1 Thessalonians 2:6
Nor did we seek praise from you or from anyone else, although as apostles of Christ we had authority to demand it.
Sermons
The Characteristics of St. Paul's Preaching At ThessalonicaB.C. Caffin 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12
The Manner of the Preachers; Or, Self-PortraitureR. Finlayson 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12
Advantages Sometimes Acquired by GuileH. K. Burton.1 Thessalonians 2:3-6
All Glory to GodProf. Jowett.1 Thessalonians 2:3-6
An Unfaithful PreacherHenry Varley.1 Thessalonians 2:3-6
But as We Were Allowed of God to be Put in Trust with the GospelC. Hodge, D. D.1 Thessalonians 2:3-6
Deceit an Unsafe Element in Moral BuildingArchbishop Whately.1 Thessalonians 2:3-6
Displeasing Men1 Thessalonians 2:3-6
Disregarding the Slanders of Men1 Thessalonians 2:3-6
Emptiness of Worldly GlorySunday at Home.1 Thessalonians 2:3-6
Essential Elements of Success in Preaching: SincerityG. Barlow.1 Thessalonians 2:3-6
ExhortationProf. Jowett.1 Thessalonians 2:3-6
Flattering WordsBp. Home., La Rochefoucauld.1 Thessalonians 2:3-6
Flattery Discouraged1 Thessalonians 2:3-6
Glory Claimed for God AlonProf. Jowett.1 Thessalonians 2:3-6
Gospel TrusteesW. Birch.1 Thessalonians 2:3-6
Labour of LoveW. Montgomery.1 Thessalonians 2:3-6
Not as Pleasing Men But GodE. Mellor, D. D.1 Thessalonians 2:3-6
Sin CloakedJ. Hutchison, D. D.1 Thessalonians 2:3-6
St. Paul's Ministry -- DescribedA. S. Patterson, D. D.1 Thessalonians 2:3-6
The Christian MinistryW. Bengo Collyer, D. D., R. Fergusson.1 Thessalonians 2:3-6
The Danger of PopularityJ. R. Andrews.1 Thessalonians 2:3-6
The Gospel and its PreachersJ. Cumming, D. D.1 Thessalonians 2:3-6
The Mean Between Flattery and Severity1 Thessalonians 2:3-6
The Minister's Trust, Faithfulness, and TrialsW. D. Horwood, M. A.1 Thessalonians 2:3-6
The True Missionary SpiritG. C. Needham.1 Thessalonians 2:3-6
Tried by GodJ. Caryl.1 Thessalonians 2:3-6
Trustees for GodReuen Thomas, D. D.1 Thessalonians 2:3-6
Unmercenary MotivesD. L. Moody.1 Thessalonians 2:3-6
The Spirit and Method of Apostolic LaborT. Croskery 1 Thessalonians 2:5-8
The apostle sets it forth under two aspects.

I. NEGATIVELY. "For neither at any time were we found using words of flattery, as ye know, nor a cloak of covetousness, God is witness; nor seeking glory of men."

1. The apostle and his colleagues did not attempt to win their way by flattery, either by setting forth high views of human nature, or by holding men's persons in admiration for the sake of advantage; for their gospel tended rather to humble man and subdue his pride. Flattery is a gross dishonor both to God and man, for it implies untruthfulness, and may become fatal in its results to easily deluded sinners. The apostle appealed to the Thessalonians in confirmation of his statement.

2. They did not use their position as a cloak of covetousness, as God could testify, who knows the heart. The apostle might say now, as he afterwards said to the elders of Ephesus, "I coveted no man's silver, nor gold, nor apparel." The false teachers were chargeable with covetousness, for "through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you" (2 Peter 2:1, 3). How emphatically the apostle insists upon ministers of the gospel being free from this vice! "Not greed, of filthy lucre."

3. They were not fond of vain-glory. "Nor seeking glory of men, neither from you, nor from others, when we might have been burdensome as apostles of Christ," or might have stood on their dignity as apostles of Christ. There is no allusion here to his claim to ministerial support, but rather to the position of magisterial dignity he might have assumed, with all its pomp and peremptoriness and sternness. His spirit at Thessalonica was not that of lordship over God's heritage.

II. POSITIVELY. "But we were gentle in the midst of you, as when a nurse cherisheth her own children."

1. They were gentle in their intercourse with their converts; unassuming and mild, with no haughty or imperious airs, challenging honor and homage. They acted in the very spirit of the good Shepherd. Long afterwards the apostle could remind one of his present colleagues that "the servant of the Lord must not strive, but be gentle to all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves" (2 Timothy 2:24-26). This gentleness, which is at once a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) and a characteristic of the "wisdom from above" (James 3:17), becomes all the more impressive when it is linked with the highest strength of character.

