The salutation by the hand of me Paul. Remember my bonds. Grace be with you. Amen.
Being bound by a chain, Paul had to employ a secretary, and then at the close of the letter he would raise his own manacled hand, and add a few words of loving salutation. Under these circumstances his writing would be awkward and ill-formed. He looks at the: MS. He sees his friend's work so neat, and his own writing disfiguring the MS. "What will the Colossians think of this? They may regard it as an indication of carelessness. I will tell them the reason — my bonds. They will not misunderstand now." This is a small circumstance, but there is this in it: If the great apostle needed consideration, and had something which spoiled the perfection of his work, and which, being remembered, accounted for the imperfection, may it not he true of others also? We have all a chain of some kind.
I. HOW MANY CHAINS THERE ARE THAT NEED TO BE REMEMBERED.
1. Temperament often hinders men from being and doing what others expect of them. Some are impulsive, others slow; some are irritable, others placid; some must work spasmodically, others are dogged; some are sanguine, others despondent. You see all this in the family circle, where you make allowance. You see it in the Church; remember it there.
2. The bondage of education, i.e., the training of a lifetime, leads to misunderstandings. One man has had a rough, and another a gentle, bringing up. They meet as brethren — the one hearty, the other reserved. The one thinks the other rude; the other thinks his brother cold. Yet both are equally friendly and loyal. What they want is to remember one another's bonds.
3. Family ties are sometimes bonds. How many live in unsympathetic homes which restrain their better impulses, and act as a clog to their activities. How many have claims upon them of which others know nothing, and which make them appear parsimonious.
4. What a chain, too, is some forgiven sin. It hinders men from taking positions which others in ignorance would thrust upon them. Just such a sin barred David from building the Temple. There is a sense in which we should forget a man's past — in kindness; but there are times when we should remember it in love. It will thus account for much that is unaccountable.
II. HOW IMPORTANT IT IS THAT THESE BONDS SHOULD BE REMEMBERED. When a man is appointed to do some work in a public observatory, he is set to take some well-ascertained observations, that any deviation on his part from the average vision may be ascertained. And this deviation is called his "personal difference," and is allowed for. If forgotten it would make his work useless. Something like this should be done by Christians. Allowance should be made for each man's "personal difference." Our brother's chain should be remembered.
1. In justice to him. Otherwise we shall deem him less worthy than he is.
2. In justice to ourselves and to our faith. We cannot but believe more fully in the Saviour if we measure His influence, which we cannot do if we misjudge our brother.
3. In justice to the cause of Christ. So long as we forget our neighbour's chain we shall misunderstand him, and so be unable to co-operate with him in Christian work.
III. THERE IS A RIGHT AND A WRONG SIDE TO THIS MEMORY.
1. Remember your brother's chain and this will make you more charitable in your judgments.
2. Remember only your own and it will make you petulant and sensitive.
3. Forget your own chain, then, but never that of others.
Parallel VersesKJV: The salutation by the hand of me Paul. Remember my bonds. Grace be with you. Amen.