Monday, April 29, 2013


GENESIS 6: 5-14, 22, AND 7:5

"By faith Noah, being warned of God concerning things not seen as yet, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; through which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith."—HEBREWS 11:7

            Taken as an illustration of faith, the story of Noah is remarkable and, indeed, unique. In it faith is re­vealed, acting on the same principles as in other cases, but in no similar circumstances. I propose that in considering this text we should consider first the man and the times in which he lived; and then attempt to understand something of the operation of his faith in those times.
            How much do we really know about Noah? We know he built an ark; and that he got drunk; and that often exhausts the common knowledge of this man Noah. Nevertheless he stands out as one of the most remarkable personalities on the pages of the Old Testa­ment. He must be judged partly by the times in which he lived, and finally by his action in those times.
            Take first that account of his getting drunk. Some peo­ple seem possessed with that fact, and do not think of him respectfully. But read the story carefully. There is no proof that there was any sin in the action. We are told he "was a husbandman and planted a vineyard." Then we are told he drank of the wine, and was drunk. Has it ever occurred to some that the drunk­enness was an accident? In the Hebrew Bible there are many words for wine. Here this is the first occurrence of the Hebrew word Yayin, which means, simply and literally, intoxicating drink, the root of the word having the thought of fermentation. The word here used for his drinking is one of the intensive words. It simply means to drink deeply. Now I very much doubt whether Noah knew the effect it would produce upon him; and I am inclined to think this is the first instance on record of a man taking intoxicating drink and not knowing what effect it would have: and he became drunk. Another word for this is equally correct, he became satiated. It made him very sick. It was fool­ish, wrong, perhaps he should have known better. But there is no hint of moral delinquency here, when he did it.
            What sort of a man was he? I repeat the Biblical description: "Noah was a righteous man and perfect in his generation." I would change that word "genera­tion" for some other—perfect among his contem­poraries. Then comes the summing up of the whole fact: "Noah walked with God." Here is the great fact of his life, and what a radiant revelation it is of a re­markable character, perfect among his contemporaries.
            We had the same expression in our last article, on Enoch. "Enoch walked with God." It is arresting that of only two men in all Bible history is it declared that they walked with God. Here were two men, so distinctive that the recorder of olden time, referring to them, had to say that they walked with God. As we saw in our last study on Enoch, that meant that Noah moved in the same direction in which God was moving; and that he was in agreement with God, had no controversy on the way, moreover that they kept in step with one another. Enoch and Noah did not run before the Lord. They kept pace with Him. They did not lag behind the goings of God. They kept beside Him. God did not hurry ahead of Enoch and Noah. He adapted His goings to their possibilities. He never lagged behind, as they went forward. He was always with them.
            Noah was the great-grandson of Enoch. Enoch be­gat Methuselah, and Methuselah begat Lamech, and Lamech begat Noah. We have a glimpse into condi­tions of the times as we read the names. When Noah was born, Lamech gave him the name which means comfort. That is a remarkable thing. We see the comfort that Lamech expected from this baby boy. Now we shall be set free from the curse that is on the soil. It was purely materialistic. He hoped that the child would grow up in his home, setting him free from the curse of the soil, and the toil necessary to the earn­ing of bread with the sweat of his brow.
            The recorder, telling the story of Noah, has said that he was a righteous man, perfect among his contem­poraries; standing out, different from them, and after­wards summarized in that great statement that "Noah walked with God."
            Let us look a little more closely at the text, in which this statement is made about him. "Being warned of God." That word warned has a profounder meaning than may appear on the surface. The Hebrew word is variously translated. The word simply means literally that God told him, admonished him, spoke to him, warned him. God revealed to this man a purpose.
            Looking at Noah again, we see the motive of his life. It is declared that he was "moved with godly fear." The Authorized reading omits the word "godly." It is the Revised which correctly says, "moved with godly fear." Fear was the motive of his life as he walked with God.    That is not fear that is slavish and terrify­ing; but the fear which is the fear of the Lord, and the beginning of wisdom. It refers to his awe in the pres­ence and majesty of God, and to his urgent attempt to obey. That was the inspiring motive of what he did: "moved with godly fear."          So we see him, not only walking, but talking with God, and listening to Him, passionately desiring one thing only, that is, the honor and glory of God.
            So the man stands before us, limned in short, brief, pregnant sentences, revealed as one of the most remark­able and outstanding figures in Old Testament history.
            With equal brevity, consider the times in which this man lived as they are revealed in the account, reading the account carefully.
            Let us notice the description of the times. "The wickedness of man was great." That is a description of the human race at that time. That is not true today. The brief sentences are almost redundant in their em­ployment of terms to reveal the depth of the depravity. "Every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." Have we ever sat down in front of that, and thought it out? Thoughts always act in the realm of the imagination. Every imagination, every vision, every thought, every conception, only evil; and that not on one day, but "continually"! That is a picture of the human race that is the most appalling possible. There is nothing in the literature of the Bible or outside it, which is so graphic, terrifying, and overwhelming as the revelation of what humanity was at that time. Mark the matchlessness of it all—"Every . . . only . . . continually . . . evil." Those were the times in which Noah lived, the characterizations of the contemporaries among whom he lived.
            Our Lord referred to those times. He said, "In those days which were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage." (Matt. 24:38) Every­thing was going on as usual. Indeed, if they had known the modern phrase, they might have used it “Business as usual." On the ordinary level, they were progressing, and yet, every imagination of the thoughts of their hearts was evil continually. It is an appalling picture of the times.