2. They were most affectionate in their intercourse with their converts. "Even so, being affectionately desirous of you, we were well pleased to impart to you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were become very dear to us."

(1) Their yearning love was manifest:

(a) In their imparting the gospel to them. As their spiritual parents they travailed in birth till Christ was formed in them, and then they fed them thereafter with the sincere milk of the Word.

(b) In their readiness to risk their lives for the sake of their children in the faith. They verily carried their lives in their hands.

(2) This apostolic solicitude on their behalf sprung out of their deep love for the Thessalonians, as being at once the trophies of their ministry, and as being pre-eminently docile in their attitude toward the gospel and its preachers. There is hardly any stronger tie in this world than that which links together a spiritual father and his converts. - T.C.







For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile
The whole gospel preaching and message is so called, as permeated by, and living in, an atmosphere of gentle, soothing affection. Religion has been defined as "morality tinctured by emotion." Much more truly is the whole gospel a system "tinctured by emotion," i.e., a paraklesis. Hence two different shades of meaning are blended in the word. As addressed to the careless, slothful, tempted, fallen, it is exhortation; as addressed to the sad and seeking it is solace and comfort. It is the gospel exhortation, which is never without a certain soothing, sympathetic sweetness. The two senses of paraklesis exhortation and consolation, so easily passing into one another (ver. 11) are suggestive of the external state of the early Church, sorrowing amid the evils of the world, and needing as its first lesson to be comforted, and not less suggestive of the first lesson of the gospel to the individual soul of peace in believing.

(Prof. Jowett.)

This is no less essential than courage. As the mountain turn reflects the clear light of the stars so the preacher reflects in his conduct the motives by which he is sustained.

I. SINCERITY IN MOTIVE (ver. 3). The Apostle disclaims the harbouring of evil intentions.

1. In relation to God. "Not of deceit." Having received the truth from God and about God, he transmits it in all its integrity without error or imposture.

2. In relation to himself. "Not of uncleanness." Pure in his own affection and purpose, he preached a gospel that was pure in itself, in its tendency, and in its experienced results.

3. In relation to others. "Not in guile." He sought not to propagate the gospel by fraudulent wiles or false representations. He descended not to hypocrisy to catch men. "Hypocrites," says Bernard, "desire to seem, not to be good; not to seem, but to be evil; they care not to follow or practice virtue, but to colour vice, by putting in it the painted complexion of virtue." The life of a man whose motives are sincere, will be transparent as the light. A certain king of Castile, who had only been too familiar with the duplicity of mankind, once arrogantly said, "When God made man, He left one capital defect: He ought to have set a window in his breast." The sincere man opens a window in his breast, by the whole tenor of his words and actions, so that his innermost thoughts are apparent.

II. IN SPEECH.

1. They speak under a solemn sense of responsibility. "But as we were allowed," etc. (ver. 4). To their charge, as men tested and approved of God, was committed the precious treasure of the gospel; and conscious of its riches they were solicitous to distribute them in all faithfulness and sincerity.

2. They sought chiefly the Divine approval. "Not as pleasing men," etc. There is much in the gospel distasteful to the natural man — its humiliating exposure of our depravity and helplessness, its holiness, its mysteries, the unbending severity of its law, and the absolute character of its claims. The temptation is sometimes great to temper, and modify the truth to carnal prejudice, and sacrifice faithfulness to popularity. But the apostles risked everything, so that they secured the Divine approval.

3. They practised neither adulation nor deception. "For neither at any time used we flattering words," etc. (ver. 5). "Flattery," says Plutarch, "has been the ruin of most states." But alas! who can tell the souls it has forever undone!

III. OF AIM (ver. 6). Seen —

1. In the generous suppression of the authority with which they were armed. "When we might have been burdensome," etc. Whether in foregoing their legitimate claim of maintenance, or, as restraining the exhibition of the dignity and power of their apostleship as generally admitted — it was equally honourable to the pure and disinterested character of their highest aim.

2. In the absence of all selfish ambition. "Nor of men sought we glory." They could conscientiously aver — "we seek not yours but you." "I love a serious preacher," says Fenelon, "who speaks for my sake, and not for his own: who seeks my salvation and not his own glory." It is said of one of the ancient fathers that he would weep at the applause given to his discourses. "Would to God," said he, "they had rather gone away silent and thoughtful!" It is a sorry end to preach for mere ephemeral human praise. Such a man may sink into the grave with the touching lament of Grotius — "Alas! I have lost my life in doing nothing with great labour!"Lessons —

1. Sincerity in proclaiming the truth can be acquired only by a personal experience of its power.

2. Sincerity is deepened by a conscious Divine commission.

3. Sincerity is unmistakeably evidenced in word and deed.

4. Sincerity is satisfied only in aiming at the highest results in preaching.

(G. Barlow.)

