1 Peter 2:11
Beloved, I urge you as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from the desires of the flesh, which war against your soul.
The Jewish RebellionsCharles Kingsley1 Peter 2:11
A Fight for LifeChristopher Love.1 Peter 2:11-12
Abstaining from Fleshly LustsAbp. Leighton.1 Peter 2:11-12
Beautiful BehaviourJ. Muller.1 Peter 2:11-12
Christians are to Live Godly, Even Among the WickedJohn Rogers.1 Peter 2:11-12
Christians in the WorldR. Finlayson 1 Peter 2:11, 12
Christians MalignedAbp. Leighton.1 Peter 2:11-12
Conversion the Day of VisitationJohn Rogers.1 Peter 2:11-12
Destroyed by LustA Dead Man's Diary.1 Peter 2:11-12
Destructive Nature of Fleshly LustsF. B. Meyer, B. A.1 Peter 2:11-12
Distinctive LustsH. W. Beecher.1 Peter 2:11-12
Employed Away from HomeW. Arnot.1 Peter 2:11-12
Fleshly LustsW. Harness, M. A.1 Peter 2:11-12
Fleshly Lusts are the Soul's AdversariesW. Arnot.1 Peter 2:11-12
How God is Glorified by UsN. Byfield.1 Peter 2:11-12
Inward LustsJohn Rogers.1 Peter 2:11-12
Looking for One Thing and Finding AnotherJ. Trapp.1 Peter 2:11-12
The Church in Relation to the WorldT. Davies, M. A.1 Peter 2:11-12
The Demand for a Life Becoming the Christian NameC. New 1 Peter 2:11, 12
The Ministry of Good WorksG. Everard, M. A.1 Peter 2:11-12
The PassionsJ. Saurin.1 Peter 2:11-12
The Plea Against Disorderly PassionsHomilist1 Peter 2:11-12
The Power of a Consistent Walk1 Peter 2:11-12
The Stranger HereT. B. Paget, M. A.1 Peter 2:11-12
The Threefold Plea Against Disorderly PassionsU.R. Thomas 1 Peter 2:11, 12
The Transgressions of ChristiansW. Barrow, D. D.1 Peter 2:11-12
The Wicked Speak Ill of God's ChildrenJohn Rogers.1 Peter 2:11-12
The Witness of a Pure LifeW. Arnot.1 Peter 2:11-12
Trite RevengeToplady.1 Peter 2:11-12

The doctrinal part of the Epistle is now followed by a series of practical exhortations on the working out of the redemption of which it has spoken. And the apostle here begins these as close as can be to the man's own self; he has to speak abort right citizenship, and neighborliness, etc.; but before he comes to these he starts with the man's own self. "Fleshly lusts;" not to be understood of desires for physical gratification only. "Fleshly" is, in Scripture, the opposite of "spiritual." "Works of the flesh" are the antithesis of" works of the Spirit." "Now the works of the flesh are these," etc., and the list includes "idolatry, hatred, wrath, strife, envyings" - not physical qualities at all. So the expression refers to all desires that are wrong. "Having your conversation honest" - " Having your behavior seemly" (Revised Version). "The day of visitation." Any crisis in which God draws near to a man with a view to his redemption, and which results in grace or judgment - the apostle thinks here of that. So the idea of the paragraph is, "You Christians, so regulate your desires that your life will be becoming, and thus the heathen around you, prejudiced against Christ, will be prepared to receive the gospel when it is urged upon them." This is a timely subject when the Church wonders at the little power of the gospel, and seeks new means to "evangelize the masses." Gospel-preaching must be supported by gospel-living. Next to the inborn ungodliness of the natural heart, the great hindrance to Christ's kingdom is the Church's own ungodliness.

I. THE DEMAND FOR A BECOMING LIFE ON THE PART OF THE CHURCH. There is a certain behavior which becomes God's people, if only because they are closely observed by the ungodly; the world has a standard of character it expects the Church to reach. We may discourage ourselves by overestimating that standard (probably they do not look for perfection), but we must beware lest we underrate it. What is this character? (Let us remember that it is character; that they care nothing for creed, nor for habits of devotion, nor for our statements as to religious experience, but demand a certain life from the people of God, and watch for it as with an eagle's glance.)

1. It must be an exemplification of righteousness. Straightforward, above-board, strictly upright action, come what may - nothing less becomes the children of the Holy One. Social and commercial morality are not enough. Christian morality, which the world has a right to expect in us, is action from right principle at any cost.

2. It must be an exhibition of peace. The Christian says, "God loves and cares for me; he is my Father; for me he laid down his life; to me he has given all blessing in his Son; and I trust him." Then the world looks in him for that rest of soul which writes itself on the face, silences impatient utterance, and restrains the hasty deed. Nothing less becomes such profession.

3. It must be animated by kind consideration for others. Even righteousness will not satisfy the world; there must be also love. Less cannot become those who have his Spirit of whom it is said, "And God is Love." On the top of the pillars of uprightness there must be the lily work of love; yea, those pillars, hard and cold, must be wreathed from base to capital with love's sweet flowers and fruit, or onlookers will refuse to believe they are pillars of God's temple.

II. THE REASON FOR THIS DEMAND. Three powerful reasons are suggested here.

1. The Christian is essentially different from the world. "Strangers [in another place translated 'foreigners'] and pilgrims." "Ye are not of the world;" "Ye are come to the heavenly Jerusalem;" citizens of another country, subjects of another King, passing through this world to that to which the Heaven-born nature aspires. We are more than others (we are born again); we have more than others (the all-sufficient grace of the Spirit); we owe more than others (redeemed with the precious blood of Christ); then we ought to be more than others.

2. The world regards the Christian with some prejudice. "They speak against you as evil-doers.' The history of the period confirms that; Christian writings of the second century constantly refute false charges of the immorality of Christianity. These false charges are likely to be perpetual; for "if they have called the Master of the house Beelzebub," etc., then so much the more reason for becoming conduct on our park We cannot reason, but we can live down, this prejudice. Each line of life is credited with certain evils; by living above those evils the Christian must roll this prejudice against Christianity away.

3. The influence of Christian character on the world is incalculable. "By your good works which they shall behold, they may glorify God in the day of visitation." An unspeakably solemn word. It implies that, when they are visited by God's mercy, their acceptance of that mercy depends largely on the previous influence of the lives of God's people. Before Lazarus could come forth from his grave at Christ's word, men must roll away the stone. So the stone of prejudice against Christ. By unbecoming conduct we may harden men in sin and unbelief; by becoming conduct we may prepare the way of the Lord.

III. THE MEANS OF FULFILLING THIS DEMAND. "Abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul."

1. Becoming character begins with the heart. "Out of the heart are the issues of life." Only that can come from us which is first put in us. Christian lives are not produced by laying aside this blemish or taking up that excellence, but by prolonged and secret heart-work. "As a man's heart is, so is he."