            But faithful Noah, being told of God of the things unseen, was moved and inspired by godly fear to pre­pare an ark for the saving of his house. Mark that carefully. There was no evidence of the things God was telling him. They were things unseen. Mark the operation of this man's faith. We have referred to it in connection with his life and conduct. He walked with God, and God talked to him. He warned him, spoke to him, and admonished him. He was a lonely soul. Look round and see the condition of human life all around him; yet in the midst of it all, he walked with God, feared God, and was spoken to by God. Faith in God is seen operating. never since that time has humanity sunk so low as this. Though there are some very dark and terrible things revealed in other periods in history in the Bible, and out of it, there is no description of a race having sunk so low that the recorder has to say that "Every im­agination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." Only evil, no gleam of light, no change of thought, rotten, evil continually. The human race has never sunk so low since. Why not? Because Noah built his ark; and the work of God has moved forward from that new beginning. Never again have men sunk as low as that. The elect remnant in that ark has pre­vented it sinking to such unutterable depths of de­pravity as existed before the flood.
            But the same principle of evil is at work, and it has the same manifestations. Business is still as usual, eat­ing and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage; busy about our work, and material things. The princi­ple is still at work, and we see it everywhere.
            And the same God is absolute. He has never been other than utmost. Consequently the same testimony to righteousness is necessary. This highest illustra­tion should warn and admonish us. In a day when the principle of evil is working, God is reigning; and He is always looking for Noah, for men and women to walk with Him, to fear Him, and obey Him; to do things that appear so utterly without reason when He com­mands them; to build an ark of gopher wood for the coming flood, when there is no sign of the flood! Men will laugh and mock if we do this kind of thing. Noah walked with God by faith. He carried on by faith. He did the thing for which he could see no reason ex­cept that God commanded him. He fell into line with the divine order. He carried out the divine instruc­tion. He built his ark, and gave God His vantage ground for another movement in human history.
            That is what He is wanting us to do: to witness by faith, when all things seem contradictory; when all the circumstances of the hour seem to show that the things we are doing are utterly futile. Believing in God, hearing His voice, believing His word, we march on; and by our obedience condemn the world; and carry on the great march of righteousness toward its consumma­tion.
            No; things have never been at such low ebb as then. It was low ebb when they put Jesus on His Cross. No, not racially. There was a small elect rem­nant then; and even there in the midst of the dense darkness, God was carrying on. He always marches through those who have heard Him, who are obedient to Him, and do His commands.


Genesis 5

"By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and he was not found, because God translated him; for before his trans­lation he had witness borne to him that he had been well-pleasing unto God, and without faith it is impossible to be well-pleasing unto him."-HEBREWS 11:5, 6

That is the New Testament commentary on and the interpretation of an Old Testament account.
"Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him."—GENESIS 5:24.

            The New Testament statement may thus be para­phrased: By faith Enoch pleased God, and therefore God translated him that he should not see death.
            The Old Testament account is characterized by direct simplicity, and we will consider it as revealing the vic­tory of faith in the man Enoch. The Old Testament writer simply says that Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him. The New Testament writer goes behind the statement of the actual walk of the man, and tells us his secret, so that we may understand the account.
            The chapter in which it occurs is a remarkable rec­ord, stretching over human history for fifteen hundred years. It is a very commonplace account. Birth and burial, passion and pain, living and dying. The whole chapter gives the lie to the devil's lie in its solemn march. In the hour of temptation, to which humanity had yielded, he had said: "Hath God said, Ye shall not eat of any tree of the garden?" (Gen. 3:1) The answer given by the woman was not accurate. We are almost sure to go wrong at the beginning if we parley with the devil. She said: "Of the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat." That was correct. "But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it." God had said nothing of the kind. It is a habit to add some­thing to the commandment of God, and then object to it. God had said: "In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." Satan said: "Ye shall not surely die." We turn over then to this fifth chapter, and through it we hear a tolling of the knell of death, "And he died . . . and he died . . . and he died." So history moves on; and the lie of hell was contradicted in the process of the history.
            Only once across the fifteen hundred years the bell did not toll. There was no booming of the bell of death. Once the recorder had to change his phrasing, and instead of telling the account of a man who lived and died, he told of a man who lived; but when he came to record the end of his life, he could not add "and he died." He had to say, "He was not, for God took him." Upon that piece of history from the Old Testa­ment there flashes the light of the New Testament dec­laration, as we are told, "By faith he was translated," because he had pleased God. In that he was pleasing to God, "Without faith it is impossible to be well-pleasing unto him." We ask why is it that for once in the long and monotonous process of history of burial upon burial a man is said to have been translated. The answer is self-evident; it was because he walked with God.
            That brief account of Enoch is wonderful. A change came over the manner of his life. We are told he lived for 65 years, and begat Methuselah. After the birth of the boy a change came, and from then to the end of his life it could not be said of him in the ordinary phrasing, that he lived. After he begat Methuselah he walked with God for 300 years. It is a fascinating account.             How the change came about we are not told. It has been surmised that there came to him some revelation, given in the life of many a man after the birth of his child. It may be that he then saw the darkness of the sur­rounding ages, and looked on, and understood the di­vine movement, and so began to live by walking with God.
            Now the account of that life and its consummation is told in suggestive phrases. To these I would ask your attention; first, that Enoch walked with God; second, he was not, because God took him.
