The Christian Professor

John Angell James, 1837


Yes, it is indeed true, that love, in the Christian sense of the term, is found no where else beyond the kingdom of the Redeemer, for it grows in no soil but that of Christianity; so that when it is found, we may assuredly pronounce that we have reached holy land. But is this plant which is indigenous to the church of Christ found even there in profusion, in all its bloom, and beauty? Ah, no! but stinted in its growth, dismantled of its beauty, and of diminished fragrance. I acknowledge and lament that there is far too little of this heavenly disposition among the members of Christ's church upon earth.

Yet it is, blessed be the God of love, who has breathed his own nature into the hearts of his own people, no uncommon reward of a pastor's labor, as he holds his official walks among the people of his charge, often to listen to the report they make of each other's love in the spirit. O what blessed scenes have I witnessed of brotherly kindness within the wide circle of my own church, and rejoiced over them with thankfulness, as sweet and sacred proofs that I had not preached in vain the doctrine of redeeming love, nor inculcated in vain the necessary fruit of it, the love of the brethren.

Still, however, I sorrowfully confess, that among professors of every denomination, and my own among the rest, there is far, very far, too little of this God-like temper. We are all verily guilty concerning our brother. We had all need to go again to the cross of our dying Lord, to learn how he has loved us, and how we ought to love one another. The measure of tender affection with which Christians should regard each other, is so great, that what they have done in this way, seems as nothing.

See what is said, and how much, concerning this disposition in the word of God. Scarcely any duty is enjoined with such great frequency, or in so great a variety of forms. It is the peculiar law of Christ's kingdom, "This is my commandment that you love one another, as I have loved you." John. 15:12. Love is the identifying mark of Christ's disciples, the sign of their sonship, the necessary and certain token of their discipleship. "By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another." John 13:35. It is the fruit and evidence of our regeneration. 1 Peter 1:22, 23. "We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren." 1 John 3:14. Love is the mark of spiritual prosperity in a church. Eph. 1:15. Love is the ground of apostolic praise in individual character. "I thank God, making mention of you always in my prayers, hearing of your love and faith which you have towards the Lord Jesus and all the saints." Phil. 5. Love is the subject of frequent and emphatic apostolic admonition. "Bear one another's burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ." Gal. 6:2. Nearly the whole of the three epistles of John were written to enforce this duty.

Love is dignified with the appellation of the new COMMANDMENT. New in its kind, its model, its strength, its motives; "as I have loved you." Moses enjoined us to love our neighbor as ourselves; Christ has commanded us to love our neighbor, in one respect, more than ourselves, for we are, if need be, ''to lay down our lives for our brethren." 1 John 3:16. This love is made the test of character at the judgment day; the lack of it, the ground of condemnation to the wicked; and the possession of it, the ground of justification and approbation to the righteous. "Inasmuch as you did it, or did it not, to one of the least of these, my brethren, you did it, or did it not, to me." Matt. 25. Let any man read and study all these passages, and mark the vast importance which is attached to brotherly love, and then let him look round upon the church of Christ, and say if it is not yet lamentably deficient in this duty.

We should attentively consider the GROUNDS on which this love is to be exercised. It is love to the brethren, as such; love to them for God's sake and Christ's sake—love to them as the objects of the Father's eternal, infinite, and unchangeable affection; the purchase of the Son's agonies and blood; the workmanship of the Spirit's grace. How dear the saints are to the heart of Christ and of God, none can know but the infinite mind of God. This is the ground of genuine love to Christians; this is the agape of the New Testament, not an affection based on sectarian distinction, or party names; for a Jew, a Mohammedan, a Pagan may have this. If we can love only Christians of our own denomination or party; if our love is founded on the Book of Common Prayer; or on John Wesley's works; or on the Assembly's Catechism, or on adult baptism; it is not the love of the brethren—but the love of our own denomination; and much of this love of party there is where there is not one particle of love to Christ's followers.

