“We know that we have passed from death unto life,
because we love the brethren.”
1 John 3:14
The Lord’s people in their early days have a measure of heavenly love. Though perhaps they cannot say that Jesus is theirs; though they dare not declare they shall certainly go to heaven when they die; though they sometimes cannot even assert that the work of grace is really begun upon their souls; yet there is love manifested in them to God’s word, God’s people, God’s servants, and God’s truth. There is in them, in their weakest and tenderest days, a separation from the world, a casting-in of their lot among the people of God, a going-out in the tenderness of their heart and affection towards them. We see this in Ruth–though she was a poor heathen idolatress, no sooner was her heart touched by the finger of God, than she cleaved to Naomi.
Love to Christ can only spring from the teachings and operations of God upon the heart. Our “carnal mind is enmity against God”–nothing but implacable, irreconcilable enmity. But when the Lord is pleased to make himself, in some measure, known to the soul; when he is pleased, in some degree, to unveil his lovely face, and to give a discovery of his grace and glory–immediately divine love springs up. He is so lovely an Object! As the Bride says, He is “altogether lovely.” His beauty is so surpassing, his grace so rich, his mercy so free–all that he is and has is so unspeakably glorious–that no sooner does he unveil his lovely face, than he wins over all the love of the heart, takes possession of the bosom, and draws every affection of the soul to center wholly and solely in himself.
J. C. Philpot 1802-1869