A Compendium of Christian Theology

By William Burt Pope, D.D.,

Volume Three

Chapter 4

Christian Ethics




               The Relation of Gospel Doctrine to Ethics;

               Christian Ethics and Moral Philosophy;

               The Christian Law;


               Love and Law;

               Biblical Methods of Teaching



               of Conversion;

               of Intention;

               of the Conflict;

               of Service;

               of Devotion


               of Man and Man;

               of Family;

               of Commerce;

               of Politics;

               of the Church

By the term Ethics of Redemption, or Christian Ethics, is signified the system of moral teaching which Christ the Redeemer has introduced in connection with His atoning work and the general economy of His grace. That system may be regarded, first, in its preeminence and peculiarity, as CHRISTIAN Ethics; and, secondly, in the formal arrangement of its principles, as Christian ETHICS

This subject seems more appropriate here than in any independent position: it belongs to the Administration of Redemption, treating as it does of the new life for which the blessings of the New Covenant prepare the regenerate, and for which the regenerate are prepared. We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.1 After dwelling so long on the estate of Christian privilege we pass naturally to the obligations connected with it. The ethics flow from the life. And in our course of doctrine it is obvious that the Morals of Christianity must be viewed only or mainly as they derive a new character from the Christian revelation. This principle must be remembered throughout the present Section

In one sense it contracts the field of ethical teaching; but in another it immeasurably expands that field

1 Eph. 2:10


Jesus as Redeemer is the Supreme Legislator; and His teaching is the corrective complement of all Moral Philosophy. In the Evangelical scheme doctrine and ethics are closely connected: its revelations of truth are the foundation of its new life; its morals and its doctrine are everywhere interwoven; and, finally, the ethics of the Christian religion are the crown and consummation of its entire system


Our Lord is Supreme Lawgiver, whether we regard His Person, His offices, or His manifested life. As thus supreme He is also the sole Teacher and Arbiter and the highest Example of morals

Christianity may in this department be regarded as the legislation of Christ: the NEW LAW given to the human race. The Savior both began and ended His ministry by asserting His absolute and unappealable authority: Whosoever heareth these sayings of Mine and doeth them!1 These words close the discourse with which the New Teacher commenced His lawgiving for all ages and for all mankind; and it is most plain that He assumes this universal prerogative, to be the Master of all morals and duties. Similarly He finished His course by an equally large assertion of His place in the world's ethics. His disciples were to make disciples (or Christians) of all the nations . . . teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you!2 Never did human lawgiver adopt this tone. Never did those whom God had commissioned thus speak. When Moses began his function, and had said I commanded you at that time all the things that ye should do, he added the charge against the people, ye would not go up, but rebelled against the commandments of the Lord your God.3 And his entire legislation is thus wound up: the people did as the Lord commanded Moses.4 This is in strong and most decisive contrast with the beginning and end of the new legislation

1 Mat. 7:24; 2 Mat. 28:20; 3 Deu. 1:18,26; 4 Deu. 34:9

I. It is important to remember that the Legislator in the new economy is the Lord Jesus in His Divine-human Mediatorial Person, both God and man in one

1. The Divinity of the Christian Lawgiver is the first postulate and glorious distinction of Christianity as the perfect economy. The Creator alone can give law to His creatures: there is One Lawgiver,1 and there can be no second: nomodidaskalos many but only one nomothetees in all the Scripture. Moses is not so called: he gave not that law from heaven, but was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after.2 But Christ as a Son over His own house prescribes its laws with Divine authority. In the Sermon on the Mount He distinguishes Himself, not only from the Rabbinical expositors of Moses, but from Moses himself, by His oftrecurring 'Ego de: But I SAY UNTO YOU!3 And we hear in this, as in all His words, the Voice of the Son of God uttering His own eternal will

1 Jas. 4:12; 2 Heb. 3:5,6; 3 Mat. 5

2. The perfect manhood of Jesus, however, was and is the organ of this legislation. In the indivisible unity of His Person He enacts His laws amidst human conditions, and condescends to appear as the highest of human lawgivers. He accepts and even responds to the words of Nicodemus, We know that Thou art a teacher come from God.1 But never in the New Testament are we permitted for one moment to listen to Him as only the supreme embodiment of merely human wisdom. God was with Him, we may infer with the Jewish Rabbi; but we must take the testimony of the Officers in a sense beyond their meaning, Never man spake like this Man!2 for God was not only with Him but IN HIM

1 John 3:2; 2 John 7:46

3. Our Lord proclaims His will not as Divine simply, nor as simply human: never, in plain terms, I am the Lord thy God! but never, I speak as a man. He speaks as the Son of Man which is in heaven:1 as the new Teacher He uttered these words to Nicodemus

Before the Incarnation it was God who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers in the prophets.2 The Holy Trinity was in the legislation of Paradise and Sinai and of the whole moral world: but under many limitations —both as to Himself and as to the objects of His moral government—which the Gospel has removed

God hath now spoken to us IN His SON, GOD-MAN, the Divine-human Representative of universal law binding on all creatures upon earth

1 John 3:13; 2 Heb. 1:1

II. The Redeemer's legislation is bound up with His office as the Christ: this has been already exhibited under the Mediatorial Ministry, but may with propriety be touched on again under another and more limited aspect

1. In the threefold unity of His work He is the Prophet, explaining all law, whether in its transitory or in its eternal forms; and changing the law of commandments contained in ordinances1 into the perfect law of liberty.2 He is also the Priest—not the High Priest, there is but One—who has expiated sin against the law, and obtained the Spirit for a new obedience. As King He is in heaven what as Prophet He was upon earth; He is the Legislator crowned in His incarnate Person; the One Lawgiver Who is able to save and to destroy;3 the Judge who will confirm the eternal sanctions of the law which He has given

1 Eph. 2:15; 2 Jas. 1:25; 3 Jas. 6:12

2. Hence His offices are really two. His priestly function has reference to the broken law, broken long before Moses threw down the tables. His whole life and history is one satisfaction to the Divine will: honoring it by a full obedience; and then, defying its inquisition for Himself, paying the penalty of our violation. His other work is that of teaching and ruling in one: guiding the redeemed and sanctified to perfection of righteousness. Thus on these two offices hangs the whole Christian system as it is redemption from sin and discipline unto holiness. We are bidden in the Epistle to the Hebrews to consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, even Jesus;1 in His perfect administration the Moses and the Aaron of the new economy united. As the Apostle from God He announces all the Divine-will, and as High Priest from man He makes provision for our obedience: not the one without the other

1 Heb. 3:1

3. But we may reduce all to unity. In a certain sense our Lord came from heaven to earth only as our Master and Lord;1 having virtually redeemed us before we existed, and created us anew before we were created. This alone does justice to the Redeemer's dignity as the Restorer of all things. He was, and is, and ever will be the only Moral Ruler of man: of other Worlds than ours, but also of ours; and of ours in an economy of law strangely modified by grace. In this view His atonement is part of His legislation; He appointed a task of redeeming expiation for Himself, and, as Lawgiver, through the law died to the law. Here is the supreme unity of all His offices: to this end Christ both died and revived, that He might be Lord both of the dead and living.2 The highest reach of our contemplation regards Him as the moral Governor of mankind Who has become one with our race to restore us to our obedience and union with God. This unity reigns throughout the New Testament Our Lord gives His new law before He even speaks of His coming death; He refers to His atonement as the necessary ground of our new sanctification to obedience, and, having died for us, He still continues to be OUR Master and Lord. And to this one end and supreme unity of His whole work give all His Apostles witness

1 John 13:13; 2 Rom. 14:9

III. In His mediatorial history or official career the Christian Lawgiver blended in a most mysterious and affecting manner the Divine dignity of His Person and the Messianic humiliation. He learned the obedience that He taught; He exercised supreme ethical authority even while learning it; and He presented Himself, uniting the two, as the perfect Example of His own precepts. Here, as everywhere, we find the unsearchable unity of His two natures in one personal agency investing the whole subject

1. Our Lord learned obedience. In the mystery of His Person he united the Supreme Lawgiver above responsibility and the human subject responsible for obedience. During His humbled estate He began, continued, and ended with the latter: from 1 must!1 in the Temple of His early consecration, and My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me!2 of His mid career, down to 1 have finished the work!3 under the cross

1 Luke 2:49; 2 John 4:34; 3 John17:4

(1.) Here there are some qualifications. The first is that the Savior learned the obedience1—His proper Messianic obedience not so much in doing as in suffering—to a law of moral obligation His own and unshared. And, however hard it may be to our reason, neither of that truth nor of its consequences must we be afraid. Before He gave us a new commandment He had a new one in a much higher sense given to Himself. Again His obedience was necessary. The unity of His Personality shielded Him from the possibility of sinning even as His miraculous conception introduced Him sinless into the world. Christ is not divided, cannot be divided, against Himself. Sin wrapped Him round as a garment; but never entered His soul save in its vicarious bitterness. On the cross His seamless robe was, as it were, in the hands of His enemies, but there lay the perfection of the obedience to which the Incarnate was disciplined. He was taught as a Son the mystery of unfathomable suffering for sin in us, and of equally unfathomable suffering through temptation to impossible sin. He was not in probation. He learned the things of a man, ta tou anthroopou: the things of God, ta tou Theou, He never learned. Nor did He acquire dominion over the universal kingdom of ethics by having been a Sojourner for a night among them. He brought down a Divine power which gave them in Him a new perfection. His supreme government in the ethical domain was not founded on His submission to human duty

1 Heb. 5:8

(2.) Yet the Incarnate, though a Son, learned obedience: He proved and exhibited the discharge of DUTY in all departments of life, and in this sense underwent the experience of human obligations. As a Son, as an Israelite, as a subject of Rome, as a Rabbi surrounded by disciples, as a public Instructor or Minister of the circumcision, as a member of the human commonwealth, He manifested submission to every authority. He practiced obedience as an impeccable human being would practice it, or as God Himself might obey His own ordinances. This obedience was, however, VIRTUE in the meaning which it has received in Christian Ethics. It is indeed hard for us to conceive the virtue of passive endurance unallied with the active suppression of a reluctant will. It is hard to understand what virtue there can be in a submission which springs from the necessity of a will eternally one with the Divine will. But, hard as it is, it is not impossible. And only on this principle can we accept the obedience of the Incarnate Son. The sublimest holiness is the recoil from impossible wrong. Divine hatred of sin, sorrow for sinners, and endurance of the penalty of transgression, became incarnate in Jesus. The sympathy which the Creator had felt with His erring creature learned its mystery over again in the Redeemer

The New Teacher showed, beforehand, the secret of His own legislation: love is the fulfilling of the law.1 In His devotion to God and charity for man—in that love which in a sense unparalleled was in Him teteleiomenoo—He kept all the commandments: both those which were given to Him alone and strained His human endurance to the utmost, and those which He obeyed as it were unconsciously and of necessity, finding in obedience the meat and drink of life. As He took not our individual sins upon His soul for expiation, but rather our sin in its fullness and essence; so He kept and honored not so much laws as the law. Some individual laws had nothing in Him, and He never did nor ever could learn them; but He nevertheless honored all law generally in the principle of the perfect obedience of LOVE TO GOD AND MAN

1 Rom. 13:10

(3.) Our Lord exercised Divine authority at the same time that He underwent the Mediatorial discipline which His redeeming work required. The prerogative of His Godhead could not be suspended, though it might be veiled. It was by His own Divine will that He became subordinate. And, throughout His submission, there was occasionally given the most abundant proof, both of act and word, that the Supreme Lawgiver was present in Him, and that Jesus Himself Who spoke was no other than He. During His humiliation there was a veil untaken away from the face of the Greater than Moses. He does not say as yet: Behold, I make all things new!1 although He brings new commandments and new institutions. He appeals to the ancient legislation and them of old time,2 to the authority of Scripture which cannot be broken,3 and to God as the Judge of all and the ultimate appeal. But His constant reserve and general assumption of a secondary place was only a veil. The valley of His humiliation is crowned by three Mountains where the Lawgiver receives honor and glory: partly as the fruit of His submission, but still more as the revelation of what He had with God before the world was. On the first, that of the Beatitudes, He asserts His supreme, that is His Divine, authority without one single allusion to any Greater than Himself. On the second, that of the Transfiguration, His claims are confirmed by the voice of God. And, on the third, the Mountain in Galilee, after His atoning death, His words unite the subordinate and the supreme authority: the subordinate, all power is given unto Me; the supreme, Lo, I am with you alway!4 If in the valley we hear the voice of a man, on these mountains we hear the voice of God. But the voices are the same. After the Ascension there is no longer any concealment, The Pentecost was the festival and glorification of the New Law. Our Lord now speaketh from heaven;5 and from heaven, by common consent, none can speak but God. It was in fact the same Voice that gave the legislation of Sinai that then shook the earth. After being for a season lowered to human accents, it now speaks through the Spirit. Thus throughout the whole Bible there is but One Voice of moral authority. In all the New Testament, the will of God and the will of Christ are one; and we may lawfully, when we hear our Master say, He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father, carry on His words to this further meaning: He that hath heard Me hath heard the Father.6

1 Rev. 21:5; 2 Mat. 5:21; 3 John 10:35; 4 Mat. 28:18,20; 5 Heb. 12:23; 6 John 16:9

2. The Lord gave a Divine-human and perfect example: the only Legislator who ever did or ever could make His own life His code of laws. He began His ministry by a perfect summary of all human duty, But I say unto you;1 He ended by declaring, I have given you an example.2 But here again the mystery of the twofold nature of the One Person of the Lawgiver suggests qualifications which cannot be too deeply pondered, or too habitually borne in mind. It is too often forgotten

1 Mat. 5; 2 John 13:15

(1.) His example was necessarily PERFECT. This has been often questioned: the character of Jesus, as the Ideal of His own laws, has been impeached. By some its peerless perfection has been denied, by some it has been disparaged in comparison with that of other teachers, and even with that of His own disciples. But many of the reproaches cast upon it by the eyes that seeing see not are the reproaches equally of the ancient Jehovah

The God of the Old Testament wears the same moral attributes as Jesus in the New. The tones of His wrath are precisely in the same strain as we hear in the old economy; and they are mingled with the same gentleness and mercy. His anger is Divine anger; and His sternness is the same—neither more nor less rigorous—as that of the Lawgiver Who appointed Moses in all his house. But it is an offence to the censors of Jesus that He failed in the opposite sentiment: that He shrank from the endurance which He demanded of His followers, and failed, where He required them to succeed, in sovereign contempt of suffering and death. But His meekness and recoil from woe were the tribute of perfect purity to suffering unknown, and the expression of His HORROR MORTIS, or affright at death, was really His Divine-human affright at sin or HORROR PECCATI. It was because He was more than man that in meeting the infinite consequence of sin He seemed less than perfect man. None, however, who deny the mystery of the Atonement can feel the force of this. Yet even they may be challenged to prove that there was in the suffering Jesus less than the perfection of human patience and magnanimity. Even to them the For this cause came I unto this hour1ought to explain and condone the Let this cup pass from Me!2Reverence forbids our carrying this apology further, Suffice that no clear eye and no pure heart can be in the presence of the Redeemer without yielding to the conviction that He taught no virtue which He did not exemplify; so far, that is, as a Sinless Being, who had never known nor could ever know sin, might be its exemplar

1 John 12:27; 2 Mat. 27:39

(2.) Yet, as these last words suggest, His was not in all respects a perfect EXAMPLE. His Divine-human excellence is in some sense too high, we cannot attain unto it. Therefore neither does the Lord, nor do His Apostles after Him, exhibit His life as at all points the directory of ours. In some details of duty He could not set us a pattern: for them we must go to men subject to like passions as we are.1He became the Author of eternal salvation,2ot to those who copy Him in the process—He never passed through the process—but to all them that obey Him. He gives the ideal and the sum of the blessed result: the way to it we know, and He is Himself the way, but we do not see the print of His footsteps on the path from the far country back again to holiness. Whenever His example is spoken of, it is in affecting connection with humility, patience, self-sacrifice for others, and utter abandonment of the world. But He did not reach those heavenly affections as we must reach them. They were His Divine condescension brought down from above, and translated into human forms: in us they are the hard won triumphs of His Spirit overcoming their opposites. His virtue brought Him from heaven to earth; ours must carry us from earth to heaven. We must imitate His great submission; but none of us can ever utter His vicarious cry, My God, My God, WHY HAST THOU FORSAKEN ME ?3 For He, unlike us, had never FORSAKEN GOD

1 Jas. 5:17; 2 Heb. 5:9; 3 Mat. 27:46

3. Hence, to sum up, the principle of our DUTY is His obedience in love; the strength of our VIRTUE is His Spirit; and the SUMMUM BONUM of our blessedness is His Peace. In Him we see the whole Law reflected in its highest purity; by His character we interpret it, and all our obedience is the silent imitation of Himself. His excellence is Divine and human: to be adored and imitated. As God He commands, and as Man shows us how to obey. The Lawgiver gives us both the Pattern and the strength to copy


Christianity is a DOCTRINE ACCORDING TO GODLINESS.1 Christian morals are as such founded on specific Christian truth; they are taught in alliance with it; and are exhibited as the end of all its teaching

1 1 Tim. 6:3

This might seem to be the place for considering the relation of Christian Ethics to Moral Philosophy. But we must first establish the exclusive principles of these new ethics as inseparably connected with the revelation of Jesus. This is only a meet tribute to the preeminence of the Gospel, which has learnt nothing from the philosophy of this world that it does not hold independently of all earthly philosophy

I. Reserving for the next Section any remarks upon the general fundamental principles of morals, we may say that the prominent doctrines first taught or fully brought to light in the Christian Revelation are the foundation of Christian Ethics. There are three great underlying truths which may be said to be at the basis of all other foundations: the Fall, or from what; the Redemption, through what; the Future, unto what; the moral discipline of Christ aims to raise mankind. These doctrines themselves are treated elsewhere. It is needful here only to indicate their essential relation to ethics

1. The Fall with its concomitant doctrine of Original Sin vitally and throughout affects Christian Morals as a system. Christianity alone reveals what was the original estate of mankind; how a perfect moral condition was lost through the misuse of freedom; what is the place freewill still holds in the formation of character; how the ethical good remaining in the elements of humanity is to be accounted for; and for what a high destiny man was created and is still reserved. It shows how entirely his nature is depraved as to the attainment of good: teaching that there is in every mortal a bias to evil irresistible save through grace; and that it is his destiny, merely as man, freely to work out that evil which has become the necessity of his freewill. It lays the foundation of its ethics amidst the ruins of our fallen dignity: raising a superstructure which is at once a new creation and a reconstruction, building its new temple out of the fragments of the old. It deals with the world as a deeply lapsed but not utterly ruined world; as profoundly corrupted but not entirely dissolved. And it deals with every man as having in himself, notwithstanding his heritage from Adam, the elements of a moral nature that may be retrieved. But not retrieved through any effort of its own: the Christian legislation begins by requiring utter self-renunciation, self-distrust, or self-despair. It never allows the Fall to be forgotten, amidst all the triumphs of grace

2. Redemption—objective, wrought FOR us by Christ; subjective, wrought IN us by the Holy Ghost—does not so much follow as accompany the Fall in its relation to the ethics of Christianity

(1.) The preliminary grace which we regard as the firstfruits of the Redeemer's intervention for the race explains the secret desire of man to be restored; and thus lights up the whole sphere of ethics. It is that redemption before Redemption which interprets the universal condemnation of evil and approval of good recorded in the judicial court of human nature itself: so unerringly, indeed, that the word Conscience, strictly speaking the human consciousness of moral character, has been made generally to signify the human moral faculty. It is this to which the Christian Lawgiver, and those who follow His teaching, always appeal. It must never be forgotten throughout our study of the Evangelical legislation. It gives consistency to the whole sum of its moral teaching, and makes morals possible to man

(2.) The forgiveness it seals on the conscience—which imparts to the pardoned the double consciousness, of sin on the one hand as a fact, and of guiltlessness as an imputation on the other—takes away the barrier to moral endeavor, arid gives it its strongest incentive. There is unspeakable strength in the thought of having paid the penalty once for all in a Substitute who belongs to the race and to each member of it who claims Him. Vain is all teaching of morality without a preliminary forgiveness: vain the Benedictions on the Mount unless in the anticipation of an Atonement which should first have silenced the Woes in the City

(3.) Redemption from the curse of the law is also deliverance from the power of evil through.the supply to the secret springs of human action of the power of an indwelling God. It renders all things possible. As forgiveness, entire and constant, removes the greatest impediment to moral effort—making guilt as if it were not—so the Spirit of regeneration literally throws open to human aspiration and attainment the whole compass of ethical perfection. Nothing is impossible to one who is forgiven and renewed

Moreover, it is not too much to say that redemption as an internal experience imparts a specific character to all Christian ethics. The sense of pardon gives birth to a new order of ethical emotions and obligations, and the new life in Christ is the sphere of a new order of ethical duties and attainments and experiences of which we need not now speak more particularly

3. Christianity has brought to light the future life, with its powers and terrors and hopes, and incorporated that also into the foundation of its ethics

(1.) This gives the morals of human life their probationary character; responsibility derives from it a new meaning; time becomes inestimably precious in relation to eternity; and every act, and word, and thought has a new importance through its bearing on a fixed and eternal condition. It is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment!1 This was a new voice in the sphere of the world's ethical teaching: interpreting the instinct of universal conscience; lighting up the dimmer revelations of the Old Testament; and making the powers of the world to come, what they had never been so fully before, the moving forces of the world that now is, by bringing life and immortality to light.2

1 Heb. 9:27; 2 2 Tim. 1:10

(2.) It furnishes the final and deepest sanctions of moral law. SANCTION is the guard thrown around a command or duty to enforce its performance: the sanction of the duty not done is the punishment of the person who fails. The only sanction of law is the displeasure of God: but that displeasure in its fullest expression is now by this doctrine, as ethical, postponed to the Great Day. The preliminary tokens of it in this world are but the beginnings of wrath: the judgment is indeed begun, and the word Eternal has entered into time; but Christianity makes the future world, with its judgment at the threshold, the issue of all its moral teaching. The penalty of eternal separation from God is the great ethical argument: Christian probation is a decision of the question whether the original doom shall be finally reversed or rendered eternal. Accordingly this gives its true character to the sin from which men are to be saved: without this its ethics are an unreality. It is ETERNAL SIN1 in its possibilities. There is nothing against which the sentiment or sentimentality of many thinkers so persistently rebels as this. Some so recoil as to reject the Christianity which is based upon it, while others find their refuge in recasting the doctrine of eternal retribution. To them Sin is merely a Flood of misery, and Christ only our Noah or Comforter Who will hereafter either make all men forget their sorrows in a universal restoration or put out of existence those whom He cannot restore

1 Mark 3:29

(3.) The future is also the goal of creaturely perfection; that Summum Bonum, or final blessedness of the soul to which the ethics of Christianity perpetually point the aspiration of its disciples: not only as the consummate fruition of the results of well doing but as the vision of God Himself. In a lower sense the former may be said to be the final ethical argument: My reward is with Me!1 But the highest reward is the joy of thy Lord.2 1 Rev. 22:12; 2 Mat. 25:21

4. All this being true, we may justly speak of Redemptional Ethics. The Christian Religion knows no other. The need or problem, the method and process, the stimulant and end of all ethics are in that one truth, that we are a race delivered by the Hand of a Mediator. Redemption is the central idea: the Fall flanks it on one side, Eternity on the other. All these elements are summed up in St Paul's last ethical compendium, which perhaps contains the largest and most comprehensive statement of the three fundamental principles of Evangelical morality, with the atoning work in the middle. The grace of redemption hath appeared, saving to all men. It imparts forgiveness as grace, and teacheth, or disciplineth to all that morality which is a realization of the redeeming purpose. And the issue of all is the blessed hope and glorious appearing of the Great God and our Savior Jesus Christ Who gave Himself for us.1

1 Tit. 2:11-14

II. The Christian doctrine and Christian ethics are interwoven

1. We have not here two departments in the theology of Scripture. From Genesis to Revelation, from Sinai to Pentecost, there is no difference between the methods of exhibiting what man must believe and what he must practice. As in natural religion, and its almost illegible characters, conscience is at once the teaching that God is and that we are responsible to Him; so in the supernatural revelation of the Bible doctrine and duty are bound up together in their relation to the Supreme, 2. Every doctrine however has its ethical side: all truth returns in duty to Him who gave it. This may be illustrated by reference to the individual subjects that make up the sum of dogmatic theology. God is a Person and man is a person: all their common relations must be ethical. The Divine perfections are not objects of contemplation simply: so viewed they would only exhaust the mind; in ethics they mightily strengthen it, and each special attribute infers its corresponding obligation. The Trinity presides over a rich domain of ethics that have to do with the economical relations of each sacred Person to the Triune One and to every believer. The Mediatorial Work of Christ is a congregation of revealed truths, each of which, whether referring to Himself or His work, has its moral bearing

