CLASSIC TEACHINGS ON LOVE J.C. Ryle, Andrew Murray, Spurgeon, John Newton

J.C. Ryle, Andrew Murray, C.H. Spurgeon, John Newton

J.C. Ryle, Andrew Murray, C.H. Spurgeon, John Newton


You also want an ePaper? Increase the reach of your titles

YUMPU automatically turns print PDFs into web optimized ePapers that Google loves.

<strong>CLASSIC</strong> <strong>TEACHINGS</strong> <strong>ON</strong><br />

THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS <strong>LOVE</strong><br />

<strong>Andrew</strong> <strong>Murray</strong><br />

CHRISTIAN <strong>LOVE</strong>!<br />

J.C. <strong>Ryle</strong><br />


C. H. <strong>Spurgeon</strong><br />

<strong>LOVE</strong> TO THE BRETHREN<br />

<strong>John</strong> <strong>Newton</strong>

<strong>CLASSIC</strong> <strong>TEACHINGS</strong> <strong>ON</strong> <strong>LOVE</strong><br />

Compiled by Debra Maffett<br />

“God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.”<br />

- Augustine -<br />

“The chains of love are stronger than the chains of fear.”<br />

- William Gurnall -<br />

“Do not waste time bothering whether you “love” your<br />

neighbor; act as if you did.” - C.S. Lewis -<br />

The world does not understand theology or dogma, but it<br />

understands love and sympathy.<br />

- Dwight L. Moody -<br />

“The world is not a play-ground; it is a school room. Life is<br />

not a holiday, but an education. And the one eternal lesson<br />

for us all is how better we can love.” - Henry Drummond -<br />

“but God shows his love for us in that while we were still<br />

sinners, Christ died for us.” - Romans 5:8 -

THOUGH I speak with the tongues of men and of angels,<br />

and have not love, I have become a sounding brass, or a<br />

clanging symbol. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and<br />

understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have<br />

all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I<br />

am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor,<br />

and though I give my body to be burned, and have not love, it<br />

profits me nothing.<br />

Love is patient, and is kind; love does not envy. Love<br />

doesn’t brag, is not proud, does not behave itself<br />

inappropriately, doesn’t seek its own way, is not easily<br />

provoked, takes no account of evil, doesn’t rejoice in<br />

unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things,<br />

believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love<br />

never fails: but where there are prophecies, they shall fail;<br />

where there are various languages, they shall cease; where there<br />

is knowledge, it shall vanish away.<br />

For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when<br />

that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be<br />

done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood<br />

as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put<br />

away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly;<br />

but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know<br />

even as also I am known.<br />

And now abides faith, hope, love, these three; but the<br />

greatest of these is <strong>LOVE</strong>.—I COR 13.

<strong>CLASSIC</strong> <strong>TEACHINGS</strong> <strong>ON</strong> <strong>LOVE</strong><br />

THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS <strong>LOVE</strong> 7<br />

by <strong>Andrew</strong> <strong>Murray</strong><br />

CHRISTIAN <strong>LOVE</strong>! 21<br />

J.C. <strong>Ryle</strong><br />


C. H. <strong>Spurgeon</strong><br />

<strong>LOVE</strong> TO THE BRETHREN 52<br />

<strong>John</strong> <strong>Newton</strong>’s Letter<br />

SCRIPTURES <strong>ON</strong> <strong>LOVE</strong> 57

1 Corinthians 13:13<br />

And now abides faith, hope, love, these three;<br />

but the greatest of these is love.

“THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS <strong>LOVE</strong>.”<br />

by <strong>Andrew</strong> <strong>Murray</strong><br />

I want to look at the fact of a life filled with the Holy Spirit more from the<br />

practical side, and to show how this life will show itself in our daily walk<br />

and conduct.<br />

Under the Old Testament you know the Holy Spirit often came upon men<br />

as a divine Spirit of revelation to reveal the mysteries of God, or for power<br />

to do the work of God. But He did not then dwell in them. Now, many just<br />

want the Old Testament gift of power for work, but know very little of the<br />

New Testament gift of the indwelling Spirit, animating and renewing the<br />

whole life. When God gives the Holy Spirit, His great object is the<br />

formation of a holy character. It is a gift of a holy mind and spiritual<br />

disposition, and what we need above everything else, is to say:<br />

"I must have the Holy Spirit sanctifying my whole inner life if I am really to<br />

live for God's glory."<br />

You might say that when Christ promised the Spirit to the disciples, He<br />

did so that they might have power to be witnesses. True, but then they<br />

received the Holy Ghost in such heavenly power and reality that He took<br />

possession of their whole being at once and so fitted them as holy men for<br />

doing the work with power as they had to do it. Christ spoke of power to<br />

the disciples, but it was the Spirit filling their whole being that worked the<br />

power.<br />

I wish now to dwell upon the passage found in Galatians 5:22:<br />

"The fruit of the Spirit is love."<br />

We read that "Love is the fulfilling of the law," and my desire is to speak on<br />

love as a fruit of the Spirit with a twofold object. One is that this word

may be a searchlight in our hearts, and give us a test by which to try all<br />

our thoughts about the Holy Spirit and all our experience of the holy life.<br />

Let us try ourselves by this word. Has this been our daily habit, to seek<br />

the being filled with the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of love? "The fruit of the<br />

Spirit is love." Has it been our experience that the more we have of the<br />

Holy Spirit the more loving we become? In claiming the Holy Spirit we<br />

should make this the first object of our expectation. The Holy Spirit comes<br />

as a Spirit of love.<br />

Oh, if this were true in the Church of Christ how different her state would<br />

be! May God help us to get hold of this simple, heavenly truth that the<br />

fruit of the Spirit is a love which appears in the life, and that just as the<br />

Holy Spirit gets real possession of the life, the heart will be filled with<br />

real, divine, universal love.<br />

One of the great causes why God cannot bless His Church is the want of<br />

love. When the body is divided, there cannot be strength. In the time of<br />

their great religious wars, when Holland stood out so nobly against Spain,<br />

one of their mottoes was: "Unity gives strength." It is only when God's<br />

people stand as one body, one before God in the fellowship of love, one<br />

toward another in deep affection, one before the world in a love that the<br />

world can see-it is only then that they will have power to secure the<br />

blessing which they ask of God. Remember that if a vessel that ought to be<br />

one whole is cracked into many pieces, it cannot be filled. You can take a<br />

potsherd, one part of a vessel, and dip out a little water into that, but if<br />

you want the vessel full, the vessel must be whole. That is literally true of<br />

Christ's Church, and if there is one thing we must pray for still, it is this:<br />

Lord, melt us together into one by the power of the Holy Spirit; let the<br />

Holy Spirit, who at Pentecost made them all of one heart and one soul, do<br />

His blessed work among us. Praise God, we can love each other in a divine<br />

love, for "the fruit of the Spirit is love." Give yourselves up to love, and the<br />

Holy Spirit will come; receive the Spirit, and He will teach you to love<br />

more.<br />

God Is Love<br />

Now, why is it that the fruit of the Spirit is love? Because God is love.

And what does that mean? It is the very nature and being of God to delight<br />

in communicating Himself. God has no selfishness, God keeps nothing to<br />

Himself. God's nature is to be always giving. In the sun and the moon and<br />

the stars, in every flower you see it, in every bird in the air, in every fish,<br />

in the sea. God communicates life to His creatures. And the angels around<br />

His throne, the seraphim and cherubim who are flames of fire-whence<br />

have they their glory? It is because God is love, and He imparts to them of<br />

His brightness and His blessedness. And we, His redeemed children-God<br />

delights to pour His love into us. And why? Because, as I said, God keeps<br />

nothing for Himself. From eternity God had His only begotten Son, and<br />

the Father gave Him all things, and nothing that God had was kept back.<br />

"God is love."<br />

One of the old Church fathers said that we cannot better understand the<br />

Trinity than as a revelation of divine love-the Father, the loving One, the<br />

Fountain of love; the Son, the beloved one, the Reservoir of love, in whom<br />

the love was poured out; and the Spirit, the living love that united both<br />

and then overflowed into this world. The Spirit of Pentecost, the Spirit of<br />

the Father, and the Spirit of the Son is love. And when the Holy Spirit<br />

comes to us and to other men, will He be less a Spirit of love than He is in<br />

God? It cannot be; He cannot change His nature. The Spirit of God is love,<br />

and "the fruit of the Spirit is love.”<br />

Mankind Needs Love<br />

Why is that so? That was the one great need of mankind, that was the<br />

thing which Christ's redemption came to accomplish: to restore love to<br />

this world.<br />

When man sinned, why was it that he sinned? Selfishness triumphed-he<br />

sought self instead of God. And just look! Adam at once begins to accuse<br />

the woman of having led him astray. Love to God had gone, love to man<br />

was lost. Look again: of the first two children of Adam the one becomes a<br />

murderer of his brother.

Does not that teach us that sin had robbed the world of love? Ah! what a<br />

proof the history of the world has been of love having been lost! There<br />

may have been beautiful examples of love even among the heathen, but<br />

only as a little remnant of what was lost. One of the worst things sin did<br />

for man was to make him selfish, for selfishness cannot love.<br />

The Lord Jesus Christ came down from Heaven as the Son of God's love.<br />

"God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son." God's Son<br />

came to show what love is, and He lived a life of love here upon earth in<br />

fellowship with His disciples, in compassion over the poor and miserable,<br />

in love even to His enemies, and He died the death of love. And when He<br />

went to Heaven, whom did He send down? The Spirit of love, to come and<br />

banish selfishness and envy and pride, and bring the love of God into the<br />

hearts of men. "The fruit of the Spirit is love."<br />

And what was the preparation for the promise of the Holy Spirit? You<br />

know that promise as found in the fourteenth chapter of <strong>John</strong>'s Gospel.<br />

But remember what precedes in the thirteenth chapter. Before Christ<br />

promised the Holy Spirit, He gave a new commandment, and about that<br />

new commandment He said wonderful things. One thing was: "Even as I<br />

have loved you, so love ye one another," To them His dying love was to be<br />

the only law of their conduct and intercourse with each other. What a<br />

message to those fishermen, to those men full of pride and selfishness!<br />

"Learn to love each other," said Christ, "as I have loved you." And by the<br />

grace of God they did it. When Pentecost came, they were of one heart and<br />

one soul. Christ did it for them.<br />

And now He calls us to dwell and to walk in love. He demands that though<br />

a man hate you, still you love him. True love cannot be conquered by<br />

anything in Heaven or upon the earth. The more hatred there is, the more<br />

love triumphs through it all and shows its true nature. This is the love that<br />

Christ commanded His disciples to exercise.<br />

What more did He say? "By this shall all men know that ye are my<br />

disciples, if ye have love one to another."

You all know what it is to wear a badge. And Christ said to His disciples in<br />

effect: "I give you a badge, and that badge is love. That is to be your mark.<br />

It is the only thing in Heaven or on earth by which men can know me."<br />

Do we not begin to fear that love has fled from the earth? That if we were<br />

to ask the world: "Have you seen us wear the badge of love?" the world<br />

would say: "No; what we have heard of the Church of Christ is that there is<br />

not a place where there is no quarreling and separation." Let us ask God<br />

with one heart that we may wear the badge of Jesus' love. God is able to<br />

give it.<br />

Love Conquers Selfishness<br />

"The fruit of the Spirit is love." Why? Because nothing but love can expel<br />

and conquer our selfishness.<br />

Self is the great curse, whether in its relation to God, or to our fellow-men<br />

in general, or to fellow-Christians, thinking of ourselves and seeking our<br />

own. Self is our greatest curse. But, praise God, Christ came to redeem us<br />

from self. We sometimes talk about deliverance from the self-life-and<br />

thank God for every word that can be said about it to help us-but I am<br />

afraid some people think deliverance from the self-life means that now<br />

they are going to have no longer any trouble in serving God; and they<br />

forget that deliverance from self-life means to be a vessel overflowing with<br />

love to everybody all the day.<br />

And there you have the reason why many people pray for the power of the<br />

Holy Ghost, and they get something, but oh, so little! because they prayed<br />

for power for work, and power for blessing, but they have not prayed for<br />

power for full deliverance from self. That means not only the righteous self<br />

in intercourse with God, but the unloving self in intercourse with men.<br />

And there is deliverance. "The fruit of the Spirit is love." I bring you the<br />

glorious promise of Christ that He is able to fill our hearts with love.<br />

A great many of us try hard at times to love. We try to force ourselves to<br />

love, and I do not say that is wrong; it is better than nothing. But the end<br />

of it is always very sad. "I fail continually," such as one must confess. And

what is the reason? The reason is simply this: Because they have never<br />

learned to believe and accept the truth that the Holy Spirit can pour God's<br />

love into their heart. That blessed text; often it has been limited!-"The love<br />

of God is shed abroad in our hearts." It has often been understood in this<br />

sense: It means the love of God to me. oh, what a limitation! That is only<br />

the beginning. The love of God is always the love of God in its entirety, in<br />

its fullness as an indwelling power, a love of God to me that leaps back to<br />

Him in love, and overflows to my fellow-men in love-God's love to me, and<br />

my love to God, and my love to my fellow-men. The three are one; you<br />

cannot separate them.<br />

Do believe that the love of God can be shed abroad in your heart and mine<br />

so that we can love all the day.<br />

"Ah!" you say, "how little I have understood that!"<br />

Why is a lamb always gentle? Because that is its nature. Does it cost the<br />

lamb any trouble to be gentle? No. Why not? It is so beautiful and gentle.<br />

Has a lamb to study to be gentle? No. Why does that come so easy? It is its<br />

nature. And a wolf-why does it cost a wolf no trouble to be cruel, and to<br />

put its fangs into the poor lamb or sheep? Because that is its nature. It has<br />

not to summon up its courage; the wolf-nature is there.<br />

And how can I learn to love? Never until the Spirit of God fills my heart<br />

with God's love, and I begin to long for God's love in a very different sense<br />

from which I have sought it so selfishly, as a comfort and a joy and a<br />

happiness and a pleasure to myself; never until I begin to learn that "God<br />

is love," and to claim it, and receive it as an indwelling power for selfsacrifice;<br />

never until I begin to see that my glory, my blessedness, is to be<br />

like God and like Christ, in giving up everything in myself for my fellowmen.<br />

May God teach us that! Oh, the divine blessedness of the love with<br />

which the Holy Spirit can fill our hearts! "The fruit of the Spirit is love."<br />

Love Is God's Gift<br />

Once again I ask, Why must this be so? And my answer is: Without this<br />

we cannot live the daily life of love.

