1 Corinthians 11:1
You are to imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.
Sermons
ImitationJ.R. Thomson 1 Corinthians 11:1
Second Sunday Before LentMartin Luther1 Corinthians 11:1
The Limitation Set on the Following of Good MenR. Tuck 1 Corinthians 11:1
A Follower of ChristJ. Sherman.1 Corinthians 11:1-2
A Momentous ExampleSharpened Arrows1 Corinthians 11:1-2
Apostolic CommendationJ. W. Burn.1 Corinthians 11:1-2
Christ, Our ExampleO. Winslow, D.D.1 Corinthians 11:1-2
Christ's ExampleDean Church.1 Corinthians 11:1-2
Follow Paul and Follow ChristDean Stanley.1 Corinthians 11:1-2
Following Christians and Following Christ1 Corinthians 11:1-2
Imitation and CommendationD. Thomas, D.D.1 Corinthians 11:1-2
Imitation of ChristE. Bayley, D.D.1 Corinthians 11:1-2
Imitation of the GoodE. Warre, D.D.1 Corinthians 11:1-2
True FollowingWeekly Pulpit1 Corinthians 11:1-2
Apostolic Injunctions with Regard to Church ServicesC. Limpscomb 1 Corinthians 11:1-16
Decency in Public WorshipE. Hurndall 1 Corinthians 11:1-16


Though the Corinthians deserved blame in some things, they were entitled to praise in that they had generally observed St. Paul's directions. Despite their departure from certain of his instructions, he could say, "Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ;" by which he recognized that they had discernment enough to see the Lord Jesus in his personal and official character, and a sufficient brotherly sympathy to imitate his example. His commendation is hearty: "Ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you." With this preface, short but conciliatory, he takes up his first topic, viz. the headship of man in the natural and spiritual order, established by Providence and maintained by the Spirit in the Church. In his writings, natural facts are ever reappearing in new and diviner connections, as if they had undergone a silent and wonderful transfiguration, and had been glorified in light and beauty. Instinct had always acknowledged the subordination of woman to man, nor, indeed, is the instinct of sex conceivable in the absence of this element in its nature. But St. Paul is careful to lay his doctrinal foundation on the fact "that the head of every man is Christ," assured that the ultimate strength of all truth is in its spirituality. Be it a law, a principle, a motive, an end, "other foundation can no man lay." Critics may entertain widely different estimates of the man, may be as broadly separated as M. Renan and Dr. Farrar, and yet none can deny that St. Paul had this incomparable advantage, namely, a great centre, from which he saw all objects that engaged his attention. His method is fully brought out in the third verse: the head of the man is Christ; the head of the woman is the man; the head of Christ is God - a statement clear, compact, exhaustive. One moment he is dealing with the relationship between man and woman: Eden rises to his view, the sleeping Adam wakening to find Eve at his side, "the woman of the man," and "the glory of the man;" and the next moment he is contemplating the Trinity in its economic and immanent relations. Yet from this sublime height of Christ's exaltation at the right hand of the Father there is no break when he descends to discuss woman's behaviour in Church assemblies. The principle involved keeps him on ground far above dress and decorum as such, and, indeed, he will not touch the matter at all until he has set forth the dignity of its associations. Let us be careful, then, lest we err by supposing that St. Paul looked upon dress and decorum, in this instance, as simply conventionalities based on whims of taste and caprices of opinion. Conventionalities they were in a certain sense, but conventionalities to be respected and observed. In brief, they were customs that had a moral meaning. If a woman appeared in public unveiled, she was deemed immodest. To wear a veil was a sign of womanly delicacy, and hence, if she went to a public assembly without her veil, she acted shamelessly. To be consistent, argues St. Paul, "let her also be shorn," and so assume the mark of a disreputable woman. A woman acting in this way sets public opinion at defiance; and as public opinion in many things is public conscience, and as such the aggregated moral feeling of a community, no woman could do this thing and not shock all right sensibility. Besides, the veil is a sign of subordination and dependence. Refusing to use this covering of the head was a mark of insubordination and independence. A symbol it was, but to cast off the symbol was to repudiate the thing signified. This was not all. If uncomely, it was also unnatural; "for her hair is given her for a covering." The argument has one passage (ver. 10) which is confessedly difficult to understand, but this does not detract an iota from the general directness and force. St. Paul's purpose is unmistakable - to set forth the order of God's economy in the relative positions of man and woman to each other, and the entire unity of their relation to God in Christ. Man's authority is guarded against all excess, and woman's dependence is beautified by delicacy, retiringness, and trustful love. So high an estimate is put on her character and attitude, that even her personal appearance, as to attire and demeanour, is a matter of moment, involving the honour and happiness of her husband, and intimately blended with the conservatism of society and the influence of the Church. Nor is the apostle's manner of appeal to be overlooked. A great truth may be conveyed to the mind, while nevertheless the mode of its communication, left to haphazard impulse, or, forsooth, in downright contempt of the mind's laws, may work an amount of harm for which the truth itself is no compensation. Rest assured that so discerning a man as St. Paul, whose eye took its seeing from sensibility no less than from reason, would not violate manner when he was discussing the worth of manners. Rest assured, too, that he would seek a very firm basis for the logic of his judgment. That such was the fact, "Judge in yourselves" demonstrates. At the very moment that he distinctly recognizes public opinion as public conscience, and counsels deference to its dicta as divinely authoritative, he yet addresses human intuitions. "There is a spirit in man, and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding." No other truth save this could have availed Elihu when he came to the perplexed Job and his well meaning but very mistaken friends, and, as a mediator, prepared the way to close the controversy. No other truth than the "spirit in man" and its "inspiration of the Almighty" can qualify any man to mediate where intellectual conflicts interblend with the moral and spiritual instincts. Inspiration in its highest form makes no war on inspiration in its lower form, since the inspiration that gives original truth, and that openness and sympathy which receive it, are both from God. St. Paul preached a gospel that commended itself to every man's conscience in the sight of God, and he acted in the same frame of mind when he treated of decorum and showed wherein manliness and womanliness consisted. Customs and habits vary; he goes back to the sense of custom and habit rermanent in the soul. He is not afraid of human instincts. Although he knows how they miss their way and sadly blunder in working out themselves through the mists and clouds of the intellect, yet trust them he will, nor can he suffer others to disparage their office. This inward consciousness the Holy Spirit acknowledges, and to it he brings light and warmth, in order that the intuitive judgment may be supplied with the conditions of its best activity. It is, indeed, a part of our fallen nature, but, notwithstanding that, it is a Divine remnant, and only awaits God's voice to utter its response. The dark lumps of coal when dug from the earth give no sign of the sunbeams hidden in them, but, on being ignited, they attest their origin. Therefore, argues the apostle, "judge in yourselves," since there is no knowledge of God unaccompanied by a knowledge of ourselves. Only let your judgment be in the Lord; for only in him can man and woman be seen in the perfection of their mutuality. After all, then, may we not say, in view of this argument no less than of all his methods of thinking, that St. Paul is peculiar among the apostles by his insight into the natural economy of the universe, the apostle of nature as well as of grace, because each was a portion of the same vast scheme of Providence? According to his view, the human race was in Christ from the beginning, and Adam's federal headship took its whole meaning from the pre-existence of Christ, as the Creator of man. - L.









Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
I. BE YE FOLLOWERS OF PAUL. But how can we be like a man who has been dead for centuries, whose language and occupations were wholly different from ours? Can the nineteenth century be changed into the first? No. There are hundreds of points in which we cannot be like him; and yet Paul is more capable of being an example to us than he has been to almost any previous age of the world. He is truly the apostle of Englishmen, because —

1. He is the apostle most congenial to our peculiar excellences. There is a real likeness between the English character and the freedom and love of truth which is the fibre and tissue of the teaching of St. Paul.

2. He is the apostle of progress. Are any of us inclined to think that Christianity is worn out, that it is too contracted for these broad, enlightened times? Some forms of it may have become so, but not the Christianity of St. Paul. He is the apostle of the vast and unknown future. St. Paul is always looking, not backward, but forward. He went beyond his own age, beyond the ages that followed; and, however far we have advanced in enlightenment and liberation, he has gone before us still.

3. The apostle of toleration. Have we outgrown the noble lessons of Romans 14.? Are we more able to bear with those who differ from us, more tender to the rights of conscience, than he? Let us separate the essential from the non-essential, the temporal from the eternal, as he did.

II. EVEN AS HE WAS OF CHRIST.

1. In many forms this is the burden of all his Epistles (Romans 13:14; Colossians 2:6; Romans 8:29; Galatians 6:14; Galatians 2:20). He is but a servant of Christ. To carry in his own life a copy, however imperfect, of what Christ had said and done; to be one with Christ now and hereafter was his highest ambition and hope of salvation. And to this he calls us still.

2. True, we cannot imitate Christ in the letter, but we can in the spirit; we cannot "put on" His outward garb and actions, but we can put on "the mind which was in Christ Jesus." We cannot attain to His perfection; in great part He is rather the likeness of God than the example of man; but we can study in His life and character the will of God and the duty of man. He should be to us as a second conscience, to fix our wills, to calm our scruples, to guide our thoughts, the conscience of our conscience, the mind of our mind, the heart of our heart.

III. HOW SHALL WE BRING HOME THIS JOINT EXAMPLE TO OURSELVES? How shall we concentrate on our own lives the rays of this double light, the greater light for ever going before, the lesser light for ever moving behind? Turn from the text to the context, and you will find laid down two fundamental principles of Evangelical religion —

1. For the service of God (1 Corinthians 10:13.). Whatsoever ye do, in commerce and in labour, wheresoever it be, there is what you have to do to the glory of God. Here, joining in the prayers and hymns, etc., you are preparing for the service of God. But there, in your daily life, is the true "Divine service," in which we must all bear our parts.(1) Paul was ever employed in driving the enthusiasm of his followers into homely, useful, practical channels.(2) What was true of Paul was still more true of Christ. He did not retire to the wilderness. He lived and died in blessed companionship with men. In labour and in festivity, in moving multitudes and in crowded ship, He found alike His Father's work.

