By Hugh Binning
Love is real light, light and life, light and heat both. “When your fathers did execute judgment, and relieve the oppressed, wasn’t this to know me? says the Lord,” (Jeremiah 22:15-16). The practice of the most common things, out of the love of God, and respect to his commands, is more real and true Christianity than the most profound and abstracted speculations of knowledge. Then only is God known, when knowledge stamps the heart with fear and reverence of his Majesty and love to his name, because then he is only known as he is a true and living God.
Love is real light and life. Isn’t it “a pleasant thing for the eye to behold the sun?” Light is sweet, and life is precious. These are two of the rarest jewels given to men. “He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness even until now, and doesn’t know where he goes; because darkness has blinded his eyes, but he who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no occasion of stumbling in him,” (1st John 2:9-11). “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren; he who doesn’t love his brother, abides in death,” (1st John 3:14).
The light of Jesus Christ cannot shine into the heart, but it begets love, even as intense light begets heat, and where this impression is not made on the heart, it is an evidence that the beams of that Sun of righteousness have not pierced it. O how suitable is it for a child of light to walk in love! And for what purpose is it made day light to the soul, but that it may rise up and go forth to labor, and exercise itself in the works of the day, duties of love to God and men?
Now in such a soul there is no cause of stumbling, no scandal, no offence in its way to fall over. When the light and knowledge of Christ possesses the heart in love, there is no stumbling block of transgression in its way. It does not fall and stumble at the commandments of righteousness and mercy as grievous, “therefore love is the fulfilling of the law,” (Romans 13:10). And so the way of charity is the most easy, plain, expedient, and safe way. In this way there is light shining all along it, and there is no stumbling block in it. For the love of God and of our brethren has polished and made it all plain, has “taken away the asperities and swellings of our affections and lusts.” Complanavit affectus. “Great peace have all they who love your law, and nothing shall offend them.” Love makes an equable and constant motion, it moves swiftly and sweetly. It can loose many knots without difficulty, which other more violent principles cannot cut, it can melt away mountains before it, which cannot be hauled away. Albeit there be many stumbling blocks without in the world, yet there is none in charity, or in a charitable soul. None can enter into that soul to hinder it to possess itself in meekness and patience. Nothing can discompose it within, or hinder it to live peaceably with others.
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