SELECTED QUOTATIONS

 

FROM D. M. PANTON’S

 

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1. BAPTISM AND THE KINGDOM

 

The Holy Spirit lets drop a warning and an incentive very valuable to an ear sensitive enough to hear.  “For if we become united with him in the likeness of his death” – that is, baptism, the ritual photograph – “we shall be also” – ‘shall be,’ at a future date; ‘also,’ that is, correspondingly – “of his resurrection” – that is, the First.*  The sentence would appear to make baptism part of the fidelity which wins the Kingdom.  So our Lord says, - “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God”; but He then adds, “Except a man be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3: 3).  It might be objected that since all martyrs are (apparently) in the Kingdom (Rev. 20: 4), and all martyrs have not been baptized, baptism cannot be a condition of reigning; but it may be that martyrdom – which sacrifices everything for God – is an exception which proves the rule, as the perfect obedience requisite for the Kingdom.  Obedience alone ushers into the reign of Christ, and baptism is the very first command given us after conversion.  “Repent ye, and be baptized EVERY ONE OF YOU in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of sins” (Acts 2: 38).

 

* Not all in the likeness of His resurrection but in the fact: the Lord’s resurrection has just been referred to (ver. 4) as “out of dead ones”; that is, a selective resurrection, leaving others dead.  “The “if” marks the resurrection to be the prize of our calling, not attained by all believers, but dependant on the holiness called for by God – the contrast to the ‘continuance in sin’ of the proposal” (Govett).

 

- D.M. PANTON

 

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2. GLORY

 

That the Lord will come in Person to this our earth: that His risen elect will reign with Him and judge: that during that blessed reign the power of evil will be bound, and the glorious prophecies of peace and truth on earth find their accomplishment – this is my firm persuasion, and not mine alone, but that of multitudes of Christ’s waiting people, as it was that of His primitive apostolic Church, before controversy blinded the eyes of the Fathers to the light of prophecy.

 

Dr. GRIFFITH THOMAS.

 

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3. HIS WIFE HATH MADE HERSELF READY

 

In Scripture the Church is typified as a virgin.  Paul wrote, “I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you a chaste virgin to Christ  According to Christ’s parable, ten virgins await the Bridegroom’s coming.  In Scriptural numerology ten is used to express worldly completion.  Each virgin carried a lamp.  A lamp implies light.  Five were accounted wise because they had oil.  Five were judged foolish because their lamps were going out.  The Bridegroom tarried right up to the midnight hour and the virgins were wooed to sleep, or as one version has it, “they all nodded  They were not sleeping soundly, but were not awake, alert and watching (Luke 21: 34-36).  Now the foolish had had oil but not enough to carry them through the long night of strain.  Great grace will be needed to overcome in this hour.  Satan is tirelessly seeking to “wear out the saints of the Most High  Awakened at the shout of the Bridegroom’s coming the foolish virgins discover themselves unready.  They attempt a hurried spiritual trousseau.  But the Bridegroom has come, and the door is shut.

 

SARAH FOULKES MOORE.

 

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4. THE LAST FIRST

 

“Many are called,” our Lord says, “but few chosen” (Matt. 22: 14): many called, in Divine election; but few chosen for distinguished service and rich reward.  The word ‘called’ seems to make this interpretation certain: the word ‘church’ – the whole assembly of the saved – itself means ‘the called out,’ the out-called: the few ‘chosen,’ therefore, can only be for reward.  Examples of Israel confirm it.  Six hundred thousand men, beside women and children, were ‘called out’ of Egypt and baptized in the Red Sea; yet only two [of the accountable generation] entered the Promised Land.  Gideon ‘called out’ thirty-two thousand soldiers against the Midianites; but only three hundred scored the victory.  The portrait of those who return to reign with Christ conclusively proves that this is the right interpretation.  “He is Lord of lords, and King of kings; and they also shall overcome that are with him, called and chosen and faithful” (Rev. 17: 14): called - in salvation; chosen - as overcomers; faithful - therefore enthroned.

 

D. M. PANTON.

 

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5. THE PRIZE

 

One supreme and final Revelation has a message as challenging and bright with promise as an earlier section was with the inky blackness of despair.  It is the message of the faithful servants, so called in Matt. 24: 42-47; the overcomers (Rev. 2 and 3, 7: 14, 12: 11, 21: 7), “the undefiled in the way,” here described as “the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb” (14: 4, 5).  Listen to our Lord’s words in the epilogue:-  “Behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give to every man according as his work shall be” (22: 12).  Chapters 2 and 3 tell us about these rewards.  Chapter 14 is the Harvest chapter.  It begins with the privileged first fruits who must be carefully distinguished from the 144,000 sealed Jews in chapter 7.  Then follows the main Harvest (vv 15-16), when the wheat and tares are sifted.  Finally comes the Vintage of the wicked at the time of Armageddon.  We read of throned saints, of the crowned saints, of those who share in the victory of the Lamb and reign with Him a thousand years (20: 4).  “The world (man’s artificial civilisation deep dyed in sin) passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever  We are called to the heavenly citizenship of Philippians 3: 20-21.  To be an overcomer means being a good soldier of Jesus Christ.  There is a race to run; a prize to be won.  “Look to yourselves,” writes John in his second epistle, “that we lose none of those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward

 

SAMUEL F. HURNARD.

 

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6. A MARTYR’S DEATH

 

When John Huss, the Bohemian martyr, was brought out to be burnt, they put on his head a triple crown of paper, with printed devils on it.  On seeing it, he said, “My Lord, Jesus Christ, for my sake, wore a crown of thorns; why should not I then, for His sake, wear this light crown, be it ever so ignominious?  Truly I will do it, and that willingly  When it was set upon his head, the bishops said, “Now, we commend thy soul to the devil  “But I, said Huss, lifting his eyes to heaven, “I do commit by spirit, which Thou hast redeemed  When the faggots were piled to Huss’s neck, the Duke of Bavaria was officious enough to desire him to adjure.  “No,” said Huss, “I never preached any doctrine of an evil tendency; and what I taught with my lips I now seal with my blood

 

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7. THE OUT-RESURRECTION

 

In Philippians 3: 11 we have our first unfolding of the gravity of the words: “If by any means I might attain unto the out-resurrection out of the dead”; the stress should be upon the first clause: “if by any means I might attain  Paul counted all things but loss for Christ, yea, he had suffered the loss of all things, and suffered them gladly.  Then, he had specified his ambition to know Christ, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable to His death – all of this is included in the words, “if my any means  Thus there was no length to which Paul was not ready, willingly, to go, that he might attain the out-resurrection.

 

R. E. NEIGHBOUR, D. D.

 

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8. EPISCOPACY

 

Episcopacy, flowering into ‘apostolic succession’, is an invention of the post-apostolic age.  Lightfoot, Turner and Headlam, to name only a few, have shown that there is no evidence for ordination by a Bishop till the third century, that Episcopacy is an ecclesiastical creation neither ordained by Christ nor appointed by His Apostles, and that, in the words of Dr. Headlam, the doctrine of Apostolic Succession as taught by the Anglo-Catholics was not known in the Church for four centuries, is not taught by any Anglican formula, and is based on theological confusion.

 

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9. RAPTURE

 

So the pre-tribulationists, who are sure that all believers – even the grossest backsliders – will be rapt en masse into sudden glory before the Tribulation starts, overlook the warning of the Lord.  “Watch ye at every season, making supplication, that ye may prevail to escape all these things” – He has just described the Great Tribulation, ‘days of vengeance’ (ver. 22) – “that shall come to pass” (Luke 21: 36).  The Old Testament type, which our Lord stresses as a warning to His disciples concerning His return, is extraordinarily illuminating:- “Remember Lot’s wife” (Luke 17: 32).  If all believers are exempt from the coming judgments, the command ought rather to have been, - “Remember Lot  Lot’s wife had no part in the fire and brimstone that wiped out Sodom, yet in a moment she was turned to stone [salt] for ‘looking back’ – back-sliding.  Like Lot’s wife, the unwatchful believer escapes Hell, but incurs the lightnings of the Judgment Seat.

 

D. M. PANTON.

 

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10. RABBONI*

 

[* Written by a reader of Dawn from the start, now with the Lord in hope of a “better Resurrection

(Psa. 139: 8b; Heb. 11: 35b.)]

 

Hail to the Lord’s Anointed,

Great David’s greater Son,

Who for each helpless sinner

Eternal life has won.

 

For bitter was the battle

And greater still the shame,

To make us His forever

That we with Him might reign.

 

For He is our Rabboni,

Our Saviour, Lord, and King,

And we would by His Spirit

His praises ever sing.

 

All eager for His coming

And working for that Day,

If sleep should overtake us

Yet rise in bright array.

 

Then let’s be up and doing

And never idle stand,

If we would give Him pleasure:

The day is near at hand.

 

C. S. KINGSTON.

 

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11. TRIBULATION

 

The New Testament is only written and adapted to Christians in a suffering state – not as triumphant, not as having the reigns of government in their hands.  From the Sermon on the Mount, to the 4th verse of the 20th chapter of Revelation, every address delivered to Christians contemplated them as suffering adversity.  Till Jesus appears in the clouds of heaven His cause and people can never gain the ascendant.  Now is the time for fighting the good fight, the time that tries men’s souls, the time for the perseverance of saints, the time for suffering with Him, that with Him we might reign.  There never has been a genuine follower of Jesus Christ that was not an afflicted and oppressed man, either in person, property, or character, and while the dragon’s head has life in it, it will not, and cannot be otherwise.  All that is wanting for Christians to be more hated, and to be more slandered and persecuted, is more similarity to Jesus in character (2 Tim. 3: 12).

 

Dr. ALEXANDER CAMPBELL.

 

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12. RUNNING FOR THE PRIZE

 

They who run for a prize are careful not to carry any superfluous weight, and do not wear any long and trailing garment that might embarrass their free course, and even throw them down.  Hence our Lord warns us, in the first of His parables which refer to the kingdom, of “the cares of this age, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in which choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful” (Mark 4: 19).  These, then, are the weights which are to be laid aside.  He who is seeking the riches of the present world is not running the race for the kingdom.  The earthly blessings promised by Moses’ Law to the obedient Jew would be hindrances in the way of one running the present race.  And Jesus bids the rich young man to lay them aside, and follow Him, on His way to the millennial kingdom and its glory (Matt. 19).  What will the Lord Jesus say to those believers, who are seeking, with all their might, to gain wealth? when He has told us, that, into the millennial kingdom of glory it is impossible [difficult] for the rich disciple to enter (Luke 6: 20-26).  No warrior entangles himself with buying or selling, or like pursuits, that he may please his general (2 Tim. 2: 4).  “Thou, O man of God, flee these things” (1 Tim. 6: 11).  While Abraham walked with God in freedom in a tent, Lot was hindered and entangled by a house within Sodom.

 

R. GOVETT. [On Heb. 12: 1.]

 

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13. WEALTH

 

A millionaire lay dying in New York.  Thinking over a life of which had been spent for self, a life spent in heaping up riches on this earth, he exclaimed, “O if I could only live my years over again!  If I could only be spared for a few years I would give all the wealth I have amassed to others, and to God.  What I regret is a life devoted to money-getting.  It weighs me down.  It makes me despair of life hereafter  When a friend tried to comfort him, he said, as he turned his face to the wall, “Some have said I had wise economy and forethought.  Now I know that riches have only been a snare for my poor soul.  I have not thought of God.  I have not prepared for Heaven.  I have lived entirely for this world, its pleasures, its comforts, its honours, its riches.  But my poor soul! well, I would give all I possess for one ray of hope for my soul  “What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul

 

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14. REWARD

 

Christ as King of kings will reward those who comforted His suffering Body.  It is said that Ivan of Russia used sometimes to disguise himself and go out among his people to find out their true character.  In the suburbs of Moscow he sought lodgings but was refused at every house.  At last, as his heart sank with the thought of his people’s hardness of heart, a poor man asked him in and gave him shelter, saying, though he had not much to give yet he would give him a share, and as his wife was ill he could only offer him a bunch of straw in the corner of a room.  In the morning after sharing the poor man’s crust, Ivan left.  One day the poor man was startled by the Royal carriage rolling up to the door.  He fell at the nobleman’s feet and asked what ill he had done? and Ivan said, “No ill; when all had closed their doors against me, yours were open.  I was the beggar you entertained: now I have come to reward you

 

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15. POLITICS

 

It is generally accepted that the aim of the politician is a healthier state of society.  But the lessons of history, one’s personal experience, and the decidedly unhealthy and dangerous conditions of the political arena of our own day do nor support that view.  The determination to satisfy personal vanity and the wielding of personal power in the realm of power-politics seem to be much nearer the truth.  The gilded lie was never so much in evidence as in our own day.  Continental political giants have been stripped naked and exposed as careerists and cowards, vultures living on the people.

 

OWEN VOSS.

 

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16. THE SPIRIT OF MARTYRDOM

 

We do well to study the spirit of our brethren who have faced death for Christ, and who therefore are certain (Rev. 20: 4) of sharing in the burst of coming Glory.  John Willfinger, of the Christian and Missionary Alliance – tempted by the lure of his father and mother, brothers and sisters, and the girl he loved and to whom he was engaged – nevertheless refused to hide, and was shot down in 1944 by the Japanese in Borneo.  Just before, he wrote this letter.

 

“In this letter I inform you of my decision, which is the most difficult one of all my life.  Very many people came and asked if they might hide me.  But when I prayed and sought the will of the Lord God, I was led to follow a way which was difficult for my flesh, but right for my soul.  There are verses from the Bible which lead me.  Concerning the saints and righteousness the Lord has given me these verses: ‘And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt  ‘The good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep  ‘And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.  And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To-day shalt thou be with me in paradise

 

If I hide, naturally the saints will be forced to lie and disobey orders if they hide me.  In short, I would be forced to drag them into sin, whereas my intention upon leaving my country and my family was only to make mankind righteous, and not to bring them into sin – even though I pray for it with my life.  Because of Jesus Christ and His sheep, before I will do anything whatsoever that is not right, I will surely surrender myself.  May the Saviour be with me as He has promised, ‘Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world  Until now He has been with me, and I know that He will be with me until the end.  Therefore, this is my decision.”

 

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17 RE-BIRTH

 

Pandita Ramabai, the noted Christian leader of India, tells how she followed the religions of her country during her childhood days and right up until she was married and had grown to womanhood, and of how they never satisfied.  One day she heard about Christianity, and she said, “That is what I want.  Christianity will satisfy the longings of my heart.  I will embrace the Christian religion.”  Accepting Christianity, she sailed for England, and for eight years lived a most exemplary Christian life.  One night she happened to be listening to a message on the new birth.  Never before had she been told that she must be born again, born from above.  She was convicted, and right there and then she accepted Jesus Christ as her personal Saviour, and passed out of death into life.  This is her testimony in her own words: “I found the Christian religion,” she said, “but did not find the CHRIST of the religion  She had embraced Christianity, but she had not accepted Jesus Christ.

 

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18. MILLENNIUM

 

The most striking point in the eschatology of the ante-Nicene age is the prominent chiliasm, or millenarianism, that is the belief of a visible reign of Christ in glory on earth with the risen saints for a thousand years, before the general resurrection and judgment.  It was indeed not the doctrine of the church embodied in any creed or form of devotion, but a widely current opinion of distinguished teachers, such as Barnabas, Papias, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Methodius, and Lactantius.

 

- SCHAFF.

 

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19. LOVE

 

It is the supreme test of life that, while we deeply appreciate other love, we centre all our love on God.  He created us in order to love him: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength” (Mark 12: 30).  And He loves us for ever.  When George Matheson realised that he was going blind, he wrote a letter to his fiancée offering to release her from her covenant of love, because of his certain blindness.  To his surprise and deep regret, she accepted the proffered release.  The young poet-preacher was plunged into a veritable Gethsemane of sorrow.  In time, however, his feet found the Rock of Ages, and his love deepened for Another who was “acquainted with grief  He went to his desk, and in the travail of his soul, a great hymn was born.  Sore and sick of heart for the love that had let him go, he wrote-

“O Love that will not let me go,

I rest my weary soul in Thee;

I give Thee back the life I owe,

That in Thine ocean depths it flow

May richer, fuller be

 

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20. THE LOVE OF GOD

 

I was converted in November, 1825, but I only came to full surrender of the heart four years later, in July, 1829.  The love of money was gone, the love of place was gone, the love of position was gone.  God, God, God alone became my portion!  I found my all in Him.  I wanted nothing else.  And by the grace of God this has remained and has made me a happy man, an exceedingly happy man, and it led me to care only about the things of God.  I ask affectionately, my beloved brethren, have you fully surrendered the heart to God, or is there this thing or that with which you are taken up irrespective of God?  I can say from my heart that God is an infinitely loving Being.  Oh! be not satisfied until in your inmost soul you can say: God is an infinitely loving Being.

 

GEORGE MULLER.

 

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21. ISRAEL

 

Mr. Samuel F. Hurnard writes:- 

 

“It is evident from Scripture that the Jews are determined, like their forefather Jacob, to seize their birthright by hook or by crook.  They, too, will live bitterly to repent their folly.  Our Lord told the Jews of His day: ‘I am come in my Father’s Name and ye receive Me not; if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive  Their leaders will sell their souls for the bauble of power.  Daniel tells of a coming prince, probably the Antichrist, with whom they make a treaty for seven years.  But their ‘agreement with hell shall not stand  The treaty is soon broken, and the great tribulation follows to subdue the pride and smash the hardness of heart of stubborn Jewry.  It is only when the remnant repent and acknowledge their once crucified Messiah that He can and will restore the Kingdom, and Israel will dwell in safety and peace every man under his own vine and fig-tree.  No Peace Conference of the Allied Nations, or other man-made agreement, can ever fulfil God’s purposes and promises for Israel

 

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22. SCHISM AND HERESY

 

Schism is an evil that occurs within the body, a drawing off from one another when party spirit rises in the assembly.  To the Corinthian believers Paul says:-  “I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better but for the worse; for I hear that schisms exist among you” (1 Cor. 11: 17).  The unity which we are to keep Paul describes:- “There is one body, one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism” – the Church is now rent by two baptisms – “one God and Father of all” (Eph. 4: 4).

 

But there is a graver sin than schism.  Separation in the Body can become separation from the Body: the one is schism, the other is heresy.  Heresy is a ‘sect,’ that is, an organized faction, on principle separating from the other members of the Body; a command concerning such is very remarkable:-  “A man that is factious (R.V. margin) after the first and second admonition refuse,” avoid (Titus 3: 10) – beg thyself off from (Govett).  And grave is the punishment to be inflicted on the sin of organized faction:-  “The works of the flesh are manifest – factions, divisions, parties (R.V. margin) [heresies]: of the which I forwarn you, even as I did forewarn you, that they which practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal. 5: 20).*

 

* There are also ‘damnable heresies’ (2 Pet. 2: 1), sects of perdition (R.V. margin); nominally Christian, but fundamentally non-Christian: such are Christian Sceience, Christadelphianism, Mormonism, etc.

 

D. M. PANTON.

 

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23. THE WHITE LIFE

 

Nature can exquisitely symbolize grace.  Only the white life wins the white robe.  There is a little creature called the ermine, whose fur is famed for its perfect whiteness.  This little animal makes it the chief business of its life to keep itself clean.  The instinct for cleanliness and purity is so strong that it will suffer itself to be captured and put to death rather than soil its feet or its beautiful coat of fur.  Those who hunt the ermine know this, and after they have found an ermine’s lair, they smear with slime and filth every avenue of escape, knowing that it will yield itself to death rather than suffer defilement.  “Thou hast a few names which did not defile their garments: and they shall walk with me in white, for they are worthy.  He that overcometh shall thus be arrayed in white garments” (Rev. 3: 4).

 

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24. FORTY WRESTLERS

 

In the bitter persecution of the Christians during the reign of Marcus Aurelius the Emperor himself decreed the punishment of forty of the men who had refused to bow down to his image.  “Strip to the skin!” he commanded.  They did so.  “Now, go and stand on that frozen lake,” he commanded, “until you are prepared to abandon your Nazarene-God  And forty naked men marched out into that howling storm on a winter night.  As they took their places on the ice they lifted up their voices and sang:-  “Christ, forty wrestlers have come out to wrestle for Thee, to win for Thee the victory; to win from Thee the crown

 

After a while those standing by and watching noticed a disturbance among the men.  One man had edged away, broken into a run, entered the temple and prostrated himself before the image of the Emperor.  The Captain of the Guard, who had witnessed the bravery of the men and whose heart had been touched by their teaching, tore off his helmet, threw down his spear, and disrobing himself, took up the cry as he took the place of the man who had weakened.  As the dawn broke there were forty corpses on the ice.

 

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25. TEMPLES

 

Only the living ultimately matters.  “Know ye not that ye are a temple of God?” (1 Cor. 3: 16. [cf. Acts 5: 32]).  Mr. H. T. Kerr, of Pitsburg, after three months’ study of Europe, reports that £375,000,000 will be required to rebuild its destroyed and damaged churches.  But the living Temple survives.  Eleven of the leading Indian converts to Christianity, asked at a recent meeting to state what had been the decisive factor in their conversion, answered – in every case – that it was not a sermon, or a mission, or a book, but the living Christ seen in a practising Christian.

 

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26. CHRISTLIKENESS

 

The Spirit that was in Christ is the Spirit that reproduces Christ in the believer.  “Know ye not that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you  After sentence had been pronounced on John Huss, he knelt and prayed:-  “May Thy infinite mercy, O my God, pardon this injustice of mine enemies!  Thou knowest the injustice of mine accusations: how deformed of crimes I have been represented; how I have been oppressed with worthless witnesses, and a false condemnation.  Yet, O my God, let that mercy of Thine, which no tongue can express, prevail with Thee not to avenge my wrongs.”  His priestly garments were taken from him, and upon his head was placed a paper mitre with three demons and the inscription Heresiarch painted on it.  He was led to the place of execution and burned at the stake.  Just before his execution he again knelt and sang some psalms and prayed:-  “Into Thy hand, O Lord, do I commit my spirit!  Thou hast redeemed me, O most good and faithful God

 

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27. THE REFORMATION

 

The Reformation was the greatest revolution in the Church since the apostles.  On what was it based?  Here are the words of Luther:-  “We must make a great difference between God’s Word and the word of man. A man’s word is a little sound, that flies into the air, and soon vanishes; but the Word of God is greater than heaven and earth, yea, greater than death and hell, for it forms part of the power of God, and endures everlastingly; we should, therefore, diligently study God’s Word, and know and assuredly believe that God Himself speaks to us.”

 

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28. ISRAEL AND THE CHURCH

 

Those who came out of Egypt with Moses came out by faith.  They made a heroic stand; they were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea  “They did all eat the same spiritual meat; and did all drink the same spiritual drink  Their experiences and ours are wonderfully parallel.  “But with many of them God was not well pleased  And that verdict is again to be repeated, for “Many are called, but few are chosen  The judgment seat will show it.  The children of Israel had an opportunity of entering Canaan.  They refused.  They fell in the wilderness, God sware that they should not enter into His rest.  They were excluded from Canaan; 1 Cor. 9: 24; 10: 1-11: and Heb. 3 and 4 show that this is the danger facing the unfaithful believer; exclusion from God’s rest; God’s Canaan, the Millennial earth, the reign of 1,000 years.  “If we suffer with Him we shall reign with Him  “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne  But supposing we do not overcome?

 

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29. WORLDLINESS

 

The Apocalypse tells us that in the last days men will be, above all things, world-lovers and God-haters.  A famous editor of The New York Herald, Mr. J. G. Bennett, was once seated in a railway carriage with Judge Black.  “It is the business of a journalist,” said the editor, “to find out what the public thinks, feels, and wants, and to give it to them  “Then, Sir,” thundered back the Judge, “if you had lived on the days of our Saviour, like Pontius Pilate you would have delivered him over to be crucified  To please God is to offend the world: to please the world is to offend God.  “The friendship of the world is enmity with God

 

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30. SCARS

 

In the Bible left by J. F. Willfinger of the Christian and Missionary Alliance martyred in Tarakan, he had written these (among other) sentences:-  “It is only through labour and prayerful effort, grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things  “God will not look you over for medals, degrees or diplomas, but for scars in the battle of life.”  It is even so.  A Christ-likeness can come through pain and sorrow that would never have come through joy; and Christlikeness in character and experience creates Christlikeness in reward.  “Joint-heirs with Christ, if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also GLORIFIED WITH HIM” (Rom. 8: 17).

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

31. THRONES

 

So also is it concerning the Kingdom far vaster than Palestine.  “I come quickly: hold fast that which thou hast, that no man take thy crown” (Rev. 3: 2).  During the Napoleonic wars a French officer, a prisoner in Britain, was given a Bible.  He was so impressed by its teaching that he yielded himself to the Lord without reservation.  Taunted by his comrades as a Protestant, he answered:  “But I have done no more than my fellow-officer, Bernadotte, who has become a Lutheran  “He did so,” they replied, “for a crown  “My motive,” he declared, “is the same.  Bernadotte and I differ only as to the place.  His object was to obtain the crown of Sweden; mine is to gain an incorruptible crown in heaven  “He that overcometh, I will give to him to sit down with me IN MY THRONE” (Rev. 3: 21).

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

32. HOLY LAND

 

It is extraordinary how Christian commentators on the present problem of Palestine seem unconscious of the one overmastering fact that by the murder of her Messiah Israel lost absolutely all claim to Palestine.  Yet the Chicago Hebrew Mission sent a telegram to President Truman:-  “The Jewish claim to Palestine rests, not on man-made mandates, but on the immutable word of God, which, if the nations disregard, the Bible says it will be at their own peril.”  This is untrue to the facts.  “This is the Heir; come, let us kill him, and take his inheritance … He will let out the vineyard UNTO OTHER HUSBANDMEN” (Matt. 21: 38).  So far from their forcing their way back by violence being a gift of God, two-thirds will be massacred (Zech. 13: 8).

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

33. REPENTANCE

 

Only by a national repentance can the Holy Land be restored to a Holy People.  Jehovah has made it clear for all time.  “The anger of the Lord was kindled against this land, to bring upon it all the curse that is written in this book: and the Lord rooted them out of their land in anger, and in wrath, and in great indignation, and cast them into another land, as at this day.  And when thou shalt return unto the Lord thy God, and shalt obey His voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul: that then the Lord thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the peoples, whither the Lord thy God hath scattered thee.  If any of thine outcasts be in the uttermost parts of heaven, from thence will the Lord thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee: and the Lord thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers” (Deut. 29: 27).

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

34. WATCHING AND PRAYING

 

“Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21: 36).

 

Much is written regarding who is to escape the tribulation and who will go through this period; but how clear the Word of God is.  Who will escape?  Only those who are accounted worthy.  Only those who “watch and pray always  In connection with this Word, we note Rev. 3: 4, “they shall walk with me in white; for they are worthy  There are the few who have not defiled their garments.  To watch and pray always will surely keep our garments clean and undefiled.  Clean, separated ones are worthy.  It is impossible to separate cleanness and worthiness.  “He keepeth his garment” – without spot or wrinkle – this is the overcomer who watches and prays always – only they will escape.  Walking, whiteness, worthiness!  What a wonderful word.

 

Enoch walked with God; and God took him.  He will take those out of “these things” who walk with Him in white.  Blessed are the undefiled in the way.  “Who shall ascend unto the hill of the Lord?  He that hath clean hands and a pure heart” (constant communion).  Watching and praying always, and accounted worthy – worthiness by the operation of His love, through the Spirit and our answering reciprocal love and union with Christ!  Perfect fellowship – because of perfect purity.  Only as we are found in Him are we worthy – not having our own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is by faith in the operation of God.  And so we walk together, my Lord and I.  By my constant walking and praying He comes nigh, and makes me worthy to escape by His purifying presence.

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

35. PRAYING ALWAYS

 

In his journal Sir Thomas Browne, a beloved physician, who lived in Norwich three hundred years ago, left a quaint and inspiring account of how he cultivated the practice of habitual prayer.  “I have resolved,” he said, “to pray more and to pray always, to pray in all places where quietness inviteth, in the house, on the highway, and on the street; and to know no street or passage in this city that may not witness that I have not forgotten God  He adds:-  “I purpose to take occasion of praying upon the sight of any church which I may pass, that God may be worshiped there in spirit, and that souls may be saved there; to pray daily for my sick patients and for the patients of other physicians; at my entrance to any home to say: ‘May the peace of God abide here’; after hearing a sermon, to pray for a blessing on God’s truth, and upon the messenger; upon the sight of a beautiful person to bless God for His creatures, to pray for the beauty of such an one’s soul, that God may enrich her with inward graces, and that the outward and inward may correspond; upon the sight of a deformed person, to pray God to give him wholeness of soul, and by-and-by, to give him the beauty of the resurrection

 

36. SILENCE

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

Dr. Wilbur Smith stresses the iniquitous silence (with which we are all too familiar) on the dark side of Truth:-  “I think in orthodox circles today there are some great subjects in the Word of God that are almost never talked about.  Twenty-seven times the Apostle Paul, e.g., mentions good works as something to be practised, but you and I can live in institutions of the reformed faith for forty years and never hear good works mentioned.  That is not ‘rightly dividing the word of truth  I remember a few years ago looking carefully into the Greek text of 2 Timothy 3 (Paul’s terrible delineation of the character of men at the end of the age), and I was astonished to find that not in any single book, in our language at least, on the eschatology of Paul, was there a single page of treatment of this great chapter.  I fear in many circles today the New Testament teaching on sin is almost wholly ignored, and a vital conviction concerning the wrath of God and a judgment to come is tragically omitted.  If we are to teach the Word of God, we should teach it in its entirety  The Righteous Judge must deal with sin in believers equally with sin in unbelievers.

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

37. TRACTS

 

Some years ago, a brilliant young American actor was on his way to the theatre in one of our western cities.  As he turned the corner, a humble woman, whose name has never been revealed, handed him a tract.  Out of respect to her, he put it in his coat pocket, never expecting to read it.

 

When he went to the hotel, he happened to find the tract and said to himself, “I believe I’ll see what this is about  He found it so interesting that he finished it.  When he went to bed, he began to think and found it impossible to sleep.  All through the night the Christian message of that tract kept recurring to his mind.

 

The next morning, he still could not get the message out of his mind, and finally he went to consult a minister and told him about his experience.  The minister began to tell him about Jesus and His way of life so that the actor bowed his heart and yielded to Him.  Five months later, he gave up the stage and entered a theological seminary to prepare for the Christian ministry.

 

That man was George C. Lorimer, who afterwards became the famous pastor of Tremont Temple in Boston.  If he could stand before you tonight, he would doubtless say that one of the greatest forces in the church to-day is the Christian tract.

 

LEN BROUGHTON.

 

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38 REWARD

 

So also no price is too great to pay for the coming glory.  When Savonarola was asked to compromise his message and the Pope offered him the scarlet hat of a Cardinal, he replied, “I want no red hat but that of martyrdom, coloured with my own blood  The Reformation that followed under Luther had the very roots in the blood of Savonarola’s martyrdom.  But more than that.  “I saw the souls of them that had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus, and they lived, AND REIGNED WITH CHRIST A THOUSAND YEARS” (Rev. 20: 4).

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

39. MARANATHA

 

We have the comfort of knowing that the entire Church of the days of the Apostles was premillennial to the core.  But what of the church of the first centuries?  Dr. Schaff in his “History of the Church,” says of premillennial teaching:-  “This precious hope, through the whole age of persecution, was a copious foundation of encouragement and comfort under the pains of martyrdom which sowed in blood the seed of the glorious harvest for the church

 

Dr. Elliott wrote:-  “All primitive expositors, except Origen and the few who rejected Revelation, were premillennial

 

Gussler’s work on Church history, says of this blessed hope that “it was so distinctly and prominently mentioned that we do not hesitate in regarding it as the general belief of that age

 

Chillingworth declared:-  “It was the doctrine believed and taught by the most eminent fathers of the age next to the apostles and by none of that age condemned   

 

Dr. Adolf Harnack wrote:-  “The earlier fathers – Irenaeus, Hippoltus, Tertullian, etc, - believed it because it was part of the tradition of the early church.  It is the same all through the third and fourth centuries with those Latin theologians who escaped the influence of Greek speculation  He names a number, all holding the very details of primitive Christian expectation, just as believed by thousands to-day who take the Word at its obvious meaning.

 

So we have the further comfort of knowing that the early fathers differed little from what is commonly taught by responsible premillennial teachers.  The Church of the middle ages, it is true, drifted away from these simple truths; but the leaders of the Reformation called the Church back to the faith of the Apostles, as have the premillennial leaders of the last hundred years.

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

40. THE INTERMEDIATE STATE

 

There is no charge of intentional misleading, on the part of those Bible teachers who assume, that the Christian enters into his final glory at death.  Eschatological teaching would be greatly simplified if we were able to take that for granted.  Assuming that to be a final statement of truth, then it would disqualify several important Christian doctrines.  The second advent of our Lord would be one of them.  Why should it be necessary for Him to – “come again and receive you unto Myself,” if His people go to Him in a final sense at death?  The New Testament doctrine of the resurrection of the Christian dead, when the Lord shall so come, would be redundant if we were able to say of all departed saints that “the resurrection is past already  It would not be the first time in the Christian era that such a disastrous thing has been taught (2 Tim. 2: 18).

 

Consider for a moment the evidence of this mistaken conception, in those well-known lines of Charles Wesley as follows:-  “Come, let us join our friends above, who have received the prize … Let all the saints terrestrial sing with those to glory gone  Judge for yourself as to whether the perfect poet was also a perfect theologian, by an enquiry like this: is “the prize received” in the hymn, the same as the one anticipated by Paul in Phil. 3: 10-14 – “I press toward the mark, for the prize of our high calling, of God in Christ Jesus”?  If so, then there would be this difference between Paul and Wesley – the former expected it in the “out-resurrection from among the dead,” which he sought so diligently to attain, and the latter at the time of his death.  It is one thing to sing:-  “Around the throne of God in heaven, thousands of children stand,” but quite another thing to prove it from the Holy Scriptures.

 

Like the steam locomotive on its two steel tracts, so our thoughts must run along the appointed track, if we are to reach the terminus of truth in safety.  Alignment of truth is imperative, both for the in-working of our salvation, and the out-working of it in the future; and this is the alignment we follow.  The first advent of Christ into this world, is the gateway into salvation: His second advent is the gateway into glory.  The former is the controlling factor of grace, the latter is the governing factor of our expectations, which is to be consummated by a mighty, collective movement upward, on the part of all [accounted worthy] saints, and of all dispensations up to that time.  It is therefore an axiom of Christian doctrine, that there is an interval of time lying between the Christian’s death, and the coming of the Lord to receive him unto Himself. …

 

JOSEPH ELLISON

 

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41. THE BIBLE

 

The Bible is the writing of the living God.  Each letter was penned with an Almighty finger; each word in it dropped from the everlasting lips; each sentence was directed by the Holy Spirit.  Albeit, that Moses was employed to write his histories with his fiery pen, God guided that pen.  It may be that David touched his harp, and let sweet Psalms of melody drop from his fingers; but God moved his hands over the living strings of his golden harp.  Solomon sang canticles of love, and gave forth words of consummate wisdom; but God directed his lips, and made the preacher eloquent.

