Tuesday, April 24, 2012
More Love for Jesus!
My brethren, are not multitudes wrapped up in forms and ceremonies? If the service pleases the eye and the ear are they not quite content? Love to the person of Christ has not occurred to the mass of avowed worshippers of Jesus. We know others to whom the end-all and be-all of religion is an orthodox statement of doctrine. So long as the preaching is according to the confession of faith, and every word and act is piously correct, they are well pleased; but no love to Jesus ever stirs their bosoms, religion to them is not an exercise of the heart at all — it is mere brain work, and hardly that. They know nothing of the living soul going out towards a living person, a bleeding heart knit to another bleeding heart, a life subsisting on another life and enamoured of it. We know brethren who carry this very far, and if the preacher differs from them in the merest shade, they are overwhelmed with pious horror at his unsoundness, and they cannot hear him again: even if he preach Christ most preciously in all the rest of his discourse, it is nothing, because he cannot sound their “Shibboleth.”
What is orthodoxy without love, but a catacomb to bury dead religion in. It is a cage without a bird; the gaunt skeleton of a man out of which the life has fled. I am afraid that the general current of church life runs too much towards externals, and too little towards deep burning love to the person of Christ. If you preach much about emotional religion, and the heart-work of godliness, coldblooded professors label you as rather mystical, and begin to talk of Madame Guyon and the danger of the Quietist school of religion. We would not mind having a little spice of that, even if we were blamed for it, for after all the realizing of Christ is the grand thing. The faith which is most blessed is faith which deals most fully with the person of Jesus Christ, the truest repentance is that which weeps at a sight of his wounds, and the love which is most sweet is love to the adorable person of the Wellbeloved.
From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled "Lovest Thou Me?," delivered February 27, 1876. Image by Jeff Kubina on Flickr under Creative Commons License.