Hebrews 10:24
And let us consider how to spur one another on to love and good deeds.
Sermons
Provoking Each Other to Love and Good WorksFriedrich Schleiermacher Hebrews 10:24
The Duty and Design of Mutual ConsiderationW. Jones Hebrews 10:24
A Sure PromiseG. Lawson.Hebrews 10:22-24
A Triplet of ExhortationsH. Whittaker.Hebrews 10:22-24
Abiding in the Holiest of AllAndrew Murray.Hebrews 10:22-24
An Evil ConscienceHebrews 10:22-24
An Evil ConscienceHebrews 10:22-24
An Unwavering ConfessionH. O. Mackey.Hebrews 10:22-24
Approach to GodAnecdotes of Luther.Hebrews 10:22-24
Assurance of Faith, and Assurance of SalvationW. L. Alexander, D. D.Hebrews 10:22-24
Christian LifeJ. Colwell.Hebrews 10:22-24
Confidence in DeathHebrews 10:22-24
ConscienceHebrews 10:22-24
Divine PromisesR. W. Dale, LL. D.Hebrews 10:22-24
Drawing Near to GodT. Boston, D. D.Hebrews 10:22-24
Drawing Near to GodT. A. Morris, D. D.Hebrews 10:22-24
Faith, Hope, and LoveA. Saphir.Hebrews 10:22-24
Full Assurance of FaithJ. Trapp.Hebrews 10:22-24
Healing the Evil ConscienceR. Newton, D. D.Hebrews 10:22-24
Holding Fast Our ProfessionC. H. Spurgeon.Hebrews 10:22-24
Saved from an Evil ConscienceF. B. Meyer, B. A.Hebrews 10:22-24
Sins of Ignorance and WeaknessJ. H. Newman, D. D.Hebrews 10:22-24
Standing.FireHebrews 10:22-24
Steady to the PoleColeridge's Aids to Reflection.Hebrews 10:22-24
The Christian ProfessionJ. Burns, D. D.Hebrews 10:22-24
The Cure for an Evil ConscienceJ. Vaughan, M. A.Hebrews 10:22-24
The Effect of Dwelling in the Holiest of AllAndrew MurrayHebrews 10:22-24
The Faithfulness of God the Christian's Support in Life and DeathOwen Clarke.Hebrews 10:22-24
The Security of the PromiseG. Campbell.Hebrews 10:22-24
Help One AnotherHebrews 10:24-25
Inspiring EmulationJ. Bruce.Hebrews 10:24-25
Love and Good WorksJ. Vaughan, M. A.Hebrews 10:24-25
Love and Good WorksF. W. Farrar.Hebrews 10:24-25
Motives and Arguments to CharityI. Barrow, D. D.Hebrews 10:24-25
Mutual AidS. Martin.Hebrews 10:24-25
Mutual Christian DutiesJ. Burns, D. D.Hebrews 10:24-25
Mutual Christian IncitementS. Martin.Hebrews 10:24-25
Mutual ConsiderationW. M. Statham, M. A.Hebrews 10:24-25
Mutuality in the Christian LifeD. Young Hebrews 10:24, 25
Stimulating to Good WorksA. Moody Stuart.Hebrews 10:24-25
Sunday-School WorkA. Rowland, LL. B.Hebrews 10:24-25
The Duty of Christians to Provoke One Another into Love and Good WorksS. Mummery.Hebrews 10:24-25
The Nature and Source of True PhilanthropyW. Arnot.Hebrews 10:24-25
The Provocation of LoveHebrews 10:24-25
And let us consider one another to provoke unto love, etc. An interesting connection of our text with the preceding verses of this paragraph is pointed out by Delitzsch. "How beautifully is the exhortation here disposed in conformity with the Pauline triad of Christian graces (1 Corinthians 13:13; 1 Thessalonians 1:3; 1 Thessalonians 5:8; Colossians 1:4, 5)! First, the injunction to approach in the full assurance of faith; then that to hold fast the confession of our hope; and now a third, to godly rivalry in the manifestation of Christian love.

I. THE DUTY OF MUTUAL CONSIDERATION. Let us consider one another." This exhortation does not warrant any impertinent interference in the concerns of others, or sanction the conduct of busybodies and gossips. It calls upon us to cherish a mutual regard, and to exercise a kind consideration one for another. We should consider the wants, weaknesses, temptations, trials, successes, failures, and varying experiences of each other. With a brother in his shortcomings and sins we should be patient and forbearing, slow to condemn, but quick to raise and restore. "Brethren, even if a man be overtaken in any trespass," etc. (Galatians 6:1, 2). With each other we should sympathize in our respective joys and sorrows. Our religious duties, motives, aims, trials, joys, and hopes are very similar in their character; therefore "let us consider one another," sympathize with one another, and strengthen one another.

II. THE DESIGN OF MUTUAL CONSIDERATION. "To provoke unto love and good works." "To provoke" is here used in a good sense - to excite, or to call into activity for a worthy purpose. "Consider one another" in order to produce in each other a generous rivalry in love and good works. Mark the importance of these two things.

1. Love. It is the supreme grace of Christian character (1 Corinthians 13:13). It is the most Christ-like. It is the most God-like. "God is love." It is that which most truly represents our Savior to the world. It is that which is most extolled in the sacred Scriptures. The Bible abounds in exhortations to love one another and to love God (Leviticus 19:18, 34; Deuteronomy 6:5; Deuteronomy 10:19; Matthew 22:36-40; John 15:12; 1 Corinthians 13.; Colossians 3:14; 1 Timothy 1:5; 1 Peter 4:8; 1 John 3:11-24; 1 John 4:7-21). On earth and in time love exalts and imparts an attractive luster and beauty to the character. And it qualifies for the glories of heaven and eternity.