2. This heart-work requires abstinence from whatever wars against the soul. Not necessarily bad things, but anything that militates against spiritual life. Every wish must be crucified which may be a hindrance to me or to others.

3. This abstinence comes from a remembrance of our obligation to God. Some trees only lose their leaves when new ones come and push them off; thus only by the incoming of new desires and affections do we lose the old ones. The eleventh verse follows the ninth and tenth verses. Abstinence from evil desires follows as a matter of course a remembrance of what God has done for us, and an appropriation of the sublime blessings it gives. - C.N.

As strangers and pilgrims abstain.
"Dearly beloved, I beseech you." There is a faculty of reproving required in the ministry, and sometimes a necessity of very sharp rebukes. They who have much of the spirit of meekness may have a rod by them too, to use upon necessity (1 Corinthians 4:21). But surely the way of meekness is that they use most willingly; with ingenious minds, the mild way of sweet entreaties is very forcible; they prevail as the sunbeams, which, without any noise, made the traveller cast off his cloak, which all the blustering of the wind could not do, but made him rather gather it closer and bind it faster about him. Now this word of entreaty is strengthened much by the other, "Dearly beloved." Scarcely can the harshest reproofs, much less gentle reproofs, be thrown back, that have upon them the stamp of love. "Abstain." It is one and the same strength of spirit that raises a man above the troubles and pleasures of the world, and makes him despise and trample upon both. EXPLAIN WHAT THESE FLESHLY LUSTS MEAN, then to consider THE EXHORTATION OF ABSTAINING FROM THEM. Unchaste desires are particularly called by this name, but to take it for these only in this place is doubtless too narrow. That which seems to be the true sense of the expression here, takes in all undue desires and use of earthly things, and all the corrupt affections of our carnal minds. To abstain from these lusts is to hate and fly from the very thoughts and first motions of them; and if surprised by these, yet to kill them there, that they bring not forth; and to suspect ourselves even in those things that are not sinful, and to keep far off from all inducements to the polluted ways of sin. It was a high speech of a heathen, that "he was greater, and born to greater things, than to be a servant to his body." How much more ought he that is born again to say so, being born heir to a crown that fadeth not away? Again, as the honour of a Christian's estate is far above this baseness of serving his lusts, so the happiness and pleasantness of his estate set him above the need of the pleasures of sin. The philosopher gives this as the reason why men are so much set upon sensual delights, because they know not the higher pleasures that are proper to the soul. We are barred fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, to the end that we may have fellowship with God and His Son Jesus Christ. This is to make men eat angel's food indeed, as was said of the manna. The serving of the flesh sets man below himself, down amongst the beasts, but the consolations of the Spirit and communion with God raise him above himself, and associate him with the angels. But let us speak to the apostle's own dissuasives from these lusts, taken —

1. From the condition of Christians: "As strangers." If you were citizens of this world, then you might drive the same trade with them and follow the same lusts; but seeing you are chosen and called out of the world, and invested into a new society, made free of another city, and are therefore here but travellers passing through to your own country, it is very reasonable that there be this difference betwixt you and the world, that while they live at home, your carriage be such as becomes strangers; not glutting yourselves with their pleasures, but, as wise strangers, living warily and soberly, and still minding most of all your journey homewards, suspecting dangers in your way and so walking with holy fear, as the Hebrew word for a stranger imports.

2. The apostle argues from the condition of these lusts. It were quarrel enough against "fleshly lusts which war against the soul," that they are so far below the soul, that they cannot content, no, nor at all reach the soul; they are not a suitable, much less a satisfying good to it. Although sin hath unspeakably abused the soul of man, yet its excellent nature and original does still cause a vast disproportion betwixt it and all those base things of the earth, which concern the flesh and go no further. But this is not all: these fleshly lusts are not only of no benefit to the soul, but they are its pernicious enemies; "they war against it." And their war against it is all made up of stratagem and sleight, for they cannot hurt the soul, but by itself. They promise it some contentment, and so gain its consent to serve them, and undo itself. They embrace the soul that they may strangle it.

(Abp. Leighton.)


1. The language of the Christian is strange to the world. Take, for instance, those simple words which sum up in one comprehensive sentence so much of the faith and hope of the true Christian, "The God of all grace." This is an expression so rich in its associations to a faithful mind, that the subject can never be exhausted. But how few, if any, ideas does an unfaithful person attach to it? or take the language which a true Christian uses to express his ideas of the corruption of human nature, and the necessity of the new birth. The wondering ignorance displayed by Nicodemus affords an apt illustration of the strangeness of Christian language in every age, to a yet unchristian heart.

2. The manners of the believer are strange to the world. Doth in business and pleasure. "They think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess."

3. The most remarkable and chief difference between the world and the Christian, is to be found in their religion. There is a religion of the world outward and formal. The religion of the believer is promotive of humility and self-distrust.


1. He feels himself a stranger only sojourning here for a time, and then passing away. He does not permit himself to be entangled in the affairs of this life, or so engrossed therewith as to find in them his chief happiness.

2. Again, he feels himself a stranger in a land which he believes to be full of danger; and therefore he is one that walks warily.

3. It is another consequence of the believer's strangeness sojourning in a strange land, that he is attracted to all them that love the Lord Jesus in sincerity and truth. There is a common sympathy between them; and no truer test can be given of God's children than that, in spite of their lesser differences, they love one another.

4. But if such be the feeling with which they regard each other, what must be their affection for their native land, and for that special spot within it which is called by the magic name of home? Whatever may be the counteracting force of outward circumstances, the heart still yearns for home!

5. With these expectations as an abiding principle, he can withstand the powerful seductions of the world, sit loosely affected by its most innocent and useful engagements, "waiting" for his summons to return home, "ready to depart and be with Christ, which is far better."

(T. B. Paget, M. A.)


II. THE INFLUENCE OF DISORDERLY PASSIONS IS HOSTILE TO OUR OWN INWARD LIFE. They war against reason, memory, imagination, conscience, affection, and hope.


1. Our outward life is closely scrutinised. "They behold."

2. Our outward life is readily calumniated. "Speak against you." Gossip and slander are eager.

3. Our outward life should be beautiful. No human loveliness, no natural scenery so influential as "good works." Souls ought to have a grandeur, a richness, a variety transcending all the fascination of flowers, all the glory of mountains, all the majesty of the sea, The noblest beauties are "the beauties of holiness."

4. Such outward life glorifies God.

(1)Directly. For it is a tribute of praise to Him.

(2)Indirectly. For it leads others to praise Him, A holy example is often "the gate beautiful" by which men enter into the city of God and go up to the knowledge of Him anal communion with Him.


