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The love of God is so great in its endless ramifications that it can't be fully comprehended or explained by finite man. In fact, if it were possible to bring the love of God into language, it would bring it into limitations. The love of God is infinite, and inexhaustible. It's limitless, boundless, and unchangeable. It reaches beyond the stars, is wider than the skies, and is deeper than the seas.
"Could we with ink the ocean fill,
Were all the skies of parchment made,
Were every blade of grass a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade---
To write the love of God to man
Would drain the ocean dry,
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though 'stretched from sky to sky.'"
Some things are considered great because of their distance, like the farthest star in the heavens; or because of their grandeur, like the snow-clad Alps of Switzerland: becaue of their volume, as the mighty ocean. But the love of God is greater than anything our eyes can behold. Everything in the great universe speaks of the love of God to mankind. Although not understood, perhaps, yet the love of God is beaming forth from every flower in the valley, from the rugged rocks, and from the highest mountain-peak. The voice of nature is ever speaking of the love of God to man; but it can't tell us how much he loves us, nor to what extent. It took Jesus Christ to tell us how much God really loves the world.
Many things are better understood by comparison than by abstract reasoning, and thus we more easily comprehend the great distance to the sun by comparing distances. For example: It's 1,000 miles from Chicago, Ill., to New York City, N. Y.; 25,000 miles around the earth; 240,000 miles to the moon; and 93,000,000 miles to the sun. With respect to power, one man can draw 10 men; a horse can draw 50 men; a locomotive can draw 5,000; a steamboat 30,000. The power of inertia keeps the world turning upon its axis at the rate of 16 miles a minute, and speeding through space at the tremendous rate of 18.5 miles a second. And behind all this great universe in its multiform complexity is the great power of God. Who can comprehend it? Thank God, his love is as great as his power.
The love of God is so boundless that we're staggered with amazement, and ofttimes fail to comprehend its true greatness and intrinsic worth to us as individuals. Let's employ the comparative method in discussing his great love. A child's love for its brother or sister is as pure as the dewdrops upon a rosebud, at the dawn of day. It's simple, honest, and true; but in after years it can become so cold that even the address of the ones so well loved in youth is forgotten. A father's love is stronger than that of a brother to his brother, and that tie of affection between father and child is strong, tender and true.
A Touching Incident and a Father's Love...
When I was two years of age I followed my father through the deep snow step by step out into a large forest, not thinking of the danger there might be along the way. Becoming tired, I sat down in the snow, which by that time had nearly covered my father's tracks. I was lost in a winter's storm, in the woods, and no one knew where to look for me, for my tracks were covered by the raging storm. Frantically my mother searched in every conceivable nook and corner; but I could not be found. Father was working in the lumber woods, and all that forenoon he felt impressed that something was wrong at home. He was uneasy. So acting upon intuition he started for home.
The snow lay everywhere in great white drifts. Instead of taking the short cut home, he took the longer route---he felt impressed to go the way he came to work. He hurried on; but it seemed he couldn't go fast enough. Suddenly, before him in his pathway, he beheld a little arm projecting out of the drifting snow. Astonished beyond expression, he leaped to the spot, and quickly but tenderly uncovered a half-frozen little boy. He took in the situation at a glance. The boy had followed him in his footsteps, before the sweeping storm had obliterated his tracks; possibly the child had been lying there for hours. Father afterward said the hot hot tears so blinded his eyes that he could scarcely see. But it was no time for emotion, action was what was needed, so off came overcoat, sweater, and every needful garment, and the little boy was wrapped up and was soon safe at home. Even to this day I feel a peculiar strangeness creep over me when I think of what might have been. When I look at my own dear boys and think of my father's experience, I can more readily comprehend a father's pity and warm love for his child.
A Mother's Love...
