1 Corinthians 1:8
He will sustain you to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Sermons
Firm to the EndH. J. Wilmot-Buxton1 Corinthians 1:8
Divine BlessingsJ. Lyth, D. D.1 Corinthians 1:1-9
Grace and PeaceC. Hodge, D. D.1 Corinthians 1:1-9
No Peace Without ChristJ. Pulsford.1 Corinthians 1:1-9
Paul's Claim to ApostleshipR. Tuck 1 Corinthians 1:1-9
Sosthenes a BrotherA. Scott.1 Corinthians 1:1-9
St. Paul and the ApostleshipC. Lipscomb 1 Corinthians 1:1-9
The Apostolic SalutationsDean Stanley.1 Corinthians 1:1-9
The Approach to RebukeE. Hurndall 1 Corinthians 1:1-9
The Authority of the Christian MinisterJ. Lyth, D. D.1 Corinthians 1:1-9
The Call of God IsJ. Lyth, D. D.1 Corinthians 1:1-9
The Church in CorinthM. Dods, D. D.1 Corinthians 1:1-9
The Peace of the Christian1 Corinthians 1:1-9
The SalutationThe Study1 Corinthians 1:1-9
The SalutationF. W. Robertson, M. A.1 Corinthians 1:1-9
Three Notes of the ChurchPrincipal Edwards.1 Corinthians 1:1-9
Threefold SanctificationProf. Godet., C. H. Spurgeon.1 Corinthians 1:1-9
Thanksgiving on Account of Their GiftsH. Bremne 1 Corinthians 1:4-9
Apostolic Congratulation and WarningF. W. Robertson, M. A.1 Corinthians 1:4-13
Apostolic Thanksgiving ForJ. Lyth, D. D.1 Corinthians 1:4-13
Bearing Witness to the TruthR. K. Smoot, D. D.1 Corinthians 1:4-13
Christian ExcellenceJ. Willcox.1 Corinthians 1:4-13
Enriched by ChristMethodist Times1 Corinthians 1:4-13
Exemplary Gratitude and Precious ConfidenceD. Thomas D. D.1 Corinthians 1:4-13
Life Enriched Through ChristChas. Gore, M. A.1 Corinthians 1:4-13
Our Lord Jesus Christ IsClerical World1 Corinthians 1:4-13
Spiritual Riches by ChristJ. Cornford.1 Corinthians 1:4-13
The Blessings Which the GospelC. Simeon, M. A.1 Corinthians 1:4-13
The Enriching Power of GodN. Schenk, D. D.1 Corinthians 1:4-13
The Grace and Gifts of GodT. H. Barnett.1 Corinthians 1:4-13
The Power of UtteranceH. E. Channing, D. D.1 Corinthians 1:4-13
Utterance and KnowledgePrincipal Edwards.1 Corinthians 1:4-13
Christ's Second Coming1 Corinthians 1:7-8
Confirming GraceJ. Lyth, D. D.1 Corinthians 1:7-8
Eternal BlamelessnessH. Bonar, D. D.1 Corinthians 1:7-8
Faith and Preparation as to the Second Coming of ChristA. Thomson, D. D.1 Corinthians 1:7-8
Firm to the EndH. J. W. Buxton, M. A.1 Corinthians 1:7-8
GiftProf. Godet.1 Corinthians 1:7-8
Gifts and Graces1 Corinthians 1:7-8
Gifts and PrayerR. Bickersteth.1 Corinthians 1:7-8
The Christian's StrengthBp. Bethel.1 Corinthians 1:7-8
The Coming of Christ1 Corinthians 1:7-8
The Revelation of Jesus ChristThe Study1 Corinthians 1:7-8
The Uncertainty of Christ's ComingW. A. Butler, M. A.1 Corinthians 1:7-8
UnimpeachedCanon Evans.1 Corinthians 1:7-8
WaitingH. J. W. Buxton, M. A.1 Corinthians 1:7-8
Waiting for the Coming of the LordT. Dale, M. A.1 Corinthians 1:7-8
Christ Coming, and Christ HereR. Tuck 1 Corinthians 1:7-9
Waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ. Old Testament worthies waited for the advent of Messiah and the consolation of Israel. New Testament saints wait for the second coming of the Lord, the completion of the Church in holiness, and its entrance into his glory at his appearing. They already possess Christ by faith. He answers for them in order to their justification, and he dwells in them in order to their sanctification. They love him as their Saviour unseen, and therefore they long to see him as he is. Men who are afraid of judgment hope for acquittal; men who are weary and worn hope for rest; men whose earthly course has been disappointing hope for a better world; but none of these wishes or expectations come up to the blessed hope which is distinctively Christian. We look for the Saviour. We wait for the apocalypse of our Lord.

