THE ALCHEMY OF LOVE
BY: LARRY HODGES
TITLE and SUBTITLES
Concerning the Nature of Divine Love By John Pordage – 1683
The Reign of Love’s Kingdom (Excerpted From New Jerusalem II – By Jane Leade)
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not Love,
I am become as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal” – I Corinthians 13:1
If there is any one subject upon which so little is heard and the essence of which so much is sorely needed by all of us, it is Love. Not human love, but that transforming Love which not only emanates from God, but is God. I chose the word alchemy for this month’s title because of its meaning: “a power or process of turning something common into something precious.” Love is the antidote and cure for every ill and shortcoming found in the Church in general and you and me in particular. I fully believe that so little is said about it because so many, including myself, feel so pitifully lacking and therefore so little qualified to address it. But if walking in it perfectly is what qualifies one to speak on it, then no one I know is qualified to speak of it.
Unless otherwise noted, Love, in this article, is to be understood to be that Divine essence that God is, and will therefore be capitalized throughout the article. Otherwise, it will be other kinds of love, printed in the lower case. The Love with which we are herein interested is both a Person and an Essence, which we both desire and need desperately. It cannot be learned, copied, or lived without an inward birth from the center of our beings by Love’s Spirit.
Love is as completely unlike man in his natural condition as God is, because Love is God. It is as ridiculous to suppose that Love could ever do anything that is not a direct expression of Love, as it is to suppose that one can take a dry shower or warm themselves with a block of ice.
In an hour when God will produce a people who exemplify His character, His nature, His heart; He is revealing Himself to them in a manner and on a scale not heretofore known. Thus, it seems inconceivable to me that one may presume to be of that number which shall make up the Firstfruits, the Manchild, who know so little of the true nature of this great Loving Heart as to represent it as anything less than willing and able, and intending to save every last one of His creatures, either now or later. It cannot be otherwise, for Love never fails, gives up or stops short of its goal. And beloved, what has qualified you and me for entrance into the very heart of God is the fact that Love does not require that its object be loveable!
Oh, you may think you are nice and kind and loveable, even in your natural estate, but if so, you are very much mistaken, for in your natural, fallen condition you are as hateful, as abominable, as anti-Christian as the worst of mankind, bar none. It is this beautiful, Golden Flower of Love, fully abloom within each of God’s Lily plants which makes them His own in a singular and most peculiar way. Without its opening within us, we will find that every effort to conform to Love’s ways will be but fruitless attempts at the impossible, and yet, without that Golden Flower opening itself within us and shedding abroad its transforming power in our hearts, we are not representative of Him and therefore, not of that select company.
Begin Quote: “Love is the “White Stone” reserved for “him that overcometh.” It is the seal of endorsement borne upon the heart of each one of that “dying and yet living” company which lives only upon the ground of resurrection. That White Stone signifies that its bearer has right to reach freely into Wisdom’s store and basket to receive and to impart to others of its revenue and increase. It is that by which every one of Wisdom’s instructions and all of her counsel is carried out and put into action. It is that hidden vein of Gold whose location is known to all Wisdom’s children and no others.
“This White Stone has the power to transform and to transmute. As the ancient alchemists sought to transform common lead into pure gold, this White Stone (Love) has the all-working, acting power spiritually to transmute the gross essences of a fallen, degenerated nature into an all New Creation of Divine nature which in turn is able to recast any fallen nature it comes into contact with into its own New Creative Nature. Only this White Stone can work this strange work, which nothing else can.
“I ask you this question today (as I direct it to myself also), not as a merely rhetorical one, but as a measuring rod of reality; are you following Christ? Notice that I did not ask, “Do you believe Christ, or do you have congenial feelings toward Christ, or do you agree with Christ’s teachings?” The question is, “Are you following Christ?” That question might and ought to raise another in your mind. What is meant by following? To follow Christ is to go where He goes, even when He goes where we do not wish to go; to do what He does, even when He does what we do not wish to do; to say what He says, even when it incriminates us; to Love those He Loves, even when we do not want to Love them.
“It means to so walk with Him that one is able to go places where one could not go without Love’s enabling grace; to do things one could not do without Love’s enabling grace; to be what one could not be without Love’s enabling grace. And Love’s enabling grace will never, never come where there is no need for it. Are you following Christ? It is a question we need to carefully consider before the Lord today, regardless of how we may have answered it yesterday. He is always calling us to do what we cannot do in and of ourselves.
“It is, I think, our failure to grasp the truth that the appalling thing that happened to the whole Human Race when sin entered the world, and just what it means to every single member of the race to be born into this sin-diseased Body of Mankind, and that we are all suffering together, is the real root and cause of the problem of our LOVElessness towards one another. It is why so many of us find ourselves unable to keep the Lord’s one commandment that we should “love one another as [He] loves us.
“We are so hard of heart towards each other just because we have failed to realize this truth. When we see the blemishes and ugly failures in one another, we suppose that we may feel irritation and indignation and even contempt, because we suppose that God, with His far greater holiness, and far higher standard of what is right and wrong, feels a “righteous wrath,” and also a desire to punish the wrongdoer who is stumbling others through selfishness, tyranny, laziness, bad temper, dishonesty or cruelty.
“Whereas ought we not to realize that these things awaken in Him the same feelings of agonized compassion and grief which horrible symptoms of a malignant disease awaken in the hearts of those who dearly love the patient? All the hideous, loathsome and disgusting manifestations of sin, far from stirring up wrath against the one in whom they appear, arouse Holy Love to rise up in all His strength and determination that the beloved must and shall be cured.
“In my own personal experience I have discovered that I simply cannot love any person as long as I continue to criticize them to others and to talk about them disparagingly behind their backs. To discuss the failings of another person, unless it is absolutely necessary to do so, is to shut the doors of the mind with a slam on the heavenly light of Love and to reinclose oneself in dark thoughts, which in turn produce the irritated and unloving feelings which are so dreadful. What we talk about to others we do not, and cannot forgive and forget. Every expression of our irritation and dislike or resentment in words, confirms us in that irritation and resentment and lack of Love.
