HEREIN IS LOVE

" Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent 
his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, 
we ought also to love one another." — 1 John iv. 10, 11. 

The law commands love; indeed, all its precepts are 
summed up in that one word "love." More widely read 
it runs thus: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with 
all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy 
strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as 
thyself': if all this amounts only to " Thou shalt love." 
But the law by reason of our depravity never pro- 
duced love. We were commanded to love, but we did 
no such thing. The spirit that is in us is selfish, and it 
lusteth to envy and to enmity. Whence come wars and 
fightings among us? Come they not from our lusts? 
Since the Fall man has become man's bitterest foe upon 
the earth, and the world is full of hating, slandering, 
struggling, fighting, wounding, and slaying: all that 
law can do is to show the wrong of enmity, and 
threaten punishment; but it cannot supply an unregen- 
erate heart with the fountain of love. Man remains un- 
loving and unlovable till the gospel takes him in hand 
and by grace accomplishes that which the law could 
not do, in that it was weak through the flesh. Love is 
winning many hearts to lie kingdom of God, and its 
reign shall extend till love shall rule over the whole 
earth, and so the kingdom of God shall be set up among 
men, and God shall dwell among them. At the present 
moment love is the distinguishing mark of the people 
of God. Jesus said, " By this shall all men know that 
ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another'; and 
John said, "We know that we have passed from death 
unto life, because we love the brethren." The man 
whose spirit is selfish has not the spirit of Christ, and 
kk if any man have not the spirit of Christ he is none of 
his." The man whose spirit is that of envy and con- 
tention is evidently no follower of the lowly and lov- 
ino; Jesus, and those who do not follow Jesus are none 
of his. 

They that are Christ's are filled with his love. " Every 
one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He 
that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love." 
God is the centre of the believer's love; the saints are 
an inner circle specially beloved, and all mankind are 
embraced within the circumference of the ring of love. 
"He that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in 
him"; and he alone is a child of God whose spirit is 
kindly and affectionate, and who seeks, wherever he is, 
to promote peace, goodwill towards men. 

The saints begin with love to God. That must ever 
hold the highest place; for God is the best and noblest 
being, and we owe him all our hearts. Then comes, tor 
Jesus' sake, love to all who are in Christ. There is a 
peculiarly near and dear relationship existing between 
one child of God and all the rest. Loving him that 
begat, we love all them that are begotten of him. Should 
not a child love his brothers with a tender, peculiar 
affection? This principle of love, once implanted, in- 
duces in the heart of the converted man a love towards 
all mankind. Not that he can take any complacency 
in the wicked; God himself cannot do that; his holiness 
abhors all iniquity. The love desired is not the love of 
complacency, but the love of benevolence ; so that we 
wish well, and to the utmost of our power would do 
well, unto all those that dwell upon the face of the earth. 
In this holy charity, this unselfish love, be ye imitators 
of God as dear children. Our heavenly Father is kind 
to the unthankful and to the evil, and so must we be; 
desiring that even the most abandoned may yet be res- 
cued and made right and good. Love desires to create 
that which is lovable even in the most unlovable of 
mankind, and God helping the effort, she succeeds. 

I hear one say, "This is a vast idea. Are we to love 
at this rate? Where is the love to come from? Our 
hearts are narrow, men are unworthy, provocations are 
numerous, another spirit is abroad in the world: where 
is this love to come from ? — this flood of love which is 
to cover the tops of the mountains of man's un worthi- 
ness ?" Hast thou entered into the springs of the sea? 
or hast thou walked in search of the depths ? Yes, by 
the leadings of God's Spirit we will search out the springs 
of the sea of love. Only in one place shall we find love 
enough for our supreme purpose, which is also the pur- 
pose of the Lord himself. There is one shoreless ocean 
into which we may be baptized, and out of which we 
may be filled until we overflow. Where is the unfailing 
motive of love ? For love is tried, and hardly put to it 
to hold her own. Can we find a motive that will never 
fail even toward the most provoking of mankind? Can 
we find an argument for affection which shall help us 
in times of ingratitude, when base returns threaten to 
freeze the very heart of charity? Yes, there is such a 
motive; there is a force by which even impossibilities 
of love can be accomplished, and we shall be supplied 
with a perpetual constraint moving the heart to cease- 
less charity. 

