Titus 2:14
He gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.
Sermons
Christ's Marvellous GivingCharles Haddon Spurgeon Titus 2:14
God's True Treasure in ManAlexander MaclarenTitus 2:14
The Giving of the SelfW.M. Statham Titus 2:14
The Purport and Extent of Christ's SaviorshipT. Croskery Titus 2:14
A Perfect RedemptionT. Taylor, D. D.Titus 2:11-14
A Threefold Description of ChristiansG. A. Sowter, M. A.Titus 2:11-14
All Men Must Come to the Grace of SalvationTitus 2:11-14
An Acquaintance with Christ the Foundation of Experimental and Practical ReligionJ. BensonTitus 2:11-14
Christ Must be ReceivedT. Taylor, D. D.Titus 2:11-14
Christ the Promoter of the RightHomilistTitus 2:11-14
Christ's Gift of HimselfT. Taylor, D. D.Titus 2:11-14
Christ's Gift of Himself for Our RedemptionA. Alexander, D. D.Titus 2:11-14
Christ's Gift of Himself for UsLocal Preacher's TreasuryTitus 2:11-14
Christ's Gift to Us, and Ours to HimA. Mclaren, D. D.Titus 2:11-14
Cleansing Through Christ's DeathT. Taylor, D. D.Titus 2:11-14
Duty to Our Father in Heaven Must be United with Duty to Our Brother on EarthJ. Halsey.Titus 2:11-14
Everyday LifeH. R. Reynolds, D. D.Titus 2:11-14
Expectation of Christ's ComingJ. King, B. A.Titus 2:11-14
Genuine ChristianityJas. Foster, B. A.Titus 2:11-14
Godliness Must Calculate the Resisting ElementC. H. Parkhurst, D. D.Titus 2:11-14
God's Family, a School of Good WorksPlain Sermons by Contributors to, Tracts for the TimesTitus 2:11-14
Good WorksH. Thorpe.Titus 2:11-14
Good WorksC. H. Spurgeon.Titus 2:11-14
Grace and its LessonsJ. A. Alexander, D. D.Titus 2:11-14
Grace Our TeacherW. H. M. H. Aitken, M. A.Titus 2:11-14
In This Present WorldT. Taylor, D. D.Titus 2:11-14
Love Made VisibleA. Maclaren, D. D.Titus 2:11-14
Our State of Expectation and the Reasons for ItAbp. Magee.Titus 2:11-14
Our Teacher's Mode of TeachingW. H. M. H. Aitken, M. A.Titus 2:11-14
Peculiar But not EccentricW. H. M. H. Aitken.Titus 2:11-14
Present Day Christian LifeF. G. Peabody, D. D.Titus 2:11-14
Redemption and its ObligationsJ. C. Miller, M. A.Titus 2:11-14
Right LivingR. S. MacArthur, D. D.Titus 2:11-14
Sobriety and RighteousnessT. Taylor, D. D.Titus 2:11-14
The Appearing of ChristThe PulpitTitus 2:11-14
The Blessed HopeA. Maclaren, D. D.Titus 2:11-14
The Blessed Hope of GraceW. H. M. H. Aitken.Titus 2:11-14
The Christian's Blessed HopeWm. Best.Titus 2:11-14
The Christian's BusinessH. Cadell, M. A.Titus 2:11-14
The Coming of ChristF. Wagstaff.Titus 2:11-14
The Consecrating Saviour and the Consecrated PeopleF. Wagstaff.Titus 2:11-14
The Denial of Worldly LustW. H. M. H. Aitken.Titus 2:11-14
The Duty of Using One's Life for OthersH. W. Beecher.Titus 2:11-14
The Effects of the Grace of GodW. Graham, D. D.Titus 2:11-14
The Epiphany and Mission of GraceW. H. M. H. Aitken, M. A.Titus 2:11-14
The Extensiveness of the Gospel OffersT. Bissland, M. A.Titus 2:11-14
The Future StateHomilistTitus 2:11-14
The Glorious Appearing of ChristJ. M. Sherwood, D. D.Titus 2:11-14
The Glorious ExpectationWeekly PulpitTitus 2:11-14
The Godly LifeW. H. M. H. Aitken.Titus 2:11-14
The Gospel DescribedW. Burkitt, M. A.Titus 2:11-14
The Gospel for All Sorts of MenT. Taylor, D. D.Titus 2:11-14
The Gospel of the Grace of GodT. Raffles, D. D.Titus 2:11-14
The Grace of GodT. Manton, D. D.Titus 2:11-14
The Grace of GodT. Taylor, D. D.Titus 2:11-14
The Grace of God in Bringing Salvation to All MenJ. Burns, D. D.Titus 2:11-14
The Grace of Salvation Appearing to All MenA. Ross, M. A.Titus 2:11-14
The Great RedemptionThe EvangelistTitus 2:11-14
The Happy HopeA. Maclaren, D. D.Titus 2:11-14
The Hope of the Church Under the Gospel DispensationF. Hewson, M. A.Titus 2:11-14
The Hope of the ResurrectionDean Alford.Titus 2:11-14
The Lessons that Grace TeachesT. Manton, D. D.Titus 2:11-14
The Necessity of Positive Duty or Actual GoodnessW. Lupton, D. D.Titus 2:11-14
The Negative Teaching of GraceW. H. M. H. Aitken, M. A.Titus 2:11-14
The Practical Effects of the Grace of GodJ. Benson.Titus 2:11-14
The Practical Result of the Teaching of GraceW. H. M. H. Aitken.Titus 2:11-14
The Purpose of the Discipline of GraceA. Maclaren, D. D.Titus 2:11-14
The Redemption from LawlessnessW. H. M. H. Aitken.Titus 2:11-14
The Revisers' Rendering of This PassageA. Plummer, D. D.Titus 2:11-14
The Righteous LifeW. H. M. H. Aitken.Titus 2:11-14
The Second Advent of ChristHomilistTitus 2:11-14
The Sober LifeW. H. M. H. Aitken.Titus 2:11-14
The Soul Culture of the WorldD. Thomas, D. D.Titus 2:11-14
The Soul's RestTitus 2:11-14
The Tonic of Hopeful LifeTitus 2:11-14
The True Value of MoralityH. W. Beecher.Titus 2:11-14
The Two Appearings, and the Discipline of GraceC. H. Spurgeon.Titus 2:11-14
The Universal Offer of SalvationF. Wagstaff.Titus 2:11-14
The Zeal of God's People for Good WorksD. Charles.Titus 2:11-14
Waiting the Coming of ChristD. McEwan.Titus 2:11-14
Why Believers are Called a Peculiar PeopleT. Taylor, D. D.Titus 2:11-14
Zeal in Good WorksT. Taylor, D. D.Titus 2:11-14
Zeal in Works and WorshipE. Garbett, M. A.Titus 2:11-14
The Soul-Culture of the WorldD. Thomas Titus 2:11-15
Mark -

I. THE PERSON WHO GAVE HIMSELF FOR US. "Our great God and Savior Jesus Christ." Here the atonement is connected with the Deity of the Savior, as if to showy that the true Godhead of the Son gave infinite value to his sufferings.

II. THE ATONING WORK. "Who gave himself for us." Two things are here implied.

1. Priestly action. For he "gave himself" freely, the language being borrowed from Levitical worship. That typical economy could not unite priest and victim as they were united in Christ. The Father is often said to have given his Son; but the Son here gives himself, the priestly action exhibiting at once immeasurable love and voluntary obedience. He is himself "the unspeakable Gift " - the best of all gifts to man.

2. It was a vicarious action. For he "gave himself for us," the words in the original signifying rather for our benefit than in our stead; but, from the nature of the case, the gift was substitutionary, that it might be for our benefit. When we were "in all iniquity," and so exposed to Divine wrath, our Surety permitted that iniquity to be charged to himself.

III. THE DESIGN OF THE ATONING WORK OF CHRIST. "To redeem us from all iniquity, and purify us to himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works!" It was a twofold design.

1. A redemption from all iniquity.

(1) The redemption signifies deliverance by the payment of a price. Here there is a clear causal connection between Christ's blood as the ransom price and the redemption. This is Scripture usage (1 Peter 1:18; Revelation 5:9; Galatians 3:13).

(2) The scope of this redemption. It is "from all iniquity." This is to be understood under a double aspect.

(a) The iniquity includes all sin, considered as guilt and as entailing the curse of the Divine Law. His redeeming sacrifice dissolved the connection between our sin and our liability to punishment on account of it.

(b) The iniquity includes all sin as morally evil, and in this sense the redemption delivers his people from all impurity.

2. The purification of a peculiar people for himself.

(1) The primary signification is sacrificial; for the term "purify," like the cognate terms sanctify, sprinkle, wash, cleanse, points to the effect produced by sacrifice upon those defiled by sin. These are now, by the blood of Christ, readmitted to fellowship with God. Thus believers, like Israel of old, obtain a new standing.

(2) The design of redemption is to consecrate a people for holy service, for priestly worship, in separation from the world. Thus they are "a peculiar people," not singular or eccentric, but his peculiar treasure, held to be most precious, and kept with all Divine care.

(3) This people is separated to good works - "zealous of good works," because partakers of the Spirit of holiness (Romans 1:4), and of the sanctification of the Spirit (1 Peter 1:2). This blessed fruit is worthy of a dedicated people. They must be zealots for practical holiness, for they Sad their best motives in two advents. - T.C.







The grace of God that bringeth salvation
I. ITS DISTISGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS. "The grace of God."

1. The gift.

2. Its objects.

3. Its purpose.

II. THE UNIVERSALITY OF ITS APPEARANCE.

1. Adapted for all.

2. Revealed for all.

3. To be proclaimed to all.

III. THE INESTIMABLE BOON WHICH IT BESTOWS. "Salvation."

1. From the condemning power of sin.

2. From the defilement of sin.

3. From the love of sin.

4. From the power of sin.

5. From the punishment of sin.

IV. ITS PRACTICAL INFLUENCE. "Teaching us," etc. The way of salvation is the highway of holiness and of purity; the unclean may not pass over it; and within the gates of the celestial City "there shall enter nothing that defileth, that worketh abomination, or that maketh a lie." Wherever this gospel hath come, "in demonstration of the Spirit and with power," it hath swept away the obscure and execrable rites, the foul abominations, the detestable practices of paganism. Wherever this gospel hath come "in demonstration of the Spirit and with power," it hath purified the polluted, it hath made the dishonest honest, the intemperate sober, the licentious chaste. It has converted the monster of depravity into the humble, correct, consistent, temperate disciple of Christ. The abandoned woman it has purified and refined; and he who was at once the disgrace, the dishonour, of his family, of society, and of his country, renewed, reformed, sanctified, made holy, it has placed at the feet of the Redeemer, like the recovered maniac, "clothed and in his right mind."

(T. Raffles, D. D.)

That the message which Jesus was anointed to deliver emanated from the sovereign goodness and everlasting mercy of Jehovah, whereby before all worlds He had devised a plan for the restoration of ruined man, and contains a revelation of His will, is a truth at once most animating and important. It is a firm conviction of this momentous truth which induces the believer to set a proper value on the gospel as the message of glad tidings of great joy.

I. Our thoughts are directed, first, to THE SOURCE OF THE GOSPEL, and that source is the grace of God. The proper signification of the word "grace" is favour — unmerited goodness and mercy in a superior conferring benefit upon others. The grace spoken of in the text is the revelation of the Divine will set forth in the gospel, which, in the strictest sense, may be termed "the grace of God"; it being a revelation to which man had no title, setting forth promises of which man was utterly unworthy, unfolding a plan of redemption which man had no reason to expect. This grace "bringeth salvation." Herein consists its importance. "What shall I do to be saved?" "What good thing shall I do to inherit eternal life?" "Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God?" These are vitally important questions — questions which will frequently present themselves even to the most careless, and they can be satisfactorily answered in the gospel alone. The gospel bringeth salvation, for it points out to man the means of his recovery from guilt and degradation. This salvation is complete and infinite, including all the blessings of the everlasting covenant — that covenant which displays to us the mercy and love of God the Father; the benefits of the incarnation, life, crucifixion, ascension, and intercession of God the Son; and all the enlightening, enlivening, and sanctifying influences of God the Holy Ghost. In the possession of these consists our salvation. The gospel directs man to a Saviour who has promised, and is able and willing, to bestow any blessing upon those who believe in Him: it promises pardon, reconciliation, peace; it unfolds the glories of the eternal world; and it invites and stimulates the sinner to strive, through grace, to become meet for the heavenly inheritance.

II. Now consider THE PERSONS for whose benefit this grace of God hath appeared. The apostle says, "The grace of God, that bringeth salvation hath appeared unto all men"; or, according to the translation in the margin of our Bibles, "The grace of God, which bringeth salvation to all men, hath appeared"; and this rendering I conceive to be the more correct. The gospel, then, is described as bringing salvation to all men; that is, as offering to all who accept it free and full remission of sin, through the blood of the Lord Jesus; as opening to all believers the gate of the kingdom of heaven. The gospel is precisely suited for all the wants of a fallen sinner; it meets him in the hour of difficulty; and, consequently, its offers of mercy are addressed to every sinner. In the manifestation of Jesus to the wise men, who came from the east to worship Him; in the prophetic declaration of the aged Simeon, that the Child whom he took up in his arms should be a light to lighten the Gentiles; in the rending of the veil of the temple, when Jesus had given up the ghost; in the unlimited commission "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature"; and in their qualification for this important work, by the miraculous gift of tongues, we discover that the new dispensation was designed for the spiritual and eternal benefit of the whole human race. The rich dispensation of mercy revealed in the gospel beautifully illustrates the gracious character of our heavenly Father. It is calculated to remove all erroneous views of His attributes, His mercy, His compassion, His tenderness towards the works of His hands. Why that gospel should not have been clearly manifested for so many ages after the fall of man — why eighteen centuries should have elapsed, and millions of our fellow creatures should still be immersed in the gross darkness of heathen superstition — is one of those secret things which belong to the Lord our God. It is not our province to sit in judgment on the wisdom of Jehovah's plans to weigh the wisdom of Jehovah's counsels; neither are we to seek to pry into the mysterious dealings of His providence. We are, rather, thankfully to acknowledge the blessings bestowed upon ourselves, and earnestly seek to improve them to the uttermost; recollecting that responsibility is commensurate with privilege.

(T. Bissland, M. A.)

I. THE ORIGINAL FIRST MOVING CAUSE OF ALL THE BLESSINGS WE HAVE FROM GOD IS ORATE.

1. Survey all the blessings of the covenant, and from first to last you will see grace doth all. Election, vocation, justification, sanctification, glorification, all is from grace.

2. To limit the point. Though it is of grace, yet not to exclude Christ, not to exclude the means of salvation.

3. My next work shall be to give you some reasons why it must be so that grace is the original cause of all the bless. ings we receive from God; because it is most for the glory of God, and most for the comfort of the creature.(1) It is most convenient for the glory of God to keep up the respects of the creature to Him in a way suitable to His majesty.(2) It is most for the comfort of the creature. Grace is the original cause of all the good we expect and receive from God, that we may seek the favour of God with hope and retain it with certainty.

II. GRACE IN THE DISCOVERIES OF THE GOSPEL HATH SHINED OUT IN A GREATER BRIGHTNESS THAN EVER IT DID BEFORE.

1. What a darkness there was before the eternal gospel was brought out of the bosom of God. There was a darkness both among Jews and Gentiles. In the greatest part of the world there was utter darkness as to the knowledge of grace, and in the Church nothing but shadows and figures.

2. What and how much of grace is now discovered? I answer —

(1)The wisdom of grace. The gospel is a mere riddle to carnal reason, a great mystery (1 Timothy 3:16).

(2)The freeness of grace both in giving and accepting.

(3)The efficacy and power of grace.

(4)The largeness and bounty of grace.

(5)The sureness of grace.

III. THE GRACE OF GOD REVEALED IN THE GOSPEL IS THE GREAT MEANS OF SALVATION, OR A GRACE THAT TENDS TO SALVATION.

1. It hath a moral tendency that way; for there is the history of salvation what God hath done on His part; there are the counsels of salvation what we must do on our part; and there are excellent enforcements to encourage us to embrace this salvation.

2. Because it hath the promise of the Spirit's assistance (Romans 1:16). The gospel is said to be "the power of God unto salvation," not only because it is a powerful instrument which God hath appropriated to this work, but this is the honour God puts upon the gospel that He will join and associate the operation of His Spirit with no other doctrine but this.

IV. THIS SALVATION WHICH THE GRACE OF GOD BRINGETH IS FREE FOR ALL THAT WILL ACCEPT IT. God excludes none but those that exclude themselves. It is said to appear to all men —

1. Because it is published to all sorts of men; they all have a like favour in the general offer (John 6:37).

2. All that accept have a like privilege; therefore this grace is said to appear to all men. There is no difference of nations, nor of conditions of life, nor of lesser opinions in religion, nor of degrees of grace. See all summed up by the apostle (Colossians 3:11).

(T. Manton, D. D.)

To this important statement the apostle is led up by the consideration of certain very homely and practical duties which fall to the lot of Christians in various walks of life, and these matters he refers to as "the things pertaining to sound doctrine." He has a word of practical counsel for several distinct classes of persons; for he knows the wisdom of being definite. In the connection indicated by that little word "for" we have both an introduction to, and a striking illustration of, the great truth that the passage is designed to set forth. It is the gospel with its wondrous revelation of grace that is to provide us with new and high incentives boa life of practical virtue and holiness. It is because we are not under the law, but under grace, that the righteousness of the law is to be fulfilled in us. To destroy the works of the devil, and to restore and perfect the grandest work of God on earth, was indeed an undertaking worthy of such conditions as the Incarnation and the atonement. The apostle speaks of grace itself before he proceeds to indicate the effects of grace, and of the first grand object and work of grace before he proceeds to enlarge upon its ulterior effects. He begins with the assertion that "the grace of God which bringeth salvation to all men hath appeared." In these opening words, first our attention is invited to this central object, the grace of God, then to the fact of its epiphany or manifestation, and then to its first most necessary purpose and mission — the bringing of salvation within the reach of all men.

I. ALL TRUE AND EVANGELICAL RELIGION MUST HAVE ITS COMMENCEMENT IN THE APPREHENSION OF DIVINE GRACE, AND THEREFORE IT IS OF NO SMALL IMPORTANCE THAT WE SHOULD ENDEAVOUR CLEARLY TO UNDERSTAND WHAT IS DENOTED BY THE WORD. Divine grace, we may say, is the child of love and the parent of mercy. The essential love of the great Father's heart takes definite form, and accommodates itself to our need; reveals itself in facts, and presents itself for our acceptance; and then we call it grace. That grace received rescues from the disastrous effects of sin; heals our inward diseases, and comforts our sorrows; and then we call it mercy. But grace does not exhaust itself in the production of mercy any more than love exhausts itself in the production of grace. The child leads us back to the parent; the experience of mercy leads us back to that "grace wherein we stand"; and the enjoyment of grace prepares us for the life of love, and for that wondrous reciprocity of affection in which the heavenly Bridegroom and His Bride are to be bound together forever. Thus of the three mercy ever reaches the heart first; and it is through accepted mercy that we apprehend revealed grace; similarly it is through the revelations of grace that we learn the secret of eternal love. And as with the individual so with mankind at large. Mercy, swift-winged mercy, was the first celestial messenger that reached a sin-stricken world; and in former dispensations it was with mercy that men had most to do. But if former dispensations were dispensations of mercy, the present is preeminently the dispensation of grace, in which it is our privilege not only to receive mercy, but to apprehend the attitude of God towards us from which the mercy flows. But let us remember that though specially revealed to us now, the grace of God towards humanity has existed from the very first. The Lamb was slain in the Divine foreknowledge before the foundation of the world. But the grace of God has in it a further and higher object than the mere provision of a remedy for human sin — than what is merely remedial. God has purposed in His own free favour towards mankind to raise man to a position of moral exaltation and glory, the very highest, so far as we know, that can be occupied or aspired to by a created intelligence. Such is the destiny of humanity. This is the singular favour which God designs for the sons of men. God's favour flows forth to other intelligences also, but not to the same degree, and it is not manifested after the same fashion. This eternal purpose of God, however, which has run through the long ages, was not fully revealed to the sons of men until the fulness of time arrived. It was revealed only in parts and in fragments, so to speak. From Adam to John the Baptist every man that ever went to heaven went there by the grace of God. The grace of God has constantly been in operation, but it was operating in a concealed fashion. Even those who were the subjects of Divine grace seem scarcely to have known how it reached them, or in what manner they were to be affected by any provision that it might make to meet their human sins. Before the full favour of God could be revealed to mankind it would seem to have been necessary first of all that man should be put under a disciplinary training, which should induce within him a conviction of the necessity for the intervention of that favour, and dispose him to value it when it came. Grace, we have already said, is the child of love and the parent of mercy. We discover now that the love of God is not a passive, inert possibility, but a living power that takes to itself definite form, and hastens to meet and overcome the forces of evil to which we owe our ruin.

II. But further, the apostle not only calls our attention to Divine grace, but he proceeds to state with great emphasis THAT IT HAS APPEARED OR BEEN MADE MANIFEST. We are no longer left in doubt as to its existence, or permitted to enjoy its benefits without knowing whence they flow. In order to be manifested, the grace of God needed not only to be affirmed, but to be illustrated, I may say demonstrated, and then only was man called upon to believe in it. It might have been written large enough for all the world to see, that God was love. It might have been blazoned upon the starry heavens so that every eye might have read the wondrous sentence, and yet I apprehend we should have been slow to grasp the truth which the words contain, had they not been brought within reach of our finite apprehension in concrete form in the personal history, in the life, in the action, in the sorrow, in the death of God's own Son. When I turn my gaze towards the person of Christ I am at liberty to doubt God's favour towards me no longer. I read it in every action, I discover it in every word. Here is the first thought that brings rest to the heart of man. It has been demonstrated by the Incarnation and by the Atonement, that God's attitude on His side towards us is already one of free favour — favour toward all, however far we may have fallen, and however undeserving we may be in ourselves. You often hear people talking about making their peace with God. Well, the phrase may be used to indicate what is perfectly correct, but the expression in itself is most incorrect, for peace with God is already made. God's attitude towards us is already an assured thing. We have no occasion to go about to ask ourselves, "How shall we win God's favour?" It is possible for a person to be full of friendly intentions to me, and yet for me to retain an attitude of animosity and enmity towards him. That does not alter his character towards me, or his attitude towards me; but it does prevent me from reaping any benefit from that attitude. And so, I repeat, the only point of uncertainty lies in our attitude towards God, not in His attitude towards us.

