Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Galatians 5:22

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
New American Standard Version

Adam Clarke Commentary

But the fruit of the Spirit - Both flesh - the sinful dispositions of the human heart and spirit - the changed or purified state of the soul, by the grace and Spirit of God, are represented by the apostle as trees, one yielding good the other bad fruit; the productions of each being according to the nature of the tree, as the tree is according to the nature of the seed from which it sprung. The bad seed produced a bad tree, yielding all manner of bad fruit; the good seed produced a good tree, bringing forth fruits of the most excellent kind. The tree of the flesh, with all its bad fruits, we have already seen; the tree of the Spirit, with its good fruits, we shall now see.

Love - Αγαπη· An intense desire to please God, and to do good to mankind; the very soul and spirit of all true religion; the fulfilling of the law, and what gives energy to faith itself. See Galatians 5:6.

Joy - Χαρα· The exultation that arises from a sense of God's mercy communicated to the soul in the pardon of its iniquities, and the prospect of that eternal glory of which it has the foretaste in the pardon of sin. See Romans 5:2.

Peace - Ειρηνη· The calm, quiet, and order, which take place in the justified soul, instead of the doubts, fears, alarms, and dreadful forebodings, which every true penitent less or more feels, and must feel till the assurance of pardon brings peace and satisfaction to the mind. Peace is the first sensible fruit of the pardon of sin. See Romans 5:1, and the notes there.

Long-suffering - Μακροθυμια· Long-mindedness, bearing with the frailties and provocations of others, from the consideration that God has borne long with ours; and that, if he had not, we should have been speedily consumed: bearing up also through all the troubles and difficulties of life without murmuring or repining; submitting cheerfully to every dispensation of God's providence, and thus deriving benefit from every occurrence.

Gentleness - Χρηστοτης· Benignity, affability; a very rare grace, often wanting in many who have a considerable share of Christian excellence. A good education and polished manners, when brought under the influence of the grace of God, will bring out this grace with great effect.

Goodness - Αγαθωσυνη· The perpetual desire and sincere study, not only to abstain from every appearance of evil, but to do good to the bodies and souls of men to the utmost of our ability. But all this must spring from a good heart - a heart purified by the Spirit of God; and then, the tree being made good, the fruit must be good also.

Faith - Πιστις, here used for fidelity - punctuality in performing promises, conscientious carefulness in preserving what is committed to our trust, in restoring it to its proper owner, in transacting the business confided to us, neither betraying the secret of our friend, nor disappointing the confidence of our employer.

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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Galatians 5:22". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

But the fruit of the Spirit - That which the Holy Spirit produces. It is not without design, evidently, that the apostle uses the word “Spirit” here, as denoting that these things do not flow from our own nature. The vices above enumerated are the proper “works” or result of the operations of the human heart; the virtues which he enumerates are produced by a foreign influence - the agency of the Holy Spirit. Hence, Paul does not trace them to our own hearts, even when renewed. He says that they are to be regarded as the proper result of the Spirit‘s operations on the soul.

Is love - To God and to human beings. Probably the latter here is particularly intended, as the fruits of the Spirit are placed in contradistinction from those vices which lead to strifes among people. On the meaning of the word love, see the notes at 1 Corinthians 13:1; and for an illustration of its operations and effects, see the notes at that whole chapter.

Joy - In the love of God; in the evidences of pardon; in communion with the Redeemer, and in his service; in the duties of religion, in trial, and in the hope of heaven; see the notes at Romans 5:2; compare 1 Peter 1:8.

Peace - As the result of reconciliation with God; see the notes at Romans 5:1.

Long-suffering - In affliction and trial, and when injured by others; see the note at 1 Corinthians 13:4.

Gentleness - The same word which is translated “kindness” in 2 Corinthians 6:6; see the note at that place. The word means goodness, kindness, benignity; and is opposed to a harsh, crabbed, crooked temper. It is a disposition to be pleased; it is mildness of temper, calmness of spirit, an unruffled disposition, and a disposition to treat all with urbanity and politeness. This is one of the regular effects of the Spirit‘s operations on the heart. Religion makes no one crabby, and morose, and sour. It sweetens the temper; corrects an irritable disposition; makes the heart kind; disposes us to make all around us as happy as possible. This is true politeness; a kind of politeness which can far better be learned in the school of Christ than in that of Chesterfield; by the study of the New Testament than under the direction of the dancing-master.

Goodness - See the note at Romans 15:14. Here the word seems to be used in the sense of beneficence, or a disposition to do good to others. The sense is, that a Christian must be a good man.

Faith - On the meaning of the word faith, see the note at Mark 16:16. The word here may be used in the sense of fidelity, and may denote that the Christian will be a faithful man, a man faithful to his word and promises; a man who can be trusted or confided in. It is probable that the word is used in this sense because the object of the apostle is not to speak of the feelings which we have toward God so much as to illustrate the influences of the Spirit in directing and controlling our feelings toward people. True religion makes a man faithful. The Christian is faithful as a man; faithful as a neighbor, friend, father, husband, son. He is faithful to his contracts; faithful to his promises. No man can be a Christian who is not thus faithful, and all pretensions to being under the influences of the Spirit when such fidelity does not exist, are deceitful and vain.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Galatians 5:22". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Galatians 5:22

But the fruit of the Spirit is love.

The spiritual life

The works of the flesh are manifest, known and plain to all. But the fruit of the Spirit is not so manifest: the life of God in the soul is a hidden life: still it is a real life, producing genuine fruit; cherish therefore and cultivate it.

I. The Spirit Himself is the source of all spiritual fruit. Ii. The nature of this fruit. The list here given is not exhaustive. Nor does it admit of very definite classification. The following three groups of three each have been suggested.

1. Christian states of mind in their more general aspect.

2. Those special qualities which affect a man’s intercourse with his neighbours.

3. Certain general principles which guide a Christian man’s conduct.

III. The connection between, and mutual dependence upon each other, of the fruits of the Spirit.

1. They are all from one and the same source.

2. They all conform to one rule, the law of God.

3. Each Christian must possess them all, at least in germ. Grace in the soul is the reflection of Christ’s glory (2 Corinthians 3:12); but that can be no true reflection which lacks any leading features of the moral glory of the Saviour.

IV. Practical inferences.

1. Be careful to cultivate all the graces of the Christian character. Without this there can be no symmetry and harmony.

2. Growth in grace is the best security for the crucifixion of the flesh.

3. Be filled with the Spirit. Avoid whatever grieves and tempts Him to withdraw His presence. Yield readily to His godly motions, His guidance, His teaching.

4. Pray for increase of grace. The daily life must be lived, whether we will or no. It rests with us whether it shall be lived in the power and under the influence of the Spirit. (Emilius Bayley, B. D.)

Spiritual fertility

See the fertility and fruitfulness of the soul that is in a state of grace and therefore in the love of God. First of all, here is the relation of the soul with God Himself: Love is that which unites us with God; joy, which means the thanksgiving and the consciousness of God’s infinite goodness, in which we live and mote; peace, whereby we are at rest with God, and in ourselves, and with all mankind. Then there are the fruits which have relation to our neighbour; and the first is patience. Do we bear with our neighbours? Are we irritable, revengeful, resentful, malicious? If so, the fruits of the Holy Ghost are not in us, because the benignity of God is not in us. Long-suffering is another name for patience. Just as equity is the most delicate form of justice, long-suffering is the most perfect form of charity, the perpetual radiance of a loving heart, which, in its dealings with all around, looks kindly upon them and judges kindly of their faults. It means also perseverance, the not being wearied in well-doing, not throwing up and saying, “I have tried to do good for such a one, I have tried to correct his faults. I have tried to win him; but he is ungrateful, incorrigible, and I will have no more to do with him.” Our Lord does not so deal with us. Long-suffering means an unwearied perseverance in doing good. Gentleness means kindness and forbearance, the dissembling of wrong, the absence of the fire of resentment and of the smouldering of ill-will. Next comes goodness; as a fountain pours out pure water, so the good heart is perpetually pouring out goodness and diffusing goodness on all around. Faith means veracity, so that a man’s word is as good as an oath. And then, lastly, there are certain fruits which have relation to ourselves. They are, first, modesty, (=meekness?) which is both within and without--modesty of bearing, modesty of conduct, of dress, of demeanour, a chastened and sensitive regard for others, in all that is due from us to them, which keeps us from obtrusiveness, and from transgressing the delicate consideration which is their right. Temperance or continence means most especially the repressing of passions--the passion of anger, the inclination to pleasure, to honour, to wealth; it is the transparent purity of the soul, and the custody Of the senses, because they are the avenues to the soul by which sin enters. Such, then, are the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Every soul that is in the grace of God has in it this fertility. It may not bear them all in equal measure, but it bears them all in some proportion. (H. E. Manning.)

Spiritual fruit in the Church

Look at the world before the Son of God came into it. Find one institute of mercy in it. Find a hospital, or an asylum for the widow or for the orphan. Find a home for those who were bereft of reason. Find a ministry of charity to the sick. The culture of classical nations was as cold as the ice, as hard as a stone. The sacred heart of the Incarnate Son of God cast fire upon the earth. And the Christian world kindled and broke forth into all the works of charity. As soon as the widows and the orphans among those who believed were known to be destitute, the apostles set apart a special order--the sacred order of Deacons--to be the ministers of the charity of Jesus Christ to His poor. The law of alms came in, which had no existence in the heathen world. The life of community--not the communism of those that do not believe in Jesus Christ, but the community of all things among those who, being members of His Body, hate a sympathy one with another, and share in each other’s sorrows, and joys, and in their hunger, and thirst, and nakedness. The miseries of mankind as they were seen by the Son of God Himself are before the eyes of His Church. All the miseries of mankind, of body and soul, are open to the heart that is illuminated and kindled with the love of God and our neighbour. The Church from the beginning has shown an inventiveness of charity, in finding out how it may apply the help of the love and of the mercies of God to every form of human suffering. And what the Church does as a body the saints of the Church have done one by one. The life of St. Charles, the great pastor of Milan, was inexhaustible in compassion. St. Vincent of Paul, who did not commence his works of mercy until he was forty years of age, has filled the whole world with the exercise of the most various forms of Christian love, ministering to every form of disease and suffering. And what there is in the lives of saints there ought to be in its measure in every one of you. Do not say, “I have a preference for this or/or that kind of charity, and I am not called to other things.” You are called to show all these fruits of the Holy Ghost on every occasion in which it is possible, at least in some measure or in some degree, and that to all. (H. E. Manning.)

Man’s productive capabilities

Fruit, regarded in the light of the orchard, the garden, or the vineyard, is the most perfect form of development to which a tree or plant can come. Fruit is the thing for which all the enginery of roots and branches and leaves was appointed. All these are servants. They toil and wait. The fruit only sits regent; it is the final result--the perfect; thing. The tree can never go a step further than its fruit. It can stop, and go back and begin again; but it goes only to that limit; and when it has reached that, it has reached perfection. The fruit is the measure of the tree’s possibility. So when we speak of man as a tree, or a vine, and when we speak of the fruit of that tree or vine, we refer to that Divine summer which quickens man, and renders him productive, and brings forth in him the highest results of which he is capable. When a man comes to that which is called “the fruit of the Spirit,” he reaches his full limit as a creature of time. When the fruit of the Spirit in man is spoken of, that which is meant is the fairest, the noblest, the best thing that he can be brought to, by the brooding of the Divine mind. It is the final result which is wrought out by all the influences for good which are brought to bear upon him. It is that which his higher nature ultimates in …. Here is the ideal of a perfect manhood. It must have these marks--love, joy, peace, etc. It must be characterized by these qualities. A man may be resplendent; he may dramatise as Shakespeare; he may paint as Raphael; he may carve as Michael Angelo; he may colour as Titian; he may build as Bramante; he may subdue the material globe, and conquer by physical forces; but these things do not represent manhood. A man may think till his thoughts shoot as far as the starlight shoots; a man may speak with an eloquence which is transcendent; a man may be endowed with all conceivable intellectual endowments; but these do not represent manhood. That which distinguishes the true man is not the capacity to command physical substances. It is not the power to analyse and use things created out of material. It is not any of the lower forms of power; nor even the influence of mental strength. None of these things constitute the truest manhood. It is the fruit of the Spirit--man being the stalk on which that fruit is growing, and out of which it is to be developed. (H. W. Beecher.)

Fruit of the Spirit

This is a rich coronet of graces, with which the apostle decks the character of the Christian believer. He tells us here what a spiritual life in Christ means, a life that has its ripe fruit in these real virtues of the man. It is no exact classification of the religious graces, but we may find an inward harmony, as if he thought of them as following a law of personal growth. Love, joy, and peace are the inmost dispositions of the heart, flowing from communion with the heart of Christ; long-suffering, gentleness, goodness are social dispositions toward others; and faith, meekness, temperance (or self-restraint) are qualities of conduct. (E. A. Washburn, D. D.)

Spiritual tests

We believe that we pass from sin to holiness, not of ourselves, but by the grace of God working in us. How, then, do we recognize the reality of such a Divine life? It must be by the real dispositions and the real graces that are in us. There is no other possible way. What is the grace of the Spirit? If a spiritual grace be a mysterious something, which has no test save our individual feeling, it may be an imagination. If a man should say, I see the grass to be red: it may be so to his eyes, but it only shows his eyes to be in a diseased state. So with our spiritual perceptions. If a man should say, The spirit has revealed to me that Christ shall appear next week on the earth: we should reply, What proof do you bring that you are not an enthusiast? And so if any one say, I am assured that at a certain time I was convicted of sin, and passed from death to life; we have still to ask, How do you know that this is not a fancy, a will o’ the wisp, shining out of the swamp of a morbid feeling. It is not enough to say, I have an extraordinary peace of conscience, a sense of pardon and joy; for any one who knows human nature and his own, knows that we can be more readily cheated by our religious emotions than all else, and may mistake the spirit of self-conceit for the Spirit of God. It must be a test beyond our inner feeling. It must be a test seen and known by others. It must be a test of a permanent kind. What is it? There can be only one answer. We know the Divine Spirit by the likeness of our characters to His, as we know the sun in his beams, the plant in its blossom. The Spirit of Christ is of love and peace; it shows itself in the conquest of our unloving, warring passions. It is of long-suffering and goodness; it is known in our unselfish goodness toward our fellowmen. It is of meekness and temperance; it is known in our self-restraint. This is reality. There is no outward surface morality in it; but the genuine morality of heart and life. If we have these positive graces, if our religion create this true joy of a cheerful, happy spirit; this peace not of a self-satisfied conscience, but of one void of offence; this gentleness, this goodness which prompts our action in daily life; this temperance, which keeps us from all unholy appetites of wealth or selfish pleasure; if it be this in the household, in the social circle, in the calling of business--then we have the only assurance we can have of the presence of the Holy Spirit. “There can be no mistake about it. And so as to others. If I recognize these genuine graces in any, whether his religious experiences tally with mine or no, I know that he is a living disciple of Christ, as I know the flavour of a peach, although it may not be of my garden. (E. A. Washburn, D. D.)

Danger of substituting any other test for this

“There is a religion calling itself spiritual, which substitutes a vague notion of the Divine grace for the plain rule of the apostle. Let such a notion enter, and what more sure to make the doctrine of the Holy Spirit the apology for every morbid mistake! What strange doubts in regard to the plainest duty, what vagaries in feeling, what contradictions between faith and life? You meet one class of sincere Christians, who make religion an inward self-torment; always asking whether they can find signs of their conversion, distressed about their states of mind, instead of testing the grace of God by their simple acceptance of His promises and daily growth in duty. It is the saddest of inversions. As well dig up the roots of the rose bush every hour to know if it have life, when you should see it in the fragrance and bloom of the rose. You meet others, who believe that some strong conviction is the assurance of the Spirit. I know nothing more unreal than that. In proportion as we believe in this assurance of our own unchanging state, we lose our humble sense of our weakness. The assurance we have is in God. But there is none that we have that life in us, unless we keep it by our growth. I have even known those, who hold this notion of religion, speak very doubtfully of the moral virtues, of integrity, honour, purity, benevolence, as a “mere morality” which might be without any spiritual piety at all. Let us beware of such conceits. When men indulge in this theory, it often ends in machinery, in the mechanical exercise of feeling, and leaves the real life barren. Try the spirits by the rule of Christ; and when you see that the figs do not grow on the thistles, that the spiritual experience is one thing, and the real man another; a lofty faith here, and a selfish conduct there; grace that has no graces; a change within that makes no change without--then learn the difference between the subtleties of men and the plain Word of God. (E. A. Washburn, D. D.)

New leaves pushing off the old

“Old leaves, if they remain upon the trees through the autumn and the winter, fall off in the spring.” We have seen a hedge all thick with dry leaves throughout the winter, and neither frost nor wind has removed the withered foliage, but the spring has soon made a clearance. The new life dislodges the old, pushing it away as unsuitable to it. So our old corruptions are best removed by the growth of new graces. “Old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” It is as the new life buds and opens that the old worn-out things of our former state are compelled to quit their hold of us, Our wisdom lies in living near to God, that by the power of His Holy Spirit all our graces may be vigorous, and may exercise a sin-expelling power over our lives: the new leaves of grace pushing off our old sere affections and habits of sin. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

The fruit of the Spirit visible

If the sun is sparkling on the healthy leaves of a fruit-tree, and heavenly airs are fanning them, and the good soil lies below, we do not try to prove by abstract rules that probably the fruit will somehow drop down of a sudden on the twigs. The eye sees the work going on, and doubts about contingencies and dangers seldom disturb the husbandman. If there is a work of grace now stirring, if the Christ-thoughts become more and more our thoughts, if the world below sinks in value, and the character deepens on sound things, on truer judgments, on simpler goodness and wisdom, we need not to look to some far-off future to find hope. (C. H. Hall, D. D.)

Symmetrical fertility

“The fruits of the Spirit” do not always appear, even in every true Christian, in their Divine order and symmetrical proportion. Grace works on very different natures, and is subject to an endless variety of conditions and modifying influences; so that while the great change has been wrought, the seeds of the new life have taken root in the heart, the form and degree of development will greatly vary in different persons, and different conditions and surroundings. In one, faith predominates, in another, love, in another, charity, etc. Seldom do we see in this world a perfectly rounded symmetrical Christian character. Grace has not its perfect work here: and yet the conversion may be genuine. The believer should not despair, if he fails to discover in his heart and daily life, at one and the same time, all the fruits of grace here enumerated. (American Homeletic Review.)

Catechism of religion

When I ask you, “Do you believe in religion?” I do not mean to ask you whether you believe in creeds, and ordinances, and Church organisations. When I want to know whether a man believes in religion or not, I do not ask, “Do you believe in Sunday, and in ministers, and in the Bible” For a man may believe in all these things, and not believe in religion. And a man might not believe in any of them, and yet believe in religion. If I were going to question you to ascertain whether you were a Christian or not, I would say, “Do you, sir, believe in love, as the transcendent element of manhood?” Where is the man who would say “No” to that? Where, in the whole round of creation, would be found a man who, if the question were put to him, “Do you believe in the validity, and authority, and divinity of love?” I would not say, “I believe?” That is the first question in the catechism. The second is, “Do you believe in joy, supernal, ineffable, Divine, bred in the soul of man, and in the highest realm of the soul? Do you believe that all the faculties of man, like the pipes of an organ, conspire in ringing out sweet symphonies?” If the question were asked, “Do you believe in joy?” where is the man who would not say, “I believe?” “Do you believe in peace?” “I believe.” “Do you believe in long-suffering?” “I believe.” “Do you believe in gentleness?” “I believe.” “Do you believe in goodness?” “I believe.” “Do you believe in faith?” “I believe.” “Do you believe in meekness and temperance?” “I believe.” Answer me, hungry heart--you that have wandered from church to church, and have not been fed; you that have tried pleasure, and aspiration, and ambition, without being satisfied, and have become wearied and discouraged; you that have listened to discourse on discourse, and enigma on enigma, and had spectacular views which purported to be religion, and have fallen off, wearily saying, “Ah, there is no religion in these things!”--is there no religion? Do not you believe in religion? If you were to see a man filled with the fruit of the Spirit, would you not believe in that man? “Yes,” you say, “but there is no such man.” But is not that an ambition which every man may most worthily set before him, and press toward with all the power that is in him? Is not that worth living for? And if men come together, and say, “We will bear with each other, and will uphold each other, and together we will press toward that high conception of manhood,” is not that a worthy reason for coming together? Is there anything in pleasure, or business, or citizenship which is comparable in dignity and worth to coming together earnestly bent on having the fruit of the Spirit as it is here depicted?… I spread before you this reality of love, and joy, and peace, and long-suffering, and gentleness, and goodness, and faith, and meekness, and temperance, and say, “This is what you are to be and to do. And you can help each other to be and to do that. Take hold of hands. Avail yourselves of what advantage there may be in social power. If you are wanderers and discouraged, join one with another that you may inspire each other with hope and find rest.” This is the whole economy of religion. It is the whole philosophy of the Church. (H. W. Beecher.)

The influence of the Holy Spirit perceptible

When the rays of the sun fall on the surface of a material object, part of those rays are absorbed; part of them are reflected back in straight lines; and part of them refracted this way and that in various directions. When the Holy Ghost shines upon our souls, part of the grace He inspires is absorbed to our own particular comforts; part of it is reflected back in acts of love, joy, prayer, praise; and part of it is refracted every way in acts of benevolence, beneficency, and all moral and social duty. (A. M. Toplady.)

The fruit of the Spirit is love: Love an abiding quality

Not love like a June day breaking out in March, and everybody saying, “Was there ever such a beautiful day? But you mustn’t expect more such days.” There are a good ‘many people who have love like that. It is a rare thing with them. But the quality is to be permanent, pervading, atmospheric, automatic, spontaneous. You are to be clothed with it, and it is to abide with you. What if men had to run to an air reservoir every time they wanted any atmosphere--taking a breath, then going as long as they could, and then going back to get another breath! But in this world of hurlyburly, strifes, conflicts, envyings, jealousies, selfishness, and various attrition, a sweet, universal, unvarying, atmospheric love is almost as rare as the illustration would indicate. Yet we are brought into circumstances where every vengeful passion plays, and threatens to supersede all our grace. We have to get up our grace. It is as if a man, having laid aside his armour in time of warfare, and hearing some warning bell strike, and being in his house, should spring up and cry, “Where is my spear, my arrow, my armour? I must get on my things, and go out to fight.” That may do for warfare; but so sharp are our appetites and temptations, that we have no time to put on our armour. Circumstances require us to wear it all the time. “Put on the whole armour of God.” If you leave off any piece at any time, that is the point where death will enter. Love, automatic, continuous. You see it now and then. You will see it in a greatsouled man. He never moves from the stability of that state of mind; or if he moves, it is only as an overfull vessel sometimes spills herself on one side and on the other. Now and then you see it in a great-souled and saintly woman, not only where she makes herself radiant, but where the whole household is filled with the atmosphere of her graciousness and her goodness. This is what you see in the Indian summer of life in the aged often--namely, that they have worn out, as it were burned out, the passions, and have been released little by little from the temptations of the aggressive life. They have brought themselves into a continued exercise of the higher Christian states of mind, until, as they sit waiting for their sun to go down, that it may rise again and never set, they are luminous and are clothed, and in their right mind. (H. W. Beecher.)

The fruit of the Spirit is love: The Christian the only true lover of mankind

Is it not the fact, that religion unlocks the closest bosoms, softens the most rugged nature, touches the heart of stone, and melts it into tenderness and love? I have lately been called to watch the last years of an individual, who, during a life of more than eighty years, barred out every feeling of compassion and generosity; but no sooner did the beams of the blessed gospel pierce his heart, than I myself saw every sterner quality at once subdued, and all that was large and generous and sympathizing occupy the vacant place; no sooner did he learn his own condition, as a sinner redeemed with the precious blood of Christ--no sooner had he been taught that, if saved at all, he must be saved by an act of sovereign and unmerited grace and compassion, than the frost of his soul seemed dissolved, his heart expanded, his affections were new-born, he looked over the world with a new eye, and literally drained himself to supply the spiritual and temporal necessities of those around him. And he is not, by any means, an isolated instance; but simply a sample of the Spirit’s work in the souls of the regenerate. Who, I ask, was Howard--and who are the men that tread in his steps, and dive into the depths of the dungeon, and take the guage of misery in all nations of the world? Who was Wilberforce--and who are those upon whom his mantle has fallen, the men that give tyranny no rest, and count no sacrifice too great “to break the staff of the oppressor, and let the prisoner go free?” In all cases the answer is the same. These are the men who look to the Spirit of God only, as the source of all that is good and great as the living fountain of love, as their only stay and prop, as the Author and Finisher of all real schemes of benevolence; they are men, in short, whose help and trust are placed in God alone. (J. W. Cunningham, M. A.)

The voice of love

Oh! there is a voice in love; it speaks a language which is its own; it has an idiom and a brogue which none can mimic; wisdom cannot imitate it; oratory cannot attain unto it; it is love alone which can reach the mourning heart; love is the only handkerchief which can wipe the mourner’s tears away. And is not the Holy Ghost a loving Comforter? Dost thou know, O saint, how much the Holy Spirit loves thee? Canst thou measure the love of the Spirit? Dost thou know how great is the affection of His soul towards thee? Go, measure heaven with thy span; go, weigh the mountains in scales; go, take the ocean’s water, and tell each drop; go, count the sand upon the sea’s wide shore; and when thou hast accomplished this, thou may’st tell how much He loveth thee! He has loved thee long, He has loved thee well; He loved thee ever, and He still shall love thee; surely He is the person to comfort thee, because He loves. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

The harmony of manhood

Oh, what a grand thing human nature is when it is working smoothly! There is the will sitting supreme, informed from above, through channels and means, by all the grace of God which the Spirit supplies. There is conscience, its spiritual assessor, waiting and warning and testing with unerring accuracy. There is the inner circle of the intellect, presenting to it all that is good, noble, or useful. Memory, bringing in its treasures from the past. Imagination, bringing in ornament and beauty from the present, and even from the future. There is the body beneath, with its active slaves ceaselessly conveying materials through the senses. There are the passions and the emotions, with their hidden fires, all ministering to the great work which is going on within. And surely it is worth the effort to be all that is meant by spiritual, to set ourselves to work in the best way. And to this end it will be helpful to consider those virtues which the apostle tells us are the “fruit of the Spirit”--those fruits and productions which spring up within us out of the harmomous working of our being--working, that is, as God means it to work, with all its several parts acting according to the will of God concerning us. It may be that we have not as yet learnt to use the machine aright; perhaps we have shrunk from, it, and God drives us in upon ourselves by the admonition of adversity or the reproofs of conscience. Perhaps, it may be, there is a large piece of this world’s grit sticking somewhere within which needs to come away. Perhaps there may be a sense that we are, after all, our own masters, instead of workers for God, which hinders our perfection. If so, let us try to think what we might be if all these parts of our being were “entire,” if we were working smoothly for Him. (W. C. E. Newbolt.)

The right use of human capabilities

Now it is obvious that this human nature, if rightly used, is a machine of delicate and wonderful powers, only some employ it as they might use some beautiful musical instrument, using but a part of it, with no combination of stops, no intricacies of effect, or concentration of action; while some maim it as they use it, and spoil it altogether. What a frightful perversion, for instance, is the man who is, as it were all body!--in whom the governing power has passed over to the lower senses, who perverts his mental faculties to the procuring of mere animal gratification, who stifles out all the spiritual yearnings and pleadings within him that he may be more and mere carnal and sensual. And if this be so, it is also true that there may be an intellectual deformity as well, higher and nobler if you will, but still a deformity, where the body is despised or dishonoured, where the spirit has been shut off in its higher regions, and is to all intents and purposes without any influence upon life. The first perversion is obvious; we may see it any day at almost any tavern door. But the other may also be traced in many an impartial biography, where on a review of the whole life before us, it cannot be said that the spirit, soul, and body have been preserved “entire” ( ὁλόκληρα), that the owners might be presented “whole” ( ὁλοτελεῖς) before God. (W. C. E. Newbolt.)

The fruits of the spirit

A hard thing it is, to bring an overweening hypocrite to a true understanding of himself; for pride and hypocrisy are two such things as few men are willing to own. That they might therefore with better certainty be able to discern whether they were indeed spiritual, or but yet carnal, the apostle proceedeth to describe the flesh and the Spirit by their different effects. The thing we are to take notice of now is the differences that may be observed between the titles under which St. Paul hath entered the several particulars of both sorts. “The works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: adultery,” etc., the other in the beginning of Galatians 5:22 : “But the fruit of the Spirit is love,” etc.

1. The first difference, which ariseth from the nature of things themselves, as they relate to their several proper causes, is of the four the most obvious and important: and it is this: that whereas the vicious habits and sinful actions catalogued in the former verses are the production of the flesh, the graces and virtues specified in the text are ascribed to’ the Spirit, as to their proper and original cause. They are not the works of the flesh, as the former, but the fruit of the Spirit. First, clear it is, that all the wicked practices recited and condemned in the foregoing verses, with all ether of like quality, do proceed merely from the corruption that is in us, from our own depraved minds and wills, without any the least co-operation of the Holy Spirit of God therein. It cannot stand with the goodness of God to be the principal; and neither with His goodness nor greatness to be an accessory, in any sinful action. He cannot be either the author or the abettor of anything that is evil. Secondly, it is clear also that all the holy affections and performances here mentioned, with all other Christian virtues and graces accompanying salvation, not here mentioned, though performed immediately by us, and with the free consent of cur own wills, are yet the fruit of God’s Spirit working in us. All those very many passages in the New Testament, which either set forth the unframeableness of our nature to the doing of anything that is good--“Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think a good thought”; “In me, that is in my flesh, there dwelleth no good thing,” and the like: or else ascribe our best performances to the glory of the grace of God--“Without me you can do nothing”; “All our sufficiency is of God”; “Not of yourselves, it is the gift of God”; “It is God that worketh in you both the will and the deed,” and the like, are so many clear confirmations of the truth.

2. The evil effects proceeding from the flesh are called by the name of “works”; and the good effects proceeding from the Spirit are called by the name of “fruits.” The query is, why, being both effects alike, they are not either both alike called works, or both alike called fruits; but the one works, the other fruit--the works of the flesh there, here, the fruit of the Spirit? For answer whereunto, I shall propose to your choice two conjectures. The one more theological, or rather metaphysical, which is almost as new to me as perhaps it will seem to you (for it came not into my thoughts till I was upon it); the other more moral and popular. For the former, take it thus. Where the immediate agent produceth a work or effect, virtute propria, by his own power, and not in the virtue of a superior agent, both the work itself produced, and the efficacy of the operation whereby it is produced, are to be ascribed to him alone; so as it may be said properly and precisely to be his work. But where the immediate agent operateth virtute aliena, in the strength and virtue of some higher agent, without which he were not able to produce the effect, though the work done may even there also be attributed in some sort to the inferior and subordinate agent, as the immediate cause, yet the efficacy whereby it was wrought cannot be so properly imputed to him, but ought rather to be ascribed to that higher agent in whose virtue he did operate. If this seem but a subtlety and satisfy not, let it go; the other, I presume, will, seeing it is so plain and popular. The word “fruit” mostly relates to some labour going before. The reason is, because no man would willingly undergo any toil or labour to no end; he would have something or other in his eye that might in some measure recompence his pains; and that is called “the fruit of his labour.” Where the flesh ruleth all, the work exceedeth the fruit; and therefore, without ever mentioning the fruit, they are called “the works of the flesh.” But where the Spirit of God ruleth, the fruit exceedeth the work; and therefore, without ever mentioning the work, it is called “the fruit of the Spirit.”

3. The works of the flesh are spoken of as many, “works,” in the plural: but the fruit of the Spirit is spoken of as one, “fruit,” in the singular. Many works, but one fruit. There is such a connection of virtues and graces, that albeit they differ in their objects and natures, yet they are inseparable in the subject. As when many links make up one chain, pull one, and pull all: so he that hath any one spiritual grace in any degree of truth and eminency, cannot be utterly destitute of any other. But as for sins and vices, it is not so with them: they are not only distinct in their hinds, natures, and definitions (for so are virtues too), but they may also be divided from one another, and parted asunder in respect of the subject wherein they are we are told (and if we were not told it, we could not but see reason enough in these times to believe it) that a man may hate idolatry, a work of the flesh; and yet love sacrilege well enough, a work of the flesh too. There is no necessity that a swearer should be an adulterer, or an adulterer a slanderer, or a slanderer an oppressor, or an oppressor a drunkard, or a drunkard a seditious person; and so of many other. The reason of the difference is, because all spiritual graces look one way: they all run to the same indivisible point, wherein they concentre; to wit, almighty God, who is unchangeable and one: even as all moral virtues concentre in the same common point of right reason. But sins, which turn from God to follow the creature; and vices, which are so many deviations from the rule of right reason, do not all necessarily run towards the same point, but may have their several tendencies different one from another. Because though God be one, yet the creatures are manifold; and although the straight way from one place to another can be but one, yet there may be many crooked turnings, by-paths, and deviations. Even as truth is but one and certain, but errors are manifold and endless.

4. The last difference is, that the works of the flesh are expressly said “to be manifest”; but no such thing is affirmed of the fruit of the Spirit. The most probable reasons of which difference are, to my seeming, one of these two following.

On the influence of the Holy Spirit

I. The reality of the Spirit’s influence upon the mind. That it is possible, must surely be admitted by all. It is the highest reach of presumption to deny that God can, in a manner far beyond our comprehension, direct and control all the secret springs and movements of the human soul. The only question then is, whether He will, in this way, exert His power and communicate His grace. Scripture leaves us in no doubt as to this. See especially 1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 1 Corinthians 6:19.

II. The nature of the Spirit’s influence upon the mind.

1. To lighten the understanding, and rectify the judgment (2 Corinthians 4:6; John 16:13-14.)

2. To awaken the slumbering conscience, and to subdue the obstinate, rebellious will. Sin is a fatal opiate, by which the soul is intoxicated, and bewildered with visionary pleasures, and rendered insensible to its danger.

