Romans 16:10
Greet Apelles, who is approved in Christ. Greet those who belong to the household of Aristobulus.
Sermons
Two HouseholdsAlexander MaclarenRomans 16:10
Apostolic Commendations and CautionsU. R. Thomas.Romans 16:1-16
Apostolic GreetingsT. Robinson, D.D.Romans 16:1-16
Christian LoveJ. Lyth, D. D.Romans 16:1-16
Personal MessagesArchdeacon Farrar.Romans 16:1-16
Romans, But not RomanistsC. H. Spurgeon.Romans 16:1-16
The Conclusion of the EpistleJ. Parker, D.D.Romans 16:1-16
The Conclusion of the Epistle as a Revelation of Paul's CMatthew Henry.Romans 16:1-16
The SalutationsJ. Brown, D.D.Romans 16:1-16
The SalutationsW. Brock.Romans 16:1-16
The Salutations of St. PaulA. Thomson, D. D.Romans 16:1-16
The Salutations to the Church At Rome Prove that ChristianityJ. Lyth, D.D.Romans 16:1-16
The True AristocracyD. Thomas, D.D.Romans 16:1-16
The Truly Honourable in the Church of ChristJ. Lyth, D.D.Romans 16:1-16
Whom Does the Apostle Distinguish as Worthy of the Highest EstimationJ. Lyth, D.D.Romans 16:1-16
Words of Counsel for a Christian ChurchC.H. Irwin Romans 16:1-19
Christian SalutationsT.F. Lockyer Romans 16:1-16, 21-23
Salutations and BenedictionsR.M. Edgar Romans 16:1-27
AmpliasT. Robinson, D.D.Romans 16:8-11
Amplias the Beloved in the LordJ. Lyth, D.D.Romans 16:8-11
ApellesF.A. Cox, LL.D.Romans 16:8-11
Apelles was a Tried ChristianJ. Brown, D.D.Romans 16:8-11
Every Christian Worker Shall be RecognisedGreat ThoughtsRomans 16:8-11
The Tomb of AmpliasChristian CommonwealthRomans 16:8-11
Unknown ChristiansJ. Brown, D.D.Romans 16:8-11
Urbane and StachysJ. W. Burn.Romans 16:8-11
Aristobulas' HouseholdArchdeacon Gifford.Romans 16:10-11
Aristobulus' HouseholdJ. Brown, D.D.Romans 16:10-11
Asyncritus and His CompanionsJ. Lyth, D.D.Romans 16:10-11
Labour in the LordAbp. Sumner.Romans 16:10-11
My Kinsman HerodionJ. Lyth, D.D.Romans 16:10-11
RufusT. Robinson, D.D.Romans 16:10-11
RufusJ. Lyth, D.D.Romans 16:10-11
The Household of NarcissusJ. Brown, D.D.Romans 16:10-11
The Household of NarcissusJ. Lyth, D.D., J. Lyth, D.D.Romans 16:10-11
The Households of Aristobulus and NarcissusA. Maclaren, D.D.Romans 16:10-11
The Portrait of a Christian WomanT. S. Dickson, M.A.Romans 16:10-11
Tryphena and TryphosaJ. W. Burn.Romans 16:10-11
Uncalendared SaintsJ. Ossian Davies.Romans 16:10-11
Uncalendared SaintsJ. H. Yeoman.Romans 16:10-11
Valuable DustW. M. Taylor.Romans 16:10-11
It is not without significance that this, the most abstruse and difficult of all the Epistles, should have appended to it the longest list of friendly greetings. Doctrine and argument are not necessarily productive of coldness of heart. The apostle was a beautiful example of the blending of the philosopher and the gentleman. Deep thought and elevated diction were not joined to forgetfulness of the courtesies of life. The true refinements of society are worthy of attention; they lessen the friction and harsh grating of the wheels of the machinery. Lofty pillars and strong buttresses may be graceful as well as useful. Of course, reality is ever preferable to mere show, and a rough demeanour covering sincere affection is better than superficial politeness. The tribute of respect which is here paid to Andronicus and Junias suggests several considerations.