“This is also true, I find, in prayer. I cannot talk to the Lord about the blemishes and unloveliness of others without finding myself alone and His Presence withdrawn from me. I simply share this point because in my own case it has proved perhaps the most important point of all, and for so many years I did not realize that this is the case, and so did not understand why I was so unable to gain the victory of Love. Every time I spoke disparagingly or prayed critically about others, I was shutting the door in the Face of Love Himself, and only darkness was left.
“Certainly I had always known well enough in theory that Christians must love one another and should have ‘a passion for the souls of all men.’ But how to do so remained a dreadful mystery! There were some people I could not Love; some seemed so annoying and unlovely (I called it un-Christlike but didn’t see how appallingly un-Christlike I myself must be simply because I could not Love as He did) that really I did not even want to Love them, but only to keep away from them as much as possible.
“Not until this secret of Glory unveiled to us by the ascended life of the Lord broke in upon my own understanding, did I see at last that no love is real Love until it is willing to love all, with no exceptions at all; and that the more sinful, blemished and unlovely a person is, the more they need Love. More Love, not less, towards those who are obviously spoiled and marred and sin-sick human beings. Then I was shown that Love does not begin in the feelings at all, it begins in the will.
“To be willing at last to love all, individual by individual, as we are brought into contact with them, is to be able to Love all. Just as soon as we begin quite deliberately to act towards them as though we really did Love them and were willing to bear everything unlovely about them just because we want to love them, then Love comes; first as a trickle, then as a stream, then as a flood, until, like the river of life in Ezekiel, the waters, which at first came only to the ankles, then to the knees, then higher still, became at last, ‘waters to swim in.'”‘ End of Quote By: Hannah Hurnard, “Unveiled Glory.” Also the author of Hinds Feet Upon High Places.
The great crowning work and final touch to be added to God’s workmanship in a people of His unveiled glory in this hour is Love. Without it, the work is not complete, for until this Love is established in them, they are not representative of Him and therefore not qualified to be unveiled as His image.
It is, I think, worthy of special note that this Love does not begin in the emotions or feelings. It is not to be associated with nice, warm, fuzzy feelings. It begins instead as a deliberate act of the will, believing that what we have undertaken, God will make possible. Nor are we to lose heart when there is no sudden overflowing flood of Love immediately resulting from our first weak, perhaps imperfect, attempts. We must expect it to begin as a mere trickle that is a promise of more to come! Gradually, as we continue to persist, it shall increase until there are veritable waters to swim in. Then shall the heady, intoxicating perfume (the aroma of life) of this Golden Lily plant, now fully opened within, attract and captivate all who chance within its conquering sphere of influence. Here all noxious weeds are transformed by Love’s irresistible and compelling might into still more new springing Lily plants, and venomous serpents into angels.
It is not in the nature of those regenerated spirits, now the new-born children of Wisdom, who can hear or know of such royalties and incomes from Love’s investiture who shall not find stirred up within them such a vehement desire for it in themselves. Indeed, the Lord is faithful to bring such a word in this hour as will leave His Dove-flock even more desperately panting after Him and after the proposed conferral of Love’s victory garland. For indeed, we must know and admit that Love is one and the same as maturity. There is no maturity without Love.
Here it comes about that we must touch on that most abhorred of all subjects – giving! The reason for this is that it simply is not possible to Love without giving. “For God so Loved, that He gave…” Giving is the natural, automatic result of Loving. Because the grace of giving is so very important in the maturation of the believer, the Enemy has sought to so take advantage, to so bring disgrace and shame in connection with giving, that today few will broach the subject for fear of immediately coming under suspicion of being wrong about money. The teaching on the grace of giving is so very important that to withhold it is to fail to declare the whole counsel of God. I would much rather come under unjustified suspicion than to have to answer to God for failing to obey Him.
It does not automatically follow, though many believe it does, that giving is about money. It may include money, but it doesn’t stop there. Many are quite ready to give financially if it means they may not have to expend themselves or their time or lose their own life.
God desires that His people who will make up that select company of Firstfruits who are out-resurrected from among the dead, know how to give joyfully, from a heart so governed by Love that it cannot help itself. There is no way to represent God without this indispensable attribute of giving the way God gives. And believe me when I tell you, He is not interested in halfhearted giving. He is not found grateful for whatever He can get.
I am reminded of a story about an incident in the life of Demas Shakarian, founder of the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International. I think it was in Armenia where his family was still living when some prophets visited their small village and one of the men of the village went out and killed a calf in order to feed the prophets. When the meal was served, one of the prophets arose from the meal and went out to the barn where he found hidden away under some hay, the deformed head of the calf the man had killed and offered as unto the Lord. He brought this head and plopped it on the table for all to see, whereupon the man confessed his sin and repented of it. God was not grateful for whatever He could get, but demands the best of us for His namesake and for our blessing.
Does God need your money? Obviously not. He made the worlds without taking a single offering. He can completely fulfill His ultimate purposes for mankind without a cent from any one of us. It is not the money that He is after; it is our whole heart that He is after and which He will not share. He means to see His people free from the love of uncertain riches and laden down with the true riches of the kingdom of God.
You may think, “Why is he addressing such a basic subject, and one which most of us have dealt with long ago?” It may surprise you to learn that there are some even in the “remnant” who have not yet come to grips with the issue of “giving.” I know people who know the message, agree with it (to an extent), and who desire with all their hearts to walk in all its good, who simply do not yet know how to give as unto the Lord. They do well when they are giving directly to a ministry, but when it comes to another member of the Body of Christ or of the universal Body of Mankind, they flunk terribly and do not even know it.
Rather than giving from the ground of joy and Love, they loan. There are not a few who do this. As Christ is immanent in every man, woman and child living, what we do to the least of these His brethren, whether they are alive to Christ or as yet dead to Him, “we do it unto Him.” Love does not so discriminate. It spends and expends itself upon all of humanity.
If you do not believe that Love has the power and the will to transform, to alter and to turn something that is vile into something precious, let me share a story with you.
