Colossians 3:12
Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.
Sermons
The Christian's WardrobeE.S. Prout Colossians 3:12, 13
The Duty of Putting on All the Characteristic Qualities of the New ManT. Croskery Colossians 3:12-14
A Holy ChurchT. W. Jenkyn, D. D.Colossians 3:12-15
A Holy LifeH. Bonar, D. D.Colossians 3:12-15
Bowels of MerciesBishop Davenant.Colossians 3:12-15
ElectionPaxton Hood.Colossians 3:12-15
Gentle ChristiansColossians 3:12-15
Humbleness of MindColossians 3:12-15
Humility a SafeguardColossians 3:12-15
Humility and CheerfulnessJ. Ruskin.Colossians 3:12-15
KindnessJ. Morison, D. D.Colossians 3:12-15
Long-SufferingN. Byfield.Colossians 3:12-15
Long-Suffering RewardedW. Jay.Colossians 3:12-15
Meekness: its BlendingD. Thomas, D. D.Colossians 3:12-15
Meekness: its BlessednessArchdeacon Hare.Colossians 3:12-15
Meekness: its NatureJames Hamilton, D. D.Colossians 3:12-15
Meekness: its PowerE. Foster.Colossians 3:12-15
Meekness: its UsefulnessGotthold.Colossians 3:12-15
PityAddison.Colossians 3:12-15
Pity the Secret of Prophetic LightR. Glover.Colossians 3:12-15
Religion Moves to PityR. Glover.Colossians 3:12-15
The Blessings of a Benignant SpiritA. Barnes, D. D.Colossians 3:12-15
The Costume of a SaintT. G. Horton.Colossians 3:12-15
The Elect and Their DutiesJ. Daille.Colossians 3:12-15
The Essentials of a Christian CharacterW. Barlow.Colossians 3:12-15
The Garments of the Renewed SoulA. Maclaren, D. D.Colossians 3:12-15
The King's LiveryNewman Hall, LL. B.Colossians 3:12-15
The Nature of HolinessBishop Huntington.Colossians 3:12-15
The Power of KindnessJ. Parker, D. D.Colossians 3:12-15
The Power of KindnessAmerican AgriculturistColossians 3:12-15
Tire Power of CompassionArchbishop Thomson.Colossians 3:12-15
The Marks, Method, and Motive of the Christian LifeU.R. Thomas Colossians 3:12-17
The New Life of LoveR.M. Edgar Colossians 3:12-17
What Particularly We are to Put On. How We are AddressedR. Finlayson Colossians 3:12-17
We must not only "cease to do evil" in putting off the old man, we "must learn to do well." "Put on therefore, as God's elect, holy and beloved, a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, long suffering."

I. THE OBLIGATIONS OF THE CHRISTIAN POSITION. "As God's elect, holy and beloved." They are chosen unto holiness that they should be without blame before him in love" (Ephesians 1:4). The saints are:

1. The elect ones of God. They are chosen to final salvation (Matthew 24:22, 24, 31; Revelation 17:14; Titus 1:1; Romans 8:33).

2. The elect are

(1) holy -

(a) consecrated to God,

(b) subjectively holy (2 Corinthians 7:1);

(2) beloved -

(a) the election is connected with God's love (Romans 11:28);

(b) it is a free love (Hosea 14:5), a tender love (Joel 2:13), an everlasting love (Zephaniah 3:17).

II. THE DISCHARGE OF THESE CHRISTIAN OBLIGATIONS. We are to put on:

1. A heart of compassion; not a head of high knowledge, after Gnostic perception. The apostle begins with the natural and universal instinct of pity, which is here more an act of grace than of nature, for it springs from love to God. We ought to cultivate it,

(1) because the Father of mercies is merciful (Luke 6:33);

(2) because those who need it are our own flesh (Isaiah 58:7);

(3) because it will attest the reality and worth of our religion (James 1:27);

(4) because we shall reap after the measure of mercies both here and hereafter (Hosea 10:12).

2. Kindness. This is the temper of mind which produces a sweet and happy intercourse with others. Our English word is derived from "kin," and thus a kind man is a kinned man; we ought to regard the saints as kinsfolk, for they are children of God and brethren in Christ.

3. Humility. This is the temper of mind which affects our estimate of ourselves. It is closely allied to kindness, for it takes an unselfish view of personal interests. We ought to "seek lowliness" (Zephaniah 2:3), because:

(1) It is one of Christ's own graces (Matthew 11:29).

(2) God regards it as a grace eminently worthy of our vocation (Ephesians 4:1, 2).

(3) He loves to dwell in a lowly soul (Isaiah 57:15). He giveth grace to the lowly (1 Peter 5:5, 6).

(4) He does not despise their prayers (Psalm 102:7).

4. Meekness, long suffering. They affect our outward bearing towards others, especially in the case of injury or insult. They are linked together as companion graces in Galatians 5:22. They are eminently illustrated in the life of Christ, and are both fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). God will guide the meek in judgment and teach them his way (Psalm 25:9). It is the praise of Christian love that it suffers long (1 Corinthians 13:4).

5. Forbearance and mutual forgiveness. "Forbearing one another, and forgiving each other, if any man have a complaint against any." This temper is eminently conducive to peaceful relations and diminishes the natural friction of life. It implies

(1) a bearing with the infirmities of others (Galatians 6:2);

(2) a disposition to take wrong rather than stand upon the last jot of our rights (1 Corinthians 6:7);

(3) a pleasing of our neighbour for his good to edification (Romans 15:1, 2);

(4) a frank forgiveness of our neighbour in case of a fault, - jars and discords may arise even among saints.

(5) It is a temper which is illustrated and enforced by the example of Christ: "Even as the Lord forgave you, so also do ye." His example is decisive both as to the act and the manner of it. He forgave his enemies; he forgave freely; he forgave finally, for salvation.

6. Love. "And above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfectness." This love to the brethren is to be put on as the cincture to bind the other graces together.

(1) The necessity of this love.

(a) It is the proof of faith (Galatians 5:6).

(b) It tends to the increase of the mystical body (Ephesians 4:17).