I. THE BOND OF NATURAL KINSHIP IS IMMENSELY STRENGTHENED BY A COMMON RELIGIOUS FAITH. A philosophical Utopia which annuls special forms of alliance overlooks a fundamental element of our human constitution. A man's regard for his own family is the first fulfilment of the law to love his neighbour. From this starting-point affection may branch out in all directions. The apostle noted as one of the signs of a corrupt condition that men were "without natural affection." And though our Lord would not permit family claims to interfere with discipleship, he yet rebuked the Pharisees for encouraging gifts to the temple from men who left their own parents in want. 'The Saviour made provision for his mother's comfort even amid the agony of the cross. Christianity may divide some households like a sword and fire, but where the members all receive the gospel, their earthly love is cemented, transfigured, eternalized by loyalty to the same Lord, and participation in the same heavenly hopes and aims. Like Andrew, who brought his own brother to Christ, should our efforts first be directed to the salvation of our own relatives and countrymen.

II. THE SINCERITY OF OUR RELIGION IS PROVED BY FELLOWSHIP IN SUFFERING. Andronicus and Junias had shown, by sharing the imprisonment of the apostle, that they were more than fair-weather Christians. Their fortitude increased the apostle's affection and esteem. They had flinched not when trial came, but underwent shame and loss for Jesus Christ. The Church has always need of stout-hearted disciples, ready to face obloquy, ridicule, poverty, rather than sacrifice principle. We could envy these Christians their imprisonment with the apostle. Who could not wish to be Silas to join Paul in his hymns and prayers in the stocks? One of the inmates of Bunyan's jail was permitted to take the manuscript of the immortal ' Pilgrim's Progress ' and peruse it quietly in his own cell. Fancy being the first reader, permitted to pass judgment upon the work and to urge its publication! To suffer together in a righteous cause has ever bound men to each other in mutual respect and sympathy. Even the Peuinsular and the Crimean veterans have liked to commemorate their common deeds of prowess by annual celebrations. If the apostle was not oblivious of the endurance of these Christians, we may be sure that One on high has never forgotten them. No act of heroism is unregistered in heaven. "Ye are they who have continued with me in my temptations."

III. IT WAS NO ORDINARY HONOUR TO BE OF HIGH REPUTE AMONG THE LEADERS OF THE CHURCH. From a passage in the Acts we learn that Paul had relatives at Jerusalem who were interested in him, and these mentioned in the text may have belonged to that family well known at the apostolic head-quarters. No true man is insensible to the good opinion of men of acknowledged worth. It was one of the qualifications of a bishop that he should "have a good report of them that are without." How easy is it to value the suffrages of worldly society more than the esteem of the followers of Jesus! Yet the applause of the world is an empty breath, the praise of the newspapers soon dies away, military glory is a "bubble reputation." The desire of fame is one of the strongest passions. Eratostratus burnt the temple at Ephesus to secure notoriety. The gospel does not scorn these natural forces, but utilizes them by refining and purifying our motives. It persuades us to approve ourselves to him who searches the heart and tries the reins, whose eyes are as a flame of fire. "I know thy works and thy charity, thy service, and faith, and patience." Voltaire lamented on his death-bed, "I have swallowed nothing but smoke; I have intoxicated myself with the incense that turned my head." "A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches."

IV. THEIR PROFESSION STOOD THE TEST OF YEARS. The apostle does not omit to notice their early conversion. They "were in Christ before" him. In any case disciple- stop signified a sharp struggle, and a wrench from old associations. One's real age is determined ethically, not physically. Seniority in Church-membership is not to take precedence of spiritual gifts, but demands courteous recognition. "Ye youngers submit yourselves unto the elder." Age is doubly venerable when like a mellow sunset it crowns a Christian day. We may well ask whether we have advanced in knowledge, spirituality, and usefulness, as others have who commenced with us the Christian race. Are we lagging behind, whilst they have marched to the front? That is a happy competition to be "first in Christ." There is room for all; there need be no disappointed competitors. To be "out of Christ" is to be hopeless and undone. Shall parents and friends press forward to the Master's feet while we remain irresolute, undecided? The law is, "He that asketh, receiveth." Paul outstripped many apostolic compeers. - S.R.A.







