Christian Love by J.C. Ryle

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Abeard

Puritan Board Freshman
Christian love will show itself in a believer's doings. It will make him ready to do kind acts to everyone within his reach, "both to their bodies and souls. It will not let him be content with soft words and kind wishes. It will make him diligent in doing all that lies in his power to lessen the sorrow and increase the happiness of others. Like his Master, he will care more for ministering than for being ministered to, and will look for nothing in return. Like his Master's great apostle, he will very willingly "spend and be spent" for others, even though they repay him with hatred, and not with love. True love does not want wages. Its work is its reward.

Christian love will show itself in a believer's readiness to bear evil as well as to do good. It will make him . . .
patient under provocation,
forgiving when injured,
meek when unjustly attacked,
quiet when slandered.

It will make him bear much and forbear much, put up with much and look over much, submit often and deny himself often--all for the sake of peace. It will make him put a strong bit on his temper, and a strong bridle on his tongue.

True love is not always asking, "What are my rights? Am I treated as I deserve?" but, "How can I best promote peace? How can I do that which is most edifying to others?"

Christian love will show itself in the general spirit and demeanor of a believer. It will make him kind, unselfish, good-natured, good-tempered, and considerate for others. It will make him gentle, affable, and courteous, in all the daily relations of private life. It will make him thoughtful for others' comfort, tender for others' feelings, and more anxious to give pleasure than to receive.

Think, for a moment, how deplorably little love there is upon earth! How conspicuous is the absence of true love among professing Christians! I speak not of heathen now, I speak of professing Christians! What angry tempers, what passions, what selfishness, what bitter tongues--are to be found in private families! What strifes, what quarrels, what spitefulness, what malice, what revenge, what envy between neighbours and fellow-parishioners! What jealousies and contentions between Churchmen and Dissenters, Calvinists and Arminians, High Churchmen and Low Churchmen! "Where is love?" we may well ask, "Where is love? Where is the mind of Christ?"--when we look at the spirit which reigns in the world. No wonder that Christ's cause stands still, and infidelity abounds--when men's hearts know so little of love! Surely, we may well say, "When the Son of man comes, shall He find love upon earth?”

Think, for another thing, what a happy world this would be--if there was more love. It is the lack of love which causes half the misery which there is upon earth. Sickness, and death, and poverty, will not account for more than half the sorrows. The rest come from ill- temper, ill-nature, strifes, quarrels, lawsuits, malice, envy, revenge, frauds, violence, wars, and the like. It would be one great step towards doubling the happiness of mankind, and halving their sorrows--if all men and women were full of Scriptural love.

Love, in the last place, is the greatest of the graces, because it is the one which endures the longest. In fact, it will never die. Faith will one day be swallowed up in sight--and hope in certainty. Their office will be useless in the morning of the resurrection; and, like old almanacs, they will be laid aside. But love will live on through the endless ages of eternity! Heaven will be the abode of love. The inhabitants of Heaven will be full of love. One common feeling will be in all their hearts, and that will be love.
 
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