 

If I follow the thundering Naham, when his horses plough the waters; or Habakkuk, when he sees the tents of Cashan in affliction; if I read Malachi, when the earth is burning like an oven; if I turn to the smooth page of John, who tells of love, or the rugged chapters of Peter, who speaks of fire devouring God’s enemies; if I turn to Jude, who launches forth anathemas upon the foes of God, everywhere I find God speaking; it is God’s voice, not man’s; the words are God’s words; the words of the Eternal, the Invisible, the Almighty, the Jehovah of ages.

 

This Bible is God’s Bible, and when I see it, I seem to hear a voice springing up from it, saying, “I am the book of God!  Man read me!  I am God’s writing; study my page, for I was penned by God; love me, for He is my author, and you will see Him visible and manifest everywhere

 

C. H. SPURGEON.

 

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42. BRETHREN PRAY FOR US

 

Pray especially for the ministers of the Gospel, that they may set forth the love of God to the conversion of many souls.  Pray for them that they may not shun to declare the whole counsel of God, so that they may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.  Remember their difficulties.  To be anxious for souls and yet not impatient, to be patient and yet not indifferent, to bear the infirmities of the weak without fostering them, to testify against sin and unfaithfulness and the low standard of spiritual life, and yet to keep the stream of love free and full and open – to have the mind of a faithful shepherd, a hopeful physician, a tender nurse, a skilful teacher – requires the continual renewal of the Lord’s grace.  Pray for the mission among Israel and the heathen nations.  Christ’s command is explicit, God’s promise sure.  The Church obeying the Divine word, and constrained by the love of Christ, cannot but send forth evangelists.  Let us regard the missionary spirit as the very spirit of Christian prayer; and in all our thoughts and prayers, and work connected with the missions of the Church of Christ, let us remember how closely we are brought into communion with the Saviour.

 

ADOLPH SAPHIR.

 

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43. THE FAITH

 

The bedrock on which we stand – “the Faith once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3) – is, according to this word, a deposit so infallible, so divine, that we have to change nothing.  It was once given, once for all, once for ever; not discovered, or invented, or evolved, but delivered; a written revelation, bodily deposited, that has survived all error, all corruption, all apostasy; so as to admit of elucidation, and explanation, but never of addition, or doubt.  New discoveries in the Faith are always possible; just as telescopes, grown more powerful in the hands of the astronomers themselves grown more skilful, will disclose new worlds hitherto invisible; but those worlds were always there.  An astronomer can discover a new star, even a star of the first magnitude, but he cannot create one: so the constellation of truth, overarching us, is the identical constellation, unaltered and undimmed, on which the Apostles gazed.  Therefore it is not Roman tradition, or Anglican, or Baptist, [or Presbyterian,] or Brethren, or Quaker, which we seek: for all that is good in these traditions is already in the Book, and all that is evil we do not want.  God has deposited in our hands the full orb of revealed truth once for all.

 

D. M. PANTON.

 

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44. THE CHURCH AND THE SECOND COMING

 

Clement (96 A.D., Bishop of Rome, mentioned in Phil. 4: 3 – “Let us every hour expect the Kingdom of God … we know not the day

 

Polycarp (108 A. D.), Bishop of Smyrna, the pupil of John the apostle who leaned upon Jesus’ breast – “He will rise us from the dead … we shall … reign with Him

 

Ignatius (108 A. D.) Bishop of Antioch, whom the historian Eusebius says was the Apostle Peter’s successor – “Consider the times and expect Him

 

Papias (116 A. D.), Bishop of Hierapolis, whom Irenaeus said saw and heard John – “There will be one thousand years … when the reign of Christ personally will be established on earth

 

Justin Martyr (150 A. D.) – “I and all others who are orthodox Christians, on all points, know there will be … a thousand years in Jerusalem … as Isaiah and Ezekiel declare

 

Irenaeus (175 A. D.), Bishop of Lyons, companion of Polycarp, John’s pupil, commenting of Jesus’ promise to drink again of the fruit of the vine in His Father’s Kingdom argues – “That this … can only be fulfilled upon our Lord’s personal return on earth

 

Tertullian (200 A. D.), - “We do indeed confess that a Kingdom is promised on earth

 

Nepos (262 A. D.), Bishop of Egypt, proclaimed the second coming and millennial kingdom.  His writings reveal that Dionysius, opposing the second coming, declared that John never wrote Revelation and that the book could not be understood.  Opponents of second coming truth have continued this argument until today and still so argue.

 

Lactantius (300 A. D.) – “The righteous dead … and reign with them on earth … for a thousand years

 

In 325 A. D., bishops from all parts of the earth, gathered at Nicea, declared – “We expect a new heaven and earth … at the appearing of the great God and our Lord Jesus Christ, and then, as Daniel says, the saints of the Most High shall take the Kingdom

 

Historical writers bear witness of the early church’s belief in Jesus’ return to and reign upon the earth.

 

Eusebius admits that the most of the ecclesiastics of his day believed in Christ’s coming before the millennium.

 

Giesseler, “Church History,” vol. 1, p. 166 – “Millenarianism became the general belief of the time

 

Dr. Bonar in “Prophetic Land-Marks” writes – “Millenarianism prevailed universally during the first three centuries

 

Luther, commenting on John 10: 19 – “Let us not think that the coming of Christ is far off

 

Calvin, in the third book of his “Institutes,” chapter 25 – “Scripture uniformally enjoins us to look with expectation for the advent of Christ

 

John Knox of Scotland, Latimer, the English reformer, John Bunyan, Samuel Rutherford, John Milton, all expressed belief in the pre-millennial second coming of Christ.

 

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45. THE TRUE CATHOLICITY

 

My full persuasion is, that inasmuch as any one glories either in being of the Church of England, Scotland, Baptist, Wesleyan, Independent, etc., his glory is his shame, and that it is anti-Christian; for, as the apostle said, “Were any of them crucified for you  The only legitimate ground of glorying is that we are among the ransomed of the Lord by His grace, either in ourselves or others.  As bodies, I know none of the sects and parties that would and disfigure the body of Christ; as individuals, I desire to love all who love Him.  Oh, when will the day come when the love of Christ will have more power to unite, than our foolish regulations have to divide, the family of God!  As for order, if it be God’s order, let it stand; if it be man’s order I must examine whether or not it excludes the essence of Christ’s kingdom; for if it does, I remember that word, “Call no man master upon earth; for one is your Master, even Christ, and ye are all brethren

 

ANTHONY NORRIS GROVES.

 

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46. TELEVISION

 

The peril of television’s influence on youth steadily increases.  Children are passionately devoted to it; and it is pointed out that in one week’s programmes over the stations the following list of crimes was noted:- Ninety-one murders, seven hold-ups, three kidnappings, ten thefts, four burglaries, two cases of arson, two jail breaks, one murder by explosion, two suicides and one case of blackmail.  Cases of assault and battery – too numerous to mention; also cases of attempted murder.  Much of the action takes place in saloons; brawls too numerous to mention, also drunkenness, crooked judges, crooked sheriffs, crooked juries.

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

47. JERUSALEM

 

The announcement of the moving of Israel’s capital to Jerusalem caused one Jewish newspaper to bring out some poster type for a headline: “JERUSALEM REDEEMED  While it is indeed startling to hear that Jerusalem has actually become the capital of an actual nation of Israel after 2,000 years, those with an eye to the statements of the ancient prophecies will not be ready to assume, either that Israel is on its permanent foundation or that Jerusalem has been “redeemed.”  The leaders of Israel are quite prone to get ahead of the clock.*

 

[* So also, all A-Millennialists and Post-Millennialists]

 

The prophecies picture the Jews in great numbers returning in unbelief to the land in the latter days.  They tell of the miraculous preparation of the land itself under the blessing of God in order that God might multiply upon the mountains and valleys men and beasts (Ezek. 36: 4ff35).  They tell of the tribulations that shall descend upon the re-gathering people, in the days of their unbelief (Jer. 30).  They tell of the destroyers that shall attempt to seize the newly-discovered riches of the country and what God will do to them (Isa. 49: 17-26).

 

But so long as Jerusalem is “trodden down of the Gentiles” she is not “redeemed” nor can she be a “praise in the earth” (Luke 21: 24; Isa. 62: 1-10).  The salvation of Jerusalem will not shine forth as a lamp to all the earth (Isa: 62: 1) until the remnant of Israel has been betrothed to their Eternal King – the One whom they will recognize by the spear mark and the prints of the nails in His hands (Zech. 12: 8-11).

 

Before that, Jerusalem in the hands of the Jews, will become a “cup of trembling” to all who try to take it from them (verses 1-3).  Jerusalem will be “redeemed” when all Israel mourns over the rejection of the King who “visited them” long ago and the “spirit of supplication” is poured upon the house of David and “the inhabitants of Jerusalem” (verse 10).  It is then that many will be asking the King: “What are these wounds in thy hands  Then shall He answer:- “Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends” (13: 6).

 

Thereafter Jerusalem will be the “City of the Great King” – the capital not merely of Israel, but of the world, and all the Gentiles shall acknowledge its glory.

 

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48. PRAYER

 

Our greatest work is prayer.  Real prayer in the Holy Ghost is as rare as it is mighty.  It means great suffering and brings us into fellowship with the Lord in all the burdens which He is ever bearing for His people before the throne.  Oh, for the goldem pipes to carry the oil from the living trees to the lamps of God.  Oh, for the incense bearers to ever present to heaven the golden vials which are the prayers of the saints and bring the great consummation!  In those solemn times we expect to lay upon us unusual burdens of intercession.  Let Him find us responsive and understanding what the will of the Lord is.

 

A.    B. SIMPSON.

 

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49. CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST

 

Oh what happiness it is for a soul to be subdued and subject!  What great riches is it to be poor!  What a mighty honour to be despised!  What a height it is to be beaten dawn!  What a comfort to be afflicted!  What a credit of knowledge it is to be reputed ignorant!  And, finally, what a happiness of happiness it is to be crucified with Christ!  Let others boast in their riches, dignities, delights, and honours; but to us there is no higher honour than to be denied, despised and crucified with Christ.  But what a grief is this, that scarce is there one soul which prizes spiritual pleasures, and is willing to be denied for Christ, embracing His cross with love.  Many are they who are called to perfection, but few are they who arrive at it; because they are few who embrace the cross with patience, peace, and resignation.

 

MICHAEL DE MOLINOS.

 

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50. SUFFERING

 

George Matheson, the blind preacher of Scotland, sensed the meaning of suffering when he said:-  “My God, I have never tanked Thee for my thorn.  I have thanked Thee a thousand times for my roses, but not once for my thorn.  I have been looking forward to a world where I shall get compensated for my cross – but I have never thought of my cross as itself a present glory.  Teach me the value of my thorn.  Show me that my tears made my rainbow

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

51. THE MARTYR SPIRIT

 

A little Armenian maid six years old, one of 400,000 orphans of Christian Armenians deserted and almost starved, was taken by Turkish officers who told her they would make a Mohammedan of her.  She answered emphatically:-  “I will never be a Mohammedan  They told her she would die where she was; but that if she would become a Mohammedan they would give her a good home.  “I won’t be a Mohammedan,” she answered.  Growing angry, they took her to a stable where wild, half-starved dogs were kept, to which Armenian children were habitually tossed to be devoured.  As they approached the dogs leaped at her feet, and snarled and growled.  The little maid, neither hesitating nor shrinking, said through her tears, “I can’t, I won’t be a Mohammedan  So they pitched her in, and locked the door.  The next morning when they came all was silent; and when they opened the door, with her curly head resting on one shaggy brute, they found Anistiana – for that is her name – sound asleep, bearing on one arm the marks where one of the dogs had seized her.  As they lifted her, and she rubbed her sleepy eyes she exclaimed, “I won’t be a Mohammedan  She was sold, and has finally fallen into the hands of Christian women.

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

52. CONFESSION

 

“When a man like me,” says Martin Luther, “comes to know the plague of his own heart, he is not miserable only, he is absolute misery itself  “Do not mistake me,” says John Behmen, the father of German philosophy, “for my heart is sometimes as full of malice as it can hold  “Begone!” shouted Philip Neri to those who spoke his praise, “Begone! for I am good for nothing but to think and do evil  “I am made of sin,” sobbed the saintly Bishop Andrews, till his private prayer-book was all but indecipherable to his literary executors because of its author’s tears.  And St. Teresa, one of the most cheerful women of her age, used to say:-  “I am the wickedest woman in the world  St. Paul, at the end of an exampled life of service and suffering for the cause of Christ says: “I am the chief of sinners

 

EDWIN LEWIS.

 

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53. OUR DEATH AND WAITING PLACE

BEFORE OUR RESURRECTION

 

“To me to live is Christ and to die IS GAIN” (Phil. 1: 21).  Friends of that useful and much loved Jewish Christian, the Rev. Joseph S. Flacks, were given a fine reminder of his faith in the promises of God.  They received a post card from him, which he had caused to be mailed on the very day of his death, in August, 1940, saying:-  “This is to announce that I moved out of the old mud house; arrived in Gloryland instantly (2 Cor. 5: 8), in charge of the angelic escort; absent from the body and at home with the Lord (Luke 16: 22; Psa. 139: 8b. cf. Luke 16: 25: “Now he is comforted HERE” N.I.V. - [i.e., in ‘Hades’ not heaven.  See Luke 23: 43; Matt. 12: 42; 16: 18; Acts 2: 34).  I find as foretold (Psa. 16: 11) in thy presence fullness of joy … the path of life”] pleasures for evermore!  Will look for you on the way UP at the [time of Resurrection, at] the redemption of the body (Rom. 8: 23).  Till then, look up. J. S. FLACKS

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

54. THE ABSENCE OF LOVE

 

The absence of love even in Christian circles can be almost incredible.  A recent writer says:-  “Though Luther’s personal life radiated love, there is little doubt that he positively hated the Pope.  Both he and Calvin did much to help in the persecution of witches.  Calvin in particular was exceedingly cruel to these unfortunates – he excelled his contemporaries in his desire to exterminate them and was delighted with the efforts of those who had maimed one poor man by torture, urging them to proceed further.  He would arrange for the bodies of his enemies to be quartered and put up in the gates of the city of Geneva, so behaving much as a tribe of cannibals might.  In his Institutes, he quotes 4,000 texts, but “God is Love” occurs in but one passage, and then in a controversial connection.  Scores of men were known to him who advocated ways of Christian love, but he utterly rejected their council and some he persecuted to the death.  One lad of 22 was killed because he said that Christ died for all men and not for the elect alone

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

55. SIN

 

The ruin of this exquisite world through sin, and all sin’s unspeakable horror, Coleridge emphasised.  When someone was enlarging to Coleridge on the tendency for good of some scheme which was expected to regenerate the world, the poet flung up into the air the down of a thistle which grew by the roadside, and went on to say, “The tendency of that thistle is toward China; but I know, with assured certainty, that it will never get there – nay it is more than probable that, after sundry eddyings and gyrations up and down, backward and forward, it will be found somewhere near the place where it grew.  Such has ever been the issue of those boasted schemes of human wisdom which have professed to change the heart of man.  Human nature is in this respect like the salt sea – all the rivers that run into it have not changed its saltness.  The sun is daily evaporating its waters; but does not drink up one particle of that saline ingredient.  If men will drink of its bitter waters, they sicken and madden, and die.  It is this thus with that malignant nature which we inherit and propagate; all human means have failed to purity it, and it stimulates the madness, disease, and death

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

56. LIGHTS OF THE WORLD

 

If the Christ-life is there it will come out through the new glory on the face, and the tenderness of the touch, and the new love for everybody.  The very best testimony that you can ever give to the power of Christ is to live His life aver again, not in your own effort, but by the propulsion of that same life within you.  “For me to live is to reproduce Christ”. – Dr. CAMPBELL MORGAN.

 

A converted infidel gave credit to a timid man who lived near him.  The man was puzzled, saying:-  “But I never talked to you about your soul  “No,” said the convert, “You said nothing, but you lived me to death.  I could laugh off the preaching, but I coundn’t shut out the light of your life

 

A Minister with a clean heart, aflame with love, met a girl who had offered herself for the slum work.  She was giggling and chatting in a way that convinced him that instead of being filled with the Holy Spirit she was empty.  He wanted to speak to her about her soul, but hardly knew how to begin, so he was silent and prayed in his heart for her.  Afterwards she said, “I looked at his face, and said to myself, ‘There is a holy man, a man dead to sin.  But I am alive yet’.”  And that sight of his face led her to seek and find, and now for years she has been a most useful and devoted worker.

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

57. DYING LAMPS

 

Because of abounding iniquity many in whose hearts once burned the love of Christ have grown cold.  No one can drift into worldly conformity and retain his first love.  Every true Christian in this closing generation is facing temptation, affliction, hatred, betrayal and martyrdom.  The fight is on!  If we would be victorious that we might receive the reward of the overcomer and be included in the rapture of the Bride, we must be persistent in prayer and maintain “the faith” Christ will be looking for when He comes.  If we compromise in the least or let down we endanger our souls and may miss the rapture.

 

*       *       *       *     *       *      *

 

58. QUENCHING THE SPIRIT

 

I bought a lamp identical with the lamps still used in the East.  I placed a wick in it, but no oil, and I wasted half a box of matches before I satisfied myself, finally, that it is impossible to light an Eastern lamp, owing to its peculiar construction, unless a little oil is first poured in.  Thus I had a definite proof that our Lord meant to portray the foolish virgins as believers, born of the Spirit, possessors of the heavenly Oil, but not obedient to the command, “Be ye filled with the Spirit  The words used by the foolish virgins, “our lamps are going out,” or literally “are being quenched,” gave additional proof.  For unbelievers cannot “quench” the Holy Spirit.  This same word is used in connection with the day of the Lord in 1 Thess. 5: 19, “Quench not the Spirit

 

REGINALD T. NAISH.

 

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59. BE AS MEN WHO WAIT FOR THEIR LORD

 

A timely message is the Lord’s message to the Laodicean church.  Christendom is in the Laodicean stage.  It is Christ’s last call to the Church, ere He leaves the mercy seat for the judgment seat.  Laodiceanism is a disease of the Church and not of the world.  It is the subtlest sin of Hell, it is religion; but it is religion that Jesus hates.

 

It is the surrender of first-love – cooling off from fervency to lukewarmness – profession without possession – a name to live and art dead – neither hot nor cold in love or works – mediocre service – indifferent praying – contentment in spiritual barrenness – complacency in idleness – grudging in giving – reluctance in sacrificing – no martyr or witnessing spirit – burdenless, passionless, spiritless, deceived people doomed to judgment instead of rewards of the faithful, believing themselves rich, in need of nothing, not knowing they are miserable, poor, blind.

 

To them Jesus lovingly calls: “Be zealous and repent.  Buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment that thou mayest be clothed … and anoint thine eyes with eye-salve that thou mayest see  Are you ready for His coming?  Are you wise or foolish?  Repent and be zealous.  Be filled with the Spirit.  Love God supremely.  Keep yourselves from idols.  Flee Laodicean lukewarmness.  Else at His coming He will spue you out of His mouth, into the awful castigation of the great tribulation.

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

60. OBEY HIS WORD

 

“Watch and pray always that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things, that are coming to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man  Obey Jesus and you will escape.  Disobey, be prayerless, careless, heedless, at ease, and you will not escape.

 

God gives gifts by faith.  God gives rewards for faithfulness.  “Behold I come quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every man, as his work shall be  Plainly, this is a judgment of rewards, according to works, to occur at His return.  God rewards only as God can.  We have a race to run and a crown to gain.  The race may be lost.  The crown forfeited.  To win Christ, Paul suffered the loss of all things.  Can you win Christ for less?

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

61. WORLD-WIDE PERSECUTION

 

The time is coming when true believers everywhere shall be hated because of their identity with the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.  “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake,” said Jesus (Matt. 24: 9).  The present growing hostility against true Christianity foreshadows the time when Anti-Christ forces that are in the world shall seek to destroy all believers of the “one Faith  The Bride of Christ will escape the snare through Rapture, but foolish virgins left on the earth and others who will refuse to worship the Beast or his image shall be killed (Matt. 25: 1-12; Rev. 6: 9; 13: 7).  As awful as it is to suffer torture and martyrdom, its wholesome purifying effect upon the soul has long been recognized.  The revival broken out in parts of the South has been partly attributed to persecution.  Even so, in the coming tribulation, “many shall be purified and made white and tried” (Dan. 11: 33-35; 12: 10) because of persecution.   How much better it would be, however, for people to purify themselves now that they may be counted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and thus be raptured into the presence of Christ.

 

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62 ADVENT

 

How grave, in these earth-shocking days, is silence on the Second Advent.  Two ministers, long friends, met one day after being apart for some time.  They discussed their churches; then began to talk on present-day events.  Said one, - “I don’t preach on the Lord’s return at all; my congregation doesn’t like it.  I hear you have many against you for preaching it.  I told you years ago there’s no use setting people against you  “My friend,” said the other man, “by God’s grace, I preach His whole Word, and thereby deliver my soul; and if the Lord Jesus comes in my lifetime on one who is left behind will be able to say (as many will, of some ministers) that I did not give out the truth and warn them of what’s ahead.  How about you

 

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63. A LUTHERAN MESSAGE

 

This message, sent by the Lutheran Church to the Christians in CHINA, PALESTINE, and KOREA, is rich in encouragement to us all.

 

“As your fellow Christians we feel constrained to send you a word of compassion and encouragement in your hour of trial, and to assure you of our constant and earnest prayers on your behalf for guidance and strength of faith.

 

Now for a season you are in heaviness (1 Pet. 1: 6), but remember; our Master, Jesus Christ Himself went the road of the Cross; He suffered for us, leaving us an example that we should follow in His steps (1 Pet. 2: 21).  Suffering has been a characteristic mark of Christian experience through the ages.  Therefore, when you suffer think not that some strange thing has happened to you (1 Pet. 4: 12).

 

May God keep you from succumbing to the temptation of seeking security or help anywhere else than in Him alone (Psa. 118: 8, 9).  May He give you strength to serve Him while it is day, to help save men, and to do good to all.  May He give you wisdom and courage to confess Him and to testify of His love at all times, even while your hearts are filled with grief.  May He keep and preserve you in one true faith.

 

Realize your responsibilities as members of the Christian Church, and do not leave the Church’s work to the pastors alone.  Train your young people now to become staunch defenders of the faith; pray God to give you the genuine love of all men, unselfish devotion to their welfare, and fervent zeal for their salvation

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

64. AN INNER BEAUTY

 

A young officer blinded during the war was rehabilitated in one of our Army hospitals.  During this time he met and later married one of the nurses who took care of him.  He had a tremendous devotion to her and loved her very dearly.  One day his keen sense of hearing overheard someone in the distance speaking about himself and his wife and they said, “It was fortunate for her that he was blind since he never would have married so homely a woman if he had had eyes  He rose to his feet and walked toward the voices saying, “I overheard what you said, and thank God from the depths of my heart for blindness of eyes which might have kept me from seeing the marvellous worth of the soul of this woman who is my wife.  She is the most noble character I have ever known, and if the conformation of her features is such that it might have masked her inward beauty to my soul then I am the great gainer by having lost my sight

 

D. G. BARNHOUSE.

 

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65. HARDSHIPS AND TRIALS

 

We are often disheartened with our hardships and trials, and begin to think it is too hard a thing to be Christians.  Nature is so weak and depraved; there is such a burden in this incessant toil, and self-denial, and watchfulness, and prayer; the way is so steep, and so narrow, and difficult; we are tempted again and again to give up.  But when we think of what the dear Lord has done for us, what glories He has set before us, what victories are to come to us, what princedoms and thrones in the great empire of eternity await us, and how sure is all if we only press on for the prize; we have the profoundest reason to rejoice and give thanks every day that we live that such opportunities have been vouchsafed to us, were the sufferings even tenfold severer than they are.

 

JOSEPH A. SEISS.

 

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66. PRESS TOWARD THE MARK

 

A young Christian student of a Bible school, learning the possibility of being left behind when the Lord comes for His saints and having to go through part of the Great Tribulation became terribly fearful and depressed.  A friend pointed out to him that his fear was a good sign of his spiritual state, and was God-given and God-commanded – “Let us fear lest a promise of being left us of entering into His rest” (the Millennium or Sabbath rest of the people of God, as literal, not spiritual, as the rest of Canaan which the Israelites missed through unbelief, and to which the writer was comparing it), “any of YOU should come short of it  “Don’t,” said his friend, “be depressed in doing or being what God has enjoined you should do or be, but rather follow the example of the apostle Paul who, when he found he had, ‘not yet attained to the resurrection from among the dead’ and ‘counted himself not to have apprehended that for which he had been apprehended of Christ Jesus,’ far from being fearful and depressed, ‘one thing he did, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forth unto those things which are before he pressed toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus’”  The young student saw his mistake, his depression was lifted, and like Noah of old, who “by faith being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with godly fear (R.V.) prepared an ark to the saving of his house,” he now with that same godly fear presses on towards the goal.

 

W. P. CLARK.

 

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67. BACKSLIDERS

 

What does this mean?  That the worst backsliders, and one who dies as such, will receive all the golden prizes and honours, designed for devoted service even to martyrdom, which our Lord holds out to the Seven Churches; and if these are attained simple by saving faith – and the Lord says that every overcomer will receive them – then every believer must receive them all.  Not only does such exposition baffle all comment, but the solemn warnings of our Lord and the Apostles, addressed beyond all challenge to believers, are made totally irrelevant to the Church.  What will such evangelicals feel when they discover the truth at the Judgment Seat of Christ?

 

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68. ONE IN CHRIST

 

It needs little grace to know where we differ from other Christians, but this indeed is grace – where amid conduct that tries or grieves us, we give unity of the Spirit the first place, and have faith in the power of love to maintain the living union amid outward separation.  “Keep the unity of the Spirit” is God’s command to every believer.  It is the New Commandment to love one another (John 13: 34).  Keep the unity of the Spirit in the active exercise of loving fellowship.  The bond between the members of my body is most living and real, maintained by the circulation of the blood and the life it carries.  “In one Spirit we are all baptized into one body

 

Study to know and prize highly in thy brother the things that will maintain this unity which is not of creed or custom or choice, but the unity of the spirit.  Study in all thy thoughts and judgments of other believers to exercise the love that thinketh no evil.  Never think or speak an unkind word of a child of God.  For the sake of the Father, which is in him, love every believer.  Give thyself to the set purpose to love and labour for God’s children within thy reach, who through ignorance or feebleness or waywardness are grieving Him.  The work of the Spirit is to build up a habitation for God.  Yield thyself to the Spirit in thee to do the work.

 

ANDREW MURRAY.

 

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69. THE AGE OF GOLD

 

But beyond it all [the great tribulation] an infinitely golden vision.  A re-born humanity will introduce a re-born world.  A great British statesman of the nineteenth century, John Bright, expressed it thus:-  “It may be but a vision, but I will cherish it.  I see one vast federation stretching from the frozen north in unbroken line to the glowing south.  I see one people and one language, and one law and one faith, and over all that white continent the home of freedom and a refuge for the oppressed of every race and every clime  In the exquisite words of the hymn:-

 

For lo, the time is hastening on

By prophet-bards foretold,

When with the ever circling years

Comes round the age of gold;

When peace shall over all the earth

Her ancient splendours fling,

And the whole earth send back a song

Which now the angels sing.

 

“The kingdom of this world” – the Greek is singular – “have become the kingdom” – the Empire, a vast federated world under one Monarch – “of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever” (Rev. 11: 15).  “The Lord shall be king over all the earth; and in that day there shall be one Lord and his name one” (Zech. 14: 9).

 

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70. THE ERROR OF BALAAM

 

Balaam was a professional enchanter.  Of false prophets in the Church, Jude says they have run greedily after the error of Balaam?  He made several, but his chief error lay in persisting in a course which he knew to be wrong “for reward”.  “Come, curse me Jacob, and come defy Israel  Balaam knew the futility of such a mission, having received a clear intimation from God as to His ultimate intentions for Israel; but he nevertheless proceeded to match himself against the people of God and entered the hire of Balak thinking of the promised honour and riches.

 

Peter draws attention to this fatal greed of Balaam’s.  “He loved the wages of unrighteousness  There is no more pathetic figure in Scripture.  How unutterably sad are the words “I shall see him, but not now.  I shall behold him, but not nigh” (Numbers 24: 17).  This man knew the value and the end of righteousness.  He coveted the lot of the righteous, knowing that the end of that man is peace.  “Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his” (Numbers 23: 10).  But he was not prepared to live the life of the righteous.  He loved the wages of unrighteousness, the present material gain.  Balaam hoped to work for one master and drew his wages from another.  Fatal decision, for God is not mocked; whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap.

 

Many so-called Christian teachers are running greedily after the error, stifling conscience to preach a “Gospel” which will secure them advancement and preferment, but which they know to be futile and false.  The error of Balaam!  The Church is indeed suffering at the hands of professional shepherds, “hirelings” as the Lord called them.  “For the love of money is the root of all evil; which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” ( 1 Timothy 6: 10).

 

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71. ONE

 

The story is told that the aged pastor of a little Scotch church was asked to resign because there had been no conversions in the church for a whole year.  “Aye”, said the preacher, “It’s been a lean year, but there was one  “One conversion  asked an elder, “Who was that  “Wee Bobbie,” replied the pastor.  They had forgotten a laddie who had not only been saved but had given himself in full consecration to God.  It was “wee Bobbie” who, in a missionary meeting when the plate was passed for an offering, asked the usher to put the plate on the floor, and then stepped into it with his bare feet, saying, “I’ll give myself; I have nothing else to give  This “wee Bobbie,” we are told, became the world renowned Robert Moffat, who with David Livingstone, gave his life to the healing of the open sore of the Dark Continent.

 

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72. NERO

 

The identification of the Man of Sin as the Pope was thoroughly refuted by that outstanding writer on prophecy, the late Robert Govett, of Norwich.  Despite much error, the Pope acknowledges the deity and authority of Christ.  The Man of Sin apparently appears after the great apostasy – for the official repudiation of Christianity precedes the revelation of the Son of Perdition (2 Thess. 2: 3, 4).  Assuming this latter to be the same as the First Beast of Revelation 13: 20, we learn from these chapters that the Man of Sin is (1) a single human being; (2) a king; (3) a Roman emperor; (4) already dead in John’s day; (5) who had claimed divine honours, in blasphemy; (6) who had died a violent death; (7) the number of whose name made 666; and who (8) is returning to reincarnate an assassinated leader or dictator (Rev. 13: 3; 17: 11).

 

The early Christians considered him to be Nero, who alone fulfils all these conditions; his name in the Hebrew (Caesar Neron) is (as the last edition of “Chambers’s Twentieth Century Dictionary” said) “the best interpretation ever given of apocalyptic number

 

A. G. TILNEY.

 

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73. WESLEY AND THE ADVENT

 

It would be well if the Methodists of today realized the attitude of their founders to the Second Advent.  Samuel Wesley, John Wesley’s father, says, - “We believe, as all Christians of the purest ages did, that the saints will reign with Christ on earth a thousand years.  At the beginning of the thousand years shall be the first resurrection, wherein martyrs and holy men shall rise and reign here in spiritual delight.” – Athenian Gazette, Vol. 4., 1691.

 

Wesley himself lived every day, every hour, as though it were his last.  He said:-  “Perhaps He will appear as the dayspring from on high, before morning light.  Oh, do not set us a time!  Expect Him every hour.  Now He is nigh, even at the doors  He wrote thus to Dr. Conyers Middleton in 1749. “The doctrine, as you very well know, which Justin deduced from the prophets and the Apostles, in which he was undoubtedly followed by the Fathers of the second and third centuries, is this: ‘The souls of them who have been martyred for the witness of Jesus, and for the Word of God and who have not worshipped the beast, neither received his mark, shall live and reign with Christ a thousand years.  But the rest of the dead shall not live again until the thousand years are finished.’  Now to say that they believed this is neither more or less than to say that they believed the Bible

 

So Bishop Coke, who had charge of all the missionary work of the first Methodism, wrote:- “The period of time which yet remains we know is short, who can tell?  We ought to be in constant expectation of it.  At the coming of Christ to deliver and avenge His people, the faith of His coming will be in a great measure lost.  The doctrine of the Millennium was greatly believed in the first three and purest ages; the doctrine lay depressed for ages, but sprang up again at the Reformation

 

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74. THE KEY

 

The key to statesmanship and all human activities is to be found in the New Testament.  Seek ye first the Kingdom of Heaven, and all these things shall be added unto you is a paradox which is bourn out by all history.  For the men who have most lastingly promoted the social, economic and political welfare of their fellows have been precisely those who did seek first the Kingdom of Heaven.  The great men who made the middle ages, Cromwell and his Puritans, Wilberforce and the Evangelicals, who abolished the slave trade, Wesley and his friends, to whom so many of the reforms of the nineteenth century can be traced back – all these were men who thought first (and most) of the HEREAFTER, and as a sort of by-product, so to speak, of their other worldly activities, conferred immense material benefits on humanity.  Any by way of contrast, the last two centuries, during which man has concentrated as never before on achieving material prosperity, have resulted in world-wide aggregate of poverty and suffering unprecedented in history.

 

LORD ELTON.

 

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75. THE CHURCH

 

The manifold divisions in the visible Church of our day have all been brought about by the failure of individual believers to hold fast to the Head, Christ, from Whom all the members of the One Body, the Church, are knit together (Col. 2: 19).  When we base our unity with other Christians on the sole ground that we are all members of the One Body and all holding to the one Head, and refuse to be associated with any more restricted form of union, then and then only will real spiritual unity be achieved.

 

While the Scriptures do not recognise any division in the Universal Church, they do authorise the local expression of the One Body.  Our risen Lord addresses seven separate letters to the seven Churches in Asia (Rev. 2. & 3.).  There were seven different churches simply because the members of the One Body lived in seven different places, which made it physically impossible for them to meet together in one place.  All the saints in Ephesus belonged to the church in Ephesus because they resided in that city.  In the Word of God we only ever read of one Church in any one locality, as locality was the only ground on which the Church could be, in a limited sense, divided.  The local Church in each place was comprised of all the true believers in that locality and formed a small replica of the One Body.  In a modern city with its many suburbs, a “locality” would refer, not to the whole city, but to a reasonable distance for saints to gather together without great difficulty.  In a big city there is room for a local Church in each suburb, and each such Church should be the gathering place for all the believers in that area.

 

In these days when we find Churches called by the names of countries, or by the name of some special doctrine of the Word of God which is emphasised by that section of the Church, or by the names of men, it is well to note that the Word of God connects no other name to the Church than the name of the locality in which the believers meet together.  Churches were named after the town, city or locality in which the believers lived and never after the district or country.  It was “the Church in Jerusalem,” “the Church in Corinth,” “the Church in Antioch”, but never “the Church of Palestine” or “the Church of Asia  In 1 Cor. 1: 10-17, Paul the apostle condemns the practice of dividing the Body of Christ according to the names of human leaders.  The only name in which God’s children should meet is the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Matt. 18: 20).

