1 Peter 1:13
Therefore prepare your minds for action. Be sober-minded. Set your hope fully on the grace to be given you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Sermons
Hope PerfectlyAlexander Maclaren1 Peter 1:13
Practical ChristianityJ.R. Thomson 1 Peter 1:13
The Christian's HopeA. Maclaren 1 Peter 1:13
A Perfect HopeA. Maclaren, D. D.1 Peter 1:13-16
A Seasonable ExhortationC. H. Spurgeon.1 Peter 1:13-16
Christ and His GraceW. Jay.1 Peter 1:13-16
Christian HopeJ. C. Jones, D. D.1 Peter 1:13-16
Christian MoralityJ. J. S. Bird.1 Peter 1:13-16
Coming GraceAlex. Warrack, M. A.1 Peter 1:13-16
God and Obligation, or the Pattern of SanctityT. G. Selby.1 Peter 1:13-16
Grace and GloryH. Melvill, B. D.1 Peter 1:13-16
HolinessB. Beddome, M. A.1 Peter 1:13-16
HolinessJ. C. Jones, D. D.1 Peter 1:13-16
HolinessD. Duncan.1 Peter 1:13-16
Holiness After the Divine TypeJames Cranbrook.1 Peter 1:13-16
Holiness in All ThingsJohn Rogers.1 Peter 1:13-16
Holiness Repugnant to SinObadiah Sedgwick.1 Peter 1:13-16
Holy in All Manner of ConversationW. Arnot.1 Peter 1:13-16
HopeW. Bright, D. D.1 Peter 1:13-16
HopeJ. M. Chaunter, M. A.1 Peter 1:13-16
Hope as a Power in Moulding CharacterA. T. Pierson, D. D.1 Peter 1:13-16
Hope Ennobles the SpiritJ. Howe.1 Peter 1:13-16
How and for What to HopeA. Maclaren, D. D.1 Peter 1:13-16
How to Become HolyF. B. Meyer, B. A.1 Peter 1:13-16
Ignorance the Cause and Root of a Bad LifeJohn Rogers.1 Peter 1:13-16
Likeness to GodJ. Martineau, LL. D.1 Peter 1:13-16
LustsG. F. C. Frau Muller, Ph. D.1 Peter 1:13-16
ObedienceE. Bersier, D. D.1 Peter 1:13-16
ObedienceJohn Rogers.1 Peter 1:13-16
Obedience a Christian VirtueCanon Liddon.1 Peter 1:13-16
Obedience in Small ThingsW. L. Watkinson.1 Peter 1:13-16
Of Imitating the Holiness of GodS. Clarke, D. D.1 Peter 1:13-16
On Being HolyC. G. Finney.1 Peter 1:13-16
Personal HolinessA. Grant, D. C. L.1 Peter 1:13-16
Present the Germ of Future RevelationJ. B. Brown, B. A.1 Peter 1:13-16
Salvation by Christ Issuing in HolinessC. New 1 Peter 1:13-16
Slavery Through IgnoranceW. Arnot.1 Peter 1:13-16
SobrietyJohn Rogers.1 Peter 1:13-16
The Call to HolinessU.R. Thomas 1 Peter 1:13-16
The Duty and Discipline of Christian HopeA. Maclaren, D. D.1 Peter 1:13-16
The Family LikenessA. Maclaren, D. D.1 Peter 1:13-16
The Holiness of GodC. S. Robinson, D. D.1 Peter 1:13-16
The Holiness of God the Type and Model of OursR. S. Candlish, D. D.1 Peter 1:13-16
The Obedience of HopeA. Maclaren, D. D.1 Peter 1:13-16
The Place of Mind in ReligionDean Vaughan.1 Peter 1:13-16
The Revelation of Jesus ChristW. Temple.1 Peter 1:13-16
The Right Influence of a Christian CreedD. Thomas, D. D.1 Peter 1:13-16
The Sin of IgnoranceN. Byfield.1 Peter 1:13-16
The True Ideal of LifeD. Thomas, D. D.1 Peter 1:13-16
Tighten the BeltJ. Parker.1 Peter 1:13-16
We Must Forsake Evil Before We Can Do GoodJohn Rogers.1 Peter 1:13-16
Wise CounselJames Wells.1 Peter 1:13-16
The Pilgrim-LifeR. Finlayson 1 Peter 1:13-25
The grammatical structure of this verse marks out the principal command as being that to hope, while two subsidiary participial clauses give subordinate exhortations to girding up the loins of the mind, and to being sober, as accompaniments of and helps to this Christian hope. The true meaning of the injunction is given in the Revised Version, which substitutes "hope perfectly" for "hope to the end." Peter is not encouraging to persistence but to completeness in our hope. The characteristic which he would have all Christians cultivate refers, not to its duration, but to its degree. Such a perfect hope is the only one corresponding to the perfect object on which it is fixed - the grace that will be ours when Christ shall come. The more clearly that object is discerned, the more vigorous wilt be the joyous anticipation which grasps it. But such strength of hope will not come of itself. It needs effort and discipline, self-stimulating and self-restraint.

I. We have to consider THE PERFECT OBJECT OF CHRISTIAN HOPE. There are three striking ideas suggested by the remarkable language here.

1. We have a very unusual designation for that object, namely, "grace." Usually the future blessings are called glory, and in common religious language, "grace and "glory" are contrasted, as belonging to earth and heaven. Here clearly "grace" means the whole sum of the blessings to be bestowed in another life, and is equivalent to the" salvation ready to be revealed" spoken of in an earlier verse. The unusual expression teaches us that the glories of our ultimate exaltation in all their splendor are purely gratuitous and the product of the undeserved love and liberality of our God. The whole Christian career from first to last owes all it enjoys, possesses, or hopes to "grace." The substantial identity of the Christian character here and there is also implied. Glory is but grace perfected; grace is incipient glory. The gift is one here and there, only the measure varies. What is a spark now, almost smothered sometimes under green wood, flames out ruddy and triumphant then.

2. That ultimate grace is on its way to us. It is "being brought," or, as Leighton puts it, "a-bringing." The same word is used to describe the onward-moving rush of the mighty wind of Pentecost. It is as if some strong angel-choir had already begun their flight with this great gift in their hands, and were hasting with all the power of their majestic pinions to this small island in the deep. The light from fixed stars may take centuries to reach us, but is speeding through space all the while. So that "great far-off Divine event" is coming steadily nearer, as if some star, at first a point in the distance, should take motion towards us and at last pour all its splendor on our eyes. A solemn but invigorating thought, fitted to brighten hope and kindle desire that "now is our salvation nearer than when we believed."

3. This approaching grace is wrapped up in the revelation of Jesus Christ. We may render "at," as the Revised Version does, and yet give full force to the preposition in the original. The grace is included in the revelation of Jesus Christ, as a jewel in a case. The manifestation of Christ in his glory shall be the participation in that glory of all who love him. It overflows, as it were, into us, partly because the sight of him in his glory shall work transformation into his likeness, as a light falling on a mirror makes a brightness; but chiefly because he and we shall be so truly one in deep mystic union that all this is ours, and the glory which streams from him shall brighten us. All which he shows to a wondering world we shall share. This is the perfect object of Christian hope. How different from paltry, perishable earthly hopes! Why let this great faculty trail along the ground, when it might climb to heaven by the trelliswork of God's promises? Why limit it to days and years, when it might expand to lay hold on eternity? Let hearts and hopes mount to fix on Christ, and they shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end.

II. THE PERFECT HOPE WHICH GRASPS THE PERFECT OBJECT. There is no doubt that "hope perfectly" is the injunction here. It is more needful to exhort to perfection in degree than to permanence in duration, which will follow naturally. Hope may exist in all degrees from a tremulous "perhaps" up to "I am sure." Usually it is less than certainty. "Hopes and fears that kindle hope" are "an inextinguishable hope. A leek of doubt slumbers in her fair eyes. How can that be firm which is built on a quagmire?" But it is possible for a Christian to have this perfect hope. God's fixed and faithful Word gives us certainty of future. Nor need our own sin or, weakness dash our confidence, for his promises are made to the sinful and weak. We have rock on which to build. Why should our hope cast its anchor on some floating island which may drift and melt away, when it may be fastened within the veil? It is a duty to hope perfectly, because only such hope corresponds to facts. Not to hope is unbelief. Some good people say "I hope" in such tremulous melancholy tones that it sounds liker "I fear." Joyous confidence becomes those who have God to lean on. "I am persuaded," "we know," are the words with which Paul and John heralded their hopes; and we should be bold to use the same. It is blessedness to hope perfectly. So we escape the alternations which, like the hot and the shivering fits of ague, rack others, and the bitterness of disappointment when some gleaming vision collapses, and, instead of the rainbow-hued bubble, we are left with a drop of dirty water. He who lives by earthly hopes is in danger of dying by earthly disappointments, A fulfilled hope is often a disappointed one. We may have a pillar of fire to guide us in all the darkness, which will glow brighter as we draw near the end. It is strength to hope perfectly. Hope is often a trifler, robbing us of energy, making the present flat, and withdrawing us from working in order to dream. But Christian hope is an armed warrior, grave and calm, ready for conflict because assured of victory. It will be as wings to lift us above care and sorrows, and as cords to bind us to duty and toil.

III. THE SELF-DISCIPLINE WHICH KEEPS THE PERFECT HOPE. It has two parts - "girding up the loins," and "being sober." These two are somewhat difficult to distinguish. But the former enjoins determined effort, the bracing up of all one's powers, or, as we say, "pulling one's self together." Travelers, servants, soldiers, have to tighten their belts and confine loose robes. A slackly braced mind has not force enough to cherish a perfect hope. There are many difficulties in its way, and vigorous effort is needed to concentrate the mind and heart on the truth which warrants it. All Christian virtue needs determined effort. Earthly hopes will not be vigorous unless the intrusive present is shut out by resolute effort, and the attention kept fixed on the future. How can a strong Christian hope be preserved on easier terms? Again, for the completeness of Christian hope, rigid self control and repression are needed. "Be sober" means "keep a tight hand on all desires and tastes, especially on animal passions and appetites." There is no possibility of clear vision of the future if the mists that steam up from these undrained marshes bide it, nor can the soul whose desires turn earthwards go out in keen expectation to the more ethereal joys above. If the plant is allowed to throw out side shoots, it will not run high. Our hopes are regulated by our desires. We have a limited amount to expend, and if we bestow it on things of time and sense, we shall have none to spare for the unseen. If we pour the precious ointment on the heads of earthly loves, there will be none with which to anoint our true Lover and King. A great possibility is set before us weary sons of men, whose hearts have been so often turn by disappointment that we know not whether it is sadder to hope or to despair. We may have the future made as certain as the past, and be made conquerors over sorrow and the dread of to-morrow and the apathy which does not look forward, by a calm hope which knows that it will be fulfilled. We need not build on peradventures, but on "Verily, verily, I say unto you." Do not build on saint when you may build on rock, even on "Christ, who is our Hope" - and you will not be confounded. - A.M.







Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind.
"Wherefore," for this reason, that your salvation was so great an object of interest to prophets and to angels, it becomes you to maintain your faith, your courage, and expectation to the end. "Wherefore, girding up the loins of your mind." The allusion is to the long loose garments worn by the Asiatics.

I. THE MEANING THEN, IS, BE THOROUGHLY COURAGEOUS, GENUINE, SINCERE. Make your life compact by the girdle of truth. Avoid loose, unsubstantial convictions regarding spiritual and eternal things, Remember, however little the word of revealed truth is to you, it is God's greatest and best thought: that it is the divine record concerning yourself and His dear Son ought to make it of infinite importance to you. Therefore, "gird up the loins of your mind." Tighten the belt. You can do better work, run a better race, or be better ready for fight. Then shall you be fitted for the best service the King demands. Settled convictions of divine truth are of great value; they give stability, contentment, and influence. The girdle compact, and everything is made available for comfort and usefulness, you are stable and helpful when others are weak and vacillating.

II. THIS, ALSO, WILL INDUCE SOBRIETY, GRAVITY, THOUGHTFULNESS. And, impressed with the magnitude and sustained by the certainty of divine truth, you will "set your hope perfectly on the grace, or favour, that is to be brought unto you when Jesus shall come again," to give eternal honour to His people. Stop, then; think, tighten your belt. Many are not ready for the sudden revelation of Jesus Christ. Are you? O, the supreme importance of being ready now, and each moment!

III. "TELL US HOW WE SHALL DO THIS GIRDING." Peter wrote these words in the shadow of the greatest truths: the Cross, and the possibility of your salvation. Think often of the Cross and its mystery of grace; it will fill your life with the mightiest motives. Think of the end of your faith, the salvation of your soul. Think; you are in possession of God's revelation, His best thought, the sunlight of your present joy and your future hope. Think; you are in fellow ship with Jesus Christ. Do it by much prayer.

(J. Parker.)

1. How full of their Lord were the minds of these holy writers!

2. How ardently these men expected the coming of the Lord!

3. It is equally noticeable that while apostolic men looked for the coming of Christ, they looked for it with no idea of dread, but, on the contrary, with the utmost joy.

4. Observe also, how constantly they were urging this as a motive! Peter never holds it out as a mere matter of speculation, nor exclusively as a ground of comfort; but as the grand motive for action, for holiness, for watchfulness. The teaching necessary for today is this: "Gird up the loins of your mind," brace yourselves up; be firm, compact, consistent, determined. Do not be like quicksilver, which keeps on dissolving and running into fractions; do not fritter away life upon trifles, but live to purpose, with undivided heart, and decided resolution. These are equally days in which it is necessary to say "be sober." We are always having some new fad or another brought out to infatuate the unstable. "Be sober," and judge for yourselves. Nor is the third exhortation unnecessary: "Hope to the end." Be so hopeful as to be "calm mid the bewildering cry, confident of victory."

I. AN ARGUMENT. "Wherefore." True religion is not unreasonable; it is common sense set to heavenly music. The apostle begins by saying, "Elect according to foreknowledge," etc. Shall the elect of God be timorous? Shall those who are chosen of the Most High give way to despair? God forbid! There is an argument, then, in the first and second verses, forcibly supporting the precepts of the text. It well behoves the elect of God to choose His service resolutely, to abide in it steadfastly, and hope for its reward with supreme confidence. But next, Peter declares that the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has "begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." O ye begotten of God, see that ye live as such! You are twice-born men; live not the low life of the merely natural man. You are descended from the King of kings; degrade not your descent! Your election and your regeneration call you to holy living. Further, the apostle goes on to say that you are heirs of "an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you." Courage, then, if this be your destiny: do not be cast down by the aboundings of sin, nor even by your own personal temptations. Then he goes on to say that you are "kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." If the power of God keeps me, shall I be hopeless? Shall I speak like one that has no hereafter to rejoice in? Further, the apostle goes on to say that we may be passing through needful trial, but it is only for a little while. Come, then, if this fire is to be passed through, let us gird up our loins to dash through it. Let us hope to be sustained, and sanctified as the result, and let no unbelieving fear cast a cloud over our sky. Is not this good argument? Nor is this all. He tells us that even while we are in trial we are still full of joy. Once more: the apostle goes on to. say that the gospel which we believe, and for which we are ready to suffer, is a gospel that comes to us with the sanction of the prophets. It seems to me that with such men as Moses and David, Isaiah and Jeremiah, to support our faith, we need not be ashamed of our company, nor tremble at the criticisms of the moderns.

II. THE EXHORTATION.

1. "Gird up the loins of your mind."(1) That certainly teaches us earnestness. We brace ourselves for a supreme effort; and the Christian life is always such.(2) Does it not also mean preparedness? A true believer should be ready for suffering or service — ready, indeed, for anything.(3) It means determination and hearty resolution. By conflict throughout a whole life we come to our rest; and there is no other way. You cannot go round to a back door, and enter into heaven by stealth. You must fight if you would reign. Wherefore, gird up the loins of your mind.(4) Once more, the figure teaches us that our life must be concentrated. "Gird up the loins of your mind." We have no strength to spare; we cannot afford to let part of our force leak away. We need to bring all our faculties to bear on one point, and exert them all to one end.

