The Church And Churches -- By: Daniel P. Noyes
BSac 20:78 (April 1863) p. 349
The Church And Churches
There are few sentences which furnish a more fruitful theme of meditation than that which fell from the lips of Paul on Mars Hill: “in Him we live, and move, and have our being”; “We are His offspring.” But more wonderful are those words of our Lord: “He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us.”
What, to the ancients, was an uncertain theory, to us is a reality: “Now are we the sons of God.” Despite the broken ties, there is yet a family of God on earth, made up of those within whom he dwells, and who have begun to be
BSac 20:78 (April 1863) p. 350
holy, in the obedience of love. Here shall the race attain, at last, its fore-ordained but forfeited unity; the prayer of Christ and the doubts of the ancients shall be answered; in Christ shall all be made one. In the love of God shall souls rise to their true life, and enter into oneness with the Father and with each other.
The history of language furnishes no instance of the apotheosis of a word more remarkable than that which the word “love” has experienced in Jesus Christ. In Immanuel, we may reverently say, God makes bare his heart before man, and shows to him the motion of his own holiness. And this, for want of a nobler or more kindred element in human speech, receives the name of love — a word long familiar and dear, but now exalted and transfigured with a divine brightness. There is nought else that we can conceive as within finite reach, so excellent as this holy, voluntary impulse and delight; and, in its absolute perfection, it is what we necessarily think of as constituting God’s own essential glory. If asked to describe what we mean by this love, we may say: It is an energy within us, in which our souls freely go forth in blissful adoration and desire toward the holiness and blessedness of Jehovah, or the likeness of the same in his offspring; in which we give ourselves up, with a peculiar, deep, sure joy, to God, or, with accordant delight, to that which is God-like in man. The love is, fundamentally and supremely, a delight in this good, a yearning after it and a free consecration to it. It involves an endless aspiration (for others as for ourselves) and a ceaseless prayer, a perpetual adoration of the All-holy, and a perpetual benediction and beneficence upon his intelligent creatures. There is no end to the power of this love; for it can never be satiated, though ever satisfied, but is ever striving, while yet ever at peace. So, it binds forever; uniting man with God and men with one another in a union which is ever attaining, yet has never fulfilled its end...
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