Come with me, then, in the first place, to notice the 
infinite spring of love — "Herein is love, not that we 
loved God, but that God loved us;" secondly, let us ob- 
serve the marvelous outflow of that love — " God sent his 
Son to be the propitiation for our sins;" and then, thirdly, 
let us notice the overflow of that love in as, when it fills 
our hearts and runs over to others — "Beloved, if God so 
loved us, we ought also to love one another." 

I. First, THE INFINITE STRING OF LOVE. Our text has 
two words upon which I would place an emphasis — 
"not" and "bid." 

The first is "not," "Herein is love, not" — "not 
that we loved God." Very naturally many conclude 
that this means " not that we loved God first," That 
is not exactly the truth taught here, but still it is a 
Weighty truth, and is mentioned in this same chap- 
ter in express words — " We love him because he first 
loved us" (verse nineteen). The cause of love in the 
universe is not that man loved God first. No being 
in existence could love God before God loved him ; for 
the existence of such a being is due to God's pre- 
vious love. His plans of love were all laid and many 
of them carried out before we were born ; and when we 
were born we none of us loved God first so as to seek 
after God before he sought after us, so as to desire rec- 
onciliation with God before he desired reconciliation with 
us. No ; whatever may be said about freewill as a theory, 
it is never found as a matter of fact that any man, left 
to himself, ever woos his God, or pines after friendship 
with his Maker. If he repents of sin it is because the 
Spirit of God has first visited him and shown him his 
sin ; if he desires restoration it is because he has first of 
all been taught to dread the wrath of God and to long 
for holiness. 

" No sinner can be beforehand with thee; 
Thy grace is most sovereign, most rich, and most free." 

We inscribe a negative in black capital letters upon tl 
idea that man's love can ever be prior to the love of G 
That is quite out of the question. 

" Not that we loved God." Take a second sense — that 
is, not that any man did love God at all by nature, whether 
first or second; not that we, any one of us, ever did or 
ever could have an affection towards God while we re- 
mained in our state by nature. Instead of loving God, 
man is indifferent to God. "No God," saith the fool in 
his heart, and by nature we are all such fools. It is the 
sinner's wish that there were no God. We are atheistical 
by nature, and it" our brain does not yield to 'atheism, yet 
our heart does. We wish that we could sin according 
to our own will, and that we were in no danger of being 
called to account for it. God is not in all our thoughts, 
or if he does enter there it is as a terror and a dread. Nay, 
worse than that: man is at enmity with God by wicked 
works. The holiness which God admires man hath no lik- 
ing for; the sin which God abominates has about it sweet- 
ness and fascination for the unrenewed heart; so that 
man's ways are contrary to the ways of God. Man is 
perverse; he cannot walk with God, for they are not 
agreed; he is all evil, and God is all goodness, and there- 
fore no love to God exists in the natural heart of man 
He may say that he loves God, but then it is a god of 
his own inventing, and not Jehovah, the God of the 
Bible, the only living and true God. A just God and a 
Saviour the natural mind cannot endure: the carnal mind 
is enmity against God, and is not reconciled to God, neither 
indeed can be. The unregenerate heart is, as to love, a 
broken cistern which can hold no water. In our natural 
state, there is none that doeth good, no not one; so is 
there also none that loveth God, no, not one. 

We come nearer to John's meaning when we look at 
this negative as applying to those who do love God. 
" Not that we loved God," — that is, that our love to God, 
even when it does exist, and even when it influences 
our lives, is not worthy to be mentioned as a fountain of 
supply for love. The apostle points us away from it to 
something far more vast, and then he cries, " Herein is 
love." I am looking for " the springs of the sea," and 
you point me to a little pool amid the rocks which has 
been filled by the flowing tide. I am glad to see that 
pool : how bright ! how blue ! how like the sea from whence 
it came ! Bat do not point to this as the source of the 
great waterfloods: for if you do I shall smile at your 
childish ignorance, and point you to yon great rolling 
main which tosses its waves on high. What is your 
little pool to the vast Atlantic? Do you point me to 
the love in the believer's heart, and say, " Herein is love ! " 
You make me smile. I know that there is love in that 
true heart; but who can mention it in the presence of 
the great rolling ocean of the love of God, without bottom 
and without shore? The word not is not only upon my 
lip but in my heart as I think of the two things, "not 
that we loved God, but that God loved us." What poor 
love ours is at its very best when compared with the love 
wherewith God loves us! 

