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Wisdom Toward Them That Are Without.

Wisdom Toward Them That Are Without.

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Published by glennpease

Walk in wisdom toward them that are without.— Colossians iv. 5.

Walk in wisdom toward them that are without.— Colossians iv. 5.

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Published by: glennpease on Jun 23, 2013
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WISDOM TOWARD THEM THAT ARE WITHOUT.BY REV. D. MERRILLWalk in wisdom toward them that are without.— Colossians iv. 5.God has given to the world a revelation of his will. Thegreat object of this revelation is to bring glory to God in thesalvation of men. But it can be the means of their salvationonly as it commends itself to their understandings and theirhearts. They must in some way be brought to think well of it before they will ever heartily receive it. There are but twoways in which they can be brought to think well of it — by ex-amining its principles, and by seeing those principles exhib-ited in real life. By examining its principles, they may seethat it is fitted to the nature of man — to remove his guilt, toquiet his fears, to purify his heart and make him happy. Itsvery fitness to the nature and necessities of man, shows thatthe Maker of man is its author, and that it is both " a faith-ful saying and worthy of all acceptation."But few are found willing to examine in this way the vol-ume of revelation. The great mass look not so much at prin-ciples as actual effects ; and study religion less in the Biblethan in the lives of the professedly religious. Does it removeguilt and guilty fears, and purify the heart, and make menhappy ? They look for its power and efiicacy in the lives of the religious, and on this account it is all-important that theyshould exhibit its true spirit and character. They are witnessesfor God, and let them see to it that they bear a true testimony.T^•ISD0>1 TOWARD THEM THAT ARE WITHOUT. 83It is on this ground that Christians are exhorted to shape theirconduct with special reference to those that are without, with aview of influencing them to come within. Says Jesus, — " Letyour light so shine before men, that they may see your goodworks and glorify your Father which is in heaven." SaysPaul, — "Walk in wisdom toward them that are without."Again he exhorts " that ye study to be quiet and to do yourown business, and to work with your hands, .... thatye may walk honestly toward them that are without."It is the duty of every Christian to recommend religion tothose who are without. To do thisI. His religion must be founded on PRiNCirLE.
To maintain a decent form of religion, he must necessarilydiffer in many respects from others — he cannot run to the sameexcess of riot with them, he cannot enter into all their schemesto kill time, he caimot be partaker of all their amusements, hecannot sympathize with all their worldly plans. Yet all thisdifference in outward conduct may spring from no principle of religion. It may be the result of caprice, or love of singulari-ty, or of selfishness, or of a sour and morose disposition ; andwhile there is any plausible pretext for imputing it to thesecauses, he necessarily fails to commend religion. There is nogreat difficulty, ordinarily, in discerning the motives by whichmen are influenced. If, from religious principle, they are in-duced to come out from the world and be separate, it will, inno long time, be manifest to the world. They may suffer fromthe imputation of bad motives for a season, but there is a powerin established principle, which commends itself to every man.When Daniel continued to pray as usual, notwithstandingthe king's commandment, was it from religious principle, orwilfulness ? His very enemies had no doubt of his integrity.84 REV. D. Merrill's sermons.** We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except
we find it against hira concerning the law of his God." Whenthe three worthies stood erect and alone amidst the thousandsthat bowed down before the image, could any man for a mo-ment think it mere obstinacy — we won't because we won't?When the apostles were commanded by the council not to teachor preach any more in the name of Jesus, and they answered,*• Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto youmore than God, judge ye," and continued their preaching inthe face of the commandment, was there any doubt about themotives ? So now religious principle shines out with a lustreof its own. True, religion has its counterfeits, and religiousscruples are sometimes a mere pretense. But few are deceived.The real motive is sometimes apparent from the very effort toconceal it. One man, for instance, furnishes no spirit to hisworkmen. He is convinced that it is wrong and ruinous, andhe is principled against it. Another has made a calculation of the annual expense, and has discovered that banishing thespirit from his fields is a money-saving process, and he is inter-ested against it, while every workman knows that he caresmore for interest than principle. There may be a mistake inthe first instance, but it is rarely of long continuance. Adrunkard respects the man who from principle refuses to fur-
nish him the means of ruin.An ofiacer in the last war was challenged to fight a duel.He had been a member of a church for many years, and wasprincipled against duelling, but if he refused the challenge hewould be posted for a coward, and his reputation in the armyruined. His very friends urged him to fight, as the onlymeans of saving his character. But he refused, and his namewas handed round with the common epithets of disgrace. TwoWISDOM TOWARD THEM THAT ARE WITHOUT. 85days after, the enemy appeared, and lie redeemed his characteron the field of battle. To those who were but slightly ac-quainted with him, the cause of his refusal might have beenmistaken — a coward might seek shelter under the pretense of principle. But there was another occasion in which therecould be no mistake.Particular acts of a Christian may be imputed to bad mo-tives — whim, oddity, moroseness, selfishness. But he has athousand opportunities of vindicating his character, by showingforth honesty of heart and purity of principle. If he "walksin wisdom toward them that are without," he will abound inthose acts that are least subject to misapprehension, and whenhe is constrained to differ from others, make it manifest that hediflfers not from a perverse disposition or narrowness of mind,but from principle and conscience. Every good man is boundto take pains that his " good be not evil spoken of," — that thegood principle which actuates him shine out in the act. Let itappear that his religion is founded on principle.II. To commend religion to those who are without, it mustBE CONSISTENT — uot an affair of times and seasons — of Sundaysand special occasions. " It is good to be zealously affected al-ways in a good thing." There is no truth more manifest thanthat religion should be the ruling principle of life — the greatspring of action in a Christian. It should appear in all hisbusiness, in all his intercourse with men. It should be mani-fest that there is nothing temporary or trivial about it — that ithas the same authority at all times and in all places. Thisprinciple is frequently overlooked. Many who are religiousin the morning, seem to forget their religion all the day. Itsexercise is suspended till the evening, as if the business of theworld could not be conducted on religious principles, and when8

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