1 Corinthians 16:13
Be on the alert. Stand firm in the faith. Be men of courage. Be strong.
Sermons
Strong and LovingAlexander Maclaren1 Corinthians 16:13
The Word of Command to Christian SoldiersJ.R. Thomson 1 Corinthians 16:13
St. Paul and His Purposes; His Friends; Earnest ExhortationC. Lipscomb 1 Corinthians 16:6-18
Etiquette Amongst MinistersJ. Lyth, . D. D.1 Corinthians 16:10-16
Ministerial SolicitudeT. Kelly.1 Corinthians 16:10-16
Paul's Affectionate Recommendation of Timothy Teaches Us that Young MinistersJ. Lyth, D.D.1 Corinthians 16:10-16
Personal NoticesF. W. Robertson, M. A.1 Corinthians 16:10-16
Wholesome Teaching for the Older MinistersD. Thomas, D.D.1 Corinthians 16:10-16
A Fivefold ExhortationE. Hundall 1 Corinthians 16:13, 14
A Manly ChristianityJ. Lyth.1 Corinthians 16:13-14
Be StrongT. T. Shore, M.A.1 Corinthians 16:13-14
Be StrongS. Martin.1 Corinthians 16:13-14
Christ Satisfying the Instinct of CourageDean Vaughan.1 Corinthians 16:13-14
Christian SteadfastnessJohn Stevens.1 Corinthians 16:13-14
Christian StrengthB. Beddome, M. A.1 Corinthians 16:13-14
Christian WarfareW. Linn, D.D.1 Corinthians 16:13-14
Four Points in the Christian LifeD. Rhys Jenkins.1 Corinthians 16:13-14
ManlinessD. Macleod, D.D.1 Corinthians 16:13-14
Manliness in ReligionJ. N. Norton, D.D.1 Corinthians 16:13-14
Stand Fast in the FaithJ. Lyth, D.D.1 Corinthians 16:13-14
Standing Fast in the FaithT. B. McLeod.1 Corinthians 16:13-14
StrengthJ. H. Burn, B.D.1 Corinthians 16:13-14
The Demands of ChristianityD. Thomas, D.D.1 Corinthians 16:13-14
The Manliness of GodlinessJ. De Kewer Williams.1 Corinthians 16:13-14
The Requirements of the Christian WarfareCanon Garbett.1 Corinthians 16:13-14
Three Kinds of TemptationPrincipal A. M. Fairbairn.1 Corinthians 16:13-14
True ManhoodArchdeacon Farrar.1 Corinthians 16:13-14
True ManlinessW. B. Stewart, D.D.1 Corinthians 16:13-14
True StrengthNew York Observer1 Corinthians 16:13-14
Vigilance NeededJ. Halsey.1 Corinthians 16:13-14
Watchfulness Needed1 Corinthians 16:13-14
Watchfulness, Steadfastness, Manliness, Strength1 Corinthians 16:13-14
Wise CounselsJ. Lyth.1 Corinthians 16:13-14
Now and again we meet with passages in the New Testament which remind us that Christianity does not lose sight of the sterner virtues. Certainly our religion has brought the softer and more amiable virtues into honour and prominence; but we should make a mistake did we suppose that for the severer excellences of character it finds no place.

I. THE CHRISTIAN LIFE IS A SCENE OF WARFARE. It is an opportunity for bearing witness to the grace of God, an opportunity for faithful and diligent service. But this is not all. Who can, in any station of life, sincerely endeavor to live as a Christian, without finding out that life is a campaign, a scene of discipline, of conflict? Surely the language of the New Testament in which we are addressed as soldiers of the cross, is not mere poetry, the utterance of imagination!

II. THE FOES WHOM THE CHRISTIAN IS CALLED TO ENCOUNTER ARE SPIRITUAL. As the apostle, expresses it elsewhere, "We wrestle not with flesh and blood, but with principalities and powers," etc. Whether at Corinth or at Ephesus, or in modern London, or far away beyond the seas, he who is bent upon doing the will of God must needs make up his mind to face the adversary. Many are the forms assumed by the foe of souls, many his devices, great his craft and power. In his temptation, our Divine Lord and Leader, the Captain of our salvation, himself faced the enemy, and withstood his repeated and various assaults.

III. OUR POSITION OF DANGER CALLS FOR THE EXERCISE OF THE SOLDIER LIKE VIRTUES OF COURAGE AND ENDURANCE.

1. Watchfulness; lest the soldier be surprised at his post, and fall a victim to his foe. What stress our Lord and his apostles have laid upon this attitude of vigilance! If we know ourselves, our weakness, our liability to sin; if we know the resources of our enemies - we shall feel the necessity of watching, lest we enter into temptation.

2. Steadfastness in the faith; lest we be tossed to and fro by our indecision and vacillation. Persecution and prosperity are alike in this, that they expose us to this danger.

3. Manliness is, no doubt, in contrast to the spirit of effeminacy and sloth. "Quit you like men!" is the ringing battle cry of one whose own life illustrated the precept.

4. Strength is needed in such a combat, in which only the weapons of warfare which are not carnal are mighty through God to the pulling down of the strongholds.

IV. DIVINE GRACE ALONE CAN EQUIP AND UPHOLD THE SOLDIERS IN THIS HOLY WAR. This great truth is always, when not expressed, in the background, when admonitions to vigilance and courage are addressed to Christians. It is not to be supposed that in our own strength we can comply with requirements so stringent and conduct a warfare so perilous. But "if God be for us, who can be against us?" The warfare is not ours, but God's, and his are the weapons and his the might, even as his is the glory of the victory. - T.







Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.
The associations of war and battle breathe in every word of this exhortation. It touches the heart as the spirit-stirring address of a trusted leader touches the hearts of his comrades at some great emergency of the conflict. As the foe gathers in the distance, half hidden behind the brow of the hill or beneath the shadow of the forest, and it remains doubtful for the moment at what quarter the storm will break, his warning voice calls to vigilance — "Watch ye." As the tide of war rolls its threatening masses onwards, and the advancing column of the enemy, grim and ominous as a thundercloud, threatens to overwhelm the slender line of defenders, the leader's clear voice is heard in the momentary hush of suspense, exhorting them to steadiness and constancy — "Stand fast." As the opposing lines break in the shock of battle confusedly, like the meeting of two angry tides, and warrior contends hand to hand with warrior, the familiar voice still sounds amid the tumult, "Quit you like men." As beneath the fury of the assault the line of the patriot host shakes and wavers, and the crisis calls for a courage prepared to die, but never to yield, I picture to myself the figure of the dauntless leader as he lifts his banner aloft and shouts, "Be strong."

(Canon Garbett.)

I. VIGILANCE. There were many evils in the Corinthian Church — dissensions, heresies, unchastity, intemperance, etc. Hence the necessity for watchfulness. But where do not evils abound? Hosts surround us all; hence "Watch ye." "Watch and pray."

II. STABILITY. Do not be wavering, vacillating, "tossed about by every wind of doctrine." Strike the roots of your faith deep into the soil of eternal truth. Firmness is no more obstinacy than the strong rock or the deep-rooted oak.

