"Love," said Meister Eckhart, "is the will to, the intention." By that definition, it is possible to obey the divine command to love our neighbor. We may not in a thousand years be able to feel a surge of emotion toward certain "neighbors," but we can go before God and solemnly will to love them, and the love will come. By prayer and an application of the inworking power of God, we may set our faces to will the good of our neighbor and not his evil all the days of our lives, and that is love. The emotion may follow, or there may be no appreciable change in our feelings toward him, but the intention is what matters. We will his peace and prosperity and put ourselves at his disposal to help him in every way possible, even to the laying down of our lives for his sake.
Love, then, is a principle of good will and is to a large extent under our control. That it can be fanned into a blazing fire is not denied here. Certainly God's love for us has a mighty charge of feeling in it, but beneath it all is a set principle that wills our peace. Probably the love of God for mankind was never more beautifully stated than by the angel at the birth of Christ: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to man on whom his favor rests."
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Our mistake is that we want God to send revival on our terms. We want to get the power of God into our hands, to call it to us that it may work for us in promoting and furthering our kind of Christianity. We want still to be in charge, guiding the chariot through the religious sky in the direction we want it to go, shouting "Glory to God," it is true, but modestly accepting a share of the glory for ourselves in a nice inoffensive sort of way. We are calling on God to send fire on our altars, completely ignoring the fact that they are our altars and not God's. And like the prophets of Baal we are working ourselves into a frenzy as if we could by violence command the arm of the Almighty.
The whole error results from a confused notion of revival and a failure to recognize the moral laws that underlie the kingdom of God. God never moves whimsically; His ways are never impulsive or erratic. He never sends judgment unless there has been a violation of His laws, nor does He send blessing apart from obedience to those laws. So precise are His movements both in justice and in mercy that an intelligent observer, aware of the circumstances, could predict with complete accuracy any visitation of judgment or grace God might send to a nation, a church or an individual.
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