Ephesians 6:7
Serve with good will, as to the Lord and not to men,
Sermons
Duties of ServantsT. Croskery Ephesians 6:5-8
Servants and MastersW.F. Adeney Ephesians 6:5-9
Servants and Their MastersD. Thomas Ephesians 6:5-9
The Christian Treatment of SlaveryR.M. Edgar Ephesians 6:5-9
The Duties of Servants and MastersR. Finlayson Ephesians 6:5-9
A Christian's WarfareH. J. Foster.Ephesians 6:7-8
All Strength from GodWilliam Gouge.Ephesians 6:7-8
Christian StrengthW. M. Furneaux, M. A.Ephesians 6:7-8
Forbearing ThreateningChristian Globe.Ephesians 6:7-8
God's Power is Most MightyWilliam Gouge.Ephesians 6:7-8
Kindness to ServantsBaxendale, s Anecdotes.Ephesians 6:7-8
MastersDr. J. Lyth.Ephesians 6:7-8
Moral StrengthH. J. Wilmot-Baxton, M. A.Ephesians 6:7-8
Of Christian Courage End ResolutionW. Gurnall, M. A.Ephesians 6:7-8
Our MottoC. H. Spurgeon.Ephesians 6:7-8
Strength Against TemptationE. H. Gillett.Ephesians 6:7-8
Strength in SufferingW. Woods.Ephesians 6:7-8
Strength in the LordJ. Ll. Davies, M. A.Ephesians 6:7-8
Strength in the LordJ. Vaughan, M. A.Ephesians 6:7-8
Strong ChristiansH. J. Wilmot-Buxton, M. A.Ephesians 6:7-8
Strong in PrayerW. M. Furneaux, M. A.Ephesians 6:7-8
The Apostle's HumilityWilliam Gouge.Ephesians 6:7-8
The Apostolic ExhortationH. J. Foster.Ephesians 6:7-8
The Benefit of Confidence in GodWilliam Gouge.Ephesians 6:7-8
The Fruits of LifeH. W. Beecher.Ephesians 6:7-8
The Honour of ServingH. W. Beecher.Ephesians 6:7-8
The Need of Christian CourageWilliam Gouge.Ephesians 6:7-8
The Power of God's MightBishop Home.Ephesians 6:7-8
The Secret of StrengthW. Spurstowe.Ephesians 6:7-8
Treatment of ServantsArchdeacon Paley.Ephesians 6:7-8
Why Strength is NeededDr. John Hall.Ephesians 6:7-8
It is interesting to reflect that the New Testament devotes more space to the instruction of servants than to the instruction of either parents or children, husbands or wives. The servants, or rather slaves, were a large and interesting class in the cities of Asia Minor, often greatly more numerous than freemen, and very many of them had embraced the gospel with great heartiness. There were obvious reasons for a studious minuteness in the counsels given to such a class.

I. THEIR DUTY IS SUMMED UP IN THE SINGLE WORD "OBEDIENCE." Christianity does not rudely strike at existing relations in life, but seeks to improve and sanctify them. In its appeals to slaves as well as to masters, it sowed the seed-corn, small as a grain of mustard seed, which grew into a harvest of emancipation in the ages which were to see the full power of the gospel. Obedience was therefore the duty of slaves, or servants, "in all things" (Colossians 3:22), that is, in all things included within the sphere of a master's rightful authority, not contrary to the Law of God, or the gospel of Christ, or the dictates of conscience. It is set forth first in a negative, then in a positive form.

1. Negatively. "Not with eye-service, as men-pleasers." This word is coined by the apostle for the occasion. Eye-service is either work done only to please the eye, but which cannot bear to be tested, or it may be good work done only when the master's eye is upon the worker. This was a vice peculiar to slavery. But it enters into all forms of service. Dishonest work is to be avoided quite as much as dishonest words. An acted lie is as dishonorable as a spoken one. There must be no mere perfunctory discharge of human duties.

2. Positively.

(1) "With fear and trembling." Not from regard to the lash of the master, but with an anxious and tremulous desire to do our duty thoroughly. Obedience is to be yielded "with all fear" (1 Peter 2:18), that is, with the fear of incurring the just rebukes of their masters, and "as fearing God" (Colossians 3:22).

