1 Thessalonians 4:4
each of you must know how to control his own body in holiness and honor,
SanctificationR. Finlayson 1 Thessalonians 4:1-5
A Deepening ConsecrationS. B. Bossiter.1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
A Fuller ConsecrationC. Simeon, M. A.1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
Abounding More and MoreH. K. Burton.1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
Earnest Exhortations to a High SanctityG. Barlow.1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
How to Walk So as to Please GodG. Burder.1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
Of Abounding More and MorePlain Sermons by Contributors to "Tracts for the Times."1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
Pleasing GodB. Pugh.1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
Pleasing God IsD. Thomas, D. D.1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
So Ye Would Abound More and More1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
The Christian's Walk and its ObjectW. H. M. H. Aitken, M. A.1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
The Necessity of ProgressBp. Westcott.1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
Walking So as to Please God1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
Distinctive Features of a True SanctificationG. Barlow.1 Thessalonians 4:3-7
Holinessor. M. Ashley, M. A.1 Thessalonians 4:3-7
Human Holiness the Great Object of the Divine WillD. Thomas, D. D.1 Thessalonians 4:3-7
Of Sanctification1 Thessalonians 4:3-7
Our Consecration the Will of GodDean Vaughan.1 Thessalonians 4:3-7
Our SanctificationE. N. Kirk, D. D.1 Thessalonians 4:3-7
SanctificationJ. Davies.1 Thessalonians 4:3-7
Sanctification1 Thessalonians 4:3-7
Sanctification of the SpiritA. W. Hare, A. M.1 Thessalonians 4:3-7
Sanctification the Will of GodJ. F. Denham.1 Thessalonians 4:3-7
Sanctification the Will of GodFamily Churchman1 Thessalonians 4:3-7
The Law of PurityB.C. Caffin 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8
A Call unto HolinessF. Cook, D. D.1 Thessalonians 4:4-7
A Caution Against ImpurityR. Fergusson.1 Thessalonians 4:4-7
A Holy AtmosphereDr. Williams.1 Thessalonians 4:4-7
Called to HolinessJones' Bampton Lectures.1 Thessalonians 4:4-7
Commercial MoralityG. Swinnock, M. A.1 Thessalonians 4:4-7
ConscientiousnessQuarterly Review1 Thessalonians 4:4-7
Desire for Holiness1 Thessalonians 4:4-7
HolinessT. Chalmers, D. D.1 Thessalonians 4:4-7
How Personal Purity is to be MaintainedProf. Croskery.1 Thessalonians 4:4-7
LicentiousnessProf. Jowett.1 Thessalonians 4:4-7
PurityA. T. Lyttelton, M. A.1 Thessalonians 4:4-7
Purity of LifeB. C. Cairn, M. A.1 Thessalonians 4:4-7
Refusing to DefraudT. De Witt Talmage.1 Thessalonians 4:4-7
The Curse of FraudW. Arthur, M. A.1 Thessalonians 4:4-7
The Divine CallJ. W. Burn.1 Thessalonians 4:4-7
The Importance of PurityGuesses at Truth.1 Thessalonians 4:4-7
The Vessel of the BodyR. W. Evans, B. D.1 Thessalonians 4:4-7
How Personal Purity is to be MaintainedT. Croskery 1 Thessalonians 4:4-8

1 Thessalonians 4:4-8
1 Thessalonians 4:4-8.

How personal purity is to be maintained. The sanctification which is God's will requires that "every one of you know how to possess himself of his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust." The vessel is not a wife, but a man's own body. If it meant a wife, it might be said that every man would be bound to marry. The wife is no doubt called the "weaker vessel," the evident meaning of the term of comparison being that the husband is also "a vessel;"


1. Negatively.

(1) It is not to be regarded as outside the pale of moral obligation, as antinomian perverters say, basing their error on the words of the apostle, "It is not I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me;" "In me, that is, in my flesh, there dwelleth no good thing."

(2) It is not to be injured or mutilated by asceticism, after Romish example. The apostle condemns "the neglecting of the body" and "the not sparing of the body" (Colossians 2:23).

(3) It is not to be made "an instrument of unrighteousness" through sensuality - "not in passion of lust." Sensuality is quite inconsistent with the very idea of sanctification.

2. Positively.

(1) The body is to be kept under control; the Christian "must know how to possess himself of his own vessel." He "must keep under the body;" he must make it servant and not master, and not allow its natural liberty to run into licentiousness.

(2) He must treat it with all due honor - "in sanctification and honor;"

(a) because it is God's workmanship, for "we are fearfully and wonderfully made;"

(b) because it is "the temple of the Holy Ghost" (1 Corinthians 6:19);

(c) because it is an heir of the resurrection;

(d) because it is, and ought to be, like the believer himself, "a vessel unto honor, sanctified and meet for the Master's use," for the body has much to do in the economy of grace.


1. The knowledge of God received by the Christian ought to guard us against it. The apostle here attributes Gentile impurity to ignorance of God. "Even as the Gentiles who know not God." The world by wisdom knew not God, was alienated from the life of God, and thus sunk into moral disorder. The apostle shows in the first chapter of Romans how God, as a righteous retribution, gave over the idolatrous Gentiles to all sorts of moral dishonor.

2. Another dissuasive is the regard we ought to have for a brother's family honor. "That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in this matter." A breach upon family honor is a far worse offence than any breach upon property. The stain is indelibly deeper.

3. Another dissuasive is the Divine vengeance. For "the Lord is the Avenger concerning all these things." If the vengeance does not reach men in this world, it will in the next, where they will have their portion in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone. They shall "not inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Corinthians 6:9).

