« VorigeDoorgaan »
loveth God, love his brother also.” No truth can possibly be plainer, or more explicitly laid down in so many words, as well as throughout this Epistle, than, that love to God and love to our brother cannot exist apart. He that loves God, loves his brother. And again, he who loves his brother, loves God—“ If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.” On the other hand, “ By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.” So far for brotherly love, as it is the indispensable and bounden duty of the true Christian.
Very excellent things are spoken of this divine principle, as it also constitutes the distinctive mark and privilege of every child of light. “In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil : whoso doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.” “ We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren.” It is brotherly love which assimilates and unites us to God, who is relatively and essentially « Love" in its sublimest and purest form. “If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.” Then “we walk in the light, as He is in the light.” Then only we have fellowship one with another; then only
“the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." There is yet one other characteristic of brotherly love to be noticed. “Herein, says our Evangelist, is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us." Our love is not made perfect until we have learnt to love our ene. mies. To forgive, to receive, to pray for, to do good to an offending brother, is the surest sign that the love of God is perfected in usthat we love God and keep his commandments. When we can thus overlook our brother's frailties, from a consideration of God's love to us in his Son Jesus Christ, and our own manifold offences and infirmities—we have attained the pinnacle of our profession-we adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour, and shine as lights in the world.
Finally. What farther schemes and provisions for the future and eternal blessedness of his redeemed children, a God of infinite love may have in store, is a subject upon which our faith may rationally and comfortably expatiate. That most gracious Being, who has all the resources of the universe under his control; and eternity and infinity in which to work the purposes of his will—that Being more especially, “who spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely
give us all things?” “Beloved, now are we the Sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is. And every one that hath this hope in him, purifieth himself even as He is pure.” Be it then our study and endeavour, whilst we have the light, to walk in the light as He is in the light : to resemble a God of love here, in order and preparatory to our complete union with Him hereafter. . “To Him, therefore, that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen."
PSALN Xxxvi. 6.
Thy judgments are a great deep.
To contemplate the movements of Divine Providence, as far as they are visible in their effects, is both the province and the privilege of the christian. Seated on a rock that is higher than ourselves, possessed with a firm and an abiding conviction, “ that the Lord is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works," it is cheering to our hopes, as well as edifying to our faith, to survey this depth of infinite love and wisdom, even though our limited faculties are unable to fathom it; to look back occasionally, as from an eminence to which our faith and experience have raised us, upon that circuitous path by which a mysterious Providence has conducted us through all the changes and chances of this mortal life. Upon every such survey, what a retrospect opens upon the eye of the christian! How circuitous, how various, and even in some cases retrograde, appears to have been the road he has traversed! Ends the most improbable, results the most strange and inconceivable; means apparently the most inadequate; instruments the weakest; turns the most unexpected; incidents the most trifling in themselves, yet the most important and efficient in their connection, crowd upon the mind of the believer. He rises, however, from effects to . causes, and from these to the first great cause.
Thus, step by step, approaching the throne of infinite power, wisdom, and love, he exclaims with the holy astonishment of the apostlem" 0 the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” Or with the psalmist, in the text, thy judgments are a great deep.
Speculations of this nature, piously, humbly, and soberly conducted, are the proper business of true christian philosophy. Such philosophy is the handmaid of true piety, as well as the result of deep christian experience. Thus it is that we are enabled in the fullest manner to