These are the beasts which ye shall eat.
I. It is our firm belief that these distinctions of meats were laid down on purpose TO KEEP THE JEWS AS A DISTINCT PEOPLE, and that herein they might be a type of the people of God, who are also, throughout all ages, to be a separate people — not of the world, even as Christ was not of the world.
1. But you will ask of me in what respects are you to be distinguished? in a pure consistency always, in a vain eccentricity never. Not by any peculiarity in garments or language are you to be known. Heavenly realities within do not always need to be labelled outside, so that everybody may recognise you and say, "There goes a saint." There are other modes of being distinguished from the world than any of these.
2. We ought ever to be distinguished from the world in the great object of our life. As for worldly men, some of them are seeking wealth, others of them fame; some seek after comfort, others after pleasure. Subordinately you may seek after any of these, but your principal motive as a Christian should always be to live for Christ.
3. By your spirit, as well as your aim, you should likewise be distinguished. The spirit of, this world is often selfish; it is always a spirit that forgets God, that ignores the existence of a Creator in His own world. Now, your spirit should be one of unselfish devotion, a spirit always conscious of His presence, bowed down with the weight, or raised up with the cheer of Hagar's exclamation, "Thou God seest me": a spirit which watcheth humbly before God, and seeketh to know His will and to do it through the grace of God given to you.
4. Your maxims, too, and the rules which regulate you, should be very different from those of others. The believer reads things, not in man's light, in the obscurity of which so many blind bats are willing to fly, but he reads things in the sunlight of heaven. If a thing be right, though he lose by it, it is done; if it be wrong, though he should become as rich as Croesus by allowing it, he scorns the sin for his Master's sake.
5. The Christian should be separate in his actions. I would not give much for your religion unless it can be seen. I know some people's religion is heard of, but give me the man whose religion is seen.
6. A Christian is distinguished by his conversation. He will often trim a sentence where others would have made it far more luxuriant by a jest which was not altogether clean. Following Herbert's advice, "He pares his apple — he would cleanly feed." If he would have a jest, he picks the mitre, but leaves the sin; his conversation is not used to levity, but it ministereth grace unto the hearers. How shall I urge you to give more earnest heed to this holy separation? If we do not see to this matter we shall bring sorrow on our own souls; we shall lose all hope of honouring Christ, and we shall sooner or later bring a great disaster on the world.
II. The distinction drawn between clean and unclean animals was, we think, intended by God TO KEEP HIS PEOPLE ALWAYS CONSCIOUS THAT THEY WERE IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD OF SIN. It is all the prayer that is wanted — "Lord, show me myself; Lord, show me Thyself; reveal sin and reveal a Saviour."
III. It was also intended to be A RULE OF DISCRMINATION BY WHICH WE MAY JUDGE WHO ARE CLEAN AND WHO ARE UNCLEAN-that is, WHO ARE SAINTS AND WHO ARE NOT. There are two tests, but they must both be united. The beast that was clean was to chew the cud: here is the inner life; every true-hearted man must know how to read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest the sacred Word. The man who does not feed upon gospel truth, and so feed upon it, too, that he knows the sweetness and relish of it, and seeks out its marrow and fatness, that man is no heir of heaven. You must know a Christian by his inwards, by that which supports his life and sustains his frame. But then the clean creatures were also known by their walk. The Jew at once discovered the unclean animal by its having an undivided hoof; but if the hoof was thoroughly divided, then it was clean, provided that it also chewed the end. So there must be in the true Christian a peculiar walk such as God requires. You cannot tell a man by either of these tests alone; you must have them both. But while you use them upon others, apply them to yourselves. What do you feed on? What is your habit of life? Do you chew the cud by meditation? When your soul feeds on the flesh and blood of Christ have you learned that His flesh is meat indeed, and that His blood is drink indeed? If so, it is well. What about your life? Are your conversation and your daily walk according to the description which is given in the Word of believers in Christ? If not, the first test will not stand alone. You may profess the faith within, but if you do not walk aright without, you belong to the unclean. On the other hand, you may walk aright without, but unless there is the chewing of the cud within, unless there is a real feeding upon precious truth in the heart, all the right walking in the world will not prove you to be a Christian. That holiness which is only outward is moral, not spiritual; it does not save the soul. That religion, on the other hand, which is only inward is but fancy; it cannot save the soul either. But the two together — the inward parts made capable of knowing the lusciousness, the sweetness, the fatness of Christ's truth, and the outward parts conformed to Christ's image and character — these conjoined point out the true and clean Christian with whom it is blessed to associate here, and for whom a better portion is prepared hereafter.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
- Great surprise and wonder have been expressed by some learned men at the profound acquaintance with the animal kingdom exhibited in this chapter. Our greatest men of modern science have penetrated no deeper into natural history than the author of these laws. Leibnitz, and Buffon, and Cuvier, and Erxleben, and Humboldt, have been unable to make any material advances upon the classifications and distinctions, in the nature, habits, and qualities of animals, here given long before mere human science in these departments was born. And those may well wonder who allow no higher wisdom in these laws than that of mere man. The fact is, that these Mosaic institutes all have upon them such distinct traces of the hand and mind of God, that it becomes the height of folly to refer them to the mere ingenuity of man.