I. THE GOSPEL.

1. It belongs to God; hence it is denominated, "the Gospel of God." He indeed was its author; and because He is good, He bestows His gospel on men for their good.

2. It claims universal acceptance. If it is not received in the love of it, there is no other gospel for mankind; it is the only star by which men can navigate the sea of life, and securely gain the shores of eternity.

3. It is benedictive in its influence.

II. THE PREACHERS OF THE GOSPEL.

1. They were men and not angels. Angels know nothing experimentally of human failings and regrets — human difficulties and trials, therefore are incompetent to preach the gospel. It must be preached by such men as Paul and Silas — "men of like passions with ourselves." They are on the same footing with the Thessalonians and all of humankind.

2. They were holy men. In the Divine order of things the blessing of conversion precedes the call to the ministry as surely as the morning star precedes the orb of day. In other words — men are not preachers first and then true Christians, but true Christians and then preachers.

3. They were sincere and bold. They had suffered acutely for the gospel at Philippi, had been shamefully ill-treated by its citizens; but many waters could neither quench their love for the gospel nor for the souls the gospel could save. So they preached it at Thessalonica with the same burning zeal they had done at Philippi.

(J. Cumming, D. D.)

I. NEGATIVELY.

1. No of deceit. The word thus translated, as distinguished from "guile," denotes mental error without respect to any bad design (see Proverbs 14:8). It was no false theory, wild vagary, empty speculation, that Paul preached.

2. Not of uncleanness. To understand by this fraud or imposture would not only introduce needless tautology, but would interfere with the acknowledged ethical sense of the word, which is bad morals, especially sensuality. The Apostle affirms that he and his associates did not preach a doctrine which warranted or connived at vice, and did not seek, by preaching, to gratify any sensual passions of their own. The contrary character is exemplified in Jezebel (Revelation 2:20), and in the persons described in 2 Peter 2; Judges 4:10-13, 16-19.

3. Not in guile. They had not acted the part of imposters or hypocrites.

II. POSITIVELY.

1. Paul and Silas were —(1) "Allowed of God" — a term denoting a much stronger idea than that of bare per mission, viz., distinct choice or positive approbation.(2) "To be put in trust with the gospel," a phrase which not only represents their actual admission to the ministerial office, but sets forth their responsibility as ministers.

2. They spoke in a manner corresponding to the twofold fact of their vocation by God and their responsibility to Him, "Not as pleasing men," etc.(1) They neither acknowledged nor applied what was pleasing to men as a safe and satisfactory standard by which to regulate their ministerial conduct.(2) They recognized such a standard in what was pleasing to God. They saw cause for special vigilance, and for habitual reference to Him in the fact that "He searcheth the heart and trieth the reins," and was intimately acquainted with their secret thoughts and feelings.(3) Prompted by such considerations they asked of Him, "What wilt Thou have me to do."

(A. S. Patterson, D. D.)

It is difficult to maintain falsehood. When the materials of a building are solid blocks of stone, very rude architecture will suffice; but a structure of rotten materials needs the most careful adjustment in order to make it stand.

(Archbishop Whately.)

Advantages may sometimes be acquired by craft. A fox got into a hen roost one night, and so gorged himself that he could not make his exit through the narrow hole by which he entered. So he lay down pretending to be dead when the hen wife came to look for her fowls. Thinking reynard was really dead, in her vexation for the loss of her hens, she took him by his brush and threw him outside, when he scampered off. Sixtus, Pope of Rome, owed his election to his cleverly counterfeiting sickness and old age; so he got most votes, as other cardinals, who probably hoped to be pope, thought he would soon die.

(H. K. Burton.)

I. WHAT DOES THE WORD "ALLOWED" MEAN? The Greek word means —

1. To try.

2. To approve.

3. To see fit.As in Romans 1:25, the heathen, it is said, did not like to retain God in their knowledge, i.e., they did not see fit to do it. Allowed does not mean to judge fit, in the sense that Paul was made a minister on account of his own merits, nor on the ground of the foresight of what he would be, but it was an act of God's sovereign grace. So in the account of his conversion (1 Timothy 2:13) he gives thanks to Christ. In 1 Corinthians 7:25, he says he had obtained mercy to be found faithful. He regarded his being put in the ministry as a great and undeserved mercy.