2. "Be sober."(1) This means moderation in all things. Do not be so excited with joy as to become childish. Do not grow intoxicated with worldly gain or honour. On the other hand, do not be too much depressed with passing troubles.(2) Keep the middle way; hold to the golden mean. Make sure of your footing when you stand; make doubly sure of it before you shift.(3) Be clear headed. Ask that the grace of God may so rule in your heart that you may be peaceful, and not troubled with idle fear on one side or with foolish hope on the other. "Be sober," says the apostle. You know the word translated "be sober" sometimes means "be watchful"; and indeed there is a great kinship between the two things. Live with your eyes open; do not go about the world half asleep.

3. "Hope to the end." Be strong in holy confidence in God's Word, and be sure that His cause will live and prosper. Hope to the end; go right through with it; if the worst comes to the worst, hope still. Hope as much as ever a man can hope; for when your hope is in God you cannot hope too much. But let your hope be all in grace. Do not hope in yourself or in your works; but "hope in the grace"; for so the text may be read. Hope, moreover, in the grace which you have not yet received, in "the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ." Bless God for the grace that you have not yet obtained, for He has it in store for you; yea, He hath put it on the road, and it is coming to you.

III. EXPECTATION. What you have got to hope for is more grace. God will never deal with you upon the ground of merit; He has begun with you in grace, and He will go on with you in grace, therefore "hope to the end for the grace." The grace you are to hope for is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. He has been revealed once, at His first advent; hence the grace you have. He is to be revealed very soon in His second advent; hence the grace that is a-coming to you. "My ship is coming home," says the child. So is mine: Jesus is coming, and that means all things to me. But what can this grace be that will be received at His coming? Justification? No, we have that already by His resurrection. Sanctification? No; we have that already, by being made partakers of His life. What is the grace that is to be revealed at His coming? Just look at the chapter, anal you will read in the fifth verse, "Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time."

1. Perfect salvation is one part of the grace which is to be brought in the last time when Christ comes. When He comes there will be perfection for our souls and salvation for our bodies.

2. The second grace that Christ will bring with Him when He comes is the perfect vindication of our faith: "that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ." Today they sneer at our faith, but they will not do so when Jesus comes; today we ourselves tremble for the ark of the Lord, but we shall not do so when He comes. Then shall all men say that believers were wise, prudent, philosophical. Those who believe in Jesus may be called fools today, but men will think otherwise when they see them shine forth as the sun in the Father's kingdom.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

The great privileges we enjoy are here urged upon us as a reason why we should live like regenerate persons.

I. THE ESSENTIALS OF CHRISTIAN CHARACTER. They are — diligence, sobriety, and hope.

1. Diligence. This virtue is here exemplified by a very striking figure. Christians are not to be like pompous peacocks, mere objects of beauty, strutting about over the green fields of earth. They are not to be languid and effeminate dreamers. They are to engage in the activities of manhood, and for this purpose must brace themselves with vigour. There is much to be accomplished. There is much to be learnt. There is much to be obtained. There is much to be endured. But the apostle is particular to remind us of the spiritual nature of this work - "Gird up the loins of your mind." The Christian life is not an outward thing. The mind is the battlefield. Here the battles are lost or won. How much does the mind require bracing up! It soon sinks into indifference and sluggishness, especially under trials or difficulties. A healthy soul results from moral discipline. We are to brace up our thoughts by wholesome restraint, our desires by a strong curb, our sentiments by calm deliberation. This requires patient and persevering diligence.

2. Sobriety. "Be sober." This does not refer to what we call temperance. It is that calm, quiet dignity which so well befits a Christian man, and which raises him above the flighty, giddy, thoughtless throng of worldly people. There is something noble in his character.

3. Patient hope. Here is a rebuke to the restless uneasiness at the trials of life which was the cause of writing this Epistle.

II. THE GREAT CHRISTIAN MOTIVE. "The grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ." And is it not worth hoping for?

1. Consider its greatness. It is not an earthly blessing — temporary, passing, and mingled with what is evil, sinful, and transitory. It is —(1) An eternal state. All our chief sorrows here are caused by change.(2) A perfect state. Life will be perfect; here most men only half live. Health will be perfect. Taste will be perfect. Employment will be perfect. And all the surroundings of this state will be perfect also.

2. Consider its fulness. There is no stint in the eternal life which is provided. The vastness of heaven is one of the mysteries we have to contemplate, but at present cannot understand.

III. THE GREAT END OF CHRISTIAN DEVELOPMENT — holiness. All discipline has one object to carry out.

1. Under the aspect of dutiful children. "As obedient children," etc. Here is a grand motive — the motive of love.

2. Under the aspect of similitude. We desire to be like those whom we love. Holiness, then, makes us like God. Without it we cannot be conformed to Him. Without it we cannot associate with Him.

3. Under the aspect of universality. "In all manner of conversation," i.e., in all your behaviour. Holiness is to pervade all things.

(J. J. S. Bird.)

I. MENTAL ACTIVITY. "Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind." First: That man has a mind. He has a thinking, conscious, undying spirit. This fact is attested both by philosophy and the Bible. Secondly: That this mind has a great work. There are some minds that are very inactive. Other minds are active, but it is the activity of children playing with toys. What is the real work of the mind? Rightly to culture self, to bless society, and to honour God. The figure implies — Thirdly: That the present condition of the mind is unfavourable to this work. What are those entangling robes? Wrong thoughts, earthly sympathies, carnal tendencies, moral indifferences, etc. "Gird up the loins," etc.

II. MORAL SOBRIETY. "Be sober." It may include three things. First: Moral judiciousness. Judiciousness in our opinions, our affections, our expectations, and speech. Souls are often intoxicated with wild and extravagant sentiments. Second: Moral steadfastness. The soul should not reel to and fro like a drunken man; it should be steadfast. "Stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made you free." Thirdly: Moral seriousness. Christian seriousness stands in sublime contrast both to gloom on the one hand and to levity on the other.

III. PERMANENT HOPE. "Hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ." This language implies three things. First: That the perfection of our being is to be looked for in the future. Secondly: That our future perfection is to be obtained in connection with grace. "Hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you." Thirdly: That the grace that is to ensure our perfection will be fully manifested at the appearance of ,Jesus Christ. "The grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ."

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

I. THE PREPARATION. "Gird up," etc.

1. Righteousness.

2. Faithfulness.

3. Truth.

II. THE CONSIDERATION. "Be sober." There is such a thing, of course, as being drunk mentally or spiritually. A drunken man is very foolish, yet conceited; and he is quarrelsome, and hazardous, and he would lie down and go to sleep anywhere.

III. THE DECISION. "Hope to the end." Your hope is to be in the perfect work of Christ. "Be not moved away from the hope of the gospel."

IV. THE PROSPECT. "For the grace," etc.

(James Wells.)

One thing is presupposed — St. Peter counted it self-evident — the mind has place in the things of God. Orthodoxy has too often warned off reason from the things of God. It has made it sacrilege to touch the Bible. What St. Peter rebukes is the slovenly, the untidy, the dissolute mind. He does not fear the practised, the disciplined, the intense intellect. The "mind" of which he wrote was the rock-hewn element of thinking, equally available, for its highest processes and purposes, in palace and cottage, in philosopher and peasant. It needs not education in man's sense, classical or scientific, to gird its loins for the enterprise St. Peter has in view. That enterprise is the knowledge of a Father, in a Saviour, and in a Spirit. The enterprise is a personal knowledge, the girding up of the loins for it is a personal exertion. Shall we try to sketch one or two of the particulars of that girding?

1. "Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty." In reference to all knowledge, what is the chief hindrance? Is it not vanity? Is it not the "saying, We see?" Gird up the loins of your mind by a deep humility. "Thou art near, they tell, me, O Lord: but I am so far off — so ignorant, so stupid, so sin bound — O quicken me."

2. But next to it I would place its sister grace — which is patience. Patience; perhaps above all, for the reconciliation of apparently contradictory principles, and the harmonising of certain parts of Revelation with the character of God Himself the Revealer. Be willing to wait. Not indolently, not in indifference, but in a submissive waiting.

3. Hope. "Hope to the end," St. Peter says — "Hope perfectly" are his very words — meaning doubtless, perseveringly and amidst all obstacles. And St. Peter makes hope very definite when he adds, "for the grace that is being brought to us." It cannot be that this scene of confusion should be forever. As God is true, as God is holy, as God is merciful, it shall not. We see not as yet how it shall be. But, where explanation fails, where reason fails, where revelation itself fails, hope fails not.

(Dean Vaughan.)

Be sober
Sobriety is a virtue that keeps us not only from things unlawful, but moderates us in the use of things lawful, that we exceed not our bounds therein. These may be referred to two heads, pleasures and profits, which we are most subject to abuse.

I. For the former, which is PLEASURE, thereto may be referred meat, drink, apparel, recreation, etc. All which we must use soberly to the glory of the Giver, our own good, and the good also of others.

1. For our meat and drink, we must neither be excessive nor over-curious, as Dives who fared deliciously every day, making his belly his god. We must eat to live, and thereby be more fit for duty.

2. For our apparel, we must not exceed for the matter of it, nor for the fashion. God hath given it for necessity, comeliness, and decency.

3. For recreation, it must be sparing in time, place, measure, to make us more fit for our duty; for God hath not set us here to pamper the flesh, but to mortify the lusts thereof: not to play, but to do His work.

II. For the latter, namely, PROFITS, we must also be sober, both in getting and keeping them. We must not only use no unlawful means to get the world, but use the lawful means moderately, not filling ourselves with too many businesses, and following the same too eagerly, lest we neglect good duties, or be hindered from doing them as we should.

(John Rogers.)

Hope to the end
"Girding up the loins of your mind, being sober, hope" is the accurate reproduction of the form of the original. "Hope" is the principal exhortation, arid it is to be fulfilled by bracing up the mind and by sobriety. The Revised Version, which has partially shown this construction in its rendering, has given the more accurate "perfectly," instead of "to the end." It is a question, first, of the quality, and only after that of the duration of the hope. If our hope be perfect it will take care of itself in another respect, and be permanent.

I. THE OBJECT ON WHICH THIS CHRISTIAN HOPEFULNESS IS TO FASTEN, like a limpet on a rock. "The grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ." Here "grace" means the sum of the felicities of a future life. That is clear from two considerations — that this grace is the object of our hope all through life, which only an object beyond the grave can be, and also that its advent is contemporaneous with the revelation of Jesus Christ. The expression, though unusual, is valuable because it brings out two things. It reminds us that whatever of blessedness we may possess in the future it is all a gratuitous, unmerited gift of that loving God to whom we owe everything. And then there is another thought suggested by this word, namely, the substantial identity of the Christian life here and hereafter. Grace is glory in the bud, glory is grace in the flower; and all which we hope for in the future is but the evolving of that which is planted in our hearts today, if we love Him, though it may have to fight with much antagonism to itself both without us and within. The inheritance is a hope, but the earnest of the inheritance, which is of the same stuff as the inheritance, is a present possession. Further, this grace is on its way to us. It is "being brought," as the margin of the Revised Version has it; or "a-bringing," as Leighton translates it. It is on its road as if some band of strong-winged angels had already left the throne, and, like them who bore the Holy Grail, were steadily flying nearer and nearer to us. With all the power of strong winds and waves lifting it on, it is bearing down upon us as a ship at sea. By all the passions and convulsions of earth the day of the Lord is hastened on its course. Further, this grace, which is on its way to us, is wrapped up in the revelation of Jesus Christ. It is brought to us encased in that revelation, like a fair jewel in a golden setting. When He who "is our life shall be manifested," says another apostle, then shall we also "be manifested with Him in glory." As in an old picture you will sometimes see a saint represented as standing near the Master with a glory encompassing him, that rays from the Christ, so our glory in the future is all to be hut the effluence and the reflection of His glory. Why should we let our hopes go trailing along the ground, like some poor creeping plant that the gardener has forgotten to put a stick to, when they might lift themselves to the heavens? Why should you ever feed your hopes upon the bread that perishes, and sometimes upon husks, when you may feed them on angels' food? Why should you confine your hope within the limits of this world when it might expand to the width of that great eternity that lies there before you through which you may let your hope wander at will? Set your hope there, and then it will never be ashamed or confounded.

II. THE PERFECT HOPE WHICH GRASPS THE PERFECT OBJECT. "Hope perfectly" would be the true rendering, it being a question not at all of duration but of "quality." There are all degrees of hope from the most doubtful "peradventure" up to almost certainty. But there is always a kind of doubt and dread mingling with hope. A certain wistful look as of one who knows not what may be drawing on is ever in Hope's blue eyes; and "hopes, and fears that kindle hope" are an indistinguishable throng. That is necessarily so, because here our hopes are fixed on contingent, external things, and are mostly born of our wishes rather than of reasonable probabilities. Therefore, this exhortation here, in effect, bids us lift our hopes higher, and set them on God that they may be sure. Are we letting our hearts lead our hopes astray after the will-o'-the-wisps of earth, instead of ordering their march by the pole star of God's faithful promise? Does our hope leap up to lay hold on that cord let down from heaven, and by it to climb above the level of mutation and disappointment?

III. THE SELF-DISCIPLINE BY WHICH THE PERFECT HOPE IS MAINTAINED. Girding up the loins of the mind and being "sober" are the two great means to that end. The first of them enjoins concentration of mind and will, a determined effort to realise the future and persistently to hope in the teeth of all discouragement. Travellers, servants, soldiers have to brace up their robes and buckle them tight with their girdles. So we have to gather up our thoughts and cultivate the habit of fixed attention to unseen things. The loosely braced mind will be unable to cherish a lively hope; a man with his robes flapping about his feet cannot run. They hinder his stride, catch in the briars, get trodden on by rivals. There are many difficulties in the way of our Christian hope. It is hard to keep its light burning through the darkness of the night and the howling of the storm. Why, a man cannot have earthly hopes bright unless he concentrates his thoughts upon them. And how can our hope of heaven be clear, triumphant, unless we coerce our vagrant imaginations and loose flowing affections and by a dead lift and effort set our hopes in God? Wherefore, brace up the loins of your minds and hope. "Be sober." Rigid self-control and repression are needed for such a hope. The clear eye of hope cannot see the land that is very far off through the fogs that rise from the undrained marshes of our animal nature. In this sense, too, the flesh lusts against the spirit. But not only must bodily appetites be held well in hand, all desires that go out towards the present must be subdued. Hope follows desire. The vigour of our hopes is affected by the warmth of our desires. The warmth of our desires towards the future depends largely on the turning away of our desires from the present.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

As we read this Epistle and drink in its spirit we become aware of something that lifts and enkindles; it is as if we were inhaling sea air, were basking in the glow of a genial warmth. The Peter of the Gospels was of an eager, sanguine disposition, and his hopefulness, while it was yet unchastened, repeatedly outran his real strength. The Pentecostal fire descends upon him, and he continues to be the same man, with the same basis and structure of character; but there has passed over him a refining and invigorating touch. He has become more truly a Peter; he has drawn strength from the Rock of Ages. He is "the apostle of hope." To speak of hope at all is to speak of what we instinctively recognise as a condition of fruitful effort, of anything like success or satisfaction, even in the affairs of ordinary life. To take hope from a man is to paralyse him morally; if he lives on in so dreary a condition we think of him as surviving himself. The teaching of Scripture may help us to distinguish and appreciate three characteristics of that hope which apostles would recognise as true.

