Romans 12:9


Romans 12:9-21
Romans 12:9-21 (omitting vers. 11 and 12, for which see below).

The Christian's duty to his fellow-men. In these closing verses of this chapter the apostle sets before us the duty of a Christian man. It is a picture of what the Christian ought to be. What a world it would be if these precepts were carried out, if even every Christian was careful to observe them! Six features the apostle mentions which should characterize our dealings with others.

I. SINCERITY. "Let love be without dissimulation" (ver. 9). Unreality, falsehood, insincerity, untruthfulness, - these are prevalent evils in our day. They weaken all confidence between man and man. They destroy domestic peace, social intercourse, and commercial morality. Truthfulness and sincerity are much needed.

II. DISCRIMINATION. "Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good" (ver. 9). The spirit of indifference is another prevalent evil of our time. "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil." Dr. Arnold at Rugby, trying to elevate the standard of character there, found this difficulty - indifference about evil. He said, "What I want to see in the school, and what I cannot find, is an abhorrence of evil; I always think of the psalm, 'Neither doth he abhor that which is evil.'" We want more discrimination. The young especially need to discriminate in their friendships, and to choose the society of good men and good women.

III. GENEROSITY. "Distributing to the necessity of saints" (ver. 13). In exercising generosity, God's people, our brethren in Christ, should have the first claim upon us. But we are not to limit our attentions to them. "Given to hospitality," we shall show kindness to strangers, just because they are strangers and are away from home and friends. How truly the Christian religion teaches men consideration for others!

IV. SYMPATHY. "Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep" (ver. 15). Sympathy is a Christ-like quality. Sympathy for the perishing brought Jesus Christ to earth. Sympathy sent Henry Martyn to Persia, Adoniram Judson to Burmah, David Brainerd to the Red Indians, David Livingstone and Bishop Hannington to Africa. Sympathy led Mr. E. J. Mather to brave the dangers of the deep in order to do something for the temporal and spiritual welfare of the deep-sea fishermen of the North Sea. We want more sympathy for those near us - for the poor, the sick, the suffering, the careless, at our own doors. We need to learn also how to sympathize with innocent enjoyment. The mission of the Christian Church is not a mission of amusement, but it can show that it does not frown upon, and can thoroughly enter into, the innocent pleasures and recreations of life. We are not only to "weep with them that weep," but also "rejoice with them that do rejoice."

V. HUMILITY. "Mind not high things, but condescend to man of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits." There is too mush pride even in the Church of Christ - pride of rank, pride of wealth, pride of learning. The condition of things so severely satirized and rebuked in the second chapter of James is still too common in the Christian Church. The Church of Christ needs to condescend a little more than it does "to men of low estate." Christian ministers need to think more of the humbler members of their congregations, while they do not neglect the spiritual welfare of the rich. A little more of the humility of Christ would make the Church of Christ and. the ministers of religion more respected among the working classes and the poor.

VI. PEACEFULNESS. "If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men" (ver. 18). This peaceful relation may be secured:

1. By not cherishing a vindictive spirit. "Recompense to no man evil for evil" (ver. 17). "Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves" (ver. 19). Offenders against peace would do little harm if they did not find others only too ready to take offence. What an example is that of Cranmer! -

To do him any wrong was to beget
A kindness from him; for his heart was rich,
Of such fine mould, that if you sowed therein
The seed of hate, it blossomed charity."

2. By meeting enmity with kindness. "Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not" (ver. 14). "Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head." Your kindness will be like coals of fire to melt his hardened heart, just as Jacob's prudent act of kindness, following on his prayer, turned away the anger of his injured brother Esau. So we may destroy our enemies, as the Chinese emperor is said to have done, by making them our friends. Thus we shall "overcome evil with good." - C.H.I.