III. The absolute necessity of the Divine Spirit’s influence. The perfect purity of heaven forbids us to indulge the thought that either sin, or those who are infected with it, can have admission there. O, let it never be forgotten that without holiness no man shall see the Lord. So great is the change that must pass upon us, before we can be made truly happy, that nothing short of the Holy Spirit can produce it. This change, in the Scriptures, is called a new birth, a resurrection from the dead, and a new creature.

1. It is sometimes called a new birth (John 1:12-13; John 3:3.)

2. Sometimes the change that must pass upon us before we can be fitted for heaven is called a resurrection from the dead.

3. Sometimes this great change is called a new creation.

IV. The evidence of the Holy Spirit’s influence on the mind.

1. One evidence of the Holy Spirit’s special influence is a strong, prevailing, and permanent aversion to sin, in all its kinds and degrees. The nature of the cause is known by the quality of the effects produced by it.

2. Another evidence of these heavenly influences on the mind is a spirit of humble, unfeigned, and animated devotion.

3. Another evidence of the Holy Spirit’s influence is a supreme regard to the Word of God as our rule, the glory of God as our end, and the immediate presence of God as our ultimate and complete happiness.

4. An other evidence of the Spirit’s influence is a sweet persuasion of our acceptance with God, and adoption into the household of “faith. “It is,” says Bishop Hopkins, “but an airy assurance, a void evidence, an insignificant charter for heaven, which hath not on it the print of the Spirit’s seal. Now the impress of this seal is the very image and superscription of God, which, when the heart is, like wax, made soft and pliable, is, in a man’s regeneration, enstamped upon it.”

V. I shall now answer some objections which are usually urged against this doctrine.

1. It has been boldly asserted, that none were ever endowed with the Holy Spirit, but prophets, spastics, and evangelists. But shall we then deny that gracious, though ordinary influence, which renovates the mind, and which was evidently bestowed upon common believers as well as apostles?

2. It is said, the influence of the Spirit on the mind is too mysterious to be comprehended, and therefore the doctrine which teaches it is unworthy to be believed. Who then will dare, in the fulness of his self-conceit, to deny a doctrine of Divine revelation, which has been the comfort of good men in every age, because it surpasses his comprehension?

3. It is objected, that the doctrine of the Spirit’s influence has a bad tendency, opening a door to licentiousness, opposing the liberty of the human will, and discouraging our honest endeavours. The whole of this objection is founded on a mistake. The same Scriptures which authorize us to expect the Divine influence, require us to honour God in the use of His own appointed means. (John Thornton.)

The transition from the works of the flesh to the fruit of the spirit

Have you ever heard a clever organist undertaking to show what can be done in the gymnastics of music? He goes screwing his way up through all the chromatic scale with all sorts of thunderous conjunction of sound until he has shown that the organ is devilish, or you feel so, but at last he modulates and gives out some rare strain such as Beethoven and Mozart has given birth to. So out from the cacophony of harsh and ugly affections and passions the text modulates into the very melody and music of religion. (H. W. Beecher.)

The fruit of the Spirit

I. Contrasts with the produce of the sinful nature.

II. Can only be accounted for by the new life and the new influences of the Spirit.

III. Is sweet, serviceable, and acceptable, not only to God but to man. (Family Churchman.)

I. The soil is prepared by the Spirit of God.

II. He quickens the seed--the truth which is instinct with a Divine vitality.

III. He fosters the life: like sunshine and showers on the seed sown.

IV. He matures the fruit: creating for it a congenial climate. (Family Churchman.)

I. We have here the inspired definition of Christianity.

1. A great many men have religion who have no Christianity.

2. Christianity is a life of liberty, spirituality, and joyous love.

II. This representation of Christianity is eminently fitted for the young, who are repelled by many representations.

III. The inspiration of the ministry is the practical experience of the Spirit and the development of His fruits.

IV. The fruit of the Spirit is the antidote to infidelity.

1. Men may question the doctrines of Christianity.

2. They cannot deny its practical effect. (H. W. Beecher.)

Hindering Christianity

1. The secret of Christ’s power was the goodness of God as manifested in His character and life, raising up a permanent moral influence and capable of remoulding the character and life of man.

2. Why, then, has Christianity made so little advance after nineteen centuries of history? For remember that the growth of Christianity does not consist in the diffusion of the knowledge of it or the extension of its organizations, but in the development of the fruits of the Spirit of Christ. Those who have set forward Christianity have--

I. Adopted a coercive policy. But--

1. You cannot coerce men into loyalty in the State.

2. You cannot coerce the growths of nature.

3. Much less can men be coerced into love, joy, peace, etc.

II. Formulated theological and ecclesiastical systems, and endeavoured to extend them, critically, controversially, and in an anathematizing spirit. But it is just as reasonable as placing violets and roses in an atmosphere of biting frost or consuming fire and expect them to grow, as for the fruits of the Spirit to develop in these ways.

III. Aimed at knowledge, not charity. Knowledge can only puff a man up; charity will build him up. The knowledge of love may deceive a man that he has it, but will not make him loveable; and, the disunited state of Christendom being witness, has not.

IV. Placed organic Christianity in the room of personal Christianity Physical life may be left to organize itself, which it does perfectly. In Christian life the loving, joyous, peaceful, etc., will make the most harmonious and orderly Church.

V. Hidden the character of Christ, and misrepresented the character of God. (H. W. Beecher.)

The fruit of the Spirit an element of Christian assurance

The last witness is the comfort and contentment the conscience takes in doing good works, and bringing forth the fruits of the new obedience; that though he knows his best doings are straitened with corruptions and imperfections, yet because they are the end of his vocation and the justifiers of his faith; because the gospel thereby is graced, wicked men amazed, some of them converted, the rest confounded, weak Christians confirmed, the poor relieved, devils repining at them, angels rejoicing for them, God Himself glorified by them; I say because of these and other reasons he doeth good deeds with humility and cheerfulness, and findeth a singular joy in his soul resulting therefrom. (T. Fuller, D. D.)

The ultimatum of Christian life

The ultimatum of all vegetation is matured fruit. You take that oak tree; a few months ago it budded and blossomed, and now you see the matured acorn upon it. Since the appearance of the little acorn, the tree has bent all its energies towards furnishing it nutriment; it draws food from its roots, and drinks in from the atmosphere all the vital forces, and pours its life into the little acorn. I see that little acorn growing and developing and extending until, by and by, there is a well-rounded, ripe, symmetrical acorn; and then the tree goes back into its winter quarters. So with all vegetation. Now, I grant that there are many intervening difficulties between the bud and the ripe fruit. There are worms that gnaw at the vitals of the tree; there are the cold winds and the frosts; but the tree is only valuable as it overleaps them all and matures the fruit. Just so the ultimatum of Christian life is the maturing of Christian fruitage. (Samuel P. Jones.)

The analysis of grace

Dr. J. Hamilton says: “The chemist who can analyse the fruit of the vine finds many ingredients there. Of these no single one nor any two together would form the juice of the grape, but the combination of all yields the polished and delicious berry which everyone knows so well. In the best specimens nine ingredients are found, but that is not a good cluster where any is wanting.” The application is easy.


Love, the fruit of the Spirit

The fruit of the Spirit is love. You know what the fruit as it hangs on the tree is. It is the result of many causes. Look at the apple as it hangs ripe and ready for the mouth, on the bough. What a wonderful production! How symmetrical its shape! How beautiful its colour! How mellow its substance! How pure and gracious to the palate is its juice! Whence came it? It came from below and from above. The earth owns part of it; the sun owns part of it; the dews have a claim--even the wind and the stars have done something to make it what it is. A dozen ministries--angels of the earth and the air, ingenious and active, have joined hands in its manufacture. Fruit, then, is the last result--the ultimate product of many forces acting conjunctively. Fruit is not crude; it is finished. It is not a process; it is the end of a process; the end of many processes; the consummation to which time and cause have alike tended. Now there is one result in character which has the Divine Spirit for its cause; it is love. It may be in embryo; it may be in maturity; it may be weak or strong. It may rule the life wholly; it may rule it only in part. But in whatever degree of growth it may be--to whatever point it may have been carried forward and upward, the element and principle of affection in human nature never happens by chance, never occurs by accident. To understand the works of the Spirit, and how its fruits are generated and ripened, you must understand the nature on which it works and the forces in connection with which its potency is rendered efficient. I say forces, for human nature is a forceful nature. It is a co-operative nature. It is not played on like an instrument of music that has only a responsive power; it is powerful itself; it is acted upon and re-acts. It has its own capabilities. It is strong enough to be resistful, and is essentially independent. A great many think of God only as outside of themselves--think of the Spirit as coming down upon them as winds come upon the sea, being blown from afar. The action of the Spirit is thus made to seem instantaneous, and the changes wrought arbitrary. Many even think that it would in some sort disparage the work of the Spirit if its actions were made in any sense dependent on the human will, or to any considerable extent co-operative with human faculties. But, friends, he who exalteth his own power exalteth God; for is not God the maker of his power? The father is honoured in the honour of his son, and the whole family becomes distinguished through the glory of one. Let it be known, then, to all of you, that the work of the Spirit is a co-operative work. He works in alliance with our own natural capacity. Alas! that He is often compelled to work in resistance to it. Nor is the saving work of God sudden. It is a peculiarity of destruction that it is always swift. God kills in an instant, but He grows things slowly. The lightning smites the tree in a flash, which a hundred years with laborious chemistry have grown. Is it less honourable to God that He works through method and climbs to His consummations through spiritual processes? After our way of thinking, the Spirit’s work in man is a slow work. Exceptions there may be, but swiftness of operation is not the law. Human nature never blooms suddenly. Some are born blossoms, but those that are born in the bud, as most of us were, sweeten, colour, and unfold slowly. The work of the Spirit is to bring back and reinstate in its original regnancy the Divine characteristic of loving. This is what it is striving to do in your bosom, fellow Christian. Faith in the Christ is valuable, because it is the means, the great and glorious means, of this reinstatement. By faith we perceive the loveliness of this principle; by faith we are made appreciative of it and are filled with longing that we may overflow with it; by faith we are thus quickened into this new life of concord and amiability and good-will toward men, and hearty affection toward God. Now, to start with in life, love is selfish. The love of the child, how unlike the love of the mother! Hence, we all say that we love mother better as we grow older. And why is this true? Because the selfishness which was in our early loving is eliminated. To start with, we loved our mothers with our bodies, so to speak. We have grown to love them with our minds and our spirits. Some of us have had them taken from us. In their love for us they have passed out of the body; and we, too, in our love for them have passed out of the body. They are spirits, and we love them with our spirit. And thus has love been perfected in us. The best love is never perfect until it becomes thus unselfish. And the work of the Spirit, as I understand it, is operating in human hearts to this end. When it is made perfect in Christ, or after the manner of Christ’s love, what will it not do? what will it not bear? what will it not give? And one thing, especially, is worthy of note in respect to this love which is the fruit of the Spirit in the human heart: that it not only prompts them and enables them to die for the Christ, and that truth, wide as the world of being and deep as the nature of things of which He was the embodiment, and is and will be for ever the cardinal illustration: but it qualifies them to die for it as men receive a favour. It was not a task for men and women to give up their mortal lives in evidence of their faith. They counted it joy so to do. They were in love with the immortality which waits upon such sacrifice, and death was to them the happy ministry which wedded them to it for ever. What power is this, that charges into human nature such sublime courage; gives to human minds such forecast of wisdom; and lifts human souls so high that they forget the earth and are mindful only of heaven? What power is this that renews the mind, transforms the spirit, and gives to us inhabitants of the earth the sensation of angels and the serenity of the skies? It is the Spirit. It is the glory of the Christian character that in it, through the work of the Spirit, is generated strength to bear all things and hope all things. The courage that you need is the courage to live--the courage to bear yet a while and faint not; to do this hopefully, patiently; to find happiness amid your tears; to so order your sorrows that they shall bloom; to look at emptiness as if it were fulness, and at poverty as if it were wealth--this can only come as the fruit of the Spirit. The love which enables you to do this must be the love of right things; the love of truth; the love of God. They who have this love have a new sight come to their eyes. They see things far off and far up and far ahead. (W. H. Murray, D. D.)

Love produced by the Spirit in regeneration

I. I am to show that the Spirit of God, in regeneration, produces nothing but love. He does, indeed, often strive with sinners, and sometimes very powerfully, without softening or subduing their hearts in the least degree. He commonly alarms the fears and awakens the consciences of those sinners whom He intends to renew, some time before He effectually changes their hearts. This He does to prepare them for regeneration, in which He forms them vessels of mercy. The only question now before us is, whether, in the act of regeneration, He produces anything besides love. And here we may safely say that He does not produce anything besides love in regeneration, because there is no need of His producing any other effect in that saving change. Sinners possess all the natural powers and faculties which belong to human nature, and which are necessary to, constitute them moral agents, before they are made the subjects of grace. Manasseh was as capable of doing good as of doing evil, before he was renewed; and Paul was as capable of promoting as of opposing the cause of Christ, before he was converted. This is true of all sinners, who are as much moral agents, and as proper subjects of moral government, before as after regeneration. Whenever, therefore, the Divine Spirit renews, regenerates, or sanctifies them, He has no occasion of producing anything in their minds besides love.

II. That love is the effect which He actually does produce in regeneration. “The fruit of the Spirit is love,” says the apostle in the text. His words are very plain and emphatical. He does not say that the fruit of the Spirit is a new taste, or relish, or disposition, or principle; but is love, and nothing which is previous to it, or the foundation of it.

III. That love, which the Holy Spirit produces in regeneration, is the essence and source of all holy or gracious affections. It is generally supposed that regeneration lays the foundation of all the exercises of grace. Benevolent love is the root from which all holy feelings and conduct naturally spring. It produces everything which the law requires, and which is necessary to perfect obedience. When the Holy Spirit produces love in the soul in which there was nothing before but selfishness, he effects an essential change in the heart, and forms the subject of grace after the moral image of God, and prepares him for the kingdom of heaven. And this is as great and as good a change as can be produced in the human heart. Conclusion:

1. If the Spirit of God produces nothing but love in regeneration, then there is no ground for the distinction which is often made between regeneration, conversion, and sanctification. They are, in nature and kind, precisely the same fruits of the Spirit.

2. If the Spirit of God in regeneration produces nothing but love, then men are no more passive in regeneration than in conversion or sanctification.

3. If the Holy Spirit, in regeneration, produces nothing but love, or holy exercises, then the regenerate are as dependent upon Him for their future, as for their first, exercises of grace.

4. If the Spirit of God produces nothing but love in regeneration, then it is no more a supernatural work on the part of God than any other Divine operation upon the minds of men.

5. If the Spirit of God produces nothing but love in regeneration, then sinners have no more excuse for not beginning to love God, than saints have for not continuing to love Him. (N. Emmons, D. D.)

On holy love

There can scarcely be a more gross abuse of language, than to call that rational religion in which the affections have no share. It is clear, from the Scriptures, that the heart is the seat of true religion. The sincere Christian is animated and distinguished by the grace of holy love.

I. The objects of this love.

1. God as the source of all being, and the centre of all perfection and excellency, claims the chief place in our affection. The Christian, being renewed in the spirit of his mind, feels his heart pant after God. He views the Lord as his portion, and sets his affections on things above.

2. As God is the supreme object on which holy love fixes, so creatures ought to have a subordinate measure of love, according to the degree in which they bear His image.

3. There is a clear distinction between a love of complacence and a love of benevolence. By the former, we delight in God and what resembles Him; by the latter, we show a regard for the welfare of bad men, though we detest their ways. In this sense, the worst enemies must not be shut out of our affections.

II. The leading properties of this love.

1. Love is the purest principle of obedience. How many appear actuated in all they do by the hateful principle of pride. Surely it is plain, without bringing arguments to establish the point, that no works can be acceptable in the sight of God, but such as spring from a principle of love, and are directed to promote His glory. Wherever this noble motive habitually prevails, it will in a good degree harmonize the passions, bring the scattered thoughts and purposes into subserviency to one grand end, and produce a simplicity of intention, and uniformity of character, which peculiarly distinguish the consistent Christian.

2. Holy love is the strongest principle of obedience. Love invigorates and animates the soul. Many obstacles cannot destroy its force; many waters cannot quench its fire.

3. Holy love is the most permanent principle of obedience. All kinds of religious affection are not lasting. The fire on God’s altar was kept alive by being constantly fed; but the strange fire of Nadab and Abihu was but for a moment. Cold chills not unfrequently follow feverish heats. But the love which the true Christian feels to his God, and all that bears the stamp of His authority or likeness, is not a vapour in the brain, or a vision in the fancy, but a deep-rooted principle in the heart. He knows the solid excellency of Divine realities. “His faith is not grounded on slippery deductions of reason, or slender conjectures of fancy, or on musty traditions, or popular stories; but on the sure testimonies of God.”

III. The origin of this love, and the way in which it may be increased.

1. It is by the eyes of the understanding being enlightened to see the perfections of God, the excellencies of Christ, and the unspeakable value of eternal realities, that Divine love is kindled in the soul.

2. It is by the exercise of living faith that the flame of holy love is enkindled and preserved in the heart. The objects which most men love are such as strike the senses, or in some way relate to their present interests.

3. It is by communion with God, and one another, that holy love is promoted and increased.

Concluding reflections:

1. How awful is the state of those who are destitute of this love!

2. How happy is their state, who live under the habitual and powerful influence of Divine love! Love, in the heart, melts the stubborn will to sweet submission, consumes, the dross of sin, and fits the believer as a vessel of honour for the Master’s use. (John Thornton.)


I. The source of love. “Love is of God.” “God is love.”

II. Its excellence.

1. It is the life of the soul and of the moral universe.

2. It is the bond that unites all holy intelligences.

3. It is the supreme grace.

4. Its production is the end of Christ’s mission and of all religious ordinances.

5. It renders all our services acceptable.

6. Its excellence is manifest in its influence on the heart and life.

III. Characteristics of true love.

1. It is practical.

2. It embraces God and man.

IV. Love to God.

1. God must be loved for His own sake:

2. God must Himself kindle our love to Him.

3. It is capable of being cultivated.

4. It leads to trust in God.

V. Love to the brethren.

1. The badge of Christ’s disciples.

2. Our love must be like Christ’s.

3. We must love what is Christlike in them.

4. We must love them on account of what they are to be. (R. A. Bertram.)


I. The nature of this love.

II. The objects on which it is exercised.

III. The marks of it.

I. The love which stands first in the apostle’s catalogue stands first also in the estimate of God. Our Lord says, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment” (Romans 13:10). This is the grace of which so beautiful a description is given in 1 Corinthians 13:1-13. It is set forth as a privilege, without which all gifts are worthless. This love is no natural product of the human heart; on the contrary (Romans 8:7; 1 John 4:7).

II. The objects on which this love is exercised. These are three principally--

1. The Father.

2. Christ the Son.

3. Our brother.

III. Some marks of this love.

1. As regards God.

2. As regards Christ. Love shows itself--

3. As regards the saints, love shows itself especially.

The Divine source of love

As one familiar with the sonatas and the symphonies of Beethoven, while passing along the street in summer, gets from out of the open window a snatch of a song or of a piece that is being played, catching a strain here and another there, and says to himself, “Ah, that is Beethoven! I recognize that; it is from such and such a movement of the Pastoral,” or whatever it may be; so men in life catch strains of God in the mother’s disinterested and self-denying love; in the lover’s glow; in the little child’s innocent affections. Where did this thing come from? No plant ever brought out such fruit as this. Nature, dumb and blind, with her lizards, and stones, and thousand accumulations of matter, never thought anything like that. This and that harmony of light, the few hints which we see here and there--these have been sprinkled into life, dropping from above. And there is a fountain where exist elements and attributes of which these are but the souvenirs. And to me they all point back to something which we have not seen. As birds, when after moulting they begin to sing, break down in mid-song, and give only a snatch here and a snatch there of the full volume of their summer strains; so these hints, these little tinkling notes of love on earth, beautiful as they are in themselves, are not perfect, and are not understood until we trace them back, and feel that there is above somewhere One whose nature epitomises all these things. Go and look on the south side of the Highlands. You shall see that, detached from the rocks there, and lying in a long trail, for miles and miles, are blocks of syenite, or of trap, or of granite, as the case may be. And there is many a block which, if you choose, you can trace back to the very spot where the ice pried it out, or from which the flood or the iceberg drifted it along the mountain side. Now, as it is with those blocks of stone, so it is with these scattered elements and traits that have drifted out, as it were, from the mountain of God, and sweetened the household, and refined civilized life. They are, after all, but the outflowing, the drift, as it were, of the great Divine Soul, in this world. (H. W. Beecher.)

Love, the heat of the universe

It is the heat of the universe. Philosophers tell us that without heat the universe would die. And love in the moral universe is what heat is in the natural world. It is the great germinating power. It is the ripening influence. It is the power by which all things are brought steadily up from lower to higher forms. (H. W. Beecher.)

Love casts out fear

Love and fear are like the sun and moon, seldom seen together. (Newton.)

Love lightens duty

Love to God would make duties of religion facile and pleasant. I confess to him that hath no love to God, religion must needs be a burden; and I wonder not to hear him say, “What a weariness is it to serve the Lord.” It is like rowing against the tide. But love oils the wheels; it makes duty a pleasure. Why are the angels so swift and winged in God’s service, but because they love Him? Jacob thought seven years but little for the love he did bear to Rachel. Love is never weary; he who loves money is not weary of toiling for it; and he who loves God is not weary of serving Him. (T. Watson.)

Nothing is difficult to love: it will make a man cross his own inclinations to pleasure those whom he loves. (Archbishop Tillotson.)

Labours of love light

It is of the utmost importance to keep up our interest in the holy work in which we are engaged, for the moment our interest flags, the work will become wearisome. Humboldt says that the copper-coloured native of Central America, far more accustomed than the European traveller to the burning heat of the climate, yet complains more when upon a journey, because he is stimulated by no interest. The same Indian who would complain, when in botanizing he was loaded with a box full of plants, would row his canoe fourteen or fifteen hours together against the current without a murmur, because he wished to return to his family. Labours of love are light. Routine is a bad master. Love much, and you can do much. Impossibilities disappear when zeal is fervent. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

Love ennobles

True love alone can awaken and evoke all the nobility and grandeur of human nature. Then we are like musical instruments touched by a master’s hand. That organ yonder, many fingers have moved over its keys and drawn out its stops; but the harmonies have not surprised us, our listening has not even deepened into interest. But one day a stranger came and sat before it, and presently rich, exquisite melodies began to pour forth, new and wondrous depths and changes of tone trembled in the air and thrilled our souls. It seemed like a living thing interpreting the secrets of our hearts, so that we hardly dared to breathe lest we should destroy the charm. What a revelation that was! We never dreamed that the old instrument could discourse such marvellous strains. But the capacity was there, only the soul of the musician was needed to inspire it. Thus too can love elicit in answer to its skilful touch the grandest responsive harmonies from the lowliest human heart. And it is by love--God’s love--that our great nature shall reveal all its greatness. (W. Braden.)

Test of love

A loving wife, when her husband returns home from a far country, as soon as she is sensible of his approach or hears his voice, although she be ever so much engaged in business, or forcibly detained from him in the midst of a crowd, yet her heart is not withheld from him, but leaps over all other thoughts to think on her husband who is returned. It is the same with souls that love God; let them be ever so busy, when the remembrance of God comes near them, they lose almost the thought of all things else, for joy to see that this dear remembrance is returned; and this is an extremely good sign. (Francis de Sales.)

Love, the test of discipleship

So peculiar is this blessing to the gospel, that Christ appoints it for the badge and cognisance by which they should not only know one another, but even strangers should be able to know them from any other sect and sort of men in the world. A nobleman’s servant is known, as far as he can well be seen, by the coat on his back, whose man he is; so, says Christ, shall all men know you, by your mutual love that you retain to Me and My gospel. (W. Gurnall.)

A sermon to wives

I. Love your husband, he can beat you in argument and stubbornness, but you can beat him in love.

II. Make your homes joyous, and you will keep your husbands at home.

III. Be peaceable and there will be no domestic jangles. Let others do all the quarrelling.

IV. Bear with your household and you will conquer if you suffer long enough.

V. Be gentle, and like the gentle horse all work will be easy.

VI. Be temperate, and do not live beyond your means. (Samuel P. Jones.)

Love first

Love is the fruitful mother of bright children. “A multitude of babes around her hung, Playing their sport that joyed her to behold.” Her sons are Strength, and Justice, and Self-control, and Firmness, and Courage, and Patience, and many more besides; and her daughters are Pity with her sad eyes, and Gentleness with her silvery voice, and Mercy whose sweet face makes sunshine in the shade of death, and Humility all unconscious of her loveliness; and linked hand in hand with these, all the radiant band of sisters that men call Virtues and Graces. These will dwell in our hearts, if Love, their mighty mother, be there. If we are without her we shall be without them. (A. Maclaren, D. D.)

Nature is love

And all things are possessed with the spirit of giving, Flowers spend their strength that they may make the air fragrant; fountains become streams, that they may water the valleys; trees give us foliage, blossom, fruit, and beauty; the clouds weep over us, swell, dissolve, and give themselves away; the distant heavens send down their light; the universe is instinct with the free, generous, glowing spirit of love. (Thomas Jones.)


There is the great machine of life, standing ready in all its beauty and power, with its wide open senses, its advising mind, its warning conscience, its governing will; with the mighty flood of spiritual power pouring into it from above; and its first fruit, the subtle influence which pervades it, the direction given to it, is love. For that Holy Spirit of order, as He pours His influence into us, has a definite work for our energy to spend itself upon, amidst all the vast and complicated machinery of the world; and love is the initial, the foundation motive, which is to start our force, our passions, our motives, our imagination, our intellect, our strength, into their proper groove amidst the great labyrinth-scheme of the Providential working of God. For love means, without any attempt at a definition, a giving out of self to God, to Man, to Nature.

“We live by admiration, hope, and love.”

And love secures that all this splendid machinery and endowment of strength shall be used for the right objects; not for self-advantage or self-display, not for rivalry, or in the interests of pride; but that it shall be at the disposal of God, the disposal of man, and of the world, for good; and this not by an effort, not by a forced resolution of surly resignation, but in a bright spirit of instinctive willingness. Yes, there is no doubt about it; if we are spiritual; the first fruit of the Spirit will be love. One glance will be sufficient to show us the importance of love as a motive principle, the strength of this loving nature becoming fulfilled with the growing fruit of the Spirit. It is very hard to do God’s will: it is harder still sometimes to love it. We talk in a helpless way of resignation, as we feel ourselves tossed up and down, and whirled hither and thither in the irresistible currents of uncontrollable force. But the spiritual man wants something more than resignation to circumstances which he cannot control; he wants love, not to wish them otherwise--a far higher step. Love is just that spirit in which a man offers himself entirely to God. “O God, I offer myself wholly to Thee, and then to whatsoever work Thou givest me to do.” And equally true is it if we look towards our fellow-men, that love is a foundation virtue. Ah! love throws open wide all those points of contact with our friend and our neighbour, that is with the world: and does it not need love? “Nothing but the infinite pity is sufficient for the infinite pathos of human life.” And the Spirit pours into the great machinery of our being, which finds it only too easy to be rough and hard, the germ of that “infinite pity” in His gift of love. “Love your enemies.” Love is not a weak word, or a weak emotion, and never can be. Love knows how to send for its two body-guards, resentment and justice, and to prevent any enfeebling of its strength or diminishing of its power. There is no doubt whatever that love of our enemies, and nothing short of it, is required of us. And further, perhaps we may believe that this Love will develop itself within us, when our powers are working rightly under the influence of the Holy Spirit. And perhaps this principle of love should be carried further still. Perhaps our Master would have us feel that we ought to move amidst what we call Nature with a loving tread, as a mediator between Him and the lower creation, to discover, to develop, and mature all the varied resources of the world, and to try, as much as in us lies, to roll away some of that failure ( ματαιότης), which has passed through from us to them, who share in the sorrows of the Fall, as they also share in the hope of Redemption. Yes; surely this love, this fruit of the Spirit, will carry us as far as this. Let us try now and see one or two characteristics of love, one or two signs of its indwelling, abiding presence. First of all love will be thoughtful. “If God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” How much thoughtfulness may we.trace in the love of God! “God so loved us.” There is all the thoughtfulness which lies around our creation, the beauty of the world we live in, the wonderful adaptation of our life, the daily tenderness and forethought of God, who clothes the lily, who feeds the ravens, and marks the fall of the sparrow to the ground, who bids us cast out our cares and lay aside anxiety, for He is caring for us, and marking all our needs and wants. Or, look again, if we may say so with reverence, at all the thoughtfulness which lies around our Redemption. Or look once more at the thoughtfulness which surrounds our sanctification. And so, must not our love be equally thoughtful? Must we not try to do all we can to open up life to our fellow-men? Ought we not to be thoughtful in trying to help on all those special works of thoughtful love which are in the world, such as schools, and penitentiaries, and hospitals, and the like? And a second characteristic of love will be sacrifice. Love is ready at any moment to sacrifice itself. Think how our Divine Lord and Master gave up His quiet and His retirement, His food and His sleep, at the calls of love. Think how patient He was with the misconception, the ignorance, and the unbelief which He encountered t Ah, yes! It is good for us to think of all the work done out of sight for this hungry, selfish world. It is good for us to think of those who labour in the deep mines of life, that we may be wanned and enlightened, of those who work the hidden machinery, that we may cut the waves more freely, and barter and exchange in the community of social commerce. It is good for us to think of the missionary toiling under the burning sun of Africa, leaving home and kindred and advancement, that he may spread among the heathen “the unsearchable riches of Christ.” Wherever we see it, wherever we find it, self-surrender is a beautiful thing; it is the second characteristic of that fruit of the Spirit growing within, which is love. And a third characteristic is surely unweariedness. “Having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end.” Ah, yes! That continual uninterrupted love is hard and difficult to maintain when the child of our love ceases to be interesting; when it is rough and uncouth, and as yet unable to come back to us with any return in its hands. It is difficult to love on in disappointment after disappointment. (W. C. E. Newbolt.)


Joy, a fruit of the Spirit

It is a very fortunate thing that the assertion that the fruit of the Spirit is joy is in the Bible: for if it were not, it is the last thing that many people would associate with the Spirit. To many the Spirit has very little ministry on the earth save to convict sinners of their sins and sanctify saints. They conceive of Him as a peripatetic that travels around among the churches producing what is known as revivals. His chief work seems to these people to be among the sinners, or the saints that have fallen from grace. To startle these from their lethargy, to strike them through and through with remorse, to fill their eyes with tears and their mouths with groanings, is the work of the Spirit. That the work of the Spirit is to make a person happy--actually and positively light-hearted:--that His aim is to add to the laughter of the world, to its pleasures and its enjoyments, has never occurred to these people as among the possibilities. Religion to them means a certain strict, decorous, and godly way of living; but that it means a happy way of living--if to happiness you give the same significance that other people give it--has never occurred to them. In the first place, it is impossible that the Holy Spirit should produce or seek to produce in human nature any result that is not in entire harmony with the Divine Nature. The Spirit; seeks to make man like God--to bring the human nature into nearer and nearer similitude with the Divine. If we are made joyous by the Spirit, then is it certain that God Himself is a joyous Being. There is one conclusion, the proof of which runs like a cord spun from wool of gold through the entire woof of things, and the entire woof of time; and which, therefore, no one who discerns the true nature of things and reads aright the lessons of time, can deny; and this conclusion is, that the aim and object of all God’s creation is for His own happiness, through the happiness of the creatures He has made. And this makes His own happiness self-receiving indeed, but most royally unselfish. For he who labours for self only in labours for others, treads that broad mosaic of right-doing, or righteousness, whose pavement is finer than if inlaid with stars; and which stretches in beauty through the eternity of things as to their extent, and the eternity of time as to its duration. But one might say, “If God created the world and man for happiness, how is it that misery has come upon the earth; and sorrows, from which there is no deliverance as yet, have come upon man?” I answer: These miseries are the result of sin which has broken in upon and disrupted the state of peace which was, and is still, the normal state of things. If you say farther: “But how could sin come into the world if God is all-powerful and all-wise, and its coming brought interruption to His plan, and hence disappointment to Himself?” I answer frankly: Of this I know nothing; and furthermore it is safe to say, that of this no one knows anything. Conjectures have been made and may be made. But in respect to deep spiritual truth conjecture availeth nothing. The fruit of the Spirit, it is said, is joy; but the results of God as wrought in nature and man, are not arbitrarily bestowed: they come in the way of a process and spring from a cause. The Christ could say, “My peace I leave with you,” because the causes that made His bosom peaceful He had implanted in their bosoms. If I should collect seeds of all the flowers in my garden and give them into a neighbour’s hand, or go down and plant them in that neighbour’s garden, I could go to him and say, “Neighbour, my flowers I have given unto you.” So the results of the Spirit’s work in human nature are results, not gifts. And the joy which the Spirit gives to us comes as the outgrowth of a cause or causes that He has implanted within our bosoms. If you sing, is it not because you have the capacity and the desire of song? If you laugh, is it not because your mouth is framed for laughter, and your spirit capable of delight? If you have joy, is it not because the cause or causes of joy have been born within you? Yea, is it not because the well-spring of gladness itself has been opened and set flowing in your hearts? Happiness is not given to us; we grow up into it. Misery is not an infliction; it is a self-generated state. The Christ said, in speaking to His followers, “The kingdom of God is within you;” and thereby did He teach us that the happiness of the heavenly state comes through interior development. Now, among the causes of joy which result from the Spirit’s work within us, is, first of all, perhaps, an increase of spiritual discernment. What a pleasure it is to grow in mental vision I--to feel that you are able to look deeper and deeper into the heart of things. Now, the Spirit makes man wise. It co-operates with the natural faculties and gives them that instruction in observation and discernment that they need. Did you ever think that most of the misery of life can be traced to this lack of right vision in people--this lack of accurate discernment as to the value of things? One man looks to the wine.cup and sees happiness in it. Oh, if he could see the snake that is in it I II he could see the torture and the torment that are in it; the ruin it will bring to his reputation; the woe it shall work to his family; the overthrow which it shall bring to his honour; the disgrace and the beggary that lurk in that cup, do you think he would drink? And this is why the Spirit of God is so efficacious in its work of reforming drunkards. It brings a revelation to them--a revelation which they need and which they had not; and which having, compels them to reform. It gives unto him the sight to see the loveliness and the nobleness of a wise ordering of his habits; it takes deceit out of temptation, and causes him to perceive the danger of yielding thereto. (W. H. Murray, D. D.)

