1 Corinthians 16:22


There are those who, not having known Christ, have had no opportunity of loving him. But of all who have heard and read of Christ, we may say that the one test of their character and their position lies in their feeling with regard to him, with all which that feeling involves. The apostle's warm heart could tolerate no indifference, no neutrality, here. The Lord Jesus must be not only respected, but loved. And not to love him proves that the nature is insensible to all that is good and Divine - involves its own condemnation and curse and misery.

I. THE ABSENCE OF LOVE TO CHRIST. Where there is no love to the Lord Jesus there appears to be:

1. A want of appreciation of his perfect moral character. If Jesus be known by a holy and sympathetic nature, he will appear to such a nature "the chief among ten thousand, the altogether lovely." Who can gaze upon the sinless and pure, the just and kind, the meek and patient Jesus, and be unaffected by the spectacle? Only those for whom moral excellence and beauty have no charms.

2. A deep sensibility to his infinite compassion. For it must be borne in mind that the Saviour's disposition and ministry, and especially his sacrifice, have a personal relation to ourselves. It was for us men and our salvation that he lived a life of poverty and contempt, that he deigned to die a death of agony and shame. To withhold the heart's best love from One who endured the cross for us argues a callousness of nature beneath the level of common humanity.

3. A base ingratitude for all he has done and is doing on our behalf. Even those who are indifferent to the Lord Jesus owe him a vast debt for the benefits which, by his mediation, he has conferred upon the human race, and for the forbearance with which they have individually been treated. If ingratitude to earthly friends and benefactors be base, how shall the heinousness be described of ingratitude to the Son of man?

II. THE CURSE AND CONDEMNATION INVOLVED IN INDIFFERENCE TOWARDS CHRIST.

1. We can trace this in the moral degradation which such insensibility occasions. Not to love the worthiest and the best is to debase our nature. Character is largely moulded by love; and they who turn away from the love of Immanuel choose death.

2. The condemnation of conscience is inevitable. Its voice may be stifled for a season, but it will be heard, and that voice must needs utter a censure of no feeble or ambiguous kind. The judge is within, and cannot be escaped; that judge will charge the sinner with hating him who was and is supremely worthy to be loved, and the accusation is self evidencing and brings its curse.

3. The judgment of the Lord may tarry, but it will surely come. The Lord himself is at hand, to deliver those who love him, but to execute a righteous sentence upon the unbelieving, the unloving, the unspiritual. - T.









If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha.
(Ephesians 6:24 and Text): — Though so dissimilar, both texts teach the same truth, viz., that love to Christ is the indispensable condition of salvation.

I. WHY IS LOVE TO CHRIST THUS NECESSARY? Because —

1. Christ is God — God in the clearest form of manifestation — the sum of the Divine perfections. All that there is in God to command the supreme duty of loving Him is in Christ, therefore it is impossible to love God without loving Christ, and not to love Christ is not to love God.

2. Christ is God in our nature, and is thus invested with special attractions, because —(1)Possessed of another kind of excellence.(2) Brought into a relation to us He sustains to no other order of beings.

3. Christ loved us and given Himself for us. To be insensible of this claim on our affection is indicative of the greatest moral depravity.

4. By His love and death Christ has opened a way to us from degradation and misery to eternal life and glory.

5. We are shut up to the necessity of loving Christ or Satan. There are but two sovereigns, and you must choose between them.

II. WHAT IS IT TO LOVE CHRIST, AND HOW CAN WE TELL WHETHER WE LOVE HIM OR NOT? Where this love is there will be —

1. A feeling of reverence and complacency which prevents us from ever treating Him with neglect or indignity, and which makes His society delightful.

2. Zeal for His honour. Any disrespect shown Him is painful to us, and anything which promotes His glory is a source of delight to us.

3. A desire to please Him, to do His will.

(C. Hodge, D. D.)

I. THE LORD JESUS CHRIST IS TRULY AND EMINENTLY LOVELY, AND IS THEREFORE TO BE LOVED. Consider the nature and actings of this grace.

1. If Christ be considered as able to do that for us, and communicate that to us, which we want, love is evinced by desire. The believer cannot be satisfied without Him.

2. If He be considered as having already manifested Himself to the soul, then love exerts itself in a way of delight. "Whom having not seen, ye love," etc.

3. As Christ has an interest to be carried on in the world, love displays itself in zeal for His honour. "If ye love Me, keep My commandments."

