Let brotherly love continue.…
A brother is a hallowed name. Born of the same parents, nursed with the same untiring, tender care, dependent on the same protection, and sharing in the same blessings of the same common hearthstone, expectant heirs of a common inheritance, the tie that binds me to my brother is one most sacred in its nature, and nothing ought to be allowed to injure, much lest to destroy, this hallowed relationship.
I. BROTHERLY LOVE MAY BE DISTURBED AND SOMETIMES SEVERED. Christianity does not deprive us of our individuality. With the same inspired truth before us we differ, honestly, in our opinions as to the meaning or extent of that truth. We still have our pride of opinion. Again, we are liable to have our preferences and prejudices as well as our opinions. Here is need for the exercise of that charity "that thinketh no evil"; that, in honour, prefers another to itself. Love is magnetic. It attracts pure hearts together and all to God. It throws its wondrous power over sinful opposition, and with more than the skill of Orpheus is a true tamer of wild beasts. Love is the great law of gravity in God's spiritual universe; it binds each orb and keeps it coherent, while it rolls all in harmony around the grand central sun. Love is the vitalising principle of truth and experience and duty. Love concentrates individual piety in intense beauty in the character of the Church, while it unifies and employs all the strength of the Church in its sacred mission on the earth.
II. Again, THERE IS THE PURPOSE FORMED BY EACH LOVER OF THE SAVIOUR THAT BROTHERLY LOVE SHALL CONTINUE. The first approaches of the small foxes that injure the vines are carefully guarded against. Special care is taken to put out the least spark of "envy, or malice, or uncharitableness," that the enemy may throw into the soul. The little courtesies of Christian as well as polite society are tendered with suitable delicacy, and " little deeds of kindness" are kept busily at work receiving and reciprocating true brotherly love.
III. BROTHERLY LOVE ACCORDS TO OTHERS WHAT WE CLAIM FOR OURSELVES, AND MORE — for, in true humility, in honour it "esteems others better than itself." It is deferential, forbearing, and forgiving. To rejoice in the success of a brother, more than in our own, is strong evidence that we "have been with Jesus," and breathed largely of His Spirit. "Let brotherly love continue."
1. This should be the theory and practice of the ministers and officers of the Church.
2. Among different denominations of Christians this should be observed.
3. Among members of the same Church this apostolic injunction is a vital necessity. It is utterly opposed to detraction of the gifts, ability, and usefulness either of ministers or of any member of the Church.
4. We should cultivate this principle of brotherly love, for through it we must show, by contrast with unsantified human nature, that Christ's religion makes us gentle, kind, patient, and forgiving; and as Christ's history is the loveliest exhibition of Divine love, so we must reflect the highest honour on our once crucified but now risen Lord, by loving the brethren.
5. Nowhere is there a more attractive picture of genuine piety than in " the fellowship of the saints."
(W. H. Anderson, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Let brotherly love continue.