2. Good works; beautiful actions. Love is the fountain of all beautiful deeds. Our works are beautiful in proportion as love is our motive and inspiration in them. That which is done selfishly, grudgingly, or in the spirit of a hireling, has no goodness or beauty. Love is the purest and mightest inspiration. No difficulties deter love; no dangers appall it; no toils are too arduous or prolonged to be accomplished by it. The venturing and enduring power of love is wonderful. And, thank God! illustrations of it are not scarce. See it in the unwearying vigil and the unfailing ministry of the mother, night and day, day and night, by the couch where her sick child lies; or the wife by the bed of her afflicted husband, etc. Love delights in self-sacrificing service for the beloved. "Provoke unto love and good works." To teach a class well in the Sunday or the Ragged school; to visit the neglected, the sick, and the dying; to comfort some troubled heart or cheer some depressed spirit; to perform common duties with diligence and fidelity, or irksome duties with cheerfulness; to bear physical pain or social trial patiently; to suffer long by reason of the faults of others, and still be kind to them; - these are "good works," beautiful works. It is to love and good works that we are to provoke one another, and for this purpose we have to kindly consider each other. Put no obstacle in the path of any true worker, but cheer him, strengthen him. Perhaps the best way to stimulate others to love and good works is to set a good example in respect of these things. Learn here the most effective method of preventing strife and securing unity amongst Christian brethren. Kindly mutual consideration, love, and good works preclude disagreement, and unite hearts in sacred and blessed fellowship. - W.J.







Consider one another, to provoke unto love.
This is a matter of very wide counsel. We consider ourselves — our health, peace, comfort, &c. — as a rule, quite enough. We consider, too, our families full well. But Christian life brings us into the great broad sweep of humanity. Wherever there is another, we are to consider him. Consideration implies thought, and thought is costly material burning up the brain.

I. MUTUAL CONSIDERATION IS TO BE A CULTIVATED INFLUENCE. If YOU place your children under Christian culture, they will develop considerate natures. Just in proportion as you do that you will feel the need of the renewing grace of God, and you will ask God's help through the Holy Ghost. But you must train as well as teach and pray, because God will not rain graces into your children. The Divine counsel to us is: Go to work: get the soil ready; do your duty, and help will come.

II. MUTUAL CONSIDERATION IS TO BE A PROVOCATIVE INFLUENCE. Provoke unto love. You can show persons so much love that they are obliged to love you in return.

III. MUTUAL CONSIDERATION IS TO BE A CHURCH INFLUENCE. "Not forsaking the assembling," etc. What has that to do with mutual consideration? Why, this: it is only by commingling in the communion of the Church that we can get into these mutual relationships at all. If you forsake the assembling of yourselves together, how can we know your power or weakness, your want or your grief? How can there be something provocative to service, if you are not obedient to the roll-call, if you are not in the ranks? There is more than this in it — there is a subtle element in the fellowship of the saints that elevates the entire spiritual manhood and womanhood in us, that stirs up the flagging influence.

(W. M. Statham, M. A.)

It is better for a man to provoke himself to love and to good works than to be incited thereto by his fellows. But it is far better to be stirred by his fellows than to remain unloving and inactive. The highest state is that in which the goodness of love and the rightness of good works afford sufficient incitement; or in which love wells up, like the waters of a fountain, without any outward exciting cause, and good works are performed easily and naturally by the force of the inner life. This is the state of the Divine nature — a condition reached, it may be, only in measure by the most Godlike creatures of God. "Love is of God" — not of His creation and of His law merely, but of God Himself. "God is love." This is more than can be said of some other principles essential to our spiritual life. The universe did not teach God to love, or move Him to love, but the world was born into the arms of love. And this pre-existent goodness had much to do with the objects and designs of creation. Look at love from another point. God requires us not only to love Him, but to love one another. Now, when we do love each other, we are in the best state to know God and to have the closest fellowship with Him. "Every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God." "If we love one another God dwelleth in us, and His love is perfected in us." He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love. Again, upon the supposition that God is love, we cannot conceive that any code of laws can issue from Him but that which love fulfils; or that in providing a remedial dispensation for man the principle of love would be overlooked. And what is the case? Love is not only the fulfilling of God's law, but, as embracing God and man, it is the inward realisation of God's great salvation. "This is His commandment, that we should believe OH the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another as He gave us commandment." In the same strain we might proceed to speak of "good works." There is that in shy right and useful deed which, when contemplated, may justly move a man to perform it. When you do what is "true," "honest," "pure," "lovely," and "Christian," you are embodying an idea conceived in eternity; you are working out a deathless principle; you are rising into the ideal of your nature; you are expressing that which the Creator designed to utter in the creature; you are yielding to Christ the fruits of His mission; you are doing what in some form or other will never be destroyed; you are in harmony with those numberless and immeasurable spheres of creation that have never moved back to chaos; you are walking and working with God. Men at different times in the Christian age have been very busy defining good works — showing what must precede good works, and marking the precise position they occupy in the Christian life. And this philosophising has not worn itself out yet. We often feel moved to say, "Don't talk about good works, but do them." "Never mind what place they take in your creed, give them a chief place in your life." "Do not stay to explain them, for while thus engaged the opportunity to do some good is let slip." But let us try to get nearer the point of our text. We are required to incite each other to love and to good works — and to consider one another in order to incite one another. This is opposed to being careless and indifferent — to being envious and malicious — to efforts at practical deterioration and detraction. Let us meditate separately on the incitement and the consideration.

I. THE INCITEMENT.

1. We need stimuli to unfold our souls and to open our hands. To see that a thing is right ought perhaps to be enough to incline us to be it, and to do it; but in many cases it is not enough. We are idle, and shrink from the exertion — self-willed, and kick at the constraint — dispirited and weakened by distrust — isolated, and we cry complainingly, "I am left alone." We need to be provoked.

