A Catechism on Brotherly Kindness

The following is written by William Crawford,  Minister of the Gospel at Wiltown, Hawick From A Short Practical Catechism, 3rd edition, Edinburgh, 1745, pp.120-121

Q. What is meant by brotherly kindness or brotherly love?

A. By it is meant that special love we have to all that bear God’s image. And certain it is, we are to love those who are the children of God in another manner than those who are only the children of men.

Q. What should make all the Lord’s people dear to one another?

That which should make them dear to one another in a special manner, is this, That they are all partakers of the Divine Nature, all bear the image of Christ, all are animated by the Spirit of God, all walk by the same rule, all live on the same promises, and on the same hopes, and all are heirs of the same heavenly inheritance.

Q. What cools Affection many a time among good men?

A. Their affections are often cooled by their differing in some points more remote from the vitals of Christianity; or perhaps their different ways of expressing the same great truths, and their groundless jealousies and hard censuring of one another, because of these differences. Besides, their selfish passions and interfering interests many a time abate their affection to one another.

Q .Ought these things to be?

A. No: For though they will unavoidably happen, so long as there is so much pride and selfishness in our nature, and so long as our understandings are of so different size and capacity, and our minds of such a different cast; yet pity it is than any accepted of the Lord should not be accepted of one another! Or that any made meet for communion with God, and society with angels, should be thought unworthy of our communion and society! Or that anything should be more valued in a Christian, than the image of Christ in him! Or that we should be so cold in our love to any with whom we shall live in eternal love and friendship above, when released from this vain contentious world, and raised to these happy regions where there is but love, peace, and kind propensions for ever.

Q. What are the advantages of brotherly kindness and love?

A. 1. It rejoices the Spirit of Christ, which is a Spirit of Love. 2. It sweetens the heart of a man, by giving him all the pleasure of loving. 3. It makes communion with one another acceptable and pleasant, when believers are, as it were, of one heart and soul. 4. It draws others to love religion. The love that was between the primitive Christians allured many to their way. 5. It strengthens and increase grace; for love edifies. 6. It gives strength and comfort in prayer, when believers lift up their voice to God with one accord. 7. ‘Tis the badge of Christ’s disciples; for hereby, says our Saviour, shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye love one another.

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