In military monarchies it has always been the policy to employ the soldiers far from home. When the Austrian Empire was a conglomerate of many nationalities, German regiments were sent to campaign in Italy, and Italians served in Germany. When the men had not a home to care for, they were more completely at the disposal of their leaders. This is Peter's idea here. Christians are not at home in the world. There is less to distract them. They should be better soldiers of Jesus Christ. The more loose their hearts are to the earth, the more firm will be the anchor of their souls on high. Conversely, the more they are attached to their home in heaven, the less will they be entangled with the wealth and the pleasures of the world.

(W. Arnot.)

Fleshly lusts, which war against the soul

1. An intelligent being ought to love everything that can elevate, perpetuate, and make him happy, and to avoid whatever can degrade, confine, and render him miserable. This, far from being a human depravity, is a perfection of nature. By "fleshly lusts" St. Peter doth not mean such desires of the heart as put as on aspiring after real happiness and true glory.

2. An intelligent being united to a body, and lodged, if I may speak so, in a portion of matter under this law, that according to the divers motions of this matter he shall receive sensations of pleasure or pain, must naturally love to excite within himself sensations of pleasure, and to avoid painful feelings. This is agreeable to the institution of the Creator. This observation affords us a second clue to the meaning of the apostle: at least it gives us a second precaution to avoid an error. By fleshly lusts he doth not mean a natural inclination to preserve the body and the ease of life; he allows love, hatred, and anger to a certain degree, and as far as the exercise of them doth not prejudice a greater interest.

3. A being composed of two substances, one of which is more excellent than the other; a being placed between two interests, one of which is greater than the other, ought, when these two interests clash, to prefer the more noble before the less noble, the greater interest before the less. This third principle is a third clue to what St. Peter calls "lusts," or passions. What is the meaning of this word? The Scripture generally uses the word in two senses. Sometimes it is literally and properly put for flesh, and sometimes it signifies sin. St. Peter calls the passions "fleshly" in both these senses; in the first because some come from the body as voluptuousness, anger, drunkenness, and in the second because they spring from our depravity.


1. The passions produce in the mind a strong attention to whatever can justify and gratify them. The most odious objects may be so placed as to appear agreeable, and the most lovely objects so as to appear odious. Certainly one of the noblest advantages of man is to reason, to examine proofs and weigh motives, to consider an object on every side, in order on these grounds to regulate our ideas and opinions, our hatred and our love. The passionate man renounces this advantage, and never reasons, in a passion his mind is limited, his soul is in chains, his fleshly passions war against his soul.

2. Having examined the passions in the mind, let us consider them in the senses. To comprehend this, recollect that the passions owe their origin to the Creator, who instituted them for the purpose of preserving us. When an object would injure health or life, it is necessary to our safety that there should be an emotion in our senses to effect a quick escape from the danger; fear does this. A man struck with the idea of sudden danger hath a rapidity which he could not have in a tranquil state, or during a cool trial of his power. It is necessary, when an enemy approaches to destroy us, that our senses should so move as to animate us with a power of resistance. Anger doth this, for it is a collection of spirits. Such are the movements excited by the passions in the senses, and all these to a certain degree are necessary for the preservation of our bodies, and are the institutions of our Creator; but three things are necessary to preserve order in these emotions. First, they must never be excited in the body without the direction of the will and the reason. Secondly, they must always be proportional. I mean, the emotion of fear, for example, must never be except in sight of objects capable of hurting us; the emotion of anger must never be except in sight of an enemy, who actually hath both the will and the power of injuring our well-being. And thirdly, they must always stop when and where we will they should. When the passions subvert this order they violate three wise institutes of our Creator. The motions excited by the passions m our senses are not free. An angry man is carried beyond himself in spite of himself. A voluptuous man receives a sensible impression from an exterior object, and in spite of all the dictates of reason throws himself into a flaming fire that consumes him. The emotions excited by the passions in our senses are not proportional; I mean that a timorous man, for example, turns as pale at the sight of a fanciful as of a real danger; he sometimes fears a phantom and a substance alike. A man, whose God is his belly, feels his appetite as much excited by a dish fatal to his health as by one necessary to support his strength and to keep him alive. The emotions excited by the passions in the senses do not obey the orders of our will. The movement is an overflow of spirits, which no reflections can restrain. This is what the passions do in the senses, and do you not conceive that in this second respect they war against the soul? They war against the soul by the disorders they introduce into that body which they ought to preserve. They dissipate the spirits, weaken the memory, wear out the brain. They war against the soul by disconcerting the whole economy of man, and by making him consider such sensations of pleasure as Providence gave him only for the sake of engaging him to preserve his body as a sort of supreme good, worthy of all his care and attention for its own sake. They war against the soul because they reduce it to a state of slavery to the body, over which it ought to rule.

3. If the senses were excited to act only by the presence of objects, if the soul were agitated only by the action of the senses, one single mean would suffice to guard us from irregular passions; that would be to flee from the object that excites them. But the passions produce other disorders, they leave deep impressions on the imagination. When we give ourselves up to the senses, we feel pleasure, this pleasure strikes the imagination, and the imagination thus struck with the pleasure it hath found recollects it, and solicits the passionate man to return to objects that made him so happy.

4. Let us consider, in fine, the passions in the heart and the disorders they cause there. What can fill the heart of man? A prophet hath answered this question, and hath included all morality in one point, "My chief good is to draw near to God" (Psalm 73:28); but as God doth not commune with us immediately while we are in this world, but imparts felicity by means of creatures, He hath given these creatures two characters, which, being well examined by a reasonable man, conduct him to the Creator, but which turn the passionate man aside. On the one hand, creatures render us happy to a certain degree — this is their first character: on the other, they leave a void in the soul which they are incapable of filling — this is their second character. This is the design of God, and this design the passions oppose. They remove us from God, and by removing us from Him deprive us of all the good that proceeds from a union with the supreme good, and thus make war with every part of ourselves, and with every moment of our duration. War against our reason, for instead of deriving, by virtue of a union with God, assistance necessary to the practice of what reason approves, and what grace only renders practicable, we are given up to our evil dispositions, and compelled by our passions to do what our own reason abhors. War against the regulation of life, for instead of putting on by virtue of union to God the easy yoke, and taking up the light burden which religion imposes, we become slaves of envy, vengeance, and ambition; we are weighed down with a yoke of iron, which we have no power to get rid of, even though we groan under its intolerable weightiness. War against conscience, for instead of being justified by virtue of a union with God, and having "peace with Him through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:1), and feeling that heaven begun, "joy unspeakable and full of glory" (chap. 1 Peter 1:8), by following our passions we become a prey to distracting fears, troubles without end, cutting remorse, and awful earnests of eternal misery. War on a dying bed, for whereas by being united to God our death bed would have become a field of triumph, where the Prince of life, the conqueror of death, would have made us share His victory, by abandoning ourselves to our passions we see nothing in a dying hour but an awful futurity, a frowning governor, the bare idea of which alarms, terrifies, and drives us to despair.


