MEDITATIONS ON CHRISTIAN DOGMA TREATISE I. GOD. 24. GOD'S LOVE FOR CREATURES.
MEDITATIONS ON CHRISTIAN DOGMA
TREATISE I. GOD.
24. GOD'S LOVE FOR CREATURES.
I. God does not stand apart from His creation, indifferent to it and neglecting it. " Thou lovest all things that are, and hatest none of the things which Thou hast made " (Wisd. xi. 25). The propension of the divine will is one of complacency and benevolence towards all that is good. The first object of this love is the Supreme Good, the Divine Essence ; the second object is created good. All creatures are good, as deriving from God, and as being reflections, and in some sort images of the divine perfections. The love of God for the Godhead is communicated to that which is so closely connected with the Godhead as are its productions, its creatures. On every single creature, then, God dwells with pleasure and love. On every one of them does He bestow His favours; natural favours on those that are of the natural order, and much more abundant supernatural ones on those that are supernatural. " Thou openest Thy hand and fillest every creature with blessing " (Wisd. xi. 25). The love of God for men is far in excess of what He bestows on the lower creation ; and among men He lavishes a far more intense love on those who are members of the mystical body of His Son, and who serve Him with all their ability. Your love should be given first of all to the most worthy object, i.e. God, and then should extend in due order to all creatures of God for His sake, because they are His and are loved by Him.
II. Consider the qualities of the love of God for you and all His creatures. 1. It is eternal. Your image has always been present to the consciousness of God, and He has always taken delight in it. " Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love ; therefore have I drawn thee, taking pity on thee" (Jer. xxxi. 3). 2. It is constant; it remains unchanged even when we have turned against God by sin. He still goes on bestowing favours and calling us to His grace. 3. It is gratuitous. God has nothing to gain from us in return. We have nothing and can do nothing. There is no attractiveness in us that He should desire us, except what He Himself has imparted to us. 4. It is individual. God loves each one as fully as if that creature were the only object of His infinite love. No one need be jealous Jest the love given to others be so much taken from him. Be faithful for ever to the love of God who has first loved you. " Forsake not an old friend, for the new will not be like him " (Eccli. ix. 14). Strive to love God, 1. perpetually, 2. without wavering or weariness, 3. for His own sake and not your own, 4. as the sole object of your love, loving all others in Him.
III. Consider the efficacy of God's love. Created love is for the most part selfish, useless, noxious even : it is changeable, inconstant, and is seldom able to do such good as it desires. The love of God produces every good in its object; it gratifies, enriches, ennobles, glorifies. Human love is drawn forth by some good quality in its object ; God's love is the cause of all goodness ; it creates and diffuses the goodness which attracts it. If God were to withdraw His love momentarily from us, we should at once lose all excellence, all our virtues, all happiness, hope, exist ence even. God's love then is the sum of all good to you here, and more especially hereafter. Do not barter it for any transient pleasure or advantage of this world. If you possess it, what does all else matter to you? And you have it, for Our Lord Himself has assured you of it, and has proved it by His deeds. Let this be your delight, your support, your consolation, your compensation under all circumstances. Try to love Him as well as you can, and you need have no fear as to the rest.
MEDITATIONS ON CHRISTIAN DOGMA BY THE RIGHT REV. JAMES BELLORD, D.D.