1. First, then, Christian hope, as St. Peter tells us, is seated "in God"; it is, as it has been called, one of the triad of virtues specially "theological"; it takes its stand on Divine revelation, it looks on to the attainment of Divine promises. It draws its life-blood from no mere surmise as to what is possible for humanity, in the race at large or in the individual, but from the manifestation of Divine truth and goodness in the Incarnate, whom St. Paul calls "our hope" (1 Timothy 1:1), because our hope is grounded on Him and centred in Him. St. Paul, indeed, cannot think of hope without thinking of Christ; it is characteristic of him that the object of his "earnest expectation and hope" should be the glorification of Christ in his body, whether by life or by death. So he elsewhere speaks of Christians as having been "called in one hope" which grows out "of their calling," which derives all its force and charm from the act of grace that brought them into that sacred and supernatural fellowship. Christian hope, being rooted in faith, is, like faith, vivid, positive, and definite; it is, as St. Peter calls it, "living," because it is a fruit of the resurrection life of Jesus; it gazes with calm, trustful eyes, onward and still onward, into a future literally boundless, as illuminated by the person and the work of the one everlasting Redeemer; it is a "hope of eternal life," as based on Him.

2. A hope which is thus essentially religious, thus Christian from the root upwards, and impossible except on the terms of Christian belief, is strong enough to face all facts, even such as are unwelcome or austere. Certainly there will be temptations to unhopefulness; there must be the discipline of hopes deferred, of success marred, of apparent defeats and disappointments, of much that might tempt impatience to despair. A hope thus trained, while resting on august realities, is strong because it is not fanciful; it has realised the conditions of Christian life as an uphill march; it can afford to take full account of the gravest requirements of His service, who bids no one follow save where He Himself has trod; it does not dream of being exempt from anxieties, but it "casts" the whole weight of them on "the strong hand" of that good Father who has proved so well how much He "careth for us."

3. True hope is a great instrument of moral and spiritual discipline. When St. Peter is about to say, "make your hope perfect," he prefaces it with a call to sustained effort; we are to "gird up the loins of our mind." It is remarkable also that St. Paul does not merely exhort us to cherish hope, but to see that our hope is of the right kind, that it is such as is secured through endurance, and endurance as fortified by the encouragement, the quickening impulse to Christian exertion, which the pages of Scripture will supply (Romans 15:4). It is as if he had said, "The further you advance in the spiritual life, the more will you need of strength to resist temptation, or to bear outward trials bravely, brightly, and patiently; and the more you can do this, the more of true hope will you acquire." Thus we see that the hope which maketh not ashamed is always humble and always active.

(W. Bright, D. D.)

The word "wherefore" bases the exhortation upon all that has preceded, not merely upon the sentence immediately before it.

I. THE DISCIPLINE NEEDED FOR CHRISTIAN HOPE. "Girding up the loins of your mind, be sober." Here are two practical injunctions, given as means towards a vigorous Christian hope. The first of these is too familiar to require many words. Girding up the loose garments was instinctively done before any kind of vigorous effort, whether it was pilgrimage, labour, or conflict. Elijah girded up his loins when he ran before Ahab's chariot. The soldier tightens his belt by another hole before the great struggle comes. The symbol, then, stands definitely here as expressing effort and concentration. There must be both, as Peter thinks, if there is to be any pulse of vitality throbbing under a Christian man's hope. And, says the apostle, thus making a concentrated effort to secure the vigour and clearness of hope, do another thing, "Be sober." Of course if I let my tastes, inclinations, desires, appetites, passions, run wild anywhere, there will be very little strength left me with which to hope for anything beyond. A man's mind is only capable of a given quantity of desire and expectation: and if he fritter it all away on the things seen and temporal, of course there will not be any left over for the things that are unseen. Every gardener knows that if he wants a tree to grow high he must pull off the side shoots, but if he likes to clip it at the top and take away the leader, it will grow nice and bushy down below. A man's mind obeys the same law.

II. THE CHARACTERISTICS AND QUALITIES OF THIS CHRISTIAN HOPE. As you are aware, our A.V. gives one translation of part of this verse, and the R.V. gives another. "Hope to the end," says the older. "Hope perfectly," says the newer and the better rendering. What are the imperfections that attach to men's hopes?

1. The first glaring one which attaches to the world's idea of hope is that it is something short of, less reliable than, certainty. We have not sufficiently concentrated our effort, nor have we sufficiently washed our hands of earthly follies and filths, so long as there is one shade of difference between the certitude with which we know today and the confidence with which, trusting to Christ, we expect the remotest eternity in the most glorious heavens.

2. Then there is another imperfection from which it is our duty and our joy to be able to clear our Christian hope, and that is that men's hopes fluctuate according to their moods and their circumstances. But the Christian man's hope should have this for the very signature of its perfection, that it is altogether independent of the changes of external circumstances. Nay! rather it should be like the pillar of fire that was only a thin film of smoke while the sunshine blazed, but kindled at its heart as darkness fell, and in the murkiest night was brightest and most blessed.

3. Then there is another imperfection which the Christian hope is permitted to put away from it; and that is that most of our hopes have no ennobling, no staying, no stimulating effect upon our lives. What a man hopes for he waits for with patience, and the perfection of the Christian hope is measured roughly by. this, the extent to which it is fruitful of all lowly, persistent adherence the most uncongenial, common place, and smallest duties.

III. THE OBJECT THAT IS HERE PROPOSES FOR HOPE. The apostle tells us to "hope for the grace," etc. There are three things we have to note here.

1. The loftiest hope of the furthest eternity is the hope of grace. We usually keep that word in contradistinction to glory as expressive of the gifts of God which we receive here upon earth in our pilgrimage. But the apostle here goes even deeper than that, and says, "Ah! it is all of a piece from the beginning to the end. The first gifts that a believing soul receives, whilst it is struggling here with darkness and light, are of the same sort as the eternal gifts that it receives when it stands before the throne, after millenniums of assimilation to the brightness and blessedness of Jesus Christ." They are all grace; the gifts of earth and heaven are one in their source and one in their nature.

2. Further, says the apostle, this grace is "being brought to you." The light that set out from the sun centuries ago has not reached some of the stars yet, but it is on the road. And the grace that is to be given to us has started from the throne, and it will be here presently. We are like men standing in the crowded streets of some royal city through which the king's procession has to pass. If we listened we have heard the guns fire that told that He had left the palace; and He will sweep in front of us and sweep us up into His train before very long. The grace is "being brought to us."

3. And it is being brought not merely at, but "in the revelation of Jesus Christ." "When Christ, who is our life, shall be manifested, then shall we also be manifested together with Him in glory." The Christ in me will be manifested when Christ is manifested on His throne, and that will be my glory. If you can fancy a planet away out on the edge of our system, such as that one that welters in the fields of space, I know not how far from the central sun, and gets but a little portion of his light and warmth, and moves slowly in a torpid round; and imagine it laid hold of and borne right into the orbit of the planet next the sun, what a difference in its temperature, what a difference in the lustre and the light, what a difference in the swiftness of its motion there would be! We here are moving round a half-veiled Christ, and we get but little, and oh! we give less, of His light and glory. But the day comes when we shall be swept nearer the throne, and all the light that is manifested to us shall be incorporated within us.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

I. Hope in its preliminary but indispensable CONDITIONS.

II. Hope in its OPERATION.

1. Hope is natural to the human mind, nothing more natural. It is a sweet-scented flower growing in every poor man's garden; a perennial flower, never blooming so exquisitely as in the midwinter of adversity.

2. "Hope perfectly." By this St. Peter probably means the same as St. Paul when the latter speaks of "the full assurance of hope," an unfaltering persuasion in the mind that we have a personal interest in the "inheritance reserved in heaven," "the salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." "When I live," wrote Latimer to Ridley, "in a settled and steadfast assurance about the state of my soul, methinks I am as bold as a lion; I can laugh at all trouble; no affliction daunts me; but when I am eclipsed in my comforts I am of so fearful a spirit that I could run into a very mouse hole." Now, how to attain this perfection of hope, this full assurance? Evidently by constantly but legitimately exercising this grace according to the Divine word and testimony, for, like other things, it grows bright in use.

3. "Hope unto the end." Persevere in the face of difficulties, however colossal, "for he that continueth to the end shall be saved." Turn your face to the Sun, pitch your hope fixedly on the inheritance reserved for you up yonder, and the shadows will all fall behind you.

III. Hope in its immutable FOUNDATION.

1. Our hope of salvation is based on Divine grace as brought to us in the past at the first revelation of Jesus Christ.

2. But not only has grace been brought to us in the past, but fresh supplies are being brought to us in the present. "The grace that is a-bringing, that is being brought to you, as the revelation of Jesus Christ." Grace came to the world in the person and work of Jesus Christ; it is still coming, a very present help in trouble, to God's people, whether that trouble be in the shape of sufferings or temptations. John Bunyan in his immortal dream beheld a fire which burnt on brightly notwithstanding all efforts to extinguish it. What was the explanation of this persistence? Oh, a man stood the other side of the wall continually pouring oil into it. "Hope perfectly, unto the end," for the gospel treasury of grace will never fail you.

3. But this hope looks forward to the future, to the final triumph of grace "at the revelation of Jesus Christ." Much grace has already been revealed; but eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath entered the heart of man the things God hath in store for His people.

(J. C. Jones, D. D.)

I. THE POWER OF HOPE IN HUMAN CHARACTER. What makes the difference between human beings and beasts? Very largely, the presence of hope as a factor in character. "The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests." So much the worse for them. Man is distinguished from the animals by the fact that you cannot so easily satisfy him. He may begin by living in the hole in the ground, or by lodging in the branches; but, by and by, that hole is not good enough. Something in man demands improvement. Hope is therefore one of the foremost elements in human character; distinguishing man as man, giving him a higher rank than all the rest of the animal creation. And as it is a necessary factor in character, so it is in human progress. Any conditions in human society which tend to repress hope are abnormal and unnatural, and hostile to man's well-being. Who is today at the bottom of society may, under the encouragement, of our republican institutions and freedom, rise until he occupies the highest position that the people can bestow. Hope presents a perpetual incentive to progress: — not an ignis fatuus, a will-o'-the-wisp, beguiling us into mire and marsh, but impelling us continually onward to things higher and better. The hopes of boyhood do not satisfy manhood, and the hopes even of manhood do not satisfy maturer years; and so that which once beckoned you forward, as you reach up and move up toward it, keeps still ahead of you, and becomes a perpetual inspiration, urging you ever onward and upward. If hope, therefore, could be quenched or crushed, we could make no more advancement. Because hope is so important an element in character, and so essential to human development and progress, the Word of God lays such heavy stress on this essential element of all true manhood. No other grace seems more vital to a true Christian life than hope. Then see how hope helps us to bear trials. It surrounds us with a kind of "elastic medium," so that when the terrible afflictions of this life beat against us, they rebound from us. There is a power in hope that prevents the severity of their blows from utterly crushing us.

II. What, now, are THE OBJECTS SET BEFORE THE CHRISTIAN HOPE? "The grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ." Few of us ever think of this. When we speak of the grace that is revealed we think of what is already manifested, of Golgotha with its Cross, of Gethsemane with its agony. Peter is speaking of something future, not grace already manifested. "The grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ." Jesus Christ's Incarnation was not a revelation. His divinity was rather hidden within the veil of His humanity: only now and then the glory of that divinity shone forth. When Jesus was here He was in disguise. God was only feebly and faintly manifested in the flesh, which obscured the glory. But when Christ conies a second time, no longer to make a sin offering, but to bring full salvation unto His people, then will be the revelation of Jesus Christ. He will come like the King in His glory. All the grace that comes to you from the hour of your regeneration to the hour of your complete sanctification is nothing in comparison with the grace that is to be revealed to you by Christ in the day when you are presented, faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy.

III. In view of the glorious hopes that the Bible inspires." GIRDING UP THE LOINS OF YOUR MIND, BE SOBER, hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ." Let us mark these subordinate phrases: "Girding up the loins of your mind, be sober." That they may not be entangled in thorns and briars, or be defiled by the dust and the filth of the way. And so the apostle says, "Girding up the loins of your mind," your affections, so that they may not be defiled by earthly things. John Wesley used to say, "The child of God ought to be too proud to sin. When I think of myself as the disciple of Christ, born of the Spirit, I say, 'How can I sin against God?'" Set your affections on things above; gird up your loins, and keep your white garments "unspotted from the world." And then "be sober." Now, it would do a pilgrim very little good if he gathered up his garments and did not maintain sobriety. He might fall in the dust of the way, bruising himself as well as defiling his robe. And so we must not only gird ourselves, but keep sober and clear-minded for the journey.

IV. WHAT A CONTRAST BETWEEN THE OBJECTS OF CHRISTIAN HOPE AND WORLDLY HOPE! Contrast the reality of Christian hopes with the illusiveness of worldly hopes. And consider, once more, the permanence and reliability of the Christian objects of desire and expectation. We come to a limit in this world. The glory of your possessions and your achievements will all pale and grow dim when you face the last great destroyer. But, blessed be God, the point at which human hopes are utterly blasted is the point at which Christian expectations only arrive at their consummation. What should we care for the perishing treasures of this world? for the evanescent pleasures that charm for a moment, and then lose their power?

(A. T. Pierson, D. D.)

Hope is mentioned in the text and in other parts of Scripture as a distinct grace or virtue, which the Christian should cultivate.

I. I SHALL POINT OUT THE DISTINCTIONS BETWEEN HOPE AND FAITH.

1. Faith and hope differ as to their extent. Faith relates to all things which Almighty God has revealed in Scripture, bad as well as good; whereas hope has only to do with the good things of our Heavenly Father.

2. Again, hope may be described as ever looking forward, and advancing from one blessed prospect to another, with its eyes bent upon God and the promises. But faith has to do with the present and past, as well as with the future. With past facts.

3. Once more, there is this great difference between hope and faith; that faith has to do with certainty, hope with uncertainty. You believe with full assurance, and it is a matter of faith that the righteous go to heaven. But that you individually are righteous, and shall finally go to heaven, is the subject of hope. Now the absolute necessity of this grace in your hearts will be at once evident, if you consider that it would interest you but little to be told of the felicities of heaven, had you no hope of ever attaining them. When you read of kings of the earth, of their royal appearance and great wealth, you at once feel that these things interest you but slightly, because they are so utterly beyond your reach.

II. Now, let us ILLUSTRATE THE FORCE AND POWER OF HOPE. Stories are told us of travellers journeying in other climes, who having wandered from their course, have by degrees found themselves involved in the intricacies of the wilderness without any probable chance of rescue. What so overwhelming as the feeling of utter loneliness which must press on the heart in the midst of unlimited sand? At such a time surely, a man may well give himself up as lost, and submissively lie down to perish. But there is a God beyond that sky and sun, Who has preserved men from worse dangers, and a hope springs up within his bosom, in the protection of that God. Hope cheers his soul, braces him to exertion, overcomes fatigue, and rescues from peril. He had no certainty of deliverance, but his hope was of sufficient power to make him persevere until he found the path, or was discovered by others and rescued. When the wife of the mariner sits at home solitary, what sustains her soul but the hope that all will be well? There can be no certain safety for him who is on the water; nothing, as we know, is so variable and treacherous as the waves and wind. When the prodigal child of God, like him in the parable, comes to himself and remembers his transgressions, what is to bring him to the feet of Almighty God but the hope of pardon? When the Christian soldier has taken his oath of service to Jesus Christ, and calmly considers the duties which are necessary to his reward, when he thinks of the enemies who encompass him, and of his own frailness and alienated affections, what can lead him to the contest and keep him undismayed? What but a sure and certain hope of Christ's continued assistance? Lastly: There is a moment, if possible more trying than all, when hope is the stay and anchor of the tossed soul. It is in that hour when even the most saintly may look forward with something of dread to the departure from earth. "In hope of eternal life, which God Who cannot lie promised before the world began"; my flesh, he thinks within himself, "shall rest in hope"; "Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; Thou wilt show me the path of life: in Thy presence is fulness of joy, and at Thy right hand are pleasures for evermore."