How often, when we speak about the consecrated life, we have to speak<br />

about temper, and some people have sometimes said:<br />

"You make too much of temper."<br />

I do not think we can make too much of it. Think for a moment of a clock<br />

and of what its hands mean. The hands tell me what is within the clock,<br />

and if I see that the hands stand still, or that the hands point wrong, or<br />

that the clock is slow or fast, I say that something inside the clock is not<br />

working properly. And temper is just like the revelation that the clock<br />

gives of what is within. Temper is a proof whether the love of Christ is<br />

filling the heart, or not. How many there are who find it easier in church,<br />

or in prayer-meeting, or in work for the Lord-diligent, earnest work-to be<br />

holy and happy than in the daily life with wife and children and servant;<br />

easier to be holy and happy outside the home than in it! Where is the love<br />

of God? In Christ. God has prepared for us a wonderful redemption in<br />

Christ, and He longs to make something supernatural of us. Have we<br />

learned to long for it, and ask for it, and expect it in its fullness?<br />

Then there is the tongue! We sometimes speak of the tongue when we talk<br />

of the better life, and the restful life, but just think what liberty many<br />

Christians give to their tongues. They say:<br />

"I have a right to think what I like."<br />

When they speak about each other, when they speak about their<br />

neighbors, when they speak about other Christians, how often there are<br />

sharp remarks! God keep me from saying anything that would be unloving;<br />

God shut my mouth if I am not to speak in tender love. But what I am<br />

saying is a fact. How often there are found among Christians who are<br />

banded together in work, sharp criticism, sharp judgment, hasty opinion,<br />

unloving words, secret contempt of each other, secret condemnation of<br />

each other! Oh, just as a mother's love covers her children and delights in<br />

them and has the tenderest compassion with their foibles or failures, so<br />

there ought to be in the heart of every believer a motherly love toward<br />

every brother and sister in Christ. Have you aimed at that? Have you

sought it? Have you ever pleaded for it? Jesus Christ said: "As I have loved<br />

you... love one another." And He did not put that among the other<br />

commandments, but He said in effect:<br />

"That is a new commandment, the one commandment: Love one another as<br />

I have loved you."<br />

It is in our daily life and conduct that the fruit of the Spirit is love. From<br />

that there comes all the graces and virtues in which love is manifested: joy,<br />

peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness; no sharpness or hardness in<br />

your tone, no unkindness or selfishness; meekness before God and man.<br />

You see that all these are the gentler virtues. I have often thought as I read<br />

those words in Colossians, "Put on therefore as the elect of God, holy and<br />

beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness,<br />

long-suffering," that if we had written, we should have put in the<br />

foreground the manly virtues, such as zeal, courage and diligence; but we<br />

need to see how the gentler, the most womanly virtues are specially<br />

connected with dependence upon the Holy Spirit. These are indeed<br />

heavenly graces. They never were found in the heathen world. Christ was<br />

needed to come from Heaven to teach us. Your blessedness is longsuffering,<br />

meekness, kindness; your glory is humility before God. The fruit<br />

of the Spirit that He brought from Heaven out of the heart of the crucified<br />

Christ, and that He gives in our heart, is first and foremost-love.<br />

You know what <strong>John</strong> says: "No man hath seen God at any time. If we love<br />

one another, God dwells in us." That is, I cannot see God, but as a<br />

compensation I can see my brother, and if I love him, God dwells in me. Is<br />

that really true? That I cannot see God, but I must love my brother, and<br />

God will dwell in me? Loving my brother is the way to real fellowship with<br />

God. You know what <strong>John</strong> further says in that most solemn test, "If a man<br />

says, I love God, and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he that loves not his<br />

brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not<br />

seen?" (I <strong>John</strong> 4:20). There is a brother, a most unlovable man. He worries<br />

you every time you meet him. He is of the very opposite disposition to<br />

yours. You are a careful businessman, and you have to do with him in your<br />

business. He is most untidy, unbusiness-like. You say:

"I cannot love him."<br />

Oh, friend, you have not learned the lesson that Christ wanted to teach<br />

above everything. Let a man be what he will, you are to love him. Love is<br />

to be the fruit of the Spirit all the day and every day. Yes, listen! if a man<br />

loves not his brother whom he hath seen-if you don't love that unlovable<br />

man whom you have seen, how can you love God whom you have not<br />

seen? You can deceive yourself with beautiful thoughts about loving God.<br />

You must prove your love to God by your love to your brother; that is the<br />

one standard by which God will judge your love to Him. If the love of God<br />

is in your heart you will love your brother. The fruit of the Spirit is love.<br />

And what is the reason that God's Holy Spirit cannot come in power? Is it<br />

not possible?<br />

You remember the comparison I used in speaking of the vessel. I can dip a<br />

little water into a potsherd, a bit of a vessel; but if a vessel is to be full, it<br />

must be unbroken. And the children of God, wherever they come together,<br />

to whatever church or mission or society they belong, must love each other<br />

intensely, or the Spirit of God cannot do His work. We talk about grieving<br />

the Spirit of God by worldliness and ritualism and formality and error and<br />

indifference, but, I tell you, the one thing above everything that grieves<br />

God's Spirit is this want of love. Let every heart search itself, and ask that<br />

God may search it.<br />

Our Love Shows God's Power<br />

Why are we taught that "the fruit of the Spirit is love"? Because the Spirit<br />

of God has come to make our daily life an exhibition of divine power and a<br />

revelation of what God can do for His children.<br />

In the second and the fourth chapters of Acts we read that the disciples<br />

were of one heart and of one soul. During the three years they had walked<br />

with Christ they never had been in that spirit. All Christ's teaching could<br />

not make them of one heart and one soul. But the Holy Spirit came from<br />

Heaven and shed the love of God in their hearts, and they were of one<br />

heart and one soul. The same Holy Spirit that brought the love of Heaven

into their hearts must fill us too. Nothing less will do. Even as Christ did,<br />

one might preach love for three years with the tongue of an angel, but that<br />

would not teach any man to love unless the power of the Holy Spirit<br />

should come upon him to bring the love of Heaven into his heart.<br />

Think of the church at large. What divisions! Think of the different bodies.<br />

Take the question of holiness, take the question of the cleansing blood,<br />

take the question of the baptism of the Spirit-what differences are caused<br />

among dear believers by such questions! That there are differences of<br />

opinion does not trouble me. We do not have the same constitution and<br />

temperament and mind. But how often hate, bitterness, contempt,<br />

separation, unlovingness are caused by the holiest truths of God's Word!<br />

Our doctrines, our creeds, have been more important than love. We often<br />

think we are valiant for the truth and we forget God's command to speak<br />

the truth in love. And it was so in the time of the Reformation between<br />

the Lutheran and Calvinistic churches. What bitterness there was than in<br />

regard to the Holy Supper, which was meant to be the bond of union<br />

among all believers! And so, down the ages, the very dearest truths of God<br />

have become mountains that have separated us.<br />

If we want to pray in power, and if we want to expect the Holy Spirit to<br />

come down in power, and if we want indeed that God shall pour out His<br />

Spirit, we must enter into a covenant with God that we love one another<br />

with a heavenly love.<br />

Are you ready for that? Only that is true love that is large enough to take<br />

in all God's children, the most unloving and unlovable, and unworthy, and<br />

unbearable, and trying. If my vow-absolute surrender to God-was true,<br />

then it must mean absolute surrender to the divine love to fill me; to be a<br />

servant of love to love every child of God around me. "The fruit of the<br />

Spirit is love."<br />

Oh, God did something wonderful when He gave Christ, at His right hand,<br />

the Holy Spirit to come down out of the heart of the Father and His<br />

everlasting love. And how we have degraded the Holy Spirit into a mere<br />

power by which we have to do our work! God forgive us! Oh, that the Holy<br />

Spirit might be held in honor as a power to fill us with the very life and<br />

nature of God and of Christ!

Christian Work Requires Love<br />

"The fruit of the Spirit is love." I ask once again, Why is it so? And the<br />

answer comes: That is the only power in which Christians really can do<br />

their work.<br />

Yes, it is that we need. We want not only love that is to bind us to each<br />

other, but we want a divine love in our work for the lost around us. Oh, do<br />

we not often undertake a great deal of work, just as men undertake work<br />

of philanthropy, from a natural spirit of compassion for our fellow-men?<br />

Do we not often undertake Christian work because our minister or friend<br />

calls us to it? And do we not often perform Christian work with a certain<br />

zeal but without having had a baptism of love?<br />

People often ask: "What is the baptism of fire?"<br />

I have answered more than once: I know no fire like the fire of God, the<br />

fire of everlasting love that consumed the sacrifice on Calvary. The<br />

baptism of love is what the Church needs, and to get that we must begin at<br />

once to get down upon our faces before God in confession, and plead:<br />

"Lord, let love from Heaven flow down into my heart. I am giving up my<br />

life to pray and live as one who has given himself up for the everlasting<br />

love to dwell in and fill him."<br />

Ah, yes, if the love of God were in our hearts, what a difference it would<br />

make! There are hundreds of believers who say:<br />

"I work for Christ, and I feel I could work much harder, but I have not the<br />

gift. I do not know how or where to begin. I do not know what I can do."<br />

Brother, sister, ask God to baptize you with the Spirit of love, and love will<br />

find its way. Love is a fire that will burn through every difficulty. You may<br />

be a shy, hesitating man, who cannot speak well, but love can burn<br />

through everything. God fill us with love! We need it for our work.

You have read many a touching story of love expressed, and you have said,<br />

How beautiful! I heard one not long ago. A lady had been asked to speak at<br />

a Rescue Home where there were a number of poor women. As she arrived<br />

there and got to the window with the matron, she saw outside a wretched<br />

object sitting, and asked:<br />

"Who is that?"<br />

The matron answered: "She has been into the house thirty or forty times,<br />

and she has always gone away again. Nothing can be done with her, she is<br />

so low and hard."<br />

But the lady said: "She must come in."<br />

The matron then said: "We have been waiting for you, and the company is<br />

assembled, and you have only an hour for the address."<br />

The lady replied: "No, this is of more importance"; and she went outside<br />

where the woman was sitting and said:<br />

"My sister, what is the matter?"<br />

"I am not your sister," was the reply.<br />

Then the lady laid her hand on her, and said: "Yes, I am your sister, and I<br />

love you"; and so she spoke until the heart of the poor woman was<br />

touched.<br />

The conversation lasted some time, and the company were waiting<br />

patiently. Ultimately the lady brought the woman into the room. There<br />

was the poor wretched, degraded creature, full of shame. She would not sit<br />

on a chair, but sat down on a stool beside the speaker's seat, and she let<br />

her lean against her, with her arms around the poor woman's neck, while<br />

she spoke to the assembled people. And that love touched the woman's<br />

heart; she had found one who really loved her, and that love gave access to<br />

the love of Jesus.