III. MANLINESS. There is nothing higher than this. There are great philosophers, poets, statesmen, etc., who are small men leagues away from the ideal.

IV. CHARITY (ver. 14). Man's life consists of many "things done." Activity is at once the law and necessity of his nature. He only really lives as he acts. But while acts are varied, the animating spirit should be one, and that is love.

(D. Thomas, D.D.)

The text contains four points that should characterise the Christian life.

I. VIGILANCE. It is of the utmost importance that we should set a watch over our minds; for error is, so to speak, in the air. And since the ruling ideas of the mind colour all our thoughts, and affect all our actions, we cannot be too careful, when ideas seek admittance into our minds, to test them, that we may know their character; for false and evil ideas corrupt good and healthy minds. We see every object presented to the mind in the light of our ruling ideas; like coloured glass they transform everything into their own particular shade. In religious matters this is specially important. Whenever any object is presented to the mind for our acceptance, as religious men and women let us at once betake ourselves "to the law and to the testimony." This is all the more imperative since error can put on the manners of truth, and actually pretend to do truth's work. There are many false teachers in our day, and error is exceedingly busy; let us, therefore, vigilantly guard the door of our minds, that no false principles take possession of them to pervert our thoughts and best feelings. We need also set a watch over our hearts. The majority of people are easier influenced through their emotions than by means of their intellects. That is the secret of the numerous fascinating shows that are so carefully and strikingly got up and presented to the eye; the exhibitors know that men are moved by such things, and that when they are in such an excited state, they may be carried away and made anything of, whether for good or for evil, just as they may feel disposed. Whenever any serious attempt is made to excite our heart's affections we should be very careful to ask ourselves the questions, "Are these appeals to my heart true?" "Are the means used for this purpose true in the highest and best sense?" We should also be careful to ask ourselves the question, "Whether the objects that are seeking entrance into our hearts are pure?" The "wisdom that is from above, is first pure." We should also ask ourselves the furl, her important question, "Whether the things that are seeking our hearts are character-making in the truest sense?" Whether they are likely to make us true, just, honourable, pure, lovely, and thoroughly virtuous? Further, we must set a watch upon our spirits to guard our spirituality. The sharp edge of a knife, if pressed carelessly against a hard substance, will blunt and become unfit for use. Great care should be taken by Christian people to preserve the tone of the spirituality and vigorous point. Whatever lowers the tone of a person's spirituality hinders the progress of his higher and nobler life. If mingled with a given society; if going to the theatre; if reading a certain class of book; if either of these things, or any other practice, chills the spirit, and indisposes it to pray, it should certainly be abandoned as dangerous. We need, therefore, to set a vigilant watch over our spirits, that we may preserve a healthy and vigorous tone of spirituality that will thoroughly command our carnal passions and keep them in subjection. "But I say, Walk by the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh," etc.

II. STEADFASTNESS. "Stand fast in the faith."

1. In our faith is the one true and living God. The bane of Greece was the multitude of her gods. The idolatrous upbringing of the Corinthians was, no doubt, a great hindrance to their spiritual growth. With many Christians God is a "God afar off," it is to be feared; hence their apathy and inertness in regard to religion and the state of their fellow-creatures around them. There were daring unbelievers in Corinth when Paul wrote this Epistle who denied the resurrection of the dead, and who were scattering error broadcast amongst the people. Let us stand fast in our faith in God, then, that He is a "very present God," who never leaves nor forsakes those who trust in Him.

2. Let us be firm in our faith in Christ as the only and sufficient Saviour. The Corinthians were in danger, from the special importance which the Greeks attached to wisdom. And if wisdom did not actually save humanity, according to them only the wise, in their sense of the term, would be saved. Paul combats this erroneous idea in the first chapter of this Epistle. So it is faith that saves, not wisdom — not true wisdom even. It is not morality that saves either. If it could have saved any one, it most certainly would have saved the rich young ruler in the Gospels.

3. Let us "stand fast in the faith," that the Scriptures are the only and sufficient rule of faith.

III. MANLINESS. "Quit you like men." These words have a martial air about them; they sound like the utterance of a great general on the eve of a critical battle that was to decide the destiny of a mighty nation. The manliness of which the text speaks includes several parts.

1. In the first place, it includes uprightness. Man was made physically erect that he might look heavenward with ease and pleasure. And man's moral conduct is to resemble his physical flame; it is to be upright. It must not have any twists in it, nor angles of any kind. The eloquent statesman, Henry Clay, propounded a political scheme to a friend once. "It will ruin your prospects for the Presidency," suggested the friend. "Is it right?" asked Clay. "Yes," was the answer. Mr. Clay continued, "I would rather be right than President." Every Christian should do right; his Christian manliness demands it of him. Anything like unprincipled policy or time-serving is utterly out of place in a disciple of Christ's.

2. It also includes truth. The manly Christian is a true man. He does not think one thing and speak another. His words as truly represent his thoughts as the sound of a correct key in an organ represents a particular part of music. The same consistency is apparent between his feelings and his actions. Among the important objects of his life are "Whatsoever things are true."

3. And, further, it includes courage. Christian manliness is full of true valour. Fortitude is as prominent a feature of the genuinely good man's life as uprightness and truth. They will boldly enter a lion's den rather than deny their God.

IV. TRUE AND MANLY VIGOUR. "Be strong." The spiritual life is capable of great strength — that is clear from the characters of the faithful of all ages. Intellectual greatness may only be possible to a few; but great spiritual might is practically possible to all true Christians.

1. Be strong in conviction. If we will but allow the light of the truth of the gospel to penetrate our minds, we shall be deeply convinced of its saving power, and the result will be that we shall "be strong" in our adherence to the truth. Let us be careful not to mistake mere tradition for troth.

2. Be strong in love. In the verse which immediately follows the text the apostle directs the Corinthians, "Let all that ye do be done in love." Love is a special feature of Christianity. Love can do what no other faculty can; what many other faculties combined cannot do; hence our Lord's "new commandment." The loving man is a great actor — he is no dreamer, but a doer of the work of Christ.

3. Be strong in will. Strength of will is required in our struggles with the corruptions of our own hearts, and the sin that so abounds without and around us.

(D. Rhys Jenkins.)

is —

I. WATCHFUL. Because it —

1. Is enlightened.

2. Knows the danger.

3. Provides against it.

II. STEADFAST. Because —

1. It understands the faith.

2. Appreciates its value.

3. Resists unto blood.

III. STRONG —

1. In experience and purpose.

2. Hence immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.

(J. Lyth.)

1. Guard against temptation.

2. Hold fast your principles.

3. Act with courage.

4. Persevere with constancy.

5. Do all in the spirit of love.

(J. Lyth.)

There is an indissoluble connection between a man's character and his view of life. As a man is in moral quality, so will he conceive life to be. It is only the feeble and the worthless who ask, Is life worth living? The brave and the good live worthily, and so feel life full of worth. Sin produces despair. Holiness begets courage and faith. Take, as an instance, the man who writes these words. He had known hardness; his life had been a life of trouble and change, yet he had dared to brave it. And now, summing up the lesson of his life to the men he loved, he says, "Watch ye," etc. He enforces the duty. They are to watch. That duty is personal, and involves another: "stand fast in the faith." As they watch they keep the faith. As they keep the faith they quit themselves like men. As these three are together bound and realised in one character they are strong.