            We begin with the simple statement concerning his life: "He walked with God." The Bible is character­ized by the glory and brevity of many of its biographies. Take David, for instance. It is a wonderful account in the historical section of the Old Testament; but in the New Testament we have the whole account summarized. "David, after he had in his own generation served the counsel of God, fell on sleep." (Acts 13:36) That is a brief and full biography. Or to come to the biography of Saul: "I have played the fool." (1 Sam. 26:21) That is his account from first to last. But in all these biographical sketches none is more eloquent or more simply suggestive than this: "He walked with God."
            What does it mean? What does it mean when we say we walk with anyone? We all know. What does walking mean? I will suggest four things of the sim­plest nature, and they apply perfectly to this account, and to this revelation of what life means when it is lived by faith. If a man walks with God, it means, first, he moves in the divine direction. Second, it means he is in agreement with God. Third, it means there is mutual trust. Here a man trusted God, and God trusted him. Finally, if a man walks with God, it means that he keeps step with God.
            Let us test these simple things. You were going home, and walked with someone. What does that mean? You went the same way, and if you were in agreement, there was no controversy between you. Therefore you trusted each other, and you kept step. Oh, I have walked with people who did not think it mattered if they were in step with me or not. They were making a great mistake. To one who loves music, the perfection of walking means rhythm, keeping in step, one step at a time.
            Enoch walked with God, and that means he moved under the divine direction. We are at once face to face with a question which will inevitably arise. In what sense can we speak of God as going anywhere? How can God decide the walk? A simple outlook upon all the history of humanity will at least bear me out when I say that nothing yet has reached finality. It is true of the whole creation of God, and of all human history.
            Everything is in a state of transition. As Tennyson has put it:
"Through the ages,
One increasing purpose runs."
            But it runs; nothing is final and settled. With pro­found reverence, and yet with assurance, I declare that this is true about God, not about Himself, His own Be­ing, but about His relation to His creation; and in His relation to humanity, and to human history. Every­thing is moving, in a state of transition, and God is moving in these things. Nothing is final. Nothing is complete.
            What has been the line of the divine going in human history? His going is that of uncompromising, unceas­ing, and unfailing hostility to sin. That is the result of what God is in essence. The deepest fact concerning His Being is that He is love. That creates His un­swerving hostility to sin in every form, because sin mars and ruins and blights and blasts His humanity.         Whether we take the history of this Book, or go outside it, wherever we look, God is marching to war, a war with sin. He is out on a great campaign, and His cam­paign is fighting evil in every form. This is the neces­sity of the love of His heart.
            In the thirty-third chapter of Isaiah the question is asked: "Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burn­ings?" (Isa. 33:14) The presence of God is everywhere, and at all times, in all human history; it is devouring and blasting. It is an everlasting burning. The prophet asked the question: Who can dwell and live there? The answer is: "He that walks righteously, and speaks up­rightly; he that despises the gain of oppressions, that shakes his hands from holding of bribes, that stops his ears from hearing of blood, and shuts his eyes from looking upon evil." God's fire is forever burning in wrath against evil, because evil blinds and blights and blasts humanity.
            Enoch walked with God. From the moment of the birth of his child he did not live an ordinary life. His life was different, marked out from the ordinary life of the men and women surrounding him. He was march­ing with God in hostility to evil. He walked with God by faith.
            But there is a deeper note. This means there was perfect agreement. That is not always included in walking with God. Some people who are in agreement with the general principle about God's purpose, and desire and action, are nevertheless not at peace with Him within their own lives. Agreement means the end of controversy, that a man shall not for a single moment oppose his will or opinion to the will of his God. Many people perceive the great divine movement, and agree with it, even go so far as to utter its praise, and yet by some small controversy they are not in agreement with God, and are walking with God with their faces set toward the light, agreeing with His purpose. To make a modern application of this: There are many who praise and exult in the Sermon on the Mount, but they are not living by it. They agree that the divine direc­tion is the true one, but they are not walking with God, because there is still remaining a controversy between God and themselves. Whereas they may even be followers, they are not with Him. Enoch walked with God for 300 years. There was no controversy; and he was bound in all his life with the purpose, the passion, and the power of God. He walked with God.
            That leads to mutual trust. To me that is a very arresting thought. Enoch trusted God about himself, as to all the ultimate issue of human history and human life. He trusted Him. That is why he walked with Him.
            It is equally true that God trusted Enoch. God is speaking to another man, Abraham: "Shall I hide from Abraham that which I do . . . for I have known him." (Gen. 18:17) Enoch trusted Him. "The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him." What a marvelous declaration is made concerning Moses, which stands in terrible con­trast to the next sentence:
"He made known his ways unto Moses,
His acts unto the children of Israel."
            The children of Israel had to wait and see what He did. Moses was told beforehand. Because He trusted him, He could not hide His purpose, and talked with him face to face. And He trusted Enoch for 300 years. They moved in the same direction, in perfect agree­ment, trusting each other.
            We come to perhaps the simplest, and yet the most acid test. For 300 years Enoch kept step with God, which simply means that he did not run before God, nor lag behind. Those are two things we are all so apt to do. How often zeal outruns knowledge, and we rush ahead with calamitous results. Then at other times zeal is absent, though knowledge is there, because the command puzzles us, and we lag behind. That is not perfect walking with God.
