Romans 16:6
Greet Mary, who has worked very hard for you.
Apostolic Commendations and CautionsU. R. Thomas.Romans 16:1-16
Apostolic GreetingsT. Robinson, D.D.Romans 16:1-16
Christian LoveJ. Lyth, D. D.Romans 16:1-16
Personal MessagesArchdeacon Farrar.Romans 16:1-16
Romans, But not RomanistsC. H. Spurgeon.Romans 16:1-16
The Conclusion of the EpistleJ. Parker, D.D.Romans 16:1-16
The Conclusion of the Epistle as a Revelation of Paul's CMatthew Henry.Romans 16:1-16
The SalutationsJ. Brown, D.D.Romans 16:1-16
The SalutationsW. Brock.Romans 16:1-16
The Salutations of St. PaulA. Thomson, D. D.Romans 16:1-16
The Salutations to the Church At Rome Prove that ChristianityJ. Lyth, D.D.Romans 16:1-16
The True AristocracyD. Thomas, D.D.Romans 16:1-16
The Truly Honourable in the Church of ChristJ. Lyth, D.D.Romans 16:1-16
Whom Does the Apostle Distinguish as Worthy of the Highest EstimationJ. Lyth, D.D.Romans 16:1-16
Words of Counsel for a Christian ChurchC.H. Irwin Romans 16:1-19
Christian SalutationsT.F. Lockyer Romans 16:1-16, 21-23
Salutations and BenedictionsR.M. Edgar Romans 16:1-27
A Fourfold Fellows-ShipRomans 16:6-7
A Working WomanGreat ThoughtsRomans 16:6-7
Age, What Men Reap InT. De Witt Talmage, D.D.Romans 16:6-7
Andronicus and JuniaT. Robinson, D.D.Romans 16:6-7
Andronicus and JuniaEssex Congregational RemembrancerRomans 16:6-7
Early ConsecrationW. L. Watkinson.Romans 16:6-7
Early Piety, Beauty OfC. H. Spurgeon.Romans 16:6-7
Early Piety, EnduringCawdray.Romans 16:6-7
Early Piety, Importance OfW. Arnot, D.D.Romans 16:6-7
In ChristJ. Stratten.Romans 16:6-7
In ChristS. Martin.Romans 16:6-7
Mary's ServiceJ. Lyth, D.D.Romans 16:6-7
Old Age in ChristJ. Blackburn.Romans 16:6-7
Priority in ChristJ. Lyth, D.D.Romans 16:6-7
The Blessedness of Being Betimes in ChristRomans 16:6-7
The Blessedness of Being Early in ChristJ. N. Norton, D.D.Romans 16:6-7
The Christian SageJ. Lyth, D.D.Romans 16:6-7
The Common BondCanon Garbett.Romans 16:6-7
The Marys of the New TestamentJ. Lyth, D. D.Romans 16:6-7
The Privilege of Being Early in ChristCanon Stowell.Romans 16:6-7
Youth, the Root of AgeH. W. Beecher.Romans 16:6-7

The Rev. W. S. Swanson, speaking some time ago at Manchester, showed that the religions of the East were powerless to regenerate the heart and purify the life, and that, however excellent some of them may appear in theory, they utterly failed in practice. Among other things he said, "I ask what adaptation have we found in these religions to meet the wants, to heal the wounds of woman, and to give her her proper and rightful position? What have they done to free her from the oppression that imprisons, degrades, and brutalizes her? What has 'the light of Asia' done to brighten her lot? What ray of comfort have these religions shed into the shambles where she is bought and sold? What have they done to sweeten and purify life for her? Why! her place in the so-called paradises of some of them, in the way in which it is painted, only burns the brand of shame more deeply on her brow." Christianity alone has given woman her rightful place. Woman occupies an honourable position in the Bible, and every wise provision is made for her, especially for the widow in her helplessness and loneliness. In the Old Testament we have such noble women as Deborah and Hannah, Ruth and Esther. In the New Testament we have Mary the mother of our Saviour, Mary of Bethany, Lydia, Dorcas, and many others. Women occupied an important place in the early Christian Church. At Philippi, for example, when St. Paul went to the place "where prayer was wont to be made," he found that little prayer-meeting entirely composed of women. In the Epistles of St. Paul we find him sending many messages to the Christian women of various Churches, and commending many of them for their faithfulness and devotion to the cause of Christ. Among those whom he thus mentions is Phoebe. We know nothing of Phoebe's history beyond what is stated here, and the additional fact mentioned in a note at the end of this Epistle that she was the bearer of this letter to the Christians at Rome.

