The Contrast Between Heathenism and Christianity in the Treatment of the Weak
1 Thessalonians 5:14
Now we exhort you, brothers, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.

Heathen philosophy, even Plato's, was systematically hard on the weakly. It anticipated modern theories and practice in such matters as the struggle for existence, survival of the fittest, and happy dispatch. In the exercise of the art of medicine Plato held that it might serve to cure the occasional distempers of men whose constitutions are good; but as to those who have bad constitutions, let them die; and the sooner the better: such men are unfit for war, for magistracy, for domestic affairs, for severe study; and the best thing for such is to have done with life at once. In contrast with this Bacon vindicated the art of healing by appealing to the exampleor Christ, and reminded men that the great Physician of the soul did not disdain to be the Physician of the body. Hawthorne asserts that most men have a natural indifference, if not hostility, towards those whom disease, or weakness, or calamity of any kind causes to falter and faint amid the rude jostle of our selfish existence. The education of Christianity, he owned, the sympathy of a like experience, and the example of women, may soften and possibly subvert this ugly characteristic; but it is originally there, and has its analogy in the practice of our brute brethren, who hunt the sick or disabled member of the herd from among them as an enemy. Faithful to which code of action, says Balzac, the world at large is lavish of hard words and harsh conduct to the wretched who dare spoil the gaiety of its fetes and to cast a gloom over its pleasures: whoever is a sufferer in mind or body, or is destitute of money or power is a pariah. The weakly or deformed child of a Spartan was thrown, by order, into the cavern called apothetae, in the belief that its life could be no advantage either to itself or to the state. The worst of charity is, complains Emerson, that the lives you are asked to preserve are not worth preserving.

(F. Jacox, B. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.

WEB: We exhort you, brothers, admonish the disorderly, encourage the fainthearted, support the weak, be patient toward all.

Support the Weak
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