            The highest illustration of this point is that of Peter. In the dark night of betrayal, in the Garden, he ran ahead of his Lord, and drew his sword, and struck off Malchus' ear. That is zeal without knowledge. He was running ahead. He was not waiting for commands. He was not obedient to the will of his Lord. With fine heroism, as it appeared, he struck a blow, and the result was a poor business, for he only knocked off a man's ear! He might have struck off his head, not his ear. But zeal without knowledge met with a sharp rebuke: "Put up the sword into the sheath," "for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword." (Matt. 26:52) From that moment Peter was offended, he felt he had been snubbed. Then what happened? He dropped behind, and followed afar off, and that lagging left him inside the gates, there by the fire with the enemies of Christ. First, heroic zeal! Now he is cursing and swearing, and insisting that he never knew Him! Running ahead, lagging behind! That is not walking with God. Walk­ing with God is keeping step with God. The man who walks with God will not undertake any business until he knows the will of God. As James has put it: "Ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall both live, and do this or that." (James 4:15) We used to say, God willing, but that is now out of date.
            The other peril is that of lagging behind when He commands the movement. We may run away, listening to the siren voices, and allow them to gain the victory; and we are left behind, until, maybe, we find our­selves getting warmth from the cold of the night at the fire of His enemies, and we shall say we never knew Him.
            A man who walks with God will not run ahead or lag behind, but will keep step all the way. That is possible by faith and faith only. There is no finer ideal of life than this. It may be objected that we are far advanced from the day of Enoch; that he lived in primitive times, not characterized by our complex age; that it was a much simpler thing to walk with God then than it could be now. Read again that fifth chapter of Genesis; and in the previous chapter there is the record of a race of men descended from Cain, and the culmination of the race in the seventh generation from Cain, in Lamech. Enoch was the seventh generation from Seth. Go back to the conditions of life in that generation in the midst of which Enoch lived. It was a generation of singularly prosperous humanity, on the human level. We find many interesting things. Lamech had several sons. One of them was Jabal, "the father of such as dwell in tents and have cattle." (Gen. 4:20) Another was Jubal, "the father of all such as handle the harp and pipe." (Gen. 4:21) Tubal-Cain was a great worker in metal. At that period under Lamech there was abuse and godlessness, and independence of control. These conditions existed when Enoch walked with God. The times are no more diffi­cult today. Then, so now, mankind is remarkably successful, in spite of rebellion against God. These were not monkeys that had just stood erect. These were accomplished men with minds that far exceed our capabilities. But man is going on in his cleverness, with his music and mechanical con­trivances; and never more so than today; and all the while singing a song of blasphemy against a holy God. Yet even in the midst of that, it is possible to walk with God, to move under the divine direction, to be in agreement with God, to trust and know Him; going step by step, waiting for His movements and accompanying Him therein. This is the life possible to faith. But without faith, as the writer has said, "it is impossible to be well-pleasing unto him."
            How far are we walking with God? Many have their faces in the Divine direction, and are striving to end the controversy and trust Him. And God is trusting such, and marvelously trusting them. Are we keeping step with Him? If so, it is by faith. That is the finest biography that can be written.
            Enoch was translated, that he might not see death. When taken from the earthly scene into the life beyond, it was not through the common gateway of death. Some may say that has no application therefore to us. I am not sure. It may have a literal application to some of us; for in the hour that He shall come, we that are alive and remain, as the apostle tells us, shall be caught up to meet Him in the air. There may be a great translation called rapture for some.
            But is there not something more here? Is it not true that in this Christian dispensation Christians never see death? Jesus said: "He that believeth on me, though he die, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth on me shall never die." (John 11:26) All down these Chris­tian centuries the great procession has moved on, men and women walking with God. Yes; they have died in our common acceptance of the term, and yet in the larger and truer outlook not one of them died. We still speak of "the swellings of Jordan" as if they repre­sented death; as though it was a cold river which we have to cross. It is nothing of the kind. That is the outlook of those left behind here; but the spirit, ran­somed, realizes his translation into the presence of God.
            What Mrs. Hemans sang about the slave that lay dead in the Georgia rice fields is true, namely, that the body is "A worn-out fetter which the soul has broken and flung away." So in the deepest fact of life, whenever a man walks with God, at the end God receives him.
            As we have seen the harmony of Enoch's life, notice the ending. Enoch "was not, for God took him"; took him into partnership, into fellowship, walked with him through all the changes of the commonplace life, and then at the end gathered him home, that he should not see death. I love the account of the little girl's outlook, when she went home from Sunday School, after hearing the account of Enoch. She said: "Mother, we heard about a wonderful man today in Sunday School." The sensible mother let her child tell what she had heard. "His name was Enoch, and you know, Mother, he used to go for walks with God." The mother said to her: "That is wonderful, dear. How did it end? " "Oh, Mother, one day they walked on and on, and got so far, God said to Enoch, ' You are a long way from home. You had better come in and stay with Me'"
            God has been saying that to our loved ones again and again. They have gone in to stay with Him, with Whom they had walked their earthly pilgrimage.

Sunday, April 28, 2013


Genesis 4:1-16

"By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he had witness borne to him that he was righteous. God bearing witness in respect of his gifts; and through it he being dead yet speaketh."—HEBREWS 11:4

            Faith has already been defined by the writer of this letter as to conduct: "My righteous one shall live by faith." It has been defined also as consciousness, "Faith is the confidence of things hoped for," based upon "conviction of things unseen." Moreover, we have considered what may be described as the creed of faith. "God is," and "He is a Rewarder" of such as "diligently seek after him."