A certain man seemed to hate all nationalities. He taught his son to hate them also. He hated the blacks, the Jews, the Italians, the Germans, the French, and almost every nationality known. This man’s language was vile and filthy. He was an angry, tortured brute (himself probably abused as a child) who thought nothing at all of smashing his son or anyone else with his work-hardened fists. Emotionally, he was comparable to a paraplegic. He just couldn’t function as he ought to.
The son thought much about what must be wrong with all these nationalities until around the fifth grade he began having serious doubts as to the veracity of his dad’s claims. One day after school, he asked his dad, “If all these other people are so awful, which nationality are we?” “Humph!”, he snorted. “We’re Americans!” The son saw the truth about the whole matter from this reason-deprived statement.
Many years passed as the man became more hardened in sin and in his unloving ways. His wife and four children wonderfully came to Christ, each in his own time, and knew the marvelous change Love had begun to work in each of them. He remained untouched and unaltered. He was stricken by a sudden stroke, which paralyzed him on one whole side. Prayer offered up by one of his children effected an immediate and complete
He came down with cancer. Again, prayer miraculously brought the healing that prolonged his life and sought to touch his heart. Still, he was unfazed and unchanged. One day, one of the sons asked him, “Dad, when you had the stroke and were healed, what happened to you?” “God healed me,” was the gruff response. “And when you had cancer?” “He healed me again,” he said. “Well, why is it that you won’t surrender yourself to His forgiveness and serve Him?” asked the son. “I don’t know,” was the nearly unconcerned reply.
A short time later, now very much up in years, while working on his truck in an enclosed garage, he was overcome with carbon monoxide poisoning and fell unconscious near the front of his truck in the enclosed garage. He lived in the country, understandably had very, very few friends and therefore expected no one to happen in on him. But a man who lived some two miles from him, upon whose heart God had strangely placed this sin-ridden man, had begun to stop by and just talk with him from time to time. He did not necessarily talk to him about the Lord, he just spent time with him.
On this particular morning, the man passed his house and saw that his truck was gone and so decided to pass on by, not knowing the truck was inside the garage. A few minutes later upon his return from the store, he decided to turn in anyway, even though everything seemed to say that no one was home. As he walked near the garage he heard the motor running and saw the man lying near death on the floor. He ran to the highway and flagged down the deputy sheriff who just happened to be passing at that very moment, and the man was hurried to the hospital and saved (barely) once again.
Still, his overall attitude toward God and his own need remained unchanged and it seemed that this one was just too much for Love. Then one day in 1990, the son came home and found his dad in a wheel chair, once again stricken with terminal cancer and given up by the doctors. The son had been told by a sister who had seen him just prior to his visit, “Dad is so nasty and mean I couldn’t even mention the Lord to him.” The son fully intended not to mention anything along these lines when he came. But as he sat in the kitchen with his dad in the wheel chair, everyone, as if on cue, got up and left the two of them alone. “Dad,” the son asked, “are you ready to meet the Lord?” The head dropped. “No,” came the soft reply. “But I don’t know what to do.” Shocked, the son reached for the Bible and read a few very simple verses that showed how simple it is to receive the Lord and His redemption.
“Dad,” said the son, “If you want, I will pray with you while you call upon the Lord.” As they bowed their heads, the precious, persistent Holy Spirit fell in the most sweet and profound way upon them while they both wept. The man’s first words after calling on God to save him was, “Son (only the second time in the son’s life to hear this word from his dad), I’m sorry about the way I’ve treated you.”
It so happened that this man’s hospice worker was a black woman, one of the man’s most hated nationalities. It also so happened, this precious woman was Spirit-filled and full of Love. (Isn’t God good?) One day just before his death, this hospice worker came in and as the son was leaving the room, he heard her say to the man, “Mr._____, I Love you!” While the son stood marveling that God would go to such lengths for this man, whom, his whole life had shown no mercy, … he heard an even greater display of Love’s transforming power come from the man’s own lips. “I Love you, too!”
Three months from the day He called on the Lord, he passed over as quietly, as peacefully and as serenely as one can. Not at all like the life he had lived. The son was so moved by this visible demonstration of Love’s persistent determination to have this man that it made a lasting effect upon him and upon his relationship with his heavenly Father. On this man’s gravestone are written these words, “Seventy-nine years lost, three months found!” What a testimony to the unwavering faithfulness of God, who will not cease His quest until that last sheep has been safely returned to His fold.
And brother, sister, if you think that the mere taking of one’s last breath can stop this persistent Love, then there is a glorious discovery concerning one of Love’s qualities that awaits you. It is that Love N-E-V-E-R fails! It is stronger than death, it has the keys of death and the grave. “For this cause was the gospel preached (by Christ Jesus) also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit” – II Peter 4:6.
CONCERNING THE NATURE OF DIVINE LOVE
BY JOHN PORDAGE – 1683
“In the first place, I find the Nature of Divine Love to be a perfect unity and simplicity. There is nothing more one, undivided, simple, pure, unmixed and uncompounded than Love. You will say, ‘How do I prove this?’ Very well: for this Love is God Himself. It is well known that there is nothing more essential to God than unity and simplicity, nothing more contrary to the Divine Nature than duality, division or composition. Besides, it is this Love, which gives unity and harmony to all things. There is no unity in heaven nor on earth but what derives from Love and must acknowledge Him as the Author. Do you think Love can lack that unity which it gives to all others? Certainly not, rather conclude that that which makes all things one, which harmonizes and adjusts the most different and discordant natures, must needs be unity itself.
“In the second place, I find Love to be a most perfect and absolute Liberty. Nothing can move Love, but Love; nothing can touch Love, but Love; nothing can constrain Love, but Love. It is free from all things, itself only gives Laws to itself, and those Laws are the Laws of liberty; for nothing acts more freely than Love, because it always acts from itself and is moved by itself, by which prerogatives Love shows Himself allied to the Divine Nature, yea, to be God Himself.
“Thirdly, Love is all strength and power. Make a diligent search through heaven and earth and you will find nothing so powerful as Love. What is stronger than Hell and Death? Yet Love is the triumphant conqueror of both. What is more formidable than the wrath of God? Yet Love overcomes it, and dissolves and changes it into itself. In a word, nothing can withstand the prevailing strength of Love: it is the very munitions of Rocks, and the strength of Mount Zion, which can never be moved.
