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The love of Christ constraineth us.

THERE can be but little wanting to the happiness of any person who can, with sincerity, say that these words describe the habitual state of his own mind. It is possible that faith, the deepest and liveliest faith in the excellence and worthiness of Christ, may be so mixed with fears for our own unworthiness

that we may not taste fully the comfort of Christ's Spirit. But he who is constantly constrained by the love of Christ, who leaves evil things undone, who does good things actively, because his sense of Christ's love is ever present with him, will feel what St. John expresses, no doubt from the experience of his own heart, that "perfect love casteth out fear, because fear hath torment." And with this love so strong in him, there is an end at once

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of all unhappiness.

There is no need of

giving him comfort, let his earthly troubles be as great as they will; for he has that in him which will make him more than patient; which puts him already half in heaven. His love shows that his sins are forgiven, for no one can love God thoroughly who feels himself guilty in his sight, and fears lest he should be unpardoned; and with the sense of sin and condemnation thus destroyed, death has lost its sting, and he lives and will live for evermore, because he belongs to God.

On the other hand, St. Paul says also, in the first Epistle to the Corinthians, "If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema." These words are not to be strained harshly, as if all those were shut out from God's covenant whose fear surpassed their love. But where there is no love at all, there commonly is no fear either, and such are the persons against whom God's judgment is threatened. There is no fear in their common way of living, while they are well and comfortable; but when any thing makes them think of death, then they are afraid, and their fear then is of no use to them. But for those who fear God constantly when they are in health, it is certain that they must love him


it is rather their misfortune than their fault that they do not feel more happy in their love. However, the more common case, I am afraid, is theirs who neither fear much nor love much; to whom the words of the text express a feeling altogether strange,--they know not what it is to be constrained by the love of Christ.

We know and understand a great many motives, some leading to good and others to evil, and some leading partly to one and partly to the other. We know what it is to please ourselves, we know also (none is so vile as not to know it) what it is to please others; we know the pleasure of being praised, of being honoured, of being esteemed, of being loved; we know what it is to be constrained by the love of amusement, and many of us also know what it is to be constrained by the love of knowledge; or, at least, of the distinction which knowledge brings with it. These feelings act upon our minds, and influence our characters, but the constraining power of the love of Christ is a motive which we read of in the New Testament, we read of it also in the lives of martyrs or of missionaries; but what it is from our own experience there are too many of us who know nothing at all, who can

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