            In illustrating the victories of faith the writer of Hebrews has declared it to be the origin of the records. Faith re­ceived a good report, and had witness made alive to it con­cerning the will of God. Moreover, he has declared that by faith is discovered the ultimate truth concern­ing human history, the ages. And since it is the “conviction of things unseen” modern science fails at this point in the thinking of God. They will make their own hell with their modern theory.
            Turning then to the stream of human history, he se­lected illustrations of the power of faith. He began with Abel, and ended with Jesus.
            The story behind the particular reference to Abel is recorded in Genesis 4, and is very familiar. Our Lord referred to him and to his death, "The blood of righteous Abel." This writer names him as a man of faith, and of that faith he tells us two things. First, by faith he offered to God an excellent sacrifice, which was ac­cepted; and second, by faith "he being dead yet speaketh." These two things are distinct, yet closely related. Going back to the record of this man Abel, the writer declared that by faith he worshipped; sec­ondly, that through faith "he being dead yet speaketh."
            It is interesting that when this writer begins to illus­trate faith he commences with a man at worship. There may be some significance in that. He did not mention Adam, and his faith, or Eve. He began with a man at worship and a member of a fallen race. There is no question about our first parents having faith in God, either before they fell from their high estate, or after they had fallen, and God had talked with them. Here, however, is a son of the race, fallen; and he is seen at worship. That in itself is significant. An illustration of faith is given, faith being a principle in worship. Worship is the highest function of human life. Of man God said, "Whom I have created for my glory"; (Isa. 43:7) and all through the sacred Writings and though the experi­ence of the Church man reaches the highest possible level of personality and possibility when he worships, not when he is working.
            Here a man is seen at worship. Notice first of all the words, "Abel offered unto God." The word "offered" literally means bore, bore toward God, carried into God's presence. This indicates at once an attitude of the activity of worship. We may wonder where the place of worship was, for there was no Tabernacle erected, no Temple structure. Here we are back with primitive humanity. Where was the place of worship? There certainly was one, and these two brothers came to it, and brought their gifts into the presence of God. These are questions we ask, and cannot answer; but we are allowed, reverently, to speculate. I believe the place of worship at the beginning was at the gates of Eden, where cherubim guarded the entrance, man hav­ing been by his failure excluded by an act of God. The gates were the gates of exclusion.
            This guarding by the cherubim is at least suggestive that it was at these very gates men came to worship. It is interesting to notice that "cherubim" guarded the gates of Eden, not seraphim. There is a difference clearly marked. A study of the words will show that cherubim were associated with Eden, the Tabernacle, the Temple, and the Throne of God. In every case the central idea is that of the Divine Presence, and the cherubim there to guard it. I think, therefore, that these two men, in company probably with Adam and Eve, personally had a place of worship where the glory of the cherubim was shining at the very gates of the garden from which they had been excluded. Outside the garden, yet in worship they were drawing near, coming to the threshold, and so coming into the pres­ence of God.
            I must say at this point that God gives us a most refreshing view of His creation so that we do not follow the leading of two monkeys that eventually stood upright and was able to communicate in some way. These were creations of immense intelligence using 100% of their minds in the business of glorifying their creator. We by our evaluations today use around 6% at best (genius level). That is what a curse and genetic depletion does just to the mind arena, let alone to the health situations we face today.
            They are seen coming, and offering their gifts in sacrifice. Let us fasten our attention at once upon the gifts of these men. We are told Abel offered by faith "the firstlings of his flock and the fat thereof." That is the story as stated, which means that he brought to the place of worship offerings that had been slain. Death was there. Death was acknowledged. Not so with Cain. When he brought gifts they were vegeta­bles, beautiful gifts from the ground, but there was no element of death, no suggestion of blood. Abel brought gifts that had been slain.
            Here again we are in the realm of speculation. In these brief records, however, there are many things we are told because they are of value to us. There is no doubt that this first man and woman had received in­structions from God to go to a place that God created and provided for them, and that when they had fallen, with infinite justice He talked to the woman, the man, and the serpent; and uttered that great promise that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head. When her firstborn came, unquestionably she hoped that promise had been fulfilled, and she said, "I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord," who shall bruise the serpent's head.
         Then I think she very soon saw that her firstborn child was not destined to fulfill the great promise of the ideal of God, and in disap­pointed womanhood she named her second son Abel—Vanity. Her first cry, "I have gotten a man"; sec­ond, no, it was "Vanity," disappointment! After the forbidden act, when they clothed themselves with fig leaves because they were naked and ashamed, God made them coverings, "coats of skin." (Notice the coats of skin in the graphic supplied above - both had coats of skin for their clothing.) We cannot read that without seeing behind those coats there had been sacrifice, death. I seem therefore to see behind that fact some instruction had been given, some method declared, some way indicated by which they were told to make to the place of the gates from which garden God had excluded them, by reason of the fact that they had excluded Him.
            We are distinctly told, both in Genesis and in He­brews, that God accepted Abel's sacrifice, and He did not accept the sacrifice of Cain. This is an old ques­tion, and has often been asked. Why did God accept one and not the other? There is only one answer that can be full and final. The sacrifice that Abel brought was a confession of sin, demanding sacrifice. There is no suggestion of sin in Cain's offering, no demand for sacrifice. When Abel came into the presence of God, bringing a sacrifice, this was the sign and acknowledg­ment of sin, and the need for some mediation in draw­ing nigh to God. Our 6% minds need help to figure these things out.