I. PHOEBE WAS A SERVANT. It would appear that she was a lady of some means. She devoted her means and her time to assisting the poor and the helpless. She had been "a succourer of many" (ver. 2). But whatever position she occupied, she bears the name of servant. Now, there is nothing to be ashamed of in the name of servant. Every one who is worth anything is a servant in some sense. The less service any one renders, the more useless he or she is in the world. The sovereign upon the throne, the judges and magistrates, lawyers, medical men, men of business, ministers of the gospel, all are the servants of others. Be faithful in your service. The maxim of many in our time seems to be to take all the pay they can and render as little service as possible. That is not honest. Nor is it honest to work only when the eyes of your employer are upon you. "Servants, be obedient to your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; not with eye-service, as men-pleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; with good will doing service, as to the Lord and not to men." Be trustworthy. Regard what belongs to your master or your mistress with as much care as if it were your own. If your employer's children are committed to your care, how scrupulous you should be regarding them! Never let them hear from your lips a profane or evil word. If you are teaching them, seek to communicate to their youthful minds all the good principles that you can. Your work may be a quiet work, but if it is done faithfully it is a lasting work. You may not receive much notice or much thanks from your employer, but he that seeth in secret himself shall reward you openly.

II. PHOEBE WAS A SERVANT OF GOD. That was the secret of her useful and honoured life. It is the highest thing that could be said of any one. Employers are beginning to find out that God-fearing men and God-fearing women are not the worst servants.

1. A servant of God will not be the servant of this world. Many young ladies who call themselves Christians seem to spend their life altogether in the service of selfish pleasure and worldly amusement.

2. A servant of God will not, keep the company of the godless. There is no subject on which young women in our towns and cities need to be more plainly warned than the choice of their companions of both sexes. How many happy and promising young lives have been blighted, how many hearts have been broken, by foolish companionships and too hasty intimacy! The casual knowledge obtained of any one at an evening party or a pleasure excursion is no basis on which to form an engagement on which depends the happiness of a lifetime.

"Thrice blest whose lives are faithful prayers,
Whose loves in higher love endure.
What souls possess themselves so pure?
Or is there blessedness like theirs?"

III. PHOEBE WAS A SERVANT OF THE CHURCH. That is to say, she was a helper of God's people. She was a helper in Christian work. There are many young women whose lives are absolutely wasted, who are utterly wretched and miserable, for want of something to do. How many forms of useful service there are in which a young woman may engage I She may teach in the Sunday school; visit the aged and the sick, and minister unto them in spiritual things, and perhaps also to their bodily comfort and relief; she may invite the careless to the house of God. And a woman's influence is often powerful for good where even a Christian man would utterly fail to reach the hardened heart. - C.H.I.

Greet Mary, who bestowed much labour on us.
1. Well directed.

2. Diligently performed.

3. Rightly dictated.

4. Abundantly rewarded.

(J. Lyth, D.D.)

I. TWO WERE RELATED TO CHRIST — Mary the mother of Jesus, and Mary her sister.

II. TWO MINISTERED TO CHRIST — Mary of Bethany and Mary Magdalene.

III. TWO SHOWED KINDNESS TO CHRIST'S SERVANTS — Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark, and Mary of Rome.

(J. Lyth, D. D.)

Great Thoughts.
Have you the slightest desire to be loved, would you have your presence a welcome one in palace and cottage alike, would you be admired, respected, revered, would you feel all sweet human sympathies clustering around you while you live, and know that the tears of a multitude of friends would be shed upon your grave when you die, you must be a working woman — living and working for others, denying yourself for others, and building up for yourself a character, strong, symmetrical, beautiful. If I were you I would rather be that impalpable and quietly gliding shadow which the wounded soldier kissed as the noble Florence Nightingale passed down between the hospital beds, than the golden calf of luxury who has no thought above her personal ease and nourishment.

(Great Thoughts.)

Salute Andronicus and Junia
Probably husband and wife, or brother and sister. Grace adorns, sanctifies, and sweetens every relation of life. Natural relationships not absorbed by union with Christ. The distinction of these persons was that they were —

I. KINSMEN OF PAUL, either in the wider or more restricted sense. Paul's nephew at Jerusalem warmly attached to his uncle. Grace recognises the ties of kindred. These ties drawn still closer by a common faith.

II. PAUL'S FELLOW PRISONERS. When and where unknown. Valuable undesigned coincidence with 2 Corinthians 6:5; 2 Corinthians 11:23. Paul had been often in prison, but the history speaks only of one imprisonment (Acts 16:23) before the date of this letter. Others mentioned afterwards as his fellow prisoners (Colossians 4:10; Philippians 2:2, 3). Chains for Christ greater honour than chains of office.