The Life was the Light of men.1 The appropriation of personal salvation introduces a series of teachings which are as much ethical as dogmatic. There is a doctrine and a practice of repentance: the doctrine of Divine conviction, the practice of confession and amendment. The influence of grace is formulated as a dogma; the activity of man is ethical. Justification by faith is a doctrine: righteousness its ethics. Sanctification is a doctrine off the Spirit's purifying consecration unto holiness: the processes of renewal unto perfection are ethical. The subject of the Church has its infinite variety of moral bearings. So also the new revelations of Christian Eschatology. Death as doctrine has its ethics of preparation. So also the Eternal Realities, and the Restoration of Christ which precedes them. But all this will appear more fully in the sequel. It may be said that no doctrine is ever taught without reference to a corresponding human duty; nor is any duty taught for which a doctrinal reason is not given. There is the utmost parsimony in the teaching: the utmost reasonableness in the requirements. We can always give a reason of our hope in the doctrine; and of our duty in the ethics

1 John 1:4

III. Ethics are the crown and consummation of all teaching

1. It may be said generally that the manifold lines of revelation meet in the restoration of the Divine image in man. This is their glorious vanishing point. The various teaching of which the Fall is the centre explains the violation or loss of that image; all that is taught concerning redemption is one diversified account of the means of its renewal; and the revelations of eternity converge to its restored and perfect reflection. All the doctrine of the Bible is summed up in one word: God has become man that man might become one with God again

2. We find a constant disparagement of mere knowledge as such: thus hee gnoosis fusioi hee de agapee oikodomei: knowledge puffeth up, but charity buildeth up.1 There is, however, a knowledge spoken of in Scripture which is both doctrinal and ethical. The word ceases to be only Greek, it takes a Hebrew meaning, and becomes more than mere intellectual science. It is not gnoosis but epignoosin: according to that great prayer, that ye might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.2

1 1 Cor. 8:1; 2 Col. 1:9

3. Hence theology is after all and in its highest form a perfect system of Ethics. In every age, and in every aspect of it, this has been its aim. Outside of revelation PHILOSOPHY was the unity of what doctrine and duty it had to teach: it was the RELIGION of the Old World, which, however ardently it aspired to unfold the grounds of morality, had but a scanty basis of theological dogma whereon to erect its teachings. When we speak of the CHRISTIAN RELIGION as well as of the CHRISTIAN FAITH, we make no real distinction; for, though the latter term belongs rather to the system of what is believed, and the former to the worship and practice resulting, both alike combine the confession and the life of the professors of Christianity

4. The perpetual remembrance of the supremacy of Ethics tends to save theological study from its hardness and barrenness. It limits the range of that part of it which is speculative, and sheds a peculiar grace on all the residue. But it must not be forgotten that, while Ethics are the consummation of theological science, the underlying doctrines on which they rest are essential to their integrity. They degenerate, unless these are always remembered, into a subjective and sentimental reflection of human phantasies, varying with the endless variations of opinion as to man's natural history. The moral system which is not based on a sure substratum of truth is a mere reconstruction of the broken fragments of our fallen nature, without an architect or a plan


What Natural Theology is to the theology of supernatural revelation, Moral Philosophy is to Christian Ethics. They agree as to some of the main fundamentals of ethical science, but afterwards widely diverge: the Christian system of morals supplying what is essentially lacking in all moral teaching that is independent of its guidance

It has been sufficiently shown that the morals of Christianity should be introduced into every system of dogmatic theology; and that as a distinct department, though much that belongs to redemptional ethics is anticipated in the State of Salvation. Of course there is a large region of ethical science that is only indirectly concerned with theology, the study of which leads us into the wide region of Moral Philosophy proper. This science has occupied the best thought of mankind; and the history of its development, both as apart from Christianity and as connected with it, is deeply instructive. Into that history we need not now enter. The first principles of our religion forbid us to regard Moral Philosophy as the great science of which ours is only a branch. But, if revealed theology is supreme, then Moral Philosophy loses much of its independent meaning; for, what it only seeks and speculates about, the infallible record has given us

I. Christian Moral Philosophy—for we may adopt this compromise—accepts and enlarges, or rather corrects, the name and general definition of ethical science

1. The terms Ethics and Morals are scarcely to be distinguished. Ethics, from othos or ethos, has relation to the home, seat, posture, habit, or internal character of the soul; Morals, from mos, or custom, rather to the outward manifestation of that internal character. Both words have been too much limited to the region of the outer life. In themselves they are vague, and show their earthly origin. The Christian revelation does not reject them; but they are not found in its early documents, save in the eethee chreesta1 of the quotation from Menander. The terms of the New-Testament which are strictly answerable to these are only two: GODLINESS, as a habit of soul like that of God; HOLINESS, as a habit of soul sanctified from sin. Into these two words, at least, all others rise, as will be hereafter seen

1 1 Cor. 15:33

2. But every definition of the science must submit to Christian censure and correction

Aristotle termed it hee peri ta anthropina philosophia, THE PHILOSOPHY OF HUMAN INTERESTS, which the Old Testament signifies by THE WHOLE OF MAN, and the New Testament elevates into ta ton theou, MY FATHER'S BUSINESS,1 or THE WILL OF GOD.2 In all ages that clear distinction has been made between natural and moral science, or Physics and Ethics, which Kant has thus expressed: "Physics, the science of the laws of nature; Ethics, the science of the laws of freedom." This definition, so utterly opposed to modern Positive Philosophy— which lays man's acts under the dominion of the same necessity that reigns over matter, though in a more refined form—is profoundly Christian, But it omits what is essential to the new and supreme system, that the laws of freedom are under the government of the Holy Spirit. Bentham is the representative of a very different principle. He terms it " the art of directing the actions of men in such a manner as to produce the greatest happiness:" this is the Utilitarian view, and, in the light of our religion, imperfect and wrong. The more Christian Paley is not much better: "The science which teaches men their duty and the reasons of it." This is inadequate in all respects; though it is difficult to detect the secret of its superficiality. But this will be seen when it is compared with Neander's definition: "Moral Philosophy is concerned with the development of the laws for human conduct; Christian Ethics derives these laws from the essence of Christianity." 1 Luke 2:49; 2 Mark 3:35

II. The fundamental principles of Moral Philosophy as independent of revelation are accepted and confirmed by Christianity; which, however, modifies and perfects some of those principles

1. The words expressing moral ideas are most of them retained in their usual meaning: that which has been stamped on them by the consent of mankind. The general vocabulary is the same: for instance, conscience, obligation, or the ought and the must, law, right, good and evil, sin, judgment, reward, punishment are found with the same application in the Scriptures as outside of them. Some, however, of these words are elevated, as we shall see, into a higher meaning by the interpretation of the Spirit of liberty and love; while there are many terms of great ethical significance which are the pure mintage of Christian Ethics: such as love, purity, sanctification, peace, holiness, blessedness, godliness. A large and sacred and among us most familiar branch of ethical nomenclature owe s its origin to the Founder of Christianity and the Apostles whom He instructed

2. The theories which have been and are current concerning the primary grounds and obligations of morality are not even alluded to in the Holy Scriptures. They never discuss what makes good to be good and evil to be evil, right to be right and wrong to be wrong: all such discussions are superseded and swallowed up in the testimony that none is good save One, that is God,1 and that the nature of God as the ground of obligation is His will: I come to do Thy will, 0 God,2 The moralists of the Bible know no eternal ground of obligation outside of or behind or independent of the Supreme. Meanwhile the interminable discussion continues. Some place it in the nature of God or in His will, some in the vague abstraction called the fitness of things; some reduce it to the subjective moral sense in man, some to the law of universal benevolence and the value of happiness; while some appeal to the idea of what is right, thus begging the question; and, others, lastly, find it in the intrinsic goodness of virtue. Christian thinkers join in the discussion, and give their support by terms to every theory; but the deepest among them will admit that to the moral agent the ground of obligation is the Divine will, while to man as a creature the only ground is the Divine nature of which his own is an image or reflection

As to the materialist theories that make conscience and right and good only inventions of men's hopes and fears and calculations, like God Himself, and all ethics, in their obligation and their loveliness, only the result of unnumbered ages of social evolution, Christianity reasons not of them but beholds them and goes on its way

1 Luke 18:19; 2 Heb. 10:9

3. Moral Philosophy has, in later times especially, distinguished between DUTY, VIRTUE, and the SUMMUM BONUM, as regulating the processes of ethics. These terms are found in Christian ethical systems; but so much are they changed by their regeneration in Christianity that they cease to be available for their old service. They are raised into the unity of Holiness to the Lord:1 a conception known only to supernatural religion. This sacred phrase, which carries us into the inmost sanctuary of the new temple, contains the three terms: the Virtue is in the HOLINESS, which is severe separation from evil; the Duty is in TO THE LORD; and the Summum Bonum is the union with Divinity which is implied

The Chief Good of man is his blessedness in the fellowship of God: the term happiness is no longer supreme. Christ hath shown man what is good. DUTY is transfigured by its connection with redemption: ye are not your own.2 It finds its standard in Jesus; its sphere in His kingdom; and its one object in the Redeeming Triune God. And obligation is translated into love which is VIRTUE; love is the bond of perfectness,3 in the following of the Lord and the reflection of His most holy image. Love is the secret and the unity of the three

1 Zech. 14:20; 2 1 Cor. 6:19,20; 3 Col. 3:14

4. Christianity, in defining the moral system founded on the New Testament, not only is willing to accept the wide extension given to the science by Moral Philosophy, but even enlarges in its turn upon that. Aristotle has been followed by most systematisers who have made it include Social Economics, Jurisprudence, and Politics: in fact, the whole sum and complex of human relations. Modern thinkers and moralists omit from it the branches that concern merely the activity of man and the education of his sense of the beautiful, or AESTHETICS. But they directly include, as the New Testament indirectly does, all the rest: with the addition of our relation to the Christian Church and the Future State. It has been seen already that there is a sense in which Christianity makes all its teaching on every subject whatever, throughout the whole economy of truth, doctrine which is ACCORDING TO GODLINESS.1 Its relation to God, determines the value of all knowledge

1 1 Tim. 6:3

III. Christian Ethics, while it accepts and supplements the speculative teaching of Moral Philosophy on some most important subjects, condemns many of its speculations on others

1. It assumes willingly this favorite phrase, MORAL PHILOSOPHY, but on the condition that its leading term be elevated into a higher meaning. Its philosophia, or Philosophy goes not merely seek after and love wisdom or truth, but has found it. Nor does it reject the term DEONTOLOGY rightly understood: the science of what SHOULD BE it teaches, but as the science also of what may be and in Christ is attainable and attained, practicable and practiced. Truth in Jesus is positive and absolute; and philosophy, in its elder limited meaning, is now the same anachronism that mere natural theology is. The Philosophia moralis of Cicero and Seneca was speculative inquiry: the philosophy of the ancient world, East and West, was deeply religious, but only as feeling after the Supreme. The school of seekers into the midst of which St. Paul entered was gathered round an altar to the Unknown God, But the Gospel has declared the true God of holiness to our dogmatic theology and the true holiness of God to our ethical: both in one and both in perfection

2. Christianity, like all sound Moral Philosophy, excludes speculation as to the existence of that substratum of all ethics, the human soul. There is a philosophical system, falsely and most unworthily so called, which denies the personality and separate existence of the ethical subject. Its watchword is that all substance is one. Two schools diverge from this position: one which makes the universe itself and all the universe God, Pantheism; and another which makes all the universe only matter. In the former morals are lost, as being only the capricious and transitory developments of God's own acts, which do not mar His character only because they are passing phenomena on the way to eternal good. In the latter—which gives the present age the very dregs of philosophy—man is supposed to have slowly invented as well the ground as the form and the sanction of what he calls his morals. It may seem unjust to the Pantheism of Spinoza to link it with Materialism. But, however unjust to the founder of modern Pantheism it may be, it is no injustice to the system itself, which logically can have no morals because it leaves no room for responsibility. In fact, neither Pantheism nor Materialism—both victims of the restless pursuit of an unattainable Unity—can have any place for a Moral Philosophy; nor can Moral Philosophy find any place for them

3. Christianity, in its philosophy of morals, accepts the constitution of human nature as the regulator of ethical inquiry: hut it has its own clear teaching as it regards the genesis and development and tendency of that nature. It does not leave it matter of speculation whether man is rising by the law of secular evolution to perfection or is recovering a lost estate. Adopting or rather enforcing the latter theory, it guards its ethical science against the danger of reasoning too much from the elements of what is called human nature, viewed as apart from the Fall

4. Its doctrine of Mediation does not alter the foundations of virtue, hut introduces a God whose justice and mercy combine in a mystery of which Moral Philosophy knows nothing. Pardon assured and sealed gives birth, as we have seen, to a new department of obligations and graces. So also does regeneration and an indwelling Spirit. A new order of words is introduced— grace, graces, privileges, sanctification, union with Christ, —all unknown to human morals. In fact, it is here that Moral Philosophy and Christian Ethics separate at least, if they do not become estranged towards each other. Moral Philosophy as such takes human nature as it is, and studies it apart from the secret history of the Fall: it makes the best use of what it finds, without over-curiously investigating how its subject became what he is. It also knows nothing of the mystery of expiation: not denying it, neither does it appeal to it. Eight must he vindicated, and wrong must he punished; and, according to its teaching, as such, and supposing it not to borrow from the Gospel, the Divine justice and human frailty must come to terms through some compromise that it cannot explain

5. The Future in Moral Philosophy as such is either omitted, or limited to human perfectibility in the present world, or introduced as a factor of probability only into Ethics. The Christian Future sheds its light on every region, glorifies every word, and gives unity to the whole by revealing an end and consummation of which mere human systems know nothing. Nothing certainly, that is: almost every system of morals has indeed introduced the future as an element of probability. Christianity uses this factor as absolute truth; and this has always assured to it its power and pre-eminence over every other teaching whatever

IV. Finally, it may be observed that a sound system of Christian Ethics lays the best and only sure foundation of a Moral Philosophy worthy of the name. Some of the noblest treatises on the subject have been written by professors of the Christian Faith, who have expounded the whole range of ethical questions on the principles of the New Testament

1. There is a sense indeed in which Christianity may be boldly said to have originated moral science as such: it has created a doctrinal system as its basis, and given ethics a distinct and definite character which it had not before. In every system which has appeared apart from the New Law there has been a marked absence of some of the first conditions of science properly so called. All was tentative, empirical, and uncertain

Ancient philosophy never pretended to include in its discussion of Ethics more than a very limited range of obligations. Why there was any obligation at all it could never clearly define. It was indeed exceedingly elaborate in its treatment of certain cardinal vices and virtues; but there its philosophy ended. The Christian teaching may lay claim to be in the deepest sense a Moral Philosophy: it gives a full account of the moral nature of man; it establishes the grounds of ethical obligation; it exhibits the sanctions of law; it gives a most comprehensive legislation, adapted to every variety of human estate; it provides for the appeasing of conscience, and the renewal of the soul; it sets perfection before the hope of all; and it shows to what that perfection finally leads. The fundamental revelation on which all this is based may indeed be rejected; and then of course the whole superstructure may be thought to fall. But it still remains that there is no other to take its place; and that it is the only philosophy of ethics that challenges the judgment of man and appeals to his conscience and speaks to his heart. It literally has no rival, nor has ever had one

2. What may be called Metaphysical Ethics Christianity sanctions but limits in its range

Such questions as the being of God, His relation to the personal creature, or rather the relation of the personal creature to Him, the measure and reality of our knowledge of the Supreme, the bearings of His sovereignty on freedom of will, are not left for discussion; nor are those which have to do with the origin of evil and the immortality of the soul

Speculative Theology is permitted to occupy its own domain; but it is not encouraged, certainly not encouraged to intrude into the region of man's ethical duties. Some very extensive systems of Christian Ethics have been deeply vitiated by the error of forcing questions of mere speculation into the region of faith

3. The relation of Psychology to Ethics may be and should be most carefully studied. A thorough examination of the constituents of the human soul, and of the mutual relations and interactions of the intellect and the sensibilities and the will, throws much light upon the doctrines of the Fall and conversion and regeneration and sanctification. Especially important is it in relation to the connection between religious experience and religious obligations. It will be seen that in all the dealings of God with man the constitution of his nature is not interfered with. His ruin was ethical and psychological disorder; his recovery is the restoration of order through the ascendancy of the new Spirit of life, a new relation to God which regulates without violating the laws of human nature

Christianity is a life from above, a supernatural life; but it is a life that is to be conducted according to the laws which regulate human habits and the formation of character

Reference will be made to this subject again. Meanwhile there is one principle fundamental to the sciences of Psychology and Ethics which Moral Philosophy has too much forgotten. There is one personality of the moral agent behind and beneath all the constituents of his composite nature. Neither his intellect nor his feeling nor his will is the man himself, who is the unity of these elements. His intellectual nature gives him his CONSCIENCE, which is the man morally conscious of himself: his constant knowledge of himself in relation to the standard of right and wrong lodged in his reason. His sensibilities give him another moral predominant quality, LOVE, which has the same ascendancy in ethics that conscience has. His conative faculties, or his will, furnish a third moral characteristic of the whole man: the determinate bias of his INTENTION or ultimate choice. In the moral domain the man is as his intention is, as his love is, as his conscience is. These three agree in one: referring respectively to the future, the present and the past. And it is important to remember that the man himself, the person with whom the moral law deals, is the synthesis of all these, and, more than that, is the possessor of these and responsible for them. Nor is it right to say that he has conscience as an intelligent being, love as an emotional, and will as a free agent His whole being enters more or less into each and all. His conscience is a feeling as well as a knowledge

His love occupies equally the three elements of his nature. And His will enters into them all


There are two characteristics of the Christian moral legislation, mediating, as it were, between the principles of ethics and their application, which are so marked that they require to be studied apart. The first is the connection between liberty and law: and the second that between the law and love


The Christian religion as the PERFECT LAW OF LIBERTY finds its perfection in the bestowment through the Holy Ghost of an internal freedom from the restraint of law which is quite consistent with subjection to external law as a directory of the life

I. There is nothing more characteristic of the Christian economy of Ethics than that it sets up an internal rule: the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus which makes us free from the law of sin and death.1 This interior rule responds to the exterior, and in a certain sense supersedes it. The external law ceases as a law of death: it has vanished with the conscience of sin removed in pardon. And as against and over the soul with its dread impossibility of fulfillment it is also gone. The Spirit of life within gives strength for all obedience; and the law to be obeyed is set up within us, according to the promise which is the glory of the New Covenant: I will put My laws into their mind and write them in their hearts.2 This is more than the restoration of the almost effaced traces of the law engraven on the heart of universal man. In Christianity this internal law is supernatural; it is nature still, but nature restored and more than restored: a supernatural nature. This is the interior polity of holy government of which St. James speaks when he calls the Gospel the perfect law of liberty:3 perfect law becomes liberty from external obligation

The nearer obedience is to the uniformity of the ordinances of nature— being conscious and willing obedience, though in its perfection not conscious of its willing—the nearer it approaches the Creator's end. Law is only the rule by which the Supreme works His will

In all the economy of the physical universe His law works from within outwardly, and there is no need of any outward statute to be registered for the guidance of His unintelligent creatures. The Divine Spirit in the heart of regenerate men seeks thus to work out a perfect obedience to the law of love

1 Rom. 8:2; 2 Heb. 8:10; 3 Jas. 1:25

1. In a loose and general way this may be called the rule of conscience, to which the Apostle refers when he says, Herein do I exercise myself to hare a conscience void of offence:1 as if the law that guided him was the decision of his own moral sense. The Scripture, however, acknowledges no rule of conscience, this being rather a witness than a governor. In modern ethical science the word is made to include both functions. First, and very generally, it is made to signify the moral faculty which discerns good from evil: as men are provided with a faculty to distinguish fair from foul, and truth from error, so they have a faculty which distinguishes the moral quality of things or right from wrong

This is simply, however, the Reason whereon the Creator has written those moral principles which, never altogether effaced, are re-engraven by the Holy Ghost in regeneration as the eternal standard by which men must judge themselves. Secondly, it is the estimate whether instinctive or formed by reflection as to the conformity of our own state and act to that standard. This is CONSCIENCE proper, and the only conscience of which the Scripture speaks. It mysteriously suggests the due retribution of good and evil; but this is an attribute which sin has given it

1 Acts 24:16

2. They are distinguished as conscience objective and conscience subjective. And, uniting them, we may speak of the internal law as that of SELF-GOVERNMENT restored. The rule of God's Spirit in the spirit of the regenerate is the administration of conscience or the renewed self according to the normal idea of the Creator. Men thus trusted—under authority to that Holy Ghost yet having their own souls under them—are in the highest and purest sense a law unto themselves.1 Yet this only as under the law to Christ,2 Who is the common Lord of all

1 Rom. 2:14; 2 1 Cor. 9:21

II. For there is still an external law, containing the Christian commandments contained in ordinances, which is continued by reason of the weakness of the new nature

1. The external standard still maintains the dignity of law, and still asserts the necessity of its permanence as an institute. Nowhere does the New Testament—even when it sounds most loudly the note of liberty—proclaim that the law is abolished. From the law of sin and death1 we are delivered, not from the law that directs to holiness and life. Written in the fleshy tables of the heart,2 the commandments are deposited also in an ark on tables of stone for common appeal among probationary creatures. The political and social legislation of the old economy has passed away, but not its eternal morals. They are reenacted under other forms, and re-written in the pages of the New Testament as the standard of requirement, the condition of the charter of privileges, and a testimony against those who offend

1 Rom. 8:2; 2 2 Cor. 3:3

2. The outward enactments are still the directory of individual duty. All relations have, in the order of the providence of the moral Governor, a sense of their obligation lodged with them in the human heart, and the law serves to educate that sense in its manifold details

The best Christians need a remembrancer: they obey the law within, but are not always independent of the teaching of the law without

3. The external is the safeguard of the internal law: against its only or its chief enemy, ANTINOMIANISM, which regards the law as abolished in Christ, or treats it as if it were so

Theoretical or theological Antinomianism is the doctrine that makes a Christian's salvation eternally independent of any other obedience than that of the Gospel offer of grace, or rather than that of the vicarious Redeemer. There is a teaching which holds that the Substitute of man has not only paid the penalty of human offence but has fulfilled the law also for the sinner: thus making the salvation of the elect secure. The believer has, in this doctrine, no more to do with a legal rule save as a subordinate teacher of morality

He will never to all eternity stand before any bar to be judged by the law. Now this is the very truth of the Gospel so far as concerns the demand of the law for eternal and unbroken conformity with its precepts: no one will bear that inquisition either in the court of time or in the court of eternity. But there is only a step between precious truth and perilous error here. Christ has re-enacted His law as an Evangelical institute by which all shall be tested. The Antinomian proper is one who treats the requirement of perfect holiness as met by Christ, and refuses to measure his conduct by any law whatever. To him obedience is only matter of expediency, and propriety, and it may be reward; but not matter of life and death: his disobedience may be chastised by a Father, it cannot be eternally punished by a Judge. The law is no longer a condition of salvation: obedience not being a condition of acceptance as to the past or negative salvation, neither is it a condition of acceptance as to the future, or positive salvation. There is also a still more prevalent practical Antinomianism, which uses liberty as an occasion to the flesh.1 This may be, or may not be, connected with the theoretical renunciation of law. It is found in all communities: the disgrace of all creeds and confessions. The written commandments are a safeguard against both forms of the common enemy. The noblest and best corrective is, as will be seen, but by love serve one another. But, besides the gentle protest of charity there is the stern protest of law with its sanctions. He who knoweth our frame has protected us, if need be, against ourselves. As the Gospel disarms the law in one sense, it arms it again in another: they are a mutual defense. He that despised Moses law died without mercy under two or three witnesses. Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy:2 but we need not fill up the quotation; suffice that it is a denunciation of those who sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth. The law protects the Gospel by protecting itself. If Christian people recite their Creed to keep in memory the things they surely believe, not less necessary is it that they should recite the Commandments also to keep in memory what they must do to enter into life

1 Gal. 5:13; 2 Heb. 10:26-29


Love has been seen, in the doctrine of Sanctification, to be the principle and strength and perfection of consecration to God. In Ethics we have to consider it rather as the fulfilling energy and the fulfilled compendium of law, and the unity of these two


Love is the complement or filling up of all that is meant by law: the summary of all possible duty to God and man

