1 Timothy 6:1


The apostle next proceeds to deal with the distinctions of civil duty, and takes up the case of a very numerous But miserable class which appears to have been largely attracted to the gospel in primitive times.

I. THE HONOR DUE TO PAGAN MASTERS. "Whoever are under the yoke as bondservants, let them reckon their own masters worthy of all honor."

1. The condition of the slaves was one of much hardship. There was practically no limit to the power of the masters over the slaves. They might be gentle and just, or capricious and cruel. The slaves had no remedy at law against harsh treatment, as they had no hope of escape from bondage.

2. Yet their liberty had not been so restricted that they had not the opportunity of hearing the gospel. There were Christian slaves. Their hard life was ameliorated, not merely by the blessed hopes of the gospel, but by the privilege of spiritual equality with their masters which was one of its distinguishing glories.

3. The gospel did not interfere with the duty of obedience which they owed to their masters. They were to give them all honor - not merely outward subjection, but inward respect. Christianity did not undertake to overturn social relations. If it had done so, it would have been revolutionary in the last degree; it would have armed the whole forces of the Roman empire against it; it would itself have been drowned in blood; and it would have led to the merciless slaughter of the slaves themselves. Yet Christianity prepared the way from the very first for the complete abolition of slavery. The fact that with the great Master in heaven "there was no respect of persons," and that "in Jesus Christ there was neither bond nor free, but all were one in Christ," would not justify the slaves in repudiating their present subjection, while it held out the hope of their eventual emancipation. They must not, therefore, abuse their liberty under the gospel.

4. Yet there was a limit to the slave's obedience. He could only obey his master so far as was consistent with the laws of God and his gospel, consenting to suffer rather than outrage his conscience. Cases of this sort might arise, but they would not prejudice the gospel, like a simple revolt against existing relationships.

II. THE REASON FOR THE DUE HONOR GIVEN TO THEIR PAGAN MASTERS. "That the Name of God and his doctrine may not be blasphemed."

1. There would be a serious danger of such a result if slaves were either to withhold due service to their masters or to repudiate all subjection. God and his doctrine would be dishonored in the eyes of their masters, because they would be regarded as sanctioning insubordination. Thus a deep and widespread prejudice would arise to prevent the gospel reaching their pagan masters.

2. It is thus possible for the meanest members of the Church to do honor to God and the gospel. The apostle contemplates their adorning "of the doctrine of God our Savior in all things" (Titus 2:10).

3. The same considerations apply to the case of domestic servants in our own day. The term translated here "slaves" is used with some latitude in the Scripture. It applies sometimes to persons entirely free, as to David in relation to Saul (1 Samuel 19:4), to Christians generally (Romans 6:16; 1 Peter 2:16), to apostles, prophets, and ministers (Galatians 1:10; 2 Timothy 2:24), and to the higher class of dependents (Matthew 18:23; Matthew 21:340. Thus the term implies a relation of dependence without legal compulsion. Christian servants must yield a willing and cheerful service that they may thus honor the gospel. - T.C.







Servants as are under the yoke.
The phrase "under the yoke" fitly expresses the pitiable condition of slaves, to whom Paul here addresses himself. Of all the hideous iniquities which have cried to heaven for redress, slavery, which places a man in such a position to his fellow, is one of the worst. It is as pernicious to the owner as it is to the slave. Dr. Thomson has well said, "It darkens and depraves the intellect; it paralyzes the hand of industry; it is the nourisher of agonizing fears and of sullen revenge; it crushes the spirit of the bold; it is the tempter, the murderer, and the tomb of virtue; and either blasts the felicity of those over whom it domineers, or forces them to seek for relief from their sorrows in the gratifications and the mirth and the madness of the passing hour." In the days of our Lord and of His apostles, slavery was a time-honoured and widely ramified institution. It was recognized in the laws as well as in the usages of the empire. So numerous were those "under the yoke," that Gibbon, taking the empire as a whole, considers it a moderate computation to set down the number of slaves as equal to the number of freemen. In Palestine the proportion would probably be less, but in Rome and other great cities the proportion would be far greater. Christianity, with its proclamation of equality and brotherhood, came face to face with this gigantic system of legalized property in human flesh, and we want to know how the gospel dealt with it.