(J. M. Chaunter, M. A.)

It is pleasing to observe how the hopes of persons, by degrees, greaten their spirits from their childhood. The proper spirit of a noble man, a prince, or a king, is greater than that of an inferior person. And the reason is because as he comes to understand his quality, his spirit grows with his hopes of what he shall attain to; his very hopes greaten his spirit, ennoble him, and make him think of living like one that expects to be in such a state as that to which he is born. And such is the property of the Christian's hope. It not only makes him not ashamed, but it heightens and ennobles his spirit, makes him aspire high, and look forward to great things.

(J. Howe.)

I am well aware that the words of the original will bear the present signification. "Hope perfectly for the grace which is being brought unto you by the revelation of Jesus Christ." But after careful consideration I am convinced that the future sense is the right one, though the fact that the present is employed is full of significance, and discloses a fact which underlies the whole Word of God. The future revelation will be but the full unveiling of the present; just as in the creation round us were our eyes cured of their films, we should see a splendour which would reveal heaven. The whole life of what lives in the world has in it the germ of that full revelation; just as when you unfold one of the soft buds of spring, sheath within sheath of delicate leafage is found there, and in the heart of it all, visible only to the aided eye, is every petal, every stamen of the flower. The forms are already perfect in their microcosm, but the colours that are to blaze in the sunlight, and the odours that are to scent the air, wait the inspirations of the spring. The colour, which is the glory of a flower, glows only under the perfect conditions of its life.

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

I. We note THE REMARKABLE DESIGNATION HERE OF THE OBJECT OF CHRISTIAN HOPE — "The grace that is to be brought unto you at the appearing of Jesus Christ." Now, it is interesting to notice the various phases under which the future perfecting of the Christian life and felicity in heaven is set forth in the New Testament. Sometimes we read of the object of our hope as being the resurrection from the dead. Sometimes we read of the "hope of righteousness"; sometimes we read of the "hope of eternal life"; sometimes of the "hope of the glory of God"; sometimes of the "hope of salvation." But all these are but the many facets of the one jewel, flashing many coloured and yet harmonious light. Peter adds another general expression when he sums up the felicities and perfectness of that future life in this remarkable and unusual phrase, "the grace that is to be brought." "Grace reigns through righteousness unto eternal life"; and no man of the countless nations of the blessed can say, "Give me the portion for which I have worked," but all must bow and say, "Give me from thine own loving heart that which I do not deserve," "the grace that is to be brought at the appearing of Jesus Christ." Such, then, is the object of Christian hope, stated in its most general terms, a grace which includes resurrection, salvation, righteousness, eternal life, the glory of God, and that grace ever tending towards us, and that ever tending grace to be ours in its fulness, when Christ is manifested and "we shall be manifested with Him in glory." How different in its dignity, in its certainty, in its remoteness, which is a blessing — how different from the paltry, shortsighted anticipations of a near future which delude us along the path of earthly effort!

II. NOTICE THE ENJOINED PERFECTION OF CHRISTIAN HOPE. What constitutes perfect hope? First, theft it shall be certain; and no earthly hope is so. If my anticipations are set upon contingent things they must vary with their objects. You cannot build a solid house on a quagmire; you must have rock for that. So, the only perfect hope is that which grasps a perfect certainty. Christian hope ought to be, if I might so say, screwed up to the level of that on which it is fastened. It is a shame that Christian people should be wavering in their anticipations of that which in itself is certain. Again, the perfection of hope lies in its being patient, persistent through discouragements, burning bright in the darkness, like a pillar of fire by night; and most of all in its being operative upon life, and contributing to steadfastness of endurance and to energy of effort. This is exactly what the feeble and fluctuating hopes of earth never do. For the more a man is living in anticipation of an uncertain good, the less is he able to fling himself with wholeness of purpose and effort into the duties or enjoyments of the present. But a perfect hope will be the ally and not the darkener of the brightness of the present. And if we hope as we should for that we see not, then shall we with patience wait for it. Here, then, is the sort of hope which it is laid upon us Christian people consciously to try to cherish, one which is fixed and certain, one which is the mother of patience and endurance, one which persists through, and triumphs over all trouble and sorrow, one which nerves us for effort and opens our eyes to appreciate the blessings of the present, and one which wars against all uncleanness, and lifts us up in aspiration and aim towards the purity of Jesus Christ. We are neglecting a plain duty and impoverishing ourselves unnecessarily by the want of a treasure which belongs to us, unless we are making conscious efforts for our increase in hope as in faith and charity. Think of the blessedness of living thus, lifted up above all the uncertainties that rack men when they think about tomorrow. Try to realise the blessedness of escaping from the disappointments which come from all earthward turned expectations. The brightest blaze of Christian hope may be on the verge of the darkness of the grave.

III. Lastly, THE DISCIPLINE OF CHRISTIAN HOPE. "Gird up the loins of your mind." It suggests that there is a great deal in this life that makes it very difficult for us to keep firm hold of the facts, on which alone a perfect hope can be built. Unless we tighten up our belt, and so put all our strength into the effort, the truths of the resurrection which beget to a lively hope, of the great salvation wrought by Jesus Christ, of the meaning and end of all our trials and sorrows, will slip away from us, and we shall be left at the mercy of the varying anticipations of good or evil which may emerge from the varying circumstances of the fleeting moment. "Be sober." That means, not only gather yourselves together with a consecrated effort, but "keep your heel well down on the necks of lower and earthly desires." The fleshly lusts that belong to everybody must be subdued. That goes without saying. But, then, there are others more subtle, more refined, but not less hostile to the perfectness of a heaven-directed hope than are these grosser ones. We must keep down all the desires and appetites of our nature, both of the flesh and of the spirit. For we have only a certain quantity of energy to expend, and if we expend it upon the things of earth there is nothing left for the things above. If you take the river, and lead it all out into the gardens that are irrigated by it, or into the stream that drives your mills, its bed will be left bare, and little of the water will reach the great ocean which is its home. We may, if we will, be as certain of the future as of the past. We may, if we will, have a hope which maketh us not ashamed. We may have a great light burning steadily, like a lamp fed with abundant oil, and shielded from every wind. We may see His coming shining afar off, and be warranted in saying, not merely "we hope," but "we know, that when He shall appear we shall be like Him." This Christ-given hope is the only one that persists through calamity, old age, and death.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

The grace that is to be brought unto you
I. THERE IS TO BE A REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST. He has promised to come; He has given His people the hope of His coming; His coming is necessary —

1. For His own final and perfect glorification.

2. For the complete salvation and glorification of His Church.

3. For the full and everlasting destruction of His and its enemies.

4. For the vindication of God's way and the exhibition of His glorious attributes to the world.

II. WHAT THE REVELATION BRINGS. Grace. The Lord keeps His best wine unto the last, but He certainly sets forth good wine even now. We may, and do, receive grace now. Now is the day of salvation. But with all the grace given now to believers, and notwithstanding its present variety, fulness, and freeness, and all that it does in Christ's people, they need yet more at His revelation.

1. The grace of perfect vision of Him who is now unseen.

2. The grace of perfect likeness to Christ.

3. The grace of perfect acquittal.

4. The grace of perfect avowal and recognition.

5. The grace of perfect joy and glory forever.

III. WHAT INFLUENCE THIS REVELATION SHOULD NOW EXERT.

1. Spiritual readiness, in the loins of the mind girded, the thoughts collected, braced, prepared, and on the alert, with nothing left till the last (Luke 12:35, 36).

2. Spiritual self-restraint, in sobriety; neither too elated nor too depressed.

3. Perfect hope; desiring, picturing, expecting the revelation and what it brings; hoping perfectly, never letting go hope, though the day seems far off.

(Alex. Warrack, M. A.)

We take grace as denoting in our text precisely what it ordinarily denotes in God's dealing with a sinner, and wish to show you that grace thus understood may become, or rather, produce glory. We will briefly examine into the twofold achievement of grace — deliverance from sin, and consignment to God's service.

1. As to deliverance from sin, shall not we be borne out by the experience of every believer, when we declare that it is his happiness to overcome sin, and his misery to be exposed to its assaults? If this corruption were wholly eradicated, he might continually walk in the shinings of the countenance of his Maker, and feel, so to speak, the fresh and free air of a better land circulating around him, as he passed on in his pilgrimage. So that all the interruptions of happiness are to be referred to sinfulness, and happiness becomes uniform, or rather, advances uniformly towards perfection, just in proportion as the sinfulness is subdued, and the whole man given over to a holy dominion. And if this be a correct account of a believer's experience, it will show us that grace and glory are one and the same. It is to the operations of grace that we must ascribe all the progress I have made in overcoming sinfulness; and if this progress b¢ the same as progress in happiness, we proclaim that to the operations of grace must be ascribed all the happiness which a believer attains. And if it would thus be perfect happiness to realise to the full the renewing power of grace, how can we better describe perfect happiness than by supposing grace given without measure, and acting without rival? And if, yet further, perfect happiness be one ingredient of future glory, is not the gift of grace the gift of glory, and does not St. Peter address himself to the highest and most rapturous imagination when he bids us "hope for grace at the revelation of Jesus Christ?" This will be yet clearer if you observe the period at which the grace will be received. The second advent of our Lord was unquestionably present to St. Peter's mind. It is on this grand consummation that apostles and holy men of old delight to linger, and from this that they fetch their motives and consolations. They well knew that whatever the happiness of separate spirits, however deep and beautiful their repose after the clang and din of warfare, there can be no perfection of felicity until the widowhood be over, and the soul dwell once more in the body. They looked for grace "at the revelation of Jesus Christ," because they knew with that revelation would come the resurrection of the saints, the body and soul both redeemed, both purified, both endowed with eternity. If, therefore, this consummation be glory, what is glory but grace completed?

2. We have thus far only treated of grace as producing deliverance from sin; but this is not the only achievement of grace; yet further we must consider it as consignment to the service of God. There are none but true Christians who at all fulfil the great end of their being, that of promoting the glory of their Maker; and it is not through the workings of any human principle that they propose to themselves so sublime an honour; there must have been an alienation of the affections, and a withdrawment of the heart from temporary interests. We know, indeed, that all things, wickedness as well as righteousness, one way or another, promote God's glory; but while the Almighty, in the exercise of His sovereignty, compels a tribute from the rebellious, that tribute is offered by none but the believer. It is, therefore, to grace, the principle imparted by God, that we ascribe every effort to promote God's glory; nothing can be presented to God which has not first been received from Him; according to the words of David — "All things come of Thee, and of Thine own have we given Thee"; and if it be the direct result of the workings of grace that we are led to consecrate ourselves to the service of God, then let grace have unrestrained operation, and, dust and ashes though we be, should we not become ineffably glorious? It will not be the robe of light which shall make us glorious, though brighter threads than sunbeams shall be woven into its texture; it will not be the palm and the harp that shall make us glorious, though the one shall have grown on the trees of Paradise, and the other have been strung by the Mediator's hands; we shall be glorious as ministering to God's glory glorious as the servants of the Almighty — glorious with more than an angel's glory, because entrusted with more than an angel's commission. And, if this be our glory, poetry may give her music to what she counts more beautiful, anti painting its tints on more sparkling and captivating things, but Christianity, the scheme of human restoration, recognises no glory but the living to the glory of God. If this be glory, then where is the word which could describe glory so emphatically as grace? Grace is that which produces consecration to God's service, and therefore grace is nothing less than incipient glory.

(H. Melvill, B. D.)

At the revelation of Jesus Christ
I. THE GRAND OBJECT REFERRED TO. "The revelation of Jesus Christ."

II. THE BLESSINGS WHICH RESULT TO BELIEVERS IN CONSEQUENCE OF THIS REVELATION.

1. By means of this revelation the kindness of God our Saviour to man is made known.

2. This revelation brings heaven to the view of believers, and assures them that they shall inherit that glory which is yet to be revealed.

3. This revelation teaches those who in consequence of receiving it have truly believed on the Son of God, that when He shall come again it will be to con summate their salvation.

III. THE ENTIRE CONFIDENCE AND JOYOUS ANTICIPATION, WHICH IT BECOMES BELIEVERS CONSEQUENTLY TO INDULGE.

1. It is very important to Christians that they should indulge hope — that they should "perfectly hope." "We are saved by hope."

2. A firm foundation is laid for the exercise of perfect hope in the promises of God, ratified by the blood of the everlasting covenant, and confirmed by solemn oaths.

(W. Temple.)

The display of Him is everything. Be it therefore observed that "the revelation" of Him is four fold.

1. The first revelation of Him we call scriptural. This began very early, even in Paradise. There the Sun of righteousness dawned, and from thence shone more and more unto the perfect day. This exhibition of Him may be likened to a perfect portraiture of a most distinguished and endeared person age, at full length, rolled up on the side of a room, and which the owner gradually opens to the beholders, till the whole figure stands disclosed.

2. The second revelation of Him is incarnate. Thus He was not only declared but perceived. He appeared not in vision but in person. Not tremendously, as in the giving of the law, but familiarly, "clothed in a body like our own." Not transiently, as when He paid visits to His people of old, but by a continuance of three-and-thirty years — for "the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us — full of grace and truth."

3. The third revelation of Him is spiritual. And we call it spiritual because it is produced by the Spirit of God in the spirit of man. It is expressed by sight; not a carnal sight of Him, but by the eye of faith. It is such an acquaintance with Him as draws forth our admiration, excites our love, gains our confidence, and secured our obedience.

4. The fourth revelation of Him is glorious. After all He is now much concealed. There are millions who know nothing even of His existence. Even where He is professedly known, there are multitudes to whom He has no form or comeliness, nor any beauty, that they should desire Him. But Christians are relieved and cheered with the thought that it will not be so always. But what is to be expected at the revelation of Jesus Christ? "The grace that is to be brought unto you."Two inquiries may here arise —

1. What does "the grace" here spoken of mean? It comprehends the fulness of the promise, "I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there ye may be also." "Well done, thou good and faithful servant." His invitation, "Come, ye blessed of My Father."

2. But why is it called grace? Why is it not said, "The glory that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ"?

(1)May it not be, first, to exclude merit from all share in attaining it?

(2)And may it not be so called to show the identity of grace with glory

(W. Jay.)

As obedient children
creature can escape. Man created to obey does not avoid this duty by separating himself from God; he only changes masters. What constitutes his greatness is that he freely responds to the design of his Creator.

2. Because as Christians we are the redeemed of Jesus Christ, and consequently the property of God. Everything in the gospel teaches obedience.

II. HOW MUST WE OBEY? God will not be served by mercenaries nor by slaves. Who then will serve Him? The apostle answers, children.

III. WHAT INFLUENCE DOES THIS OBEDIENCE EXERT OVER OUR LIFE? Action is but a part of obedience; to suffer is another. For many it is the larger part; for all it is the most difficult. Walking, speaking, working are to us means of obedience.

1. Some complain at being obliged to obey, and rebel. Direct them to Nazareth, to Gethsemane, to Calvary.

2. Some apparently accept the yoke of the Lord, but reserve to themselves the right of obeying in their way. Under the cover of Divine will they accomplish their own designs.

3. Some wait till an inward impulse moves them to obedience. If it does not act they do not obey at all. In obeying at first passively and without joy, their obedience would soon, under Divine blessing, be transformed into a joyous doing of His will. One word to such as do not yet possess the truth. If they ask me what is the best way of obtaining faith, I will not hesitate to answer, "Obey!"

(E. Bersier, D. D.)

1. We must obey, not by halves, or where we list, but in all things (Psalm 119:6; Luke 1:6; Leviticus 10:2).

2. We must not, on the other side, run without our errand, nor do things whereof we have no commandment; this is no obedience, be it never so costly or painful, have it never so goodly a show (Jeremiah 7:31).