(2) "In singleness of heart, as unto Christ." In simplicity and sincerity of spirit, without dissimulation or hypocrisy. There is a great temptation to duplicity in those subjected to another's will, especially if the service is irksome or unreasonable. Let there be a single desire to do your duty.

(3) "With good-will doing service," not grudgingly, or murmuringly, or by constraint, but with cheerfulness and alacrity, "seeking to please them well in all things," that they may obtain their good will (Titus 2:9).

II. THE MOTIVES TO SUCH OBEDIENCE.

1. The command of God here addressed to all servants.

2. The Lord's mastership, for they are "the servants of Christ," and are "doing service as to the Lord, and not to men." Here is the constraining force of the Lord's love. How this motive sweetens, sanctifies, ennobles work! The work is done, not for wages, not by constraint, but "unto the Lord," and therefore becomes part of our worship. It is thus that the Lord has married the work of earth to the worship of heaven.

3. The rewards of this service: "Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive,.., whether he be bond or free." Whatever disappointment may mix itself with the service of men, the Lord will have a rich reward in store for the faithful worker. He is not unrighteous to forget your labor of love, for "of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance" (Colossians 3:24).

4. The honor of the gospel. His Name and his doctrine will be blasphemed by a contrary spirit (1 Timothy 6:1; Titus 2:10).

5. The example of Christ himself. He "took upon him the form of a servant;" for "he came not to be ministered unto, but to minister." He always did the things which pleased God, and has set us an example that we should follow in his steps. - T.C.







Not with eye-service, as men-pleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. -
i.e.to those who serve, whatever their position as servants may be; whether in the position of bond slaves as in the days of Paul, or of hired servants as in our own day, or of merchants, physicians, lawyers, ministers, or young men, who, for remuneration of any kind, undertake to serve individuals or the public, To all such the exhortation of our text is, that they should discharge their duties, "not with eye-service, as men-pleasers, but with fear and trembling, in singleness of heart, as unto Christ." But the exhortation of our text is of far wider application. It is equally applicable to "masters" - to those who are served, as truly as to those who serve. For immediately after addressing himself to "servants," or "slaves," Paul said (ver. 9), "And ye masters, do the same things unto them." Paul had "the same rule for masters and for servants. And he gave the reason of this, saying, "Ye masters, do the same things unto them, knowing that your Master also is in heaven" - or, as in the margin, "knowing that your and their Master is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with Him."

I. THE MANNER in which we should discharge our duties to our fellow men.

1. Negatively - how it should not be done. "Not with eye-service." This is a word which Paul coined and struck in the royal mint of his own ardent and honest mind. I am not aware that it was ever heard before. But it is a word so true and graphic that it tells its own meaning. "Eye-service" is either service done only to please the eye, but which cannot bear to be tested; or it is good and real service, but only given when the eye of a master sees it. "Not with eye-service" is happily associated with that other word, "not as men-pleasers." For "eye-servants" care only to "please men." The rule of their duty is, not what is fair and honourable, nor even what may reasonably be expected from them, but only as much as will please the eye of their employers. All else is neglected and left undone, if only the failure in service does not appear to be in them. How much there is of eye-service and men-pleasing in all classes!

2. The positive description of our duty - how it should be done: "With fear and trembling, in singleness of heart, as unto Christ." "With fear and trembling." From other parts of Scripture where this expression is found, it is plain that it does not mean "with fear" of punishment, as the slave fears the lash, nor "with trembling" before men, as the slave trembles before his master, but that it means with anxious and tremulous desire to do our duty. And as this "anxiety" to discharge our duty is the opposite of "eye-service," so also, "In singleness of heart as to Christ" is the opposite or contrary to, "as men-pleasers." "Not as men-pleasers," but "in singleness of heart, as to Christ."

II. THE MOTIVE by which Paul calls us to the discharge of our ordinary earthly duties. He exhorts us to sanctify, to hallow, to ennoble our earthly duties, by doing them "not as to men, but as unto the Lord." Now, consider this motive.