Them which are of Aristobulus' household.
We do not know anything about these two persons, men of position evidently, who had large households. But learned commentators of the New Testament have advanced a very reasonable conjecture in regard to each of them. As to the first of them, Aristobulus — that wicked old King Herod, in whose life Christ was born, had a grandson of the name, who spent all his life in Rome, and was in close relations with the emperor of that day. He had died some little time before the writing of this letter. As to the second of them, there is a very notorious Narcissus, who plays a great part in the history of Rome just a little while before Paul's period there, and he, too, was dead. And it is more than probable that the slaves and retainers of these two men were transferred in both cases to the emperor's household and held together in it, being known as Aristobulus's men and Narcissus's men. And so probably the Christians among them are the brethren to whom these salutations are sent.

I. THE PENETRATING POWER OF CHRISTIAN TRUTH. I think of the sort of man the master of the first household was if the identification suggested be accepted. He is one of that foul Herodian brood, in all of whom the bad Idumaean blood ran corruptly. The grandson of the old Herod, the brother of Agrippa of the Acts of the Apostles, the hanger-on of the Imperial Court, with Roman vices veneered on his native wickedness, was not the man to welcome the entrance of a revolutionary ferment into his household; and yet through his barred doors had crept quietly, he knowing nothing about it, that great message of a loving God, and a Master whose service was freedom. And in thousands of like cases the gospel was finding its way underground, undreamed of by the great and wise, but steadily pressing onwards, and undermining all the towering grandeur that was so contemptuous of it. So Christ's truth spread at first; and I believe that is the way it always spreads.

II. THE UNITING POWER OF CHRISTIAN SYMPATHY. A considerable proportion of the first of these two households would probably be Jews — if Aristobulus were indeed Herod's grandson. The probability that he was is increased by the greeting interposed between those to the households — "Salute Herodian." The name suggests some connection with Herod, and whether we suppose the designation of "my kinsman," which Paul gives him, to mean "blood relation" or "fellow-countryman," Herodian, at all events, was a Jew by birth. As to the other members of these households, Paul may have met some of them in his many travels, but he had never been in Rome, and his greetings are more probably sent to them as conspicuous sections, numerically, of the Roman Church, and as tokens of his affection, though he had never seen them. The possession of a common faith has bridged the gulf between him and them. Slaves in those days were outside the pale of human sympathy, and almost outside the pale of human rights. And here the foremost of Christian teachers, who was a freeman born, separated from these poor people by a tremendous chasm, stretches a brother's hand across it and grasps theirs. The gospel that came into the world to rend old associations and to split up society, and to make a deep cleft between fathers and children and husband and wife, came also to more than counterbalance its dividing effects by its uniting power.

III. THE TRANQUILISING POWER OF CHRISTIAN RESIGNATION. They were mostly slaves, and they continued to be slaves when they were Christians. Paul recognised their continuance in the servile position, and did not say a word to them to induce them to break their bonds. Of course, there is no blinking the fact that slavery was an essentially immoral and unchristian institution. But it is one thing to lay down principles and leave them to be worked in and then to be worked out, and it is another thing to go blindly charging at existing institutions and throwing them down by violence, before men have grown up to feel that they are wicked. And so the New Testament takes the wise course, and leaves the foolish one to foolish people. It makes the tree good, and then its fruit will be good. But the main point that I want to insist upon is this: what was good for these slaves in Rome is good for you and me. Let us get near to Jesus Christ, and feel that we have got hold of His hand for our own selves, and we shall not mind very much about the possible varieties of human condition.

IV. THE CONQUERING POWER OF CHRISTIAN FAITHFULNESS. It was not a very likely place to find Christian people in the household of Herod's grandson, was it? Such flowers do not often grow, or at least not easily grow, on such dunghills. And in both these cases it was only a handful of the people, a portion of each household, that was Christian. So they had beside them, closely identified with them — working, perhaps, at the same tasks, I might almost say chained with the same chains — men who had no share in their faith or in their love. It would not be easy to pray, and love and trust God and do His will, and keep clear of complicity with idolatry and immorality and sin, in such a pigsty as that; would it? But these men did it. And nobody need ever say," I am in such circumstances that I cannot live a Christian life." There are no such circumstances, at least none of God's appointing. There are often such that we bring upon ourselves. And then the best thing is to get out of them as soon as we can. But as far as He is concerned, He never puts anybody anywhere where he cannot live a holy life.

(A. Maclaren, D.D.)

