Utility the Test of Truth
Matthew 7:16-20
You shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

The two criteria on which men most chiefly rest for the guidance "of their religious opinions would here be of no avail; authority would be claimed by the prophet; and private judgment might possibly lead his votaries astray. Both these useful, but require caution. Let us get a clear conception of the notion of utility as a criterion. It is an acknowledged fact that every human action and word is followed inevitably by certain consequences, which are good or bad. Those acts which produce happiness are useful; those which do not are injurious. We must extend our notion of happiness beyond the ancient conception of it. Christianity. has made happiness in worldly good things alone impossible. It must now include peace with God. This a criterion which cannot be mistaken. Apply this test.

I. As AN ARGUMENT FOR CHRISTIANITY in the widest sense of the word. "When Christianity appeared in the world, Roman civilization had practically failed. The privilege of Roman citizenship had done much — had kindled a feeling of community of interest; but needed a higher sanction. The Incarnation taught men brotherhood; nations which possess this truth have the principle of vitality.

II. Let us apply this test to our ENGLISH CHRISTIANITY. Doubtless there are physical reasons which make the English race so strong; but also moral, latent in our Christianity.

III. As an argument supplying to us each practical reasons for FOLLOWING IN OUR CONDUCT THAT LINE OF DUTY, which conscience tells us to be right. It is a solemn thought that we can be like a good tree or a bad one. It is the uses of a man which determine his status before God.

(J. T. Coxhead, M. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

WEB: By their fruits you will know them. Do you gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles?

Thistle Seed
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