I. I find in this chapter A SYSTEM OF WHOLESOME DIETETICS. All the animals here pronounced clean are the most valuable, nutritious, and whole some of creatures for human food. It does not follow that none among those forbidden are good for food; but I wish to say that it is certain all the animals here called "clean" are the best.
II. A. second, and somewhat more direct aim of these arrangements, LOOKED TO THE KEEPING OF THE HEBREWS ENTIRELY DISTINCT FROM ALL OTHER PEOPLE. They were to be the light and truth-bearing nation among the families of man. They were elected to perpetuate a knowledge of the true God, and, by their peculiar training, to prepare the way for Christ and Christianity. To fulfil this mission they needed to be strongly fenced in and barricaded against the subtle inroads of idolatry. And it was, in part, to effect this segregation of the Jewish people that this system of religious dietetics was instituted, Nothing more effectual could be desired to keep one people distinct from another. It causes the difference between them to be ever present to the mind, touching, as it does, at so many points of social and every-day contact; and it is therefore far more powerful in its results, as a rule of distinction, than any difference in doctrine, worship, or morals, which men could entertain. Kitto says that when in Asia he had almost daily occasion to be convinced of the incalculable efficacy of such distinctions in keeping men apart from strangers. A Mahomedan, for instance, might be kind, liberal, indulgent; bat the recurrence of a meal, or any eating, threw him back upon his own distinctive practices and habits, reminding him that you were an unclean person, and that his own purity was endangered by contact with you.
III. A still further and more direct intent of these religious dietetics was TO TRAIN THE UNDERSTANDING TO THE PERCEPTION OF MORAL DISTINCTIONS — to engrave upon the mind an idea of holiness. Indeed, this was one of the leading objects of the entire ceremonial law. There are islands in the sea which would not exist but for the coral reefs upon which they rest; and so there would be no Christianity without these ceremonial regulations, which, by small beginnings, laid in the human mind the foundations upon which all our Christian convictions have been wrought out. Geologists tell us that the physical world is composed of various layers, one on the other, from a deep granite base up to the fertile mould which furnishes us food while we live and graves when we are dead. It is much the same in the moral and religious world. It has been brought forth by degrees. As there have been many geologic eras, so there have been various religious dispensations, each one furnishing the basis for the next succeeding. Each of these successive dispensations furnished a distinct stratum upon which the following one was built. The last could not exist without the first. Each one is a part of the grand whole. Connecting this chapter with the laws concerning offerings and priests, we can easily see how the whole would operate in begetting and establishing the idea of purity and holiness. Dividing off all animated nature into clean and unclean, some would be regarded as better and purer than others. Of this pure kind only could be taken for sacrifices. And even of the better kind only the purest and most spotless individuals were to be selected. The sacrificial victim would hence appear very widely separated from the common herd of living creatures, and very clean and good. A thoroughly cleansed and consecrated officer was then to take it in charge, and wash both it and himself before it could come upon the altar. And when the presentation was to be made to the Lord in the most Holy Place, only the pure blood, in a golden and consecrated bowl, could be brought, and even that with great fear and trembling. Thus, from the clean beast, and the cleaner priest, and the still further cleansing of both, and the most Holy Place, which could be approached only by so holy a personage with such sacred circumspection, the worshipper was taught the idea of holiness, the intense purity of his God, and the necessity of holiness in order to come into His favour. The fact is, that the religious world has derived its idea of moral purity from the Mosaic rights. It was part of their great office to teach mankind moral distinctions, and to open the human understanding and conscience to the idea of sanctity.