Aristobulus was probably Aristobulus the younger (Joseph. Antiq. 20., 1, 2), the grandson of Herod the Great, and brother of Agrippa and Herod, kings of Judaea and Chalcis, who lived in Rome in a private station (Joseph. Jewish Wars II. 11, 6), and died there not before A.D. 45. Being very friendly to the Emperor Claudius (Joseph. Ant l. c.) he may have bequeathed his slaves to him, and they thus become part of Caesar's household, though still distinguished by the name of their late master. As servants of Aristobulus many of them would naturally be Jews, and so likely to become hearers of the gospel.

(Archdeacon Gifford.)

It deserves notice that Paul does not send his Christian remembrances to Aristobulus, but to his household. Perhaps he was dead, or not a Christian. A Christian man may not have a Christian household, and a family may be all Christians with the exception of its head. It is a happy thing when the whole of a family is Christian, not in name merely, but in deed and truth; when as in the case of Lydia and the gaoler salvation comes not only to the heads of a family but "to all their house." It is not always so; and when it is not so, Christians in unchristian families have a peculiar claim on the kind notice of Christian ministers.

(J. Brown, D.D.)

Herodion my kinsman
I. HIS PRIVILEGE. Relationship.

1. To an apostle.

2. To Christ.

II. HIS CLAIM TO REMEMBRANCE.

1. Dear as a relative.

2. Dearer still as a Christian brother.

(J. Lyth, D.D.)

Them that be of the household of Narcissus, which are in the Lord
As in the case of Aristobulus, the salutation is not sent to Narcissus, but to those of his household — not to all, but to that part of it which was Christian. This Narcissus probably was the favourite freedman of Claudius, a very rich but a very wicked man. Very good men may be domestics of bad men. Obadiah, who "feared the Lord from his youth" and "feared Him greatly," was a steward of Ahab, one of the worst of the Israelitish kings. A venerable Scotchman occupied a confidential place in the household of one of the most dissolute of our princes, and might be found at midnight and after it in his little chamber reading Marshall on "Sanctification," or Boston's "Crook in the Lot," while waiting the returner his master and his companions from their midnight revels. Christians do not act like themselves when they place themselves in ungodly families; but as in the cases referred to, they may obviously be placed there by Providence, and when they are so, they have peculiar opportunities for "adorning the doctrine of God our Saviour," and "holding forth the word of life," and are specially entitled to kind notice from their minister.

(J. Brown, D.D.)

Divided —

I.IN THEIR VIEWS OF CHRIST — some in Christ — some not.

II.IN THEIR OBJECTS AND AIMS.

III.IN THEIR ENJOYMENTS.

IV.IN THEIR ESTIMATION OF THE APOSTLE.

V.IN THEIR PROSPECTS.

(J. Lyth, D.D.)

Tryphena and

Tryphosa, who labour in the Lord... the beloved Persis, which laboured much in the Lord. —

1. It is good to labour in the Lord.

2. It is better to labour much.

3. Best of all to deserve the Christian title "beloved."

(J. Lyth, D.D.)

Learn —

I. THAT BAD NAMES NEED NOT HINDER GOOD SERVICE. "Tryphena" means wanton, and "Tryphosa" luxurious. We should hardly expect excellence of any kind from persons bearing such names as these; yet, notwithstanding their names, they laboured in the Lord. The worst names have been attached to the best men — Quakers, Methodists, Ranters, etc.; and the men thus designated have not taken the trouble to repudiate their designations, but have, through evil report, "laboured in the Lord." An evil name, however, is a serious disadvantage, and parents cannot be too careful in avoiding the selection of names for their children of which in after life they may be ashamed.

II. SINFUL WOMEN MAY BECOME USEFUL SAINTS. It is not improbable that these names were deserved, and were used to designate a certain class. If so, note —

1. The power of Divine grace. Rahab, the woman of Samaria, the woman in Simon's house, are proofs that, under the gospel, the most wanton may become pure; and the history of Christian enterprise teems with instances of those who, bred in the lap of luxury, have become the most laborious in the cause of Christ. They have had much forgiven, because they have loved much, and their much love has constrained them to a life of intense devotion.

2. The magnanimity and courage of the apostle. People of this class are usually shunned, even after strong and varied proof of change of heart and life; men and women are afraid of compromising their reputation by associating with them. but in Paul's case the disciple was not above his Master, who gloried in the title of "the friend of publicans and sinners."

