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Striving After Perfection

Striving After Perfection

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Published by glennpease
R. W. CHURCH, M.A., D.C.L.

"Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven Is
perfect." ST. MATTHEW v. 48.
R. W. CHURCH, M.A., D.C.L.

"Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven Is
perfect." ST. MATTHEW v. 48.

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Published by: glennpease on Dec 07, 2013
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STRIVING AFTER PERFECTION R. W. CHURCH, M.A., D.C.L."Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven Is perfect." ST. MATTHEW v. 48. " PERFECT," of course, does not mean anything im possible or inconceivable, as that man should, even if a saint, be without sin and faultiness, or that he should really be absolutely like his Father in heaven. Our Lord spoke to reasonable men, and did not expect His words to be understood unreasonably. By " perfect " He meant something which men might be if they would, something which, by the help of God s grace, they might become, without ceasing to be men, before they die. He meant that they should not be willingly, and by their own fault, less good than they might be. He meant that they should not willingly, and by their own fault, stop short of what they saw to be right, and saw that they ought to try to become. He meant that, as God is not good at some times and not at others, as He is always good, so men should feel it their duty to try always to be like their Father in heaven. He meant that men should not pick and choose among God s commandments ; that they should not keep them as
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much as they liked, and no further ; that they should not think they had done their duty by an outward viii STRIVING AFTER PERFECTION 69 observance of the letter, without any care for observ ing them in their own hearts, and according to their spirit and meaning. He meant, not that every Christian was to do everything that was spoken of as good and holy in the Bible, or that other Christians might be called to, but that, in doing his duty, every Christian was to feel that he was bound to do his best in his own calling. It must strike us, when we read the New Testa ment, that for men to do their best then meant something very different from what we believe our selves called to now. There is nothing wonderful in this. Differences of times and circumstances make differences of duties. We live in quiet times ; but suppose we lived in rough and troubled times, plainly our worldly duties, the things we should all be called upon to do, would be very different. In war, or if a country is filled with enemies, it is plain
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that people must feel called on for many things for which they are not called on in peace ; they must make up their minds to trials, hardships, sacrifices, as a matter of course, which they would not think of under other circumstances. So it is plain that in the days of the New Testament men were called to do their best in a different way from what they are now. There was a time when it was said, "If thou wilt be perfect" that is, if thou wilt do thy best " sell all, and give to the poor, and take up thy cross, and come and follow Me." When this was but what the Master did, what wonder if the disciples were called to do the same. There was a time when it was said, " Take no thought for your life, or for your 70 VILLAGE SERMONS vin raiment : " " for after all these things do the Gentiles seek ; for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of these things." " Take therefore no thought for the morrow ; for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself." There was a time
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