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The Ambition of Quietness
George H. Morrison
1 Thessalonians 4:11
The church at Thessalonica, to which Paul wrote the letter, was in an unsettled and distracted state. The gospel had come to it in such reality that it was tempted to be untrue to duty. We have all known how a city is excited when tidings are brought to it of some great victory. The streets are thronged, the schoolboys get a holiday, men find it hard to persist in the day's drudgery. It was with somewhat of the same intensity of impress, with its consequent unsettlement and stir, that the news of the risen Christ came to this city. Bosomed in that news, too, was the assurance that the Christ who had risen was soon to come again. However Paul's views may have changed in later years, when he wrote this letter that was his firm belief. And you may be sure that what Paul believed he taught, so that (as you may see on every page here) the Thessalonians were filled with a great joy that in a little while Christ would come again. It was that which made them so troubled when one died, for they feared he had missed the glory of Christ's coming. It was that which made it very hard to labor, for who could tell but that Christ might come that day. And as with most excitement there is a certain restlessness, and an unloosing of the tongue in noisy speech, so among the Christians of this early church there would doubtless be some lack of self-restraint. It was to combat that almost inevitable temper that Paul gave the counsels of our verse. He was not speaking to philosophic students. He was speaking to handicraftsmen, many of them weavers. And he said, "Make it your ambition to be quiet, and to do your own work as we commanded you, that you may walk honorably toward them who are without."
Now the truth which unites the clauses of our text is that quietness is needed for true work. Study to be quiet and to do your business; you will never do the one without the other. In a measure that is true of outward q ...
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