Joshua 24:15
Great Texts of the Bible
The Choice of a Master

Choose you this day whom ye will serve.—Joshua 24:15.

1. This was the farewell charge of the veteran chieftain Joshua to the tribes of Israel gathered together at Shechem. He had watched the childhood of the nation. He had seen a band of fugitives organized into an army, disciplined by adversity, entering at last as a victorious nation on the promised possession. He had watched their religious history, the triumph of the great truth of the One God which they were to hold as a sacred deposit, and hand down to after ages. It was their greatness that to them were committed “the oracles of God.” Yet he had seen them already false to their high mission. He had noted the reappearance of polytheistic ideas, he had seen the return to the Apis-worship of Egypt, he had mourned over the importation of more than one foreign cult. He knew that he was the leader of a chosen people, but of a people chosen not for their own greatness, but for a special duty or vocation in God’s world. And he saw that they had not realized their vocation. In the new phase of their history on which they were entering, everything now turned upon a choice. They were at a solemn crisis. God had chosen them for His work; but God’s choice is never absolute, never a mere selection for pre-eminence, never a mere display of power, but part of a great purpose which runs through time. To fail to do that work to which God calls is, by that failure, to nullify the choice. It was, then, a matter of life and death for Israel. How would they decide?

2. The place in which that question was asked and answered was full of memories. It was there, tradition said, that the first promise had been made to Abraham: “Unto thy seed will I give this land” (Genesis 12:7). It was there, in the valley between Ebal and Gerizim, the mount of cursing and the mount of blessing, that, in obedience to the word of Moses, the Law had been rehearsed. It was there that the embalmed body of Joseph, which they had brought up from Egypt, was to find its final resting-place.

It was fitting that this cradle of the nation should witness their vow, as it witnessed the fulfilment of God’s promise. What Plymouth Rock is to one side of the Atlantic, or Hastings Field to the other, Shechem was to Israel. Vows sworn there had a sanctity added by the place. Nor did these remembrances exhaust the appropriateness of the site. The oak, which had waved green above Abram’s altar, had looked down on another significant incident in the life of Jacob, when, in preparation for his long journey to Bethel, he had made a clean sweep of the idols of his household, and buried them “under the oak which was by Shechem” (Genesis 35:2-4). His very words are quoted by Joshua in his command, in Genesis 35:23, and it is impossible to overlook the intention to parallel the two events. The spot which had seen the earlier act of purification from idolatry was for that very reason chosen for the later. It is possible that the same tree at whose roots the idols from beyond the river, which Leah and Rachel had brought, had been buried, was that under which Joshua had set up his memorial stone; and it is possible that the very stone had been part of Abram’s altar. But, in any case, the place was sacred by these past manifestations of God and devotions of the fathers, so that we need not wonder that Joshua selected it rather than Shiloh, where the ark was, for the scene of the national oath of obedience.

3. Such were the associations which gathered around them as the multitudes in the valley of decision listened to the words of their great leader; and the charge was a retrospect and a prospect, a review of God’s unchanging goodness, and an anxious looking forward to the future. Would the people be true to their mission? God had given them a land for which they did not labour; He had driven the nations out before them. But for what? “That they might keep his statutes, and observe his laws,” that they might be the repositories of the great truth which was to prepare the world for its regeneration, the truth of monotheism which should prepare for Christianity. Would they be true to their vocation? Had they really apprehended that for which they had been apprehended? Would they choose that for which God had chosen them? If not, still they must choose. “If it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve.” Shall it be the polytheism from which Abraham had been called, or the polytheism of the Amorites among whom they were now dwelling? They might choose their vocation to be the servants of the One True God, or they might choose among the many idolatries in which they might miss their vocation. But choose they must.

It is the critical position to which the prophet Elijah also brought the people. “How long halt ye between two opinions?” How long will you spend your life in inconclusive flirtations? Settle the matter. Make up your minds. “If the Lord be God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word”; and the timid flirtations went on! And so it is to-day. In spiritual relationships men flirt, but they do not wed; they pay courteous attention, but they do not choose; they give a respectful hearing, but they do not risk an issue. Everything is open, nothing concluded. And so this old-world counsel comes into our modern conditions as counsel which is pertinent to much of our inconsequent and inconclusive life.1 [Note: J. H. Jowett.]

Keeping strictly to the words, “Choose you this day whom ye will serve,” we find four facts contained in them—

I.  All Life is Service.

II.  We may choose our Master.

  III.  There are only Two Masters to choose between.

  IV.  The Choice is Urgent.


All Life is Service

Joshua does not ask the Israelites whether or not they will serve any god. It is taken as a matter of course, and assumed as a fact, that they must serve some acknowledged superior, because it is a part of man’s nature to fear and serve a Superior Being, or a Superior Power. It is only “the fool” who “hath said in his heart, There is no God”—one who has utterly rebelled against the better side of human nature, and has crushed out the natural feelings of fear, awe, and reverence. Now this is the statement of an important truth. If men will not serve the Lord, they will nevertheless be the slaves of something—of Satan—of sin—of their own lusts—or of the riches, pleasures, or cares of this world. It has been well said: “We have not the liberty to choose whether we will serve or not; all the liberty we have is to choose our master.”

One often felt about Dr. Rainy the note of the soldier. I remember a fine phrase of his about life: “We must succeed as soldiers succeed.” Soldiers succeed, not by gaining honours and applause, nor, it may be, by gaining even victory. Their success is obedience to the call of duty. Their profession is “the service.” Principal Rainy, even as the Church leader, was always the soldier in “the service of “the good cause.”1 [Note: P. Carnegie Simpson, The Life of Principal Rainy, ii. 201.]

It is at once strange and true that there is no state so dear to the highest type of man as that of independence. One of its greatest poetic prophets was Robert Burns, and you will call to mind his words—

To catch dame Fortune’s golden smile,

Assiduous wait upon her;

And gather gear by ev’ry wile

That’s justified by honour;

Not for to hide it in a hedge,

Nor for a train attendant;

But for the glorious privilege

Of being independent.

That yearning for independence runs through all his poems, and we regard it as the first and foremost of his manly virtues. Yet, sad irony, it must be confessed that poor Burns was bound hand and foot by a master quite as cruel and despotic as a golden one—the master of low passions and appetites. But the case of Burns, so far from being solitary, is universal. Men may boast of their independence, and in some particular lines they have a right to do so, still they are servants or slaves of some power.