Praise God! there is love upon earth in the hearts of God's children; but<br />

oh, that there were more!<br />

O God, baptize our ministers with a tender love, and our missionaries, and<br />

our colporters, and our Bible-readers, and our workers, and our young<br />

men's and young women's associations. Oh, that God would begin with us<br />

now, and baptize us with heavenly love!<br />

Love Inspires Intercession<br />

Once again. It is only love that can fit us for the work of intercession.<br />

I have said that love must fit us for our work. Do you know what the<br />

hardest and the most important work is that has to be done for this sinful<br />

world? It is the work of intercession, the work of going to God and taking<br />

time to lay hold on Him.<br />

A man may be an earnest Christian, an earnest minister, and a man may do<br />

good, but alas! how often he has to confess that he knows but little of<br />

what it is to tarry with God. May God give us the great gift of an<br />

intercessory spirit, a spirit of prayer and supplication! Let me ask you in<br />

the name of Jesus not to let a day pass without praying for all saints, and<br />

for all God's people.<br />

I find there are Christians who think little of that. I find there are prayer<br />

unions where they pray for the members, and not for all believers. I pray<br />

you, take time to pray for the Church of Christ. It is right to pray for the<br />

heathen, as I have already said. God help us to pray more for them. It is<br />

right to pray for missionaries and for evangelistic work, and for the<br />

unconverted. But Paul did not tell people to pray for the heathen or the<br />

unconverted. Paul told them to pray for believers. Do make this your first<br />

prayer every day: "Lord, bless Thy saints everywhere."<br />

The state of Christ's Church is indescribably low. Plead for God's people<br />

that He would visit them, plead for each other, plead for all believers who<br />

are trying to work for God. Let love fill your heart. Ask Christ to pour it<br />

out afresh into you every day. Try to get it into you by the Holy Spirit of

God: I am separated unto the Holy Spirit, and the fruit of the Spirit is love.<br />

God help us to understand it.<br />

May God grant that we learn day by day to wait more quietly upon Him.<br />

Do not wait upon God only for ourselves, or the power to do so will soon<br />

be lost; but give ourselves up to the ministry and the love of intercession,<br />

and pray more for God's people, for God's people round about us, for the<br />

Spirit of love in ourselves and in them, and for the work of God we are<br />

connected with; and the answer will surely come, and our waiting upon<br />

God will be a source of untold blessing and power. "The fruit of the Spirit<br />

is love."<br />

Have you a lack of love to confess before God? Then make confession and<br />

say before Him, "O Lord, my lack of heart, my lack of love-I confess it."<br />

And then, as you cast that lack at His feet, believe that the blood cleanses<br />

you, that Jesus comes in His mighty, cleansing, saving power to deliver<br />

you, and that He will give His Holy Spirit.

CHRISTIAN <strong>LOVE</strong>!<br />

J.C. <strong>Ryle</strong>, 1878<br />

"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these<br />

is love!" 1 Corinthians 13:13<br />

"The end of the commandment is love." 1 Timothy 1:5<br />

Love is rightly called "the Queen of Christian graces." It is a grace which all<br />

people profess to admire. It seems a plain practical thing which everybody<br />

can understand. It is none of "those troublesome doctrinal points" about<br />

which Christians are disagreed. Thousands, I suspect, would not be<br />

ashamed to tell you that they knew nothing about justification or<br />

regeneration, about the work of Christ or the Holy Spirit. But nobody, I<br />

believe, would like to say that he knew nothing about "love!" If men<br />

possess nothing else in religion, they always flatter themselves that they<br />

possess "love."<br />

A few plain thoughts about love may not be without use. There are false<br />

notions abroad about it which require to be dispelled. There are mistakes<br />

about it which require to be rectified. In my admiration of love, I yield to<br />

none. But I am bold to say that in many minds, the whole subject seems<br />

completely misunderstood.<br />

I. Let me show, firstly, the place which the Bible gives to love.<br />

II. Let me show, secondly, what the love of the Bible really is.<br />

III. Let me show, thirdly, where true love comes from.<br />

IV. Let me show, lastly, why love is "the greatest" of the graces.

I ask the best attention of my readers to the subject. My heart's desire and<br />

prayer to God is, that the growth of love may be promoted in this sinburdened<br />

world. In nothing does the fallen condition of man show itself so<br />

strongly, as in the scarcity of Christian love. There is little faith on earth,<br />

little hope, little knowledge of Divine things. But nothing, after all, is so<br />

scarce as real love!<br />

I. Let me show the PLACE which the Bible gives to love.<br />

I begin with this point in order to establish the immense practical<br />

importance of my subject. I do not forget that there are many high-flying<br />

Christians in this present day, who almost refuse to look at anything<br />

practical in Christianity. They can talk of nothing but two or three favorite<br />

doctrines. Now I want to remind my readers that the Bible contains much<br />

about practice as well as about doctrine, and that one thing to which it<br />

attaches great weight, is "love."<br />

I turn to the New Testament, and ask men to observe what it says about<br />

love. In all religious inquiries there is nothing like letting the Scripture<br />

speak for itself. There is no surer way of finding out truth, than the old<br />

way of turning to plain texts. Texts were our Lord's weapons, both in<br />

answering Satan, and in arguing with the Jews. Texts are the guides we<br />

must never be ashamed to refer to in the present day. "What do the<br />

Scriptures say? What is written? How do you read?"<br />

Let us hear what Paul says to the Corinthians: "If I speak in the tongues of<br />

men and of angels, but have not love--I am only a resounding gong or a<br />

clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries<br />

and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have<br />

not love--I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my<br />

body to the flames, but have not love--I gain nothing!" 1 Corinthians<br />

13:1-3<br />

Let us hear what Paul says to the Colossians: "Above all these things put<br />

on love, which is the bond of perfectness." (Colossians 3:14.)

Let us hear what Paul says to Timothy: "The end of the commandment is<br />

love out of a pure heart" (1 Timothy 1:5.)<br />

Let us hear what Peter says: "Above all things, have fervent love among<br />

yourselves: for love shall cover the multitude of sins." (1 Peter 4:8.)<br />

Let us hear what our Lord Jesus Christ Himself says, "A new command I<br />

give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one<br />

another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love<br />

one another." (<strong>John</strong> 13:34, 35.)<br />

Above all, let us read our Lord's account of the last judgment, and mark<br />

that lack of love will condemn millions. "Then He will say to those on the<br />

left: Depart from Me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for<br />

the Devil and his angels! For I was hungry and you gave Me nothing to eat;<br />

I was thirsty and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger and you<br />

did not take Me in; I was naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in<br />

prison and you did not take care of Me." (Matthew 25:41-43.)<br />

Let us hear what Paul says to the Romans: "Owe no man anything--but to<br />

love another: for he who loves another has fulfilled the law." (Romans<br />

13:9.)<br />

Let us hear what Paul says to the Ephesians: “And walk in love, as Christ<br />

also has loved us, and has given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice<br />

to God for a sweet smelling savour.” (Ephesians 5:2.)<br />

Let us hear what <strong>John</strong> says: "Beloved, let us love one another, because love<br />

is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows<br />

God. The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love."<br />

(1 <strong>John</strong> 4:7, 8.)<br />

I shall make no comment upon these texts. I think it better to place them<br />

before my readers in their naked simplicity, and to let them speak for<br />

themselves. If anyone is disposed to think the subject of this paper a<br />

matter of light importance, I will only ask him to look at these texts, and<br />

to think again. He who would take down "love" from the high and holy<br />

place which it occupies in the Bible, and treat it as a matter of secondary

consequence, must settle his account with God's Word. I certainly shall not<br />

waste time in arguing with him.<br />

To my own mind, the evidence of these texts appears clear, plain, and<br />

incontrovertible. They show the immense importance of love, as one of the<br />

"things that accompany salvation." They prove that it has a right to<br />

demand the serious attention of all who call themselves Christians, and<br />

that those who despise the subject are only exposing their own ignorance<br />

of Scripture.<br />

II. Let me show, secondly, WHAT the love of the Bible really is.<br />

I think it of great importance to have clear views on this point. It is<br />

precisely here that mistakes about love begin. Thousands delude<br />

themselves with the idea that they have "love," when they have not, from<br />

downright ignorance of Scripture. Their love is not the love described in<br />

the Bible.<br />

(a) The love of the Bible does not consist in giving to the poor. It is a<br />

common delusion to suppose that it does. Yet Paul tells us plainly, that a<br />

man may "bestow all his goods to feed the poor "(1 Corinthians 13:8)--and<br />

not have love! That a charitable man will "remember the poor," there can<br />

be no question. (Galatians 2:10.) That he will do all he can to assist them,<br />

relieve them, and lighten their burdens--I do not for a moment deny. All I<br />

say is, that this does not make up "love." It is easy to spend a fortune in<br />

giving away money, and soup, and milk, and and bread, and coals, and<br />

blankets, and clothing--and yet to be utterly destitute of Bible love!<br />

(b) The love of the Bible does not consist in never disapproving anybody's<br />

conduct. Here is another very common delusion! Thousands pride<br />

themselves on never condemning others, or calling them wrong, whatever<br />

they may do. They convert the precept of our Lord, "do not judge," into an<br />

excuse for having no unfavorable opinion at all of anybody! They pervert<br />

His prohibition of rash and censorious judgments, into a prohibition of all<br />

judgment whatever.

Your neighbor may be a drunkard, a liar, and a violent man. Never mind!<br />

"It is not love," they tell you, "to pronounce him, wrong!" You are to believe<br />

that he has a good heart at the bottom! This idea of love is, unhappily, a<br />

very common one. It is full of mischief. To throw a veil over sin, and to<br />

refuse to call things by their right names, to talk of "hearts" being good,<br />

when "lives" are flatly wrong, to shut our eyes against wickedness, and say<br />

smooth things of immorality--this is not Scriptural love!<br />

(c) The love of the Bible does not consist in never disapproving anybody's<br />

religious opinions. Here is another most serious and growing delusion.<br />

There are many who pride themselves on never pronouncing others<br />

mistaken, whatever views they may hold. Your neighbor may be an<br />

Atheist, or a Buddhist, or a Roman Catholic, or a Mormonite, a Deist, or a<br />

Skeptic, a mere Formalist, or a thorough Antinomian. But the "love" of<br />

many says that you have no right to think him wrong! "If he is sincere, it is<br />

uncharitable to think unfavorably of his spiritual condition!"<br />

From such love--may I ever be delivered!<br />

At this rate, the Apostles were wrong in going out to preach to the<br />

Gentiles!<br />

At this rate, there is no use in missions!<br />

At this rate, we had better close our Bibles, and shut up our churches!<br />

At this rate, everybody is right--and nobody is wrong!<br />

At this rate, everybody is going to Heaven--and nobody is going to Hell!<br />

Such love is a monstrous caricature! To say that all are equally right in<br />

their opinions--though their opinions flatly contradict one another; to say<br />

that all are equally in the way to Heaven--though their doctrinal<br />

sentiments are as opposite as black and white--this is not Scriptural love.<br />

Love like this, pours contempt on the Bible, and talks as if God had not<br />

given us a written standard of truth. Love like this, confuses all our<br />

notions of Heaven, and would fill it with a discordant inharmonious<br />

rabble. True love does not think everybody right in doctrine. True love

cries, "Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they<br />

are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world!"<br />

1 <strong>John</strong> 4:1. "If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do<br />

not take him into your house or welcome him!" 2 <strong>John</strong> 1:10<br />

I leave the negative side of the question here. I have dwelt upon it at some<br />

length because of the days in which we live and the strange notions which<br />

abound. Let me now turn to the positive side. Having shown what love is<br />

not, let me now show what it is.<br />

Christian love is that "love," which Paul places first among those fruits<br />

which the Spirit causes to be brought forth in the heart of a believer. "The<br />

fruit of the Spirit is love." (Galatians 5:22.)<br />

Love to God, such as Adam had before the fall, is its first feature. He who<br />

has love, desires to love God with heart, and soul and mind, and strength.<br />

Love to man is its second feature. He who has Christian love, desires to<br />

love his neighbor as himself.<br />

Christian love will show itself in a believer's doings. It will make him ready<br />

to do kind acts to everyone within his reach, "both to their bodies and<br />

souls. It will not let him be content with soft words and kind wishes. It<br />

will make him diligent in doing all that lies in his power to lessen the<br />

sorrow and increase the happiness of others. Like his Master, he will care<br />

more for ministering than for being ministered to, and will look for<br />

nothing in return. Like his Master's great apostle, he will very willingly<br />

"spend and be spent" for others, even though they repay him with hatred,<br />

and not with love. True love does not want wages. Its work is its reward.<br />

Christian love will show itself in a believer's readiness to bear evil as well<br />

as to do good. It will make him . . .<br />

patient under provocation,<br />

forgiving when injured,<br />

meek when unjustly attacked,<br />

quiet when slandered.

