Tests of Love to God

August 27, 2008

I am currently working my way through All Things for Good by Thomas Watson for the Puritan Paperback challenge. I thought that I would include a chapter which I was reading this will span two of three posts, so this is only part one.

Let us test ourselves impartially whether we are in the number of those that love God. For the deciding of this, as our love will be best seen by the fruits of it, I shall lay down fourteen sings, or fruits, of love to God, and it concerns us to search carefully whetherd any of these fruits grow in our garden

1. The first fruit of love is the musing of the mind upon God. He who is in love, his thoughts are ever upon the object. He who loves God is ravished and transprted with the contemplation of God. ‘When I awake, I am still with thee” (Psalm 139.18). The thoughts are as travellers in the mind David’s thoughts kept heaven-road, I am still with Thee. God is the treasure, and where the treasure is, there is the heart. By this we may test our love to God. What are our thoughts most upon? Can we say we are ravished with delight when we think on God? Have our thoughts got wings? Are they fled aloft? Do we contemplate Christ and glory? Oh, how far are they from being lovers of God, who scarcely ever think of God? ‘God is not in all his thoughts‘ (Psalm 10.4). A sinner crowds God out of his thoughts, he never thinks of God, unless with horror, as the prisoner thinks of the judge.

2. The next fruits of love is desire of communion. Love desires familiarity and intercourse. ‘My heart and flesh crieth out  for the living God” (Psalm 84.2). King David being debarred the house of God where was the tabernacle, the visible token of His presence, he breathes after God, and in a holy pathos of desire cries out for the living God. Lovers would be conversing together. If we love god we prize His ordinances, because there we meet with God. He speaks to us in His Word, and we speak to Him in prayer. By this let us examine our love to God. Do we desire intimacy of communion with God? Lovers canot be long away from each other. Such as love God have a holy affection, they know not how to be from Him. They can bear the want of anything but God’s presence. They can do without health and friends, they can be happy without a full table, but they cfannot be happy without God. ‘Hide not thy face from me, lest I be like them that go down into the grave‘ (Psalm 143.7). Lovers have their fainting-fits. Gavid was ready to faint away and die, when he had not a sight of God. They who love God cannot be contented with having ordinances, unless they may enjoy God in them; that were to lick the glass, and not the honey.

What shall we say to those who can be all their lives long without God? They think God may be best spared; they complain they want health and trading, but not that they want God! Wicked men are not acquainted with God; and worse, they do not desire to be acquainted with Him. ‘They ssay to God, Depart from us, we desire not the knowledge of thy ways‘ (Job 21.14). Sinners shun acquaintance with God, they count His presence a burden; and are thses lovers of God? Does that woman love her husband, who cannot endure to be in his presence?

3. Another fruit of love is grief. Where there is love to God, there is a grieving for our sins of unkindness against Him, A child which loves his father cannot but weep for offending him. The heart that burns in love melts in tears, Of! that I should abuse the love of so dear a Saviour! Did not my Lord suffer enough upon the cross, but must I make Him suffer more? Shall I give Him more gall and vinegar to drink? How disloyal and disingeuous have I been ! How have I grieved His Spirit trampled upon His royal commands, slighted His blood! This opens a vein of godly sorrow, and makes the heart bleed afresh. ‘Peter went out, and wept bitterly‘ (Matt. 26.75). When Peter thought how dearly Christ loved him; how he was taken up into the mount of tranfiguration, where Christ showed him the glory of heaven in a wision; that he should deny Christ after he had received such signal love from Him, this broke his heart with grief: he went out, and wept bitterly.

By this let us test our love to God. Do we shed the tears of godly sorrow? Do we grieve for our unkindness against God, our abuse of mecry, our non-improvement of talents? How far are they from loving God who sin daily, and their hearts never smite them! They have a sea of sin, and not a drop of sorrow. They are so far from being troubled that they make merry with their sins. ‘When thou doest evil, then thou rejoicest‘ (Jer. 11.15). Of wretch did Christ bleed for sin, and do you laugh at it? These are far from loving God. Does he love his friend that loves to do him an injury?

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