But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
1. The secret of Christ's power was the goodness of God as manifested in His character and life, raising up a permanent moral influence and capable of remoulding the character and life of man.
2. Why, then, has Christianity made so little advance after nineteen centuries of history? For remember that the growth of Christianity does not consist in the diffusion of the knowledge of it or the extension of its organizations, but in the development of the fruits of the Spirit of Christ. Those who have set forward Christianity have —
I. ADOPTED A COERCIVE POLICY. But —
1. You cannot coerce men into loyalty in the State.
2. You cannot coerce the growths of nature.
3. Much less can men be coerced into love, joy, peace, etc.
II. FORMULATED THEOLOGICAL AND ECCLESIASTICAL SYSTEMS, and endeavoured to extend them, critically, controversially, and in an anathematizing spirit. But it is just as reasonable as placing violets and roses in an atmosphere of biting frost or consuming fire and expect them to grow, as for the fruits of the Spirit to develop in these ways.
III. AIMED AT KNOWLEDGE, NOT CHARITY. Knowledge can only puff a man up; charity will build him up. The knowledge of love may deceive a man that he has it, but will not make him loveable; and, the disunited state of Christendom being witness, has not.
IV. PLACED ORGANIC CHRISTIANITY IN THE ROOM OF PERSONAL CHRISTIANITY Physical life may be left to organize itself, which it does perfectly. In Christian life the loving, joyous, peaceful, etc., will make the most harmonious and orderly Church.
V. HIDDEN THE CHARACTER OF CHRIST, AND MISREPRESENTED THE CHARACTER OF GOD.
(H. W. Beecher.)
Parallel VersesKJV: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,