Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brothers which are with me greet you.
The earlier ages of the Church were marked by a spirit of love; so that Christians actually regarded themselves as all members of one family. The moment a man embraced Christianity, he was regarded as a brother by the whole Christian body: a thousand hearts at once beat kindly towards him; and multitudes, who were never likely to see him in the flesh, were instantly one with him in spirit. The love of Christians because they are Christians, no regard being had to country or condition — is this still a strongly marked characteristic of those who profess themselves the disciples of the Redeemer? There was something very touching and beautiful in Christ's promise to such as should forsake all for his sake — "He shall receive a hundred-fold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands." Thus was strikingly verified a description long before given of God by the Psalmist: "He setteth the solitary in families" — for they who were to all appearance abandoned, left orphaned and alone in the world, found themselves surrounded by kinsmen. The criterion of genuine Christianity remains just what it was: "We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. In our own time the ends of the earth are being wondrously brought together: there is an ever-growing facility of communication between country and country; and this must rapidly break down many barriers, and bring far-scattered tribes into familiar intercourse. In earlier times, nation was widely divided from nation: the inhabitants of different lands were necessarily almost strangers to each other; and you could not have expected an approximation to universal brotherhood. But then it was, in the face of all obstacles to personal communion, that the spirit of Christianity showed its comprehensive and amalgamating energies: the name of Christ was as a spell to annihilate distance; to plant the cross in a land, sufficed to make that land one with districts removed from it by the diameter of the globe. Alas for the colder temper of modern times! We have been led into these remarks, from observing, in the apostolical writings, the affectionate greetings which the members of one Church send to those of another. For the most part, these Churches had no intercourse the one with the other; they were widely separated by situation; and, had it not been for the bond of a common faith, their members would have been as much strangers as though they had belonged to different orders of being.
Parallel VersesKJV: Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren which are with me greet you.