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larly happy in thought and expression. The writer, the Rev. W. Chapman, was outspoken and convincing about the number of embryo lay preachers there are somewhere; the church's duty to find them out, and bring them to the front, and then to call them, train them, hear them, and send them forth to the sinners all around. It was a capital letter; and as was most meet, ordered to be printed in the Minutes.
On the great questions of the day important resolutions were passed. At the wise suggestion of the President, all “public questions” are hereafter to be attended to, only AFTER our denominational business is finished. But we are alive to these matters, and the Burnley Association showed itself peculiarly so. Resolutions on peace, a resolution to the House of Commons on Disestablishment, and a copy to Mr. Miall; one on temperance; the Endowed Schools Act; and one-calling on the General Baptist electors to stand firm to their principles at the coming general election; were passed with a heartiness that showed how true to the core we are—though with a hurry, only the result of sadly too little time. If the men who aspire to be our legislators are not pretty sound too, we must try and find out some fitting men who are.
The time, and your space, Mr. Editor, would fail to tell how the Building Fund, the Association accounts, THIS MAGAZINE, the coming denominational literature, and other matters of interest, came under review. The Secretary's report, the increase in the year, probably about 300 members, the chapels built and building, schools too-all these may be found in the Year Book we hope to have ready when this number of the Magazine reaches the reader's hands. Fitting tributes of affectionate remembrance were paid to the late treasurer of the Association, Robert Wherry, Esq., J.P., of Wisbeach ; to the beloved Dr. Ingham, the estimable John Cookson, M.A., the earnest and brave William Salter, and the venerable John Sutcliffe, all of whom have passed to their rest during the year. other, all but unknown except to those in his own immediate neighbourhood, John Midgley, for 25 years minister at Shore, “has joined the blood besprinkled band, on the eternal shore."
Thank God the young men are growing up into active service; but some of us feel how fast the fathers are passing away.
The next Association is invited to Loughborough, an invitation most cordially accepted. The President elect is the Rev. Thomas Barrass, the preachers, Revs. J. Maden, jun., and B. Wood, with J. H. Atkinson and W. Sharman for alternates. The letter by Rev. E. C. Pike, B.A., on “Spiritual Declension.” The new secretary, the Rev. C. Clarke, B.A., Ashby, who has our best wishes, and shall have our willing help too.
The recollection of our Burnley visit is a very pleasant one. The chairman's courtesy and tact greatly expedited the business, and won golden opinions. The friends at Ebenezer and Enon laid themselves out for making everybody happy, and succeeded. And we hope and believe that the influence left behind us is of a blessed and will be of a lasting character. Surely such gatherings as these must be approved in heaven ; and something of heaven's own peace was enjoyed by us all. A brotherly unanimity, a home feeling, a heartiness, and an amount of holy fervour characterized all the gatherings. And it was a good to be there." Home again to our work now, may we all enjoy our Father's blessing, our Saviour's presence, and the Holy Spirit's help. Toiling on in His service, whose we are, till the day dawns and the shadows flee away, and He calls us to our eternal rest, and everlasting home.
S. S. ALLSOP.
CHRISTIAN BROTHERLY LOVE; ITS MODEL AND ITS
BY J. P. BARNETT, OF LONGFORD.
My subject this evening is both important and timely. It has to do with the mutual relations of individual Christians, of churches, and of sects. No Christian man, or church, or denomination, can safely neglect it. You will see that I have not to deal with Christian brotherly love in its more general aspect; my remarks must be restricted to the model to which it should be conformed, and to the beauty by which, when so conformed, it is distinguished. All men, of course, should be lovers of all, inasmuch as all are of one blood, and have sprung from one source. Christians, moreover, should cherish special love to each other, inasmuch as they are united together by specialties. They all profess the same faith ; they are all trusting in the same Saviour; they all have substantially the same foes; they are all partakers of the same spiritual life; they are all moving forward to the same destiny. These identities ought to make them one in heart-ought to unite and compact them together by one all-pervading, all-embracing, all-subordinating love. But how is this love to work? In what way is it to reveal itself ? Under what forms are its operations to be seen ? What is the altitude to which it is to rise ? In what directions is it to be free? And are there any directions in which it is to be restrained ?