III. COMPANIONSHIP DESECRATED BY SIN MAY BE CONSECRATED BY GRACE. These women, if not sisters, were doubtless friends before their conversion. If one sinner destroyed much good, two sinners, acting in conjunction, will destroy very much more — and sinners usually act in company. The same holds good in an opposite way, when converted men and women act in concert. "Two are better than one." Conclusion:

1. There is encouragement under the most discouraging circumstances for earnest Christians.

2. There is hope for the most abandoned.

3. Converted men and women should seek to make their companions in sin companions in Christian service.

(J. W. Burn.)

Persis was —

I. A CHRISTIAN.

1. She occupies a place in a list of Christians.

2. She must have been "in Christ," or she could not have laboured for Him.

II. A LOVABLE CHRISTIAN. Not merely known to and esteemed by Paul, but one whose sweet disposition endeared her to all with whom she came in contact. Christians should manifest the power of grace in their tempers. The more real and deep the inner, the more sweet and lovable the outer life. Like Christ, because in Christ.

III. AN ACTIVE CHRISTIAN. The words imply labour that brings weakness and weariness — not kid-gloved philanthropy, but genuine and persevering Christian toil. What a noble sphere for like-minded Christian women still. Let them, then, especially those free from absorbing domestic duties, seek to become followers of Persis.

(T. S. Dickson, M.A.)

This is the language of approbation. Persis is not warned lest she step behind the place assigned her in the Church, or lest she allow her zeal to make her singular. What was approved in Christians eighteen hundred years ago would be approved in Christians now.

I. THE NATURE OF THAT LABOUR WHICH ST. PAUL COMMENDS IN PERSIS.

1. He is not speaking of secular labours. He does not praise Persis because she performed the ordinary duties of life in a conscientious spirit. This, indeed, she would do; but such is the ease with all Christians. It does not distinguish one Christian above another.

2. Nor is he speaking of words of charity alone, or he would have praised Persis as one who was "glad to distribute," ready "to do good."

3. Labour in the Lord was labour in promoting the knowledge and spirit of the gospel. Persis, like others who laboured with Paul in the gospel (1 Corinthians 16:16), had become a teacher — that is, was able to declare to others what the Lord had done for her soul, and to lay those first principles of the doctrine of Christ which the simplest believer may communicate to his ignorant or sinful neighbour; which, in truth, he must be prepared to communicate before he can exercise the commonest duties of charity. Some, perhaps, may be of opinion that such work should be left to the appointed minister; but can, or should, anything withhold the Christian from imparting his own conviction or experience? How otherwise could Christians obey the precepts to warn, edify, exhort, and comfort one another? Every Christian makes one of a "chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation"; and it is his duty, as well as his privilege, to communicate "that which is good to the use of edifying."

I. WHAT SHOULD INDUCE PERSIS TO UNDERTAKE THIS LABOUR?

1. As a disciple of Christ, she was actuated by those feelings which would not allow her to rest satisfied with having found for herself the way to heaven. Let those distrust their own state who can be so satisfied. Where there is love, there will be anxiety about the unconverted: love cannot exist without it (Acts 17:16; Proverbs 24:11, 12).

2. She was excited by the feeling of thankful love towards the Lord for whom she laboured. This love makes the Christian desire that fresh trophies should be added to His Cross, new jewels to His crown. And certainly that love must be very lukewarm, and such as Christ will not deign to accept, which will be outdone by the disciples of evil, and which takes the benefit but neither regards the honour of the benefactor, nor complies with his commands.

III. THE BLESSINGS WHICH FOLLOW SUCH LABOUR IN THE LORD. It is truly "twice blessed." It blesseth him who works and him on whom the labour is bestowed.

(Abp. Sumner.)

Rufus chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine
I. HIS PLACE IN HISTORY. The son of Simon the Cyrenian, whom Mark mentions (Romans 15:21), with his brother Alexander, as well known to the Church. Christ's Cross, laid on Simon, brought blessing to his wife and children.

II. HIS DISTINCTION.

1. Chosen, i.e. —

(1)Elected, as proved by his works (1 Thessalonians 1:4-6).

(2)Choice. Excellent, as seen in his life and labours (2 John 13). It is good to be a chosen Christian; better still to be a choice one.

2. In the Lord — i.e., in union with Christ (Ephesians 1:4).

(1)Union with Christ the evidence of election in Christ.