“In the fourth place, Love is of a transmuting and transforming Nature. The great effect of Love is to turn all things into its own Nature, which is all goodness, sweetness and perfection. This is that Divine Power which turns water into wine, sorrow and hellish anguish into exulting and triumphing Joy; curse into blessings; where it meets with a barren earthy desert, it transmutes it into a Paradise of delights; yea it changes evil to good, and all imperfections into perfection. It is the Divine Stone, the White Stone with a Name written on it which none knows but he that hath it. In a word, it is the Divine Nature; it is God Himself, whose essential property it is to assimilate all things with Himself; or (if you will have it in Scripture phrase) to reconcile all things unto Himself, whether they be things in heaven or things on earth, and all by means of this Divine Elixir, whose transforming power and efficacy nothing can withstand.
“In the fifth place, Love is of a fruitful, prolific, multiplying, diffusive and communicating Nature. It is Love which makes all other things to be fruitful and multiply and to be diffusive and communicative of themselves; therefore, Love, which gives to others this property, must needs possess it by way of immanence itself (it must be intrinsic or inherent or essential). Upon this account it is that Love saith, ‘Shall I cause others to bring forth, and shall I not bring forth Myself?'” End of Quote.
You who have set your faces unflinchingly toward Mount Zion, committed to bear any cost, suffer any loss, are to be encouraged by these enticements of Love. This concluding and adorning work to be conferred upon His pure, waiting Bride shall tincture her throughout with that Divine Essence, Divine Nature, that is the Father, the Spirit of Eternity. In this shall be fulfilled that saying, “If a man Love me, he will keep My words: and My Father will Love him, and We will come unto him and tabernacle with him.“ – John 14:23
This Sharon Rose is unlike that fading rose whose cursed, thorn-stemmed bloom finds its root in Adam. She instead, springs from the ground of Eternal Nature, from the ground of all Love and goodness and sweetness, bringing with her, whithersoever she may go, that rarefied atmosphere so charged with God’s own original nature to subdue and defeat all opposing factions. Here are no longer doctrines or theology; here are no longer the words of men about the words of God. Here are realities brought forth at will by Wisdom’s children to establish that of which Scripture and doctrine has but spoken.
The mighty-acting power of the Holy Ghost shall so rest upon these clear bodies and in these pure, simplified spirits without measure that nothing shall be impossible to them. They, being moved only by Love to act and speak from Love’s ground in and through this mighty-acting power, shall be Love’s immaculate agents through which the gross, degenerate nature shall begin to be transmuted and renewed into the glory of Sharon and Paradise that Adam lost. Eventually, all things, both animal and vegetable, shall be transformed into Love’s essential properties through her first-born children brought to birth through Her only begotten Son.
We are therefore not to think it strange or out of reach that God should begin to manifest these free-working properties of Love, first in transfiguration of the vile body into a body like unto His glorious body. But do not speak to me of transfigurations and of signs and wonders. These demonstrations of the powers of the kingdom shall surely come to pass. Instead, tell me about Love’s ability and all-willingness to do in us what It requires us to do, that is, to transmute the gross and degenerate nature of the worst of mankind into the pure nature of Deity. Spiritually, this is nothing less than the turning of gross matter into pure gold. It is the alchemy of Love. Then, as never before, we shall see Love’s ultimate outworking, transmuting power as it is to go forth in a renewing work upon the old and wrinkled face of this present lapsed creation. For, as we have surely been told, Christ shall indeed appear in some chosen vessels to bring into the Promised Land, the New Creation state. Amen.
In order to this, God shall not be slack to produce certain head powers who shall bear the first office and are to be persons in favor with God. Beloved, allow the stirrings of Love’s Spirit within you to cause you to so run as to make your calling and election sure. Think not within yourself, “Others may rise to the occasion, but not me.” Do not listen to king reason’s faulty and misleading counsel. Remember that God has called “Are nots” to bring to nought the things that “Are.” Take it as strong evidence that God would have it so, that such a desire is even now rising in you from the ground of Love’s essence.
Offer yourself again, afresh and anew, without reservation or rival in your entire life and all its interests and activities, believing that what you offer in faith, God will, in faithfulness, accept. Shall Love indeed say to us, “Bring forth!” And Herself not also bring forth in us? Believe God, and plunge yourself into the engulfing Ocean of His all-conquering Love with the attitude of, “If I perish, I perish.” By such is a kingdom gained and to them is the golden scepter held out in tender mercies and eternal goodwill.
Build an altar today in this place of your heart that is presently being dealt with, and give yourself, as a whole burnt offering, unto the Lord! For the promise is, “Beauty for ashes.” They who believe the word of the Lord to them and subsequently offer themselves unreservedly shall know the everlasting joy that shall be upon their heads and the garment of praise. These shall be the planting of the Lord, and they will repair the old waste places because their own have already become Paradise.
For the benefit of those of you who have selflessly supported us in making available Jane Leade’s writings, and for those of you who may be curious, we are very pleased to tell you that the effect of these books have been astonishing. We have received many reports, in tears, that these writings have transformed their lives! These are Christian lives. They bring us to an utterness that perhaps was missing before.
We encourage you who may have found their reading to be more difficult than usual, to continue to read them and re-read them until they begin to open up by the Spirit. I am strongly against presenting them in such a way that they read like a Reader’s Digest. The difficulty lies not in reading ability; it lies in ability to understand, and that is the Spirit’s area of responsibility, to take the things of Christ and reveal them to us. These are spiritual writings, which require the Spirit’s assistance to understand, but when understood, carry with them an anointing and weight quite scarce in this day.
Some have written, saying that they did not understand the books on a first reading but upon persistence found them to suddenly open to their minds so wonderfully, they marveled that they did not grasp their meaning at the first. Persist! Dig until you find that White Stone with your name written in it!
“If a man say, ‘I love God,’ and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his
brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?” – I John 4:20.