It is not the spirit of obedience that is wanting in man; he is not only willing to obey, but there is a necessity on him to do so. In his maddest dreams of freedom he enthrals himself to a Marat; in his wildest theory of individual judgment he makes a Pope of Chalmers or Wesley or Canning. Only let a man see what he ought to obey. Here rather is the difficulty. “I will not obey the Church,” says one, “for the Church does not exercise any power over me; I do not acknowledge its authority; I do not feel its superiority.” “I am not a loyal subject,” says another, “because I know that the Queen is an inexperienced little girl, no wiser than one of my daughters.” It is only by attesting their divine mission that institutions can be, or it may be ought to be, obeyed.1 [Note: Lord Houghton, in Life of Monckton Milnes, Lord Houghton, ii. 486.]

Fair is our lot—O goodly is our heritage!

(Humble ye, my people, and be fearful in your mirth!)

For the Lord our God Most High

He hath made the deep as dry,

He hath smote for us a pathway to the ends of all the Earth!

Yea, though we sinned—and our rulers went from righteousness—

Deep in all dishonour though we stained our garments’ hem,

Oh, be ye not dismayed,

Though we stumbled and we strayed,

We were led by evil counsellors—the Lord shall deal with them!

Hold ye the Faith—the Faith our Fathers sealèd us;

Whoring not with visions—overwise and overstale.

Except ye pay the Lord

Single heart and single sword,

Of your children in their bondage shall He ask them treble-tale!

Keep ye the Law—be swift in all obedience—

Clear the land of evil, drive the road and bridge the ford.

Make ye sure to each his own

That he reap where he hath sown;

By the peace among our peoples let men know we serve the Lord!2 [Note: Rudyard Kipling.]


We may choose our Master

1. The Bible is full of the recognition of the responsibility of each man for his choice. We go back to the very beginning of the Bible history, and we find that the Eden story all revolves round the ability of the individual to choose for himself. Now you may have any theory of the first chapters of the Bible that you please. You may call the story of Eden a parable or literal history. We shall all be agreed, however, when we recognize that the very central thought of all is that sin came into the world by disobedience, disobedience in point of power to choose in the opposite direction. A little later on we come to the Ten Commandments. A commandment implies that it may be obeyed or disobeyed. Obedience must choose in one direction or choose in another direction.

From the very beginning of the Old Testament to the very end of the New there is a run of invitation, beautiful words, golden words, diamond words; the most glowing words of all the Bible are those words of invitation. But invitation implies a possibility of resistance; if an invitation cannot be resisted it cannot be accepted.

2. A sense of power to choose between good and evil is part and parcel of the primitive consciousness of the race, and the speech of the rudest tribesman implies it. It is stamped upon every language, presupposed in all social systems, and is the sure foundation upon which the earliest and the latest codes of justice rest. It is for many reasons denied in theory by the great majority of the human race, and implied in practice. Fetish-worshipper, Pantheist, Muhammadan, even the Christian has repudiated the doctrine of moral freedom, but the repudiation has been limited to the sphere of religion, and has rarely, if ever, been applied to citizenship. The savage who, if he has any theory of the world, looks upon it as a ghostly despotism against which man, apart from charms, is helpless, forgets his religion of Fate, and deters his child from evil by frowns and encourages him to good by smiles. Every expression of the countenance witnesses to the belief that man moulds himself to vice or virtue. The student of science makes the laboratory or museum his universe, and convinces himself that the power of environment is limitless, and that the human faculties which are supposed to resist or modify it are less than nothing, and he comes forth from his refuge to applaud an act of heroism in the streets, or to scathe with denunciation some foul wrong done to a widow or a little child. The theologian in his study reads Jonathan Edwards on the Will, and convinces himself that the Infinite Sovereignty leaves no room for human freedom in the scheme of things; but he takes up his newspaper and his heart goes with every sentence meted out to a crime.

The soul in its consciousness of freedom repudiates determinism. Man as a moral agent is free—free to choose, free to think, free to act. Hence the exhortations of Scripture: “Choose you this day whom ye will serve”—“I have set before you life and death, therefore choose life”—“Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.” Power of choice implies free will and therefore responsibility. Christ in addressing men always assumed their freedom of choice—“Follow me”—“Come unto me”—“Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” And the Apostolic injunction,” Quench not the Spirit,” has no meaning unless we are able to do so. Our destiny is thus largely, if not wholly, in our own hands. “I can—I ought—I will.” We are not feathers in the wind, or straws on the stream, but men with souls and wills and consciences, and as men we fix our destiny by our character, and we fix our character by our actions.1 [Note: D. Watson, The Heritage of Youth, 35.]

The will in man, like some small independent nation, such as Switzerland or Holland, seems to maintain itself by means of great toil and effort. Bordered on all sides by strong encroaching nations, which threaten to absorb its very life within them, and menaced by a rude unfriendly nature, with which it must keep up a constant war, it yet continues, by the very fact of its existence, to utter a protest for man’s inviolable right of freedom. Often must the will exclaim—

Oh, mother Nature, broad indeed thy feast,

Widespread thy table, pasture for the beast

And death to man, most like the fruit whose thin

Smooth shining golden rind shows fair within

Its crimson gleaming seeds deep-hearted hid

Harmful, whereon, a harmless guest unbid,

The sweet bird feeds.2 [Note: Dora Greenwell, Liber Humanitatis, 66.]

Henry Ward Beecher’s father, old Dr. Lyman Beecher, was quite as remarkable as his distinguished son and his distinguished daughter, Harriet Beecher Stowe. One day Dr. Lyman Beecher had an exchange with a Methodist brother. Dr. Beecher believed in fore-ordination. The two men met on a hillside, each going to his place of worship, according to the way that was common in those days, riding his own horse. “Now,” said Dr. Beecher, “you see my doctrine is right, you see that it was fore-ordained from the foundation of the world that we should make this exchange, and we have met here on the crest of this hill, you going to my church and I going to your church.” “Very well,” said the Methodist preacher, “if it was fore-ordained from the foundation of the world that we were to make this exchange, I will break the fore-ordination,” and he deliberately turned round and went back to his own church. Now that seems to be only toying with a profound and very perplexing principle, but underneath we come to this very simple fact, that every man must be loyal to his own conscience, and when we are discussing the fact as to whether we have the power to choose or not we get back to this, “I know I could have done differently.”

3. Religion, no less than the other interests to which we give ourselves in life, is the subject-matter of human choice. We sometimes look upon it as pre-determined by language, climate, tradition, and ancestry. Max Müller speaks as though the idolatry of the Aryans grew out of their habits of speech. St. Paul perhaps displays a deeper insight into human nature when he looks upon idolatry as the product of fatuous and evil acts of choice.

