But, more particularly, the first thing that the apostle holds up as an object of desire is the abounding of love. Love is one of the first principles of all religion; shall I say it is the essence of all true religion? It is the cement of the moral world. It is that by which God proposes to govern all holy intelligences. It is, as our expositor, Mr. Henry, remarks, “the law of Christ’s kingdom, the lesson of his school, and the livery of his family.” It is the law of Christ’s kingdom; for “this command I give unto you, that ye love one another.” It is the lesson of his school; for “ye are taught of God to love one another.” It is the livery of his family; for “by this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love on to another.” Love, however, as here spoken of, is not to be taken for every thing that may bear that name. Natural affection may be denominated love; but this is not it. Party attachment may be called love; but this is not it. Christian love, how shall I distinguish it? By what medium shall I distinguish Christian love from every thing else that bears the name? I know of no better criterion than this: The object of it is holy: for it is the love of that in the Divine character, or in the human character, or in things, which is holy. It is the love of the holy God—it is the love of holy ways—it is the love of holy men—it is the love of a holy gospel—it is the love of a holy religion—it is that distinguishing quality in all objects, persons, or things which attracts; and it is this which distinguishes Christian love from all other; and it is this which the apostle prays the Philippians might abound in yet more and more. He takes it for granted that they possessed love, and he only prays that they might abound in it. And may I take it for granted on behalf of you, my hearers, this morning, that you love the Lord, that you love the Saviour, that you love the gospel, that you love your fellow Christians? If I take it for granted, I do not wish or recommend that you should. It may be proper for you to examine yourselves on this head; but, however, taking it for granted that love exists in your hearts towards these objects, still there is reason to pray that this love may abound yet more and more. There are none of us so abounding in love, but that there is great reason for increase. Your affection towards God, towards Christians, and towards all men, is faint in comparison of what it is fit and proper it should be.
Excerpt from: “Paul’s Prayer for the Philippians,” Sermon XXVIII in Sermons and Sketches.
Fuller, A. G. (1988). The Complete Works of Andrew Fuller: Memoirs, Sermons, Etc. (J. Belcher, Ed.; Vol. 1, pp. 357–358). Sprinkle Publications.