Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again - He did not use harsh and opprobrious words in return for those which he received:
(1) He was reviled. He was accused of being a seditious man; spoken of as a deceiver; charged with being in league with Beelzebub, the “prince of the devils” and condemned as a blasphemer against God. This was done:
(a)by the great and the influential of the land;
(b)in the most public manner;
(c)with a design to alienate his friends from him;
(d)with most cutting and severe sarcasm and irony; and,
(e)in reference to everything that would most affect a man of delicate and tender sensibility.
(2) he did not revile those who had reproached him. He asked that justice might be done. He demanded that if he had spoken evil, they should bear witness of the evil; but beyond that he did not go. He used no harsh language. He showed no anger. He called for no revenge. He prayed that they might robe forgiven. He calmly stood and bore it all, for he came to endure all kinds of suffering in order that he might set us an example, and make an atonement for our sins.
When he suffered, he threatened not - That is, when he suffered injustice from others, in his trial and in his death, he did not threaten punishment. He did not call down the wrath of heaven. He did not even predict that they would be punished; he expressed no wish that they should be.
But committed himself to him that judgeth righteously - Margin, his cause. The sense is much the same. The meaning is, that he committed his cause, his name, his interests, the whole case, to God. The meaning of the phrase “that judgeth righteously” here is, that God would do him exact justice. Though wronged by people, he felt assured that he would do right. He would rescue his name from these reproaches; he would give him the honor in the world which he deserved; and he would bring upon those who had wronged him all that was necessary in order to show his disapprobation of what they had done, and all that would be necessary to give the highest support to the cause of virtue. Compare Luke 23:46. This is the example which is set before us when we are wronged. The whole example embraces these points:
(1) We should see to it that we ourselves are guiltless in the matter for which we are reproached or accused. Before we fancy that we are suffering as Christ did, we should be sure that our lives are such as not to deserve reproach. We cannot indeed hope to be as pure in all things as he was; but we may so live that if we are reproached and reviled we may be certain that it is not for any wrong that we have done to others, or that we do not deserve it from our fellow-men.
(2) When we are reproached and reviled, we should feel that we were called to this by our profession; that it was one of the things which we were taught to expect when we became Christians; that it is what the prophets and apostles endured, and what the Master himself suffered in an eminent degree; and that if we meet with the scorn of the great, the frivilous, the rich, the powerful, it is no more than the Saviour did, and no more than we have been taught to expect will be our portion. It may be well, too, to remember our unworthiness; and to reflect, that though we have done no wrong to the individual who reviles us yet that we are sinners, and that such reproaches may not be a useless admonisher of our being guilty before God. So David felt when reproached by Shimei: “So let him curse, because the Lord hath said unto him, Curse David. Who shall then say, Wherefore hast thou done so?” 2 Samuel 16:10.
(3) when this occurs, we should calmly and confidently commit our cause to God. Our name, our character, our influence, our reputation, while living and after we are dead, we should leave entirely with him. We should not seek nor desire revenge. We should not call down the wrath of God on our persecutors and slanderers. We should calmly feel that God will give us the measure of reputation which we ought to have in the world, and that he will suffer no ultimate injustice to be done us. “Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him, and he shall bring it to pass; and he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noon-day,” Psalm 37:5-6. The Latin Vulgate has here, “But he committed himself to him who judged him unjustly,” judicanti se injuste; that is, to Pontius Pilate, meaning that he left himself in his hands, though he knew that the sentence was unjust. But there is no authority for this in the Greek, and this is one of the instances in which that version departs from the original.
But committed himself - Though he could have inflicted any kind of punishment on his persecutors, yet to give us, in this respect also, an example that we should follow his steps, he committed his cause to him who is the righteous Judge. To avoid evil tempers, and the uneasiness and danger of avenging ourselves, it is a great advantage in all such cases to be able to refer our cause to God, and to be assured that the Judge of all the earth will do right.
The Vulgate, one copy of the Itala, St. Cyprian, and Fulgentius, read, Tradebat autem judicanti se injuste; "He delivered himself to him who judged unrighteously;" meaning Pontius Pilate. Some critics approve of this reading, but it has not sufficient evidence to recommend it as genuine.