II. WHAT IS THE GOSPEL? The glad news of salvation revealed in the Scriptures. It is not a code of morals, nor a cultus, nor a life; it is the system of doctrines concerning God and man and Christ. It is called the wisdom of God, so contrasted with the wisdom of men, i.e., what God has revealed as opposed to what reason teaches. Hence to be put in trust with the gospel means to be a steward of the mysteries, i.e., the truths revealed by God. Two things are included in the gospel: the truth and its proclamation. The gospel is a report — something heard.

III. IN WHAT SENSE IS THE GOSPEL A TRUST. Two things are included in a trust or two duties of a trustee.

1. The safe custody of what is committed to his care.

2. Right administration. As to the first, it must he preserved in safety and preserved from deterioration. If gold is committed to a man, he must not deposit it in an insecure place; he must defend and preserve it. He can't substitute worthless paper for it. The gospel is the most precious treasure, far more so than gold or power. The minister is bound to preserve it, and not substitute the worthless products of his own brain for it. He must use it, not keep it hid in a napkin. He must use it for the purpose for which it is designed, not for his own advantage. Paul says of himself, that he acted —

(1)Not as pleasing men, but God.

(2)Not using flattery.

(3)Not covetously.

(4)Not seeking glory of men.The guilt of an unfaithful trustee is great. His doom dreadful. The reward and blessedness of a faithful minister the greatest conceivable.

(C. Hodge, D. D.)

I.ITS PRIVILEGE — "allowed of God."

II.ITS SUBLIME RESPONSIBILITY — "put in trust."

III.ITS FAITHFUL ADMINISTRATION — "even so we speak."

IV.ITS AWFUL SCRUTINY — "God which trieth the hearts."

(W. Bengo Collyer, D. D.)

I. THE APOSTLE'S REASONS FOR PREACHING THE GOSPEL.

1. He was a steward, "put in trust with the gospel." It was therefore not the Gospel of Paul, but the Gospel of God. All ministers of it have a great honour put upon them and trust committed to them. They must not dare to corrupt the pure Word of God, but diligently make use of what is intrusted with them, knowing they will he called to give an account of it.

2. His design was to please God and not man. God is a God of truth, and requireth truth in the inward parts. The gospel is not accommodated to the vain fancies and lusts of men; but, on the contrary, it was designed for the mortifying their corrupt affections, and delivering them from the power of fancy, that they might be brought under the power of faith.

3. He acted under the consideration of God's omniscience. This is indeed the great motive to sincerity — to consider God not only seeth all that we do, but knoweth our thoughts afar off, and searcheth the heart; and it is from God that we must receive our reward.

II. THE EVIDENCES OF THE APOSTLE'S SINCERITY.

1. He avoided flattery. He and his fellow labourers preached Christ and Him crucified, and did not aim to gain an interest in men's affections for themselves, by glorying, and fawning, and wheedling them: they were far from that. Nor did they flatter men in their sins, or tell them that if they would be of their party, they might live as they listed. They did not build them up with vain hopes, nor indulge them in any evil work or way, promising them life, and so daubing with untempered mortar.

2. He avoided covetousness. He did not make the ministry a cloak or covering for this carnal desire, as God was witness. He would not enrich himself by preaching the gospel; so far from that, he did not burden them for bread. He did out in anywise like the false apostles, who "through covetousness with vain words made merchandise" of the people.

3. He avoided ambition and vain glory. He neither expected people's purses nor their caps, neither to be caressed or adored by them, and called rabbi. He might have used greater authority as an apostle, and expected greater esteem, and demanded maintenance; but some might perhaps have thought all this too great a burden for them to bear, and hence he avoided all mention of such things. He thought ever of his Divine Lord, and seldom of him. self.

(R. Fergusson.)

I. THE MINISTER'S TRUST.

1. Its basis. The Divine permission — "allowed of God." This is the minister's prerogative and authority.

2. Its subject — the gospel.

(1)In its wonderful disclosures of the grace of God.

(2)In its operative power upon the heart and life.

(3)In its presentation of the Person and work of Christ.

3. Its object — the salvation, edification, comfort, and eternal blessedness of men.

II. THE MINISTER'S FAITHFULNESS.

1. The minister who is conscious of his responsibility speaks as one who will have to render an account of his stewardship, thoughtfully, cautiously, humbly, prayerfully, boldly.

2. This faithfulness is expressed in the singleness and sacredness of its object. "Not as pleasing men," etc. (1 Corinthians 2:1-5).

3. This singleness of purpose in pleasing God rather than man is also a test of our fidelity. The faithful minister is content to labour without human applause.

