Titus 2:9


The class of servants, or rather slaves, had. received a wonderful elevation through the gospel. They were an oppressed class, and may have been tempted to imagine that their religious emancipation would necessarily change their relations to their old masters. Thus we account for the large body of practical counsel that is addressed by the apostle to this class of believers.

I. THE DUTIES OF SERVANTS.

1. Obedience. "Exhort servants to be obedient to their own masters." This was a manifest obligation which the gospel did not annul. It may have been a hard duty, but the gospel supplied grace for the faithful discharge of it. It mattered not whether the master was a Christian or a pagan; the gospel did not destroy his claims to obedient service. But the obedience was necessarily limited by the Divine Law, for a servant could not sin at a master's command. He must in that case willingly suffer the consequences of disobedience.

2. A cheerful compliance with the, master's will. "And to please them well in all things; not answering again." It denotes that temper which anticipates a master's pleasure, rather than the disposition to thwart it by sullen and capricious ways. Thus they would be doing the will of God and. serving the common Master of all, Jesus Christ, who gave them an example of meekness and submission.

3. Honesty and fidelity. "Not purloining, but showing all good fidelity." Many slaves in ancient times were entrusted with the property of their masters, as merchants, physicians, and artists. Thus they had many ways or' showing their honesty. It was in their power to defraud them by embezzlement, or to waste the property, or to allow it to be wasted without check or rebuke. Servants were to have family interests at heart, and they were thus to commend themselves to the love and confidence of their masters.

II. THE DESIGN OR MOTIVE OF THIS FAITHFUL AND READY OBEDIENCE. "That they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things."

1. The Savior is as fully glorified in the servant as in the master, in the poor as in the rich, in the peasant as in the king. Indeed, the adornment of the gospel seems more manifest in the obedience of the lowest class; for of the other classes specified it was only said "that God's Name might not be blasphemed." Calvin says God deigns to receive adornment even from slaves.

2. The Lord lifts the slave out of his mean conditions when he seats him on equal conditions of blessing and honor at the same holy table.

3. The spectacle of cheerful and self-denying obedience on the part of this class would have an arresting influence upon an age of self-love and cynicism, such as that which influenced the world at that time. - T.C.









Exhort servants to be obedient
I. THOSE DUTIES ENUMERATED.

1. Obedience.

2. Acceptableness of service. The idea is really, approbation based upon virtuous actions.

3. Respectfulness of manner.

4. Honesty.

5. Fidelity.

II. MOTIVES OF DUTY. That the religion of Christ might be honoured in the consistency of its professors.

(F. Wagstaff.)

I. The first and proper duty of every servant is SUBJECTION, or a stooping under the authority of his master. This consists —

1. In an inward reverencing in heart the image of God in His superiority. This reverent subjection of the heart the Lord in His own example requireth in all His servants, "If I be a master, where is My fear?" (Malachi 1:6), and is the first duty of that commandment, "Honour thy father and mother." The apostle (Ephesians 6:5) calleth for fear and trembling from servants toward their masters.

2. In the outward testimony of this inward reverence, both in speech and gesture before his master, and behind his back; but especially in the free obedience of all his lawful, yea, and unequal commandments, so as they be not unlawful (Colossians 3:22).

3. In patient enduring without resistance, rebukes and corrections, although bitter, yea, and unjust (1 Peter 2:18, 19).

II. The second virtue required of servants towards their masters is, that they PLEASE THEM IN ALL THINGS. How will this precept stand with that in Ephesians 6:6, where servants are forbidden to be men pleasers? To serve only as men pleasers, as having the eye cast only on man is hypocrisy, and the sin of many servants, pleasing man for man's sake, and that is condemned by our apostle; but to please men in God and for God is a duty in servants next unto the first; who, to show themselves well pleasing to their masters, must carry in their hearts and endeavour a care to be accepted of them, even in the things which, for the indignity and burdensomeness of them, are much against their own minds. For this is the privilege of a master to have his servant devoted unto his pleasure and will, for the attempting of any business, the continuance in it, and the unbending of him from it; and when the servant hath done all he can, it was but debt and duty, and no thanks are due to him from his master (Matthew 8:9). But wherein must I please my master or mistress? In all things, that is, in all outward things which are in different and lawful. I say in outward things, so Ephesians 6:5, servants obey your masters according to the flesh; wherein the apostle implieth two things.

1. That the masters are according and over the flesh and outward man; not over the spirit and inward man, over which we have all one Master in heaven.

2. That accordingly they are to obey in outward things, for if the dominion of the one be bounded so also must needs be the subjection of the other. Again, these outward things must be lawful or indifferent; for they must not obey against the Lord, but in the Lord.

III. Servants are in the third place PROHIBITED CROSSLY AND STUBBORNLY TO REASON, AND DISPUTE MATTERS WITH THEIR MASTERS; but in silence and subjection to sit down with the worse, even when they suffer wrong; for as they are to carry a reverent esteem of them in their hearts so must they bewray reverence, love, and lowliness in all their words and gestures; neither are they here coped from all manner of speech, for when just occasion of speech is offered, as by questions asked, they must make respective answers and not in sullenness say nothing, for Solomon condemneth it as a vice and great sin in servants, when they understand, not to answer (Proverbs 29:19).

IV. "NOT PURLOINING." By the former, servants were taught to bridle their tongues; by this precept, their hands. The word properly noteth the setting somewhat apart to one's private use, which is not his, and is used (Acts 5:6). Ananias kept away and craftily conveyed to his private use that which should have gone another way. So that servants are forbidden to pilfer the least part of their master's goods to dispose to their own or other's use without the acquaintance of their masters. And herein, under this principle, all manner of unfaithfulness is inclusively condemned, as the opposition in the next words showeth.

V. "BUT SHOWING ALL GOOD FIDELITY."

1. In his master's commands, readily and diligently to perform them of conscience, and not for eye service, but whether his master's eye be upon him or no. Wherein Abraham's servant giveth a notable precedent.

2. In his counsels and secrets, never disclosing any of his infirmities or weaknesses, but by all lawful and good means covering and biding them. Contrary hereunto is that wickedness of many servants, who may, indeed, rather be accounted so many spies in the house, whose common practice is, where they may be heard, to blaze abroad whatsoever may tend to their master or mistress's reproach, having at once cast off both the religious fear of God, as also the reverent respect of God's image in the persons of their superiors.

3. In his messages abroad, both in the speedy execution and dispatch of them, as also in his expenses about them; husbanding his master's money, cutting off idle charges, and bringing home a just account; hereby acknowledging that the eye of his own conscience watcheth him when his master's eye cannot.

4. Unto his master's wife, children, servants, wisely with Joseph distinguishing the things which are committed unto him from them that are excepted.

5. Lastly, in all his actions and carriage, so also in every word, shunning all lying, dissembling, untruths, whether for his master's, his own, or other men's advantage; in the practice of which duties he becometh faithful in all his master's house.

(T. Taylor, D. D.)

A lady once, when she was a little girl, learned a good lesson, which she tells for the benefit of whom it may concern: — "One frosty morning I was looking out of the window into my father's farmyard, where stood many cows, oxen, and horses, waiting to drink. It was a cold morning. The cattle all stood very still and meek, till one of the cows attempted to turn round. In making the attempt she happened to hit her next neighbour, whereupon the neighbour kicked and hit another. In five minutes the whole herd were kicking each other with fury. My mother laughed and said: 'See what comes of kicking when you are hit. Just so, I have seen one cross word set a whole family by the ears on some frosty morning.' Afterward, if my brothers or myself were a little irritable, she would say, 'Take care, my children. Remember how the fight in the farmyard began. Never give back a kick for a hit, and you will save yourselves and others a great deal of trouble.'"

