1 JOHN iv. 16. “God is love.”
IT is seldom that a principle or law is equally beautiful and
powerful. What is beautiful is often weak; what is power-
ful is often harsh and repulsive. Love is the most beautiful
and powerful principle that burns in the bosom of man or
pervades the universe of God.
It is hard to define God. Men have shrunk back from
the attempt in holy terror; but John does it here.
I. The meaning of the expression.
It is not that love is God’s only perfection.
Not that love tramples on God’s other perfections. His
love is pure and righteous.
But love is God’s darling and characteristic attribute
and sums up and comprises all.
II. The evidences our displays of this love.
1. There are some comparatively faint indications in the
works of nature. Some point to the many fearful displays of
the Divine character that abound in the creation, and they
ask, Do these tell us that God is love? But these terrible
displays are the exception. Whence that superfluity of
splendour that abounds in the universe? There might have
been only fitness, but there is harmony. There might
have been only utility, but there is beauty.
Besides, there is strong reason to believe that these
dreadful phenomena are themselves fraught with good.
2. The works and arrangements of Providence.
3. The human heart and history and character.
4. The final proof is the redemption of man by Christ.
III. Let us answer an objection. It is said God cannot
be love, because the majority are lost. But —
1. The lost go away by their own will.
2. A great multitude that no man can number is to be
If God is love, beware of insulting His love. If God be
love, how blessed are His friends. If God be love, are we
love? If God be love, love Him.