Ephesians 6
Biblical Illustrator
Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. -

1. Children owe to their parents an inward affection and regard. Their obedience should flow from love, gratitude, and esteem.

2. Children are to honour their parents by external tokens of respect.

3. Children are to obey the just commands of their parents.

4. Children are not only to obey the express commands of parents while under their authority, but to receive with decent and humble regard, the instructions, counsels, and reproofs which they may see fit to communicate afterward.

5. Children are to remember, and, if there is occasion, also to remunerate, the favours they have received from their parents.


1. Parents are to instruct their children in the doctrines and duties of religion.

2. Parents must not content themselves with giving their children good instructions; but endeavour, by arguments, exhortations, and reproofs, to form their lives according to their instructions.

3. Parents must regulate the diversions of their children.

4. Parents should maintain the worship of God in their houses.

5. Let parents set their children a good example in everything.

(J. Lathrop, D. D.)


1. Observe the persons to whom the commandment is addressed "children."

2. Observe what is commanded as the especial duty of children in reference to parents - "obey," and "honour."

3. The limitation of the precept - "in the Lord." The parent's stronghold is here, when he says, "I must have you obedient, because I am responsible to God for your being so." And the child's strong encouragement is in the same thought: "In obeying my parents, I am doing that which is pleasing to God, and I do it because the Lord so bids me."


1. To obey parents is right.(1) Their age, experience, knowledge, entitle them to the obedience of their children.(2) Love should prompt children to render obedience to their parents.

2. There is a promise annexed to obedience. God undertakes that His blessing shall be given.

(James Cohen, M. A.)

I. NOTICE WHOM YOU ARE TO OBEY AND HONOUR. Your "parents" - your "father and mother."


1. We must respect and reverence them. We should regard them as those to whose love and government God Himself has committed us. I have read of two sons who saved their aged parents at the sacrifice of all they possessed and at the risk of their own lives. The city was on fire, and they were in the middle of it; they had gold in the cellar and plate in the cupboard; but one took his father on his back, and the other his mother, and away they ran through the scorching streets and falling houses, till they got outside the walls! Those lads loved their parents with perfect love. How different to the wretched heathen who leave their old fathers and mothers to perish! Mr. Moffat, an African missionary, found a poor woman under a tree; she was a mere skeleton, and the bloodthirsty wolves were bowling around her! She said her children had got tired of her because she was sick; they had been gone some days, and she must sit there till she died.

2. To honour and obey our parents means that we are to do whatever will make them happy, even though they do not enjoin it upon us.

3. To honour and obey them means that we are to do whatever they tell us. Their commands are to be laws with us. A soldier is ordered to do this and that by his officer - it may be to carry a letter through the enemy's country, it may be to take the place of a comrade who has just been shot down at a gun, but he knows that he may not hesitate for a moment; if he refused, his character as a soldier would be gone, and he would be drummed out of the army. But what claim has an officer on a soldier, compared with the claim of a parent on a child?

III. HOW FAR WE ARE TO HONOUR AND OBEY OUR PARENTS (see Colossians 3:20). We are to obey our parents in everything so far as their commands agree with those of God, and no further; if they required us to steal, or lie, or cheat, or do anything wrong, we should not be called to obey them. But, dear children, it is not probable that your beloved parents will ever require you to do anything of this kind; and in all other cases you are bound to obey them. I press that "ALL," because many boys and girls will pick and choose amongst duties as they would amongst apples; they will do what is easy and pleasant to them. Now, it seems to me that difficult things are just the test of obedience. Some things are no test at all. Suppose a father were to say to his son, "Run and buy yourself a dozen raspberry tarts"; not one boy in a hundred but would run to the shop as fast as his legs could carry him; but for all that, he might be a disobedient boy at heart. Now, let us try him again; "Leave off your play, and take this note to the doctor's for me." Look at him now! He pretends not to hear, or he puts it on his younger brother, or he flies into a passion, or he says right out, "Father, I can't." But if, instead of this, he at once cried, "Father, I'll be ready in a minute," and pulled on his jacket, and went skipping down the street with a smiling face, I should mark him in my pocket book for a thoroughly obedient lad.


1. Because God has told us to do it. And God is so wise and good that whatever he bids us do should be done unhesitatingly; His command and our obedience to it should follow one another as quickly as the clap of thunder follows the flash of lightning.

2. Because we owe, under God, our existence to them.

3. Because they are our superiors. If, directly we were born, we were as strong and as wise as they are; then it would be different - we would manage for ourselves: but just look how it is. We come into the world the most helpless of creatures - far more helpless than a lamb, for it can stand by itself - far more helpless than a chicken, for it can pick up its own food. There we are, unable to do one single thing for ourselves; we know nothing at all; we have not a particle of experience! When a boy gets into a boat for the first time, all is strange to him. What should we think of him if he declared that he was going to start for New Zealand, just as he was? We should cry out, "You are mad!" But if he embarked in a large ship under a tried and skilful captain, then there would be no danger. Now, our parents are tried and skilful captains; they have sailed on the rough ocean of life in many directions; they understand all about its winds, and tides, and currents; they have sounded here, and anchored there; they have marked rocks in one place and shoals in other, and whirlpools in another. They have travelled the dangerous road of life for years; they have learnt the right turnings and the best inns; they know the spots where robbers lurk and wild beasts prowl; they know which fruits may be eaten, and which are poisonous; they know who are safe companions, and who will lead astray: In other words, having read so much, and heard so much, and seen so much, and suffered so much, they are able to guide us; they can tell us how to avoid what is harmful, and how to secure what is valuable; they can train us up "in the way in which we should go."

4. Because they are our nearest and dearest friends.

5. Because it will be good for us. It is the "first commandment with promise"; and the promise is, "Thy days shall be long in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee." No doubt this referred more particularly to Jewish children, because, as we have seen, those of them who were disobedient were stoned to death, and thus their days were short in the land; whilst those of them who were obedient lived on. But many Christians think that this promise is still fulfilled to dutiful sons and daughters. And, as a fact, they do live longer. For disobedient children soon fall into wicked ways and among wicked associates, and rain their health, and come to an untimely end. "The ungodly shall not live out half their days." So it was with the sons of Eli; so it was with Absalom; so it has been with many youths whom I have known. On the other hand, how different it is with the obedient child; he has his parents' praise, which is an ever-flowing fountain of joy! He has their most fervent prayers! "The smell of their son is to them as the smell of a field which the Lord hath blessed." Often as they embrace him, their bowels yearn over him, as they say, "God be gracious unto thee, my son!" or, "God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine." A blameless childhood blossoms into a graceful manhood!

(J. Bolton, B. A.)

1. The obedience of love.

2. The obedience of reverence. It is "honour thy father and thy mother." There may be much love, much fondness, and much real obedience, yet I have sometimes seen a most lamentable deficiency in this veneration for parents. If I look into the Word of God, there I see the principle exhibited. I see Joseph, in the forty-sixth of Genesis, meeting with his old father - Joseph who was next on the throne to Pharaoh, a great man in Egypt, with thousands at his beck: yet I find, in the twenty-ninth verse, "Joseph made ready his chariot, and went up to meet Israel his father, to Goschen, and presented him. self unto him; and he fell on his neck and wept on his neck a good while." And if I turn to another passage, it is still more striking: in the case of Bathsheba and Solomon. It is in the second chapter of the First Book of Kings, and the nineteenth verse. "Bathsheba therefore went unto King Solomon, to speak unto him for Adonijah. And the king rose up to meet her, and bowed himself unto her, and sat down on his throne, and caused a seat to be set for the king's mother; and she sat on his right hand."

3. The obedience of gratitude.

4. The obedience of submission.

(J. H. Evans, M. A.)

(J. Pulsford.)

(Dr. Newton.)

(R. W. Dale, LL. D.)

1. The precept implies a real and serious faith on the part of the parents that their children belong to Christ, and are under Christ's care. The children are Christ's subjects, and have to be trained to loyal obedience to His authority. Their earliest impressions of God should assure them that God loves them with an infinite and eternal love, and that He has blessed them with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.

2. The education of which the apostle is thinking is practical rather than speculative; it has to do with life and character, rather than with knowledge. The order of a child's life is determined by its parents, and is to be determined under Christ's authority, so that the child may be trained to all Christian virtues. In the earlier years of childhood this training will be, in a sense, mechanical. The child will not know why certain acts and habits are required of it, or why other acts and habits are forbidden. There will be no appeal to the child's conscience or reason; the parents' conscience and the parents' reason will assume the responsibility of guiding the child's conduct.

3. If it is the duty of a child to obey, it is the duty of parents to rule. There can be no obedience where there is no authority; and if a child is not disciplined to obedience it suffers a moral loss which can hardly ever be completely remedied in later years. The religious as well as the moral life is injured by the relaxation of parental rule. Obedience to the personal authority of parents disciplines us to obey the personal authority of God.

4. Children should be trained to the surrender of their own pleasure and comfort to the pleasure and comfort of others. Parents who have sacrificed themselves without reserve to their children's gratification are sometimes bitterly disappointed that their children grow up selfish. They wonder and feel aggrieved that their devotion receives no response, that their children are not so eager to serve them as they have been to serve their children. On the other hand, parents who with equal affection have made themselves, not their children, the centre of the family life, seem to have been more fortunate. Not selfishly, harshly, or tyrannically, but firmly and consistently, they have required their children to take a secondary position. The comfort of the children and their pleasures were amply provided for, but the children were not led to think that everything in the house must give way to them, that all the sacrifices were to be made by their parents, none by themselves. They were trained to serve, and not merely to receive service. This seems to be the truer discipline of the Christian spirit and character.

5. In relation to the higher elements of the Christian life, to those elements which are distinctively Christian and spiritual, more depends upon the real character of the parents than upon anything besides. In relation to these the power of personal influence is supreme. If the parents really obey the will of Christ as their supreme law, if they accept His judgments about human affairs and about the ends of human life, if they live under the control of the invisible and eternal world, the children will know it, and are likely to yield to the influence of it. But if the parents, though animated by religious faith, are not completely Christian, if some of their most conspicuous habits of thought and conduct are not penetrated by the force of Christ's spirit and teaching, the children are in great danger; they are as likely to yield to what is base and worldly in the life of their parents as to what is Divine.

(R. W. Dale, LL. D.)

I. Try to estimate the WORTH of children. They are budding men and women.

II. Try to understand their INDIVIDUAL CHARACTERS. Careful study is needed for this. A family is a little world: each member of it has a personality of his or her own.

III. Try to appreciate the POWER OF YOUR INFLUENCE. This can hardly be exaggerated, especially in the formative years of childhood. They are always learning from us, and being influenced by us. We can do nothing and say nothing but what leaves some kind of impression upon their young characters. We are their books, and they study US with keenest eyes, and reproduce us with a ludicrous accuracy.

IV. Try to recognize the LIMITS OF YOUR AUTHORITY.

1. It is bounded by the will of God.

2. It is limited by time.

(Wm. Braden.)


1. Parents are required to impart to their children the instruction or wisdom of the Lord Jesus.

2. Parents must subject their children to the discipline of the Lord Jesus.

II. THE IMPORTANCE OF THIS DUTY. This may be proved from -

1. The state of prospects of the children themselves.

2. The circumstances and prospects of the Church of Christ. The hope of the Church in the future depends always upon the rising generation.

3. The state and necessities of the world at large.


(John Hannah, D. D.)


1. Avoid harshness and severity of demeanour.

2. Do not overstrain the necessity of obedience.

3. Avoid the habit of constantly finding fault.


1. Exalt the Word of God. That must be the basis, foundation, rule and guide of everything. The great standard of right and wrong.

2. Exalt Christ.

3. Exalt the Spirit of God.

4. Maintain a godly jealousy of the world.

(James Cohen, M. A.)

1. The first thing to consider is the basis of the culture - the Lord. To make a child understand fully what that means is the Alpha and Omega of Christian education. To train children of old in "the nurture and admonition of the Lord" was to teach them to comprehend the meaning and bearing of the great spiritual truths which the gospel brought into the world.

2. The next question concerns the method of the culture, which is described in the significant term, "the nurture and admonition of the Lord." Some have supposed that in the double term there is a reference to the dual parentage, and that it describes the blending of the manly and womanly influence in the rule and culture of the home. But the original hardly looks that way. Our Revised Version has it, "nurture them in the chastening and admonition of the Lord." So that the word nurture in the Authorised Version in the original bears the sterner meaning; and refers to the discipline which comes through correction; while admonition suggests counsel, advice, reproof, exhortation, and all the intellectual and moral influences whereby a young soul may be trained for its work. It is wonderful how the fatherly and motherly influences blend in Christ; the tenderest nurture, the firmest correction, the sternest chastisement, in which no child can ever miss the love.

(J. B. Brown, B. A.)

I. Look at some of the ENCOURAGEMENT which we learn in the endeavour to bring them up to the Lord.

1. I would find encouragement in the general belief in a "Present God." This may be said to be the starting point of a religious education.

2. We have in children comparative tenderness of conscience.

3. There is in children a comparatively prompt appreciation of the love of Christ. To a child it is not so difficult to believe in that complete self-abandonment for the good of others which was manifested in the Cross of Jesus Christ. He can more thoroughly understand in that early part of his life even than he can at a later period, when the shadows of the world are cast upon that Cross - can appreciate the love which prompted the giving Himself for us, and can return it far more than at any later period of his existence.

II. THE MEANS to be used for this purpose.

1. Instruction. It is knowledge, not ignorance, that is the mother of our devotion. We must seek, therefore, to illumine the understanding - to present to it those great objects of faith upon which the soul reposes.

2. Example. The instruction of the family is neither better nor worse than the conduct of its members: if the lessons are high and the conduct low, the effect will be low; if the lessons are imperfect, but the conduct excellent, the effect will be excellent.

3. These means must be applied and sustained in power by prayer.

(C. M. Birrell.)

I. THE NATURE AND EXTENT OF PARENTAL INFLUENCE. It is evident that there is no relation in which a man exerts so much power for good or evil. There is no other from whom the child receives so many of the ideas, impressions, and habits, which are most abiding, as from his parents. The opinions which a man holds, the party with which he identifies himself, the friendships he cultivates, and the particular line of conduct he observes, all impress themselves on the mind of his child; and his views of them are affected partly by the feelings he has to his father, and partly by the opinions which they have had upon his father's character and life. Very early is the observing power of the child awakened, and from the time that it is roused to consciousness every day adds something to its ever-increasing store. Words and looks, as well as actions, have their effect; and thus, unconsciously to themselves, the parents are constantly educating their children - educating them when they have no thought at all of the serious work which they are doing; when they are going on the way of life in their own accustomed course without recollecting that there are eager young eyes watching every movement, and listening young ears drinking in every word that is spoken, and impressible young hearts which are being trained to good or to evil by that which is thus passing before them.


1. To make the unconscious influence which a man exerts a blessing, the one thing which is necessary is high-toned Christian principle. The power which goes forth from a man will be according to the spirit that is in him.

2. In the direct work of training, the first essential is that you should clearly set before your own mind the object which you have in view.(1) Of course education by a Christian man must be religious, and distinctively Christian. And not only must this instruction be given, but wisely given - so that the religious lesson shall not be regarded as a mere task.

3. The exercise of authority is another of the means by which a parent may fulfil his duty. The one power on earth which is of Divine right in his. It is essential to the right government of the family and the proper discipline of the child. It meets him at the beginning of life with the idea, so necessary for all to realize, that in this world no human will is meant to be absolute and supreme, and that the first lesson - which everyone is to learn - is the difficult but necessary one of obedience.

3. No Christian parent will need to be reminded that he must pray for and with his children.

(J. G. Begets, B. A.)

adopts.We do not say that Paul had this thought when he wrote; we think he had another thought, which we shall presently try to give you: but still the thought that we now suggest is inseparably associated with that which we shall presently suggest - and therefore the remarks we have been making appear to us to be quite to the point. And if you would bring up your children aright, just see how the Lord brings you up, and imitate your heavenly Educator. But, speaking textually, "the nurture and admonition of the Lord" is that which the Lord directs - it is that which has the Lord for its subject, and the Lord for its object. "Ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord," means - Let your instruction and your training have the Lord's teaching, the Lord's warnings, the Lord's doctrines, for their means, and the Lord Himself for their end. Let the Lord be the end of education; and let the Lord's resources be the means of education. And will you also observe that both parents are charged - for the word "fathers" is used here, not in the specific sense, but in the generic sense: so that we may read the passage, "Ye parents, train up your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." The day was, when the mother had nothing, or very little, to do directly with instruction and education. But so soon as the position of the wife and the mother was improved and righted, so soon as she stood in her proper place by the side of the husband and father, then the father began to give her an undue share of the responsibility in bringing up the children. And what do we see now? We see the mother in many cases doing the whole work, and the father most grievously and sinfully neglecting it. This is not right. In the first place there is something due to the mother, and to the wife; why should she take a greater burden than she is able to bear? In the next place there is something due to the children. Look, further, at the common danger to parents that is here recognized - the abuse of power. The power of a parent is very great; and there is very little to check it; even the State does little here, unless the abuse of power be extraordinary. The power of a parent is, as we scarcely need remind you, almost unbounded. Do you see that the text recognizes the danger of this power being abused? "Ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath." Power, more than anything else, tempts to cruelty; it is an exceedingly dangerous thing to possess - and no man in his senses will ever covet it; he will rather ask God to give him very little of it, than desire to possess it. Those who have right views of power will never be ambitious for it: but they will rather, like some of the old prophets (like Jeremiah, for instance), tremble to take it even when God puts it into their hands. We often see power make the most tender natures cruel, and the most gentle natures fierce. How often have women been rendered cruel by an increase of authority, and an increase of influence! There is danger to parents of caprice, and harshness; of giving commands, and precepts, and prohibitions, for the sake of maintaining their position, and of upholding their authority. And that is the point of the words, "Ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath, but bring them up." The child is to be nourished; it is not to be driven - it is to be cherished; it is not to be forced. The incitement and the impulsion which are likely to distress and dishearten the child, are distinctly forbidden in the text. The force of the contrast must be manifest to you in a moment. The bringing them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, is placed in contrast with provoking them to wrath. The child's faults are to be corrected; but still, correction is to be so administered as not to sink the child into despondency, or drive him to despair - as not to wean the heart of the child either from father or from mother. And the education required is to be marked, as you will have seen throughout the course of these remarks, by the following features. The Lord Jesus, the Son of God, is to be its end. Children are to brought up for the Lord; for subjects in His kingdom; that is to be the ultimate end. Christ's teaching is to be the means of education. The precepts and the prohibitions that are to regulate the general conduct are to be taken from Christ's lips, and are to be delivered to the child in Christ's name. Christ's resources are to be the support of education. The parent is not supposed to be able himself to do this work; but there are put at his disposal the unsearchable riches of Christ; and if he cannot nourish his children with that which he has, he may nourish them by the wealth of his Master and Lord. The education required is to have Christ's example for its standard - the parent is to: "bring up" as Christ brings up His followers. And it is to have Christ's temper for its spirit - the educator must be meek and lowly in heart.

(S. Martin, D. D.)

Theological Sketchbook.

1. Children are weak and helpless, and totally incapable of caring for themselves; and hence arises the first duty which parents owe them - that of feeding and clothing them.

2. Children are ignorant, and without understanding; hence they should not only be fed, but taught. Children should be taught -





3. Children are unruly, and therefore must; be governed.

4. Children are prone to evil, and therefore must be restrained.


1. They should do it for their own sake. For the credit of their own characters.

2. They should do it for their children's sake.

3. They should do it for society's sake.

4. They should do it for God's sake.CONCLUSION:

1. Learn how careful the apostles were to instruct their converts, not only in the matters of faith, but rules of conduct descending even to the most particular duties of domestic life.

2. The practicability of a religious education.

3. How awful is the responsibility of parents.

(Theological Sketchbook.)

I. THE TIE THAT BINDS THE PARENT TO HIS CHILD. It is one of the most affecting of all ties. But see the deep responsibility connected with it - to say nothing of the closeness, the tenderness, and the unchangeableness of the tie - my bone, and my flesh, and my blood.

II. But observe THE EXHORTATION THAT IS HERE GIVEN. At first sight it seems a sort of strange exhortation to parents, "not to provoke their children to wrath." Yet there is infinite love and infinite wisdom in it; because of the very love that parents have for their children. Observe, they are not exhorted to love their children; that is not the exhortation given to them. It is supposed that they love their children; and yet, though they love their children, they may "provoke them to wrath." Because there may be, and often is, an exhibition of love that does "provoke them to wrath." Oh! beloved, a system of perpetual, endless, unrequired, austere restriction does it; a perpetual restriction, in which there is a practical forgetfulness of the parent's duty to make his children happy. Beware of a system of perpetually finding fault. This results from the other; if there be a system of perpetual restriction in all things. But now let us come to that which is the precept before us. "But," says he, instead of doing so, "bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." "Bring them up" - the same word occurs in the twenty-ninth verse of the former chapter; it is the same as "nourish." It implies all tenderness, all feeling with, all feeling for, all care, all gentleness, and all love. "Bring them up": just as you nourish your own flesh, caring for its life, for its welfare, and its true well-being - so "bring them up." "Bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." Here are two points for our consideration. Here is, first of all, the bringing them up, instructing them in Divine truth; and then there is educating them in Divine things. First of all, to instruct them in Divine truth. And this, too, not in a dictatorial way, as a schoolmaster teaches his lessons; but as a father should teach his children. A "good minister" is one who is "nourished up in the words of faith, and of good doctrine." Nourished up, by little and little, just as he is able to bear it. Besides this, beloved, there is in education - and there can hardly be, I should think, a greater mistake than to suppose that instruction in the truth, and education, mean the same things - there is in education the "bringing up" of a child in those principles in which he has been instructed out of God's Word.

(J. H. Evans, M. A.)

(J. Whitecross.)

(F. Quarles.)


(Dr. R. Newton.)

(W. Arnot, D. D.)

(S. T. Coleridge.)


I. AN URGENT COMMAND. Do your duty to your father and mother. This may be taken to include those who occupy the place of a parent - a grandfather or grandmother, or uncle or aunt, or friend or guardian. I shall try to bring out the spirit of this command in a few short remarks.

1. Honour your parents. Our words to our parents should be respectful: we should honour them in our speaking. I am amazed and grieved to hear how some children speak to their fathers and mothers - to hear the pert, disrespectful, impudent answers they sometimes give them. Our looks and gestures should be respectful. Do you see that little fellow, who has been found fault with, or has not got what he wanted? What a face he puts on - what ill-nature shows itself in these pouting lips - what revenge and defiance there is in that fiery eye - what a scowl on his young face! But he does not say anything; perhaps he does not dare. I wish you would remember that your eye and lips may sin, as well as your tongue and hand. Our actions - our general conduct and behaviour towards them, should be respectful We may do things, that are right in themselves, in a very disrespectful way - ungraciously, offensively. Where there is some infirmity - where, for instance, a parent is deaf, or lame, or sick, or ill-behaved, this is very apt to be. We do what is asked or wished, but we do it with a very bad grace. The same may be said of the way in which we receive and treat their instructions, it may be carelessly, heartlessly. Then there is such a thing as being ashamed of our parents - when they are poor, when they are not so well educated as we are. It was not so with Joseph, one of the first princes of Egypt, when he presented his old shepherd-father to the king, and was as proud of him as if he had been a king too.

2. Obey your parents. It is not enough to pay them respect, in a general way: they must be obeyed. To say "No" to a parent, is to run directly in the face of God's law. And we may not choose what commands we shall obey, and what we shall not. And so I shall pass on to say something about the kind of obedience that should be rendered.(1) Our obedience should be without questioning. Some children have a very bad trick of asking a reason for everything.(2) Our obedience should be prompt. The thing asked should be done at once. Much depends on this. A parent should never require to repeat his command. To wait for a second bidding is just next to refusing. We might often learn important lessons from the lower animals, and not least from dogs, which, when well trained, are remarkable for their obedience. Let me tell you a story which brings out strikingly the advantage of prompt obedience. There was a dog that was growing old and deaf, belonging to one of the officials at a railway station. One day the dog was coming leisurely along between the two lines of rail, when the express train appeared, and screeching out its shrill whistle, came dashing on, as you have seen "the express" do. The poor dog could hear no sound, the train was close behind, there was no way of giving him warning in time to get off the line, and there seemed nothing for it but that the poor brute should be killed on the spot. His master, however, by a well-known sign with his finger, ordered the dog to lie down; in a moment he lay flat on the ground; and in less time than I have taken to tell the story, the train had passed over him, and left him unharmed. His prompt obedience saved his life.(3) Our obedience should be cheerful. It should be "not of constraint, but willingly." Compulsory obedience is not right obedience. We should not obey sulkily, making it plain that we only do the thing because we must.

3. Love your parents. It is not enough to pay them outward respect - to make a point of obeying them: you must love them. They love you, and nothing will satisfy them but your love in return. A poor woman once came to me, almost broken-hearted, and told me this story. She had been calling on her daughter, a young servant girl, in a good situation. When the daughter opened the door and saw who was there, she threw a shilling to her, as if she had been a beggar, said she was afraid lest her mistress should come, and shut the door in her mother's face, leaving her staggering under the rebuff. I think I see that mother yet, as she said to me, "What was my daughter's money to me, when I had lost her love?"

4. Be kind to your parents. If you really love them, you will be kind to them. Anticipate their wishes, and give them a pleasant surprise. I might mention many beautiful instances of kindness to parents. I have heard of an American Indian chief who was taken prisoner with his son, and, with heavy chains on his limbs, was cast into prison. The chief whose prisoner he is, has no child, and wishes to adopt the boy as his son. He brings out rich ornaments for the wrists and ankles, such as the Indians delight to wear, and tells him to choose whatever he likes. One by one the boy takes them up and looks at them; but his thoughts go back to his father in his dungeon, and for him he gives up all. "As you give me my choice," his reply is, "I had rather wear such as my father wears" - a chain! See that youth, respectable and well educated, who has been unable to get money otherwise, and now offers to enlist as a soldier, provided he gets a good bounty. What does the lad mean? His old father is in prison for debt: the son would do anything to get him released; he gets the bounty asked, and though it may cost him many a year of hardship and danger, he hurries to the well-known cell, takes his father in his arms, and tells him he is free! Or look into this humble home. On a bed lies a sick man, so helpless that his wife can do little else than wait upon him. She cannot go out to wash or work. People wonder how they live, for they get no parish aid. Do you see that little girl of twelve? How nimbly her fingers are going! Every morning she is up at four; it is nothing but stitch, stitch, stitch with her, all the day. She is the little bread winner for the household.

5. Value your parents. Well you may. You will never find the like of them again. You will not have them long. Prize them while you have them. And here let me put in a word for aged parents. When a father or a mother grows old, the duty to support and show kindness to and bear with them, becomes increasingly binding.

II. A PRECIOUS PROMISE - "That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest. live long on the earth." I can but touch on this.

1. God says, Obedience will be pleasing to Him. It is implied in the promise, that God will approve it.

2. God says, It will be a blessing to yourself. "It shall be well with thee: thou shalt live long," etc.

(J. H. Wilson.)

I. The first thing to which we invite your attention, is, THE BEST METHOD OF COMMUNICATING RELIGIOUS KNOWLEDGE.

1. Now, among the first rules we would give for the communication of religious knowledge to children, we would say, avoid bringing before them all points of abstract doctrine. Do not suppose it needful that you should bring under their notice any system of divinity, as a system. Be careful to impress upon their minds those moral facts, which lead to the doctrines, rather than to state the doctrines and then prove them by the facts.

2. There is another direction, which I think very important, with regard to the instruction of the young; and that is, that in all our statements of truth, and in all our illustrations of doctrine, we should be careful that every illustration we employ be as circumscribed, as confined, as narrow in its range, as possible.

3. There is one general direction more that we would give with regard to the inculcation of religious knowledge; and that is, that we should do all we can to encourage habits of inquiry, of reflection, and of moral thoughtfulness.