The ground of Christian love is this, "you are Christ's," anything substituted for this or added to it, turns our affection into quite another thing. If this single idea be not of itself enough to engage our heart to anyone, then we have not the love of the brethren. If his relation to Christ as one of his redeemed people, one of the members of his body, and one who bears his image, is not sufficient to attract our regards, except he be one of our own church or denomination; or if though we admit that he is all this, we feel an instant damp upon our affection, and an alienation of heart, when we are told that he is a Dissenter or a Churchman, a Calvinist or a Methodist—we are either altogether lacking, or very weak in brotherly love. We may not love, indeed cannot, it would not be right, to love true Christians because they differ from us—but we ought to love them in spite of their differences.

The moral likeness of Christ is that one object the contemplation of which excites this holy emotion. Wherever we discover the image of Jesus, or see a course of action, which evinces the possession of his spirit, there will all the sympathies be awakened, the sensibilities be set in motion, and the feelings cluster which may be the elements of brotherly love. Let me see an individual of any color, or climate, or sect, who calls himself a Christian, and who in his conduct is manifestly governed by a love to Jesus, who is cultivating the heavenly dispositions, and holy habits of the Gospel, who has embarked his heart in the high interests in which God is engaged, and if I have any brotherly love in me, I see a man who has higher claims on my regard and sympathy than the mere natural relations of life can command; "loving he who begat, I love he who is begotten of him"

Bound to the throne of God by those moral excellences which brighten his character, and make him an object of delightful attachment, I am also bound in affection to everyone, who beholding the glory of God as it shines in the face of Jesus Christ, has been changed into the same image. And as he is the center of attraction to them all, and they all alike love to sit at his feet, and imbibe his heavenly spirit, so also do they love to contemplate the faintest reflections of his glory wherever visible. Let me see the image of God my Father, and Christ my Savior, in any person, and I love it for the sake of the divine original, and that portrait I love best which is most like the original.

No one, who is in the possession of the New Testament, and has made himself well acquainted with its contents, can be ignorant of the manner in which this love should, and does operate, where it is really possessed. There can exist no mystery here. Affection needs no schooling and lecturing as to modes of action, seasons of manifestation, and means of benefit. It is all heart to feel, all mind to invent, all foot to move, and hand to administer. It may not be amiss, however, to put Christians in remembrance of what they owe to their brethren; to those especially with whom they are associated in the bonds of immediate fellowship.

They should avoid all occasions of offence; repress every look, word, or action, that is in the remotest degree calculated to give pain, and consider their brother's peace of mind as sacred as their own. They should be ever willing, ready, and even forward, to exercise the most sincere and tender forgiveness. To be implacable is to be like the devil; to be forgiving is to be like him who prayed for his enemies, and who was no sooner taken down from the cross, than, in a manner, he seemed to be contriving to save those who nailed him to it. But what is this to the consideration how much he has forgiven us? To forgive a brother his offences ought to be the easiest and most delightful work which a Christian has to perform, considering what an example he has to copy from, and what a motive he professes to feel. It is beautifully said by an American preacher, "As the little children of one family, who often in the course of the day look angrily and feel soured towards one another, yet say, 'good night,' with an affectionate kiss, and in the morning meet again in love, so should it be the care of the dear children of God to love one another with a pure heart, fervently, and from the heart to forgive everyone his brother their trespasses."

Another operation of brotherly love is forbearance with each other's differences of opinion, infirmities of temper, and weaknesses of faith. Allied to this, is a disposition to avoid all rash judgments. Love is not censorious; but is inclined to think well of its object; to diminish, rather than magnify, its faults; and to conceal rather than to publish them. Brotherly love will induce a person to speak the language of admonition, and to administer reproof; but in a manner so gentle, so tender, and so humble, that the object of it, unless he be more of a brute than a Christian or a man, in his temper, shall feel that a kindness is done to him, for which there is a demand upon his gratitude and affection. A tender sympathy which leads us to bear one another's burdens of care and sorrow, is essential to this love. A sympathy which, not with impertinent curiosity—but with genuine pity, inquires into the cause of another's grief, to relieve it; a sympathy which invites the confidence of the mourner, and draws to its own bosom from his oppressed heart, the secret of the cloud that hangs upon his brow. "Oh! there is something that is lacking in the church here," says the same American preacher, whose expression I have already quoted, "something which shall so bind us together, that when one member suffers, all the members shall suffer with it, when any are in bonds, shall be bound with them—something which shall bring us into a dearer union, and wake up within us a more pure, refined, pervading sympathy, which shall be touched with the feeling of another's infirmities, and vibrate to the chord of woe, which is strong in a brother's heart."

