1 Thessalonians 4:9
Now about brotherly love, you do not need anyone to write to you, because you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another.
Sermons
Love of the BrethrenW.F. Adeney 1 Thessalonians 4:9
Inculcation of Brotherly LoveT. Croskery 1 Thessalonians 4:9, 10
A Lady Once Made a Complaint to Frederick the GreatClerical Library1 Thessalonians 4:9-11
A Lesson for BusybodiesClerical Library1 Thessalonians 4:9-11
A Precept on BusinessJ. Hamilton, D. D.1 Thessalonians 4:9-11
Brotherly LoveW. Jay.1 Thessalonians 4:9-11
Brotherly Love Divinely TaughtJ. Burns, D. D.1 Thessalonians 4:9-11
Brotherly Love the Proof of a True SanctificationG. Barlow.1 Thessalonians 4:9-11
Brotherly Love the Test of ReligionJ. Parker, D. D.1 Thessalonians 4:9-11
Brotherly Love, the Sham and the RealC. H. Spurgeon.1 Thessalonians 4:9-11
BusinessBp. S. S. Harris.1 Thessalonians 4:9-11
Business LifeJ. O. Dykes, D. D.1 Thessalonians 4:9-11
Christian AdvancementBp. Jewell.1 Thessalonians 4:9-11
Considerations Conducive to the Quiet Minding of Our Own BusinessI. Barrow.1 Thessalonians 4:9-11
Continuance in Brotherly LoveW. Baxendale.1 Thessalonians 4:9-11
Energy of Quiet ForcesAdvanced Textbook of Geology1 Thessalonians 4:9-11
Instances of Brotherly LoveG. Barlow.1 Thessalonians 4:9-11
Love in PracticeC. Simeon.1 Thessalonians 4:9-11
Love One AnotherS. S. Times1 Thessalonians 4:9-11
Moral IncreaseJ. Armstrong, D. D.1 Thessalonians 4:9-11
Of Quietness and Doing Our Own BusinessIsaac Barrow, D. D.1 Thessalonians 4:9-11
Peaceful, Humble ActivityJ. H. Newman, D. D.1 Thessalonians 4:9-11
Practical Brotherly LoveSunday Magazine1 Thessalonians 4:9-11
ProgressT. Guthrie, D. D.1 Thessalonians 4:9-11
Quiet WorkH. J. W. Buxton.1 Thessalonians 4:9-11
Reproof of a BusybodyW. Denton.1 Thessalonians 4:9-11
The Business of LifeD. Thomas, D. D.1 Thessalonians 4:9-11
The Business of LifeE. J. Hardy, M. A.1 Thessalonians 4:9-11
The Christian's GrowthT. Guthrie, D. D.1 Thessalonians 4:9-11
The Dignity of LabourT. Carlyle.1 Thessalonians 4:9-11
The Great Duties of the Christian LifeR. Fergusson.1 Thessalonians 4:9-11
The Importance of Attending to Our Own BusinessBp. Jewell.1 Thessalonians 4:9-11
The Means of Creating and Promoting Brotherly LoveJ. T. Serjeant.1 Thessalonians 4:9-11
The Nature of Brotherly LoveJ. Parker, D. D.1 Thessalonians 4:9-11
The Pacific Spirit Another Proof of a True SanctificationW. Barlow.1 Thessalonians 4:9-11
The Quiet SpiritA. Craig.1 Thessalonians 4:9-11
The Study of Quietness and the Practice of Our Own BusineA. Farindon, B. D.1 Thessalonians 4:9-11
The Unifying Power of Brotherly LoveJ. Hutchinson, D. D.1 Thessalonians 4:9-11
Work Should be WorshipWilliam Grant.1 Thessalonians 4:9-11
The Christian Circle and Accounting by Them that are WithoutR. Finlayson 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12
The Law of LoveB.C. Caffin 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12
The apostle next reminds the Thessalonians of the duty of abounding in brotherly love.

I. THE NATURE OF THIS LOVE.

1. It is the affection of those who are children of the same Father. (Galatians 4:26.) Members of the same "household of faith" (Galatians 6:10). "Every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him' (1 John 5:1).

2. It is a practical love. "Not in word only, but in deed and in truth" (1 John 3:18). It showed itself in "labors of love," add especially through the whole of Macedonia.

3. It was a duty thoroughly understood by believers, because they were "taught of God to love one another" in both Testaments.

4. It was the test of regeneration. (1 John 3:14.)

5. It was a token of discipleship. (John 13:35.)

6. It was essential to the growth of the Church. (Ephesians 4:16.)

II. THE MOTIVES TO THIS LOVE.

1. The command of Christ. (John 13:34.)

2. The example of Christ. (Ephesians 5:2.)

3. The glory of Christ in the world is promoted by it. (John 13:35.)

4. It will be a powerful means towards the world's conversion (John 7:21.)

III. THE MANIFESTATION OF THIS LOVE.

1. In bearing one another's burdens (Galatians 6:2). The Thessalonians several years afterwards showed this spirit, as we see by 2 Corinthians 8:1, 2, toward the Churches of Macedonia.

2. "In honor preferring one another" (Romans 12:10).

3. "Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another" (Colossians 3:13).

4. "Not suffering sin upon a brother" (Leviticus 19:17). - T.C.







As touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you
The love of the brethren is the test of our Christianity, and the badge of our Christian profession. It is even the essential of "the new man," and is Divinely taught by the fount of love. Without it, all religious profession is mere glitter, an empty show, a noisy cymbal. But what is this love? Let us examine and see.

I. ITS NATURE. It is admiration, estimation, and perfect, complacency in the Lord's people. It recognizes them all as brethren in Christ, and fellow heirs of the grace of life. It includes attachment, fellowship, communion, spiritual adhesion, and unselfish conduct and conversation.

II. ITS EXTENSIVENESS. It is not sectarian, denominational, local. It is not to be limited to persons of our order, creed, or mode of worship; but it embraces every true saint of the Most High God, every disciple and follower of the Lord Jesus, every real Christian adorning the doctrine of God in all things and walking in the ways of holiness and eternal life.

III. ITS SPECIAL TRAITS.

1. It is the love of the heart; therefore not tinsel and make believe.

2. It is the love of a pure heart. Not the love of the person with fleshly attachment, but love transparent as the light, and purifying as the flame.

3. It is the love that is both fervent and lasting. It knows nothing of coldness, formality, pretentiousness. Its utterances are immediate and emphatic; and its altar fire is ever clear and intense. Many waters cannot quench it. It will not be extinguished, nor will it expire, but burn and shine in loving words and loving deeds, always to the honour of religion, and the glory of God.

(J. Burns, D. D.)

I. THE MANIFESTATION OF BROTHERLY LOVE. This the apostle exhorts the Thessalonians to increase in yet more and more. The exhortion is introduced not with a compliment, but with a commendation, because they were remarkable in their exercise of brotherly love, which made it less needful he should write to them about it (ver. 9). Thus by his good opinion of them he insinuated himself into their affections, and so made way for his exhortation to them. We should follow his wise example; for it is well to take notice of that in others' conduct and spirit which redounds to their praise, that by so doing we may lay engagements upon them to abound therein while life itself shall last.

I. Observe WHAT THE APOSTLE COMMENDETH in the Thessalonians. It was not so much their own virtue as God's grace, yet he taketh notice of the evidence they showed of this grace in them. God Himself had taught them this good lesson; and whosoever do that which is excellent are instructed of God to do it, and hence God must have the glory of it. All that are savingly taught of God are taught to love one another. This is the livery of Christ's disciples and followers. Note also, that the teaching of the Spirit of God exceeds the teachings of men; and as no man should teach contrary to what God teacheth, so none can teach so effectually as He teacheth, and men's teaching is vain and useless unless God teach also. Nor is this all: those are easily taught whom God doth teach; and therefore, though eminent abilities are much to be wished for in ministers, yet we ought not to be so anxious about the feebleness or eminency of gifts in them, as fervently desirous to have God's teaching to come along with theirs; for Paul shows that God, by His teaching these Thessalonians, had made them stand less in need of being taught by him. So well indeed, had they been taught by their Divine Master that they not only loved the brethren of their own city and society, or such as were near them and just of their own sentiments, but "the brethren of all Macedonia." Such is genuine brotherly love: it embraces "all who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity and truth."

2. But, like all other excellences, brotherly love is capable of increasement. Accordingly, their apostolic teacher exhorted the Thessalonians to pray for more and labour for more. There are none on this side heaven who love in perfection. All, therefore, who are distinguished in this or any other grace have every need of increase therein, and perseverance unto the end.

II. THE MEET ACCOMPANIMENTS OF BROTHERLY LOVE.

1. Tranquillity of spirit. This passive virtue is to be studied (ver. 11). It is indeed a most desirable thing to have a temper calm and quiet as a lake unruffled by a zephyr, and to be of a peaceable behaviour to all men, especially to those of the household of faith. All this tends to our own as well as to others' happiness. We should be ambitious to possess our own souls in patience, to be meek and gentle, not given to strife or division. Satan is very busy to disquiet our minds, and we have that in our own hearts that disposeth us to be unquiet; therefore we, too, must "study to be quiet."

