1 Corinthians 9:22
To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men, so that by all possible means I might save some of them.
By All Means Save SomeJ. Waite 1 Corinthians 9:22
Soul SavingE. Hurndall 1 Corinthians 9:22
A True MinisterA. F. Barfield.1 Corinthians 9:1-22
Abstinence from Rightful PrivilegesF. W. Robertson, M. A.1 Corinthians 9:1-22
Maintenance of the MinistryM. Dods, D. D.1 Corinthians 9:1-22
Ministerial IndependenceJ. Lyth, D. D.1 Corinthians 9:1-22
Signs of ApostleshipProf. J. R. Thomson.1 Corinthians 9:1-22
The Claims of the Christian MinisterJ. Lyth, D. D.1 Corinthians 9:1-22
The Leading Characteristics of a Truly Great Gospel MinisterD. Thomas, D. D.1 Corinthians 9:1-22
The Right of the Ministry to SupportJ. Lyth, D. D.1 Corinthians 9:1-22
The Seal of ApostleshipJ. Lyth, D. D.1 Corinthians 9:1-22
The Successful MinisterJ. Lyth, D. D.1 Corinthians 9:1-22
Reasons for This Self DenialC. Lipscomb 1 Corinthians 9:15-23
St. Paul an ExceptionR. Tuck 1 Corinthians 9:15-23
Ministerial Pliancy and AdaptationJ.R. Thomson 1 Corinthians 9:19-23
The Principle of AccommodationH. Bremner 1 Corinthians 9:19-23
Adaptation Essential to PersuasionH. O. Mackey.1 Corinthians 9:20-22
Adaptation Essential to Soul WinningMrs. Oliphaut.1 Corinthians 9:20-22
Adaptation in a MinisterC. H. Spurgeon.1 Corinthians 9:20-22
All Things Dared for SoulsC. H. Spurgeon.1 Corinthians 9:20-22
All Things to All MenJ. B. Owen, M. A.1 Corinthians 9:20-22
Apostolical SympathyJ. H. Newman, D. D.1 Corinthians 9:20-22
By All Means Save SomeC. H. Spurgeon.1 Corinthians 9:20-22
CompromisesJ. Walker, D. D.1 Corinthians 9:20-22
Fish Must be Angled for with the Right BaitH. O. Mackey.1 Corinthians 9:20-22
Moral Identification with OthersD. Thomas, D. D.1 Corinthians 9:20-22
Paul's VersatilityJ. Stalker, D. D.1 Corinthians 9:20-22
Power of TactColton.1 Corinthians 9:20-22
Sacrifice for Souls1 Corinthians 9:20-22
Soul Saving Our One BusinessC. H. Spurgeon.1 Corinthians 9:20-22
The Christian LawJ. Lyth, D. D.1 Corinthians 9:20-22
The Flexibility of ChristianityDean Goulburn.1 Corinthians 9:20-22
The Law of Spiritual AccommodationHom. Monthly1 Corinthians 9:20-22
Wisdom Needed for UsefulnessA. Duff, D. D.1 Corinthians 9:20-22
Wisdom of Adaptation1 Corinthians 9:20-22

The great apostle of the Gentiles was a singular man and lived a strange life. Some looking at him pronounced him to be a fool; others, a madman. He seemed, indeed, strangely destitute of that wisdom which places self interest in the front, and incites to the pursuit of position, power, and the praise of men. When brought to a knowledge of the truth, the future apostle relinquished the course which he had mapped out, and his association with Gamaliel and the great teachers. He commenced with gigantic self sacrifice: why? He desired to save souls. He became a great traveller - from city to city, town to town, village to village, he went on untiringly: why? To save souls. He underwent extreme sufferings (2 Corinthians 11:24-29) - to save souls. He exposed himself constantly to danger and death - to save souls. With the Jew he banished from his mind all Gentile tendencies - to save the Jew. With the Gentile he severed himself from all Jewish partialities - to save the Gentile. He was willing to be anything or nothing, to do this or that, if by any means he might "save some." Soul saving had become a master passion of his soul. He was in the world for it. Everything must be subordinated to it.


1. The value of the soul. Of this he had the deepest conviction. To him the soul of man was the most precious thing in the world. Whilst men were seeking to save all other things, he would seek to save this. All other gain was as loss compared to the gain of a soul.

2. The fate of the lost soul He saw the unsaved soul going down, getting further and further from God, becoming viler, ripening for hell. The fearful words of his Master rang loudly in his ears. He believed them, he did not refine them down until they meant nothing. He saw the souls "cast out;" he heard the dread "Depart;" the "weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth" sounded in his heart; and he resolved that, as an instrument in the Divine hand, he would do his utmost to "save some."

3. The future of the saved soul.

(1) In this life. Tending upwards; becoming purified; increasing in joy, peace, usefulness; indissolubly united to God.

(2) In the next life. "With Christ." The fulness of joy. Every soil of sin removed. All powers becoming developed. The "higher ministry" commenced and continuing.

4. The glory of Christ. This was supreme in the apostle's mind. The Master was first. Paul was pre-eminently a "Jesus Christ's man." Soul saving redounded to the honour and praise of his Lord. Christ had come "to seek and to save that which was lost." The purpose of the Master became the all absorbing desire of the servant. Paul saw that his Master was glorified by the victories of the cross. So in season and out of season the apostle preached "Jesus Christ and him crucified" that he might "save some." He lived, laboured, suffered, for the clay when "the multitude which no man could number" should sing to the praise of Christ the sweet stanzas of the "new song." The love of Christ constrained him.