III. Thus the apostle affirms that THIS GRACE OF GOD ''BRINGETH SALVATION TO EVERY MAN." Yes, God's free favour, manifested in the person of His own blessed Son, is designed to produce saving effects upon all. God makes no exception, excludes none. All are not saved. But why not? Not because the grace of God does not bring salvation to every man, but because all men do not receive the gift which the grace of God has brought to them. There are necessarily two parties to such a transaction. Before any benefit can accrue from a gift there must be a willingness on the one side to give, and a willingness on the other side to receive, and unless there be both of these conditions realised no satisfactory result can ensue. Here then is a question for us all: What has the grace of God, which is designed to have a saving effect upon all men, done for us? Has it saved us, or only enhanced our condemnation? Now we maintain that the enjoyment of the knowledge of salvation by the remission of sins is needed before our experience can assume a definitely Christian form. The first thing that grace does is to bring salvation to me; and until I accept this I am not in a position to accept her other gifts. Grace cannot teach until I am in a position to learn, and I am not in a position to learn until I am relieved from anxiety and fear as to my spiritual condition. Go into yonder prison, and set that wretched felon in the condemned cell to undertake some literary work, if he is a literary man. Put the pen into his hand, place the ink and the paper before him. He flings down the pen in disgust. How can he set to work to write a history or to compose a romance, however talented or gifted he may be by nature, so long as the hangman's rope is over his head and the prospect of a coming execution staring him in the face? Obviously the man's thoughts are all in another direction — the question of his own personal safety preoccupies his mind. Give him that pen and paper to write letters which he thinks may influence persons in high quarters with a view to obtaining a reprieve, and his pen will move quickly enough. I can understand his filling up reams of paper on that subject, but not on any other. Is it likely that a God who has shown His favour towards us by the gift of His own Son should desire to keep us in uncertainty as to the effects of that grace upon our own case? Does not the very fact, that it is grace that has brought salvation to us, render it certain that it must be in the mind of God that we should have the full enjoyment of it? Let us rather ask, how can we obtain this knowledge of salvation, this inward conviction that all is well? The answer is a very simple one. Grace brings salvation within our reach as something designed for us. Not to tantalize us by exciting desires destined never to be realised, but in order that we may have the full benefit of it — the free favour of God has brought salvation within our reach to the very doors of our hearts. Surely we dishonour God when we for a moment suppose that He does not intend us to enjoy the blessing which His grace brings to us. All the deep and precious lessons that grace has to teach are, we may say, simply so many deductions from the first great object lesson — Calvary. It is through the Cross of Christ that the grace of God hath reached a sinful world; it is on the Cross that grace is revealed and by that Cross that its reality is demonstrated. But we may also add that it is in the Cross that grace lies hidden. Yes, it is all there; but faith has to search the storehouse and examine the hidden treasure, and find out more and more of the completeness of that great salvation which the grace of God has brought within our reach; nor shall we ever know fully all that has thus been brought within our reach until we find ourselves saved at last with an everlasting salvation — saved from all approach of evil or danger into that kingdom of glory which grace has opened to all believers.

(W. H. M. H. Aitken, M. A.)

I. THE ORIGIN OF SALVATION.

1. Man did not deserve it.

2. It was unsolicited.

3. It was entirely the result of Divine grace.The grace of God —(1) Made all the arrangements necessary for salvation. Devised the astounding plan. Fixed upon the means, time, etc. The grace of God —(2) Brought the author of salvation. "Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ," etc. (2 Corinthians 8:9).(3) It brought the message of salvation. Gospel is emphatically the gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24).(4) It brings the application of salvation to the soul. We are called by His grace — justified freely by His grace — sanctified by His grace — kept and preserved by tits grace — and the topstone is brought on amid ascriptions of Grace, grace unto it."

II. THE EXTENT OF SALVATION. The grace of God bringeth salvation —

1. To all classes and degrees of men. To the rich and the poor; noble and ignoble; monarch and the peasant; the ruler and the slave.

2. To men of all grades of moral guilt. It includes the moralist, and excludes not the profane.

3. To men of all ages.

III. THE INFLUENCE OF SALVATION ON THE MORAL CHARACTER OF MAN. It teaches and enforces the necessity of —

1. The abandonment of ungodliness and worldly lusts.

2. Sobriety of conduct.

3. Righteousness of life.

4. Godliness of heart.Application:

1. How we should rejoice in the riches and fulness of Divine grace.

2. How necessary that we cordially receive the invaluable boon it presents.

3. And how important that we practically exemplify the moral lessons it communicates.

(J. Burns, D. D.)

1. A choice and excellent description of the gospel; it is the grace of God, that is the doctrine of God's free grace and gratuitous favour declared in Christ to poor sinners.

2. The joyful message which the gospel brings, and that is salvation; the gospel makes a gracious tender of salvation, and that universally to lost and undone sinners.

3. The clear light and evidence that it does hold forth this message in and by; it has appeared or shined forth like the day star or the rising sun.

4. The extent of its glorious beams, how far they reach. It is tendered to all without restriction or limitation.

(1)As to nations, Jew or Gentile.

(2)As to persons, rich or poor, bond or free.

(3)Without restriction in reference to the degree of their graces.

5. The great lesson which the gospel teaches, negative and positive.(a) Negative, to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts; where, by ungodliness, understand all sins committed against the first table; by worldly lusts, all sins committed against the second table; called worldly lusts because the object of them is worldly things, and because they are the lusts of worldly men.(b) Positive, to live:(1) Soberly: he begins with our duty to ourselves, then to our neighbour, and last of all to God, and so proceeds from the easier to the harder duties: and observe the connection, soberly and righteously and godly, not disjunctively; as if to live soberly, righteously, or in pretence godly, were sufficient. A sobriety in speech, in behaviour, in apparel, in eating and drinking, in recreations, and in the enjoyment of lawful satisfactions.(2) Righteously, exercising justice and charity towards our neighbour; he that is uncharitable is unjust and unrighteous, and the unrighteous shall no more enter into the kingdom of God than the unholy; and all a person's pretences to godliness are but hypocrisy without righteousness toward our neighbour.(3) Godly, godliness has an internal and external part; the internal and inward part of godliness consists in a right knowledge of Him, in a fervent love unto Him, in an entire trust and confidence in Him, in an holy fear to offend Him, in subjecting our wills entirely to Him, in holy longings for the fruition and enjoyment of Him. The external and outward part of godliness consists in adoration and bodily worship; this is due to God from us; He was the Creator of the body as well as of the soul, and will glorify the body as well as the soul; therefore we are to glorify God with our bodies, and with our spirits, which are the Lord's.

6. The time when and the place where this lesson is to be learned, in this present world. Here is the place, and now is the time when this duty of living soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world is to be performed by us. Learn, that a sober, righteous, and godly life in this present world is absolutely necessary in order to our obtaining the happiness and glory of the world to come.

(W. Burkitt, M. A.)

Although the doctrine of the Churches of the Old and New Testament be the very selfsame in regard —

1. Of the author, who is God;

2. Substance and matter, which is perfect righteousness required in both;

3. Scope and end to the justification of a sinner before God; yet are there diverse accidental differences between them which, that we may the better understand both the offices and the benefits by Christ, are meet to be known.Some of them we shall note out of these words as we shall come unto them.(1) The first difference is in that the gospel is called grace, which word the law acknowledgeth not; nay, these two are opposed, to be under the law and to be under grace. To be under the law is not to be under it as a rule of life, for so all believers on earth, yea the saints and angels in heaven, are under it; but to be under the yoke of it, which neither we nor our fathers were able to bear. For to omit the least part of the yoke, standing in the observation of —

1. Many,

2. Costly,

3. Laborious,

4. Burdensome ceremonies,what a killing letter is the law which commandeth inward and perfect righteousness, for nature and actions, and that in our own persons? which promiseth life upon no other condition but of works, "Do this, and live"; and these must be such as must be framed according to that perfect light and holiness of nature in which we are created, which wrappeth us under the curse of sin. Now to be under grace is to be freed from all this bondage; not only from those elements and rudiments of the world, but especially —

1. When the yoke of personal obedience to justification is by grace translated from believers to the person of Christ our surety, so that He doing the law we might live by it.

2. When duties are not urged according to our perfect estate of creation, but according to the present measure of grace received; not according to full and perfect righteousness, but according to the sincerity and truth of the heart, although from weak and imperfect faith and love: not as meriting anything, but only as testifying the truth of our conversion, in all which the Lord of His grace accepteth the will for the deed done.

3. When the most heavy curse of the law is removed from our weak shoulders and laid upon the back of Jesus Christ, even as His obedience is translated unto us, and thus there is no condemnation to those that are in Him.

4. When the strength of the law is abated so as believers may send it to Christ for performance, for it cannot vex us as before the ministry of grace it could; which is another law, namely of faith, to which we are bound, the which not only can command us as the former, but also give grace and power to obey and perform in some acceptable sort the commandment. And this is the doctrine of grace which we are made partakers of.

(T. Taylor, D. D.)

I. A TRUE AND GRAPHIC OUTLINE OF DOCTRINE ESSENTIAL TO SALVATION.

1. How ancient the purpose of this grace.

2. How great and glorious its nature.

3. How benignant its design.

4. How unrestricted its manifestation.

II. A VIEW OF THOSE WORKS WHICH ACCOMPANY SALVATION.

1. Vigilant self-denial.

2. The right governance of the moral relations of life.

III. MOTIVES BY WHICH COMBINED FAITH AND OBEDIENCE MAY BE SUSTAINED AND ENFORCED.

1. The temporary nature of the discipline.

2. The self-sacrifice of Christ.

3. The future manifestation of Christ.

(Jas. Foster, B. A.)

I. THE INSTRUMENT OF TRUE SOUL CULTURE. "The grace of God," i.e., the gospel.

1. It is the love of God.

2. The love of God to save.

3. The love of God revealed to all.

II. THE PROCESS OF TRUE SOUL CULTURE.

1. The renunciation of a wrong course.

2. The adoption of a right course.

3. The fixing of the heart upon a glorious future.

III. THE END OF TRUE SOUL CULTURE.

1. Moral redemption.

2. Spiritual restoration to Christ.

3. Complete devotedness to holy labour.

4. The self-sacrifice of Christ. His gift teaches the enormity of moral evil.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

When the illustrious, learned, and wealthy John Selden was dying, he said to Archbishop Usher, "I have surveyed most of the learning that is among the sons of men, and my study is filled with books and manuscripts (he had 8,000 volumes in his library) on various subjects; but at present I cannot recollect any passage out of all my books and papers whereon I can rest my soul, save this from the sacred Scriptures: 'The grace of God that bringeth salvation,'" etc.

Hath appeared to all men
I. The apostle sets forth, as the foundation of all, THE APPEARANCE OF THE GRACE OF GOD. Grace, the theological term which, to many of us, sounds so cold and unreal and remote, is all throbbing with tenderness and warm with life if we understand what it means. It means the pulsation of the heart of God pouring a tide of gracious love on sinful men, who do not deserve one drop of it to fall upon them, and who dwell so far beneath His loftiness that the love is made still more wonderful by the condescension which makes it possible. The lofty loves the low, and the love is grace. The righteous loves the sinful, and the love is grace. Then, says my text, there is something which has made this Divine love of God, so wonderful in its loftiness, and equally wonderful in its passing by men's sinfulness, visible to men. The grace, has "appeared." Scientists can make sounds visible by the symmetrical lines into which heaps of sand upon a bit of paper are cast by the vibration of a string. God has made invisible love plain to the sight of all men, because He has sent us His Son.

II. NOTICE THE UNIVERSAL SWEEP OF THIS GRACE. The words should be read, "The grace of God, that bringeth salvation to all men, hath appeared." It brings salvation to all men. It does not follow from that, that all men take the salvation which it brings. Notice the underlying theory of a universal need that lies in these words. The grace brings salvation to all men, because all men need that more than any thing else. In the notion of salvation there lies the two ideas of danger and of disease. It is healing and it is safety; therefore, if it be offered to all, it is because all men are sick of a sore disease, and stand in imminent and deadly peril. That is the only theory of men's deepest need which is true to the facts of human existence.

III. NOTICE THE GREAT WORK OF THIS GRACE MADE VISIBLE. It seems to be a wonderful descent from "the grace of God which bringeth salvation to all hath appeared" to "teaching us." Is that all? Is that worth much? If by "teaching" we mean merely a reiteration in words, addressed to the understanding or the heart, of the great principles of morality and conduct, it is a very poor thing, and a tremendous come down from the apostle's previous words. Such an office is not what the world wants. To try to cure the world's evils by teaching, in that narrow sense of the expression, is something like trying to put a fire out by reading the Riot Act to the flames. You want fire engines, and not paper proclamations, in order to stay their devouring course. But it is to be noticed that the expression here, in the original, means a great deal more than that kind of teaching. It means correcting, or chastening. Our Physician has in His great medicine chest balm and bandages for all wounds. But He has also a terrible array of gleaming blades with sharp edges, and of materials for cauterising and burning away proud flesh. And if ever we are to be made good and pure, as God wants to make us, it must be through a discipline that will often be agony, and will often be pain, and against the grain. For the one thing that God wants to do with men is to bring their wills into entire harmony with His. And we cannot have that done without much treatment which will inflict in love beneficent pain. No man can live beside that Lord without being rebuked moment by moment, and put to wholesome shame day by day, when he contrasts himself with that serene and radiant pattern and embodiment of all perfection. And no man can receive into his heart the powers of the world to come, the might of an indwelling Spirit, without that Spirit exercising as its first function that which Christ Himself told us it would perform (John 16:8).

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

Salvation is offered to all men —

I. IRRESPECTIVE OF THEIR VARYING MORAL CONDITIONS. Though "all have sinned," yet all are not sinners in the same degree, or after the same fashion. Sinners are of many kinds — young, old, beginners in offences, hardened in crime, sinners through ignorance, against light, etc.

II. BECAUSE ALL MEN NEED IT. God recognises degrees of guilt and punishes "according to transgression." There are "few stripes" and "many stripes"; yet all need salvation, and all men may have it.

III. BECAUSE GOD LOVES ALL. He is no respecter of persons, and has no delight in the death of him that dieth. "God so loved the world," etc.

IV. BECAUSE CHRIST DIED FOR ALL.

(F. Wagstaff.)

It bringeth salvation to all men, that is, all kinds and conditions of men, not to every particular or singular of the kinds, but to all the sorts and kinds of men, to servants as well as masters, to Gentile as well as Jew, to poor as well as rich. Thus is it said that God would have all men saved, that is, of all sorts of men some. So Christ healed all diseases, that is, all kinds of diseases; and the Pharisees tithed all herbs, that is, all kinds; for they took not every particular herb for tithe, but took the tenth of every kind, and not the tenth of every herb.

(T. Taylor, D. D.)

The grace of God is the prime mover in the work of salvation. It "bringeth salvation." Man had nothing to pay for it, and man could not merit it.

I. BUT IN WHAT RESPECTS DOES THE GRACE OF GOD BRING SALVATION? Here we remark generally, that it brought it forward in the decree from everlasting. Again, the grace of God brought salvation forward another stage, by publishing the promise of it to man after his ruinous fall. This promise was to be the ground of man's faith and hope in God; and these graces were necessary for giving sinners an interest in the Divine salvation. The grace of God advanced salvation work still further when it brought the First-begotten into the world. It was on this occasion that it was purchased. To gain it, Christ had to sustain the rejections of men, the malice and wrath of evil spirits, and the wrath of His heavenly Father. No less conspicuous is the grace of God in applying to the soul the benefits of purchased redemption. It is not when persons have ceased from the love and commission of sin, that the Holy Spirit comes with power to call them effectually, and to unite them to the Lord Jesus Christ. No; He addresses Himself to His work when sinners are dead in trespasses and in sins — alienated from the life of God — without God and without hope in the world. But there is still another stage of the grace of God that bringeth salvation, and it is the time when Christ will raise His people from the dead, and make them sit visibly as they now sit representatively in heavenly places with Himself.

II. We shall now turn your attention to THE NATURE OF THE SALVATION WHICH THE GRACE OF GOD THUS BRINGS TO SINNERS. And here you will notice in general that the term salvation implies a state of danger, or of actual immersion in suffering; and denotes the averting of the danger, or the deliverance from the suffering. We say of a man who has been delivered from a house on fire, that he has been saved. We also assert of him who has been drawn from a shipwreck and brought in life to land, that he has been saved, And in like manner, we affirm in regard to the man who has been set free from transgression and its train of consequences, that he has obtained salvation. More particularly, you will observe —

1. That it is a salvation from the guilt of sin.

2. It includes deliverance from the defilement of sin.

3. Deliverance from the power of sin.

4. Deliverance from the very being of sin.

5. Liberation from the curse of God.

6. Freedom from the wrath of God.

III. We have thus given you an outline of the salvation spoken of in the text, WE SHALL NOW INQUIRE IN WHAT RESPECTS IT APPEARS TO ALL MEN. There is one class of persons to whom salvation does more than appear; for they shall enjoy it in all its length and breadth. The chosen of God shall be set free from the guilt, the power, and being of sin, and redeemed from the wrath and curse of God. But there are some respects in which the salvation which they enjoy, presents itself to the view of others, who trover come to the actual enjoyment of its precious blessings.

1. The grace that bringeth salvation appears to all, because time and space are given them for seeking and obtaining it.

2. The grace of salvation appears to all in the inspired Word and appointed ordinances.

3. The grace of salvation appears to all, inasmuch as mercy is offered to them with out distinction.

4. The grace that bringeth salvation appears to all, in the common operations of the Holy Spirit. From our subject see —(1) Ground for accepting the salvation of the gospel.(2) Learn reason to fear lest we should not enter the heavenly rest through unbelief.(3) Ground of gratitude on the part of the people of God. They are distinguished above the rest of mankind. While salvation appears to others, it is possessed and enjoyed by them. We now propose —

IV. TO INQUIRE INTO WHAT IS MEANT BY THE TERMS "ALL MEN." As to the import of the terms "all men," you will observe —

1. That they cannot mean every individual of our race. It is matter of fact that many, both in the days of the apostles were, and in our own time are, wholly unenlightened by the good news of salvation.

2. The grace of God appears to men of all countries. This is no contradiction of what we formerly said; for although salvation has not yet been shown to all the individuals of our race, yet some of almost every kingdom under heaven have been made acquainted with the gospel of God's Son; and it is matter of promise that all the ends of the earth shall yet see the salvation of our God.

3. The grace of God appears to all kinds of men. None are excluded from it who do not exclude them selves. It is presented to persons of all ages and all ranks, to men of every kind of culture and attainment. Nor does the gospel inquire into a man's character, in order to discover whether he is entitled to salvation. Grace is offered to the moral and immoral — to the virtuous and the vicious.

V. WE ARE NOW TO INVESTIGATE THE RESPECTS IN WHICH THE GRACE OF GOD APPEARS TO MEN IN GENERAL. Our text does not assert that the grace of God is enjoyed by all, but only that it appears to them. They behold in somewhat the same manner as Balaam said he would see the star that was to arise out of Judah: "I shall see Him, but not now; I shall behold Him, but not nigh." It is but a distant sight that the unregenerate obtain of the grace of salvation. It appears to them as a beauteous and glowing star in the remote horizon, which they may admire, but do not reach.

1. Time and space are given them for accepting salvation.

2. The grace of God appears to men in general in their enjoyment of Divine ordinances. Ordinances are the appointed means of salvation. They are not effectual of themselves to the communication of saving benefit; but they are the medium through which spiritual blessings are im parted.

3. The grace of God appears to all in the offer of salvation to every individual.

4. The grace of God appears to men in general in the common operations of the Spirit.

5. The grace of God appears to men in general in the impressions of Divine truth upon the heart.

(1)What a great privilege is possessed by the hearers of the gospel.

(2)Reason for great anxiety. Look after the evidences of your real Christianity.

(A. Ross, M. A.)

The American officer who was appointed to measure the boundaries of Mexico and the United States tells us touchingly that the springs which occur at intervals of sixty or a hundred miles apart in the desert are perforce the meeting places of life. All living creatures must gather there or die in an agony of thirst. There comes the American panther, and laps luxuriously the stream beside the timid hare — the one tamed by thirst, the other made brave by thirst; and there come the traveller and the trader and light the campfire beside the wigwam of the scalp-clothed warrior of the prairie, civilised by thirst; they quaff the waters together. So the waters of life should be resorted to by all mankind. Teaching us that denying ungodliness —

The apostle proceeds to state that grace not only saves but undertakes our training; and this, of course, is a life-long work, a work that will only be concluded when grace ends in glory. Now, obviously, if this work is to be done as it should be done, the soul must, first of all, be in a position to receive teaching. If grace is really to undertake our training, and to teach us such lessons as only grace can teach, surely she must first of all calm the tumultuous misgivings which fill our hearts; and until grace has done this for us, how can she instruct us? If I am learning my lesson with a view to obtain grace, it cannot be grace that is acting the part of the teacher, for she can only teach where she has been already obtained. Grace cannot at one and the same moment be my teacher, and also that to obtain which I am being taught, for this, of course, involves a contradiction in terms. Hence, as we have said, unless this first point be settled, and we know that we are in the enjoyment of God's salvation, we are not in a position to learn from grace, whoever else it be that we may learn from. And thus it comes to pass, as a matter of simple fact, that a large number of nominal Christians are taught, indeed, after a certain fashion, but they are not taught by grace. They seek to learn of Christ in order that they may obtain the grace of Christ; they endeavour to become conformed to Christ in order that their resemblance to Christ may dispose the heart of God to regard them with the same favourable consideration which He bestowed on Him whom they seek to resemble. Such persons are under the law. Grace, then, is to be our instructress, and she has plenty of work before her in the training and preparation of the human subject for the glorious destiny which lies before him. Then only is it possible, after the adoption has taken place, for the education to begin. With these thoughts in our mind we will proceed to consider grace as our teacher, and first we will point out the contrast between the training of grace and the operation of law. Before the grace of God appeared men were under another teacher, and his name was "Law." Grace is our teacher, and she teaches us far more powerfully, far more efficiently, and far more perfectly than law can ever teach us. But observe, she will not share her office of teacher with law. The Christian is not to be a kind of spiritual mongrel, nor is his experience to be of a mongrel type — part legal, part spiritual, part savouring of bondage, part savouring of liberty: but the design of God is that we should stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, and never allow ourselves, even for a moment, to be entangled in a yoke of bondage. How many Christians are there who never seem to have perceived that we are no more to be saved by grace and then trained by law, than we are to be saved by law and then trained by grace? How many who need to learn that as we are to be saved by grace at first, so we are to be trained by grace afterwards, until at last the cornerstone is raised upon the wondrous structure which only grace has reared, amidst shouts of "Grace, grace unto it!" All is of grace from first to last. Now in order that we may very clearly apprehend what the teaching of God's word is on this subject, let us just put side by side the teaching of law and the teaching of grace, contrasting them one with the other, and then we shall see how much to the advantage of grace the contrast is. Grace teaches better than law.

1. She teaches better than law, first, because she delivers to us a fuller and more distinct exhibition of the mind and will of God as regards human conduct, based upon a more complete manifestation of the Divine character. Grace, as she takes possession of our heart, makes us acquainted with the mind and will of God in a manner in which we should never have become acquainted with these by the mere influence and teaching of law. If you reflect for a moment, you will see that the object of law is not to reveal the mind and the will of the Lawgiver, but to lay down certain positive precepts for the direction of those to whom the legislation is given, or for whom the legislation is designed. If an Act of Parliament is passed by the British Legislature, by both Houses of Parliament, and a person were to ask, "What is the object of this Act?" nobody would reply, "To reveal to the British public what is the mind and will of the members of our Legislature." Nothing of the kind. The object of the Act is to meet some specific political need, or to give some specific political direction to those who are subject to its authority. Even so the law delivered from Sinai was not primarily designed to reveal the mind and will of God. The law contained only a very partial revelation of the mind and will of God. The law consisted of certain positive precepts, which were given in the infancy of the human race for the direction and guidance of mankind. The rules and precepts which are laid down in the nursery are not designed to exhibit the mind and will of the parent, although they are in accordance with that mind and will. They are laid down for the convenience and for the benefit of those for whom the rules were made. A child knows something of the mind and will of the parent from personal contact with that parent, but not from the rules, or only to a very slender degree from the rules, which are laid down for its guidance. But when we turn from law to grace, then we see at once that we now are dealing with a revelation of the mind and the will of Him from whom the grace proceeds. Each act of favour which a parent bestows upon his child, or which a sovereign bestows upon his subject, is a revelation, so far as it goes, of the mind and will of the parent towards that particular child, or of the sovereign towards that particular subject, as the case may be. And even so every act of grace which we receive from God is a revelation, as far as it goes, of the mind and will of God towards us who are affected by the act.