I. WATCH. The duty of watchfulness implies its need, and the need of watchfulness springs from the manifoldness of temptation.

1. There are three great conditions or forms under which temptations come.(1) Social. True society is better than it was. Public life is purer and its standard higher. Education is more widely distributed, and as men say no man shall be ignorant, so they must come to say that no man shall make for us laws unless he be a moral man. Our commerce, too, has much of its ancient character of honour. But while we have ranch cause for gratitude, we have greater cause for watchfulness. Our society is sadly destitute of true economy, which means labour wisely directed and applied, the power of gathering in and reaping its abundant fruits, the skill and the will to make of these the most equal, ample distribution, so that they make wealth not simply for the few, but the whole. Our dangers grow from accumulation in the hands of the few, without distribution into the homes and for the comfort of the many. We spend their thirty millions on instruments of war, their three millions or a little more on education and the forming of men. Yet where lieth the strength of a people? Not in its arsenals, not in its army or navy, but in its men. The supreme need of a people is the forming of the people. There is something higher than the making of wealth; there is the making of men. The highest of all social necessities is the making of new men; that is possible only by the preaching and the teaching of the gospel of Christ.(2) Moral. There are dangers when conventional standards of morality are unreal and unjust. See a banker who has for nigh a whole generation lived on the savings of the hard-working man, the store of the widow and orphan. See him hardly punished — it seems a little more than a severe rebuke; and some tempted lad, in some hour of great need, for miserable theft stamped through years a criminal. Look at the seducer fresh from his guilt, judged to be fit by mother to wed the daughter. And see the victim, by the same, cast out, a thing unclean. There is nothing more mischievous than standards of that kind.(3) Intellectual. These are often said to rise from increased knowledge and activity. Nay, they rise from ignorance and intellectual frivolity. Newspapers to have power must be spiced. People must be tempted to read. And the result too often is that the mind grows so shallow that it cannot reflect the infinite heaven, So ruffled in its shallowness that it answers to every breeze of wind, and faileth ever to settle into an eternal calm, is a mind lost to holiest things, closed to dearest realities. Look at truth as needed by men for living, for dying, for eternity; and then dare no longer to be frivolous, come to have the truth, to seek the holy, to love the good, that is only of God.

2. All these dangers must be guarded against. Watch! Where a man carries that which is precious he ought ever to carefully guard it. Crossed you ever the mighty ocean on board a steamship that travels so stately and bears its hundreds in comfort and in joy? But, while all is lightness, there walks alone, solitary, watching in the very sunshine for sign of coming storm, the man who bears in his spirit that stately ship, these hundreds of lives, all the wealth she carries in her hold. And think you ever man went to sea, ever sailor guided across the ocean bark half so precious as you carry? Gifted with a nature so rich, a cargo so precious, the spirit ought to be all directed to the watching of evil, to the discovery of the good, and the place that is the haven of rest.

II. STAND FAST IN THE FAITH. The man that watches will stand. From him it will not be taken — faith in God our Father, yet our King; in Christ who is our Brother, yet our Priest; in that Spirit who is our Comforter, yet our Advocate. Stand fast therein. See that no man spoil you by vain deceit. See that no passion rob you by promised momentary pleasure. Keep the faith. God gave it you, and the faith cannot be kept pure without keeping pure the spirit.

III. BE MEN. What is it to be a man? It is to bear God's image. Let the young man dare to be a man, let him, face to face with temptation, look to Him who only hath the power to save. Lost in the multitude, men in the multitude lose themselves. "Quit you like men." Dare to be innocent of vice, shut up the impure book, close the paragraph that speaks the unholy thing, and to be virtuous in thought, in speech, in feeling, knowing this, that the man who keepeth his own spirit pure is the man most approved of the Father.

(Principal A. M. Fairbairn.)

I. WATCH YE.

1. What is it to watch?

(1)It is opposed to carnal security.

(2)It implies a care of our souls (Ephesians 5:15).

2. What must we watch over?

(1)Our thoughts (Psalm 139:2).

(2)Our affections (Proverbs 4:23; Colossians 3:2).

(3)Our words (Psalm 17:3; Psalm 39:1; Psalm 141:3).

(4)Our actions (1 Samuel 15:22; 1 Corinthians 10:31).

3. What must we watch against?

(1)Ourselves (Jeremiah 17:9; James 1:22).

(2)Satan (1 Peter 5:8).

(3)The world (1 John 2:15).

(4)Men.

(a)That they seduce us not into sin (Proverbs 1:10, 11).

(b)Nor into error (Acts 20:29, 30, 31; Matthew 7:15; 2 Peter 2:1; 2 Peter 3:17).

4. What must we watch for?

(1)For opportunities of doing good (Galatians 6:10), and performing our duty.

(2)For death (1 Thessalonians 5:2, 3).

(3)For the coming of Christ (Matthew 24:44).

5. When must we watch?(1) In time of prosperity.

(a)That you be not proud of it (Jeremiah 9:23; 1 Timothy 6:17).

(b)Nor trust in it (1 Timothy 6:17; Psalm 49:6; Psalm 52:7)

(c)Nor abuse it (James 4:3).

(d)Nor set your hearts upon it (Psalm 62:10).

(e)To improve it to God's glory (Proverbs 3:9).(2) In time of adversity (Ecclesiastes 7:14).

(a)Not to be impatient (Ezra 9:13; Lamentations 3:39).

(b)But to be thankful (Job 1:21).

(c)Not to charge God with injustice (Job 1:22).

(d)Nor draw sinful inferences from it (Ecclesiastes 9:1).

(e)To be better by it (Psalm 119:71; Hebrews 12:10).(3) At all times (Luke 21:36; 2 Timothy 4:5).

6. Why must we watch?

(1)It is for your lives (2 Corinthians 6:5).

(2)Many enemies watch against you (1 Peter 5:8).

(3)Unless ye watch, no sin but you may fall into (1 Corinthians 10:12).

(4)The more we watch over ourselves, the more God will watch over us (Psalm 121:1; Psalm 127:1).

(5)The more watchful we are, the more comfortably we shall live.

(6)We have but a short time to watch (Matthew 26:40).

(7)Eternity depends upon it (Matthew 25:12, 13).

(8)We know not when our Lord will come (Mark 13:33, 37; Luke 12:37).

II. STAND FAST IN THE FAITH.

1. What faith must we stand fast in?

(1)That God is (Hebrews 11:6).

(2)That He is a rewarder of all that come to Him (Hebrews 11:6).

(3)That the way to come to Him is by Christ (Hebrews 7:25).

(4)That this Christ is God-man (John 1:14).

(5)And hath satisfied for our sins (1 John 2:1, 2).

(6)And now intercedes for our souls (Hebrews 7:25).

(7)That by His satisfaction and intercession our sins may be pardoned (Romans 8:33, 34).