III. OF NOTE AMONG THE APOSTLES. They were not, of course, apostles in the strictest sense, viz., of the company appointed by Christ Himself (Matthew 10:2), but in the wider sense, viz., messengers (2 Corinthians 8:23). Amongst these Andronicus and Junia were highly distinguished. There are different ranks among believers, as there were among David's worthies who were honoured according to bravery and zeal. Not only sincerity, but eminence in grace to be desired. Grace distinguishes more than gifts, but the best gifts are to be coveted. Paul's relations apparently lived in Jerusalem (Acts 23:16). Andronicus and Junia therefore in circumstances to be well known to apostles. Possibly the gospel was brought by them to Rome.

IV. IN CHRIST BEFORE PAUL. The distinguishing characteristic of a true Christian is to be in Christ. The believer is in three positions — in Adam by nature, in Christ by faith, in the Church by baptism. To be in Christ is to be one with Him as a member of His body. Note Paul's humility. He readily accords pre-eminence. These kinsmen may have been among the converts at Pentecost. Priority of union with Christ to be regarded as an honour. Age in Christ makes venerable. Paul delights to refer to his conversion. The time of our union with Christ never to be forgotten.

(T. Robinson, D.D.)

Essex Congregational Remembrancer.
I. THEIR RELATION TO CHRIST. This includes three things.

1. An impressive knowledge and belief of His character and work.

2. An interest in the blessings possessed by Christ.

3. A likeness to Christ.

II. A DISTINGUISHING CIRCUMSTANCE OF THEIR SUBJECTION TO CHRIST. Paul's friends were Christians before himself. Note the importance of an early relation to Christ.

1. How many evils are avoided.

(1)An awfully deluded mind.

(2)Inveterate habits in sin.

(3)Much of poignant regret.

(4)The awful danger of being taken away in a state of enmity against God.

2. How many positive advantages are gained.

(1)The pleasures of religion are enjoyed through life.

(2)There is the present satisfaction of being under the promised care and blessing of the Divine Redeemer.

(3)There is the elevating hope that death will be gain.

(Essex Congregational Remembrancer.)

1. Of family.

2. Of suffering.

3. Of service.

4. Of grace. Who also were in Christ before me. —


1. We are in Christ —

(1)By virtue of the Divine plan and purpose (Ephesians 1:4; 2 Timothy 1:9).

(2)When our sins are forgiven (Colossians 2:11-14).

(3)By regeneration (2 Corinthians 5:17). And in connection with this Christ is said to be "our life."

(4)When we are justified (Romans 8:1).

(5)When we make profession of faith in Christ's name.

(6)By holy walking (Colossians 2:6).

(7)At His coming.

2. This union is —

(1)Deep and indestructible.

(2)A union which is the source of reciprocal delight.


1. When we are young, as soon as the truth of Jesus can be received into the understanding and the heart, the child may be "in Christ." We have instances in Holy Scripture of early piety: Joseph, Moses, David, Josiah, Daniel and the three Hebrews, John the Baptist, and Timothy. When we enter upon the serious businesses and occupations of life: Christ says, "Take My yoke upon you"; and if you receive Christ's yoke and hear His burden, you are "in Christ."

2. When we are married. We read that marriage is to be only "in the Lord." Are you going to be "heirs together of the grace of life"?

3. Are you forty, and not "in Christ"? Your peril is extreme. It is a rare thing for a person to be converted after forty.

4. I come to age. We deny not that a man may be brought unto Christ, just when he is about to expire, as the thief upon the cross was; but I beg of you that you leave not a question of such profound importance to such a conjuncture as that. said, touchingly — "I was too late in knowing Christ." "Twill save us from a thousand snares to mind religion young."

III. IT IS A GREAT PRIVILEGE TO BE "IN CHRIST." The apostle speaks of that which was of first advantage, and it is compared with other advantages. In Philippians 3. Paul gives an account of all his Hebrew advantages, and counts all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ. But let me advert to other privileges.

1. National privileges. It was a privilege to be a Roman, and the apostle valued that privilege. It is a privilege to be an Englishman, and there are peculiar privileges belonging to some positions in our country, but all of them put together, in comparison with the advantage of being "in Christ," are as nothing.

2. What a privilege is the sight of the eye, and the brightness of the sun! Is there no privilege in the spiritual vision and the glory of the Sun of Righteousness?

