Colossians 3:17

This is the practical lesson that flows from the theology of the Epistle. "And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the Name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."

I. THE WHOLE EXTENT OF CHRISTIAN LIFE IS CONSECRATED TO THE LORD. Everything falls under the two heads of words and deeds.

1. Words.

(1) We must avoid words that would dishonour Christ - vain words (Ephesians 5:6), bitter words (Job 6:3), deceitful words (Psalm 36:3), idle words (Matthew 12:36). James tells us the sins of the tongue (James 3:2).

(2) We must use words of wisdom (Book of Proverbs), words of truth and soberness (Acts 23:25), words of righteousness (Job 6:25), wholesome words (2 Timothy 1:13), words of eternal life (John 6:68).

2. Deeds. These must be done

(1) in faith, for "whatsoever is not of faith is sin;"

(2) in prayer (Psalm 9:1);

(3) with warrant from God's Word (Isaiah 8:20);

(4) with perseverance (Galatians 6:9).

3. All, both words and deeds, must be done in the Name of the Lord. They must have supreme reference to him (1 Corinthians 10:31); they must be done under his warrant or authority, in the strength of his grace, after his own glorious example, and with ultimate regard to his glory.

4. Christian obedience must all the while be mingled with thanksgiving to God the Father. We thank him

(1) for the ability to do all our works in the Lord's Name;

(2) for our liberty in Christ;

(3) for our victory over sin;

(4) for our manifold blessings in Christ.

II. REASONS FOR THE CONSECRATION OF OUR WHOLE LIFE TO THE LORD. We ought to be more circumspect than others in our words and deeds:

1. Because "we live and die to the Lord." (Romans 14:8.) We are "the Lord's."

2. Because we are entrusted with such blessings. "Because God hath bestowed upon them more blessings, and therefore as he gives more wages, requires more work."

3. Because we are more observed than others. Therefore we must "walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise" (Ephesians 5:15).

4. Because we have the prospect of an abundant reward according to our works. - T. C.

Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.
It is always an advantage to have the laws of a kingdom as concise as possible. The amount of litigation caused by the English code is immense. In God's government the matter is plain enough — included in ten commandments, and further reduced by Christ to, two. Our text is an instance of the terseness of Divine precepts. It contains a law applicable to every action, word, thought, place, circumstance in a few brief words. It is a great advantage to a mechanic to be able to carry with him a pocket rule or square. And so we have here a compendious rule in life which car, never fail.

I. HOLY WALKING DESCRIBED. "Whatsoever," etc. This rule applies to those who are in Christ. The unconverted require a radical change before they can carry it out. You cannot walk as a believer if you have not believed. But having begun at the beginning, and taken the step of salvation by faith, the walk has to be carried on by following this injunction, which means —

1. To do all through the office and name of Christ as Mediator.(1) You are bound to offer daily praise: it must be in the name of the Lord Jesus.(2) You are to abound in prayer. His name gives power to prayer; it is not so much your earnestness and sincerity, but His blood that speaks to God.(3) You are to give Him your time and services in teaching the ignorant, etc.; they can only be acceptable in Him.(4) You are to-give of your substance; if you give all your wealth, the offering presented without Christ is nothing.

2. Do all under the authority of Jesus Christ. He is your King. The business of a Christian upon earth is not an independent one; he is a steward for Christ.

3. Do all under the sanction of Christ as our example. It is an admirable course to ask, "What would Christ have done in these circumstances?"

4. Do all as to the glory of Christ. The Christian must not seek self.

5. Do all in the strength of Christ. With Him is the residue of the Spirit, and the Spirit is the believer's power. These words are a rebuke —(1) to those who do nothing in Christ's name;(2) to those who glory in the name of men, as of churches or of saints;(3) to those professors who dishonour the name under which they profess to live. We-have —

II. HOLY MUSIC PRESCRIBED — "Giving thanks," etc. Soldiers march to battle to trumpet and drum, etc., and it is an excellent thing when Christian men know how to sing as well as work. The best music consists in thankfulness to God. We ought to praise Him in all things, but more particularly in the exercise of religion. Some people are so afraid of joy, that they seem to labour under the delusion that all who are devout must be unhappy. The text tells us under what aspect we should regard God when thus thanking Him. It is as a Father.