1. Generally, this may be said to have been our Lord's authoritative compendium. He honored the principle as it had never been honored before. He made it the source of all the merciful dealings of God with man. He assumed its perfection for Himself: His love and His humility being the sole graces that He called His own. He made it the badge of His discipleship: the one bond of community between His people and their Lord. This thrice-honored grace the Redeemer also made the epitome of all duty in its two branches, towards God and towards man. He was not only rebuking the Pharisaic computation of the value of precepts, but spoke for all time, when He said that on these two commandments—that is on the supreme love of God, and the love of the neighbor as self—hang all the law and the prophets.1 He did not enact these laws, or this twofold law, as new; nor did He assign them a new importance in themselves. He simply declared that these were the sum of all duty, and gave them a new significance in ethical systems

In the Old Testament they seemed to be AMONG the precepts; now they are OVER them

After the Lord had thus set the example it is not to be wondered at that every writer in the New Testament has paid his tribute to love. St. James leads the way by his nomon basilikan, the royal law,2 limited by him however to the love of our fellows. St. Paul's great expression is that love is the fulfilling of the law:3 in both instances of its use the meaning is limited, as in St. James, to the love of the neighbor. Again and again the New Lawgiver and His Apostles sum up all duty, not as two kinds and orders of love, but as love generally. St. Peter makes charity or love absolute the crown of the graces introduced into the life and sustained there by faith: Add... to brotherly kindness charity:4 a grace therefore that is directed both to God and to man; and, if not precisely the sum of duty, yet the crown and consummation of all. St. Paul is still more express: in his hymn to charity, the noblest ethical strain of the New Testament, agapee is evidently the substance of all personal religion; nor is there an internal grace or an external duty that is not regarded as an expression of love. The same may be said of his epitome afterwards given: Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.5 As the end of the law is Christ, so the end of the commandment is charity: a declaration of large compass. Inverting the order of the words, pure faith leads to a cleansed conscience and purified heart, the abode of perfect love. But it is St. John who carries the tribute to its highest point. He makes the ethical Divine nature charity, God is love; and the perfection of this grace the perfection of all religion, which is, like him who possesses it, made perfect in love.6

1 Mat. 22:40; 2 Jas. 2:8; 3 Rom. 13:10; 4 2 Pet. 1:5,7; 5 1 Tim. 1:5; 6 1 John 4:16,18

2. Charity in its full meaning in Christian Ethics is therefore the substance of all obligation to God and our neighbor: it might suffice to say to God; for there is no real and essential obligation but to the Supreme Lawgiver. There is no possible act of the soul that is not an act of love, as love is the return of the soul to its rest. It expresses all homage and reverence to the Divine Being, with every affection of heart that makes Him its object; all delight in His holy law; all devotion to His service. Love to man is purely ethical as it is the reflection of the Divine love. The neighbor is united with the self as a creature; and as self, literally understood, is lost in love, love views all creatures and self included as one before God. Hence all the variety of our duty to our fellows is the expression of charity, aiming supremely at the Supreme, but reflected on all men for His sake. But we are permitted to speak of obligation to our fellows: every obligation is summed up in charity which, negatively, worketh no ill to his neighbor,1 and, positively, loves his neighbor as himself.2 1 Rom. 13:10; 2 Mat. 22:40

3. The fulfillment of law in a perfect character may be regarded as the formation in the soul of a holy nature. Love is the pleeroma of religion as well as of law; the sum of all interior goodness: a life governed by this grace is necessarily holy; for all the faculties and energies of the being are united and hallowed by charity. It expels every opposite affection; it sanctifies and elevates every congenial desire. It regulates and keeps from affinity with sin every emotion. It rules with sovereign sway, as the royal law within, the will and intention that governs the life. Where pure charity is there can be no disobedience to Heaven and no injury to the neighbor; there must be all obedience to God, and all benevolence to man: therefore the whole of goodness is in the perfection of this grace. When it thus reigns within, it diffuses its influence over the intellect and its judgments: the mind conducts its operations under the authority and restraint and sure intuitions of charity, and the heart is united in God

4. The love, however, which is the anakephalaiosis, or summing up, of all law, is of necessity perfect love, such as neglects no injunction, forgets no prohibition, discharges every duty. It is perfect in passive as well as active obedience. It never faileth;1 it insures the existence of every grace adapted to time or worthy of eternity. It is the bond of perfectness.2 Therefore it is that the term perfect is reserved for this grace. Patience must have her perfect work;3 but love alone is itself perfect, while it gives perfection to him who has it

1 1 Cor. 13:8; 2 Col. 3:14; 3 Jas. 1:4


Love is the fulfiller of law, as well as the fulfillment. This general truth, which is not so directly declared as the former, is often indirectly laid down, and is very important in many ways

1. It is the energy of the regenerate soul which the Spirit uses: faith which worketh by love. When the Holy Ghost dethrones the self in the renewed spirit He makes His agent the principle that is most contrary to self, charity. Strictly speaking all men are actuated by love; but the love by which faith worketh is turned away from self and looks outward

Hence it is the strongest power in our nature sanctified and set on its highest object

(1.) What love is cannot be defined: as we must think to know thought, and feel to know feeling, and will to know volition, so we must love to know the meaning of love, though even then it passeth knowledge. Something of which love in man is the highest expression is found to be as universal as life: it is as mighty in animated nature as gravitation in the world of matter. As instinct, or as merely natural affection, it achieves or seems to achieve unconsciously almost incredible wonders. But when regenerate, and made the energy of living faith, under the Holy Ghost, it is capable of the utmost task that can be laid upon it, even a full obedience to the Divine law. It is in fact the indwelling of Christ, the indwelling of God by the Holy Ghost: he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God.1 Under such a condition what is impossible? Hence it is obvious, that love as the Divine Spirit's instrument is more than that affection of human sensibility which generally bears the name. It is the bond of all the attributes and perfect-ness of our nature

Though it is not literally the regenerate life —any more than the essence of God is love— it is the strength of that life. It is the outgoing of the soul towards its one Supreme Object; and this movement or energy is transmitted into every manifestation of force in the moral sphere. All that is true in the physical theories of CORRELATION of forces and CONSERVATION of energy may be transferred to the domain of Ethics: save that in the omnipotent energy of the Spirit poured into the Church, and into its individual members, there is a perpetual increase of the living power that governs the moral world of Christendom. Love in the Christian life is simply and solely seeking its way back to God: that is its centripetal force. The spirit is kept from being lost again in its Creator because of the original fiat which gave it personality: that is its centrifugal force. Hence the orbit of holy duty. Love is the very strength of the Holy Ghost in the inner personality of the regenerate. It is behind the intellect and the sensibilities and the will: ruling the man who is the possessor of these. Though it derives its name from one of the middle class of these three elements of human nature, it is exalted to be over them all. And, though it has not a new name, it has a new, nature and a new prerogative, for love is of God.2 This is said of no one other grace as such

1 1 John 4:16; 2 1 John 4:7

(2.) But the strength of love as a principle of obedience may be viewed in its particular relation to God. It has all the power of gratitude: We love [Him] because He first loved us.1 If ye love Me, keep My commandments.2 If God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.3 In these sentences, combined in this order, we have the highest tribute to the strength of gratitude, as the noblest form of love. It is worthy to be the response of the Divine charity to sinful man. To it as a sentiment of grateful devotion is committed the obedience of the regenerate life. And the manifestation of this love to those around us, in imitation of the supreme charity, gives the highest nobility to virtue. It is moreover the principle of delight in the Divine character, which inspires the desire to imitate and become like God: a desire which is capable of being intensified to unlimited strength, and may become one of the mightiest impulses of the soul in man. This is either a silent, instinctive necessity of being transformed into the image of Him Whom love adores, or an active energy that has in it the potentiality of all holiness. The law, which is a transcript of the Divine nature, becomes itself the object of love: 0 how love I Thy law,4 is the note of the Psalm which sings the praises of God's Word. As the Divine character and law are both embodied in the Incarnate Son, human love set upon Him is the strength of all holiness. Here our own words fail, and we take refuge in St. Peter's: Whom having not seen, ye love; in Whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.5

1 1 John 4:19; 2 John 14:15; 3 1 John 4:11; 4 Psa. 114:97; 5 1 Pet. 1:8

2, Charity is the guardian of obedience: the Evangelical and better form of the Rabbinical "hedge about the law." There are two leading enemies of the righteousness of the Gospel against both and each of which it is the only and effectual safeguard. ANTINOMIANISM cannot stand in the presence of love. Its grosser and more refined forms are alike repelled. Theological dogmatic argument says: Is therefore Christ a minister of sin?1 How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?2 The heart's best enforcement of both is, 0 how love I Thy law!3 PHARISAISM, whether the spirit of a vain dependence on mechanical external obedience, or in its milder form the hireling sentiment, is utterly rejected of love. Its ethical precept warns: Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.4 This grace knows nothing of its own righteousness,5 never being able to forgive itself for sin against God, and all the less because so much has been forgiven; and it at once suppresses every tendency to the question, What shall we hate therefore?6 by another, How much owest thou unto my Lord?7 unto THE LORD!

1 Gal. 2:17; 2 Gen. 39:9; 3 Psa. 114:7; 4 Mat. 4:7; 5 Phil. 3:9; 6 Mat. 14:27; 7 Luke 16:5

3. Love also is the expositor of the law which it keeps and defends. It is the scribe well instructed within the heart

(1.) The enlightened and regenerate reason is of course the interpreter of the commandments; but love is the ever-present secretary of the judgment, and renders the meaning of' every law with an infinite grace peculiar to itself. This heavenly Magister Sententiarum explains the phraseology of ethics in its own sense; and defines the terms of its vocabulary in its own spirit. It does not relax the meaning of any of the most rigid of them. The Must and Ought and Shall have their full significance; the language of threatening and sanction is not softened; nor is the Moral Governor of the universe reduced to a personification of mere good nature. But charity, without abolishing or really qualifying the ethical ideas of the Scripture, transfigures both them and the language that expresses them. Yet this is only by giving the commandments their deeper meaning: the spiritual interpretation, as we call it, is really the generous interpretation of love. When the New Lawgiver ascended the Mount and opened His mouth, Love Incarnate then first disclosed the hidden mysteries of ethics; and its deep interpretation pervades the whole Sermon. Applied to the commandments generally, and to the Decalogue in particular, it reveals a new world of morals. The precepts of the first table, literally interpreted, seem cold and hard and limited: but let love interpret them according to its sentiment of perfect devotion! So it is with the other table. Let the injunctions to remember the Sabbath, to abstain from stealing, and murder, and adultery, and false witness be severally expounded by perfect charity, and how their spiritual meaning searches the heart, quickens the pulse of duty, and inflames the soul's desire! (2.) Again, love supplies the omissions of every statute and code; being quick to discern, where the law is silent, its unexpressed meaning and inference. Love is the fulfilling or the COMPLEMENT of the law, and its SUPPLEMENT also. It fills up the interstices by a running commentary, and adds an undertone of subsidiary precepts that perfect the directory of duty. It interlineates the written code within and without, inserting its own boundless variety of unwritten commands

(3.) It is also the Casuist which settles every difficulty. There are many complications in the application of ethical principles. From the beginning there has been a special department which, under the name of CASUISTRY, presides over anomalies in morals, conflicting precepts, collision of duties and seeming incompatibilities of obligation. Here Love abounds in all judgment,1 or discrimination. It stands by the side of conscience, ever ready and seldom at a loss for the right exposition. Seldom: for there will be instances after all, Cases of Conscience, which no Casuistry will decide; scruples and doubts which no human Ductor Dubitautium can determine; and which perplex and embarrass even the sure instincts of love. But, generally, this interpreter keeps the honest Christian, who simply and only aims at perfection, right. This Casuist, sent by a heavenly commission into the court, lays down three general principles for the extrication of the embarrassed soul that desires to do its duty: first, the highest Object of obedience must invariably and at all costs have, the preeminence; secondly, the most generous interpretation of every questionable obligation is to be preferred; and, thirdly, self as an end is always to be utterly rejected, or, so far as it is admitted subordinately as an end, it is always the self of eternity rather than the self of time. The application of these standing by-laws is illustrated by the Supreme Sovereign Himself, much of Whose legislation had to do with collisions of duty. For instance, the disciple who says, Suffer me first to go and bury my father, is bidden, let the dead bury their dead; but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.2 The voice of Christ, Who is God in His kingdom, must be supreme over every other, even the most powerful, claim. In every such case of severe collision between the pure natural instincts and the ' service of God, God must be first and He will hold His servant harmless. The earliest lesson from the lips of Jesus enforced this

Between what seemed His duty to His mother and His new vocation there was a collision: Wist ye not that I MUST be about My Father's business?3 Again, when His disciples blamed the loyal woman of the alabaster box, the Redeemer taught them a lesson: on His Person, while He was yet with them, it was impossible to be too profuse in gifts, and she who seemed too lavish was shielded: Why trouble, ye, the woman?4 Her large and liberal interpretation of duty, with the decision to which pure love brought her, was defended and commended to all the world. Lastly, of the third principle also He set in His own person the great example: He pleased not Himself.5 And when the greatest of all conflicts in ethics occurred, between the care of His own innocence and the salvation of guilty men, He surrendered the former: Not My will but Thine be done;6 and suffered Himself to be numbered with the transgressors. In Him infinite charity expounded duty

It must do the same office in us. No other principle of exposition will carry us safe through the complications of life. Expediency, common sense, reason may err: love, armed with these principles, NEVER FAILETH.7

1 Phil. 1:9; 2 Luke 9:59,60; 3 Luke 2:49; 4 Mat. 26:10; 5 Rom. 15:3; 6 Luke 22:3; 7 1 Cor. 13:8


The perfection of the Christian system of ethics is seen in the combination of love the fulfiller and love the fulfillment of law: law and obedience to law are one in charity. To borrow terms in modern use, here is the unity of objective and subjective: a unity which impresses its various and most important influence on the whole study of New-Testament morals

1. It explains the fact that the Christian revelation is comparatively indifferent to legal codes and formal enactments. It does not dwell so much on the enforcement of specific obligations as on the vigorous maintenance of the principle of charity: love is the strength of the MUST, which at once prescribes obedience and gives the fullness of the commands to which obedience is due. It is obvious, therefore, that Christianity cannot have, like the old covenant, the distinction of moral and ceremonial and political law. Its legislation extends only where love can reign: that domain cannot be one of mere ceremonial observances; nor can it be the sphere of civil government, where charity is not the vicegerent of God. The old economy, which contained indeed latently a hint of this in Be ye holy!1 and Thou shalt love the Lord thy God!2 has vanished with all its legislation

Even its DECALOGUE, as such, is retained only because our Lord has Himself and by His Apostles exempted it from the operation of that principle, and incorporated it in the Christian statute book. Introduced into the legislation where charity is supreme, it is by our Lord reduced to one twofold principle, the love of God and of the neighbor. It is in other respects dealt with in a free spirit It is rearranged, abridged, and its spirit extracted; it undergoes also a change in the fourth commandment, a spiritualization everywhere, and has an endless supplement added

1 Lev. 20:7; 2 Mat. 22:37

2. Love is an active principle, the law of the movement of the whole of man1 towards God. And, therefore, if love is both the fulfillment and fulfiller, all holiness must be no other than one concentrated and active outgoing of the strength of the whole nature of him who obeys. It does not pause to distinguish between what is forbidden and what is commanded. I will run the way of Thy commandments, when Thou shalt enlarge my heart.2 There is no mere obedience to prohibitive ordinance. The spirit that hates evil loves holiness; and, in going to the limit of every interdict, it runs to the other side and finds the perfect opposite. It avoids sin only on its way to holiness. Its resistance to evil is the resistance of love: there is no fear in love, but there is deep wrath: an anger that sins not, but abhors that which is evil and will not be content with anything less than the abolition of the sin. Hence, further, charity, as an eternal and evergrowing activity, pursues every precept into all its ramifications. Here we have again the spiritual interpretation: charity is now the well-instructed allegorist that spiritualizes every letter to infinity. It cannot ask the question: Which is the great commandment in the law?3 And it cheerfully consents to that strong word of the Moralist among the Apostles: Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.4 The ethics of love make provision everywhere that God may be all in all,5 that the very least ordinance shall be sustained by all the majesty of Heaven. He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much.6 It is impatient of greater and less in duty

1 Ecc. 12:13; 2 Psa. 114:32; 3 Mat. 22:36; 4 Jas. 2:10; 5 1 Cor. 15:28; 6 Luke 16:10

3. Here we may recall the law of liberty,1 which is royal and perfect: royal and sovereign, in virtue of its being perfect The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ:2 the grace of the Gospel is the truth of the law; and of those who receive it we read: against such there is no law;3 which means more than that they are uncondemned by the statute. Bat the very liberty is itself law. He taketh away the first, the outer code, that He may establish the second,4 the inner. Nevertheless, the law, as we have seen, remains for a testimony, and for conviction, and for perpetual incentive. Its uses are thus summed up by the old theology: its USUS POLITICUS, to regulate common life: its USUS ELENCHTICUS, to convince of sin; its USUS DIDACTICUS, to instruct in morals

The true Christian, however, is not under [the] law, but under grace.5 He is not indeed over law in the sense of being independent of it. His emancipation is only so far as grace or mercy effects it through forgiveness; but that very grace disciplines or teaches him to walk according to the strictest principles of morality. The law is neither over nor beneath the believer: it is, like the kingdom itself of which it is the rule, within us

1 Jas. 2:12; 2 John 1:17; 3 Gal. 5:23; 4 Heb. 10:9; 5 Rom. 6:14

4. Christianity has introduced what is sometimes called the new law: it is the law of Christ;1 or the law of faith.2 Now if all law is love, and all fulfillments is love, it is obvious that there may be a righteousness of God3 attained to such a degree that the ordinance of the law might be fulfilled in us.4 Loves presides over ethics which are adapted to a disordered constitution and a lost estate. It covers a multitude of past sins and enables the believer to present what is accepted as a full obedience. Thus is that saying true: Mercy glorieth against judgment.5 If strict justice should proceed in its inquisition according to the standard of heaven and unfallen creatures, mercy or love cries, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all:6 these my children shall be made perfect in duty. Meanwhile, its perfect work is judged according to the Evangelical standard of grace: it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.7 Whoso keepeth His word, in him verily is the love of God perfected.8

1 Gal. 6:2; 2 Rom. 3:27; 3 Rom. 10:3; 4 Rom. 8:4; 5 Jas. 2:13; 6 Mat. 18:26; 7 2 Cor. 8:12; 8 1 John 2:5

5. Lastly, this teaches that there cannot possibly be any works of Supererogation. For, as law is love, love also is law. There can be no such thing as overpassing the limits of obligation. The spirit of Divine charity seems to suppress the terminology of ethics, and to change its character; but only to revive it into higher life. The vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, so far as they are Christian, are not in reality voluntary vows, but obligatory laws. Blessed are the poor in spirit! Blessed are the pure in heart! Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness!1 are benedictions pronounced upon the three severally as expressing the true Christian character. Every counsel of perfection is a commandment with promise. And, as to the whole theory on which these are founded, it may be said that Jesus the universal Lawgiver is the One DIRECTOR OF SOULS: THERE is ONE LAWGIVER,2 Who is GOD-MAN, the Lord; and His law is love, whether as to the perfect principle that keeps it, or as to the sum of the commandments which it must keep

1 Mat. 5:3,6,8; 2 Jas. 4:12


The New Testament, as the perfect development of the ethical teaching of progressive revelation, furnishes the rich abundance of materials from which may be constructed a systematic exhibition of applied ethics

It has been seen that the internal law which gives its character to Christianity does not supersede the external; though it gives that law a peculiar freedom and irregularity. It remains now to consider what materials there are for the construction of anything like an ethical system; how those materials are distributed, and on what principles they may be arranged. Here we have to do with the Lord and His Apostles alone

I. The Supreme Lawgiver in His ethical teaching gathered up and dissolved, re-enacted in part and in part amended, the ethics of the Old Testament

1. It is very observable that, though He spoke with a new and strange, because a Divinehuman, authority, He did not profess to promulgate a new code of laws for His disciples

He did not directly pronounce even the ceremonial law obsolete; in fact, He observed it Himself and connected its observance with many of His miracles. But He certainly gave sundry hints which were to be developed, after His perfect sacrifice, into an abrogation of the whole positive law of Moses. The national and political laws had lapsed in the order of Divine Providence. The purely moral law our Lord necessarily ratified. While He released His disciples from the ancient code as such, He honored the Decalogue, defended it from perversion, and filled out its precepts as spiritually interpreted. A very large part of His ethical teaching was a commentary on the Ten Words of the ancient code. Moreover, He laid down some new principles or gave some new counsels which were adapted to the interval during which He in His personal presence was instead of law, being the Dictator, or Director of His disciples in an intermediate order of things

Thus many of His precepts were not of permanent obligation, but adapted to the purpose of those days. Such were some of the positive commandments, which sound like absolute precepts, to sell all that thou hast . . . and come, follow Me.1 Others, on the contrary, He laid down rather for future use, after the Spirit should have fully come. Such were those which prescribed prayer in His Name and the assembling of His people, and so forth

Again, there were innumerable indications of His will given through the medium of His miracles; and not a few precedents of morals established by Him as Supreme Judge. But it may be said generally that He taught those parts of His ethical system which were most special and characteristic— such as the virtue of humility and self-denial—by His own example. He left all these materials for His Apostles rather than leave a system of His own. His life, His words, and His works were to them and are to us a boundless accumulation of the highest ethics. His last personal question and His last personal command illustrate everything that has been said. Lovest thou Me? shows that love was the spring of all obedience. Follow thou Me!2 shows that imitation of His example was the supreme morality

1 Luke 18:22; 2 John 21:17,22

2. The Apostles, when His words were brought to their remembrance, followed the Master's example, and dealt with the new ethics precisely in His Spirit

(1.) In the Acts new obligations arise, and a peculiar class of duties with them: the descent of the Holy Ghost, the formation of the new Church, the claims of devotion to the ascended Redeemer, the demands of the Gentile world, all conspired to create a new order of ethical obligations, demanding a new order of precepts. In the Epistles, however, we have the abundant exposition of the new morals of Christianity, as the Spirit brought the Master's words to the disciples' remembrance, or inspired them to make new applications of those words. It is impossible to compare the Gospels and the Epistles without perceiving that the Same Teacher is in both, as also that there is the same manner of teaching. In the Epistles there is more statement of doctrinal truth; but, as in the Gospels, we find that there is not a solitary revelation of truth which has not, directly or indirectly, and almost always directly, an application to practice. As in the Master's days, occasional circumstances give rise to important decisions. The precedents of the Lord's Ethical Court are many

(2.) The Epistles teach largely by application of principles to individual cases. They open up a wide field of their own, however, in the relations between the duties and obligations of the Christian fellowship and those of personal religion: hence the new ethical word oikodomeen, and the inculcation of all that belongs to EDIFICATION, corporate and individual. But the ethical glory of the Epistles is to be found in three departments which are opened and consecrated to this service. First, they bring all into dependence on UNION WITH CHRIST through that indwelling of His Holy Spirit which is the unity and common bond of the Lord and His people. It we embrace this as truth and as more than mere figure, and in the light of it read the New Testament, we shall find that the entire field of ethics is illuminated by it. Again, the LAST THINGS begin to enter the field with peculiar solemnity and pathos, giving to all the Epistles in some parts, and St. Peter's throughout, a specific and indescribable tone. Finally each writer has his own constellation of GRACES AND VIRTUES, the consummate beauty as well as the ethical completeness of which cannot be exaggerated. So perfect are they that an exposition of these little compendiums of morals would furnish a system of universal Christian Ethics. Not that there is anything in the Epistles of which the Gospels contain no intimation. Every Apostle is still only a disciple of Jesus,1 ematheeteuthee too leesou, and only develops more fully the principles laid down by Him: neither in doctrine nor in morals does the stream of Apostolic teaching rise higher than the fountain in the Master

1 Mat. 27:57

3. Nowhere in the New Testament do we find any trace of such an outline of Ethics as should guide future systematization. The nearest approach is the Sermon on the Mount, with which in the Epistles corresponds St. Paul's great ethical chapter in the Romans.1 But our Lord's Discourse was a spiritual commentary on the Decalogue. He takes its last precept, which forbids the evil lust of the heart, and makes it the point of connection with His own new legislation. St. Paul immediately after his exposition of the graces which flow from entire consecration to God, introduces the second table of the Decalogue, and in such a way as to intimate that he acknowledged it as the compendium of Christian duty. It may be well, therefore, at this point to consider the claims of this one summary of moral obligation, and to give the reasons why it is not adopted as our basis

1 Rom. 12


The DECALOGUE, hee dekalogos sc. biblos nomothesia, was the central obligatory code of the Old Covenant: the most ancient as it is the most perfect of all summaries of moral duty

1. Though given to a special people, and with circumstantials and appendages of limited application, it is universal and for the world. Its dignity was impressed by this, that it was given by Jehovah Himself, while Moses was the organ of the other legislation. There is a difference between the original account in Exodus and the recession in Deuteronomy; but they concur in making the commandments ten: THE TEN WORDS or THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, containing the Covenant specially so called, and therefore deposited in the Ark of Testimony in the centre of the sanctuary. The Decalogue was written on two tables of stone, inscribed on both sides; and obviously divides the precepts in the middle, five having reference to God and containing the Praecepta pietatis, and five referring to man and containing the Praecepta probitatis. Reverence to parents regards them as representative of God: even as Pietas in the old Latin combined the two