The Christian’s joy

I. The grounds and reasons of the Christian’s joy, and the way in which it springs from the influence of the Holy Spirit.

1. He has access to all the blessings of the great salvation procured by Christ.

2. The Christian has cause to rejoice in the warrant which he possesses of claiming God as his portion. It is by the influence of the Holy Spirit that we are enabled to claim God as our God. It is the very nature of Divine grace to inspire a humble and holy confidence. “Because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.”

II. The qualities of that joy which is the fruit of the Spirit.

1. This joy is sincere and refined. Much of what is called joy in the world is little better than an illusive show. Pleasure is the profligate’s great Diana. To this gay goddess he sacrifices his health, property, time, talents, comfort, credit, present peace, and future happiness. The joy of the believer, issuing from the purest springs, is suited to the noble faculties and sublime hopes of the heaven-born soul: it is what the understanding approves, and the conscience allows.

2. That joy which is the fruit of the Spirit, is refreshing and invigorating. We are passing through a wilderness, to “seek a city that hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God: As sojourners, we are therefore subject to many toils, dangers, and trials. “Without are fightings, within are fears.” Yet we are not left destitute and comfortless. God has both a kingdom for them that love Him, and many rich blessings to cheer us while we are in the way to it. With a cordial composed of ingredients brought from the celestial country, and mingled with consummate wisdom, the languid, drooping spirit is quickened and filled with holy resolution and ardour. The Christian traveller never makes so much progress, as when he goes on his way rejoicing.

3. That joy, which is the fruit of the Spirit, is solid and lasting. Dion Pruseus tells us, that when the Persians had got a victory, they would pick out the noblest slave, make him a king for; three days, clothe him with royal robes, and feast him with all kinds of dainties and, at last, put him to death as a sacrifice to folly. Such is the fate of the gay profligate. He has, at most but a short season of mirth and mock majesty, accompanied with the terrors of a guilty conscience, anticipating his final doom. But the Christian has joy in review, joy in possession, and still brighter joy in prospect.

III. Answers to objections.

1. Nathanael exclaimed, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” And too many seem to think, neither profit nor pleasure can come from the religion of the despised Nazarene. Let the reader be on his guard against misapprehensions and misrepresentations of religion. Gross ignorance and slavish fear produce many false notions and absurd practices.

2. But perhaps the objector may ask, Do not the Scriptures require us to take up the cross daily, etc.? Can the deeps of humiliation, the tears of penitence, and the toils of zealous, unabated exertion, be consistent with comfort and joy? Certainly they are. The design of those precepts which call us to subdue pride, restrain corrupt passions, and root out evil habits is to conform us to the Divine will, and fit us for the kingdom of heaven.

3. Some persons, from a natural debility, have their trembling nerves exceedingly shaken, and their spirits greatly depressed, by the slightest accidents. When symptoms of this unhappy weakness appear in pious people, many cry out, “These are the fruits of religion. Their prayers have brought them into a sad state of moping melancholy.” But the truth is, many of the depressions and fears which are imputed to religion as the cause, have no connection with it. They have their seat in the body, rather than in the soul.

I shall conclude with an exhortation addressed to three classes of persons.

1. I shall address those who neither possess, nor desire, that joy which is the fruit of the Spirit.

2. I shall address those who possess not, but desire that joy which is the fruit of the Spirit.

3. I shall address those who possess that joy which is the fruit of the Spirit, but have to lament that it is so much deadened and interrupted.

That you may have this blessing in a richer measure, let me exhort you to--

1. Exercise yourselves daily, to keep a conscience void of offence, both towards God and man.

2. Employ all your time, your talents, and privileges, in zealous endeavours to do good, and promote the Divine glory.

3. Be often renewing your covenant engagements with God. (John Thornton.)

Joy in Jesus

Three hundred years ago, a martyr was burned for his religion in the city of Rome. He must have felt the truth of the words just quoted; for the last letter that he wrote to his friends, just before his death, he dated, not from prison, but “from the most delightful pleasure-garden.” In that letter he wrote thus: “Who will believe that which I now state? In a dark hole, I have found cheerfulness; in a place of bitterness and death, I have found rest, and the hope of salvation. Where others weep, I have found laughter; where others fear, I have found strength. Who will believe that in a state of misery I have had great pleasure; that in a lonely corner I have had glorious company, and in the hardest bonds, perfect repose? All these things Jesus, my Saviour, has granted me. He is with me; He comforts me; He fills me with joy; He drives bitterness from me, and gives me strength and consolation.” (Dr. Newton.)

Christians a joyful people

There is a room in Rome that is filled with the busts of the emperors. I have looked at their heads; they look like a collection of prize-fighters and murderers. Brutal passions and cruel thoughts deprived the lords of Rome of all chance of joy. Turn now to the poor hunted Christians, and read the inscriptions left by them in the catacombs; they are so calm and peaceful that they say instinctively, “A joyous people were went to gather here.” (C.H. Spurgeon.)

Benefits of joy

“Why should Christians be such a happy people? Why, it is good in all ways. It is good for our God; it gives Him honour among the sons of men when we are glad. It is good for us; it makes us strong. “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” It is good for the ungodly; for when they see Christians glad, they long to be believers themselves. It is good for our fellow Christians; it comforts them and tends to cheer them. Whereas, if we look gloomy we shall spread the disease, and others will be wretched and gloomy too. For all these reasons, and for many more that can be given, it is a good and pleasant thing that a believer should delight himself in God. (C.H. Spurgeon.)


is the response of each of the higher faculties of a man’s soul when it is brought up to concert pitch. (H. W. Beecher.)

Can you give any special directions how we are to get a joy when we have not one? We reply, no man can make the sun rise, but he can go into the sunshine; we can make our dark room bright by opening the shutters and letting in the day. We often think of a state we want to remove, and not of those things that will remove it. (T. T. Lynch.)

The joy of the Christian man in the darksome time is that, like the lark, he sings in the rain as well as in the sunshine. (T. T. Lynch.)

The relation of joy to love

In the Supreme Nature the two capacities of perfect love and perfect joy are indivisible. Holiness and happiness, says an old divine, are two several notions of one thing. Equally inseparable are the notions of opposition to love and opposition to bliss. Unless, therefore, the heart of a created being is at one with the heart of God, it cannot but be miserable. (A. H. Hollam.)

Christian joy

The farthest that any of the philosophers went in the discovery of blessedness was but to come to that--to pronounce that no man could be called blessed before his death; not that they had found what kind of better blessedness they went to after death, but that still, till death, they were sure every man was subject to new miseries, and interruptions of anything which they could call blessedness. The Christian philosophy goes farther: it shows us a perfecter blessedness than any conceived for the next life also. The pure in heart are blessed already, not only comparatively, that they are in a better way of blessedness than others are, but actually, in a present possession of it; for this world and the next world are not, to the pure in heart, two houses, but two rooms, a gallery to pass through and a lodging to rest in, in the same house, which are both under one roof, Christ Jesus. So the joy and the sense of salvation which the pure in heart have here is not a joy severed from the joy of heaven, but a joy that begins in us here, and continues, and accompanies us thither, and there flows on, and dilates itself to an infinite expansion. (John Donne, D. D.)

There is a great difference between the joy of the Christian and the joy of the worldling

The one is quick and violent, like a flash of lightning; the other is steady and abiding, as the light of a fixed star. The Christian’s joy is like the sea shells in the depths of ocean, which lie undisturbed by the violence of the waves. There reigns within a holy calm which comes from Christ. (J. G. Pilkington.)

Duty of joy

Christians, it is your duty not only to be good, but to shine; and, of all the lights which you kindle on the face, joy will reach farthest out to sea, where troubled mariners are seeking the shore. Even in your deepest griefs, rejoice in God. As waves phosphoresce, let joys flash from the swing of the sorrows of your souls. (H. W. Beecher.)

Of joy

1. It is a delightful passion. Joy is a sweet and pleasant affection, which eases the mind, exhilarates and comforts the spirits.

2. It ariseth from the feeling of some good. Joy is not a fancy, or bred of conceit; but is rational, and ariseth from the feeling of some good, viz., the sense of God’s love and favour. Joy is so real a thing that it makes a sudden change in a person; it turns mourning into melody. As in the spring-time, when the sun comes to our horizon, it makes a sudden alteration in the face of the universe; the birds sing, the flowers appear, the fig-tree puts forth her green figs, everything seems to rejoice and put off its mourning, as being revived by the sweet influence of the sun: so, when the Sun of Righteousness ariseth on the soul, it makes a sudden alteration, and the soul is infinitely rejoiced with the golden beams of God’s love.

3. By it the soul is supported under present troubles. Joy stupefies and swallows up troubles; it carries the heart above them, as the oil swims above the water.

4. The heart is fenced against future fear. Joy is both a cordial and an antidote; it is a cordial which gives present relief to the spirits when they are sad; and an antidote, it fenceth off fear of approaching danger: “I will fear no evil; for Thou art with me, Thy rod and Thy staff comfort me” (Psalms 23:4).

How is this joy wrought?

1. It ariseth partly from the promise; as the bee lies at the breast of the flower, and sucks out the sweetness from it, so faith lies at the breast of a promise, and sucks out the quintessence of joy: “Thy comforts delight my soul “ (Psalms 114:19) that is, the comforts which distil from the limbec of the promises.

2. The Spirit of God, who is called the “Comforter” (John 14:26), doth sometimes drop in this golden oil of joy into the soul. What are the seasons when God doth usually give His people these Divine joys?

Five seasons:

1. Sometimes at the blessed Supper; the soul oft comes weeping after Christ in the sacrament, and God sends it away weeping for joy.

2. Before God calls His people to suffering: “Be of good cheer, Paul” (Acts 23:11). God candies our wormwood with sugar.

3. After sore conflicts with Satan. Now, when the soul hath been bruised with temptations, God will comfort this bruised reed: He now gives joy to confirm a Christian’s title to heaven.

4. After desertion: God keeps His cordials for a time of fainting. Joy after desertion is like a resurrection from the dead.

5. At the hour of death, such as have no joy in their lifetime, God puts in this sugar in the bottom of the cup, to make their death sweet. What are the differences between worldly joys and spiritual.

The gleanings of the one are better than the vintage of the other.

1. Spiritual joys help to make us better, worldly joys do often make us worse: but spiritual joy makes one better; it is like cordial water, which, as physicians say, doth not only cheer the heart, but purges out the noxious humours; so Divine joy is a cordial water, which doth not only comfort but cleanse. As some colours do not only delight the eye, but strengthen the sight, so the joys of God do not only refresh the soul, but strengthen it. “The joy of the Lord is your strength.”

2. Spiritual joys are inward, they are heart joys: “your heart shall rejoice” (John 16:22). Seneca saith, true joy is hidden within; worldly joy lies on the outside, like the dew that wets the leaf, who “glory in appearance” (2 Corinthians 5:12), in the Greek, in the face. It goes no farther than the face, it is not within, in “laughter the heart is sad.” Like a house which hath a gilded frontispiece, but all the rooms within are hung in mourning. But spiritual joy lies most within: “your heart shall rejoice.” Divine joy is like a spring of water which runs underground.

3. Spiritual joys are sweeter than others, better than wine (Song of Solomon 1:2). Divine joys are so delicious and ravishing, that they do very much put our mouth out of taste to earthly delights; as he who hath been drinking spirits of alkermes, tastes little sweetness in water.

4. Spiritual joys are more pure, they are not tempered with any bitter ingredients; a sinner’s joy is mixed with dregs, it is imbittered with fear and guilt; spiritual joy is not muddied with guilt, but like a crystal stream, runs pure; it is all spirits and quintessence, it is joy and nothing but joy, it is a rose without prickles, it is honey without the wax.

5. These are satisfying and filling joys: “ask, that your joy may be full” (John 16:24). Worldly joys can no more fill the heart, than a drop can fill a cistern.

5. These are stronger joys than worldly: “strong consolation” (Hebrews 6:18).

7. These are unwearied joys: other joys, when in excess, oft cause a loathing, we are apt to surfeit on them, too much honey nauseates, one may be tired with pleasure as well as labour: Xerxes offered a reward to him who could find out a new pleasure: but the joys of God, though they satisfy, yet they never surfeit; a drop of joy is sweet, but the more of this wine the better; such as drink of the joys of heaven are never cloyed; the satiety is without loathing, because they still desire the joy wherewith they are satiated.

8. These are more abiding joys; yet these joys which seem to be sweet are swift, like meteors, they give a bright and sudden flash, and then disappear.

Why is this joy to be laboured for?

1. Because this joy is self-existent, it can subsist in the want of all other carnal joy.

2. Because spiritual joy carries the soul through duty cheerfully; the Sabbath is a delight, religion is a recreation. The oil of joy makes the wheels of obedience move faster.

3. It is called the kingdom of God (Romans 14:17), because it is a taste of that which the saints have in the kingdom of God. What shall we do to obtain this spiritual joy? Walk accurately and heavenly; God gives it after a long and close walking with Him. Then see that religion is no melancholy thing; it brings icy; the fruit of the Spirit is joy--it is changed, but not taken away. If God gives His people such joy in this life; O then, what glorious joy will He give them in heaven! “Enter thou into the joy of thy lord” (Matthew 25:21). Here joy begins to enter into us, there we shall enter into joy; God keeps His best wine till last (T. Watson.)

The method and variety of spiritual joy

It is, therefore, the use that we make of Divine truth, the reception we give to it, the obedience we pay to it, the taking it up into our life, that constitutes the possibility and makes the variety of such experience. Our hearts and minds are like an organ that God is willing to play upon, sends His heavenly organists to play upon, with the very music of heaven; but if the organ itself is out of tune, what becomes of the melody? If we have let the chords be broken, if we have suffered the instrument to get out of order, if the dust of the earth, the defilement of sin, and sinful affections, and the discord of a rebellious, selfish will are there, the master melodist of the choirs of heaven could not breathe harmony through it, nor could the angels sing with it. But when it is in tune by God’s Spirit, and God breathes upon it, strike but the keynote of one of the great anthems, and the whole being is a spontaneous living utterance and pursuit of the strain. But there is great variety in the music, as there is in the instrument. All hearts and minds are not organs; and God will not have a monotony in His praises. There is great variety in Christian experience, even when it is all taught and inspired by God’s Spirit and grace. Some hearts are like an Eolian harp, always an undertone of sadness, sometimes from some peculiarity of organization or of temperament, sometimes from the effect of a long and saddening discipline. But if such a harp is kept in tune, if it is strung for the love of Jesus, open the windows of Divine truth anywhere, and set it in the breeze of heaven, and it will breathe forth exquisite melody. But it would not do this if the chords were rusted, neglected, loosened. Then the sadness, that even in a perfect harp might be most musical, most melancholy, almost drawing tears by its pathos, would be jarring with despair, would converse of guilt and misery. We must keep our hearts with all diligence, in order to bear a part without discord, without jarring, in the full harmony of God’s grace. The state of the affections has everything to do with it, and the manner in which they are disciplined, the habits in which they are trained. God does not make extempore melodies in hearts habitually set upon other things; neither, even by regeneration, does He create a perfect instrument, and develope all its powers at once. There is a constant gradual training, a training to the sentiments, capacities, experiences, of happiness and joy as a permanent fulness of life. The growth of love, joy, faith, hope, every grace, is like the growth of the foliage of a tree in nature. The law of life works, and works well; but God does not create the trees full blossomed, full leaved, any more than He does the grain full ripened; but it is first the blade, peeping out of the ground, then the ear, then the full corn in the ear. But all this is the work of growth and gradualism, and just so it is with our Christian affections and habits. Some Christians are like a tree covered with foliage; every leaf is sensitive to the light, and rejoices in it; the branches dance in the wind; the birds nestle and sing among the branches; the cattle repose under the cool shade. Other Christians again seem like a tree in winter; no sensitive, sympathizing, playful affections, to tremble in the wind, reflect the light, perform the ministry of life, joy, and love. There may be life, but it is too exclusively in the roots, a life so hidden, that indeed it is not only out of sight, but out of office, so that it is an uninviting rather than a joyful spectacle. (George Cheever, D. D.)


I. The nature of this joy. It is spiritual joy, “joy in the Lord,” and “in the Holy Ghost.” The Holy Ghost is its author. Sometimes He produces this joy by showing the soul its interest in Christ, and thus it is essentially a “joy of faith.” It is peculiar to faith or to believers, for it springs from believing “the record that God hath given unto us eternal life, and this life is in His Son” (1 St. John 5:11); from believing that “He loved me, and gave Himself for me.” Indeed, it is inseparable from faith, it is joy in believing--in the very act. (Romans 15:13; Acts 8:37; Acts 16:34.)

II. Some grounds of our joy.

1. Bear in mind it is a joy of faith, which appropriates to itself all God is as its own. God’s wisdom, power, truth, faithfulness, goodness, grace, mercy, on all matters of joy.

2. His election in Christ is matter of joy to the believer (St. Luke 10:17-20). S. The covenant of grace is another ground of joy.

4. Again, salvation is a ground of joy (Psalms 20:5). Again, the hope of glory is a privilege which believers rejoice in.

III. Some properties of this joy.

1. It is a holy joy.

2. An elevating joy. It lifts the heart above the world.

3. A self-denying joy. Nothing so shrivels up self as joy in Christ.

4. A satisfying joy.

5. It is a joy a stranger intermeddleth not with.

6. It is independent of circumstances.

7. “The icy of the Lord is our strength.”

Let me close with a word of caution how you should preserve the sense of it in your heart.

1. Beware of sin and worldliness.

2. Keep close to a throne of grace and the study of the Scriptures.

3. Beware of grieving the Holy Spirit. (J. Reeve, M. A.)


And what is joy? Equally with love it seems to elude and escape definition, and in some sense to baffle an intelligible description of its nature. But possibly joy may be something like this, an outward expression of a happiness which is absorbing and real. There is, for example, the genuine joy of a little child shouting in his games, absorbed in the pursuit of the moment; there is the deeper joy penetrating even to the face of an intellectual man, as he is “enjoying” some scientific pursuit; and there is a joy, the peculiar property of the soul, which hangs with a pervading fragrance round the writings of the saints and their books of devotion, so much so, that sometimes their words seem strange and unreal to our colder hearts; a joy which indicates a satisfaction which the world can neither give nor take away. So that we might further describe joy as the radiant atmosphere which plays around pleasure; and if pleasure is, roughly speaking, satisfaction, and the highest pleasure the highest satisfaction, joy will be the illumination, half conscious, half unconscious, which plays about the life of true pleasure. Sometimes we may fancy that even an inanimate machine, with its beautiful adjustments and nice mechanism, seems to work with a smoothness which is almost joy; but in this great engine of life it is no fancy; its harmonious working is joy, and joy gives it strength to cut and carve the various materials, rough and smooth, which come before it. And icy gives it strength, so that there shall be no slurred or jagged or twisted or perverted work. “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” “The excellence of the work is, caeteris paribus, in proportion to the joy of the workman.” And it has been pointed out in a recent sermon that this was the dominant note which rang through the first proclamations of Christianity--joy. “Sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing,” is the very watchword of The Christian. It is joy which is in the very front of our Saviour’s teaching in the Beatitudes: it is His last legacy before His Passion, “These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” “Your sorrow shall be turned into joy.” “Your joy no man taketh from you.” “Ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” It is the peculiar province of the Church, that it is fulfilled with a ministration of joy. And the simple “power of being pleased” is in itself not to be despised. We mistake sometimes our coldness and sternness, and that dignified nil admirari, for something else than it really is. There is such a thing as rust, and the dust of long work, and the wearing out of unrenewed strength, over which the oil of gladness has no power. Remember that man alone can laugh, and delight in the deeper joys of nature and the glories of art. Ah, there are innumerable little ducts and channels through which it seems meant that the “oil of gladness” should be poured into our life. “Consider the lillies,” says our blessed Lord, as if parts of nature were designed expressly to give us delight, in the unfolding beauty and splendour displayed before our eyes! What fields of wonder and enchantment open upon us through the imaginative faculty! What subtile and pure pleasures art and music conjure up before us! What force there is in such words as “recreation” and “amusement”! Nothing short of a complete renewal of our jaded nature, or the very enchanting us away by the thraldom of an engrossing delight. Are all these things to be lightly set aside or “despised”? Is companionship nothing, or the society of books which brings us into contact with the great minds of all ages? And joy has its distinguishing marks and characteristics, as well as “love,” the freshness and verdure which mark out its course. And one of these surely will be hopefulness: “joyful through hope,” is what we pray that every baptized person may be, as he passes through the difficulties of the world. It is a characteristic of joy that makes us so hopeful; so that in the warm rush of delight a man does not even know when he is beaten, but presses on to victory, through failure and defeat which had otherwise crushed him. How many a man has surmounted apparently insuperable obstacles, because joy has whispered to hope, and hope has said, “It can be done.” And a second characteristic will be brightness. It makes all the difference to life if joy is shining within. It sheds a rainbow light across the darkest storm. And brightness not only makes a difference to our own lives, but also to the lives of other people, if instead of the creaking, groaning machinery, they have in its place the smooth, easy, joyous life before their eyes.. Benevolent people talk of brightening the homes of the poor, and it is a blessed work to attempt; but bright lives do a great deal to cheer and help all around them. Perhaps others are bearing their cross better, or doing their work with greater ease, because they can walk in our brightness; whereas gloom and melancholy, and “the indolent rebellion of complaint,” would cause them to loosen their hold from very weariness, and then to fall crushed and broken below. And a third characteristic of joy may well be evenness. A life in which there is nothing of those alternations of depression and excitement, of exultation and despair, which cause it to expand and contract with a suddenness which well-nigh cracks it in two; a variableness so wearisome to the man himself, so painful to his friends. Instead of this, joy sheds abroad a quiet, even glow, all over work, just as God Himself, in His wondrous love, has an evenness of beauty in all forms of His working. There is the beauty of the spring life and the beauty of the autumn decay, the beauty of-the summer sun and the beauty of the winter cloud. So with us, however varied and diversified the work of our life may be in its vicissitudes and changes, still the evenness of joy with which we work may be uniform, until death itself comes as only one more day’s experience “with God onwards.” “Rejoice in the Lord alway; and again I say, rejoice.” (W. C. E. Newbolt.)


Peace, a fruit of the spirit

The earth is full of war. Nor is it a new thing; it is an old thing. Since brother smote brother, fighting has been popular. Race has contended with race, nation with nation. One island of the sea, century after century, has carried arms against a neighbouring island. The warlike element is strong in human nature. Read history. Its letters are all red. History tells little of the triumphs of peace. Seventeen-twentieths of her pages are crowded from top to bottom, to tell the student of the triumphs of war. Triumphs of war! War has no triumphs. War is all disaster, all calamity, all ruin. There is in the universe a Spirit of right, a Spirit of goodness, a Spirit of love, and this we call God. This Spirit is an energetic Spirit. Its object is to have everybody to do right--to have everybody good, and to establish the reign of universal love--love towards Himself as the beautiful embodiment of these sweet and sublime principles, and love to all lesser ones whose nature and condition make them the object of benevolent designs and the recipient of benevolent efforts. This great Spirit, whose characteristics are what we have suggested, has within His bosom these benevolent wishes, and His wishes when expressed become law unto us and unto every order of being. Man contends against them; man rejects them. In so doing man declares war against God. And this God, against whom man is at war, is not a Being disconnected from us, whose Spirit is separate from our spirit; but He is a Being associated with us, and whose Spirit is mingled with our spirit. He is not a power that is remote, foreign, arbitrary; He is a power that is nigh, that is native, and whose workings are co-operative with our faculties. It is the Father’s Spirit lovingly contending with the child’s spirit, striving to bring it into sympathetic alliance with that which is good. The war, therefore, on the part of man with God, is a war within his own members; a war between that which is right and wrong in tendency and principle, between that which is pure and impure in passion, between that which is holy and unholy in deed. The evil in man contends with that which is good in him. The war is the war with nature. The fight is spiritual. The Waterloo is the Waterloo of the soul. Indeed, man might be likened to a globe composed of two hemispheres, whereof the one is black, the other white. Over civilized people the evil does not hold dominion; it seeks dominion and fights for it. In civilized classes men are not possessed of the devil; the devil striveth to possess them. This is the cause of the war, then. The elements in him are of opposite character and in actual contention. And only when the evil in him is eradicated, and the good in him is not only thoroughly rooted in him, but moves upward and develops in the course of its growth unmolested, will the war within him cease, and his nature find its original but long-lost heritage of peace. The text says that the fruit of the Spirit is peace. The ultimate result of those Divine operations which work their change in men is peacefulness; and this word “peacefulness” is one of those mirror-like words which are framed into every language, because of its fine capacity to receive and reflect happy impressions. “Home” is one of these words. “Mother” is another, and “peace” is a third. Looking into its reflected depths you behold a sky without a cloud; a sun whose rays are genial without being fierce; fields waving with abundant harvests; broad stretches of territory on which no armies manoeuvre. In the plains no battles smoke; in the cities no sack nor pillage; in the hamlets no blazing cottage; on the sea no hostile armaments. These are the scenes, the lovely scenes, the charming scenes which the word reflects in reference to material interests and prosperity. But other and more lovely images are in it. Men and women find therein reflection--men and women with happy faces, with countenances that glow in innocent pleasure; men and women with no war within their natures; whose passions are orderly and under correct government; whose feelings are pure, whose emotions are all noble, whose aspirations are heavenly, whose consciences are undisturbed; men and women at peace with themselves, with surrounding nature, and with God. The earth shall come to such a day. Its mountains shall behold the rising of its sun. The hills shall clap their hands at its coming, and its fields through all their bounteous growth shall laugh as they receive of the benevolence of its quickening beam. The golden age of which the ancient poets sang, the old star-gazing dreamers dreamed, and the prophets who saw with eyes that looked not out of mortal sockets, predicted; when the swords shall be beaten into ploughshares, and the spears be turned into pruning-hooks; when the lion and the lamb shall lie down together, and a little child shall lead them--this age, I say, shall come. And the human race, which has been like a ship long tossed on stormy waves, and which many times has come nigh unto utter wreck, shall sail in toward a coast whose winds blow fair, and be wafted by favouring and fragrant gales into the wished-for harbour of repose. But how shall the race come to such a time? you ask; and by what power shall man be changed--as he must be--or ever he can stand like a perfect note in this sweet psalm? By the Spirit of God, I answer. Ay, the work of the Spirit shall bring it about, and by the operations of the Spirit shall it be caused. The Spirit that is mighty; that is pure; that is peace-working; that bloweth like the wind whose home is all lands, and which moveth its salutary influences through all climes;--the Spirit of God shall bring it about. Here we see the philosophy of that peace which is the fruit of the Spirit. Its causes are found in the enlightenment of the understanding and the regeneration of the soul, by which men are made to see what is for their true and lasting happiness, and to seek after it with all the energy of their natural powers, reinforced with other and superior energies imparted to them by the Author of their souls. And when this twofold work is accomplished, the nature of a man cometh unto peace, because out of it have been eradicated the causes that produce war. The sons of God are, therefore, with peculiar aptness, called the sons of peace. They are peaceful in their disposition; peaceful in their conduct; peaceful in their lives, and peaceful in their resignation when they come to die. (W. H. Murray, D. D.)

On spiritual peace

I. Show wherein spiritual peace consists.

1. Spiritual peace consists in that sweet and calm serenity of conscience, which arises from a well-grounded persuasion of our reconciliation to God.

2. Spiritual peace consists in that amiable frame of mind which disposes a believer to live in harmony, concord, and quietness with his fellow-men. This is called the fruit of the Spirit, in opposition to hatred, variance, emulations, wraths, strifes, etc., which are reckoned among the works of the flesh. The amiable temper which religion inspires, sheds its tranquilizing influence over all the relations of life. It has a tendency to produce

II. Point out the means by which peace is enjoyed and preserved.

I. Let us show by what means peace is enjoyed and preserved in the conscience.

2. I shall now show by what means we may promote peace among our fellow-men, and Christian brethren.

2. It will have a useful tendency to promote peace among Christian brethren, if we seriously consider the unhappy consequences that attend the want of it. Where envying and strife are, there are confusion and every evil work. To promote peace among Christian brethren, cultivate a charitable and forbearing temper. Never conclude that all must be fatally wrong, who do not think just as you think. We cannot find two faces exactly alike; why then should we expect to meet many minds that in every respect correspond with our own? If you really love and pursue peace, you must judge favourably and speak candidly of others. When a breach is made, you must try to close, rather than widen it. (John Thornton.)

Peace, a treasure

Peace is greater than all other treasures, but no philosophy can bestow it; for how can philosophy cleanse from sin? Nor can works; for how are they able to justify Descend into whatever mine, shake whatever tree, knock at whatever door in the world thou wilt, the poor world cannot offer it thee. Peace is but one: One only has peace; One only can give it--“the Prince of Peace.” (Krummacher.)

Peace in poverty

I have seen the Christian man in the depths of poverty, when he lived from hand to mouth, and scarcely knew where he should find the next meal, still with his mind unruffled, calm, and quiet. If he had been as rich as an Indian prince, yet could he not have had less care. If he had been told that his bread should always come to his door, and the stream which ran hard by should never dry; if he had been quite sure that ravens would bring him bread and meat in the morning, and again in the evening--he would not have been one whit more calm. There is his neighbour on the other side of the street not half so poor, but wearied from morning till night, bringing himself to the grave with anxiety. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

Armour of peace

He that hath peace with God, is armed cap-a-pi: he is covered from head to foot in a panoply. The arrow may fly against it, but cannot pierce it; for peace with God is a mail so strong, that the broadsword of Satan himself may be broken in twain ere it can pierce the flesh. Oh, take care that you are at peace with God; for if you are not, you ride forth to to-morrow’s fight unarmed, naked; and God help the man who is unarmed when he has to fight with hell and earth. (C. H. Spurgeon.)


When the soul in every part of itself is stayed upon some good centre, upon God and Christ in the love of God--when every part of the soul ceases to be hungry, when it has no clamour, no sorrow, but is restful, glad, and perfectly composed in a sweet harmony with itself, that is peace. (H. W. Beecher.)

Christian peace

The peace which Christ gives, the peace which He sheds abroad in the heart, is it aught else than such a glorified harmony--the expelling from man’s life of all that was causing disturbance there, all that was hindering him from chiming in with the music of heaven, all that would have made him a jarring and dissonant note, left out from the great dance and minstrelsy of the spheres, in which now shall mingle for ever the consenting songs of redeemed men and elect angels? (Abp. Trench.)

Peace is love reposing

It is love on the green pastures, and beside the still waters. It is that great calm which comes over the conscience when it sees the atonement sufficient and the Saviour willing. It is unclouded azure in a lake of glass. It is the soul which Christ has pacified, spread out in serenity and simple faith, and the Lord God, merciful and gracious, smiling over it. (J. Hamilton, D. D.)


We now reach the third note of the spiritual life, a third fruit of the Spirit, which is peace. That peace which is “the tranquility of order,” which, like the other fruit, joy, settles down in a blessed calm over the steady working of our being when all its different parts are moving harmoniously. Now peace is not an ordinary nor a common fruit; rather it is terribly rare Men are rifling the earth of its treasures and secrets, its beauties and pleasures, but peace does not seem to brood over their efforts. But, so it is, the fruit of the Spirit is peace: not the ἀπάθεια, the calmness of the Stoics, to be won by a deliberate crushing out of feeling; not the mere Hedonism of the Epicureans, which cannot allow even a painful thought; but with every sensitive nerve finely strung, with passion, feeling, and affection all alive and warm within us, the pursuing our way in tranquility, calm and unruffled, protected by an influence which is nothing else than an armed escort--the peace of God. Now there would seem to be two great counter influences to jar and disturb and throw out this peace. The one is a godlessness, of which we are oftentimes unconscious; the other is the presence of Satan, molesting, harassing, disturbing, even where he fails to kill. “Neither is God in all his thoughts.” Here is the description of that first adverse influence. Why is it that, in the face of God’s promises, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee;” “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world,” that yet, as far as we are concerned, He is absent from large portions of our life? There is that anxiety which divides up our life and maims our energies, which burns deep into the channels of our activity, and sometimes impairs us altogether. Is anxiety sent from God? Has he not said, “Take no anxious thought,” “casting (down) all your care upon Him, for He careth for you.” It is we who drop the hand of God and try to walk alone. We do not believe that God, who governs the world, can remove a petty trouble from our clouded life. “We use the realm of the possible, which was given for man to hope, only to fear in.” So again it is with depression, which weighs our footsteps to the earth. We walk and are sad, because our eyes are holden so that we do not know the Companion who wishes to cheer us, and resolve the doubts and fears which harass us. And this is what we need to alter, if this fruit of the Spirit is to grow within us. We must secure the abiding presence of God, not only when we are in His house or on our knees, and in times of our better moments, but always, everywhere, and in all circumstances. The second disturbing influence which is hostile to the tranquility of peace is the adverse presence of Satan to tempt, to harass, and, if possible, to destroy. Temptation, as we commonly call it, is one of the most serious troubles which can beset the life of man. And we are by nature terribly exposed to its influence. There are great tracts of our being which are being constantly swept by its fury and malignity, and we are day by day and hour by hour assaulted and shaken by it. First of all there is the vast region of thought. It is Satan’s purpose, if possible, to get the command of this instrument, to feed it with what is evil, and to produce out of it sin. He bribes the senses with pleasures, he dazzles the imagination with fascinating pictures, he plies the memory with scenes of past iniquity. If facts fail his purpose, he knows where to find poisonous fiction: he can employ music and painting, and art of all kinds; he even knows how to manipulate religion to his purpose; he labours hard, and out of the heart proceeds an evil thought. And then this quickly spreads, and the senses are ever ready for a mutiny. We know what it means; but is there any reason why this should disturb our peace? Most surely not. We have learnt at least these two great facts.