Let me use another figure. If we had to enlighten 
the world, a child might point us to a bright mirror re- 
flecting the sun, and he might cry, "Herein is light!" 
You and I would say, " Poor child, that is but borrowed 
brightness; the light is not there, but yonder, in the sun: 
the love of saints is nothing more that the reflection of 
the love of God. We "have love, but God is love. When 
I think of the love of certain saints to Christ, I am charmed 
with it; for it is a fruit of the Spirit not to be despised. 
When I think of Paul the Apostle counting all things 
but loss for Christ; when I think of our missionaries go- 
ing one after another into malarious parts of the African 
coast, and dying for Christ; and when I read the Book 
of Martyrs, and see confessors standing on the fagots, 
burning quick to the death, still bearing witness to their 
Lord and Master, — 1 do rejoice in the love of saints to 
their Lord. Yet this is but a streamlet; the unfathom- 
able deep, the eternal source from which all love proceeds, 
infinitely exceeds all human affection, and it is found in 
God, and in God alone. " Herein is love, not that we 
loved God, but that God loved us." 

Let us contrast our love to God with his love to us. 
Dear brethren, we do love God, and we may well do so, 
since he is infinitely lovable. When the mind is once en- 
lightened it sees everything that is lovable about God. 
He is so good, so gracious, so perfect that he commands 
our admiring affection. The spouse in the Song, when 
she thought of her beloved, mentioned all manner of 
beauties, and then cried, "Yea, he is altogether lovely.'' 
It is natural, therefore, that one who sees God should 
love him. But, now, think of God's love to us: is it not 
incomparably greater, since there was nothing lovely in 
us whatever, and yet he loved us ? In us there is by 
nature nothing to attract the affection of a holy God, but 
quite the reverse; and yet he loved us. Herein, indeed, 
is love ! 

When we love God it is an honor to us; it exalts a 
man to be allowed to love a Being so glorious. A phi- 
losopher once wrote that tor a man to speak of being the 
friend of God was too daring, and in the reverence of 
this thoughtful heathen there was much to admire; for 
indeed there is an infinite difference between the glorious 
God and the sinful creature man. Though God in con- 
descension allows us to call him friend, and Jesus says, 
" Ye are my friends ! " yet this is beyond reason, and is a 
sweet revelation of the Holy Spirit. What an uplifting 
there is in it for us! On the other hand, God's love to 
us can add nothing to him ; it gives, but receives not. 
Divine love can have no recompense. That he, the In- 
finite, should stoop to love the finite: that he the infi- 
nitely pure should love the guilty, this is a vast conde- 
scension. See, moreover, what it involved; for this love 
rendered it necessary that in the person of his dear Son 
God should be " despised and rejected of men," should 
make himself of no reputation, and should even be num- 
bered with the transgressors. " Herein is love ! " 

When we love God we are gainers by the deed. He 
that loves God does in the most effectual manner love 
himself. We are filled with riches when we abound in 
love to God; it is our wealth, our health, our might, and 
our delight. But God gains nothing by loving us. I 
hardly like to set the two in contrast, for our love is 
so poor and pitiable a thing as compared with the im- 
measurable love of God. 

It is our duty to love God; we are bound to do it. 
As his creatures we ought to love our Creator; as pre- 
served by his care we are under obligation to love him 
for his goodness: we owe him so much that our utmost 
love is a mere acknowledgment of our debt. But God 
loved us to whom he owed nothing at all; for whatever 
might have been the claims of a creature upon his Crea- 
tor, we had forfeited them all by our rebellion. Sinful 
men had no rights towards God except the right of being 
punished. Yet the Lord manifested boundless love to our 
race, which was only worthy to be destroyed. Oh words! 
How ye fail me ! I cannot utter my heart by these poor 
lips of clay. Oh God, how infinite was thy love which 
was given without any obligation on thy part, freely 
and unsought, and all because thou wiliest to love — 
yea, thou dost love because thou art love. There was 
no cause, no constraint, no claim why thou shouldest 
love mankind, except that thine own heart led thee so 
to do. What is man that thou art mindful of him? 
11 Herein is lore, not that we loved God, but that God 
loved us." 