I. LET US FIRST SEE WHAT CHRISTIANITY DID NOT DO FOR THE SLAVES. That the followers of Him who cared most for the poor and needy, and who longed to break every yoke, pitied these slaves in their abject and humiliating condition, goes without saying. But they certainly did not urge the slaves to escape, or to rebel, nor did they make it an absolute necessity to church membership that a slave-owner should set all his slaves free. We may be quite sure that such a man as Paul would not be insensible to the evils of slavery, and further, that it was not from any deficiency in moral courage that he did not urge manumission; but told some slaves to remain in the condition in which they were, and, by God's help, to triumph over the difficulties and sorrows peculiar to their lot. Strange as this may seem at first sight, was it not wise? Did it not prove in the long-run by far the best thing for the slaves themselves, leading to a more complete extirpation of slavery than if more drastic methods had been tried at first?

II. LET US SEE, THEN, WHAT CHRISTIANITY DID FOR THE SLAVES.

1. It taught masters their responsibilities.

2. It inculcated on the slaves a course of conduct which would often lead to their legal freedom. Under Roman law, liberty was held out as an encouragement to slaves to be honest, industrious, sober, and loyal; and, therefore, any Christian slave who obeyed the laws of Christ would be on the high road to emancipation. Liberty thus won by character was a better thing than liberty won by force or by fraud, and was more accordant with the genius of Christianity.

3. It gave dignity to those who had been despised and who had despised themselves. The work, which had once been a drudgery, became a sacred service; and this your toil and mine may surely be.

4. But, besides all this, Christianity laid down principles which necessitated the ultimate destruction of slavery. It taught that all men had a common origin; that God had made of one blood all nations; and that men of every class were to join together in the wonderful prayer, "Our Father which art in heaven." Learn, then, to trust to principles rather than to organization. Let life be more to you than law, and change of life more than change of law. Care for character first, believing that circumstance will care for itself. And, finally, in conflict with evils deep and wide-spread as ancient slavery, be patient, and have unwavering faith in the God of righteousness and love.

(A. Rowland, LL. B.)

Many a heathen master was rebuked amid his career of profligacy by the saintly lives of Christian slaves, who had given themselves up to the Lord of purity; and probably the hearts of many were touched through the prayers of those they had despised. We have read of a negress in the Southern States who was caught praying by her master, and cruelly beaten for her pains. Stripped and tied fast to the post, as the blood stained whip ceased for a moment to fall on the quivering flesh, she was asked if she would give over praying. "No, massa, never!" was the answer; "I will serve you, but I must serve God." Again the lashes rained down on her bleeding back; but when once mere they ceased, the voice of the follower of Jesus was heard praying, "O Lord, forgive poor massa, and bless him." Suddenly the whip fell from his hand; stricken with the finger of God, he broke down in penitence. Then and there the prayer was answered — the godless master was saved through the faithfulness of the slave he had despised.

(A. Rowland, LL. B.)

n: — But we must not overlook the insidious and powerful influence of custom, which makes a sin so familiar that we do not trouble to investigate

2. We deal with it as a sentinel does with one he has allowed to pass without challenge — he thinks it all right, and lets him pass again and again, until at last he is horrified to find he has been giving admission to a foe. John Newton, for example, after his conversion (which was as genuine as it was remarkable), carried on for years the inhuman traffic of slavery, and felt his conscience at rest so long as he did what he could for the bodily comfort of the slaves. He was quite insensible to the sinfulness of slavery until it pleased God to open his eyes, which had been blinded by custom. And, at the close of last century, an American gentleman left a plantation well stocked with slaves to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, and was evidently unconscious of any inconsistency. It is not to be won dered at that, in the early days of Christianity, disciples of Jesus were similarly deceived. Instead of condemning them, let us ask ourselves whether custom is not blinding us to other sins.

(A. Rowland, LL. B.)

That the name of God and His doctrine be not blasphemed
It is objected to Christianity, which in my text may be considered as meant by "the name and doctrine of God," that many of those who profess to be regulated by its spirit and laws, instead of being better, are often much worse than other men; that, pretending to adhere to it as a System of truth and righteousness, they yet frequently neglect or violate the duties of those relations and conditions in which they are placed; that servants, for example, as here particularly alluded to by the apostle, bearing the name of Jesus, do, notwithstanding, act unfaithfully and disobediently; that the same remark is applicable to individuals of every other class and station in civil society; and that even some of the ministers of the gospel, who have studied it most, and should know it best, are themselves grievously addicted to the follies and vices of the world.