Let love be without dissimulation.
Here are laws for —

I. SOCIAL INTERCOURSE. It must be —

1. Honest.

2. Pure.

3. Kind.

II. BUSINESS must be —

1. Diligent.

2. Conducted on Christian principles.

3. In the fear of God.

III. TEMPER.

1. Cheerful.

2. Patient.

3. Prayerful.

IV. GENERAL BEHAVIOUR.

1. Benevolent to all.

2. Humble.

3. Forbearing.

4. Peaceable.

(J. Lyth, D.D.)

Family Churchman.
I. HATRED OF EVIL. "Abhor that which is evil." Hate —

1. Trivial sins as well as great.

2. Secret as well as public.

3. Personal as well as social.

4. In thought as well as in act.

II. STEADFAST GOODNESS. "Cleave to that which is good."

1. In temptation.

2. In dishonour.

3. In persecution.

4. In suffering loss and danger.

III. MUTUAL LOVE.

1. There is something to love in the worst of men.

2. Piety gives much to love and admire.

3. We must be stimulated by the love and example of Christ.

4. We ourselves want the love of all men.

5. Humility.

IV. FERVENT INDUSTRY.

1. Activity.

2. Piety.

3. Zeal.

V. SPIRITUAL DISPOSITION.

1. Joy.

2. Patience.

3. Prayer.

4. Hospitality.

5. Sympathy.

(Family Churchman.)

Sincerity is an indispensable ingredient of goodness; it stamps a valuable character upon all our actions, and recommends them to the favour both of God and man. It is an evidence of that respect which we pay to our Creator, who is the great Discerner of the thoughts of our hearts; and an instance of that justice which we owe to our fellow-creatures, who delight to converse with us with freedom and security. Hypocrisy on the other side is the blackest of all transgressions, and bears the badge of the original liar. It is directly injurious to the Divine nature, by pretending to elude His infinite wisdom; and pernicious to human society, by deceitfully imposing upon their finite understanding.

I. LET OUR LOVE OF GOD BE WITHOUT DISSIMULATION. To love God without dissimulation is to love Him with all our heart and mind and soul and strength; to rejoice in His presence, to be constant in His service; and to let nothing share with Him in our hearts, so as to stand in competition with the duty which we owe Him. Now there are two qualifications which will engage us to be thus sincere in our affection. The one is the true value of the object of our love, and the other an assurance of His tenderness for us: but nowhere can we find these two strong inducements in so eminent a degree as in almighty God; and therefore nowhere else can we possibly be obliged to pay so hearty an affection as I just now mentioned.

II. LET OUR LOVE OF OUR NEIGHBOUR BE WITHOUT DISSIMULATION.

III. LET OUR LOVE OF OURSELVES BE WITHOUT DISSIMULATION. To love ourselves without dissimulation is carefully to consult our truest interest; to endeavour to advance by all suitable means the real happiness both of our souls and bodies; to aim at the most lasting and most solid enjoyments.

(N..Brady.)

I. "LET LOVE BE WITHOUT DISSIMULATION," i.e. without any of that pretence which goes by the name of acting. Actors represent characters which are not their own without intending to deceive; but in proportion to the excellence of their performance is the degree of illusion in the beholder. Be sure that you are not merely acting a part in your kindness to men or reverence to God. Feel what you profess to feel. Think as you seem to think. Else is your life little other than stage play.

1. How do men commonly express their love of God? By prayers, praises, honouring God's Word and day and ordinances. But what if whilst they do all these things outwardly their hearts be far from God?

2. As to our love towards each other: what can be more like acting than to conceal our dislike by words of overstrained civility, or to offer a kindness which we wish never to have to do, or to inflict chastisement on the plea of duty, when we are all the while gratifying revenge?

II. "ABHOR THAT WHICH IS EVIL." Here we see what Christians are allowed to hate and how far they may carry their hatred.

1. To wish that we might sin safely, to go as near to sin as seems anyhow allowable, and to envy the wicked in their prosperity, and when out of fear or prudence we have left off their practices, how far is this from abhorring evil?