2. And the text tacitly declares that we can incite each other. That men provoke each other to evil works and to hatred is a fact universally known — but the power to incite, and the susceptibility of being incited, are as really capacities for good as for evil. The electric telegraph can convey truth and falsehood, evil report and good report; and human influence may awaken human sympathy, and arouse purpose and will both for right and for wrong.

3. The incitement required is both general and special. There is that which shall make others "ready to every good work," and that which shall provoke to some particular ministration. For the former Paul instructs Titus when, having repeated the great facts of the dispensation of mercy, he writes, "These things affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God may be careful to maintain good works." So that, according to Paul, contemplation of the love of God and of Christ is one means of maintaining good works. This is like connecting a minor wheel in a piece of machinery with the main movement. Our heart is to be incited by connection with God's heart. For the more special incitement we have the pattern of Paul when he moved Corinth to imitate Macedonia in their liberality to the poor saints in Judaea. To say to our fellow believers with respect to any good work, "Do this — it needs doing — you can do it — you ought to do it — God will prosper your effort — I will help you — if you do it not the omission will be sin" — is to provoke to good works. And to make peace between those that are at enmity; to express faith in a good man when others utter causeless suspicion; to show hope where others are tempted to rejoice in alleged iniquity; to endure when others are irritated; to cover another's faults, and to set forth another's virtues — is to provoke to love.

II. THE CONSIDERATION HERE REQUIRED. This is based upon observation — we must know each other, and to know we must observe. The incitement will be regulated by what we observe and by what we discern. One needs be moved to fear through warning, another moved to hope by encouragement, and another quickened by emulation. One may be incited by going before him, and letting him see you lead; but another by following him, and making him hear the fall of your quicker step. But no one is to be left as savourless salt, and as reprobate silver, or as a broken vessel, until after we have exhausted our resources in attempts to incite him. We arrive by this text at certain facts connected with mutual Christian influence to which we shall do well to take heed.

1. There is a serious influence of which Christians are mutually capable and susceptible. No vocation or gifts raise a Christian disciple beyond it; and no station however low is beneath its reach. When by speech I undulate the atmosphere, I know not the effect of those air waves in the universe; they flow on until they reach the shore of our firmament, and then, it may be, subside to rise again in other spheres. But far exceeding this is the influence of soul upon soul. It is not confined to the spirit we immediately move, but is transmitted from spirit to spirit, and becomes an impulse in the world of mind, both infinite and eternal. How awful is the power of soul over soul!

2. Christians are within a certain limit responsible for their influence. They are accountable, not for what that influence does, but for what that influence is. We are to try to incite to kindness and to corresponding actions. This is a good and happy influence. The direction of our influence is to be a study. Those who need this incitement are not to be passed by — but their lack of love and of good works is to awaken our consideration.

3. In the Church of Christ there should be mutual and reciprocal influence of the holiest and happiest kind. All are not apostles, all are not prophets, all are not pastors and teachers; but all are taught of God to love one another, and all may provoke to love. If any member of our body were smitten with paralysis, we should try to excite the torpid nerves; if one particular branch of a tree were barren, we should neither cut it off nor overlook it until after we had pruned it; and on the same principle we are required specially to incite those who are barren and unfruitful in the service of our Lord Jesus Christ.Nor is there any position in Christian life at which this incitement is needless, or from which it is to be withheld.

1. For Christianity's sake let us consider one another to provoke unto love. If careless of each other, we shall misrepresent the system to which we adhere, and those who from lack of incitement are unloving and inactive will misrepresent it too. The effect of this will be that men, instead of going to our Leader and searching His oracles to know if we correctly represent Christianity, will take our embodiment of it, and finding it not less exclusive and individual than false religion, or no religion, will refuse attention to our advocacy of its claims.

2. For God's sake, and for Christ's sake, let us consider one another to provoke unto love. Christianity is the means God has devised that His banished be not expelled from Him. The correct representation of the system is one means of applying it; so that when Christianity is misrepresented, God feels not Himself to be blasphemed merely, but His master-work to be retarded.

3. For each other's sake, and for our own sake, let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works. Who of us would like to be surprised as were the foolish virgins, or to be rejected as the wicked and slothful servant? Let us provoke one another to take oil in our vessels with our lamps, and put out even our one talent to usury. Hearty discipleship to the Saviour will go far to secure this result. Love Christ yourself and you will incite others to love; do good yourself and you will provoke others to good works. Nor can you then measure your influence. The perfume which Mary's hand freed from its prison is fragrant still the north wind has not driven it away; the odours of the east wind have not swallowed it up; the vapours of the south and west winds have not diluted it; but in every wind it has found an untiring wing, and we are refreshed by its sweetness in the present day. But we must intend to provoke; we must consider, and observe, and know, and attend to one another. There are many impediments to love and to good works which we are required to remove. There are wrong definitions of love — our making it a sentiment, not a principle — or complacency in existent good and not benevolence. There is our waiting to do some great thing, instead of doing what our hand finds to do. The liking to serve alone while yet we complain of it; the almost fear lest others should do what we do, and be what we are; the asking that God's kingdom may come, and yet fearing lest in coming, "myself," "my Church," "my ism," should be swallowed up — all this and muchmore needs removing.

(S. Martin.)

We may wind off this coil best by grasping the-line at its outer extremity., and working our way inward to the heart. Or we may explore this river best by entering its mouth from the sea, and threading our way upward till we reach its source. We begin our examination of the text, then, not at the beginning, but at the end.