III. HOLY MOTIVES INCULCATED. Inscribed on our hearts are reasons which must secure obedience. These are —

1. Gratitude. All we have has been received from the Father through Christ.

2. The worthiness of Christ. "Him hath God exalted to be a Prince and a Saviour."

3. Love. He claims our love, and He gives us His.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. THE GUIDING LAW OF CHRISTIAN DUTY. "Do all in the name," etc. In Christ is —

1. The purest motive to duty. Motive originates and governs action, and makes it good or bad. It is only in Christ we find the holiest and purest motive; in Him love takes the place of selfishness (2 Corinthians 5:14, 15).

2. The noblest pattern of duty.

3. The highest end of duty. He is the goal towards which all actions tend. There is no higher name for it — "is above every name."

4. The final authority of duty.

II. ITS UNIVERSAL OBLIGATION — "Whatsoever ye do," etc. There must be —

1. A recognition of Christ in everything.

2. Absolute dependence on Christ at all times.

3. Supreme devotion to Christ.

III. ITS UNVARYING SPIRIT — "Giving thanks to God and-the Father by Him." Lessons:

1. The name of Christ is the greatest power in the universe.

2. All duty gathers its significance and blessedness from its relation to Christ.

3. A thankful spirit is happy in enterprise, brave in difficulties, and patient in reverses.

(G. Barlow.)

Preacher's Analyst.
This was applied to the "elect of God" This is the title given by the apostle to Christians. A course of action is appointed for them to carry out.

I. WHAT IS TO BE DONE? "Do all." The "all" refers to every act of religious life. There is to be —

(1)Humbleness of mind;


(3)meekness; above all

(4)charity.The word of Christ must dwell richly in the heart (see previous verse).

II. HOW IT IS TO BE CARRIED OUT — "In the name of the Lord Jesus." This implies three things.

1. By the authority of Christ (Acts 3:6).

2. For the sake of Christ (Mark 9:41).

3. For the glory of Christ (Acts 15:26).

(Preacher's Analyst.)

This is one of the bold sweeping statements of Scripture. However extraordinary and extravagant, it is in keeping with the whole spirit of Christianity. Unlike other religions, that of Christ admits of no compromises. It will have all or nothing, the first place or none. The author of nature and the author of Christianity give tokens of being one and the same, in that their principles are alike simple, universal, imperious, inexorable. In both is the same quiet exertion of power, the same calm majesty of law, and the laws of each can never be trifled with with impunity. The law of gravity does not admit of dispute, neither does the law that eternal life is to be found through the Son of God. Observe —

I. THE EXTREME BREADTH AND LOFTY SPIRIT OF CHRISTIAN DUTY. "Whatsoever," etc. These words cover the whole sphere of Christian activity. Our words, thoughts, desires, labours, etc., are to be under the habitual influence of a sacred and sanctifying power which lies lurking in the name of the Lord Jesus. There are one or two simple explanations which show that there is no real extravagance in this large demand.

1. If the Christian law is just another name for the law of truth, love, and holiness, it is quite clear that we shall never get out of the range of that law, neither in this world nor the next. Not more cer tainly does the law of gravity reach from world to world than does this law prevail wherever intelligence exists.

2. If religion consists in entering the service of a God who looks not on the outward appearance but on the heart, that religion will be the only true one which produces right dispositions towards Him of faithfulness in all things, the smallest as well as the biggest. The spirit we are of determines the character of our actions whether they are holy or unholy. The life of the saint and of the sinner are made up very much of the same commonplace duties, and in all that is patent to the world there may be little difference between them: but the spirit by which they are actuated constitutes a gulf between them as wide as that which divides light and darkness, heaven and hell.