Happily we are at no loss for an answer to such questions. Jesus, our Saviour and Lord, has Himself supplied it. Great was His solicitude for the welfare of His disciples in view of His approaching departure from the world. This was shown, first, in the consolations He administered to them, of which we read so much in the 14th chapter of John: and then in the instructions He gave to them as to how they were to act when He was gone, of which we read in the 15th chapter. They are to keep inviolate the sacred relation in which He stands to them—a relation essential to their spiritual life and fruitfulness. This requirement comes out most impressively in the parable of the Vine and the Branches. They are to continue in His love as the one divine element in which their spiritual life is to thrive. And in order to this, they are to keep His commandments; for, says He, “if ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love; even as I have kept My Father's commandments, and abide in His love." And then, almost in the same breath, he says: “This is My commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you.” Here, then, we have the model of Christian Brotherly Love. Pondering these words, we may sigh, and say: "Who of us can love as Christ loves ?” The love of Christ to His people transcends all our thought. Paul tells us that "it passeth knowledge;" yet he prays that the Ephesians may “know” it. A great preacher once explained the paradox thus: “The ocean is unfathomable, but I can bathe in it; the air is illimitable, but I can breathe it.” So the love of Christ to His people can be set before us as the pattern of their love to each other. Our love is to resemble His—not in its measure, which is impossible-but in its spirit, which is not impossible. We cannot love as much as He loves; but we can, and must, love in the same way.
This being so, it is obvious that we are not to wait until our fellow * The substance of an address at the Association Prayer Meeting, Enon Chapel, Burnley, on
Monday evening, June 23rd.
Christians become unexceptionably good before we love them. Love may take the form of sympathy, or of forbearance, or of practical helpfulness, when it cannot take the form of complacency. Our lack of holiness was enough to make all complacent love for us on Christ's part impossible. Infinitely holy Himself, he must abhor all unholiness in us with the whole infinite force of His moral being. He sees us covered, nay saturated, with the horrible defilement of sin; and yet He loves us with a love which is truly infinite in its tenderness. How is it? It is because He sees in us such sad needs, springing out of our very sinfulness, as only infinite grace can supply. Behold, herein, the model of Brotherly Love in the church. We are to love our fellow Christians notwithstanding their demerits. Even when they show features of character in which we cannot feel complacency, we are not to withdraw our affectionate regard from them. Our common imperfections are to be deplored, but they are not to drive us apart. Let us not say :
Why should I love that man ? True, he is a member of the church, but he is a very unworthy member. He is this, that, and the other; and I don't like him.” Had Jesus dealt so with us, the best among us would have fared but poorly. The frailties of Christian people, instead of leading to mutual antipathy or indifference, should call forth their mutual regards into greater earnestness, for so only can they help each other upward into a truer and better life.
Again-Christian Brotherly Love is often restrained by differences of temperament and disposition ; but the example of Christ shows us that it should not be so. Human love is largely inspired and controlled by what we call" affinity.” Souls gravitate towards each other, or fly apart, by the action of this mysterious law. Love is easy, indeed it it inevitable, where there is congeniality of nature. But the love of Christ has triumphed gloriously over this law. Lazarus is thoughtful and silent; Mary is contemplative and tender; Martha is demonstrative and hasty; Peter is impulsive and rash ; James is calculating and practical; John is gentle and affectionate; Thomas is sensuous and suspicious; Paul is daring and resolute. Yet Jesus is the fond and faithful lover of them all. Undoubtedly, in His private life as a man, he had His special friends; and we, too, have this freedom. But the point is this, that none were excluded from the affection of the Saviour because of some peculiarity of disposition which, temperamentally considered, was not congenial with His own. Here again we see our model. In the bestowment of our love, we are not to pass by any disciple of Christ simply on account of some difference of temperament betwixt himself and us. Below that quality of nature which we call temperament, we ought to find a life in every Christian soul with which our own life can freely, gladly, and gratefully blend. Shall Peter, and James, and John, split away from each other, or be irritated by each other, or pass each other in the street with scarcely a nod of recognition, because they are not temperamentally alike? Or shall you and I do the same ? Nay, verily. By the love which Christ our common Redeemer and Lord has for us all, let us love each other, whatever our temperamental differences may be.
Again-Christian Brotherly Love ought not to be affected by differences of education and social status. The church is not, and cannot be, composed of persons who are alike in these respects. Some of Christ's disciples were poor fishermen. Nicodemus was a Jewish ruler; Joseph of Arimathea was a rich man and a member of the Sanhedrim; Matthew had been a hated tax gatherer ; Luke had the learning as well as the social respect
Christian Brotherly Love; its Model and its Beauty. 291 ability of a physician ; some were taken from the dregs of society. Yet each partook, without stint, of the Master's love. Rich or poor, learned or rude, celebrated or obscure, respected or contemned—all received from him an equal welcome. Why, then, should social and educational distinctions keep Christians apart ? Why should a Christian who rises in the world forsake the society of those who cannot rise along with him ? Or why should he turn his back superciliously on the class to which he formerly belonged ? A"respectable” lady of my acquaintance was invited by her minister to assist in the Sabbath school. It happened that the bulk of the teachers in that school belonged to what are called “the inferior orders.” What?" she indignantly exclaimed, “ do you think I am going to mix myself up with a low set like that?” That lady, had she lived at the time, would have taken sides with the Scribes and Pharisees who murmured at the Lord when publicans and sinners and “low people” of all sorts drew near to hear Him, and who sneeringly said, “This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.” I am told that in the Channel Islands society is divided up into the "sixties,” the “ forties,” and the “twenties”-these numbers representing the different social levels. The “sixties” never go down to the level of the “forties," nor the “forties” to that of the “twenties,”—the “twenties” never intrude into the society of the “forties,” nor the “forties” into that of the sixties." Yet “sixties," “ forties,” and “twenties” may all belong to the same church-may all be saved by the same grace, regaled by the same promises, and gladdened by the prospect of the same heaven. Why should these arbitrary social and educational distinctions keep them apart ? Such distinctions may suit the world where pride and selfishness have unlimited scope; bat, in the name of Christ, let them be kept out of the church, where they are an ugly incongruity and a shameful impertinence!
