Christian Love 33: Love Speaks Goodness

By Hugh Binning

 

Where there is a purity of truth, but also accompanied with envying, bitter strife, rigid judging, wrangling, and such like, then it is defiled and corrupted by the mixture of vile and base affections, ascending out of the manure pile of the flesh.  The vapors of our lusts arising up to the mind, stain pure truth.  They put an earthly, sensual, and devilish face on it.

Charity, its conversation and discourse, is without judging, without censuring, because it contains much edification, I will speak more hereafter. “Without partiality, without hypocrisy.” (James 3:17) words in the original mean (without judging and wrangling, and without hypocrisy), revealing, that great censurers are often the greatest hypocrites, and sincerity always has much charity.  Truly, there is much idle time spent this way in discourses of one another, and venting our judgments of others, as if it were enough of commendation for us to condemn others, and much piety to charge another with impiety.  We should even be sparing in judging them that are without, (1st Corinthians 5:12-13) Ruminating on them or their ways, has more provocation than edification in it. A censorious disposition is certainly most partial to itself, and self indulgent. It can sooner endure a great beam in its own eye, than a little mote in its neighbor’s, and this shows evidently that it is not the hatred of sin, or the love of virtue, which is the single and simple principle of it, but self-love, shrouded under the veil of displeasure at sin, and delight in virtue.

I think one great help to prevent this, is to turn away from the excessive amount of discourse about others.  “In the multitude of words there is no lacking of sin,” and in the multitude of discourses about other men, there cannot miss the sin of rash judging.  I find the saints and God fearing commended for speaking often one to another, but not at all for speaking one of another.  The subject of their discourse (Malachi 3:16) certainly was of another strain, “how good it was to serve the Lord,” and the like, opposite to the evil communication of others there registered.

Christian Love 32: Love Seeks Peace

By Hugh Binning

 

Charity follows peace with all men, as much as is possible, (Hebrews 12:14) “If it be possible as much as lies in you, live peaceably with all men,” (Romans 12:18). Many spirits are predisposed for contention.  If peace follows them, they will flee from it.  But a Christian having made peace with God, the sweet fruit of that upon his spirit is to dispose him to a peaceable and quiet humility to others, and if peace flee from him, to follow after it, not only to entertain it when it is offered, but to seek it when it is away, and to pursue it when it runs away. (Psalm 34:14), which Peter urges upon Christians,  “Finally, be all like-minded, compassionate, loving as brothers, tenderhearted, courteous,  not rendering evil for evil, or insult for insult; but instead blessing; knowing that to this you were called, that you may inherit a blessing.  For, “He who would love life, and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit.  Let him turn away from evil, and do good.  Let him seek peace, and pursue it.” (1st Peter 3:8-11)

I think, since we obtained the mercy to get a Peace maker between us and God, we should from then count ourselves bound to be peace makers among men. And truly such have a blessing pronounced upon them,  “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.” (Matthew 5:9) because he is “the God of peace,” and to resemble him in these, first in purity, then in peace, is a character of his image.  It is true, peace will sometimes flee so fast, and so far away, as a Christian cannot follow it without sin, and that is breach of a higher peace.  But charity, when it cannot live in peace without, then lives in peace within, because it has that sweet testimony of conscience, that, as far as did lie in it, peace was followed without.

Divine wisdom, “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceful, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” (James 3:17) If wisdom is peaceable and not pure, it is but a carnal conspiracy in iniquity, earthly and sensual.  But if it is pure it must be peaceable.  For the wisdom descending from above has a purity of truth, and a purity of love, and a purity of the mind and of the affection too.

 


Modernized in places by this site.

Christian Love 31: Love Makes Holy

By Hugh Binning

Charity by all means will avoid scandal, and live honestly in the sight of all men.  The apostle says, “Give no occasions for stumbling, either to Jews, or to Greeks, or to the assembly of God,” (1st Corinthians 10:32)  And he adds his own example, “Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved,” (verse 33). Charity is not self addicted.  It has no selfish will to please.  It can displease itself so that others profit.  I certainly think there is no point of Christianity less regarded.  Others we acknowledge, but we fail in practice.  This scarce has the esteem of the mind.  Few do conceive an obligation lying on them to it.

