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Be careful over your conversation ; give no cause of slander to them which are without, or of offence to the little ones; let not the gospel be discredited by your behaviours. Be careful that the light of your life so shine before the world that therein your Heavenly Father may be glorified. Ye ought to shine as lights ; take heed that your light be not turned into darkness. Be bright stars, and not misty clouds.
Walk, therefore, and walk on, go forward. For, if ye be in the way of life, not to go forward is to go backward. If ye be entered into this happy path, step not aside, give not
A dog returning to his vomit is a foul and an ugly thing to behold. Take heed, I say, of backsliding. It is a dreadful thing to forsake Christ, and to be ashamed of the gospel. He that tasteth of this sweet gift of God, the gospel of Christ, and falleth back from it, he is a tormentor, as much as in him lieth, and a crucifier of the Lord of glory. Walk, therefore; go on from strength to strength, from virtue to virtue. Ye have been heretofore often moved; but what effect hath it taken? God grant that there be not a retiring from strength to weakness, from virtue to sinfulness! It is to be feared that many men's wonted zeal is transformed into cold security, their liberality into greediness and biting usury, charity into envy, sobriety into wantonness, humility into pride and haughtiness. This is the common walking of men, for whom it were far better if they stood still. The apostle could not mention them but with tears. “There are many which walk," saith he, “Of whom I have told you often, and now tell you weeping, they are enemies of the cross of Christ; their belly is their God, their glory is in their shame, their end is damnation.”
Walk not as these do in darkness, but in light. “God is light;" walk, therefore, “With God," and then ye do that which He requireth at your hands. Walk with Him, for howsoever we walk we are sure to walk before Him. We cannot shun His eye: if we fly up into heaven, He is there; if we go down into hell, there He is also. He seeth things done in light, and beholdeth that which is covered with darkness; He is privy unto men's thoughts; He knew the spiteful and malicious purposes of the scribes and pharisees; He espied Adam biting the forbidden fruit; He looked upon Cain shedding his brother's blood; He perceived the secret sins of Sodom; He understood the corruption of Gehazi, and made it manifest; He saw the double heart of Judas, who kissed his Master and betrayed Him; He beheld Siba when he falsely and traiterously accused Mephiboseth unto David. The cloaked adultery and murder which David had covered with clouds of policy could not be hidden from His eye; the lie of Ananias was written in capital letters before Him, plain to be read; the sleights and conveyances of the usurer cannot be covered with fig tree leaves from the sight of the Almighty; there is neither bribe given nor taken but God looketh upon it; there is no treachery nor treason that can be hid from Him. Dominus videt (“The Lord seeth”) is a short but a good lesson. I beseech you learn it and remember it, that it may teach you to walk always as in the sight of the Lord, who will be a swift witness and a fierce judge against evil doers who walk with Satan; which thing, rightly and duly considered and weighed, would bridle these untamed affections of ours, and terrify men from these heinous and wilful sins. Our Lord grant this good effect, for His great mercy's sake!
AFTER God hath described Himself to be Almighty, that is, passing all other in power, it is so great, infinite, and unmeasurable, He expresseth the duty of so many as will serve Him as they ought. “Walk before me," saith He, “And be perfect.' Lo, here is your flower, “Pure innocency.” He that observeth this precept of God cannot displease, err, or offend, but work pure innocency before God. “Walk before me,” saith He, “And be perfect." To walk before God is to serve Him according to His words, so purely and innocently as though God Himself were ever present before our eyes.
The yoke of Christ is sweet, the burden is light, neither are His precepts heavy. For “Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty.” And “If the Son hath made you free, then are ye truly free.” And if ye be endued with strength from above, then is nothing hard, but all things easy, through the Spirit that worketh in you.
That ye may walk before God, certain things are to be observed; first, that ye have a sure, constant, stedfast, true, and livish faith, to believe that which the Holy Scriptures teach of God and of His works. Ye heard that God is omnipotent, almighty, plenteous in power, abundant, omnisufficient, full of all good, needy of nothing. This must ye believe undoubtedly, if ye will walk before God. Ye heard also, that as God is able, so will He help so many as call on Him “In spirit and truth.” This also must ye believe without any hesitation or doubting. For without this faith no man can please God, nor come unto Him aright. For this faith is the foundation and ground of the Christian religion.