1. In order to prevent and correct the disorders which the passions produce in the mind, we must observe the following rules —(1) We must avoid precipitance and suspend our judgment.(2) A man must reform even his education. In every family the minds of children are turned to a certain point. Every family hath its prejudice, I had almost said its absurdity; and hence it comes to pass that people despise the profession they do not exercise. To correct ourselves on this article we must go to the source, examine how our minds were directed in our childhood; in a word, we must review and reform even our education.(3) In fine, we must, as well as we can, choose a friend wise enough to know truth, and generous enough to impart it to others; a man who will show us an object on every side when we are inclined to consider it only on one.

2. Let us now lay down a few rules for the government of the senses. Before we proceed, we cannot help deploring the misery of a man who is impelled by the disorders of his senses and the heat of his constitution to criminal passions. Such a man often deserves pity more than indignation. However, though the irregularity of the senses diminishes the atrociousness of the crime, yet it cannot excuse those who do not make continual efforts to correct it. To acknowledge that we are constitutionally inclined to violate the laws of God, and to live quietly in practices of constitutional heat, is to have the interior tainted. Certainly the best advice that can be given to a man whose constitution inclines him to sin, is, that he avoid opportunities, and flee from such objects as affect and disconcert him. Three remedies are necessary to our success in this painful undertaking: to suspend acts, to flee idleness, to mortify sense.

3. The disorders produced by the passions in the imagination, and against which also we ought to furnish you with some remedies, are like those complicated disorders which require opposite remedies, because they are the effect of opposite causes, so that the means employed to diminish one part not unfrequently increase another. It should seem at first that the best remedy which can be applied to disorders introduced by the passions into the imagination, is well to consider the nature of the objects of the passions, and thoroughly to know the world; and yet, on the other hand, it may truly be said that the must certain way of succeeding would be to know nothing at all about the world. We hazard a fall by approaching too near, and such very often is the ascendancy of the world over us that we cannot detach ourselves from it though we are disgusted with it. Let us endeavour, then, to preserve our imagination pure; let us abstain from pleasures to preclude the possibility of remembering them; let retirement, and, if it be practicable, perpetual privacy, from the moment we enter into the world to the day we quit it, save us from all bad impressions, so that we may never know the defects which worldly objects would produce on our passions. This method, sure and effectual, is useless and impracticable in regard to such as have received bad impressions on their imagination. People of this character ought to pursue the second method we mentioned, that is, to profit by their losses, and derive wisdom from their errors. When you recollect sin, remember the folly and pain of it.

4. To heal the disorders which the passions produce in the heart, two things must be done. First, the vanity of all the creatures must be observed, and this will free us from the desire of possessing and collecting the whole in order to fill up the void which single enjoyments leave. Secondly, we must ascend from creatures to the Creator, in order to get rid of the folly of attributing to the world the perfection and sufficiency of God.

(J. Saurin.)

There is, I fear, a large body of our fellow creatures by whom those "fleshly lusts" are regarded as affording the only tangible benefits of their existence. Too little touched by the spirit of piety to derive any delight from the abundant sources of religious contemplation; too devoid of those kind affections which constitute the charm of domestic intercourse, to receive any satisfaction from the society of their family and friends; and too narrow and unimproved in mind to find interest in any intellectual pursuit, they are no sooner freed from the confinement imposed upon them by their business than they turn, as to their only relief for the tedium of inactivity, and the only means of enjoyment for which they have any value, to the gross gratification of their animal appetites. But, however general such a course of life may be, it is decidedly unchristian. Even under the most favourable circumstances, though a man should abstain from all gross excesses, and scrupulously respect those limits of external decency, he cannot act upon the principle of habitual self-indulgence, without being guilty of violating one of the most clearly expressed duties of the gospel. His religion demands of him a course of conduct the very reverse of that which he pursues (1 John 2:15, 16; Romans 8:5, etc.; Matthew 16:24). Those precepts of self-denial and mortification which we find inculcated in the gospel, did not originate with the gospel. They made a part of the system of every distinguished moral teacher among the heathen themselves. Even the wise, and the scribe, and the disputer of this world could perceive, that voluptuousness and sensuality were most miserably unworthy the attention of the human soul. The grounds on which I would exhort you to abstain from "fleshly lusts," are those suggested by St. Peter, "they war against the soul."

1. They are hostile to the intellectual faculties of the soul. No man, whose avocations demand of him any great and frequent stretch of mental exertion, is ignorant of this fact: and we find those instructors of youth, who merely treat of worldly arts and sciences, and treat of them in a worldly manner, almost invariably inculcate on their pupils, as one of the indispensable requisites of eminence, the practice of a strict and almost ascetic temperance, for the sake of securing to themselves the possession of the full, free, and active use of the powers of their own minds. Such precepts derive their reasons from the very constitution of the human frame. If the body suffers from excess, the mind becomes proportionately affected. It receives its impressions slowly and indistinctly, from the derangement of the channels through which it holds communion with the external world; and it revolves, compares, and decides upon them doubtfully and inefficiently, from the lassitude and exhaustion of the machinery with which it acts.

2. They are also inimical to the moral qualities of the soul. If the generous affections are not cultivated by exercise, they dwindle away and perish. If the selfish affections are allowed to act without restraint, they acquire a frightful and gigantic development. As we live to ourselves and for ourselves, we become gradually absorbed in our own selfish views and interests. As we pamper our appetites, the objects they delight in acquire consequence in our estimation. As we devote ourselves more and more to our own personal gratifications, we can less and less endure that those gratifications should encounter any opposition; till, at length, we prove blind and insensible to every claim but those of our own overweening will, and only regard our fellow creatures with favour, as they minister to our passions, or with enmity, as they cast impediments in their way. Where are we to look, among the dissolute children of the world, for instances of permanent attachment, of disinterested friendship, of long-cherished gratitude, and of self-sacrificing tenderness? Are such things among the fruits and flowers found to flourish in that tract which they cultivate with so indefatigable a pursuit of the pleasures of this life, and so fatal an oblivion of the treasures of the next? No, that false light of cordiality, which glows so brightly during the convivial hour, becomes extinguished as the vapours of the goblet which enkindled it are dispersed. Let any individual, even the most cherished of their society, suffer a reverse of fortune, and he will put these maxims to the proof. Let him be the deer which is stricken, and he will find himself abandoned by the herd.

3. Such gratifications are not only pernicious to the intellectual faculties and moral qualities of the soul, but they affect its temporal existence. They disorder and destroy the earthly tenement in which it is contained. They wear away, and overstrain, and often suddenly rend asunder those fine fibres, by which it is confined to its present transitory home.

