Galatians 6:10
Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to the family of faith.
Sermons
American. Lost OpportunitiesGalatians 6:10
BeneficenceLongfellow., A. L. Stone.Galatians 6:10
Benevolence Never KillsGalatians 6:10
Christian BeneficenceJohn Hunter, D. D.Galatians 6:10
Do Good to All MenGalatians 6:10
Doing GoodR. Cudworth., W. Newton.Galatians 6:10
Doing Good According to OpportunityS. Martin.Galatians 6:10
Doing Good by a ChildGalatians 6:10
Doing Good by Little MeansW. Arnot, M. A.Galatians 6:10
Doing Good in TriflesGalatians 6:10
Doing Good to AllAlexander MaclarenGalatians 6:10
Kind Deeds to Go Beyond the ChurchH. W. Beecher.Galatians 6:10
On Doing GoodJ. Burns, D. D.Galatians 6:10
OpportunityGalatians 6:10
Opportunity, Man's TreasureHugh Stowell, M. A.Galatians 6:10
Prepare for OpportunitiesGalatians 6:10
Seizing OpportunitiesH. W. Beecher.Galatians 6:10
Seizing OpportunitiesGalatians 6:10
The Beauty of BeneficenceArchdeacon Farrar.Galatians 6:10
The Christian's DutyH. H. Davies, M. A.Galatians 6:10
The Church Household an Especial Scene of Kind DeedsH. W. Beecher.Galatians 6:10
The Danger of SelfishnessBp. Beveridge.Galatians 6:10
The More Limited Sphere of BeneficenceCalvin Liddon.Galatians 6:10
The Occasion for the InjunctionBp. Lightfoot.Galatians 6:10
The Witness to the Ennobling PrincipleCanon Knox-Little.Galatians 6:10
Transient Nature of OpportunityUnion Magazine., Union MagazineGalatians 6:10
Universal Beneficence the Duty of ChristiansCanon Liddon.Galatians 6:10
The Seed-Time of PhilanthropyR.M. Edgar Galatians 6:6-10
Well-DoingR. Finlayson Galatians 6:6-10

I. THE CONDITION OF WEARINESS IN WELL-DOING.

1. It is a feeling, not at present a change of action. The well-doing is continued in spite of weariness. Our moods vary, and we can scarcely be held to be responsible for them. The essential thing is that we do not cease working.

2. It is very different from being weary of well-doing. We may grow weary in our work and yet be most anxious for the success of it. Such weariness is a common condition. How often is the flesh weak while the spirit is willing! How often is the spirit, too, wearily cleaving to the dust, and pining for a Divine inspiration, like the hart thirsting and panting for the water-brooks!

II. THE EVIL OF THIS CONDITION.

1. It is distressing. The task over which we sing in the freshness of the morning becomes a burden to groan under when the evening finds us jaded and worn.

2. It is likely to make our work defective. We cannot row fast when the stream turns contrary to us, nor work effectively against the grain.

3. It may lead to the abandonment of our mission. Weariness may end in despair. If we have no joy in our work we shall be tempted to negligence.

III. THE CAUSES OF THIS CONDITION.

1. In ourselves.

(1) Want of rest. "Come ye aside and rest awhile," said Christ to his disciples in the midst of their busiest labours.

(2) Want of nourishment. We grow weary if we work long without food. There is a danger lest the active servant of Christ should neglect his own private prayer and meditation and the quiet inward spiritual sustenance that is so necessary to give vigour and freshness to the external service.

2. Causes in our work.

(1) Monotony and drudgery. How much of our work has no glow of romance and no inspiration of heroism about it! The soldier grows tired of camp service, though he would put forth tenfold exertions in the excitement of battle without feeling weary.

(2) Lack of results. It often looks as though we were labouring in vain. Now, futile toil is of all toil the most wearying.

IV. THE REMEDY FOR THIS WEARINESS.

1. If it comes from our own habits anal conditions, see that we have the rest and nourishment that our souls need. We must be more with God in prayer. Natural bodily rest may be needed too. A good holiday may be the best cure for a weariness that sadly troubles the soul of a conscientious toiler.