I have thus pointed out the well-head of love : let us 
draw from it, and from none other. If you go into the 
world and say, " I am to love my fellow-men because I love 
God," the motive is good, but it is questionable, limited, 
and variable. How much better to argue — I am to love 
my fellow-men because God loves me. When my love 
grows cold towards God, and when by reason of my. 
infirmity and imperfection I am led even to question 
whether I do love God at all, then my argument and 
my impulse would fail me if it came from my own love 
to God; but if I love the fallen because God loved me, 
then I have an unchanging motive, and unquestionable 
argument, and a forcible impulse not to be resisted : 
hence the apostle cried, "The love of Christ constrain- 
eth us." It is always well for a Christian to have the 
strongest motive, and to rely upon the most potent and 
perpetual force, and hence the apostle bids us look to 
divine love, and not to our own. "Herein is love," saith 
he, "not that we loved God, but that God loved us." 
So far the " not." 

Let us turn to the "but." " But that he loved us." 
I have nothing new to say, nor do I wish to say any- 
thing new; but I should like you to meditate on each 
one of these words: — "He loved us" Three words, but 
what weight of meaning! "He" who is infinitely holy 
and cannot endure iniquity, — "He loved us" ; "He, v 
whose glory is the astonishment of the greatest of intelli- 
gent beings, — "He loved us." "He" whom the heaven 
of heavens cannot contain, "loved us." "He" who is 
God all-sufficient, and needs nothing of us, neither can 
indeed receive anything at our hands, — " He loved us." 
What joy lies sleeping here ! Oh, that we could wake 
it up ! What hope, too, for hopeless sinners, because 
"God loved us." If a man could know that he was 
loved of all his fellow-men, if he could have it for certain 
that he was loved by all the angels, doted on by cherubim 
and seraphim, yet these were but so many drops, and 
all put together could not compare with the main ocean 
contained in the fact that " God loved us." 

Now ring that second silver bell: " He loved us." I 
do not think that the apostle is here so much speaking 
of God's special love to his own elect as of his love to 
men in general. He saw our race ruined in the fall, 
and he could not bear that man should be destroyed. 
Lord, what is man that thou dost visit him in love ? 
Yet he did so visit him. The Lord's love made him 
lament man's revolt, and cry, "I have nourished and 
brought up children, and they have rebelled against 
me" ; whereupon he bade heaven and earth witness to 
his grief. He saw that sin had brought men into 
wretchedness and misery, and would destroy them 
for ever; and he would not have it so. He loved 
them with the love of pity, with the love of sweet 
and strong benevolence, and he declared it with an 
oath: "As I live, saith the Lord, I have no pleasure 
in the death of him that cUeth, but that he turn unto 
me and live." "Herein is love." But if you and I be 
reconciled to God we can lay the emphasis, each one for 
himself, upon this word love, and vie v w it as special, ef- 
fectual, electing love. Let each believer say, "He loved 
me, and gave himself for me." Then what force is in my 
text: "He loved us": it is not enough that he pitied us, 
or spared us, or helped us; but "he loved us." It has 
often made me rise from my seat to think that God loves 
me ! I could not sit still and hear the thrilling: truth. 
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me: it is high, I 
cannot attain unto it. It is sweet to be loved even by 
a dog; it is sweet to be loved by a babe; it is sweet to 
be loved by a friend; it is sweet to be loved by God's 
people; but, oh ! to be loved of God, and to know it! — 
this is paradise. Would a man want any other hea- 
ven than to know for certain that he enjoyed the love 
of God ? 