2. Diligence in business. And if this duty is rightly attended to, there will be little disquietude of spirit. Those who are busy bodies, meddling in other men's matters, cannot have placid minds. They are restless like the sea, and do all they can to make their neighbours like themselves. If they were diligent in their own calling, they would neither have time nor inclination for intermeddling.

3. Creditable deportment. Those "that are without" are the unregenerate and unsaved, and when those who are professors of Chris tianity "walk honestly toward them," they adorn the doctrine of God their Saviour and commend the religion to others which they have embraced themselves.

4. Comfortable living. Such Christians "have lack of nothing." Others by their slothfulness or intermeddling frequently bring themselves into narrow circumstances, and reduce themselves to great straits. Not so the saints: they are burdensome to no friends. They labour with their own hands, and have bread enough and to spare.

(R. Fergusson.)

In the second century Lucian declared: "It is incredible to see the ardour with which the people of that religion help each other in their wants. They spare nothing. Their first legislator has put it into their heads that they are all brethren." The mutual exercise of love towards the brethren is an indisputable evidence of spiritual regeneration (1 John 3:14); and in this chapter the apostle evidently alludes to it as the proof of a true sanctification. Observe —

I. THAT BROTHERLY LOVE IS DIVINELY TAUGHT (ver. 9).

1. It is commanded by Christ (John 15:17). This is a lesson the world never taught, and cannot teach. The natural heart is selfish and cruel, and delights in aggression and retaliation. Brotherly love is a fruit of Christianity, and is a powerful influence in harmonising the warring interests of humanity. If love prevail, other graces will not be absent.

2. It has the example of Christ. He reminds His disciples of what should be its scope and character. "As I have loved you." The same glorious example was also the constant burden of the apostle's teaching (John 13:34; John 15:12; Ephesians 5:2). Brotherly love should be pure, humble, self-denying, fervent, unchangeable.

3. It is its own commendation. "Ye need not that I write unto you." Love is modest, ingenuous, and unobtrusive. We should not hesitate to commend whatever good we see in others. The Great Searcher of hearts does not pass over any good thing in a Church, though otherwise clouded with infirmities (Revelation 2:2, 3). A word of prudent commendation will often stimulate the soul in its endeavours after holiness.

4. It is a grace Divinely wrought. "Ye yourselves are taught of God." The heart is inclined to this grace by the Holy Spirit, in conjunction with the out. ward ministry of the Word (Jeremiah 31:33; Acts 16:14). Those are easily taught whom God teaches.

II. THAT BROTHERLY LOVE MUST BE PRACTICALLY MANIFESTED (ver. 10). Love is not limited by locality or distance; it is displayed, not only towards those with whom we have communion, but towards others. Missions are a monument of modern Christian charity. Love should be practically manifested in supplying each other's need, in bearing one another's burdens, in forgiving one another, and, if necessary, in kindly reproving one another.

III. THAT BROTHERLY LOVE IS SUSCEPTIBLE OF CONTINUOUS ENLARGEMENT. "Increase more and more." Notwithstanding the commendation of the apostle, he exhorts the Thessalonians to seek greater perfection. What is the sun without light? What is fire without heat? So what is life without love? The rich seek to increase their store, the wicked add to their iniquities; the saint should not be less diligent in increasing unto every good word and work. The growth of charity is extensive, and it adds to the number of the objects loved, and intensive as to its inward fervour and tenacity. The more we apprehend the love of God the more our hearts will enlarge in love. True brotherly love crushes all self-love, and is more anxious to hide than pry into the infirmities of others. Seldom is a charitable man curious, or a curious man charitable. Lessons:

1. That brotherly love is the practical manifestation of the love of God in man.

2. That brotherly love should be constantly cultivated.

3. That brotherly love is a crowning feature of the higher Christian life.

(G. Barlow.)

I. THE LESSON "brotherly love." This operates in a way of —

1. Esteem and affection. God esteems the saints highly, as "fine gold," His "portion," "inheritance," "jewels," "very precious and honourable." And so those who are born from above, as they love Him who begat, so they love the begotten.

2. Intercourse. If they are to be our associates in heaven we ought to know them on earth. Man was made for society, and grace sanctifies social dispositions. Thus as soon as Peter and John were let go, they went to their own company. "They that feared the Lord spake often one to another." When several Christians meet, they are like so many drops of water on the table: where they touch they run into one. This adjusts to some extent the inequalities of life, for the poor may be rich in faith, and qualified to teach the rich in goods. The intercourse of Christians encourages as Paul found at Appii forum.

3. Sympathy. "Rejoice with them that do rejoice," etc. Be like minded with Him who is touched with a feeling of our infirmities.

4. Instruction. "That it may minister grace to the hearers." So much depends on a wrong course or a wrong step in a right one.

5. Reproof. Here is the trial of brotherly love. The way in which it is generally received makes it heroic to administer it. "Thou shalt not hate thy brother," says Moses, "but rebuke him." "Faithful are the wounds of a friend." "Let the righteous...reprove me, it shall be excellent oil."

6. Succour and relief. "Whoso hath this world's goods," etc. "Let us love not in word or in tongue, but in deed, and in truth."

7. Prayer.

II. THE TEACHER — "God." He taught the Thessalonians, and He teaches us —

1. By our constitution. The senses are inlets to the mind, and so we are affected by things without — the eye, e.g., by the sight of distress. How many endeavour to elude occasions of this excitement as the priest and Levite.

2. By injunction. "The end of the commandment is charity," etc. "This is His commandment that we believe on the name of His Son, and love one another," etc.

3. By example.

(1)Of those who live in our own neighbourhood. Kind, good men are to be found everywhere.

(2)Of those who have gone before us. Apostles, martyrs, etc.

(3)Of angels who are ministering spirits, etc.

(4)Above all, of Christ. "If God so loved us, we ought to love one another."

4. By His Spirit. He can give not only the lesson, but the capacity.

III. THE TRACTABLENESS OF THE PUPILS. "Ye need not that I write."

1. What a satisfaction it is to a minister to be able to appeal to his people for illustrations and proofs of his teaching, and what an advantage to the people not only to hear, but to see. And so our Saviour said, "Let your light so shine," etc. Such advantage and satisfaction had St. Paul.

2. Paul did not flatter them. All he admired in them was ascribed to the grace of God. Their love was as extensive as it was real.

3. We must learn to love all real Christians notwithstanding their failings. "If a man be overtaken in a fault," etc. Nor should our love be determined by a man's religious opinions, "Whosoever doeth the will of My Father, the same is My brother," etc.

IV. THE PROFICIENCY THE APOSTLE WOULD HAVE THEM ATTAIN TO. "More and more."

1. Too much cannot be said in commendation or enforcement of it.

2. The Divine life is progressive, and admits of degrees.

3. Christians should never rest in present attainments.

(W. Jay.)

When as a Christian Church, we cultivate a spirit of mutual trustfulness; when each esteems the other better than himself; when the strong delight to recover and support the weak; when the wise are patient and gentle towards those of fewer attainments; when we are careful of each other's reputation, and gentle to one another's infirmities; when we are pitiful, long suffering, condescending, unsuspicious, and self-sacrificing, then will men remember that it is written, "A new commandment I give unto you," etc.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

When I was but a youth, the smallest boy almost that ever joined a Church, I thought that everybody believed what he said, and when I heard the minister say "brother," I thought I must really be his brother, for I was admitted into the Church. I once sat near a gentleman at the Lord's supper, and we received the bread and wine together; he thus practically called me "brother," and as I thought he meant it, I afterwards acted upon it. I had no friend in the town of Cambridge, where I was; and one day when walking out, I saw this same gentleman, and I said to myself, "Well now, he called me brother; I know he is a great deal better off than I am, but I don't care for that; I will go and speak to him." So I went and said, "How do you do, brother?" "I have not the pleasure of knowing you," was his reply. I said, "I saw you at the Lord's table last Sabbath day, sir, and we are therefore brethren." "There now," said he, "it is worthwhile seeing some one who acts with sincerity in these times; come in with me." And we have been the nearest and dearest bosom friends ever since, just because he saw I took him at his word, and behoved that he meant what he said. But now-a-days profession has become a pretence and a sham; people sit down in the church together, as though they were brethren, the minister calls you brother, but he will not speak to you, or own you as such; his people are his brethren, no doubt, but then it is in such a mysterious sense, that you will have to read some German theologian in order to comprehend it. That person is "your very dear brother," or "your very dear sister," but if you are in distress, go to them and see if they will assist you. I do not believe in such a religion as this.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

The apostle says, "We know that we have passed from death unto life." Pause a moment, then, and let us try to find out the reason. Because we feel very comfortable in our hearts, because we like to sit very closely to the fire and read a favourite author, because we have occasional gushings of very tender feeling, is that how we know we have passed from death unto life? The apostle says, No. His argument is this: — We know — the same word that I have in the text, Jesus knowing — that we have passed from death unto life because we love the brethren. Alas, sirs! there is this danger about our religious life today: we think, when we get hold of a favourite book, and repeat certain familiar hymns, and look upon ourselves in relation to the social blessings with which God has gifted us, that we are doing everything that is needful to show our relationship, to prove our redemption by Christ.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

As the spokes of a carriage wheel approach their centre they approach each other, so also when men are brought to Christ, the centre of life and hope, they are drawn towards each other in brotherly relationship, and stand side by side journeying to their heavenly home.