1. Observe, it is addressed to the disciples of Christ - to those who knew and owned Him as their "Lord"; to the blood bought, the redeemed, the renewed disciples of Christ; to those who, believing in Him, have been pardoned for all past transgressions, and have been born again of His Holy Spirit. It is not now the Law with its lash and its rewords urging men in general, and saying, "Do this and live" - do it or die. It is Christ the Saviour who speaks to His saved ones, and says, "Ye live, therefore do this - Ye live through Me, do this to Me."

2. Mark how this motive sweetens, sanctifies, ennobles our earthly work. It then becomes a part of our worship. Animated by such a thought, the school boy diligently, joyfully applies himself to his task. The clerk needs no other master's eye over him to keep him to his work. The tradesman carefully executes his orders to the last stitch, when he feels that he works not merely for men, but for Christ. The merchant no longer sells spurious or adulterated goods, when he feels that he sells, not to men, but to the Lord Himself. The minister, the physician, the lawyer, are no longer content with a formal or perfunctory discharge of duty. The creditor, presenting his account, asks no more than is really due, and the debtor faithfully pays it. And now, in conclusion, you can understand why the apostle specially and formally addressed this exhortation to servants - nay, to "slaves." The exhortation is equally applicable to masters. Why, then, did Paul primarily and formally address it to slaves? There was wisdom and tenderness in this. Paul saw and pitied the irksome lot of slaves. He could not break their chains, but he sought to gild and lighten them. He told them that they could make their irksome task pleasant by "doing it to the Lord." He sweetened their lot by showing them that the Lord did not despise them, and would "reward them for the good" they might do. It was a tender and touching thing in Paul first to stoop to wipe the sweat from the brow of slaves. But it was also wisely and well done. For when thus, by enjoining obedience on slaves, he had gained the ear and propitiated the heart of their masters, turning to them he could say with power, "And ye masters, do the same things to them, knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven," who demands the same obedience from you. Paul could not emancipate the slaves; but in that appeal to masters he sowed the seed corn, small as a grain of mustard seed, which has produced the harvest of emancipation in every land to which the gospel has come in power.

(W. Grant.)

(H. W. Beecher.)

I. Our subject opens with this reflection, that if henceforth whether we live, we live unto the Lord, or whether we die, we die unto the Lord, THIS CONSECRATION WILL GREATLY INFLUENCE OUR ENTIRE WORK.

1. You will have to live with a single eye to God's glory. The Lord Jesus is a most engrossing Master. He will have everything or nothing. As no dog can follow two hares at one time, or he will lose both, certainly no man can follow two contrary objects and hope to secure either of them.

2. To do service to the Lord we must live with holy carefulness. In the service of God we should use great care to accomplish our very best, and we should feel a deep anxiety to please Him in all things, There is a trade called paper staining, in which a man flings colours upon the paper to make common wall decorations, and by rapid processes acres of paper can be speedily finished. Suppose that the paper stainer should laugh at an eminent artist because he had covered such a little space, having been stippling and shading a little tiny piece of his picture by the hour together, such ridicule would itself be ridiculous. Now the world's way of religion is the paper stainer's way, the daubing way; there is plenty of it, and it is quickly done; but God's way, the narrow way, is a careful matter: there is but little of it, and it costs thought, effort, watchfulness, and care. Yet see how precious is the work of art when it is done, and how long it lasts, and you will not wonder that a man spends his time upon it; even so true godliness is acceptable with God, and it endures forever, and therefore it well repays the earnest effort of the man of God. The miniature painter has to be very careful of every touch and tint, for a very little may spoil his work. Let our life be miniature painting; "with fear and trembling" let it be wrought out.

3. Further, if henceforth our desire is to live "as to the Lord, and not unto men," then what we do must be done with the heart. "in singleness of your heart," says the context; and again in the sixth verse, "As the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart." Our work for Jesus must be the outgrowth of the soil of the heart. Our service must not be performed as a matter of routine; there must be vigour, power, freshness, reality, eagerness, and warmth about it, or it will be good for nothing.

4. Under subjection. Doing the will of God - not our own. The freedom of a Christian lies in what I will venture to call an absolute slavery to Christ; we never become truly free till every thought is brought into subjection to the will of the Most High.

