Leviticus 19:18
Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against any of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.
Sermons
Brotherly AffectionJ. Spencer.Leviticus 19:18
Forgive and ForgetBp. Babington.Leviticus 19:18
Penalty of the Desire to AvengeScientific lllustrationsLeviticus 19:18
Victory Over Self the Best Way to Gain OthersLeviticus 19:18
Religion and SuperstitionW. Clarkson Leviticus 19:1, 2, 4, 5, 12, 26-28, 30-32, 36, 37
Social MoralityR.M. Edgar Leviticus 19:1-37
Honour to Whom HonorW. Clarkson Leviticus 19:3, 32
The Holy Law in the Holy LifeR.A. Redford Leviticus 19:3-37
ConsideratenessW. Clarkson Leviticus 19:9, 10, 13, 14, 33, 34
IntegrityW. Clarkson Leviticus 19:11, 13, 15, 16, 35, 36
JusticeJ.A. Macdonald Leviticus 19:15-18
Love - its Root and its FruitW. Clarkson Leviticus 19:17, 18
Two things lend a special interest to this passage.

1. It was twice quoted by our Lord (Matthew 19:19 and Matthew 22:39).

2. It shows us the Law as closer to the gospel than we are apt to think; it proves that, under the old dispensation, God was not satisfied with a mere mechanical propriety of behaviour, that he demanded rightness of feeling as well as correctness of conduct. We have -

I. THE BROAD PRINCIPLE OF GOD'S REQUIREMENT. Man is to "love his neighbour as himself" (verse 18). No man, indeed, can

(1) give as much time and thought to each of his neighbours as he does to himself, and no man

(2) is so responsible for the state of others' hearts and the rectitude of their lives as he is for his own. But every man can and should, by power of imagination and sympathy, put himself in his brother's place; be as anxious to avoid doing injury to another as he would be unwilling to receive injury from another; and be as desirous of doing good to his neighbour who is in need as he would be eager to receive help from him if he himself were in distress. This is the essence of the "golden rule" (Matthew 7:12).

II. THE ROOT FROM WHICH THIS FEELING WILL SPRING. How can we do this? it will be asked. How can we be interested in the uninteresting; love the unamiable; go out in warm affection toward those who have in them so much that is repulsive? The answer is here, "I am the Lord." We must look at all men in their relation to God.

1. God is interested, Christ is interested in the worst of men, is seeking to save and raise them; do we not care for those for whom he cares so much?

2. They are all God's children; it may be his prodigal children, living in the far country, but still his sons and daughters, over whom he yearns.

3. The most unlovely of men are those for whom our Saviour bled, agonized, died. Can we be indifferent to them?

4. They were once not far from the kingdom, and may yet be holy citizens of the kingdom of God. When we look at our fellow-men in the light of their relation to God, to Jesus Christ, we can see that in them which shines through all that is repelling, and which attracts us to their side that we may win and bless them.

III. THE FRUITS WHICH HOLY LOVE WILL BEAR. There are two suggested in the text.

1. Forbearance; "not hating our brother in our heart," "not avenging or bearing any grudge against" him. Without the restraints and impulses of piety we are under irresistible temptation to do this. Unreasonable dislike on our brother's part, injustice, ingratitude, unkindness, inconsiderateness, features of character which are antipathetic to our own, - these things and such things as these are provocative of ill will, dislike, enmity, resentment, even revenge on our part. But if we remember and realize our brother's relation to the common Father and Saviour, we shall rise to the noble height of forbearance; we shall have the love which "beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things" (1 Corinthians 13:7).

2. Restoration by remonstrance, Thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him." Instead of nursing and nourishing our indignation, allowing our brother to go on in the wrong, and permitting ourselves to become resentful as well as indignant, we shall offer the remonstrance of affection; we shall "reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering" (2 Timothy 4:2). We shall try to win our brother back to that path of truth or righteousness which he has forsaken; so shall we "gain our brother" (Matthew 18:15), instead of "suffering sin upon him." This is the conquest of love, the crown of charity. - C.







Thou shalt not avenge.
In another place we read, "For vengeance is Mine, and I will repay." Wrest not God's sword therefore out of His hand, sit not down in His seat, nor make thyself a god, for fear of the end. Well, let Him go then, I will not avenge, but sure I will remember Him; forgive I may, but never forget, &c. See what followeth in the very next words of this verse, "Neither shalt thou be mindful of a wrong against the children of thy people." "Remembering," then, you see, is condemned as well as "avenging," and therefore it standeth you upon both to forgive and to forget, or else the Lord shall forget you out of His Book of Life. Nay, see more: all this is not yet enough, but we must "love also our neighbours, and that even as ourselves," or else we perish. For, "I am the Lord," saith the verse, that is, One that seeth and hateth and will smite thee in that strength that thou canst not resist nor endure. Foolish politic, think, then, of piety, and abhor that policy that devoureth piety and destroyeth thee. Thou canst not live ever, but must die, and come unto judgment.

(Bp. Babington.)

Scientific lllustrations.
Small birds have an intense natural antipathy of nocturnal birds of prey. If one of these birds happens to be seen out of its lurking-place during the day they assail it vigorously, resent its intrusion, and avenge the oppression exercised over them during the night by combined attacks. This antipathy has been taken advantage of for the purpose of catching birds ever since the days of Aristotle. The catcher imitates, for instance, the voice of an owl about an hour before sunset, when the birds will flock together and perch on the trees or bushes in the suspected neighbourhood. The twigs, &c., having been previously covered with bird-lime, the birds pay their liberty and perhaps life as the penalty of their desire to avenge themselves on the owl.

(Scientific lllustrations.)

Euclid showed in himself the true symptoms of brotherly affection, who, when his brother in his rage made a rash vow, saying, "Let me not live, if I be not revenged on my brother"; Euclid turns the speech contrary way, "Nay, let me not live, if I be not reconciled to my brother; let me not live, if we be not as good friends as ever we were before." Shall a heathen thus outstrip us Christians? nature be stronger than grace? the bonds of flesh tie faster and surer than the bonds of grace? We call on God our Father, we acknowledge, or should do, one Church our mother, we are bred up in the same school of the Cross, fed at the same table of the Lord, incorporated into the same communion of saints. If these and the like considerations cannot knit our hearts in love one to another, the very heathens will rise up in judgment against us, and condemn us.

(J. Spencer.)

Winthrop, the Puritan Governor of Massachusetts, had a wonderful control of his own passions. On one occasion, one of the officers of the colony wrote him a "sharp letter," complaining of his official acts. He sent back the letter — would not keep such a letter of provocation by him. By and by, the writer of the letter, while there was a scarcity of food in the colony, sent to buy some of Winthrop's cattle. "Receive them," said the governor, "as a gift in token of my goodwill." The offender wrote back: "Sir, your overcoming of yourself hath overcome me." This way of dealing with offenders was loved by him.

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