Maternal Affection the Moat Appropriate Image of Divine Benevolence
Isaiah 49:15-16
Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yes, they may forget…


1. The first distinctive feature in the affection of a mother is, that it is coeval with the maternal character. It springs at once into existence, vigorous and perfect, and becomes henceforth a permanent and essential part of her constitution. Other affections are produced, and nourished by degrees. Love to parents, gratitude to benefactors, sympathy with the afflicted, and benevolence to our kind, are all, in a very considerable degree, the offspring of instruction and of association. But of maternal tenderness, it may be truly said that it is an instantaneous creation; the stamp of heaven, impressed upon a mother's heart, and acting in all its vigour the moment she hears the cry of helplessness. Just, but fair, representations of that love of God, which is far above all similitude, as it passes all understanding! In implanting this affection in a mother's bosom, He has furnished the best and most winning image of His own benignity; and by interweaving it in her constitution, He intends to show that His own love is not a feeling, adventitious or fluctuating; but an unchangeable attribute of His being — that predominating principle, of which His other attributes are nothing more than varied ramifications. A mother, however, is frail and fallible. She may forget even her sucking child. But God cannot forget to love.

2. The next quality distinctive in the love of a mother is that of all affections with which we are acquainted it is the purest in its source, and the most disinterested in its exercise. No created being can, in any way, be profitable unto God, for He is independent and unchangeable, both in nature and in happiness. All the life which He communicates; all the means of enjoyment which He spreads through creation; every faculty and every affection that ennobles and blesses the rational soul in its highest advances to perfection, springs from the exhaustless source of unmixed and unbounded benevolence.

3. The last quality I shall remark as peculiarly striking in the love of a mother is, that its exertions and sacrifices are not only disinterested, but, beyond every other example, patient and persevering. And as the love of a mother is not overcome by provocation, neither is it chilled by absence. Such is the almost unconquerable patience of a mother's love. Still it may be conquered; and she may cease to have compassion. But God cannot forget His children.- How beautifully do the temper and conduct of Jesus display the riches and the perseverance of Divine love! It is said of Him by an evangelist, "that having loved His own, He loved them to the end": and the remark is verified by His whole life.

II. DRAW FROM THE SUBJECT SOME PRACTICAL CONCLUSIONS. It is impossible not to advert to the design and uses of this wonderful affection, as indicating, in the most striking manner, the unbounded wisdom and benignity of Providence. If we had but this one evidence, it would be sufficient to convince a reflecting mind that a paternal care is exercised in the government of the world, and that the tender mercies of God are over all His works. Take away the strong instinctive feelings of a mother, and what becomes of the living creation? But whilst man, in common with other animals, owes to this instinctive feeling, the preservation, growth, and vigour of his body, he owes to it, what is still more important, the commencement of those moral affections which constitute, in their progressive development, the strength and the glory of his moral and social life. It is in the bosom of a mother that these affections are generated. Accustomed to look to that bosom for nourishment, protection, and pleasure, it raises thence its infant smiles; it catches answering smiles of complacency and joy; its heart begins to dilate with instinctive gladness; its sensations of delight are gradually modified into those of fondness and gratitude; and as it continues to mark the love of a mother, it learns from her the art of loving. Reflections —

1. As we owe everything to a mother, we should be as unwearied in paying the debt, as she was in the acts of tenderness by which it is contracted.

2. Let us learn to form just conceptions of the Divine nature, and of the great ends of the Divine government.

(J. Lindsay, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.

WEB: "Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yes, these may forget, yet I will not forget you!

God's Love Greater than a Mother's
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