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Written by R.Anna Phillips   

ZION'S LANDMARK -- Feb 1, 1901

"Love as brethren; be pitiful, be courteous." 1 Pet. 3:8.

No man need teach one born of God to love his brother, for that comes with the spirit of which he is born, just as natural brethren love one another as born of the same father and mother-naturally and without being taught. So spiritual brethren (1 Thess 3:9), and in proportion to the measure of that divine spirit given one, will he love his brother. And no man that does not love his brother need say he is born of God.

And loving his brother, he will pity him in any weakness, infirmity or wrong-doing. And especially will we pity him if distressed and grieved over wrongdoings or shortcomings. To speak from my own heart or experience, I am sure I can pity one thus, as feeling the need and craving the same for myself; for if not guilty of the same particular sin, I feel that I might have been, if not worse, under the same temptation. My own sins are so many and mean-my daily walk so unlike what I think a Christian's should be, and I so grieve over it, that I cannot help pitying one in a like condition. When I hear of the shortcomings of another, my first thought is of myself, and how I need and crave the pity and pardon of the brotherhood-I put myself in their place, and remembering how each things grieve my own heart-how wretched they make me, and thinking they feel the same, I am not only ready, but glad to manifest my pity and forgiveness. Not only so, but a sympathy sprung from a realization of the same weakness ending in the same need, goes out to such, making a three-stranded cord that binds in stronger endearment, and that all perhaps cannot make and give. All can give a general pity and sympathy to the woman bereaved of her husband; but none like her who is so bereaved. All can pity, but none like those needing the same pity. Indeed, it is often a relief to me-and the more I pity them-to know that others are sinful and weak, in that I would, otherwise, despair of being born of God. Therefore I have so often thought what should I do but for the seventh chapter of Romans, wherein Paul tells of doing the very things he would not, etc.; and how wretched it made him to find sin still in his flesh.

Thus truly all things, among them my infirmities and sins, work together for good, in that they make it easy, yea, pleasant, to compassionate and forgive a brother in error; while his weaknesses and faults work for the same, in that while we do not condone or approve them, they bring a fellowship in weakness that saves from despair.

Then we-such as I, certainly- will pity and forgive as feeling the need of the same. And therefore instead of shunning the brother we thus compassionate him, not act as if we felt to be better-as if we condescended to do so; we will treat him as we would like to be treated; our bearing will be kindly, courteously, as an equal. For truly pitying and forgiving him, even as God, for Christ's sake, forgave us, we will remember his sins no more against him. Instead of holding him at a distance because thus overtaken in a fault, we will think, "Poor brother! He hates his conduct and feels bad enough without feeling we shun him." Then let us treat him with unusual courtesy and kindness. For courtesy is kindly politeness.

We must distinguish, however, between this brother and the one who is a "busybody and walks disorderly" generally, with whom we are to have no company that he may be ashamed. 2 Thess. 3:14.

Then, in another way and sense we are to be courteous: The membership of our churches is generally made up of all classes and conditions-the rich and the poor, the illiterate and educated, the weak and the strong, the wise and unwise. And if we do not watch we will find ourselves partial to the rich, educated and strong. But remember, in a spiritual sense we are all brethren, and therefore equals, in a sense-all one in Christ. Then let us watch and be sure we do not neglect or overlook the poor and plain, lest Jesus charge it to himself personally. If we could always remember that He said, "Insomuch as ye have done it-whether good or bad-unto one of these ye have done it unto me," we would treat all well and alike.


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The Primitive or Old School Baptists cling to the doctrines and practices held by Baptist Churches throughout America at the close of the Revolutionary War. This site is dedicated to providing access to our rich heritage, with both historic and contemporary writings.