As the hart panteth after the water brooks, So panteth my soul after thee, O God. Psa 42:1
“Love is a natural affection. The love of God is the soul’s clasping or closing with the Lord. It is the expansion or going out of the heart, in its strength, after God, the uniting or knitting of the soul with God, with a complacency and acquiescence in Him. There are three things included in this love.
1) The strength of the heart making out after God. This is that which is commonly called our love of desire, the breathing, or thirsting, or panting of the heart after God. The heart’s working Godwards with is might; loving him above all things; desiring Him above all things, and that both intensive with the greatest vigour and intention, and adequate as its complete and adequate object. God is its all. “Whom have I in heaven but Thee, and there is none upon earth that I desire besides Thee.” [Psa 73:25]
2) The uniting of the soul with God. Our cleaving to Him. By love heart cleaves to heart, soul cleaves to soul. By love we are one with God, and He with us. With His love, His laws; with His comforts, His counsels; with His counsels, His corrections with thee, I accept of all that is Thine; both Thy yoke and Thy Cross, Thyself, Lord, Thy love, Lord, and what Thou wilt with Thee.
3) The soul’s taking pleasure, and taking up its rest in Him. This is called our love of complacency. Where we love, there will be a delightful stay of the mind upon God. The object dwells in the eye; we are still looking where we love. When I awake, I am still with Thee; here his thoughts are, of Him is his meditation all the day long.
Oh, what a feast will love make of holiness and glory! Get love to Christ, love to religion, and you will never demand, Where is the blessedness? Where is the sweetness: Love will sweeten both the comforts and the exercises of religion; it will make duties sweet, yea, and sufferings sweet.”
You then, dear friends, have the sweet love of Christ and are greatly loved and thus love! “Happy soul, thou lovest and art beloved!”
We love Him because He first loved us. 1Jo 4:19
[Selected quotes from Richard Alleine (1611-1681) “Heaven Opened” The Riches of God’s Covenant Grace, “A Heart to Love the Lord,” pp. 160-164]]