2. If the weariness comes from our work,

(1) remember that Christ is watching us, so that the commonest drudgery done for his sake becomes a noble service and will receive as warm an approval as the most brilliant achievement - nay, a more kindly recognition, seeing that it was more trying to discharge the lowly duty with full fidelity; and

(2) remember that the harvest, though delayed, will surely be reaped in due time, - then "they that sow in tears shall reap in joy." - W.F.A.







As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men.
If time be as "the grass," fading and fleeting, opportunity is as "the flower of the grass," more fading, as it is more beautiful and valuable. In the ordinary transactions and affairs of life, as well as in natural things, of how much importance is that juncture of concurrent circumstances which we style opportunity. Opportunity, even in natural things, when once lost, can never be recalled. The spark, that one single drop would have quenched in the outset, may, if neglected, spread fire around till it wraps a whole city in one wasting conflagration. The garment, spotted with the plague, that might have been destroyed with the least possible effort, may, if it lie unheeded and neglected, communicate the fearful infection, and the pestilence may spread its frightful ravages far and wide through a desolated nation. In the course of nature, God has been pleased to "furnish opportunity" to every man, to awake the diligence and keep alive the watchfulness of His dependent creatures. If the husbandman passes by the season of spring, that precious season returns not again to him; and if he delay but a little space, watching the wind and waiting for the clouds, he shall not reap. And in the ordinary transactions of mankind one with another, how much depends upon seizing the passing and present opportunity! Many a man, by missing the "tide in the affairs of life," has missed the highroad to fame and fortune, and whatever this world could give to make him illustrious and distinguished. How many gray-headed and aged men look back upon the squandered opportunities of early life with bitter regret and unavailing sighs? They can now see where they turned down the wrong pathway, and where they missed the golden and precious season, which, had they employed it well, would have brought them to far different results.

(Hugh Stowell, M. A.)

The law of Jesus Christ lays Christians under obligations to the whole human race. This is at once its triumph and its difficulty: its triumph as it stands contrasted with moral codes of narrower scope, whether national or religious; its difficulty, when we look upon it as having to be put in practice. "While we have time, let us do good unto all men." The race which our Lord and Redeemer has honoured by taking its nature upon Him appeals to the thought and energies of all the redeemed. Whether civilized or barbarous, whether European or African, whether Christian or pagan, man, as man, has claims upon the servants of Christ; it is their business and their privilege to do him any good they can: the highest good, before all else — the communication of the True Faith, the bringing him into living contact with the Divine Redeemer, His Person, His Cross, His Spirit, His Word, His Sacraments; and then lesser forms of good, all that we commonly mean by civilization and useful knowledge — alms, advice, medicine, service, means of education, helps to material happiness and progress, as opportunities for doing so may present themselves.

(Canon Liddon.)

Said a speaker at a missionary meeting: I have often heard of congregations starving through stinginess, but never of one laid on its deathbed through benevolence. If I could find one that had thus suffered by overgiving, I would make a pilgrimage to that church, and pronounce over it this requiem, "Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord."

An Eastern legend tells us how Abraham wore round his neck a jewel whose light healed the sick and raised up those who were bowed down, and that when he died it was placed amongst the stars. You may see it now among the stars in all holy lives; but, more than that, if such be your desire, your Saviour will grant it to you also, to wear it. No diamond can shine so gloriously on the white neck of beauty, no order blaze so worthily on the breast of noble manhood. It becomes even the sceptred monarch better than his crown. It is the diamond of pure sympathy with your fellow-men. In one word, it is charity. Usually she is painted as nursing young children, and giving dolls to paupers, but with a far greater insight Giotto represents her as a fair matron with her eyes uplifted, trampling on bags of gold, while coming out of heaven an angel from the Lord Christ gives her human heart. Yes, it is the human heart by which we live — the heart at leisure with itself to soothe and sympathize; the heart which can be as hard as adamant against vice and corruption, but as tender as a mother towards all that suffers and can be healed.

(Archdeacon Farrar.)

A sculptor once showed a visitor his studio. It was full of gods. One was very curious. The face was concealed by being covered with hair, and there were wings to each foot. "What is its name?" asked the spectator. "Opportunity," was the reply. "Why is his face hidden?" "Because men seldom know him when he comes to them." "Why has he wings upon his feet?" "Because he is soon gone, and once gone he cannot be overtaken."

