path of love is the one suited to the highest excellence. Without love,
ability to speak in the languages of men and messengers brings forth
sounds worth no more than resounding copper and clanging cymbal.
Knowledge is nothing if it is not seasoned by love. If one has the
greatest faith, and has no love, he is nothing. Sacrifice of self and
possessions amounts to nothing, without love.
Love is patient, kind, not jealous, not bragging, not puffed up, not
indecent, not self-seeking, not easily angered, and does not make a
record, mentally or otherwise, of evil inflicted, so as to "get
even," or sulk and act in an unfriendly manner.
Hatred is foreign to the spirit of Christ. Yet one who has His spirit
may manifest this baneful trait. This is because the flesh sometimes
acts against the demands of the spirit. The spirit of Christ is the
faith of the Son of God. Paul said that the life which he lived in flesh
he lived by faith that is of the Son of God. that is, the flesh was
present, but the life, which is faith, is something apart from flesh.
However, sin's flesh sometimes manifests hatred, instead of that love
which is a product of the new life.
It would seem that the fact of the conciliation, if understood, would
cause us to have good will toward all, for this is the attitude of God
toward the world. He is not reckoning their offenses to them; yet sin
that is in us sometimes gets the upper hand, and we find ourselves
holding against others, the fact that they have offended us. This is
manifested in both press and pulpit, by those of whom we expect better.
Love, which was one of the marks of saints in every administration, has
not lapsed. There are no more prophets; No one can now speak in other
languages without learning them in school; knowledge apart from the
written word passed away. I mean that when the scriptures were finished,
there was no more revelation of new truth. But love has not lapsed. It
is as much in place in this administration as in any previous one.
Paul completed the word of God, installment by installment. But it is
now finished. And, by faith, we see face to face, and not merely God's
back, as was the case with Moses. We now know ourselves as God knows us.
That is, we now see that all is of God, and that our entire career is in
Before the scriptures were completed, many things puzzled the saints.
Even the plan of salvation had not been made plain. A true word-picture
of God had never been painted. It is in Paul's writing that the Son of
God is unveiled to faith. He is the Image of the invisible God. Knowing
Him, we know the Father. Puzzles have been cleared up.
But thousands of saints have not been initiated into these latest
truths. God has seen fit to keep them in the "primer grade."
They find their spiritual food in writings that are preparatory. They
get their "living," such as it is, from the "Old
Testament," from the four "Gospels," from the Acts, and
from the writings of Peter, James and John, and hardly ever
"dip" into the writings of Paul. This is like living on a
second rate diet, when the first rate one is available.
But, even so, there is more to it than appears on the surface. In the
last analysis, it is God Who keeps them away from the finishing
writings. Who would dare say this is not true, and, at the same time,
declare that all is of God? Shall we scorn them? Rather, may we thank
God if He had brought us a little further along the path of truth.
Paul, who tells us all the things that I have mentioned, takes occasion
to tell us at the close of the marvelous thirteenth chapter of First
Corinthians, "Yet now are remaining faith expectation, love---these
three. Yet the greatest of these is LOVE. Be pursuing love."
Shall we who know the conciliation fail to love saints who do not agree
with us. If we are correct in our view of the scripture, then they are
not correct if they disagree with us. But they may be more correct than
we, in attitude. I have known precious saints in the past who knew
nothing of rightly dividing the word of truth, did not know the
difference between the new birth and the new creation, had only a vague
idea of the present elective calling, and saw no difference between the
Circumcision and the Uncircumcision writings, yet they were actuated by
the very sweetest spirit of love and forbearance. One who has ALL
knowledge and very little love, is not nearly so correct.
Paul tells us that love is not working evil to an associate. If we work
evil to anyone, believer or unbeliever, with whom we come in contact
personally, or by letter, or one who read our production in print, we
are working evil to an associate. This we will not do, if we love him.
And saints are not the only ones we are to love. All should be included.
We will find ourselves cultivating love for all, if we remember, first,
that all belong to God, and, second, that no one is as bad ALL the time
as he is PART of the time. I fear that I am disagreeable sometimes. But
I know I am not that way all the time. How blessed it is, to remember
the best side of every person whom we contact, and forget his worst
The three things that lead us to do evil to others, either by act, or by
word, or by neglect, are Envy, Suspicion and Prejudice. Who will claim
that he has never been afflicted with one or more of these? We envy the
person who has what we want and do not have. How silly! I used to envy a
certain millionaire whose name was often in the papers. Little did I
know that, despite his great wealth, he was deprived of some things that
I had. Many times one will work evil to a person whom he envies. It has
been done thousands of times.
Suspicion is terrible. We suspect that an associate is planning to do
harm to us. This suspicion translates his every word and act into
"proof" that what we suspect is true. How unfair this is!
Perhaps he is not at all aware that we harbor any suspicion against him.
But we will drop a hint here or there, with the view of doing him harm.
Or, perhaps, we will actually commit an act of evil against him. Or it
may be that we have an opportunity to do him good, and refuse to do it.
I have seen the blighting effects of prejudice. It is without reason.
Whatever is the failure of the one against whom our prejudices are
aroused, he can't avoid it. In many cases, what we think to be defects
are not that at all. We only think so. Without taking into consideration
how we would feel if we were in his place, and the arrows of prejudice
were directed against us, we go forth in self-righteous fashion,
perfectly willing, nay, anxious, to ruin his life.
But, harmful as these things are to those against whom they are
directed, we who are possessed of these unhappy traits suffer, also.
Envy, suspicion and prejudice soon become actual hatred. And this is a
defect of mind that will show in our countenance, sooner or later. No
one can maintain a sweet face and uplifting countenance, if his heart is
poisoned with the terrible disease of hatred.
As I have said in a previous article, Moses prayed that the loveliness
of the Lord might be on him and those with whom he associated. This
loveliness shows in a smile, in a glad countenance, in a happy
disposition, in helpful and kind words, and in acts that uplift the
spirits of those whom we contact.
One who has this sweet disposition is not going about prying into the
affairs of others, seeking to find a flaw. If he hears of a scandal he
does not try to destroy the one against whom the talk is directed. He
earnestly seeks to find something praiseworthy in the life of every
associate. If he can't do more, he will say, as did the Indian, when a
supposedly good-for-nothing neighbor was being buried, "He was a
good whistler." Happy is the man who is always actually seeking for
something good and nice to say of everyone with whom he has occasion to
associate. To be pitied is the man who is seeking for something to say
Be pursuing love.