(c) It makes us like God himself (1 John 4:16).

(d) It is a demonstration of the reality of religion to a godless world (John 15:8; Matthew 5:16).

(2) The dignity of this love; it is "the bond of perfectness." It holds together all the graces which make up perfection. The Judaeo-Gnostics found their perfection in knowledge; the apostle finds it in love. Knowledge puffeth up, charity edifieth" (1 Corinthians 8:1). Love binds believers together, and looks to their final perfection in God. - T. C.







Put on, therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved.
The Christian character is distinguished by —

I. A SPECIAL DESIGNATION, signifying —

1. Divine choice — "Elect."

2. Personal purity — "Holy." The evidence and practical result of election (Ephesians 1:4),

3. Divine affection — "Beloved." Each of these epithets has the force of a motive.

II. A. HEARTFELT SYMPATHY. Arising from —

1. A spirit of tender mercy — "Bowels of mercy" — a phrase expressing the effect on the body of strong emotions of pity. A genuine pity is not only visible on the countenance, and uttered by the lips, but is felt in the inmost heart, and prompts to generous actions.

2. A spirit of kindness.

III. A GENUINE HUMILITY.

1. This is not undue self-depreciation, but a proper estimate of self.

2. It proceeds from exalted views of God.

3. It is fruitful, as that branch in the garden which is most heavily laden with fruit is nearest the ground.

IV. A GENTLE AND PATIENT SPIRIT.

1. "Meekness" (Judges 8:2), which is slow to take and scorns to give offence.

2. "Longsuffering," meekness continued, though subjected to the strongest provocations.

V. A PRACTICAL MANIFESTATION OF A SPIRIT OF MUTUAL FORBEARANCE AND FORGIVENESS.

1. This is to be exercised universally — "Any." Quarrel would be better rendered complaint. It takes two to make a quarrel; the Christian should never be one.

2. It is en forced by the highest example — "Even as Christ." The heart that is not moved by this is incorrigible.Lessons —

1. The unity of Christian character is made up of many separate essential graces.

2. The condition of things in this world affords ample scope for the exercise of every Christian grace.

3. To forgive is at once the most difficult and most Christlike.

(W. Barlow.)

1. Clothing is the external badge of individuality. Without clothing, or with an absolute uniformity of clothing, it would scarcely be possible for one man to be known from another. And much of the character comes out in one's dress. The vain, the proud, the miserly, the profligate, the orderly, or the reckless man, may often be quickly distinguished by his dress. So a man's disposition is the dress of his soul. You know the tone of spirit which distinguishes him from another, and you are struck with it as soon as you are in his company. The word "habit" may be applied either to the material or to the immaterial parts and adjuncts of the human being, and it is a connecting link between the dress of the body and the disposition of the soul.

2. There are distinctive costumes peculiar to certain classes or communities. There are national costumes, by which an Englishman is known from a Turk, a German from a Spaniard, etc. There are costumes of the sexes, and of various ages. There are costumes of professions and trades, aa the soldier's, the sailor's, the king's, the judge's, etc. Thus also there are characteristic phases of mind which belong to special classes. S. Let us apply these things to Christians. With due allowance for individual idiosyncrasies, there is yet a certain tone and temper of mind which should belong to every child of God. It should be to him as a suit of clothes, at once significant of his character and citizenship, and also contributing to his comfort and comeliness. The parts of this suit are here carefully enumerated, and you will see how admirably they correspond with one another.

I. THE COSTUME OF A SAINT AS HERE DESCRIBED.

1. "Bowels of mercies," a yearning and tender sympathy with the sorrowful and afflicted: as opposed to carelessness or cruel delight in their griefs.

2. "Kindness," active goodwill, not merely ready to sympathize with suffering, but in every way to do good to others. It is simple, pure, brotherly, and disinterested.

3. "Humbleness of mind" has two phases. It is a low estimate of ourselves, and it leads us highly to estimate others in comparison with ourselves.

4. "Meekness" is a spirit of patience and self-control under reproach, misrepresentation, and unkind treatment by others.

5. "Long-suffering" elongates meekness, and stretches it out, if unkindness from others should be systematic and long continued.

6. "Forbearing one another," in case of little hitches and provocations.

7. "Forgiving one another," in case of actual injury to character or estate.

8. "Over all these put on charity." This is like a girdle round the loins, or like an easy-fitting toga, or cloak, which is at once elegant and useful. It completes our spiritual dress, and adds a general grace to the entire outfit. Further, all this is not to be merely "put on." There is a radical cause which should produce it all. This lies deep in the heart; and without it, the rest would be a cloak of hypocrisy. "Let the peace of God rule in your hearts." It is the peace of God in Christ Jesus. Where this is in the heart, the outward clothing will have an inward root. It will be like the natural and vital clothing of the autumn trees, and not like the artificial attire of the human body: the outward and the inward will correspond. We shall put on externally, by putting out or developing from within, all the graces here sketched.

II. THE APPROPRIATENESS OF THIS ATTIRE.

1. Consider your position as God's elect — holy and beloved. God's election of you has exemplified in Him all these graces, there[ore it is right that you should exhibit them as well. Besides, you are called to be like Him, and such as He can admire; therefore, conform to His character in these particulars.

2. Consider especially His grace in forgiving your sins. How great that boon! It is a small thing to ask you to do the same for others.

3. Your vocation as a Christian Church demands the exercise of these virtues. You are called to be one compact and corporate body in the Lord. There should be no schism, no lack of mutual sympathy and interest among you. On the contrary, there should be the utmost gentleness, kindness, patience, etc. This is the dress which God requires you to wear. Do you possess it? Seek it more fully now: renew it continually, and so walk, worthy of the high vocation wherewith ye are called., and be thankful.

(T. G. Horton.)

Because the new nature has been assumed, therefore array your souls in vesture corresponding; because Christ is all in all clothe yourselves with all brotherly graces corresponding to that unity into which Christians are brought by their common possession of Christ.

