Romans 14:7
For none of us lives to himself alone, and none of us dies to himself alone.
Sermons
The Influence of Our Lives Upon OthersC.H. Irwin Romans 14:7
The Christian's Dependence and the Christian's IndependenceC.H. Irwin Romans 14:1-9
Christian ContentionLord Bacon.Romans 14:1-12
Christian ForbearanceH. W. Beecher.Romans 14:1-12
Contagious ContentionCawdray.Romans 14:1-12
Disputations to be AvoidedRomans 14:1-12
Practical Godliness Better Rectifies the Judgment than Doubtful DisputationsT. Woodcock, A.M.Romans 14:1-12
Religious DisputationsH. W. Beecher.Romans 14:1-12
Religious TolerationD. Swing.Romans 14:1-12
Strong and WeakJ. Lyth, D.D.Romans 14:1-12
Test of ControversyAbp. Bramhall.Romans 14:1-12
The Duty of Forbearance in Matters of OpinionJ. Lyth, D.D.Romans 14:1-12
The Risen Saviour as Lord of the ConscienceR.M. Edgar Romans 14:1-12
The Treatment of the WeakPhilip Henry.Romans 14:1-12
The Weak in the Faith to be ReceivedW. Tyson.Romans 14:1-12
TolerationJ. R. Andrews.Romans 14:1-12
Toleration: its ValueDr. Stephenson.Romans 14:1-12
Unity to be Maintained in Spite of Differences of OpinionJ. Lyth, D.D.Romans 14:1-12
Unwise DisputationsChristian JournalRomans 14:1-12
Christian LibertyT.F. Lockyer Romans 14:1-23
Christian DevotednessR. Watson.Romans 14:7-9
Every Man has a Good or Evil InfluenceRomans 14:7-9
InfluenceJ. Foster, B.A.Romans 14:7-9
Influence, a Child'sRomans 14:7-9
Influence, a Child'sFreeman.Romans 14:7-9
Influence, InevitableN. Macleod, D.D.Romans 14:7-9
Influence, PermanentBabbage.Romans 14:7-9
Influence, Perpetuity OfRomans 14:7-9
Influence, PersonalC. H. SpurgeonRomans 14:7-9
Influence, PosthumousRomans 14:7-9
Influence, Small, its ValueRomans 14:7-9
Influence, UnconsciousRomans 14:7-9
Influence, Unconscious, its PowerRomans 14:7-9
LivingRouen Thomas, D.D.Romans 14:7-9
Living and Dying to the LordR. S. Candlish.Romans 14:7-9
Living for OthersGreat ThoughtsRomans 14:7-9
None Liveth unto HimselfRomans 14:7-9
None of Us Liveth to HimselfH. W. Beecher.Romans 14:7-9
None of Us Liveth to HimselfA. K. H. Boyd, D.D.Romans 14:7-9
None of Us Liveth unto HimselfBp. Simpson.Romans 14:7-9
Related LifeBp. H. C. Potter.Romans 14:7-9
Religious SelfishnessJ. Vaughan, M.A.Romans 14:7-9
Religious SelfishnessS. Milner.Romans 14:7-9
Self or Christ; Which is ItH. Bonar, D.D.Romans 14:7-9
Selfish and Unselfish WorkersH. W. Beecher.Romans 14:7-9
The Action of PresenceH. Macmillan, D.D.Romans 14:7-9
The Christian's MissionD. Moore, M.A.Romans 14:7-9
The Divinity of the Inner and Outer Life of the GoodD. Thomas, D.D.Romans 14:7-9
The Duty of not Living to OurselvesJ. Priestley, L.L.D.Romans 14:7-9
The End of LifeW. Landels.Romans 14:7-9
The Lord of the Dead and the LivingW. B. Pope, D.D.Romans 14:7-9
The Object of LifeArchdeacon Hare.Romans 14:7-9
The Power of InfluenceW. M. Punshon.Romans 14:7-9
None of us liveth to himself. The apostle, as we have seen, was here enforcing certain Christian duties, and he strengthened his exhortation by reminding his readers that they were not their own, but Christ's. But the words are capable of a wider application.

I. THE INFLUENCE WHICH ONE MAN MAY EXERCISE FOR GOOD. Many who would like to do good are sometimes disposed to say, "What use can I be in the world? What influence can my life have upon others? What good can I do to others? I am too young. I am too humble. I have no intellectual gifts. I have no opportunities such as some people have of exercising influence upon others." This is to underestimate the influence of the individual life. Whether we are conscious of it or not, the life of each of us, whether we are rich or poor, learned or unlearned, young or old, is exercising some influence upon others. It is not necessary that we should know another in order to exercise an influence upon him. Thousands of men are influenced by persons whom they never saw. The Reformation began at Cambridge University very early in the sixteenth century by Bilney, a solitary student, reading a Greek Testament with Latin translation and notes, which Erasmus had published. Bilney had never seen Erasmus, but the quiet work of Erasmus was the means of bringing Bilney to the knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus. Bilney, again, influenced Latimer, who was one of the fathers of the English Reformation, and who suffered martyrdom for the truth. Thus the Reformation in England may be largely traced to the quiet work of Erasmus as he sat at his desk, and used his vast learning and intellect to make the Word of God more familiar to the people of his time. A young American student, more than seventy years ago, happened to read a printed sermon which had fallen into his hands. The sermon was entitled "The Star in the East," by Dr. Claudius Buchanan, and described the progress of the gospel in India, and the evidence there afforded of its Divine power. That sermon, by a man whom he had never seen, fell into the young student's soul like a spark into tinder, and in six months Adoniram Judson resolved to become a missionary to the heathen. That little printed sermon, preached in England, perhaps, with no apparent fruit, became, through God's blessing, the beginning of the great work of American foreign missions. You may not be an Erasmus or a Claudius Buchanan. But God may have as great a work for you to do as he had for them. What an influence for good Christian parents may exercise upon their children, with far-reaching results to the world! The faithful sabbath-school teacher may leaven with gospel truth young minds that may yet control the destinies of a nation. Young women, by the power of their own Christian character, may change for the better the muddy current of many a godless life. The great matter is for every one of us to live near to God, to cultivate a Christ-like character, and then our life is sure to be a blessing. You must walk with God if you would have weight with men. Personal holiness is the key to personal influence for good.

II. THE INFLUENCE WHICH ONE MAN MAY EXERCISE FOR EVIL, The wise man says, "One sinner destroyeth much good." Everyday experience will supply many illustrations of this truth. One bad man, one bad woman, will be a centre of corruption to the whole circle in which they move. One bad boy often corrupts a whole school. How terrible is the power of evil to propagate itself! How terrible is the guilt of those who have become the corrupters of others! The evil that we do has consequences far beyond the injury that we may do to ourselves.

Unto a loving mother oft
We all have sent, without a doubt,
Full many a hard and careless word,
That now we never can rub out;
For cruel words cut deeper far
Than diamond on the window-pane;
And, oft recalled in after-years,
They wound her o'er and o'er again.

"So, in our daily walk and life,
We write and do and say the thing
We never can undo nor stay
With any future sorrowing.
We carve ourselves on beating hearts!
Ah! then, how wise to pause and doubt,
To blend with love and thought our words,
Because we cannot rub them out!" The great poet of Scotland, Robert Burns, on his dying bed wished that he could have recalled some of the foolish things that he had written. But it was too late. Better far to leave the wrong undone than afterwards to regret the doing of it. "None of us liveth to himself," should be constantly before our minds as a restraining memory to keep us from evil, and an inspiring memory that will cheer us on to make the world better than we have found it. - C.H.I.







For none of us liveth to himself.
This is seen in —

I. SUCCESS, which can be secured only by co-operation. When one devotes himself to one kind of work and another to another, the results of their labours are brought together to complete a perfect mechanism. Thus by these labour exchanges the experience of all is made to benefit each. One man does not make a whole pin.

II. CURIOSITY. We are anxious to know about our neighbours. It may be denounced by some as impertinence, but after all God has made us look at others — "Look not every man on his own things." God said early, "Where is thy brother?" And it was a Cain who replied, "Am I my brother's keeper?" It is true that this curiosity often degenerates into gossip. It is evil when we speak of others only to criticise their garb, etc. It is a higher use of curiosity when we want to know not how a dress fits, but whether these people have on the wedding garment; not whether such an one is of obscure origin, but whether she belongs to the family of God. It is a right curiosity when we inquire about our brethren in foreign lands. The Lord has joined us together by a bond of brotherhood, as the very curiosity we manifest in each other shows.

III. OUR LOVE OF SOCIETY. The child wants other children to play with just as soon as it knows anything. The young man or woman goes forth in search of companions. The old man, though becoming deaf, still desires to be told by the voice of affection of what is said. A child plays around while his elders converse about politics, science, or literature, and he seems not to hear. But let one tell of a friend dying, or a battle raging, or a dreadful accident, and the child will at once drop his playthings and cease his sports to listen. Why is this? Because there are common bonds which unite us all, and because we are not made to live to ourselves. Everything that touches one heart awakes an echo in another. There is no punishment more dreadful than solitary confinement. The reason of men so confined sometimes has given way. Human beings, when they could not have men to talk to, have talked to beasts. Baron Trenck, in his solitary dungeon, made a friend of a spider. The greatest of poets made the desolate Lear talk to the clouds and the winds. All these things serve to show that "no man liveth to himself."