The best religion is always that which men, after due inquiry and full counsel with their own consciences, choose for themselves. It has greater binding power than a religion which is merely prescribed. It is true even in common things that, after we have reached years of maturity, the best decisions are the dispassionate decisions we make for ourselves. The choice other people may make for us is of passing value only, and cannot command us like the choice we make in the exercise of our just personal liberty. Genuine religion begins with the exercise of individual judgment, although of course that judgment, when once formed, must ally itself with kindred judgments in the community and so acquire accumulative intenseness.

I think full vision prevents the exercise of choice between good and evil, and the fact of our being conscious of a power to choose between the two shows that we are in the dark—we could not choose evil if we really saw it to be only evil. In the case of a temptation, the very force of the temptation lies in the fact that the thing does appear good, pleasant to look upon, and likely to advance our knowledge. I would venture to suggest that you should criticize your notion of choice under the remembrance of the conditions in which we start and move in this existence. “Consent,” I think, is a better word than “choice” in relation to man’s so-called “free will.” True, when we are standing in the natural or old Adam, it seems a choice to us; but when we come to stand in the spiritual or new Adam, we discover that our free will is not exercised in the way of choice as between two alternatives, but in the free consent to the Will of God that it is “good and acceptable and perfect.” I incline to think that in the distinction between the natural and spiritual perceptions the solution of the perplexity will be found in the question of so-called free will.1 [Note: Letters from a Mystic of the Present Day, 10.]

Still will we trust, though earth seem dark and dreary,

And the heart faint beneath His chastening rod,

Though rough and steep our pathway, worn and weary,

Still will we trust in God!

Our eyes see dimly till by faith anointed,

And our blind choosing brings us grief and pain;

Through Him alone, who hath our way appointed,

We find our peace again.

Choose for us, God, nor let our weak preferring

Cheat our poor souls of good Thou hast designed:

Choose for us, God! Thy wisdom is unerring,

And we are fools and blind.

So from our sky the night shall furl her shadows,

And day pour gladness through her golden gates;

Our rough path lead to flower-enamelled meadows,

Where joy our coming waits.

Let us press on: in patient self-denial,

Accept the hardship, shrink not from the loss;

Our guerdon lies beyond the hour of trial,

Our crown beyond the cross.2 [Note: W. H. Burleigh.]


There are only Two Masters to choose between

1. God will accept no divided allegiance. He will have from us all or nothing in the way of service. “No man,” says our Lord, “can serve two masters” (Matthew 6:24). The alternative, as Joshua put it to Israel, was between the One True God and some of the many false gods of that age; the alternative for us, in the matter of service, is between sin and Christ. Our choice lies between these two only. Servants to the one or the other we must be.

Thou canst not choose but serve; man’s lot is servitude;

But this of choice thou hast, a bad lord or a good.1 [Note: Archbishop Trench.]

We may engage in a thousand pursuits. There is always one of two great ruling principles which guides our thoughts, words, and actions, and gives a distinct and peculiar colouring to our whole life. And it is from these two dominating powers that we have to choose—God or the devil, the love of virtue or the love of vice.

I remember so well, soon after my conversion, the exercise of mind I went through in 1844. I was ambitious and determined to get on in my profession, and I felt the three or four seasons of reading and prayer that I had set aside each day were a great hindrance to me in the way of military studies, and that if my mind was always so full of religious thought and reading I could not hope to make a name for myself. So the question came plainly before my mind, “Shall I choose to live to God, and keep up all this reading and prayer (which I felt needful because of my sinful, unruly heart), or lessen these exercises and apply myself to get on in the service?” I have never regretted the choice God helped me to make, and I believe He gave me great blessing in consequence, and has not even allowed me to fall behind my contemporaries in a professional point of view, but, as you know, has always prospered me in my work, and preserved me through perils.2 [Note: Sir John Field, Jottings from an Indian Journal, 127.]

Many lives which reach different goals start together in the closest intimacy. The characters of two lads, who are side by side in the same home or in the same school, are akin, and there is no apparent reason why they should not have the same value in the world. The possibilities, humanly speaking, are interchangeable. They sing from the same book, bow in prayer on the same hearth-stone, and show the same susceptibility to good impressions. For years their lives run parallel in the same church, the same business house, the same city. But after a while they get more or less apart. One is strict, conscientious, diligent in good works. The other loves society, grows lax in his habits, neglects the house of God. Their sympathies flow in diametrically opposed channels. One pours out his life on a foreign soil in the service of the Cross; the other dies on the scaffold or in a convict prison.1 [Note: T. G. Selby.]

The river Amazon and the chief tributary of the river Plate rise within a few hundred yards of each other, and the Indians often drag their canoes from one stream to the other over the intervening strip of land. For many miles the little rivers run in parallel channels, and it often seems as though they might unite into one. At last a little knoll or ridge is reached, and the waterways diverge. It is difficult to judge what issues are involved in this turning-point, for it gives complexion to the entire map of South America, and it has put the stamp of destiny upon some great empires. These two rivers never come within sight of each other again, and empty themselves into the sea more than a thousand miles apart.

2. One may say, “I do not know on whose side I am, it is so difficult to tell what is truth and what is false.” But we are not required to settle difficult questions in casuistry: we are asked to take a side when we see that there are two sides and only one of them can be taken. It is not a choice of the intellect; it is a choice of the will.

Of course there are problems the elements of which have not been formulated, and to which, for the present, a simple Aye or No is impossible. But these are not questions that touch the heart of salvation. We live, it is true, in perplexing times, but much of our unsettlement is due, not to the conflict between religion and science, faith and criticism, but to personal indecision. Alternatives are put before us which enlist the passions on the one hand and the conscience on the other, and it is for us to select between them. Faith is sometimes looked upon as though it were the product of a peculiar inspiration acting upon the finer sensibilities of a passive nature. It must be swept into men by a tidal wave of supreme emotion. Devout fatalists sit on the shore waiting till the phenomenon appears. It is pleasant to believe when the flowing tide is with us, but we must not forget the part we ourselves have to play.

It were not hard, we think, to serve Him,

If we could only see;

If He would stand with that gaze intense

Burning into our bodily sense,

If we might look on that face most tender,

The brow where the scars are turned to splendour,

Might catch the light of His smile so sweet,

And view the marks in His hands and feet,

How loyal we should be!

