Christian Love 35: Love Covers Sins

By Hugh Binning

 

“Charity covers a multitude of sins,” (1st Peter 4:8) and therefore “above all things have fervent charity among yourselves,” he says.  What is above prayer and watching to the end, above carefulness? Indeed, in reference to fellowship with God, these are above all; but in relation to comfortable fellowship one with another in this world, this is above all, and the crown or cream of other graces.  He whose sins are covered by God’s free love, cannot think it a hard thing to spread the garment of his love over his brother’s sins.  Hatred stirs up strife, all uncharitable affections, such as envy, and wrath.  It stirs up contentions, and makes a spreading fire of  men’s infirmities.  But “love covers all sins,” conceals them from all to whom the knowledge of them does not belong, (Proverbs 10:12)

Love in a way does not attempt to know the bad it knows, or at least to remember it much.  It will sometimes hoodwink itself to a favorable esteeming of others.  It will pass by an infirmity and flaw, but many stand still and commune with the infirmity and flaws of others.  But the one who  covers a transgression seeks love to bury offences in.  Silence is a notable way to preserve agreement and harmony, and bring forth true warmth and friendship.  The keeping of faults long above ground unburied, makes them cast forth an evil smell that will away separate friends.  Therefore, the wise man says, “He who covers a transgression seeks love: but he who repeats a matter separates close friends,” (Proverbs 17) Covering faults in a Christian way, will make a stranger a friend; but repeating and spreading of them will make a friend not only a stranger, but also an enemy.

Yet this is not to the say that we have no Christian duty of reproving and admonishing one another, “Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” (Ephesians 5:11) Love commands us to reprove in the “spirit of meekness,” (Galatians 6:1) as a man would restore an arm out of joint.  Therefore you “You shall not hate your brother in your heart.  You shall surely rebuke your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him. ” (Leviticus 19:17) And he who reproves his brother in this manner out of love, and in meekness and wisdom, “will afterwards find more favor from him than the one who flatters with his tongue,” (Proverbs 28:23).

To cover and hide grudges and jealousies in our hearts, is to nourish a flame in our hearts, which only waits to vent, and will at one time or another burst out.  But to look too narrowly to every step, and to write up a registry of men’s petty faults, especially so as to make them known to the world; this is inconsistent with the rule of love. And truly, it is a token of one “destitute of wisdom to hate his neighbor; but a man of understanding will hold his peace.” He who has most defects himself, will find the most in others, and strive to vilify them one way or another; but a wise man can pass by frailties, yes, even offences done to him, and be silent, (Proverbs 11:12).

 


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Christian Love (Hugh Binning) Chapter 4

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.

Life of Faith 21: Turn the Valve

By Richard Sibbes

 

Two things are opposite to this life of faith.

One, Despair.  This cuts the pillars of hope.  Against many, as Luther for one, have been tempted to despair, but yet setting on the work, have overcome.  So the Israelites were afraid, upon the evil report of the spies of Canaan; but when they went on, they overcame and beat down their enemies.  So we say, Oh, I will never overcome such a sin, or such a corruption, or do such a duty.  This is not true, go on, look to Christ, join his strength with your endeavor, be out of love with it, resolve thoroughly, set on it strongly, and down it will go before you.

Second, is presumption; for this know, that in his own strength shall no man be strong.  In St Paul’s speech. “By grace I am what I am.” (1st Corinthians 15:10).  So, again, he says, “in him” to think, in Christ “we live, and move, and have our being,” (Acts 17:28).  If we presume, it is just with Christ to forsake us, as he did Peter.  Take heed also of spiritual self-sufficiency, or else we rest on ourselves, and do not go to Christ.  Our moving to all good duty is by him.  It is but a word for him to help us, either in things tending to a spiritual or a natural life.  Therefore, for the summing up of all, do not leave him.  In your emptiness go to his fullness.  If your cistern is dry, turn the valve of your faith, and his fountain will fill again.  Take him still along with you, and you cannot not choose but to live this life of faith in growing in holiness and obedience.