3. What a value in life! What is the spiritual life worth?

4. And especially viewed in the light of eternity. If not "in Christ" when you die, you will die in your sins. "In Christ," or no resurrection of glory at the last day, but a resurrection of judgment and condemnation.

(J. Stratten.)

This passage furnishes an interesting illustration of the Christian love of those early days, and how the gospel knit men's hearts together across the earth at a time of the world's history when the intercourse of man with man was small, and travelling dangerous, laborious, and slow. Yet the number of names mentioned shows how largely, even then, the tenderness of Christian love could draw heart to heart, and unite even personal strangers in a true brotherhood.

I. The phrase "in Christ" implies THE ATTAINMENT OF SAFETY IN CHRIST. The language is founded on the idea of a refuge, as if a man surrounded with foes and in danger of his life should fly to some stronghold, and be in safety. It may be that the devil attacks you with some strong temptation; it may be that God has visited you with solemn convictions, and you know not where to find peace. It may be that life is slipping swiftly by; health failing you, death drawing near, whither shall you look for help? There is but one refuge; one, where the power of sin will be broken; one, where the tormenting sense of guilt will be removed by the atoning blood of Christ; one, where declining life will cease to alarm you, where death itself will lose its fears.

II. The words "in Christ" imply UNION WITH CHRIST. Here the living idea which naturally occurs is that of a vine branch, living by union with the root arid partaking of its life, just as our Lord said, "Abide in Me. He that abideth in Me, the same bringeth forth much fruit." Here we take a step farther than mere safety. It is not from the punishment of sin alone we need to be saved, but from the stain of its pollutions. Why, what is religion but life? and life is joy. There is joy in the state into which we enter when we become children of God, and look up to the great Being who made the heavens and the earth and all things therein, and call Him with happy confidence, "Our Father, which art in heaven." It is not all over with us when we die; the best is to come in the cloudless heaven prepared for those who love God.

III. To be "in Christ" implies THE REST OF THE SOUL. when it has found Him, and the satisfaction with which it dwells content in Him. Here we have the idea of search. Like the merchantman in search of goodly pearls, we look for the object of our desire in every direction, and pursue eagerly our search till, in some happy moment, we find the precious thing for Which we are seeking, and then we rest. It would be as easy to satisfy a man with the playthings of a child, as to satisfy with things perishing a soul that will live for ever. We search and are disappointed. How often in common life we use the phrase of a person or of a thing that has disappointed us, "I did not find what I expected in him or in it? But we may find all in Christ.

(Canon Garbett.)

These words were very familiar and very precious to the early Christians. So much so, that they inscribed them on the tombs of their departed friends, as the catacombs in Rome and other ancient burial places still show you. And it was thought enough to wipe away a mourner's tears to see on his friend's grave the inscription, "In Christ." The preposition "in," as found in our New Testament, has a variety of significations in accordance with the various meanings of the word which it translates. It is hero employed to represent presence, or inclosure; as, when we say, "in a kingdom," "in a family," "in a house," "in the body." Not as when we say "in a valley," meaning upon the surface; thus, you say, "a house in a valley," meaning upon the surface of the ground constituting a valley; but, as when you say, "in a mountain," or "in a river," representing the idea that the thing of which you speak is contained or inclosed. "In Christ," is used in our New Testament not unfrequently with this signification; as, when we read of "faith in Christ," "hope in Christ," "truth in Christ." And persons are said elsewhere to be in Christ — thus, "babes in Christ" — "fallen asleep in Christ." There you see the word can have no other idea connected with it than that of inclusion — that of being contained; it cannot be by Christ, or after Christ, or before Christ; "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature." You will observe that this is distinct from, and something in advance of, faith in Christ, and truth in Christ. Although the two things in reality are connected, yet you will see that there is a distinction between saying that a man's faith rests in Christ, and that the man himself is in Christ. The two things we know are in reality connected, but you will observe that the ideas are distinct. The words, "In Christ," represent some personal relation and connection; for you will observe the phrase is not "hope in Christ," or, as elsewhere, "faith in Christ." The idea is not that of any particular faculty or susceptibility having Christ for its object. The idea is that of the individual, in all his life, being intimately connected with Christ. Notice that this connection is begun in time. There was a time when, according to Paul's own idea, he was not in Christ. Now, very close union is indicated by Christ Himself, as existing between Himself and His disciples. "He that eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood, dwelleth in Me, and I in him." "At that day ye shall know that I am in the Father, and ye," mark, "ye in Me." Elsewhere, by His apostle, Christ teaches, "He that is joined unto the Lord, is one spirit, for," he adds, "we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones." There are certain analogies which will here assist us. You know that Christ is called "the last man"; "the last Adam"; "the second Adam." Adam was a representative man. And there are particular ideas involved in these general thoughts. For example, as an advocate, Christ represents us; and, if Christ as an advocate represents us, we appear before God in Him. Again, Christ is called "the chief corner-stone." As the several stones are one in the corner, so are believers one in Christ; and the same thought, you observe, is involved in Christ being the "Head." Again, He is called "the true vine"; and His disciples "are the branches." But there are certain doctrines which throw light upon this expression. Let me just remind you that "all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God"; and, except we are redeemed by the Saviour, we are ungodly. We are not in the spiritual, and in the most blessed, sense living in God. In the lowest sense we all "live, and move, and have our being" in Him-just as plants, and trees, and flowers, the grass of the field, the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, live in Him; but in the highest sense, the ungodly cannot live in Him while they are ungodly. Instead of being of the Father, they are of the world. Their element is not God, And this is our great fault; this is the source of our wretchedness; this is the root of all our wickedness. Look further. God loves the world, and desires, in the most blessed sense, that men should be brought back to Him. Then, to restore them to union with Himself, He gives His Son to be a Mediator. Now suppose that I receive this truth, what have I done? I have not my own case in hand as a suffering, sinful man. I am not trying to be my own advocate. My case is in Christ; it is entirely represented in Him. It is not only in His hand, but it is involved in His very position; because unless there were sinners there could not be a Mediator. "In Christ" — then your iniquities are forgiven, and your transgression is covered. "In Christ" — then by His obedience you are accounted righteous. "In Christ" — then the Spirit of Christ dwells with you. "In Christ" — then you are joint heirs with Christ. "In Christ" — then your life is hid with Christ, and it cannot be taken away.