IV. Connected with this, then, was the still further intent of these laws TO GIVE A PICTURE OF SIN. We here have the finger of God, pointing out on the great map of living creation the natural and material symbols of depravity. The combined characteristics of the creatures here declared unclean furnish an exact exhibition of what sin is. They constitute a living mirror in which the sinner may look at himself.
1. In the first place he is unclean, filthy, disagreeable, noxious. There may be some good qualities, as there were in many of the unclean creatures; but, upon the whole, he is unclean. Impurity is upon him. He is unfit for holy association, or to come acceptably before God.
2. In the next place he is brutish. His character is typified by the vile and noxious of living things. He was originally made but a little lower than the angels. And what are the effects of sin upon him in whom it reigns? It dethrones intellect, and makes it the slave of mere impulse, nullifies the deductions of wisdom, stifles and overrides the conscience, and makes the man the servant of lust, living only for selfish gratification, and following only the dictates of the baser nature. A brute is a thing bent downward. It goes upon its hands. Its face is towards the ground. And what is a slave of sin but one whose eyes have been diverted from heaven, and whose absorbing attention is directed to what is earthy? A brute is a creature destined to perish. Its spirit goeth downward. Its end is extinction. How like the sinner in his guilt I What hope has he for another world? But he is not only like what all brutes are in common, but also more or less like what the several kinds of unclean creatures are in particular. Sin is the ugliness and spitefulness of the camel; the burrowing, secretive, wily disposition of the coney, the rabbit, and the fox; the filthy sensuality of the hog; the stupid stubbornness of the ass; the voracious appetency of the dog, the wolf, the jackal, and hyena; the savage ferocity and bloodthirstiness of the tiger, the panther, and the lion; the sluggishness of the sloth; the prowling shyness and cruelty of the cat; and the base treachery and mischievousness of multitudes of unclean creatures that roam in darkness. It is the abominable thing which God hateth. It is of all things the most hideous, an uncleanness which cannot be expressed, a filthiness so intense that God cannot look upon it with the least degree of allowance.
3. But it is just as abundant as it is hateful. The unclean creatures are as numerous and abounding as they are base. The air is full of them; the earth is alive with them; the ocean teams with innumerable kinds of them. They cover every mountain, they crowd every plain. The crevices of the rocks are filled with them; the deserts have them as numerous as sands. The trees of the forests are thick with them; every stream and fountain contains them. They move about every street; they play in every field. They are upon the most beautiful flowers, and crawl within the most guarded enclosures. They are in our houses; they come up upon our tables; they creep into our very beds. They are present in every climate. They may be seen at all seasons. They continue with all generations. And as these unclean things abound, so does sin abound; for they are God's natural types of sin. And looking at the appointments of this chapter as a mere remembrancer of sin, it seems to me very remarkable. How impressive the arrangement I All living nature, by a few simple words, at once transmuted into a thousand tongues to remind and warn of sin and uncleanness! I do not say that there is no good in the world. There are clean as well as unclean. There always have been good and piety in the earth, and some virtuous ones among the base. But, with all, there were more vile than clean. We have not escaped this uncleanness which has gone out over all the earth.
(J. A. Seiss, D. D.)
(J. Cumming, D. D.)