I. THE GROUND ON WHICH WE CHERISH THIS EXPECTATION. It is simply the word of promise. In parables, and in plain statements also, Jesus Christ assured his disciples that he would return in an unexpected hour. At his ascension the heavenly messengers, "men in white apparel," said explicitly to the "men of Galilee" that "this Jesus" would return from heaven. Accordingly the apostles infused this hope into the early Church; all the Epistles refer to it; and the last book of the Bible closes with a repetition of the Lord's promise: "Behold, I come quickly;" and the response of the Church: "Even so, come, Lord Jesus!" We do not entertain any question of probability. For Christians the matter rests on a sure word of prophecy and promise, pledging the truth of the Son of God. If any persons are capable of believing that the Son of God spoke at random or kindled by his words expectations that are never to be fulfilled, we cannot prove to them that Christ will come again. But all who reverence him as One in whose mouth no guile was ever found, are bound to believe that he will be revealed in his glory; and all who love him will look for his appearing.

II. REASONS FOR OUR WAITING FOR THE LORD.

1. "We see not yet all things put under him," and we long to do so. Promises of universal sovereignty and honour made to Christ in the Psalms wait for fulfilment. Prayers of many generations made "for him" as well as through him, wait for the answer. Therefore the Church, believing the promises and continuing the prayers, above all, loving him to whom such things are promised and the ardour of such prayers is devoted, cannot but wait for the Lord as night watchers wait for the morning. Ever since the Ascension, Christ... has had, by appointment of the Father "all authority in heaven and earth." The glory in heaven is hidden from us, but all may see that since the day of his ascension his Name has been rising continually above all other names known to mankind, and has so extended the area of its fame and influence that it is beyond question the mightiest name upon earth. Still Christ has many enemies. They are not yet made "his foot stool." And many of those who are called Christians are at heart indifferent to his cause, disobedient to his Word, apathetic about his kingdom and glory. Then the tribes and nations of the earth do not to any appreciable extent, even in Christendom, acknowledge or serve the Lord Jesus; and there are vast populations that have scarcely heard his Name. Even in our own country, one is struck with the avoidance of any express mention of him who is Lord of all, as Lord over us. In public documents, expressive of the national mind and will, there may be reference to "Almighty God," and to a superintending Providence - cold phrases of theism; but there is an apparent reluctance to name the Lord Jesus Christ, and to own submission to his Word. This is grievous to those who love him and know that he is the sole sufficient Healer of mankind. They take their part zealously in all movements to check injustice, to stay the foetid streams of vice, to relieve misery, and to spread virtue and peace; but they lament that Christ is so little sought and honoured in the efforts of philanthropy, and they often cry to him in their struggle, "Lord, how long? When wilt thou return from the far country? When wilt thou take thy great power, and reign?"

2. We have such correspondence now with the unseen Saviour as makes us long for his bright presence. It is not fair or reasonable to put the revelation of Christ to us now by the Holy Spirit against the personal revelation to his saints at his second coming, and to ask which of them is the more to be desired. Each is to be desired in its season, and the first whets the longing for the second. If I have had pleasant and profitable correspondence for years with one whom I have not seen, but who is known to me by his wisdom and kindness; if he has done me more good than all the men whom I have seen, taught me, helped me, and stamped the impression of himself on my mind and heart; do I not long to see him face to face, and eagerly wait for a day when I may be nearer to him who has become indispensable to me, the very life of my life? Surely it is so between Christians and Christ. They have heard his words, received his Spirit, had much correspondence with him in prayer and the Lord's Supper, got much help from him in time of need. Though unseen, he has been far more to them than all the teachers and friends whom they have seen; and for that very reason they long to behold him. Their hearts can never be quite satisfied till they see the Lord.