This faith maketh a Christian man. This faith maketh us the sons of light. This faith provoketh and calleth unto God. This faith trusteth not in her own righteousness and good works, but on the promises of God. This faith maketh us to be born of God. This faith mitigateth the wrath of God. This faith obtaineth all good things of God, as it is written, “He that believeth on Him hath everlasting life.” “Believe in the Lord,” saith the Scripture, and "Ye shall be safe" and without any danger. Again, “Every one that calleth on the name of the Lord shall be safe.” For there is but “ One Lord of all, sufficiently rich for so many as call on Him.” This faith maketh us the sons of God, as the apostle saith, “All ye are the sons of God, because ye have believed in Christ Jesus.” Again, “So many as receive Him, He gave them power to be made the sons of God, inasmuch as they believed in His name.” This faith marrieth us to God, as He Himself testifieth, “I will marry thee unto Me in faith, and thou shalt know that I am the Lord.” This faith purifieth our hearts. This faith overcometh Satan. This faith vanquisheth the world. This faith maketh us the temples of the living God. This faith will not suffer us to be confounded. This faith bringeth to us the mercy of God in all our adversity. This faith is the fulfilling of God's commandments. This faith maketh us the inheritors of the earth and possessors of God's holy mountain. This faith maketh us to understand the truth. This faith causeth that hell-gates cannot prevail against us. This faith justifieth us. This faith bringeth all good things unto us. This “Faith," as St. Austin saith, “Is the beginning of man's health : without this no man can reach or come unto the number of the sons of
without this all the labour of man is frustrate and void.” This “Faith,” as St. Ambrose saith, “Is the root of all virtues ; and that thou buildest on this foundation, that alone profiteth unto the reward of thy work, fruit, and virtue." “ This faith,” saith he, “Is richer than all treasures, stronger than all corporal power, and more healthful than all physicians." This “Faith,” as Chrysostom saith, “Is a lamp. For as a lamp lighteneth the house, so doth faith the soul.” This faith of the catholic religion is “ The light of the soul, the door of life, the foundation of everlasting health.” Thus see ye what an excellent treasure this Christian faith is, without the which by no means ye can walk worthily before the Lord our God.
Moreover, this your faith must be conjoined with a reverent fear toward God. “For the fear of the Lord,” saith the wise man, “Is the beginning of wisdom," and “Expelleth sin.” Without this fear no man can purely walk before God. For he that feareth God truly, feareth also to displease Him; yea, he seeketh all means possible to accomplish the will of God, as the psalmograph saith, “Blessed is that man that feareth the Lord, for all his delight and pleasure shall be in His commandments." Unto this fear of God doth David exhort us, saying, "Fear ye the Lord, all ye that are His servants; for they shall never want that fear Him.” “The Son honoureth the Father, and the servant his Lord: if I be your Father, where is My honour ? and if I be your Lord, where is My fear? saith the Lord of Hosts.” But this fear ought not to be a servile and bond fear, proceeding from an unwilling heart, but a reverent and gentle fear, flowing out of love. Therefore, with this your faith and fear must ye also have a sincere and pure love toward God combined, so that ye shall both truly believe in God, reverently fear Him, and unfeignedly love Him. And this is it that Moses writeth, “And now, O Israel,” saith he, “What doth the Lord thy God require of thee but that thou shouldest fear the Lord thy God, and walk in His ways, and love Him, and serve the Lord thy God in all thy heart and in all thy soul ?” Now have ye heard partly what it is to walk before God.
After that ye have conceived in your hearts this faith, fear, and love toward God through the operation of the Holy Ghost, so that ye have entered the pathway of our Lord God, now doth convenient time require that ye walk not only secretly but also openly before God, that is, that ye do not only inwardly in your hearts believe in God, fear and love God, but also that ye outwardly show forth this your faith, fear, and love buried within you, by external works, that men, seeing your godly conversation, may then glorify your Father which is in heaven. For this is to walk before God, even to believe in God, to fear God, to love God, and to lead an innocent life, according to His holy Word. Without this innocency and purity of life I see not what all faith, fear, or love profit. “Follow your Lord God,” saith Moses, “Fear Him, and keep His commandments, and hear His voice; ye shall serve Him and cleavė unto Him." The prophet Miche also saith, “I will show thee, O man, what is good, and what the Lord requireth of thee, even to do judgment, and to love mercy, and studiously to walk with thy God.”
Why doth the Scripture use this term, “Walk," rather than any other? It is not without a cause. Ye know, he that standeth still moveth nothing forward, nor hasteth not