Union Magazine., Union Magazine.
Opportunity is like a favouring breeze springing up around a sailing-vessel. If the sails be all set, the ship is wafted onwards to its port; if the sailors are asleep or ashore, the breeze may die again, and when they would go on they cannot: their vessel stands as idle as a painted ship upon a painted ocean.

(Union Magazine.)Opportunity is like a strip of sand which stretches around a seaside cove. The greedy tide is lapping up the sand. The narrow strip will quickly become impassable; and then how sad the fate of the thoughtless children who are now playing and gathering shells and seaweed inside the cove!

(Union Magazine.)

Coming once down the Ohio River when the water was low, we saw just before us several small boats aground on a sandbar. We knew the channel was where they were not, and, shaping our course accordingly, we went safely by. They saw our intention; and, taking advantage of the light swell we created in passing them, the nearest ones crowded on all steam, and were lifted off the bar. Now, when in life's stream you are stranded on some bar of temptation, no matter what it is that makes a swell, if it is only an inch under your keel, put on all steam, and swing off into the current.

(H. W. Beecher.)

Once upon a time, a wild boar of a jungle was whetting his tusks against the trunk of a tree. A fox passing by, asked him why he did this, seeing that neither hunter nor hound was near. "True," said the boar, "but when danger does arise, I shall have something else to do than to sharpen my weapons!"

Humanitarian aspirations, as they are termed, are exhilarating, especially to noble matures: but we cannot all of us do everything. And there is some danger in dreaming of doing it; the danger of ending by doing nothing, on the ground that to do everything is plainly impossible. Schemes which embrace the human race are apt to fade away into vague unattainable outlines, instead of leading to practical and specific results. And, therefore, while our duties towards humanity at large are to be kept in view, as the real measure of our obligation, and as a valuable incentive to generous efforts, our actual enterprises are necessarily restricted to this or that portion of the great human family, Which, for us, and for the time being, represents the whole. Hence it is that St. Paul adds to his general exhortation to do good unto all men a specific limitation, "especially unto them that are of the household of faith." The household of faith! There is no doubt as to the sense of the expression. As the whole human race is one vast family banded together by the indestructable tie of blood, so within this family the possession of a common faith creates another and a selected household, whose members are bound to each other by a yet closer and more sacred bond. Of the natural human family Adam is the departed head and father: the family of faith is grouped around the Second Adam, Jesus Christ, as its ever-living and present Parent. To all members of this family He has given a new and common nature; He has clothed each and all in that sacred Manhood which, after God, "is created in righteousness and true holiness," whether that precious gift have been forfeited or not. By faith each member of the family understands his relationship, first to the common life-giving Parent, and next to those who are his brethren in virtue of this new and sacred tie.

(Calvin Liddon.)

There is a story of a man living on the borders of an African desert, who carried daily a pitcher of cold water to the dusty thoroughfare, and left it for any thirsty traveller who might pass that way.

"Children, I want each of you to bring a new scholar to the school with you next Sunday," said the superintendent of a Sunday-school to his scholars one day. "I can't get any new scholars," said several of the children to themselves. "I'll try what I can do," was the whispered response of a few others. One of the latter class went home to his father, and said, "Father, will you go to the Sunday-school with me?" "I can't read, my son," replied the father, with a look of shame. "Our teacher will teach you," answered the boy, with respect and feeling in his tones. "Well, I'll go," said the father. He went, learned to read, sought and found the Saviour, and at length became a colporteur. Years passed on, and that man had established four hundred Sunday-schools, into which thirty-five thousand children were gathered! Thus you see what trying did. That boy's effort was like a tiny rill, which soon swells into a brook, and at length becomes a river. His efforts, by God's grace, saved his father, and his father, being saved, led thirty-five thousand children to the Sunday-school.