3. We are weary of ourselves and ashamed of our faults, and therefore long to be perfected at his coming. It is true that the life of faith has deep wells of comfort, and Christians ought to be happy. It is also true that the abiding Spirit of Christ is able to keep his servants from sin, and to sustain them in a course of holy obedience. But it is useless to dispute the fact that we are all imperfect in character and faulty in service. We fall short of our best aims, blunder in our well doing, spoil much good by faults of temper and even of manner, and are unprofitable servants. The best Christians, in whom perhaps we see no blemish, see in themselves sin and imperfection to the last. Now, we make no excuse for fault m inconsistency. We maintain that honest servants of Jesus Christ will aim daily and prayerfully at amendment, and endeavour to walk more closely with God. Still, there will always be some defect till the servants see their Lord. It is his coming that will give the signal for the perfecting of his people, and their complete transformation into his likeness. Such is the doctrine often taught by the Apostle Paul: "Unreprovable in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ" (ver. 8); "Unblamable in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints" (1 Thessalonians 3:13); "Without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thessalonians 5:23). There may here be added the prospect of the Lord's kind approval of diligent though imperfect service rendered to him, for which he will award a kingly recompense. But we do not much dwell on this, because the thought of getting anything from the King is not so dear to those who love him as the expectation of being made like him, purified as he is pure. Therefore the intense longing of the saints for the revelation of our Lord Jesus.

(1) Watch and be sober. Extravagance of mind, glorying in the flesh, indulgence of inordinate desire, are not becoming in men who wait for the Lord. Be temperate in all things.

(2) Watch and pray. Ask God to help your infirmities, and to deliver you from the spirit of slumber. Your lamps will not go out so long as you pray; for then you have a continual supply of oil.

(3) Watch and work. The Lord followed up the parable of the waiting virgins with that of the trading servants. Blessed is the faithful and wise servant whom the Lord, when he comes, shall find doing the work assigned to him. The Master bids us not "prepare for death," as so many put it, but prepare to render account of our service to him at his return. Alas for the wicked and slothful servants in that day! - F.







So that ye come behind in no gift.
This word plays a large part in this Epistle. As the form of the Greek indicates, it denotes in general every concrete product in which grace is embodied. The various powers, which so often in St. Paul's writings bear the name of χάρισματα, are certainly the effects of the supernatural life due to faith in Christ; but they fit in, notwithstanding, to pre-existing natural aptitudes in individuals and peoples. The Holy Spirit does not substitute Himself for the human soul; He sanctifies it and consecrates its innate talents to the service of the work of salvation. By this new direction He purifies them and exalts them, and enables them to reach their perfect development. This was what had taken place at Corinth, and it was thus especially that the apostolic testimony had been divinely confirmed in the Church. We see how Paul still carefully avoids (as in ver. 5) speaking of the moral fruits of the gospel, for this was the very respect in which there was a grave deficiency at Corinth.

(Prof. Godet.)

Gifts show what a man has; graces, what he is.

In mining operations, the full and empty carriages or vessels being connected together, those which have been emptied are from time to time raised up the ascent by the descending of those that have been filled. In this way let the descent of God's mercies and the gifts bestowed out of His fulness raise your empty vessels to receive again and again from His inexhaustible treasury all that you need.

(R. Bickersteth.)

Waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I. THE OBJECT OF EXPECTATION TO ALL TRUE BELIEVERS. "The coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." It should rather have been rendered, the discovery or manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ. The primary idea is that of stripping off a garment, rolling away a curtain, or removing a screen; and under whichever of these aspects we contemplate the image depicted by the apostle, it will come home with equal power to our own consciousness of frailty, our own liability to death. Practically, that moment will be to us the manifestation of Christ as Judge, which shall strip off this garment of mortality, roll away the dark curtain of the grave, and remove the screen which divides us from the invisible world. The believer does not, like one conscious of unacknowledged and unrepented sin, start back from judgment with apprehension and alarm. It is not a Judge who will be manifested to his spiritual view, arrayed in lightnings and attended by ministers of wrath — it is not such a Judge, but our Lord Jesus Christ: yea, he can even say, with all the confiding appropriation of the Apostle Paul, "Christ Jesus, my Lord, the excellency of whose knowledge is life eternal, and in whom I desire to be found, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith."