5. Again, we must do all this under a sense of the Divine oversight. Notice in verse 6 it is said of servants, "Not with eye-service, as men-pleasers." What a mean and beggarly thing it is for a man only to do his work well when he is watched. Such oversight is for boys at school and mere hirelings. You never think of watching noble-spirited men. Here is a young apprentice set to copy a picture: his master stands over him and looks over each line, for the young scapegrace will grow careless and spoil his work, or take to his games if he be not well looked after. Did anybody thus dream of supervising Raphael and Michael Angelo to keep them to their work? No, the master artist requires no eye to urge him on.

6. One more thought, and it is this. If henceforth we are to serve the Lord, and not men, then we must look to the Lord for our reward, and not to men. "Knowing," saith the eighth verse, "that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free." Wage! Is that the motive of a Christian? Yes, in the highest sense, for the greatest of the saints, such as Moses, have "had respect unto the recompense of the reward," and it were like despising the reward which God promises to His people if we had no respect whatever for it.

II. Should this text become the inspiration of our life, IT WOULD GREATLY ELEVATE OUR SPIRITS.

1. It would lift us above complaining about the hardness of our lot, or the difficulty of our service. What wonders men can do when influenced by enthusiastic love for a leader! Alexander's troops marched thousands of miles on foot, and they would have been utterly wearied had it not been for their zeal for Alexander. He led them forth conquering and to conquer. Alexander's presence was the life of their valour, the glory of their strength.

2. This lifts the Christian above the spirit of stinting. Christ's servants delight to give so much as to be thought wasteful, for they feel that when they have in the judgment of others done extravagantly for Christ, they have but begun to show their heart's love for His dear name.

3. This raises us above all boasting of our work. "Is the work good enough?" said one to his servant. The man replied, "Sir, it is good enough for the price, and it is good enough for the man who is going to have it." Just so, and when we "serve" men we may perhaps rightly judge in that fashion, but when we come to serve Christ, is anything good enough for Him?

4. It elevates above that craving for recognition which is a disease with many. It is a sad fault in many Christians that they cannot do anything unless all the world is told of it.

5. It lifts above the discouragement which sometimes comes of human censure. The nightingale charms the ear of night. A fool passes by, and declares that he hates such distracting noises. The nightingale sings on, for it never entered the little minstrel's head or heart that it was singing for critics; it sings because He who created it gave it this sweet faculty.

6. This, too, will elevate you above the disappointments of non-success, ay, even of the saddest kind.

7. This lifts us above disappointment in the prospect of death. We shall have to go away from our work soon, so men tell us, and we are apt to fret about it.

8. Ay, and this lifts us above the deadening influence of age and the infirmities which come with multiplied years.

III. I close by saying, that if we enter into the very spirit of this discourse, or even go beyond it - if henceforth we live for Jesus only, so as never to know pleasure apart from Him, nor to have treasure out of Him, nor honour but in His honour, nor success save in the progress of His kingdom, WE SHALL EVEN THEN HAVE DONE NO MORE THAN HE DESERVES AT OUR HANDS. For, first, we are God's creatures. For whom should a creature live but for his Creator? Secondly, we are His new creatures, we are the twice-born of heaven; should we not live for Him by whom we have been begotten for glory?

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Verse 9.

And ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening. -

(Archdeacon Paley.)

I. Their station - one of relative superiority - limited and temporary.

II. Their duty - they must be just - kind - forbearing threatenings.

III. Their responsibility - to Christ their Master in heaven, who judges without partiality.

(Dr. J. Lyth.)

(Baxendales Anecdotes.)

(Christian Globe.)

Verse 10.

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. -

(Dr. John Hall.)

(H. J. Wilmot-Baxton, M. A.)

(William Gouge.)