Your actions testify that you are strangers to Christ. “Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh. Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” 2T 178.1
Here are enumerated the fruits which are marked evidences that one who has been walking in the vigor of life has met with a change—a change so marked as to be represented by death. From living, active life, to death! What a striking figure! None need be deceived here. If this transformation has not been experienced by you, rest not. Seek the Lord with all your hearts. Make this the all-important business of your lives. 2T 178.2
You have an account to render for the good you might have done during your life, had you been in the position in which God required you to be, and which He has made ample provision that you might occupy. But you have failed to glorify God upon the earth, and to save souls around you, because you did not avail yourselves of that grace and strength, wisdom and knowledge, which Christ has provided for you. You knew His will, but did it not. There will have to be a most manifest reformation in you both, or you will never hear from Jesus: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” 2T 179.1Read in context »
“The tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity.” “The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.” “He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly.” “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.” “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: for the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.” “He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit.” Margin, “a cool spirit.” 2T 426.1
Our great Exemplar was exalted to be equal with God. He was high commander in heaven. All the holy angels delighted to bow before Him. “And again, when He bringeth in the First-begotten into the world, He saith, And let all the angels of God worship Him.” Jesus took upon Himself our nature, laid aside His glory, majesty, and riches to perform his mission, to save that which was lost. He came not to be ministered unto, but to minister unto others. Jesus, when reviled, abused, and insulted, did not retaliate. “Who, when He was reviled, reviled not again.” When the cruelty of man caused Him to suffer painful stripes and wounds, He threatened not, but committed Himself to Him who judgeth righteously. The apostle Paul exhorted his Philippian brethren: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.” Is the servant greater than his master? Christ has given us His life as a pattern, and we dishonor Him when we become jealous of every slight, and are ready to resent every injury, supposed or real. It is not an evidence of a noble mind to be prepared to defend self, to preserve our own dignity. We would better suffer wrongfully a hundred times than wound the soul by a spirit of retaliation, or by giving vent to wrath. There is strength to be obtained of God. He can help. He can give grace and heavenly wisdom. If you ask in faith, you will receive; but you must watch unto prayer. Watch, pray, work, should be your watchword. 2T 426.2
Your wife might be a blessing if she would only take upon her the responsibility that it is her duty to take. But she has shunned responsibility all her life, and now is in danger of being influenced, instead of influencing you. Instead of having a softening, elevating influence upon you, there is danger of her thinking as you think, and acting as you act, without reaching down deep to be guided by principle in all her actions. You sympathize with each other, and, unfortunately, help each other to view matters incorrectly. She can exert an influence for good, but she possesses a spirit which savors of spiritual indolence and sloth. She is reluctant to engage in any good work if it is not pleasant and agreeable. What was the sin of Meroz? Doing nothing. It was not because of great crimes that they were condemned, but because they did not come up to the help of the Lord. 2T 427.1Read in context »
Dear sister, we are determined to be impartial and not have our words or acts in any way influenced by hearsay. We have no pets. May the Lord give us heavenly wisdom, that we may deal righteously and impartially, and thus meet the mind of His Spirit. We do not want our works wrought in self. We do not want personal feelings. If we think we are not specially considered, or if we see, or imagine that we see, positive neglect, we want the spirit of our forgiving Master. The people who professed to be His followers received Him not, because His face was toward Jerusalem, and He gave no special indication that He was to tarry with them. They did not open their doors to the heavenly Guest, and did not urge His abiding with them, although they beheld Him weary with His journey, and the night was drawing on. They gave no sign that they really desired Jesus. The disciples knew that He designed to tarry there that night, and they felt so keenly the slight thus given to their Lord that they were angry, and prayed Jesus to show proper resentment and call down fire from heaven to consume those who had thus abused Him. But He rebuked their indignation and zeal for His honor, and told them that He came, not to visit with judgment, but to show mercy. 2T 566.1
This lesson of our Saviour's is for you and for me. No resentment must come into our hearts. When reviled, we must not revile again. O jealousy and evil surmising, what mischief have ye wrought! how have ye turned friendship and love into bitterness and hatred! We must be less proud, less sensitive, have less self-love, and be dead to self-interest. Our interest must be submerged in Christ and we be able to say: “I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” Christ has told us how to make everything easy and happy as we pass along: “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” The great difficulty is, there is so little meekness and lowliness that the yoke galls and the burden is heavy. When we possess true meekness and lowliness we are so lost in Christ that we do not take neglect or slights to heart; we are deaf to reproach and blind to scorn and insult. 2T 566.2