II. We now proceed to the second part of our subject, where the observations, it is obvious, will apply to those of a more advanced age, as well as to children. We mean, THE OFFERING RULES FOR PERSUADING THEM TO A RELIGIOUS PRACTICE.

1. The first rule we would give, is this: that you make the service of God appear delightful service.

2. Another direction is, that you acquire the habit of turning passing events to a spiritual account.

3. Another direction is, that you endeavour to find out their first and strongest tendency to evil.

4. Another direction we would give, is, that you administer reproof on Bible principles, and in a Bible spirit.

5. One more direction is, that ye encourage the small beginnings of the good work. Two practical directions for yourselves, in conclusion, will finish our subject. First, let your exhortations be strengthened by example; secondly, let your example be sanctified by your prayers.

(D. Moore, M. A.)

I. First, allow me to direct your attention to THE NATURE OF PARENTAL CLAIMS.

1. In the first place, then, parental claims require implicit; obedience so long as the child is dependent on the parent.

2. Secondly, parental claims require affectionate and reverential deference in every period of life.

3. In the third place, parental claims extend to support in times of weakness, sickness, and old age.

II. In the second place, then, let us consider THE AUTHORITY BY WHICH THESE CLAIMS ARE ENFORCED.

1. First, they are enforced by the decisions of the moral law. You know that one of the most prominent and oft-repeated of the ancient commandments delivered by Moses to the Jewish nation, was this, "Honour thy father and thy mother."

2. Secondly, this duty is enforced by the principles and precepts of the New Testament dispensation. Thus, when the Saviour came, the record concerning Him was that He "went down and was subject to His parents."

3. In the third place, iris enforced by the nature and claims of human society. Society is but an aggregate of individuals, and men are just what they are at home.

4. In the fourth place, it is enforced by the important connection which this duty has with the formation of individual character. Any individual who has been remarkable as an excellent son, will become a good father, a good husband, a good friend, a good member of society, in whatever place he may be found.

5. In the last place, it is enforced by the strongest commands of gratitude.

III. Allow me, then, in the third place, to notice SOME OF THOSE RESTRICTIONS BY WHICH THESE CLAIMS ARE LIMITED.

1. First, then, they are modified by the claims of religion. The gospel in every respect is supreme. Our allegiance to the Deity is higher and of more importance than our allegiance to any and all the forms of domestic and social life.

2. In the second place, it is restricted by the laws of society of which the individual may be a member, and by the principles of unchanging morals, every individual feels that society at large is of much more importance, and therefore has a greater claim, than the domestic circle. Consequently, if a law in itself right or necessary for social existence shall enjoin anything, parental authority shall not countervail it.

3. In the third place, their claims are marked and modified by the usages and constitutions of society. All our domestic arrangements partake, to a greater or less extent, of the nature of law. In many countries you know children are, or have been, regarded as the property of their parents. So long as the parent survives, it is impossible for them to hold property of any kind, or to command the services, excepting subordinate and secondary, of any agent. It has been impossible that they should devote themselves to this or that enterprise, except at the suggestion and determination of the parent's will. In fact they are slaves - complete slaves; body, soul, and spirit regarded as the goods and chattels of the parent. We feel that this runs counter to the everlasting law; that it is not right that slavery in any form should exist; and consequently we should not feel ourselves bound essentially on such a principle as that, merely on its own account, if there were no other supervening law to enforce duty under those circumstances upon us. In the East, for example, and among the Jews, till a young man attained thirty years of age, this parental control was most complete; it extended to such physical chastisement as the parent should demand, while it was regarded as the highest crime to resist or oppose that chastisement, however condign, afflictive, or humiliating it might be. Under such circumstances as these, we feel our feelings would revolt.

4. In the last place, these claims are modified by individual character and conduct. I do not mean to say that improper conduct on the part of the parent essentially vitiates, much less destroys, the claims which the parent has for obedience and reverence. But I do mean to say that there is a law of nature which acting invariably will, if it does not destroy, greatly modify those claims, in the responses with which they shall be met. If the conscience is not controlled, if the understanding is not convinced, the very moment such is the case the claims of the individual are to a great extent modified. Now, it is just so in the domestic circle. If your example shall be contrary to righteousness and truth, two things will follow: first, your authority will be vitiated, because all true obedience, such as is connected with affection and reverence, must be secured, in greater or less measure, by the action of moral influence; but a corrupt father cannot exercise such influence, and consequently full and true obedience cannot by him be secured. The external form may remain, but the inward life and power must be wanting. A second thing will ensue; example speaks louder than words: there will be two authorities, two commandments. Further: if your commands shall be unduly severe - if they shall be, moreover, manifestly intended to secure exclusively your own interest - if they shall savour of selfishness in every utterance and in every demand, you may secure obedience, perhaps, but you cannot secure love.

(J. Aldis.)


(Samuel Martin, D. D.)

(J. Pulsford.)

(Christian Globe.)

Christian Age.
cando?" Sometimes "don't" seems a mere mechanical utterance, unheeded by the child, and unenforced by the parent. "Don't do that, my dear"; and the little girl, tossing over the fine engravings on a friend's table, pauses an instant. The mother goes on talking with her friend, the child resumes her occupation, and no notice is taken of it, except, after awhile, the prohibition is carelessly repeated, only to be ignored. A forgetful mother makes a forgetful child. Authority is weakened by reiterated commands.

(Christian Age.)

(Christian Union)

Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ. -
I. BE FAITHFUL for the sake of Christ your Lord. I mean, be loyal to the trust reposed in you; repay it by strict fidelity, incorruptible honesty, and steady devotion to those interests of the household committed to your charge.

II. BE DILIGENT. Give to your service the energy that you would give to Christ; put it on the highest and firmest ground. Give your best, because it is the Lord's work you are doing; it is the Lord's "Well done" you are winning; it is the Lord's wage you will receive at last.

III. BE PATIENT. Many commands may seem unreasonable; many tempers you have to do with, irritable and arrogant. Take it up into a higher region. See how far the thought of Christ will enable you to do and bear. Be always more ready to obey than to question, to work than to wrangle, to submit than to rebel; and you will do well. And do not be always thinking that you can better yourself; be patient, and "rather bear the ills you have, than fly to others that you know not of."

IV. BE CHEERFUL. Nothing makes such sunlight on earth as cheerful, joyful fulfilment of duty. We have never mastered the lesson of life till we can sing to our tasks, and smile as we sing. Make it your study daily to wear a cheerful aspect as you go about your duty, and to make your life a willing, joyful service to your heavenly King.

V. BE SURE THAT YOUR LABOUR SHALL NOT BE IN VAIN IN THE LORD. No work done for Christ ever fails of a blessing.

(J. B. Brown, B. A.)

I. Let us consider THE DUTIES OF SERVANTS, as they are represented to us in Scripture.

1. The first point, then, which is enforced in every passage relating to this subject, is obedience (Colossians 3:22; Titus 2:9; 1 Peter 2:18). Such obedience does not rest on any mere law or custom of man, but on the plain word of Almighty God. There cannot be any disgrace in homing the place of a servant. Can there be shame in that, to which the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, the Lord of glory, submitted? (Philippians 2:6-8; Hebrews 5:8.) But of what kind should your obedience be? The apostle has taught you that as to its extent it should be universal. "Obey in all things your masters," that is, in all things which are not contrary to the higher law of your heavenly Master: in all else obey readily and without limitation (Philippians 2:14). In small things as well as great. As servants should show obedience to their masters in all lawful things, so should they show it with reverence and meekness, or, as it is expressed in the text, "with fear and trembling," lest ye should offend them.

2. Another duty of a servant is to add to his obedience a constant endeavour to please. Let your services be seen to flow not from necessity or interest alone, but from the attachment of a willing heart.

3. A third duty is strict faithfulness and honesty. An unfaithful servant is in itself a term of deep reproach. He owes much to those into whose service he enters. He is sheltered beneath their roof; he shares the comforts of their home, is placed beyond the reach of want, eats of his master's bread, and drinks of his master's cup. Much is confided to him. His master's goods are placed beneath his care, and are justly required at his hand.

II. The DUTIES OF A MASTER (see Colossians 4:1).

1. A master is bound in justice to keep to the full the terms of his agreement - to give to his apprentice the needful instruction in his business, and to pay his servant the stipulated wages (Deuteronomy 24:14, 15; James 5:4).

2. The law of equity may be considered as binding a master to kindness, forbearance, and concern for the souls of his servants. It bids him show kindness, and thus extends further than the strict rule of justice. Reason and conscience are its umpires.

III. MUTUAL ARE THE OBLIGATIONS UNDER WHICH MASTERS AND SERVANTS ARE PLACED TO EACH OTHER. Highly important are their respective duties, and each may truly glorify God in the sphere assigned them. But what are the motives, what is the principle that can produce such blessed fruit? It is summed up in the consideration - Ye have both a Master in heaven. "Ye are not your own"; "ye are bought with a price," even the precious blood of Christ. Servants l how powerfully is this motive pressed on you! "Be obedient to them that are your masters...in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; not with eye-service, as men-pleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to mere" How happy are you, if you have indeed become the servants of Christ. Then will it be your foremost desire and endeavour to adorn the doctrine of God your Saviour in all things. And, behold, how true religion can ennoble every station! Masters! "your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with Him." Ye and your servants are fellow servants of the Lord; you are members of the same body - His Church; you must speedily stand together before His judgment seat.

(E. Blencowe, M. A.)

(R. W. Dale, LL. D.)

New Handbook of Illustration.
(New Handbook of Illustration.)

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. The duties they owe to themselves:

1. Religion.

2. Regard for truth.

3. Sobriety.

4. Chastity.

5. Frugality.These duties they owe partly to masters, but by their non-performance they damage themselves alone.

II. Those which they owe to their employers:

1. Reverence and honour for them as superiors.

2. Obedience.

3. Good temper.

4. Fidelity - with regard to their property, their time, and their reputation.

5. Diligence.

6. Gratitude for kindness.

III. Those which they owe to each other - peacefulness - temperateness - kindness.

(J. A. James.)

I. Let us look, first, AT THE PRECEPTS AND DIRECTIONS GIVEN TO SERVANTS. And one is struck with this: there is no hint thrown out, no suggestion whatever offered, as to its being right or necessary to quit one's occupation in order to serve Christ and promote His cause in the world. It is not an infrequent thought, in the minds especially of young men, when brought to the Lord, that they must give up their worldly occupation, and devote themselves wholly and exclusively to minister in holy things. And now let us notice the particulars which the apostle expressly mentions for a Christian servant to attend to.

1. Observe the first command is obedience: "Servants, be obedient to your masters according to the flesh."

2. Further, in this preceptive part of his address, notice, secondly, how he enjoins a thorough devotedness to his master's interests. This will appear in making manifest your thorough trustworthiness and faithfulness. I do not speak of mere honesty; the apostle means much more than this, when he speaks of "showing all good fidelity." There is such a thing as seeking just to go through the daily routine with the spirit of a hireling, who will do no more than he must; who needs to be well looked after, or he will leave much neglected. Quite different is the spirit of a Christian servant: he will try his very utmost to please his employer; but he has a higher aim. What a pattern of this was Abraham's servant Eleazar, and Jacob in Laban's house, and Joseph in his captivity, first, in Potiphar's house, and then in his dungeon: his master "left all he had in Joseph's hand; he knew not ought he had, save the bread he did eat." No terms could more emphatically give the idea of perfect freedom from all care, produced and maintained by the perfect assurance of ability, assiduity, and incorruptible rectitude.

II. But let us proceed to notice, secondly, THE MOTIVE WHICH THE APOSTLE HOLDS UP AS THE GOVERNING PRINCIPLE, THE RULING MOTIVE OF A TRULY CHRISTIAN SERVANT: "As the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart." "Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily: as to the Lord, and not unto men"; "for ye serve the Lord Christ." Again: "That ye may adorn" - ye servants, plain, humble, unnoticed, who have little to set you off in the eyes of the world - "that ye may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things." In a word, let there be at the root of all - godliness: "Setting the Lord always before you."

1. Now, first, what a comprehensive principle is this! It reminds us of those wonderful triumphs of mechanical skill by which the same engine can be applied to lift the most ponderous masses, or to drive with the utmost delicacy, as with the feeble blow of an infant, the slenderest pin into its place. So with this principle of doing all as to the Lord.

2. And then, secondly, how ennobling and elevating a motive it is! The highest archangel knows no higher.

3. And then, thirdly, how consoling and comforting a motive is this to the humble Christian! "I am poor and needy, but the Lord careth for me" may he say. "One need not be in high station to serve the Saviour."

III. And then, thirdly, LET US NOT FORGET THE PROMISE ANNEXED TO IT. "Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free." Oh! how often this is manifested even here in this life! Many are the houses where the pious servant has been the first to introduce the gospel, and by his "patient continuance in well-doing," has demonstrated its reality and power.

(J. Cohen, M. A.)

Not with eye-service, as men-pleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. -
i.e.to those who serve, whatever their position as servants may be; whether in the position of bond slaves as in the days of Paul, or of hired servants as in our own day, or of merchants, physicians, lawyers, ministers, or young men, who, for remuneration of any kind, undertake to serve individuals or the public, To all such the exhortation of our text is, that they should discharge their duties, "not with eye-service, as men-pleasers, but with fear and trembling, in singleness of heart, as unto Christ." But the exhortation of our text is of far wider application. It is equally applicable to "masters" - to those who are served, as truly as to those who serve. For immediately after addressing himself to "servants," or "slaves," Paul said (ver. 9), "And ye masters, do the same things unto them." Paul had "the same rule for masters and for servants. And he gave the reason of this, saying, "Ye masters, do the same things unto them, knowing that your Master also is in heaven" - or, as in the margin, "knowing that your and their Master is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with Him."

I. THE MANNER in which we should discharge our duties to our fellow men.

1. Negatively - how it should not be done. "Not with eye-service." This is a word which Paul coined and struck in the royal mint of his own ardent and honest mind. I am not aware that it was ever heard before. But it is a word so true and graphic that it tells its own meaning. "Eye-service" is either service done only to please the eye, but which cannot bear to be tested; or it is good and real service, but only given when the eye of a master sees it. "Not with eye-service" is happily associated with that other word, "not as men-pleasers." For "eye-servants" care only to "please men." The rule of their duty is, not what is fair and honourable, nor even what may reasonably be expected from them, but only as much as will please the eye of their employers. All else is neglected and left undone, if only the failure in service does not appear to be in them. How much there is of eye-service and men-pleasing in all classes!

2. The positive description of our duty - how it should be done: "With fear and trembling, in singleness of heart, as unto Christ." "With fear and trembling." From other parts of Scripture where this expression is found, it is plain that it does not mean "with fear" of punishment, as the slave fears the lash, nor "with trembling" before men, as the slave trembles before his master, but that it means with anxious and tremulous desire to do our duty. And as this "anxiety" to discharge our duty is the opposite of "eye-service," so also, "In singleness of heart as to Christ" is the opposite or contrary to, "as men-pleasers." "Not as men-pleasers," but "in singleness of heart, as to Christ."

II. THE MOTIVE by which Paul calls us to the discharge of our ordinary earthly duties. He exhorts us to sanctify, to hallow, to ennoble our earthly duties, by doing them "not as to men, but as unto the Lord." Now, consider this motive.

1. Observe, it is addressed to the disciples of Christ - to those who knew and owned Him as their "Lord"; to the blood bought, the redeemed, the renewed disciples of Christ; to those who, believing in Him, have been pardoned for all past transgressions, and have been born again of His Holy Spirit. It is not now the Law with its lash and its rewords urging men in general, and saying, "Do this and live" - do it or die. It is Christ the Saviour who speaks to His saved ones, and says, "Ye live, therefore do this - Ye live through Me, do this to Me."

2. Mark how this motive sweetens, sanctifies, ennobles our earthly work. It then becomes a part of our worship. Animated by such a thought, the school boy diligently, joyfully applies himself to his task. The clerk needs no other master's eye over him to keep him to his work. The tradesman carefully executes his orders to the last stitch, when he feels that he works not merely for men, but for Christ. The merchant no longer sells spurious or adulterated goods, when he feels that he sells, not to men, but to the Lord Himself. The minister, the physician, the lawyer, are no longer content with a formal or perfunctory discharge of duty. The creditor, presenting his account, asks no more than is really due, and the debtor faithfully pays it. And now, in conclusion, you can understand why the apostle specially and formally addressed this exhortation to servants - nay, to "slaves." The exhortation is equally applicable to masters. Why, then, did Paul primarily and formally address it to slaves? There was wisdom and tenderness in this. Paul saw and pitied the irksome lot of slaves. He could not break their chains, but he sought to gild and lighten them. He told them that they could make their irksome task pleasant by "doing it to the Lord." He sweetened their lot by showing them that the Lord did not despise them, and would "reward them for the good" they might do. It was a tender and touching thing in Paul first to stoop to wipe the sweat from the brow of slaves. But it was also wisely and well done. For when thus, by enjoining obedience on slaves, he had gained the ear and propitiated the heart of their masters, turning to them he could say with power, "And ye masters, do the same things to them, knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven," who demands the same obedience from you. Paul could not emancipate the slaves; but in that appeal to masters he sowed the seed corn, small as a grain of mustard seed, which has produced the harvest of emancipation in every land to which the gospel has come in power.

(W. Grant.)

(H. W. Beecher.)

I. Our subject opens with this reflection, that if henceforth whether we live, we live unto the Lord, or whether we die, we die unto the Lord, THIS CONSECRATION WILL GREATLY INFLUENCE OUR ENTIRE WORK.

1. You will have to live with a single eye to God's glory. The Lord Jesus is a most engrossing Master. He will have everything or nothing. As no dog can follow two hares at one time, or he will lose both, certainly no man can follow two contrary objects and hope to secure either of them.

2. To do service to the Lord we must live with holy carefulness. In the service of God we should use great care to accomplish our very best, and we should feel a deep anxiety to please Him in all things, There is a trade called paper staining, in which a man flings colours upon the paper to make common wall decorations, and by rapid processes acres of paper can be speedily finished. Suppose that the paper stainer should laugh at an eminent artist because he had covered such a little space, having been stippling and shading a little tiny piece of his picture by the hour together, such ridicule would itself be ridiculous. Now the world's way of religion is the paper stainer's way, the daubing way; there is plenty of it, and it is quickly done; but God's way, the narrow way, is a careful matter: there is but little of it, and it costs thought, effort, watchfulness, and care. Yet see how precious is the work of art when it is done, and how long it lasts, and you will not wonder that a man spends his time upon it; even so true godliness is acceptable with God, and it endures forever, and therefore it well repays the earnest effort of the man of God. The miniature painter has to be very careful of every touch and tint, for a very little may spoil his work. Let our life be miniature painting; "with fear and trembling" let it be wrought out.

3. Further, if henceforth our desire is to live "as to the Lord, and not unto men," then what we do must be done with the heart. "in singleness of your heart," says the context; and again in the sixth verse, "As the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart." Our work for Jesus must be the outgrowth of the soil of the heart. Our service must not be performed as a matter of routine; there must be vigour, power, freshness, reality, eagerness, and warmth about it, or it will be good for nothing.

4. Under subjection. Doing the will of God - not our own. The freedom of a Christian lies in what I will venture to call an absolute slavery to Christ; we never become truly free till every thought is brought into subjection to the will of the Most High.

5. Again, we must do all this under a sense of the Divine oversight. Notice in verse 6 it is said of servants, "Not with eye-service, as men-pleasers." What a mean and beggarly thing it is for a man only to do his work well when he is watched. Such oversight is for boys at school and mere hirelings. You never think of watching noble-spirited men. Here is a young apprentice set to copy a picture: his master stands over him and looks over each line, for the young scapegrace will grow careless and spoil his work, or take to his games if he be not well looked after. Did anybody thus dream of supervising Raphael and Michael Angelo to keep them to their work? No, the master artist requires no eye to urge him on.

6. One more thought, and it is this. If henceforth we are to serve the Lord, and not men, then we must look to the Lord for our reward, and not to men. "Knowing," saith the eighth verse, "that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free." Wage! Is that the motive of a Christian? Yes, in the highest sense, for the greatest of the saints, such as Moses, have "had respect unto the recompense of the reward," and it were like despising the reward which God promises to His people if we had no respect whatever for it.

II. Should this text become the inspiration of our life, IT WOULD GREATLY ELEVATE OUR SPIRITS.

1. It would lift us above complaining about the hardness of our lot, or the difficulty of our service. What wonders men can do when influenced by enthusiastic love for a leader! Alexander's troops marched thousands of miles on foot, and they would have been utterly wearied had it not been for their zeal for Alexander. He led them forth conquering and to conquer. Alexander's presence was the life of their valour, the glory of their strength.

2. This lifts the Christian above the spirit of stinting. Christ's servants delight to give so much as to be thought wasteful, for they feel that when they have in the judgment of others done extravagantly for Christ, they have but begun to show their heart's love for His dear name.

3. This raises us above all boasting of our work. "Is the work good enough?" said one to his servant. The man replied, "Sir, it is good enough for the price, and it is good enough for the man who is going to have it." Just so, and when we "serve" men we may perhaps rightly judge in that fashion, but when we come to serve Christ, is anything good enough for Him?

4. It elevates above that craving for recognition which is a disease with many. It is a sad fault in many Christians that they cannot do anything unless all the world is told of it.

5. It lifts above the discouragement which sometimes comes of human censure. The nightingale charms the ear of night. A fool passes by, and declares that he hates such distracting noises. The nightingale sings on, for it never entered the little minstrel's head or heart that it was singing for critics; it sings because He who created it gave it this sweet faculty.

6. This, too, will elevate you above the disappointments of non-success, ay, even of the saddest kind.

7. This lifts us above disappointment in the prospect of death. We shall have to go away from our work soon, so men tell us, and we are apt to fret about it.

8. Ay, and this lifts us above the deadening influence of age and the infirmities which come with multiplied years.

III. I close by saying, that if we enter into the very spirit of this discourse, or even go beyond it - if henceforth we live for Jesus only, so as never to know pleasure apart from Him, nor to have treasure out of Him, nor honour but in His honour, nor success save in the progress of His kingdom, WE SHALL EVEN THEN HAVE DONE NO MORE THAN HE DESERVES AT OUR HANDS. For, first, we are God's creatures. For whom should a creature live but for his Creator? Secondly, we are His new creatures, we are the twice-born of heaven; should we not live for Him by whom we have been begotten for glory?

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Verse 9.

And ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening. -

(Archdeacon Paley.)

I. Their station - one of relative superiority - limited and temporary.

II. Their duty - they must be just - kind - forbearing threatenings.

III. Their responsibility - to Christ their Master in heaven, who judges without partiality.

(Dr. J. Lyth.)

(Baxendales Anecdotes.)

(Christian Globe.)

Verse 10.

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. -

(Dr. John Hall.)

(H. J. Wilmot-Baxton, M. A.)

(William Gouge.)

Joshua 1:7), "Be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest" - what? stand in battle against those warlike nations? No, but "that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses My servant commanded thee." It requires more prowess and greatness of spirit to obey God faithfully, than to command an army of men; to be a Christian, than to be a captain. What seems less than for a Christian to pray? yet this cannot be performed aright without a princely spirit; as Jacob is said to behave himself like a prince, when he did but pray; for which he came out of the field God's banneret. Indeed if you call that prayer which a carnal person performs, nothing more poor and dastard-like. Such a one is as great a stranger to this enterprize, as the cowardly soldier is to the exploits of a valiant chieftain. The Christian in prayer comes up close to God, with a humble boldness of faith, and takes hold of Him, wrestles with Him; yea, will not let Him go without a blessing, and all this in the face of his own sins, and Divine justice, which let fly upon him from the fiery mouth of the law; while the other's boldness in prayer is but the child, either of ignorance in his mind, or hardness in his heart; whereby not feeling his sins, and not knowing his danger, he rushes upon duty with a blind confidence, which soon fails when conscience awakes, and gives him the alarm that his sins are upon him, as the Philistines on Samson: alas! then in a fright the poor-spirited wretch throws down his weapon, flies the presence of God with guilty Adam, and dares not look Him in the face. Indeed, there is no duty in a Christian's whole course of walking with God, or acting for God, but is lined with many difficulties, which shoot like enemies through the hedges at the Christian, whilst he is marching towards heaven: so that he is put to dispute every inch of ground as he goes. They are only a few noble-spirited souls, who dare take heaven by force, that are fit for this calling. For the further proof of this point, see some few pieces of service that every Christian engageth in.

1. The Christian is to proclaim and prosecute an irreconcilable war against his bosom sins; those sins which have lain nearest his heart must now be trampled under his feet.

2. The Christian is to walk singularly, not after the world's guise (Romans 12:2).

3. The Christian must keep on his way to heaven in the midst of all the scandals that are cast upon the ways of God, by the apostasy and foul falls of false professors.

4. The Christian must trust in a withdrawing God (Isaiah 50:10). This requires a holy boldness of faith.

5. The believer is to persevere in his Christian course to the end of his life; his work and his life must go off the stage together. This adds weight to every other difficulty of the Christian's calling. We have known many who have gone into the field, and liked the work of a soldier for a battle or two, but soon have had enough, and come running home again; but few can bear it as a constant trade. Many are soon engaged in holy duties, easily persuaded to take up a profession of religion, and as easily persuaded to lay it down; like the new moon, which shines a little in the first part of the night, but is down before half the night be gone; lightsome professors in their youth, whose old age is wrapt up in thick darkness of sin and wickedness. O this persevering is a hard word! this taking up of the cross daily, this praying always, this watching night and day, and never laying aside our clothes and armour; I mean indulging ourselves to remit and unbend in our holy waiting on God, and walking with God; this sends many sorrowful away from Christ; yet this is the saint's duty to make religion his everyday work, without any vacation from one end of the year to the other. These few instances are enough to show what need the Christian hath of resolution.The application follows.

1. This gives us then a reason why there are so many professors and so few Christians indeed; so many go into the field against Satan, and so few come out conquerors; because all have a desire to be happy, but few have courage and resolution to grapple with the difficulties that meet them in their way to happiness.

2. Let us, then, exhort you Christians to labour for this holy resolution and prowess, which is so needful for your Christian profession, that without it you cannot be what you profess. The fearful are in the forlorn of those that march for hell (Revelation 21). The violent and valiant are they which take heaven by force; cowards never won heaven. Say not, thou hast royal blood running in thy veins, and art begotten of God, except thou canst prove thy pedigree by this heroic spirit, to dare to be holy in spite of men and devils. The eagle tries her young ones by the sun; Christ tries His children by their courage, that dare look on the face of death and danger for His sake (Mark 8:34, 35). Now, Christian, if thou meanest thus courageously to bear up against all opposition, in thy march to heaven as thou shouldst do well to raise thy spirit with such generous and soul-ennobling thoughts, so in an especial manner look thy principles be well fitted, or else thy heart will be unstable; and an unstable heart is weak as water, it cannot excel in courage.Two things are required to fix our principles.

1. An established judgment in the truth of God. He that knows not well what or whom he fights for, may soon be persuaded to change his side, or at least stand neuter. Such may be found that go for professors, that can hardly give an account what they hope for, or whom they hope in; yet Christians they must be thought, though they run before they know their errand; or if they have some principles they go upon, they are so unsettled that every wind blows them down, like loose tiles from the housetop. Blind zeal is soon put to a shameful retreat, while holy resolution, built on fast principles, lifts up its head like a rock in the midst of the waves. "Those that know their God shall be strong and do exploits" (Daniel 11:32).

2. A sincere aim at the right end in our profession. Let a man be never so knowing in the things of Christ, if his aim be not right in his profession, that man's principles will hang very loose; he will not venture much, or far for Christ, no more, no further than he can save his own stake. A hypocrite may show some metal at hand, some courage for a moment in conquering some difficulties, but he will show himself a jade at length. He that hath a false end in his profession, will soon come to an end of his profession, when he is pinched on that toe where his corn is; I mean, called to deny that his naughty heart aimed at all this while; now his heart fails him, he can go no further. O take heed of this wistful eye to our profit, pleasure, honour, or anything beneath Christ and heaven; for they will take away your heart, as the prophet saith of wine and women; that is, our love; and if our love be taken away, there will be nothing left for Christ.