2. Not only is the teaching of grace in itself fuller and more complete, but we are still more impressed by the superiority of the mode in which the teaching is given — the form in which this new doctrine is communicated. In the decalogue you are met with, "Thou shalt," or, "Thou shalt not" — and you observe at once that the command addresses itself directly to your will. Children are not appealed to so far as their understandings are concerned. They are told to act in a certain particular way, or not to act in a certain particular way; and if a child stops to reason with its parents, an appeal is at once made to parental authority. "Your duty, my child, is to obey, not to understand." Or, once again, the decalogue makes no appeal to the affections of those to whom it was delivered; it deals not with our moral states, or with the motives from which actions proceed; it simply concerns itself with those actions, and speaks to the will which is responsible for them. But when we turn from the decalogue to the sermon on the mount we find that all is changed. It does not begin with a direct appeal to the will, and yet the will is touched by a stronger influence, and moved to action by a more mighty force, than ever operated upon the will of the Israelites at Sinai. Grace is our teacher; and we observe that the first word that she utters in this lesson is a blessing. The law had summed up its all of teaching with a curse "Cursed is he that continueth not in all things that are written in this book to do them."

2. She does not say, "Ye shall be blessed if ye will become poor in spirit." Grace drives no bargains; but she explains to us that a state of experience from which most of us would naturally shrink is a state of actual blessedness. Here you will observe that she appeals to our enlightened understanding, indicating to us a new and a higher view of self-interest, showing that God's will, so far from being opposed to our truest well-being, is in complete and full harmony with it; for He is our Father, and He loves us, and therefore desires to see us supremely happy like Himself. Does she not teach better than law? Once again. Not only does she teach by giving us a fuller and a deeper revelation of the mind and will of God, and exhibiting these to us in such a way as that she appeals not merely to our own will, demanding action, but to our understanding, and, through our understanding, to our feelings, kindling holy desires, and so setting the will at work almost before it is aware that it is working; but she does more than all this.

3. Grace teaches us by setting before our eyes the noblest and the most striking of all exemplars. Grace speaks to us through human lips; grace reveals herself to us in a human life. Now we all know how much more we learn from a personal teacher than from mere abstract directions. To watch a painter, and to see how he uses his brush, and carefully and minutely notice the little touches that give so much character and power to the product of his genius, does far more for us in the way of making us painters than any amount of mere abstract study of the art itself. This in itself may suffice to show the superiority of grace as a teacher. While the thunder sounded from Sinai and the fiery law was given, God still remained concealed. When the yell was taken away, and God was made flesh in the person of Christ, human eyes were allowed to look at Him, and human ears heard the sound of His voice. Perfection stood before us at last in concrete form. When grace teaches us, she always teaches us by leading up to Christ — by exhibiting fresh views of His perfection, drawing out our heart in admiration towards Him. Happy they who thus set themselves to learn Christ as their life lesson, not as a mere duty — that is legality — but because they have fallen in love with Christ! Happy they who learn Christ just as the astronomer learns astronomy! Why does he study astronomy? Would a Newton tell you that he has spent all those hours in the careful examination of the phenomena of nature, or absorbed in profound mathematical calculations, because he thought it his duty to do it? And even so those who are under the teaching of grace learn Christ, not because they are under a legal obligation to learn Him, but because they are mastered by an enthusiastic admiration for the Divine object. There is a beauty in Christ which wins the heart. But grace does more than even this.

4. She not only sets before us the highest of all exemplars, but she establishes the closest possible relationship between that Exemplar and ourselves. Grace is not content with merely setting an example before us; she takes us by the hand and introduces us to the Exemplar, tells us not only that this Exemplar is content to be our friend, but, more wonderful still, that He is content to be one with us, uniting Himself to us, that His strength may be made perfect in our weakness. "Know ye not," says grace, "that Christ is in you?" In you; not merely outside you as a source of power, not merely beside you as a faithful companion on life's journey, but in you. "Christ is your life," says grace. Do you prefer to be under the law? Do you really elect to be bondslaves? You say your prayers in the morning; it is your duty to do it. You do not feel comfortable if you do not say them. You go to church; but it is not because you love to go and cannot stay away, or because you want to know more and more of God, or delight in His worship. "I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord." You go because it is your habit. May God save us from such bondage as this! Let us remember that all the while that we are thus trifling there is within our reach, if we would but have it, the glorious liberty of the children of God.

(W. H. M. H. Aitken, M. A.)

You will observe that inasmuch as grace proposes to form Christ in our nature, she proceeds upon an altogether different method from that which is followed by law. Grace purposes to make the tree good, and then concludes, reasonably enough, that the fruit will be good; whereas law aims, so to speak, rather at improving the fruit than at regenerating the tree. Grace deals with the springs of action, and not primarily with action itself. She deals with actions, but deals with them only indirectly. She begins her beneficent operations by setting right that part of our nature from which actions proceed, and so, from first to last, grace is chiefly concerned with our motives, checking the sordid and the unworthy, and developing the noble and the godlike. Now, the contrast here lies between an outward objective law exhibited to the human understanding, claiming the homage of the will, and an inward and subjective law which becames part and parcel, so to speak, of the nature of him who receives it. Now it is by the teaching of grace that this new state of things is introduced; it is by the operation of grace that the Father's Law is to be written upon the hearts of His once rebellious children. She effects this blessed result, first by opening up to us through His Son a revelation of the Father's heart, and by showing us how deep and strong is His love towards us; in the second place, by sweeping away all obstacles between the Father's love and our experience of it; and thus in the third place, by bringing our humanity under the mighty operation of the Holy Spirit of God, whose work it is to form within us the nature of Christ; and once again, in the fourth place, grace indelibly inscribes God's law upon our hearts in the very terms of her own manifestation. For it is from the Cross that Grace is manifested and it is involved in the terms of its acceptance, that to the cross the eye of him who accepts it should be turned. We have just said that the first effect of grace is to reveal the Father's love to us, and to sweep away all the barriers which interfere with our enjoyment of that love; by this first act of grace we are introduced into what may be described as the life of love — a life in which we are no longer influenced by mere considerations of moral or legal obligation. The love of God shed abroad in the heart, like the genial rays of the sun, produces a responsive love within us which is simply the refraction, so to speak, of those rays; and this love, the gospel teaches us, is the fulfilling of the law.

1. But love fulfils the law, not by a conscious effort to fulfil it, but because it is the voluntary response of the soul to the Person from whom the law has emanated. Love fulfils the law, not by commanding me to conform my conduct to a certain outward and objective standard, but by awakening within me a spiritual passion of devotion for the Person of Him whose will is law to those who love Him. Love knows nothing about mere restriction and repression — love seeks to please, not to abstain from displeasing; and so love fulfils, not merely abstains from breaking, the law. Thus we see that love takes us up to an altogether higher level than law. I cannot illustrate this point better than by referring for a moment to our earthly relationships to each other. There are certain laws which are applicable to these relationships. For instance, there are certain laws of our land, and there are certain laws contained in the Bible, which apply to the natural relationships of the father and of the husband. It is obviously the duty of the father and the husband to care for his wife and his children, to protect them, to provide for them, to endeavour to secure their well-being so far as in him lies. A man who occupies that relationship is bound to do not less than this. But does a really affectionate husband and father perform those various offices because the law constrains him to do so, because it is his legal duty to do them? Does he perform acts of tenderness towards his wife and towards his child because the law demands them of him? Even so the man whom grace has taught finds a new law within his nature, the law of love, in surrendering himself to which he fulfils indeed the outward and objective law, not because he makes an effort to fulfil it, but because he is true to his new nature. So that I may say, to put the thing concisely, grace is not opposed to law, but is superior to law; and the man who lives in grace lives not "under the law," because he is above the law. We imprison the wife beater. Why? Because he has fallen from the level of love altogether, and thus he has come down to the level of the law, and is within the reach of the law. Even so here the only persons who are not under law are the persons who are above law. Is the law written within our hearts, or is it only revealed from without? In our attempt to do what is right, do we simply do, or endeavour to do, what is right because we have recognised a certain external standard of duty, and are endeavouring to conform our conduct to it? Or do we do what is right because we are living in happy, holy intercourse with an indwelling God in whose love we find our law, and in surrendering ourselves to the influence of whose love, our highest enjoyment? Herein lies the test of the difference between legal experience and evangelical experience.

2. But here let me point out that grace, whilst she teaches us gently and tenderly, and in a very different way from law, has nevertheless sanctions of her own. They are the rewards and punishments which are congruous to the life of love, whereas the rewards and punishments of legal experience are such as are congruous to the life of legal servitude. We shall detect in a moment what these sanctions are if we reflect upon the nature of our relation to Him who has now become to us our law of life. It is the glory of the life of love that we have something to love. Our love is not merely an empty abstraction, nor is it merely a wasted energy that wanders in infinity; it is attracted towards a living Person. In the enjoyment of His society, which to the real Christian is not a matter of sentiment, but a matter of practical experience, the soul finds its highest privilege. Ah! grace disciplines as well as teaches. She does not spoil her children. She is not like some fond and indulgent mother, who fancies that she is benefiting her children when she is really injuring them more cruelly than in any other way she possibly could, by always giving them their own way. Grace does not teach us to be negligent, thoughtless, heedless, careless. Grace does not whisper in our ears, "Now that you are saved once you are saved forever. Go on, and never mind what happens to you." But grace teaches us very delicately. "I will guide thee," says grace, "with my eye." Grace teaches us. She brings out the scales of the sanctuary, and into the one she puts our worldly idol — our love of popularity, our self-seeking, our slothfulness, our self-indulgence, our pride of heart, all those little and great things which we are so apt to set against the society of Jesus, or rather which we are so apt to allow to come in between us and the society of Jesus. Yes, grace has her sanctions. And I am afraid that there are only too many Christians who have often to feel the force of those dread sanctions. Their whole life has come to be a clouded, unsatisfactory, melancholy, woebegone life. How many Christians are there of whom it cannot be said that the joy of the Lord is their strength! And why? They are under the discipline of grace. Yes, God does not forsake them altogether. He has not left them to their own waywardness, but He has visited their offences with the rod and their sin with scourges. They cannot be happy in the world since they have tasted something better in Christ. Nor can they be happy in Christ while they cast longing looks towards the world. But grace has also her rewards, and I love to think of them. What are they? The eye, perhaps, wanders on towards the future, and we think of the glories that are to be revealed. In this present world, amidst all the trials to which the Christian may be exposed, the school of grace has its prizes. Grace has her prizes. "The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace." Grace teaches indeed, but she teaches by first of all correcting, nay, by regenerating, the secret springs of our actions. Unless these are set right, how can our actions be right? How can you love God unless the love of God has conquered your heart?

(W. H. M. H. Aitken, M. A.)

Two things, it will be observed, exist in every physical organism — a mysterious inward energy or life power, and an inherent law of being, or condition of existence. Between these there can be no kind of contrariety or antagonism. We do not see life exerting its energies in defiance of the subjective laws of the organisms that it inhabits, nor do we see those laws fulfilled save by the inward energies of life. Even so the new creature in Christ Jesus has a certain law of being or condition of existence which properly belongs to him, and it is this that the Holy Spirit proceeds to fulfil, working out and forming in us a new nature in the image of Jesus Christ Himself. On the Cross our new life is purchased; but not the less on the Cross our old man is crucified. In the very act of extending mercy grace teaches her first great lesson. We are saved because we have died and risen again with Christ; but if so, we have already denied ungodliness and worldly lust. Let us observe, then, that this first lesson taught by grace is a negative lesson. Before teaching us what to do, she teaches us what we are to have done with; before introducing us into the positive blessedness of the new life, she first of all separates our connection with the old. This negation of the old must always come before the possession of the new; and unless our experience follow this order, we shall find that what we mistake for the new is not God's new at all, but simply Satan's travesty of God's new creation. Let us not fail to observe that the apostle here speaks of our "denying ungodliness." He does not speak of our combating ungodliness, or of our gradually progressing from a state of ungodliness into a state of godliness. "If any man be in Christ Jesus, he is" a new creature: old things are, passed away, and all things are become new. And all things are of God. It is a strong word, this word denial. Now it is upon this primary fact that grace bases her teaching. She may save, but does not undertake to train, the graceless. The only improvement of the old man that grace recognises is his legal execution; but this she teaches us has already taken place in the case of those who are in Christ Jesus. Let us ask ourselves, Are we in the habit of denying, or only of opposing? But before pursuing our consideration of the mode of denial, let us pause to contemplate the objects here spoken of as being denied, and we shall then be in a position to return to this point of denial and treat of it more fully. The first thing we are represented as denying is ungodliness. This sounds a very strong word, and I dare say at first most people would be disposed to affirm that they cannot be charged with this, whatever else they may be guilty of. They may not have been as good as they might, but ungodly they certainly have not been. We must endeavour to find out what ungodliness is. This is certainly important, because unless we understand what it is, it is impossible to deny it. Let me then begin by saying that ungodliness is the cardinal and root sin of the world. It was the first sin committed in the history of the world; and it was the parent of all other sins, and it is usually the first sin in the life of each individual, and equally the parent of all the sins that follow. In the happy early days of human history when man, created in God's own image, was living in fellowship with his Creator, the characteristic of that pristine experience was doubtless godliness. But there came a change, a blight, a cloud, a darkness, a horror. What was it? The entrance of ungodliness. Here was man's first temptation; and here came man's first sin. It consisted in ungodliness or impiety, exhibited in a determination to put self in the place of God. So was it with the first sin, and so it has been with all its successors. Ungodliness, in one form or another, has been at the root of them all, and the deadly growth from this evil root has cast its baleful shadow over universal history. Now we are in a position to form some idea of what ungodliness really means.

1. Ungodliness consists, first of all, in the repudiation of God as the final cause of our being; that is to say, the end for which we live. A man is ungodly when he lives not for God. I do not care what outward complexion it wears. It may be the life of a zealous ritualist devoted to his party, or of an earnest churchman, or of a staunch protestant, or of a decided evangelical, or of a stout nonconformist; it makes no difference. Whatever complexion our outward life may wear, the man that is not consciously living for the glory of God is leading an ungodly life. He has fallen from the original position which belongs to man in relation to God.

2. The second characteristic of ungodliness will be exhibited in an indisposition on man's part to take God as the efficient cause of all that he is or wishes to be. Ungodliness begins when we decline to live for God; ungodliness is developed in an incapacity or an indisposition to live by God. The apostle was describing a godly experience when he said, "I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me." "Man shall not live by bread alone." He needs that. "As the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the Lord our God, until that He have mercy upon us." Is that the kind of life of dependence that we are leading, drawing all our strength for action from Him, receiving all our guidance in action through Him? Happy they who live thus.

3. The next characteristic of the life of ungodliness is that as, in the first place, man does not live for God; and as, in the second place, he does not live by God, so, in the third place, he does not live with God. He knows not what it is to enjoy the Divine society. The man that knows what it is to be godly — to "live godly in Christ Jesus" — finds that he cannot do without God at home any more than he can do without God at church; he cannot do without God in the place of business any more than he can do without God in his closet. He needs God. God has become a kind of necessity to him. Jesus always near, always dear, is more than life to those of us who really know Him. The godly live with God.

4. Once more, the ungodly life will not only be a life which is not lived for God, and not only a life which is not lived with God; but it will also be a life which is not lived in God, and a life in which God lives not in us. There is something more blessed even than living in the company of Jesus; and that is to know by faith that we live in Him, and to realise in our inmost experience the still more wonderful fact that He lives in us. But how does grace provide for this complete separation between us and this root sin, which seems to have become hereditary in the family of man? how does the denial of ungodliness take place? We seek an answer by referring to two remarkable expressions which fell from our blessed Master's lips, shortly before His own passion. On that memorable occasion on which a supernatural voice responded to His prayer, "Father, glorify Thy name," He proceeds to state, "Now is the judgment of this world; now is the prince of this world cast out," Elsewhere He supplements these words by another similar statement. "When the Holy Ghost is come," He says, "He will convict the world concerning judgment, because the prince of this world is judged." Most mysterious though these utterances may seem they will be found to throw a good deal of light upon this particular subject. How is ungodliness to be denied? It is to be denied by recognising God's judgment against it. The prince of this world is the very representative, as he is the author, of the world's ungodliness. Satan succeeds in obtaining the worship of humanity in a thousand different forms. But, however we may serve him, he is judged. If we ask how and when, only one reply seems possible. Strange and paradoxical though it may seem, he is judged and condemned on Calvary, in the Person of Him who exhibited more than any other filial piety and true godliness. The ungodliness of the world, the revolt of human independence against Divine authority, is represented by the world victim upon the cross of Calvary, and meets in Christ with its proper doom. Against that world sin, against that ungodliness which is the root and source of every kind of iniquity, all the wrath of God has been already revealed. I discover it as I witness the dying agonies of Emmanuel. A godless world will not have God; by and by it shall not have Him. It turns its back upon God; God must needs turn His back upon it. "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" Surely this is the true explanation of that bitter cry that was wrung from the breaking heart of Emmanuel. There we see the judgment of the world passed upon the representative of the world's sin, and it is because that judgment has expended itself on Him that there is therefore now no condemnation for those that are in Him. But, observe, it is only as our faith sees our ungodliness crucified there that we are in a position to enjoy this immunity from condemnation. We thus judge that He died for all, that we who live should not henceforth live to ourselves, but to Him who died for us and rose again.

(W. H. M. H. Aitken, M. A.)

The "saving grace of God which has appeared to all men" is described by the apostle as "teaching us," or rather educating, training us in such a way as to secure the precious fruits that follow. It is a characteristic feature of the gospel that it does men good by putting them to school, by making them disciples, not simply for the purpose of communicating knowledge, but for that of forming and maturing character; for education in the highest, largest, and most emphatic sense. This pedagogical design of true religion is stamped upon all its institutions, and legible even in its phraseology. It is not by an unmeaning figure of speech that Christians are continually called disciples, that is, learners, pupils, and that the ministers of Christ are spoken of as teachers. The church is Christ's school; he who enters it must enter as a learner, a disciple, with as real and sincere a deference to his great teacher as the little child feels, when it trembles for the first time in the presence of a master. Such submission is the more imperative in this case, because more truly than in any other case the process of instruction is moral as well as intellectual; it is not mere teaching, it is training, education; not the mere acquisition of knowledge, although that does lie at the foundation, but the cultivation of the powers and affections, as a preparation for the joys and services of heaven, as well as for the duties and the trials of this present state. The design and the legitimate effect of this disciplinary process are distinctly stated in the text, with reference both to the present and the future; both in a negative and positive form. The negative design of all this training is that we deny, repudiate, or abjure allegiance to the sinful dispositions and affections which are paramount in fallen nature, but the objects of which perish in the using, being limited to this world, so that they may be described as "worldly lusts" or desires, and may be said, so far as they predominate, to put man on a level with the brutes, whose highest good is present enjoyment of the lowest kind. By all who would be saved, these worldly, temporal, and short-lived lusts must be denied, renounced; and this is never done without a simultaneous or previous denial of ungodliness, of all indifference and enmity to God, which is indeed the source of the other, for when human hearts are right towards God, the paramount control of worldly lusts becomes impossible. This, however, is only the negative part of the effect produced by the spiritual discipline to which we are subjected in the school of Christ. It has a positive side also. It teaches us how we are to live. In reference to himself, the true disciple in this school is educated to be sober or sound minded; the original expression denotes sanity as opposed to madness, not in its extreme forms merely, but in all its more familiar and less violent gradations — all those numberless and nameless aberrations of the judgment which give character to human conduct, even in the absence of gross crime or absolute insanity. In opposition to this "madness," the saving grace of God trains its subjects to be rational or sober, and thus in the highest sense and measure to be faithful to themselves. But at the same time it trains them to be faithful to others, to be just, in the wide sense of the term; including all that one can owe another — including, therefore, charity and mercy, no less than honesty and rigorous exactness in the discharge of legal obligations. Justice or rectitude, in this enlarged and noble sense, as opposed to every form of selfishness, is no less really a dictate and a consequence of spiritual training, than sanity or soundness of mind, as opposed to the chimeras and hallucinations of our state by nature. But "soberness" and "justice," in the wide sense which has just been put upon the terms, have never yet been found divorced from "godliness." As we have seen already, in considering the negative effects of training by Divine grace, it is man's relations to his God, that must adjust and determine his relations to his fellow creatures. The symmetrical position of the points in the circumference arises from their common relation to a common centre. Such are the objects and effects of Christian training, that is, of the method by which Christ trains His disciples, with respect to the present state or stage of man's existence, as distinguished from those future states or stages to which he cannot but look forward. For although the sobriety of mind produced by the discipline of God's grace, causes men of a morbid, penurious disposition to lose sight of present duties and enjoyments in a vague anticipation of the future, it is so far from excluding expectation altogether, that our very salvation is prospective. "We are saved in hope," and that hope is a blessed one; a hope of blessedness to be revealed and realised hereafter; a hope, that is, an object of hope, not yet fully enjoyed, but only "looked for," and to look for which is one of the effects and marks of thorough training in the school of Christ. This hope is neither selfish nor indefinite. It does not terminate upon ourselves, our own deliverance from suffering, and our own reception into heaven; nor does it lose itself in vague anticipations of a nameless good to be experienced hereafter. The Christian's hope is in the highest degree generous and well defined. It is generous, because it rises beyond personal interests, even the highest, even personal salvation, to the glory of the Saviour as the ultimate end to be desired and accomplished. It is well defined, because, instead of looking at this glory in the abstract, it gives it a concrete and personal embodiment; it is glory, not in the sense of the metaphysician or of the poet, but in that of the prophets, saints, and angels; it is manifested and apparent excellence, a glorious epiphany, analogous to that which marked Jehovah's presence in the Holy of holies, but unspeakably transcending it in permanence and brightness; the glorious appearance, not of any mere creature, even the most noble, but of God Himself, and yet not of God in His essence, which is inaccessible to sense, nor even in some special and distinct manifestation of the Father, or the Godhead, under an assumed or borrowed form of which the senses may take cognisance, but in the well known person of His Son, who is the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, in whom dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily; and therefore it is not the untempered brightness of the Divine majesty, and holiness, and justice, which to us is, and must be, a consuming fire; and yet it is the manifested glory of God, of the great God — great in all conceivable perfections, but, as the object of this hope, emphatically great in mercy — great in the power, not to punish and destroy, but to forgive and save, to save the sinner, to save us; — the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ. Let it not be overlooked, however, that the gospel, while it sets Christ before us as an object of believing expectation, sets Him also before us as an object of believing recollection, and thus brings into a delightful harmony the hope of favours yet to be experienced with gratitude for those experienced already. It is not simply as glorious person, human or Divine, that we look for His appearing; it is not simply as a Saviour or Deliverer from evil in the general; it is not simply as a potential Saviour or Deliverer, one who can save us if He will, and will if we should need it at some future time; not merely a Saviour whose ability and willingness to save are yet to be displayed and proved, but as an actual deliverer, as one who has already done His saving work, by giving Himself for us, the highest gift, it may in a certain sense be said, of which even He was capable, for us, His creatures, His rebellious subjects, His despisers, and His enemies! What, then, was His object? To redeem us, to buy us back from bondage, to save us by the payment of a ransom price, not only from the punishment of sin, but from its power, from its love, from its pollution, from its foul and hideous embrace, no less than from its sword and from its chains. It was to set us free from sin itself that Christ redeemed us; not from some sin, but from all sin; not that we should still remain, or afterwards fall back under the dominion of the very tyrant from whose power He redeemed us; not that we should merely exchange one hard master for another, or for many; — no, He "gave Himself for us," He laid down His life for us, He died upon the cross for us, "that He might redeem us from all iniquity." Nor was this deliverance from sin as well as punishment intended merely for our advantage, but for His. He had an end to accomplish for Himself. He died to purify us, not merely that we might be pure and therefore happy, but also to purify a people for Himself; a peculium, a possession of His own, a Church, a body of which He should be the Head, a kingdom of which he should be the Sovereign.