(J. T. Serjeant.)

We have here suggested to us the strong bond of union existing in the early Church between Christian communities which were yet geographically apart from one another. As having the same dangers to encounter, the same battle to fight, the same Captain to lead, and the same victory to win, they are seen taking an earnest and active interest in each other's welfare. As the ancient Greek colonists practised the rite of cherishing on the altars of their public halls the perpetual fire that had first been kindled at the parent hearth of home — the mother city of Athens; so we may say was it with these scattered sections of the early Church. Separate though they were, they yet felt that they were one in sympathy and interest. The triple flame of faith, hope, and love burned more or less brightly in them all. Thus they claimed the same origin, held the same truth, and sought the same ends. No religion but that of Christ could have produced such a common wealth.

(J. Hutchinson, D. D.)

During the retreat of Alfred the Great, at Athelney, in Somersetshire, after the defeat of his forces by the Danes, a beggar came to his little castle there, and requested alms. When his queen informed him they had only one small loaf remaining, which was insufficient for themselves and the friends who had gone abroad in request of food with little hope of success, the king replied, "Give the poor Christian one half of the loaf. He who could feed five thousand men with five loaves and two small fishes, can certainly make that half of the loaf suffice for more than our necessities." Accordingly, the poor man was relieved, and this noble act of charity was soon recompensed by a providential store of fresh provisions with which the foraging party returned.

(G. Barlow.)

A gentleman of Marseilles, named Removsat, shortly before his death, desired that his numerous family might be assembled about his bed. He acknowledged the delight which his children had afforded him by their affection and attachment, and especially for the tender love which they bore to one another. "But," continued he, "I have a secret to disclose, which will remove one of you from this circle. So long as I had any hopes of living I kept it from you, but I dare not violate your rights in the division of the property which I leave you. One of you is only an adopted child — the child of the nurse at whose breast my own child died. Shall I name that child?" "No, no," said they with one accord; "let us all continue to be brothers and sisters."

(W. Baxendale.)

Sunday Magazine.
Thomas Samson was a working miner, and working hard for his bread. The captain of the mine said to him, "Thomas, I've an easier berth for you where there is less to do and more to earn: will you accept it?" "Captain," said Thomas, "there's our poor brother Tregony. He has a sick body, and is not able to work so hard as I am. I fear his hard work will shorten his useful life. Will you let him have the berth?" The captain, pleased with the generosity, sent for Tregony, and gave him the berth, which he is now enjoying. Thomas was gratified, and added, "I can work a little longer yet."

(Sunday Magazine.)

S. S. Times.
A little girl of three or four years old learned the Bible text, "Love one another." What does "love one another mean?" asked her next older sister, in honest doubt as to the meaning. "Why, I must love you, and you must love me; and I'm one, and you're another," was the answer. Who can improve on that exegesis?

(S. S. Times.)

The longer I live, the more I feel the importance of adhering to the rules I have laid down for myself in relation to the following subjects: —

1. To hear as little as possible of what is to the prejudice of others.

2. To believe nothing of the kind till I am absolutely forced to it.

3. Always to moderate, as far as I can, the unkindness which is expressed towards others.

4. Never to drink in the spirit of one who circulates an ill report.

5. Always to believe that, if the other side were heard, a very different account would be given of the matter. I consider love as wealth; and as I should resist a man who came to rob my house, so would I resist a man who would weaken my regard for any human being. I consider, too, that persons are cast in different moulds, and that to ask myself what I should do in that person's situation, is not a just mode of judging. I must not expect a man who is naturally cold and reserved to act as one who is naturally warm and affectionate; and I think it a great evil that people do not make more allowance for each other in this particular.

(C. Simeon.)

That ye increase more and more
I. WHAT IS THIS INCREASE? The law of growth stamped upon nature, and the human soul by the Creator. Nothing is stationary. Increase may be, and in most cases is imperceptible in its processes, but it is real.

II. IN WHAT ARE WE TO INCREASE? In all the graces of the Spirit; in faith, knowledge, love, prayer, etc., and in all active duties. These particulars will vary in different men: some want growth in one grace, some in another.

III. HOW ARE WE TO INCREASE?

1. By beginning to do what we have never done before. Pray. Keep holy the Sabbath, etc.

2. By doing more than we have done before: more frequently repeating acts of service, increasing the measure and number of them.

3. By doing what we have been wont to do in a better spirit, improving in the tone and temper with which we serve God. Increasing in fervour, life and love.

IV. THE ADVANTAGES OF INCREASE.

1. It will bring us nearer to God.

2. It will secure more of God's blessing.

3. It will make heaven more secure.

(J. Armstrong, D. D.)

1. This world has been compared to a pyramid. Beginning with the mineral, passing upward into the vegetable, and rising into the animal kingdom, we find a man standing on its apex — the crowning work of God. In defining these kingdoms, Linnaeus makes growth common to all; but, properly speaking, growth is a property that belongs only to life, and all living things, "increase more and more."

2. This is as true of spiritual as of natural life. According to the fable, Minerva sprung full grown and armed from the head of Jupiter. No man thus comes suddenly in perfect saintship from the hand of the Holy Spirit.

I. IN WHAT ARE WE TO INCREASE.

1. There is a little or no advantage in the increase of some things. It but increases our danger and burdens and cares.(1) More riches will not make us happier, and with the augmented expenditure they entail, do not always make us richer.(2) Nor is the increase, even of wisdom, without its drawbacks. It is harder to work with the brain than with the hands, and knowledge is increased at the expense often of health, and with increase of "sorrow."

2. It is not the increase of these things that the text calls us to aim, but of such riches as makes it less difficult to get to heaven, of the wisdom that humbles rather than puffs up its possessor, of "love, joy, peace," etc., a tender conscience, a holier walk.

II. HOW ARE WE TO INCREASE?

1. Equally.(1) All our graces are to be cultivated to the neglect of none. If one side of a tree grows and the other does not, it is a misshapen thing. Nor are monsters among mankind made only by want of parts, but also by some one part growing in excess. Analogous to this is the unequal growth of Christian graces. Let godly fear, e.g., grow out of due proportion to faith, and the result is despondency; let zeal grow more than wisdom, and like a machine without director or balance wheel, generating steam faster than it can use it, zeal bursts into extravagance and fanaticism.(2) There are differences of character, which, springing from constitutional peculiarities or early education, grace will modify but never eradicate. There are also differences which imply no defect, just as there are countenances which are unlike yet all beautiful. The Church, like the meadows below and the heavens above, owes its beauty in part to that variety in unity which marks all the works of God and mars none.(3) Some saints are remarkable for having one grace in peculiar prominence, e.g., faith, resignation, courage, zeal, or benevolence. Yet though this peculiarity may draw most eyes upon them and win them most praise, these are not perfect specimens of Christianity. As with trees so with men, the least symmetrical may be the most noticeable.(4) The finest specimen of a Christian is he in whom all the graces, like the strings of an angel's harp, are in most perfect harmony. Therefore we are to beware of cultivating one grace or duty at the expense of others. In seeking to do good to others we may neglect the cultivation of our own hearts and the duties we owe to our families. On the other hand, like a lark that goes soaring up to heaven while the hawk below is rifling her nest, we may spend our hours in prayer when we should be down there fighting the devil, alleviating human misery, etc. The head, heart, hand: doctrine, devotion, work: should each have their share of our time and attention.

2. Constantly.(1) This idea is embodied in all those figures under which our spiritual life is set forth in the Word of God — the growth of the seed, the progress of the day, the development of human life.(2) This constant growth is silent, unseen, unfelt in its processes; yet if not every day, every year at least our life should present a palpable difference, as a tree by the ring that every season adds to its circumference.(3) The nearer we reach the summit of a hill, the climb is harder; and the higher the eagle soars, ever mounting into thinner air, its flight grows more arduous. In both there is a point where progress ceases. But the higher a believer climbs, his ascent becomes more easy, and he never reaches the final stage. Like the mathematical paradox of two bodies that are ever approaching, and yet though moving through infinite space and for eternal ages, never meet, and never can meet; so though they shall never reach the infinite height and perfection of Divinity, the saints in glory shall be constantly approaching it.

III. WE ARE TO MAKE EFFORTS TO GROW.

1. Some men believe that the peculiar adaptation of the bodies of certain animals to their habits, in which we see the wisdom of their Maker, has resulted from the efforts which they have made to adopt themselves to their circumstances. The theory is absurd; but nevertheless in the spiritual kingdom the very wish and effort to do good has with God's blessing a tendency to improve us. In attempting to be better we grow better, even as the flapping of a nestling's wing, impotent though it be to raise the bird in the air, fits its pinions for future flight. It is to efforts, not idleness, that God promises His blessing. God works; and we are fellow workers with Him that we may "increase more and more."