4. Finally, according to the clearly declared principles of the Christian faith, we know that they are most pernicious to the eternal interests of the soul (Romans 8:7; 1 Timothy 5:6; Romans 8:6; Galatians 5:24; Romans 8:13). Indeed, if we look with an unprejudiced eye on the terms and conditions of the gospel covenant, we shall find that no course can be more destructive to the eternal interests of the soul than the course pursued by the voluptuary. This earth is not designed to be a house of feasting; life is not meant to be a holiday festival; we are sent into the world as a place of discipline and preparation, in which our souls may be educated for a more glorious state of being; and the allurements which address us, the difficulties we have to combat with, and the restraints we are bound to lay on our inclinations, constitute the very means by which our souls are so prepared, and disciplined, and educated. But we sometimes hear the sensualist assert that it cannot be very criminal to yield to such temptations, because it is natural to do so. This I utterly deny. They are, on the contrary, diametrically opposed to nature. The excesses of the voluptuary are only natural if we regard him as a being in the lowest possible state of demoralisation, as an anomaly in the creation, as a monster possessing passions without conscience and appetites without reason. But to the man who is complete in all the essentials of humanity, it is anything but natural that he should abandon himself to such a course of life. His reason opposes it; his moral sense opposes it; his regard for his personal health and welfare opposes it: so thoroughly indeed does every higher principle of his nature oppose it, that he must drown reflection; he must close his eyes against all experience; he must, in short, forcibly extinguish those moral and intellectual lights which God, in His mercy, has given him as his guides, before he can pursue such habits without repugnance, without being painfully oppressed by the sense of his own sin and folly, and without spending one-half of the day in mourning over the excesses of the other.

(W. Harness, M. A.)

The flesh aims to damn the soul. It is in this conflict as Caesar said in the battle he had once in Africa with the children and partakers of Pompey, that in other battles he was wont to fight for glory, but there and then he was obliged to fight for his life. Remember thy precious soul lies at stake in this conflict.

(Christopher Love.)

Men that reject religion in favour of indulgence, do not stand any chance of permanent prosperity. Such men are like gipsies, that, by some freak of fortune, are turned into a magnificent mansion, well built, well furnished, and well stored with works of art. These gipsies go to work and break to pieces the exquisitely carved furniture, pull down the rare pictures, and strip the house of all the valuable things in it, and burn them, in order to make their pot boil, and thus to serve their lower nature, until, by and by, the whole building is desolate, and bleak, and barren. And men who reject religion and serve their passions are doing the same thing. They are kindling those lower fires at the expense of everything broad, and fine, and beautiful in their higher nature.

(H. W. Beecher.)

I can remember the time when flowers, pictures, beautiful laces and music set stirring always some strong emotion within me, in which it seemed that I saw hidden away in a crystal cell in the depths of my own strange heart, the shining form of a white-robed Soul maiden, who cried out to me, "Ah! cannot you make your life as pure and beautiful as the flowers and the music, that so you may set me free?" But I chose the ignoble part, and gave myself up body and soul to the greed for gain. And often in the hour when, tempted by an evil thought, I turned to do some shameful or selfish action, I seemed to see the white arms of the Soul maiden uplifted in piteous entreaty to heaven, until at last the time came when her voice was silent, and when I knew that I had thrust her down and down into a darkness whence she would never again come forth.

(A Dead Man's Diary.)

That word "war" is full of meaning. It gives the idea of the march of an army against a city, as of the Greeks to surround and capture Troy — an assault which began with open war and ended by the stratagem of the wooden horse, from which the armed warriors descended into the heart of the city at dead of night. Of course we should all admit that excessive indulgence in any appetite injures the body, and especially the organs through which the sin against the whole fabric has been committed. But we may not all realise how destructive these fleshly lusts are to the inner life. They attack and conquer it, and lead it into captivity, impairing its energies, sullying its purity, lowering its tone, and cutting off the locks of moral strength. Remember, then, when tempted to yield to some unholy prompting, even though you only indulge the thought and wish, you are exposing yourself to a certain diminution of spiritual force, which will inevitably cripple your endeavours, and show itself in failure and defeat. No act of sensual indulgence is possible without inevitable injury to our true selves. It may be forgiven, and put away, through the forgiveness of God, by the blood of Jesus; but the soul can never be quite what it would have been had the temptation been overcome, and the grace of self-restraint exercised. How many there are around us, eminently fitted by their gifts, to lead the hosts of God, who, like Samson, grind in the prison house, making pastime for their foes, because they have been mastered by appetites which they should have controlled, as the horseman his fiery steed. Is there not a deep spiritual truth in the notion of the savage warrior, that the strength of a fallen foe enters the arm which has smitten him to the dust? Indulge the flesh, and you are weak, Curb it by self-restraint, and you are strong.

(F. B. Meyer, B. A.)

These desires that belong to the flesh are adversaries of the soul. There is a difference between a war and a battle. It is not a random stroke; it is warfare on a plan. A battle may be won, and yet the victor be overcome ere the war be over. The first French emperor gained several great battles in the Russian campaign; but his army was not only vanquished, it was almost annihilated in the end. It is thus that certain appetites and passions, although once and again overcome by a resolute will, return to the charge, and watch their opportunity: It is not a battle, and done with it: the vanquished foe often enslaves his conqueror. A young man in modern society must do battle for his life with strong drink. He can taste it freely and stop in time. He despises the weak who seek safety in flight and abstinence. He knows what is good for him, and will not allow himself to be overcome. He obtains a good many victories, and counts himself invulnerable. But the wily foe persists. By little and little a diseased thirst is generated. The enemy now has an accomplice within the castle gates; and in the end the strong man, like Samson with his eyes out, grinds darkling in his enslaver's prison.

(W. Arnot.)

Not only acts of sin breaking out in the body, but the inward lusts that are in the heart, though they should never break out, for even the heart and soul is flesh as well as the body, and fleshly, even corrupt and sinful, as the sinful lusts of unbelief, impatience, hardness of heart, hypocrisy, rebelling against that which is good, weariness in well-doing, pride, anger, envy, self-love, covetousness, uncleanness, uncharitableness, etc.

(John Rogers.)

Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles
It is our duty not only to live godly among the godly, but even among the wicked; we must not follow a multitude to do evil. True, it is no easy thing with the cruel to live mercifully, with the hurtful to live helpfully, with the profane to live holily; yet it is to be attained unto, and we must labour for it.

1. This rebukes such as severing themselves from all company, because they would not be tainted nor troubled with men's ill manners, betake themselves to a solitary, hermit's life. We are not born for ourselves, but for our parents, country, God's Church, etc. Besides, it is no such mastery for a man to avoid all occasions, as to live among occasions, and not be tainted with them.

2. It rebukes those that be for all companies. In good company they will be sober, in ill as the company is, will swear with swearers, lie also and dissemble when they be with such, so thinking that they may hold with the hare and run with the hound; like the chameleon they change themselves into all colours; but these are none of God's honest men, they are not for His turn, as if He were not the God of all places and times. Let such know that they have rotten and unsanctified hearts. But how should a man do, to live well among such? As they that live where the plague is, use preservatives; so must we daily pray God to keep us in a continual hatred of sin, considering the happiness of them that hold out. Think of Noah, Lot, Abraham, and their commendation; observe the judgments that fall upon bad men, and think what will be hereafter. Again, avoid familiarity with them; we cannot touch pitch and not be defiled, walk on coals and not be burnt.