(J. A. Alexander, D. D.)

Observe —

1. Grace teacheth us holiness.(1) It teaches by way of direction what duties we ought to perform, and so it makes use of the moral law as a rule of life. Obedience respects the command, as love doth the kindness and merit of the lawgiver.(2) It teacheth by way of argument; it argueth and reasoneth from the love of God (Galatians 2:20). The law and the prophets do not beseech, but only command and threaten; but the grace of God useth a different method in the New Testament.(3) It teacheth by way of encouragement, as manifesting both help and reward. Uses.

1. Of information. It showeth us —(1) What is true holiness, such as cometh from the teachings of grace, obliging conscience to the duty of the law, inclining the heart to obey out of the sense of God's love, and encouraging us by faith, drawing strength from Christ, and looking to God for an acceptance from Him.(2) That grace and corruption draw several inferences and conclusions from the same premises. A bee gathereth honey from whence a spider sucketh poison.(3) That it is the greatest wrong one can do to grace to slacken any part of our duty for grace's sake (Jude 1:14).

2. Of trial. Whether we are made partakers of the grace of God in the gospel? Have we these teachings and arguings? Many can endure to hear that grace bringeth salvation, but that it teacheth us to deny ungodliness, there they flinch. Men would have us offer salvation and preach promises; but when we press duty, they cry out, "This is a hard saying." The cities of refuge under the law were all cities of the Levites and schools of instruction, to note that whoever taketh sanctuary at grace meeteth instruction; it is no benefit to thee else. In the general, doth it persuade you to make a willing resignation of yourselves to God? (Romans 12:1.)

(1)Doth it press you to deny lusts? (Ezra 9:13, 14.)

(2)Doth it press you to good? (1 John 5:3.)

2. Grace teacheth us both to depart from evil and also to do good (Psalm 34:15), "Depart from evil, and do good"; Isaiah 1:16, 17, "Cease to do evil, learn to do well." We must do both, because God hates evil and delights in good; we must hate what God hates, and love what God loves. That is true friendship — eadem velle et nolle — to will and hill the same thing. I durst not sin, God hates it; I durst not omit this duty, God loves it. Let it press us not to rest in abstaining from sin merely. Many are not vicious, but they are not sanctified; they have no feeling of the power of the new life.

3. We must first begin with renouncing evil; that is the first thing grace teacheth. Since the fall, the method is analytical, to unravel and undo that which hath been done in the soul. So it is said of Christ (1 John 3:8). Dagon must down, ere the ark be set up. It cannot be otherwise, it must not be otherwise; there must be mortifying and subduing of sin by acts of humiliation and godly sorrow before there will be experience of grace.

4. It is not enough to renounce one sin, but we must renounce all; for when the apostle speaks of denying ungodliness, he intends all ungodliness. Compare this with 1 Peter 2:1; James 1:21. I might give you several reasons. One sin is contrary to God as well as another. There is the same aversion from an eternal good in all things, though the manner of conversion to the creature be different. Again, one sin is contrary to the law of God as well as another; there is a contempt of the same authority in all sins. God's command binds, and it is of force in lesser sins as well as greater; and therefore they that bear any respect to the law of God must hate all sin — "I hate vain thoughts, but Thy law do I love" (Psalm 119:113). God hath given a law to the thoughts, to the sudden workings of the spirit, as well as to actions that are more deliberate; and therefore, if we love the law, we should hate every lesser contrariety to it, even a vain thought. And all sin proceedeth from the same corruption; therefore, if we would subdue and mortify it, we must renounce all sin.Use

1. Direction what to do in the business of mortification. We must deny all ungodliness; not a hoof must be left in Egypt. Grace will not stand with any allowed sin; and in demolishing the old building, not one stone must be left upon another.(1) In your purpose and resolution you must make Satan no allowance; he standeth hucking, as Pharaoh did with Moses and Aaron; first he would let them go three days into the wilderness; then he permitted them to take their little ones with them; but they would not go without their cattle, their flocks, and their herds also; they would not leave anything — no, not a hoof — behind them. So the devil would have a part left as a pledge, that in time the whole man may fall to his share (2 Kings 5:18).(2) We should often examine our hearts, lest there lurk some vice whereof we think ourselves free (Lamentations 3:40).(3) Desire God to show you if there be anything left that is grievous to His Spirit (Job 34:32).(4) When any sins break out, set upon the mortification of them. Do not neglect the least sins; they are of dangerous consequence; but renew thy peace with God, judging thyself for them, and mourning for them, avoiding temptations, cutting off the provision for the flesh (1 Corinthians 9:27). Use

2. Of trial. Do we renounce all sin? But you will say, "Who can say I have made my heart clean, I am pure from sin?" (Proverbs 20:9.) I answer —(1) It must be done in purpose and resolution. In conversion there is an entire surrender of the soul to God.(2) There must be a serious inclination of the will against it. Carnal men wilt profess a purpose and faint resolution, but there is no principle of grace to bear it, no bent of the will against it — "I hate every false way" (Psalm 119:104). A child of God doth not escape every false way; but he hateth it, the inclination of the new nature is against it, and therefore sin is not committed without resistance.

3. There must be endeavours against it. The case of obedience must be universal, though the success be not answerable — "Then shall I not be ashamed when I have respect unto all Thy commandments" (Psalm 119:6); not when I have kept them, but when I have a respect to them all. We should never be able to look God in the face if our: acceptance lay upon keeping all His commandments; but we must respect them all, and endeavour to keep them all, and dispense with ourselves in no known failing, and still the work of denying all sin must be carried on by degrees.

(T. Manton, D. D.)

1. What does this grace teach us to deny? and the answer is "Ungodliness and worldly lusts."(1) Ungodliness means impiety, blasphemy, and all forms of public infidelity; and most certainly all such evils are condemned in the passage: but surely the mere negative form is intended to include far more than these. Ungodly means not godly, and points to the condition of the soul in which God is simply shut out. A godly man is a man in whom God dwells — a man who thinks, speaks, and acts for God. Even so an ungodly man is a man who simply thinks, speaks, and acts without any reference to God — he seeks his own pleasure or interest, and guides his conduct according to the maxims of sagacity and worldly prudence. He thus becomes rich, or learned, or eloquent, or victorious in battle; but seeing God was neither consulted nor cared for in the whole of it, he remains an ungodly man.(2) But what are these worldly lusts, these cosmical desires? All that relates merely to the kosmos, or great material visible world — all that the men of the world hunt so eagerly after, and long to possess. Your quiet retreat in the bosom of green fields and enchanting scenery delights and satisfies you, and that is worldly lust; you make your calculation in the counting house, and look forward with contentment to the success of your mercantile speculations, and that is worldly lust; you set your heart upon excelling your fellow men, be it in science, or in wisdom, or in warfare, and that too is worldly lust. Everything whose end is in this fallen state of things is worldly lust; everything, however honest and noble and praiseworthy among men, which has not God for its motive and its end, is worldly lust.

2. But how are we to live?(1) Soberly. This refers to our own character, and implies many of the duties that we owe to ourselves. It denotes soundness of mind, as well as temperance regarding the indulgence of the appetites.(2) Righteously. This means justly, and sums up the duties which we owe to our fellow men. Justice is one of the exact virtues, which can be easily recognised and definitely measured; and hence it is the great palladium of the nations, the very basis of social intercourse and mercantile prosperity. Justice is a noble, but not one of the highest virtues, and therefore it is well fitted to be the common medium or life of a community. An act of injustice is recognisable and punishable; not so avarice, ambition, or forbidden pleasure; and here, too, we see its fitness for moulding and strengthening the natural character.(3) This is the idea of natural justice, and forms the staple commodity with publicists and jurists; but righteousness, as defined in the person of Christ and in the Scriptures, is a much higher and nobler principle. Justice is based upon rights; and the Christian, as such, has none, save to love all men, and be put to death for this love, as his Master was. Right says, Smite the smiter till he gets his due; but the gospel says, Turn the other cheek.(4) Lastly, we should live godly — viz., with God, in God, and for God. This is the glorious end, so far as this world is concerned, which the saving grace of God is intended and calculated to accomplish in the believing Church of Christ. Like their Divine Master, they are not of the world, though in it; and though in the midst of defilement, they remain undefiled. This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

3. But what does this grace teach us to look for? I answer, in the first place, the apostle directs the believer's eye here, as elsewhere, to the glorious Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, as the centre and home of the longing heart.(1) What is our position? It is that of waiting for, and looking for, the coming of the Lord — not waiting upon the Lord merely, which is also a duty, but waiting for the Lord from heaven, who shall change our vile bodies, and make them like unto His glorious body. He is the centre in which the ages, ceremonies, and dispensations all meet and have their stability — the unity which harmonises time and eternity, creation and Creator — the living fountain which sends forth the benediction of God over the ages, dispensations, and nations in a thousand streams. As the Jews hoped and waited, so we hope and wait. Our position is the same, and the Person whom we wait for is the same; they waited for His coming in the flesh, and we for His coming in glory.(2) Is this hope an important doctrine of the New Testament? I answer, very important; for our text calls it the blessed hope, so that it is full of real blessing to the believer. What can be more blessed to the soul than the person of the adorable Redeemer, whom even unseen we love so ardently? All our hopes are about to be realised in His glorious appearing, when we shall be with Him and like Him forever.

(W. Graham, D. D.)

I. THE FOUNDATION OF ALL TRUE RELIGION. Not our own reason or wisdom, which cannot give us light and knowledge; not our own righteousness, which can never merit salvation or recommend us to God; not our own strength or ability, which is insufficient to help us to do or suffer the will of God, to be pious or virtuous (John 15:4, 5; 2 Corinthians 3:5); but the grace of God in these different senses — viz., Divine Light from the Word and Spirit of God; this instructs (παιδευουσα), "teaching us," as a master his pupils, as we are able to receive it, the free favour and unmerited love of God; this, by justifying and adopting, encourages and inclines, adds correction and discipline to instruction, and gives us the will to be the Lord's: the influence of the Spirit; this gives resolution, fortitude, and power. We may infer from this that they who are not acquainted with, nor possessed of, the grace of God, can have no true religion; or their religion is a superstructure without a foundation; that is, it is only imaginary, illusive, unreal.

II. THE SUPERSTRUCTURE TO BE RAISED ON THIS FOUNDATION. Religion itself is the superstructure that must be raised on this foundation, the stream that must flow from this fountain. It consists of two parts.

1. It is negative; "denying ungodliness and worldly lusts." In this way true religion first appears, and manifests its reality: it makes us "cease to do evil" before we can "learn to do well;" it strips us of "the old man" before it clothes us with "the new." Without this there can be no religion; there is not even repentance if there be not its fruits (Matthew 3:8; Luke 3:8).

2. But it has a positive part, which is to "live soberly, righteously, and godly." Man is here considered as an individual on earth, as a member of society connected with his fellow creatures, and as a creature — a redeemed creature — a subject and servant and child of his Creator, Preserver, King, and Lord.

III. THE HAPPINESS THAT AWAITS ALL THAT DO THIS, AND THE BLESSED PROSPECT OPENED BEFORE THEM. "Looking for that blessed hope," etc. Hope here is put for the object of hope, a state of future and eternal blessedness, perfection, and felicity, both in soul and body. The grace of God begets us again to a well-grounded and "lively hope" of it; the gospel enlightens us as to this hope, and reveals it; the free, unmerited mercy and love of God justifies, adopts, and entitles us to it; the Spirit of Grace renews and fits us for it. In the way of godliness, righteousness, and sobriety, we wait for it, and are brought to it. "The glorious appearing of the great God," or, of our great "God and Saviour," shall raise our bodies, and after the process of the final judgment, shall put us in the possession of it.

(J. Benson.)

I. THE FAIR PICTURE OF WHAT OUR LIVES SHOULD BE.

1. Because we are to a large extent made up of blind desires which take no account of anything except their appropriate food, the commandment comes from the deepest recesses of each nature, as well as from the great throne in the heavens — "Live soberly." The engines will work on all the same, though the bows of the ship be turned to the rocks, and driving straight on the reef. It is the engineers' business to start them and keep them going; it is their business to turn the screw; it is somebody else's business to look after the navigation. We have our "humours under lock and key," in order that we may control them. And if we do not, we shall go all to rack and ruin. So "live soberly" says Paul.

2. The next requirement is "righteously." We stand in certain relations to a whole universe of things and of people, and there does rise before every man, however it may be accounted for, or explained away, or tampered with, or neglected, a standard of right and wrong. And what Paul here means by "live righteously" is, "Do as you know you ought to do," and, in shaping your character, have reference not merely to its constitution, but to its relations to all this universe of outside facts. So far as the word may include our duty to others, I may just remind you that "righteousness" in reference to our fellows demands mercy. The common antithesis which is drawn between a just man, who will give everybody what they deserve, and not one scrap more nor less if he can help it, and a kindly man is erroneous, because every man has a claim upon every other man for lenient judgment and undeserved help. He may not deserve it, being such a man as he is; but he has a right to it, being a man at all.

3. The last of the phases under which the perfect life is represented here takes us up at once into another region. If there were nobody but myself in the world, it must be my duty to live controlling myself, since I stand in relations manifold to creatures manifold, and to the whole order of things, it is my duty to conform to the standard, and to do what is right. And just as plainly as the obligations to sobriety and righteousness press on every man, so plainly is godliness necessary to his perfection. For I am not only bound by ties which knit me to my fellows, or to this visible order, but the closest of all bonds, the most real of all relations, is that which binds us each to God. And if "man's chief end be to glorify God," and then, and thus, "to enjoy Him forever," then that end, in its very nature, must be all-pervasive, and diffuse its sweetness into the other two. For you cannot sliver up the unity of a life into little sections and say, "this deed has to be done soberly, and that one righteously, and this one godly"; but godliness must cover the whole life, and be the power of self-control and of righteousness. "All in all or not at all." Godliness must be uniform and universal.

II. NOTICE WHAT A HARD TASK THE MAN HAS WHO WILL LIVE SO. The apostle, very remarkably, puts first, in my text, a negative clause. The things that he says we are to deny are the exact opposites of the characteristics that he says we are to aim after. Now, says Paul, there is no good to be done in the matter of acquiring these positive graces, without which a life is contemptible and poor unless, side by side with the continual effort at the acquisition of the one, there be the continual and resolute effort at the excision and casting out of the other. Why? Because they are in possession. A man cannot be godly unless he casts out the ungodliness that cleaves to his nature; nor can he rule himself and seek after righteousness unless he ejects the desires that are in possession of his heart. You have to get rid of the bad tenant if you would bring in the good one. You have to turn the current, which is running in the wrong direction. And so it comes to be a very hard, painful thing for a man to acquire these graces of which my text speaks. If it were only advancing in practice, or knowledge, or sentiment, or feeling, that would not be so difficult to do; but you have to reverse the action of the machine; and that is hard. Can it be done? Who is to keep the keepers? It is difficult for the same self to be sacrifice and priest. It is a hard matter for a man to crucify himself, and we may well say, if there can be no progress in goodness without this violent and thorough mutilation and massacre of the evil that is in us, alas! for us all.

III. WHAT GOD GIVES US TO MAKE SUCH LIFE POSSIBLE. Christ and His love; Christ and His life; Christ and His death; Christ and His spirit; in these are new hopes, motives, powers, which avail to do the thing which no man can do. An infant's fingers cannot reverse the motion of some great engine. But the hand that made it can touch some little tap or lever, and the mighty masses of polished iron begin to move the other way. Jesus, who comes to us to mould our hearts into hitherto unfelt love, by reason of His own great love, and who gives to us His own Spirit to be the life of our lives, gives us by these gifts new motives, new powers, new tastes, new affections. He puts the reins into our hands, and enables us to control and master our unruly tempers and inclinations. If you want to clear out a tube of any sort, the way to do it is to insert some solid substance, and push, and that drives out the clogging matter. Christ's love coming into the heart expels the evil, just as the sap rising in the trees pushes off the old leaves that have hung there withered all the winter. As Luther used to say, "You cannot clean out the stable with barrows and shovels. Turn the Elbe into it." Let that great flood of life pour into our hearts, and it will not be hard to "live soberly." He comes to help us to live "righteously." He gives us His own life to dwell in our hearts, in no mere metaphor, but in simple fact. And they that trust in Jesus Christ are righteous by no mere fiction of a righteousness reckoned, but by the blessed reality of a righteousness imparted. He comes to make it possible for us to live "godly." For He, and He alone, has the secret of drawing hearts to God; because He, and He alone, has opened the secret of God's heart to us.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

And worldly lusts
All things in outward nature have their element, and our moral nature must have its element, in which to live, and move, and have its being. Beasts live on earth, birds fly in air, fishes swim in water; but each of these animal organisms requires its own element, and no amount of education will make a fish enjoy fresh air. Even so the ungodly man has this world for his element, even as the true believer has God for his element. The ungodly is of the earth earthy; he receives the world's spirit; he enters into its mind; he forms his character in accordance with its genius; he submits to its dictates; he measures everything by its standard. He lives in the world, and is of the world, just as the true believer lives in God, and is of God. He is one with the world, and the world with him. He is represented by the world; for he is in the world, just as the Christian is in Christ, and the world lives in him, just as Christ lives in the heart of His own people, forming its own nature within him, and conforming him to its character. Yes, the child of the world will always be like the world that he makes his god. You remember what the Psalmist says about the gods of the heathen. "Their idols are silver and gold, the works of men's hands." Then he goes on to add the startling assertion, "They who make them are like unto them; so are all they that put their trust in them." And "they that make them are like unto them" — not only do we become the slaves of that which we have created, but we also become assimilated to the creation of our own perversity. I mean to say that those who live in the world and for the world become worldly; and if that sounds but a little thing to some ears, let me say that, if my observation have not failed me, "worldly" means hollow-hearted, empty-headed, frivolous, selfish, sordid, incapable of realising the true dignity of our own nature, insensible to higher motives, heedless of grave responsibilities, unreal, conventional, hypocritical, false, deceiving and deceived. Shall I give an example of what I mean? There are scores of mothers in our land who are at this moment quite prepared to sell their daughters to the highest bidder. The question with them is not "What is the moral character?" — far less "What is the religious character of the man that shall marry my daughter?" — but "How many thousands a year has he? What will be his position in society?" I only mention that as one of the many instances that could be given of the hollowness and heartlessness of the worldly life; because we see it here conquering and paralysing one of the very strongest and purest instincts of nature — a mother's love. So the world goes on, getting hollower and hollower. The very conversation of the worldling is suggestive of the havoc which the spirit and genius of worldliness have made in the man's true character. What is worldly conversation for the most part but an exhibition of littleness and frivolity? It never seems to get below the surface. Men of the world know nothing of the fellowship of heart with heart. Just think how impossible it would be for two such persons to discuss with each other their inner life and heart experiences. Oh, empty, hollow, world, is this man's best substitute for God! Now the apostle affirms that we have denied worldly lust as well as ungodliness. We have renounced and repudiated it forever. But here rises the question, How have the world and worldly lust been thus denied? or how are we to deny it? and how are we to be freed from it? Various answers to this inquiry meet us from different quarters. "Turn your back upon the world," says the ascetic. "Wander into the depths of the desert. Shut yourself up in an eremite's cave, or hide yourself within a monastic enclosure." But even so, how shall I be sure that I may not carry a little world of my own along with me? How shall we get rid of the world's bondage? or how shall we deny this worldly lust, and rise above it? "Despise it," says the cynic. "Be indifferent to all considerations of pain and pleasure. Never mind what the world thinks of you. Rejoice in being peculiar." May not our Diogenes be creating for himself a greater conqueror, or a greater tyrant, in his own inflated self-consciousness, than ever was an Alexander or a Xerxes? No; we want a better answer than this. Again I ask, "How am I to deny worldly lust?" It is all round me. "God forbid that I should glory, save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, whereby the world hath been crucified to me, and I unto the world." That is the answer. Grace had taught St. Paul that lesson. He did not learn it on Sinai, but at Calvary. "There was a time when thou didst think well of the world, wast elated by her blandishments, wast alarmed at the thought of her frown. Thou didst value her good opinion, and didst shrink above everything else from forfeiting it; thou wast attracted by her glitter, and blinded by her display. But now, behold the world is revealed as a traitress and a usurper, a rebel against Infinite Benevolence, and a deceiver of all her deluded votaries; for in her judgment theirs is revealed. Child of God, the world is crucified to thee. There she hangs, represented in the great Victim of her malice under the ban of God's wrath, blighted with a curse, blasted by the dread thunderbolt from the hand of Omnipotent Justice. Thou seest her now exposed to shame and everlasting contempt. Nor canst thou make a cunning compromise between thy God and her whom thou seest crucified yonder; for there can be no compromise between a condemned culprit and his judge, No: 'If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him'; for the friendship of the world is enmity towards God. And even that is not all," Grace goes on to say. "By that same Cross thou, too, art crucified unto the world. To the world He is a despised, rejected outcast, crucified outside the camp; and as He is, so art thou in this present world. Surely thou canst not refuse to bear His reproach, to whom thou owest thy all of dignity and honour. But even this is not all. Thou art crucified unto the world; 'for thou art dead, and thy life is hid with Christ in God.' Thy old worldly life has been forfeited; but through death and resurrection thou hast been born again as a citizen of the New Jerusalem. Thou art raised up into the heavenly places in Christ Jesus; and now thou art not of the world, as He is not of the world. Art thou content to accept the privileges of the Atonement? Thou rejoicest to accept them. Then understand that one of the privileges of the Atonement is, that thou shouldst be separated, by the very terms of the Atonement, from thy old relationship to a God-resisting world — a world which has presented itself to the hearts of its children as a substitute for the Being to whom it owed its origin." Can we conceive it possible for a true believer to address his Saviour thus: "O Lord, I desire to escape hell, and I understand that Thy Atonement has been made in order that I may escape it; but I understand also that Thy Atonement had in view several other objects, about which I have no concern. I gather that it was also designed to save me from sin; but about that I am indifferent, so long as I escape sin's consequences. I will accept the immunity from condemnation. I will be very glad to know that the doors of hell are shut in my face, and that the doors of heaven are opened. But further than this I have no desire; indeed, were I to accept more, the consequences to myself might not be pleasant." It is, perhaps, impossible to conceive of such language in the lips of any true child of God; yet I fear that such words describe only too accurately the attitude assumed by too many who think themselves Christians indeed. They seek to retain sufficient religion to enable them to entertain the hope of heaven; but they cover this over so skilfully with a cloak of worldly conformity, that they are hardly suspected by their acquaintance and friends of possessing any religion at all. Such Christians attempt to lead a double life in religious society; they can talk as well as any one on religious subjects, and may pass with strangers for earnest and decided Christians; but amongst the citizens of the world they assume quite a different manner, and can be as flippant and frivolous and insincere as any with whom they associate. Yes; it must be one thing or the other — the world or God; we cannot choose both. If we decide to choose the world and seek a substitute for God, then let us get the very best substitute we possibly can find. Do you select money for your substitute? If it be pleasure you select, then live for pleasure. Our choice lies between the two; but ere we decide for the world, let us remember the solemn sentence uttered by inspired lips, but amply confirmed by daily observation, "The world passeth away, and the lust thereof." If we make choice of it, we cannot keep it; if we decline to deny it, it will soon deny us.