3. Moreover, we must obey the commandment of the Lord, be it never so strange, harsh, unpleasing, or contrary to custom, though all the world counsel to the contrary.

4. We must obey without reasoning the case, or consulting with flesh and blood: we must bind reason hand and foot to follow God (as it were) blindfold, as Abraham offering Isaac, and Joshua compassing Jericho.

5. We must obey, whosoever or whatever be against it. If profits, pleasure, farm, oxen, etc., call us away, and God invite us, we must follow Him, else we have no part in Him.

6. Speedily, not hereafter, but today.

7. Voluntarily, not be haled only by pain and misery. God loves a cheerful servant.

8. Constantly, not for a while only. Reasons hereof.

(1)God's sovereignty over us. We clay, He our Maker.

(2)His will a rule of righteousness.

(3)His great mercies every way, even to the worst, but to His children wonderful ones.

(John Rogers.)

The idea of the Christian life, as a new sphere in which hope is predominant, and into which by virtue of our Lord's resurrection Christians enter by a second birth, leads the apostle to address those to whom he wrote as "children"; and among the typical excellencies of children he selects the virtue of obedience. Now it may be noticed, first of all, that obedience is not in our day one of the more popular Christian graces or virtues. There have been days in the Church when men have been possessed by nothing short of a passion for putting themselves under rule — sometimes, it must be granted, not being sufficiently careful as to the sort of rule they put themselves under. Those days have gone by; and While we hear of Church Temperance Societies and Church Purity Societies devoted to the enforcement of these particular virtues, we do not, as yet, hear of a "Church Obedience Society." Now the neglect into which obedience has fallen is apparently part of a larger neglect — that of the passive virtues generally; because, although obedience has an active, sometimes a very active, side, it is in the main a passive excellence. As the soul loses touch with the great Master of love, humility, self-repression, obedience it falls back on the old pagan ideal of regulated self-assertion, and a virtue like that insisted on by St. Peter — child-like obedience — is apt to be very soon at a discount. And there is another characteristic of our time which makes obedience a more or less difficult virtue. Obedience is said to be the virtue of older social conditions, such as accompanied feudalism or absolute monarchy, older conditions to which democracy has succeeded. It was natural, we are reminded, for arbitrary rulers to make much of a temper of mind which buttressed their power, but in a democratic age liberty takes the place of obedience: liberty is the typical virtue of free, self-improved, self-governing man; obedience, as a virtue, has had its day. Again, we are reminded that we are living in an age of liberty, nor, can it be denied that the difficulties of doing justice to the virtue of obedience have been aggravated by the abuses which have gathered round the ancient centres of authority? Nothing discredits the claims of obedience like the exaggerations of the rightful claims of any who ought to be obeyed. The Monarchy of France, as Richelieu contrived to make it, was the natural forerunner of the great Revolution; the Papacy, when, among other causes, the false decrials had exaggerated a legitimate supremacy of order into a spiritual absolutism, led by reaction into that enfeeblement of Church authority which is the weakness of our part of Christendom. We have accordingly fallen upon times when, both in Church and State, the rights of liberty have been pleaded against the duties and the instincts of obedience, and pleaded more or less successfully because of abuses in the support of which obedience has been, or might be, conceivably enlisted. And, further, as a consequence of these three tendencies, attention has been in modern times largely concentrated on those parts of Holy Scripture, to the neglect of others, which lay stress upon the rights, as distinct from the duties, of a Christian; Upon his freedom from the Jewish law as distinct from his obligations to the eternal moral law; upon the liberty with which Christ has made him free, as distinct from that service which he owes to God and which is itself perfect freedom. It is impossible to mistake the charm and power which attach to this word "liberty." There is, we feel, something in our own human nature which at once responds to it; it appeals to sympathies which are universal and profound. Liberty is even in one particular sense the excellence of man as man — that is to say, of man as being endowed with a free will. To attempt to crush the exercise of this endowment of freedom is regarded as a crime against human nature, while the undertaking to strengthen its vigour and to enlarge its scope appeals to man's profound desire to make the best of that which is his central self; and hence the indefinite, the magic charm which always attends upon the word and the idea of liberty. But, when in this connection we use the word "liberty," two different things are often intended. The liberty to choose between good and evil, with, it must be added, in our fallen state, an existing inclination in the direction of the evil, is one thing; the true moral liberty of man is another. True liberty is secure when the will moves freely within its true element, which is moral good. Moral good is to the human soul what the air is to the bird, what the water is to the fish. Bird and fish have freedom enough in their respective elements; water is death to the bird, as the atmosphere is to the fish. A bird can sometimes drown itself, a fish can leap out of the water and die upon the bank; but the liberty of fish and bird alike is sufficiently complete without this added capacity for self-destruction; and so it is with man. Every Christian who is living in a state of grace will understand this. He knows that he would gain nothing in the way of moral freedom by a murder, or an adultery, or a lie; he knows that our Lord Jesus Christ, who did no sin, who could have done no sin, was not, therefore, other than morally free, since it is His freedom in giving Himself to death which is of the essence of His self-sacrifice for the sins of the world: "No man taketh My life from Me, but I lay it down of Myself." Nay, a Christian knows, too, that God could not choose evil without doing violence to His essential nature. But is God, therefore, without moral freedom? Is not God rather the one Being who is perfectly free because His perfections make it impossible for Him to choose evil; and would it not follow that the more closely man approaches to the holiness of God, the more closely does he approach to the true idea of liberty? We may look at this fundamental truth from another side. The sense of liberty within the soul of man is the conscious energy of the will, its felt vigour its power of making straight for the aim before it. But what is more certain than that the will acquires this two-fold excellence — strength and directness of purpose — by the discipline of obedience? The man who has never obeyed is not the man to know how to command. The steady drudgery of an apprenticeship is the necessary training for the conduct of a great business. The submissive and persistent industry of the junior clerk is the true preparation for a partnership in the firm. He would be a poor general of division who had never served as an ensign or a lieutenant, if not in the ranks. Nay, we see the operation of this law, that the strength and freedom of the will is secured by obedience, in the very quarter where we might beforehand perhaps think that it might have been dispensed with. We are told that the Divine Redeemer of the world went down to Nazareth, and was subject to His mother and His foster father until a period long past the age of manhood; and when his ministerial life, which from first to last was a life of obedience, was ended, it was ended by a supreme act of obedience. For He "became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross; wherefore also God hath highly exalted Him." The obedience which St. Peter recommends is, let us observe, the obedience of children. It is not the obedience of slaves, of slaves who are slaves against their will. The kingdom of heaven is not fashioned on the lines of an Oriental court in which a crowd of unwilling servitors tremble before a master whose word may at any moment bring to any one of them sentence of death. There have been Christians who have understood the service of God in some such sense as this, but it is not the tendency or a danger of our time. We should perhaps do better to remember that the use which a true Christian makes of his freedom is to become willingly a slave of Jesus Christ. This is St. Paul's favourite way of describing himself, "Paul, a servant" — it should be, "a slave of Jesus Christ." He means that he has freely surrendered himself, his soul, his body, his understanding, his affections, his will, his passions, his entire liberty, to the will, to the commands of Jesus Christ. But then this slavery is the highest expression of freedom, and it differs vitally from the involuntary slavery which has nothing to do with, though it may have at times been mistaken for, Christian obedience. In the current sense of the words, "Christian obedience" is not the obedience of slaves, nor is it the obedience of mercenaries. A true Christian does not serve God for the sake of what he can get from Him; he does not serve God only or chiefly even for the sake of gaining heaven, or of escaping hell. But here do not let us exaggerate. If God is to be served because He is what He is — infinitely perfect and lovable — it is not less true that a recompense does follow on Christian obedience. The picture in St. Matthew 25 of the King sitting in judgment and making the eternal awards to the blessed and to the lost is not an illusion. If the recompense is not the first motive of service, it is a motive which our Lord Himself has sanctioned. Nay, in the last resort obedience to God for His own sake and obedience for the sake of the reward which He gives so blend as not to be distinguishable from each other, since God Himself is the only true and adequate reward of the human soul. He says to each true servant now, as He said to the Patriarch, "I am thy exceeding great reward." And yet it remains true that the obedience which keeps an eye only or mainly on what it will get is not in keeping with the higher temper of the Christian life. Every time we say "Our Father," at the beginning of the most authoritative of all prayers, we bind ourselves to a life of obedience. Of this let us be sure, that no true obedience neglects orders and duties which God has clearly prescribed. If God says by His apostle, "Pray," even "pray without ceasing," a true obedience does not say, "My heart is cold, my prayer will be formal, lifeless, resultless" — it does its best. If God says, "In everything give thanks," true obedience does not say, "God knows all about me and He will take my thankfulness for granted; I need not say grace after meals, or thanksgiving after Communion, or go out of my way to render praise to Him for some special deliverances and mercies" — it does its best. And if God bestows on us the treasure of His Holy Word, and bids us "Search the Scriptures," true obedience does not say that the Bible will not help us until we are aroused by literary curiosity, or some other sort of eagerness, to read it; it resolves to train the spiritual taste by earnest daily study — it does its best. If God desires us again and again to bear witness before the world to the faith that is in us, true obedience does not dwell on the feeble hold of the great unseen realities which is all that as yet we have, on the danger of saying more than we feel or mean, on the shifting, uncertain character of our present impressions — it goes straight to Holy Scripture and does its best. If God bids us remember the poor, visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction — in other words, look after hospitals, orphanages, homes, penitentiaries, deserted children, tramps, lone women, and the like — true obedience does not say, "There is no knowing, after all, how many of these institutions are doing any real good." It does not say, "We cannot possibly decide how many of these poor people are not gross impostors." It goes to work with the love of God in its heart, and, expecting to make a full percentage of mistakes, it does its best. Obedience cannot hope to be always and everywhere the product of a sustained enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is a great gift of God which visits souls and visits churches at intervals, but there are also intervals when there is little or no enthusiasm abroad, but during which the persistence of obedience is not the less necessary; and it is during these colder periods that we learn the value of living by rule. No obedience worth anything is to be secured without rule. "Moral force," it has well been said, "is like running water in a narrow channel which confines it on this side and that; it rushes onwards towards the fields of duty as the dispenser of fertility and of life; but if it has no barriers to confine its energies and to direct its course, it will presently sink away into the sands and will do no good to any living thing." Not that child-like obedience is always, indeed chiefly, active. In the majority of human lives it is passive. It consists in acceptance of what is ordered, in submission, in resignation, rather than in anything demonstrative; and obedience of this kind is at once harder and more sublime than active obedience: it is the obedience of Gethsemane and of Calvary, rather than that of the preceding years of labour and of miracle. The Holiest, we are told, Himself learnt obedience, not by the things which He did, but by the things which he suffered. The best and most fruitful obedience may in some cases be that of the confirmed invalid, that of the closing weeks of a last illness. Obedience is the joy and glory of the great intelligences who move and worship around the eternal throne; and here below on earth the souls which grace has fashioned after the likeness of the pattern Man — aye, the finest natures among us — have a thirst, nay, they have a passion, for obedience, for they know that in freely obeying they touch nearly, or quite, the secret of moral victory and spiritual joy.

(Canon Liddon.)

These words immediately follow, and are to be taken in closest connection with, the exhortation to "hope perfectly for the grace that is to be brought at the revelation of Jesus Christ." Hope, then, is to be nurtured, not only by a believing contemplation of future felicities, but by exercising ourselves to godliness and practical obedience. Two points as to the words of this text must be noticed before dealing with the thoughts. As the Revised Version shows, the literal rendering is "as children of obedience." The essential or permanent characteristic of a person or thing is regarded as his or its parent. So obedience is represented as the inalienable mark of a Christian. But the immediately following reference to God as our Father seems to suggest that the Hebrew idiom here is blended with the Christian thought of sonship. One other expository remark is necessary. The Revised Version reads in the margin "but like the Holy One which called you." If we adopt that rendering, and connect the words closely with the preceding, God's own holiness is proposed as the pattern by which Christians are to fashion themselves.

I. THAT CHRISTIAN HOPE AND CHRISTIAN OBEDIENCE ARE INSEPARABLE COMPANIONS. The mark of a son is to obey. And obedience means not merely doing what we are bid, but being glad to be bidden to do it; and it means not merely the active submission of will to the loving command of the Father, but also the quiet acceptance of and bowing of the will to the wise appointments of that Father. So it is the exact opposite of that temper and attitude which are characteristic of the godless world which makes self and its own will its law. There are the two courses of life, obedience or rebellion; and there is no middle point. Does our obedience cover the whole ground — of action and of surrender and submission? Such obedience can never be parted from the great Christian hope. Hope will produce obedience. Now, many professing Christians are a great deal stronger in the department of devout emotion than in that of practical righteousness. I should like all these people who find it so good to feed their souls on the meditation and anticipation of future blessedness to notice how, as in one volume, Peter binds up the two things that they keep so distinctly apart, and how emphatically he affirms that, if we have any genuine Christian hope, it will have its effect in helping us, as children of obedience, to do and to accept all our Father's will. There we come down to a very plain practical test. But, then, these two things which the Apostle thus couples by an iron band have a reciprocal action. They work upon each other; in fact, they are the outside and the inside of the same thing; but we may look at them as being different. Just as strong hope will produce obedience, so true obedience will nourish and strengthen hope. For a little sin will go much further towards obscuring and shattering a Christian man's hope than a great sorrow will. It is comparatively easy to keep up the temper of joyous anticipation of the future in the midst of the darkness of a present experience; but it is absolutely impossible for a man, at one and the same time, to be rebelling in heart and act against the will of God and to be entertaining and recreating his soul by the bright hope of a future heaven. No Christian man's hope will last through a sin. Therefore obedience and hope must co-exist and feed one another.

II. THAT HOPE, FED BY AND FEEDING OBEDIENCE, SHOULD CHANGE US FROM THE LIKENESS OF OUR FORMER SELVES. "Not fashioning yourselves according to the former in your ignorance" — that may be said to all people who have been brought out of the darkness into the light. It is but an uncertain light, or twilight mainly, at the best, that shines upon the mysteries of human life and duty, until the sunshine of God, manifested in Jesus Christ, rises and is welcomed by our hearts. So, then, non-Christian living is, in a profound sense, ignorance; and in the ignorance, just as the wild beasts of the forest go forth in the dark and are nocturnal in their habits if they are predatory, so the lusts that war against our souls expatiate and hunt and find their prey in the darkness. But, says Peter, if, hoping, you are obedient, and obedient you hope, then there will be a process of transformation going on in you. But in a world like this, and with creatures like us, unless a man has learnt not to do wrong, there is little chance of his doing right. The evil that we have to fight against is in possession, and we have to turn it out. A large part of all practical morality, Christian or not, consists in negative precepts; and the very heart and centre, in one aspect, of Christian duty lies here; self-denial, self-suppression, self-crucifixion. You have to put off the old self as part of the process of putting on the new. I press this upon you, "not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts, in your ignorance." And that will be a life-long task. For nobody knows how, like a cuttlefish, holding on to its prey by the suckers upon its arm, his evil habits cling to him, until he have tried to fling away the loathly thing that prevents him from freely using his limbs. "Hope?" Yes! "Obey?" Yes! and that you may crucify the old man with his deeds, and put off the garments spotted by the flesh, that you may put on the "fine linen, clean and white, which is the righteousness of saints."