            He was drawing nigh to God, to use a familiar word, but breaking it up into a word of three syllables, by at-one-ment: That is what atonement means, some method by which there can be atonement made for sin; the coming back of the sinner into the place of accept­ance with God.     The instruction for bringing a gift that marked a necessity for atonement was faith; faith not in man, but in God; and faith in God in two ways. First in His holiness. There is no reference suggesting any conviction of the holiness of God in what Cain brought; but Abel came with a blood offering and in doing so he was recognizing the holiness of God. But also faith in the mercy of God. Knowing His holiness, and hoping for His mercy, believing it on the basis of what He had already said to the first woman, Abel drew near, and his offering said: Thou art holy, I am sinning; but Thou art all mercy. Let my gift speak for me, and represent me in Thy presence.
It is not correct to say, whereas there is an element of truth in it, that God refused Cain's gift, and therefore refused the man; or that God accepted Abel's gift, and therefore accepted the man. The truth must be put in a different way. God accepted the man Abel, and therefore his gift. He refused the man Cain, and there­fore his gift. The gift of Cain was a revelation of the man, and the gift of Abel was a revelation of the man. The one was refused because of what he was, as expressed in his gift; one accepted because of what he was in himself and expressed in his gift.             That is what the writer meant when he said, "By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he had witness borne to him that he was right­eous." Abel was a sinning man and yet a man whose attitude to God was a true one, and whose gift proved his sense of the necessity for forgiveness in order that he might approach. That constituted his right to be spoken of as righteous, "God bearing witness in respect of his gifts." So Abel stands forevermore at the head of the long line of worshipping men and women, a revelation of what worship ever ought to be.
            A wise man named Dr. Hutton once said, when speaking of the possibility of our having perfect confidence in God, that we should always walk through life, metaphorically at least, with bowed heads as those who know they are sinners, saved only by grace. Surely that is the very essence of worship. To come stridently, and without reverence into the presence of God, imagining we can worship Him through flowers and fruits, and things aesthetic, all the trivialities that are dying as we touch them, is to insult His holiness. Worship demands the approach based upon sacrifice. The sinner is so ac­cepted. There must be some way of atonement, at-one‑ment; and through the way provided by sacrifice, which is only the beginning.
            This rule runs all through the literature of the rites and ceremonies of the priesthood (of which we are for the Lord), all going to prove its necessity. We may as well take our courage in both hands and say at once, this is the meaning of the Cross. We cannot worship, and we can never come to God to worship, except by the way of the Cross. But by the way of the Cross a great provision was made, atonement was made; and sin can be dealt with, and put away by a righteous God; and we may lift our faces and look into His face and call Him "Our Father." That is worship, and nothing else suffices, however aesthetically beauti­ful it may be, until we come with solemnity to Him as men and women whose only hope is the Cross of Christ.
            Then the story tells us, second, that "Through faith, he being dead yet speaketh." That simply means that his offering, as an action of faith never ends, but goes on. A true action of faith always runs on beyond the lifetime of the one who acts in faith. He is still speaking, and the story of the man is eloquent. "He being dead yet speaketh."
            What did Abel say? What is Abel saying? There seems to have been a general idea that what the writer meant when he said, "the blood of sprinkling," that is, the blood of Jesus, "speaketh better than that of Abel" was that the blood of Abel cried for vengeance. That is not so, in spite of some of our hymns that we sing. Our theology must not come from an uninspired hymn book. It is not true. Is that the meaning of this? Is that the message that Abel is still uttering, though he is dead? Is it a cry for vengeance? I do not believe it. Read again what God said to Cain about the speech of Abel's blood. "The voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground," from the red soil, the earth. What had it to say? The general interpretation is that the voice of the blood cried to God for vengeance. This has never been the nature or the desire of faith. Indeed, he was not asking for vengeance. The Hebrew word there is almost a terrible one. To translate lit­erally: "The voice of thy brother's blood shrieketh, crieth." It is a word that marks agony, pain. Why? Because the earth had swallowed that blood; and now the blood was crying, screaming out of dire agony.
            What was this blood? It was the direct result of sin, the result of rebellion against God. When Cain slew his brother, he did it because he was evil. In that act he expressed what sin really is. Finally, the same thing was expressed forever by Jesus on His Cross. The blood of Abel was the result of sin, and it cried to God. The blood sounding in the ears of God was the agonized cry of humanity for some way of atonement and recon­ciliation; for some way of return to God. In the shed­ding of his blood there was being voiced in the listening ear of God the shriek, the scream, the agonized calling of humanity.
            Here in the twelfth chapter of Hebrews, at verse 24, the writer says, referring to the blood of Abel, that the blood of Jesus speaks better things than that of Abel.
            The blood of Abel cried aloud from the ground for some method of salvation, for some method of setting right.
            It was the voice of dire calamity. The blood of Christ does not cry for it, but declares that the cry is an­swered, that the atonement is made, that the great sacrifice through which humanity may come to the gates of Eden and meet with the cherubim, and retire into the inner place, is made. The blood of Jesus declared the atonement made. The blood of Abel was the cry of necessity, the cry of need, the anguished cry of hu­manity excluded from God. The blood of Jesus tells that there is a way for men to rise, a way of entrance into the Holy Place, past all the gatekeepers, certainly of men, and also of angels, and of the cherubim. So an act of faith is perfected in itself.
            We come back to the old story, and Abel is speaking still, speaking in blood shed by sin as it cries to God; speaking in the sacrifice with which to approach the holy God. So our worship must be of that nature for evermore, offered because the blood of Christ forever affirms the rent veil, the way of access made open. He awaits your worship.

