Christian Perfection implies that we are to love our neighbor as ourselves, treating all men with equity, charity, benevolence, and affection. Forgive them, bear with their weakness and errors, rejoice in their prosperity, lament their adversity, and in all possible ways contribute to their improvement and happiness to the extent of our knowledge and ability, and in consonancy with obligations to God and ourselves.
It therefore excludes envy, for this regrets another’s talents, excellence, success or popularity, and involves more or less malignity and evil desire, if not a positive effort to eclipse and injure.
It excludes covetousness, for this inordinately desires the possessions of others and retains its own, and is inconsistent with our duty to the destitute and the cause of Christ.
It excludes jealousy, which is a peculiar uneasiness arising from the fear that another will obtain some good which we desire for ourselves.
It excludes emulation, for this would hinder the progress of others in order to secure us the profit or honor of exceeding them.
It excludes wrath for this is an evil and turbulent passion, which leads to contentions.
It excludes all other passions which tend to wrong action, and implies all those kind and heavenly tempers which sweeten and perfect the happiness of friendly relationships.
It also excludes all misrepresentations of another’s views, plans, feelings, all talebearing, tattling, and slanderous insinuations; every kind of degree of reference to others which shall detract from their respectability, influence or pleasure, doing unto others as ye would that man should do to you.
Silence is sometimes the worst kind of injustice. Negative goodness is often positive evil. We are to love our neighbor, speak well of him when defamed, or at all events give him the benefit of what we know in his favor. To hear one injured in his absence and make no apology for him is to be accessory to the slander. We wink at outrage unless we suggest that there may be a mistake in what has been said, or that it is only part of the truth, and not to be circulated.
Love “thinketh no evil.” It will defend just as far as the truth will admit, and hope for them when it can say no more.
But this is not the extent of its concern. He will strive to improve them, to increase their influence for good, their happiness and usefulness and will rejoice in their promotion.