Love will make us regardful of the needs of our poorer brethren! "For whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother have need, and shuts up his compassion from him, how dwells the love of God in him?" In these, and in every other way in which we can show our interest in the members of Christ, and our tender regard for their happiness, will brotherly love operate where it exists in reality and in vigor. We may now contemplate, for our edification and quickening, one or two bright specimens of this lovely virtue.

Read the account preserved in the Acts of the Apostles, of the scenes which followed the day of Pentecost. "So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved." Acts 2:41-47. Beautiful scene! Surprising effects! Where, in all the history of our world was anything like it, before or since? This was love. It seemed intended to show forth at the very origin of Christianity its mighty power to subdue the selfishness of our nature; and to set before all ages and all countries, an illustrious example of this heavenly virtue. I need not ask, where is anything like this now.

Consult the history of the church in subsequent times, and even amidst growing corruptions in other things, and you will find some bright and lovely exhibition of this spirit of primitive Christianity. In the time of Tertullian, charity was proverbial, and it was said of believers, "SEE HOW THESE CHRISTIANS LOVE ONE ANOTHER," insomuch, that the heathens, surprised to see a union so affectionate, ascribed it to supernatural causes, and imagined that some mysterious characters, imprinted on their bodies, operated as a charm, and inspired them with love for each other. There were mysterious characters—but they were imprinted on the soul, not on the body, and the name and image of Jesus were the charm.

Lucian, a satirical Greek writer of the second century, satirizing them, passed the highest possible praise upon them when he said, "It is incredible what pains and diligence they use by all means to support one another. They have an extreme contempt of the things of this world. Their Savior made them believe that they are all brethren, and since they have renounced our religion, and worshiped their crucified leader, they live according to his laws, and all their riches are common." This is Paganism bearing its testimony at the shrine of Christianity, to the superior excellence of the religion of the Gospel. Julian, the apostate, as he is called, paid a fine tribute to Christianity, and its professors of his own times, when, in writing to a heathen priest, he says, "Let us consider that nothing has contributed so much to the progress of the superstition of the Christians, as their charity to strangers. I think we ought to discharge this obligation ourselves. Establish hospitals in every place, for it would be a shame in us to abandon our poor, while the Jews have none, and the impious Galileans (thus he calls the Christians) provide not only for their own poor—but also for ours." O Christianity! this is one of your brightest triumphs, when this malignant and subtle foe could find no better way of attacking you than by imitating your virtues!

Eusebius, an ecclesiastical historian of the fourth century, gives a striking proof of the love of the brethren, in his time, when speaking of a plague which ravaged Egypt, he says, "Many of our brethren, neglecting their own health, through an excess of charity, have brought upon themselves the misfortunes and maladies of others. After they had held in their arms the dying saints, after they had closed their mouths and their eyes, after they had embraced, kissed, washed, and adorned them, and carried them on their shoulders to the graves, they have been glad themselves to receive the same kind offices from others, who have imitated their zeal and charity." The acts were, indeed, imprudent and improper, as Eusebius admits; but O, the power of love which induced those acts!

And then, as to the care of these early Christians of their poor; of this we have a famous example in the conduct of the Church of Rome, in the earlier and better period of her history. The Emperor Decius demanded their treasure. A deacon answered for the whole church, and required one day to comply with the order of the tyrant. When the term was expired, he assembled all the blind, and the lame, and the sick, that were supported by the church and pointing to them, told the Emperor, "These are the riches of the church, these its revenue and treasure." Such were Christians once, in brotherly love. We have purified ourselves, happily, from many of their errors and superstitions—but have we not, in rubbing off the tinsel of their gaudy decorations, rasped away also some of the more substantial parts of their piety? Is there much, I say, of this kind of love in the church now?