It were not hard, we think, to serve Him,

If we could only see!

It were not hard, He says, to see Him,

If we would only serve;

“He that doeth the will of Heaven,

To him shall knowledge and sight be given!”

While for His presence we sit repining,

Never we see His countenance shining;

They who toil where His reapers be,

The glow of His smile may always see,

And their faith can never swerve.

It were not hard, He says, to see Him,

If we would only serve.

I could not tell you too strongly my own deep and deepening conviction that the truths which I teach are true. Every year they shed fresh light on one another, and seem to stretch into immensity. They explain to me life, God, and the Bible; and I am certain that what fresh light I shall receive will be an expansion and not a contradiction of what I have. As for the words in which I try to make others see what I see, they are indeed poor and bewildered enough. But there is no bewilderment in my mind, though much that is incomplete. The principles are rooted in human nature, God, and the being of things, and I find them at the root of every page in Scripture. The principles cannot be reversed. My mind has grown by a regular development year by year, and I could as easily doubt my own existence as doubt those truths which have grown with my growth, and strengthened with my strength. They are not opinions nor theories, but convictions—part of my being, of my habits of thought and life—colouring everything, “the fountain light of all my day, the master light of all my seeing.” These are the truths for which men go to the stake, and relinquish, joyfully, friends, sympathy, good name, worldly prospects. They do not depend upon the accuracy of an intellectual process, but upon the verdict of all the highest powers of soul. For instance, I would not give up a single thing on the certainty that St. Paul did not write the Epistle to the Hebrews. These are matters of intellectual investigation, and I am not sure that I am right, because I am neither certain that all the evidence is before me, nor that I have rightly judged from the evidence. But if I am asked to surrender convictions, I cannot do it for any reward, nor for fear of any loss; these depend upon all I know of God; they are the things seen in the noonday light of my soul; and I cannot pretend to submit my judgment in such things to wiser men or better men. It would be mock humility. I might just as readily, at their bidding, say that green is scarlet. It may be so; but if it be, my whole vision is deranged by which I have walked and lived, and by which this world is beautiful. To say that I am ready for any martyrdom in the defence of my convictions, and that I cannot affect to have doubts or misgivings about them, is only to say that they are convictions.1 [Note: F. W. Robertson, in Life and Letters, 368.]

And they serve men austerely,

After their own genius, clearly,

Without a false humility;

For this is Love’s nobility,—

Not to scatter bread and gold,

Goods and raiment bought and sold;

But to hold fast his simple sense,

And speak the speech of innocence,

And with hand and body and blood,

To make his bosom-counsel good.

He that feeds men serveth few;

He serves all who dares be true.2 [Note: Emerson.]

When Judas, knowing the Christ to be innocent, dared to sell Him to the Jews for thirty pieces of silver; when the Bishop of Beauvais, knowing Joan of Arc to be innocent, sold her to the English for £2400—there is no doubt as to the choice these men had made. When the constituents of James A. Garfield wished him to vote in the American Senate contrary to the dictates of his conscience, and when Garfield stood before them and said: “Gentlemen, if I become your representative, it must be because your opinions coincide with mine, and not because I have pared mine down into similarity with yours; I must obey the dictates of my conscience; for obedience to its voice I am responsible to God, and I must not, I dare not, muffle its teachings, bury my beliefs, or cover my convictions”—you will have no hesitation in saying which side he had chosen. There is little difficulty in deciding as to whom you serve.1 [Note: G. H. Morgan.]

3. With the people to whom these words were addressed the issue was very simple—Will you follow the gods of the nations, or will you follow Jehovah your God? The problem is slightly different to-day, but it is the same old problem, and to us, as to those people, rings out the message, “Choose you this day whom ye will serve”! Shall it be a life spent in the service of self or in the service of humanity? It is not possible to serve God without serving man; it is not possible to worship God without serving man. There never was a prayer offered to God when the heart was at enmity with man. There is no knowledge of God which does not come through man. That is the principle of the incarnation, and, therefore, when we are to choose the service of God, we mean by that the service of man, because God cannot be served and man neglected. If we love not our brother whom we have seen, how can we love God whom we have not seen? Shall our lives be given to Christ and to humanity, or shall they be given to self and to sin?

If I can stop one heart from breaking,

I shall not live in vain;

If I can ease one life the aching,

Or cool one pain,

Or help one fainting robin

Unto his nest again,

I shall not live in vain.2 [Note: Emily Dickinson.]


The Choice is Urgent

1. It is urgent because it has to be made now.—“Choose you this day.” All our decisions are instant; the processes leading up to decision may be very slow, but the decisions are all instant. A boat changes its course in an instant. It may have been a long time getting ready to make the change, but the change in the course is always instantaneously made. A man is seen to have made a change; it has been growing through long years, but the real change has been instantaneous.

You cannot run away from a weakness; you must some time fight it out or perish; and if that be so, why not now, and where you stand?1 [Note: R. L. Stevenson, The Amateur Emigrant.]

It was at the beginning of these somewhat reckless years that I came to the great decision of my life. I remember it well. Our Sunday-School class had been held in the vestry as usual. The lesson was finished, and we had marched back into the chapel to sing, answer questions, and to listen to a short address. I was sitting at the head of the seat, and can even now see Mr. Meikle taking from his breast-pocket a copy of the United Presbyterian Record, and hear him say that he was going to read an interesting letter to us from a missionary in Fiji. The letter was read. It spoke of cannibalism, and of the power of the Gospel, and at the close of the reading, looking over his spectacles, and with wet eyes, he said, “I wonder if there is a boy here this afternoon who will yet become a missionary, and by and by bring the Gospel to cannibals?” And the response of my heart was, “Yes, God helping me, I will.” So impressed was I that I spoke to no one, but went right away towards home. The impression became greater the farther I went, until I got to the bridge over the Aray above the mill, and near to the Black Bull. There I went over the wall attached to the bridge, and kneeling down prayed God to accept me, and to make me a missionary to the heathen.2 [Note: James Chalmers, Autobiography and Letters, 23.]

Ere another step I take

In my wilful wandering way,

Still I have a choice to make—

Shall I alter while I may?

Patient love is waiting still

In my Saviour’s heart for me:

Love to bend my froward will,

Love to make me really free.

Far from Him, what can I gain?

Want and shame and bondage vile—

Better far to bear the pain

Of His yoke a little while.1 [Note: A. L. Waring.]