IV. THE DISPOSITION TO IMITATE. The girl saw her mother nurse the baby, and must have a doll. The boy saw his father chop the wood, and must have an axe and a saw. This principle is in the very heart of man, for God has put it there.

V. THE JUDGMENT WE FORM OF OURSELVES AND OTHERS. When we turn away from a beggar we cannot help feeling that we have done wrong, and we begin to reason so as to relieve our Conscience from a sense of having failed in duty. We came home tired. We were told that a neighbour was ill, without a friend to do anything for him. We hesitated, but went to bed. Next morning we learned that he had died in the night, alone, and without any one to speak to him of a Saviour. Then we reproached ourselves. Why? Was it not right to take rest? Certainly; but God had taught us not to live for ourselves alone, and we condemned ourselves for our selfishness. If we had gone we might have had a pain in the head next day, but the heart would have felt all right. Here was a generous, benevolent man, doing all he could for the welfare of society, and trying to help the poor every way possible. When he died, what a funeral! The secret was that that man did not live for himself. There was another man, just as honourable and moral, but a miser. When he died there were no tears, only a host of relatives fighting over his hoard. We admire heroes, not because they are men of blood, but because they live not for themselves, but for others, for their country. Think of Howard, whose name still lives as a synonym for all that is self-denying and beneficent. So is it with Miss Nightingale, Luther, Calvin, and Wesley. Conclusion: If we should not live for ourselves, for what ought we to live?

1. To live for Christ is the only way to live for humanity. Many have tried to live for their friends and failed. A priest, thinking he was doing the European inhabitants of the Spanish colonies a favour, suggested that the African race could better stand the climate and the work of the tropics. In that way slavery was originated in this part of the world, and what a price it has cost us to free ourselves from the curse!

2. When we live for Christ we take Him as our pattern and live for humanity. Then will we lift up the fallen, cleanse the leper, lead the blind, etc.

3. We have to be introduced to Christ by some one who knows Him. But introduced, we can introduce others.

(Bp. Simpson.)

Each living man bears a relation to his whole race: his having lived will never cease to be felt throughout the universe. We own each other, and God owns us all. A man never stands alone, unrelated to anything, but his closest relation is always to his Creator. A willow tree may stand far from the banks of the stream, and with no apparent support, except from the ground about its trunk; but what are its roots doing? Down burrowing amid the rocks, forcing a way through the earth, seeking for openings, pushing whithersoever is the smell of moist soil, diving to the level of the cool well, and drinking deep of its nourishing waters, shooting out by the brook side many, many rods away, till its banks are fringed like a shawl, seeking everywhere for nutriment, which gives life to the tree above them. This is what the roots are doing; and man is like a tree, only his roots shoot upward as well as downward; his firmest tie is to the heart of God, as his surest and best supply is from thence; but he is also indissolubly connected with all below him and round about him. Who, then, can say, "I am mine own; I stand alone, unrelated, unlinked, solitary, uninfluenced and uninfluencing"? Such a thing cannot be; and so it is written by the unerring pen of inspiration — "None of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself."

(H. W. Beecher.)

I was not born for myself alone; my country claims a part, my relations claim a part, and my friends claim a part in me.

( Plato.)

It is the excellence of our rational nature that by it we are capable of living to some known end, and of governing our lives and conduct by some rule, whereas brute creatures necessarily live and act at random, just as the present appetite influences them. Let us, then, make the most of this our prerogative by proposing to ourselves the noblest end of human life, and engaging in such a course of action as will reflect the greatest honour upon our nature, and be productive of the most lasting happiness.

I. We should, according to this apostolical maxim, by no means confine our regards to ourselves, and have our own pleasure, profit, or advantage in view in everything we undertake; but LOOK OUT OF, AND BEYOND OURSELVES, and take a generous concern in the happiness of all our brethren of mankind; make their sorrows our sorrows, their joys our joys, and their happiness our pursuit; and it is in this disinterested conduct, and in this only, that we shall find our own true happiness.

1. This disinterested conduct of man is most agreeable to the course of nature without us. The sun, the moon, the planets, and comets, are strictly connected, and combined into one system. Each body, though so exceedingly remote from the rest, is admirably adapted, by its situation, magnitude, and velocity in its orbit, to the state of the whole, in those respects and many others. This connection, probably, also extends to the remotest bodies in the universe, so that it is impossible to say that the withdrawing of any one would not in some respect or other affect all the rest. The clouds and the rain are designed to moisten the earth, and the sun to warm it, and the texture and juices of the earth are formed so as to receive the genial influences of both, in order to ripen and bring to perfection that infinite variety of plants and fruits, the seeds of which are deposited in it. Are not all plants likewise suited to the various kinds of animals which feed upon them? The various kinds of animals are, again, in a thousand ways adapted to, and formed for, the use of one another. That brute animals are excellently adapted to the use of man, and were, therefore, made to be subservient to the use of man, man will not deny. The strength of some, and the sagacity of others, are as much at our command, and are as effectually employed for our use, as if they belonged to ourselves.

2. The situation of man in this world, or the external circumstances of human nature, oblige us to assert, with Paul, that no man liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. Man himself is but a link, though the highest link, of this great chain, all the parts of which are closely connected by the hand of our Divine Author. Nay, the more extensive are our powers, either for action or enjoyment, on that very account, the more multiplied and extensive are our wants; so that, at the same time that they are marks of our superiority to, they are bonds of our connection with, and signs of our dependence upon, the various parts of the world around us, and of our subservience to one another. The rich, if they would receive the greatest advantages from society, must contribute to the happiness of it. If they act upon different maxims, and think to avail themselves of the pleasures of society without promoting the good of it, they will never know the true pleasures of society. And, in the end, they will be found to have enjoyed the least them. selves who have least contributed to the enjoyment of others. Thus it appears from a view of the external circumstances of mankind that man was not made to live to himself. The same truth may be inferred —

3. From a nearer inspection of the principles of human nature and the springs of human actions. Whence is that quick sensibility which we are conscious of with respect to both the joys and the sorrows of our fellow-creatures if their happiness or misery were a matter of indifference to us? Can we feel what is sometimes called the contagion of the passions when we find that our minds contract a kind of gloom in the company of the melancholy, and that this melancholy vanishes in company which is innocently cheerful, and question the influence of social connections? Much less can the reality or the power of the social principle be doubted when a fellow-creature in distress calls forth the most exquisite feelings of compassion, attended with instant efforts towards his relief. Doth not the sense of honour in the human breast derive all its force from the influence which social connections have over us? Of what use could it be but to beings formed for society? Lastly, of what doth devotion itself consist but the exercise of the social affections? What are the dispositions of our minds which are called forth into action in private or public prayer, but reverence for true greatness, humility, gratitude, love, and confidence in God, as the greatest and best of beings; qualities of the most admirable use and effect in social life.

II. Having given this general view of the social turn of our whole natures, whereby we are continually led out of ourselves in our pursuit of happiness, I shall now consider farther HOW ALL OUR APPETITES AND PASSIONS, which are the springs of all our actions, do, in their own nature, TEND TO LEAD US OUT OF OURSELVES, and how much our happiness depends upon our keeping their proper objects in view, and upon our minds being thereby constantly engaged upon something foreign to themselves, after which I shall show what are the fittest objects thus to engage our attention. Our benevolence, for instance, leads us immediately to relieve and oblige others. Pleasure, indeed, always attends generous actions, but the satisfaction we receive in our minds from having done kind offices to others is far less pure, and less perfectly enjoyed, if at all, when we had any private gratification in view before the action. In like manner, he who courts applause and does worthy actions solely to obtain it, can have no knowledge of the genuine pleasure arising either from the good action itself or the applause that is given to it, because he is sensible in his own mind that if those who praise his conduct were acquainted with the real motive of it they would be so far from admiring that they would despise him for it. It is chiefly an anxious solicitude about ourselves, and the appearance we shall make in the eyes of others, which is the cause of that affectation and constraint in behaviour which is so troublesome to a person's self, and so ridiculous in the eyes of others. This trifling remark, being so frequently verified, may serve to show that these sentiments are by no means merely speculative, but that they enter into the daily scenes of active life. Indeed they are in the highest sense practical, and upon them depend those maxims of conduct which contain the great secret of human happiness, and which are confirmed by every day's experience. Why are persons whose situation in life obliges them to constant labour, either of body or mind, generally more happy than those whose circumstances do not lay them under a necessity to labour? Persons thus employed have not much leisure to attend to the idea of self, and that anxiety which always attends the frequent recurring of it, whereas a person who has no object foreign to himself, which necessarily engages his attention, cannot have his faculties fully exerted, and therefore his mind cannot possibly be in that state of vigorous sensation in which happiness consists.

III. We now come to see what CONSIDERATIONS DRAWN FROM THE HOLY SCRIPTURES will further confirm and illustrate this maxim of human conduct which was first suggested by them. Nothing is more frequent with the sacred writers than to exhort men to the practice of their duty as the command of God, from a principle of love to God, of love to Christ, and of love to mankind, more especially of our fellow Christians, and from a regard to the interest of our holy religion — motives which do not at all turn the attention of our minds upon themselves. This is not borrowing the aid of self-love to strengthen the principles of benevolence and piety, but it is properly deriving additional strength to these noble dispositions, as it were, from within themselves, independent of foreign considerations.

(J. Priestley, L.L.D.)