There is, however, another love which far surpasses that of brother for brother, or father for his child, and that is a mother's love. A mother's love surpasses every other earthly element. It was she who felt the first quickening impulse of the new life that was to be. It was she to whom our infant eyes were first uplifted, and the name "mamma" was the first word that fell from our lips. It was she who waited at midnight when the candle of life flickered, and when the issue like a pendulum swung between life and death. Her love is the connecting link which binds humanity together. Humanity never comes so near the Divine as when maternity is wrapped in holy human love. The sister turns away from her wayward brother; the father's pity has its limitations, and soon he says, "Go, you're a disgrace to my name and to my family"; but,
"My mother's prayers have followed me,
Have followed me the whole world through."
The wicked world turns from the haggard, disgraced man. He's put in prison, and despised by society and former companions. But mother visits him still. She kneels outside when the gallows' trap drops that day, and prays as only a mother can pray that God, some way, somehow, will forgive her wayward boy. She combs his hair, places a rose upon his breast, kisses his darkened brow, and then at last puts a wreath upon his grave. Verily she was first to greet him in this life, and the last one to leave him in death. Can there be a greater love than this?
The Love of God is Unbounded...
God's love for the world of mankind is proved first in the fact of man's creation. Temporal things are but visible expressions of what existed before in the great mind and love of God. God longed for communion and fellowship, and for a love that was not, so he conceived this plan of the world's creation and the bringing into existence of the human race. Man's the only being upon the earth possessed with a moral sense and qualities and capabilities for knowing God. Man was made for the glory of God, that was the only reason for his being brought into existence. Into the history of the human family, sin entered, and, by it, death has reigned down through the ages. God had made a decree that sin committed would produce death, and that law couldn't be revoked. The human family sinned, and, hence, the sentence of death was passed upon all.
Was all to be lost? Was there no escape? Was eternal death to be the final doom of all of Adam's race? The destiny of mankind was sealed, unless a sacrifice, or atonement, could be secured, or a satisfaction made. A decree had gone forth that without the shedding of blood there could be no forgiveness granted. The blood of animals had been shed; but it was pronounced too weak to atone for sons which were infinite in their nature. The one whom we call Christ was with the Father; but he couldn't atone for men's sins. The world was searched, and no person found suitable: a man might have offered his own blood; but God had said, "None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him: for the redemption of their soul is precious" (Psa.49:7, 8). The inhabitants of the unseen world could offer nothing, for they were also enquiring and waiting for an atonement to be made. As a last expedient, God volunteered to give his Son, but a special body had to be prepared. So, in the fulness of time, the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, being born of Mary, in distant Judea. Thus, "we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man" (Heb. 2:9).
God could have allowed the world of rebels to have gone on to swift and eternal judgment, without reflecting upon his character; but mercy stepped in, in the person of Jesus Christ. Viewed from the Father's standpoint, we see his Son in a dark and sin-benighted world, unloved and unappreciated by those whom he came to save. In the Garden of Gethsemane he took the cup of the world's bitterness and awful sins, and cried unto the Father, "If it be they will let this cup pass." God heard the cry of his Son; but the price must be paid. The foxes have holes, the birds have nests, but he had no place to lay his head. He sweat, as it were, great drops of blood. Must he go on to the end? They will spit upon him, and place a crown of thorns upon his head, which grew because of that awful curse---the curse from which he came to save. Must he be nailed to the cross and die? Must he hang there between two thieves, with no one to pity, no one to care or comfort? Imagine your own dear son to be in a heathen country, suffering such agony, and calling for help from you!
Alone in the Garden he bowed his head and said, "Not my will, but thine be done." He drank that cup of suffering in our stead, and carried our sins. They nailed him to the cross with nails and spikes, and hotted and sneered. The Father was watching that dreadful scene, but he so loved the world that he gave his only Son. When the time was come for him to die, he cried, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsakend me?" and bowed his head and died---not like a philosopher, statesman, or poet, but as a man. He died, not altogether because of his wounds, but also of the burden of the world. Not only did God volunteer to give his Son, but also Christ volunteered to give his life.
Gave His Life for His King...