It will make him bear much and forbear much, put up with much and look<br />

over much, submit often and deny himself often--all for the sake of peace.<br />

It will make him put a strong bit on his temper, and a strong bridle on his<br />

tongue.<br />

True love is not always asking, "What are my rights? Am I treated as I<br />

deserve?" but, "How can I best promote peace? How can I do that which is<br />

most edifying to others?"<br />

Christian love will show itself in the general spirit and demeanor of a<br />

believer. It will make him kind, unselfish, good-natured, good-tempered,<br />

and considerate for others. It will make him gentle, affable, and courteous,<br />

in all the daily relations of private life. It will make him thoughtful for<br />

others' comfort, tender for others' feelings, and more anxious to give<br />

pleasure than to receive.<br />

True love never envies others when they prosper, nor rejoices in the<br />

calamities of others when they are in trouble. At all times, it will believe,<br />

and hope, and try to put a good construction on others' actions. And even<br />

at the worst, it will be full of pity, mercy, and compassion.<br />

Would we like to know where the true Pattern of love like this can be<br />

found? We have only to look at the life of our Lord Jesus Christ, as<br />

described in the Gospels, and we shall see it perfectly exemplified. Love<br />

shone forth in all His doings. His daily life was an incessant "going about"<br />

doing good. Love shone forth in all His bearing. He was continually hated,<br />

persecuted, slandered, misrepresented. But He patiently endured it all. No<br />

angry word ever fell from His lips. No ill-temper ever appeared in His<br />

demeanor. "When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate;<br />

when he suffered, he made no threats." (1 Peter 2:23.) Love shone forth in<br />

all His spirit and deportment. The law of kindness was ever on His lips.<br />

Among weak and ignorant disciples, among sick and sorrowful petitioners<br />

for help and relief, among publicans and sinners, among Pharisees and<br />

Sadducees--He was always one and the same--kind and patient to all.<br />

And yet, be it remembered, our blessed Master never flattered sinners, or<br />

connived at sin. He never shrank from exposing wickedness in its true<br />

colors, or from rebuking those who would cleave to it. He never hesitated

to denounce false doctrine, by whoever it might be held, or to exhibit false<br />

practice in its true colors, and the certain end to which it tends. He called<br />

things by their right names. He spoke as freely of Hell and the fire that is<br />

never quenched, as of Heaven and the kingdom of glory. He has left on<br />

record an everlasting proof that perfect love does not require us to approve<br />

everybody's life or opinions, and that it is quite possible to condemn false<br />

doctrine and wicked practice--and yet to be full of love at the same time.<br />

I have now set before my readers the true nature of Christian love. I have<br />

given a slight and very brief account of what it is not, and what it is. I<br />

cannot pass on without suggesting two practical thoughts, which press<br />

home on my mind with weighty force, and I hope may press home on<br />

others.<br />

Think, for a moment, how deplorably little love there is upon earth! How<br />

conspicuous is the absence of true love among professing Christians! I<br />

speak not of heathen now, I speak of professing Christians! What angry<br />

tempers, what passions, what selfishness, what bitter tongues--are to be<br />

found in private families! What strifes, what quarrels, what spitefulness,<br />

what malice, what revenge, what envy between neighbors and fellowparishioners!<br />

What jealousies and contentions between Churchmen and<br />

Dissenters, Calvinists and Arminians, High Churchmen and Low<br />

Churchmen! "Where is love?" we may well ask, "Where is love? Where is<br />

the mind of Christ?"--when we look at the spirit which reigns in the world.<br />

No wonder that Christ's cause stands still, and infidelity abounds--when<br />

men's hearts know so little of love! Surely, we may well say, "When the Son<br />

of man comes, shall He find love upon earth?"<br />

Think, for another thing, what a happy world this would be--if there was<br />

more love. It is the lack of love which causes half the misery which there is<br />

upon earth. Sickness, and death, and poverty, will not account for more<br />

than half the sorrows. The rest come from ill- temper, ill-nature, strifes,<br />

quarrels, lawsuits, malice, envy, revenge, frauds, violence, wars, and the<br />

like. It would be one great step towards doubling the happiness of<br />

mankind, and halving their sorrows--if all men and women were full of<br />

Scriptural love.

III. Let me show, thirdly--where the love of the Bible comes from.<br />

Love, such as I have described, is certainly not natural to man. Naturally,<br />

we are all more or less selfish, envious, ill-tempered, spiteful, ill-natured,<br />

and unkind! We have only to observe children, when left to themselves, to<br />

see the proof of this. Let boys and girls grow up without proper training<br />

and education--and you will not see one of them possessing Christian love!<br />

Mark how some of them think first of themselves, and their own comfort<br />

and advantage! Mark how others are full of pride, passion, and evil<br />

tempers! How can we account for it? There is but one reply. The natural<br />

heart knows nothing of true love.<br />

Christian love will never be found except in a heart prepared by the Holy<br />

Spirit. It is a tender plant, and will never grow except in one soil. You may<br />

as well expect grapes on thorns, or figs on thistles--as look for love when<br />

the heart is not right.<br />

The heart in which love grows, is a heart changed, renewed, and<br />

transformed by the Holy Spirit. The image and likeness of God, which<br />

Adam lost at the fall, has been restored to it, however feeble and imperfect<br />

the restoration may appear. It is a "partaker of the Divine nature," by union<br />

with Christ and sonship to God; and one of the first features of that nature<br />

is love. (2 Peter I. 4.)<br />

Such a heart is deeply convinced of sin--hates it, flees from it, and fights<br />

with it from day to day. And one of the prime motions of sin which it daily<br />

labors to overcome, is selfishness and lack of love.<br />

Such a heart is deeply sensible of its mighty debt to our Lord Jesus Christ.<br />

It feels continually that it owes to Him who died for us on the cross, all its<br />

present comfort, hope, and peace. How can it show forth its gratitude?<br />

What can it render to its Redeemer? If it can do nothing else, it strives to<br />

be like Him, to drink into His spirit, to walk in His footsteps, and, like<br />

Him--to be full of love. "The love of Christ shed abroad in the heart by the<br />

Holy Spirit" is the surest fountain of Christian love. Love will produce<br />


I ask my reader's special attention to this point. It is one of great<br />

importance in the present day. There are many who profess to admire<br />

love--while they care nothing about vital Christianity. They like some of<br />

the fruits and results of the Gospel--but not the root from which these<br />

fruits alone can grow, or the doctrines with which they are inseparably<br />

connected.<br />

Hundreds will praise love--who hate to be told of man's corruption, of the<br />

blood of Christ, and of the inward work of the Holy Spirit. Many a parent<br />

would like his children to grow up unselfish and good tempered--who<br />

would not be much pleased if conversion, and repentance, and faith, were<br />

pressed home on their attention.<br />

Now I desire to protest against this notion, that you can have the fruits of<br />

Christianity, without the roots--that you can produce Christian tempers,<br />

without teaching Christian doctrines--that you can have love which will<br />

wear and endure, without grace in the heart.<br />

I grant, most freely, that every now and then one sees a person who seems<br />

very charitable and amiable, without any distinctive Christian religion. But<br />

such cases are so rare and remarkable, that, like exceptions--they only<br />

prove the truth of the general rule. And often, too often, it may be feared<br />

in such cases the love is only apparent, and in private it completely fails. I<br />

firmly believe, as a general rule, you will not find such love as the Bible<br />

describes, except in the soil of a heart thoroughly imbued with Bible<br />

religion. Holy practice will not flourish without sound doctrine. What God<br />

has joined together, it is useless to expect to have separate.<br />

The delusion which I am trying to combat, is helped forward to a most<br />

mischievous degree by the vast majority of novels, romances, and tales of<br />

fiction. Who does not know that the heroes and heroines of these works<br />

are constantly described as patterns of perfection? They are always doing<br />

the right thing, saying the right thing, and showing the right temper! They<br />

are always kind, and amiable, and unselfish, and forgiving! And yet you<br />

never hear a word about their religion! In short, to judge by the generality<br />

of works of fiction, it is possible to have . . .<br />

excellent practical religion--without doctrine,<br />

the fruits of the Spirit--without the grace of the Spirit,

and the mind of Christ--without union with Christ!<br />

Here, in short, is the great danger of reading most novels, romances, and<br />

works of fiction. The greater part of them give a false or incorrect view of<br />

human nature. They paint their model men and women as they ought to<br />

be, and not as they really are. The readers of such writings get their minds<br />

filled with wrong conceptions of what the world is. Their notions of<br />

mankind become visionary and unreal. They are constantly looking for<br />

men and women such as they never meet--and expecting what they never<br />

find.<br />

Let me entreat my readers, once for all, to draw their ideas of human<br />

nature from the Bible, and not from novels. Settle it down in your mind,<br />

that there cannot be true love without a heart renewed by grace. A certain<br />

degree of kindness, courtesy, amiability, good nature--may undoubtedly be<br />

seen in many who have no vital religion. But the glorious plant of Bible<br />

love, in all its fullness and perfection, will never be found without union<br />

with Christ, and the work of the Holy Spirit. Teach this to your children, if<br />

you have any. Hold it up in schools, if you are connected with any. Lift up<br />

love. Make much of love. Give place to none in exalting the grace of<br />

kindness, love, good nature, unselfishness, good temper.<br />

But never, never forget, that there is but one school in which these things<br />

can be thoroughly learned--and that is the school of Christ. Real love<br />

comes down from above. True love is the fruit of the Spirit. He who would<br />

have it--must sit at Christ's feet, and learn of Him.<br />

IV. Let me show, lastly--why love is called the "greatest" of the graces.<br />

The words of Paul, on this subject, are distinct and unmistakable. He<br />

winds up his wonderful chapter on love in the following manner: "And<br />

now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is<br />

love!" 1 Corinthians 13:13<br />

This expression is very remarkable. Of all the writers in the New<br />

Testament, none, certainly, exalts "faith" so highly as Paul. The Epistles to<br />

the Romans and Galatians abound in sentences showing its vast

importance. By faith, the sinner lays hold on Christ and is saved. Through<br />

faith, we are justified, and have peace with God. Yet here the same Paul<br />

speaks of something which is even greater than faith! He puts before us<br />

the three leading Christian graces, and pronounces the following judgment<br />

on them, "The greatest is love!" Such a sentence from such a writer<br />

demands special attention. What are we to understand, when we hear of<br />

love being greater than faith and hope?<br />

We are not to suppose, for a moment, that love can atone for our sins, or<br />

make our peace with God. Nothing can do that for us, but the blood of<br />

Christ; and nothing can give us a saving interest in Christ's blood, but<br />

faith. It is Scriptural ignorance not to know this. The office of justifying<br />

and joining the soul to Christ, belongs to faith alone. Our love, and all our<br />

other graces, are all more or less imperfect, and could not stand the<br />

severity of God's judgment. When we have done all--we are "unprofitable<br />

servants." (Luke 17:10.)<br />

We are not to suppose that Christian love can exist independently of faith.<br />

Paul did not intend to set up one grace in rivalry to the other. He did not<br />

mean that one man might have faith, another hope, and another love--and<br />

that the best of these, was the man who had love. The three graces are<br />

inseparably joined together. Where there is faith, there will always be love;<br />

and where there is love, there will be faith. Sun and light, fire and heat, ice<br />

and cold, are not more intimately united than faith and love!<br />

The reasons why love is called the greatest of the three graces, appear to<br />

me plain and simple. Let me show what they are.<br />

(a) Love is called the greatest of graces, because it is the one in which<br />

there is some likeness between the believer and his God. God has no need<br />

of faith. He is dependent on no one. There is none superior to Him in<br />

whom He must trust. God has no need of hope. To Him all things are<br />

certain, whether past, present, or to come. But "God is love" and the more<br />

love His people have--the more similar they are to their Father in Heaven.<br />

(b) Love, for another thing, is called the greatest of the graces, because it<br />

is most useful to others. Faith and hope, beyond doubt, however precious,<br />

have special reference to a believer's own private individual benefit. Faith

unites the soul to Christ, brings peace with God, and opens the way to<br />

Heaven. Hope fills the soul with cheerful expectation of things to come,<br />

and, amid the many discouragements of things seen, comforts with visions<br />

of the things unseen.<br />

But love is pre-eminently the grace which makes a man useful. It is the<br />

spring of good works and kindnesses. It is the root of missions, schools,<br />

and hospitals. Love made apostles spend and be spent for souls. Love<br />

raises up workers for Christ, and keeps them working. Love smooths<br />

quarrels, and stops strife--and in this sense, "covers a multitude of sins." (1<br />