I. THAT GOD'S PEOPLE, THE SPIRITUAL ISRAEL, MOVE IN A SCENE OF MINGLED GOOD AND EVIL.
1. In the sphere of daily life we have contact with both.
2. Our contact with them entails the danger of contamination.
3. In such a defiling sphere our duty is to separate the precious from the vile.
II. THAT IN LIFE'S MINGLED SCENE THE GODLY MUST EXERCISE CONTINUAL VIGILANCE.
1. We enter, by relationship with Christ, into a separated life.
2. Such a separated life must assert itself in habitual avoidance of prohibited things.
3. Minute distinctions are forced upon us by this principle of conduct.
III. THAT BY STRICTEST ADHERENCE TO DIVINE DIRECTIONS SANCTITY OF LIFE SHOULD BE MAINTAINED.
1. Every godly soul is, to a degree, put in trust with the imparted sanctity.
2. Derived sanctity is no assurance against defilement if we forsake God's commands.
(W. H. Jellie.)
1. All the creatures good in themselves.
2. Of the provident care of God toward both the souls and bodies of men.
3. God no respecter of persons (ver. 3).
4. Of the difference of sins, and divers degrees of spiritual uncleanness.
5. The doctrine may be good, though the doctors and teachers are evil.
6. Holiness the end of the precepts of the law (ver. 44).
7. The virtue of the sacraments depends not on the worthiness of the minister.
(A. Willet, D. D.)
1. Of meditating in the Word of God. Whereas the chewing of the cud was one mark to know a clean beast by: hereby is understood that we should meditate, and, as it were, ruminate on the Word of God (Psalm 1:1, 2).
2. To the knowledge of the Word, to join practice. Besides chewing the cud, the clean beast was to divide the hoof. Men in their life should discern between good and evil works, and to their profession of the Word add the practice of a good life.
3. Of divers vices to be shunned, shadowed forth in the natural properties of some creatures.(1) Rich men in this world are compared to camels, and the cumbersome burden of their riches to the bunch on the camel's back.(2) The coney, which undermines and makes holes in the ground, is an emblem of crafty and deceitful men who entrap others by subtle wiles.(3) The timorous and fearful hare that is afraid of the least noise, is an image of carnal and faint-hearted men, who, in the day of trouble, know not which way to turn.(4) A swine, always rooting in the ground and wholly occupied in filling his belly, is a true image of worldly-minded men who despise heavenly treasure, and care only for the things of this life.(5) Whereas there are twenty several fowls counted unclean for meat, it is observed that most of them are such as live by rapine, feed on carrion, or delight in darkness: representing three sorts of unclean persons — covetous, oppressors, and extortioners.(6) The young eagle first picks out the eye of the carcase: denoting the guile and manner of false teachers and deceivers, that would take away the eye of knowledge and right judgment (Matthew 23:13).(7) The vulture lives altogether on carrion and dead carcases: representing those who wait for other men's death, and fraudulently suborn devised testaments.(8) The raven is unkind to his young ones, and forsakes his nest: a true type of such as embrace this present world, and leave the society of the saints, and the fellowship of the Church — Demas.(9) The ostrich signifies hypocrites; having wings, but flying not: so the hypocrite has the spirit of virtue, but not the power.(10) The owl, who sees in the night, but his eyes dazzle in the day, signifies worldly wise men, who in the matters of the world are quick-sighted enough, but blind in spiritual things (1 Corinthians 2:13).(11) The seagull, who lives and dives in the water, represents men given to pleasure (1 Peter 4:3, 4).(12) They write of the pelican, that she nourishes and embraces her young ones, and with the kisses, as it were, of her bill, wounds and so kills them, and afterwards revives them with her own blood: a true resemblance of cockering parents, who make their children wantons, and spoil them through too much indulgence.(13) The swan is white without and fair to see, but her flesh is black and unwholesome. Hereby are described proud persons, that want inward substance, carrying outwardly goodly shows.(14) The stork, though much celebrated for her natural affection to her parents, yet is counted an unclean bird, because she feeds on unclean and poisonous meats — as serpents, snakes, and such like: betokening such men as have a show of some civil virtues, and yet have no delight in God's Word, the wholesome food of the soul.