Note the third word. " He loved us" — " us," — the 
most insignificant of beings. There is an anthill some- 
where; it is no matter to you where it is. It teems with 
ants. Stir the nest, and they swarm in armies. Think 
of one of them. No; you do not need to know anything 
about him ! His business is no concern of yours; so let 
him go. But that ant, after all, is more considerable to 
you than you are to God. " All the inhabitants of the 
earth are reputed as nothing." What are you even in 
this great city ! — one man, one woman in London, in 
England, in the population of the world, — what a cipher 
you are ! Yet what is the population of this world com- 
pared with the universe ? I suppose that all these stars 
which we see at night, all the countless worlds within 
our range of vision, are but as a little dust in a lone cor- 
ner of God's great house. The whole solar system, and 
all the systems of worlds we have ever thought of, are 
but as a drop of a bucket compared with the boundless 
sea of creation; and even that is as nothing compared 
to the infinite God: and yet u He loved us" — the insig- 
nificant creatures of an hour. What is more, he loved 
us though in our insignificance we dared to rebel against 
him. We boasted against him; we cried, " Who is Je- 
hovah?" We lifted up our hand to fight with him. 
Ridiculous rebellion! Absurd warfare! Had he but 
glanced at us and annihilated us, it would have been as 
much as we could merit at his hands; but to think that 
he should love us, — love us, mark you, when we were in 
rebellion against him. This is marvelous. 

Observe that the previous verse speaks of us as being- 
dead in sin. " In this was manifested the love of God tow- 
ard us, because that God sent his only-begotten Son into 
the world, that we might live through him." Then we 
were dead, dead to all goodness, or thought or power, of 
goodness, criminals shut up in the condemned cell; and 
yet God loved us with a great love even when we were 
dead in trespasses and sins. Child of God, God's love 
to you to-day is wonderful; but think of his love to you 
when you were far gone in rebellion against him. When 
not a throb of holy, spiritual life could be found in your 
entire being; yet he loved you and sent his Son that yon 
might live through him. Moreover, he loved us when 
we were steeped in sin. Does not our text tell us so? 
for he sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins, and 
this implies that we needed to be reconciled. Our right- 
eous Judge was angry with us; his righteous wrath 
smoked against our evil, and yet even then " He loved 
us." He was wroth with us as a Judge, but yet he loved 
us: he was determined to punish, and yet resolved to 
save. 

This is a world of wonders ! I am utterly beaten by 
my text. I confess myself mastered by my theme. But 
who among us can measure the unfathomable ? " Here- 
in is love," that God freely, out of the spontaneous mo- 
tion of his own heart, should love us. This is the argu- 
ment for love; this is the inexhaustible fountain out of 
which all love must come. If we desire love, may we 
come and fill our vessels here and bear it out to others. 
Love springing from our own bosoms is flat, feeble and 
scant; but the love of God is a great deep, for ever fresh 
and full and flowing. Here are those springs of the sea 
of which we spake: " Herein is love ! " 

II. I want your attention a little longer while I 
speak as best I can upon the marvelous outflow of that 
love. " Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that 
he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for 
our sins." Beloved, the love of God is seen in creation: 
he that studies the mechanism of the human frame and 
of its surroundings will see much of divine kindness 
therein. The love of God is to be seen-in providence: 
he that watches the loving hand of God in daily life will 
not need to look far before he sees tokens of a Father's 
care. But if you want to know when the great deep of 
God's love was broken up, and arose in the fullness of its 
strength to prevail over all; if you would see it revealed 
in a deluge, like Noah's flood, you must wait till you see 
Jesus born at Bethlehem and crucified on Calvary; for his 
mission to men is the divinest manifestation of love. 

Consider every word: " He sent his Son." God "sent." 
Love caused that mission. If there was to be reconcili- 
ation between God and man, man ought to have sent to 
God; the offender ought to be the first to apply for for- 
giveness; the weaker should apply to the greater for 
help; the poor man should ask of him who distributes 
alms; but "Herein is love" that God "sent." He was 
first to send an embassy of peace. To-day " we are am- 
bassadors for Christ, as though. God did beseech you 
by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to 
God." Oh, the wonder of this, that God should not wait 
till rebellious men had sent to his throne for terms 
of reconciliation, but should commence negotiations him- 
self! 

Moreover, God sent such an One : he " sent his Son," If 
men send an embassy to a great power they select some 
great one of their nation to wait upon the potent prince; 
but if they are dealing with a petty principality they 
think a subordinate person quite sufficient for such a 
business. Admire, then, the true love of the infinitely 
gracious God, that when he sent an embassy to men he 
did not commission an angel nor even the brightest 
spirit before his throne; but he sent his Son, — oh, the 
love of God to men ! He sent his equal Son to rebels 
who would not receive him, would not hear him, but 
spat upon him, scourged him, stripped him, slew him ! 
Yes, "he spared not his own Son, but freely delivered 
him up for us all." He knew what would come of that 
sending of him, and yet he sent him. 

