Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Loving the brethren

Where the Spirit of God is there must be love, and if I have once known and recognized any man to be my brother in Christ Jesus, the love of Christ constraineth me no more to think of him as a stranger or foreigner, but a fellow citizen with the saints. Now I hate High Churchism as my soul hates Satan; but I love George Herbert, although George Herbert is a desperately High Churchman. I hate his High Churchism, but I love George Herbert from my very soul, and I have a warm corner in my heart for every man who is like him. Let me find a man who loves my Lord Jesus Christ as George Herbert did, and I do not ask myself whether I shall love him or not; there is no room for question, for I cannot help myself; unless I can leave off loving Jesus Christ, I cannot cease loving those who love him.

Here is George Fox, the Quaker, a strange sort of body it is true, going about the world making much noise and stir; but I love the man with all my soul, because he had an awful respect for the presence of God and an intense love for everything spiritual. How is it that I cannot help loving George Herbert and George Fox, who are in some things complete opposites? Because they both loved the Master. I will defy you, if you have any love to Jesus Christ to pick or choose among his people; you may hate as much as you will the shells, in which the pearls lie, and the dross with which the gold is mixed, but the true, the precious blood-bought gold, the true pearl, heaven-dyed, you must esteem. You must love a spiritual man find him wherever you may.

From a sermon entitled "Unity in Christ," delivered January 7, 1866. Image by Ginny under Creative Commons License.

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