Sermon 2731. Bringing Sinners to the Savior
A SERMON INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD'S-DAY, JUNE 16, 1901.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON LORD'S-DAY EVENING, AUGUST 22, 1880.
"And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, Have brought unto You my son, who has a dumb spirit; and wherever hetakes him, he tears him: and he foams, and gnashes with his teeth, and pines away: and I spoke to Your disciples that theyshould cast him out; and they could not. He answered him, and said, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you?How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to Me. And they brought him to Him: and when he saw Him, straightway the spiritconvulsed him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming at the mouth." Mark 9:17-20.
I DO not intend to speak so much upon the whole of this text as to use the latter part of it as a sort of motto for an appealto Christian people to be diligent in the service of their Lord. If we wish to do good to our fellow creatures, the best thingthat we can do for them is to bring them to the Lord Jesus Christ. At the feet of Jesus we ourselves obtained salvation ifwe are saved-we never had any true peace of heart until we came to Christ-and we never would have had any if we had remainedapart from Him. The great Physician, who healed our soul-sickness, was Christ Jesus the Lord! And if we are to be the meansof blessing to the sons of men, we must recommend to them the Physician whom we have proved to be so exceedingly useful toourselves. They cannot be blessed, any more than we could be, until they are brought to Jesus!
When any of us desire to be of service to others, it is well for us to learn the best way of setting about our task, for ifwe do not know how to go to work, all our earnestness may be expended upon that which is useless. But when we understand whatwe are doing and concentrate all our powers upon wise and proper efforts, then are we likely to succeed. To my mind, the firstthing that we have to strive after, in the name of God, and by the help of the Holy Spirit, is to bring men to Jesus Christ-andGod forbid that we should ever lift even a finger to point them anywhere else for salvation! Each true Believer, as well asevery Christian minister, should say-
"'Tis all my business here below To cry, 'Behold the Lamb!'"
We are to point sinners to Jesus- all the while looking at Him and praying that they, also, may look unto Him and live.
I think I need hardly remind you that every Christian is bound to give himself to the blessed work of bringing sinners tothe Savior. Common humanity should lead us to attempt this task. Is it necessary for me to bid you love your fellows and seektheir good? Why, even they who have no Christianity are often exceedingly generous, humane and kind. Some persons whose religiousopinions are full of error have, nevertheless, manifested great tenderness and sympathy towards the sick, the suffering andthe poor-and they have set a noble example of what others might do for the needy. Much more, then, ought the followers ofthe loving Christ to have tender, sympathetic hearts, and anxiously desire to do the most they can for their fellow men. Ishall take it for granted, my dear Hearers, that you who are members of this Church, or of any other true Christian Church,are desirous to be the means of blessing to those who are about you and that you also believe that the surest way to blessthem is to bring them to Christ!
I. So, coming to our text, I begin by remarking that PARENTS ARE THE FIRST PERSONS WHO SHOULD LABOR TO BRING THEIR CHILDRENTO CHRIST.
In the 17th verse, we read that the epileptic youth was, in a sense, brought to Christ by his father. "Master," said the poorman, "I have brought unto You my son, who has a dumb spirit." He hardly knew how to set to work, for he somehow confused Christwith His disciples. So, as the Lord Jesus was away upon the mountain, he brought his son to the disciples. They could notcast out the devil, yet it was a right thing, on the part of the father, to bring his child to them. It showed a loving spiritand a desire to see him cured. I am afraid there are some fathers, who even call themselves Christians, who have not yet doneas much for their sons and daughters as that father did for his boy, for they have not asked for the sympathy and help ofChristian people on behalf of their own children. I am utterly ashamed of some professors of religion who say that they reallymust leave that matter to their children. I have heard of one man who said that he did not like to prejudice his boy, so hewould not say anything to him about religion! The devil, however, was quite willing to prejudice the lad, so very early inlife he learned to swear, although his father had a foolish and wicked objection to teaching him to pray! If you ever feelit incumbent upon you not to prejudice a piece of ground by sowing good seed in it, you may rest assured that the weeds willnot imitate your impartiality, but they will take possession of the land in a very sad and shocking manner! Where the plowdoes not go, and the seed is not sown, the weeds are quite sure to multiply- and if children are left untutored and untrained,all sorts of evils will spring up in their hearts and lives!
