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THE HEART OF GOD
THUS were many sorrowful hearts nourished, and cherished, and comforted in those old days, for the words which the Master spoke, came from the depths of his heart, and reached the hearts of those who heard him. It was very plain to them that he had not learnt his lesson from learned doctors and books of theology, but that he was speaking of the things which he had seen and heard. He had been rooted and grounded in love, and he had learnt his lesson from “the lips which are as lilies, dropping sweet smelling myrrh.”
“Well did Mary Magdalene call Him Rabboni,” he said, “for Rabboni is ‘my teacher,’ and Christ is the Teacher of love. And this in three ways. He rewards nothing but love. He rewards nothing but out of love. He rewards nothing but by love. For no work is accounted before God, but the work that is worked by love. The work passes, but the love is eternal, and he who loveth, loveth for evermore.
“And further, God rewardeth only out of love. It is out of love that He gives Himself, for it is Himself that He gives us, and gives Himself wholly. He giveth not by measure, not a part, nor for a time, for He loveth with an everlasting love. And He gives nothing less than Himself as He said to Abraham of old, ‘Fear not, for I am thy shield and thine exceeding great reward.’
“And thirdly, He rewardeth only by love. And this love consists in the unveiling of His glorious face, so that we may behold Him, and enjoy Him, and possess Him for evermore.
“Could you take away from God His love to the souls of men, you would take away His life and His being — it would be, if thus one dared to speak, to put an end to God.
“Did not Jesus say, ‘I am the Door of the Sheep-fold’? What is to us the Sheep-fold, dear children? It is the heart of the Father, whereunto Christ is the gate that is called Beautiful. For that door which was closed to sinful men, the door to God’s heart of love, has been unlocked and opened wide by Christ the Lord. And there within is the meeting-place of all the saints of God.
“O children, how sweetly and how gladly has He opened that door into the Father’s heart, into the treasure-chamber of God! And there within He unfolds to us the hidden riches, the nearness and the sweetness of companionship with Himself.
“For none can think, and none can understand, how ready is the welcome to those who enter in. For God thirsteth after the souls He loves, God runneth forth at all hours and all moments to meet them on their way.
“Children, will you refuse the blessed call? Will you deny to God the longing of His heart? Will you refuse the welcome and the kiss? Were you but emptied of yourselves, it never could be thus. For as surely as the flame goes upward, as swiftly as the bird soars high into the air, so does the emptied soul arise, surely and swiftly, to God.
“O children, God needs us and longs after us with a longing so deep and so strong, that it is as though all His blessedness, as though His very Being, depended upon us.
“All things that God has made, in Heaven and in earth, in His wisdom and His power, all has been created and all has been done, that He might win us back to Himself, and bring us into the depth of His Heart.
“Every creature we see should remind us of the desire and the purpose of God. This, children, is the reason of His call. And whereunto does He call us? He calls us to be to Him as His beloved Son, for unto Christ He calls us, that we may be joint-heirs with Him. Christ the First-born amongst many brethren, by nature Heir of all things, and we, joint-heirs by grace.
“We read in the Gospel of S. John, how the Lord turned and spake to the two disciples of S. John the Baptist, who were following after Him. He said to them, ‘What seek ye?’ And they answered ‘Rabbi’ (that is, being interpreted, Master), ‘where dwellest Thou?’ And He answered and said unto them, ‘Come and see.’
“Dear children, thus He speaks to us, ‘Come, soul,’ He says, ‘come and dwell with Me, and in Me, and behold Me, that thou mayest learn of Me. I will open to thee the depths of My heart, that therein thou mayest enter, and learn, and see what is the joy that is thine for evermore.’
“Thus by the Holy Ghost have we even here an unclouded vision and a perfect enjoyment of Jesus our Lord, and as the Spirit gives us this blessed joy, so He gives to us to delight in it not for our own sakes, but for the sake of God, and for God’s great glory.
“For all this blessedness was won by Christ to satisfy the need of God; it is Christ who has merited it, not we, and it is as to a son beloved, that God gives it freely to His own.
“And thus we can in sorrow be evermore rejoicing, even as the Lord Jesus when He was here below.
“For from the beginning to the end, His life was a life of sorrow and of joy.
“It was sorrow to Him to leave the throne in Heaven, and come down into this world below. Joy, that He yet was one with the Father in the glory above.
“Sorrow, that He must taste of death, and that the death of the cross. Joy, that He had the while a life undying and Divine.
“Sorrow, in that He was tempted by the enemy. Joy, that the angels came and ministered to Him.
“Sorrow, that He was an hungered and athirst. Joy, in that He was the Bread of life to men.
“Sorrow, in that He was wearied by the way. Joy, in that He is the Rest to all the hearts of His beloved.
“Sorrow, that for many His blessed work was of no avail. Joy, because of the blessedness He won for His friends for evermore.
“Sorrow, that He had need to ask from the heathen woman a drink of water. Joy, that He had to give to her the living water, so that she should thirst no more for ever.
“Sorrow, when He wept with Mary at the grave of Lazarus. Joy that His voice awakened Lazarus from the dead.
“Sorrow, when with nails He was hung upon the cross. Joy, when He promised to the thief to be with Him in Paradise.
“Sorrow, when He hung athirst amidst His enemies. Joy, that He should quench for His beloved the everlasting thirst.
“Sorrow, that He drank the bitter cup of death. Joy, that He arose on the third day in the body of His glory.
“Thus from the manger to the cross, was His life woven of sorrow and of joy. And this dying and this life, has He left to us, dear children, as a precious legacy of love, that we may evermore remember Him, and walk even as He walked through this world below.
“And it is because of God’s great love that He lets us be as the hare that is chased by the hounds of temptation and sorrow. Yes, it is His great faithfulness, and His immeasurable love, which let loose upon us the hounds great and small.
“A small temptation is often to us sinful men more dangerous than a great temptation. For we are taken unawares by a little trifling thing — a game, or a companion, or a jewel, or a little chat, or the friendliness of a worldly man. And so we are caught, and we fall into darkness and sorrow.
“But if when driven by temptation were we to flee to God, as the hart that is athirst for the brooks of water, in Him should we find the gladness and the peace and the delight, that are all the sweeter because of our weariness and thirst.
“Sweet and blessed and delightsome, here in this life below and afterwards in the eternal home — the fountain of sweet water, whereof we may drink our fill, may drink, yea drink abundantly and immeasurably — may drink from the fountain-head, from the Father’s heart.
“O children, he who has drunk from the glorious river of God, forgets himself and his sorrow — it is to him as though he could go bravely and joyously through fire and water, and through a thousand naked swords — he fears no longer life nor death, nor joy nor sorrow. Children, why is this? It is because he has drunk to the full of God’s eternal love.”
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