2. It is urgent because it is for eternity.—Every choice, says the great German philosopher poet, is for eternity. Yet men often realize that only when it is too late. They have let everything go by default. They are in theory Christians; they imagine that they have taken sides; but when the moment of choice comes, when the temptation is at hand, they shrink from the effort of decision for God, and they give way to evil. Then the momentum of that false choice carries them further. It is not merely that, by the law of habit, acts tend to reproduce themselves. That is true, and it is true of good as well as of evil acts. But every choice has a twofold consequence. It reacts upon the conscience and it reacts upon the will. To choose the higher is to give definiteness and precision and a diviner insight to the conscience, even while it gives to the will new power to be free. But the conscience, once silenced, speaks in a lower tone, judges less certainly and less truly; and the will, in that its wilfulness opposed itself and chose the lower line, is weaker by the act, and has so far lost its freedom. For the freedom of the will, which we vaguely talk about, is a freedom to be won; the Divine light of conscience is at first a spark that may be quenched or kindled. The perfect freedom that can choose God, the perfect light that reveals Him,—these belong only to the Perfect Man “who knew no sin.”

Heard are the voices,

Heard are the sage’s,

The world’s, and the age’s.

Choose well: your choice is

Brief and yet endless.2 [Note: Goethe, translated by Carlyle.]


Girdlestone (A. G.), The Way, the Truth, the Life, No. 6.

Hughes (H. P.), The Philanthropy of God, 45.

Jowett (J. H.), The Transfigured Church, 253.

Moore (A. L.), The Message of the Gospel, 143.

Price (A. C.), Fifty Sermons, xi. 193.

Salmond (C. A.), For Days of Youth, 189.

Selby (T. G.), The God of the Patriarchs, 273.

Stewart (J.), Outlines of Discourses, 153.

British Congregationalist, June 11, 1908 (Jowett).

Christian World Pulpit, xiv. 309 (Anderson); xviii. 219 (Vaughan); xliv. 104 (Bradford).

Church of England Pulpit, xvii. 88 (Coleman).

Church Pulpit Year Book, iv. (1907) 128.

Churchman’s Pulpit: First Sunday after Trinity, ix. 447 (Alford); Sermons to the Young, xvi. 289 (Soans).

Homiletic Review, xvii. 343 (Hoyt).

Preacher’s Magazine, xiv. (1903) 86 (Smith).

As for Me and My House

As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.—Joshua 24:15.

1. It is an impressive experience to stand round the bed of a dying veteran whom we have followed and loved. Viewed from that vantage-ground, the mighty things of the world seem weak, and the gilded and glorious to be but hollow tinsel. The life of that man, spent as it has been in the service of God, casts a halo around this scene which cannot be described. The life may have been unpretentious, utterly lacking in the show and outward glory which brings earthly renown; but we feel his life has been good in a way which will bear the searching light of the Great White Throne, and we are satisfied. With what interest and anxiety do we listen to every word that falls from his failing lips. There are reminiscences of the past, and the eyes sparkle at the remembrance of God’s goodness in times of storm and stress. Then come wise counsels for the future. And as the sons and daughters who have come from distant parts stand round, linked by the strongest of all ties—the tie of mutual grief—some such prayer as Bickersteth’s ascends for them—

Let not one of these

Be wanting in the day Thou countest up

The jewels in Thy diadem of saints.

I ask not for the glories of the world,

I ask not freedom from its weariness

Of daily toil; but, oh Lord Jesu Christ,

Let Thy omnipotent prayer prevail for them

And keep them from the evil. In the hour

Of trial, when the subtle tempter’s voice

Sounds like a seraph’s, and no human friend

Is nigh, let my words live before Thee then,

And hide my lambs beneath Thy shadowing wings,

And keep them as the apple of Thine eye.

My prayers are ended if Thy will be done

In them and by them. Till at last we meet

Within the mansions of our Father’s home,

A circle never to be sundered more,

No broken link, a family in Heaven.

2. Our text expresses the resolution of the great captain Joshua, when God had given His people rest from their enemies round about, and all the good things had come upon them which the Lord their God had promised them. Such were the words which he was not ashamed to utter in the assembly of Israel, when he had summoned them together at Shechem. He had called on them to make a deliberate choice between idolatry and the service of Jehovah. On this point, his own mind was made up. “Choose you this day whom ye will serve; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” It must have been a noble sight to see the well-tried champion of Israel, ripe in years and in honours, adding to all his proofs of courage this greatest one, of standing out before the armies of his people and owning himself a godly man; crowning the exploits of a heroic life by a boldness no less heroic, on His behalf on whom life depends. And it must have been a remarkable sight, too, to witness that day the gathering of the tribes to Shechem. Veterans who had fought in the wars of the Lord once more embraced their aged captain. Long-severed friends in arms and danger once more greeted one another. Round these were the assembled multitudes of Israel. They stood and listened to him who reminded them of the age which was gone by, and took pledges of them for the age which was to come.

Give thanks, O heart, for the high souls

That point us to the deathless goals—

For all the courage of their cry

That echoes down from sky to sky;

Thanksgiving for the armed seers

And heroes called to mortal years—

Souls that have built our faith in man

And lit the ages as they ran.

Give thanks for heroes that have stirred

Earth with the wonder of a word.

But all thanksgiving for the breed

Who have bent destiny with deed—

Souls of the high, heroic birth,

Souls sent to poise the shaken earth,

And then called back to God again

To make heaven possible for men.


As for Me

1. This short phrase occurs again and again in Scripture. “As for me, I” (unlike the enemies of God) “will come into thy house in the multitude of thy mercy” (Psalm 5:7). “As for me, I” (unlike those whose portion is in this life) “will behold thy face in righteousness” (Psalm 17:15). We might add to such quotations many others where the same or similar Hebrew occurs, but is otherwise rendered in our Version. Such a passage is Psalm 73:28, where we may read, “As for me, nearness to God for me is good.” Others may, if they will, go wandering from Him, devoting themselves to the world, to self, to sin, as their life and choice. My preference and resolve are otherwise. “Nearness to God for me is good.”

The one thing needful—whether we seek the love of God or of man—is unfaltering courage, that quality which alone places great things within our reach.1 [Note: Lady Dilke, The Book of the Spiritual Life, 164.]