Not purloining
I. THE NATURE OF THE SIN AGAINST WHICH THE TEXT WARNS US. Stealing is a term applicable to the conduct of a man who goes to the house, or the farm, or the shop of another, and takes away his goods or other property. We turn an act of theft into one of purloining when a servant helps himself, without an understood allowance from his master or mistress, to that which is under his care, or to which he has access; or when a workman pockets, for his own use, what he thinks he may bear away without detection; or when a labourer carries away from his master's farm something to add to his own little stock, or to maintain his own family. To steal is to take what is not our own. To purloin is to take what is not our own too; but it is something we had in trust, or to which we had access. If purloining be practised on a large scale, it changes its name and becomes embezzlement.

II. THE EXCEEDING SINFULNESS OF THIS SIN. There are many excuses which are brought forward in extenuation of this offence.

1. The change of its name. There is a wonderful imposition in words; and many purloiners quiet their consciences by changing the name. Because it is not commonly called stealing, they think it does not involve the guilt of stealing.

2. Another plea is, that however great the amount may be in the course of months or years, you are pleased to make the depredations small in detail. It is a petty affair of every day, and so very little as not to be worth thinking about. It does not say, "Thou shalt not steal much!" but, "Thou shalt not steal!"

3. The next plea is, that the master is rich and will not miss it, and so it will do no harm. This law does not merely forbid them to steal from the poor, leaving them at liberty to steal from the rich.

III. THE MOTIVES WHICH ENFORCE THE OPPOSITE CONDUCT. The servants whom Titus was to exhort were those of his own congregation. They formed a Christian community; and however the title may be applied now, it was then given to these who had renounced Paganism. The admonition was to men who had embraced not only the profession of faith, but the faith itself. It is right that, for every kind of unrighteousness, men should be reproved; for "the wrath of God is revealed," etc. The more they are burdened with a sense of sin, the more will they feel the importance of repentance.

(T. Chalmers, D. D.)

Selim, a poor Turk, had been brought up from his youth with care and kindness by his master, Mustapha. When the latter lay at the point of death, Selim was tempted by his fellow servants to join them in stealing a part of Mustapha's treasures. "No," said he, "Selim is no robber. I fear not to offend my master for the evil he can do me now, but for the good he has done me all my life long."

That they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour
I. THE DOCTRINE OF THE GOSPEL: THE DOCTRINE OF THE GOSPEL IS CALLED THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST.

1. Because He is the argument and subject of it.

2. Because He is the first and chief messenger and publisher of it.

3. Whosoever have been the teachers and publishers of this doctrine from the beginning, either by word or writing (not excepting prophets or apostles themselves) or shall be unto the end. They all do it by commandment from Him, yea, Himself preacheth in them and in us.

4. As it proceedeth from Him so it tendeth wholly unto Him, and leadeth believers to see and partake both of His grace and glory shining in the same.

II. Christ is called GOD OUR SAVIOUR.

1. To prove His own deity, not only in express terms being called God, but also by the epithet agreeing only to a Divine nature, our Saviour.

2. To imply our own misery, whose infinite wretchedness only God could remove, and whose infinite good none but God could restore.

3. And especially in regard of this doctrine.(1) To confirm the divinity of the same, it being a doctrine of God and a doctrine of salvation proceeding from our Saviour.(2) To enforce the duty towards it, namely, that seeing the author of it is God, the matter Divine, the effect salvation, meet it is that such a saving doctrine a doctrine of such tidings, should be beautified and adorned.

III. THIS DOCTRINE IS ADORNED WHEN IT IS MADE BEAUTIFUL AND LOVELY UNTO MEN, and this by two things in the professors of it.

1. By an honest and unblamable conversation, for carnal men commonly esteem of the doctrine by the life, and the profession by the practice of the professor.

2. By God's blessing which is promised and is attending such walking, whereby even strangers to the Church are forced to begin to like of the profession: for God's blessing upon His people is not only profitable to themselves, but turneth to the salvation of many others. So we read that when Licinius was overcome by Constantine, and the persecutions ceased, which had almost for three hundred years together wasted the Church, how innumerable of them, who before had worshipped their idols, were contented to be received into the Church. On the contrary, the gospel is dishonoured when the Lord is forced to judge and correct the abuse of His name in the professors of it (Ezekiel 36:20).

IV. Servants adorn the gospel, when professing it, they, by performing all faithful service to their masters in and for God, SEEK AND OBTAIN THE BLESSING OF GOD IN THE CONDITION OF LIFE WHEREIN HE HATH PLACED THEM.

(T. Taylor, D. D.)

I. THE EXPLANATION OF THE TERMS USED.

1. By "the doctrine of God our Saviour" the apostle means the Christian religion, or that institution of faith and manners which Jesus taught and published when here on earth.

2. To "adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour" is to advance the credit and reputation of Christian religion in the world. It is so to govern and demean ourselves that we may reconcile its enemies to a good opinion of it; that we may procure and even force regard and veneration towards it.

3. By the "they" in the text, the persons upon whom this duty is incumbent, we may fairly understand the whole body of Christians.

II. THE NATURE, ACTS, AND EXERCISES OF DUTY. How a man may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour —

1. As it is a rule of faith, or an institution of religion, which we believe and own as of Divine authority. By manifesting, beyond any reasonable exception, that we unfeignedly assent unto it, that we firmly believe it to be, what we pretend, of Divine original. And this will be evident to all —(1) If our faith be perfect and entire. If we receive our religion as it is in itself, in all its parts, in every article, and in their plainest sense.(2) If we are steady, firm, and constant in the profession of it.(3) If we express an affection, a prudent zeal in the profession of it.

2. As it is a rule of life and manners. To this purpose it is absolutely necessary —(1) That our obedience be entire and universal.(2) That our obedience be free and cheerful,(3) If in cases doubtful we determine our practice on the side of the law, and of our duty.(4) By an eminent practice of some particular virtues, as of mercy and charity. Wherever these are expressed to the life — habitually, bountifully, freely — all that observe it will esteem the religion from whence such a spirit flows.

III. THE REASONS WHICH OBLIGE US, AND THE ENCOURAGEMENTS WHICH MAY PERSUADE US, TO THE PRACTICE OF IT.

1. To adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour by such a faith and practice as I have now described is the most infallible assurance, both to ourselves and others, that our principle is sincere and perfect.

2. To live such a life as shall cause our religion to be esteemed and honoured in the world, is the greatest blessing, as well to ourselves as to others, that we can either imagine or desire.

3. Another encouragement to such a profession and practice of our religion as shall adorn it are the particular promises which are made to those who shall attain unto it.

4. The particular peace and satisfaction which will arise from such a faith and life.

(J. Lambe.)