2. Questions often arise as to whether it is fitting for a Christian to partake of this amusement, to engage in that employment, or to enter into the other company. In such discussions many argue as if it were desirable to take all the liberty they can. And frequently they act on the presumption that what is easy to argue is safe also to do. But how different would be their conclusion if they would but bear this text in mind! The mere suspicion that any conduct might possibly be wrong, should be quite sufficient ground for us to desist. And where duty may seem to put us in temptation's way, we should at least take all the pains in our power to make it as little tempting to us as possible. We inquire not, when we hear of plague or famine, of battle or murder, which road will take us most into the way of them, but which will lead us altogether farthest off.

3. To abhor evil in our food is to abominate excess; in our drinking, to detest drunkenness; in our dress, to feel finery as great a burden to ourselves, as it is a folly in the eyes of others; in our thoughts, to recoil from uncharitable suspicion and unkind intentions towards men, and from unthankful regards to God; in our speech, to wish rather that our tongue should cleave unto our mouth than utter one word of bitterness or deceit; in our business, to hate idleness, and yet to loathe the very notion of heaping up hoards of wealth; in our dealings, to shrink with antipathy from dishonesty or oppression, and from that love of this present world which is treason to our Saviour Christ.

4. To abhor evil is not merely to avoid it because it is discreditable, not merely to fear to do it lest it should bring us into trouble, but to hate it for its own sake, because God has forbidden it, and especially because it was for the evil of our sins that Christ died on the Cross.

III. CLEAVE TO THAT WHICH IS GOOD.

1. Whatsoever our Lord has revealed to be believed, commanded to be done, given to be obtained on earth, or promised to be enjoyed in heaven, this is that which is good; this is that which we should so love as to cleave to it with the most fond and persevering affection. Constancy is the highest excellence in love (James 1:8; John 13:1; Matthew 24:13; Romans 2:7; 1 Peter 5:9).

2. It is easy to think good thoughts for short seasons: but how easy to do evil between whiles! It is easy to mean well: but how common to act ill! It is easy to form purposes of amendment; but how seldom do these lead to a renewal of life! Let us, then, lay to heart this counsel of the text. When once we have hold of any holy purpose let us never let it go. This is the only safe way to holiness and heaven. We must serve God through Christ continually.

(Canon Girdlestone.)

I. WHAT IS THIS? Love should —

1. Proceed from the heart.

2. Be expressed in the actions.

II. WHY SHOULD WE THUS LOVE? Otherwise it is —

1. Hypocrisy before God.

2. A deceiving of our neighbour.

3. No true love.Conclusion: Love one another.

1. It is the fulfilling of the law (Romans 13:8-10).

2. The special command of Christ (John 13:34).

3. The principal mark of a true Christian (John 13:35).

(Bp. Beveridge.)

is sincere —

I.IN FEELING AND MOTIVE.

II.IN EXPRESSION AND DEED; it abhors evil.

III.IN ITS CHOICE ATTACHMENTS; it cleaves to that which is good

(J. Lyth, D.D.)

If disinterestedness is anywhere to be looked for, it is in love. Many of our faculties are known to be venal. But one can hardly repress astonishment at the implication that this most princely of all the soul's attributes is, after all, bribable. Yet it is so; and love dissimulates whenever it expresses more than it feels, and for an interested purpose. This we call blandishment. We trace this in —

I. THE HOME. The gentle and unstudied ways of domestic love have nothing in the world to equal them. But because of that they are counterfeited. The wife would fain stay the anger of the husband, and she throws upon him an affection that she does not at all feel. He would fain charm away her jealousy by an affectionateness of demeanour that has only a purpose in it, and not a heart. She would subdue his obstinacy, and she throws round about him the arms of sweet caress, for the sole purpose of changing his will and gaining her end. Is there no occasion, then, to say, "Let love be without dissimulation"? If you would barter anything, let it not be the heart of love in man. I love the sturdy honesty, the simplicity, the truthfulness of love; and I abhor the arts and wiles and gaieties of love, that are mere baits.

