Ephesians 4:1
As a prisoner in the Lord, then, I urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling you have received:
Sermons
Apostolic ExhortationR. Winterbotham, M. A.Ephesians 4:1
Calling and ConductA. F. Muir, M. A.Ephesians 4:1
Calling and WalkJ. Vaughan, M. A.Ephesians 4:1
Christian ConsistencyFrom, The Epworth BellsEphesians 4:1
Ethics After TheologyT. Croskery Ephesians 4:1
Freedom in BondsJ. Pulsford.Ephesians 4:1
Mission of the SaintsC. H. Spurgeon.Ephesians 4:1
Nineteenth Sunday After Trinity Duty to New and Old ManMartin LutherEphesians 4:1
Of the ChurchJohn Wesley Ephesians 4:1
On the Christian's VocationJ. Archer.Ephesians 4:1
Our Walk is WatchedEphesians 4:1
Seventeenth Sunday After Trinity the Christian Calling and UnityMartin LutherEphesians 4:1
The Calling and the KingdomAlexander MaclarenEphesians 4:1
The Christian's CallingW. Graham, D. D.Ephesians 4:1
The Life Worthy of the CallingJ. Vaughan, M. A.Ephesians 4:1
The Nature and Obligation of a Christian's CallingT. B. BakerEphesians 4:1
The Obligations of the Christian CallingA. F. Muir, M. A.Ephesians 4:1
The Obligations of the Christian CallingT. Croskery Ephesians 4:1
The Prison HouseH. J. Wilmot-Buxton, M. A.Ephesians 4:1
The Prison-HouseH. J. Wilmot-BuxtonEphesians 4:1
The Privilege and Duty of the Christian CallingH. Parr.Ephesians 4:1
Walking Worthy of One's VocationH. Foster, M. A.Ephesians 4:1
Walking Worthy of Our CallingJ. H. Evans, M. A.Ephesians 4:1
What are We Called ToBishop Beveridge.Ephesians 4:1
What is it to Walk Worthy of Our CallingBishop Beveridge.Ephesians 4:1
Why Walk Worthy of Our CallingBishop Beveridge.Ephesians 4:1
Worthy WalkinJ. Trapp.Ephesians 4:1
Walking WorthilyW.F. Adeney Ephesians 4:1-3
Walking Worthy of Our VocationD. Thomas Ephesians 4:1-3
ExhortationR. Finlayson Ephesians 4:1-16
The Unity of the ChurchR.M. Edgar Ephesians 4:1-16
The doctrinal part of the Epistle is now finished and the practical part begins. This is the true and natural order.

I. IT IS IN THE SPHERE OF THE DOCTRINAL THAT WE FIND THE POWER THAT CARRIES US THROUGH ALL PRACTICAL DUTIES. In all the Epistles the duties enforced are grounded in the doctrines declared or explained. The doctrines are the reservoir which sends its stream of power down over the human life. The engineer scoops out a hollow space to be filled with water, constructs his machinery, and then lifts the sluice that sets all the machinery in motion. When the doctrines of grace have been fully expounded, the apostle lifts the sluice and lets on the stream that sends life spinning round and round in a course of holy activity. "I beseech you therefore, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice" (Romans 12:1).

II. IT IS NECESSARY TO INCULCATE CHRISTIAN DUTIES EVEN IN THE CASE OF CHRISTIANS. If the apostles did it, we must do it. It is only Antinomianism - resting on the doctrines of grace without watchfulness of the walk before God - that contests this principle. An Antinomian Bible would have no place for duties. Christianity includes duties as well as doctrines. It does not merely hold out a refuge to the guilty, but takes all who accept Christ under its supreme and exclusive direction. It evangelizes human life by impregnating its minutest transactions with the spirit of the gospel. But we must be always careful, in preaching the necessity of good works and in enforcing Christian duties, to ground them, as the Scriptures ground them, in the doctrines of grace. - T.C.







I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called.
I. THE BEHAVIOUR OF CHRISTIANS SHOULD CORRESPOND WITH THEIR VOCATION.