1. That every one is tempted, and that not even the holiness of the Son of God was exempted from it.

2. That temptation is not sin, but rather the material out of which vice and virtue is formed. What a call to that which we are so apt to forget--watchfulness, and self-discipline, and self-distrust! And then it does us a still further service--it drives the soul back on its supports in prayer, and, like a frightened child in its mother’s embrace, feels a sense of safety; so confidence returns to us as we feel the pressure of the everlasting arms. Further, it makes the soul feel its own strength and security by God’s help; for just as we never value so much the shelter of a good roof and stout walls as when the wind is howling and whistling and battling with its storm-blasts against the house, so the storm of temptation may but intensify the peace within. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect, peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee.” Peace may come in the very midst of temptation, the peace of a well-ordered security. (W. C. E. Newbolt.)


I. The nature of this peace.

1. It is an inward spiritual peace--peace of soul.

2. There is a peace arising from easy circumstances, from good health, position, friends, relatives, happy families, tender affections, prosperous affairs. This is not the peace of God; for these things make to themselves wings and fly away.

3. Then there is the peace of the world, though but few seriously call it so.

4. Again, there is a peace which may be aptly called the peace of the devil. The strong man, armed, keeps his goods in peace.

II. The source of this peace.

1. A clear sense of the favour of God.

2. Submissiveness to the will of God. There can be no peace without this.

3. Power to appropriate the promises of God, so as to be able to say, “They are mine.”

III. How it is seen.

1. In the disposition and temper. It makes a man, if not bright and cheerful, at least calm and quietly happy.

2. In the circumstances. When prosperity is gone, the peace of God still remains.

3. In the hour of temptation (Philippians 4:7).

4. In spirituality of mind. “To be spiritually-minded is life and peace” (Romans 8:6).

It is worth keeping.

1. Pray against unbelief.

2. Pray against disobedience.

3. Pray against levity. Nothing sooner destroys peace than a trifling spirit.

4. Pray against fretful and murmuring tempers.

5. Pray against self-righteousness. (J. Reeve, M. A.)


Long-suffering, a fruit of the Spirit

You all know what long-suffering means. It means the power to bear up under a burden--a power to endure--a power to resist pressure--the capacity to stand a tremendous strain. The idea of endurance is that which gives emphasis to the word. The ancients realized both the desirableness and the nobility of the quality, and the noblest among them set themselves to the task of acquiring it. They said, “Weakness is unmanly; it is ignoble. Strength is magnificent--is godlike. We will be strong. We will he braced so as to resist all pressures. Though an avalanche fall on us, though we stand in the very path of it, yet we will not be moved from our foundations.” They said, “Pain shall not make us groan. Danger shall not appal. Peril shall not intimidate. The shocks and ills of life shall not disturb our equanimity. Bereavement and loss may come; but they shall not jostle us from the fine poise of perfect self-control.” The extent of their success showed what human will can do. Men called them Stoics. They called themselves Stoics. The philosopher Zeno was the master of this school. To him many disciples flocked. They were blown to the stern severity of his presence by the ills and adversities of life, as ships are blown by tempests into harbours encircled by mountains, and whose narrow entrances are guarded by immovable cliffs. He taught them that men should be free from passion; unmoved by joy or grief; and that they should submit without complaint to the unavoidable necessities by which, as he supposed, all things were governed. This, I believe, was the nearest approach to what is known in Christian ethics as long-suffering, that the ancients made. It is easy to discern how far they climbed, and yet how near the base of the majestic pyramid of Christian serenity, amid the storms of trouble, they remained. They had the right idea, hut they did not have the Divine help. They relied on themselves, and hence their inspiration was insufficient. Their stoicism was not the upspringing of a Divine patience in their soul, or the light of a Divine illumination shining into their minds, but was only the result of human determination. Their long-suffering was only the discipline of the nerves and the muscles. To endure when one has lost his sensibility, is taking the very virtue from endurance; but to bear up against trouble to which one is keenly sensitive; to be resigned to losses that divide the very life, so to speak, and rend it asunder; to be patient in the face of provocation strongly felt; to endure what taxes the highest forces in one’s life--not because of a sullen faith that you cannot escape them if you would, but because of a sublime trust which supplies you with a feeling that you would not escape them if you could--this is the triumph of Christian teaching. Herein is the Christ seen superior to Zeno, and the marvellous beauty of the work of the Spirit apprehended. The question, therefore, naturally at this point arises: How does the Spirit accomplish this work? By what process of development is this effect produced? Is it of the mind? Is it of the soul? Or is it of both conjoined? I find God everywhere--in the works of nature, etc. But, beyond what I find Him in the works of Nature, I find Him in myself; not in that part of myself which is material, which the trees on the hills outlive, and on the grave of which the sun will some day look and the stars will some night shine; but in that part of me which is immaterial, beside whose life the life of the tree is as nothing, and which shall live on and on when the sun, which now wheels his sure course above us, shall have set for ever; and when, for aught I know, the stars themselves, which now make the heavens glorious by night, shall be quenched in their every beam. I find Him most, I say, within my soul; yea, in the works of that Spirit of whose fruit I am speaking; in the energies of its puissant action; in the conservative pressure of its guidance; in the fine enlightenment of its illumination; in the life-giving quickening of its vitalising touch, and in the sanctifying influence of its presence. I find Him, I say, most of all in my spirit; and because of the benevolence of His operation, my spirit loveth the Spirit that moveth it aright, and worships at the throne which is white because it symbolizes a power which is innocent. And to those who tell me that the works of the Spirit are mysterious, I say: Not so. They are plain as the work of the day when the flowers open on the hills; plain as the movement of the white clouds when the force which eye cannot see rolls their snowy formation upward; plain as the power of love which gives, when it is apprehended by the love which receives. Let us answer, then, the interrogation as to how the Spirit develops the capacity of long-suffering in the soul? How does He make man able to bear losses, disappointments, vexations, bereavements, and all the ills that flesh is heir to? We answer, that the Spirit accomplishes this effect by teaching us the relative value of things; and this I will illustrate. Take, e.g., the matter of wealth. Who of you that are wealthy could see your wealth pass from your hands without a murmur? Who of you could endure the loss of your gains--the gains of honourable and lifelong toil--with patience? And who of you could see the noble properties which you have inherited from the industry and affection of the past taken from your control, and pass from the ownership of your name with equanimity? In how many Gases do cheerfulness and patience decline with the decline of profits! In how many cases have men who were rich in this world’s goods, when their riches have suddenly vanished, committed suicide, as if all that made life desirable had gone with their treasures! But if the Spirit of God, dear friends, has brought true enlightenment to the mind; has given it discernment as to the comparative value of things; has brought the next world into conjunction with this, and made one to see the lasting glory of the one and the evanescent splendour of the other; the man, I say, in whom this blessed work has been wrought out can see his wealth depart without loss of courage, of patience, or of hope. For he knows that what is taken, looked at in the large way and viewed in the light of eternity, was not essential to his nature. He knows that his character is independent of it. He knows that it was but an accident, collateral to his life, and not the true life itself. And he realizes the affirmation contained in the question of the Saviour when He exclaimed: “Is not the life more than meat, and the body more than raiment?” And thus were they enabled to endure the deprivation without murmuring. Thus was the sublime element of long-suffering developed in them, and the fruit of the Spirit amply realized. I might illustrate farther. I have seen those to whom health was most desirable, lose it, and yet through all their sickness be upheld by the thought implanted in their minds, and ripened into a conviction by the Spirit, that they would soon enter into a realm where sickness is unknown, into which pain never enters, and where health is the only expression of existence. We have seen the beautiful lose their beauty; and yet, though they knew that the loveliness of the flesh had left form and feature for ever, they bore their loss with sweetest patience--with cheerfulness, even, as if they had lost but a trifle, because that within them was being born a loveliness that should never fade, and beauty which once possessed in the heavens would never depart. Ay, and we have seen men and women stand over coffins, in which lay the form once inhabited by their darling, without a tear. We have seen them stand on the edge of the grave and look into the darkness of death, as into a great sunrise, because they knew by discernment between the mortal and the immortal that their loved ones had only passed on and gone up, and that their feet as they climbed the sky-tending path had left the radiance of their ascension to light them upward to a happy and endless reunion when they should be called to go Thus do we see how it is by enlightenment of the mind and the soul as to the comparative value of things, that the Spirit worketh as one of its fruits the capacity of long-suffering, the capacity to bear without murmuring, to endure without complaint, and in the midst of grief live sustained by consolations. (W. H. Murray, D. D.)

Long-suffering, a patience

In every station, and through every stage of life, we are involved in troubles. So necessary is self-possession, that a man without it resembles a ship without a rudder, left to the mercy of the winds, over which the pilot has no command. Yet we cannot possess or govern our own minds in times of trouble, except we possess patience.

I. I shall define Christian patience, or show what it is. That patience which is the fruit of the Spirit stands opposed to irritability of temper, undue eagerness of expectation, fretfulness under sufferings, and weariness in well-doing. Christian patience must he distinguished from constitutional fortitude and stoical apathy. Some, as if formed of tougher materials, are much more capable of enduring sufferings than others. But there is nothing to be commended in that sort of hardihood which is the effect of callousness or insensibility: for where there is no feeling, there is no patience. Dr. Barrow ingeniously calls Christianity, the special academy of patience; wherein we are informed, are inured, are trained up, and tried to bear all things. In this academy, the Holy Spirit is the Great Teacher, by whose gracious influence we become conformed to the will of God. How poor and contemptible were the best lessons of the school of Zeno, compared with those taught in the school of Christi How empty and vapid were the choicest products of pagan philosophy, contrasted with the rich fruit of the Spirit!

II. I shall now point out the happy effects of patience. A celebrated modern writer asserts, that “philosophy overcomes past and future ills; but present ills easily overcome philosophy.” If it be so, philosophy itself is not worth pursuing. Who would seek such a miserable comforter? It is when the wound smarts, that we need the healing balm; when the fainting fit comes on, that we want the reviving cordial. Religion does not merely follow our path, or come forth to meet us; but goes with us to lighten our burdens, to relieve our wants, and redress our griefs.

1. Patience in affliction is profitable to ourselves. We are naturally impetuous and self-willed. We wish to wear the crown without bearing the cross; and to find some shorter and smoother road to the heavenly kingdom than that which leads us through the perilous and tedious wilderness. It is.not without repeated trials, sanctified by Divine grace, that we are brought to a more submissive spirit. There are lessons to be learned, and duties to be performed, for which patience is an indispensable preparation.

2. Patience in affliction is advantageous to others. It- excites mutual sympathy, and imparts much encouragement.

3. Patience in suffering gives honour to God.

III. I shall endeavour to show how the grace of patience may be cultivated.

1. Let us seek a larger measure of the Holy Spirit, and take heed that we do not provoke Him to withdraw His influences from us.

2. To cultivate the grace of patience, let us seriously consider our afflictions, in their short continuance, and glorious issue.

3. To cultivate the grace of patience, it will be useful to have a special regard to the promises which belong to a state of trial. A good man put this among his daily prayers: “Lord, teach me the art of patience while I am well, and the use of it when I am sick. In that day, either lighten my burden, or give me strength to bear it.”

4. To cultivate patience, set before you the brightest examples of His grace. (John Thornton.)


Look at that matron who through the years of early life inherited bereavement and sorrows, the thinning out of the precious flock, the dishonoured names of the husband, the death, the rolling upon her of the responsibility of rearing the whole flock, the unwearied fidelity, the inexhaustible patience, furrow after furrow that experience is ploughing upon her brow; at last the children had come to ripeness, and they in their turn are lifting her out of trouble, and she sits down serene at the close of life more beautiful than the going down of the sun. Is there any object in life that a man can look upon that is more beautiful than long-suffering. (H. W. Beecher.)


A fourth mark of the spiritual life, a fourth fruit of the Spirit, is long-suffering. And long-suffering is perhaps that power which enables us to suffer on, which will not let us become ruffled, or put back, or paralyzed, or overwhelmed by difficulties as they come upon us. And we do well to realize that we have to exercise long-suffering quite early in our spiritual life, in our very dealings with the great and good God Himself. We remember how in His mercy He is ever urging us to be strong. Sometimes we ourselves have wondered why in God’s good providence we are given a work to do which is a special temptation to us. And at last the truth becomes apparent that God has some signal favour to bestow upon us; that He wishes us to recover, by using it, the power in some maimed limb, to make whole by painful exercise some impaired faculty. To walk upon it, to stretch it, to move it, with many a cry of anguish and many a secret groan, and then at last to feel a new strength in an unlooked-for department of life. Or further, it may be some distinguished grace, some pre-eminent honour, that He is waiting to bestow upon us; but He has to delay until He can see whether we can bear the preliminary cutting and carving which is to prepare our souls to receive it. Vae his qui perdiderunt sustinentiam: [“Woe to them that have lost the power of bearing!] and what will ye do when the Lord shall visit you?” (Sirach 2:14.) And it is just the same with God’s methods of working, which He consigns to our care, and puts as instruments into our hands. His methods seem terribly slow to our impatience, We have to deal with a system of work which of necessity demands much time, where planting and watering and maturing all must have their ordered course, where the bud precedes the flower and the flower the fruit, and forming has to develop into ripening, and ripening into full maturity. Roots are ugly things, and when they are buried the garden looks very bare. Sometimes it is covered with snow, or dried up with the frost, or pulverised with the east wind, or the growing plants are scorched by the sun or dashed with the wet. What a temptation it is to try and plant the bed with forced flowers, just to make a show while we are here; or to damage the tree that we may hasten its untimely fruit. Is it not a characteristic of the present day that we are all very impatient in our work? It is so in politics, everything must be done at once; it is so in religion, method after method is attempted and cast away, as if it were a worn-out garment almost before it has been used; it is so in education, give us results at any cost, and let competitive examinations settle everything. But if we are to work together with God, we shall need a great deal of patience. “You can hurry man,” said Bishop Milman, “but you cannot hurry God.” And if we are tempted to be impatient with God’s methods of working, are we not equally tempted to grow out of heart, to be sullen and displeased with the character of the actual portion of work which is assigned to us? Truly it requires some degree of long-suffering if we aspire in any way, within or without, to work together with God. But this is not all. We shall need long-suffering also in our intercourse with our fellow-men. There is a want of refinement very often, as well as misunderstanding, which we have to deal with, coupled with injustice, misrepresentation, imputation of motives, or ingratitude. Ah! yes: there is no strain so continuous as that of helping the weak friend to climb. Every footstep has to be steadied as he laboriously ascends; he gets fatigued, he gets giddy, he disdains the use of the rope; perhaps he slips and falls; his constant stumbles seem to imperil our very existence. Shall we leave him? He keeps us back, he makes our progress slow; we cannot enjoy the prospect by the way, nor the delight of climbing; but yet it is a trust which we may not betray. He is given to us; we are, indeed, before God and angels and men, our brother’s keeper. Alas! we are always trying to push away from us the responsibilities of this mediator-life. The priest, the man of wealth, the man of science, the politician--all are sometimes tempted to forget it. But this was the glory of the early Christian Church; it waited for the little children, the old, the helpless, the infirm, all which the busy empire would spurn from its hurried path. Do not let us think that we shall reach greater heights by neglecting those who, from the realms of duty or affection or simple circumstance, are crying out, “Wait for me.” But all this will require the development within us of long-suffering. And yet further still, beside God and our neighbour, who each in their mysterious way demand the exercise of this virtue, there is self. We must learn to bear long with ourselves. (W. C. E. Newbolt.)


I. The graces themselves. By “long-suffering” we should understand a frame of mind which would endure, with manly firmness and resignation, the various trials of life in the service of God.

II. How they are exhibited.

1. Long-suffering sees God’s hand in afflictive dispensations, and so is quieted under them. (Psalms 39:9; 2 Samuel 16:11; Job 1:21.)

2. In respect to the fulfilment of God’s promises (Romans 4:19).

3. In respect of patient perseverance in well-doing.

4. In bearing the infirmities of the brethren (Romans 15:1).

5. To bear, moreover, the unjust suspicion of others.

6. To receive reproof.

Thus far I have spoken of the passive grace of “long-suffering,” let us look now at the active grace of meekness.

1. In bearing injuries, and putting up with affronts.

2. In forgiving injuries.

3. In recompensing good for evil.

4. In not fretting against evil-doers. (J. Reeve, M. A.)


Gentleness, a fruit of the Spirit

Gentleness is derived from gentle, and hence we must find the meaning of the word gentle, or ever we can understand what the work of the Spirit, as it relates to gentleness, is. In the first place, we find that gentle does not primarily refer to manners. It is often used, and properly too, as descriptive of manners, but when so used the root idea is not brought out. Gentle primarily refers to disposition, and disposition relates to the structure of one’s nature--it refers to the way in which a man is put together morally. A man with an evil disposition is a man whose moral structure inclines him toward evil; a man with a good disposition, on the other hand, is one whose moral structure inclines him toward good. Gentleness primarily, therefore, is descriptive of the nature and not to manners; descriptive of the soil in its chemical qualities, and not in respect to its colour; descriptive of the character of the seed, and not of the shape of the blade or of the tree that grows up from it. A gentle person, therefore, is one whoso nature is so constructed that it works itself out naturally in sweet and benevolent action. We can get a better idea of it, perhaps, by looking at it in contrast with its opposite; even as we get a better idea of light when contrasted with darkness. The opposite of gentleness is rudeness, boisterousness, coarseness. A gentle person is just the opposite of a rude person, or a coarse person. You know there are rude dispositions. We say of a man, “He has a coarse nature,” or “He has a very rude disposition,” and such persons are the moral opposite of a gentle person. The first fact brought out, therefore, by the text, when analyzed, is the peculiar character of the Spirit’s work; and it may be summed up in the assertion that the Spirit of God operates on the disposition. This is a most important fact, and one that we all should fully realize, because it proves what the Spirit’s work is, and whom He represents. It shows that His work is a Divine work, and that He represents God. Who knows when the work of the Spirit begins in the formation of life--in the perfection of what would otherwise be imperfect results? Do we not know that the sweetness of the apple comes from the sweetness of the root--that the bloom is only the expression of the floral and fragrant element in the stalk? There are streams whose waters are pure; and why are they pure? Because the springs from whence they flow are pure, and the channel-beds over which they glide are clean and white. I have no doubt but that innocence in motherhood and fatherhood would invariably mean innocence in the child. It did in the case of Jesus-begotten of the Spirit, and born of a virgin. Well might the wise men bring their gifts of gold and myrrh and frankincense to the manger cradle I Wise were they in seeing the innocence of Nature. And when the same innocence came in human shape, the sweet old men knew it at a glance, and bowed down and worshipped. Yes, there are some that are born gentle; or so nearly so that our eyes cannot see wherein they fail. I have known a few such, so have you. God took some of them, out of Fatherly fear, perhaps, that the earth might soil them. God let some stay awhile, out of his love for the earth and we imperfect ones who live on it, that we might have a better Bible than words can frame, and a stronger inspiration to be gentle ourselves, than we might through invisible channels receive. I had a dovecote once on my farm, full of white doves. They were bred to a feather, and white as snow. And I have seen them on a clear, crystal, sunny day spread their white wings and sail up and up until they actually disappeared from my eyes, vainly shaded to follow them, in the glory of the sun. And I have seen dove-like spirits sail up at death just so. For death to them was not night: it was broad noon--the broad noon of life everlasting--and God shone in the dome of it brighter than ten thousand suns. And their white spirits flew into His presence; and His glory hid them from the earthly eyes that strained their vision in vain to fellow them in their ascension. Yes, I can well believe that some are born gentle; but their gentleness is not by accident. It floweth out from a crystalline cause. The cause is the same as in the case of those who become gentle in death, only the operation is reversed. They receive in being born what most, who receive it at all, receive when they come to die. Their spiritual and their natural birth are contemporaneous. Indeed, there is a deal of unrecognized piety in the world. There is a moral sweetness that is not known as such. It is called natural sweetness; and so it is. But it is a sweetness of grace, nevertheless. Nothing is more false in conception than to suppose that grace is something opposite from Nature. Grace is the highest phase of Nature, or Nature in her finest mood. God is natural; Jesus was natural; the angels are all natural; and so are saints if they be perfect enough. Sin is Nature in discord. Piety is Nature keyed and tuned for perfect harmony. How many amiable people there are, kindly and gentle-hearted, that never know they are saints. Some receive the Spirit as the bud receives the sunshine: slowly, subtilely, and in ways peculiar to its own composition and order of growth. Some take the Spirit as they take medicine; it creates a disturbance in order to cure. Others take it as the mouth takes cream; it is rich and delicious, and they are happy in receiving. They eat of it secretly, as it were. And we should not know they had eaten, were it not for the way they grow! That reveals at what table and of what food they have eaten. I love to think of the sweet flowers that are unnamed. I find them in the fields; I take them home and say to my friends, “Do any of you know what the name of this flower is?” And no one can tell. I find them in the hedgerows and down in the damp places, and even in the foul places. Most of them are small; they hide easily. Some have a strong fragrance. Some are so rich in aroma that they scent the air. Others are so faint in their odour that you must breathe long to scent them at all; but when you breathe long and gently, your sense interprets them, and their sweetness is so fine, so delicate, so satisfyingly exquisite, that you wish you could breathe it for ever! So God has saints--has morally sweet ones scattered all up and down through the world. In the fields and the hedgerows, ay, and in the damp and foul places of life you will find them. But you will not find them unless you look closely. Nor will you know their sweetness unless you come nigh to them. And should you take them into your churches and say, “Will this Church please tell me by what name to call this exquisite life?” the Church will look it over and say, “This does not look like a Calvinistic plant.” And another will say, “This did not sprout from a Presbyterian seed.” And another will say, “I don’t think this belongs to any of our Unitarian gardens “ And so you may go the whole rounds and not a Church will know by what name to call the sweet life you have brought to them--unless it be the Quakers. I think the Quakers might know, for they have a sense to know piety without form, and which has never been classified or catalogued in the herbarium of the Church. But the Spirit knows, and the angels in heaven know, and God who giveth the angels wisdom knows, that all sweetness, whether found in field or hedgerows or down in the swamps of human life, is His, and He calls it by its name. And there is not on all the face of the globe a life that is being lived in gentleness, however small it be, or however evilly placed, that is not known of God, and has not the name by which He knows it written in letters of light on its forehead. And this leads me to remark that much of the really best evidence of piety is not regarded as such in the churches. You can think about God as much as you please, and commune with Him as you say--that is, silently; but if you talk your thoughts out to Him as you would to an earthly being, they will call you insane. But, friends, cannot the reverential and loving soul have daily companionship with God? Cannot gentle spirits confide their thoughts to Him and hold converse with the Supreme Spirit from whom they have caught their gentleness, and into whose gentleness they grow as boys grow into the likeness of their father? Then do not all natures as they age and are spiritualized into this gentleness find God more and more companionable to them? I think I have seen this in old folks as they come to what we call the second childhood. We make it the period of weakness because we measure it by the body. Should we not regard it as the beginning of immortal strength if we forgot the body and measured it by the growing state of the soul’? Let me teach you that the finest evidence of piety is that gentle appropriation of God which childlike trust makes of Him. Let me teach you that among the fruits of the Spirit you should set in the front rank the increasing gentleness of your nature. The stream is noisy amid the hills, for there it runs swift and sends the murmur of its roar far out on the air; but when it reaches the level meadow and widens out for entrance into the great sea, it flows with smooth surface, so that the stars come and bathe in it. It makes no noise. It disturbs not itself or others; but it reflects the whole sky and receives for its own ornament all the glory that is domed above it. And so lives are noisy at first; for they flow swift. They turn many wheels, and keep many industries in motion; but when they have flowed on and[ have come nigh to the magic line where the here and the hereafter touch, where the seen and the unseen join, they widen out, move easily--so gently that you can scarcely say where the stream ended and the sea began; scarcely say where the earthly passed into the heavenly, And so, friends, we will say in the language of the text: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness.” By-and-by, perhaps, we shall all become gentle. By-and-by we shall have done with economic industries and the friction they put upon our tempers, and enter into eternal entertainment. By-and-by we shall talk without harshness and live in neighbourhoods of peacefulness, unvexed by jealousy and unflushed with the inflammation of hate. Nor will we, even now, forget the example of the incarnated Gentleness that took human shape for our instruction. (W. H. Murray, D. D.)


Real gentleness is the subjugation, or rather the right use and government of strong feelings. The word “gentle” has a Latin root, and means literally that which suits or belongs to a high race, a good family. And if we take it so, what ought not our “gentleness” to be who belong, or profess to belong, to the race of the Holy One--to the generation of saints--to the family of God? Let me consider with you, for a few minutes, how “gentleness” is to be attained and cultivated. First, let me advise you, by looking back and looking into yourself, to get a more accurate and definite knowledge where your want of gentleness chiefly lies; with whom, and on what occasions, you have been most ungentle. Ask forgiveness of anybody in the world to whom you feel you have been ungentle; and let the facts remain to be your beacons. Get more general self-knowledge, and trace the steps which have led you down. Find the roots, try to eradicate those roots which have led to ungentleness--selfishness, temper, jealousy, the neglect of watchfulness, want of prayer at the right moment. Then lay down yourself some strong rules upon the subject, and pray that you may remember those rules and keep them. Tune your heart to gentleness before you leave your room in the morning. Want of health has a great deal to do with ungentleness. Put on a double match when you fee! poorly. Do not be discouraged by failures; only humble yourself and watch and pray the more. Be very gentle to those who are below you in social rank--especially to your servants. I would say to men--if you are young--be like a son or a brother to those you meet; if you are old, be as a father to those you meet. I would say to women--if you are young--be like a daughter or sister to any one; if you are old, be as a mother to every one. There are some persons with whom you feel it particularly difficult to be gentle. You can scarcely say why, but so it is. They are specially provoking to us, perhaps even in their look. Or perhaps that which would not provoke you in others, irritates you in that person. Put on a double guard when you are with that person. (J. Vaughan, M. A.)

Gentleness and goodness

I. The graces themselves.

1. Gentleness has reference to the demeanour of a Christian. Gentleness is not mere polish and politeness. It shows itself in a desire to please others for Christ’s sake, because it would please God and commend His gospel. Gentleness has nothing to do with indecision and vacillation, so that it may be turned this way and that without regard to principles.

2. By “goodness” we may understand not only goodness in general (“for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness”), but here especially benevolence and munificence.

II. How these graces are exhibited.

1. Of gentleness.

2. Of goofiness. (J. Reeve, M. A.)


The greatest results are accomplished by gentle, quiet influences. Not long ago, I saw a man mounted on a dray, very heavily loaded, beating his poor half-starved horse most cruelly, because the wheels had got stuck fast in the mud, and the beast was too feeble to pull them out. The more the man whipped, and swore, and wished the horse might go to the bad place, the more frightened the animal became, and the less able to perform what was so unreasonably demanded. As I witnessed the painful sight, I could not but hope that Mr. Rarey, the horse-tamer, might some time come along, and teach the cruel driver that kind and cheering words would prove much more effectual in making the horse do as he desired. You may ask me, perhaps, whether one who is born cross, and crabbed, and cruel, can ever hope to become gentle. He can. Just listen to the text. “The fruit of the Spirit is gentleness.” The Spirit here spoken of is God the Holy Ghost, who teaches, and guides, and blesses us. He it is who helps to make us gentle. The word gentleness (which is one of the virtues which the Holy Spirit helps us to cultivate) means, in the text, goodness and kindness. It is the opposite of a harsh, crooked, and crabbed temper. It is a disposition easy to be pleased, and in our idea of this Christian gentleness we must include mildness and politeness. The power of gentleness is really irresistible. The blustering wind could not make the traveller take off his cloak, but the only effect was that he wrapped himself up the more tightly in it. When, however, the gentle sunbeams shined softly and steadily on him, he was glad to remove it. Gentleness must not be confounded with cowardice, and with a mean, truckling spirit. No one would doubt General Washington’s courage; and yet he could practise gentleness. After the Revolution was well over, and the country had become settled and quiet, he was making a long journey in his carriage, attended by several gentlemen who travelled in a conveyance of their own. One afternoon, as night was fast approaching, and they were all anxious to reach the neighbouring town before dark, they found the road almost blocked up by a large wagon drawn by four horses, proceeding at a snail’s pace. Wishing to go faster than this wagon, a gentleman in the foremost carriage called out to the teamster, with a lordly air, to turn out and let them pass. As might be supposed, the man merely looked angry, and refused to budge. Seeing how matters were, General Washington spoke politely to the driver, and explaining why they wished to hasten forward, asked him to allow the carriages to go by. The power of gentleness prevailed in a moment; and the weary travellers were soon enjoying a good supper at the village inn. Two little boys were once rolling a hoop over the frozen ground, and, in running carelessly after it, Gerald, the younger, being behind, came in contact with his brother Thomas, and both fell down with violence, the younger on top of the elder. Thomas was severely bruised, and rose up in a terrible passion. He scolded Gerald, in the most offensive words he could think of, and then began to beat him. Instead of crying out, or striking back, the little fellow put his hand into his pocket hurriedly, fumbled about among his treasures, and drawing out a stick of candy, thrust it into Thomas’s mouth, even while he was scolding and beating him. Thomas instantly stopped, and looked confused and ashamed. And thus his wrath was turned aside by the spirit of gentleness which his younger brother manifested. I ought to say for your comfort and encouragement, that such a spirit is not natural to us, nor easy to acquire; and yet, the Holy Spirit will help us to gain it, whenever we show a real desire to do so. The Holy Spirit, gentle and loving Himself, is the best teacher we can have. (J. N. Norton, D. D.)


I. I shall describe the nature of that gentleness which is the fruit of the Spirit. It has its seat in the heart, and pervades all the faculties and powers of the man. It consists in humility, candour, sweetness of temper, and tenderness of feeling.

II. Let us specify some cases in which gentleness appears to be particularly necessary.

1. Gentleness is required in the exercise of authority. While Nero remained a subject, he was noted for condescending manners; but after he was made Emperor of Rome, he became a monster of cruelty. Now, as there can be nothing more odious and injurious than authority exerted with fierce unrelenting severity--so there can be nothing more amiable and beneficial, than authority exercised with firmness and lenity. When true religion sways the heart it teaches kings to sway the sceptre and rulers to use their power with moderation and justice. Nor is it less necessary that authority should be exercised with gentleness by the head of a single family, than by the chief of a province or the head of a nation.

2. Gentleness is required in a suitable manner, to give warnings and administer reproofs.

3. Gentleness is necessary in attempting to allay animosities.

4. Gentleness is necessary in the treatment of strangers,

5. Gentleness is necessary to preserve, uninterrupted, the endearments of friendships. Without genuine tenderness there can be no union of hearts.

III. I shall endeavour to point out some causes which impair Christian gentleness, and recommend the means adapted to promote it.

1. Nothing more directly tends to impair gentleness than eagerly grasping at the things of the world. Though Christians are in the world they ought not to be of the world. It is remarked of some insects that they resemble the colour of the plants on which they live and feed. Those who wholly mind earthly things are of a low, grovelling spirit. By plunging into the cares of this life they are continually ruffled and distracted. “They are linked so closely to the world; by so many sides they touch every object and every person around them, that they are perpetually hurt and hurting others. The spirit of true religion removes us to a proper distance from the grating objects of worldly contention.”

2. Taking an eager part in political disputes tends to impair the gentleness of The Christian.

I shall now recommend some means adapted to promote gentleness.

1. Retire often into the calm, undisturbed region of solitude.

2. Set constantly before you the perfect example of our Lord Jesus Christ. Scipio declared that he was inflamed with a virtuous and heroic spirit, by viewing the statues of his ancestors. And for what end have we exhibited before us the matchless excellence of Jesus Christ? Is it not that we may imitate it? The fairest characters we can find have some blots and stains. Here we have a pure unblemished pattern. He was meek and lowly in heart; amiable and unassuming in conduct. How condescendingly did He instruct His disciples! How faithfully, yet gently, did He reprove their faults l

3. Pray for more abundant communications of the Holy Spirit. Every other means must derive efficacy from the Divine Spirit, or we shall gain no real profit. Reading, prayer, retirement, and reflection are all in vain, unless His gracious influence open the mind, and animate the heart. (John Thornton.)

Gentleness: its strength

I’ve noticed often that the strong, skilful men are oftenest the gentlest to women and children; and it’s pretty to see ‘em carrying the little babies as if they were no heavier than birds, and the babies often seem to like the strong arms best. (George Eliot.)

Description of gentleness

Gentleness is love in society. It is love holding intercourse with those around it. It is that cordiality of aspect, and that soul of speech, which assure us that kind and earnest hearts may still be met with here below. It is that quiet influence, which, like the scented flame of an alabaster lamp, fills many a home with light, and warmth, and fragrance altogether. It is the carpet soft and deep, which, whilst it diffuses a look of ample comfort, deadens many a creaking sound. It is the curtain which, from many a beloved form, wards off at once the summer’s glow and the winter’s wind. It is the pillow on which sickness lays its head and forgets half its misery, and to which death comes in a balmier dream. It is considerateness. It is tenderness of feeling. It is warmth of affection. It is promptitude of sympathy. It is love in all its depths, and all its delicacy. It is everything included in that matchless grace, the gentleness of Christ. (J. Hamilton, D. D.)

Power of gentleness

By invincible, self-controlling gentleness, the mother at last wins back to virtue the son whom no threats, no severities, no storms and upbraidings of passion could subdue. Geologists tell us that the calm and silent influence of the atmosphere is a power mightier than all the noisier forces of nature. Rocks and mountains are worn down and subdued by it. (Anon.)

Need of gentleness

Wishing to seal a letter, Gotthold called for a lighted candle. The maid obeyed his orders; but, proceeding too hastily, the flame, which had not yet gathered sufficient strength, went out. “Here,” said Gotthold, “we have that which may well remind us of the gentleness and moderation to be observed in our comportment towards weak and erring brethren. Had this candle when first lighted been carried slowly, and shaded by the hand from the air, it would not have been extinguished, but would soon have burned with vigour. In like manner, many a weak brother might be set right, if we only came to his help in the right way and with kindly advice.


