The Mean Between Flattery and Severity
1 Thessalonians 2:3-6
For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile:…

Paul avoided the extremes alike of obsequiousness and churlishness. The man whose independence forbade him to use flattering words was yet gentle enough in persuading the Thessalonians to embrace and make progress in the truth. And he who would be truly useful must strike this golden mean as we are warned by the following fable: A chameleon once met a porcupine, and complained that he had taken great pains to make friends with everybody; but, strange to say, he had entirely failed, and could not now be sure that he had a friend in the world. "And by what means," said the porcupine, "have you sought to make friends? By flattery," said the chameleon. "I have adapted myself to all I have met; humoured the follies and foibles of every one. In order to make people believe I liked them, I have imitated their manners, as if I considered them models of perfection. So far have I gone in this that it has be come a habit with me; and now my very skin takes the hue and complexion of the thing that happens to be nearest. Yet all this has been in vain; for everybody calls me a turncoat, and I am generally considered selfish, hypocritical, and base!" "And no doubt you deserve all this," said the porcupine. "I have taken a different course; but I must confess that I have as few friends as you. I adopted the rule to resent every encroachment upon my dignity. I would allow no one even to hush me, without sticking into him one of my sharp quills. I determined to take ears of number one; and the result has been that while I have vindicated my rights, have created a universal dislike. I am called 'Old Touch-me-not,' and if I am not as much despised I am even more disliked than you, Sir Chameleon."

Parallel Verses
KJV: For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile:

WEB: For our exhortation is not of error, nor of uncleanness, nor in deception.

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