Posted by: Sherry Goodwin | November 17, 2009

The Royal Wine.

‘Thy love is better than wine.’–CANT. 1, 2.

WINE is the symbol of earthly joy; and who that has had but one sip of the love of Christ does not know this ‘royal wine,’ this true ‘wine of the kingdom,’ to be better than the best joy that the world can give!  How much more, then, when deeper and fuller draughts are the daily portion, as we ‘follow on to know the love not of a favored few, but of all saints,’ to comprehend something of what is incomprehensible.
   1.  The breadth, constrasted with the narrowness of earthly love and all its joy.  Perhaps it is not so much by looking at His love to all the redeemed ones whom no man can number, that we realize this, as by seeing that the love of Jesus was broad enough to reach and include ‘even me.’  ‘Who loved me;’ is not that more incomprehensible than that He loved all the saints and angels?
   2.  The length, contrasted with the passing shortness of the longest earthly love and joy.  What is the length?  ‘Unto the end.’  And even that is not the full measure, for His immeasurable love is everlasting; and when inconceivable ages have passed, we shall be no nearer ‘the end’ than now.
   3.  The depth, contrasted with the shallowness which is always felt, however disguised, in the world’s best.  Down to the very depth of our fall went that wonderful love of Christ, to the depth of our sin, to the depth of our need, to the depth of those caverns of our own strange inner being which we ourselves cannot fathom, and which only His love can fill.
   4.  The height, contrasted with the lowness and littleness of all that is represented by the world’s wine.  This all ends in self, which is like a low vaulted roof, keeping down every possibility of rising; and so the earthly joy can take but a bat-like flight, always checked, always limited, in dusk and darkness.  But the love of Christ breaks through the vaulting, and leads us up into the free sky above, expanding to the very throne of Jehovah, and drawing us ‘still upward’ to the infinite heights of glory.  Is there any height beyond, ‘As the Father hath loved Me, so have I loved you’?  These measures (so to speak) of Christ’s love are those of the unsearchable perfection of God Himself.  ‘It is as high as heaven, deeper than hell’ (thank God for that word deeper), ‘longer than the earth, and broader than the sea.’
   For whom is this love?  Oh how glad we are that it is not for the worthy and the faithful, so that we must be shut out, but for His own, though the chief of sinners!  It is ‘the love of the Lord toward the children of Israel, who look to other gods, and love flagons of wine.’  Has it been so with us, that we have been looking away from Jesus to heart-idols and ‘other lords,’ and loving some earthly ‘flagons of wine’–other love, other pleasures, other joys, ‘other things,’ which are not Jesus Christ’s?  Then only think of ‘the love of the Lord toward’ us!  Well may we say, ‘Thy love to me was wonderful,’ and own it to be ‘better than wine,’ ‘above my chief joy.’  He proved His love to you and me to be ‘strong as death;’ and when all God’s waves and billows went over Him, the many waters could not quench it.
   In His love and in His pity He redeemed us; in the same love He bears us and carries us all the day long.  He ‘loveth at all times,’ and that includes this present moment; now, while your eye is on this page, His eye of love is looking on you, and the folds of His banner of love are overshadowing you.
   Is there even a feeble pulse of love to Him?  He meets it with, “I love them that love Me.’  ‘I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him.’  And so surely as the bride says, ‘Thy love is better than wine,’ so surely does the heavenly Bridegroom respond with incomprehensible condescension:  ‘How fair is thy love, my sister, my spouse!  how much better is thy love than wine.’  May this love of Christ constrain us to live unto Him ‘who loved me and gave Himself for me.’

O Christ, He is the fountain,
The deep, sweet well of love!
The streams on earth I’ve tasted,
More deep I’ll drink above.
There to an ocean-fulness
His mercy doth expand,
Where glory, glory dwelleth
In Immanuel’s land.

Oh!  I am my Beloved’s,
And my Beloved is mine!
He brings a poor vile sinner
Into ‘His house of wine.’
I stand upon His merits;
I know no safer stand,
Not e’en where glory dwelleth
In Immanuel’s land.
                 A. B. COUSIN

Frances Ridley Havergal from ROYAL BOUNTY

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