III. Lastly, THIS OBEDIENCE AND HOPE SHOULD CHANGE US INTO THE LIKENESS OF THE FATHER. If we are children we have the Father's life in us; and we ought to have the Father's likeness. This is the great aim that we have to set before ourselves. And oh! what an aim it is. Nothing less august than absolute perfection is worthy to be the goal of a soul. How different it is to say, Try to be like God as you haw learned to know Him in Jesus Christ, from what it is to say, "Try to be up to the ideal of humanity"; "try to cultivate a pure morality"; "be true to yourselves," and all those other sayings, noble in their way and to a certain extent, which people who turn away from Christianity try to set up as substitutes for its morality. They are all hard and icy; and no kind of inspiration comes out of them. "Be ye perfect. as your Father in heaven is perfect," the ideal lives; the ideal loves, Yes! and more; the ideal is our Father, and so He will make His child like Himself. And that fashioning ourselves like our Father, if it does not precede obedience to the negative precept, must at all events be carried on simultaneously with it. It is a fatal mistake to try simply to obey the negative precept unless we aim along with it at obedience to the positive one. The more we come close to Him the further we withdraw from earth and evil. But notice how hope animates the effort at becoming like God. He is "the Holy One which called you." Well, then, if He has called us to be holy, it will not be in vain that we shall try to be so. And unless we have this "hope of His calling," sure I am that we shall never earnestly and successfully aim at being like Him.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

Do not always be looking for the large and the heroic, the expansive, the typical, the magnificent. Do with simplicity and consecration and faith your duty as it comes, every day; that is all. The great Earl of Lincoln held all his great estates from the Crown on the condition that he gave to the king every year one white rose in the time of roses. Now, it was not much — a white rose for a title to these estates; but mind you it was enough. It was a sign that the earl held all from the throne, and that he held all for the throne; and, as he gave his white rose, year by year, it was the signal of his loyalty. And God says to us, "I do not ask you for the large and the difficult and the impossible, day by day — but simple love, simple loyalty, simple service, one white rose in the time of roses." But mind you keep the white rose of love, of simple obedience, and consecration in your heart. That, then, is enough. He can see the heroic in the simplest service.

(W. L. Watkinson.)

Not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts
For the order here used, he sets renouncing of our lusts first, before embracing of holiness; men put off their old rags, ere they can put on a new apparel; purge the stomach of ill humours, ere they take good nourishment; dig up the weeds, ere they sow or set herbs: so in this ease. Where, therefore, there remaineth the love of any lust or sin, there is no true grace in the heart, neither will any grow till that be rooted out. God will not plant any of His grace there, till the devil's planting be plucked up. Many think they be Christians, and do many things well, though they keep the love of some sin; no, mark, the love of grace and goodness, and the love of any sin, cannot be in one heart; they are so contrary the one to the other; therefore, while thou livest in any known sin, and lovest any lust, as sure as God is in heaven thou art an hypocrite and standest in the state of damnation.

(John Rogers.)

are not sensual impulses and wants only, but desires of what is different from what God allows.

(G. F. C. Frau Muller, Ph. D.)

In your ignorance
I. WHY IS IGNORANCE NAMED AS THE SPECIAL SIN TO SET OUT THEIR UNREGENERATE ESTATE, seeing they were guilty of many other sins? Not because men sin only by ignorance, as the Platonists think, but —

1. It may be the Holy Ghost doth of purpose do it to aggravate the hatefulness of the sin because men use to excuse it and make light of it.

2. Because it is a sin none are free from. If he had named whoredom, or drunkenness, etc., many unregenerate men would have pleaded not guilty.

3. This sin serves more to reproach the rebellious nature of man. It was the knowledge of good and evil that Adam so much aspired unto, and lo, now, he and all his were set in gross ignorance.

4. Because ignorance is the mother and nurse of all sorts of sins (Ephesians 4:18; 2 Peter 2:12; Psalm 36:2, 3, 4). But have unregenerate men no knowledge? Yes, they have some knowledge, for they are wise to do evil, and they may have great learning in arts and sciences; but yet they are justly taxed with ignorance because they know not God as a Father by the light of faith, nor Christ Jesus whom He hath sent; and besides, they have no desire to know their own iniquities or the way how to reform their own lives; they have no knowledge to do good.

II. These things being thus resolved, there are DIVERS OBSERVATIONS TO BE NOTED FROM HENCE.

1. That a true convert must make conscience of inward sins, as well as outward; of defects as well as evil desires or lusts, as here of ignorance as well as of wicked thoughts. The same God that saith, "How long shall thy evil thoughts abide in thee?" complains also of ignorance (Isaiah 1:3).

2. That ignorance is no small sin; it is exceeding hateful to God; contrary to doctrine of those that say it is the mother of devotion.

3. That without reformation of ignorance we cannot be truly turned to God; without knowledge the mind is not good; therefore, to tear the veil is one part of God's work in our conversion (Proverbs 19:3; Isaiah 25:8).

4. That ignorance is wanton and full of lust (Ephesians 4:18).

5. That the way to be rid of lusts is to be rid of ignorance. For saving knowledge keeps us from sin (James 3:17). Here we may see the principal use we should put our knowledge to, viz., to cleanse our hearts of base thoughts and desires.

6. That we may live in places of great means for knowledge and yet be grossly ignorant. For he writeth here to the Jews, who had the law and the prophets, and the oracles of God and the priests, etc.

7. That all knowledge or learning without the knowledge of God's favour in Christ, and the way how to reform our own lives, is but foolish ignorance.

8. That habitual lusts are a sure sign of ignorance, whatsoever knowledge men pretend.

III. Lastly, SEEING THERE IS IGNORANCE EVEN IN THE CHILDREN OF GOD AFTER CALLING, WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF UNREGENERATE IGNORANCE?

1. It hardens the heart and works a continued evil disposition to sin with greediness (Ephesians 4:11, 18). Now the ignorance in the godly may be where the heart is softened and the overflowings of corruption stopped.

2. It hoodwinketh the soul in the main things needful to salvation, as the knowledge of a man's own iniquities, God in Christ, the forgiveness of a man's own sins, and generally all the things of God (1 Corinthians 2:14). A wicked man may discern spiritual things carnally, but not spiritually.

3. It hath never been in the furnace of mortification; it hath never been truly repented of, whereas the ignorance of the godly hath often been confessed, mourned for, etc.

4. It will suffer no saving grace to neighbour by it; where ignorance hath not been repented of, there no fear of God, no holy contemplation, no uprightness, love of God, or His Word, or His people, will dwell. Now the ignorance that is in God's children is well neighboured with many holy graces that can dwell by it. And as these ignorances differ in nature and working, so they differ in imputation. For unto the godly there is a sacrifice for ignorance. God doth not impute ignorance unto the godly: it shall be to them according to what they know, and not according to what they know not.

(N. Byfield.)

He fathers their following of lusts on their ignorance; and ignorance is the root of a wicked life; for, till men know the will of God out of His Word, how can they do it? and what are we prone to by nature, but to all the evil in the world? Therefore the devil labours by all means to hold people in blindness, and, of all books, hath most been an enemy to the Bible, and to sincere and diligent reading, and preaching the Scriptures, for were those away, he knows all iniquity must needs abound. As, if one comes into a house at midnight, he sees no faults, but when the morning comes, then he sees a number of things out of order; so in the clear light of the gospel, we see the wickedness that then appeared not in the dark. Whither will not our nature run, and whither may not the devil and world lead one, when he hath no eyes to see whither he goes? As the raven first picks out the lamb's eyes, and then kills it at his pleasure, when it cannot see to escape, so doth the devil by people.

(John Rogers.)

I have heard a reflection often expressed by thoughtful country people when they saw a great draught horse meekly submitting to be bridled and led away to labour by a child: "If the brute creatures knew their own strength, they would not submit to the yoke and the lash." These mighty quadrupeds could trample down the stripling that puts bits in their mouths. Yet they submit to whatever their master imposes, ignorant of their own strength. Oh, if man, God's greatest creature, knew his strength, he would not submit to be the slave of vile passions! Strong men in multitudes are in our country led not only to the yoke, but even to the shambles, by the appetite of intemperance. This possessing spirit says to the right arm, Do this, and he doeth it; to the foot, Go thither, and he goeth. Oh, that these captives, driven openly in gangs, not through the marshes of interior Africa, but along the streets of British cities, were at last set free!

(W. Arnot.)

Holy in all manner of conversation
Not where, when, to whom, and what we list, but at all times, in all places, towards all persons, and in all things, as God is holy in all His ways and works.

1. This serves to rebuke those that will yield in some things only. What is it if a man be not covetous, if he be proud, or unclean, etc.? Some will yield in great matters, but in small do as they list; as to swear by their faith and troth, especially in that which is true, talk vain a little, put a little false ware, deceive a little, etc. Some again will yield in all small matters, but in some great thing they will not; as to give all diligence to increase in every grace, and that no corrupt communication should come out of their mouths; though thou hast spoken many good words, yet hadst thou better be silent than have no more good to speak. Some in adversity will be very humble, good words, golden promises, but in prosperity nothing so. Some use their superiors well, their poor tenants or work folks hardly. Alas, there is no part of our life, wherein God gives any license to do evil; in our particular callings let us show the truth of our Christianity.

2. Let us prove the truth of holiness in us by the generality of it; keep a constant tenour, an even hand, and let there be a proportion between every part of our life, not one part, as it were, devout, another profane and wicked.

(John Rogers.)

Be ye holy, for I am holy
What, then, is the sort of holiness to which He who is holy in calling us, does in fact call us?

I. Here, negatively, LET US NOTE WHAT IT IS NOT AND CANNOT BE.

1. For one thing, it clearly is not, it cannot be, mere innocence, the innocence of one ignorant of evil, or of one who knows evil only by report, or of one who knows it only as a possibility, by a prohibitory enactment with a penalty attached to it.

2. Neither is it enough that it should be a holiness consisting merely of enforced abstinence from evil, or of such outward compliance with good as a sense of dire necessity and a dread of unpleasant consequences may produce.

3. Nor even can it be such painful discipline of self-restraint, self-denial, self-mortification, as may spring from better and more respectable motives — sometimes from motives of deep religious earnest ness.

4. For, as to its essential character, our holiness, if it is to be like the holiness of God, must, at the very outset, pass out of the region of the merely negative, which implies a continual struggle to dethrone a tyrant, into the region of the positive, which is realised in our acknowledgment of Him who buys us to be His freedmen.

5. For, finally, it is indeed now a new influence, a fresh and new power.

II. THE POSITIVE ASPECT OF THE GRACE IN QUESTION — how, in that changed aspect of affairs, with our new mind towards God, as connected with His new mind towards us, may His holiness thus purely and simply bear upon us? How otherwise than by our being made partakers of His holiness, in such a sense and to such an effect that we do now really become "as God, knowing good and evil"? We know evil as God knows it; because we know good as God knows it. For we are partakers of "the Divine nature," through our faith in "God's exceeding great and precious promises" (2 Peter 1:4). We are thus "partakers of His holiness" (Hebrews 12:10).

(R. S. Candlish, D. D.)

I. EXPLAIN THE EXHORTATION.

1. The nature of holiness.

2. Its different stages and degrees.

3. Its objects.

4. Its effects.

II. CONSIDER THE MOTIVE.

1. God is holy, and therefore without holiness we cannot be like Him.

2. God is holy, and therefore those only who are so can truly serve Him.

3. God is holy, and without holiness it is impossible to please Him in anything we do.

4. God is holy, and unless we be so too, we cannot be owned or acknowledged by Him.

5. God is holy, and we must be holy in order to enjoy Him.

(B. Beddome, M. A.)

I. Holiness in the HEART, or as it works its way down to the depth of our nature. "As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance."

1. In their unregenerate state men always fashion themselves after the pattern of their lusts or inward sinful desires.

2. The power of evil, however, though not expelled, is dethroned in the believer's heart, and the principle of dutiful obedience takes its place. God's people — ideal, and to a certain extent actual, people — are emphatically the "children of obedience."(1) This implies for one thing that they inwardly approve the Divine law, that they love God's commandments. It is not a law they would alter if they could.(2) Obedience, however, contains another element, namely, that the mind throws itself actively and energetically into the duties prescribed.

II. Holiness in the LIFE, or as it widens out over the whole area of conduct. "As He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation."

1. This enjoins holiness in all our thinking and reading.

2. Holiness should also be observed in all your conversation, in the modern sense of the word. "Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt."(1) On the one hand, you must renounce filthy and blasphemous language.(2) But as you should avoid evil communications, so, on the other hand, your speech should be such as to cause grace in the hearers. We do not faithfully mirror the Divine holiness when we foul each other's character.

3. Christian holiness, furthermore, extends to our acts as well as to our words and thoughts. "Be ye holy in all manner of conversation." Christianity influences the whole area of life private and public; it is commensurate with our existence.

III. Holiness in its STANDARD. "Be ye holy, for I am holy."

1. Why is holiness a virtue, and therefore required of us? The Bible answer is, Because God is holy. The essence of God — that is to say, that which makes God to be God — is His infinite holiness and infinite love. Hence the Bible continually summons men to holiness; not to learning or culture, but to holiness, for only in holiness and love can we resemble our Maker. By growing in other things, however much to be coveted in themselves, we do not grow in likeness to our Maker.

2. In the text God is styled "He that called you." And His "calling" imposes a fresh obligation upon you. You are called by God — to what? To holiness, "to show forth the virtues of Him that called you." If you seek not holiness, you overlook the very purpose of your separation from the world and your incorporation into the Church. Your "call" has been in vain.

3. As the ground of our holiness is in God, so the standard of our holiness, that to which it is to grow, is the holiness of God. "Be ye perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect." Infinite holiness surely presents a standard lofty enough. Christianity in the morality, the holiness, it demands can never be outdone. One argument Herbert Spencer urges against it is that the standard of character it offers for our imitation is too high. Observe that the objection carries in it a homage to the pure ethics of the Teacher of Nazareth.

(J. C. Jones, D. D.)

I. THE PATTERN OF HOLINESS. Religion is imitation. The truest form of worship is to copy. All through heathenism you find that principle working. "They that make them are like unto them." Why are heathen nations so sunken in their foul nesses? Because their gods are their examples, and they, first of all, make the gods after the pattern of their own evil imaginations, and then the evil imaginations, deified, react upon the makers and make them tenfold more children of hell than themselves. Worship is imitation. For religion is but love and reverence in the superlative degree, and the natural operation of love is to copy, and the natural operation of reverence is the same. So that the old Mosaic law, "Be ye holy as I am holy," went to the very heart of religion. And the New Testament form of it, as Paul puts it in a very bold word, "Be ye imitators of God, as beloved children," sets its seal on the same thought. But then, says somebody or other, "it is not possible." Well, if it were not possible, try it all the same. For in this world it is aim and not attainment that makes the noble life; and it is better to shoot at the stars, even though your arrow never reaches them, than to fire it along the low levels of ordinary life. I do not see that however the unattainableness of the model may be demonstrated, that has anything to do with the duty of imitation. Instead of bewildering ourselves with questions about "unattainable" or "attainable," suppose we asked, at each failure, "Why did I not copy God then; was it because I could not, or because I would not?"

II. THE FIELD OF THIS GODLIKE HOLINESS. Here is no cloistered and ascetic holiness which taboos large provinces of every man's experience, and says "we must not go in there, for fear of losing our purity," but rather wherever Christ has trod before we can go. That is a safe guide, and what ever God has appointed there we can go and that we can do. "In all manner of conversation." There is nothing so minute but it is big enough to mirror the holiness of God. The tiniest grain of mica, upon the face of the hill, is large enough to flash back a beam; and the smallest thing we can do is big enough to hold the bright light of holiness.

III. THE MOTIVE OR INSPIRATION OF HOLINESS. Peter would stir his hearers to the emulation of the Divine holiness by that thought of the bond that unites Him and them. "He hath called you." In which word, I suppose, he includes the whole sum of the Divine operations which have resulted in the placing of each of his auditors within the circle of the Christian community as the subjects of Christ's grace, and not only the one definite act to which the theologians attach the name of "calling." In the briefest possible way we may put the motive thus — the inspiration of imitation is to be found in the contemplation of the gifts of God. And not only so, but in this thought of the Divine calling there lies a fountain of inspiration when we remember the purpose of the calling. As Paul puts it in one of his letters: "God has not called us to uncleanness but to holiness." And so, if in addition to the fact of His "gift and calling" and all that is included within it, if in addition to the purpose of that calling we further think of the relation between us and Him which results from it, so as that we, as the next verse says, call Him who hath called us, "Our Father," then the motive becomes deeper and more blessed still. Shall we not try to be like the Father of our spirits, and seek for His grace, to bear the likeness of sons?