 


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Life of Faith 19: His Promises, Life, and Victory

By Richard Sibbes

 

Therefore he will take courage for any duty, to encounter and resist any sin; on this ground, as he should say,

“Don’t I have a storehouse of strength to go to? Isn’t he full of grace and goodness? Aren’t all his works done for us ? Don’t I have so many, great, rich, and precious promises of help? Isn’t he the truth itself? Is there not then supply enough in Christ to help me out in all things?”

It would be Pharaoh-like to set us to work without strength and ability to go through with our work.  There is light and heat in the sun to direct and cherish, much more in Christ their Maker.  It is grace that leads us through all. We are justified freely through his grace, and by his grace we have continual strength supplied to enable us in all things. It is grace, grace! A sanctified one who lives by faith will therefore cheerfully set upon every duty.

Again, in this case, all is lively in a man.  As we see a lively fountain, the water of it will sparkle and leap, so there will be living joys, words, delights, encouragements, being sensible of good and evil.

He will trust God, rely on his word and promise, because Christ cannot touch the soul, but the soul will be lively.  As the man who as soon as touched Elisha’s bones, he stood up and revived, (2nd kings 13:21), so a touch of Christ makes alive and makes energetic.  As Christ’s promise is, John 4:14, “Whosoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up to everlasting life.” Let’s make use of all of this, On this discovery remember to go to Christ for help, and labor to live plentifully and abundantly in him this life of faith.

But, some may say,

“how should I go on to finish this great work of grace? It is a mighty thing to attain to, so many sins to overcome, so many temptations to fight with, so many right hands and eyes to cut off and pull out.”

I answer: Faith teaches us to go to Christ to receive all from him, to beg his Spirit to help us in the course of growing in holiness and obedience, that by his might we may prevail; and so in all mastering sin beg strength of Christ, and then set upon the walls of Jericho, and they will fall before you.

How shall this be done?

As they did; they believed the promise, that circling it seven times it should fall to the ground.  So we, having the subduing of sin in us, let’s set upon them, look up to Christ, believe the promise; and our walls of sin will fall so far before us, as they will neither hinder our comfort nor our salvation.  Eclipse it they may for a little while, but the sun will shine again, break through and dispel all those clouds and mists

 


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Life of Faith 18: Looking to Him for All

By Richard Sibbes

 

let’s see some trials to discern whether we live this life of faith in sanctification.

If it is this way with us, There will he a setting of ourselves under Christ’s government in all things.  Faith will do all that Christ commands, depending upon him for strength; and the one who depends on Christ for strength in one thing, will depend upon him for strength in another. There is a harmony between the soul of a Christian and the command of obedience.  He hearkens to the precepts of duty, as well as to the promises of forgiveness of sins. Where there is no universal obedience, there is not the life of faith in sanctification; for faith here takes not exception at one duty more than another, but looks for all the strength of performance from Christ, who for this cause is stored with all fullness, that it may drop down upon all his members.

 

Again, There will be a wonderful care not to grieve the Spirit, in such a one. As if he should say,

“I must depend upon the Spirit for help and assistance to do all, to guide me in my whole course, and shall I grieve and turn away from the Spirit? Shall I live in such away as to make him leave me? He must lead, instruct, comfort me, and assure me of my happiness; shall I then quench the Spirit?”

Therefore, I say, there will be a giving way to it, and a resolution settled, that this guiding in sanctification is the best guidance of all.  A believing heart does tremble at any thing that hinders the Spirit’s working.  It does not step forward in anything without direction of the word and Spirit.

Christian Love 27: Love is Real Light and Life

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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R.C. Chapmans S.O.S. 2.4-5

By R.C. Chapman

 

Let him lead me to the banquet hall, and let his banner over me be love.   Strengthen me with raisins, refresh me with apples, for I am faint with love.” (Song of Solomon 2:4-5)

Have you been left, O my soul, to your own will, and the way of your own wisdom, could you ever have known Jesus or desired to know Him? It was the Spirit of God who led you, opening your eyes, convincing your conscience, drawing you to Christ, whose grace He showed you and caused you to believe.