(8)That He will come again at the last day (Acts 1:11).

(9)That He will judge all the world (2 Corinthians 5:10).

(10)That the wicked will then be condemned to hell, and the righteous received up into glory (Matthew 25:46).

2. Why stand fast in this faith?

(1)Otherwise we can do no acts of piety (Hebrews 11:6).

(2)Nor have our sins remitted (Galatians 2:16).

(3)Nor our souls saved (Acts 4:12).

3. What are the means of this steadfastness?

(1)Search the Scriptures (John 5:39).

(2)Converse much with God in prayer.

(3)Entertain no doubting thoughts.

(4)Indulge no sin, lest it debauch your principles.

(5)Oft frequent the public ordinances (Romans 10:17).

III. QUIT YOU LIKE MEN.

1. What is it to quit yourselves like men?(1) Carry yourselves like men.

(a)Like rational creatures. What more rational than that we should serve Him that made us (1 Corinthians 6:20); choose the best things before the worst (Isaiah 55:1, 2); mind our own good and welfare (Matthew 16:26); do to others as we would have others do to us (Matthew 7:12); and submit to God's will (Lamentations 3:39).

(b)Like those who have immortal souls (Genesis 2:7).

(c)Like those who are capable of the enjoyment of God Himself (1 Corinthians 13:12).(2) Be valiant and courageous as men (Ephesians 6:10, 11).

(a)Be not daunted with afflictions (2 Corinthians 4:16, 17).

(b)Nor drawn aside with prosperity (Mark 4:19).

(c)Press through all difficulties for heaven (Acts 14:22).

2. Why quit ourselves thus like men?

(1)We have many potent enemies (Ephesians 6:11, 12

I. THE OBJECT INDICATED.

1. The gospel requires faith.

2. Has a right to demand it.

II. THE DUTY ENJOINED.

1. Adherence to its doctrines.

2. Conformity to its precepts.

3. Advocacy of its claims.

III. THE IMPORTANCE OF THIS DUTY. In its bearing upon —

1. Ourselves.

2. Others.

3. The cause of God.

(J. Lyth, D.D.)

We address this to new converts, restored backsliders, and to Christians generally.

I. THE NECESSITY FOR CHRISTIAN STEADFASTNESS.

1. Many foes to contend against.

2. Much difficult service to perform.

3. Only the steadfast know true happiness and peace.

4. Lack of steadfastness is dishonouring to God.

II. ITS MEANS.

1. Prayer.

2. Watchfulness.

3. Use of every possible means of grace.

4. Faithful, open profession of allegiance to Christ.

III. ITS END.

1. A place on Christ's own throne (Revelation 3:21).

2. A crown of life (Revelation 2:10).

3. A call to the service of heaven.

(John Stevens.)

We might infer from magazines and newspapers that orthodoxy, or steadfastness in faith, is becoming very unpopular. But philosophy, mathematics, etc., have their "doctrines" as well as Christianity. Note a few reasons for steadfastness in the truth.

I. THE MIND IS SO CONSTITUTED AS NOT TO BE SATISFIED WITH ANYTHING LESS THAN CERTITUDE. As nature abhors a vacuum, so the mind dreads doubt — dreads to be like a ship drifting in darkness and storm with neither star nor sun, compass nor rudder. What would one not give to be on solid earth, who, like Noah's dove, is thus driven? Stand fast in the faith! Buy the truth and sell it not.

II. THIS STEADFASTNESS IS NEEDED TO WITHSTAND THE INFLUENCES WORKING AGAINST US. A soldier in battle needs to stand, a tree in tempests needs to be rooted, and a ship needs an anchor; so we, in meeting the hostility of atheism and science, falsely so called, or kid-gloved, effeminate worldliness, or the supineness and apathy of the Church, need more than a feeble conviction of the truth, such as would be upset by some newly-discovered bone. Be rooted and grounded and able to give an answer, to him who asks you, of your faith.

III. ONLY BY STEADFASTNESS IN THE TRUTH CAN WE RENDER COMPETENT SERVICE TO THE CAUSE OF CHRIST. A man of negative opinion, though right, is a feebler power than he who is earnestly wrong. But, to be positively right, believing with all the soul, is to be an increment of might. Such were Luther and Whitfield. Such is Moody, who never even ventured to lean against the corner of a college. Truth did not run over such souls, but into them, becoming a part of their moral fibre, making them aggressive and progressive. Such are not literary Sybarites.

(T. B. McLeod.)

I. IN BODY. Purity and (where God gives health) strength of body seemed ever to St. Paul one ingredient in his estimate of true manliness. What is brutal and sensual in your bodies Christianity tells you to conquer, so that that body and its merely animal propensities shall not become your master. All that is innocent and pure in the manly exercise of it, all that is fearless in the brave uses of it, you should cultivate, ennoble, strengthen. If you have to fight for country, truth, or right, then be utterly indifferent to danger or to death.

II. IN SOUL, i.e., in intelleet. "Be not children in understanding, but be ye men." The empty boast that there must be a divorce between intellect and religion is false. True "unsanctified intellect" has become too common a phrase; but there is such a thing too as "unsanctified stupidity"' and perhaps the Church has suffered just as much from one as from the other. There is a poor weak thing that calls itself "advanced thought" — in which the thought is imaginary, and the advancement retrogressive — and which is, after all, merely the ghosts of old heresies, coming forth from their graves to frighten the nervous and unthinking. But real science, real philosophy, may ever win the homage of the holiest and most reverent souls. The truth they discover can never contradict the eternal truth of God. Antagonism between intellect and religion! Why the ablest thinkers have been Christians. The noblest high priests of science have also been the devoutest ministers at the altar of God.

III. IN SPIRIT. The influence of the spirit of man, acted on and illuminated by the Holy Spirit of God, will raise him to the true dignity of manhood in all his nature. There is nothing "manly" in being irreligious or indifferent. Would you consider him a man who was guilty of the basest ingratitude? And shall we consider the ingratitude less base — shall the unmanliness be diminished, because towards Him who "emptied Himself" of the splendour of the Godhead and died for us!

(T. T. Shore, M.A.)

1. When Francis Xavier was passing through Navarre to his great life mission, he had to pass his ancestral castle. His companion asked whether he did not mean to visit his friends before he left Spain for ever. "I defer that happiness," he quietly answered, "until I shall see them in heaven." It was the manly utterance of a noble heart.

2. In the days of chivalry there was an ideal life, which our own matter-of-fact generation is disposed to despise. Underneath much that was over-strained and unnatural, there was taught a spirit of reverence, obedience, truth, and virtue, which it would be well for the world if they might be again brought back among us.

3. Even after the Fall man did not altogether lose the image of his Maker, and there is still left to him a portion which we call manliness. It is displayed by heroes on battle-fields, but the highest manifestation of it is in the consistent lives of devoted Christians. True manliness —

I. IS WHOLLY INCOMPATIBLE WITH A HALF-WAY AND RELUCTANT OBEDIENCE. If the religion of Christ be true, it is manly to confess it, and to act out our belief. They who receive the gospel in a manly spirit will shrink from no duty nor danger. Even the world will respect us when we are true to our principles. When Charles II visited Winchester during the building of his palace there, Dr. Ken was asked to entertain one of the king's concubines. This the good clergyman positively refused to do and Charles was much incensed. Again the application was made, and the stern response was, "Not for his kingdom!" Not long after, the bishopric of Bath and Wells became vacant, and Charles said, "No one shall have it but the little fellow who would not give poor Nelly a lodging!"