4. If we consider Christ as offended with our sins, and having suffered for them, love manifests itself in grief and sympathy. "I am crucified with Christ," says the apostle, "and I could not do less."

5. If we consider Christ as glorified in heaven, love expresses itself in joy and triumph.

II. NOTWITHSTANDING ALL THIS AMIABLENESS IN CHRIST, THERE ARE SOME WHO NO NOT LOVE HIM. Such persons have —

1. No real esteem for the Saviour. "Unto you that believe, He is precious."

2. No true faith in Christ.

3. No obedience and subjection to Christ. " If a man love Me, he wilt keep My words."

III. ALL WHO LOVE NOT THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, ARE CHARGEABLE WITH AGGRAVATED GUILT, AND EXPOSE THEMSELVES TO THE SEVEREST DISPLEASURE OF GOD. Because —

1. He is so dearly beloved of God.

2. He is so lovely and desirable in Himself.

3. He has given the most astonishing proofs of His love to sinners.Consequently the want of love to Christ will be destructive of religion here, and happiness hereafter. This one defect destroys the excellency and life of all religion. Without love, faith is dead, repentance legal, fear slavish; and all duties void of this principle are vain. As to future happiness, heaven is a place of love; and to entertain one person there who is not a lover of Christ, would disturb the order and break the harmony of that blessed society. Conclusion: —

1. Love to Christ may be easily discovered.(1) By the current of your thoughts. What persons love, they think much upon; and the pleasant image is continually before them.(2) By the care of your lives. Can you say that to you to live is Christ? Now, then, let conscience do its office, and it will easily tell you whether you love Christ or not.

2. Not to love Christ is a crime of tremendous guilt, which is attended with dreadful aggravations; for —(1) It is a sin without cause. It admits of no reason or excuse.(2) It is also a sin against many causes.(3) It is the cause of many other sins.

(S. Lavington.)

Note the position which this verse occupies.

1. This Epistle was dictated to an amanuensis, and now Paul adds "The salutation of me Paul with my own hand": a form immediately followed, in most of his Epistles, by the apostolic benediction: but here he interposes the text. I think this shows us the state of his heart, which was full of Christ: he could not suppress the strong affection he entertained for the Saviour, and here he overflows.

2. Interposed as it is between the signature and the benediction, he intends it to have all the weight which apostolical authority can give it. Note —

I. THE DUTY ENJOINED.

1. Its object.(1) The old law was comprehended in two commandments, of which the first was greatest, "Thou shalt love Jehovah thy God," etc. The New Testament puts forward a similar claim on behalf of Christ; and it were easy to argue from this, that Christ is the one Jehovah for whom the old law challenges our supreme and undivided love. Indeed, this very name is here applied to Him. He is set before us, while claiming our affections, as "the Lord."(2) He who claims our love bears not only the incommunicable name, but a name common to many of His fellow-men: Jesus.(3) Bears another name, or rather title — Christ, or Anointed; because He sustains those offices into which men were commonly inducted by anointing, and which, as God-man, He sustains on behalf of mankind — Prophet, Priest, and King. God, Man, Mediator between God and men — whoever does not present Him in these three aspects robs Him of a part of that which essentially belongs to Him: whoever does not exhibit Him under this threefold character does not show you the Christ of the Scriptures, but some idol of his own invention.

2. The love which is claimed in His behalf must be —(1) Sincere. You find a distinction made in the Scriptures between loving our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity, and pretending to love Him.(2) Supreme. "If any man will come after Me" — "if any man will be My disciple," he must be prepared to "hate father, mother," etc. At the time when this was spoken, there went great multitudes after Him: but this was the doctrine by which He proved them. There are multitudes who will come after Him still, if He will be content to follow in the train of some beloved pursuit, or lust. Religion would be the most popular thing in the world, and would carry the whole world before it, if it were at liberty to waive this point. But Christ will have the first place in our affections: whatever stands opposed to Him we must hate; whatever is in harmony with Him, and dependent upon Him, must be loved in subordination to Him.(3) Ardent. The Scriptures are wont to illustrate this subject by a comparison taken from fire. There may be a spark, and if that spark is blown, it may rise to a vehement flame which many waters cannot quench. You have only to neglect it, and it will expire. But you are told that you must stir up the gift of God.(4) Constant; and that because He is always the same; that is due to Him at one time is due to Him at all times.(5) Practical. "This is the love of God. that we keep His commandments."