1. In the first place, then, the persons by whom the objection is adduced, seem, in many cases, to be influenced by a determination to censure, with or without reason, the conduct of Christ's professed followers. Whatever aspect we put on, and whatever deportment we maintain, they must discover, or imagine, something which they may use as a pretext for personal reproach, and which they may ultimately level against the doctrine or principles that we hold. If we are grave, they accuse us of being morose and gloomy. If we are cheerful, then we are light and joyous spirits, having as little seriousness and as much wantonness as themselves.

2. We remark, in the second place, that the fact which gives rise to the objection we are considering is not unfrequently exaggerated by the fault of an individual being transferred and imputed to the whole class to which he belongs. The ultimate aim is to bring Christianity into disrepute — to "blaspheme the name and the doctrine of God"; and in order to accomplish what is thus intended, the aberrations of every individual Christian are spoken of as descriptive of all who have embraced the religion of Jesus, and as a sort of universal and necessary accompaniment to the faith and character of His disciples.

3. It may be observed, in the third place, that the fact of which we are speaking is often exaggerated, by considering one part of the Christian's conduct as a test of his whole character. The splendour of their virtues is obscured by an individual spot, which malice or misconception has magnified far beyond its real size. And their character is appreciated, not by the tone of their principles, in connection with the habitual tenor of their conduct, but by a single vicious action, of which their mind is utterly abhorrent, which they bewail with unfeigned sorrow, and which a candid eye would trace to those imperfections of the heart, and those infelicities of condition, which adhere to humanity in its best estate. The unmanly equivocation of Abraham, the aggravated crime of David, and the unhappy strife between Paul and Barnabas, are held out as the characteristic features of these eminent persons; that faith, and piety, and humility, and zeal for the glory of God and the best interests of mankind, by which they were severally distinguished, go for nothing in the estimate that is formed.

4. In the fourth place, the fact by which unbelievers are furnished with the objection we refer to, is frequently amplified by a too rigid comparison of the Christian's conduct with the religion in which he professes to believe. Now, it would be fair enough to judge us by the standard to which we appeal, if they would take care at the same time to apply it under the direction of those rules, which the very nature and circumstances of the case require to be observed in such an important trial. They forget that the morality of the gospel must be perfect, because it is prescribed by a perfect Being, and that, had it been otherwise, they would very soon have discovered it to be unworthy of its alleged author. They forget that moral imperfection is an attribute of our fallen nature, and must therefore mingle in all our attempts to comply with the Divine will, and to imitate the Divine character.Conclusion:

1. And, in the first place, let it not be thought that we mean to plead for any undue or unlawful indulgence to the disciples of Jesus.

2. In the second place, let Christians beware of encouraging unbelieving and ungodly men in this mode of misjudging and misrepresenting character.

3. Lastly, let us scrupulously abstain in our own conduct from everything of which advantage may be taken, for that unhallowed purpose.

(A. Thomson, D. D.)