Peter 4:8.) Love adorns Christianity, and recommends it to the world. A<br />

man may have real faith, and feel it--and yet his faith may be invisible to<br />

others. But a man's love cannot be hidden.<br />

(c) Love, in the last place, is the greatest of the graces, because it is the<br />

one which endures the longest. In fact, it will never die. Faith will one day<br />

be swallowed up in sight--and hope in certainty. Their office will be<br />

useless in the morning of the resurrection; and, like old almanacs, they<br />

will be laid aside. But love will live on through the endless ages of<br />

eternity! Heaven will be the abode of love. The inhabitants of Heaven will<br />

be full of love. One common feeling will be in all their hearts, and that will<br />

be love.<br />

I leave this part of my subject here, and pass on to a C<strong>ON</strong>CLUSI<strong>ON</strong>. On<br />

each of the three points of comparison I have just named, between love<br />

and the other graces, it would be easy to enlarge. But time and space both<br />

forbid me to do so. If I have said enough to guard men against mistakes<br />

about the right meaning, of the greatness of love--I am content. Love, be it<br />

ever remembered, cannot justify and put away our sins. It is neither<br />

Christ, nor faith.<br />

But love makes us somewhat like God.<br />

Love is of mighty use to the world.<br />

Love will live and flourish when faith's work is done.<br />

Surely, in these points of view--love well deserves the crown!<br />

(1) And now let me ask every one into whose hands this paper may come a<br />

simple question. Let me press home on your conscience the whole subject of

this paper. Do you know anything of the grace of which I have been<br />

speaking? Do you have Christian love?<br />

The strong language of the Apostle Paul must surely convince you that the<br />

inquiry is not one that ought to be lightly put aside. The grace, without<br />

which that holy man could say, "I am nothing," the grace which the Lord<br />

Jesus says expressly is the great mark of being His disciple--such a grace as<br />

this, demands the serious consideration of every one who is in earnest<br />

about the salvation of his soul. It should set him thinking, "How does this<br />

affect me? Do I have Christian love?"<br />

You have some knowledge, it may be, of religion. You know the difference<br />

between true and false doctrine. You can, perhaps, even quote texts, and<br />

defend the opinions you hold. But, remember the knowledge which is<br />

barren of practical results in life and temper--is a useless possession! The<br />

words of the Apostle are very plain: "If I can fathom all mysteries and all<br />

knowledge--but have not love, I am nothing!" (1 Corinthians 13:3.)<br />

You think you have faith, perhaps. You trust you are one of God's elect,<br />

and rest in that. But surely you should remember that there is a faith of<br />

devils, which is utterly unprofitable--and that the faith of God's elect is a<br />

"faith which works by love." It was when Paul remembered the "love" of the<br />

Thessalonians, as well as their faith and hope, that he said, "I know your<br />

election of God." (1 Thessalonians 1:4.)<br />

Look at your own daily life, both at home and abroad, and consider what<br />

place Christian love has in it. What is your temper? What are your ways of<br />

behaving toward all around you in your own family? What is your manner<br />

of speaking, especially in seasons of vexation and provocation? Where is<br />

your good-nature, your courtesy, your patience, your meekness, your<br />

gentleness, your forbearance? Where are your practical actions of love in<br />

your dealing with others? What do you know of the mind of Him who<br />

"went about doing good"--who loved all, though specially His disciples--<br />

who returned good for evil, and kindness for hatred, and had a heart wide<br />

enough to feel for all?

What would you do in Heaven, I wonder, if you got there without love?<br />

What comfort could you have in an abode where love was the law, and<br />

selfishness and ill-nature completely shut out? Alas! I fear that Heaven<br />

would be no place for an uncharitable and ill-tempered man! A little boy<br />

said, "If grandfather goes to Heaven--I hope my brother and I will not go<br />

there." "Why do you say that?" he was asked. He replied, "If he sees us<br />

there, I am sure he will say, as he does now--'What are these boys doing<br />

here? Get them get out of the way!' He does not like to see us on earth,<br />

and I suppose he would not like to see us in Heaven!"<br />

Give yourself no rest, until you know something by experience of real<br />

Christian love. Go and learn of Him who is meek and lowly of heart, and<br />

ask Him to teach you how to love. Ask the Lord Jesus to put His Spirit<br />

within you, to take away the old heart, to give you a new nature, to make<br />

you know something of His mind. Cry to Him night and day for grace, and<br />

give Him no rest until you feel something of what I have been describing<br />

in this paper. Happy indeed will your life be, when you really understand<br />

"walking in love."<br />

(2) But I do not forget that I am writing to some who are not ignorant of the<br />

love of Scripture, and who long to feel more of it every year. I will give you<br />

two simple words of exhortation. They are these:<br />

Practice love diligently. It is one of those graces, above all, which grow by<br />

constant exercise. Strive more and more to carry it into every little detail<br />

of daily life. Watch over your own tongue and temper throughout every<br />

hour of the day, and especially in your dealings with children and spouse.<br />

Remember the character of the excellent woman: "In her tongue is the law<br />

of kindness." (Proverbs 31:26.)<br />

Remember the words of Paul: "Let ALL your things be done with love." (1<br />

Corinthians 16:14.) Love should be seen in little things, as well as in great<br />

ones.<br />

Remember, not least, the words of Peter: "Have fervent love among<br />

yourselves;" not a love which just keeps alight, but a burning shining fire,<br />

which all around can see! (1 Peter 4:8.) It may cost pains and trouble to

keep these things in mind. There may be little encouragement from the<br />

example of others. But persevere. Love like this brings its own reward!<br />

Finally, teach love to others. Press it continually on your children. Tell<br />

them the great duty of kindness, helpfulness, and considerateness, one for<br />

another. Remind them constantly that kindness, good nature, and good<br />

temper, are among the first evidences which Christ requires in children. If<br />

they cannot know much, or explain doctrines--they can understand love. A<br />

child's religion is worth very little if it only consists in repeating texts and<br />

hymns. As useful as they are, they are often . . .<br />

learned without thought,<br />

remembered without feeling,<br />

repeated without consideration of their meaning,<br />

and forgotten when childhood is gone!<br />

By all means let children be taught texts and hymns; but let not such<br />

teaching be made everything in their religion. Teach them to keep their<br />

tempers, to be kind one to another, to be unselfish, good-natured,<br />

obliging, patient, gentle, forgiving. Tell them never to forget to their dying<br />

day, if they live as long as Methuselah, that without love, the Holy Spirit<br />

says, "we are nothing." Tell them "above all things--to put on love, which is<br />

the bond of perfectness." (Colos. 3:14.)


By C. H. <strong>Spurgeon</strong><br />

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love.” Galatians 5:22.<br />

THE worst enemy we have is the flesh. Augustine used to frequently pray,<br />

“Lord, deliver me from that evil man, myself.” All the fire which the devil<br />

can bring from hell could do us little harm if we had not so much fuel in<br />

our nature. It is the powder in the magazine of the old man which is our<br />

perpetual danger. When we are guarding against foes outside, we must not<br />

forget to be continually on our watch- tower against the foe of foes within.<br />

“The flesh lusts against the Spirit.” On the other hand, our best friend,<br />

who loves us better than we love ourselves, is the Holy Spirit. We are<br />

shockingly forgetful of the Holy Spirit, and therein it is to be feared that<br />

we greatly grieve Him, yet we are immeasurably indebted to Him, in fact,<br />

we owe our spiritual existence to His divine power. It would not be proper<br />

to compare the love of the Spirit with the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,<br />

so as even by implication to set up a scale of degrees in love, for the love<br />

of the regenerating Spirit is infinite, even as is the love of the redeeming<br />

Son. But yet for a moment we will set these two displays of love side by<br />

side. Is not the indwelling of the Spirit of God equal in loving-kindness to<br />

the incarnation of the Son of God? Jesus dwelt in a pure manhood of His<br />

own, the Holy Spirit dwells in our manhood, which is fallen, and as yet<br />

imperfectly sanctified. Jesus dwelt in His human body, having it perfectly<br />

under His own control, but, alas, the Holy Spirit must contend for the<br />

mastery within us, and though He is Lord over our hearts, yet there is an<br />

evil power within our members, strongly entrenched and obstinately bent<br />

on mischief. “The flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the<br />

flesh.” Our Lord Jesus dwelt in His body only for some 30 years or so, but<br />

the blessed Spirit of all grace dwells in us evermore, through all the days<br />

of our pilgrim- age, from the moment when He enters into us by<br />

regeneration He continues in us, making us qualified to be partakers of the<br />

inheritance of the saints in light. You sing— “Oh, ‘tis love, ‘tis wondrous<br />

love,” in reference to our Lord Jesus and His cross, sing it also in reference

to the Holy Spirit and His long- suffering. He looks at us from within and<br />

therefore He sees the chambers of imagery where hidden idols still abide.<br />

He sees our actions, not from the outside, for there, perhaps, they might<br />

be judged favorably, but He discerns them from within, in their springs<br />

and in the pollution of those springs, in their main currents and in all their<br />

side eddies and back waters. O brethren, it is wonderful that this blessed<br />

Spirit should not leave us in indignation, we lodge Him so ill; we honor<br />

Him so little. He receives so little of our affectionate worship that He<br />

might well say, “I will no longer abide with you.” When the Lord had given<br />

up His people to the Roman sword, there was heard in the temple at<br />

Jerusalem a sound as of rush- ing wings, and a voice crying, “Let us go<br />

from here.” The divine presence justly might have left us also because of<br />

our sins. It is matchless love which has caused the Holy Spirit to bear with<br />

our ill manners, and bear our vexatious behavior. He stays though sin<br />

intrudes into His temple! He makes His royal abode where evil assails His<br />

palace! Alas, that a heart where the Spirit deigns to dwell should always be<br />

made a thoroughfare for selfish or unbelieving traffic! God help us to<br />

adore the Holy Spirit at the commencement of our discourse, and to do so<br />

even more reverently at its close!<br />

The Holy Spirit when He comes into us is the author of all our desires<br />

after true holiness. He strives in us against the flesh. That holy conflict<br />

which we wage against our corruption comes entirely of Him. We would<br />

sit down in willing bondage to the flesh, if He did not bid us strike for<br />

liberty. The good Spirit also leads us in the way of life. If we are led of the<br />

Spirit, says the apostle, we are not under the law. He leads us by gentle<br />

means, drawing us with cords of love, and bands of a man. “He leads me.”<br />

If we take a single step in the right road, it is because He leads us, and if<br />

we have persevered these many years in the way of peace, it is all due to<br />

His guidance, even to Him who will surely bring us in and make us to<br />

enjoy the promised rest—<br />

“And every virtue we possess, And every victory won,<br />

And every thought of holiness, Are His alone.”<br />

The Holy Spirit not only creates the inward contest against sin, and the<br />

agonizing desire for holiness, and leads us onward in the way of life, but<br />

He remains within us, taking up His residence, and somewhat more, for

the text suggests a still more immovable steadfastness of residence in our<br />

hearts, since accord- ing to the figure, the Spirit strikes root within us. The<br />

text speaks of “fruit,” and fruit comes only of a rooted abidance, it could<br />

not be conceived of in connection with a transient sojourning, like that of<br />

a wayfaring man. The stakes and tent pins that are driven into the ground<br />

for an Arab’s tent bear no fruit, for they do not remain in one place, and<br />

inasmuch as I read of the “fruit of the Spirit,” I take comfort from the hint,<br />

and conclude that He intends to abide in our souls as a tree abides in the<br />

soil when fruit is borne by it. Let us love and bless the Holy Spirit! Let the<br />

golden altar of incense perfume this earth with the sweet savor of<br />

perpetual adoration to the Holy Spirit! Let our hearts heartily sing to Him<br />

this solemn doxology—<br />

“We give You, sacred Spirit, praise, Who in our hearts of sin and woe Makes<br />

living springs of grace arise, And into boundless glory flow.”<br />

I. Now, coming to our text, I shall notice the matters contained in it, and<br />

the first thing which my mind perceives is A WINNOWING FAN. I would<br />

like to be able to use it, but it is far better that it should remain where it<br />

is, for “the fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly purge His floor.”<br />