2. These two Tables, brought into the New Testament and expounded on the principle of the Sermon on the Mount, might be made the basis of all moral teaching. Their spiritual interpretation would furnish all the necessary principles of ethics. The Preface is a glorious announcement of the Personality and Supremacy of God: the foundation of all religion, and the ground of obligation for all that follows. To the children of Israel He was the Jehovah who brought them out of Egypt; to Christians the God of universal redemption; to all men everywhere the One and only Moral Governor. The first commandment enjoins the supreme homage of the One God: its Jehovah has become the Holy Trinity; and the spiritual interpretation of this law lays down all the principles of theological faith in the Triune God, with the life of holy devotion and obedience which corresponds with that faith. The second prescribes the spiritual worship which alone the Deity will accept. Literally, it interdicts idolatry and the use of emblems to denote the unseen Being; by anticipation, therefore, condemning the superstitious ceremonial and honor paid to images in degenerate Christendom. Spiritually, it further searches the chambers of imagery and forbids every creaturely rival of the Supreme and Only Object of the soul's delight. The third commands the profoundest reverence of the Divine Majesty, and forbids the irreverent use of the Holy Name in needless oath and light swearing. Spiritually, it enjoins an awful reverence of the Divine Presence: not only in His worship, where it requires the most perfect and all-pervasive sincerity in every thought, word, and act that has Him for its Object, but also in the whole of life, which must be conducted, down to its slightest details, in His Name which is the Name of His Son our Lord. The fourth ordains the observance of public worship of the One God, the ordinance for all ages of an appointed day including the whole service of religion. This commandment undergoes a remarkable change: while in Exodus the memorial of the Creation is mentioned, in Deuteronomy, which looks within and also goes forward to Christian days, deliverance from Egyptian slavery, pointing to Greater Redemption, are alone introduced. The spiritualization of this precept makes the worship of God a perpetual rest, and connects all with the final rest of heaven. The fifth attaches an especial honor to parents: not only as parents, however, but as representing all lawful authority; both Divine and human. Moreover, it is the link between the Two Tables: placed in the first, it undoubtedly belongs also to the second. The sixth forbids murder and every passion that leads to it. The spiritual application of this short precept is perhaps the widest of all in its range: as to the neighbor, it includes every act that shows an undervaluation of the worth of his life down to the slightest thought or word of hatred or violence; while, as to self, it includes every passion and practice that tends to the injury of personal life and well-being, intemperance and excess of every kind. The seventh includes in the word adultery all sins that war against the purity of the sexual relations: of its spiritual range our Lord has given us His own most suggestive illustration. The eighth protects property and forbids dishonesty in act and thought: here then will come in the whole substance of the ethics of property with its rights and obligations; and the highest spiritual interpretation, remembering that men eternally owe love to one another, will make it the basis of all the self-sacrificing ethics of the Gospel of Charity. The ninth protects the character of the neighbor, and forbids slander in every degree, and through all its stages along the whole line of its vocabulary. The last is as it were a Deuteronomical repetition on the one hand, and an advance towards the Sermon on the Mount on the other. It forbids the lust of the heart, and is again and again alluded to in the New Testament as carrying the commandments of the Second Table into the region of the hidden man where his original sin forges every species of iniquity

3. But the Decalogue, as such, has not often been used as the basis of an exposition of Christian Ethics

(1.) There has been no slight difference of view from the beginning as to the principles of its own internal order; and this contention itself has tended to prevent its adoption

Augustine, followed by the Roman Catholic Church, and in this by the Lutherans also, reduced the first two precepts to one; thus giving three commandments to the First Table

The Second Table then contains seven, the tenth being subdivided. The ancient Jews did not thus divide the tenth; but left the prohibition of all concupiscence untouched and alone. They, however, sundered the first into two, preceded by a Preface: the former of the two simply imposed belief in the Supreme and Perfect Being. Josephus and Philo, followed by the Early Christian Church, and the Greek and Re-formed of modern times, adopted that order which, as in our English Bibles, is in general acceptance

(2.) There are, however, reasons in the Code itself which make it an inadequate foundation of an ethical system: reasons which have been already more than suggested, and may here be more fully referred to. Generally, it cannot be questioned that the Decalogue as such, and as part of the Israelitish legislation, was abrogated: that is to say, it survived the passing away of the old economy because of its eternal moral principles; principles which are reproduced, and more fully explained and based upon their true grounds by the Saviour's new legislation. While, therefore, the Ten Commandments still remain, in their Hebrew form, as a memorial of the past, and, stripped of Hebrew appendages, as binding on all nations, they are not the obligatory statement of the entire morals of Christianity. Moreover, it is obvious that the negative and limited character of some of the precepts does not fit them to be the formal expression of the perfect law of liberty: the very fact that they require so large a spiritual and positive expansion makes it embarrassing to hang on them all the precepts and aspirations of Christianity. Again, our Lord has indicated His will on this subject by summarizing all our duty into the one supreme commandment of love in its two branches: including, not merely the Decalogue, but the whole compass of moral precepts: ALL the law and the Prophets.1 And, in His Sermon, which has been spoken of as a Commentary on the Decalogue, there is a large body of ethical teaching that cannot, without considerable violence, be brought into direct reference to any of its precepts. When we study morality in the Apostolical Epistles we find the same independence of the Ten Words as a formal code. In fact, very much of their ethical grandeur lies in a region beyond any commandments contained in ordinances: in the region, namely, of the experiences and aspirations and attainments of the Christian life. Hence, to sum up, while the Ten Commandments are of eternal obligation, they are not the adequate basis of Christian Ethics: they serve better for a standing witness and testimony to the conscience before God than as the program of systematic moral theology

1 Mat. 22:40


Having considered Ethics in their specifically Christian principles, we shall now treat these principles as applied: first, as forming the Christian character, personal and individual; and, secondly, as regulating all external relations. But this distinction cannot be observed rigidly

It is obvious that we adopt here the most natural and easy arrangement. There is a sense in which no such distinction as this can be justified, inasmuch as the internal character is dependent on the discharge of external obligations. But if we press this too far, we lose our systematic arrangement altogether, and the loss would be great


The internal obligations of the Christian life may be presented in an endless variety of ways. The following scheme embraces all, and with some attempt at the order of their development: first come the ethics of Preliminary Grace or Conversion; then such as deal with the Ultimate Intention of the new nature; then those of the Internal Conflict; then those of Consecration to Divine service; and lastly the ethics of Devotion as expressed in the spirit and habit of worship


Christian Ethics begin, in a certain sense, before the regeneration of the soul. There is a range of duties and obligations incumbent on the awakened sinner, for which sufficient grace is given. This branch of morals has been included in the general question of Preliminary Grace; and must only be touched upon here as introductory to Christian Ethics proper

1. Generally the whole moral law is incumbent on sinners as such, from beginning to end

There is a perpetual interdict, Thou shalt not! and a perpetual injunction, Thou shalt! even though the strength to abstain and to do may as yet be wanting. These may be regarded as the ethics of a state of slavery to sin. In this case the law is set for conviction of sin, and of sinfulness its source, and of the utter impotence of the mind unrenewed, demanding always repentance with all that has been described as belonging to it. Those who yield to the influences of the restraining and prompting Spirit of conviction, and strive to cease to do evil and learn to do well,1 are in the way of duty approved by God. It is wrong to say that all sincere works done before regeneration are only splendid vices, and counted by the Judge as evil: however true it is that they are not meritorious, and can do nothing towards justification, they are in the way of preparation for Divine acceptance. It is incorrect even to affirm that there is no ethical duty possible to the unregenerate. "We have seen that there is a religious life before the regenerate life, and it has its morals

There are fruits meet for repentance,2 which are also the fruit of the Spirit,3 though not yet the Spirit of regeneration

1 Isa. 1:6; 2 Mat. 3:8; 3 Gal. 5:22

2. The very faith that introduces the soul to salvation through union with Christ must be preceded by, or rather must include, a submission to the Mediatorial Redeemer which is an ethical law incumbent on every redeemed rebel as such. It is the duty of every living sinner who hears the proclamation of the Gospel to yield compliance to the supreme will of Christ. His conscience tells him this, and it is at his peril that he refuses. There is a doctrine indeed which removes the foundation of this ethical responsibility. But it is not the doctrine taught by the New Testament It is unnecessary, however, to dwell on these topics, as they have been abundantly exhibited already

3. It may be added, that, after conversion, this same repentance and faith do not cease to be ethical obligations. Penitence in sundry forms is both the grace and the duty of religion to the end: it may even be a profounder sorrow in the sanctified than in the unregenerate; and even when it becomes only the acknowledgment, sorrowful yet always rejoicing, of the sin which is through Divine grace entirely gone, it is repentance still. And as to faith, or self-renouncing submission to Mediatorial authority and acceptance of the Mediator's Person, it is literally made perfect in the Christian life. But on these, and on all other topics connected with the transformations of preliminary ethics in the regenerate estate, we shall speak more fully hereafter


The direction of the supreme aim of the soul is foremost in the ethics of the established regenerate life. These are classed under three general heads: first, the Glory of God, in all the forms of that highest intention; secondly, the Will of Christ, as the specific Christian end of life; and, thirdly, the Perfection of our entire nature, as the issue of both these in their combination

This department includes a wide range of the ethical principles of the New Testament. It may be said, indeed, to embrace them all, as there is no temper of the soul or action of the life, whether regarding self or regarding others, which is not under the government of the ultimate choice of the will. But we must strictly limit ourselves to the characteristics of holy intention as such

I. Perhaps the final expression of the end of the Christian life is that given by St. Paul: do all to THE GLORY OF GOD.1

 1 1 Cor. 10:31

1. The highest example and illustration of the maxim is to be found in our Lord, Who, when leaving the world, said: I have glorified Thee on the earthy having finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do.1 His whole human career as the supreme pattern had this for its supreme object: to render a perfect tribute to the glory of the Divine Name, to reflect that glory from Himself, and to bring men to render God His glory. These three combined are the highest definition we can conceive of the meaning of a phrase which has been adopted always to express the ultimate and noblest aim of creaturely life

1 John 17:4

2. But the last branch of the definition indicates that living to the glory of God has a specifically Christian meaning. It is very specially St. Paul's expression, who places it on the ground of redemption: for ye were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body,1 redeemed equally with the spirit. The honor of the Triune God of the Gospel salvation is now the final end of the Christian life. The Corinthian Epistle, which uses the term more than any other, begins by showing that God in Christ has taken all human glorying away, and made Himself the one Object of all glorying: that no flesh should glory in His presence2 is on one side of the Redeemer's finished work, and he that glorieth let him glory in the Lord on the other. When all shall be accomplished it is said that the Lord shall come to be glorified in His saints.3 In these passages we have the two ideas of rendering God His tribute and reflecting His honour from ourselves. The third idea, that of bringing others to glorify Him, that is, of so acting as to secure His honor, occurs again and again: Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or do anything, do all to the glory of God:4 where the uppermost thought is, that every action may be so ordered as not to bring dishonor upon the Author of the Gospel. The reference here is to comparatively insignificant things; but elsewhere, the highest range of duty is referred to the same end: If any man speaketh, speaking as it were oracles of God; if any man minister, ministering as of the ability that God giveth; that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ.5 Thus every thought and every word and every action must in Christian Ethics aim to honor God, to reflect His grace, and to shield His name from reproach; and in these three senses Christians live TO THE GLORY OF GOD

1 1 Cor. 6:20; 2 1 Cor. 1:29-31; 3 2 Thes. 1:10; 4 1 Cor. 10:31; 5 1 Pet. 4:11

3. As an ethical principle this widest and most comprehensive law may assume some other forms and names

(1.) It is the making God the one object of life: the meaning or thinking or intending the Supreme Triune, and in each Person, in all things from the least to the greatest. This is what our Lord has called the SINGLE EYE, which looks at the Divine will as the directory and end of every action. The lamp of the body is the eye; if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light,1 on which closely follows, Ye cannot serve God and mammon2 full force of this precept is seen if we connect with it two other passages. Your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost;3 and His interior light shines upon the eye that gives light to the whole of that life of which the body is the organ. And, beholding God in all things, we obey the injunction: sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts,4 in the centre of your entire personality of soul and body. Thus we have the full thought of a single eye to the glory of God. Elsewhere this grace is called SIMPLICITY: he that giveth let him do it with simplicity,5 where our Lord's haplous becomes en haploteeti Purity of intention and singleness of aim are united in simplicity and godly sincerity.6 These make up that UNITY of aim, as opposed to multiplicity of regards and distraction of motives, for which the Psalmist prayed: I will walk in Thy truth; unite my heart to fear Thy name.7 This principle of a fixed and habitual reference of every action to the will of God pervades the Scripture, and is one of the glories of its ethical teaching

1 Mat. 6:22; 2 Mat. 6:24; 3 1 Cor. 6:19; 4 1 Pet. 3:15; 5 Rom. 12:8; 6 1 Cor. 1:12; 7 Psa. 86:11

(2.) It is presented in another form as the aim to PLEASE GOD, with its reflex, the consciousness of pleasing Him. One of the first definitions of a perfect godliness in the Bible is the word concerning Enoch that he walked with God,1 which in the New Testament is explained that he pleased God.2 Here again we have the Supreme Example, that of Him who pleased not Himself,3 and Who once declared of Himself, I do always those things that please Him.4 It was His aim to please His Father, and it must be ours: He could say I DO ALWAYS; we in His strength must copy Him. Thus we may close as we began with our Lord's example, Who never spoke but of two aims in His life, the glory of His Father's name, and the pleasing Him in doing His will. But the honor due to God belongs to Christ Himself

1 Gen. 5:24; 2 Heb. 11:5; 3 Rom. 15:3; 4 John 8:29

(3.) The Apostle Paul bids the Colossian servants to serve not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart fearing God. This passage, with its parallel to the Ephesians, teaches that to please God, to please the Lord, is to fear Him; and thus the glory of God and the pleasing Him are really one. Unite my heart to fear Thy name1has almost its perfect echo in these words: in an undivided heart fearing the Lord. Moreover, it teaches what the whole Scripture teaches, that, as there can be only one object of fear, so there can be only One Being to be pleased. The ethical purity of this intention consists in its soleness and supremacy. Do I seek to please men? for, if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.2

1 Psa. 86:11; 2 Gal. 1:10

II. The Christian Lawgiver, unlike any other in the history of religion, presents Himself to His people as the Object of their final intention in all things. This truth appears in several lights

1. It is exhibited as the bringing all life into entire DEVOTION TO THE LORD JESUS. Our Savior is our God, and therefore He is the End of the soul as well as its Redeemer. The term end being most literally understood, the ethics of Christianity permit this application: for to me to live is Christ.1 If it signifies more generally a leading purpose in the whole tenor of probation, it is supported by St. Paul again: whether we live, we live unto the Lord.2 The Christian is thus also under the law to Christ;3 and that most absolutely, for the entire strain of the New Testament, even more than isolated texts, shows nothing in the vista of human duty and aspiration beyond the will of the Incarnate Jesus. This is a distinctively Christian end and aim in all things: and its supremacy as such is proved by the remainder of the passage already quoted: whether we die, we die unto the Lord. Lest, however, this should be supposed to mean only that in the Divine order Jesus of Nazareth has the destinies of men put into His hands, the Apostle says: whether we live therefore or die we are the Lords. We are not now proving the Divinity of the Incarnate. Here, indeed, is absolute demonstration: for of none but the Supreme can it be said that the creature is His, and lives and dies to Him. But the specific ground of this devotion of the being to Jesus is the fact of His redeeming purpose and redeeming rights: to this end Christ died and revived, that He might be the Lord of the dead and of the living.4 As to this nothing more need be said than that the same argument is used concerning God and His Christ: Ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.5

1 Phil. 1:21; 2 Rom. 14:8; 3 1 Cor. 9:21; 4 Rom. 14:9; 5 1 Cor. 6:20

2. This is the place to dwell upon that negative end of life, which is almost the peculiarity and altogether the glory of the Christian system: the entire renunciation, or rather the entire forgetfulness of, SELF as the end of our actions: its utter extinction as the final intention of anything we think, or speak, or do. Forgetfulness, mark well: a most important truth has been aimed at by the word negative; for if the annihilation of selfends is made a positive end itself, the ethical grandeur of unselfishness is lost Hence the affecting connection of this principle with the example of Christ. If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me:1 here the following of Christ is the sum of the new life, the daily cross its constant element, the absolute renunciation of self as an end is the introductory condition: not the less an introductory condition, because the general company of the Redeemer's disciples are ever learning it, and do not come to the full knowledge of its truth, down to the last. Observe, however, that we speak only of the Ultimate Principle and scope of life. Self may still remain as a subordinate end: Work out your own salvation! Look not every man on his own things, but every man ALSO on the things of others. All seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's.2 These various words follow the Apostle's exhibition of the Supreme Example of self-renunciation: let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus. Here is the suppression of self. They then show that the self which is lost is found again in Christ, and is an object of care combined with the neighbor, that care of self working out the will of God. The Philippian chapter contains the perfect doctrine of Self

1 Luke 9:23; 2 Phil. 4,5,12, 21

3. This leads to the IMITATION OF CHRIST, which has been and will be alluded to: here it is also a supreme intention in life. There is no higher end than to become like Him, Who is the Perfect Good Incarnate: There is none good but One, that is, God;1 that is, Christ, God in man. There is no higher tribute to the Supreme than to endeavor to be like Him: imitari quern colis. Our Lord, who at the beginning bade His disciples imitate the perfections of their Father which is in heaven,2 ended His teaching by commanding the emulation of Himself. His last word to an individual on earth made both the duty and the individuality of it prominent: follow thou Me.3 But here we must remember what has been already made emphatic, that our Lord has set before us an example, not so much of the means, as of the result of Christian endeavor. If He makes Himself the Pattern in the pursuit of it, it is always and only as He is the model of the renunciation of self. In that alone is He expressly proposed as an example

1 Mat. 19:17; 2 Mat. 5:44-48; 3 John 21:22

III. Another ultimate ethical aim is the attainment of the perfection of the individual character, as the issue of personal striving after nothing less than the realization of all the will of God, and thus by Divine grace making the result our own

1. Generally, nothing is more certain than that this high ideal is set before the Christian

One of the first words of the New Lawgiver was: Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.1 The word teleioi implies the possible attainment of the telos, the end or moral goal, of all life. This was the new aspiration introduced into ethics by our Lord, Who made His heavenly Father the standard, reproduced upon earth by Himself, of all moral excellence, as summed up in Charity, which all His followers must aspire to reach

1 Mat. 5:48

2. That supreme standard must be aimed at by the Christian, depending on Divine grace, from the very beginning of his career of discipleship through all its processes to the end

(1.) Our Lord said to one who came to Him, If thou wilt be perfect!1 thus engaging him to the pursuit of perfection at the outset, and applying a severe test to his sincerity of intention. He was required to give the first pledge of his determination by selling all that he had for the poor. Christ made Himself the standard: everyone that is perfect shall be as his Master.2 Here the word and the application are different; but the meaning is that those who have become His disciples must aim to share His moral perfection

1 Mat. 19:21; 2 Luke 6:40

(2.) The processes of the Christian life must all be conducted under the inspiration of this lofty incentive. It has been seen how the Holy Spirit administers the Atonement as a provision for making men perfect before the law, perfect as children of God, and perfect as sanctified to the Divine fellowship. It will be enough now to indicate that in these three departments Christians are taught to aspire to perfection by their own co-operant effort

These things write I unto you, that ye sin not.1 He that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous.2 These words confirm St. Paul's: that the righteousness of the law may be fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit.3 And without controversy they teach that the religious walk must aim at a perfect satisfaction, through Divine grace, of every requirement of law. As the children of God we are exhorted to keep the same high aspiration before us, that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God without rebuke:4 tried by the highest standard, without fault, without interior stain, without reproach of God or man, being in the Divine purpose which becomes a human aim conformed to the image of His Son.5 As St. John says, Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin:6 at least, the tenor of his aspiration is to live in a state of sacred freedom from sin and likeness to the Son of God, Who was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him is no sin.7 Thus there is a perfection of the regenerate estate which is an ideal that diligence strives to realize. So also the exhortation runs in the temple of Divine consecration: Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.8 The end of the application of the Atonement is to make the comers thereunto perfect. For by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.9 The Divine teteleiooken expresses a design that becomes human in the Corinthian epitelountes, which, as no one will deny, makes the perfection of sanctity a Christian aim. It may be added that individual graces are to be trained to their own several perfection: for instance, let patience have her perfect work,10 one grace of the perfect man,11 at least of the man who aspires to perfection, who looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein:12 looks into it for ever with the inextinguishable ardor of determination to be a doer of the work in its perfection and to be blessed in his deed

1 1 John 2:1; 2 1 John 3:7; 3 Rom. 8:4; 4 Phil. 2:15; 5 Rom. 8:29; 6 1 John 3:9; 7 1 John 3:5; 8 2 Cor. 7:1; 9 Heb. 10:1,14; 10 Jas. 1:4; 11 Jas. 3:2; 12 Jas. 1:25

(3.) Finally, there is an aspiration to perfectness which is not purely ethical, though that element is not excluded. St. Paul's most intense expression of the one end of his life, This one thing!1 had reference to the final consummation of body and soul in union with Christ. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfected! His view of the finished perfection of his entire nature stops not short of the resurrection. For that of course he depends on the fidelity of his Lord. But even that he makes his own aim: 1 press on if so be that I may apprehend that for which also I was apprehended by Christ Jesus. He exhorts the spiritually perfect to press on to the perfection of the last change when the perfection of earth shall put on the perfection of heaven. How far this entered into his ethical aim is obvious. It gives its sublime peculiarity to the whole passage: This one thing!

1 Phil. 3:12,13

(4.) The end of time is eternity, and the end of life is the eternal union with God. The finite may seek the Infinite. The highest aspiration of the saint must be, through life and all the varieties of probation, to see God and be one with Him for ever. This may be and must be the final intention. I shall be satisfied when I awake with Thy likeness!1 Not preparation for death, nor preparation for meeting God in judgment, but preparation to be with Him eternally! DEUS MEUS ET OMNIA!