(W. Gurnall, M. A.)

1. Our enlistment. We have been taken into Christ's army, to fight under His banner. Not solitary knight errants; but an embattled host set in array under the banner of a Captain. This prevents our thinking too much of ourselves. The more we forget ourselves the better. The soldier in an army does not fight for himself. He fights as one of many, for a common cause. He is willing to die, for his part - to have his place filled up, and be forgotten, provided the victory be won by his commander. This is what touches us all in a soldier's life; and it touches us first because it is an image of the true Divine law for each. To lose one's self in the cause, and to be zealous, enduring, brave, in the service of the King and the Realm, is as much the glory of a soldier of Jesus Christ, as of the professional soldier.

2. This feeling, of the community of our service, may be strengthened much by thinking of our common enemies. There are wickedness and darkness in the world, spiritual in their nature, and to be fought against as spiritual foes. Victory is to be won over evil; over ignorance and stupidity; over malignant errors and false opinions; over vice and misery. These are the devil's servants, ever active and encroaching, whom we are commissioned to repel. Our fighting against these enemies must be done in common. The evils are social, or rather anti-social. Every man is hindered or helped by all his neighbours. We cannot, if we would, fight alone. No man liveth or dieth to himself. We know not whom we may help by a truth, or whom we may hinder by a lie. Let us remember that our own enemies are our brother's enemies, and that his enemies are ours, and that all victories over evil are a common gain.

(J. Ll. Davies, M. A.)

I. BE STRONG IN FAITH. Be quite sure that you do believe; be quite clear what you believe, and then show your faith strongly. Oar faith is not built on sand, but on a rook. It is not founded on such words as - perhaps, I suppose, I hope. No, the Creed of the Church says, "I believe." Be ready to give a reason for the faith that is in you.

II. BE STRONG IN YOUR LANGUAGE. When Lord Nelson was going into his last battle, they wished him to cover, or lay aside, the glittering orders of victory which adorned his breast. But the hero refused, and perhaps his refusal cost him his life. Well, let us never hide the marks of our profession as Christian soldiers; even if we have to suffer, let men know that we bear about in our bodies the marks of the Lord Jesus.

III. BE STRONG IN SELF-SACRIFICE FOR JESUS. We must not forget our cross. Let me tell you the stories of two simple servant maids who, under very different circumstances, gave up their life for the life of little children. The scene of the first story was in America, nearly five and twenty years ago; that of the second story was in London, quite recently. A young English girl had taken service in a family going to America, and her special duty was the charge of the three motherless children of her widowed master. One cold day in December they all embarked in a great Mississippi steamboat bound for the far Northwest. Day after day they steamed through the swollen river, where pieces of ice were already showing, past dark and gloomy shores, lined with lonely forest. One night, near the end of their voyage, the girl had seen her charges, two girls and a boy, safely asleep, and now, when all the other passengers had retired, she was reading in the saloon. Suddenly the silence was broken by a terrible cry, which told the frightened passengers that the steamboat was on fire. The captain instantly ran the vessel for the shore, and ordered the people to escape as best they could, without waiting to dress. The faithful servant had called her master, and then carried the children from their beds to the crowded deck. Quickly the blazing vessel touched the muddy bank, and the father placed the shivering children and the servant on one of the huge branches which overhung the river. A few other passengers, fifteen in all, reached other branches, the rest went down with the burning steamer. But what hope could there be for the children, just snatched from their warm beds, and now exposed unclad to the bitter December night? Their father had no clothing to cover them, and, as he spoke of another steamer which would pass by in the morning, he had little hope of his children holding out. Then the servant maid declared that if possible she would keep the little ones alive. Clinging in the darkness to the icy branches, she stripped off her own clothing, all but the thin garment next her body, and wrapped up the shivering children. Thus they passed the long, dark hours of that terrible night. I know not what prayers were spoken, but I know that Jesus, who suffered cold and hunger for our sakes, made that servant girl strong to sacrifice herself. During the night one of the children died, but in the morning, when the first light came, the little girls were still alive. Then, when her work was done, the freezing limbs of the brave girl relaxed their hold, a deadly sleep fell on her, and she dropped silently into the rushing river below. Presently a steamer came in sight, and the two children for whom she had died were safe. Only quite lately there was a great fire in London. In the burning house were a husband and wife, their children, and a servant maid. The parents perished in the flames, but the servant appeared to the sight of the crowd below, framed, as it were, in fire, at a blazing window. Loudly shouted the excited crowd, bidding the girl to save herself. But she was thinking of others. Throwing a bed from the window, she signalled to those below to stretch it out. Then, darting into the burning room, she brought one of the children of her employers, and dropped it safely on to the bed. Fiercer grew the flames, but again this humble heroine faced the fire, and saved the other children. Then the spectators, loudly cheering, begged her to save herself. But her strength was exhausted, she faltered in her jump, and was so injured that death soon came to her. My brothers, no one will raise a grand monument to Emma Willoughby, and Alice Ayres, who passed, the one through water, the other through fire, for Christ's dear sake. But surely in God's great Home of many mansions their names are written in letters of gold.

IV. BE STRONG IN FIGHTING THE BATTLE. You know that life is a great battlefield. Put on, then, the whole armour of God. Stand, as Christ's soldiers, side by side, shoulder to shoulder, with your faces to the foe. When Napoleon retreated from Moscow, and the main body had passed by, the mounted Cossacks hovered around the stragglers, who, overcome by cold and fatigue, could only force their way slowly through the snow. Many a weary Frenchman thus fell beneath the Cossack lances. Presently a band of these fierce horsemen saw a dark object on the snowy plain, and dashed towards it. They were face to face with a small body of French who had formed into a square to resist them, their bayonets at the charge. The Cossacks rode round and round, seeking for a weak place for attack, and finding none. At length they charged the square, and found it formed of frozen corpses. The Frenchmen had died whilst waiting for the foe. Brothers, may death find us fighting the good fight. "Be strong in the Lord."

(H. J. Wilmot-Buxton, M. A.)

isnow, with all true saints of God. Human nature is not a poor thing, but a grand thing-grand in its origin, for in His own image God created us: grand in its achievements, for men have lived and are living heroic lives by the power of Christ; grand in its destiny, for we shall one day be like Christ and see Him as He is.

(W. M. Furneaux, M. A.)

(W. M. Furneaux, M. A.)

1. Because of our own indisposition, timorousness, dulness, and backwardness to all holy and good duties. What Christian findeth not this by woeful experience in himself? When he would pray, etc., there is I know not what fearfulness in him; his flesh hangeth back, as a bear when he is drawn to the stake.

2. Because of those many oppositions which we are sure to meet.

(1)The world.

(2)The devil.

(William Gouge.)

1. For His own glory, that in time of need we might fly unto Him, and in all straits cast ourselves on Him; and, being preserved and delivered, acknowledge Him our Saviour, and accordingly give Him the whole praise.

2. For our comfort, that in all distresses we might be the more confident. Much more bold may we be in the Lord, than in ourselves. God's power being infinite, it is impossible that it should be mated by any adverse power, which at the greatest is finite. Were our strength in ourselves, though for a time it might seem sufficient, yet would there be fear of decay; but being in God, we rest upon an Omnipotency, and so have a far surer prop to our faith.

(William Gouge.)

1. A strong prop is this to our faith, and a good motive to make us trust entirely to the power of God, without wavering or doubting, notwithstanding our own weakness, or our adversaries' power.

2. It is no matter of presumption, to be sure of victory, being strong in this mighty power, because it is the power of Almighty God.

(William Gouge.)

1. It will remove causeless fear (Nehemiah 6:11; Proverbs 22:13).

2. It will make bold in apparent danger (Psalm 3:6; Proverbs 28:1).

3. It will recover a man's spirit, though he should by occasion be wounded, stricken down, and foiled; so as though at first he prevail not, yet it will make him rise up again and renew the battle (Joshua 8:3; Judges 20:30).

(William Gouge.)

I. It is in its nature HONOURABLE.

1. As to what he opposes. Sin. Satan. Sinners, He.

2. As to what he aims at. God's glory. The salvation of souls.

3. As to the parties that are with him. God. Angels. Saints.

II. It is very MYSTERIOUS. As -

1. The principal agents in it are invisible.

2. None see or understand it but by experience.

3. His enemies eventually promote his victory. Job. Paul. "But I would ye should understand, brethren," etc. (Philippians 1:12).

4. Its weapons can be used by thousands at once.

5. He dies to conquer and be crowned.

III. It is the most IMPORTANT.

1. Whether Christ or Satan be superior.

2. Whether he shall be saved or lost.

IV. His armour is COMPLETE.

V. His enemies are condemned, and virtually CONQUERED.

1. Sin.

2. Satan.

3. Death.

(H. J. Foster.)

1. "Brethren" -

(1)As begotten of the same spiritual Father.

(2)As entitled to the same privileges.

(3)As bearing the same spiritual features.

2. "Be strong."

I. The nature of the exhortation. Seen by describing a Christian soldier strong in the Lord, etc. As he has to do -

1. With the guilt of accumulated sin (Psalm 51:1, etc.).

2. With a body of indwelling sin (Romans 7:1, etc.).

3. With Satan's temptations (2 Corinthians 12:7-9).

4. With great outward trials (Job 1:1, etc.; Acts 20:23, 24).

5. With death.

II. The way in which the Lord brings His people to be as He exhorts.

1. By showing them the importance of their situation. As made for eternity. As accountable to God. "Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight," etc. (Hebrews 4:13). As called to glorify God.

2. By giving them to feel that they can do nothing.

3. By showing that in the Mediator is all they want.

4. By teaching them to pray for strength.

5. By giving them to know that He dwells in them.

6. By showing them what He has done before for them and for others.

(H. J. Foster.)

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)


1. It is not primarily physical strength. The time was when this was a prime element in the estimate of a man, nor can we doubt that it is undervalued now.

2. Neither does the direction of the text apply specifically to intellectual strength. This is not without its importance, although without moral aims it is a blind giant, and with perverted aims it is a wilful giant.

3. But far more important than this is moral strength. Here, too, something depends upon original endowment. There are some whose moral natures seem made of wax. Most unfortunately there is nothing in them like flint to strike fire from. The devil shapes them at will, as a woman kneads her dough. A strong temptation bears them away, as a whirlwind does the down of a thistle. Yet sometimes where we witness this, it is not all due to nature. It would be a libel upon her to say so. There is a moral greatness, not necessarily religious, which we admire, for it is strong. It may be heathen greatness, it may be a Pagan strength, but it rests upon the basis of strong character, and the moral element of it forces our applause. There was strength, when Socrates scorned to escape from prison, and chose rather to drink the fatal hemlock. There was strength, when Joseph Reed, of Revolutionary memory, approached by bribes of British gold, nobly replied: "I am poor, very poor, but poor as I am, the King of Great Britain is not rich enough to buy me." But how much more noble and enviable than this is the strength of religious principle, strength in God. It is not strong necessarily in muscle, in intellect, in strategy; but it is strong in resistance to moral assault, to temptations that, in winning guise and in more than carnal strength, would draw the soul to perdition. The real battle of life is with Satan and his arts and followers, and the real hero is he who wins in this conflict.

II. BUT WHENCE IS THIS STRENGTH TO COME? "Be strong in the Lord," is the reply.

(E. H. Gillett.)

(W. Woods.)

(W. Spurstowe.)

(Bishop Home.)

Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. -
(H. J. Wilmot-Buxton, M. A.)


1. It is armour for every part, except the back, which is provided with no defence, to show that the Christian is never to quit the field, but to face his enemies.

2. The armour is of every sort, offensive and defensive, both to protect the Christian, and to annoy his enemies.

3. It is armour that has been proved.

4. This armour is spiritual, and is intended only for spiritual purposes. It is called "the armour of light," in allusion perhaps to the bright and glittering army of the Romans, and to show that it is for ornament as well as for defence. It is also "armour of righteousness," designed only for righteous persons and righteous purposes; it cannot therefore be rendered subservient to acts of violence and oppression. It is provided by a righteous God, and His righteous word is the rule for using it (Romans 13:12; 2 Corinthians 6:7).

5. It is called "the armour of God," to denote its transcendent excellency and usefulness, and that it is provided by His special grace.


1. We are in a state of warfare, exposed to innumerable enemies: and if not called to fight, we should not need to be armed.

2. We are naturally unprepared for this contest, having no means of defence, and therefore need to put on the armour of God. We must be equipped from God's armoury, for no weapon of our own will be able to defend us.

3. Putting on this armour implies that we see our need of it, and that we use it for the purposes intended. Though we are not saved for our endeavours, yet neither can we be saved without them. We cannot exert ourselves too much in this warfare, nor depend upon our exertions too little.

4. The spiritual armour is not designed for show, like weapons that are hung up in some houses, but for use, and therefore it must be put on.

5. We must be careful to take to ourselves the "whole" armour of God, for a part of it will not avail. Such is the variety of Satan's temptations and the world's allurements that the whole of it is but sufficient for our defence; and should any part be left unguarded, a mortal wound might be inflicted. He is also mightier than we are, and we are no match for him, unless we put on the whole armour of God, and place our trust in His holy name.

(B. Beddome, M. A.)

Theological Sketchbook.
I. THE DANGER TO WHICH WE ARE EXPOSED. As in other cases, so in this: our greatest danger lies in not feeling our danger, and so not being prepared to meet it.

1. View the enemy we have to contend with. He bears an inveterate hatred against us, and seeks nothing less than our destruction and eternal overthrow.

2. He is mightier than we are; and, unless we have help from above, we are no match for him.

3. An artful enemy.

4. Invisible.

5. Near us.

6. What is worse, he has a strong party within us.

7. On the issue of this warfare depend all our hopes.


1. In general, this armour is the grace of the gospel.

2. A whole or perfect armour, sufficient to defend us in every part.

3. The use to be made of it is that we may be able to withstand and face the enemy.


IV. THE INDUCEMENT TO DO THIS. That we may "withstand in the evil day," etc.

(Theological Sketchbook.)

1. Christians are soldiers. Our life is a warfare. The Church here is militant. God has thus disposed our state on earth for weighty reasons.

(1)The more to manifest His pity, power, providence, and truth in keeping promise. The straits whereunto in this world we are brought, the promises which God has made to deliver us, and the many deliverances which we have, show that God pities us in our distresses, that He is provident and careful for our good, and wise in disposing evil to good; that He is able to deliver us, and faithful in doing it.

(2)To make proof of the gifts He bestows on His children. A soldier's valour is not known but in war.

(3)To wean them the better from this world.

2. The graces of God's Spirit are for safeguard and defence.

(1)Those who want them must seek them.

(2)Those who have them must use them.

3. The Christian's armour is the armour of God.

(1)It is made of God, even in heaven.

(2)It is prescribed of God, even in His Word.

(3)It is given of God, even by His Spirit.

(4)It is agreeable to God, even to His will.

4. It is spiritual armour; therefore suitable for defence against spiritual foes.

5. It is a complete armour, every way sufficient.

(1)Sufficient to defend us in every part.

(2)Sufficient to keep off and thrust back every assault and every dart of our spiritual enemies.

6. Christians ought to be well furnished always, and well prepared with the graces of God's Spirit. They must ever have them in readiness at hand to use them, and make proof of them. As armour rusting by the wall side, as fire smothered with ashes, as money cankering in chests, so are the graces of God's Spirit if they be not employed. Though in themselves they be never so excellent, yet to us and others they are fruitless and unprofitable, without a right use of them.

7. The power of every sanctifying grace must be manifest in the life of a Christian.

8. God's assistance and man's endeavour are joined together. Without God's mighty power man can do nothing; unless man put on the whole armour of God, God will do nothing.

(William Gouge.)

1. There is no hope, no possibility of remaining safe, without spiritual armour.

2. They who put on the armour of God, and use it as they ought, are safe and sure, and so may be secure.

3. Those who are without armour can have no hope to stand.(1) Without this armour we are naked, and lie open to every dart and shot of our spiritual enemies; and are no more able to free ourselves from the power of the devil than a poor silly lamb or kid from a roaring lion or ravenous bear.(2) By neglecting to use this armour provided of God, we provoke God to east us into the power of our enemies, and to give them power over us.

4. Those who use their armour are sure to stand.

(William Gouge.)

I. OF THE OCCASION OF THE WAR. This was partly the success of Satan upon our first parents; and partly God's jealousy for His honour, and His pity for fallen man.

II. THE DESIGNS OF THE ONE AND THE OTHER. Satan has lost nothing of the pride, rage, and malice of an apostate spirit, therefore he cannot cease sinning. His revenge and rebellion against God are implacable; however much he trembles before the Son of God, yet he will not submit to Him; his proud malice is nothing abated; he roars against the government of God, seeking whom he may devour. Ceaselessly he labours to defeat the kingdom of the Redeemer, and to set up his own against it.

III. WHERE IS THE SEAT OF ACTION? In our hearts. There the devil has a natural right, and thence Christ would dispossess him. Satan, by the Fall, both ruined the original purity of man's nature, and also introduced a sad defilement into both the parts of us, soul and body; rendering the one proud, and the other carnal. To destroy this work of the devil, restoring to us the image of God, taking away our pride, and spiritualizing our affections, is Christ's business.

IV. Let us consider THE MANNER OF THE FIGHT. The weapons of Satan are carnal; those of Christ, spiritual. Those of Satan are worldly things, whereby he endeavours to gratify pride, or to nurse indulgence. Jesus, on the other hand, comes with the word of truth, and the power of the Spirit.

V. THE ISSUE OF THIS WAR, on the one part and the other. This will be the triumph of the Redeemer, and the confusion of the adversary.

(S. Walker, B. A.)

I. We are to consider THE METHOD OF CHRIST'S ASSAULT UPON THE KINGDOM: OF SATAN IN THE HEART OF A SINNER, in order to gain him out of the enemy's hand; and also the wiles which the devil uses to disappoint the Redeemer's attempt and to keep the sinner in his service. While I am opening this point, it will be evidently seen how the devil wars at all disadvantage; that he must set up falsehood against truth, and temporal against eternal motives; that he cannot foretell the issue of one step he takes, while all his steps are plainly seen and foreseen, in all their consequences, by the Redeemer; that while Satan hath not the least power or strength to oppose one motion of His, He can easily turn all the counsels of Satan back upon himself; in a word, that in respect of Jesus, Satan is a poor, blind, weak, insignificant enemy. What, then, gives him so much success? It is neither his power, vigilance, nor cunning; what are these in respect of the might care, and wisdom of the Redeemer? No, sinners, it is your wilfulness; it is this alone gives him advantage. Now, that I may plainly set before you the method of Christ's attack upon Satan in the heart of a sinner, and Satan's devices to disappoint the success of it, you must be shown the state wherein Christ finds the sinner; His methods with him; and Satan's counterplot to defeat them.

1. The state wherein Christ finds the sinner. In sin - committing sin, an enemy to God, godliness, and godly men.

2. The methods Christ uses with the heart of the sinner, in order to dispossess Satan of his dominion over it. The Spirit working by the Word, and impressing the various motives which the Word contains effectually upon the heart.

3. Satan's wiles to disappoint the convictions which the Redeemer, by the Word and Spirit, has made upon the heart of a sinner.(1) He may try to catch away the word of conviction by exciting presumption. If the constitution be warm, and a man is naturally bold and hardy (not as many others are, apt to fear in any great undertaking), when the Spirit hath begun to awaken the soul, by the terrors of the Lord, to a strong desire of fleeing from the wrath to come, the work of religion will, of course, seem not so difficult a thing as it is spoken of. Satan, then, will correspond with these views. The sinner shall seem to himself as if he had already overcome.(2) Another sort of awakened sinners may be as continually fearful, as these we have been speaking of are bold and hardy. When such are awakened, the enemy, most likely, will be working with them to make them discouraged, and to harass them with fears, till they yield. With these he magnifies everything, and swells up mole hills to mountains in their apprehension.(3) If the enemy cannot prevail by means of presumption or fear, he will endeavour, by the pleasures or cares of the world, to catch away the impression which Christ has made upon the sinner's heart by the Word and Spirit. These are his subtle devices against the soul of a sinner. When there are some stirrings of infelt concern about the judgment and wrath to come, the devil knows how to make advantage of worldly pleasure and care, upon those whom he hath held in subjection by the love of the one or the other. He can plead that pleasure is harmless, and care is needful, till, by the entertainment of the one, and solicitude of the other, the gracious conviction is done away.(4) The last wile of the devil to keep the awakened sinner for his service, is an attempt to detain him from the throne of grace.

II. I am now, in the second place, more directly with the design of the text, TO DESCRIBE TO YOU THE WILES OF THE DEVIL AGAINST CHRIST IN THE PERSONS OF BELIEVERS, WHEREBY HE ENDEAVOURS TO SHAKE THEIR CONSTANCY, and to render them disserviceable to the cause wherein they are engaged; and likewise the armour Christ hath prepared for their defence, as well as for making them fit to serve successfully under Him against the kingdom of darkness. Satan hath many wiles for those who believe, and are gone over to Jesus; if He cannot draw them back he will harass them, lay bars in their way, try to render them less fruitful, and less serviceable to the kingdom of Jesus Christ. In order to resist them we must put on -

1. Truth, or sincerity.

2. Righteousness; that is, the practice of all holiness.

3. The preparation of the gospel, or firmness, readiness, and constancy in all cases.

4. Faith, namely, in the promises of God in Christ. This must be put on above, or over all, because faith preserves all other graces.

5. The hope of salvation.

6. The Word of God.

7. Prayer.

8. Watchfulness.

9. Supplication for all saints.Then the Christian is prepared for all the wiles of the devil. All these he must put on, not one excepted, because one and another of these things can only preserve us from this and that wile wherewith the devil will beset us.

(S. Walker, B. A.)

1. A call to arms. Religious life is sometimes called "peace in believing." But let us not forget that there is nowhere in this world any peace which has not been wrought out in stubborn conflict, which is not now the achievement of valiant service for the truth. The soldiers of the cross do not enlist to go at once into the hospital, or sit around the door of a sutler's tent. It is to be feared that too much stress is laid upon the emotional and experimental part of piety in this easy day of ours. Too many young princes go off into dangerous Zulu-land for curious inquiry or mere love of adventure. There was (so we are told) once an English poet, who took position in a lofty tower that he might see a real battle. He seems to have had great prosperity, for the world has not yet done praising his versified description of the rushing onset, the tumult, and the carnage, "by Iser rolling rapidly." Now, nobody need hope to become acquainted with the solemn realities of life by merely gazing out upon it from a protected belfry, as Campbell did on Hohenlinden field. We cannot make a poem out of it. There are awful certainties of exposure, and necessities of attack, which disdain figures and rhythms of mere music. And, moreover, we are combatants, not spectators; we are in the onset, and the shock is at hand. "There is no discharge in that war."

2. It is best to avoid all confusion at once, and ascertain who are our adversaries; specially, who leads on the host. Here the apostle speaks clearly, if only people would listen: "Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil." "Two kingdoms," said Ignatius Loyola, "divide the world; the kingdom of Emmanuel, and the kingdom of Satan." This the whole Bible admits; but nowhere can there be found even so much as one text which intimates that Christ and the devil are on equal terms. Satan is a created being; he had a maker, and he now has a ruler. He wages at present only a permitted warfare for a limited season. His onsets are well called "wiles," for he shuns open fields, and deals best in ambuscades and secret plots. There is awful force in the expression, "the devil and his angels"; for it shows us Satan is not alone in his work. He is the prince fiend of a fiendish clan. I have somewhere seen a picture on which was represented a human soul in its hour of conflict. It was as if the invisible world had for a moment been made visible by the rare skill of the artist. There, around the tried and anxious man, these emissaries of Satan were gathered. Dim, ethereal forms luridly shone out on every side. One might see the tempting offer of a crown over his head; but he would have to examine, quite closely before he could discover how each braided bar of gold in the diadem was twined in so as to conceal a lurking fiend in the folds. Then there was just visible a serpent with demoniac eyes coiled in the bottom of the goblet from which he was invited to drink. Foul whispers were plying either ear. There were baleful fires of lust in the glances of those who sought his companionship. A beautiful angel drew nigh; but a skeleton of death could be traced beneath the white robes he had stolen. I cannot say it was a welcome picture; but certainly there was a lesson in it. Among the noisy critics who gaily pronounced on its characteristics, I noticed there was one thoughtful man who turned aside and wept. Perhaps he knew what it meant.

3. Is there no defence against all this? Surely, every Christian remembers the armour which Paul catalogues in detail: "Wherefore, take unto you," etc.

(C. S. Robinson, D. D.)

I. THE ARGUMENT - "That ye may," etc. In handling the argument we will consider - The devil is one who strikes through another by slander, or false accusation. Concerning this being, observe -

1. He is very miserable.

2. He was once happy.

3. Sin has made him miserable.

4. He is very powerful, malicious, and vigilant.

5. In his person and agency, generally, invisible.

6. He has many associates.Wiles - the arts used by a commander to take advantage of his enemy. These consist -

1. In assuming false characters.

2. In suiting himself to the age, temper, connections, and circumstances of the tempted.

3. In choosing the proper instruments to effect his purposes.

4. In giving false names to good and evil. Zeal to persecution.

5. In causing divisions in the Church.

6. In hiding that from us what only can do us good. Ability to stand against them.This implies -

1. Knowledge of them (2 Corinthians 2:11).

2. Power to oppose them.

II. THE EXHORTATION - "Put on," etc.Reflections:

I. A Christian soldier is a wonderful object. In relation to his enemies - and his defence.

II. How pleasing is our prevailing infidelity to Satan.

III. The experience of believers proves the truth of the text.

(H. J. Foster.)

(C. H. Parkhurst, D. D.)

1. Men are called by religion to a personal reformation, and then to the reformation of the whole world in which they live. You are to carry Christ's spirit into every relation of life, and to become a witness, and a martyr, if need be, in it. A little child, beginning to love Christ, and desiring to witness for Christ, comes home to its unconverted parents, and to brothers and sisters that are wilful and wayward, and seeks there to carry out the law of love. Its temper, quite infirm, is often lost. Alas, that of all the things that we lose, nothing is found so certainly again as our temper! The little child comes home, and its temper is often disturbed, often stirred up; and still, it means to be a witness for Christ. And it says in its little heart, "I do love Christ; and I mean that everything I do shall please Him." It has read, "In honour preferring one another"; and it attempts, in the household, to prefer the happiness of its brothers and sisters. It refuses to join in the little deceits that belong to them. It refuses to conceal, when questioned, their little peculations. It comes to spiteful grief in consequence. And the little child is not old enough to know anything about the great laws of society and the great laws of nature. Just converted, it is undertaking to live so that the best part of itself shall govern itself; and then it is undertaking so that, in its little companionships, the best part of it shall all the time rule in its conduct. Now, no child can undertake that without having the epitome of the experience of every Christian in the whole world.

2. Religion must not be selfish - not even if it be the selfishness of the highest quality. We have no right to be Christians simply on the ground that we shall save our souls. We shall save our souls; but to come into religion as a mere soul insurance is selfishness. We have no right to go into religion merely because we should thus gain joy. The man that enters into religion must follow God. And what thought He, when He took the crown, every beam of which was brighter than the shining of a thousand suns, and laid it by? What thought He when, disrobing Himself of power, taste, and faculty, He bowed His head, and, trailing through the sky, became a man, and as a man humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross? The most odious and reputation-blasting death that man's ingenuity had developed - all this had combined at the centre point of the cross, as the sign and symbol of degradation; and that was the death that He chose, that He might identify Himself with men, and not be ashamed to call them brethren. "I am going to follow the meek and lowly Jesus by cutting my acquaintance with the vulgar cares of the dirty world. I am going to be a select Christian, and seclude myself from these things." Can you, and be a follower of Christ? Religion means work. Religion means work in a dirty world. Religion means peril - blows given, but blows taken as well. Religion means transformation. The world is to be cleaned by somebody; and you are not called of God if you are ashamed to scour and scrub. I believe that the day is yet to come when all the machineries of society will be controlled by truth, by purity, by sublime duty. I call you to be soldiers in that great warfare that is to bring to pass this victory.