4. Of the necessity of sanctification.
5. Of separating the clean from the unclean.
(A. Willet, D. D.)
Jewish Chronicle testifies that the Jews enjoyed almost absolute immunity, at least from fatal attack. Professor Hosmer says: "Throughout the entire history of Israel,. the wisdom of the ancient lawgiver in these respects has been remarkably shown. In times of pestilence the Jews have suffered far less than others; as regards longevity and general health, they have in every age been noteworthy, and, at the present day, in the life-insurance offices, the life of a Jew is said to be worth much more than that of men of other stock."
(S. H. Kellogg, D. D.)
Leviticus 3:17), and great moderation in this matter is necessary to health in hot climates; but, on the contrary, to eat fat largely is necessary to life in the polar regions. From such facts as these it would follow, of necessity, that when the Church of God, as under the new dispensation, was now to become a world-wide organisation, still to have insisted on a dietetic law perfectly adapted only to Palestine would have been to defeat the physical object, and by consequence the moral end for which that law was given. Under these conditions, except a special law were to be given for each land and climate, there was and could be, if we have before us the true conception of the ground of these regulations, no alternative bat to abrogate the law.
(S. H. Kellogg, D. D.)
1 Corinthians 10:31. If, therefore, a man needlessly eats such things, or in such a manner as may be injurious to health, he sins, and has come short of the law of perfect holiness. No less needful is the lesson of this law to many who are at the opposite extreme. For as there are those who are so taken up with the soul and its health, that they ignore its relation to the body, and the bearing of bodily conditions upon character, so there are others who are so preoccupied with questions of bodily health, sanitation and hygiene, regarded merely as prudential measures, from an earthly point of view, that they forget that man has a soul as well as a body, and that such questions of sanitation and hygiene only find their proper place when it is recognised that health and perfection of the body are not to be sought merely that man may become a more perfect animal, but in order that thus, with a sound mind in a sound body, he may the more perfectly serve the Lord in the life of holiness to which we are called.
(S. H. Kellogg, D. D.)
(S. H. Kellogg, D. D.)
(C. H. Mackintosh.)
(J. Parker, D. D.)
Francis de Sales, who had a great many people come to him to confession, makes this note, that he had many men and women come to him who confessed all sorts of most outrageous crimes, but he never had one who confessed covetousness. It is a kind of sin that always comes in at the back door, and it is always entertained at the back part of the house. People do not suspect it as an inmate of their own hearts. Mr. Covetousness has changed his name to Mr. Prudent-Thrifty; and it is quite an insult to call him other than by his adopted name. Old vices, like streets notorious fur vice, get new names given them. Avaricious grasping, they call that only "the laws of social economy"; screwing down the poor is "the natural result of competition"; withholding corn until the people curse, oh I that is "just the usual regulation of the market." People name the thing prettily, and then they think they have rescued it from the taint. These people, who are all for earth, are like the coneys who, though they chew the cud, burrow in the ground. They love precious truth, and yet they are all for this earth. If there are any such here, despite their fine experience, we pronounce them unclean — they are not heirs of heaven.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
These shall ye eat of all that are in the waters.1 Corinthians 8:13). Those "without fins or scales" are partly creatures of the mud and marsh; whereas the others swim through the clear, limpid waters of "seas and rivers." Others of them that are "without scales," are such as the voracious shark. Thus they were naturally fitted to exhibit purity. In ver. 9 we are to read, "in the waters, i.e., whether seas or river." In ver. 10, "All that move in the waters," is rather, "All that crawl in the waters"; and even any living thing there that has not the specified qualities. In the same verse, and at ver. 11, "They shall be an abomination," is more emphatic if read thus — "They are an abomination to you, and they shall be an abomination." And it is thus strongly stated, because the people might be ready to neglect the rule in the case of some of the smaller creatures in the water. Many of the forbidden creatures are exceedingly small in size; yet, nevertheless, even