II. SUPPOSES PERSEVERING" PERSISTENCY IN THE RIGHT, no matter what dangers may threaten. Soon after the Christian missionaries had settled in Fiji, the heathen held a cannibal feast in front of their residence. Shocked at the sight, the good men closed their doors and windows, when the savages insisted that they should come out and witness the custom. The captain of an American ship-of-war, hearing the startling tidings, came at once to the relief of the brave men, and offered to remove them to a place of safety. "No," was the firm response; "the worse these people are, the more need of our staying where we are to teach them better." When an insurrection broke out in Madagascar some time ago, before the soldiers set off, the great national idol was to be dragged forth to strengthen them for the conflict. It so happened that three hundred of the soldiers had cast off idolatry, many of whom began to waver, some through fear of death, others through love of wife and children. The leader of the party then read from the New Testament, "He that loveth father or mother more than Me, is not worthy of Me"; "He that loveth his life more than Me, is not worthy of Me." It was enough, and all agreed to stand the fiery ordeal. The commanding officer was much enraged, and said, in a threatening tone, "The god will avenge himself upon them!" The army marched forth to meet the insurgents, and came up to them in a deep ravine. Here the Christians were made to take the front rank, and their enemies believed that their destruction was inevitable. The hand of God so arranged the order of battle, that the expected course of events was reversed, and the Christians were left unharmed.

III. MEANS INDIFFERENCE TO THE SHAFTS OF RIDICULE. A poor man, being much laughed at for his religion, was asked whether these constant, petty persecutions did not sometimes half tempt him to abandon it. "No, indeed," he answered; "If Christians are so foolish as to let such people laugh them out of their religion, until at last they drop into hell, it is certain they cannot laugh them out again." A young friend was making his first trip in a steamer, when his acquaintance was cultivated by a handsomely dressed person, who did his best to play the agreeable. Toward the close of day, the stranger remarked, in an indifferent tone, "Some friends of mine are to have a nice game to-night, in my state-room, and we shall be glad to have you join us." Taking out his pocket prayer-book, he answered, "This is the only card I ever play with!"

IV. INVOLVES PROMPT AND VIGOROUS ACTION. Good resolutions are not enough; they must be followed up closely and persistently by becoming deeds. A little boy in Holland was returning home one night, when he observed the water trickling through a narrow crevice in the dyke. He had often heard of the sad disasters which had happened from these small beginnings, and his first thought was to hasten home for help, but he remembered that even during his brief absence the opening might so increase as to defy all attempts to close it. Seating himself on the bank of the canal, he stopped the leakage with his band, and in cold and darkness sat by his post of duty until dawn of day. Assistance then came, the dyke was repaired, and hundreds of lives were saved. Do you ever think what a tide of wretchedness and ruin you may be the means of turning aside from multitudes of immortal beings, if you would faithfully use your daily and hourly opportunities of good?

(J. N. Norton, D.D.)

I. THINGS WHICH ARE NOT MANLY.

1. To believe without evidence. Credulity, the readiness to receive every assertion for truth, is childish; and it is worse than childish, when evil reports are easily credited and at all welcomed. We must believe much which we can never comprehend, and therefore cannot prove; but we must be sure that the witness is true.

2. To neglect known duty. Excuses are not arguments. "That servant which knew his Lord's will, and did it not, shall be beaten with many stripes," etc. From which it is evident that every one's duty is according to the knowledge which he has, might, and ought to have.

3. To prefer pleasure to business. In this generation there is neither honour nor hope for the idler. And why should not this principle hold as to heavenly things?

4. To find fault with any one unless it be needful, and then face to face. "I withstood him to the face," says Paul about Peter, "because he was to be blamed." If mankind would but obey this rule, the happiness of the world would be doubled at once. The apostle is very severe against "whisperers, backbiters and inventors of evil things."

5. To live only for the passing day. Brutes live for the present, men for the future. Forethought and prudence distinguish our nature from theirs. The wise man sent men to school to "the ant": and that provident little creature is a very good tutor even for Christians.

II. THINGS WHICH ARE MANLY. There are strange ideas abroad upon this subject, some concluding that scepticism, self-will, and swearing itself is manly. Some think that the more heartless, the more daring, the more manly. I give every one of sound mind at least the credit of knowing better. I am persuaded that there is truth in the saying, "I dare do all things that become a man; and he who dares do more is none." It is manly —

1. To find out and hold fast the truth. All truth is precious, and "the truth" is of all things most precious. "Little children, I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth." Surely in knowledge and discernment these little children were men.

2. To be serious about serious things. Men were made to laugh as well as to weep; but there is also abundant reason in the charge, "Be sober." Some affect to smile at those who are religious for looking grave and speaking solemnly; but life and death, sin and holiness, are matters for deep thought; and the gospel which delivers from sin and death, and entitles to life through righteousness, is in its very nature matter to make men serious.

3. To be kindly to all, and most to the weakest. The manliness of Christ consisted largely in His gentleness.

4. To fear God more than any man or all men. "Fear Him, ye saints, and you will then have nothing else to fear."

5. To overcome the devil himself by God's help.Conclusion:

1. You need not despair of doing this very thing.

2. By doing this you will recommend Christianity.

(J. De Kewer Williams.)

(To young men. 1 Kings 2:2, and text). Buckminster says that the sublimest thing in nature is true manhood. But long before Buckminster, Terence said, "I am a man, and I regard nothing pertaining to humanity as foreign to me." And long before him David said to his son and successor, "Show thyself a man." And long since then we find Paul saying, "Quit you like men, be strong"; "Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might." True manliness does not consist in —

I. THE STRENGTH AND SIZE OF THE HUMAN BODY. This is the barbarian idea of manhood.

II. INTELLECTUAL GREATNESS — which our Maker confers on very few persons in any age. We are not responsible for the lack of great talents, but only for the culture and use of what we have. True manliness lies in heart power and conscience power.

III. CHAFING UNDER WHOLESOME RESTRAINTS. It is no uncommon thing to find young persons who think an independent disregard of authority is manly, and when constrained by unavoidable circumstances to feel that the proper domain of their liberties has been invaded. This mistaken and unmanly feeling is apt to show itself, first of all, in opposition to parental authority. And the boy that frets under the restraints of home, will fret under the restraints of the school-room. And, having disregarded the wholesome restraints of home and of the school, he is now ready to disregard those of society; and it is no uncommon thing to see a young man, who commenced his unmanly course of disobedience in the family, graduating in prison. "Show yourself a man," then, in living in harmony with the Word of God, your conscience, and your environment.

