The Glory and the Love of God

"The heavens declare the glory of God" (Ps. 19:1).

"Nature has something more than an academic value … Its first office is not material but spiritual … Day is dying in the west … The curtains of night are transfigured with the blended shades of amber, crimson, turquoise-blue, and all the splendour of tints which defy naming. A strange longing, almost akin to homesickness, rests upon the soul as we admire the sunset and watch the day being cradled into darkness. Suddenly the optical scientist breaks the muse, saying: 'I can explain it all to you. It is nothing but the refraction of light, running at various velocities through particles of moisture suspended in the air by particles of dust.' In his learned academic fashion he can reduce a sunset to a mathematical problem. Let him speak in the classroom, but here let him hold his peace. Here we wish to hear the glory of Him whose fragrance breathes through all His work."

But men may admire nature and be utterly alienated from the God of it. We were crossing the Atlantic on one occasion and beheld just such a scene as that which is described by the writer from whom we have quoted. As the sun plunged down behind the western sea he sent splendid shafts of gold across the wave-crests — promises of light and warmth again when night should be past; and the heavens glowed and glittered with the glory of his crimson fire. We stood upon the deck of our good ship in silent admiration, and we were joined by a gentleman with an artistic temperament, who talked in rapture about that setting sun. Presently we remarked: "Sir, do you know that the God whose hand painted that glorious West loves you and us?" Our fellow-passenger stepped back a pace and looked upon us as though we had been plague-stricken; then, without a word of reply, walked away to the other side of the ship. The sunset lost its charm for him at the mention of the God of it, and of His love.

Yet how surpassing all human thought is the love of God to men, and how wonderful is the way that it has been displayed. Look away to Calvary, for there you shall see it. The day of our Lord's life here was drawing to its close. The night, when He could no more work, was marching on apace, but His toil was almost done. Oh, the glory of that living love that poured forth its splendid light over the deep surrounding darkness! Hear the cry from the Saviour's lips: "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do!" Could glory be greater than that? And when at last He cried: "It is finished," and bowed His head, and hung DEAD, with spear-pierced side, upon a felon's cross, scorned and execrated by the world, then was the splendour of God's glory seen; then did His love celebrate its mighty triumph.

The Lord's life of grace and tenderness had closed; the light of the world — the Sun — had set, but it set in the full and glorious blaze of an all-victorious love, a love that could not be destroyed or conquered by the hatred and sin of the hearts of men.

The glory of that light is not transient as is the beauty of a sunset, for CHRIST IS RISEN AGAIN, and now it shines from the face of our exalted Lord, never to be obscured for ever — the glorious light of God fully revealed in immeasurable grace to men.

"Oh, the glory of the grace
  Shining in the Saviour's face."

How infinitely and for ever happy are all who have opened their hearts to that glorious shining!