(S. Martin.)

I. IT MAKES OUR WORK EASIER. How easy to bend the pliant twig! How hard to move the sturdy tree! An old man, one day taking a child on his knee, entreated him to seek God now. With artless simplicity the little one asked, "Why do not you seek God?" The old man answered, his utterance half choked with tears, "I would, child, but my heart is hard — my heart is hard!"

II. OUR WORK IS BETTER DONE. He who invites us to remember Him "in the days of our youth," will show His love by affording abundant help.

III. LIFE IS MADE MORE HAPPY. Conscience testifies that we have chosen the "good part," and that God is our Friend. The power of temptation is weakened. The growth of graces is promoted. Unreasonable doubts and fears are removed. The sting of death is effectually plucked away. Religious ways are ways of pleasantness and peace. Great peace have they who love God's law.

IV. IT SAVES US FROM BEING DESTRUCTIVE EXAMPLES TO OTHERS. When Lord Peterborough was the guest of Fenelon, he exclaimed, "If I stay here any longer, I shall become a Christian in spite of myself." A young man, who was about to be ordained to the ministry, stated that at one period he had been nearly betrayed into infidelity. "But," he added, "there was one argument in favour of Christianity which I could never refute — the consistent conduct of my own father!" In contrast with such examples for good, imagine the terrible, soul-destroying influence of evil men!

V. IT FITS ONE FOR AN EXALTED POSITION OF USEFULNESS IN GOD'S KINGDOM. "Early piety," says Henry, "it is to be hoped, will be eminent piety. Those that are good betimes are likely to be very good." Take an old, time-wrinkled man, and endeavour to teach him the arts of a soldier, or to make a scholar or tradesman of him. What painful plodding, and, oftentimes, what unavailing effort! But the young can master any-thing.

VI. WE ARE CERTAIN OF A HEAVENLY REWARD. As in a well-appointed army the soldier's pay is regulated by the time of service, so is it with the followers of Christ. Long years of "patient continuance in well-doing" will be recompensed with the highest seats, the brightest crowns, and the most ecstatic enjoyment.

(J. N. Norton, D.D.)

Everything is beautiful in its season. What spring is in the natural year, youth is in the life of man. If that precious season is lost, it is a dreadful thing; rather there should be the sowing to the Spirit, that we may reap life everlasting. It is therefore a beautiful order that the young should remember their Creator in the days of their youth. Hence it was that Paul spake of himself as "one born out of due time" — not born at the right season. And hence it is that he attaches such distinction to Andronicus and Junta.