II. THE CIRCLE OF FRIENDSHIP. Men are a thousand times more friendly than the capital of friendship will allow. They behave to each other in a manner which is deceptive even where it is a good-natured habit; but still more deceptive where it has an end in view, as constantly it has. I do not refer to that general kindness which we ought to express toward all. I do not criticise that etiquette, that kindly way, which real high breeding inspires. That is right. The host should be glad to greet every guest; but what if he should impress upon every man the feeling that he had the first place in the heart of his host? The artful addresses which are continually made to the weaknesses of man as if they were virtues — the flattery of silence, of surprise, of a well-timed start, of an interjection, of title and terms, is not honest. Although there may be a half-consciousness in the victim that all this is feigned, yet it is too sweet to be refused, and he is damaged by it as much as the person that uses it.

III. COQUETRY. The dissembling some of the phases of love is a lure which both men and women employ for the promotion of their personal pleasure and self-love. It is a common trick to inspire those about you with an inordinate opinion of their worth in your eyes. To all coquettes the apostle's injunction should come most solemnly.

IV. SOCIAL LIFE. There is a loathsome parasite which fastens on men and upon families — viz, the toady. It is the business of such despicable creatures to suck out their own living by assuming all the airs and practising all the blandishments of a true friendship. They praise your words. They take your side in every quarrel. They are a false mirror in which you are handsomer than you are really by nature. Such persons stop at no falseness. They wear all the habiliments of affection only to soil them. They are the bloodsuckers of the heart. And applied to such, the apostolic injunction is terribly pointed.

V. THE WORLD OF BUSINESS.

1. See the cunning confidential clerk, or confidential lawyer, that nestles under the wing of the rich principal. See how in everything he praises him; how he avoids his anger; how he cripples every element of manhood that he may still lie close to the favour of his rich patron — and all for his own sake. Society is full of these despicable creatures.

2. But many a merchant will put on all the airs of a flatterer in order that he may manage a rebellious creditor, or save a large debt, or prepare the way for a great success. A man comes down to the city prepared to make large purchases. The one who gets that man gets a plum! And straightway is anything too good for him? What are his vices? The clerk must feed them. He must be invited home. Your noble-hearted wife resents it. The man's character is questionable. "But," says the husband, "my interest depends upon our dining him. Mr. A. is going to dine him to-morrow, and Mr, By next day; and he must come to our house to-day." And hospitality has to be bribed, so that when the man has been feasted and patted, it shall be easier to drive a good bargain with him. And when the whole game has been played, the man smiles, and says, "I angled for him. He was cautious, but rose to the bait, and I landed him!"

3. On what a large scale is this carried out! It is organised. Boards of direction carry out, as a part of their schemes, the rites of hospitality. How are legislatures dined and wined! When rich, combined capitalists wish to secure some great contract, or interest, how do they put on all the guises of sympathy and intense consideration! How do they spin silver and golden webs upon men that they laugh at behind their backs! And do men think that is wrong? It is said that "When a man is in Rome, he must do as Romans do." And when a man is in hell, I suppose, he must do as hellions do! Business needs to hear God saying to it, "Let love be without dissimulation."

VI. POLITICS. When once a man is bitten with the incurable fever of candidacy, see how first of all things he begins to employ the language of strong personal regard toward every man that has a vote. Before an election "condescension to men of low estate" seems to men to be the very fulness of the Bible. A vote! a vote! Anything for a vote. But as soon as the vote has done its work, and the office is secured, what a blessed balm of forgetfulness comes over him. He really does not know anybody out of his own set. The hypocrite!

(H. W. Beecher.)

Abhor that which is evil
I. WHAT EVIL.

