*A new commandment I give unto you, That ye lore one another; even as I have loved yon, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another.'—John xiii. 34, 35.
'Love Worketh no ill to his neighbour: love therefore is the fulfilling of the law.'—Rom. xiii. 10.
'Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. If we love one another, God abideth in us, and His love is perfected in us.'—1 John iv. 11, 12.
TN the word of Micah, in the previous section,
mercy the second, that God demands. Eighteousness stood more in the foreground in the Old Testament: it is in the New Testament that it is first seen that love is supreme. Utterances to this effect are not difficult to find. It is in the advent of Jesus that the love of God is first revealed; that the new, the eternal life, is first given; that we become children of the Father, and brethren of one another. On this ground the Lord can then, for the first time, speak of the New Commandment — the commandment of brotherly love. Eighteousness is required not tS^a. less in the New Testament than in the Old.i
was the first thing, to love
Yet the burden of the New Testament is, that
power has been given us for a love that in early
days was impossible.1 \2f*i
Let every Christian take it deeply to heart, John tr. ll. that in the first and the great commandment, the new commandment given by Jesus at His departure, the peculiar characteristic of a disciple of Jesus is brotherly love. And let him with his whole heart yield himself to Him, to obey that command For the right exercise of this brotherly love, one must take heed to more than one thing.
Love to the brethren arises from the love of the Father. By the Holy Spirit, the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts, the wonderful love of the Father is unveiled to us, so that His love becomes the life and the joy of our soul. Out of this fountain of the love of God to us springs our love to Him.2 And our love to Him Jssjj/mj' i works naturally love to the brethren.8 Do not ^"j.'j-^ attempt then to fulfil the commandment of 'v-* brotherly love of yourselves: you are not in a position to do this. But believe that the Holy Spirit, who is in you to make known the love of God to you, also certainly enables you to yield this love. Never say: I feel no love; I do not feel as if I can forgive this man. Feeling is not the rule of your duty, but the command, and the faith that God gives power to obey the command. In obedience to the Father, with the choice of your will, and in faith that the Holy Spirit gives you power, begin to say: I will love him; I do love
him. The feeling will follow the faith. Grace iMatt^v. M, gives power for all that the Father asks of you.i K^mims Brotherly love has its measure and rule in
It IS * i Pflt*
t ia.' the love of Jesus. 'This is my commandment, jota'iw:tna^ ve love one another, as I have loved you.'2 u,u.3i;Col rpl^ eternal jife that works in us is the life of
Jesus; it knows no other law than what we see in Him; it works with power in us what it wrought in Him. Jesus Himself lives in us and loves in and through us: we must believe in the power of this love in us, and in that faith love as He loved. O, do believe that this is true salvation, to love even as Jesus loves. ^SfibfloS: Brotherly love must be in deed and in truth.8 «£* Mfi'sil It is not mere feeling: faith working by love is Jin.u!"i what has power in Christ. It manifests itself in all the dispositions that are enumerated in the word of God. Contemplate its glorious image in 1 Cor. xiii. 4-7. Mark all the glorious encouragements to gentleness, to longsuffering, to • ad. T. 22; mercy.4 In all your conduct, let it be seen that
Eph. It. 2.82; * *
coL-iit: ia;Sitne love of Christ dwells in you. Let your love Th«».Ls. ke a helpful, self-sacrificing love, like that of Jesus. Hold all children of God, however sinful or perverse they may be, fervently dear. Let Ji-. £- love to them teach you to love all men.6 Let
86; i ret. i.22; J
afetL7. your household, and the Church, and the world, see in you one with whom ' love is greatest;' one in whom the love of God has a full dwelling, a free working.
Christian, God is love. Jesus is the gift of this love, to bring love to you, to transplant you into that life of godlike love. Live in that faith, and you shall not complain that you have no power to love: the love of the Spirit shall be your power and your life.
Beloved Saviour, I discern more clearly that the whole of the new life is a life in love. Thou Thyself art the Son of God's love, the gift of His love, come to introduce us into His love, and give us a dwelling there. And the Holy Spirit is given to shed abroad the love of God in our hearts, to open a spring out of which shall stream love to Thee, and to the brethren, and to all mankind. Lord, here am I, one redeemed by love, to live for it, and in its might to love all. Amen.
1. Those who reject the word of God sometimes say that lt is of no moment what we belieoe, if we but haoe loue, and so they are for making loue the one condition of saloation, in their zeal against this oiew, the orthodox party haoe sometimes presented faith in justification, as if looe were not of so much lmportance. This is likely to be oery dangerous. God is looe. His Son is the gift, the bringer, of His love to us. The Spirit sheds abroad the looe of God in the heart. The New Life ls a life in looe. Looe is the greatest thing. Let it be the chief element in our life: true loue, that, namely, which is known in the keeping of God's commandments, (See 7 John iil. 10, 23, 24, o. 2.)
2. Do not wonder that l have said to you that you must love, although you do not feel the least love. Not the feeling, but the will ls your power: it is not in your feeling, but in faith, that the Spirit in you is the power of your will to work in you all that the Father bids you. Therefore, although you feel absolutely no love to your enemy, say in the obedience of faith: Father, l looe him; in faith in the hidden working of the Spirit in my heart, l do love him.
3. Pray, think not that this is looe, if you wish no eoil to any one, or lf you should be willing to help, if he were in need. No: looe is much more: love is love. Love is the disposition with which God addressed you when you were His enemy, and afterwards ran to you with tender longing to i ess you.