3. It were well for the Church and the world if we recognized more clearly this breadth of Christian duty. There is no act, however little, which Christ does not see and .touch, and which may not tend as much to His honour as the songs of the Seraphim; there is no affection, talent, energy on which He does not put His hand and say, "That is mine," and which may not be transformed into a worship as sincere as that of the communion; no step we can take in life over which He does not watch, and which may not be made a step on the road that brings us nearer Him; no time here or hereafter when it will not be a delightful duty to "do all in the name of the Lord Jesus." This round world may therefore become to us a temple, and this little life a song of praise.

II. THE MOTIVE POWER OF A HOLY LIFE. The stress lies on "the name of the Lord Jesus."

1. All the apparent extravagance of the injunction vanishes when we lay our hands on the secret of the Divine life. In the realm of spirit as of matter when we see a great result we know that behind it is a great cause; and we may search the world and we shall not find a power over human hearts comparable with that which lies in this name. What combination of forces has cut so deep a groove across the world? One or two of the world's heroes and sages have won wide admiration and respect, but who has laid his hand on so many hearts and touched for good so many lives? Bad as the world is, what is good in it is due to Christ. Even now the good is gaining the victory, and the King is Christ. Blot out that name and you blot out the best part of history, all that is purest in morals, elevating in literature, gentle in manners, merciful in laws. Time weakens other forces, but it adds vigour to this.

2. There is no need to enter into the various component elements which go to make up this moral force. What He was and did for us, and above all what He now is and does, explains it. One phrase holds it all — "He died for me." In Jesus we have not a man dead long ago, but a living Saviour and King ever near us, bearing the one name by which we may be saved. It is His presence by His Spirit in the hearts of His people which is the motive power of their holy life. "The love of Christ constraineth us."

III. THE SACREDNESS OF COMMON LIFE AND LABOUR. The key-note of this chapter is that religion is a life in Christ, so all-pervading and all. permeating this life that it hallows everything.

1. One of the leading peculiarities of the religion of Jesus is that it virtually annihilated the distinction between the secular and the sacred. As it overstepped all barriers of climate, colour, and race to call men brethren, so it passed over all barriers of priestly function to make all men holy, and so all men are now made priests unto God.

2. What God hath joined together let no man put asunder; and He has wedded religion and life. That is no religion which we cannot carry with us wherever we go; into our pleasures and sorrows, our business and closets.

(J. Macgregor, D. D.)

It is one of the most precious effects of Christianity that it gives interest and dignity to commonplace life. Think how it would bear on the obscure toilers of Ephesus, Corinth, or Rome. Artizan, labourer, soldier, slave, would learn the truth that God cared for him, and designed him for a glorious destiny. It is through Christ that life is worthy of the name of life. The distinction between things secular and things sacred has wrought unspeakable mischief. Involves one rule of life for the person in holy orders, and another for the man who has not received a religious vocation. The monk or the nun is a "religious;" if any be not a priest, or monk, or nun, that person need not be so religious. It is a detestable, an irreligious distinction.

I. IT IS A DISTINCTION WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN UTTERLY FOREIGN TO THE MIND OF AN EARLY CHRISTIAN, AND IS QUITE OPPOSED TO THE SPIRIT OF THE NEW TESTAMENT. Christ, therein revealed, has laid hold upon the whole of life. He has consecrated what we call secular employments by Himself engaging in them. Possible to eat and drink to the glory of God.

