1 Pet. 1:22,23.---' Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently; being born again.'

There is only one word in the original for 'love of the brethren.' It is the Greek word Philadelphia. It is sometimes translated 'brotherly love.' We have no single word for it.

The change which passes over a man when he comes to Christ is so radical and thorough that it can be defined only in these terms: he has become a new creature; he has been born anew; a new life has been begotten within him by the energy of the Spirit of God. He lives from and towards a new center; new motives inspire him; he is not his own; he has a new Master, even Christ. He does all things now for the sake of Christ. He lives not to please himself but to please God. To be a Christian is not to leave off certain things and to start doing certain other things. We may do that without making any change at the center.

Now it is important, in relation to what follows, to notice that throughout the New Testament the two things that are prominently associated with regeneration are truth and love---truth, as the instrument through which, or along with which, the Divine influence is exerted; love, as the result which fills and takes possession of the soul, and makes it a partaker of the Divine nature. 'By his own will begat he us by the word of truth.' 'Love is of God; and everyone that loveth is born of God.' In raising man from the death of sin to the life of righteousness the Holy Spirit makes use of the truth, to flash light into the soul and to awaken love in the heart.

OBEDIENCE TO THE TRUTH.---'Ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth.' We have already been told in this chapter two great fundamental things about believers---there is no holiness without effort, and there is no holiness without grace. Here is another---there is no holiness without guidance. The guidance is given to those who are willing to receive it.

The Truth.---How can we grow the sweet, white flower of love? Its creation is not the immediate result of volition; it is the issue of a process. We cannot command it; we can grow it. It is not an 'alpha' but an 'omega' the 'amen' in a spiritual succession. The Apostle has not used the word 'truth' before. He seems to have kept it in abeyance until by some preliminary thought he has prepared our minds to give it adequate content. He has been leading us through a pilgrimage of contemplation, and at the end of the journey he utters the word 'truth,' and if we would enter into his conception we must pack the word with the experiences of the previous way. We have been peering into the Fatherhood of God. The apostle has been pointing out to us elements which we were inclined to forget. We looked into the Fatherhood for sweetness; he pointed out whiteness. We looked for gentleness; he pointed out holiness. We looked for tender yearnings towards the sinner; he would not permit us to overlook the Divine hostility to sin. Wherever the Apostle turns in the contemplation of the Fatherhood, it is the 'whiteness' that arrests him. He looks into the Father's judgments, and he beholds the whiteness of holiness. He glances behind the veil into the mysteries of redemption, and even amid the sacrifices of love he beholds the glory of the 'great white throne.' Wherever he turns his wondering gaze, it is the perception of a character 'without blemish and without spot' that brings him to his knees. When, therefore, we emerge from the solemn sight-seeing, and hear the word 'truth,' we know that he inserts into the word the content of superlative whiteness, and that while he uses it he bows before the holiness of the Fatherhood of God. Here, then, we must begin the culture of affection. We must begin with the contemplation of whiteness, with a steady, steadfast gazing upon the holiness of the Fatherhood of God. We must let holiness tower in our conception of God, as the dazzling snow abides on the lifted heights of the Mountains. The 'truth' is the unveiled face of the Holy Father. The first step in the creation of pure affection is the contemplation of a Holy God.

Obedience to the truth.---The Apostle uses a very graphic word to describe the healthy pose of a soul in reference to the 'truth.' We are to be 'in obedience to the 'truth.' There is a stoop in the word. It is a kneeling at attention. It is an eager inclining of the ear to catch the whisper of the Holy God. But it is more than that. It is the attention of a soul that is girt and ready for service. The wings are plumed for ministering flight. It is a listening, for the purpose of a doing: 'Whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them.' It is a soul waiting consciously and eagerly upon the Holy father with the intent of hearing and doing His will. This is 'obedience to the truth' and this is the preliminary step in the creation and culture of God.

If a man is a Christian, there was a moment in his past at which he potentially, and in ideal, purified his spirit, and that was the moment when he bowed down in obedience to the truth.

Sincere Brotherly Love.---Love is so set in the forefront of this section as to gather to itself a special emphasis. This love is the crowning fruit of obedience: 'ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth unto unfeigned love of the brethren.' It might be better if we transliterated rather than translated the word rendered 'unfeigned': then we should get the word 'unhypocritical,' and might hear in the Apostle's phrase an echo of some of the counsels of the Master against hypocrisy.

Christ tells us, 'By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.' And that beloved disciple who drank so deeply at the fountain of his master's love said, 'We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren.' It is not merely love and charity to all men, but specially and specifically 'love of the brethren' as brethren, because they are united to us in a new birth, and in a new relationship to God. Ought this not to produce naturally kindly feelings? It is most unnatural, if a man loves not his brother and sister, if he loves not his father that begat him, and his mother that bore him, and more unnatural for those who profess to be in God to love not His people.

O Almighty God, inspire us with this divine principle of brotherly love. Kill in us all the seeds of envy and ill-will. And help us, by cultivating within ourselves the love of our neighbor, to improve in the love of Thee. Thou hast placed us in various kindreds, friendships, and relations, as the school of discipline for our affections. Help us, by the due exercise of all these, to improve to perfection, till all partial affection be lost in that entire universal one, and Thou, O God, shall be all in all.

In Christ, timothy. maranatha