Men may reject what is true, and disobey legal authority; that is what they do every day. But such rejection and disobedience neither alter the nature of that truth, nor destroy the legitimacy of that authority. In the same way the Christian religion, being established on grounds which have the sanction of God to support them, cannot be deprived of its claims to our submissive regard, because those who profess to believe in it do not act uniformly as it requires. "Let God be true, and every man a liar." The objection must suppose that the wickedness of professing Christians arises either from Christianity being directly immoral in its influence, or from its being deficient in power to make its votaries holy. Now, that its influence is far from being directly immoral will be granted, without hesitation, by every one who is at all acquainted with its spirit and its principles. It has a character so completely opposite to this, that it is commonly accused by its enemies of being severely and unnecessarily strict, inasmuch as it requires us to conform ourselves to a perfect law, and to imitate a perfect example. The objection, therefore, must owe its force to the other alternative that was stated. It must suppose that Christianity is deficient in power, or not properly calculated to make its votaries holy. Wherein, then, does its alleged deficiency consist? In what respect is it naturally inefficacious for making men virtuous and good? Is it defective in the plainness and energy of its precepts? Nothing can be plainer, or more forcible, than the manner in which it proposes its rules for the regulation of our conduct. Again, is Christianity defective in the extent of its morality? Its morality could not be more extensive than it actually is. There is no vice which it does not prohibit; there is no virtue which it does not enjoin. Is it defective in the principles on which its morality is founded? That might be affirmed, if it inculcated the principle of fictitious honour, which this moment stimulates to noble deeds, and the next gives its countenance to boundless dissipation and bloody revenge, or the principle of sentimental feeling. But the principles of Christian morality are of a quite different and infinitely more perfect kind, and fitted, by their natural and unfettered operation, to form a character of unblemished and superlative worth. Profound regard for the authority of Him who made us, whose subjects we now are, to whom we are finally accountable, and who possesses the most sacred and unquestionable title to our unreserved homage; firm and lively faith in the existence and perfections of God; supreme love and ardent gratitude to that Being who is infinitely amiable in Himself, and whose unbounded mercy in Christ Jesus has laid us under obligations to obedience the most cheerful and devoted; a heartfelt reliance upon that sacrifice of Himself by which the Son of God redeemed sinners from the guilt and the dominion of sin, and, by the influences of His Holy Spirit, extends as far as the habitations of men are found, elevates us above the sordid wish of living to ourselves, and consists in so loving each other as Christ has loved us. Is Christianity defective, then, in the sanctions with which its laws are enforced? These sanctions are fitted to awe the stoutest, and to animate the coldest heart. Is it defective in the encouragements which it gives to virtuous exertions? What encouragements greater than these: an assurance that "the eye of God is ever upon the righteous, and His ear open to their cry." Is it defective, I ask, in the last place, in the external means which it prescribes for promoting the spiritual improvement of the Christian? Here, also, it is wholly unexceptional. It puts into his hands a volume, which is "given by inspiration, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction and instruction ill righteousness, that as a man of God he may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." It consecrates one day in seven to rest from ordinary labour, to give him a special opportunity of examining his heart, and of providing an additional store of knowledge and wisdom for his guidance in future. In all the views now taken of the moral influence of the gospel, it evidently appears that no defect whatever can be ascribed to it in that particular. On the contrary, it seems perfectly calculated, by the qualities we have found it to possess, to purify, in an extraordinary measure, the heart and the character of its adherents.

(A. Thomson, D. D.)

The argument is not complete till we have considered the effects which Christianity has produced on the moral character of its adherents.

1. Let it be considered what a multitude of excellent characters have been formed by the influence of the gospel. From its first establishment down to the present day, every successive age has had a number of individuals and of families by whom its sanctifying power has been deeply felt and practically exhibited. On looking into the history of its progress and effects, we observe that it no sooner obtained a footing, than it began to change the moral aspect of society, wherever, at least, the profession of it prevailed.

2. But the holy tendency of the gospel is obvious, not only from its powerful effect on those who have truly believed its Divine origin, and given a candid reception to its doctrines; the same thing may be seen in the improved moral condition of those also who have either given a mere speculative assent to it, or who are acquainted only with its tenets and precepts, or who live merely in countries where it is professed. The history of the gospel furnishes us with a detail of interesting and incontrovertible facts, which demonstrate that Christianity has neither been useless nor detrimental as a moral system: that it has maintained an influence peculiar to itself over the sentiments and manners of mankind; and that this influence has been at once powerful, important, and extensive.

3. It is not enough, however, to state that there are many who show in their conduct the holy tendency and sanctifying power of Christianity; that there are, and have been, multitudes of Christians who have adorned their religion by the exercise of every virtue; it is proper to state, in addition to this, the contrast which their present conduct exhibits to their former conduct, and also to the deportment of others who have rejected the gospel, or who have never heard of its existence. It is right also to compare the moral character of the Christian with that of others who have not known or adopted the same religious faith.

4. It was formerly stated that the fact upon which the objection we are considering is founded, is frequently exaggerated by the fault of one Christian being transferred or imputed to the whole Church. But I have now to observe that the fact is also most unfairly and injuriously misapplied in another way. Our adversaries make no distinction between real and merely nominal Christians.

5. That the gospel has not been more generally efficacious in reforming mankind and in perfecting the character of its votaries, is to be accounted for in various ways. Without entering into any detail, however, I may merely mention one general principle which appears to solve the whole difficulty. The gospel is not a system of compulsion.

(A. Thomson, D. D.)