If a professedly Christian parent has not even put his children under godly tuition, what shall I say of him? He must be aChristian watered down to a very low point, or beaten out to extreme thinness. There must be very little, if any, Divine Graceleft in such a man as that! We have known wealthy Christian men send their boys to school where the whole influence was altogetheragainst religion, or else utterly neutral. Girls have sometimes been sent abroad to learn a foreign language in the midstof those who are steeped in gross error-and it does not seem to have occurred to the parents that they first ought to havecared about the souls of their daughters. Oh, dear me! Are such people as these worthy to be called Christians at all? Ordo they merely wear the Christian label upon their breasts without having the Grace of God in their hearts? Dear Brother orSister, if you cannot speak to your own children altogether as you can wish about their souls, do follow the example of thisman and bring your dear ones to the disciples, that they may see what they can do for them in the Master's name. Still, rememberthat there was a mistake in this father's action because, at first, he made the disciples the terminus of his journey insteadof merely coming to them en route to Christ. We may make Christian men the way by which we try to get to Christ, but to stopat them and not to bring the children to Christ, Himself, will be fatal to all our desire for the salvation of their souls!
This man did not see his child cured by the disciples, yet he persevered after his first failure. ' 'Master," he said, "Ihave brought unto You my son, who has a dumb spirit...I spoke to Your disciples that they should cast him out; and they couldnot." In effect, he said, "They have failed, so I have brought him to You." So, if the Sunday school teacher has not beenblessed to your girl-if the instruction in that Bible class, to which she has gone for years, has not been the means of herconversion-if your boy, after having had the best religious training, remains unsaved, go straight away to the great Masterin your earnest prayers and so bring your dear children to Christ! I am not a believer in the theory that some hold-that childrendo not grow up in the fear of God if they have been trained in it. It is true that there have been many ministers' sons whohave been ungodly young men-I have had very sad proof of that fact-yet I fear that some of those ministers may have neglectedtheir own families while they were preaching to others! It is very easy for a man-especially if his wife does not help himto train their children aright-to neglect the affairs of his own family while he is continually busy about the work of theChurch. And thus his own children are not trained up in the way they should go. I wish that this evil was not so common asit is, but I do know that some have grown up ungodly because there was not due attention paid to them. The vineyard at homewas neglected while other people's vineyards were being kept.
If you have no family prayer and your children do not grow up to be Christians, how can you expect that they will? If thereis no altar in the house, is it right to call it God's house at all? Wherever Abraham pitched his tent, he built an altar-andthat is the custom of all those who live near to God-they sanctify their dwellings with daily prayer and praise. But if thatpractice is neglected and the father keeps his religion in the background and does not let it be seen at home, I do not marvelif his boys and girls grow up to say that there is nothing in it! It is a sad thing when children can say, "Father made aprofession of religion, but his life was not consistent with it. Mother also professed to be a Christian, but we never heardher speak of Christ. She never prayed with us, or, in our hearing, for us."
Where no influence is used, it is not probable that there can be any result! I told you, the other night, of a dear Brotherwho said, when I exhorted my hearers to select somebody to pray for, that he had prayed for one person for 20 years and thathe is not converted yet. So I said to him, "Have you spoken to your friend personally about his soul? Have you made it yourbusiness to go down to his house and tell him that you are anxious about him?" "No," he replied, "I cannot say that I havedone so." "Well, then," I asked, "do you expect God to hear prayers of that kind? Suppose I were to pray that it might bea good harvest over in that field and yet, for 20 years, I did not sow any corn there? The probability is that when I didsow some, I should get my prayers answered, and gather in the harvest." If we pray for anything, God expects us to use theproper means of obtaining it-and if we neglect the means, we have no right to expect Him to believe in the sincerity of ourprayer. If a father and mother pray for their children, but never pray with them, or speak to them personally about the welfareof their souls, they must not wonder if they are not brought to Christ.