4. The nature of the Divine call is another dissuasive. For "God did not call you for uncleanness, but in sanctification." They had received "a holy calling," a "high calling;" and though "called unto liberty," they were "created unto good works." They were "called to be saints;" for God says, "Be ye holy, for I am holy."

5. Another dissuasive is that the sin involves a despisal of God, who has given us his Holy Spirit that we may attain to sanctification. "He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man but God, who hath also given unto us his Holy Spirit." God has ordered all our family relations, and any dishonor done to them involves a contempt of his authority. We have in this passage God - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - interested in man's salvation and holiness. - T.C.

That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour
1. At best a vessel is only a frail thing; let it be of gold or silver, time and use make flaws in it, and its day is soon past.

2. It is a vile thing, being the creature and mere instrument of the hands.

3. To be of any use it must have an owner, and it must be always just what its maker chooses, and must ever do what its employer sets it to do. It may be employed for other purposes, but it does nothing suitably but that for which it was first intended. The putting of it to other work is generally the surest way of destroying it, as when a glass vessel is put on the fire.

I. OUR BODIES ARE VESSELS. They are frail enough — made of dust and returning to dust. They can do nothing of themselves; if there be not soul and spirit to put them to use, they are as lifeless and unserviceable as any other, and are put out of the way as useless.

II. BUT THEY ARE HONOURABLE AND PRECIOUS VESSELS. Made by the hand of God to contain the immortal soul, and with it the treasure of the knowledge of God. They were made to promote His honour and glory, and when put to any other service they are put out of shape, broken, and destroyed.

III. THEY HAVE BEEN DEGRADED AND INJURED BY VILE USES. Does not the commonest experience tell us this? Does not the employment of them in the service of the world, the flesh, and the devil deteriorate them? Do not anxiety, intemperance, impurity, passion, vanity, ambition, derange them with all manner of diseases?

IV. IN CHRIST JESUS, WHO TOOK OUR BODY ON HIM, THESE VESSELS HAVE BEEN RESTORED TO THEIR FORMER HEAVENLY SERVICE. Christ is the Saviour of the body as well as of the soul. The Holy Spirit has been given to sanctify the body and keep it holy.

V. THESE VESSELS ARE CHARACTERIZED BY ENDLESS VARIETY, according to our different posts and gifts.


1. Carefulness.

2. Purity.

3. Temperance.

4. Holy employment.

(R. W. Evans, B. D.)


1. Holiness is eternal and Divine — the ever lasting God is the holy God.

2. Man was created in the image of the holy God.

3. By the first transgression holiness was lost; the flesh became prone to all uncleanness, inward and outward.

4. Abounding uncleanness was in the world before the flood, in Gentile nations, and in Israel.

5. Uncleanness, public and private, shameless and hypocritical, is in this professedly Christian land.

6. The world winks at uncleanness, and even tries to justify it. Not so God (Ephesians 5:6; 1 Thessalonians 4:7).


1. To Israel and the Church (Leviticus 20:7; 1 Peter 1:14-16).

2. Holiness was taught by outward purifications under the law (Exodus 28:86).

3. The reason for the call: God's purpose is to make His children like Himself, to renew their lost holiness (Ephesians 1:4; Ephesians 4:22-24).


1. The God of holiness is the God of grace.

2. Grace to cleanse from uncleanness, by the atoning blood of Christ (1 Corinthians 5:11; 1 John 1:7; Revelation 1:5).

3. Grace to sanctify, by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, which inspires holy desires and affections.

4. Grace to strengthen, by the Holy Spirit enabling us to keep under the body and to crucify the flesh.


1. The Word written uses great plainness of speech on this subject; so should the Word preached.

2. The judgment recorded in Holy Scripture on the unclean. In one day God gave twenty-three thousand proofs of His hatred of uncleanness and resolve to punish it (1 Corinthians 10:8).

3. To despise the call is to despise God, and to bring down His wrath here and hereafter.

4. Secret sinner, your sin will find you out. He who exposed David's sin will expose yours.

5. The effects of despising the call and doing what the Holy One hates are defiling, debasing, deadening, destroying.

6. Your body is the temple of God. Guard it for Him against all profanation.

7. Strive by prayer to be like Jesus — like Him in holiness now, that you may be like Him in glory hereafter.

(F. Cook, D. D.)

Having dealt with purity of heart in the first clause of ver. 3, the apostle now proceeds to deal with its correlative and manifestation.

I. CHASTITY. He writes to converts who but a short time before had been heathens. It was necessary to speak plainly and solemnly, for they had been accustomed to regard impurity almost as a thing indifferent. But the will of God, our sanctification, involves purity. Without it we cannot see God. God is light; in Him is no darkness at all. There is something awful in the stainless purity of the starry heavens. As we gaze into them we seem almost overwhelmed with a sense of our own uncleanness. It is a parable of the infinite purity of God. In His sight the heavens are not clean. He is of purer eyes than to behold evil; therefore only the pure in heart can see Him. That inner purity covers the whole spiritual life. It implies freedom from all the lower motives — all that is selfish, earthly, false, hypocritical; it is that transparency of character which flows from the consciousness of the perpetual presence of God. But that inner purity involves outward. Religion is not mortality, but it cannot exist without it. The religion which the Thessalonians abandoned admitted immorality. Their very gods were immoral. They were served by rites often leading to impurity. Hence the urgency of Paul's appeal. Amid the evil surroundings and depraved public opinion of a heathen town the converts were exposed to constant danger.

II. HONOUR. The unclean life of the heathen cities was full of degradation. The Christian life is truly honourable. The Christian's body is a holy thing. It has been dedicated to God (1 Corinthians 6:13). The Christian must acquire a mastery over it in honour by yielding its "members as instruments of righteousness unto God." The Christian husband must give honour to his wife. Marriage must be honourable, for it is a parable of the mystical union between Christ and His Church. Those who honour holiness honour God, the fountain of holiness.

III. THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD (ver. 5). The heathen knew not God. They might have known Him. He had manifested in creation His eternal power and Godhead. But they did not like to retain God in their knowledge (Romans 1:19-25). Men framed a conception of God from their own corrupt nature, and that conception reacted powerfully on their character. The Thessalonian Christians had learned a holier knowledge, and therefore their knowledge must act upon their life. They must be pure.

IV. IMPURITY IS A SIN AGAINST MAN. "Satan is transformed into an angel of light." Impure desires assume the form of love; uncleanness usurps and degrades that sacred name. The sensualist ruins in body and soul those whom he professes to love. He cares not for the holiest ties. He sins against the sanctity of matrimony. He brings misery on families. The Lord who calls us in sanctification will punish with that awful vengeance which belongeth to Him all who, for their wicked pleasure, sin against their brethren.

V. IT IS A SIN AGAINST GOD (ver. 8). The indwelling of the Holy Ghost makes the sin of uncleanness one of exceeding awfulness. Of what punishment shall that man be thought worthy who does such despite against the Spirit of Grace. He cannot abide in an impure heart, but must depart, as He departed from Saul. Lessons:

1. Long after holiness, pray for it, struggle for it with the deepest yearnings and most earnest efforts.

2. Flee from the slightest touch of impurity — the thought, look, word. It is deadly poison, a loathsome serpent.

3. Remember the indwelling of the Holy Ghost. "Keep thyself pure."

(B. C. Cairn, M. A.)

The "vessel" is not a wife, but a man's own body. If it meant a wife, it might be said that every one would be bound to marry. The wife is, no doubt, called the "weaker vessel," the evident meaning of the comparison being that the husband is also "a vessel."


1. Negatively.(1) It is not to be regarded as outside the pale of moral obligation, as antinomian perverters say, basing their error on "It is not I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me"; "in me...dwelleth no good thing."(2) It is not to be injured or mutilated by asceticism after Romish example. The apostle condemns "the neglecting of the body" (Colossians 2:23).(3) It is not to be made an instrument of unrighteousness through sensuality — "not in passion of lust." Sensuality is quite inconsistent with the very idea of sanctification.

2. Positively.(1) The body is to be kept under control; the Christian "must know how to possess himself of his own vessel." He must "keep under the body"; he must make it a servant, not a master, and not allow its natural liberty to run into licentiousness.(2) He must treat it with all due "honour."(a) Because it is God's workmanship, "fearfully and wonderfully made."(b) Because it is "the temple of the Holy Ghost" (1 Corinthians 6:19).(c) Because it is an heir of the resurrection.(d) Because it is, and ought to be, like the believer himself, "a vessel unto honour," sanctified and meet for the Master's use, for the body has much to do in the economy of grace.


1. The knowledge of God received by the Christian ought to guard us against it. Paul here attributes Gentile impurity to ignorance of God (ver. 5). The world by wisdom knew not God, was alienated from the life of God, and thus sunk into moral disorder (Romans 1).

2. The regard we ought to have for a brother's family honour (ver. 6). A breach upon family honour is a far worse offence than any breach upon property. The stain is indelibly deeper.

3. The Divine vengeance (ver. 6). If vengeance does not reach men in this world it will in the next, when they will have: their portion in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone. They shall not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9).

4. The nature of the Divine call (ver. 7). They had received a "holy calling," a "high calling," and although "called unto liberty," they were "created unto good works." They were "called to be saints," for God says, "Be ye holy, for I am holy."

5. The sin involves a despisal of God, who hath given us His Spirit that we may attain sanctification (ver. 8). God has ordered all our family relations, and any dishonour done to them involves a contempt of His authority. Conclusion: We have in this passage God — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — interested in man's salvation and holiness.

(Prof. Croskery.)

Fornication is a sin directly contrary to sanctification, or that holy walking the apostle so earnestly exhorts the Thessalonians to observe.

I. THE CAUTION IS DEFINITELY EXPRESSED. "That ye should abstain from fornication;" by which words we are to understand all uncleanness soever, either in a married or unmarried state: to be sure adultery is here included, though fornication is specially mentioned. Other sorts of uncleanness are also forbidden, of which it is "a shame even to speak," though such Evils are perpetrated by too many in secret. Alas for those who do such things! They are an abomination to their species! All that is contrary to chastity in heart, in speech, and in behaviour, is alike contrary to the command of Jehovah in the decalogue, and the holiness the gospel requireth.


1. This branch of sanctification in particular "is the will of God." Not only is it the will of God in general that we should be holy, because "He float called us is holy," and because we are chosen unto salvation through the sanctification of the Spirit; and not only doth God require holiness in the heart, but also purity in our bodies, and that we should "cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit." Wherever the body is, as it ought to be, devoted to God, and set apart for Him, it should be kept pure for His service; and as chastity is one branch of sanctification, so this is one thing Jehovah commands in His law, and what His grace effects in all true believers.

2. This will be greatly for our honour; for this is "knowing how to possess our vessel in sanctification and honour;" whereas the contrary will be a great dishonour — "And his reproach shall not be wiped away." The body is the vessel of the soul that dwells therein, so 1 Samuel 21:5; and that must be kept pure from defiling lusts. What can be more dishonourable than for a rational soul to be enslaved by bodily affections and brutal appetites?

3. To indulge the lusts of concupiscence is to live and act like heathens; "Even as the Gentiles which knew not God." The Gentiles, especially the Grecians, were commonly guilty of some sins of uncleanness which were not so evidently forbidden by the Light of Nature. But they did not know God, nor His mind and will, so well as Christians do. It is not so much to be wondered at, therefore, if the Gentiles indulge their fleshly desires; but Christians should not walk as unconverted heathens, "in lasciviousness, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and other like evil ways," because they that are in Christ "have crucified the flesh with its affections and lusts."