III. THE MINISTER'S TRIALS.

1. He is subject not only to those trials which are common to all men, but to those which are peculiar to his office: discouragement, anxiety for souls, doubts as to past labours, a sense of his unworthiness in His sight who trieth the heart.

2. But God trieth the heart for wise and benevolent ends —

(1)To make us purer.

(2)More sympathetic.

(3)More efficient.

(W. D. Horwood, M. A.)

I. THE TRUSTEES.

1. Christian ministers are trustees for God. They have a charge to keep other than that which is common to Christians. It matters little by what channel the Great Head of the Church has communicated His will to the individual; it is enough that he is "allowed of God."

2. A trustee is chosen as being a man of character, one who can be relied upon to administer his trust fairly, Generally he is a friend chosen because of his superior qualifications. And, whatever may be said about truth being independent of the preacher, yet as light is tinged and refracted by the window through which it passes, so it is impossible to separate a man from the system he advocates. It is difficult to believe that to be good which expresses the feelings of a bad man. "Take heed unto thyself and unto the doctrine." Self modifies doctrine. Men universally recognize this, and the first necessity of success is to give no occasion for slanderous lies. That which is culpable in an ordinary Christian is doubly so in a minister.

3. But while as trustees we do well to look to ourselves, yet that does not mean that we should be burdened with the sense of our own importance. It has been the reproach of priests in all ages that they have been more anxious to magnify than to use their office. Without falling back on the exploded fallacy of apostolical succession we may find a platform sufficiently strong and broad in the priceless value of what has been committed to our trust. The trustee of a prince, heir to an ancient throne, is necessarily charged with more responsibility than a homeless wanderer.

II. THEIR TRUST. That one word "Gospel" suggests the nature of it. Not simply the proclamation of a sovereign to his subjects, though that would involve a heavy responsibility; but the revelation of the very nature of Deity, and how that nature has wrought his working for the salvation of men.

1. Even with the Bible in their hands, and the multiplied helps to its study, it is possible for ministers to underrate its importance, and to allow the gospel to be only one among many agencies by which God is renewing the heart of mankind. There is a strong tendency among liberal thinkers to extol what is good in each of the religions of the world, and to conceal the defects which are everywhere visible. But we have a religion which has no defects, and is perfectly adapted to every man, and remake him wiser, nobler, and happier; and which God has designed as the one religion for man. To deal tenderly with false religions is to imperil our trust.

2. Without any intention of substituting another gospel for that of the New Testament, it is possible to so place the emphasis in teaching as to seriously weaken the force of our message; possible so to present Divine love and truth as to add to the weight of the many burdens which almost crush humanity. Any presentation of this solemn trust which fails to strengthen faith, hope, and love, must necessarily be defective. If our gospel be one of perpetual condemnation, destroying the old and not building up the new, it is not in sympathy with Him who came not to condemn but to save, and will win no confidence, and stir no enthusiasm.

III. THE ADMINISTRATION OF THIS TRUST.

1. It is required of a steward that he be found faithful.(1) To be faithful costs something. Faithfulness to a congregation considered as a unit requires self-crucifixion, but faithfulness towards individuals, and to the convictions created by the study of Divine truth much more.(2) But faithfulness is not that ill-natured determination to assert oneself and one's own views simply because they are our own, and in the spirit of self-defence. It does not mean obstinate adherence to one mode of action, when that method has lost its adaptability, much less the candidating for a cheap martyrdom, by offensively pushing into the forefront unwelcome truths at any cost. We have to be faithful to love as well as to logic.

2. The danger of most is that they are called to administer a trust of which they have no adequate appreciation. Conceive of a man put in trust of an estate rich in gold and precious stones, and allowing an absolute lease of it for the value of the mere timber on it. What an outcry there would be against his intellectual and moral unfitness! Our peril is lest, overcome by the spirit of the age, we should take too great heed to all and everything that is said against the gospel, and fail to appreciate the force of the argument which comes from eighteen centuries of positive evidence.

3. Unwittingly we may be helping into popularity men and their theories whose influence but for us would be confined within a very narrow area. Nine out of every ten men in our congregations know nothing of these, and the tenth man who knows something is likely to be more advantaged by the preaching of positive truth than by mere controversy. When an epidemic is abroad, the men of robust health are least in danger of infection, and our aim should be to get and keep men in a state of robust moral health, by feeding them with the Bread of Life.