The handle of this winnowing fan is made of the first word of the text,<br />

that disjunctive conjunction, that dividing monosyllable, “But.” “But the<br />

fruit of the Spirit is love”!<br />

That “but” is placed there because the apostle had been mentioning<br />

certain works of the flesh, all of which he winnows away like chaff, and<br />

then he sets forth in opposition to them “the fruit of the Spirit.” If you<br />

will read the chapter, you will notice that the apostle has used no less than<br />

seventeen words; I might almost say eighteen, to describe the works of the<br />

flesh. Human language is always rich in bad words because the human<br />

heart is full of the manifold evils which these words denote. Nine words<br />

are used here to express the fruit of the Spirit, but to express the works of<br />

the flesh—see how many are gathered together!<br />

The first set of these works of the flesh which have to be winnowed away<br />

are the counterfeits of love to man. Counterfeited love is one of the vilest<br />

things under heaven. That heavenly word, love, has been trailed in the<br />

mire of unclean passion and filthy desire. The licentiousness, which comes

of the worship of Venus, has dared to take to itself a name which belongs<br />

only to the pure worship of Jehovah. Now, the works which counterfeit<br />

love are these, “adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness.” To talk<br />

of “love” when a man covets his neighbor’s wife, or when a woman<br />

violates the command, “You shall not commit adultery,” is little less than<br />

sheer blasphemy against the holiness of love. It is not love, but lust, love is<br />

an angel, and lust a devil. The purities of domestic life are defiled, and its<br />

honors are dis- graced when once the marriage bond is disregarded. When<br />

men or women talk of religion, and are un- faithful to their marriage<br />

covenant, they are base hypocrites. Even the heathen condemned this<br />

infamy, let not Christians tolerate it. The next fleshly work is<br />

“fornication,” which was scarcely censured among the heathen, but is<br />

most sternly condemned by Christianity. It is a wretched sign of the times<br />

that in these corrupt days some have arisen who treat this crime as a slight<br />

offense, and even attempt to provide for its safer indulgence by legislative<br />

enactments. Has it come to this? Has the civil ruler become a panderer to<br />

the lusts of corrupt minds? Let it not be once named among you, as it<br />

becomes saints. “Uncleanness” is a third work of the flesh, and it includes<br />

those many forms of foul offense which defile the body and deprive it of<br />

its true honor. We bring up the rear with “lasciviousness,” which is the<br />

cord which draws on uncleanness, and includes all conversation which<br />

excites the passions, all songs which suggest lewdness, all gestures and<br />

thoughts which lead up to unlawful gratification. We have sadly much of<br />

these evils in these days, not only openly in our streets, but in more secret<br />

ways. I loathe the subject. All works of art which are contrary to modesty<br />

are here condemned, and the most pleasing poetry if it creates impure<br />

imaginations. These unclean things are the works of the flesh in the stage<br />

of putridity—the very maggots which swarm within a corrupt soul. Bury<br />

these rotten things out of our sight! I do but uncover them for an instant<br />

that a holy disgust may be caused in every Christian soul, and that we may<br />

flee from them as from the breath of pestilence. Yet remember, O you that<br />

think yourselves pure, and imagine you would never transgress so badly,<br />

that even into these loathsome and abominable criminalities high<br />

professors have fallen, yes, and sincere believers trusting in themselves<br />

have slipped into this ditch, from where they have escaped with infinite<br />

sorrow, to go with broken bones the rest of their pilgrimage. Alas, how<br />

many who seemed to be clean escaped from pollution have so fallen that<br />

they have had to be saved so as by fire! Oh, may we keep our garments

unspotted by the flesh, and this we cannot do unless it is in the power and<br />

energy of the Spirit of holiness. He must purge these evils from us, and<br />

cause His fruit to so abound in us that the deeds of the flesh shall be<br />

excluded forever.<br />

The winnowing fan is used next against the counterfeits of love to God. I<br />

refer to the falsities of superstition—“Idolatry and witchcraft”—“but the<br />

fruit of the Spirit is love.” Alas, there are some that fall into idolatry, for<br />

they trust in an arm of flesh, and exalt the creature into the place of the<br />

Creator, “their God is their belly, and they glory in their shame.” The<br />

golden calf of wealth, the silver shrines of craft, the goddess of philosophy,<br />

the Diana of fashion, the Moloch of power, these are all worshipped<br />

instead of the living God. Those who profess to reverence the true God,<br />

yet too generally worship Him in ways which He has not ordained. Thus<br />

says the Lord, “You shall not make unto you any graven image, or any<br />

likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth<br />

beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: you shall not bow down<br />

yourself to them, nor serve them.” Yet we have Christians (so called) who<br />

say they derive help in the exercise of devotion from images and pictures.<br />

See how their places of assembly are rendered gaudy with pictures, and<br />

images, and things which savor of old Rome. What idolatry is openly<br />

carried on in certain buildings belonging to the National Church! What<br />

sensuous worship is now approved! Men cannot worship God nowadays<br />

unless their eyes, and ears, and noses are gratified. When these senses of<br />

the flesh are pleased, they are satisfied with themselves, “but the fruit of<br />

the Spirit is love.” Love is the most perfect architecture, for “love builds<br />

up;” love is the sweetest music, for without it we become as a sounding<br />

brass or a tinkling cymbal; love is the choicest incense, for it is a sacrifice<br />

of sweet smell; love is the most fit vestment—“Above all things put on<br />

charity, which is the bond of perfectness.” Oh, that men would remember<br />

that the fruit of the Spirit is not the finery of the florist, the sculptor, or<br />

the milliner, but the love of the heart. It ill becomes us to make that gaudy<br />

which should be simple and spiritual. The fruit of the Spirit is not idolatry<br />

—the worship of another god or of the true God after the manner of will<br />

worship. No, that fruit is obedient love to the only living God.<br />

“Witchcraft,” too, is a work of the flesh. Under this head we may rightly<br />

group all that prying into the unseen, that rending of the veil which God

has hung up, that interfering with departed spirits, that necromancy which<br />

calls itself spiritualism, and pays court to familiar spirits and demons—this<br />

is no fruit of the Spirit, but the fruit of a bitter root. Brother and sister<br />

Christians, modern witchcrafts and wizardry are to be abhorred and<br />

condemned, and you will be wise to keep clear of them, trembling to be<br />

found acting in concert with those who love darkness rather than light,<br />

because their deeds are evil. Idolatry and witchcraft are caused by a lack of<br />

love to God, and they are evidences that the Spirit’s life is not in the soul.<br />

When you come to love God with all your heart, you will not worship God<br />

in ways of your own devising, but you will ask, “How shall I draw near<br />

unto the most high God?” and you will take your direction from the Lord’s<br />

inspired word. The service which He prescribes is the only service which<br />

He will accept. The winnowing fan is at work now, I wonder whether it is<br />

operating upon any here present?<br />

But next, this great winnowing fan drives away with its “but” all the forms<br />

of hate. The apostle mentions “hatred,” or a habitual enmity to men,<br />

usually combined with a selfish esteem of one’s own per- son. Certain men<br />

cherish a dislike to everybody who is not of their clique, while they detest<br />

those who oppose them. They are contemptuous to the weak ready to take<br />

offense, and care little whether they give it or not. They delight to be in<br />

minorities of one, and the more wrong-headed and pugnacious they can<br />

be, the more are they in their element. “Variance,” too, with its perpetual<br />

dislikes, bickering, and quarreling, is a work of the flesh. Those who<br />

indulge in it are contrary to all men, pushing their angles into everybody’s<br />

eyes, and looking out for occasions of fault-finding, and strife.<br />

“Emulations”—that is, jealousy. Jealousy in all its forms is one of the<br />

works of the flesh. Is it not cruel as the grave? There is a jealousy which<br />

sickens if another is praised, and pines away if another prospers. It is a<br />

venomous thing, and stings like an adder. It is a serpent by the way, biting<br />

the horse’s heels, so that his rider falls back- ward. “Wrath” is another<br />

deed of the flesh. I mean the fury of angry passion, and all the madness<br />

which comes of it. “But I am a man of very quick temper,” says one. Are<br />

you a Christian? If so, you are bound to master this evil force, or it will<br />

ruin you. If you were a saint of God to the very highest degree in all but in<br />

this one point, it would pull you down, yes, at any moment an angry spirit<br />

might make you say and do that which would cause you life-long sorrow.<br />

“Strife” is a somewhat milder, but equally mischievous, form of the same

evil, if it burns not quite so fast and furiously, yet it is a slow fire kindled<br />

by the same flame of hell as the more ardent passion. The continual love of<br />

contention, the morbid sensitiveness, the overbearing regard to one’s own<br />

dignity, which join together to produce strife, are all evil things. What is<br />

the proper respect which is due to poor creatures like us? I suppose that if<br />

any one of us got our “proper respect,” we would not like it long, we<br />

would think that bare justice was rather scant in its appreciation. We<br />

desire to be flattered when we cry out for “proper respect.” Respect,<br />

indeed! Why, if we had our just due, we would be in the lowest hell! Then<br />

our apostle mentions “seditions,” which occur in the state, the church, and<br />

the family. As far as our church life is concerned, this evil shows itself in<br />

an opposition to all sorts of authority or law. Any kind of official action in<br />

the church is to be railed at because it is official. Rule of any sort is<br />

objected to because each man desires to have the preeminence, and will<br />

not be second. God save us from this evil leaven! Heresy is that kind of<br />

hate which makes every man set up to create his own religion, write his<br />

own bible, and think out his own gospel. We have heard of “Every man his<br />

own lawyer,” and now we are coming to have “Every man his own god,<br />

every man his own bible, every man his own instructor.” After this work<br />

of the flesh, comes “Envying,” not so much the desire to enrich one’s self<br />

at another’s expense, as a wolfish craving to impoverish him, and pull him<br />

down for the mere sake of it. This is a very acrid form of undiluted hate,<br />

and leaves but one stronger form of hate. To desire another’s dishonor<br />

merely from envy of his superiority is simply devilish, and is a sort of<br />

murder of the man’s best life. The list is fitly closed by “murders”—a<br />

suitable cornerstone to crown this diabolical edifice, for what is hate but<br />

murder? And what is murder but hate bear- ing its full fruit? He who does<br />

not love has within him all the elements that make a murderer. If you have<br />

not a general feeling of benevolence towards all men, and a desire to do<br />

them good, the old spirit of Cain is within you, and it only needs to be<br />

unrestrained and it will strike the fatal blow, and lay your brother dead at<br />

your feet. God save you, men and brethren, every one of you, from the<br />

domination of these dark principles of hate, which are the works of the<br />

flesh in its corruption. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love.”<br />

Next time you begin to boil over with wrath, think you feel a hand<br />

touching you and causing you to hear a gentle voice whispering, “But the<br />

fruit of the Spirit is love.” Next time you say, “I will never speak to that

man again, I cannot stand him,” think you feel a fresh wind fanning your<br />

fevered brow, and hear the angel of mercy say, “But the fruit of the Spirit is<br />

love.” Next time you are inclined to find fault with everybody, and set your<br />

brethren by the ears, and create a general scuffle, I pray you let the chimes<br />

ring out, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love.” If you wish to find fault, it is<br />

easy to do so, you may begin with me and go down to the last young<br />

member that was admitted into the church, and you will not have to look<br />

long before you can spy out something which needs improvement. But to<br />

what end will you pick holes in our coats? Whenever you are bent on the<br />

growling business, pause awhile and hear the Scripture admonish you,<br />

“The fruit of the Spirit is love.” When you become indignant because you<br />

have been badly treated, and you think of returning evil for evil, remember<br />

this text, “The fruit of the Spirit is love.” “Ah,” you say, “it was shameful!”<br />

Of course it was, and therefore do not imitate it, do not render railing for<br />

railing, but contrariwise blessing, for “the fruit of the Spirit is love.”<br />

The winnowing fan is at work: God blow your chaff away, brethren, and<br />

mine, too!<br />

The next thing which the winnowing fan blows away is the excess of selfindulgence—<br />

“drunkenness, reveling and such like.” Alas, that Christian<br />

people should ever need to be warned against these animal offenses, and<br />

yet they do need it. The wine cup still has its charms for professors. Nor is<br />

this all, it is not merely that you drink to excess, but you may eat to<br />

excess, or clothe your body too sumptuously, or there may be some other<br />

spending of money upon your own gratification which is not according to<br />

sober living. Drunkenness is one of those trespasses of which Paul says,<br />

“they which do such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God.” The<br />

reveling which makes night hideous with its so- called songs—call them<br />

howling and you are nearer the mark—the reveling which spends hour<br />

after hour in entertainment which heats the blood, and hardens the heart,<br />

and chases away all solid thought, is not for us who have renounced the<br />

works of darkness, for us there is a better joy, namely, to be filled with the<br />

Spirit, and “the fruit of the Spirit is love.”<br />

II. The second thing which I see in the text is A JEWEL—that jewel is love.<br />

“The fruit of the Spirit is love.” What a priceless diamond this is! It is<br />

altogether incalculable in value. What a heavenly grace love is! It has its

center in the heart, but its circumference sweeps, like omnipresence,<br />

around every- thing! Love is a grace of boundless scope. We love God; it is<br />

the only way in which we can fully embrace Him. We can love the whole of<br />

God, but we cannot know the whole of God. Yes, we love God, and even<br />

love that part of God which we cannot comprehend or even know. We love<br />

the Father as He is. We love His dear Son as He is. We love the everblessed<br />

