CLXXXIII. The Love of Christ.

2 COR. v. 14. “For the love of Christ constraineth us.”

OUR intention is to fix your thoughts on the explanation
which Paul gave of his conduct. People were dissatisfied
with him on various grounds. He was an enthusiast, and
there were two classes of persons who did not appreciate
his enthusiasm—men of no religion at all like Festus, and
false brethren who were growing up in the Church like
tares among the wheat. But he gave as his reason, that
the love of Christ bound him to Christ Himself and con-
strained him.
I. Look at the love of Christ, apart from the influence
attributed to it. Paul meant the love in Christ which
begets love for Christ, and the love for Christ which is be-
gotten by the love in Christ. The love of Christ, as Divine,
is like the ocean, shoreless and bottomless; as human, like
the sparkling lake which some mountain brothers hold in
the hollows of their united hands.
Love to Christ is awakened by the love of Christ. We
here trust, hope, and love. From simple gratitude our love
rises to delight and loyalty; and then it increases with
our faith, and increases with its own manifestations.
II. The influence of that love: it constraineth us. It
holds us to one object of life, so that we can say, “for me
to live is Christ.” There was none but Christ to the active-
minded and energetic Paul. Christ’s love quickened his
conscience, commanded his will, and moulded his entire
life.
Does the love of Christ constrain us? Do we bless the
men who are trying to make a compromise between un-
godly principles and Christian principle? Happy are the
men who are often misunderstood and misinterpreted.
It filled Paul with passion. A man with no emotion,
with no religious excitement, cannot be a Christian. The
guiltiest piece of humanity that ever was created by God
must be warmed by the Gospel if the Gospel be believed.
Samuel Martin

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