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

Christian Love 13: Love is Not Easily Provoked

By Hugh Binning

Love “is not easily provoked.”  This is the straight and solid firmness of it, that it is not soon moved with external impressions.  It is long suffering, it suffers long and much.  It will not be shaken by violent and weighty pressures of injuries, where there is much provocation given, yet it is not provoked.  Now to complete it, it is not easily provoked at light offences.  It is strange how little a spark of injuries puts all in a flame because our spirits are as gunpowder, — so capable of combustion through corruption.  How ridiculous, for the most part, are the causes of our wrath! For light things we are heavily moved, and for rediculous things sadly, even as children who fall out among themselves for toys or things of small value, or as animals that are provoked upon the very show of color, as red or such like.  We would save ourselves much labor, if we could judge rightly before we allow ourselves to be provoked.  But now we follow the first appearance of wrong, and being once moved from the outside, we continue our commotion within, lest we should seem to be angry without a cause.

But love has a more solid foundation.  It dwells in God, for God is love, and so it is truly great, truly high, and looks down with a steadfast countenance upon these lower things.  The upper world is continually calm and serene.  No clouds, no storms there, no winds, nothing to disturb the harmonious and uniform motion, but it is this lower world that is troubled and tossed with storms, and obscured with clouds.

So a soul dwelling in God by love, is exalted above the cloudy region.  He is calm, quiet, serene, and is not disturbed or interrupted in his motion of love to God or men.


The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning, Kindle edition, Loc. 16493. [Language modernized in some places by this site.]