Spirit as He is. Following upon this, for God’s sake we love the<br />

creatures He has made. It is true, in a measure that—<br />

“He prays best that loves best<br />

Both man and bird and beast.”<br />

Every tiny fly that God has made is sacred to our souls as God’s creature.<br />

Our love climbs to heaven, sits among the angels, and soon bows among<br />

them in lowliest attitude, but in due time our love stoops down to earth,<br />

visits the haunts of depravity, cheers the attics of poverty, and sanctifies<br />

the dens of blasphemy, for it loves the lost. Love knows no outcast<br />

London, it has cast out none. It talks not of the “lapsed masses,” for none<br />

have lapsed from its regard. Love hopes good for all, and plans good for<br />

all, while it can soar to glory it can descend to sorrow.<br />

Love is a grace which has to do with eternity, for we shall never cease to<br />

love Him who first loved us. But love has also to do with this present<br />

world, for it is at home in feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, nursing<br />

the sick, and liberating the slave. Love delights in visiting the fatherless<br />

and the widows, and thus it earns the tribute—“I was hungry, and you<br />

gave Me meat: I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink: I was a stranger, and<br />

you took Me in: naked, and you clothed Me: I was sick, and you visited Me:<br />

I was in prison, and you came unto Me.” Love is a very practical, homespun<br />

virtue, and yet it is so rich and rare that God alone is its author.<br />

None but a heavenly power can produce this fine linen; the love of the<br />

world is sorry stuff.<br />

Love has to do with friends. How fondly it nestles in the parental bosom!<br />

How sweetly it smiles from a mother’s eyes! How closely it binds two<br />

souls together in marriage bonds! How pleasantly it walks along the ways<br />

of life, leaning on the arm of friendship! But love is not content with this,<br />

she embraces her enemy, she heaps coals of fire upon her adversary’s head,

she prays for them that despitefully use her and persecute her. Is not this a<br />

precious jewel, indeed? What earthly thing can be compared to it?<br />

You must have noticed that in the list of the fruits of the Spirit it is the<br />

first—“The fruit of the Spirit is love.” It is first because in some respects it<br />

is best; first, because it leads the way; first, because it becomes the motive<br />

principle and stimulant of every other grace and virtue. You cannot<br />

conceive of anything more forceful and more beneficial, and therefore it is<br />

the first. But see what follows at its heels. Two shining ones attend it like<br />

maids of honor, waiting upon a queen. “The fruit of the spirit is love, joy,<br />

peace,” he that has love has joy and peace. What choice companions! To<br />

love much is to possess a deep delight, a secret cellar of the wine of joy<br />

which no man may otherwise taste. He that loves is like to God, who is the<br />

God of peace. Truly the meek and loving shall inherit the earth, and delight<br />

themselves in the abundance of peace. He is calm and quiet whose soul is<br />

full of love. In his boat the Lord stands at the helm, saying to the winds<br />

and waves, “Peace; be still!” He that is all love, though he may have to<br />

suffer,<br />

yet shall count it all joy when he falls into different trials. See then what a<br />

precious jewel it is that has so many shining brilliants set at its side.<br />

Love has this for its excellence, that it fulfills the whole law; you cannot<br />

say that of any other virtue. Yet, while it fulfills the whole law, it is not<br />

legal. Nobody ever loved because it was demanded of him; a good man<br />

loves because it is his nature to do so. Love is free—it blows where it will,<br />

like the Spirit from which it comes. Love, indeed, is the very essence of<br />

heart liberty. It may well be honored, for while it is a true grace of the<br />

gospel, it nevertheless fulfills the whole law. If you would have law and<br />

gospel sweetly combined, you have it in the fruit of the Spirit, which is<br />

love.<br />

Love, moreover, is Godlike, for God is love. Love it is which prepares us<br />

for heaven, where everything is love. Come, sweet Spirit, and rest upon us<br />

till our nature is transformed into the divine nature by our becoming<br />

burning flames of love. Oh, that it were so with us this very day!<br />

Mark, beloved, that the love we are speaking of is not a love which comes<br />

out of men on account of their natural constitution. I have known persons,

who are tenderly affectionate by nature, and this is good, but it is not<br />

spiritual love, it is the fruit of nature and not of grace. An affectionate<br />

disposition is admirable, and yet it may become a danger, by leading to<br />

inordinate affection, a timid fear of offending, or an idolatry of the<br />

creature. I do not condemn natural amiability, on the contrary, I wish that<br />

all men were naturally amiable, but I would not have any person think that<br />

this will save him, or that it is a proof that he is renewed. Only the love<br />

which is the fruit of the Spirit may be regarded as a mark of grace. Some<br />

people, I am sorry to say, are naturally sour, they seem to have been born<br />

at the season of crabapples, and to have been fed on vinegar. They always<br />

take a fault-finding view of things. They never see the sun’s splendor, and<br />

yet they are so clearsighted as to have discovered his spots. They have a<br />

great specialty of power for discerning things which it was better not to<br />

see. They do not remember that the earth has proved steady and firm for<br />

centuries, but they have a lively recollection of the earthquake, and they<br />

quake even now as they talk about it. Such as these have need to cry for<br />

the indwelling of the Spirit of God, for if He will enter into them His<br />

power will soon overcome the tendency to sourness, for “the fruit of the<br />

Spirit is love.” Spiritual love is nowhere found without the Spirit, and the<br />

Spirit is nowhere dwelling in the heart unless love is produced. So much<br />

for this jewel!<br />

III. I see in the text a third thing and that is A PICTURE, a rich and rare<br />

picture painted by a Master, the great designer of all things beautiful, the<br />

divine spirit of God. What does He say? He says, “The fruit of the Spirit is<br />

love.” We have seen many fine pictures of fruit, and here is one. The great<br />

artist has sketched fruit which never grow in the gardens of earth till they<br />

are planted by the Lord from heaven. Oh, that every one of us might have<br />

a vineyard in his bosom, and yield abundance of that love which is “the<br />

fruit of the Spirit.”<br />

What does this mean? “Fruit,” how is love a fruit? The metaphor shows<br />

that love is a thing which comes out of life. You cannot fetch fruit out of a<br />

dead post. The pillars which support these galleries have never yielded any<br />

fruit, and they never will, they are of hard iron, and no life-sap circulates<br />

within them. A dead tree brings forth no fruit. God implants a spiritual life<br />

in men, and then out of that life love comes, as the fruit of the Spirit.

Love appears as a growth. Fruit does not start perfectly ripe at once from<br />

the tree. First a flower comes; then a tiny formation which shows that the<br />

flower has set. Then a berry appears, but it is very sour. You may not<br />

gather it. Leave it alone a little while, and allow the sun to ripen it. By and<br />

by it fills out, and there you have the apple in the full proportions of<br />

beauty, and with a mellow flavor which delights the taste. Love springs up<br />

in the heart, and increases by a sure growth. Love is not produced by<br />

casting the mind in the mold of imitation, or by fastening the grace to a<br />

man’s manner as a thing outside of him. Little children go to a shop where<br />

their little tastes are considered, and they buy sticks upon which cherries<br />

have been tied, but everybody knows that they are not the fruit of the<br />

sticks, they are merely bound upon them. And so have we known people<br />

who have borrowed an affectionate mannerism and a sweet style, but they<br />

are not natural to them, they are not true love. What sweet words! What<br />

dainty phrases! You go among them and at first you are surprised with<br />

their affection, you are a “dear sister” or a “dear brother,” and you hear a<br />

“dear minister,” and you come to the “dear Tabernacle,” and sing dear<br />

hymns to those dear old tunes. Their talk is so sweet, that it is just a little<br />

sticky, and you feel like a fly which is being caught in molasses. This is<br />

disgusting, it sickens one. Love is a fruit of the Spirit, it is not something<br />

assumed by a man, but something growing out of his heart. Some men<br />

sugar their conversation very largely with pretentious words because they<br />

are aware that the fruit it is made of is unripe and sour. In such a case<br />

their sweetness is not affection but affectation. But true love, real love for<br />

God and man, comes out of a man because it is in him, worked within by<br />

the operation of the Holy Spirit, whose fruit it is. The outcome of<br />

regenerated manhood is that a man lives no longer unto himself but for<br />

the good of others.<br />

Fruit again calls for care. If you have a garden you will soon know this. We<br />

had a profusion of flowers upon our pear trees this year, and for a few<br />

weeks the weather was warm beyond the usual heat of April, but nights of<br />

frost followed and cut off nearly all the fruit. Other kinds of fruit which<br />

survived the frost are now in danger from the dry weather which has<br />

developed an endless variety of insect blight so that we wonder whether<br />

any of it will survive. If we get over this trial and the fruit grows well we<br />

shall yet expect to see many apples fall before autumn, because a worm<br />

has eaten into their hearts and effectually destroyed them. So is it with

Christian life. I have seen a work for the Lord prospering splendidly, like a<br />

fruitful vine, when suddenly there has come a frosty night and fond hopes<br />

have been nipped, or else new notions, and wild ideas have descended like<br />

insect blights and the fruit has been spoiled. Or if the work has escaped<br />

these causes of damage, some immorality in a leading member, or a<br />

quarrelsome spirit, has appeared unawares like a worm in the center of the<br />

apple, and down it has fallen never to flourish again. “The fruit of the<br />

Spirit is love.” You must take care of your fruit if you wish to have any laid<br />

up in store at the end of the year. And so must every Christian be very<br />

watchful over the fruit of the Spirit, lest in any way it should be destroyed<br />

by the enemy.<br />

Fruit is the reward of the husbandman and the crown and glory of the tree.<br />

The Lord crowns the year with His goodness by giving fruit in due season,<br />

and truly the holy fruit of love is the reward of Jesus and the honor of His<br />

servants.<br />

How sweet is the fruit of the Spirit! I say “fruit” and not fruits, for, the<br />

text says so. The work of the Spirit is one, whether it is known by the<br />

name of love, or joy, or peace, or meekness, or gentleness, or temperance.<br />

Moreover, it is constant; the fruit of the Spirit is borne continually in its<br />

season. It is reproductive, for the tree multiplies itself by its fruit, and<br />

Christianity must be spread by the love and joy and peace of Christians.<br />

Let the Spirit of God work in you, dear brethren, and you will be fruitful in<br />

every good work, doing the will of the Lord, and you will rear others like<br />

you, who shall, when your time is over, occupy your place, and bring forth<br />

fruit to the great Husbandman.<br />

IV. Lastly, you see in my text A CROWN. “The fruit of the Spirit is love.”<br />

Let us make a diadem out of the text, and lovingly set it upon the head of<br />

the Holy Spirit, because He has produced in the people of God this<br />

precious thing which is called “Love.”<br />

How comes heavenly love into such hearts as yours and mine? It comes,<br />

first, because the Holy Spirit has given us a new nature. There is a new life<br />

in us that was not there when we first came into the world, and that new<br />

life lives and loves. It must love God who has created it, and man who is<br />

made in His image. It cries, “My Father,” and the essence of that word,<br />

“My Father,” is love.

The Spirit of God has brought us into new relationships. He has given us<br />

the spirit of adoption towards the Father. He has made us to feel our<br />

brotherhood with the saints, and to know our union with Christ. We are<br />

not in our relationships what we used to be, for we were “heirs of wrath<br />

even as others”; but now we are “heirs of God, joint heirs with Jesus<br />

Christ,” and consequently we cannot help loving, for love alone could<br />

make the new relation to be fully enjoyed.<br />

The blessed Spirit has also brought us tender new obligations. We were<br />

bound to love God and serve Him as creatures, but we did not do it, now<br />

the Holy Spirit has made us to feel that we are debtors to in- finite love<br />

and mercy through redemption. Every drop of Jesus’ blood cries to us to<br />

love, every groan from yonder dark Gethsemane cries love. The Spirit of<br />

God works in us, so that every splinter of yonder cross moves us to love.<br />

The love of Christ constrains us, we must love, for the Spirit has taken of<br />

the things of the loving Christ and has revealed them to us.<br />

The Spirit of God has so entered into us that He has caused love to be our<br />

delight. What a pleasure it is when you can preach a sermon full of love to<br />

those to whom you preach it or when you can visit the poor, full of love to<br />

those you relieve! To stand on the street corner and tell out of Jesus’ dying<br />

love— why, it is no irksome task to the man who does it lovingly, it is his<br />

joy, and his recreation. Holy service in which the emotion of love is<br />

indulged is as pleasant to us as it is to a bird to fly, or to a fish to swim.<br />

Duty is no longer bondage, but choice; holiness is no longer restraint, but<br />

perfect liberty; and self- sacrifice becomes the very crown of our ambition,<br />

the loftiest height to which our spirit can aspire. It is the Holy Spirit that<br />

does all this.<br />

Now, my dear hearer, have you this love in your heart; judge by your<br />

relation to God. Do you live without prayer? Do you very seldom read<br />

God’s Word? Are you getting indifferent as to whether you go and worship<br />

with His people? Ah, then, be afraid that the love of God is not in you. But<br />

if you feel that everything that has to do with God, you love—His work,<br />

His service, His people, His day, His book— and that you do all that lies in<br />

you to spread His kingdom, both by prayer, by word of mouth, by your<br />

liberality, and by your example, if you love you can easily see it, I think,<br />

and there are many ways by which you can test yourself.