(2)True excellence only attainable in union with Christ.

III. HIS RELATIONSHIPS.

1. Natural. "His mother." He was the godly son of a godly mother. It is a double blessing when both parent and child are in the Lord.

2. Spiritual. "And mine." He owed his brotherhood with St. Paul probably to his mother's attention to the apostle.

(T. Robinson, D.D.)

I. CHOSEN IN THE LORD.

1. Truly converted.

2. Through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.

3. Hence a choice man.

II. BLESSED WITH A PIOUS MOTHER, whose maternal kindness and Christian character are tenderly acknowledged by the apostle.

III. PRIVILEGED WITH THE FRIENDSHIP OF PAUL.

(J. Lyth, D.D.)

Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas
Christian fellowship is —

1. A necessity.

2. A privilege.

3. A safeguard.

4. A duty and an earnest of eternal happiness in Christ.

(J. Lyth, D.D.)

Asyncritus, Phlegon, and Hermas, to us are little more than empty names; but if we knew as much about them as their friend Paul did, it is quite possible that we would have given them the whole chapter. The servants of God do not write history after the fashion of the world. The sacred writer immortalises the obscure worker who sheds abroad the fragrance of a holy violet-life in the dingy alley or fever-haunted court; whilst the secular scribe reserves his greenest laurels for the man who dances on a tight rope or who floats down Niagara in a cask! The best part of the world's history is still unwritten. The profane historian would have buried Asyncritus and Phlegon in eternal oblivion; but wherever this Epistle is read, their names will be honourably mentioned.

I. THE BIBLE IS RICHLY STOCKED WITH EXAMPLES WHICH ARE WELL SUITED FOR ALL CLASSES OF SOCIETY. It is not a Book for patricians, nor for plebeians, but for all without distinction. It sets before us extraordinary men as examples to extraordinary men — Moses as an example to national leaders, Joseph as an example to prime ministers, Elijah as an example to religious reformers, etc. But when we read of Asyncritus, etc., we see that the Bible is also full of examples for ordinary people. And it is right that it should be so, for the world is almost entirely populated by very ordinary people.

II. OBSCURE MEN HAVE DONE, AND ARE STILL DOING, SPLENDID SERVICE FOR CHRIST. All our best men are not in the front. These simple men lived in a city wholly given up to heathenism; yet they bravely held their ground against crushing odds, fearlessly upheld the Christian banner, and helped to drive back the tide of Paganism, and prepare a throne for Christ in the very centre of the world's power. Gold is no less gold because hidden in the bowels of the mountains, and courage is no less courage because sometimes veiled in obscurity. Our danger is to mistake noise for power and fanaticism for zeal. All the great powers are silent powers. The bugler is more noisy than the field-marshal, but he is not so indispensable on the field of battle. God was not in the thunder nor in the wind, but in the still small voice. The great merchant is almost entirely dependent on the labours of faithful men whose names are buried in obscurity. The ablest of our cabinet ministers mainly depend upon the obscure permanent officials for their information. And in religious circles the minister frequently gets all the credit, when it should be shared with the Church officers and the Church members who assist him. In eulogising Apollos, we must not forget Priscilla and Aquila. That unknown man who keeps the lights burning in his lighthouse has been the means of saving hundreds of lives. Obscure friends, your life is worth living. Like the coral insects of the Pacific, you are building better than you know. So was Luther, when translating the Bible in the Castle of Wartburg, and the Pilgrim Fathers, when they landed on Plymouth Rock. Let us work on, for the deed will be immortal, whether the doer's name is known or not. The name of the widow who cast her mites into the temple is forgotten, but her deed will live on throughout all eternity.

III. PROMINENT MEN SHOULD BE GRATEFUL TO OBSCURE MEN FROM THE PROMINENCE WHICH THEY ENJOY. Hills would be impossible without valleys. We may be only the pedestals for the statues, but the statues should not forget the debt they owe to the pedestals. The top-stone, resting in the glad sunshine, must not forget that it owes a debt to the foundation-stone which is buried out of sight in the dark, damp earth. Of what use would Wellington have been on the field of Waterloo without his men? Johnson without his Boswell would not be the power in England that he is to-day. Samuel was a splendid man, but his unostentatious mother, Hannah, had the making of him. John Wesley gets all the credit for the Methodist revival, but his mother should be a sharer in the glory. Where would Leonidas have been but for his three hundred Spartans? Who can tell how much our prominent men in Church and State owe to some village schoolmaster or country minister? Lord Shaftesbury confessed that his life was entirely moulded by a God-fearing nursemaid. Klopstock, in the very height of his popularity, strewed flowers over the grave of his old schoolmaster. Paul never forgot his debt to Asyncritus and Phlegon, who so faithfully witnessed for Christ in that hot-bed of idolatry called Rome.