4. When men seem disposed to break away from our influence we ought to search our hearts and methods, and everything which concerns us and our ministry, and see if there be anything in the spirit of our action which accounts for such restlessness. We ought to ask ourselves whether our administration of our trust be right, or whether we are the mere teachers of a science of religion, which informs the mind, but leaves the heart unmoved; whether there be not some vital element in the gospel which we have largely left out, which would have roused men to defend a treasure so valuable. Ministers not seldom so present the truth as to convince without persuading. We have knocked men down by the force of argument, and despoiled them without giving them anything in return.

5. Instead of patiently and faithfully administering our trust, we are apt to fall into the error of supposing that men know all that is knowable of Scriptural truth, and thus work outside the facts and truths of the gospel.

(Reuen Thomas, D. D.)

I. THE PRECIOUSNESS OF THE GOSPEL. It is precious because —

1. It reveals God.

(1)Who all men are more or less blindly groping after.

(2)As a Father infinitely wise and good.

2. It offers salvation —

(1)From the penalty of sin.

(2)From the power of sin.

3. It breathes hope into every man.

II. IT HAS BEEN ENTRUSTED TO US IN ORDER THAT BY ITS MEANS WE MIGHT SAVE OUR FELLOW MEN. How great is our responsibility to let it speak in our words and deeds!

(W. Birch.)

This should be the supreme and controlling purpose of life.

I. To PLEASE GOD IS POSSIBLE, because —

1. He has revealed what will please Him: His will in His Word.

2. We know this or may learn it.

3. His Spirit will help us if we seek His aid.

II. To PLEASE MAN IS IMPOSSIBLE.

1. AS it is impossible to please all men, so it is almost as impossible to please one. The same man is different at different times. What may please him today may displease him tomorrow.

2. God has failed to please man even more signally than man himself. Chiefly see how He failed when He came in the likeness of man that He might purify him and fit him for heaven.

3. By seeking to please men instead of God, or more than God, men must doom the world to perpetual darkness and stationariness, or rather, as this is not possible, to sure retrogression and decay. How blessed, then, is the truth that it is easier to please God than man!

(E. Mellor, D. D.)

Bravo Paul! He spoke the Word, whether sinners would hear or not, whether men were converted or not. If it pleased God he was content. Just like that grand man who kept working away in isolation in the heart of China, and for years saw no conversion. A lady said to him, "What good are you doing in China, Mr. Burns?" To which he replied, "Madam, I did not go to China to convert the Chinese, I went to glorify God." He went to serve and please his Master. I was asked to examine a young man who wanted to give up his business and go to Africa as a missionary. I asked him, "What is your motive in wanting to take this step? Suppose you go to the heart of Africa, and, seeing thousands bowing down before their idols and refusing to hear of Christ, what would you do?" He replied, "I'd just keep pegging away." That is the right spirit of service: to keep pegging away for the Master, not to please the society, not to have a large place on the statistics, not to have a great following, but to please God. If we go forth to any service according to the will of God, and only to please Him. He will bless us in our souls, and in the end give us to see His power in the salvation of sinners.

(G. C. Needham.)

We were sitting under the shade of an oak tree comparing notes and conferring with one another as to the best methods of service, especially in reference to effective preaching. "I always write my sermons," said my friend, "and then carefully revise them, so that, if anything is written calculated to offend any of my hearers, I may at once erase it." This was said by a young clergyman, who was evidently anxious to make his mark as a preacher. Desirous to know that I heard correctly, I replied, "Do you mean that forcible statements, either of your own writing or from Scripture, concerning sin and the terrors of the judgment to come, are either toned down or avoided?" "Yes," was the reply; "if I think they will offend any one I do so." I fear this candid testimony indicates the reason so many ministers are powerless amongst their fellows. "The fear of man bringeth a snare indeed."

(Henry Varley.)

To one who warned him (Whitefield) to beware of the evils of popularity he replied, "I thank you heartily. May God reward you for watching over my soul; and as to what my enemies say against me. I know worse things of myself than they can say concerning me." "I bless God for my stripping seasons," he would say; "nothing sets a person so much out of the devil's reach as humility."

(J. R. Andrews.)

You know the anecdote of Louis and Massilon. After Massilon had preached rather an agitating sermon, I suppose, Louis sent for him. "Massilon," said he, "you have offended me." "That is what I wished to do, sire," said the preacher. And we would not give much for a minister who did not offend two-thirds of his congregation at times — arouse them up — smash against the conscience of the bigot, and baulk party prejudices, and touch the secret sin, which, if they do not confess, they still feel.

