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a Bible passage
4. Living for God
1Forasmuch then as Christ suffered in the flesh, arm ye yourselves also with the same mind; for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; 2that ye no longer should live the rest of your time in flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. 3For the time past may suffice to have wrought the desire of the Gentiles, and to have walked in lasciviousness, lusts, winebibbings, revellings, carousings, and abominable idolatries: 4wherein they think strange that ye run not with them into the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: 5who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6For unto this end was the gospel preached even to the dead, that they might be judged indeed according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit. 7But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore of sound mind, and be sober unto prayer: 8above all things being fervent in your love among yourselves; for love covereth a multitude of sins: 9using hospitality one to another without murmuring: 10according as each hath received a gift, ministering it among yourselves, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God; 11if any man speaketh, speaking as it were oracles of God; is any man ministereth, ministering as of the strength which God supplieth: that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, whose is the glory and the dominion for ever and ever. Amen. 12Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial among you, which cometh upon you to prove you, as though a strange thing happened unto you: 13but insomuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings, rejoice; that at the revelation of his glory also ye may rejoice with exceeding joy. 14If ye are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are ye; because the Spirit of glory and the Spirit of God resteth upon you. 15For let none of you suffer as a murderer, or a thief, or an evil-doer, or as a meddler in other men's matters: 16but if a man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God in this name. 17For the time is come for judgment to begin at the house of God: and if it begin first at us, what shall be the end of them that obey not the gospel of God? 18And if the righteous is scarcely saved, where shall the ungodly and sinner appear? 19Wherefore let them also that suffer according to the will of God commit their souls in well-doing unto a faithful Creator.
8 And above all things He commends charity or love as the first thing, for it is the bond of perfection. And he bids it to be fervent, or intense, or vehement, which is the same thing; for whosoever is immoderately fervent in self-love, loves others coldly. And he commends it on account of its fruit, because it buries innumerable sins, than which nothing is more desirable. But the sentence is taken from Solomon, whose words are found in Proverbs 10:12,
“Hatred discovers reproaches, but love covers a multitude of sins.”
What Solomon meant is sufficiently clear, for the two clauses contain things which are set in contrast the one with the other. As then he says in the first clause that hatred is the cause why men traduce and defame one another, and spread whatever is reproachful and dishonorable; so it follows that a contrary effect is ascribed to love, that is, that men who love one another, kindly and courteously forgive one another; hence it comes that, willingly burying each other’s vices, one seeks to preserve the honor of another. 4747 The quotation is from the Hebrew, and the sentence in the Sept. is evidently different. The same words are found also in James 5:20. Thus Peter confirms his exhortation, that nothing is more necessary than to cherish mutual love. For who is there that has not many faults? Therefore all stand in need of forgiveness, and there is no one who does not wish to be forgiven.
This singular benefit love brings to us when it exists among us, so that innumerable evils are covered in oblivion. On the other hand, where loose reins are given to hatred, men by mutual biting and tearing must necessarily consume one another, as Paul says (Galatians 5:15.)
And it ought to be noticed that Solomon does not say that only a few sins are covered, but a multitude of sins, according to what Christ declares, when he bids us to forgive our brethren seventy times seven, (Matthew 18:22.) But the more sins love covers, the more evident appears its usefulness for the wellbeing of mankind.
This is the plain meaning of the words. It hence appears how absurd are the Papists, who seek to elicit from this passage their own satisfactions, as though almsgiving and other duties of charity were a sort of a compensation to God for blotting out their sins. 4848 ”Though charity, or benevolence, hides the faults of others from the severity of our censure, yet charity or almsgiving is totally unable to conceal our own from the observance of our all-righteous Judge. Indeed, the only cover for these, or to speak more properly, the discharge of all their stains, is faith, — is the blood of Christ, working with repentance towards God.” — Bishop Warburton, quoted by Bloomfield. — Ed. It is enough to point out by the way their gross ignorance, for in a matter so clear it would be superfluous to add many words.