II. But, secondly, although parents should be the first persons to bring their children to Christ, WE MAY, EACH ONE OF US,HELP IN THIS BLESSED WORK. Our text says, "They brought him to Him." That is, the disciples helped the father to bring thispoor epileptic child to Jesus.
In seeking to bring sinners to the Savior, we shall find that some are brought to Him by almost unconscious influence. I believethat where a man is full of the Grace of God, he is like a Leyden jar that is charged with electricity-if he possesses trueholiness, he will give some of it to others almost without knowing that he is doing so. I have met with many singular instancesof that indirect way of doing good. Some three or four months ago there was a working man, whose wife, being suddenly takenill, needed a certain Christian woman to come and attend her. The husband went to her house to try to find her. It was onthe Sabbath evening, so she was where she ought to be at that time-in the House of God, in a little Chapel not many milesfrom here.
The man knew that he must have this good woman to go to his wife, so he went to the Chapel. And as he could not get her atonce, he waited for a few minutes and listened to the preacher. He was interested in what he heard, so he went to that Chapelagain the next Sabbath morning. Before long, he was brought to know the Lord and now he has joined the Church and, by hisearnest work, is a great help to the minister. Well, now, if that good woman had not been a Christian, she might not havebeen in that Chapel! If she had not been a regular attendant to the means of Grace, she would not have been there and theman would not have had to go to the place where he found blessing to his soul!
I know of another case that may seem equally strange. A man and his wife went to live in a certain street where nobody, totheir knowledge, attended any place of worship. It is dreadful to think that, in London, you may go into street after streetwhere a person who goes to either a Church or a Meeting House is quite an exception to the general rule! It is sad that itshould be so, but it certainly is. These two people regularly went to a place of worship and it happened there was livingin the same street a man who, when he resided in the country, was a regular attendant on the means of Grace. And, as thesepeople went by his window, Sunday after Sunday, although they did not know him and never said a word to him-and were evenquite unconscious of their influence over him-they were preaching to him by their action, for it rebuked him and he said tohimself, "What would my mother think if she knew how I spend my Sundays? There are two good people who, are just like my fatherand mother at home, who, about this time, are going to the Meeting House." He brushed himself up for the evening service,found his way to the House of God and soon became a Christian!
When you are doing anything that is right, you cannot tell how much blessing you are scattering! Any man or woman, a masteror a servant, may be of essential service in bringing others to Jesus simply by a happy, cheerful, kind, gentle behavior.You may not have the opportunity of saying much for Christ-perhaps it might not be proper in your position that you shoulddo so-but those about you watch you, they note your genial spirit and they begin to like you. They observe your considerationfor others and they admire it. Then they see your cheerfulness and they wonder what is the secret of it. Possibly you areill and someone comes to visit you. You are very patient, you even sing in the midst of your pain. Persons who see and hearyou, and who note how you bear it all, say to themselves, "There is something within these people that we do not understand."And thus you exercise an influence over them although you may have said very little to them. The fact that you are a Christianis one of the most practical and powerful means of bringing others to inquire what this religion is which elevates, sweetens,softens and yet strengthens-and makes people to be manifestly like their Father in Heaven!
I remember hearing Mr. Jay, of Bath, tell the story of a good girl, a servant, who attended his Meeting House. Her masterand mistress were very strict Church people, and when they found out that Jane went to the Meeting House, they talked to hervery roughly and said that she must give up going there. She answered very gently that she must go where her own soul wasfed and she could not meet their wishes in that matter, though she was willing to do so in everything else. "Very well, Jane,"they replied, "then you must take a month's notice, for we cannot have any of these horrible Dissenters living with us." Thatevening, as the lady and gentleman sat talking together, one of them said, "She is really a good girl. Do you not think weare treating her very badly? Suppose she were to insist that we should go to the Meeting House with her-we would say thatit was very wrong for her to tyrannize over us-so is it not wrong for us to try to tyrannize over her?" "She took it so gently,too," said the other. "We would not have stood it as she did. Suppose we go and see what this Mr. Jay is like whom she goesto hear-for if he is a good man, she may as well go to the Meeting House as to the Church."