I. "NO MAN LIVETH UNTO HIMSELF."

1. We gather about the grave of one who, while he lived, withdrew himself largely from contact with men, and from the activities of his generation; and we say of him, "There was a man who lived entirely to himself." No, he did not! That reserve and isolation are as definite a power in the world as the marching of a regiment. When, on the sea, the wind suddenly becomes chill and the fog thickens, and the commander paces the deck with anxious face, you know that you are in the neighbourhood of an iceberg — though the iceberg has cabled you no message. And just so with those moral icebergs. The air grows chillier whenever they approach. The frost of their selfishness nips the kindly buds of other lives and makes them as fruitless as their own.

2. And if this is so, how clearly we see the force of the text when we look at some character of an opposite type! Here is a man with fine sympathies and endowments whose life seems to be engrossed in his business or his studies. What an influence he could wield, we think, if he could set out of that narrow round which holds him to such petty cares! But every one of those cares touches some other life. His partners, clerks, workmen, children, and servants — all these are conscious that something warmer and ampler than the starved currents of their own being has flowed into their lives through him.

3. In a word, all life in man is consistent — the highest form of it with the lowest — the life of the soul with the life of the nerves. There are two sets of nerves, those of motion and those of sensation, running side by side like a railway with a double track. One set of nerves or tracks brings us the incoming trains — the tidings and influences from without; the other set dispatches the influences from within. To have both these sets of nerves constantly doing their duty — to have my eye and ear and the nerves which are connected with them correctly reporting to me the beauty and the melody that are outside, and then to have lips and every organ of expression accurately transmitting to others the thought and purpose that are within — this is life. But suppose that while my nervous system is receiving impressions it has become incapable of expression. It would be paralysis, and paralysis is simply an incipient form of death. Life is virtually impossible without expression, and that expression for ever betrays the man that is behind it. There are many who are trying to live to themselves in the sense that they are trying to keep the quality of their lives a secret. Let me exhort them to desist from such an impossible undertaking. The world will be quick to find out what brings the throb into your pulse and the light into your eye. And therefore your life will be worthier and happier if you frankly recognise that it is the law of your being to betray itself.

II. "NO MAN DIETH TO HIMSELF."

1. Does this mean that when a man comes to his death-bed, his end must needs reveal himself, and so strongly influence others? Hardly; for there is a physical terror of death which is the characteristic of certain timid and sensitive natures, and the more devout the character, the keener often is its dismay. And on the other hand, there are persons with such force of will, that the acted career they have been playing all along, they play with equal composure to the very end.

2. The significance of death is to be found in the temper and purpose with which it is contemplated and approached. Do we understand that the process of life is double, and that every step forward is a progress in decay and an experience of death? The worn-out weariness of the octogenarian utters itself, incipiently, in the tired slumber of the child. Man is acting, from the beginning, with a certainty in view. And how is he acting? Knowing that he will die, is he using his life as if it were a vestibule or a terminus? Conscious that a part of himself will drop away into the grave and a part endure beyond it, is he living for what will perish, or rather for what will last? For what is it that happens at death?(1) We have been too busy to recognise clearly the character and quality of a man who lived, it may be, right alongside of us. But suddenly he falls, and then all the past somehow pieces itself together and becomes an intelligible whole; and behind the mannerisms, or whatever it was that sometimes offended us, we see the shining track of a noble Christian life. And, looking back over such a pathway, we realise how "no man dieth to himself"; we see how death groups together and garners up the whole drift of the man's career, and we thank God for one more good example.(2) To such a portraiture there must needs be an opposite. Did you ever think to yourself with a shudder that you were glad some one was dead? Here is a life that; has touched nothing that it has not debased. But the misery of the death of a bad man is that it has so enormous a propagating power. Their burial galvanises into new life all the memories of their dreary past.

(Bp. H. C. Potter.)

to self: — The first question which arises as we meet these words is as to their scope and sweep. Must we not begin by putting them under limitations? Is it true? Are there not multitudes of persons who are living to themselves? We ought not to limit any truth until we find it impossible to do otherwise. Truth as it comes from the lips of a man specially endowed to speak it is always likely to be greater than our comprehension of it. First of all, we know, as a matter of fact, that no man is simply an individual. An individual life would have to start as it was said of the life of Melchisedek, without father and without mother. We all of us are related. Whether we choose to acknowledge it or not, the fact remains. We need not concern ourselves, however, about remote ancestries. Those immediately back of us have influenced us more or less. We see family likenesses extending not alone to facial expression, but family likenesses extending to character. If you find a proud and obstinate mother you are pretty sure in a family to find also a proud and obstinate son; if you find a weak and indolent father you will not be surprised if somewhere in the family you find a still weaker and more indolent daughter. Our relationships count for something. They are not mere matters of arrangement; or of convenience. Soul, as well as body, descends. And yet every man has something which individualises him. There is a spark as it were of spiritual life in every one of us, as there is a spark of electricity in every drop of water and in every grain of sand. Electricity in matter seems in a certain way, and remotely, to represent spirituality in mind. Very well, then, take only these two facts — the fact of relationship to others making our life a continuation of their life, and the fact of each of us having a distinct personality — and how mysterious it is! And yet nobody can deny the facts. Now this relation to others from whom we cannot free ourselves shows that the good in us and the evil in us are not entirely our own, and that no man can be judged simply as an individual. It is not our own till we adopt it as our own. Related all round as we are, then, does it not become clearer and clearer that the apostle simply indicates a universal law of life when he says, "For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself"? It is manifestly impossible that any man should live to himself in unrelated and uninfluential independence of others. Every man is related all round. Is it not clear that no good man lives to himself? The very idea of goodness implies unselfishness, kindness, sympathy. When a man intelligently and voluntarily co-operates with God, "lives unto the Lord," as St. Paul phrases it, then we all agree that he is not living to himself. And yet if we look into the matter sufficiently close we shall find that there is a sense in which a man is never so much living to himself or for his own interests as when he is voluntarily living to God. The laws of the universe are such that benevolence ultimately hangs up by the neck the man whose penuriousness has blinded his eyes to the fact that he has been occupying himself all his life, like Haman of old, in gallows-building. For living to himself, mark you, is an impossible task. In some degree or other every man is multiplying himself, his character does not remain at home, but it travels abroad. Is there not great comfort in the fact that no man can be good without doing good? We used to be taught in the days gone by that we must not think of ourselves, but we must be good and unselfish. Did we not feel at the time that there was something impossible and unnatural in that advice? Self is here with us, we cannot rid ourselves of it. The consciousness of self I cannot escape.

(Rouen Thomas, D.D.)

I. SENSES IN WHICH THIS IS TRUE.

1. That of personal influence over our fellows.(1) Many a godless man is encouraging himself in the way to perdition by some foolish or sinful word or deed of a professing Christian; and also many in whom all that is good dates from some solemn word said by a believer who never knew what that word was to do. And the humblest exercises this influence just as truly as the mightiest. The little child that died before it ever spoke an articulate sentence may have done more than the wisest and greatest to permanently affect the whole character and life of its parents. There is a sense in which the most selfish man cannot live and die to himself. He will influence by the tone and atmosphere of his life. Every professing Christian is an epistle known and read of all men. By his entire life he is saying, "One thing is needful: seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness"; or else, "All these things are very well to talk of, but give me the main chance."(2) And as we cannot live, neither can we die to ourselves. Our death is the testing-time of all our life, the thing that fixes the character of it all. And what different influences come from different deaths! Think of the hardening effect of a death of which you say, "Ah, he's gone; no great loss to anybody but himself"; and then think of the effect of a death about which you say, "Well, religion must be a real and wonderful thing to have kept a man up in suffering as it did there!" And very naturally Balaam's wish will follow.

2. That of mutual dependence. The work of many of you is rather for your children than for yourselves: and even the young should know that their parents' happiness is dependent on their turning out well. Effects, reaching to millions of people, come of causes in human beings thousands of miles away, and never seen nor known. A fancy, in a savage race, for some article of British manufacture, will increase the comforts of many homes in a great manufacturing town. Or a people arise in war for slavery; and the consequence is felt in trade and religion all over the world. We are gradually finding out that the welfare of one race or nation is the welfare of all. We are learning to cast away the infidel question, "Am I my brother's keeper?" and are learning instead those wise words of a heathen, "I am a human being, and I feel that I have something to do with everything human!" which are an echo of St. Paul's. Yes, my friend, there are some who could not do well for a while yet without you. There are those whom almost every human being would miss if he were taken away. Very few lives could be quenched without loss and grief to some one.

II. THE SENSE IN WHICH PAUL MEANT IT.

1. The text is a step in an argument. Paul has been arguing for toleration, and showing that though men may differ on points short of the great essential doctrines of salvation, they may yet be conscientious and devoted Christians. So we are to recognise as Christians all whom God would recognise. Everything the true Christian does, the apostle says he does as for his God and Saviour. "For none of us liveth unto himself," etc. And thus the great truth taught is that the Christian does not live to himself in the sense of thinking mainly of self. His will is subordinated to God's; his great end is not to get on in life, but rather "to glorify God and enjoy Him for ever." Now, in this sense of the phrase, many do live entirely to themselves and not at all to God. There are people who could not seriously say that, from Monday morning to Saturday night, they bestow any real thought on anything beyond the horizon of this world.