I. AN ENUMERATION OF THE FAIR GARMENTS OF THE NEW MAN.

1. Let us go over the wardrobe of the consecrated soul.(1) A heart of compassion; the rendering by conventional propriety of a phrase it regards as coarse, simply because Jews choose one part of the body and we another as the supposed seat of the emotions. Is it not beautiful that the series should begin with pity? What every man needs, and most often, and yet what is so difficult to achieve in the face of obstructions of occupation, selfishness, and custom. There fore we have to make conscious efforts to "put" it "on." Without it no help will be of much use to the receiver, nor any to the giver. Aid flung to a man as a bone to a dog usually gets as much gratitude as it deserves. But if we make another's sorrows ours, that teaches us tact and gentleness. But beware of letting the emotion be excited, and then not allowing it to act.(2) Kindness. A wider benignity, with which some are so dowered that they come like the sunshine. But all can cultivate it. When we come out of the secret place of the Most High, we shall bear some reflection of Him whose "tender mercies are over all His works." This is the opposite of that worldly wisdom which prides itself on its knowledge of men and is suspicious of everybody. It is the most powerful solvent of ill-will and indifference.(3) Humility. That seems to bring a virtue occupied with self into the middle of a series referring exclusively to others. But the following graces have reference to our demeanour under slights and injuries, and humility constitutes the foundation for the right bearing of these. This is not necessarily blindness to our strong points. Milton would be none the less humble though he was sure that his work was better than that of Sternhold and Hopkins. Any unchristian fire of pride which the devil's breath may blow up should be damped by "What hast thou that thou hast not received?" and "Who is pure before God's judgment-seat?"(4) The distinction between meekness and long-suffering is slight. The former is the temper which accepts God's dealings, or evil inflicted by men without resistance, and its opposite is rudeness or harshness; the latter the long holding out before giving way to a temptation to an action or passion, and its opposite is swift resentment. While long-suffering floes not get angry soon, meekness does not get angry at all.(5) Forbearing and forgiving are meekness and long-suffering in exercise. A man may forbear and bite his lips till the blood come rather than speak unkindly, but forgiveness is an entire wiping of enmity and irritation out of the heart.

2. Is this a type of character that the world admires? Is it not uncommonly like what most people call "a poor spiritless creature"? It was a new man emphatically, for the world had never seen anything like it; and it is a new man still. It may be true that Christianity has added no new virtue to those prescribed by conscience, but it has altered the perspective of the whole, and created a type of excellence in which the gentler virtues predominate, and the novelty of which is proved by the reluctance of men to recognize it. By its side worldly "heroic virtues" are vulgar and glaring, like some daub of a soldier on a sign-board by the side of Angelico's white-robed visions. Better is he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.

3. The great pattern and motive of forgiveness. "As Christ has forgiven us."(1) The R.V. adopts the reading of "the Lord" which recalls the parable about the servant who had been forgiven by his "Lord," and yet squeezed the last farthing out of his fellow-servant. The parallel passage in the Ephesians speaks of "God for Christ's sake forgiving us." Observe the interchange of Divine office and attributes. What notion of Christ's Person underlies it?(2) Christ's forgiveness is not simply revealed that trembling hearts may be made calm. A heart softened by pardon will be a heart apt to pardon.(3) This new pattern and motive make the novelty and difference of Christian morality. "As I have loved you" makes "Love one another" a new commandment. Obedience to one we love is delightful.(4) We have each to choose what shall be the pattern for us. The world takes Caesar, the Christian takes Christ.(5) This is not inconsistent with the Lord's prayer, which teaches us that our forgiveness is the condition of God's. Without the first we shall not be conscious of the second.

II. THE GIRDLE WHICH KEEPS THE GARMENTS IN THEIR PLACES.

1. "Above all" is equivalent to "over." The silken sash of love will brace all the rest into a unity. "Perfectness" does not mean that it is the perfect principle of union, but is a collective expression for the various graces which together make up perfection. Love knits into a harmonious whole virtues which would otherwise be fragmentary and incomplete.

2. We can conceive of the dispositions named as existing in some fashion without love, but let love come into the heart and knit a man to the poor creature whom he had only pitied before, or to the enemy whom he had only been able to forgive with an effort, and it lifts these into a nobler life.

3. Perhaps there is the deeper truth that love produces all these graces. The virtues are best cultivated by cultivating it. Paul elsewhere calls love the fulfilling of the law even as his Master had taught him that all the duties were summed up in love to God and love to man.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

I. THE QUALITIES OF THE ELECT OF GOD.

1. They are chosen and separated from the world to serve God according to the discipline of the gospel (Ephesians 1:4). It is this that Moses represented to ancient Israel the type of the new (Deuteronomy 26:18). They who boast of being elected but lead a godless life mock God and man. Election is ever accompanied by conversion and sanctification. No one knows of his election but by its effects.

2. They are holy — all of them. Paul is not of Rome's opinion that none are saints but the canonized. In the Creed, the Church, which is the body of all true Christians, is called holy, and the communion of saints. No man can be a Christian who is not a saint (Romans 8:9). This quality obliges us to the following virtues which are parts of holiness (Leviticus 11:44; Leviticus 20:26).

3. Beloved of God. This obliges us to love God, the effect of which is —

(1)Obedience, which includes every virtue (John 14:15).

(2)Transformation into the thing loved; so that God being charity, justice, and holiness, if we love Him, we shall put these on.

II. THE GRACES OF THE ELECT.

1. Mercy is a tenderness which causes us to commiserate the miseries of others as if we took part in them ourselves. "Bowels of mercies" is a Hebrew expression signifying that the real virtue is one which moves the heart, and is not merely a face expression. The gospel has no affinity with stoicism, which holds compassion to be an infirmity (Luke 6:36; 1 Peter 3:8; Romans 13:15), and is exemplified in Christ (Hebrews 5:2; Hebrews 4:15).

2. Kindness is a goodness of nature that takes pleasure in obliging and avoids injuring. We are obliged to this by our stewardship of God's manifold grace.

3. Humility is the mother of patience and the nurse of charity. It is a difficult virtue to proud man, and its difficulty arises out of our ignorance of ourselves and our relation to God. Could we know this pride would be impossible.