3. It rebukes such Christians as living among such, walk not so holily as they should, but if they do not approve of, yet consent to their bad behaviour, without dislikes, especially being with their betters.

4. If God would have us live well among the wicked, what would He then in the midst of all good means? What, then, is their sin, and where shall they appear, that break out and live badly in the midst of the means of good, the ministry of the Word, etc.? What would these do, if they were far from such means?

5. It rebukes those that professing religion more than ordinarily, yet remember not with whom they live, but as if they were only among the good, which would hide all their frailties, or interpret them to the best, not as if they were among the wicked, that seek occasion against God's servants, that desire no better booty than the fall of a professor, etc.

(John Rogers.)

"Having your conversation honest." Both terms need some explanation. In modern English, conversation means the talking of two or three persons with each other; but the sense in this text is, the whole habit and life course of a person — his character and temper and conduct in presence of his fellows. At all times, and in all circumstances, walk circumspectly, for you never know who may be looking on. The modern meaning of honest is, that you do not cheat in a bargain; but as used here, and in ancient times generally, it signifies beautiful — first a material and then a moral winsomeness. These two terms in conjunction convey the precept, Let all the circumference of your life shine in the beauty of holiness. Alas! bid this dull earth shine like a star of heaven! To have commanded the house of Israel to shine as a light to surrounding nations, would have been an impossible requirement, if the precept had not been mated with a promise. But as the record runs, it is a reasonable service that is demanded (Isaiah 60:1). This precept given by Peter is on both its sides the echo of Isaiah's words. A light is needed because darkness reigns around. Peter desiderates a beautiful life among the Gentiles; and Isaiah expects that, when Israel basks in the favour of God, the Gentiles shall come to their light. It is a characteristic of true faith that it has positive hope. It does not despair even when things are at the worst, for it trusts in God. It is not enough that the primitive disciples should repel surrounding, assailing evil, and hold their own. They expect to make aggression and to gain a victory; to turn scoffs into hymns of praise, and enemies of Christ into zealous disciples: "That, whereas they speak against you as evil-doers," etc. It is not by the loudest debate and profession that these conquests can be made. It is not by what Christians say, but by what Christians are, that they can win the neighbourhood. The call is not so much to give evidence, as to be witnesses. Still further the precepts run down into detail. Submission to magistrates is prescribed as a Christian duty. Considering the time and the circumstances, this is a remarkable feature of the New Testament. The gospel fosters liberty; but does not suggest insurrection. Witness the emigration of the persecuted Puritans from England to America. These men would not resist constituted authority; but neither would they allow themselves to be crushed by a despot, as long as a remedy, which they could with a good conscience adopt, lay within their reach. The results will tell with decisive effect on the future condition of the human race. Ordinances of man should be obeyed, but they stand not on the same level with ordinances of God.

(W. Arnot.)

The relation in which Christians stand to those who are not Christians is of vital importance to understand and feel (Psalm 39:1; Nehemiah 5:9; Titus 2:7, 8). These and like references inculcate the duty of conserving the Christian name and the glory of God. That the Christian character should be perfect for the sake of its own beauty is a truth worthy of prayerful solicitude at all times; but the Christian character is more than a garment to be observed — it is an influence to be imparted to others.

I. WE BEGIN WITH THE FACT THAT WE ARE WATCHED BY THOSE WHO ARE OF OPPOSITE TENDENCIES. We are under daily examination. There are those who take a greater delight to look at an eclipse of the sun for five minutes than to enjoy its light for a lifetime. But if there were no light in the sun there could not be an eclipse. So with men of worth; the contrast between the excellent and the not excellent fixes the eye of envy upon them, but where excellency is it cannot be altogether ignored. Young Christians, bear with me, and suffer the word of exhortation. You are not sufficiently alive to the fact that your Christian life is under a perpetual scrutiny. Not only that, but efforts are made to draw you aside from the way of peace. An honest conversation means a life true in every part to the great pattern set before us in the gospel.

II. LET US FURTHER CONSIDER THE INFLUENCE OF THE CHRISTIAN CHARACTER FOR THE GOOD OF OTHERS. "Glorify God," etc. Too frequently it is supposed by some that because they cannot take a prominent part in gospel services, and thereby possibly become instrumental directly in the conversion of souls, their lives are comparatively unobserved and useless. Let us remove this notion. As there is not a single ray of light, or drop of water, or breath of air, which does not contribute to the vast system of light, of water, and of air, so there is not a single Christian example which does not minister in the circle of the Church and lead to higher results.

1. Men will feel the need of the change which they see in us.

2. Men will feel the need of the peace which we enjoy.

3. Men will feel the need of the prospect which cheers us. We have a good hope through grace.

4. And lastly, the influence of the Christian life leads to the highest results. It may be that today we think so much of self that we cannot rise to the highest point in our life. The highest degree of Christian excellence is the service and glory of God. To realise this we must look beyond ourselves, and beyond those to whom we may bring salvation; and beyond any benefits faith may confer on either them or us, to God. He will manifest Himself in the day of visitation, when we shall see and feel that our life is intended to reach even to Himself. In the day of visitation all matters will be seen in their true light. The text is a warning to the world as well as to the Church. That any soul, however degraded, should delight in making the sins of others his prey, passes comprehension. What, a vulture, with only a taste for carrion! A sense of guilt endeavours to fix all eyes on the sins of others to avoid personal detection. The sins of others will help no man in the day of judgment.

(T. Davies, M. A.)

The Rev. Dr. Stalker once related the following incident in an address on "Religion in Common Life": "A lady went to him with a request to join his church. She and her husband were foreigners and Roman Catholics, but had lapsed from all church going for ten or eleven years. One night their servant went home rather late from a meeting. Upon pressure being brought to bear upon her, this servant acknowledged that she had that night been convicted of sin, and stayed behind to speak about her soul. The lady resolved to watch the girl for the next fortnight. Such a change in her temper and diligence was observable that, at the end of the fortnight, the mistress asked where the meeting was held, and went on the next Sabbath evening, with the result that both she and her husband were converted. The servant's consistent walk was more powerful than anything she could have said, so true is it that example is better than precept."

καλην ("honest"), good, or comely. The deeper view of Greek philosophy represented immorality and ugliness, and morality and beauty as convertible ideas.

(J. Muller.)

They speak against you as evildoers
Amongst the numerous attempts to throw doubt upon the evidence of our religion, not the least successful has been suggested by the imperfections of those who profess them selves the disciples of its Author.