2. Here, then, we have a test by which to try the reality of our Christian profession and character. Would it be a safe thing for any one to say to this congregation, We differ one from another in a great many respects; but there is one thing in which we are all agreed, "None of us liveth to himself, and none of us will die to himself!" We are all living and will die to God. But this great test is one that is thoroughly accepted by people who are not Christians, who hold very cheap the fair words of the man in whom all is tainted with the plague-spot of selfishness. The great secret of usefulness is the ceasing to live to yourself! "They glorified God in me," said St. Paul of those who heard of his conversion; and God shall be glorified in each of us, whether in life or in death, if we be truly devoted to Him.

(A. K. H. Boyd, D.D.)

Do we all live up to the spirit of the text in our —

I. PRAYERS? The Lord s Prayer is all in the plural number. Our Saviour's prayers were and are essentially intercessory. So were Daniel's, Paul's, Jeremiah's, Abraham's. In fact, all the great prayers of the Bible are intercessory. But is it not with most of us, my wants, my sorrows, my difficulties, my soul? Is not the thought of others a very small part when you are upon your knees, and thanksgiving for others the smallest of all? May not this be a reason for the very few answers you have had? God turned the captivity of Job when he prayed for his friends. Inscribe it in your oratory as the life of your prayers — "None of us liveth to himself."

II. RELIGIOUS LIFE. The religion of most men consists of little more than going to church, reading religious books, and now and then talking to some religious person. Whereas every Christian is to be a leavening element, placed in this world to germinate and extend truth. Every feeling which God gives a man is the property of the Church and of the world.

III. CONVERSATION. The right rule for this is, that there should be a reciprocity, and that each person should try, according to the character of the persons to whom he is talking, to get good, or to do good, but the tendency is to think far more of the good we may get than of that we may give.

IV. RELIGIOUS VIEWS. Most of us live in a very narrow system of ideas. God forbid that we should be so liberal as to profess to find truth everywhere and leave it nowhere. But so the more essential truths are held, and the Lord Jesus is magnified, we ought not to break up the great continent of truth into so many little islands, on which each puny man takes his stand, and says, "This is the Church."

V. CHURCH WORK. Can it be a right state when, out of such a congregation as this, there is such a little band to be found of those who give themselves to any expressed work of usefulness? How many are living in their little daily circle, attending to their own health, or their own business, or their own souls! But will the kingdom of God ever be spread in this way?

(J. Vaughan, M.A.)

The Emperor Constantine said to one who was dissatisfied with every church he had attended, "Some are so supremely selfish that they would construct a special heaven for themselves and their friends."

(S. Milner.)

Of all things beware of that most mortal selfishness, that greedy selfishness, which makes a man unwilling to labour, for fear that somebody else will get the benefit of his labour instead of himself. Remember Him who for ever and for ever labours for something or somebody beside Himself. What can the sparrow give to God? And yet God every morning thinks of the sparrow. What can ten myriad, myriad worms on the earth give back to God? And yet God never forgets the worm. What return can the great tribe of insects make to God for His watchful care? Piping on their tiny instruments they can raise no song of praise worthy of His hearing. All living creatures on the broad universe receive God's benefaction; and it is His joy to work for their benefit.

(H. W. Beecher.)

? —

I. THE SETTING ASIDE OF SELF. Not annihilating it, but giving it its proper place. Selfishness is the master-sin, the master-curse of man. The selfish man is not like one looking round on a noble landscape, and forgetting himself in the beauty of the wide expanse, but like one carrying a mirror with him, so that every object is seen in connection with self, and is only admired as it helps to set off self. The apostle reverses all this. From the Christian's life, death, and all between, self has been displaced. The first setting aside of self is in the matter of justification before God; for, previously, man's object was to amend, improve, or mortify self, in order that he might recommend himself to God. The Holy Spirit, however, shows that self can contribute nothing towards man's acceptance with God. What is conviction of sin but just the setting aside of self? From that point it proceeds onwards throughout a man's whole life. Others may live and die to themselves, but not we who have been "bought with a price." How this —

1. Elevates life! That which degrades life is the introduction of self, but now life is lifted up into its true glory — the position which God originally designed for man.

2. Takes away life's littlenesses.

3. Establishes and strengthens life.

4. Secures us against all failure and disappointment.

II. THE SUBSTITUTE FOR SELF.

1. In the matter of our standing before God. As the first thing the Holy Spirit does is to set aside self, in the matter of justification and acceptance, so His next is to present to us the Son of God as the true ground of our acceptance. Having taken Him in the place of self, we find ourselves at once "accepted in the Beloved."

2. As the object for whom we live. In Him we find an object worth living for.(1) What solemnity is thus thrown over life! All its parts and movements are now consecrated to the Lord.(2) What dignity this imparts, both to life and death!(3) What importance now attaches to life! All triviality has passed out of it.(4) What an imperishable character is thus imparted to life! It was self formerly that ruined everything. He is come in, who is "the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever," and He imparts His immortality to us.(5) What an incentive to zeal this gives us!(6) What a reason for consistency and holiness of life! Everything we do tells, not merely upon our comfort, earthly prospects, good name, but upon the glory of Christ.

III. THE MANNER IN WHICH THIS SUBSTITUTION IS EFFECTED (ver. 9). Christ's claim over us as Jehovah is eternal, and nothing can be added to it. But His claim over us as the Christ is a superadded claim. This claim He has made good by His death and resurrection. Nor can any one dispute it or present a rival one, for no other has done what He did.

1. The least, then, that we can give Him is our life; the undivided service of our being, in every part.

2. Our death is to be His. In dying He thought on us; so in dying let us think on Him. Our death is to be for His glory.

3. Our eternity is to be His. He ever liveth for us; let us anticipate the ever living for Him.

(H. Bonar, D.D.)

1. One of the most remarkable phenomena in chemistry is that which is known as "catalysis," or the "action of presence" — so called because the mere presence of a certain substance among the atoms of another substance produces the most extensive changes upon these atoms; and yet the body thus operating is itself unchanged. Thus, e.g., starch is converted into sugar and gum, at a certain temperature, by the presence of an acid which does not participate in the change. A current of hydrogen gas directed upon a piece of polished platinum will take fire, and yet the platinum will remain completely unaltered. Very many of the most important actions of growth and decay, of life and death throughout the animal and vegetable kingdoms, are produced by this catalytic power. We find illustrations also in the attractions of cohesion and gravitation, in the resemblance of many animals to the soil on which they live, or the objects by which they are surrounded, and in the regional resemblance subsisting between all the plants and animals belonging to one continent and its dependencies. Ascending higher, we find the influence of this principle in the characteristic features of mental, moral, and physical likeness which the inhabitants of a particular district acquire; and in the resemblance so often noticed between the countenances of husband and wife who have lived long together.

2. But it is in the social world that we see the most striking examples. Human beings are unceasingly exerting unconscious influence upon one another, and producing results of the most vital and lasting importance. The very presence of some is like sunshine, while the society of others acts like a dark cloud. We feel at once at our ease in the presence of some people, and awkward and reserved in the presence of others. On a large scale we see the effects of the same law in the conventionalities of life, in fashions, in the enthusiasm of a crowd, in the panics of trade, and in moral epidemics.

3. The hem of Christ's garment was instinct with healing power; and the very shadow of the apostles shed silent virtue on the sick laid by the wayside. And so in a manner is it with Christians still. But this nameless influence is different in different cases. The natural man often shines through the new man, and produces an alien impression. One is morose and bigoted; his very presence acts like an acid. Another is Pharisaically strict, and makes sad the heart that God has not made sad. A third is morbid, oppressed with little fidgety difficulties and trials. All these Christians are, insensibly to themselves, producing an effect upon others quite contrary to what they wish: they are giving a wrong idea of their religion to the world. On the other hand, there are Christians who produce in others a sense of their close relation to God, and breathe around them an atmosphere as healthy and exhilarating as the air on a mountain-top. They give an adequate representation of what Christianity is and does. Note respecting this spiritual catalysis —

I. ITS TRUTHFULNESS. We say of children that they instinctively know those who love them, and go to such at once; while no kind words or sweet looks will allure them to the side of those who are not lovers of the little ones at heart. What is this but just the impression which a true character is making upon a heart gifted, by virtue of its simplicity, with an insight unknown to the wise and prudent? So also every one has noticed the fondness of animals for certain persons, and their aversion to others. Every Christian is producing two sets of influences. One is the involuntary influence of his real character; the other is the influence of what he says and does for a special purpose. Now these two currents may be opposed to one another. The character may be saying one thing, the lips and conduct another. But in vain does a man profess to be what he is not. The mask worn for a purpose continually slips aside, and reveals the natural face behind. There is a species of animalcule called Rotifera, living in tufts of mosses, which, when placed under the microscope, is found to be transparent as crystal. You see all its internal organs and the processes of life as you see the works of a watch through the glass. We are like this creature. I may not be able to tell why I think a certain person is not a genuine character, but I have an instinctive feeling that he is not what he pretends to be.

II. ITS CONSTANCY. Not more constantly is the sun shining, or a flower exhaling its fragrance, than the Christian is radiating or exhaling influence from his character upon those around him. What a man voluntarily chooses, says, or does, is only occasional. But what he is — that is necessarily perpetual. I cannot always speak a word for Christ, but I can always live for Him. The voluntary language of what I say or do is spasmodic, and liable to continual interruption; but the language of what I really am is as continuous as my life itself. Just as the leaven, by its mere presence, changes the particles of meal in the midst of which it is hid, so does each human being, by his mere presence, affect for good or evil those with whom he associates.

