“Charity beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” (1 Corinthians 13:7)
‘Charity beareth all things.’ By nature we are undaunted heifers, we cannot bear anything patiently; but charity is accustomed to the yoke, to the yoke of reproaches and injuries from others, to a burden of other men’s infirmities and failings.
We would all be borne upon others’ shoulders, but we cannot put our own shoulders under other men’s burdens, according to that royal law of Christ (Rom. 15:1), ‘We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.’ And, ‘Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ‘ (Gal. 6:2), that is, the law of love, without question.
“Charity believeth all things.’ Our nature is malignant and wicked, and therefore most suspicious and jealous, and apt to take all in the worst part; but charity has much candour and humanity in it, and can believe well of every man, and believe all things, as far as truth will permit.
It knows that grace can be beside a man’s sins; it knows that it itself is subject to similar infirmities; therefore, it is not a rigid and censorious judge; it allows as much latitude to others as it would desire of others.
It is true that it is not blind and ignorant: it is judicious, and has eyes that can discern between colours.
Credit omnia credenda, sperat omnia speranda. “It hopes all things that are hopeful, and believes all things that are believable.”
If love has not sufficient evidence, yet she believes if there are some probabilities to the contrary, as well as for it; the weight of charity inclines to the better part, and so casts the balance of hope and persuasion; yet being sometimes deceived, she has reason to be watchful and wise; for ‘the simple believeth every word.’ (Prov. 14:15)
If charity cannot have ground of believing any good, yet it hopes still: Qui non est hodie, cras magis aptus erit, (‘He who is not amenable today, will be more so tomorrow.‘) says charity; and therefore it is patient and gentle, waiting on all, ‘if peradventure God may give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth‘ (2 Tim. 2:25).
Charity would account it both atheism and blasphemy, to say such a man cannot, will not, find mercy.
But to pronounce of such as have been often approved in the conscience of all, and sealed in many hearts, that they will never find mercy, that they have no grace, because of some failings in practice and differences from us, it would not be insobriety, but madness.
It is certainly love and indulgence to ourselves that makes us aggravate other men’s faults to such a height; self-love looks on other men’s failings through a multiplying or magnifying glass; but she puts her own faults behind her back.
Non videt quod in mantica qua a tergo est (‘She does not see what is in the bag behind her.’); therefore she can suffer much in herself but nothing in others; and certainly much self-forbearance and indulgence can spare little for others.
But charity is just contrary, she is most rigid on her own behalf, will not pardon herself easily; knows no revenge but what is spoken of (2 Cor. 7:11), self-revenge; and has no indignation but against herself.
Thus she can spare much candour and forbearance for others, and has little or no indignation left behind to consume on others.”
–Hugh Binning, Christian Love (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1735/2022), 24-26.