"Jesus, commission' d from above, 
Descends to men below, 
A.nd shows from whence the springs of love 
In endless currents flow. 

"He, whom the boundless heaven adores, 
Whom angels long to see, 
Quitted with joy those blissful shores, 
Ambassador to me ! 

"To me, a worm, a sinful clod, 

A rebel all forlorn : 
. A foe, a traitor, to my God, 

And of a traitor born.'* 

Note farther, not only the grandeur of the ambassa- 
dor, but the tenderness of the relationship existing 
between him and the offended God. " He sent his Son." 
The previous verse says, " His only-begotten Son." We 
cannot speak of God except after the manner of men, 
for God in all his glory is incomprehensible; but speak- 
ing after the manner of men, what must it have cost Je- 
hovah to take his only Son from his bosom to die ? Christ 
is the Father's self; in essence they are one: there is but 
one God. We do not understand the mystery of the Trin- 
ity in unity, but we believe it. It was God himself who 
came hither in the person of his dear Son: he underwent 
all: for we are " the flock of God which he hath purchased 
with his own blood." Remember Abraham with the 
knife unsheathed, and wonder as you see him obey the 
voice which says, "Take now thy son, thine only son, 
Isaac, whom thou lovest, and offer him for a sacrifice." 
Remember yet again that the Lord actually did what 
Abraham in obedience willed to do: he gave up his Son ! 
"It pleased the Father to bruise him; lie hath put him 
to grief." Christ's death was in fact God in human form 
suffering for human sin; God incarnate bleeding because 
of our transgressions. Are we not now carried away with 
the streams of love? I speak my best, .my brethren ; but 
if my words were what they ought to be they would set 
your souls on fire. Is not all heaven still astounded at 
the death of the Only-begotten ? It has not recovered 
from its amazement that the heir of all things should 
bow his head to death. How can I fitly tell you how 
much God loved the world when he gave his Only-be- 
gotten to die that sinners might live ! 

Go a step further. " God sent his Son to be aprojntia- 
tion" that is, to be not only a reconciler, but the recon- 
ciliation. His sacrifice of himself was the atonement 
through which mercy is rendered possible in consistency 
with justice. I have heard men say with scorn that God 
required a sacrifice before lie would be reconciled, as if 
that were wrong on the part of the Judge of all. But 
let me whisper in their ears: God required it, it is true, 
for he is just and holy; but God found it himself. Re- 
member that — Jehovah found the ransom which he de- 
manded. It was himself, his own Son, one with himself, 
that became the propitiation and the reconciliation. It 
was not that God the Father was unkind, and could not 
be placated unless he smote his Son; but that God the 
Father was so kind that he could not be unjust, so su- 
premely loving that he must devise a way by which men 
could be justly saved. An unjust salvation would have 
been none at all. The Lord found the reconciliation — I 
will not say in the sufferings of Christ, though that is 
true: I will not say in the death of Christ, though that 
is true; but I will put it in Scriptural words, and here we 
have it in 1 John ii. 2: "He" — that is, Jesus himself — 
"is the propitiation for our sins." The sent one in him- 
self, as well as in all that he did and all that he suffered, 
is the reconciliation between God and man. " Herein 
is love!" for in order that there might be peace and 
love between man and God, God finds the sin-offering. 
becomes himself the atonement, that love might reign 
supreme. 