We dealt in the last issue of TSL with the alchemy of Love, that is, Love’s all-prevailing power to transform. But if a thing is not of practical use or service to us, it is of no value to us. It is one thing to know what Love does or can do and quite another for those things to be working in us. Therefore, this issue is dedicated to seeing how these things can and must work for us and in us and through us.
We have all heard, by this time, that many in this message have begun to expect something quite revolutionary to take place this year, more precisely, this fall. We are all looking for some great move or advancement forward at this time, and I believe I know what it is and that it has already begun undisclosed in some who may not even be aware of it. Unlike Pentecost, with all its outward activity and excitement, Tabernacle’s coming is of another nature entirely.
It is not about outward things or concepts; it has to do with the inward realities of spirit. It very definitely has to do with the pulling down of imaginations and the bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. What we are discussing here is the opening of the Kingdom of Love within. The Kingdom of Love is but another way of saying, “The Kingdom of God.”
Elwin Roach, Pathfinder Ministries, P. O. Box 4004, Alamogordo, NM, 88311, has for several months now written on the subject of the Cherubim; what they are, and their function and purpose. I have personally found these anointed articles to be very informative and enlightening as to our present subject here. As he clearly states, Cherubim are imaginary things and represent the imagination and thoughts of both God and man. It has been man’s thoughts, the Cherubim that have kept him from the tree of Life in the midst of the Garden of God.
It has been man’s thoughts, the Cherubim that have prevented man from passing from the Holy Place into the Holy of Holies and into union with God. We see these Cherubim first at the gate east of Eden, and their purpose there is keeping (barring) the way of the tree of Life. Their next appearance is in the veil, which separates the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies. We find them sewn into the very fabric of that veil.
If we admit that the veil represents the flesh-nature of fallen man, then it becomes obvious that what has become the very fabric of fallen man himself (his thought-life, imaginations) acts as a barrier to entrance into union with God! “As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways above your ways and my thoughts above your thoughts.”
If our thought-life is the source of our problem of entering back into where we fell from, it would seem that all is lost, for we cannot hope to proceed to perfection from such a faulty and compromised basis. Indeed, we have not been able to do so for some 6,000 years thus far. But! God has purposed to fulfill something at the close of man’s six working days, and that purpose includes a remnant entering behind the veil for union with God.
But how to get past these very effective Cherubim? By the opening of Love’s birth within us! Now, you may say within yourself, “Well, that sounds all very well and good, and many of us are indeed actively looking for some evidence of such a great change taking place, but how is this to be effected when no one seems to know what it is, much less how to have it operate in them?” Actually, it seems so simple that we are challenged to believe this could really be what we have been looking for.
Love, God’s Love, does not begin with emotions or feelings (Love is God and God is spirit). It is a deliberate act of the will. These two statements are as a golden key which will open that mystical door which allows the Lord to come in and sup with us and we with Him in a union as constant and immutable as that which exists between the Lord Jesus Christ and the Father. Because Love is an act of the will and not merely an emotion attended with warm, fuzzy feelings, it is within the reach of all. For to will to Love someone is to be able to Love them.
It must be admitted that Love’s first openings may indeed be merely a trickle rather than a river. It may be so small in its beginnings that it is nearly undetectable, but it is Love’s nature to increase and to rise to a vehement, burning flame which consumes all gross and elementary matter of a lower birth than Itself, bringing one eventually to the very supersensual life of ecstacies. Once begun in us, it shall continue until it flows as a mighty Niagara whose power and supplies are inexhaustible. Love truly is the White Stone whose alchemical powers shall eventually set free the entire fallen universe, beginning with a firstfruits company of mankind. Love has the intrinsic power to convert the gross, degenerate nature of fallen man into Its own golden essence — GOD!
Are we not called to be made partakers of His divine nature? Who ever came in contact with Love in the person of Christ Jesus and left without being changed? One simply cannot come into contact with Love without being changed in some way and eventually into the very nature of Love Himself. One is either hardened in his own self-will and death, for a later resurrection and continuance of Love’s work in him, or he is broken and made pliable for the end result of becoming Love’s very essence. Love never fails.
Most of us have heard men teach what has been termed, “The Never-Die” doctrine and they have used none other than Jesus’ own words, that thread-bare scripture we have all wondered about, as their launching pad. “I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die” – John 11:25–26. That would seem to be pretty safe ground, would it not? But those who have taught that this verse means just what it says, have died… , so far. And yet, it does indeed mean just exactly what it says, but there must be a living faith that is able to reach out and take hold of the essence of this verse.
This, I believe, is why this truth has been taught correctly but not yet apprehended by any, as far as we know. There must be a faith that can reach as high as this Word stands. That kind of faith works only by God’s kind of Love, and when a people begin to live and move constantly in this Love, and think and speak in accordance with It, It will generate not only a faith which can reach as high as Love can extend Himself (for this faith is the Faith of Love, or God), It will also radically change the way in which we think of God, of ourselves and of others.
And just as negative thoughts have had terribly negative effects on us, even unto death, so shall creative Love-thinking have positive effects on us, even to the point of living and not dying. What else but Love is as strong as Death? Who else but Love has the keys of Death and the grave? Where else, but in Love is Death completely conquered and the grave robbed? And may I tell you the best part? To walk in Love is not future! You may begin as you are reading this message. Right now! For you are but one short faith-step from it.
We have heard brethren speak forth things, which the Scriptures verily hold out as true for us, as though these Scriptures were already accomplished in them and in us. Yet, we have known that they are not. This has produced no little controversy throughout the Body. Whether such statements as, “I am already complete in Him; I am already dead; I am living behind the veil, are indeed true is not debatable. They are the inspired words of the Spirit of Truth. But there are certain qualifications which must be considered and met in order for them to become real in our experience. They are only true in our experience when we are walking in Love’s perfections. Remember, Love is the concluding climactic touch with which God will adorn His Overcomer company.
We have learned and even cultivated many negative thought-patterns, which have crippled us, held us down and completely kept us from being able to walk in our high places. There has been so little discipline in this area that it has wrought havoc throughout the Body of Christ.