Joshua 1:7), "Be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest" - what? stand in battle against those warlike nations? No, but "that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses My servant commanded thee." It requires more prowess and greatness of spirit to obey God faithfully, than to command an army of men; to be a Christian, than to be a captain. What seems less than for a Christian to pray? yet this cannot be performed aright without a princely spirit; as Jacob is said to behave himself like a prince, when he did but pray; for which he came out of the field God's banneret. Indeed if you call that prayer which a carnal person performs, nothing more poor and dastard-like. Such a one is as great a stranger to this enterprize, as the cowardly soldier is to the exploits of a valiant chieftain. The Christian in prayer comes up close to God, with a humble boldness of faith, and takes hold of Him, wrestles with Him; yea, will not let Him go without a blessing, and all this in the face of his own sins, and Divine justice, which let fly upon him from the fiery mouth of the law; while the other's boldness in prayer is but the child, either of ignorance in his mind, or hardness in his heart; whereby not feeling his sins, and not knowing his danger, he rushes upon duty with a blind confidence, which soon fails when conscience awakes, and gives him the alarm that his sins are upon him, as the Philistines on Samson: alas! then in a fright the poor-spirited wretch throws down his weapon, flies the presence of God with guilty Adam, and dares not look Him in the face. Indeed, there is no duty in a Christian's whole course of walking with God, or acting for God, but is lined with many difficulties, which shoot like enemies through the hedges at the Christian, whilst he is marching towards heaven: so that he is put to dispute every inch of ground as he goes. They are only a few noble-spirited souls, who dare take heaven by force, that are fit for this calling. For the further proof of this point, see some few pieces of service that every Christian engageth in.

1. The Christian is to proclaim and prosecute an irreconcilable war against his bosom sins; those sins which have lain nearest his heart must now be trampled under his feet.

2. The Christian is to walk singularly, not after the world's guise (Romans 12:2).

3. The Christian must keep on his way to heaven in the midst of all the scandals that are cast upon the ways of God, by the apostasy and foul falls of false professors.

4. The Christian must trust in a withdrawing God (Isaiah 50:10). This requires a holy boldness of faith.

5. The believer is to persevere in his Christian course to the end of his life; his work and his life must go off the stage together. This adds weight to every other difficulty of the Christian's calling. We have known many who have gone into the field, and liked the work of a soldier for a battle or two, but soon have had enough, and come running home again; but few can bear it as a constant trade. Many are soon engaged in holy duties, easily persuaded to take up a profession of religion, and as easily persuaded to lay it down; like the new moon, which shines a little in the first part of the night, but is down before half the night be gone; lightsome professors in their youth, whose old age is wrapt up in thick darkness of sin and wickedness. O this persevering is a hard word! this taking up of the cross daily, this praying always, this watching night and day, and never laying aside our clothes and armour; I mean indulging ourselves to remit and unbend in our holy waiting on God, and walking with God; this sends many sorrowful away from Christ; yet this is the saint's duty to make religion his everyday work, without any vacation from one end of the year to the other. These few instances are enough to show what need the Christian hath of resolution.The application follows.

1. This gives us then a reason why there are so many professors and so few Christians indeed; so many go into the field against Satan, and so few come out conquerors; because all have a desire to be happy, but few have courage and resolution to grapple with the difficulties that meet them in their way to happiness.

2. Let us, then, exhort you Christians to labour for this holy resolution and prowess, which is so needful for your Christian profession, that without it you cannot be what you profess. The fearful are in the forlorn of those that march for hell (Revelation 21). The violent and valiant are they which take heaven by force; cowards never won heaven. Say not, thou hast royal blood running in thy veins, and art begotten of God, except thou canst prove thy pedigree by this heroic spirit, to dare to be holy in spite of men and devils. The eagle tries her young ones by the sun; Christ tries His children by their courage, that dare look on the face of death and danger for His sake (Mark 8:34, 35). Now, Christian, if thou meanest thus courageously to bear up against all opposition, in thy march to heaven as thou shouldst do well to raise thy spirit with such generous and soul-ennobling thoughts, so in an especial manner look thy principles be well fitted, or else thy heart will be unstable; and an unstable heart is weak as water, it cannot excel in courage.Two things are required to fix our principles.

1. An established judgment in the truth of God. He that knows not well what or whom he fights for, may soon be persuaded to change his side, or at least stand neuter. Such may be found that go for professors, that can hardly give an account what they hope for, or whom they hope in; yet Christians they must be thought, though they run before they know their errand; or if they have some principles they go upon, they are so unsettled that every wind blows them down, like loose tiles from the housetop. Blind zeal is soon put to a shameful retreat, while holy resolution, built on fast principles, lifts up its head like a rock in the midst of the waves. "Those that know their God shall be strong and do exploits" (Daniel 11:32).

