Above all things have fervent charity among yourselves. The love of Christ constraineth us. Ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
Christ does not say that all persons are to be loved by us alike,—with equal degrees of personal interest and attachment; for He never asks what cannot be. But that kind of love which springs from our being all one in Him whose boundless love embraces all for the sake of redeeming them unto eternal blessedness and gladness, unworthy as they are,—this is possible for us toward every child of God; the unsightliest, the most disagreeable, the least lovely, the worst. We cannot reverse the inwrought laws of taste, attraction, preference, common culture and common life, which group and distribute men. But we can merge them all in that one common charity which, in the Redeemer himself, was large enough to reach and gather up the vilest, and which in His true followers can see in every human creature this trace of nobleness and beauty—the capacity of being by repentance and faith raised to heavenly places—of wearing the like- ness and the righteousness of the Lord forever and forever. In other words, all can be loved in Him, and will be by those that have their life in Him. And we must not be too fastidious about people forsaking their ugliness and correcting their faults, before our charity goes out to them. Suppose a moment the grace of God had been measured to us by that thrifty rule. Look long at Jesus; His sweet blood. How was it dealt to thee! A child asked: “When God blots out the sins on our souls, are the blots left?” So no material image suffices to display the marvellous condescension and grace of God’s charity in His Son. But this we know,—He does not look at the blots. The figure is but of robes, and they are washed and made white in the blood of our justification and pardon. How true it is, then, that the grace of charity, like all other graces, has its roots in the one common ground of Christ’s own spiritual life; that all the branches through one living trunk unite there. I in your care my brethren left, Not willing ye should be bereft Of waiting on your Lord. The meanest offering ye can make— A drop of, water—for love’s sake, In heaven, be sure, is stored.
0 CHRIST Thou living fire, kindle within me the fire of Thy love, which Thou didst shed abroad in the earth; that it may remove all vice from my soul; that it may purify my conscience from remorse; that it may cleanse my body from all sin; and that it may kindle the light of the knowledge of Thee in my heart, for thine own dear sake. Amen.