III. ITS RESPONSIBILITY. This we do not always acknowledge. We are responsible, we say, for the influence that we desire to produce upon others; but for the voluntary effect of our life, we think we are no more responsible than we are for the involuntary beating of our hearts. We cannot, however, thus repudiate our responsibility. For what is our character? The sum of our thoughts, feelings, and actions. This character we ourselves have formed, and while we cannot help the silent influence of our character, when formed, we are responsible for the formation of it. Our very accountability to God rests upon our ability to build up a good character; and if we are judged according to the goodness and evil of our character itself, we may certainly be held responsible for the good or evil influence which, unknown to us, it produces upon others. We cannot live in the world and escape this responsibility, because we cannot live in the world and not exert a moral influence upon others. The radiation of heat from one object to another, the equalisation of temperature, is not more certain in the physical world than the distribution of influence in the moral.

(H. Macmillan, D.D.)

I. THE POWER OF HUMAN INFLUENCE.

1. Nothing in the universe is self-contained. There is an intimate connection and mutual dependence existing between all things and beings. This is true in —(1) The angelic world (Hebrews 1.).(2) In the world of nature. Not a single atom of matter, ray of light, etc., stands alone. The fall of a bullet (so says Mr. Grove) "changes the dynamical condition of the universe." Bacon affirms that "All things that have affinity with the heavens move upon the centre of another which they benefit."(3) The human world. The interdependence of one another is an absolute fact. Isaac Taylor has well said, "On principles even of mathematical calculations each individual of the human family may be demonstrated to hold in his hand the centre lines of an interminable web-work on which are sustained the fortunes of multitudes of his successors."

2. Influence binds us to one another and the world. It is twofold.(1) Direct and palpable. Such is seen in the active employment of that moral power which we all possess, e.g., in teaching, etc.(2) Indirect and imperceptible. This is the most constant, uniform, and powerful. We all come beneath this law. Each soul born into this world increases or diminishes the sum total of human happiness or woe. Every deed, word, thought, and emotion must sometimes be known and influential. What an awful solemnity does this give the present life; how closely does it link the future with the present! "Yonder" is but an outgrowth of this "here" and "now."

II. HUMAN INFLUENCES SHOULD BE CONSECRATED TO GOD'S SERVICE.

1. God claims this power as peculiarly belonging to Him. His empire is as extensive as space and eternity, "He is sovereign Lord over life" and "death." Either with or against our wills, our influence must minister to His purposes.

2. The Christian who realises the principles of the text consciously and willingly consecrates this power, "his life," "his death" to God. In every state of being we belong to Christ.

3. All claims to service rest either upon —

(1)Ownership.

(2)Authority, or —

(3)Engagement. Upon each and all of these grounds God claims our conscious consecration.

III. THE ADVANTAGES RESULTING FROM AN UNRESERVED CONSECRATION OF INFLUENCE TO THE DIVINE SERVICE.

1. The end of life in its holiest and highest form is answered. The springs of an action determine its value, selfishness is adverse to usefulness. A disinterested Christian life alleviates much moral and physical misery.

2. Is the fountain of the purest and most permanent happiness.

3. Gilds the close of life with unspeakable light and peace.

(J. Foster, B.A.)

In a cemetery a little white stone marked the grave of a dear little girl, and on the stone were chiselled these words — "A child of whom her playmates said, 'It was easier to be good when she was with us'" — one of the most beautiful epitaphs ever heard of.

A gentleman was once lecturing in the neighbourhood of London. In the course of his address he said, "All have influence." There was a rough man at the other end of the room with a little girl in his arms. "Everybody has influence, even that little child," said the lecturer, pointing to her. "That's true, sir." cried the man. Everybody looked round, of course; but the man said no more, and the lecturer proceeded. At the close the man came up to the gentleman and said, "I beg your pardon, sir, but I could not help speaking. I was a drunkard; but as I did not like to go to the public-house alone, I used to carry this child. As I came near the public-house one night, hearing a great noise inside, she said, 'Don't go, father.' 'Hold your tongue, child.' 'Please, father, don't go.' 'Hold your tongue, I say.' Presently I felt a big tear on my cheek. I could not go a step farther, sir. I turned round and went home, and have never been in a public-house since — thank God for it. I am now a happy man, sir, and this little girl has done it all; and when you said that even she had influence I could not help saying, 'That's true, sir'; all have influence."

(Freeman.)

That which a man is, that sum total made up of the items of his beliefs, purposes, affections, tastes, and habits, manifested in all he does and does not, is contagious in its tendency, and is ever photographing itself on other spirits. He himself may be as unconscious of this emanation of good or evil from his character, as he is of the contagion of disease from his body, or, if that were equally possible, of the contagion of good health; but the fact, nevertheless, is certain. If the light is in him, it must shine; if darkness reigns, it must shade; if he glows with love, it will radiate its warmth; if he is frozen with selfishness, the cold will chill the atmosphere around him; and if corrupt and vile, he will poison it. Nor is it possible for any one to occupy a neutral or indifferent position. In some form or other he must affect others. Were he to banish himself to a distant island, or even enter the gates of death, he still exercises a positive influence, for he is a loss to his brother — the loss of that most blessed gift of God, even that of a living man to living men, of a being who ought to have loved and to have been beloved.

(N. Macleod, D.D.)

Great Thoughts.
"I live not wholly for myself," said a beautiful flower one fair morning, as it lifted to the sun its crest sparkling with dewdrops. "I live not wholly for myself. Mortals come and gaze on me, and breathe my fragrance, and go away better than they came; for I minister to their perceptions of the beautiful. I give to the bee his honey, and to the insect his food; I help to clothe the earth in beauty." "I live not wholly for myself," said a wide-spreading tree. "I give a happy home to a hundred living beings; I grant support to the living tendrils of the vine; I absorb the noxious vapours in the air; I spread a welcome shadow for man and beast; and I, too, help to make earth beautiful "I live not wholly for myself," said a laughing mountain streamlet. "I know that my tribute to the ocean is small, but still I am hastening to carry it there. And I try to do all the good I can on my way. The tree and the flower love my banks, for I give them life and nourishment; and even the grass which feels my influence has a greener hue. The minnows find life and happiness in my waters, though I glide onward only a silver thread; and men and animals seek my brink to assuage their thirst, and enjoy the shadow of the trees which I nourish. I live not wholly for myself." "I live not wholly for myself," said a bright-hued bird, as he soared upwards into the air. "My songs are a blessing to man. I have seen the poor man sad and despondent as he went home from his daily work, for he knew not how to obtain food for his little ones. Then I tuned one of my sweetest lays for his ear, and he looked upward, saying: 'Behold the fowls of the air; for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet my heavenly Father feedeth them. Am not I better than they?' and the look of gloom changed to one of cheerfulness and hope. I live not wholly for myself." "I live not wholly for myself," should be the language of every thinking, reflecting mind. It is the language of duty, guiding to the only paths of happiness on earth, and preparing the soul for unalloyed bliss throughout "the measureless enduring of eternity."

(Great Thoughts.)

The fact that no man can evade the responsibility of living either for good or for evil in this world, is strikingly set forth by Dr. Chalmers in the following weighty paragraph: — "Every man is a missionary now and for ever, for good or for evil, whether he intends it or designs it or not. He may be a blot, radiating his dark influence to the very circumference of society; or he may be a blessing, spreading benediction over the length and breadth of the world; but a blank he cannot be. There are no moral blanks; there are no neutral characters. We are either the sower that sows and corrupts, or the light that splendidly illuminates, and the salt that silently operates; but being dead or alive, every man speaks."

Look at those concentric rings growing wider and wider, rolling their fair ripples among the reedy sedge, tipping the overhanging boughs of yonder willow, stirring the nest of the startled water-hen, producing an influence, slight but conscious, to the farthest margin of the lake itself. That idle word — that word of heat or scorn — flung from my lips in casual company. "Oh," you say, "it produced a momentary impression upon the mind of those who listened to it, and that is all." No; it is not.:Believe me it is not. It deepened that man's disgust at godliness; and it sharpened the edge of that other man's sarcasm; and it shamed that half-convinced one out of his penitent misgivings; and it exerted an influence, slight but determining, upon the destinies of that immortal life. Oh, this is a terrible power that I have — this power of influence. And I cannot get rid of it. It clings to me like the shirt of Nessus upon Hercules. It looks through my eye: it speaks from my lips; it walks abroad with me. I cannot live to myself. I must either be a light to illuminate or a tempest to destroy.

(W. M. Punshon.)

The pulsations of the atmosphere, once set in motion by the human voice, cease not to exist with the sounds to which they gave rise. Strong and audible as they may be in the immediate neighbourhood of the speaker, and at the immediate moment of utterance, their attenuated force soon becomes inaudible to human ears. The waves of the air thus raised perambulate the earth and ocean's surface; and, in less than twenty hours, every atom of its atmosphere takes up the altered movement due to that infinitely small portion of the primitive motion which has been conveyed to it through countless channels, and which must continue to influence its path throughout its future existence. Thus considered, what a strange chaos is this wide atmosphere we breathe! Every atom, impressed with good and with ill, retains at once the motion which sages and philosophers have imparted to it, mixed and combined in ten thousand ways with all that is worthless and base. The air is one vast library, on whose pages are for ever written all that man has ever said, or woman whispered. There, in their mutable but unerring characters, mixed with the earliest as well as with the latest sighs of mortality, stand for ever recorded vows unredeemed, promises unfulfilled, perpetuating in the united movements of each particle the testimony of man's changeful will.