2. How are we to follow Paul and Christ in the service of man? (1 Corinthians 10:33; 1 Corinthians 9:22). Not by one uniform mode, but in ten thousand was, ever fresh, every varying with the wants and characters of each.(1) Every face that looks up from this crowd is different from every other; it expresses a history, a character, a weakness, a strength of its own. To every one the apostle would have been, as it were, a different man; he would have transformed himself into the thoughts and would have borne with the infirmities of each. No outward difference would have prevented him from seeing the good which lay beneath. He would have made straight for that and built it up, and so would have saved the soul in the midst of which he had discovered it.(2) And this example is not only for teachers or special times and places. It is for all times, places, and persons; for it is the example, not only of Paul, but of Christ Himself. He, too, "became all things to all men, if by any means He might save some." He came with a gracious word and touch for each. And as Christ and Paul have done to us, so ought we in our humble measure to do to our brethren; so ought we humbly to hope that they each in their turn will do to us, if by any means some of us may be saved.

(Dean Stanley.)

I. WE OUGHT TO FOLLOW THE EXAMPLE OF FORMER SAINTS, SO FAR AS THEY WALK IN THE LAWS OF GOD.

1. Though by nature all be sinners, yet by grace many in all ages have been saints.

2. The lives of many saints are recorded for our imitation (James 5:10, 11, 17; Philippians 3:17; Philippians 4:9).

3. But everything recorded of them is not to be followed.(1) Not such actions as are condemned.(2) Nor all such which are not condemned (Genesis 19:8; Genesis 27:25-27; Genesis 42:15-16).(3) Nor all such as are approved. For —

(a)Some things are only in part approved (Luke 16:8; Exodus 1:19-20).

(b)Some things were done by the extraordinary call and instinct of God (Numbers 25:7-8; 2 Kings 1:10; Luke 9:54, 55). So Abraham offering Isaac.

4. In our imitation of the saints we must observe —(1) Whether what they do be according to the law of God.(2) The circumstances of their actions (Amos 6:5). Read, then, the lives of former saints, and follow their examples, especially the particular graces wherein they were eminent (Numbers 12:3; 1 Samuel 3:18; Job 1:21; Acts 5:41).

II. CHRIST IS THE GRAND EXAMPLE WHICH WE OUGHT TO IMITATE.

1. What is it to imitate Christ?(1) As He did it.

(a)Understandingly (John 4:22).

(b)Obediently (Luke 2:49; 1 Samuel 15:22).

(c)Sincerely John 4:24; 2 Corinthians 1:12).

(d)Wholly (Matthew 3:15; John 17:4).

(e)Believingly (John 11:41, 42).

(f)Cheerfully (Isaiah 53:7; Hebrews 10:34; Romans 12:8).

(g)Humbly (Matthew 11:29).

(h)To the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).

2. What are those works which we are to imitate Christ in? Christ was truly God from eternity (John 1:1; John 8:58). He became truly man in time (John 1:14; 1 Timothy 2:5), and He was and is truly both God and man in one person (Acts 20:28). Whatsoever He did in the flesh He did under one of these three notions.(1) We are not to follow Christ in what He did as God; such are His acts —

(a)Of omnipotence. Healing the sick, casting out devils, raising the dead, etc.

(b)Of omniscience (Luke 11:17; Luke 13:32).

(c)Of sovereignty (Matthew 16:2, 7).(2) Nor in what He did as God-man, in the acts —

(a)Of His prophetical office (Deuteronomy 18:15; John 15:15; Acts 3:22).

(b)His priestly office. Satisfying for our sins (1 John 2:2), and interceding for our souls (Hebrews 7:25).

(c)His kingly office (Isaiah 9:7).(3) But we are to follow Him in what He did as mere man.

(a)He was subject to His parents (Luke 2:51). This subjection consisteth in reverencing them (Leviticus 19:3); in obeying them, by hearkening to their instructions (Proverbs 13:1; Proverbs 23:22) and performing their lawful commands (Colossians 3:20; Ephesians 6:1); in thankfulness, by acknowledging their care and providing for their necessities (1 Timothy 5:4; Genesis 47:12; John 19:26, 27). Consider — This is pleasing to God (Ephesians 6:1), and hath a promised blessing (Ephesians 6:2, 3; Exodus 20:12).

(b)He committed no sin 1 Peter 2:22; Isaiah 53:9; 1 John 3:5). How are we not to sin? We are not to love it (Psalm 119). We must imitate Christ in —

(c)Love.

(d)Submission.

(e)Meekness and holiness.

(f)Hearing.

(g)Finishing His work.

(h)Taking all opportunities of doing good.