When William Wilberforce was brought to Christ, he went with fear and trembling to his friend, the great statesman of the day, William Pitt, to tell him of the change. For two hours his friend endeavoured to convince him that he was becoming visionary, fanatical, if not insane. But the young convert was steadfast and immovable. He had spent his twenty-fifth birthday at the top wave and highest flow of those amusements—the racecourse and the ballroom—which had swallowed up a large portion of his youth. He had laughed and sung, and been envied for his gaiety and happiness. But true happiness he had never found till he found Christ. And now he laid his wealth and wit and eloquence and influence at the feet of his Lord, his motto being—“Whatsoever others do, as for me, I will serve the Lord.”

2. The phrase thus tends to put before us a certain contrast and separation. The speaker places himself, in some respects, aside and apart. He looks around him, and sees other men following this or that line of thought and action. Their numbers are large. Their action, their spirit and sentiment, have all the weight and force of a fashion. He cannot help it. He must take another line. However singular he may make himself, so must it be. “As for me, I will serve the Lord.”

Light words they were, and lightly, falsely said;

She heard them, and she started,—and she rose,

As in the act to speak; the sudden thought

And unconsidered impulse led her on.

In act to speak she rose, but with the sense

Of all the eyes of that mixed company

Now suddenly turned upon her, some with age

Hardened and dulled, some cold and critical;

Some in whom vapours of their own conceit,

As moist malarious mists the heavenly stars,

Still blotted out their good, the best at best

By frivolous laugh and prate conventional

All too untuned for all she thought to say—

With such a thought the mantling blood to her cheek

Flushed up, and o’er-flushed itself, blank night her soul

Made dark, and in her all her purpose swooned.

She stood as if for sinking. Yet anon

With recollections clear, august, sublime,

Of God’s great truth, and right immutable,

Which, as obedient vassals, to her mind

Came summoned of her will, in self-negation

Quelling her troublous earthy consciousness,

She queened it o’er her weakness. At the spell,

Back rolled the ruddy tide, and leaves her cheek

Paler than erst, and yet not ebbs so far

But that one pulse of one indignant thought

Might hurry it hither in flood. So as she stood

She spoke. God in her spoke, and made her heard.1 [Note: Clough, Poems, 11.]

3. Joshua, like his friend Caleb, “followed the Lord fully”; he might have taken for his motto the word “thorough.” He belonged to Jehovah, heart, and soul, and mind, and strength. As the successor of Moses, and the type of the Lord Jesus, he put on zeal as a cloak, and girded himself with fidelity as with a garment. His appointed duty was fulfilled with martial strictness and unswerving steadiness; he had a single eye and a firm hand. He was strong and of good courage, and the Lord was with him. It was no idle boast when the old warrior and prince in Israel said, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

Among modern soldiers there is not a more honoured name than Henry Havelock. In the words of the Governor-General of India, “He was every inch a soldier, and every inch a Christian.” From the time of his religious decision he was not ashamed to own his heavenly Father, but was concerned only to walk worthy of Him. Show him the path of duty, and he held consequence as light as air. He had only one object of fear, and that was sin. Personal danger was as the idle wind. When the deliverance of our Indian Empire from a fearful rebellion seemed to depend on the success of the army which he led, he could find time before the earliest march to commune with his God in prayer, and in the reading of His word, and thus to strengthen himself for the terrible work he had in hand. His motto was, “As for me, I will serve the Lord.”

Sir Walter Scott, quoting a Scottish proverb in his journal says: “Hain your reputation, tyne your reputation,” i.e. to be very careful and timorous about reputation is the way to lose it. Is it not he also who testifies: “I never knew name nor fame burn brighter for over chary keeping”?

4. Never for a moment is the Christian called to isolation, peculiarity, opposition, for their own sake. “Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good, to edification.” It is the believer’s business to be the most considerate, sympathetic, courteous, and companionable of people, within the lines of the will of God. Let this be well remembered, with reflection, and sanctified good sense, and prayer. Otherwise, we may be merely disagreeable, and mistake this for fidelity to principle. We may be justly avoided for our own sakes, and think that this is “bearing the reproach of Christ,” and “going forth to him without the gate.” But when all this is said, how great and sacred is the place in our hearts and wills which must be kept for “as for me”! Considerateness and sympathy are as different as possible from drift and compromise. They should be, and often are, most conspicuous in lives which are all the while governed absolutely by personal surrender to the will of God, such surrender as can lay quietly down at His feet all that is most cherished in reputation and ease, when it comes to a real alternative between Him and the world.

Independence and isolation may be nothing better than stoic egotism. A man may separate himself from his fellows through self-conceit alone. Pope has a couplet which says of certain persons—

They so despise the crowd, that should the throng

By chance go right, they purposely go wrong.

Again, the effect is hardly less injurious of the inflexibility of those who in simple ignorance oppose the public way. Men get into their minds all sorts of distorted views, half-truths, and opinions which they call “conscientious convictions,” and they protest that nothing shall move them from their faith or purpose. Their stubbornness arises from no unsociability of disposition, but simply through imperfect light. There is a good deal of emphatic personality and dogged independence in the world which is thus only a distortion. You see it in very marked development in present-day religious enterprise and Christian work. Men are every day rushing out of the orderly ranks, discarding long-established methods, and originating all sorts of infallible expedients for doing what the wiser Church is unable to do, or is not doing fast enough to satisfy their enthusiasm. And so these persons choose to toil alone, or to force their own crude theories and ill-considered schemes on their unwilling neighbours. All this is but a perverted egotism and a public hurt, though there is in it, as in most evils, an element of good.

There never was a more thorough Christian, or a more decided, than Tyndall’s predecessor in the presidency of the Royal Institution—Michael Faraday. And while there are two or three eminent and prominent scientific men who are numbered with doubters, and whose names are regarded by those who wish it so as a sufficient justification of doubt, one of our greatest astronomers says he could appeal to the great majority of living men who are devoting God’s noblest gift of genius to the elucidation of God’s works, to prove that the pursuit of science has no inherent tendency towards religious scepticism. “As for my own part,” he adds, “and I hope I say it without affectation—I am sure I say it with no reserve—from the results of modern research I have gathered additional reason for resting in the simplicity of the Christian Faith, and in modern discoveries I have found many a new and unexpected trace of the Creator’s Majesty, of His power, His wisdom, and His love.”


As for Me and My House

1. “As for me and my house,” says Joshua; not “as for me” only. He carries his household with him, as the head of the house, and as the servant of God in the family circle.

(1) He is the head of his house.—He clearly signifies that he is the head over his family, that its oneness of decision is due to his ruling. There is to be no hesitation on this point. The Bible never permits the position of husband, as director of the family, to be trenched upon. His is the order which is to decide the course to be followed, his the firm hand which is to hold the reins, his the final word that is to bring differences to a settlement.

