by Hugh Binning
Speaking on Love
Then, it might endear this Christian virtue to us, that God offers Himself as the pattern of it, that Christ holds out Himself as the rare example of it for our imitation. This love is what most endears God to us, and certainly must likewise cause us to love one another. † 1st John 4.7-8 “Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and every one who loves, is born of God, and knows God. He who does not love does not know God; for God is love. † Matt. 5:44-45 “But I tell you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good those who mistreat you and persecute you, that you may be children of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust.” † Eph. 5:1-2 “Be therefore imitators of God, as beloved children. Walk in love, even as Christ also loved you, and gave himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling fragrance. †John 13:35 “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Now the following of so rare an example, and imitating of so noble and high a pattern, does exalt the soul into a royalty and dignity, that dwells in God and God in it. 1st John 4:16 “We know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and he who remains in love remains in him.” This is the highest point of conformity with God, and the nearest resemblance to our Father. To be like him in wisdom, that wretched aim, casts men as low as hell, but to aspire to a likeness of love, lifts up the soul as high as heaven, even to a mutual living together.
This should add an exceeding weight to it, that we have not only so high a pattern, but also such an excellent motive, “God so loved,” and “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins,” therefore, “If God so loved us in this way, we also ought to love one another.” 1st John: 9-11.† “Walk in love, even as Christ also loved you, and gave himself up for us,” Eph. 5:2. Here are the topics of most powerful persuasion. No one could invent a more moving motive, God so loving us, sinful and miserable us, that he gave his only begotten Son, that we might live through him, and Christ so loving us, that he gave himself a sacrifice for sin. Oh then! Who should live to himself, when Christ died for others? And who should not love, when, “God spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all?” “God commends his love to us, that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us,”
Excerpt from: The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning, Kindle edition. A Treatise of Christian Love, Ch.2 , Loc. 16356. [Language slightly modernized in places, † inserted to clarify different verses.]