(W. H. M. H. Aitken.)

Live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world
Is this a good time for a sober, righteous, and godly life? "Business standards," it is said, "are relaxing; home habits, loose; self-seeking, the common rule; plain living and high thinking, not the custom of the time." in such a slate of mind two things seem possible. One is to yield to the pressure of the age. Accepting its inconsistency with the Christian life, one may adapt himself to standards which his conscience never can approve. That is the common worldliness of the present age, surrendering character to the social pressure of the time. The other thing to do is to run away from the age. That is what thousands of the choicest souls have done throughout Christian history. They have thought it impossible to live a sober life in the full current of their own time; and so they have fled from its influence, hiding themselves in monasteries and peopling the desert with their caves. No one can survey the story of these ascetics and hermits without a glow of admiration. It is a great thing that the enticements of each age which have overpowered so many souls have been powerless over a few. But none the less this whole story is not the story of a battle, but of a flight. And it was a fruitless flight. Fleeing from the world, they fled from all the chance they had to make it better. If, then, the sober, righteous, and godly man is not to yield himself to the present age, nor yet to flee from it, what is he to do? Why, he is to use it — to take it just as it is, as the God-given material out of which the Christian character fit for the present time is to be wrought. The saints of the past have been, for the most part, those who have fled from the world; but the Christian saint of today is the person who can use the world. Such a person may be all unconscious that he is doing anything heroic. He is simply the man in the business world who, amid looseness and dishonour, keeps himself true and clean; simply the woman who, amid luxury and affectation, keeps her simplicity and sympathy; simply the youth who, without the least retreat from the influences which beset him in a place like this, makes them contribute to his growth of character. That is a harder thing than to be a hermit, and quite as noble as to be a saint. It is the sober, righteous, and godly life lived in the midst of this present age. The man who hides himself behind the spirit of the age, and makes it the apology of his own folly or sin, is simply deceived. He is like many a man in that western country, who has thought himself standing in a hopeless desert when he really stood in what might be a garden of the world. He simply abandons it to barrenness, instead of turning upon it the stream of service which is at his command, and for which the desert longs. The man, who throws a sober and a godly life into the main movement of the present age, is but contributing the fertilising power to a receptive and responsive world; and the hills and valleys about him will shout for joy at their redemption by that pure and abundant stream.

(F. G. Peabody, D. D.)

I. THE INGREDIENTS OF EVERYDAY LIFE.

1. Conversation is a large element of everyday life. The power of speech is one of the grand distinctions of man and of his life upon the earth. It is thus he clothes invisible thought with form, and confers upon the subtle intangible reality an immortality of earthly recognition. Our daily conversation determines all the tone of our mind; it stamps and it stereotypes our temper. It reveals whether charity and virtue, manly or womanly grace, dignify our character; or whether we are frivolous, vain, heartless, and worldly.

2. Wish is an equally extended department of everyday life. It is in our nature to be conscious of desires after a great many things, and these desires are not in themselves sinful; they are even necessary to the maintenance of life, to the onward progress of mankind, to the subduing and replenishing of the earth which God has lent to us, and in which He has given us a life interest. These desires of all kinds are the spring of nearly all that we do in this life. Let us bring them up now, and see what is the revelation they will give us of ourselves. Perhaps we shall find a legion of devils, which must be cast out; a storm of passions, which must be hushed; a brood of revenges, vexations, bad resolves, unbrotherly triumphs, impure hankerings, which must be trampled out of us. Perhaps they are humble, virtuous, charitable, reasonable, modest, chaste, holy desires, fit for a brother or sister of Jesus. A moment's thought will prove that these desires of ours, these genuine intentions, these self-born, or heaven-inspired, wishes, are our very self; and if we are to be religious men, religion must have sway over these.

3. Work is another main element in life. The business of life, the daily toil and drudgery of a man, these help to constitute his everyday life. It must be possible to bring all this under the empire of religion — to supply a set of motives that can dignify the commonest occupation, consecrate the humblest toil, and make "daily drudgery divine" — motives which can explode and deflagrate those wretched purposes and evil desires that have so often issued in violated laws and broken hearts; and motives which will hallow and purify all our service and every talent.

4. But there is another large department of everyday life to which it is necessary to refer — I mean Recreation. That which is recreation to one man would be a complete penance to another; that which some of you think a most enjoyable relaxation is to others an intolerable weariness. Some mode of spending the leisure hour is necessary to every man; and perhaps nothing more surely indicates his temper and spirit than the method in which he finds it most agreeable to while away his spare time and gather strength for further duty. As religion penetrates everyday life, the whole tone of recreation rises in character, until it becomes harmless, pleasant, virtuous, holy, religious, and useful. To promote this end is one great enterprise of the Church.

II. THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE GOSPEL AS TO EVERYDAY LIFE.

1. Sobriety means the chastisement of all our passions, the resolute endeavour to gain and keep the control of all our desires, the determination to repress angry feelings as well as impure fancies, to subdue inordinate affection quite as much as depraved taste. Sobriety means resistance to every form of temptation. It has its realm in work quite as much as in recreation — in recreation quite as much as in work.

2. Righteousness is clearly something more than a refusal to commit an act of cruelty or dishonesty. Righteous living includes this; but it means very much more than this. We must respect every just claim upon us, not merely upon our money, but upon our affection, our reverence, and our good offices — and we must recognise and yield the right to every man who has one, to our good words, to our time, to our service, to our best efforts — or we are not acting justly.

3. The life here spoken of is to be a life of godliness; we must date and draw our motives from the highest source. The government of all our passions, the recognition of every just claim upon us, must spring from no mere vague notion that it is right to do this, but from the discovery of the ground of our nature, our relation to the living God, our obligation to the suffering Saviour, and our responsibility to the Spirit of grace.

(H. R. Reynolds, D. D.)

This passage is an admirable example of the manner of the apostle in mingling exhortation to present duties with the recognition and enforcement of that Divine power from which true obedience springs. In other words, we find blended here morality and spirituality. Both the one and the other are made to cohere, and to be in consistency with each other; and both of them spring from considerations of manhood in ourselves, and of gratitude and allegiance to God. It is difficult to give — nor is it necessary that we should give — a definition of morality. It is a phrase in every man's mouth. It does not mean the same with all, however. Men take their ideas of morality, not only from the communities in which they live, but from the circles in which they associate in any one community; and what would be considered as morality in a certain sort of neighbourhood in this city, would not be considered as continental morality. Morality in a neighbourhood may not be morality in a family of refinement and culture. There is something higher than morality in a cultured household. But yet men are regarded as moral who act in accordance with the laws of the land and with the customs of the community, and who avoid any outbreaking sins which shock the average conscience. It may be said, in the first place, that morality possesses the benefit of the most important negatives. A truly moral man, in the judgment of all, should be a man who does not get drunk, and does not steal, and does not commit burglary, and does not bear false witness. In other words, he is one who is rid of outbreaking vices and outrageous crimes. Well, that is creditable. You ought not to be guilty of such things. And if you have had a strong bias in your nature in any of these directions, and have arrested it, and that under circumstances where influences from without threatened to carry you away, it is no small thing. It is a great thing that you have avoided those pitfalls in which so many have been destroyed. Still, that is not the sum of all excellence. It is not enough for you to congratulate yourself upon, as I think we shall see. I not only recognise the import and excellence of morality in such sterling virtues as these, but I exhort men to them; and I say: "If you cannot go any further, go as far as that. It is a great deal better to go so far than not to reach that point. It may be only a beginning, but it is a beginning." Secondly: Morality includes those simple virtues which are indispensable to a wholesome life in society. A man can scarcely be called moral who is destitute of worldly honour. Honour is a sort of secular and partial conscience. It is functional; but within its limits it serves a most important end, and keeps alive those fragmentary elements of a higher life, of a higher moral sense, to which all men should be brought. Truth is one of those elements which is regarded as indispensable to morality — that is to say, such ordinary truth as passes current in life. Therefore morality includes honour, and truth, and fidelity, as well as honesty and fairness. And men say, "I am a moral man," meaning by that that they are possessed of these social and business-like virtues. The experiences of civil life and commercial life have found out many things which are very necessary for the easy conduct of affairs. For the regulation of society, for the living together of great masses of men, various things are inculcated, as essential to morality. Public sentiment demands certain things which are necessary to morality. The law prescribes certain things which are indespensable to morality. The customs prescribe certain negatives which enter into the popular idea of morality. And all of these are designed to take away the friction from the machinery of life, and to raise men above animal violence and above deceit, and put them upon a certain plane of moral sentiment. All that I complain of in reference to them is, that they are so low, that they are such uneducated and undeveloped forms of excellence, that they tend to dampen men's ambition, and to render them satisfied with the germs of things, instead of leading them to aspire after higher excellences of which these are but the basilar leaves. For — first; Morality in this grand sense founded upon external convenience, and not upon the requirements of things relating to man's whole nature. So it is a mere fragmentary thing; and it is a fragmentary thing in its lowest stages of development. Secondly: It restrains the outplay of evil; but it does not attempt to purify and to cure the sources of evil. Thirdly: It permits heinous faults which impoverish character, and waste the heart of man. Thus, a man may be a moral man who is peevish, morose, fretful. Fourthly: Morality aims to build up a man outwardly in his condition, but not inwardly in his character. It does not seek to develop one single spiritual grace. Lastly: It leaves out, wholly, the world to come, and all the obligations which we owe to God, and all the relations which are established between the soul and the Saviour Jesus Christ. It leaves out religion. That is to say, it leaves out the highest forms of aspiration and of duty, and all that which faith brings within the circuit of our knowledge and makes imperative. Here, then, are the deficiencies of morality. I have said that in conduct, in its lowest form, it has its value; but I think you will now perceive that it cannot be a substitute for religion. And yet, men who have only morality, say, "What lack I yet?" Now, if an Indian, with a fragmentary dress, should present himself as a full-dressed man before you, would you deride the idea that he was properly clad? Would you have him throw away the little he had before he got more? Complete dress is what one wants; but is nothing short of that of any value? I do not say to the young, "These moralities are of no value to you." They are of great value to you. Truth speaking, fidelity, industry, cleanliness, punctuality, frugality, enterprise — these are real excellencies. Have these at least. Have these anyhow. But will you be content with these? Is there not something in every human soul which has the touch of inspiration in it, and which leads it to aspire to something more than these qualities, which belong to the undeveloped mass of mankind? Morality is not in any sense, then, a substitute for spiritual religion, any more than industry and frugality are substitutes for patriotism. Every man ought to be frugal and industrious; but many are frugal and industrious who have no patriotism. "Well, then," you will say, "what about those qualities when a man dies? A man has been industrious, and frugal, and honest, and moderately truth speaking all his life long; and when he dies, and goes to judgment, what is to be done with these qualities which you say are good?" Well, they are of benefit to you now; they are of benefit to you in a thousand ways in this world; but they do not constitute that character which is to fit you for the world to come. They do not go to make the golden key which unlocks those mysteries of love which you. have need of. These minor qualities are not a substitute for it. You go forth an ungrown spirit; you go forth with lower leaves without the bloom and the fruit; and the lower is no substitute for the higher. Moreover, out of every one of these lower states, if we did but know it, may be developed, by the Divine grace, that which shall bring forth the true spiritual life. If you know enough to take one step, take a second. If you know enough to recognise law and obligation, and that low sense of character which is required by society, you have that foundation on which moral government itself rests, and you know enough to go on from step to step, and from strength to strength, and develop out of your lower knowledges higher attainments. Spirituality is only the normal and legitimate development of men in their higher forms, Divinely inspired, Divinely led, and Divinely blessed. It is God that works in those who work out their own salvation. It is the Divine cooperation and guiding influence that works upon your mind; and out of this joint working come all the grace, all the hope, all the faith, all the sweet fruition of love, the sense of immortality, and the longing for it, which we experience. And whatever is just, and true, and pure, and sweet, and of good report, upon earth, and in the heavenly circle — all this comes, to be sure, by the grace of God; but it comes by the grace of God through the development of your own faculties, and through your own striving.

(H. W. Beecher.)

This passage has been described as "a concise epitome of the Christian system in its practical bearing on human experience and conduct." St. Paul's great theme was faith, but no one acquainted with his writings can charge him with indifference respecting works.

I. THE WORKERS. A careful study of the passage will show that these are —

1. Redeemed ones, "Might redeem us" (ver. 14). The bond slaves of Satan cannot work for God. David said, "O Lord, truly I am Thy servant; Thou hast loosed my bonds."

2. Saved ones, "Bringeth salvation" (ver. 11). The believer does not work for salvation, but from it. Like the newborn child, he does not move to get life, but because he has it.

3. Instructed ones, "Teaching us" (ver. 12). The Christian needs to be taught what to do (Acts 9:6), and how to do it, "His way," (Psalm 25:9).

4. Hopeful ones, "Looking for that blessed hope" (ver. 13). The hope of the Lord's coming is a great stimulus to holiness and activity (Hebrews 10:25).

II. THE WORKSHOP. "This present world" (ver. 12). The believer's first sphere of action is in the world. This is —

1. A good sphere for the believer. It must be, for our Lord prayed not that His people should be taken out of the world (John 17:15). Conflict with evil is bracing (1 John 2:14).

2. A sphere of much danger. This present world is an evil world, "This present evil world" (Galatians 1:4). Demas was damaged by it (2 Timothy 4:10), and our Lord, remembering the presence of the evil, prayed that His disciples might be kept from it (John 17:15). A sphere of usefulness. Here Christ achieved His gracious and beneficent purposes, "He was in the world" (John 1:10). Here is the material which may be shaped into crowns to adorn the Redeemer's brow. We may say, as Dr. Macleod said to Dr. Guthrie, in reference to the Cowgate in Edinburgh, "A fine field of labour, sir."

III. THE WORKS. What have God's workmen to do? Many things. Note —

1. The rejection of bad models, "Denying" (ver. 12). A bad model will result in bad work. See this in the case of Nadab, "Way of his father" (1 Kings 15:26). To deny (ἀρνέομαι) is to disown. The believer disowns "ungodliness," that which is not in the likeness of God or after the mind of God. (See 2 Peter 2:5, 6.) "Worldly lusts" are those things which are the staple of the desires of worldly men (John 8:44; 1 John 2:16).

2. The maintenance of a healthy moral sense, "Live soberly." "Sobriety," says Mr. Aitken, "according to the Greek moralist, Aristotle, is that which preserves or protects and maintains in due activity our moral sense." Temptation often produces moral intoxication. It destroys the balance of mind, and reason is in a measure dethroned. Against this evil we must be constantly watching, or there will be discord and disorder in our lives.

3. The production of what is right, "Righteously" (ver. 12). The believer must do right in his relation to his family, his friends, society, and the whole world.

4. The imitation of the best model, "Godly" (ver. 12). The believer is to be God-like. He must aim at no lower standard. (Matthew 5:48; 1 Peter 2:21.)

IV. THE WORKMANSHIP. "Zealous of good works" (ver. 14). The best work can only be accomplished by the enthusiastic worker. This is true of works of art. Think of the enthusiasm of Michael Angelo, of Rubens, of Mozart, of Palissy. The best work is work for God, and for this the highest enthusiasm is required. What a stimulus to zeal we have in the example of our Lord, "Who gave Himself" (ver. 14). Well might Brainerd say, "Oh that I were a flaming fire in the service of my God!"

(H. Thorpe.)

I. THE CHRISTIAN'S BUSINESS, while an inhabitant of this present world.

1. What he must renounce.

(1)Ungodliness.

(2)Worldly lusts.

2. What he must cultivate.(1) With regard to his personal character he is to "live soberly." While in the world, he is not of the world. His heart is weaned from its honours, riches, and pleasures. He uses this world without abusing it.(2) We now pass on to view the Christian in his social capacity. He is to live "righteously" as well as "soberly." This term includes all his relative obligations.(a) With regard to the relation in which he stands to his fellow creatures in general, he looks upon himself as a member of one great family, all of whom have suffered a common shipwreck. He sees himself rescued from the wreck by an act of infinite grace, and, therefore, he cannot exult over the rest of the crew as though by his own right hand, or by his own arm he had gotten himself the victory. Tender compassion towards the whole race fills his breast. He longs to tell the whole world of "the grace of God which bringeth salvation"; and he uses every means in his power to diffuse the knowledge of this unsearchable grace.(b) In his relation also to the Church of Christ the Christian would live righteously. He must here, also, be influenced by the law of love. Consider the many ties which bind Christians to each other. Having a common Father, redeemed by the same precious blood, pervaded by the same Spirit, possessing one hope of their calling — what more can they need to cement the bond that unites them?(3) In his religious duties he is to cultivate godliness.

(a)He seeks to please God.

(b)He loves to hold communion with God.

(c)He delights to think of God.

(d)He glorifies God in his body and in his spirit.

II. THE CHRISTIAN'S HOPE IN PROSECUTING HIS BUSINESS. What is it that urges on the worldling to labour and toil? What is it that keeps him in one unbroken course of regular and well sustained exertion? Or, again, what is it that excites the shipwrecked mariner to stem the foaming surge? What is it that keeps him clinging with invincible firmness to the friendly plank? Is it not hope? Now if the expectation of worldly gain, and of a temporal salvation can yield such support, oh! say, what should be the sustaining power of your hope — the hope of your Saviour's second coming. Whether we consider the blessedness of your hope, a complete salvation; or whether we consider the time of its consummation, the glorious appearing of the Redeemer; or, whether, again, we look to the character of your expected Saviour — in whatever point of view we behold your blessed object of hope — we cannot but feel how mighty should be its influence in stirring you up to "live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world."

(H. Cadell, M. A.)

I. SOBERLY.

1. We must have control over all the base passions of our nature. The monarch of himself is king of men.

2. There is to be a proper restraint over the more refined, the aesthetic elements of our nature. If you can build a fine house and pay for it with your own money — not your neighbour's, nor God's — build it, adorn it with statuary, beautify it with paintings: but make art the handmaid of religion. See to it that the more you spend on yourself, the more you give to God.

3. There must also be a wise control over our professional pursuits. Remember, this world is not all. Let eternal verities dwarf earthly vanities.

II. RIGHTEOUSLY, or rather "justly" — the word points to moral rectitude.

1. We are not needlessly to injure our neighbour. His property, person, and good name are sacred.

2. We are to render to every one his due. We must be just in all our dealings.

3. We are to strive to lead all to salvation through Christ. Our duty to man is not negative. Duty is "duE-ty." The Christian is to be Christlike: thus he will draw men to God.

III. GODLY. Regard to God runs through all our other duties; personal and relative duties must be done with an eye to His glory. But some duties refer at once to Him.

1. Repentance towards God — a heart broken for and from sin.

2. Faith in Jesus Christ. You cannot please God if you refuse to trust Him.

3. Obedience. This includes all duties.

(R. S. MacArthur, D. D.)

