Theodoret’s History of the Monks of Syria, On Divine Love:
He who arranged the marriage and presented the bride—I mean the inspired Paul—was also enamored of this beauty, and uttered this expression of desire: ‘Who will separate us from the love of God? Tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or hunger, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For your sake we are being put to death all the day long; we have been reckoned as sheep for slaughter.’ He then indicates the cause of endurance: ‘in all these things,’ he says, ‘we more than conquer, through God who has loved us’. Let us examine who we are and what benefits we have enjoyed, and that it was not we who loved first, but being loved we gave love in return; while hating we were loved, and ‘while enemies we were reconciled.’ We did not ourselves beg to obtain reconciliation, but received the Only-begotten as intercessor; those who had wronged were consoled by him they had wronged. In addition to this, let us reflect upon him who was crucified for us, the saving passion, the repose of death, the hope of resurrection that has been given to us.
When we examine these and the like, we overcome the melancholy things that fall to our lot; and by applying the memory of benefits to the temporary hardships of the body we gladly bear the attack of things distressing. When we weigh up against longing for the Master all the sorrows of life, we find them light indeed. Even if we assemble together all that is pleasurable and seems delightful, divine yearning, when put in the balance, shows them to be more feeble than a shadow and more perishable than spring blossoms.
Source: https://www.puritanboard.com/threads/more-feeble-than-a-shadow.90900/, Comment 1
BEFORE the throne of God above
I have a strong, a perfect plea,
a great High Priest, whose name is Love,
who ever lives and pleads for me.
My name is graven on His hands,
my name is written on His heart;
I know that while in heaven He stands,
no tongue can bid me thence depart.
When Satan tempts me to despair,
and tells me of the guilt within,
upward I look, and see Him there
who made an end of all my sin.
Because the sinless Saviour died,
my sinful soul is counted free;
for God the Just is satisfied
to look on Him, and pardon me.
Behold Him there! the risen Lamb!
my perfect, spotless righteousness,
the great unchangeable I AM,
the King of glory and of grace!
One with Himself, I cannot die,
my soul is purchased by His blood;
my life is hid with Christ on high,
with Christ, my Saviour and my God.
Source: https://www.puritanboard.com/threads/im-the-worst.91090/, Comment 4
Robert Traill (The Throne of Grace), Works 1:205-206:
Grace helps in affliction, by enabling the afflicted to believe, that there is love in the afflicter. He saith it, Rev. 3:19, As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten; and he can make us believe it. Nothing but his mighty grace can do it. Nothing is liker anger than affliction, especially when severe. Nothing is more difficult to believe, than that which, to all our sense and reason, is ruining to us, should be in love in him that doth it. Who can believe this without the help of grace? and how great must that help be, that enableth a man to believe so unlikely a thing?
Source: https://www.puritanboard.com/threads/grace-to-believe-there-is-love.91038/, Comment 1
Hugh Binning, Works, pp. 332-333:
It is the most suitable way to prevail with the spirit of a man, to deal in love and tenderness with it; it insinuates more sweetly, and so can have less resistance, and therefore works more strongly. It is true, another way of terrors, threatening, and reproofs, mingled with sharp and heavy words of challenges, may make a great deal of more noise, and yet it hath not such virtue to prevail with a rational soul. The Spirit of the Lord was not in the wind, nor in the earthquake, nor in the fire, but in the still and calm voice which came to Elijah, 1 Kings 19:11, 12. These suit not the gentle, dove-like disposition of the Spirit; and though they be fit to rend rocks in pieces, yet they cannot truly break hearts, and make them contrite. The sun will make a man sooner part with his cloak than the wind; such is the difference between the warm beams of affection, and the boisterous violence of passions or terror. Now, O that there were such a spirit in them who preach the gospel, such a fatherly affection, that with much pity and compassion they might call sinners from the ways of death!
“Do not I love Thee oh my Lord? Behold my heart and see and chase each idol far away that dare to rival Thee. Thou knowest I love Thee dearest Lord, but oh I long to soar above mortal joy and learn to love Thee more.”
“Our Lord Jesus Christ, in addition to explaining the law and pointing out its spiritual character, also unveiled its living essence, for when one asked him “Which is the great commandment in the law?” he said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” In other words, he has told us, “All the law is fulfilled in this: thou shalt love.” There is the pith and marrow of it. Does any man say to me, “You see, then, instead of the ten commandments we have received the two commandments, and these are much easier.” I answer that this reading of the law is not in the least easier. Such a remark implies a want of thought and experience. Those two precepts comprehend the ten at their fullest extent, and cannot be regarded as the erasure of a jot or tittle of them. Whatever difficulties surround the ten commands are equally found in the two, which are their sum and substance. If you love God with all your heart you must keep the first table; and if you love your neighbor as yourself you must keep the second table. If any suppose that the law of love is an adaptation of the moral law to man’s fallen condition they greatly err. I can only say that the supposed adaptation is no more adapted to us than the original law. If there could be conceived to be any difference in difficulty it might be easier to keep the ten than the two; for if we go no deeper than tile letter, the two are the more exacting, since they deal with the heart, and soul, and mind. The ten commands mean all that the two express; but if we forget this, and only look at the wording of them, I say, it is harder for a man to love God with all his heart, with all his soul, with all his mind, and with all his strength, and his neighbor as himself than it would be merely to abstain from killing, stealing, and false witness. Christ has not, therefore, abrogated or at all moderated the law to meet our helplessness; he has left it in all its sublime perfection, as it always must be left, and he has pointed out how deep are its foundations, how elevated are its heights, how measureless are its length and breadth. Like the laws of the Medes and Persians, God’s commands cannot be altered; we are saved by another method.”
~Spurgeon, “The Perpetuity of the Law of God,” http://www.angelfire.com/va/sovereigngrace/perpetuity.spurgeon.html