I. "WORKS." Work is the condition of life in the world. The law of both kingdoms alike is, "If any man will not work neither should he eat." Work has been made a .necessity in the constitution of nature, and declared a duty in the positive precepts of Scripture. Idleness is both sin and misery. When a sinner is saved — when a man becomes a new creature in Christ, he is not set free from this comprehensive law. The Lord has a work of righteousness on hand, and the disciple yields himself a willing instrument. His heart is more hopeful now, and his hand more skilful. More honourable work is prescribed, and better wages wait him. Christ was a worker. He went about doing. "Wist ye not that I must be about My Father's business? My Father worketh hitherto, and I work." Christ was a worker, and Christians are like Him. The world is a field. It must be subdued and made the garden of the Lord. Son, daughter, "go work to-day in My vineyard."

II. "GOOD works." It is not any work that will please God, or be profitable to men. A bustling life will not make heaven sure. The works must be good in design and character. The motive must be pure and the effect beneficent. But does not the gospel decry good works? You make a grand mistake if, because you are warned not to trust in good works, you grow less diligent in doing them. If a skilful architect, observing you expending your summer days and your manhood's strength in an effort to build a house upon the sand, should benevolently warn you that the labour would be labour lost, you would poorly profit by his counsel if you should simply desist from the work, and loiter idle near the spot. The architect, your friend, did not object to the expenditure of your time and strength in building; but he saw that the higher your wall should rise. on that foundation, the more certain and more destructive would be its fall. He meant that you should find the solid rock and build there — build with all your might. The gospel rejects good works, not as the fruit of faith, but as the meritorious ground of hope before God. Life does not spring from them; but they spring from life. As ciphers, added one by one in an endless row to the left hand of a unit, are of no value, but on the right hand rapidly multiply its power, so although good works are of no avail to make a man a Christian, yet a Christian's good works are both pleasing to God and profitable to men.

III. "Love and good works." Verily good works constitute a refreshing stream in this world wherever they are found flowing. It is a pity that they are too often like Oriental torrents, "waters that fail" in the time of greatest need. When we meet the stream actually flowing and refreshing the land, we trace it upward in order to discover the fountain whence it springs. Threading our way upward, guided by the river, we have found at length the placid lake from which the river runs. Behind all genuine good works and above them love will sooner or later certainly be found. It is never good works alone; uniformly in fact, and necessarily in the nature of things, we find the two constituents existing as a complex whole, "love and good works" — the fountain and the flowing stream. The love is manifestly in this case human in all its exercise. It is love from man to man. Like the water, it flows visibly out of the ground in the fountain, and along the ground in the river's bed; but, like the water, it comes secretly at first all from heaven.

IV. "PROVOKE unto love and good works." Let us attend carefully to the meaning of the term "provoke," bearing in mind, however, as we proceed, that whatever kind of action the word may be found to indicate, it is action on ourselves, and not on our neighbours. The term in the original signifies, For the purpose of stirring up, or sharpening, or kindling love. We need not be surprised to find that injunction here. The love that is current in the Church is defective in kind and quality. It greatly needs to be stirred up. It is like a fire smouldering, and ready to die. Oh, for a breath from heaven to quicken it! We would fain see it bursting into a blaze, and hear all our jealousies and hollow hypocrisies crackling off in the flame. Love must be kindled into a paroxysm; for that is the original term untranslated, and that term, even in our own language, truly indicates the inspired apostle's mind. All the really effective machinery for doing good in the world depends for propulsion on the love that glows in human breasts: with all the revival of our own favoured times, the wheels, clogged with the thick clay of a predominating selfishness, move but slowly. Up with the impelling love into greater warmth, that it may put forth greater power!

V. "CONSIDER ONE ANOTHER to provoke unto love and good works." The exercise prescribed for provoking unto love conclusively determines the persons on whom the provocation was expected to take effect. It is the considerer, not the considered, who is provoked unto love. By thinking of my brother in his need I may be stirred up to pity him, but the mental process that goes on within my breast does not touch him for good or for evil. He may not know that I am considering his case; he may not know that there is such a person in the world. When we consider the heathen in India and China our meditation takes effect, not on them, but on ourselves. It stirs up, not them to love us, but us to love them. The question here, let it be remembered, concerns not the Divine cause of love, but the human agency employed in kindling it. It is the Spirit that quickeneth; but at present we look only to the lower side — the instrumentality of men. When fire is kindled by light direct from the sun, the same two must always conspire — the descent of the burning ray from heaven, and the preparation for receiving it on earth. The solar rays must be concentrated on combustible material by means of a glass with a convex surface, held in a certain attitude, and at a certain distance. Without these preparations, even the sun in the heavens cannot kindle a flame. Thus it becomes a question of deep interest, What attitude must we assume, and what preparation must we make, in order that love, by the ministry of the Spirit, may be kindled in our hearts? Here is the prescription, short and plain: "Consider one another." To consider ourselves may be the means of begetting in us a desire for mercy; to consider Christ may be the means of begetting in us a trust in the Saviour; but in order to kindle in our hearts a self-denying, brother-saving love to men, the true specific is to "consider one another."