1. He used all means at hand.

(1) Preaching. He had a definite object in preaching.

(2) Conversation. He could preach well to a congregation of one.

(3) Writing. What a gift he had for "Epistles"! Letter writing with a view to saving souls is an excellent means, but it requires dexterous use. Paul could not "drivel," or be "goody goody," or "talk cant." Many religious letter writers can. Hence the contrast between ancient and modern epistles.

(4) Prayer. He "bowed his knees." Stiff kneed preachers often have stiff necked people.

(5) Living the truth. Here, perhaps, lay the transcendent power of Paul. He not only prayed, wrote, talked, preached, - he was. Satan is more afraid of the gospel in the concrete than of the gospel in the abstract.

2. He complied with prejudice and prepossession. It we would make others like ourselves in things essential, we must first make ourselves like them in things indifferent. Paul tells us that to the Jew he became a Jew - remembered Jewish feeling, looked at things from a Jewish standpoint, accorded with Jewish observances. To the Gentile he became a Gentile - accommodating his utterance, manner, form of thought, mode of presenting the truth, to Gentile predilection. You can talk to a man more easily if you stand on the same platform with him. To the weak Paul became as weak; not insisting upon his liberty or ruthlessly running counter to imperfect conceptions. In fact, he asserts that he became "all things to all men" in order to realize his supreme object. Personal predilections must be sacrificed, and unpleasant restraints submitted to, if we would do effectively the greatest work under heaven. An unbending preacher will preach to unbroken hearts. An insistence upon our rights and privileges is a short method, often adopted, of ruining all hopes. A spirit of holy compliance, a disposition to stand just alongside the one we would gain, - these are potent. We often bar and bolt the very door that we are trying to unfasten. Often we forget that we are speaking to very imperfect men, and that we are very imperfect ourselves. Compliance must, of course, not be unlimited.

(1) We must exercise discretion. We must abide in the realm of "the lawful," and select what will be truly "expedient." Sound judgment need be exercised. We must look to probable results.

(2) We must never sacrifice the right. Paul was most compliant in things indifferent, but most unyielding in things essential. When he yielded he not only confined himself to things indifferent, but made it to be understood that the things were indifferent. When they were regarded as essential he refused to comply. This is strikingly illustrated in his permitting the circumcision of Timothy, but resisting that of Titus.

3. He practised great self sacrifice. He did not think of himself, but of those he sought to gain. We have seen how willing he was to sacrifice his personal predilections. He went further.

(1) In some instances he sacrificed his maintenance, supporting himself by the labour of his own hands.

(2) He sacrificed his personal ease and comfort.

(3) He sacrificed much of his freedom - he made himself "servant unto all" (ver. 19). A man who is prepared for illimitable self sacrifice can do much. No sacrifice is too great for the attainment of Paul's life object. Christ laid down his life for it. He who bore the great cross spoke of crosses for his followers. His ministers often have heavy ones, but it is worth while to carry them, if by doing so we become instrumental in saving souls. Souls saved will be our "joy and crown" at last. What vast possibilities life presents, when we think that in it we may be the means of saving souls! This applies to all Christians. Every saint should toil for the salvation of men. All the sorrows endured and sacrifices made will seem like "the dust of the balance" when we see our spiritual children welcomed home. - H.

Unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews.
In Paul's hands the Christian ministry was like the Gift of Tongues. The gift was one; but it fell upon the ear of the Roman in Latin, upon the ear of the Egyptian in Coptic. Not a bad emblem of the manner in which the dispensation should adapt itself to the various forms of human character and phases of human society. While never sacrificing truth or principle, yet, so far as truth and principle admitted it, the apostle wore the guise and spoke in the accents of the persons whom he addressed. Recognising circumcision as a national mark of distinction, while utterly denying its necessity to salvation, he circumcised Timothy. Owing allegiance as a Jew to the Mosaic ritual, so long as God suffered it to exist, he took legal vows, and was scrupulous in paying them. Among Gentiles, he drew illustrations from the Grecian games, although they were heathen festivals; he quoted truths which had been proclaimed by heathen poets, and founded his appeals on natural religion. How totally different in its topics, as well as in its form, is his address on Mars' Hill from that in the synagogue at Antioch! The genius of the gospel was free. It was felt, from the first, that its fixed truths were capable of being presented in aspects almost innumerable. Note then: —


1. Its documents.(1) The history of our Lord has been transmitted to us by four distinct authors, who evidently write from four points of view, and address distinct classes of readers.(2) Peter, Paul, James and John — men of widely different characters and circumstances — were all employed in the doctrinal writings of the New Testament, and thus Christian doctrine comes to us distilled through the alembics of four human minds. If God had desired to teach a Christian minister that he should study the age, characters, society, with which he has to deal, how could He have done it otherwise?

2. Its precepts, how broadly they are stated, and with an obvious avoidance of those particulars which might limit their application. Take, e.g. "Pray without ceasing" — evidently a principle and not a rule, and, because a principle capable of application to an infinite variety of circumstances.

3. Its doctrines. The Fatherhood of God; the Incarnation, the sacrifice of the Cross, the gift of the Spirit, the brotherhood of men in Christ's Church, and the resurrection; these are evidently doctrines whose import is as wide as the race, and which correspond to the instincts of the human heart, under whatever garb it beats.