3. The evidences of this love. I cannot help thinking, that in the case of every human object of affection, the love which there was need to try by many signs, would hardly be counted worth having; that where there is so much uncertainty whether we love Christ or no, one thing is certain — that we do not love Him very much: but still, for the sake of those who love, and who search after the signs and marks, let me give you one or two.(1) The love of the brethren, i.e., the brethren of Christ, as well as ours: and it is in that light that they are principally to be regarded. If a man feels his heart expanded towards all Christians — if he is willing to bear with their weaknesses, and relieve their necessities, for Christ's sake — he loves Christ. But on the other hand, if he will stand aloof from them, does he love Christ? If he says he does, Christ Himself says he is a liar. He tells you they are His representatives, and whoever does not to them as he would to Christ, if Christ stood in person before him, does not love Christ as he ought. "By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye love one another."(2) Whoever loves Christ, rejoices in the return of the Lord's Day. You have days of meeting among friends; and the offering of every expression of joy is appropriate to such meetings. This is the day which Christ sets apart to meet His friends. Do you love His Sabbath, and do you rejoice in its return? Do you honour the Lord and keep His ordinances? If so, there is ground to hope you love Christ. But if the Sabbath is a weariness, your love to Christ is yet but a name — there is no substance in it.(3) The Bible is Christ's love-letter to His people. Who loves to read and honour it? Who comes to it with a relish, as a friend reads a letter from a loved friend? He loves Christ: this is a sign which cannot be mistaken.

II. THE PENALTY DENOUNCED. Whoever will not stand this test, what is to become of him? "Let him be accursed: our Lord is coming." This form of expression is said to be taken from the practice in the synagogues in excommunicating offenders. They had three forms of excommunication, in the last or highest of which they used this expression, and this was always understood to imply the sentence of final and irrevocable ruin. Now, says the apostle, this is the doom of all who do not love Christ.

2. The curse does not fall now: the lovers of Christ and those who do not love Him go on, perhaps, very much with equal steps through life. But "the Lord is coming"; and at His coming He is to separate between those who love Him and those who do not love Him. The tares and the wheat grow together till the harvest; we cannot separate the hypocrite from the sincere until some overt action incontestably proves that the profession is false. The day of separation is at the end of the world; and to this St. Paul alludes, "The Lord is coming," to discern between the true professor and the false.

3. The Lord delayeth His coming: but why? Not out of weakness, not out of forgetfulness, but that in the interval the curse may be averted.

4. I know that you cannot command your affections, but I tell you what you can do — you can go to the throne of grace and pray that the Holy Ghost may shed it abroad in your hearts.

(G. Osborn, D.D.)

I. REBELLION AGAINST THE HIGHEST AUTHORITY. "This is My beloved Son, hear ye Him." Want of love is therefore transgression of the will of God and rebellion against Him.

II. CONTEMPT OF THE HIGHEST EXCELLENCE. Whether you consider the, Divine nature of our Lord, or His human nature, or His mediatorial character, there is in Him everything calculated to attract. "He is altogether lovely"; therefore not to love Him is to have a degraded mind, and to throw contempt on the highest manifestation of human excellence and Divine love.

III. INGRATITUDE TO THE HIGHEST BENEFACTOR. Consider what we owe Him in connection with His incarnation, death, intercession. Think of the sinfulness of rejecting Him in the light of the truth that those who despise Him live because of His intercession. Conclusion: Is there anything to be said in extenuation of this guilt? The greatest argument for love is love. "We love Him because He first loved us." You cannot force the slave to love his master; but what do you think of the child that, after receiving increasing kindness, refuses to love a parent? One sees the guilt in such a case. God is not a hard Master; Christ does not treat us as slaves. Oh, if His love is not in our hearts we are indeed hard, unfeeling, thankless, justly under the anathema of God.

(W. Cadman, M A.)

I. WHAT ARE THE CLAIMS OF CHRIST UPON OUR LOVE?

1. He is God. If this were the only ground, He would surely have every right to expect our love. He who is the Author of every mercy therefore demands our love.

2. And yet, having failed of obtaining it as Creator, having had His laws insulted and His majesty dishonoured, He hath sought to win our love by such an act of love as even exceeds the mercies of creation, viz., redemption. Whatever you require for your admission into heaven, His love hath done it all. And now He offers His salvation freely.

3. Now, is this Friend of our lost souls unreasonable when He asks our hearts of us? We give them to our friends on earth.

