Scripture: "This is His commandment, that we should believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, even as He gave us commandment."—1 JOHN iii. 23.
At a Conference at Graaff Reinet, the closing service was held on Sunday night. At the afternoon meeting we decided to take, as subject, the five great lessons to be learned from the parable of the Vine and Branches in John xv. The subject of brotherly love fell to the lot of a certain minister. But he demurred saying: "I cannot speak on that subject, and I have never yet preached on it." In explanation he said: "You know that I studied in Holland, and when there the subject of love was left to the liberal section. They did not believe in God's stern justice, nor in the redemption through Christ. God was love; that was enough. The orthodox party were not allowed to suggest that their oppon¬ents should be put out of the church. No, all should be borne in love! And so it came to pass that the orthodox party were strong in preaching faith, but left the preaching of love to the liberal section."
The Church must learn not only to preach the love of God in redemption; it must go further, and teach Christians to show that the love of Christ is in their hearts, by love shown to the brethren. Our Lord called this a new commandment: a badge by which the world should recognize His disciples!
There is great need for this preaching of love. God sometimes allows bitterness to arise between Christians that they may view the terrible power of sin in their hearts, and shrink back at the sight. How greatly a minister and his people should feel the importance of Christ's command: "Love one another." A life of great holiness will result, if we really but love each other as Christ loves us.
May the reading of this book help us to understand the two manifestations of love: the wonderful love of God in Christ to us, and the wonderful love in us, through the Holy Spirit, to Him and to our brethren.