3. Means.

(1)Watch always over thy heart (1 Peter 5:8; Proverbs 4:23).

(2)Live as under the eye of God.

(3)Consider thou art a Christian.

(Bp. Beveridge.)

It needs no argument to prove that all men do not follow Christ. Many profess to follow Him, and many boast that they do follow Him, but, oh, how few faithfully follow Christ! Indeed, the grand mistake of the world lies in this — that following Christ consists in mere attendance to a few forms and professions of religion, whereas it is wholly a spiritual service, and can never be taken up by any but spiritual men. Therefore the Scriptures assure us that a follower of Christ is —

I. ONE WHO HAS BEEN QUICKENED BY CHRIST. A dead man cannot follow another. A man dead in trespasses and sins must be quickened by the Son of God before he will take one step in the way to heaven.

II. ONE WHO HEARTILY LOVES CHRIST. "We love Him, because He first loved us." "The love of God constraineth us." All Christ asks in return for His love is "Follow Me," and the grateful and redeemed spirit says, "Lord, I will follow Thee whithersoever Thou goest."

III. ONE WHO EMBRACES THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST. When quickeing takes place, the soul receives the kingdom of heaven as a little child. "Teach me," says such a spirit, "Thy way, O Lord; I will walk in Thy truth; unite my heart to fear Thy name." It does not take the doctrines of the gospel and throw away the precepts; it does not reserve the precepts and cast away the doctrines, but it takes it as a whole, as the word of Christ, and the directory in the way to heaven.

IV. ONE WHO CHEERFULLY WALKS IN THE WAYS OF CHRIST. Religious labour is no drudgery to him. Never has a Christian any melancholy as long as he walks in Christ's paths; it is when he turns out of them that occasions him sadness and pain.

V. ONE WHO COPIES THE EXAMPLE OF CHRIST. A follower of Christ is not one whose head is filled with well-digested schemes of theology. Christ hath left us an example that we should follow His steps. Following Christ is walking behind Him, putting our feet into the print of His footsteps, and so going on in the way to heaven. He has left His footprints —

1. In His meek and amiable spirit.

2. In heavenly behaviour and conversation.

3. In prayer.

4. In His abounding liberality.

5. In His diligent labours.

6. In His spirit of love.

VI. ONE WHO PERSEVERINGLY CONTINUES WITH CHRIST. Some follow Christ from gain, some partially, as long as the truth does not touch their consciences; some in poverty and affliction; but when the sun of prosperity has arisen, when persecution or affliction cometh on account of the truth, then they desert Christ. "But he that endureth to the end shall be saved."

(J. Sherman.)

Weekly Pulpit.
Some men are destined to lead either in evil or in good. St. Paul, who had been a leader in persecution, was made "a leader and commander of Christ's people," and he removes every trace of human assumption when he qualifies the exhortation with "even as I am also of Christ."

I. TO FOLLOW CHRIST IS THE SOURCE OF CHRISTIAN INFLUENCE. It is one thing to look at the life of Jesus with interest and admiration; it is another thing to regard it as our pattern and inspiration. To gain the higher influence of the Saviour's life we must follow Him —

1. Wholly. The would-be followers of His day made loud professions of following Him, but when He said, "If any man will come after Me, let him take up his cross," etc., the crowd dispersed, and only the twelve remained.

2. Constantly. When you sit for your likeness the photographer measures the time in which to take a deep and sharp impression. Half the time would only give half the result. If you only look at Jesus once in awhile, and if serious thought only possess you at times, the flood of worldly influence will sweep away the good impressions as the tide demolishes footsteps in the sand.

3. Openly. Conversion becomes more real, love to Christ more intense, and hatred of sin more forcible by the exhibition of the virtues of Him who has called us out of darkness into light. The light we shed on others is again reflected on ourselves. The voice of the echo is sweeter than your own; so is piety when it returns to us from its mission of mercy.

II. TO EXHIBIT CHRIST IS THE MISSION OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE.

1. The power of example is great. The ancient Romans used to place the statues of distinguished men in their halls. When they left in the morning they were inspired by the remembrance of their noble deeds, and when they returned in the evening they were ennobled by the thought of the associations they enjoyed.

2. The power of Christian example is the greatest. Both in moulding and reforming characters it has not a rival. Its force is that of Divine love working through human actions. God in Christ Jesus made His life the noblest of all lives, because it has produced the greatest reforms in the race. The life of Jesus in His Church is its perpetuation.

(Weekly Pulpit.)

1. Once in the course of the world's history there has been seen on earth a perfect life. It was a life not merely to admire, but to follow. It has been ever since the acknowledged human standard.

2. And we have not only the perfect example, but we have it declared why and how it is perfect. Lessons, teaching and enforcing, accompany each incident of our Lord's ministry; they are drawn together into a solemn summary in the Sermon on the Mount. Here we have the highest moral guidance for the world.

3. That example and law of life were nothing less than universal. They were meant for all men. Differing so widely as men do, Christ calls them all alike to follow Him.

