2 Timothy 2:19
Nevertheless, God's firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: "The Lord knows those who are His," and, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord must turn away from iniquity."
Sermons
A Good Life Enforces TeachingS. B. Halliday.2 Timothy 2:19
A Holy Life2 Timothy 2:19
Affectionate RemembranceB. Clarke.2 Timothy 2:19
All God's People FavouritesJ. Trapp.2 Timothy 2:19
Christ Dishonoured by the Inconsistencies of His Professed PeopleJ. Parker, D. D.2 Timothy 2:19
Departing from Iniquity the Duty of All Who Name the Name of Jesus2 Timothy 2:19
God's Knowledge of His ChildrenA. Maclaren, D. D.2 Timothy 2:19
Hidden ChristiansJohn Bate.2 Timothy 2:19
How is Gospel Grace the Best Motive to Holiness?T. Boston, D. D.2 Timothy 2:19
Inconsistent Christians False Witnesses2 Timothy 2:19
Inconspicuous Lives Related to HeavenH. W. Beecher.2 Timothy 2:19
Inscription on Foundation StonesE. H. Plumptre, D. D.2 Timothy 2:19
NeverthelessH. R. Reynolds, D. D.2 Timothy 2:19
Particular in Small ThingsNew Zealand Methodist.2 Timothy 2:19
Power of Holy Lives2 Timothy 2:19
Pretended SpiritualityM. F. Sadler, M. A.2 Timothy 2:19
Running from Sin2 Timothy 2:19
Sin RuinousNorman Macleod.2 Timothy 2:19
The Chosen Known to GodM. F. Sadler, M. A.2 Timothy 2:19
The Comfort Amidst Abounding ApostasyT. Croskery 2 Timothy 2:19
The Firm FoundationP. S. Moxom.2 Timothy 2:19
The FoundationSpeaker's Commentary2 Timothy 2:19
The Foundation and its SealC. H. Spurgeon.2 Timothy 2:19
The Foundation of GodR. S. Candlish, D. D.2 Timothy 2:19
The Foundations of the Christian FaithL. Abbott. D. D.2 Timothy 2:19
The Lord Knoweth Them that are HisJ. Vaughan, M. A.2 Timothy 2:19
The Moral Tendency of the GospelAndrew Donnan.2 Timothy 2:19
The Obligation of Christians to a Holy LifeJ. Tillotson, D. D.2 Timothy 2:19
The Obligations of Christians to Depart from IniquityW. H. Burns.2 Timothy 2:19
The Palace and its InscriptionJ. Parker, D. D.2 Timothy 2:19
The Power of a Good LifeJ. Clifford, D. D.2 Timothy 2:19
The Seal of the Foundation of GodJohn Jackson, M. A., H. D. M. Spence, M. A.2 Timothy 2:19
The Stability of God's PurposeJ. Fletcher, D. D.2 Timothy 2:19
The Stability of HolinessVan Oosterzee.2 Timothy 2:19
The Sure FoundationsH. W. Beecher.2 Timothy 2:19
Unknown, Yet Well KnownH. J. Wilmot-Buxton, M. A.2 Timothy 2:19
What is ReligionH. W. Beecher.2 Timothy 2:19
Conduct in View of Heresy Appearing in the ChurchR. Finlayson 2 Timothy 2:14-26


Though some turn away from the truth, God's Church stands firm in its grand integrity.

I. THE CHURCH OF GOD IN ITS EVER-DURING STABILITY. "Howbeit the firm foundation of God standeth."

1. The Church is very properly called a foundation, because it is placed in the world as the platform on which the whole future household of faith is to rest (Ephesians 2:20). Christ is the Cornerstone of the foundation.

2. It stands firm from age to age on its unshaken foundation, notwithstanding all the efforts made to destroy it. It was to be the constant witness to the truth amidst all error and apostasy.

II. THE CHURCH OF GOD WITH ITS TWOFOLD INSCRIPTION. "Having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his; and, Let every one that nameth the Name of the Lord depart from unrighteousness." It was an ancient custom to engrave upon a building an inscription which told of its origin and purpose. The names of the apostles were written in the twelve foundations el the apocalyptic city of God (Revelation 21:14). The Church has a seal with a double inscription, which displays the true character of the edifice.

1. One inscription is the legend of comfort and hope. "The Lord knoweth them that are his." What a comfort there is in the thought of this individualizing knowledge! What a hope there is in the thought that the saints are God's "purchased possession"!

2. Another inscription is the legend of duty. "Let every one that nameth the Name of the Lord depart from unrighteousness." There is no place for unrighteousness in the Church of God. Therefore believers must separate themselves from all evil. - T.C.









The foundation of God standeth sure.
We should give full force to the μέντοι. If the spirit of the apostle was perturbed with vain babblings, or cruel mortification, or the spread of plausible or perilous theories, he required to fall back upon great and deep principles.

(H. R. Reynolds, D. D.)

Speaker's Commentary.
Rather, "God's firm foundation stands," i.e., the Church, the "great house" of ver. 20, but here designated by its "foundation," because the antithesis is to the baseless fabrics of heresy. Other explanations have been: the doctrine of the resurrection of the body, the promises of God, the fidelity of God, Christ, the Christian faith, the election of God. But the context and the analogy of Ephesians 2:19-22 leave little doubt of the correctness of the first interpretation.

(Speaker's Commentary.)

The scene here is one of destruction and desolation. On all sides houses are shaken and overturned. The houses are individuals or communities professing to believe the gospel. The faith of some, of many diversely minded and diversely influenced, is overthrown. But, amid the storm and wreck occasioned by false principles issuing in corrupt practice, there is a building which standeth sure. Now it may be the Church collective of which it is said, the Church which has the Lord's promise that the gates of bell shall not prevail against her. But it may also be the individual believer that is intended; for the collective Church and the individual believer are on the same footing. For my present purpose I take the text in this latter view, and hold it to be descriptive of the Christian man, continuing steadfast and firm in his faith amid many surrounding instances of backsliding and apostasy. He is a tower, or temple, or building of some sort standing sure; being the foundation of God. And in token of that security he is sealed. He is doubly sealed; sealed on both sides.

I. "THE LORD KNOWETH THEM THAT ARE HIS."

1. The Lord knoweth them that are His by signs or marks or tokens bearing on His interest or right of property in them, His ownership of them. Thus, He knows them as given to Him by the Father from before all worlds, in the everlasting covenant. The Lord knoweth them that are His as redeemed by Him. He knows them by the Spirit's work in them also.

2. The other class of marks or tokens by which the Lord knoweth them that are His, those bearing upon their interest or right of property in Him, do unquestionably come within the range and sphere of your consciousness and experience. They are, in fact, in the main, but an expansion, or unfolding, of the last of the three former ones, the work of the Spirit making you Christ's, and Christ yours, and keeping you evermore in this blessed unity.

(1)The Lord knoweth them that are His, by the need they have of Him.

(2)By the trust they put in Him.

(3)By the love they bear to Him.

(4)By the work they do for Him.

(5)By their suffering for and with Him.

(6)As waiting for Him.Now, put together all these marks by which the Lord knoweth them that are His, and say what must His thus knowing them mean? what must it imply and involve? Nay, rather, what will it not include of watchful care, tender pity, unwearied sympathy, unbounded beneficence and liberality and bountifulness?

II. "LET EVERY ONE THAT NAMETH THE NAME OF CHRIST DEPART FROM INIQUITY."

1. Naming the name of Christ comes before departing from iniquity. This is the evangelical arrangement. And it is the only one that can meet the sinner's case.

2. Naming the name of Christ is to be followed by departing from iniquity: and that not only in the form of a natural and necessary consequence to be anticipated, but in that of obedience to a peremptory command. It is not said, He that nameth the name of Christ may be expected, or will be inclined, or must be moved by a Divine impulse, to depart from iniquity. But it is expressly put as an authoritative and urgent precept. "Let him that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity."

3. Naming the name of Christ and departing from iniquity thus go together. They are not really twain, but one. There is not first a naming of the name of Christ, as if it were an act or a transaction to be completed at once, and so disposed of and set aside; and then thereafter a departing from iniquity, as its fitting consequence and commanded sequel. The two things cannot be thus separated. For, in truth, naming the name of Christ involves departing from iniquity; and departing from iniquity is possible only by naming the name of Christ.

(R. S. Candlish, D. D.)

I. THE SAFETY OF THE CHURCH IS FOUNDED ON GOD'S IMMUTABILITY. Whether the truth is regarded as an abstract existence, or as personified in the Church, it takes its stand on this attribute of the Divine Being. All ecclesiastical history is but a commentary upon the fact that "the foundation of the Lord standeth sure." The pledge of Church safety rests on Fact and Promise. Time would fail us to trace out the former. We see it in that dark vessel ploughing the waves of an ocean-sepulchre, and settling on the crest of Ararat. We see it in those weeping tribes by the river of Babylon; for though their harps are silent, the very breeze that stirs the willow echoes the voice of Israel's God! We see it in that pillar of cloud and in that pillar of light. We hear Daniel rejoicing over it in the lion's den, and the faithful Hebrews proving it in the furnace of fire, and all the countless multitudes of Christ's confessors deepen the voice of confirmation! History is our stronghold of proof. We dare the sceptic to unbolt the door of the past, and show us wherein the Divine immutability has failed. Shall we turn to Promise, to show the Church's safety? It is like turning to a sky lighted with constellations of suns, or to a world bespangled with rarest flowers, or to a land flowing with milk and honey. To record the promises were a task almost equal to transcribing the entire Bible.