II. WHO ARE THE MEN THAT "LOVE NOT" THAT LOVER OF THEIR SOULS?

1. The world. Here are a great variety of characters, but all are alike in this, they "love not the Lord Jesus Christ." They live without Him, neglect His Word, discountenance His cause, love and follow practices which are His abomination.

2. Hypocritical professors, Christ's own definition of those who "love Him not" is "He that loveth Me not keepeth not My sayings." True, they may say high things of Him, yet all this is like the kiss of Judas, whilst they are doing all things in their life and practice to dishonour and affront Him. They love sin.

III. THE GUILT THESE MEN INCUR. Who can fathom the depth of their ingratitude! To have forgotten the mercies of creation is an awful blot upon our nature; but when He dies for our iniquities, and calls us to His pardoning mercies, who shall estimate the blackness of his guilt who treats this Saviour lightly? "If I had not come and spoken to them they had not had sin"; all our other sins look nothing when compared to this.

IV. THE AWFUL DOOM OF ALL THOSE WHO "LOVE NOT THE LORD JESUS CHRIST." "Let them be accursed at the second coming of the Lord." There is a curse which rests upon the head of every man by nature as a breaker of the law of God (Deuteronomy 27:26); and to deliver our souls from this was the great end of our Redeemer's death (Galatians 3:13). To those therefore who receive Him and rely upon Him this curse is turned into a blessing (Romans 8:1). But they who "love not the Lord Jesus Christ" remain under that curse from which He died to set them free (John 3:36; 1 Corinthians 15:17). To reject a Saviour, as it is a more aggravated sin than to reject the law, so will it meet with a more aggravated condemnation (Hebrews 10:28, 29). "The curse of the law" is terrible; but "the wrath of the Lamb"! what will that be?

(A. Roberts, M.A.)

I. WHY IS THE LORD JESUS CHRIST TO BE LOVED? This love was the pervading emotion of early times, and its fervour quailed not at martyrdom. The memory of the Cross was fresh, and faith wrought by love. That love was a distinct and personal attachment, and is so still. For this love is a rational affection. It is not an emotion which springs up, none can tell how or why. Nor is it any caprice or feverish excitement. It rests on a sure foundation — on a "tried corner-stone," viz., the knowledge of Christ's person and claims.

1. Is He not "the chiefest among ten thousand" as a man? and were He not more than man, you cannot but love Him. "Thou art fairer than the sons of men." The sexes divide between them the elements of perfection, and a perfect man or woman might not be a perfect being. But all that is tender and graceful in woman, and all that is noble and robust in man, met together in Jesus. Nature is never prodigal of her gifts. Birds of gay plumage have no song; strength is denied to creatures endowed with swiftness. As one man is generally distinguished by the predominance of one class of virtues, and another man by another, so the union of both might realise perfection. Had the peculiar gifts of John and Paul been blended, the result might have been a perfect apostle. Were the intrepidity of Luther, the tenderness of Melancthon, and the calm intellect of Calvin combined in one person, you would have the model of a faultless reformer. But every grace that adorns humanity was in Jesus in fulness and symmetry. No virtue jostled another out of its place. None rose into extravagance — none pined in feeble restriction. Perfect in every relation of life, wise in speech, pure in conduct, large in compassion, intense in beneficence, replete with everything that charms into attachment and rapture, He was the incarnation of universal loveliness.

2. But Christ's humanity was assumed into a personal union with a higher nature. To take a nature so low, to save a race so guilty, and by an agony so awful, was the effect of a love that could only dwell in the bosom of Jehovah. And oh what a labour He accomplished! He secured for us the best of boons, and delivered us from the worst of evils. And surely we must "love Him, because He first loved us."

II. HOW JESUS IS TO BE LOVED. If our creed be, there is none like Christ, then the language of our heart will be — None but Christ! His claims are paramount, and therefore love to Him must not only be ardent, but supreme. Now, it is not of the absence of love in the Church we complain so much as of its lukewarmness. In many love only warms towards Christ on the first day of the week, and falls into slumber on the other six days. The plant could not maintain its life by the enjoyment of air, soil, and water once a week, and the animal would drag out an enfeebled existence if it depended on a similar periodical nutrition. No; it is of the nature of love to give its object an immediate and permanent existence in the heart. If Christ were loved, His image would ever dwell within us; and were He loved supremely, that image would gather in upon itself our deepest attachment, and exercise an undivided sway over thought, purpose, speech, and action.