4. Meekness is gentleness, the most amiable ornament of life, which receives every one with an open heart and pleasing countenance, takes things in good part, and is proof against self-injurious irritations.

5. Patience is the sister of gentleness, and undergoes affronts under which gentleness might break down. 6:For the better clearing of these Paul adds —

(1)Forbearance (Matthew 12:20).

(2)Forgiveness (Matthew 18:35).

III. THE EXEMPLAR OF THE ELECT (Ephesians 4:32). What stronger reason could he urge? Christ being the image to which we ought to be conformed, how shall we be His living portraits if we have not the goodness He has shown to us? (Matthew 18:32-33). We were His enemies, and His treatment of us must be our inspiration and model in our treatment of our enemies.

(J. Daille.)

A true Christian is like the lily which stings no one, and yet he lives among those who are full of sharpness. He aims to please, and not to provoke, and yet he lives among those whose existence is a standing menace. The thorn tears and lacerates: it is all armed from its root to its topmost branch, defying all comers. But there stands the lily, smiling, not defying; charming, and not harming. Such is the real Christian, holy, harmless, full of love and gentleness and tenderness. Therein lieth his excellence. Who would not stop and turn aside to see a lily among thorns, and think he reads a promise from his God to comfort him amid distress? Such is a true Christian: he is a consolation in his family, a comfort in his neighbourhood, an ornament to his profession, and a benediction to his age. He is all tenderness and gentleness, and yet it may be he lives among the envious, the malicious, and the profane, a lily among thorns. The thorn saith, "Keep away; no one shall touch me with impunity." The lily cries, "I come to you, f shed my soul abroad to please you."

A Christian lady, in the course of visitation, was told of a very depraved woman, who was ruining herself by debauchery, but was of so violent a temper that no one durst interfere with her. She proposed to go up and see her, but was warned, "she will kill you." She bethought her, "If my Lord were here, He would do it." She went and entered the miserable apartment, and saw her lying in a corner as if a bundle of rags. She spoke, and "an old, withered, miserable-looking creature raised herself Upon her elbow, and with frenzied look, demanded what she wanted. She replied, "I love you; I want to be kind to you, because Jesus loves you." She went forward and kissed her brow, and, notwithstanding violent, repelling words, kissed her again. Then came the exclamation, "Go away, go away! you will break my heart; you put me in mind of my mother. Never has any one kissed me as she did; never have I been so treated since I lost her: many kicks and blows have I had, but no kisses like this." The fountain of feeling was opened, the confidence of the heart was won, and step by step that all but utterly lost soul was led back to Jesus. Elect. — As to this matter of election, I would to God that some who object to it were as common sense in this matter as they are in the daily actions of ordinary life. Let me assume that a purse has been lost in the next street containing a thousand guineas, and that whoever finds it may keep it. "Ha!" we say. "Well, only one can find it; what is the good of a thousand seeking it? Only one can have it; and if I am elected to be the man, it will come in my way." I never heard people reasoning so in an affair of that kind. Though only one may have it, ten thousand will strive for it if they know the conditions. There is one prize to be given in a school of five hundred scholars. The boys say, "Well, only one of us man get it, why should five hundred of us be toiling and fagging to get it?" Another boy says, "I know if I am to have the prize I shall get it; so I shall read no books, and make no preparation." You would not allow a boy to reason so. Yet there are men who say this, "If we are called to heaven we'll get to heaven; if we are elected to be saved, we need not make any effort about it." "Thou wicked and slothful servant; out of thine own mouth I condemn thee; the whole action of thy evil life shall be thy answer on the day of judgment."

(J. Parker, D. D.)

A senator related to his son the account of the book containing the names of illustrious members of the commonwealth. The son desired to see the outside. It was glorious to look upon. "Oh! let me open it," said he. "Nay," said the father, "it's known only to the council." Then said the son, "Tell me if my name is there." "And that," said the father, "is a secret known only to the council, and cannot be divulged." Then he desired to know for what achievements the names were inscribed in that book. The father told him; and related the noble deeds by which they had eternized their names. "Such," said he, "are written, and none but such are written in the book." "And will my name be there?" asked the son. "I cannot tell thee," said the father; "but if thy deeds are like theirs, thou shalt be written in the book; if not, thou shalt not be written." And then the son consulted with himself, and he found that his whole deeds were playing, and singing, and drinking, and amusing himself; and he found that this was not noble. And as he could not count on his name being there as yet, he determined to make his calling and election sure. And thus "by patient continuance in well doing," the end is crowned with glory.

(Paxton Hood.)

Holy
Holiness is religion shining. It is the candle lighted, and not hid under a bushel, but lighting the house. It is religious principle put into motion. It is the love of God sent forth into circulation, on the feet and with the hands of love to man. It is faith gone to work. It is charity coined into actions, and devotion breathing benedictions on human suffering, while it goes up in intercessions to the Father of all piety.

(Bishop Huntington.)

is made up of a number of small things. Little words, not eloquent speeches or sermons; little deeds, not miracles, nor battles, nor one great heroic act or mighty martyrdom. The constant sunbeam, not the lightning; the waters of Siloam "that go softly" in the meek mission of refreshment, not the "waters of the river great and many," rushing down in torrents, are the emblems of a holy life. The avoidance of little evils, little sins, little inconsistencies, weaknesses, follies, indiscretions, imprudencies, foibles, indulgencies of self and of the flesh; the avoidance of such-like things as these goes far to make up at least the negative beauty of a holy life.

(H. Bonar, D. D.)

A living thing grows from itself, and not by accession from without as a house grows. A flower does not grow by adding a leaf to it, nor a tree by fastening a branch to it, nor a man by fixing a limb to his frame. Everything that has life grows by a converting process, which transforms the food into means of nourishment and enlargement. A holy Church lives, and its holiness converts all its ordinances and provisions into means of deep tooled, solid, enlarged, and beautiful usefulness.

(T. W. Jenkyn, D. D.)