I. WHAT IS IT TO BE IN CHRIST? Probably the common answer is"To be a Christian." But what is it to be a Christian? To be baptized? Then indeed the whole baptized population of our land were in Christ. But is there any man in his senses that dares to affirm that? There is a sense, indeed, in which all who are baptized are in Christ: they are under solemn obligations to Christ; they have His name upon them; they have the symbol of His service traced upon their brow. But this will only enhance their guilt and aggravate their condemnation, if this be all. And yet there is a sense in which being baptized into Christ is being in Christ, but that is when the sign of the water poured on the child is authenticated by a new birth unto righteousness. Baptism is the outward and visible representation of the grafting of a soul into Christ. Now when the gardener wishes to graft a scion from one tree into another, he inserts it into a little aperture, and afterwards surrounds it with clay and straw, and binds the whole round with strong bands. And thus the grafting, as far as man can accomplish it, is done. But in order that the grafting may take effect, the bark of the stem must grasp and coalesce with the little slip, and that little slip, putting forth its fibres and its stems, must also grasp the bark of the stem, and so there must be a reciprocal union. Then the grafting is effectual. Even so it is in the grafting of a soul into Christ. Baptism and all the means of grace are what men can use and ought to use; but in vain are all the means of grace, except the union of the soul with Christ takes place. That union is accomplished on the part of Christ by putting His own Spirit into the soul, and on the part of the soul by believing in Christ. And if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, however duly baptized, however moral, he is none of Christ's. Therefore to be in Christ is represented by every figure of adhering union.

II. WHAT IS THE INESTIMABLE BLESSING OF BEING THUS IN CHRIST? And here all thought fails us; for, if a man be out of Christ, he is under sin and the power of Satan; but he that is in Christ is delivered out of the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the sons of God. And "if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature"; all things are his — "whether Paul or Apollos," etc. He is safe from every peril, secure from all evils: God is his Father, angels are his attendants, and all things work together for his good.


1. Is to be in Christ. At the right time, as Christ Himself designs that we should be. For I have no doubt that infant baptism is of Christ. Circumcision was enjoined upon every child of God's professing people, so that the child who was not circumcised was to be cut off from Israel.

2. Will save from thousands of evils and dark stains. Out of Christ the child knows not what may become of it, how he may, like the prodigal, debase himself until he is feeding the swine. But to be early in Christ is to be early in the ark, in the stronghold, out of the reach of Satan.

3. Will augment usefulness. The stream that runs a little way to the ocean can leave but little greenness and beauty on its banks; but the river that winds its crystal way through many a valley and over many a plain — oh! what rich blessing it scatters along its course! And so it is in comparison with the man who has but a little course in which to serve God, when he has wasted his best years in sin.

(Canon Stowell.)


1. Our first clear duty is to know and glorify God. He has made, preserved, and redeemed us. It is, therefore, utterly ignoble to ask with how little we may satisfy His claim. A duke of Brittany during a long imprisonment vowed that if he regained his liberty he would give to the Church his weight in gold, and did so conscientiously, for he went into the balance clad in all his armour. When Don Carlos, the son of Philip II., lay ill, he made a like vow, but on his recovery placed himself in the scale clad in damask and fur. We see at a glance which is the more excellent way.

2. We glorify God the most when we come to Him soonest (Ephesians 1:12), with the free-offering of a life unviolated, fresh, and full of all glorious possibilities — far more than we can by laying fortunes at His feet in distant years (Micah 7:1).

II. IN ITS RELATION TO OUR OWN LIFE. It is our business to make the best of our life throughout, and early consecration gives perfection —

1. To our youth. It secures to the full —(1) The grace of early days. Like the firefly on a flower, or the rainbow above a waterfall, what was already beautiful the grace of God makes doubly so.(2) The joy of youth. The light-hearted, free joyousness of life's golden dawn is not damped by the fear of God, only conserved and raised.(3) The spirit of youth. So far from destroying enthusiasm, the love of God only renders more intense and pure the generous fire.(4) All the beautiful characteristics of youth. The angel John saw in the sun would not dim the light: religion in youth is that angel giving new splendour to life.

2. To our manhood. A wasted youth tells injuriously on the later stages of life. When the trees in the spring-time are nipped by the frost they never quite recover. But early in Christ means a strong, pure, blessed manhood (Lamentations 3:27). It is an unspeakable advantage to serve the apprenticeship of life under Christ. He can make us workmen needing not to be ashamed in that most difficult art — the art of living.

3. To our age. Andronicus and Junia were admirable people to the last. Age is much what we make it, desolate old age being the bitter fruit of self-will and indulgence, a bright old age the fruit of discipline. The French artist Millet used to say to his pupils, "The end of the day is the proof of the picture." That which will bear the test of the twilight hour is true in character as well as in art.