II. THE SEAL WITH WHICH GOD HAS ENSTAMPED THE CHURCH PARTAKES OF HIS IMMUTABILITY. There is no mistaking it. Time does not obliterate it. The "seal" cannot be successfully counterfeited in the eye of God. He knows His own.

1. This "seal" is ornamental. A monarch's star is a mere toy — give it time and it will rot. Young men, you seek after the decorative, here it is! It "shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck."

2. This "seal" is a passport to confidence. Christianity has won many compliments in its practical outworking, from those who effect to despise the evidence on which its claim to divinity is founded!

3. This "seal" is an earnest of future glory. Such is the testimony of Scripture (2 Corinthians 1:21, 22; Ephesians 4:30).

III. THE SEAL INDICATES DISCRIMINATION AND APPRECIATION OF CHARACTER. "The Lord knoweth them that are His." What mean those strange words? In the wide sense of creation all men are God's — in the sense of Providence all are the pensioners of His bounty; and Jesus Christ is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but for the sins of the whole world. There are standing places in the universe, from which all humanity may be regarded as the peculiar property of God. But there is an inner circle in which are found hearts differing from the majority — hearts bearing the "seal" of God-property.

1. The thought that God appreciates the Christian character, and will finally glorify it, is to the believer a source of comfort.

2. This thought, moreover, imparts a sense of security.

3. This thought, again, suggests principles of action. Fond as we may be of comfort, and anxious to be assured of security, there is something positive expected from our Divine relationship. If God knows me, the world must know me too. The Christian has a profession to maintain.

IV. DISTINCTIONS IN MORAL CHARACTER MAY EXIST WITHOUT THE SEAL OF DIVINE APPRECIATION. If all men were God's in the peculiar sense of the text, there would be no special meaning in its terms. A class is referred to, in contradistinction to all other classes. There are only two sections in the domain of moral being — the good and the bad; these again being broken up into almost endless sub-divisions, shades and stages of development. To make the leading proposition clearer, take a sample of instances: —

1. Here is a man of keen religious sensibility. A tender heart is a great treasure, indeed, but let not a few tears be considered proof of penitence.

2. Here is the rigid formalist. Religion is a life, not a form: it is an actual power and not an elaborate creed. The Cross, and not the pew, is the true way to heaven.

3. A third hopes in the mercy of God. A benevolent God, he argues, will not destroy one of His own creatures. He forgets the harmony of the Divine attributes. Overlooking an outraged justice, he hopes in an insulted love. Terrible is the portion of those who bear not God's seal (Revelation 9:3, 4).

V. THE CHURCH, AS A PALACE, MUST HAVE UNITY, COMPLETION, AND DESIGN. The Church is not a broken fragment or a shattered limb. It is a whole, where individual members have their part to play. The largo stones and the small ones must be side by side. The position that each shall occupy in the temple must be determined by the wise Master-builder. If one member is jealous of another's position there is an end to unity and progress. We are each dependent on the other.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

The time in which we live presents two striking, and to many minds incongruous, features.

1. There is great unrest in the realm of religious thought and life. On every side are heard voices of dissent from both theological and ecclesiastical dogmas. Schools and Churches are shaken with strife. Many are anxiously questioning concerning the stability of the Christian faith, and not a few are prophesying evil. There is a strong and increasing revolt against traditionalism. But With this commotion in the realm of religious thought there is

2. a great increase of practical Christianity. Missions both at home and abroad are pushed more vigorously than ever, and with larger results. Education for the people advances with leaps and bounds. Philanthropic enterprises multiply in number and increase in wisdom and efficiency continually. The Church is stripping off her dainty garments and grappling with social problems in a new spirit. There is a broadening application of Christianity to life, such as no past age has witnessed. In a word, the situation is this: The power of dogma wanes, but the power of truth waxes; forms are decadent, life is crescent; religious authority is challenged on every side, spiritual influence broadens and deepens. Here is a seeming contradiction or anomaly. Many do not understand the times. In their alarm over the upheaval in the realm of religious thought they fail to see or to appreciate the uplift in the realm of religious life. Can we not see that

"God fulfils Himself in many ways,

Lest one good custom should corrupt the world"?There is a "firm foundation of God." A careful study of the Scriptures, of history, and of experience makes clear —(1) That the essential basis of Christianity is not an institution, nor even a book. Christianity was before the Church. Christianity was before the New Testament. It produced the Gospels and Epistles, as in the olden time the prophetic spirit and experience antedated and produced the prophetic history and literature. Men forget this. They forget that God and the soul, and God revealing Himself to the soul, precede the institutions and records of religion.(2) It is clear also that the essential basis of Christianity is not a creed. Faith existed before dogma. It terminates in a personality and not in a proposition or any series of propositions. Dogma is the result of an attempt to express and justify faith as an intellectual possession. It is natural and inevitable that men should make this attempt. But the process which goes on in the sphere of the understanding, or even its result, must not be identified with Christianity any more than physiology should be identified with the exercise of physiological functions, or dietetics with eating, or optics with seeing. Creeds change as life and thoughts change. They must change if there is life. Thought grows. Experience deepens. All creeds save the simplest, the most elemental, are left behind. They are not basal, but resultant. They belong to the sphere of the understanding.(3) The essential basis of Christianity is a personal revelation of God in and through "the man Christ Jesus," and a personal experience of a Divine communion and a Divine guidance. How do we know God? Not by argument, but by experiencing the touch of God on the soul. There is a Divine impact on the spirit of man. Argument is always subordinate to experience. How do we know God as Father? Through the revelation of the archetypal Divine Sonship in Christ and the experience of sonship through fellowship with Him. Spiritual experience underlies Christianity. The great spiritual verities comes to us always as experiences. They authenticate themselves in consciousness. "How do you know that Christ is Divine?" said a Methodist bishop to a frontiersman whom he was examining for admission into the ministry. The brawny-limbed and little-cultivated but big-hearted man looked at the bishop a moment in silence, and then, as his eyes filled with tears, he exclaimed: "Why, bless you, sir, He saved my soul!" It was another way of saying : "I know whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him until that day." This experience of God is inseparable from the perception and the acceptance of an inclusive ethical principle that makes life the progressive realisation of a Divine ideal of righteousness. The experience of a Divine communion and the attraction of a Divine ideal belong to the essence of Christianity. "Let every one that nameth the name of the Lord depart from unrighteousness." Christianity has its essential basis, then, in a personal revelation of God in and through the Christ, and a personal experience of God as life and love, as source and goal, as ideal and law. The Book, or the institution, may be a means to the experience, but the experience is fundamental. Along this line of experience lies the test of all doctrines. Truth is realised in being. This foundation stands sure. It is not shaken by changes in Church or creed. History is full of illustrations. The Reformation came shattering the mediaeval Church as with throes of earthquake. Many sincere souls cried out in dismay that Christianity was overthrown. But the convulsion passed, and Christianity put on new power to bless the world. Within the present century geology began to tell its marvellous story of creation, and many devout souls saw in it a deadly menace to religion. Genesis became a rallying-ground for the alarmed theological hosts. But truth had its way. Old ideas and interpretations of the Mosaic cosmogony fell away, and Christianity spread more and more widely among the people. Then came Darwin, with his appalling and atheistical ideas of evolution! Then, indeed, the ark of God was in danger! Doughty champions of the faith drew their weapons for battle, while the timid were ready to exclaim that Church and Bible alike were doomed unless the new foe were vanquished. The foe has proved the best of friends. Evolution soon appeared to be a great structural principle of thought in all realms of study. It has entered the domains of sociology, politics, history, philosophy, and even theology. Meanwhile Christianity, better understood by the very principle that seemed to threaten its life, increases in power continually. Nothing is shaken and overturned by human progress but what ought to be shaken and overturned. Nothing true ever perishes. Christianity has proved itself hospitable to every advance in knowledge, and to every social and political change that has been a step forward in the long battle-march of humanity. They are guilty of a great error who base the validity of the gospel of Divine love and eternal life on any theory of creation or inspiration, or on any fixed scheme of social and political organisation. They say; If this theory of inspiration or salvation or church order is discredited, Christianity is discredited. But a hundred theories have been discredited, and even disproved, and Christianity is better authenticated and has a wider and stronger hold on the world to-day than ever. "The firm foundation of God standeth." These are marks of abiding Christianity: The personal experience of God and the spiritual attraction of righteousness —God in the soul, a motive and an ideal. Cultivate the passion, not for safety, but for righteousness, the realisation of love in conduct. Strive not for fixedness, but for growth. Spiritual permanence is permanence of growth in knowledge and goodness. Love for God and man walks with sure feet through paths where selfishness stumbles and sinks in bogs of doubt and despair. Keep the mind open to the ever-teaching Spirit of God. There are withheld revelations that wait for the unfolding of capacity in man to receive God's disclosure. Be content with nothing. Let faith in God and love to man be the broad base on which to build the aspiring structure of an eternal life. That foundation standeth sure. Trust God for the future of humanity. The world was not made in jest, nor does the kingdom of God rest on a contingency. Faith, as well as love, casteth out fear. Two boys were talking together of Elijah's ascent in the chariot of fire. Said one; "Wouldn't you be afraid to ride in such a chariot?" "No," said the other, "not if God drove!" God drives the chariot of human progress, and it mounts as it advances. God is in His world, not outside of it. He is redeeming it from sin. He is making men. He is fulfilling His holy and beneficent purpose. Fear not, but believe and hope, for the power as well as the glory is His to whom be glory for ever and ever.