As the number of slaves in the first century was so enormous it was only in accordance with human probability that many of the first converts to Christianity belonged to this class; all the more so, as Christianity belonged to this class; all the more so, as Christianity, like most great movements, began with the lower orders and thence spread upwards. Among the better class of slaves, that is those who were not so degraded as to be insensible of their own degradation, the gospel spread freely. It offered them just what they needed, and the lack of which had turned their life into one great despair. It gave them something to hope for and live for. Their condition in the world was both socially and morally deplorable. Socially they had no rights beyond what their lord chose to allow them. And St. in commenting on this passage points out how inevitable it was that the moral character of slaves should as a rule be bad. They have no motive for trying to be good, and very little opportunity of learning what is right. Every one, slaves included, admits that as a race they are passionate, intractable, and indisposed to virtue, not because God has made them so, but from bad education and the neglect of their masters. And yet this is the class which St. Paul singles out as being able in a peculiar way to adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things." "To adorn the doctrine of God." How is the doctrine of God to be adorned? And how are slaves capable of adorning it? "The doctrine of God" is that which He teaches, which He has revealed for our instruction. It is His revelation of Himself. He is the author of it, the giver of it, and the subject of it. He is also its end or purpose. It is granted in order that men may know Him, and love Him, and be brought home to Him. All these facts are a guarantee to us of its importance and its security. It comes from One who is infinitely great and infinitely true. And yet it is capable of being adorned by those to whom it is given. There is nothing paradoxical in this. It is precisely those things which in themselves are good and beautiful that we consider capable of adornment and worthy of it. Thus adornment is a form of homage: it is the tribute which the discerning pay to beauty. But adornment has its relations not only to those who bestow, but to those also who receive it. It is a reflection of the mind of the giver; but it has also an influence on the recipient. And, first, it makes that which is adorned more conspicuous and better known. A picture in a frame is more likely to be looked at than one that is unframed. Adornment is an advertisement of merit: it makes the adorned object more readily perceived and more widely appreciated. And, secondly, if it is well chosen and well bestowed, it augments the merit of that which it adorns. That which was fair before is made still fairer by suitable ornament. The beautiful painting is still more beautiful in a worthy frame. Noble ornament increases the dignity of a noble structure. And a person of royal presence becomes still more regal when royally arrayed. Adornment, therefore, is not only an advertisement of beauty, it is also a real enhancement of it. All these particulars hold good with regard to the adornment of the doctrine of God. By trying to adorn it and make it more beautiful and more attractive, we show our respect for it; we pay our tribute of homage and admiration. We show to all the world that we think it estimable, and worthy of attention and honour. And by so doing we make the doctrine of God better known: we bring it under the notice of others who might otherwise have overlooked it: we force it upon their attention. Moreover, the doctrine which we thus adorn becomes really more beautiful in consequence. Our acceptance of the doctrine of God, and our efforts to adorn it, bring out its inherent life and develop its natural value, and every additional person who joins us in doing this is an augmentation of its powers. It is within our power not only to honour and make better known, but also to enhance, the beauty of the doctrine of God. But slaves — and such slaves as were found throughout the Roman empire in St. Paul's day — what have they to do with the adornment of the doctrine of God? Why is this duty of making the gospel more beautiful specially mentioned in connection with them? That the aristocracy of the empire, its magistrates, its senators, its commanders — supposing that any of them could be induced to embrace the faith of Jesus Christ — should be charged to adorn the doctrines which they had accepted, would be intelligible. Their acceptance of it would be a tribute to its dignity. Their loyalty to it would be a proclamation of its merits. Their accession to its ranks would be a real augmentation of its powers of attraction. But almost the reverse of all this would seem to be the truth in the case of slaves. Their tastes were so low, their moral judgment so debased, that for a religion to have found a welcome among slaves would hardly be a recommendation of it to respectable people. And what opportunities had slaves, regarded as they were as the very outcasts of society, of making the gospel better known or more attractive? Yet St. Paul knew what he was about when he urged Titus to commit the "adorning of the doctrine of God" in a special manner to slaves: and experience has proved the soundness of his judgment. If the mere fact that many slaves accepted the faith could not do a great deal to recommend the power and beauty of the gospel, the Christian lives, which they thenceforward led, could. It was a strong argument a fortiori. The worse the unconverted sinner, the more marvellous his thorough conversion. As puts it, when it was seen that Christianity, by giving a settled principle of sufficient power to counterbalance the pleasures of sin, was able to impose a restraint upon a class so self-willed, and render them singularly well behaved, then their masters, however unreasonable they might be, were likely to form a high opinion of the doctrines which accomplished this. And Chrysostom goes on to point out that the way in which slaves are to endeavour to adorn the doctrine of God is by cultivating precisely those virtues which contribute most to their masters' comfort and interest — submissiveness, gentleness, meekness, honesty, truthfulness, and a faithful discharge of all duties. What a testimony conduct of this kind would be to the power and beauty of the gospel; and a testimony all the more powerful in the eyes of those masters who became conscious that these despised Christian slaves were living better lives than their owners! The passionate man, who found his slave always gentle and submissive; the inhuman and ferocious man, who found his slave always meek and respectful; the fraudulent man of business, who noticed that his slave never pilfered or told lies; the sensualist, who observed that his slave was never intemperate and always shocked at immodesty — all these, even if they were not induced to become converts to the new faith, or even to take much trouble to understand it, would at least at times feel something of respect, if not of awe and reverence, for a creed which produced such results. Where did their slaves learn these lofty principles? Whence did they derive the power to live up to them? Nor were these the only ways in which the most degraded and despised class in the society of that age were able to "adorn the doctrine of God." Slaves were not only an ornament to the faith by their lives; they adorned it also by their deaths. Not a few slaves won the martyr's crown. What slaves could do then we all of us can do now. We can prove to all for whom and with whom we work that we really do believe and endeavour to live up to the faith that we profess. By the lives we lead we can show to all who know anything of us that we are loyal to Christ. By avoiding offence in word or in deed, and by welcoming opportunities of doing good to others, we can make His principles better known. And by doing all this brightly and cheerfully, without ostentation or affectation or moroseness, we tan make His principles attractive. Thus we also can "adorn the doctrine of God in all things." "In all things." That all-embracing addition to the apostolic injunction must not be test sight of. There is no duty so humble, no occupation, so trifling, that it cannot be made into an opportunity for adorning our religion (1 Corinthians 10:31).

(A. Plummer, D. D.)

I. THE WONDERFUL POSSIBILITY that is opened out here before every Christian that he may add beauty to the gospel. He may paint the lily and gild the refined gold. For men do quite rightly and legitimately judge of systems by their followers. The astronomer does not look directly up into the sky when he wants to watch the heavenly bodies, but down into the mirror, on which their reflection is cast. And so our little low lives down here upon earth should so give back the starry bodies and infinitudes above us that some dim eyes, which peradventure could not gaze into the violet abysses with their lustrous points, may behold them reflected in the beauty of your life. Our lives should be like the old missals, where you find the loving care of the monastic scribe has illuminated and illustrated the holy text, or has rubricated and gilded some of the letters. The best Illustrated Bible is the conduct of the people that profess to take it for their guide and law.