II. THIS DISTINCTION IS BAD, BECAUSE IT VANISHES ON NEARER OBSERVATION. We find it perfectly impossible to draw a sharp line. Art, science, politics, business, everyday duty, instead of being detached from religion, have such intimate relations with it that they are, or may be, and ought to be, themselves essentially religious. A bad sermon on the text, "Behold I stand at the door and knock," is (it would seem) sacred; but to paint the well-known picture illustrating same text was secular. To write hymns sacred. Then was it a sacred or a secular work to write "Paradise Lost," Wordsworth's "Excursion," or Cowper's "Task"? Surely, too, all great music is most truly religious. Again, is it a sacred or a secular work when a young girl, under a deep sense of duty, consecrates her life to attendance upon a suffering mother? Contrariwise, consider what are generally classed as sacred works — praying, preaching, administering sacraments, visiting the sick. How intensely secular they may become I How mean and perfunctory the spirit in which they may be performed! How easily may their motive come to be that so well expressed in Bible words — "Put me into one of the priest's offices, that I may eat a piece of bread."

III. THIS DISTINCTION IS RADICALLY IRRELIGIOUS, Implies that all things are not of God. Churches are, but not houses we live in. Clergymen, but not men of other professions and employments. Sunday, but not other six days. But Christ claimed the world for Himself and His Father, in the sense that He claimed everything in the world. Factories and railways, camps and courts of law, mansions, museums, and picture-galleries, to say nothing of the world of trees, and rivers, and birds, and flowers, form part of the world which belongs to Him, the Heir of all things. This is the only religious view of life.

IV. SEEK, THEN, TO MAKE YOUR WHOLE LIFE RELIGIOUS. Pure religion is when the sense of God's love, of the vastness of His claims, of the breadth of His commandments, so works through the life as to make it one organic whole, and when the poor unworthy distinction of secular and sacred is forgotten; when what is most religious is most human, and what is commonest is ennobled and justified by the grace which flows from "Christ our Life."

(J. A. Jacob, D. D.)


1. To go to God through Him (John 15:3, 16; John 16:23-26).

2. To do all by His authority (Matthew 18:18-20; Matthew 28:18-20; 1 Timothy 6:15).

3. To do all by His strength (Acts 4:6-7, 10; 1 Samuel 17:45; Philippians 4:13; 2 Corinthians 12:9). Without Him we can do nothing, with Him every thing (1 Corinthians 15:10).

4. For His glory (1 Corinthians 10:31; John 5:23; Revelation 5:12, 13).

5. To live a life of faith for a supply of all things for life and godliness (2 Peter 1 ; John 16:23).

6. To walk in the religion of the Lord Jesus (Micah 4:5; 2 Timothy 2:19; Matthew 10:22; Luke 21:17; Revelation 2:3, 13).

7. To follow His example (Matthew 16:24; 1 John 2:6; 1 Peter 2:21-23).


1. Be cause all we are, have, or can do, is of Christ (1 Corinthians 3:22, 23).

(1)All grace and strength (1 Corinthians 1:30).

(2)Adoption (Ephesians 1:5).

(3)Reconciliation with God (2 Corinthians 5:18).

(4)All our actual supplies (Philippians 4:19).

2. Because the Father has highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name (Philippians 2:8-10). Therefore we must all honour the Son as the Father (John 5:23).

3. Because we cannot be accepted but by Him (Ephesians 1:6; Hebrews 13:15; Hebrews 5:1).

4. Because all that comes from God to us must be by His hand.


1. We must be supposed to be in Christ first (John 15:4-5).

2. Supposing this we must exercise faith upon Him, and have constant recourse to Him, in all that we do for the supplies of His grace and Spirit (1 Peter 2:20; 1 Peter 5:7; John 16:16, 23, 26).

3. We must live in close communion with Jesus in the use of all His ordinances (Zechariah 4:12).

4. We must exercise our thoughts much upon Him, and be much taken up with Him in the course of our lives (Psalm 73:23).

IV. some uses.

1. It is not in our power to act as we please, or for our own ends (Romans 14:7-8).

2. The impiety of those who invoke Christ's name on their wicked courses.

3. We cannot expect God's blessing on anything not done in Christ's name.

(H. Wilkinson, D. D.)

All have felt at times a painful void after absorption in active duty. There has been nothing sinful, on the contrary the work, it may be, has been sacred, undertaken with prayer, and been for the good of man and the glory of God, and yet there is no satisfaction.