IV. IMITATING, INDISCRIMINATELY, THE CONDUCT OR HABITS OF OTHERS. There are many great men who have their eccentricities and defects; and yet it is just these that younger and smaller men almost always imitate. Many of the admirers of Alexander the Great imitated his intemperance, and not his chastity and liberality; and many of the pupils of Plato imitated his crooked shoulders instead of his philosophy. "Show yourself a man," then, not by merely imitating, but emulating the virtues of others and by shunning their vices.

V. FOLLOWING POPULAR OPINION, RIGHT OR WRONG, OR ANY PARTY, RIGHT OR WRONG. Popular opinion is generally fickle and very often wrong. It imprisoned Galileo, and erected the guillotine in France. In the Southern States it raised the standard of rebellion. There is a great deal of blind leading, and "when the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch." "Show yourself a man," by thinking and investigating for yourself. Study both sides of every important question.

VI. A RECKLESS DISREGARD OF THE OPINIONS OF OTHERS. It is not manly to say, "I don't care what others think of me." Every true man cares, and ought to care. While every true man maintains his own independence of character, he is ambitious, at the same time, to merit the golden opinions of the virtuous and the good. When a man enjoys the love and confidence of a virtuous woman he enjoys, next to the love of God, the noblest thing on earth. "Show yourself a man," then, by showing yourself worthy of such confidence and such love. Again, if you would have others respect you, you must respect yourself. If you would enjoy the friend. ship of your fellow-men, you must be a true friend to yourself. Often the worst enemy a young man has is himself. "Show yourself a man," then, by being true to yourself and to your principles.

VII. IT IS IN VAIN TO LOOK FOR TRUE MANLINESS WHERE THERE IS NO VIRTUE OR HONESTY OR HONOUR. The word virtue comes from "vir," which means a man; and to be virtuous, etymologically, is to be manly in the true sense; "an honest man is the noblest work of God." In the modern sense, virtue means manly purity as well as manly dignity.

1. Now, then, he that would be honest in the much must be honest in the little. A young aspirant for office arriving at the hotel where the governor was stopping, and seeing a man whom he supposed to be the porter, ordered him to take his trunk to his room. The supposed porter charged him twenty-five cents, which he paid with a marked silver quarter worth only twenty cents. The young office-seeker then said, "Here, porter, take my card to Governor Grimes' room and tell him I wish an interview with him at his earliest convenience." "I am Governor Grimes, sir." "Oh! I did not know you were ,Governor Grimes! I beg a thousand pardons!" "None needed," replied the governor. "I was rather favourably impressed with your letter, and had thought you well suited for the office you desire"; and holding up before him the defective quarter, he said: "Any man who would swindle a poor labourer out of the paltry sum of five cents would defraud the public treasury if he had the opportunity. Good evening, sir." Again, it is dishonest and unmanly to try to sell an article for more than it is worth, or to try to buy an article for less than its market value.

2. "Show yourself a man," too, by respecting your own rights and honour, even if others do not; and at the same time remember that others have rights which are entitled to respect. "Be courteous." St. Paul shows what should be the deportment of a true gentleman or a true lady in these few words: "In honour preferring one another."

3. "Show yourself a man," by your moral courage and stability of character. "Dare to do right, dare to be true." Dare to say No, when you are tempted to do wrong, or to go to a wrong place.

4. "Show yourself a man," by emulating the virtues of the great and the good.

5. And at the same time that you are developing and using aright your own manly resources, do not fail to recognise the real source of your success in life, to wit: the grace of God. The inspired apostle who says, "Quit you like men," also says, "Stand fast in the faith." And it is a fact that the great men of the world — the men whose names and whose deeds stand brightest on the scroll of fame, were men of faith in God. Conclusion: Diogenes is said to have gone through the streets of Athens, in broad daylight, with a lighted lantern in his hand, and when asked by a citizen for the object of his search, he replied, saying: "A man, sir, a man. I have found children in Sparta and women in Athens, but I have not found a man." Now, I grant that since man fell from his climax in Eden, a man, a perfect man, has not been found save in the humanity of Jesus. Do you want a model of true manhood? You have it in Him. He has won His title to our heart-faith and our .supreme regard by His God-like character. "Christ died for us." Then "show yourself a man," by showing yourself capable of appreciating such love as His; by giving Him your heart. Then and only then will you be in the line of your own true manhood.

(W. B. Stewart, D.D.)

What, then, is manliness?

1. First, it is self-respect. I need hardly warn you that self-respect has an analogy to pride, or to the wretched vulgar ape of pride which is self-conceit.

2. And next to self-respect, manliness is resistance. The true man will not bend like a reed to every passing gust of that insolent ignorance which sometimes in the light-headedness of nations arrogates to itself the name of public opinion. He will not swim with the stream either in the Church or in the State, but will strike out against its fiercest waves. He will not spread his sail to the soft breeze of flattery and self-interest, but even when menaced with shipwreck will oppose his constancy and his convictions to the fury of the storm. Resist the temptations to be idle, self indulgent, vicious, and all the more if those around you are so. Resist the prejudices and the littleness of your own profession or school or party; resist the temptations of the impulses of your lower nature; and so far from being weakened by the struggle, the strength and fire of the conquered temptation shall be to you an added element of force, even as the Indian warrior believes that the strength of his vanquished enemy passes into his own right arm. Resist difficulties! Show that you have some iron in you, and are not all of straw! There are many spurious forms of courage, and that which is often most admired is the lowest and poorest, like that of the brutes. The manliest courage is that which rises superior to the fear of man. The manly youth will have a certain disdain and impatience of evil, a certain violence of truthfulness, a certain impetuosity of principle, conquering and combating all that is hollow and base and mean. He will not be at the mercy of a wicked code of a few silly or depraved companions for a few brief years, at the cost of having to reproach himself as a fool all the rest of his life.

3. And again, manliness is self-mastery. It sits self-governed in the fiery prime of youth obedient at the feet of law. And this self-mastery cannot be had without self-sacrifice. Any fool, the weakest, dullest, paltriest that ever was, can make a drunkard or a debauchee. There is no human clay so vile, no sludge and scum of humanity so despicable, but out of it you may make an effeminate corrupter, or lying schemer; but it takes God's own gold to make a man. No lacquer work, no tinsel suffices for the cherubim of the sanctuary. They must be hammered out of pure gold, seven times purified in the fire.

(Archdeacon Farrar.)