 

The names which we find in Scripture are all inclusive and not exclusive; names which equally apply to all who are in the true Church of God.  Some of the names found are:- disciples (Acts 9: 26), believers (Acts 2: 44), brethren (Acts 15: 32), saints (Ephesians 1: 1), children of God (1 John 3: 10).  To take any other name, whether it be that of a human leader, a Bible doctrine, [a form of Church government] or a country, makes us a party to division, the Devil’s chief weapon against the Church of God.  On the other hand to use one of these Scriptural names as the exclusive title of some one section of the Church of God, is equally unscriptural and just as much a case of division in the body of Christ.*

 

THE BALANCE OF TRUTH

 

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76. HEALING

 

There was one striking case of unanswered prayer.  After eating an ice George Muller broke a blood vessel, and, by strict doctor’s orders, was told not to stir from the bed.  His helpers naturally asked what was to be done about Sunday.  As usual there was only one reply, earnest and combined prayer.  On the Sunday morning he suddenly felt that he was healed, and went to take the usual service.  His doctor was a member of the congregation, and was horrified to see him in the pulpit and begged him to come down.  All that Mr. Muller could say was “My dear brother, I am healed  The doctor afterwards examined him and could only pronounce that he was well.  Surely, Mr. Muller thought, the gift of healing can be restored to the Church.  He started a prayer meeting early on Sunday mornings.  Many came week after week.  But, before long, members fell off and finally, on one Sunday, no one came and the pastor was left alone.  He stopped the prayer meeting and made a careful study of the question.  He found, as anyone can, that healing was performed by the apostles and by those on whom they laid hands, but that, after the early days, there was no satisfactory evidence that the gifts of healing were continued, and he regretfully came to the conclusion that it was not God’s will that they should.  But, what about his own case?  He never had a doubt that he was miraculously cured.  Therefore, there must be exceptions to the general rule, and he remembered the words of our Lord to the blind men: “According to your faith be it unto you” (St. Matthew 9: 29).

 

DEAN CRANAGE.

 

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77. MARTYRS

 

The Harlot seated on the Seven Hills is, at the end, “drunken with the blood of the martyrs [“the blood of the saints,” R.V.] of Jesus” (Rev. 17: 6).  It has been estimated that the Church of Rome has been guilty of the death of more than 50,000,000 believers.  A typical example has recently occurred.  On October 16, a young soldier of the Marines, D. Jose Morado, died in Ferrol del Caudillo.  On May 12, 1945, this popular and cheerful young Christian refused to kneel in adoration of the Host, respectfully alleging that he was an Evangelical Christian.  For this reason he was barbarously beaten by his colonel and trodden on.  The next day he was told off to dig a ditch, and was not allowed to rest for a moment until he began to bleed at the mouth.  He was taken to the hospital of the military prison and later his wrecked constitution died.

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

78. REWARD THROUGH SUFFERING

 

It is vital to the Gospel that reward and [our eternal] salvation are totally sundered.  Reward is a recompense for service rendered; a ‘prize’ gained by conduct; a wage paid for labour accomplished.  “Do good,” our Lord says, “and your reward shall be great” (Luke 6: 35).  “To him that worketh,” says the Apostle, “the reward is not reckoned as of grace, but as of debt” (Rom. 4: 4): that is, if he has worked for it, he has earned it, and the reward [of the inheritance] is his due.  But [our eternal] salvation [by grace through faith alone] is exactly opposite.  “By grace have ye been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift” – not the reward – “of God: not of works, that no man should glory” (Eph. 2: 8).  No man has ever lived, or ever will live that earned his [eternal] salvation through works: it is a gift given purely and solely on the abandonment of self-righteousness. …

 

D. M. PANTON.

 

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79. WHERE IS HAPPINESS?

 

Not in Unbelief. – Voltaire was an infidel of the most pronounced type.  He wrote: “I wish I had never been born

 

Not in Pleasure. – Lord Byron lived a life of pleasure, if anyone did.  He wrote: “The worm, the canker, and the grief are mine alone

 

Not in Money. – Jay Gould, the American millionaire, had plenty of that.  When dying, he said: “I suppose I am the most miserable devil on earth

 

Not in Position and Fame. – Lord Beaconsfield, who enjoyed more than his share of both, wrote: “Youth is a mistake, manhood a struggle, old age a regret

 

Not in Military Glory. – Alexander the Great conquered the known world in his day.  Having done so, he wept in his tent, because, he said: “There are no more worlds to conquer

 

One and all they confirm Solomon’s verdict: “All is vanity and vexation of spirit” (Eccl. 2: 17).

 

Where, then, is happiness to be found?

 

Jesus said [to His disciples]: “I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you” (John 16: 22).

 

THE KING’S BUSINESS

 

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80. ENOCH

 

The Church of today must be the Enoch of our world.  We Christians must show the people of our time what the good life really means: it is the reproduction of the life of Christ by the grace of the Holy Spirit.  Such an example will not be popular, but it will please God, to whom one day we must render an account.  It may also earn Enoch’s reward: translation to Heaven without passing through the [Great Tribulation and] portal of death.  But we have Enoch’s testimony to give, namely that Christ will return to this earth to set up the Golden Age.  Two world wars have sharpened the interest of many people in the truth [of selective rapture, and] of the Second Coming of Christ; but this interest has been divided into two schools of thought.  One of these is linked with the name of J. N. Darby, and holds that the Church will entirely escape the tribulations which precede the Return of Christ.  The other school of thought is linked with the name of B. W. Newton, just as brilliant a scholar as Darby, and these friends hold that the whole Church must endure the tribulation.  May it not be that the golden mean of these two antinomies is the truth?  If we exercise the faith of Enoch in a humble walk with God and a clear testimony to His Word, we may “prevail to escape” [Luke 21: 36, R.V.] what is coming upon the world.  “Watch and pray that ye may be accounted worthy to escape” (Luke 21: 36).

 

FRANK V. MILDRED.

 

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81. CHRISTIANITY

 

Dr. J. W. Buckham has well summed up the relation of the Early Church to politics – the Scriptural attitude for all the day of grace.  “In all this period of the efflorescence of Christianity, in which it won a world simple by its own inner worth and spiritual puissance, no definite attempt was made to change the institutions and customs of the society in which it found itself.  The new faith did not try to alter these customs and practices.  In some cases it even made them its instruments, transforming slavery itself into an opportunity of loyal service to God and man.  It is easy to explain this attitude of early Christians as due to the expectation of the speedy return of Christ and the end of the existing order.  But that is only a partial explanation.  The evil ways of men about them were looked upon by Christians as wholly alien, belonging to another world from that in which they lived.  The churches were able to maintain a purity and harmony of individual and group life which gained added momentum from their isolation

 

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82. ADVENT

 

We do well to remind ourselves that the words of Dr. A. B. Simpson.  “There are two ways of looking for the Lord’s Coming.  There is a looking for and there is a looking at it.  It is possible to look at it with a keen intellect and profound interest, and yet have it meaning nothing to us personally.  It is possible to know but little of the theology and exegesis of the subject, and yet have a deep and holy longing for our Lord to appear.  When a wedding is about to occur, the public are looking at it, but the bride is looking for it.  Oh, that this great theme may not only be our study but our personal hope, for “unto them that look for Him shall He appear a second time unto salvation

 

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83. TESTIMONY

 

At a revival meeting one day, a minister turned to Henry Heinz, the “fifty-seven varieties” fame.  The minister said, “You are a Christian.  Why are you not up and at it?”  Heinz went home in anger and went to bed.  But he could not sleep.  At four o’clock in the morning, he prayed that God would make him a power in His work.  Then he went to sleep.  At the next meeting of bank presidents which he attended shortly afterwards, Mr. Heinz turned to the man next to him, and spoke to him of Christ.  The man looked at Mr. Heinz in amazement, and said, “I have wondered many times why you never spoke to me if you really believed in Him!  From that time on Mr. Heinz kept busy bringing others to Jesus.  The bank president was the first of two hundred and sixty-seven souls whom Mr. Heinz won to the Lord Jesus!

 

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84. OLD AGE

 

At 73 years of age John Wesley’s voice was still strong enough to be heard by 30,000 people; and he said, - “I feel, and grieve, but, by the grace of God, I fret at nothing  When 80 years of age he said:- “I have this day lived fourscore years.  God grant I may never live to be useless.

 

My body with my charge lay down,

And cease at once to work and live

 

At 87 he wrote:- “I am now an old man decayed from head to foot; I have a lingering fever almost every day.  However, blessed be God, I do not slack my labour; while I can, I would fain do a little for God before I drop into the dust

 

Archbishop Davidson gave this testimony on his retirement:- “I do think one mends one’s ways as the years run on and that one is tenderer at 80 than he was at 50.  I pray God that, if it night be, the example of an old man who strives with all his soul for gentleness may, despite his own failures, bear fruit in the lives of those who have happily a long way to march, and many opportunities to grasp before their 80 comes

 

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85. SCAFFOLD

 

It is the characteristic of our day that in the conflict on capital punishment both sides totally ignore the only decisive factor – the decree of God.  Our Lord’s legislation for the Church cancels justice for love; but God’s law for the States of the world – the fountain of the law of nations, as Luther calls it – is this:-  “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood” – not accidental homicide, or manslaughter, for which the Cities of Refuge were provided under the Law – “by man shall his blood be shed” (Gen. 9: 5).  Justice says “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tootha life for a life.  Nothing less is justice to the victim.

 

Sections of the Christian Church are now so disloyal to God that they actually urge the State to disobey Him.  On all world-rulers – Jewish under Solomon, Gentile under Nebuchadnezzar – lies, unrevoked, the first law ever given to the entire race:- “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed” (Gen. 9: 6).  “It is quite plain to me,” says Archbishop Temple (Times, Jan. 16, 1930), “that it would be for the benefit of society if the death penalty were abolished  The most widely-circulated Anglican Weekly (Church of England Newspaper, Dec. 19, 1930) says:-  “We believe the majority of thoughtful people are whole-heartedly in favour of doing away with the scaffold as a hideous relic of a barbarous age

 

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86. RETRIBUTION

 

Preb. Gordon Calthrop has well summed it up.  “God says expressly that the murderer is not to be spared; God demands his life in return for the life he has taken; God affirms that the offence committed will not be expiated except by the murderer’s death: it is useless to heap up statistics, to accumulate precedents, to construct elaborate arguments, to make tender and touching appeals – God has spoken not to Noah only, but to the whole human race; not to one generation only, but to the whole of the successive ages of mankind; and from this authorative decision there is, and there can be, no possible appeal

 

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87. INCARNATION

 

What was it in Christ so fascinating and sustaining to the thought of His followers that for Him men and women of all ages and ranks in life sacrificed all that is dearest to man’s heart and nature?  Was it only His miracles?  Was it His teaching?  His Death?  His Resurrection?  None of these things taken separately will account for the power of Christ in History.  In the convergence of these; of these majestic miracles; of that Character, which commands at once our love and our reverence; of that teaching, so startling, so awful, so searching, so tender; of that Death of agony, enriched with such a halo of glory; of that deserted tomb, and the majestic splendour of the Risen One: a deeper truth, underlying all, justifying all, explaining all, is seen to reveal itself.  We discern, as did the first Christians, beneath and beyond all that meets the eye of sense and the eye of conscience, the Eternal Person of our Lord Himself.  It is not the miracles, but the Worker; not the character, but the living Subject; not the teaching, but the Master; not the Death or the Resurrection, but He who died and rose, upon whom Christian thought, Christian love, Christian resolution, ultimately rest.

 

CANNON LIDDON.

 

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88. TESTING

 

The extraordinary error of the Pentecostalists – and pregnant warning for us, who may yet see the Divine supernatural – is their steady refusal, now for decades, to put the God-commanded test to a visiting spirit.  “Prove the spirits, whether they are of God: every spirit which confesseth” – not professeth, but confesses in answer to the challenge put to him – “that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God” (1 John 4: 1).  To assume that the miraculous gifts, including ‘tongues,’ because coming to true believers, are therefore the Holy Ghost, is simply to cancel the command of God.  The Church’s apostasy is to spring from “giving heed to seducing spirits” (1 Tim. 4: 1).

 

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89. APOSTASY

 

An utterance of The Methodist Recorder, the organ of the Methodist Church, reveals the Church on the brink of ruin.  Dr. W. F. Lofthouse, writing officially for the magazine, fully sanctions the denial of the Virgin Birth.  He says (Feb. 2, 1950):-  “The Methodist Conference would not now insist that our standards demand belief in the interpretation of the Virgin Birth as a physical miracle.  A number of men in our ministry do not hold that our Saviour’s birth was accomplished without a human father.  His divine sonship is something we are meant to share with Him; and the concomitants of human birth have nothing to do with it  One Scripture is an answer utterly decisive.  “In Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead BODILY” (Col. 2: 9).

 

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90. MILLENNIUM

 

How exquisitely contrary is the golden Reign of Christ when the fire of wrath will have gone out of the earth for ever.  “The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and the suckling child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the basilisk’s den.  They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11: 6).

 

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91 THE POEM- HYMN

 

The poem which is given here is the only hymn that Dickens is known to have written.  It appeared anonymously in the Christmas number of Household Words for 1856.  A clergyman wrote to Dickens, who was then the editor of the publication, thanking him for having thus conveyed to many readers such sincere and true religious sentiment.  Dickens, in answering the note, confessed that he himself was the author of the hymn, and declared that although the words were supposed to be spoken by a child, they expressed his own personal feeling and belief:-

 

Hear my prayer, O Heavenly Father,

Ere I lay me down to sleep;

Bid Thy angels, pure and holy,

Round my bed their vigil keep.

 

My sins are heavy, but Thy mercy

Far outweighs them, every one;

Down before Thy cross I cast them,

Trusting in Thy help alone.

 

Keep me through the night of peril,

Underneath its boundless shade;

Take me to Thy rest I pray Thee,

When my pilgrimage is made.

 

None shall measure out Thy patience

By the span of human thought;

None shall bound the tender mercies

Which Thy holy Son has brought.

 

Pardon all my past transgressions,

Give me strength for days to come;

Guide and guard me with Thy blessing

Till Thy angels bid me come.

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

92. DENIAL OF RESURRECTION

 

It is astonishing how foremost leaders in the Churches, unrebuked, are openly abandoning the Christian Faith, a faith which they are paid to maintain.  “To connect our Lord’s resurrection,” says Archdeacon R. H. Charles, “with such a gross miracle as the empty tomb would make it impossible for thoughtful people to believe in Christ’s resurrection and in His full spiritual life immediately after His death on the Cross  Sir Wilfred Grenfell said in his Rectorial address at St. Andrew’s:- “My body is but an altered form of ether, for use just for this particular cosmos, and only very, very temporarily mine.  Men worry over whether the body will rise again.  Which body?  I personally do not want any of my old changing bodies aver again, anyhow  “The virgin birth and the physical resurrection,” says Dr. W. B. Selbie, “may be discarded without any real loss to our faith in Jesus Christ.”

 

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93. AFTER THREE DAYS

 

Against every conceivable theory of a resurrection “body’ which is not the body that was in the grave, one phrase in the mouth of Christ lies, annihilating in its deadly effect:- “AFTER THREE DAYS He shall rise again” (Mark 8: 31).  A ‘body’ which has no connection with the defunct flesh, a sheath of soul and spirit, must simply be freed from the corpse in the act of dying: the moment of death is therefore the moment of resurrection: ‘after three days in that case, are words not only meaningless, but false.  But if this phrase in the Saviour’s mouth stands for a fact – the fact that three days after death resurrection (whatever it is) occurred – all the phantasmal-body theories are proved phantoms of the brain.  After three days the dormant Corpse arose.  That which lies down, rises.  Nothing else is Christianity.  A filled tomb is a dead Christ and a lost world.  God has redeemed all of man, or none: redemption cannot be limited to fractions of the human.  “If Christ hath not been raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins” (1 Cor. 15: 17).

 

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94. BISHOPS

 

The spiritual daring of the last days will be one of their most painful characteristics.  It has been reserved for Cannon T. A. Lacey to claim for Bishops (Contemporary Review, May, 1930) what, to do them justice, they have never claimed for themselves throughout the whole history of the Church of God.  The Canon says:-  “The Bishop is in fact an Apostle.  The episcopate is indispensable for one reason alone; it is the Apostolate, the one fundamental ministry of the Church, set in the Church, by God Himself  The peril of the claim is obvious, for the retort is obvious: where then (men ask) are “the signs of an apostle, signs and winders and mighty works” (2 Cor. 12: 12)?  A miraculous order without miracle is a fraud, and claimants to apostleship without the only apostolic credentials God has ever given are false apostles.  “Thou didst try them which call themselves apostles, and they are not, and didst find them false” (Rev. 2: 2).

 

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95. ADVENT DENIAL

 

Denial of the Advent presents a truncated Christianity made violently inconsistent with itself, and in violent collision with facts around it, by the withdrawal of half its revelations and the substitution of a wholly imaginary horoscope.  For example, Dr. R. T. Glover says:- “The message of Jesus is that things are going to get better and better  Who is the ‘Jesus’ of whom Dr. Glover is speaking?  It can hardly be the Lord Jesus Christ, who foretells a time of tribulation on earth without parallel in history, or repetition in eternity (Matt. 24: 21); who reveals this entire generation as culminating in a wickedness sevenfold greater (Matt. 12: 45); who challenges whether there will be any faith [‘the faith’] on earth at His return (Luke 18: 8); and who discloses even the people of God as in deadly peril from the last miracles of Hell (Matt. 24: 24).  Or if Dr. Glover means that our Lord unfolds a ‘better and better’ after His Advent, then he admits the doctrine that he derides.

 

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96. POLITICAL PACIFICISM

 

Prophecy reveals that the loud professions of pacificism – with little of the fact – will dominate the world’s closing age.  “To-day,” says Mr. G. H. Wells, “the lip service paid to peace is astounding.  Our world abounds in the literature of pacificism, demanding peace, even though it demands a vague and featureless peace, and denouncing every sort of armed struggle, conflict and systematic warfare.  At times this once sinful planet looks like a grove of olive branches.  The books against war must amount to scores of thousands.  Never before has the will for peace been so plainly formulated or found such sustained and enthusiastic expression  It is deeply solemn that the Scripture says:-  “When they are saying, Peace and safety, THEN sudden destruction cometh” (1 Thess. 5: 3).

 

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97. CATACLYSM

 

Where, in such a world, is the Kingdom of God which the Church is supposed to be establishing?  Mr. Moody once urged Henry Ward Beecher to leave the pulpit of Plymouth Church and join him in a world-wide evangelistic tour.  “After Mr. Moody had gone,” says Dr. Lyman Abbott, “Mr. Beecher said to me, ‘I should like to do it, but it is impossible.  We do not agree.  Mr. Moody believes that this is a lost world, and he is trying to save some from the wreck.  I believe that it is the world itself which is to be saved, and the kingdoms of this world are to become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ’”  Evolution’s proved importance, even at this late date, to produce Beecher’s vision must make way for the Advent cataclysm which (as Moody foresaw) can and will.

 

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98. THE SET OF THE TIDE

 

It is possible for men and even leaders of men – not only possible indeed but frequent – to call up sinister forces, exercise oppressive and evil and cruel and unrighteous powers over their fellows: and yet all the time be convinced that they are on the road to beneficent reforms.  But a Divine hand is dominant, first to set the limit to the evil – hitherto and no further; second, to weave it into that programme which will culminate in the ultimate end of the reign of evil and the beginning of the Kingdom of the Son of God.

 

Similarly it is possible at one and the same time to resist and combat evil while recognizing that, for the time being, resistance is useless: the evil must, in order to the fulfilment of the Divine purpose, run its course and reach its zenith before it be finally overcome.  But whether resistance be ineffective or not, evils must be recognized, exposed, departed from, abhorred and – short of the use of fleshly weapons – resisted.

 

SAMUEL H. WILKINSON

 

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99. THE TEMPLE

 

The Temple area is a stronghold of antichrists.  The Mosque of Omar, built on the site of the Temple, bears this inscription within:-  “The Messiah Jesus is only the Son of Mary, the ambassador of God, and His Word which He deposited in Mary.  God is one, and is not so constituted that He could have a Son; be that far from Him  As long ago as November 2, 1786, Cagliostro, famous both as a Spiritualist and as a Mason, issued an appeal to the Freemasons of London:-  “In the name of Jehovah the time has come when the new Temple at Jerusalem should be constructed.  This is to invite all true Masons of London to assemble to form plans and lay the first stone of the True Temple in the seen world

 

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100. TEMPLE SACRIFICES

 

The Prayer Book of the German and Polish Jews has this petition:-  “O our King, Jehovah our God, grant that the House of the Sanctuary may be built in our days  It will be a built temple which ignores Calvary.  The Zionist Catechism says:-  “What are sacrificial laws?  Those which relate to the temple offerings, and to the duties relating thereunto which belonged to the priests and Levites.  Why are the sacrificial laws not now observed?  Because we no longer have a temple, the only place where we are permitted to sacrifice.  These laws are not binding now, because our circumstances prevent their being observed; but whenever we return to our land and again constitute a State, they will have full force

 

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101. TRUTH

 

Our own clash of opinion and conflict of judgment (among believers) is part of the Divine scheme of things.  For the Gospel on the one hand, is so simple, so easily intelligible, that it can be perfectly credited by a child or a dying man: fuller, deeper truth, on the other hand, is purposely difficult – to test (1) our faith; (2) our sincerity; (3) our judgment; (4) our industry; (5) our perseverance; (6) our openness to all truth; and (7) our willingness to suffer for truth’s sake.  By how we handle the truth – whether we master it, or shrink it, or whatever degree we strike between – we stand revealed, self-judged, self-catalogued, self-appraised.  “For there must be also factions among you, THAT THEY WHICH ARE APPROVED MAY BE MADE MANIFEST” (1 Cor. 11: 19).

 

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102. THE FIRST RESURRECTION

 

In the Appendix to his small work on the Song of Songs, entitled Union and Communion (p. 83, ed. 5), Mr. Hudson Taylor wrote of such as “if saved, are only half-saved: who are for the present more concerned about the things of this world than the things of God.  To advance their own interests, to secure their own comfort, concerns them more than to be in all things pleasing to the Lord.  They may form part of the great company spoken of in Revelation 7: 9-17, who come out of the great tribulation, but they will not form part of the 144,000, ‘the first-fruits unto God and to the Lamb’ (Rev. 14: 1-5).  They have forgotten the warning of our Lord in Luke 21: 34-36; and hence they are not ‘accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man  They have not, with Paul counted ‘all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus the Lord,’ and hence they do not ‘attain unto’ that resurrection from among the dead, which Paul felt he might miss, but aimed to attain unto.

 

We wish to place on record our solemn conviction that not all who are Christians, or think themselves to be such, will attain to that resurrection of which St. Paul speaks in Phillippians 3: 11, or will thus meet the Lord in the air.  Unto those who by lives of consecration manifest that they are not of this world, but are looking for Him, ‘he will appear without sin unto salvation.’”

 

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103. ANTICHRIST AND JUDIASM

 

Ancient and modern Jewish writers recognize a time of trouble before the beginning of the Messianic Age, to end with the complete overthrow of the Gentile world power.  Israel will pass through terrible distress under an invasion by Gog.  Rabbi Isaac Abarbanel (1437-1508) speaks of the judgment of Dan. 7: 10, as “that punishment with which the Holy Blessed God shall visit the living nations at the time of the coming of our Messiah, when He shall restore the kingdom to the Jewish people  Early Jewish thought identified the Anti-Messiah with Gog or with Nero.

 

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104. PRAYER FOR ISRAEL

 

1. Because of God’s command, with special promise of blessing. Gen. 12: 3; Ps. 122: 6; Isa. 62: 6, 7.

 

2. Because Israel is still beloved by God for the fathers’ sakes. Rom. 11: 28; Jer. 31: 3.

 

3. Because it is God’s will that Israel shall be saved.  Isa. 12: 1-6; Matt. 23: 37; Rom. 11: 23-32.

 

4. Because of the Tribulation testimony out of Israel after rapture [and resurrection]. Matt. 24: 9-14; Rev. 6: 9; 7: 1-8.

 

5. Because of the great multitude to be saved through their ministry. Matt. 25: 40; Rom. 11: 25.

 

6. Because no Millennial blessings can come to the nations apart from Israel.  Gen. 12: 3; Acts 15: 16, 17; Rom. 11: 11-15.

 

7. Because of Israel’s national awakening, with sorrow and distress, showing that their redemption draweth nigh.  Dan. 12: 1; Matt. 24: 4-8; Luke 21: 24-31; (See Dan. 9: 1-22).

 

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105. GOD’S ETERNITY

 

The noble words in which the Times (Jan. 1, 1931) greets the new year of all Christians can fundamentally endorse.  It says:-  “No easy optimism is possible as, on this first day of 1931, we survey the world with its disorder, with its staggering difficulties, with its portent of an organized campaign against belief in God.  Yet the fullest candour in admitting ugly facts should not blind us to the larger view that this world is merely part of a larger scheme, that it is no more than the training-ground where, by effort and suffering and failure and yet more effort, we are meant to fit ourselves for fuller life and larger tasks elsewhere.  To those who hold this view the final victory of good over evil, of love over hate, of life over death, is always certain.  They can endure as seeing Him who is invisible.  They can wait, as many on the further side of death are waiting for them.  Let this or any year bring what it may, they can look forward.  The best is yet to be  Or as Studdert Kennedy put it:-  “I believe with all my heart that the failure of the Church is the failure of the Crucified, which is bound to end in a glorious resurrection

 

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106. THE FUTURE

 

But How?  Here is the watershed that divides the Church’s outlook by the breadth of whole continents; and the overwhelming predominant view is fraught with untold disaster.  For (1) it involves an enormous waste of Christian energy which, poured into politics and economics, is doomed to futility because of the rottenness of the human material with which it works; (2) it produces a complete absence of preparation to meet the Church’s massed enemies at the end, through a clever diversion of vigilance to the wrong front; (3) it is a cruel deception of the world, from which it veils the coming horrors while there is still time to escape them, and lulls into slumber by faith in a political and social evolution which is non-existent; (4) it forces an interpretation on the Scriptures, saturated through and through with Apocalyptic, which is a tissue of fantastic hyperbole; (5) it must rock to its foundations the faith of myriads who, taught to identify the Christian Faith with a converted world, will find apparently both overwhelmed by opposing facts; (6) it sinks the security of a coming crash in the easy complacency of an age-long evolution; and (7) it is a direct disobedience of God who commanded us, in Scriptures numberless, to wait, not for a converted world, but for His Son from heaven.  If the language of Scripture does not express a personal return of the Lord Jesus to earth, there is no language that could.  Even the world can see portents.  “Balfour,” said George Wyndham, “knows there has been an Ice Age, and thinks there may be another

 

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107. THE ADVENT

 

Bishop Handley Moule well stresses both the fact and the incentive:-  “The second advent, veritable, personal, as much an actual event as the first, is, in Archbishop Benson’s words, ‘what must happen some time, and may happen any time.’  The august theme is ‘profitable for instruction in righteousness’ and also for the revival of hope which not only is in harmony with ‘patient continuance in well-doing’ in the work of the Lord, but is the soul of it.”

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

108. CHURCH AND STATE

 

It is a fact, recorded in Hansard, that in 1916 the British Government ruled that the publication of the Sermon on the Mount as a leaflet, without comment, was an indictable offence under the Defence of the Realm Act.  This is a perplexity only to those who do not understand the nature of our Lord’s legislation.  He legislates solely for a pilgrim people divorced from the world through which it is passing – “the salt of the earth, the light of the world” (Matt. 5: 13) – imposing on them, as children of grace, laws under which no State could conceivably be administrated.  The Magistrate bears the sword (Rom. 13: 4): the disciple sheaths it (John 18: 11).  The amalgamation of what God has divorced means either a Sermon on the Mount a dead letter, or else a State in anarchy, as one or the other cases to function through a fusion which is confusion.

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

109. THE ADVENT AND THE CHURCH

 

I have not found a respectable or acknowledged creed in all Christendom, from the beginning until now, that teaches the doctrine of a millennium before Christ’s coming.  I have not found one single passage in all the Bible that sustains the doctrine of a millennium before Christ’s coming.  But, on the other hand, I have found a long and unbroken line of witnesses from the days of the Apostles until now, who testify with one voice that the hope of a millennium of universal righteousness, liberty, and peace before Christ comes, is a falsehood and a dream.  I have found many eminent divines, who have blest the church and the world with their piety and wisdom, eagerly looking for the Saviour’s advent as the only thing that is to lift the church out of its present depression and gloom.  And beyond and above all, I have found the Word of God everywhere pointing to the same great and glorious event as the only hope of the pious, and as the great link which alone can connect us with or bring us into the joys and jubilations of the millennial era.  Theorize and speculate as you please, when the Lord cometh He will find the world as now, full of vice, unbelief, sensuality and guilt.  We may prefer our vague dreams, and set them up against God’s positive revelations; but His truth abideth.

 

J. A. SEISS, D.D.

 

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110. THE ADVENT

 

When the teaching of the return of Christ (before the Millennium) began to spread, it was the privilege of the writer to hear and accept the truth.  It certainly was the message of the hour.  There was, however, a note lacking.  The lacking note was the imperative demand for holiness of heart and life as a necessary qualification for this supreme event.  Little or nothing was said upon the subject by these first messengers.  The fact of the return of Christ, imminent and certain, was all the people were prepared for; and even this was resented by the vast majority of those who heard it.  So unpopular was this message that it could only be propagated through faith and self-sacrifice.  Indeed, we remember instances when those who preached it were not only ostracised, but “shamefully entreated  Little by little, however, the truth prevailed, until a few outstanding ministers began to preach it boldly.  Now, for the past twenty-five or thirty years, the evangelists and Bible teachers who specialize in this doctrine receive large emoluments and favourable notoriety instead of abuse.

 

Having been taught this truth from childhood, among people who knew nothing of sanctification, the writer naturally wondered what would become of their unsanctities as these saints were “caught up  We cannot help feeling that the preaching of the Second Coming of Christ, as it was preached fifty years ago, has lost its power of conviction, and has become largely a matter of entertainment.  We have arrived at this definite conclusion: that it is no longer “the message of the hour,” and that the preachers who proclaim the near coming of Christ, and fail at the same time to stress the necessity of sanctification, are deceiving their hearers, and rocking them to sleep in the cradle of self-indulgence and sin.

 

W. T. MACARTHUR.

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

111. CRISIS

 

It is impossible to look upon a more sublime spectacle than that which rises to the mind of a spiritual observer at the present crisis.  A voice like the archangel’s trumpet is crying, ‘Cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard to the people  Event rolls on after event.  As the purposes of God are advancing nearer to their completion, ten thousand significant events sweep onward in the train.  The convergency of all things to the point becomes more and more rapid.  Meaning begins to appear in events before shrouded in mystery.  An omnipotent plan, it is manifest, is in operation, and the trains laid with Divine wisdom are fast completing.

 

G. B. CHEEVER, D. D.

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

112. MONEY

 

Cleanness on money is an essential of sanctification strangely overlooked by evangelical groups saying:- if a successful business man is not a child of the Ghetto, he is usually a grandchild of John Knox.  The accumulation of wealth (Matt. 6: 19) is not Christian.  The first Lord of the Admiralty, Mr. A. V. Alexander, whose life was revolutionized by a Baptist pastor whom his wife had asked him to hear – “in those days I had no religious convictions, but after I had listened my whole outlook on life was changed” – says:- “I venture to suggest that the Church should say to the wealthy industrialist as well as to the humble labourer, ‘If you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, why in heaven’s name don’t you do what He tells you?’”

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

113. THE LAST DAYS

 

For we do well to remember that the wealthy disciple, in nearly every case, forfeits the Kingdom (Mark 10: 23; Jas. 2: 5) and to the wealthy worldling before the Advent the Spirit addresses terrible words:- “Your gold and your silver are rusted; and their rust shall eat your flesh as fire: ye have laid up your treasure in the last days” (Jas. 5: 3).  “I have always been an ambitious man,” said D. L. Moody; “ambitious to leave no wealth or possessions  Nor did he.  Holding a necklace of agates in his hand, Luther said:-  “I would readily eat up this to-day for the judgment to come tomorrow

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

114. WAKING SOULS

 

A nameless correspondent in the Christian (Jan. 29, 1931) strikes a note of poignant appeal.  “What shall a Christian profit if he be very busy in the service of God, and at last miss His greatest and best?  It seems hopeless to look to the Churches for this, for you never hear it mentioned.  St. Paul himself was striving for something which he realized might be missed.  Then how much more may we miss it, unless we know the truth!  I look for more light on these solemn, vast, majestic subjects  We believe that this slow awaking, this unveiling of far horizons, will spread among hearts probing deeper than they have been taught.  It seems certain that in view of far severer perils approaching, the Spirit is seeking to fortify the Church with far more searching truths.  “Be not high-minded, but fear” (Rom. 11: 20).  At the worst, it is better to fear too much, and ‘arrive,’ than to fear too little and miss God’s best.

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

115. THE KINGDOM

 

To quote from a former Bishop of Bristol:-  “The doctrine of the millennium was generally believed in the three first and purest ages; and this belief, as the learned Dodwell has justly observed, was one principle cause of the fortitude of the primitive Christians: they even coveted martyrdom, in hopes of being partakers of the privileges and glories of the martyrs in the first resurrection

 

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116. UNEMPLOYMENT A FIRST STEP TO FAMINE

 

It is slowly dawning on the world that unemployment is more than a sudden economic problem fallen on all nations; it is a portent.  An economic blizzard is raging over the earth, and business losses (Mr. J. M. Keynes goes so far as to say) have been larger than at any time in the history of the world. … And the spiritual portent lies in this, that, since Eden’s law is that man must earn bread in the sweat of his face, no labour means no food; and unemployment is therefore a first step to famine.  None but great and wealthy nations, in a high state of civilization, can, year after year, keep vast masses of unemployed fed; and even in these wealthiest nations on earth one more turn of the screw could bring sharply rationed supplies … or even death by starvation. …

 

There is one golden promise, though a promise strictly conditional, upon which, if we are careful to fulfil its most righteous condition, we may set our feet as on rock.  Dealing with the very problem of food supply, the Lord says:- “Seek ye first” – not second, or third, much less last or not at all*; secondary things may be sought other than first – “the Kingdom of God and His righteousness” – all that is godlike in conduct: the ‘righteousness’ so frequently mentioned in the Sermon – “and all these things” – the food and the raiment – “SHALL BE ADDED UNTO YOU” (Matt. 6: 33).  He whose overmastering passion is the Age to Come, and who seeks to conform his conduct to God’s, is assured as the birds and the lilies of the food and raiment after which “the Gentiles seek” in their unemployed millions.**  Life is too short for anything but God’s best; and if we take the burden of the Kingdom, God takes the burden of the bread.  So, at the end, our joyous cry shall be dying Jacob’s:- “the God which hath fed me all my life long unto this day!” (Gen. 48: 15); and our assurance will be the Prophet’s (Hab. 3: 17):- “Although the fig-tree shall not blossom neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation

 

*To make a conditional promise into an unconditional is to make it a falsehood.

 

**Over five thousand times George Muller went to bed with no provision for himself, or the orphans under his care, for the morrow.  “Did you sleep?” he was asked.  “Every time,” he replied.

 

D. M. PANTON.

 

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117. THE MAN WHO WALKED WITH GOD

 

Enoch, the morning star of the world, is a model for us to-day of extraordinary value as the great prototype of all rapture.  For Enoch was, like ourselves, a Gentile; his was the age which saw the birth of scientific invention in the world;* he lived in an epoch of rapidly deepening wickedness, and when the earth was filled with violence; his feet stood on the brink of a judgment that was to sweep the whole earth; he was, as the Holy Ghost emphasizes, “the seventh from Adam” (Jude 14) – that is, a type of all who, after six thousand years of sin, shall share the Sabbatic Rest; his as ours will be the last – was by a sudden and supernatural removal, through a gateway into heaven that has only twice been opened since, and then only to distinguished saints; and his is the only rapture in the Bible enforced upon us by the Holy Spirit as a model for us.  So also the very setting of his record is luminous with spiritual light.  For we know absolutely nothing of the physical facts of his life: not a single outstanding event in it is recorded: out of complete obscurity he rose into heaven.  How profoundly suggestive!  “Hearken, my beloved brethren, hath not God chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith” – His hidden diamonds – “to be [R.V.] heirs of the kingdom which he promised to them that love Him?” (James 2: 5).  The Church knows nothing of her brightest stars, for she moves beneath the range of their heavenly orbits.