II. THE MODE OF SO PREPARING FOR THE COMING OR MANIFESTATION OF CHRIST JESUS, THAT IT SHALL BE, NOT THE APPREHENSION OF IMPENDING EVIL, BUT' THE EXPECTANCY OF CERTAIN AND ENDURING GOOD. The apostle speaks of God "confirming these Corinthians unto the end." Confirming them, you will ask, in what? The reference is to the fourth verse, in which St. Paul speaks, first, of the producing cause, in which alone preparation had commenced or could commence, even the "grace which had been given through Jesus Christ"; and afterwards of the effect which had been produced thereby — "that they were enriched in all utterance and in all knowledge"; in which utterance, being the declaration of a good confession — and in which knowledge, being that which is to life eternal — he desires that through the same grace, and by the same power, they may he confirmed.

III. THE CONSEQUENCE OF BEING THUS PREPARED BY GRACE AND CONFIRMED OF GOD UNTO THE END: viz., that we shall be found blameless in the day of Jesus Christ. This word "blameless" is strictly a forensic term, applicable to the trial of the soul in the high court of heaven, and by God, the Judge of all. Whatever may be the discoveries of the last day, or to whomsoever made, of one thing we are certain, beyond all fear of a contingency, "there is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus."

(T. Dale, M. A.)

1. We are all doing this in one way or another. Some watchful and faithful at our post, in the midst of a wicked world, like the sentry who died on guard in sinful Pompeii; some in slothful forgetfulness, like the foolish virgins; others in abject fear, like condemned criminals who wait the coming of the executioner; many, I trust, with patience, and hope, and peace.

2. Waiting is very hard work, far harder than doing. Waiting too for uncertainties, and better times which may never come; "hoping against hope," with that "hope deferred which maketh the heart sick," is one of the hardest of the tasks which we have to do. Waiting for the Lord Jesus Christ is also hard work, because of the sin which is in us and around us, but it is not hopeless or doubtful. "In due time we shall reap if we faint not."

3. How may we best wait for this?

4. Though we are waiting for the coming of the Lord Jesus, He is in a sense always with us.

5. We must wait for our Lord's coming with our armour girded on and in the front of the battle.

(H. J. W. Buxton, M. A.)

When we expect any one we turn our eyes that way, as the wife looks towards the sea when she expects her husband's return. Surely, then, if we look for Christ to come we shall keep our eyes heavenward, and our minds occupied with the country from which He cometh.

We are not afraid to go alone on a journey to a strange place when we are sure that a friend will meet us at the end of the journey. The husband in a distant city telegraphs to his wife to come to him, and he will be at the station to receive her.

The coming of Christ literally refers to His appearing at the last day, but in its substantial meaning, and as to all its practical effects, it may be considered as equivalent to our death, because there not only is our future condition determined, but we enter into that scene in which His award shall fix us when He pronounces our final sentence. Let us, then, consider what is implied in the Christian's waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I. A FIRM CONVICTION THAT CHRIST WILL COME. In any other state of mind the term "waiting" would be inapplicable. And, indeed, the second coming of Christ forms a part of the deliberate and cherished creed of every true disciple. It is not a mere speculation indulged in because it is agreeable; a conjecture suggested by appearances, and adhered to as being probable and useful; the result of a process of reasoning, liable to errors and doubts; it is a point of settled belief, which the Christian maintains because it is founded on the testimony of Him who is equally omniscient and true. It is the subject of a Divine prediction, of a Divine promise, of a Divine assurance; and therefore we cannot withhold our full assent to it without impeaching the absolute perfection of that absolutely perfect Being by whom it has been attested. And remember that it is not set down merely as one of a multitude of events which will happen, but as a constituent portion of that scheme which the Son of God undertook to execute as the Redeemer of sinful men. Christ was "once offered to bear the sins of many, and unto them who look for Him Christ will appear the second time, without sin, unto salvation."