(H. W. Beecher.)

I. THE CHARACTER OF THE GREAT ADVERSARY. St. Paul here calls him the devil. He is also spoken of in other parts of the Bible as Abaddon, Beelzebub, Belial, the Dragon, the Evil One, the Angel of the Bottomless Pit, the Prince of this World, the Prince of the Power of the Air, Satan, Apollyon, and the God of this World. Although fallen beings, they, like the Angels of Light, "still excel in strength" (Psalm 103:20), and are far "greater in power and might" (2 Peter 2:11) than any of the sons of men.

II. THE NATURE OF HIS DEVICES. Having once been pure and holy, the lost Archangel realizes the greatness of his fall; and grief, anger, and revenge, all combine to render him the bitter enemy of everything good. Hence, all his arts are directed to one end, viz., to draw us away from God, and to accomplish our ruin. And very wonderful and successful is the mode of his warfare. Acting upon the rule of expediency, he never begins his assaults by a direct contradiction of the truth, but by a qualified admission of its claims, he seems to agree with his victim, while he is only making ready to come down upon him in an unguarded quarter. It might reasonably be supposed that one who ventured to make war in heaven is a skilful and experienced leader, whose craft and boldness would render him a dangerous enemy upon earth. "The wiles of the Devil" are marked by all those characteristics which prove him to be a most treacherous and deadly foe. His forces are scattered over the world, busy in executing his commands, and all our weaknesses are spied out, and the corresponding enticements presented. Naturalists report that when the chameleon stretches itself on the grass to catch flies and grasshoppers, it assumes a green colour to prevent detection; and that the polypus changes himself into the sombre hue of the rock, under which he lurks, that the fish may come within his reach without suspicion of danger. And thus the devil, in spreading his net for unwary Christians, turns himself into the shape which they least suspect, and allures them with temptations most agreeable to their natures.

III. THE MEANS BY WHICH HIS DANGEROUS WILES MAY BE WITHSTOOD. Our strength is perfect weakness; but the good and gracious Lord is ready to "open His armoury" (Jeremiah 1.25) and equip those who acknowledge their helplessness and seek for His sustaining grace. This armour is given for use, and if we expect any benefit from it we must not delay to "put it on."

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

(J. Leyburn, D. D.)

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

(T. Guthrie, D. D.)

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities. -
(Canon Liddon.)

I. THE FOES. Spiritual enemies. Our danger arises from -

1. The advantage they find in this world. It is in many respects their own.

2. Our natural inclinations.

3. Their number - Legion.

4. Their mightiness.

5. Their invisibility.

6. Their artfulness.

7. Their malignity.


1. The articles in which it consists. None provided for the back. He who flees is wholly defenceless, and sure to perish.

2. Its nature - Divine.

(1)Appointed by God.

(2)Provided by God.

3. The appropriation of it. You must apply it to the various purposes for which it has been provided. There are some who are ignorant of it; these cannot "take it to themselves," and they are "perishing for lack of knowledge." There are others who know it, but despise it; they never make use of it; their religion is all speculation; they "know these things," but "they do them not"; they believe - and "the devils believe and tremble."

4. The entireness of the application - "The whole armour." Every part is necessary. A Christian may be considered with regard to his principles, with regard to his practice, with regard to his experience, with regard to his comfort, and with regard to his profession; and oh! how important is it in each of these that neither of them is to be left in him exposed and undefended. He is to "stand complete in all the will" of his heavenly Father; he is to be "perfect and entire, lacking nothing." Nothing less: than this must be our aim.

III. THE SUCCESS. Three inquiries are here to be answered. The first regards the posture; what does the apostle mean by "standing"? It is a military term; and "standing" is opposed to falling. A man is said to "fall" when he is slain in battle; and he does so literally. It is opposed to fleeing. We often read of fleeing before the enemy in the Scriptures: this cannot be "standing." It is opposed to yielding or keeping back; and so the apostle says, "Neither give place to the devil." Every inch you yield he gains, and every inch he gains you lose; every inch he gains favours his gaining another inch, and every inch you lose favours your losing another inch. The second regards the period; what does the apostle mean when he says, "Stand in the evil day"? All the time of the Christian's warfare may be so called in a sense, and a very true sense; but the apostle refers also to some days which are peculiarly evil days." Days of suffering are such. The days in which the poor martyrs lived were "evil days"; they could not confess and follow Christ without exposing their substance and their liberty and their lives; but they "stood in the evil day," and "rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His Dame." There are "evil days" morally considered - perilous periods, in which "iniquity abounds and the love of many waxes cold," in which many may "turn aside from the faith and give themselves to vain janglings." The third regards the preeminence of the advantage gained; "stand in the evil day, and, having done all, stand." Some of God's servants have been foiled after various successes, and have become affecting examples to show us that we are never out of the reach of danger as long as we are in the body and in the world. The battle of Eylau, between the French and the Russians, was a dreadful conflict; more than fifty thousand perished. Both parties claimed the victory. What, then, is the historian to do? To do? Why, he will inquire, Who kept the field? And these were the French, while the Russians all withdrew. Oh, my brethren! it is the keeping of the field to the last - to see all the adversaries withdrawn - that is to make us "more than conquerors through Him that loved us." It is this that gives decision to the battle. Some have overcome, and then, alas! they have been overcome. What is it to gain success and yield it at last? The Romans often were checked: they often met with a defeat; but then they succeeded upon the whole, "and having done all, they stood." Of Gad it is said, "A troop shall overcome him, but he shall overcome at the last." And this will be the case with every real Christian. What comes from God will be sure to lead back to God.

(W. Jay.)

Theological Sketchbook.

1. Spirits.

2. Wicked spirits.

3. Formidable spirits.

(1)On account of their strength.

(2)On account of their weapons.

(3)On account of their extensive influence.

(4)On account of their wiles.


1. In the armour of God.

(1)This must be all put on.

(2)We must retain it till our warfare be past.

(3)We must take and use it whenever assaulted.

2. In the spirit of prayer and watchfulness.

3. In the exercise of firm resistance. Let your resistance be -

(1)Early. At the first approach of the enemy.


(3)Unwearied. Till you conquer.


1. Because the most important objects depend on this contention.

(1)Your steadfastness;

(2)your liberty;

(3)your glory;

(4)your eternal life.

2. Because victory is certain to the faithful soldiers of Christ.

(1)Victory over the world;

(2)victory over sin;

(3)victory over Satan;

(4)victory over tribulation;

(5)victory over death.

3. Because victory will be attended with certain glory.

(1)A glorious rest from all painful toil and contention;

(2)glorious exemption from all penal evil;

(3)glorious honours;

(4)a glorious throne, crown, kingdom.

(Theological Sketchbook.)

1. The subject is confessedly difficult, obscure, and mysterious; but there is nothing incredible in the existence of unseen and evil powers, from whose hostility we are in serious danger. Give the faculty of vision to the blind, and they see the sun and the clouds and the moon and the stars, of whose existence they had known nothing except by hearsay; give a new faculty to the human race, and we might discover that we are surrounded by "principalities" and "powers," some of them loyal to God and bright with a Divine glory; some of them in revolt against Him, and scarred with the lightnings of the Divine anger. The moral objections to the existence of evil spirits can hardly be sustained in the presence of the crimes of which our own race has been guilty. There may be other worlds in which the inhabitants are as wicked as the most wicked of ourselves; we cannot tell. We may be surrounded - we cannot tell - by creatures of God, who hate righteousness and hate God with a fiercer hatred than ever burned in the hearts of the most profligate and blasphemous of our race. And they may be endeavouring to accomplish our moral ruin, in this life and the life to come.

2. Our Lord plainly taught the existence of evil spirits (Matthew 13:19, 39; Luke 10:18; Luke 22:31; John 12:31; Matthew 25:41). No use to say that as He spoke the language, He thought the thoughts, of His country and His time; for it was impossible that He should mistake shadows for realities in that invisible and spiritual world which was His true home, and which He had come to reveal to man. Nor can we believe that Christ Himself knew that evil spirits had no existence, and yet consciously and deliberately fell in with the common way of speaking about them. The subject was one of active controversy between rival Jewish sects, and in using the popular language Christ took sides with one sect against another. That He should have supported controverted opinions which He knew to be false is inconceivable. Again: He came to preach glad tidings; can we suppose that, if the popular dread of evil spirits had no foundation, He would have deliberately fostered such a falsehood?

3. The teaching of Christ on this point is sustained by all the apostles (James 3:7; 2 Corinthians 4:4; 2 Corinthians 11:14; Ephesians 4:26; 1 Peter 5:8; 1 John 2:13, 14; 1 John 3:8, 10, 12; 1 John 5:18, 19, etc.).

4. The teaching of Christ and His apostles is confirmed by our religious experience. Evil thoughts come to us which are alien from all our convictions and from all our sympathies. There is nothing to account for them in our external circumstances or in the laws of our intellectual life. We abhor them and repel them, but they are pressed upon us with cruel persistency. They come to us at times when their presence is most hateful; they cross and trouble the current of devotion; they gather like thick clouds between our souls and God, and suddenly darken the glory of the Divine righteousness and love. We are sometimes pursued and harassed by doubts which we have deliberately confronted, examined, and concluded to be absolutely destitute of force, doubts about the very existence of God, or about the authority of Christ, or about the reality of our own redemption. Sometimes the assaults take another form. Evil fires which we thought we had quenched are suddenly rekindled by unseen hands; we have to renew the fight with forms of moral and spiritual evil which we thought we had completely destroyed. There is a Power not ourselves that makes for righteousness; light falls upon us which we know is light from heaven; in times of weariness strength comes to us from inspiration which we know must be Divine; we are protected in times of danger by an invisible presence and grace; there are times when we are conscious that streams of life are flowing into us which must have their fountains in the life of God. And there are dark and evil days when we discover that there is also a power not ourselves that makes for sin. We are at war, the kingdom of God on earth is at war, with the kingdom of darkness. We have to fight "against the principalities," etc. And therefore we need the strength of God and "the armour of God." The attacks of these formidable foes are not incessant; but as we can never tell when "the evil day" may come, we should be always prepared for it. After weeks and months of happy peace, they fall upon us without warning, and without any apparent cause. If we are to "withstand" them, and if after one great battle in which we have left nothing unattempted or unaccomplished for our own defence and the destruction of the enemy we are still "to stand," to stand with our force unexhausted and our resources undiminished, ready for another and perhaps fiercer engagement, we must "be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might," and we must "take up the whole armour of God."

(R. W. Dale, LL. D.)

1. That our enemies aim at us personally.

2. The nearness of the parties to each other.

3. The severity of the struggle, παλη.

4. The continuance of it. The present tense.

(H. J. Foster.)


1. Actual beings, possessing an angelic order of existence.

2. Beings deeply and fearfully characterized by evil.

3. Beings who possess wide power and authority over the world.


1. Notice the manner in which that conflict is conducted. These principalities, etc., fight against the children of God through the medium of their own thoughts; as those thoughts may be influenced independent of external objects, or as those thoughts may be influenced by the thoughts and passions of other men; and by the various events and occurrences which are transpiring in this sublunary and terrestrial world. It is intended by this power and instrumentality to lead to principles, to actions, and to habits which are inconsistent with the maintenance of the Christian character.

2. Mark the spirit in which that warfare is conducted. It is precisely such as we might expect from the character and attributes of the principalities, the powers, and the rulers against whom we wrestle. It is, for instance, conducted with subtlety and cunning. We find that Satan is said to transform himself into an angel of light. Hence, again, we read of "the devices of Satan" and "the rulers of Satan" as being "the old serpent." It is, further, conducted in cruelty, Hence, we read of Satan as being "the adversary"; we read of his fiery darts; and we are told that he "goeth about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour." It is, again, conducted in perseverance. All the statements which are urged with regard to subtlety on the one hand, and cruelty on the other, show that there is one incessant labour, which is perfectly unvaried and unremitting on their part, to accomplish the great designs they have in view with respect to the character and the final destiny of the soul.

3. Observe for what purpose the conflict is designed. That there may be a failure on the part of the redeemed, in their character, their consistency, and their hopes; and this, under the impulse of one dark and fearful result, as bearing both upon God and upon man. As regards God, it is intended that the purpose of the Father should be foresworn; that the atonement of the Son should be inefficacious; and that the influence of the Spirit should be thwarted. And, as bearing on man, it is intended that his life should become bereft of honour, comfort, and peace; that his death should be a scene of agitation, pain, and darkness; that his judgment should he an event of threatening and bitter condemnation; that his eternity should be the habitation of torment and woe; and that over spirits, who once had the prospects of redemption, there shall be pronounced that fearful sentence, "Depart ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels."


1. The nature of the means of preservation.

(1)A constant and diligent attempt, in the strength of the living God, to live in practical conformity with the doctrines and precepts of the gospel.



2. The effect which these means, when used aright, will secure. That the Christian warrior, fighting against these mighty and invisible foes, shall, although faint, yet pursue, and although feeble, shall yet conquer.

(J. Parsons.)

(J. Pulsford.)

1. Their position. They are no subalterns, but foes of mighty rank, the nobility and chieftains of the spirit world.

2. Their office. Their domain is this darkness in which they exercise imperial sway.

3. Their essence. Not encumbered with an animal frame, but "spirits."

4. Their character - "evil." Their appetite for evil only exceeds their capacity for producing it.

(J. Eadie, D. D.)

cap-a-piewith that panoply - the whole armour of God. For the devil will be sure to hit the least part that he finds unarmed; if it be the eye, he will dart in at that casement by the presentation of one lewd object or other; if it be the ear, he will force that door open by bad counsel; if the tongue, that shall be made a world of mischief; if the feet, they shall be swift to shed blood, etc.

(Dr. Talmage.)

Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand. -
balteusbound around the loins to which the sword was commonly attached, seemed to the apostle to recall the inward practical acknowledgment of truth which is the first necessity in the Christian character. The metal breastplate suggested the moral rectitude or righteousness which enables a man to confront the world. The strong military sandals spoke of that readiness to march in the cause of that gospel whose sum and substance was not war but spiritual, even more than social peace. And then the large, oblong, oval wooden shield, clothed with hides, covered well nigh the whole body of the bearer, reminding him of Christian faith, upon which the temptations of the Evil One, like the ancient arrows, tipped, as they often were, with inflammable substances, would light harmlessly and lose their deadly point; and then the soldier's helmet, pointing upward to the skies, was a natural figure of Christian hope directed towards a higher and a better world; and then the sword at his side, by which he won safety and victory in the day of battle, and which, you will observe, is the one aggressive weapon mentioned in this whole catalogue - what was it but the emblem of that Word of God which wins such victories on the battlefields of conscience, because it pierces, even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart, and is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth. Thus girded, thus clad, thus shod, thus guarded, thus covered, thus armed, the Christian might well meet his foes. He was, indeed, more than a match for them, and might calmly await their onset.

(Canon Liddon.)

(Canon Liddon.)


1. Truth: not mere information.(1) Truth is inward - to one's self. No self-deception, nor vanity, nor conceit.(2) Outward - to others. Candour, frankness, truth of word and life, Most sublime sights are these:(a) Simple truthfulness of character at home.(b) A powerful mind vindicating truth in the presence of foes.(c) The martyr calmly sealing truth with his blood.

2. Righteousness. This means truth towards God, justness, fairness, honesty, faithfulness (Micah 6:8). It is a breastplate, in forefront, to be borne bright and high, and seen by all.

3. Readiness - like that of Israel leaving Egypt, or a soldier in camp.

4. Faith - a shield, therefore a protection. Like God, our refuge, strength, help. It quenches all the fiery darts, etc. Not easy to have such faith; try, however.

II. PASSIVE ARMING. The following are outward, external, not in the soul.

1. Salvation is the helmet.

2. Word of God is the sword.

(W. M. Johnston, M. A.)

I. THE PROHIBITION INVOLVED IN THE PRECEPT. The conflict may neither be forsaken nor suspended. The following are forbidden:

1. Indolent or even weary sleep.

2. Cowardly or even politic flight.

3. A treacherous, or even a desponding surrender. Treachery is apostasy; despondency is sinful distrust.

4. The declaration of a truce, or even an application for it. There is a termination to the war, but no truce. No favour will ever be shown to the foe by our Commander-in-Chief, and the soldier of Christ does not really need the cessation of the conflict.

5. The giving up of a military position until the war is fairly over. The orders to the individual soldier run thus - "Unto death"; and until death the warfare is not accomplished. Death is in fact the last enemy.


1. They require a distinct and solemn recognition of the fact that the time of our life on earth is a time of war - "an evil day." There are periods during which the sharpness of the conflict is greatly increased, and such seasons are peculiarly "the evil day" - but every day is a day of battle.

2. They require us to be always possessed by the conviction that we are personally called to this good fight. The true vocation of every believer is conflict; and to this rule there is not a single exception.

3. They demand the honest and manly facing of our foes. Some professed Christians turn their backs upon their spiritual enemies in contempt. They have speculated and theorized upon Satanic agency, until they have expunged God's doctrines concerning devils from their creed. They have flirted and compromised with the world, until they and the evil that is in the world are placed on the same side. They have modified and shaped their language concerning human depravity, until there dwells in their flesh, according to their opinion, no evil thing. And thus denying the existence of foes, they have turned their backs upon them. Other professing Christians look at our spiritual enemies more as spectators than as warriors. They are seen as objects of spiritual interest, and as subjects for religious inquiry, rather than as foes with which they personally have to do. To stand, in the sense of the text, requires that we face our foes - not to contemplate them; far less to despise them; but to fight them.

4. The text requires that having taken the field we keep it. We may not retire to the ranks of those who refuse to fight: we must stand. The militant position must be maintained throughout life. We may be weak; but must stand. We may be weary; but must stand. We may be fearful; but must stand. We may be defeated in some single fight; but must stand. We may See others fall about us; but must stand. Many may desert our cause; but we must stand. Consternation may spread through the army of the Lord of Hosts; but we must stand. It may seem as though all things were against us; but we must stand. The day of final triumph may seem long delayed, and with weak, and weary, and aching hearts, we may cry, "How long, Lord? how long?" - but we must stand. The measure of conflict and of service allotted to us may seem excessive, but having done all, we must stand. "Stand therefore." This requires,

5. that we be ready for attack or defence. To stand unarmed, is not to stand. To stand unclothed with armour, is not to stand. To stand in any sense unready, is not to stand. Having done all, your foes stand. Satan has done much; yet he stands. The world - the temporal, the sensual, and the social - has done much; yet it stands. The flesh has done much; yet it stands. Antichrist and error, and sin in every shape, have done much; yet they stand. No foe is as yet really slain. New foes are continually led to the field, and old foes show themselves in new forms. I read; "Gethsemane!" "Calvary!" Calvary? Who fought there? Your Captain - alone; for all His soldiers forsook Him and fled. With "Calvary" and "Gethsemane" on your banner, to be consistent, you must stand. Stand therefore! Now your orders are, Stand. Yet a little, and the command shall be, Retire. Come, ye faithful soldiers, inherit the kingdom prepared for you; and receive the crown of glory which fadeth not away.

(S. Martin, D. D.)

1. What kind of heart and courage such an one must have, to appear in the place of review.

2. Who is his chief Captain, to whom he must have regard.

3. What kind of equipment he must have, and what is the best armoury, the best arsenal.

4. Who are his worst enemies.

5. How he ought and must accustom himself to his armour.

6. What a severe regimen he must carry out.

7. Finally, what he has to expect, if he conduct himself in a knightly manner.

(Herberger.)How the equipment with the whole armour of God is -

1. So indispensable.

2. So accessible.

3. So glorious.


1. The more danger we are in, the more watchful we must be.

2. Our spiritual war is a sore, fierce, and dangerous war.

3. All must fight this spiritual combat.

4. Our enemies are more than flesh and blood.

(1)Spiritual enemies are terrible.

(2)No outward prowess can daunt them.

5. The devil is our principal enemy, in all our conflicts, whether with flesh and blood, or with spiritual foes.

6. They who are quailed with what flesh and blood can do, will never be able to stand against principalities.

7. Our spiritual enemies have a dominion.

(1)God permits this.

(2)Yet is it usurpation on the part of Satan.

8. As our spiritual enemies have a dominion, so they have power to exercise the same. The Lord suffers this for the following reasons.

(1)That His own Divine power might be the more manifested.

(2)That there might be a greater trial of the courage of His saints and children.

(3)That He might execute the sorer vengeance upon the wicked.

9. Satan's rule is only in this world.

10. Ignorant and evil men are Satan's vassals.

(1)They resist him not, but yield to him.

(2)They are not subject to Christ.

11. The enemies of our souls are of a spiritual substance.(1) Invisible.

(2)Privy to what we do or speak.

12. The devils are extremely evil.

13. The devils are many in number.

14. The main things for which the devils fight against us, are heavenly matters.

(William Gouge.)

I. THE DAY REFERRED TO - "The evil day." "Day" a fit emblem, mixture of light and darkness, sunshine and storm, joy and sadness. Certain evils in this day to which we are all liable.

1. Evil day of affliction. Our bodies have the seeds of innumerable diseases in them.

2. Evil day of temptation.

3. Evil day of persecution.

4. Evil day of death.


1. We have recommended to us Divine armour. The Lord's warfare must be carried on by the Lord's weapons.

2. We must have the whole armour of God. Every part is vulnerable, and every part, therefore, must be defended.

3. The whole armour must be taken unto us.

III. THE MOTIVES URGED. "That ye may be able," etc.

1. That we may not be destroyed by the evils of this life. "Withstand."

2. That we appear victorious in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. "Having done all, stand." Great comprehensiveness in the words, "Done all."Application:

1. Let believers rightly remember their present state. This is your evil day, expect and prepare for trouble.

2. Examine your armour; is it Divine armour? whole, and entire?

3. Let grace sustain you, depend entirely on it.

4. Let glory animate you. Think of the day when, having done all, you will stand.

(J. Burns, D. D.)

1. It is very characteristic of Paul that he should give the first place to "truth." He is thinking of the truth concerning God and the will of God which comes to us from God Himself through His revelation in Christ and through the teaching of the Spirit; for all the elements of Christian strength are represented in this passage as Divine gifts. Truth appropriated and made our own gives energy, firmness, and decision to Christian life and action, relieves us from the entanglement and distraction which come from uncertainty and doubt, gives us a complete command of all our vigour. It is like the strong belt of the ancient soldier which braced him up, made him conscious of his force, kept his armour in its place, and prevented it from interfering with the freedom of his action.

2. He gives the second place to "righteousness." In the conflicts of the Christian life we are safe, only while we practise every personal and private virtue, and discharge with fidelity every duty both to man and to God. "Righteousness" is the defence and guarantee of righteousness. The honest man is not touched by temptations to dishonesty; the truthful man is not touched by temptations to falsehood; habits of industry are a firm defence against temptations to indolence; a pure heart resents with disgust and scorn the first approaches of temptation to impurity.

3. Paul gives the third place to what he describes as "the preparation of the gospel of peace." When we have received with hearty faith the great assurance by the remission of sins through Christ, we are released from the gravest anxieties and fears. We have escaped from care about the past, and are free to give our whole strength to the duties of the present and of the future. The discovery that God is at peace with us gives us confidence and inspires us with alertness and elasticity of spirit. We are not merely ready, we are eager for every good work.

4. The fourth place is given to "faith." There are a thousand perils against which faith in the righteousness and love and power of God is our only protection. When the misery of the world oppresses us, or we are crushed by the misery of our personal life, terrible thoughts about God pierce through every defence and fasten themselves in our very flesh, torturing us, and filling our veins with burning fever. We writhe in our agony. If by any chance we hear about "the unsearchable riches" of God's grace, we listen, not only uncomforted, but sometimes with a passion of unbelief. "Grace!" we exclaim, "where is the proof of it? Is there any pity in Him, any justice, any truth?" In these hours of anguish we are like soldiers wounded by the "darts" with burning tow fastened to them, or with their iron points made red hot, which were used in ancient warfare. We should have been safe if, when "the evil day" came it had found us with a strong and invincible faith in God; this would have been a perfect defence; and apart from this we can have no secure protection.

5. The fifth place is given to "salvation." We are insecure unless we make completely our own the great redemption which God has achieved for us in Christ. If we have mean and narrow conceptions of the Divine redemption, or if we think that it lies mainly with ourselves whether we shall secure "glory, honour, and immortality," we shall be like a soldier without a "helmet," unprotected against blows which may be mortal. But if we have a vivid apprehension of the greatness of the Christian redemption, and if our hope of achieving a glorious future is rooted in our consciousness of the infinite power and grace of God, we shall be safe.

6. But all these are arms of defence. Have we no weapons for attacking and destroying the enemy? Are the same temptations and the same doubts to return incessantly and to return with their force undiminished? The helmet, the shield, the breastplate, the belt, may be a protection for ourselves; but we belong to an army, and are fighting for the victory of the Divine kingdom and for the complete destruction of the authority and power of the "spiritual hosts of wickedness" over other men; it is not enough that our personal safety is provided for. We are to fight the enemy with "the Word of God." Divine promises are not only to repel doubts, but to destroy them. Divine precepts are not only to be a protection against temptations, but to inflict on them a mortal wound, and so to prevent them from troubling us again. The revelation of God's infinite pity for human sorrow, and of His infinite mercy for human sin, of the infinite blessings conferred upon men by Christ in this world, and of the endless righteousness and glory which He confers in the world to come - the Divine "Word" to the human race - is the solitary power by which we can hope to win any real and enduring victory over the sins and miseries of mankind.

(R. W. Dale, LL. D.)

From, Strong and Free.
(From "Strong and Free. ")

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

dead,just outside the gateway of your Father's house. While its hospitable door of love stands open, hasten in! You are losing the very best part of this life, and the whole of the life to come, while you so recklessly linger away from Jesus.

(Theodore L. Cuyler, D. D.)

(H. W. Beecher.)

areslaves. But what is the motive? Says the servant, "My master will not understand it. It will not put me forward in the world. Whatever I gain, he will reap." But the apostle says that you are servants of God. "With goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men; knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, he shall receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free." Take the fulness of that thought of God with you, that you are consecrated to the Lord Jesus Christ, following in His providence, following in His personal knowledge of and love for yourself, believing that from your childhood you have been an object of the paternal thought and care of Christ, in comparison with which ordinary parental care is poor and pale.

(H. W. Beecher.)

I. MEN FIGHT WITH THAT WHICH OPPOSES THEIR REAL OR FANCIED INTERESTS. We can ill brook anything which interferes with what we believe to be our advantage or our good. There is ever a disposition to contend with such a thing, and subdue it or remove it. This is seen in daily life. How varied are the supposed interests of men; some of them noble, and some of them ignoble; some of them meritorious, and some of them worthless. One seems to believe that his chief good consists in the acquisition of worldly riches; and what efforts he makes - what conflicts he goes through with external difficulties, trials, and disappointments in order to secure them. He fights with circumstances, struggles with hindrances, until, perhaps, he conquers and gains his end. Another has his soul bent on pleasure, the mere sensual or sensuous enjoyment of his being, and thinks the interest of his manhood lies there. What shifts he will make, what measures he will adopt, what sacrifices he will endure to reach his desires, and to steep his soul in his delights. He contends with the barriers of time and place, until he overcomes. Another is fired with the nobler enthusiasm for knowledge, and how often have we heard of its pursuit under difficulty, so that he who finds his enjoyment or interest lie in that direction, will contend with outward hindrances and obstacles, and even fight with the laws which should rule his own physical system, that he may climb the steeps of literature, or repose in the bowers of science. Another still bends his mind to business, and prostrates his manhood at the shrine of commerce. And if health is lost, what efforts and means are used to regain this highest temporal blessing. There will be a fight with climate, locality, and all the circumstances of abode, in order to subdue disease, and reach convalescence. It is, then, natural for men thus to fight with whatever appears to interfere with their advantage, or to stand in the way of their interests; and in proportion to the estimated value and importance of the interest or advantage involved, will be the keenness of the conflict, the eagerness of resistance or aggression, and the strength of the desire to overcome the difficulty of the position. It is not in human nature for a man to be stoical and passive when his prospect is darkened, his interest assailed, or his happiness at stake. This general truth will aid us in advancing to consider the highest conflict in which we can engage.