4. Christianity makes itself universal by making its moral standard, not verbal rules or laws, but a character. That character is one who is called in Scripture the Image of God. All that Christ did and said were the various expressions of the perfect goodness of the Father. And that is the Christian law. And this is what fits the Christian standard to be a universal one. For a character, if it is great enough, carries its force far beyond the conditions Under which it may have been first disclosed. If shown under one set of circumstances its lesson can be extended to another, perfectly different. It adapts itself with the freedom and elasticity of life. We can follow it on, from the known, to what it would be, in the new and strange. "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and to-day and for ever" — the same in glory as in the form of a servant. Under conditions utterly changed, His goodness is that same very goodness which we saw. And so we can derive from that Character lessons for our state, which is so different from His. And not only so, but we can derive lessons from it for conditions of human life very far removed from those conditions under which His goodness was manifested to us here. Literal imitation may be impossible, but it is not impossible to catch its spirit and apply its lessons to altered circumstances. In that character, though shown to us in the form of servant, we know that everything is gathered which could make human nature what it ought to be. Consider Christ as a pattern for —

I. THE LIFE OF FAITH.

1. All the while that He was on earth He was in heart and soul undivided for a moment from heaven. He does what is most human; but He lives absolutely in the Divine. However, we see Him: tempted, teaching, healing, etc., in the wilderness, in the temple, on the Cross — He is yet all the while "even the Son of Man which is in heaven."

2. Men have compared the active and the contemplative life, and the life of practical beneficence with the life of devotion. We see great things done without the sense of religion, and we see the religious spirit failing to command the respect of those who have other ways of ministering to men's wants. But in Christ we have both lives combined. In Him we see man serving to the utmost his brethren; but we also see man one with the thought and will of God.

3. Here we see how character in itself, irrespective of circumstance, is adapted to be a guide; here is an example, shown under the most exceptional conditions, yet fit to be universal. But on what outward circumstances does such a life depend? Why is not equally to be realised in the calling of the ruler, the rich man, the student? How need their outward conditions affect their relationship to God?

II. THE LIFE OF TRUTH.(1) To all, quite apart from the accidental conditions of their state, Christ's life shows what alone is real and great in life; and surely there are ends and purposes in the life of each of us which are literally as real as the ends of His life. One is high and another low; one has much and another little, but to every one who believes in God and providence, the work of each is equally real: a call, a stewardship from God.(2) What we see in Christ's life is not only a purpose and work passing man's understanding, but that purpose followed, and that work done, in a way which man can understand. It is a life governed by its end and purpose, in which shows or illusions have no place; and further, a life in which its purpose is followed with absolute indifference to whatever sacrifice it may cost. He has put all this into words which mark for ever the change He made in our views of life — "My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me, and to finish His work"; "I must work the works of Him that sent Me while it is day"; and when all was over, "I have finished the work that Thou gavest Me to do."

III. THE LIFE OF LOVE. It is the new commandment, new to the world, but as old as the eternal Word who brought it, which turns the Sermon on the Mount from a code of precepts into the expressions and instances of a character. Its words have their interpretation and their reason in that Divine temper which had come with Christ to restore the world. The purity, the humility, the forgiving mind, the unflagging goodness they speak of, were but some among the infinitely varied ways of acting out the meaning of His last charge, "That ye love one another as I have loved you"; and of His last prayer, "That the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me, may be in them, and I in them." A great deal may be said of love without ever really touching what is its vital essence. But here our sympathies are appealed to. We see how Jesus Christ showed what it is to lead a life of love. Conclusion:

1. The mutable shapes of society, unfolded by God's providence, fix almost without our will our outward circumstances. But for the soul, wherever it is, Christ our Lord has one unchanging call, "Be perfect"; and He has one unchanging rule for its fulfilment, "Be what I am, feel what I felt, do as I should do." How shall we? How but by looking steadfastly at Him and trying to see and know Him? In the same Living Person each age has seen its best idea embodied; but its idea was not adequate to the truth — there was something still beyond.(1) An age of intellectual confusion saw in His portraiture in the Gospels the ideal of the great Teacher, the healer of human error. It judged rightly; but that was only part.(2) The monastic spirit saw in it the warrant and suggestion of a life of self-devoted poverty as the condition of perfection: who can doubt that there was much to justify it: who can doubt that the reality was something far wider than the purest type of monastic life?(3) The Reformation saw in Him the great improver, the quickener of the dead letter, the stern rebuker of a religion which had forgotten its spirit; and doubtless He was all this, only He was infinitely more.(4) And now in modern times there is the disposition to dwell on Him as the ideal exemplar of perfect manhood. He is all this, and this is infinitely precious. We may "glorify Him for it and exalt Him as much as we can, but even yet will He far exceed." And as generations go on they will still find that Character answering to their best thoughts and hopes.

2. What is the lesson? Surely this: to remember when we talk of the example of Christ, that the interpretations and readings of it are all short of the thing itself; and that we possess, to see and to learn from, the thing itself.