But Oh how is Christianity, the most of it, humanity?  Christ makes us men as well as Christians.  He makes us reasonable men when believers.  Sin transformed our nature into a wild, beastly, viperous, selfish thing.  Grace restores reason and natural affection in the purest and highest strain.  And this is reason and humanity, elevated and purified, to condescend to all men in all things for their profit and edification, to deny itself to save others.  Whatsoever is not necessary in itself, we ought not to impose a necessity on it by our imagination and preference, to the prejudice of a greater necessity, another’s edification.  Indeed charity will dare not sin to please men.  That were to hate God, to hate ourselves, and to hate our brethren, under a base pretended notion of love.  But I believe, addiction to our own desires in things not necessary, which have no worth but from our disposition, more often transports us beyond the bounds of charity than the apprehension of duty and conscience of sin.

Some will grant they should be tender of offending the saints.  But they do not conceive it is much matter what they do in relation to others, as if it were lawful to murder a Gentile more than a Christian.  That is a barbarous imagination, opposite to that innocent Christian, Paul, who says, we should be “blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation,” (Philippians 2:15) among whom we should shine “as lights.” And truly it is humanity elevated by Christianity, or reason purified by Christianity, that is the light that shines most brightly in this dark world.  And he says (Colossians. 4:5), “Walk in wisdom toward those who are without,” and (1st Thessalonians 4:12) “walk honestly toward those who are without,” avoiding all things, in our profession and life, which may alienate them from the love of the truth and godliness walking so, as we may insinuate into their hearts some apprehension of the beauty of Christianity.

Many conceive, if they do good, all is well, if it be a duty, it matters nothing.  But remember that caution, “Then don’t let your good be slandered,” (Romans 14:16) We would have our eyes on that too, so to carry out all our duties, as they may have least offence in them, and be exposed to least public disrepute of men, “having good behavior among the nations, so in that of which they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they see, glorify God in the day of visitation.” (1st Peter 2:12)

 


Modernized in places by this site.

Christian Love 23: Loving is not a Grievous Burden

by Hugh Binning

When a Christian looks within his own heart, he finds an inclination and desire to have the love of others, even though his conscience witness to him he doesn’t deserve it.  He finds and heartily approves of that good and righteous command of God, that others should love him.  Now he may persuade himself, it is so sweet and pleasant to me to be loved by others even though I am conscious that I’ve wronged them? It has such a beauty in my eyes, while I am the object of it? Why then should it be a hard and grievous burden to me to love others, though they have wronged me, and deserve it no more than I did?

Why doesn’t it have the same amiable aspect, when my brother is the object of it?  Certainly there’s no other reason but, I am yet carnal, and do not have that fundamental law of nature yet written again upon my heart, “What you would have others do to you, do it to them,” —Matthew 7:12.  If I am convinced there is an equity and beauty in that command, which charges others to love me, forgive me, and forbear me, and restore me in meekness, why should it be a grievous command that I should pay that debt of love and tenderness to others?  1st John 5:3—”For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments, and his commandments are not grievous.”

 

 


This common domain work’s language has been modernized in places by this site.

R.C. Chapman’s S.O.S. 1:13

“A bundle of myrrh is my well-beloved unto me: He shall lie all night betwixt my breast.” —Song of Solomon 1:13

My Soul! Is the night season wearisome! Art thou like a sick man, full of tossings to and fro, because of sin that dwelleth in thee, and because of longing to behold thy Lord face to face?

Thou art not of the night nor of darkness, but of the children of light and of the day; and made meet to be partaker of their inheritance. Be content awhile, my soul—let thy longing be tempered with patience—remember that wert thou this moment with Jesus thou wouldest still be longing for His glorious appearing and the gathering of the Church, His brethren and thine unto Him! The darkness of guilt would indeed be utterly removed from thee didst thou quit thou house of clay; but the mystery of God would not be finished—thou wouldest still be looking for the manifestation of the sons of God, their appearing with the Lord in glory.

He knoweth the thoughts of His heart towards thee, and means thee nothing but kindness—the kindness of eternal love and wisdom infinite! Trust Him, then—fight the good fight of faith, and count not thy life dear to thee, if only Thou mayest finish thy course with joy—be jealous of thy Lord’s good name—grieve not His Spirit—keep thy heart and conscience clean and pure by the blood of sprinkling, and as thou dost daily listen to the voice of thy beloved Lord, and do His will, He will surely make thy heart glad with His words.

He will abide in thee and cause thee to abide in His love; if He prove thee with manifold temptations for a season, as thou needest, He will cause thee to rejoice and glory in infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon thee. Nor shall thy joy be carnal, of thy boasting presumptuous! For thy shout of triumph shall proceed from a humble, contrite spirit, and the steadfastness of faith.  Thou shalt worship within the vail with Jesus, thy Forerunner and Royal High Priest; and, holding the balances of faith, shalt call afflictions light, because thou dost weigh them against things eternal and unseen: so shall thou cheer thy heart and beguile the night watches, thy Lord giving thee songs in the darkness.

