Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Reasons Why We Should Love All Men

Thomas Manton, Love One Another (re 1 John 3.11), in The Puritans on Loving One Another, pp. 60-62:


Next, let me give the reasons why we should love all men. The reasons that may induce us are:

1. Equality, the actual equality of all men by nature, who were all made by the same God, and all made of one blood. Diversity of rank does not take away identity of nature. "Have we not all one Father? Hath not one God created us? Why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother?" (Malachi 2:10). "If I did despise the cause of my manservant, or of my maidservant, when they contended with me; what then shall I do when God riseth up, and when He visiteth, what shall I answer Him? Did not He that made me in the womb, make him? And did not one fashion us in the womb?" (Job 31:13-15). "Our flesh is as the flesh of our brethren, our children as their children" (Nehemiah 5:5). Why is more due to you than them? Consider also the possible equality of all men, as to their condition and state of life. "Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them, and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves in the body" (Hebrews 13:3). Before we go out of the body there may be strange changes in the world, and God may make us as low as others.

2. We are to imitate God as children do their father (Matthew 5:45). Now God loves all His creatures and hates none. The more we imitate God, the more we know we are children of our Father who is in heaven.

3. God has so cast the world that sometimes we need the help of others as they need ours, that by mutual necessities and a combination of interests the world may be upheld. As in the natural body no member can say to any, "I have no need of thee," so also has God disposed it in the great frame of mankind that we may have a mutual care for one another (1 Corinthians 12:25). As He requires from every man a respect for the world of mankind, so He has turned all the respects of the world of mankind upon one man. We would be glad to be loved of all the men in the world if we could bring it to pass; and surely we may the better expect it if we have this love for all the world.

Why should we love strangers? "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers, for hereby some have entertained angels unawares" (Hebrews 13:2). By "strangers" he means those who are far from home, in another place and country, where they have few friends, and are not well known, especially when exiled for the gospel. We find this in the instances of Abraham and Lot, who were kind to the angels and had their recompense. Abraham's barren wife had a promise of bearing a son to him. Lot had benefit also, being saved from the flames that destroyed Sodom. Surely such a work of mercy shall not go unrewarded.

Why should we love enemies? Partly because there is more reason to love them than to hate them, because there are some relics of God's image in them. And God has forgiven us greater wrongs. "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you" (Ephesians 4:32). We commit a sin against God, or else, upon the apprehension of the injury done us by man, we are deeper in danger than our enemy. We daily trespass against God more than they can trespass against us. God forgives talents; we cannot forgive pence. God forgives a hundred thousand; we cannot forgive one hundred (Matthew 18). We look that God should forgive us, and we will not forgive others. In short, though it is more comfortable to love a friend, it is more honorable to love an enemy. "It is the glory of a man to pass by a transgression" (Proverbs 19:11).

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