(Babbage.)

It is a high, solemn, almost awful thought for every individual man, that his earthly influence, which has had a beginning, will never, through all ages, were he the very meanest of us, have an end! What is done is done; has already blended itself with the boundless, everliving, ever-working universe, and will also work there, for good or for evil, openly or secretly, throughout all time.

The greatest works that have been done have been done by the ones. The hundreds do not often do much, the companies never do: it is the units, just the single individuals, that, after all, are the power and the might. Take any church, — there are multitudes in it; but it is some two or three that do the work. Look on the Reformation! — there might be many reformers, but there was but one Luther: there might be many teachers, but there was but one Calvin. Look ye upon the preachers of the last age, the mighty preachers who stirred up the churches — there were many coadjutors with them; but, after all, it was not Whitefield's friends, nor Wesley's friends, but the men themselves, that did it. Individual effort is, after all, the grand thing. A man alone can do more than a man with fifty men at his heels to fetter him. Look back through all history. Who delivered Israel from the Philistines? — it was solitary Samson. Who was it gathered the people together to rout the Midianites? — it was one Gideon, who cried, "The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!" Who was he that smote the enemy? — it was Shamgar, with his ex-goad; or it was an Ehud, who, with his dagger, put an end to his country's tyrant. Separate men-Davids with their slings and stones — have done more than armies could accomplish.

(C. H. Spurgeon)

Da Vinci's famous painting of "The Lord's Supper," originally adorning the dining.room of a convent, has suffered such destruction from the ravages of time, war, and abuse, that none of its original beauty remains. Yet it has been copied and engraved; and impressions of the great picture have been multiplied through all civilised lands. Behold a parable of posthumous influence.

"I have no more influence than a farthing rushlight," said a workman; to whom his friend gave reply, "Well, a rushlight does much. It may burn a haystack or a house — nay, it helps me to read God's Word. Go your way, and let your rushlight so shine before men that they may glorify your Father in heaven."

It is related that when Thorwaldsen returned to his native land with those wonderful marbles which have made his name immortal, chiselled with patient toil and glowing aspiration during his studies in Italy, the servants who opened them scattered upon the ground the straw in which they were packed. The next summer, flowers from the gardens of Rome were blossoming in the streets of Copenhagen from the seeds thus accidentally planted. The genius that wrought grandly in marble had unconsciously planted beauty by the wayside.

Many years ago an intelligent youth was apprenticed in the town of Peele. He had been piously trained by his good parents, but unhappily, having left home, he yielded to temptation, neglected the reading of his Bible, disregarded the Sabbath, and gave up prayer. John was gradually declining from bad to worse, when one night a new apprentice arrived. On being pointed to his little bed, the youth put down his luggage, and then, in a very silent but solemn manner, knelt down to pray. John, who was busily preparing for rest, saw this. He did not raise a laugh, as many youths would have done; conscience troubled him. God's Holy Spirit strove with him: it was the turning-point in his life. He again began to pray, sought the Saviour, and was enabled at length to rejoice as one of God's forgiven children. A few years afterwards he began to preach to others. He ultimately devoted himself altogether to the ministry, and became one of the most laborious, successful, and honoured of God's servants. His writings are to be found in many languages, and in almost every part of the world, and his name will probably be had in grateful remembrance as long as time shall last. A few years ago a funeral — such a funeral as is seldom seen — took place in one of our great manufacturing towns. Clergymen, ministers, civic authorities, merchants, and thousands of men of all classes were paying honour to the departed. Shops were closed, and the whole town seemed wrapt in mourning, as though some great prince had fallen. And who was the departed? None other than John Angell James, of Birmingham, the author of "The Anxious Inquirer," once the boy whose turning-point in life was brought about by the unflinching and devout example of his fellow-apprentice.

To whom, for whom do we live? This is a question of the utmost importance to everybody, even when we look at it singly; but this importance acquires an awful character when we cast our thoughts forward from this question to the next. To whom, for whom shall we die? And each person will have to make his own answer.

I. MOST MEN LIVE TO THEMSELVES. Some hunt after riches, others after pleasure, others after ease and comfort, others after power, others after honour and a good name, a few after knowledge; but all for themselves. However the tunes may change, the same keynote runs through them all — self, self, self. Where do we hear of any, labouring for the sake of gaining riches, pleasure, etc., for others? A few, indeed, here and there, are not unwilling to spend the odds and ends of their time for the good of others, who will eat the dinner themselves, and then call in their neighbours to pick up the crumbs under the table. Thus far the natural man may mount. But so long as our natural heart continues unchanged, so long will self be the idol which that heart worships, and the taint of selfishness cleave even to our least blamable actions.

II. HOW STRANGE THAT MEN SHOULD LIVE TO THEMSELVES! For we cannot fail to see that by our very nature we were made, not to live to ourselves, but to each other.

1. We are brought into the world by others. We cannot grow up without others; nor learn to walk, to speak, to do anything without others. All that we learn by reading we learn from others, most of whom have been long lying in their graves. The tea you drink comes from China; the cotton for your clothes from India or America.

2. It is impossible for any person to live wholly for himself; at least unless he shuts himself up in a cell or a wilderness. But this is an act so contrary to our nature, that no one would frame such a design, unless with a purpose of living, not for himself, but for God. In their ordinary condition men have numberless wants, which bind them together, and make them dependent on each other. The help, which, during the period of our entire helplessness, was given through the stirrings of natural affection, we cannot obtain, when we are grown up, except by helping others in turn. The richest man cannot live without the ministries of his poorer brethren: nor can he gain their help, except by making them in some measure sharers in his riches. The reason why, as society advances, men are set apart for different trades, is, because they will help each other far more than each man could ever help himself by following every trade at once.

III. MEN SHOULD NOT LIVE TO THEMSELVES, BUT TO GOD. The text is more especially meant as a warning against one particular branch of selfishness — self-will. It tells us that we are not to live according to our own will, but according to a higher will than our own.

1. This too is a lesson, which the whole order of our nature and condition in the world and the constitution of society are meant to teach us. It is plainly one of the reasons why we are born so helpless, and continue so long in childhood, in order that we may learn to obey, so that our stubborn will may be mortified and crushed. Again in after life, whatever we do, if we are to do it successfully, we must do patiently, obediently, conforming our will to nature, watching the course of the seasons, and ploughing and sowing accordingly, ministering to nature, to the end that nature may minister to us. Moreover, when men unite into societies, they are constrained to sacrifice, each his own will, to the will of the society, which is set up on high as law, and claims obedience from all.

2. Yet all these forces, mighty as they would seem to be, are totally unable to subdue our self-will. In spite of all the lessons of experience, we cling to the persuasion that happiness consists in having our own way, although no man ever had his own way without falling sooner or later into the bottomless pit.

3. Nor is there any power mighty enough to deliver us from the bonds of selfishness, except the free Spirit of Christ. We must learn to live to God, to do all things for His glory, and with an eye to His will, and we shall then learn to live for others. The Christian must endeavour to fashion himself after the perfect pattern set before him by his Lord. For Jesus lived not to Himself, but to God, not seeking His own happiness, but the happiness of all mankind. This was the very purpose for which He left His throne and died upon the Cross.

(Archdeacon Hare.)

I. IT IS GOD'S DESIGN THAT WE SHOULD NOT CONFINE OUR REGARDS TO OURSELVES, BUT EXTEND THEM TO OUR FELLOW-MEN. Various considerations may be presented in support of this proposition.

1. The duty relating to man enjoined in the moral law is, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."

2. This testimony of Scripture is confirmed by the gregarious tendencies of man. The instinct implanted in our nature by the Author of our being, which leads men to cling together and to form themselves into communities for mutual assistance and protection, affords no small proof of the Creator's design that they should be fellow-helpers of each other.

3. Additional confirmation of this truth may be found in our social relations.(1) Men cannot marry within certain limits of consanguinity without their offspring becoming degenerate. Thus God has placed the ban of His displeasure upon the exclusiveness of caste.(2) Rich and poor have to combine for the accomplishment of given ends. Without the combination of the one's capital with the other's labour, various results now obtained would not be realised. Capital can purchase the raw material; but how, without labour, can it be transported and manufactured? Labour, again, can build the house; but capital is necessary to procure the material and the site.(3) The division of labour and union of workmen teaches me the same truth. I cannot look on a building or a vessel without being reminded that such works could not have been produced by any number of individuals working in a state of isolation. To how many beside the agriculturist are we indebted for our food! To how many beside the draper for our clothing! It may be said, almost, that every man is indebted to every man, and that every man is to some extent the servant of the humblest man that lives. And it is with nations as with individuals. The superabundant produce of one may, for the profit of both, be exchanged with the manufacture of another, whose produce is insufficient to support its teeming population.

II. IT IS GOD'S DESIGN THAT WE SHOULD NOT LIVE TO OURSELVES, BUT FOR THE PROMOTION OF HIS GLORY.

1. The same law which requires us to love our neighbour as ourselves, also requires us to love God supremely.

2. The nature of man echoes this verdict of inspiration. When I look at heathen nations, I find them everywhere in their own way acknowledging their obligations to a God. There is a law written on every man's heart to the effect that as we are indebted to God for the origin and maintenance of our existence, we owe Him our supreme regard and constant service.

3. Our conviction is strengthened when we survey the external world.

(W. Landels.)

