The Lover of the Good
Titus 1:7-9
For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not self-willed, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker…

1. A good man is always deeply sensible of the opposite of goodness — of moral evil — in himself and in the world around him. The inner cry of his heart often is, "O wretched man that I am," "When I would do good, evil is present with me!" It is present, but not allowed; hated rather, mourned over, repented of, put away in purpose. The goodness of the man is shown in this internal preference — a preference of which, in the first instance, only the man himself is conscious, but which is certain to become apparent to others. For, be sure of this, that what we most deeply regard in our own hearts cannot be permanently hidden from others. Exactly so it is with regard to evil in the world around him, that is, the evil that is in other men. A good man cannot look upon evil with favour or allowance; the instinct that is within him will put him in a moment in moral opposition to the evil that is in the world. Conscience says, with Luther, "Here I stand. I can do no other. So help me, God!" The world's way is a way of universal conciliation and compliance and apology.

2. A good man, while standing in direct moral opposition to evil will, at the same time, be pitiful and compassionate towards the subjects of it. He will be like God in this. God hates evil. God pities those who are caught in its toils, and who suffer its penalties and are loaded with its curse. He pities them and comes to save them.

3. A good man is humble, modest, moderate in his own esteem. He has the sense of his frailty, of his sin, and all the limitations of his nature, and the sorrows and troubles of this earthly life to keep him humble. A proud man is foolish, in the deepest sense, and ignorant.

4. A good man is one who does good. As the righteous man is one who doeth righteousness; as the merciful man is one who "sheweth mercy," and the generous man one who gives at some self-sacrifice; so in a larger sense the good man is one who does good, as he has opportunity, at his own cost, with some intelligent purpose for the benefit of his fellow men; who does good from a grateful sense of the great goodness of God to him; does good from a real love of the action, and a love of the people to whom he does it; — who, in one word, is like God Himself, who giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not — "who sends His rain on the lust and on the unjust." A good man is one, in short, who has the active and passive virtues more or less in exercise. They are not in perfect exercise: some of them may be scarcely in sight at all, but he is inclined to all the virtue and set, in the temper of his mind, against all evil.

5. There is on the whole not much difficulty in distinguishing such a man from a man who is not good — who is not true, who is not faithful; who is not generous, nor humble, nor helpful; who has no likeness to Christ, who is not morally a child of God. The difficulty is greater when we come to compare this real Christian goodness with some of the more promising types of natural amiability. Some men are made to be loved. They are so kind, so bright, so helpful, so full of sympathy, and they carry all this somehow so much in their temper, and in the whole habit of their life, and even often on their very countenances, that they make their way at once wherever they wish to be. After all some of them may be good and true in the deepest and most essential sense; many of them may be good up to the point of their knowledge — "He that doeth righteousness is righteous." He that doeth good is good; and without any fear we may be "lovers of" such good men.

6. If we love good men, we shall observe them thoughtfully, we shall look at their spirit and character, their aims and their purposes in life. Love will soon die, love of any kind, unless it be fed by thought and kindled anew by remembrance. "Therefore will I remember Thee from the land of Jordan." "When I remember these things" — the privileges and joys of bygone days — "I pour out my soul in me"; in distress and apprehension lest they should never be renewed, and yet in fervent hope that they may; that I shall again ascend the hill of Zion, and sing at her feasts among the bands of the faithful and the good.

7. If we love good men we shall associate with them. They will be our hearts' aristocracy, the very uppermost circle of life to us, "our joy and crown." By such association we shall get social and spiritual advantages that could not otherwise come to us.

(A. Raleigh, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;

WEB: For the overseer must be blameless, as God's steward; not self-pleasing, not easily angered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for dishonest gain;

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