I. WHERE IS THE EVIL IN THIS? It is that we are slow to learn in. act what we know in our souls, that we can do nothing good without God. We take it for granted and so forget it.

1. As to ordinary matters men, e.g., think it unlikely they will die to-day because they have lived safely through so many dangers, and take it for granted that their food will nourish them because it has always done so. Where, then, is there any room for dependence on God even with prayer for protection and blessing, since the feeling assumes that they will be granted without any prayer at all.

2. As to deeds of grace. It is well, as people's devotions now are, if Christians really prayed to God to carry them through the trials of the day, as really believing that for this they needed the special help of God. How many, if they pray at all, hope to do right and escape flagrant wrong almost through the intention of doing or not doing, and think that if they call upon God in some general way things will not be much amiss with them.

3. As to daily life. Many Christians seem to think that in the daily deeds and words of life they either cannot or else must sin, and that these two are much the same. What people hate is being in earnest at all, and so they do not wish to pray for the grace of God lest they should have to be at the pains of using it. So they are ready to think that they cannot help themselves, that they must fall into sins of infirmity, and thus they cast their faults on God, or they look upon them as no great faults at all, and so they act as though they could not sin. And apart from these who learns, in the midst of his conscious and acknowledged besetting sin, to ask for the grace of God? The angry, sinful word again and again escapes, and the thought of God at best but follows it.

II. THY REMEDY. "Whatsoever ye do," etc., as one bearing His name, in the might of His name, and to its glory. Refer all things to Him. Let Him be the beginning from whom all flows, the end in whom all are gathered, our aim, our reward. Have Him before thee as the pattern whom thou art to copy; the Redeemer in whom is thy strength, the Master and Friend whom thou art to serve and please, thy Creator and thy heaven.

1. But can, one will say, all the little acts of life be done to Him? Were it not almost an indignity to bring them in reference to His great Majesty? On the contrary, great love shows itself most in little acts. Nothing is too small to be done for one deeply loved, and nothing but deep love will do unweariedly all little things to please whom it loves. Little things are the very instances of acceptable service in Scripture. It says not, "Give your bodies to be burned for the glory of God," but, "Whether ye eat or drink," etc.

2. How, then, can they be done? Do them as thou wouldest if thou sawest God by thee, with prayer that they may be done aright. He eats and drinks to the glory of God, who does so not for pleasure, but for strength for God's service; He sleeps to God's glory, who rests in Christ, hoping to rise to do Him honour; he does his daily task to the glory of God who plies it under the eye of God, and does it or not as and how he thinks God would have it done or not.

3. How can we do both at once without distraction — study, speak, or do and think of Christ at the same time? Will not work be done carelessly? Be thine own judge? Hast thou ever deeply loved parent, bride, husband, or child? Didst thou find that thou toiledst for them less diligently because thou thoughtest of and toiledst for them? Or hast thou done anything for man's praise, feeling that the eye whose praise thou prizedst was upon thee? Was this a hindrance? Nay, a good and a spur which quickened every nerve. And who looks down upon us? Our Father, our Friend and Brother, who came down from heaven and suffered for us, is ready to help and reward us. And shall not such love quicken us to do all things better. Does it not give strength to self-denial to take up our cross after Jesus? gladness to alms-giving to give to Jesus? cast a holy reverence round a sick room when we minister to Jesus? impart sweetness to teaching children that in them we receive Jesus? When thou hast learned to do all things to Jesus, it will shed pleasure over all dull things, softness over hard things, peace over trial. It will make contradiction sweet, to bear it meekly with Jesus; poverty, honourable to be poor with Jesus; toil, gladsome to labour for Jesus.

(E B. Pusey, D. D.)