1. It is in vain to hope to revive any type of Christianity which has obviously had its day.(1) Let us not attempt to revive mediaevalism; all that was true, deep, and touching in that really survives still, only the fashion of it has passed away to return no more. Let us cherish its devout spirit, and endeavour to imbue with it our circle of society, while we throw off its superficial costume, which, like all mere costume, must in the nature of things become antiquated.(2) Let us not seek to revive the precise form of the Evangelicalism of seventy years ago. Here again there was much which, because it was the very truth of God, can never pass away. But while we endeavour to inhale its spirit, let us not entangle ourselves in its trammels, which are not adapted to the present day.

2. But to pass to more positive counsels. Ours is an age —(1) Of much superficial knowledge on the subject of religion. For a thousand persons who discuss religion freely in society there is not one who ever digested a spiritual truth. Now in dealing with this state of mind you must not content yourself with a few Sunday platitudes; the people will tell you that they know all that as well as you. You must oppose erudition to their flimsy knowledge, and be a man of thought as opposed to their superficiality.(2) Of latitudinarianism which is making the most insidious inroads on the faith. Now an indignant repudiation of scepticism, with but a partial insight into its real views is little likely to reclaim the sceptic. Let us seek to appreciate his difficulty, and to draw forth from the repository of Divine truth a solution of it: and in doing so it may be that we shall occasionally have to retract — not indeed one iota of Scriptural truth — but our notions of what the Scripture has said. Might it not be well too if our clergy would acquaint themselves, not merely with the general platform on which infidelity is conducting its attacks, but specially with those sciences whose progress is always attended with much danger in minds which are not well settled in the faith? But remember that our Lord bids us, as scribes, instructed unto the kingdom of heaven, to bring forth out of our treasury things new and old — old in the substance, which must always abide; new in the form, which ever changes with time and with the manners of men. Mark the emphatic word "his treasury." It is not from any repository of truth external to ourselves. No amount of learning in a Christian minister can for a moment compensate for the absence of an experimental religion. God's Word must be brought forth from our own treasury, not stolen from that of our neighbours. Prayer must go hand in hand with study.

(Dean Goulburn.)

Being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ.

1. Moral.

2. Given by God.

3. Confirmed by Christ.

4. Written by the Holy Spirit on the heart.


1. Comprehends the whole law.

2. Extends to the heart.

3. Is enforced by love.

(J. Lyth, D. D.)

I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.
1. St. Paul was a cosmopolitan in the best sense, the world was his country, mankind his brethren, truth his business, the church his family, and Christ his Lord. His catholic impartiality credited alike Jew and Greek with whatever amount of truth they severally held.

2. Love is the true expositor of the text. It is the sterling politeness which gracefully bends itself into "all things" within the perpendicular of truth and equity, "to all men" in order to their profit and salvation. Like a tender mother, lisping to her babe, reading with her boys, sympathising with the early trials of her girls, following with her wistful prayers the absent ones, nor ceasing a maternal interest in the elder branches settled in life, and so in her motherly heart is all things to all members of her family so the earnest Christian has a large-hearted family power of interestedness in whatever concerns the soul of every fellow-being. Being "all things to all men," only to gain them to Christ, implies a sacred uniformity of purpose, which —


1. Sanctions no versatility which is evangelical with low church, sacramental with high church, indefinite with broad church, and indifferent with no church; though it does imply a courteous, loving, conciliatory tone of address to every church, always with a view to gaining them for the Church of Christ.

2. Implies no sinking the Christian to meet the worldling. The Christian is no chameleon, taking his hue from every incident he feeds on; but rather like the sunlight of his heavenly Father — the evil and the good are the better for his shining. Apply the rule to places of amusement. Can we imagine ourselves meeting Christ there, as He sat at the festival in Cana, &c.? We can realise His presence on occasions of innocent festivity; but there are others at which, if we could suppose His eye falling upon us, as it did on Peter in the hall of his denial, we should be ashamed to meet Him. I noticed in France pictures of the Crucifixion in streets and public galleries, in Hotel de Ville and Palais de Justice, but never one in a Cafe Chantant or the opera. As believers, you are Christ's living images, and would be as much out of place in a Casino or a playhouse. There is a rubicon between the carnal and the spiritual man which needs no Caesar to cross it from one side (that is, from the church to the world); but it requires a Christ to ford it, from the world to the church. Attempt it alone, and like Peter on the lake, you would sink in the act, unless His mighty hand bear you through.

3. Is no text for the pusillanimous concessions implied in the maxim, "When you are at Rome, do as Rome does." Paul did not; he was as much "Paul, the apostle of Jesus Christ" in Caesar's household as in his own. Still he who gave Roman officers their respect, and magistrates their titles, who gathered sticks with the barbarians, and received the grateful courtesies of Publius, taught us to eschew rudeness or eccentricity in circumstantials, and to be peculiar only in essentials. In whatever shape you are gratuitously singular, you will be unpopular, and therefore the less useful. Hence, cultivate a conciliating not a litigious tone — suggest, rather than challenge. A well-oiled and tempered blade cuts deeper than a hacked or rusty one. Be as much at home with people as you can, that they may be at their ease with you. Let things indifferent be indifferent, that none of your earnestness and usefulness may be spent on trifles, but all concentrated on the main thing — saving souls and glorifying their Saviour.

II. JUSTIFIES ANYTHING BECOMING A MANLY CHRISTIANITY. By this is not meant a Christianity indigenous to man; but a robust, open-hearted, large-minded view of sinners, and of the means to be employed for their salvation. "All things to all men."