2. Cast a sponge into water, and, the fluid filling its empty cells, it swells out before our eyes. There is no effort here; but it is not so that God's people are replenished with grace. More is needed than just to bring ourselves in contact with ordinances. To such active, energetic, and self-denying labours Christ calls us, as "Search the Scriptures," "Pray without ceasing," "Fight the good fight," etc.

(T. Guthrie, D. D.)

A child that stayeth at one stature and never groweth bigger is a monster. The ground that prospereth not and is not fruitful is cursed. The tree that is barren and improveth not is cut down. So must all increase in the way of godliness and go forward therein. Unless we go forward we slip back.

(Bp. Jewell.)

Our life, in fact, is like a ship working its way down a river, where the water grows deeper, and the banks grow wider, and the view expands as we move on, till at death, as there, where the waves roar upon the bar, we shall pass out on a great, broad, shoreless ocean, on which, with no limits bounding our progress, we shall advance evermore; growing in the knowledge and love and likeness of Christ with the ages of eternity, increasing yet "more and more."

(T. Guthrie, D. D.)

And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business
To pass from brotherly love to quiet industry is a natural transition. Love, peace, work are related virtues. Observe —

I. THAT A PACIFIC SPIRIT IS TO BE STUDIOUSLY CULTIVATED. "And that ye study to be quiet." The word "study" signifies to seek after an object with ambition, as though it were the highest honour to possess it. There is nothing some people dread so much as being quiet. They delight in a row, and if one does not happen as frequently as they wish, they make one for themselves. The political agitator, the money getter, the advocate of war, all seek to attain their ends in the midst of tumult. Nor is the sacred circle of the Church free from the violence of the irrepressible disturber. There are some people who never will be still: you cannot hold them still. They are full of suggestions for other people to carry out. Their tongue is a perpetual clatter. They fly from one department of work to another, and create distraction in each. They try one's temper; they harry one's nerves; they break one's peace. To such people it would be the severest task to obey the apostolic injunction — "That ye study to be quiet" — and yet no one in the wide world has more need to do so than they. A pacific spirit cannot be secured without much self-denying effort; but it is a jewel worth all the trouble and all the sacrifice (Proverbs 20:3; Colossians 3:12-15).

II. THAT A PACIFIC SPIRIT IS ATTAINED BY A PERSEVERING INDUSTRY IN PERSONAL DUTIES.

1. That personal duties have the first claim upon our efforts. "Do your own business." Attend first to whatever comes within your general or particular calling. The man who is inattentive to his own duties cannot with any reason dictate the duties of others. To do one's own business is the best safeguard against idleness and meddling curiosity. All strifes — domestic, social, ecclesiastical, and political, may be traced to meddlesomeness. The meddling man is "a fool," because he gratifies his own idle curiosity at the expense of his own well-being and the happiness of others. See that the business you do is your own business, and that you let that of your neighbours alone.

2. That personal duties demand genuine hard work. "And to work with your own hands." The claims of religion do not release us from secular toil, but rather demand that all the work of life should be done with consistency and diligence. Manual labour is not the only form of industry. The mind has often the harder task. The industry of some of our public men is amazing. There is no greater foe to piety than idleness. Many take more pains to go to hell than almost the holiest to go to heaven. used to say that a man who labours disheartens even the devil himself.

3. That industry in personal duties is enforced by apostolic precept. "As we commanded you." The apostle frequently did so, and set an example (2 Thessalonians 3:7, 8). Honest labour is not beneath the dignity of any, and he who works the hardest has the greater influence in enforcing industry upon others.

III. THAT A PACIFIC SPIRIT, COMBINED WITH DILIGENCE, RECOMMENDS CHRISTIANITY TO THOSE OUTSIDE THE CHURCH. "That ye may walk honestly towards them that are without" (ver. 11). Industry is no small part of honesty. A lazy man can never be an honest one. A restless, trifling busybody does unspeakable damage to religion. The unbelieving world, on the other hand, is impressed and attracted by the peaceful and diligent behaviour of the faithful.

IV. THAT A PACIFIC SPIRIT, COMBINED WITH DILIGENCE, ENSURES AN HONOURABLE INDEPENDENCE. "And that ye may have lack of nothing." It is more honourable to work than to beg. It is more blessed to be able to give than to receive. What a mercy it is not to know those temptations which arise from pinching poverty, nor yet to be necessitated to depend upon the cold-hearted charity of others. The patient, quiet plodder in the way of duty may not always be rewarded with affluence; but he is encouraged to expect enough. And the very spirit he has striven to cultivate has enriched him with an inheritance which few possibly attain — contentment with his lot. He, whose is the silver and the gold, will care for His loved and faithful servants (Psalm 37:25). LESSONS:

1. Quarrelsomeness and indolence cannot co-exist with a high degree of sanctity.

2. To secure the blessings of peace is worthy of the most industrious study.

3. The mightiest aggressions of the gospel upon the world are made quietly.

(W. Barlow.)

This is the exhortation of St. Paul in his first Epistle. His own life was anything but quiet; but this made him rather value quietness. Paul the aged was as far from tranquility as ever, for the care of disorderly Churches pressed upon him. Yet in his last Epistles he gave direction for prayer that "we may lead a quiet and peaceable life."

I. THE DESCRIPTION OF THE QUIET TO BE AIMED AT.

1. What it is not.(1) There are men of good character and abilities who are naturally quiet in an extraordinary degree. They are interested in and could add to the conversation, but they prefer to keep silence. In this way they inflict a real loss on society and leave room for those to say much who ought to say little.(2) Some are quiet from melancholy, from the loss of a dear friend, distorted views of religious dogmas, business or family cares. The quiet of the text is neither of these,(3) Nor is it the cynical silence of those who wish to show how much they despise the ordinary topics of conversation.(4) Nor is it the calm of mental or moral laziness and stagnation.

2. The quiet that is Divine —(1) Grows from faith in God. It is trust in Him who guides us by His counsel and protects us by His providence.(2) This quietness of trust must be connected with an honest faithfulness in the discharge of the duties of life. It is a false peace if it does not mean conscientious labour for God and man. When we have done all we can, we may leave results to God, and rest in Him.

II. THE DIFFICULTIES IN THE WAY OF LEADING A QUIET LIFE.

1. A defectively illuminated conscience. There are men whose conviction is that no one is right but themselves. Such are always getting themselves into trouble.

2. Youthful impulsiveness and rashness that is putting everybody right, and showing without adequate preparation and experience how the right thing is to be done. Such are of course discouraged and disturbed by snubbing and failure.

3. But are there not many evils that will involve us in their guilt if we are quiet about them? Yes; but reform is better done quietly, slowly, thinkingly, than by any fierce blaze of zeal that creates real cause of offence while striving to rectify the evil. God has patience; let His imitators strive to be quiet.

III. THE UNOBTRUSIVE LIFE OF CHRIST. The vision we have of Him in the midst of the storm calmly sleeping or calmly hushing winds and hearts is a symbol of the quiet side of a holy life.

1. During the early portion of His life Israel was full of tumult, but He was quietly working in a carpenter's shop. During His active life while all was excitement about Him nothing of the trouble disturbed Him. When vexed questions were laid before Him He settled them by a story.

2. Was not this part of the secret of His power. Words of rebuke could not but have a terrible significance from the lips of One who was so calm. See how the money changers fled from Him. One of the mightiest sermons ever preached is that of His silence under the indignities of the night before His death.

(A. Craig.)

The text tells us that we must study to be quiet in doing the business of this life. And that means that our work should be —

I. STEADY work. The race is not always to the swift or the battle to the strong. The feet that are to climb the lofty mountain must first tread the lowly valley. We cannot enter heaven at a bound.

II. PATIENT work. If in the race of life you show me the brilliant, quick, hasty runner, one who has no staying power, and if you show me the steady, earnest plodder, I will tell you who will come in first at the end.

III. CONTENTED work. Without this it can be neither quiet nor successful. Those who murmur simply neglect a great portion of their work.

IV. MODEST work. A Spanish fable tells us how, when a number of great men were boasting of their deeds, how one had gained a great victory, and another had painted a great picture, and another had made a great speech, a spider descended by his web into their midst and claimed equal honour with them. Since all man's deeds are like a spider's web, and when we hear of a man who has done something remarkable, we may think of him as a spider who has spun his web a little better than other spiders.

V. OUR "OWN" work. Let the gossip and the busybody take this to heart. The meddler in other folks' affairs, the tale bearer, and the scandalmonger never do their own business, and hinder honest people from doing theirs. Conclusion:

1. In religious work preeminently we are called upon to be quiet. There are some Christians who make a great noise. Their religion seems to be formed on the model of the earthquake, and the whirlwind, and the fire, and knows nothing of the "still small voice." They have to learn that in "quietness and confidence" lies their strength. In these hurrying excitable days this is more important than ever.