III. THE SIN AND DANGER OF NOT LOVING CHRIST. It implies —

1. Ignorance of His person, claims, and work. The more men know Him, the more does their heart burn with this gracious and absorbing affection. And surely ignorance of Him must bring a merited anathema. For such ignorance is wholly inexcusable, with the Bible before it and the Cross in its view.

2. Unbelief. "Faith worketh by love." But if absence of love imply absence of faith, what a curse must follow" "He that believeth is saved, but he that believeth not is condemned already." Severed from Christ. the soul is lost for ever.

3. Unlikeness to God. And if, on a point so tender, he is unlike God, will not God frown upon the sinner and punish him?

4. Unfitness for heaven. Heaven is a region where love to Jesus predominates — where it gladdens every bosom, and gives music to every anthem. But the unloving mind is not allowed to join in these warblings, for none but the new heart can sing the new song. Without love to Him, because unconscious of any salvation from Him, it would feel no reason to bless Him.

5. The certainty of the curse — "Our Lord cometh." The Church rejoices in that motto, but it is the terror of the wicked. The cloud that guided Israel consumed and terrified the amazed Egyptian. And He comes for the very purpose of making inquisition — of ascertaining who have responded to His love, and confided in His atonement. Nor can He be deceived. His eye, as it looks upon the mass, scans every individual and looks down into his heart. Nay, the heart without love will at once discover itself by its tremor. Nor can it escape. Subterfuge and evasion are alike impossible. But not only does the awful formula certify the curse, it also embitters it — Our Lord cometh — He whom men are bound to love as Saviour pronounces the dead anathema. From other lips it would not be so awful; but surely such an anathema from the lips of Love must arm itself with a burning and unbearable terror.

(J. Eadie, D.D.)

This expression may be regarded —

1. As a grand characteristic of Biblical appeal. It appeals to the heart, and seeks the reformation of the world by the reformation of the individual, and the reformation of the individual by the reformation of the heart.

2. As an incidental argument of the Godhead of Christ. The Bible claims for Him supreme love, but supreme affection belongs to God. Paul makes our destiny depend upon love to Christ. Would he make our destiny depend upon mere love to man, to Abraham, David, Isaiah, or John?

3. As a solemn test of a true character. The essence of a true character consists not in ideas or mere actions, but in love, and in love for Christ. "Lovest thou Me?" said Christ to Peter. The text contains —

I. A NEGATIVE CRIME. This state of mind in relation to Christ is —

1. Unreasonable. There is everything in Him to call out the highest love. There are three kinds of love of which we are susceptible — gratitude, esteem, and benevolence. The first requires manifestation of kindness; the second, of moral excellence; the third, a purpose for the common good. Christ manifests all these, and therefore deserves our highest love. There may be men who have power to excite in our natures, in some degree, love in some of these forms; but Christ alone has power to excite all in the highest degree.

2. Ascertainable. We can soon ascertain whether we love Christ or not. The chief object of love will always be —

(1)The most engrossing subject of thought.

(2)The attractive theme of conversation.

(3)The source of the greatest delight in pleasing.

(4)The most transforming power of character.

(5)The most identified with our conscious life.

3. Deplorable. This love is the only true regulative power of the soul. Where this is not, or where it is misdirected, all the powers of our nature are misemployed, and all is confusion. Then, indeed, the life of the soul is dead to virtue and to happiness. Our happiness consists in supreme affection, and our supreme affection, to yield happiness, must be directed to an object absolutely perfect, reciprocative, and ever enduring. Such an object is Christ, and such only is He.

II. A POSITIVE PUNISHMENT.

1. Its nature. "Let him be Anathema." The word primarily means anything that is laid up, or set apart for some particular purpose. The secondary and general meaning is "accursed," devoted to ruin (cf. Galatians 1:7, 8; Romans 9:3). It is one of Paul's strong words to express a terrible evil. Cut off the planet from the sun, and it rushes to ruin; the river from the fountain, and it is gone; the branch from the tree, and the limb from the body, and they die. The soul, cut off from Christ — its centre, fountain, root, life — is destroyed.