Again. Christian Brotherly Love should not be impaired by varieties of opinion on many matters pertaining to religion. It must not be supposed that these are of modern growth in the church. They have existed from the beginning. What fierce controversies we read of in the Acts of the Apostles, and in various epistles also; controversies about meats and drinks, and holy days, and circumcision, and other like things. And how does a teacher like Paul deal with them? Does be anathematise them ? No. He sees that they are inevitable in the circumstances, and contents himself with doing what he can to soften their severity. Does he take sides, and become a partizan ? No. He counsels the maintenance of individual liberty along with the most unrestricted spiritual fellowship. “Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputation. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.” On one occasion Paul did take sides; and it is remarkable that in that instance he did so in the interest of individual liberty. In the debate at Antioch he withstood Peter to the face because, although Peter had, under some circumstances, conformed to the manners of Gentile Christians, and had thus asserted his own Christian freedom, he wanted to take away the freedom of Gentile Christians by compelling them to conform to the practices of those who leaned to the Jewish side of things. But did that controversy separate the two apostles? Perhaps it did for a time; for human nature, even at the best, is frail. At all events, we find Peter a few years later writing of this same Paul who had rebuked his intolerance and his want of consistency so faithfully, as "our beloved brother Paul,” which he would hardly have done if the feud had not been honourably healed. Of course there is a necessary limit to the principle of catholicity. It ought not to be diluted into a loose
latitudinarianism which deprives truth of all practical force. It is fashionable in our time to teach and to believe that complete religious fellowship is, and ought to be, compatible with complete theological antagonism; which logically amounts to this, that Dr. Burns, or Mr. Clifford, or Mr. Spurgeon, ought to be as much at home in the religious society of Mr. Voysey, or the Baboo Keshub Chunder Sen, or the Pope of Rome, as in that of Dr. Binney or Dr. Brock! The idea is preposterous. We have no right, even were it possible, to be on terms of Christian fellowship with men who deny, or who fatally misrepresent, the cardinal doctrines of the gospel. The apostle who said, “Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputation,” also said, “Though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” But within the very wide limits which the great fundamental verities of the gospel supply, we ought to feel perfectly one in heart with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity, though there be twenty secondary theological or ecclesiastical questions on which they and we may differ. Jesus Himself does not refuse to meet with Baptists and Pædobaptists equally, and equally to bless them, at His own table; but Baptists are sometimes less liberal than their Master, and will sit down with members of their own persuasion only! Let none whom Christ receives be rejected, or snubbed, or suspected, or treated otherwise than as beloved brethren in the Lord by those who have received Him. If mistakes on minor matters do not separate Christians from Christ, they ought not to separate Christians from each other.
I will not dwell on the sacrifices which the love of Christ for His people cost Him, and upon the wonderful patience with which He bears with their infirmities. These are familiar topics. But in this spirit of self-sacrifice and of weariless patience, He is our example. “ Ye know the
grace Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye, through His poverty, might be rich." "Whom He loveth, He loveth unto the end." He “ bears our griefs and carries our sorrows;” and He "loves on through love's eternity." By the self-abnegating richness and the divine persistency of His love, He woos and wins us nearer and nearer to Himself, and melts our faults and follies down, until we are fitted, in a perfect sinlessness, to take our place at His side in heaven. Here, again, is the pattern of our love for our brethren. It is to be something stronger, more robust, more heroic, than a mere sentimentality, which is content to say, “ Yours is a sad distressing case, and I am very sorry for you.” It must say, “Let me help you to bear your burden, that I may so fulfil the law of Christ.” It is not to change with our changing moods, as the barometer rises and falls with the changes of the weather. We, too, are to love on patiently and persistently; and, by loving on, to try to charm the imperfections of our brethren away.
Such is Christian Brotherly Love, seen in the light of the Divine Example. And I am sure that if you can realise it as it is displayed in Christ, you will not need that I should speak of its beauty. Beauty needs no trumpeter-no panegyrist ; it always speaks for itself. Jesus is the Eternal Beauty, specially because he is the Eternal Love. Let His loving spirit be infused into the hearts and lives of His people, and they shall become, like Him, fairer than the rest of the sons of men. Let His loving spirit fill the world, and the world shall shine forth with a beauty as of heaven. Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even