See that well on the mountain-side — a small, rude, rocky cup full of crystal water, and that tiny rill flowing through a breach in its brim. The vessel is so diminutive that it could not contain a supply of water for a single family in a single day. But, ever getting through secret channels, and ever giving by an open overflow, day and night, summer and winter, from year to year, it discharges in the aggregate a volume to which its own capacity bears no appreciable proportion. The flow from that diminutive cup might, in a drought or war, become life to all the inhabitants of a city. It is thus that a Christian, if he is full of mercy and good fruits, is a greater blessing to the world than either himself or his neighbours deem. Let no disciple of Christ either think himself excused, or permit himself to be discouraged from doing good, because his talents and opportunities are few. Your capacity is small, it is true, but if you are in Christ it is the capacity of a well. Although it does not contain much at any moment, so as to attract attention to you for your gifts, it will give forth a great deal in a lifetime, and many will be refreshed.

(W. Arnot, M. A.)

Now let us consider —

1. The solemn exhortation or advice given here by the apostle, that is, "Let us do good." Notwithstanding all the sin and misery that are to be found in the world, yet the world would not be so bad after all, were it not for our own selves. That is, it is we, through our conceit, pride, and unfriendly behaviour to one another, that really constitute and render this world so unpleasant as it is! And if you admit the truth of this statement, then it is obvious that. it is the duty of all of us, as true Christians, to endeavour to reform ourselves in the first place, and then try to spread this reformation amongst others by our own good examples. There are some people to be found who will only do good at times, and upon some extraordinary occasions, and then only when they are really ashamed to withhold their hands.

2. The extent of this duty, "Unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith!" You may recollect that when Joseph made himself known unto his brethren in Egypt, and entertained them at a sumptuous dinner, that "Benjamin's mess was five times as much as any of the others;" and do you recollect the reason of that strange proceeding of his? I will tell you, Joseph and Benjamin were the only sons of Rachel by Jacob, their father, and so they were two brothers by the same father and the same mother, and therefore were more nearly allied to one another than all the rest. And we read that when Joseph first saw his brother Benjamin, "his bowels did yearn upon him, and he sought where to weep." And so I would have you, my brethren, to follow Joseph's good example, if ever you shall meet with any member of "the household of faith," "who in this transitory life is in trouble, sorrow, need, sickness, or any other adversity"; then give him more readily and more abundantly than to any one else, for he is more nearly related to you by the Spirit, if not by the flesh, for he is a member of the same Catholic Church as yourself.

3. The time that we are to attend to this most important duty — "As we have an opportunity," or, "whilst we have the opportunity of this life and as occasions present themselves." No one offers a word of advice, nor an alms, nor a dose of physic, nor anything else to a dead man. Oh, no! for the time for these things and the like is gone by for ever with regard to him. And so I would have you to bear in mind that it is not after a poor fellow-creature has been left to starve to death with cold and hunger; that it is not after a long "hope deferred" had broken his tender heart in twain, and caused it to cease to beat for ever, that you are to take pity and compassion upon him. Oh, no! but you should do so now while you have him with you, while you can relieve him, and while he can appreciate your good attention, your sympathy and kindness. Some are in the habit of putting poor people off indefinitely when they ask assistance, though perhaps the favour they ask for will be hardly worth receiving, and so the time is lost when it can be of any value to the recipient. For my own part, if I do not get a favour when I beg for it and when I want it, I would not care for it, if the opportunity, or "the time of need" is gone.

(H. H. Davies, M. A.)

Every one entering a Church has a right to feel that he is going into a higher atmosphere than that in which he has been accustomed to move. Every one has a right to feel that when he goes into the Church of Christ he goes into an association, a brotherhood, where the principle of gentleness and kindness is carried on to a higher degree than it is outside the Church. I know that it is not so. I know that the Church is keyed, often, very low in the matter of sympathy. I know that too frequently persons who go into the Church are like those who go at night to a hotel. Each lodger has his own room, and calls for what he himself needs, and does not feel bound to take care of any of the other lodgers. And a Church, frequently, is nothing but a spiritual boarding-house, where the members are not acquainted with each other, and where there is but very little sympathy. Now, every Church should be under the inspiration of such large sympathy and benevolence as to make every one of its members the object of kindly thought and feeling. There should be a public sentiment and an atmosphere of brotherhood in every Church.

(H. W. Beecher.)