 

*Jabal as founder of commerce, Tubal-Cain of manufacture, and Jubal of art (Gen. 4: 20-22), were the dawn of to-day’s mighty meridian: the early world held in it, even to the rapt saint, a mirror of our own far vaster age.  Enoch’s removal many decades before the Flood makes sure (by type) the escape of all the latter-day Enochs from approaching judgments, by secret rapture like his.  “He was not found” (Heb. 11: 5) – thus his disappearance was known; but that he was sought for on earth reveals that his removal had been secret.

 

D. M. PANTON.

 

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118. FOREIGN MISSIONS

 

Foreign missions, from having been an agency of spiritual regeneration, are fast becoming merely a church-supported philanthropy.*  As a philanthropy, it is doomed not only to failure, but to extinction.  The emptying treasuries of many mission boards is tragic testimony to the fact that men and women who might be enlisted in a world of enterprise that is dynamically religious will simply not give their money to one that seems to them to constitute chiefly an ecclesiastical rival of State and privately supported charities.  In my opinion the dying missionary zeal of the Church will not be revived without a revolution as fundamental as that which led the churches, in the first place, to dare to proclaim their gospel to the ends of the earth.  The primary business for which missionaries went out to the field, and for which we gave of our resources to support them, was evangelical.  Soon or late, as we know, these peoples, however backward, may be able to run their own schools and man their own hospitals.  One thing – and one thong only – we have, uniquely, to give them.  That one thing is the transforming gospel of Jesus Christ.

 

Dr. HIGH.

 

* Dr. High visited practically every mission station on the three Continents.

 

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119. MISSIONARY DEFICITS

 

An artist was asked to paint the picture of a decaying church.  To the surprise of many, instead of putting on the canvas a tottering ruin, the artist painted a stately edifice of modern grandeur.  Through the open portals could be seen the richly-carved pulpit, the magnificent organ, the stained glass windows.  Within the grand entrance, guarded on either side by a ‘pillar of the church’ in spotless garb and glittering jewellery, was an offering plate of elaborate design, for the offerings of the fashionable worshippers.  Above the offering-plate, suspended from a nail in the wall, there hung a square box, very simply painted, and bearing the words – Collection for Foreign Missions.  Over its slot stretched a cobweb.

 

Many denominations report large increases in church expenses under local budgets, added to the heaviest building programme ever achieved.  It may be chancelitis or a rapid expansion of parish houses and recreation facilities.  At any rate, the closest competition of missionary gifts will always exit between the needs of the local church and the money that can be “spared” for the gift to Missions.

 

In addition, the immense increase in local charities for new buildings, mergers, community chests, often backed by professional drives, have diverted the proportion of stewardship gifts available for Missions.

 

Of course at bottom, it is all a question of raising the spiritual devotion of our churches.  Missionary zeal thrives in spiritual earnestness – it dies in comfortable indifference.  It thrives in obedience – it perishes in the atmosphere of modern humanism or of selfishness.  Contact with Christ spells missionary loyalty.

 

BREWER EDDY, D. D.

 

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120. GIFT

 

1. If I refuse to give anything to missions this year, I practically cast a ballot in favour of the recall of every missionary, both in home and foreign fields.

 

2. If I give less than heretofore, I favour a reduction of the missionary forces proportionate to my reduced contribution.

 

3. If I give the same as formerly, I favour holding the ground already won, but I disregard any forward movement.  My song is, “Hold the Fort!” forgetting that the Lord never intended that His army should take refuge in a fort.  All of His soldiers are under marching orders always.  They are commanded to “Go

 

4. If I advance my offering beyond former years, then I favour an advance movement in the conquest of new territory for Christ.  Shall I not join this class?

 

Resolved: I do believe in greatly increasing the present number of our missionaries, therefore I will increase my former offerings TO MISSIONARY WORK.

 

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121. THE APOCALYPTIC BEATITUDES

 

The Apocalypse is the Book of Judgment, both for the Church and for the world; and it is deeply instructive to observe that every beatitude in it is granted, not on the ground of indiscriminate grace, but (as each content and context proves) exclusively to him who fulfils its conditions – conditions of service (1, 4, 6) or suffering (2) or sanctity (3, 5, 7).

 

1

Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of the prophecy, and keep the things which are written therein (Rev. 1: 3).

 

2

Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord form henceforth* [* Martyrs]: yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works follow with them (Rev. 14: 13).

 

3

Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame

(Rev. 16: 15).

 

4

Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19: 9)

 

5

Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection (Rev. 20: 6).

 

6

Blessed is he that keepeth the words of the prophecy of this book (Rev. 22: 7).

 

7

Blessed are they that wash their robes, that they may have the right to come to the tree of life, and may enter in by the gates into the city (Rev. 22: 14).

 

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122. JUDGING THE SAINTS

 

“Set them to judge who are least esteemed in the Church” (1 Cor. 7: 4).  According to this rendering the Apostle recommends litigants in the Corinthian Church to select one or more of their number to judge between them on the ground that he is incompetent or lacks their confidence.  This absurdity is avoided by Luther, Westcott, Edwards, Ellicott and Evans who regard it as ironical.

 

It is however arguable than in all these interpretations the force of the phrase ‘in the Church’ is greatly underrated by making it a mere adverbial adjunct of ‘least esteemed’ …

 

In this context the competence of the judge is quite a secondary consideration, or rather it is not a consideration at all.  The apostle is occupied exclusively with the anxiety that his readers shall employ a Christian rather than a non-Christian judge, and keep their quarrels within the four walls of the Church.  Rather than employ pagan judges, even of the highest judical eminence, to adjust their differences, he asks his readers to employ Christians of no eminence at all, not because of their lack of professional qualifications, but in spite of it.  The sense is: If you have no eminent judges in the Church, then employ those that are not eminent, provided only they be members of your society.

 

WILFRED H. ISAACS, M.A.

 

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123. THE TOTALITARIAN STATE

 

Religious freedom and liberty of conscience were altogether foreign to the ancient Roman world.  The religious element was subordinated to the political, and the State was the highest idea of ethics – the end and realization of supreme good.  Hence, defection from the State religion (then paganism) appeared as a crime against the State, incurring the dangerous charge of high treason.  Roman toleration reached its limit when the Christians refused to venerate Roma Dea.  It meant only the casting of a pinch of incense upon the pedestal of the emperor’s statue, yet to the good Christian this little act was the recognition of another god, and that god a living and often a very bad man; hence this act became the touchstone of the faith.  The better the Roman governor, the less he could understand a sect which put religion before patriotism.  Impact between the State and rapidly spreading Christianity occurred under Nero.  His palace gardens, illuminated by the burning bodies of Christians, were the dawn of centuries of cruel and ruthless persecution.  Some were crucified, others were sewn up in skins of wild animals and exposed to be torn in pieces by dogs; meanwhile the populace cried, “Away with the godless

 

EDGAR E. H. KING.

 

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124. REWARD

 

“Behold, I come quickly, and my reward is with me” (Rev. 22: 12).  There will be rewards enough and to spare; you will never exhaust them: rewards to be won and possessed and rejoiced in; or rewards to be missed and lost and mourned for, surely, throughout eternity.  Am I right in thinking that the thought of these rewards which God prepares for His people is an almost absent factor from most Christian lives?  Think.  Has the thought of God’s reward attached to faithful witness stirred you up to witness for Him?  Has God’s promised reward for souls that are brought to Him, made you eager to bring souls to Him?  Has God’s promised reward made you patient in trial and under suffering?  Has the promised reward made you bold to confess Him in face of those who denied Him?

 

HUBERT BROOKE, M. A.

 

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125. SIGNS

 

Dr. J. W. Jowett exactly expresses the angle of vision – with all inspired prophecy suppressed – from which the DAWN is sometimes censured, as dwelling too insistently on the darker outlook.  “We could do with a society,” he says, “whose one work should be to watch the dawn and record the signs of advancing day.  Its glad and privileged duty would be to watch for signs of the Kingdom, a society of scouts for observing and recording sunbeams, and the members would engirdle the earth in quest of good news.  We must let people know that the Kingdom is coming, and we must give them the proofs  But one fact is fatal.  Prophecy presages the Kingdom by the world’s blackness and not by its light: therefore only that magazine heralds the dawn which signals the midnight.  “But when these things begin to come to pass” – events, our Saviour says, too terrible ever to be repeated – “LOOK UP, AND LIFT UP YOUR DEADS; because your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21: 28).

 

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126. THE JEW FIRST

 

Why give the Gospel “to the Jew first?” (Rom. 1: 16).  Because judgment will begin with them – Indignation and wrath to the Jew first (Ron. 2: 6, 10).  It is an awful thought that the Jew will be the first to stand forward at the bar of God to be judged.

 

Is it not a reason then, why the Gospel should first be preached to the Jew?  They are ready to perish.  The cloud of indignation and wrath that is even now gathering above the lost will break first upon the head of the guilty, unhappy, unbelieving Israel.  And have you none of the bowels of Christ in you, that you will not run first to them that are in so sad a case?  In a hospital the kind physician runs first to the bed where the sick man lies who is nearest to death.  When a ship is sinking, and the gallant sailors have left the shore to save the sinking crew, do they not stretch out the arm of help first to those who are readiest to perish beneath the waves?  Shall we not do the same for the Jews?  The billows of God’s anger are ready to dash first over them.  Shall we not seek first to bring to them to the Rock that is higher than they?  Their case is more desperate than that of other men – shall we not bring the Good Physician to them?  The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation to the Jew first.

 

ROBERT MURRAY M’CHANE.

 

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127. THE PRIZE OF OUR CALLING* [* edited]

 

“If by any means I might attain to the resurrection from among the dead” (Phil. 3: 11)*

 

* The expression is peculiar, and may be rendered, “the select resurrection [out] from among the dead

 

It is evident at a glance, that the resurrection which the apostle so earnestly sought, was not the general resurrection.  The wicked shall partake of that, whether they desire it or no.  Paul then could not express any doubts of his attaining to that, or speak of it as an object of hope.  It remains then, that it be a peculiar resurrection: the resurrection of reward, obtained by the just, while the [bodies of the] wicked remain in their graves [and their souls in Hades].  Such a resurrection we see in close connection with the [millennial] kingdom of Christ, and the time of reward: Rev. 11: 15-18; 20: 4.  The kingdom of Messiah, or that of the ‘thousand years’, is entered by the door of “the first resurrection”.  All who partake of that are blessed and holy; kings and priests of God and of Christ.  So also the Saviour speaks of a resurrection in which the sons of God alone would attain, and of which God must account the partakers worthy: Luke 20: 34-36.

 

Behold then the new hope, which the knowledge of Jesus as the Messiah set before the eyes of the enlightened apostle!  The Anointed One is to have companions in the [coming millennial] glory: Heb. 1: 9; 3: 14.  Paul’s being already righteous by faith in the Lord’s Anointed, entitled him to be a runner for the prize.  None can be admitted as a candidate for reward, but he who is already accepted by grace in the Beloved.  But faith had brought Paul to the starting-post, and thenceforward his life was to be a pressing on for the crown.

 

ROBERT GOVETT

 

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128. THE CINEMA

 

As Mr. G. A. Atkinson, one of the most reliable British film critics, declares:- “Talking pictures have stripped women, not only of clothing, but of morals, decency, truth, fidelity, and every civilized quality or virtue.  Women, according to the film producer, represent nothing but the most primitive and elemental aspects of sex.  Behind the whole of current film production there is a terrific assumption that what appeals to women is the spectacle of the lowest type of woman snaring the lowest type of man.  The truth about the ‘talkies’ is that they are produced in a non-moral atmosphere which is, in the strictest and most literal sense, diabolical.  The devil is in full, spiritual control of modern film production.  Nearly all the energies of this terrific engine of propaganda are devoted to anti-Christian ends

 

“What strikes me about such films,” says Professor Percy Dearmer, D. D., “as I have seen in their hideous and profound vulgarity: human nature is made loathsome and degraded.  The silly part of the audience titters; they have come to be amused; they do not discriminate; and they go out with their sense of the value of human nature lowered each time.  Such humanity as these films depict would not be worth saving, could have no future, might as well be destroyed as the failure of Creation, the only quite ignoble thing alive on the earth

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

129. THE FIRST RESURRECTION

 

Paul assures us (Phil. 3: 11) that he was seeking with all his spiritual energy to “attain unto the out-resurrection out of the dead” (lit.)  That is, he says there is an elect resurrection from among the dead to which – though he had “obtained mercy,” had been counted faithful, and had been put into the ministry (1 Tim. 1: 12, 13); though he had received a special and unusual call from God (Gal. 1: 15, 16); though in his ministry he had endured unparalleled trials (2 Cor. 11: 23-33); though he had been given divine revelations beyond the ordinary (2 Cor. 12: 1-5); though his possession of divine gifts surpassed that of any in the church (1 Cor. 14: 18, 37) – he yet was pressing toward that he might “attain”.  If Paul thus earnestly counted this “resurrection” a goal to be attained, the Christian, whose eyes are earthward, like the man with the muckrake of whom Bunyan speaks, can surely not be considered as a possible winner of such a prize.

 

THE ALLIANCE WEEKLY

 

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130. BE STRONG AND DO (1 Chron. 28: 10)

 

Be strong and do: to weakness comes the message;

The mighty God is able to perform:

Out of our weakness He His strength providing

Shall make us able to withstand the storm.

 

Be strong and do: the Living God can furnish

In barren wastes the table of His Bread;

And though the hanging clouds of dark depression

About us poise, our Saviour is not dead!

 

Be strong and do: around us in His presence;

No bidden duty from our Risen Lord

Can be beyond our strength – if He provide it;

And we may draw upon His hidden hoard.

 

Be strong and do: yea, with a Hallelujah,

His gift of victory is ours to-day;

“Until He come,” in His own glad assurance,

We too shall conquer all along the way.

 

H. H. BROWNLOW.

 

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131. DECISION

 

I was brought up in a Presbyterian home, and under the ministry of Dr. Henry Montgomery, and I never knew a day when I was not anxious about my soul;* but I was kept in the delusion of the devil, that somehow, somewhere, when I liked, I could be saved;* and I continued in by sin and in my wandering, feeling that when I felt right, God must be at my beck and call.  One Monday morning, sitting at my mother’s fireside, between half-past eight and a quarter to nine, cigarette in my mouth, the Lord struck me a blow that was a death knell to all my delusion.  The Word of the Lord came to me as clearly as if He had uttered it in a human voice – the words of Genesis 6: 3: “And the Lord said, My spirit* shall not always strive with man  I knew I was up against my destiny that morning; as if God had said to me, “Now or never  I believe that when the books are opened yonder I shall find that May 22, 1899, is a day when I would have crossed the boundary line between God’s patience and God’s wrath if I had rejected Jesus; but thank God I accepted Him as my Saviour.

 

W. P. NICHOLSON, the Australian Evangelist.

 

[* FOOTNOTE ON DEEPER TRUTHS FOR REGENERATE BELIEVERS.

 

If the salvation of the soul, has to do with “the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time;” a ‘salvation’ which Peter describes as the “goal of your faith” (1 Pet. 1: 5, 9); and because the “gates of Hades,” at present (i.e., before the resurrection of the dead and the return of our Lord at the end of the Great Tribulation, 1 Thess. 4: 16) “prove stronger than” (N.I.V. margin) Christ’s Church (Matt. 16: 18): and if God’s “spirit,” has reference to the redeemed having “a different spirit,” (as mentioned in Num 14: 24), then the salvation of the ‘spirit,’ “on the DAY of the Lord” (1 Cor. 5: 5), must refer to the realization (by sexually immoral and “wicked” believers), of the loss of their inheritance in “the kingdom of God” (6: 9).]

 

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132. CHRISTIANS

 

It is a bad world, Donatus, an incredibly bad world.  But I have discovered, in the midst of it, a quiet and holy people who have learned a great secret.  They have found a joy which is a thousand times better than any of the pleasures of our sinful life.  They are despised and persecuted, but they care not.  They are masters of their souls.  They have overcome the world.  These people, Donatus, are Christians – and I am one of them.

 

CYPRIAN, Bishop of Carthage in the third century.

 

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133. CONFESSION

 

The Apostle lays down (Rom. 10: 9), as an abiding principle, God’s double method of salvation.  “For with the heart man believeth into righteousness” – unto the obtaining of the imputed righteousness, and also unto the practice of active righteousness; “and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” – unto the obtaining of the only salvation which God gives and which God recognizes.  The heart and the mouth are the fountain and the river; the light and its rays; the root and the flower; the fire and the flame.  Faith and confession are the two hands that seize the salvation of God.

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

134. GOLD ON THE FOUNDATION

 

Everyone who has “obtained a like precious faith with us in the Righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 1: 1) is an heir of salvation and is on the FOUNDATION which is Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 3: 11).  But upon this foundation every [regenerate] believer is raising a SUPERSTRUCTURE.  While all on the foundation are guaranteed eternal life as a present possession: for “He that believeth hath everlasting life” (John 6: 47), nevertheless the superstructure reared upon that becomes to the child of God a thing of intense importance.

 

A committee of the Standard Oil Company met to secure a manager for new business to be developed in China.  The Chairman insisted that the manager must have four qualifications: he must be under 30 years of age; he must be thoroughly trained; he must have proved generalship; and must be able to speak Chinese.  It appeared that the meeting would fail of its object.  But finally a young man arose and declared he knew one man who could meet all requirements: that he was now in China, living in the very city where the company was planning to establish headquarters.  He was 28 years old, had degrees from three colleges, and could speak the language, and had full confidence of the people, among whom he was widely known.  The young man was asked how much salary his friend was getting, and startled the committee by answering, “One hundred and twenty pounds a year  The Chairman said, “There is something wrong  The young man’s friend replied, “There is: but the wrong is with the system that employs him.  He works for a Mission Board  After further questioning the Chairman said to the committee man, “You go to China and offer him the place  He was to offer £2,000 a year.  If that failed he was to offer up to £3,000.  He crossed to China and found his friend and made the offers.  The young Missionary declined all.  “It is not a question of salary: that is magnificent.  The trouble is with the job.  The job is too little.  I should be a fool to quit winning souls to sell oil  That is putting gold into the superstructure.

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

135. THE VALUE OF TIME

 

General Mitchell, the great astronomer, said to an officer who apologized for being only a few minutes behind time:-  “Sir, I have been in the habit of calculating the tenth of a minute  Men who have accomplished great things have learned the value of time.  Large results can often be achieved in a little while.  Dr. Cuyler says:-  “The atonement for a world of perishing sinners was accomplished between the sixth hour and the ninth hour of darkened Calvary.  That flash of Divine power from the Holy Spirit which struck Saul of Tarsus to the ground was the work of an instant, but the great light of the converted Paul has blazed over the world for centuries.  A half-hour’s faithful preaching of Jesus Christ by an itinerant Methodist exhorter at Colchester brought the young man Spurgeon to a decision for his Lord, and launched the mightiest ministry of modern times  In the United States mint they coin eagles out of the sweepings of the gold dust from the floor.  We ought to have so much to do that we could not afford to lose a minute.  Is not every minute of life as precious as the dying moments?  In a moment a decision may be formed that will fix a destiny.  Therefore let us be faithful in toil, for the night cometh when no man can work.

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

I36. OVERCOMERS

 

The harvest is composed of those for whom Christ has overcome, the firstfruits are those in whom and through whom He has overcome, as well as having overcome in them.

 

The Apostle Paul had no doubt about his place in the main body, for his testimony is clear, “I know Whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day” (2 Tim. 1: 12).  When, however, he was writing to the Philippians (3.) he told them that there was one thing he was seeking above all else, “the prize of the upward calling of God in Christ Jesus,” that he might by any means attain to the out-resurrection from among the dead.  He was sure of having a place in the general harvest, but not sure, as yet, of being one of the firstfruits as an overcomer.

 

If Peter, James, John, and Andrew needed the warnings given them by our Lord to “Take heed” to “watch and pray” (Mark 13: 3, 5, 9, 23, 33) and “be ye also ready” (Matt. 24: 44), it is clear that something more is wanted of us than faith in Christ for salvation if we would be ripe enough for the firstfruits.  The teaching that everyone who believes is ready for the coming of the Lord is a deadly narcotic.  No wonder the Church is asleep!

 

If, on the other hand, we see that, being saved, there is yet a prize to be won which is worth the counting of all else as refuse, then we find in it a powerful stimulant to a holy and victorious life in union with our coming Lord.

 

A CHAMPION.

 

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137. OBEDIENCE

 

Years ago a lady came into my office dressed in Salvation Army costume.  She had one of those faces that are lit up with the glory from the inside.  After we had finished the legal business, I said to her, “Now tell be how you were saved  She said:- “It’s a sad story.  I was brought up by a father who was given to drinking.  I used to sit by his side while he drank his spirits, and he would open my little mouth abd dipping a tiny piece of sugar in the spirit would put it in my mouth.  Before I was of age I was a hopeless drunkard, I lived upon the streets in shame, and I do not suppose there could have been a more wretched creature on God’s earth.  I had delirium tremens; until some dear sister in Christ pointed me to the Saviour.  I came to Him and He delivered me.”  She added, “It is like a horrible nightmare from which I have awakened.  I can hardly believe that I am the same person.”  So I said to her:- “You must have had a terribly corrupt mind after that life of shame; tell be, will you, how you were delivered from it all after you were reconciled to God  She replied, “I will tell you in a word  I shall never forget how she said that word – “prompt obedience.  God gave me light, and I walked in it and I was freed

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

138. THE SWORD

 

Spanish priests have been widely massacred.  But if Christians share in politics and civil strife, and even in civil war, they must bear the consequences.  The Roman Catholic Universe (Aug. 7, 1936) says:-  “Dr. Montessori, the famous educationist, who has just reached London from Barcelona, said in an interview: ‘The priests have taken an active part in the fighting, and I believe most of the danger to the churches was caused by stocks of ammunition left inside by them.’”  Therefore to every disciple everywhere our Lord days:- “Put up again thy sword into its place; for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword” (Matt. 26: 52).

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

139. RAPTURE

 

No bodily change is needed for existence among clouds (Ps. 18: 9, 11, 16), or above them, as aeroplanes prove; nor shall we mount up (like eagles) by our own changed powers, but are ‘reaped’ by angels; as was our Lord (Luke 24: 51), the first sheaf.  “We shall all be changed” occurs only “at the last trump” (1 Cor. 15: 51).  Even at very great heights the temperature (at all events) is not prohibitive.  “It was long thought,” says Professor Sydney Chapman, F.R.S., “that the upward decrease of temperature continued to the top of the atmosphere, but in the early years of the present century this was found to be untrue.  The decrease usually ceases rather suddenly, at a height which over England or France is about seven miles

 

*       *       *      *       *       *       *

 

140. WATCHING

 

Some readers are puzzled by Mr. G. H. Lang’s deviations from the DAWN in details concerning rapture and resurrection in the July issue.  Our own understanding of Scripture remains what it was; but it is our master-aim, as it is Mr. Lang’s, that watchfulness as the preliminary of rapture should be pressed, urgently and from all angles, on the Church of God.  This granted, deviation in detail can be maintained both with conviction and with grace.

 

D. M. PANTON.

 

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141. NO BURDEN UNBEARABLE

 

In the days of the Inquisition, one of the Christians was confined to a cell in a dungeon, and told that unless he would recant he would be burned at the stake the following day. Left alone in his cell, his mind was in a turmoil.  Walking the floor, with one breath he would exclaim, “I can’t burn, I can’t burn, I can never burn,” and with the next breath he would exclaim, “But I can’t deny my Lord  After a time he said, “I will see if I can bear the burning,” and moving the candle on the table he held his finger in the flame until it was burned to a crisp.  In agony he cried out, “Oh, I can’t burn!” and then, “But I can’t deny my Lord  Finally, exhausted, he sank on his cot, and sleep came, but while he slept God wrought marvellously in his spirit.  When he awoke the sun was beaming through the prison bars.  He heard the feet of the approaching soldiers as they came to take him to his execution.  Rising, he again walked the floor of his cell, shouting, “I can burn, I can burn!  By the grace of God, I can burn!” and he went to the faggots with a hymn of praise in his lips.

 

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142. PRECIOUS FAITH

 

Christ often takes the crown off His own head and puts it upon the head of Faith, as in such passages as these:- ‘Thy faith hath saved thee,’ ‘Thy faith hath made thee whole,’ ‘If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth  And no wonder Christ can crown faith, for faith speedily puts the crown back again on the head of Christ the King.  Faith will pick an argument out of a repulse, and turn discouragements into encouragements.  Reason, human reason, is faith’s great enemy.  It will never be well with thee whilst thou dost allow reason to be ever crossing, ever contradicting Faith; while you rely more on the evidence given by your five senses than that given by the joint evangelists.  As the body lives by breathing, so the soul lives by believing.

 

THOMAS BROOKS.

 

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143. BAPTISM

 

Of all revealed truths, not one is more clearly revealed in the Scriptures [than the immersion of believers] – not even the doctrine of justification by faith; and the subject has only become obscured by men not having been willing to take the Scriptures alone to decide the point.

 

GEORGE MULLER.

 

Christian life properly began with baptism, for baptism was the convert’s confession before men, the soldier’s oath which enlisted him in the service of Christ.  The rite was very simple, as described by Justin in the second century.  After more or less instruction, the candidate declared ‘his belief in our teachings, and his willingness to live accordingly  He was then taken to a place ‘where there was water’.  Here he made his formal confession, and there he was baptized by immersion in the name of the Trinity.  After this he was taken to the meeting and received by the brethren.  We have decisive evidence that infant baptism is no direct institution either of the Lord Himself or of His apostles.  There is no trace of it in the New Testament.  Immersion was the rule.

 

H. M. GWATKIN, Professor of Ecclesiastical History, Cambridge, Early Church History, vol. 1., pp. 246-250.

 

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144. RITUAL

 

Scripture knows nothing of rituals which precede the new, regenerated life which alone Scripture rituals symbolize.  “I recall an afternoon in a lecture-room at Berlin University,” says Dr. J. H. Rushbrooke, “where years ago I listened to that most brilliant of teachers, Professor Harnack.  He was speaking of the mediaeval custom of celebrating a children’s eucharist.  The Reformers, he said, made short work of this, merely by asking:-  ‘What possible value can a rite possess, apart from intelligence and personal faith?’  And he added the searching question (which he left unanswered) – ‘Gentlemen, if they had faced the same problem as to infant baptism, what would have been the effect on the standards of the Church to-day?’”

 

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145. CRUSADES

 

The ‘saints’ whom the Papacy executes at the end (Rev. 17: 6) – as distinct from ‘the martyrs of Jesus,’ obviously Christians – appear to be devout Jews slain in the coming anti-Semitic fury of the Vatican.  It is deeply significant that the Crusades, organized by Rome, are the fountains of to-day’s Jew-hate.  “The effects of the Crusades upon the Jew,” says the Times Literary Supplement (June 13, 1936), “are discernible even to-day.  They influenced his political position, his geographical distribution, his economic activity, his forms of literary expression, even his spiritual life.  It may be added that, in almost every direction, the influence was for the bad.  Take any realistic description of the position of world Jewry down to the close of the last century; take any indictment drawn up by an anti-Semite even in our own times; take any contemporary analysis of the weakness of the Jewish position or the alleged shortcomings of the Jewish character; and in almost every instance it will be possible to trace the origin, if not actually to the Crusades, to the passions which they set in motion

 

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146. VIOLENCE

 

As it came to pass in the days of Noah, even so shall it be also in the days of the Son of Man (Luke 17: 26).

 

THE EARTH IS FILLED WITH VIOLENCE, AND BEHOLD, I WILL DESTROY THEM (Gen. 6: 11).

 

With 1911 began a philosophy of violence which has penetrated and corroded every sphere of human activity – the arts, literature, and music, no less than the specifically political and economic, or the ethic of individual or collective conduct.  The War and the post-War developments strengthened and provided richly fertile fields for their philosophy of violence.  However different may be the form of expression that Bolshevism, Fascism, or Nazi-ism has taken, they are in their root principles identical – that ends justify means, that force gives a title to right; that power is the supreme and justifying end of the national State; that the criterion of national morality is ‘national interest’ and not the worn-out superstitions of a rancid nineteenth-century Liberalism – law, justice, and righteousness; that morals for the national State are different in kind from those obligatory on the individual citizen; and that the State of power (Machtstaat) has a right through its force to control the souls, minds, and bodies of every member of that State, and concentrate the sum of this control on the achievement of national interests.  Covenants, pacts, treaties cannot stand in the way of national power, for steel is not only stronger than paper, or oaths or pledges, but gives a superior title.

 

This philosophy of violence has spread over the whole world, and its danger and power are not simply in its political or economic expression, but in the subtle, subversive, and concurrent effect on tens of millions of individuals and on every form of activity – spiritual, intellectual, imaginative, and moral.  Applied science, particularly through the cinema and the wireless, has given it an inexhaustible field and a mass-conversion instrument, in operation day and night, and, above all, in the home.

 

SIR CHARLES GRANT ROBERTSON, The Times, Sept. 19, 1935.

 

The possibilities of the future far exceed the violence which compelled the destruction of humanity bt the Flood.  A single aeroplane (says a germ-war expert, Mr. J. J. de Barry) could carry sufficient botulinus toxin to destroy the entire population of the world.

 

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147. THE MISTAKE OF MOST COMMENTATORS

 

… He [the apostle Paul] does not, in these words, tell us that he feared the being cast into hell.  God’s predestination of him as a believer, was his security against that.  And in confidence of this, he flings down the gauntlet to the universe as unable to remove him from the love of Christ: Rom. 8.  There, he was treating of the grace of God flowing forth from eternity.  Here, he is discovering to us the influence of his own actions upon the future recompense of God, distributed on the principle of justice.  It is not now the question of justification by faith to the ungodly; but reward or loss in Messiah’s kingdom to the saints.  He might, though finally saved, yet be judged unworthy of a lot in the first resurrection.  Or, though a place in that were granted, he might be accounted undeserving of a crown.

 

Here lies the mistake of most commentators.  It is assumed, that there is no difference between reward and a bare salvation.  It is taken for granted that “the crown” is only a figurative expression for simple salvation.  It is supposed that “eternal life” and the “kingdom of God” are the same thing.  Thus Barnes, on this passage says, “The doctrine here taught is, of necessity of making an effort to secure eternal life.  The apostle never thought of entering heaven by indolence or by inactivity.  He urged by every possible argument the necessity of making an exertion to secure the rewards of the just.” (1) “The work of salvation is difficult  (2) “The danger of losing the crown of glory is great.  Every moment exposes it to hazard, for at any moment we may die.  (3) The danger is not only great, but it is dreadful.  If anything should arouse man, it should be the apprehension of eternal damnation and everlasting wrath

 

On such assumptions, passages like the above present very great, or, we may say, insuperable difficulties to the Christian reader.  Not that even insuperable difficulty is sufficient reason for our rejecting a doctrine made known by the testimony of God.  But a view of the difference between eternal life and the kingdom of God disentangles the matter.  The two portions of bliss are set on quite different grounds.  Eternal life is the testimony chiefly to those without.  The kingdom of Messiah in the dispensation of the fulness of times, is the prize offered to the believer.*

 

* His “lest that by any means,” of fear, answers to his “if my any means,” of desire in Phil. 3.  The object of hope is before him in the last, the object of fear in the present case.  Both refer to the future [millennial] kingdom.

 

ROBERT GOVETT.  (From: The Race and the Crown.)

 

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148. ENDANGERED LOVE

 

“Because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold” (Matt. 24: 12).  The waning of love; the dying out of the fire of holy passion for the Lord Himself and for those for whom He gave His life; the loss of that holy enthusiasm in his service and devotion – not that fleshly enthusiasm that shouts and rejoices when the crowd is coming, or works zealously when the brass band is playing and the grandstand is filled with admirers – no! no! but that enthusiasm that works with a quiet, untiring, unassuming earnestness and steadiness when it must plod on alone unheard and unnoticed except by the Lord – that enthusiasm that is born not out of outward encouragement, nor the applause of men, nor by what men call success, nor by the unholy desire for praise, but that which is born or an inward urge implanted by the Holy Ghost, the overflow of the passion of Christ; the waning of this love, said Jesus, will be one of the ear-marks of the end-time.

 

The other characteristics of the last days are easily noticeable, but this loss of love is far more subtle and less easily detected.  We may be thoroughly orthodox and have a contempt for heresy and heterodoxy and yet be guilty of a loveless heart.  The other features have to do largely with the world and apostate Christendom, but this one has to do with the saints of God.  This is the blighting sin which our Lord so strongly condemned in the Ephesian Church in Revelation 2: 4.  This is that sin for which our Lord threatened to “remove the candlestick out of his place  “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love” was His condemnation.  “Thou art fallen” was His solemn charge.  So important was the possession of this love Divine in its fervent glow that Paul by inspiration said, “If I have not love, I am nothing

 

The waning of this love, said our Lord, would characterize the end-time.  And why?  “Because iniquity shall abound  So profuse will be the growth of evil, so completely will the spirit of evil pervade every realm of human activity and relationship, and so subtle will be the injection of evil into the realm of righteousness, that many of God’s saints will become infected with this spirit of evil, and subtle and gradual compromise will result in the “waxing cold” of the love of the heart of Christ.  This condition is self-evident do-day.  There has been such a subtle satanic admixture of religion, secularism, worldliness, and sensualism in the realm of religion, business, commerce, stage and screen, that many a dear Christian has become entrapped and the strength of love is being sapped from the heart and life.  Even in the realm of orthodoxy too often a carnal contention for the faith has taken the place of a passionate personal passion for Christ and His truth.  A cold orthodoxy can contend eloquently for the faith.  But it is a heart passionately in love with Christ that loves souls into His kingdom.  To “contend for the faith” is a God-given command not to be disobeyed.  But to “hold forth the form of sound words in faith and LOVE” is its counterpart and complement.

 

Look about you and analyze carefully the spiritual condition today and you stand face to face with this sad ear-mark of the end of this age.  “The love of many shall wax cold” is sadly true too generally.  How often have I had to bow my head in shame and confess that my love was waning!  Let us ask God for a keen spiritual discernment that will enable us to understand and detect the slightest waning of His love in our hearts.  Let us wait upon Him repeatedly for a fresh infilling of the Holy Ghost until “the fruit of the Spirit – love” will burn and blaze in all its holy passion in our hearts.

 

E. S. GERIG.

 

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149. SIN’S VENOM

 

A keeper in the Zoological Gardens in 1852 – a man named Gurling – drank somewhat freely, returned later to the Snake House, took a Morocco venom-snake, and twisted it round his neck.  The assistant keeper, horrified, cried, - “For God’s sake, put it back  But the man only replied, - “I am inspired  Then he took out a Cobra; warmed it in his bosom; and then held it for an instant opposite his eyes.  Like lightning the serpent struck between the eyes.  The blood streamed.  When help arrived, Gurling was seated on a chair.  He said:- “I am a dead man  First his speech failed; then his sight; then his hearing: and in an hour he was a corpse.  Behold the sinner!  “He that believeth not” – he who averts his eyes from the Serpent of Brass – “is CONDEMNED ALREADY” (John 3: 18) – he is, as he walkes, death-doomed.