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

I. THE OBLIGATIONS WE ARE UNDER TO IMITATE THE GOD WHOM WE WORSHIP. This is an original obligation, founded in nature itself, requiring us to imitate what it necessitates us to admire. And this obligation is confirmed by the light of reason, teaching us further that imitation of God, as it is most fit in itself, so it cannot but be likewise most acceptable unto Him and agreeable to His will. For the same absolute perfection of the Divine nature which makes us certain that God must Himself be of necessity infinitely holy, just, and good, makes it equally certain that He cannot possibly approve iniquity in others. And the same beauty, the same excellency, the same importance of the rules of everlasting righteousness, with regard to which God is always pleased to make those rules the measure of all His own actions, necessarily prove that it must likewise be His will that all rational creatures should proportionately make them the measure of theirs. In the revelation which God has been pleased to make to us of Himself in Scripture, the necessity of the same duty is more expressly and more clearly enforced (Leviticus 11:44; Leviticus 19:1; Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10; 2 Peter 1:4).

II. THE TRUE EXTENT AND PROPER LIMITATIONS OF THIS DUTY.

1. All imitation of God must be understood to be an imitation of His moral attributes only, and not of His natural ones.

2. Even in these moral excellencies it is evident further that it must necessarily mean an imitation of likeness only, and not of equality.

3. Yet ought we also to consider that even in the degrees of goodness it is our duty continually to improve. A perfect example is set before us that aiming always at that, we may make a perpetual progress in the ways of virtue.Conclusion:

1. If true religion consists in the imitation of God, and all imitation of God is of necessity confined to His moral perfections only, then it hence evidently follows that moral virtue is the chief end of religion, and that to place the main stress of religion in anything else besides true virtue is superstition.

2. If true religion consists in the imitation of God, and that which is imitable in God be His moral perfections, hence it follows necessarily that moral excellences, justice, goodness, truth, and the like, are of the same kind in God as in men.

3. From hence it appears of how great importance it is to men to frame to themselves right and worthy notions of God. For such as are the conceptions men have of the object of their worship, such also will proportionably be their own behaviour and practice.

(S. Clarke, D. D.)

I. ITS SUBLIME GRANDEUR. The holiness of God. To be holy is to possess, not one virtue or grace, but all virtues. "The moral magnates of the old world," says Luthardt, "are strong in this or that particular virtue;" but they fail to give us the impression that the central point of their being is penetrated and renovated by the spirit of morality, and that we have in this a guarantee that the moral spirit by which they are animated would manifest itself in all aspects as occasion offered. They represent only single virtues: Aristides, justice; Epaminondas, truthfulness; Cimon, liberality; Leonidas, patriotism, etc.; but they do not represent morality itself. Socrates is the model of a noble Greek; but in his last hours he was un feeling to his wife and children. Plato and Aristotle were teachers of wisdom; but their verdict on the sensual errors of their fellow countrymen was more than lenient. Carp was proverbial for his integrity in public life, but was cruel to his slaves; and we might adduce many more such instances. Everywhere we see single virtues; nowhere do we find the spirit of morality filling the whole man." God's character is the totality. God "is light." By a prism we can divide the light of the sun into various coloured rays, each of which is an object of interest and deserves study. But as in the light there is the combination of all these colours, so in the character of God we have the combination of all actual and conceivable virtues. This is our standard, nothing lower. First: Anything lower than this would not suit our nature. We are so constituted that our faculties can never unfold themselves vigorously, fully, without having some grand object ever before us; when that object is reached they collapse, and the soul sinks into dormancy if not death. Secondly: Anything lower than this would damage the universe. The well-being and blessedness of the intelligent creation depends upon every member aiming at the highest holiness, the holiness of God.

II. ITS IMPLIED ATTAINABILITY. No character ever appeared in history so imitable as the character of Christ. He is the most imitable character — First: Who has the most power to command admiration — the admiration of the soul. Secondly: Who is the most transparent in character. Thirdly: Who is the most unalterable in purpose. Therefore follow Him.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

This great gift and demand of the Gospel, I wish to regard as a thing simply personal and individual. I have called it a gift, for holiness is no longer natural to, no longer rises spontaneously in the soul of man: it needs to be inspired and called forth by the "Spirit of holiness," which is the Spirit of God. And what is this gift of holiness, so needful for the Christian, the work of the Holy Ghost in His own individual soul and nature? Now if holiness has its seat in the soul, it is clear that it does not consist merely of a certain number of ceremonial, or even of religious acts, but that it consists first of a principle, and then of habits springing from that principle. It does not consist merely of religious acts, although these acts are quite necessary to a holy life. It consists in the soul of man being brought into communion and concord with God, the source of holiness. And this is done on man's part by the exercise of two qualities in his nature directed towards God — faith and love. The spiritual power of these two great gifts is unbounded, is miraculous. They transform the soul; they make it, according to its capacity, like God; they awaken new affections; they give a new bias to the will; they inspire new hopes, desires, and aims; they raise the spirit into a higher atmosphere, while they invest the commonest duties of life with a hallowing influence. This is its principle; but it is not merely an excited or elevated state of mind or feeling. It will not evaporate in sentiment, but will go forth into habits, and mix itself with all the acts of this life. Where the will of man is brought into harmony with the will of God, it must run out into deeds and habits of love and self-sacrifice, into all that is pure and holy. And if we look for a perfect exhibition, an unique pattern of the holiness here enjoined, we find it in the character and life of our Divine Redeemer. To be holy is to be like Christ; this is the final test, the consummation of human nature, wholly sanctified in body, soul, and spirit. For in that heavenly character, what is the leading idea? One stands forth pre-eminent — the supreme lesson of His life. It is the sacrifice of His will, in love to God and man.

(A. Grant, D. C. L.)

Why ought the holiness of God to be a reason for our holiness?

I. BECAUSE HOLINESS IS THAT IDEA OF HIMSELF WHICH GOD IS MOST INTENT UPON COMMUNICATING TO MAN.

II. EVERY OTHER MORAL CONCEPTION THAT YOU CAN FORM OF GOD WHEN YOU ANALYSE IT WILL CARRY YOU BACK TO THE FUNDAMENTAL THOUGHT THAT GOD IS A HOLY BEING. He is said to be good. Goodness, if you analyse it, will bring you back to the idea of doing that only which is pure and fit and just and right.

III. THE RELATION WHICH SUBSISTS BETWEEN MAN AND GOD MAKES IT INDISPENSABLE THAT MAN SHOULD BE HOLY, OR PURE IN HIS PURPOSE, and this for several reasons. The Scriptures inquire, "How can two walk together, except they be agreed?" What harmony can there be between light and darkness, good and evil, right and wrong, purity and impurity, sin and holiness? Two persons may be most strongly attached where one supplements the other. So, even in the marriage relation, absolute identity of tastes is not always essential to the highest happiness; but, while there may be the supplementing of one with the other, if there be antagonism, there can he no sympathy or union. So that, if we are expecting to be accounted the children of God, there must be sympathy, truth, identity.

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

A "holy thing" is a thing that has been withdrawn from common uses and reserved for specific religious ends. A "holy man" is one upon whom there has been laid an authoritative interdict irrevocably separating him from the pursuits of common life, and binding him to the Divine service. But how can God be called holy in this earliest meaning of the term? He is eternally pure and perfect and separate from sinners, and does not need to draw a line between Himself and the world by a special consecration act. Well, God is separate from all those gods of the heathen kingdoms who may be thrust into competitive relations with Him. Even when the gods of the heathen are made to represent virtues and heroisms, when they incorporate the fairest ideals of the human imagination and conscience, in disposition and conduct and benign economy they fall immeasurably short of the perfection of the Most High, and He is still separate and alone. By acts that are from everlasting to everlasting in their range, He makes for Himself a consecrated sphere of life that must be ever and only His own (Micah 7:18). Is the time-honoured logic of this injunction sound? Is God's pattern a spring of motion and obligation to us? The logic has stood the strain of many centuries: will it do for our critical decade?

I. The argument at the outset sounds like an argument basing itself upon THE AUTHORITY WHICH TAKES ITS RISE IN SUPREME AND BOUNDLESS POWER. The Divine Speaker seems to assume unlimited proprietorship over us because He imparts life and determines all the outward conditions under which life maintains itself. Now a Jew would have submitted himself at once. We, however, are disposed to go a little further into the subject than that, and ask, "Does mere power, however gigantic its scale, create obligation"? It is our privilege to live after the French Revolution, and we are not disposed to submit to superior power for the simple reason that it is superior power. For God to bind upon us the law of His personal life because He is stronger than we is surely not unlike Fate trying to vanquish Prometheus bound to the rock in the Caucasus. Well, whilst usurped power can bring no sanction with it, if the power be original, creative, unlimited in time and space, it does bring essential obligation in its train. God does not want our conformity to His pattern because His power out powers other types of power, but because it is spontaneous, eternal, and a part of Himself. He whose breath brings the secret of life, whose word makes every wavelet of sunshine or starlight that visits the eye, every atom of air that sweetens and vitalises the blood, whose hand prepares the foundation upon which all life rests, and strikes the blow which brings our truest enfranchisements, has the right to bind men by His pattern. The rights of all fatherhoods, the prerogatives of all crowns and thrones and sovereignties, the sanctions of all law and ethic speak in this imperative "Be ye holy, for I am holy."

II. The authority that here addresses us is not that of supreme power only, but also of ABSOLVE LOVELINESS AND PERFECTION. In bidding us be like Himself God is bidding us be like that we most esteem, for has He not captivated the entire range of our reverence and admiration? The crown of supremacy belongs to God, not by an arbitrary coronation act, but by His own inherent fitness to wear it. We must set ourselves to copy that which we irresistibly worship. The musician whose soul has been visited by dream-like melodies from other worlds, is bound to so group his notes as to realise, for those to whom he sings, the mystic enchantments that have smitten his own soul with wonder. The painter to whose inner sense the subtle charm and secret of glowing sky, or flowered landscape, or fretting sea, has made itself known, is bound to suggest, as far as the play of colours will do it, the magnificent vision that has possessed his own imagination. All admirations have as their very core and essence the force of a vast moral constraint; and if God be the best of which we can think, or reason, or dream, if He has conquered all our moral admirations, if He is the loftiest pattern a quick and healthy and highly stimulated conscience can conceive, we are bound to copy Him. The highest form of worship is imitation. The trisagion of the cherubim, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God of hosts," confesses the law under which earth and heaven alike are placed to be like God. I need not remind you how in His pattern prayer Christ makes us subscribe to the principle whose gracious operation and benefit we need for ourselves — "Our Father, which art in heaven." Where there is fatherhood there is sonship and its duties, the first of which is to copy the qualities of the highest fatherhood. As we confess the Divine perfection the voice of unfailing response comes back in reply to our homage, "Be ye holy, for I am holy."

III. These words are an argument from THE AFFINITIES AND SIMILITUDES OF THE DIVINE AND HUMAN NATURES. God's nature is the archetype of ours. What does it mean when it is said we are "made in God's image" and quickened to life with God's breath, but that God has put within us the rudiments of His own holiness? The power to grow like God is implanted in man at the very beginning. There is a long-buried seed of spiritual excellence in him, old as his dim origins, which the processes of grace are destined to awaken and perfectly fructify. And to give us further assurance on the subject we are not only reminded of that image whose faint outlines and affinities we still bear, but we are told that this high and holy One has made Himself in our image. The correspondences are guaranteed from two standpoints. He has lived out His perfect life in an environment that is one with our own. In the person of His spotless and eternal Son, God has bowed Himself to the most abject conditions of our life, giving us a vision of that we are charged to copy, notwithstanding the strain of fierce and varied temptations. The grace that surrounds us on every side enters our natures and tends to produce there a reflection of the Holy One who has been our Friend and Saviour. In one of his books Mr. Ruskin says: "Some years ago a young Scotch student came to put himself under me, having taken many prizes justly with respect to the qualities looked for by the judges in various schools of art. He worked under me very earnestly and patiently for a time, and I was able to praise his doings in what I thought very high terms. Nevertheless there always remained a look of mortification on his face after he had been praised, however unqualifiedly. At last he could hold no longer, but one day when I had been more than usually complimentary, turned to me with an anxious yet not unconfident expression, and asked, 'Do you think, sir, that I shall ever draw as well as Turner?' I paused for a second or two, being much taken aback, and then answered, 'It is more likely you should be made emperor of all the Russias. There is a new emperor every fifteen or twenty years on an average, and by strange hap and fortunate cabal any body might be made emperor. But there is only one Turner in five hundred years, and God decides without any admission of auxiliary cabal what piece of clay his soul is to be put into.'" Come with your largest aspirations to the feet of Jesus Christ, and you may count upon a very different answer from that. "I am the 'Firstborn amongst many brethren,' and you shall be like Me, and shall realise the very qualities of Him whose manifestation I am. Trust Me, and go forward at My word, for you may be merciful and holy and perfect as the One in whose image you are made. The seed of the forgotten possibility is still in you, and I come to quicken that seed again, and in that quickening to bestow all spiritual grace and perfection. Yours is the very clay into which God determines to put His eternal ideal."

IV. The argument is an argument from THE LIVING CONTACT AND MYSTIC IMMANENCY OF THE MOST HIGH HIMSELF. The very self-same energy that makes God holy dwells in us and blends itself with our life. The very motive which determines God's eternal and unspotted life of blessedness comes to infix itself in us. The power of God's personal holiness, with all its magnificent achievements, lends itself to us for our perfecting.

1. God comes very near to every man who wants to copy His personal perfection, and the reason He seems far off from some is that they have never been inspired with the desire to emulate His character. He is a model who lends Himself to the most intimate handling of reverential natures, and to the closest study of all who love Him and desire to conform themselves to His spiritual similitude.

2. God is not only accessible, but He has the art of imparting Himself to those who seek Him in sincerity and love. If we may use the term without irreverence, He is the most magnetic being in the universe, inspiring those about Him with His own thought and love and sacred spiritual ardour. He is ever ready to make known His deepest secret to us.

3. He comes also to dwell within us, and inform our nature with His hourly inspirations. And if God be in us, the imitation of God is not an extravagant or fantastic hope. And so our obligation is not measured by what we are in ourselves, but by those new ranges and outbursts of energy the Holy Spirit brings into our natures. His forces must be added to our own; the marvellous possibilities arising out of His inhabitation of human souls, the capacity attainable through His infinite and unfaltering succours, must be discerned and brought into the estimate if we would know the sum of oar obligation, the breadth of the law under which we are placed, the lofty standard we are summoned to reach. To be like God is a costly thing, involving stern self-abnegation, and the strenuous application of all that is within you to one end. Well, is God's holiness a cheap and easy and self-indulgent thing? Did it not cost Him the most cherished treasure of His universe to exercise that holiness and compassionate an offending race? It is only by the renunciation of self that you can begin, however faintly, to be like God.

(T. G. Selby.)