They went and, in telling the story, Mr. Jay said, "they have continued to come and hear Mr. Jay up to the present time."So, you see, that the servant had, by her consistent Christian character, brought her master and mistress round to her wayof thinking although they could not coerce her to theirs-and you can judge what influence you also may exert over others ifyou have the Grace of God abounding in you! May God fill us full of it, that we may be the means of bringing many sinnersto the Savior! Yet we must not be content with unconscious influence-and I hope none of us will be like the young gentlemanwho advertised that he would like board and lodging where his Christian example would be considered to be an equivalent forwhat he received!
In many instances, much good has been done in bringing souls to Christ by casual seed-sowing. Eternity alone will disclosethe good results that have sometimes followed from the utterance of one short word. I trace all the light I have upon a certainsubject to a remark made by the usher in a school where I was many years ago. He was teaching geography and he let drop asentence, which I need not repeat, but I remember it to this day, and it later had an influence upon my whole career and character.I also remember a few gracious words that were spoken to me by a godly old woman who used to read her Gospel Heraldand talkto me about the power of Divine Grace. I rejoiced to get a grip of the grand old Calvinistic doctrine, very much through halfa dozen sentences that fell from the lips of that poor, humble Christian woman, whom it was my great happiness to help, inlater years, when she was in poverty. I felt that I owed so much to her that I must do anything I could to comfort her!
You will often prove that, as George Herbert says-
"A verse may find him who a sermon flies"- and that a short sentence may strike and stick where a long address may altogetherfall flat. Give away a tract whenever you can. Better still, give a little book that will not be torn up-one that has a coveron it-for you will probably see it upon the table when you call again. Speak a word for the Master whenever it is possibleand offer a short prayer at every convenient opportunity. I think we should make it a rule, whenever we hear a foul or blasphemousword in the street- (and, alas, we constantly do so)-always to pray for the person who utters it. Perhaps then the devil mightfind it expedient not to stir up people to swear, if he knew that it excited Christians to pray. Try it, at all events, andsee whether it may not have a subtle power to stop the profanity which is so terribly on the increase.
Over and above all this indirect service, there ought to be direct effort made by all Christians for the conversion of thosearound them. Try what you can do, each one, by personally addressing other people. I have heard of one, an utter strangerto religion, who was brought to Christ through a gentleman tapping him on the shoulder and saying to him, "Well, my Brother,how does your soul prosper today?" The one to whom he spoke turned round, having never heard such a question before, and theother, as he saw his face, exclaimed, "I beg a thousand pardons! I thought you were my old friend, So-and-So, who has beenin the habit of putting that question to me." It was a mistake, but it was a very blessed mistake, for the Spirit of God usedit to the awakening of a conscience that was lying dormant-an honest conscience which only needed to be awakened by some suchstartling inquiry as that! Dear Friends, try to speak personally to some friends about their immortal souls! I know that itis not easy work for some of you to break the ice and make a beginning in such service, but I can assure you that you willdo it better and better the more often you attempt it.
Beside that, bring people to the means of Grace with a definite view to their conversion. Help me all you can in trying topreach to the people. Get any in whom you are concerned to come to the House of God. A young man who grew
up to be a most useful minister of Christ had been entirely careless about Divine things until a neighbor said to him, "Ihave a sitting in the Tabernacle. If you will come with me, you can use my ticket." The friend, who made that kind suggestion,stood through all the service where he could see the young man, and he was earnestly praying for him all the while. The resultof lending his seat on that one occasion, was that the young man was brought to the Savior! He was soon in the Sunday schoolas a teacher and, afterwards, as I told you, he became a most useful minister. Are there not more of you who might try thatplan? I know that some of you have done this-then do it over and over again! Deny yourself of a Christian privilege for thesake of bringing others where the Lord will be likely to meet with them, especially if you back up the preacher's word withyour continual prayer on behalf of those whom you have brought to listen to his message!
