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Unknowable Love Known to Love.

Unknowable Love Known to Love.

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
That ye . . . may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth and the length and the depth and height ; and to know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge."Eph. iii 18, 19.
That ye . . . may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth and the length and the depth and height ; and to know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge."Eph. iii 18, 19.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on May 08, 2012
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04/04/2014

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UKOWABLE LOVE KOW TO LOVE.
BY ALEXADER MACLARE, D.D.
That ye . . . may be able to comprehend with all saints what isthe breadth and the length and the depth and height ; and toknow the love of Christ, which passes knowledge."Eph. iii 18, 19.This constitutes the third of the petitions in this greatprayer of Paul's, each of which, as we have had occasionto see in former sermons, rises above, and is a consequenceof the preceding, and leads on to, and is a cause or occasionof the subsequent one.The two former petitions have been for inward strengthcommunicated by a Divine Spirit, in order that Christmay dwell in our hearts, and so we may be rooted andgrounded in love. The result of these desires being real-ised in our hearts is here set forth in two clauses whichare substantially equivalent in meaning. " To comprehend ''may be taken as meaning nearly the same as "to know,'only that, perhaps the former expresses an act more purelyintellectual. And, as we shall see in our next sermon,"the breadth and length and depth and height" are the un-measurable dimensions of the love which in tke secondclause is described as " passing knowledge." I purpose todeal with these measures in a separate discourse andtherefore omit them from consideration now.28 UKOWABLE LOVE KOW TO LOVE.We have, then, mainly two thoughts here, the one, thatonly the loving heart in which Christ dwells can knowthe love of Christ ; and the other that even that heart cannot know the love of Christ. The paradox is intentional,but it is intelligible. Let me deal then, as well as I can,with these two great thoughts.
 
I. — First, we have this thought that only the lovingheart can know Christ's love.ow the Bible uses that word know to express twodifferent things ; one which we call mere intellectual per-ception ; or to put it into plainer words, mere head know-ledge such as a man may have about any subject of studyand the other a deep and living experience which is posses-sion before it is knowledge, and knowledge because it ispossession.ow the former of these two, the knowledge which ismerely the work of the understanding, is of course^ inde-pendent of love. A man may know all about Christ andHis love, without one spark of love in his heart. Andthere are thousands of people who, as far as the mere intel-lectual understanding is concerned, know as much aboutJesus Christ and His love as the saint who is closest to theThrone, and yet have not one trace of love to Christ inthem. That is the kind of people that a widely diffusedChristianity and a habit of hearing sermons produce.There are plenty of them here, in this chapel this morning,who, as far as their heads are concerned, know quite asmuch of Jesus Christ and His love as any of us do, andcould talk about it and argue about it, and draw inferencesfrom it, and have got the whole system of evangelicalChristianity at their fingers' ends. Ay I It is at theirfingers' ends, it never gets any nearer them than that.There is a knowledge with which love has nothing todo, and it is a knowledge that for many people is quiteBufiBLcient. "Knowledge puffeth up," says the Apostle;UKOWABLE LOVE KOW TO LOVE. 29into an unwholesome bubble of self-complacency thatwill one day be pricked and disappear ; but " love buildeth
 
up " — a steadfast, slowly-rising, solid fabric. There be twoIs^nds of knowledge : the mere rattle of notions in a man'sbrain, like the seeds of a withered poppy-head ; verymany, very dry, very hard ; that will make a noise whenyou shake it And there is another kind of knowledgewhich goes deep down into the heart, and is the onlyknowledge worth calling by the name ; and that know-ledge is the child, as my text has it, of love.ow let us think about that for a moment. Love, saysPaul, is the parent of all knowledge. Well, now, can we findany illusteations from similar facts in other regions ? Yes !I think so. How do we know, really know, any emotionsof any sort whatever ? Only by experience. You maytalk for ever about feelings, and you teach nothing aboutthem to those who have not experienced them. The poetsof the world have been singing about love ever since theworld began. But no heart has learned what love is fromeven the sweetest and deepest songs. Who that is not afather can be taught paternal love by words, or can cometo a perception of it by an effort of mind ? And so withall other emotions. Only the lips that have drunk thecup of sweetness or of bitterness can tell how sweet orhow bitter it is, and even when they, made wise by experi-ence, speak out their deepest hearts, the listeners are butlittle the wiser unless they too have been initiated in thesame school. Experience is our only teacher in mattersof feeling and emotion, as in the lower regions of tasteand appetite. A man must be hungry to know what hun-ger is ; he must taste honey or wormwood in order toknow the taste of honey or wormwood, and in like man-ner he cannot know sorrow but by feeling its ache, andmust love if he would know love. Experience is our onlyteacher, and her school-fees are heavy.30 UKOWABLE LOVfi KOW TO LOVE.Just as a blind man can never be made to understand

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