(R. Fergusson.)

was the besetting sin of the Roman world. Except by miracle it was impossible that the new converts could be at once and wholly freed from it. It lingered in the flesh when the spirit had cast it off. It had interwoven itself in the pagan religions, and was ever reappearing on the confines of the Church in the earliest heresies. Even within the Church it might assume the form of a mystic Christianity. The very ecstasy of conversion would often lead to a reaction. Nothing is more natural than that in a licentious city, like Corinth or Ephesus, those who were impressed by St. Paul's teaching should have gone their way and returned to their former life. In this case it would seldom happen that they apostatized into the ranks of the heathen; the same impulse which led them to the gospel would lead them also to bridge the gulf which separated them from its purer morality. Many may have sinned and repented again and again, unable to stand themselves in the general corruption, yet unable to cast aside utterly the image of innocence and goodness which the apostle had set before them. There were those, again, who consciously sought to lead the double life, and imagined themselves to have found in licentiousness the true freedom of the gospel. The tone which the apostle adopts respecting sins of the flesh differs in many ways from the manner of speaking of them among modern moralists. He says nothing of the poison which they infuse into society, or the consequences to the individual himself. Neither does he appeal to public opinion as condemning, or dwell on the ruin they inflict on one half of the race. True and forcible as these aspects of such sins are, they are the result of modern reflection, not the first instincts of reason and conscience. They strengthen the moral principles of mankind, but are not of a kind to touch the individual soul. They are a good defence for the existing order of society, but they will not purify the nature of man or extinguish the flames of lust. Moral evils in the New Testament are always spoken of as spiritual. They corrupt the soul, defile the temple of the Holy Ghost, and cut men off from the body of Christ. Of morality, as distinct from religion, there is hardly a trace in the Epistles of St. Paul. What he seeks to penetrate is the inward nature of sin, not its outward effects. Even in its consequences in another state of being are but slightly touched upon, in comparison with that living death which itself is. It is not merely a vice or crime, or even an offence against the law of God, to be punished here and hereafter. It is more than this. It is what men feel within, not what they observe without them; not what shall be, but what is; a terrible consciousness, a mystery of iniquity, a communion with unseen powers of evil. All sin is spoken of in St. Paul's Epistles as rooted in human nature, and quickened by the consciousness of law; but especially is this the case with the sin which is more than any other the type of sin in general — fornication. It is, in a peculiar sense, the sin of the flesh, with which the very idea of the corruption of the flesh is closely connected, just as in ver. 3, the idea of holiness is regarded as almost equivalent to abstinence from it. It is a sin against a man's own body, distinguished from all other sins by its personal and individual nature. No other is at the same time so gross and insidious; no other partakes so much of the slavery of sin. As marriage is the type of the communion of Christ and His Church, as the body is the member of Christ, so the sin of fornication is a strange and mysterious communion with evil. But although such is the tone of the apostle, there is no violence to human nature in his commands respecting it. He knew how easily extremes meet, how hard it is for asceticism to make clean that which is within, how quickly it might itself pass into its opposite. Nothing can be more different from the spirit of early ecclesiastical history on this subject than the moderation of St. Paul. The remedy for sin is not celibacy, but marriage. Even second marriages are, for the prevention of sin, to be encouraged. Even the incestuous person at Corinth was to be forgiven on repentance. Above all other things, the apostle insisted on purity as the first note of the Christian character; and yet the very earnestness and frequency of his warnings show that he is speaking, not of a sin hardly named among saints, but one the victory over which was the greatest and most difficult triumph of the Cross of Christ.

(Prof. Jowett.)

Let no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter
I. BE RIGHTEOUS IN BUYING. Take heed lest thou layest out thy money to purchase endless misery. Some have bought places to bury their bodies in, but more have bought those commodities which have swallowed up their souls. Injustice in buying is a canker which will eat up the most durable wares. An unjust chapman, like Phocion, payeth for that poison which kills him, buyeth his own bane. A true Christian in buying will use a conscience. relates a story of a mountebank, who, to gain spectators, promised, if they would come the next day, he would tell them what every one's heart desired. When they all flocked about him at the time appointed he said "This is the desire of every one of your hearts, to sell dear and buy cheap." But the good man desires to buy as dear as he sells. His buying and selling are like scales that hang in equal poise.

1. In buying do not take advantage of the seller's ignorance. This would be as bad as to lead the blind out of the way, and, as the text saith, those who overreach men are within the reach of a sin-revenging God. Some will boast of their going beyond others in bargains, but they have more cause to bewail it, unless they could go beyond the line of God's power and anger. Augustine tells us a certain man was offered a book by an unskilful stationer at a price not half the worth of it. He took the book, but gave him the just price, according to its full value. Wares that are half bought through out witting a silly tradesman are half stolen (Proverbs 20:14; cf. 1 Chronicles 21:22-24). Ahab never bought a dearer purchase than Naboth's vineyard, for which he paid not a penny.

2. Do not work upon the seller's poverty. This is to grind the faces of the poor, and great oppression. It is no mean sin in many rich citizens who take advantage of the necessity of poor tradesmen. The poor man must sell or his family starve: the rich man knoweth it, and will not buy but at such a rate as that the other shall not earn his bread. God made the rich to relieve, not to rob the poor. Some tell us there is no wrong herein; for if poor men will not take their money they may let it alone: they do not force them. But is this to love thy neighbour as thyself? Put thyself in his place, and read Nehemiah 5:2-4, 12, 13.