IV. OBSCURE MEN SHOULD NOT BE JEALOUS OF THEIR MORE FAVOURED BRETHREN. Asyncritus and Phlegon were not envious of Paul's power and influence. If we have only one talent, let us not be jealous of those who have five. Conspicuous people are not always happy people. The statesman may have the plaudits of his friends, but he has also the bitterest invectives of his foes. It is the loftiest tree that is exposed to the full force of the hurricane. What a pleasant thing it must be to be a Prime Minister of England or a Chief Secretary for Ireland in these times! "Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown." If you are only an ordinary, man, do. not grumble because you are not extraordinary. Think of a watch saying, "I will not keep time because I am not a town clock"! Think of a candle refusing to give light because it is not a Jupiter! Do not envy the five-talent men, but compensate yourself by using your one talent wisely until it becomes five. Carey could not do the work of Shakespeare, nor Luther the work of Melancthon, nor Bunyan the work of Milton. The eye cannot do the work of the ear, and the foot cannot do the work of the hand.

V. OBSCURE MEN SHOULD NOT DRIFT INTO DESPONDENCY AND INACTIVITY. "I am nothing!" Quite so. But add God to the nothing, and the total will amount to something! Like Naaman, we all want to do some great thing or nothing. There are only a few men who can do anything great. Suppose a star were to say, "I will extinguish myself, for the heavens can well do without me"; or a sand-grain, "I am only a speck of dust; the vast ocean-shore can well do without me." Ah! but what if all the stars and sand-grains were to repeat the same story? All trifles are great trifles. A spoonful of water will set in motion the hydraulic power that will lift up many tons of iron, and a drop of faithful Christian service will send a movement through all the eternities. A rod with God behind it will divide the sea. A stripling shepherd with God at his right hand will vanquish the Philistine. Do not wait for great occasions, for there are only a few men who can do anything truly great. In a church of 500 members, you will not find more than ten five-talent men, and if they double their talents the total will only amount to 100. Then suppose the remaining 490 have only one talent each, and that they double it, the total will amount to 980 talents. There you have 980 against 100. There is a tremendous quantity of unused power in the Church. The humblest acts of the humblest men often have the greatest events hinging upon them. A cordial hand-shake with a heart-throb in it may save a soul. A genial smile with a little of the angel in it may redeem a family. If you cannot handle the oar, do send a cheer to those who are battling with the breakers.

VI. OBSCURE MEN WHO FILL THEIR QUIET SPHERES EFFICIENTLY WILL BE PROMOTED BY GOD TO WIDER SPHERES. Listen to the promise: "Thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will set thee over many things." By improving present opportunities, you open the gate for wider service. Fill well the sphere you have, and you will fit yourself for a higher one. "To him that hath shall more be given." If you are only a tract distributor, do your work thoroughly, and the King will promote you. Because David was efficient as a shepherd, God made him a king.

VII. AT THE GREAT DAY THE OBSCURE ONES WILL BECOME PROMINENT, AND MANY OF THE PROMINENT WILL BE CONSIGNED TO OBSCURITY. "Many shall be last that are first, and first that are last." If the granite does not keep your name conspicuous before the eyes of the world, God has registered it in heaven. Work on quietly in the shade, then, and your handiwork will one day be exhibited in the sunshine. Asyncritus and Phlegon may yet stand side by side with Paul and Apollos.

(J. Ossian Davies.)

And all the saints which are with them
The Bible saint is a holy or godly person. Philologus and Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, were not all the saints there were in Rome. Paul saw fit to mention these, but there were the unmentioned ones, who were saints nevertheless. The faithful Christians of to-day cannot all be mentioned among the leaders. Salute all! No one, however humble, is to be forgotten.