Manliness is not popularly associated with Christianity, and it is not difficult to see how this mistake has arisen. First of all, it has arisen because of the very prominence that is given in the New Testament to what it calls the virtues of meekness and forgiveness. Again, another cause for this popular misunderstanding arises from the mannerism of religious people. They get into a weak, maudlin condition, and adopt a voice and manner that repels any person who has got a spark of manliness in him, and thus there comes a certain smallness of mind, and a morose stupidity, that does much to strengthen the idea that to be a Christian is either to be a fanatic or an effeminate person. Another cause is distinctly attributable to the characters so often drawn by novelists of what a religious person is. They represent a man as a brave, generous, fine fellow, who was no religion at all. Furthermore, people have become accustomed to think of religion as something connected with deathbed scenes, with sickness, or as bearing an aspect of grim severity, and not at all enticing to any one who likes the free breezes blowing across the sea and across the moors, who likes a manly life, and wishes to take a manly part in it. What is Christian manliness? I answer that Christian muddiness is the courage of duty, according to the Christian ideal. Now let us try to understand this. Manliness is the courage of duty, because duty is the essence of all manliness. Courage separated from duty ceases to be manliness. There is a great deal of courage even in the criminal. That is the courage of the madman or of the devil. So mere physical courage may not be the courage of manliness in its best sense. The ferocity which makes the pugilist or the prize-fighter refuse to give in, that is not a bit more wonderful than what you find in brutes. The bulldog will do the same thing, so will the wild-cat, so will the ferret. That species of courage is not necessarily a high standard of courage. There is a certain spirit of self-assertion which is sometimes mistaken for manliness. The rough, impudent, "I am as good as you," is no indication of the possession of a manly spirit. There is a spirit of arrogance which has nothing to do with manly independence. It is little more than rude incivility, arising from want of consideration from others. Manliness, as the courage of duty, must forbid such things as degrade a man. Look at Christ, the ideal man! There was a life of courage under duty to God and to others, with no thought of self. Christ's life was one continual self-sacrifice. Duty to God and man is the climax of manliness. The great test of character is to be found in the manner in which the common details of life are met. It is far easier for the soldier in the rush of battle to do noble deeds than to live a faithful life in the barrack-yard, or in attending to dally drill.

(D. Macleod, D.D.)

I. THE ENEMIES WITH WHICH YOU HAVE TO CONTEND.

1. The devil.

2. The world.

(1)The men of the world engage on the side of the devil.

(2)The things of the world — honours, profits, and pleasures, how dangerous are these!

3. The flesh, by which is meant the corrupt nature, is the most dangerous enemy of all.

II. THIS EXHORTATION IMPLIES —

1. That you banish unnecessary fears, and engage in the warfare with boldness and resolution.

2. That you fight in Divine strength.

3. That you persevere in the combat.

III. MOTIVES.

1. Your cause is good and highly important. It is "the good fight of faith."

2. You are engaged in the presence of many spectators.(1) God, whose eye penetrates into the inmost recesses of your hearts. He will be your impartial judge.(2) Angels. Shall we disgrace ourselves in the sight of heaven?

3. You fight under Jesus Christ, the Captain of salvation.

4. You are sure of victory in the end.

(W. Linn, D.D.)

I. PAUL HERE APPEALS TO THE INSTINCT OF COURAGE. In becoming Christians we do not cease to be men.

1. Courage lies midway between timidity and recklessness. In matters of daring there is a deficiency which is cowardice, and an excess which is foolhardiness.(1) Timidity is common. Many shrink from pain, fly from danger, and in matters of principle more afraid of man that shall die than of God who must judge.(2) Foolhardiness is common. What mad prank cannot a schoolboy be dared to do? Who has not been culpably indifferent to health, influence, and character? But often the foolhardy is a coward. The man who will undermine his constitution by vice is afraid of infection. We refuse to either of these the sacred name of instinct. They are perversions, distortions of nature.

2. Nature is brave. Nowhere is cowardice honoured.(1) Greeks and Romans had but one word for courage and virtue. The coward in battle had better not return to face either his country or his home. The man who left wife or child a prey to violence or fire was henceforth an outlaw.(2) Courage is the idol of the young. It is this which underlies the hero worship of the river, the course, the field.(3) Nor will either young or old, so long as England is free or Europe Christian, fail to honour the sincerity that must speak the truth, and the conscience that would go to the stake for duty.

3. Yet courage has its abuses.(1) There is an intellectual foolhardiness seen in the upsetting of established convictions, the inversion of established convictions, the establishment of some exploded error. Many heresies have sprung out of intellectual bravery. It has seemed so manly to contradict traditions and beliefs. But there is a mental audacity as perilous as and more culpable than that which flings away life in Alpine climbing or in the circus or hunting field.(2) The same false courage has a more fatal place in things spiritual. What is it that sends the young traveller without arms, map, or guide on the journey of life? What is it that induces one who has been vanquished fifty times on a particular battlefield of temptation to try his chance there again? It was this instinct of courage that Satan appealed to in the wilderness. He had found it in its perversion in the fallen, but not in the perfect Man.

4. Though there is an instinct of courage in us, there are many counteracting instincts, insomuch that it must be, practically, either a rare gift, or else an acquired grace.(1) Few soldiers probably go into the battle eager for the fray. The very faith of our immortality forbids it.(2) We reverence and ought to reverence more the grace than the gift. If we know a person naturally sensitive, delicately organised, we admire far more in that person acquired courage, than the stolid acquiescence of one who has neither brain to throb, nor nerve to quiver. Christ's courage was of this nobler, less constitutional kind, as we see from His natural shrinking from death, and yet His persistence in the path of sacrifice.

II. CHRIST SATISFIES THIS INSTINCT —

1. Of physical courage by showing in Himself how they who may have not the gift may have the grace. Wonderful has been the issue. Witness the martyrs. But excitement of love, hate, bigotry, etc., have had their martyrs. But there is a courage unsupported by excitement and sympathy, in the strength of which Christians have endured in unmurmuring patience lifelong pains, want, etc.

2. Of moral courage. There is nothing in Christ's character more pervasive than this. We see it in His fearless antagonism to the doctors of His age. He dared to speak the truth regardless of consequences. And thus He taught us courage. He bade us never fear truth — a thing necessary to remember in the face of the present attitude of Faith and Science. The moral courage which He showed in His teaching He also showed in His conduct; and it is here that we want most to cultivate it. Think of His solemn warnings against moral cowardice. How He bade us not be ashamed of Him and His words, and not to fear them who kill the body.

3. Of spiritual courage.

(1)The courage of enterprise and aggression.

(2)The courage of resistance.

(Dean Vaughan.)

1. Weakness is always miserable; sometimes sinful. If a man, e.g., abstain from food, having food before him; if he neglect necessary exercise and become, through inaction, enervated; if he pamper the body; if he curtail rest; under such circumstances, to be weak is to be sinful. It is to such weakness that the apostle refers here.

2. Our prayer for you is that you may be strong; and our hope of your strength is not entirely in our prayer, nor in yours. Something more is necessary. In answer to such prayer, God would say to you, "You must lay aside that weight, and that sin, which doth so easily beset you." "If you would be strong, you must nourish your spirit with that food which I give you." Suppose that, instead of laying aside that weight, you retain it, and refuse the food offered you. God has answered your prayer in the directions He has given you, and in bringing before you the provision for your strength. The apostle had his eye upon these provisions and directions when he said, "Quit you like men, be strong."

I. THE THINGS THAT ARE NECESSARY TO SPIRITUAL STRENGTH.

1. Right and sound principle. "God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but the spirit of power, of love, and of a sound mind." Fear is a source of weakness, and love is a source of strength. If your religion is based upon dreading God, you will never be strong, if it is built up upon loving God you will be strong.

2. Mental and emotional nutriment. To have a strong mind, you must get God's thoughts into it. To have a strong heart, God must be the supreme object of affection.