that atom is to be abhorred, if the Lord has given the command. It is not the importance of the thing, but the majesty of the lawgiver, that is to be the standard of our obedience. "Sin is the transgression of the law" (1 John 3:4). There were tribes that were to dwell by the waters. Thus Simeon and Dan had a sea-coast from the river of Egypt up to Joppa. Ephraim and the half tribe of Manasseh had a sea-coast as far as Carmel — the glorious plain of Sharon descending to the waterside. Zebulun and Asher, too, had their creeks and bays; while Napthali, as well as Zebulun and the other half tribe of Manasseh, encircled the lake of Galilee, so plentiful in its supply of fish; and the waters of Merom, no doubt, swarmed with their kinds. Others of the tribes lay near Jordan, or had some lesser streams and lakes at hand. Hence there was not probably one tribe but had some need of these laws and opportunity for exercising faith by attending to them. The Lord also thus evidenced His care over the spiritual health of the seamen and fishers of Israel. It tried their faith when they needed to cast away whatever unclean fish they had enclosed in their net. Some, indeed, might reckon such minute and arbitrary rules as these to be trifling. But the principle involved in obedience or disobedience was none other than the same principle which was tried in Eden at the foot of the forbidden tree. It was really this — Is the Lord to be obeyed in all things whatsoever He commands? Is He a holy Lawgiver? Are His creatures bound to give implicit assent to His will? But this discrimination between holy and unholy penetrated farther. It reached Israel's hours of recreation, and kept them, even then, in mind of their Holy One. A wealthy Israelite, who has his villa by the lake of Gennesaret, goes forth on the bosom of the lake. In its clear waters he finds fish, darting on before the slow sailing bark in the strength of their ties, and reflecting back to the surface, from their scales, the light that fell on the waters. All here speaks of purity — conformity to what the law pronounced clean. But at another time he strolls along by some shallow, or is compassing the waters of Merom, and there he finds the crawling reptiles of the mud and marsh — teaching him to draw back in haste from the touch of uncleanness. In like manner, far within their land, at the little brook flowing through the valley of Elah, fringed by its green terebinths, the youth of Judah, in their sports, were taught to keep before them the difference between good and evil, while they scrupulously rejected the unclean minnows, and chose the clean, amid their easy angling at the stream. "Holiness to the Lord" — obedience to His revealed will — thus pervaded Israel's land and Israel's families, in public and in secret, in business and in recreation; their youth and their aged men, in their fields and by their riversides, must remember "The Holy One of Israel!"
(A. A. Bonar.)
Among the fowls.
(A. A. Bonar.)
1. Here is a man who is just, but has no mercy.
2. Another man is kind, but ill-tempered.
3. Ill-temper is often associated with earnestness.
4. Another man is moral, but niggardly.
(A. F. Forrest.)
1. People with bad tempers are terribly numerous.
2. Nothing so much embitters the intercourse of life as the ebullitions of a violent disposition.
3. There are more unhappy homes through bad temper than through any other cause.
4. There is this great peculiarity often about ill-tempered people: they are very good in other respects.
5. Society may be to blame somewhat for the great prevalence of bad temper. It should not be spoken of (as it usually is) as a misfortune, but as a sin.
7. But the punishment of anger is not altogether in the next life — in the future.
(1) (2) 8. Anger leads to other and often greater evils. 9. One of the grandest sights is to see a man, under circumstances of provocation and injury, restraining his anger and showing a composed and peaceful spirit. 10. A good practical specific for the treatment of anger is that given by Solomon (Proverbs 19:11). 11. These ebullitions of temper are not Christlike. 12. Sometimes people attempt to palliate their bad temper on the ground of natural disposition. This is a delusion. (A. F. Forrest.)
(2) 8. Anger leads to other and often greater evils. 9. One of the grandest sights is to see a man, under circumstances of provocation and injury, restraining his anger and showing a composed and peaceful spirit. 10. A good practical specific for the treatment of anger is that given by Solomon (Proverbs 19:11). 11. These ebullitions of temper are not Christlike. 12. Sometimes people attempt to palliate their bad temper on the ground of natural disposition. This is a delusion. (A. F. Forrest.)