VI. "AND consider one another, to provoke unto love and good works." I would not play with a word; I would not extract the doctrines of grace from a copulative conjunction. But in this passage the little word "and" is the link by which all that we have yet gotten hangs on the higher — hangs on the highest. The exhortation to consider is the last of three which are given in an exact logical series, occupying verses 22-24. Come to the Saviour for the cleansing of your own conscience, and abide in peace under the light of His countenance: then and thence look out upon your brother: the result of the combination will be thoughts of love and acts of kindness, as certainly and as uniformly as any of the sequences in nature. He who has drawn near and is holding fast, that is, he who has himself been forgiven through the blood of the Lamb, and is living in the consciousness of being accepted in the Beloved, cannot hate and hurt his brother. The act of considering or looking upon an object is of no avail to direct aright your own course, apart from the position in which you stand when you make your observations. A red light shines aloft at the narrow entrance of a safe harbour. A ship sweeping along the coast in a storm sees the light and makes straight for it through the waves and the darkness. She strikes a rock, and goes down in deep water. Why? This is the harbour, and the light she made for marks its mouth. Ah! it is not enough that you see the light; you must see it from a particular position, and make for it then. The right position is always correctly determined and laid down on the charts. Generally it is fixed by one or more other lights which you must see in line before you head for the harbour. "Consider one another" — that is the last and lowest of the three lights which lead to love. The course is marked for the Christian in his chart. One clause of the instruction is, Keep your eye on that light, and run in; but another clause in combination with it, equally Divine and equally necessary, intimates that ere you can go in with safety to yourself or benefit to others, you must get into line with these other two lights which stretch away upward, and lean at last on heaven.

(W. Arnot.)

I. I desire you to remember and consider that you are men, and as such obliged to this duty, as being very agreeable to human nature; the which, not being corrupted or distempered by ill use, doth incline to it, doth call for it, doth like and approve it, doth find satisfaction and delight therein.

II. Let us consider what our neighbour is: how near in blood, how like in nature, how much in all considerable respects the same with us he is.

III. Equity doth plainly require charity from us, for every one is ready not only to wish and seek, but to demand and claim love from others, so as to be much offended, and grievously to complain, if he do not find it.

IV. Let us consider that charity is a right noble and worthy thing; greatly perfective of our nature; much dignifying and beautifying our soul.

V. The practice of charity is productive of many great benefits and advantages to us; so that to love our neighbour doth involve the truest love to ourselves; and we are not only obliged in duty, but may be encouraged by our interest thereto: beatitude is often pronounced to it, or to some particular instances of it; and well may it be so, for it indeed will constitute a man happy, producing to him manifold comforts and conveniences of life, some whereof we shall touch.

VI. Charity doth free our souls of all those bad dispositions and passions which vex and disquiet them: from those gloomy passions which cloud our mind; from those keen passions which fret our heart; from those tumultuous passions which ruffle us, and discompose the frame of our soul.

VII. It consequently cloth settle our mind in a serene, calm, sweet, and cheerful state; in an even temper, and good humour, and harmonious order of soul; which ever will result from the evacuation of bad passions, from the composure such as are indifferent, from the excitement of those which are good and pleasant; "the fruits of the Spirit," saith St. Paul, "are love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness," or benignity; love precedeth, joy and peace follow as its constant attendants, gentleness and benignity come after as its certain effects.

VIII. Charity will preserve us from divers external mischiefs and inconveniences, to which our life is exposed, and which otherwise we shall incur.

IX. As charity preserveth from misehiefs, so it procureth many sweet comforts and fair accommodations of life.

X. Charity doth in every estate yield advantages suitable thereto; bettering it and improving it to our benefit.

XI. We may consider that secluding the exercise of charity, all the goods and advantages we have (our best faculties of nature, our best endowments of soul, the gifts of Providence, and the fruits of our industry) will become vain and fruitless, or noxious and baneful to us; for what is our reason worth, what doth it signify, if it serveth only for contriving sorry designs, or transacting petty affairs about ourselves? What is wit good for, if it must be spent only in making sport, or hatching mischief? To what purpose is knowledge, if it be not applied to the instruction, direction, admonition, or consolation of others? What mattereth abundance of wealth, if it be to be uselessly hoarded up, or vainly flung away in wicked or wanton profusion; if it be not employed in affording succour to our neighbour's indigency and distress? What is our credit but a mere noise or a puff of air, if we do not give a solidity and substance to it, by making it an engine of doing good? What is our virtue itself, if it be buried in obscurity or choked with idleness, yielding no benefit to others by the lustre of its example, or by its real influence? What is any talent, if it be wrapped up in a napkin; any light, if it be hid under a bushel; anything private, if it be not by good use spread out and improved to public benefit? If these gifts do minister only to our own particular advantage, to our personal convenience, glory, or pleasure, how slim things are they, how inconsiderable is their worth!

XII. Charity doth hugely advance and amplify a man's state, putting him into the possession or fruition of all good things: it will endow, enrich, ennoble, embellish us with all the world hath of precious, of glorious, of fair; by appropriation thereof to ourselves, and acquiring of a real interest therein.

XIII. If therefore we love ourselves, we must love others, and do others good; charitable beneficence carrying with it so many advantages to ourselves. We by charitable complacence do partake in their welfare, reaping pleasure from all the fruits of their industry and fortune. We by charitable assistance do enable and dispose them to make grateful returns of succour in our need. We thence assuredly shall obtain their good-will, their esteem, their commendation; we shall maintain peaceable and comfortable intercourse with them, in safety, in quiet, in good humour and cheer. Besides all other benefits we shall get that of their prayers; the which of all prayers have a most favourable audience and assured efficacy.

XIV. We may consider that charity is a practice especially grateful to God, and a most excellent part of our duty; not only because He hath commanded it as such with greatest earnestness; nor only because it doth constitute us in nearest resemblance of Him; but as a peculiar experience of love and goodwill toward Him; for if we love Him, we must for His sake have a kindness for His friends, we must tender His interests, we must favour His reputation, we must desire His content and pleasure, we must contribute our endeavours toward the furtherance of these His concerns.

XV. Seeing God vouchsafeth to esteem whatever is done in charity to our neighbour (if done with an honest and pious mind, as to his friends) to be done unto Himself; that in feeding our indigent neighbour we refresh him; in clothing our neighbour we comfort him; we do by charitable beneficence oblige God, and become in a manner benefactors to Him; and as such assuredly shall be requited by Him: and is not this a high privilege, a great honour, a mighty advantage to us?