1. Means religious toleration having "proved all things, hold fast that which is good." Stand out for your own convictions. "Be strong and quit you like men." At the same time, fidelity to your own opinions is perfectly compatible with the most respectful toleration of those of others. You believe in election; another man sees only open universal salvation. Be it so. You both believe in Christ and in His Holy Spirit: then work and pray together on those grounds in which you agree, and you will get nearer to God and to each other than by incessant debate upon your points of difference,

2. Implies the use of all lawful means of "preaching the word in season and out of season," e.g., if a Romanist won't listen to our translation of the Bible, converse with him out of his own. The Douay version obscures some doctrines, but it can't extinguish Christ. On the same ground controversy is justified. Let the obvious love of souls, and loyalty to Christ so distinguish the spirit ill which you wield controversial weapons that men may see "they are not carnal, but mighty through God, to the pulling down of strongholds."

3. Suggests a gentle forbearance with men's tempers, infirmities, and even sins. Much self-denial is needed for the duty of reproof, both as to the mode of doing it, and the doing it at all. "Bearing one another's burdens, and so fulfilling the law of Christ" is not the least self-denying form of taking up the cross. To bear with the magnanimity of Christian love the irritating annoyances and petty insults of an ungodly circle is no easy trial; but its effect upon those around us, though imperceptible, is real.

4. Imports the diligent use of many means, notwithstanding few results. There is a noble contentedness in expending all our means on the prospect of only "some" return.Conclusion —

1. Neither "all things to all men," nor anything to any man, is either safe or possible without God. You dare not be "all things to" some men, lest, burning incense with Korah, you be swallowed up with his company. "Evil communications corrupt good manners." Your life must be your testimony, where direct association would only compromise or quench it.

2. Make Christ your model. "Set the Lord alway before you." Let your first question be, "What would He have done?" He was in the best sense, and ever will be, "all things to all men," "the fulness of Him that filleth all in all." And He would be nothing to any man except to save him.

(J. B. Owen, M. A.)

As a general rule compromises of every description are to be regarded with distrust. Taken at the best they are of the nature of sacrifices, as each party is supposed to give up something which he considers of more or less importance. And this is not all. A plan or policy which is the result of a compromise is not a single plan or policy, but a mixture of plans, a mixture of policies. Now the several parts, instead of aiding and sustaining each other, will be very likely to interfere with and obstruct each other. Accordingly, if a compromise is called for, the first question we should ask ourselves is, whether the occasion for making it may not be avoided altogether. Many of our associations are entirely voluntary. But all our associations are not voluntary in the sense here intended. The family, for example, is not a voluntary, but a necessary association; and so likewise, in a certain sense and to a certain extent, is the neighbourhood, the Church, the State. Every man must live in society. I do not say in this or that society, but in some society. Concessions, then, we must make; but what concessions? How far can we carry the spirit of compromise without trenching at the same time on the laws of Christian truth and righteousness? To this question I reply, first, by observing that we are in no danger of trenching on the laws of Christian truth and righteousness so long as our compromises do not involve anything more than the giving up of our own tastes, our own convenience, our own innocent pleasures, our own interests, even our own rights, out of regard to others, and in the spirit of Christian concession and self sacrifice. To say that we have a right to give up our rights may sound to some like contradiction; but it is a contradiction in sound, in appearance, only. Indeed, not to give up our rights is to give up nothing; for why talk about giving up what we have no right to retain if we would? At the same time it is proper to add that our right to give up our rights depends on their being ours exclusively. We have no right to give up our neighbours' rights without their consent, express or implied. A parent, for example, might be willing to give up one or more of his own rights if he were sure the loss would fall on him alone; but if, on the contrary, he knows that, directly or indirectly, it will fall on the whole family, he will feel that they also have a voice in the matter. Again, a right may be held in common, and require to be maintained in common, and all therefore may be in some sense pledged to its defence in common, as in the case of civil or religious liberty. Here, as before, no individual can honestly act as if he alone were interested in the event. And this brings me to what may be called the pinch of the question. Have we a right, under any circumstances whatever, to go contrary to our duty for the sake of peace, or to meet those we must act with half-way, or on the plea that in a choice of evils we should take the least, or in the hope that in the end virtue and humanity will be gainers by such a course? Thus stated, it seems to me that the question answers itself. We have no such right. But we must not think that the annunciation of a moral truism like this will go far to clear up the great practical difficulty we are considering. The question disappears in one form, it is true, but only to come up in another. In a sharp collision of opinions and interests, of rights and duties, of reciprocal benefits and mutual obligations, may not my duty itself become changed? Let me suppose a case. A community, bound together by a multitude of reciprocal affections, interests, and obligations, fall into irreconcilable difference respecting a single question, and that a moral one. What are they to do? Some may think to cut the matter short by insisting that the party which is right ought not to give up, ought not to make the smallest concessions. And this is true, supposing it to be known and conceded which party is right; but unhappily this is the very point in dispute. The question is not what the party shall do is right, but what the party shall do which thinks itself right. And if you still answer, "Not concede one jot nor tittle," then you have no ground of complaint against your opponents for not conceding one jot nor tittle to you, for they also think themselves right. If, therefore, we persist in shutting our eyes on these obvious facts, that is to say, pay no regard to the judgment and the consciences of others, but proceed to act on our own as if we were infallible, when we know we are not, the mistake, if we fall into one, does not make wrong to be right even for us; nay, is no excuse for the wrong. It is not mistake, properly so called, but obstinacy; and obstinacy is no excuse for delinquency of any kind. Another ground sometimes taken is, that where two parties are at variance, only one can be right; and consequently that a compromise supposes a departure from the right course on one side or the other. This, however, does not follow. I admit that where two parties are at variance, both cannot be right; but it does not follow that either is so, that is, wholly right. Both parties cannot be right, but both parties may be wrong; at least more or less so. And if so, it would seem that each party has something of wrong to give up, and the compromise that should consist of mutual concessions of this sort would evidently result, not in a departure from right on either side, but in an approximation to right on both sides. I have spoken of compromises in general, not of any particular compromise. I am aware that there is often less difficulty in laying down general principles than in applying them with the limitations and qualifications which the circumstances of the case require. Still something is gained by clearly apprehending the principles — the applications must be left to the occasion as it arises; and let me add, that a right application of the principles in. the most perplexing circumstances will mainly depend, not on a morbid sensitiveness to the question at issue, nor yet on casuistical subtlety, but on downright honesty of purpose, a sound understanding, and a truly generous and magnanimous spirit.

