"The love of Christ constrains us." There is no sin so sweet but the love of Christ restrains them from it; there is no service so great but the love of Christ constrains them to it. If once this affection takes fire the room becomes too hot for any sin to stay in. The heart becomes a chamber for Christ but not a harbor for lust. "The mandrakes give forth their fragrance, and the rarest fruits are at our doors, the new as well as old, for I have stored them up for You, O my Beloved." Love never shakes the boughs but for Christ to eat the fruits.
Many pay the performance of duties, as oppressed subjects do heavy taxes with sad complaints; but the spouse of Christ looks upon what she is as not great enough for His remembrance; and what she does as not good enough for His acceptance. Had she anything a thousand times better than herself, or were she herself a thousand times better it would be bestowed upon Him! What is that little which He desires, compared to that much which He deserves?
When Achilles was asked what enterprises he found most easy; he answered: "Those which I undertake for my friends." Seven years service seemed like nothing to Jacob, because of the love he bore to Rachel. Love, as it acts the most excellently, so it acts the most easily: "If you love Me, keep My commandments." The crystal streams of divine actions bubble from the pure spring of divine affection.
"Faith works by love." The Christians love advances by equal paces with the Christians faith; as the heat of the day advances with the shining of the sun. Faith like Mary sits at the feet of Christ to hear His sermons; and love like Martha, compasses Him about with services. Faith is the great receiver and love is the great disburser. We take in all by believing and we lay out all by loving. Faith at first works love; and then it works by love, as the workman sharpens an edge upon his tools, and then carves and cuts with them.
The Scripture has exceeding high expressions of this affection. Christ brings the ten commandments, down into two commandments, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind; this is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it you shall love your neighbor as yourself." Christ brings the ten words, down into two words but Paul folds them all up in one word: "For the law is fulfilled in one word." What is that word? Surely it is too big for any mouth to utter: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." He who is not lacking in this duty is lacking in no duty. Love is called "An old commandment, and a new commandment." It is as old as the law of Moses and yet as new as the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Faith is the grace which first seals the title to Heaven and love is the grace that at last possesses the heavenly inheritance. Faith unites Christ and sanctified souls together on earth but love unites God and glorified souls together in Heaven.
As the spleen grows the body decays; and as hatred increases so holiness abates. It is best that dissension should never be born among brethren and next that it should die presently after its birth. When any leak springs in the ship of Christian society, we should use our endeavors to stop it speedily! The nearer the union is the more dangerous is the breach. Things which are glued together may (if severed) be set together as beautiful as ever but bodies rent and torn, cannot be healed without a scar.
The love in a hypocrites bosom is just like the fire in the Israelites bush, which was not burning all the while it was blazing; his estate and relations have the chief and strength of his affections; they admit the world not only into the suburbs of their senses but into the city of their souls. But the love of a Savior in the soul of a believer, is as oil put into a vial with water, in which, though both be ever so much shaken together, the oil will be uppermost.
The expression of Absalom is also the language of Gods people: "Now, therefore, let me see the Kings face!" It is Heaven on earth for His children to see Him; and it is Heaven in Heaven for His children to dwell with Him! Love does not put off the pursuit of duty until it attains the possession of glory. There is no rocking this babe to sleep but in the cradle of the grave. A soul who loves much will work much. The injunctions of love are not grievous but precious.
God is not so much displeased at our having sin as at our loving sin. He is more pleased at our loving His service than at our performing His service. None can serve God like a believer; because none can love Him as a believer; for the obedience of the heart is the heart of obedience.