“Love is the basis of godliness. Whatever the profession, no man has pure love to God unless he has unselfish love for his brother. But we can never come into possession of this spirit by trying to love others. What is needed is the love of Christ in the heart. When self is merged in Christ, love springs forth spontaneously. The completeness of Christian character is attained when the impulse to help and bless others springs constantly from within—when the sunshine of heaven fills the heart and is revealed in the countenance.
“It is not possible for the heart in which Christ abides to be destitute of love. If we love God because He first loved us, we shall love all for whom Christ died. We cannot come in touch with divinity without coming in touch with humanity; for in Him who sits upon the throne of the universe, divinity and humanity are combined. Connected with Christ, we are connected with our fellow men by the golden links of the chain of love. Then the pity and compassion of Christ will be manifest in our life. We shall not wait to have the needy and unfortunate brought to us. We shall not need to be entreated to feel for the woes of others. It will be as natural for us to minister to the needy and suffering as it was for Christ to go about doing good.
“Wherever there is an impulse of love and sympathy, wherever the heart reaches out to bless and uplift others, there is revealed the working of God’s Holy Spirit. In the depths of heathenism, men who have had no knowledge of the written law of God, who have never even heard the name of Christ, have been kind to His servants, protecting them at the risk of their own lives. Their acts show the working of a divine power. The Holy Spirit has implanted the grace of Christ in the heart of the savage, quickening his sympathies contrary to his nature, contrary to his education. The ‘Light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world’ (John 1:9), is shining in his soul; and this light, if heeded, will guide his feet to the kingdom of God.”1
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“We must guard ourselves against a love of self that will lead us to neglect to render obedience to the important instructions Christ has given. These lessons should be so impressed upon our minds that we will consider how our words and actions appear to those who behold them. We should studiously cultivate Christian courtesy at all times, which will keep us from neglecting that which is due to others. We must study the example Christ has left us, as revealed in his character; and then, all unconsciously to ourselves, we shall do the works he did. By reflecting upon those around us the rays of light we thus receive, we may bring to a saving knowledge of him those who know him not. If all who claim to believe the truth would practice the lessons of Jesus to love our neighbor as ourselves, there would be a forward, upward movement all along the line. We are to love souls for whom the Saviour died, with the pure unselfish love he manifested when he became our sacrifice.
“Let heads of families look into their home life. Is this love exemplified in the family circle? Go farther in your self-examination: in your association with your brethren in church capacity, do you find unkindness, selfishness, or even dishonesty? Be sure that you examine and prove yourselves as Paul has directed: ‘Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith: prove your own selves.’ In the light of God’s word, search carefully whether you truly have the love of God in the heart. ‘This is my commandment, That ye love one another as I have loved you.’ ‘He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.’
“The love of Jesus needs to be brought to bear upon our lives. It will have a softening, subduing influence upon our hearts and characters. It will prompt us to forgive our brethren, even though they have done us injury. Divine love must flow from our hearts in gentle words and kindly actions to one another. The fruit of these good works will hang as rich clusters upon the vine of character. ‘The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.’
“ ‘Long-suffering’ is patience with offense; long endurance. If you are long-suffering, you will not impart to others your supposed knowledge of your brother’s mistakes and errors. You will seek to help and save him, because he has been purchased with the blood of Christ. ‘Tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.’ ‘Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual restore such a one in the spirit of meekness, considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.’ To be long-suffering is not to be gloomy and sad, sour and hard-hearted; it is to be exactly the opposite.
“There are church members who never feel sweet peace and rest in Jesus. They have made no growth in grace, they manifest no increase in meekness and love. An impatient, fault-finding, critical, envious, suspicious spirit classes them as yet among those under the influence of the adversary of souls. If they would let the spirit of their Saviour come in, their cold, hard hearts would be melted, and the merciful love of Jesus would be communicated to others instead of this worrying, exacting spirit. Christ’s followers are in this world for the purpose of working intelligently to pluck brands from the burning. A consistent religious life, holy conversation, a godly example, true-hearted benevolence, mark the representative of Christ. Every duty he will faithfully perform, thus becoming a beacon light. . . . Rejoicing in Christ as your Saviour, pitiful, compassionate, and touched with the feeling of your infirmities, love and joy will be revealed in your daily life.”2
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“Those who claim to be following Jesus, and who do not cherish love for their brethren, are deceived. They are not following the light of the world, but the ruler of the darkness of the world. Jesus said, ‘A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another: as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.’
“The same voice that spoke to the disciples in the New Testament spoke to the congregation of Israel in the Old Testament, saying: ‘Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbor, and not suffer sin upon him. Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself: I am the Lord.’ Jesus said again: ‘Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven.’ . . . Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. . . .
“It was the same Jesus who commanded that love should be the ruling principle in the old dispensation, that commanded that love should be the ruling principle in the hearts of his followers in the New Testament. The working out of the principle of love is true sanctification. Those who walk in the light will be the children of the light, and will diffuse light to those who are around them in kindness, in affection, in unmistakable love. ‘God is love: and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.’ Unless love is cherished in the soul, and that continually, Christ does not abide in the heart. He who is devoid of love, has not the shining of the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness in the chambers of heart and mind. But the soul who has opened the door of the heart to Jesus, will reveal the light of life in practical godliness.”3