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.]

Christian Love 12: Love is Unselfish

By Hugh Binning

Love…doesn’t seek its own way,…—1st Corinthians 13:5

Self denial and true love are inseparable.  Self love makes a monopoly of things for its own interest, and this is most opposite to Christian affection and communion, which puts all in one bank.  If every one of the members should seek its own things, and not the good of the whole body, what a miserable malady this would cause in the body?  We are called into one body in Christ, and therefore we shouldn’t look only to our own things, but all  be looking also to the welfare of others, —Philippians 2:4.  There is a common interest of saints, mutual edification in faith and love, which charity will prefer to its own private interest.  Being addicted to our own thinking and understanding, and too much self-confident pride and self pleasing is the grand enemy of that place to which we are called into one body.  Since one Spirit teaches and gives life to all the members, what a monstrosity is it for one member to seek its own things, and look to its own private interest only, as if it were a distinct body!

 


Excerpt from The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning, Kindle edition, Loc. 16482 [Language modernized in some places by this site.]


Christian Love 11: Love Does Nothing Inappropriate
Excerpts of Mercy

Christian Love 11: Love Does Nothing Inappropriate

By Hugh Binning

1st Corinthians 13  5 —doesn’t behave itself inappropriately,..

Then Love does nothing unseemly, “doesn’t behave itself inappropriately,” 1st Cor. 13.5. Vanity and swelling of mind will certainly breakout into some inappropriate carrying of one’s self, such as vain and conceited estimation, and similar things, but love keeps a sweetness and tastefulness in all its ways, so as not to provoke and irritate others, not to expose itself to contempt and mockery.  Or it may be said, it is not disagreeable, It doesn’t account itself disgraced and abused, to associate and be friendly with men in a low state.  It can with its Master bow down to wash the disciple’s feet, and not think it unseemly.  Whatever it submits to in doing or suffering, it is not ashamed of it, as that it were not suitable or becoming.

 

 

 

 


[Language modernized by this site in places.]


 

 

 

 

Christian Love 8 : Greatness of Love

By Hugh Binning

Now to complete the account of the eminence of this grace, take the remarkable chapter of Paul’s, 1st Corinthians 13., where he uses the comparison between it and other graces, and in the end pronounces on its behalf, “the greatest of these is love.”  I wonder how we please ourselves, as if we had already attained already, when we do not even labor to be acquainted with this, in which the life of Christianity consists,  without which faith is dead, our profession vain, our other duties and endeavors for the truth unacceptable to God and men.  “Yet I show you a more excellent way,”  says he in the end of the previous chapter.  And this is the more excellent way, charity and love, more excellent than gifts, speaking with tongues, prophesying, and so on.  And is it not more excellent than the knowledge and acknowledgment of some present questionable matters, about governments, treaties, and such like, and far more important than every minor detail of them?

But he goes higher.  Suppose a man could spend everything he has upon the maintaining of such an opinion, and give his life for the defense of it, though this in itself is commendable, yet if he lack charity and love to his brothers, if he overstretch that point of conscience to the breach of Christian affection, and duties flowing from it, it profits him nothing.  Then certainly charity must rule over external actions, and have the predominant hand in the use of all gifts, in the expressing of all opinions.  Whatever knowledge and ability a man has, love must employ it, and use it.  Without this, duties and graces make a noise, but they are shallow and empty within.

 


Excerpt from The Works of Rev. Hugh Binning, Kindle Edition, Loc. 16448 [Language modernized in few places by this site]


Christian Love 9: Love is Patient and Kind

Christian Love 7: The End of the Law

Excepts of Mercy

 

Christian Love 7: The End of the Law

By Hugh Binning

Referring to 1st Tim. 1:5

but the goal of this command is love, out of a pure heart and a good conscience and sincere faith;

Now consider the context, and it will yield much edification.  Some teachers (1st Tim. 1:4) occupied themselves and others in endless genealogies, which, though they contained some truth in them, yet they were perplexing, and brought no edification to souls.  Curiosity might go round in such debates, and bewilder itself as in a labyrinth, but they rather multiplied disputes instead of bringing true growth in holiness in the faith and love of God and men.  Now, Paul says, they completely mistake the end of the law, of the doctrine of scripture.  The end and great purpose of it is love, which proceeds from faith in Christ, purifying the heart.  This is the sum of all to worship God in faith and purity, and to love one another.  And whatever debates and questions seem to breach this bond, and have no eminent and remarkable benefit to them, suppose they are matters of conscience, yet the using of them for prosecuting of love, is clearly violence against the law of God, which is the rule of conscience.  It is perverting scripture and conscience to a wrong end.  I say the charity and Christian love should be the greatest rule of all our actions towards men.  From this rule all our actions should be formed.  I am persuaded if this rule were followed, the present differences in judgment of godly men, about things that only bring about questions, would soon be buried in the gulf of Christian affection.