In urging this divine love upon you, I call upon you to dwell upon your own peculiar principles, as voluntary societies of Christians, united upon the ground of mutual knowledge. You are not a church formed by law, or associated by the circumstance of geographical boundaries—but on the principle of free consent, and on an acquaintance with each other, as those, who in the judgment of charity are partakers of the like precious faith, and the common salvation. Scarcely any churches in existence have such means or motives for brotherly love as yours. You know the sentiments, the character, and even the religious experience of those whom you receive to your communion, for you have heard their confessions. And I do not hesitate for a moment in saying, that I believe there is more pure and practical love among you, than, with one solitary exception, I mean the Moravians, is to be found in any other denomination—and you ought, from the circumstances I have mentioned, to have more. But still you have far, far too little. Weigh all the particulars I have enumerated, and say if there is not yet a criminal deficiency among us? And what are the causes of this lack of love?

The external prosperity of the church, its worldly ease, and unrestricted religious liberty is one cause. In times of persecution the sheep run together; but when the dogs cease to bark, to chase, and to worry them, then they separate and quarrel with one another. Shall we, then, allow our love to each other to grow cool, because we are at ease in Zion?

Professors do not properly consider the subject, nor dwell enough upon the ends of Christian fellowship. It is too little thought of, or too little studied. They do not stir up their hearts to love one another, because they do not properly consider how much they are called to the exercise of this holy and tender affection.

The largeness of some of our churches, might be thought by some to be a cause of the deficiency, and I would think so, if it did not exist in an equal degree in smaller ones. Still, however, it must be admitted, that a body of four, five, or six hundred members scattered over the whole expanse of a large town and neighborhood, cannot have much opportunity for personal acquaintance, and for the interchange of Christian sympathy. To meet this case, there should be a more numerous eldership than usually exists, and district associations and meetings of the members should be promoted.

I am inclined to think, that the deficiency is in many cases, and in no small measure, to be traced to the pulpit. If the pastor is not a man of love, and a preacher of love; if he does not both by his sermons and his example, breathe a spirit of affection into his people, and labor to the uttermost to do so, there will be a visible lack of this essential feature of church prosperity. It has not been with any of us, perhaps, sufficiently an object to promote the love of the brethren. We have preached doctrines, experience and morality, faith and hope; but has love, the greatest of the three graces, been sufficiently inculcated?

But after all, the chief causes of the deficiency of love, are still to be mentioned—and these are, the lack of true love to Christ, and a selfish worldly-mindedness. If we loved Christ more, we would inevitably love one another more, since we love them for his sake. If we felt as we ought, his amazing love to us, we would love him more fervently in return—and then, as a necessary consequence, we should be more tenderly attached to his people. Nor would less worldly-mindedness, coupled with more spirituality of mind, fail to be followed with the same effect. The most eminent Christians, are most tenderly disposed towards God's dear children, and Christ's dear saints. A love of riches or of extravagance, is a cold and selfish temper; it concentrates a man's attention upon himself, and of course withdraws his affection from the church. The present divided and alienated state of the Christian world in this country, is a plain proof, that notwithstanding the prevalence of evangelical sentiment, love to Christ is by no means so ardent as it appears to be. The rancorous feeling, amounting almost to malignity, with which some professing Christians treat others, cannot correspond with a high degree of pure affection to the Lord Jesus.

Permit me, then, to enjoin most earnestly, an attention to this interesting and most important duty, a duty which above many, brings in the performance its own reward. Love is happiness; hatred is misery; and selfish indifference at best midway between both. And now on this subject, alluding to sentiments already touched upon, I would dwell upon the singular emphasis which Christ lays on this duty in the following injunction, "This is my commandment, that you love one another." Every leader of each religion, has appointed some rite or speculative opinion, the belief or observance of which was the badge of distinction of his followers, and by which they were known to be his disciples. Thus Pharisees, Saducees, Platonists, Pythagoreans, and Epicureans, were distinguished from each other. Each had his leading principle, his favorite opinion, to which he was warmly attached, and by which his party was easily known.

With allusion to this custom, the Savior of the world, the Head of the heavenly sect says to his followers, "This is my commandment that you love one another; and by this shall all men know, that you are my disciples; if you love one another." "I am incarnate love—none have loved like me—I am the type and pattern of love; and you are the objects of my love. If, therefore, you would prove yourselves the disciples of him who came to teach love, and who taught it by his example—you must love as I have loved, and must love whom I love." Now this injunction and description of our duty is Christ's law, and no wonder that he should attach such emphasis to it, considering the state of his own mind.