What seems to me the most wonderful thing of all 
is that the Lord Jesus should deal, not only with our 
sorrow, but with our sin; for " he is the propitiation for 
our sins. 11 That God should deal with us as to our vir- 
tues, if we had any; that he should deal with us as to 
our love, if we had any, might not seem so difficult; but 
that he should send his Son to dwell with us as sinners — 
ay, and to come into contact with our sins, and thus to 
take the sword, not only by its hilt, but by its blade, and 
plunge it into his own heart, and die because of it, this 
is a miracle of miracles. friends, Christ never gave 
himself for our righteousness, but he laid down his life 
for our sins. He viewed us as sinners when he came to 
save us. " Jesus Christ came into the world to save sin- 
ners." If I had not found Christ till this very minute, 
I hope I should find him now as my mind drinks in this 
doctrine. By God's Spirit there seems to me to be such 
a window opened that even despair may see the light, 
for if the thing which God sent his Son to deal with was 
the sin of man, then I, even though I am nothing but a 
mass of loathsomeness and sin, may yet enjoy the infi- 
nite love of God. Oh, guilty ones, hear these words, 
which are more sweet than music, and fuller of delight 
than all poetry; for even the harps of angels never rise 
to higher measures than these which I do so poorly and 
simply rehearse in your ears, — even these glad tidings, 
that God who made the heavens and the earth, whom 
ye have offended, wills not that you die, but loves you 
so greatly that he opens up a road of reconciliation 
through the body of his own dear Son. There was no 
other way by which you could be reconciled to God, for 
had he reconciled you to a part of himself and not to 
his justice, you had not been in very truth at all recon- 
ciled to God. It is now to God completely just, holy, 
whose anger burns against sin; it is to him that you are 
reconciled by faith in Christ Jesus, through the laying 
down of his life for men. Oh that God would bless this 
to all who hear the glad tidings ! 

III. We come at last to think of the consequent out- 
flow of love for us, — " Beloved, if God so loved us, we 
ought also to love one another." Our love then to one 
another is simply God's love to us, flowing into us, and 
bowing out again. Thai is all it is. "Herein is love, 
not thai we loved God, but that God loved us," and then 
we love others. You have soon a noble fountain in a 
continental city adorning a public square. See how the 
water leaps into the air; and then it Falls into a circular 
basin which tills and pours out its Fullness into another 
lower down, and this again Hoods a third. Hear the 
merry plash as the waters Fall in showers and cataracts 
from basin to basin ! It' you stand at the lower basin 
and look upon it and say, "Herein is water;" that is 
true, ami will be true of the next higher one, and s<> 
forth; but if you would express the truth as to where the 
water really is, you may have to look tar away, perhaps 
upon a mountain's Bide, For there is a vast reservoir From 
which pipes are laid to bring these waters and Force them 
to their height that they may descend so beautifully. 
Thus the love we have to our Fellow-creatures drops 
from us like the descending silvery cataract from the 
full basin, but the first source o( it is the immeasurable 
love of God which is hidden away in his very essence, 
which never changes, and never can be diminished. 
Herein is love! If you and 1 desire to love our fellow 
Christians and to love the fallen race ^\' man, we must. 
be joined  to the aqueduct which conducts love from 
this eternal source, or else we shall soon fail in love. 

Observe, brethren, thou, that as the love of God is the 
source of all true love in us, so a sense of that love stim- 
ulates us. Whenever you fool that you love God you 
overflow with love to all God's people; 1 am sure you 
do. It is when you gel to doubt the love of God that 
you grow hard and cold: but when you are fired with 
the love of a dying Saviour who gave himself for you, 
you feel as if you loved every beggar in the street, and 
you long to bring every harlot to Christ's dear feet ; you 
cannot help it. Man, if Christ baptizes your heart into 
his love, you will be c with it, and filled with it. 

Your love will respect to God's love 
I for the same reasons. God loves men; be will 
you; God loves them when there is /no good in thorn, and 
you will love them in the same Sometimes the 
wickedness of men kindles in the heart of a true Chris- 
tiana r affection for them. The deeper down they 
are the more they want a Saviour. Did not our Mora- 
vian brethren feel when they went out as missionaries 
that they would prefer to go first to the most barbarous 
 for they -aid. "The more degraded the< 
more they net d ;< Saviour." And should not the mission- 
: - 1 j - i t make believers feel, if men are sunk until they 

low as brutes, and a devils, that this is 

u for our being to bring them 

to Christ? i hop'; that abominable spirit which used to 

come in amoi tian people has been kicked away 

to its father the devil, where it ought to be: I mean the 

spirit which d the poor and the fallen. \Whe<*n I 

beard people >d of looking 

after such riff-raff?" I have been saddened. The church 

of God fe< mis of the meanest are precious,— 

thai t<> gave the most foul, the most ignorant, the most 

ded, the most brutalized man or woman that 
Ij'vok is an object worthy of the effort of the whole church, 
since God thpught hy of the death of Jesus Christ, 