 


Excerpt from The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning, Kindle Edition, Loc. 16440, [Language modernized in places by this site]


Christian Love 8 : Greatness of Love

Christian Love 6: His Love Fulfills

Excepts of Mercy

 

Christian Love 6: His Love Fulfills

By Hugh Binning

Add to this another special mark of how great an excellence Paul puts on love, or Christian love.  but the goal of this command is love, out of a pure heart and a good conscience and sincere faith;” (1st Tim.1:5) If this were rightly thought on, I believe it would fill our hearts with astonishment, and faces with bewilderment, that we neglected the weightier matters of the law, and over stretched some other particular duties to fill up the place of this, which is the end, the fulfilling of the law.

It appears by this that Christian love is a cream of graces.  It is the spirit of and most perfect example extracted out of these cardinal graces, sincere faith, a good conscience, a pure heart.  It is true, the immediate end of the law, as it is now given to us, is to drive us to believe on Jesus Christ, as it is expressed in Roman 10:4. “For Christ is the fulfillment of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” But this believing in Christ is not the last end of it.  Sincere faith in a Mediator is intentionally for this, to give the answer of a good conscience in the blood of Christ, and to purify the heart by the water of the Spirit, to bring about at last, by such a sweet encompassing, the righteousness of the law fulfilled by love in us, which by divine imputation is fulfilled in us.

 


Excerpt from The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning, Kindle, Loc 16431.[Language modernized in places by this site.]


Christian Love 7: The End of the Law

Christian Love 5: He Makes Peace

Excepts of Mercy

Sweet Drops 5: He Rules our Hearts

By Richard Sibbes

Where Christ as a prophet teaches by his Spirit, he likewise as a king subdues the heart by his Spirit to obedience to what is taught. This is the teaching which is promised of God, when not only the brain but the heart itself is taught; when men do not only know what they should do but are taught the very doing of it.  They are not only taught that they should love, fear and obey, but they are taught love itself, and fear and obedience themselves.  Christ set up his throne in the very heart and alters its direction, so making his subjects good, together with teaching them to be good.  Other princes can make good laws, but they cannot write them in their people’s hearts (Jer. 31:33).  This is Christ’s prerogative: he infuses into his subjects his own Spirit.  On him there does not only rest the spirit of wisdom and understanding, but likewise the spirit of the fear of the Lord ( Isa. 11:2).  The knowledge which we have of Him from Himself is a transforming knowledge (2nd Cor.3:18).  The same Spirit who enlightens the mind inspires gracious inclinations into the will and affections and infuses strength into the whole man.  As a gracious man judges as he should, so he inclines to and does as he judges.  His life is a commentary on his inward man.  There is a sweet harmony among God’s truth, his judgment, and his whole life.

 


Excerpt from Works of Richard Sibbes, Loc. 1789,  [Language modernized in places by this site]


Excepts of Mercy

Sweet Drops: This is 5

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Christian Love 4: Self-Love the Enemy of Christian Love

By Hugh Binning

If a man be not lowly, to sit down below offences and weaknesses, his love cannot rise above them. Self-love is the greatest enemy to true Christian love, and pride is the fountain of self-love, because it is impossible that, in this life, there should be an exact agreement between the thoughts and ways of Christians.  Therefore it is not possible to keep this bond of perfection unbroken, except there be a mutual bowing to one another in lowliness.  Self-love would have all conformed to it, and if that not be, there is the price to pay.  But humbleness of mind can conform itself to all things, and this keeps the bond fast.  Then love, by the link of humility, has meekness chained to it, and kindness.  Love is of a sweet complexion, meek and kind.  Pride is the mother of passion, humbleness the mother of meekness.  The inward affection is made by meekness, and the outward actions adorned by gentleness and kindness.  Oh that sweet calmness of spirit! The heart of the wicked is as the troubled sea, no rest, no quiet in it, continual storms raising continual waves of anxiety and stress.  An unmeek spirit is like a boiling pot, it troubles itself and annoys others.  Then, at length, love, by lowliness and meekness, is the most durable, enduring, longsuffering thing in the world,” with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love.”  These are the only principles of patience and long enduring of hardships.  Anger and passion is expressed in the scripture under the name of haste, and it is a sudden furious, hasty thing, a rash, inconsiderate, impatient thing, more hasty than speedy.

 


Excerpt from-The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning, Kindle, Loc 16413. Common Domain. Language slightly modernized in places by this site.


 

Christian Love 5: He Makes Peace

Christian Love 3

Excepts of Mercy