2. Its certainty. "Maran-atha," "the Lord will come." Christ will come to execute judgment upon those who love Him not. Paul had written the other part of his letter by an amanuensis, but to write these terrible words he takes up the pen himself. Men are accursed, not merely because they hate Christ, rebel against His authority, profane His ordinances, but because they do not love Him; whatever else they do in philanthropy, etc.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

I. THE CRIME SUPPOSED. Not to love Christ supremely is —

1. Unreasonable — He is supremely lovely.

2. Ungrateful — He has loved us.

3. Unjust — He has a right to our love.

II. THE PUNISHMENT THREATENED.

1. The punishment.

2. The time.

3. The certainty. Application —

(1)It is the duty of all men to love Christ.

(2)Christ knows those who love Him.

(G. Whitefield.)

1. Terror and tenderness are strangely mingled in this parting salutation. Paul has been obliged, throughout the whole Epistle, to assume a tone of remonstrance, and here he traces all their vices to their fountain-head — the defect of love to Jesus Christ — and warns of their fatal issue.

2. But he will not leave these terrible words for his last. The thunder is followed by gentle rain, and the sun glistens on the dewdrops (ver. 23). Nor for himself will he let the last impression he one of rebuke or even of warning (ver. 24). Is not that beautiful? And does it not go deeper than the revelation of Paul's character? May we not see in these terrible and tender thoughts a revelation of the true nature both of the terror and the tenderness of the gospel which Paul preached? Note —

I. THE TERROR OF THE FATE OF THE UNLOVING. "Anathema" means an offering, or a thing devoted. In the story of the conquest of Canaan, e.g., we read of places, persons, or things that were "accursed," i.e., devoted or put under a ban. And this "devotion" was of such a sort as that the subjects were doomed to destruction. So Paul tells us that the unloving, like those cities full of uncleanness, when they are brought into contact with the infinite love of the coming Judge, shrivel up and are destroyed. "Maran-atha" is a separate sentence. It means "our Lord comes," and was perhaps a kind of watchword. The use of it here is to confirm the warning of the previous clause, by pointing to the time at which that warning shall be fulfilled.

1. "The Lord comes." Paul's Christianity gathered round two facts and moments — one in the past, Christ has come; one in the future, Christ will come. For memory, the coming by the cradle and the Cross; for hope, the coming on His throne in glory. And between these two moments, like the solid piers of a suspension bridge, the frail structure of the present hangs swinging. There have been many comings in the past, besides the coming in the flesh. One characteristic is stamped upon them all, and that is the swift annihilation of what is opposed to Him. The Bible has a set of standing metaphors by which to illustrate this thought — "A flood," "a harvest," the waking of God from slumber, etc. The second coming will include and surpass all the characteristics which these lesser and premonitory judgment days presented in miniature.

2. The coming of the Lord of love is the destruction of the unloving — not the cessation of their being, but a death worse than death, because a death in life. Suppose a man with all his past annihilated, with all its effort crushed, with all its possessions gone, and with his memory and his conscience stung into clear-sighted activity, so as that he looks back upon his former and into his present self, and feels that it is all chaos, would not that fulfil the word, "Let him be Anathema"? And suppose that such a man, in addition to these thoughts, and as the root and the source of them, had ever the quivering. consciousness that he was in the presence of an unloved Judge! The unloving heart is always ill at ease in the presence of Him whom it does not love. The unloving heart does not love, because it does not trust nor see the love. Therefore, the unloving heart is a heart that is only capable of apprehending the wrathful side of Christ's character. So there is no cruelty, no arbitrariness in the decree that the heart that loves not when brought into contact with the infinite Lord of love must find in the touch death and not life, darkness and not light, terror and not hope.

3. Paul does not say "he that hateth," but he that does not love. The absence of love, which is the child of faith, the parent of righteousness, the condition of joy in His presence, is sufficient to ensure that this fate shall fall upon a man.

II. THE PRESENT GRACE OF THE COMING LORD. "Our Lord cometh." "The grace," etc. (ver. 23).

1. These two things are not contradictory, but we often deal with them as if they were. But the real doctrine says there is no terror without tenderness, and there is no tenderness without terror. You cannot have love which is anything nobler than facile good nature and unrighteous indifference, unless you have along with it aspects of God's character and government which ought to make some men afraid. And you cannot keep these latter aspects from being exaggerated and darkened into a Moloch of cruelty unless you remember that underlying them and determining them are aspects of the Divine nature, to which only child-like confidence and love rightly respond. The terror of the Lord is a garb which our sins forces upon the love of the Lord.

