Thursday, May 26

Edward Payson on the Duty of Loving God

I submit this to you for two reasons: 1) in order to suggest this wonderful book from Solid Ground Christian Books, Legacy of a Legend which contains snippets from Edward Payson (1783-1827), one of the godliest leaders during the early 1800's in America. And then, 2) I am quoting the following reading which I believe will commend itself to your hearts and hopefully encourage you to purchase this little book for yourselves. 

From the back of the book: 
"Hundreds and even thousands named their sons after him in hopes that they would grow up to be like him. This volume is a fitting introduction to such a great man who walked with God, and longed that others would join him. Legacy of a Legend brings this forgotten saint back to a church desperately in need of heroes. Even a cursory glance through the Table of Contents will attract anyone concerned for their immortal soul." On loving God, Payson writes:
We ought to love God because he has given us the power to love. He might have formed us gloomy, morose, misanthropic beings, destitute of all the social affections; without the power of loving any object, and strangers to the happiness of being beloved. Should God withdraw into himself, not only all the amiable qualities which excite love, but the very power of loving, would vanish from the world, and we should not only, like the evil spirits, become perfectly hateful, but should like them, hate one another.

Every object which can be presented to us has a claim on our affection corresponding to its character. If any object be admirable, it possesses a natural and inherent claim on our admiration; if it be venerable, it has a claim to our reverence; if it be terrible, it demands our fear; if it be beautiful and amiable, it claims and deserves our love. But God is perfectly and infinitely lovely; nay, he is excellence and loveliness itself. If you doubt this, ask those who can tell you. Ask Christ, . . . ask the holy angels, . . . . Ask good men in all ages, . . . Ask everything beautiful and amiable in the universe, and it will tell you that all its beauty is but a faint reflection of his. . . . But if God be thus infinitely lovely, we are under infinite obligations to love him; obligations from which he himself cannot release us but by altering his character, and ceasing to be lovely.
I don't know how this kind of writing affects you, but it is the kind that godly men of all ages love to discuss. It is endemic to our day that such talk sounds dated and therefore to many, obsolete. Please do not think so. Go the other way entirely. Seek out such men and women who write plainly of God's beauty. 

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