Then, if you really want to bring souls to Christ, remember that there are the young to be taught. Just now, all our schoolsare languishing for lack of teachers. O you who would have your crown studded with gems, seek them among the little ones!It is a happy task, however arduous it may be, so give yourselves to it with your whole heart and soul. Others of you, ifyou do not feel called to take a class of children, might sometimes speak words of warning to the grosser sinners with whomyou come into contact-and words of encouragement to those who are seeking the Savior. There are many and many a poor sinnerfloundering in the Slough of Despond who only need someone, rightly named, Help, to come and point out to them where the steppingstonesare, or to lend them a hand lest they should altogether sink under their crushing burden of guilt.
This I know, dear Christian Friends-if you are not trying to bring sinners to the Savior, you are missing the chief end ofyour being and you are also missing the most joyous work that can ever occupy your attention. Oh, if you bring a soul to Jesus,the joy of it is unspeakable! I have before my mind's eye, at this moment, a little cottage in the country in which livedthe first person of whom I heard that I had been the means of bringing her to Jesus. After preaching for some little time,I wanted some seal to my service and when the deacon of the little Church of which I was the minister said to me, "There wasa poor woman cut to the quick, the other Sunday night, and I believe she has found the Savior," I posted off directly to seeher. Those of you who have had a similar experience can imagine the joy I had in hearing her tell the story. She went Homeyears ago-perhaps the first of those who have gone to Heaven, whom God has called by my means-but I was so glad, so happy,so delighted with my first convert that I say to you, "Seek the same joy, if you, yourself, know the Lord!"
So that is my second point, that all of us, who are, believers in Christ, may bring others to Him.
III. My third observation is that THERE ARE SOME OCCASIONS THAT NEED UNITED EXERTIONS.
God, the Holy Spirit, of course does the whole work in the conversion of a soul, but He works by instrumentalities, and thereare some desperate cases in which He does not work upon a soul through one instrument, alone, but He moves a number of personsto act together to that end. Our text says, "They brought him to Him." This poor youth was foaming and gnashing with his teeth-andtearing himself just as you have seen persons do in an epileptic fit-so that it took several persons to hold him. Togetherthey grasped him and, with one desperate, united effort, they brought him to the feet of Jesus-and Jesus cast out the evilspirit and healed the poor sufferer.
In this way, people and minister may unite in bringing sinners to the Savior. There may be some persons who come here, whowill never be converted until you and I join in seeking their salvation. Somebody must preach, but other bodies must pray-andif a score of you should be praying about any one person in the congregation, I believe that it will not be long before thatepileptic is cured! The devil himself shall be defeated by the united prayers of many Believers, especially if they are thosemighty prayers of which our Savior spoke when He said, "This kind goes not out but by prayer and fasting"-when the prayingsouls hunger for the salvation of the suffering one and unitedly cry to God to effect it!
We have had much happy union in Christian work, let us have more of it! Say to one another, "While the pastor preaches, wewill pray. No, more than that, we will continually remember him in our prayers, for we know that he needs them and prizesthem." That is quite true, dear Friends, for it is no small thing to minister, every Sabbath, to this great company of peopleand then, through the printed page, to address tens of thousands of readers, even to the utmost ends of the earth. Yes, Ido, indeed, need your prayers and your help-give them to me, for then we may be sure that "they"-that is, all of us together-shallbring many to Jesus!
Another form of cooperation is when there is a soul that has been prayed for, but no answer has come. So you call a few prayingpeople to meet in your house and you tell them the details of the case and make a point of praying especially for that person.I have known instances in which Brothers and Sisters have collected a score of Christian friends, who, perhaps, never beforemet in one place-but they pledged themselves to pray about one particular case and their united prayers have, with God's blessing,accomplished what previously seemed to be impossible! It has been truly said that if you have a very hard thing, you can cutit with something harder. And if any heart is especially hard, God can use the hard, strong, persistent vehemence of othermighty, passionate souls to pray the blessing of eternal life into that stubborn, rebellious heart! I would like to hear morefrequently of friends banding themselves together and meeting in their private houses to pray about somebody or other, makingthe person about whom they are interested the subject of special supplication-that would be the way to bring him to Jesus!