Beloved.
As the soldier who is in the queen's service is required to appear in his uniform, that all may know his calling, so the soldier of Christ must appear clothed in certain characteristics needful to prove his loyalty, and show his allegiance to his Lord.

(J. Spence, D. D.)

(see Philippians 1:8). —

I. THE NATURE OF THIS GRACE. The real inward and unpretended affection of condoling with another's woe. The phrase is a Hebraism, and is taken from the emotion, and, as it were, concussion which is felt in the stomach, in deep affections of the mind (Genesis 43:30; Lamentations 2:11; Luke 1:78; Philippians 2:1). The apostle wisely begins with the expression of condolence; because from hence flows the act of relief; and because, as Gregory says, "it is more to compassionate any one from the heart, than to give: for he who gives what is external, gives what does not belong to his own person; but he who gives compassion, gives somewhat of himself."

II. ITS OBJECTS.

1. Persons who have none to give them relief, as widows and orphans.

2. But in general it comprehends all oppressed with misery — the poor, the prisoner, the sick, the afflicted.

III. ITS MOTIVES.

1. The express and oft repeated command of God (Luke 6:36; Romans 12:15; 1 Peter 3:8). Whence Gregory Nazianzen says, "If thou hast nothing, give but a tear; for pity is a great solace to the afflicted."

2. The examples of the prophets, of Christ, and the apostles, and of all good men (Jeremiah 9:1; Matthew 9:36; Luke 19:41; 2 Corinthians 11:29). Hence that saying of the poet, "The good are tear-abounding men."

3. The conformity of nature, and the possibility of suffering similar things. The possibility of suffering similar evils, when seriously considered, forces mercy from any man that is not destitute of feel ing. For what has happened to some one may happen to any one.

IV. HENCE WE CONCLUDE —

1. The apathy of the Stoics must be exploded by a Christian; as not agreeing either with our natural condition or our supernatural regeneration. Prosper well remarks, "We are not in" fault for having affections, but for making a bad use of them."

2. Bowels of mercy are found in every regenerate person: he is therefore moved at the very first view of another's misery.

3. They who, ere they can be excited to mercy, must have much solicitation from the afflicted, can lay claim to little or nothing of the spiritual man; they who are not moved by these, have nothing human in them.

(Bishop Davenant.)

As love is the most delightful passion, pity is nothing else than love softened by a degree of sorrow. It is a kind of pleasing anguish as well as generous sympathy that knits mankind together, and blends them in the same common lot.

(Addison.)

There is something marvellous in the spirit of compassion. I do not mean that it seems to feel a positive pleasure in breathing the atmosphere of distress, nor that it seems to find time for every kind of well-doing, nor that the heart and memory are so enlarged that a range of interest ten times wider and more varied than personal interest findsroom, but that compassion, though it is not talent nor energy, stands in the stead of these and does their work. The social good that is done in the world is not the work of its greatest minds. These set themselves one great task, and gather up all their powers for its accomplishment. They are jealous even of the minutes of their time. They resist all distractions. The compassionate man gives up his time to others, and yet seems to find time for all things. Like the bread miraculously multiplied, he gives, and yet he gathers up for himself more than he gave. How great, again, is its power to find its way to the miserable heart. Convince the wretched man that you know his misery and would ease his burden, and you have already, made it lighter. Show the vicious man that you can see in him something worth caring for, and you thereby take off the despair that is at the bottom of so much vice. Let your enemy see that you have not room in your heart for any bitterness against him, and his arm will fall powerless.

(Archbishop Thomson.)

Now I would like you to mark that there is not a true grace of a Christian man, nor a true activity of the disciple of Christ, which does not lead to pity and love like this. Repentance leads to it, for repentance laments selfishness as the essence of its evil, and dreads relapsing into a religion which would be merely a selfishness refined; and repentance remembers its lost estate, the fearful pit and miry clay, and pities those that are still struggling in it; so repentance cherishes love and moves to pity. Faith kindles these virtues. You cannot take refuge in the heart of Christ, and build your hope upon redeeming love, and rejoice in His saving pity that stooped to Calvary, without catching some of the qualities on which you rest. Your heart softens with the warmth of that heart on which it rests, and is kindled by the pity in which it takes refuge. As our faith leads to these qualities, decision moves to them. Except we deny ourselves we cannot be disciples. Self-renunciation, which is the beginning of discipleship, leaves the heart free So cherish love. The comforts of religion move to them. Forgiveness, and peace, and hope, and gratitude swell the heart with the question, "What shall I render?" and move it to share its mercies with those that still lack them. All adoration of God kindles them. In the degree in which we see Him as He is, see Him in the face of Christ, see Him as He weeps over Jerusalem or groans on Calvary, in the degree in which we see the pitiful woe that sometimes fills God's heart: in that degree we are changed. All hope changes the heart and fills it with this spirit. Hope of earthly providence and hope of immortal heaven, both move men to pity and to love. Every step you take in following Christ kindles pity, for when He leads it is not always unto green pastures and rapturous heights: it is to the haunts of misery, to the widows of Nain, to homes of grief. He would use us, borrows our hand to wipe away a tear, our voice to still a grief. Exactly in that degree in which He employs us, and we follow Him step by step, exactly in that degree do we catch the spirit in which He lived, and the compassion which is the everlasting motive and the perpetual habit of our God. So that I want you to observe that there is not a single Christian instinct, activity, relationship, employment, or grace which does not work out in love and pity.

(R. Glover.)

