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The Fruit of the Spirit.

The Fruit of the Spirit.

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Published by glennpease

REV. H. S. HOLLAND, M.A.



— Gal. v. 19-22.

REV. H. S. HOLLAND, M.A.



— Gal. v. 19-22.

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Published by: glennpease on May 23, 2013
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02/16/2014

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THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT.REV. H. S. HOLLAD, M.A. — Gal. v. 19-22.As St. Paul looks back at that bad life out of whichhe had snatched the souls of his Geijtile converts, itis its bitter brutality that he most vividly remembersand recalls. It was a jarring life, in which there wasno tenderness, no courtesy, no kindliness, no peace.It was full of collisions, of friction, of wounds, of sores.It was a loud and violent life, in which men fought,and hit, and swore.As he runs over his list of old habits once familiarto them, his picture is as of some back alley in ourcrowded towns, in which all is shrill, rough, boisterous,with women screaming, with children shrieking, anest of noises, a swarm of jangling cries.This is what they have left behind, this which hadmade life one long quarrel, pitiless and brutal. Theyhad left it, mastered and enthralled by the sweetvision of Him, the Man of peace, and meekness, andlowliness. Who had been led, quiet and patient,as a lamb to the slaughter, and, as a sheep before itsThe Fruit of the Spirit. 281shearers, had never opened His mouth ; Who, whenHe was reviled, reviled not again ; and when He wasthreatened, threatened not ; One Who never gave back railing for railing, but only blessing." You all remember it," he keeps crying to them, — " those old days, so merciless, so angry, so cruel ; howyou grated on one another, how you rasped one another,how you bit and devoured one another like snarlingdogs." It had been one long quarrel, a life of wrath," full of bitterness, clamour, evil-speaking : " they knewit all but too well what he meant, for " the worksof the flesh " are manifest, " which are these — hatred,
 
variance, emulation, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,envyings, murders."" Works of the flesh," St. Paul calls them. Hiskeen eye sweeps over the whole range of this loudquarrelling ; to him, it is no senseless storm thatrages on without rhyme or reason. ay I it has,all of it, a story and a cause: it is the witness, onthe surface of life, to inner disorder. These roughoaths, these venomous taunts, this bitter tumult — these are the natural issues of the root from whichthey spring. They are " works " — normal, and antici-pated, and legitimate deeds, which appear in obedienceto a law of rational production. They are " fruits " — results that grow out of certain creative activities,as accurately and inevitably as grapes from vines andfigs from fig-trees.And what is this root which so legitimately flowersinto these uncomfortable blossoms ? " The flesh," St.Paul names it; the flesh is as much the seat and282 ewness of Life.home of this passionate violence as it is of those otherpassions and appetites with which we commonlyidentify it. This petulance, this savagery, this hailof malice, this outcry of rage, this havoc of revenge,this recklessness of cruelty, — all this finds its principle,its origin, its motive-cause in that same activity of theflesh. Set the law of the flesh in action, and you musthave quarrels. Out of the flesh they fly, these oathsand screams, just as sparks out of a smitten flint. Itwould be a miracle if men who lived after the methodsof the flesh failed to envy and to hate one another.ow, can we see why this is so — why hatred,variance, emulation, strife are manifestly works of thatsame body of sin which has for its fruits those othervices, uncleanness and drunkenness, which we moreeasily connect with the motions of the flesh ? To answerthis, I will ask you to enter a little more deeply thanusual into the solid and broad meaning which St. Paulattaches to this, his favourite term for the root-principleof human sin — "the flesh." Obviously, it is much
 
more to him than the mere matter of animal passions.It expresses to him the typical nature, the essentialform, of all that can be set in antithesis to spirit."The flesh lusteth against the spirit." It includesthe pride and the falsity of intellect. It embraces thedisorder and stubbornness of the will. What, then,is this " flesh " ? How can we describe and define it ?Let us try, in answer to this question, to conceivethe mode in which sin arises. Man, when he beginsto think and scheme, discovers himself looking outupon a world in which he has already been instinc-The Fruit of the Spirit. 283tively and spontaneously playing a busy part. Hefinds himself, before he takes the trouble to noticeit, or to consider, already netted into a web of livingrelationships, within which he displays those gifts andenergies with which he is endowed, and which hebrings into use under the natural pressure of circum-stance, under the dictation of emergencies. His family,his people, have ways and habits of securing theirliving, of asserting their business ; and into these hefalls, and acts under their unfelt direction. There he is — there he lives ; he eats and drinks ; he wakes, andworks, and sleeps; he grows, marries, dies: and allthis happens, so to speak, without asking him ; hiscustoms fix it ; his nature prompts ; his inner spon-taneity issues in its normal actions. If this were all,his human life would all spring up as naturally, asobviously, as a forest grows and spreads with unfailingpertinacity; or as a river runs wherever the earthyields it readiest way.or need this instinctive life of man stand still;it might be capable of advance, of growth. Itsspontaneous reactions, in face of irritant circumstances,might move forward towards surer and more subtleadaptations. It might advance under the disciplineof accumulated experiences, even as plants and birdsperfect themselves, and yet, still, it would be withoutany interruption of that even and unsinning naturalnesswhich belongs to the powers that are God-sown,God-planted, God-watered within him.

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