An ideal picture of the father as the high priest in the home is given by John G. Paton, the South Sea missionary, in the story of his childhood’s days in the south of Scotland: “Our home consisted of a ‘but’ and a ‘ben,’ and a ‘mid room,’ or chamber, called the ‘closet.’ … The ‘closet’ was a very small apartment betwixt the other two, having room only for a bed, a little table, and a chair, with a diminutive window shedding diminutive light on the scene. This was the Sanctuary of that cottage home. Thither daily, and oftentimes a day, generally after each meal, we saw our father retire, and ‘shut to the door’; and we children got to understand by a sort of spiritual instinct (for the thing was too sacred to be talked about) that prayers were being poured out there for us, as of old by the High Priest within the veil in the Most Holy Place. We occasionally heard the pathetic echoes of a trembling voice pleading as if for life, and we learned to slip out and in past that door on tiptoe, not to disturb the holy colloquy. The outside world might not know, but we knew, whence came that happy light as of a new-born smile that always was dawning on my father’s face; it was a reflection from the Divine Presence, in the consciousness of which he lived.”1 [Note: John G. Paton. 10.]

But let us not mistake the nature of his authority. It is not that of a lord over slaves. It is not that of a superior race over an inferior. It is not that which needs to be constantly parading itself as if it had no real foundation. It is an authority which recognizes fully and cheerfully that a wife is one with her husband, that the children have rights which no man gave to them and which no man should presume to take away. Thus the unity which resides in the head will be pervaded with sympathy for all the members of the house, and complete and tender harmony will prevail. It will be plain that the father does not need to claim authority; it will be dearer to the others than to himself. The mother and children will not need to take roundabout means to secure their rights; they will be acknowledged and carefully guarded by the father. And when, under the spell of this unity, a man speaks in his own name of the religious life which he and his house will choose, he does so in the assurance that they will agree with him—that he can, with the fullest decision, give utterance to the resolution, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

Joshua’s words have had a long and active life. Not only are they enshrined imperishably in the Book of God; they are frequently to be seen as a watchword in our modern homes, amidst the stir and movement of our life to-day, inscribed perhaps on card or tablet, and hung where the visitor cannot help seeing them, in an entrance hall, in a dining-room, or where not: “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” The way of the world may run otherwise, and my choice may be out of the mode altogether. It does not matter; this is my choice: “we will serve the Lord.” Happy the home where the motto is realized in the household life, and happy the heart and character where it lies deep at the springs of individual thought and action every day.1 [Note: H. C. G. Moule.]

(2) He is a man of God at home and in the midst of his family.—No resolution to serve Christ, no profession of serving Him can be genuine on our part if they do not lead into a position like that which Joshua took. How could I be counted a truthful man if I spake truthfully in the street and told lies in the house? Who could regard me as a friend if I shook hands with them when we were by ourselves and turned my back on them when in company? And what right have I to consider myself a servant of Christ if I say I will be loyal to Him, but do not endeavour to carry my family with me into that service? In the family we put off certain kinds of restraints which we put on when we engage in business or mingle in society. We feel that we have no need to be other than we are there. If we ought to be the same men everywhere—true to what we believe—then, assuredly, if there is any place in which we should be more pronounced Christians than in another, it is in our home. If we are to walk worthy of Him whose we are and whom we serve, that straight walking ought to be shown in its most perfect development, not in prayer-meeting or church, not in pew or pulpit, but where every word tells, every habit makes a stamp—in the free circle of family life.

The epitaph Ruskin inscribed over his father’s grave in the churchyard of Shirley, near Croydon, is beautiful and characteristic: “Here rests from day’s well-sustained burden John James Ruskin, born in Edinburgh, May 10th, 1785. He died in his house in London, March 3rd, 1864. He was an entirely honest merchant, and his memory is to all who keep it dear and helpful. His son, whom he loved to the uttermost, and taught to speak truth, says this of him.”1 [Note: A. C. Benson, Ruskin: A Study in Personality, 102.]

One of Principal Rainy’s daughters writes: “I feel it difficult to write of these things, for I have no words to tell you of them. To us he was just ‘Father.’ I suppose most children begin by thinking their father the most wise and strong and tender of beings, and with us that went on to the very end, with an always increasing sense of how unusual such wisdom and strength and tenderness were. For myself, it is to him I owe all my earliest ideas of what the Fatherhood of God might mean. They all came translated to me so inevitably, so securely, through that dear and familiar medium that never once failed me all my life—never once came short of my hopes or my needs. And it was so with us all. I remember how a sister once wrote to me, ‘I know you read the thirteenth verse of the 103rd Psalm as I do—Like as my Father pitieth his children—and that means just everything.’ ”2 [Note: The Life of Principal Rainy, ii. 93.]

He never made a fortune, or a noise

In the world where men are seeking after fame;

But he had a healthy brood of girls and boys

Who loved the very ground on which he trod.

They thought him just a little short of God;

Oh, you should have heard the way they said his name—


There seemed to be a loving little prayer

In their voices, even when they called him “Dad.”

Though the man was never heard of anywhere,

As a hero, yet you somehow understood

He was doing well his part and making good;

And you knew it, by the way his children had

Of saying “Father.”

He gave them neither eminence nor wealth,

But he gave them blood untainted with a vice,

And the opulence of undiluted health.

He was honest, and unpurchable and kind;

He was clean in heart, and body, and in mind.

So he made them heirs to riches without price—

This father.

He never preached or scolded; and the rod—

Well, he used it as a turning-pole in play.

But he showed the tender sympathy of God

To his children in their troubles, and their joys.

He was always chum and comrade with his boys,

And his daughters—oh, you ought to hear them say


Now I think of all achievements ’tis the least

To perpetuate the species; it is done

By the insect and the serpent, and the beast.

But the man who keeps his body, and his thought,

Worth bestowing on an offspring love-begot,

Then the highest earthly glory he has won,

When in pride a grown-up daughter or a son

Says “That’s Father.”1 [Note: Ella Wheeler Wilcox.]

2. One of the ways in which we may serve the Lord in the family circle is by setting up His worship in our house, by taking care that we have our whole house join day by day in serving Him with prayer and thanksgiving and praise.