1. From a sense of gratitude.

2. The Divine sentiment from which the vocation sprang should possess them.

II. CERTAIN VIRTUES SPECIALLY BECOME THE CHRISTIAN VOCATION.

1. Because of what they are in themselves.

2. Because of the great end they promote — "the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." This reveals the real grandeur of these virtues.

(A. F. Muir, M. A.)

I. THE NATURE OF THE OBLIGATIONS RESTING ON CHRISTIANS.

1. They spring from the circumstances of the Divine call.

(1)It exhibited unparalleled condescension and mercy on the part of God.

(2)It witnessed to a Divine unity in mankind. Christ was no apostle of Judaism; no national hero; but the Hope of Humanity.

2. They are determined by the fact of the Divine call Having been summoned by that call into a spiritual separation from "the world," the followers of Jesus were at the same time constituted into a "calling" or profession by themselves.

(1)Its historic reputation had to be sustained.

(2)It was a "holy" and a "heavenly" calling (2 Timothy 1:9; Hebrews 3:1; Philippians 3:14).

(3)The spiritual unity it had called into existence should not be lost.

II. HOW THESE OBLIGATIONS OF THE CHRISTIAN CALLING ARE TO BE SATISFIED.

1. By humility and gentleness.

2. The root and sustaining principle of these is love.The lover of mankind will subordinate his own pleasure and advantage to the welfare of others.

(A. F. Muir, M. A.)

I. THE NATURE OF A CHRISTIAN'S CALLING.

1. It is a holy calling (2 Timothy 1:9).

2. It is an honourable calling (Philippians 3:14).

3. To serve an honourable Master (1 Timothy 1:17).

4. Hence it is a profitable calling (1 Timothy 4:8).

II. THE OBLIGATION OF THE CALLING.

1. We must first study the principles of our calling (Ephesians 1:17).

2. We must be emulous to claim the privileges of the calling (Ephesians 3:16-19).

3. We must cultivate the spirit of the calling (Ephesians 4:2, 3).

4. We must perform the duties of the calling (John 14:23).

(1)In civil life (Ephesians 4:25).

(2)In religious life (Ephesians 4:24).

(3)In domestic life (Ephesians 6:1-9).

III. THE DIGNITY OF THE CALLING (1 Thessalonians 2:12).

IV. THE OBJECT OF THE CALLING (1 Peter 5:10).

(T. B. Baker).

How comes it to pass, that one half of this Epistle is made up of exhortation? Does not this force itself on one's conviction as its cause — that the saints of God need it? They want not only to be comforted, they want not only to be taught, but they want to be roused.

I. First AS IT REGARDS THEIR PRIVILEGE. Beloved, it is one of the greatest that can be communicated to a fallen sinner. My dear hearers, in one sense, there is not a creature on earth, but what has a call of God to serve Him. There never could be a state in which there could be no law, because the very law of creation puts a man under obligation to serve God. But this is an especial calling; a call of a higher order, a covenant calling, an effectual calling: secured by the certainty of the Divine counsel, and never to be frustrated by man. We find in the fifth chapter of the Epistle to the Galatians, that it is a call to liberty; "brethren, ye have been called unto liberty." Ah! man, with all his fond ideas of liberty, knows nothing of liberty, till he is under the teaching of God the Holy Ghost; for man, by nature, is a bond slave. Oh! the liberty of a free spirit; that can look death in the face, that can look quietly from the troubles of life to the God that ordained them, and find peace and rest in the midst of them! But observe, they are described as having been called into the holy fellowship of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 1:9) — "God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of the Lord Jesus Christ." But they are also called to glory, to His kingdom.