There is definitely, as the Bible declares, the power of life and death in the tongue. But don’t begin rebuking everyone for every negative statement that issues from their mouth; it goes beyond that. Before we ever speak a word or perform a deed, we think it. The power that is in a spoken word is first in the thought, which begets it. Instead of seeking to redirect our speech patterns, we ought to allow Love to replace old thought-patterns with creative Love-thoughts. Just as Self’s thoughts are destructive and negative, Love’s thoughts are all creative, and they create along positive lines. And if they are thoughts originating in Love, then they are part of Love and therefore subject to the will.
Have you ever had the experience of having someone placed in your life that you simply could not get along with? Perhaps you called it a personality clash and you just could not bear him. The more you resented him, his ways and manners, the more difficult you found it to be with him. The more we talk about someone behind his back, the more resentment we feel toward him and the more impossible it is for us to be with him or to pray for him. This is because the dark thoughts (and words) of Self bring darkness to us and fosters in us only the things originating from the Prince of darkness and encloses our minds in it. This places us in an alliance with the accuser of the brethren and in such times we have found our spiritual lives to dwindle and nearly vanish away and have wondered, “How can I love someone whose very ways I detest?” The answer lies in the will to Love them.
I had one dear sister tell me that she had tried to forgive someone but found she was not able to do so simply by will. Since volition is a matter of choice, and since willing a thing does not necessarily involve the emotions, it is untrue to say that we cannot will to do a thing, or to say that we have not successfully willed a thing because there were no emotions attending it. When we will a thing, it is willed. Does it require God’s grace? I believe it surely does. And it requires faith. The point here is, though Love for the one forgiven begins with merely a trickle, continue in it and it will, by the inworking power of the Holy Ghost, become a stream and then a river of the waters of life to swim in. The feelings, about which we seem so concerned, will come later.
I have said several times now that the key to entrance into Love’s kingdom lies in the will to Love, but please keep in mind that to will to Love is to be able to Love and therefore to walk in Love. We by no means assert that our first tentative steps in this will pass for leaps and bounds. But there must be a beginning, and it is this beginning that is so vital and so critical that Love’s beginnings must be carefully guarded. This means that anything which dulls Love’s sensible rising in you, which causes Love’s keenness in you to diminish or lessen, must be stopped, must cease, for the preservation of this Love (this is where losing all, willingly, comes in). There are certain Herod-lusts which will seek to slay the true new-born Heir while it is yet in its infancy. All precaution must be taken to preserve this golden fountain in its first up-springings in us. This willing to Love is not a magic formula one may use as a mere ritual. It is a heart-cry in accordance with one’s will.
Love does not require that Its object be loveable. If It did, none of us would be a part of His kingdom today. The more sin-marred the vessel, the more qualified it is for Love. I agree that our flesh will not appreciate Love’s requirements, but our flesh is to have no say in these matters. It has been crucified with Christ.
Love is the distinguishing seal upon the heart of each of God’s Firstfruits of perfected ones. Love is the seal by which they are privileged to reach into Wisdom’s basket and store of creative power for their maintenance and for the preservation of others. None (other than Jesus) have thus far found such liberty because none have had this seal upon their hearts and been completely under Love’s dominion, God having reserved it for this present generation.
We must remember that there is no such thing as maturity without Love, for Love is maturity. There is no such thing as dominion without Love, for the Manchild is caught up to Love’s throne (Revelation 12:5) before it rules. The kingdom in which we are called to rule and reign with Christ a thousand years is a kingdom under Love’s dominion. Therefore, nothing which conflicts with Love, whether it be fearfulness, unbelief, the abominable etc., is able to find entrance into this great, transparent City. Those who come forth in such Love have been raised up under the apple tree where their mother, Wisdom, brought them forth.
The apple tree has been to me the tree of grace ever since I heard the following story: We were visiting with close and dear friends of ours, Harry and Louise Bizzell (formerly of The Lamb’s Chapel in Charlotte, NC), and Harry said that when he first heard that the number five was symbolic of grace, he wondered, “How do I know that? Who said so? How do I know that these numbers aren’t just picked out of the air at random and ascribed some symbolic meaning?” Years later, the Lord woke him in the middle of the night and said, “Arise and get a sword.” He said it frightened him, but he went into the kitchen and got the largest knife they had. The Lord said, “Get an apple.” He reached and got an apple. “Cut it in half,” came the next command. He cut it in half, wondering, “What is going on?” “How many seeds are in the apple?”, came the query from the Lord. “Five”, he said he answered out loud. “How many apples are in a seed?”, the Lord then asked him. “There’s no way to tell,” he replied. “It’s the same with grace. It cannot be measured,” was God’s conclusive answer to him on whether the number five was actually symbolic of grace.
So, I view the apple tree as the tree of grace, and the Song of Solomon says that the one coming forth out of the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved, is the same one brought forth by Wisdom and raised up under the tree of grace.
THE REIGN OF LOVE’S KINGDOM
(EXCERPTED FROM NEW JERUSALEM II – BY JANE LEADE)
“Wherever this Love comes, it makes all imperfect things flee before it, but it strengthens and confirms every plant that is sown by the Spirit, which have long lain buried and makes them appear above ground. It is the king flower of the whole paradisical spring that protects the whole, transmuting all into one entire body of Love that doth extend and give forth itself in all spiritual bounty according to its high nature and property. It is not shut up to itself upon any consideration as to what it possesseth and enjoys, for it holds nothing in proprietorship, whatever its lot is, but all is free to the disciples of the same descent and birth with Himself. This Love cannot withhold from any of their necessities, for it seeks not its own. It is God’s only steward upon earth whom He dare trust with the care of His household who are in spiritual hunger and nakedness.
“Know, whoever you be that are made to willingly venture the loss of all to arrive at this pearl of charity, that you shall most surely find it, and great rejoicing there will be at the finding of this lost groat (a British coin worth about 4 pennies today). Indeed, the house of the soul must be first thoroughly searched and the natural self-love must be swept out. For what is that which we must lose but even all rubbish, filth and dross! So that our hearts, being emptied and cleansed from all these, the king of Love may enter in with full train, wherein we may know nothing but concord, tranquility and a springing treasury of all goodness. Wherefore, let all holy and pure minds be stirred up to wait for the dropping dews which fall from one eternal element to bring this plant of Love’s kingdom forward even unto its full height of perfection.
