As we examine the sermon “The Indispensable Duty of Loving Our Enemies”, we see that, after Scougal makes a thorough exposition of the Luke 6:27, he then tells us how to love our enemies. He writes, “the nature and measures of this love will more fully appear, if we consider what it does exclude, and what it does imply.” This excerpt is the first of five excluded qualities.
As I read this, the deception of my own heart began to unfold. I realized how often I sin in my heart against people whom I wouldn’t even classify as “enemies”. I deeply appreciate how Scougal uses his keen understanding of the human condition alongside his encyclopedic knowledge of God’s word to apply a simple passage in a very convicting way.
Luke VI. 27.
But I say unto you which hear, love your enemies.
First, then, it excludes all harsh thoughts and groundless suspicions. The Apostle telleth us, that charity thinketh no evil; that it hopeth all things, believeth all things. To entertain, with pleasure, every bad report of those who have offended us, and to put the worst construction on their doubtful actions, is both a clear evidence of our hatred, and an unhappy method to continue it. Were once the love we recommend seated in the soul, it would soon cast out those restless jealousies, sour suspicions, harsh surmises, and embittered thoughts; and display itself in a more candid and gentle disposition; in fair glosses, and friendly censures; in a favourable extenuation of greater faults, and covering of lesser. It would make a man interpret all things in the best meaning they are capable of; and choose rather to be mistaken to his own prejudice, by a too favourable opinion, than to his neighbour’s, by a groundless jealousy. And even in this sense, it may be, that charity covereth a multitude of sins.