II. THE SOLEMN ALTERNATIVE. If you look at the context you will see that a set of exhortations preceding these to the slaves, which are addressed to the wives, end with urging as the great motive to the conduct enjoined, "that the Word of God be not blasphemed." That is the other side of the same thought as is in my text. The issues of the conduct of professing Christians are the one or other of these two, either to add beauty to the gospel or to cause the Word of God to be blasphemed. If you do not the one you will be doing the other. There are no worse enemies of the gospel than its inconsistent friends. Who is it that thwarts missionary work in India? Englishmen! Who is it that, wherever they go with their ships, put a taunt into the lips of the enemy which the Christian workers find it hard to meet? English sailors! The notorious dissipation and immorality amongst the representatives of English commerce in the various Eastern eentres of trade puts a taunt into the mouth of the abstemious Hindu and of the Chinaman. "These are your Christians, are they?" England, that sends out missionaries in the cabin, and Bibles and men side by side amongst the cargo, has to listen, and her people have to take to themselves the awful words with which the ancient Jewish inconsistencies were rebuked: "Through you the name of God is blasphemed amongst the Gentiles." And in less solemn manner perhaps, but just as truly, here, in a so-called Christian land, the inconsistencies, the selfishness, the worldliness of professing Christian people, the absolute absence of all apparent difference between them and the most godless man that is in the same circumstances, are the things which perhaps more than anything else counteract the evangelistic efforts of the Christian Church.

III. THE SORT OF LIFE THAT WILL COMMEND AND ADORN THE GOSPEL.

1. It must be a life conspicuously and uniformly under the influence of Christian principles. I put emphasis upon these two words "conspicuously" and "uniformly." It will be of very little use if your Christian principle is so buried in your life, embedded beneath a mass of selfishness and worldliness and indifference as that it takes a microscope and a week's looking for to find it. And it will be of very little use, either, if your life is by fits and starts under the influence of Christian principle; a minute guided by that and ten minutes guided by the other thing — if here and there, sprinkled thinly over the rotting mass, there be a handful of the saving salt.

2. Remember, too, as the context teaches us, that the lives which commend and adorn the doctrine must be such as manifest Christian principle in the smallest details. What is it Paul tells these Cretan slaves to do that they may "adorn the doctrine"? Obedience, keeping a civil tongue in their heads in the midst of provocation, not indulging in petty pilfering, being true to the trust that was given to them. "That is no great thing," you may say, but in these little things they were to adorn the great doctrine of God their Saviour. Ay! The smallest duties are in some sense the largest sphere for the operation of great principles. For it is the little duties which by their minuteness tempt men to think that they can do them without calling in the great principles of conduct, that give the colour to every life after all. The little banks of mud in the wheel tracks in the road are shaped upon the same slopes, and moulded by the same law that carves the mountains and lifts the precipices of the Himalayas. And a handful of snow in the hedge in the winter time will fall into the same curves, and be obedient to the same great physical laws which shape the glaciers that lie on the sides of the Alps. You do not want big things in order, largely and nobly, to manifest big principles. The smallest duties, distinctly done for Christ's sake, wilt adorn the doctrine.

3. And then again, I may say that the manner of life which commends the gospel will be one conspicuously above the level of the morality of the class to which you belong. These slaves were warned not to fall into the vices that were proper to their class, in order that by not falling into them, and so being unlike their fellows, they might glorify the gospel. For the things that Paul warns them not to do are the faults which all history and experience tell us are exactly the vices of the slave — petty pilfering, a rank tongue blossoming into insolent speech, a disregard of the master's interests, sulky disobedience or sly evasion of the command. These are the kind of things that the devilish institution of slavery makes almost necessary on the part of the slave, unless some higher motive and loftier principle come in to counteract the effects. And in like manner all of us have, in the class to which we belong, and the sort of life which we have to live, certain evils natural to our position; and unless you are unlike the non-Christian men of your own profession and the people that are under the same worldly influence as you are — unless you are unlike them in that your righteousness exceeds their righteousness, "Ye shall in no wise enter the kingdom of heaven."

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

I. THE PURITY OF TRUTH. The other day we read in the newspapers that in Berlin there is a wonderful gem, a sapphire weighing ten ounces, and said to be worth — if it were pure — a million pounds. But there is a flaw in it; it is not "one entire and perfect chrysolite." Ah, if it were only pure! We damage our cause and prevent people from joining us sometimes because we are not true to the principles we profess. Deceit is always ugly; truth is ever beautiful. To be pure and truthful in all we say or do cannot be accomplished by merely wishing; it will probably take an entire life for a man to become genuine as Jesus Christ was. Still, let us try; and though we fall, we should not despair. The finest trait of beauty in a man's character is when he is so true that his word may be trusted as much as his bond, and people remark of him, "Well, if he says so, it must be true."

II. THE RHYTHM OF LIFE. Not only wear a flower in your breast, but let there be the beauty of truth and the perfume of kindliness in your looks, words, and actions. Let me tell you of a famous soldier who went to the palace one day to have an audience of the king of England. Having to wait a little, he paced up and down the antechamber impatiently, and as he walked, his sword dragged and rattled behind him. The king opening the door, said to a courtier loud enough for all the others to hear, "Dear me, what a nuisance that man's sword is!" The veteran exclaimed, "So your Majesty's enemies think." That was the "retort courteous," wasn't it? Of course the sword was powerful, and while the hand that wielded it was strong and the heart of the soldier true and brave, still I think he might have carried his sword quietly; though it was terrible in the battle, need he to make it a nuisance in the palace? Therefore, be thoughtful of the feelings of others. More unpleasantness is caused by want of thought than by want of feeling. Make your life as musical and poetical as possible, agreeable in passing and pleasant in remembrance.

III. THE GLORY OF USEFULNESS. In being useful you are adorning the religion of Christ; pluck up your heart, and seek out opportunities to do good. Be a true Christian minister; and remember that though you are a slave to circumstances, you may adorn religion more than a cathedral can do. When you thus live, prompted by love to God and love to man, life shall be a blessing, and your heaven shall be begun below.

(W. Birch.)

I. THE GRANDEUR OF CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE. "The doctrine of God." If the gospel of Christ be the doctrine of God it ought to reflect the attributes of God. We venture to say it does thus reflect its Author; the New Testament bears conspicuously the grand characteristics of divinity.

1. Think of the vastness of the gospel. We feel in it the infinitude of God. We are redeemed before the foundation of the world; the redemption disclosed is that of a race; it is worked out through the ages; its issues are in the great eternity beyond.

2. Think of the purity of the gospel. There is a strange purity in revelation. The Old Testament stretches like a stainless sky above the wild, sensual, corrupt nations of antiquity; the New Testament bears the same relation to the life of modern nations. As we look into the pure blue of the firmament far beyond our smoky atmosphere, so do we look up to the righteousness revealed in Christ as the body of heaven for clearness.

3. Think of the love of the gospel — comprehending men of all nations, languages, tribes, and tongues.

4. Think of the power of the gospel. We feel in revelation the energy of suns, the force of winds, the sound of many seas. There is a majestic moral power in the gospel that we do not find in the sublimest philosophies of men, that is also painfully missing in the noblest sacred literature of the heathen (Romans 1:16).

5. Think of the permanence of revelation. Science says, "Persistence is the sign of reality." How divinely real, then, is the gospel of God in Jesus Christ! It is the only thing on the face of the earth that does persist. Every now and then when a new heresy starts up there is a panic, as if the authority of revelation had come to an end; but if you wait awhile it is the heresy and the panic which come to an end. A gentleman told me that he was walking in his garden one day when his little child was by; suddenly the little one burst into tears and cried out in terror, "Oh! father, the house is falling." The child saw the clouds drifting over the house, and mistook the movement of the clouds for the movement of the house — the house was right enough, it is standing now. So sometimes we think that revelation is falling and coming to nought, but it is soon clear that the movement is elsewhere. Nations, dynasties, philosophies, fashions, pass like fleeting vapours and shadows, but the gospel stands like a rock. Ah! and will stand when rolling years shall cease to move.