1. Sin (1 John 3:4).

2. Punishment (Isaiah 45:7).

II. WHAT IS IT TO ABHOR IT?

1. Our settled judgment that it is evil.

2. A hatred to it for its own sake (Psalm 119:113).

3. An aversion from it (Ezekiel 33:11).

III. WHY SHOULD WE ABHOR IT?

1. It is contrary to God's nature.

2. Repugnant to His laws (John 3:4).

3. Destructive to our souls.

IV. MEANS OF EXCITING THIS ABHORRENCE.

1. Always remember that you are Christians.

2. Avoid the occasions of sin (1 Thessalonians 5:22).

3. Often think whom it displeases — the great God (Genesis 39:9).

4. Live always as under His eye (Psalm 139:7).

5. Remember that thou must answer for it (Ecclesiastes 11:9).Conclusion:

1. Repent of sins already committed; for —

(1)By them you have incurred God's displeasure (Psalm 7:11).

(2)Made ourselves liable to punishment (Romans 6:23).

(3)There is no way to avoid either but by repentance (Luke 13:3).

2. Abhor it so as not to commit sin hereafter. Consider it is —

(1)the greatest folly (Psalm 14:4; Psalm 94:8).

(2)Slavery (Romans 6:20).

(3)Defilement (James 1:21; Matthew 15:20; Job 15:16).

(4)Death of the soul (Romans 8:24; Ephesians 2:1).

3. Unless you abhor evil God will abhor you, and you will abhor, but ineffectually, evil and yourselves too, to all eternity.

(Bp. Beveridge.)

It is the peculiarity of Christianity that while it aims to exclude all sin from the heart, it does not dismember the soul by excluding from it any faculty that is natural to it. Of these hatred is one — one terribly liable to abuse, but rightly used a potent instrument in the suppression of evil.

I. WHAT IS EVIL? It is twofold. A hidden power in the soul —

1. Like the poison in the berry, or the deadly lightning hid in the thunder-cloud; and as it assumes a concrete form in evil men, books, institutions, etc., i.e., evil appears in character and conduct. It is guilt and pollution.

2. It is vice and crime; the one personal, the other social. Crimes sometimes shock us too much; vices almost always too little.

II. WHAT IS IT TO ABHOR EVIL. Abhorrence is the opposite of love. Love seeks to possess the object loved, and then to perpetuate it. Abhorrence casts the evil thing out of our heart, and then seeks to chase it out of the world. It contains the ideas of separation and destruction.

III. WHY WE SHOULD ABHOR EVIL.

1. This is the very end for which Christ died — "to destroy the works of the devil."

2. It is implied in sanctification which is separation to God, and therefore separation from evil in thought, affection, purpose, practice.

3. Your personal safety lies along that line, "Without holiness no man shall see the Lord."

4. God employs the hatred of good men to sin as an instrument for its suppression in others.

5. No other course is open to us. We must not compromise with evil, we cannot utilise it, it is impossible to control it; we must therefore either yield to it or cast it out.

IV. DIFFICULTIES AND DANGERS.

1. Evil is associated with fine qualities. Don Juan and the Hebrew Lyrics are in the same volume. There are paintings in the first style of art which would be best seen at midnight without a light. Burke said, "Vice loses half its evil by losing all its grossness."

2. Spurious charity. Ignorance, weakness may be used as a shield and pleaded as an excuse.

3. Social connections.

4. Self-interest.

5. Temperament. The violent and hasty, the easy and indolent are ever ready to extenuate or condone evil.

6. Timidity which shrinks from the consequences of active strife against sin.

7. Familiarity with evil.

8. Diverging views.

9. Our innate love of evil.

(W. Bell.)

