only; you love where there is something to attract your love, where it will meet with a response cordial and warm. This is nothing more than a mere natural affection, a broken fragment of that temple of love which once existed in the soul of man. But this is not the principle which Christ requires, and which the Spirit implants in every child of God. The love which actuates the believer is a love which, while it cordially rejoices in every responsive feeling on the part of a brother, can triumph over and trample down every opposing obstacle, "blessing those that cursed us, doing good to those that hate us, and praying for those that despitefully use us and persecute us." This is no mere natural affection. Pure and lovely like its great original, it knows no dwelling upon earth save in the bosom of the pious and humble Christian. He and he alone knows what the world can never understand, the constraining influence of the love of Christ, and under the operation of this powerful impelling motive, he loves as the world cannot love, with a purity, an intensity, a self-sacrificing disinterestedness which marks him out as a child of God, bearing obvious traces of his heavenly origin.

The law of God is the transcript of His image, and love is the fulfilling of the law. It forms, therefore, a natural and a beautiful and befitting close to the exhibition which the Redeemer has been giving of the law of love that He should tender the solemn exhortation::

V. 48.

"Be ye, therefore, perfect, even as your

Father which is in heaven is perfect."

It is to be observed, that the word "perfection," when used in reference to believers, has two different meanings. In one sense the believer is perfect the moment that he is justified. His sins are forgiven, his person is accepted, he is complete in Christ, so that he has a valid title to an inheritance in the heavens. In another sense the believer, while he remains in this world, is imperfect. The former refers to his condition, the latter refers to his character. The former refers to his title to heaven, the latter to his meetness for heaven. It is only in the latter sense plainly that any exhortation can be applicable. And hence we must consider this closing command of Christ as enforcing upon the children of God a closer assimilation to the image of God, more especially in the cultivation of "love which is the bond of perfectness," "for he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God and God in him."

The man who has been enabled by grace to love his enemy, is perfect in Christ Jesus. He is "washed and justified and sanctified," and he will "go on unto perfection." The image of God has been stamped upon his soul, and the features of that image will stand out every day in stronger and stronger relief. Some would be inclined to dilute the command, and to explain it as pointing simply to a comparative per

fection. From this, however, we feel ourselves shut out by the very language of the verse, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." The image of God must be reflected from the child, and, accordingly, we find an analogous exhortation, 1 Peter i. 14, 15 and 16. “As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance; But as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation: Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy." The power of our Lord's appeal and that of the apostle rest on the same point, the close and intimate relationship which exists between the believer and God. "Be ye perfect,” ye who are or profess to be the children of God, “even as your Father is perfect." He speaks of God as our Father in heaven that the Jews might not misunderstand Him as if He referred to Abraham, whom they were so accustomed to speak of as their earthly father. The verse then may be thus paraphrased in connection with what has gone before. If ye do love your enemies, and thus exhibit most convincing evidence that ye have been transformed into the image of God, and are become His children by a spiritual and new birth, seek to be made perfect in love, which is the perfection of the law's requirements, and the perfection of Jehovah's character.



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