2. This quietness is not indifference or cowardice. You are Christ's builders and you work for Him like the builders of the Temple, without the sound of a hammer; you are Christ's soldiers, and can fight His battles without a flourish of trumpets.

3. Every Christian worker has a model in Christ Jesus, who worked the salvation of men quietly.

(H. J. W. Buxton.)

ss: — The sum of Christianity is to do the will of God (ver. 3; Ecclesiastes 12:13). This holiness stands as queen in the midst of all the graces, has patience to wait on her, compassion to reach out her hand, longanimity to sustain, and this placability of mind to keep her in an equal poise and temper. So that to holiness more is required than to believe, hope, and pray. What is my faith if my malice make me worse than an infidel? What are my prayers, if the spirit of unquietness scatter them? So St. Paul here commands us not only to "abstain from fornication," from those vices that the worst of men are ready to fling a stone at, but those popular vices, animosity and turbulent behaviour, and to be ambitious to be quiet.

I. THE OBJECT IN WHICH OUR STUDY MUST BE SEEN. To be quiet is to be peaceable (1 Corinthians 12:25; 1 Timothy 2:2; Colossians 3:15).

1. This is not —(1) Tyranny, although some think there is no peace unless every man subscribe to their unwarrantable demands.(2) Others call even disobedience peace, and are never quiet but when they are let loose to do as they please.(3) Others esteem themselves quiet who are rather asleep than settled, bound up with a frost until the next thaw.(4) There are those who are still by reason of a dull and heavy disposition, and who do no harm because they do nothing and are nothing.(5) Some there are who are so tender that they will not even bear witness to the truth for fear of disturbance, having so much of the woman and the coward that they count it a punishment to be just and honest.(6) There is a constrained quietness; that of Esau, which would last but till his father's funeral, of an Ammonite under the harrow (2 Samuel 12:31), of Goliath when his head was off, that of a dead man who is at rest because he cannot move. All turbulent spirits are quiet before opportunity or hope sets their spirits aworking.

2. To be quiet consists in a sweet composure of mind, a calm and contented conversation, a heart ever equal and like unto itself. To this our religion binds us. It is a plant that God only plants, which grows and raises itself above the love of the world, covetousness, malice, fraud, which disturb ourselves and others.(1) To this the vanity of philosophy and the weakness of the law could not reach. The philosophers cried down anger and gave way to revenge; and under the law it was but a promise.(2) This it was the business of the Prince of Peace to effect (Matthew 5:38-45; Matthew 22:39).(3) By this the genuineness of our Chris tianity is to be determined.

II. THE ACT. We must make it our study or ambition. There is nothing that deserves commendation but must be wrought out with study and difficulty; and the love of peace and quiet is no obvious and easy virtue, that will grow up of itself.

1. We must make it our constant meditation and fill our minds with it. By our continual survey of its beauty, by fixing our thoughts upon it, and by an assiduous reviving and strengthening of these thoughts we make it more clear and applicable.

2. We must put our meditation into practice, which will fix it in the habit. This is no easy thing. We must unlearn many things before we can learn this.(1) We must east out self-love which is the source of many troubles.(2) We must root out that "root of all evil," covetousness, which will never suffer us to be quiet (Isaiah 5:8).(3) We must pull back our ambition, which is a busy and vexatious evil, carrying over our brother's necks to that pitch whence we fall and break our own, never quiet till then.(4) Then we shall the more easily bind our malice which is ever lurking for the prey.(5) We must empty ourselves of all suspicion and discontent; which never wants fuel to foment, but feeds on shadows, whispers, lies, empty reports. All this is our spiritual exercise. We must practice it over and over again, and be ambitious to excel in it.

III. THE METHOD WE MUST USE. Our progress in studies and endeavours is answerable to the rules we observe. Every man would be quiet in his own place, and pretendeth he is so when he is busy abroad. The covetous man is in his own place when he "joineth house to house"; the ambitious is in his place when he flieth out of it; never at rest till he reach that height where he cannot rest. The parasite, tale bearer, etc., all desire peace when they move as a tempest, and are at last lost in the ruin which they make.

1. There cannot be a truer method in our study than, to abide in our calling (1 Corinthians 7:20), as in our own proper sphere, castle, sanctuary, safe from those incursions and affronts which disturb us when we are out of it (2 Corinthians 12:20; 2 Corinthians 10:14; 1 Peter 4:15).(1) Christianity is the greatest peacemaker, and keeps every man to his own office (Romans 12:7, 8; Ephesians 6:7), which if every man would keep and make good there would be peace. When every part answers in its place, and raises itself no higher than that will bear; when the magistrate speaks by nothing but the laws, and the subject answers by nothing but his obedience; when the greater shadow the less, and the less help to fortify the greater; when every part does its part, and every member its office; then there is equality and harmony.(2) This is enjoined by nature, and is its method. Everything in its own place is at rest and nowhere else (Psalm 104:19).(3) This duty is to be urged and pressed —(a) From the grace and beseemingness of it. What garment can fit us better than our own? What motion more graceful than our own? Apelles with an awl, or the cobbler with his pencil; Midas with an asses' ears, or an ass in purple; Nero with his fiddle, or a fiddler with a crown, are monstrosities.(b) From the advantage it brings. That which becomes us, commonly furthers and promotes us. When we venture out of our place, we venture as at a lottery, where we draw many blanks before we have one prize; and when that is drawn it does not amount to a fortieth part of our venture. When we do our own business we find no difficulty but in the business itself, and no enemy but negligence; but when we break our limits and leap into other men's affairs, we meet with greater opposition. We meet with those who will be as violent to defend their station as we are to trouble it.

2. Let us shake off sloth and "work with our hands," for idleness is the mother and nurse of pragmatical curiosity. He that will be idle will be evil; and he that will do nothing will do that which he should not. This is the primordial law, as old as Adam, that we must work with our hands (Genesis 3:19). The food of our souls and bodies is God's gift, and He gives when He prescribes the means of procuring them (Psalm 24:1; Psalm 115:16). Labour is the price of God's gifts, and when we pay it down He puts them in our hands. What more unworthy an active creature than to bury himself alive in sloth? What more unbeseeming than to have feet and not to go, hands and not to use them?(1) The sluggard is a thief (Proverbs 5:15; 2 Thessalonians 3:11; Ephesians 4:28; Proverbs 12:27). Besides robbing others, he robs his own soul of the service the body was made to render.(2) There are devout sluggards other than monks and as idle, but not cloistered up, who do not hesitate to leave their duty to gratify the itch and wantonness of the ear. The husbandman may pray and praise the Lord at the plough tail. He that hears but one sermon and acts it over in his life, labouring honestly in his calling, is more acceptable to God than he that neglects his calling and hears one hundred a week. These are worse than infidels (1 Timothy 5:8).(3) We must not pass by the idle gallant. We see too many who have no calling, who neither sow nor reap, the cankers of their country, pinned to the commonwealth as their feathers are to their caps, for show, not for use, or rather as warts upon a man's hand, which grow up with it and deface it, or as idols, which, though dressed up and painted and gilt, are "nothing in the world." They may reply that they were born rich, and what they possess is theirs by inheritance. This may be true, but they were not born fools, nor were luxury and idleness entailed upon them at the same time. They were born men, and not as beasts of the field to eat, drink, and straggle up and down, and then fall to the ground.

(A. Farindon, B. D.)

I. SOME CASES IN WHICH IT IS ALLOWABLE TO MEDDLE WITH THE AFFAIRS OF OTHERS.

1. Superiors may meddle with the business of those who are subject to their charge: magistrates, fathers, pastors.

2. When the honour of God is concerned we may and must interpose in vindication, as Phineas, Elijah, John the Baptist, our Lord.

3. When the public weal and safety are manifestly concerned we may interfere to support or secure them.

4. We may meddle for the succour of right against palpable wrong and outrage.

5. We may interpose when our own just defence requires it.

6. When the life or welfare, spiritual or temporal, of our neighbour is concerned, we may yield our aid: for we are "our brother's keeper."

7. If any opportunity of doing our neighbour good, especially his soul, offers itself, we should in charity embrace it. In these cases we may intermeddle, and in doing so be quiet, and doing our own business.

II. SOME GENERAL RULES ACCORDING TO WHICH SUCH MEDDLESOMENESS IS COMMONLY BLAMABLE.

1. We should never out of ambition, covetous desire, or self-conceit, so meddle as to invade any man's office, or to assume the exercise of it.

2. We should notwith out call or allowance, meddle with our superiors, so as to advise or blame them.

3. We should not meddle, indeed, with the affairs of our equals so as to control or cross them.

4. We should not without desire or leave intermeddle in the smaller temporal interests of others on pretence to further them, or with design to cross them.

5. We should not, indeed, in matters of an indifferent and innocent nature so far meddle, as, without considerable reason to infringe any man's liberty, cross Isis humour, obstruct his pleasure, however discordant with our judgment and taste.