II. THAT THIS EVENT IS THE SUBJECT OF HABITUAL THOUGHT AND CONTEMPLATION. How, indeed, can it be otherwise, seeing it is so true and so important in His regard? Were it a merely probable circumstance, a fact of little interest, or nothing more than a dry abstract truth, the mind of the Christian could not entertain it with much cordiality, or look forward to the period of its being realised with any intensity of feeling. But how differently must he be affected towards it, when he considers its indubitable certainty — the touching concerns which it involves — the various attractions which it presents in its every aspect — and the bearing which it has on all that he now is, and all that he is to be for ever!

III. A DILIGENT AND FAITHFUL PREPARATION FOR IT. Unless we had this preparation, we could not with any propriety be said to wait for Christ's coming, because, if unprepared for His coming, it would be an event to be feared and deprecated. Christ will come for two purposes: to reward His people and to punish His enemies. But if we are among the number of His enemies, then, when He comes, we must suffer the condemnation which He has threatened against all those who have refused or neglected to become what He required them to be. Those who wait for His coming, and are prepared for that event, are —

1. Believers. Relying on Christ in the exercise of a true faith, we may wait for His coming, because His merit, appropriated by that faith, has cancelled our guilt, the prevalence of which would have made His coming terrible, and has obtained for us a title to the celestial kingdom, which we never could have entered through any doings or deservings of our own.

2. Saints — holy persons. When Christ comes it is to conduct His people to their reward. But how can He take us into His Father's house, if our principles and dispositions and habits are all in irreconcilable hostility to the exercises and enjoyments of that blessed abode? Nothing that defileth can enter into the New Jerusalem.

IV. A DECIDED AND ARDENT DESIRE FOR IT. The feeling is dictated by all our present experience, and by all our future prospects. There are evils from which that event alone can emancipate us, and there are enjoyments to which that event alone can introduce us. And if it be a right thing to wish for deliverance from the one, and for the attainment of the other, then it is right to wish for the second advent of Christ, because that is identified with both advantages.

1. Here you are subject to disease — to its pain, and its languishing, and its mortal issue. But when your Saviour comes He will put upon you the crown of life, and you shall neither sicken, nor suffer, nor die any more.

2. Here your reputation may be wounded from ignorance, envy, prejudice, or malevolence. But when your Saviour comes He will place you among those whom God hath justified, and whom no man can condemn — in whose society calumny cannot reach you, and reproach cannot hurt you.

3. Here you may have to struggle with the numerous ills and hardships of poverty. But when your Saviour comes you shall have no wants which He will not supply with inexhaustible abundance.

4. Here your cherished friends may betray you when you are most confiding, and those who were dear to you as your own soul may be torn from your embrace by the relentless hand of death. But when your Saviour comes He will wind up this scene of trial, and will take you where ingratitude and treachery and dissolution shall be unknown.

5. Here you have the plague of sin to trouble and torment you. But when your Saviour comes He will place you where you shall be beyond the reach of temptation, and beyond the fear and the capacity of transgressing.

6. Here your eye and your heart are often pained by the sight of abounding iniquity. But when your Saviour comes He will conduct you into a region as pure as it is happy.

7. Here your best services and highest attainments are mixed with much imperfection and weakness. But when your Saviour comes He will make you "perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect."

8. Here all your enjoyments, however exquisite, multiplied, and prolonged, are but mingled at the best, and soon over. But when your Saviour comes He will impart to you a happiness immortal as the souls that are to enjoy it — as the uncreated source from which it is to flow.

9. Here it is a trial to your patience that the Cross of Christ should be such a rock of offence, and that He who bore its agony and its shame should be despised and rejected of men. But when your Saviour comes His enemies will be destroyed, the numberless trophies of His humiliation and His blood will be assembled to honour Him, and all the hosts of heaven will unite with all the redeemed from the earth, to ascribe to Him the blessing, and dominion, which He had so richly won.

V. THE EXERCISE OF PATIENCE AND RESIGNATION. Submission to the Divine arrangements is a necessary part of the Christian character, and particularly in this regard. You should wait for Christ's second coming with patience, because —

1. The period of that coming is fixed by God's appointment. It is a part of the plan which He has formed for your salvation. It originates in the same mercy which prompted Him to give up His Son to suffering and to death for you. And does not every view of the Divine perfections constrain you to acquiesce in all that has been fixed as to the second coming, as well as in all that took place with regard to the first coming of Christ?