 

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150. THE ANTIDOTE

 

Some time ago a man from south of Morocco went to one of the missionaries to inquire the way of salvation, as he knew he had not long to live.  To help him the missionaries used what is called the Wordless Book, the first page of which is black, representing sin, the second page scarlet, representing the blood of Christ, the third page white, indicative of the cleansed conscience, and the fourth page gold, representing the glory of Heaven.  This man became truly converted, and as he lay dying, his wife, an unconverted Mohammedan, went to his bedside, and realizing that he had not long to live, told him to call upon Mohammed.  The man, however, refused, saying his trust was in the Lord Jesus Christ.  “Well, take that little book the missionaries gave you,” said his wife, “and lay your head on the white page while you die, and tell God that your life has been as clean as that white page, and perhaps He will accept you for heaven  But her husband said: “No, I will not do that, for it would not be true.  Open the scarlet page, and let my head rest on that  So the man died with his head resting on the symbol of the blood of Christ.

 

THE SUNDAY SCHOOL TIMES, Philadelphia.

 

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151. THE DENIAL

 

There is not a leading theologian to-day who does not assert that what we pass on  - the Apocalyptic judgments to fall on both Church and world – never came from God at all: it is pronounced, as the Prophets of Jeremiah’s day pronounced his forecasts, a monstrous theology. …

 

Nothing tests like the truth; it touches us on the raw; and then one of two things happens – either we get rid of the sin, or else we get rid of the truth.  “When Jehudi had read three or four leaves, the King [Jehoiakim] cut it with the penknife, and cast it into the fire that was in the brazier, until all the roll was consumed”  Countless millions do this intellectually.  A leading religious journal (Christian World, May 14, 1936) says:- “The ‘Advent’ view of prophecy is entirely discredited.  The people who tell you that ‘God will show His terrible judgments and that there will be a fearful cataclysm’ are at the mercy of an obsolete conception of what history is.  The cataclysmic view of history has long since been abandoned.  For the most part prophecy was not fulfilled and cannot now be fulfilled.  Prophecy has proved to be an illusion  Thus the whole of the prophecies, foretelling the judgments coming upon both Church and world, are cast bodily into the burning brazier.

 

D. M. PANTON.  (From Judgment Prophecies)

 

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152. THE TESTIMONY OF THE SCRIPTURES

 

All true faith rests on the testimony of the apostles, whose word Jesus thus countersigns, as thoroughly to be accepted.  The word id His.  It is not only their attestation to the facts of the Lord Jesus’s life, but also the deductions therefrom in the way of doctrine and command.  And all we know now of apostles’ teaching or of inspired disciples, is found written.  The [Old and] New Testament[s] alone is [are] the true foundation of faith.  Hence where the Scriptures are taken away, true faith is not found.  Faith, if true, does not rest on the word of man, but of God.  Faith in God’s word delivered by inspired men is faith in God.

 

ROBERT GOVETT.

 

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153. THE CHURCH’S DANGER

 

It is a sore temptation of God’s people throughout the ages to absorb the sweets of revelation while they eschew the bitters.  There is a dangerous parallel today.  The Spiritual temple [i.e., the Church, (1 Cor. 3: 16)] more wonderful even than the Temple of old, is the marvel of the world; its privileges reach up to Heaven: nevertheless sin in the people of God is the same as all other sin; and our peril of the Great Tribulation, and our certainty of a coming Judgment Seat, God explicitly states.  But this danger is denied by the two conceptions that cover nearly all contemporary Christian thought.  Either (1) the Spiritual Temple is to dominate all nations by the conversion of the world; or else (2) the Spiritual Temple is to be removed, every stone of it, into sudden glory: in either case, disaster may overtake Egypt, or Assyria, or Babylon, but God’s Temple – never.  It is exactly so that Hananiah speaks: he claims that this happy forecast is God’s word; and he spoke unchallenged, for the whole people of God. … Nevertheless Jeremiah reaffirms judgment on sin as the universal testimony of God’s prophets, and warns that privilege which wipes out judgment will prove a mirage. …

 

The Church would be a holier church if it realized its danger.  It is no imagination even of an apostle, but an inspired portrait (Rev. 1: 4), that when our Lord appears to His Churches in order to examine their works – “I know thy works” – He confronts them – all His Churches, without any exception – with eyes of fire and feet of burning brass; and it is to the Church of God that these words are addressed – “The Lord shall judge his people.  It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb. 10: 30).

 

D. M. PANTIN.  (From, The Church’s Danger.)

 

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154. JUDGMENT INEVITABLE

 

Strange as it may appear, the very imperfection in the execution of justice seems to be the strongest possible proof that, in the next world, vengeance will be fulfilled to the utmost.  For observe, if we found that every man in this life received just what he deserved, and every evil work always brought swift punishment along with it, what should we naturally conclude?  There is no future punishment in store: I see nothing wanting; every man has already received the due reward of his works; everything is already complete, and, therefore, there is nothing to be done in the next world.  Or if, on the other hand, there were no punishment visited upon sin at all in the world, we might be inclined to say, “Trush, God hath forgotten;” He never interferes among us; we have no proof of His hatred of sin, or of His determination to punish it; He has gone away far from us, and has left us to follow our own wills and imaginations .  So that if sentence were either perfectly executed upon earth, or not executed at all, we might have some reason for saying that there is a chance of none in a future world.  But now it is imperfectly executed; just so much done, as to say, “You are watched – my eye is upon you; I neither slumber nor sleep; and my vengeance slumbereth not  And yet there is so little done, that a man has to look into eternity for the accomplishment.

 

WOLFE.

 

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155. GO YE THEREFORE

 

Since the world is dead to sin,

go ye therefore;

 

Since the Cross has power to win,

go ye therefore;

 

Since the Devil and his host

madly vaunt and ever boast,

warring to the farthest coast,

go ye therefore.

 

Timeless issues end its strife;

go ye therefore.

 

Men are passing, early, late,

passing to eternal fate,

and the season will not wait;

go ye therefore.

 

Christ has come, the crucified;

go ye therefore.

 

To the souls for whom He died

go ye therefore.

 

All His words, His toil, His pain,

once are given – not again;

let them not be given in vain;

go ye therefore.

 

Yours the power to do the work;

go ye therefore.

 

Yours the order, do not shrink;

go ye therefore.

 

Christ your Comrade goes with you,

ever able, ever true;

He will see the journey through;

go ye therefore.

 

Yours will be the high reward’

go ye therefore.

 

Yours the “well done” of the Lord;

go ye therefore.

 

Yours the blessed, sweet renown

of the jewels in your crown,

yours the home in Glory Town;

go ye therefore.  GO!

 

AMOS R. WELLS.

 

-------

 

Who are excused from going? 

 

Those who believe that the world is not lost and does not need a Saviour.

 

Those who believe that Jesus Christ made a mistake when He said, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature

 

Those who believe that the Gospel is not the power of God, and cannot save the heathen.

 

Those who wish that missionaries had never come to our ancestors, and that we ourselves were still heathen.

 

Those who believe that it is “every man for himself”, in this world, and who, with Cain, ask, “Am I my brother’s keeper

Those who want no share in the final victory of Christ.

 

Those who believe they are not accountable to God for the money entrusted to them.

 

Those who are prepared to accept the final sentence: “Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me

 

HORACE BUSHNELL.

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

156. THE CHILDREN OF GOD

 

If we be children of God, then, as earthly sons inherit the property of their fathers, so shall we the possessions of our Heavenly Father.  “If childrem, then heirs  But the next words intimate two heritages, one possessed by all; the other, by some alone.  All are heirs of God, but not all joint heirs with Christ.  For a condition is inserted which is not fulfilled in all.  Not all suffer with Christ.  Many die as soon as they believe.  Many will not surrender what, as they see, their duty to him requires.  And Paul in another place speaks of “fellowship” with Christ in “his sufferings,” and even “being made like him in his death, if by any means I might attain to the resurrection from among the deadPhil. 3: 10, 11.  So again, “I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the Beast, neither his image … and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand yearsRev. 20: 4.

 

Joint suffering is to be recompensed with joint glorification, and joint reigning.  As saith another passage, “If we be dead with him, we shall also live with him.  If we suffer with him, we shall also reign with him2 Tim. 2: 12.

 

But a little further on in the chapter we are now considering, glorification is spoken of as the portion of all the predestined sons of God.  “For whom he did foreknow, he did also predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first-born among many brethren.  Moreover whom he did predestinated, them also he called; and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified

 

As, then, there is a glorification destined for all the elect, and a glorification for some, under a condition not fulfilled in all, it is evident that there are two times of glorification.  There is (1) the millennial glory, or the time of glorification with Jesus as the Christ: Rev. 20: 4.  (2) There is also the eternal glorification after this, designed for all the elect members of Christ.

 

May we take heed to these things, beloved!

 

ROBERT GOVETT (On Rom. 8: 16, 17.)

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

157. THE SHOCK OF PROPHECY

 

The voice which urges men to flee from the wrath to come is the voice of Love.  On the Cairngorm Hills in 1917 two climbers nearly perished.  With bleeding fingers they dug themselves out of the hut in which they had sheltered, and staggered silently through wreaths of snow that sometimes were breast deep.  They succeeded in advancing two miles in three hours.  “Then my companion,” one of them writes, “seized my arm and said, hoarsely, and thickly, like a drunken man, ‘What about a snooze? I’m done  The temptation was terrible, for rest seemed like heaven; but it was Death himself who stood near, and I felt his wings.  I struggled with my friend, but he lay down in spite of me.  There was only one thing to do, and I did it.  I struck him on the face with my iron-shod boot  That blow produced its designed effect: they staggered at last into the warmth of the nearest cottage.  God sometimes smites us sorely on the face, to rouse us from the sleep of death.

 

ALEXANDER STEWART, D.D.

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

158. THE HEAVENLY VISION

 

If I had not been disobedient to my heavenly vision all these years ago I should perhaps have less heaviness of spirit to-day, although God had indeed been gracious to me.  I am making a slow pilgrimage to the grave, passing many hours in silence and solitude, thinking of the days that are gone and what might have been if - -.  I put the question to myself over and over again, would I not have been a better and happier man as well as a more faithful servant if I had not failed my Master as I did so shamefully, so inexcusably?  And yet, no sooner do I say so to myself than I begin to realize, not for the first time by many, that goodness and mercy have followed me all the days of my life.  God has spared me the worst of my might-have-beens; for you know as well as I how near my earthly day came to ending in the blackest of black nights had not the Most High restrained me and the hand of my Saviour plucked me from the verge of perdition.  I remember it well; it seems but yesterday.  Thank God, O I do fervently thank God, for what I have been saved from, though the going has been hard ever since the day of my fall from grace.  Perhaps I do ill to dwell in any degree amid the shadows of the past.  Rather ought I to rejoice that they are lifting from my soul forever.

 

FROM AN ACTUAL LETTER.

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

159. THE LIFE

 

The story is told of a Christian teacher in a government school in the Orient.  He was employed with the understanding that during school hours he should not utter a word on the subject of Christianity.  This contract was faithfully kept.  He lived before his students the Christ life, but never was a word spoken to them about Jesus.  So blameless was his example, so spotless was his character, so Christ-like was his spirit shown before these students that without his knowledge forty of the students met in a grove and signed a covenant to abandon idolatry.

 

THE WATCHMAN-EXAMINER

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

160. WEALTH

 

One of England’s richest men is practically unknown.  He is Mr. Joseph Lank, eighty-one years old, owner of the biggest flour mills in Great Britain.  He owns over £20,000,000 and might be much richer if he did not give money away by the million.  He is a devout Christian, and has built mission churches in many industrial towns and in the East End of London.  His gifts to the Methodist Church tatal something like £1,000,000.  The guiding principle of his life, he once told his closest intimate, is prayer.  “If I take anything to prayer, I always succeed

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

161. PRAYER THAT PREVAILS

 

Seek entirely to depend on God for everything.  Put yourself and your work into His hands.  When thinking of any new undertaking, ask, “Is it agreeable to the mind of God?  Is it for His glory  If it is not for His glory, it is not for your good, and you must have nothing to do with it.  Mind that!  Having settled that a certain course is for the glory of God, begin it in His name, and continue it to the end.  Undertake it in prayer and faith, and never give up!  Pray, pray, pray!  Do not regard iniquity in your heart.  If you do, the Lord will not hear you.  Keep that before you always.  Then trust in God.  Depend only on God.  Wait on Him.  Believe on Him.  Expect great thing from Him.  Faint not if the blessing tarries.  Pray, pray, pray!  And, above all, rely only on the merits of our ever-adorable Lord and Saviour, that, according to His infinite merits, and not your own, the prayers you offer and the work you do will be accepted.

 

GEORGE MULLER.

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

162. THE VOICE OF THE REFORMERS

 

I must confess that no higher hopes, with a prospect of early fulfilment, can be discerned at the present time.  On the contrary, new signs of misfortune are visible in every direction as we look around us, so that the future seems to hold nothing except the complete downfall of the Church.  But one thought, none the less, uplifts my heart and gives me new courage.  I say to myself: Since God has begun this wonderful reformation of His Church, He never meant to awaken empty hopes, which would soon be swept away.  Far rather He will protect and establish the work He has begun, not only in defiance of Satan, but also in spite of the human malice which sets itself in opposition to His will.

 

JOHN CALVIN.

 

If I were to live a hundred years longer, and if by God’s grace I had subdued not only the former and present tempests and bands of foes, but also had strength to overcome all that should rise against us in the future – I see clearly, none the less, that no rest will be allowed to our posterity, because the devil lives and rules.  Therefore, I pray for a peaceful death, and desire to linger on earth no longer.  You, our descendants, must also pray with all your might, and be diligent in the business of God’s Word.  Keep alight the humble lamp of God.  Be armed and well equipped, like those who must expect that at any moment the devil will drive in a pane or a window of your house, break open the door or the roof, if only he may extinguish that light!  Therefore, watch and be sober.  He sleeps not and takes no rest, nor will he die until the last day.  I and thou must die, and when we are gone, he will remain just the same that he has always been, and he cannot cease his assaults.  May Christ, our dear Lord, Who has bruised the serpent’s head, come and deliver us at last from his attacks.  Amen.

 

MARTIN LUTHER.

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

163. THE ADVENT

 

Whoever neglects the Second Coming has only a mutilated Gospel, for the Bible teaches us not only the death and sufferings of Christ, but also His return to reign in honour and glory.  His Second Coming is mentioned and referred to over three hundred times, yet I was in the church fifteen or sixteen years before I ever heard a sermon on it.

 

D. L. MOODY.

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

164. WHAT I SAW IN JESUS

 

The first thing I saw in Jesus was a revelation of myself.  I saw that Jesus is the light, myself a sinner.  The works of darkness filled my heart; I did not know that I was so wicked until Jesus showed me myself.  After I saw His love and goodness I earnestly desired Him, but I could not have Him until I forsook my own will and the love of the world.

 

At the time of my birth my father and mother were in the Catholic religion.  I was also baptized in that faith and received the name Augustine.  When I grew up and saw their works I perceived that they had very many objects of worship, Jesus, Mary, Peter and many like them.  They do not give God’s Word to men.  And also, I was taught that one can give money to “the father”, who is able to grant him a period of time in which he may commit any sin he likes and he will pray for him.  A religion like that does not save one.  I forsook that forever.

 

After that I entered Mohammedanism and remained in it for seven years.  I saw in that also that one could commit any sin he liked, just as long as he was faithful in doing the salaams five times a day, facing East.  Why?  Because there is a stone in Mecca which is the big Mohammedan object of worship, and Mohammed’s grave.  They give one a charm called lisimoun, to put on for a protection.  When I heard the Word of Light and took account of my ways, I saw that we worshipped nothing less than Satan and idols, and burdened ourselves with much we could not carry.  Mohammedan teachers also say that we must not observe their works, but believe the word of the Koran only.  Why?  Because their works are evil.  There is no end to secret matters with them in such a religion of deception.  I forsook that forever.  It does not save one.

 

I saw truth and love in Jesus, which are not in any other road.  What is God’s will?  “And this is the will of my Father, that every one that beholdeth the Son, and believeth on him, should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6: 10).  I also saw that trouble and persecution were with Jesus on earth.  “Verily, verily, I say unto you, that ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy” (John 16: 20).

 

I saw another thing on the Jesus road which is not in any other road.  If a person says to you, “throw away your coat,” but does not give you a new one, will you not take the old one again?  But if he gives you a new one, you will have no use for the old one.  Praise the Lord because He gives His own a new spirit and helps him to conquer himself, Satan and the world, and enables him to walk with God.  Otherwise none of us could walk God’s road.  “But ye are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you.  But if any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his” (Rom. 8: 9)

 

JEAN KHITAN, in the Missionary Review of the World.

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

165. CATHOLICISM AND THE ADVENT

 

Dear Sir,

 

Having just returned from a tour through France and Switzerland, the following facts have come to my notice, showing how God is speaking by, and blessing, His Word.

 

Lectures are being given at the Sorbonne, Paris, by Professor Chasles, a Roman Catholic archaeologist; and the large hall is filled an hour before the time.  The Professor exhorts his audience to bring their Bibles, so as to verify his statements; and at the close he gives a summary of his lecture, with all the Scripture texts.  Some of these are before me as I write, and one sheet contains over 40 references to Scripture.  He speaks of the return of the Jews to Palestine as prophesied; of the return of Christ; and of His coming kingdom which is based on the gospel and on all the Bible, and is the principal key to the book.  Moreover, he states that the return of Christ is mentioned in the New Testament 318 times: the kingdom lost by Adam bust be re-established by Christ.  “All creation waits for it (Rom. 8: 19-22); Christ waits for it (Heb. 10: 12, 13); and we – do we wait for it? or are we among the workers: (Rom. 8: 23-25; Heb. 9: 28; Titus 2: 13; 2 Pet. 3: 3, 4)  Hundreds of Bibles have been sold by the Action Biblique.

 

It is not perhaps known that the new Catholic version, the Crampon, is a very good one, and often word for word like the Legond; only containing of course the Apocrypha, rejected by Jerome and the Jews.  The cost is 40 francs against the 10 francs of the British and Foreign Bible Society.

 

Another instance of God blessing His Word was told me.  A French gentleman of my acquaintance was travelling in an empty train in Lyons, and he saw to his surprise the collector take a book out of his pocket, and begin to read.  He approached him and saw that it was a marked New Testament.  On being interrogated as to how he had got it, he said:- “I received a gospel booklet, at the end of which it was stated that a Testament would be sent free to any one applying at a certain address in Nantes.  I applied and got this Testament, and am converted through reading it.”

 

I am, etc.

 

W. MARRIOTT.

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

166. AN ADVANT AT THE DOORS

 

“For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.  Therefore let us not sleep as do others; but let us watch and be sober  This watching takes for granted the suddenness and uncertainty of the Lord’s appearing.  Scripture does not say that the Lord must come in my day; but it says, the Lord may come in my day.  This ‘may come’ is the secret of a watching spirit.  Without it we cannot watch.  Our lamps are always to be trimmed.  Why?  Not merely because the Bridegroom is to come, but because we know not how soon He may come.  Our loins are always to be girt up.  Why?  Not simply because we know there is to be a coming, but because we know not when that event is to be.  I do not know how it will be with others, but I feel that when I can say the coming of the Lord draweth nigh, I have got a weapon in my hand of no common edge and temper.  To be able to announce that the Lord will come is much; but to be able to say without the reservation of an interval: The Lord is at hand, is greatly more.

 

HORATIO BONAR, D.D.

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

167. WATCHFULNESS

 

The abundant entrance is by Peter attached to the fruitful state: by our Lord to the watchful state: Matt. 24. & 25.  Both present the same thing from different points of view.  Peter is an example, both of the fall and of the entrance.  1.  He was one of the three chosen to behold the scene on the Mount of Transfiguration.  2.  He fell through unwatchfulness at the hall of Caiaphas.  His fall there, and subsequent forgiveness, and future admission to the kingdom, is a powerful antidote against despair for those believers who are conscious of having foully fallen.  It is intended so to be.  Still, the entrance at last is for those “counted worthy” of that age of glory and of the first resurrection: Luke 20: 35; 21: 26; 2 Thess. 1: 5; Rev. 3: 4, 11.

 

ROBERT GOVETT.

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

168. A FEARFUL PRACTICAL URGENCY

 

Let it be carefully pondered that this is no mere detail of a disputed prophecy, but a fearful practical urgency for us all; for all will agree that if rapture turns on fidelity, he who influences others to believe that escape is safe for an unsanctified life not only makes a most painful blunder for himself, but, in a moment of intense crisis, does a grave disservice to the whole church of God.

 

D. M. PANTON. (From, A Nearing Crisis in Heaven and Earth.)

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

169. BEWARE OF THE TEACHER OF A SMOOTH, EASY LIFE.

 

Paul, after affirming that “by the grace of God” he was what he was adds, “but I laboured more abundantly than they all” (1 Cor. 15: 10).  This is our absolute stand – grace does not make room for tolerating sin, nor for a lackadaisical kind of Christian life.  None may presume!  And one who practises those debarring things of Galatians 5. … God says “shall not inherit.”*  Anyone may teach an easier type of life than this if he will – but he himself shall give account for it to the Judge when he comes.  Beware of the teacher of a smooth, easy life – even under the guise of ‘the doctrines of grace’.  (How glibly and with lost reality, some use that phrase!)

 

* This shows where a Christian who falls into immorality, or other shame, ends up.  How many are stranded!

 

And we would also suggest that the Sermon on the Mount – Matthew 5. to 7. – be read afresh, to catch Christ’s high standard.  What about the ‘righteousness’ He will require, the forgiveness, the purity?  Surely there is a need for constant display of Divine love, avoiding the lamentable so-called ‘Fundamentalist bitterness’.  Or, His word about, “Lay not up treasures on earth  His standards are absolutely the mould of those of Paul, and his writings affirm that only such “see God”, “inherit the Kingdom” (Dan. 7: 13, 14, 18).  It is all the same message, whether from the lips of our Lord, or from His Apostles.  God forgive our clumsy reading of it, so much so that we have lowered His required conditions for entrance upon His glorious reign.

 

W. F. ROADHOUSE. (From, The Kingdom.)

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

170. SHAKEN AWAKE

 

That many earnest Christian people are thinking these thoughts and putting them into their prayers is borne in upon me just now from what I read and hear.  A few hours ago I was conversing with an old and valued friend who rather startled me by asking whether I did not deem it possible that the ancient Christian belief in a reign of antichrist might becoming literally true.  I sat silent, pondering the interrogatory, and my friend continued to speak somewhat in these terms:-  “There would seem to be a gathering up and concentration of the forces of evil in the world to-day, an open and undisguised trial of strength between the powers of light and the powers of darkness, between Christ and the Man of Sin, between titanic spiritual realities in the visible and invisible worlds with humanity as the battleground?  The wicked and unscrupulous men of blood who keep millions upon millions of human beings in chains, wrath, and agony may be but the puppets and emissaries of what both our Lord and His Apostles spoke of as the prince of this world and by other titles, a tremendous mighty and spiritual power contending against God.  Is the present hour a specially critical one in human history whose outcome will either be a new manifestation of Christ or a fresh start for civilization upon new and better lines or a period of woe and destruction such as has never been known since the fall of the Roman empire and attended by an influx of such miseries as imagination staggers to contemplate  I have a misgiving that my dear old friend is right and that civilization is at a new parting of the ways: victory in the balance – a set-back for all that the name of Christ stands for, or such a revival of vital religion as mankind has never known.  There will be a final glorious advent, a complete ending of the present dispensation.  Of course there will be; the Church has never surrendered that expectation nor can she do so and remain faithful to her divine commission.

 

R. J. CAMPBELL, D.D.

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

171. THE EARLY CHURCH AND THE SWORD

 

The Church Fathers are almost a unit in condemning war for the Christian.  Clement of Alexandria in the second century spoke out against it.  Tertullian, one of the Church Fathers of the same period, declared that when Peter cut off Malchus’ ear, Jesus rebuked him, and in rebuking him He forbade the works of the sword for the disciple.  In that same century we have Ignatius and Polycarp and Justin and many others of the great Christian leaders bearing testimony to the same effect.  In the third century it is the same: Hippolytus, Cyprian, Commodus, Gregory Thaumaturgus spoke out vehemently in their condemnation of war.  Indeed Origen, one of the best known of the Christian Fathers of that century, in making his famous reply to Celsus, the arch foe of Christianity, denied one by one the counts in the Indictment of Celsus.  However, when Origen came to the charge of Celsus, that Christians were disloyal to the State in that they would not serve in the army or take part in war, Origen admitted the charge because he said all war was wrong for the Christian.

 

Historically this is the situation.  The early Christians from the days of the first disciples up until the time of Constantine in A.D. 325 condemned the war.  It was not until the Roman empire took over Christianity and made it a part of the State that Christians ceased to bear constant testimony against war.  The great German historian Harnack declares that no Christian became a soldier of his own will before the time of Marcus Aurelius, that is until the latter part of the second century.

 

Let us look at some of the early Christian pacifists.  There was the first century Numidian Christian named Maximillian who was martyred for refusing to be enrolled as a soldier.  Aged twenty-one he told the Roman Governor, “I cannot serve as a soldier, I cannot do evil: I am a Christian  Then there was Marcellus, the centurian.  His last words to the judge were, “I threw down my arms; for it was not seemly that a Christian man, who renders service to the Lord Jesus Christ, should render it also by inflicting earthly injuries  Later there was Martin who was bred to the profession of arms, but which he abandoned on becoming a Christian.  To the Emperor he gave the reason for his conduct: “I am a Christian and therefore I cannot fight

 

THE RELIGIOUS DIGEST.

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

172. PACIFISM

 

All we who refuse the sword for the Gospel’s sake – and Christians with bayonets in their hands nan hardly be described as ‘harmless as doves’ (Matt. 10: 16) – need to keep in mind the wise words of Mr. D. H. D. Wilkinson, an ex-secretary of the C.M.S.  He writes: “To be a pacifist and cherish anger in my heart would make me break Christ’s command of love just as much as, and perhaps more than, to be a soldier and kill an enemy, for anger and hatred are murderous sins.  A Christian man’s first duty, then, whether he is a soldier or a conscientious objector, is to banish all hatred and anger from his heart and to cherish the spirit of love for all.  But is it possible to do this if one’s professional business is to be read to try to kill as many other men as possible at the command of King and country?  Each Christian must decide this for himself.  My own answer would be ‘No’; but at the same time I know and respect a great many men whose answer would be the opposite; and it has been my privilege to know many fine Christian men who have served and fought in the army and the navy with a perfectly clear conscience, and have, at the same time, been keen to win others for Christ and His service.  I could not do it

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

173. SOWING TO THE FLESH

 

The threat of God against evil sowing, is, that such shall, “out of the flesh” – the field which they have tilled – reap a fruit they will not covet.  They will reap “corruption”.  What means this?  It does nor refer to simple death of the body now, for that is felt by saints whose walk pleases God as truly as by the most irregular and careless of believers.  It is something in verses 19-21 of the former chapter.  There we are cautioned that the workers after the flesh should, by God’s ordination, “not inherit the kingdom of God”.  Here it is said, they shall “reap corruption”.  If it means they shall have no part in the bliss of the messiah’s reign of a thousand years, both are in unison; and the doctrine which has looked out upon us from so many passages appears once more.  As “the works of the flesh” mean the same thing as “sowing to the flesh”, so does the issue in each passage intend the same thing.  The “reaping corruption” is the being excluded from “inheriting the kingdom of God”.  They will remain under the bondage of corruption during the millennial kingdom of Christ.  They would remain the slaves of corruption forever; but that the merits of Another come in to counteract so dread a conclusion, and to open to them [at the last resurrection] the doors of eternal life.

 

ROBERT GOVETT.

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

174. FAITHFUL UNTO DEATH

 

Katar Singh, a Tibetan, was sentenced by the Lama of Tshingham to death by torture for professing his faith in Christ.  Sewn up in a heavy wet yak skin, he was exposed to the heat of the sun.  The slow process of contraction of this death-trap is a most awful means of torture.  At the close of the day the dying man asked to be allowed to write a parting message.  It was as follows:-

 

I give to Him, Who gave to me my life, my all, His all to be;

My debt to Him, how can I pay, though I may live to endless day?

I ask not one, but thousand lives for Him and His own sacrifice:

Oh, will I then not gladly die for Jesus’ sake, and ask not why?

 

This testimony, uttered in a moment of agony, did not go unfruitful, for one of the highest officials in the Lama’s palace was gripped by the martyr’s cry and confessed Christ that same night.

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

175. THE SHEPHERD

 

One night, about three o’clock, I was awakened by someone pounding at my door.  There was a man there who was an entire stranger to me.  He said, “I have come to ask you to go with me to pray with a dying girl  When I suggested that I would come as soon as it was daylight, he said he feared it would be too late.  As I was dressing, he said, “I want to be fair to you and tell you where you are going.  It is no nice place, but a house of shame.  But this girl there seems to have known you, and asked me to come as she wants you to pray with her  I set his mind at rest on that by telling him that it didn’t matter where she was if she wanted me to pray with her.

 

He took me down into the low district and into that house where I found a poor girl yet in her ’teens.  It was very evident that she was soon to meet her Maker.  A little lamp was on the table by the bedside, and I turned the shade so that the light fell on her face to see if I could recognize her.  But she sensed what I was doing at once, as she said, “I do not think you know me.  But I know you, and I knew that you would come and pray with me, for I am going to die.  The girls here do not believe that I am, but I know that I am going

 

While I was wondering just how I could bring that poor soul to a living Saviour, she solved the problem by asking me if there was not a story in the Bible about a sheep that had got out of the fold and gone very far astray, and of the Shepherd Who had gone after it and brought it back again?  “Oh yes,” I said, “that is the story of the ninety and nine, and the one that went astray  “Yes,” she murmured over and over, “the one that went astray  As I knelt to pray by that dying girl, the other girls knelt too, sobbing by their companion’s bed.  What an audience was there!  I have preached to vast congregations but never was a meeting more hallowed by the presence of the Lord Jesus than this.  When I looked up I shall never forget the expression on that face.  “Oh,” she cried.  “Oh!  It is wonderful.  The Good Shepherd has found me and He is holding me in His heart  I have never heard that expression before, but over and over again she kept repeating it.

 

I ventured to go home.  But when I returned later I knew the end had come, as the undertaker was entering the house as I came up.  One of the girls came out to meet me and her first words were, “My!  We all wished you had been here when Mary passed away.  She was so happy.  She kept saying, ‘The Shepherd has found me and is holding me to His heart  She actually tried to clasp her arms around the Unseen, and then with a soft ‘Good-bye’ to the girls she was gone

 

Some years after, as I was preaching the gospel in a certain city, a young woman came to me and smilingly said, “Don’t you recognize me  When I replied that I could not just say for sure, she said, “I am the girl that told you of Mary’s passing that morning, and of how happy she was in her new-found joy.  But there was something else I wanted to tell you.  Once or twice I have started to write and tell you the story, but I did not have the courage to finish the letter  “Well,” I said, “what is it  She replied, “Just this, that the morning when the Good Shepherd brought Mary in on the one shoulder, I came in on the other

 

Dr. W. P. PHILPOTT.

 

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176. LOVEST THOU ME MORE THAN THESE?

 

Late in life John Ruskin fell deeply in love.  He wrote Sesame and Lilies, a book that has widely influenced young womanhood, to please the girl he loved.  That girl, though loving him tenderly, refused him because of his rejection of definite Christian truth, and it cost her her life.  She sank under it, and three years after she lay dying.  Ruskin begged to be allowed to see her.  She sent to ask whether he loved God better than he loved her; and on his answering ‘no,’ her door was closed against him forever.  Ruskin never recovered from the blow.  But one of his biographers says:- “The work she might never have done in life was accomplished through the strength of her sacrifice.  His lost love led him at last to faith in God and the world to come

 

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177. THE OUTLOOK OF THE HOUR

 

The greatest of all the revelations about the future condition of the saints is that they are to be identified with Jesus Christ in His reign – that is, those who ‘overcome’.  Not all saints are to be elevated to this position; this is for the victorious saints.

 

A. T. PIERSON, D.D.

 

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178. ADVENT

 

Such a summary of Palestine richly emphasizes the words of Dr. Edward Mack, of Union Seminary, Richmond, U.S.A., he admittedly unveils the pole-star of the Church.  “There is a lost note on the praises of our churches.  That note, which we must recapture, is the manifest, visible, glorious return of our Lord.  Although that blessed note runs through all Scripture it has faint proclamation in our pulpits.  In Bible days the saints stacked their all on the assured return of the Lord.  What is the end of our faith and our works of faith?  A holy America, clean washed with lye and soap?  ‘Though thou wash thyself with lye and take thee much soap, yet thine iniquity is marked before me  Is the goal of faith a better social order with spotless city streets, stenchless sewers, rocking-chair jails, guaranteed grain fields, subsidized cattle-pens?  ‘So shall thy poverty come as a robber and thy want as an armed man  There are many temporal and temporary services which are the obligations of faith; but there is one matter of supreme importance which faith must ever hold fast.  The one supreme goal of Christ’s Church is the return of the Lord in glory.  Without this the Church has lost the light of its pole-star

 

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179. DANCING

 

The round dance was started in a house of prostitution in Paris by a mistress of a King of France and was never danced outside of a house of prostitution, nor by anyone but prostitutes and rakes, for the first one hundred years after it had started.  The waltz was originated by a French dancing master by the name of Gault.  He was guillotined in 1632 for strangling to death his own sister in an attempt to ruin her.  The most popular step used in ballrooms today originated with negro prostitutes of the Barbary Coast, San Francisco.  The next most popular step originated with prostitutes on the Bowery, New York.  T. A. Faulkner, a converted dance master, took careful census of two hundred prostitutes in Los Angeles, and found that one hundred and sixty three attributed their fall to the dance and the ballroom; twenty to drink, given by their parents; ten to wilful choice; and seven to poverty and want.  Bishop Spaulding of New York said that nineteen out of every twenty fallen women stated that their fall came through the dance.  A great educator has said: “The dance hall is the nursery of the divorce court, the training shop of prostitutes, and the graduate school of infamy

 

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180. SELF

 

Go down deep enough into yourself if you want to cure a lofty estimate of yourself.  The top storeys may be beautifully furnished, but there are some ugly things and rubbish down in the cellar.  There is not one of us but, if we honestly let the dredge down into the depths, miles and miles down, will bring up a pretty collection of wriggling monstrosities that never have been in the daylight before, and are ugly enough to be always shrouded in their native darkness.  Down in us all, if we will go deep enough, and take with us a light bright enough, we shall discover enough to make anything but humility ridiculous.  And the only right place and attitude for a man who knows himself down to the roots of his being is the publican’s when he stood afar off, and would not so much as lift up his eyes to heaven, and said, “God be merciful to me a sinner  It will put an end to any undue exaltation of ourselves if we know ourselves as we are.

 

Dr. ALEXANDER MACLAREN.

 

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181. TROUBLE

 

Temptations and troubles are the saints’ portion here, and this is the royal way to the Kingdom.  Our King led in it, and all His followers go the same way; and besides the happy end of it, is it not sweet, even for this, simply, because He went in it?  This is the truth, and, taken altogether, is a most comfortable truth: the whole brotherhood, “all our brethren”, go in it, and our Eldest Brother went first.

 

ARCHBISHOP LEIGHTON.

