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the love of true Christians, who are living members of Christ's body. I am at a loss how to arrange the Scripture-proofs of this assertion; they multiply on all sides.-Let the reason of the case speak. Man being dead in sin, and hating holiness by nature, cannot in that state love a true Christian as such. But when any one becomes a partaker of a new nature through faith in Christ, then in this, as in all other instances, being a new creature, and all things becoming new to him, he can love the children of God on account of their holiness.

Here is then a decisive evidence of a change, of a passing from death to life. Well might the Apostle say, “ We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the Brethren : he that loveth not his Brother abideth in death.” For here is a temper wrought in the soul, which could not exist but in consequence of a saving change. Common humanity can be no such evidence. Men converted or not converted, moral or immoral, Jews, Turks, or Infidels, have this : and some of the vilest and most profligate of men have yet been remarkable for a compassionate, generous temper. What clearer proof, then, can you desire that the love of the Brethren means not that love of our fellowcreatures in general, usually called humanity, but the love of the children of God, since the former sense would make the Apostle give an insufficient evidence of conversion, and the latter sense alone renders the evidence palpably and incontestably strong.

The analogy of Scripture-language requires this sense. Any person in distress may be called your


neighbour, as appears by the parable of the good Samaritan, and is, therefore, entitled to the relief of a fellow-creature. But the word Brethren constantly, in the New Testament, respects the relation that subsists between Jesus and all his Brethren, who have all one common Father in Heaven. “He is not ashamed to call them Brethren.” He did so, when he ascended into Heaven, saying, “ Go tell my Brethren, I ascend unto my Father and your Father, unto my God and your

God." "

Whoever," says he, “ shall give a cup of cold water to you, because ye belong to Christ, verily he shall not lose his reward.” In the last judgment-day, this same evidence of conversion, the love of the Brethren, makes a distinguished figure. It is not said it will then be inquired, What acts of humanity have men done to their fellow-creatures in general? For, though the want of these will prove a man unconverted, yet the performance of them will never prove that he is a Christian.

Mistake not, Brethren. You may do a thousand acts of benevolence to your fellow-creatures, merely from humanity, and yet, having no love to Christ, in what you did, be ranked on the left hand among the goats at the last day. The acts of kindness insisted on in Matt. xxv, at that awful process, are such as will decisively prove a love to Christ himself; such as he can say were done to himself, because done to the least of his Brethren, real lovers of him, out of regard to him, and for his sake. But Jesus never calls Men in general his Brethren. In truth, men are to be ranked into two classes, as opposite as possible, the children of the wicked

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13.] evidence of a state of Salvation. 185 one,—these surely are not Christ's Brethren,--and the children of God, those who in this life were reconciled and converted to God through faith in Jesus,--and these surely are Christ's Brethren. The reason, why these acts of kindness, done to the children of God, will be insisted on, is the same as that which leads the Apostle in the text, to mention the love of the Brethren as an evidence of con. version; because this love proves a love of Christ, and consequently a reception of his salvation, and a title in him to glory. The word used in Scripture for the unconverted is “ the world.” This term is constantly employed by St. John through this Epistle, as opposed to Brethren. In the verse before my text, he says,

“ Marvel not, my Brethren, if the world hate you.” It is to be expected they will, because they hate God, whose divine nature is

“If ye be reproached,” says St. Peter, “ for the name of Christ, happy are ye;" it is a proof that “the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you." And how naturally does St. John add here another proof of their having passed from death unto life, namely, their love of those Brethren who were hated by the world.

If I have been tedious in explaining the text, I may say,

ye have compelled me.” This and most other important Gospel truths are so little understood in our day, or rather so vehemently contradicted, that a bare assertion of a Scripture truth would to many appear a most strange unwarrantable thing; and therefore it seems necessary to stop the mouths of gainsayers by a detail of scriptural arguments.

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On the whole, then, the sense of my text is this. St. John speaking of himself and all real Christians, --and Christianity is still the same thing now, and to be attained exactly in the same way as it was then,-observes that though like other men, under the curse by nature, and in a state of spiritual death, they had obtained, through faith in Jesus alone, a happy change to the favour and communion of God, with a title to heaven; that the love of all the fellow-members of Christ's body, who had obtained the same change,—which love they felt in their breast for his sake, and expressed in their conduct, -was a proof, whereby they knew they were in possession of this change; and, that their faith had been real and lively; that whatever pretensions men might make to conversion, yet if they loved not the Brethren, they were plainly destitute of that faith by which the soul is converted, and that, consequently they remained under the curse, and alienated from God.— And now, to make use of the doctrine; we have here,

ist. Very comfortable matter of evidence to the children of God, whereby they may see their interest in the covenant of grace, and the reality of their faith in him. Do


affections drawn out towards those who appear to you to love Jesus Christ? Do you delight in their company and conversation ? Can you say, with David, “ I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and that keep thy precepts?” Are you dissatisfied with the conversation of those who know not the Lord ? And do you cheerfully cast in your lot among those, who are “ the salt of the earth,” notwithstanding


you may be despised for so doing by worldly people? Is it a pleasure to you to do them good? Can you give them your very heart; and are these the associates with whom you could wish to spend your Eternity? Do you rejoice in their welfare ; grieve in their afflictions; bear them upon your heart in prayer to the Lord; view them as Brethren, as one with yourself; would you rather suffer affliction with the people of God than enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season, in connection with the rich and the mighty? If this be your case, the Lord Jesus has knit their hearts and yours to himself, and to one another, in the bands of love. He has given you to love them on his account, which you could not do, unless he loved you, and you loved him.

Take comfort then. This is an evidence of your interest in Jesus, which the word of God allows, and warrants you to make use of, and to rejoice in. Cultivate this spirit of love to the Brethren. Let it increase in vigour and power, by an assiduous discharge of all the duties you owe them. Let it produce patience and long-suffering, forbearance and forgiveness. Be willing to do them good with all the faculties of your mind, body, and estate. Consider; these are to be your friends and intimates for ever : with these you trust and hope to spend a happy Eternity. How near your relation ! One common Father in heaven; one common elder Brother, even Jesus; one common Holy Spirit influencing you all. How sweet and comfortable; how holy and heavenly; how durable and permanent is this connection !

Make advantage of your interest in Christ when

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