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Love and Brotherly Love

Love and Brotherly Love

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
Romans 12:9-10 by Robert Candlish
Romans 12:9-10 by Robert Candlish

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Sep 30, 2011
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LOVE AD BROTHERLY LOVEBy Robert Candlish 1870" Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil ; cleave to thatwhich is good. J3e kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love ; in^onour preferring one another." — Rom. xii. 9, 10.Of the two virtues, or graces, spoken of in these verses,love and brotherly love, the one, love, is more general,having for its objects all sentient and intelligent beingswithin the range of our acquaintance ; the other again,brotherly love, is more limited, embracing those only whoare one with us in Christ. In the connection in whichthey here stand, love, the wider affection, is to be con-sidered chiefly in its relation to the more particularaffection of brotherly love. It is brotherly love thatproperly fits into the Apostle's line of thought.He is still, at this stage, addressing you as believers ;organized into one body, having one common Head, butdiffering from one another, in respect of gifts, offices andfunctions, as the members of the natural body do. He isspeaking to you on the subject of your internal relationsto God and to one another. It is not till the thirteenthverse that he comes to speak of your relations to them thatare without — outside of the Church or kingdom of Christ.128 CHRISTIAS OE BODY I CHRIST.Up to that point, his exhortations seem to be, all of them, meant to bear upon your standing and your dutieswithin its pale. It is, if we may so speak, the homeadministration of the kingdom that is here discussed.Its foreign policy does not come up till afterwards.You have been marshalled, you have been endeavouring
 
to marshal yourselves, as officers and officials in the king-dom, according to the general order: — ** Having then giftsdiffering according to the grace that is given to us, whetherprophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith ; or ministry, let us wait on our ministering : or hethat teacheth, on teaching ; or he that exhorteth, on ex-hortation : he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity;he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy,with cheerfulness." You are all now, it is to be presumed,in your proper places ; the right men, and the rightwomen too, in the right places. You have your severalworks assigned to you. You go about your several call-ings, you separate to ply your several tasks, in the onehousehold of faith of which you are all members.Is not the house then divided ? Practically is not thisthe upshot ? True, you tell us that, " as we have manymembers in one body, and all the members have not thesame office ; so we, being many, are one body in Christ,and every one members one of another." And this idealof unity in diversity may be a fine theory. But in pointof fact, we find ourselves, in the actual business of thechurch, in congregational arrangements — -even in thelabours of love to which we are set, wide as the polesasunder. We scarcely ever come in contact with one an-LOVE AD BROTHERLY LOVE. 129other, or cross one another's path. Is not our oneness,then, as a body, a mere name ? To all intents and pur-poses, in our outer Christian walk and work, as well asin our inner Christian life, are we not isolated, indi-vidualized ; each doing the best he can for himself, feel-ing, very much as if he were left alone, and must get onas he best may alone ? Or if I am thrown into closerfellowship with some one or two stray followers of Christ,is it not, as I may say, by accident, by force of circum-stances, congeniality of temper, similarity of situation, orsome cause, at all events, quite independent of this fairvision of the one body with the many members — the
 
many members in the one body?It may be so. To a large extent perhaps it is so.Alas ! that it should be so. The church-tie, the congre-*gational-tie, the closer spiritual tie of a common interestin Christ and a common call to work for Christ, — potentas th y are in theory, — are all apt at all times, and nowprobably as much as ever, to be practically weak ; tooweak to resist the influences at work, even within theirrange, to occasion separation and disunion. The moving-bodies around the central Sun are ever tending, in theirmovements, to fly off from him and from one another.The attractive power must be strong that is to resist andovercome the tendency. And so it is. For it is love ;and what is stronger than love, especially if it be trueand holy? "Let love be without dissimulation. Abhorthat which is evil ; cleave to that which is good.'' aymore, it is not love in general merely, but brotherlylove ; and what closer bond of union can there be thanI130 CHRISTIAS OE BODY I CHRIST.the genial and simple-hearted sympathy of a commonhome ? "Be kindly affect ioned one to another withbrotherly love ; in honour preferring one another."Taking this view of the connection in which thesetwo verses stand, we may, in the first place, considergenerally the relation of love to brotherly love. Andthen, secondly, we may examine the particular attributesor features which they must have respectively, if theyare to serve the purpose contemplated : the purpose,namely, of keeping the unity of the Spirit in the bondof peace. The love must be, on the one hand, unfeigned, — " without dissimulation ;" and, on the other hand, dis-criminating, — " abhor that which is evil, cleave to thatwhich is good.'' The brotherly love again must be,on the one hand, hearty, — " be kindly affectioned one toanother ;" and it must be, on the other hand, humble, — 

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