Meditation for Sunday, July 1.

We love him, because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19

The love of God lighted upon fallen men, not fallen angels, though much more noble and spiritual beings; and why? Even because he has mercy on whom he will have mercy. His love falls upon the poor, foolish, weak nothings of this world, not upon the wise, noble, and mighty; not many such are called. He reveals these things to babes, not to the wise and prudent of the world. We must not think, that outward things, such as wisdom and learning, and worldly advantages, move God to set his love upon any; “Even so, Father, for it seemed good in thy sight:” Yea, his love vents ordinarily upon the most stubborn and rebellious sinners in the world, more than upon the most civil and moral persons, that had led a better lives than the generality of their neighbors; who have had more of the righteousness of the law than other people; who have been better natured in respect of their pleasant natural disposition, than others; and who have had a liberal education, so as to be trained up, not only in manifold arts and sciences, but in manifold religious duties from their childhood. Grace many times passes by such persons as these, and falls upon more knobby, rugged persons. The young man in the gospel may say, “All these things have I done from my youth up’,’ and yet go away from Christ, when a persecuting Paul, are received into savor and mercy. In a word, whomsoever he makes the object of his manifested love in time, they are persons unworthy of his love; they are full of enmity against him, and bent to backsliding from him, and woefully averse from returning to him. That God should love sinners, and great sinners, O what preventing love is it!

The time of his love, when he prevents them does also illustrate this. Many a time he makes his grace to reach them, not when they are in their best frame or mood; but behold a Paul going to Damascus, with the knife in his hand, ready to cut the throats of the saints, but grace out-runs him, seizes him, lays hold upon him, and the love of God in Christ overcomes
him. He is made Christ’s prisoner; vanquished; and brought to subjection. I do not say that it always holds, that a person gets the revelation of grace when going on in sin; but the first influx of grace towards them is many times, when in a very bad case, the Lord arrests them. Many times, when they have been about some wicked act of sin, the Lord will fall in at
such a time upon their conscience, fill them with terror, and humble them under his mighty hand, and never leave them until he has quickened them, and made them live; “When thou wast in thy blood, I said unto thee, Live”. But what need we say more concerning the
time of his love, to show the preventing nature of it than what God himself says, “Jacob have I loved, and Esau have I hated; the children being not yet born, neither having done good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth”. Before the man was born, or had done either good or evil, behold he is the object of divine love; “Jacob have I loved.”

By Ralph Erskine

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