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of being too extreme with our brethren when they transgress or fall short of their duty to us, seeing that as we forgive others their trespasses, our heavenly Father will also forgive ours.

Another means of keeping alive within us love to the brethren is to have a mind weaned from affection to this world. This would strike at the root of all those bitter envyings which engender hatred and destroy brotherly love. When we are able to say “ I have nothing here and I desire nothing but to please and to be united to the Lord I desire to be rich in nothing but in his grace” we shall no more be plagued with hatred envy or animosity. We shall have few competitors for this, or, if we have many competitors, yet there will be abundance for all. We shall learn to make more just estimates of things. We shall be competitors for nothing. We shall see that all that the world contends for so eagerly is in itself unsatisfactory, that men in wantonly increasing the riches of the world increase that which is not their own, and load themselves with thick clay.

Lastly, the principal and indeed the only means of keeping alive within us love to the brethren is having love to God. This is the test by which all our actions must be judged. No principle is praiseworthy but the principle of pleasing God. Every sacrifice must be kindled with this holy fire; and salted with this holy salt. By this we know that we love the children of God when we love God. We must love the brethren because they are the children of God, favoured and beloved by their Creator, because He desires their good, because He recommends us to the love and care of each other, not as rivals and competitors for the things whereof we stand in need, but as pensioners on his bounty and mercy, because it is his most positive commandment that he who loveth God, love his brother also, and because He will manifest his love towards us in proportion as we manifest ours towards the brethren.

Love to God is not only a motive, but a means of our loving the brethren. For love to God supposes communion with God; and there is such a delight and complacency in communion with God as will naturally dispose us to love all men. Love is the temper which is the natural result of communion with God. Our communion with God is not sincere and effectual unless it give us a temper of love. If any man say I love God and hateth his brother he is a liar. Love to our brother, is, in the nature of things, the effect of communion with God, for God is love itself.

If our brother be a godly, righteous person he will in himself be more amiable, having the image of his Maker more legibly impressed upon him. But if he be neither godly nor righteous, we, if we love God, shall feel towards him a temper of unfeigned pity and compassion. Hatred, for the most part, has its origin in jealousy and envy. A child will hate another who stands between him and any toy which his childish fancy dotes upon. But do we ever hear a man hating a child? Will any one who fares sumptuously every day hate a poor beggar at his gate ? If our communion with God be really a cordial to the soul we shall from our hearts compassionate those who want this cordial, and those whom we compassionate we shall not find it difficult to love. Love as brethren, says

St. Peter, be courteous, be pitiful, having compassion one of another.

Love to God as it engenders peace and joy within ourselves, must naturally engender love to the brethren. Love to God is the test of our having passed from death unto life. Now can we make such a transition as this of passing from death unto life without feeling much joy from it? And is not joy congenial to love? When shall we overflow with love if not when we attain our heart's best wish ?

The light of God's countenance cheers the heart. His loving-kindness is better than life to those that love Him. When this change is made, the change of becoming reconciled to God instead of being at enmity with him, that is the change of having passed from death unto life it must be made manifest by its effects. We shall be no brawlers but gentle. We shall not strive nor cry. There will be an end of reviling. Competition and rivalship will be at an end. There will be no more bickering about our petty affairs, no more miserable passions. Every day, and at all times, evening, morning, and at noon we shall praise his name, speak of his righteousness and show forth his salvation. We shall have a continual liberty of access to his presence. Then He will teach us a new song. We shall learn a new language. The language of our hearts towards our brethren will be taste and see that the Lord is good! How excellent is his loving-kindness! O that you would be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of his house! O that you would drink of the river of his pleasures ! O let us walk in the light as God is in the light that we may have fellowship one with another, and that the blood of Jesus Christ his Son may cleanse us from all sin! O blessed Jesu, who by thy beloved disciple St. John giveth us commandment that we should love one another, give us grace evermore to keep this commandment that Thou mayest dwell in us and we in Thee, and that hereby we may know that Thou abidest in us by the spirit which Thou givest us!

Now to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, be ascribed all honour, praise, and glory, might, majesty, dominion, and thanksgiving, for ever and ever. Amen.




1 Cor. xii. 31.

But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet show I unto you a

more excellent way.

The gifts of the Holy Ghost of which the Apostle speaks in this chapter were given for the edification of the Church ; and there are spiritual gifts from the same Giver, and to the same purpose which are still to be coveted earnestly; but the gift which concerns us chiefly, and which concerns us all, is that of holiness, or comfort from communion with God. We, says the Apostle, are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us : we pray you in Christ's stead be ye reconciled to God. Make him your friend. Put me in remembrance, saith He, let us plead together. Tell Him all that lies most heavy on your heart. Put Him in remembrance of all the wicked folly of your youth, how often you refused to listen to his voice, how at length He prevailed upon you to turn to Him resolving to forsake all that offended


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