 

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182. ADVENT

 

The Advent holds the only master-key to the world problem.  Mr. F. Bailey, the secretary of the Guild of Prayer for the Return of our Lord, writes (Gardian, June 21st, 1940):-  “Those who do possess this hope of divine intervention are the only happy people in the world today, because they see beyond its immediate turmoil the glory of the Kingdom we may expect Christ so soon to set it up.  For, assuming that victory has been achieved, how is a bankrupt, famine-stricken diseased European continent to be reconstructed [so soon after the Great Tribulation events] unless some manifested divine power is available

 

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183. MODERN MIRACULOUS GIFTS

 

Words uttered a decade or two ago take on a wider fulfilment every year.  “The day is rapidly approaching it seems,” says Evangelist Waehlte, “when the man who has no other power than the Word of God will scarcely get an audience.  The evidence of this is found on every hand.  Let some modern miracle-worker come along and people will flock to him literally by the thousands.  But let some man of God stand up with no other power than the power of God’s Word and his audience is often numbered by mere dozens  We have to meet to-day a far subtler and deadlier Satanic cunning than undisguised demonism.  Satan is most devilish when he is most spiritual, and the dangerous demons are those that produce mock miracles of goodness.  Satan substitutes ecstasies and raptures, and clever counterfeits of grace, sometimes with miraculous gifts, for the demoniac’s foaming mouth and the hideous convulsions.

 

It must never be forgotten that the coming huge apostasy from the churches is to be a Gnosticism created by contact with deceiving spirits (1 Tim. 4: 3); and it was the coveting the miraculous gifts which created the founder of Gnosticism.  “Give me also this power” (Acts 8: 19).  “In regarding Simon Magus as the earliest teacher of Gnostic principles,” says Dean Mansel, “we follow the almost unanimous testimony of those Early Fathers who have spoken on the subject  Seeking miraculous gifts can be exceedingly dangerous; for it can even get earnest and godly believers in contact with hypocritical spirits who cleverly pose as the Holy Ghost.

 

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184. CHRIST AND ANTICHRIST

 

Christ is called the Seed of the Woman.  Antichrist is the seed of the Serpent.

 

Christ is the Son of God.  Antichrist is the son of Perdition.

 

Christ is called the Man of Sorrows.  Antichrist is the Man of Sin.

 

Christ is called the Lamb.  Antichrist is a Wild Beast.

 

Christ is the Holy One.  Antichrist is the Wicked One.

 

Christ is the Prince of Peace.  Antichrist is the Lawless, Profane Prince.

 

Christ is called the Glorious Branch.  Antichrist is the Abominable Branch.

 

Christ is called the Good Shepherd.  Antichrist is the Idol Shepherd.

 

Christ has ascended the Throne of the Universe.  Antichrist will be cast into the Lake of Fire.

 

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185. POWER OVER SATAN

 

All Hell confronts us: can we conquer?  Our Lord answers.  “I have given you authority” – power derived from Himself – “over all power” – the dynamic force – “of the enemy.” (Luke 10: 19).  The Master of all dynamics, the Lord of all forces, the God of all worlds, has given us power: power over what?  “All the power of the enemy  Not a sin is unconquerable by the power He has given us: not a devil can stand up to the power that He has given us: not a disease need stand stubborn before the power that He has given us: not a deadness, not a coldness, not an apostasy can withstand the power that He has given us.  And power over whom?  The master-magician of all ages; the profoundest intelligence, the acutest intellect, the most powerful being God ever made: if we have power over Satan, there is no higher power under God’s, and Hell is beneath our heel.

 

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186. OVERCOMERS

 

1. They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb.  Rev. 12: 11.  During a serious illness Satan entered the bedroom of Martin Luther.  He unrolled, with an air of triumph, a vast roll which he carried in his arms.  He cast it downwards, and the scroll unwound itself.  The sick man’s heart quailed when, fixing his eyes on it, he saw the dreadful record of his own sins.  Suddenly a thought flashed into Luther’s mind.  “You have forgotten something,” he said.  “What is it?” Satan asked.  “It is all true”; Luther answered; “but you have forgotten to write under it one thing, - ‘The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin’: that instant Satan disappeared, with a heave roll of lamentation and mourning and woe  “Through death” Christ “destroyed him that hath the power of death, even the Devil

 

2. They overcame him by the word of their testimony.  Not argument, but testimony; not eloquence, but testimony; not scholarship, but testimony; not science, but testimony: simply, “This is what Christ has done for my soul  In a great revival in Scotland in 1630, a young man named Livingstone agreed to preach.  The day before the vast concourse had divided into bands, and spent the whole night in prayer; and so did Livingstone.  But when the hour of assembly came, his heart failed him; Satan told him he dared not speak before so great a multitude of aged and experienced saints, and he actually fled.  But just as the church was disappearing from his view, a voice came to him, saying, “Was I ever a barren wilderness or a land of darkness  He returned; he preached for two hours; and it is said that five hundred souls were born again under that one exhortation.

 

3 And they loved not their life even unto death.  Gerlazius, a wealthy citizen of St. Angela, in Italy, when his friends entreated him to save his life by recanting, replied:-  “Death is much sweeter to me with the testimony of truth, than life with its least denial;” and he was martyred.  Satan overthrows hundreds on the point of the blood; he overthrows thousands on the point of the testimony; alas, he overthrows millions on the point of the love of life.  Oh, for the spirit of the martyr who cried, - “Can I die for Christ but once

 

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187. EDUCATIONAL

 

We once thought that if we were in condition to found good schools and to bring the boys and girls under the influence of good education, we could finally put a stop to all unrighteousness and sin.  But the fact of it is that education with reference to this point is a total failure.  Men do not act according to their best knowledge, but they do the things they love to do.  It maters not how high we may educate the understanding, a man can, in spite of it, be a slave to his passions.  While education of the intellect may cause its possessor to beware of the grosser sins, it may at the same time be only a means of making the man more cunning.

 

DEAN BUTLER, University of Chicago.

 

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188. RESTING WITH GOD

 

“Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any fall, in the same example of disobedience:” (Heb. 4: 11)

 

We are not invited to the rest of verse 10, for that is already being enjoyed through our High Priest’s atonement.  But while resting in part, we are also called to work and to fight.

 

The Lord’s Day, or the first of a new week, is the testimony to us of the portion of redemption accomplished.  The Son of God has wrought His work, and brought in a new rest.  We no longer keep the Sabbath or seventh-day rest of the Law in the old creation, but the day of Jesus’ passage out from the old creation into the new, in His rising [out] from among the dead.

 

We trust to rest as God did, and with God.  We shall be like unto God: not through disobedience, as the devil proposed, but through the Spirit’s renewing us unto the likeness of God.

 

Only those who have accepted the first repose, - that of the soul in the work of Christ, - can start for the prize of our calling.  Before we attain the rest of the glory outside us, we must have the rest of conscience within us, which springs out of Christ’s accomplished work.  “His rest shall be glory” (Isa. 11: 10).

 

Lest we should imagine, that all we have to do is to rest ourselves in Christ’s finished work for us, believers are here summoned to strive after the future rest, of which the Apostle has been speaking.  “Let us labour  Paul includes himself.  And to this end he did labour (Col. 1: 29) more abundantly than any.

 

ROBERT GOVETT.

 

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189. TREASURE

 

How do the Christians observe what they profess to receive as a command of the Most High God?  Not in any degree; no more than if no such command had ever been given to man.  Even the good Christians as they are accounted by others as well as themselves pay no manner of regard thereto.  It might as well be hid in its original Greek, for any notice they take of it.  In what Christian city do you find one man of five hundred who makes the least scruple of laying up just as much treasure as he can – of increasing his goods just as far as he is able to?

 

JOHN WESLEY.

 

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190. ARMOUR

 

In the international storms raging around it, the Church of God throughout the world is in grave danger of forgetting the real war.  It is beautiful to note what a German has said.  “The girdle of the Christian warrior is a chain of eternal truths; his breastplate is righteousness which avails before God; his war-shoes are skill in Gospel testimony; his shield is that faith of the heart which hangs on Christ, securing against seven darts – sin, virtue, the world, the cross, despair, calumny, and death; the helmet is everlasting salvation; and the sword is the apprehended word from God, which has the edge and point to parry as drawn by the Lord Himself”

 

M. MUELLER.

 

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191. MIRACLE

 

A further summary of The Guardian, a magazine intensely representative of Anglicanism, betrays how slight a gulf lies between Canterbury and Rome:-  “The water of Baptism effaces original sin”: the water, not even the faith of the parents, or grandparents, much less the faith of the infant.  The number given of those who reject Scriptural baptism – namely baptism of believers, of any age, by immersion – only reveals the tragedy of the Church’s corruption by the introduction of a magical rite after all Apostles and inspired orders had ceased.  The Scriptural path, as ever, is the path of the few, and often the path of the sufferer.  In the sixteenth century Baptists were martyred by drowning in the Venetian lagoons, according to the decree, - “Let him who immerses be drowned

 

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192. LUTHERANISM

 

So also the gulf between some of the Protestant groups and Rome is much less than most of us dreamed.  Even the American section of the Lutheran Church says:- “In common with the whole Evangelical Lutheran Church we confess the mystery of the real Presence in the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper

 

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193. SALVATION - PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE.

 

The word Salvation is used in different senses in Holy Scripture: it is well to note some of the distinctions.  (1) It refers to the past time: “God who saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace which was given us in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 1: 9).  (2) It refers to a present time: “the Lord is able to save to the uttermost them that draw near to God through him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Heb. 7: 25).  (3) It refers to the future time: “Christ shall appear a second time, apart from sin, to them that wait for Him, unto salvation” (Heb. 9: 28).

 

Salvation then refers to the gift of Eternal Life, and also to the coming kingdom of Glory.  Both Eternal Life, and the coming Kingdom [of God] are called salvation.  Eternal Life in the past (2 Tim. 1: 8), and the coming Kingdom in the future (2 Tim. 4: 18).  “The Lord will deliver me from every evil work, and will save me unto His heavenly Kingdom”

 

JOSEPH SLADEN: [See ‘Salvation in the Kingdom of God]

 

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194. BAPTISM

 

It is exceedingly remarkable that the Report of the Convocation of Canterbury’s committee on Baptism makes the latest, unchallengeable admission that the baptism of infants, in place of the baptism of believers, dates no earlier that 250 A.D..  The Guardian (June 21st. 1940) comments thus:- “So since 250 A. D. the Catholic Church has, except in the mission-field, baptized infants.  Anabaptists, who spread from Germany to Holland, England and the U.S.A., in which last country they have converted many negroes, number something less than 11,000,000*: if Quakers are added to that number, the addition is small.  There are nearly seven hundred million in the Church militant to-day, all of whom have been baptized in infancy, and the number of those in the Church at Rest is incalculable.  It is therefore foolish to suppose that the Church will alter its practice, whatever enthusiastic missionaries may say about the reality of baptism in the mission-field

 

* This number is a singular proof of the current ignorance of facts.  Baptists, Plymouth Brethren, Pentecostals, and the ‘Churches of Christ’, all practise believer’s immersion; and the Pentecostalists alone number 10,000,000, and the denomination of Baptists exceeds 12,000,000.  The other two groups, together, must number not a few millions more. – D. M. Panton.

 

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195. WHY I GO TO CHURCH ON RAINY SUNDAYS

 

I attend church on rainy Sundays because –

 

1. God has blessed the Lord’s Day and hallowed it, making no exceptions for hot or cold or stormy days.

 

2. I expect my minister to be there.  I should be surprised if he were to stay at home for the weather.

 

3. If his hands fail through weakness, I shall have great reason to blame myself, unless I sustain him by my prayers and presence.

 

4. By staying away I may lose the prayers which may bring God’s blessing, and the sermon that would have done me great good.

 

5. My presence is more needful on Sundays when there are few than on those days when the church is crowded.

 

6. Whatever station I hold in the church, my example must influence others.  If I stay away, why may not they?

 

7. On any important business, rainy weather does not keep me at home, and church attendance is, in God’s sight, very important.

 

8. Among the crowds of pleasure-seekers, I see that no weather keeps the delicate female from the ball, the party, or the concert.

 

9. Such weather will show me on what foundation by faith is built; it will prove how much I love Christ.  True love rarely fails to keep an appointment.

 

10. Those who stay from church because it is too warm or too cold or too rainy frequently absent themselves on fair Sundays.  I must not take a step in that direction.

 

11. There is a special promise that where two or three meet together in God’s name, He will be in the midst of them.

 

12. An avoidable absence from the church is an infallible evidence od spiritual decay.  Disciples that follow Christ at a distance, and then, like Peter, do not know Him.

 

13. I know not how many more Sundays God may give me, and it would be a poor preparation for my first Sunday in heaven to have slighted my last Sunday on earth.

 

FRANCES RIDLEY HAVERGAL

 

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196. THE LOSS OF GOD’S PRESENCE

 

The loss of God’s presence is always owing to some hidden sin.  Just as pain is ordered in nature to warn of some hidden evil in the system, defeat is God’s voice telling us there is something wrong.  He has given Himself so wholly to His [redeemed] people, He delights so in being with them, and would so fain reveal in them His love and power, that He never withdraws Himself unless they compel Him by sin.

 

Dr. ANDREW MURRAY.

 

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197. I KNOW NOT NOW

 

I know not now why doubts and cares

Should dim my faith by hunting fears;

I know not why when needing rest

My heart remains still sore opprest;

I know not now why seeking aid

The answer is so long delay’d;

I know not now why burning tears

My heart should harass through the years.

 

I know not now why life should be

A school of discipline for me;

I know not now why grief and pain

Should check one’s course and should remain:

I know not now why sore distress

The heart should fill with weariness;

I know not now why He should show

On me such marvellous grace below:

All this some day I’ll understand

When I have reached the Better Land.

 

DORIS GOREHAM.

 

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198. THE CHURCH’S UP-LOOK

 

Fifty eminent Bible scholars from all parts of America, after a three days’ conference on prophetic truth, issued this excellent summary on the Church’s right attitude.

 

We are agreed that the essentials of divine prophecy include:- the completion and the gathering of the Church unto our Lord Jesus Christ; the personal, corporeal, visible return of Christ; the nations moving toward catastrophic judgments; the re-gathering of Israel into the land of Palestine, their God-given promise and possession, and their subsequent regeneration; and the personal rule of Christ over the earth for a thousand years.

 

We are assured in our hearts that great Christian latitude and love should be manifested toward all within the fellowship of the faith, although they may not see eye to eye with us on the details of the prophetic programme.

 

We recognize the increasing and terrific intensity of the great spiritual warfare in which the Church is engaged, and we call upon born-again Christians everywhere to judge themselves and to lay aside all manifestations of a worldly spirit, which hinders their testimony and cripples their effectiveness.  In the realization that the times call for the utmost in consecration and surrender, we call upon God’s people for a complete and absolute abandonment of self and resources to the service of our crucified, living, and soon-coming Lord.  We further call upon God’s people, in repentance, confession, and humility, and pray and work for a mighty revival, that multitudes may yet be saved before the Lord comes.

 

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199. MISSING THOMAS

 

How tenderly the Lord can meet missing Thomas, when, “after eight* days,” He finds him again in the assembly of God’s people!  A friend of the writer was once so overwhelmed with doubt – the result, as he confessed afterwards, of sin in his life – that one night he deliberately determined to abandon the Christian Faith.  A day or two after, as the secretary of a Christian Convention, he had to appear on the platform.  A train, bring the speaker, had broken down; and the chairman turned to him, and said:- “You will speak  Trembling from head to foot, he came to the edge of the platform, opened his Bible, and burst into tears.  All the old love and tenderness flooded back into his soul, and sobs broke from his hearers as he spoke of the forgiveness of God.  Jesus had met Thomas.

 

[* The number ‘Eight,’ being the number representing ‘Resurrection’ or ‘a New Beginning’, Thomas may be seen to represent all those regenerate believers who failed to ‘attain’ into the Resurrection of ‘Reward’; and therefore must remain in Hades until the end of the Seventh Millennium – ‘After eight days,’ that is, after eight thousand years, when those whose names are found in the ‘book of life’ will inherit eternal life (as distinct from life in the coming ‘Age’) in ‘a new heaven and a new earth.’ (Phil. 3: 11; Luke 14: 14; 20: 35; Rev. 20: 4-6; 12-15.) ]

 

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200. “NO ONE HAS EVER GONE INTO HEAVEN EXCEPT

THE ONE WHO CAME FROM HEAVEN – THE SON OF MAN” (John 3: 13, N.I.V.).

 

… There is a second reference to Deut. 30: 12, on which the Apostle Paul insists, as teaching us faith by way of salvation.

 

There is a third reference to Eph. 4: 9, “Now that He ascended, what is it but that He also descended first into the lower parts of the earth

 

“But did not Enoch ascend to heaven? and Elijah?  How then could it be said – ‘None but the Son of Man ever ascended?’”  We must understand then, that the heaven to which Enoch and Elijah are gone up, is not the heaven of heavens, the abode of Christ.  And we know that there are several heavens.  Moreover, neither of them have come down from heaven.

 

ROBERT GOVETT.

 

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201 EGYPT

 

Egypt’s hostility to Israel is remarkably revealed as occurring even in the Millennium.  “And it shall come to pass,” says Zechariah (14: 16),) “that everyone that is left of all the nations which come against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.  And it shall be that whosoever will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King. The Lord of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain.  And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not that have no rain, there shall be the plague, wherewith the Lord will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.  This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles

 

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202 DICTATOR

 

Dr. Wilbur Smith well sums up the international situation as a preparation for a world dictator.  “One world sooner or later must mean one ruler.  One world, if united to enforce peace, must have a police system and a sovereign.  If the discovery of atomic [or nuclear] energy and its use in warfare for the destruction of nations demands one world, as our leading statesmen and philosophers are in a vast chorus insisting, then we are preparing a stage for the advent of one to rule the world.  The confusion and fears which made dictators welcome in Russia, Germany and Italy, when deepened and more universally disturbed through the common use of atomic [and now nuclear] energy, then the whole world will welcome a supreme ruler who can guarantee to them an enforced peace – a temporary security at last.  That the advent of this atomic [nuclear] age means just this, many statesmen confess

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

203. ANTICHRIST

 

A startling reminder that the word Antichrist means not only ‘against Christ,’ but ‘in place of Christ’ – that is, a man posing as Christ – suddenly confronts us.  We have received a pamphlet entitled “The Return of Christ,” by Alice A Bailey.  This ‘Christ’ who is to re-appear is to be an embodiment of all the world’s religions.  “He has been for two thousand years the head of the church invisible, the spiritual Hierarchy, composed of disciples of all faiths; and loves those who retain their allegiance to their founders – the Buddah, Mohammed and others.  It matters not to Him of what faith a man may call himself.  If men look for the Christ who left His disciples centuries ago they will fail to recognize the Christ who is in the process of returning  All the world will worship the Beast (Rev. 13: 8).

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

204. IMMINENT LIFE

 

The author of these lines, who had qualified as a medical missionary but for family reason was compelled to live in England, was killed in a motor accident.  Shortly before, he had dad an illness in which the doctor told him he could not live; and he then wrote these lines, which were found in his papers after his death. –

 

“They say I am dying,

That nothing remains to be done but to wait for the end,

And they speak in hush’d tones and tread softly as though even now

In the presence of Death, the world’s King.

Yet they say I may linger awhile in the weakness and pain,

That it may be a week, perhaps even a month

Ere the last messenger comes.

Yet what message is this?  Death?  End?

Why I died long ago, and I live in the life of the One,

The Eternal of Days, who hath neither beginning nor end.

He has died.  He has conquer’d thee, Death,

And I fear thee no more: for He lives,

And in Him is my life – Oh, my Lord,

Let me hear once again Thy dear voice

Saying – ‘Be of good cheer; it is I

And my heart shall rejoice and respond:- ‘Bid me come,

Though the waters be dark and roll high.

Bid me come unto Thee;

And I come Lord; I come unto Thee!’”

 

BINFORD SELLWOOD

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

205. BECOME AS LITTLE CHILDREN

 

The first great feature of childhood is pure affection.  In childhood, affection is spring-water.  It just bubbles up most naturally, and is pure and delicious.  In manhood, affection is too often tap-water.  It has flowed through pipes of expediency, prudence, and calculations, and has lost its sparkle and limpidity.  The Lord wants us to have the pure, un-calculating love of little children.  He wants us to live so much with Him that to love Him shall be our highest bliss.  The second characteristic of child-nature is its fine sensitiveness.  A child’s spirit is like a photographer’s sensitive plate, exceedingly impressionable, responding to the daintiest touch of the softest light.  The joys and sorrows of the world find in children a most ready and sympathetic response.  Now this fine sensitiveness is apt to be lost as childhood is left behind.  Our impressionableness is prone to lose its delicacy.  The grief and happiness of the world do not move us with the same facility as of old.  A third characteristic of childhood is its open-mindedness.  Childhood is an age of eager questions and not of dogmatic conclusions.  It is a season of keen receptiveness, of intense love of the sweet light.  If we are healthy, and have the nature of little children, we shall have a hungry open-mindedness for the truth.

 

J. H. JOWETT.

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

206. THE REPLY OF GRACE

 

A young Christian girl in South America was seized in a wood by a savage enemy of her father’s who cut off both her hands.  Many years passed before the poor girl recovered from her wounds.  One day there came to her father’s door a poor man who had asked for alms. The girl knew him as the man who cut off her hands, and ordered the servant to take him bread and milk, and sat down and watched him.  When he was done she dropped the coverings that had hid the handless wrists from view, and holding them up before him, uttered a sentence meaning, “I have had my revenge.”  “If thine enemy hunger, feed him” (Rom. 12: 20).

 

-        GLAD TIDINGS.

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

207. MAN AND WOMAN

 

Exquisitely does the Apostle sum up the entire relationship of the sexes.  “Howbeit neither is the woman without the man, nor the man without the man, in the Lord”; the Christian Faith requires both, two halves of one whole, in which one is chief, joint-heirs of the grace of life (1 Pet. 3: 7): “for as the woman is of the man (in creation), so also is the man by the woman (in birth)”; “but all things are of God” – all their relations and interdependences come from God as from their true causal fountain and origin (Ellicott).  The woman was dependent upon the man for her creation, but the man is dependent for his very life upon the woman; they have been redeemed at an equal cost, and may attain an equal blessedness: God made humanity to be one throbbing whole of sympathy and grace and love.

 

D. M. PANTON.

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

208. COMING SUDDENLY

 

Suddenly God opened the clouds of heaven and broke up the fountains of the great deep, and the world that then was, perished in a flood.

 

Suddenly He came down upon the builders of the tower of Babel and scattered them with confusion of language.

 

Suddenly He rained fire and brimstone on the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and destroyed them.

 

Suddenly the angelic host announced the glad tidings of peace and good will on earth at the [first] advent of the Saviour (Luke 2: 13: 14).

 

Suddenly that peace and good will will be taken from the earth … He whom men rejected and crucified, whom God raised from the dead, and seated at His own right hand, will come again.

 

Suddenly! Like lightning flash; as the twinkling of an eye; as the blast of a trumpet shall sound and the dead shall be raised, and the living shall be changed.

 

J. W. BROWNING.

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

209. WATCH THEREFORE

 

Watch against the leaven of false doctrine.  Remember that Satan can transform himself onto an angel of light.  Remember that bad company is never marked bad, or else it would never pass.  Be very jealous for the whole truth as it is in Jesus.  Do not put up with a grain of error merely for the sake of a pound of truth.  Do not tolerate a little false doctrine one bit more than you would tolerate a little sin.  Watch and pray!

 

Watch against slothfulness about Bible study and private prayer.  There is nothing so spiritual but we may at least do it formally.  Most backslidings began in the closet.  When a tree is snapped in two by a high wind, we generally find there had been some hidden decay.  Watch and pray!

 

Watch against bitterness and uncharitableness toward others.  A little love is more valuable than many gifts.  Be eagle-eyed is seeing the good that is in your brethren.  Let your memory be a strong box for their graces, but a sieve for their faults. Watch and pray!

 

Watch against pride and self-conceit.  Peter said at first, “Though all deny Thee, yet will not I  Presently he fell.  Pride is the high road to fall.  Watch and pray.

 

Watch against the sins of Galatia, Ephesus and Laodicea.  Believers may run well for a season and lose their [‘inheritance’ (See, Gal. 5: 21; Eph. 5: 5)], first love, and then become lukewarm.  Watch and pray!

 

Watch not least against the sin of Jehu.  A man may have great zeal to all appearance and yet have very bad motives.  It is quite another thing to love the truth.  Watch and pray.

 

Let us watch for our own selves.  As our walk is, so will be our peace.  Above all, let us watch for our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake.  Let us live as though His glory was concerned in our behaviour.  Let us live as though every slip and fall was a reflection on the honour of our Lord.  Let us live as though every allowed sin was one more thorn in His head – one more nail in His feet.

 

O, let us exercise godly jealously over thoughts, words, and actions, over motives, manners and walk!  Never, never let us fear being too strict [with ourselves].  Never never let us think we can watch too much.

 

BISHOP J. C. RYLE.

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

210. A CHURCH TRUTH

 

Perhaps no words are more frequently on our Lord’s lips than these:- “Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to render to each (disciple) according as his work is” (Rev. 22: 12).  To whom is this said?  “I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things for the Churches  So Paul says:-  “He that planteth and he that watereth are one” – in standing and redemption – “but each shall receive his own reward according to his own labour” (1 Cor. 3: 8).  Our Lord singles out a grave act of discipline, and presents it as symptomatic of His habitual action.  “I do cast her into great tribulation … and all the churches shall know that I am He which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto each one of you according to your works” (Rev. 2: 22).  So Paul balances the double-edged recompense.  “Servants obey: … knowing that from the Lord ye shall receive the RECOMPENSE OF THE INHERITANCE: ye serve the Lord Christ.  For” – on the other hand – “he that doeth wrong shall receive again for the wrong that he hath done: and there is no respect of persons” (Col. 3: 25.)  It is a truth that concerns US.

 

D. M. PANTON. (From his tract: ‘REWARD.’)

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

211. MILLENNIUM

 

The bitter opposition which true Christians can offer to our Lord’s coming Reign on earth is exceedingly painful.  Dr. Davis Smith commented thus for The British Weekly (April 7, 1910), perhaps the foremost Nonconformist journal.  Dr.  Smith says:-  “Millenarianism, which had a considerable vogue in pietistic circles a generation ago, but which, I thought, had now gone the common way of absurdities in a more or less sane world, as a stupid and prosaic perversion of Jewish apocalyptic.  Prophecy-mongering is an unwholesome farrago of charlatanry, ignorance, and vanity, and I had thought its day was past.  Its record would be entertaining were it not so deplorable

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

212. TRUTH

 

On the exact contrary, the early Church were Millenialists to a man.  Dr. Bonar says:- “Millenarianism prevailed universally during the first three centuries.  This is now an assured fact and presupposes that Chiliasm was an article of the Apostolic creed  So Mosheim:- “The prevailing opinion that Christ was to come and reign a thousand years among men before the final dissolution of the world, had met no opposition till the time of Origen  It is significant that it was the Church of Rome that wiped it out.  In 373 A.D. the Council of Rome under Pope Damasus “formally denounced Chiliasm” (Millennialism).

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

213. WORLD CONDITIONS AT THE TIME OF THE RAPTURE.

 

Seeing the federated nations of Europe, the presidency of the greatest peace leader the world has ever produced, the Jewish and Arab question settled, many other national disputes arbitrated, and war an apparent impossibility, they will revive the post-millennial theory, and preach it with a vengeance to counteract as far as possible the cry of the awakened [foolish] virgins.  The modernist pulpits will no doubt announce that we are going into the millennium on a programme of peace and that the World Council of Churches is the great united religious body that is bringing it in.  There will be a strong move to unite into closer bonds all religions of the world for the coming millennium (the mock millennium of the antichrist).  Deceived, they will throw their efforts back of the Federation of Nations and its leader, the man of sin.  The foundation for Mystic Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth will be seen in the tie between the Church of Rome and the World Council which will be gradually tightened until amalgamation will be the outcome.

 

Wm. F. BEIRNES. (From his tract: World Conditions at the Time of the Rapture.)

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

214. THE VIRGIN BIRTH

 

We can scarcely do better than append to the foregoing reflections the following manifesto drawn up by the good Dr. Machen to whom we referred at the beginning.

 

“My profession of faith is simply that I nothing of a Christ Who is presented to us in a human book containing errors, but know only a Christ presented in a divine book, the Bible, which is true from beginning to end.  I know nothing of a Christ Who possibly was and probably was not born of a virgin, but only a Christ Who was truly conceived by the Holy Ghost and born of the Virgin Mary.  I know nothing of a Christ Who possibly did and possibly did not work miracles, but know only a Christ Who said to the wind and the waves with the sovereign voice of the Maker and Ruler of all nature, ‘Peace be still’.  I know nothing of a Christ Who possibly did and possibly did not die as my Substitute on the Cross, but know only a Christ Who took upon Himself the just punishment of my sins and died there in my stead to make me right with the holy God

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

215. OPPOSITION TO “THE WORD OF THE KINGDOM”.

 

…They find to their horror that the doctrine is not fashionable.  This is the time to suffer loss for Christ, but they are not prepared to pay the price, and they are amongst those who fall away.  So once there is difficulty over the truth they have accepted, they let it go just as quickly as they received it.  They are like sponges which absorb any liquid without the slightest difficulty, but immediately you start squeezing the sponge it lets out the liquid even more quickly.  Believers can be without depth of spiritual knowledge or experience.  They cannot stand the heat of persecution and trial.  In that case their spiritual life will soon wither.  These Christians are like weather-cocks, they agree with the doctrine that is fashionable at the time and which is accepted by those in whose company they find themselves.  If their associates accept the Word of the Kingdom, then so do they.  If the others do not accept it, then nor do they.  They have never taken heed to the exhortation of the Apostle Paul that we “be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love, many grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ” (Eph. 4: 14, 15).  It is always difficulty and hardship that cause the people to go back.  When Jesus said He was the bread of life which came down from heaven, “many of his disciples, when they heard this, said, This is a hard saying; who can hear it?” (John 6: 60).  “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him” (John 6: 66).  How very sad this must have been to the first Sower of the seed – Christ.  He gave this parable just before these people went back!  What a warning they had, yet it was despised.

 

GORDON CHILVERS (From, “The Seed and the Soil.”)

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

216. SUFFERING

 

Nature gives an exquisite illustration that suffering is the prelude to perfection.  Alfred Russell Wallace, seeing an Emperor Moth beating its wings and struggling wildly to force its passage through the narrow neck of its cocoon, took a lancet and slit the cocoon.  The moth emerged from the cocoon at once, but its glorious colours never developed.  The soaring wings never expanded.  The moth crept moodily about; drooped perceptibly, and died.  The furious struggle with the cocoon was nature’s wise way of developing the splendid wings and of sending the vital fluids pulling through the frame until every particle blushed with their beauty.  The naturalist saved the creature the struggle, but had unintentionally ruined and slain it in the process.  “Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth” (Heb. 12: 6).

 

PROPHETIC NEWS.

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

217. MOTHERS

 

An old Scotch lady stood in her kitchen weeping.  As she wiped her tears on her apron, she said to her minister, “I have done so little for Jesus.  I am so miserable and unhappy.  When I was just a wee girl, the Lord spoke to my heart.  I did so much want to live for Him, but I have done so little.  I wanted to be of some great use in His service  “What have you done?” asked the minister.  “Oh, I have just tried to serve Him here in the home.  I have washed the dishes, cooked three meals a day, taken care of the children, mopped the floor, and mended the clothes.  That is all I have done all of my life  Suddenly the minister smiled and asked, “Where are your boys  Oh, you know where Mark is.  You ordained him yourself before he went to China.  There he is preaching for the Lord.  And Luke went out to Africa from your own church.  I had a letter from him the other day.  He says that a revival has broken out at the mission station.  Matthew is with his brother in China, and how happy the two boys are working together for Jesus!  And John, by babe, came to me the other night.  He is only nineteen, and he said, ‘Mother, I have been praying tonight, and the Lord has told me I must go and work with my father in Africa  The minister looked at the old lady and said, “You say you have not served the Lord?  You say your life has been wasted in mopping floors, washing dishes, and mending clothes?  I would like to have your mansion of Glory

 

THE GOSPEL HERALD.

 

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218. THE BIBLE

 

1

 

Coleridge said that the Scriptures he had found words for his inmost thoughts, songs for his joy, utterances for his hidden grief’s, and pleadings for his shame and his feebleness; and then he went on to say, “In the Bible there is more that finds me than I have experienced in all other books put together; the words of the Bible find me at greater depths of my being

 

2

 

I have worked at the Bible, prayed over the Bible, lived by the Bible for more than sixty years, and I tell you there is no book like the Bible.  It is a miracle of literature, a perennial spring of wisdom, a wonder book of surprises, a revelation of mystery, an infallible guide of conduct, and an unspeakable source of comfort.  Give no heed to people who discredit it, for they speak without knowledge.  It is the Word of God in the inspired speech of humanity.  Read it for yourself.  Study it according to its own directions.  Live by its principles.  Believe its message.  Follow its precepts.  No man is uneducated who knows the Bible, and no one is wise who is ignorant of its teaching.

 

SAMUEL CHADWICH.

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

219. SODOMY

 

The depth of sin that is now openly approved passes all imagination.  A Joint Committee of Psychiatry and the Law, appointed by the British Medical Association and its Magistrates’ Association, in its Report on The Criminal Law and Social Offenders, recommends that homosexual practices, if done in private, should not be punishable at all.  Here is open sanction of Sodomy.  In one of the strongest indictments of sin in the Bible, the Sodomites are described as “wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly” (Gen. 13: 13), and alone of the cities of the world it called down on itself “fire and brimstone” – a prelude of Hell.  These doctors and magistrates little dream of the consequences.  “In the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all: after the same manner shall it be in the day that the Son of man is revealed” (Luke 17: 29).

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

220. TRANSLATION

 

The truth stated by Scripture – that the translation of Enoch was a reward – is obvious to commentators, and is undeniable.  John Angel James, a leading Nonconformist of the nineteenth century, says, “Enoch’s translation was a testimony to the whole world of God’s approval of his conduct  Dr. Gogue says:- “To be translated from earth to heaven is a great reward.  Enoch did that which moved God to translate him: work must be done before reward can be expected.”  Gilfillan says:- “One reason why this honour was conferred on him was to show his transcendent excellence  Calvin says:- “The Scripture shows that this translation was a proof of the Divine love towards Enoch by connecting it immediately with his pious and upright life  John Gill, Spurgeon’s predecessor by a hundred years, says:- “He was a walker with God, and the course of his conversation was holy and upright; which was the reason of his translation, a high honour which was bestowed upon him  “God translated him; FOR before his translation he hath had witness borne to him that he had been well-pleasing unto God” (Heb. 11: 5).

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

221. THE LORD’S WARNING

 

If anyone asks how this [doctrine of selective rapture] harmonizes with the widely-held tenet of “the eternal security of the believer” and the doctrine of salvation by grace – I would be far from detracting one whit from the plain face value of any of God’s precious promises.  But let me say this – that if your faith in those promises sets your soul on fire to serve God, to work and watch and pray, and to do all His good and gladly, then there is no doubt that you have truly understood, and your faith in His gracious [conditional] promise is having its intended result and manifestation.  But if yours is a sort of pleasant fatalism that tends to make you careless and easy going, you have surely misunderstood something somewhere.  And you surely need the Lord’s warning.

 

Let us watch and make supplication always that we may escape the things that shall come upon the world and be accounted worthy of the [millennial] Kingdom of God, unto which we labour and strive and suffer.

