The CCEL Times 7.2 (February 1, 2012)
In This Issue:
From the Director
Do you love God? How does that love express itself? How is it related to life, society, salvation?
Profound Christian authors write on deep topics, and love is one of the deepest. Key writings go back to 1 John 4, 1 Corinthians 13, and beyond. And of course many CCEL authors have written marvelous works dealing with love.
In his Treatise on the Love of God, St. Francis of Sales presents a captivating picture of "the history of the birth, progress, decay, operations, properties, advantages and excellences of divine love," including exercises for increasing love.
Martin Luther said of the Theologia Germanica that "Next to the Bible and St. Augustine, no book has ever come into my hands from which I have learnt more of God and Christ, and man and all things that are." This book expounds beautifully on the love of others in a Godlike person.
In the Spirit of Love, William Law ties love of God intimately to salvation, as God is love, and we are saved when Christ becomes incarnate in us. As Law puts it in the third dialog, "There is but one salvation for all mankind, and that is the life of God in the soul... God is one, salvation is one, and the way to it is one; and that is the desire of the soul turned to God."
"God's Love: The Compelling Force of Christian Missions"
Although not without some controversy, Carl Bosma explains why church missions are an important aspect of the love that Christ has shown to us. Missionaries are an essential part of the love that we as Christians show to others. While missionaries need to be aware of cultural differences, Christians are commanded to preach the Word and spread the Gospel. As we think about how best to love our neighbors, it's essential that we remember the role that missionaries play in demonstrating this love for our neighbors.
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What We're ReadingHandbook on Faith, Hope, and Love
by Saint Augustine (354-430)
Written after 420 to a man named Laurence, this wonderful book by St. Augustine is a short treatise on the proper mode of worshiping God. Following 1 Corinthians 13, St. Augustine describes true worship of God through faith, hope, and love. In thirty-three small chapters, St. Augustine's description of true worship covers all the major ideas of the Christian religion, providing new and interesting insights on each idea. Given that it was written less than a decade before he died, St. Augustine's Handbook contains some of his most mature reflections on Christian doctrines. Both those looking to understand the proper mode of worshiping God and those just interested in a brief encapsulation of St. Augustine's mature thought should look no further than Handbook of Faith, Hope, and Love. It is beneficial for personal and theological study.
-The Christian Classics Ethereal Library
Featured Hymn"Christian Hearts in Love United" by Count Nicolaus von Zinzendorf (1700-1760)
Zinzendorf's career, achievements, and influence were of great import, both in his own community and worldwide. Although his family insisted that he be trained in law, his inclination was always toward religious matters. A devout youth who was influenced by Philipp Spener and the Pietists, he wrote his first hymn at the age of twelve. After his graduation from Wittenberg University in 1719, he became the official poet for the Saxon court.
He promoted the tradition of congregational singing at Herrnhut and elsewhere and frequently led long hymn sings in an improvised medley format, which included hymn fragments or choruses. Some two thousand hymn texts are attributed to him....
This [featured hymn] about the church's "communion of saints" proclaims that Christians live in union with Christ (st. 1), love each other (st. 2), and serve and witness in the world (st. 3).
-The Psalter Hymnal Handbook
Read more about Hymnary
"The Love of God and Our Brother"
John Howe preached not one, but seventeen sermons on this topic, and all seventeen sermons are available in the CCEL. In the first of these sermons, Howe explains that the love of God and the love of one's brother are really comparatively the same thing. Howe's text comes from 1 John 4 verse 20: "If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen; how can he love God whom he hath not seen." The first sermon, in part, addresses the difficulty of loving a God that isn't clearly (and literally) visible in our lives.
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A prayer found in The Way to Christ by Jakob Boehme
BLESS me, O God, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, Thou only True God. I thank Thee through Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour, for the Preservation of me, and for all other Benefits. I now commend myself, both Soul and Body, and all that Thou hast set me to do in my Employment and Calling, into Thy Protection. Be Thou the Beginning of my Conceptions, my Undertakings, and all my Doings. Work Thou so in me, that I may begin all Things to the Glory of Thy Name, and accomplish them in Thy Love for the Good and Service of my Neighbor. Send Thy holy Angel along with me, to turn the Temptations of the Devil and corrupt Nature away from me. Preserve me from the Malice of evil Men; make all my Enemies reconcilable to me, and bring my Mind into Thy Vineyard, that I may labor in my Office and Employment, and behave as Thy obedient Servant therein. Bless me, and all that I am to go about and do this Day, with the Blessing of Thy Love and Mercy. Continue Thy Grace and Love in Jesus Christ upon me, and give me a Mind cheerfully to follow Thy Leading and execute Thine Appointment. Let Thy Holy Spirit guide me in my Beginning, and my Progress, on to my Last End, and be the Willing, Working, and Accomplishing of all in me. Amen.
Read other prayers and writing by Jakob Boehme
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