Hitherto we have been occupied in considering the negative teaching of Grace, by which her pupils are trained to deny ungodliness and worldly lust. Grace begins by separating us from connection with the old, that she may hasten to introduce us into connection with the new. She does not rest satisfied with inducing merely the denial of ungodliness and worldly lusts. Grace begins by communicating life, and along with it a new life power, which is to manifest its presence in the character and conduct of those who receive it. We must possess the new life before we can live it. It must be received before it can be manifested. You might just as well expect a piece of dead wood to grow into a tree the moment you planted it in the ground, and attached to it by some artificial process a few bunches of leaves, or clusters of fruit. Your own common sense tells you that you may plant your walking stick in your garden, and, with the utmost possible care, you may prune it, and water it, and perform all other possible horticultural operations upon it, but it remains a dead stick at the end of the process, and nothing but a dead stick; and you cannot make it grow into life. Let us desist from conceiving that we can ever grow into a state of spiritual vitality by our efforts to improve ourselves. Not only are we taught that Grace saves us from and separates us from the old, but that it introduces us into the new. Not only is the ransomed soul dead unto sin, but alive unto God. We rise into a state of vitality when first we begin to trust ourselves to Christ for life; then only can we receive the gift of life in Jesus Christ from the hand of God, and begin to be, in the full sense of the word, living souls. Are we trying to live soberly, righteously, and godly, because law claims it of us? or are we living thus because we claim it by faith of God, as the law of our new nature that we should do so? Let us proceed to consider the positive characteristics of our new life, to which the apostle here calls attention. We notice that of the three words that he employs — the first brings before us primarily that which we owe to ourselves; the seconds chiefly that which we owe to our fellow man; and the third, exclusively that which we owe to God. The first suggests to our minds the thought of the relations of the various parts of our complex nature to each other; the second, of our relations to society; and the third, of our relations to God. Let us begin by considering the first of these three words as suggesting an important, we may say an essential, lesson of Grace. It is the privilege of the true child of God to lead a sober life. The ancient Greek moralist, Aristotle, in speaking of this word, suggests an etymological derivation of the term, which, though not perhaps philologically correct, may yet serve to indicate the true character of the idea conveyed by the expression to his own mind and the minds of his contemporaries. He speaks of the word here used as formed of two words, signifying the preservation of the moral sense, and accordingly defines temperance or sobriety to be that which preserves or protects, and maintains in due activity our moral sense. This, at all events, gives us a good idea of what an intelligent Greek-speaking man would understand by the word "sobriety." Let us reflect for a moment upon the idea thus suggested to our minds. It implies, we observe, the possibility of our moral sense being lost, or so interfered with as for the time being to be rendered inoperative. How different things appear when we contemplate them in the abstract and in cold blood, so to speak, from what they do when once they have become causes of actual temptation to us. How readily did the moral sense of David reprobate the pitiless injustice and rapacity of the wealthy despoiler! How often is this blinding influence exercised by passion! Or, again, with respect to worldly lust, which is a common form of moral insobriety, how easy is it for us, in our calmer moments, to deride the world, to look down contemptuously upon it — "Well, after all, what an idle show it is — what a poor painted pageant!" And then we come down from the mount of contemplation, we find ourselves sucked into the stream before we know what is happening; and there we are, just as worldly as other people. What has happened? We have lost our moral sense. We are blinded by the force of the temptations to which we have been exposed, and the influences by which we are surrounded. Now, let us endeavour to get an idea into our minds of some of the various forms which this insobriety may assume (Romans 12:3). A man who thinks more highly of himself than he ought to think, might not at first sight appear to us to be one who is leading a life wanting in sobriety; and yet that is just the description that St. Paul gives of such a person. In 1 Peter 4:7, we have a solemn warning given to us upon this subject: "The end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober." Keep your heads clear, the apostle seems to say. You are only down here for a few short days. The end of all things is at hand. Now observe, that where this intoxicating influence prevails, man becomes a prey to inward discords and disorders. The higher elements in his nature are no longer able to master the lower and keep them in their proper place. Now Grace proposes to introduce and maintain moral harmony within our nature; so that, instead of element being arrayed against element, and part against part, the whole may live, and continue to live, under the perfect law of liberty. Grace undertakes so to train us that passion shall not be able to tyrannise over the understanding, or desire ride roughshod over conscience; but that those elements in our nature which are necessarily highest shall occupy their own proper position, and those elements which are necessarily lower shall be subordinated to the superior and commanding faculties which God has set over them. Such in general terms is the character of the sober life. But how are we to establish this inward harmony? How is this most anarchical world one day to be set in perfect order? When and how will the true cosmos be realised? We, basing our hope upon a most sure word of prophecy, look forward to that glorious period of the future, of which I read, "Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall execute judgment in the earth," There is a time coming when Messiah's sceptre shall sway the hearts of men, and "the kingdoms of this world shalt become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ." Meanwhile, until that glorious day come, it is possible for us, each one of us, in our own souls to realise a millennium, where "the wolf and the lamb shall lie down together, and the hen shall eat straw like the ox." The millennium begins within each human heart when Jesus Christ is King. We have all read of the horrors of the first French Revolution. We recall with a shudder the ghastly tale of that reign of terror, when the guillotine was the prominent object in Parisian history, and the noblest and the best blood of France was flowing in the gutters. Yes, it was a terrible time; but in what occurred then you have a picture of what occurs in every human heart where insobriety is rampant. What is to be done to remedy this terrible moral disorder? How is sobriety to be established? Thus we see that this virtue of sobriety is something more than a mere negation. It consists not merely in escaping from the tyranny of lust, but in possessing such a sound judgment, such a calm recollectedness, such an administrative capacity, so to speak, as shall enable us to hold the reins of government under Divine authority in the commonwealth of our being, as "a king against whom there is no rising up" (Proverbs 30:31) — our renewed will becoming God's own vicegerent within our redeemed and consecrated nature. Sobriety regulates, but does not exterminate — modifies, but does not ignore — our natural propensities, which in themselves become only good or bad as they are kept in their proper place, or allowed to depart from it. Nor, again, is sobriety to be confused with phlegmatic dulness and insensibility; on the contrary, it is perfectly compatible with the loftiest euthusiasm, and is often the guide and supporter of burning zeal. Nor, once more, must we fail to distinguish between sobriety and moroseness. There is nothing gloomy, nothing misanthropic, nothing affected or unnatural, though much that is supernatural, in the sober life. The sober Christian sees things, not so much by the "dry light" of the ancient philosopher as in the warm light of Divine love that pervades everything. Are we living a sober life? Do we know what it is thus in God's name and by God's power to possess our souls? How common a thing, for example, is it to meet with Christian people who are the victims, not the masters, of an evil and irritable temper, which is ready to be excited on even the slenderest provocation, and to suggest the stormy word, the bitter thought, the hasty and unjustifiable action! Such a habit of soul is simply one form of that moral insobriety, that incapacity of self-control, which erases from our minds, so to speak, for the moment, the sober conclusions of reason, silences our moral sentiment, or so bewilders and confuses it, that it is no longer able to form a just estimate of conduct, to condemn the wrong and maintain the right. But are you living by Grace? Can Christ in you exhibit a bad temper? The truth is, we come down from the level of Grace and "walk as men," and then we need scarcely wonder that the old tree brings forth the old evil fruit. Or, to take another illustration, how many professing Christians are hampered and marred by some form of worldliness, by vanity, love of money, or by the ambitious dreams of youth? This is but another form of insobriety; our spiritual apprehension has been confused by the insurrection of lower desires unworthy of our Christian character. How many Christians have to complain of their bondage to their own sensual propensities? Let me point out that as Grace provides us with the power, so in the very first great lesson that she gives us she teaches how the power is to be applied. It is through faith that we receive the first great blessing that Divine Grace communicates; it is through faith that we receive all others. Our will has indeed to be exercised, but it has to be exercised rather in admitting its own inability, and in surrendering to Another the task for which it feels incompetent, than in endeavouring to perform the task itself.

(W. H. M. H. Aitken.)

The word "righteousness" sometimes signifies, or at any rate includes, what is here spoken of as temperance or sobriety, and sometimes what is here spoken of as "godliness." But inasmuch as it here stands side by side with these two other terms, we believe it to be used in a narrower sense, and to have special reference to our relations with our fellow man. The true meaning of the word "righteousness" is suggested to us by a reference to the root word "right," from which it is derived, just as analogously in the Greek language the word δικαιοσύνη draws its essential import from its connection with its root word δίκη. The idea of righteousness springs from the recognition of right. There are certain rights which have their origin in the nature of our relations with others, which they are justified in claiming that we should respect, and from which we cannot escape, and the recognition of these rights and the fulfilment of these claims is that which we understand by "righteousness." We are under certain obligations in the first instance to God, and God has certain rights in us which He cannot for a moment ignore or decline to assert and enforce. In recognising these rights, and in responding to these claims, we fulfil the law of righteousness, so far as God is concerned. Further, there are certain rights which our fellow men have in us, which we are not less bound to respect; and inasmuch as we are at present using the term righteousness in the somewhat restricted sense that I have indicated, it will be desirable to give this second class of rights our special consideration. Yes, our fellow men have certain rights in us from which we cannot free ourselves. We owe to society a great debt. Perhaps we do not sufficiently let our minds dwell upon the thought of our debt to society, yet everything around might well remind us of it. The very food that we eat is the product of social labour. We are dependent upon society, and hence are constantly indebted to it. The very money which we offer in return for these benefits is but the symbol of the accumulated labour of mankind; and those who are born in the possession of most of it are therefore the greatest debtors of all. It is true that some of us endeavour to contribute to the wealth of society by our labour, thus making some return for what we have received; but if we reflect how very different our condition is from what it would have been had we been cut off from society from our early years we shall be able to see how much our debt exceeds our capacities of repayment. The Christian feels that he owes an even heavier debt than this to his fellow man. He cannot forget that it was through the devotion of human messengers, who jeoparded their lives in the task, that the glad tidings of the gospel ever became so widely known as to reach his ear. He cannot forget his debt to the Church of Christ all through the ages, nor his obligations to those who have represented her beneficent influences towards him. Who shall say how much we may have been influenced for God and for good, by comparatively trivial circumstances, which have not even left their impress upon our memory, or perhaps of which we have never known at all? "All souls are Mine," says the great Father of spirits; and because they are His, therefore they possess a certain definite claim upon our consideration, indifference to which must needs argue indifference to Him. There are certain things which society has a right to claim that we should not do, and there are others which society has a right to claim that we should do. Now, as a rule, human laws only recognise the negative claims of right. They provide means for checking men from performing unlawful deeds. When we turn from laws, Divine and human, to conventional morality, here also we find ourselves mainly dealing with the negative side of moral obligation. The idea of righteousness most generally entertained by society is negative rather than positive. Men flatter themselves that if they have done no very definite harm to any one they have pretty well fulfilled the law of righteousness. How often are we told by those whom we seek to convict of sin, and of their need of a Saviour, that they have always endeavoured to do their duty by God and man; and when we come to examine what their idea of duty is, we discover that they simply mean that they are not criminals or open offenders against public decency! But let us observe, in spite of the common sentiment, that the positive claims of the law of righteousness are just as strong and just as incapable of being defeated as are its negative claims. In plain language, we are just as much bound to live for the good of our fellow men as to abstain from injuring them; and even if we can satisfy ourselves that we have abstained from injuring our fellow men, unless we can also show that, according to the measure of our opportunity, we have actually benefited them, we are not in a position to claim that we have even made an attempt to fulfil the law of righteousness. But have men as a rule as much right as they think they have, to conclude that they have fulfilled even the negative claims of the Divine law? We may wrong our neighbour without any overt action, and perhaps more grievously than if we had injured his body with our hand. The scandalous story, even the uncharitable thought, which may be the parent of so many cruel actions, who shall say how much of base injustice there may be in these, and yet the world thinks lightly of them. How much of selfish grasping and pushing may strain the relations of man with man, and yet no such act of dishonesty or violence be committed as could be taken cognisance of by law. All this may pass for justice amongst men, but does it appear so in the eyes of God? So what does it matter how little we pay our commercial clerks, or our half-starved sempstresses; or what does it matter if we deny a Sabbath to our cab and omnibus drivers, and keep them slaving, some fourteen hours a day, all the year round. Justice, after all, is not such a very common virtue amongst mankind. But it is possible for us to injure our neighbour in other ways than these, and thus equally to offend against the negative demands of the law of righteousness. How many are ready enough to affirm "that they have never done any harm to anybody," who have never even reflected upon the injury that may have been caused even to their nearest friends by the unholy effect of their influence or example. How many a once pure minded and innocent girl is wrecked and ruined for life, by learning only too well the lessons of vanity and levity taught by companions and acquaintances, who never seemed to themselves to be vicious. But even when it can be shown that we are blameless in this respect, we have yet to face its positive claims. The same authority that claims that we should do justly tells us also that God requires that we should love mercy. This is as much a matter of obligation, arising out of our relations with our fellow man, as is the other; and the man that does not love mercy, although he may flatter himself that he does justly, has not fulfilled the law of righteousness. But while under the Old Dispensation the legal obligation was distinctly recognised, we shall see here also how much better and more effectually grace teaches than law. Grace is not content with laying down the positive precept; she presses this lesson upon our mind more forcibly than any commandment could, by setting before us this as the most prominent and striking characteristic of the life of Him whom she has already taught us to trust and love. His was no cold negative morality, no mere abstinence from sin in every form; His morality was the fulfilment of the law, because it was the continuous exhibition of love to the sons of men. His career is thus epitomised by one who was an eyewitness of it. "He went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with Him." More than this; Grace not only exhibits to us this perfect ideal, and sets before us a personal example of pure unselfish benevolence in His life and history, but she offers to us all her best benefits as the result of His having possessed and exercised towards us those qualities which she desires us to imitate. "The love of Christ constraineth us," exclaims the apostle; that is to say, not our love for Christ, but the consciousness of His love to us "because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then all died: and that He died for all, that they who live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him who died for them, and rose again." Who that has been a recipient of Divine favour can be insensible to such an argument as that? How can we avail ourselves of the self-sacrificing love of Christ for our own salvation, and yet be unmindful of the obligation under which this lays us? We owe our salvation, our immunity from condemnation, and our justification before God, to the fact that, as representing our unrighteousness, Christ died, while, representing the righteousness that God expects of us, He lived. But if this be so, how can we claim the benefits of His life and death without repudiating that which in Him was crucified, and accepting that which in Him won the smile of the Divine Father's approval? To sum up then, Grace teaches us to live righteously, first by showing in a human life what righteousness, both negative and positive, is, next by loading us with all the spiritual benefits that we enjoy in virtue of the righteousness of this our Great Exemplar; so that gratitude to Him binds us to a life of righteousness, and further by the illustration of God's judgment against all unrighteousness and sin, and by the fulfilment of that judgment upon the person of the sinner's Representative on the Cross of Calvary, and as the necessary sequel to this legal condemnation by the introduction of the Divine Spirit as a power of righteousness into our hearts. Surely there is no lack of means towards the end in the school of grace. She is well supplied, not only with lessons, but with all that is needed to bring the lessons home. But further, our idea of righteousness must ever be relative to our subjective condition. That which does not offend my sense of righteousness today, I may distinctly condemn and repudiate a twelvemonth hence. We can speak with assurance of extreme forms, either of evil on the one hand, or of good on the other; but our judgment begins to waver and assurance to forsake us as we approach the border line, and it is only as we become through Grace possessed more and more of God, and more and more taken possession of by God, that our vision becomes clear enough to enable us to discern the dividing line, or even anything that closely approaches to it. But the learners in the school of Grace have one great advantage. They are not students of ethics, but children of God; and therefore it is less their habit to inquire whether a thing is right or wrong, than to endeavour to discover whether or not it be in accordance with the mind of God concerning them. They have no desire to discover the minimum of obligation, but a great ambition to reach the maximum of devotion. As the knowledge of the Divine will opens more and more clearly upon their apprehension, they yield their members more and more fully servants of righteousness unto holiness; for this is how Grace teaches us to live righteously. The just or righteous man lives by his faith. He is not only quickened by it at first, but lives by it when he is quickened, and herein lies his power for righteousness. But such an one cannot be satisfied with mere negative morality; for love glows within his heart, kindled by the breath of God; and love is the fulfilling of the law. He owes it to his God, he owes it to his new life, he owes it to society, to live not for himself.

(W. H. M. H. Aitken.)

We proceed now to consider the crowning characteristic of the new life and grandest lesson that Grace essays to teach. All her other lessons, however important in themselves, are designed to lead up to godliness; and unless this lesson is learnt, all others must remain incomplete; for this word brings before us the true end of man. The true end of man is to be attained in his own personality; it is in the proper development and education of the highest and most spiritual faculties of his nature, and in the concentration of these upon their proper object, that man rises to his true destiny and fulfils the great purpose of his being. That object is God; and in the development of those faculties which have God for their proper object, and in their concentration upon Him, consists the state or habit of godliness, while the education and training of these faculties is the work of grace, as she teaches us to lead a godly life. Christianity is a religion, not a mere ethical system, and designed to produce spirituality rather than morality — to teach man to realise and take advantage of his proper relations with God, not to show him how he can improve himself independently of any such relations. God is the centre around which all the moral teaching of the New Testament revolves, or from which it radiates. In the Christian system the revelation of the attributes of God in the person of His Son is the standard of moral truth, and relation of our conduct to God's will thus revealed the criterion of its moral character. The word "conversion," with which modern evangelising preaching has made us all familiar, and more particularly the word in the original Greek which we thus translate, is very well chosen as being suggestive of the only possible commencement of the life of godliness. It signifies not only a turning, but a turning towards God. When first His Divine influences begin to move us, He finds us with our hearts averted from Him, and our lives setting in an opposite direction. Then comes the first great change: the godless heart is brought by the influences of the Holy Spirit to feel its need of God, and in yielding to this sense of need, and in the endeavour to satisfy it, the godly life finds its commencement. "Jesus Christ died for our sins, the just for the unjust, to bring us to God." When that great change has taken place, which we usually call conversion, its most salient feature is always the complete alteration and, we may say, reversal of all our previous relations with God. Instead of flying from Him, we have now boldness to approach Him; instead of looking upon His service as a yoke of bondage, we find it the only freedom. It is doubtless with a view to this end that faith has been Divinely appointed as the subjective condition of justification. He has appointed simple faith in Himself; for this reason, amongst others, that faith brings us into the closest and most personal relations with God Himself. No man who accepts the Christian revelation at all can fail to recognise the justice of the Divine claims. Created at God's pleasure, and for His glory; redeemed by the life of His Son, and consecrated by the gift of the Divine Spirit; the believer must, as a matter of theory at any rate, admit that he is under an obligation to his God, from the force of which it is impossible to escape. Two thoughts, however, about these rights of God in His creature we may call attention to in passing. The first is, that these claims of God upon us are not arbitrary in their character, or despotic in their operation; they are perfectly consistent with, and indeed they are the expression of, Divine love towards man, and therefore they are most strictly in accordance with our true interests. The apparent opposition that sometimes seems to exist between man's interest and God's will arises from the fact that man does not clearly apprehend his own interests, and confuses between his real good and his temporary gratification; while, on the other hand, he misunderstands the nature of the Divine will. If we could only obtain a firm and practical grasp of this great truth, that our interests and God's will must coincide, what different lives we should lead! The second thought to which I desire to refer flows from this, an ever-necessary sequel. Since God's claims cannot be opposed to our truest well-being, therefore they can never be withdrawn or even modified. Were God to ask less than He does He would be doing us an injury, not a benefit; for He would be teaching us to be satisfied with something less than our highest good. These claims of God upon us are like the claims of the law of righteousness, both negative and positive. From certain forms of conduct the law of godliness demands that we should abstain; while, on the other hand, there are certain things which it enjoins. "Ye cannot serve God and mammon." This first negative claim of God upon His creature man is represented in the Decalogue as being attributable to a certain attribute of the Divine character, which is denoted by the word "jealousy." Such being the nature of the first claim of the law of godliness, and such the attribute to which it is due, let us proceed to consider the second, and then to observe how Grace teaches us to comply with these claims. "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might" (Deuteronomy 6:5). This claim includes all others; for here also "Love is the fulfilling of the law." But how shall we respond to these claims? The Law might say to the Israelites, "Thou shalt have none other gods but Jehovah." But none the less Israel proceeded to copy the idolatries of Egypt and Canaan. And the law may repeat its solemn prohibition to men in our own day, but will that keep them from worshipping at the shrine of Mammon, or Pleasure, or Fashion? The Law might tell the Israelites to love the Lord their God with all their heart; but that did not prevent them from turning their backs upon Him altogether. "My people have forgotten Me days without number." Grace presents to us the claims of God in the light of privileges, ever pointing to the Cross for an argument to move our wills, and appealing to the true character of the Divine purpose for a justification of her claims. Here is a specimen of the way in which she urges God's claims, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and perfect, and acceptable, will of God." So long as our hearts resent or even demur to the claims of God upon us we cannot enjoy the fellowship of God. We are not agreed. But as soon as we have joyfully accepted these claims, even though we may have only begun very inadequately to fulfil them, the cause of disagreement is removed, and there is nothing to prevent the soul from enjoying the life of fellowship with God. It is not difficult to see the connection between this habit of fellowship with God and the next feature of the life of godliness to which we will refer, and the development of which constitutes frequently the next forward step in Christian experience. Reconciliation is necessary to fellowship, fellowship is necessary to personal love. This affection is the result of personal knowledge, and increases with it. They must perforce love Him most who know Him best, and they must know Him best who are most in His society, who live in the secret of His presence. Nor is this love of the soul for God a mere enthusiasm of admiration, though admiration must ever be one of its most prominent elements. Nor is this love of the soul for God a mere sentiment, a sickly enthusiasm. Men have been prompt to turn their backs upon the dearest earthly affection, the tenderest ties, because the love of God led them on. But the love of God must needs produce very definite subjective effects upon him who knows its blessedness. Even amongst us men, where persons are bound together by close and mutual affection, it has often been observed that a certain assimilation takes place between them, even though they may have originally been very unlike each other — an assimilation that affects not only character, but outward manners and habits, sometimes even extending to the expression of the countenances and the tones of the voice. It is not surprising, then, that they who walk with God, and thus come completely under the influence of the love of God; should be conformed unto the Divine image. "Beholding His glory, we are changed into the same image from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord," The characteristics of the godly life are of the most practical kind, for true godliness influences everything, elevating and purifying all, and he who lives it will offer such a contrast in his life and conversation to those who live it not, that men shall still be constrained to marvel at such, and to take knowledge of them that they have been and still are with Jesus. Are we living godly in Christ Jesus? It often happens that present salvation, in virtue of the atoning work of Christ, has been accepted without any very definite apprehension of what I may describe as the moral and actual benefits ensured to us by that work, and of the claims that God makes upon us in consequence of it. Where this has been the case, a change so marked and definite that it is sometimes described as a second conversion often takes place, when first the eyes are fully opened to see what the fulness of God's provision actually is. My next word of counsel would be, that the soul that wishes to grow in godliness should cultivate a habit of delicate sensibility to the Divine influences. This is chiefly to be done by making prompt and unquestioning response to the Divine motions. Yield to those heavenly desires, those Godward aspirations, which suddenly interrupt the ordinary occupations of the mind. Next I would say, Be very jealous of idols. The object may be in itself an innocent one; it becomes most guilty when it takes in any degree the place of God. And lastly, do not be satisfied with anything that seems to be beneficial until you find God in it. The Bible will be a "well of salvation," just in so far as God speaks to us from its pages through the Incarnate Word, and by the Divine Spirit.

(W. H. M. H. Aitken.)

1. The doctrine of grace teacheth not only to abstain from evil, but also to do good, and is the mistress of true sanctification in both parts of it, both the mortification of sin, as also quickening in righteousness. For as it is in the lighting of a dark house, first darkness must give place, and light must succeed, so is it in the shining of this light of grace, the night must pass, and then the day must come; the old man must be cast off with his lusts, and then the new man put on.

2. Note that where the gospel bringeth to any person salvation, there it looketh for return of some recompense; and namely this, that it be entertained with sobriety, righteousness, and godliness, which are the three graces which go hand in hand, and every one looking at another. Sobriety keepeth the house, and moderateth the mind at home; righteousness looketh forth, and giveth every man his due abroad; piety looketh up unto God, and giveth Him His right. Sobriety preserveth, and is content with its own estate and portion; righteousness preserveth, and is content that other men enjoy their estate and portion; piety preserveth, and is willing that God's part be reserved unto Him. Again, sobriety must go before as a nurse of the other two, for he that dealeth not soberly, cannot deal justly, but depriveth the Church, the commonwealth, and family of their due. Righteousness without godliness is but atheism, and a beautiful abomination; and piety without righteousness is but hypocrisy; for how absurd it is to be precise with man and careless how wickedly we deal with God? Now as sobriety, the first, is the nurse of the two latter, so piety, the last, is the mother of the two former, which, where it is wanting, neither of the former, nor both of them, can commend a man unto God. Therefore, none of these three adverbs of Paul (as a learned writer speaketh) must be forgotten, which jointly contain all the rules of Christian life.

(T. Taylor, D. D.)

1. Note that godliness must not so lie hid in the heart, but it must appear in the eyes of the world, neither must it be neglected till death, but exercised in this present world: a point the more needful to be propounded, in that every man naturally wisheth with Balaam to die well and godly; but forgetting the practice of piety in their life time, we see the most men would be put in mind of God at their death, and send for the minister when the physician hath left them hopeless of life, yea, albeit they have forgotten the Almighty, and neglected acquaintance with Him all their days, yet at the finishing of them they would seem to seek unto Him. But it is most righteous with God that an ungodly life be finished with a proportional death, whatsoever it seemeth to be: and, therefore, it is a safe rule worthy our remembrance, that whatsoever we would be found doing on our dying day, to be doing it every day while we live.

2. Note hence that it is a most deceitful and desperate argument thus to conclude — If I be ordained to salvation let me never pray, never serve God, and do what I will I shall be saved, and on the contrary; and hence to cast off all the care of godliness; for this openly proclaimeth want of grace, which directeth men to the means, and leadeth them the way of salvation in this present world. God in wisdom hath combined to every end His means in all His ordinary courses; as to natural life, bread, sleep, physic; so to the spiritual, the word, sacraments, prayer, sobriety, righteousness, piety; and therefore the argument will be found in the contrary thus: If God have appointed me to die the death of the righteous, He hath ordained me to the means, namely, to live the life of the righteous; if to glory, then to grace; if to the full revelation of glory hereafter, then to the firstfruits of it here in grace; if to the city of the great King hereafter, then to the suburbs here; there is no jumping to heaven, no more than a man can leap from one city to another upon earth,

3. Note hence what is the proper end of every man's life in this present world, namely, that in the way of a sober, righteous and religious life, he may attain everlasting happiness hereafter. Alas, how do many pervert the end of their lives, some to get wealth, honour, and great estates; others to sit down to eat and drink, and rise up to play; others to trade in some one or other special sin and lust, but let us that will be wise to salvation, seeing it is called today, and our acceptable time and day of salvation is come upon us, beware of hardening our hearts. Let us not dare to strive against the Holy Ghost in the ministry, for contemners of grace in this present world shall never partake of the glory of the just hereafter.