XVI. We may consider that charity is a very feasible and very easy duty; it requireth no sore pain, no grievous trouble, no great cost; for it consisteth only in good-will, and that which naturally springeth thence.

XVII. We may consider that charity is the best, the most assured, the most easy and expedite way or instrument of performing all other duties toward our neighbour: if we would despatch, love, and all is done; if we would be perfect in obedience, love, and we shall not fail in any point; for "love is the fulfilling of the law"; love "is the bond of perfectness"; would we be secure in the practice of justice, of meekness, of humility toward all men, of constant fidelity toward our friends, of gentle moderation toward our enemies, of loyalty toward our superiors, of benignity toward our inferiors; if we would be sure to purify our minds from ill-thoughts, to restrain our tongues from ill-speaking, to abstain from all bad demeanour and dealing; it is but having charity, and infallibly you will do all this; for "love worketh no ill to its neighbour; love thinketh no evil"; "love behaveth not itself unseemly."

XVIII. Charity giveth worth, form, and life to all virtue, so that without it no action is valuable in itself, or acceptable to God. Sever it from courage; and what is that but the boldness or the fierceness of a beast? From meekness and what is that but the softness of a woman, or weakness of a child? From courtesy; and what is that but affectation or artifice? From justice; what is that but humour or policy? From wisdom; what is that but craft and subtilty? What meaneth faith without it but dry opinion; what hope, but blind presumption; what; alms-doing, but ambitious ostentation; what undergoing martyrdom, but stiffness or sturdiness of resolution; what is devotion, but glozing or mocking with God? What is any practice, how specious soever in appearance, or materially good, but an issue of self-conceit or self-will, of servile fear or mercenary design?

XIX. So great benefits doth charity yield; yet if it did not yield any of them, it would deserve and claim our observance; without regard to its sweet fruits and beneficial consequences, it were to be embraced and cherished; for it carrieth a reward and a heaven in itself; the very same which constituteth God Himself infinitely happy, and which beatifieth every blessed spirit, in proportion to its capacity and exercise thereof.

(I. Barrow, D. D.)

I. EXPLAIN AND ILLUSTRATE THE DUTIES IN THE TEXT.

1. Mutual consideration.

(1)In the frailties of our common nature.

(2)In the oneness of our calling as saints.

(3)In our common exposedness to afflictions and dangers.

(4)In our reciprocal duties both to the Church and to the world. In the body every member and part has its specific function — none without their use; so in Christ's Church every one must be an eye, or ear, or foot, or hand, &c.

(5)In the prospect of our eternal fellowship in the heavenly world.

2. Affectionate provocation.

(1)To greater love to God. Who demands our supreme affections — our undivided hearts.

(2)To greater love to each other. For we must love each other even as Christ loved us.

(3)To greater love to a dying world. For whom the Redeemer died, and to whom the gospel tidings must be constantly proclaimed.

(4)To good works. Works of piety, justice, &c., but especially works of benevolence (Matthew 5:7; James 1:27; Hebrews 13:16; Psalm 37:3).Now we must thus provoke our brethren —

(1)By our own example.

(2)By affectionate exhortation.

(3)By fervent prayer with and for each other.

II. ENFORCE THE DUTIES SPECIFIED IN THE TEXT.

1. Because of our liability to lukewarmness and indifference.

2. Because love and good works are essential to genuine godliness.

3. Because, if we abound in these, our usefulness and happiness must be greatly extended.

4. Because in proportion to these will be our reward in the heavenly state.Application:

1. We learn the true spirit which should dwell among Christ's disciples.

2. The necessity of mutual excitement, to the cultivation of that spirit, and the work it produces.

3. How many display the very opposite spirit, and are lamentably barren of good works.

(J. Burns, D. D.)

: —

I. REASONS.

1. Consider the many and weighty injunctions which are to be found in the Word of God upon the subject (Romans 12:9, 10; 1 Thessalonians 4:9, 10; Hebrews 13:1; 2 Peter 1:7; John 15:17; Colossians 1:4; 1 John 3:11; 1 John 4:20, 21).

2. The character and conduct of Him whose disciples we profess to be.

3. The influence which our conduct will have on others.

4. Love is a grace greatly superior to either faith or hope.

5. Let ministers of Christ particularly cherish this temper and cultivate this spirit.

II. MOTIVES.

1. The state of mankind in general — a state of darkness, sin, guilt, infidelity.

2. What God has done for us and requires of us.

3. Let the age in which you live, and the country in which a benign Providence has cast your lot, be considered another motive.

4. The brevity of human life, together with the precariousness of bodily health and strength, we mention as another motive to induce you to attend to the text.

5. Your responsibility.

6. The judgment to come.

(S. Mummery.)

Are we sufficiently sensible of the responsibility which we owe to each other in relation to these words of apostolic admonition? Love is a sacred fire, and the measure of its glowing brightness and fervent heat is dependent on mutual fellowship and kindly interest. We may put water or oil on the fire. Words, looks, and deeds are as so much fuel or rubbish. An unkind word, an ungracious look, a cold touch of the hand, will lower the soul's temperature. A kindly look, a gracious word, a friendly grasp will thrill through the veins, and circulate the warm blood of the recipient heart. One red coal will speedily go out, but put others with it and they will burn into a clear and glowing fire. Live for self, and your heart will become frost-bitten. Live for others, and your soul shall be a focus of Divine sunbeams, provoking, by the soft compulsions of love, the frozen hearts around.