I. THAT THE OBJECTION ITSELF IS ON SEVERAL ACCOUNTS DELUSIVE. It is drawn, not from any difficulties inherent in religion or its evidence, but from a supposed insufficiency of its influence and effects. Christianity itself never supposes its followers to be without fault, that its influence can secure unerring obedience to its own laws. So far from this, indeed, "it is impossible," according to its own language, "but that offences will come."

II. One great reason why the lives of Christians do not always correspond to their religion, IS THAT FREEDOM OF MIND AND ACTION, WITH WHICH OUR CREATOR HAS ENDOWED US, and which is absolutely necessary to creatures responsible for their conduct. Impelled by passions impatient for gratification, and surrounded with temptations, frequently perplexed with difficulties between duty and inclination, and sometimes deceived by appearances; can it be a just subject of wonder, if the love of the present sometimes prevail over the expectation of the future, or the delusions of pleasure for a while withdraw the mind from the prospect of its consequences; if we violate the laws which we confess to be just, and practise what our religion condemns?


IV. ANOTHER PLAUSIBLE BASIS FOR THE SAME CENSURE MAY BE LAID IN THE OPPOSITE CHARACTERS OF VIRTUE AND VICE. Virtue is always modest, peaceable, and silent; vice often forward, loud, and conspicuous.

V. CHRISTIANS, AGAIN, HAVE BEEN SEVERELY CENSURED ON ACCOUNT OF THE NUMEROUS DIVISIONS AND DISTINCTIONS AMONGST THEM. It would be unreasonable to expect that mankind should differ in their opinions on almost every other subject, and yet should be all agreed on this; on a subject which is of all others the most interesting, the most extensive, and the most complex. To this let us add the effects of the weakness and folly, of the vanity and ambition, of the enthusiasm or the hypocrisy of various individuals amongst us, and we shall be able to account very satisfactorily for the multiplicity of our tenets and parties.

VI. Such as these are the censures that have been thrown upon Christianity and its professors. But as far as they have any foundation in truth, THE ONLY ADEQUATE REFUTATION IS AN AMENDMENT IN OUR OWN MORALS, a regulation of our lives, more agreeable to the principles that we profess.

(W. Barrow, D. D.)

I. "Whereas they speak against you as evildoers." This is in general the disease of man's corrupt nature, and argues much the baseness of it — this propensity to speak evil one of another, either blotting the best actions with misconstructions, or taking doubtful things by the left ear; not choosing the most favourable, but, on the contrary, the very harshest sense that can be put upon them. All these kinds of evil speaking are fruits that spring from that bitter root of pride and self-love, which is naturally deeply fastened in every man's heart. But besides this general bent to evil speaking, there is a particular malice in the world against those that are born of God, which must have vent in calumnies and reproaches. These evil speakings of the world against pious men professing religion, are partly gross falsehoods invented without the least ground or appearance of truth. Then again, consider, how much more will the wicked insult upon the least real blemishes that they can espy amongst the professors of godliness. And in this there is commonly a three-fold injury — they strictly pry into and maliciously object against Christians the smallest imperfections and frailties of their lives, as if they pretended to absolute perfection. Men are apt to impute the scandalous falls of some particular Christians to the whole number. It is a very incompetent rule to make judgment of any man by one action, much more to measure all the rest of the same profession by it. They impute the personal failings of men to their religion, and disparage it because of the faults of those that profess it.

II. "Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles." As the sovereign power of drawing good out of evil resides in God, and argues His primitive goodness, so He teacheth His own children some faculty this way, that they may resemble Him in it. He teacheth them to draw sweetness out of their bitterest afflictions, and increase of inward peace from their outward troubles. The sharp censures and evil speakings that a Christian is encompassed with in the world, are no other than a hedge of thorns set on every side, that he may not go out of his way, but keep straight on in it, not declining to the right hand nor to the left; whereas if they found nothing but the favour and good opinion of the world, they might, as in a way unhedged, be subject to wander out into the meadows of carnal pleasures that are about them, which would call and allure them, and often divert them from their journey. And thus it might fall out, that Christians would deserve censure and evil speakings the more, if they did not usually suffer them undeserved.

III. "That they may glorify God in the day of their visitation." He says not, They shall praise or commend you, but, "shall glorify God." It is this the apostle still holds before their eyes, as that upon which a Christian doth willingly set his eye and keep it fixed, in all his ways. He doth not teach them to be sensible of their own esteem as it concerns themselves, but only as the glory of their God is interested in it. "In the day of visitation," The beholding of your good works may work this in them, that they may be gained to acknowledge and embrace that religion and that God, which for the present they reject; but that it may be thus, they must be visited with that same light and grace from above, which hath sanctified you.

(Abp. Leighton.)

The more sincere any is in professing the truth, the more the wicked naturally hate him. Thus have God's children ever been ill-spoken of (Matthew 5:11; Genesis 21:9; Galatians 4:30; 1 Kings 18:17; 2 Kings 9:11; Ezra 4:5-16; Nehemiah 6:5, 6; Esther 3:8; Acts 24:14; Matthew 11:19; Luke 11:15; John 8:48; Acts 2:19; Acts 6:11, 16, 20, 21).

1. Seeing the wicked are so apt to speak evil, we should give all diligence to look so to our ways as to give them no just occasion.

2. Think it not strange to be ill spoken of; it is the nature of the world thus to do, as for the birds to fly, and we must not be discouraged at it, and say, "I have striven to do as well as I can, and yet I am ill spoken of; I cannot tell what to do," and so faint and melt as wax. Oh, no; but let it be as a whetstone to sharpen you on more (2 Samuel 6:22).

3. This might make men not too ready to believe reports, and think ill of men by and by upon flying reports, seeing the world are so apt to speak wrongfully, especially of God's children.

4. For them that be ill speakers of God's servants, they cannot bear a worse badge, as ill a sign as can be of any; for if he be translated from death to life that loves the brethren, what then he that hates them? He is no true member of the Church, nor led by David's spirit (Psalm 15:8; 16:2), but is of Ishmael's generation, and will be cast out as he. How shall they escape the curse threatened (Isaiah 5:20; Proverbs 17:15)?

(John Rogers.)

Your good works, which they shall behold
All religion which does not lead to a life of good works is a counterfeit. It is bad money, which will never pass current at the court of heaven. It may bear the name of Christ, but it lacks His mind and spirit. It hinders the progress of the gospel, and is one of the worst enemies of His kingdom. On the other hand, a life fruitful in good works brings honour to our Father in heaven. It manifests His wisdom in the free salvation which He bestows. It prepares the way in many a heart for the reception of the truth, and kindles in many others a desire to walk more closely with God. Let me give a single example, from the writer's personal knowledge, of the effect of a consistent, holy life. A wealthy tradesman in London was most zealous and self-denying in his labours and liberality in the Lord's work. Each year he gave away many thousands of pounds, and a large part of this anonymously. I had it from this man's own lips that in early life he was saved from infidelity by noticing the holy, godly, blameless walk of a young banker's clerk. Who can tell the countless benefits that thus arose to the Church of Christ through the consistent life of that young man? There are one or two points as to the life of good works on which it is needful to dwell.