Well, suppose that to be satisfactorily answered, then I have this further<br />

question—Do you and I— who can say, “Lord, you know that I love You”—<br />

do we sufficiently bless the Holy Spirit for giving us this jewel of love? If<br />

you love Christ, then say, “This love is given to me, it is a rare plant, an<br />

exotic; it never sprang out of my natural heart. Weeds will grow quickly<br />

there, but not this fair flower.” Bless the Holy Spirit for it. “Oh, but I do<br />

not love God as I ought!” No, brother, I know you do not, but bless Him<br />

that you love Him at all. Love God for the very fact that He has led you to<br />

love Him, and that is the way to love Him more. Love God for letting you<br />

love Him. Love Him for taking away the stone out of your heart, and<br />

giving you a heart of flesh. For the little grace that you see in your soul,<br />

thank God. You know when a man has been ill, the doctor says to him,<br />

“You are not well by a long way, but I hope you are on the turn.” “Yes,”<br />

says the man, “I feel very ill, but still I think I am a little better. The fever<br />

is less, and the swelling is going down.” He mentions some little<br />

symptom, and the doctor is pleased, because he knows that it indicates<br />

much, the disease is past the crisis. Bless God for a little grace! Blame<br />

yourself that you have not more grace, but praise Him to think you have<br />

any. Time was when I would have given my eyes and ears to be able to say,<br />

“I do love God,” and now that I do love Him, I would give my eyes and<br />

ears to love Him more. I would give all I have to get more love into my<br />

soul, but I am grateful to think I have a measure of true love and I feel its<br />

power. Do be grateful to the Holy Spirit. Worship and adore Him specially<br />

and peculiarly. You say, “Why specially and peculiarly?” I answer—<br />

Because He is so much forgotten. Some people hardly know whether there<br />

is a Holy Spirit. Let the Father and the Son be equally adored, but be<br />

careful in reference to the Holy Spirit, for the failure of the church towards<br />

the Holy Trinity lies mainly in a forgetfulness of the gracious work of the<br />

Holy Spirit. Therefore I press this upon you, and I beg you to laud and<br />

magnify the Holy Spirit, and sedulously walk in all affectionate gratitude<br />

towards Him all your days. As your love increases, let your worship of the<br />

Holy Spirit become daily more and more conspicuous, because love is His<br />

fruit although it is your vital principle. To the God of Love I commend you<br />

all. Amen.

<strong>LOVE</strong> TO THE BRETHREN<br />

<strong>John</strong> <strong>Newton</strong>’s Letters<br />

Dear Sir,<br />

The Apostle having said, "Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hates yon,"<br />

immediately subjoins, "We know that we have passed from death unto life,<br />

because we love the brethren." By the manner of his expression, he<br />

sufficiently intimates, that the lack of this love is so universal, until the<br />

Lord plants it in the heart, that if we possess it, we may thereby be sure he<br />

has given us of his Spirit, and delivered us from condemnation. But as the<br />

heart is deceitful, and people may be awfully mistaken in the judgment<br />

they form of themselves, we have need to be very sure that we rightly<br />

understand what it is to love the brethren, before we draw the Apostle's<br />

conclusion from it, and admit it as an evidence in our own favor, that we<br />

have passed from death unto life. Let me invite you, reader, to attend with<br />

me a little to this subject.<br />

There are some COUNTERFEITS of this love to the brethren, which it is<br />

to be feared have often been mistaken for it, and have led people to think<br />

themselves something, when indeed they were nothing. For instance:<br />

1. There is a natural love of the brethren. People may sincerely love their<br />

relations, friends, and benefactors, who are of the brethren, and yet be<br />

utter strangers to the spiritual love the Apostle speaks of. So Orpah had a<br />

great affection for Naomi, though it was not strong enough to make her<br />

willing with Ruth to leave her native country, and her idol-gods. Natural<br />

affection can go no farther than to a personal attachment; and those who<br />

thus love the brethren, and upon no better ground, are often disgusted<br />

with those things in them, for which the real brethren chiefly love one<br />


2. There is likewise a love of convenience. The Lord's people are gentle,<br />

peaceful, benevolent, swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath. They are<br />

desirous of adorning the doctrine of God their Savior, and approving<br />

themselves followers of him who pleased not himself, but spent his life in<br />

doing good to others. Upon this account, those who are full of themselves,<br />

and love to have their own way, may like their company, because they find<br />

more compliances and less opposition from them, than from such as<br />

themselves. For a while Laban loved Jacob; he found him diligent and<br />

trustworthy, and perceived that the Lord had prospered him upon Jacob's<br />

account; but when he saw that Jacob flourished, and apprehended he was<br />

likely to do without him, his love was soon at an end; for it was only<br />

founded in self-interest.<br />

3. A party-love is also common. The objects of this are those who are of<br />

the same sentiment, worship in the same way, or are attached to the same<br />

minister. Those who are united in such narrow and separate associations,<br />

may express warm affections, without giving any proof of true Christian<br />

love; for upon such grounds as these, not only professed Christians, but<br />

Jews and Turks, may be said to love one another: though it must be<br />

allowed, that, believers being renewed but in part, the love which they<br />

bear to the brethren is too often debased and alloyed by a mixture of<br />

selfish affections.<br />

The principle of true love to the brethren, is the love of God—that love<br />

which produces obedience: 1Jo. 5:2; "By this we know that we love the<br />

children of God, if we love God, and keep his commandments." When<br />

people are free to form their connections and friendships, the ground of<br />

their communion is in a sameness of inclination. Christian love is spiritual.<br />

The children of God, who therefore stand in the relation of brethren to<br />

each other, though they have too many unhappy differences in points of<br />

smaller importance, agree in the supreme love they bear to their heavenly<br />

Father, and to Jesus their Savior; of course they agree in disliking and<br />

avoiding sin, which is contrary to the will and command of the God whom

they love and worship. Upon these accounts they love another, they are<br />

like-minded; and they live in a world where the bulk of mankind are<br />

against them, have no regard to their Beloved, and live in the sinful<br />

practices which his grace has taught them to hate. Their situation,<br />

therefore, increases their affection to each other. They are washed by the<br />

same blood, supplied by the same grace, opposed by the same enemies,<br />

and have the same heaven in view: therefore they love one another with a<br />

pure heart fervently.<br />

The properties of this love, where its exercise is not greatly impeded by<br />

ignorance and bigotry, are such as prove its heavenly original. It extends to<br />

all who love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity, cannot be confined within<br />

the pale of a denomination, nor restrained to those with whom it is more<br />

immediately connected. It is gentle, and not easily provoked; hopes the<br />

best, makes allowances for infirmities, and is easily entreated. It is kind<br />

and compassionate; and this not in words only, but sympathizes with the<br />

afflicted, and relieves the indigent, according to its ability; and as it<br />

primarily respects the image of Christ in its objects, it feels a more<br />

peculiar attachment to those whom it judges to be the most spiritual,<br />

though without undervaluing or despising the weakest attainments in the<br />

true grace of the Gospel.<br />

They are happy who thus love the brethren They have passed from death<br />

unto life; and may plead this gracious disposition, though not before the<br />

Lord as the ground of their hope, yet against Satan, when he would tempt<br />

them to question their right to the promises.<br />

But, alas! as I before hinted, the exercise of this love, when it really is<br />

implanted, is greatly obstructed through the remaining depravity which<br />

cleaves to believers. We cannot be too watchful against those tempers<br />

which weaken the proper effects of brotherly love, and thereby have a<br />

tendency to darken the evidence of our having passed from death unto life.

We live in a day when the love of many (of whom we would hope the best)<br />

is at least grown very cold. The effects of a narrow, a suspicious, a<br />

censorious, and a selfish spirit, are but too evident among professors of<br />

the Gospel. If I were to insist at large upon the offenses of this kind which<br />

abound among us, I would seem almost reduced to the necessity, either of<br />

retracting what I have advanced, or of maintaining that a great part (if not<br />

the greatest part) of those who profess to know the Lord, are deceiving<br />

themselves with a form of godliness, destitute of the power: for though<br />

they may abound in knowledge and gifts, and have much to say upon the<br />

subject of Christian experience, they appear to lack the great, the<br />

inimitable, the indispensable criterion of true Christianity, a love to the<br />

brethren; without which, all other seeming advantages and attainments<br />

are of no avail. How is this disagreeable dilemma to be avoided?<br />

I believe those who are most under the influence of Divine love, will join<br />

with me in lamenting their deficiency. It is well that we are not under the<br />

law, but under grace; for on whatever point we try ourselves by the<br />

standard of the sanctuary, we shall find reason to say, "Enter not into<br />

judgment with your servant, O Lord." There is an amazing and humbling<br />

difference between the conviction we have of the beauty and excellence of<br />

Divine truths, and our actual experience of their power ruling in our<br />

hearts. In our happiest hours, when we are most affected with the love of<br />

Jesus, we feel our love fervent towards his people. We wish it were always<br />

so; but we are poor inconsistent creatures, and find we can do nothing as<br />

we ought, but only as we are enabled by his grace. But we trust we do not<br />

allow ourselves in what is wrong; and, notwithstanding we may in<br />

particular instances be misled by ignorance and prejudice, we do in our<br />

hearts love the brethren, account them the excellent of the earth, and<br />

desire to have our lot and portion with them in time and in eternity. We<br />

know that the love we bear them is for his sake; and when we consider his<br />

interest in them, and our obligations to him, we are ashamed and grieved<br />

that we love them no better.<br />

If we could not conscientiously say thus much, we should have just reason<br />

to question our sincerity, and the safety of our state; for the Scriptures

cannot be broken, nor can the grace of God fail of producing in some<br />

degree its proper fruits. Our Savior, before whom we must shortly appear<br />

as our judge, has made love the characteristic of his disciples; and without<br />

some evidence that this is the prevailing disposition of our hearts, we<br />

could find little comfort in calling him God. Let not this be accounted<br />

legality, as if our dependence was upon something in ourselves. The<br />

question is not concerning the method of acceptance with God, but<br />

concerning the fruits or tokens of an accepted state. The most eminent of<br />

these, by our Lord's express declaration, is brotherly love. "By this shall all<br />

men know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."<br />

No words can be plainer; and the consequence is equally plain, however<br />

hard it may bear upon any professors, that, though they could speak with<br />

the tongues of angels, had the knowledge of all mysteries, a power of<br />

working miracles, and a zeal prompting them to give their bodies to be<br />

burned in defense of the truth; yet if they love not the brethren, they are<br />

but as sounding brass or tinkling cymbals: they may make a great noise in<br />

the church and in the world; they may be wise and able men, as the words<br />

are now frequently understood; they may pray or preach with great<br />

fluency; but in the sight of God their faith is dead, and their religion is<br />


Scriptures<br />

<br />

<strong>John</strong> 3:16 “For God so loved the world,that he gave his only Son, that<br />

whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.<br />

Romans 5:8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still<br />

sinners, Christ died for us.<br />

Romans 8:37-39 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors<br />

through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor<br />

angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor<br />

height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate<br />

us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.<br />

Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live,<br />

but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by<br />

faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.<br />

1 <strong>John</strong> 3:1 See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we<br />

should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world<br />

does not know us is that it did not know him.<br />

Romans 13:8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one<br />

who loves another has fulfilled the law.<br />

Galatians 5:13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use<br />

your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one<br />

another.<br />

Ephesians 4:2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing<br />

with one another in love,<br />

1 Peter 1:22 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for<br />

a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart,<br />

1 <strong>John</strong> 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and<br />

whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.

Matthew 5:43-48 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your<br />

neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and<br />

pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father<br />

who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good,<br />

and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who<br />

love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the<br />

same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than<br />

others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be<br />

perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.<br />

<strong>John</strong> 14:21-24 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is<br />

who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will<br />

love him and manifest myself to him.” Judas (not Iscariot) said to him,<br />

“Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the<br />

world?” Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word,<br />

and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home<br />

with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the<br />

word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.<br />

<strong>John</strong> 15:9-17 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my<br />

love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I<br />

have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I<br />

have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be<br />

full. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved<br />

you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for<br />

his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer<br />

do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is<br />

doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my<br />

Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you<br />

and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit<br />

should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may<br />

give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one<br />



Hooray! Your file is uploaded and ready to be published.

Saved successfully!

Ooh no, something went wrong!