2. A sincere aim at the right end in our profession. Let a man be never so knowing in the things of Christ, if his aim be not right in his profession, that man's principles will hang very loose; he will not venture much, or far for Christ, no more, no further than he can save his own stake. A hypocrite may show some metal at hand, some courage for a moment in conquering some difficulties, but he will show himself a jade at length. He that hath a false end in his profession, will soon come to an end of his profession, when he is pinched on that toe where his corn is; I mean, called to deny that his naughty heart aimed at all this while; now his heart fails him, he can go no further. O take heed of this wistful eye to our profit, pleasure, honour, or anything beneath Christ and heaven; for they will take away your heart, as the prophet saith of wine and women; that is, our love; and if our love be taken away, there will be nothing left for Christ.

(W. Gurnall, M. A.)

1. Our enlistment. We have been taken into Christ's army, to fight under His banner. Not solitary knight errants; but an embattled host set in array under the banner of a Captain. This prevents our thinking too much of ourselves. The more we forget ourselves the better. The soldier in an army does not fight for himself. He fights as one of many, for a common cause. He is willing to die, for his part - to have his place filled up, and be forgotten, provided the victory be won by his commander. This is what touches us all in a soldier's life; and it touches us first because it is an image of the true Divine law for each. To lose one's self in the cause, and to be zealous, enduring, brave, in the service of the King and the Realm, is as much the glory of a soldier of Jesus Christ, as of the professional soldier.

2. This feeling, of the community of our service, may be strengthened much by thinking of our common enemies. There are wickedness and darkness in the world, spiritual in their nature, and to be fought against as spiritual foes. Victory is to be won over evil; over ignorance and stupidity; over malignant errors and false opinions; over vice and misery. These are the devil's servants, ever active and encroaching, whom we are commissioned to repel. Our fighting against these enemies must be done in common. The evils are social, or rather anti-social. Every man is hindered or helped by all his neighbours. We cannot, if we would, fight alone. No man liveth or dieth to himself. We know not whom we may help by a truth, or whom we may hinder by a lie. Let us remember that our own enemies are our brother's enemies, and that his enemies are ours, and that all victories over evil are a common gain.

(J. Ll. Davies, M. A.)

I. BE STRONG IN FAITH. Be quite sure that you do believe; be quite clear what you believe, and then show your faith strongly. Oar faith is not built on sand, but on a rook. It is not founded on such words as - perhaps, I suppose, I hope. No, the Creed of the Church says, "I believe." Be ready to give a reason for the faith that is in you.

II. BE STRONG IN YOUR LANGUAGE. When Lord Nelson was going into his last battle, they wished him to cover, or lay aside, the glittering orders of victory which adorned his breast. But the hero refused, and perhaps his refusal cost him his life. Well, let us never hide the marks of our profession as Christian soldiers; even if we have to suffer, let men know that we bear about in our bodies the marks of the Lord Jesus.