I. WHAT IS THE PREPARATION FOR SUCH A LIFE? How can anyone hope to enter upon such a course, and then persevere in it?

1. Your first duty is to embrace the blessed hope of life which is in Christ Jesus. As the shipwrecked man must first lay hold of the rope or get into the lifeboat that so he may escape destruction and get safe to shore, and then can again enter upon the works of his calling, so must you first accept the free invitation of Christ in the gospel, and reach the shore of peace and reconciliation with God. Believe in the readiness and power of Christ to save you. Rejoice that He welcomes you to His care, and will keep you by His power. Then you may go forward, and will not fail. A life of good works will be a necessity to you. You possess a new motive. A spirit of grateful love to God will fill your breast. You will keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.

2. Moreover, you will possess a new power. In the strength of the Spirit you can do those good works which are pleasing to your Father in heaven. Be sure, therefore, that you begin your course aright. Begin in humility and faith.

II. IN WHAT WAY MAY YOU BEST CARRY OUT IN DAILY PRACTICE A LIFE DEVOTED TO GOOD WORKS? Take a sample of "a good work," one that we know to have been truly such from the lips of Christ Himself. You remember Mary in the house of Simon the leper (Mark 14:6, 8, 9). Here was every element of a good work. It was done to Christ Himself, and out of love to Him. It was a costly work, for the ointment was very precious. It was a lowly work. Both hands and hair were used in anointing the Lord's feet. It was a work of personal service. She did not do the work by another, but herself ministered to Christ. It was a work which spread a sweet savour around, and thus of benefit to those in the house. It was a work which brought honour to the Lord, which pointed to His death of suffering, and which was abundantly recompensed in the gracious words which Christ spoke of her.


1. There is the ministry of home life. This stands in the first rank of duty. The lamp which the Lord hath lighted should give light to all that are in the house where it is found. The most commonplace duties ought to be done before God, and thus become an acceptable sacrifice. The care of children, the work of the house, the use of the needle, the rising in the morning, attention to the wants and comforts of each member of the family — such ordinary things as these may afford scope for self-denial, for manifesting an unselfish spirit, and in many ways for proving the sincerity of our Christian profession. No less important is it that a diligent guard should be set over tongue and temper, over infirmities and irritabilities, over clouded looks and wayward passions, over doing little things which ought not to be done, or over doing right things in a wrong way.

2. There is the ministry of glad, willing, freehanded gifts. Of whatever we possess we are but stewards. It belongs not to us, but to Him who gave it into our charge. Let there be real self-denial. Above all, never forget that a ready, cheerful spirit is especially pleasing to God.

3. There is the ministry of personal work and effort in the Lord's vineyard. Give not only money, but the gold of time to do work for God, for His Church, for the souls of poor and rich, of sick and strong, of young and old.

4. Lastly, there is the ministry of fervent prayers and intercessions. Of all agencies this is the most powerful. There are those who by sickness and extreme poverty can do little or nothing in the way of personal service, who yet by true, believing prayer may bring down rich benefits on Christ's Church. And those who can both work and give yet fail to employ the very greatest talent, if they neglect constant intercession on behalf of others.

(G. Everard, M. A.)

Be revenged by shining.


"Which they shall behold," while they pry and spy into your courses (as the Greek word imports) to see what evil they can find out and fasten on.

(J. Trapp.)

Glorify God in the day of visitation
I. BY KNOWLEDGE, when we conceive of God after a glorious manner. Seeing we can add no glory to God's nature, we should strive to make Him glorious in our own minds and hearts. And we may, by the way, see what cause we have to be smitten with shame to think of it, how we have dishonoured God by mean thoughts of Him.

II. BY ACKNOWLEDGMENT, when in words or works we do ascribe excellency unto God, as —

1. When in words we magnify God and speak of His praises, and confess that He is worthy to receive honour, and glory, and might, and majesty (Revelation 4:11; Psalm 29:1; Psalm 86:9).

2. When men confess that all the glory they have above other men in gifts or dignity was given them by God (1 Chronicles 29:11, 13). And thus we make God the Father of glory, as He is called (Ephesians 1:17).

3. When the praise of God or the advancement of His kingdom is made the end of all our actions, this is to do all to His glory (1 Corinthians 10:31).

4. When we believe God's promises, and wait for the performance of them, though we see no means likely for their accomplishment. Thus Abraham (Romans 4).

5. When we publicly acknowledge true religion, or any special truth of God, when it is generally opposed by the most men.

6. When men suffer in the quarrel of God's truth and true religion (1 Peter 4:16).

7. When on the Sabbath men devote themselves only to God's work, doing it with more joy and care than they should do their own work on the week days (Isaiah 58:13).

8. When men do in particular give thanks to God for benefits or deliverances, acknowledging God's special hand therein. Thus the leper gave glory to God (Luke 17:18; Psalm 11:3, 4).

9. By loving, praising, and esteeming of Jesus Christ above all men; for when we glorify the Son we glorify the Father (John 1:14; John 11:4).

10. When we account of and honour godly men above all other sorts of men in the world.

III. BY EFFECT, when men make others to glorify God. Thus the professed subjection of Christians to the gospel makes other men glorify God (2 Corinthians 9:13). So the fruits of righteousness are to the glory of God (Philippians 1:10). So here the good works of Christians do make new converts glorify God; so every Christian that is God's planting is a tree of righteousness that God may be glorified (Isaiah 61:3). So are all Christians to the praise of the glory of God's grace, as they are either qualified or privileged by Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:7).

(N. Byfield.)

The day of visitation

1. Let them which have felt this work acknowledge God in it, and give Him all the glory.

2. They that be yet without it, let them not defer it as a small matter to the last, as if they could convert themselves when they list, but humbly seek it of God in attending on His ordinances.

II. IT IS GOD'S GREAT MERCY TO CONVERT A SINNER. This is the greatest mercy that can be bestowed: to be delivered from sickness into health, from prison into liberty, from poverty to riches, from death to life. Let those that have obtained it give glory to God.


IV. WHEN A MAN IS CONVERTED HE WILL GLORIFY GOD; yea, he cannot choose but in heart admire God's goodness and love, and in his life seek to glorify Him. Then will he also do all he can to gain others (Luke 22:32).


1. Never despair of them that be very bad, but pray for them, and give them good counsel.

2. This may be an exceeding provocation to the worst, that they may prove good and be saved, as unlikely as it is.

3. Yet let none instead of good take hurt by this, and heart to go on in sin, seeing the worst may become converts. They shall find God a just and severe revenger of such proud despisers and presumptuous sinners.

(John Rogers.)

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