1 JOHN iv. 19. “We love Him, because He first loved us.”
THINGS are always safe and happy when we put God in
His right place as a Father, and as such taking the initia-
tive of everything in love. The “first” love of God dates
itself far away in the distance, long before baptism. For
whatever is first to other things, “the love of God” is first
to it. There is nothing which was not at first a thought
of love in the mind of God. Evil— as we call evil — was a
thought of love when it lay in His bosom, before it came
forth to be polluted by the hand of man. There is no evil
which is not the abuse or the perversion of good, and the
last day will unfold that there was an early and prevailing
mercy in things where least we thought it. If we have
tasted something of “the love of God,” it began by God, in
the sovereignty of His loving heart, choosing us. The
history of the soul saved is the annals of God’s love.
When the wondering question runs among the saints in
earth or heaven: “How were you brought?” the only
answer here or for ever will be: “He loved me;” “because
He is love.” Thanks be to God for such a rock to stand
on—” God is love.”
Let us ask how is the love of all who love God the con-
sequence of His love to them?
I. By an act of creative power. All love in the heart
is a creation, and whom God loves, in them He creates love
1. He creates it by moral cause and effect. There is
always an inclination to love those who we believe love
us. Whenever God’s love is really brought home to the
heart and conscience it awakens heavenly affections.
II. By God’s personal love believed and felt. Many have
a general sense of the love of God, but we do not love
God until we are sure that God specially and individually
1. This feeling cannot be produced by any reasoning,
but only by the Holy Spirit’s entrance into the heart. He
shows that love of God in its highest actings, and shows
that God has forgiven us. The sense of sin forgiven is
very endearing, very attaching, and we cannot choose but
2. The love of God has shone into the believer’s heart
and must reflect itself. This reflection is that soul’s love
to God, to the Church, and to every creature.
The question of God’s loving me turns on another
question, of my loving God. If we have the least going
out of our hearts to Him or His, then it is because He has
smiled on us, He has come into these hearts. The originat-
ing love is always stronger than that which springs from it—
the parent’s stronger than the child’s. He loves us a great
deal more than we love Him. Realizing and accepting
this love, we shall grow proportionately in love to God.
James Vaughan, M.A.