II. MAN'S HIGHEST INTERESTS ARE ASSAILED AND ENDANGERED AND THEREFORE HE OUGHT TO FIGHT. These highest interests do not lie in the acquisition of worldly wealth, nor in the attainment of human wisdom. They consist in his relation to God, to moral law, and to a future state. And these interests are constantly assailed. Our relation to the Divine Being is assailed by the devil. Such is his hostility to God, that his highest aim is to secure our disobedience, disloyalty, and rebellion, in order that Jehovah may be dishonoured and defied, and that we may be spiritually destroyed. Our relation to moral law is assailed by the flesh - exciting us to transgression, moral disorder, and slavish obedience - thus deadening our spiritual sensibility, debasing our spiritual affections, and degrading our moral nature. Our relation to the future state is assailed by the world - blinding us by its fashions and its follies, its pomps and its pageantry, to the glories of the heavenly and the grand realities of the life to come. Its tendency is to lead us to forget the future in the present, to forget the eternal in the temporal and the transient, to forget the spiritual in the carnal and the material. Thus, I say, we are beset, thus our true interests are endangered, and our safety demands a conflict. It is true that Satan is our chief foe, and that he' uses the world and the flesh in his assaults upon our manhood; but it is well to look at them separately that we may see our danger, and gird ourselves to fight. Yet, alas! how many are on the devil's side - on the side of the world and of the flesh - carried away by the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life. They do not see where their true interests lie, and they do not fight. Anxious, it may he, to overcome hindrances to material success and temporal prosperity, yet they mistake the true "battle of life."

III. THE CHRISTIAN ALONE REALIZES THE TRUE INTERESTS OF MANHOOD AND HENCE HE ONLY FIGHTS. This, in fact, my brethren, is the great distinction between him and the unbeliever, or the mere man of the world. He cannot be a Christian who does not fight. He cannot be safe who does not fight. He cannot yet have realized or apprehended the highest interests of his being who does not see his danger and fight. He cannot be on the Lord's side who does not resist the devil and fight against sin.

IV. THIS CONFLICT IS SPIRITUAL AND MUST BE FOUGHT IN THE SOUL. It is manifestly spiritual, for it arises from the nature and necessities of our spiritual and moral being. It is not a struggle with mere outward difficulties and physical circumstances, but with that which has introduced all suffering and wretchedness into the world, which makes man's life a pilgrimage of sorrow to the grave. The conflict is with sin, whether it comes in the shape of satanic temptation, worldly influence, or fleshly lust. Hence the soul is the arena, and the battle must be fought within.

V. THE ISSUE OF THIS CONFLICT IS CERTAIN AND WILL BE GLORIOUS. Of its issue there is no doubt; victory is sure to all who persevere.

1. There is a glorious Commander and Captain. Christ is not only wise and skilful, able to cope with the cunning, and to meet the might of our fees; but He has Himself conquered, and in conquering them has destroyed their power. "The prince of this world is cast out." "Be of good cheer," says the Saviour, "I have overcome the world."

2. There are sufficient spiritual weapons; armour which God has provided, adapted to the various aspects of the conflict, and the various stratagems of our foes.

3. And there is promised victory - "The God of peace shall bruise Satan under our feet" (Romans 16:20). The flesh may be "crucified," and the world may be "overcome." Christ has conquered for all the soldiers of the Cross serving under Him, and thus through Him that loved us we shall be more than conquerors.

(James Spence, M. A.)

1. Amongst these you will doubtless recognize times of spiritual despondency. All believers are subject to more or less of fluctuation in their religious experience. Constitutional differences give tone to religious character.

2. A time of spiritual declension and worldliness in the Church may also be regarded as an "evil day." The spirit of piety in the Church is always far below the proper standard, but there are times when it sinks even much lower than the ordinary level. How often did the God of Israel chide and chasten His ancient people for their rebellion, disobedience, idolatry, and ingratitude; and the Church now, unhappily, too much resembles that of the former and the darker dispensation. There is a winter season in Zion as well as in the natural world, and these winters are sometimes long and dreary. Few flowers and fruits are seen, few days of sunshine; a universal torpor prevails, and under the chilling blasts even the soldiers of the Cross are found sleeping at their posts; the army of salvation seems almost frozen in its onward march.

3. More evil still than this, however, is the day when the believer actually backslides, and falls into open sin,

4. A time of absence from your home, or of changing your place of abode, may also prove an "evil day." We are much more the creatures of circumstances, even in our religion, than most of us are wont to believe.

5. Turn next to the survey of the "evil day" when false doctrine prevails.

6. We must not omit to turn our attention also to the evil day of rebuke and persecution.

7. Last of all, may we not regard the day of death as in some aspects an evil day?

(J. Leyburn, D. D.)

(J. Leyburn, D. D.)

I. First, then, let us take the class of CASES WHICH THE ADMONITION SUITS.

1. I think, then, in the first p]ace, you may look at the text in connection with religious profession, that is, the public acknowledgment which a soul makes of Christ, its openly-expressed resolution to wear His name, to carry His Cross, and to support His cause. But everything is not won, though this be won, and "having done all," in this matter, see that ye "stand."

2. So again, we might apply the text to the case of religious attainment. It would be pleasant to believe that the Christian life is always a life of progress, ever unfolding, as the years go on, from good to what is better, and from what is better to what is best, till the Master says to each at the close of it, "Well done, good and faithful servant, thou hast been faithful unto death." But there is no such necessary or infallible development as this. The mystery lies here, that even where sanctification has actually taken place, there are instances permitted in which the power and achievements of grace seem rather to diminish than increase with time. The life seems to taper off and deteriorate as it nears the close. Laden with the traditions of a good fight that has been foughten well, and won right valiantly, rich in the memories of service that has been bravely rendered and signally owned, such a life has after all been permitted to end in insignificance, selfishness, peevishness, or worse.

3. Or, again, take the case of religious privileges. And there is no better illustration at this point than the illustration afforded by Communion seasons; for the right use and enjoyment of these imply that temptations have been withstood, surrenders accomplished, and victories won. Thus, in preparing for the service contemplated, you settled down to examine yourselves and your life; and in so doing you won a victory over self. In taking part in the service itself, you found your perplexities removed, your faith confirmed, and your love elicited, till you felt you could clasp the truth, and lean on a truth-keeping Christ, and in so doing you won a victory over doubt. Life's business was hushed, life's cares were shut out, life's temptation were withdrawn, as you cast your care on Him who careth for you; and, in the very experience, you won the victory over the world. I take such a season as this at its purest and highest, and suppose that the heart has fetched from it the very best its enjoyments and lessons can yield, in elevation of feeling, in sanctification of life. And here we may say, as before, the soul in a sense has "done all." "Be it so," is the message of the text to you, "now take heed to yourself, that having done all, you may stand.''

II. And now let us pass from the cases which the admonition suits, to the REASONS ON WHICH THE ADMONITION IS BASED. And let us ask for a little why it is specially necessary that those who have thus done all, in the way of religious profession, religious attainment, and religious privilege, should be warned, "Take heed that ye stand." Brethren, the hour of triumph has its dangers by the operation of a very natural law. There is the peril of reaction in grace, as there is the peril of reaction in most other spheres.

1. For one thing, it is so easy to presume on the extent of our victory, and hence the tendency to security.

2. It is also easy to presume on the permanency of what has been done, and hence the tendency to sloth.

III. And now, let us mark some of the PRACTICAL COUNSELS with which the admonition may be accompanied.

1. Watch; that is one safeguard - "Happy is he who feareth always!" Fear, lest in the thrill of success the head begins to reel and the feet begin to slip, and it prove true of a spiritual victory, as it continually holds true of temporal successes, that the prosperity of the unwary shall slay them. And fear, not only in the day when a past conflict has elated you, but in the day when, as is sometimes the case, a past conflict has depressed you.

2. And work, as well as watch. Because you have engaged in one kind of Christian activity, and completed it with success, earning the thanks of your fellows in the Church, the approval of your conscience, the "well done" of your God - do not consider yourself absolved, but straightway set your face to another - whatsoever is nearest you in Providence; and if nothing is near, then go in diligent search for it.

3. And, lastly, pray. Let no task be done, let no temptation be vanquished, let no grace be attained, without their result in an increase of prayer.

(W. A. Gray.)

I. First, WE ARE TO CONSIDER THE CHRISTIAN RESISTING - "That ye may be able to withstand in the evil day." "In the evil day." This expression may be understood of the whole course of our life militant here upon earth; as if the entire term of our continuance here might be described as one long and cloudy day. Such an estimate of life we find the patriarch Jacob formed, when he says - "Few and evil have the days of my life been." In the present passage, however, it is better, perhaps, to take the apostle's meaning in a more restricted sense. He lived in troublous times. This very letter was dated from a prison; and in the fifth chapter we find him exhorting his Ephesian converts to walk circumspectly, assigning as a reason, that they must redeem the time, "because the days are evil."

1. But let us note more particularly some of those passages of our life which, unless we be well fortified with our Christian armour, will prove an evil day to us. Thus there is the day of sickness. In one sense this is always an evil day. It may not be so ultimately, but it must be so in our first experience of it.

2. Again, the day of adversity is an evil day. This, too, is a day which will try the temper of every part of our spiritual armour.

3. So also the day of temptation is an evil day. Temptation is a sore evil in itself; but it is more so from the evil which it developes and brings to light. There are evils in the hearts of all of us which we know not of until temptation discovers them to us.

4. Once more: among the evil days against which we should provide this spiritual armour, we may well suppose the apostle to mean the day of our death.

II. But we come to the second part of our text, which sets before us THE CHRISTIAN CONQUERING - "Having done all, to stand." This shows us, first, that religion is not a thing of speculation, not a mere matter of creeds and doctrines, but a system of principles to be acted upon, a set work to be done. "To stand." This expression may be interpreted in two or three ways. First, it may be taken, that by this armour we shall be enabled to stand fast in our Christian profession to the end of our days; that as soldiers of the Cross we shall stand by our colours to the last, resisting Christians, conquering Christians, even on the last field of temptation, and on the bed of death itself. In this attitude we find Paul representing himself to Timothy, when seeing the hour of his departure was at hand. Again, by the expression, "stand," the apostle no doubt means that the conquering Christian shall be accounted worthy to stand before the Son of Man. In this sense he writes to the Colossians: "That ye stand perfect and complete in the will of God." Now, without having endured the hardness, and done the work, and put on the armour of the Christian soldier, it is certain that in the great judgment we never can stand. Once more: the apostle's expression may be interpreted of our standing as glorified spirits in the presence of God. He who stands fast in the conflict, and stands acquitted in the judgment, shall have, as the recompense of his toils, and as the reward of victory, to stand eternally in glory. "Go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest and stand in thy lot at the end of the days."

(D. Moore, M. A.)

Stand, therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness. -
1. We must be of a valorous courageous mind against all our enemies.

(1)The Lord is with us, and will not fail us.

(2)We fight in His name and power, whereas our enemies fight in their own.

(3)Our battle is most just, and we fight in a just cause.

(4)We fight with enemies spoiled, whose weapons are blunted, whose power is limited.

2. We must be careful to abide in our place, where our Lord has set us.

(1)God has appointed to everyone his distinct place.

(2)Everyone shall be called to account for those duties which belong to his particular calling.

(3)The order wherein everyone is set, is the very beauty of the Church, and of the body of Christ; as the several places of several members are the grace of a natural body.

(4)The graces which God bestows on us (faith, love, obedience, patience, wisdom, etc.) ere best exercised and manifested in our particular callings.

(5)In our proper distinct places we have the Lord's promise of protection, but not out of them.

3. We must be watchful, and stand upon our defence against our enemy.

4. We must persevere.

(W. Gouge.)

I. CONSTANTLY. The lamp of God in the tabernacle was to "burn always" (Exodus 27:20 and Exodus 30:8); that is, always in the night, which sense is favoured by several other places. And I pray, what is our life in this world but a dark night of temptation? Take heed, Christian, that thy watch candle go not out in any part of this darksome time, lest thy enemy come upon thee in that hour. He can find thee, but not thou resist him in the dark; if once thy eye be shut in a spiritual slumber thou art a fair mark for his wrath; and know, thou canst not be long off thy watch, but the devil will hear of it.


1. Watch thy whole man. The honest watchman walks the rounds, and compasseth the whole town. He doth not limit his care to this house or that. So do thou watch over thy whole man. A pore in thy body is a door wide enough to let in a disease, if God command; and any one faculty of thy soul, or member of thy body, to let in an enemy that may endanger thy spiritual welfare. Alas, how few set the watch round! some one faculty is not guarded, or member of the body not regarded. He that is scrupulous in one, you shall find him secure in other; may be thou settest a watch at the door of thy lips, that no impure communication offends the ears of men; but how is the "Lord's watch" kept at the temple door of thy heart? (2 Chronicles 23:6.) Is not that defiled with lust? Thou perhaps keepest thy hand out of thy neighbour's purse, and foot from going on a thievish errand to thy neighbour's house; but does not thy envious heart grudge him what God allows him?

2. Watch in everything. Let there be no word or work of thine over which thou art not watchful. Thou shalt be judged by them, even to thy idle words and thoughts; and wilt thou not have care of them?


1. Begin at the right end of your work, Christian, by placing your chief care about those main duties to God and man, in His law and gospel, in His worship, and in thy daily course, which when thou hast done, neglect not the circumstantials. Should a master, before he goes forth, charge a servant to look to his child, and trim his house up handsomely against he comes home, when he returns will he thank his servant for sweeping his house and making it trim, as he bid him, if he find his child, through his negligence, fallen into the fire, and by it killed or crippled? No, sure, he left his child with him as his chief charge, to which the other should have yielded, if both could not be done. There hath been a great zeal of late among us, about some circumstantials of worship; but who looks to the little child, the main duties of Christianity, I mean. Was there ever less love, charity, self-denial, heavenly-mindedness, or the power of holiness in any of its several walks, than in this sad age of ours? Alas! these, like the child, are in great danger of perishing in the fire of contention and division, which a perverse zeal in less things hath kindled among us.

2. Be sure thou art watchful more than ordinary over thyself in those things where thou findest thyself weakest, and hast been oftenest foiled. The weakest part of the city needs the strongest guard, and in our bodies the tenderest part is most observed and kept warmest. And I should think it were strange, if thy fabric of grace stands so strong and even that thou shouldst not soon perceive which side needs the shore most, by some inclination of it one way more than another. Thy body is not so firm, but thou findest this humour over-abound, and that part craze faster than another; and so mayest thou in thy soul. Well, take counsel in the thing, and what thou findest weakest, watch most carefully.

(W. Gurnall, M. A.)

Girt about with truth.
1. Different kinds of truth.(1) Truth of judgment. When a man's judgment agrees with God's Word which is the touchstone of truth.(2) Truth of heart. When a man seeks to approve himself to God, the searcher of all hearts, and to be accepted of Him.(3) Truth of speech. Agreement of the word of a man's mouth, both with his mind and also with what he utters.(4) Truth of action. Plain, faithful, and honest dealing in all things.

2. The kind of truth here mentioned embraces each and all of these branches.

3. The fitness of the comparison of truth to a girdle.(1) Truth is the best ornament to religion.(2) The greatest strength.

4. Reasons for desiring truth.(1) Its excellence.(a) It makes us like God.(b) It is a kind of perfection in all Christian graces.(2) Its necessity. Without it, no other grace can be of any use.(3) The benefit of truth. The least measure of grace, seasoned with it, is acceptable to God and so profitable to us.

5. The devil will try to wrest truth from us.

6. The more truth is opposed, the faster we should cling to it. Let us do with this and other pieces of spiritual armour, as men do with their cloaks, which cover their bodies; if the wind blow hard against them, they will so much the faster and closer hold their cloaks. Even so, the more Satan strives to deprive us of our spiritual robes, the more careful and steadfast ought we to be in keeping them. In particular, for this girdle of verity, it is so much the more highly to be accounted of by us, who are the Lord's faithful soldiers, by how much the less reckoning is made thereof by the greater number of people.

(William Gouge.)

1. To bind the garments, which were of a loose and flowing description, and which would have hindered the warrior.

2. To give support to the loins, amid the fatigues of war or toil.

3. To defend the heart, etc. Toe military girdle was especially designed for this.

I. THE NATURE AND IMPORTANCE OF THE GIRDLE. Now observe, it is "truth" which is recommended.

1. There must be doctrinal truth in the understanding and judgment, in opposition to error.

2. There is the experimental truth of the gospel, in opposition to mere formality in religion.

3. There is the truth of profession in opposition to temporizing neutrality.

4. There is the truth of sincerity, in opposition to guile and dissimulation.


1. Let us take care to be enriched with the truths of God's holy Word.

2. Let us keep prominently before us the Divine model of truth.

3. We must pray for the constant aid of the Spirit of truth.

(J. Burns, D. D.)

1. To turning the back as a coward.

2. To breaking, as a disorderly soldier.

3. To rash impetuosity.

4. To an indolent lying down.Girt about. Warriors had broad girdles, in which plates of iron, brass, or silver, were put for defence. "With truth."

I. Of doctrine.

II. Of sincerity.

I. Show how the doctrines of truth strengthen the minds of believers against their enemies.

1. Sin is the worst of evils. This doctrine in the heart has led men - To abstain from the most alluring pleasures. Joseph. To refuse the greatest honours. Moses. To face the greatest dangers. The martyrs. To give up the most profitable pursuits. Zaccheus. To submit to the greatest trials (Micah 7:8, 9).

2. Justification is freely by grace, through the redemption of Christ.

3. Christ has conquered all the enemies of His people.

4. God has promised to be with His people in, to carry them through all their trials, and to make them more than conquerors.

5. There is a state of eternal rest, happiness, and glory, prepared for God's elect.

II. Show how the truth of sincerity strengthens the mind against enemies. As to our mistakes in life. "I did wrong, but not designedly." As to our hypocrisy. "I have hypocrisy, but I hate it." As to our love of Christ, though we have sinned against Him. "Thou knowest that I love Thee." As to the slanders of our enemies. "I bless God they are not true." Remarks:

1. God's true doctrines are not indifferent, or merely speculative. Is it indifferent? Is it speculation, whether so and so?

2. An hypocritical formalist is the mere carcase of a Christian.

3. The benefit of hearing, like that of eating, is to be seen in our respective callings.

(H. J. Foster.)

i.e.,the truth of the gospel, the verities of redemption; but truth in the subject, i.e., that which we as commonly call truthfulness; a quality within the man himself. And this "truthfulness," or "being true," is predicated of him not in ordinary things only, but as he is a Christian - in those things which constitute him a Christian warrior. The girdle of the warrior's panoply would naturally be a girdle fitted for warfare; of the strength, and material, and pattern, of the rest of his armour. We should not perhaps be far wrong, were we to call the whole system of many men's thoughts, an elaborate and skilful concealment of truth. The saying of the cunning diplomatist, that "words were given us to conceal our thoughts," might be carried even further; we might add, "and thoughts to conceal ourselves." There is within many a man a deep gulf down which he dares not look steadily; a chasm between his present and his future, over which he too often weaves a web of self-flatteries and conventionalities, false, and known to be false; and this continues for days and years, till like him who repeats another's jest till he fancies it his own, the soul cheats itself into a kind of half-belief that the wretched fiction is true; he has firmly shut his eyes so long, that they refuse to open; and the man sits down self-deceived, with weaknesses ignored, sins forgotten, dangers unguarded against. And so time flits away, and the awful form of eternity grows nearer and larger, while the wretched man is playing with truth - priding himself on virtues he never possessed, congratulating himself on safety from faults into which he falls every day - an accomplished actor in a life, which at last God proves to him to be no stage, but a stern reality - no place for dressing up of images, but a discipline in the service of truth. O what shall such an one do, when first it is said to him by God, "The world is no longer for thee, nor thou for the world; hitherto thou hast veiled thyself admirably - now thou must see thyself, and be seen, as thou art"? Where shall he carry for propitiation the elaborate uselessness of a life - where the studied blindness of years of light - where the self-sought condemnation of misused providences and opportunities of amendment scorned? How shall he, racked with pain, or paralyzed with dread, or confused with the importunity of this world's matters, call back that sweet Spirit of truth, which it has been the effort of his life to drive away? O my friends, let us be true, let us be true to ourselves! And in the endeavour, let us not forget how subtle a thing is self-deceit. Let me conclude by reminding you of the great motive to truth, which should be ever before us as Christians. We serve Him who is "the Father of Lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." Before Him all things are naked and open. No falsehood, be it ever so elaborately and skilfully devised, can escape Him; all such are not only seen through by Him now, but will be one day unsparingly laid bare at His tribunal, and forever put to shame. And further, "Of His own will begat He us by the word of truth." It was the searching, probing Word of His truth which first laid open to us ourselves, and began our new life in the Spirit. In harmony with the word of that truth must our whole spiritual life be led. Our blessed Lord, whose we are by purchase of His blood, came into the world to bear witness to the truth; and every one of us is here for the same purpose.

(Dean Alford.)

I. Now, here, the first thing which calls for our notice is THE POSTURE OF THE MILITANT CHRISTIAN - "stand." We have the same word in the last verse, you will remember, but evidently not used in the same sense or in the same connection; for in that case the reference was evidently to the final perseverance of the Christian, standing victorious on the last field of temptation, standing unblameable amid the spotless purities of the heavenly state, standing in his lot of glory, honour, and immortality at the end of the days. But here the word is referred, not to a warfare finished, but to a warfare just beginning; and the apostle wants to show us how the soldier is to bear himself when he goes forth to "fight under Christ's banner against sin, the world, and the devil," and he begins by telling him "to stand."

1. The expression is to be taken first, no doubt, as opposed to cowardice, to fainting, to a dishonourable and inglorious retreat. "Whom resist, steadfast in the faith."

2. Again: this exhortation to "stand," is opposed to all irregularity and disorder, and unwarranted license on the part of the Christian Soldier. "If any man strive for the mastery, he will not be crowned unless he strive lawfully." There are fixed rules for this great conflict, and by them we must abide. Here, then, we have another rule for our Christian warfare. We must not only stand firm, but we must stand in our place, stand faithfully to the duties of that place. "Let every man abide in the calling wherein he is called." It always betrays an impatience of soldierly discipline when we would rather be doing anybody else's work than our own.

3. And then, once more, we may interpret the meaning of the word "stand" as opposed to sloth, and negligence, and carnal security. Standing is the attitude of a man awake, watching, prepared for the coming of the enemy at even, at morning, or at cock crow, or at noonday. Every Christian soldier is a sentinel.

II. But I pass on to the second part of this military posture, in which we have also an important part of the soldier's defensive armour. "Stand, therefore, HAVING YOUR LOINS GIRT ABOUT WITH TRUTH." The term, perhaps, is rather to be taken in reference to a deportment of undissembled uprightness and sincerity, an honest walk before God and rain, a nourishing of our souls daily with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. But here it is necessary to define what kind of sincerity the apostle is speaking of; for it must not be forgotten that there is a natural truthfulness and sincerity of character which may be put on by a man who never wore a piece of the Christian armour in his life, an open-hearted, noble frankness of disposition which would scorn the meanness of falsehood, and loathe the very semblance of deception. And, brethren, let me not be thought to speak disparagingly of this quality. As a natural quality, there is none more beautiful. But still it is a natural quality, and nothing more. If a spiritual direction be given to it, or if a spiritual principle be engrafted upon it, it may bring forth the fruit of evangelical sincerity. But at present it is a mere accident of the natural man; having neither the grace of God for its source, nor the glory of God for its aim. It is a girdle of ornament for the world, but not a belt of strength for the battle. What, then, is the girdle with which the apostle would have us bind up our loins? Why, it is the girdle of gospel integrity and uprightness; the simplicity of an eye single and a heart one for God; that Nathanael-like truthfulness of spirit, which will neither make excuse, nor seek excuse, but which bids us make a hearty, entire, unreserved surrender of ourselves to God and His service - our wills to obey, our hands to work, our life to glorify, our hearts to love, our lips to praise. "Our rejoicing is this," says the apostle, "that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world." But the analogy of the Oriental girdle would make us look for some special use in this part of the Christian attire. The girdle was used for strength, and by means of it the loins were stayed, invigorated, and the soldier fitted either for fight or march. So, also, with the grace of Christian sincerity; it establishes, strengthens, settles the Christian in his whole course. It keeps the loose and vagrant arms of the soul fixed on one uniform and unvarying object, binding up the affections with unity of purpose and with a bond of strength. Brethren, a divided heart, like a divided kingdom, hath no strength in it. "A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways." But then I have said that the girdle was a comely and graceful part of Oriental attire; and this would suggest the idea of Christian sincerity as having a place among the more attractive parts of the Christian character. And the Scripture supports this view. There is, perhaps, no spiritual grace upon which Heaven looks more approvingly; none to which more comprehensive promises are attached. Why was Caleb singled out for the honourable distinction of entering the promised land, but because he followed the Lord fully and with a perfect heart? Why has the name of Nathanael come down to us with such marked commendation, but that "he was an Israelite indeed, in whose spirit there was no guile"? And now, having seen the great importance of this part of the Christian armour, whenever through grace we have been enabled to put it on, let us endeavour to ascertain our own possession of this grace, by looking at some of its practical characteristics. Thus, if our loins be girt about with truth, there will be something of uniformity in our religious life. The conduct of a Christian man is one in all its parts. His life is a great unity. Another characteristic of this evangelical truth will be a great searching of heart in the ordering of our religious exercises; and will be seen in the honesty with which we search out what our own desires are, and endeavour to prove their conformity to the will of God. Too many of us, it is to be feared, speak to God with an untruthful, double heart. And, lastly, it will be a certain characteristic of our possessing this evangelical girdle, that we are really in earnest about the matter of our salvation. A sincere man must be an earnest man; earnest with God, earnest with himself.

(D. Moore, M. A.)

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

(Bishop Horne.)

Having on the breastplate of righteousness
1. The righteousness which is here meant. A powerful work of God's Spirit in the regenerate, whereby they endeavour to approve themselves unto God and man, by performing what God's law requires.

2. The fit resemblance of righteousness to a breastplate. It guards the vital parts, and preserves a man from being mortally wounded or killed outright.

3. How righteousness is put on. By the right practice of true repentance.

4. The benefits of righteousness.(1) It keeps us from being mortally wounded; for so long as we retain a true purpose and faithful endeavour answerable thereto, we shall never give ourselves over to commit sin.(2) It brings great assurance of our effectual calling, and spiritual union with Christ, yea, even of our eternal election and salvation.Application:

1. Learn we what is true righteousness, that we trust not to a counterfeit breastplate and be pierced through while we think ourselves safe.

2. Acquaint we ourselves with the use, end, beauty, benefit, and necessity of righteousness, that we may be the more desirous to get it if we have it not; or, if we have it, the more careful in keeping it fast on, and close to us.

3. Let a daily examination be made of our life past, that of all our former unrighteousness we may truly and soundly repent; and with the true evidences of our former righteousness, our conscience may be comforted in the day of trial.

4. Let there be a holy resolution for the time to come, to walk on in the way of righteousness, without turning to the right hand or to the left. For the better performance of this holy resolution -

(1)Put on righteousness with all the parts thereof.

(2)Remove all impediments at the first, and give no place to the devil.