(Dean Church.)

The apostle —

I. Directs our attention to CHRIST AS THE GREAT MODEL OF THE CHRISTIAN. It is a marked characteristic of Christianity that all the truths are presented in no vague, intangible form, but as embodied in one living model. Note —

1. The fitness of Christ to be our model pattern. We needed one Divine and yet human. One all Divine would have been inimitable; one all human must have fallen below the necessities of the case. So Christ came, "God manifest in the flesh." His divinity fitted Him to reveal God's will, and uniting His Deity with humanity, He lived, laboured, suffered, and died as a Man, to present a visible picture which shall be the model of study and imitation for all time.

2. The perfection of this model. Perfect God and perfect man, He forms a perfect study for the believer. His love to God was supreme; the exercise of His will was ever in perfect harmony with the Divine will. In the hour of His temptation, He emerges from the furnace unscathed; and in the profoundest depth of agony there is the deepest submission to God.

3. Its surpassing loveliness. Look at His unearthly life — living in the world, and yet above the world. Look at His humility — the incarnate God though He was, yet stooping to wash His disciples' feet. Look at Him as a Man of prayer — walking in the closest communion with His Father.

II. Delineates THE CHARACTER OF A TRUE BELIEVER AS MOULDED UPON THAT OF JESUS. A follower of Christ.

1. Is a partaker of its spiritual nature. An unsanctified heart, an unrenewed soul, cannot be said to be cast into this mould. It becomes, then, a question of the deepest moment, "Am I born again of the Spirit?"

2. Has his hope of acceptance, as a lost sinner, entirely in Christ. He has renounced his own righteousness, and has received as his only justification "the righteousness of God which is by faith in Christ Jesus."

3. Sits as a humble learner at the feet of Christ.

4. Follows Christ only. We may follow ministers and not Christ, Churches, and not the Head of the Church.

5. Is crucified with Christ: "If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me."

(O. Winslow, D.D.)

1. We find in the Word of God that the imitation of Christ is frequently laid down as the leading principle of the gospel (Matthew 16:24; John 12:26; John 13:13; 1 Peter 2:21; Ephesians 5:1.; 1 Thessalonians 1:16). In these passages we are taught the importance of the principle of example. The Word of God has many ways of teaching. But especially it teaches by example. Example embodies precept, places it before us in pictorial form, which we can easily see and understand. And not only so, but example recommends precept; because where it is a good example, it evidently carries with it the proof of sincerity on the part of the person who sets it.

2. But it may be asked why, if Christ is the real standard and example, does St. Paul set himself before us? I think the reason is simply this, that while Christ is undoubtedly the example, St. Paul regarded himself as an illustration of that example. Note some of the leading features of our Lord's character in which this principle of imitation is to be carried out.

I. In HIS SPIRIT OF SELF-RENUNCIATION (Philippians 2:6; cf. 5.) How closely St. Paul copied our Lord in this! He "counted all things but loss that he might win Christ," and glorify Him. And that same spirit lies at the foundation of all true religion. "If any man will be My disciple, let him deny himself."

II. HIS SPIRIT OF OBEDIENCE. "My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me, and to finish His work." It was —

1. A willing obedience; one in which He delighted.

2. A constant, ceaseless obedience.

3. An obedience victorious, because it was through and after conflict. And so with St. Paul. "Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?" seems to have been the question which pervaded his whole career. Now, we love and value the privileges of the gospel; but do not let us lose sight of its responsibilities.

III. HIS SPIRIT OF ZEAL (John 2.). St. Paul followed Him in this. Men in the present day seem afraid of zeal. But it is good to be zealous in a good cause. Lukewarmness in religion is especially hateful in the sight of God.

IV. HIS SPIRIT OF MEEKNESS AND GENTLENESS — "I beseech you," says St. Paul, "by the meekness and gentleness of Christ." He never quenched the smoking flax. And so St. Paul, with all his fire and energy, observed the evident spirit of tenderness and sympathy with which he watched over the infant Church. There are rough and rugged characters which are full of energy in Christ's cause, but which need to look at His example in this respect.

V. HIS SPIRIT OF LOVE as shown in giving Himself for us; as shown towards the impenitent, and to the multitude scattered as sheep having no shepherd. All this was imitated by St. Paul.

VI. THE SPIRIT OF BLESSED ANTICIPATION AS REGARDS THE FUTURE (Hebrews 12:3). In the same way St. Paul tells us that his one desire was to finish his course with joy. We should endeavour in our seasons of trial to remember that the time is short, and that if we be faithful there is laid up for us "an exceeding weight of glory, a crown of righteousness." Conclusion: The subject may be used —

1. By way of self-examination. It is exceedingly difficult to bring home to the sinner's conscience, by the mere statement of truth, the guilt which attaches to him. But let the sinner place his own life by the side of Christ's life.

