Whose love can this be that is as mighty as the conqueror of monarchs? Does it belong to the destroyer of the human race? Would it not sound like satire if it were applied to my poor, weak, and scarcely living love to Jesus my Lord? I do love Him, and perhaps by His grace I could even die for Him, but as for my love in itself, it can scarcely endure the scoffer's jest, much less a cruel death. Surely this is my Beloved's love that is spoken of here—the love of Jesus, the matchless lover of souls. His love was indeed stronger than the most terrible death, for it endured the trial of the cross triumphantly.
It was a lingering death, but love survived the torment; a shameful death, but love despised the shame; a penal death, but love bore our iniquities; a forsaken, lonely death, from which the eternal Father hid His face, but love endured the curse and triumphed over all. There never was such love, never such a death. It was a desperate duel, but love bore the pain. What then, my heart? Have you no emotions stirred within you at the thought of such heavenly affection? Yes, my Lord, I long, I want to feel Your love flaming like a furnace within me. Come Yourself and excite the love of my spirit.
For every drop of crimson blood
Thus shed to make me live,
O wherefore, wherefore have not I
A thousand lives to give?
Why should I despair of loving Jesus with a love as strong as death? He deserves it: I desire it. The martyrs felt such love, and they were mere men and women, so why not I? They mourned their weakness, and yet out of weakness were made strong. Grace gave them their unflinching constancy—there is the same grace for me. Jesus, lover of my soul, shed abroad this love, even Your love, in my heart tonight.
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From Morning & Evening revised and edited by Alistair Begg copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.