(3)Wax not weary, but be constant.

(William Gouge.)

I. THE NATURE OF THE CHRISTIAN WARRIOR'S BREASTPLATE - "Righteousness." Now that righteousness which is vital and saving, may be considered in three respects; there must be -

1. Relative righteousness.

2. Righteousness of principle.

3. The fruits of righteousness.

(1)There must be the yielding supreme homage, veneration, love, and obedience to God.

(2)There must be obedience to the law of equity, as it respects our fellow men.

II. THE PROTECTION IT AFFORDS. This righteousness is of essential and vital importance -

1. When exposed to the accusations of Satan.

2. This breastplate yields peace to the mind, by removing the condemnations of conscience.

3. This will preserve in the fiery trial of the last day.

III. HOW THIS BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS IS TO BE OBTAINED. Now, this is to be obtained by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

(J. Burns, D. D.)

I. THE FIGURE EMPLOYED. The skins of beasts were probably the earliest material used to protect the soldier's body These were soon abandoned for the coat-of-mail, of which there were various kinds. There was the Egyptian cuirass, or coat-of-mail, made of horizontal rows of metal plates, each about one inch in breadth, and fastened together by brass pins. There was the Hebrew "Shiryon," or coat-of-mail, made of brass, fashioned with scales, or of leather covered with brazen scales. And there was the Greek and Roman cuirass, composed at first of pieces of horn, fastened like feathers upon linen shirts, but afterwards of metallic scales. Sometimes, too, the cuirass was composed of rings hooked into each other: and sometimes of two solid plates, one for the breast and the other for the back, and joined by bands over the shoulders. On the right side of the body the plates were united by hinges; and on the left they were fastened by means of buckles. Such was the ancient cuirass or coat-of-mail. It covered. and protected the entire body of the warrior, from the neck to the thigh, and sometimes even to the knees. Thus it is a fit emblem of that which protects the Christian from all the attacks of his foes, whenever and from whatever quarter they may come.

II. THE THING SIGNIFIED - "Righteousness." Holy Scripture speaks of two kinds of righteousness.

1. A righteousness which is of the law.

(1)The laws of God must be perfectly obeyed, both in the letter and in the spirit.

(2)This obedience must be personally rendered by the man who would have the righteousness.

(3)This perfect personal obedience must be constant and life-long.

2. A righteousness which is by faith in Jesus Christ.


(2)Inwrought.Imputed righteousness is the basis of inwrought righteousness. Where the one is not the other cannot be. Until we have come to Christ, and are found in Him, holiness is impossible for us. Holiness of heart and life is the Christian's breastplate.


1. It is an evidence of his sonship, giving the Christian soldier confidence in his fight with all his spiritual foes.

2. It is a defence against the attacks of foes.

(A. C. Price, B. A.)

I. NOW, first, WHAT IS THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF WHICH THE APOSTLE SPEAKS? Certainly, it is not the righteousness of the law. Not but that this would be a very good covering, if we could obtain it. Neither, again, is the righteousness of which the apostle here speaks to be identified with evangelical righteousness, or that which is of God by faith, that which is the justifying cause of a sinner's acceptance, and his title deed to a part in the Christian covenant. Observe, then, that the righteousness which constitutes the believer's breastplate is the fruit of the Spirit, a principle of the renewed mind, one of those good and perfect gifts which come down from the Father of lights. This, indeed, would follow from the fact, that the armour of which it forms a part is the armour of God, and, therefore, could not be of human acquisition or contrivance. Still, that which only God can give we may improve when it is given; and that part of our defensive weapon which consists in the implanting of right dispositions in the heart, may, if kept bright by daily use, and strengthened by daily prayer, cause the light of our good works to shine before men, and to cast a spiritual radiance over the whole armour of God.

1. Now, in this view, we say, first, that the outward duties of religion form a part of the Christian breastplate.

2. But, further, this breastplate of righteousness is a breastplate of holy principles in the general conduct of life. "As He that hath called you is holy, so be ye holy, in all manner of conversation." Most conspicuously, however, should this righteousness of the Christian shine forth among those of his own household.

3. Once more, by the breastplate of righteousness the apostle means a breastplate of holy affections. In this sense we have, in using the word in the Epistle to the Thessalonians, the "putting on the breastplate of faith and love."

II. But I proceed to the second thing proposed, which was to show THE NECESSITY OF THE BREASTPLATE AS A PART OF THE CHRISTIAN'S DEFENSIVE COVERING. Thus, it is necessary as a protection to the more vital and endangered parts. The breastplate in the military equipment covered the immediate seat of life. It was not for an arm or an inferior member where a wound might be healed, but for a part of the body where a wound would be attended with fatal consequences. So, the righteousness which is here recommended to us by the apostle is to protect a vital part. It is to guard those entrances out of which proceed the issues of life. Observe, then, ye put on this breastplate, because the assaults of Satan are always directed against that which is the very life of the soul. Satan has no war with mere forms of godliness, no contest with those who are satisfied with a name to live, no care to disturb the peace of those who rest in the exemplariness of their conduct, and the rectitude of their lives. His war is with practical holiness. Again, the putting on of this breastplate is necessary as an acknowledged mark of our Christian profession; as something by which we are distinguished from the men of the world. Further, this breastplate is necessary to give us confidence in the hour of distress and danger. Such, brethren, may serve for a description of the Christian's breastplate. The reason, perhaps, for its entering thus early into the apostle's account of our spiritual armour, is, that every Christian soldier should be warned at the outset of the uncompromising strictness and holy nature of that service upon which he has entered; that he should be taught that no dexterity he might display, no wielding other weapons, no zeal he might discover in fighting the battles of the living God, would ever compensate for the want of that holiness both in heart and life, without which none shall behold the face of God. Brethren, God can pardon sin, but God cannot look upon sin - cannot look upon a man negligent of holy duties, uninfluenced by holy principles, an utter stranger to holy affections, and yet calling himself by the name of Christian.

(D. Moore, M. A.)

(Bishop Horne.)

Dressed in his glittering breastplate he appeared,Frightful with scales of brass.You perceive how fitly such a piece of armour illustrates the formidable and protective portion of the panoply with which the believer is here arrayed. Righteousness is the breastplate of the Christian soldier, and a sure defence is it against "the wiles of the devil."

(J. Leyburn, D. D.)

And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. -
1. The particular grace which is here meant. The grace itself is comprised under the word "preparation." It implies a furniture which the gospel of peace procures and prepares; or a heart settled, resolved, and prepared by the gospel of peace, to go on to God through all difficulties. Now, the very grace itself, which thus settles the soul, I take to be patience; for it is, without doubt, the drift and scope of the apostle to arm the Christian soldier against trouble and affliction by this particular piece of spiritual armour here meant: but what grace so fit thereunto as patience?

2. The fitness of the metaphor. The piece of harness whereunto patience is here resembled, is that whereby a soldier's feet or legs are covered; for feet are here expressed, and the metaphor of being shod implies as much. By "feet" he means legs also: the pieces of armour proper to this purpose are called greaves or leg harness; they are also called soldier's shoes and boots. The metaphor may either be generally taken of all shoes, or particularly of greaves. We all know the use of shoes is to keep our feet from sharp stones, hard clods, etc.; for our feet are naturally tender, insomuch that if we go abroad barefoot, every hard stone hurts them, every sharp stick and pricking thorn pierces them; therefore we are accustomed not to venture abroad barefoot. If any be so foolhardy as to venture, soon will he wax weary, and either sit down and go no further, or else turn back again. But if we have good boots or shoes on, then we think ourselves well fenced, and so with boldness and courage go on, whatsoever the way be. To apply this: Stones, sticks, thorns, and the like, are not more grievous to our bare feet, than troubles, crosses, and afflictions are to our naked heart and soul. Now then, this world, through which we must pass to heaven, being a very hard and rough way, stony and thorny, full of all sorts of afflictions, if our souls be naked and bare, not fenced with patience, and so fitted and prepared well to endure all crosses, we shall either never venture to enter into this hard way, or at least not endure to hold out therein. But if our souls be thoroughly possessed with sound and true patience, then shall we with undaunted courage pass through all the troubles of this world.

3. How patience is procured. By "the gospel of peace." The gospel prepares our hearts by declaring

(1)That nothing shall hurt us.

(2)That all things shall turn to our good.

(William Gouge.)


1. They come from a blessed Maker. One who is skilful in all arts, and knows by experience what is wanted, since He has Himself journeyed through life's roughest ways.

2. They are made of excellent material - "the preparation of the gospel of peace." Well seasoned, soft in wear, lasting long.

(1)Peace with God as to the past, the future, the present.

(2)Peace of full submission to the Divine mind and will.

(3)Peace with the Word and all its teachings

(4)Peace with one's inner self, conscience, fears, desires, etc.

(5)Peace with brethren in the Church and the family.

(6)Peace with all man, kind (Romans 12:18).

3. They are such as none can make except the Lord, who both sends the gospel and prepares the peace.

4. They are such shoes as Jesus wore, and all the saints.

5. They are such as will never wear out; they are old, yet ever new; we may wear them at all ages and in all places.

II. LET US TRY THEM ON. Observe with delight -

1. Their perfect fitness. They are made to suit each one of us.

2. Their excellent foothold: we can tread with holy boldness upon our high places with these shoes.

3. Their marching powers for daily duty. No one grows weary or footsore when he is thus shod.

4. Their wonderful protection against trials by the way (Psalm 91:13).

5. Their pleasantness of wear, giving rest to the whole man.

6. Their adaptation for hard work.

7. Their endurance of fire and water (Isaiah 43:2).

8. Their fighting qualities.


1. The sinner is unshod. Yet he kicks against the pricks. How can he hope to fulfil the heavenly pilgrimage?

2. The professor is slipshod, or else he wears tight shoes. His fine slippers will soon be worn out. He loves not the gospel, knows not its peace, seeks not its preparation.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Exodus 12:11). When God is feasting the Christian with present comforts, he must have this gospel shoe on; he must not sit down as if he were feasting at home, but stand and eat even as he takes a running meal in an inn on his way, willing to be gone as soon as ever he is a little refreshed for his journey. The conceited professor, who hath a high opinion of himself, is a man shod and prepared, he thinks; but not with the right gospel shoe. He that cannot take the length of his foot, how can he of himself fit a shoe to it? Is not thy shoe, Christian, yet on? art thou not yet ready to march? If thou hast it, what hast thou to dread? Canst fear that any stone can hurt thy foot through so thick a sole?

(William Gurnall.)

Romans 8:38). "All things, I know, work together for the good of them that are beloved of God" (Romans 8:28). And this furniture made him go such hard ways cheerfully, in which showers of afflictions did fall as thick as hailstones. This doth make God's children, though not in the letter, yet in some sort, tread upon the adder and the basilisk; yea, to defy vipers, and receive no hurt; whereas, if the feet be bared a little with the absence of this peace, anything causeth us sore smart.

(Paul Bayne.)

1. The first is, that you must always have "peace" - a "prepared peace" - under your feet, like the "shoes" you tread in - carrying it with you, as the base upon which yon stand. This is what we want - to have God's "peace" as a foundation - a sure, firm thing under us. Not something which we are to reach by and by; but a fact, a resting point. "Christ is mine! The enmity is gone! I am forgiven!" How strong will be your step! how quiet your journey! how calm your bearing - with this feeling - "I walk in my holy confidence." "My feet are shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace."

2. The next thing in the illustration is, you must "go" - not only "in peace" - but as a peacemaker.

3. But you may come nearer to Him still. As a servant of the Cross, you are appointed the high work to bring souls to Christ.

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

I. First, WITH REGARD TO THE PORTION OF ARMOUR SPOKEN OF. The covering for the legs, in military equipment, would be most familiarly understood by the name of "greaves," and the most apt representative to our own minds would be that of a high military boot, made of jointed steel or brass.

1. Having thus glanced at the scope of the apostle's metaphor, let us look at the word he employs in his illustration. Thus, you will observe, he says it is "the preparation of the gospel." The gospel - glad tidings, cheering and long looked for intelligence from the court of heaven. "Now," says the apostle, "here is a preparation for you. Christian traveller, you are going on a trying pilgrimage; Christian soldier, you are about to enter upon an arduous warfare; comfort ye one another with these words - take with you as the companion and solace of all your trials the glorious gospel of the blessed God these tidings from the great Father of your spirits, tidings of mercy, tidings of reconciliation, tidings of assured sympathy and support through all your trials, until through grace you are more than conquerors." This is to be your preparation, this your stay and stand.

2. But the suitableness of this part of the apostle's reference will appear further when we look at the next expression - "The gospel of peace." First, of peace with God. This is all-important to the Christian warrior. Were we about to enter on some long journey, or were we quitting our native shores to enter upon some foreign expedition, how heavy would the thought lie at the heart, that all was not right and happy at home. A man of God, visiting the bedsides of the wounded and dying at the hospital of Scutari, was asked by one, who felt that his hours were numbered, to write a letter to his father. The visitor complied; and having concluded, asked the dying man in what words he should subscribe it - "Your dutiful and affectionate son?" "No, no," said the dying man, "not dutiful; I never have been a dutiful son; the thought which most agonises my soul at this moment is, that my disobedience and unkindness have well nigh broken my father's heart." I quote it to show how essential to the happiness of the Christian soldier it is, that he should go forth with a sense of reconciliation upon his spirit that he should feel his heavenly Father was looking upon him with a pleasant countenance, that his heart should be comforted with the answer of peace. The apostle knew that no soldier could fight happily, or fight well, while there was this load of unpardoned sin lying at his door.

3. But the expression may be taken in reference to another part of gospel preparation equally necessary for the Christian soldier, namely, that we should have peace one with another. "See that ye fall not out by the way," was the advice of Joseph to his brethren.

II. Let us proceed to our second inquiry: FOR WHAT IS THIS PART OF THE SOLDIER'S EQUIPMENT ESPECIALLY DESIGNED TO PREPARE US? - this "preparation of the gospel of peace."

1. Well, first, it is designed to prepare us for active and persevering service. The Israelites had to be well shod, because they had before them a journey of forty years in the wilderness; and yet at the end of that time, we are told, "their shoes waxed not old, neither did their foot swell."

2. Again: this part of our Christian covering may be designed to prepare us for hidden and unsuspected dangers. The refined cruelty of ancient warfare, as I have said, was to hide traps a little beneath the surface of the earth. We have some remarkable allusions to these things in the Psalms. "In the way I have walked they have privily laid snares for me." "The proud have hid a snare for me, and have spread a net by the wayside; they have set gins for me." "In the way where they have laid snares for me is their own foot taken."

3. Once more: a designed part of this gospel preparation is to prepare us to endure sharp afflictions. The ancient soldier was preserved by his greaves from any fatal injury; but this did not prevent him often encountering those concealed snares, and in encountering them, from enduring much of suffering and pain.

(D. Moore, M. A.)

I. Now, the first thing that strikes me about these words as being very beautiful and significant is THE COMBINATION OF THE TWO ANTAGONISTIC IDEAS OF WARFARE AND PEACE. It is the soldier's equipment that comes from this gospel of peace. The apostle evidently thinks that the possession in our souls of that inward peace which comes from the great message and work of Jesus Christ is the best preparation for the fight. "If you want peace prepare for war," says the heathenish and wicked old motto. If you want war and victory, secure peace in your hearts, is the Christian article of belief. The two things are not compatible, a central repose and a ruffled surface. The frost of a winter's night goes an inch or two into the ground, but the heart of the globe is a fire. And there may be, all round about us, touching and affecting the surface of our being, distractions enough, distractions of circumstances, of sorrows, of difficulties, many things that are at enmity with joy and with tranquillity, and yet away down in the depths, which are the real man, there may be a stillness as of some land-locked valley that "heareth not the loud winds when they call." Your feet may be shod for all the warfare, with the readiness that comes from the possession of a general peace. The foes may storm round the little castle, but in the centre of the keep there may be a quiet room, with thick walls and curtains, where no sound of warfare ever reaches.

II. And, then, look at the other thought of how this possession of a heart made tranquil because it is quite sure of its harmonious friendship with God, and because it is not suffering from the dreary emotions of passions and lusts, MAKES A MAN READY FOR ANYTHING, BEADY FOR THE MARCH, READY FOR THE FIGHT. Ready for the march. What is it that hinders us from being prepared for any new duties that may come to us, or any new circumstances that may call for our endurance, but one thing - that our wills have not been submitted to His; and another thing - that we have not "learned to sit loose to this world," as the old Puritans used to say. Now, whoever has, deep in his heart, the repose that comes from the possession of the gospel of peace, will have these two things also. He will have a will that is bent and bowed to God's, and he will not hold with such a desperate grip by the things of this present. And so, when new tasks come he will be ready for them, and when the new circumstances emerge out of the darkness they will not take him by surprise, and he will be ready, according to the motto of the old Scotch family, "Ready! aye ready!" His feet will be shod with the alacrity, the quickness to apprehend, and apprehending, to accept any new circumstances that may come to him.

III. HOW CAN THIS PREPAREDNESS BE INCREASED AND MADE HABITUAL? Do not forget, dear brethren, that these words, as they stand in the original, are a commandment We are bidden to put on these marching shoes. It is ours to determine the extent which we shall have the peace that makes ready, and the gospel that brings peace.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

Voluntas est locomotiva facultaswe go whither our will sends us. And what the shoe is to the foot, that preparation, or if you please a readiness and alacrity, is to the will. The man whose feet are well shod fears no road, but goes through thick and thin; foul or fair, stones or straws, are all alike to him that is well shod; while the bare-footed man, or slenderly shod, shrinks when he feels the wet, and shrieks when he lights on a sharp stone. Thus, when the will and heart of a man are prompt, and ready to do any work, the man is as it were shod and armed against all trouble and difficulty which he is to go over in the doing of it. They say the Irish tread so light on the ground, that they will ran over some bogs, wherein any other almost would stick or sink. A prepared, ready heart I am sure will do this in a spiritual sense; none can walk where he can run: he makes nothing of afflictions, yea, persecutions, but goes singing over them. David never so merry as in the cave (Psalm 57); and how came he so? "My heart is prepared, my heart is prepared (saith he), I will sing and give praise." If David's heart had not been shod with this preparation, he would not have liked the way so well he was in; you would have had him sing to another tune, and heard him quarrel with his destiny, or fall out with his profession, that had put him to so much trouble, and driven him from the pleasures of a prince's court, to hide himself underground in a cave from those that hunted for his precious life. He would have spent his breath rather in pitying and bemoaning himself, than in praising of God. An unprepared heart, that is not well satisfied with its work or condition, hangs back; and though it may be brought to submit to it with much ado, yet it is but as a foundered horse on a stony way, who goes in pain every step, and would oft be turning out of the path if bit and whip did not keep him in. But why is it called the "preparation of the gospel of peace"? Because the gospel of peace is the great instrument by which God works the will and heart of man into this readiness and preparation to do or suffer what He calls to. It is the business we are set about, when preaching the gospel, to make a "willing people" (Psalm 110). "To make ready a people prepared for the Lord" (Luke 1). As the captain is sent to beat up his drum in a city, to call in a company that will voluntarily list themselves to follow the prince's wars, and be in a readiness to take the field, and march at an hour's warning; thus the gospel comes to call over the hearts of men to the foot of God, to stand ready for His service, whatever it costs them; now this it doth as it is a "gospel of peace." It brings the joyful tidings of peace concluded betwixt God and man by the blood of Jesus; and this is so welcome to the trembling conscience of poor sinners, who before melted away their sorrowful days in a fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation from the Lord to devour them as His adversaries, that no sooner the report of a peace concluded betwixt God and them sounds in their ears by the preaching of the gospel, and is certainly confirmed to be true in their own consciences by the Spirit, who is sent from heaven to seal it to them, and give them some sweet gust of it, by shedding abroad the sense of it in their souls; but instantly there appears a new life in them, that they who before were so fearful and shy of every petty trouble, as to start at the thought of it (knowing it could bring no good news to them), are now shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, able to go out smilingly to meet the greatest sufferings that are, or can be on the way towards them, and say undauntingly to them, as once Christ did to those that came with swords and staves to attack Him, "Whom seek ye?" "Being justified by faith we have peace with God," saith the apostle (Romans 5:1). And this, how mightily doth it work! - even "to make them glory in tribulations." The words opened afford these two points.

1. It is our duty to be always prepared, and ready to meet with any trial and endure any hardship which God may lay out for us in our Christian warfare.

2. The peace which the gospel brings and speaks to the heart will make the creature ready to wade through any trial or trouble that meets him in his Christian course.

(W. Gurnall, M. A.)

(J. Eadie, D. D.)

Above all, taking the shield of faith with which ye shall be able to quench the fiery darts of the wicked. -
1. By fears raised up in the mind of the believer, Satan endeavours to annoy him; and he is very busy at his work, and often too successful.

2. Another of Satan's fiery darts is doubt or suspicion.

3. Again, by the fiery darts of profane thoughts Satan tempts the servants of Christ.

(S. Walker, M. A.)

2. Faith performs another of its important orifices as a shield, by presenting to its possessor both temporal and eternal things in something of their real and relative value.

3. This shield of the Christian warrior also performs its office by protecting the soldier against the direct power of temptation.

4. The shield of faith also subserves a most important purpose by making ready the spiritual soldier for great enterprises.

(J. Leyburn, D. D.)


1. Faith, like a shield, protects us against attack. Different kinds of shields were used by the ancients, but there is a special reference in our text to the large shield which was sometimes employed. I believe the word which is translated "shield" sometimes signifies a door, because their shields were as large as a door. They covered the man entirely. You remember that verse in the Psalms which exactly hits the idea, "Thou, Lord, wilt bless the righteous, with favour wilt Thou compass him as with a shield." As the shield enveloped the entire man, so, we think faith envelopes the entire man, and protects him from all missiles wherever they may be aimed against him. You will remember the cry of the Spartan mother to her son when he went out to battle. She said, "Take care that you return with your shield, or upon it." Now, as she meant that he could return upon his shield dead, it shows that they often employed shields which were large enough to be a bier for a dead man, and consequently quite large enough to cover the body of a live man. Such a shield as that is meant in the text. That is the illustration before us. Faith prelects the whole man. Let the assault of Satan be against the head, let him try to deceive us with unsettled notions in theology, let him tempt us to doubt those things which are verily received among us; a full faith in Christ preserves us against dangerous heresies, and enables us to hold fast those things which we have received, which we have been taught, and have learned, and have made our own by experience. Unsettledness in notion generally springs from a weakness of faith. A man that has strong faith in Christ, has got a hand that gets such a grip of the doctrines of grace, that you could not unclasp it, do what you would. He knows what he has believed. He understands what he has received. He could not and would not give up what he knows to be the truth of God, though all the schemes that men devise should assail him with their most treacherous art. While faith will guard the head, it will also guard the heart. When temptation to love the world comes in, then faith holds up thoughts of the future and confidence of the reward that awaits the people of God, and enables the Christian to esteem the reproach of Christ greater riches than all the treasures of Egypt, and so the heart is protected. Then when the enemy makes his cut at the sword arm of a Christian, to disable him, if possible, from future service, faith protects the arm like a shield, and he is able to do exploits for his Master, and go forth, still conquering, and to conquer, in the name of Him that hath loved us. Suppose the arrow is aimed at his feet, and the enemy attempts to make him trip in his daily life - endeavours to mislead him in the uprightness of his walk and conversation. Faith protects his feet, and he stands fast in slippery places.

2. Faith, like a shield, receives the blows which are meant for the man himself. Blows must be expected; the conflict must not be shirked; but let the shield of faith bear the cut and the thrust.

3. Faith is like a shield, because it hath good need to be strong. A man who has some pasteboard shield may lift it up against his foe, the sword will go through it and reach his heart. Or perhaps in the moment when the lance is in rest, and his foe is dashing upon him, he thinks that his shield may preserve him, and lo it is dashed to shivers, and the blood gushes from the fountain and he is slain. He that would use a shield must take care that it be a shield of proof. He that hath true faith, the faith of God's elect, hath such a shield that he will see the scimitars of his enemies go to a thousand shivers over it every time they smite the bosses thereof. And as for their spears, if they but once come in contact with this shield, they will break into a thousand splinters, or bend like reeds when pressed against the wall - they cannot pierce it, but they shall themselves be quenched or broken in pieces. You will say, how then are we to know whether our faith is a right faith, and our shield a strong one? One test of it is, it must be all of a piece. A shield that is made of three or four pieces in this case will be of no use. So your faith must be all of a piece; it must be faith in the finished work of Christ; you must have no confidence in yourself or in any man, but rest wholly and entirely upon Christ, else .your shield will be of no use. Then your faith must be of heaven's forging or your shield will certainly fail you; you must have the faith of God's elect which is of the operation of the Holy Spirit who worketh it in the soul of man. Then you must see to it that your faith is that which rests only upon truth, for if there be any error or false notion in the fashioning of it, that shall be a joint in it which the spear can pierce. You must take care that your faith is agreeable to God's Word, that you depend upon true and real promises, upon the sure word of testimony and not upon the fictions and fancies and dreams of men. And above all, you must mind that your faith is fixed in the person of Christ, for nothing but a faith in Christ's Divine person as "God over all, blessed forever," and in His proper manhood when as the Lamb of God's passover He was sacrificed for us - no other faith will be able to stand against the tremendous shocks and the innumerable attacks which you must receive in the great battle of spiritual life. Look to your shield, man.

4. But to pass on - for we must not pause long on anyone particular - faith is like a shield because it is of no use except it be well handled. A shield needs handling, and so does faith. He was a silly soldier who, when he went into the battle, said he had a shield but it was at home. So there be some silly professors who have a faith, but they have not got it with them when they need it. They have it with them when there are no enemies. When all goeth well with them, then they can believe; but just when the pinch comes then their faith fails. Now there is a sacred art in being able to handle the shield of faith. Let me explain to you how that can be.(1) You will handle it well if you are able to quote the promises of God against the attacks of your enemy. The devil said, "One day you shall be poor and starve." "No," said the believer, handling his shield well, "He hath said, 'I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee'; 'bread shall be given thee, and thy water shall be sure.'" "Ay," said Satan, "but thou wilt one day fall by the hand of the enemy." "No," said faith, "for I am persuaded that He that hath begun a good work in me will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." "Ay," said Satan, "but the slander of the enemy will overturn you." "No," said faith, "He maketh the wrath of man to praise Him; the remainder of wrath doth He restrain." "Ay," said Satan, as he shot another arrow, "you are weak." "Yes," said faith, handling his shield, "but 'my strength is made perfect in weakness.' Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." "Ay," said Satan, "but thy sin is great." "Yes," said faith, handling the promise, "but He is able to save to the uttermost them that come unto God by Him." "But," said the enemy again, drawing his sword and making a tremendous thrust, "God hath cast thee off." "No," said faith, "He hateth putting away; He doth not cast off His people, neither doth He forsake His heritage." "But I will have thee, after all," said Satan. "No," said faith, dashing the bosses in the enemy's jaws, "He hath said, 'I give unto My sheep eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of My hand.'" This is what I call handling the shield.(2) But there is another way of handling it, not merely with the promises, but with the doctrines. "Ah," says Satan, "what is there in thee that thou shouldest be saved? Thou art poor, and weak, and mean, and foolish!" Up came faith, handling the shield doctrinally, this time, and said, "'God hath chosen the base things of this world, and things which are despised hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought the things that are'; for 'not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called.' 'Hath not God chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which He hath promised to them that love Him'?" "Ay," said he, "if God should have chosen you, yet after all you may certainly perish!" And then, Christian handling his shield of faith doctrinally again, said, "No, I believe in the final perseverance of the saints, for is it not written, 'the righteous shall hold on his way, and he that hath clean hands shall wax stronger'?" "Those that thou gavest Me I have kept, and none of them is lost," and so forth. So by well understanding the doctrines of grace, there is not a single doctrine which may not in its way minister to our defence against the fiery darts of the wicked. Then, the Christian soldier ought to know how to handle the shield of faith according to the rules of observation. "Ay," saith the enemy, "thy confidence is vain, and thy hope shall soon be cut off." "No," said faith, "I have been young and now am old, yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken." "Yes, but thou hast fallen into sin, and God will leave thee." "No," saith faith, "for I saw David, and he stumbled, but yet the Lord surely brought him out of the horrible pit, and out of the miry clay." To use this shield in the way of observation is very profitable when you mark the way whereby God has dealt with the rest of His people; for as He deals with one, so He will deal with the rest, and you can throw this in the teeth of your enemy. "I remember the ways of God. I call to remembrance His deeds of old. I say hath God cast off His people, hath He forsaken one of His chosen? And since He has never done so, I bold up my shield with great courage, and say He never will; He changes not; as He has not forsaken any, He will not forsake me."(3) Then there is another blessed way of handling this shield, and that is experimentally. When you can look back, like the Psalmist, to the land of Jordan and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar; when you can return to those days of old, and call to remembrance your song in the night, when your spirit can say, "Why art thou cast down, O my soul, why art thou disquieted within me. Hope thou in God, for I shall yet praise Him." Why, brethren, some of us can talk of deliverances so many, that we know not where to end; scarcely do we know where to begin. Oh! what wonders has God done for us as a Church and people! He has brought us through fire and through water. Men did ride over our heads, but hitherto all things have worked together for our good. His glory has appeared amidst all the villanies and slanders of men to which we have been exposed. Let us handle our shield then, according to the rules of past experience, and when Satan tells us that God will fail us at the last, let us reply, "Now thou liest, and I tell it to thee to thy face, for what our God was in the past, He will be in the present, and in the future, and so on even to the end." Young soldiers of Christ, learn well the art of handling your shield.