III. BE STRONG IN SELF-SACRIFICE FOR JESUS. We must not forget our cross. Let me tell you the stories of two simple servant maids who, under very different circumstances, gave up their life for the life of little children. The scene of the first story was in America, nearly five and twenty years ago; that of the second story was in London, quite recently. A young English girl had taken service in a family going to America, and her special duty was the charge of the three motherless children of her widowed master. One cold day in December they all embarked in a great Mississippi steamboat bound for the far Northwest. Day after day they steamed through the swollen river, where pieces of ice were already showing, past dark and gloomy shores, lined with lonely forest. One night, near the end of their voyage, the girl had seen her charges, two girls and a boy, safely asleep, and now, when all the other passengers had retired, she was reading in the saloon. Suddenly the silence was broken by a terrible cry, which told the frightened passengers that the steamboat was on fire. The captain instantly ran the vessel for the shore, and ordered the people to escape as best they could, without waiting to dress. The faithful servant had called her master, and then carried the children from their beds to the crowded deck. Quickly the blazing vessel touched the muddy bank, and the father placed the shivering children and the servant on one of the huge branches which overhung the river. A few other passengers, fifteen in all, reached other branches, the rest went down with the burning steamer. But what hope could there be for the children, just snatched from their warm beds, and now exposed unclad to the bitter December night? Their father had no clothing to cover them, and, as he spoke of another steamer which would pass by in the morning, he had little hope of his children holding out. Then the servant maid declared that if possible she would keep the little ones alive. Clinging in the darkness to the icy branches, she stripped off her own clothing, all but the thin garment next her body, and wrapped up the shivering children. Thus they passed the long, dark hours of that terrible night. I know not what prayers were spoken, but I know that Jesus, who suffered cold and hunger for our sakes, made that servant girl strong to sacrifice herself. During the night one of the children died, but in the morning, when the first light came, the little girls were still alive. Then, when her work was done, the freezing limbs of the brave girl relaxed their hold, a deadly sleep fell on her, and she dropped silently into the rushing river below. Presently a steamer came in sight, and the two children for whom she had died were safe. Only quite lately there was a great fire in London. In the burning house were a husband and wife, their children, and a servant maid. The parents perished in the flames, but the servant appeared to the sight of the crowd below, framed, as it were, in fire, at a blazing window. Loudly shouted the excited crowd, bidding the girl to save herself. But she was thinking of others. Throwing a bed from the window, she signalled to those below to stretch it out. Then, darting into the burning room, she brought one of the children of her employers, and dropped it safely on to the bed. Fiercer grew the flames, but again this humble heroine faced the fire, and saved the other children. Then the spectators, loudly cheering, begged her to save herself. But her strength was exhausted, she faltered in her jump, and was so injured that death soon came to her. My brothers, no one will raise a grand monument to Emma Willoughby, and Alice Ayres, who passed, the one through water, the other through fire, for Christ's dear sake. But surely in God's great Home of many mansions their names are written in letters of gold.

IV. BE STRONG IN FIGHTING THE BATTLE. You know that life is a great battlefield. Put on, then, the whole armour of God. Stand, as Christ's soldiers, side by side, shoulder to shoulder, with your faces to the foe. When Napoleon retreated from Moscow, and the main body had passed by, the mounted Cossacks hovered around the stragglers, who, overcome by cold and fatigue, could only force their way slowly through the snow. Many a weary Frenchman thus fell beneath the Cossack lances. Presently a band of these fierce horsemen saw a dark object on the snowy plain, and dashed towards it. They were face to face with a small body of French who had formed into a square to resist them, their bayonets at the charge. The Cossacks rode round and round, seeking for a weak place for attack, and finding none. At length they charged the square, and found it formed of frozen corpses. The Frenchmen had died whilst waiting for the foe. Brothers, may death find us fighting the good fight. "Be strong in the Lord."

(H. J. Wilmot-Buxton, M. A.)

isnow, with all true saints of God. Human nature is not a poor thing, but a grand thing-grand in its origin, for in His own image God created us: grand in its achievements, for men have lived and are living heroic lives by the power of Christ; grand in its destiny, for we shall one day be like Christ and see Him as He is.

(W. M. Furneaux, M. A.)

(W. M. Furneaux, M. A.)

1. Because of our own indisposition, timorousness, dulness, and backwardness to all holy and good duties. What Christian findeth not this by woeful experience in himself? When he would pray, etc., there is I know not what fearfulness in him; his flesh hangeth back, as a bear when he is drawn to the stake.

2. Because of those many oppositions which we are sure to meet.

(1)The world.

(2)The devil.

(William Gouge.)

1. For His own glory, that in time of need we might fly unto Him, and in all straits cast ourselves on Him; and, being preserved and delivered, acknowledge Him our Saviour, and accordingly give Him the whole praise.

2. For our comfort, that in all distresses we might be the more confident. Much more bold may we be in the Lord, than in ourselves. God's power being infinite, it is impossible that it should be mated by any adverse power, which at the greatest is finite. Were our strength in ourselves, though for a time it might seem sufficient, yet would there be fear of decay; but being in God, we rest upon an Omnipotency, and so have a far surer prop to our faith.

(William Gouge.)

1. A strong prop is this to our faith, and a good motive to make us trust entirely to the power of God, without wavering or doubting, notwithstanding our own weakness, or our adversaries' power.