1. Pay what thou contractest for. If thou buyest with an intention not to pay thou stealiest, and such ill-gotten goods will melt like wax before the sun. Mark how honest Jacob was in this particular (Genesis 43:12). How many would have concealed the money, stopped the mouths of their consciences with the first payment, and kept it now as lawful prize.

2. Let thy payments be in good money. It is treason against the king to make bad money and it is treason against the King of kings to pass it. He that makes light payments may expect heavy judgments.

III. BE RIGHTEOUS IN SELLING. Be careful whilst thou sellest thy wares to men thou sellest not thy soul to Satan.

1. Be righteous in regard of quality. Put not bad ware for good into any man's hand, God can see the rottenness of thy stuffs, and heart too, under thy false glosses. Thou sayest "Let the buyer beware"; but God saith "Let the seller be careful that he keep a good conscience." To sell men what is full of flaws will make a greater flaw in thy conscience than thou art aware of. If thou partest with thy goods and thy honesty, though for a great sum, thou wilt be but a poor gainer. But is a man bound to reveal the faults of what he sells? Yes, or else to take no more for it but what it is worth. Put thyself in the buyer's place.

2. Be righteous in regard of quantity. Weight and measure are heaven's treasure (Proverbs 11:1; Leviticus 19:35, 36; Deuteronomy 25:13-15).

3. Be righteous in thy manner of selling. The seller may not exact on a buyer's necessity but sell by the rule of equity. It is wicked by keeping in commodities to raise the market (Proverbs 11:26). Conclusion: In all thy contracts, purchases and sales cast an eye on the golden rule (Matthew 7:12; 1 Corinthians 10:24; Galatians 5:24).

(G. Swinnock, M. A.)

Quarterly Review.
The late Mr. Labouchere had made an agreement previous to his decease, with the Eastern Counties Railway for a passage through his estate near Chelmsford, for which the company were to pay £35,000. When the money had been paid and the passage made, the son of Mr. Labouchere, finding that the property was much less deteriorated than had been expected, voluntarily returned £15,000 to the company.

(Quarterly Review.)

Perhaps you may once or twice in your life have passed a person whose countenance struck you with a painful amazement. It was the face of a man with features as of flesh and blood, but all hue of flesh and blood was gone, and the whole visage was overspread with a dull silver grey, and a mysterious metallic gloss. You felt wonder, you felt curiosity; but a deep impression of the unnatural made pain the strongest feeling of all which the spectacle excited. You found it was a poor man who, in disease, had taken mercury till it transferred itself through his skin, and glistened in his face. Now, go where he will, he exhibits the proof of his disorder and of the large quantity of metal he has consumed. If you had an eye to see the souls that are about you, many would see — alas! too many — who are just like that; they have swallowed doses of metal — ill-gotten, cankered, rusted metal — till all purity and beauty are destroyed. The metal is in them, throughout them, turning their complexion, attesting their disorder, rendering them shocking to look upon for all eyes that can see souls. If you have unjust gains they do not disfigure the countenance on which we short-sighted creatures look; but they do make your soul a pitiful sight to the great open Eye that does see. Of all poisons and plagues, the deadliest you can admit to your heart is gain which fraud has won. The curse of the Judge is in it; the curse of the Judge will never leave it. It is woe, and withering, and death to you; it will eat you up as fire; it will witness against you — ay, were that poor soul of yours, at this precise moment, to pass into the presence of its Judge, the proof of its money worship would be as clear on its visage as the proof that the man we have described had taken mercury is plain upon his.

(W. Arthur, M. A.)

A young man stood behind the counter in New York selling silks to a lady, and he said before the sale was consummated: "I see there is a flaw in that silk." She recognized it and the sale was not consummated. The head of the firm saw the interview and he wrote home to the father of the young man, living in the country, saying: "Dear sir, Come and take your boy; he will never make a merchant." The father came down from his country home in great consternation, as any father would, wondering what his boy had done. He came into the store and the merchant said to him: "Why your son pointed out a flaw in some silk the other day and spoiled the sale, and we will never have that lady, probably, again for a customer, and your son never will make a merchant." "Is that all?" said the father. "I am proud of him. I wouldn't for the world have him another day under your influence. John, get your hat and come — let us start." There are hundreds of young men under the pressure, under the fascinations thrown around about commercial iniquity. Thousands of young men have gone down under the pressure, other thousands have maintained their integrity.

(T. De Witt Talmage.)

God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness

1. Negatively: "Not unto uncleanness."(1) Of mind. Let this warn us against impure imaginations, conceptions, reflections which will make the memory one day a sink of infamy.(2) Of heart. Let us beware of impure loves, desires.(3) Of tongue. Away the obscene anecdote or illusion.(4) Of life. Eschew the licentious associate, the unchaste deed.

2. Positively: "Unto holiness."(1) Let your thoughts be holy and be set on good subjects, such as are worth treasuring and will cause no pain in recollection.(2) Let your feelings be pure. Cherish worthy objects, and aspire after noble ends.(3) Let your words be clean, such as dignify the instrument and edify the hearer.(4) Let your life be spent in the society of the good and in compassing righteous ends by righteous deeds.

II. WHOM DOES GOD CALL? "Us." Everybody in general — you in particular. God calls —

1. The young. It is impossible to exaggerate the importance of the early cultivation of habits of purity. The Holy Being says: "My son, give me thy heart." All will follow if this be done. If the spring be pure so will the stream be.

2. Women. Christian women are the salt of the earth without whose influence the world had perished in its corruption. And a false delicacy should not seal the lips of those whose duty it is to remind them of their responsibility in this particular. And she whose very presence is sufficient to abash the profligate should be very tenacious and careful of her social power.

3. Men.(1) Public men are called by God to give effect to the commandment which is "holy and just and good" in the national and provincial parliaments, to make virtue easy and vice difficult.(2) Private men are called by God to purify society by precept and example.


