By Hugh Binning
Unity in judgment is very important for the wellbeing of Christians. But Christ’s last words persuade this, that unity in love is more essential and central. [to his will] This is the badge [or evidence] he left to his disciples. If we cast away this unity of love because of every different understanding and opinion of mind, we disown our master, and disclaim his own given badge. [or evidence]
The apostle Paul gives a high note of commendation on love, when he speaks of it as the bond of perfection. “Above all these things” He says, “walk in love, which is the bond of perfection.” I am sure it doesn’t have such a high place in the minds and practice of Christians now, as has in the roll of the members of the new man spoken of here. Here it is above all. With us it is below all, even below every understanding of doubtful truths. An agreement in the in the formation of an idea of truth in any poor petty controversial matter of the present times, is made the badge [or evidence] of being a true Christian, and set in the highest place above all which the apostle mentions, in the 12th verse, “a heart of compassion[or mercies], kindness, lowliness, humility, and perseverance.” [or longsuffering] No, love itself is but a waiting handmaid to this mistress.
But let is consider the significance of character the apostle puts on love. It is a bond of perfection, as it were, a bundle of graces, and chain of virtues, even the very cream and flower of many graces combined. It is the sweet result of the united force of all graces. It is the very head and heart of the new man, which we are invited to walk in, “ above all walk in love.” All these fore-mentioned perfections are bound and tied together, by the girdle of kind-heartedness and love. When love is born and brought forth, it may be said Gad, for a troop comes, chorus virtutum, “a troop or company of virtues” which it leads and commands. Love has a tender heart, for it has a “heart of mercies,” –such a compassionate and melting temper of spirit, that the misery and hardship, whether of body or spiritual, of other men, makes an impression on it. And therefore love is the Christian sympathy which affects itself with others’ afflictions. If others be moved, it moves itself through comfort and sympathy. This is not only extended to physical weaknesses, sicknesses and disabilities but, most of all to weaknesses and illnesses of mind and heart, error, ignorance, darkness, falling into and giving into temptation to sin. We are made the priest to God our Father, [as Christ’s body] (Rev.1:6) to have compassion on those who are unknowledgeable of the way of salvation, We also ourselves are beset with weakness,(Heb.5:2) Then, love has a humble mind, “humbleness of mind,” or else it could not stoop and show love and acceptance to others seen by most as inferior, and therefore Christ exhorts above all to lowliness. “Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart.”
Excerpt from: The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning, Kindle edition. A Treatise of Christian Love, Ch.2 , Loc. 16395 [Language slightly modernized in places,[ ] editors]