Wherever we are called to work we must dedicate the labours of our hands or our brain to God, doing all in the name of the Lord Jesus. Solomon was called to build the temple of the Lord, but every man who is an honest worker, who does his best in the place where heaven has put him, is building up a temple, holy, acceptable to God. The Minister of State in his cabinet, labouring to do right and caring nothing for popularity; and the little servant-maid in the kitchen, who scorns to tell a lie, or neglect her daily duties, are both in their respective stations working for God, doing their duty. None but pure gold may receive the special goldsmith's mark, none but true, honest work can bear the mark of the Lord Jesus.

(H. J. W. Buxton, M. A.)

Plato had a fable which I have now nearly forgotten, but it ran something like this: He said spirits of the other world came back to this world to find, body and find a sphere of work. One spirit came and took the body of a king and did his work. Another spirit came and took the body of a poet and did his work. After a while Ulysses came, and he said, "Why, all the fine bodies are taken, and all the grand work is taken. There is nothing left for me" And some one replied, "Ah! the best one has been left for you." Ulysses said, "What's that?" And the reply was, "The body of a common man, doing a common work, and for a common reward." A good fable for the world, and just as good a fable for the Church. "Whether ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do it to the glory of God."

(T. De Witt Talmage, D. D.)

I begin to see that religion consists not so much in joyous feelings as in a constant exercise of devotedness to God, and in laying ourselves out for the good of others.

(D. Stewart.)

Religion is one of the colours of life which mingles most intimately with all the other colours of the palette. It is that which lends them their appearance of depth, and the best of their brilliance. If by a subtle process it is taken away, all become tarnished and discoloured.

(W. Mallock.)

As a petition to the Queen can only reach her through the hands of a minister, so we can only approach God the Father through His Son Jesus Christ. All our prayer and praises must be offered in the name of the Lord Jesus. Very many of those prayers are like letters with no name and address upon them, which never reach their destination. What is it that makes our public services in church so frequently cold and spiritless? Why is it that some of us look on church-going as an irksome task, and the hours spent in God's house as the most wearisome of our lives? The reason is simply this, that their services are being offered in the wrong name. One offers it in his own name, he is sacrificing to selfishness; another offers it in the name of fashion, another in the name of respectability, but there can be no reality in our services unless offered in the name of Christ.

(H. J. W. Buxton, M. A.)


1. Paul here clearly gives to Christ the whole of life. The conceptions, affections, and resolutions of the soul refer to words and works as being the principles and motives of them. For it is impossible that they should be in the name of Christ except our understandings and will so address them. The Spirit moves all, and upon this the difference between man's actions depends. It is this that gives them the right and title they have in Christian morality. Works that are the same as to external action are good in one and bad in another. The aims of an ambitious man and of a true believer have no external difference, yet if you examine the inward springs of both, you will find one a piece of vanity, the other a fruit of charity.

2. The rule is short and easy, but of almost infinite use. As a little square serves an artificer to design and mark out a multitude of lines, and to correct those that are amiss, so by this little rule there is no human action respecting which we cannot ascertain whether it is right or wrong; nor is there any part of our lives which this rule is not capable of guiding and forming to perfection.

3. Specifically the name of Christ is the rule.(1) As the name of God signifies the Hebrew word by which the Lord distinguishes Himself, so Jesus is sometimes taken for the name which was given by express Divine command. But it is not thus taken here as if Paul simply intended that in our actions and discourses we should always intermix the word Jesus, or at least preface it.(2) The name of God is taken for the power, authority, and will of God (Deuteronomy 18:19; 2 Kings 2:24; Psalm 20:7; Psalm 89:16, 24; 1 Samuel 17:45; 2 Chronicles 14:11). So in like manner the name of Jesus (Acts 4:7; Matthew 7:22; Matthew 24:5; Matthew 18:20). So the apostle means —

(a)That we refer all to His glory.

(b)That we act according to His will.

(c)That we live in entire confidence in and dependence upon Him.