he might bring sinners dead in sin to live unto 
himself 

Brothers and sisters, we shall not h I the 

truth unless we feel that our love to men must be prac- 
tical, because e God's love to us was so. His love did 
not li'- pent uj) like the waters in the caverns of 

the earth, hut it welled up like the waters in the days 
of Noah, when we read that the fountains of the great 
deep were broken up. In the gift of the Lord Jesus we 
behold the reality of divine love. When we see the 
poor we must not say, " Be ye wanned; be ye filled; 1 
am sorry for yen "; but we must let our love relieve them 
from our stores. If we see the ignorant we must not 
say, "Dear me, the church is neglecting the masses; the 
church must wake up": but we must bestir ourselves ami 
struggle ourselves to win sinners. If there be any near 
you who an- degraded, do not say, "I wish somebody 
would go after them." No; go alter them yourself. We 
have each one a mission: let that mission be fulfilled. 

Our love ought to follow the love of God in one point, 
namely, in always seeking to produce reconciliation. It 
was to this (-ml that God sent his Son. lias anybody of- 
fended you? Seek reconciliation. " Oh, but I am the 
offended party." So was ( Jod, and he went straight away 
and sought reconciliation. Brother, do the same. "Oh, 
but I have been insulted." Just so: so was God: all the 
wrong was towards him, yet he sent, "Oh, but the party 
is so unworthy." So are you; but "God loved you and 
sent his Son." (Jo you and write according to that eopy. 
I do not mean that this love is to come out of your own 
heart originally, but I do mean that it is to flow out of 
your heart because God has made it to flow into it. 
You are one of those basins of the fountain; love has 
poured into you from above, let it run over to those who 
are below. Go forth at once, and try and make reconcil- 
iation, not only between yourself and your friend, but 
between every man and (Jod. Let that be your object. 
Christ has become man's reconciliation, and we are to 
try and bring this reconciliation near to every poor sin- 
ner that comes in our way. We are to tell him that 
( y nn{ in Christ is reconciled; we are to say to him, "He 
is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, 
but for the sins of the whole world." Mark that word ! 
It tallies with that other, " Behold the Lamb of God, 
which taketh away the sin of the world." God is now 
able to deal on gospel terms with the whole race. We 
need never think that we shall meet with men to whom 
God will not consent to be reconciled. The propitiation is 
such that whosoever comes to God shall be received 
through it. God is always within to receive every soul 
that comes to him by Jesus Christ. "God so loved the 
world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whoso- 
ever believeth in him should not perish, but have ever- 
lasting life." Your work and mine is reconciliation, and 
everything that tends that way. 

When we have done all, what then ? We shall have 
nothing whereof to glory. Suppose a man should be- 
come so loving that lie gave himself wholly up for his 
fellow-creatures, and actually died for them, would he 
have anything to boast of? Head my text over again. 
t; Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one 
another" ; so that if you get to the highest point of self- 
sacrifice you will never be able to boast, for you have 
only then done what it was your duty to have done. 
Thus you see the highest grade of Christianity excludes 
all idea of salvation by works, for when we come up to 
its utmost pitch, if we give our body to be burned for 
love, yet still we have done no more than it was our duty 
to have done, considering the tremendous obligations 
under which the love of God has laid us. 

If you had to manage waterworks for the distribution 
of water all over this city, and there was a certain pipe 
into which you poured water, and none ever came out 
at the other end, do you know what you would do? 
You would take it out and say, "This does not suit my 
purpose : I want a pipe that will give out as well as re- 
ceive." That is exactly what the Lord desires of us. 
Do not selfishly say, " I want to sit down and enjoy the 
love of God. I shall never say a word to anybody about 
Christ. I will never give a poor creature so much as a 
brass farthing; but I want to sit down and be solaced 
with the love of God." If you think thus, you are a 
pipe plugged up ; you are of no use ; you will have to be 
taken out of the system of the church; for the system 
of love-supply for the world requires open pipes, through 
which love divine may freely flow. May the Lord clear 
you and fill you, so that out of you there may contin- 
ually flow rivers of living water. Amen. 

C. H. Spurgeon