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Against Strife and Vain-glory.

Against Strife and Vain-glory.

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
REV. JAMES SHERGOLD BOONE, M.A.,


Phil. II. 3.

Let nothing be done through strife or vain-glory; but in
lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than them-
selves,
REV. JAMES SHERGOLD BOONE, M.A.,


Phil. II. 3.

Let nothing be done through strife or vain-glory; but in
lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than them-
selves,

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Oct 08, 2013
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12/13/2013

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AGAIST STRIFE AD VAI-GLORY.REV. JAMES SHERGOLD BOOE, M.A.,Phil. II. 3.Let nothing be done through strife or vain-glory; but inlowliness of mind let each esteem other better than them-selves,IT should be recollected that shortly before, in thissame Epistle, and in some connexion with his pre-sent argument, St Paul had declared : ' Some indeedpreach Christ of envy and strife; and some also of good-will: the one preach Christ of contention, notsincerely, supposing to add affliction to my- bonds : butthe other of love, knowing that I am set for the defenceof the Gospel. What then ? notwithstanding, every way,whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached ; andI therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.' ow, theseverses may appear, at the first glance, to be at variance,and almost in contradiction, with the text and its con-text : * Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, havingthe same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Letnothing be done through] strife or vain-glory; but inlowliness of mind let each esteem other better thanthemselves.^These two statements, then, may require to beplaced side by side, if we would carry with us a com-plete and well-adjusted view of the apostolical doctrine;and we have to reconcile and harmonize them toge-246 AGAIST STEIFE AD VAI-GLORY. [SERM.ther, as we very easily may. For the general scope of 
 
St Paul's reasoning appears to be this. From whateverinducements, albeit envy, contentiousness, and carnalambition or rivalry, the name of Christ is made known,and his faith propagated, the effect must be matter of congratulation to us, although we cannot sanction, oradmire, the principle. At the same time, there is themore excellent way. For not only are some motivesfor preaching Christ better than others; but these, al-though they may conduce to the spread of his religion,are yet intrinsically unworthy of it; while those, althoughnot alone made instrumental in serving the Divinepurposes, are alone fit to influence the true disciples of Christ.Our immediate subject will come out with greaterclearness, if we dwell for a moment on these points,and observe how the two declarations of the apostle,while tending to modify and explain each other, pre-sent in their coiy'unction the full orb of truth.It appears, then, that, while St Paul was in prisonat Rome, several Christians, jealous of his success, hadbeen endeavouring to draw off the Philippian convertsfrom attachment to his person and ministry, and to raisethemselves in his absence, and even upon his misfor-tunes. Some had preached the Gospel from rectitudeof intention; but others in hostility to its appointedambassadors, and under influences quite incompatiblewith either evangelical holiness or unsullied morality.Well : we have every reason to be assured, that therewere internal circimistances, even in that infancy of the faith, which wrung with pain the great and affec-tionate heart of the apostle. Yet it was a satis&ctionto that heart, that men, foes to himself, were yet, insome sense, emissaries of Christ, and yet^ in some sense.XIV.] AGAIST STRIFE AD VAI-GLORY. 247
 
made common cause with him against common enemies.We know, that all heresies, schisms, contentions, anddivisions in the church, were in his eyes hateful andabominable things. But still more hateful, still moreabominable to him, would have been the imdisputedsupremacy of irreligion, or polytheism. A beam of light,therefore, seemed cast across the walls of his dungeon,as he learnt, that by some means, by any means, theGospel was making way against the obstinate Jew, thehaughty Boman, the supple Greek, the fierce barbarian;that the sacred presence of Divine truth was invadingthe forum and the synagogue, the schools of the So-phists, and the palace of the Csesars ; that its voice washeard and its power felt above the noise and the gran-deur of the Imperial City ; and that the domination of heathenism was already shaken to its base IWe, my brethren, may sympathize in this our daywith these feelings of St Paul We may sympathizewith them, even amidst the rival altars that are set up ;even amidst the various sects, and denominations, andparties, which rend and distract the Chrbtian society.Believing that our creed is the purest, and our politythe most apostolical, I wish, from my heart and soul,that we, the ministers and members of the Church of England, could, and would, do the whole work our*selves. But, in some manner, by some agency, let itbe done I Even if our adversaries are to do it, let itbe done I Would to God that aU Christians would ad-vance to the * good fight' as one undivided body ; wouldthat there were no seceders from the ranks of the faith-ftdl But, if there must be separatists and dissenters,let us be thankful that we can find cause for congratu-lation and encouragement, no less than for indignationor alarm, moumfulness and sorrow. 1£, therefore, a248 AGAIST STRIFE AD VAI-GLORY. [SERM.

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