And here I may say, in carrying out this work, beware, while you do not neglect home, that you do not confine the disclosure of yourself to your own household. It is right for a bird to make herself a nest, and put the finest moss and softest feathers in that nest, and it is right that she should sit upon it. It is right that she should have but one chamber — for birds never build for more than themselves and their own. But they are only bird, and do not know any better. It is for us to build a broad nest. To build it so that nobody can get into it but ourselves, to line it with our own prosperity, and so selfishly fill it with everything that is sweet and soft — that is not right. I think that a man's house ought to be a magazine of kindness. Its windows ought to send out light. I like, when I go by a house at night, to see the window-shutters open, so that the light shines forth from inside. A person says, "I will put this clump of flowers under the parlour window." No, no; put them by the gate. A thousand will see them there, where one would see them in that other place. A person says, "I will put this plant where nobody can reach it." Well, do; but put two close to the fence, where they can be reached. I like to see little hands go through the pickets and pluck off flowers. And if you say, "That is stealing," then let it be understood through all the neighbourhood that it is not stealing. There are some who seem to have such a sense of property that if they had a hundred magnolia trees in full blossom on their premises, they would want the wind to blow from the north, and south, and east, and west, so that all the fragrance would come into their own house; whereas the true spirit would be a desire that a thousand others should be blessed by these bounties as well as themselves. Make your dwelling beautiful; but not for your own eyes alone. Fill it sumptuously, if you have the grace to rightly use that sumptuosity. Let the feet of the poor step on your plushy carpet. Let their eyes behold the rich furniture of your apartments. Would it make their home less to them? Not necessarily. If you take a child by the hand — you, whose name is great in the town; you, who tower up in power above all your neighbours; if you lay your hand on his head, and call him "Sonny;" if you bring him into your house; if you go to the cupboard and take out the unfamiliar cake, or what not, that children so much like (for the senses must be appealed to in childhood before the spirit can be reached; and by feeding the mouth of a child you come to his affections and feelings); if you show him your rooms, and give him something in his pocket to carry home and show his aunt or sister, do you suppose that child ever thinks you are stuck up, or looks on you with an unkindly eye? When he comes into the neighbourhood again, and your house dawns upon him, he remembers, the moment he sees it, how happy you made him there. And that house of yours can be made to bless generation after generation.

(H. W. Beecher.)

I. THERE IS GOOD WHICH CHRISTIANS CAN DO. This is a common thing to notice, and you may think it is not likely to be overlooked. Perhaps not, as far as the eyes are concerned, but certainly liable to be overlooked so far as the heart and the hand are concerned. To do good (as we all should say if we were asked to define it), is to secure by our own efforts the welfare of others. The doing good to human nature, as it is made up of body and spirit, is required of us by our God, but beside this we are all required to do good to others in all the variety of condition in which they are found. Hence we have such particular directions as, to doing good to them that hate us, giving meat and drink and raiment to the poor, visiting the sick and the prisoner, the widow and the fatherless, holding forth the word of life, and distributing to the necessity of saints. What a wide and life-long service do these two words cover, "As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good.

II. TO DO GOOD THERE MUST BE BOTH INTENTION AND EXERTION, AIM AND EFFORT. Benefits sometimes accrue to men from their fellow-men without any intention or effort on the part of those who are the channels of good; but being the channel of good or the occasion of doing good, and the willing and active agent, are widely different things. It is one thing to lose a piece of money, which is picked up by a beggar, and by which he supplies his wants, and another thing to give that beggar money for the purchase of food. The man is fed in both cases, but the ministering is only in the one case. It is one thing to utter words at random by which bystanders are instructed, and another thing to endeavour, as in the case of our devoted Sabbath school and ragged school teachers, steadily and perseveringly to impart instruction to the ignorant. The difference here is as broad and as clear and as palpable as that between the stone head of a fountain through which the water flows, and from which you drink, and the loving hand which brings you a cup of water that has been intentionally, thoughtfully, and sympathetically filled for you at that fountain. Doing good partially, if self-originated and self-willed, is easy; but to do good fully we must overcome much within ourselves. Then we must do it as servants — not when and as we like, but when and as the great Master bids us.. Moreover, real good is not done except by labour of some sort. In the sweat of the brow we not only eat bread, but we cast bread on the waters.