2. It is conducive to your own improvement and advantage. The present is a scene of preparation for the future. Every temptation that you successfully resist; every obligation that you faithfully fulfil; every trial to which you patiently submit; every step that you advance in the career of godliness and virtue; every victory that you achieve over the devil, the world, and the flesh, by that faith and patience which characterisc the saints of God upon earth, will put a loftier note in your song of praise, and add another gem to your crown of righteousness and glory in heaven. Seeing, then, that your continual stay here is conducive to your everlasting benefit, let not your souls be cast down, and let not their desires for deliverance overstep the limits of devout resignation to the will of Him who has arranged your lot in this world with a view to your destiny beyond it, and whose redeeming mercy will lead Him to make all things work together for your good.

3. It is for the advantage of your brethren and fellow men. This was one of Paul's motives, when amidst his longings to depart and to be with Christ, he was still contented to remain where the great Head of the Church had ordained him to labour. "Nevertheless," said he, "to abide in the flesh is more needful for you."

(A. Thomson, D. D.)

This blending of light and obscurity —

I. LEAVES US IN A STATE MORE SUITABLE AND MORE PROFITABLE THAN EITHER ABSOLUTE IGNORANCE OR PERFECT KNOWLEDGE.

1. It awakens feelings which the former would fail to excite, and which —

2. The latter would quench as they arose.

II. IT IS SPECIALLY ADAPTED TO KEEP ALIVE EXPECTATION, BY BRINGING EMPHATICALLY BEFORE US THE PERPETUAL POSSIBILITY OF AN IMMEDIATE MANIFESTATION. It keeps us in a state of —

1. Lively hope;

2. Watchfulness;

3. Humility;

4. Fidelity;

5. Earnest inquiry after truth;

6. Reverence and dread.

(W. A. Butler, M. A.)

The Study.
This "revelation" would do two things —

I. "CONFIRM THEM UNTO THE END" (ver. 8). "All is well that ends well." The "end" of the Christian will confirm the wisdom of his choosing such an "end." Hence "the end of a thing is better than the beginning." The world calls him a "fool"; the day of Christ will "confirm" his wisdom. The world calls him ignoble; the day of Christ will "confirm" his pretensions to greatness and glory. The world calls him poor; the "day of Christ" will "confirm" his claims to an "inheritance incorruptible," &c. We are now "confirming the testimony of Christ," and proving Him true (ver. 6). In "that day" Christ will confirm our testimony, and prove us true. It will be the manifestation of the sons of God.

II. MAKE THEM BLAMELESS. Then all imperfections will end. Sin's damp mists will no longer rise to obscure the moral heavens. Lessons:

1. Encouragement to the faithful worker.

2. Confidence. Do circumstances look discouraging in your labours of love? Do long-looked-for wants tarry? Do the desired clouds refuse to break in blessings on the parched heart? Have faith. The blessing will come, though it tarry, "for God is faithful," &c. (ver. 9). He will keep His promises, &c.

3. Stimulus. "The coming of the Lord Jesus Christ" will be a revelation of unrecognised or undeveloped" "gifts." Therefore "come behind in no gift," &c. When that day dawns, the grand confirmation service will be held — "confirming" the good and the bad alike.

(The Study.)