(P. S. Moxom.)

I. First, let us think of THE LAMENTABLE OVERTHROW which the apostle so much deplored.

1. The apostle observed with sorrow a general coldness. It was in some respect coldness towards himself, but in reality it was a turning away from the simplicity of the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith (see the 15th verse of the previous chapter).

2. Furthermore, the apostle saw with much alarm that teachers were erring. He names two especially, Hymenaeus and Philetus, and he mentions the doctrine that they taught — not needlessly explaining it, but merely giving a hint at it. They taught, among other things, that the resurrection was past already. I suppose they had fallen into the manner of certain in our day, who spiritualise or rationalise everything.

3. In Paul's day many professors were apostatising from the faith because of the evil leaders. Sheep are such creatures to follow something that, when they do not follow the shepherd, they display great readiness to follow one another.

4. Paul also deplored that ungodliness increased. He says that the profane and vain babblings of his time increased unto more ungodliness.

II. Now let us turn to the subject which supplied Paul with consolation. He speaks of the ABIDING FOUNDATION: "Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure." What is this foundation which standeth sure? Those who have interpreted the passage have given many meanings to it, but I believe that all those meanings are really one. For the sake of clearness I would give three answers to the inquiry: the foundation is, secretly, the purpose of God; doctrinally, the truth of God; effectively, the Church of God; in all, the system of God whereby He glorifies His grace.

III. Now, we are to look at this foundation and observe THE INSTRUCTIVE INCRIPTION. I think this figure best expresses the apostle's intent; he represents the foundation-stone, as bearing a writing upon it, like the stone mentioned by the prophet Zechariah of which we read, "I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the Lord of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day." The custom of putting inscriptions upon foundation-stones is ancient and general. In the days of the Pharaohs, the royal cartouche was impressed upon each brick that was placed in buildings raised by royal authority. The structure was thus known to bare been erected by a certain Pharaoh. Here we have the royal cartouche, or seal, of the King of kings set upon the foundation of the great palace of the Church. The House of Wisdom bears on its forefront and foundation the seal of the Lord. The Jews were wont to write texts of Scripture upon the door-posts of their houses; in this also we have an illustration of our text. The Lord has set upon His purpose, His gospel, His truth, the double mark described in the text — the Divine election and the Divine sanctification. This seal is placed to declare that it belongs to the Lord alone, and to set it apart for His personal habitation. If I might use another illustration, I can suppose that when the stones for the temple were quarried in the mountains, each one received a special mark from Solomon's seal, marking it as a temple stone, and perhaps denoting its place in the sacred edifice. This would be like the first inscription, "The Lord knoweth them that are His." But the stone would not long lie in the quarry, it would be taken away from its fellows, after being marked for removal. Here is the transport mark in the second inscription: "Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity." The first mark —

1. Is concerning God and us. "The Lord knoweth them that are His."

2. The text teaches us that the Lord discriminates. Some who bear His name are not His, and He knows them not.

3. "The Lord knoweth them that are His" signifies that He is familiar with them, and communes with them. They that are really the Lord's property are also the Lord's company: He has intercourse with them.

4. Further, the words imply God's preservation of His own; for when God knows a man He approves him, and consequently preserves him. The second seal is concerning us and God — "Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity." Observe how the practical always goes with the doctrinal in holy Scripture. Those whom free grace chooses, free grace cleanses. This is a sweeping precept as to the thing to be avoided: let him "depart from iniquity" — not from this or that crime or folly, but from iniquity itself, item everything that is evil, from everything that is unrighteous or uuholy. The text is very decisive — it does not say, "Let him put iniquity on one side," but, "Let him depart from it." Get away from evil. All your lives long travel further and further from it. Do you know where my text originally came from? I believe it was taken from the Book of Numbers. Read in the sixteenth chapter the story of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. In the Septuagint almost the same words occur as those now before us. The Lord Jesus is exercising discipline in His Church every day. It is no trifling matter to be a Church member, and no small business to be a preacher of the gospel. If you name the name of Christ, you will either be settled in Him or driven from Him. There is continually going on an establishment of living stones upon the foundation, add a separating from it of the rubbish which gathers thereon.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

It may be asked, how did it happen that under the direct observation of the apostles themselves, standing as they did on such exclusive ground, acting in the name and by the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, and clothed with all the awful powers of their high office — how happened it that so many and such dangerous errors arose? It might be permitted —

1. To ascertain the faith and put to the test the obedience of the sincere. There must be heresies that these may be proved and made manifest.

2. To show that the claims of the religion of Jesus Christ are not guided or influenced by secular authority, and that men's minds are left perfectly free, at liberty to think and determine for themselves.

3. To illustrate the nature of the early discipline of the Christian Church. It was not such as affected men's properties or lives, as has too frequently been the case where ecclesiastical authority has been felt. Paul put down error by virtue of his authority as an apostle; but we find nothing carnal in any of his proceedings.

4. To furnish occasions for developing more clearly the essentials of Christianity. Three topics of reflection are suggested to us here —

I. THE STABILITY OF GOD'S PURPOSE. The idea which we found on this part of the subject is, the certain continuance and continual accomplishment of God's purposes, spite of all difficulties, oppositions, and enemies. But it has respect chiefly —

1. To the truth of God; and

2. To the Church of God.

II. THE SPECIAL OBJECTS OF GOD'S PURPOSE. "The foundation of God standeth sure; having this seal, the Lord knoweth them that are His," etc.

1. In speaking of the special objects of God's love, we shall notice chiefly the character under which they are described — they are "His." This implies knowledge, discrimination, approbation, acknowledgment. They are "His" — His by dedication.

2. His in consequence of a gracious influence on their hearts.

3. His in consequence of an interest in Christ. But this question is naturally suggested: How are we to determine whether we are His? How are we to know that we belong to the number of the called, and chosen, and faithful? The answer is ready — "Let every one that nameth the name of Christ, depart from iniquity," and this leads us —

III. To consider THE HOLY CHARACTER WHICH OUGHT TO RESULT FROM CHRISTIAN PRINCIPLES. Consider here —

1. The profession assumed. They "name the name of Christ." This includes in it an admission of His authority — a reception of His doctrines — a public avowal of their sentiments and convictions.

2. The obligation enjoined. Let him "depart from iniquity." To depart from iniquity is to hate it — to be habitually opposed to the commission of it — to avoid it with the greatest circumspection — to seek and pursue whatever is opposed to it.

3. This is enjoined by the authority of Him whose name we bear. Can we think on that holy name without calling to mind the purity it should inspire? He gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from all iniquity. Think of His character — it was holy and heavenly: of His doctrines — every word of God is pure: of His institutions — they are all designed to promote our sanctification: of the great ends and designs of His government — these are all connected with our purity. There is not a doctrine, not a testimony, not a precept which Christ has laid down, not a promise which He has caused to be recorded, which does not lead to the inculcation of holiness. On all parts of the Christian system we see inscribed, "Be ye holy, for I am holy."

4. This is enforced by the peculiar discoveries of revelation. Can you mention a doctrine which does not lead to holiness?

5. This departure from iniquity is an essential and constituent part of the salvation of the gospel.

6. This is provided for by the continual agency of the Holy Spirit.

7. This is the design of all gospel institutions.

8. This is the great end of all providential dispensations.

9. It is that without which all our professions would be nullified and useless.

(J. Fletcher, D. D.)