Saturday, April 27, 2013


Psalm 19

"Therein the elders had witness borne to them. By faith we understand that the worlds have been framed by the word of God, so that what is seen hath not been made out of things which do appear."—HEBREWS 11:2-3
            True science has been taken over by a false religion as this article will point out. Hold on for further details.
            By the quotation from Habakkuk, the writer of this letter has declared faith to be the true philosophy of life: "My righteous one shall live by faith." He has, moreover, defined faith in the abstract. "Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the proving of things not seen." In the rest of this chapter 11 we have abounding illustrations of the power and the victory of faith. The writer has selected his illustrations from the stream of history, from Abel to Jesus. The consummation is reached, not in the eleventh, but the twelfth chapter.
            In the words of our text, before dealing with personalities, he shows faith in its relation to human history as a whole. I know of no passage which has suffered more from misunderstanding, due to faulty translation. Let us, therefore, follow three lines of consideration, first attempting a careful examination of the passage itself then observing the statement of its double declaration. So we shall find its interpretation of history.
            I have dogmatically said that this passage has been misunderstood largely through faulty translation. Notice first of all that the writer says, "Therein the elders had witness borne to them." The Old Version read, "Through faith the elders obtained a good report." Some may say those two translations mean the same thing. They may, but they may be very different. The Authorized Version suggests a record concerning the elders. When we went to school, we took home at the end of the year a good report—at least some did—but it was a report! That is how we have understood this; the elders had a good report. Their marks were good. But if we take the translation, "the elders had witness borne to them," not about them, but to them, the form suggests a record the elders gained, and received; a good report, they had witness made to them and from the right source. They were not talking. They were listening. They were not reading something said about them. They were listening to something said to them. "Through faith the elders had witness borne to them." I do not object to the old rendering, provided we understand the meaning of the word "obtained."
            Then again. "By faith we understand that the worlds have been framed by the word of God." That is constantly understood as a reference to the material universe, to creation, a reference to the great phrase, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." That is a glaring error. The word used is not "worlds," but "ages." "By faith we understand that the ages have been framed by the word of God." The word refers to a time element, not to a material structure. It does not refer to the cosmos materially, but to the passing of time, the passing of ages. Modern science has to change the ages to conform to their thinking and thereby the faith of their religion. They have to make up a new framing for the ages. (A day is a day to God not millions of years.)
            Here, then, the writer says that by faith we understand that the ages were framed by the word of God. At the beginning of this letter the writer says: "God . . . hath spoken unto us in his Son . . . through whom also he made the worlds." There is the same mistake. It is "through whom he fashioned the ages." The declaration of the writer, here, is that by faith we understand those periods, as they come and go do not arise out of circumstances which cannot finally explain any age. He is therefore totally in control of not only this age, but the past ages, and those that are to come.
            These changes in translation are of utmost importance to the true viewpoint of the great declaration made here by the writer. Let us now take those two declarations and consider them.
            The writer first said, Faith is the attitude which has made possible the reception of a revelation, and so witness was made. Through faith the elders gained, obtained news, a report, a statement, a revelation. Yes, in that sense faith obtained it, but they obtained it through faith. At once we are brought face to face with the philosophy of the passing of time, and the passing of every age; and also with the method by which we have obtained the statement found in Holy Scripture. It is that statement which makes us still believe in Genesis, in spite of all criticism of Genesis. These elders obtained a report, they had a revelation. They were told how, in and through faith, the revelation came. But oh how the religion of science today discredits and even ignores its simple statements. They have framed a new definition on the ages.
            What was faith in the elders case? It was an activity which ceased speculation, and found God, an activity that was no longer content to (examine) events and circumstances and matter and material. That activity may be perfectly right in its place. But this was an activity which was no longer content to dissolve the earth and universe into their component parts, and then taking some component part, again dissolve it. This was not the activity that knocked at one door of the atom only, revealing each secret force vibrant with motion. They were men who turned aside from this, and said, When we have discovered the constituent parts of the universe, and the mystery of every particle of that universe; and have discovered the mystery; when we stand confronted with that which baffles us, we are touching God. Because they passed from the realm of speculation into the realm of listening, the writer could speak of them and say that they had obtained a good report. They obtained an account of the nature of man. They obtained a revelation of the method of divine government. They obtained a record of how things came into being. They obtained an interpretation that ever grew through the passing of those very ages into clearer showing of the nature and character of God most importantly. Then all the other facts obtained made sense but now they form their own facts upon a false faith.
            The nature and character of God were never discovered by speculation. We cannot discover any emotion by speculation or investigation. The mystery of law and government wraps us round everywhere. Not by investigation, but by faith we know; and faith obtains a good report. To that attitude God can speak.
            The word "elders" here is synonymous with the word "fathers" in the first chapter. We could translate in our language "presbyter." In the past God spoke to the fathers, the elders, in divers portions and manners. They were men of faith, who came to the conclusion that "nothing can be finally explained until God is found." By faith in God they obtained a good report, witness was made.
            Take the other declaration, "By faith we understand." What do we understand? We understand that the things seen "hath not been made out of things which do appear." By faith we understand that these ages have been framed by the word of God. "By faith we understand." We remember Tennyson's line:
"We have but faith; we cannot know."
            Never was there a more untrue statement made. That is modern sciences view of the man of faith who understands. The truth is we now have faith, and so we can know. That is a very different thing. That is what this writer says, "By faith we understand." That word "understand" simply means we exercise the mind. The mind may be exercised with God shut out, but no discovery is made as to the secret of the universe, or the character of God, or the nature of man. And that is where modern science is today. But by faith we understand. Faith is apprehension. It is the rational attitude of the soul. When faith has found God it has found the realm of reason. Faith is never, credulity (that is the avenue of modern science). "By faith we understand." Faith appeals to the intelligence. Faith interprets, and so we understand.