1. Early in Christ we best serve our generation. Andronicus and Junia were famous workers in their generation. As a rule the world can owe but little to men saved in the eleventh hour. At eventide we hear men say, "Well, it is too late to make a good day's work of a bad one."

2. None who in early life devote themselves to Christ ever live to regret having done so. Protracted investigation only shows them the reality of the rock on which they have built; the experiences of life only prove the preciousness of Christ's truth and grace; the sorrows of life only cause them to cherish with profounder satisfaction the consolations and hopes of faith.

3. None who in later life devote themselves to Christ but wish they had done so earlier. Was not this really the wish of Paul here? Andronicus and Junia were rejoicing in Christ while he was haling men and women to prison.

4. That portion of our life which had no spiritual experience in it we feel was lost, no matter our worldly delights, knowledge, wealth, social triumphs. Pontius, the biographer of , passes by the early period of his history with the remark that a man's actions should be recorded not from the time of his first, but of his second birth (Romans 6:20, 21).

5. Few who finally fail to devote themselves to Christ but feel that the fatal mistake of their life was their early neglect of Christ.(1) The external difficulties of beginning multiply with time, until in the course of years they become apparently insurmountable. The aged sinner is conscious that the gossamer thread which once held him from Christ has become an iron fetter, and the rivulet separating from the great inheritance a river.(2) The internal difficulties increase — the failure of sensibility, will-power, etc., renders the beginning of a new life almost incredible to him who has for years resisted the Holy Ghost. It is always difficult to make the great renunciation, but the initial difficulty is never less than in life's opening years (1 John 2:14; Proverbs 8:17; Isaiah 26:9).

(W. L. Watkinson.)

Early in the morning the dew still twinkles on the leaves, the maiden blush of dawn remains and reveals an opening beauty, which is lost to those who rise not to see the birth of day. There is a beauty about early piety which is indescribably charming, and unutterably lovely in freshness and radiance. We remark in childhood an artless simplicity, a child-like confidence, which is seen nowhere else. There may be less of knowing, but there is more of loving; there may be less of reasoning, but there is more of simply believing upon the authority of revelation; there may be less of deep-rootedness, but there is certainly more of perfume, beauty, and emerald verdure. If I must choose that part of the Christian life in which there is the most joy, next to the land Beulah, which I must set first and foremost by reason of its lying so near to Canaan, I think I would prefer that tract of Christian experience which lieth toward the sun-rising, which is sown with orient pearls of love, and cheered with the delicious music of the birds of hope.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

If the tree is permitted to grow up and to grow old, with the intention of making it new then, there is danger, lest, through storms or fire or war, it may be suddenly destroyed. And, even though it were protected from all these risks, it is strange that any one should deliberately desire that the soil and sun and air should be enjoyed by that tree, and wasted in bearing bitter fruit all the days of its strength, and only make a good tree in its old age, when it scarcely has sap sufficient in its veins to bear any fruit at all. See, reader, in this plain parable, how foolish, how false, how blasphemous, is the desire that throbs cowardly and covertly in many young hearts, to waste the broad sunny surface of life in sin, and throw a narrow strip of its withered, rugged edge at last as an offering to God! If you have no desire to be good and do good throughout the life on earth that lies before you, how can you desire to be good and do good in the eternity that lies beyond? Be not deceived. He who is weary of sin wants to be quit of it now, and instantly to enjoy a new life.. He who says he wants to be holy, but would rather put off the date of the change, lies to himself, to the world, and to God.

(W. Arnot, D.D.)

As a vessel will long retain and keep the savour of that wherewith it is first seasoned; even so, if children be taught good things while they be young and tender, they will abide the longer with them.


It should be borne in mind that in old age it is too late to mend, that then you must inhabit what you have built. Old age has the foundation of its joy or its sorrow laid in youth. You are building at twenty. Are you building for seventy? Nay, every stone in the foundation takes hold of every stone in the wall up to the very eaves of the building; and every deed, right or wrong, that transpires in youth, reaches forward, and has a relation to all the afterpart of man's life. A man's life is not like the contiguous cells in a bee's honeycomb; it is more like the separate parts of a plant which unfolds out of itself, every part bearing relation to all that antecede. That which you do in youth is the root, and all the afterparts, middle age and old age, are the branches and the fruits, whose characterthe root will determine.

(H. W. Beecher.)

1. Is a privilege.

2. Confers honour.

3. Demands proficiency.

4. Should guarantee usefulness.

5. Commands respect.

(J. Lyth, D.D.)