We are called upon, by every motive of gratitude to the Saviour, of regard to the Divine honour, and of compassion to the souls of men, who must be saved by Christianity, or not be saved at all, to abstain from all those actions and indulgences by which "the name or the doctrine of God may be blasphemed." This is the exhortation of the apostle, which we shall now endeavour to illustrate, by pointing out the way in which it is to be complied with, so as most effectually to answer the end for which it is given.

1. And, in the first place, we exhort you never to forget that the gospel is a practical system. When you turn your mind to any one of its doctrinal truths, you will consider that it is not only to be believed, but that it is to make you free, in some respect or other, from the dominion of iniquity. When you meet with any precept, you will recollect that it is not merely a proof of the perfection of that morality which revelation inculcates, but a rule for your deportment in that branch of holiness to which it refers. When you cast your eye upon the delineation of a character, you will view it as not only held out to attract, or to interest you, but as set before you to warn you against certain offences or to recommend the practice of certain virtues.

2. In the second place, with the same view we exhort you to a faithful and conscientious discharge of the duties which belong to the several relations in which you stand, and the various circumstances in which you are placed. Nor is this all. The circumstances, as well as the relations of life, come under the government of the rule we are considering.

3. In the third place, we exhort you to make a willing sacrifice even of certain privileges and comforts, when the exigences of the case require it, though, in ordinary circumstances, you would be warranted in refusing to make it, if it were demanded. "Let as many servants as are under the yoke," says the apostle, "count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and His doctrine be not blasphemed." While you recollect what is due to yourselves, you must recollect still more what is due to the gospel.

(A. Thomson, D. D.)

I. First I am to consider WHAT JUST GROUND OR COLOUR THERE MAY BE FOR A COMPLAINT OF THE EXCEEDING WICKEDNESS OF MEN NOW UNDER THE CHRISTIAN DISPENSATION. And here it may with truth be observed to the advantage of our holy religion, that, as bad as men are under it, they would have yet been worse without it. The rule by which Christians are obliged to walk is so excellent, and they are thereby so fully and clearly informed of the whole extent of their duty; the promised assistances are so mighty and the rewards so vast, by which they are animated to obedience; that their transgressions, as they are attended with a deeper guilt, so must needs appear to be of a more prodigious size than those of other men. And it is no wonder, therefore, if, on both these accounts, good and holy persons have spoken of them with a particular degree of detestation and horror. And as the vices of Christians are, for these reasons, open and glaring, so their virtues oftentimes disappear and lie hid. The profound humility and self-denial, which the Christian religion first enjoined, leads the true disciples of Christ, in the exercise of the chief gospel graces, to shun the applause and sight of men as much as is possible. On these, and such accounts as these, I say vice seems to have the odds of virtue among those who name the name of Christ, much more than it really hath.

II. Secondly, THAT THEY ARE VERY UNREASONABLE IN SO DOING, I AM IN THE NEXT PLACE TO SHOW. For —

1. The holiest and purest doctrine imaginable is but doctrine still; it can only instruct, admonish, or persuade; it cannot compel. The gospel means of grace, powerful as they are, yet are not, and ought not to be, irresistible. Let the gospel have never so little success in promoting holiness, yet all who have considered it must own that it is in itself as fit as anything that can be imagined for that purpose, and incomparably more fit than any other course that ever was taken. Did philosophy suffer in the opinion of wise men on account of the debaucheries that reigned in those ages, wherein it flourished most among the Grecians and Romans? Was it then thought a good inference that, because men were very dissolute when wisdom was at the height, and the light of reason shone brightest, therefore wisdom and reason were of little use towards making men virtuous?

2. The present wickedness of Christians cannot be owing to any defect in the doctrine of Christ, nor be urged as a proof of the real inefficacy of it towards rendering men holy;Because there was a time when it had all the success of this kind that could be expected; the time, I mean, of its earliest appearance in the world; when the practice of the generality of Christians was a just comment on the precepts of Christ; and they could appeal from their doctrines to their lives, and challenge their worst enemies to show any remarkable difference between them.

1. There must needs be a great disparity between the first Christians and those of these latter ages; because Christianity was the religion of their choice. They took it up while it was persecuted.

2. Another account of the great degeneracy of Christians may be drawn from men's erecting new schemes of Christianity which interfere with the true and genuine account of it.