6. We should never offer to put a force on any man's inclination, or strive to bend it in compliance with ours.

7. We should not in conversation meddle so as to impose our opinions and conceits on others.

8. We should not ordinarily in converse affect or undertake to teach, for this implies pretence to a kind of superiority.

9. We should be cautious of interrupting any man's discourse or taking the words out of his mouth; for this is a rude way of dispossessing men of that which, by the common law of society, they suppose themselves to enjoy.

10. We should be careful of entrenching on any man's modesty in any way, either of commendation or dispraise, so as to put him to the blush, or to expose him to scorn.

11. It is good to be cautious of talking about other men and their concernments in way of passing characters upon them (1 Timothy 5:13).

12. We should not be inquisitive into the designs of men, press into their retirements, or pry into their secrets.

13. We should not lie in wait to catch any man at an advantage.

14. We should not meddle with things we do not understand.

III. SOME DIRECTIONS CONCERNING PARTICULAR KINDS OF MEDDLING.

1. As to meddling by advice we may do well to observe these directions.(1) Advise not (except on call) a superior or one more eminent than thyself in authority, dignity, or age.(2) Thrust not with violence or importunity advice on an equal, or any man not subject to thy charge who is unwilling to receive it.(3) Be not obstinate in pressing advice.(4) Affect not the office of a counsellor except through friendship or humanity.(5) Advise not otherwise than with reservation and diffidence.

2. As to meddling for reproof.(1) Reprove not a superior, which is to soar above our pitch, to confound ranks, and pervert the order of society.(2) Reprove not rashly, and without certain cognisance of the facts.(3) Neither rashly as to the point of right, or without being able to show that the affair is really culpable.(4) Reprove not for slight matters, or such faults as proceed from natural frailty or inadvertency.(5) Reprove not unseasonably, when a person is indisposed to bear rebuke.(6) But mildly and sweetly, in the calmest manner and gentlest terms.(7) Neither affect to be reprehensive, or willingly to undertake the office of censor.

3. As to interposing in the contentions of others.(1) We should never meddle so as to raise dissensions, or to do such things as breed them.(2) We should not foment dissensions already commenced, blowing up the coals that are kindled by abetting or aggravating strife.(3) Especially we should not make ourselves parties in any faction where both sides are eager and passionate.(4) Nor interpose ourselves, without invitation, to be arbitrators in points of difference; though we may perhaps cautiously meditate or devise agreement.(5) If we would at all meddle in these cases it should be only by endeavouring to renew peace by the most fair and prudent means.

IV. SOME CONSIDERATIONS PROPOSED, INDUCIVE TO QUIETNESS AND DISSUASIVE FROM PRAGMATICAL TEMPER.(1) Consider that quietness is just and equal, pragmaticalness is injurious to the rights and liberties of others;(2) Quietness signifies humility, modesty, and sobriety of mind.(3) It is beneficial to the world, preserving the general order of things, and disposing men to keep within their proper station, etc.(4) It preserves concord and amity.(5) Quietness to the person endued with it, or practising it, begets tranquillity and peace; since men are not apt to trouble him who comes in no one's way.(6) It is a decent and loving thing, indicating a good disposition, and producing good effects.(7) It adorns any profession, bringing credit, respect, and love to the same.(8) Quiet also is a safe practice, keeping men not only from the incumbrances of business but from the hazards of it, and the charge of bad success; but pragmaticalness is dangerous from the opposite effects, etc.(9) It is consequently a great point of discretion to be quiet, and a manifest folly to be pragmatical.(10) We may also consider that every man has sufficient business of his own to employ him, to exercise his mind, and to exhaust his labour; but those who attend pragmatically to the affairs of others are apt to neglect their own: advice on this head from Scripture and philosophy.(11) But suppose that we have much spare time and want business, yet it is not advisable to meddle with that of other men; for there are many ways more innocent, pleasant, and advantageous to divert ourselves and satisfy curiosity. For instance, investigation of the works of nature; application to the study of the most noble sciences, to the history of past ages, and to the cultivation of literature in general.

(Isaac Barrow, D. D.)

Nature offereth herself and her inexhaustible store of appearances to our contemplation; we may, without any harm and with much delight, survey her rich varieties, examine her proceedings, pierce into her secrets. Every kind of animals, of plants, of minerals, of meteors, presenteth matter wherewith innocently, pleasantly, and profitably to entertain our minds. There are many noble sciences, by applying our minds to the study whereof we may not only divert them but improve and cultivate them. The histories of ages past, or relations concerning foreign countries, wherein the manners of men are described, and their actions reported, may afford us useful pleasure and pastime. Thereby we may learn as much, and understand the world as well, as by the most curious inquiry into the present actions of men. There we may observe, we may scan, we may tax the proceedings of whom we please, without any danger or offence. There are extant numberless books, wherein the wisest and most ingenious of men have laid open their hearts, and exposed their most secret cogitations unto us. In pursuing them we may sufficiently busy ourselves and let our idle hours pass gratefully. We may meddle with ourselves, studying our own dispositions, examining our principles and purposes, reflecting on our thoughts, words, and actions, striving thoroughly to understand ourselves. To do this we have an unquestionable right, and by it we shall obtain vast benefit, much greater than we can hope to get by puddering in the designs or doings of others. Pragmaticalness then, as it is very dangerous and troublesome, so it is perfectly needless. It is a kind of idleness, but of all idleness the most unreasonable. It is at least worse than idleness in St. Gregory Nazianzen's opinion. For "I had rather," said he, "be idle more than I should, than over busy." Other considerations might be added; but these, I hope, may be sufficient to restrain this practice so unprofitable and uneasy to ourselves, and for the most part, so injurious and troublesome to others.

(I. Barrow.)

Life is a business. Every man has a mission, a purpose to work out, for which he has been sent into the world. Man is organized for activity, and the circumstances in which he is placed necessitate work. The business of life is to be —

I. PERSONAL: "Your own." By this is not meant that we are to be regardless of others in our labour, and aim only at self-gratification and aggrandisement; but that we have a sphere of labour entirely our own, which we are bound to fill.

1. That this is the case is clear from —(1) The peculiarity of each man's external circumstances. No man has exactly the same surroundings as another. He has relations all his own.(2) The peculiarity of each man's personal needs. Every man has some exigencies special to himself.(3) The peculiarity of each man's individual aptitudes. Every man has not only an opportunity but a power for doing something which no other man can do so well.(4) The peculiarity of each man's obligations. Man has duties to perform in relation to himself, his race, his God, which no one in the universe can discharge for him. His obligations are intransferable.Attending to his own business a man —(1) Wilt not be an officious meddler in the affairs of others. His hands will be so full of work in his own sphere that he will have neither the inclination nor the opportunity to interfere in the concerns of others;(2) He will most effectively serve the interests of others. By doing rightly the work of his own sphere, he will exert the most salutary influence around him. "No man liveth unto himself."

II. QUIET. "Quiet and business" are often separated. There is a business in which there is no quiet — noisy, fussy, all rattle and din. There is a quiet to which there is no business — lazy inactivity. The two must go together in the true work of life. Quiet work is the true work.

1. It is the strongest work. In quiet labour there is the plan and purpose of soul. There is concentrated force. It is not mere limb force, but life force.

2. It is the happiest work. In the work of bustle, excitement, and hurry there is no happiness. But in quiet labour there is the harmonious play of all the faculties.

3. It is the divinest work. With what sublime quiet God works! His energy operates in the universe as noiseless as the sunbeam. He is the God of peace. How quietly Christ worked: "He shall not cry," etc. It is not the bustling tradesmen, merchant, politician, preacher, that does the strongest, happiest, divinest work. It is the man of quiet, resolute, unostentatious energy. Quiet work is not slow work. Stars are silent, yet how swiftly they speed!

III. INTELLIGENT. "That ye study." Quiet work requires study. Noisy work is the result of caprice. Quiet work is the result of study. The more mind thrown into any work the less noise. The most noisy preacher has the least mind. Study gives the worker —(1) A clear and definite object. This prevents the excitement contingent on doubt and uncertainty.(2) Adapts the means. It constructs a machinery of means adapted to reach the end. A machinery whose joints and wheels are so lubricated by thought that it moves on without creak or noise. Conclusion: Who amongst us is doing this quiet work?

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

I. WORK IS A PART OF OUR DUTY. It is needful not only for the comfort or advantage of men, but for the continual existence of the race. And God has so framed us that we are dependent, not merely each man on his own work, but each man on the working of others. As a race and as a Church, we are not a vast collection of separate and independent individuals, but are united together as members of a family, nay, as members of one body. And "the increase of the body" depends on the effectual working of every part. It grows "by that which every joint supplieth."

