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SermonIndex.net : Christian Books : 1 John ii. 11

The First Epistle Of John by Augustus Neander

1 John ii. 11

From this follows the opposite conclusion, in reference to those in whom not love but hate is the governing principle. Of such John says: | But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.|

John here makes a distinction, between being in darkness and walking in darkness. The one respects the cause, the other the effect; the one the disposition, the other the course of life resulting from it. He who is wanting in the animating principle of brotherly love, and in whom hatred is the ruling power, being in a state of spiritual darkness can therefore only walk in darkness; as he to whom the illuminating light of the sun is wanting, or who from disease of the eyes cannot perceive it, wanders about in darkness, unable to distinguish the goal which he is seeking or the path which conducts to it. Just so it is with him who is under the dominion of selfishness, and of hatred. He cannot perceive the heavenly goal towards which the christian life is tending, nor the way thither. In respect to these he is as one who is blind. He can form no definite plan of life. Destitute of that clearness and collectedness of spirit, necessary in older to direct his course with steady purpose towards a well-ascertained end, he is every moment losing his way; his selfish impulses hurry him hither and thither; his whole course is an aimless, confused, inconstant effort he knows not why or whither.

Love to christian brethren and its opposite is primarily intended here, as it is by Christ also in his last discourses. But while love is here conceived of at its highest point, and in its most immediate sphere where its full power and glory can best unfold; yet this by means excludes the universal love of man, which from the very nature of the case is included in christian love. It need not be specially mentioned; since in christian Brotherly love itself is imparted the yearning desire to draw all men within this fraternal sphere, to convert them all into brethren. For to this they are destined by virtue of their common origin, of the common image of God in all, and of the redemption provided for all; and Christ himself, he who gave his life for his enemies that he might make them brethren and children of God, is in this self-sacrificing love their model. It is the nature of love, in the christian sense, to efface all limitations and distinctions.

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