2. Note what the present grace is. A tenderness which gathers into its embrace all these imperfect, immoral, lax, heretical people in Corinth, as well as everywhere else — "with you all." And surely the love which gathers in such people leaves none outside its sweep. Let nothing rob you of this assurance, that the coming Lord is present with us all, and all we need, in order to get its full sunshine into our hearts, is that we trust Him utterly, and, so trusting, love Him back again with that love which is the fulfilling of the law and the crown of the gospel.

III. THE TENDERNESS, CAUGHT FROM THE MASTER HIMSELF OF THE SERVANT WHO REBUKES (ver. 24). There is no other instance where he introduces himself and his own love at the end, after he has pronounced the solemn benediction. But here, as if he had felt that he must leave an impression of himself on their minds which corresponded to the impression of his Master that he desired to leave, he deviates from his ordinary habit, and makes his last word a personal word — "My love be with you all in Christ Jesus." Paul embraces all whom he has been rebuking in the warm embrace of his proffered love, which was the very cause of his rebuke. The healing balm of this closing message was to be applied to the wounds which his keen edged words had made, and to show that they were wounds by a surgeon, not by a foe. Because the gospel is a gospel, it must speak plainly about death and destruction to the unloving. The danger signal is not to be blamed for a collision. "Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men."

(A. Maclaren, D.D.)

First, love Christ so far as to lay down the pleasures of this life for Him, and so far as to lay down the life itself for Him.

2. Love Him, then, as He is presented to thee here: love the Lord, love Christ, love Jesus. As He is the Lord, thou wilt fear Him; but no man fears God truly, but that that fear ends in love. Love Him as He is the Lord, that would have nothing perish that He hath made. And love Him as He is Christ, that hath made Himself man too, that thou mightest not perish. Love Him as the Lord that could show mercy, and love Him as Christ who is that way of mercy which the Lord hath chosen. I have found Him, and found that He, who by His incarnation was made able to save me (so He was Christ), by His actual passion hath saved me, and so I love Him as Jesus. When I conceit, when I contemplate my Saviour thus, I love the Lord, and there is a reverent adoration in that love; I love Christ, and there is a mysterious admiration in that love; but I love Jesus, and there is a tender compassion in that love, and I am content to suffer with Him and to suffer for Him rather than see any diminution of His glory by my prevarication. And he that loves not thus, that loves not the Lord God, and God manifested in Christ, Anathema, Maranatha, which is our next and our last part. Whether this Anathema be denounced by the apostle by way of imprecation, that he wished it so, or pronounced by way of excomnmnication, that others should esteem them so and avoid them, as such persons, is sometimes debated amongst us in our books. But we rather take this in the text to be an excommunication denounced by the apostle, than an imprecation. Now the excommunication is in the Anathema, and the aggravating thereof in the other words, Maranatha. The word Anathema had two significations: that which for some excellency in it was separated from the use of man to the service of God, or that which for some great fault in it was separated from God and man too. From the first kind men abstained because they were consecrated to God, and from the other because they were aliened from God. By the light of nature, by the light of grace we should separate ourselves from irreligious and from idolatrous persons, and that with that earnestness which the apostle expresses in the last words, Maranatha. It is superabundant perverseness to resist Christ now, now that He hath appeared already and established to Himself a kingdom in the world. And so St. seems to take it too. "Christ is come already," says he. If any excuse could he pretended before, yet since Christ is come, none can be, But that is not all that is intended by the apostle in this place. It is not only a censorious speech, it is a shame for them, and an inexcusable thing in them, if they do not love the Lord Jesus Christ; but it is a judiciary speech, thus much more, since they do not love the Lord. "The Lord judge them when He comes." "I," says the apostle, "take away none of His mercy when He comes, but I will have nothing to do with them till He comes; to me He shall be Anathema, Maranatha, separated from me till then; then the Lord, who shows mercy in minutes, do His will upon him." To end all, if a man love not the Lord, if he love not God, which is, which was, and which is to come, what will please him, whom will he love?

(J. Donne.)

Sharpened Arrows.
After Joan of Arc had won the great victory at Orleans, and made clear the way for Charles the Seventh to be crowned king, she was taken prisoner, and subjected to the most brutal treatment at the hands of her enemies; still her ungrateful king refused to make a single move to liberate the one who had freed his subjects, and made him heir and king. My unsaved friend, you are doing the same thing. As you read the simple narrative, you doubtless will say, "King Charles was ungrateful, and deserved punishment." Yet Jesus Christ left His heavenly home, came down to earth, suffered, and died that you might be crowned the "child of a King," and you refuse to even acknowledge Him. Should the anger of God consume you, could you say aught in your defence?