We have come in our day into times precisely like those of the apostle, in which there is a great movement throughout the whole civilised world, and a great change of feeling, either of apprehension or of words, in regard to the stability of the Christian religion. I declare that the essential elements of Christianity were never so apparent as to-day; that they were never so influential; that they were never so likely to produce institutions of power; that they never had such a hold on human reason and human conscience; and that the religious impulse of the human race was never so deep and never so strong in its current. In the first place, then, we must recollect that there may be very great changes around about religion, in its external forms, without any essential interior change, nay, even with the augmentation of its interior power. Some men think that anything which is a revelation from God must be always one and the same thing; but God's revelation is alphabetic; it is a revelation of letters, and they can be combined and recombined in ten thousand different words, varying endlessly. The great facts which are fundamental to consciousness, once being given, are alphabetic; and these facts may be combined; and with the development of the human race in intelligence and moral excellence they go on taking new forms, and larger experiences must have a larger expression. It is said that men do not believe in virtue. Well, when a man tells me that the refinements of the schoolmen are lapsing on questions which relate to eternal regeneration through the Son of God, and that many of the fine distinctions between ability natural and ability spiritual are going outer men's thoughts and out of much use, I admit it; but I say that the great fundamental truths of religion, namely, the nature of man, the wants of man, and Divine love as a sufficient supply for human wants — instead of growing weaker are growing stronger in men's minds. After all the pother that is made about the doctrines of human depravity, and the need of regeneration by the power of the Holy Ghost, are they not true? Men kick them about like so many footballs; but do they not recognise them as true when they are stated in a different way from that in which they have been accustomed to hear them stated, and in a way which is suited to the experience of our times? Men think these truths are passing out of the world; but I say they are simply taking another form of exposition. The truths themselves are inherent, universal, indestructible. Religion is not one thing. It means the moving of the human soul rightly toward God, toward man, and toward duty. He who is using his whole self according to laws of God is religious. Some men think that devotion is religion. Yes, devotion is religion; but it is not all of religion. Here is a tune written in six parts, and men are wrangling and quarrelling about it. One says that the harmony is in the bass, another that it is in the soprano, another that it is in the tenor, and another that it is in the alto; but I say that it is in all the six parts. Each may, in and of itself, be better than nothing; but it requires the whole six parts to make what was meant by the musical composer. Some men say that love is religion. Well, love is certainly the highest element of it: but it is not that alone. Justice is religion; fidelity is religion; hope is religion; faith is religion; obedience is religion. These are all part and parcel of religion. Religion is as much as the total of manhood, and it takes in every element of it. All the elements of man hood, in their right place and action, are constituent parts of religion; but no one of them alone is religion. It takes the whole manhood, imbued and inspired of God, moving right both heavenward and earthward, to constitute religion. I ask you to consider what religion is according to the definition of Paul — "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance." I do not care whether a man whitewashes or blackwashes his fence, or whether he uses guano or barn-yard manure, or what his mode of cultivation may be, the question is, Does he get good fruit? If he does, his method is good. Now, I take it that the apostle is speaking of religion when he speaks of the fruit of the Spirit; and the fruit of the Spirit is what? Orthodoxy? Oh, no. Conscience? Not a bit of it. One of the fruits of the Spirit is love; and is love dead? Another fruit of the Spirit is joy; and is joy gone? Peace, the strangest of fruits — is it not slowly coming to be that which is the unison of all other qualities with blessedness in the soul? Ye, then, who mourn because particular modes are changing, and think that religion is dying out, look deeper, and pluck up hope out of your despair, and confidence out of your fear; and to you that think religion is going away because of science, let me say that science is the handmaid of religion. It is the John Baptist, oftentimes, that clears the way for true religion. By religion I do not mean outward things, but inward states. I mean perfected manhood. I mean the quickening of the soul by the beatific influence of the Divine Spirit in truth, and love, and sympathy, and confidence, and trust. That is not dying out.

(H. W. Beecher.)

It is the nature of truth, as it is developed by human intelligence and used for practical purposes, to gather to itself instruments and institutions. The permanence of great fundamental truths, and the infinite variability of the exponents of truth, in the form of law, custom, philosophical statement — these are the two great truths with which we are to expound the past history of religion in the world, and by which also we are to prepare the way for its development in the days that are to come. After a while men lose sight of the truth in the instruments of it. They cease to worship the thing, and worship its exponent; so that, by-and-by, it is not the truth that men follow so much as its institutions. And so, as soon as this takes place, men, following their senses and their lower nature, begin a process of idolatry, of professionalism; and they become worshippers of the sensuous. So it comes to pass that all religions tend on the one side downward, and on the other side upward. The tendency to carry on truth to a higher and nobler form co-exists with another tendency to hold the truth in just the same confined forms with which it has hitherto been served. And so Churches find in themselves the elements of explosion and of controversy. Then comes revolution or reformation. Then comes sectarianism, or the principle, rather, from which sects grow. Now, in the time of St. Paul, vast changes were taking place. Mosaism, or religion as developed through the instrumentality of Mosaic institutions, had ripened and gone to seed, and was passing away; and in so far as the Gentile world was concerned, there was no further attempt on the part of the apostles to teach religion by the old forms and under the old methods. If you turn your eyes toward the Greek nation, which was the thinking nation of the world, they had knowledge, philosophy and art, but they had no moral sense. If you turn to the Roman empire, there was organisation, there was law, and an effete idolatry. Now came Christianity. But Christi-unity in itself, in its very origin, was vexed with schisms, with disputings; and it was in the midst of these confusions that Paul made the declaration of our text, that "the foundation of God standeth sure." No matter what this man thinks, or that man teaches; no matter what shadows come or go, be sure of one thing — that the immutable foundations of religion stand. They will not be submerged permanently, nor will they rot in the ground; and they have this seal or superscription, written, as it were, on the corner-stone: "The Lord knoweth them that are His." There is the great truth of Divine existence, and intelligence, and active interference in human affairs. God is not blotted out by men's doubts, or reasonings, or philosophies, themselves caused by the interpenetration of Divine thought upon human intelligence. "God knoweth them that are His." "Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity." That is the other seal — aspiration for goodness; departure from all evil; an earnest, thorough and persistent seeking after a godly manhood. There are the two elements. There are fundamental elements in a Christian Church which we ought to speak of, and which we ought to mean when we speak of fundamental doctrines, and there are those which are necessary for the formation of the individual character, and for the transformation of man from an animal to a spiritual being. These are the fundamental truths which stand connected with the existence, government, and power of God in the world; and also with the organised development of human nature, that it may rise toward God. Now, it so happens that there are a great many things fundamental to theology which are not at all fundamental to human nature; and it so happens, on the other side, that there are in human nature a great many things which are fundamental to the organisation of a noble and manly character, but are hardly recognisable in theology at all. We ought, then, to clear our minds of the misuse of the term fundamental doctrines. No doctrines are fundamental except those that teach the Divine existence and government, or that teach the condition and wants of human nature, and its reconstruction, its re-organisation into Christian manhood. Men cannot live without religion. They cannot be men without it. The State calls for it; art calls for it; home and domesticity call for it; the voice of mankind and the voice of the ages have called and are calling for it; and they are either ignorant or cowardly who fear that any great disaster is going to befall religion in consequence of the progress which is taking place in the investigation of truth. Do you believe in a providence? Is this great world floating without a rudder, without a pilot or a captain? is time made up of chance-drifts? or is there a God? If there is a God, has He a future, and is He steering time and the race towards that future? And will He sleep or forget, and allow the race to run to ruin? The Word of God, the foundations of God, stand sure. Now, this general fear will lead us to take into Consideration the necessity of a closer union and affiliation of true Christian people. It seems to me what we need is, not to go back to old systems, or to cling to the old Churches, but simply this: that we should search for the great fundamental facts and truths which stand connected with the development of human nature from animalism to spirituality, and work together on these common grounds. Not that I would abolish ordinances, days, or institutions. I say to every sect, "Act according to your belief in regard to these things. Keep your theory; ordain as you think best; organise as you think best; let your ordinances be such as you think best; make your philosophical systems such as you think best; but stand with your brethren. Do not let the veins of your life run just as far as the walls of your church, and then come back again; let them go forth throughout Christendom."

(H. W. Beecher.)