(J. Walker, D. D.)

This is an expression which might easily be mistaken, and has been so before now; as though St. Paul recommended, by his advice and example, a sort of craft in religious matters — pretending to agree with men when you really do not, humouring them in bad ways, concurring with them tea certain length in what you know or fear to be wrong; but all the while for their benefit, and with a view of doing, on the whole, more good in the end. Are not many marriages made by this rule, or, at least, defended by this excuse? and how do they commonly turn out? A much lighter error, but yet an error of the same kind, was that which St. Paul himself had once to correct in St. Peter, when, rather than give present dissatisfaction to certain Jewish converts which were there, he separated himself from the Gentile Christians (Galatians 2:11), and so encouraged a division in the Church, and encouraged also the low notion that believers were still under the law of Moses. But this of St. Paul in the text is very different; it is an example, not a warning. And the difference may be put in one word: it is not accommodation which St. Paul encourages, but sympathy. He does not say that he practised what would please others, to win them, but he says that he always had an eye to them; he put himself into their place. He thought with himself, Were I a heathen, or a Jew, a young man or an old, an advanced or an imperfect Christian, a rich man or a poor, a master or a servant, what would my thoughts and feelings and fancies be when such and such holy truths or Divine commandments were made known to me? And according to what his wise and charitable heart, guided by the Holy Spirit, told him, of the needs and feelings of other persons, so he ordered his ways towards them, and his manner of speaking to them, and dealing with them. To take the instances which the apostle himself had been enumerating just before the text: "Unto the Jews," first, "I became," says he, "as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews." How was this? for we know how earnestly St. Paul opposed himself to the Jewish prejudice, that circumcision and keeping the ceremonies of the law were at all necessary to salvation. How, then, did he become as a Jew to the Jews? Look at that letter of his, in which he most opposes their ceremonies; look at the Epistle to the Romans, and see how he speaks of them there. "I also am an Israelite." "I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart." "I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren." Look in the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 16:2; Acts 28:17; Acts 22:17) and see what trouble he took, how he went out of the way to show them that he reverenced the Mosaical ceremonies, and did not hold them wicked, though he would not have them reckoned part of the Christian law. As to the Gentiles, them also he mentions just before the text, saying, "To them which are without law I became as without law, that I might gain them that are without law." That is, he put himself in the place of the Gentiles, and said and did what their condition required; as when, writing to the Corinthians, he so greatly slighted human wisdom, which he knew they were inclined to think too much of; also as when, speaking to the Athenians, he made use of their own poets, their own altars, their own customs, and the like; whereby to bring them to attend to the truth of Christ. But towards the people of Derbe and Lystra, who were in the very act of idolising himself, he spake with all vehemence, as the case required, seeing it was the only thing which could hinder them from offering sacrifice to him. In neither case did he flatter or beguile, or at all encourage them in anything wrong, no not with a view of greater good hereafter, as we, in our short-sighted self-sufficient plans, are so often tempted to do; but he used that gift which God gave him, of entering into their minds and feelings to edify them, whether by soothing or contradiction, as might be needed. And as it was with him in respect to Jew or Gentile, so also in respect of rich and poor, and the other distinctions of life; to masters and servants, husbands and wives, in short, all sorts of people, he speaks as one who had the power, by the Divine Spirit which was in him, to feel not only with them but for them — not only what they would like, but what their condition would most require. Now St. Paul was a representative, what we may in some sense call a type, of the Church or kingdom of Christ in action and warfare. His teaching seems especially recorded as the completest standard and model of her teaching. May it then be truly said that the Church is made all things to all men? Surely it may; the mystical body of our Lord Jesus Christ, animated by His Spirit, has a word of seasonable instruction, and an aid of seasonable grace, for every one, even the meanest of His members. Surely there is no person, rich or poor, young or old, good or bad, wise or foolish, for whom the Church, as she speaks in our Prayer Book, has not a word of comfort or censure, of warning or encouragement, in their season. And as this is the temper of St. Paul himself, and of the Church which he served, so also should it be the temper of each particular Christian, among his own friends and acquaintance, and all whom the Providence of God puts in his way. He will account it a part of charity to become all things to all men; to enter into their notions and feelings, not for any vain fancy of pleasing them and obtaining their good word, hut for their profit, if haply by God's mercy he may be permitted to do something towards the salvation of a brother. And truly it is a strange power which God's Holy Spirit gives to faithful, self-denying persons, to enter into the thoughts and tempers and passions of those for whom they are concerned, even of those who are most unlike themselves; guarding them by a kind of instinct against those sins and temptations which would seem to be furthest from their own feeling and knowledge; as God and good angels guard them, knowing, and in a manner feeling for the sinner, without any sort of communion in the sin. Once more; if it be asked what is the way by which frail, imperfect men may be enabled to understand the thoughts of the wicked so as to perceive their tendency, and to pray and strive against them, the answer is, we must be very single in our aims-not looking, much less turning, back after we have once given in our names to Jesus Christ to be His soldiers and servants.

