A Test of Assurance
How we know whether we
He who loves Godódesires his presence. Lovers
cannot be long apart, they soon have their fainting fits, for lack of a
sight of the object of their love. A soul deeply in love with God, desires
the enjoyment of Him in His ordinances, in the Word, prayer, and sacraments.
David was ready to faint away and die when he had not a sight of God. "My
soul faints for God" (Psalm 84:2). Such as care not for ordinances, but say,
"When will the Sabbath be over?" plainly reveal their lack of love to God.
He who loves Godódoes not love sin. "You who
love the Lord, hate evil" (Psalm 97:10). The love of God, and the love of
sin, can no more mix together than iron and clay. Every sin loved, strikes
at the being of God. He who loves God, has a hatred of sin. He who would
part two lovers is a hateful person. God and the believing soul are two
lovers; sin parts between them, therefore the soul is implacably set against
it. By this try your love to God. How could Delilah say she loved Samson,
when she entertained correspondence with the Philistines, who were his
He who loves Godóis not much in love with anything else.
His love is very cool to worldly things. His love to God moves swiftly, as
the sun in the skies; to the world it moves slowly, as the sun on the dial.
The love of the world eats out the heart of piety; it chokes good
affections, as earth puts out fire. The world was a dead thing to Paul. "I
am crucified to the world, and the world is crucified to me" (Gal. 6:14). In
Paul we may see both the picture and pattern of a mortified man. He who
loves God, uses the worldóbut chooses God. The world
engages him, but God delights and satisfies him. He says
as David, "God my exceeding joy!" That is, God is the gladness or cream of
my joy (Psalm 43:4).
He who loves Godócannot live without him.
Things we love we cannot be without. A man can do without music or flowers,
but not food; so a soul deeply in love with God looks upon himself as undone
without Him. "Hide not your face from me, lest I be like those who go down
into the pit" (Psalm 143:7). He says to Job, "I went mourning without the
sun" (Job 30:28). That is, "I have starlight, I lack the Sun
of Righteousness; I want to enjoy the sweet presence of my God." Is God our
chief good, and we cannot live without Him? Alas! how do they show they have
no love to God, who can do well enough without Him! Let them have food and
drink, and you shall never hear them complain of the lack of God.
He who loves Godówill be at any pains to get him.
What pains the merchant takes, what hazards he runs, to have a rich return
from the Indies! Jacob loved Rachel, and he could endure the heat by day,
and the frost by night, that he might enjoy her. A soul that loves God will
take any pains for the fruition of Him. "My soul follows hard after God"
(Psalm 63:8). Love is the weight which keeps the clock going. It is much in
prayer, weeping, fasting; it strives as in agony that he may obtain Him whom
his soul loves. Plutarch reports of the Gauls, an ancient people of France,
that after they had tasted the sweet wine of Italy, they never rested until
they had arrived at that country. He who is in love with God, never rests
until he has a part in Him. "I sought him whom my soul loves" (Song of Sol.
3:2). How can they say they love God, who are not industrious in the use of
means to obtain Him? He is not in agony, but lethargy. If
Christ and salvation would drop as a ripe fig into his mouth, he would be
content to have them; but he is loath to put himself to too much trouble.
Does he love his friend, who win not undertake a journey to see him?
He who loves Godóprefers him before estate and life.
(1) Before estate--"For whom I have suffered the loss of
all things" (Phil. 3:8). Who that loves a rich jewel, would not part with a
flower to obtain it? Galeacius parted with a great estate to enjoy God in
His pure ordinances. When a Jesuit persuaded him to return to his popish
religion in Italy, promising him a large sum of money, he said: "Let their
money perish with them who esteem all the gold in the world worth one day's
communion with Jesus Christ and his Holy Spirit."
(2) Before life--"They loved not their lives to the
death" (Rev. 12:11). Love to God carries the soul above the love of life,
and the fear of death.
He who loves Godóloves his favorites, the saints
(1 John 5:1). To love a man for his grace and the more we see
of God in him, the more we love himóthat is an infallible sign of love to
God. The wicked pretend to love God, but hate and persecute the saints, who
are his image. Does he love his prince who abuses his statue, or tears his
picture? They seem indeed to show great reverence to saints departed; they
have great reverence for Saint Paul, and Saint Stephen, and
Saint Luke; they canonize dead saints, but persecute living saints. Do
they love God? Can it be imagined that he loves Godówho hates His children
because they are like God? If Christ were alive again, He would not escape a
If we love God we cannot but be fearful of dishonoring
him. The more a child loves his fatheróthe more he is afraid to
displease him, and will weep and mourn when he has offended him. "Peter went
out and wept bitterly" (Matt. 26:75). Peter might well think that Christ
dearly loved him, when He took him up to the mount where He was
transfigured, and showed him the glory of heaven in a vision. That Peter
should deny Christ after he had received such signal tokens of His loveóthis
broke his heart with grief "He wept bitterly." Are our eyes dropping tears
of grief for sin against God? It is a blessed evidence of our love to God;
and such shall find mercy. "He shows mercy to thousands of those who love
Use. Let us be lovers of God. We love our
foodóbut shall we not love Him who gives it? All the joy we hope for in
heaven is in God; and shall not He who shall be our joy then, be our love
now? It is a saying of Augustine, "Is it not punishment enough Lord, not to
love you?" And again, "I would hate my own soul if I did not find it loving