1 Psa. 17:15


The Christian personality is the sphere of a contest between two opposing principles which are variously described. The struggle is between the new man and the old, or the flesh and the Spirit, or the believer and Satan. The peculiarity of this conflict depends upon the doctrine of the probationary union of the regenerate with Christ the Captain of our salvation. It appears in another form in all systems of ethics, which refer to the discord between the worse and the better self; but Christianity alone gives the key to this mystery in human nature. A very large department of the moral teaching of the New Testament is occupied with the detail of virtues and duties which spring out of the spiritual warfare on which our probation depends. These topics must be taken in their order

The doctrinal aspect of this internal discord has been already given; we deal now only with the ethical, and confining our attention to the one idea of the conflict. Many of the ethical principles and definitions are of course exhibited under other heads. It will conduce to precision if we consider the subject first in reference to the two opposite elements with their contrasted virtues and vices in particular, and then in reference to the various ethical duties and grace, arising out of their relation to each other generally, and as common to all


Though every part of the New Testament refers to the general principles of the contest, St. Paul is the only teacher who gives us a complete view of the two forces contending in the regenerate. He therefore must be our main guide in this department; and his teaching, as summing up the whole of Scripture, represents the ethical contest as no other than the believer's fellowship in the Redeemer's conflict and victory. This is the profound bond which unites all the various descriptions of the good fight of faith.1 This entire department of Ethics is reduced to the prosecution of a contest which is in the Christian the renewal and continuation of his Master's contest and victory. Union with Christ stamps it$ impress on the whole doctrine of the regenerate conflict. To set this in a clear light requires only the consideration of a few passages which connect the Saviour's Headship with each department of the spiritual warfare in its two branches: first, in the struggle of the new man with the old man still remaining within him; and, secondly, as the contest of the new man with the external forces of evil; these combining in the common idea of our union with the Lord in our temptation

1 1 Tim. 6:12


I. It is peculiar to St. Paul to describe the contest as between the old man and the new, and as between the flesh and the Spirit. In the former Christ is viewed as Himself the life of the believer, raised from the dead with Him; in the latter Christ is viewed as by His Spirit contending against the remains of the evil nature. The two are really one, but each has its distinct range

1. The doctrine of regeneration has given us all the elements of distinction. In many passages St. Paul speaks of the old man and the new man in seeming, though only seeming, independence of Christ. The one personality of the regenerate includes a new nature and an old for a time coexisting. The residuary old man is again regarded as having an organic body of his own, the body of sin:1 in this, by its members which are upon the earth,2 it performs the deeds of the body.3 It is the body of this death4 with which the Apostle struggled before he was regenerate, and with which, though under better auspices, he struggled afterwards. In the former struggle the inward man is brought into captivity to the law of sin;5 in the latter, that of which we now speak, the process is inverted: Ye have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man;6 knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that henceforth we should not serve sin.7 Sin, therefore, though remaining, is no longer the master. This is the glory of Christian ethics

1 Col. 3:9; 2 Rom. 6:6; 3 Col. 3:5; 4 Rom. 8:13; 5 Rom. 7:22-24; 6 Col. 3:9; 7 Rom. 6:6

2. But again that one personality is a man in Christ,1 and the new nature is no other than Christ formed in you,2 as if His sacred morphoo, or form, were impressed on the spirit through the Holy Ghost, of Whom it is said, he that is joined unto the Lord is one Spirit.3 St. Paul tells the Colossians that they have put on the new man,4 using the same word as that to the Romans, put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ;5 and the combination of the two passages shows that the new man is not so much our nature renewed as Christ in it, and also that the Christian conflict is the effort on our part to gain the ascendancy of the new man over the old. This new man is the Last Adam, a quickening Spirit,6 within the soul; and this term spirit is the link between the doctrine of the two men, or the two Adams, in the regenerate and the ethical application of it to which we now pass

1 2 Cor. 12:2; 2 Gal. 4:19; 3 1 Cor. 6:17; 4 Col. 3:10; 5 Rom. 13:14

II. Hence the contest is not between a new nature and an old simply, but between the Holy Spirit of Christ and what is called, in this view, the Flesh. It is important to define these two opposite principles, and the nature of the conflict between them

1. The Flesh is nowhere more fully described than when it is opposed to the Holy Spirit as the principle of regenerate life. There are in the New Testament abundant references to the fallen nature of man; but none which equals St. Paul's Galatian picture of its works, as they are manifest in the world, and by the natural conscience evidently condemned. They are these: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like.1 These are an expansion of the Lord's words concerning what proceeds out of the heart.2 St. Paul's catalogue includes the evil thoughts, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. To this catalogue covetousness, which is idolatry,3 is added elsewhere; and it thus includes every form of sin against God, against the neighbor, and against the self; against social, political, and ecclesiastical society. These sins are known and read of all men; Christian ethics do not require any definition of them; they are manifest. St. James in sacred satire says of them: This wisdom descendeth not from, above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish,4 the middle term connecting them with St. Paul's works of the flesh.5 They are the best product of the thoughts of the old man with his deeds.6 They are the filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness7 which Christians must lay apart. Over against all these St. Paul sets the one fruit of the Spirit, which is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance:8 graces which are set in peaceful array against the turbulent army of lawless vices. St. Peter sums up all in another antithesis: on the one side the corruption that is in the world through lust,9 for the works of the flesh; and for the fruit of the Spirit, the becoming partakers of the Divine nature, which is in St. James the wisdom that is from above.10

1 Gal. 5:17-21; 2 Mat. 15:19; 3 Col. 3:5; 4 Jas. 3:15,17; 5 Jas. 1:21; 6 Gal. 5:19; 7 Col. 3:9; 8 Gal. 5:22,23; 9 2 Pet. 1:4; 10 Jas. 3:17

2. The conflict between these in Christian Ethics must be carefully stated. St. Paul's leading text runs thus: The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other, that ye may not do the things that ye would.1 The same word epithumei, which expresses the not yet extirpated bias of original sin in the nature, must be referred to the Spirit's new original bias in the spirit regenerate. If decorum would suggest a different word in the latter case, we may adopt it; but the meaning still remains, that, while the flesh would hinder us from doing what we would as regenerate, the Spirit hinders us from doing what we would as yielding to the impulse of the remainder of sin. But it must be observed that there is a difference between this contest and that described in the seventh chapter to the Romans. There the conflict is a failing one on the side of the man under conviction but not yet regenerate. It is not between the Spirit, as the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus,2 and the flesh; but between the flesh and the law of my mind, or the nous, under the striving of the Holy Ghost. This conflict is a fruitless struggle against a power bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.3 In the regenerate contest the watchword is: Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.4 It is the characteristic of the ethics of the Christian warfare that the Holy Spirit of Christ in the regenerate spirit secures the possibility of a constant victory. Still, it is a contest; the extinction of sin, and of the flesh, is not assumed; the Flesh is still, as we shall see, the source of temptation for a season

1 Gal. 5:17; 2 Rom. 8:2; 3 Rom. 7:23; 4 Gal. 5:16

III. We may now consider the relation of this conflict to our union with Christ and our temptation with Him

1. St. James gives us the nearest approach to a definition of the process of temptation from within. Every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.1 Temptation proper, in the case of a fallen creature, is strictly speaking within. It craves the gratification that is offered from without: then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin.2 The contest in the regenerate man is this lust of the flesh opposing the Spirit of the new nature; and the Spirit continually moving the renewed spirit to oppose its desires

In this sense our first parents were not tempted, though in their case the temptation from without assailed a will capable of falling and was the means of engendering the concupiscence that then engendered all sin. In this sense the entirely sanctified from sin are not tempted; though in their case the will that has known transgression is still liable to fall and all the more because of the remaining effects of eradicated evil. In this sense the glorified in heaven, after a probation ended, will be incapable of temptation. In this sense our sinless Redeemer was absolutely both untemptable and impeccable. He was in all points tempted like as we are, as without sin:3 that is, He was tried at all points as we are tried, so far as was consistent with the entire absence of the element that could conceive sin. In this sense, finally, God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth He any man.4 He permits the temptation in the regenerate, but His Spirit striveth against the flesh.5 And, in that the renewed spirit is enabled to vanquish every temptation consists the difference between this species of temptation and that of the unregenerate involved as yet in the snare of the devil, who are taken alive by him at his will.6

1 Jas. 1:14; 2 Jas. 1:15; 3 Heb. 4:15; 4 Jas. 1:13; 5 Gal. 5:17; 6 2 Tim. 2:26

2. Hence it will be obvious that the Christian's union with his Lord in this interior temptation must be carefully defined and limited. Not of this inward conflict does the Savior speak when He says: ye are they which have continued with Me in My temptations.1 He had no mother-lust which could conceive and bring forth sin. In another sense, He is most intimately united with His saints in this sacred conflict; and the same Omnipotent Spirit Who rendered His human nature sinless is given to redeem our nature from sin. But there is another aspect of temptation which brings Him still nearer to us; and that is, the trial of the spirit from without. This He underwent to the utmost: indeed, as much beyond the possibility of His servants7 temptation as their internal temptation was impossible to Him. To those other and more exterior sources of trial we must now turn our attention

1 Luke 22:28


The regenerate soul, united to Christ, but still in the flesh, is opposed by all the elements of the present world and by the spiritual powers of evil of which Satan is the head: these two are closely united in the general teaching of the New Testament, which represents the temptation of our probationary life as very largely springing from these combined sources

I. The WORLD as an element of opposition to the Christian has two distinct meanings, which must be regarded separately

1. The present world, or the state of things into which we are naturally born, and with which we are united through the medium of the body, is not of itself evil; but in a multitude of ways, and through a multitude of channels, presents the materials which the lust of the flesh may convert into temptation. Its innumerable objects may minister to the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.1 Its necessary occupations may be converted into evil and become the care of this world.2

1 1 John 2:16; 2 Mat. 13:22

2. The world may signify the course of human life as under the order of Providential arrangements: and these, in their infinite diversity, are the elements of probationary trial or temptation. Its joy and prosperity, its adversity and sorrow, are alike tests of the character; making up the conflict of life. This kind of temptation is ordered of God Himself. Hence the same Apostle James who has already described the process of temptation from within exhorts his readers to count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations:1 they are for the trial of your faith.2 1 Jas. 1:2; 2 1 Pet. 1:7

3. The world is the present evil world: the course of which is opposed to religion, and the maxims, usages, tendencies, enjoyments, and objects of which are at all points unfriendly to the cultivation of piety. Christ has appeared as the atoning Savior to deliver us from this present evil age,1 by casting out the prince of this world;2 but, during the process of our redemption, our existence in it is a perpetual trial of our Christian graces. The world thus defined, is thus utterly contrary to the religious life, and is under the power of the enemy of Christ's kingdom

1 Gal. 1:4; 2 John 12:31

II. The solemn doctrine of the Scripture is that the warfare of the Christian life is not only the struggle between the flesh and the Spirit, and the new man and the evil world, but also between the believer in Christ and the vast forces of spiritual intelligences who are leagued, under Satan their head, against the Christian cause in the world. Two Ephesian texts sum up the whole revelation of the New Testament on this subject: indeed the Ephesian Epistle generally may be said to condense into its practical bearing all the teaching of Scripture as to our superhuman foes

1. From the first we learn that there is a conjunction between this class of spiritual enemies and the internal and external opposition which has been described. Ye walked, the Apostle says, according to the course of this world, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.1 As Jesus by His Spirit directs the course of the regenerate world, so Satan directs the course of the world that now is: whatever in it opposes the Christian life is placed under his control. Here also he is represented as the interior instigator of that other opposition of the old man and of the flesh: he worketh IN the children of disobedience

1 Eph. 2:2

2. From the other we learn not to identify these spiritual forces with either the flesh or the world. There is an opposition on the part of our unseen foes which is independent and direct. We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.1 The repeated AGAINST gives equal emphasis to the distinct antagonism of the several orders of fallen spirits, as they are confederate under one head whose directing agency is referred to as the wiles of the devil

1 Eph. 6:12

3. But the Epistle which thus closes has already set in its forefront the great revelation that Christ is supreme over all the forces of evil. He is set in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come.1 Supreme authority over the present course of things, and the supernatural order, is placed in His hands as the Incarnate Head over all things to the Church. And the internal conflict is conducted under His sway, according to the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe. Thus the proposition laid down again and again is made good, that it is in union with Christ that the universal contest is carried on by the regenerate Christian

1 Eph. 1:19,20,21,22


The ethics of the Christian conflict will now be viewed as comprising the duties and the graces which are strictly connected with it. These may be classified under the two general heads of Preservation, internal and external, and of Confidence in the victorious issue

Here we obviously have the defensive and offensive aspects of the whole duty of the servants and soldiers of Christ


The duties and the graces of the Christian life as withstanding evil can hardly be separated even in thought. They occupy a large place in the New-Testament precepts concerning Self-discipline, and Watchfulness: these terms representing a wide variety of Christian virtues

I. Personal interior discipline takes the lead: that discipline, namely, which negatively prepares for the future conflict, or lessens its force when it is present, or in many cases shields the soul from the conflict altogether. The duties here referred to may be summed up as belonging to the family of Self-denial: the sacred graces and duties and virtues of the Cross

1. At the root of all lies Self-renunciation. This has already been considered in relation to the ultimate end of the soul. Now it is regarded as the fundamental feeling the regenerate must entertain towards the sinful element remaining, which, as the opposite of the new man or the Christ within him, he must needs hate. It passes through many stages in the ethics of the Gospel: the hatred, in principle, with the mortification or crucifixion as the issue; and intermediate acts of self-denial (1.) Our Lord has made the first emphatic; and that in many ways. He has placed it at the very threshold of His service. If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.1 The first condition of these three is the root of the other two, and not to be confounded with them: the arneesasthoo heauton is an absolute renunciation of all complacency or confidence in self. This ethical principle takes different forms. Its severest is SELF-ABHORRENCE, on which all the more earnest and deeper ethical teaching of Christianity dwells so much. It is more than hating life in the sense of not loving it so much as Christ. It is the love of God turned in holy enmity against self as an enemy to God; an enemy still so far as any evil remains; and, even if all evil were gone, hated nevertheless in the remembrance of what it was. The Saviour's teaching allows no place for self-complacency, even when the self is sanctified: He taught His servant to say, Not I, but Christ liveth in me!2 This hatred of self sometimes assumes a morbid character in mystical theology; but a close study of the Lord's words will show that it is hard to exaggerate: the inmost secret of religion is not found until the soul literally hates the thought of a self that is independent of God and of Christ: that is, of any SELF at all. Hence the beauty of HUMILITY, the fundamental grace of the Gospel

This virtue is many-sided: it has one aspect towards God, another towards man, and another towards self as the subject of past and present sin. This last it is here: profound consciousness of ill-desert before Heaven and impotence against evil. I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth Thee. Wherefore I abhor myself!3 This sublimest expression of humility in the Old Testament illustrates all that has been said: in the presence of the purity of God the soul, conscious of nothing but sin of its own, loathes and abhors itself. It is paralleled by Simon Peter's Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, 0 Lord!4 In this self-distrust, deepened into self-contempt, is the secret of strength. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God that He may exalt you.5 Submit yourselves therefore to God; Resist the devil:6 each is the counterpart and also the condition of the other. SELF-CRUCIFIXION WITH CHRIST has reference to the entire sinful nature, the flesh with its passions and lusts,7 its passive susceptibility and active impulse. As our Lord condemned sin in the flesh,8 every true disciple must, in spiritual fellowship with Him, do the same. They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh

MORTIFICATION has reference to each individual tendency to sin. It is, on the one hand, stronger than that crucifixion: mortify,9 or kill, your members which are upon the earth must mean that in the strength of the Spirit the believer aims habitually at the death of, and does, in fact kill, every form of the life of sin as it emerges. On the other hand, it is less than that crucifixion, which is the destruction of the whole body of sin:10 not that it is utterly destroyed in the one act of crucifixion with Christ, but it is impaled on the interior cross where it must, having no provision11 made for it, die

1 Luke 9:23; 2 Gal. 2:20; 3 Job. 42:5,6; 4 Luke 5:8; 5 1 Pet. 5:6; 6 Jas. 4:7; 7 Gal. 5:24; 8 Rom. 8:3; 9 Col. 3:5; 10 Rom. 6:6; 11 Rom. 13:14

(2.) The external practices of a godly asceticism are both the expression and the instrumental aids of this internal discipline. First, and as mediating between inward and outward discipline, comes ABSTINENCE, which is either a grace or a duty: this means in general the non-indulgence of appetite as towards things and affections as towards persons; and may be either only internal or external also. It is the apechein which the ancient moral philosophy so highly extolled. FASTING is then the more express and formal act, brought from the Old Testament by our Lord, Who indirectly enjoined it both by His example and by His precept: when ye fast!1 But this precept leaves the time, character, and degree of fasting to the judgment of him who practices it. Bodily exercise profiteth little:2 this regimen and sacred discipline are acknowledged to be useful. I keep under my body and bring it into subjection3 is a revelation of the Apostle's most earnest selfrestraint in general, which according to his own testimony took the form of express fastings: in fastings often.4 But whatever ascetic practices are adopted must be under the restraint and regulation of one law: Exercise thyself [RATHER] UNTO GODLINESS.5

1 Mat. 6:16; 2 1 Tim. 4:8; 3 1 Cor. 9:27; 4 2 Cor. 11:27; 5 1 Tim. 4:7

(3.) And, as godliness is the design, the warranty, and the safeguard of asceticism, so SELF-GOVERNMENT is its best result. This has been an ethical law in most systems of moral philosophy; but the Christian differs from all others in combining the internal government of the Spirit with this government of self. St. Paul in his final ethical summary shows the combination: The grace of God which bringeth salvation to all men hath appeared, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly:1 the paideuousa is the Divine discipline; the sophronos is the human; and they concur in the perfection which is the Saviour's design. The whole man is the object of this self-government; nothing is excluded, not even the will which itself governs. The law is rigorous as to THOUGHTS, which generally mean the secret motives. These are amenable to control, but not without much discipline: Keep thy heart with all diligence.2 The government of the tongue is still more emphatically prescribed: the tongue being generally the expression of the inward life; particularly the organ of worship to God and the instrument of usefulness to man. St. James has expounded here some of the Lord's most strict sayings: By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.3 If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man.4 So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.5 Here WORD AND DEED are combined as another Apostle combines them: whatsoever ye do in word or deed!6 Lastly, all the actions, greater or less, of life are to be ordered in all things and true. Of this St. Paul, the special teacher of self-government, has given in his own example the crowning precept, I therefore so run, not as uncertainly:7 words which, when interpreted by the whole context, show what the minute control of the entire life should be. But SELF-RESIGNATION to the guidance of the Spirit is the secret of all the virtues which belong to the process of the internal transformation. This grace is peculiarly Christian; and is known by many names. As the Spirit is a Teacher and Guide, it is subjection to His will, both passive and active. As He is a Friend, it is the sympathy with His design and yielding to it: Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God.8 Quench not the Spirit.9 While this last may refer rather to the restraint sometimes put upon His extraordinary influence, the former refers to the soul's habitual reverence and awe in the consciousness of an internal Divine monitor. The general and universal duty is: If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.10 The interior rule of the Holy Ghost is the new secret of Christian ethics: a secret dimly felt after in heathen philosophy, promised in the Old Testament, and fully imparted in the New

1 Tit. 2:11,12; 2 Prov. 4:23; 3 Mat. 12:37; 4 Jas. 3:2 5 Jas. 2:12; 6 Col. 3:17; 7 1 Cor. 9:26; 8 Eph. 4:30. 9 1 Thes. 5:19; 10 Gal. 5:25

II. Next come the various graces of self-preservation: as they are summed up in WATCHFULNESS, which implies a perpetual consideration of danger from without; and SOBRIETY, which is the perpetual guard over the state of the soul within. St. Peter unites these most impressively: Be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer:1 here the Christian is surrounded by the snares of the passing world; while Be sober, be vigilant, applies the same exhortation in the face of the spiritual adversaries of the soul. His words are only the echo of his Master's: Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.2 Combining these passages of our Lord and the Apostle whose office it was to strengthen his brethren, we have the relation of Watchfulness to the flesh, the world, and the devil. We mark also that its value as a grace is not only that it prepares for temptation but that it also protects against it. And, finally, when we hear the Redeemer saying, Could ye not watch with Me one hour? we learn that this virtue also is to be practiced in union with Christ, in Whom alone the spirit was willing and the flesh not weak. SELF-EXAMINATION is that general watchfulness exercised at set times; and issuing in self-knowledge and self-distrust, as opposed to careless living and presumption. This duty is enforced by the moralists of every school; it is taught by the light of nature, according to the adage which expresses a universal instinct, KNOW THYSELF. Hence we do not find it expressly enjoined as a practice: it underlies all New- Testament ethics. Some most solemn enforcements of it are in St. Paul's writings. One has reference to the supreme question of an indwelling Savior. Examine yourselves whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you? except ye be reprobate.3 Another aims against self-deception in the general business of religion: If a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.4 But let every man prove his own work. And yet another has reference to the preparation for the Lord's Supper: If we discerned ourselves, we should not be judged:5 self-judgment and the Lord's judgment are alone mentioned, and in a very remarkable conjunction. But the duty of self-examination requires itself to be guarded against morbid self-anatomy, and especially against certain perversions of it under human direction. The supreme safeguard is that it be conducted according to the standard of Scripture, and in the presence of the Searcher of hearts. God is my witness, Whom I serve with my spirit,6 is St. Paul's example. But there is none more impressive than that of David, in his Psalm of the Omniscient. Examining his life, he could appeal in defense of his integrity to his God: but examining more deeply his heart, he would fain withdraw that appeal The result is the affecting cry: Search me, 0 God, and know my heart; try me and know my thoughts; and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way ever-lasting.7 To the earnest Christian who serves God in his spirit, selfexamination must be more or less an habitual state of soul as well as an occasional practice

1 1 Pet. 4:7; 2 Mat. 26:40,41; 3 2 Cor. 13:5; 4 Gal. 6:3,4; 5 1 Cor. 11:31; 6 Rom. 1:9; 7 Psa. 139:23,24


CONFIDENCE as to the issue of the Christian conflict gives birth to some bright graces, and is the animating principle of many noble virtues. These are some of them active, and some passive, and such as combine both characters

I. What men call COURAGE the New Testament terms Virtue, or apetoo, which St. Peter places first among the graces that Faith inspires. But St. Paul dwells on it still more; it runs indeed through his whole ethical teaching. Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.1 This quaternion is one of the Apostle's unique passages. Andrizesthe krataiousthe, are a reminiscence of the Old Testament; but in their Christian meaning the former is an injunction to manly and heroic energy, and the latter precept gives the reason of it in the strength which we are supposed to obtain from above. The relation of the believer to an indwelling Savior, Whose Spirit unites His servant to Himself, gives this ethical principle a peculiarity which needs not to be here dilated on. Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might,2 says all that requires to be said. I can do all things through Him that strengthened me.3 There is no inbred infection of the flesh, no power of seduction or terror in the world, no malignity of superior beings, that should daunt the Christian man

1 1 Cor. 16:13; 2 Eph. 6:10; 3 Phil. 4:13

2. Corresponding with this is the grace of PATIENCE, which is indeed linked with it by the term FORTITUDE. It is a passive grace of the entire Christian life, though St. James gives it a work to do: let patience have her perfect work.1 Strictly speaking this virtue has three aspects: one towards the providential appointments of God, which will be hereafter considered as SUBMISSION; another, towards the injuries of men, when it is rather to be called MEEKNESS; and a third, towards the toilsome processes of the Christian life and manifold conflict. It is this we now consider, and must assign it a high place and important function. It secures against impatience with self; and strengthens the soul to persist notwithstanding many failures. It arms the mind with fortitude in the midst of the never-ceasing assaults of the world. And it suffers with magnanimity the manifold onsets of Satan, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished2 in the brethren everywhere

While this grace is most important, it must of course be guarded against the abuses to which its tolerance is liable: it must be combined with a vehement longing for final and eternal freedom from evil. But HOPE is everywhere in Scripture the inspiring grace of the great conflict; being both passive and active. It is a grace that, like Patience, has many aspects. The word itself has a wide range of meanings. Christ is OUR HOPE,3 as the Pillar and Ground of all human expectation through the hope of the Gospel.4 Hope also is one of the theological graces, with Faith and Charity, being a blessed combination of the two others: it is Faith looking only to the future, but looking at it with the confidence of love

Undoubtedly, however, the Christian grace of Hope is most generally connected with the joyful expectation of future victory. Thus the Apostle Paul exhorts to a rejoicing in hope,5 the counterpart of being patient in tribulation. As we have seen it is both active and passive. Every man that hath this hope in Him, purifieth himself:6 his hope in the Supreme Fountain and Pattern of purity animates him to purify his own soul. Putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation:7 where the helmet is the defense, the passive defense, of the otherwise unprotected head

1 Jas. 1:4; 2 1 Pet. 5:9; 3 1 Tim. 1:1; 4 Col. 1:23; 5 Rom. 12:12; 6 1 John 3:3; 7 1 Thes. 5:8

3. Lastly, there is a grace which has many names in the New Testament, but not one in particular, and may be characterized as the glorying of the soul in God's work within it

St. Paul speaks much of exultation in the Lord and the riches of His grace. In one remarkable passage he strips man of all his own boasting: that no flesh should glory in His presence.1 Then after showing what Christ is made to the believer, he adds, that, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.2 Here then we have the counterpart of that ethical principle with which this section began, the abhorrence of self. The utter contempt of self apart from God is quite consistent with religious complacency in the operation of God in edifying the new man. This tranquil and rational confidence in the new character sustained by Divine grace the Apostle means when he bids us walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called.3 And the same also when he bids the Philippians think on and do whatsoever things are honest,4 or semna, dignified and decorous. This precept may take the form of CONTEMPT towards sin: not only we are bidden to abhor that which is evil,5 but also to be ashamed of it, and to disdain every vice, great and small. Of some vices, indeed, the Christian moralist speaks as if the very mention of them was discreditable. The best illustration, however, of this feature in the ethical teaching of the New Testament is the way in which the Apostles refer to the several classes of virtues and vices that belong respectively to the un-regenerate and to the regenerate character. They all and unanimously describe the one as the works of an evil and condemned nature, the other as the product of a Divine and heavenly Spirit