I want to point out that in love and pity, such as is here expressed, you have not merely the work of the disciple, but you have the secret of prophetic light: that Paul's light was due, not to his genius, not to his erudition, not even so much specially to heavenly effulgence that visited him, as to the fact that he had a heart of love and pity that could enter and absorb the light of God. Is it not obvious that it was so? We know God by what is kindred to Him, and by what resembles Him. It was Paul's love of man that could read God's love of man, that gazed on God till "the shadow" grew into a "face" and the "face" of God was seen glowing with infinite love. He would have been in the darkness till now if his love had not permitted him to see God's love. The light is ever shining. It is the eye, the eye of the heart, that is wanted; and that he had. He looked on man, not with the cynical eye that sees only what moves men to despair of, or to despise them; but he looked with a loving heart, and could see the world in God's light; something that made man a pearl of great price in his Saviour's eyes. He could see Divine movings in them; high capacity; possibilities of change; unrest — all these Divine elements, on which grace could move, and which grace could lead to light. He looked in the face of Christ, and his yearning permitted him to behold Christ's yearning, so that his love and his pity enlarged his heart, and opened it to light. He walked in the light of the Lord, and truths too grand for poorer eyes lay naked and open to his. One of the greatest theologians of the century, Neander, Wok for his motto, "It is the heart that makes the theologian." And one of the greatest historians, Niebuhr, uttered some similar words: "I have said, again and again, I will have no metaphysical deity, but the God of the Bible, who is heart to heart."

(R. Glover.)

Kindness
I. IN WHAT KINDNESS CONSISTS.

1. In a disposition to be pleased; a willingness to be satisfied with others. This goes a long way towards our being actually pleased. This temper stands opposed to the spirit of fault-finding, the propensity to magnify trifles.

2. In a disposition to attribute to others good motives when we can do so. One of the rights of every man is to have it supposed that he acts with good intentions until it is proved to the contrary.

3. In bearing with the infirmities of others. We do not journey long with a fellow traveller before we find that he is far from perfection, and the closer our relations become the more necessity there is for bearing patiently the foibles of others. In the most tender connexions, that of husband and wife, etc., it may require much of a gentle and yielding spirit to so adapt ourselves that life shall move on smoothly and harmoniously. When there is a disposition to do this me soon learn to bear and forbear,, and to avoid the look, gesture, allusion, that would excite improperly the mind of our friend. Like children, we must allow each other to build his own play-house in his own way. Conscious of our own imperfection we must be indulgent to others.

4. In not blaming others harshly when they fall into sin. In no circumstances do men need kindness so much as here. We weep with the bereaved, we sympathize with the unfortunate; but when a man is overtaken in a fault our sympathies frequently die. Yet they ought then to be in fullest operation (Galatians 6:1). Remember —(1) He is a brother still.(2) If all the circumstances were known the aspect ought to be changed (Luke 6:37; 1 Peter 4:8).(3) An explanation may remove the difficulty, therefore give him the opportunity.

5. It prompts us to aid others when in our power. If relief cannot be afforded it should be declined with a gentle and benevolent heart.

II. ITS VALUE.

1. Much of the comfort of life depends upon it. Life is made up of little things, which, if displaced, render us miserable. Breathing, the beating of the heart, the circulation of the blood, are small matters, and ordinarily scarcely noticed, but when deranged we are sensible of their importance. So in morals and social intercourse. The happiness of life depends not so much on great and glorious deeds as on quiet duties, the gentle spirit, the cheerful answer, the smiling face, etc.

2. Usefulness depends upon it. This and far more than on deeds which excite general admiration. The rivulet that glides through the meadow is far more useful than the grand cataract. Kindness prompts us to seek the good and happiness of others. And it is by this, and not by great martyrdoms, that men will judge of the nature of the gospel. All usefulness may be prevented by a sour temper. Nothing will compensate for the want of that charity which is "kind."

3. It is commended by the example of Jesus (2 Corinthians 10:1). Christ performed great deeds, but not that we should imitate them. But He was meek and gentle that we might be so too.

(A. Barnes, D. D.)

The fundamental idea of kindness is ascertained by tracing the connection between kindred or kin and kindness. The latter is the feeling natural to us in relation to our own kind.

1. Take the innermost circle of kindred, the home, and that which constitutes its sweetness is kindness. Unkindness, then, is most unnatural. In German and Dutch the word for child is kind. Kindness was first of all the relation of a child to its parents, and then the feeling of a parent for a child. That was the original and architypal kindness, is its ever present and undying element, and gives character and tone to all the more extended instances of kindness which ripple out with the extension of our kinship.

2. Though our kindred begins in our homes it does not end there. We have remoter relatives to whom it is our duty, and the prompting of our natures, to be kind. Our nation consists of individuals who are of our own kind, and we ought to be kindly towards them all. And then our kith and kin are found in colonies, and the parent state should always feel kindly towards them, and when any colony grows into an independent nation, like the United States of America, it would be a calamity and a sin if kindliness on either side were to cease.

3. The family relationship extends farther than to those who manifest their kinship by the use of the common mother tongue, embalmed in the English Bible. The Dutch and Germans are our cousins, so are the Danes; and there was a time when the Greeks also, and the Romans belonged to the same family circle. Their ancestors came from the same paternal home in Asia from which our ancestors came; and so with the Hindoos, and hence the old old words which are common to the now diverse languages.

4. Indeed, all the nations are kindred to each other. All the families of the earth belong to the great family of man — mankind; hence all owe kindness to one another. Hence Peter exhorts us to add to our godliness brotherly kindness. Some think it more difficult to attain the former than the latter. In some respects it is, in others not: and so the apostle urges us to seek the latter by way of the former. In mere speculation we might have supposed that man must first climb to the terrestrial thing — "brotherly kindness" — and thence ascend to the celestial. But the reverse is the true and better order. We must first get right with God the Father — then, and not till then, shall we get right with man the brother.

(J. Morison, D. D.)