Lord Jesus, Your grace is true grace.  In You, my soul makes her boast; and while You gird Yourself, and make me sit down in Your house of wine, a sweet sadness steals over my spirit.  I was at one time in darkness, one time an alien and enemy, before Your love was set on me and my name was in Your book.

These solemn memories do not mar my joys; they are needed so long as I live in this earthly house, to give me richer communion with Your love!

O Crowned King, Jesus of Nazereth, the mighty and glorious One, who made Yourself of no reputation, You rule me with Your Almighty love.  For if Your sceptor was not a sceptor of grace You could indeed, by a word destroy me; but You could not win my heart.

Now You show me Your wounds, and say: “Peace to you.” You hold me with the cords of Your love.  Lord, You open to me the gates of glory, bringing me into Your banqueting house, to sustain and cheer me on my way; and the wine of Your house fills me with longing for those things which are above.

My soul surveys Your glory, O King of Zion, Beloved One, and altogether lovely! I sit down with You on Your throne, sin, death, the law, hell, and the world under my feet.  Your fullness satisfies me.  In You I see the Father’s heart; He is Your God and my God; Your Father and my Father.  Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift.

Lord, You sit down with me at Your own table, delighting Yourself in my soul’s afffections to You and admirtion of You, and my song and triumph of faith.  Your love to me is my soul’s strength and joy; it engages You to take up spear and shield against my enemies, draw me to my hiding place, and lead me to the Rock that is higher than I.  In the light of Your love I see my foes, hate their baits, and avoid their snares.

To idols I say,”Depart, my soul is the temple of my Lord.”

Lord Jesus, You have said, “Behold I come quickly (Revelation 3:11; 22:7, 12, 20).  O keep Your word! Even so, come, Lord Jesus, come quickly, and let my soul, with Your gathered saints, without enemies to frustrate us, rest in Your presence, and be filled with Your glory, and feast forever in Your love.

 

 


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R.C. Chapman’s S.O.S. 2:3

By R.C. Chapman

“I sat down under His Shadow with great delight and His fruit was sweet to my taste.” Song of Solomon 2:3

Mercies are inscribed on the lowly heart!  The sweet memories of former joys, the joys of communion with Jesus, and profitable also, if these remembrances cause thankfulness and praise; if it confirms faith and hope; revitalizes desire, and makes sin more hateful.

Lord Jesus, when all strength is gone, and when through many temptations, hands hang down, knees been made feeble, it is Your desire in the fierce heat of battle to make me sit down beneath Your shadow!

By faith I rest in You; at the voice of Your rebuke my enemies take flight.  Then there is holy stillness within me.  I set myself to meditate on You, my Lord and Savior, on You, my own Emanuel! I see Your glory, and think deeply about Your eternal Godhead.  As I look abroad, all things speak of Your power, and talk of Your praise; I see, and hear You, and trace Your footsteps everywhere.

I know You are the Word that endures forever, that was with God and was God, the Son who came from the heart of the Father.  For me You came forth, and You have persuaded me of Your everlasting love; of the counsel of peace and the covenant that stands fast with You forever and forever.

I see You, You, the Lamb of God, my Great High Priest, who is highly exalted. You have an unchangeable priesthood, given by the oath and promise of God the Father, that I might have an anchor of the soul that is both sure and steadfast, which enters within the veil.  I have You, my Rock to build on; to build so securely that storms and gales will only prove the building.  I drink of Your love with great desire, which grows with each new gale, and aims to comprehend the greatest amount of Your glory and Your grace.

How beautiful is Your fruit; how sweet and refreshing; and Your shadow, how pleasant, the shadow of the Tree of Life.  Ah, my Lord, for what reason do I grieve the comforter, by whom You satiate my soul?  Sad to say! In me (that is, in my flesh) there lives no good thing.  By grace, by grace, I am saved.  But, Oh You, the Beloved of my soul, hold me up, and teach me to sit at Your feet, and in the midst of the richest refreshing of Your smile to grow in poverty of spirit and self-reproach!

Let me live and stay at the blood of sprinkling, to which I have come; and while being nothing myself in my own eyes, in You I will boast and magnify my Lord and God and Savior evermore.

 


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