“Then, and not till then” by John Newton

“The Lord, by His Spirit, manifests and confirms His love to His people. For this purpose He meets them at His throne of grace, and in His ordinances. There He makes himself known unto them, as He does not unto the world; causes His goodness to pass before them; opens, applies, and seals to them, His exceeding great and precious promises; and gives them the Spirit of adoption, whereby, unworthy as they are, they are enabled to cry ‘Abba, Father.’

He causes them to understand that great love wherewith He has loved them, in redeeming them by price and by power, washing them from their sins in the blood of the Lamb, recovering them from the dominion of Satan, and preparing for them an everlasting kingdom, where they shall see His face, and rejoice in His glory. The knowledge of this His love to them, produces a return of love from them to Him. They adore Him, and admire Him; they make an unreserved surrender of their hearts to Him.

They view Him and delight in Him, as their God, their Savior, and their portion. They account His favor better than life. He is the sun of their souls: if He is pleased to shine upon them, all is well, and they are not greatly careful about other things; but if He hides His face, the smiles of the whole creation can afford them no solid comfort. They esteem one day or hour spent in the delightful contemplation of His glorious excellencies, and in the expression of their desires towards Him, better than a thousand; and when their love is most fervent, they are ashamed that it is so faint, and chide and bemoan themselves that they can love Him no more.

This often makes them long to depart, willing to leave their dearest earthly comforts, that they may see Him as He is, without a veil or cloud: for they know that then, and not till then, they shall love Him as they ought.”

–John Newton, “Letter XXIV, On Communion with God.” The Works of John Newton, Volume 1. Ed. Richard Cecil. Electronic Edition STEP File.

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