2. As a principle of guidance. There are perplexing questions which continually arise in the Christian life. Whenever you can find Christ's example as a guide to you in your conduct, you may be perfectly certain that yon are safe in the course you adopt.

3. As an encouragement for Christians. It is according to the will of God that we should be conformed to the image of His Son. In attempting, therefore, to reach this conformity, you are attempting that which is the revealed will of God concerning you, and, therefore, which you may reasonably expect. He will give you grace, at least in some measure, to attain. In the future we shall be like Him, for "we shall see Him as He is." And the more we see Him now, the more we live with Him now, the more like Him we shall become.

(E. Bayley, D.D.)

In these words we have —

I. THE PRINCIPLE ON WHICH THE CHARACTERS OF MOST MEN ARE FORMED. Men are imitative beings, and from a law of their nature those whom they most admire, and with whom they most associate, they become like in spirit and in character. The request of Paul at first sight seems somewhat arrogant, "Be ye followers of me." No man has a right to make such an unqualified claim. Hence Paul puts the limitation, "Even as I also am of Christ." The apostle undoubtedly refers to the preceding verses, in which he speaks of himself as not seeking his own pleasure or profit, but that of others. This Christ did. He "pleased not Himself." He means to say, Be like me as I in this respect resemble Christ. Here is the principle that should regulate our imitation of men; imitate them just so far as they resemble Christ. Children should not imitate their parents, pupils their teachers, congregations their ministers, save so far as they resemble Christ.

II. A COMMENDATION OF MERIT WHICH MANY ARE RELUCTANT TO RENDER (ver. 2). In some things, then, some of the Corinthians pleased Paul. There was much in them at which he found fault, but so far as they did the proper thing he praises them. To render generously credit where credit is due, is the characteristic of a great soul, but one which most men are reluctant to perform. A wife will go on lovingly attending to the wants and wishes of her husband, and perhaps not from one year to another does she receive from him one word of hearty commendation. So with servants and masters, and ministers and their congregations.

(D. Thomas, D.D.)

Sharpened Arrows.
In one of our western cities, high up on a very tall building, is a large clock. It registers what is called "electric time," and is known to be very accurate because it is regulated by the calculations of scientific instruments. On a large sign is painted, "Correct city time," and when one has any doubts about having the exact time, he sets his watch by this clock. Great mills, railroads, manufactories, run by its time. Should it lose or gain an hour the whole city would be thrown into confusion. Let us remember, one watch set right will do to set many by; while, on the other hand, the watch that goes wrong may be the means of misleading a whole multitude of others. So it is with life. A wholly consecrated person may become the example for many, and a wicked life of sin may, too, be the means of entangling a whole community of associates. "Examine yourselves."

(Sharpened Arrows.)