Who shall also confirm you unto the end.
The writings of St. Paul contain frequent assurances to the converts of the continuance and increase of God's blessing and the grace of Christ, and of strength to support them under their trials, to carry them through their difficulties, and to make them "more than conquerors through Him who loved them" (Romans 8:37; Philippians 1:6; Romans 8:31, 32, 38, 39; 1 Corinthians 1:4, &c.). In what sense, and with what necessary restrictions, are such promises as these always to be understood? It is manifest, both from the reason of things and from Holy Writ, that some spiritual blessings are so entirely the work of God, that, when considered in themselves, it is impossible that man can contribute to them, or bear any part in their completion. Thus, forgiveness of sins; adoption into God's family; a resurrection from the dead; and the gift of eternal life; though they suppose due preparations in man, repentance, faith, hope, charity, fixed purposes of obedience, and patient continuance in well-doing are in themselves the absolute gifts of God, simple in their nature, and, as far as we can perceive, admitting of no addition nor decrease. But there are other blessings or endowments, implying increase and variety, in the advancement of which man must bear his part, and work with God. Such are those graces which qualify the human soul for pardon, and peace, and everlasting glory; which are the rudiments or first principles of the heavenly character. For these set out, for the most part, from small and often imperceptible beginnings, and are strengthened and ripened into habits by exercise and godly discipline. When, therefore, St. Paul assures the converts that God will "confirm them unto the end, that they may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ," he does not comfort them with an assurance of support, divorced from all conditions and contingencies; nor does he lead us to believe that there are any particular persons whom God will at all events endow with an unfailing perseverance. Since, therefore, faith is spoken of in Scripture sometimes as God's gift, sometimes as man's duty, it is manifest that the gift and the duty mutually imply each other. On the one hand, our faith can neither begin nor continue, nor be perfected, without God's grace and blessing. On the other hand, we have no ground for supposing that He will "confirm our faith until the end," unless we endeavour to "hold fast our own faith," to improve it by acts of piety and obedience, and to abound in it more and more. Man is, of himself, strongly inclined to evil: he has a sinful nature stirring within him: his passions are continually provoking him to transgress the restraints of conscience and reason, and the laws revealed to him by his God. God, therefore, who well knows his indisposition to bear up against the power of corruption, mercifully promises to take him in hand, to discipline his imagination and affections (Ezekiel 36:26; Deuteronomy 30:6). But though God thus promises to circumcise the hearts of His people, and to subdue them to His own purposes, in other passages of Holy Writ He calls upon them to circumcise their own hearts, and to master and mortify themselves (Deuteronomy 10:16, Jeremiah 4:4; Ephesians 4:22; Colossians 3:5, 6). But in order to complete the Christian character, man stands in need of continual improvement in righteousness and true holiness, the daily renewal of his mind, and confirmed habits of piety and obedience. But since, when unassisted, he has no power in himself to help himself, and is, at the best, a mere beginner in the trade of virtue, God has graciously promised to renew and to supply him with spiritual sufficiency (Ezekiel 11:19, 20; Ezekiel 36:26, 27). Yet these promises of grace and spiritual succour are accompanied with earnest exhortations to the performance of our duty, and pressing calls upon us to do that for ourselves which God has, in some sort, engaged to do for us (Ezekiel 18:31; Ephesians 4:23, 24). Hence it follows that God's promises of help to perfect our inner man, require diligence and exertion on our part; that our prayers for renewal will bring no blessing with them, if we do not endeavour to renew the spirit of our own minds; and that it is worse than idle to presume that God will not leave nor forsake us, if we shrink from our duty, and leave and forsake ourselves (Ephesians 5:1; Colossians 3:14, 15). I shall lay down a few practical lessons which the consideration of this subject naturally suggests.

1. You should make it your business to study the whole of God's Word, and, as far as you are able, to compare and combine its contents; and. you must not accustom yourselves to dwell on the particular parts of it to the exclusion of other portions which require an equal degree of consideration and deference.

2. You will learn from those statements of the scriptural doctrine which have been laid before you, the folly and presumption of relying on God's goodness, and the grace and promises of Christ, without the exercise, on your own part, of religious labour and spiritual industry.

3. Whatever measure of religious industry you may exert, whatever progress you may make in the improvement of your souls and the reformation of your hearts and habits, still remember that you owe everything to God; that you are yourselves inclined to evil, and that it is your bounden duty to refer back all holy desires, good counsels, and just works to the Author and Giver of all goodness.

(Bp. Bethel.)

I. WHAT DOES IT INCLUDE? — Confirmation.

1. In faith, holiness, love.

2. Unto the end.

II. HOW IS IT EFFECTED?

1. By Christ.

2. Through the means of grace.

III. WHY IS IT SO NECESSARY?

1. That ye may be blameless.

2. In the day of Christ.

(J. Lyth, D. D.)