The laws of an absolute monarch are always expressive of his character—emanating from his own disposition, they bear the impress of his heart, discover the tyrant or the friend—and are manifestations of cruelty or kindness. What, then, might be looked for from Christ—but a law of love; his laws for his church came from his heart, and that heart was love. What other king ever gave it as the badge of his subjects, or philosopher of his disciples, that they should love one another? But Christ has!

There is much even in the Christian himself, as the object of our affection, both in what he is, and what be will be, to kindle, call forth, and sustain a pure and exalted flame of love. That man, amidst all his imperfections, has seeds of immortal excellence in his nature, which in the paradise above will grow and thrive forever! He is an infant seraph, displaying at present the ignorance, and willfulness, and waywardness of childhood; he thinks as a child, he speaks as a child, he acts as a child—but he is to rise to the manhood of perfect and heavenly virtue, and put away all childish things. He is to be holy as an angel, and to run an endless career of spotless purity. You will see him a perfect saint, yes, a perfect, living, everlasting resemblance of Christ; as perfect as a mirror is of the sun whose dazzling image is reflected from its polished and speckless surface. You will love that man forever, and see in him everything worthy of your love.

But this is nothing to the other consideration of loving him for God's sake, and Christ's sake. On that man the mind of God was fixed from everlasting ages; towards him the thoughts and affections of the great God were moving from eternity. In him the heart of Jehovah finds its resting-place. That man was in the view of Jesus, when he was contemplating his redeeming death, and his salvation was part of the joy that was set before Christ, for which he endured the cross, and despised the shame. Out of love to him, the Son of God became incarnate, and it was love which sustained him amidst the scenes of his humiliation. Yes, Christ loved him unto the death of the cross, and loved him in death, and loves him beyond death, and by all his own love, and all his agonizing method of expressing it, commends him to our love.

Next to Christ himself, there is not an object in creation we should love as we do a Christian, for he is not only Christ's representative—but he is the object of Christ's love. In that Christian, our heart meets Christ's heart. O, what a depth of meaning, and a cogency of argument, and a force of persuasion, is there in that rule and motive of our affection, for it is both, "As I have loved you." Who but himself can tell how that is? Who can say how Christ has loved his people? We can see the expression, the outward manifestation of it; we can look at the cross—but who can look into the heart? Who can see or understand the love itself? "Jesus Christ was an incarnation of love in our world. He was love living, breathing, speaking, acting among men. His birth was the nativity of love; his sermons the words of love; his miracles the wonders of love; his tears the meltings of love; his crucifixion the agonies of love; his resurrection the triumph of love."

And yet we are to love one another as Christ has loved us. We cannot now feel the full force of this; if we did, we would be unfit for the present world; the love of kin and of country would die away, like culinary flames in the blaze of the orb of day. But this full force will be felt in heaven. All the love of kin and of country will have died with the world in which it existed; and we shall see before us not husbands and wives, parents and children, brothers and sisters, fellow church members, and fellow subjects; but simply objects of Christ's love, who were washed from their sins in his blood, and redeemed by his grace from hell, and who are to be forever loved for his sake. And thus we shall love them. Every look of delight we see Jesus dart upon them, instead of kindling envy, so perfect shall we be in love—will be fresh fuel to the flame of our own pure affection for them. My God, where is this love now? Where do we see anything like it? Among a thousand other reasons, for a Christian's desiring to depart and be with Christ, one is that he might feel what it is to love, and be loved for his sake—to have the mystery developed, what it is to love Christ perfectly, and perfectly to love all his saints for his sake.

If there be any truth in all this, and it be not fiction or rhapsody, yield to the force of it, and open your heart afresh to the brethren. You have never loved them as you ought; nor have you ever been beloved as you have a claim to be. O what a beauty and a power of spiritual excellence, lie hidden in the pages of the New Testament, waiting to be developed in some better age of the church, when the Spirit of God shall be poured out from on high. We can imagine that one of the first acts of the glorified church, will be to collect the books of ecclesiastical history and consume them to ashes, as if ashamed to know how little the Christians of other ages had loved one another; and having destroyed these records of their disgrace, they will send after them into oblivion, all the angry controversies which for so many ages had seemed to metamorphose the sheep of Christ into wolves, and his doves into vultures. Christians, for the credit of religion, for the honor of your Redeemer, and for the good of the world, seek to recover in full beauty this feature of Christianity, the love of the brethren.