 

R. H. BOLL.

 

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222. EXCHANGE

 

A Scotch minister was once preaching in Inverness, and was about to enter the pulpit when word was brought to him that an aged Highlander now eighty years of age, who had been converted at sixty, lay dying.  Though there were only a few minutes to spare he went to the man’s house, and said to him, “I have just four minutes.  Do you think you could tell be in that time how you were converted  “Oh, yes,” he replied, “I could tell you in two.  When I was sixty years of age, the Lord Jesus came along and said to me, ‘Sandy. I’ll exchange with you’  “I gave Him all my years of sin and sinful heart, and He gave me in return his righteousness

 

THE SUNDAY SCHOOL TIMES.

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

223. UNITY

 

The unity of the Church has never been shown by unity of organisation, uniformity of usages, or by complete unanimity in doctrine, but by having and seeking to preserve the unity of the Spirit.  The true Church is an organism and has various descriptions, such as living stones in a growing building, Branches in the Vine, Members of the Body, etc.  The essential Unity of the Church is its Head: “All one in Christ Jesus  There is one Spirit and one Hope of our calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all.  There is one Church composed of all who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity, faith, and truth, and vitally centered in Him.

 

BROTHER AMITTAL.

 

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224. PSALM FIFTY-ONE

 

Just before his death, with his left hand mutilated by torture, Savanarola wrote a commentary on the Fifty-First Psalm.  Sir Thomas More repeated it on the scaffold, and Lady Jane Grey recited it at her execution.  Roland Taylor shouted it amid the flames of martyrdom, and was struck on the mouth for not saying it in Latin.  When Arnold of Rugby understood that he was dying and they asked him what they should read to him, instantly, he selected the Fifty-First Psalm.

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

225. OUR LAST ACT

 

Three or four years after the Titanic foundered a young Scotsman arose in a meeting in Hamilton, Canada, and said:-  “I was on the Titanic when she sank.  Drifting along on a spar in the icy water in that awful night, a wave brought John Harper, of Glasgow, near to me.  He, too, was holding on to a piece of wreck.  ‘Man, are you saved?’ he shouted.  ‘No, I am not!’ was my reply.  He answered, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.’”

 

“The waves bore him away; but a little later he was washed back along side me.  ‘Are you saved now  ‘No,’ I replied, ‘I cannot honestly say that I am  Once more he repeated the verse, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved  Then losing his hold he sank.  And there, alone in the night, and with two miles of water under me, I believed.  I am John Harper’s last convert

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

226. SECTS

 

Perish Sects!  I have consecrated myself to Christ alone.  I seek no advantage for my church nor for myself but for Thee, O Christ of God, Whom I love and reverence that I should desire Thy glory in whatever way.  Aloof from all party spirit or strife, I was born, have lived and die, adhering to Christ alone.  O that all who call on the name of Christ were persuaded to be of the same mind and to dismiss all trifles and contentions as worldly rubbish altogether out of place.

 

COMENIUS, A.D. 1623.

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

227. FOOLISH VIRGINS

 

When people accept, without a Scriptural investigation, that there is only one translation of the saints at Christ’s second coming, they must teach that the foolish virgins represent mere nominal Christians never having had an experience.  Every eternal securitist must accept this view for he believes that all backsliders are included in the rapture of the Bride of Christ, since, according to their teaching, they cannot be lost.

 

It should be remembered that you do not trim a lamp that has not been lighted.  Sinners and nominal Christians do not have lights to shine for Christ.  It is the oil, typifying the Holy Spirit or the supply of Divine grace, that burns within the lamps.  This is entirely lacking in the lives of the unsaved.  Sinners have no interest in the coming of the Heavenly Bridegroom.  There are none taking the way to meet Him.  So there is a vast line of demarcation between the ungodly, the nominal Christian, the backslidden class, and the true born-again [obedient] believer.  The latter has received forgiveness of sins, and the light to guide him.

 

On the other hand, the only difference between the wise and foolish virgins is shown in the procession by the wise of an extra vessel of replenishing oil, which the foolish lacked.  The foolish had thought the supply of oil in their lamps sufficient to carry them through, but the wise wanted more grace, a more abundant supply to assure them “an abundant entrance in,” hence had sought and obtained it.  Furthermore, the world is not awakened by the midnight cry as it goes forth.  Only the church, the true believers are awakened.  And see how Jesus points out that those awakened, only part are ready to enter in. …

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

228. WATCH

 

All our Lord’s emphatic warnings in His many Second Advent parables in Matthew 24 and 25 are exhortations to unsleeping watchfulness.  Christ gave His disciples no reason to believe their readiness for His coming rested on any experience of salvation they may have had.  Pointed and plain He made preparation, for the timeless and dateless Advent means unsleeping vigilance and prayer.  All teaching, all preaching, all activity, religious, secular or otherwise that today silences the Lord’s grave and solemn warnings to His own to, “Watch ye, therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man,” vitiates watchfulness and makes for dangerous sleep.

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

229. PEACE

 

Thomas a Kempis gives four steps that lead to peace and keep peace in the soul.  They are as follows:-

 

1. Constantly endeavour to do the will of another than thy own.

 

2. Constantly chose rather to want less than to have more.

 

3. Constantly chose the lowest place, and to be humble to all.

 

4. Constantly desire to pray that the will of God may be perfectly accomplished in thee, and concerning thee.

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

230. HUMILITY

 

“Humility,” wrote William Law, “does not consist in having a worse opinion of ourselves than we deserve, or in abasing ourselves lower than we really are  Some feel so sinful and unworthy that they refrain from doing anything for Christ.  Luther in writing to Melancthon, who felt himself too sinful to serve God, said, “You are kept in bondage by a false humility  That great soul-winner, George Whitfield, said:- “How often have I been kept from speaking and acting for God by a sight of my own unworthiness.  But now I see the more unworthy I am, the more fit to work for Jesus, because He will get me more glory in working by such mean instruments, and the more He has forgiven me, the more I ought to love and serve Him  It was a favourite expression of Whitfield’s that “nothing sets a person so much out of the Devil’s reach as humility  “Those,” he said on one occasion, “that have been most humbled, make the most solid, useful Christians.  It stands to reason, the more a man is emptied of himself, the more room is there made for the Spirit of God to dwell in him

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

231. THE SECRET OF STRENGTH

 

An exchange says:-  “It is noted that George Muller, though a man always of delicate constitution physically, began evangelistic tours at the age of seventy, involving a period of seventeen years, and of travel aggregating eight times around the world, and he continued to carry much of the responsibilities of the orphanage besides, until beyond the age of ninety.  As a young man his frequent and serious illness and general debility had apparently disqualified him from all military duty and many prophesied early death, or hopeless succumbing to disease; yet at the age of ninety-two he is quoted as saying, ‘I have been able every day and all the day, to work, and with that case as seventy years ago.’”  He ascribed his marvellous preservation to three causes: (1) The exercising himself to have always a conscious void of offence, both toward God and toward men; (2) to the love he felt for the Scriptures, and the constant recuperative power they exercised upon his whole being (Prov. 4: 22); and, (3) To the happiness he felt in God and His work, which relieved him of all anxiety and needless wear and tear in his labours. -

 

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232. SUFFERING

 

Some years ago, there was found in an African mine the most magnificent diamond in the world’s history.  It was presented to the King of England to blaze in his crown of state.  The king sent the diamond to Amsterdam to be cut by an expert lapidary.  The lapidary took the priceless gem, notched it, and then struck it with such a hard blow that [the] superb jewel was broken in twain.  Do you say, “How reckless  Not so.  For days and weeks, the lapidary studied the gem and planned the blow.  When he struck that blow, he did one thing which would bring the gem to its most perfect beauty and radiance!  From the two halves came two beautiful gems.  The skilled eye of the lapidary had seen the two perfect gems hidden in the rough, uncut stone which came from the African mines.  You are a precious jewel in the sight of God.  One day, you will blaze in the diadem of the King.  You can safely trust God to bring out the hidden beauty in your life.  He may do it through sorrow and suffering.  Said Horace Bushnell:- “I have learned more of experimental religion since my little boy died than in all my life before

 

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233. ROYALTY

 

It is sweet to hear lovely Christian words from the Heir to the Throne, and the mother of its future Monarch.  Addressing a Mother’s Union in Westminster, Princess Elizabeth said:- “It is important to see not only that the children say their prayers and go to church, but also that parents practise Christianity in their own lives.  We surely cannot expect our children to do what we are too lazy or indifferent to do ourselves

 

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234. POVERTY OF SPIRIT

 

Our Lord began His whole ministry by unveiling the ideal character: not what a good man does, but what a good man is; in the Beatitudes He reveals the roots of character, leaving the fruits to come of themselves; and to this ideal character, and to this ideal character alone, He assigns the coming [millennial] Kingdom of God. …

 

Our Lord strikes the first note – humility – in the heavenly character.  “Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5: 3).  Here, at once, is a sharp, profound revolution in all human thought, something deeply alien to the spirit of the world.  “Nothing carries a man through the world,” says the infidel David Hume, “like a true, genuine, natural impudence  On the contrary, our Lord Himself is the essence of the Beatitudes.  “Learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart” (Matt. 11: 29).  It is not poverty of circumstances; it is not necessarily poverty in gifts, such as intellect, graces, strength of character – the Lord Himself was immeasurably so gifted: it is the absence of self-sufficency, of pride, of worldly ambition: “for of such is the KINGDOM OF [the] HEAVEN[s]  As Isaiah had put it centuries before:-  “To this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word” (Isa. 66: 2).

 

D. M. PANTON. (From, ‘The Beatitude (2)’.)

 

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235. PERSECUTION

 

The last beatitude is the hallmark of the Kingdom.  “Blessed are they that have been persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven  The Beatitudes opened with the Kingdom; they close with the Kingdom: they express the ripeness that enters: these are the children of the Kingdom.  How remarkable that they are eight!  Eight is the number of RESURRECTION.  So our Lord closes with the hall-mark of [the inheritors of] the [millennial] Kingdom – suffering.  “Those who are hounded, harassed, spoiled: the term is poverty used of wild beasts pursued by hunters, or of any enemy or malefactor in flight” (Webstein).  Some seven millions of Christians are laid to rest in the Catacombs, two millions of whom were martyrs.  Sufferings for Christ ate the title-deeds of the Kingdom.  “Rejoice,” for ‘blessed’ and ‘happy’ are interchangeable words at last: “leap for joy” – not in spite of persecution, but because of it; “for great is your REWARD in heaven  “All that would live godly in Christ Jesus SHALL SUFFER PERSECUTION” (2 Tim. 3: 12); and our persecutors, by their very persecution, are actually adding to our blessing.

 

D. M. PANTON. (From the same source as above: read it all in ‘The Beatitudes 2’ ).

 

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236. “BUT WHOSOEVER SHALL SMITE THEE ON THE RIGHT CHEEK, TURN TO HIM ALSO THE OTHER:” (Matthew 5: 39).

 

The Saviour takes the case of Lawless force, employed by an ungodly man in a personal affront.  It is a kind of offence supposed by the law.  After a blow struck, the injured man was to bring the offender before the judges, and they were to award a like blow.  The judical and lawful vengeance inflicted was to deter others from a like offence.

 

But the disciple [of Christ] is not to resist, not to seek the law’s interference, and righting of injury.  Justice still has its appropriate sphere in the world.  God maintains it there, or the earth would scarcely be habitable by His saints.  But, in the church, the new principle of mercy, which God is displaying towards the lost, and especially toward His sons, is to reign.

 

This precept of the Saviour’s seems even to [regenerate] believers too unguarded and absolute.  “Where the damage is not great,” says Wesley in his Notes, “choose rather to suffer it  “The law of nature,” says Barnes, “and all laws human and divine, have justified self-defence, when life is in danger.  It cannot surely be the intention to teach, that a father should sit by coolly and see his family butchered by savages, and not be allowed to defend them

 

But, against our view cited our Lord’s own conduct, when placed under the circumstances indicated, “And when he had thus spoken, one of the officers which stood by, struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, Answerest thou the High Priest so?  Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why smitest thou me?” (John 18: 22, 23).  Hereupon, it is alleged, Jesus did not turn the other cheek.  It certainly is not said that Jesus did so.  But it is evident, that the Saviour’s words on that occasion are no contravention of His precept.  He who might have avenged Himself, resisted not, nor retaliated.  But we learn from this instance, the further truth, that we may make appeal to the conscience of the offender.  We may admonish by quiet words, though not defend ourselves by blows.

 

‘But neither,’ it may be said, ‘did Paul act out this precept  “And the high priest Ananias commanded them that stood by him (Paul) to smite him on the mouth.  Then said Paul unto him, God is about to smite thee, thou whited wall: for sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to the law?” (Acts 23: 2, 3).  This, we may admit, was not the perfection of meekness.  But there is neither resistance, nor retaliation here.

 

ROBERT GOVETT. (From, ‘The Sermon on the Mount’.)

 

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237. SIN AND SINS

 

What we call gross sins all Christians endeavour to avoid; we are enjoined “not once to name them, as becometh saints  And yet, alas, there are believers who succumb to them.  What we call little sins are not so readily avoided; but let us remember that little sins are as much sins as big ones, and must be confessed and put away and either forgiven of judged – sin is sin, whatever its size.  “Be ye angry and sin not”; we are all apt to call it “righteous anger” when we get angry.  “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth,” and “grieve not the Holy Spirit  “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamour be put away from you with all malice, and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Eph. 4: 26-32).  Little sins easily grow into big sins – anger to murder, evil speaking to slander, and so on.  The Apostle James points out the tongue is a little member but it can be “a fire, a world of iniquity  He also points out a little fire may kindle a great matter.  A spark from a passing [steam train] engine may set on fire and destroy acres of growing grain.  “The little foxes spoil the vines” – the little leak in the dam may lead to a great flood, and so on.  An artist chose for his painting of Christ the purest-faced lad he could find.  Years later he chose the vilest faced man he could find for the face of Judas, and to his astonishment he found they were one and the same person.  So little sins grow to great sins.

 

W. P. CLARK.

 

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238. SCRIPTURE VERSIONS*

[* Information for the benefit of those who are ‘locked in’ to a particular English translation of Holy Scripture. – Ed.]

 

The Old Testament was a Hebrew Book, the New Testament a Jewish Book written originally in Greek – not the language of Rome.

 

The Vulgate Manuscript held at Rome (from which their Douay Version is taken) was a Latin translation made by Jerome in the latter half of the fourth century.  When good Greek manuscripts later came to light, they showed up many errors in all existing Latin copies.  The Vulgate is particularly bad on the Old Testament because of the freedom Jerome permitted himself in translating from Hebrew.

 

Mark this!  The Vulgate Manuscript did not even appear in the catalogue of the Vatican until 1475 and its previous history is entirely unknown.  Yet the Douay Version based on it, is put forth by Rome as the only authoritative Bible, the only one faithful to the original.

 

Note further that Jerome, in the preface of his original work, repudiated the apocryphal writings as unreliable tradition, recognizing only the Hebrew Scriptures as inspired – yet Rome included these spurious books in its Douay Version, giving the impression that they were part of the Vulgate.  The advertisement before us says that the Catholic Church was first to name the “73” books of the Bible.

 

As to the preservation of the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures through the dark ages, Prof. Gaussen wrote:- “Although the libraries which possessed ancient copies of the sacred books have been summoned as witnesses; although the commentaries of the fathers of every country have been examined; although the Arabic, Syriac, Latin, Armenian, Ethopic and other versions have been compared – although all the manuscripts of all countries of every age from the 3rd. to the 16th. century have been examined a thousand times by innumerable critics, who sought with ardour, as the reward and glory of their secret toil, for some new reading; and although the learned, not content with the libraries of the West, have visited those of Russia and extended their researches to the convents of Mt. Athos, of Asiatic Turkey and of Egypt in quest of new records of the sacred text – yet has nothing been discovered, not even a single reading which can cast doubt upon any of the passages hitherto received as authentic.  All the variations, with scarcely one exception, leave untouched the essential meaning of each sentence and relate merely to points of secondary importance.  Such were the numerous elements that entered into the preservation of God’s word and such was the care that invariably went into the work of transcribing the Scriptures

 

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239. SATAN

 

Chicago May, one of the most notorious criminals of the past generation, on the day she died, said, “Believe it or not, the devil takes care of his own  She was one of those who are not willing to admit that crime does not pay.  And yet the devil had really treated her so badly, that in the hospital, just before going to the operation from which she died, she picked five dollars from the pocket of the minister who closed his eyes to pray at her bedside.  The devil may have kept her supplied with pocket money, but he certainly had taken something else from her.

 

Dr. DONALD BARNHOUSE.

 

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240. A REPRESENTATIVE REMOVAL

 

The manner of Enoch’s disappearance must have been secret, for, since he was “not found,” he must have been searched for: his removal was a representative removal, and shows the secrecy of the coming flight - [i.e., of ‘watchful’ saints, ‘able to escape’ the Great Tribulation, (Luke 21: 36)]: we are told that every eye shall see Him [Christ] descending, but we are never told that any eye shall see them ascending.  God showed in the very dawn of the world that the body of the redeemed as well as the spirit; that godliness is extraordinarily profitable; that the ultimate home of His heavenly people is in a world beyond – [i.e., in “a new heaven and a new earth:” (Rev. 21: 1)]; and that personal holiness, as well as personal faith, is to characterize the removed.  “By faith Enoch was translated” – not only the act of faith, but the life of faith; first saving faith, then faith step by step as he walked with God; including a passionate faith in the Second Advent (Jude 14*): “And he was not found because God translated him; for before his translation he hath had witness borne to him that he had been well-pleasing to God” (Heb. 11: 5).  What wealth of meaning lies hidden in – “he was not  “He was not” any longer a toiling, suffering, sorrowing servant of God: “he was not” any more baffled by Satan, tempted by the world, struggling desperately with the flesh: “he was not” vexed any more with the filth and savagery and horror of a devilish world: “he was not” any longer sternly battling in the midst of an unbelieving Church and a godless world: “he was not” face to face with the agony of horror-struck multitudes, with faces white with terror, flying up the mountains.*

 

·       Jude stresses that mockers at Second Advent truth will abound at the last.  Dr. A. E. Garvie, in an address which “captured the assent” of the International Congress of Congregationalists in Boston (July, 1920), said:- “As most thinkers to-day have abandoned the idea of fore-ordination, so I am convinced they must give up the idea of fore-knowledge.  All prophecy is conditional, and all calculations of times and seasons based on a misinterpretation of Daniel and Revelation may be unhesitatingly disregarded as superstition  When an infidel once interrupted Duncan Matheson in a Northern town with the taunt, “Well, when is He coming?” the evangelist, taking the Bible in his hand, exclaimed, - “Oh, this is a wonderful Book!  Eighteen hundred years ago it foretold scoffers, walking after their own lusts, who would say, Where is the promise of His coming?  I call you to witness that this Scripture has been fulfilled to-day in your ears

 

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241. DID JESUS CHRIST TEACH HIS DEITY?

 

The answer to the above question is to be found in the four Gospels, in the words spoken by our Lord Himself.  We have this statement in John 10: 30: “I and My Father are one”; and that by this He meant more than one in sympathy, desire, etc., the following texts will show:

 

1. They are one in work – John 5: 17, 19, 21; 10: 28, 29; 15: 26; 16: 7; 20: 22; Luke 24: 49.

 

They are one in possessions – John 16: 15; 17: 9, 10; 5: 26.

 

They are one in glory – Mark 8: 38; Matthew 16: 27; Luke 9: 26; Matthew 25: 31; John 17: 5.

 

They are one in essence – John 10: 38; 14: 10, 11, 23; 8: 19; 14: 7, 9; 12: 45; 15: 23, 24; 5: 23; Matthew 28: 19.

 

2. He teaches His omnipotence – Matthew 11: 27; Luke 10: 22; John 16: 15; Matthew 28: 18; John 6: 39; 2: 19; 10: 18.

 

He teaches His omniscience – John 5: 20; Luke 5: 4; John 21: 6; 1: 48; 4: 18; 6: 70; 21: 18.

 

He teaches His eternal existence -  John 8: 58; 17: 5, 24.

 

3. He teaches His holiness – John 7: 18; 8: 46.

 

He teaches His Deity in what He says:-

 

(1) As to His words – Matthew 24: 35; Mark 13: 31; Luke 6: 63; John 6: 23; 15: 3.

 

(2) As to what He is Himself – John 8: 12; 9: 5; 12: 35; 11: 25; 14: 6, 19; 17: 3.

 

(3) As to what He does – Matthew 9: 2-6; Mark 2: 5, 19; Luke 5: 20, 24; 7: 48; 24: 47; Matthew 11: 28; Luke 24: 36; John 14: 27; 4: 14; 6: 35; Matthew 16: 19.

 

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242. INFLUENCE

 

Dr. F. B. Merer gave this striking testimony of his experience in dealing with men:-  “Up to a certain point in my own life I sought to influence men my mental conceptions, polished sentences, and vivid and striking metaphors; I found it did not help them.  But when I began to try humbly to realize the Heavenly vision, I laid by whole being open to the torrent of God’s power, which is always seeking to reach men, and suddenly to my surprise I found that God was pouring through my life river after river, and this began to be realized, ‘He that believeth on Me, out of him shall flow rivers of Living Water  Oh, how I welcomed that text!  I said – ‘Lord, from to-day I am not going to dam up the water, but I am going to be a channel through which the royal power of God Himself may reach men and women.’”

 

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243. CONSIDER ONE ANOTHER: Hebrews 10: 24.

 

God bears with and waits patiently for imperfect man, and is not even repulsed by their resistance.  We ought to imitate this loving patience, this merciful forbearance; it is only imperfection which is intolerant of what is imperfect.

 

Overladen as we are with our own faults, which we leave uncorrected, we are so sensitive and impatient towards those of our neighbour!  Nothing, seemingly, can make us indulgent, since our own incorrigible frailty does not abate the severity of our criticism of others.

 

We can often do more for other men by correcting our own faults than by trying to correct theirs.  Imperfect as we ourselves are, we only know ourselves partly; and the same self-love which causes our failings hides them subtly, both from others and from ourselves.  The greater our own self-love, the more severe critics we shall be.

 

But the love of God is full of consideration, forbearance, condescension and tenderness.  It adapts itself, waits, and never moves more than one step at a time.  The less self-love we have, the more we know how to adapt ourselves to curing our neighbour’s failings of that kind; we learn never to lance without putting plenty of healing ointment to the wound, never to purge the patient without feeding him up, never to risk an operation save when nature indicates its safety.

 

ARCHBISHOP FENELON.

 

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244. TO EACH HIS GIFT

 

“What is in thine hand, Abel  “Nothing one wee lamb, O God, taken from the flock.  I purpose offering it to Thee, a willing sacrifice  And so he did.  And the sweet smell of the burning has been filling the air ever since, and, consequently going up to God as a perpetual sacrifice of praise, speaks of Calvary through all the ages.

 

“What is it thou hast in thy hand, Moses  “Nothing but a staff, O God, with which I tend my flocks  “Take it and use it for Me  And he did; and wrought miracles on the grandest scale the world has ever known; and in smiting the Red Sea created for ever the picture of a people buried in the baptism of Christ.

 

“Mary, what is that in thine hand  “Nothing but a pot of sweet smelling ointment, O God, wherewith I would anoint Thine only One called Jesus  And so she did; and not only did the perfume “fill all the house” where they were, but the Bible-reading world has been fragrant with the memory of this blessed act of love, which has ever since been spoken of “for a memorial of her

 

“Poor woman, what is it thou hast in thy hand  “Only two mites, Lord.  It is very little, but then it is all I have, and I would put it into Thy treasury  And so she did; and the Lord has already adjudged it one of the wealthiest gifts ever made to Him.

 

“What is it thou hast in thine hand, Dorcas  “Only a needle, Lord  “Take it, and use it for Me  And so she did; and not only were the suffering of Joppa warmly clad, but, inspired by her loving life, “Dorcas Societies” even now continue their benign mission to the poor throughout the earth.

 

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245. EPISCOPACY

 

Episcopacy, flowering into ‘apostolic succession’, is an invention of the post-apostolic age.  Lightfoot, Turner and Headlam, to name only a few, have shown that there is no evidence of ordination by a Bishop till the third century, that Episcopacy is an ecclesiastical creation neither ordained by Christ nor appointed by His Apostles, and that, in the words of Dr. Headlam, the doctrine of Apostolic Succession as taught by the Anglo-Catholics was not known in the Church for four centuries, is not taught by any Anglican formula, and is based on theological confusion.

 

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246. FREE WILL

 

The enormous counter-balancing truth remains in full operation.  “God our Saviour, who willeth that all men should be saved” – here Calvin’s election to damnation is proved a gross falsification of God – “and come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2: 4): “not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3: 9).  And since God wishes that all should be saved, all must be salvable by what God has done; and this is exactly the Gospel.  “He is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also FOR THE WHOLE WORLD” (1 John 2: 2).  The unutterably awful fact is that if God had not chosen some, all – including ourselves – would have refused to repent, and all would have been lost.

 

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247. PURPOSE

 

Finally, the purpose of election is revealed.  “He chose us in him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and without blemish before him in love  He chose us not because we were holy and without blemish; nor because He foresaw that we would be holy and without blemish; but He chose us “that we should be” – in order that we should be so as a consequence of His electing grace – holy and without blemish.  God chose us that we might express God.  “I know that God is love,” remarked a high caste Hindu to a missionary when the latter called to commiserate him on the death of his son.  Such a remark from a non-Christian amazed the visitor.  “How do you know that?” he asked.  “Well, I worked for Foy Sahib at Cawnpore, you know, and nobody could live with him without knowing that God is love  So God chose us that we might be photographs of God.

 

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248. MOSES’ CHOICE

 

Moses, was himself, also, the man of faith.  The wonderful providence of God had placed him high above his enslaved brethren.  As the ‘son of Pharoah’s daughter,’ pleasure, wealth, and power opened their arms to him.  His brethren even would have exhorted him to keep his high post, that he might be able thence to succour them.  And many in our own day would have bade him ‘follow the guidance of God’s providence  But that would not have been the path of faith.  To keep his place as an Egyptian, he must have become an idolater.  He relinquished, then, the hopes of the flesh, to join himself with “the people of God,” though he saw that so to choose would be to choose suffering, reproach, and peril.  He took on himself ‘the reproach of Christ;’ – probably as owning himself one of the circumcised, who was looking for the promises made to Messiah.  The people of God were also the people of the Christ.

 

‘How could he make such a strange choice?  Where was the wisdom, the sense of such a proceeding

 

“He was looking away at the reward  He surrendered the present, and the seen, in hopes of the future, and the promises of God to the men of faith.  Here, Christian, thrice within a few verses, the principle of seeking God’s reward is set before us.  (1) “Cast not away your confidence; which hath great recompense of reward” (Heb. 10: 35).  (2) “God becomes the rewarder of those that diligently seek Him” (11: 6).  (3) And, how was Moses honoured, who had respect unto the recompense of reward?  The honour from God was only the interest; the principle is yet to come!

 

Here, then, was a new appeal of God to the suffering Hebrew Christians.  Even if you could suffer yourselves from the reproach of Christ, and the various sufferings entailed on the people of God, do not do so.  Like Moses, refuse to seek the present.  “the reproach of the Christ” is now stronger than it was then.  The cross of the Christ has called down scorn and trouble on His people.  But the proof that Christians are the people of God, and one day to be rewarded, in a dispensation expressly provided for the purpose of reward, is clearer far than it was then.  Do you admire Moses?  Imitate him!  Look away from present loss to future reward!  That shall more than requite the roughness of the road!  “Through many troubles we must enter the kingdom of Godand His glory (Acts 14: 22).

 

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249. PAUL’S SPIRITUAL CIRCUS

 

Paul, when writing these words [Phil. 3: 11-14], was probably a prisoner on the Palatine Hill at Rome and was therefore in the immediate neighbourhood of the Circus Maximus, which lay in the Valley on the south western side of the Hill.  Doubtless he there often heard the loud and enthusiastic shouts of the multitude cheering on their favourite charioteers, and applauding the successful efforts of the victors in the course, which stirred so strongly the passions of the Roman people in the age of Nero.  Paul derives his imagery and language from that exciting spectacle.

 

The Apostle has a spiritual Circus of his own.  He too is a charioteer.  He presses eagerly onward to the ‘mark’.  He also has a ‘prize’ to gain – the palm-branch of Victory from the hand of Christ.

 

But, before his conversion, when he was furiously racing onward in his mad career of persecution, he was suddenly arrested by Christ; his car was upset; he was flung prostrate on the ground … He was apprehended and laid hold on by Christ, in order that he himself might apprehend and lay hold on the ‘prize’ which Christ gives.  Thenceforth he is a pursuer in the Christian Circus; he forgets what he has left behind, and he is constantly stretching himself forward to what is before.  The Apostle compares himself to an eager charioteer hanging over his horses, and urging them on to the ‘goal’; and he pursues onward after the ‘mark’ in order to win the ‘prize’ of his heavenly calling.

 

The Victory in the Circus was determined by the place gained by the charioteer after going a certain number of heats round the ends and along the side of the Spina (or low wall which was the back-bone of the course).  In the Roman Circus the Victor descended from his car at the end of the race, and mounted the Spina, and there received his ‘prize’.*

 

WORDSWORTH.

 

* “Now, Phil. 3: 11, and 14, shew that our PRIZE is the First Resurrection, described in Rev. 20: 4-6; and all the glories contingent thereon.  In 1 Cor. 15: 50, again, the Apostle clearly is speaking of the inheritors of the Kingdom of God and the glories attending their resurrection, or rapture; not by any means of every and any believer: many alas! are wicked, slothful, and worldly Christians who will be dismissed with shame from the Judgment-seat of Christ, and some be cast into the outer darkness for the time appointed, where will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, Matt. 24: 48-51; 25: 30; 1 John 2: 28; Luke 6: 46-49.” – C. S. UTTING.

 

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250. THREE ATTACKS

 

The devil first tries to defeat us doctrinally; but brethren, when, by the grace of God, the devil cannot defeat us doctrinally, then he comes through pride.  This is where most men lose out.  When by the grace of God we are doctrinally sound, then the devil makes us proud of that.  For myself, I would rather have a brother who had been overcome by a sin, but had made his way back to God, than a brother who is so spiritually proud God cannot use him.  If we are doctrinally sound, and not affected by spiritual pride, then the devil tries to attack us morally, and make us lose our testimony by a moral failure.  Doctrine, spiritual pride, moral failure – Satan’s three avenues of attack.

 

F. J. BACH.

 

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251. MARTYRS

 

This was the farewell hymn sung at the wedding of Mr. and Mrs. Marcus Whitman before leaving New York to work among the North American Indians.

 

Yes, my Native Land, I love thee;

All thy scenes I love them well;

Friends, connections, happy country,

Can I bid you all farewell?

 

Home, thy joys are passing lovely,

Joys no stranger heart can tell;

Happy Home! ’tis sure I love thee!

Can I, can I say “Farewell”?

Can I have thee

Far in heathen lands to dwell?

 

Yes, in deserts let me labour;

On the mountains let me tell

How He died, the blessed Saviour,

To redeem a world from hell.

Let me hasten

Far in heathen lands to dwell.

 

Later, both were massacred.

 

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252. ROME

 

Historically the paganism in Catholicism reached it from Babylon, by way of Pergamos, where, at that date, was the throne of Satan (Rev. 2: 13); and it is extraordinarily impressive that the Roman Catholic New Testament recently issued [in December 1945] acknowledges Mystic Babylon to be Rome.  At the head of chapter one of 1st. Peter it says:- “This epistle is written with such apostolic dignity as to manifest the supreme authority with which its writer, the price of the Apostles, had been vested by his Lord and Master Jesus Christ.  He wrote it at Rome, which, figuratively, he calls Babylon

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

253. ANTICHRISTS

 

There seems to be another antichrist on the horizon.  “Some 160 years ago,” says Mr. A. R. Pittway (Life of Faith, Nov. 7, 1945), “there arose in India a sect of ISLAM called the Ahammadiya movement.  It was claimed that in the coming of the founder of this movement was fulfilled that promise of Christ that He would return, and ‘Messiah’ was one of the founder’s titles.  It is claimed that Ahammadiya Islam is the true revelation and religion of God, which offers to men forgiveness of sin and eternal life.  It is to become the universal religion of men.  The founder is acclaimed the saviour of the world, and one of the purposes of the movement is the destruction of the ‘religion of the cross.’  It is also claimed that the Christian Church, and in particular the missionary organizations of the Church, are the anti-christ which, God said, should appear in the last days, and which will be destroyed by the returned Christ.”

 

*       *        *       *       *       *       *

 

254. DESPAIR

 

The Atheist is heading for despair, and we know no more striking modern case than G. H. Wells.  Mr. Wells has been described as “a prophet of almost uncanny accuracy about the development of modern civilization  His latest work is little less than a revelation, rightly entitled Mind At The End Of Its Tether.  We quote a few sentences, “Our universe is not merely bankrupt; there remains no dividend at all; it has not simply liquidated; it is going clean out of existence, leaving not a wrack behind.  The attempt to trace a pattern of any sort is absolutely futile.  The end of everything we call life is close at hand and cannot be evaded.  There is no way out or round or through the impasse.  It is the end  It is a vivid forecast of the coming pessimism:- “men fainting for fear, and of expectation of the things which are coming on the world” (Luke 21: 25).

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

255. ADVENT

 

The only real optimists are the watchers who see the dawn in the midnight.  “Men see not the bright light which is in the clouds” (Job. 37: 21), but the watchful Christian does.  Germany, then perhaps the most powerful nation in the world, in 1935, tore up the Versailles treaty; in 1936 the Locarno treaty; and in 1938 the pact with Austria.  In the words of the Manchester Guardian (Mar. 10, 1938):-  “Was there ever a time on the history of the civilised world when a pledge meant less  So we read: - “In the last days” – that is, the final era before the [Second] Advent bursts upon the world – “men will be TRUCE-BREAKERS” (2 Tim. 3: 1).  The Nuremberg trial reveals (Times, Dec. 6, 1945) that from 1933 to 1941 Germany violated 69 treaties.

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

256. DISCLOSE ALL TRUTHS

 

The ideal of God for every servant of His is a heart that absorbs His whole truth, and a mind that passes on to others all the truths that it knows.  This divine ideal is difficult and costly, as every minister knows; but the Holy Spirit is behind it with infinite power.  At Chicago Mr. Moody once held a Dissatisfaction Meeting for all pastors and churches who were not satisfied with their spiritual attainments: and it was said to be overshadowed by the presence of God as few assemblies have been since the day of Pentecost.

 

D. M. PANTON. (From the author’s writing: ‘Food For Manhood’.)

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

257. LET US PRESS ON

 

There are times in the lives of us all when we stubble and fall and are defiled by dirt and cut and gashed and hurt.  Yet we are only beaten if we give up and lie down hopeless and helpless.  No matter how far the fall nor how dreadful the failure there is only one thing to do [if we want to win the ‘Prize’ (Phil. 3: 13)] – get up and go on and on and on and never, ever quit!

 

The start is important, but – it’s the Finish that wins!

 

The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews had seen the races at the great Olympic Games, and still his instructions about the race of life ring down to us through the mist of the years:

 

“Wherefore, seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us and let us run with patience [perseverance] the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith

 

SAMUEL SCOVILLE.