And we ought, it may be, always to move with great gentleness amidst the handiwork of God; with a feeling of reverence amidst the order, life, and beauty of this world; with some of that holy reserve, which the builders of our great Gothic cathedrals understood when they reared the tong mysterious aisles, and veiled in retiring beauty the glories of the sanctuary; or such reserve as the early Christians displayed in the allegory of the fresco, or the secrecy of their worship, or the shutting off of the sacred truths of God from all danger of heathen pollution; or such a holy retirement, again, as belonged to the religious life of men fifty years ago more perhaps than it does now. With some such feeling we should move in a world where all breathing life is yet warm with the impress of God. And with reverence will mingle a feeling of responsibility; the lilies, and the ravens, and the waving corn, and the growing tares, are all speaking to us, and proclaiming, “So they are without excuse: if when they know God, they glorify Him not as God, neither are thankful.” And with reverence and responsibility will mingle a feeling of awe; what is the destiny of the creatures around me? What mean the mysteries which throng my path? And more especially when we look at man, at ourselves--the work, the purchase, and the temple of God--there is still greater need of that gentleness, χρηστότης, benignitas, which makes us move amidst all these wonders with something of the manners and the refinement of one who is of the race of heaven. It is written that the Creator of all things beheld them, not in that they were beautiful, but in that they were good. This gentle goodness, benignitas, is a true mark of a heavenly life. So we shall guard against an overweening confidence, or a roughness and impatience which thinks that the minute splendour and wondrous works of God can be seen at a hurried and unloving glance, ending either in a dogmatism or a scepticism which a wider and a deeper view would have dissipated. So we shall guard equally against self-assertion; how often comes that command in the midst of wonders, accompanied sometimes with actual sternness, “See thou tell no man?” How silently, how quietly God works! You cannot ever quite catch a glimpse of His hand. Man is sometimes so loud, so self-asserting, even when doing good and serving God, that he seems to have forgotten his gentleness, or that he is a fellow-servant with the angels, and a fellow-worker even with God. Above all, we shall guard against flippancy, the coarsest form of the ungentle spirit; that flippancy which displays itself in an irreverent treatment of Revelation in the hasty criticism, or cheap jest; in the light handling of history, which parodies great scenes of national calamity or great moments of political life; in the vulgar profanity which insults nature, or degrades self. “Such as are gentle, them shall He learn His way.” Gentleness will teach us more especially the way of God. Is it creative work? Whatever it may be, in all such things we shall need gentleness; not the imperiousness of Moses, or the vengeance of Boanerges, or the stern persecution of Saul; these are but rough ways of dealing with error and human infirmities; and the rough hand often does a great deal of harm; it engrains the dust and smears it, where a gentle hand would have brushed it off. Christian hands must not wield the sword of vengeance and anger. Granted that people are very provoking, and circumstances distorted. Just as Baxter said when his friends told him that he was going where the wicked cease from troubling--“Yes, and where the good cease from troubling too.” Redemptive work also requires a gentle hand; there must be no breaking of the bruised reed, no quenching of the smoking flax. Think of His gentle words and actions. “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do,” spoken amidst all the pain and derision of Calvary. And yet gentleness means equableness, a firm hand; not at one time hardly to be felt, at another time rough and severe; and means also tenderness. Where God and His holy angels are dealing with the man; who am I that I should despise him? And gentleness, again, means a good kind of self-consciousness. We ourselves are owing to our Master ten thousand talents, which He has freely forgiven us, while we are dealing with a man who owes us only a hundred pence, in injury, or insult, or violation of human laws. We can only say with ourselves, “If thou, Lord, will be extreme to mark what is done amiss: O Lord, who may abide it?” Conscious to ourselves of God’s manifold gentleness, we must needs be gentle too. “His way!” Sanctifying work equally requires a gentle hand. We need to be gentle even with ourselves. “The wind bloweth where it listeth;” let us think of the manifold ways in which grace comes to us. And, so doing, we shall learn to work quietly. We are not working to secure some brilliant effect. Why should we finish up work hastily to make a display before its time, rather than labour at detail? Oh, what a temptation it is! Results, anyhow, by any means, at any cost! It is the temptation which besets the clergy, who shall boast of the largest congregation? It is the temptation of great restitutions for good, to make a show, to rival one another in hurried emulation; and when this reaches the region of our soul, it is doubly dangerous. Publicity is always dazzling, sometimes it is fatal. “All this power will I give thee,” whispers Satan, “if thou wilt fall down and worship me.” Give up the Cross: give up the old methods; give up thoroughness; give up the unseen work; brush away the failures! Anything for brilliancy! Brilliancy dazzles, but it does not last, and it burns deep down into the socket. Have we then this gentleness? It grows upon us, it develops within us, as the mighty machine of life goes working on, habitually in the presence of God; as we realize that all our work, whatsoever we do, is done for God, and in His sight. (W. C. E. Newbolt.)


Goodness, a fruit of the Spirit

Goodness embraces so much and suggests so much that it is hard to circumscribe its radiating significance within a definition. And this will be seen when our theme of to-day is placed in contrast with the themes we have already treated. Love, for instance, refers to one class of emotions, and is therefore definable. Joy is one phase of the emotions. Peace is a particular state of being. Long-suffering is an element of character. Gentleness is a habit of the disposition. These characteristics are, you see, definable. Their significance has its limitations, and the boundaries of our treatment were therefore clearly marked. But goodness is not one emotion, nor a single element of character, nor a particular state of being, nor any one habit of disposition. Goodness is larger than either of these excellences--larger than they all. These, and many other virtues of equal fervency, are only the rays which goodness, like a solar orb, sends forth through the moral atmosphere as it rolls forward in its beneficent career, enlightening the darkness and quickening the otherwise dormant life of the world. A good man! Who shall describe him, or with what language shall we depict him? In his heart is love. In his bosom is joy. The atmosphere of his nature is peace. Enthroned within him is divinest patience. Gentleness spreads its mild light over his countenance, and falls in charming language from his lips. But in him, too, is courage; courage to do and die. Strength also braces him like a girdle. Temperance orders his life with discretion. Purity keeps his record stainless. Faith steadies his footsteps as he walks the high level of his aspirations. And Hope, ever by his side, points him to a fairer world and a nobler destiny beyond the grave. In short, can we say less than this, that goodness implies perfection of moral being, perfection of spiritual state, perfection of manhood, in all things which adorn the same, and move it upward in that amplifying growth which the ordering of a good God has provided as the destiny for good beings. The fruit of the Spirit, therefore--its object and aim--is to produce a good man--a perfect man by that standard of measurement which God Himself, in His infinite wisdom and Fatherly ambition, applies to the character of His children. Goodness is a thing that must be born; and the query therefore comes, whence this birth? With the exception of Jesus, who was a gift from above, there has been no perfect man on the earth. Human power has never produced one. The good man or the good men that are to be must be born, not after the birth of the flesh, but after the birth of the Spirit. We assume that this birth of goodness does occur in human nature; nor should it surprise one, at least into incredulity, for God is a Spirit, and hence it is only natural for Him to operate in and upon spirit. With my hands it is natural for me to mould plastic matter, because it is subject to pressure, and my power is sufficient. But it is as natural--why should it not be?--for the great Almighty Spirit to mould spirits that are plastic as for me to mould clay. Not only so, but I can produce life. That is, I can take a seed, plant it in the earth, and from it a tree shall spring. Why strange, then, that God should take a principle germinant with virtues and plant it in man’s understanding--in man’s consciousness--in man’s affections--and from it goodness should spring up? The moment that God is acknowledged in the understanding as the Author of life--the moment that this power is accredited to Him--that moment faith in the new birth--the birth of goodness in the depraved, unfortunate or lacking soul--springs up. We take it for granted, therefore, we say, that the life of goodness, even in its largest definition, can begin in the soul. And what a perspective of possibility is opened up to him who accepts this sublime and most encouraging view! How silly and untruthful even seem the words of those who are ever degrading man in their descriptions of him morally! For when you contemplate man from this point of view, the vast expenditure of forces which Heaven has put forth for man’s salvation appears accountable. Knowing now, through the revelations that come to us in Jesus, what we can be--knowing that goodness is both the highest ornament and noblest object of living, the question recurs to each one in the Divine presence here, “What am I doing to be good? Have I taken the first step?” If you should ask me, “What is the first step?” I should reply, Spiritual connection with God’s Spirit. If you say, “I don’t understand it,” I respond, You do understand it, or you can understand it. If you should ask me, “What is the first step to take in order that I may love people?” I should reply, Put yourself on amiable relations with lovable people; and the reply would cover the whole ground. For in your mood of desiring to love, you could not be a single week in the company of those that were lovable, and not find your heart going out towards them. And this result would not be dependent upon any decision of your will, but would be the natural result arising from the workings of your nature. If you say, therefore, “ What is the first step in being good?” I should say, Put yourself in connection with God’s Spirit. And you perceive that my answer is the right one. If you say, “But how am I to find this connection? How can my spirit come under the influence of the Divine Spirit?” I reply, There are many ways, all plain; and perhaps the best one is the plainest one--prayer. Pray to the Spirit. Say, “Spirit of Good, come and influence my spirit that I may be good.” Yes, some men are changing for the worse. They are growing into badness, and badness is growing into them--the black branches of conduct stretching outward, and the blacker roots of desire striking deeper and deeper into them. But if you make this spiritual connection, as I have pointed out, you will find yourselves, “the moment it is made, beginning to change for the better, and to grow sweeter. And from this thought comes such happiness as comes from no other source, for man must be happy in himself if he is happy at all. Others may minister greatly to him, but unless he is great enough to receive the ministry, it shall be barren of joy unto his soul. And what other inward happiness is there so fine and helpful as that which springs from the thought--from the consciousness, rather--that you are growing better. The highest expression of manhood is Goodness; before its expression men bow in acknowledgment, and lifting their heads pronounce their applause. It is a law of our nature to abhor villainy; to despise the sneak and avoid a scamp. This is Nature’s tribute to honesty, and frankness, and uprightness. There is no weakness in Goodness, for it symbolises the strength of Heaven. (W. H. Murray, D. D.)


The production of a strawberry-wine, or of an orange-tree, is pleasant and palatable, while the fruit of a crab-tree is sour and disagreeable. One might fasten the most delicious, rosy-checked peaches or apricots, by strings or bits of wire, to the limbs of a poplar, but these would not be the fruit of it. The whole thing would be a sham. In the text, goodness is described as the fruit of something. Of what? Why, of the Holy Spirit of God. The Blessed Spirit is God, and He can do all things. He is spoken of in the Creed, as “The Lord and Giver of Life.” A skilful gardener can take a most unsightly, stony waste, and by bestowing much care and culture on it, he can change it into a spot covered with luxuriance and beauty. So the Holy Spirit accomplishes His wonderful work in our hard and stony hearts. During the autumn of 1799, the retreating French army left three hundred wounded men at Bobbio, the capital of Piedmont. Although the soldiers were enemies both to the religion and the country of the Waldenses, yet they received the kindest treatment at their hands. The people of Piedmont were extremely poor, but they cheerfully shared their scanty provisions with the strangers, bound up their wounds, and nursed them as carefully as if they had been near friends. At length provisions became still more scarce, and finding that if they kept the French soldiers during the winter all must starve together, the good Waldenses performed the wonderful and dangerous feat of carrying them across one of the most difficult of the Alpine ranges, then covered with ice and snow, and leaving them safe within the borders of their own land. The meaning of God is the Good One, and they who are like Him abound in acts of goodness. That you may the better understand this, I shall go on to tell you some things which goodness prompts people to do.

I. Goodness makes them willing to forgive wrongs, A gentleman once came to Sir Eardley Wilmot in great anger at an injury which he had suffered from a person of high rank, and on whom he wished to be avenged. “Would it be manly to resent it?” “Yes,” answered Sir Eardley, “but God-like to forgive it.”

II. Goodness teaches people to be considerate and generous. Joseph William Turner, one of the greatest of English landscape painters, was one of the committee whose business it was to arrange about hanging the pictures sent for exhibition to the Royal Academy. The walls were already crowded, when his attention was attracted by one which had been painted by an unknown artist from some distant town, and who had no friend to advance his interest. “A good picture,” exclaimed Turner, as soon as his critical eye rested on it: “it must be hung up, and exhibited.” “Impossible!” replied the other members of the committee, with one voice. “The arrangement cannot be disturbed. Quite impossible!” “A good picture,” persisted the generous Turner; “it must be hung up;” and, so saying, he took down one of his own pictures, and put the unknown Mr. Bird’s in its place.

III. Goodness prompts people to be conscientious and enduring. There lived in a Scotch village a very little boy, Jamie by name, who set his heart on being a sailor. His mother loved him very dearly, and the thought of giving him up grieved her exceedingly, but he showed such an anxiety to go and see the distant countries which he had read about, that she finally consented. As the boy left home, the good woman said to him, “Wherever you are, Jamie, whether on sea or land, never forget to acknowledge your God. Promise me that you will kneel down, every night and morning, and say your prayers, no matter whether the sailors laugh at you or not.” “Mother, I promise you I will,” said Jamie; and soon he was on shipboard bound for India. They had a good captain, and as several of the sailors were religious men, no one laughed at the boy when he kneeled down to pray. On the return voyage things were not quite so pleasant. Some of the sailors having run away, their places were supplied by others, and one of these proved to be a very bad fellow. When he saw little Jamie kneeling down to say his prayers, this wicked sailor went up to him, and giving him a sound box on the ear, said in a very decided tone, “None of that here, sir.” Another seaman who saw this, although he swore sometimes, was indignant that the child should be so cruelly treated, and told the bully to come up on deck, and he would give him a thrashing. The challenge was accepted, and the well-deserved beating was duly bestowed. Both then returned to the cabin, and the swearing man said, “Now, Jamie, say your prayers, and if he dares to touch you, I will give him another dressing.” The next night the devil tempted Jamie to do a very foolish thing. He does not like to have any one say his prayers, or do right in any way, and so he put it into the little boy’s mind that it was quite unnecessary for him to be creating such a disturbance in the ship, when it could easily be avoided, if he would only say his prayers very quietly in his hammock, so that nobody would observe it. Now, see how little he gained by this cowardly proceeding. The moment that the friendly sailor saw Jamie get into the hammock, without first kneeling down to pray, he hurried to the spot, and dragging him out by the neck, he said, “Kneel down at once, sir! do you think I am going to fight for you, and you not say your prayers, you young rascal?” During the whole voyage back to London, this reckless, profane sailor watched over the boy as if he had been his father, and every night saw that he knelt down and said his prayers. Jamie soon began to be industrious, and during his spare time studied his books. He learned all about ropes and rigging, and when he became old enough, about taking latitude and longitude. Several years afterwards, the largest steamer ever built--the Great Eastern--was launched on the ocean, and carried the famous cable across the Atlantic. A very reliable, experienced captain was required for this important undertaking, and who should be chosen but the little Jamie of whom I have been telling you! When the Great Eastern returned to England, after this successful voyage, Queen Victoria bestowed on him the honour of knighthood, and the world now knows him as Sir James Anderson.

IV. Goodness makes people heroic. Two houses were once wrapped in flames, at Auch, in France, and from one of them was heard the piteous cry, “Save my child!” The archbishop came hurrying to the place, and worked as long as his strength would allow, in helping to put out the fire, when he said, “I will give twenty-five louis d’or to the man who will save this woman and her child.” At this appeal several of the crowd came a few steps nearer to the burning building, but the heat was so great that they as quickly retreated from the danger. “Fifty louis d’or to the man who will save the mother and the child!” shouted the archbishop, still louder than before, but no one moved. Now, by the lurid light of the fire, the archbishop himself was seen to take a cloth, and having flipped it in a bucket of water, to wrap it round his body, and then to mount the ladder which had been placed against the shaking wall. Soon he reached a window, which he bravely entered, and, in a few moments more, a group was seen at this window--the archbishop, the mother, and the little child. The good man had scarcely reached the ground, before he sank on his knees, to bless God for His protecting care, and then, rising, he said to the poor mother, who had lost everything by the fire except her precious child--“My good woman, I offered fifty louis d’ors to the man who would save you. I have won the sum, and now I present it to you.” See that English clergyman, Mr. Ancient, venturing out in his little cockle-shell boat, to rescue those who are holding fast to the shattered remnant of the proud steamer Atlantic, wrecked on the treacherous coast of Nova Scotia! He has been living for years in that little hamlet with a few fishermen and wreckers as parishioners--ruling and civilizing them by love; and now, in this awful moment, when so many lives are in peril, he is proving himself a hero. (J. N. Norton, D. D.)

Goodness is

I. The necessary and indispensable corrective of self-culture, and completes the education of the whole man.

II. The principal test of piety.

III. The corrective of the harsher forms of theology.

IV. The destroyer of all church exclusiveness.

V. The only and universal antidote to scepticism (H. W. Beecher)

Youthful goodness

I remember once on the deck of an Atlantic steamer, one wild autumn night, how a little child, overwhelmed with a violent illness through the heaving sea, was just beginning, so to speak, to get her feet under her. A friend who was by took the child something to relieve the sense of utter sickness, and I remember as we stood by the little one trying to say some kind things to encourage her, as she received the gift from the stranger, how she suddenly sprang to her feet and said, “Let me take it to my father, he is worse than I am.” And we watched the little creature for a moment tottering along the deck eager, bright-eyed, determined, while the ship reeled, and my friend turning to me said, “There is the making of a glorious character there.” That is what I call goodness. (Canon Knox-Little.)

On goodness, or benevolence

I. Let us contemplate the excellency of Christian benevolence: it is the most amiable and noble part of charity.

1. It must be acknowledged by all, that there is something peculiarly amiable in that goodness which springs from the influence of the Holy Spirit. It wears a mild and winning aspect. It possesses a powerful and prevailing charm. It brings forth abundant fruit, at once pleasant to the eye and wholesome to the taste. This grace has something in it peculiarly amiable and attractive. Goodness is a God-like attribute, that finds pleasure m diffusing happiness. It is the gospel embodied.

2. That goodness which is the fruit of the Spirit, is a most noble and exalted grace. It is genuine, disinterested, cheerful, and unostentatious benevolence.

II. Let us point out the field which opens for the exercise of Christian benevolence.

1. We must exert ourselves to do good in the world.

2. We must exert ourselves to do good in the Church.

III. I shall adduce some considerations as motives to the exercise of benevolence.

1. Consider that the express commands of God require you to be active in doing good.

2. As another motive to do good, consider the bright examples of benevolence set before you.

3. As another motive to do good, consider the present pleasure there is in all the exercises of benevolence.

4. As a motive to do good, consider the amazing love and condescension of our Lord Jesus Christ.

5. As another motive to do good, consider that your continuance on earth is both short and uncertain. Opportunity has been called the flower of time; let it not bloom and wither neglected. Be on the watch, to seize every occasion that offers for doing good. There are favourable circumstances which ought to be instantly improved. While the soil is soft, let the seed be cast in; while the sun shines, defer not to secure the precious harvest. (John Thornton.)

Value of goodness

The homage which the bad give to the principle of goodness is seen in this, that bad men almost always wish their children to be good. (Dr. J. Duncan.)

Perseverance in goodness

We live in the fall of the leaf; divers trees did put forth fair blossoms, but their flattering spring is turned into an unfruitful winter; and their clear mornings have been overcast with the thickest clouds. The corn which promised a large harvest in the blade of profession, is blasted in the ear. The light remains no longer than while the sun shines. The flowers of Paradise would quickly wither on earth, if they were not watered with drops from heaven. To see a ship sink in the harbour of profession, is more grievous than if it had perished in the open sea of profaneness. (Archbishop Seeker.)

True goodness

True goodness is like the glow-worm in this, that it shines most when no eyes, except those of heaven are upon it. (A. W. Hare.)


Goodness is love in action, love with its hand at the plough, love with the burden on its back. It is love carrying medicine to the sick, and food to the famished. It is love reading the Bible to the blind, and explaining the gospel to the felon in his cell. It is love at the Sunday-class, or in the ragged-school. It is love at the hovel-door, or sailing far away in the missionary ship. But, whatever task i undertakes, it is still the same,--love following His footsteps, “who went about continually doing good.” (Dr. J. Hamilton.)


Our spiritual life, our love, joy, peace, long-suffering, and gentleness, all set us free for this--to do good. Just as we read in those mysterious words how our Blessed Lord said, “For their sakes I sanctify Myself.” What a world it is, With all its myriad woes and troubles! He who would do good seems, as he steps into it, to be swept away by the very multitude and persistency of the calls upon him, like a man who goes down with a basket of food into a hungry crowd. To do good is to do something in the great work of putting the world right And then there comes the further question, how to do good? How are we to set to work to make our influence felt, and to cause our good desires to take effect? “A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth that which is good” (Luke 6:45). If any asks how to do good, the answer surely will be this, “be good.” “A letter was once written to an old clergyman whose ministry had been greatly blessed. ‘My people,’ said the writer, ‘are cold and heartless. Tell me how I can effect a revival of religion in my parish’: The answer was very brief. ‘My brother,’ he said, ‘revive thyself’ “Are we the right people to do good? Are we trying to be perfect? Jesus Christ was perfect, and told us to be perfect also. No one could have met Him, even in the ordinary walks of life, without experiencing some electric shock of goodness, as it were, of that virtue which went out of Him. Are we, again, in sympathy with all the world? Does that invitation, “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men,” find a response in our hearts? Not in interesting cases merely, or among the intelligent and hopeful, but to all men; to the uninteresting, the unintelligent, the brutal, the selfish, the contemptible. There will after this arise the third question, Where can I do good? What is my mission? What am I called to do? What am I fitted for? There is the priesthood, the medical profession, the masters of education, the missionaries, the superintendents of homes, penitentiaries, religious bodies, and the like. These are our representatives in the manifold work of “goodness.” Do we recognize this? Do we recognize that here comes in the solemn obligation of alms giving? And what a blessed thing it is, this goodness, this αγαθωσύνη, this Bonitas. Think of the gratitude, therefore, the prayers which follow the path of the good man. And yet it is a virtue so delicate, a fruit with such a tender bloom, a spring so very delicate, that it soon becomes injured. “A good man is a popular character, and a good man has dangers to contend with which we must never lose sight of while we gaze at the beauty of the character. St. Barnabas, the good man of Holy Scripture, failed from good-nature in a matter involving important doctrinal issues: he failed, also from good-nature, in a difficult matter which concerned his friend and kinsman St. Mark. (W. C. E. Newbolt.)


Faith, a fruit of the Spirit

We are in a world, the fashion of which--to us at least--is passing away. I cannot believe that annihilation can be asserted of any creation of God; for annihilation means the destruction of the substance of things; and the substance of things, whatever change may come to their outward embodiments or their visible expression, eternally endures. But while the substance of things may remain, yet the fashion of things is continually passing away. With the lower which is passing, and the upper which is abiding, man alike lives in copartnership. In his body he is connected with that which is transient. He knows that his life, measured by his earthly connections, is as a vapour--a cloud of the morning--and happy is the thought that it is a cloud of the morning and not of the night; that, when it disappears, it disappears not because darkness has swallowed it up, but because a greater splendour has captured it with its own nature and given it its own sublimity. It is one thing to disappear into the night. It is another thing to be mingled with and be made a part of the morning. It is one of the most satisfactory reflections which the mind of man can entertain, that this faith in his inherent indestructibility is race-wide and race-deep. It is native to every clime and coexistent with every age. Even grossness has been unable to conceal the lustrous evidence of this pure and exalted instinct. However deep and black the alluvia, still mingled with the foulness were grains of purest gold, so that it might almost be said that the very flats of humanity are full of this priceless evidence, as if the shining proofs had been sown broadcast from the hand of God. It can be said that a dim instinct, at least, of immortality is a part of the inevitable bestowment made by God to the human being in his very inception. Indeed, I cannot conceive of God as creating one in His image devoid of this instinct. It seems to me to constitute the essential characteristic of the resemblance. It is enough to satisfy the longing of legitimate pride to reflect that by nature, at least, we are children of God. And I envy no man his way of looking at himself, if he look at himself along any lower level. My self-respect roots itself in the remembrance of my parentage. I am myself--in the endlessness of my existence--in the progressiveness of my vitality--in the capacities which I express--a fruit of the Spirit; a ripe result of operations which culminated in the birth of my being. Whence came we then?--There is but one answer: we came out of God. By nature we are His children. Being thus born, we came into the world organized for a sublime faith. Being thus born, we cannot mistrust ourselves so far as to think of ourselves as being only creatures of a day. Out of our very structure proceeds a voice of prophecy. And in ourselves is written, as ineraseable letters on an indestructible tablet, the predictions of a dignified and exalted destiny. The present is not our home; it is only the vestibule through which we are passing in order that we may come and enter into our everlasting home. It was for the enlargement of your faith that history was called into existence to record the birth of the world and the creation of man. It was for the confirmation of your faith that men with eyes to look into eternity were ever and anon, as the centuries passed, born of women, who spoke as they were moved by the sublime visions that they saw, and whose fervent testimony, flaming into lyric splendour, lighted up the darkness of ignorance, and made the heavenly city stand out to sight as if a supernatural sunrise had poured its light through time into eternity. It was for the enlargement of your faith in yourself, as well as in God, that heaven loaned its central Life to the earth for the space of a generation, and put so much of its sweet wisdom into human speech, and so much of its loving into human affection, that they who heard the heavenly speech grew wise as the angels, and they who felt through Him the heavenly love, had born within their breasts an answering affection. It was for the education of your faith that this wonderful Being not only condescended to be born of woman, but to live a life which subjected Him to base reproach, and finally to endure the pangs--the pangs such as only the noblest nature might feel--of a shameful and cruel death, in the which, although pure in His nature and stainless in record as snow, He nevertheless was made an exhibition of as if He had been evil born and lived a life of evil deeds. And this was done that you might have faith in God--not as existent in the far-off heavens, above cloud, and star, and the blue rim of eight--but as existing in innocent manhood just such as yours ought to be--yes, that you might have faith in God in man, or as the Scripture phrases it, “Immanuel, God with us.” I have called your attention to three sources of this faith: birth or nature; history; the teachings, life, and death of Jesus. There is one more for us to consider: the present work of the Spirit, as an enlightening and sanctifying influence in our faculties as they are momentarily exercised, by which we are enabled to see things rightly and incline to do only right things. And he who is enabled to see things rightly is sure to have a faith which is correct in its nature and abundant in its strength. And this we will illustrate. You may take this matter of worldliness, or of loving overmuch this world, its pursuits and its gains. It is a common mistake, and yet it is a mistake that could not occur if we had been enlightened of the Spirit to see things rightly. For when you look at this world rightly you see first that it is only a temporary residence--and that is a truth which none of you can deny. We see--

1. That it is only a temporary residence;

2. That its pursuits are chiefly valuable because they educate us. (W. H. Murray, D. D.)

On faith, or fidelity

I. Let us show wherein consists that fidelity which is an effect of the Holy Spirit. It will be better understood from a view of its relative bearings, than from an abstract definition.

1. We must be faithful to God.

2. We must be faithful to men.

II. Let us prove the vast importance of faithfulness.

1. This grace is absolutely necessary to give value to every other branch of religion. What is a lofty, widespreading tree, with a rotten trunk? What is a spacious and beautiful house built on the sand, which must be sapped by the rising flood, or overthrown by the wintry storm? And what are the gifts, talents, and attainments of one who is destitute of faith and sincerity? We condemn, in strong language, the man who basely betrays his friend; the subject who traitorously lays schemes for the life of his lawful sovereign; or the prince, who sells the liberties and lives of his people to gratify a boundless ambition. But what shall we say of the man, who denies his God, crucifies the Saviour afresh, and trucks away the gem of truth for the poor glittering baubles of the world?

2. The importance of faithfulness is obvious, as it is necessary to our own comfort. Though a person could wrap himself so closely in the cloak of hypocrisy, and so artfully manage his vizard, as never to be detected by his fellow-creatures, would he thus make sure of happiness? No; in the path of deceit there is no peace. Conscience will renew, from time to time, her troublesome accusations.

3. The importance of faithfulness is obvious, as it is necessary to the credit of religion and the honour of Christ. Nothing has brought so much scandal on the gospel as the conduct of hypocrites and apostates. The men of the world are always on the watch to spy defects in professing Christians.

III. Let us inquire what are the leading marks, or signs, by which this faithfulness may be known.

1. A faithful man is willing impartially to examine his own state.

2. A faithful Christian has a deep sense of the deceitfulness and danger of sin.

3. A faithful Christian fixes his whole dependence on Divine grace. (John Thornton.)


is sanctified imagination; it is having the horizon above the world; it is believing that there are things that have no mortal forms, in a future, in a whole assembly of intelligence above your head; it is having a life hereafter, a greater life than this. Ah! the man who sits in his house all day knows exactly what he knows--that is the fireplace, that is the rug, that is the fender, that is the door. That is what is called a practical person, who knows what he does know. But out of doors the whole heaven is above his head, night and day, filled with inestimable treasures. (H. W. Beecher.)

Faith is the fullest and completest exercise of reason. It is the conscious trusty dependence of our whole nature upon God. It will not make the sun rise sooner, but it will make the night seem shorter. (T. T. Lynch.)


The balance of probability and authority would lead us to regard that πίστις which is the fruit of the Spirit, as faithfulness. The spiritual man is faithful--faithful to his God, to his work, to himself. The life of faithfulness is a life of truth. And we remember again how, in earthly matters at all events, we pride ourselves on keeping our word. We recall the glow of splendour which lingers still around famous scenes in history, where men have risked anything and everything to keep a trust. We trace its magic power still, where the historian ascribes the influence of Livingstone over the affections and sympathies of the savage African tribes to that moment of noble faithfulness when he gave up the gratification of an earnest longing for home, and rest, and distinction, which bewitchingly offered itself to him at the end of his weary march, that he might keep faith with the natives who trusted to him for guidance, albeit that faith meant disappointment, weariness, wandering, and perhaps death. And although we might well recall ourselves by the thought, “Who art thou that repliest against God?” still it is not hard to see, not the reasonableness only, but the strength of the vow, and the great part which faith or faithfulness has to play in the spiritual life. In the baptismal vow there is the promise to renounce, the promise to believe, and the promise to do certain things. The child starts out into the foggy night, where there are the dazzling lights of the streets, the confusion of the cross-ways, the seductions of evil, the perplexity of the path; and it is no slight strength to such a child to say to him, “Promise to go straight on; if any one asks you to turn into that brilliant tavern, say, I have promised not to do so: if any one says, This is not the way, turn down that broader street, and more attractive path, say, I have promised to keep straight on: if any one says, Come with me and enjoy yourself first, say, No, I am intrusted with a trust, I must do my bidding and discharge my obligation. All this is a strength and support to him in the conflict of seduction with duty. And further still, the vow is reciprocal. “Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you.” The renunciation of evil is to clear the way for the advent of good; the belief in God and His truth is the prelude to the influx of that glorious tide of mercy; the doing His will is to tread in those paths where we most certainly shall meet Him and be cheered by Him. His ways are ways of pleasantness, and all His paths are peace. And the life of fidelity is doubtless a hard one. Faith is nothing else than a fruit of the Spirit. The renunciation is severe: to give up, and have nothing whatever to do with, the devil, the world, and the flesh. And here we remember that the fruit of the Spirit is faith or faithfulness; it is a gift of God. It is possible now, by God’s mercy, to be faithful; it is possible to pay our vows. (W. C. E. Newbolt.)


Meekness, a fruit of the Spirit

The popular definition or conception of meekness is not the scriptural one in two particulars; for, in the first place, the popular conception of meekness pictures it as a state of mind or mood of spirit in one man toward another man; whereas the scriptural idea makes it appear as a state of mind or mood of soul which a man has toward his God. I can be a meek man, for instance, and not be meek toward man at all; meekness relates to God. In ether words, whatever definition you put upon meekness, it does not describe my feelings toward or for others; it simply describes the attitude of my mind and soul towards the Deity. And this distinction, you can see, is of a character to change the entire line of thought running through the discourse. If meekness were a term descriptive of a state of a man’s feelings toward his fellow-men, the line of thought would be in one direction; but if meekness be a term descriptive of a man’s feelings toward his God, then the line of thought would run in altogether a different direction. To illustrate: When the Bible speaks of Moses as being the meekest man, does it describe the state of his disposition or the mannerism of his bearing toward his fellows; or does it describe the state of his disposition and the mannerism of his bearing toward the Deity? The apprehension of this distinction shed the first light my mind received on this subject: and I said, Very well; if meekness has nothing to do with one’s attitude toward his fellow-men, but is strictly and beautifully descriptive of the soul’s feeling toward God, I know which way the path of my examination lies. This is the first difference I discerned between the popular and the scriptural conception of meekness. The second difference is as to the quality of meekness, or its character as a feeling. What is the feeling that we call meekness? We have found out what the proper object of it is; now let us discover, if we may, what the feeling is. In the first place, mark what it is not: it is not weak. Many a man and many a woman who has been filled with meekness toward God, has at the same time stood up in the might of a majestic strength and defied the power of man, even when that power appeared in the terrible guise of cruellest death. Then again, here is another characteristic of meekness. The Saviour said, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” In other words, a man in whose soul is developed the filial fear of God-in whose soul is this inner strength which enables him in the face of all human opposition to do right even at the cost of his life--is a man fitted to possess the whole earth. Pile all the treasures of the world into one heap; bring together its gems, its precious metals, its priceless ores, its beauties that grow out of the earth and hang pendant from the skies--bring these all together, I say, and over against them place the man who fears God and does not fear man, and he is worthy to possess them, is fit to use them, is great and noble enough to own and handle them. Not only so; but the soul that has in it this feeling toward God has in it also a sensing power to receive the richness of all this accumulated wealth. Nothing but love can appreciate the gifts of love; and love does appreciate such gifts invariably. So then, we conclude that meekness is--

1. Descriptive of a state of mind and soul toward God and not man;

2. Is strong and not weak;

3. Is expressive of a disposition that can receive of the beauty of the Lord as it stands revealed in the earth, and hence might truly be said to inherit it. It is not the kings of the earth, not its warriors, not those who are mighty in their command of material forces, and who are only thus mighty, that shall inherit the earth; not those who are proud in the sufficiency of their self-conceit, that shall own the earth; but those who have within them this spiritual enlightenment to apprehend the spirit that is hidden from eyes not thus enlightened, those who are humble before God, those who are meek, and therefore fully and sweetly receptive in their spirits, that shall possess the untold treasures which God bestows upon those that love Him. And if this were the day and the hour of Divine inspection and decision, if this were the moment for us all to be judged as to our inward state and ripeness of capacity, should we be of the number of those who are meek--should we be of the number of those within whom and upon whom the Divine Spirit has moved with its enlightening and refining influence? In thinking of this trait being fostered in your disposition, do not think of it as you stand related to men; but think of it as if you were not connected with men at all--as if there were no men living, if that will help your imagination, and you stood connected with God only. This brings out the blessed ministry of meekness. It connects us with God. And this makes it priceless to the soul; for what is so priceless as that which binds us so closely and happily to Him? (W. H. Murray, D. D.)