II. Let us now, secondly, speak of THE EXHORTATION THAT STANDS BASED ON THIS GLORIOUS PRIVILEGE. "I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles": "I therefore beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called." He does not beseech them to be worthy of that vocation. But he beseeches them to walk worthy of their vocation, their calling, because they have received such wondrous mercy. And if you ask me how they could do it? — in proportion as you walk in holy liberty, as you walk in the peace of the gospel, as you walk in the fellowship of Christ, as you walk in the path of holy walking. But I would remark, beloved, by way of concluding observation — see what place humility of soul occupies in this passage before us. Observe, "Walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness." He did place it first; and it is its right place; it is the great place, next to faith, hope, and love. The more a man knows of the crucified One, the lower he lies; the more he knows of the depth of God's grace, the more he abases himself. Observe, too, what great stress is laid here upon what are the passive graces of the spirit. We ought to contend for activity; we live in days in which activity is required; not only activity of opposition, but activity of dispersion of God's truth. But if you ask, What ought to be in the front? — it is the passive graces of the Holy Ghost. "All lowliness, meekness, long suffering, forbearing one another in love, and endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." But observe that the basis of all is privilege.

(J. H. Evans, M. A.)

This exhortation takes in the whole circle of our duties. In effect, if we exhort a man of noble birth, or of distinguished rank in life, not to do anything unworthy of himself, disgraceful to his family, or unbecoming his high station, we say everything that can be said.

1. There is not any truth more evidently expressed, nor more frequently repeated, in the sacred Scriptures, than that the first object of our vocation to Christianity is to disengage us from the world, to break the chains which bind our affections to creatures. You are Christians: and therefore, when you appear among men, you are to make yourselves distinguished by charity, purity, and every virtue.

2. It is therefore a most destructive illusion to reason as Christians are sometimes heard to do: "I am a man of the world; I must live as the world does; I must conform to its manners." "I am a Christian; therefore I am not of this world; therefore I cannot live as the world does, cannot conform to its manners." Reason in this manner, and your determination will be conformable to the spirit and to the grace of your vocation. You must take notice that there are two kinds of separation from the world: the one corporal and exterior; the other, a separation in heart and in spirit. Withdraw yourselves from the world, before the world retires from you. You must quit the world by choice, and by an effort of virtue, or be torn from it at length by force and violence. Follow, therefore, now the sweet attractions of Divine grace.

(J. Archer.)

What is the klesis, vocation, or calling, of which the Scripture speaks so often? Take the following hints:

1. It is the calling of God (Romans 11:29; Philippians 3:14; comp. 2 Thessalonians 1:11, 2 Timothy 1:9, Hebrews 3:1, 2 Peter 1:10, Ephesians 1:18), because it is God Himself who calls us from darkness to light, and from the kingdom of Satan into the kingdom of His dear Son.

2. It is a high calling (Philippians 3:14), for the prize attached to it is eternal life.

3. It is a holy calling (2 Timothy 1:9), because the end and purpose of it (at least on earth) is holiness.

4. It is a heavenly calling (Hebrews 3:1), for it comes from and draws us to heaven.

5. The hope of our calling (Ephesians 4:4) is the hope which those called by God to serve Him may cherish. It belongs to the brethren alone, and proceeds entirely from God (1 Corinthians 1:26). This is what our fathers termed effectual calling, and it occupies a prominent place in all our systems of theology. The doctrine is based upon, or takes for granted the following principles —(1) That the human race is fallen, and needs to be restored to God.(2) That even this fallen and redeemed race cannot of itself return to God, but needs the assistance of a Divine call.(3) That the election and the calling are co-extensive.(4) That, therefore, the salvation of the Church is, in its origin, means, and end, to be ascribed to the pure and sovereign will of God. Our walk should be worthy of this vocation. There ought to be some relation between our conduct and our hopes, between our character and the promised reward. If His love has opened up to us glorious and immortal hopes, should not our service correspond to them? Worthy of His calling? It is a great, high, noble principle. It is a rule of life which lifts us from the dust, and gives us the position, hopes, and fears of immortal creatures.

(W. Graham, D. D.)

From, The Epworth Bells.
A writer on Christian consistency, says: "History records that in the days of Tiberius it was thought a crime to carry a ring stamped with the image of Augustus into any mean or sordid place, where it might be polluted! How much may those who profess to be a holy people learn even from a heathen!"