8. Anger leads to other and often greater evils.
9. One of the grandest sights is to see a man, under circumstances of provocation and injury, restraining his anger and showing a composed and peaceful spirit.
10. A good practical specific for the treatment of anger is that given by Solomon (Proverbs 19:11).
11. These ebullitions of temper are not Christlike.
12. Sometimes people attempt to palliate their bad temper on the ground of natural disposition. This is a delusion.
(A. F. Forrest.)
1. These are people you never like to meet. They have nothing good to say of anybody.
2. In their stories they uniformly exaggerate.
3. Their caution is remarkable.
4. The gossip makes a pretence of wishing a thing to be kept a secret. But it is only that he may himself enjoy the monopoly of the scandal, and be the first to tell it to everybody.
5. This depraved habit of evil-speaking may spring from various causes.
(1) (2) (3) 6. Of all bad people, none are so thoroughly as the tale-bearer.Conclusion: 1. The way to keep the city clean is for every one to sweep before his own door. 2. Expulsive of the feeling which swells in the bosom of the evil-speaker is that charity which thinketh no evil. (A. F. Forrest.)
(2) (3) 6. Of all bad people, none are so thoroughly as the tale-bearer.Conclusion: 1. The way to keep the city clean is for every one to sweep before his own door. 2. Expulsive of the feeling which swells in the bosom of the evil-speaker is that charity which thinketh no evil. (A. F. Forrest.)
(3) 6. Of all bad people, none are so thoroughly as the tale-bearer.Conclusion: 1. The way to keep the city clean is for every one to sweep before his own door. 2. Expulsive of the feeling which swells in the bosom of the evil-speaker is that charity which thinketh no evil. (A. F. Forrest.)
6. Of all bad people, none are so thoroughly as the tale-bearer.Conclusion:
1. The way to keep the city clean is for every one to sweep before his own door.
(A. F. Forrest.)
1. The kite is remarkable for its very keen sight, and for the immense velocity with which it darts upon its prey. But, its legs and claws being weak, it is withal a cowardly creature. It never attacks large prey, but only insects, mice, and small birds.
2. God would have His people characterised by courage and a spirit of noble heroism.
I. THE LOWEST FORM OF COURAGE IS THAT WHICH MEETS DANGER UNCONSCIOUS OF FEAR OR FLINCHING: — Bravery. A constitutional quality. Costs no effort.
II. A higher form of courage is THAT WHICH SHRINKS NOT IN THE PRESENCE OF DANGER, NOT FROM INSENSIBILITY TO IT, BUT FROM PATRIOTISM, or friendship, or some such noble feeling.
III. A still higher courage is THAT WHICH ADHERES TO DUTY — to truth and conscience, in the face of opposition and hardship.
1. How few have the courage of their convictions!
2. Many are cowards only in the matter of avowing and adhering to their religious principles.
3. What you are convinced is right, do, whether the world frowns or smiles, sneers or applauds. Be influenced by no fear but the fear of God.
4. Do you do well to go away? Is it wise to lose heaven to escape from a laugh?
5. What is your cross compared to the cross of those who had, in their adherence to Christ, to brave imprisonment and death?
(A. F. Forrest.)
1. God did not mean man to be like the raven. The happiness of the creature, like the happiness of the Creator, was to be in giving, and not in receiving.
2. What happiness thus did God intend for the human race! Nothing to hurt or destroy could even enter a society in which love held undisputed sway.
3. But the unhappy revolt of man from God, and his assertion of independence, effectually prevented the accomplishment of the Divine purpose.
4. Before, therefore, the mischief effected by the Fall of man can be adequately repaired, we must find that which will destroy the selfishness of man's heart.
5. The gospel of Jesus Christ, alone of all religious systems, has recognised this important fact, and proposed to remove the disorder by removing the cause.
6. The sufficiency of this remedy for man's disease has received abundant proof.
7. The early Christian Church affords us just such a spectacle of unselfish enthusiasm on behalf of the race as we would have anticipated from the renewal of men's hearts, and the restoration to them of the lost principle of benevolence.