Meekness an evidence of connection with God

Are there any here who are absent from home? Are there any of you here who, being thus absent, have a picture of a loved one with you, a picture that you often look at--look at when alone by yourself, and suddenly hide if you hear one coming, not because you are ashamed of being seen looking at the picture, but because the picture is too sacred to be seen by another? Have any of you your mother’s picture--the picture of a mother who is away from you, divided by a distance on the earth, or perhaps divided not by any distance, but because your eyes cannot see into the heaven that holds its atmosphere for ever around you, as sunshine is around the blind? Have any of you in your houses at home, hanging somewhere in the wall, the picture of the house in which you were born; of the dear old place where you began to live, which to-day stands associated with mother and father, with brother and sister and youthful companions--the old place, known in every curve of the banks, in every slope of the hills, in every rock by the roadside, in every footpath and every stone in the footpath; known as you know no other spot on earth, not even the house in which you used to live--have any of you, I say, any such picture? If you have, they will serve as an illustration. Just as these pictures bind you to mother, father, loved one, and the dear old home of your earlier days and perhaps your happiest--as these pictures, when you look at them, bring back the faces and scenes that you once saw so vividly that you realize them as you might not otherwise do--realize them so that your heart grows warm and the eye perhaps yields the mist of affectionate remembrance; so in the face of this heaven-born meekness, when once it has become a trait of your disposition, you can see the evidence of your connection with God, the proof that you are His--His in a sense and a way that no distance can separate you, and no passage of time can sever the connection. (W. H. Murray, D. D.)

On meekness

Patience keeps the mind firm and unshaken under sufferings; meekness renders it calm and unruffled amidst provocations. These kindred graces may be easily distinguished, but cannot be separated.

I. Here i shalt point out the nature and exercise of Christian meekness. Meekness is a disposition which keeps the mind from aspiring after things too high for us. Being fixed in our proper place, it makes us easy there. Meekness is opposed to all those troublesome passions, which, when an extravagant self-estimation is cherished, the thwarting opinions and vexatious humours of other men never fail to excite. Meekness is the growth of pure religion, cherished in the heart, and displaying its fruits in the life.

1. Christian meekness fits the mind to receive or impart spiritual instruction. Pride blocks up the passage through which truth enters the heart. “Receiving in meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save our souls.”

2. Meekness disposes a Christian to refrain from stirring up angry passions in others, and renders him calm under their provocations. A meek man will not rekindle the dying embers of resentment, by lending his breath to blow them, much less add fuel to heighten the flame. He feels it his duty to guard his heart against the tumults of impetuous passions.

3. Meekness disposes the mind to forgive injuries.

4. Meekness will dispose the Christian to suppress the first risings of a murmuring spirit, and to live contented with the allotments of Providence.

II. I shall adduce a few considerations to recommend the cultivation of meekness.

1. Meekness is one of the clearest evidences of personal religion.

2. Meekness is one of the brightest ornaments, as well as one of the clearest evidences of personal religion. Think of its permanence. Meekness makes no ostentatious display to the eyes; but investing the hidden man of the heart, it will wear well. It is said, like the soul itself, to be incorruptible. When all the beauties of the visible creation are faded, and all its glories extinguished, this fair ornament will shine with untarnished and evergrowing lustre. Think of its unspeakable value. Some things are fondly admired by children, which are despised by men, and those things which are highly prized and eagerly sought by men, appear but worthless toys to angels. But a meek and quiet spirit, in the view of all good men, in the eyes of holy angels, and in the sight of God, is of great price.

3. Meekness will enable you to achieve the noblest victories. Have you with well-doing put to silence the ignorance of foolish men? you have gained a greater trophy, than if, like Brutus, with a vengeful hand you had stabbed a tyrant to the heart. Have you by mild forbearance or winning kindness, conciliated an enemy, or brought a profane hardened scoffer to weep and pray? you have obtained a nobler victory than if you had subdued an empire. The honour which arises from overcoming evil with good, will be read in the book of God’s remembrance, when time shall be no longer!

III. I shall offer some directions that may be useful in promoting Christian meekness.

1. Set a watchful guard over your tempers and passions. The tradesman must keep his shop, or he cannot prosper; the cultivator must keep his vineyard, or it will not be fruitful; and the Christian must keep his heart, or he cannot be safe. Better were it to admit a thief into your house, than this incendiary into the soul. Shut every gate, bar every door, and block up every avenue where it is wont to gain success.

2. Avoid, as much as possible, all occasions which excite and nourish pride and passion. The remains of corruption in them are like sediment at the bottom of a pool which rises when the water is troubled. Let it, then, be your care to avoid those causes, which stir up your proud and angry passions.

3. Place before you the brightest examples of meekness.

4. Seek meekness by meditation and prayer. (John Thornton.)

Definition of meekness

Meekness is a mild and placid disposition of mind, which subdues and restrains our angry passions; which gives sweetness to our tempers, dignity and kindness to our words and actions. Free from censoriousness, and reluctant to offend, it is not easily ruffled by provocation. It blends the harmlessness of the dove with the gentleness of the lamb; it bears injury without resentment, or a disposition to revenge. It covers the faults of others with the mantle of love, and while it is censured and reviled, it remains undisturbed as the island amid the raging of the stormy waves around. (W. H. Elliott, M. A.)

Meekness is love at school--the Saviour’s school

It is Christian lowlihood. It is the disciple learning to know himself; learning to fear, and distrust, and abhor himself. It is the disciple practising the sweet but self-emptying lesson of putting on the Lord Jesus, and finding all his righteousness in that righteous other. It is the disciple learning the defects of his own character, and taking hints from hostile as well as friendly monitors. It is the disciple praying and watching for the improvement of his talents, the mellowing of his temper, and the amelioration of his character. It is the loving Christian at the Saviour’s feet, learning of Him who is meek and lowly, and finding rest for his own soul. (J. Hamilton, D. D.)

Power of meekness

One day, as he strolled along a river, Gotthold came to a straight and stately alder tree, growing upon the bank, and said to himself: This kind of timber is the softest, and can without difficulty be split, cut, and wrought; and yet experience proves the fact that it does not rot in water. In fact, the greater part of the city of Venice stands upon piles of alder, which sunk in the sea, forms the foundations of great massive buildings. It is the same with meek hearts. There is no better basis for important undertakings of public or private utility, than that intelligent modesty, which is gentle indeed, and ready to yield as far as a good conscience will allow, but which nevertheless lasts and continues stable in the flood of contradiction.


This Christian grace is universal in its operation--submission Godward, meekness manward, which seems to be its special reference. The meek man bears himself mildly; submissively; in all things, “like a weaned child;” neither arraigns God, nor avenges himself on man. (J. Eadie, D. D.)

Advantage of meekness

There is nothing lost by meekness and yielding. Abraham yields over his right of choice: Lot taketh it. And, behold! Lot is crossed in that which he chose; Abraham blest in that which was left him. As heaven is taken by violence, so is earth with meekness. And God (the true proprietor) loves no tenants better, nor grants larger leases to any, than to the meek. (John Trapp.)

Test of meekness

As we do not keep tinder in every box in the house, so we do not keep the sense of anger in every faculty. When one comes against the door of some faculties with an injury, we look over the railing, and say, “I’ll forgive you for that; for you did not get in.” But by-and-by, when the faculty where we are sensitive is entered, then we grind our teeth, and say, “I could have forgiven him for anything but that!” We must not arrogate to ourselves a spirit of forgiveness, until we have been touched to the quick where we are sensitive, and borne it meekly: and meekness is not mere white-facedness, a mere contemplative virtue; it is maintaining peace and patience in the midst of provocations. (H. W. Beecher)

Example of meekness

When Sir Matthew Hale dismissed a jury because he was convinced that it had been illegally chosen to favour the Protector, the latter was highly displeased with him; and when Sir Matthew returned from the circuit, Cromwell told him in anger that he was not fit to be a judge; to which all the answer he made was, “that that was very true.”

Meekness and forgiveness

Joseph Bradford was for some years the travelling companion of Mr. Wesley, for whom he would have sacrificed health and even life, but to whom his will would never bend, except in meekness. “Joseph,” said Mr. Wesley, one day, “take these letters to the post.” B. “I will take them after preaching, sir.” W. “Take them now, Joseph.” B. “I wish to hear you preach, sir; and there will be sufficient time for the post, after service.” W. “I insist upon your going now, Joseph.” B. “I will not go at present.” W. “You won’t?” B. “No, sir.” W. “Then you and I must part.” B. “Very good, sir.” The good men slept over it. Both were early risers. At four o’clock the next morning, the refractory helper was accosted with, “Joseph, have you considered what I said--that we must part?” B. “Yes, sir.” W. “And must we part?” B. “Please yourself, sir.” W. “Will you ask my pardon Joseph?” B. “No, sir.” W. “You won’t?” B. “No, sir.” W. “Then I will ask yours, Joseph.” Poor Joseph was instantly melted; smitten as by the word of Moses; when forth gushed the tears, like the water from the rock. He had a tender soul; and it was soon observed, when the appeal was made to the heart, instead of the head. (Anecdotes of the Wesleys.)

The secret of Christian fruitfulness

Plutarch asks how it is that the fig-tree, whose root, stem, branches, and leaves are so extremely bitter, should bear such sweet and pleasant fruit. It may also be asked how the sweet fruits of the Spirit can grow on the bitter stock of nature. Not otherwise but by faith and repentance being grafted into the stock of Christ Jesus. (Spencer.)


A pushing man in a crowd does not push himself very far after all--he knocks down a few children, or thrusts aside a few women; but the broad shoulders and strong arms make themselves broader and stronger and sterner, where perhaps they would relax, yield, and give way to a child or to a weak woman, or to one who was gentle. But after all that can be said, meekness is a difficult virtue. There is something in that “impassiveness,” ( ἀοργησὶα)to which Aristotle opposed it, which has a real existence still as a spiritual counterfeit. Meekness is rare; it is unpopular. Pride is a sin which especially fastens on the good; and meekness suffers from spurious imitations of some of its accidents, and we know, only to despise, such tares among the wheat as little-mindedness, affectation, or that which we style in contemptuous pity, an amiable weakness. How then is this grace, so tender, so delicate, yet so beautiful, to be encouraged within our hearts, without any of that false admixture of mock humility, which is only pride in another form? The first step surely will be to keep out pride; and, in order to effect this, resolutely to stop all the avenues through which it comes, that pride which feeds upon us as a parasite upon a tree. Seeking for praise, is such an avenue, wherein pride fastens upon us with a restless hunger, snatching surreptitious crumbs of comfort even from the ruin of another’s credit, or picking them up out of his depreciation. Putting one’s self forward, is another avenue by which pride, entering m, makes us think that we are necessary to the very well-being of society. Want of simplicity, is a very wide avenue; so are self-gratification, criticism, comparison, talking of self--all these are inlets through which it enters with a full stream--rising up through vanity, conceit, and self-love, with a polluting, stifling flood, until it annihilates the love of God on the high places of our soul, carrying away with it mercy, truth, charity, and meekness, the very charter of our inheritance as sons. And individuality as such is never a pleasing trait; the maker of the shield who so worked in his name that you could not destroy it without destroying the shield, is not a noble conception; it contrasts harshly with true artistic greatness, and is like “the memorial stone” of some modern ecclesiastical building glaring out of She wall, as compared with the foundation-stone of some grand old cathedral buried deep in the ground, unknown and forgotten as the very builders themselves, who were contented if they had but raised a building in which posterity might worship God. Good work is often spoilt by the affectation of the workman. Yes, apart from any higher motives, if we are to possess the earth, let us stop these avenues through which that deadly satisfaction comes, which ends in pride, and the fatal assertion of a disproportionate self. And, after all, what is self? Is not this another way in which to kill pride--to know ourselves? What class am I in, as it were? It is no credit to a schoolboy to remain high up in the second class, if that only means that if he were removed he would be at the bottom of the first. And taking all our life with all its mistakes, is it so very wonderful? Just as children sometimes amuse themselves with painting, and some kind friend tells them that the result is good, meaning that it is good for them--so is all our work, only good for us; before it can be ]presented, it will need to be touched anew and remodelled by a Higher hand, and what is crowned will not be our merits but His gifts: And if all our life were known, all our thoughts, our meanness, our pettiness, our narrowness, where would satisfaction be? Ah! if only we knew ourselves, this knowledge would keep us humble! If only we had before our eyes the rough, dirty, unkempt, ragged figure which we presented before God took us in hand, and clothed us and taught us, and made us what we are! And another way still, is surely to try and know other people as well as to know ourselves. Perhaps the person about whom we have roughly followed the general classification in placing him among “publicans and sinners,” will stand out an apostle; while the apostle who, as we thought, was busied in actions of mercy to the poor, will turn out a traitor; and the publicans and harlots will be stepping into heaven before those who coarsely taunted them with their sins. Oh! how much good there is in the world! Let us remember this. It was said in one of those revolutionary disturbances which from time to time have broken over Paris that when “the party of order” had the courage to take to the streets, they were surprised to find how many they were; if we could see the good that is going on all around us, it would not only cheer us, but make us humble. Those who are moving up and down among the wounded in life’s conflict, to heal, to cheer, and to soothe, are not so conspicuous as the glitter and glare of arms and accoutrements, and the flash and gleam of battle. The grand ship cuts her way through the waves with swift and powerful motion, and we do not stop to think of those who are working out of sight to secure that motion. The strength and beauty of life around us is owing, it may be, to those whose left hand does not know what their right hand is doing. Where God, who “is provoked every day,” is so meek and gentle with us, we, at all events, cannot afford to be proud, and rough, and harsh with others. And yet another way still to this end, is to accept humiliation. It is said that when Louis XVI. of France, previously to his execution, was about to be bound, he showed signs of resistance; but that upon his confessor (the Abbe Edgeworth) reminding him that our Lord submitted to be bound, the king immediately acquiesced with a remark to this effect; “assuredly it needed nothing less than His example to induce me to undergo so great an indignity.” We read in the Life of the Pere Lacordaire of the austerities which he practised to crush in himself all feeling of self-satisfaction after his splendid conferences in Notre Dame. God has plenty of these wholesome humiliations in store for us; there are those, certainly, which follow hard upon most of our active work for Him: criticism, which scourges our self-complacency; rejection, which wounds our self-love; and defeat, which shatters our self-superiority. And we are the servants of a God who works by defeat. All such things are an excellent corrective to pride; to be superseded by some one who does the duty so much better than we did; to be withdrawn, in all the healing bitterness of the feeling “ I am not needed;” to have to recognize a superior hand, just to miss the going into the premised land, and to hand it over to Joshua. And then further, we are in the presence of perfect goodness. If we say a prayer, think whither our prayers have to penetrate, and who it is who presents them! How can an inferior singer venture on some well-known song in the presence of any great or illustrious performer, who has made that song his own! And then further still, we are in the presence of the Giver, it is all His. His grace, His strength, His body, His soul, His spirit; “What hast thou that thou didst not receive?” Therefore, perhaps, we have come to this. Humility and meekness are a sign of greatness; they show that we have at least an ideal. “Alas, I am satisfied!” this was the lament of a great sculptor who feared in this thought a sign of the decadence of his art. (W. C. E. Newbolt.)


Temperance, a fruit of the Spirit

Order has been called the first law of God. And order implies perfect control on the part of intelligence over all things within its domain. And we know--slight as our real knowledge is of the natural forces that are around us in the earth and air and waters under the earth--how essential that the bond which binds all forces together in orderly connection should not be cut or weakened in a single strand. The nobility of self-control, as well as the absolute necessity of it, is perceived in the study of the nature and the administration of God. It can also be seen as we study the nature and doings of man. Now, man has his realm, In it he is sovereign; and his realm is first his own nature, and secondly the space circumscribed within the influences which that nature exerts. In the first place, I say, man must have control over himself. He must treat himself as a force that needs control, as a collection of energies that need restraint and direction, as a being of emotions that must not rise save in certain directions, as a creature of appetite which must be kept subordinate; and by appetite we mean any strong desire, any urgent craving after a thing. In looking into the matter of human appetites, perhaps the most prominent fact you discover is that they are natural. They are found imbedded in the organic structure of man. The physical appetites reveal themselves first; but the mind has its native cravings as truly as the body. The spirit also--by which we mean that faculty in us which holds relations to the moral realm--has its natural characteristics. Neroes and Caligulas are born. Their gratification in cruelty made them monsters. Even time, that rounds off so many angles and mellows so much that is garish, refuses to soften a single line of their harsh vices, or soften the fierce and baleful expression of their career. Bonapartes and Caesars are born as truly as drunkards--born with the appetite for fame, for glory, for power. History tells us to what excesses these mental appetites can carry persons, and into what miseries they can plunge mankind. These men and their like were born with violent appetites, unruly desires, an inordinate craving after prominence, power, and the splendour of a great career. What to them were sacked cities, burning villages, and blazing hamlets? What to them the dying agonies of slaughtered troops, the widow’s wail, the orphan’s cry, the imprecations of men and the indignation of God? These men knew no moderation. Their appetites, uncontrolled and perhaps uncontrollable by mortal power, urged them into such excesses that Justice, forgetting her function in her righteous rage, smote their memories with her scales as if she would not deign to weigh them in her balances; and Mercy herself refused to champion their cause, being utterly alienated in her sympathy by the number and magnitude of their dreadful crimes. Observe, now, the actions of physical appetites. How gross the spectacle of the animal exhibition we behold! In our country gluttony is not in vogue; but the time has been when it flourished in nations of highest civilization, and I think it may be said, as a natural adjunct of the civilization. In our age intemperance crops out not in eating but in drinking. We stimulate the nerves instead of gorging the stomach. We sin against the mind more directly than against the body. The sin of intemperance springs from two causes: a physical appetite and a mental habit. The mental habit is acquired, and is especially acquired by brain-workers. But the question may be asked--and I have often asked it myself--why did the Creator make us so? Why did He who designed our structure and mingled the elements of our nature, not make us more moderate, self-contained, and less impulsive? Why did He kindle in us such fiery heats, or build, as it were, into the very walls of the edifice such combustible material? In reply. Our creation, as it seems to me, is as it is because it is one of power and dignity. Greatness is great because of the strength of its tendencies, the warmth of its emotions, and its liabilities to overdo and go astray. We could have been made more moderate if we had been made weaker; but we could not have been made more moderate and possessed the strength, the force, the impulsive and emotional energies that we do. Now and then you come across a man who is all moderation; not because of any masterly control he has over himself whereby he holds the outgoing forces of his nature back with benevolent restraint; but because he lacks the force and energy. What small sinners some people are! They sin weakly. Their morality is limp. It takes a great angel to make a great devil. It takes great strength to be monumentally virtuous or monumentally wicked. It seems to me, then, that we were made as we are in order that we might become truly great. And how do men and women become great? They become great through great resistances, great struggles, and great victories. One must wrestle with the angels of light and the angels of darkness both, if he would be thewed and corded with spiritual power. Therefore, temperance, or a wise and noble control of one’s nature touching every outgoing of one’s power, does not imply negation, but the strongest kind of affirmation. And again: Self-control is the only kind that really covers the whole man. Laws control the actions; but actions are only the results of emotional causes. And while the actions can be dictated to by law, can be checked--yet the emotional causes strike their roots deeper into the nature than the hand of law can reach. You may arrest a thief and put him into the prison cell, and thereby restrain his thievish actions; but his thievish instincts remain untouched, remain in all their force laughing from the depths in which they are imbedded at your attempts to reach them, when you only pass your hand, as it were, over the surface far beneath which they lurk. Nothing short of, nothing less penetrative, nothing less potent or radical than, the Spirit of God can put its arrest upon the instincts of man. The central idea of the word temperance, which in our text is named as one of the fruits of the Spirit, is self-control. And this self-mastery relates first and with greatest emphasis to ourselves. It is the foundation on which all nobility of nature must be builded. Without it, character is essentially unsound and likely to become corrupt. For your own selves, therefore, for your peace of mind, for your self-esteem, for that satisfaction in living which comes from the consciousness that you are living rightly, we should all alike make it the first object of our endeavours. To be able to stand up against the pressure of any current, from whatever direction it may come, and with whatever force it may strike us--to be able to bit and bridle our passions and control the otherwise wild and runaway forces of our nature--is a consummation so devoutly to be wished that all others may be regarded as subordinate. Nor should we fail to put ourselves in connection with any helpful agencies. If Christianity can help us, then we should avail ourselves of the teachings, and above all of the spirit, of Christianity. If the power needed for such a sublime service can only be received from heavenly bestowment, then heaven should not go unbesought of us. If the Father can help us, then the Father’s aid should be invoked. This is a conclusion in respect to which I feel confident, whatever may be our views and opinions touching subsidiary questions, we can unite in common and hearty agreement. But we cannot and we do not live alone. The social structure of the world, based upon our social natures common to all men, makes isolation impossible to us. We are knitted and knotted together. We are interwoven as threads when they have been, by the skill of men and the pressure of machinery, incorporated into one fabric. We cannot help influencing others, nor can we protect ourselves from that interaction of influences which, as we affect others, causes others to affect us. We mar or make the happiness of many. The joy of many lives holds to us the same relation that the flowers in spring-time hold to the sun. From us they receive those warm and vivifying influences which, and which alone, make them floral. We can be the sun or we can be the frost unto thousands. We are strong enough in our capacities of imparting pleasure to make them happy. We are strong enough in our capacity to impart pain to make them wretched. If we hold ourselves in such control that the going forth of our natures is salutary and blessed to them, then do we indeed make their lives, If, lacking this self-control, the forces of our natures go forth lawlessly, then it is not only their happiness, but even the existence of their virtue, put in peril. How solemn, therefore, is the exhortation which comes to us from these grave and tender considerations that we become temperate in our lives; that we surrender our natures to the influences of that Spirit that worketh out in them so desirable a result! For what is the use of living unless we can make some one happy? Why do we draw breath? Why do we toil? Why do we pile our backs with burdens? Why do we fill our mouth with laughter, and yield our eyes to tears, unless in so doing we supply our own souls with their natural food for good, and give unto others the support, the pleasure, and the consolation that they need? (W. H. Murray, D. D.)

On temperance

I. A brief outline of temperance.

1. To be temperate we must use with moderation the common comforts that Providence bestows for the support of nature. The Christian must neither insult the God of providence by despising His gifts, nor provoke Him by wasting and abusing them.

2. To be temperate we must possess that chastity which is opposed to lascivious passions.

II. It will be necessary to assign some reasons why temperance is called the fruit of the Spirit.

1. Nothing can be justly denominated a virtue, but that which is produced by a proper motive, and referred to a proper end. A principle of rectitude, or purity, must influence the heart. Now nothing can change and effectually renew the heart, but Divine grace. The operations of the Divine Spirit only can produce that which strictly deserves the name of temperance.

2. The operations of the Holy Spirit, applying Divine truth to the heart, have recovered many from the most fixed and inveterate habits of gross sensuality, to a life of sobriety and purity. To confirm this observation, we need only refer to the first fruits of their ministry, whom Christ first employed to preach the gospel. But such instances were not confined to that age: in every age, some have been brought, by the power of Divine grace, from the vilest intemperance to a life of sobriety and chastity. Colonel Gardiner, who before his conversion, was so much given up to profligacy, particularly to lewdness, that he used to say, “God Himself could not reform him without giving him a new constitution,” declared that “afterwards he felt no temptation from what had once been his besetting sin.” Mr. Brainerd, whose labours were so eminently blessed to the conversion of many American Indians, after that remarkable outpouring of the Spirit, which attended the preaching of Christ, and Him crucified, among them, observes, that a very visible and happy change immediately followed in their conduct. “Numbers,” says he, “of these people are brought to a strict compliance with the rules of morality and sobriety, and to a conscientious performance of the external duties of Christianity, without their having been frequently inculcated upon them, and the contrary vices particularly exposed. When the great truths of the gospel were felt at heart, there was no vice unreformed, no external duty neglected. Drunkenness, their darling vice, was broken off, and scarcely an instance known of it for months together. The practice of husbands and wives in putting away each other, and taking others in their stead, was quickly reformed. The same might be said of all other vicious practices: the reformation was general, and all springing from the internal influence of Divine truth upon their hearts.”

3. The operations of the Holy Spirit, applying the word of truth to the heart, subdue those strong propensities to intemperance, which would break out and gather strength by indulgence, if not prevented by a powerful counteracting cause. Spiritual-mindedness cannot consist with the sickening scenes of riot and lewdness. They that are after the flesh, do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.

III. We shall mention some of the advantages of temperance.

1. There is a noble kind of freedom invariably attending Christian temperance. The believer is not only free from the curse, but also from the reigning power of sin. The senses, appetites and passions, become subject to the enlightened understanding and renewed will. The inferior powers of our nature are brought to obey, rather than rule, the higher faculties of the soul. This is justly styled, “The glorious liberty of the children of God.”

2. Temperance ensures the best enjoyment of those comforts which the God of providence imparts. “Meat kills more than muskets; and the board destroys more than the sword.” I have read of a very extraordinary mode of executing capital offenders practised in some heathen country. “There is an engine shaped like a beautiful lady, which the criminal salutes, and afterwards retires. He returns again to salute the fatal machine: the figure opens its arms, and cuts him through the heart!” Whether such a custom now actually prevails in any place, I cannot engage to affirm. I quote the story for the sake of the allusion it supplies: it presents us with a true image of that flattering but cruel goddess, sensual pleasure. Those who eagerly press into her arms, are sure to fall and perish at the last. But the temperate man enjoys the benefit designed in earthly things, while he still looks for something higher and better.

3. Temperance assists the exercise of benevolence. Temperance, by moderating our passions, and lessening, rather than multiplying our wants, puts us in circumstances capable of benefiting our fellow-creatures. Some Christians of no great wealth, have been remarkably useful in society.

4. Temperance prepares us to engage in the various duties of religion.

IV. Specify some means which may be useful in the cultivation of temperance.

1. Consider all the blessings you enjoy as talents, which you are solemnly called to use and improve.

2. Take heed what company you keep.

3. Let your attention be chiefly directed to the attainment of spiritual and Divine blessings.

4. Seek a larger measure of the Holy Spirit’s influence. Rules of discipline alone will prove insufficient to govern and purify the mind. If we are not taught by Divine grace, we shall learn nothing aright. The fruit of the Spirit was never yet produced on the stock of unrenewed nature. Let, then, your eyes be daily lifted up to that Being, who is the Fountain of all purity and bliss. (John Thornton.)

Definition of temperance

Temperance is love taking exercise, love enduring hardness, love seeking to become healthful and athletic, love striving for the mastery in all things, and bringing the body under. It is superiority to sensual delights, and it is the power of applying resolutely to irksome duties for the Master’s sake. It is self-denial and self-control. Fearful lest it should subside into gross carnality, or waste away into shadowy and hectic sentiment, temperance is love alert, and timeously astir; sometimes rising before day for prayer, sometimes spending that day on tasks which laziness or daintiness declines. It is love with girt loins, and dusty feet, and blistered hands. It is love with the empty scrip, but the glowing cheek; love subsisting on pulse and water, but grown so healthful and hardy that it beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. (J. Hamilton, D. D.)


I. Under any circumstances is self-mastery.

II. With respect to the senses, self-control.

III. In relation to food, moderation; to drink, soberness; to both, abstemiousness.

IV. In relation to the sexes, continence.

V. In anger, forbearance; in temper, self-control.

VI. In action, modesty; in success, humility; in defeat, hopefulness.

VII. In desire, self-restraint;

VIII. in pleasure, self-denial. (Orby Shipley.)

God hath made several objects pleasing to man’s senses. The affections of the soul are apt to follow the senses of the body. Hence sensual pleasures are apt to draw us into vice. It is therefore our great duty and interest to moderate our affections to sensual pleasures.

I. In keeping our affections subject to reason and religion, and so denying them what is unlawful (Titus 2:12).

II. In abstaining especially from such lusts, as by our calling, condition, or constitution we are most subject to (1 Peter 4:2-4).

III. In abstaining from the inward desires as well as the outward act of intemperance (Colossians 3:5; Romans 8:13; Matthew 5:28).

IV. In not being too much lifted up with the increase, nor cast down with the loss of sensual pleasures (1 Corinthians 7:29-31; 2 Corinthians 6:10). (Bp. Beveridge.)

Temperance is the right handling of one’s soul. (H. W. Beecher.)

Temperance keeps the senses clear and unembarrassed, and makes them seize the object with more keenness and satisfaction. It appears with life in the face, and decorum in the person; it gives you the command of your head, secures your health, and preserves you in a condition for business. (Jeremy Collier.)

Temperance is corporeal piety; it is the preservation of the Divine order of the body. (Theodore Parker.)


Temperance ( εγκράτεια) seems to be the last, the crowning fruit of the Spirit, as if the very greatness of the riches which await the perfect man needed a regulating and discriminating power. There is a phrase in St. Peter’s writings which is eloquent with the same warning, ἐν δὲ τῇ γνώσει τὴν ἐγκρατέιαν, “and to knowledge temperance”; as if each sense, each feeling, each power, when it has aroused its dormant energies, were moving amidst fresh possibilities of wealth and satisfaction, which needed regulating. And so there grows up this splendid ἐγκράτεια, temperance, as a regulating principle, showing us the when, the how, the how much, and the how long, with undeviating instinct. In the spirit of those grand lines--

“Self-reverence, self-knowledge, self-control,

These three alone lead life to sovereign power;

Yet not for power (power of herself

Would come uncalled for), but to live by law,

Acting the law we live by without fear;

And because right is right, to follow right

Were wisdom, in the scorn of consequence.”

Is not this true temperance, the moderating, the regulating, the due admixture, as time and season require, of all that goes to make up life; so much pleasure, so much pain, so much work, so much recreation; memory, imagination, body, soul, and spirit--all contributing, and nothing in excess, μηδὲν ἄγαν And the words quoted above may surely give us a good analysis of the formation of temperance, “self-reverence,” this may well be the first element; reverence even for the less comely parts of our nature. “Self-knowledge,” again; how necessary this is as a constituent part! Each knows for himself what he can do; each knows for himself what he is bound to avoid. Some can make good use even of poisons in their skilful mingling, while to others the most wholesome meat is to them the veriest poison. Self-knowledge is all-essential, as showing US what we can do and what we cannot do, and in helping us to gauge all those delicate tendencies which are latent in us from heredity, or pass into us from environment and which in themselves go to make or mar the man. And then as a third element we have “self-control”--that master-spirit which has all its slaves under its dominion, obedient to the nod of the will, which in itself can submit to the Master’s call, which has learnt to bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. There are two stages in the development of this temperance which we may do well to consider. First of all, as a preliminary step, we may place what we call “self-denial”--that sort of learning not to touch--the free, detached mode of walking through the world. And the uses of self-denial are obvious; it makes us more prepared for the assaults of the devil. Being indifferent in things lawful, we are not likely to be tempted in things unlawful. Our appetites are all under guard; the circle of the wails is vigilantly patrolled; the watchword is passed on from tower to tower of prayer; and all the bush of pride and luxury has been cut down. So self-denial cuts off occasion; while as a further stage still, it makes us more fit for God’s work. And self-denial will make us more continent, so to speak, amidst all the allurements of the world; where one less braced would become enervated and lifeless. We have become mortified, dead to the world; all the channels of evil have been stopped and cut off. And now, if we have secured this great principle of self-denial, we shall be daily and hourly called upon to practise self-restraint--a higher stage still; and this in the most far-reaching, the most comprehensive manner. There are, for instance, the eyes, the ears, the thoughts, the imagination, the understanding, which all need restraining, just as we restrain the lower appetites themselves. Modesty we all feel the need of; vigilance we know is of the utmost importance; but recollectedness, perhaps, we are not so careful to cultivate as we ought to be. What a force it is, in its simple concentration of powers, whether at study, or in prayer, or when simply alone. “How we grow unable to commune silently and seriously with our own souls, because we have shrunk from the discipline of solitude when it was offered for our acceptance.” And self-restraint does not stop here, it goes higher and it goes lower. It goes higher, up to that self-will, in all its unteachable obstinacy, fancies, and dislikes. It goes lower, to that self-indulgence, which, to say the least of it, is taking off the hardness which it was the object of self-denial to produce. It is required for the tongue, to stop its misuse, and misdirection. It is required for the actions, to stop hastiness, imprudence, unsteadiness, or self-abandonment out of the due proportion of life. It is required even for the soul, to bring it back from its favourite doctrines to “the proportion of faith,” to drive it into the wilderness, after scenes of holy peace at Jordan; to stop untaught enthusiasm and uninstructed zeal; landing the life at last in that perfect temperance, where all things mingle in their due proportion in that perfect man, where each part rejoices in the excellence of each, for the excellence of each part is the joy of the whole. Above all things let us be spiritual. Spirituality is a power in the world, quite separate and distinct by itself; some are as ignorant of it as our forefathers were of electricity; but there is no power like it; and this power may be ours. (W. C. E. Newbolt.)