(From "The Epworth Bells.)

I. Consider, in the first place, THAT "THEREFORE" OF HIS AND WHAT IT IMPLIES. For there are many reasons for not exhorting people to walk earnestly and carefully, and worthily of their high name and knowledge. It is much pleasanter to dwell exclusively upon the privileges and blessings of Christianity, and to leave its heavy responsibilities and penalties out of sight. But this "therefore" was something that moved the apostle, even from his prison, to fill half his Epistle with earnest, importunate, and pointed admonitions. A very potent "therefore" it must have been — but what was it? It does not appear to have been any one statement or fact in particular, but rather all that has gone before; as if, pausing at the end of the third chapter, he had been reading over what he had written, and had been so moved by it that he felt compelled, constrained, to break off into this exhortation. It is this strong feeling in his mind which finds expression in that word "therefore." And what was it that he had been writing about? Why, it was the marvellous grace and loving kindness of God towards the Gentiles revealed to him, and preached by him; their fellowship in Christ, their union with the remnant of Israel and with one another in one divinely constituted body, their eternal predestination to this grace and adoption in Christ.

II. Consider, in the second place, THE TITLE WHICH ST. PAUL HERE ASSUMES IN ORDER TO GIVE FORCE TO HIS EXHORTATION: "I, the prisoner of (or rather in) the Lord." Himself a prisoner, enduring a painful captivity for the Master's sake, how properly might he exhort them in liberty to be true to their colours and to the standard of Christ. And this may lead us to reflect how universally true it is that Christianity needs example in order to be believed and obeyed. It is too weighty to be accepted on its own strength, too little favourable to the natural pride and indolence of men, too tremendous in its promises, revelations, claims, and assumptions. Men are beginning to perceive that the Christianity of Christ and His apostles was intended to be a life — a supernatural life, indeed, because the life of Christ Himself, and yet a life to be lived amongst men by ordinary people, and to be readily distinguished by certain palpable differences from the natural life of men.

III. Consider, in the third place, WHAT IT WAS OF WHICH THEY WERE TO WALK WORTHY. Their "calling," or "vocation" — what was it? Not anything which we speak of now as a "calling," such as we follow for gain, or honour, or convenience, or even for duty: this calling whereof the apostle speaks is of God. It is, in fact, His invitation, which He has addressed to each one of us as inheritors of the kingdom of heaven.

(R. Winterbotham, M. A.)

I. Let us think first OF THE PLACE AND MANNER OF ST. PAUL'S IMPRISONMENT. The place was Rome, the capital of the world. A city full of glorious memories of the past, and famous in the present for art, and eloquence, and learning. Its soldiers could boast that they had conquered the world, and could point out the tombs of Pompey and of many another hero along the Appian Way. Its streets had been trodden by some of the greatest of poets, and its Senate-House had echoed with the burning words of the first orators of the world. Rome was full of contrasts, wealth and beggary, beauty and squalor, the palace of Caesar, and the haunt of vice and shame, were close together. The city was ruled over by a cruel tyrant, at once a hypocrite and a monster of iniquity. It was in such a place, so glorious and so shameful, that St. Paul was a prisoner. He was not, however, confined in a dungeon. By the favour of the Prefect of the Praetorian Guard, whose duty it was to take charge of all prisoners awaiting trial before the Emperor, the apostle was allowed to live in a hired house of his own, to have free access to such friends as he had, and to preach the gospel freely to those who would hear him. But still St. Paul was a prisoner. After the Roman fashion, he was chained to a soldier, and at night probably two soldiers were linked to him. Yet, although an exile, a prisoner, waiting for a trial where he would have little chance of justice, knowing that the sword hung above his head ready to fall at any moment, St. Paul utters no complaint, no murmur of discontent. On the contrary, he bids his hearers rejoice in the Lord alway; he himself thanked God, and took courage; he tells his disciples that he has learnt in whatsoever state he is, to be content. He is poor, yet making many rich. The heathen tyrant can make him a prisoner, but his chains cannot keep him from the glorious freedom of the sons of God. And now what lesson can we learn from the prison house at Rome? We can learn this, that this world in which we live is in one sense a prison house to all.