We have very imperfectly realised as yet the abundance of the fruit which may be gathered in the field of Christian fellowship. It is by no means an uncommon experience to meet with Christians who are unwilling to learn anything of those from whom they differ in something. The methods and forms their fathers used under other circumstances, must, in their opinion, be still' Divinely ordained in present circumstances. They are quite incapable of seeing, what even Nature teaches, that God has many ways of fulfilling Himself; that He speaks in various voices in the world, but none of them is without signification. In those spheres of life which are lower than the religious, men are not so dull and prejudiced. A new invention is eagerly caught up with whomsoever it originated. Every man engaged in a trade or a profession is prompt to learn from the experiences of his neighbours, and even of his competitors. But unreadiness to learn of others ought to be less characteristic of Christians than of other men; indeed, it can only be characteristic of them when they are inconsistent with their own professions. Depend upon it the duty urged in this verse is a test of our sincerity. If we are always ready to see faults, and close our eyes to virtues; if we can only appreciate what makes us seem superior to others, and ignore all that raises them above us; if, when excellences are so manifest that we cannot deny them, we are animated by envy, and seek to depreciate what we ought humbly to copy — then we are untrue to our profession. For we acknowledge that we are still learners, and that we are ready to humble ourselves that Jesus Christ may be exalted. Our feeling when we consider one another is a test, then, of our humility; and it is also a test of our love. A true mother is not envious when she sees her young daughter admired; and a true father has his face lit up with gladness over his son's success. If, therefore, you would win from knowledge of your fellow Christians what God wishes to teach you, you must pray to be free from prejudice and pride, from envy, hatred, malice and all uncharitableness, and this can only be when in the deepest sense you are a " new creature in Christ Jesus." It is to such that the exhortation before us is addressed. There is a special form of these good works to which I wish to ask your attention — namely, that of Sunday-school enterprise.

I. THE LABOUR OF SUNDAY-SCHOOL TEACHERS IS EMPHATICALLY A GOOD WORK.

1. It concerns itself with the young in whom character is most plastic, and result is most probably to be looked for.

2. This work of teaching children is essentially good, because it affects the future. The destinies of the world lie in their hands. When we were on a plain, a little distance this side of Arizona, we were told that there, at a height of 7,300 feet, we were on the continental divide. The stream that we had just lost sight of, the river Colorado, flowed into the Gulf of California; and the one now rippling at our feet, the Rio Grande, was making its way into the Gulf of Mexico. In other words, a district not remarkable in its appearance, was the point; whence water flowed so far apart, as to fall into the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. I feel sometimes as if standing at such a point as that, and you teachers in your classes may feel thus this afternoon. Here within your reach and sight are lives which may flow heavenward or hellward; and their whole future depends upon the channel into which, in a few short years or months, the stream of thought and feeling makes its way.

3. Sunday-school teaching may be called a good work, because it has an ennobling effect upon the teacher. How many of you have to thank God for a service which has been to your own soul an unspeakable blessing? Your contact with fresh, innocent, trustful childhood preserved you from becoming narrow and misanthropic, at a time mayhap when you were hardly dealt with in business.

4. Your work is good, not least on this account, that you feel yourself, while doing it, thrown back upon God, if you have seriously undertaken it.

II. BUT IS THERE ANYTHING IN OUR METHODS WHICH COULD BE IMPROVED? DO other practical workers find any helps which we should be the better for? If so, let us in that aspect " consider one another " in a spirit of love. I visited Sunday schools in various parts of America. And throughout the United States it appeared to me that their methods were superior to our own, whatever the results may be.

1. The expenditure of the church upon the children is far greater than with us. The class-rooms and schoolrooms are carpeted throughout, brightened by pictures and banners and flowers, presenting the appearance of comfortable parlours rather than of halls.

2. Nor could I help noticing the contrast between the teachers there and in some schools (happily not in all) here. Among us no sooner does a teacher get married, or even engaged, than the Class is forsaken; but there men and women of ripe experience grow grey in the service, and this naturally does much to retain the elder scholars, whom we generally lose.

3. Another feature of American Sunday-school work I wish to touch upon. It is that all classes are represented among the scholars who attend. No parents keep their children away because, being richer and cleverer than their neighbours, they consider it derogatory to their dignity to allow their children to go into ordinary classes. You say you teach them at home. Do you, as a matter of fact? Is not such teaching often interrupted by visitors and friends? Is there not also practical difficulty in constituting into one class the children of the home, who are of different ages, but who might have teachers adapted for each, in the grades of a Sunday school? And, further, does not a comparative stranger often speak more directly on personal religion than a parent, and is it not a curious but indubitable fact that the first confession of faith is more easily made to one who is known as the religious teacher outside the family?

(A. Rowland, LL. B.)