I close this chapter with a passage from Mr. Beverley, which I recommend to the serious consideration of all who may read these pages.

"The effects of Messiah's reign are to be something more than decent in society; they are to be wonderful, extraordinary, miraculous. 'The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them.' The changes that shall take place shall be fundamental. 'Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low.'

"But if we think that the church has done her duty, when she has established a standard of sobriety, courtesy, and honesty among men, we are grievously mistaken—she has to exhibit to the world all her children as one family, united as one close-knit and vital body, having one spirit and one life; bound together, not in the ties of politeness—but of blood; not in a treaty of civility—but in a family compact of kindred affection. What then are the effects of this mystical union? Precisely that which is now lacking in the churches; that all Christians should find their brethren in Christ really and substantially their friends, protectors, and counselors, in time of need, distress, and apprehension; and that the church should be a port and refuge to the weary pilgrims, who are sorely beset and buffeted with the tempest of adversity.

"Christians are endowed with mighty privileges, and are made partakers of the divine nature, that they might, by the resplendent and godlike virtues of their society, bring back the glory of God upon earth, manifesting him as he has manifested himself to them—the God of love. For if we look upon the earth, outside of the precincts of the church, we find it a desolation of selfishness, cruelty, and hardness of heart; a waste howling wilderness of sin and death; a habitation of miserable beings, who, without any choice of their own, have been thrust into life for labor and sorrow, for vanity and vexation of spirit, and whose sad unfriended condition has led many to entertain hard thoughts of the Creator and Ruler of such a world, as if he was, indeed, the evil demagogue of Manichean theology.

"But Christians, the body of Christ, have received a commission to display the Creator in the majesty and beauty of his second creation; to exalt, by their faith and conversation, the Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; and to show that the earth may be a second paradise in the light and glory of the Sun of Righteousness. They have to prove by the lovely operations of the church, that the second creation is the work of the same God, who, being himself essential goodness and benevolence, did, at the first, suffer the plenitude of his felicity to overflow in thousands of channels, receiving from none—but imparting to all the joys and wonders of the first creation; and though an enemy has embittered the channels, and introduced a curse where there was a blessing, and sorrow where there was joy, and sin where there was innocence, and death where there was life; and though the earth is filled with wicked men, who, by their active crimes, plunge their fellow creatures into distress, or with pitiless apathy, pass them by unheeded, when distress is breaking their hearts; yet the church, the nation of ransomed saints, have, in the Gospel, and through the unction that teaches all things, received so excellent a plan for a universal restitution, that if they did but exactly follow that plan, and hearken to the instructions they have received, all evils, excepting disease and death, would disappear from among men, and the astonished world, in an acclamation of surprise and gratitude would cry out, 'Behold! again, the God who made all things, and pronounced them to be good.'

"First of all, then, harmony, peace, and perfect friendship must be conspicuous in the church—it must be seen that Christians love one another; that their union is a wonder-working phenomenon, which no wisdom of the world can counterfeit; that the gates of the Christian enclosure open into the sanctuary of love; that Christ in his human nature joined to his brethren, and they in him—is a 'hiding place from the wind, a covert from the tempest;' that when the storm is raging in all the world besides, there is peace there—that every believer is the brother of every believer; that they are all concerned in the temporal welfare of their brethren, and all deeply interested in their final and everlasting salvation.

"But is it so at present? alas! let any one who is thoroughly acquainted with the churches give the melancholy answer! There are, indeed, Christian churches wherein the poor are treated with kindness and sympathy; or, in some places, a few of the church-members are united in a pious friendship; and brotherly love, as far as it extends, produces happy effects; but, generally speaking, there is a sad distance between the brethren. They don't love one another in the bonds of the Gospel; they are estranged by the cold and distant formalities of the world; they are either too intent on the pursuit of their own interest, or too deeply embedded in the well-lined nest of opulent selfishness, to care for the needs and the sorrows of their brethren, which is the beauty and the edification of the church."