II. THE SUPREME DEMONSTRATION OF CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE IS FOUND IN CHRISTIAN CHARACTER. "That they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things." The gospel is not a mere speculation, a superb philosophy, a grand ideal; it is intensely practical; it is to prove itself the doctrine of God by making all who believe in it like God.

1. "Adorn the doctrine." That is, reveal, display, make conspicuous and impressive the splendid contents of your faith. The doctrine of God is in the Testaments in suppressed magnificence, and the saints are to give it expression, embodiment: they are to flash out the unrevealed glory in their spirit and language and conduct. The vastness, the depth, the tenderness, the beauty of their creed is to be made tangible. Our creed must transfigure our life; our life must demonstrate the divinity of our creed. As the stars adorn astronomy, as the roses of June adorn botany, as the rainbow adorns optics, so our conduct must flash out the hidden virtue and glory of the doctrine of God.

2. Adorn the doctrine "in all things." The saints are to illustrate the doctrine of God in all its fulness — to do it justice at all points. And so we have much to do. Every system of morality outside the Christian Church: Platonic, Aristotelian, Stoic, Epicurean, Utilitarian, Positivist; every system concerns itself with some pet virtue, or with some special class of virtues; but Christianity is most comprehensive — it concerns itself with whatever is just, true, lovely, or of good report; everything virtuous and praiseworthy is made an object of aspiration. We must do justice to the doctrine of God throughout our whole personality. At one end of our complex nature are the grand faculties of intelligence, conscience, will, imagination, linking us with the upper universe; at the other end of our being are basal instincts and affinities establishing a kinship between us and the world below our feet. We must see to it that our faith hallows our whole personality, that our splendid faculties are sacred to their lofty uses, that our inferior instincts are duly chastened, that we live sanctified in body, soul, and spirit. The ethics of Christianity comprehend the whole grammar of ornament. The faith of Christ is a salvation from all sin, a salvation into all holiness. As everybody knows, Shakespeare was a great lover of the old English flowers, frequently making them to spring forth in his poems with the freshness of nature itself, and so some years ago, when his admirers restored the cottage in which the dramatist was born, they resolved to plant in its grounds all the sweet things of summer found on the bard's immortal page: rosemary, ox-lip, wild thyme, pansies, peony, lily, love-in-idleness, cuckoo-buds, lady-smocks, freckled cowslip, daisies pied, eglantine, woodbine, nodding violets, musk roses, red roses — all were carefully planted out in the sun. What a catalogue of virtues could we compile from revelation! What a multitude of graces are here, and fine differentiations of sublime qualities and principles of moral life! Now all these we are to realise in actual life as season and opportunity may permit, until the whole range of our character and action is filled with beauty and fragrance as the garden of the Lord. In adorning the doctrine of God in all things we render that doctrine the most valuable service any may render it. The world is not persuaded by logic, by learning, by literature, but by life; the multitude believes in what it can see — in the eloquence of conduct, the logic of facts, the feeling and power of deeds. We may see this very clearly illustrated in another direction. Why do we all believe in astronomy? Why have we such a positive faith in a science which professes to give the true account of the distant mysterious firmament; which assumes to weigh suns, to analyse stars, to calculate the movements of endless orbs and comets? Do we believe in all this because we have read Sir Isaac Newton, mastered his reasonings, verified his calculations and conclusions? Not for a moment. The faith of the million rests on what it can see. Our common faith in astronomy is derived not immediately from Newton's Principia, but indirectly through the penny almanac. At the beginning of the year we learn that an eclipse of the sun or moon is predicted, and on the palpable fulfilment of that prediction rests the firmest faith of modern times — faith in astronomy. On the day or night of an eclipse myriads of people look into the sky who never look into it at any other time, and the exact fulfilment of the prediction brings conviction to their mind touching all the large assumptions of celestial science. People believe in what they see; the popular faith is based entirely on the darkened orb. So the faith of men generally in Christianity does not rest on theology, criticism, logic, but on Christianity as it finds expression in the spirit and life of its disciples. Once more men believe in what they see, only this time they are not called to look upon a darkened orb, but on a Church bright as the sun shedding on men and nations moral splendours like the light of seven days.

(W. L. Watkinson.)

I. TAKE A GENERAL VIEW OF THE DOCTRINE OF GOD OUR SAVIOUR. It is not the doctrine of God, as our Creator, Preserver, Benefactor, Governor, etc., which is here meant, but the doctrine that concerns our salvation — our fall in Adam, and its consequences (Romans 5:12), ignorance, insensibility, sinfulness, guilt, condemnation, etc; our redemption by Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-3; Romans 5:6-10; 1 Peter 1:18) the means whereby we partake of this redemption, viz., repentance and faith (Mark 1:15; Acts 20:21); the effects produced, as justification, whereby we pass from condemnation and wrath to acquaintance and favour with God, and are entitled to eternal life (Acts 13:38; Titus 3:7); as renovation of nature, whereby we are qualified to bring forth fruit to the glory of God; the necessity of continuing in this state of salvation, and increasing in holiness (John 15:1; Romans 11:19-22); our enemies and hindrances — Satan, the world, the flesh (Ephesians 6:10-19; 1 John 2:14, 15; Romans 8:12, 13); our friends and helps — God (Romans 8:31), Christ (Hebrews 4:14-16; 2 Corinthians 12:9), the Spirit (Romans 8:26), angels (Hebrews 1:14), the people of God: that we are upon our trial for eternity, and many eyes upon us (Hebrews 12:1): the issue of all, the death of the body, the immortality of the soul, the resurrection, judgment, eternal life.

II. SHOW WHAT IS MEANT BY ADORNING IT. Here is an allusion to the ornaments of dress. Dress may be fit or unfit for us, suitable or unsuitable: our temper and conduct must be suitable to the gospel. Instance, in the doctrine of our fall and its consequences. Does the gospel teach that we are fallen, depraved, etc.? then all high thoughts of ourselves, all self-confidence, and impenitence are unsuitable to this doctrine; humility, self-abasement, and godly sorrow, are suitable thereto. In the doctrine of our redemption; unbelief, diffidence, despondency, are unsuitable; faith, confidence in God, and peace of mind, are suitable thereto.

2. Another end for which dress is used is to represent and exhibit the persons who wear it in their true character and proper loveliness. Just so, our temper and conduct should be calculated to set forth the doctrine of the gospel in the most correct and clear point of view.

3. A third end, which some have in view in adopting various kinds of dress, is to add to their comeliness and beauty, and make themselves appear more agreeable than they really are. We cannot possibly give greater beauty to the gospel than it has, but there are certain graces and virtues which are more calculated to set forth its beauty and amiableness, and to show it to advantage. Such are the graces and virtues recommended (Romans 12:9-18; 1 Corinthians 13:4-7; Colossians 3:12-17); and in the verses preceding the text, as truth, uprightness, justice, mercy, charity, meekness, gentleness, benevolence, sobriety, industry, frugality, liberality, cheerfulness, gratitude.

III. HOW THIS MUST BE DONE "IN ALL THINGS." In all persons, old and young, rich and poor, high and low. In all conditions and states, as married or single, parents or children, masters or servants. In all places: at home, abroad, alone, in company, in the church or market, with our friends or enemies, the righteous or wicked. In all employments: in religious, civil, and natural actions. At all times: on the Lord's days; on other days; at morning, noon and night; in childhood, youth, manhood, middle age, old age.