How many shun evil as inconvenient who do not abhor it as hateful; while yet the abhorrence of evil here demanded of us implies a great deal more than that shunning which satisfies, as we often think, every claim which can be made upon us. This vigorous abhorrence of evil has been the mark of God's saints and servants in all times, and from the very beginning. Let me rapidly gather a few notable proofs. More than forty years had elapsed since that treacherous murder of the Shechemites by Simeon and Levi; but with what a still lively abhorrence, as though it had been the crime of yesterday, does the aged Israel, on his death-bed, disclaim any part or share in that bloody act, and detect and denounce it: — "O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, he not thou united." Then, too, in a life which made many flaws, I mean in that of Lot, the most honourable testimony which is anywhere borne to him is this, that he was "vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked"; that he "dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds." Still more plainly and signally does this appear in David. Hear him, as he is speaking before a heart-searching God — "I hate the works of them that turn aside"; "Do I not hate them, O Lord, that hate Thee?" with many more utterances to the same effect. The same voice finds its utterance in other Psalms, which, though they be not David's, yet breathe the spirit of David. "How often, for example, and how strongly, in the 119th Psalm — "I have vain thoughts"; or, again, "I beheld the transgressors and was grieved"; it was not, that is, a thing indifferent to him, but pain and grief that men are breaking God's law. And as with these, so no less with the righteous kings of Judah in later times — the Asas, the Hezekiahs, the Josiahs. What the others gave utterance to in word, these, as occasion offered, uttered and expressed in deed. But most signally of all this abhorrence of evil comes out in Him of whom it is written! "Thou lovest righteousness and hatest wickedness; therefore God, thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows." That "Get thee behind Me, Satan," uttered once to the adversary in the wilderness, was the voice of His heart at every instant, was the keynote to which His whole life was set. If all holy men have felt this abhorrence of evil, it may be well worth our while to inquire whether we have any of this righteous passion in our hearts.

1. And first, how fares it with us in regard of our temptations? Do we parley and dally with them, and to have thus, as by a certain foretaste, some shadow of the pleasure of the sin without the guilt of it? Do we plot and plan how near to the edge of the precipice we may go without falling over? Or do we rise up against temptations so soon as once they present themselves to us, knowing them afar off, indignant with ourselves that they should so much as once have suggested themselves to our minds.

2. Again, the light in which a man regards the old sins into which he may have been betrayed is instinctive, as furnishing an answer to this question, Does he really abhor what is evil?

3. But another important element is this self-examination, whether we be abhorrers of evil or no, is this: In what language are we accustomed to talk of sin, and of the violations of God's law? Have we fallen into the world's way, taken up the world's language in speaking about all this?

4. But, once more, is the sin which is in the world around us a burden to our souls and spirits? Could we with any truth take up that language of the Psalmist, "I beheld the transgressors, and was grieved"? or, again, "Mine eyes run over with tears, because men keep not Thy law"? or that which found its yet higher fulfilment in the Saviour Himself, "The reproaches of them that reproached Thee are fallen upon me"? Or do we rather feel that if we can get pretty comfortably through life, and if other men's sins do not inconvenience or damage us, they are no great concern of ours, nothing which it is any business of ours to fight against? If it be thus with us, we have not yet learned the meaning of these words, "Abhor that which is evil." One or two practical observations in conclusion. Seeing then, that we ought to have this lively hatred of evil, that, tried by the tests that have been suggested, there are probably few, if any, among us who have it to the extent we ought, how, we may very fitly inquire, shall we obtain it? St. Paul tells us how, when in the same breath he bids us to "abhor that which is evil," and to "cleave to that which is good." It is only in nearer fellowship with God, and by the inspiration of His Spirit, that we can learn our lesson of hating evil. It is in His light only that we can see light or that we can see darkness. It is holiness that condemns unholiness; it is only love which rebukes hate. Here, therefore, is the secret of abhorring evil, namely, in the dwelling with or near the Good, and Him who is the Good. From Him we shall obtain weights and measures of the sanctuary whereby to measure in just balances the false and the true; from Him the straight rule or canon which shall tell us what is crooked in our lives, what is crooked in the lives around us.

(Archbp. Trench.)