Sister I, as the peculiarities of your case come clearly before me, I see a serious objection to your traveling. You do not take upon yourself the burdens that you should. You call forth sympathy from others, but do not give in return. You lay your whole weight where you are, and too frequently are waited upon when those who bear their own burden and yours also are no more able to do this than yourself. You are too helpless for your own good, and the influence is not such as that of a minister's wife should be. You need more physical labor than you have; and from what has been shown me, I think that you would be more in the line of your duty engaging cheerfully in the work of educating your daughter and encouraging a love of domestic duties. You did not receive the education in this direction that you should have had in your girlhood, and this has made your life more unhappy than it would otherwise have been. You do not love physical labor; and when journeying, you fill the bill of an invalid, and fail to be helpful and do what you can to lighten the burdens you make. You fail to realize that frequently the very ones who wait on you are no more able to perform the extra task than you are. You lean on others, and lay your whole weight upon them. I have no evidence that God has called you to do a special work in traveling. 2T 567.1Read in context »
Self is difficult to conquer. Human depravity in every form is not easily brought into subjection to the Spirit of Christ. But all should be impressed with the fact that unless this victory is gained through Christ, there is no hope for them. The victory can be gained; for nothing is impossible with God. By His assisting grace, all evil temper, all human depravity, may be overcome. Every Christian must learn of Christ, “who, when He was reviled, reviled not again.” 4T 349.1
The work before you is no light task, no child's play. You have failed to go forward to perfection, but now you may begin anew. You may show by your life what the power and grace of God can do in transforming the natural man into a spiritual man in Christ Jesus. You may be overcomers if you will, in the name of Christ, take hold of the work decidedly. 4T 349.2
There is one solemn statement that I wish you to write upon your hearts: When persons have yielded to Satan's devices, and have thus placed themselves upon his ground, if they would then recover themselves from his snares through the mercy of God, they must come into close connection with Him, daily crucify self, and be thoroughly transformed, in order to gain the victory and win eternal life. You both went a long distance from God. You have brought great reproach upon His cause. Now you must be most zealously in earnest to overcome every defect in your characters and lead a life of humiliation and trusting, pleading prayer; in faith ask God for Christ's sake to cancel the past, so that the seeds of evil that you have sown may not be extended and be treasured up as wrath against the day of wrath. 4T 349.3Read in context »
Consider the life of Moses. Meekness in the midst of murmuring, reproach, and provocation constituted the brightest trait in his character. Daniel was of a humble spirit. Although he was surrounded with distrust and suspicion, and his enemies laid a snare for his life, yet he never deviated from principle. He maintained a serene and cheerful trust in God. Above all, let the life of Christ teach you. When reviled, He reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not. This lesson you must learn, or you will never enter heaven. Christ must be made your strength. In His name you will be more than conqueror. No enchantment against Jacob, nor divination against Israel, will prevail. If your soul is riveted to the eternal Rock, you are safe. Come joy or come sorrow, nothing can sway you from the right. 4T 368.1
You have been afloat in the world, but the eternal truth will prove an anchor to you. You need to guard your faith. Do not move from impulse nor entertain vague theories. Experimental faith in Christ and submission to the law of God are of the highest consequence to you. Be willing to take the advice and counsel of those who have experience. Make no delay in the work of overcoming. Be true to yourself, to your children, and to God. Your afflicted son needs to be tenderly dealt with. As a father you should remember that the nerves that can thrill with pleasure can also thrill with keenest pain. The Lord identifies His interest with that of suffering humanity. 4T 368.2
Many parents forget their accountability to God to so educate their children for usefulness and duty that they will be a blessing to themselves and to others. Children are often indulged from their babyhood, and wrong habits become fixed. The parents have been bending the sapling. By their course of training, the character develops, either into deformity or into symmetry and beauty. But while many err upon the side of indulgence, others go to the opposite extreme and rule their children with a rod of iron. Neither of these follow out the Bible directions, but both are doing a fearful work. They are molding the minds of their children and must render an account in the day of God for the manner in which they have done this. Eternity will reveal the results of the work done in this life. “As the twig is bent, the tree's inclined.” 4T 368.3Read in context »