The scepticism which we have to meet to-day concerns itself not with specific doctrine, but with the very roots and foundation of Christian faith itself. Time was when t, he foundation of Christian faith was the authority of the Church. The authority of the Church as the foundation of Christian faith has passed away. Nor is the Bible, the printed Book, in any true and profound sense the foundation of our Christian faith. Underneath the Bible there is a foundation on which the Bible itself rests. Now modern thought proposes, in lieu of these two foundations, another, the human reason, and it asks us to bring all our questionings and our faiths to the bar of the intellect, and have them adjudged and determined there. I shall not stop to argue whether reason be a sufficient foundation for our Christian faith; but I undertake to say that it is not the foundation of our Christian faith, and that we believe not because things are asserted by the Church, not merely because they are printed in the Book, not merely because they commend themselves to our reason. Deep down in the human life there is yet a foundation underneath all these. We do not object to bringing all Christian faiths to the bar of reason. We believe our Christian faith is not unreasonable; but there are truths which are not arrived at by argumentative processes; they are not reached by processes of logic; they are not demonstrated; they are known. AEsthetic truths, we do not prove them, we see them. All our moral beliefs rest on this foundation; we do not argue them, we know them. Love, patriotism, honesty, justice, truth, by what chemical processes will you analyse these? How will you put them into the scales and weigh them; by what logical demonstration will you prove they exist? Now that which is true in respect of all the aesthetic elements of life, that which is true in respect of the moral element of life is true in respect of the great spiritual realm. Our articles of Christian faith rest on our vital, personal, living experience in them. Why do I believe in God? Why do you believe in your mother? You have seen her. I beg your pardon; you never saw your mother. You have seen the eyes, the forehead, the cheeks, the face — that is not mother. If that be mother, then why, when the form lies prostrate, and you press the kiss upon the lips, and they give no answering kiss back, and you press the hand, and it gives no answering pressure back, why burst you into tears? Why wring your hands with grief? The lips are there, the brow is there, the cheeks are there, all that you ever saw is there. But mother is gone; and love, patience, fidelity, self-sacrifice, long-suffering — that is what makes the mother that you loved — that you have never seen. And we believe in God because we have known the tenderness of His love, because in times of great weakness He has strengthened us, and in times of great sorrow He has comforted us, and in times of great darkness He has guided us, because we have known in our inmost experience the power that is of God in life's struggle. Why do you believe in immortality? It is not because of the philosophical arguments that have been addressed to you; it is not because of the proof texts you can find in the Scriptures; we know that we are immortal, as the bird knows that it has power to fly while yet it lies in its nest, and waits for the moment when it shall soar off into the invisible air. There is no better argument for immorality than that of the French Christian to his deistical friend. When the deist had finished a long scholastic argument, the Christian Frenchman replied, with a shrug of the shoulders, "Probably you are right; you are not immortal, but I am." Now, when this view of the foundation of the Christian faith is employed, men sometimes object to it and say, "You are appealing to our feelings, you are not willing to test Christian truth where all truth must be tested, in the clear light of reason; you are appealing to our feelings, to our prepossessions, to our desires, to our sentiments." Not at all. I am putting our Christian faith on that foundation on which all our knowledge and all our belief rest, albeit our Christian faith stands closer to the foundation than anything else. All that science has taught us, all that travel, all that history, all that observation, either of our own or observations of others, all is based, in the analysis, upon this — the truthfulness either of our own personal consciousness, or of the consciousness of others. Now, we carry in our hearts the consciousness of a Divine presence outside ourselves. We look upon this life of Christ, and it stirs within us a new and a Divine life. We know the power there is in the pardoning and atoning grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. Why do we believe the Bible is an inspired Book? Because it is an inspiring Book, because it has given us comfort that no other book ever did, life that no other book ever gave, strength that no other book ever gave, because in our own personal use and experience of it it has been the life of God in our hearts. Moreover, our Christian faith rests not merely upon our own consciousness, it rests upon the concurrent consciousness of innumerable witnesses. But mark you one thing more. Our Christian faith rests on our consciousness, on the concurrent consciousness of witnesses verified by actual testimony. Christianity is not a theory. It proposes to do something for me. Compare old Rome with England or America of to-day with all our vices, with all our shortcomings, with all our corruptions, and behold what is the answer of history to the claim that Christ has made. Why, when Mr. Morse first proposed the magnetic telegraph it was not strange that men were sceptical. When he said "By touching a little key here I communicate a message to a man a thousand miles yonder," no wonder that wise and conservative people shook their heads and shrugged their shoulders, and said, "Impossible!" But when the wire had been laid from Washington to Baltimore, and the first message was flashed through that wire, "Behold what God hath wrought," how could any man doubt when the work was achieved? Some of you will say, "Ah! this will not give us a well-defined theology." Well, perhaps not. But who can stand and look out into the vast future, and define immortality? Who can look up into the heavens and define God? Who can look into his own soul and define there the sins that have oppressed him, or the Saviour that has redeemed him from them? No, no; our experiences do transcend all our definitions, being beyond them. And some of you will say, "This is well for those of you that have this experience, but I have it not." Is that any reason why you should not believe? Now, let us reason this matter one moment. Because you do not enjoy the music of Beethoven will you therefore conclude that all musical enjoyment is a myth? Because you, standing on the deck of an Atlantic steamer, cannot see the light of the far-distant lighthouse which the ship captain with his better trained eye does see, will you conclude that he is mistaken and you are right? If it be true that there is a testimony coming from innumerable hosts of witnesses to the reality of God's presence, to the certainty of immortality, to the inspiration of God's Book, to the vital saving power of a living Christ, will you reject the light because you are blind? Will you deny the truth because you see it not? A father and his son stand on the shores of the Bay of Fundy. A great tidal wave forty feet in height comes roiling in, when the boy catches the father's hand in terror, and cries, "Run, father, run; the ocean is going to wash us away." The father looks and smiles upon the lad, and says, "Wait, wait." The great wave dashes itself into innumerable atoms of foam upon the great rock, and sweeps back into the ocean. And when this tidal wave of scepticism shall have expended its force it will be found broken into innumerable atoms of foam at the foot of a rock which shall stand through all the future, as in all the past, the Rock of Ages.

(L. Abbott. D. D.)

The Lord knoweth them that are His
It is said of Tiberius, the emperor, that he never denied his favourite Sejanus anything, and often prevented his request; so that he needed only to ask and give thanks. All God's people are His favourites, and may have all that their hearts can wish, or their need require.

(J. Trapp.)

At Bury St. Edmunds, I went to the infirmary of the workhouse, where, amongst other patients in bed, I conversed with an old m an, who, if I remember rightly, was over eighty years of age. As it lay outside the counterpane, I noticed that his arm from the elbow to the wrist was covered, after the manner of sailors' tattooing, with numerous letters. On asking him what they were, he said, "Why, you see, sir, I've had nine children, and all are gone; some I know be dead, and some I don't know whether they be dead or alive, but they're all the same to me; I shall never see any of them again in this world. But I've got all their initials here on my arm; and it's a comfort to me as I lie here to look at 'em and think of 'em." It was all that this poor old man could do for his sons; but he held them in affectionate remembrance, though he needed not the sight of their initials to remember them by. Our heavenly Father knoweth and taketh pleasure in all them that are His. He bears them all on His heart, and His power to help and to bless them is as great as His wealth of love.

(B. Clarke.)

There are stars set in the heavens by the hand of God, whose light has never reached the eye of man; gems lie covered in the dark abysses of earth that have never yet been discovered by the research of man; flowers which have grown in blushing beauty before the sun, that have never been seen by the florist; so there may be Christians, made such by God, who are hidden from the knowledge of this world.

(John Bate.)

Many of the greatest saints have lived and died unknown and uncared for by the world. These are God's secret ones, unknown to men, well-known to God. About some of the saints and apostles we hear much; the lives and works of St. Paul and St. Peter are familiar to us all. It is not so with St. Bartholomew, and yet none of the martyrs worked more faithfully, or suffered more severely. He who laboured so successfully for Christ, and suffered so severely, is only mentioned four times in the New Testament, and then very slightly. There is no word to record his hard toil, his burning love, his patient suffering, and his noble death. And so it is with many of the greatest of God's saints. No one knows the name of Naaman's little servant, who brought her master to God. The names of the Holy Innocents appear in no earthly book. That pious widow who gave all she had to the Temple is not named; and there are thousands of others, who though "unknown, are well known to God, whose names are not written on earth, but are written in heaven. There are many who are now living for God, and working for Him, and suffering for Him, of whom this world knows nothing. There will not be, perhaps, a paragraph about them in the newspapers, but "the Lord knoweth them that are His." God has hidden saints in everyplace, dwelling under cottage thatch, as well as in great houses. These are the gems which no earthly eye has ever valued, but they will shine none the less brightly on that day when God makes up His jewels.

(H. J. Wilmot-Buxton, M. A.)

The Church at Ephesus, at a very early age, suffered from that stumbling-block — the "falling away" of professors. Oh! I do not wonder at the pain and the perplexity which the young missionary at Ephesus seemed to feel, at the thought of "the falling away" of many whom he had been wont to teach, and love, and hope, and pray for. But mark the delightful emphasis of that "nevertheless" — "Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure." Perhaps, of those who set out with you on the road to heaven, some years ago, it may have been your painful lot to see one after another stop, lie down, and go to sleep, and die. "Nevertheless, nevertheless! the foundation of God standeth sure." Or, look again at that "nevertheless." One by one the friendships and the happinesses of life have been melting away from you. And now every idol has been pulled down; and now almost the only hope of your earthly support is gone: oh! with what sweetness at such amoment will that thought come back to you, "Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure!" You have a Friend that never can leave you. Or it may come closer than this. It may please God to bring trial more home to your heart. He may lead you through a long, dark cloud, where it may seem to you as if every trace of comfort was obliterated for ever, — "Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure." Beneath the feet the "foundation" stands. The building may fall, but the "corner-stone" is safe. There is pardon; though there is no sense of it. There is faith; though there is not "the joy in believing." There is Christ; though there is not the feeling of Christ. That cloud will roll over, and when the morning breaks, it will light up that "foundation," brighter, clearer, and more saving, for ever. For "Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure." You see, then, that the whole of a man's peace and all his security depend upon this, — What is his "foundation"? It is the plainest of all plain Scriptural truths, that the only "foundation" of any soul's safety is the Lord Jesus Christ. "Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Christ Jesus." "Other foundation" may have a momentary peace; but this only can sup. port the super-structure for eternity. Now this truth the apostle carries out into a little more detail. In order to do it, his mind borrows an image from a ceremony common at the commencement of the erection of a public building, when a king, as he lays the foundation-stone, sets upon it the impression of the royal seal. In like manner, as if to give the believer's hope a two-fold security, God is said not only to "lay the foundation," but to "seal" it; and when He "seals" it, He seals it to Himself, by the "oath" with which He "confirms it"; and to the believer, by the Spirit in which He gives it. Now, that "seal," with which God stamps every converted soul, is two-fold. Or, to speak more accurately, it is a single "seal" which has two faces. Accordingly, on the heart of every child of God, on the ground of it, there will be found two inscriptions, which the hand or" seal" of God has engraven there. In other words, there are two fundamental principles which God has placed there. The one stands out clear, legible, and large — "The Lord knoweth them that are His." And the other is like unto it — "Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity." The "seal" must have been twice stamped — both inscriptions must have been there — before the soul is safe, and stands quite "sure." Now, let us look at the two sides of that "seal"; first, separate; and then together.

