Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Fearless Conservatism: the Spirit of Power, of Love, and of a Sound Mind (from the Presbyterian Magazine), part 2

The Presbyterian Magazine.
January, 1860.
Edited by Rev. C. Van Rensselaer, D.D.
Chestnut St, Philadelphia.
pages 8-11

“Fearless Conservatism, or the Spirit of Power, of Love, and of a sound Mind.”

II. The gift of this “spirit of power” is accompanied by the gift of the “spirit of LOVE,” love to God and to the souls of men.

This love is reciprocal. “We love Him because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19.) “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 16:3), and this “life” is the love of God shed abroad in the soul; “if any man love God the same is known of him.” This gracious affection, delighting in God, sweetly inclining 3ever to his will and word, and joyous in His favor and communion as the highest happiness, disposes its blessed subjects to do good to all. “Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. If we love one another, God dwells in us, and his love is perfected in us.... If a man says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar.” (1 John 4th.) “By this shall all know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another.” (John 13:35.) Our Lord said: “You have heard that is has been said, You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy; but I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them which despitefully use you and persecute you.” (Matthew 5:43.) In this love there is a conservative power; yea! And power of progress, which, springing from the heart of God, and animating the disciples of Christ, has “the whole family in heaven and earth” for its objects, and eternity only for its bounds. Its paean ever is, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will towards men.”

The tendency of this affection is to wither up and to root out all the sources of fearfulness. “The Lord delivered me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34:4.) The love of country, and wife, and children, and home, makes the most timid bold, when they are assailed. “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, because fear has torment. He that fears is not made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:18.) Inspired with this holy courage of sacred love, we may boldly say, “the Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.” (Hebrews 13:4.) “Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea.” (Psalm 46:2.) For grace in the heart makes the mind bold and constant. Nothing, indeed, will or can do more to endow the whole man with courage, to make him fearless of danger, or ready to endure privation and persecution, than this gracious principle of love, wrought in his soul by God’s spirit. Examine all the past, and you will find that the soul has been nerved to the greatest enterprises, and sustained in its deepest sorrows, by love for Christ and for a dying world.