For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,…
I. THE INGREDIENTS OF EVERYDAY LIFE.
1. Conversation is a large element of everyday life. The power of speech is one of the grand distinctions of man and of his life upon the earth. It is thus he clothes invisible thought with form, and confers upon the subtle intangible reality an immortality of earthly recognition. Our daily conversation determines all the tone of our mind; it stamps and it stereotypes our temper. It reveals whether charity and virtue, manly or womanly grace, dignify our character; or whether we are frivolous, vain, heartless, and worldly.
2. Wish is an equally extended department of everyday life. It is in our nature to be conscious of desires after a great many things, and these desires are not in themselves sinful; they are even necessary to the maintenance of life, to the onward progress of mankind, to the subduing and replenishing of the earth which God has lent to us, and in which He has given us a life interest. These desires of all kinds are the spring of nearly all that we do in this life. Let us bring them up now, and see what is the revelation they will give us of ourselves. Perhaps we shall find a legion of devils, which must be cast out; a storm of passions, which must be hushed; a brood of revenges, vexations, bad resolves, unbrotherly triumphs, impure hankerings, which must be trampled out of us. Perhaps they are humble, virtuous, charitable, reasonable, modest, chaste, holy desires, fit for a brother or sister of Jesus. A moment's thought will prove that these desires of ours, these genuine intentions, these self-born, or heaven-inspired, wishes, are our very self; and if we are to be religious men, religion must have sway over these.
3. Work is another main element in life. The business of life, the daily toil and drudgery of a man, these help to constitute his everyday life. It must be possible to bring all this under the empire of religion — to supply a set of motives that can dignify the commonest occupation, consecrate the humblest toil, and make "daily drudgery divine" — motives which can explode and deflagrate those wretched purposes and evil desires that have so often issued in violated laws and broken hearts; and motives which will hallow and purify all our service and every talent.
4. But there is another large department of everyday life to which it is necessary to refer — I mean Recreation. That which is recreation to one man would be a complete penance to another; that which some of you think a most enjoyable relaxation is to others an intolerable weariness. Some mode of spending the leisure hour is necessary to every man; and perhaps nothing more surely indicates his temper and spirit than the method in which he finds it most agreeable to while away his spare time and gather strength for further duty. As religion penetrates everyday life, the whole tone of recreation rises in character, until it becomes harmless, pleasant, virtuous, holy, religious, and useful. To promote this end is one great enterprise of the Church.
II. THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE GOSPEL AS TO EVERYDAY LIFE.
1. Sobriety means the chastisement of all our passions, the resolute endeavour to gain and keep the control of all our desires, the determination to repress angry feelings as well as impure fancies, to subdue inordinate affection quite as much as depraved taste. Sobriety means resistance to every form of temptation. It has its realm in work quite as much as in recreation — in recreation quite as much as in work.
2. Righteousness is clearly something more than a refusal to commit an act of cruelty or dishonesty. Righteous living includes this; but it means very much more than this. We must respect every just claim upon us, not merely upon our money, but upon our affection, our reverence, and our good offices — and we must recognise and yield the right to every man who has one, to our good words, to our time, to our service, to our best efforts — or we are not acting justly.
3. The life here spoken of is to be a life of godliness; we must date and draw our motives from the highest source. The government of all our passions, the recognition of every just claim upon us, must spring from no mere vague notion that it is right to do this, but from the discovery of the ground of our nature, our relation to the living God, our obligation to the suffering Saviour, and our responsibility to the Spirit of grace.
(H. R. Reynolds, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,