3. Work. The doing that which God bids us to do, for inactivity invariably brings weakness. The more you do, the more you will be able to do. You find this in prayer, and in the ministrations of benevolence.

4. Self-control and government. "I keep under my body."

5. Seasonable rest. You must have repose; and if you do not get it, your power of doing sinks and dies out. You see this everywhere, and nowhere more than in the Christian Church.

6. Genial influences upon us. That which we may call light and sunshine — the "love of God shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit given unto us." Flowers will not bloom in darkness; and you cannot get a strong character, except in the love of your God. "Thy gentleness hath made me great." There are those who expose their children to all sorts of rigors to make them hardy, and perhaps sink them to the grave. The genial influence of real love makes the strongest character.

7. A good atmosphere.

8. Help wisely administered. If, in teaching a child, you do everything for him, he will do nothing. In helping the poor, if you do everything, you impoverish them. God never does this; but He so helps us as to bring out our own resources.

9. Abstinence from all enervating influences. From the principle of fear, e.g., and from carefulness run to seed, "Casting all your care upon Him." "Fear not, say to them of timid heart, be strong." 10. A will to be strong.

II. ALL WHICH IS ESSENTIAL TO STRENGTH WE HAVE IN POSSESSION, OR WITHIN REACH.

1. Right principle is given by God in revelation, and by His Spirit.

2. Bread of life has come down to us from heaven; the well of the water of life has been opened to us.

3. There is work God requires us to do.

4. We have directions for self-control, and we have examples.

5. Rest is divinely promised.

6. There is pure air in the house of prayer, in the Church of Christ, and always on the mount of religious meditation.

7. Help may be always obtained of God. We can lay aside every weight, or it would not be commanded. All that is necessary to make you strong is provided. Do you suppose the Saviour has left His work half done? or that He is doing it now partially? Conclusion: Be strong in your whole spirit, but especially in faith, in hope, and in love.

(S. Martin.)

I. THE EXHORTATION: "Be strong."

1. It is not natural, but moral strength that is here intended. A man may be as strong as Goliath, and at the same time quite as wicked. He may have the courage and magnanimity of an Alexander or a Caesar, and yet be a slave to his own lusts. The strength which Paul speaks of, like wisdom, it "cometh from above," and consists in our being strengthened with all might by God's Spirit in the inner man (Proverbs 16:32; James 3:17; Ephesians 3:16).

2. The exhortation is addressed to all Christians, whatever be their circumstances or situation, whether in a public or private capacity (Isaiah 35:4; Zechariah 10:6).

3. We need to be reminded that our strength lies not in ourselves, but in Christ our head (2 Corinthians 12:9, 10).

II. THE PARTICULAR CASES TO WHICH THE EXHORTATION IS APPLICABLE. We must be strong —

1. To labour. The Christian's work is constant and complicated; "it is not the work of a day or two," as Ezra said respecting the reformation to be wrought in Israel, but of a whole life. As to the things of this life, he is not to be slothful in business, but fervent in spirit, serving the Lord. But the labours of the spiritual life are still more arduous, and require greater efforts and greater self-denial (Acts 20:24; 1 Corinthians 15:10; 2 Corinthians 1:8).

2. To conquer. Christians are not only labourers, but soldiers; and as such they are called to endure hardness. Seeing that so many forces are combined against us, it is necessary that great strength be exerted. We must not indulge a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind (Ephesians 6:11, 12).

3. To suffer (Romans 5:3; Colossians 1:11). God's grace is sufficient for us, though nothing else is. If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.

4. To die. In order to obtain the victory and to die happy, we shall need —(1) A strong and lively faith, well founded and brought into vigorous exercise (Genesis 49:18; Psalm 23:4; Psalm 73:26; 2 Timothy 4:6-8).(2) A well-founded and animating hope.(3) Great strength of affection, desiring to depart and be with Christ, which is far better (1 Thessalonians 1:10; 2 Peter 3:12).(4) Strong consolation, and a joy that is unspeakable and full of glory.

(B. Beddome, M. A.)

Never would Christianity have made any impression upon the godless world which, eighteen centuries ago, it confronted and withstood, had its first teachers and disciples not been men of strength. It may be well, therefore, to consider —

1. The nature.

2. The extent.

3. The source of Christian strength.(1) What kind of strength is required? Mere physical courage is not enough: we share that with the lower animals. Nor will intellectual power alone suffice; that may be sadly perverted and misused. Both of these are good in their way; but nothing save spiritual strength will carry the Christian triumphantly through the battle of life. This may co-exist with great natural timidity.(2) When do we need to be strong? At all times and in all circumstances: more than ever before, now that the line of demarcation between the kingdom of this world and the kingdom of God is so finely drawn. To live a consistent Christian life in these days, steering clear of the dishonesties practised in the name of "business," and the shams countenanced in the code of "society"; to denounce, heedless of self-interest, with firm faith in the ultimate victory of goodness and truth, will assuredly tax our strength to the utmost.(3) Whence are we to derive this strength? In ourselves it cannot be found; its source lies beyond the range of our natural abilities. It comes only from God, the Lord of all power and might, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy. He waits to infuse into each soldier of His the invincible strength which carries all before it. Those who profess to serve Him have no excuse for weakness. The weaker the instrument is by nature, the more splendid is the triumph of Divine grace and the testimony to the sovereign power of God.

(J. H. Burn, B.D.)

New York Observer.
We mistake strong feelings for strong character. A man who bears all before him — before whose frown domestics tremble, and whose bursts of fury make the children of the house quake — because he has his will obeyed and his own way in all things, we call him the strong man. The truth is, that is the weak man: it is his passions that are strong; he, mastered by them, is weak. You must measure the strength of a man by the power of the feelings be subdues, not by the power of those which subdue him. And hence composure is often the highest result of strength. Did we never see a man receive a flagrant insult, and only grow a little pale, and then reply quietly? That was a man spiritually strong. Or did we never see a man in anguish stand as if carved out of solid rock, mastering himself? Or one bearing a hopeless daily trial remain silent, and never tell the world what it was that cankered his home peace? That is strength. He who, with strong passions, remains chaste — he who, keenly sensitive, with manly power of indignation in him, can be provoked, yet can restrain himself and forgive — these are strong men, spiritual heroes.

(New York Observer.)

If we travel by river steamer we are admonished by an inscription just below the steersman's platform "not to speak to the man at the wheel." A momentary distraction from attention to his duties might, in some circumstances, involve a deviation from the vessel's course full of danger to all on board. Like vigilance is needful in spiritual things. The soul must "look right on," undistracted by the vain conversation of a babbling world, if she would steer her course well for eternity, and avoid making shipwreck of her faith.

(J. Halsey.)

A thoughtful scholar of a generation that is passing away was once asked if he would take some bread and a glass of wine. His answer was, "No; I will take some bread and a glass of water." His friend smilingly answered, "Bread and water — that is prison fare." "No," said he, "not prison fare, but garrison fare." And it is garrison time down here. We can't afford to be off our watch, not keeping a constant look-out for dangers that are very real and imminent. "What I say unto you I say unto all, Watch!"

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