(J. H. Newman, D. D.)

I. WHY IS THIS PASSION FOR SAVING OTHERS IMPLANTED IN THE BREASTS OF THE SAVED? For God's glory.(1) It is greatly to the glory of God that He should use humble instruments for the accomplishment of His grand purposes. When Quintin Matsys had executed a wonderful well-cover in iron, it was the more notable because he had little more than his hammer.(2) It brings glory to God also that He should take us sinful men and make us partakers of His compassionate and loving nature. That an angel should cleave the air to perform his message is simple enough, but that a Saul, an enemy of Christ, should live and die for the winning of souls to Jesus, is a memorable illustration of the grace of God.(3) In this way the Lord gets great glory over the Arch-enemy, for He can say to Satan, "I have defeated thee, not by the sword of Michael, but by the words and prayers of My humble servants." Then is the enemy smitten in the house of his former friends. Satan desired to sift Peter as wheat, but Peter sifted him in return on the day of Pentecost.

2. For the church's good. The passion for winning souls —(1) Expends the Church's energy in a healthy manner. There is a certain quantity of steam generated in the community, and if we do not let it off in the right way, it will blow up and do infinite mischief. Talents unused are sure to rust, and this kind of rust is a deadly poison to peace, an acrid irritant which eats into the heart of the Church.(2) Draws forth the strength of the Church, awakens her latent energies, and arouses her noblest faculties. Many a commonplace man has been rendered great by being thoroughly absorbed by a noble pursuit, and what can be nobler than turning men to Christ?(3) Knits us together. I have been blest of God to the salvation of my hearer, but that hearer was first brought here by a friend, and so we become sharers in the joy. And, moreover, when new converts are brought into the Church, the fact that they are brought in by instrumentality tends to make their fusion with the Church an easy matter.

3. For the good of the individual possessing it.(1) It makes us Godlike.(2) It provides a vent for love to God as well as to men. Loving God makes us sorrow that all men do not love Him too.(3) It revives our first love. When I see an inquirer penitent for sin, I recollect the birthday of my own soul.(4) It strengthens faith. If you begin to doubt the gospel's power, go to work among the poor and ignorant.(5) It draws forth all the faculties of a man. One strong passion will frequently bring the whole man into play, like a skilful minstrel whose hand brings music from every chord. If we love others, we shall become wise to attract them, and discover in ourselves talents which else had been hidden in the ground.(6) It gives the highest joys beneath the stars.

II. HOW DOES THIS PASSION EXERCISE ITSELF? Differently in different persons, and at different periods.

1. By tender anxiety. The moment a man is saved he begins to be anxious about his relatives, and that anxiety leads him at once to pray for them.

2. In the intense joy exhibited when news reaches us of their conversion.

3. In private efforts, sacrifices, prayers, and agonies for the spread of the gospel. A word may often bless those whom a sermon fails to reach, and a personal letter may do far more than a printed book.

4. In the more public agencies of the Church.

5. In adapting ourselves to the condition and capacity of others for their good. Paul became a Jew to the Jews. He did not preach against Judaism, but showed them Jesus as the fulfiller of its types. When he met with a heathen he did not revile the gods, but taught him the true God. He did not carry about with him one sermon for all places, but adapted his speech to his audience. If you have to talk to children, be children, and do not expect them to be men. If you have to comfort the aged, enter into their infirmities, and do not speak to them as if they were still in the full vigour of life. Are you called to labour among the educated? Then choose out excellent words. Do you work among the illiterate? Speak their mother tongue. Are you cast among people with strange prejudices? Do not unnecessarily jar with them, but take them as you find them. All men are not to be reached in the same way, or by the same means.

III. WHY IS NOT THIS PASSION MORE LARGELY DEVELOPED AMONG CHRISTIANS? Is it not that we have but very little grace? That is the fountain of all the mischief. But to come to particulars.

1. One-sided views of gospel doctrines. "God will save His own." Yes, but His own do not talk in that fashion; they do not say, "Am I my brother's keeper?" Since idleness wants an excuse, men dare to abuse this sacred truth to stultify their consciences.

2. Worldliness. Men are too fond of gain to care for saving souls.

3. Want of faith. Men do not believe that God will bless their efforts, and therefore they make none.

4. Want of sympathy with God.


1. By our obtaining a higher life. I do not believe in a man's trying to pump himself up beyond his level. The man must be up, and then all that comes out of the man will have risen. If love to God glows in your soul, it must show itself in your concern for others.

2. By full cognisance of men's misery and degradation. How differently one feels after seeing with one's own eyes the poverty, filth, and vice of this city. Your fellow-countrymen are living in neglect of your Saviour, and in jeopardy of their immortal souls; if you did but realise this it would quicken you by all means to save some.

3. By a sense of our own solemn obligations. If we are what we profess to be, we are redeemed by the heart's blood of the Son of God; do we not owe something to Christ for this?