1. By His Word which reflects His holy nature and reveals His holy laws. All its legislation, narrative, biography, poetry, prophecy, doctrine, are summed up in this: "Be ye holy."

2. By His works. They were made very good. In an elaborate argument (Romans 1:20-32) the apostle shows that the natural order of things is holiness, and that men guilty of impurity sin against nature as well as God.

3. By the course of His government. History affirms the existence and administration of "a Power above us, not ourselves, that makes for righteousness." Egypt, Babylon, Greece, Rome, perished by their own corruptions — a judgment in each case no less real than that which overtook the cities of the plain. It would be difficult to find a nation that was overthrown until all that was worth preserving was dead. "Righteousness exalteth a nation," etc.

4. By His economy of redemption. The Cross of Christ and the mission of the Spirit are loud protests against uncleanness and calls to holiness. "Ye are bought with a price." "Your bodies are temples of the Holy Ghost."

5. By the witness of conscience which is an echo of the voice of God.


1. At home. Let that be guarded against desecration as sacredly as a church. Watch with scrupulous care the course of conversation, and the literature upon the table.

2. In the state.

3. In society.

4. In trade.

(J. W. Burn.)

Have you ever reflected upon all that is meant by these words? St. Paul was speaking to those who had but lately been heathens, who were young in the faith, natives of a heathen city, encompassed about with all the sights and sounds, the customs and habits, the fulness of the Pagan life. And what that life was, what those sights and sounds were, I suppose scarcely one of us, certainly none who have not made a special study of those times and of those customs, can even conceive. And we must remember, that it was not only an open external thing, a plague spot in society which people could shun with horror and be left uncontaminated. For the deadliness of this sin is its depths of corruption, the way in which it lays hold of everything, and the external act a sight a sound becomes an inward principle, leaving nothing free. In the midst of this world of impurity, Christianity raised the standard of absolute undoubting purity; and that standard the Church has never lowered. Other sins it may, with some colour of truth, perhaps, be said she has not always repressed; religion may have tended to produce hatred and malice; the Church may have wavered at times from the strict duty of veracity; she may have become corrupted by the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches; but one sin she has never touched, one sin has obtained no foothold in the Christian character, one sin has only lifted its head to be detected and denounced and defied, and that is the sin of lust and impurity. We forget what Christianity has done for us because it has done so much; we forget how natural impurity seemed to the heathen world, how they honoured it, and even deified it; and we forget too, or we have not yet become fully aware, how, with all our Christian experience and civilization, irreligion, and even perverted religion, tend to drag men back into that corruption, from which we are preserved by the protection of the Church's faith and discipline. And this protection is given us above all by the ideal which Christianity holds up to us, the ideal of purity in the Person of Christ. Nor was the purity of Christ the purity of an anchorite; but of One whose work lay among men, and with men, and for men. He who was Purity itself, by His Divine humility condescended to men, not only of low estate, but of sinfulness, impurity, corruption. In this we may see in Him the model for us, whose lives are in the world, who also have to deal with sin, and who also can only be saved by the protecting power of an instinctive purity. But there is a yet further meaning in this active purity. "Unto the pure all things are pure," not only because he cannot be touched and corrupted by what is impure, but because he himself makes them pure. The true Christian saint has been able to go forth into the world of sin and shame, and by the mere unconscious force of his instinctive purity, turn the corrupted and the impure from powers of evil into living manifestations of Christ's grace. Nor is it only our fellow men that we have power to cleanse by means of our own purity and innocence: even the impure things of which the world is full are often, when brought into contact with a stainless mind, turned into means, if not of edification, at least of harmless and innocent pleasure. Remember the noble words of one of the purest of poets (Milton) who reading, as he says, the "lofty fables and romances" of knighthood, saw there "in the oath of every knight, that he should defend to the expense of his best blood, or of his life if it so befell him, the honour and chastity of virgin or matron; from whence even then I learnt what a noble virtue chastity must be to the defence of which so many worthies, by such a dear adventure of themselves, had sworn only this my mind gave me, that every free and gentle spirit, without that oath, ought to be born a knight, nor needed to expect the gilt spur or the laying of a sword upon his shoulder, to stir him up both by his counsel and his arm to secure and protect the weakness of any attempted chastity. So that even those books, which to many others have been the fuel of wantonness and loose living, I cannot think how, unless by Divine indulgence, proved to me so many incitements to the love and steadfast observation of virtue." Such is the reflection of the ideal purity which Christ has shown us, the ideal which we have to aim at. Not a selfish isolated habit of mind, a bare freedom from corrupt thoughts and foul deeds, which is only preserved by careful separation from the things of the world, but an energising spiritual motive, an impetuous, undoubting living principle of action, which can go with us into the sin-stained world, and by the strength of its own innocence, by the glad assumption of the purity of others can make even the sinner a holy penitent. Every life should be a priestly life. Whatever may be your profession, you will be brought into contact with the sins of impurity, and unless you will share in them or at least condone, you must by your personal example fight against them.

(A. T. Lyttelton, M. A.)

Remark the force of the apostle's expression, we are "called to holiness": in modern language we should express the same idea by saying, that holiness was our profession. It is thus we say that divinity is the profession of a clergyman, that medicine is the profession of a physician, and that arms are the profession of a soldier; and it is readily understood and allowed, that whatever is a man's profession, to that he is bound to devote his time and attention, and in that it is expected he has made a proficiency. And precisely in this sense does the Scripture represent holiness to be the profession of a Christian; not merely that his profession is a holy profession, but that the very object and essence of the profession is holiness. To this Christians are called, this is their business, this they are to cultivate continually, this is the mark to which all their endeavours should be directed.

(Jones' Bampton Lectures.)