III. THE KIND OF GOOD DONE AND THE AMOUNT MUST BOTH BE GOVERNED BY WHAT PAUL HERE CALLS OPPORTUNITY." Circumstances being suitable for a particular ministration, we must minister; and circumstances fix the time and place, and the means, and the powers of the individual. They say to him, Thou art the man to do this thing here, and to do this thing now. "Opportunity" is that season in which we can minister to the benefit of others. Our opportunities test us. You will always see that a man is just what he is to his opportunities. You will find this in every walk of life. Opportunities test us Christians. Some opportunities are rare, ethers are common; some are fleeting, others abide. "The poor," said Jesus, "are always with you, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good;" here is the permanent, abiding opportunity. "But Me ye have not always;" here is the fleeting, passing opportunity. Doing good, dear brethren, if men be faithful to their trust, never can be monotonous.

(S. Martin.)

I. ILLUSTRATE THE DUTY IN THE TEXT,

1. The duty inculcated is goodness. Now this necessarily supposes that we are renewed in our mind. In our natural state, we cannot do good. We must first be made partakers of Divine goodness before we can diffuse it abroad. The Christian may do good —

(1)By the exhibition of a pious example. Thus to be monitors to those around.

(2)By imparting spiritual instruction.

(3)By our prayers and supplications (See 1 Timothy 2:1).

(4)By imparting of our substance to the poor and necessitous.

2. The extent of the goodness we are to exercise — "To all men."

3. The seasonableness and constancy of our goodness — "As we have opportunity."

4. The preference appointed — "Especially to those who are of the household of faith."

II. ENFORCE THE DUTY IS THE TEXT.

1. The commands of God require it. "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself," etc., (Psalm 37:3; 1 Timothy 6:18).

2. Our resemblance to God requires it. If we are His spiritual offspring, then we must be followers of God as dear children.

3. The example of Christ requires it. "He went about doing good."

4. The Spirit of God within us requires it. "The fruit of the Spirit is... goodness."

5. Our own happiness requires it. It enlarges the mind, expands the heart, elevates to the most heavenly dignities and enjoyments.

6. Our acquittal at the last day requires it (Matthew 25:34, etc.).Application:

1. Does not the subject condemn most of the professed disciples of Christ? How few have their hearts set upon doing good! How few do all the good they can!

2. Let it lead us to a closer acquaintance with the Lord's will, and provoke us to love and good works.

3. A religion without goodness is not of God, and shall not receive a reward at the last day.

(J. Burns, D. D.)

Life is a work. The best efforts of the human spirit spring from the energy of an artist toiling at himself. And just as Van Eyck, or Metaling, or Durer, each possessed "the sacred science of colour," each noted faithfully the teachings of experience, each rose into some vision of a better country, drew down the results of that vision to the practical purposes of daily life; and neither neglected the claims of the present nor forgot the solemn certainties of another world; so the human spirit, alive to its responsibility, and therefore to the need of sorrowful toil here, without the reminding of the preacher, hears voices like passing bells, now loud, now dying; sounds tossed up in sorrowing cadence, surging and solemn, mystical and threatening, like the roll of the Atlantic in the caves of Cornwall; or tender and saddening, like the water of the spreading surf on the sands of the Adrian Sea; and the voices, whether loud or soft, whether threatening or tender, are chanting an unchanging story: "Death is coming, diligence and fortitude; life is passing, use it while you may." Listening to these the human spirit works in the vision, with the sense of eternity; unites the ideal and the practical, strives to make idealism into realised result, does not merely travel a destitute journey, nor work a work fruitless to others as well as self, but exercises in the highest of a!l subjects, with the possibility of the most lasting results, exercises an artist's powers.

I. Let us note swiftly some of the characteristic features of the self-sacrificing temper, the productive principle of a noble life.

1. First we may note what is negative. In a really self-sacrificing temper there is the absence of that miserable taint and bane of rich and gifted natures which the Greeks would describe as a withering ὕβρις — an insolent scorn. The self sacrificing spirit, believe me, will not lose faith in human nature; will learn for itself simple-hearted sincerity; will not demand too much from others; will "possess" itself "in patience," and thus lay a stern arrest upon the too natural encroachments of ὕβρις — of insolent scorn.