(T. Taylor, D. D.)

Power is calculable by the results it yields, but if we are attempting to estimate the force of a projectile, we shall take account not only of the velocity at which it moves, but also of the quality and tenacity of the resisting material which it shows itself competent to penetrate. One evidence of the vital energy of Christianity is shown in this, that in all its movements and demands and prohibitions, it runs steadily counter to the whole grain of natural desire. Whatever Christianity has done or may yet be doing in the world, it is doing it all in the teeth of spontaneous impulse. It is a system that requires us to love our neighbour as we do ourselves. It enjoins upon us to crucify our affections and lusts. It is a religion that is contented with nothing less than sacrifice. It meets the soul at the level of its higher needs, to be sure; but that is not the level at which we find it our first impulse to live. Christianity prohibits our doing a host of things that we would like to do, and requires us to do another host of things that we have no disposition to do. Every inch that Christianity has gained, or may still be gaining, it has gained by a square fight. All advance that it has made has been so much conquest on the one side, over against so much reluctant and contested surrender on the other. In estimating the draught power of a locomotive, we must consider not only the rate at which it moves and the tons of freight it drags, but the grade at which it is pulling. If I can row eight miles an hour, it is important to know whether I can do it with the wind, or in the teeth of it. There is nothing evangelical in a man's first impulses. So in estimating the inherent vigour of Christianity, it must be studiously considered that in all its advances it has steadily trained upon it the charged and primed artillery of man's natural lust and congenital ambition. All the way from the last man that became a Christian, back to Peter who forsook his fishing tackle at the Lord's call, the process of becoming a Christian has been a process of surrender. Count that carefully in calculating the spiritual dynamics of the doctrine of the Nazarene.

(C. H. Parkhurst, D. D.)

You have a son, I will suppose, in a distant land. He has been prosperous, he has become honoured, influential, and beloved. He has won golden opinions from all for his abilities, his charities, his devotion to the interests of the community. He is known as a tender father; he is reputed a munificent benefactor and large-hearted philanthropist. The colony rings with his praises. Does not your paternal heart throb with a pardonable pride as you hear of the goodness and the greatness to which he has attained? "Alas!" you say, "what might be my pride is my pain. My boy has been absent for twenty years, and took a father's fond blessing with him, but during that long period he has sent no tidings to his parents. His commercial correspondence has been carried on with most commendable regularity, but never a solitary line has he written home. All the news we get of him comes at second hand. We hear of his bounties to others, but we are getting poor in our old age and no token has come to us. He has not shown in any way that he is even aware of our existence." Now what are your ideas of such sonship as that? Are not the benefactions of such a man an abomination, and his fascinations an offence? Here, then, is a picture of the behaviour of the man who, just in all earthly dealings, and tender in all human relations, yet lives, with regard to his highest obligations, simply as though God were not.

(J. Halsey.)

Looking for that blessed hope
"I believe in the resurrection of the body." And what does this imply? Does it merely mean that we assent to there being such a thing, as a bare truth in the abstract? Does it mean, "I believe that men's bodies shall rise?" And when we continue, "And in the life everlasting," do we merely intend by this, "I believe that some shall live forever?" Oh, surely not: we cannot have such a cold unworthy idea of the articles of the Christian faith as this. When I utter these words in church, when I profess them as my belief, I must surely mean that I regard them as facts in my own life and course. I take the words as they stand in the Nicene Creed, where the very same expression is used as in our text: "I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come." That is, I expect in my own case, I look forward to witnessing, and sharing in, the things thus spoken of. If you ask me what reason have I in my own case to look for such blessed participation in the resurrection to life eternal, my answer is plain and decisive. "I look for the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting," because God has assured these blessings to me in my covenant relation with Him in Christ as a member of Christ's body. Now, many of you are aware that in saying this I am touching on a question much debated among religious writers of a certain stamp: I mean the question as to what is called personal assurance: the question as to whether it is, or is not, an essential portion of the Christian's faith to be assured of his own part in Christ, and his own ultimate share in Christ's salvation. Now, this is a question which no Christian Churchman can be at any loss how to answer. He will answer it as we have done above; and tell the inquirer that his own personal part in God's covenant and God's promises is not a matter which can be left to uncertain and easily mistaken feelings and experiences of his own, but is, as we said before, at the foundation of his whole spiritual life, which is built up upon it, as it is built on the fact of God's mercies to him in Christ. And this being so, important effects are produced, or ought to be produced, on our views of several things, either present or in prospect.

1. The first of which I shall speak is our view of death. If a blessed resurrection in an incorruptible body is to be ours, any one can easily see that the act and state of death, so terrible where this hope is not, at once loses its formidable character, and shrinks up into utter insignificance. Doubtless it will and must be a conflict when it comes, that solemn moment of parting from the body: but what is a conflict where victory is assured to us? What soldier ever dwells long and gloomily on the fearful incidents of battle, by way of bracing his courage to meet it? Is it not ever the rule, and should it not ever be our rule, to dwell on the triumph beyond, and so to forget the struggle by which it is to be reached?

2. And as this confidence of hope will alter our view of death, so will it also of life. What is life to the man of this world — to the poor creature who does not know whether it is not to be cut short forever at the day of death? Life to him is simply a snatching time: to get as much as he can out of it, to eat and drink, and amass gain, and earn repute, and win importance, and fill as large a space as he can with what credit he may: and there is an end of it. Thousands on thousands are leading just this life and nothing more: often varnished over with pure and bright colours — decent charities, expected attendance on religion, and the like: but none can deny that, judging by the practice of most men, such is the general view of life; that as to eternity and so on, it is an uncertainty after all, and it is better to take the present good in hand, than to lay up for such an uncertainty. Now then, does a man, in his heart, in his deepest thoughts and views of the future, look for the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting? And can he any longer think thus of life? Why, to the other man, this life is all: he knows of nothing beyond it; but to this man, what is beyond it is almost all, and this life is as compared to it almost as nothing. But how? Even as the seed time, which though in a certain field it may be but one morning in a year, yet on that one morning depends all the use and produce of that field for that year — so is it with the Christian believer's estimate of this life. It is, as compared with that beyond the grave, but as a moment — but as a point hardly to be appreciated: yet in the use of this moment, in the complexion of this little point, is involved the whole character and degree of blessedness of that immeasurable eternity. Life is now not a snatching time, but a laying-up time: a time of treasuring up things which may be of account there.

3. There is another thing concerning which, if we look in our own persons for the resurrection of the dead and the life everlasting, our views will necessarily undergo a change, and that is, the body. It may not be very easy to say what the mere worldly man thinks of the body in which he finds himself dwelling. But I am afraid we should not be far wrong in believing that the very last thing which he expects is, that it will rise from the grave, and be his dwelling forever. This doctrine, at which the wise Athenians scoffed, is still despised by those who think themselves wise after this world's measure. They have some vague notion of a probability of the immortality of the soul and a future judgment, without ever reflecting that we shall be judged in the body for the deeds done in the body. And the consequence is that in their view the man is not one, but two persons, soul and body: the soul is meant to be saved by religion, but the body has little or nothing to do with religion. And then those who are not only worldly, but irreligious, go further than this; and pretend to tell us, from the speculations of misused science, that the life which is so mysteriously placed in the body is necessarily and inseparably united to it, and therefore perishes when the body decays. How different an aspect do the things of the body present to him who regards it as his companion through a blessed eternity — to him who reads and feels what the apostle tells us, that Christ is the Saviour of the body; that we are now waiting for the adoption, that is, the redemption of the body. How careful will he be to train this his future servant for its blessed ministrations there; — to put it entirely under the power of God's purifying Spirit of grace: — to subdue in it all impure and unholy desires, all inordinate indulgences of lawful appetite, and render it a habitation if it may be worthy of Him whose temple it ought to be.

4. Yet another change will be wrought by looking for the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting: and that will be in our views of and affections towards others around us. If the painter who painted for posterity needed more care in every touch than the other, who painted merely for the day, will not he who loves for eternity love more wisely, more tenderly, more cautiously and self-denyingly than he who merely gratifies a present predilection? A fellow member of the body of Christ — one with whom I hope to hold converse which shall never know parting nor end in the presence of Him who is Love — if I remember this, and act on this, can I wantonly wound the feelings of such an one? Can I hinder such an one in the path to glory? Can I to such an one act a part, and put on guile, to serve any worldly purpose? "They take the sun out of heaven, who take away friendship out of life": thus wrote the heathen philosopher; but we may say a worthier thing — they take away the sun out of heaven, who take the hope of the resurrection out of friendship.

5. Once more, he who looks for the resurrection of the dead and the life everlasting, will, in proportion as this blessed hope is present to him, find his thoughts of Christ evermore changed and exalted, and made more precious to him. From a distant historical character to a present Saviour — this is the first great change in a man's thoughts of Christ. From a present Saviour to be the desire of his soul — one whose likeness, and nothing else, will satisfy him; this is the next change, and it is no less an one than the former: it is, after all, that which constrains a man, that which leads him on, that which will transform him into Christ's image from glory to glory. And I see not how this latter change can take place, without a man's looking for this blessed hope of the resurrection.

(Dean Alford.)

There are two appearances spoken of in this context — the appearance of "the grace of God that bringeth salvation"; and parallel with that, though at the same time contrasted with it, as being in very important senses, one in nature and principle, though diverse in purpose and diverse in manner, is what the apostle here calls "the glorious appearing of the great God."

I. THE APPEARANCE OF THE GRACE LEADS TO THE APPEARANCE OF THE GLORY. The identity of the form of expression in the two clauses is intended to suggest the likeness of and the connection between the two appearances. In both there is a visible manifestation of God, and the latter rests upon the former, and completes and crowns it. But the difference between the two is as strongly marked as the analogy; and it is not difficult to grasp distinctly the difference which the apostle intends. While both are manifestations of the Divine character in exercise, the specific phase (so to speak) of that character which appears is in one case "grace," and in the other "glory." If one might venture on any illustration in regard to such a subject, it is as when the pure white light is sent through glass of different colours, and at one moment beams mild through refreshing green, and at the next flames in fiery red that warns of danger. The grace has appeared when Divine love is incarnate among us. The long-suffering gentleness we have seen. And in it we have seen, in a very real sense, the glory, for "we beheld His glory — full of grace." But beyond that lies ready to be revealed in the last time the glory, the lustrous light, the majestic splendour, the flaming fire of manifest Divinity. Again, the two verses thus bracketed together, and brought into sharp contrast, also suggest how like, as well as how unlike, these manifestations are to be. In both cases there is an appearance, in the strictest sense of the word, that is to say, a thing visible to men's senses. Can we see the grace of God? We can see the love in exercise, cannot we? How? "He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?" The appearance of Christ was the making visible in human form of the love of God. My brother! The appearance of the glory will be the same — the making visible in human form of the light of throned and sovereign Deity. What we look for is an actual bodily manifestation in a human form, on the solid earth, of the glory of God! And then I would notice how emphatically this idea of the glory being all sphered and embodied in the living person of Jesus Christ proclaims His Divine nature. It is "the appearance of the glory" — then mark the next words — "of the great God, and our Saviour." The human possesses the Divine glory in such reality and fulness as it would be insanity if it were not blasphemy, and blasphemy if it were not absurdity, to predicate of any simple man. The words coincide with His own saying, "The Son of Man shall come in His glory and of the Father," and point us necessarily and inevitably to the wonderful thought that the glory of God is capable of being fully imparted to, possessed by, and revealed through Jesus Christ; that the glory of God is Christ's glory, and the glory of Christ is God's. And then I must touch very briefly another remarkable and plain contrast indicated in our text between these two "appearings." They are not only unlike in the subject (so to speak) or substance of the manifestation, but also in the purpose. The grace comes, patient, gentle, sedulous, labouring for our training and discipline. The glory comes — there is no word of training there! What does the glory come for? The one rises upon a benighted world — lambent and lustrous and gentle, like the slow, silent, climbing of the silvery moon through the darkling sky. But the other blazes out with a leap upon a stormy heaven, "as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west," writing its fierce message across all the black page of the sky in one instant, "so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be."

II. THE APPEARING OF THE GLORY IS A BLESSED HOPE. The hope is blessed; or the word "happy" may, perhaps, be substituted with advantage. Because it will be full of blessedness when it is a reality, therefore it is full of joy while it is but a hope. The characteristics of that future manifestation of glory are not such that its coming is wholly and universally a joy. There is something terrible in the beauty, something menacing in the brightness. But it is worth noticing that, notwithstanding all that gathers about it of terror, all that gathers about it of awful splendour, all that is solemn and heart shaking in the thought of judgment and retribution for the past, the irreversible and irrevocable pest, yet to Paul it was the very crown of all his expectations of, and the very shining summit of all his desires for, the future — that Christ should appear. The hope is a happy one. If we know "the grace" we shall not be afraid of "the glory." If the grace has disciplined in any measure we may be sure that we shall partake in its perfection. They that have seen the face of Christ looking down, as it were, upon them from the midst of the great darkness of the cross, and beneath the crown of thorns, need not be afraid to see the same face looking down upon them from amidst all the blaze of the light, and from beneath the many crowns of the kingdoms of the world, and the royalties of the heavens. Whosoever hath learnt to love and believe in the manifestation of the grace, he, and he only, can believe and hope for the manifestation of the glory.

III. THE GRACE DISCIPLINES US TO HOPE FOR THE GLORY. The very idea of discipline involves the notion that it is a preparatory stage, a transient process for a permanent result. It carries with it the idea of immaturity, of apprenticeship, so to speak. If it is discipline, it is discipline for some condition which is not yet reached. And so, if the grace of God comes "disciplining," then there must be something beyond the epoch and era within which the disciple is confined. Here is a perfect instrument for making men perfect, and what does it do? It makes men so good and leaves them so bad that unless they are to be made still better and perfected, God's work on the soul is at once an unparalleled success and a confounding failure — a puzzle, in that having done so much it does not do more; in that having done so little it has done so much. The achievements of Christianity upon single souls, and its failures upon those for whom it has done most, when measured against, and compared with, its manifest adaptation to a loftier issue than it has ever reached here on earth, all coincide to say — the grace — because its purpose is discipline, and because its purpose is but partially achieved here on earth — demands a glory, when they whose darkness has been partially made "light in the Lord," by the discipline of grace, shall "blaze forth as the sun" in the Heavenly Father's kingdom of glory. Yield to the discipline, and the hope will be strengthened. You will never entertain in any vigour and operative power upon your lives the expectation of that coming of the glory unless you live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world. That discipline submitted to is, if I may so say, like that great apparatus which you find by the side of an astronomer's biggest telescope, to wheel it upon its centre and to point its tube to the star on which he would look. So our anticipation and desire, the faculty of expectation which we have, is wont to be directed along the low level of earth, and it needs the pinions and levers of that gracious discipline, making us sober, righteous, godly, in order to heave it upwards, full front against the sky, that the stars may shine into it. The speculum, the object glass, must be polished and cut by many a stroke and much friction ere it will reflect "the image of the heavenly"; so, grace disciplines us, patiently, slowly, by repeated strokes, by much rubbing, by much pain — disciplines us to live in self-restraint, in righteousness and godliness, and then the cleared eye beholds the heavens, and the purged heart grows towards "the coming" as its hope and its life.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

I. THE GREAT OBJECT OF THE CHRISTIAN HOPE. The true rendering is not "the glorious appearing," but "the appearing of the glory." There are two appearings — that of "the grace of God," and that of "the glory." These two manifestations are paralleled in many respects, as is shown by the very fact that the same word is employed in reference to both, but they differ substantially in this, the aspect of the Divine character manifested, by each. The one is like the silver moon flooding all things with silvery and gentle light; the other is like the flash of the lightning from one side of the heavens to the other. Both the manifestation of the grace and that of the glory are given through the same medium. Jesus Christ is the means of making the grace visible; and Jesus Christ will be the means of making the glory visible. And these two appearances are connected in such a manner that the former is evidently incomplete without the latter. As certainly as the cradle at Bethlehem required the open grave and the ascension from Olivet, so certainly does the ascension from Olivet require the return to judgment. The past has in it one great fact, to which the world must turn for light, for leading, for life. And that past fact, like an eastern sky that flings its colouring into the furthest west, irradiates the future and points onwards to His return again. So that past fact and its companion yet to be are like two great towers on opposite sides of some fathomless abyss, from which stretch the slender rods which are sufficient to bear the firm structure on which we may tread across the gulf, defiant of the darkness, and find our way into the presence of God.

II. THE CHRISTIAN ANTICIPATION OF THE APPEARING. "Looking," says the apostle, "for that blessed hope." How comes he to call it blessed? If it be a flashing forth of the Divine glory, and if it be, as it distinctly is, a coming to judge the earth, there must be much about it which will touch into activity not unreasonable fears, and may make the boldest and the truest shrink and ask themselves the old question, "Who shall stand when He appeareth?" But Paul here stretches out the hands of his faith, and the yearnings of his desire to it. Whence conies this confidence? It comes from the power of love. How beautiful it is, how merciful, and how strange that the very same yearning after bodily presence, the same restlessness in separation, and the same fulness of satisfaction in companionship, which mark the lower loves of earth, can be transferred wholly to that higher love! This hope is blessed because of the power of the assurance which we all may have that that coming can bring no harm to us. "Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness before Him at the day of judgment." It is blessed because the manhood which is thus lifted to participate in and to be the medium of manifesting to a world the Divine glory, is our manhood; and we shall share in the glory that we behold, if here we have trusted in the grace that He revealed. "He shall change the body of our humiliation that it may be fashioned after the likeness of the body of His glory." And the hope is blessed because, in contradistinction to all earthly objects of hope, it is certain — certain as history, certain as memory. It is as secure as treasures that we keep in the cedar presses of our remembrances. It is also blessed because, being thus certain, it is far enough in advance never to be outgrown, never to be fulfilled and done with here. So it outlasts all others, and may be laid in a dying hand, like a rosebud clasped in cold palms, crossed on each other, in the coffin; for not until we have passed the veil shall we receive the hope. He will come to the world; you and I will go to Him; either way, we shall be forever with the Lord. And that is a hope that will outlast life and death.

III. THE TEACHING OR CORRECTION WHICH STRENGTHENS THE HOPE. The fact that the first manifestation is of an educational and corrective kind is in itself an evidence that there is another one to follow. For the very idea of training implies that there is something for which we are being trained; and the very word "correction" or "discipline" involves the thought of an end towards which the process is directed. That end can be no less than the future perfecting of its subjects in that better world. God does not take the rough bar of iron and turn it into steel and polish it and shape it and sharpen it to so fine an edge, in order that He may then break it and cast it "as rubbish to the void." You will find in prehistoric tombs broken swords and blunted spears which were laid there with the corpses; but God does not so break His weapons, nor is death the end of our activity. If there be discipline there is something for which the discipline is meant. If there be an apprenticeship there is somewhere work for the journeyman to do when he has served his articles and is out of his time. There will be a field in which we shall use the powers we have acquired here; and nothing can bereave us of the force we made our own, being here. Grace disciplines, therefore there is glory. Again, our yielding to the grace is the best way of strengthening our hope of the glory. The more we keep ourselves under the influences of that mighty salvation that is in Jesus Christ, and let them chasten and correct us, and submit our inflamed eyes to their healing pains, the more clearly will they be able to see the land that is afar off. Telescope glasses are polished in order that they may enable the astronomer to pierce the depths of the heavens. Diamonds depend for their brightness on the way in which they are cut, and it is poor economy to leave some of the precious stones on the mass, if thereby its reflecting power and its radiance be diminished. God cuts deep and rubs hard, in order that He may brighten the surface and the depth of our souls, that they may receive in all its purity the celestial ray, and flash it back in varied colours. So, if we would live in the buoyant hope of the manifestation of the glory, let us docilely, prayerfully, penitently, patiently, submit ourselves to the discipline of the grace.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

I. THE FORCE AND FITNESS OF THE ARGUMENT DRAWN FROM THE HOPE OF A CHRISTIAN. The ground of our hope lies not in our merit, but in God's mercy; the reward for which we are encouraged to look is not of debt, but of grace. And supposing it a very small and inconsiderable thing, yet, upon all the principles of reason, it is encouragement to do what otherwise we are indifferently bound and obliged to do. But the abundant grace of our God in Christ Jesus hath invited us to expect an abundant reward; and whatever force there is in hope to move men to action, is all bent to push them on to well-doing, by a just view of that reward which God hath promised. If hope can stimulate men to vigour and vigilence in any case, it wants not something to look for in the course of well-doing and on a better foundation than can be attained respecting any comfort in life.

II. THE TIME WHEN THIS BLESSED REWARD SHALL BE CONFERRED. That is the great day when our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ shall appear. And if we consider the design and manner of this appearance we shall see abundant reason to live soberly, righteously, and godly in expectation of it.

1. The design of it is to judge the world in righteousness, to call every man to account for his conduct in life, and render to every one according to his works. Then the godly shall receive the glorious reward of eternal life with glorious advantages, as we shall see more particularly if we consider —

2. The manner of that appearance which is here expressed by a peculiar epithet, serving to distinguish it from all other appearances, particularly from His first appearance in our nature.

III. THE TEMPER AND TURN OF MIND FIT AND NECESSARY TO GIVE THESE ARGUMENTS THEIR PROPER INFLUENCE UPON US. Looking is in Scripture common style to express the principles and disposition of the mind with respect to things Divine and heavenly. And with regard to the blessed hope and glorious appearing here mentioned, it means —

1. A firm persuasion of the truth and reality of those things. No wonder if they are ungodly and slaves to worldly lusts who look not for a future reckoning.

2. Looking for the blessed reward signifies a lively hope of obtaining it, which, on that very account, is called the blessed hope.

3. Looking here denotes an earnest longing, an ardency of desire to obtain the blessed hope, and see the blessed day when Christ shall appear.

4. Looking for the blessed hope means a constant and habitual attention to this as the chief end. and object we ought to have in view.

(Wm. Best.)

Weekly Pulpit.
I. THE LIFE OF THE BELIEVER NOW IS ONE OF EXPECTATION. We are "looking for."

1. Our condition is one of continual expansion — growth in grace. The child is never satisfied. Clothes become too small, toys loose their charm, sympathies are enlarging, and he is constantly looking for something else. The child of God is in that position — the heart is enlarging, and expectation is the natural result.

2. The resources of the gospel are unfolding, The love of God swells, the Cross of Jesus is higher, and communion with the Saviour is closer. Travellers continued their search until they found the great lakes in Central Africa which form the watershed of the Nile. So the streams of grace lead us on to the fountain. Our course is God-ward.

II. THE LIFE OF THE BELIEVER HEREAFTER WILL BE ONE OF REALISATION. So we interpret the words of the apostle — looking for the object or fulfilment of our blessed hope.

1. Jesus is to come to take the government of the Church, and assert His sway over mankind. This is a glorious thought, especially when we remember how little we are able to do in extending His kingdom.

2. Jesus will appear in the last day as the judge of all. He will be accompanied by myriads of saints and angels, not as a root out of the dry ground, without form or comeliness, but in the glory of His Father.

3. Jesus will appear to take home His disciples as they pass through physical death.

(Weekly Pulpit.)