I. THE FIRST IN THE RELATION, AS ALSO THE FIRST THAT IS LAID UPON THE HEART, IS THE IMPRESSION OF GOD'S LOVE. "The Lord knoweth them that are His." This records that truth of truths on which the whole gospel rests, as upon one base — that salvation is all of God's eternal, sovereign love. This must be held by every man who wishes to enjoy the peace of God: that it was God who "knew" me, loved me, and cared for me, and drew me long before I ever had any thoughts of Him. The whole of a man's safety depends upon this: "The Lord knew" me from all eternity; "the Lord knew" me when He drew me to Himself; "the Lord knows" me now — all my little thoughts and works: "the Lord knows" I am trying to serve Him; "the Lord knows" I wish to love Him. But as the one side of God's "seal" is privilege, the other is duty.

II. The one is God's love, THE OTHER IS YOUR HOLINESS. "Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity." The two sides must never be divided. But as the stamp of God's love is laid, so must the stamp of man's obedience be laid. God's love first, to teach that there can be no real obedience till there is first a sense of God's love. Feelings often have deceived us, and they will deceive again. But the question is, practically, Are you "departing from iniquity"? Observe the expression. It is not one single act; but it is a gradual, progressive retiring back from evil, because, more and more, the good prevails. Now, bow is it? Say you have conquered the acts of sin, have you conquered the desires? Say you have conquered the desires, have you conquered the thoughts? Do you think that your temper is being every day more subdued? Is your pride lessened? Your worldliness, and your covetousness — are they receding? Would your own family — would your own dearest friend have cause to say, that you are growing every day in grace? Is it a "seal," think you, that can be "read of all men" upon you? Could they see it exemplified?

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

The figure is probably drawn from the practice of engraving inscriptions on one or both sides of the foundation-stone. So, in Revelation 21:14, the names of the twelve apostles are found on the twelve foundations of the mystical Jerusalem. "The Lord knoweth them that are His." Not as expressing the knowledge that flows from an inscrutable decree, but, as in 1 Corinthians 8:3; 1 Corinthians 13:12; John 10:14, the knowledge, implying love and approval, which Christ has of those who are truly His. This represents one side of the life of the believer, but, lest men interpret the truth wrongly, the other side also needs to be put forward, and that is found in personal holiness.

(E. H. Plumptre, D. D.)

"The Lord knoweth them that are His" is a citation from the Septuagint of Numbers 16:5, and a moment's consideration will show bow appositely the apostle quotes this passage. Korah, Dathan, and Abiram had gathered themselves together against Moses on the plea of the holiness of the whole congregation: "all the congregation," they said, "are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them: wherefore then lift ye yourselves up above the congregation of the Lord?" Hero then certain bad men had got hold of a true principle, but were applying it wrongly and rebelliously. It was quite true that all the congregation were holy, but it was also true that God had especially sanctified the sons of Levi above the remainder of His people. Korah and his company came forward with specious pretensions to superior spirituality; they asserted that all the people of Israel were priests of God — a great truth in itself, but not, therefore, to supersede another truth, viz., that God had chosen a certain tribe to be specially His priests. So Hymenaeus and Philetus asserted a great truth, viz., the nature and importance of the spiritual resurrection; but because they so asserted it as to supersede by it another plainly revealed truth, they undermined and overthrew the very faith itself, and proved themselves to be the children of Satan, and not of God.

(M. F. Sadler, M. A.)

In modern times it has been found out that, by a wise adaptation of electricity, an organ can be played many miles away, under certain conditions. If the keyboard is connected with the battery, and the wires run, no matter how far, even hundreds and thousands of miles — if the battery be properly charged and the wires run, say, to New Orleans, the organist sitting here may thunder there the majestic tones of an anthem. And if you consider that the human soul is a battery, and that all its wires run into the heavenly land, there are many inconspicuous persons living in the world of whom we see and hear and know nothing, but from whom to heaven wires go, and around whose souls are angel assemblies gathered together chanting joyful songs; and there are many men a knowledge of whom the telegraph wires are busy communicating, and about whose fame the newspapers pile telegraph upon telegraph; there ate many noisy men respecting whom there is much ado made on earth, but there is not a single wire that runs between them and the other life.

(H. W. Beecher.)

I remember a story of Mr. Mack, who was a Baptist minister in Northamptonshire. In his youth he was a soldier, and calling on Robert Hall, when his regiment marched through Leicester, that great man became interested in him, and procured his release from the ranks. When he went to preach in Glasgow he sought out his aged mother, whom he had not seen for many years. He knew his mother the moment he saw her, but the old lady did not recognise her son. It so happened that, when he was a child, his mother had accidentally wounded his wrist with a knife. To comfort him she cried, "Never mind, my bonnie bairn, your mither will ken you by that when you are a man." When Mack's mother would not believe that a grave, fine-looking minister could be her own child, he turned up his sleeve and cried, "Mither, mither, diona ye ken that?" In a moment they were in each other's arms. All, the Lord knows the spot of His children! He acknowledges them by the mark of correction. What God is to us in the why of trouble and trial is but His acknowledgment of us as true heirs, and the marks of His rod shall be our proof that we are true sons. He knows the wounds He made when exercising His sacred surgery.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

It is as if Paul said, "Here are false teachers who, under a show of great spirituality, have overthrown the faith of some in the Church. They have come as angels of light. They have said, "The only real resurrection is the resurrection of a dead soul to the knowledge of God. Why trouble yourselves about any other resurrection except this?" And by these specious words — words which apparently only highly spiritual men could say — they have opened the flood-gates of unbelief; but God, after all, knows who are sound and who are rotten at heart. The Lord knoweth them that are His. The Lord sees through every pretence of sanctity. The sure foundation of God standeth, for God knows the souls who really and truly belong to Him. He knows them infallibly, and no one knows them but He. You see, St. Paul evidently implies that these falsely spiritual teachers, and those who were led by them, were not in heart God's true people. We learn from this that our faith may be subverted and our souls ruined by pretenders to spirituality in religion. We may extend this to our doctrines of the faith besides the resurrection of the body. The two sacraments, for instance, have each an outward part, which touches the body, or which is received by the body; and God has made the reception of the inward grace of the sacrament to depend, ordinarily speaking, on the reception of the outward sign. And now I have to put you on your guard against another form of specious yet false spirituality, with which a very large proportion of our modern religious literature is saturated. Beware of books and tracts, and appeals and sermons, full of deep doctrine and evangelical statements, without any duty — any lowly, common-place, homely Christine duty, mixed up with such doctrine or Gospel statements. No book of religion can possibly be more spiritual than St. Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians. And yet, what sort of exhortations have we in the fourth chapter of this most spiritual Epistle? What I have said respecting the teaching of St. Paul is equally true of that of his brother apostles, SS. Peter, James, and John. Remember, then, that ii our standard of Christianity is the teaching of the apostles, then writings, full of high experience or sweet assurance, without any inculcation of lowly duty, are simply unscriptural, and so unspiritual.

(M. F. Sadler, M. A.)

The inscription is twofold; the first part relating to God, the second to ourselves; the first confirming our faith, the second directing our practice; the first permitting us to trust our all on our Redeemer, the second inciting us to "work out our own salvation with fear and trembling."

I. IN THE VISIBLE CHURCH THE BAD ARE MINGLED WITH THE GOOD. Many bear the name of Christian who have not even the outward appearance of the reality; others profess much with their lips, but are strangers to the power of religion in the heart: others, again, are despised by man, who yet bear about with them that pearl of great price — a true and lively faith, without which the rich are poor, and with which the poor are richer than all the world could make them. But all this is surrounded with such a mist Of circumstances and forms and conventional habits, that the difference is well nigh imperceptible to human eyes. Certain broad lines of distinction between those who may be the Lord's, and those who certainly are not, may easily be drawn; but much will still be left where we may hope or fear, but cannot know. But God knows. His eye pierces through the outward covering of professions, and looks directly on the heart. And there is much comfort in the belief that God thus "knoweth them that are His."

1. It is a guarantee of the safety of those who are His, whatever may be their station, or how powerful soever their enemies.

2. Joined to this belief also is the comfortable conviction that, where God" has begun a good work, He will perform it unto the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6).

3. And this truth furnishes a key to the mystery, that in the visible Church the bad are ever mingled with the good. To human eye they are, but not to God's.

II. But this is but part of the seal or inscription on the foundation of God's temple, and the part with which, however confirmatory of our faith and consolatory to our weakness, we have the less immediate concern. This relates to God's knowledge, THE OTHER TO OUR DUTIES. "Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity."

1. God's foreknowledge does not at all diminish man's responsibility, nor detract from the necessity of our own endeavours.

2. Man's holiness is the end of God's predestination. He has chosen those who are His, not simply to be happy, but to be holy. Would we read God's eternal counsels concerning ourselves? We may do so with reverence and trembling hope; but only in our growing freedom from sin, and the increasing holiness of our lives.

(John Jackson, M. A.)Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. — "Iniquity" here includes the teaching of those false men above alluded to, as their teaching led away from the truth, and resulted in a lax and evil way of life.

(H. D. M. Spence, M. A.)