Steadfastness is one of the most important characteristics of a Christian. What are love, self-denial, patience, and faith without it? It is not the best regiment which makes the most headlong charge, but which can stand firm. The Spartans were forbidden by their laws to flee. In the Pass of Thermopylae stands a monument to Leonidas and his followers, bearing this inscription — "Go, stranger, and tell at Lacedaemon that we died here in obedience to our laws." What we want, as soldiers of Christ, is not so much zeal, or enthusiasm, or outward profession, as firmness to the end, steadfastness to die, if need be, for the laws of our God. We find plenty of zealous professors, but after a time the fire dies out into dead ashes; they have no staying power. Note —

I. SOME OF THE DANGERS OF THE CHURCH NOW.

1. The restless spirit of the age. This is the result of various causes.(1) The spread of education. Men are taught to cultivate their heads at the price of their hearts.(2) The growth of cheap literature. The fact is, some of us in these days are getting too clever. We have got a few drops of learning, and we fancy that we can pour the whole ocean of knowledge into our poor little bottle. True education makes us humble, because it shows us our ignorance. What are the doubters and the unbelievers going to give you in exchange for what they rob you of? They can take away the Saviour, and only leave you your sins. They may scoff you out of believing in the resurrection. But can they laugh you out of believing in death?

2. A constant desire for something new, and, if possible, sensational. And, above all, these people want a religion made easy. They have no objection to being saved provided that the process is quick and cheap. They turn away from the thought of self-denial, &c.; they must be made good all at once. Beware of this mushroom religion; the best fruit is not that which ripens most quickly, and the best Christian certainly does not come to maturity all in a moment. The Persian fable tells us how a gourd wound itself round a lofty palm-tree, and in a few weeks climbed to its very top. The gourd asked the palm-tree its age, and the tree answered, "An hundred years." Then the gourd answered boastingly that it had grown as tall as the palm in fewer days than the tree could count years. "True," answered the palm-tree, "every summer has a gourd climbed round me, as proud as thou art, and as short-lived as thou wilt be."

3. This is a specially busy age. Every walk of life is crowded, and competition is most keen. Now there is great danger in all this to a man's spiritual life, if he has not God with him in his work. He will become selfish and unscrupulous.

II. THE MEANS BY WHICH CHRIST WILL CONFIRM YOU UNTO THE END.

(H. J. W. Buxton, M. A.)

Blameless in the day of... Christ.
"So as to be unimpeached in the day of our Lord"; for when the saints stand before the tribunal of Christ, they will not indeed be found to have been free from sin in their earthly life, but having persevered in the faith and in good works will find themselves under the wing and shelter of God's righteousness, safe from all impeachment. "Unimpeached" of whom? Probably of the "accuser of the brethren," the adversary Satan. But being found holy in Christ and blameless to God, "who shall then lay an impeachment against God's elect? It is God that justifieth" (Colossians 1:22, 23).

(Canon Evans.)

I. JUDICIAL. The word used here is the judicial one. A Christian is one against whom there is not only no condemnation, but no accusation. He is a sinner, yet no man, nor angel, nor devil, may accuse him, or mention his guilt to God.

II. PRIESTLY. I might call it sacrificial. The word used in such places as Ephesians 1:4 is the same as that in 1 Peter 1:19, "the Lamb without blemish, and without spot." This unblemishedness has special reference to our fitness for worship and service.

III. PERSONAL (Philippians 2:15; 1 Thessalonians 3:13). We are forgiven and delivered from wrath that we may be personally holy; holy in heart and life; saved from sin, conformed to Christ. Holiness is to be everywhere in and about the man. If, then, you call yourself a Christian, consider how much is expected from you. Consider —

1. Your names. They are "saint," "Christian," "redeemed from among men," "follower of the Lamb." Do not these call you to blamelessness?

2. Your designations. You are the lights of the world, the salt of the earth; pilgrims, strangers, virgins, cross-bearers, kings and priests; a temple, a habitation of God.

3. Your calling. You are called to glory, honour, and immortality.

4. Your hopes.

5. Your companionships. They are all heavenly and pure. Old friendships are severed, and new ones formed. If you are Christians, then, be consistent. Be Christians out and out; Christians every hour, in every part, and in every matter. Beware of half-hearted discipleship.

(H. Bonar, D. D.)

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