II. If this be true, then OUR WORK, THE ORDINARY BUSINESS OF LIFE, SHOULD BE REGARDED BY US AS A RELIGIOUS DUTY. So done to God that it shall be a part of our worship, an act of homage to God, like our prayers or alms. When we do our ordinary and earthly work in such a spirit as this, it lightens our burden, ennobles our work, and elevates ourselves. It secures that the work shall be honestly done to the best of our power, and turns the most earthly employment into a holy act of religious worship. What can be more secular than painting, sculpture, or architecture? Yet many painters, sculptors, and architects have sanctified their brush, chisel, mallet, by employing them in the service of God. Some have sanctified their voices by singing the gospel as much as others in preaching it. And what is more secular or earthly than money? Yet many have sanctified it by employing it in the service of God, and for the good of souls. Ah! it is not merely the thing we do, but the end for which, and the spirit in which we do it, that makes it religious, or an act of worship.

(William Grant.)

There is a word which has come to mean much in our daily speech; whose meaning as we use it cannot be expressed by any single word in any other language, and that word is "business." Like "home" and "neighbour" it enshrines a tradition and stands for a history. The old sneer that the English are a nation of shopkeepers has lost its point, though not its truth. More than all other secular agencies the business enterprise of the English-speaking race has blessed the human race. It has led the van in the triumphal progress of Christian civilization. It has opened up continents, peopled deserts, and whitened solitary seas with the sails of commerce. Therefore, the old English word "business" has come to have a definite and noble meaning. It stands for a mighty commonwealth, wherein men and nations are intimately related to each other. It has its own laws enacted by the Supreme Lawgiver, which senates and parliaments do not need to enact and cannot set aside. Business means the appropriation and subjection of the world by man to himself. Beginning with agriculture, which is its simplest form, and rising through all grades of industrial and commercial activity, whatsoever subdues the external world to man's will, and appropriates its power, its beauty, its usefulness, is business; and whoso worthily engages in it is helping to carry out God's design, and is so far engaged in His service. To conquer the earth and force the wild fen or stony field to bring forth bread to gladden the heart of man; to level useless hills, and say to obstructive mountains, "Be ye removed from the path of progress;" to summon the lightnings to be his messengers, and cause the viewless winds to be his servants; to bring all the earth into subjection to human will and human intelligence. This is man's earthly calling, and history is but the progressive accomplishment of it. Therefore it is that, rightly regarded, business is a department of Christian activity. The business of everyday life ought to be pursued with high aims and lofty motives, not only for what it enables man to do, but chiefly for what it enables man to be in the exercise of his kingly function, and in the development of his kingly character.

(Bp. S. S. Harris.)

is

I. — TO BE. Not merely exist, to breathe as a blacksmith's bellows, to vegetate, or lead an animal life. This is not to be a man. What is meant is that we have been put here to live the higher life of man — to be a Christian. This is the most useful kind of work. Let no one complain that they have few opportunities of working for God; for we may all strive to do what He desires; and the best way of doing good to man is to be good. The noblest workers bequeath to us nothing so great as the image of themselves.

II. TO DO. It has been cynically remarked that no one is necessary, and that when we cease to exist we shall not be missed. But though God needs the help of none, He is good enough to allow us to be workers with Him in making the world better. The weakest and humblest in his daffy course can, if he will, make a heaven round about him. Kind words, sympathizing attentions, watchfulness against wounding people's feelings, cost very little; but they are priceless in their value. We shall none of us pass this way again; and soon it will be too late to do anything. Religion is not thoughts about or addresses to God. They are the means to urge us to work for God in the natural outgoings of our life, which, blotting out the distinction between things sacred and things secular, should make both one, all work religion and all life worship. The business of the week is quite as religious as the devotions of Sunday, if done to God.

III. TO DO WITHOUT. A true Christian schools himself to sit loose to the things of this world. If he have them, well and good; if not, he can do without them. He does not attempt to make this world his home. He is a stranger and pilgrim passing on to the house not made with hands. In these times of depression many persons are forced to learn the lesson of doing without. If these would learn of Christ He would teach them that the loss of these superfluities was a gain, and they, like Paul, would "know how to be abased and how to abound." A man is a slave until he has learned how to do without. It is fine discipline to give up for a week, a month, or year some harmless luxury which is becoming too much of a necessity. The better we have learned this lesson the easier will it be for us.

IV. TO DIE. "We brought nothing into this world," etc. Well for those who can say with Paul, "I die daily;" i.e., I am ready to die every day I live. "For more than forty years," said Havelock, "I have so ruled my life that when death came I might face it without fear." The way to prepare to die is to prepare to live. Nothing but a good life here can fit us to have a better one hereafter. "Turn to God one day before you die," said a Jewish teacher. "How can I know the day before my death?" "You cannot, therefore, turn to Him now." John Wesley was once asked, "Suppose you knew that you were to die at twelve o'clock tomorrow night, how would you spend the intervening time?" "Just as I intend to spend it now. I should preach this night at Gloucester, and again at five tomorrow morning. After that I should ride to Tewkesbury, preach in the afternoon, and meet the society in the evening. I should then repair to friend Martin's house, who expects to entertain me, converse and pray with the family as usual, retire to bed at ten o'clock, commend myself to my heavenly Father and wake up in glory."

(E. J. Hardy, M. A.)

I. THE IMPORTANCE OF THE CONDUCT ENJOINED. Very powerful and energetic is the language of the Holy Spirit in warning all who name the name of Christ to depart from iniquity, especially such kinds of iniquity as pride and self-confidence, and also from indolence and all self indulgent tempers. As, for instance, how strong and vehement is this language of the zealous Peter to Christians — "Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility;" that is, be girded, tightly fastened, as it were, with your humility, so as never to put it off, or part with it; adding the great sanctions, "For God resisteth the proud" — sets Himself against them — "but giveth grace to the humble." And so with regard to the other evil tendency, namely, that to indolence and want of energy the Divine warnings are very express, and in various forms repeated: "The fool foldeth his hands together, and eateth his own flesh." "He that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a waster." "A slothful man hideth his hand in his bosom, and will not so much as bring it to his mouth again." "The slothful man saith, there is a lion without; I shall be slain in the streets." How different the saying of Him who came from heaven to earth to leave us an example! "I must work," said He, "the works of Him that sent Me while it is day; for the night cometh when no man can work." His illustrious apostle imitated Him. "Yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you, neither did we eat any man's bread for nought. And when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat." "We beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more" in all Christian excellences, "and that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, that ye may walk honestly toward them that are without," that is — that ye may do nothing to bring disgrace on your holy profession, "and that ye may have lack of nothing," or of "no man," "that ye may not be obliged to depend on wicked heathen people for support." These, then, pride and indolence, are the two great evil principles or dispositions which hinder and entangle us in our daily path, while a humble, diligent course is that which is most sure of the Divine blessing. Only we must be careful not to separate these two heavenly graces. A diligent person may be vain and proud; and a professedly humble person may be slothful and negligent. As a general rule, the graces of the gospel are so united that the want of any one may give us great reason to fear that we are deficient in all.

II. THE WAY TO SHOW SUCH CONSISTENT CONDUCT. "Study to be quiet." The word "study" is, in the original, very expressive — that we take great pains to lead a quiet, peaceable life — that we make it the object of our ambition. But lest this quietness should be debased into idleness or cowardliness, the apostle immediately adds, "And to do your own business, and work with your own hands;" implying, that as Christians must always be quiet and peaceful, so they must never be careless and idle, but ever be full of energy and spirit in the quiet accomplishment of their everyday duties. And all this must be done under a deep sense of Christian responsibility, as having great privileges in possession, and great promises in prospect, and as servants of the Lord Jesus Christ.

(J. H. Newman, D. D.)

All have a work to do, and all are, more or less, indisposed to do their own work. If the gospel had entirely repealed the sentence — "In the sweat of thy brow shalt thou eat bread," many men would have liked it all the better. But this is not what the gospel does: it does not abolish labour; it gives it a new and nobler aspect: it sweetens the believer's work, and gives him fresh motives for performing it; it transforms it from the drudgery of the workhouse or the penitentiary to the loving offices and joyful services of the fireside and the family circle. The gospel, then, has not superseded diligent activity; but it commands one and all — "Do your own business, and work with your own hands."

I. THIS PRECEPT IS VIOLATED BY THOSE WHO HAVE NO BUSINESS AT ALL. Some are placed by the bounty of God's providence in such a situation that they do not need to toil for a subsistence; but such a life, though it certainly is the easiest, will neither be the happiest nor the most lawful. We must have some business in hand, some end in view. Those who are familiar with the seashore may have seen attached to the inundated reef a creature, whether plant or animal you could scarcely tell, rooted to the rock, and twirling its long tantacula as an animal would do. It's life is somewhat monotonous, for it has nothing to do but grow and twirl its feelers, float in the tide, or fold itself up on its foot stalk when the tide has receded. Now, would it not be very dismal to be transformed into a zoophyte? Would it not be an awful punishment, with your human soul still in you, to be anchored to a rock, able to do nothing but spin about your arms or fold them up again, and knowing no variety except when the retiring ocean left you in the daylight, or the returning waters covered you in their green depths again? But what better is the life of one who has no business to do? One day floats over him after another, and leaves him vegetating still. He was of no real service yesterday, and can give no tangible account of occupation during the one hundred and sixty-eight hours of which last week consisted. He goes through certain mechanical routines; but the sea-anemone goes through nearly the same round of pursuits and enjoyments. Is this a life for an intelligent, immortal and responsible being to lead?

