO.
The Epistle for this day contains the great and leading truths of the gospel of Christ, which are brought forward to illustrate and enforce the duty of brotherly love among the children of God. As it contains so many interesting topics connected with this subject, let us enter upon it at once, praying that God the Holy Ghost would be pleased to apply to our hearts and consciences the Divine truths here recorded for our consideration, that the end proposed by them may be answered with respect to us.
The apostle commences with addressing those who are Christians indeed, Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. What encouraging and persuasive language is this! The subject here introduced, is one on which St. John greatly delights to dwell. He had said before : This is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. And again, We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren.25 Love is the great characteristic of the religion of Christ. St. Paul describes the manner in which it operates, when he exhorts Christians, In lowliness of mind, let each esteem other better than themselves. 26 This is the spirit which Christianity inculcates. Love to God arises from a sense of our obligations to His infinite goodness, and therefore love is of God. But in addition to this it is said, The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is given unto us. 27 It proceeds from the regenerating grace of the Holy Spirit. And therefore every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. When God is loved, and the children of God are also loved for His sake, this love is a sure mark of our being made acquainted with Him, and being approved of by Him. And on the other hand, he that loveth not, knoweth not God. He that does not love God, cannot be a child of God, cannot know Him as his Father and his friend, cannot hold intercourse with Him, cannot enjoy communion and fellowship with Him; for intercourse with God must produce similarity or conformity to Him. Those who truly know God, or rather, as St. Paul remarks, are known of God,28 cannot but love Him; for God is love. He is in Himself so infinitely lovely and loving, that those who behold His Divine perfections, cannot but in a measure reflect the loveliness which is presented to their view.
25 1 John iii. 11, 14.
26 Phil. ii.3. 27 Rom.v.5.
28 Gal. iv.9.
The apostle proceeds to prove his assertion that God is love, by stating that in this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. This statement he had learned from the lips of our Saviour Himself, who, in His conversation with Nicodemus, the Pharisee and ruler of the Jews, had said, God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. It was indeed a proof that God is love, that He extended His compassion to His rebellious creatures, who were perishing in their transgressions. And a still further proof of it is, that since it was impossible to pardon sin without satisfaction being made to Divine justice, He sent His only begotten Son into the world to obey and to suffer all that was needful for this purpose, in order to save us sinners from perishing, and that we might live through Him. What love to man did this manifest! А stronger proof of it could not possibly be given. With what gratitude of heart should we sinners contemplate this love of God toward us, since the unspeakable blessing of eternal life is bestowed in consequence of it; for through Christ that life which we had forfeited by sin is restored to us; that life which is a deliverance from misery inconceivable, and an entrance upon happiness inexpressible. The only begotten Son of God was sent from heaven to take upon Himself our nature, that He might restore to us this forfeited blessing; that through Him we might be made the children of God, instead of being the children of wrath; that we might be quickened from a death in trespasses and sins, and might partake of spiritual life, or the enjoyment of the life of God in our souls, and communion and fellowship with Him here on earth, as the pledge and foretaste of eternal life hereafter.
On this subject, the love of God to man, the apostle delights to dwell. He proceeds to observe, Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Here we learn the specific purpose for which our Lord Jesus Christ came into the world, and that is, to be the pro