Binning, Hugh. A Treatise of Christian Love with an extract from the Sinner’s Sanctuary. Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2004. 106 pp. $6.00. Purchase at Westminster for less.
Hugh Binning (1627-1653) was the son of a wealthy Ayrshire landowner, was the minister of Govan near Glasgow. He impressed Oliver Cromwell with the force of his reasoning and was a moving and popular preacher. His contemporary, James Durham said, “There is no speaking after Mr. Binning.” He died at the early age of 26.
This particular Puritan Paperback offers Binning’s treatise on John 13:35 with example given from 1 Corinthians 13 as his application and support for the Christian’s needing to be known for his love. It also offers three expositions from Binning’s exposition of Romans 8:1-15 known as The Sinner’s Sanctuary.
The first chapter looks at the love of a Christian and the vice of self-love. Chapter 2 looks at the excellence of Christian love and draws upon the realities of the difference between that and worldly love which is selfish. From there, Binning offers motives for Christian love (ch. 3) and what this looks like in practice (ch. 4). The fifth chapter, on humility and meekness, aptly wraps up the discussion of the nature of Christian love. The second section consists of three chapters from The Sinner’s Sanctuary and shows the necessity of repentance and confession unto salvation.
I will be honest, for such a short book (106 pp), it sure took me a while to read this book. This due more to the struggles of my own heart than to the wording or the length. There were times I would have to put the book down and step away to meditate and carefully consider what was being said. Then to realize that the man who wrote this died at the age of 26, I was humbled. There is a maturity in this writing that betrays such a young age.
His words are to be carefully chewed in small bites so that they can be properly digested and then lived out in one’s life. In this day of fast-paced, sound-bite theology, Hugh Binning offers an extremely valid reason for pausing long enough to enjoy a 106 page book that will challenge and encourage you to live a life holy and separate for the Lord.
After reading Christian Love, the believer will think long and hard on how he is showing (or not showing in some cases) the love of God appropriately to all.
Binning performs a heart surgery on one of the prevalent issues in the church today. His treatise on the real meaning of Christian love needs to be read by all. Supported with three messages on the need of the sinner to repent, this book is an excellent resource to share with those ensnared by theologies of the likes of Rob Bell or Joel Osteen. I highly recommend this short book to any and all interested in learning what real Christian love looks like.