A group of little children were talking together. Presently this question was started: "What is the thing you wish for most?" Some said one thing and some said another. At last it came to the turn of a little boy, ten years old, to speak. This was his answer: "I wish to live without sinning." What an excellent answer that was! King Solomon, in all his glory and with all his wisdom, could not have given a better.

The spider is said to weave about him a web which is invisible, yet strong, through which the water or air cannot pass. This is filled with air, and surrounded and sustained by this tiny bubble, he descends beneath the surface of the water and lives where another creature would speedily perish. So it is in the power of the Christian to surround himself with a holy atmosphere, and thus nourished, to live unharmed amid a world that is full of sin.

(Dr. Williams.)

By the ancients courage was regarded as practically the main part of virtue: by us, though I hope we are none the less brave, purity is so regarded now. The former is evidently an animal excellence, a thing not to be left out when we are balancing the one against the other. Still the following considerations weigh more with me. Courage, when not an instinct, is the creation of society, depending for occasions of action on outward circumstances, and deriving much both of its character and motives from popular opinion and esteem. But purity is inward, secret, self-suffering, harmless, and, to crown all, thoroughly and intimately personal. It is, indeed, a nature rather than a virtue; and, like other natures, when most perfect is least conscious of itself and its perfection. In a word, courage, however kindled, is fanned by the breath of man; purity lives and derives its life from the Spirit of God.

(Guesses at Truth.)

is not abstinence from outward deeds of profligacy alone; it is not a mere recoil from impurity in thought. It is that quick and sensitive delicacy to which even the very conception of evil is offensive; it is a virtue which has its residence within, which takes guardianship of the heart, as of a citadel or inviolated sanctuary, in which no wrong or worthless imagination is permitted to dwell. It is not purity of action that we contend for: it is the exalted purity of the heart, the ethereal purity of the third heaven; and if it is at once settled in the heart, it brings the peace, the triumph, and the untroubled serenity of heaven along with it; I had almost said, the pride of a great moral victory over the infirmities of an earthly and accursed nature. There is health and harmony in the soul; a beauty, which, though it effloresees in the countenance and outward path, is itself so thoroughly internal as to make purity of heart the most distinctive evidence of a character that is ripening and expanding for the glories of eternity.

(T. Chalmers, D. D.)

Paul, Thessalonians
Macedonia, Thessalonica
Body, Control, Holiness, Holy, Honor, Honorable, Honour, Possess, Procure, Purity, Sanctification, Vessel, Wife
1. He exhorts them to go forward in all manner of godliness;
6. to live holily and justly;
9. to love one another;
11. and quietly to follow their own business;
13. and last of all, to sorrow moderately for the dead.
17. followed by a brief description of the resurrection, and second coming of Christ to judgment.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
1 Thessalonians 4:4

     5136   body
     5267   control
     8340   self-respect

1 Thessalonians 4:3-4

     5832   desire

1 Thessalonians 4:3-5

     5792   appetite
     6183   ignorance, of God
     8135   knowing God, nature of
     8821   self-indulgence

1 Thessalonians 4:3-6

     5909   motives, importance
     6241   seduction

1 Thessalonians 4:3-7

     1065   God, holiness of
     5714   men
     6188   immorality, sexual
     6745   sanctification, nature and basis
     8162   spiritual vitality
     8273   holiness, ethical aspects
     8339   self-control

1 Thessalonians 4:4-5

     8777   lust

Twenty Fifth Sunday after Trinity Living and Dead when Christ Returns.
Text: 1 Thessalonians 4, 13-18. 13 But we would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning them that fall asleep; that ye sorrow not, even as the rest, who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also that are fallen asleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we that are alive, that are left unto the coming of the Lord, shall in no wise precede them that are fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself shall
Martin Luther—Epistle Sermons, Vol. III

Be Ye Therefore Perfect, Even as Your Father which is in Heaven is Perfect. Matthew 5:48.
In the 43rd verse, the Savior says, "Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy; but I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you, that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward
Charles G. Finney—Lectures to Professing Christians

April the Tenth Resurrection-Light
"If we believe that Jesus died and rose again...." --1 THESSALONIANS iv. 13-18. That is the eastern light which fills the valley of time with wonderful beams of glory. It is the great dawn in which we find the promise of our own day. Everything wears a new face in the light of our Lord's resurrection. I once watched the dawn on the East Coast of England. Before there was a grey streak in the sky everything was held in grimmest gloom. The toil of the two fishing-boats seemed very sombre. The sleeping
John Henry Jowett—My Daily Meditation for the Circling Year

Chrysostom -- Excessive Grief at the Death of Friends
Chrysostom (that is, "Of the Golden Mouth") was a title given to John, Archbishop of Constantinople. He was born of a patrician family at Antioch about 347, and owed much to the early Christian training of his Christian mother, Anthusa. He studied under Libanius, and for a time practised law, but was converted and baptized in 368. He made a profound study of the Scriptures, the whole of which, it is said, he learned to repeat by heart. Like Basil and Gregory he began his religious life as a hermit
Various—The World's Great Sermons, Volume I

The Relation of the Will of God to Sanctification
"This is the will of God, even your sanctification."--I THESS. iv. 3. "As He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy, for I am holy.'"--I PET. i. 15, 16. "Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God. . . . By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all."--HEB. x. 9, 10. OUR discussion of the will of God landed us--perhaps in rather an unforeseen way--in the great subject of sanctification.
Henry Drummond—The Ideal Life

'For this is the will of God, even your sanctification.' I Thess 4:4. The word sanctification signifies to consecrate and set apart to a holy use: thus they are sanctified persons who are separated from the world, and set apart for God's service. Sanctification has a privative and a positive part. I. A privative part, which lies in the purging out of sin. Sin is compared to leaven, which sours; and to leprosy, which defiles. Sanctification purges out the old leaven.' I Cor 5:5. Though it takes not
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