5. Lastly, for the matter of the figure. The shield in olden times was an emblem of the warrior's honour, and more especially in later days than those of Paul. In the age of chivalry, the warrior carried his escutcheon upon his shield. Now, faith is like a shield, because it carries the Christian's glory, the Christian's coat of arms, the Christian's escutcheon - the cross of his Saviour.

II. ENFORCE THE EXHORTATION. If you sent a servant upon an errand, and you said to him, "Get so-and-so, and so-and-so, and so-and-so, but above all now see to such-and-such a thing," he would not understand that he ought to neglect any, but he would perceive that there was some extra importance attached to one part of his mission. So let it be with us. We are not to neglect our sincerity, our righteousness, or our peace, but above all, as the most important, we are to see to it that our faith is right, that it be true faith, and that it covers all our virtues from attack. There is no respect in which faith is not useful to us, therefore, whatever you leave out, see to your faith; if you forget all besides, be careful above all that ye take the shield of faith. And then, again, we are told above all to take the shield of faith, because faith preserves from all sorts of enemies. The fiery darts of the wicked! Does that refer to Satan? Faith answers him. Does it refer to wicked men? Faith resists them. Does it refer to one's own wicked self? Faith can overcome that. Does it refer to the whole world? "This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith." It matters not who the enemy may be; let the earth be all in arms abroad, this faith can quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. Above all, then, take the shield of faith.

III. Lastly, I have a word or two to say by way of conclusion to some POOR SINNER WHO IS COMING TO CHRIST, BUT WHO IS GREATLY VEXED WITH THE FIERY DARTS OF THE WICKED ONE. You remember how John Bunyan in his "Pilgrim's Progress" represents Christiana and Mercy, and the children coming to knock at the gate. When they knocked, the enemy, who lived in a castle hard by, sent out a big dog, which barked at them at such a rate that Mercy fainted, and Christiana only dared to knock again, and when she obtained entrance, she was all in a tremble. At the same time hard by in the castle there were men who shot fiery darts at all who would enter; and poor Mercy was exceedingly afraid because of the darts and the dog. Now, it generally happens that when a soul is coming to Christ the devil will dog him. As sure as ever he feels his need of a Saviour, and is ready to put his trust in Christ, it will be true of him as of the poor demoniac child: as he was a coming, the devil threw him down and tear him. Now, poor tempted sinner, there is nothing that can bring joy and peace into your heart but faith. Oh, that you may have grace this morning to begin to use this shield.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

1. What faith is. A believing of a thing to be true. The faith here spoken of is a belief of the truth of God.

(1)Every faithful soul, every true believer, gives a full assent in his mind to the truth of the gospel.

(2)With the assent of the mind there goes a consent of the will.

2. The resemblance between faith and a shield. A shield is a general fence for the whole body, especially for the principal parts, the head and heart. The use of it is to avoid blows of all kinds. So faith defends the whole man from all sorts of temptations cast against him by any of his spiritual enemies, the flesh, world, or devil.

3. How faith is wrought.

(1)Outward means: the word, and sacraments.

(2)Inward means: the sanctifying Spirit of God.

4. How faith must be proved. By its causes, and by its effects.

(a) Illumination.
(b) Compunction and grief of heart.

(a) Shame for evil that has been done.
(b) A true and thorough resolution to enter into a new course.
(c) A renewing of grief, as often as occasion is offered.

5. How faith is to be preserved.

(1)By a conscionable and constant use of the means which God has appointed.

(2)By faithful and hearty prayer for God's blessing on those means.

6. How faith may be well used. By resting on God's promises.

(William Gouge.)

I. We are first to consider FAITH IN ITS NATURE. "Above all." Our first impression would be, that the apostle intended to give faith the preeminence over all the other graces of the Christian character; that he meant, in fact, to set it forth as the grace of all graces, the excellence of all excellences, that which, if retained, would compensate for the loss of all the other parts of our spiritual preparation. The shield is that which in ancient warfare the soldier prided himself upon retaining to the last. "Come home dead upon thy shield," said the Spartan mother to her son, "rather than come home alive without it."

1. And now, in considering the nature of this faith, observe, first, that it is the faith of the heart, as distinguished from any purely intellectual faith.

2. Again, this faith is a faith of appropriation - that is, it is a faculty by which we make all the promises our own. Faith is the sustaining power of our regenerate life.

3. Therefore we say further, that in describing the nature of this faith, we must consider it as a faith or union and communion with Christ.

II. But we come next to consider FAITH IN ITS EXERCISE, OR THE SPIRITUAL USES of this shield of faith. Thus, its chief use is to defend the soul at all points. The great advantage of the shield to the ancient warrior consisted in the fact that it was a movable defence; that it was fixed neither to the head nor to the feet, neither to the shoulders nor to the waist, but was held upon the arm, so as to interpose resistance to any part which might happen to be exposed to danger. In ancient warfare this shield was made so large as nearly to cover one side of the person. Hence that expression in the Psalms, "The Lord will bless the righteous: with favour wilt Thou compass: him as with a shield." Faith, then, is that weapon of the soul which moves at will, and, as occasion calls, defends all the parts and powers of the tried and tempted spirit. Thus, is the reasoning faculty the object of Satan's attack? Is the believer tempted with hard thoughts of God, with difficulties in the ways of His providence, with things hard to understand in Scripture, or with some mysterious dealings, it may be, in regard to his own soul? Faith offers the shield, reminds him that at present we know but in part; that when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. Or does the adversary address himself to the conscience of the child of God? Is the burden of sin too intolerable. for him to bear, or its grievousness too great for the mercy of Heaven to forgive? Faith can interpose the shield, and on its polished surface we see the bright superscription written, "Christ is able to save to the uttermost all them that come unto God by Him." Or, once more, is it the perverse and wayward will that is assaulted of Satan, so that in the spirit of that rebellion which is "as the sin of witchcraft" we seem almost resolved to throw off the yoke of Christ altogether, or cannot cut off the right hand, or pluck out the right eye, or raise the sacrificial knife to slay what seemed to us the dear child of promise? The shield of faith again comes to the rescue, and round it, all over it, are blessed testimonies written: "His commandments are not grievous"; "Wisdom's ways are ways of pleasantness"; "My yoke is easy, and My burden is light."

3. Another use of the Christian shield is to preserve the strength of the other graces of the soul. The shield was not only to defend different parts of the soldier's person, but, as I have said, it was designed to guard other portions of the armour itself. Many a breastplate would have been pierced, and many a helmet shivered in pieces, but for the additional interposition of the shield. In like manner in our spiritual warfare all the other graces of Christian character are maintained in their integrity and exercise by the power of faith.

III. And then we come, in the last place, to consider FAITH IN ITS VICTORIOUS RESULTS - "Wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked." "Fiery darts" - the allusion is to small firebrands, which in ancient warfare were twisted into the form of arrows or darts, and in this way shot out of the bow into the midst of the ranks of the enemy. It is not difficult to see why temptation should be described under such an image as this. A dart wounds suddenly; so does temptation. A dart is thrown by some invisible hand; so for the most part are, temptations. A dart may pierce through the very smallest aperture, may penetrate even between the joints of the harness; so also will temptation. The eye, the ear, the smallest inlet or avenue to the soul, may admit a death wound by admitting one of these fiery darts of the wicked. How, then, does faith enable us to quench these darts? Why, first, by teaching us to keep a watchful eye against the first approach of temptation, to guard against the beginning of sin, to be on the look out for its stealthy advances, to preserve with unslumbering vigilance all those sources of thought and feeling out of which are the issues of life.

2. Another way by which faith enables us to quench these darts of the adversary is by preparing the heart to resist them. A fiery dart would be dangerous according to the surface upon which it should chance to fall.

3. Again, faith makes us victorious over temptations by setting before us the gain and loss of yielding to them. And now, brethren, in conclusion, let me direct your attention to the one practical inquiry, How is your possession of this victorious faith to be ascertained? I answer, by the same law which ascertains all other realities, and which declares, "By their fruits ye shall know them."

(D. Moore, M. A.)


1. The author of this danger. "The wicked."

2. The means he employs. He is represented as an archer. His temptations come upon the Christian.

(1)As suddenly as darts and arrows.

(2)As silent and invisible as darts.

(3)Dangerous as darts.

(4)Numerous, and various as darts.


1. To the Christian's spiritual life. "We live by faith in the Son of God."

2. It is a shield to all the graces of the soul. As our faith is, so will our hope, and love, and humility, and courage, be. The graces can exist only as they are defended and supported by faith.

3. It is the Christian's shield in suffering and death.

III. THE EFFICIENCY OF THIS SHIELD IS ASSERTED. "Wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery," etc. By faith, all Satan's temptations are successfully resisted and overcome.

1. Faith in the Divine veracity and faithfulness is successful against all temptations to distrust, etc.

2. Faith in the Divine promises is successful against temptations to despondency.

3. Faith in the Divine justice and holiness is successful against all temptations to presumption.

4. Faith in the Divine Mediator is successful against all the insinuations and charges of the wicked one.

(J. Burns, D. D.)

I. The shield, as most of you are aware, is A MOVABLE PIECE OF ARMOUR: it may be in one place at one moment, and in another at another: in short, the object of it is to defend the whole man. We will take first of all the head. The man lifts up the shield upon his arm to defend his head. And why should this be necessary for a Christian warrior? What can be those "fiery darts" which can touch the Christian's head? There has been no time in the history of the Christian camp in which, I believe, this part has been more frequently attacked than it is at the present day. At all times the head has been made the subject of attack by Satan's tampering with our reasoning faculties, and inducing men to give up revelation, and to accept only that which reason can suggest; so that, instead of realizing the truth that God's mind is infinite, and our mind is limited, men would like to bring down God, and make Him such an one as themselves. Thus a variety of objections are brought forward, all tending to make man reject His Bible. Then take another part - the heart of man. This is attacked when our consciences are assailed. You are probably all aware of the two-fold nature of the attacks which Satan makes upon us to lead us into sin. First of all, as with Eve, he will lead us to think that sin will not be punished; then having succeeded in having drawn persons into the commission of sin, he follows it up almost invariably with another attack, which is to make men believe that their sin is so bad that it cannot be pardoned. Now this is what I mean by the conscience being attacked. Then take the breast. And here I should explain myself by saying, that I am referring to such circumstances as these - when Satan would suggest to us wicked thoughts; not the actual commission of evil deeds; when within our breast there are thoughts of an unclean character, thoughts of an infidel character, such, for instance, as the idea flitting across the mind, that the Bible is not true. Then we may pass on and take the feet. Here is a great temptation to us, brethren. These things recur to his mind: "If I make a bold profession of Christ, what may I not endure from it?" but the real Christian "walks by faith"; his feet are protected by the shield; "he walks by faith, and not by sight." There is one part more I will refer to - I mean the arms. This will bear upon the condition of the man who is tempted to labour only or chiefly for the meat which perisheth. The poor man especially is very much tried in this way.

II. Now we are to inquire, in the next place, WHAT WILL BE THE RESULT OF THE USE OF THIS PART OF OUR ARMOUR. In one word, it is confidence - greater, increased confidence in the Christian's warfare.

III. Now, having advanced thus far as to the nature of this piece of armour; having shown you what will be the result of its use - increased confidence in our Christian conflict; and having asked the question, whether you have it, or have it not - and I am quite sure there are some amongst us who have not this shield, but I hope we are all desirous of obtaining it - let us ask, in the next place, WHERE WE MAY PROCURE IT AND HOW WE MAY PROCURE IT?

(H. M. Villiers, M. A.)

1. That the nature and aim of Satan is wickedness.

2. That all instruments are under one direction. Take the shield of faith - "Above all" - Show how faith has an aptness to quench, etc.

I. As it sees their malignant nature.

II. As it applies to the blood of sprinkling

III. As it sees the interceding Saviour. "And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you," etc. (Luke 22:31, 32).

IV. As it realizes future glory. "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for," etc. (Hebrews 11:1).

V. As it lays hold of the strength and victories of Christ.

(H. J. Foster.)

(J. Eadie, D. D.)

And take the helmet of salvation. -

1. The object of hope. Salvation.

2. The origin and source of this hope. It is a grace of the Spirit, and the effect of a renewed heart.

3. The basis and ground of hope.

(1)The promises of the Father.

(2)The work of the Son.

(3)The influences of the Spirit.


1. It animates for the warfare.

2. It supports in sufferings.

3. It will put us in possession of the victory and reward.Application:

1. Cultivate and preserve this hope of salvation.

2. As your hope is, so will be your comfort and joy.

3. Address those who have not a good hope.

(J. Burns, D. D.)

(T. Carlyle.)

(J. Leyburn, D. D.)

(D. Moore, M. A.)

The sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.

1. The Spirit of God is the Author of the Word.

2. It is the agency of the Spirit that makes the Word effectual.


1. For repelling Satan's temptations.

2. For actually destroying Satan's works.

(1)We are to aim, first, at the destruction of these works in ourselves.

(2)The works of the devil, wherever they appear, are to be the object of our opposition and enmity.

3. In opposing error.

4. In seeking the conversion of sinners.

(W. R. Taylor, M. A.)

I. THE APTITUDE OF THE SIMILITUDE which likens the Bible to a sword.

1. The sword is useless so long as it is confined to the scabbard; and the Bible is useless if it rest idle in the intellect.

2. This sword is that by which the Christian defends himself, and that by which he cuts down all his foes.

II. THE PROPRIETY OF THE DESCRIPTION which designates the Bible the sword of the Spirit.

1. The Spirit dictated its composition.

2. The Spirit alone can unfold its meaning.

(H. Melvill, B. D.)


1. The sword itself. Is "the Word of God."

2. The description given of this sword - "Sword of the Spirit."

(1)It is the production of the Spirit - "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God" (2 Timothy 3:16. See also 2 Peter 1:19-21).

(2)It is the instrument which the Holy Spirit makes use of in effecting His purposes.

(3)It is by the Spirit's influence believers can profitably use the Word of God.


1. Satan's assaults are to be resisted by it.

2. The world's attacks are to be overcome by it.

3. When our own hearts would deceive us.

(1)By distrust and despondency.

(2)When in danger of self-complacency.

(3)When inclined to indolence.


1. Cultivate an intimate acquaintance with it.

2. Keep this sword polished and bright. This is only to be done by constant exercise.

3. Seek, by constant prayer, a renewal of spiritual strength.Application:

1. Learn from this not to wage war with unhallowed weapons; such as human reason - such as human passion.

2. The weapon provided is all-sufficient.

3. Use it for all spiritual purposes.

(J. Burns, D. D.)

I. THE WORD OF GOD. This denotes -

1. The importance of its contents (Psalm 119:18; Matthew 13:11).

2. The attention and reverence due to it (Isaiah 1:2).

3. The full credit which it demands (John 20:31).


1. As He is its Author (2 Peter 1:21).

2. As it is His instrument in saving sinners.

3. As it has no power without His agency.

III. TAKE this. Learn to use it more and more. Show how God's Word becomes victorious over all enemies.

1. It penetrates the most seared conscience (Acts 2:37).

2. It lays open the evils and enemies concealed within (Hebrews 4:12).

3. It demolishes the walls of unbelief (2 Corinthians 10:4).

4. It cuts the sinews of error.

5. It repels Satan's temptations (Matthew 4:1, etc.).

6. It penetrates the storms of affliction (Psalm 119:92).

7. It disarms death.This sword has four peculiarities -

1. It decays not with use.

2. It cannot be broken.

3. It is suited to the strength and capacities of all. "For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again," etc. (Hebrews 5:12, 13).

4. Thousands may use it at the same time. A Christian soldier is a terror to the powers of darkness. The destruction of those who neglect or reject this sword is inevitable.

(H. J. Foster.)

I. SCRIPTURE IS HERE REPRESENTED AS THE WORD OF GOD. And is it not so in the strictest sense? Does it not throughout bear evident marks that God is its Author? There have appeared, indeed, in the world men who have denied this, and endeavoured to prove it false. But the Bible has survived all their assaults. And to this day it continues to be received as the unpolluted fountain of Divine truth. Indeed, its own internal evidences, independently of every other consideration, must ever convince every candid and unprejudiced mind that its pretensions to be the Word of God are just and amply substantiated. Among these evidences, we may notice -

1. The great antiquity of its history.

2. The prophecies of the Old Testament, and their exact accomplishment in the New, what a strong argument have we that the Bible is the Word of God! For who can foretell future things but God Himself?

3. We find many doctrines revealed in the Bible, to the knowledge of which we could never have attained by the mere light of nature or reason.

4. The same truth is confirmed to us by a consideration of the laws which are published in the Bible. Never yet was it in the power of men to frame and enact laws which could bind the whole family of man, or be equally suitable to them all. But in the Scriptures we find laws given to all mankind, equally suitable to them all, wheresoever they live, and howsoever they may be circumstanced. And they are not only suitable to them, but also binding upon them.

5. The Scripture appears to be the Word of God from the concurrence of its testimony, or its unity with itself. Whatever is laid down as truth in one place, is neither contradicted nor overturned in another.

II. The Scripture is represented in the text as "THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT." Now, a sword, we know, is an instrument of war, by which the warrior not only defends himself, but also repels and overcomes his enemies. When, therefore, the Christian is exhorted to take such an instrument in his hand, it is implied that he is here in a state of warfare.

1. But why is the Scripture called the sword of the Spirit? One reason why it is called so may be, that it was given by inspiration of the Spirit. Indeed, it is this circumstance which makes it so sharp and powerful.

2. Another reason why the Scripture is called the sword of the Spirit is that it is the instrument which the Holy Spirit employs to wound the conscience and destroy the false peace of a sinner.

(D. Rees.)

(W. Graham, D. D.)


1. It has the brightness of the sword. It is like the flaming falchion at Eden's gate, which turned every way to preserve the garden from the unhallowed intrusion of fallen man. Even so the Bible blazes before the everlasting doors of the celestial paradise, so that "there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie."

2. It has also the keenness of a sword. "For the Word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit. When John saw the Son of man in vision, he tells us that "out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword." This is a symbol of the penetrating power of the cutting reproofs and denunciations which issued from His lips.

3. The Word of God is like a sword because it is pointed. Common weapons can only smite the body, but this of the Spirit pierces far deeper, even to the inmost soul.

4. It may be added that a good sword will not easily break. It is even so, and more, with the Lord's good sword. Oft has it been rudely struck by those who would parry its thrust or ward off its stroke. Oft has it crime down with cleaving force on hearts harder than flint. But it has never been shattered, nor can it be. It thus resembles a sword in the qualities of brightness of blade, sharpness of edge, keenness of point, and power of endurance.


1. It is a terror to evil-doers. How many have been deterred from sin, by seeing it sweeping in threatening circles over the path of transgression. How readily they would have run in the ways of iniquity but for the salutary restraints of the Book of God. It has flashed conviction like lightning, and struck the soul into submission like a bolt from heaven.

2. The Word of God is also like a sword in its cleaving energy. "It divideth asunder the soul and spirit." It is "a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." It cuts right and left, with double edge, among all the false hopes of the self-deceived, and lays them in the dust.

3. The sword of the Spirit demolishes the defences under which the sinner shields himself. The spiritual weapons of our warfare is "mighty, through God, to the pulling down of strongholds."

4. Moreover, the sword of the Spirit defeats the enemies of God. Every time the Spirit strikes with it, Satan's empire totters, and the dark coasts of hell tremble at the blow. Wherever this burnished blade is guided by the hand of Omnipotence, it scatters light over the dark places of the earth.

5. The Word of God is used as a sword in defending His kingdom on earth.Concluding reflections:

1. We learn how ministers of the gospel should arm themselves.

2. We learn that Christians are ever to act on the aggressive.

3. We learn that the Word of God is no mortal weapon, but the sword of the Spirit.

4. We learn from our subject that God has enemies in the world. Would you know, my hearers, where that enmity to God is found, against which He will fight with the sword of His mouth? Alas! you will find it strongly fortifying itself in that revolted and disobedient heart of yours. Your soul is opposed to God. Your only safety is in instant submission.

5. The impenitent must again meet the sword of the Spirit in the day of doom. It will be the sword of justice at the judgment of the great day. Then will its slightest warnings come up in remembrance against you. Its testimony will convict you of having despised its reproofs, and your awful doom is already pronounced in its threatenings. Ah! is there no shield? Yes, one; and only one. See it on the Saviour's arm! Let Him hold it over thy head. Then the uplifted sword will lose its terrors. Thou mayest cry aloud with confidence, "Behold, O God, our Shield; and look upon the face of Thine Anointed!"

(A. W. McClure.)

(Paxton Hood.)

(C. S. Robinson, D. D.)

(T. Mortimer, B. D.)

1. The Bible was not made by one man, and one man cannot make a sword. Moses, we may say, made the handle; Joshua, Samuel, David, the prophets, etc., made the blade; and the evangelists and apostles made the sharp edge and point, without which, the rest would not be of much use.

2. The Bible is like a sword because it took a long time to make it complete and fit for use. It was intended to last.

3. As a sword is used by a soldier in battle to kill his enemies, so the Bible is able to kill sin, which is everybody's greatest enemy. How does the Bible kill sin? By telling about God's love to us.

4. Why does St. Paul here call the Bible the sword of the Spirit?(1) Because the Holy Spirit taught men to write it. If you were a sword merchant, and knew how to prepare the iron and make it into steel fit for a sword, you would not make the swords with your own hands, but you would tell the workmen what to do, and they would make the swords. But when the swords were made, they would be called after your name.(2) Because the Holy Spirit must teach us how to use it rightly.Concluding lessons:

1. Remember that God has given you this sword to use. The Bible is a fighting sword. It is given to you that you may kill sin with it. Otherwise sin will kill you.

2. If this sword of the Spirit was used by everybody there would be no need to have other swords. The more the Bible is used to kill sin, the less fighting there will be.

(W. Harris.)

(J. Leyburn, D. D.)

Nec vox hominem sonat, O Deus certe!" or as Jacob did of Bethel, "Surely, of a certain, God is in this Word!"


(T. Chalmers, D. D.)

i.e.,I will send war. And this because the sword is the weapon of most universal rise in war, and also that whereby the greatest execution is done in the battle. Now such a weapon is the Word of God in the Christian's hand. By the edge of this his enemies fall, and his great exploits are done - "They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony."

(W. Gurnall, M. A.)

I. First, WITH REGARD TO OUR EXPERIENCE OF THE POWER OF THIS SWORD. I put this down as an indispensable prerequisite to a compliance with the apostolical injunction. For the apostle is not supposed to be addressing a company of undisciplined recruits. He is speaking to soldiers, to believers, to veterans, who have had some experience of the use and power of the weapons they are to employ. I cannot see how a man can use the sword of the Spirit to resist the assaults of sin, who has not felt the power of that sword to awaken in himself a sense of sin.

II. But I come to our second point, or, THE ENEMIES TO BE SLAIN BY THE SWORD. Of course, the great enemy is Satan himself, the father of lies, who therefore must be opposed by the Word of Truth. But, then, Satan has under him a large army of deceivers and impostors, who are ever on the watch to beguile unstable souls; and it is only by the power of God's Truth that we shall be able to dissipate the illusions which these gather around us. Again, by the edge of this sword we are to slay false fears. Every Christian knows on entering the service of his Master that great trials are appointed for him; that the rightful and only entrance into the kingdom of heaven is through the gate of tribulation; and that, though his Master has given him armour enough to protect him against sin, He has given him no armour to ensure him against suffering. Again, it is to the sword of the Spirit we must look to preserve us from all false guides, false influence, false dependence, whether the example of the world, the persuasion of friends, the fear of men, or the dominant tendencies and desires of our own heart.

(D. Moore, M. A.)

Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit. -
I. THE VARIETY OF PRAYER. All prayer is the same in essence, but it takes on different modes, just as your intercourse with a friend does. It is not all asking. Sometimes it is only interchange, without any petition at all - talking to God for the pleasure of communion; sometimes a sharp, short cry for help, like Peter's "Lord, save me!" when he felt himself sinking; sometimes merely the aspiration of the heart to God without a word; sometimes a half-conscious sympathy of thought with God; sometimes a formal, public petition; sometimes a struggle to climb over self to God. We are to pray with every prayer, with all kinds of prayer. He is not always the most prayerful man who prays most regularly or most formally, or most publicly. Sometimes more prayer is condensed into a sentence than is to be found in a whole series of prayer meetings. I never can read without emotion the story of the good old German professor, who sat studying until far into the night, and then, pushing his books wearily aside, was heard by the occupant of the next room to say, ere he lay down to rest, "Lord Jesus, we are upon the same old terms."

II. THE SEASONABLENESS OF PRAYER. "Praying in every season"; this includes the habitual contact of the life with God everywhere. Life is full of occasions and suggestions of contact with God, and the Christian is to avail himself of them. You want God everywhere; you want His counsel in everything; your joy is incomplete, yea, empty, without His sanction and sympathy; your sorrow is unbearable without His comfort; your business lacks its one great element of success if God is left out of it; you will as surely fall under temptation as you are human, if God does not help you. Pray, therefore, with every kind of prayer, at every season.

III. THE ELEMENT AND ATMOSPHERE OF PRAYER - ''In the Spirit." What we are, comes very largely out of our surroundings; just as a taper gets much of the material for combustion out of the atmosphere. A light goes out in a vacuum. A swan cannot do his best in the air, nor an eagle in the water. So the power of prayer depends largely on the element in which it works. The only effective prayer is "in the Spirit," i.e., under the impulse and direction of the Spirit of God (Romans 8:26). Otherwise, prayer is only an evidence of infirmity, like the dim burning of a candle in foul air.

1. The Spirit creates a prayerful heart (Romans 8:16). We never can truly pray at all until we can pray "Our Father!"

2. The Spirit suggests the substance of our prayers.

3. The Spirit reveals the love and helpfulness of God, and so encourages us to present our many and deep needs to Him.

4. The Spirit communicates Divine love to our hearts, and this love communicates warmth and enthusiasm to prayers.

5. The Spirit so identifies Himself with our case that He makes intercession for us. In other words, God's own heart pleads for us; and our mightiest plea is there.