1. It is a prison house of hard work. In our great cities the roar of traffic, the rattle of machinery, the shriek of the steam whistle, the eager crowds flocking to office and bank and exchange all mean one thing — work. Every man's talk is of business; he is in the prison house, and he is chained to his work.

2. Next, this world is a prison house of sorrow and trial. Everyone who has lived any time in the world can show you the marks of his chain. Everyone whom we meet is wearing a crown of thorns. It is hidden under the scanty white locks of the old, and the sunny tresses of youth. Specially is this world a prison house to those who strive to do their duty, and help their fellow men. For them in all ages there have been prison bars, and chains of persecution. If we would look on some of the greatest teachers, philosophers, and benefactors of mankind, we must look for them in a prison house. Socrates, when seventy-two years old, was a prisoner, and condemned to drink poison, because he taught higher lessons than the mob could understand. Bruno was burnt at Rome, because he exposed the false philosophy of the day. When Galileo, an old man of seventy, taught the truth about the earth's motion, they cast him into the dungeons of the Inquisition, and after death the Pope refused a tomb for his body. And so for many others who dared to do their duty and to speak the truth. But the stonewalls could not confine the mind; the iron chain could not bind the truth. Some of the most glorious works in literature were composed in prison. The prison house at Rome has given us some of those Epistles of St. Paul which have gone far to convert the world; and the finest allegory in the English language was written in Bedford gaol. "If we suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are we." There are prisoners who are not the Lord's. There are some fast bound in the misery and iron of bad habits, and habitual sin. These are lying in the condemned cell, bound hand and foot with the devil's chain. And I tell you that you will often find this life a prison house, where you must give up your own will, deny yourselves, learn to endure hardness, and to bear the chain which suffering, or neglect, or ignorance put upon you. If you are indeed the prisoners of the Lord, the iron of your chain will make you brave to suffer and be strong.

(H. J. Wilmot-Buxton, M. A.)

This prisoner has more freedom than any emperor ever had. External freedom, with internal bonds, is but an affectation, and a mockery of freedom. A man flattered and deceived by an ostentation of bodily freedom, while his spirit is held in the heavy chains of his own lusts and fears, is as melancholy a spectacle as any under the sun. The evil spirit laughs to see his slave enjoying the fond delirious conceit that he is a free man. The slavery is then perfect. Paul's prison lies open to all heaven. In spirit, he walks at large, in boundless light. The prisoner writing to those who are worthy to know the secret, says: "I am surrounded by innumerable angels," I walk in paradise with "the spirits of just men made perfect," I am entertained with "unspeakable things." says: "Were any to ask, whether he should place me on high with the angels, or with Paul in his bonds, I would choose the prison." According to his own showing, he was less in peril in prison, than in the third heavens. As a safeguard against his ecstasy, he must needs have some messenger of Satan, to buffet him. In prison he found no such temptation. His bonds were a precious means of grace to him. Finding an unspeakable peace in "lowliness of mind," he commends the same to his brethren in Christ.

(J. Pulsford.)

I. THE PRIVILEGE DECLARED. Their "vocation," i.e., calling. Men have callings in the world — their business, profession, temporal office. The apostle speaks of "the calling of God." There are different callings spoken of. There is —

1. An external calling — the invitation to gospel privileges.

2. An official calling — the appointment to administration in the Church.

3. An internal and effectual calling by the Spirit of God. This is

(1)an enlightening calling.

(2)A sanctifying calling.

(3)A uniting calling. It binds to

(a)Christ (1 Corinthians 1:9).

(b)The Church (Ephesians 4:4; Ephesians 1:18-22).

(4)A saving calling (1 Thessalonians 2:12).

II. THE DUTY URGED. How can anyone walk "worthy"? It means suitably, in a manner somewhat becoming those who enjoy such privileges. As if the apostle would say: Have you —

1. A call to knowledge? Walk wisely.

2. A call to holiness? Walk unblameably.

3. A call to fellowship? Walk lovingly.

4. A call to glory? Walk happily.Conclusion: These things —

1. Should put us on examination.

2. Should move us to diligence.

(H. Parr.)