American Agriculturist.
"Go away from there, you old beggar boy!, You've no right to be looking at our flowers," shouted a little fellow from the garden where he was standing. The poor boy, who was pale, dirty, and ragged, was leaning against the fence, admiring the splendid show of roses and tulips within. His face reddened with anger at the rude language, and he was about to answer defiantly, when a little girl sprang out from an arbour near, and looking at both, said to her brother, — "How could you speak so, Herbert! I'm sure his looking at the flowers don't hurt us." And then, to soothe the wounded feelings of the stranger, she added: "Little boy, I'll pick you some flowers, if you'll wait a moment," and she immediately gathered a pretty bouquet, and handed it through the fence. His face brightened with surprise and pleasure, and he earnestly thanked her. Twelve years after this occurrence, the girl had grown to a woman. One bright afternoon she was walking with her husband in the garden, when she observed a young man in workman's dress, leaning over the fence, and looking attentively at her and at the flowers. Turning to her husband, she said, — "It does me good to see people admiring the garden; I'll give that young man some of the flowers;" and approaching him she said, "Are you fond of flowers, sir? It will give me great pleasure to gather you some." The young workman looked a moment into her fair face, and then said in a voice tremulous with feeling: "Twelve years ago I stood here a ragged little beggar boy, and you showed me the same kindness. The bright flowers and your pleasant words made a new boy of me; aye, and they have made a man of me, too. Your face, madam, has been a light to me in many dark hours of life; and now, thank God, though that boy is still an humble, hard working man, he is an honest and grateful one." Tears stood in the eyes of the lady as, turning to her husband, she said, "God put it into my young heart to do that kindness, and see how great a reward it has brought."

(American Agriculturist.)

I. THE NATURE OF THIS TEMPER: A low apprehension or esteem of ourselves (Romans 12:3), the opposite to pride and arrogance. The word leads us to consider the disposition of mind; for there may be a humility of behaviour which covers a very proud heart. In consists of —

1. A humble apprehension of our own knowledge (1 Corinthians 8:1). There is nothing of which men are more proud. Many would sooner bear a reflection on their moral characters than on their understandings. The serpent was early sensible that this was man's weak side (Genesis 3:5). And no kind of pride has more need of a cure (Job 11:12). So it will include —(1) A sense of the natural imperfection of our faculties (Job 11:7). This will dispose us to receive God's revelation (1 Corinthians 2:10-11).(2) An apprehension of our own fallibility. Humility in this view would teach us(a) not on that account to surrender ourselves to the absolute control of others. To this Rome would lead us in pretence of infallibility; and if any others would lead us to such an implicit faith in their dictates, while they disclaim infallibility, their claim is still more absurd. We must answer for ourselves to God in the great day; and therefore it can neither be a laudable nor a safe humility to take our religion from the dictates of fallible men.(b) But a just apprehension of our liableness to mistake should induce us in all our searches after Divine truth to be very desirous of Divine illumination and guidance (Psalm 25:4-5). It should keep us ever open to further light and willing to learn.(3) A moderate apprehension of our own .attainments in knowledge when we compare them with the attainments of other men (1 Corinthians 13:9; 1 Corinthians 8:2). If some know less, others know more than we.(4) A persuasion of the small value of the most exalted knowledge without a suitable practical influence (John 13:7; Luke 12:47-48). A man of low attainments, if his heart is right with God, is truly acceptable; while a resolved sinner, though he understood all mysteries, will be eternally disowned by Him. Exalted knowledge may leave a man of no better a temper than a devil.

2. Humble thoughts of our own goodness. Not that we are to be insensible to anything that is truly good in us; but Christian humility includes —(1) A sense of the undeservingness of our own goodness at the bands of God even if it was perfect (Luke 17:10).(2) An apprehension of the disparity between the goodness of God and that of any creature (Luke 18:19).(3) An affecting conviction of our own sinfulness (Luke 5:31-32).(4) A sense of the imperfection of our goodness at its best (Psalm 19:12).(5) An acknowledgment that we are principally indebted to God for whatever is good in us (Philippians 1:6; 1 Corinthians 4:7; 1 Corinthians 6:11; 1 Corinthians 15:10).(6) A modest apprehension of our own goodness compared with that of other men (Philippians 2:3).

3. A humble sense of our dependence and wants —(1) As regards God.

(a)In the sphere of nature (Acts 17:28).

(b)In the sphere of grace. We should have a deep sense of our need of His mercy to pardon our sins and His grace to help our infirmities.(2) As regards our fellow-creatures. It is ordered by the law of our creation that we cannot comfortably subsist independent of them (Ecclesiastes 5:9). Every link in the chain of societies contributes to the good of the whole (1 Corinthians 12:21, 24). And then in the changeableness of human affairs, those who are now in the most prosperous estate know not how soon they may need the kind offices of the lowliest.

4. A modest apprehension of our own rank and station.(1) As compared with God we cannot think too low of ourselves (Isaiah 40:15). All our relations to Him bespeak the profoundest submission, as His creatures, subjects, children (Psalm 8:4; Psalm 144:3; Job 7:17). Humility will teach us to dispute neither the precepts nor the providences of Him who has a natural authority over us.(2) Revelation teaches us that we are beneath other invisible beings (Psalm 7:5).(3) For our fellow-creatures we should consider them all as of the same nature with us, and therefore near akin (Acts 17:26), and that distinctions in outward circumstances are in the account of God and in themselves but little things (Romans 13:7; Romans 12:16).

II. THE SPECIAL OBLIGATIONS WHICH REST ON Christians to cultivate this temper.

1. Humility is a grace of the first rank.(1) It is mentioned in Scripture with peculiar marks of distinction (Micah 6:8; Proverbs 8:13; Psalm 138:6; Matthew 5:4; Matthew 18:4).(2) The most distinguished promises are made to it (Psalm 9:12; Psalm 10:17; Isaiah 57:15; James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5; Matthew 33:12).(3) It is in its own nature a necessary introduction to the other graces and duties of Christianity. This is not a religion for the proud but for the lowly.(a) Humility is necessary to faith. Without this we shall not have a disposition to receive a revelation. Pride and self-sufficiency was the reason why Christ crucified was a stumbling-block to the Jew, etc.(b) To obedience. A proud heart says, "Who is the Lord over me?" Humility asks, "Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?"(c) To the acceptance of Christ as offered in the gospel (Luke 5:31; Revelation 3:17-18; Luke 18:9-13).(d) To the reception of the grace of the Holy Spirit.(e) To perseverance, for without it we shall be ready to take offence at crosses.(f) To the reception of assistance in the way to heaven from other men. Those who are wise in their own conceit despise admonitions.(g) To the performance of Christian duty.