Then, add to that prayer, distinct united effort. Perhaps if one friend should speak to that person, he may resent it. Then,if another should address him, he may receive it coolly. But when another speaks to him, he may begin to listen a little moreattentively-and the next one may be able to put the key into the keyhole and be the means, in the hand of God, of openingthe closed door of that man's heart. If God moves us to join in effort for any soul, I do not believe that we shall oftenfind it to be a failure. At any rate, if a man insists on going down to Hell, I should like that we would make it very difficultfor him to get there! If he will not turn to Christ, I would that we were resolved that it should not be for want of beingprayed for, or for lack of being earnestly pleaded with. We will be clear of his blood-we will shake off the very dust fromour feet against such as determine to remain impenitent-and resolve that, to the utmost of our capacity, Christ shall be setforth, so that if men reject Him at all, they shall willfully reject Him.
Oh, that my words might stir up all of you who profess to be Christians! We have over 5,000 members-nearly six thousand. Oh,if all were alive unto God and earnest in His service-"all at it, and always at it"-what might not be done, God the Holy Spiritblessing our labors? But, alas, there are many people here like the camp-followers of an army who do not fight when the battlecomes on! Those who do the fighting are often hampered by these other people and, sometimes, they almost feel as if they neededto clear the ground of such loiterers and hinderers. But, instead of doing that, I beg all of you, dear Friends, to wake upand see what you can do for the Christ who has done so much for you! Let us all ask to be awakened, again, and to be thoroughlystirred up in the service of the Savior! God grant that this South of London-and the North, and West, and East, too-may bepermeated and saturated with your earnest endeavors to bring sinners to the Savior! The Lord bless you, for Christ's sake!Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: 1 PETER 2:18-25; 3:1-17.
Peter is very practical in his Epistles. In the early days of the faith, Christians occupied a far more difficult and dangerousposition than they do today. They were few in number and greatly despised. All manner of crimes were falsely alleged againstthem-they were accused of things too vile for me to mention. The Apostle, in writing to these Christians, begs them to sobehave that they should commend the Gospel of Christ. Very many of them were servants or slaves, so the Apostle says to theselowly followers of Christ, "Here are your duties"-
1 Peter 2:18-20. Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh For this is thankworthy,if a man for conscience toward God endures grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when you are buffeted foryour faults, you shall take it patiently? But if, when you do well, and suffer for it, you take it patiently, this is acceptablewith God. A sense of injustice stings a man. He does not like to lose his rights, or to be buffeted when he has done no ill.But the Spirit of Christ teaches us to "endure grief, suffering wrongfully"-to bear still, and still to bear. We are to belike the anvil-let others strike us if they will, but we shall wear out the hammers if we only know how to stand still andbear all that is put upon us.
21-23. For even hereunto wereyou called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, thatyou should followHis steps: who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth: who, when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered,He threatened not; but committed Himself to Him that judges righteously. There was no reason why He should be made to suffer,for He had done no wrong. He was buffeted for no fault of His own, yet how patiently He
endured it all! He did not even open His mouth to murmur or complain, but He handed the whole matter over to the Supreme Courtof Appeal-"to Him that judges righteously." It will be wise for us, also, to feel that we can afford to wait, knowing thatour Avenger lives and that, in His own good time, He will rectify all wrongs and justify His people against all their accusers.It is sweet, for the dear love of Jesus, to put up with a thousand things which, otherwise, we should resent. "But," saysone, "if you tread on a worm, it will turn." Perhaps it will, but a Christian is not a worm-he is a being of a nobler orderthan that and he does not go for his example to reptiles-he looks up to Christ and follows His steps.
24, 25. Who His own Selfbore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, shouldlive unto righteousness:by whose stripes you were healed. For you were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop ofyour souls. Therefore, since you have been brought back by the rich Grace of God, continue to bear and forbear, that you maybe the means of bringing others back. That is Peter's counsel to servants, or slaves, as most of them were.
