THE love of Jesus, — what a theme it is! The apostle said that it passeth knowledge; and if it passeth knowledge, much more doth it excel any description that can be given of it. The heart may feel it hotter than the tongue may speak it. If there is one subject more than another upon which I wish ever to speak, it is the love of Christ; but if there is one which quite baffles me, and makes me go back from this platform utterly ashamed of my poor feeble words, and of the tongue which has uttered them, it is this subject. This love of Christ is the most amazing thing under heaven, if not in heaven itself. How often have I said to you that, if I had heard that Christ pitied us, I could understand it. If I had heard that Christ had mercy upon us, I could comprehend it; but when it is written that he actually loves us, that is quite another and a much more extraordinary thing. Love betwixt mortal and mortal is quite natural and comprehensible; but love between the infinite God and us poor sinful finite creatures, though conceivable in one sense, is utterly inconceivable in another. Who can grasp such an idea? Who can fully understand it? Especially when it comes in this form, — “HE” capitals) “loved me, and gave himself for me,” —this is (read the it miracle in large of miracles.
I feel the more embarrassed with my subject, at the very entrance upon it, because this love of Christ is here positively likened to the love of a husband to his wife, and is so likened to it as to be made the model of what the husband’s love to his wife should be: “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.” I should never have dared to draw the comparison, nor should any man have drawn it, but that the Holy Ghost himself moved the pen of Paul to write it; and this being the case, we shall not be intruding into the secret places of the Most High if we now enter upon the consideration of this wondrous theme. Verily, I may well say, as the apostle does in the thirty-second verse, “This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” It is a mystery, a subject far too deep for the mere intellect to dive into its depths, and too sacred for us to think or speak of except with utmost solemnity of heart How shall I order my speech in the presence of such a subject as this? How shall I be free and yet be guarded? How shall I take you to the edge of this great sea of truth, and even venture into it without getting at once out of my depth? “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church”: a parallel is drawn between poor mortals like ourselves who occupy the position of husbands and our glorious Lord who is God over all, blessed for ever. In boundless condescension, he deigns to occupy the same kind of place in reference to his church which he calls his bride, he himself being the Bridegroom who is soon to come. Again I say that I should never have thought of such a comparison had not the Holy Spirit himself put it before us, and invited us to consider it.
So, dear friends, with great reverence, let us think, first, of how Christ loves the church; then, secondly, how he has proved his love by giving himself for the church; and then, thirdly, let us make the practical enquiry, how shall we think of this wondrous love of Christ?