And these things thou knowest, not by hearing of the ear alone; thou hast tasted and handled them; but count not thyself to have already attained anything, nor esteem thyself already perfect—it shall be thy wisdom and perfection, if forgetting the things that are behind, thou reach after things before thee, and press toward the mark for the prize; that thou mayest know thy Lord Jesus, whose love passeth knowledge and whose riches are unsearchable.

 

 

 

R.C. Chapman’s S.O.S. 1:12

By R.C. Chapman

“While the King sitteth at His table, my spikenard sendeth forth the smell thereof.” —Song of Solomon 1:12

Happy Spirits! Ye who banquet above with Jesus, we give you joy!  Your joy is ours, and our sweet company when ye quit our company, departing to be with Christ; we also see our Lord’s chariot, sent to bear us home, as it were at our very door!  “Tis but an hour or two of waiting; if He come not to receive us to Himself He will compose our body of humiliation to sleep; and pleasant our bed in the grave, while our spirits mount aloft, to join the Lamb and ransomed above.

Thou, Lord, hast proved me by taking to thyself many a lover and friend; but Thou preparest for me a table in the wilderness, Thou anointest me head with oil, my cup runneth over.  In the presence of mine enemies, my Lord will have me sit down with Him at His table.  Many are they which rise up against me; they would cut me off from meeting with my Lord: in His presence, and at His table, I am more than conqueror.

While by the power of my Lord I keep me there, that evil one toucheth me not.  My foolishness and my guiltiness are as a quiver full of sharp arrows in the hand of mine enemy.  Pride, unbelief, ignorance, are his sword and spear: my faith cries out, “The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth me from all sin” —1st John 1:7, and the victory is mine.  I deny not my debt, but flee to Thee—to Thee, my Lord and Surety! And behold the bond of the Law, the handwriting that was against me, nailed to the cross.  In Thee my great strength lies; and, as I hear Thy voice of invitation, of entreaty, Thy voice of power and love, the cords of mine enemies are as green withes—an host flees before me.

—before the presence of my Lord!  My apparel, I see, is meet for banqueting house and table—the robe of righteousness; the garments of salvation!  I am melted and self-abased as I enter and sit down.  Thou, Lord, dost gird Thyself and serve me! Thy flesh is meat indeed, Thy blood is drink indeed; and Thou fillest my soul with joy unspeakable and full of glory! Access to Thee, my Lord, emboldens me; for Thou hast all to give, and no heart to withhold aught that is good—and Thou art well pleased with my confidence.  Thou holdest forth the golden scepter, and sayest, What is Thy request? I answer, “Lord, that I may behold Thy beauty, sit at Thy feet, and banquet with Thee.”  So shall my lowly, contrite spirit be spikenard, fragrant and precious to my Lord.

 

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 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.]


 

 

 

 

Sweet Drops 9: Changing Sight

By Richard Sibbes

The more we set before the soul that quiet estate in heaven which the souls of perfect men now enjoy, and itself ere long shall enjoy there, the more it will be in love with it, and endeavor to attain unto it.  And because the soul never works better, than when it is raised up by some strong affection…–let us look upon our nature, as it is in Christ, in whom it is pure, sweet, calm, meek, every way lovely.  This sight is changing sight; love is an affection of imitation; we affect a likeness to him we love.  Let us “learn of Christ to be humble and meek,” and the we “shall find rest to our souls,” Matt. 11:29.  The setting of an excellent idea and platform before us, will raise and draw up our souls higher, and make us sensible of the least moving of spirit, that shall be contrary to that, the attainment whereof we have in our desires.  He will hardly attain to mean things, that sets not before him higher perfection.  Naturally we love to see symmetry and proportion, even in a dead picture, and are much taken with some curious piece.  But why should we not rather labor to keep the affections of the soul in due proportion? seeing a meek and well ordered soul is not only lovely in the sight of men and angels, but is much set by, by the great God himself.  But now the greatest care of those that set highest price upon themselves is, how to compose their outward movements in some graceful manner, never studying how to compose their spirits; and rather how to cover the deformity of their passions than to cure them.  Whence it is that foulest inward vices are covered with the fairest masks, and to make this the worse, all this is considered the best of proper society.

 


Excerpt from The Works of Richard Sibbes, Kindle edition, Loc. 3612  [Language modernized in few places by this site.]


Excepts of Mercy

Sweet Drops: This is 9

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