Every minister will sympathise with St. Paul's feeling, when he wished not only that he might stir up his people's hearts, but that they, equally, might stir up his. The obligation is mutual; but the reciprocity is not sufficient among us. "Provocation " is one of those many words which have gradually deteriorated, and taken a lower and severer sense than once, and more properly, belonged to it. To "provoke" is simply to call forth; and is used by many classic authors equally in a good sense as in a bad one. Therefore the literal sentence would be — "Consider one another to the stirring up, the inciting of love and good works." If there be yet ought of severity in that expression, it is qualified by the word which precedes it — "Consider one another" — which is a term of careful observation and tenderness. So that no one who "considered " would ever be really harsh! The whole sentence, too, assumes that those who "provoke" have "loved" and have "goodworks" already — only that they need to .be brought out into greater clearness and power. Now my argument is first that your "love" falls short; that you do not love as you might, as you ought to love God and His Church. Now the first question is, How is love to be quickened or provoked in a man's heart? The answer is, Only by the work of Christ. Your love can never be anything but a reflection — the reflection of the love of God to you. Therefore you must feel that you are loved. And the more you "feel that you are loved, the more you will love. For to feel loved, you must feel forgiven. Let me then " provoke you" first, to accept your forgiveness, and to believe, without the shadow of a doubt, that God loves you. Do not wait till you are holier. Do not place sanctification before justification. "I am forgiven. I am loved. God loves me." Is there no echo? Will you give Him no return? Now to make this" love," and to increase this "love," one way is to do good works; for good works make love, even as love makes good works; we all love those to whom we have been kind; the being kind makes us love them. So the two act and re-act therefore I say, I say it reverently but I say it literally, "Be kind to God!" Do you say, What are the "good works" I am to do? God will show you if you ask Him. You need not go far afield to find them. Love in the home! Shed love in your own family. Be great in love, specially where it is the hardest. There may be some one in the house who is to you continually provoking; that person is a provocation to you. Now turn the "provocation" the other way. "Provoke" that person first to love. Do it kindly, do it patiently, do it every day. Pray about it, persevere in it, and you will succeed. "Love and good works" will win the day. And there is another work for Christ. A church is, or ought to be, a fountain of work; and every member of a church should be a worker in the church. Is there not one amongst them whom you could" provoke?" to whom you could tell the happiness you find in God's service; and so stir that one up to join you in your blessed offices of more "love and good works! Love and good works!" never divide them. "Love and good works." For this you were created — for this you were redeemed. This is religion. This was Christ. This will be heaven.

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

A traveller who was crossing the Alps, was overtaken by a snow-storm at the top of a high mountain, The cold became intense. The air was thick with sleet, and the piercing wind seemed to penetrate his bones. Still the traveller for a time struggled on. But at last his limbs were benumbed, a heavy drowsiness began to creep over him, his feet almost refused to move, and he lay down on the snow to give way to that fatal sleep which is the last stage of extreme cold, and from which he would certainly never have waked again in this world. Just at that moment he saw another poor traveller coming along the road. The unhappy man seemed to be, if possible, even in a worse condition than himself, for he, too, could scarcely move; all his powers were frozen, and all appeared to be just on the point to die. When he saw this poor man, the traveller, who was just going to lie down to sleep, made a great effort. He roused himself up, and he crawled, for he was scarcely able to walk, to his dying fellow sufferer. He took his hands into his own and tried to warm them. He chafed his temples; he rubbed his feet; he applied friction to his body. And all the time he spoke cheering words into his ear, and tried to comfort him. As he did thus, the dying man began to revive, and he felt able to go forward. But this was not all, for his kind benefactor too was recovered by the efforts which he had made to save his friend. The exertion of rubbing made the blood circulate again in his own body. He grew warm by trying to warm the other. His drowsiness went off; he no longer wished to sleep, his limbs returned again to their proper force, and the two travellers went on their way together, happy, and congratulating one another on their escape. Soon the snow-storm passed away; the mountain was crossed, and they reached their home in safety. If you feel your heart cold towards God, and your soul almost ready to perish, try to do something which may help another soul to life, and make his heart glad; and you will often find it the best way to warm, and restore, and gladden your own.

Surely Zionward travellers, who know the difficulties of the way and their own insufficiency to surmount them, should not be forgetful of one another. Though every member of Christ ought to sympathise with another, known or unknown, yet why does it please. the Lord to bring us unto more particular connection or acquaintance with some, than others, but that they may be more especially objects of our concern and love? Let us be helpful to each other, then, in struggling up the steep, and pray the good Lord of the upper country so to fasten the hooks attaching the helping cord of love to our bodies, that, whenever we are for ceasing to climb, their points may make us feel it necessary to hold fast, and climb on. Oh, it is cheering to hear and see the genuine effects of the grace of God, displaying themselves in the circumstances that peculiarly prove their excellence and usefulness. May we be faithful to the benefit of others, as well as the good of our own souls.

(S. Martin.)

Themistocles, when a very young man, was observed, soon after the famous battle of Marathon, in which Miltiades obtained so much glory, to be often alone, very pensive, unwilling to attend the usual entertainments, and even to watch whole. nights. Being asked by one of his friends what was the cause of all this, he answered, "The trophies of Miltiades will not suffer me to sleep." Thus fired with a love of glory, he became one of the most illustrious characters in Greece.

(J. Bruce.)

We may be as orthodox as and as scrupulous as ; we may be daily and ostentatiously building to God seven altars, and offering a bullock and a ram on every altar, and yet be as sounding brass and as a clanging cymbal, if our life shows only the leaves of profession, without the golden fruit of action. If love shows not itself by deeds of love, then let us not deceive ourselves God is not mocked — our Christianity is heathenism, and our religion a delusion and a sham.

(F. W. Farrar.)

The good Duchess of Gordon set her heart upon the erection of a school and chapel in a needy district of her neighbourhood. The Gordon estates at the time were so encumbered that she did not know where to find the necessary funds. In a letter to her friend, Miss Home, she describes some of her efforts and the consequences. "I took up to London," she says, "a gold vase that cost about £1,200, in hopes of selling it, but could not find a purchaser, even at half-price I have still left it to be disposed of .... The Duchess of Beaufort, hearing of my vase, thought of her diamond earrings, which she got me to dispose of, for a chapel in Wales, and her diamonds made me think of my jewels; and as the Duke has always been most anxious for the chapel, he agreed with me that stones were much prettier in a chapel wall than round one's neck, and so he allowed me to sell £600 worth, or rather what brought that, for they cost more than double. The chapel is going on nicely, and I have still enough jewels left to help to endow it, if no other way should open. I do think I may with confidence hope for a blessing on this. It is no sacrifice to me whatever, except as it is one to the Duke, who is very fond of seeing me fine, and was brought up to think it right." The chapel cost rather more than was expected, and the Duke, following up his wife's example, offered of his own accord to sell some of his horses to make up the deficiency.

(A. Moody Stuart.)

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