How to See Good Days.

"Laying aside therefore all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envyings, and all evil speakings, as newborn babes, desire earnestly the pure mental milk of the Word, that by it ye may grow up to salvation, if indeed ye have tasted that the Lord is good." (1 Peter 2:1-2.) As in the first chapter the flesh gets its true estimate in God's sight, so here its activities are distinctly disallowed. God having "condemned sin in the flesh," it is impossible for us to have His thoughts of it and yet tolerate those things which are manifestly its active energies. In so far as the believer allows the works of the flesh, he denies that God has condemned it on Calvary. Nor is the doctrinal assent enough; the Spirit of God commends a practical "laying aside;" for allowed evil in the heart rapidly becomes overt evil in the life. Guile, hypocrisy, and evil speakings are the outward expression of malice and envy working within. Therefore God goes to the root. The inward working and the outward works are alike revolting to God. The practical "laying aside" of both root and branches will alone clear the way for what follows - the earnest desire after that which is divinely provided for the positive growth of the soul The newborn babe has an instinctive and laudable craving for that which is suited to its healthy development. So also we, if the flesh be indeed judged, and all its activities sternly disallowed, shall need little incitement to draw from the everflowing spring of the word of God that which His grace has so generously furnished for the growth "up to salvation" of those who have tasted of the goodness of the Lord.

There is then the "coming" to Him, the One who, cast away as worthless by men, is chosen and precious to God - His elect and precious corner-stone! To us who have believed and are living stones is that preciousness; and as a race are we chosen too, a kingly priesthood, a holy nation, a people for possession, raised up to set forth the excellencies of Him who has called us to His wonderful light, and to be a people unto God, enjoying His mercy; and as a holy priesthood, offering up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

"Beloved," says Peter, "I exhort you as strangers and sojourners to abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; having your conversation" (or way of life) "honest among the Gentiles," etc. Again he warns against the energies of the flesh, which "war against the soul;" striking word of admonition indicating the deadly effect of sanctioning the flesh in its lusts. Remembering his own terrible experience of what the flesh is capable of, how could he as a shepherd of the flock of God do other than warn the beloved sheep against every activity of it? Further, the eyes of "the Gentiles" are upon us; nor do they refrain from speaking against us as evil-doers; and the will of God is, that we put their ignorance to silence. Let us take heed, then, that through our good works, themselves being witnesses, they glorify God in the day of visitation, while from nothing short of the whole scope of the works of the flesh we make manifest that we are, "total abstainers."

Next, there are political duties insisted upon. The king is supreme, and rulers are his messengers for vengeance or for praise. Not a word about political rights, nor could there be without doing violence to the character given us by the Spirit of God of "strangers and sojourners." Our political duties are summed up in two words - "subjection" and "honour." Subjection is to be rendered to the king, whether in his own person or in his representatives; for authority is of God. Honour is to be paid to all men; - for man is the image of God. Pre-eminently, however, to the king; for he is exalted by God. Our freedom and our liberty is as God's bondsmen. Our fear is due to Him. "Happy is the man that feareth alway." (Prov. 28:14.) Our love is due to the brotherhood.

Such as are servants - another phase of subjection - must be subject with all fear unto their masters; and how needful is the added word, "Not only to the good and gentle, but also to the ill-tempered." Can any master read this, or any one directly or indirectly exercising authority, without being forcibly impressed with the suggestive way in which the Spirit of God here commends goodness and gentleness, and deprecates ill-temper in the treatment of those who are under that authority? That which is distinctly acceptable with God is (1) doing good, (2) suffering for it wrongfully, and (3) taking it patiently; this is acceptable with God. Do you say, Who is sufficient for these things? Why it is that to which we have been called! It shone with divine lustre and lovely grace and peerless perfection in the Master, and He has left us a model that we should follow His steps. In Him was no sin, nor guile, nor reviling, nor threatening; He was the One who, accepting in all points the will of Him who sent Him, and who judgeth righteously, gave Himself up in unreserved, unqualified subjection to suffering and to shame, even unto death.

Wives also are to be subject to their husbands, and husbands to honour their wives; they are heirs together of the grace of life; their prayers are to be unhindered. If the wives have unbelieving husbands, not subject to the Word, it is an occasion for faith to display itself in seeking to win them by godly deportment, chaste conversation, and becoming fear. Their dress too, their hair and their ornaments, are none of them beneath the notice and the solicitude of the Spirit of God, who prescribes for their adorning no outward attire but that which is of the "hidden man of the heart," and for their ornament "a meek and a quiet spirit," which is priceless in the sight of God!

Finally, we are exhorted to oneness of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, tender-heartedness, and humility (or perhaps courtesy), the beautiful fruit of the Spirit among brethren in their relation to one another. No evil for evil, or railing for railing; but, being themselves inheritors of blessing, also blessing others. This is the way to go on quietly, peacefully, happily in this life, and he supports it by quoting Psalm 34:12-14. But should we be called to suffer for righteousness' sake, that also we can take happily. It is blessed thus to suffer. "Be not afraid of their fear, neither be troubled; but sanctify the Lord Christ in your hearts, and be always prepared to give an answer to every one that asks you to give an account of the hope that is in you, but with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that (as to that) in which they speak against you as evildoers, they may be ashamed who calumniate your good conversation in Christ." W. Rickards. (Derby).