This is an instance of Paul's way of rising from a particular question to a general principle. A doubtful disputation springs up, on a small and narrow point of casuistry, as to meats or days. Instead of its being discussed by subtle argumentation and a fine balance of small reasons for and against, the case is at once carried into a region of spiritual thought and duty, from whence there may be got both a nearer insight into heaven and a larger oversight of earth.

I. the fact stated.

1. Negatively. There is a sense in which we speak of a man living to himself, when he acts with a selfish eye to his own interests or pleasure. Is this the explanation here? It might be so, were it not for what follows; for no selfish man dies for his own profit. When dying or not dying to one's self is connected with living or not living to one's self, it is plain that states of being, not Seeds or actions, must be intended. There can be no reference to what is matter of voluntary choice, but rather to what is ordered and arranged for us.(1) And in a sense the text is true of the unregenerate as well as of the regenerate.(a) I enter the busy hall of commerce or the haunt of gaiety and dissipation, and not one in either place is living really to himself. The life you are living, whether in the pursuit of gold or pleasure, is not indeed to yourselves. You heap up riches, and know not who shall gather them. You live in wantonness, but you live in vain. A man cannot isolate himself in this great and goodly universe of being. He cannot become either a hermit or a god.(b) And how awfully true is it of the ungodly that none of them dieth unto himself! Did any one of the company of Corah die to himself? Or take those who close a life of vanity with self-righteous decorum or mere slumbering insensibility, does any one of them die to himself for his own benefit, as if his death were for himself alone? How great, ye godless ones, is your madness! If you could live to yourselves, or die to yourselves, then indeed ye might have some apology for trifling as you now do with life's precious gift and death's awful doom.(2) But it is of believers that the apostle speaks. For the believer both life and death are invested with new character and value: and it must be with reference to this character and value that it is here said of him that he does not live or die to himself. Your new life and death, then, believers, are not to yourselves.(a) As if they belonged to you as being purchased or procured by you.(b) As if for your own sakes and on your own account merely they were given to you.(c) As gifts terminating in yourselves, They have respect to something out of and beyond yourselves.

2. Positively.(1) The life you have got is not only from Him; it is also and emphatically to Him. You are not made spiritually alive merely for your own comfort and peace. It is for Himself that He has redeemed and renewed and quickened you (Ezekiel 36:22; 1 Timothy 1:16).(2) And so also as to death. Very different, indeed, is your death from that of unregenerate men. Even they die unto the Lord, who endures with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction. But to you death is no more penal; it has no more sting. It is a falling asleep; a departing to be with Christ. And, with all its blessedness, it is unto the Lord. Your hopeful death, like your holy life, you owe to Him. And your being enabled thus to die is unto Him. He is glorified in your dying.

3. These views may tend to soothe our spirits, in the contemplation of the lives and deaths of God's people.(1) They often have a troubled course in life. But the explanation is found in this, that none of them liveth to himself. God has other ends to serve by it besides the believer's own peace, or even his salvation.(2) And to their death may this same consideration reconcile us. These deaths may seem to be, many of them, premature. One consolation we have in the assurance that for themselves to be with Christ is far better; but the text suggests that their death is not for their own sakes merely, but to advance the Lord's cause and promote the Lord's ends.

II. THE INFERENCE DEDUCED. "Whether we live or die, we are the Lord's."

1. All men are the Lord's, whether they will or no. It is true of unbelievers that living and dying you are the Lord's. He has you in His grasp, and you cannot escape. Ah! were either of these two things otherwise, your case might not be so desperate as it is. If your life and death were unto yourselves; or if you, living and dying, were still your own, you might have some apology for your unconcern, and for living and dying as you please. But do but consider what it is to belong absolutely and helplessly to that very Lord who tells you that, live and die as you may, it is to Him and to His ends. Oh! surely "it is hard for you to kick against the pricks!" Consider who this Lord is. Is it not He who, at a great price, has purchased this lordship over you, this ownership of you? It is Jesus who died and rose again, to whom the Father has given power over all flesh.

2. But again, I turn to you who believe.(1) It is your comfort to know that, whether you live or die, you are the Lord's; and very specially to know this in connection with the assurance which goes before. What a guarantee, both for the safe preservation and for the right ordering of your life, as a life that you live not unto yourselves, but unto the Lord! And if thus living unto Him, you are so securely His, how, as regards your dying, may you cast all your care upon Him!(2) The text is applicable for admonition as well as for comfort. It gives the death-blow to all selfishness, both as regards your judgment of others, and as regards your management of yourselves. For the fact that you live and die unto the Lord, makes you the Lord's in respect of your obligation, whether you live or die, to feel and own yourselves to be His, and to seek not your own ends, but His.

(R. S. Candlish.)

I. NO MAN LIVETH TO HIMSELF. This is essentially characteristic of the true Christian; for a man who lives to himself, by the sentence of the text, is not a Christian. The Christian —

1. Regards the great end of his being. Human existence must have an object. God acts not in anything without design. What am I? and, Why am I? are questions we ought frequently to ask; and he who acts according to the answer which the Scripture gives, will live not to himself, but to the Lord.

2. Habitually respects the approbation of God.(1) Through faith in the atoning sacrifice of Christ. For no man can be acceptable to God but through that.(2) Through the active employment of that moral power which faith in Christ gives to maintain that character, and to do those works which God approves.

3. Feels an interest in the cause of Christ. To live unto ourselves is quite incompatible with this. We must renounce either the one or the other. "If any man will be My disciple, let him deny himself."

4. Is concerned for the temporal miseries of his suffering fellow-men. He who lives to the Lord will follow His example in going about doing good. Nor is this work of charity obstructed by the most earnest concern for the salvation of men.

II. NO CHRISTIAN MAN DIETH TO HIMSELF. This is his reward for not living to himself. God takes his cause into His own hands, and binds up his death with His own plans.

1. It may be in judgment to others. So many prayers are lost to the world; an influence is withdrawn; a light is quenched; one fewer is left to stand between the living and the dead. It may be in judgment to families who have refused admonition, and to unfaithful churches, and to nations. Properly, indeed, do we often pray that God would spare useful lives.

2. It may be hastened in mercy to him. The righteous are often taken away from the evil to come.

3. It is deferred, in many cases, in mercy to others. He is sometimes to endure the evil to come, and his private feelings are to give place to the public good. Thus Jeremiah was doomed to weep over the destruction of his people. St. Paul desired to depart; yet it was needful for him to continue.

4. In all cases God is glorified by his death. Perhaps in extreme suffering we may show a power of patience, a great triumph, an abundant entrance into the kingdom of our Lord. Perhaps our death may be a calm dying into life; a summer wave gently rippling to the shore. It is enough. Let us live to Him, and in our death we shall glorify God.

III. HE IS THEREFORE THE LORD'S IN LIFE AND DEATH, to do His will, to be acknowledged, guarded, blessed, and honoured as His. The Christian man is the Lord's —

1. In life. Life includes —

(1)Our earthly blessings; and they are given as far as they really tend to our advantage.

(2)Our afflictions; for these we have comfort, support, and a glorious issue.

(3)The period in which we are to be trained up for the maturity of holiness.

2. In death. The Christian man has served in the outer apartments of the house; he is now called into the presence-chamber.

(R. Watson.)

I. THE NEGATIVE PRESENTMENTS OF THE TRUTH INVOLVED.

1. None of us ought to live to himself; for God has an original claim upon the service of every one of us, based upon the right of creation, the mercy of continued being, the mystery of redemption, the derivation from Him of a spiritual nature, gifts, and covenants, and revelations, and hopes of heaven.

2. None of us can do so. We have duties to discharge, which it must be to the injury of others if we neglect; a moral example to hold up, which must influence, either for good or evil, some subordinate mind. A man cannot dwell apart; nor divest himself of the necessity of doing some good or harm every day.

3. Nor is this view to be limited to the present generation. Our good or our evil deeds live after us. No man dieth to himself. We believe in the joyous meetings of the redeemed. To their unutterable sorrow the ungodly shall have meetings likewise, as well with those whom they have tempted, as with those who have tempted them.

II. THE AFFIRMATIVE VIEW.

1. "For whether we live, we live unto the Lord." This expression —(1) Implies the possession of a life derived from, centred in, devoted to Christ. A man must live before he acts.(2) Asserts a great rule of duty. We "live unto the Lord" when we live for the good of His people, for the honour of His cause, for the extension of His Church, for the glory of His name. And the consciousness that we are so living, and must so live, is one of the first indications of the renewed mind.

2. "Whether we die, we die unto the Lord."Christians can neither live useless lives, nor die useless deaths.

1. God gets to Himself honour from the dying hours of a Christian by the blessing to survivors, often occasioned by the affecting circumstances of his removal. A man may be permitted to win souls to Christ by his death, whom he could never win to seriousness in his life.

2. A good man dies unto the Lord, because his removal may assume the aspect of a witness or a judgment, and so become a vindication to a faithless world of the rectitude of our Maker's ways. It is the world's loss; the loss of so many fervent prayers, so much of beneficent influence, so much of bright example to lure to heaven and lead the way.

3. A Christian "dies unto the Lord," because he dies to the glory of the Lord; to the honour of His grace, to the vindication of His faithfulness, to the magnifying of His gospel, to the illustration of His unchanging love, to the swelling of His redeeming triumphs in the life of the world to come. He dies to the Lord who dies in the Lord.