“And be tender of its first buddings, for it hath many subtle enemies both at home and abroad. It is the heir and therefore is conspired against, for can but the envious spirit find out where its birth doth spring, they will attempt to kill it whilst it is but an infant, for which cause it must be hid in the clefts of the Eternal Rock. There it is to be fed and nourished with its own nature-milk and honey of Love until it become strong and able to encounter and overcome all its opposites that it may reign alone as monarch of the soul.
“My friends, whoever you be that shall read this experimental writing, know assuredly that if you can but find this burning star of Love risen – nay, if you can but feel the glowings and enkindlings of heat in the center of your hearts, it is more to be valued than all other spiritual gifts, powers and divine ornaments which pertain to the new creation. Then we may boldly despise and contemn all worldly dominions and all the joys and delights of sensual love. For you must know it is such a sacred and celestial seed, coming immediately from the heart of the Deity, as cannot admit anything of defilement or pollution to abide with it. It soon leaves the soul if anything be taken in which cannot abide the burning touch of this altar coal.
“But here it may be asked, “What is this Love which is so highly exalted above all heavenly and earthly things? Sure there must be some rare transcending quality in it not commonly known that makes you press it so vehemently?”
“Truly, well I may, yet not I, but the essential Love Itself doth move me to open the mystery of It, which happily hath not been understood as now by breaking up the fountain of it so that it may plentifully run forth. For giving the light of the knowledge of it doth but make way for the very substance itself to rise sensibly in its flaming quality. Take this further account of it, that it is known to be the most holy and pure generation of the immaculate Virgin of God for which is prepared the virgin-womb that this birth might be the choice and undefiled one of her that brings it forth.
“It shall not be now at Christ’s second birth as it was at His first. Then His visage was marred more than any man’s. He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, and there was no form or comeliness in Him, which made Him to be set at naught and greatly despised, though without sin or guile. But being found a sufferer under it, He therefore could not be exalted until He had His first birth in us which must precede His second. But there is a vast difference between Christ’s first and second coming.
“Many ages are passed wherein saints have known only the birth of Christ in them after this weak, suffering, dying and reproachful state. The apostles, upon whom the Holy Ghost was poured forth after a most signal manner, by which Christ gave witness in them of His victory and exaltation, enabling them to work miraculously; yet notwithstanding, they were not gotten beyond the suffering birth of Christ in themselves, for they only had the revelation and foresight of His appearing in power and great glory. But they departed this life and did not see the sign of the Son of man (the birth and establishment of Love) to take up in them for a visible reign and kingdom that might redeem out of all tribulation, and so it hath continued until this day.
“But yet there is not to be found a generation so prepared and made ready for the second coming of Christ as was in that day, which might make us doubt whether the coming of Christ is so near. Because this birth of Love is so hardly found in any, risen up to an absolute dominion, which is a sure introduction to the omnipotent reign of Christ in this visible earth in the inward properties of the Love flock. But you will say, “The apostles and those that were converted by their ministry were all in the dispensation of Love and were in expectation of having the Kingdom restored to Israel in their day. What was the reason then that Christ’s second birth did not rise in them?”
“To which I answer that it was thought meet by the Father of Wisdom that all of that generation should drink of their Lord’s suffering and dying cup, as He often hinted unto them when personally with them, though they had a general spirit of prophecy concerning His glorious reign in which He would appear in His saints. And then again, it may be disputed as to whether those elders themselves had completed their own regeneration and so were perfectly arrived to the throne-dominion of Love as fixed Overcomers. Paul, Peter and John, who were the most eminent amongst them, seemed to have somewhat more in sight than what they had attained to and so were still pressing after it.
“However, it may be concluded that they had got the start before any that are known at this day, yet it seems that hitherto Love’s womb hath been shut up from bringing forth children of the resurrection– at least to anything that is manifestly known.
“But for this we may have good hope that if indeed it be born in anyone and made strong to maintain its right and superiority over the whole inward creation, ruling as God, by whom it is certainly avouched that a virgin spirit shall be given to such for eternal generation, who shall be able to raise and quicken the holy grain of Love that lieth as dead, so that Love may see her offspring to multiply exceedingly unto all perfect purity. Such an holy congregation and society, being once raised to reign upon Love’s throne together will be as so many raised banners which will be terrible to the nations which stand without the circle of Love.
“Now, by all this we see what hath hitherto put a stop and caused the Lord to delay His coming and will continue to delay until perfect Love is come to burn up every image in the mind that is not engraved by God’s own finger. It is certainly to be concluded that charity is the golden wash and baptizing pool out of which souls do come all ruddy and white, clear and bright, to whom the Lord may say, “My dove, my fair one, my undefiled, come away; the Love-scarlet dye hath washed thy blackness away so that now thou art all fair in My eye.”
“This is a prophecy which hath been fulfilled in part and will have more abundant fulfillment as this spirit of burning Love takes possession of hearts. Then the very face of God will be the covering by which we shall see and know what before we were ignorant of as to our own pure Love’s nativity, which was foreknown in Christ before the world of wrath and bitterness did show itself. And thus, by the first and second birth of Christ in us, all will come to be restored to a glorious new creation where Love shall die no more, nor sin live which brought in curse and sorrow and estranged God from us.
“Now, is not all this a most persuasive motive to the Love-flock, wherever scattered, that God intends to bring them to this Love-band of perfection that we may know one another as God’s enkindled sparks, increasing to flames, which are to consume all envy and wrath as stubble and dross. The trumpet sounds from Mount Zion and waxeth louder and louder. We daily hear it, from which we have declared the most excellent things concerning the eternal Love-fellowship in God’s own clearness, in which no spot of darkness is to be found. You will say – “Where are such to be found according to this degree which you have here described? All visible churches and societies are far too light when weighed with this golden grain and shekel of the eternal sanctuary!”
