What are the tokens? (Tokens, that is, of the feeling existing in God's mind, irrespective of our ability to be conscious of it) I might speak of creation as it is its beauty, its wisdom, its manifest beneficence: but you might feel as if this did not come close enough. Creation you might feel to be too vast and indiscriminating to give an assurance upon which you could individually rest. This would be a natural feeling to some extent, a reasonable feeling. Still, it may be carried too far: you must allow it is something to see divine wisdom and love manifest in creation, as we see it with our eyes.
It is something to see the Father's impress in the physi cal universe, marred and obscured though it may be by the particular disturbance prevailing at present in the affairs of men. Doubtless, it is more to the purpose to note the fact of His having spoken and acted. This fact comes to us with Israel's history, and the history of Europe as affected by the apostolic work. Moses and the prophets come be fore us in the other. The Bible is the irremovable and in expugnable monument of both. In the reading of it, we are in the warm presence of living reality. We hear God's voice: we see His wonderful acts: we almost note His looks in Christ: and out of all comes the conviction of the Father's love not as a fantasy, not as a sentiment, but as a deduction, as scientifically accurate in its process and result as any modern demonstration.
What more explicit assurance could we have than we have received?
First Moses tells us: "The Lord thy God is a merciful God... The Lord is long suffering and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression." Then from David we have the teeming declarations with which the Psalms abound, "The Lord is gracious and full of compassion: slow to anger, and of great mercy. The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works. The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear him: in those that hope in his mercy."
Then the prophets, one and all, as occasion serves, unite in telling us what Isaiah declares: "God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid: for the Lord Yahweh is my strength and song: he also is become my salvation . . thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee."
In the apostolic writings (including in them the apostolic record of Christ's sayings) God's love may be said to glow with a warming brightness that we cannot escape. First, Jesus tells us in general that God has "loved the world," and sent him for the reason that a· way might be opened for His love to operate conformably with His righteousness. Then particularly, he used such comforting words to the disciples as these: "The Father himself loveth you." "He careth for you." "How much more shall your heavenly Father give good things to them that ask him."
The apostolic letters, which are the breathings of the Spirit of God, are full of the same comfort. "If God be for us, who can be against us." "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation or distress, or persecution or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? ...
Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors, through him that loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom. 8:31-39).
"God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love where with he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come, he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus" (Eph. 2:4-7). "In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only-begotten Son into the world that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins ... We have seen and do testify, that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world" (1 John 4:9-14).
Here, then, are the tokens and the pledges of the love that exists in the Father for His children. Not only in the Father, but in Christ, especially, if there is any difference: for the love of Christ for his brethren is compared to the highest love known to man, the love of a bridegroom for his bride (Eph. 5:25-30).
What should hinder our joy in this love? It has not been intimated to us personally: but it has been assured to "whomsoever" and to "all," who come into a certain way of things. You have come into this way, and you walk in it. You believe the great and precious promises: you are daily striving to obey the beautiful commandments. Wherein you fail, you may have mercy and forgiveness, through the mediation of the "great high priest over the house of God," who ever liveth to make intercession for us: for, "if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ; and if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all iniquity."
Remember, also, for your comfort, that this love that is in God, the Father, and in the Lord Jesus Christ, is supreme in the heart of every member of the house to which you belong. You may not see much of it now. You may know more of being "in heaviness, through manifold temptation." You are far scattered and lonely, just now; but nothing can change the purpose of God to "gather together in one" the family of His love, that they may rejoice in His love, and in the love that will pass in unchecked and flowing stream from heart to heart in their glorified assembly.