8. Is it asked why in this age we have not a repetition of Pentecostal phenomena? The explanation is to be found in the character of those who are now entrusted with the commission to preach the gospel. The Christian of this age is only partially restored from his enmity against God, partially cared of his disease.
(A. F. Forrest.)
1. No Christian should belong to this genus. Inconsistent.
2. The Bible everywhere represents religion as a thing of joy.
3. This joy is entirely independent of worldly conditions.
(A. F. Forrest.)
1. The vast majority of professing Christians belong, probably, to this genus. I have read of a Spanish bishop who took a strange way once of ending a controversy. The clergy in his diocese had been debating together in regard to the fate of Solomon in the other world. Some maintained that he was in heaven; others that he was in hell. They referred the matter at last to this dignitary. He thought he would gratify both parties. Accordingly, he ordered an artist to paint on the walls of his chapel a picture of the Jewish king, representing him as half in hell and half in heaven. Multitudes of people could only be represented in the same way.
2. This state of indecision in religion may arise from various causes.(1) The fear of the world's laugh or frown may keep some from making a decided stand for God.(2) With others, an attachment to some particular form of sin.(3) The notion that there will be time enough yet to provide for a happy eternity.
3. However caused, this indecision is most unsatisfactory. Those in this state have neither the mirth of the sinner nor the happiness of the saint. "Woe to the double mind," says . "Of God's own they make a share — half to Him and half to the devil. But, indignant at such treatment, the Lord departs; and the devil gets all!"
4. Choose ye this day whom ye will serve.
5. Oh, why do you hesitate?(1) Is there some sin you are unwilling to abandon? You are paying too dear, surely, for your pleasures, if you are paying for them with your life.(2) Do you fear the frown or the laugh of the ungodly? Will the frown of God be easier to bear? Or will you wince less under the mockery of Satanic spirits?(3) Do you put off to another time? Death may intervene. One of the rivers of America had been greatly swollen by the excessive rains. A man, who had gone out in a boat to secure some logs, drifted accidentally into the current. All resistance was useless. Rapidly his boat was making for the great falls a few miles down the river. Destruction stared him in the face. There was only one slight chance of escape. A friend, seeing his danger, leaped on a horse and galloped to a bridge which the skiff would pass under just before reaching the cataract. Getting there in time, be hung a rope over the parapet for the man to clutch the moment he attained the arch. It was his only chance. The man knew his peril. He stood ready to grasp the rope the instant it was within his reach. Suddenly he makes a spring. He has it. The boat glides rapidly from under him and is dashed to pieces on the rocks. He is pulled up by his deliverer and saved. There may be but a step between you and death. Grasp the rope now.
(A. F. Forrest.)
Every flying creeping thing.e.g., flies and bees, are thus pronounced unclean — except only the four classes that have springing legs, in addition to the legs used in creeping. The sight of insects without number in their groves, on the leaves of their fig-trees, or the vine-leaves that shaded them — the innumerable hosts that thickened the air at sunset, or that played on the waters, and from time to time alighted on the head of the solemn Jew who marked the sight — could not fail to remind the soul that it was encompassed with unholy things. I remember (while in Palestine in 1839) the vast number of such insects, some of them very beautiful and rare, which we saw one afternoon by the lake of Galilee, near Magdala; and, also, on a previous day at the pools of Solomon, near Bethlehem. They skimmed along the waters, or flew gaily through the air, or kept their seat upon a sappy leaf — and the eye could not but be attracted by them. Now an Israelite would feel in these insects a memorial of sin, however fair the external form appeared. No retirement into quiet seats and bowers could give freedom from the presence of what was unclean. The dragon-fly that wafted itself past their eye, and the many magnificent insects, though fed amid the fragrance of Lebanon and the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, were all made to speak of God having set a mark on this earth as no longer a paradise. These creatures on the wing were like messengers sent to admonish the saints of God that the sweetest spots of earth were polluted, and, therefore, they must watch and keep their garments. The only clean insects were the locusts — the insects so often used by God to punish a guilty land and an unclean people.
(A. A. Bonar.).