I do not think that St. Paul would consider, or have a right to consider, that his bondage was then his "vocation"; but an affliction, a sickness, an inability even to move, may be as much a "vocation" as anything that may happen in life. But he urges the Ephesians to use "worthily" — while they have it — their "vocation to walk." To "walk" ought to be used as the emblem of a Christian life; and for this reason, because "walking" alone of all our actions places the whole man in motion, and that motion is a progressive one. It was "a calling"! Then there must be a caller. Who was the Caller? Was there not a Providence in the fact of your "calling"?

1. In the first place remember that "call" came from the Holy Trinity. The Father willed it, the Son mediated to obtain it, the Holy Ghost applied it. Is it then a fact that you have been thought worthy of the notice, the remembrance, the power, the love of each Person in that holy blessed Trinity? What a sacred, what a solemn thing that "call" must be!

2. Each Person in that mysterious Three is love, perfect love. That "call" then was the call of infinite, unspeakable love. Have you been walking "worthy of the vocation" of love? Could you say that your life is a life of love. Your walk, your walk! does it drop love at every step? Remember what you were when you had a call of love. You were unloving and unlovable.

3. But there is another particular characteristic of that love wherewith you were called. It was a call of forgiveness. The whole Trinity had combined to make that forgiveness. Now let me ask, Is there anyone at this moment in the whole world whom you have not forgiven? If so, then you are not walking worthy of the vocation wherewith you are called.

4. But there was another predominant characteristic in your call — it was a call to holiness. "Be ye holy, for I am holy." Now are you walking every day a holy walk? Moreover, your call was a call to activity; also a call to a higher life. Are you walking worthy of it?

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

1. I feel sure that I shall carry along with me the experience of every child of God, when I say that his call, however it came to him, was very humbling. God has thousands of methods by which He draws souls to Himself, but in one respect, there is no difference between them all — He never calls a soul without humbling it. It is very likely that the instrument which effected your call was not one that the world would call great. It is very likely that the providences which attended it were very humbling providences. But however this may be — however it may be in respect of outward things, I am quite sure that as the grace of God began to take effect upon your heart, your soul passed into very low places, down into the very dust. You began to see yourself in a very different light from any in which you ever saw yourself before. And let me say, that I believe one of the chief reasons why many young Christians are happier than other Christians, is that in the first stages of grace, there is a more realizing, deep sense of nothingness, and sin.

2. But if it was an humbling call, I am sure it was a very kind one. Perhaps in the recollection of what took place then, now the thought is "Through what exercises of mind you passed"; but at the time itself, the chief feeling with you was — "How very kind this is of God! what wonderful patience God has been exercising towards a poor, miserable sinner!"

3. And let me further remind you, brethren, that your call was a very personal thing. It was characterized by individuality: each soul is singled out by itself by God. As respects "walking," the apostle uses the figure for two reasons: one because it is distinctly a progressive motion, in all places progress; and secondly, it is the only movement which engages and puts in action the whole man. But as was the "calling," so must be the "walk," — humble, tender, earnest, holy, heavenly. Whatever progress you have made, still remember, that whatever cause there was for humility at the beginning, there is more cause now. For now, a wrong thought is worse than once a wrong action, because you are more responsible. Walk in the valley. That is an unworthy thought which ever lifts itself too high, either to God or man. And was God very kind, very patient, very long suffering, to bear with you, to choose you, to call you? Then be you just like that to every poor fellow sinner. And never forget what a real, personal, earnest matter between your soul and God, your "call" was. You have nothing to dread more than for religion to become a generality. As many as have felt God's callings, know the exceeding weight and moment of every little thing. By little things you were made, by little things you were called. Therefore, again, if you would not frustrate the grace of God, you must be holy. "He hath called you, not to uncleanness, but to holiness."