1. Some are in Christ only externally, as by baptism entered into His Church.

2. Some are also in Christ by vital union (Ephesians 5:30; 1 Corinthians 6:17; John 6:56).


1. In the union itself, as it is —(1) Most intimate and endearing. Christ is compared to a foundation for our support, a vine for our fruitfulness, a head for vital importance, a husband for the most tender love. This is the ground of that sympathy that there is between Christ and His members (Hebrews 4:15; Colossians 1:24; Acts 9:4).(2) Most honourable. No title among men is comparable to that of being a member of Christ. Angels are subject to Him, but are not styled His body (Ephesians 1:23; Hebrews 2:16). How great is their dignity who are thus allied to the Lord of glory (1 Corinthians 2:8).(3) Most enriching (Ephesians 3:8; Colossians 1:19; John 1:16; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 1 Corinthians 3:21, 23).(4) Most comfortable. Nothing can be wanting to their support who are taken into it.(5) Immediate. Every member stands equally near the Head: they are all in Him (1 Peter 4:5, 6; Ephesians 2:22; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Colossians 2:19).(6) Inseparable.

2. In some instances of the happiness that belongs to those who are found in Christ. They —(1) Have their sins pardoned (Psalm 32:1; Colossians 1:14).(2) Are freed from sin's reigning power (Romans 7:24, 25; Romans 8:2).(3) Are rescued from the tyranny of Satan (Ephesians 2:2).(4) Are delivered from the curse and condemnation of the law, and so from hell (John 3:18; Romans 8:1; Galatians 3:13).(5) Are brought into a state of favour with God whose lovingkindness is better than life (Psalm 63:3; Romans 5:1).(6) Are adopted into His family, that of which the Lord Jesus Christ is the head (John 1:12; Ephesians 2:19; Romans 8:17).(7) Have the privilege of free access to God and are always welcome, being made accepted in the Beloved (Ephesians 1:6).(8) Have their perseverance secured while they live; the reception of their souls to heaven at death; a glorious resurrection of their bodies, and a blessed eternity.


1. This is the best preservative from sin, so displeasing to God, and which will fill the guilty with so much horror in the review.

2. Hereby you will be saved from being destructive examples to others; drawing them on in sin together with yourselves.

3. You will be fitted for more eminent service for God and your generation; be common blessings in helping to keep off judgments, and bring down mercy upon the places of your abode.

4. You will be especially dear to heaven; in the number of those whom God and Christ will delight to favour and honour.

5. This will speak you signal instances of the sovereignty and riches of grace that may be matter of comfortable reflection to you all your days.

6. You will be most like to attain a comfortable evidence of the sincerity and truth of grace, and so that you are the objects of God's eternal choice.

7. Your great work upon earth will be over, being early provided for a blessed eternity.

8. If you are longer spared you will have a fair advantage of making a greater proficiency in grace, and so enlarge your capacity for greater glory.

IV. APPLICATION. Is it the happiness of some to be in Christ before others? Hence learn —

1. That a state of nature is a Christless state, and so a very miserable one (Ephesians 2:12).

2. How dangerous must it be to rest in a mere profession, and what multitudes are like to perish as looking no farther I (Matthew 7:21; 1 John 3:23).

3. How unreasonable is the backwardness of sinners to close with an offered Saviour! And yet how commonly is it discovered!

4. With what seriousness should every one concerned about his everlasting happiness or misery take up and pursue the inquiry, Am I in Christ, yea, or no?

(D. Wilcox.)

The date of this Epistle is A.D. 58; the apostle was converted in A.D. 34. So that Andronicus and Junia had been disciples for more than twenty-four years, They were therefore advanced in life. May we not suppose that they were known to Him when He was a persecutor?


1. Stability in the faith.

2. Fertility in holiness.

3. Expectancy of blessings.


1. They afford encouragement to the fearful.

2. They suggest caution to the inexperienced.


1. Our veneration.

2. Our sympathy on account of their infirmities.

3. Our assistance.

(J. Blackburn.)

A young man came to a man of ninety years of age and said to him, "How have you made out to live so long and be so well?" The old man took the youngster to an orchard, and, pointing to some large trees full of apples, said, "I planted these trees when I was a boy, and do you wonder that now I am permitted to gather the fruit of them?" We gather in old age what we plant in our youth. Sow to the wind and we reap the whirlwind. Plant in early life the right kind of a Christian character, and you will eat luscious fruit in old age, and gather these harvest apples in eternity.

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


1. Early conversion.

2. Experience.

3. Prospects.


1. To counsel.

2. Exhort.

3. Encourage.


1. Respect.

2. Veneration.

3. Sympathy.

(J. Lyth, D.D.)

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