Against such there is no law.--

The spirit’s relation to law

The object of law is education. There is no law made for any other use, so far as law applies to human beings. God never rested a law of His on force. Every law He has made rests on love. No law was ever passed in order to punish people, but to save people from punishment. Looked at in this light the value of, law cannot be over-estimated. It might be called the free, the impartial, the universal educator of men. Into the realm of human rights which for ages lingered in prolonged night--a night without a star--it rises like a sun, and the realm of darkness becomes illuminated. Nothing is more unfortunate than to have people suppose that love is one thing and law is another, even its opposite. If it were so, then is my mind one thing and my arm another when, in obedience to my will, it makes a movement. For law is only the armed extension of love; doing its wish, serving its purpose, and therefore one with itself. To deify force, even non-intelligent force--force governed in no other law in its outgoings than the law of change--is sad enough; but to deify force that is not only intelligent, but is so cruel that it delights in the suffering it can inflict, is infamous. Such a theology, or such a travesty on theology, is but a mockery of the Christian religion. Now, then, we have come to the understanding of the use of law and its relation to love. We have ascertained that law, in its use, is education as it relates to man; and as it relates to God it is only a servant to love--a means of wisely expressing unto mortals His affection for them. We now come to the further statement, that while law is valuable both as a method of education and as a means of expressing His love, yet in relation to both of these objects it has its strict limitations; that is, it can only carry the moral education of man up to a certain point, which point is by no means sufficiently high to meet the necessities of the soul; and that it can only in a very imperfect manner proclaim to the universe the Divine affections. Now, the necessities of the soul are the necessities of our whole being. For the word soul is an all-including word, and within its significance every faculty, power, and sense are embraced. But the necessities of our whole being can never be met by mere knowledge, which is all that law can give. Nor can it reveal unto us the nature of God in any such degree as we crave to know it. For law can only reveal to us the conscience of God, while His affections, His mercies, His sympathies are not directly expressed by it. And while God is the highest embodiment of conscience that we can imagine; while He is the superlative expression of moral sense, He is more than this. There is another thought in this connection that may help some of you, that not only is law unable to express God, but God’s design aims at a finer expression of Himself than law can give. The master recognizes the inability of his servant, and therefore calls upon other assistance. And this is seen if you will ask and answer this question: What is God’s design as it stands related to moral beings? Is it to make fashionable a class of conduct or a class of character? A class of character, assuredly. In this connection the interrogation might not be amiss, nor lacking just application to us all, What sort of a character under our profession of piety are we growing, granted that the outward conduct is in strict conformance with religious requirements? What is the actual inner state? Are we in our natures as good as we are in our behaviour? Are we as faultless in our dispositions as God’s eye sees them as we are in that deportment which men’s eyes see? These are questions that penetrate us, friends. God grant they do not carry fire on their point as they enter into us. One other thought touching this matter of law as it relates to the fruits of the Spirit. Let me ask you this question: What is the highest form of law? Don’t think of the legislature, of the statute book, of the Decalogue, no, nor of the Sermon on the Mount; for in none of these will you find Jaw expressed in its highest form. Where then? In man, if he be good enough, in God always. The highest form of law is impersonated law, law that has been translated out of statute into character; out of the enactment into the act, and out of the act into the spirit. Enshrined in that spirit like a pure element in a transparent substance, the law shines forth with an expression so fine that the obedience of earth and the piety of heaven alike take it as their guiding star. This was precisely the condition of things in the case of Jesus of Nazareth. In Him the spirit of all good law found embodiment. He was, as it were, the breathing, living, walking genius of justice; that justice which was utterly just because it kept its own alliance with the love, the mercy, and the pity of the skies. They who heard Him speak heard the law speak; hence the people recognized that He spake as one having authority--a crude, popular way of expressing a sublime perception only dimly sensed. One thing I cannot refrain from suggesting: never think that the object of the Spirit’s work is to deliver you from penalty. Heaven is something more and finer than an escape from hell. No one ever shuns hell; he grows up above it. Heaven is character; and he whose character is being grown daily by the culture of the Spirit is growing daily into the heavenly state. Ah, it is not what the Spirit mercifully holds me back from, but what it graciously leads me unto, that makes me love Him. He has led me to knowledge without which I should not have had the powers and pleasures of intelligence. He has led me into sensitiveness touching my own rights and the rights of others, and thereby has given me self-dignity, and with it humanity. He has brought me into emotional neighbourhood with God; so that I live in the same city with Him--His own city--and am one of His subjects, and have the honour of serving Him day and night. Not only so, but this blessed Spirit has utilized the subtle forces of my own mind and nature in my behalf--forces which lurk in nerves of feeling that the anatomist has never found, and which move in strong currents through channels of my soul that psychologists have never discovered. (W. H. Murray, D. D.)

No law against the spiritual

Against such there is no law! God be thanked, no! When a man’s whole soul has been illuminated, so that it burns day and night with the lambent, sweet flame of love, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, and hopefulness, when this is his habitual frame of mind, or a frame of mind so nearly habitual that only the occasion is necessary to bring it out in full force, then there is no law for him. Under such circumstances men do right, not because the way of doing right is laid down before them. It was once; but long ago they digested it just as food is digested, and it has become part and parcel of their organization. This is to be a Christian--a ripe Christian. A man may be a Christian, and excel in many things; but here is the portraiture; and an imperfect portrait is no portrait at all. If a portrait-painter should draw one half of a face and leave the other half blank, nobody would take it; or, if he should draw the forehead and eyes perfectly, and leave the nose out, nobody would take that. The glory of the face is in the symmetry of all its parts; and the glory of a Christian character does not lie in this excellence or that excellence--good as it may be and desirable--but in the harmony of all excellences … This is the measure by which we can examine ourselves; not to know whether we are in the faith, but to know how far we have progressed in the faith. How many things are yet burdensome duties? How many things are yet done with a painful self-denial: I believe in self-denial; but I believe that all self-denial should, after a very short time, become gracious and sweet; for all self-denial is in its last analysis but the overcoming of a lower impulse by the interference of a higher one; and every single step we take up, should make that which in the beginning was painful less and less so, until it positively becomes pleasurable. How many victories of that kind have you gained? How many are you striving after: Do you ask yourselves how many of you have been constant in family prayers, constant in the Sunday-school, constant in the Word of God? All of these things are very good; but they do not produce fruit necessarily, any more than if a farmer should go round his farm every day, clear to the boundaries, but never plant anything, never hoe anything, never plough anything, but simply look at everything, and people should say: “Oh, he is a good farmer, isn’t he:” A good farmer is known at reaping time. There are a great many people who read the Bible and pray. That is all very well indeed; but they do not practise so much. These are the outward indications of what is right and proper; but it is the inward registration that tells. And in all self-examination it must come to this. How much of my nature is really exalted? How much of it has become automatic: How much of my mind is pure and high, according to the gracious qualities of my Master? Am I living in these states of mind from day to day, and habitually? (H. W. Beecher.)

Law is needed up to a certain point; but if a man can go higher than that point, he does not need law

Wings would help me; but angels do not need wings--though painters have represented them as having wings. An angel, according to our conception, is one that can lift itself up, and move hither and thither, by its own spontaneity. In proportion as men have these thoughts, in proportion as they live by the force of them, they do not need the wings, the feet, the helps, the schoolmasters, the directors, the wardens, that laws are. Laws are simply aids to weak folks, to tell them where to go, to help them to go, and to make them remember the next time if they do not go. Laws are men’s servants; and they are servants which serve them in that way. But if a man has a direct inspiration of God; or if his culture has gone so high that he does not need these external stimulants; or ii he has another sphere of influences which lead him to the same things from a higher point of view, the lower ones drop, not because they are wrong, but because the man is doing the Same things better by a different set of instruments. Therefore it is that there is no law to some men. A man who needs a law is yet a child. There is not one man in a hundred who ever does live by the laws of the land that he is in. We do not live by the laws of our land. You do not know one quarter of the laws that are on our statute books. A virtuous and honest man does not need to know what the laws are. The greatest proportion of men live and die without hearing once in all their life a tenth or a hundredth part of the laws that pertain to good conduct. They do right of their own accord, and therefore the law has no force on them. So it is in respect to true manly living. As far as a real, upright man goes, he goes voluntarily. He does from spontaneity and from choice what men lower down do from necessity, or from fear of punishment. The consequence is that men live toward freedom in proportion as they live toward fidelity. (H. W. Beecher.)

Law exists for the purpose of restraint, but in the works of the Spirit there is nothing to restrain. (Bishop Lightfoot.)

Law neither prohibits nor enjoins Christian graces, which belong to a different sphere. (B. Jowett, M. A.)

Whether with regard to the fruits of the earth there may be a natural law, whether it be true of the natural creation that by the force of law the seasons may fail, the rain be too heavy, or the sun too slight, it can be boldly said that against the fruit of the Spirit there can be no law. (Canon Knox-Little.)

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Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Galatians 5:22". The Biblical Illustrator. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control; against such there is no law.

Most of these wonderful virtues are subjective, lying within the hearts of Christians, but kindness, goodness and faithfulness are, at least in their manifestation, objective qualities.

Faithfulness ... includes not merely the inward qualities of "keeping on believing in Christ," but it also means remaining loyal and faithful to the church. Goodness and kindness are likewise determined by actions involving others outside the person of the believer.

Significant especially in this list are the things left out of it. The apostle Paul did not list tongue-speaking, charismatic experiences, visions, premonitions, and things like that as being connected in any manner with the "fruit of the Spirit." Strangely enough, some who believe that those omitted things are the fruit of the Spirit very frequently stop being faithful to the church.

There is more misunderstanding in current times over the meaning of the Spirit's indwelling of Christian hearts than of any other doctrine of the New Testament. As frequently pointed out in this series, there are no less than eight designations in the New Testament of a single condition (see summary below). Note:

Ye are the temple of the living God (1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:16).

For it is God that worketh in you (Philippians 2:13).

God abideth in us ... we abide in him and he in us ... God abideth in him and he in God ... he that abideth in love abideth in God and God abideth in him (1 John 4:11-16).

The entire Thessalonian church was said to be "in God" (1 Thessalonians 1:1).SIZE>

From the above citations, there can be no way to avoid the truth that Christians are in God, and God is in them.

But note also the following:

If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Paul's writings alone contain 169 references to being "in Christ, in him, in the Lord, in the beloved, etc."

If Christ is in you ... the spirit is life (Romans 8:10).

It is Christ that liveth in me (Galatians 2:20).

That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith (Ephesians 3:17).SIZE>

From the above citations, there can be no way to avoid the truth that Christians are in Christ, and Christ is in Christians.

Note likewise these references:

The Spirit of God dwelleth in you (1 Corinthians 3:16).

The Spirit ... dwelleth in you (Romans 8:11).

God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts (Galatians 4:6).

I was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day (Revelation 1:10).

Walk in the Spirit (KJV, Galatians 5:16).

If we live in the Spirit (KJV), let us also walk in the Spirit (KJV, Galatians 5:25).SIZE>

The obvious and undeniable teaching of the New Testament is that the Spirit is in Christians and that Christians are in the Spirit.

In addition to the above, it should also be observed that Christians are commanded to "have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 2:5), Paul declaring that he himself had "the mind of Christ" (1 Corinthians 2:16). Also, it is a commandment to the church of all ages that they shall "let the word of Christ dwell in you richly" (Colossians 3:16). Thus the mind of Christ dwells in Christians, and the word of Christ dwells in Christians.


God is in Christians.

Christians are in God.

Christ is in Christians.

Christians are in Christ.

The Holy Spirit is in Christians.

Christians are in the Holy Spirit.

The mind of Christ is in Christians.

The word of Christ is in Christians.

These are descriptions of ONE CONDITION, the saved condition; and there is no stretch of philosophical doodling that can find one iota's difference in the true meaning of the above descriptions of the state of enjoying the salvation of God through Jesus Christ. A full understanding of this, with all of the implications of it, will eliminate the mystical nonsense which has been advocated in this connection. The perfect identity of all of the above as various expressions meaning the same thing is perfectly and glaringly obvious; but, in addition, all of the above expressions are used interchangeably in the New Testament.

Joy ... This may be taken typically of all the various "fruits" here mentioned. This is by no means an experience attributable to the Holy Spirit as separated in any manner from the other persons in the Godhead, or even apart from the mind of Christ and the word of Christ dwelling in people's hearts. To be filled with the word of God is to have this same joy. To have the mind of Christ is to have it. To have Christ in us is to have it, etc., etc.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Galatians 5:22". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

But the fruit of the Spirit,.... Not of nature or man's free will, as corrupted by sin, for no good fruit springs from thence; but either of the internal principle of grace, called the Spirit, Galatians 5:17 or rather of the Holy Spirit, as the Ethiopic version reads it; the graces of which are called "fruit", and not "works", as the actions of the flesh are; because they are owing to divine influence efficacy, and bounty, as the fruits of the earth are, to which the allusion is; and not to a man's self, to the power and principles of nature; and because they arise from a seed, either the incorruptible seed of internal grace, which seminally contains all graces in it, or the blessed Spirit, who is the seed that remains in believers; and because they are in the exercise of them acceptable unto God through Christ, and are grateful and delightful to Christ himself, being "his pleasant fruits"; which as they come from him, as the author of them, they are exercised on him as the object of them, under the influence of the Spirit; and because they are profitable to them that are possessed of them, seeing the promise of this life and that which is to come is annexed to them; and the good works which are done in consequence of them are profitable to men: once more, as the works of the flesh are the unfruitful works of darkness, and make men so, and therefore cannot be called fruit properly; these, as they are fruits, and are rightly and properly so called, so they make men fruitful, and to abound in divine things, and are as follow:

Love. This the apostle begins with, it being the fulfilling of the law, the bond of perfectness, and without which a profession of religion is insignificant; it may be understood of love to God, of which every man's heart is destitute, being enmity against God, until regenerated by the Spirit of God; when he sheds abroad the love of God in the heart, and which is the ground and reason of any man's truly loving God: and also of love to Christ, which the natural man feels nothing of till the spirit of wisdom and revelation, in the knowledge of Christ, opens his eyes to see the loveliness of his person, the suitableness of his grace, righteousness, and fulness, and the necessity of looking to him for life and salvation; and likewise of love to the saints, which a carnal man is a stranger to, until he is renewed by the Holy Ghost, who in regenerating him teaches him to love the brethren; and which is the evidence of his having passed from death to life, through the mighty power of his grace. Moreover, love to the house and worship of God, to the truths and ordinances of the Gospel, all which men have naturally an aversion to, may be included in this first fruit of the Spirit: the next follows, which is

joy, even that which is in the Holy Ghost, and has him for its author. The object of it is God, not as an absolute God, but as a covenant God and Father in Christ; as the God of salvation, as clothing with the robe of his Son's righteousness, and as pardoning iniquity, transgression, and sin, full atonement being made by the sacrifice of Christ; who also is the object of this joy in his person, fulness, righteousness, offices, relations, and when beheld, embraced, and enjoyed in a way of communion. This joy, likewise, which is the produce of the Spirit, lies in spiritual things, and arises from an apprehension or good hope of interest in them, as justification, pardon, peace, adoption, and eternal glory; and is peculiar to such who have the Spirit, for a stranger intermeddles not with this joy, nor can he form any judgment of it, and is even unspeakable by the believer himself. Moreover, joy in the good of others, of fellow creatures and fellow Christians, in their outward and inward prosperity, in their temporal, spiritual, and eternal good, which, as it is a grace of the Spirit, may well enough be thought to be at least part of the sense of the word here; since it follows upon, and is joined with love, and stands between that and

peace, which is another fruit of the Spirit: and designs peace with God in a man's own conscience, produced there by the Spirit of God, in consequence of peace being made by the blood of Christ; and that through the application of the blood of Christ for pardon, and of his righteousness for justification to the soul of a sensible sinner by the blessed Spirit, the effect of which is peace, quietness, and tranquillity of mind; also peace with men, with the saints, and with all others; for such who are under a work of the Spirit of God, and are influenced and led by him, seek after the things which make for peace and edification among the brethren, and are desirous if possible to live peaceably with all men: hence appears another grace in them,

longsuffering; which intends not so much a patient waiting for good things to come, for more grace, and for glory, through the Spirit; but a patient bearing and enduring of present evils with joyfulness, being strengthened by the Spirit with all might, according to his glorious power; being slow to anger, ready to forgive injuries, put up with affronts, and bear with, and forbear one another: and which is usually accompanied with gentleness, humanity, affability, courteousness, shown both in words, gestures, and actions; in imitation of the gentleness of Christ, and agreeably to that wisdom, that heavenly doctrine of the Gospel, which, among other things, is said to be gentle, and easy to be entreated. To which is added

goodness; and what else can come from the good Spirit of God, the author of the good work of grace upon the soul? and which disposes it to acts of goodness unto men, in a natural, civil, moral, spiritual, and evangelic way, for the benefit both of soul and body; and which must here be understood, and which is well pleasing to God when done in the exercise of the following grace,

faith; for though fidelity, both in words and actions, which is very ornamental to the Gospel, and a profession of religion may be meant; yet faith in Christ is not to be excluded, as it is generally by interpreters; for this is not of a man's self, nor have all men it: it is a gift of God, the operation of his power, and the work of his Spirit, whence he is styled the spirit of faith; and which therefore must have a place among his fruits; and which lies and shows itself in believing in Christ for salvation, in embracing the doctrines of the Gospel, and making a profession of them, which is called the profession of faith; all which, when right, comes from the Spirit of God.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Galatians 5:22". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

But the k fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

(k) Therefore they are not the fruits of free will, but only as far forth as our will is made free by grace.
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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Galatians 5:22". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

love — the leader of the band of graces (1 Corinthians 13:1-13).

gentlenessGreek, “benignity,” conciliatory to others; whereas “goodness,” though ready to do good, has not such suavity of manner [Jerome]. Alford translates, “kindness.”

faith — “faithfulness”; opposed to “heresies” [Bengel]. Alford refers to 1 Corinthians 13:7, “Believeth all things”: faith in the widest sense, toward God and man. “Trustfulness” [Conybeare and Howson].

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Galatians 5:22". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

The fruit of the Spirit (ο καρπος του πνευματοςho karpos tou pneumatos). Paul changes the figure from works (εργαerga) in Galatians 5:19 to fruit as the normal out-cropping of the Holy Spirit in us. It is a beautiful tree of fruit that Paul pictures here with nine luscious fruits on it:

Love (αγαπηagapē). Late, almost Biblical word. First as in 1 Corinthians 13:1-13, which see for discussion as superior to πιλιαphilia and ερωςerōs

Joy (χαραchara). Old word. See note on 1 Thessalonians 1:6.

Peace (eirēnē). See note on 1 Thessalonians 1:1.

Long-suffering (makrothumia). See 2 Corinthians 6:6.

Kindness (ειρηνηchrēstotēs). See 2 Corinthians 6:6.

Goodness (μακροτυμιαagathōsunē). See note on 2 Thessalonians 1:11.

Faithfulness (pistis). Same word as “faith.” See Matthew 23:23; 1 Corinthians 13:7, 1 Corinthians 13:13.

Meekness (prautēs). See 1 Corinthians 4:21; note on 2 Corinthians 10:1.

Temperance (χρηστοτηςegkrateia). See Acts 24:25. Old word from egkratēs one holding control or holding in. In N.T. only in these passages and 2 Peter 1:6. Paul has a better list than the four cardinal virtues of the Stoics (temperance, prudence, fortitude, justice), though they are included with better notes struck. Temperance is alike, but kindness is better than justice, long-suffering than fortitude, love than prudence.

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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Galatians 5:22". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

The fruit of the Spirit ( ὁ καρπὸς τοῦ πνεύματος )

The phrase N.T.oFruit, metaphorical, frequent in N.T., as Matthew 3:8; Matthew 7:16; John 4:36; John 15:8; Romans 1:13; Romans 6:21, etc. We find fruit of light (Ephesians 5:9); of righteousness (Philemon 1:11); of labor (Philemon 1:22); of the lips (Hebrews 13:15). Almost always of a good result.

Love ( ἀγάπη )

Comp. love of the Spirit, Romans 15:30. In Class. φιλεῖν is the most general designation of love, denoting an inner inclination to persons or things, and standing opposed to μισεῖν or ἐχθαίρειν tohate. It occasionally acquires from the context a sensual flavor, as Hom. Od. xviii. 325; Hdt. iv. 176, thus running into the sense of ἐρᾶν which denotes sensual love. It is love to persons and things growing out of intercourse and amenities or attractive qualities. Στέργειν (not in N.T., lxx, Sirach 27:17) expresses a deep, quiet, appropriating, natural love, as distinguished from that which is called out by circumstances. Unlike φιλεῖν , it has a distinct moral significance, and is not applied to base inclinations opposed to a genuine manly nature. It is the word for love to parents, wife, children, king or country, as one's own. Aristotle (Nic. ix. 7,3) speaks of poets as loving ( στέργοντες ) their own poems as their children. See also Eurip. Med. 87. Ἁγαπᾶν is to love out of an intelligent estimate of the object of love. It answers to Lat. diligere, or Germ. schatzen to prize. It is not passionate and sensual as ἐρᾶν . It is not, like φιλεῖν , attachment to a person independently of his quality and created by close intercourse. It is less sentiment than consideration. While φιλεῖν contemplates the person, ἀγαπᾶν contemplates the attributes and character, and gives an account of its inclination. Ἁγαπᾶν is really the weaker expression for love, as that term is conventionally used. It is judicial rather than affectionate. Even in classical usage, however, the distinction between ἀγαπᾶν and φιλεῖν is often very subtle, and well-nigh impossible to express.

In N.T. ἐπιθυμαῖν todesire or lust is used instead of ἐρᾶν . In lxx ἀγαπᾶν is far more common than φιλεῖν . Φιλεῖν occurs only 16 times in the sense of love, and 16 times in the sense of kiss; while ἀγαπᾶν is found nearly 300 times. It is used with a wide range, of the love of parent for child, of man for God, of God for man, of love to one's neighbor and to the stranger, of husband for wife, of love for God's house, and for mercy and truth; but also of the love of Samson for Delilah, of Hosea for his adulterous wife, of Amnon's love for Tamar, of Solomon's love for strange women, of loving a woman for her beauty. Also of loving vanity, unrighteousness, devouring words, cursing, death, silver.

The noun ἀγάπη , oClass., was apparently created by the lxx, although it is found there only 19 times. It first comes into habitual use in Christian writings. In N.T. it is, practically, the only noun for love, although compound nouns expressing peculiar phases of love, as brotherly love, love of money, love of children, etc., are formed with φίλος , as φιλαδελφία, φιλαργυρία, φιλανθρωπία . Both verbs, φιλεῖν and ἀγαπᾶν occur, but ἀγαπᾶν more frequently. The attempt to carry out consistently the classical distinction between these two must be abandoned. Both are used of the love of parents and children, of the love of God for Christ, of Christ for men, of God for men, of men for Christ and of men for men. The love of man for God and of husband for wife, only ἀγαπᾶν . The distinction is rather between ἀγαπᾶν and ἐπιθυμεῖν than between ἀγαπᾶν and φιλεῖν . Love, in this passage, is that fruit of the Spirit which dominates all the others. See Galatians 5:13, Galatians 5:14. Comp. 1 Corinthians 13:1-13; 1 John 2:5, 1 John 2:9-11; 1 John 3:11, 1 John 3:14-16; 1 John 4:7-11, 1 John 4:16-21; 1 John 5:1-3.

Joy ( χαρά )

Comp. joy of the Holy Ghost, 1 Thessalonians 1:6, and see Romans 5:2; Romans 14:17; Romans 15:13; 2 Corinthians 6:10; Philemon 1:25; Philemon 4:4; 1 Peter 1:8; 1 John 1:4.

Peace ( εἰρήνη )

See on 1 Thessalonians 1:1. Here of mutual peace rather than peace with God.

Long suffering ( μακροθυμία )

See on be patient, James 5:7, and comp. Romans 2:4; 2 Corinthians 6:6; Ephesians 4:2; Colossians 1:11.

Gentleness ( χρηστότης )

See on good, Romans 3:12; see on easy, Matthew 11:30; see on gracious, 1 Peter 2:3. Better, kindness; a kindness which is useful or serviceable.

Goodness ( ἀγαθωσύνη )

PoSee on Romans 3:12.

Faith ( πίστις )


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The text of this work is public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Galatians 5:22". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

Love — The root of all the rest.

Gentleness — Toward all men; ignorant and wicked men in particular.

Goodness — The Greek word means all that is benign, soft, winning, tender, either in temper or behaviour.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Galatians 5:22". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". 1765.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

Плод же. Прежде осудив всю человеческую природу, поскольку та производит на свет лишь порочные и негодные плоды, апостол учит теперь, что все добродетели, честные и благонравные чувствования, происходят от духа. То есть, они происходят по благодати Божией и в силу обновления, получаемого от Христа. Итак, Павел как бы говорит: от человека не рождается ничего, кроме зла, и нет такого добра, которое не порождалось бы Святым Духом. Хотя и в невозрожденных людях часто наблюдаются выдающиеся примеры терпения, щедрости, кротости и веры, не подлежит сомнению, что все они – лишь обманчивая личина. В Курии была доблесть, в Фабриции и Катоне – терпение, в Сципионе – великодушие, в Фабии – терпимость, но только в людском мнении, при светской оценке их поступков. Перед Богом же нет ничего чистого, кроме того, что происходит из источника всякой чистоты.

«Радость» я понимаю здесь не в том смысле, в каком о ней говорится в Послании к Римлянам, 14:17, но как радушие по отношению к ближним, противопоставляемое ворчливости. Так и вера означает здесь истинность слов, которой противоположны хитрость, лукавство и обман. Мир я противопоставляю ссорам и распрям. Терпение же – это кротость души, из-за которой мы надеемся на все лучшее и не становимся раздражительными. Все остальное ясно и так. Ибо апостол описывает плоды, из которых видно, какое у кого расположение души. Итак, какое же суждение – скажет кто-нибудь – можно вынести о нечестивых и идолопоклонниках, блистающих иногда видимостью добродетели? Отвечаю: подобно тому, как не все дела плоти в плотском человеке являются видимыми, но выдают себя то в том, то в другом пороке, так и не следует считать человека духовным лишь в силу какой-то одной его добродетели. Ибо порой из наличия других пороков становится видно, что в нем господствует плоть. Что можно усмотреть и в отношении тех, о ком я уже говорил.




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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Galatians 5:22". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". 1840-57.

Scofield's Reference Notes

But the fruit

Christian character is not mere moral or legal correctness, but the possession and manifestation of nine graces: love, joy, peace--character as an inward state; longsuffering, gentleness, goodness--character in expression toward man; faith, meekness, temperance-- character in expression toward God. Taken together they present a moral portrait of Christ, and may be taken as the apostle's explanation of Galatians 2:20 "Not I, but Christ," and as a definition of "fruit" in John 15:1-8 This character is possible because of the believer's vital union to Christ; John 15:5; 1 Corinthians 12:12; 1 Corinthians 12:13 and is wholly the fruit of the Spirit in those believers who are yielded to Him. Galatians 5:22; Galatians 5:23.

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Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on Galatians 5:22". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". 1917.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary


‘The fruit of the Spirit is … joy.’

Galatians 5:22

The end of religion is not penitence, it is not contrition, it is not conviction of sin; it is something better than all that. The end of religion, to which it is all working, is joy. Jesus Christ Himself ‘for the joy which was set before Him endured the Cross.’ So, again, St. Paul, in prison chained to a soldier, with many disappointments and trials, yet he said, ‘Rejoice in the Lord alway, and again I say rejoice.’

What does Christian joy consist in?

I. The first joy is the joy of being forgiven.—Are there some who do not know the joy of being forgiven? They certainly cannot know that joy until they have known the pain of penitence. Look into your consciences and see what is on your conscience. Only in this way can you work towards the joy of being forgiven.

II. There is the joy of companionship.—Part of the joy of Christ was that He was not alone, and the only moment when He was in real agony of spirit was when the Father’s face seemed to be blotted out from Him, and He cried, ‘My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?’ Christ bore that in order that no one might ever be forsaken.

III. There is the joy of service.—I am never tired of repeating those beautiful words of Bishop Phillips Brooks: ‘It is not when the ship is fretting her side against the wharf that she has found her true joy, but when she has cut the rope which binds her to the wharf and is out upon the ocean with the wind over her and the waters under her; it is then that she knows the true joy a ship is made for as she plunges across the sea.’ Can you not see what is meant? It is not when a man is fretting his sides against the wharf, as it were, of his own self; it is not when he is saying, ‘What will people think of me?’—that is not the full joy a man is made for; but when he has cut the rope that binds him to himself and is out upon the ocean of loving work for God and man, with the wind of the Spirit over him and the water of humanity under him—then he knows the true joy he is made for.

IV. There is the joy of growth.—How lovely it is to think of the Church as a beautiful garden, and the Holy Spirit coming down upon it like dew and making all the plants grow. It is a lovely thing, of course, to see flowers grow, but it is still lovelier to see boys and girls growing up in a family and all their character developing; they seem sometimes to get more loving, more unselfish, like the beautiful flowers, every day under the influence of the Holy Spirit. That is the joy of growth.

V. There is the joy of strength.—‘The joy of the Lord is your strength.’ You know those beautiful pictures by Mr. Watts of Sir Galahad riding forth to battle with his armour on, full of the joy of strength; or that other picture of ‘Aspiration,’ where the young knight looks across the field of life with his spear and shining armour. That is the joy of strength. And there ought not to be a young man or woman present who has not got the joy of strength. We are not meant to be miserably weak people, driven about by every wind of doctrine and beaten down by temptation. We are meant to be young knights, going forth in all the glorious strength of the Holy Spirit, conquering and to conquer. We must ask for the joy of strength.

Bishop A. F. Winnington-Ingram.


‘It was said by a great writer that the goodness of work was in proportion to the joy of the workman. I come across, for instance, some parish priest who has toiled in East London for thirty years unnoticed and unknown. Do I find him depressed? I find him tired, weary, old before his time, but find a joy upholding him. You will remember Matthew Arnold’s beautiful words:—

‘’Twas August, and the fierce sun overhead

Smote on the squalid streets of Bethnal Green,

And the pale weaver through his windows seen

In Spitalfields, looked thrice dispirited;

I met a preacher there I knew, and said:

“Ill and o’er-worked, how fare you in this scene?”

“Bravely,” said he, “for I of late have been

Much cheered with thoughts of Christ, the Living Bread.”

O human soul! so long as thou canst so

Set up a mark of everlasting light,

Above the howling senses’ ebb and flow,

To cheer thee and to right thee if thou roam,

Not with lost toil thou labourest through the night!

Thou mak’st the heaven thou hop’st indeed thy home.’

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Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Galatians 5:22". Church Pulpit Commentary. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

Ver. 22. The fruit of the Spirit] The spirit of grace are those two golden pipes, Zechariah 4:12, through which the two olive branches empty out of themselves the golden oils of all precious graces into the candlestick, the Church. Hence grace is here and elsewhere called the fruits of the Spirit, pleasant fruits, Song of Solomon 4:16; Song of Solomon 6:2; John 15:16.

Longsuffering] It hath been questioned by Aquinas whether a man can be longsuffering, sine auxilio gratiae, without the help of grace. But that which is right is a fruit of the Spirit.

Gentleness] Gr. χρηστατης. Usefulness, sweetness.

Faith] That is, faithfulness, as Matthew 23:23; 1 Timothy 5:12; Titus 2:10.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Galatians 5:22". John Trapp Complete Commentary. 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

Galatians 5:22, Galatians 5:23.

The Fruits of the Spirit.

I. Every tree is known by its fruit. And just so it is with us. The Bible often speaks about men as trees. Our root is the heart; the heart is the root of every man and of every man's life; and according then to what the heart is will be the life. Now what is the fruit of the Spirit? It is the fruit of a heart that has been renewed by the Spirit of God. God does not begin at the outside, at the circumference, but with the heart. He makes the acts and deeds right by making the heart right; He makes and keeps the tongue right by making the heart right. There is the difference between man's way and God's. Man begins at the outside, and tries to work towards the centre; God begins at once in the centre and in the heart, and by changing the heart He changes the life; and so Christ's word to Nicodemus is Christ's word to every man, "Ye must be born again."

II. Notice that in this particular list the fruits of the Spirit are dispositions. Paul in this particular passage is not dealing with actions, with deeds, but with dispositions—love, joy, and so on, till you come to meekness and temperance—dispositions, not activities. Then, further, he is not telling us of all the dispositions that result from the indwelling of the Spirit of God in our breasts, but only of some of them. We are taken by the Apostle into a particular sphere of life, and are shown what the dispositions are belonging to that sphere. He is referring to the Galatian Churches as communities of men and women associated together in the profession of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He is taking us into the sphere of Christian fellowship and Christian intercourse; and the dispositions which he names are the dispositions produced by the Spirit among Christian men and women in their social intercourse one with another, in their Church fellowship and Church life.

J. Culross, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxx., p. 43.

The Fruit of the Spirit.

I. The Holy Spirit always clusters His work; one Christian virtue necessarily raises up another; there is no such thing as sanctification in a single point. But as one berry in a bunch of grapes cannot ripen but that the others ripen too, so it is with the Christian. Try to eradicate one sin of your character, and you will invariably find that in doing it you will weaken, if you do not pull up, another. Cultivate one good trait, and you will be surprised to find how many more seem to grow up, you scarcely know how, at its side. So that often this is the best way to carry on one's own edification: to concentrate one's prayers and self-discipline upon one particular point of attainment, not only because by that fixedness we shall best secure the growth and the attainment which we desire, but also because by cherishing that one excellence we shall promote all.

II. In the outer world, all the vicissitudes of the seasons and the weather go to make the harvest. Do you wonder in the spiritual husbandry, where such fruits as these have to be wrought, that there must be sometimes the bracing cold of a stern adversity, alternating with the warmer rays of summer hours? Can it be but that the sap of the Spirit shall be set free to flow by the winds which blow on us, and that we shall be cleansed by many a storm which is sent, for this very reason, to sweep over us? The wise man prayed that his soul might be subject to the changes of a moral atmosphere: "Awake, O north wind, and come, thou south; blow upon our garden, that the spices thereof may flow out." And then—the far end of all"—Let my beloved come into his garden and eat his pleasant fruits."

J. Vaughan, Fifty Sermons, 5th series, p. 26.

References: Galatians 5:22, Galatians 5:23.—J. H. Thorn, Laws of Life after the Mind of Christ, 2nd series, p. 239; A. Murray, The Fruits of the Spirit, pp. 13-113; H. W. Beecher, Christian World Pulpit, vol. i., p. 164; Ibid., vol. xix., p. 169; Ibid., vol. xxix., p. 51. Galatians 5:22-26.—Ibid., vol. vi., p. 83; R. W. Dale, Ibid., vol. xxxv., p. 116. Galatians 5:24.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxi., No. 1239. Galatians 5:25.—Ibid., Morning by Morning, p. 262.