2. It is this grace which adorns every other virtue and recommends religion to every beholder (1 Peter 5:5).

3. It is recommended by the example of Christ.(1) His incarnation was the greatest instance of humility (Philippians 2:3, 5, etc.; 2 Corinthians 8:9).(2) When He appeared in human nature He affected not worldly honour (Luke 2:7-11; Matthew 13:55).(3) As a man He was the pattern of great humility toward God (John 8:50; John 7:18; Mark 13:32; Matthew 19:17).(4) He was the pattern of the greatest humility to mankind.(a) He was ready to condescend to the meanest in order to their good (Matthew 8:6; Mark 10:46; John 4:27; Matthew 18:1-10; Matthew 19:13-14).(b) He was willing to stoop to the meanest offices for the meanest persons (Mark 1:41; John 13:5; Matthew 20:28).(c) He was not above receiving and acknowledging the respect shown Him by the meanest (Luke 8:3; Matthew 21:15; Matthew 26:13). Learn, then, like Him, to be meek and lowly of heart.

4. Humility is a grace which will go along with us to heaven. The only inhabitants of that world who were ever lifted up with pride have been cast out. The angels abase themselves (Isaiah 6:2, 3; Revelation 4:10; Revelation 5:10; Revelation 7:11; Revelation 11:16), and humility will receive a glorious reward (Matthew 25.). Like charity, it never faileth.

(Dr. Evans.)

A French general, riding on horseback at the head of his troops, heard a soldier complain and say, "It is very easy for the general to command us forward while he rides and we walk." Then the general dismounted and compelled the complaining soldier to get on his horse. Coming through a ravine a bullet from a sharpshooter struck the rider and he fell dead. Then the general said," How much safer it is to walk than to ride."

Observe the peculiar characters of the grass which adapt it especially for the service of man are humility and cheerfulness — its humility, in that it seems created only for lowest service, appointed to be trodden on and fed upon; its cheerfulness, in that it seems to exalt under all kinds of violence and suffering. You roll it, and it is the stronger next day; you mow it, and it multiplies its shoots as if it were grateful; you tread upon it, and it only sends up richer perfume. Spring comes, and it rejoices with all the earth, glowing with variegated flame of flowers, waving in soft depth of fruitful strength. Winter comes, and though it will not mock its fellow-plants by growing then, it will not pine and mourn, and turn colourless or leafless as they. It is always green, and is only the brighter and gayer for the hoar frost.

(J. Ruskin.)

Meekness
Meekness is love at school, at the Saviour's school. It is the disciple learning to know himself, to fear, distrust, and abhor himself. It is the disciple practising the sweet, but self. emptying lesson of putting on the Lord Jesus, and finding all his righteousness in that righteous other. It is the disciple learning the defects of his own character, and taking hints from hostile as well as friendly monitors. It is the disciple praying and watching for the improvement of his talents, the mellowing of his temper, and the amelioration of his character. It is the loving Christian at his Saviour's feet, learning from Him who is meek and lowly, and finding rest for his own soul.

(James Hamilton, D. D.)

It is power blended with gentleness, boldness with humility, the harmlessness of the dove with the prowess of the lion. It is the soul in the majesty of self-possession, elevated above the precipitant, the irascible, the boisterous, the revengeful, it is the soul throwing its benignant smiles on the furious face of the foe, and penetrating his heart and paralyzing his arm with the look of love.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

Sir Walter Raleigh, a man of courage and honour, was once insulted by a hot-headed youth, who challenged him, and on his refusal spat upon him in public. The knight, taking out his handkerchief, made this reply: "Young man, if I could as easily wipe your blood from my conscience as I can this injury from my face, I would this moment take away your life." The youth was so struck with a sense of his misbehaviour that he fell upon his knees and asked forgiveness.

(E. Foster.)

It is in the lowly valley that the sun's warmth is truly genial; unless indeed there are mountains so close and abrupt as to overshadow it. Then noisome vapours may be bred there; but otherwise, in the valley we may behold the wonderful blessing bestowed upon the meek that they shall inherit the earth. It is theirs for this very reason, because they do not seek it. They do not exalt their heads like icebergs, which, by the by, are driven away from earth, and cluster — or rather jostle — round the pole; but they flow along the earth humbly and silently; and wherever they flow they bless it; and so all its beauty and all its richness are reflected in their peaceful bosoms.

(Archdeacon Hare.)

The timber of the elder tree is the softest, and can without difficulty be split, eat, and wrought, and yet it does not rot in water. The greater part of the city of Venice stands upon piles of eider, which, sunk into the sea, form the foundation of massive buildings. It is the same with meek hearts. There is no better foundation for important undertakings of public or private utility than that intelligent modesty which is gentle indeed, and ready to yield as far as a good conscience will allow, but which, nevertheless, lasts and continues stable, in the flood of contradiction.

(Gotthold.)

is threefold. —

I. IN JUDGMENT; when, in doubtful cases, we suspend our opinions and censures.

II. IN WORDS; which consists either in not answering, or in giving soft answers.

III. IN DEEDS; when we render not evil for evil.

(N. Byfield.)

Some years ago I had in my garden a tree that never bore. One day I was going down, with my axe in my hand, to fell it. My wife met me in the pathway and pleaded for it, saying, "Why, the spring is now very near; stay, and see whether there may not be some change; and, if not, you can deal with it accordingly." As I never repented following her advice, I yielded to it now; and what was the con. sequence? In a few weeks the tree was covered in blossoms; and in a few weeks more it was bending with fruit. "Ah!" said I, "this should teach me not to cut down too soon," i.e., not to consider persons incorrigible or abandoned too soon, so as to give up hope and the use of the means in their behalf.

(W. Jay.)

Links
Colossians 3:12 NIV
Colossians 3:12 NLT
Colossians 3:12 ESV
Colossians 3:12 NASB
Colossians 3:12 KJV

Colossians 3:12 Bible Apps
Colossians 3:12 Parallel
Colossians 3:12 Biblia Paralela
Colossians 3:12 Chinese Bible
Colossians 3:12 French Bible
Colossians 3:12 German Bible

Colossians 3:12 Commentaries

Bible Hub
Colossians 3:11
Top of Page
Top of Page