We are —

I. To show who they are WHOM THE LORD CHARGES TO DEPART FROM INIQUITY. The text tells you it is everyone who names the name of Christ.

1. Baptized persons, capable to discern betwixt good and evil.

2. Who profess faith in Christ, and hope of salvation through Him.

3. Who pray to God through Christ.

4. Who profess faith in Christ, and holiness of life also.

5. Communicants who name the name of Christ in a most solemn manner, by sitting down at His table, before God, angels, and men.

II. To show WHAT IS IMPLIED IN THIS DEPARTING FROM INIQUITY which God chargeth us to aim at. Here let us inquire in what this departure, this happy apostasy, lies. There is —

1. A giving up with our rest in sin. God chargeth you to awake and bestir yourself, to spring to your feet, and prepare to make progress in the ways of holiness.

2. A going off from sin, and giving up with it: "If I have done iniquity, I will do no more" (Job 34:32).

3. A standing off from sin, as the word properly signifies: "Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away" (Proverbs 4:15).

4. A going off to the other side, namely, to Christ and holiness.

5. A going farther and farther from sin. Let us inquire what of iniquity God charges us to depart from. It is the accursed thing, with which we have nothing to do. We must depart from all sin, from the whole of it. We must depart —

(1)From under the dominion of sin (Romans 6:12).

(2)From the practice of sin (Isaiah 4:7).

(3)From the devising and contriving of sin.

(4)From the love of sin (Ezekiel 14:6).

(5)From the enjoyment of the fruits of sin.

(6)From the occasions of sin, and all temptations to it (Ezekiel 14:6).

(7)From the workers of iniquity (2 Corinthians 6:17).We now proceed —

III. To EXPLAIN THE NATURE OF THIS CHARGE. You may know the nature of this charge given to them in the text, by these following properties. It is —

1. An universal charge, and this in two respects.

(1)In respect of the persons naming. "Every one," says the text, "who nameth the name of Christ."

(2)In respect of the sins which you are to depart from (Ezekiel 18:31).

2. A peremptory charge (Acts 17:30).

3. A charge for the present time (Psalm 95:7, 8).

4. A charge with certification, a charge upon your highest peril (Hebrews 12:25). We are now

IV. To show WHY THOSE PARTICULARLY WHO NAME THE NAME OF CHRIST ARE CHARGED TO DEPART FROM INIQUITY. All to whom the gospel comes are so charged, but those who profess Christ are in a special manner thus charged. For —

1. The practice of iniquity is a contradiction to their profession; so that they cannot have this practice, but they give the lie to their profession.

2. Whosoever partakes of Christ's salvation departs from iniquity; for salvation from sin is the leading and chief part of Christ's salvation.

3. The practice of iniquity is in a peculiar manner offensive to God, and grieving to His Spirit.

4. It reflects a peculiar dishonour upon God; such sins bring a scandal upon that holy name and religion which they profess (Romans 2:24). We are now —

V. TO MAKE SOME PRACTICAL IMPROVEMENT. This doctrine shows us —

1. That all and every one amongst us, by the authority of God who made us, and in whose name we were baptized, are obliged to depart from iniquity.

2. That for men to abstain from the sacrament of the supper, to this end that they may not be abridged of their liberty in sinful courses, is not only impious, but childish and foolish.

3. That they are bold adventurers, and run a dreadful risk, who come in their sins, unrepented of, and not sincerely resolved against, and sit down at the Lord's table.

4. Behold here how the Lord's table is fenced, by a fence of God's own making. Our text debars from this holy table whosoever will indulge themselves in, and will not part with, any known sin whatsoever; particularly —(1) All neglecters of the duties of piety towards God.(2) All who make not conscience of their duty towards men, righteousness, mercy, and charity.(3) All those who are not sober in their lives (Titus 2:12).(4) All those who suffer their tongues to go at random, and make no conscience of their words.(5) All those who make no conscience of inward purity, the keeping of the heart.(6) All those who entertain and indulge themselves in any known sin, or in the neglect of any known duty, or are not content to have their sin and duty discovered to them (Psalm 66:18).

5. Behold how the door of access to the Lord's table is opened to all true penitents, whose hearts are loosed from, and set against, all sin.

6. This shows us the necessity of self-searching, examining ourselves on this occasion (1 Corinthians 11:28). We exhort you to depart from iniquity, turn from your sins, since you name the name of Christ.

(T. Boston, D. D.)

I. DEPARTING FROM INIQUITY IS NO CAUSE OF JUSTIFICATION.

II. DEPARTING FROM INIQUITY HATH ITS INFLUENCE UPON, THOUGH NO CAUSE OF, OUR SALVATION (Hebrews 12:14).

III. HOLINESS IS INDISPENSABLY NECESSARY UNTO ALL JUSTIFIED PERSONS. As it was necessary that Christ should take upon Him our flesh, so it is as necessary that we should receive from Him His Spirit. As it is storied of one who was very debauched and wicked, and, taking up a Bible, which by his religion he had not been acquainted with (being a Papist), he confessed that whatsoever book that was, it made against him; so unless thou dost sincerely labour after holiness, there is never a word in all the book of God that speaks any comfort unto thee, none of the fruit that grows upon the Tree of Life can be tasted by thee. This might be more evinced if we fix our mind on these following reasons: —

1. From the nature of God. I mean the essential holiness of His nature, by which He cannot have communion with any one that is unholy, no more than light can have "fellowship with darkness"; but He indispensably hates and opposes all wickedness, and hath declared His enmity against it. Neither can the gospel change God's nature, or make Him less to abhor sin. It is indeed a declaration of the way and means which God hath ordained to exalt his grace and mercy to the sinner by; but it is in saving of him from his sin, and not with it.

2. From the requisites in the gospel itself. All the privileges of the gospel do include or pre-suppose departing from iniquity. How did the Jews search every hole and corner of their houses to find out leaven, and how earnestly did they cast it away I or else the paschal lamb would not have availed them, and the destroying angel would not have passed from them. And "these things are our examples" (1 Corinthians 10:7), and tell us, that unless we industriously search out and cast away the leaven of sin and Wickedness, the very death of Christ, the Lamb of God, will profit us nothing. Let us take a view of the privileges of those that are saved by the gospel, and see how they are obliged to holiness by them.(1) Election is the first. And if we are "chosen in Christ Jesus," the apostle tells us, that we are "chosen in Him, that we should be holy and without blame before Him" (Ephesians 1:4).(2) Our vocation is unto holiness.(3) Our regeneration, or being born again, which the gospel insists so much upon, is in being made like unto God. "Partakers of the Divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4).(4) And what is glory, which we seek for, and endeavour after, but only holiness in perfection? (Romans 2:7.) Grace is glory in the bud, glory is grace in the flower. Christian is not an empty name; and being called so makes us not to be so. Every one is not a scholar, or an artist in any faculty, who is called so. Besides, Christianity is a practical science; and thou hast no more of it than thou dost practise. What should an unholy heart do in heaven? There are no carnal delights.

3. It is written in our very natures, did we but understand them. Every man that receives a reasoning soul is, by his receiving of it, obliged to give God a reasonable service.

IV. FREE PARDON THE BEST MOTIVE TO BECOME HOLY.

1. If it be to expiate for by-past offences, or to merit undeserved favours, it must needs be abominable in the sight of God, being the highest act of pride or presumption that can be imagined. Let our works be what they will, though the best "are as filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6), if they be offered unto God by way of barter or exchange, they become most abominable: as if God stood in need of something that we have, or that we were so sufficient as to be able to benefit God too.

2. To depart from iniquity, or to labour in holiness, in order to express our thankfulness unto God for His mercies in Jesus Christ, is most grateful and most forcible.

3. Love unto God for all His glorious excellencies, especially for His mercy in Christ Jesus, is the best principle of holiness and of our departing from iniquity. God requires His children to give Him their heart (Proverbs 23:26). Now love is as a fire which "many waters cannot quench." Difficulties will be overcome, and obedience will be permanent, where true love to God is. And this love in the soul to God is begun by and flows from God's love first unto the soul, as fire kindles fire: "He loved us first" (1 John 4:19).

(T. Boston, D. D.)

I. WHAT OBLIGATION THE PROFESSION OF CHRISTIANITY LAYS UPON MEN TO LIVE HOLY LIVES.

1. He that professeth himself a Christian professeth to entertain the doctrine of Christ, to believe the whole gospel, to assent to all the articles of the Christian faith, to all the precepts and promises and threatenings of the gospel. Now the great design, the proper intention of this doctrine, is, to take men off from sin, and to direct and en courage them to a holy life.

2. He that professeth himself a Christian professeth to live in the imitation of Christ's example, and to follow His steps, "who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth."

3. He that calls himself a Christian hath solemnly engaged himself to renounce all sin and to live a holy life. Thus you see what obligation the profession of Christianity lays upon us to holiness of life. From all which it is evident that the gospel requires something on our part. For the covenant between God and us is a mutual engagement; and, as there are blessings promised on His purl, so there are conditions to be performed on ours.

II. I come now to the second thing propounded, and that is, TO PERSUADE THOSE WHO PROFESS CHRISTIANITY TO ANSWER THOSE OBLIGATIONS TO A HOLY LIFE, WHICH THEIR RELIGION LAYS UPON THEM.