I. EVERY FACULTY HAS IN ITSELF A CONSTITUTIONAL REPUGNANCE TO THAT WHICH TO IT IS EVIL.

1. It is a part of its health that it should have this power of rebound. The lowest forms of this feeling are simply those of dislike, then repugnance, then hatred, and then abhorrence. The very word, in its etymology, signifies that kind of affright which causes the quill or the hair of an animal to stand on end, and throws it into a violent tremor, and puts it into the attitude either of self-defence or aggression, so that every part of it is stirred up with a consuming feeling.

2. Is it not a dangerous weapon to put into a man's hands? It is a very dangerous weapon. So is fire. We must therefore use it, and use it discreetly.

3. You must learn to be good haters — but not of men. Ah! there are hundreds of men that know how to hate men, where there is one that knows how to love a man and hate evil. True, evil may in extreme cases become so wrought into individual persons that we scarcely can distinguish the one from the other; but ordinarily it is not so.

4. We are to hate all crimes against society. Whether these be within the express letter of the law or not, whether they be disreputable in the greater measure or in the less is quite immaterial. We are also to hate all qualities and actions which corrupt the individual; which injure manhood in man; all that creates sorrow or suffering, or tends to do it.

II. THE WANT OF THIS MORAL REBOUND WILL BE FOUND TO BE RUINOUS. It destroys the individual to whom it is lacking, and it is mischievous to the community in which it is lacking.

1. Hatred of evil is employed by God as one of those penalties by which evil is made to suffer in such a way that it is intimidated and restrained. It makes evil hazardous. In a community where men can do as they please, wickedness is bolder. Selfishness is hateful; and if men express their hatred of it, selfish men are afraid to be as selfish as they want to be. Corrupt passions — the lava of the soul, which overflows with desolating power at times in communities — are greatly restrained by intimidations, by the threat of men's faces, and by the thunder of men's souls.

2. Abhorrence is indispensable to the purity of a man's own self who is in the midst of a "perverse and crooked generation." Now, the expressions of this feeling are by reaction the modes in which moral sense, the repugnance to evil is strengthened. And if you, for any reason, forbear to give expression to the feeling, it goes out like fire that is smothered. A man is not worthy of the name of man who has no power of indignation. I have heard it said of men that they died and had not an enemy. Well, they ought to have died a great while before! For a true man, a man that knows how to rebuke wickedness, finds enough of it to do in this world. Has a man lived forty or fifty or sixty years and never rebuked wicked man enough to make that man hate him, so that you can put on his tomb, "He has not left an enemy"? Why, I could put that on a cabbage field.

III. THE LACK OF THIS ABHORRENCE IS PITIABLY SEEN —

1. In the pulpit. What are pulpits good for that go piping music over the heads of men who are guilty of gigantic transgressions? It is sad to see pulpits that dare not call things by their right names. A man had better be a John, and go into the wilderness clothed in camel's hair, and eating locusts and wild honey, than to be a fat minister in a fat pulpit, supporting himself luxuriously by betraying God and playing into the hands of the devil.

2. In public sentiment itself. It refuses to take high moral ground, and to be just and earnest. To a certain extent the evil is less in newspapers, yet it is seen very glaringly there also. We are not deficient in newspapers, which, when they are angry, avenge their prejudices and passions with great violence. But to be calm, to be just, and then without fear or favour, discriminatingly but intensely to mark and brand iniquity, and to defend righteousness — this is to make a newspaper a sublime power over the community. Alas! that there should be so few such newspapers. I think it high time that we should speak more frequently on this subject. The want of indignation at flagrant wickedness is one of the alarming symptoms of our times.

(H. W. Beecher.)

