1 Thessalonians 4:9-11
But as touching brotherly love you need not that I write to you: for you yourselves are taught of God to love one another.…
This is the exhortation of St. Paul in his first Epistle. His own life was anything but quiet; but this made him rather value quietness. Paul the aged was as far from tranquility as ever, for the care of disorderly Churches pressed upon him. Yet in his last Epistles he gave direction for prayer that "we may lead a quiet and peaceable life."
I. THE DESCRIPTION OF THE QUIET TO BE AIMED AT.
1. What it is not.
(1) There are men of good character and abilities who are naturally quiet in an extraordinary degree. They are interested in and could add to the conversation, but they prefer to keep silence. In this way they inflict a real loss on society and leave room for those to say much who ought to say little.
(2) Some are quiet from melancholy, from the loss of a dear friend, distorted views of religious dogmas, business or family cares. The quiet of the text is neither of these,
(3) Nor is it the cynical silence of those who wish to show how much they despise the ordinary topics of conversation.
(4) Nor is it the calm of mental or moral laziness and stagnation.
2. The quiet that is Divine —
(1) Grows from faith in God. It is trust in Him who guides us by His counsel and protects us by His providence.
(2) This quietness of trust must be connected with an honest faithfulness in the discharge of the duties of life. It is a false peace if it does not mean conscientious labour for God and man. When we have done all we can, we may leave results to God, and rest in Him.
II. THE DIFFICULTIES IN THE WAY OF LEADING A QUIET LIFE.
1. A defectively illuminated conscience. There are men whose conviction is that no one is right but themselves. Such are always getting themselves into trouble.
2. Youthful impulsiveness and rashness that is putting everybody right, and showing without adequate preparation and experience how the right thing is to be done. Such are of course discouraged and disturbed by snubbing and failure.
3. But are there not many evils that will involve us in their guilt if we are quiet about them? Yes; but reform is better done quietly, slowly, thinkingly, than by any fierce blaze of zeal that creates real cause of offence while striving to rectify the evil. God has patience; let His imitators strive to be quiet.
III. THE UNOBTRUSIVE LIFE OF CHRIST. The vision we have of Him in the midst of the storm calmly sleeping or calmly hushing winds and hearts is a symbol of the quiet side of a holy life.
1. During the early portion of His life Israel was full of tumult, but He was quietly working in a carpenter's shop. During His active life while all was excitement about Him nothing of the trouble disturbed Him. When vexed questions were laid before Him He settled them by a story.
2. Was not this part of the secret of His power. Words of rebuke could not but have a terrible significance from the lips of One who was so calm. See how the money changers fled from Him. One of the mightiest sermons ever preached is that of His silence under the indignities of the night before His death.
Parallel VersesKJV: But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.