IV. ALERTNESS IN PRAYER. "Being awake thereunto."

1. Keep watch over prayer. Cut that great main which leads the water from the reservoir into yonder city, and how long wilt it be ere the city is in distress? Prayer is the medium of communion with God, and without that communion there is no Christian living. No life without God, and no contact with God without prayer; so that, if Satan can cut that main, the life is in his power; and the danger is linked with the treasure, as always. Hence prayer is a thing to be watched - watched as a habit to be encouraged by practice, as a pleasure with which the Christian is to grow into a sweet familiarity by frequent communings with Him in whose presence is fulness of joy; as a duty which he neglects at the peril of his spiritual life.

2. And we must watch after prayer, to see what becomes of our prayers. He would be a strange archer who did not look to see where his arrow struck, a strange merchant who did not care whether his richly freighted ship arrived at her port or not.

3. This watching must be persistent. The conflict with temptation is lifelong; the necessity for prayer never ceases; there is always, therefore, need to watch.

V. THE OBJECTS OF PRAYER. Prayer must not be selfish. It is the language of the kingdom of God; and the kingdom of God is a community, a brotherhood. Prayer is the expression of the life of God's kingdom, and that life is social.

(Marvin R. Vincent, D. D.)


1. Constant prayer.




2. Habitual watchfulness.




3. Steady perseverance. This is opposed to -


(2). Lukewarmness.


4. Christian affection.




II. THE OFFICE OF THE PASTOR - "An ambassador": one who has received a commission, and has a delegated authority. As a minister my duty is -

1. To instruct you with plainness.

2. To entreat you affectionately.

(1)By exhibiting Christ in all the loveliness of His character.

(2)By the exhibition of His work in all its suitableness and sufficiency.

(3)By dwelling on the work of the Holy Spirit, the energy by which the soul is renewed and sanctified, and made ripe for felicity.

(4)By making known the boundless love of God.

3. To warn you with faithfulness.

(1)Against erroneous doctrines.

(2)Against wicked practices.

(3)Of imminent danger.

4. To watch over you with care.

III. The text also affords me an opportunity to SOLICIT YOUR PRAYERS.

1. Pray that I may preach fluently.

2. Pray that I may preach with boldness.

3. Pray that I may preach correctly.

4. Pray that I may preach successfully.Concluding observations: From what has been said we cannot but observe -

1. The connection which subsists between a successful ministry and a praying people.

2. The importance of exemplifying all the graces of the Holy Spirit. Here is prayer, watchfulness, perseverance, comprehensive love; all these are required, and how important are they all.

(W. S. Palmer.)

Family Churchman.

1. Our own personal needs.

2. The needs of all our brethren in Christ - "for all saints."

3. The needs of ambassadors of Christ - "for me."


1. Variety in the method - "all prayer," public and private, secret and social, with confession, petition, and thanksgiving.

2. Frequency - "at all seasons" (R.V.).

3. Seeking the help. of God's Spirit - "in the Spirit" (Romans 8:15, 26).

4. Watchfulness, lest weariness overtake us.

5. Perseverance (Luke 18:1).

(Family Churchman.)

1. First, let us turn to the express injunctions of Scripture. For instance, the text itself: "Praying in every season with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and abstaining from sleep for the purpose, with all perseverance and supplication for all saints." Observe the earnestness of the intercession here inculcated; "in every season, with all supplication," and "to the loss of sleep" (see also Colossians 4:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:25; 1 Timothy 2:1, 2, 8; 2 Thessalonians 3:1; 1 Corinthians 14:3). Next consider St. Paul's own example, which is quite in accordance with his exhortations (Ephesians 1:16, 17; Philippians 1:3, 4; Colossians 1:3; 1 Thessalonians 1:2). The instances of prayer, recorded in the book of Acts, are of the same kind, being almost entirely of an intercessory nature, as offered at ordinations, confirmations, cures, missions, and the like (Acts 13:2, 3; Acts 9:4).

2. Such is the lesson taught us by the words and deeds of the apostles and their brethren. Nor could it be otherwise, if Christianity be a social religion, as it is preeminently. If Christians are to live together, they will pray together; and united prayer is necessarily of an intercessory character, as being offered for each other and for the whole, and for self as one of the whole.

3. But the instance of St. Paul opens upon us a second reason for this distinction. Intercession is the especial observance of the Christian, because he alone is in a condition to offer it. It is the function of the justified and obedient, of the sons of God, "who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit"; not of the carnal and unregenerate. "God heareth not sinners"; nature tells us this; but none but God Himself could tell us that He will hear and answer those who are not sinners; for "when we have done all, we are unprofitable servants, and can claim no reward for our services." But He has graciously promised us this mercy, in Scripture, as the following texts will show: James 5:16; 1 John 3:22; John 15:7-15.

4. The history of God's dealings with Abraham will afford us an additional lesson, which must be ever borne in mind in speaking of the privilege of the saints on earth as intercessors between God and man (see also Exodus 20:12; Jeremiah 35:18, 19; Daniel 10:2-14; Mark 9:29).

5. Why should we be unwilling to admit what is is so great a consolation to know? Why should we refuse to credit the transforming power and efficacy of our Lord's sacrifice? Surely He did not die for any common end, but in order to exalt man, who was of the dust of the field, into "heavenly places." He died to bestow upon him that privilege which implies or involves all others, and brings him into nearest resemblance to Himself, the privilege of intercession. This, I say, is the Christian's especial prerogative; and if he does not exercise it, certainly he has not risen to the conception of his real place among created beings. He is made after the pattern and in the fulness of Christ - he is what Christ is. Christ intercedes above, and he intercedes below. Why should he linger in the doorway, praying for pardon, who has been allowed to share in the grace of the Lord's passion, to die with Him and rise again? He is already in a capacity for higher things. His prayer thenceforth takes a higher range, and contemplates not himself merely, but others also. To conclude. If anyone asks, "How am I to know whether I am advanced enough in holiness to intercede?" he has plainly mistaken the doctrine under consideration. The privilege of intercession is a trust committed to all Christians who have a clear conscience and are in full communion with the Church. We leave secret things to God - what each man's real advancement is in holy things, and what his real power in the unseen world. Two things alone concern us, to exercise our gift and make ourselves more and more worthy of it.

(J. H. Newman, D. D.)

1. The apostle here supposes our obligation to prayer to be so plain, that every rational mind will see it, and so important, that every pious heart will feel it. Therefore, instead of adducing arguments to prove the duty, he rather points out the manner in which it should be performed.

2. Prayer is of several kinds: social and secret, public and domestic, stated and occasional; and it consists of several parts: confession, supplication, intercession, thanksgiving.

3. The apostle next instructs us concerning the manner in which our prayers should be offered.(1) The first thing necessary in prayer is faith, or a believing view of God's providential government, and of the wisdom and goodness with which it is administered.(2) Our desires must be good and reasonable.(3) Attention of mind, collection of thought, and warmth of affection, are qualifications required in prayer.(4) That our prayers may be acceptable to God, they must be accompanied with justice to men.(5) Charity is an essential qualification in prayer.(6) We must bring before the throne of God a meek and peaceable spirit.(7) Our prayers must be accompanied with a sense of, and sorrow for, sin.(8) We must persevere in prayer.

4. The apostle here teaches us the duty of intercession for others. The goodness of God is the foundation of prayer. If God is good to others, as well as to us, there is the same ground on which to offer our social intercessions, as our personal petitions.

(J. Lathrop, D. D.)

(J. Leyburn, D. D.)

(H. Melvill, B. D.)

1. Then, pray faithfully, believing that God can and will answer you, though not, perhaps, just as you expect. Many prayers are wasted because they are without faith; those who utter them are just trying an experiment to see whether God will hear and answer or not.

2. Next, pray persistently; don't be disheartened because God does not answer at once.

3. Next, pray submissively, striving to give up your will to God's will.

4. Next, pray simply. Some people pick out the longest and hardest words when they speak to God.

(H. J. Wilmot-Buxton, M. A.)

(R. W. Dale, LL. D.)

(Bishop Ryle.)

(John Bate.)

I. Let us, first, consider WHAT IS MEANT BY THIS EXPRESSION, "PRAYING ALWAYS." How can the Christian be always in prayer?

1. Well, first, the expression means, that there should be a holy regularity in our habits of prayer.

2. Again, by "praying always" is meant, that you should pray in every condition and circumstance of life; that is, in sickness you should pray for patience, and in health you should pray for a thankful heart; in prosperity you should pray that you should not forget God, and in adversity you should pray that God may not forget you. It is not enough to seek God in times of our tribulation only, we must seek Him in times of our wealth.

3. Further: by "praying always," no doubt, is meant, that we should make everything a matter of prayer.

4. Once more. By "praying always," the apostle means, that prayer should be the pervading habit of the Christian's life - that it should be as a leaven fermenting the whole substance of our moral being; a sentinel continually keeping watch over our unguarded moments; a sanctified enclosure fencing us round by the protection and presence of God. Prayer, like Him to whom it is addressed, knows nothing of our finite magnitude and relations. They are all lost sight of in their relation to the Infinite and the Eternal - to their bearing on our preparation for a state of everlasting existence.

II. But let us consider, secondly, THE COMPREHENSIVE FORM OF THE PRECEPT WHICH IS HERE GIVEN - "With all prayer and supplication." The two words here chosen by the apostle are, without doubt, sometimes used interchangeably in Scripture. But there is an etymological difference between them, suggesting that we consider prayer as having reference to petitions for some good to be desired, whilst supplication be referred to petitions for evils to be avoided. Acting upon this definition, we are first taught to "pray with all prayer" - that is, with prayer for all good things. And this rule should be extended even to those blessings which at first sight we might think it lawful to ask of God without limitation and without reserve - I mean those which relate to our spiritual happiness. "With all prayer and supplication" - that is, as we have supposed, with all deprecation of evil - with prayer, that things really hurtful to us may be kept away. But here, as in the other case, God alone must be the judge of what the evil is.

III. But note, in the last place, THE INTERNAL ASSISTANCE WE ARE TAUGHT TO LOOK FOR IN THE PERFORMANCE OF THIS DUTY - "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit." The expression is obviously the same as that which we have in the Epistle of Jude - "Praying in the Holy Ghost"; and it refers to the promised assistance of that Divine Agent when "we know not what to pray for as we ought." Praying in the Spirit, therefore, is to pray in that spirit of grace and supplication which the Holy Ghost alone can bestow - to pray in that "spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father!" And further, by praying in the Spirit is meant, that we should pray in a right mind - that we should pray fervently - that we should pray with a consciousness that there is an assisting Power to help us. For the Spirit of God not only originates holy desires, but it actuates, it maintains, it cherishes, it keeps alive all praying influences in the heart. Such, brethren, is the great duty with which the apostle shuts up his description of our spiritual warfare. He does not, indeed, make prayer a part of the spiritual equipment, because it is the life, and strength, and safeguard of the whole. You must gird on your sword, and pray; you must bind on your sandals, and pray; you must buckle on your breastplate, and pray. In all things there must be a simultaneous outgoing of that which is to give effect to all the weapons you employ in your spiritual encounter. No prayer, no victory.

(D. Moore, M. A.)

And for me, that utterance may be given unto me. -
(R. W. Dale, LL. D.)

I may speak boldly, -
1. A bold preaching of the gospel is needed, because of what the gospel is in itself. It is nothing short of this: "Glory to God in the highest; and on earth peace, goodwill towards men." Now, such a message cannot be, and should not be, delivered with doubt and hesitation. The preacher who stands up to preach the gospel timidly and apologetically, we often feel almost it were better he did not preach it at all.

2. Bold preaching of the gospel is needed, because of the tendency of the times. From all quarters the cry comes, "Speak to us smooth things, and prophesy deceit."

3. Boldness is needed, because of the opposition that is offered. In proportion to the zeal and earnestness with which the gospel is proclaimed, we may conclude that the virulence of the opposition will increase. The whole world wilt soon be divided into two camps. It will be manifested in which of the two God is.

(J. B. Forrest.)


1. This will appear, if we consider that they really believe the gospel is true.

2. Their knowledge, as well as belief of the gospel, carries conviction to their minds that they ought to preach it boldly.

3. Faithful ministers feel the sacred obligation of their sacred office, to preach the gospel boldly.


1. Here the first reason that occurs is, because they are sensible of their own insufficiency to surmount the difficulties that they expect to find in their way of preaching the gospel with Christian freedom and confidence.

2. They desire Christians to pray for them because they feel their own insufficiency to preach the gospel successfully. Though they should preach the truth plainly and boldly as they ought to preach it, yet they cannot command success. They can only speak to the ear; they cannot speak to the conscience or to the heart.(1) Though the success of the apostles was partly owing to their preaching boldly, yet their preaching boldly must be ascribed partly to the Christians who perpetually prayed for them, that a Divine blessing might accompany their bold and faithful exertions.(2) This subject teaches Christians that they may do a great deal to assist their ministers in their laborious and arduous work.(3) Since faithful ministers need as well as desire the prayers of their fellow Christians, it is their privilege as well as duty to pray for them.(4) Since faithful ministers desire and request the professors of religion to pray for them, they must be extremely ungrateful and inconsistent if, instead of complying with such a reasonable desire and request, they complain of them for preaching boldly as they ought to preach.

(N. Emmons, D. D.)

(W. Gurnall, M. A.)

acted as a presbyter at Hippo, under Valerius, his bishop, he was appointed by him to preach to the people, in order to reclaim them from riotous feasting on solemn days. He opened the Scriptures, and read to them the most vehement rebukes. He besought them, by the ignominy and sorrow which they brought upon themselves, and by the blood of Christ, not to destroy themselves, to pity him who spake to them with so much affection, and to show some regard to their venerable old bishop, who, out of tenderness to them, had charged him to instruct them in the truth. "I did not make them weep," says he, "by first weeping over them, but while I was preaching their tears prevented mine. Then I own I could not restrain myself. After we had wept together I began to entertain great hope of their amendment." He now varied from the discourse he had prepared, because the present softness of their minds seemed to require something different. In fine, he had the satisfaction to find the evil redressed from that very day. (Milner.)

(G. Ramsay.)

Baxendale's Anecdotes.
(Baxendale's Anecdotes.)

Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith. -
I. First, THE ROOT OF EVERYTHING IS A CONTINUOUS AND GROWING TRUST. Remember, that this prayer or wish of my text was spoken in reference to brethren; that is to say, to those who, by the hypothesis, already possessed Christian faith. And Paul wishes for them, and can wish for them, nothing better and more than the increase and continuousness of that which they already possess. The highest blessing that the brethren can receive is the enlargement and the strengthening of their faith. Now we talk so much in Christian teaching about this "faith" that, I fancy, like a worn sixpence in a man's pocket, its very circulation from hand to hand has worn off the lettering. And many of us, from the very familiarity of the word, have only a dim conception of what it means. It may not be profitless, then, to remind you, first of all, that this faith is neither more nor less than a very familiar thing which you are constantly exercising in reference to one another, that is to say, simple confidence. There is nothing mysterious in it, it is simply the exercise of confidence, the familiar cement that binds all human relationship together, and makes men brotherly and kindred with their kind. Faith is trust, and trust saves a man's soul. Then, remember further, that the faith which is the foundation of everything is essentially the personal trust reposing upon a person, upon Jesus Christ. When you grasp Christ, the living Christ, and not merely the doctrine, for yours, then you have faith. Then, remember still further, that this personal outgoing of confidence, which is the action both of a man's will and of a man's intellect, to the person revealed to us in the great doctrines of the gospel - that this faith, if it is to be worth anything, must be continuous. And, still further, this faith ought to be progressive. Brethren, is it so with us? Let us ask ourselves that; and let us ask very solemnly this other question - If my faith has no growth, how do I know that it has got any life? And so let me remind you, further, that this faith, the personal outgoing of a man's intellect and will to the personal Saviour revealed in the Scriptures as the sacrifice for our sins, and the life of our spirits, which ought to be continuous and progressive, is the foundation of all strength, blessedness, goodness, in a human character; and if we have it we have the germ of all possible excellence and growth, not because of what it is in itself, for in itself it is nothing more than the opening of the heart to the reception of the celestial influences of grace and righteousness that He pours down. And, therefore, this is the thing that a wise man will most desire for himself, and for those that are dearest to him.

II. And now, next, notice HOW INSEPARABLY ASSOCIATED WITH A TRUE FAITH IS LOVE. The one is effect that never is found without its cause; the other is cause which never but produces its effect. These two are braided together by the apostle, as inseparable in reality and inseparable in thought. And that it is so is plain enough, and there follow from it some practical lessons that I desire to lay upon your hearts and my own. There are, then, here, two principles, or rather two sides of one thought; no faith without love, no love without faith.

III. And now, lastly, THESE TWO INSEPARABLY ASSOCIATED GRACES OF FAITH AND LOVE BRING WITH THEM, AND LEAD TO, THE THIRD - PEACE. It seems to be but a very modest, sober-tinted wish which the apostle here has for his brethren, that the highest and best thing he can ask for them is only quiet. Very modest by the side of joy and excitement, in their coats of many colours; and yet the deepest and truest blessing that any of us can have - peace. It comes to us by one path, and that is by the path of faith and love. These two bring peace with God, peace in our inmost spirits, the peace of self-annihilation and submission, the peace of obedience, the peace of ceasing from your own works, and entering, therefore, into the rest of God. Trust is peace. There is no tranquillity like that of feeling "I am not responsible for this; He is; and I rest myself on Him." Love is peace. There is no rest for our hearts but on the bosom of someone that is dear to us, and in whom we can confide. But ah! brother, every tree in which the dove nestles is felled down sooner or later, and the nest torn to pieces, and the bird flies away. But if we turn ourselves to the undying Christ, the perpetual revelation of the eternal God, then, then our love and our faith will bring us rest. Self-surrender is peace. It is our wills that trouble us. Disturbance comes, not from without, but from within. When the will bows, when I say, "Be it then as Thou wilt," when in faith and love I cease to strive, to murmur, to rebel, to repine, and enter into His loving purposes, then there is peace. Obedience is peace. To recognize a great will that is sovereign, and to bow myself to it, not because it is sovereign, but because it is sweet, and sweet because I love it, and love Him whose it is. That is peace. And then, whatever may be outward circumstances, there shall be "peace subsisting at the heart of endless agitation"; and deep in my soul I may be tranquil, though all about me may be the hurly-burly of the storm.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. -
(J. Pulsford.)

1. Love for Christ is the common life of all true Christians. In whatever else they differ from each other, in their creeds, in their modes of worship, in some of their conceptions of how the Divine life in man is originated, how it should be disciplined, and how it is manifested, they are alike in this: they all love the Lord Jesus Christ. The controversies and divisions of Christendom have gone a long way towards destroying the unity of the Church; but in love for Christ all Christians are one.

2. And love for Christ is immortal. The religious passion which is created by sensuous excitements, whether these excitements are addressed to the eye or to the ear, whether they heat the blood or intoxicate the imagination, is transitory. It has in it the elements of corruption. But true love for Christ is rooted in all that is deepest and divinest in human nature. It is immortal, for it belongs to that immortal life which comes to us by the inspiration of the Spirit of God. It will not decay with the decay of physical vigour. It will triumph over death; and will reveal the fulness of its strength, and the intensity of its fervour in those endless ages which we hope to spend with Christ in glory.

(R. W. Dale, LL. D.)


1. He is a Divine Person.

2. His mediatorial offices entitle Him to our love. A sense of our wants adds worth to an object suited to relieve them. Jesus is such a Saviour as we need.

3. Christ is an object of our love on account of His kindness to us.


1. Our love to Christ must be real, not pretended.

2. Our love to Christ must be universal; it must respect His whole character.

3. Sincere love to Christ is supreme.

4. Sincere love is persevering.

5. True love to Christ is active. Not a cold and indolent opinion of Him; but such a sensible regard to Him as interests the heart, and influences the life.


1. It will make us careful to please Him.

2. This holy principle will be accompanied with humility.

3. If we love Christ, we will follow His steps, and walk as He walked.

4. Our love to Him will animate us to promote His interest, and oppose His enemies.

5. This principle will express itself in a devout attendance on His ordinances, especially the Holy Communion, the Sacrament of His love.

6. Love to Christ will make us long for His reappearing.

IV. THE BENEDICTION CONNECTED WITH THIS TEMPER. It is called "grace" - a term of large and glorious import. It comprehends all the blessings which the gospel reveals to the sons of men, and promises to the faithful in Christ.

1. One great privilege contained in this grace is justification before God.

2. Another privilege is the presence of the Divine Spirit.

3. They who love Christ have free access to the throne of grace, and a promise that they shall be heard and accepted there.

4. They who love Christ in sincerity will receive the gift of a happy immortality.

(J. Lathrop, D. D.)


1. The object of their love "The Lord Jesus Christ."

(1)Lord, Said to be "Lord of all."

(2)Jesus. This signifies "Saviour," and it was given to Him on account of His mission and work.

(3)Christ. Signifies "Anointed." The anointed Saviour. The Christ predicted, promised, expected, at length revealed.

2. The nature of their love - "Love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity." Here is the affection and the kind of affection. Now, love to Christ -

(1)Is always the result of faith in His love to us.

(2)Love to Christ is always an evident emotion.

(3)Is sincere. It may be rendered "uncorrupted," without alloy.It means real, in opposition to pretended love - intense, in opposition to languid - constant, in opposition to vacillating.


1. All the saints of the Lord Jesus require this grace. None independent of it.

2. The grace is provided for all the disciples of Jesus. "Out of His fulness have we all," etc.

3. We should seek sincerely in prayer that all may possess it. And that for the following reasons: -

(1)All who love, etc., are loved of God and chosen of Him.

(2)They are all our brethren and sisters in Christ.

(3)We are in circumstances of common need and dependence.

(4)We have all one Spirit.

(5)We are destined to one common inheritance.Application:

1. We see the true nature of apostolical Christianity. A religion of love.

2. We perceive the unhappy influences of sectarianism.

(J. Burns, D. D.)

resumeof the whole of what he had said before.

1. This love to Christ, as a great soul-force, accomplishes that which is indispensable to the whole ripening of the human soul - namely, whatever unites it in vital sympathy to God. The human soul, without personal union with God, is sunless and summerless, and can never blossom nor ripen. To bring this lower order in creation up to a Divine union, so that it shall make the leap from the animal to the spiritual sphere, from the lower to the higher condition, is the one problem of history. It cannot be done by reason, although reason is largely subordinated, and is auxiliary. But the reason, dominant, can never bring the soul into vital union with God. Neither can this be done by conscience. Conscience has power: but not the power to create sympathy. No man will be joined to God by conscience; contrariwise, men will, more likely, by mere conscience, which excites fear, be driven away from God. It cannot, either, be done by awe and reverence, which are adjuncts, but which, while they give toning and shadow to the higher feelings, give them no solar heat. They tend to lower and humble the soul; not to inspire and elevate it. They have their place among other feelings. Neither have they found God, nor have they ever led a soul to find Him - still less to join Him. Love, as a disposition, as a constant mood, has a welding power which can bring the soul to God, and fix it there. Finding Him, it can bring the soul into communion with Him, so that there shall be a personal connection between the Divine nature and the human nature. Love, then, is the one interpreter between God and man.

2. Love, also, is the one facile harmonizer of the internal discords of the human soul. It induces an atmosphere in us in which all feelings find their summer and so their ripeness.

3. Love is the only experience which keeps the soul always in a relation of sympathy and of harmony with one's fellows; and so it is the truest principle of society. If society ever rises out of its lower passions and entanglements into a pure and joyous condition, it will be by the inspiration of a Divine love. This alone will enable it to convert knowledge to benefit.

4. Love is almost the only prophetic power of the soul. It is the chief principle that inspires hope of immortality. No man ever loved his wife, and buried her, saying, with any composure, "There is no immortality for her." No man ever bore his child to the grave, though it were one that he could carry in the palm of his hand, that everything in his nature did not rise up, and say, "Let me find it again." No man ever proudly loved a heroic father, and consented that that father should go to extinction. The flame of love, once shining, no one can endure to believe will ever go out. Love, therefore, teaches the soul to long for, and to believe in, a better land. If you think that in this diverse but brief exposition of the power of love, I have transcended good reason, listen and see whether I have equalled the declarations of Scripture on the same subject. If you think I have been extravagant, is not the apostle more extravagant? (1 Corinthians 13.) Upon all, then, who have learned this sacred secret; upon all who have been scholars to Christianity and to the Lord Jesus Christ, and have learned to love Christ in perpetuity, permanently - upon all these, "grace," from God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and grace from all Christian men, in godly fellowship. "Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity!" Grace be upon all theologians that tend to create love; upon all services that tend to inspire love; upon all organizations that tend to promote love. No grace upon anything else. That which does not touch love does not touch any. thing religious which is worth our consideration - certainly not worth our suffering for. Violent attacks are made on men, in order to change them; but that is not the best way to change them, nor to bring them into a redeeming spirit of love. Little wilt be done in this world to change men by controversy. We must make that chief in us, and in the Church, which we believe to be chief in Christianity - namely, the spirit of love. We must intensify this feeling. If we would return toward it, we must reform by it. We must produce an atmosphere, we must create a public sentiment, such that churches will feel the superiority of love over organization, and ordinance, and doctrine.

(H. W. Beecher.)

1. If a man be very dear to me, I love to be with him. It is not enough that I behold the window where he sometimes appears; I want to see him. What are ordinances but the lattices - the windows through which Christ makes Himself known, and is seen by His saints and disciples? You read the Word of God; it is God's appointed way of finding Him. You hear the Word of God; it is God's appointed medium for seeing Him. You bend the knee in prayer; it is God's appointed medium for meeting Him. Then I would say, you "love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity," because nothing short of Himself will ever satisfy your souls.

2. If by any unkindness to a dear friend we have caused him to withdraw from us, so that we see his face no more for a time, we search after him, and we cannot rest till we have found him. My dear hearers, see the Church of God, as discovered in the fifth chapter of that precious book - the Song of Solomon of Solomon. "I opened to my Beloved; but my Beloved had withdrawn Himself, and was gone; my soul failed when He spake; I sought Him, but I could not find Him; I called Him, but He gave me no answer." But she went on seeking Him till she found Him. She did not give over her search, till she was enabled to say, in the third verse of the next chapter - "My Beloved is mine: He feedeth among the lilies." True love cannot rest till it has found. We go to our family devotions, we seek the Lord in secret prayer, we mingle with the saints of God, but we cannot find rest till we have found Him.

3. Observe again: if I have a dear and beloved friend, I love his likeness. Although it maybe but a poor and feeble likeness, with many failures in it, yet there may be something about it which reminds me of him; and I love it because I love him. So do I love the saints of God. It is but a poor likeness - a faint resemblance; yet I see Christ in it. I see something of His meekness, tenderness, and love in it: and though it be but a poor picture, it reminds me of Him; and I love it for His sake. It is the true principle of brotherly love.

4. I am conscious of this principle too; that if I have a dear and beloved friend, I am concerned that others shall love him, and speak and think well of him; and that their hearts should be drawn out towards him. And so it is with the children of God. Observe in the first of John, that no sooner had Andrew heard the mighty call, than he searched after Simon; and no sooner had Philip heard it, than he searched after Nathanael. It marks out a principle, and exhibits the truth of what I am now speaking of. Ye parents that hear me, could ye but see in your dear child the breaking down of its proud heart, the humiliation of spirit, and withdrawment to prayer; could ye but see that beloved friend bow before God, it would be more to you than a thousand worlds.

(J. H. Evans, M. A.)

I. That peace which comes down from God's heaven alone upon our earth, into our hearts.

II. That love, which is pure, holy, Divine.

III. That faith, which, inseparable from love, living and active through it, born of God, alone is pleasing to God, alone gives to God His glory, alone exalts the soul to Him.

IV. That grace, through which, first and alone, there comes to us all true, eternal, blessed good, continuing ours out of pure mercy and unto eternity.


sine cera,or without cement. Hence we have here a word picture of great moral significance.

(J. Tesseyman.)

(W. Gurnall, M. A.)

(St. Louis Christian Advocate.)

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