(J. Benson.)

Raphael, the prince of modern painters, made ten pictures of Bible scenes. Three of them were lost, and somehow the rest lay neglected and forgotten for more than a hundred years in a garret at Arras. There Rubens found them, and persuaded Charles I of England to buy them for his palace. They were put into good order, and by and by a room in Hampton Court Palace was built to receive them. They are now admired by thousands in the South Kensington Museum, and, by means of engravings, are better known, it is said, than any other work of art in the world. The gospel in Crete was like Raphael's pictures in the Arras garret. It was a despised thing, overlaid with frightful prejudices, under which its beauty was buried. But Paul feels that if the poor Christian slaves lived Christian lives, they would do for it what Rubens did for the defaced and dusty paintings of Raphael; they would rescue it from neglect, and discover its heavenly grandeur to admiring thousands who would multiply and spread it throughout the world. Every adorner of the doctrine walks along a highway which has these stages.

I. SAVING FAITH, A HEARTY FAITH. A doctrine in logic or metaphysics appeals only to my head: it has little or nothing to do with the heart; but "the doctrine" must win the assent of the mind and the consent of the heart. The gospel plants all its artillery before the heart till the everlasting gates are lifted up that the King of glory may enter and reign without a rival. And you must obey Him; for, being God as well as Saviour, when He commands you must obey. You are like the wounded soldier on the battlefield, to whom healing is offered by the doctor, who has all the authority of the kingdom at his back. The sick man has no right to refuse, he must accept healing that he may be fitted for the Queen's service. The offers of mercy, so gentle, have behind them all the authority of heaven. Christ as Saviour wins the heart, and as God He claims obedience.

II. TRUE CONFESSION. Christ comes from heaven, and gives His testimony about God and yourself, about sin and salvation. You in your turn take up and repeat His testimony. You receive His record, and set to your seal that He is true. Your confession is to be as a true trademark, declaring the maker and quality of what is within. The foot, or the hand, or the eye must not contradict the lip. And you are to put away all mean shame; for no one ever adorned a doctrine of which he was ashamed before men.

III. DAILY DUTY, A HEAVENLY MORALITY. Some make much of duty, but think that they can get on well enough without doctrine. Were the captain of a steamer to say, "I want steam, but don't bother me with coals — dirty, dull, heavy lumps; steam, but no coal for me," you should think him a very foolish man. Now he is as foolish whose motto is, "Not doctrine, but life. The apostle, you see, unites the two. He makes one thing of doctrine and piety, and one thing of piety and morality. To him duty is the adorning of the doctrine.

(James Wells.)

The word "doctrine," as used here, means instruction — any or all of the great truths set forth in the Divine word. The word "adorn" means to decorate or beautify, as with gems or garlands or goodly apparel.

I. This exhortation applies first TO ALL WHO, IN ANY SENSE OR SPHERE, ARE TEACHING CHRISTIAN TRUTHS.

1. It is largely violated in two opposite directions.(1) On the one hand, we find the doctrines of grace set forth as bold, ugly, and repulsive dogmata.(2) On the other hand, we find men attempting to render the gospel attractive to the carnal heart by simply leaving all its strong doctrines out of it.

2. Between these extremes, and equally opposed to both, lies the true method of teaching. It is not the work of a costumer, arranging either a harlequin for farce or a gibbering ghost for tragedy; but it is a blessed imitation of Christ, beautifying the whole heavenly body of truth by "adorning its doctrines."

II. This exhortation APPLIES EQUALLY TO ALL CHRISTIANS, bidding them make all these doctrines beautiful by the power of their daily lives. Let us only live as if the gospel we profess, instead of making us gloomy fanatics or self-righteous pharisees, made us rather kind and gentle, and lovely and joyous; never taking from us a single truly good thing on earth, but only adding to each a new charm and power. Thereby we shall wonderfully adorn that gospel. The humblest man in our midst, if he live imitating his Master, his life pervaded with the principles of his faith, truly glorifies the gospel. Behold these humble children of suffering and toil — that faithful-hearted woman, plying her needle into the waning night that she may earn scanty bread for her fatherless children, amid all temptations and trials keeping Christian faith and love unstained; and as she fashions that coarse garment she is working as well a lustrous robe for God's glorious gospel! See that weary toiler in shop or field, amid all antagonisms to good and solicitations to evil making exhibition of all that is honest and lovely and of good report; and while he plies the hammer, or holds the plough, he is making Divine truth beautiful, as with gems and fine gold fashioning a diadem for the gospel of Christ. Oh, what a beauty and glory it casts over this low world and this common life, just to feel that amid all weary labour and perplexing cares we are at work not merely for ourselves and our beloved ones, or for the higher good of our day and generation, but verily and directly as well for the infinite God and His glory; that there is not one of us so ignorant or obscure that he may not, in his own sphere and lot, be reflecting splendour on every Divine attribute, bringing forth nobler regalia for the coronation of Christ!

(C. Wadsworth, D. D.)

I. A NAME OF ADORNMENT FOR THE GOSPEL. "The doctrine of God our Saviour."

1. It sets forth its greatness: "doctrine of God."

(1)Our fall, ruin, sin, and punishment were great.

(2)Our salvation and redemption are great.

(3)Our safety, happiness, and hopes are great.

2. It sets forth its certainty. It is "of God."

(1)It comes by revelation of God.

(2)It is guaranteed by the fidelity of God.

(3)It is as immutable as God Himself.

3. It sets forth its relation to Christ Jesus: "of God our Saviour."

(1)He is the author of it.

(2)He is the substance of it.

(3)He is the proclaimer of it.

(4)He is the object of it. The gospel glorifies Jesus.

4. It sets forth its authority.

(1)The whole system of revealed truth is of God.

(2)The Saviour Himself is God, and hence He must be accepted.

(3)The gospel itself is Divine. God's mind is embodied in the doctrine of the Lord Jesus, and to reject it is to reject God.

II. A METHOD OF ADORNMENT FOR THE GOSPEL.

1. The persons who are to adorn the gospel. In Paul's day, bond servants or slaves; in our day, poor servants of the humblest order. Strange that these should be set to such a task! Yet the women slaves adorned their mistresses, and both men and women of the poorest class were quite ready to adorn themselves. From none does the gospel receive more honour than from the poor.

2. The way in which these persons could specially adorn the gospel.

(1)By obedience to their masters (ver. 9).

(2)By endeavours to please them: "please them well."

(3)By restraining their tongues: "not answering again."

(4)By scrupulous honesty: "not purloining" (ver. 10).

(5)By trustworthy character: "showing all good fidelity."

3. The way of adornment of the doctrine in general.(1) Adornment, if really so, is suitable to beauty. Holiness, mercifulness, cheerfulness, etc., are congruous with the gospel.(2) Adornment is often a tribute to beauty. Such is a godly conversation: it honours the gospel.(3) Adornment is an advertisement of beauty. Holiness calls attention to the natural beauty of the gospel.(4) Adornment is an enhancement of beauty. Godliness gives emphasis to the excellence of doctrine.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

1. I sometimes think that the doctrine of God our Saviour, may be likened to a guide book, which tells us how to attain a holy character. When buying a book, I always give preference to one that is illustrated. I prize my Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress" as much for its charming pictures as for its letterpress. As pictures adorn a book, so let our kindly words and loving deeds be pleasant illustrations of the Christ who dwells within. Paul said, "I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth within me"; but people cannot see the Christ within you. They are like children, who cannot read the words of a book, but can understand it from the pictures. Therefore, let your life be an adorning picture of the doctrine that the gentle and loving Christ dwells within His disciples.