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Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Galatians 5:22". "Sermon Bible Commentary".

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Galatians 5:22. Faith, Fidelity; which the word πιστις undoubtedly signifies in many places. See on Matthew 23:23. So that in one place we may understand it of the faithfulness of God, or his fidelity to his promises, Romans 3:3 and where it is applied to servants, we expressly render it fidelity: Titus 2:10. And though it generally signifies the grace of faith, or the confidence reposed in another; yet, where we find it joined, as in the place before us, with other graces, or moral virtues, it may be rather taken to denote fidelity. See 1 Timothy 4:12; 1 Timothy 6:11. 2 Timothy 2:22; 2 Timothy 3:10 and Revelation 2:19.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Galatians 5:22". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. 1801-1803.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

Observe here, 1. That the apostle, who called sin the work of the flesh, doth here call grace the fruit of the Spirit. Sin is a work of our own; it proceeds wholly from ourselves, our own depraved minds and wills, without the least co-operation of the holy Spirit; he can neither be the author nor abettor of any thing that is evil. All sinful works are works of the flesh, and therefore our own works; but all graces accompanying salvation, are the fruit of God's Spirit: both because he is the author of them and also, because they are so acceptable and pleasing to him even as fruit is unto our taste, and likewise so profitble and advantageous to ourselves. Where the flesh ruleth, there the work exceeds the fruit; and accordingly, without any mentioning of the fruit, they are called works of the flesh; but where the Spirit of God ruleth, there the fruit exceeds the work; and therefore, without ever mentioning the work, it is called the fruit of the Spirit.

Observe, 2. That the works of the flesh are spoken of as many; but the fruit of the Spirit is spoken of as one, many works, but one fruit. There is such a connection and concatenation of graces, that although they are distinct in their natures, yet are they inseparable in their subject, pull one link of a chain, and you pull all; so he that has any one spiritual grace in reality, or at least in eminency, cannot be utterly destitute of any other; for where the holy Spirit is, there cannot be a total defect of any holy grace.

Observe, 3. That the works of the flesh are said to be manifest, Galatians 5:19 but no such thing is here affirmed of the fruit of the Spirit. Alas! God knows, the works of the flesh are but every where too manifest; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, drunkenness, do so abound in all places, that you can scarce look beside them: But the fruits of the Spirit are not so; love, peace, gentleness, meekness, these are very thing in the world; hips and haws grow in every hedge, when choicer fruits are but in some few gardens.

Observe, 4. How St. Paul enumerates here nine special fruits of the Spirit; not as if there were more, but because these here mentioned stand in a direct opposition to the former vices recited in the foregoing verses.

The first sweet fruit of the Spirit, taken notice of here by the apostle, is love ; a holy affection in the soul, whereby a person is carried forth to love God, primarily and chiefly for himself, and his neighbour for God's sake:

Joy, delight in doing our duty, and rejoicing in the expectation of the reward for well-doing:

Peace, inward peace with God and conscience, and outward peace with one another:

Long-suffering, an inclination of mind disposing us to bear injuries patiently, and to forgive them readily:

Gentleness, or affability and courtesy in conversation, a sweetness of temper, which renders us greatly useful, as well as exceedingly delightful to mankind:

Goodness, a disposition inclining us to communicate what we have and are to others, and to do all the possible good we can in our respective places and stations:

Faith, or fidelity towards men, in our promises, and in all our actions, speaking exact truth:

Meekness, this is threefold, a natural meekness, which is the product of the temperament of the humours in the body, a rare felicity; there is also a moral meekness, which is the product of education and counsel, this is an amiable virtue; and there is a spiritual meekness that order the persons according to the divine rule, the holy law of God; this is a noble and divine grace, which attracts the estimation of God, and the admiration of men:

Temperance, a sober use of meat, drink, and every thing wherein our senses are gratified or delighted.

Observe, 5. A special privilge belonging to all those who are possessed of the forementioned fruits of the Spirit, and that is, exemption from the law: Against such there is no law; that is, no law to compel, no law to accuse or condemn them; for the law enjoins them, and encourgaes the practice and performance of them.

Learn hence, 1. That the best, yea, the only way to have the fruits of the Spirit thrive in our hearts, is first to mortify the works of the flesh; weeds and thistles must be rooted up before grain can grow or thrive. As the corruption of one form is the production of another, so the morification of sin makes way for the plantation of the fruits of the Spirit.

Learn, 2. That moral virtues are the fruits of the Spirit, and commence Christian graces when they are acted by faith in Christ, influenced by love unto him, and aiming at the highest of ends, the glory of God and our salvation.

Learn, 3. That if we compare the fruits of the Spirit with the works of the flesh, there will appear so much beauty in the one, and such real deformity in the other, so much satisfaction in the one, and such disquiet and vexation in the other, that besides the difference between them in their original and event, the former considerations are abundantly sufficient to engage our love to the fruits of the Spirit, and to excite our hatred to the works of the flesh.

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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Galatians 5:22". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. 1700-1703.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

22.] καρπός, not ἔργα, τοῦ πνεύματος. The works of the flesh are no καρπός, see Romans 6:21. These are the only real fruit of men: see John 15:1-8; compare also John 3:20, note. They are, or are manifested in, ἔργα: but they are much more: whereas those others are nothing more, as to any abiding result for good.

ἀγάπη—at the head, as chief—1 Corinthians 13. See Romans 12:9.

χαρά, better merely joy, than as Winer, al., ‘voluptas ex aliorum commodis percepta,’ as opposed to φθόνος. We must not seek for a detailed logical opposition in the two lists, which would be quite alien from the fervid style of St. Paul.

χρηστότης, ἀγαθωσ.] Jerome, comm. in loc., says, “Benignitas sive suavitas, quia apud Græcos χρηστότης utrumque sonat, virtus est lenis, blanda, tranquilla, et omnium bonorum apta consortio: invitans ad familiaritatem sui, dulcis alloquio, moribus temperata. Non multum bonitas ( ἀγαθωσύνη) a benignitate diversa est, quia et ipsa ad benefaciendum videtur exposita. Sed in eo differt; quia potest bonitas esse tristior, et fronte severis moribus irrugata bene quidem facere et præstare quod poscitur: non tamen suavis esse consortio, et sua cunctos invitare dulcedine.” Plato, deff. 412 e, defines χρηστότης, ἤθους ἀπλαστία μετʼ εὐλογιστίας.

ἀγαθωσ. is a Hellenistic word, see reff. Perhaps kindness and goodness would best represent the two words.

πίστις, in the widest sense: faith, towards God and man: of love it is said, 1 Corinthians 13:7, πάντα πιστεύει.

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Galatians 5:22". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. 1863-1878.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

Galatians 5:22. δὲ καρπὸς τοῦ πνεύματος] essentially the same idea, as would be expressed by τὰ δὲ ἔργα τοῦ πνεύματος—the moral result which the Holy Spirit brings about as its fruit. Comp. Pind. Ol. vii. 8: καρπὸς φρενός, Nem. x. 12, Pyth. ii. 74; Wisdom of Solomon 3:13; Wisdom of Solomon 3:15. But Paul is fond of variety of expression. Comp. Ephesians 2:9; Ephesians 2:11. A special intention(241) in the choice cannot be made good, since both ἔργα and καρπός(242) are in themselves voces mediae (see on καρπός especially, Romans 6:21 f.; Matthew 7:20; Plat. Ep. 7, p. 336 B), and according to the context, nothing at all hinged on the indication of organic development (to which Olshausen refers καρπός),—a meaning which, moreover, would have been conveyed even by ἔργα, and without a figure,—or of the proceeding from an inner impulse (de Wette). The collective (Hom. Od. i. 156, and frequently) singular καρπός has sprung, as in Ephesians 5:9, from the idea of internal unity and moral homogeneity; for which, however, the singular ἔργον (see on Galatians 6:4) would also have been suitable (in opposition to the view of Wieseler).

That φῶς and πνεῦ΄α are not to be considered as identical on account of Ephesians 5:9, see on Eph. l.c.

ἀγάπη] as the main element (1 Corinthians 13; Romans 12:9), and at the same time the practical principle of the rest, is placed at the head, corresponding to the contrast in Galatians 5:13. The selection of these virtues, and the order in which they are placed, are such as necessarily to unfold and to present to the readers the specific character of the life of Christian fellowship (which had been so sadly disturbed among the Galatians, Galatians 5:15). Love itself, because it is a fruit of the Spirit, is called in Romans 15:30, ἀγάπη τοῦ πνεύματος.

χαρά] is the holy joy of the soul, which is produced by the Spirit (see on Romans 14:17; 1 Thessalonians 1:6; comp. also 2 Corinthians 6:10), through whom we carry in our hearts the consciousness of the divine love (Romans 5:5), and thereby the certainty of blessedness, the triumph over all sufferings, etc. The interpretations: participation in the joy of others (Grotius, Zachariae, Koppe, Borger, Winer, Usteri), and a cheerful nature towards others (Calvin, Michaelis), introduce ideas which are not in the text (Romans 12:15).

εἰρήνη] Peace with others. Romans 14:17; Ephesians 4:3. The word has been understood to mean also peace with God (Romans 5:1), and peace with oneself (de Wette and others); but against this interpretation it may be urged, that this peace (the peace of reconciliation) is antecedent to the further fruits of the Spirit, and that εἰρήνη κ. τ. λ. is evidently correlative with ἔχθρα κ. τ. λ. in Galatians 5:20, so that the εἰρήνη θεοῦ (see on Philippians 4:7) does not belong to this connection.

΄ακροθυ΄ία] long-suffering, by which, withholding the assertion of our own rights, we are patient under injuries ( βραδὺς εἰς ὀργήν, James 1:19), in order to bring him who injures us to reflection and amendment. Comp. Romans 2:4; 2 Corinthians 6:6. The opposite: ὀξυθυ΄ία, Eur. Andr. 728.

χρηστότης] benignity. 2 Corinthians 6:6; Colossians 3:12. See Tittmann, Synon. p. 140 ff.

ἀγαθωσύνη] goodness, probity of disposition and of action. It thus admirably suits the πίστις which follows. Usually interpreted (also by Ewald and Wieseler): kindness; but see on Romans 15:14.

πίστις] fidelity.(243), Matthew 23:23; Romans 3:3; and see on Philemon 1:5.

πραΰτης (see on 1 Corinthians 4:21): meekness. The opposite: ἀγριότης, Plat. Conv. p. 197 D, in Greek authors often combined with φιλανθρωπία.

ἐγκράτεια] self-control, that is, here continence, as opposed to sins of lust and intemperance. Sirach 18:30; Acts 24:25; 2 Peter 1:6; Xen. Mem. i. 2. Galatians 1 : ἀφροδισίων κ. γαστρὸς ἐγκρατέστατος.

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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Galatians 5:22". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Galatians 5:22.(55) ἀγάπη, love) It is this grace, as the leader, that(56) introduces the family. Fewer words are used with respect to what is good, because good is more simple, and one virtue often has many things contrary to it; comp. Ephesians 4:31.— χαρὰ, joy) concerning things that are good.— χρηστότης, ἀγαθωσύνη) differ.(57) χρηστότης is rather to be referred to another, ἀγαθωσύνη, goodness, as it were pouring out, viz. spontaneously.— πίστις) אמונה, consistency [steadiness], fidelity, to which are opposed seditions and heresies. Weigh well also the order of the words.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Galatians 5:22". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations
on the Holy Bible

The fruit of the Spirit; those habits which the Holy Spirit of God produceth in those in whom it dwelleth and worketh, with those acts which flow from them, as naturally as the tree produceth its fruit, are,

love to God, and to our neighbours:

joy; the soul’s satisfaction in its union with God, as the greatest and highest good; with an actual rejoicing in Christ, and in what is for his honour and glory, called a rejoicing in the truth, 1 Corinthians 13:6; and in the good of our brethren, Romans 12:15:

peace; quietude of conscience, or peace with God, (of which peace of conscience is a copy), and a peaceable disposition towards men, opposed to strife, variance, emulations, &c.:

long-suffering; opposed to a hastiness to revenge, and inclining us patiently to bear injuries:

gentleness; sweetness and kindness of temper, by which we accommodate ourselves, and become mutually useful to each other:

goodness; a disposition in us to hurt none, but to do all the good we can to all:

faith; by faith seemeth here to be meant, truth in words, faithfulness in promises, and in dealings one with another.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Galatians 5:22". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

Плод же духа Имеются в виду праведные отношения, которые присущи принадлежащим Богу по вере в Иисуса Христа и имеющим Святого Духа людям. Дух производит плоды, всего их 9, и они неразрывно связаны между собою и проходят через весь Новый Завет как заповеди для верующих.

любовь Одним из нескольких греч. слов, переводимых как «любовь», является слово агапе (agape). Это любовь, в которой присутствует выбор, в ней наличествует не столько чувственная привязанность, физическое влечение или семейное родство, сколько уважение, преданность и привязанность, в которых нет принуждения и эгоизма (Ин. 15:13; Рим. 5:8; 1Ин. 3:16, 17).

радость Счастье, основанное на неизменных Божьих обетованиях и вечных духовных ценностях. Это чувство благополучия, которое известно каждому человеку, осознающему, что между ним и Господом все хорошо (1Пет. 1:8). Эта радость не является следствием благоприятных обстоятельств, она может иметь место даже при страданиях и скорбях (Ин. 16:20-22). Радость – это дар Божий, и верующие должны не производить ее, а наслаждаться благословением, которое они уже имеют (Рим. 14:17; Флп. 4:4).

мир Внутренний покой, который происходит от уверенности в спасении, дарованном Христом. Форма глагола, от которого происходит слово «мир», подразумевает взаимную связь. Как и радость, мир не связан с обстоятельствами (Ин. 14:27; Рим. 8:28; Флп. 4:6, 7, 9).

долготерпение Терпение, которое способно переносить неприятности, доставляемые другими, и готовность принимать вызывающие раздражение или приносящие боль ситуации (Еф. 4:2; Кол. 3:12; 1Тим. 1:15, 16).

благость Нежная забота о других, проявляющаяся в желании относиться к другим так, как Господь относится ко всем верующим (Мф. 11:28, 29; 19:13, 14; 2Тим. 2:24).

милосердие Моральное и духовное качество, проявляющееся в добрых делах (Рим. 5:7). Верующим дана заповедь быть примером в добрых делах (6:10; 2Фес. 1:11).

вера Здесь это верность и надежность (Плач. 3:22; Флп. 2:7-9; 1Фес. 5:24; Отк. 2:10).

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Galatians 5:22". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

The fruit of the Spirit; that which he produces in those who follow his guidance.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Galatians 5:22". "Family Bible New Testament". American Tract Society. 1851.

John Eadie's Commentary on Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians and Philippians

Galatians 5:22. ῾ο δὲ καρπὸς τοῦ πνεύματος—“But the fruit of the Spirit,”-passing by δέ to this contrasted catalogue. Both ἔργα and καρπός are, as Meyer says, in themselves voces mediae, no ethical quality being essentially attached to them. Nay, we find them reversed in Sept. Proverbs 10:16, ἔργα δικαίων- καρποὶ δὲ ἀσεβῶν. Still one may suppose that the terms are here changed for good reason, inasmuch as Paul uses καρπός on the good side; and, as Ellicott remarks, even in Romans 6:21 it means, “what good result had ye in those things whereof ye are ashamed?” If, then, there be an intended distinction, what is it? Not because those graces are regarded more as feelings or dispositions than as acts (Rückert, and virtually Hofmann); nor because they are beneficent and delightful (Winer, Usteri, Schott, Alford); but because they spring out of one living root, as the singular seems also to indicate. The καρπός may show itself in ἔργα which in their collective form make up the καρπός; but here it is regarded in its unity of source and development. Its origin is “the Spirit;” not man's spirit, or the new and better mode of thinking and feeling to which men are formed by the Holy Spirit (Brown), but the Holy Spirit Himself, the Author of all spiritual good. Those who are led by the Spirit not only do not do the works of the flesh, but they bring forth the fruit of the Spirit. It is wrong and forced to seek a detailed antagonism in the two lists. The apostle's eagerness did not give him leisure to arrange such parallels or work out symmetrical antitheses.

The first of the graces is ἀγάπη—“love”-the root of all the other graces,-greater than faith and hope, for “God is Love;” love to God and all that bears his image, being the essence of the first and second tables of the law,-all the other graces being at length absorbed by it as the flower is lost in the fruit. 1 Corinthians 13; Romans 12:9.

χαρά—“joy.” Joy is based on the possession of present good, and here means that spiritual gladness which acceptance with God and change of heart produce. For it is conscious elevation of character, the cessation of the conflict in its earlier stage (Galatians 5:16-17), the opening up of a new world, and the hope of final perfection and victory. It is opposed to dulness, despondency, indifference, and all the distractions and remorses which are wrought by the works of the flesh. This joy is the spring of energy, and praise wells out of the joyful heart. Where the heart is gladness, the instinctive dialect is song. May not the joy of restoration at least equal the joy of continuous innocence? It is therefore here not merely nor prominently Mitfreude, joy in the happiness of others (Grotius, Zachariae, Stolz, Koppe, Borger, Winer, Usteri, Hofmann), nor joy as opposed to moroseness (Calvin, Michaelis), though these aspects or manifestations are not excluded. This joy is “joy in the Holy Ghost” (Romans 14:17), the “joy of faith” (Philippians 1:25), “joy of the Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 1:6), “joy in the Lord” (Philippians 3:1); and the welcome addressed to the faithful servant is, “Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”

εἰρήνη—“peace” with God primarily, and peace within them; and not simply so, but concord-peace with those around them. See under Philippians 4:7.

΄ακροθυμία—“long-suffering” (longanimitie, Rheims)-is opposed to shortness of temper- ὀξυθυμία, Eurip. Andr. 728. It enables us to bear injury without at once avenging ourselves: βραδὺς εἰς ὀργήν, James 1:19; 1 Corinthians 13:4. See under Ephesians 4:2.

χρηστότης—“kindness”-occurs in Paul's writings only, as in 2 Corinthians 6:6, where also it is joined to the previous term; in Titus 3:4, where, along with φιλανθρωπία, it is ascribed to God our Saviour; and in Romans 11:22, where, along with ἀποτομία, it is also ascribed to Him. Compare Romans 3:12; Ephesians 2:7; Colossians 3:12; Sept. Psalms 144:7; Psalms 67:11. Plato defines it as ἤθους ἀπλαστία μετ᾿ εὐλογιστίας, Defin. p. 412, E. Phavorinus also defines it as εὐσπλαγχνία, ἡ πρὸς τοὺς πέλας συνδιάθεσις, τὰ αὐτοῦ ὡς οἰκεῖα ἰδιοποιουμένη. The meaning is kindness-gentleness, affability, the benign heart and the soft answer, “the gentleness of Christ;” or a serene, loving, and sympathizing temper, the fruit of that Spirit who descended in the form of a dove upon our great Exemplar, and abode upon Him.

᾿αγαθωσύνη—“goodness.” The word is Hellenistic (Thom. Mag. p. 921), and occurs in Romans 15:14, Ephesians 5:9, 2 Thessalonians 1:11. It is difficult to distinguish it from the previous term. Jerome calls the first benignitas sive suavitas, and the second bonitas, differing from the former quia potest bonitas. esse tristior et fronte severis moribus irrugata, bene quidem facere et praestare quod poscitur. It may signify beneficence, specially Gutigkeit, (Ewald, Wieseler)-kindness in actual manifestation. 2 Chronicles 24:16; Ecclesiastes 7:15.

πίστις—“faith” (“faythfulnes,” Tyndale, Cranmer)-not simply faith in God in the theological sense (Jerome, Theophylact),-that being implied, as the Spirit dwells only in those who have faith,-nor merely fidelity or good faith (Meyer), nor veracity (Winer); but trust generally, trustfulness toward God and towards man. Confidence in God, in all His promises, and under all His dispensations; and a spirit of unsuspicious and generous confidence towards men,-not moved by doubts and jealousies, nor conjuring up possible causes of distrust, and treasuring up sad lessons from previous instances of broken plight. 1 Corinthians 13:7.

πραΰτης—“meekness.” The word-so written in A, B, C, א-is sometimes spelled πραότης, as in D, E, F, G, K, L. The last is the more Attic form (Photii Lex. 447, ed. Porson), though the other may be the earlier. Lobeck, Phryn. 403; Lipsius, Gramm. Untersuch. pp. 7, 8. See also A. Buttmann, p. 23. It is also sometimes spelled with iota subscribed in both forms, but not by Lachmann and Tischendorf. This Christian grace is universal in its operation-submission Godward, meekness manward, which seems to be its special reference. Compare 2 Corinthians 11:1, Matthew 5:5; Matthew 11:29. The meek man bears himself mildly-submissively-in all things, “like a weaned child;” neither arraigns God, nor avenges himself on man. See under Ephesians 4:2; Sirach 45:4; and the definition in Stobaeus, Flor. 1.18, p. 8, vol. i. ed. Gassford.

᾿εγκράτεια—“temperance”-self-control-the holding in of passions and appetites, distinguished by Diogenes Laertius from σωφροσύνη in that it bridles ἐπιθυμίας σφοδράς, the stronger desires. Suidas defines it as ἡ ἕξις ἀήττητος ἡδονῶν. Acts 24:25; 2 Peter 1:6; Sept. Sirach 18:30. The word is to be taken in its widest significance, and not principally in reference to sexual sin-as Origen: τὸ δεδομένον ἀπὸ θεοῦ σῶμα ἄῤῥεν τηρητέον, Comm. in Matt. vol. i. p. 369, ed. Huet. This virtue guards agáinst all sins of personal excess, and is specially opposed to drunkenness and revellings as works of the flesh.

The Cod. D1, F, the Vulgate, and Claromontane Latin, with some of the Latin fathers, but not Jerome or Augustine, add to the catalogue ἁγνεία, castitas. Indeed there are twelve terms in the Vulgate for the nine of the Greek text-patientia, modestia, castitas-as if it had read ὑπομονή and ἐπιείκεια. These fruits of the Spirit may be divided into three clusters, with three terms under each. The first three are more distinctive in character, yet of true individual experience-love, joy, peace-graces peculiar to Christianity; the next three are social in their nature, and are climactic illustrations of the command, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself”-long-suffering, kindness, beneficence; and the three occurring last-trustfulness, meekness, temperance-are perhaps selected and put into contrast with opposite vices prevailing in the Galatian community.

The apostle adds-

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Eadie, John. "Commentary on Galatians 5:22". John Eadie's Commentary on Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Galatians 5:22. Since the object of this verse is to exhibit the harmony between the fruit of the spirit and the restraints of law, those qualities only are specified which affect man’s duty to his neighbour. Love with its unfailing attendants, inward joy and peace, supplies the motive power; long-suffering in the face of wrongs and ill-treatment, kindness in rendering service to others, and goodness in the free bestowal of bounty on those who need, cannot fail to gain goodwill; good faith, meekness, self-control enlist confidence and respect.— . It is clear from the subordinate place here assigned to that it does not here denote the cardinal grace of faith in God which is the very root of all religion, but rather good faith in dealings with men, and due regard to their just claims.



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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Galatians 5:22". The Expositor's Greek Testament. 1897-1910.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

The fruit of the Spirit is charity, &c. There are numbered twelve of these fruits in the Latin, though but nine in the Greek text, in St. John Chrysostom; St. Jerome; St. Augustine, tract. lxxxvii. in Joan. p. 756. The difference may again happen by the Latin interpreter using two words to express one Greek word. It is observed, that longanimity and patience are in a manner the same; so are benignity and goodness; and so may be here continency and chastity. (Witham)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Galatians 5:22". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

spirit. App-101.

gentleness. Greek. chrestotes. App-184.

goodness. Greek. agathosune. See Romans 15:14.

faith = fidelity, App-150. Compare Titus 2:10.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Galatians 5:22". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". 1909-1922.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(22) The fruit of the Spirit.—There does not seem to be any essential difference between this term and that used above: “the works of the flesh.” The fruit of the Spirit is that which naturally grows out of the operation of the Spirit, in which it naturally results. The expression “fruit” is, however, generally used by St. Paul in a good sense.

The list which follows brings out in a striking manner the peculiar finish and perfection which belongs to the Christian morality. It will be seen at a glance how it differs from any form of pagan or philosophic ethics. At the head of the list is “love,” which Christianity takes as its moving principle—not being, perhaps, alone in this, but alone in the systematic consistency with which it is carried out. Next comes “joy,” a peculiarly Christian grace, which has a much deeper root than mere natural cheerfulness of temper, and is rather the unfailing brightness and equanimity which proceeds from calm and settled principles animated by the Divine Spirit itself. It may be questioned whether “peace” is here the tranquility which is shed abroad in the heart by the sense of reconciliation with God, or rather, from the context that follows, peaceableness towards men. The remainder of the list, it will be seen, is made up of those delicate and fragile forms of virtue which the ordinary course of society is least likely to foster. Patriotism, courage, generosity, prudence, fortitude, are virtues that would be produced by the regular action of natural selection left to itself. “Long-suffering,” “gentleness,” “goodness,” “faith,” “meekness,” “temperance,” need a more spiritual process for their development.

Gentleness, goodness.—Perhaps, rather, kindness, goodness. The difference between the two Greek words and the ideas which they denote would appear to be somewhat similar to the difference between these two words in English. The second would represent a rather more positive tendency of disposition than the first.

Faith.—Rather, perhaps, faithfulness; not here in the sense peculiar to St. Paul, in which faith is the primary Christian virtue, but rather (as the context shows) “faithfulness,” or “trustworthiness” in dealing with men, along with, perhaps, that frank and unsuspicious temper which St. Paul ascribes specially to charity (1 Corinthians 13:7).

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Galatians 5:22". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
the fruit
16-18; Psalms 1:3; 92:14; Hosea 14:8; Matthew 12:33; Luke 8:14,15; 13:9; John 15:2,5,16; Romans 6:22; 7:4; Ephesians 5:9; Philippians 1:11; Colossians 1:10
13; Romans 5:2-5; 12:9-18; 15:3; 1 Corinthians 13:4-7; Ephesians 4:23-32; 5:1,2; Philippians 4:4-9; Colossians 3:12-17; 1 Thessalonians 1:3-10; 5:10-22; Titus 2:2-12; James 3:17,18; 1 Peter 1:8,22; 2 Peter 1:5-8; 1 John 4:7-16
Romans 15:14
1 Corinthians 13:7,13; 2 Thessalonians 3:2; 1 Timothy 3:11; 4:12; 1 Peter 5:12
Reciprocal: Exodus 39:24 - pomegranates;  Leviticus 8:30 - the anointing;  Deuteronomy 12:18 - rejoice;  1 Kings 8:66 - joyful;  Nehemiah 9:20 - good;  Psalm 18:35 - gentleness;  Psalm 35:9 - GeneralPsalm 37:11 - the meek;  Psalm 119:165 - Great;  Psalm 143:10 - thy spirit;  Ecclesiastes 2:26 - wisdom;  Song of Solomon 4:10 - the smell;  Song of Solomon 7:13 - at our;  Isaiah 11:9 - not hurt;  Isaiah 29:19 - meek;  Isaiah 42:21 - he will;  Isaiah 54:13 - great;  Isaiah 55:12 - ye shall;  Jeremiah 31:33 - I will;  Jeremiah 33:6 - and will;  Ezekiel 18:21 - and do;  Ezekiel 36:27 - I will;  Daniel 4:27 - by showing;  Matthew 3:8 - fruits;  Matthew 5:9 - are;  Matthew 7:17 - every;  Matthew 13:8 - some an;  Matthew 13:23 - beareth;  Matthew 23:23 - the weightier;  Matthew 25:4 - oil;  Matthew 25:40 - Inasmuch;  Mark 4:20 - which;  Mark 9:50 - have peace;  Luke 3:8 - fruits;  Luke 13:6 - and he came;  John 3:21 - that his;  John 7:38 - out;  John 13:34 - That ye love;  John 14:16 - another;  John 14:27 - Peace I leave;  John 16:20 - your;  John 17:13 - that;  Acts 9:31 - and in;  Acts 13:52 - with the;  Acts 16:34 - and rejoiced;  Romans 2:10 - and peace;  Romans 5:5 - shed;  Romans 5:11 - but we;  Romans 8:4 - That;  Romans 8:5 - of the Spirit;  Romans 8:6 - to be spiritually minded;  Romans 8:7 - for it;  Romans 8:14 - led;  Romans 8:23 - which have;  Romans 12:2 - good;  Romans 12:10 - kindly;  Romans 12:18 - GeneralRomans 14:17 - peace;  Romans 15:13 - fill;  1 Corinthians 1:30 - sanctification;  1 Corinthians 6:11 - but ye are sanctified;  1 Corinthians 7:15 - but;  1 Corinthians 9:21 - not;  1 Corinthians 13:2 - and have;  1 Corinthians 14:33 - but;  1 Corinthians 16:14 - General2 Corinthians 3:8 - the ministration;  2 Corinthians 6:6 - knowledge;  2 Corinthians 13:14 - the communion;  Galatians 4:15 - the blessedness;  Ephesians 1:4 - love;  Ephesians 4:16 - edifying;  Ephesians 5:18 - but;  Philippians 2:1 - if any comfort;  Philippians 4:7 - the peace;  Philippians 4:8 - whatsoever;  Colossians 1:8 - General1 Thessalonians 1:5 - in the;  1 Thessalonians 1:6 - with joy;  1 Thessalonians 2:7 - we;  1 Thessalonians 3:12 - love;  1 Thessalonians 5:13 - and be;  1 Thessalonians 5:14 - be;  2 Thessalonians 3:5 - into;  1 Timothy 1:5 - the end;  1 Timothy 5:25 - the good;  1 Timothy 6:11 - righteousness;  2 Timothy 1:7 - of love;  2 Timothy 2:24 - but;  Titus 3:2 - gentle;  Hebrews 1:9 - oil;  Hebrews 6:9 - things;  Hebrews 10:24 - love;  Hebrews 12:11 - peaceable;  Hebrews 12:14 - Follow;  Hebrews 13:1 - GeneralJames 5:8 - ye also;  1 Peter 1:6 - ye greatly;  1 Peter 2:18 - the good;  1 Peter 3:11 - seek;  1 John 3:14 - because;  1 John 4:13 - General1 John 4:19 - General2 John 1:5 - that we

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Galatians 5:22". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge".

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

22.Three inward graces.

Love—Placed at the head, (as hate is placed at the opposite head of malign emotions, Galatians 5:20,) as fountain of all the rest.

Joy—Springing from sense of love from and to God and man.

Peace—The calmer state of quiet and permanent joy. These are the three felicities and blessednesses of Christian life, giving existence and strength to all the Christian virtues.

Next come the three active graces of longsuffering, gentleness, and goodness.

Longsuffering—Enduring from others, as being sustained by a central love and peace within.

Gentleness—A kindly disposition and dealing with others.

Goodness—In active benevolence.

Next, the manifest qualities of character.

Faith—Good-faith, fidelity, trustiness, and trueness.


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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Galatians 5:22". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". 1874-1909.

The Bible Study New Testament

22. But the Spirit produces. Christians are the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). The real evidence of the Spirit living in them, is not speaking in tongues and miraculous powers! The real evidence is these things which Paul now mentions. These are what the Holy Spirit produces as fruits in the branches of the true vine (John 15:1-10). Love. AGAPE – Christian love. See 1 Cor. Ch. 13. Joy. Love induces joy in the Christian! Jesus was a “man of sorrows” to some degree, yet he was also a man of joy (Hebrews 12:2)and showed a sense of humor in the things he said to the Pharisees, Joy is especially associated with the Holy Spirit (compare Romans 14:17:1 Thessalonians 1:6). Joy contrasts with apathy, gloom, remorse, etc. Peace. An inner harmony and serenity. The Christian can have a different attitude toward everyone and everything, because he is a refugee, a citizen of another world!!! Just a short time and he will be going home!!! Patience. Being able to put up with the other people’s faults. The endurance of wrong without anger to revenge. Kindness. The attitude that actively reaches out with ahelping hand to others. It is both gentle and generous. Goodness. This is the motive behind kindness. Compare 1 Corinthians 13:6. Faithfulness. Reliability, loyalty.




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Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Galatians 5:22". "The Bible Study New Testament". College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

22.But the fruit (93) of the Spirit. In the former part of the description he condemned the whole nature of man as producing nothing but evil and worthless fruits. He now informs us that all virtues, all proper and well regulated affections, proceed from the Spirit, that is, from the grace of God, and the renewed nature which we derive from Christ. As if he had said, “Nothing but what is evil comes from man; nothing good comes but from the Holy Spirit.” There have often appeared in unrenewed men remarkable instances of gentleness, integrity, temperance, and generosity; but it is certain that all were but specious disguises. Curius and Fabrieius were distinguished for courage, Cato for temperance, Scipio for kindness and generosity, Fabius for patience; but it was only in the sight of men, and as members of civil society, that they were so distinguished. In the sight of God nothing is pure but what proceeds from the fountain of all purity.

Joy does not here, I think, denote that “joy in the Holy Ghost” (Romans 14:17,) of which he speaks elsewhere, but that cheerful behavior towards our fellow-men which is the opposite of moroseness.Faith means truth, and is contrasted with cunning, deceit, and falsehood, as peace is with quarrels and contentions. Long-suffering is gentleness of mind, which disposes us to take everything in good part, and not to be easily offended. The other terms require no explanation, for the dispositions of the mind must be learned from the outward conduct.

But if spiritual men are known by their works, what judgment, it will be asked, shall we form of wicked men and idolaters, who exhibited an illustrious resemblance of all the virtues? for it is evident from their works that they were spiritual. I reply, as all the works of the flesh do not appear openly in a carnal man, but his carnaltry is discovered by one or another vice, so a single virtue will not entitle us to conclude that a man is spiritual. Sometimes it will be made evident, by other vices, that sin reigns in him; and this observation may be easily applied to all the cases which I have enumerated.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Galatians 5:22". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". 1840-57.