Some things, if they be tried once, they are tried forever; if we try gold, it will ever be as good as we found it, unless we alter it; as we find it, so it will continue to be. But try the heart of man this day, and come again the next, and you may find it in a different condition; today believing, to morrow unbelieving; today humble, tomorrow proud; today meek, tomorrow passionate; today lively and enlarged, tomorrow dead and straightened; — pure gold today, tomorrow exceeding drossy. As it is with the pulse of sick man, it varies every quarter of an hour, therefore the physician tries his pulse every time he comes, because his disease alters the state of his body: so it is with the distempered condition of man's spirit. God having tried our pulse, the state of our spirit, by crosses, or by mercies, this day, next day He tries us too, and the third day He tries us again, and so keep us in continual trials, because we are continually varying. Our comfort is, that there is a time coming, when God will establish our souls in such a spiritual and heavenly frame, so that He will need to try us no more.

(J. Caryl.)

John Wesley once stood out very nobly in disregarding the eyes of men so long as he stood acquitted in the sight of God. Among his many persecutions are to be numbered the falling back of former friends, including him wife. These turned against him, and published many spiteful things, even defaming his character in a shocking manner. Brother Charles hastened off in alarm and indignation to inquire what defence Brother John would set up. There was no time to lose! The eyes of the world were upon him, and God's enemies and his own would be glad to make capital out of so contemptible a business! What was Charles' surprise to find that John was resolved on doing simply nothing! The great preacher was calm and comfortable in mind, being entirely free from any concern for the future. Why should he be perplexed when he had entrusted God with his all — even with his reputation? None are so safe as those whose characters are in God's keeping. Such often consider that they dishonour God by setting up puny defences of their own against the cavils of the wicked. They think more of that one eye of God which is ever looking upon them, than of the eyes of men. For neither at any time used we flattering words —

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

One of the first acts performed by George III, after his accession to the throne, was to issue an order prohibiting any of the clergy who should be called to preach before him from paying him any compliment in their discourses. His Majesty was lead to this from the fulsome adulation which Dr. Thomas Wilson, Prebendary of Westminster, thought proper to deliver in the Chapel Royal, and for which, instead of thanks, he received from his royal auditor a pointed reprimand, his Majesty observing, "that he came to the chapel to hear the praises of God, and not his own." This circumstance operated wonderfully on the reverend orator, as from that moment he became a flaming patriot. The Doctor took part with Wilkes, was made liveryman of the Joiner's Company, and lavished large sums upon Mrs. Macaulay, the Republican historian, in whose honour he caused a marble statue to be erected in his church at Walbrook, though before he died he caused it to be removed, not indeed so much from a sense of the impropriety of the thing, as out of resentment to the lady, who had displeased him by her marriage.

"I resolve," said Bishop Beveridge, "never to speak of a man's virtues before his face; nor of his faults behind his back;" a golden rule I the observation of which would, at one stroke, banish flattery and defamation from the earth.

(Bp. Home.)Flattery is false money, which would not be current were it not for our vanity.

(La Rochefoucauld.)

Nor a cloke of covetousness
The word "cloke" here is very significant. In this fallen world of ours there are some sins which men may even glory in — many the indulgence of which entails little or no shame. But this sin of covetousness is one which no man will ever dream of boasting of. Men, while they indulge it, always to hide it. As Bishop Sanderson says, "No man will profess himself covetous, be he never so wretchedly sordid within; but he will for very shame cast as handsome a cloak as he can over it — frugality, good husbandry, providence — some cloak or other to hide the filthiness of it from the sight of others. But filthy it is still, be it cloaked never so honestly. God abhorreth it as a filthy thing" (Psalm 10:3). It appears, then, that this covetousness, however often it may evince its presence among men, must have its cloke or mask. Were it at once and invariably to rythe in its real colours, even the children of the world would not endure it. It would be loathsome. But the Apostle adds, "God is witness" (Romans 1:9; 2 Corinthians 1:23; Philippians 1:8). In reference to the language of flattery, he says, "as ye know." Man can judge thereon. Hence he appeals to his readers. They themselves were good enough judges as to whether he had ever flattered them. But it is otherwise with covetousness and its mask. "Neither man nor angel can discern hypocrisy, the only evil that walks invisible, except to God alone. By His permissive will through heaven to earth." In regard to it — the hypocrisy of covetousness — therefore, Paul lays bare his heart before the all-seeing eye.

(J. Hutchison, D. D.)