(Sharpened Arrows.)

"To refuse to love Jesus Christ, I affirm, is to do Him all the evil which an open enemy could, or at least would do. If Jesus Christ had come into the world, as a king into a revolted province, in order to extinguish rebellion, and cause the silence of terror to reign in it, He might be satisfied with a trembling submission, and care nothing for the evil we do Him. But such a submission He did not desire, nor can desire. That alone which He desired, that alone for which He descended to the earth, the end to which He directed all His toils, was the conquest of our heart. Separate from that triumph, every other is nothing to Him.

(Dr. Vinet.)

How great is the sin of not loving your Lord and your Saviour! "Oh! but you see, sir, that is a mere negative thing. It is what we do that we are accountable for to God; it is our positive actions that we must render an account for at the last." Is that so? Is there no sin in not doing what you ought to do? If your neighbour's house were in flames to-night, and you saw them belching out of the windows, would it be no sin for you to sit calmly in your own dwelling, and not go at midnight to raise the family from their fatal sleep? Would you think so if to-morrow morning you looked at their skeletons amid the charred and blackened ruins? Suppose there is some man in this chapel to-night, who lives in a comfortable and luxurious mansion, but his own mother is in an almshouse, I say to him, "Where is your old mother?" He says, "In the poorhouse." "Do you know, sir, that you are practising a diabolical cruelty?" "Oh! but I am doing nothing to my mother." "It is your not doing; it is your living in luxury, and she lying there on that hard bed of poverty and neglect that stamps you, sir, with that most damnable sin of breaking God's fifth commandment. It is what you do not do that stamps you as an ingrate to her that bore you." Oh! my friends, yet out of Christ, it is the sin of not loving Christ that makes you guilty before God. Not loving Him is pronounced in all cases a positive and fatal sin.

(T. L. Cuyler.)

How came the tender-hearted Paul to throw those red-hot words at the Corinthians? Not to love Christ is —

I. UNREASONABLE AND UNNATURAL. Tradition tells us that He was the most infinitely beautiful being that ever walked our small earth, and to a lovely exterior He joined all loveliness of disposition. The sunshine of His love mingling with the shadows of His sorrows, crossed by the crystalline stream of His tears and the crimson of His blood, make a picture worthy of being called the masterpiece of the eternities. He was altogether lovely — always lovely, and lovely in everything. Lovely in His sacrifice. Why, He gave up everything for us, and He took everybody's trouble. Now suppose that, notwithstanding all this, a man cannot have any affection for Him. Why "After all this, 'if a man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maran-atha.'"

II. UNJUST. Just look at the injustice of not loving Him. There is nothing that excites a man like injustice. If there ever was a fair and square purchase of anything, then Christ purchased us. If anything is purchased and paid for, ought not the goods to be delivered? And you will go to law for it, and, if need be, hurl the defaulter into jail. Such injustice as between man and man is bad enough, but between man and God it is reprehensible and intolerable. After all thin purchase "if any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha."

III. SUICIDAL. If a man gets into trouble, and he cannot get out, we have only one feeling towards him, sympathy and a desire to help him. But suppose the day before he failed, W. E. Dodge had come into his store and said: "My friend, I hear you are in trouble. I have come to help you," and suppose the man were to say, "I don't want it; I would rather fail than take it; I don't even thank you for offering it." Your sympathy for that man would cease immediately. Now Christ hears of our spiritual embarrassments. He finds the law saying, "Pay me what thou owest." Pay? We cannot pay a farthing of all the millions of obligation. Well, Christ comes in and says, "You can use My name." Now suppose the soul says, "O Christ, I want not Thy help. Go away from me." You would say, "After all this ingratitude and rejection, 'if any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maran-atha.'"

IV. CRUEL. The meanest thing I could do for you would be needlessly to hurt your feelings. Now, Christ is a bundle of delicacy and sensitiveness. Oh, what rough treatment He has received sometimes from our hands! Every time you rejected the Lord you struck Him. How you have broken His heart! Do you know there is a crucifixion going on now? You say, "Where?" Here! When a man refuses to love Christ and rejects Him, the apostle intimates that. He "crucifies the Lord afresh." By our sins we have done this. When I think of all this, my surprise at the apostle ceases.

(T. De Witt Talmage, D. D.)

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