II. THIS PRECEPT IS ALSO VIOLATED BY THOSE WHOSE ACTIVITY IS A BUSY IDLENESS. You may be very earnest in a pursuit which is utterly beneath your prerogative as a rational creature and your high destination as a, deathless being. The swallow is abundantly busy, up in the early morning, forever on the wing, as graceful and sprightly in his flight as tasteful in the haunts which he selects. Behold him zig-zagging over the clover field, skimming the limpid lake, whisking round the steeple, or dancing gaily in the sky, or alighting elegantly on some housetop and twittering politely by turns to the swallow on either side of him, and after five minutes conversation off and away. And when winter comes, he goes to Rome, or Naples, or some other sunny clime; and after a while he returns. Now this is a very proper life for a swallow; but it is no life for a man. To flit about from house to house; to pay futile visits; to bestow all thought on graceful attitudes and polished attire; to roam from land to land, and then return home — oh, this is not simply ridiculous, but really appalling! The life of a bird is a nobler one; more worthy of its powers, and more equal to the end for which it was created.

III. THIS PRECEPT IS VIOLATED, TOO, BY THOSE WHO ARE NOT ACTIVE IN THEIR LAWFUL CALLING. They are "slothful in business." They are of a dull and languid turn: they trail sluggishly through life, as if some adhesive slime were clogging every movement, and making their snail path a waste of their very sub. stance. Others there are who, if you find them at their post, are dozing at it. They are perpetual somnambulists, walking in their sleep; looking for their faculties, and forgetting what they are looking for. They are too late for everything — taking their passage when the ship has sailed, insuring their property when the house is burned, locking the door when the goods are stolen; and thus their work is a dream, and their life is worthless and in vain (Proverbs 9:10). Practical lessons:

1. Have a calling in which it is worth while to be busy.

2. Having made a wise choice, mind your own business, and go through with it.

(J. Hamilton, D. D.)

I. THE CHIEF DANGERS OF A BUSINESS LIFE. What are they? It is a misfortune in the path of a commercial trader to be kept in perpetual contact with the purely material value of all possible substances. The public sentiment of great business centres is apt to reckon a man's worth by his business profits. It is always tempted to erect an ignoble or defective ideal of success in life. And then there are the vulgar dangers to honesty and truthfulness which indeed beset men in all professions and classes.

II. THE SAFEGUARDS OF A BUSINESS LIFE.

1. Cherish to the utmost a thirst for truth and a sympathy with what is ideal, unselfish, grand in conduct.

2. Cultivate a sympathizing contact with men in other than mere business relationships. These are the safeguards of the secondary order.

3. The only primary and sufficient safeguard for any of us is the religion of Jesus Christ. Religion opens the widest, freest outlook for the mind into eternal truth, enlarging a man's range of spiritual sight, and enabling him to judge of all things in both worlds in their true proportion. Religion, moreover, supplies us for that reason with the only true and perfect standard by which to test the value of things, and so corrects the one-sided materialistic standard of business. Lastly, religion transforms business itself from an ignoble to a noble calling, inasmuch as it substitutes for the principle of mere profit the ideal of service.

(J. O. Dykes, D. D.)

Advanced Textbook of Geology.
Without storm or noise the winds in their usual course accomplish surprising feats. All expanses of shifting sand, whether maritime or inland, like the deserts of Africa and Asia, are yearly modified by the agency of wind drift, the wind carrying the dry sand left by the tides forward and landward beyond the reach of the waters; and where the aerial current blows steadily for some time in one direction, as the trade winds and monsoons of the tropics, it will carry forward the drifting material in that direction. Hence the gradual entombment of fields, forests, and villages that lie in the course of such progressive sand waves as on the Biscay seaboard of France and on the western verge of Egypt. Results like these arise from merely the ordinary operations of wind; its extraordinary operations are manifested in the destructive effects of the hurricane, the whirlwind, and tornado. Gentle as it may seem, the continuous drifting of sand over the surface of hard rocks has been known to wear and polish down their asperities, and even to grind out grooves and furrows like those produced by the motion of glacier ice or the flow of running water. Here, then, we may observe great effects produced without fuss, and we may easily observe, in the phenomena of social life, that there are plenty of illustrations there of the same principle. The whirlwind of revolutions and hurricane of insurrections have no doubt produced startling consequences. But the influence of noble ideas, spoken by undemonstrative men, or embalmed in unpretending volumes, and of pious lives lived in seclusion, has produced a far greater effect upon the civilization of the world than all the blustering storms of war raised by kings and factions and reverberating through history.

(Advanced Textbook of Geology.)

The Church of God is as the body of man. In a man's body every part hath its several office; the arm, the leg, the hand, and foot, do that whereto they are appointed: and doing the same, they live together in peace. But if the arm would take in hand to do that is the duty of the leg, or the foot that is the part of the hand, it would breed great disorder in the whole body. So if every man in the Church of God seek to do that to them belongeth, the Church shall flourish and be in quiet. But when every man will be busy and take upon him to look into other; when every private man will govern, and the subject take in hand to rule the prince; all must needs come to wreck and decay. Busybodies ever find fault with their brethren and neighbours, with the state, the clergy, the commonwealth, the Church, the government, and with the prince. They are an unquiet kind of men, ever looking for that they may mislike, and never contented. From these men come privy whisperings, slander, backbiting, mutinies, conspiracies, treasons, deposing of princes, and utter decay of commonwealths. These are the fruits of curiosity.

(Bp. Jewell.)

Clerical Library.
A man who had become rich by his own exertions was asked by a friend the secret of his success. "I have accumulated," replied he, "about one half of my property by minding my own business, and the other half by letting other people's alone."

(Clerical Library.)

A certain woman once called upon her minister to tell him how much her mind had been hurt. Her pastor received her with all tenderness, and inquired into the cause of her distress. She went on to say, "She could assure him that her mind was very much hurt indeed, but she did not know how to tell him." The minister judging it must be something serious, urged her to be explicit upon the subject of her distress. At last she said, "It is the length of your bands in the pulpit." "Oh," said the minister, "I will take care that that distresses you no more." So fetching his bands he said, "Here is a pair of scissors, cut them to your wish." After she had done this, she thanked him and professed to feel her mind relieved. "Well, my friend," said the minister, "I may tell you that my mind has also been very much hurt, perhaps even more than yours." "Oh, sir, I am sorry for that; what, sir, has hurt your mind so?" He replied, "It is the length of your tongue. And now, as one good turn deserves another, you will allow as much to be cut off as will reduce it to about its proper length." It need not be remarked that she was speechless, and it is hoped, learned an important lesson with respect to that unruly member.

(W. Denton.)

Clerical Library.
"Your majesty," said she, "my husband treats me badly." "That is not my business," replied the king. "But he speaks ill of you." "That," rejoined he, "is none of your business."

(Clerical Library.)

To work with your own hands
Two men I honour and no third. First, the toilworn craftsman that with earth made implement laboriously conquers the earth and makes her man's. Venerable to me is the hard hand; crooked courses; wherein notwithstanding lies a cunning virtue, indefeasably royal, as of the sceptre of this planet. Venerable, too, is the rugged face, all weather tanned, besoiled with its rude intelligence; for it is the face of a man living manlike. Oh, but the more venerable for thy rudeness, and even because we must pity as well as love thee! Hardly entreated brother! For us was thy back so bent, for us were thy straight limbs and fingers so deformed; thou wert our conscript, on whom the lot fell, and fighting our battles wert so marred. For in thee, too, lay a God-created form, but it was not to be unfolded; encrusted must it stand with the thick adhesions and defacements of labour; and thy body like thy soul, was not to know freedom. Yet toil on, toil on; thou art in thy duty; be out of it who may; thou toilest for the altogether indispensable, for daily bread. A second man I honour and still more highly; him who is seen toiling for the spiritually indispensable: not daily bread but the Bread of Life. Is not he, too, in his duty; endeavouring towards inward harmony; revealing this, by act, or by word, through all his outward endeavours, be they high or low? Highest of all, when his outward and inward endeavours are one: when we can name him Artist; not earthly craftsman only, but inspired thinker, who with heaven-made implement conquers heaven for us! If the poor and humble toil that we may have food, must not the high and glorious toil for him in return, that he may have light, guidance, freedom, immortality? These two, in all their degrees, I honour: all else is chaff and dust, which let the wind blow wherever it listeth. Unspeakably touching is it, however, when I find both dignities united; and he that must toil outwardly for the lowest of man's wants, is also toiling inwardly for the highest. Sublimer in this world I know nothing than the peasant saint, could such now anywhere be met with. Such a one will take thee back to Nazareth itself; thou wilt see the splendour of heaven spring forth from the humblest depths of earth, like a light shining in great darkness.

(T. Carlyle.)

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