Christian Love 15: Love Bears and Believes All Things

By Hugh Binning

Love “bears all things.” By nature we are undaunted heifers, cannot bear anything patiently.  But love is accustomed to the yoke, —to the yoke of reproaches and injuries from others, to a burden of other men’s infirmities and failings.  We would all be borne upon others’ shoulders, but we cannot put our own shoulders under other men’s burden, according to that royal law of Christ, Romans 15:1—“We that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves” and Galatians 6:2—“ Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”  That is the law of love, without question.

Love “believes all things.” Our nature is malignant and wicked, and therefore most suspicious and jealous, and apt to take all in the worst way. But love has much openness, honesty and humanity in it, and can believe well of every man, and believe all things as far as truth will permit.  It knows that grace can be beside man’s sins.  It knows that itself is subject to similar infirmities.  Therefore it is not a rigid and censorious judger; it allows as much latitude to others as it would desire of others.

It is true it is not blind and ignorant.  It is judicious, and has eyes that can discern between colors. Credit omnia credenda, sperat omnia speranda.-“It believes all things that are believable, and hopes all things that are hopeful.” If love doesn’t have sufficient evidences, yet she believes if there be some probabilities to the contrary, as well as for it.  The weight of love inclines to the better part, and so casts the balance of hope and persuasion; yet being sometimes deceived, she has reason to be watchful and wise, for “the simple believe every word.”  If love cannot have ground of believing any good, yet it hopes still. Qui non est hodie, cras magis aptus erit, says love, and therefore it is patient and gentle, waiting on all, if perhaps God may “give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth,”—2nd Timothy 2:25. 

Love would account it both atheism and blasphemy, to say such a man cannot, will not find mercy.  But to pronounce of such as have often been accepted in the conscience of all, and sealed into many hearts, that they will never find mercy, that they have no grace, because of some failings in practice and differences from us, it wasn’t pronounced in sobriety but madness.  It is certainly love and indulgence to ourselves, that make us aggravate other men’s faults to such a height.   Self love looks on other men’s failings through a multiplying or magnifying glass, but she put her own faults behind her back. Non videtquod in mantica qua a tergo est. Therefore she can suffer much in herself but nothing in others, and certainly much self forbearance and indulgence can spare little for others.

But love is just contrary. She is most rigid on her own self, will her not pardon herself easily, knows no revenge but what is spoken of in 2nd Corinthians 7:11, self revenge, and has no indignation but against herself.  Thus she can spare much openness, honesty, and forbearance for others, and has little or nothing of indignation left behind to consume on others.

 


This common domain work modernized in few places by this site.

Christian Love 14: Love Thinks No Evil,…but Rejoices in the Truth

By Hugh Binning

thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;  1st Corinthians 13 NKJV

Christian love “thinks no evil.” This love is apt to take all things in the best sense.  If a thing may be subject to different interpretations, it can put the best construction on it.  It is so benign and good in its own nature that it is not inclined to suspect others.  It desires to condemn no man, but would gladly, as far as reason and conscience will permit, free from guilt every man.  It is so far from the desire of revenge, that it is not provoked or troubled by an injury.  For that were nothing else but to wrong itself because others have wronged it already, and it is so far from wronging others, that it will not willingly so much as think evil of them.

Yet if need require, love can execute justice, and inflict chastisement, not out of desire of another’s misery, but out of love and compassion to mankind.  Charitas non punit quia peccatum est, sed, peccaretur– it looks more to prevention of future sin, than to revenge of a past fault. and can do all things with calmness of spirit, as a physician cuts a vein without anger.  Quis enim cut medetur irascitur? –”who is angry with his own patient?”

Love “Does not rejoice in iniquity.” Love is marred in itself, though it lower itself to all.  Though it can love and wish well of evil men, yet it does not rejoice in iniquity.  It is like the sun’s light that shines on a pile of manure, and is not defiled, receives no impurity from it.  Some base and wicked spirits make a sport to do mischief themselves, and take pleasure in others that do it.  But love does not rejoice in iniquity or injustice, though it were done to its own enemy.  It cannot take pleasure in the unjust sufferings of any who hate it, because it has no enemy except sin and iniquity and hates nothing else with a perfect hatred.  Therefore whatever advantage should come back to itself by other men’s iniquities, it cannot rejoice, that iniquity, its capital enemy, should reign and prevail.

But it “rejoices in the truth.”  The advancement and progress of others in the way of truth and holiness is its pleasure.  Though that should eclipse its own glory, yet it does not look on it with an jealous eye, it is not grieved to find it and know it, but can rejoice at anything that may give evidence of goodness in others.  There is nothing more beautiful in its eyes than to see everyone get their own due, though itself should come behind.


This common domain work modernized in places by this site

Life of Faith 4: He is Life

By Richard Sibbes

Why is it that we do not seek this spiritual life more? Because when the conscience is not awakened, we think there is no such thing: like Judas walking on in the state of nature, in drunkenness, sensual pleasures, covetousness, and such things, until we perish suddenly. If the conscience is awakened, then it is easy to work upon such who sees his misery and desires a remedy.  It was easy to persuade Jacob to send for corn in Egypt, when a famine was in the land of Canaan.  It is easy to persuade men hungry and thirsty to eat and drink; easy to persuade a weighed down, weary man to lay down his burden and rest.  So it’s the same with us.  If the conscience is awakened to have a sense of sin, and that intolerable wrath and eternal punishment that is due, we should and would long for this spiritual life.

I urgently ask you, let us believe there is such a life. Look at 1st Peter 1:3.  There he blesses God, “who according to his great mercy became our father again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”  No one can go to heaven unless they are born again here.  The main help is the use of the means.  This is that pool of Bethesda, at which if we lie the angel of the covenant will put us in to be healed.  Never rest then until this life has gotten into us…[never rest from seeking and looking to God, through His means, I take this to mean things such as praying and reading his word, in expectation of his mercy.]

…Christ is called life, the bread of life, tree of life, and he gives us living water to refresh our souls, not that he is so essentially bread, or a tree, but by the ability of his working in us. For God is life in himself.  Therefore he swears by it: “As I live, says the Lord, I do not desire the death of a sinner,” —Ezekiel 33:11.  Here we do not consider life so high, but this life must be derived from him principally.  It is done so naturally.  The Son is the fountain of life, because he is God, who is radically, fundamentally, and essentially life.

 


Excerpt from Works of Richard Sibbes, Loc.53749, Kindle edition. [Language modernized in places by this site] [mine]


Life of Faith 3

Excerpts of Mercy