by William Gearing
This text has been initially updated from EEBO-TCP by Project Puritas (Logan West, David Jonescue, Alex Sarrouf) www.puritansearch.org Further revision and editing done by Monergism. Copyright Monergism via universal text usage permission from the above.
"Philadelphia: A Treatise of Brotherly Love," penned by William Gearing, is an intricate and compelling exploration of the multifaceted nature of love within the human experience and especially within the Christian context. Gearing’s treatise, dated October 10, 1669, serves as a comprehensive guide on the reasons and manners to love universally—extending even to the wicked and one's enemies.
The book dissects the theological and moral obligations to foster brotherly love, presenting a compelling argument that the absence of love equates to the presence of hatred. Gearing masterfully addresses the consequences of malice and spite, cautioning against the sins that erode the bonds of love and fellowship. The treatise is a timely meditation on the divisions and discord that plagued the church and society of his time, which unfortunately still resonate today.
Gearing's work is scholarly yet accessible, discussing weighty questions and clarifying various cases related to love, its expressions, and its impediments. The chapters progress through the nuances of Christian love, expounding on the dignity, necessity, excellence, and practicality of brotherly affection. Gearing also challenges readers to examine the schisms and conflicts that arise from human passions, urging a harmonious unity akin to the early Christian church, famously known for its mutual love.
At its core, "Philadelphia" is both an admonition against division and a heartfelt plea for the kind of love that is deeply rooted in Christian doctrine—a love that is patient, enduring, and reflective of divine grace. It's an essential read for those seeking to understand the profound spiritual imperative to love one another amidst a world rife with contention.
Table of Contents
TO THE RIGHT WORSHIPFUL:
CHAPTER I. Showeth what is meant by Brother and Neighbor; why we are not commanded to love ourselves, and why the command is to love others instead of others loving us.
CHAPTER II. Showeth that the Commandment of Love is a message sent from Heaven to Earth.
CHAPTER III. An Exhortation to yield obedience to this message of God.
CHAPTER IV. Showeth that they are contrary to God, that carry messages between men, that tend to the over-throw of Love: and likewise how hardly men are brought to unfeigned Love to each other.
CHAPTER V. Showeth that the Commandment of Love was from the beginning; and how it was from the beginning.
CHAPTER VII. Showeth that no injuries that men do unto us, should make us think ourselves discharged from the duty of love towards them; it likewise showeth what mighty numbers of offenders shall be arraigned, and indicted at the last day for the breach of this ancient Law.
CHAPTER VIII. I come now to the main thing in my Text, and that is Christian-Love:
CHAPTER IX. Showeth that we must love all men; where we are to observe the differences of Love
CHAPTER X. Sets down five reasons why we are to love all men: and four reasons why Publicans and Sinners do return all offices of Love to those that love them.
CHAPTER XI. I come in the second place to show, How we must manifest our Love in general to the wicked.
CHAPTER XII. The third thing I am to treat of, is, Love to our Enemies.
CHAPTER XIII. Showeth that Godly men must especially love one another.
CHAPTER XIV. Sets down Nine reasons why Godly men must show special Love one to another.
CHAPTER XV. I Come now to show, How we are to love one another.
CHAPTER XVI. Of bearing another's burdens; of inward burdens, and of why we are to bear one another's burdens.
CHAPTER XVII. Of the Order of our Love one to another, and some questions resolved.
CHAPTER XVIII. What true Christian Love to the Saints is, showed in five things.
CHAPTER XIX. Sets forth the woeful condition of those that hate the Saints; reasons for their hating them, and that the want of love where love is due is hate.
CHAPTER XX. Of the greatness of this sin of hating the Saints.
CHAPTER XXI. An Exhortation to Christians to love one another, especially Ministers.
CHAPTER XXII. Showeth the dignity, necessity, excellency, usefulness of this Grace and duty of Love.
CHAPTER XXIV. Advice to take heed of those sins that break the bond of Love.
CHAPTER XXV. Showeth that the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper is a Sacrament of mutual and Brotherly Love.
CHAPTER XXVI. Layeth down arguments to encourage the Godly to suffer the Hatred of the world.
CHAPTER XXVII. Setteth down some rules for a Christians carriage in the time of the worlds Hatred.
CHAPTER XXVIII. The Conclusion with an Exhortation to the continuance of Brotherly Love.