The word holy has received various interpretations, according to the culture of those employing it, In the law of Moses, the word of which it is the translation seems to mean nothing more than ceremonial cleanliness. Then, certain moral ideas got associated with it, and to be holy signified to be virtuous. By and by the idea of pure feeling was added on, and it was seen that there must be an inward as well as outward purity in order to make a man holy. Our English word starts from an altogether different basis. Its fundamental conception is that of health; the holy man is the healthy, sound, whole man. But, then, it went through the same spiritualising process; first of all, health, holiness, consisted simply in soundness of body, then of mind, then of morals, and, finally, of the whole being. I like this conception better than the Hebrew; it gives one an idea more completely in harmony with the truth. I find it very hard to work my way up to spiritual holiness from the Hebrew standpoint of ceremonial cleanliness. But I discern this holiness, in the highest sense, to be wholeness, soundness, or health, that is, existence in the normal state, according to the laws of my whole being. And that, surely, is the holiness of God. He lives, He acts, according to the condition of His own absolutely perfect nature — from Himself, according to the truth of His own being. The text, then, is a call to Christian people ever to be striving after higher attainments in this holiness, ever to be setting before them the absolute holiness of God as the ideal after which they should form themselves.

1. First of all, I feel there are a great force and beauty in the terms the writer employs: "Not fashioning yourselves according to your former desires, in your ignorance." The idea is that of constructing the outward form of your life according to the inward scheme you have formed of it. And so, again, when he says, "Be ye holy in all manner of conversation," it means, in every turn of your conduct, in deeds as well as words; let your outcoming be according to the perfect law of your nature. Words, actions, are simply the covering, habitation, exuded from one's soul which shows clearly what the soul is — its character, tone, refinement, thought, feeling, purposes, life. Every instant we are thus giving out from ourselves and proclaiming to those who are by us what we are. And when I say this, I do not forget that a great deal of what we say and do is done according to custom and etiquette of the set of people amongst whom we live. Very few live according to the pure, free, spontaneous impulses of their own nature. But, then, it must be remembered that these social usages of thought and expression have entered into and become a part of our inner being before they get themselves outwardly observed by us. You mingle, for example, with coarse people; their coarseness, sooner or later, consciously or unconsciously, insinuates itself into your soul; then you fall into coarse ways; that is, the coarseness your soul has grown into, comes out in coarse words and manners. Or, let us hope, you associate with refined people; the influences of their refinement purify your soul, and it, too, becomes refined; the manners, morals, modes of life which you henceforth exhibit become, of necessity, the expression of that refinement. A noble soul puts its nobleness into the smaller acts of its life as well as into the greatest: two sentences will disclose the want of order in an illogical mind; Divine love radiates its tenderness through the simplest expression; the pure soul indicates its purity by the kind of its response to purity and coarseness, as the thermometer responds to heat and cold. The only way of being good, pure, noble, holy in the high Anglo-Saxon sense of the word, is to have the soul filled with truth and goodness, and then act from the inward impulses freely. Schematise, fashion your outward life by the plastic energy of your own soul.

2. Secondly, I think this text intimates the progressive character of holiness in each individual. A past and a future are referred to; the present is the transition point from the one to the other. In the past, the outward life was fashioned by ignorance, or rather, in ignorance; now, knowledge is to take its place, and a higher ideal is to give the model of the conversation. Yet, observe, as much as the writer supposes his hearers to have risen above that former state, it was one of comparative evil rather than of positive — of privative knowledge rather than absolute ignorance. However high the attainments of today, and however pure the life of today may seem, when the higher knowledge and life of tomorrow come, we shall look back upon all we have attained today, as today we look back upon what we were yesterday. The youth at sixteen or seventeen thinks himself a man, and laughs at the childishness of ten years ago. When he has grown to forty or fifty years he will look back upon his present age as that of his boyhood. And so it always happens that our past seems to us folly, weakness, evil, in the light of the grace we have now reached. But that just leads the thoughtful to see how the past belongs to the present, and forms an essential part of it, containing within itself the rudiments of all that is truest and best in us now.

3. But thirdly, we have here given to us the primal condition of this increasing holiness; namely, the setting before us of a perfect ideal. As He calling you is the holy One, be ye holy in all forms and turns of your life, for it is written, "Be ye holy, for I am holy." Now, you will observe, this is quite accordant with all I have said about the holiness being dependent upon, not an outward rule, but an inward principle. For, although correctly, God is set before us as the pattern, type or object with which we are to conform ourselves in holiness, yet, clearly, it is not God existing outwardly and beyond ourselves, but as He is known to, and conceived in our own minds. The outward revelation of God must be construed to the mind in the .form of its own ideas, before it can possibly produce the least spiritual effect upon the soul. And that is true, whether the revelation be given in nature or in books. And now, consider a little the principle that it is the forming of higher ideals which is the one primal condition of progress in holiness. You can never rise above your own thoughts, that is certain. There is nothing which you have out of which anything higher and better could come; you are kept down to that level by a law harder than fate. Ex nihilo nihil fit. Blessed are those who can realise their thoughts to the full! For, whilst it is true that we cannot rise higher than our ideals, our thoughts, it is not true that we can always rise as high. The reverse is the truth. We never can shape the material on which we work so readily as we shape our thoughts. The thing done is never so true and good and beautiful as the idea we had of it. Sometimes the fault lies in the unshapeable, unplastic materials. More often with the untrained, disobedient hand, or other powers with which we do the work. What Divine songs our fancies, for instance, sometimes sing, and how they get never sung by the unmanageable organs of speech! What fame some artists would have, if the hand could but create the idealised picture or sculpture! And all this is still more true of the moral qualities of things, for in them we meet with more hindrances to realisation. We picture goodness, which a little passing appetite is strong enough to mar in operation, We idealise justice, and the chance of some palpable advantage causes the idea to get sadly distorted when it comes out in deeds. Wonderful and mysterious is that plastic power of the soul! as it thinks of Divine things it becomes Divine, and forthwith the divineness spreads through words and deeds; and although in spreading the divineness becomes diffused, attenuated, yet it is divineness still, which, radiating through, glorifies the character, and, in proportion to the fulness of the original thought, renders the outward life Divine. Wonderful power! mirroring Thine, great Father, Thou supernal power of all, who clothest Thyself with this universe wrought out of Thine eternal ideas — ever energising the forms of beauty and life we dimly see around — dimly see, because not for us, the finite, is it to comprehend Thine infinite thoughts. But as we comprehend and rise in our conceptions of Him — as more and more our souls conceive truly and fully goodness, love, the perfect life to which we are called and of which we are capable — it issues forth into the "conversation," the character, the moulding and turning of words and deeds; and we become holy as the Holy One is holy.

(James Cranbrook.)

I. HOLINESS: WHAT IS IT?

1. Holiness does not consist in bodily austerities, or in ritual observances. This view of it has widely prevailed among men; for it is the natural result of that dislike of true holiness by which they are universally characterised, when associated with the conviction that holiness of some kind is indispensable with their acceptance with God.

2. Holiness has been identified with mere external morality. This defective view of it prevails among the worldly minded, as the false view already considered is cherished and acted on by the superstitious.

3. In what, then, does true holiness consist?(1) The words of God, "Be ye holy, for I am holy," obviously imply that holiness consists in resemblance to God, or in conformity to His moral character. God is holy — infinitely and unchangeably holy.(2) Though holiness consists in resemblance to God, something more specific than the mere statement of this truth is requisite to give you a clear conception of its nature. In order to this, you must not only know how God thinks and feels and acts; but, seeing that the position which you occupy as creatures is widely different from that which belongs to Him as the Creator, and different, too, in many respects from that which is occupied by other creatures whose nature is dissimilar to that of man, you must be able to apply your knowledge of the thoughts and sentiments and conduct of God to your own condition and circumstances. The means of doing so has been provided; for His law — under which term in this statement the whole revelation of His will respecting human duty, contained in Scripture, must be regarded as included — is an expression of His own excellence, a declaration of the manner in which the moral perfections that compose His character must operate when communicated to creatures who sustain the relations to Him and to one another which are sustained by you.(3) But the intimation that the likeness to God which constitutes true holiness denotes conformity in heart and life to His revealed wilt, is not all that is necessary to enable you to form a clear and accurate conception of the nature of holiness. You must be aware of what is implied in conformity to the Divine law. It contains both prohibitions and commands; it tells you both what you should shun, and what you ought to do. Now, the injunction, "Be ye holy," requires conformity to the law of God in both these departments; and none but he who hates and avoids whatever it condemns and forbids, and who loves and practises whatever it commends and enjoins, is a holy person.

II. HOLINESS: WHY SHOULD WE SEEK IT?

1. You should seek holiness as an appropriate means of testifying gratitude to God for the blessings of His salvation.

2. You should seek holiness as an appropriate means of ascertaining and attesting your interest in God's salvation.

3. You should seek holiness as an appropriate means of securing present happiness. The possession of it imparts release from the distressing doubts and fearful apprehensions with respect to futurity which harass the ungodly, and gives that persuasion of interest in God's favour, and that hope of eternal blessedness, which communicate a peace that passeth all understanding, and a joy that is unspeakable and full of glory.

4. You should seek holiness as an appropriate means of recommending religion, and thereby advancing the glory of God.

5. You should seek holiness as an appropriate means of preparing you for the happiness of heaven, and thus insuring your reception of it.

III. HOLINESS: HOW MAY WE ACQUIRE IT? The acquisition of holiness is in Scripture made the subject both of exhortation and of prayer. Being made a subject of prayer, holiness must be regarded as a privilege, or blessing, communicated to men by God. In harmony with this view of it, the work of their sanctification, both in its commencement and in its progress, is attributed to the powerful operation of the Divine Spirit. But while the Scriptures declare that holiness is a Divine gift, imparted to men by the efficacious operation of the Holy Spirit, and, on this ground, a proper subject of prayer and thanksgiving, they also teach certain important truths in regard to the operations of the Spirit as the Sanctifier, which show that the acquisition of holiness may appropriately be made the subject of exhortation and injunction. That the acquisition of holiness is a duty incumbent on men; that they ought not merely to pray for it, but to strive after it, is a truth very plainly taught in the word of revelation — a truth which no man who searches the Scriptures with an unbiased mind will hesitate to receive.

1. Release from the curse of the law and reconciliation to God are an indispensable prerequisite to the operations of the Spirit as the Sanctifier.

2. The operations of the Spirit as the Sanctifier do not supersede activity on the part of the subjects of them. They are created anew. But the change effected on them in this new creation does not destroy the powers or faculties which constitute them voluntary agents. Ii only gives a new direction to their activity; and hence, though the continued operation of the Spirit is necessary to preserve and strengthen the principle of spiritual life which has been implanted in them, yet its actings are the actings, not of the Spirit, but of the individuals to whom it has been imparted.

3. The truth revealed to us in Scripture is the means or instrument employed by the Spirit in all His operations as the Sanctifier. As His agency does not supersede human activity, so, in imparting to them the earnest desires, the ability, and the direction which are necessary to the acquisition of holiness, He always makes use of the disclosures of the mind and will of God contained in the word of revelation

4. The operations of the Spirit as the Sanctifier are the result of prayer — of earnest, believing prayer. The atoning sacrifice of Christ has opened a channel through which the influences of the Spirit may be communicated to men, in consistency with the holiness of the Divine character, the honour of the Divine law, and the rectitude and stability of the Divine administration.

(D. Duncan.)

Hence this command to be holy requires that we bring ourselves into a moral adjustment to God and our entire moral duty.

I. WHY SHOULD WE BE HOLY?

II. WHAT ARE THE REASONS OF THIS REQUIREMENT?

1. We cannot but require it of ourselves. Our own nature irresistibly demands it of us — his own individual conscience of every moral agent. He knows he ought to, and therefore, by a necessity as strong as his own nature, he must become holy, or fail of peace and conscious self-approval. No moral agent can respect himself unless he is holy. Need I urge that self-respect is a thing of very great importance? Few are fully aware how very important self-respect is to themselves and to others, This form of self-respect pertains to our relations to this world and to society. But suppose a moral agent in like manner to lose his self-respect towards God. How fearful must be the influence of this loss on his heart! How reckless of moral rectitude he becomes in all that pertains to his Maker!

2. Another reason why we should be holy is, that God requires it of us. He has made us in His own image; and therefore, for the same reasons that make Him require holiness of Himself, He must require it of us. He requires us to be holy because He cannot make us happy unless we will become holy.Remarks:

1. Sinners know they are not holy.

2. The hope that unconverted people often have that they shall be saved, is utterly without foundation.

3. Many who know they must become holy, are yet very ignorant of the way in which they are to become so. Having begun in the Spirit, they try to become perfect in the flesh.

4. Pardon without holiness is impossible, in this sense: that the heart must turn from its sins to God before it can be forgiven.

5. The command to be holy implies the practicability of becoming so.

6. Christ's promises and relations to His people imply a pledge of all the help we need. The entire gospel scheme is adapted to men — not in the sense of conniving at their weakness, but of really helping them out of it.

7. God sympathises with every honest effort we make to become holy.

8. If we become partakers of His holiness, we are made sure of the river of His pleasures!

9. All men will sometimes feel the necessity of this holiness. In some cases it is felt most deeply.

10. There is no rest short of being holy. Many try to find rest in something less, but they are sure to fail.

11. Many insanely suppose that when they come to die, they shall be sanctified and prepared for heaven.

12. No man has any right to hope unless he is really committed to holiness, and in all honesty and earnestness intends to live so.

(C. G. Finney.)

True holiness hath a repugnancy and contrariety to all sin. It is not contrary to sin because it is open and manifest, because it is private and secret, but to sin as sin, whether public or private, because both one and the other are contrary to God's will and glory, as it is with true light, though it be but a beam, yet it is universally opposed to all darkness; or as it is with heat, though there be but one degree of it, yet it is opposite to all cold; so if the holiness be true and real, it cannot comply with any known sin. You can never reconcile them in the affections; they may have an unwilling consistence in the person, but you can never make them agree in the affection.

(Obadiah Sedgwick.)

There is only one way of becoming holy as God is; and it is the obvious one of opening the entire being to the all-pervading presence of the Holy One. None of us can acquire holiness apart from God. It dwells in God alone. Holiness is only possible as the soul's possession of God; nay, better still, as God's possession of the soul. It never can be inherent, or possessed apart from the Divine fulness, any more than a river can flow on if it is cut off from its fountain head. We are holy up to the measure in which we are God possessed. The least holy man is he who shuts God up to the strictest confinement, and to the narrowest limits of his inner being; curtaining Him off from daily life by heavy curtains of neglect and unbelief. He is holier who more carefully denies self, and who seeks a larger measure of Divine indwelling. The holiest is the man who yields himself most completely to be influenced, swayed, possessed, inspired by that Spirit who longs to make us to the fullest extent partakers of the Divine nature.

(F. B. Meyer, B. A.)

The demand is, "Be holy in all manner of conversation." The meaning is, in all your intercourse with men, in every turning of your history. At home, or abroad; with your own family, or in presence of strangers; at work, or enjoying relaxation; at church, or in the market; wherever you may be, or however employed — let lips and life be holiness to the Lord. A life is like a stream issuing from a mountain lake. The water cannot be of different colours at different places. It cannot be pure at one spot and turbid a few yards further on. If the fountain is transparent, the outflowing stream will be clear over all its breadth. The holiness that is put on, as suitable at certain times and in certain places, is not holiness; it is hypocrisy. When the streams of a life, as they disperse themselves over the individual history, are found, like the waters of Jericho, to be all bitter, it is not possible, by any medicament, to sweeten portions of them here and there, where travellers may be expected to taste them. There is only one way of cure: a certain salt must be cast into the spring, and then all the water that flows over its brim will be wholesome — all wholesome alike.

(W. Arnot.)

To change our physical relation to God, of absolute dependence and incommensurable littleness, is no more possible than for the wave to become the ocean; but just as the same laws that sway the masses of the sea also trace the ripple and shape the spray, so may the very same Divine principles, the same preferences, the same constancy which belong to the spiritual life of God, reappear in the tiny currents of our will, and even the very play and sparkle of our affections. It is but the affectation of humility or the dislike of noble claims that can make us shrink from our affinity with the Father and Inspirer of all souls.

(J. Martineau, LL. D.)

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