1 Thessalonians 5:19
Quench not the Spirit.
Fire may be quenched —
I. BY CASTING WATER ON IT. This is comparable to actual, wilful sin (Psalm 51).
II. BY SPREADING EARTH UPON IT. This is applied to the minding of earthly things.
1. The cares of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches; excess of business which not only employs but entangles a man in the affairs of this life, by toil, scheming, speculation. The consequence is, the powers of the soul being limited, and when full, no matter of what, they can hold no more. As the water partakes of the quality of the soil over which it rolls, so our minds soon acquire a sameness with the object of our affection and pursuit.
2. Certain vanities and amusements erase the boundary line which should separate the Church from the world, and if they are not unlawful they have a tendency to destroy spirituality and a taste for devotion.
3. Worldly and political conversation which frets the mind, genders strife, and cools religious ardour. If we talk of that which we love best, where habitually are the thoughts and affections of many professed Christians? Surely it becomes us to live so as to "declare plainly that we are strangers and pilgrims on the earth."
III. BY THE SEPARATION OF THE PARTS. Apply this to our divisions.
1. With what earnestness does the apostle enforce unity and cooperation among Christians! The enemy knows the importance of this; he therefore loves to separate, and unhappily finds too much to favour his wishes in our ignorance, prejudice, and infirmities.
2. There are some families who are quarrelling all day, and then go to prayer in the evening. If prayer does not induce people to avoid passion, then evil tempers will make them leave off prayer or perform it in a manner that is worse than the neglect of it.
3. One truth aids another truth, and one duty another duty. Detach private devotion from public, or public from private, and both sustain injury. Separate practice from principle, works from faith, or promises from commands, and you destroy the effect of the whole.
IV. BY WITHHOLDING FUEL. A real Christian will soon feel the disadvantage of disregarding the means of grace. You may keep in a painted fire without fuel, but not a real one. Conclusion: We cannot quench what we have not. The exhortation, therefore, supposes the possession of the Spirit. Yet there is a common work of the Spirit which accompanies the preaching of the Word, the effect of which may be entirely lost. Herod heard John gladly, but he cherished a criminal passion which destroyed all his fair beginnings. Felix heard Paul, but the trembler dismisses the preacher for a more convenient season which never came. He afterwards conversed with the apostle, but he never again experienced the feelings he had subdued.
Parallel VersesKJV: Quench not the Spirit.