Anne Dutton's Letters on Spiritual Subjects
My very Dear Brother in our precious Lord,
It was the end of the Redeemer's love and death, to purify to Himself a peculiar people, zealous for good works. What a shame is it that we love Christ no more—that we can bear to think, speak, or act for any other end than His honor! Oh, what black creatures are we! And yet our Lord calls us fair—and all-fair—His fair one! Oh, stupendous grace! Wonder at it, you blessed angels! Praise Emanuel's love, you winged flames!
And let us, the objects of His heart's delight, that wound and pierce Him daily by our sins, blush and be ashamed! Let us loathe ourselves in our own sight, for all our abominations, for lo! the Lord is pacified towards us for all that we have done! Oh, let us mourn like doves in the valleys, everyone for his own iniquities, while pardoning love, through the Lamb's blood, cleanses us from all sin, and grace reigns through righteousness unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord. What shall be done to such backsliders in heart and ways—to such as have dealt very treacherously, aye, and do still, with our Maker, our Husband; that slight His manifested love, and practically count Him not worthy of our poor, base, little selves, who gave, who gives His great, His glorious, matchless Self for us, and to us!
If our Lord were to smite us dead, yes, to the lowest hell, we have deserved it. But oh! nothing but His love can cure us; though in ourselves unlovely, loathsome creatures. Oh, the infinite grace of our Lord's heart! Rather than lose us in the fall, Himself would take our room, our nature, our law-place, yes, and our sins too, upon His holy, harmless, spotless, glorious Self! that by His great and righteous Self, sacrificed for us, He might purge us from all iniquity, make us perfect in beauty, and exalt us in and with Him, to inherit the throne of glory! and having finished this glorious work of unparalleled love in Himself for us, He will finish it by Himself upon us.
Oh, the infinite patience of our loving Lord—a patience worthy of God—a patience that flows from, is maintained by, and resolved into, an infinity of love! But, oh! if our Lord bears with us, and does not cast us off for our great provocation, if He pities and pardons us, is not that enough? Oh, this is ten thousand times more than we deserve! It is grace worthy of Himself, that none could show but the God of all grace, that is higher than the heaven, deeper than the sea, broader than the earth, longer than time, long and boundless as eternity!
But, oh! it is not enough to answer the ends of our Lord's love, for Him only to bear with, to pity, and pardon us—for to show His glory, and vent His heart, He will kiss and embrace us! He will rest in His love with infinite complacency, and rejoice over us with joy and singing, as if we were altogether lovely, and ravishingly fair! "How fair, and how pleasant are you," says the Prince of grace, the Lord of glory—to an Ethiopian, a black sinner. O love, for delights! "You have ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse, with one of your eyes, with one chain of your neck." This is our God, our Maker, our Husband! This is His voice to the most vile, ungrateful worms, whom He loves and calls His bride! Oh, for melting, broken, loving hearts, under this all-penetrating, all-subduing, and all-surpassing love! Glory to the Lord our Lover!
And when we are made perfect in love, then we will love Him with our whole heart, soul, and strength—without weakness, without weariness—all love, all duty, all obedience. We will cast down our crowns at His royal feet—at His feet once pierced for us—adoring the Prince of life, and shouting the praises of His knowledge-passing love unto ages without end!
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