1 Peter 3:1, 2. Likewise, you wives be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the Word, they also may, without the Word,be won by the conversation of the wives; while they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Could any men be wonto Christ without the Word of God? Yes, it was even so in the Apostle's day. When they refused to attend the little Christianmeetings that were being held, and so could not hear what was said, yet, at home, they saw the change that the Gospel of Christhad worked in their wives and they said, "She is quite different from what she used to be. Certainly, she is a far betterwife than any heathen woman is-there must be something in the religion which can make such a change as that." In this way,without the Word, many of them were won to Christ by the godly conversation of their wives.
3, 4. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on ofapparel; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quietspirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. There is no ornament like that! No taste can ever conceive anything solovely as a holy character. No expensive materials, and no ingenious fashioning of them, can ever produce such true beautyas "a meek and quiet spirit." You must have known some godly matrons, venerable Christian women, whose gentle piety has blessedthe whole household of which they formed a part. They attained supreme authority over all by simply yielding-they gained aqueenly position in the house by gentleness and quietness. Nobody dared to offend them-not because they would have been ina passion, but because they were so inoffensive, so kind, so gentle.
5-7. For after this manner in the old time the holy women, also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjectionunto their own husbands: even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters you are, as long as you do well, andare not afraid with any amazement. Likewise, you husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife,as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the Grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered. I t has beenone of the most beautiful results of the spread of the Christian religion that it has uplifted womanhood so that now-insteadof women being, as they were, and still are where the Gospel is not received-the slaves of their husbands, Christianity hastaught that honor should be given to the wife. If there are any husbands who do not so, they err from the Gospel way.
8. Finally, be you all of one mind. Be unanimous. Do not hold Church meetings to talk about nothing, and so quarrel for thelack of something to do. Be united with the resolve that you will glorify God and that there shall be no dissension, no divisionamong you. "Be you all of one mind."
8. Having compassion one of another Have true fellow-feeling towards each other.
8. Love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous. The Christian should be the highest type of gentleman, in every respect themost gentle man, kind, self-forgetful, seeking the comfort and well-being of others to the utmost of his power.
9. Not rendering evil for evil That is beastlike-it is certainly not the rule for a Christian. Good for evil is Godlike. Andyou who are the children of God should seek to act as He does-"not rendering evil for evil."
9. Or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that you are thereunto called, that you should inherit a blessing.Every man should give away according to what he has. He who gives curses probably gives them because he has so much cursingin him. You can always tell what a man is like by noticing what comes from him. If he curses, it is be-
cause curses abound in him. But you are to give blessing to others because you have inherited so much blessing from Christ-yourwhole tone, temper, spirit, language, action should be the means of blessing to others!
10. For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile.Not only no lies, but no guile, no deceit, no shuffling. Say to a man's face all that you say behind his back. You will soonbe in trouble if you have two tales to tell-one in his presence and the other in his absence-but if you are free from "policy"-from"knowing how to play your cards," as the world says, then shall it be seen that you have one of the attributes of a true Christian.If you refrain your lips, that they speak no guile, people will know where to find you and they will wantto find you, forsuch men are always in demand.
11, 12, Let him turn away from evil, andseek to do good; let him seekpeace, andpursue it For the eyes ofthe Lord are overthe righteous, and His ears are open unto their prayers: but the face ofthe Lord is against them that do evil He "sets Hisface against them," as we say that we set our face against certain company which we do not approve. But "the eyes of the Lordare over the righteous"-that is, those who seek to do good to others, for Christ's sake, are under the special protectionof God-and they have the high privilege of being permitted to pray with the certainty that "His ears are open unto their prayers."
13-15. And who is he that will harm you, if you are followers of that which is good? But and ifyou suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are you: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; but sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: andbe ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason for the hope that is in you with meekness and fear Haveyour doctrinal views and all your knowledge of Christ packed away in a handy form, so that when people want to know what youbelieve, you can tell them! If they wish to know why you believe that you are saved, have your answer all ready in a few plain,simple sentences-and in the gentlest and most modest spirit make your confession of faith to the praise and glory of God.Who knows but what such good seed will bring forth an abundant harvest?
16, 17. Having a good conscience that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuseyour good conversation in Christ For it is better, if the will of God is so, that you suffer for well doing, than for evildoing. Who can doubt the truth of that clear declaration?