4. By this(1) Paul banishes, from our mind all unfruitful works of darkness, it being evident that we can do nothing that is opposed to His will.(2) He perfects and enlivens those of our works which of themselves are commanded of God, engrafting on them the true motive and directing them to the true end.(3) He sacrifices those which are in their nature indifferent; e.g., if this rule is observed in eating and drinking, acts indifferent in their nature,(a) the sacred name will purge them of the excess of intemperance on the one hand, and the foolish scruples of superstition on the other.(b) Being referred to the glory of God, from indifferent they become holy and acceptable to God.

3. We must not so take the precept as if we were obliged in every act and word to raise our thoughts directly to Christ. It is sufficient that we frequently and ordinarily make this application of mind. But it is necessary that we have this deposition so formed in our hearts, that when circumstances allow us to think of Christ our souls may lean that way as being habituated to it.

II. "GIVING THANKS INTO GOD AND THE FATHER BY HIM." These words may be taken as an independent precept (Ephesians 5:20) or a reason for the preceding rule, a title under which we ought to do all things in the name of Christ, so that our whole life may be an act of gratitude through Christ, which is to be preferred.

1. Thanksgiving is one of the most necessary and universal offices of a Christian. Remember what we are to God through creation, providence, and grace.

2. God the Father is the proper object of gratitude as the first principle of action, though not to the exclusion of the Son and Spirit.

3. By Jesus this gratitude is to be rendered.(1) He is the channel by which all God's goodness is poured upon us.(2) Our thanks cannot be grateful to the Father except addressed and presented by Christ. Application:

1. For the confirmation of faith.(1) We have a proof of the divinity of Christ. The faithful neither rejoice, nor speak, nor act, but in the name of God — but here it is required that our whole life be referred to the name of Christ. It must therefore be concluded that He is not a creature, but very God.(2) Is it not an outrage to require that saints should share this honour with Christ as Rome does? (Acts 4:12; 1 Corinthians 1:12).

2. For the instruction of our faith.(1) If we would be truly Christians, we must have Christ continually before us as the pole star, the rule of our whole life.(2) How many of us fall short of this.

(J. Daille.)


1. If it could be shown that its requirements were unreal, its statements exaggerated, its views of attainment unreason. able, it would lose immensely in its character for truth and its power for good.

2. Here we may fall into opposite mistakes.(1) We may take the sayings of Scripture strictly to the letter, set them clown as exaggerated, and above our capacities. This is the way with worldly people. They admire the gospel, but never think of realizing it. It is to them a mere night of stars to wonder and gaze at, not a sun to light them to their daily work, and warm their hearts with love.(2) Some religious people, like the former, strain the Bible to its literal meaning, and then require that meaning in full, and thus lead to the same point, and encourage indolence and unbelief.(3) Owing to a mixture of these we find Christian precept and practice widely sundered. And so men satisfy themselves with being Christian hearers and heathen livers, without the least suspicion of inconsistency.

3. Owing to this enormous abuses have sprung up under the shadow of the Church. A large proportion of the infidelity of the working classes is due to this unreal teaching. A strained and exaggerated view of religion has been put before them, alien from their habits of thought, and by no means supported by the example of its professors.


1. Observe the extent of this saying. It is plain that it must propose some motive and rule which shall touch daily life at every point.(1) Nothing is more common than a man with a powerful motive which rules his whole life — gain, ambition, love of family, science, art, victory, the exercise of an energetic nature. But whatever it be, reality is its necessary condition. There are of course many visionaries, men pursuing objects which have no real existence, but to them they are not unreal.(2) Observe how such motives act.(a) As to their inward influence on the man himself. Are they evermore in his view and present to his thoughts? Or is not their influence for the most part rather a constraining power of which he is unconscious, rather than a stimulus carried on by conscious effort? Take a man whose motives is the advancement of himself or his family. Such an object is consciously present when he chooses to reflect on it, but day by day in the toil and struggle he is not ever thinking of it, but he is pursuing it. The labourer working under the useful light and genial warmth does not lose his time and dazzle his sight in gazing on the sun, but plies his arm with his eye fixed on his work, and so uses for its intended purpose the light God has bestowed.(b) They are seldom loudly professed, so seldom that a man professing loudly a given motive arouses suspicion that he is acting on some other, and only using this as a blind. Here, as in nature, the deepest is the stillest; but by this very stillness all who are observant know its depth. Whatever mystery a man makes of his object in life, spectators generally arrive at correct conclusions.