They do not speak of vices as the growth of human nature simply, but as belonging to the flesh, as from below, and as pertaining to the old man which is corrupt and condemned. It is impossible to exaggerate the importance of this ethical principle in the teaching of the New Testament. It is equally impossible to define it exactly: its force must be felt rather than learnt by definition. All the Apostles set in opposite array the virtues and vices: always with a note that the latter are products of a condemned and dying evil habit, and the former the growth of an omnipotent internal energy. St. Paul gives a cardinal instance of what is meant. He calls emphatic attention to his dictum: This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.6 And then he gives the most complete catalogue of the sins which humanity abhors, and of which it is ashamed. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: {adultery,} fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, [murders,] drunkenness, revellings, and such like. Here is a confused mass of all lawlessness, against which every law of God and man is set. The very description is, as it were, scornful and contemptuous. There is no sin against God, and the neighbor, and the self, which may not be traced here. They are all works of the flesh. The catalogue includes sin under every aspect, but it is significantly said that they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts. They are the dying product of an expiring principle. But the fruit of the Spirit is described as the organic result of the tree of life in the soul: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control. While the sins enumerated are the works of the flesh, active and spontaneous though morally dead, the opposite virtues are the fruit and the work of the eternally Living Spirit. Death cannot resist life. The abominable vices that both begin and end the evil catalogue—as if the career of the flesh was rounded with lust—are opposed by the heavenly virtues of religion. Love leads the army in this war, and self-restraint brings up the rear. Christian character has here its most beautiful description as a band of militant graces, each of which is passive and tranquil. MEEKNESS is our Lord's own special grace: it is humility as passively resisting evil. JOY is a grace which becomes a virtue, and ought to be encouraged as duty. So also PEACE, which here includes the opposite of variance. LONG-SUFFERING, or tolerant bearing of wrong, rising into benignity or GENTLENESS and GOODNESS, which thinks only of getting and diffusing good, lead to general FAITH in GOD and the eternal triumph of goodness, a triumph which is assured. St

Peter gives the graces of religion which insure against falling in the contest with sin

DILIGENCE is his general preface and motto; FAITH is the mother grace, as the LOVE by which it works is in St. Paul; the great conflict has for its issue the escaping the corruption that is in the world through lust and being partakers of the Divine nature.7 Here, however, the graces are seven: VIRTUE, or Divine-human energy; KNOWLEDGE; TEMPERANCE; PATIENCE, or submission with hope; GODLINESS; BROTHERLY-KINDNESS; CHARITY. This Apostle also aims to inspire the confidence of which we are now speaking

But no encouragement is more emphatic than that of St. James: Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted Word:8 evil is something added that must be put away, leaving nature in its integrity; yet this is not nature, but the engrafted Word. To this must be added his description of the wisdom which descendeth from heaven: as wisdom that is from above contrasted with that which is earthly, sensual, devilish.9 11 Cor. 1:29; 2 1 Cor. 1:31; 3 Eph. 4:1; 4 Phil. 4:8; 5 Rom. 12:9; 6 Gal. 5:16-24; 7 2 Pet. 1:4,5,6; 8 Jas. 1:21; 9 Jas. 3:15,17


The service of God bears in Christian ethics a special relation to Christ as our Lord. The duties and graces of this relation are many; and they may be summed up under the several heads of absorbing devotion to the common Master; self-sacrificing zeal for the good of all the objects of His charity for His sake; fidelity to our trust and stewardship in all its branches

This extensive department of Christian ethics needs not to be entered upon very fully; as much of it has been already and much will be hereafter introduced under other heads

I. It has been already seen that the Christian religion has this great characteristic, that it makes Jesus, the GOD-MAN, the End of human life. It also makes Him in a special sense the Lord and Master of that life as our sphere of service to Him; and it is with this ethical principle that we now have to do

1. It unites all Christians in one common cause. On the eve of His passion, when our Lord gave a final summary of His will, He asserted His claim in the most affecting manner: Ye call Me Master and Lord, and ye say well; for so I am.1 But this was not a relation of the Apostles alone: they represented the entire Christian fellowship, united to one Teacher and one Lord, through all its orders down to the lowest to whom St. Paul said, Ye serve the Lord Christ.2 The slave to whom he addressed these words is now the Lord's freedman;3 and the estate of slavery, unchristian in itself, served to illustrate that absolute free bondage to Christ which is the glory and the first law of all Christian service

1 John 13:13; 2 Col. 3:24; 3 1 Cor. 7:22

2. Hence it absorbs all the actions of life. The duty of the Christian is to do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.1 This is the new, all-pervading, sovereign and blessed law of human probation: penetrating to the minutest detail, and giving to every act a character of reality, dignity, and cheerfulness: Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.2 This ethical principle of our religion needs no further illustration. It is the law, written or unwritten, that gathers Christian ethics into unity. Its sanction is clothed with all the terrors of the judgment. And its reward is the supreme approbation of the Lord Himself, Who still says to those who with perfect loyalty and unlimited devotion call Him Lord, Ye say well, I AM:3 kaloos legete eimi gar

1 Col. 3:17; 2 Col. 3:23; 3 John 13:13

II. The Christian standard of devotion to the interests of our fellow-creatures is higher than it had ever entered the heart of man, until Christ came, to conceive. It requires all His followers to aspire to the charity of the Lord Himself, and to imitate His example in the self-sacrifice of their life. Outside of Christianity no such standard as this is to be found; though in many ethical systems an unconscious and undirected aspiration to it may be perceived. When our Lord said, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit,1 He spoke of His own glorification through perfect self-sacrifice for man. But in this the servant must be as his Lord; for He added, If any man serve Me let him follow Me.2 And again, after rehearsing in the feetwashing the morrow's great self-sacrifice, He enjoined upon His followers the imitation both of His spirit and of His act: I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.3 The law of perfect service is simply and purely the law of SELFSACRIFICE, which in union with the Redeemer and in imitation of Him makes the whole of life a ministration to mankind. But some side-lights are thrown upon this principle that bring it within the range of human possibility and show its consistency with the whole system of Christian ethics. These let us briefly consider

1 John 12:24; 2 John 12:26; 3 John13:15

1. It is the necessary consequence of union with Christ and consecration to Him. St. Paul prefaces the sublimest exhibition of the supreme self-sacrifice by the words: Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.1 The text Toúto froneíte en humín hó kaí en Christoó Ieesoú expresses very strongly the thought that the Redeemer's sentiment must needs, if not hindered, fill His servants also: let the supernatural order of grace have its course. At the same time it suggests that this is an ASPIRATION towards a lofty ideal which is not easily attained. In one remarkable passage, however, he goes far to express its attainableness. The love of Christ constraineth us:2 where the sunechei seems like an echo of the Master's passion-words before the Passion, how am I straitened!3 poos sunechomai. It is the sublime feeling which knows no man after the flesh, but which yearns after the salvation of all in the tender mercies of Christ.4 In New-Testament ethics this absolute self-renunciation for mankind is at least the legitimate ideal of the spirit of the Christian's service

1 Phil. 2:5; 2 2 Cor. 5:14,16; 3 Luke 12:50; 4 Phil. 1:8

2. It is, however, an ethical standard which may be best studied in connection with the virtues and vices belonging to this domain. The Christian teaching denounces SELFISHNESS in all its forms, pursuing it as it was never pursued before through all its disguises. But here we consider it as an evil that may cling to the Lord's servant. As such it is overcome by the CHARITY which embraces every opportunity of doing good to the bodies and souls of men, and which is called BROTHERLY-KINDNESS if shown towards those of the same religious household. A large part of the very last document of Scripture, St. John's First Epistle, is occupied with the enforcement of this grace, and without making careful distinction between the Christian and the non-Christian objects of it. Here HUMILITY esteems every gift as from God, and thinks soberly of self, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.1 The SOBRIETY in the spirit of the laborer for Christ may be opposed to all ENVY or jealousy of others and all overvaluation of personal importance: it being implied that the Administrator of gifts does not bestow upon any one more than a small amount. But it is certainly intended to show the necessity of remembering always how transcendently more important the good of others, the edification of the Body, and the salvation of souls, is than the measure of any one person's contribution of effort. He who remembers the boundless work that has to be done in the world, will not think of himself more highly than he ought to think:2 the Apostle who gave the precept was too much absorbed with the grandeur of the charity in which he was engaged to think for a moment about himself at all. INSENSIBILITY to the wants of men, or apathy, or want of zeal, has no place in the Christian heart. St. Paul complains bitterly: I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state

They all seek their own, not the things that are Jesus Christ's.3 The natural instinct of those who are devoted to the Lord leads them to care for all who are His, and for themselves only as included among them. In short, the ethics of the New Testament are always tending, whether they reach it or not, to the point of an entirely disinterested charity, whether as it regards the love of God Himself or the love of the neighbor for God's sake

1 Rom. 12:3; 2 Rom. 12:3; 3 Phil. 20,21

III. Fidelity is the watchword of another wide department of the ethics of Christian service. It is that grace in the servant which shows him to be worthy of his Master's trust

Two passages, beginning and ending the New-Testament teaching on the subject, place it in the true light. As to the servant trusted our Lord says: Who then is that faithful and wise steward whom his lord shall make ruler over his household? Blessed is that servant!1 The servant is a dulos, and the steward is an oikonomos. St. Paul gives the description of the faithful servant as showing all good fidelity:2 pistin pasan agatheen

The same word pistis which expresses our trust in God's fidelity expresses His trust in ours. It is a grace which stands alone as having the epithet good, and it must pervade the whole of life. The verb which mediates between faithful and fidelity is found in St. Paul's words concerning his stewardship of the Gospel, but may be universally applied oikonomian pepisteumai, a dispensation is committed unto me, or I have been trusted with a stewardship.3 Here then are all the elements of our ethics: the Master commits a trust, and the trustworthy servant shows fidelity in all things. It may be added that the very faith which trusts God is the strength of the faithfulness which God may trust. We have now to trace the applications of this principle, giving under each a few examples that represent many. No ethical principle is more pervasive

1 Luke 12:42,43; 2 Tit. 2:10; 3 1 Cor. 9:17

1. Christ's servant holds his own person in trust, For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body,1 as the instrument of His service alone. We are specially the property of Christ: whether we live therefore or die, we are the Lord's.2 The CARE OF SELF is part of our stewardship as we are entrusted with our own persons. On this is to be based the duty of preserving health, training the body to its utmost efficiency, cultivating every faculty of the mind, and keeping the whole man in the highest possible vigor: ready for every good work, and meet for the Master's use.3 St. Paul inculcates on Timothy a due solicitude both for spiritual and for bodily health: as to the former, Keep thyself pure4 is a general principle; and as to the latter, Drink no longer water5 may be quoted as a significant hint. Perhaps there are few applications of the principle of fidelity which are more neglected than this. Every one of us is put in charge with his spirit, and soul, and body, to educate them to the highest pitch of service for the longest possible time, and in the most perfect possible vigor

1 1 Cor. 6:20; 2 Rom. 14:8; 3 2 Tim. 2:21; 4 1 Tim. 5:22; 5 1 Tim. 5:23

2. Fidelity extends to the whole of life, with special reference to our individual vocation

Nothing is excluded from the sphere of this duty. The whole compass of life must be governed by it, and the true Christian is, what St. Paul exhorts the wives of deacons to be, faithful in all things.1 They are the faithful,2 hoi pistoi, as being believers: one word embraces both meanings. Their final seal is that of being called, and chosen, and faithful.3 But the duty is very generally connected with the special vocation. The difference here marked is shown in two parables of our Lord which are the key to all His many parables on this subject. In the one He called His ten servants and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.4 All His servants have one common gift of life to profit withal. In the other, unto one He gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability.5 In both the reckoning is strict; both the equal pounds and the unequal talents are specially entrusted; they show in a certain sense that all servants have a special vocation; and yet they seem to note a difference between what is common to all and what is proper to each. With regard to special ministries and vocations, St. Paul says, it is required in stewards that a man be found faithful;6 of himself he testifies that Christ Jesus counted me trustworthy, putting me into the ministry.7 Of this fidelity our Lord Himself is the supreme pattern: Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly vocation, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, [Christ] Jesus, as being faithful to Him that appointed Him.8 But this glorious example blends again special vocation with the general calling of life; for we all must be looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of the Faith,9 and of fidelity to the Faith. "We reach the same conclusion when we recall how constant is the reference to fidelity in the use of special opportunities and faculties of usefulness: especially that which the possession of earthly goods affords. Here the virtue of PRUDENCE, or economical wisdom, is allied with fidelity: Who then is that faithful and wise steward?10 The parable of the Unjust Steward, apart from its more general meaning, stamps this precept with deep impressiveness. Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness. He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much. No servant can serve two masters.11 In these last words we have the Christian Lawgiver's law of fidelity in its highest principle and its lowest application. It is the supreme reference of all things to one Master and one service; and it is the prudent and faithful observance of that law in the most sedulous and scrupulous care of the least trifles of life

1 1 Tim. 3:11; 2 Acts 10:45; 3 Rev. 17:14; 4 Luke 19:13; 5 Mat. 25:15; 6 1 Cor. 4:2; 7 1 Tim. 1:12; 8 Heb. 3:1,2; 9 Heb. 12:2; 10 Luke 12:42; 11 Luke 16:9,10,13

3. Fidelity, as the test applied to service, is guarded by threatenings and stimulated by the hope of reward. It is a duty as well as a virtue; nor is there any obligation in ethics which is more closely bound up with human responsibility

(1.) It is not necessary here to dwell on the nature of the punishment reserved for unfaithfulness: we have to do only with the character stamped on it by our Lord. He uses three terms which give this department of ethics an awful solemnity. Thou WICKED and SLOTHFUL servant! Cast ye the UNPROFITABLE servant into outer darkness.1 Wicked in his heart, slothful in His Master's business, and unprofitable both to himself and to his Lord! The weeping and gnashing of teeth fearfully indicate that the penalty is an abiding regret which is no other than hopeless remorse. The only mitigation is the proportion of the doom; But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required.2 It must never be forgotten that the far larger part of the references to the final judgment make it the test of servant-fidelity: at least in the case of Christian believers

1 Mat. 25:26-30; 2 Luke 12:48

(2.) The rewards promised to Fidelity are represented in many lights. It brings its own recompense in the Master's approval, who does not wait for the end to say Well done, good and faithful servant! That will be the crowning blessedness of a persistent fidelity: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.1 As unfaithfulness is followed by a withdrawal of the trust, so fidelity increases it: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things.2 Faithful stewardship in probation leads to a stewardship whose probation will have ceased for ever. But another element of the reward brings it back to the present life. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of My Father I have made known unto you.3 They who enter hereafter into the Lord's joy enter now into His secrets and confidence. Their service is the service of friendship; while their friendship is the friendship of servants. Here is the inmost secret of our ethics of service, which once more bases them on union with Christ. It is this lastly, which explains how the reward is reckoned of grace. While we must say: We are unprofitable servants;4 we have done that which was our duty to do,5 He, in His boundless grace, will say the opposite of this. Forgiving the neglect of our service, and not remembering in how many instances we have not done the things which are commanded, He will reckon to all our poor fidelity the virtue of His own faithfulness, and we shall receive a full reward,6 misthon pleeree

1 Mat. 25:23; 2 Mat. 25:21; 3 John 15:15; 4 Rom. 4:4; 5 Luke 17:10; 6 2 John 8


The last department of specially Christian ethics, the issue and consummation of all the rest, pervading all and crowning all, comprises the duties, virtues, and graces that have GOD alone for their Object. These may be summed up in the one word Piety or Godliness; which is the Christian character based upon Entire Consecration, is expressed in the Worship of praise and prayer, and issues in Union with God


Personal Consecration to God is the entire oblation of Self to the Giver and Redeemer of our being according to the terms of the covenant of grace. This principle of Selfsurrender is evidenced by universal submission of the heart and life: by devotion to the will of God as expressed either in His commandments or in His providential appointments; that is, in active Obedience and in passive Submission. A life thus governed tends in all things to God; the character thus formed is a godly character; and the habit of the soul is that of eusebeia or godliness. We have seen the fundamental principles of this entire self-surrender under the doctrine of Sanctification. It is necessary here only to make some observations on its ethical bearing

1. It is the beginning, the strength, and the consummation of all religion as the human service of God. As man's act it is negative and positive. It is the absolute renunciation of proprietorship in self: Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be My disciple.1 Know ye not that.... ye are not your own? for ye are bought with a price.2 It is the absolute surrender of the whole being to God: Yield yourselves unto God.3 This self-surrender is to be made in the strength of the grace of redemption, the salvation of the Gospel being its argument and its strength: I beseech you therefore by the mercies of God that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.4 These words sum up the whole doctrine. Religion, or godliness, is the habitual, conscious, never interrupted, offering up of the spirit, soul and body, to the service of the Living God in the entire activity of life: the self surrendering self

1 Luke 14:33; 2 1 Cor. 6:19,20; 3 Rom. 6:13; 4 Rom. 12:1

2. This consecration is unto universal Submission, which is active and passive. As active it is the devotion of the heart to the performance of all the commandments of God as they constitute His one will: this is Obedience, the first and all-embracing duty of the creature towards the Creator as Moral Governor: an obligation expressed in many ways throughout the two Testaments, and literally absolute, being the foundation alike of the Law and of the Gospel, which is itself the announcement of the new obedience of faith.1 As passive it is the duty and grace of entire Self-abandonment to all the appointments of Divine providence either as they are afflictive or as they are inscrutable; in the former case, it is RESIGNATION; in the latter it is this conjoined with Acquiescence, or silent submission to the will of God

1 Rom. 16:26


The worship of God is the highest expression of the religious spirit, offering to God the creature's tribute in Praise, or uttering the creature's need in Prayer. These may be regarded as distinct and as united in the spirit and habit of devotion

I. Many terms have been sanctified in the language of religious mankind to express the highest tribute of the human spirit to the Supreme. In Holy Scripture these terms are varied, expressing the sentiment of Reverence whence all worship springs; the act of Adoration which silently and Praise which audibly extols the Divine Name and Perfections; and Thanksgiving which expresses gratitude for the mercies of God

1. REVERENCE is the supreme and eternal duty and grace of .the created spirit. It is both the source and the issue of all godliness. The three passages, Holy and reverend is His name!1 Hallowed be Thy Name!2 Sanctify the Lord Christ in your hearts!3 in their combination teach us first how awful is God in Himself, then that the coming of His kingdom is the universal acknowledgment of His majesty, and finally that this reverence must be the inmost sentiment of our individual hearts. Reverence is fear tempered by love. In the Old Testament the fear predominated, in the New Testament the love; but the sentiment of reverence pervades all religion on earth and in heaven. Whether as sacred dread or loving fear, it abideth always. As the spirit formed by religion it is universal in its influence. It is the habitual sense of the Presence of God that gives dignity to life, and makes the character of him who cultivates it venerable. It extends to all Divine things as well as to the Name of God Himself: to His Word, to His ordinances, to His created temple of the world, and to all that is His. In His Presence more particularly it is AWE

1 Psa. 91:9; 2 Mat. 6:9; 3 1 Pet. 3:15

2. PRAISE proper is in Scriptural language either Adoration or Blessing. Adoration, as the word indicates (from Os the mouth) is the prostration which as it were kisses the earth at the Divine feet. It stands for every act in which the spirit of reverence expresses itself

The Hebrew term yishtach is sometimes used, like the Greek proskuneesai, to indicate homage before the creature. But the closing words of the New Testament show its highest and only true application: refusing the Apostle's lower prostration the angel said: worship God.1 But the prostrate mouth speaks in Blessing and Praise. Hallelujah! Praise ye the Lord!2 is in both Testaments the most exulting of all notes. The Hebrew baareek, to bless, is often translated by praise.3 This term, however, like adoration, has a human as well as a Divine application. Moreover, it is wide in its range. In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed:4 this is the Benediction of God to man, which becomes in another passage shall bless themselves,5 or shall rejoice before God. Again, daily shall He be blessed 6(or praised) is the return of benediction to Heaven. But here it is observable that Christ is, in the unity of the Father, the object of this supreme praise. The term Blessed, or eulogeetos, is used in the New Testament only of God and of Christ. The Son of the Blessed7 is Himself God blessed for ever.8 Other Scriptural terms might be mentioned, variations on these words and having reference to the forms of praise in public worship; but these we need not discuss in particular. Christian individual devotion employs a variety of expressions which are not necessarily derived from Scripture; and it is an important principle of reverence that these should be always reserved exclusively for their highest uses. To sum up all: the devout spirit offers to God the ADORATION of a creature, the HOMAGE of a subject or servant, the PRAISE of a worshipper

1 Rev. 22:9; 2 Psa. 150; 1; 3 Rev. 19:1; 4 Gen. 12:3; 5 Gen. 22:18; 6 Psa. 72:15; 7 Mark 14:61; 8 Rom. Rom. 9:5

3. THANKSGIVING is a duty of which GRATITUDE is the grace. This obligation of godliness is acknowledged by the universal sentiment of mankind; but as a Christian grace it has some blessed peculiarities. It is gratitude, as for all the benefits of Divine providence, so especially for the general and personal gifts of redemption. The very term most in use shows this; it is charis, which is the Grace of God in Christ, operating in the soul of the believer as a principle, and going back to Him in gratitude: Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift.1 The ethical gratitude of Christianity connects every good gift and every perfect gift with the Gift of Christ. Moreover, it is a thanksgiving which in the Christian economy, and in it alone, redounds to God for all things: in everything give thanks.2 This characteristic flows from the former. The rejoicing which we have in the Lord, and the everlasting consolation we possess in Him, makes every possible variety of Divine dispensation a token for good. The Christian privilege is to find reason for gratitude in all things: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you

1 2 Cor. 9:15; 2 1 Thes. 5:18

II. PRAYER is, like brotherly love, a duty in the obligations of which all men are, as it were, naturally theodidakoi, taught of God.1 It is the expression of man's dependence upon God for all things. Its general grounds have been discussed already, and will be considered more fully under the Means of Grace: it is here viewed only as belonging to the ethics of the Christian character, in its spirit and in its acts

1 1 Thes. 4:9

1. What habitual reverence is to praise, the habitual sense of dependence is to prayer

Nothing less than this is signified in the injunctions that men ought always to pray,1 and pray without ceasing:2 if the former refers rather to the importunity of request, the latter inculcates the duty of evermore, consciously or unconsciously, waiting upon God. Both are united in the words: praying always with all prayer and supplication.3 More particularly the spirit of prayer depends upon three elements: First, the inwrought habit of mentally connecting with every action of life the Supreme, for in Him we live, and move, and have our being;4 secondly, the abiding consciousness of dependence on the Mediator through Whose constant advocacy our spiritual life is sustained; and, lastly, the presence of the Spirit of adoption in our hearts, Who maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.5 Here is the deep secret of the spirit of prayer. He that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, that He maketh intercession for the saints according to God.6 The froneemaa tou pneumatos is according to God what the carnal mind, froneema tou sarkos, is according to fallen nature: the habitual movement of the unspoken impulse. The Spirit's groaning intercession within the veil of the heart answers exactly to the intercession of the High Priest within the veil of heaven; and both are without interval or rest. Hence the duty of PERSEVERANCE in devotion refers to insistency in particular requests and the continuing instant in prayer:7 instant for the former, continuing for the latter. To combine these two is perfection

1 Luke 18:1; 2 1 Thes. 5:17; 3 Eph. 6:18; 4 Acts 17:28; 5 Rom. 8:26,27; 6 Rom. 8:7; 7 Rom. 12:12

2. The formal acts of prayer are manifold, expressed by a number of terms common to both Testaments, and combining the spirit and the act. The leading word proseuchee is one of those. It is always prayer to God, and that without limitation. When St. Paul exhorts, in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God,1 he distinguishes from this general PRAYER the deeesei, or SUPPLICATION for individual benefits. It is the difference between prayer and petition. The REQUESTS of the supplication, aiteemata, simply express the individuality of the prayer: the supplication noting our need (dei), and the request the utterance of that need. When our Savior said, In that day ye shall ask Me nothing, He used another term signifying, in the case of the disciples, the interrogation of perplexity: there it is erotan, which is changed for aiten in what follows: Verily, verily, I say unto you, whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My name, He will give it you.2 The former word is used of our Lord's own prayer, never the latter: hence the former has in it more of familiarity, and is never used of human prayer. Save, indeed, in one passage, which leads us to the prayer of INTERCESSION. St. John changes aiteesei into erooteesee concerning the sin unto death, I do not say that he shall pray for it:3 we may ask in confidence concerning every other sin, but concerning this we are to leave the erotan to Christ. Intercessory prayer has no term to express our precise idea of it. The exhortation is generally to supplication for all saints,4 and for all men,5 after the example of the Lord's intercession. In the passage to Timothy St. Paul uses for once the word enteuxeis, intercessions, which however means familiar and confident prayers, as coming from the word entugchanein, literally to fall in with a person and enter into familiar speech with him. In the strength of Christ's intercession we also are commanded to intercede, or to speak confidently with God on behalf of others: save indeed with the one reservation mentioned above. Intercessory prayer must blend with all our supplications; as our Lord teaches in the solitary command which He gives concerning private prayer, enter into thy closet, when the Father Which seeth in secret is to be addressed as Our Father!6 and the individual supplication not lost in but blended with the common prayer. When thou hast shut thy door is the Mediator's solemn injunction of formal, habitual, regular private exercises of devotion: confirming the injunctions and examples of all Scripture. But the devout soul everywhere can shut the doors of the senses, and sink into the presence of God: there worshipping with all the effect of local seclusion, and by EJACULATORY prayer holding habitual communion with Him who makes the heart of the regenerate His temple

