The Nature Of True Practical Holiness (3)

g. A holy man will follow after a spirit of mercy and benevolence towards others. He will not stand all the day idle. He will not be content with doing no harm; he will try to do good. He will strive to be useful in his day and generation and to lessen the spiritual wants and misery around him as far as he can. Such was Dorcas: 'full of good works and almsdeeds, which she did' - not merely purposed and talked about, but did. Such an one was Paul: 'I will very gladly spend and be spent for you,' he says, 'though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved' (Act_9:36; 2Co_12:15).

h. A holy man will follow after purity of heart. He will dread all filthiness and uncleanness of spirit, and seek to avoid all things that might draw him into it. He knows his own heart is like tinder, and will diligently keep clear of the sparks of temptation. Who shall dare to talk of strength when David can fall? There is many a hint to be gleaned from the ceremonial law. Under it the man who only touched a bone or a dead body or a grave or a diseased person became at once unclean in the sight of God. And these things were emblems and figures. Few Christians are ever too watchful and too particular about this point.

i. A holy man will follow after the fear of God. I do not mean the fear of a slave, who only works because he is afraid of punishment and would be idle if he did not dread discovery. I mean rather the fear of a child, who wishes to live and move as if he was always before his father's face, because he loves him. What a noble example Nehemiah gives us of this! When he became governor at Jerusalem he might have been chargeable to the Jews, and required of them money for his support. The former governors had done so. There was none to blame him if he did. But he says, 'So did not I, because of the fear of God' (Neh_5:15).

j. A holy man will follow after humility. He will desire, in lowliness of mind, to esteem all others better than himself. He will see more evil in his own heart than in any other in the world. He will understand something of Abraham's feeling, when he says, 'I am dust and ashes,' and Jacob's, when he says, 'I am less than the least of all Thy mercies,' and Job's, when he says, 'I am vile,' and Paul's, when he says, 'I am chief of sinners.' Holy Bradford, that faithful martyr of Christ, would sometimes finish his letters with these words: 'A most miserable sinner, John Bradford.' Good old Mr. Grimshaw's last words, when he lay on his deathbed, were these: 'Here goes an unprofitable servant.'

k. A holy man will follow after faithfulness in all the duties and relations in life. He will try, not merely to fill his place as well as others who take no thought for their souls, but even better, because he has higher motives and more help than they. Those words of Paul should never be forgotten: 'Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord': 'Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord' (Col_3:23; Rom_12:11). Holy persons should aim at doing everything well, and should be ashamed of allowing themselves to do anything ill if they can help it. Like Daniel, they should seek to give no 'occasion' against themselves, except concerning the law of their God (Dan_6:5). They should strive to be good husbands and good wives, good parents and good children, good masters and good servants, good neighbours, good friends, good subjects, good in private and good in public, good in the place of business and good by their firesides. Holiness is worth little indeed, if it does not bear this kind of fruit. The Lord Jesus puts a searching question to His people, when He says, 'What do ye more than others?' (Mat_5:47.)