Then said he to me, See you do it not: for I am your fellow servant, and of your brothers the prophets…
One of our quaint earlier English poets sings —
"We are but farmers of ourselves, yet may
If we can stock ourselves and thrive, uplay
Much good treasure for the great rent-day."It is a great thing to have mighty forces working for you instead of against you, so enabling you "to aplay much good treasure for the great rent-day." Mr. Emerson puts the matter well: "The water drowns ship and sailor like a grain of dust; but trim your bark, and the wave which drowned it will be cloven by it, and carry it like its own foam, a plume and a power." But there are certain vast moral forces at work within every one of us, which make life if they be working for us; which make death if they work against us. Habit is such a moral force. Think of the laws controlling habit.
1. "Habit diminishes feeling and increases activity" — e.g., the empire of a musician over an instrument. At first all sorts of feelings against — dislike of practice, inability to deftly use the fingers, etc.; and also only slow and laboured activity both of mind and body. But when the empire has been established, all these hindering feelings have been overcome, and activity has become so easy as to be almost spontaneous.
2. "Habit tends to become permanent and to exclude the formation of other habits."(1) See, then, what a boon it is if a man get this force of habit working in him and for him on the side of righteousness and nobleness! Habit of pure thinking and feeling. Habit of prayer. Habit of Bible-reading. Habit of church-going. Habit of a scrupulous integrity. Habit of steadily seeking to please and test things by the Lord Christ. Habit of testimony for Jesus.
(2) But if you are bound by evil habits and so have this great force working against you instead of for you, break at once their force by one grand volition for Christ, and He will impart power. The legend on the banner of John Hampden's regiment in the battle of Englishmen's rights against a law-breaking Stuart dynasty, tells the way into the breaking of bad habits and into the possession of habits' sunward side. On one side the banner was written, "God with us"; on the other side, "Vestigia nulla retrorsum" — no steps backward.
(W. Hoyt, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.