If charity be a lamp in common persons, it must be a bright star in the breasts of divines.  Such a jewel was in the heart of Paul, more precious than all the stones in the breastplate of Aaron, that he wished to be anathematized for his brethren (Romans 9.3).  He was more afflicted that they should not be saved than that he himself should perish, says one, sure they were his beloved.  He wept for the enemies of Christ’s cross (Philippians 3.8).  No one so much wept over his own sins as Paul did over the sins of others.  For this love, Christ prepared our apostle by His threefold question: “Do you love Me?  If you do, feed My sheep” (John 21.15-17).  Does not the same God invert that speech now to the people? “Do you love Me?  Feed My shepherds.” 

The sheep are well-provided for spirituals, but the shepherds are discouraged for the want of temporals.  “In love to you, we wear out our days and weary out our lives.  Cannot you, in love to us, minister of your superfluities?  You give your servants meat, that they may do your work.  And shall your minister be out of heart through defect of maintenance?”  The rabbis have a traditional conceit that Abel or Seth or some of those holy patriarchs, burning their sacrifices on the ground, did melt the gold and silver that was in the superficial veins of the earth, which they, perceiving to be useful for commerce, did so employ it – as, therefore, it was found out in the service of God, to the service of God let it return. 

Let our painful diligence and your thankful beneficence be real arguments and mutual testimonies of our love to each other that we may all be blessed with the love and favor of Jesus Christ.Thomas Adams, from a meditation on 2 Peter 3.8.


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