2. It may also be likened to a letter from a loved one. A month or two ago, I received a loving letter from Southport, from one of our orphan children who is now dangerously ill; and in her letter, she enclosed two or three beautiful flowers which she had begged from somebody's garden. The letter was not elegantly expressed or beautifully written, but those flowers spoke to my heart; they made the letter beautiful. Let us adorn the epistles of our lives with the beautiful flowers of peace and gentleness. Your life may be but humble and poor — some people may even call you vulgar; but still you may adorn yourself with the perfume of love, and your life shall lead men to God.

3. I think, too, that Christianity may be likened to a shelter in the wilderness of a prodigal's life. See him yonder, afar off, half naked, hungry, broken hearted, looking for home, and while he looks and longs for home, his father runs, and falls on his neck, and kisses him, and orders a feast to welcome him. But soon after, his elder brother drew nigh to the house, and hearing music and dancing, he cried, "What means this?" When he was told that it was done to welcome his younger brother, he was angry and would not go in. The elder brother did not adorn, but blurred the doctrine of God our Saviour. The father adorned the doctrine that God loves the penitent sinner; and you should copy his spirit into your life. When you forgive men, do it kindly and thoroughly. A man or a woman — it may be your workmate, or your brother, or child — having been sorely tempted, the weak one has fallen, and comes to your door hungry, naked, friendless, and penniless. Take her in, of course, with a kindly welcome; and thus, adorn the doctrine that God freely and cheerfully pardons His human children.

4. The Christ life may be further likened to seed — it is a thing of growth, and generally of slow growth, as is the case with things that are to be lasting. While character cannot be wholly transferred, the seeds of love and purity can be planted in us. The seeds of truth are planted in the receptive soil of our heart, which has to be prepared for it, and kept watered by prayer and faith, and continually weeded of those wild inclinations which always choke the plant. Like a divine graft, the Christ-life of purity and self-sacrifice is joined to us, and becomes our life, our love, our delight. When His Spirit dwells within us, we grow like Him in our character, and our fruit is after His kind.

5. When we receive the truths of Jesus and practise them from day to day, our lives shall exhibit and adorn His doctrine of sacred charity. We need more charity; the charity which covereth a multitude of sins, and holds on to the erring ones to the very end, copying from Christ, who never forsook His wayward disciples. Let us show our charity when men need it most. If a man have plenty of friends fawning upon him, you need not bestow your friendship; but when he is hungry, naked, or sick, or in grief, then be to him the adornment of the doctrine of charity. Show men that you believe in Christ by carrying out His teaching in the friendship and charity of your life. It is said that Francis the Second, of Prussia, took as his motto these words: "The king of Prussia shall be the first servant of his people." If you would be great in God's sight; if you would be a power not only in this world but in the next, be a servant to your fellow men, especially in their sore distress. One day, when Napoleon was walking in the streets of Paris, a man came along bearing a heavy burden on his shoulder. Napoleon at once stepped from the footpath into the carriage road, and allowed the man to pass. Some of his officers were very much surprised, saying, "Sire, why did you give way to that wretched man?" Napoleon replied, "Should I not respect his burden?" So, let us respect the misfortunes of our fellow men. Let the men, women, and children in your street, through your noble life, be led to praise God; and let your light so shine that all men may see the goodness of the Lord through you and be drawn unto Him.

(W. Birch.)

We have been so educated that we are apt to think of beauty as simply an attribute of matter. We are apt to think that it can be transferred to moral conduct only by a figure of speech. Now, while we do not deny that in the constitution of the human mind there is such a condition of faculty as that the perception of outline, or colour, or harmony in matter, or materialness, produces a certain enjoyment, or, as we call it, a certain sense of the beautiful, we affirm that that right conduct — moral excellence as well as intellectual excellence — produces upon the mind just as clearly a sense of beauty. I might appeal to every man's own experience in his home life — if his home life is fortunate — whether the qualities that he discerned in father and mother were not admirable to him in his childhood; and whether they were not admirable to him all the way up. And to many of you, I speak with confidence when I say that, when you have wandered far from technical faith, yea, when you have largely fallen under the chill of doubt and unbelief, there still remains to you a silver cord not yet loosed, and a golden bowl not yet broken, and that that cord which holds you to faith is the mother's heart, and that that bowl is the father's heart, and that you believe against reason and in spite of unbelief, because of the faith yet lingering in your soul in the moral qualities that you have witnessed in the household. Is not courage beautiful? Is not disinterested benevolence beautiful? There is the case of the engineer who would not abandon his engine, but stood steadfast because he knew he had a hundred lives behind him. He stood upon the board, obviously knowing that he was rushing into the darkness of death. Then there was that other engineer who, on the burning ship upon Lake Erie, stood by the wheel, and steered for the shore, amidst the gathering and gaining flames, refusing to escape, and perished in the wheelhouse, in the vain effort to save those who were committed to his charge. Are not such deeds grand? Are not the qualities that inspire them beautiful? Is there any temple, is there any sculptured statue, is there any picture, that thrills the soul with such enthusiastic admiration as acts like these? And what are they but moral acts? How do all men say of them — "They are grand, they are beautiful, they are sublime." Look at the disinterestedness of woman's love. She was won from the father's house and household with all that was hopeful before her, to begin a life of love. He was full of generosity, full of manliness, and full of promise. The buds of young developing life hung on the bough, and were blossoming, until the fatal snare was set for him: until the growing habit of intoxication fastened upon him, and degradation settled down upon him, and little by little her life, with anguish of foresight, and with anguish of love, is overclouded. And yet, though her father's door stands open to call her back, she will not abandon him. She thinks of her children, she thinks of their future, and she will not abandon him. He grows morose. More and more he becomes like the animals. The beauty which she first saw in him lives now only in memory. The recollection of the past, or some dimly-painted dream of the future, is all the source of joy that is left her; for the present to her is full of woe, and sorrow, and humiliation. Gradually his friends forsake him. He is abandoned by one and by another. He is cast out of work and out of position. More and more is he degraded and bestialized; and well might she cry, "Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" But she cries no such thing. No angel in heaven ever ministered more patiently, more tenderly, or more indefatigably for a soul than does she for him. And when at last he dies, and every person in the whole neighbourhood breathes freer, and says, "Thank God, he is gone, and she is free at last!" she is the only mourner; she is the only one that remembers the good that was in him; and she stands at his grave bowed down with real grief. She stood by him through good report and through evil report, as she promised; and love triumphed. Tell me, unbrutified men, is there no beauty in self-denial or in self-sacrifice? Take every single moral quality. Take those fruits of the Spirit recorded in the word of God which you will find in the fifth chapter of Galatians. Love — is not that beautiful? Is there anything that makes the face so seraphic as the full expression of a noble and high minded love? Joy — even a curmudgeon of avarice will look with admiration upon the cheery, face of outbursting joy in children. Peace, such as we often see when the passions are burned out, when the day and its heat are gone, and the soul in its old age sits waiting for the final revelation — this is beautiful. The beauty of the house is in the cradle or in the armchair. Long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control — are not these, when they exist in plenary power, esteemed by mankind honourable and beautiful? and do they not excite the involuntary exclamation of surprise? Now, it is on account of the intrinsic beauty of moral quality that piety and religious life, in their higher forms, are spoken of in the word of God as beautiful; and the consummation of piety in the social estate, in the Church, whether in the present or in the future, is celebrated all the way through the Bible as beautiful. When the beauty that is in moral quality shall be developed and made conspicuous; when not merely here and there a person, or a handful, or a household, are harmonious, all the others being relatively at discords; when not only single families in a neighbourhood, or single members in a Church are at peace; but when, in serried ranks, men shall shine with the beauty of holiness, and be lifted into a higher state in which they are able to give positiveness to the fruits of the spirit; when neighbour does it to neighbour, and it becomes the public sentiment, and the air is full of it — then will come the millennial day; then will be realized that enchanting vision which danced in the air before the prophet's eye; then shall men live together in righteousness; then shall that state be known which is symbolized by the lying down of the lion with the lamb; then all brute natures, all that live by vice, and cruelty, and wickedness, shall be cleansed out of the earth; and all men shall rejoice in the light, and in the glory, and in the supremacy of those spiritual experiences which belong to a religious life. It is often the case, when persons are brought into the Christian life — especially when in great numbers, and under great excitement — that the first thought of every one is, "Now, what shall I do?" And some begin to think of tracts, and wonder if it would not be well for them to have a district. Others inquire if they had not better go out and see their young friends, and preach to them. They are taught explicitly that they must go to work. It is said to them, "You are converted; now go to work. Start prayer meetings. Bring in the neighbourhood." I do not say that these things are to be deprecated: on the contrary, in due degree, and with proper discretion, they all may be duties; but to represent a Christian life as having its first exhibition and its peculiar testimony in setting itself to work on and about somebody else is a grave mistake. My advice to every one of you that has found the Lord Jesus Christ, and that is living in a joyful faith, is, make yourselves more comely. Look to your thoughts and dispositions. Begin with yourself in your relations to brother and sister, or to father and mother. Let every duty that is incumbent upon you as child, or husband, or wife, rise instantly to an exalted place, and become more luminous, more beautiful, better. And if, having made home more heavenly, if — your disposition being ripened and beautified — there be opportunity for enterprise with others, do not by any indolence or misconception neglect that opportunity. Wherever you are, make those who are next to you in the relation of life see that you are a better man since you became a Christian than you were before, as a doorkeeper, or as a doer of errands, as a bookkeeper, as a salesman, as a schoolboy or a schoolgirl. In whatever station God has placed you, in the performance of your special duty, let the testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ be so borne that men, seeing the things which you do, may be attracted to Him by the exhibition of your personal character in your relations. Remember that the essential power of the gospel of Christ, in so far as you are concerned, will lie in how much of Christ you have in you. It is not profession, nor is it doctrine, though it were preached by never so eloquent lips, that has power with the world; it is Christlikeness in men. It is living as Christ lived, not in outward condition, but in inward disposition. He came down that we might go up. Though He was rich, for our sakes He became poor, that we through His poverty might become rich. He wept that we need not weep. He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, that He might lift others out of the lower sphere. He accepted poverty as a means of enriching us. You are to follow Christ's example; and you can preach no more of Him than you practise.