All of us, even the least learned, may offer up some short prayer to God in the name of His blessed Son; or we may sing or repeat some psalm or godly hymn together; and some one of the family may read a few verses out of the Gospels to the rest. Let this be done daily. First let us rouse and calm our hearts—calm all worldly thoughts in them, and rouse them to heavenly thoughts—by reading some of our Saviour’s blessed words; and then, when our hearts have been thus quieted and stirred, let us offer up a prayer. It is not many words, or fine words, that Christ cares for, any more now than when He was on earth. The widow’s mite, if it be offered up from the heart, is still, as then, more precious in His eyes than all the costly offerings of the rich.

Whatever we wish others to practise, we must practise ourselves, and nothing is so well calculated to impress the young with a conviction of the importance of prayer as the being called together, morning and evening, to unite in family worship. Christians who neglect this duty will have a great deal to answer for in the day of final account. I have a boyish recollection of the shudder which crept over me on hearing a playmate say of his father, who was a member of the Church, “My father never prays!”1 [Note: J. N. Norton.]

Every Christian family should be a little church. In Scotland this thought blossomed out more abundantly after the bitter experiences of the seventeenth century, during which so many families were obliged to furnish their own religious ordinances. So the Christian father became the pastor or minister, and his family met, either alone or along with others like-minded, for such simple rites as laymen could transact. When the storm had passed, the habit of family worship had become firmly fixed in all pious homes. Especially the houses of the clergy were associated with this daily prayer, and sometimes the parishioners resorted to a godly minister’s house to join in these domestic services. This was the survival of that habit of daily public prayers, which soon vanished from the life of the Scottish Church, and is only now being restored here and there in the large towns.2 [Note: H. M. B. Reid, Lost Habits of the Religious Life, 45.]

Dr. Paul, in his Past and Present of Aberdeenshire, says: “In my early days family worship was, in this quarter, much neglected, even among the clergy: among the laity it was seldom heard of.” In agreement with that statement, Dr. Kidd found that his house, for years after he came to Aberdeen, was a centre of wondering interest to the neighbourhood, when, in the course of family worship, the psalm was sung. People gathered round the door to hear the unfamiliar sounds on a week-day, and in a private house. With characteristic hospitality and readiness to seize any opportunity of doing good that came in his way, Dr. Kidd opened the door and invited them to come in.1 [Note: J. Stark, Dr. Kidd of Aberdeen, 242.]

3. What are the difficulties in the way of having family worship?

(1) The want of time for it. The father is obliged to hurry off to his work in the morning, and he comes home weary at night, and this is often considered a sufficient excuse for allowing his household to grow up without the blessing of family prayer. But the whole exercise, including the reading of a chapter of the Bible, or the Psalter for the day, need not occupy more than fifteen minutes. Will any one venture to declare that he cannot afford this amount of time for attending to so important a duty?

(2) There is the fear of exciting surprise among family and friends, and of being thought “righteous overmuch.” But is it right to give way to such apprehensions? Ashamed to follow the example of the Patriarchs of old—of David, when seated on the throne of Israel—of Joshua, a general of unequalled courage and success? Ashamed to do what the greatest and best of all ages have done before us? The only thing to be ashamed of is that we have neglected this duty so long.


We will serve the Lord

And who is the Lord whom Joshua and his household are ready to serve? Joshua names two points in His character. They are unexpected. They seem to repel rather than attract the worshipper. They are chosen that the reality and sincerity of the worshipper may be tested.

(1) He is a holy God.—The Scriptural idea of the holiness of God has a wider sweep than we often recognize. It fundamentally means His supreme and inaccessible elevation above the creature; which, of course, is manifested in His perfect separation from all sin, but has not regard to this alone. Joshua here urges the infinite distance between man and God, and especially the infinite moral distance, in order to enforce a profounder conception of what goes to God’s service. A holy God cannot have unholy worshippers. His service can be no mere ceremonial, but must be the bowing of the whole man before His majesty, the aspiration of the whole man after His loftiness, the transformation of the whole man into the reflection of His purity, the approach of the unholy to the Holy through a sacrifice which puts away sin.

(2) He is a jealous God.—“Jealous” is an ugly word, with repulsive associations, and its application to God has sometimes been explained in ugly fashion, and has actually repelled men. But, rightly looked at, what does it mean but that God desires our whole hearts for His own, and loves us so much, and is so desirous to pour His love into us, that He will have no rivals in our love? The metaphor of marriage, which puts His love to men in the tenderest form, underlies this word, so harsh on the surface, but so gracious at the core.

The jealousy exercised in the interests of others must be holy and beneficent. God will brook no intrusion into His work, no division of His authority, no departure from His laws. He alone can guide us through the rocks and whirlpools, and bring us to the far-off goal. That He should be supreme is the very salvation of the universe.

In the darkness of a blustering winter’s night I was once coming down the rapids of a Chinese river. There were several scores of market people in the same boat returning to their homes. The boatmen, who made their journey ten or a dozen times a month, were versed in the swish of every eddy and the roar of every separate whirlpool, the boom of the current on each obstructing rock, and the hurly-burly of the waters as they spread themselves out over the broad gravel beds, and were at home on almost every square inch of the water-way. Sometimes we came down full swing between chasms of rock where we had not more than half a foot of margin. A mistaken tug at the rudder, too energetic a use of the oar on the wrong side at the wrong moment, failure to calculate the margin of the water-way to a shade, and we should have been dashed to bits on the rocks. Now if I, a stranger, had laid a hand upon the rudder, or had snatched an oar from one of the boatmen, and had begun to make proof of a skill I had cultivated on English rivers, the boatmen would have been profoundly jealous of my intervention. And rightly so; for they possessed a special knowledge in which I was wanting. Their common humanity, a sense of their responsibility for the souls on board, the dread of a more formidable form of trial for manslaughter than that of European courts, compelled them to a temper of keen and passionate jealousy, and the temper did them all honour.1 [Note: T. G. Selby, The Lesson of a Dilemma, 118.]


Alford (H.), Quebec Chapel Sermons, iii. 423.

Hare (J. C.), Sermons Preacht in Herstmonceux Church, i. 369.

Maclaren (A.) Expositions of Holy Scripture: Deuteronomy, etc., 183.

Morgan (G. H.), Modern Knights-Errant, 225.

Moule (H. C. G.), Thoughts for the Sundays of the Year, 224.

Norton (J. N.), Short Sermons, 414.

Spurgeon (C. H.), Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, xxi. (1875), No. 1229.

Christian World Pulpit, vii. 289 (Kennedy); xxvii. 11 (Watt); xxxvii. 55 (Stevenson).

Preacher’s Magazine, vi. (1895) 418 (Ingram).

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