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Verses 15-20. Moreover if thy brother. The word brother, here, evidently means a fellow-professor of religion. Christians are called brethren because they belong to the same redeemed family—having a common Father, God, and because they are united in the same feelings, objects, and destiny.

Trespass against thee. That is, injure thee in any way, by words or conduct. The original word means, sin against thee. This may be done by injuring the character, person, or property.

Go and tell him his fault. This was required under the law, Le 19:17. In the original it is, "go and reprove him." Seek an explanation of his conduct; and if he has done wrong, administer a friendly and brotherly reproof. This is required to be done alone:

(1.) That he may have an opportunity of explaining it. In nine cases out of ten, where one supposes he has been injured, a little friendly conversation would set the matter right, and prevent difficulty.

(2.) That he may have opportunity of acknowledging his offence, or making reparation, if he has done wrong. Many would be glad of such an opportunity, and it is our duty to furnish it by calling on them.

(3.) That we may admonish them of their error, if they have done an injury to the cause of religion. This should not be blazoned abroad. It can do no good. It does injury. It is what the enemies of religion wish. Christ is often wounded in the house of his friends; and religion, as well as an injured brother, often suffers by spreading such faults before the world.

Thou hast gained thy brother. To gain means, sometimes, to preserve, or to save, 1 Co 9:19. Here it means, thou hast preserved him, or restored him, to be a consistent Christian. Perhaps it may include the idea also, thou hast reconciled him—thou hast gained him as a Christian brother.

{l} "if thy brother" Le 19:17; Lu 17:3 {m} "if he shall hear thee" Jas 5:20

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