3. It is not to be expected but that, where Christians are wicked, they should be rather worse than other men; for this very reason, because they have more helps towards becoming better, and yet live in the contempt or neglect of them.

III. SOME MORE PROPER AND NATURAL INFERENCES THAT MAY BE DRAWN FROM IT. They are many and weighty. And —

1. This should be so far from shocking our faith, that it ought on the contrary to confirm and strengthen it; for the universal degeneracy of Christians in these latter days was plainly and punctually foretold by Christ and His apostles.

2. Consider the monstrous degree of pravity and perverseness that is hid in the heart of man, and to account for the rise of it.

3. Learn from thence not to measure doctrines by persons, or persons by doctrines: that is, not to make the one a complete rule and standard whereby to judge of the goodness or badness of the other.

4. To excite ourselves from thence to do what in us lies towards removing this scandal from the Christian faith at large, and from that particular church of Christ to which we belong; both by living ourselves as becomes our holy religion; and by influencing others, as we have ability and opportunity, to live as we do; that so both we and they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things (Titus 2:10).

(Bp. Atterbury.)

Near the close of the civil war a gentleman residing in a Southern state deemed it prudent, the Northern army being within four miles of his residence, to conceal his State bonds, plate and other valuables. He decided on burying them in the woods; but as this concealment required assistance, it was necessary to take one of his slaves into his confidence. The man he selected was one whom he knew to be a consistent Christian. With this slave's aid he buried his treasure, and only he and his master knew the hiding-place. When the Northern troops came two days afterward, they were informed by the slaves, then emancipated, which of their number knew of the buried treasure. The man was ordered to disclose the spot where it was hidden, but he knew if he did so his former master would be ruined, and he refused. Six men with loaded pistols pointed at his head repeated the order, and gave him twenty minutes to decide whether he would obey or die. Life was very sweet, and the slave burst into tears, but told them he would rather die than break his word to his master. The rough soldiers were touched by the faithful fellow's heroism, and released him unharmed. It is often said that religion makes men weak and unmanly, but this Christian slave is an instance of the injustice of the charge. He was faithful even in peril of death.

The position we have in society, when we come to think of it, ought never to make us unhappy. There is a kind of painting, or work, that they make in other countries, that they call mosaic. It is made by little pieces of marble, or pieces of glass of different colours. They are so small that each one represents merely a line. There are simply these little pieces of glass or marble, and, if one of the pieces falls or is trampled on, no matter; it is not worth anything at all of itself. And yet the artist takes that little piece, and places it by another, and hands out another, and proceeds until he makes a human face — the shape, the eyes, the mouth, the lips, the cheeks, the human form, part shaped to part — so that, standing off three or four feet, you could not tell it from an oil painting. Now, suppose that one of those little pieces should say, "I wish he would put me in the apple of the eye"; and another, " I wish he would put me on the lip"; and another the cheek — but the artist knows just where to put it, and to put it any where else would be to mar the picture. And if one should be lost, it would mar the picture. Each one has its place. I have thought it is so in society. God is making a great picture out of society. He is making it out of insignificant materials, out of dust and ashes; but He is making a picture for all eternity, and wherever God may be pleased to put me in that picture, if He puts me at all, it seems to me I should be glad to be there. We shall be glad of it, and the arch angels shall contemplate God's picture. I cannot tell where I shall be; but God is putting us where we should be, and these plans are for our good and our glory and our triumph. And when we get to heaven, we shall not wish we had been much different from what we were, only that we had been better. But here we are so dissatisfied!

(Bp. Simpson.)

Let us invite servants to remember that they are working for God as well as for man. Their master's kitchen is a room in their Father's house. They may have bad employers who do not care for good work, or ignorant ones who do not appreciate it, or disheartened ones who have ceased to expect it. They must take for their guidance their heavenly Father's work in nature. His rain falls on the just and on the unjust, on the carefully tilled field which invites His blessing and on the stony ground which refuses it. Their ambition must be to make their work fit to be part of His. Their kitchen must be able to welcome His sunshine without being put to shame by it. There should be no vessel thrust away to the back of the cupboard too foul to receive the purity of His daisies or His primroses. When they find themselves hampered and defeated by thoughtlessness or selfishness, they must think how nature makes the best of everything, throwing ivy over ruins, and absorbing all decay into something new and good. (Edward Garrett.)

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