2. Another mark of a self-sacrificing temper is a sincere, a supernatural, a gentle yet chastened sorrow. "Sorrow!" you say; "why, that is nothing so strikingly exceptional." A short experience of the most shallow observer says "there is plenty of sorrow! It requires no special gaze on eternity, it demands no yearning desire for a higher life, to find one's self plunged in the mystery of sorrow." Quite so; but stay. There are violets and violets. The violet of the bleak hedge-side on the edge of the windy common, cramped with the crisping frost and shrivelled by the withering storm, is generically the same, but in individual fact how different from those rich masses of unfathomable colour which carpet the ruined pavement of Hadrian's Villa. So there is sorrow and sorrow. There is the sorrow of a broken life, the sorrow of a greedy, unsatisfied desire, the sorrow of a degraded moral purpose, and the sorrow of a brave and tender soul, which sees the beauty of the ideal and the sadness of partial failure, and yet, though sorrowing, does not faint or grow weary; which realizes the possibility of human progress, and is heartstricken at the spectacle of men with gifts of noble nature living for the changeful and passing, when they might live for what can never die. This sorrow is an outcome of the self-sacrificing temper. Is it yours? Are you sorry when wrong is done? sorry at the record of wretchedness and the chronicle of crime; sorry at lives with possibilities of glory falling into the depths, missing the standard, the example of Christ? Is yours such sorrow as stimulates you to read and obey the secret of this unearthly loveliness? Is your soul's life touched into activity by the tragedy of human misery and the tragedy of the cross? Blessed are ye if it be so. Then it is the principal anxiety of your life to enrich the lives of others. This is the witness of self-sacrifice.

3. And a third feature of such a temper is.a sunny earnestness. What is earnestness? It is not gloom, it is not grim determination, it is not dogged persistence, it is not revolting narrowness, or wearying one-sidedness, or stupid and tormenting fanaticism. What is earnestness? Earnestness is that temper of mind, that habit of thought which comes of taking, of habitually taking, the truths of eternity as realities, as in fact they are.

II. Let us ask, then, what ground can be shown for cultivating a spirit of self-sacrifice?

1. My brothers, first, unquestionably first, a loving gratitude. Christ died for you. If you have a grain of gratitude in you for the highest blessings, act by grace towards Him in the spirit in which He has acted towards you.

2. And another ground is a wise and gracious estimate of the dignity of man. Man is an animal; yes, but man is also a spirit; mysterious instincts within him — despite the passing crotchets of sciolists and dreamers — witness to him his immortality.

III. And now for the result. Self-sacrifice is the ennobling principle. It ennobles the world; it fertilizes the soul. How? For all man it leaves behind rich memories and great examples; it shows thus what man can, and therefore what man ought, to do, and encourages to use the strength God gives to do it. And again, it enriches the individual soul. It is strange, yet it is true, that to give in love increases the store of love within us; strange, but true, that self-love weakens the moral fibre and impoverishes life; strange, but true, that self-sacrifice stores moral treasures, and produces moral power.

IV. "While we have time let us do good." What is life then but a severe probation to test the metal of our souls, and prove their value? "While we have time let us do good." Nay, what is life then but a careful education, wherein stern circumstances and trials — the calls of duty, and the sharp assaults of sorrow combine, or may combine with inward principle, to train the soul, to "try us and turn us forth sufficiently impressed." "While we have time." Nay, what is life but a great opportunity, though an opportunity not perhaps to leave behind the rich results of patient and daring investigation, or the astounding stores of accumulated knowledge, yet something better? While you have time! The days are travelling on, the night is coming, let us bestir ourselves to assist in the triumph of goodness, let us act in self-sacrifice, and so let us advance — oh! blessed opportunity — advance the kingdom of Christ.

(Canon Knox-Little.)

I. THE PRINCIPLE OF CHRISTIAN BENEFICENCE. The excellence of any action in the sight of a heart-searching and holy God, depends entirely on the motive from whence it proceeds, and on the spirit with which it is performed. Christian beneficence is founded in the noblest of principles — love to our God and Redeemer.