1. Consider how unbecoming it is for a man to live unsuitably to his profession.

2. Consider how great a scandal this must needs be to our blessed Saviour and His holy religion. As we would not proclaim to the world that the gospel is an unholy and vicious institution, let us take heed that we bring no scandal upon it by our lives, lest the enemies of our religion say as Salvian tells us they did in his time — "Surely if Christ had taught so holy a doctrine, Christians would have lived holier lives."

3. And, lastly, let us consider the danger we expose ourselves to by not living answerably to our religion. Hypocrites are instanced in Scripture as a sort of sinners that shall have the sharpest torments and the fiercest damnation.

(J. Tillotson, D. D.)

I. EVERY PROFESSING CHRISTIAN DOES NAME THE NAME OF CHRIST, and is called by His name, even as the disciples were called Christians first at Antioch; nay, even before that naming at Antioch, every believer in Christ — every one baptized into His name — was virtually so called. And we may say, as every pupil or disciple of the various schools and sects of philosophy acknowledged the master, and assumed the name of the school to which he belonged; and as the soldier wore the badge of the commander, and of the corps to which he was attached; and as idolaters had the name of the idol-god whom they worshipped upon their hands or upon their forehead; so, in like manner, in a far higher and in the most eminent and religious sense, every Christian showed his school, the company, the corps to which he belonged, to be that of Christ Jesus the Lord, whose name he bears, and into whose service he has been admitted.

II. PRESS UPON YOU DEPARTURE FROM ALL SIN.

1. One great end of the religion of Jesus is the destruction of sin and the encouragement of holiness. Can any one doubt of this? Can the most superficial examination of its terms, and language, and ordinances, leave any one to doubt of this? I appeal to the testimony of enemies, of wicked men, and of evil spirits in proof of this. Why has the gospel been so hated and opposed? And, from the whole current of prophecies, types, and positive declaration of the great Author of the Gospel, is it not undeniable that the destruction of the works of the devil was the grand end of the wondrous dispensation?

2. If any spark of gratitude be kindled in your hearts to Him who hath given Himself for you, to deliver you from this present evil world, and to bless you in turning every one of you from your iniquities, and who hath done this at such an expensive rate, redeeming you not with corruptible things, as silver and gold, but with His own precious blood, surely you will depart from all iniquity.

3. Again, the credit of religion, regard to the honour of Christ, should lead you to depart from all iniquity. It is said of the , an ancient sect of philosophers, that they used to send a coffin to unworthy members who had disgraced the sect, intimating that they were considered as dead and gone.

4. Finally, if you would maintain your peace of mind and your good hope through grace, and have the first part of this text and motto secured — "The Lord knoweth them that are His" — see that the second part of it which we have been illustrating be fulfilled and carried through, even "departing from all iniquity."

(W. H. Burns.)

I. THE GREAT DESIGN OF ALMIGHTY GOD IN THE DISPENSATION OF THE GOSPEL is our improvement in holiness and virtue here, in order to the attainment of eternal life hereafter. The gospel is not a fanciful theory, containing a system of speculative opinions, which have little or no connection with virtue and happiness. Universal obedience is declared to be requisite. Having thus considered the nature of our holy religion, we are now —

II. To consider THE CONSEQUENCES OF LIVING UNSUITABLY TO THAT PROFESSION.

1. He who names the name of Christ, without departing from iniquity, exposes himself to reproach and contempt. Men will not be imposed upon by an empty possession. They cannot indeed see into our hearts, and notice the motives by which we are actuated; but they can observe our good or bad actions, and judge whether our lives be answerable to our profession.

2. But the consequences of vice in a professed Christian extend farther than to the sinner himself. A wicked life in a professed Christian is attended with more than ordinary mischief: it not only serves to seduce, like every other evil example, but it has a strong tendency to stagger a weak and honest mind. Perplexities crowd upon his mind. He begins to suspect the truth of religion, and to regard it as an empty profession. His zeal abates; he relaxes in the discharge of his duty; and throws religion away as a mere imposition. His enemies rejoice; his friends weep. Religion has lost an advocate; the world has gained a triumph; but his blood will be required of your hands.

3. But the consequences of iniquity, in a professed Christian, extend farther than individuals; they extend to the cause of Christianity; nay, even to our blessed Savior Himself. It is an indignity offered to Christ, and an outrage committed upon the gospel, in the disguise of a friend. It seems to declare either that Christianity countenances immorality, or that it wants authority to enforce its laws. On both which suppositions it destroys its authority as coming from God.

4. A wicked life, as it injures the weak and reflects discredit on religion and its author, also exposes the sinner himself to the most imminent danger. There are many circumstances which aggravate the guilt, and will add to the punishment of a wicked Christian. The more indulgent the father who commands, the more ungrateful is the son who disobeys; the more plain and reasonable the command, the more inexcusable the breach of it; the more powerful the motives to obedience, the more obstinate the disobedience; the more advantages and means of improvement, the more culpable the neglect, and the more dreadful the condemnation.

(Andrew Donnan.)

Ralph Waldo Emerson was a man of rare integrity, and so particular about small things as to be punctilious. One day a new cooking-stove had been provided for his house, and although the stove came highly recommended it proved thoroughly refractory and aggravating, and did everything but what it was expected to do. At length the family was in despair, and some one suggested sending it to auction. "What!" exclaimed Emerson, "transfer our own perplexity to another pair of shoulders? No, never! unless the stove be labelled 'imperfect.'" And "imperfect" it was labelled, and sold at a heavy discount.

(New Zealand Methodist.)

The following testimony borne to the character of the Rev. John Fletcher by Wesley, in the funeral sermon which he preached for him soon after his death, serves to explain the powerful influence which he exerted on the age in which he lived, an influence which has not yet died out. "I was intimately acquainted with him for about thirty years. I conversed with him morning, noon, and night, without the least reserve, during a journey of many hundred miles; and in all that time I never heard him speak an improper word, or saw him do an improper action. To conclude: many exemplary men have I known, holy in heart and life, within fourscore years; but one equal to him I have not known, one so inwardly and outwardly devoted to God. So unblamable a character in every respect I have not found either in Europe or America, and I scarce expect to find another such on this side eternity."

I was once privileged to lead an aged man across a thoroughfare — that old man of whom you may read in a tract called, "I never Lost but Once." Some rough men, attracted by his patriarchal appearance, cleared a way for him through the carts and boys, and as he acknowledged their kindness with a low bow of his silver head, I heard one man say, "If ever there was a godly party, that is one; the face don't tell lies."

A gentleman from England wrote that he went to some one of our cities in the morning prayer-meeting of one of the churches; that during the meeting a man spoke with little or no animation, and the address was wanting in all the elements calculated to produce an impression. Yet, to his astonishment, the entire meeting appeared to be listening with rapt attention, and it was but a little before he saw many of the people were in tears. He was so utterly surprised at the result that he was led to inquire about it at the close of the service. He was told that the man who had spoken was so remarkable for his uniform Christian consistency, and was so gentle and affectionate, that his words were always weighty, for that his life had secured him the affection of the whole church. This visitor wrote further that he went to the meeting the following morning, and was much interested in the whole service, and specially so in a gentleman's address, who spoke with such fervour and eloquence as to excite his feelings intensely, so that he found him self weeping profusely, and supposed that everybody in the meeting would be as much excited as himself; but on looking around, he found that he was the only weeper to be seen. Again he was astonished; but the solution was the fact that while his brethren did not question his being a Christian, his life had not compelled their homage.

(S. B. Halliday.)

We once heard Dr. W. F. Broadus tell of a little girl who, in the days when the conversion of children was not the subject of as much prayer as now, applied for membership in a Baptist chapel. "Were you a sinner," asked an old deacon, "before this change of which you now speak?" "Yes, sir," she replied. "Well, are you now a sinner?" "Yes, sir, I feel I am a greater sinner than ever." "Then," continued the deacon, "what change can there be in you?" "I don't know how to explain it," she said, "but I used to be a sinner running after sin, but now I hope I am a sinner running from sin." They received her, and for years she was a bright and shining light; and now she lives where there is no sin to run from.

A man must have hell taken out of him if he is to escape hell.

(Norman Macleod.)

A building which demands holiness, carries within itself no ground of dissolution and overthrow.

(Van Oosterzee.)

Dr. E. W. Benson (Archbishop of Canterbury) said that a well-known advanced freethinker had told him that he was more impressed by the inconsistency between the theoretical teaching and the social practice of cultivated and active-minded Christians in respect of wealth, advancement, and luxuriousness than by our doctrinal difference. And what was his inference? That the standard of the gospel was too high — that its morality was impracticable, as tested by the lives of those who accepted it, and that it was, therefore, not divine.

A sceptic towards whom a Christian had shown great kindness, said to him, "I don't believe in Christ, but I do believe in you, and I will try to believe in Christ because you tell me it is He who has made you what you are."

(J. Clifford, D. D.)

A recently-erected edifice has fallen: how do men treat the fact? They instantly connect it with the architect or the builder. When a chemical experiment has failed, how is it looked upon? Instantly the manipulator is blamed for want of skill, or for want of judgment in the selection of the quality of his materials. So all the practices of the Church are carried back to Christ, and He is magnified or "crucified afresh," according to their nature.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

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