1 Phil. 4:6; 2 John 16:23; 3 1 John 5:16; 4 Eph. 6:18; 5 1 Tim. 2:1; 6 Mat. 6:6,9

III. The perfection of these supreme offices of devotion is seen only in their combination

United they constitute Worship, as it respects God; as it respects man, the spirit of devotion; and in their effect upon the religious life one constantly reacts upon the other to the gradual perfection of both

1. Divine worship as the highest offices of religion embraces both elements: the presentation to God of His tribute, and the supplication of His benefits. In the first and only description of that worship which our Lord Himself gave, contained in His conversation with the woman of Samaria, He used again and again the one and only word prosekuneesan to express the whole service of God: pre-eminently adoration, but including all the sebasmata or devotions1 of the worshipper, as St. Paul in a solitary passage terms them. Hence the full meaning of the phrase COMMUNION WITH GOD,2 as both giving and receiving. The word Hosanna, which enters the New Testament from the Old, combines prayer and praise: Hosanna [save now!] to the Son of David. Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord!3

1 Acts 17:23; 2 Phil. 4:15; 3 Mat. 21:9

2. The spirit of devotion in the worshipper is blended of praise and prayer. Those are to a great extent indistinguishable. The devotional language of Scripture strikingly illustrates this. To seek the Lord in prayer and to wait upon Him in reverent silence seem to mean the same thing. The Lord is good unto them that wait for Him, to the soul that seeketh Him:1 the active seeking must be accompanied and qualified by the passive waiting

Although there are few positive precepts on the subject, it is obviously the tendency of revealed religion from beginning to end to inculcate a service which blends contemplation and the meditative habit with all prayer. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight!2 MEDITATION is the silent pondering of the soul on Divine things through the medium of the Word, the devout consideration of some particular truth, or revelation, or promise: as preceding, accompanying, and following all prayer it is the strength and best grace of devotion. CONTEMPLATION is the same posture of the devout mind, but with some exclusive reference to God Himself. It expresses the highest aim of the soul to behold the Supreme in anticipation of the eternal Vision, In the devotional ethics of Mysticism the differences of the two stages of meditation and contemplation are much dwelt upon; and the latter is regarded as the final goal of all devotion: the state of detachment from every creature and the pure beholding of God alone as the only Being. Nor does Scripture discourage this sacred ambition; its safeguard, however, is this, that all contemplation be combined with prayer. The error of false Mysticism is to believe that the soul may be raised into a state in which every affection of the heart is stilled and all emotion lost in the fixed and unchangeable vision of Him in Whom all desire of personal blessedness is forgotten

1 Lam. 3:25; 2 Psa. 19:14


As the consummation of all ethical duties is the worship of God, so the end of all worship is union with Him. To this most glorious issue all the revelations of Scripture converge. It is the end of all teaching and the seal of all perfection. Our Lord's Prayer for His people makes this the goal of Christian aspiration: that they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us.1 But the union with God is, like all other relations to the Supreme, attained only in and through the Mediator: I in them and Thou, in Me, that they may be made perfect in one.2 A few observations on this their supreme end and aim may close the department of personal ethics, whether of duties or of graces

1 John 17:21; 2 John 17:23

1. Union with God is the realization of the one object of the redeeming economy. It is the perfect and diametrical opposite of sin, which is in its essence separation from the supreme centre of spiritual life. Sin is the violation of duty, the absence of virtue, the loss of the summum Bonum of blessedness: nothing less than union with God is the perfect restoration to duty, and the consummation of virtue, and the supremest and fullest blessedness. Any view of Christian morality which carries its vision to any point short of this is of necessity defective

2. An unhealthy dread of Mysticism has hindered the appreciation of this truth. Union with God has undoubtedly been the watchword of some of the sublimest systems of ethics based on erroneous doctrine. Buddhism in the East and Pantheistic Mysticism in the West are instances: so far as personal ethics are concerned Christianity can find no fault in them but that of deep defect. But their end was not as their beginning. They issued both in the deepest darkness of error: in the East it was the abyss of absolute extinction or Nirvana, and in the West the worse abyss of Antinomian indifference to moral distinctions. But the Union of which we speak is one that preserves inviolate the personal identity of him who attains it: he becomes ONE WITH GOD in thought and feeling and will: the emphasis being laid on the WILL

3. But our Lord's words dwell on that unity with the Supreme Source of life which is to be enjoyed by a corporate fellowship of saints. It cannot be too deeply pondered that the last and highest words, whether of our Lord or of His Apostles St. Paul and St. John, speak of a Body one in the fellowship of the Holy Trinity, and so one that the individual, though not lost, is never again remembered as such, This carries us forward to the next Section


The ethics of our relations to our fellow-creatures are inseparably bound up with the ethics of personal character. But they may also be viewed as entirely distinct: or rather as prescribing the obligations of duty in more direct relation to others. First, there are obligations arising out of the common and mutual relations of man and man. Secondly, there are those which are based upon the sacred and necessary relations of domestic society. Thirdly, there are those which are connected with the voluntary or accidental relations of men in social life, and the Divine ordinance of commerce. Fourthly, though under some reserve and restriction, we must include political ethics. Fifthly and lastly, there are the ethics of our higher relation to the society and fellowship of the kingdom of God. Upon all these Christianity pours a clear and steady and sufficient light: gathering up all former teaching, and impressing the whole with the seal of perfection


All men are related as fellows or neighbors. Obligations to universal man as such may be classed under five heads as the duties of Charity, of Justice, of Truth, of Purity, of Honor: each of these, with its subordinates, being marked out in Holy Scripture emphatically and distinctly. There is, however, a sense in which all are summed up in the first; again the remaining three may be regarded as one in the second: thus making Love and Justice preeminent in the relations of man to his fellow, as they are in his supreme relations to God


Much has been already said of CHARITY, which in the New-Testament is reserved for man's widest obligation to his neighbor: it is the one term which is common to heaven and earth in this sense. It is more than the limited love of the brethren which in us answers to God's favor to His own: St. Peter, as we have seen, makes the distinction very clear, and to brotherly kindness, charity.1 This noblest of all the graces belongs by prescriptive right to all departments of ethics. As appointed to regulate the universal relations of mankind, it has a very wide family of virtues under it, which may be subdivided as in a certain sense active and passive, or, rather, positive and negative

1 2 Pet. 1:7

1. It is PHILANTHROPY in the conventional use of the word to signify practical care for the wellbeing of the race which knows no limits, but extends, whether as Benevolence or Beneficence, to man as such. The word philanthroopia,1 however, is used only of God; it is not used expressly even of the God-man, though the only passage in which it occurs attributes this sentiment to GOD OUR SAVIOUR. KINDNESS is natural regard to our kind; therefore not employed to denote the Divine regard, for which the word is Lovingkindness, though this is extended to all the works of the Divine hand. Charity or love, as the duty which every man owes to his fellow-man, presides over a wide range of obligations, from the supreme SELF-SACRIFICE which is ready to lay down our lives2 in imitation of Him who laid down His life for us, down to the gentlest act of COURTESY which sheds its charm upon common life, blending love and justice into one

1 Tit. 3:4; 2 1 John 2:16

2. But its most impressive exhibitions are such as are called forth in imitation of the Divine charity. Such is MERCY: strictly, speaking, God alone can be merciful; but in the same sense as man may sin against man he is bound to be merciful to the offender, and to forgive him if need be seven times in a day.1 And more than that; for, when reminded of His words by Peter, the Redeemer said: I say not unto thee, until seven times; but, until seventy times seven.2 Longsuffering belongs to God alone: we, following the Divine example, are required to practice FORBEARANCE, which is the disposition not to press to the uttermost our claims against a fellow-creature. This is by our Lord called COMPASSION, and PITY, and FORGIVENESS. Shouldst not thou also have had compassion on thy fellow-servant even as I had pity on thee?3 All these affections towards universal man are required of those who bear the Divine image as restored in Christ. Throughout the New Testament this unlimited charity, meditating the most unbounded kindness and capable of the most unbounded forbearance, is inculcated as a grace taught of God to those who in union with Christ partake of His Spirit. Our Lord denounces the vice that seems to honor love while it robs it of its perfection as absolutely universal. Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies4 . . . Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. St. John, in his last Epistle, the supplement and complement of all Scripture, gives this its strongest expression. He, like all the writers of the New Testament, but more directly than any other, makes the charity of redemption the standard of universal duty

Hereby perceive we Love, because He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.5 Not for the brethren only, however: these words must be conformed to the precept of the Savior, who commends to us the perfection of the Father's impartial love as our standard. And, if the love of God in the Atonement is made the example, it is also made the source of our strength to copy it: If we love one another, GOD DWELLETH IN US, AND HIS LOVE IS PERFECTED IN US. Hereby know we that we dwell in Him, and He in us, because HE HATH GIVEN US OF HIS SPIRIT.6

1 Luke 17:4; 2 Mat. 18:22; 3 Mat. 18:33; 4 Mat. 5:43,48; 5 1 John 3:16; 6 1 John 4:12,13


JUSTICE, as co-ordinate with Love in the ethics of man's relation to man, is the principle of respect for the rights of others. Like charity, it is a virtue of which God gives the highest standard in His acts. But here there is a difference. The retributive justice which belongs to God, Who alone can distribute rewards and punishments, may be reflected in the justice of human judicial courts where law is administered. But the virtue that honors the infinite variety of mutual human rights is righteousness in the phraseology of Scripture, which however uses both righteous and just as adjectives. It is the paying universally what we owe. St. Paul explains this, and, at the same time, shows the profound connection between love and justice, when he says; Owe no man anything, but to love one another; for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.1 Here love is the eternal debt of righteousness, which justice must be for ever paying. Now Charity, as we have seen, does not suppress righteousness either in God or in man: in us it is the strength by which the debt is paid as well as the watchful registrar of the debt itself. The Christian ethics of justice are deeply affected by the supremacy of love; as will be seen by considering the various forms of justice as they are presented in the New Testament

1 Rom. 8:8

1. Justice recognizes in every member of the human family certain inalienable rights that belong to man as created in the image of God and redeemed by the incarnation of His Son. The precept Honor all men1 occurs in a connection which shows that the inheritor of human nature as such is to be respected. Every man is in a certain sense a brother of Jesus; and, loved as such, must receive the tribute which is essentially his due. Closely connected with this is the indestructible right, subject to certain restrictions which do not touch the right itself, to the control of himself: in other words that freedom of will which is personal liberty. It is injustice to despise any man as such, to whatever degradation he may have sunk in his race: here at the one extreme, justice must give freedom to every slave, and hold slavery in abhorrence, and, at the other, must be courteous.2 The perfection of COURTESY is to give to everyone on all occasions his human due, as interpreted by love: while to those of high degree it is reverence, and to the lowly is condescension, it is to all alike the honor due to man as man, and especially to the weaker and more honorable sex. Like Hospitality, which is courtesy not so much in spirit and in word as in act, this is a grace too often unrecognized and unvalued

1 1 Pet. 2:17; 2 1 Pet. 3:8

2. There is another class of rights which are not inherent in all, but earned by the moral industry and fidelity of our neighbors; those which are based upon acquired character

Every man's reputation is dear to him: whether it be his general good fame or his particular repute. Justice guards both as the right of our fellow-men; and, reinforced by love, more than guards them. It abhors Slander, which, by backbiting, scandal-mongery, or innuendo, would rob another of his character; and Detraction, which would rob him of his fair repute. The law of justice says: Render therefore to all their dues.1 Love had in the preceding chapter gently corrected this: in honor preferring one another.2 1 Rom. 13:7; 2 Rom. 12:10

3. Justice respects the rights of property in general. If Christianity introduces any modification here it is not as it respects our relation to the holder of property, but the relation of the holder of property to God. He holds it only in trust, and as a steward; and obligations arise of a personal character which have already been referred to. Relative morals, however, are independent of this; and require that we rigidly observe the laws of what in modern language is called HONESTY

4. Reserving this for the ethics of commerce, we may refer to another range of application. All men have a right to our fidelity to TRUTH. Society is based on this principle. Justice, attended by love, mast be SINCERE in the intention of the present moment; mast be true, in the sense of VERACIOUS, in spoken words referring to the past; and must be FAITHFUL to every engagement concerning the future. All these virtues belong more or less, as we have seen, to personal and interior ethics; but they enter here also. Our neighbor has no claim, no right, more imperative than that which expects truth from us. Christianity heightens the claim by showing that we belong to a corporate body, the union of which depends upon the fidelity of each to other. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another.1 Similarly, the vice or injustice of stealing is condemned: Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Here the interpretation of love comes in. It is not enough to abstain from robbing another; the opposite virtue must be practiced, the giving to those who need instead of taking from those who have

1 Eph. 4:25,28

5. Finally, the law of love, blending its influence with that of justice, introduces a variety of ethical sentiments of great importance. It is our obligation to respect and to our utmost ability to preserve the purity of others by a pure demeanor towards them: this duty of justice interpreted by love is elevated into a perpetual law of life. The question in Christian ethics is not, What does my neighbor expect from me? but what ought he to expect? and, what ought I to do for him whether he expects it or not? Both love and justice lie at the foundation of our Lord's precept: All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them; FOR THIS is THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS.1

1 Mat. 7:12


The Family relation is the ordinance of God lying at the foundation of all human society

Christian Ethics leave nothing wanting here as it respects the main elements of that ordinance: the relation of Marriage, that of Parents and Children, that of Masters and Servants, and the regulation of the Household generally as the home of all


Christianity confirms, simplifies, and vindicates from abuse the original and sacred ordinance of marriage. Moreover it elevates and hallows it afresh by special benedictions

I. The original appointment of MONOGAMY IS confirmed: From the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave father and mother and shall cleave to his wife1 . . .. What therefore God hath joined together let not man put asunder.2 Our Lord in these words gives us the sum of His decisions on this question, with all the principles the ethics of which must regulate marriage both as a religious and as a civil institution. From these principles there should be no appeal

1 Mark 10:6-8; 2 Mat. 19:6

1. Everything like Gnostic or Manichaean dishonor of this state of life is contrary to the spirit of the Christian legislation. Whatever disparagement of marriage may be found in any part of the New Testament is to be interpreted in harmony with this original ordinance of the Creator, as the Savior, creating all things new, has confirmed it. He Himself may seem to have occasionally set it aside, as when He spoke of those which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. The utmost that may be inferred from this is, that the ordinance was not made binding on every member of the race; and that either devotion or discretion may find it expedient to renounce or defer the marriage bond with its responsibilities. St. Paul illustrates this, both by example and by precept. He teaches the dignity and the sanctity of wedded life; and his suggestions of entire abstinence were given only for the present distress.1

1 1 Cor. 7:26

2. MONOGAMY was as an institution made for man, like the Sabbath, and not man made for it. Although there is no express decree on the subject in the Scriptures, it may be fairly assumed that the original union of Adam and Eve was the type of the union of male and female among their descendants; especially as there is a general equality in their numbers. But no reason can be assigned why the Supreme Lawgiver might not in some cases sanction the suspension or the occasional change of the law. Hence the commanded, permitted, or uncondemned concubinage of some of the ancient servants of God. Undoubtedly, the current of the Old Testament shows that monogamy was the normal appointment; and in the New Testament our Lord has finally confirmed this

When St. Paul says that a bishop must be the husband of one wife1 he seems, but only seems, to tolerate polygamy in private Christians. We have here an alternative exposition

Either the Apostle teaches that the rule of one wife—not yet absolutely pressed upon all men, any more than the manumission of slaves—was peremptory for the bishop; or he prescribes that the bishop must never replace the wife whom he may have lost. There is something anomalous in each side of the alternative. But both interpretations are consistent with the principles that a man should be the husband of only one wife

1 1 Tim. 3:2

II. In the Old Testament marriage is often used to symbolize the relation between God and His people; and in the New Testament this is more emphatically the case. St. Paul, himself not a married man and the only Apostle who has been supposed to depreciate the institution, elevates it into a standing type of the union between Christ and His people, both collective and individual. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the Church. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the Church.1 Here it is the union between the Lord and the mystical Body which is in the Old Testament the Queen,2 and in the New the Bride and the Lamb's wife.3 But in another passage we hear: he that is joined unto the Lord is one Spirit: the allusion to one flesh4 in the preceding verse makes it very plain that the personal union with Christ is in the Apostle's thoughts

1 Eph. 5:28-32; 2 Psa. 45:9; 3 Rev. 21:9; 4 1 Cor. 6:17

1. But, apart from the mystical fellowship which it illustrates, no higher tribute to marriage is conceivable than this. It carries the dignity and sanctity of the marriage relation to the highest point short of making it a sacrament. It is the most intimate and sacred union conceivable; the mutual complement necessary to the perfection of man and woman, and one which cannot be supposed to subsist with more than one person. As an institution for continuing the human race it is as pure in its own sphere as that Union between the Bridegroom and the Bride to which the spiritual increase of the Church itself is due. This sheds a strong light upon the various kinds of dishonor done to the ordinance

The violations of ethical obligation refer to the two final causes of marriage. First, in all those tempers and acts which interfere between the persons to impair the perfection of their unity, Christ's union with the Church being always in view: Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord; for the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the Head of the Church . . .. Husbands love your wives, even as Christ also loved the Church.1 Here there is much to ponder. The inmost grace of the wife as such is the love of submission: the earthly reflection of that loyal homage of devotion which the man was commanded to offer: He is thy Lord; and worship thou Him!2 The inmost grace of the husband is perfect self-sacrificing love. The two are one; and their union is sacred. Their communion, therefore, down to the slightest offices of affection, must be pure. Thence arise interior ethics which need not to be dwelt upon; a hint of which, however, St. Paul gives when he says: Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time . . . that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.3 This leads to the other class of offences: the sinful indulgence of those lusts which war against the second primary purpose of marriage: ADULTERY, with all the train of vices that precede, accompany, and follow it

1 Eph. 5:22,25; 2 Psa. 45:11; 3 1 Cor. 7:5

2. As it respects DIVORCE, the Christian law cannot be understood without reference to the Mosaic legislation, which it generally comprises. Our Lord makes very express reference to the matter: correcting ancient traditional errors on this subject, just as He corrected traditional errors on the subject of adultery. He could not have declared more absolutely than He did that marriage is a permanent compact, which neither the parties concerned nor any human power can dissolve; save on the conditions appointed by God Himself. Whatever those conditions might have been in the days of the people's hardness of heart1 it is clear that our New Lawgiver has decreed that one only offence, fornication, shall dissolve the marriage bond: whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery.2,3 Under the old law, the penalty of adultery was death; our Lord's legislation tacitly abolishes that: moreover, He gives porneia the same meaning as moichatai, which generally signifies the same offence committed by a married person. A remarkable phase of the same question occurs in connection with the new relations between married persons of differing faith. Our Lord had intimated that the divorced might marry again. St. Paul, in his treatment of the question as to the desertion, deliberate and final, of an unbelieving partner, says that the forsaken one is free: let him depart: a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases.4 What the extent of this freedom is Scripture does not say; but it has generally been held that desertion is, equally with adultery, valid ground of divorce under the New Law

1 Mat. 19:8; 2 Mat. 19:9; 3 Mark 10:11,12; 4 1 Cor. 7:15

3. The principles thus laid down must be inviolate, whatever human legislation may do: rather, all human legislation must conform to them. According to those principles marriage is not merely a civil contract: the Scriptures make it the most sacred relation of life; and nothing can be imagined more contrary to their spirit than the notion that a personal agreement, ratified in a human court, satisfies the obligation of this ordinance

Again, throughout the history of revelation, husband and wife are ONE FLESH,1 and there is no precedent in Scripture for making them merely partners or for giving the wife independent rights. The kindred therefore by AFFINITY, or through the marriage union, are as really related, though not so closely, as those who are kindred by CONSANGUINITY

1 Gen. 2:24


Many ecclesiastical controversies have arisen in this field of ethics which it is not within our province to discuss. These have had to do with the sacramental character of marriage, the compulsory celibacy of those devoted to the service of the Church, the law and practice of divorce, the modern application of the ancient Levitical law touching prohibited degrees, and the particular question of marriage with the sister of a deceased wife. Some of these points will be considered when we reach the sacraments, and others of them must be, noticed here only so far as they involve the New-Testament ethics

1. As to the first point: there have been two extremes, as we have seen, on the subject of the religious relation of marriage. It is in the Scripture a mystery but not a sacrament. The notion of a specific sacramental grace, doing for man in the sphere of nature what the mystical fellowship with Christ does in the supernatural sphere, is an error, but a venial one in comparison of that which makes marriage a merely external union or mutual compact. The former error—to which reference will hereafter be made— has no sanction in the Word of God, and involves a certain dishonor done to the idea of a sacrament. But the latter seriously affects the very foundations of human religious society

2. It might be expected that the ancient churches which held the sacramental character of marriage would be rigid as to the doctrine of divorce. The Romanist doctrine of matrimony in fact allows of no separation of the parties, such as should allow them to marry again; but it multiplies causes of separation A MENSA ET THORO, and for pronouncing any marriage NULL AB INITIO. Legislation in Protestant states has varied much; but the general tendency has been to reduce the estate of Matrimony to a human arrangement under the control of human law, which by mutual consent the parties may for almost any reason dissolve. On the Continent of Europe there is scarcely any trace left, even among the Evangelical communities, of the ancient high tradition; and the present English law is imitating the Continent in this laxity: much to the scandal of our Christianity

3. POLYGAMY, in theory and practice, has had its advocates in every age; and in every age Divine revelation has protested against it with more or less of vigor. The Concubinage of the Old Testament may be cited in opposition to this statement. But when the instances in question are examined in the light of the New Testament, they will be found to confirm our principle. The polygamy of the patriarchs was in some cases an exceptional arrangement taken up into the scheme of Divine Providence. That of Solomon and the later kings was condemned and chastised. We have to do, however, with the New Testament, which leaves no room for doubt as to the full ratification of the original law

Where Christianity is established Monogamy must vindicate itself as the order of God; but when Christianity is in conflict with heathen practice, the same discretion should be used in the suppression of old habits as is taught in the case of slavery. As to the Mormon revival of Polygamy it may be said that it is self-condemned

4. St. Paul speaks more than once of the Forbidden Degrees. When he is condemning the particular form of Corinthian incest, that one should have his father's wife,1 he calls it Fornication, the generic term for offence against the purity of the marriage relation. He appeals to the Levitical code as still in force, but only as being grounded in the constitution of human nature. None of you shall approach to any that is near of kin to him.2 A man shall not take his father's wife.3 This prohibition stands at the head of a number of interdicts, which are carried into their particulars: the force of the prohibition resting upon the natural abomination of union with the remainder of his flesh. The interdict does not absolutely extend to all the instances which this last expression would lead us to expect: they are taken for granted, as, for instance, the child of a brother. It is observable that there may be no union with the wife of a father's brother: thou shall not approach his wife: she is thine aunt. From this it appears that this relationship, not one of blood, was sufficient reason for the prohibition. Hence it may be presumed that the sister of a wife would be under the same interdict. How far the probibited degrees of kindred extend is, however, matter of national legislation

1 Lev. 18:14; 2 Deu. 22:30; 3 Lev. 18:6


Ethical principles regulating this relation exhibit a considerable development when we pursue them through the whole of Scripture. Christianity has consummated that development by removing certain peculiarities of the Mosaic legislation, by confirming the original ordinances of nature, and by superadding a specific reference to the common bond between Parents and Children in the Christian household of Faith. What Christian legislation says on this subject may be briefly summed up under the heads of Parental and Filial obligation respectively

1. Parental obligations include necessarily the Maintenance of children, their Education in its fullest sense, their Preparation for life, and Nurture for the Lord. These are all involved in the rights of children to the care of their parents as representatives of Providence. Care in things temporal is not forgotten: If any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith.1 It is upon the moral discipline that the New Testament lays its chief stress, as will appear from one of St

Paul's pregnant sayings: Ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath; but nurture them in the chastening and admonition of the Lord.2 Here we gather that, negatively, the discipline is to be discreet, just, impartial, considerate; positively, it must include the entire education and specific admonition of the Christian faith. Thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children:3 this precept runs through the old economy and on into the new. Again and again it was enjoined upon the parents of the ancient dispensation that they should instruct their children in all the facts of the national history and in all the variety of symbol and type by which Divine things were taught by God. It shall come to pass when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service? that ye shall say.4 Hence the parental responsibility does not admit of transfer. The teaching of preceptors, whether in secular or in religious matters, is at best the necessary supply of the parents' duty: it must not supersede it, especially in Divine things. Claims of business, recreation, traveling, even of public worship and other services, must not interfere with this most absolute and paramount obligation of life. With the parent is the teaching of example and ceaseless influence as with no other and delegated authority. Catechetical and Sunday schools were never intended in any sense to interfere with this