II. THE OBJECTS OF CHRISTIAN BENEFICENCE. True believers are united to each other by the most sacred and indissoluble bonds.

III. THE QUALITIES OF CHRISTIAN BENEFICENCE.

1. Active in its nature.

2. Constant and unwearied in its operations.

IV. THE VALUE OF CHRISTIAN BENEFICENCE.

(John Hunter, D. D.)

I. THE NATURE.

1. Preserving goodness.

2. Uniting goodness.

3. Communicating goodness.

II. THE RULES. We must do good —

1. With that which is our own (1 Chronicles 21:24).

2. With cheerfulness and alacrity (2 Corinthians 9.).

3. So that we do not disable ourselves from doing good (Psalm 90:14; Psalm 112:5; 2 Corinthians 3:1; 2 Corinthians 8:13).

III. THE REASONS.

1. From the grounds of love and beneficence, which are in all men.

2. From the example of God Himself (Matthew 5:44, 45).

3. The testimony of Christ (Acts 20:35).

(R. Cudworth.)

I. GOD MADE ALL THINGS TO DO GOOD.

II. CHRIST SAVES MEN IN ORDER THAT THEY MAY DO GOOD.

III. DO GOOD BECAUSE —

1. God commands it.

2. It will overcome evil.

3. It will make you happy.

4. It will make others happy.

5. Others will then do good to us.

(W. Newton.)

The admonition is thrown into a general form, but it has evidently a special application in the apostle's own mind (see 1 Corinthians 16:1). He had solicited their alms for the suffering brethren of Judaea. The messenger who had brought him word of the spread of Judaism among the Galatians had also, I suppose, reported unfavourably of their liberality. They had not responded heartily to the appeal. He reproves them in consequence for their backwardness; but he wishes to give them more time, and therefore refrains from prejudging the case.

(Bp. Lightfoot.)

Give what you have. To some it may be better than you dare to think.

(Longfellow.)There may be a furlough from our customary work; there can be none from doing good. There may be change of scene and place and fellowship; there must be none in the spirit of self-sacrificing beneficence.

(A. L. Stone.)

Let us proportion our alms to our ability, lest we provoke God to proportion His blessings to our alms.

(Bp. Beveridge.)

A lady once writing to a young man in the navy, who was almost a stranger, thought, "Shall I close this as anybody would, or shall I say a word for my Master?" and lifting up her heart for a moment, she wrote, telling him that his constant change of scene and place was an apt illustration of the word, "Here we have no continuing city," and asked if he could say, "I seek one to come." Trembling she folded it, and sent it off. Back came the answer: "Thank you so much for those kind words. I am an orphan, and no one has spoken to me like that since my mother died, long years ago." The arrow, shot at a venture, hit home, and the young man shortly afterward rejoiced in the fulness of the gospel of peace. How often do we, as Christians, close a letter to those we know have no hope "as anybody would," when we might say a word for Jesus! Shall we not embrace each opportunity in the future?

Some years ago a society was formed in London which called itself the "Titus Society." It took its name from Titus, the Roman Emperor, who counted a day lost in which he had not done some act for the good of others. The members of this society bound themselves to act on this benevolent principle. In this they did well; but their obligation lay back of their pledge, inasmuch as the voice of God in Scripture and in the love He pours into every regenerate heart is constantly saying, "Do good! Do good!" There is no need of looking far to find the opportunity, since sorrow, suffering, ignorance, poverty, and sin are everywhere. No one who walks the streets with his eyes open can fail to find some one to whom a kind word, a pleasant smile, a small gift, a few words of instruction or of exhortation, or even a cordial grasp of the hand, would be a benediction. To encourage such effort the God of love has ordained that the satisfaction of doing good is greater than that of receiving a favour. In the laws of the kingdom of Christ, is it not written that "it is more blessed to give than to receive?"

A poor fellow in connection with a Liverpool mission lay dying the other day, and, as his mother stood by his side, he said, "Mother, I shall soon be with Christ, but it makes me miserable to think that I have never done aught for Him." Yes, it will make you miserable when you come to die, if you have done nothing for Christ. I charge you to go away and consecrate yourselves to this work. Listen to the cries of the heathen world — "What must we do to be saved?"

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