History records the story of a Russian monarch who with his wife and driver was overtaken by wolves in a large forest in Russia. When nearly surrounded by the hungry beasts, the czar ordered that one of the horses be cut loose. It was done, and soon the noble animal was devoured. When surrounded again, another horse was cut loose, and it was soon devoured as was the other. As no more horses could be spared, the faithful driver proposed that he jump out and fight the famished pack single handed, until his majesty and queen made their escape. Since there was danger of all losing their lives, the king at last, althought reluctantly, gave consent. Before the driver jumped he made one request, that his wife and family be protected in case he was overcome. The lines were given to the sovereign, and with a revolver in each hand the faithful servant leaped. The czar and his wife heard a few shots ring out and heard some shrieks and growls as they sped away for safety. Shortly they met a body of men who, fearing danger, were coming to escort their monarch to safety. The czar told the story quickly; and when the men reached the spot where the faithful servant had jumped, they found seven dead wolves, but all that was left of the man were a few shining bones. They all wept aloud, and gave great honor to such a faithful friend. There stands today in distant Russia a marble slab upon which is written, "Greater love hath no man that this, that a man lay down his life for a friend." The giving of one's life for a friend marks the climax of human love; but even greater is the love of
The King Who Died For His People...
In St. John 15:10 it reads, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." Humanly speaking, Christ also reached the maximum of human love, for he said, "I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep" (John 10:11). But Christ's love was still greater than human love. In Rom. 5:7, 8, 6, Paul in writing of the magnitude of Christ's love declared: "For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. For when we were yet withou strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly." I haven't read in history of anothe case where a man laid down his life for an enemy. Oh, such wondrous love! Christ dying for men when they weren't only unholy, but unthankful! He lifted the sentence of death from all mankind who will repent and believe the gospel. Such momentous facts should soften a heart of stone.
To the mighty influence of God's love we're indebted for everything beautiful and desirable in the creation of nature and for its continuance. Divine love is an invisible cord ever drawing man toward his maker; and human love, when not perverted, is a counterpart of the divine, a mystic, potential influence drawing together the human souls of mankind. Upon the broad foundation of love, empires have been founded; and without that vital element, scepters have been lost and the earth drenched with blood. To the warming influences of the love of God, and its impelling power, can be credited all lasting development of body, mind, and soul. The destiny of the human family hinges upon love. It's the mainspring of all useful endeavor, and the natural harmonizer of all things human. It's indispensable. Left to itself without the touch of a loving hand, the cultivated flower would lose its rare formation and perfume and go back to common type. So it is with man; for without the softening, uplifting, expanding influences of a Divine hand, he would degenerate and finally die. "Like as a father pitiest his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame, he remembereth that we're dust."
If any of us are yet "in sin"...Jesus Christ stands today with outstretched arms of mercy; in loving tones he bids us come to him, and rest. Let's not allow this day to pass without making our peace with God...if need be. The voice of God's been ringing down through the ages, saying to lost men everywhere: Behold I have stretched out my hand all day long, but few have heeded. Turn you at my reproof. In the day you call upon me I will answer, and your sins I will remember no more forever.
The Love of God...
The glory of the world belongs to Love,
Its voice was hear in forming earth and sea;
In every scented flower and sheltered cove
Is heard the chanting of its melody.
On darkest day of life we hear it sing,
In mansion, or the cot beside the hill;
As the lilites of the valley ever spring,
The weary, saddened heart with joy to fill.
O mighty element, thou Love of God!
Thou shalt exist when Time has gone to sleep.
When earthly things on which our feet have trod
Have passed, and hopes, which now our hearts do keep,
Are realized, thou shalt continue on
To bring new joys, destroyng every pain,
Like as the ocean tides so great and strong
Ebb and return unto the shore again.
The love of God is great and wide and free;
Eternally its nature is the same;
All things which seem so wrapped in mystery
Unfold at but the naming of its name.
Cloud after cloud may hide love from the world,
The smoke of battle oft its beauty mar;
But at the last triumphant it will rise,
To shine beyond the last dim distant star.



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