FRATERNAL love gathers in all the peoples of the earth, no matter what their nationality or birth or whether they be black or white, old or young, whether they speak a stranger's dialect or a familiar tongue. Neither is difference of opinion a bar to fraternal love. It acknowledges all as one great brotherhood, the children of one common parent, God, whether they belong to England's High Church or low, whether Methodists or Presbyterians, Catholic or infidel. However dark and coarse the nature, uncultured or unrefined; however one has yielded to temptation, or fallen victim to some wrong, he is still a brother, and has a hold upon fraternal love. Though he be an inebriate, beyond control of will, there is still something left in him for us to love, for God is there. If He dwells in the pebble and the rock, in the ocean and the flower, His great pervading love must be in the heart of His deluded child. If we seek for the good, or God, Him we find; if we seek for evil it comes uppermost. And according to the Word, none are so lost that God withdraws His love from them; therefore, neither should their fellow men.
Many who sink to low conditions might be restored if friendly hands would help. The names of some might here be given who have been so fortunate as to find a willing hand to lift them. Take, for instance, John B. Gough who had become in early life a sad inebriate, reduced in money and in friends; for when the former goes, the latter often follows. A person found him lying in an unconscious state, and spoke to him, saying, "John, get up; lean on my arm; I will help you." But John did not hear, at least he did not heed. Again the appeal was made, "Get up, and I will take you home." "Home!" the poor man muttered, as if half conscious of his degraded state; but through the influence of that word, and by the stranger's help, he struggled to arise, and did, but fell again. How many times he fell I cannot say, but that he did conquer his appetite, and stood a temperance man, I am aware; and that he became a famous orator, and for a quarter of a century held interested audiences, that listened with breathless silence to his words of eloquence, while with hope he cheered the almost broken-hearted; and, by the recital of his past life, and his kind advice, gave strength and courage to the weak. Was he not worth the pains that stranger took to raise him? Arid thousands are to-day waiting for such proffered kindness that might be, raised to high positions and to lives of usefulness, if love to them could be extended; and as we try to raise out fellow men we raise ourselves by helping them.
Woman, too, sometimes falls from honour's high estate, and looks to us for love. She asks not for the love of man, nor for money, these are proffered; but she now pleads for woman's love; she wants her friendly hand to give her strength; her kindness would help to save her. But does woman listen to this pleading wail, to this weak and erring sister? Or does she turn the cheek of pride, and with a chilling glance emphatically proclaim, "I am holier than thou; touch not my garments, lest I become defiled?" Did Jesus act that way? Ah, no; but when the fallen came to Him the harshest words he spoke were, "Go, and sin no more." "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her." If such command were given now, how many stones would justly fly ? For if no desperate deed has been committed, but few can say in truth that their thoughts are always pure, though no blot on reputation or stain on character may be visible to their associates or friends. He who judges the evil, and the just, may see what the world would not suspect.
Then let us spare our judgment; for, had we been born under similar conditions to those of our fallen sisters, with temptations of the same degree, we might have sunk quite as low, or even lower, than those whom we so proudly scorn.
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