2. Recur to the motive of the text.(1) There is a wide difference between persons who pursue objects which only appear real to them, and those whose objects are absolutely real. In the case of the former pursuit will lead away from, in the case of the latter it will lead to, the truth. It is not necessary that a motive should be based on reality to be all-constraining, but it is in order that it may be a worthy motive for an intelligent being.(2) The facts implied in the name, "The Lord Jesus," rest upon evidence as strong as can possibly be alleged for anything. The belief in Christ is not only the unavoidable conclusion of a sound mind from evidence, but the only satisfactory way to account for the state of the world in which we find ourselves.(3) But based on reality it must also be real to me, or it cannot be my motive. It must have points of contact with every part of my life. Has it these points? Not if our Lord be a mere teacher. Mere precepts cannot touch us at all points, or constrain us to do all things in a teacher's name. But our Lord, being God, became man, bore our sins and carried our sorrows, grew up through our life, and tasted death for every man. Take any life, in any condition or time, and there is help and hope for it in Jesus.(4) Now suppose a man embrace Jesus as his Saviour — let Christ's love become the acknowledged fact of His life, then it will become a constraining motive, and will not be contented with influencing some of his faculties, employing some of his time; from the nature of things it must have all — Christ is mine, and I am His, and whatever I do, spiritual or secular, business or recreation, I must do all in His name.(5) There are certain solemn times when this great motive is and must be expressly recognized; but when the whole man is possessed with the love of Christ, the whole ordinary being follows the direction of the central impulse. The Christian at his daily task is not ever pondering spiritual truths. He would be a bad workman and a bad Christian if he were.(6) Such deep constraining motive is not usually displayed before men; but its existence is not easily concealed. If a man be a Christian, men will take knowledge of him that he has been with Jesus.

(Dean Alford.)

— He who lives for the glory of God has an end in view which lends dignity to the man and to his life. Bring common iron into proper contact with the magnet, it will borrow the strange attractive virtue, and itself become magnetic. The merest crystal fragment, that has been flung out into the field and trampled on the ground, shines like a diamond when sunbeams stoop to kiss it. And who has not seen the dullest rain-cloud, when it turned its weeping face to the sun, change into glory, and, in the bow that spans it, present to the eyes of age and infancy, alike of the philosopher who studies, and of the simple joyous child who runs to catch it, the most brilliant and beautiful phenomenon in nature? Thus, from what they look at and come in contact with, common things acquire uncommon glory.

(T. Guthrie, D. D.)

Those old saints of the Middle Ages, how dearly they loved to set the name of Jesus forth everywhere, by all means, in every curious work of art — not merely of Church art, mind you, but of household and domestic furniture. Go, for example, into many of the farms round here, and notice the fire-dogs that stand in the yawning chimney: how they are wrought at the sides into those most blessed of all letters, the I.H.C., by which our dear Lord is set forth. Nothing so mean that it was thought unworthy of this monogram; nothing so glorious that it was considered unfit to have that excelling glory added thereto. There they taught us the great lesson — "Do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus." Yes, silver and gold and gems conspired together to mark out this name on the paten, or the chalice, or the shrine; the manufacturer of Limoges worked it out in his enamel; in the monastery potteries they burnt it in on their tiles; in convents they embroidered it on chasuble and cope; in the glorious windows of churches the light came in, sanctified, as it were, and hallowed by the name of the True Light; the poor peasant was encouraged, with his clasp knife, to consecrate his house by carving the same name on the hutch of his door or the barge-boards of his roof; the name of salvation could not be out of place among the dwellings of those who looked to be saved; the name which to adore will be the work of eternity, could never be out of place for the meditation and the worship of earth.

(Dr. Neale.)

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