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The Evangelical Love for Christ

The Evangelical Love for Christ

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Published by glennpease
BY REV. W. ROBERTSON NICOLL, M.A. LL.D.

IN his admirable portrait of Coventry Patmore,
published in the Contemporary Review, Mr.
Gosse tells us that Patmore prepared a book
entitled " Sponsa Dei." It was a mystical
interpretation of the love between the soul
and God by an analogy of the love between
a woman and a man — in fact, a transcendental
treatise on divine desire seen through the veil
of human desire.
BY REV. W. ROBERTSON NICOLL, M.A. LL.D.

IN his admirable portrait of Coventry Patmore,
published in the Contemporary Review, Mr.
Gosse tells us that Patmore prepared a book
entitled " Sponsa Dei." It was a mystical
interpretation of the love between the soul
and God by an analogy of the love between
a woman and a man — in fact, a transcendental
treatise on divine desire seen through the veil
of human desire.

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Published by: glennpease on Mar 05, 2014
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THE EVANGELICAL LOVE FOR CHRISTBY REV. W. ROBERTSON NICOLL, M.A. LL.D.IN his admirable portrait of Coventry Patmore, published in the Contemporary Review, Mr. Gosse tells us that Patmore prepared a book entitled " Sponsa Dei." It was a mystical interpretation of the love between the soul and God by an analogy of the love between a woman and a man — in fact, a transcendental treatise on divine desire seen through the veil of human desire. Mr. Gosse assures us that the purity and crystalline passion of the writer carried him safely over the most astounding difficulties. But Mr. Patmore decided to burn it. Perhaps it was better so. His theme, how-ever, has engaged many Christian hearts, and it has been especially expounded in mystical in-terpretations of the Song of Songs. We have before us a volume entitled "The Most Holy Place : Sermons on the Song of Solomon," by s
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274 T^E RETURN TO THE CROSS Mr. Spurgeon.* Whatever ground there be for the spiritual interpretation of Canticles — and scholars generally reject it— there is no doubt that we have in this volume a most valuable contribution to Christian literature. The Church does not yet know what a great saint and doctor she possessed in Mr. Spurgeon. If religion is to be derived from revelation, and if theology is to be kept close to Christian experience, living or dying therewith, then we do not hesitate to say that Mr. Spurgeon was not a whit behind the very chiefest of theologians. Of course, what little criticism there is in the book is of small account, and it does not profess to be important. What is important is the depth of Christian know-ledge the book discloses, and we have no hesitation in saying that it is one of the greatest treatises on the love of Christ to His people and on His people's love to Christ that the Church possesses, wonderful alike for fertility and exquisite delicacy
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of thought. The writer plays with the images of the Canticles, but always with a careful reverence and reserve. " I am the rose of Sharon and the lily of the valle}^," he comments upon thus : " Red as the rose in His sacrifice, white as the lily as * Passmore and Alabaster. THE EVANGELICAL LOVE FOR CHRIST 275 He ascends on high in His perfect righteousness, clothed in His white robe of victory to receive gifts for men," and the volume is full of such beautiful fancies, though what is at the heart of it is not fancy, but the very truth of truths. Mr. Spurgeon was remarkable beyond most preachers for the passion and intensity of his personal love for Christ, and here it appears in every sentence. He was not like Dr. Newman, whose Christian creed perhaps did not vary much from the beginning to the end, and was always held with vehement conviction, but who was ever solicitous to construct defences round
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