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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
The Love that Hopeth and Endureth All Things
By John Wesley (1703–1791)
 
From the ‘Second Discourse upon the Sermon on the Mount’

AND when it can no longer believe, then love “hopeth all things.” Is any evil related of any man? Love hopes that the relation is not true, that the thing related was never done. Is it certain it was?—“But perhaps it was not done with such circumstances as are related; so that allowing the fact, there is room to hope it was not so ill as it is represented.” Was the action apparently, undeniably evil? Love hopes the intention was not so. Is it clear the design was evil too?—“Yet might it not spring, not from the settled temper of the heart, but from a start of passion, or from some vehement temptation, which hurried the man beyond himself?” And even when it cannot be doubted but all the actions, designs, and tempers are equally evil, still love hopes that God will at last make bare his arm and get himself the victory; and that there shall be “joy in heaven over [this] one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons that need no repentance.”  1
  Lastly: It “endureth all things.” This completes the character of him that is truly merciful. He endureth not some, not many things only, not most, but absolutely all things. Whatever the injustice, the malice, the cruelty of men can inflict, he is able to suffer. He calls nothing intolerable; he never says of anything, “This is not to be borne.” No: he can not only do but suffer all things through Christ which strengtheneth him. And all he suffers does not destroy his love, nor impair it in the least. It is proof against all. It is a flame that burns even in the midst of the great deep. “Many waters cannot quench” his “love, neither can the floods drown it.” It triumphs over all. It “never faileth,” either in time or in eternity.
  “Thus in obedience to what Heaven decrees,
Knowledge shall fail, and prophecy shall cease;
But lasting charity’s more ample sway—
Nor bound by time, nor subject to decay—
In happy triumph shall forever live,
And endless good diffuse, and endless praise receive.”
  2
  So shall “the merciful obtain mercy”: not only by the blessing of God upon all their ways, by his now repaying the love they bear to their brethren a thousandfold into their own bosom; but likewise by “an exceeding and eternal weight of glory,” in the “kingdom prepared for them from the beginning of the world.”  3
 
 
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