Therefore, my brothers dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.…
When a rosebud is formed, if the soil is soft, and the sky is genial, it is not long before it bursts, for the life within is so abundant that it can no longer contain it all, but in blossomed brightness and swimming fragrance it must needs let forth its joy, and gladden all the air. And if, when thus ripe, it refused to expand, it would quickly rot at heart and die. And Christian love is just piety with its petals fully spread, developing itself and making it a happier world. The religion which fancies that it loves God, when it never evinces love for its brother, is not piety, but a poor mildewed theology, a dogma with a worm at the heart.
(James Hamilton, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.