(H. W. Beecher.)

In this Titus is counselled to place plainly before the several classes of people who claim to belong to the Church of Christ the virtues they are expected to cultivate and the vices they must carefully shun. Each class and each rank has its own special duties to perform, its own special temptations to resist, its own testimony for Christ to bear. There is no class, and there is no individual exempt from this. Titus must make no respect of persons, and neglect no class. He must not influence class against class, but address himself to each, and tell each how to act towards the others. Each class is under obligation to fulfil its duties towards others so faithfully that it may be seen at once that they, are the disciples of Christ. Now, if every class of professing Christians were to act in this way, were to strive so to act — were to think less of the failure of others in the fulfilment of duty and more of their own, were to look at home first and set about correcting what is wrong there — what a wonderful transformation would be effected in the face of society. Masters would ask, not, "Are my workmen as diligent as they ought to be?" but "Do I deal as fairly with them as I should?" Servants would ask, not "Is my master as just towards me as the law of Christ commands?" but "Am I doing what in me lies to fulfil my duty towards him, as Christ would have me?" Landlords would ask, not "Are my tenants as industrious and thrifty as they might be?" but "Am I dealing with them in as fair and brotherly a spirit as I should?" Tenants would ask, not "Is my landlord not exacting from me more than he ought?" but "Am I as careful over his property as I should be — as I might be?" And so on throughout all the relationships of life. But, alas! few think of adopting this method of adorning their Christian profession. They think it enough to adorn that profession if they point out to one class the faults of the others, or bemoan the wrongs done to themselves, forgetful of, or heedless to, the wrongs they themselves do to others. It was not thus that our Lord desired His people, His followers, to act. No; each man was to begin with himself, pull the beam out of his own eye before he set himself to extract the mote out of his neighbour's. But not only are we apt to overlook the applicability of the law of Christian duty to ourselves; we are apt also to overlook its thoroughness and comprehensiveness. There are not a few whose adornment of the Christian doctrine goes little, if any, further than the acceptance of the Church creed, and attendance with more or less regularity on certain church services. It is not an uncommon thing to meet men and women who boast of, who are sincerely proud of, their orthodoxy and Church attendance, and who do not think it wrong to practise in business what are called, Say, the "tricks of trade," or in private life to indulge in some one or more vices. I have myself heard a person in a maudlin state of intoxication lamenting the sad condition of a friend who had expressed himself doubtful of the expediency of infant baptism. Then, again, we have instances of people who magnify one particular virtue, which they happen to practise, and who become so proud of it that they quite forget the other virtues which our Christian faith inculcates quite as much on them. The virtue may, after all, however, not be in their case a virtue at all, or be very little of a virtue. Christ would not have the temperate man less temperate than he is, but He would ask him, though he has no inclination towards strong drink, to examine himself and see if he has no inclination towards something else which is bad, and set himself against that. Christ would ask him, not to think himself perfect because he did not indulge in a sin that has not the least attraction for him, but to try and find out the sins that do "beset him," and show his perfection — the strength of his character and the power of his faith — by overcoming them. It may be a temper that is not yet under his control — a querulous disposition that destroys the peace of his home — a spirit of fault finding and uncharitableness that mars the blessedness of all intercourse with him, and transforms even his very truths into falsehoods. Christ would have us adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in not one thing but in all things — have us show that it raises us above the vice of drunkenness, certainly, but also above that of malice, covetousness, selfishness, and all uncharitableness. But this, I repeat, is what too many professing Christians forget or overlook. Men are everywhere prone to make compromises in the matter of Christian duty — to hold, it may be, by the creed and forget the commandments, to think of the sins of others and forget their own, or cling to one virtue and make it to do duty for all the others. Let us be warned against this folly. Let us remember that our Christian faith, if it brings us light, lays on us also obligation; if it reveals the love of God towards us it reveals also what He requires of us. Let us remember how comprehensive is its scope, and how personal is its appeal to us. It is the spirit of a new life — a new life that must pervade our whole being and manifest its sanctifying presence in every act we do and every word we say.

(W. Ewen, B. D.)

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