It needs no special meditation on natural history, if one meets a bear, a wolf, or a lion, to enable him to determine what he shall do. There is no time for raising questions of fact. Men do not stop to say, "After all, has not this leopard, that is so beautiful, been rather misunderstood? and may there not be a way of treating him which shall win him to beauty within as fine as the beauty that is without?" Men do not reason so about serpents, or scorpions, or tarantulas, or stinging creatures of any kind. Men have a very short process of dealing with them; they treat them to the foot or to the hand without hesitation; and they must, or accept annihilation, or else fly. Men are instant, uncompromising in their action, at times, because there are certain great tendencies that stand connected with a man's life which, it has entered into the common sense of men, are so dangerous that they are to be abhorred instantly. If one wants to carry a tarantula into the lecture-room for the purpose of instruction in natural history, and wants to subject him to various experiments, that is one thing; that is professional; but for common life, and for common folk, we kill such creatures.

(H. W. Beecher.)

Let me illustrate this very simply. Here is a knife with a richly-carved ivory handle, a knife of excellent workmanship. Yonder woman, we will suppose, has had a dear child murdered by a cruel enemy. This knife is hers, she is pleased with it, and prizes it much. How can I make her throw that knife away? I can do it easily, for that is the knife with which her child was killed. Look at it; there is blood still upon the handle. She drops it as though it were a scorpion; she cannot bear it. "Put it away," saith she, "it killed my child! Oh, hateful thing!"

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Cleave to that which is good
I. WHAT IS GOOD. That which has all things required to its perfection. There is —

1. Transcendent good, God (Luke 18:19).

2. Natural good, perfect in its nature (Genesis 1:31).

3. Moral good, conformity to right reason (1 Timothy 2:3).

II. WHAT IS IT TO CLEAVE TO THAT WHICH IS GOOD.

1. To approve of it.

2. To desire it.

3. To be constant in practising good works, so as to cleave to them and be one with them.

III. WHY ARE WE TO CLEAVE TO THAT WHICH IS GOOD. Because —

1. We are constantly receiving good from God.

2. We are commanded to be always doing good (Luke 1:75; Proverbs 23:17; Psalm 119:96).

3. When we do not good we sin.

IV. HOW ARE WE ALWAYS TO DO GOOD. To this is required —

1. Faith in Christ.

(1)Nothing is in itself good, but what is done by His grace (John 15:5).

(2)Nothing accepted but by His merit (Isaiah 64:6; 1 Peter 2:5).

2. It must be agreeable for the matter, to the Word of God (Isaiah 1:12).

3. Done in obedience to that Word (1 Samuel 15:22).

4. Understandingly (1 Corinthians 14:15).

5. Willingly (Psalm 110:3).

6. Cheerfully (Psalm 40:8).

7. With the utmost of our power (Ecclesiastes 9:10).

8. In faith (Romans 14:23).

9. Humbly.

(1)Not vainly thinking that good works come from thyself (2 Corinthians 3:5).

(2)Nor expecting salvation by them.

10. To the glory of God (Matthew 5:16; 1 Corinthians 10:31).

V. CLEAVE TO THAT WHICH IS GOOD, SO AS ALWAYS TO DO IT. Consider:

1. How honourable an employment it is (1 Samuel 2:30). The work —

(1)Of angels (Hebrews 1:14).

(2)Of Christ (Acts 10:38).

(3)Of God (Genesis 1.).

2. How pleasant.

(1)Thy conscience will hereby be void of offence (Acts 24:16).

(2)Thy heart rejoicing in the love of God (Philippians 4:4).

3. How profitable. Hereby thou wilt gain —

(1)Honour to thy religion.

(2)God's favour to thyself (Isaiah 66:2).

(3)An assurance of thy interest in Christ (James 2:26).

(4)The concurrence of all things to thy good (Romans 8:28).

(5)Eternal happiness (Matthew 25:46).

(Bp. Beveridge.)

We all know how the ivy clings to the wall or to the tree, casts out innumerable little arms and tentacles by which it attaches and fastens itself to it, seeking to become one with it, to grow to it, so that only by main force the two can be torn asunder. It is something of this kind which is meant here. In such fashion cleave to that which is good; and if "to that which is good," then, as the sole condition of this, to Him that is good, who is the Good, the Holy, the Just One.

(Abp. Trench.)

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