With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:…
I. THE STRENGTH REQUIRED.
1. It is not primarily physical strength. The time was when this was a prime element in the estimate of a man, nor can we doubt that it is undervalued now.
2. Neither does the direction of the text apply specifically to intellectual strength. This is not without its importance, although without moral aims it is a blind giant, and with perverted aims it is a wilful giant.
3. But far more important than this is moral strength. Here, too, something depends upon original endowment. There are some whose moral natures seem made of wax. Most unfortunately there is nothing in them like flint to strike fire from. The devil shapes them at will, as a woman kneads her dough. A strong temptation bears them away, as a whirlwind does the down of a thistle. Yet sometimes where we witness this, it is not all due to nature. It would be a libel upon her to say so. There is a moral greatness, not necessarily religious, which we admire, for it is strong. It may be heathen greatness, it may be a Pagan strength, but it rests upon the basis of strong character, and the moral element of it forces our applause. There was strength, when Socrates scorned to escape from prison, and chose rather to drink the fatal hemlock. There was strength, when Joseph Reed, of Revolutionary memory, approached by bribes of British gold, nobly replied: "I am poor, very poor, but poor as I am, the King of Great Britain is not rich enough to buy me." But how much more noble and enviable than this is the strength of religious principle, strength in God. It is not strong necessarily in muscle, in intellect, in strategy; but it is strong in resistance to moral assault, to temptations that, in winning guise and in more than carnal strength, would draw the soul to perdition. The real battle of life is with Satan and his arts and followers, and the real hero is he who wins in this conflict.
II. BUT WHENCE IS THIS STRENGTH TO COME? "Be strong in the Lord," is the reply.
(E. H. Gillett.)
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