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

I. THE VOCATION WHEREWITH A BELIEVER IS CALLED.

1. It is God's speaking to the heart of a sinner in and by His word (2 Corinthians 4:6; John 5:25).

2. It is to the enjoyment of the greatest privileges (Isaiah 61:1; 2 Corinthians 3:17; Galatians 5:1, 13).

3. It is various, and yet the same, to all believers.

(1)Various — as to age, instruments, manner.

(2)Same — as to tendency.

4. It is of the sovereign goodwill of God (Romans 9:19-24).

5. God never repents and revokes this calling (Romans 11:29).

6. It is the duty and privilege of professors to make it sure to themselves.

II. WHAT IT IS TO WALK WORTHY OF THIS VOCATION. In general: When there is a suitableness in the walk to the nature of the calling. Particularly —

1. When it is such as has been exemplified in Christ and His Church.

2. When it tends to the edification of those about us — saints and sinners.

3. When such as God approves in His Word.

III. THE MANNER IN WHICH THE APOSTLE ENFORCES HIS EXHORTATION. "I, the prisoner," etc.

(H. Foster, M. A.)

Each of God's saints is sent into the world to prove some part of the Divine character. Perhaps I may be one of those who shall live in the valley of ease, having much rest, and hearing sweet birds of promise singing in my ears. The air is calm and balmy, the sheep are feeding round about me, and all is still and quiet. Well, then I shall prove the love of God in sweet communings. Or perhaps I may be Called to stand where the thunder clouds brew, where the lightnings play, and tempestuous winds are howling on the mountain tops. Well, then I am born to prove the power and majesty of our God: amid dangers He will inspire me with courage: amid toils He will make me strong. Perhaps it shall be mine to preserve an unblemished character, and so prove the power of sanctifying grace, in not being allowed to backslide from my professed dedication to God. I shall then be a proof of the omnipotent power of grace, which alone can save from the power, as well as from the guilt of sin.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

g: — There is a seemliness appertaining to each calling. So here. We must walk nobly, as becometh the heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ. Luther counsels men to answer all temptations of Satan with this word, "I am a Christian." They were wont to say of cowards in Rome, "There is nothing Roman in them." Of many Christians we may say, "There is nothing Christian in them." It is not amiss before we serve the world to put Alexander's questions to his followers, that would have persuaded him to run at the Olympic games. "Do kings use to run at the Olympics?" Every believer is higher than the kings of the earth. He must therefore carry himself accordingly.

(J. Trapp.)

? —

1. The knowledge of God (1 Peter 4:9).

2. The faith of Christ (1 Corinthians 1:9; Galatians 2:6).

3. Holiness of life (1 Thessalonians 4:7; Romans 7:1).

4. Peace (1 Corinthians 7:15).

(1)With God (Romans 5:1).

(2)With our consciences (Acts 24:16).

(3)With one another (Ephesians 4:2).

5. Eternal life (1 Peter 3:9; 1 Peter 5:10; 1 Thessalonians 2:12).

(Bishop Beveridge.)

? —

1. Generally, to carry ourselves as becometh Christians (Philippians 1:27; Colossians 1:10; 1 Thessalonians 2:12).

2. Particularly —

(1)To believe what Christ asserts (1 John 5:10).

(2)To trust in what He promiseth (2 Corinthians 1:20).

(3)To perform what He commands (John 14:15).

(Bishop Beveridge.)

? —

1. Otherwise we sham our profession (Hebrews 6:5).

2. We lose the comfort of our calling (Psalm 19:11).

3. We shall lose its end (Hebrews 12:14).

(Bishop Beveridge.)

A gentleman in England said that he owed his conversion mainly to the marked consistency of a merchant who lived not far from him. His neighbour was a Christian, and professed to carry on his large business on strictly Christian principles. This surprised him; but not being sure of its reality, he determined to watch him for a year, and if at the end of that time he found that he was really what he professed to be, he would become a Christian also. All the year he watched without finding any flaw or inconsistency in his dealing. The result was a thorough conviction that the merchant was a true man, and that religion was a reality.

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