I. THE BEST AND HARDEST WORK OF THE CHURCH HAS BEEN DONE BY THESE UNNAMED CHRISTIANS. I have often noticed in the hallway of public buildings one or more large tablets sunken into the wall. On the tablet are engraved the names of the architect, the mayor of the city, and a few other great names. Who laid the bricks to form that wall? Who wrought in wood and in metal the elegant finishing and sumptuous furnishing? Nay, whose hands carved in this marble slab the few names that are thus designed to go down to fame? The uncalendared workmen are many, but without them there could be neither foundation-stone nor key to arch. They laboured in the heat, and often in the rain; they laid the brick and lifted the stone into place; they laboured faith-fully — and are forgotten! But these same uncalendared workmen did in their sphere as good work as did the architect in his. I have also learned that the un-calendared saints do the largest share of God's work, and, because they do that work for God, are willing to remain unknown and unsung. There never yet was a revival of the true sort for which God will not award praise to the uncalendared saints as well as to those whose names come prominently before the public eye. These uncalendared ones must do most of the plodding work. They must raise and disburse the money of the local church, visit the sick, care for the children. God bless the uncalendared saints who, because they work not for notoriety but for Jesus' sake, are willing to do everything and be nothing. These, not the great names, constitute the strength, the hope, of the Christian Church.

II. AS A RULE, THE MOST DESERVING HAVE THE LEAST EXPECTED TO BE PLACED ON THE CALENDAR. I imagine the people of our text were no exception. Paul was not the man to make this mention as a species of flattery, nor as a matter of policy. Philologus and Julia, Nereus and Olympas, never dreamed that their names were to be embalmed for ever in the Holy Word. It is not so difficult as many suppose to become a leader in a church or even in a denomination — to have one's name printed in the papers as the distinguished layman or minister Mr. So-and-so; not so difficult to get on the calendar the world looks at, if one is willing to use a few of the means that such a desire would suggest. Such was the desire and method of the Pharisees in Christ's time. They sought for a calendar fame and got it. But to be placed on the list of saints by loving hearts — hearts that have been helped by you — is quite another matter. I have my calendar of saints, those who have made themselves such to me. The fact is that when a Christian seeks to be known as one who ought to be placed on the calendar and known as an unusual saint, without the ordinary saint's failings, then that Christian is in the way of destroying the very first qualification of a true saint — i.e., humility, which will keep a true Christian from making any such claim. The almsgiving, the fasting, the praying, the whole Christian life and profession, are to be without ostentation, "and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shalt reward thee openly." Saints are found in the everyday life of every rank of society. For Jesus' sake they are doing and bearing, praying and hoping, unconsciously fitting themselves for the calendar which some soul is making out — for every Christian is seen and read of men.

III. IT WAS A GREAT THING TO BE REMEMBERED BY PAUL IN ONE OF HIS LETTERS, EVEN THOUGH IT BE ONLY ONE OF THE NUMBER REFERRED TO AS "ALL THE SAINTS WHICH ARE WITH THEM." It will be an unspeakably greater joy when the uncalendared saint below becomes the calendared saint above. There the list will be made up of all, and not of a favoured few as in the Catholic Church. On that calendar we may all of us have our names written in characters that will never fade. What does it matter, then, if here we are un-calendared, if the great world does not know or care if we have honour and receive the recognition which is perhaps our due? In the end the world shall fade away, but enduring honour shall be given him whose name is enrolled on the heavenly calendar.

(J. H. Yeoman.)

Where goldsmiths are at work, the very dust is valuable. I stood, two days ago, in a room from the sweepings of the floor of which there is annually extracted more than two thousand dollars' worth of the precious metal; and if these had been carelessly thrown upon the dust-bin, there would have been just so much loss to the owners of the establishment. Now, in the Bible — which is more to be desired than gold — the portions that in other books may be accounted dry as dust, and hastily skipped over by the reader, have an element of value, not only because of their own importance, but also because very frequently there is found in them some suggestive expression which more than rewards for the patient perseverance that was required for their examination. Nothing can well be less interesting, in itself considered, than a genealogical table of names and dates and ages, yet we cannot forget that it is just such a place that we come upon the prayer of Jabez, which, by its very contrast with the details in the midst of which we find it, seems almost like a fountain in the desert, or like the well-known Alpine flower in the vicinity of the glacier.

(W. M. Taylor.)

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