The Way of Life

The Scriptures give especial prominence to the love of God as the most comprehensive and important of all the manifestations of this inward spiritual life. We are so constituted as to take delight in objects suited to our nature; and the perception of qualities adapted to our constitution, in external objects, produces complacency and desire. The soul rests in them as a good to be loved for its own sake; and the higher these qualities, the more pure and elevated are the affections which they excite. It is the effect of regeneration to enable us to perceive and love the infinite and absolute perfection of God, as comprehending all kinds of excellence, and as suited to the highest powers and most enlarged capacities of our nature. As soon, therefore, as the heart is renewed it turns to God, and rests in his excellence as the supreme object of complacency and desire. Love to God, however, is not mere complacency in moral excellence. It is the love of a personal being, who stands in the most intimate relations to ourselves, as the author of our existence, as our preserver and ruler, as our father, who with conscious love watches over us, protects us, supplies all our wants, holds communion with us, manifesting himself unto us as he does not unto the world. The feelings of dependence, obligation and relationship, enter largely into that comprehensive affection called the love of God. This affection is still further modified by the apprehension of the infinite wisdom and power of its object. These attributes are the proper object of admiration; and, when infinite in degree and united with infinite goodness, they excite that wonder, admiration, reverence and complacency which constitute adoration, and which find in prostration and worship their only adequate expression. There is no attribute of religion more essential to its nature than this reverence for God. Whenever heaven has been opened to the view of men, its inhabitants have been seen with their faces veiled and bowing before the throne of God. And all acceptable worship upon earth, proceeds from the humble and contrite who tremble at his word.

– Charles Hodge (1797 – 1878)

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