1 1 Tim. 5:8; 2 Eph. 6:4; 3 Deu. 6:6,7; 4 Exo. 12:26,27

2. The filial obligations corresponding to parental rights, are Obedience, Reverence, and the Piety of grateful requital. In the order of nature, as represented by St. Paul, Obedience takes the lead: the reverence is a later expression of the filial sentiment. Children, obey your parents in the Lord; for this is right.1 It is right in the essential fitness of things, and what is generally right is specifically right in the Lord. Neither in the Old Testament nor in the New is there any restriction to this precept: as pertaining simply to the parental authority it is absolute, in all things.2 Of this Jesus Himself set the supreme example. And He went down with them, and came unto Nazareth, and was subject to them.3 Both parents are included in this authority. Reverence grows out of and strengthens and at the same time hallows this obedience. It is the reflection on the parents, as representatives of God, of the honor due to Him. Honor thy father and mother4 is a commandment which belongs rather to the first table than to the second: the word tima, is the same which is used of the respect due to the Supreme Father and to the Son: he that honoreth not the Son honoreth not the Father.5 Our Lord Who was subject to His earthly mother and Joseph said; I honor My Father.6 It is used also of reverence for royal authority, Honor the king;7 as of the respect due to man as in the image of God: Honor all men. If it is not said that God honors all men, at least this honor have all His saints: If any man serve Me, him will My Father honor.8 Profound respect for parents as such is a duty which has no restriction: not even when their character forbids its being reverence in the strict sense of the word

1 Eph. 6:1; 2 Col. 3:20; 3 Luke 2:51; 4 Eph. 6:2; 5 John 5:23; 6 John 8:49; 7 1 Pet. 2:17; 8 John 12:26

3. But this filial honor to parents as such must take the form of recompense for their care as opportunity offers. Incidentally St. Paul introduces a touching reference to this. Using in one instance the term Piety, as uniting the service of religion to God and to parents, he says: let them learn first to show piety at home, and to requite their parents.1 The emphasis on this Christian virtue is remarkable: for that is good and acceptable before God. It also has its highest example in the Supreme Pattern whose last earthly care was to provide for His ever-faithful mother: Woman, behold thy son I Behold thy mother!2

1 1 Tim. 5:4; 2 John 19:26,27

4. There are certain limitations to these rights and obligations which nature prescribes and some which Christianity adds. There is a legal majority: of that the Scripture says nothing. Though this majority releases the child from some restraints, the sanctity of the parental and filial relation remains inviolate to the limit of life. The requital of parents implies that the bond continues to the end. There is a limitation, however, which seems to be introduced by Christianity in repression of the law of nature: namely, in all instances of conflict between the express will of Heaven and parental wishes. The law of God is to be supreme in all such cases of collision: Wist ye not that I must be about My Father's business?1

1 Luke 2:49


The moral teaching of Christianity has a very marked bearing on the family bond of Masters and Servants, including every variety of relation that may subsist between the employer and the employed, which in Scripture are generally regarded as pertaining to household life

1. The mutual rights, duties, and responsibilities of these relations are not in their widest range matter of direct statute in the Christian Scriptures: partly because they belong to the relations between man and man, and those of commerce, and those of the household; partly, because servants in the New Testament were generally, and in the Old very often, slaves. But the principles laid down by St. Paul are of permanent application, and mark the specific points in which Christian legislation affects the subject of ordinary servitude

On the employer's side there is the obligation of justice, the arbiter being the Lord: Give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.1 It is obvious that the Apostle here carries the question of what is just to servants into a higher court than human, because when he wrote the servant had scarcely any legal rights. Justice is now regulated, so far as wages go, by human law. But in all other respects the principle of justice must be observed under the control of a feeling that before the Master in heaven all are servants alike. On the side of the servants the duties are more copiously laid down: Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again; not purloining, but showing all good fidelity.2 Here the duty of the employed is determined by a standard from which modern ideas are fast receding. Obedience, cheerful and solicitous to please; humility, and silent acceptance of a superior will; all negative and all positive fidelity: these are the virtues of those who serve human masters according to the Divine will. Many other matters that complicate the relation are left to the operation of a high principle that Christianity alone has introduced: the common relation of masters and servants is in the Lord.3 The exhortations to do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;4 to adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things; and not with eyeservice as menpleasers,5 have their application to all servants of every degree to the end of time. And in them lie the special Christian ethics of this relation of universal family life

1 Col. 4:1; 2 Tit. 2:9,10; 3 Col. 3:23; 4 Tit. 2:10; 5 Eph. 6:6

2. The question of Slavery arises here. The Epistles of the New Testament undoubtedly recognize it as an extant institution which must be undermined and abolished by the operation of Christian principle and not otherwise. It had been sanctioned by the Mosaic law; but in a form very different from that of Greece and Rome. Slaves, if Hebrews, recovered their liberty in the seventh year; in every case they were carefully protected and had their full religious privileges, being incorporated into the Jewish household. But, like polygamy and many other anomalies, slavery was tolerated only until the fullness of time. The coming of the New Legislator cleared away from the Divine statute book many statutes that were not good:1 not good absolutely, that is, though good for a preliminary dispensation. It introduced a universal amendment as well as spiritual codification of the old laws. And with regard to slavery He abolished it in principle by His very incarnation

If the Son therefore shall make you free!2 applies to this kind of bondage also. The Apostle Paul lays down the effectual emancipatory principles. First: There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.3 In the presence of the Lord there is and there can be no such thing as slavery; and this is the consolation of him whom men call a slave, But if thou mayest be made free, use it rather.4 No slave is required to be absolutely contented with his position: indeed, he is virtually enjoined to use all right means for his release. Thou owest unto me even thine own self.5 The whole of the Epistle to Philemon is a specimen of the way in which the Gospel sanctifies the abuse which it will in due time destroy. The first of these passages shows that Christianity knows no slavery; the second that the slave ought to be free; the third that Christian principles alone will accomplish his freedom

1 Eze. 20:25; 2 John 8:36; 3 Gal. 3:28; 4 1 Cor. 7:21; 5 Phile. 19


Over and above the obligations and duties which have been referred to, there is yet another which imposes upon the Head of the household the responsibility of its holy government as a society separate and distinct in itself and having its ramifications elsewhere. One in every family is the representative of the Supreme, and is in the Christian household the teacher, the priest, and the ruler under Christ directly responsible to Him

1. The Household or Family occupies a prominent place throughout Scripture. It was the first form of society; and has continued to be the germ and representative of every other fellowship. In no dispensation has the family been merged in the congregation and forgotten or lost. Abraham before the Law had the church of God in his house. In his legislation Moses laid the heavy responsibility of household religion on every parent

David, rather in his Psalms than by his example, exhibits the same principle. Our Lord sanctified family religion by being the most blessed illustration of it for all His earlier years; and by governing His Apostolic company as a Master of the House,1 speaking of His disciples as them of His household. The Epistles generally penetrate through Churches to the families, addressing men as the heads of households, which includes more than their children. St. Paul writes, Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.2 Here the house includes servants and all dependants; and the passage is further remarkable as indicating a certain analogy between the house of God which is the family and the house of God which is the Church

1 Mat. 10:25; 2 1 Tim. 3:12

2. There is only one head of the house; who is responsible for its instruction, worship, and godly discipline. That head may be of either sex, married or unmarried; consequently the household as such is independent of the married relation, and even of children. But the head is the husband, or bond of the house, in the normal state of things: though husband and wife are one, there cannot be a united head. As bound to maintain its Christian discipline, its Head is the priest of the family; and, unless incompetent to perform his duty or neglecting it, presents its worship daily to God. FAMILY WORSHIP is an institution specially prescribed and honored in the Old Testament: tacitly or indirectly in the New

The church in thy house1 does not refer to the household of Philemon as such, but to that portion of the Christian community wont to meet there; yet it does indirectly suggest a family worship. Christians in regard to this obligation as well as that of brotherly love are Theodidaktoi: ye need not that I write unto you; for ye yourselves are taught of God.2 There ought to be no collision between the worship of the family and that of the congregation

No household as such can ever be a church, save under anomalous and transitional circumstances such as those already referred to; and, on the other hand no public worship in the assembly dispenses from the family obligation to worship God. St

John, in one of his two smaller Epistles, gives the final testimony of the New Testament as to the strictness of family discipline. Respecting the duty of keeping false doctrine and corrupt teachers out of the household, he writes: If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:3 whether he come in person or by his writings, or in any way whatever. And this is made more emphatic by the fact, that the guardian of the household faith was in this case a woman

This final testimony does not receive all the attention that it demands. Issued in the name of the Savior, arid by the representative of a religion of charity, the injunction to have no domestic fellowship with an enemy of the Incarnation is of great weight

1 Phile. 2; 2 1 Thes. 4:9; 3 2 John 10


Christianity sanctions the principles on which commerce is based; enforces the rigorous principles of personal morality in the conduct of it; and lays around it some specific safeguards of the utmost importance. We have only to do with the specific Christian teaching

I. Commerce stands here for all that industry and activity which develops the resources of the earth, creates property, and advances culture. The Religion of Jesus sanctions all its fundamental principles, though for the most part only in an indirect way. It teaches that Property is of God, whose will has ordained that His creatures should have exclusive possession of certain things which they may call their own. Our Lord came not to destroy the ordinances of nature and the original charter on which mankind inherited the earth

He has confirmed that primary constitution of things according to which man was ordained to replenish the earth and subdue it,1 and extract from it its resources. The same natural law that declares it wrong to take from another his possession requires the deeper principle that he has a possession which may be taken: the prohibition, thou shalt not steal,2 implies the personal right to something of one's own. The question how such property is acquired now, or was acquired originally, and by what tenure it is held in its various forms, does not here enter into consideration. It is enough that the Divine order for the development of man individually and collectively requires the idea of personal possessions, and their use and multiplication in commerce. It is lawful to possess and accumulate the substance which commerce makes its Capital and from which it derives Interest. This is a fundamental principle which the Bible nowhere contradicts; in it all the laws of honest merchandise have the fullest sanction. In fact, every other theory is opposed by the tenor of Scripture. In its pages might is nowhere the foundation of rights; the possession of property is never made dependent upon the caprices of popular will, or social compact. There is no sanction of COMMUNISM. The COMMUNITY OF GOODS in the Acts was extraordinary, and the result of a special influence of the Spirit; voluntary, and binding on none; transitory, and soon gave way again to the common order of life; and prophetic of a far distant future

1 Gen. 1:28; 2 Exo. 20:15

II. The ethics of commerce, as they are affected by Christian teaching, are of more importance. They are both direct and indirect; partly general principles, and partly safeguards

1. It is a primary law of the New-Testament legislation that the principles which regulate personal holiness must be carried into the commerce of life. For instance, Thou shalt not steal;1 the precept which forbids all injury to the property of another, must carry its sanction into trade: condemning fraud of every kind, whether by false representation, by adulteration, by overreaching, or by any other of those numberless methods of advancing one's own interest at the expense of others which are the disgrace of modern trading. But the positive virtues which belong to ordinary life must be carried into commerce. Not slothful in business2 is a general precept which may bear this special application: it is true that tee spoudee mee okneeroi has no such reference to business in the modern sense of the word as many suppose; but that which is a virtue in the whole course of life is a virtue in commerce, and the secret of success. The hand of the diligent maketh rich:3 the blessing of God rests upon the operation of a natural law. Let him that stole, steal no more is followed by: but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.4 We commanded you, that if any would not work neither should he eat.5

1 Exo. 20:15; 2 Rom. 12:11; 3 Pro. 10:4; 4 Eph. 4:28; 5 2 Thes. 3:10

2. While the Christian legislation sanctions all kinds of industry and all enterprises of civilization, it throws around the whole many safeguards which may be said to constitute a large part of its commercial ethics. For instance, the precept, Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus1 forbids the engaging in any occupation which cannot be sanctified in all its details by that Name. This injunction would cut off very much of the speculative enterprise of commerce, though by no means all of it. The indirect precept contained in the injunction, Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth,2 with others like it, such as this, It remaineth . . . those that use the world as not abusing it,3 affects these ethics profoundly, inasmuch as they forbid all accumulating for the sake of hoarding riches. It is possible though difficult, and it is necessary, to make a distinction between the commercial possession of substance, or the possession of it as a steward, and the personal complacency and delight in it. Substance may be and must be increased in order to prosperous commerce, and many of the Divine promises expressly sanction and sanctify this. But there is no teaching either in the Gospels or in the Epistles which permits the accumulation of earthly treasure for self. Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth4 is a precept for every spiritual man in Christ, who must in the ground of his nature be poor in spirit. The design to acquire the means of usefulness sanctifies thrift; but there is no department of probation which requires more watchfulness and discretion

1 Col. 3:17; 2 Col. 3:2; 3 1 Cor. 7:29-31; 4 Mat. 6:19


Revelation has from the beginning been bound up with the social and political affairs of the world; and has shown the contact of religion with every kind of developing rule among men: from the primitive household and family, its simplest and typical form, to imperial despotism. We have now to do with the general principles of New-Testament teaching, both as to the rulers and as to the ruled

I. The institution of government is Divine: not founded on any compact or agreement among men, as the modern figment is. The more carefully we examine the basis of tribal and national distinctions among men—in other words what goes to constitute a distinct people—the more clearly shall we perceive that it is conditioned by a certain relation to God Whose worship was the original bond of unity to every race, and Whose representative the earthly ruler was. Government was made for man and man was also made for it. The form of that government is not prescribed rigidly and definitively: certainly not in the Christian legislation. Every form of valid authority is sanctified in the Old Testament. The New Testament introduces a universal Monarchy in the spiritual economy of things; and only in a very subordinate way deals with the kingdoms of this world.1 But the foundations of civil and political society for earth were laid in heaven: the powers that be are ordained of God.2 Human magistrates represent the Supreme Judge: being in the state His deputies. He is the minister of God to thee for good: for the protection and peace of the law-abiding. He is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath:3 for the administration of the Divine justice on transgressors. These principles are indisputable. The same term is used concerning the representation of ecclesiastical authority in the church and in the world: they are both diakonoi and leitourgoi, or ministers.4

1 Rev. 11:15; 2 Rom. 8:1; 3 Rom. 13:4; 4 Rom. 13:6

II. Obedience to magistrates and the government of the land is made part of the Christian law: expressly included in His ethics by our Lord on the broad ground of the duty to render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's,1 though the Caesar of that day held the land in bondage. St. Paul recognized in his own person, and commands all men to recognize, what was at best a despotic and cruel authority

1 Mat. 22:21

1. The duty of submission is, first, in a certain sense, passive. Whosoever, therefore, resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God; and they that resist shall receive to themselves judgment.1 This forbids, negatively, personal insurrection and resistance. How far submission is to be carried, at what point resistance is permitted—not to the individual as such, but to a people—is a question which our present ethics do not contemplate. Inter arma leges silent. The obligation comes in, however, before the arms are taken up. No individual Christian may resist without betraying his trust, and losing the meekness of his wisdom. When the question is concerning the law of his God,2 the servant of Jehovah must resist, but not until submission has had its perfect work

1 Rom. 13:2; 2 Dan. 6:5

2. Positively, obedience to the government requires that diligence be given to uphold the honor of the law at all points, and that for conscience sake. Much emphasis is laid both by our Lord and by His Apostles on paying tribute to whom tribute is due: a principle which involves very important issues. For this cause pay ye tribute also.1 Let it be observed that St. Paul's ethics of submission to government follow and are, as it were, incorporated with his sublimest and most comprehensive doctrine of Christian morality

1 Rom. 13:5,6,7

3. The Bible, from beginning to end, inculcates and honors PATRIOTISM. It has been sometimes said that neither the sentiment of love to country nor that of personal friendship finds a place in Christian ethics. It is true that the supreme devotion to a kingdom which is not of this world1 everywhere has the preeminence; and that the individual sympathies of friendship are merged in brotherly love. But both these sentiments are really inculcated and encouraged. There is no profane history that surpasses or equals its annals in examples of both, and Christianity must have the benefit of the old religion of which it is in a certain sense a continuation

1 John 18:36


A wide department of what may be called Ecclesiastical Ethics has been created by Christianity

The Christian Society inherited the Ethics of Judaism. But the bond of fellowship has changed, as also its relation to the world; and with these changes corresponding duties and responsibilities have arisen. Our ethical system will not be complete without some remarks on the general principles of Christian duty as connected with Christian communion, under the three heads of the external organization, the internal fellowship, and the common mission, of the Christian Society as laws are prescribed for it in the New Testament. The next section, that of the Church, will open up this subject more fully

Here it will be viewed only in its general principles as regulating one specific branch of Christian Morals. It must be remembered that the question concerns only those who belong to the community of Christ; the preliminary duty of the Church to offer its privileges to all, and of every man to accept these privileges, is not here discussed. It has been considered already and will arise again

I. Membership in the external Church confers rights and imposes obligations. Here we have to regard the religious Society founded by our Lord as being the depository and representative of His will, and the trustee of His commandments

1. It is His law, that every believer should be added1 to the church by the rite of baptism: this is not left optional, either to the adult believer himself, or, as we shall see, to the parent of Christian children who must be baptized. The Eucharist also imposes a duty whilst it confers a privilege: This do in remembrance of Me. This do ye, as oft as ye drink it.2

1 Acts 2:47; 2 1 Cor. 11:25

2. Submission to the authority of those whom He sets as pastors and rulers over His people is a Christian duty, to which corresponds the obligation of the same pastors and rulers to watch for the people's souls and instruct them in the truths of religion: obey them that have the rule over you.1 The sanctions of the commandments binding upon the Society in its external constitution are manifold: the extreme is what became afterwards known as separation from the Church, or excommunication

1 Heb. 13:17

3. The ethics of ecclesiastical worship are distinct from those of devotion generally. They involve some matters of great importance, which, however, will be more fully considered when the Church is the subject. Public worship, the sanctification of the Lord's Day, and attendance on services prescribed by due authority, belong to this class of positive laws

Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is.1 Modern Christianity brings into prominence some ethical questions as to the obligation of submitting to ordinances of Christian fellowship and worship which the several communities appoint, without express authority of the Word of God. In other words, every community has the nature of a Society as well as of a Church; and every one who binds himself to the usages of the Society is bound by them. On the other hand, the Society must so regulate its legislation as to pay deference to the Scriptural and superior enactments for the universal Church as such. Those Societies within Catholic Christendom have prospered most which have wisely adapted their bye-laws, and skilfully subordinated them to the laws of the Church as laid down by the Savior and His Apostles. But the further consideration of this whole question belongs to the next section, that of the Church

1 Heb. 10:25

II. The internal fellowship of the Christian Society involves a large body of ethics that may here be alluded to in a preliminary way. They fall under two branches: such as refer to the obligations of brotherly love and mutual kindness among the members themselves, and such as govern the relations of the fellowship to the outer world or them that are without.1 1 1 Cor. 5:13 1. The specific form of charity which is BROTHERLY KINDNESS:1 shown in mutual watchfulness, practical admonishing one another2 bearing one another's burdens,3 mutual edification and sympathy and help. The foundation of all these ethics is given in our Lord's words: All ye are brethren.4 They prescribe the most self-denying and careful and persevering attention to the claims of the sick and sorrowful and needy of the flock; and the support, according to every man's ability, of all the institutions of charity that the Society contains

1 2 Pet. 1:7; 2 Col. 3:16; 3 Gal. 6:2; 4 Mat. 28:8

2. One of the most important branches of the ethical obligations we now consider is that which regulates the bearing of the Christian Society on the world without. Here there are two distinct and seemingly opposite aspects of the subject

(1.) There is a sense in which the Christian Fellowship is bound to maintain its absolute separation from the world. It is a community which is passing through the present scene of things as a band of pilgrims. Much of our Lord's directory of duty, as well of His Apostles', regards the present constitution of things as passing away, tolerated only by the Christian discipleship, and permitting usages which are to be conformed to only under protest or by way of accommodation to national laws. Of this character is the legislation concerning Oaths and some other matters which will be considered elsewhere. It may be said that a keen solicitude to maintain the honor of the religious community as the kingdom of heaven is inculcated. But it shall not be so among you!1 This principle involves many difficulties especially in regard to social relations: and this therefore is a very difficult branch of conventional ethics. There is a separation from the world which is rigorously demanded of the Christian fellowship as such: Come out from among them and be ye separate!2 By five distinct terms St. Paul marks the contrariety between the world and the Church. What fellowship, [metochee,] hath righteousness with unrighteousness? what communion, [koinoonia,] hath light with darkness? And what concord, sumfooneesis, hath Christ with Belial? or what part, [meris] hath he that believeth with an infidel? and what agreement, [thesis,], hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God, as God hath said, I will dwell in them. The Epistles constantly make the dignity of the Christian fellowship an argument for high propriety: Do all things without murmurings and disputings; that ye maybe blameless and harmless, children of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world, holding forth the word of life.3

1 Mat. 20:26; 2 2 Cor. 6:14-18; 3 Phil. 2:14-16

(2.) But this passage carries our thought to another aspect of these ethics. The Christian Society must penetrate the world around with a holy influence. Ye are the light of the world! Ye are the salt of the earth!1 The duty of our Lord's disciples is to carry with them an influence which shall pervade social life; and while, with regard to it—its festivities, recreations, diversions—the Christian law strictly demands that all should be so ordered as not to dishonor that Worthy Name by the which ye are called,2 it demands also that in the midst of the world, or of that kind of semi-religious life which often comes near to what the New Testament calls the world, a pure and holy example should be set by those who are spiritual

1 Mat. 5:13,14; 2 Jas. 2:7

(3.) There is great difficulty in reconciling these two aspects of our ethics. But they must be harmonized. The passage quoted above from the Philippian Epistle is chiefly of a negative character: it shows what the sons of God must be in contrast with others. There is another passage in the same Epistle which is more full and complete in its bearing on this subject. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are reverend, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.1 This perfect compendium of Christian morals regards the Brethren as setting their thought —their rightly estimating, studious and pondering, affectionate and ardent, practical and energetic, peaceful and triumphant— thought on all the obligations of morality in its highest perfection. But some of the elements of the description show that it is an excellence which must be known and seen and read of all men. The Church is before the world's bar

1 Phil. 4:8,9

III. The ethics of the Church's mission next claim attention. Hitherto we have considered the obligations arising from the common fellowship as within; but there is a duty incumbent on every Christian to co-operate with his fellows for the spread of the kingdom of Christ around and to the ends of the earth

1. Here is the corporate obligation of universal Christendom to preserve the Faith, to diffuse it, to wield its truth in the contest with all error, to demand from men submission to the Gospel, and to put forth every effort to evangelize the world. The Catholic Body as such has this for its first and great command, which briefly comprehends every other

2. This corporate obligation rests upon the several Evangelical branches of Christendom: it may be an unreality to speak of its resting upon the universal Church as such; since it has been long the demonstrated will of the Spirit that the various sections of the Christian Commonwealth should carry on the work of discipling all nations. Hence it is the duty of every religious community, either alone or in combination with other similar bodies, to engage in the common effort to spread the Gospel: an obligation never enough remembered until the present century

3. The most solemn and binding of all personal responsibilities are those which require every individual member of the body to make its universal work his own. This is the peculiarity and also the perfection of Christian ethics, that every duty which it enjoins and every grace which it commends has some reference, more or less direct, to the Church of God which is the kingdom of Christ. The relation of the individual to the fellowship of the saints pervades the New Testament. There can be, strictly speaking, no isolated religion: every Christian man belongs to the visible household of faith, and is partaker of all its privileges and responsibilities. In virtue of the universal priesthood of believers—of which more hereafter—all who name the name of Jesus are regarded as under an obligation to preach His Gospel, and promote His glory in the Church, and make the salvation of souls their business for His sake. The Christian is born into a new world; and his relations to the new economy do not permit him to regard himself for a moment as an independent unit. After St. Paul had spoken of the ministries of the appointed and ordained agents of tie Spirit, he goes on to speak of the growing up of the entire community into the Head, even Christ; from Whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.1 This great word, read in the light of the hymn to charity, is the final expression of ecclesiastical ethics. None of us liveth to himself.2 Every joint supplieth strength; every part effectually worketh;3 and the growth of the whole body in love is the contribution of all the members in particular. The Christian ceases from self not only in Christ but in His body the Church: it is no longer to him an independent principle and end of action; no longer an end at all as distinct from a higher end. This is the doctrine of that Philippian chapter which shows how Self is lost in Jesus, and then found again in the care of our own and of others' souls. Have this mind in you which was also in Christ Jesus: here is the supreme example of self-renunciation. They all seek their own things, not the things which are Jesus Christ's: here is the perfect opposite. Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling:4 this shows that solicitude for self is not to be utterly abolished

Look not every man on his own things, but also on the things of others: here is the unity of care for self and care for our neighbor in the common self-surrender to the Lord and His service

1 Eph. 4:15,16; 2 1 Cor. 13; 3 Rom. 14:7; 4 Phil. 2:5,21,13,4