The True Christian Life
TEXT: "My beloved is mine, and I am his."--Sol. Song 2:16. "I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine."--Sol. Song 6:3. "I am my beloved's and his desire is toward me."--Sol. Song 7:10. These three texts should be read together, and the significant change found in each text as the thought unfolds should be studied carefully. They remind one of three mountain peaks one rising higher than the other until the third is lifted into the very heavens. Indeed, if one should live in the spirit of this
J. Wilbur Chapman—And Judas Iscariot

The Death of Death
'But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first-fruits of them that slept. 21. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.... 50. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. 51. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump, (for the trumpet shall sound;) and the dead shall
Alexander Maclaren—Romans, Corinthians (To II Corinthians, Chap. V)

"Pray Without Ceasing"
Observe, however, what immediately follows the text: "In everything give thanks." When joy and prayer are married their first born child is gratitude. When we joy in God for what we have, and believingly pray to him for more, then our souls thank him both in the enjoyment of what we have, and in the prospect of what is yet to come. Those three texts are three companion pictures, representing the life of a true Christian, the central sketch is the connecting link between those on either side. These
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 18: 1872

The Bible
THE WORD OF GOD "When ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of man, but as it is in truth, the word of God." (1 Thessalonians 2:13.) THE Apostle here testifies that he believes himself to be the bearer of a revelation direct from God; that the words he speaks and the words he writes are not the words of man, but the Word of God, warm with his breath, filled with his thoughts, and stamped with his will. In this same epistle he writes: "For this we say unto
I. M. Haldeman—Christ, Christianity and the Bible

The Education of the World.
IN a world of mere phenomena, where all events are bound to one another by a rigid law of cause and effect, it is possible to imagine the course of a long period bringing all things at the end of it into exactly the same relations as they occupied at the beginning. We should, then, obviously have a succession of cycles rigidly similar to one another, both in events and in the sequence of them. The universe would eternally repeat the same changes in a fixed order of recurrence, though each cycle might
Frederick Temple—Essays and Reviews: The Education of the World

Letter cxix. To Minervius and Alexander.
Minervius and Alexander two monks of Toulouse had written to Jerome asking him to explain for them a large number of passages in scripture. Jerome in his reply postpones most of these to a future time but deals with two in detail viz. (1) "we shall not all sleep but we shall all be changed," 1 Cor. xv. 51; and (2) "we shall be caught up in the clouds," 1 Thes. iv. 17. With regard to (1) Jerome prefers the reading "we shall all sleep but we shall not all be changed," and with regard to (2) he looks
St. Jerome—The Principal Works of St. Jerome

TEXT: "This is the will of God, even your sanctification."--1 Thess. 4:3. It is quite significant that the Apostle Paul writes explicitly concerning sanctification to a church in which he had such delight that he could write as follows: "Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the Church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet,
J. Wilbur Chapman—And Judas Iscariot

The Beginning of the New Testament
[Illustration: (drop cap T) Coin of Thessalonica] Turn to the list of books given in the beginning of your New Testament. You will see that first come the four Gospels, or glimpses of the Saviour's life given by four different writers. Then follows the Acts of the Apostles, and, lastly, after the twenty-one epistles, the volume ends with the Revelation. Now this is not the order in which the books were written--they are only arranged like this for our convenience. The first words of the New Testament
Mildred Duff—The Bible in its Making

The Resurrection
'Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.' John 5:58, 29. Q-38: WHAT BENEFITS DO BELIEVERS RECEIVE FROM CHRIST AT THE RESURRECTION? A: At the resurrection, believers being raised up in glory, shall be openly acknowledged and acquitted in the day of judgement, and made perfectly blessed in the
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

Paul a Pattern of Prayer
TEXT: "If ye shall ask anything in my name I will do it."--John 14:14. Jesus testified in no uncertain way concerning prayer, for not alone in this chapter does he speak but in all his messages to his disciples he is seeking to lead them into the place where they may know how to pray. In this fourteenth chapter of John, where he is coming into the shadow of the cross and is speaking to his disciples concerning those things which ought to have the greatest weight with them, the heart of his message
J. Wilbur Chapman—And Judas Iscariot

The Doctrine of the Last Things.
Rev. William Evans—The Great Doctrines of the Bible

Effectual Calling
'Them he also called.' Rom 8:80. Q-xxxi: WHAT IS EFFECTUAL CALLING? A: It is a gracious work of the Spirit, whereby he causes us to embrace Christ freely, as he is offered to us in the gospel. In this verse is the golden chain of salvation, made up of four links, of which one is vocation. Them he also called.' Calling is nova creatio, a new creation,' the first resurrection. There is a two-fold call: (1.) An outward call: (2.) An inward call. (1.) An outward call, which is God's offer of grace to
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

The Epistles of St. Paul
WHEN we pass from primitive Christian preaching to the epistles of St. Paul, we are embarrassed not by the scantiness but by the abundance of our materials. It is not possible to argue that the death of Christ has less than a central, or rather than the central and fundamental place, in the apostle's gospel. But before proceeding to investigate more closely the significance he assigns to it, there are some preliminary considerations to which it is necessary to attend. Attempts have often been made,
James Denney—The Death of Christ

The Unity of God
Q-5: ARE THERE MORE GODS THAN ONE? A: There is but one only, the living and true God. That there is a God has been proved; and those that will not believe the verity of his essence, shall feel the severity of his wrath. Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord.' Deut 6:6. He is the only God.' Deut 4:49. Know therefore this day, and consider it in thy heart, that the Lord he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath, there is none else.' A just God and a Saviour; there is none beside
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

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