4. "Whether, therefore, we live or die, we are the Lord's." Such is the apostle's conclusion of the whole matter. It tells of —(1) Our safety in all worldly changes. The Great Ruler of the universe has a property in us, and He will guard and keep His own.(2) Our original; of our kindred with immortal natures; of our designation to endless life.(3) Our perseverance in faith and holiness, and of our final triumph over death and the grave. Jesus "having loved His own which were in the world, loves them unto the end."'

(D. Moore, M.A.)

The context suggests —

1. That there is a variety of grades in Christian attainments — "weak in faith" and the "strong." The causes of this diversity are difference in mental capacity, methods of education, in the period of adopting Christianity, in the means of improvement and the manner of employing them, etc.

2. That those in the lowest grades of Christian attainment have generally displayed an undue attachment to religious ritualism. "Another who is weak, eateth herbs."

3. That the lowest grades, who act in conformity with their sincere conviction, demand the generous respect of all. "Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not." Had this always been acted upon the Church would have been spared all acrimonious controversies, schisms, and persecutions.

4. That the grand characteristic common to every grade in Christian attainment is devotedness to the Lord (ver. 6). The text is but an amplification of this idea.

I. CHRIST IS THE SOVEREIGN OF THE CHRISTIAN'S INNER LIFE. "We live unto the Lord." Whatever power controls the soul is the true sovereign. The political Caesars are but impotent pretenders compared with this. The supreme love is ever this power. The text suggests in relation to this inner sovereignty of Christ —

1. That it is a principle of rule which stands opposed to all personal aims. "None of us liveth unto himself." There is a sense in which no man can live unto himself. Man is a link in the vast chain of being. He cannot move without influencing others. But what the apostle means is, that we Christians live not to self as a supreme end. Whilst it is the glory of man's nature that he cannot live unto himself, it is his shame that he will strive to do so. Is there a crime on the black scroll of human depravity that may not be traced to this source? Now, St. Paul intimates that living unto the Lord is the very opposite of this; it is to live as He lived who "pleased not Himself."

2. That it is a principle of rule held supreme amidst all the variations of life. "We live." "We die." It is not long since we commenced life: not far hence we shall close it. Now, the Christian holds the principle of Divine rule within him supreme amidst all these changes, even in the greatest death itself. "Not My will, but Thine, be done." Perhaps these variations are but the types of future changes. Eternity is not a scene of monotony. Death here, to the good man, is but an out-birth to a higher life; and may it not be that holy souls will emerge into higher, and still higher, forms of being for ever? But there will never be a change as to this governing principle of the soul. But why yield up our existence so entirely to the influence of another?(1) It is the only course congenial with our spiritual being. To live to self is to offer the greatest indignity to that soul whose relations are infinite, and whose sympathies were intended to compass the world. Happiness is defined as loving and being loved. But the selfish man has no generous love within him; and because of this others have no heart to love him. The soul must go out of self, and be filled with God in order to fill self with joy.(2) It is the only course agreeable to the universal law of right. We are absolutely the Lord's. To consecrate our all to Him is therefore our "reasonable service."(3) It is the only course that will ensure the approbation of God. God's smile is the glory of heaven, and His frown the midnight of hell. Surely, then, to seek His favour is the highest dictate both of wisdom and duty. And those who now, and at the last day, will secure the "Well done!" are those who are inspired and ruled by the benevolent spirit of Jesus.

II. CHRIST IS THE SOVEREIGN OF HIS OUTERLIFE (ver. 9).

1. Let it not be supposed that He is the Sovereign of both in the same sense.(1) His sovereignty over the inner life is dependent upon individual choice. For Jesus to force His way to power over the human heart would be to destroy human responsibility. Nothing can rule the soul that it does not love, and there is no power that can force it to love. This inner sovereignty, then, is by the suffrage of mind. "We are made willing." But not so with the outer. Christ sits on His throne independent of the volitions of the universe. "He must reign"; to Him every knee shall bow.(2) His sovereignty over the inner life is a Christian virtue. To be ruled by the benevolent spirit of Christ has ever been felt and acknowledged praiseworthy. But the sovereignty of Christ over our outward circumstances is not to us a virtue. We had no power in raising Him to the throne, nor does His continuance there depend on us.(3) His sovereignty over the inner life is limited. In every age the numbers who have spiritually yielded to His sceptre have been few comparatively; but this external government stretches over the race, as it exists here, and in eternity, "the dead and the living."(4) His sovereignty over the inner life is ever a blessing, but over the outer it is frequently a tremendous curse. The man who enjoys His inner reign, exults beneath His outward sceptre. But the man who rebels against Him in his heart, writhes under His external authority. The mighty forces of government, which work in favour of willing subjects, proceed in dread array against Him as a rebel.

2. The basis and extent of Christ's outward authority.(1) It is founded on His death and resurrection. It is here implied that these facts occurred by Christ's own personal intention.(a) "For to this end He died." Not because of any law of mortality or violence, but simply because He purposed it (Hebrews 2:14). Have you anything analogous to this in the history of our world? It may be said that many men have been found willing to die; but their willingness was nothing more, at most, than a desire to die now rather than then. The question never rested with them to decide whether they would die or not. But Christ chose to die, whilst He might have avoided it for ever (John 10:17, 18). But wherein is the moral propriety of this? To die by self-resolution, what is it but suicide? The reply is this: that Christ was what no man is — the Proprietor of His own existence.(b) He rose as well as died, by His own personal purpose. It is not said that He was revived, but that He revived. This is wonderful, and there is but one way of explaining it: Jesus was God-man. The man-nature died, and the God-nature revived it. Now, these two facts are the basis of His mediatorial authority. "I am He that liveth and was dead, and am alive again, and have the keys of death and hell."(2) This outward authority extends ever the "dead and living."Conclusion: If Christ is the "Lord of the dead and the living," then —

1. There is nothing accidental in human history. He presides over all the acts of our being.

2. The departed are still in existence. Had the apostle believed that all that remained of the dead was the dust that lay in their graves, would he have spoken of Jesus as their Lord?

3. Death is not the introduction to a new kingdom.

4. We may anticipate the day when death shall be swallowed up in victory.

(D. Thomas, D.D.)

When our Lord had reached the end of His redeeming work He announced to His Church, "All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth." This explained the whole mystery of His life on earth, and connected it with His future reign in heaven. The text is an echo of the Saviour's final saying.

I. THE REDEEMER'S DOMINION OVER MEN. This is declared to be the end of His ministry on earth.

1. His death was a means to an end.(1) This great intention pervades the Scriptures. It was the eternal purpose of the Trinity, the meaning of the first promise, the keynote of psalm and prophecy. When He came it was a King that angels worshipped. His miracles were wrought to illustrate His kingship, and His teaching was based upon it. In the agony of death He spoke in the spirit of a King.(2) Without His death this dominion could not be reached. He might have come as the Son of God incarnate to assume His rightful sway, but that could only have been in wrath to vindicate His Father's violated law, and hence would have been the ruin of our race. But the government He came to obtain demanded that man should be redeemed from another power and then brought back to his lost estate of obedience and love.(a) Sin had dominion over man in virtue of the penalty of violated law. The Redeemer died to atone for sin, to absorb its sentence in Himself, and thus to reign in the bestowment of pardon and peace.(b) Sin had dominion over man through the law of evil ruling in his nature. By His atoning death the Redeemer obtained for man the Spirit of a new life making him free from the law of sin and death.

2. His resurrection declared that His end was attained, and that His empire was won.

II. THE ADMINISTRATION OF THAT DOMINION

1. Its extent. The words "Lord of the dead and living."(1) Place the whole race under Christ's feet.(a) The phrase gives mankind its distinct definition. Elsewhere the Redeemer's dominion is the entire creation.(b) It suggests the whole sad history of our ruin and wretchedness. We are a dying race, from generation to generation succumbing to our mortal enemy. But our Redeemer is ruling over our ruin and translating it into salvation. Our death His government turns to life.(c) It is not, however, the living and the dead, but the dead and living. The dead must have the pre-eminence, for they are the bulk of our race, sanctified to our thought by their mystery and multitude.(d) But it is the language of mortals. Christ has no dead subjects. All live to Him, as He told the Sadducees.(e) It prescribes the limits of the Redeemer's lordship which is to last while mankind are made up of dead and living. When death is swallowed up in victory it will cease, and God shall be all in all.(2) Distribute our Lord's dominion over two provinces.(a) He is the Lord of the world of disembodied spirits. He entered this world and Death yielded Him the keys which had been His from the beginning, but now became His by another right. But here the light fails us, and the evangelical record which follows the Lord's passion to His final cry suspends its story till He opens His lips to Mary; and we do well to respect its silence. The same restraint is laid upon us when we speak of the nature of Christ's empire here. Concerning one great province, that tenanted by those who died without the gospel, all we can say is that Christ is their Lord. Concerning those who have sinned against all revelation, inward and outward, He is their Lord too, and only their Lord. Over the remaining province, paradise, Christ rules, but there He also is, and all who enter follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth.(b) We must now return to the living. He is their absolute Lord. It is the probation of every man who hears the gospel to accept or reject His sway. Rejection of that sway seals every man's fate; while acceptance is the foundation of personal religion.

2. Its character (ver. 7). The Lord to whom we have submitted has become —(1) The director of our being. We live unto the Lord. His loyal subjects have renounced self, and taken Him to be their supreme Lord (ver. 6).(2) The disposer of our being. We die to the Lord. Death is part of our sum of duty.

(W. B. Pope, D.D.)

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