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

In Switzerland, where land is very precious because rock abounds and the rugged soil is chary in its yieldings, you see the husbandman looking after a little tuft of grass growing on one of the edges of a lofty cliff. From the valley he had caught a sight of it, and thought of clambering up to where it grew, but the rock was all too steep. From a ledge nearer the top of the precipitous wall he looked down, but could see no pathway to the coveted morsel of green. That armful of grass would feed his goat, or help to fill the cottage loft with winter fodder for the cow. Every armful is an item, and he cannot forego that tempting clump. He looks, and looks, and looks again, but looks in vain. By and by he fetches his bold boy, who can follow wherever a chamois can climb, but the boy after a hard scramble comes back with the tidings, "Father, it cannot be done." Father's answer is, "Boy, it must be done." It is only an armful, and would not be worth a farthing to us, but to the poor mountaineer even a farthing or a farthing's worth is precious. The grass waves its flowers in the breeze and scorns the daring climbers from below; but where there is a will, there is a way; and what cannot be reached from below may be gained from above. With a rope slung round him, or firmly grasped in his accustomed hand, with a stout stake or tree to hold it up above, the Switzer is let down till he gets to the jutting crag; there he stands with his sickle, reaps the grass, ties it into a bundle, puts it under his arm, and climbing back again, joyfully returns with his little harvest. Poor pay, you think, for such dangerous toil; but, fellow worker for Jesus, I wish we were as venturesome for souls, and as careful of them, as these poor peasants are concerning miserable bundles of grass. I wish that we sometimes looked up or down upon apparently inaccessible spots, and resolved to reach immortal souls who are to be found there, and pined to bring them to Christ.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

It is a grand thing to see a man thoroughly possessed with one master-passion. Lives with many aims are like water trickling through innumerable streams, none of which is wide enough or deep enough to float the merest cockleshell; but a life with one object is like a mighty river flowing between its banks, bearing to the ocean a multitude of ships, and spreading fertility on either side. Note —

I. PAUL'S GREAT OBJECT IN LIFE — "To save some."

1. Some preach with the view of amusing men. But Paul did not lay himself out to please the public and collect the crowd.

2. Others think that the object of Christian effort should be to educate men. Education is an exceedingly valuable thing, but if the Church thinks that it is sent into the world merely to train the mental faculties, it has made a very serious mistake. Christ came to seek and to save that which was lost, and on the same errand has He sent His Church.

3. Paul did not try to moralise men. Dr. Chalmers, in his first parish, preached morality, and saw no good; but as soon as he preached Christ crucified, grace prevailed. He who wishes for perfumes must grow the flowers; he who desires to promote morality must have men saved.

4. What did Paul mean by saying that he desired to save some?(1) That some should be born again; for no man is saved until he is made a new creature in Christ Jesus.(2) That some might be cleansed from their past iniquity through the merit of Christ's sacrifice. No man can be saved from his sin except by the atonement.(3) That they might also be purified and made holy; for a man is not saved while he lives in sin.


1. The honour of God. Did you ever think over the amount of dishonour that is done to the Lord in London in any one hour of the day?

2. The extreme misery of this our human race. It would be a very dreadful thing if you could get any idea of the aggregate of the misery of London at the present moment in the hospital and the workhouse.

3. The terrible future of impenitent souls. But if they be saved, observe the contrast.


1. The simple preaching of the gospel. He did not attempt to create a sensation by startling statements, neither did he preach erroneous doctrine in order to obtain the assent of the multitude. To keep ,back any part of the gospel is not the true method for saving men. Give the people every truth baptised in holy fire, and each truth will have its own useful effect upon the mind. But the great truth is the Cross, the truth that "God so loved the world," &c.

2. Much prayer. A great painter said he mixed his colours with brains. A preacher ought to mix truth with prayer. When a man was breaking granite by the roadside, a minister passing by said, "Ah, my friend, your work is just like mine; you have to break stones, and so do I." "Yes," said the man, "and if you manage to break stony hearts, you will have to do it as I do, go down on your knees."

3. An intense sympathy which made him adapt himself to each case. He was all things to all men, that he might by all means save some. Mr. Hudson Taylor finds it helpful to dress as a Chinaman, and wear a pigtail. This seems to me to be a truly wise policy. To sink myself to save others is the idea of the apostle. Never may any whim or conventionality of ours keep a soul from considering the gospel.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

All things are easy which are done for the love of God and of the souls which He loves. A lady who had a most sensitive ear for music — so much so, that a note out of tune caused her intense discomfort — joined one of our English Sisterhoods. Being visited one day by a friend, she was found placidly seated in an outhouse, in the midst of a most horrible din, raised by a number of lads whom she was forming into a drum and fife band. "How can you possibly endure this noise?" asked her friend. "Oh," was the sweet reply, "it's very good for souls!"

It is said that Kossuth had an inimitable power of adaptation: a keen sense of the fitness of things. So adroit was his oratory that coming to a new country he would soon master its language, had forensic arguments for the bar, prose and poetry for women, statistics for merchants, and an assortment of local allusions for the respective towns and villages in which he pleaded his cause.

(H. O. Mackey.)

While Edward Irving was assistant to Dr. Chalmers he called upon a shoemaker, a thorough-going infidel of a most disagreeable temper. All who had previously called upon him were met by cold shoulder and a "Hump!" Irving, knowing his man, took up a piece of patent leather, and expatiated on it. This he could do admirably, as his father was a tanner, and he knew the process well. The shoemaker did not look up, but said roughly, "What do you ken about leather?" Irving, unabashed, went on, and described how shoes were being made by machinery. Then the shoemaker slackened up his work, and looked up, and said, "Od, you're a decent kind o' a fellow; do you preach?" Next Sabbath the shoemaker was at church. On the Monday Irving met him in the Gallow Gate, and walked arm-in-arm with him along the street. He was overcome, and became a friend instead of a foe to Christianity; and ever after, when taunted with his change, justified himself by saying, "He's a sensible man, yon; he kens about leather."