"When I gave up my business sixteen years ago, after three months of the severest struggle of my life, whether I should go for dollars and cents or for souls, from that day to this I have no more lived for money than I have lived for water. My friends have blamed me because I have not laid aside something for my family. Some of them insisted upon my wife having some money, and they bought her a home in the country, and the rumour is that it cost 30,000 dollars, and 30,000 dollars to furnish it. The home cost 3,500 dollars, and there have been some improvements, and the furniture and everything cost 10,000 dollars. It belongs to my wife and children. My father died at the early age of forty-one, and if I died tomorrow there will be a roof over the heads of my wife and children. I have been offered 500 dollars to lecture, when I might talk an hour, and then go to a comfortable hotel; but as it is now, I work at the Tabernacle all day, and talk till midnight with inquirers, and when I am done have hardly strength enough left to go to my room. The royalty on the hymn books amounted last year to 68,000 dollars, but it all went to three trustees, and not one dollar came into the hands of Mr. Sankey or myself. It belongs to us as much as the income of your business belongs to you but we give it up. We do not want one dollar of your money in Boston. Give it to the Lord as long as you please. I would rather live on a crust of bread than have people think we came for your money. If any young man here wants to go into the work of the Lord for money, I advise him not to do it. Now, I do not want any one to go off and say that we preach for nothing, for we do not. We preach for souls, and the Lord takes care of us. I never have known what it is to want money in the sixteen years I have been at work for Him. The Lord has taken good care of me, and I have not known what it is to want."

(D. L. Moody.)

Nor of men sought we glory
e: — Cromwell in announcing the victory at Naseby to the Speaker of the House of Commons, added, "Sir, this is none other but the hand of God, and to Him alone give the glory wherein none are to share with Him."

(C. E. Little.)

When Henry Martyn went in for and obtained the high distinction of senior wrangler at Cambridge, his mind was kept, he tells us, in a state of calmness by the recollections of a sermon he had heard from the text, "Seekest thou great things for thyself, seek them not, saith the Lord." James Brainerd Taylor was announced as being Number One in the class of students at college. The emptiness of honours struck him as it had done Henry Martyn. "What are honours?" he said. "What is fame? These are not my God." In such a spirit, the soul, while using honours to God's glory, is freed from that vexation of spirit which chafes some men of the world in high life, because a few inches of riband have been bestowed upon a favoured rival. How touching, we may add, it is to see the vain pursuit of human ambition acknowledge its emptiness when gratified. Madame Maintenon, when elevated to the throne of France as wife of Louis XIV, wrote to her friend Madame de la Mainford: "Do you not see that I am dying with melancholy, in a height of fortune which my imagination could scarcely have conceived?" When sick, too, of high society, the wife of Thomas Carlyle wrote to her gifted husband: "Ah! if we had been left in the sphere of life we belonged to, how much better it would have been for both of us!"

(Sunday at Home.)

Said a converted Hindoo, addressing a number of his countrymen, "I am by birth a man of low and despised caste — and yet God has called me not only to know His gospel, but to teach it to others. Do you know why He did so? I will tell you. If God had selected one of you learned Brahmins, and made you His preacher, and you were successful in winning converts, the bystanders would have said, 'It is the amazing learning of the Brahmin, the Brahmin's influence, the Brahmin's great weight of character that has done this;' but now, when hearers are convinced and brought to the truth by my instrumentality, nobody thinks of the preacher, and God gets all the glory." When we might have been burdensome as the apostles of Christ — This has been referred in different senses either to what precedes or to what follows. In the first case the sense would be, although we might have been oppressive to you with our glorying and claims. But even though the words be thus humoured, the antithesis is not quite sound. Without wholly losing sight of what has preceded, it is better to connect them with what follows. The Apostle means to say that he might have oppressed them with apostolic claims and pretensions. He might have commanded where he entreated; he might have "come to them with a rod," and he came to them "in love and in the spirit of meekness" (1 Corinthians 4:21); he might have claimed the right of support from them as an apostle of Christ, and he waives it for their sake (comp. 1 Corinthians 9). It is true that this last point is not referred to until ver. 9. But nothing is more in the Apostle's manner than to drop a thought and then resume it.

(Prof. Jowett.)

Sixteen years ago a godly man and his wife were sent out to evangelize these then-heathen people (Sambaina, a remote place in Madagascar); and the people hated them, and for long they would not listen. They broke into their house at night again and again, and threatened to burn them out; but they would not go away, but quietly and lovingly waited and prayed and worked. By and by the contributions from Ambohipotsy, from the Society on which these good people depended, were completely dried up. And when the heathen people heard that they rejoiced, for "now at last they will go," they said. But they did not go, but held on to their work; and they are there yet, working "all for love and nothing for reward." And God has blessed their work and raised many helpers and spiritual children for them there. "The wilderness and solitary places are glad because of them;" and some of those who persecuted them at the first told me the story with tears standing on their faces...On the Sunday a large congregation filled their new chapel.

(W. Montgomery.)

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