I. WHAT THIS HOPE IS.

II. WHO ARE ENTITLED TO LOOK FOE THE GLORIOUS APPEARING AS A BLESSED HOPE TO THEM.

III. THE INFLUENCE WHICH THIS BLESSED HOPE MUST HAVE ON ALL WHO ARE REALLY POSSESSED OF IT.

(F. Hewson, M. A.)

Grace teaches us, not only by referring us to the great facts of the past, but also by setting before our awakened hope the sublime and crowning event of the future, and in this respect also she exhibits the superiority of her teaching to that which law could offer. Under the law the future could hardly be contemplated without terror; for who could feel so secure of his legal righteousness as to be able to look forward to that day without a misgiving? We cannot entertain such happy anticipations with respect to the future unless we are quite sure of our own relations to God in the present. Let us put a case. If our Queen were about to make a progress through this realm, and if it was understood that, as soon as she reached the city of York, of one dozen felons confined in the prison yonder, six were to be taken out and promptly executed at the moment of her arrival, while six should be liberated; and if of those twelve felons no single one knew for certain whether he were one of the six that were to be set free, or of the six that were to be executed, is it conceivable under such circumstances that any of those felons would long for and entreat Her Majesty's speedy advent? Would it not be far more conceivable that they would all, if they were permitted, petition her to defer her visit, and, if possible, to abandon it? Not otherwise must it be with us, as we look forward to this dread event of the future, unless we know that by the saving grace of God we are prepared for it. But while our attitude towards this great event of the future may serve as a test of the reality or unreality of our religion, it may also be employed by the true Christian as a gauge of his spiritual condition. Do we really love His appearing? Is it a subject much in our thoughts? Does it cheer us, or does it make us uncomfortable to think of it? How apt are even those who have known something of the grace of God to take root, as it were, here upon earth, instead of living as strangers and pilgrims! But the love of Christ's appearing is not only a test of our spiritual health and progress, it may also largely contribute to the promotion of these. The truth is the life and the hope act and react upon each other. Personal godliness must ever strengthen and intensify our hope; but then again our rejoicing in hope will ever stimulate our desires after growth in grace. What the effect of Advent light upon our daily lives must needs be is indicated by numerous passages of Scripture. "We know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is. And every man that hath this hope in Him purifieth himself, even as He is pure." It is not difficult to understand in how many ways we may be favourably affected in our present personal experience by the thought of this blessed hope. Surely much of the gloomy despondency or depression that frequently paralyses our spiritual activities might be more easily mastered if we only lived more in the Advent light, cheering our hearts with the anticipations of coming glory. But the thought of this blessed hope does more than cheer us amidst the vicissitudes of life; it also tends to strengthen our faith, and thus to invigorate our whole spiritual experience; for while we dwell upon the thought of the complete victory that Christ is one day to win, the thought will naturally suggest itself to our minds, as we return to the consciousness of the present from the hopes of the future, Cannot He who will one day conquer the world conquer even now our old nature? Thus the very contemplation of these glorious prospects in the future proves a source of strength as well as of cheer in the present. But most of all, the thought of this blessed hope is specially designed to induce watchfulness. "Therefore be ye also ready," cries our blessed Lord; "for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of Man cometh." One other benefit likely to arise from the thought of the glorious appearance of our Saviour, and affecting our conduct and character, suggests itself here. Surely we cannot fail to find in this prospect a mighty stimulus to our zeal. The time is short. Soon the Master will come to take account of His servants. Fain would we be able to say when He appears, as He was able to say to His Father, "I have finished the work that Thou gavest Me to do." But if this habit of looking for that blessed hope is likely to be productive of so many advantages in our present experience, it may be asked, How is such a habit to be formed? Strangers passing through a hostile land cannot but look forward to a change in their position. Grace teaches us then to love the Lord's appearing, by reminding us that we are already citizens of the heavenly kingdom, in the revelation of which we are to find a full satisfaction, which cannot be ours amidst the hostile influences of the house of our pilgrimage. We long for the moment when the power of the usurper shall be overthrown, and our King receive the homage which is His due from all, just as a Hushai or Ittai must have longed for the restoration of David, and the downfall of the odious traitor Absalom. Nor does the expectation of the true Christian end even here. He cannot forget that human history is to be crowned by "the marriage of the Lamb." In that mysterious event of the future the destiny of the creature is to be attained, and the pleasure of the Creator in His own work is to be fulfilled. But it is Grace, and Grace alone, that bids us cherish such hopes as this. Law might train a servant, but could not prepare a bride. To sum up, we may say that Grace teaches us to love Christ's appearing by revealing to us the mystery of our spiritual union with Him, from which there arises a certain identity of interests, and consequently of desires. As He is, so are we in this present world, "despised and rejected of men"; where He is, there in Him we are in the world of glory — seated in heavenly places with Christ Jesus, accepted of the Father in the Beloved. As He shall be, such shall we be by and by, when He appears in His kingdom. "We know that when He shall appear we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is." Surely it is indeed "a blessed hope," and every one that hath it must needs "purify himself, even as He is pure." We see then that while our hope becomes bright and real just in so far as we walk soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world, so the cultivation of this blessed hope helps us and stimulates us thus to live.

(W. H. M. H. Aitken.)

These words of Goethe, repeated by Carlyle in the happiest and most auspicious moment of his life, ought to be in the heart and on the lips of every earnest man and woman. Half the energy of the world is wasted in vain regrets or in paralysing despair. The world needs, more than anything else, a continual reinforcement of its faith in the noblest things and in its own future. Its mistakes are of small account so long as it is true to high aims and firm in the conviction that they can be realised. The moment of waning faith and fading hope is also, and preeminently, the moment of despair. A glance beneath the surface of any decaying civilisation in the past always discovers an expiring belief in progress; a glance beneath the surface of any advancing and triumphant civilisation always discerns a high, aspiring hope which believes that all things are possible to those that strive. Pessimism, the religion of despair, once generally accepted would paralyse the race. Half the world is weary, faint-hearted, overborne by calamity and sorrow; it needs, most of all, courage, cheer, and the contagious hope that goes from strong men like an atmosphere. There is a surplusage of truth in the world; men know what they ought to do well enough, but they lack the power to do it. What they need above all things is impulse; instruction is to be found on all sides, but power is not so common. Christ started with the conception of a sick and weary world, and He lived and taught that men might be comforted and healed. Strong, buoyant natures forget too often the hourly need of a world that is still sick and weary; the cry of the children does not shadow often enough the sunshine in which they live. The first, the most imperative, duty of every earnest man and women is to be strong, in order that strength may go from them through every channel of expression and activity. Make yourselves rich in hope, in order that you may have the supreme happiness of giving to the poor. There are men and women in every community who have a tonic quality in them, whose very presence inspires hope and reinforces faith. They carry in their faces a revelation of the strength which comes with a strong healthy grasp upon life, and a clear, far-sighted outlook upon its experiences and vicissitudes. They say, with the force of personal example and influence, "We bid you hope." Is this your message to the men about you?

When I was a boy, just after the marriage of the Prince and Princess of Wales, it was announced that they were to visit the town in which I lived. On the appointed day a rumour spread amongst the expectant crowd that their route was changed for some reason, so that it was probable they would not come. I shall never forget the appearance of the streets and houses. The streets were thronged with working men, shopkeepers, merchants along with their wives and daughters; the windows and the roofs of the houses were filled with anxious people. They wondered whether the royal pair would come or not, but very few went" away. Many had stood there for six hours when the word came, "They are coming in two hours." Did the crowd disperse? No; they waited long and patiently to see a face bowing from a carriage window. The Prince never did anything for them, nor did they expect him to do anything for them, but still they waited, and when he passed, rent the air with cheer after cheer to show their loyalty. How many Christians are waiting longingly for the coming of their Prince and King?

(D. McEwan.)

The glorious appearing of the great God
I. OUR POSITION.

1. The people of God stand between two appearances (vers. 11, 13). We live in an age which is an interval between two appearings of the Lord from heaven. Believers in Jesus are shut off from the old economy by the first coming of our Lord. The times of man's ignorance God winked at, but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent. We are divided from the past by a wall of light, upon whose forefront we read the words Bethlehem, Gethsemane, Calvary. We date from the birth of the Virgin's son: we begin with Anno Domini. All the rest of time is before Christ, and is marked off from the Christian era. The dense darkness of the heathen ages begins to be broken when we reach the first appearing, and the dawn of a glorious day begins. We look forward to a second appearing. Our outlook for the close of this present era is another appearing — an appearing of glory rather than of grace. This is the terminus of the present age. We look from Anno Domini, in which He came the first time, to that greater Anno Domini, or year of our Lord, in which He shall come a second time, in all the splendour of His power, to reign in righteousness, and break the evil powers as with a rod of iron. See, then, where we are: we are compassed about, behind and before, with the appearings of our Lord. Behind us is our trust; before us is our hope.

2. Our position is further described as being in this present world, or age. We are living in the age which lies between the two blazing beacons of the Divine appearings; and we are called to hasten from one to the other. It is but a little time, and He that will come shall come, and will not tarry. Now it is this "present world": oh, how present it is! How sadly it surrounds us! Yet by faith we count these present things to be unsubstantial as a dream; and we look to the things which are not seen, and not present, as being real and eternal. We hurry through this Vanity Fair: before us lies the Celestial City and the coming of the Lord who is the King thereof.

II. I have to call your attention to THE INSTRUCTION which is given to us by the grace of God which has appeared unto all men. A better translation would be, "The grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, disciplining us in order that we may deny ungodliness and worldly lusts."

1. Grace has a discipline. We generally think of law when we talk about schoolmasters and discipline; but grace itself has a discipline and a wonderful training power too. The manifestation of grace is preparing us for the manifestation of glory. What the law could not do, grace is doing. As soon as we come under the conscious enjoyment of the free grace of God, we find it to be a holy rule, a fatherly government, a heavenly training. We find, not self-indulgence, much less licentiousness; but on the contrary, the grace of God both restrains and constrains us; it makes us free to holiness, and delivers us from the law of sin and death by "the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus."

2. Grace has its chosen disciples, for you cannot help noticing that while the eleventh verse says that "the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men," yet it is clear that this grace of God has not exercised its holy discipline upon all men, and therefore the text changes its "all men" into "us."

3. The discipline of grace, according to the apostle, has three results — denying, living, looking.(1) When a young man comes to college he usually has much to unlearn. If his education has been neglected, a sort of instinctive ignorance covers his mind with briars and brambles. If he has gone to some faulty school where the teaching is flimsy, his tutor has first of all to fetch out of him what he has been badly taught. The most difficult part of the training of young men is not to put the right thing into them, but to get the wrong thing out of them. We have learned lessons of worldly wisdom and carnal policy, and these we need to unlearn and deny. The Holy Spirit works this denying in us by the discipline of grace.(2) But then you cannot be complete with a merely negative religion; you must have something positive; and so the next word is living — that "we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world." Observe, that the Holy Ghost expects us to live in this present world, and therefore we are not to exclude ourselves from it. This age is the battle field in which the soldier of Christ is to fight. Society is the place in which Christianity is to exhibit the graces of Christ. You are to shine in the darkness like a light. This life is described in a threefold way —(a) You are, first, to live "soberly" — that is, for yourself. "Soberly" in all your eating and your drinking, and in the indulgence of all bodily appetites — that goes without saying. You are to live soberly in all your thinking, all your speaking, all your acting. There is to be sobriety in all your worldly pursuits. You are to have yourself well in hand: you are to be self-restrained.(b) As to his fellow men the believer lives "righteously." I cannot understand that Christian who can do a dirty thing in business. Craft, cunning, over-reaching, misrepresentation, and deceit are no instruments for the hand of godly men. Dishonesty and falsehood are the opposites of godliness. A Christian man may be poor, but he must live righteously: he may lack sharpness, but he must not lack integrity. A Christian profession without uprightness is a lie. Grace must discipline us to righteous living.(c) Towards God we are told in the text we are to be godly. Every man who has the grace of God in him indeed and of a truth, will think much of God. God will enter into all his calculations, God's presence will be his joy, God's strength will be his confidence, God's providence will be his inheritance, God's glory will be the chief end of his being, God's law the guide of his conversation. Now, if the grace of God, which has appeared so plainly to all men, has really come with its sacred discipline upon us, it is teaching us to live in this threefold manner.(3) Once more, there is looking as well as living. One work of the grace of God is to cause us to be "looking for that blessed hope of the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ." What is that "blessed hope"? Why, first, that when He comes we shall rise from the dead, if we have fallen asleep; and that, if we are alive and remain, we shall be changed at His appearing. Our hope is that we shall be approved of Him, and shall hear Him say, "Well done, good and faithful servant." This hope is not of debt, but of grace: though our Lord will give us a reward, it will not be according to the law of works. We expect to be like Jesus when we shall see Him as He is.

III. The text sets forth certain of OUR ENCOURAGEMENTS.

1. In this great battle for right, and truth, and holiness, what could we do if we were left alone? But our first encouragement is that grace has come to our rescue; for in the day when the Lord Jesus Christ appeared among men, He brought for us the grace of God to help us to overcome all iniquity. He that struggleth now against inbred sin has the Holy Spirit within him to help him. He that goes forth to fight against evil in other men by preaching the gospel has the same Holy Ghost going with the truth to make it like a fire and like a hammer.

2. A second encouragement is that another appearing is coming. He who bowed His head in weakness, and died in the moment of victory, is coming in all the glory of His endless life. When the hour shall strike He shall appear in the majesty of God to put an end to the dominion of sin, and bring in endless peace. Satan shall be bruised under our feet shortly; wherefore comfort one another with these words, and then prepare for further battle. Grind your swords, and be ready for close fighting! Trust in God, and keep your powder dry.

3. Another encouragement is that we are serving a glorious Master. The Christ whom we follow is not a dead prophet like Mahomet. Truly we preach Christ crucified; but we also believe in Christ risen from the dead, in Christ gone up on high, in Christ soon to come a second time. He lives, and He lives as the great God and our Saviour.

4. Then come the tender thoughts with which I finish, the memories of what the Lord has done for us to make us holy: "Who gave Himself for us." Special redemption, redemption with a wondrous price — "who gave Himself for us." He died — forget not that — died that your sins might die, died that every lust might be dragged into captivity at His chariot wheels. He gave Himself for you that you might give yourselves for Him. Again, He died that He might purify us — purify us unto Himself. How clean we must be if we are to be clean unto Him! The apostle finishes up by saying that we are to be a people "zealous of good works." Would to God that all Christian men and women were disciplined by Divine grace till they became zealous for good works! In holiness zeal is sobriety. We are not only to approve of good works, and speak for good works, but we are to be red hot for them. We are to be on fire for everything that is right and true.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. True believers in Jesus Christ look and wish that He may come, AS HE WILL BE THEN GLORIFIED IN A WORLD WHERE HE HAS BEEN SET AT NOUGHT AND DESPISED. If the sun, after a whole day's dark and uninterrupted gloom of clouds, sets in an evening of thick mists and impenetrable darkness, who is there that rejoices not when the next morning opens in a clear and radiant sky, and a full and unclouded effulgence of his splendour? And if Jesus, the Sun of Righteousness, thus leaves our world in darkness and reproach, all those who have a sincere and cordial value for Him will hail Him when He returns the second time in His own and His Father's glories, and will often wish, during the night of His absence, that the hour was come when He shall appear in that might and majesty, in that honour and glory which belong to Him, and by which He will dissipate all the misconstructions concerning Him, as the bright beams of the rising sun scatter the shades of thickest darkness, and pour glory and heat, peace and pleasure, over the face of gladdened nations.

II. True believers look and wish for the coming of Jesus Christ, in order TO PUT AN END TO THEIR PAIN AND SORROW. The wound that was inflicted upon our nature at the first grand apostasy has been kept open and bleeding on through all generations; and when we take a view of mankind, what misery and wretchedness from all quarters meet our eyes, and affect our hearts! Not to mention those great capital calamities which with an enormous scythe lay waste whole cities and kingdoms at once, i.e., earthquakes, famines, pestilence, and war. There are many smaller mischiefs that harass and afflict us; I mean the dreadful train of common diseases, from which no city or town, it may be, is ever entirely free, and which often bring us to an untimely grave, even in the very bloom and strength of our constitutions. Add to all this, that pain and sorrow have still a wider spread in our world, from the ten thousand vexations and disappointments of the present state. Such and so various are the pains and sorrows of the present state, but they shall all be ended at the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. When this wished for period shall arrive, "God shall wipe away all tears from our eyes," from what causes soever they have flowed, and "there shall be no sorrow nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain, for the former things are passed away."

III. Another reason why true believers look and wish for the second coming of Christ is, BECAUSE HE WILL AT HIS SECOND COMING FINISH THE REIGN OF DEATH. How dismal and distressing is the reign of death at present! What havoc does he make, in a few years, in our world! How many of our dear relatives, the brethren of our flesh, and of our friends, the brethren of our souls, have fallen victims to the power of this great and general destroyer? And we ourselves must soon expect to feel the stroke of this king of terrors. We may literally say that we are dying daily. In the midst of life we are in death. Death has sent us the heralds of his approach, and we hear the sound of his feet and the sharpening of his dart in every disease and pain, in every infirmity and decay that we feel. But when Christ comes, death shall be no more. His prison, the grave, shall be broken up, and his chains, powerful as they may be, shall all be burst asunder. "Because Christ lives, His people shall live also."

IV. Another reason why true believers look and wish for Christ's second coming, is taken from THE GREAT GLORY AND THE CONSUMMATION OF THEIR FELICITY WHICH THEY SHALL THEN OBTAIN. They are then acknowledged, approved, and welcomed as the children of God, and the brethren and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. And as their positive felicity, their joy without measure and without end, in the presence and fruition of God and the Lamb, lies before them, and ages appear rolling on after ages in the immense eternity, all bright in glory and rich in blessing, so neither is there any possible fear that their bliss shall ever fail, or that the possessors shall ever be removed away from their enjoyments. Lessons:

1. Let our thoughts dwell upon this great and glorious subject. Even the very make of our bodies themselves, though our inferior part, shows us that we are not to grovel upon earth, but to view and contemplate our kindred skies; and shall not our souls mount up from this low world, and its vain scenes, and look forward "to the things which are not seen? As risen wish Christ seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God; set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth" (Colossians 3:1-4). Oh for the telescope of faith to be often lifted up to explore not only the land that is afar off, but the coming of the Prince of it in all His glory! Let us see the heavens opening to give Him a passage unto our earth, the solemn state of His majestic Person, the bright armies of the skies in attendance upon Him, to augment the glory of His coming, and to perform His will.

2. What a miserable portion have those souls who have no interest in the blessedness and glories of this day! To be excluded from a lot and portion in the honours and happiness conferred on the children of God and the redeemed of the Lamb at His second coming, and to be consigned over to the miseries of endless perdition with the devil and his angels; to dwell with devouring flames and everlasting burnings; what a fearful end is here I And if this be the end of sinners, then what avail all their present worldly possessions, pleasures, and honours?

3. Let us give all diligence that we may be prepared for the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us keep this solemn day in our continual view, and let none of the vanities of this life be ever suffered to intercept its prospect, or darken its glories. And whilst we contemplate it, let us be getting ready for it. Let us be concerned that our corruptions may be more and more subdued, and that our graces may be more and more exercised and strengthened.

(J. King, B. A.)

I. It is clear THAT THE NATURE OF OUR EXPECTATION DEPENDS UPON THE NATURE OF THE PROMISES WHICH EXCITE IT; it will be more or less strong and definite as they are more or less so. Now when we examine these promises, we find in them a remarkable mixture of certainty and of uncertainty; certainty as to the event — uncertainty as to the time of its occurrence. History, as well as prophecy, viewed as a whole, gives the Christian student the same result — certainty, and yet uncertainty; assuring us of His coming, and yet leaving the time of that coming a mystery. And the nature of our expectation must, as we have said, correspond to the nature of the revelation which excites it: it, too, must be thus certain, and yet uncertain. We are fully persuaded as to the event; doubtful, and in anxious suspense, as to the time of it; — now "lifting up our heads because our redemption draweth nigh," now saying, "Why tarry the wheels of His chariot?" Now full of joy at some sign accomplished — now filled with sadness at finding that it is yet to be fulfilled: fear mingling with our hope, and yet hope brightening our despondency; but, through all, sustained by the assured certainty of the event which so perplexes us by the uncertainty of its arrival.

II. BUT WE HAVE NOW TO INQUIRE WHY WE ARE THUS KEPT IN THIS STATE OF UNCERTAINTY. The answer to this question is to be found in that fact which explains so much that is difficult in Scripture, namely, that this present dispensation is merely preparatory to another. The whole life of each Christian, and, therefore, the whole life of the Church, is the time given for the acquisition of that character which we shall need in heaven. To this, every event in our life, every arrangement in our dispensation, was designed to be conducive; and, if you bear this in mind, you will see how it was necessary that there should be this mixture of assured certainty and anxious suspense in our expectation of the Lord's second coming. In the first place, the fact that Christ shall come must be clear and indubitable, in order to fix, steadily, the hope of the Church, in all ages, upon Christ, her future King. Beyond time, and the things of time — above its mists and its storms, we must see, and see clearly, Jesus Christ our King. It is for this reason that the coming of Christ is assured to us by every possible assurance that can be given, so that doubt concerning it is, to him who believes the Bible, impossible. This much, then, of our present state is clearly intelligible: we can see why the fact of the second advent should be certain; but why should the time be uncertain? — why are we in this state of anxious suspense as to when our Lord is to appear? We understand this when we remember that besides the general purpose of giving us a love for, and a dependence upon, Christ, by setting His coming before us as the one thing to be looked for, the promise of His coming is to have certain special effects upon us; it is to produce in us certain particular tempers and feelings — two especially: it was designed to comfort us under trial, and also to be a strong motive to watchfulness. Had the time of our Lord's second coming been known from the first it would have utterly frustrated the design of making this life a state of probation and of gradual sanctification. The early Church would have been languidly indifferent; the later Church intensely and absorbingly expectant: the one would have been tried above measure, the other have had no trials at all. The one would have been patient, but not watchful; the other would be watchful, but not patient; neither, in the true sense of the word, could have been said to wait for the coming of Christ. But if, on the contrary, the date of this event is concealed, and the prophecies and signs of it so contrived that at any given moment there may be reason for thinking it to be near at hand, and reasons, also, for pronouncing it to be far off; if now it needs the straining gaze of ardent faith to catch a glimpse of it, and now it seems advancing full upon our view; if now it seems to approach, and now to recede, so that the earlier Church might sometimes deem it nigh, and the latest generation sometimes think it far off, then at all times, and in all ages, would this event have its full practical effect upon the Church.

III. BUT THIS IS NOT THE ONLY REASON WHY THE TIME OF HIS COMING SHOULD BE THUS UNCERTAIN. So far we have been viewing it with reference only to the saints; it may, and should, be viewed with reference to the ungodly. To those who love Him not, as well as to those who do, it is said, "Behold, I come quickly." And what is the promise of the second advent meant to be to such? A solemn warning; and a fearful snare if they neglect that warning.

(Abp. Magee.)

Homilist.
I. AN IMPORTANT CHARACTER.

1. His Divine character — "the great God." "Great" in majesty, wisdom, knowledge, power, love. Crowned with all perfections peculiar to Deity.

2. His relative character — "our Saviour."

3. In this combined and glorious character He will make His second appearance.

II. AN IMPORTANT EVENT.

1. Sudden.

2. Glorious.

3. A contrast to His first appearance in humiliation.

III. AN IMPORTANT EXERCISE. "Looking for," etc.

(Homilist.)

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