(Mrs. Oliphaut.)

"We use the language of the market," said Whitefield, and this was much to his honour; yet when he stood in the drawing-room of the Countess of Huntingdon, and his speech entranced the infidel nobleman whom she brought to hear him, he adopted another style. His language was equally plain in each case, because it was equally familiar to the audience: he did not use the ipsissima verba, or his language would have lost its plainness in the one case or the other, and would either have been slang to the nobility or Greek to the crowd.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

He alone is wise who can accommodate himself to all the contingencies of life; but the fool contends, and is struggling like a swimmer against the stream.

In order to reach men's hearts on Divine things Lord Haddo strove to cultivate the art of conciliating even the careless and indifferent, by talking to them, in the first instance, on subjects in which they would be interested; and in this taught a precious lesson, which all who are engaged in evangelistic labour would do well to learn and exemplify. When acting as a regular district visitor in Whitechapel, London, he happened to visit a currier, to whom he was unknown, and his knowledge of the various processes of tanning and the preparation of leather, elicited the remark, "Ah, I see you are in the trade yourself, sir."

(A. Duff, D. D.)

Hom. Monthly.
(Text and 1 Corinthians 10:33). Here is the supreme secret of service to human souls; and the two passages must be taken together to get the beauty of the whole thought. It is an accommodation —

I. TO ALL MEN; to Jew, to Gentile; to weak, to strong —

1. By way of identification; as though himself just what they were. This means an Englishman becoming an Irishman to save an Irishman; a man of culture becoming an ignorant fool to save a fool — going down to the slums to save the inmates of the slums — becoming a slave to save slaves.

2. By way of self-denial and self-oblivion; not seeking one's own pleasure or even "profit," that others may be saved. A renunciation of self-gratification and even self-advancement and advantage for their sakes.

II. IN ALL THINGS — wherever it implies no wrong. The question is, What will remove a stumbling-block out of others' way? What will serve others? (1 Corinthians 9:19).

III. IN ORDER TO SAVE OTHERS. Everybody may not be benefited. "Duty is ours; results are God's." But what is offered to Him is not lost, although it may seem to be wasted. We never get to the true platform of service until what we do we do unto the Lord, and are not disturbed by its apparent unfruitfulness. He values it just as highly, without regard to obvious results.

(Hom. Monthly.)

There are those to whom it is painful to have to accost a stranger even on pressing business; and most men arc only quite at home in their own set — among men of the same class or profession as themselves. But the life he had chosen brought Paul into contact with men of every kind, and he had constantly to be introducing to strangers the business with which he was charged. He might be addressing a king or a consul the one hour and a roomful of slaves or common soldiers the next. One day he had to speak in the synagogue of the Jews, another among a crowd of Athenian philosophers, another to the inhabitants of some provincial town far from the seats of culture. But he could adapt himself to every man and every audience. To the Jews he spoke as a rabbi out of the Old Testament Scriptures; to the Greeks he quoted the words of their own poets; and to the barbarians he talked of the God who giveth rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness. When a weak or insincere man attempts to be all things to all men, he ends by being nothing to anybody. But, living on this principle, Paul found entrance for the gospel everywhere, and at the same time won for himself the esteem and love of those to whom he stooped.

(J. Stalker, D. D.)

Speaking of fishing in Persian rivers, a recent traveller says, "The river Lar is famed for its speckled trout, and we encamped on its banks, well provided with the best rods and flies the English market could afford. We found the trout fickle enough as elsewhere, and could never tell when or where to find them. Some days 'coy and hard to please,' and other days abundant. We soon discovered that a trait peculiar to these Persian trout was an indifference, amounting to contempt, for the daintiest flies we coaxingly threw in their way. But when we baited our hooks with young grasshoppers or frogs we discovered the favourite weakness of these epicures of the Lar."

(H. O. Mackey.)

This verse is sometimes taken as expressive of the accommodating spirit of the apostle. Hence he is regarded as acting in a somewhat Jesuitical way, taking men as it were by guile. Such a view is utterly untrue. From his very constitution, he could not bend to any temporising expediency. All that the apostle means is, that he endeavoured to put himself into the place, or rather into the views and feelings, of those whom he endeavoured to win to Christ. Now this is both right and wise. As a debater, whether in politics, philosophy, or religion, he only acts fairly and with power who acts in this way. This power implies —

I. A HIGHLY IMAGINATIVE TEMPERAMENT. The phlegmatic man, whose nature is incapable of taking fire, who moves with the creeping legs of logic rather than on the wings of moral intuition, would find it all but impossible to realise another man's experiences.

II. A KNOWLEDGE OF HUMAN LIFE. It is necessary that we should make ourselves acquainted not merely with the outward circumstances of men, but with their inner life — their modes of thought, their strongest proclivities. This requires study of men, not as they appear in books, but as they appear in their circle, and men, not in the mass, but in their individual character and idiosyncrasies.

III. A PASSIONATE LOVE FOR SOULS. Nothing but the constraining love of Christ can invest man either with the disposition or the power for such a work — a work requiring self-sacrifice, patience, tenderness, invincible determination, and hallowed devotion.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

— A little management will often avoid resistance, which a vast force will strive in vain to overcome.


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