All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar's household.
Notice that the "chief" salutations came from the unlikeliest place. It is a rebuke to some who think that Christianity pervades one state of life more than another. At times men have thought that the Christian religion was peculiarly suitable to the poor, and had nothing to do with the officers of Caesar's household. Christ preached at first to the lowly, yet wise and rich were also called. If saints are found in Caesar's household where shall they not be found? But men go sighing to find the proper soil for religion, and go to the desert to be religious, and think that when a man is a beggar he must be nearest heaven.
I. CHRISTIANITY HAS AFFINITY WITH ALL CALLINGS.
1. With riches, because the great grace of charity can be exercised thereby. Whose has charity in his heart and wealth in his hand has the finest gift of God.
2. With statesmanship, although it is common to say that that is a very uncongenial atmosphere for a Christian. But a statesman can put an end to the foul obstructions that hinder truth; he can make laws that men shall be no longer housed in conditions that make righteousness impossible.
3. With the soldier, though some think not. Though the day will come when war shall be at an end, nevertheless he who goes forth in a good cause stirred by the spirit of verity to do righteousness in the spirit of order, obedience, and self sacrifice, between him and the Christian faith are strong affinities.
4. With retirement. Christianity has much to say about the blessings of quiet existence, in deepening the wells of life.
5. With business. The merchant may be the most eminent missionary.
6. With art. The artist who gives relief to the tired eye and brain, who preaches the God of eternal beauty, and the spirit which underlies all visible things, is in harmony with our faith.
II. WHEREIN CONSISTS THIS UNITY BY WHICH THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST HAS AN AFFINITY WITH EXTREMELY OPPOSITE CHARACTERISTICS?
1. Let us wander seemingly for a time and answer this question by asking another. It is not whether this or that calling or characteristic be holy or not, but what is that holiness which justifies us in calling it holy? A man may be a sweeper of chimneys or the holder of a sceptre; but the sceptre may be swayed in righteousness, and so may the besom. The righteousness of each depends on the degree to which each embodies in his calling that which constitutes righteousness.
2. To do a good action three things are essential.
(1) That you know what you are doing.
(2) That you do it from choice.
(3) That you have firmness and perseverance to do the like at all times.
3. Having knowledge, intention, and persistence in the performance of that which is just and wise, the question becomes this — What is that which, put into voice or action, constitutes it an act in accord with the Christian faith? Christianity pronounces it to be charity. Charity means the large, loving, constant doing of all things great and small. It is the universal spirit to which there is nothing great or small. A king through charity may sway the sceptre, and a room may be swept to the glory of God. So in Caesar's household and Peter's fishing hut, it is possible to be filled with that which constitutes the spirit of religion. Therefore it is a matter of indifference what your calling may be. If you are scandal mongers, indeed, it is impossible to be charitable, because you violate the first principles of charity. When one lives not in constant piety one goes back to Caesar's household and thinks who they were.
(G. Dawson, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar's household.