2. It is no matter of presumption, to be sure of victory, being strong in this mighty power, because it is the power of Almighty God.

(William Gouge.)

1. It will remove causeless fear (Nehemiah 6:11; Proverbs 22:13).

2. It will make bold in apparent danger (Psalm 3:6; Proverbs 28:1).

3. It will recover a man's spirit, though he should by occasion be wounded, stricken down, and foiled; so as though at first he prevail not, yet it will make him rise up again and renew the battle (Joshua 8:3; Judges 20:30).

(William Gouge.)

I. It is in its nature HONOURABLE.

1. As to what he opposes. Sin. Satan. Sinners, He.

2. As to what he aims at. God's glory. The salvation of souls.

3. As to the parties that are with him. God. Angels. Saints.

II. It is very MYSTERIOUS. As -

1. The principal agents in it are invisible.

2. None see or understand it but by experience.

3. His enemies eventually promote his victory. Job. Paul. "But I would ye should understand, brethren," etc. (Philippians 1:12).

4. Its weapons can be used by thousands at once.

5. He dies to conquer and be crowned.

III. It is the most IMPORTANT.

1. Whether Christ or Satan be superior.

2. Whether he shall be saved or lost.

IV. His armour is COMPLETE.

V. His enemies are condemned, and virtually CONQUERED.

1. Sin.

2. Satan.

3. Death.

(H. J. Foster.)

1. "Brethren" -

(1)As begotten of the same spiritual Father.

(2)As entitled to the same privileges.

(3)As bearing the same spiritual features.

2. "Be strong."

I. The nature of the exhortation. Seen by describing a Christian soldier strong in the Lord, etc. As he has to do -

1. With the guilt of accumulated sin (Psalm 51:1, etc.).

2. With a body of indwelling sin (Romans 7:1, etc.).

3. With Satan's temptations (2 Corinthians 12:7-9).

4. With great outward trials (Job 1:1, etc.; Acts 20:23, 24).

5. With death.

II. The way in which the Lord brings His people to be as He exhorts.

1. By showing them the importance of their situation. As made for eternity. As accountable to God. "Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight," etc. (Hebrews 4:13). As called to glorify God.

2. By giving them to feel that they can do nothing.

3. By showing that in the Mediator is all they want.

4. By teaching them to pray for strength.

5. By giving them to know that He dwells in them.

6. By showing them what He has done before for them and for others.

(H. J. Foster.)

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

I. THE STRENGTH REQUIRED.

1. It is not primarily physical strength. The time was when this was a prime element in the estimate of a man, nor can we doubt that it is undervalued now.

2. Neither does the direction of the text apply specifically to intellectual strength. This is not without its importance, although without moral aims it is a blind giant, and with perverted aims it is a wilful giant.

3. But far more important than this is moral strength. Here, too, something depends upon original endowment. There are some whose moral natures seem made of wax. Most unfortunately there is nothing in them like flint to strike fire from. The devil shapes them at will, as a woman kneads her dough. A strong temptation bears them away, as a whirlwind does the down of a thistle. Yet sometimes where we witness this, it is not all due to nature. It would be a libel upon her to say so. There is a moral greatness, not necessarily religious, which we admire, for it is strong. It may be heathen greatness, it may be a Pagan strength, but it rests upon the basis of strong character, and the moral element of it forces our applause. There was strength, when Socrates scorned to escape from prison, and chose rather to drink the fatal hemlock. There was strength, when Joseph Reed, of Revolutionary memory, approached by bribes of British gold, nobly replied: "I am poor, very poor, but poor as I am, the King of Great Britain is not rich enough to buy me." But how much more noble and enviable than this is the strength of religious principle, strength in God. It is not strong necessarily in muscle, in intellect, in strategy; but it is strong in resistance to moral assault, to temptations that, in winning guise and in more than carnal strength, would draw the soul to perdition. The real battle of life is with Satan and his arts and followers, and the real hero is he who wins in this conflict.

II. BUT WHENCE IS THIS STRENGTH TO COME? "Be strong in the Lord," is the reply.

(E. H. Gillett.)

(W. Woods.)

(W. Spurstowe.)

(Bishop Home.)

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