It is characteristic of St. Paul that in his Epistles, as in his ministry, he uses his own life, his own personality, almost as if they were not his own; they are as much at the service of his argument as of his work. Such was the nature of his self-surrender to Christ. There is much in the faculty of imitation, and in the facts connected with it, that is mysterious, much beyond our ken. Man is presented to us in Holy Scripture on the one hand in his first state before the fall, as a creature of imitation, made after the likeness of God. On the other hand, in his fallen state we find him wearying himself with all kinds of yearnings after the likeness of God manifested in every kind of idolatry. In the fulness of time Christ came on earth, in His human nature, both restoring the Divine image and making it possible for man to realise the long lost ideal. What wonder, then, that St. Paul, realising and profoundly impressed with this great feature of the Incarnation, should emphasise imitation of himself as leading to Christ, imitation of Christ, and imitation of God in Christ? What wonder if of all books (next to the Bible itself) the most dear to devout souls and spirits striving upwards after heavenly things should be the "Imitatio Christi" of Thomas A.Kempis? But before we go on to consider how this can become potent in our life and practice, we ought not to fail to observe one aspect of imitation which is of infinite importance to us in its effects for good or for ill. Imitation is not only a conscious activity, by which we can strive to follow and adapt ourselves to any example which we may select for ourselves. It is a part of nature; not only of human nature. It has its unconscious as well as its conscious side. It pervades animal life to an extent which we are apt to ignore or forget. It is the first didactic force. It is concerned with the simplest and most necessary problems of life. By it the young of many animals are first taught to take their food. For instance, in the case of chickens hatched by an incubator, if they are to be artificially reared, it is necessary that the example of picking up their food should be set them in some way. By imitation they learn to live. Imitation, as Darwin has pointed out, is one of the chief factors in the advancement and modification of such intellectual powers as animals possess. There are, indeed, subtle indications of its force in lower animal life, but it is most manifest in birds and in the apes, whose very name furnishes a verb of kindred meaning. And again, as we rise in the scale of animal life, it is very noticeable as a characteristic of savage races of men; of man, indeed, in what some are wont to call his primitive state. We need hardly dwell upon its development in civilised man. It is dominant in those arts which claim so large a portion in his education, his enjoyment of life, his material well-being. Again, as part of human nature, imitation has two functions, which it is important that we should observe, explanatory as they are in a measure of that which we have noticed in the history of man in relation to God. On the one hand he received the likeness, on the other hand he sought it outside himself. Even so, just as in the nervous and muscular system of the body we have the division into involuntary and voluntary, so the imitative faculty in man is unconscious and conscious, is passive as well as active. Much more of it perhaps is unconscious than conscious, and the mystery of its essential being and origin is more inexplicable in the former than in the latter. Why is it that such physical defects as squinting and tricks of movement are said to be infectious, capable of being communicated at sight to very young children? Why is it that, as so often happens, a boy's handwriting becomes like his tutor's? All these instances point to unconscious, involuntary imitation. The surroundings of a child, of a boy, of a young man, have more effect upon him than he himself can discern, or any one else can determine, and that because of this faculty of imitation, which is part and parcel of his nature. He assimilates them as he does his food, they become portions of his being, and affect his growth, his development, his ultimate destiny. Nay more, it seems as if these influences became hereditary in their effects. We cannot limit these effects to merely physical characteristics or physical results. If our intellectual and spiritual being is thus subject to the supreme influence of assimilation and unconscious imitation, can we doubt its power in the sphere of morality? "Tell me who he lives with, and I will tell you who he is," is an old proverb. "With the holy thou shalt be holy, and with the perfect man thou shalt be perfect. With the clean thou shalt be clean, and with the froward thou shalt learn frowardness." Youth is plastic. And without doubt the first and most important counsel is: "Be not over hasty in making friends"; take heed as to the associates whom you choose to live with. Remember you will probably become like them. All unconsciously your moral being will receive the impression of their moral being, their conversation, their tone, their virtues, or their vices. Unless the soul proposes to itself the imitation of good, it will prove unconsciously to be assimilating and imitating evil. The Apostle Paul had so devoted himself to the imitation of Christ, that as we have seen he regarded himself as living in Christ, and Christ living in him. This imitation cannot be without effort, and if, as in the mixed community of Corinth with all its blemishes, and weaknesses, and grievous sins, it was not easy to rise to the ideal of the unseen, yet still the nearer ideal of the good man is better than none, and the apostle did not hesitate to set his own example before them. There must be few of us who cannot find some such good example, some good and holy, some pure and honourable, some generous and manly life, to which we may look with satisfaction and hopefulness, and a desire so to follow it as to rise "upon the stepping stones of our dead selves to higher things." But even so the imitation must ultimately be not even of good and holy men, but of Christ in them. "Be ye followers of me even as I also am of Christ." The work of the Incarnation was not only to restore to humanity the image of the perfect man in Christ but also the power, to them that believe in Christ, of reflecting that image, and by conscious and unconscious imitation of becoming more and more like Him. I know not at what time of life this work of the imitation of Christ can be entered upon more freely, more reasonably, more joyfully, than that in which, when childish things are being put away, the young man reaching toward the maturity of his physical and mental powers, is still occupied with his own education and improvement, and is not yet immerged in the world-life with all its engrossing toil of business and pleasure, its triumphs, its disappointments, its sorrows, and soul-enthralling anxieties.

(E. Warre, D.D.)

Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances as I delivered them to you
I. ITS GROUNDS.

1. Personal, "that ye remember me."(1) We all like to be remembered, especially by those who owe us much, or between us and whom there exist the tenderest relationships. These Corinthians owed all their spiritual life and blessings to the apostle, and it comforted him amidst the toils and perils of his Ephesian ministry to know that he was not forgotten. Nothing would more sadden a father than to be forgotten by his children, a wife by her husband, a pastor by his church.(2) We like to be remembered "in all things." They remembered Paul's preaching, his labours at his handicraft, his sympathy and helplessness. And when we come across an acquaintance that we have not seen for years, how pleasant it is to be remembered by one's features: tone, gait, or some other characteristic, and to gather in conversation that this and that incident or word has been treasured up.

2. Moral. The Corinthians not only remembered Paul and what he said; they remembered to do what he told them. Not the most tender personal recollections would have compensated for the absence of this. Paul's wish was not to be popular, but to be permanently useful. This is what Christ wants: "If ye love Me, keep My commandments." This is what we all want: parents, teachers, ministers, etc., and exact obedience is what is required — "as I delivered them," adding nothing to them, taking nothing from them, but keeping them both in the spirit and in the letter.

II. ITS EXPRESSION. This was —

1. Frank and open. Encouraging sentiment is sometimes entertained where it is not expressed. This does no good. If you feel that a man deserves your praise, why not tell him so?

2. Large-hearted and generous. There were a good many things which the apostle could not praise, but was forced to blame the Corinthians; but where he felt he could praise conscientiously he did so unstintedly.

3. Fraternal, "Brethren." He did not indulge them as children simply to spur them on, nor flatter them as superiors to secure their patronage. He treated them as equally next himself concerned about the prosperity of the Church, and in their efforts to promote that prosperity he felt them worthy of a brother's praise.

(J. W. Burn.)

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