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

258. HEALING

 

Miraculous healing is not necessarily divine.  Spiritualism has ‘healing mediums’ of world-wide celebrity: the woman whom Satan bound for eighteen years (Luke 13: 16) he could unbind in a moment, and a demonic can become sane in an instant (Mark 5: 15) by the mere departure of the demons.  Mr. Jonathan Lindell of North India tells in The Lutheran World of demon-invoked powers in a Hindu temple, invoked for smiting an enemy.  “Immediately all kinds of strange things began to happen.  Apparently from nowhere stones began to shower all over the yard, on their house and into the house.  It was as though a crowd were pelting the place, yet no one was anywhere near except the usual occupants.  All the members of the family began to get sick, the animals became sick, the crops wilted, everything imaginable went wrong, and the whole place began to go to ruin

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

259. CURES

 

Mr. Lindell continues:-  “Other mediums, through the spirits with whom they are in league, have power to heal all manner of disease, - and they really do!  The patient comes to pay his worship and his fees and then the medium goes into his worship.  He chants, trembles, shakes, calls out, goes into a trance, and then he sends on the spirit to the patient who, in like manner, gets possessed.  When the whole thing is over the patient gets up perfectly well and goes home!  There is one such specialist in our village.  There are half a dozen in Sukhia.  They say that God heals, and they think that the miracles of the Lord Jesus were nothing special – that he was but a medium of God’s power as theirs are”; by ‘God’ meaning their own temple idol god.

 

*       *       *       *       *       *      *

 

260. DEAD

 

I remember once seeing an old man, I suppose he must have been seventy or eighty years of age; and I asked him how old he was – he looked at me for a time, and faltered in his voice, the tears trickling down his cheeks; says he, “I am two years old  “Two years old  “Ah, sir,” says he, “till a little time ago I lived the life of a dead man; and I never knew what life was till I met with the life which is ‘hid with Christ in God’.”

 

ROWLAND HILL.

 

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261. THE WAKING

 

Now comes the crash of Advent, with its earthquake shock, bursting all locks and betraying all secrets.  “But at midnight” – midnight is the point of junction between two separate days, a division of epochs – “there is a cry” – apparently from the Lord’s attendant angels – “Behold the bridegroom!  Come ye forth to meet him”.  The virgins had ‘come forth’ before, from the world: now they ‘come forth’, from the tomb [and from Hades (Matt. 16: 18. cf. Luke 16: 23; Rev. 6: 9-11; Phil. 3: 11)].  As all arise at once, all are believers: for “the rest of the dead lived not until the thousand years should be finished” (Rev. 20: 5): it is the axiom of Scripture that the wicked and the holy do not rise together.  All the lamps had gone on burning through the night … but now the foolish virgins discover their disastrous mistake.  “Our lamps,” they cry, “are going out” (R.V.): not gone out, for the virgins do not ask for kindling but for oil.  It is the same word as is used (1 Thess. 5: 19) for the quenching of the Spirit.  They had thought that they would shine forth before the Lord by regenerating grace alone: now shocked into wisdom, they are wise – they are not called foolish after arising – too late: nor an hour, nor a minute, remains for readiness.  He is here.  In that day no man can protect us from the revelation of our own works; not because he will not, but because he cannot.  “And they that were READY went in with him” – the Bridegroom – “to the marriage feast

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

262. PROPHECY

 

“We have the word of prophecy, made more sure, whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a lamp shining in a dark place” (2 Pet. 1: 19).  Our steadfastness in an unstable age, depends on this.  Our preservation from stumbling depends on this.  Our proper insight into the real condition of the world and the church depends on this: for we cannot rightly read the signs of the times without this.  We are sure to call good evil, and evil good without this and we are sure to go wrong in our plans of Christian work whether at home or abroad without this.  The light of prophecy enables us to see afar off.  It makes us keen-sighted to all that is around us, enabling us to look under the surface of events and discern their real meaning and bearing and results.

 

THE PROPHETIC NEWS.

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

263. ANXIETY

 

“Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Phil. 4: 6).  Do we do fail to be anxious for nothing, and to being everything by prayer and supplication before God?  We may bring nine difficulties out of ten to Him, and try to manage the tenth ourselves, and that one little difficulty, like a small leak that runs the vessel dry, is fatal to the whole.  Like a small breach in a city wall, it gives entrance to the power of the foe.  But if we fulfil the conditions, He is certainly faithful, and instead of our having to keep our hearts and minds – our affections and thoughts – we find them kept for us.  The peace which we can neither make nor keep will itself, as a garrison, keep and protect us, and the cares and worries will strive to enter in vain.

 

HUDSON TAYLOR.

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

264. WATCHFULNESS

 

We are left in no manner of doubt by our Lord as to what the whole purpose of the parable [of the Ten Virgins] is, its overwhelming stress and strain.  “Watch therefore, for ye know not the day nor the hour”: not, wake to life by conversion; but, watch, as those already wide awake.  All the Virgins begin prepared, but all do not end prepared; and nothing is so deadly as the easy doctrine that all will somehow come right, apart from urgent warning and constant watching.  The sacred oil of sanctity can be got, for keeping a blazing lamp and a radiant light: but without constant watchfulness, prudent foresight, incessant guarding against danger and surprise, it will become the dying throb of an exhausted motor.  “Every kind and degree of Christian goodness is an energy of Christian vigilance” (Greswell).  Keep the oil-stores replenished: keep the soul brightly burning: grace consumes itself in burning, but “He giveth more grace  The wisdom of the child of God consists in readiness; and readiness can only be maintained by constant grace.

 

D. M. PANTON.

 

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265. GLADSTONE

 

It is wonderful how some of the greatest British leaders have held the truth.  Gladstone said:-  “If I am asked what is the remedy for the deeper sorrows of the human heart, what a man should chiefly look to in progress through life as the power that is to sustain him under trials and enable him manfully to confront his afflictions, I must point to something which in a well-known hymn is called, ‘The Old, Old Story,’ told in an old, old Book, and taught with an old, old teaching, which is the greatest and best gift ever given to mankind.  My only hope for the world is in bringing the human mind into contact with Divine Revelation

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

266. RIGHTEOUSNESS

 

“Take heed not to do YOUR righteousness before men, with a view to be seen by them: otherwise ye have no reward with your Father who is in heaven

 

Critics are in general persuaded that we should read “righteousness,” instead of “alms” in this verse.  The weight of evidence is greatly in its favour.

 

Thus read, these words are a general principle, applying to three cases of ALMS, PRAYER, and FASTING.

 

The righteousness here spoken of is not the imputed righteousness which is received by faith.  It is the righteousness which is to be done by the person possessed of imputed righteousness.  It answers, therefore, nearly to “good works  Thus Jesus says – “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works” (v. 16).  And again – “Suffer it be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness” (3: 15).  “He dispersed abroad, he gave to the poor, his righteousness remaineth forever” (2 Cor. 9: 7-9).  Our Lord appears to be now referring to His previous statement – “Except YOUR righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, YE shall in no case ENTER INTO THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN

 

ROBERT GOVETT :- (on The Sermon on the Mount, Matt 6: 1)

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

267. SALVATION BY WORKS

 

One summary of world religions is decisive.  Christianity and all other religions are in deadly antagonism on the way of [eternal] salvation.  The world’s religion is invariably salvation through our own work: God’s revelation is salvation through the work of Another.  Salvation, according to Buddah, resides in eight fundamentals:- right belief, right aspiration, right speech, right conduct, right means of livelihood, right endeavour, right memory, and right meditation.  Salvation, according to Mohammed, resides in belief in God and in himself, coupled with prayer, almsgiving, washings and fastings:- that is, salvation is what we can do for God, not what God has done for us.  Salvation, according to Confucius, is not from God: prayer, he says, is unnecessary, because man is endowed with goodness at birth, and every blessing that Heaven can give is solely a reward of human effort.* [* Confucianism and Taouism, p. 78.]  Now God’s answer to all this is frank and decisive.  “If there had been a law given which could make alive, verily righteousness would have been of the law” (Gal. 3: 21): but “if righteousness is through the law, then Christ died for nought” (Gal. 2: 21).

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

268. PACIFICISM

 

The New Testament records the sermon on the mount as the law for the Christian; it is a interims-ethic for the period between the first and second advents of Christ and assumes that the Christian community will be “the little flock” which Christ said it would be.  Quite as decisively the New Testament gives the law for the State in the words of Romans 13: 1-7; that is to say, the State may rightly use force, and this may mean war.  The conflict between the Christian’s duty in obedience to the Sermon on the Mount and his duty was solved by a number of men in the last way by their engaging in non-combatant duties.

 

Our Lord’s teaching in Matthew 13 shows clearly enough that the whole world will NOT be converted to the Christian Faith.: “When the Son of man cometh shall He find faith on the earth  The early Christians had to solve the same dilemma which confronts us as a minority in a hostile world; some served in the legions of Rome, while others were executed for refusing such service.  Let each of us seek to know the will of the Lord for himself and above all show fervent charity to one another.

 

FRANK V. MILDRED.

 

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269. WORLD-WIDE PERSECUTION

 

The time is coming when the true believers everywhere shall be hated because of their identity with the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.  “Then they shall deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: any ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake,” said Jesus [to His disciples] (Matt. 24: 9).  The present growing hostility against true Christianity [and our true interpretation of prophetic scripture] foreshadows the time when anti-Christ forces that are in the world shall seek to destroy all believers of the “one Faith  The Bride of Christ will escape the snare through Rapture, but foolish virgins LEFT on the earth and others who will refuse to worship the Beast or his image shall be killed (Matt. 25: 1-12; Rev. 6: 9; 13: 7).  As awful as it is to suffer torture and martyrdom, its wholesome purifying effect upon the soul has long been recognized.  The revival broken out in parts of the South has been directly attributed to persecution.  Even so, in the coming tribulation, “many shall be purified and made white and tried” (Dan. 11: 33-35; 12: 10) because of persecution.  How much better it would be, however, for people to purify themselves now that THEY MAY BE ‘COUNTED WORTHY TO ESCAPE ALL THESE THINGS THAT SHALL COME TO PASS,’ and thus be raptured into the presence of Christ.

 

THE MIDNIGHT CRY.

 

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270. ISRAEL

 

The writer (J. C. Van Gelderen) in The Jewish Missionary Magazine quotes the only official statement ever issued by a Church that all Israel will one day be restored to God.  The Dutch Reformed Church has said:- “Israel sojourns amid the Gentiles as a sign and mirror of God’s judgment.  But the survival of this nation, as well as the adding of individuals from this people, is an omen and earnest of Israel’s ultimate acceptance.  God has yet a future for His ancient people.  It remains the people of promise and the people of Messiah

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

271. OUR BEST

 

Never do less than your best.  Napoleon said,- “Nothing is done, if anything is left undone”; and it is this thoroughness which won him his battles.  In moments of weariness and depression tears may fill our eyes because of the poverty of our work for Christ: remember, God never asks us to do more than our best: no burning Seraph beneath the Throne can surpass his best.  Therefore as God is watching, as opportunities are flying, as night is coming, whatsoever your hands find to do, do it with your might..  It will be a joy for all eternity if we can say, - “I did my best  When Robert Chapman, the friend of George Muller, was asked, - “Would you not advise young Christians to do something for the Lord  “No,” was the reply, “I should advise them to do everything for the Lord

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

272. THE BIBLE

 

Mr. Moody once said:-  “I am glad there is a depth in the Bible I know nothing about; that there is a height there I cannot climb to if I should live to be as old as Methuselah: I venture to say, if I should live for ages on the earth I would only have touched its surface.  I pity the man who knows all the Bible, for it is a pretty good sign he doesn’t know himself

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

273. SPEED

 

The words of Daniel 12: 4 (as Prophetic Monthly said) leaped millenniums to focus on latter-day “running to and fro,” but our translators (1611) could not comprehend the meaning of the Hebrew.  Gesenius later commented: “They mean ‘to go hither and thither in great haste.’”  He caught the idea of speed.  A modern Hebrew scholar says the original says: “running like a shot as well as hither and yon  Not until our day could such words be understood.

 

*       *       *      *       *       *       *

 

274. THE REDEMPTION OF THE ANIMAL WORLD

 

The redemption of the animal world will come as a result of the reinstatement of man.  The animal creation was subjected to the fall unwillingly and will receive a regeneration in the coming glorious new age.  Before the fall animals were not ferocious but were docile and subject to the tender care of un-fallen man, but after the fall the nature of Satan was implanted within them.  Their present plight is described by Paul.  “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.  For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.  For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.  And not only they, but we ourselves, also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body” (Romans 8: 19-23).  The present nature of the creature will undergo a radical change, for Isaiah says, “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.  And the cow and the bear shall feed; and their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like an ox.  And the suckling child shall put his hand on the crockatrice’ den.  They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain” (Isa. 11: 6-9).

 

Wm. F. BEIRNES.

 

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275. LITERATURE

 

The spate of non-Christian literature now flooding the world recalls Luther’s words:- “The multitude of books is becoming a great evil.  There is no measure or limit to the fever of writing.  Everyone must be an author, some out of vanity to acquire celebrity and rise up a name and others for the sake of gain.  The Bible is now being buried under so many commentaries about it that the text is nothing regarded.  I could wish that all my books were buried nine ells deep in the ground if so that people would read the Bible for themselves

 

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276. THE BEAUTIFUL LIFE

 

A life need not to be great to be beautiful.  There may be as much beauty in a tiny flower as in a majestic tree, in a little gem as in a great jewel.  A life may be very lovely and yet be insignificant in the world’s eyes.  A beautiful life is one that fulfils its mission in this world, is that what God made it to be, and does what God made it to do.  Those with only commonplace gifts are in danger of thinking that they cannot live a beautiful life, cannot be a blessing in this world.  But the smallest life that fills its place well is far lovelier in God’s sight than the largest and most splendidly gifted, that yet fails of its divine mission.

 

Far better in its place the lowliest bird

Should sing aright to Him the lowliest song,

That that a seraph strayed should take the word

And sing His glory wrong.

 

BITS OF PASTURE.

 

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

 

277. I KNOW NOTHING OF…

 

“My profession of faith is simply that I know nothing of a Christ Who is presented to us in a human book containing errors, but know only a Christ presented in a divine book, the Bible, which is true from beginning to end.  I know nothing of a Christ Who possibly was and probably was not born of a virgin, but only a Christ Who was truly conceived by the Holy Ghost and born of the Virgin Mary.  I know nothing of a Christ Who possibly did and possibly did not work miracles, but know only a Christ Who said to the wind and the waves with the sovereign voice of the Maker and Ruler of all nature, ‘Peace, be still’.  I know nothing of a Christ Who took upon Himself the just punishment of my sins, and died there in my stead to make me right with a holy God

 

Dr. MACHEN.

 

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278. SOIL AND FRUIT

 

“…With none of these three kinds of soil - [in The Parable of the Sower] - can the Lord be pleased, for they have brought forth no fruit.  As there was no fruit, there can be no entrance into the Kingdom.

 

So, the Devil takes the first seed, the flesh takes the second seed, and the world takes the third seed, leaving only one to delight the heart of the Lord  ‘He that receiveth seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word - [of the kingdom] -  and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundred fold, some sixty, and some thirty.’  They were regenerate like the others but they were not content with anything less than a life lived wholly for God.  In the words of Luke, those ‘on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it’ (Luke 8: 15).  (That is, ‘holds it so that it doesn’t run away,’ D. M. Panton.).  There was not a prejudice against the word, but the willing reception of it for Christ’s sake.  As a result they bring forth a magnificent yield of the fruit of the Spirit which is, ‘Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance’ (Gal. 5: 22, 23)

 

GORDON CHIVERS.

 

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279. “LET US THEREFORE MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO ENTER THAT REST”

 

Now in Hebrews 4: 9 (margin) this 1,000-year period of Rest is called a “sabbatismos,” that is, a sabbath or seventh, with its implication of six preceding days, not literal days or years, but millenni, completing man’s week of toil and strife and strike, the week of human history, before the Sabbath Day of God.  To enter this Rest of Glory – not a gift, but a prize or reward, from which the disobedient, as Israel from Canaan, are excluded (1 Cor. 10: 1-12; Heb. 3: 7-19) – we have to labour, and be accounted worthy (Heb. 4: 11).

 

One day is with the Lord as 1,000 years with us; the Day of God is our morrow for which we labour in this vital hour in His vineyard: and the two Denarii (“2 –D,” as we still say) of the Good Samaritan represent sustenance and provision for the two millennial days before He comes again (Luke 10: 35; Deut. 30: 20b; John 1: 4).

 

We may therefore affirm that Christ will be returning and reigning with His princely companions – overcomers (Isa. 31: 1; Rev. 3: 21) by the end of man’s sixth day - [i.e., “After two days” – two thousand years from His first advent - “he will revive us (Israel); on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence” (Hosea 6: 2, N.I.V.).]

 

A. G. TILNEY.

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280. COST

 

“When God calls a man,” says Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a fearless German preacher, “He bids him come and die  A few years later Bonhoeffer died in a Nazi concentration camp.

 

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281. THE ART OF SELF DEFENCE

 

“Do you think it would be wrong for me to learn the noble art of self-defence” a religiously inclined young man inquired of his pastor.

 

“Certainly not,” answered the minister.  “I learned it in youth myself, and I found it of great value during my life  “Indeed, sir, did you learn the Old English system  “Solomon’s system  “Yes, you will find it laid down in the first verse of the fifteenth chapter of Proverbs.  ‘A soft answer turneth away wrath  It is the best system which I know

 

GRACE AND GLORY.

 

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282. MINISTERIAL HUMILITY

 

Christian leadership is not the ability to over-rule man’s wills, but the power to influence their hearts and minds and educate their consciences that matters.  Our object is to get them to aim at the highest in thought and feeling and conduct.  A Christian minister, therefore, must draw, not drive.  To do so he has to gain and retain the confidence of his people.  How can he do this if he is set on his own way, and put out when opposed?  How can he be worthy of trust if he is self-centered and self-assertive?

 

Humility means that a man has found his place, first in relation to God, and then, as a consequence, in relation to men.  When one’s centre is rightly fixed, the circumference of life can be firmly drawn; there need be no bulges.

 

The humble man regards his talents as a gift – or a loan, if you like – and uses them for God, in the service of his fellows.  Whether they are five, or two, or one, his concern is to develop and use them to the full.  He does not envy more brilliant men, nor look down on those with less ability.  Humility saves him from envy and jealously on the one side, and scorn on the other; it saves him too from mock modesty.  Nothing sets a man free like true humility, for humility means forgetfulness of self.

 

Think of Peter – big, boisterous, blustering and lovable – a born leader and knowing it.  Can you think of anything he needed more than humility?  How sure he was of himself – he had made the great sacrifice, his loyalty was beyond question, his courage could be counted on.  Think of him correcting his Master and calling down the stern rebuke he so richly deserved.  Yes, he badly lacked humility.  Humility would have saved him from the temptation which led to his fall.  What a grand recovery he made!  In later life, having painfully learned his lesson and become the Man of Rock, he wrote:- “You must all put on the apron of humility to serve one another” (1 Pet. 5: 5: Moffatt).  Peter could never forget the Upper Room and the Master, girded with a towel, washing his feet.  The humility of greatness was exemplified there.

 

And nothing protects a man like humility.  It clothes the soul in spiritual chain-armour; thus slights, insults, abuse, misinterpretation, and angry opposition never cut deep enough to embitter the soul.  So the truly humble can combine sweetness with strength.

 

Because he is conscious of the working of the Spirit of God, there is no lazy acquiescence in things as they are, and no feverish activity to get things changed.  Delivered from self-consciousness he does not seek the limelight, and yet does not shrink from it.  If he has to engage in controversy, he is not out to score over his opponent; he states the truth as he sees it, fights with a clean weapon, is not depressed by failure, and does not gloat over success.  If he is criticised he considers whether the criticism is true; if he is opposed he seeks the reason for the opposition, and tries to see how far the other man is right.

 

Finally, consider this: that humility is, in the true sense, evolutionary: “Blessed are the humble, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matt. 5: 5: Moffatt).  That is the prophetic utterance of deep insight.  If it is true it follows that the humble are the real leaders of mankind; they are in line with the Law of life stated by Jesus Christ.  The influence of their example will outshine and outlast that of all others.  Serving one another in Love, they will live together in Peace; Co-operation will have taken the place of Conflict.

 

THE CHRISTIAN WORLD.

 

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283. TEACH US TO PRAY.

 

“Lord, teach us to pray” is perhaps the best prayer any of us can offer, for if we really know how to pray, the secret will solve every problem and bring relief from every trying situation.  God teaches us to pray by the very trials that seem too great for us to bear.  Prayer is a real spiritual process, the birth-pangs of a new creation, the soul travail out of which comes some great and gracious thing born out of the Holy Ghost.  Our best prayers are often inarticulate, mysterious, and only vaguely understood even by us.  “We know not what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself helpeth our infirmities and maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered  Often when our heart is crushed with anguish, and our case seems really lost, we are just ready to emerge into the light of some new and glorious day.  Oftentimes our best prayer is just to yield ourselves to the burden which is depressing and oppressing us, and cry, Lord, I do not understand, but I take all that Thou art asking and pray in blindness and confidence “Thy will be done

 

A. B. SIMPSON.

 

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284. DIVORCE.

 

The Jews pressed the Lord with a probing question.  “Why then did Moses command to give a bill of divorcement  Our Lord answers: “Moses, for your hardness of heart” – choosing the lesser of two evils, and saving the wife from possible murder – “suffered you” – he never commanded it – “to put away your wives: but from the beginning IT WAS NOT SO” – divorce never entered into the design of God.  Here is an absolute abrogation of the Law of Moses: here is our Lord obviously legislating for His new and heavenly people, the Church: here is the mightier Lawgiver rescinding, even for the whole world, all exceptions and exemptions of God’s primal law of marriage.  For what is our Lord’s tremendous new enunciation?  “I say unto you” – both believer and unbeliever, both Church and world, were gathered before Him – “WHOSOEVER” – of all men everywhere, but much more of those within the Church of Christ – “shall put away his wife, except for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery” – will appear before the bar of God, whatever civil or ecclesiastical law may have sanctioned the divorce, as ADULTERERS.  So the Holy Spirit also through Paul:- “If, while the husband liveth, she is joined to another man, she shall be called an ADULTERESS” (Rom. 7: 3).  Since marriage is a God-created union, “what God hath joined together,” only God can dissolve; and on two grounds only does God dissolve marriage – fornication and death; for in both of these the fleshly union is dissolved, and the marriage ceases.  So our Lord makes one exception: “Whosoever shall put away his wife, except for fornication, committeth adultery”: other sins may be grave, but they do not destroy the marriage itself: fornication is not so much a ground of divorce, as it is divorce itself – a dissolution of the marriage tie, a death of the bond, a separation as complete as the marriage was a union.

 

D. M. PANTON.

 

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285. DIABOLIC INVENTIONS.

 

The modern wedlock of science and iniquity is appalling.  Two drugs, says Review of World Affairs (Feb. 1949), are used by the Soviet police.

 

“(1) Actedron: The prisoner is first given highly salted fish as sole diet for several days with little or nothing to drink.  When the point of extreme desperation is reached, drink, either water or soup, is then offered, and the victim is thankful in extreme degrees.  The liquid contains Actedron.

 

This drug affects the nerves.  The first day there is a feeling of courage and resistance.  Then follows a splitting headache and dizziness.  Panic is the next stage.  The last and most fearful stage is a sense of complete voidness of inability to resist suggestions from others and, eventually, entire moral collapse.

 

(2) Scopomorphine: This is a mixture of Scopolamine and morphine.  It reduces the victim to a kind of dream world.  The brain is drugged.  The processes of the mind become a mixture of contradictory pictures.  All orientation is lost; all will-power goes

 

It would be difficult to imagine inventions more spiritually and morally diabolic.  All fresh information presses home the prayer:- “Watch ye at every season, making supplication, that ye may prevail to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and be set [Greek] before the Son of man” (Luke 11: 36, R.V.)

 

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286. THE WARNING.

 

So then, since escape is thus conditional on conduct, our Lord drops an exactly correspondent warning.  “If thou shalt not watch” – again it is Second Advent truth, with a life squared to it, which is the deciding factor – “I will come (arrive) as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon (arrive over) thee” (Rev. 3: 3): the Parousia will have begun, and the Angel, because unrapt, be wholly ignorant of the Saviour’s arrival.  Here is the overthrow of the teaching that all the Church will escape the Tribulation: the unwatchful child of God is certain to be caught in the whirlpool.  God has decreed neither our deliverance nor our overthrow, for the threat, like the promise, is sharply conditional.  If the unwatchfulness ceases, so does the danger: “God appointed us not unto wrath” (1 Thess. 5: 9): only if the salt have lost its savour, like the ‘dead’ Sardian Angel, will it be trodden under the foot of men.  For if Philadelphia is taken for the whole Church, and so none escape: whereas the truth manifestly is that Philadelphia is a sample of the watchful rapt, and Sardis of the carnal LEFT.

 

D. M. PANTON.

 

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287. THE COMMAND.

 

Thus out of the promise, and the warning, springs the inevitable command.  “Watch ye at every season, praying that” - so that, in order that – “ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass upon the earth” - the Great Tribulation is in the immediate context – “and to stand (be set) before the Son of man” (Luke 21: 36).  What is the ‘worthiness’?  (1) Not Christ’s worthiness, imputed to us on faith: for that we have already; and all believers have it, whether watchful or not, and to pray for what we already possess is unbelief.  This is a worthiness towards which, and for which, we have still to pray; and that always, until the End: “watch and pray always  After an address in Toronto a Professor of Greek said to the writer, - “I am not afraid of the Antichrist in the least  As he was a much older man, I said nothing; but then he said, - “But you have given me priceless light on one point: I never saw the commanded prayer before -  Luke 21: 36

 

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287B. A SIXTEENTH CENTURY MARTYR

For many years, in fact, forty three, Isaac Homel served as preacher and shepherd of Protestant flocks in the South of France – a zealous teacher of God’s truth.  Homel was cast into the castle dungeon at Tournon with others and sentenced to the wheel.

 

Do you know what that meant?  It meant being tied with cords to a cart wheel, with arms and legs spread in a St. Andrew’s cross.  Then it meant every bone of the body broken with an iron bar.  The hangman of Tournon had had no experience in this type of torture, so an executioner was sent for, post haste to Avignon, who was connoisseur in cruelty.

 

He went to death with such a resolute air as to astonish judges and onlookers – hands clasped, eyes raised to Heaven, praying to God in a loud voice.

 

Along the way he recited Psalm 16; on the scaffold, Psalm 51; at the end a verse or two from Psalm 50.  Before he mounted the scaffold the presiding judge approached him and offered him pardon if he would but change his religion.  He refused with the same firmness.

 

Then he climbed the ladder to the scaffold, barefoot.  He looked about where they were going to break him, and said, “Here is where I will countersign with blood the truths that I have preached  Raising his voice so that all about the Place du Gravier might hear him, even those at the top of the buildings around, he cried out:-

 

“No doubt there are many honest people here, some even of my own faith, who can witness that I die in the religion in which I was born and which I believe the sole one bearing salvation.  Forty-three years I have preached it as the pure and only truth contained in Scripture.  I take God to witness, and that with all my heart, that it is He who has given me to profess and preach the truths of His Holy Gospel, and that it is He who has been pleased to call me to witness to it with my blood.  True, I have not fulfilled this holy ministry as I should and as it deserved.  Nevertheless I feel at rest in my conscience, certain that I have never taught anything but the Word of God.

 

“I exhort those of my brethren who now listen to me never to abandon the faith, either from fear or for any consideration whatever  It is that in which himself under the ropes by which they were to be bound.

 

The first blow of the bar which fell on him was so heavy that blood spurted out and the bones of his arm on which it fell were wholly broken.  The poor man cried out: “Pity, O God!  Wilt Thou not give me strength to endure?  Yes, Lord, I know Thou wilt  After that he cried no more, but prayed with great vehemence that God for the love of Jesus would pardon him.

 

He was given thirty or forty blows on arms, legs, belly, neck.  They would not kill him instantly.  He cried to the presiding judge, who was there, “Have mercy on my poor family  Then appealing to God: “Come now and take my soul.  The time is at hand,” he sighed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit,” and expired.

 

The head of the martyr was exposed at Chalancon, in a place no friend could redeem it, however he tried.  His body was guarded day and night by troops at Beauchastel for six weeks.  When the soldiery left, friends came by night and gave it an honourable burial.  Even to the smallest bone it had been broken.  The martyr was sixty-two years of age.

 

The Sunday School Times.

 

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288. GOLDEN.

 

But beyond lies the Golden Age.  Tennyson, in the lovely imagining of a poet, expresses it thus:-

 

“Earth at last a warless world, a single race, a single tongue –

I have seen her far away – for it is not earth as yet so young?

Every tiger madness muzzled, every serpent passion kill’d,

Every grim ravine a garden, every blazing desert till’d;

Robed in universal harvest up to either pole she smiles,

Universal ocean softly washing all her warless isles

 

“THEN SHALL THE RIGHTEOUS SHINE FORTH AS THE SUN IN THE KINGDOM OF THEIR FATHER” (Matt. 13: 43).

 

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289. FAITH IN THE FIRE

 

A flaming fire out of control – his beloved church and the home of practically all his parish people destroyed – a little later, the death of his wife and daughter – then his own body struck by a dreaded paralysis – and, on top of that failing eyesight!

 

Lying upon his bed of torturing pain and fast-gathering blindness, mourning loss of loved ones, his church, and much of his property, Pastor Schmolke – a German minister – still held on in faith and hope to the Lord he knew and loved and served.

 

In the midst of such a desolate scene, his faith though tried by fire, brought forth the beautiful, touching words of the following song.

 

My Jesus, as Thou wilt,

Oh, let Thy will be mine;

Into Thy hand of love

My all I now resign.

Through sorrow or through joy,

Conduct me as Thine own,

And help me still to say,

“My Lord, Thy will be done

 

My Jesus, as Thou wilt,

Though seen through many a tear,

Let not my star of hope

Grow dim or disappear.

Since Thou so oft has wept

And sorrowed all alone,

If I must weep with Thee,

My Lord Thy will be done.

 

My Jesus as Thou wilt,

All shall be well with me;

Each changing future scene

I gladly trust to Thee.

Straight to my Home above,

I travel calmly on;

And say in life and death,

“My Lord, Thy will be done

 

THE GOSPEL HERALD.

 

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290. LOVE

 

In the early days of Christianity there lived a beautiful young Roman girl named Daria.  There were many men who paid homage to her beauty, and made professions of a boundless attachment to her; but their devotion kindled no answering flame within her breast.  And one day she declared that she would never truly give her heart until she found one who loved her so well as actually to die for her.  Half lightly the words were spoken, but one day she heard the gospel of Jesus Christ and learned of One who had loved her with an everlasting love and had died for her.  And Daria yielded her heart to this peerless Lover forever.  Her name occupies an honoured place on the roll of Christian martyrs.  And it is the same appeal that is sounding forth to-day.

 

THE ALLIANCE WEEKLY.

 

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291. BLIND

 

It is marvellous what a blind evangelist can achieve.  Two poverty-stricked, illiterate men, one blind and the other at death’s door, came to a mission hospital in India.  On leaving the hospital some time later, the blind man asked for a copy of the “Jesus Book  “Of what use is it to you?  You cannot read  “No,” replied the blind man; “but we will take it to those who can do so  They returned to their village, the happy possessors of a Gospel.  They were weavers by trade.  Whenever man came to purchase cloth in that village they were met with the remark, “Before we do any business with you, you must read us a few pages out of our Book  When the tax collectors came round, they, too, were told, “We can do no business with you till you have read to us out of our Book  When the doctor from the hospital visited that village two years afterward he found the heathen temple permanently closed and a church built, and the whole village won for Christ.

 

THE LIFE OF FAITH.

 

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292. TREASURE

 

In one of the art galleries of Italy, there is a curious picture by an early painter, which represents a sick man stretched on his bed, and his physicians around him.  They have examined their patient, and ascertained his malady to be that his heart is gone – it has altogether disappeared.  Near by, St. Anthony of Padua is represented as preaching from the text: “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also  The clue thus suggested is followed is followed up by a group of the sick man’s friends, who open his strong box, and stand amazed at discovering the missing organ reposing among the abundant gold pieces.  Our treasure, the Lord Jesus says, is the lode-star to which the needle must ever point.  “FOR WHERE THY TREASURE IS, THERE WILL THY HEART BE ALSO” (Matt. 6: 21).

 

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293. THE LOST MILLIONS.

 

“If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death” (John 5: 16).  To me this is the greatest promise in the Bible.  It is the greatest Hallelujah shout, not of a pampered, luxury-surrounded, easy-situated, trouble-avoiding, difficulty-escaping child of God who never knew the burning scourges and vicissitudes of a contrary fate, but of a battle-scarred warrior of the Faith.  John the Apostle and his brethren were in the midst of the bitterest persecution that the church of God’s people ever endured.  The arenas of the Roman Empire were stained with the blood of these martyrs.

 

From almost every corner of the Roman Empire there arose to heaven the sobbing, blood-choked cry of those who were sealing their witness with their lives, yet in the face of all that darkness, destruction, distress, John could lift his hands to heaven and cry for the ages, “If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death

 

There is the mightiest promise, the mightiest challenge, the mightiest appeal, the mightiest constraint to intercessory prayer.  It is shocking to notice and to know that intercession is the terribly missing note in all our Christian activities.  Yet it is more necessary to-day than it ever was.

 

I believe in my soul that, “Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession” (Psalm 2: 8) is almost as much of a promise to us as it is to the Lord Jesus Christ.  In His Name, for His sake, by His authority, through His power, on our faces in intercession, we may claim this word of God as definitely as did the Apostolic band.  By it they wrought righteousness, stopped the mouths of lions, changed the course of empires.

 

We need conviction, pungent, burning, urgent, fiery, driving, impelling, constraining conviction.  It will convict each of us of the needs of a lost world, of men, women, children, by the multiplied myriad, sin-dead multitudes, goose-stepping on the road to hell, dancing on to eternal destruction, in a bad, sad, and dead oblivion of the increasing, blinding, maddening tempo of Satan’s music.

 

It will convict us of the killingly tragic coldness of so heart-breaking many of our people, of their blighting indifference, their callous concern to the things of God and eternity, their totally compassionless disregard of the destiny of the lost and perishing about them.  Oh brethren, it seems to me that my own poor heart will burst with the agony of the conviction of the back-slidden condition of so many of our church members.  Judge ye then what a heart-break they must be to the dear Saviour!

 

It will convict us of our own inescapable, unassignable responsibility in all this.  We dare not, we cannot, we must not be priests, Levites, passing the wounded wayfarer by.  We must be Samaritans stopping to apply the oil and wine of our intercessory oblations to these souls, these wounds, these bruises, these putrefactions.

 

We must pay with the coin of our intercessory tears for the hospitality of God’s grace extended to these perishing sinners, to these drifting derelicts.  We must be the Elishas stretching our burning selves upon the cold corpses of Satan’s making so that the flesh of them by the surging power of God in us may wake to life everlasting.

 

HYMAN J. APPELMAN.

 

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294. COURAGE

 

For sheer exploits of courage, Christ’s first disciples are unmatched.  Ignatius, one of the apostolic leaders, was cast to the lions in Rome’s Colosseum because of his testimony to the Emperor Trajan.  When friends sought to intercede with the authorities in his behalf he answered:- “Leave me to become the prey of beasts, that by their means I may be accounted worthy of God.  I am the wheat of God, and by the teeth of beasts I shall be ground, and I hope that I may be found to be the pure bread of God.  Pray for strength to be given to me from within and without, that I may not only speak, but also be willing, and that I may not