“We know it to be so from the all-piercing eye which doth try all degrees of Love, and it may be universally bewailed that so much superficial, formal and dead love is found, both to God and one another. Hence we do not wonder that the Bridegroom makes no more haste, His bride wanting as yet her full vesture or robe of pure Charity, without which she can never be said to be ready, for this is to be all her glory both within and without and to adorn her for Love and delight. Therefore, all pre-eminence and honor give to Love, taking all care to nourish it up in God and there abound in it towards one another.
“This high, pure and mystical unity of Love hath been yet very little understood and even less practiced. That heaven-born society is much scattered. Where is Love’s paved habitation to be found in which fervent charity doth wholly act and move, loving and admiring as God appears and looks forth through the lattice of humanity in each one? Oh! How should it draw out and open the springs of Love as God Himself who is the spirit and life of Love, which moveth and riseth in holy souls!
“Therefore, it becomes us to be tender of it; not to grieve it nor quench it in one another for that may cause it to sink and die away in ourselves, and then the very ark of our strength departs from us, and the heat and vigor of all spiritual life declines with it.
“Upon which consideration, O ye heaven-born out of the womb of eternal Love, wherever dispersed– let your gatherings be to this lifted up standard where Love’s kingdom is known and possessed in all peace, joy and tranquility. The trumpet from Mount Zion doth sound to call you away from all worldly, drossy perishing loves, which are not super sensual and celestial. Nay further, it doth call you away from all lukewarm superficial loves, for Love’s workings must be fervent, strong and immutable for the making meet for the rising and abiding power of the Holy Ghost to work from. All which will be brought out of the fiery furnace of Love for the great and mighty things that give testimony of Christ’s kingdom in His saints being come, for it will surely open from this center.
“Now, whoever ye are that feel the touch of this celestial fire-stone, send forth your warming sparks to set one another in an holy flame. Know your own mother’s children. Hide not yourselves from them. Be no longer strangers towards them. Find them out from north to south, and revive yet once again the apostolic knot and band of unfeigned Love that may forerun the Bridegroom’s return to dwell among us, so that we may no longer fast and mourn but be ever feasted with Love’s multiplyings from the fountain deity. Even so confirm it accordingly, O Lord Jesus!” End Quote.
This message of Love is about the Key of David, which must rest upon the shoulders of Christ’s corporate Body and is that which shall open the door which no man can shut and which, if a man open, Christ shall come in and sup with him in a most singularly intimate manner, and he with Him. It is a message meant to cause its hearers to aspire to be a part of the Philadelphian Church: the church of brotherly Love. It was to this church the Lord said so many promising things. “Behold, I set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength (Pentecost?), and hast not denied my name.“ – Revelation 3:8
Shall there be a people who will rule and reign with Christ a thousand years who are not under the absolute dominion of Love? Shall there be a people who shall open and no man shut, and shut and no man open who are not in perfect accord with Love? Shall there be a people claiming to be Love’s true representatives who have not this Love in all its perfections and power?
Shall the rod of iron be given into the hand of any other than Love’s own children, the children of the resurrection? What people shall do and speak only what they see and hear their Father doing and speaking but that people who are under the absolute dominion of Love’s rule? We may speak well and write much on “Sonship,” “Kingdom” and whatever else we may wish to call this kingdom, but unless we Love, carefully guarding its beginning flame, we are become as tinkling brass or a sounding cymbal.
You and I must ever remember that a mere knowledge of these or any other things does not insure that they are ours, regardless how much we herald them to each other. A wise man has said, “A man may know all about virtue but if he doesn’t Love virtue, he is not a virtuous man, for he obeys vice. But if he Loves virtue he follows after it, and his Love makes him an enemy to wickedness so that he will not practice it, and hates it also in other men. Such a one is already a virtuous man, or he is in the way to be so. And he who is a virtuous man would not cease to be so to gain the whole world, yea, he would rather die a miserable death.
“It is the same with justice. Many a man knows full well what is just or unjust, and yet neither is nor ever will become a just man. For he Loves not justice, and therefore he works wickedness and injustice. And to him justice is her own reward, and rewards him with herself; and so there lives a just man, and he would rather die a thousand times over than live as an unjust man. It is the same with truth: a man may know full well what is true or a lie, but if he Loves not the truth he is not a true man; but if he Loves truth, it is with truth even as with justice.
“Thus may we perceive that knowledge and light profit nothing without Love. We see this in the Evil Spirit; he perceives and knows good and evil, right and wrong, and the like; but since he has no Love for the good that he sees, he becomes not good, as he would if he had any Love for the truth and other virtues which he sees. It is indeed true that Love must be guided and taught of knowledge, but if knowledge be not taught of Love, it will avail nothing. It is the same with God and divine things. Let a man know much about God and divine things, nay, dream that he sees and understands what God Himself is, if he have not Love, he will never become like unto God, or a ‘partaker of the divine nature.’ But if there be a true Love along with his knowledge, he cannot but cleave to God and forsake all that is not God or of Him, hate it and fight against it, and find it a cross and a sorrow.” End of Quote
Whether we Love enough to “sell all we have in order to purchase this Pearl of great price” is seen by whether or not we are willing to forsake all that would impede or hinder our walking in Love, for the sake of having Love. This, even to the remodeling and losing of our own thought-life as we “cast down imaginations and bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” Then, when our starry thoughts have fallen to the earth like untimely fruit, and our sun (reason) and moon (senses) have ceased to shine, shall we see the Son of Man coming in our new heavens with glory and great power (Matthew 24:29). This Love, this Pearl all priceless is such that it will so make a man one with God that “neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the Love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.“ – Romans 8:3
Have you known a life of fearfulness and anxiety? Love is the unfailing antidote for it. Have you known only ups and downs with little peace? Love is the answer. Have you been nagged by fears and doubtings and an almost constant need of further assurance? Love is the end of all that and they that Love It shall have it. It has not been placed where only the giraffes could reach it, but where the smallest of God’s lambs can easily have it. Be bold in God’s willingness to give His best to you. Desire it with all your being. Call upon Him daily for the first springing up of this golden oil that shall never cease pouring out from you until it has changed the wrinkled face of the entire fallen creation.
ALCHEMY OF LOVE, THE, Parts 1-2 [Larry Hodges] 1