            What is it we understand? I come back to the word so full of significance. "By faith we understand that the ages have been framed by the word of God." True science knowledge incorporates God, and does not deny that He created from nothing. This is a most stupendous statement. What are the ages? Periods of time, and they are always unlimited. An age does not necessarily mean a certain period of time. It is an interesting and revealing study in scientific investigation to read about the Stone age, and the Bronze age, and the Iron age. They are supposed to have succeeded each other, and very likely that is true. There was the early age, the Stone age, when men began out of the rocks to make weapons and tools, and so use the stones. These were not monkies that just stood erect, they were true scientists. That age had its period, how long we do not know; and it was succeeded by the Bronze age, when metals began to be understood and intermixed, so that better tools and instruments were made. Then came the most cruel and hardest age in human history, the Iron age.
            Again, I take up my Bible and see there the ages. The Stone age, the geological age of Stone. There the mind of man was working on the material, and there came the dawning of understanding in him. God was fashioning the age, whether it be of stone, or of bronze, or of iron. I stand behind this Book, this marvelous and miraculous Literature, and glance at the ages.
       There are ages, some longer and some shorter. Let us summarize them. There was the age of Innocence. Then sin, entered, and there followed the age of Conscience. That broke down and failed, and there broke the age inaugurated by the call of Abram, the age of Faith. That ran on over centuries, and when that was failing another age dawned, the age of Law, which continued until Christ came. That is the meaning of that New Testament word that the law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. Rather, it was our guardian, our custodian. The law took us into custody. The nearest approach to the Greek word there is the word pedagogue. In the olden day he was the guardian, who saw that the boy attended the lessons of his teacher, and looked after him. The nearest approach to the pedagogue of the Greek time is the tutor at our universities. He does not teach, but is watching over students, advising them what lectures to take, and seeing that they attend—at least, he tries to do so! In that sense the law was our custodian until Christ. We are well aware of what happens when mens intelligence turns away from Christ and His custodian.
            The age of the Christ lasted thirty-three years, just a generation in human history. Then, the age of the Spirit. We are living now in that age. We might correctly call it the age of the Church, for the Church is the body through whom the Spirit works. We might call it the age of Grace.
            But there is another age, the age of Consummation, or the Golden age. Here they pass before us in this Biblical literature, the differing ages. By faith, the activity of our mind convinces us that God arranged all these ages; indeed He has framed them. He has fashioned them. The word "framed" may correctly be rendered fashioned completely by the word of God.
       Here "the word of God" is not the word logos, but rhemati—a fiat. God commanded, God ordained, God said, "Let there be," and there was. In the creation of order seen in Genesis 1, He was commanding; and no word of God lacks power. Through all these running ages as they come and go, change and pass, the ultimate interpretation of every age is God.
            Some may say to me: Are you not putting a lot of blame on God? There have been ages characterized by the uttermost cruelty, and you say that God framed them? Certainly, but that needs to be taken a step further. Look over the field of history from this standpoint, and we should remember there are certain facts that stand out clearly revealed. The first is this: Confining ourselves to the history of this literature, all history reveals the faithfulness of God to His own creation in the freedom of "human will." God is seen here, but I read through, and watch, and I see the human will is free, free to obey, free to disobey. Free to trust His science or form their own view. God has created man, and has so fashioned the ages that they revolve around that central and marvelous mystery of the human will, with power to choose and elect. But God is revealed.
            The second thought revealed is that of the maintenance of the authority of God as symbolized in the Garden of Eden at the beginning. Man was put into the Garden, and two things were said to him. "Thou mayest" and "Thou shalt not." "Thou mayest freely eat of every tree of the garden." It is the great charter of freedom. Thou shalt not eat of this one tree. That is the word that marks limitation and restriction of liberty, under the authority of God. God has never abandoned man. It has been true in all history and of the human race. Man has been free to obey or to disobey; to recognize or to rebel, to trust His science or form their own; but we have never been away from His authority.
            That leads us a step further. The choices of humanity are worked out always to their logical conclusion, because this is a moral universe. It is in that fact that this is a moral universe that we recognize the government of God. He has fashioned the ages. He is always there. We cannot escape Him in any realm. Break a law, any law—I do not mean necessarily the Decalogue, or even the Sermon on the Mount—break law, and we have smashed God's universe.
           God is forevermore seen reigning, ruling. All human disaster is the result of human choice, worked out to its necessary issue. It is this compelling force of God's order that is making it so. God fashions the ages, but we are free. We can, if we like, take a philosophy that says that the ideals of Christ are the ideals of weakness. Such choose deliberately, and throw overboard the Man of Nazareth, and substitute the man of the mailed fist. Such teaching of the human race permeates the whole of it.
            I speak now with reverence. Says God: Very well, you are free; but remember this, that your choice will work itself out to a harvest which is inherent in your choice. One harvest came in 1914, and the misery and muck of war were due to a philosophy that had turned its back upon Christ. That philosophy followed with a 2nd World war. Those two wars came due to the men’s leadership of countries that supported this philosophy of the fist. It goes on, and it works out in that way, because God is there, and He has created a moral universe in which man is free within limits; and the freedom of the will at last works out to the inevitable conclusion of the thing chosen, and that because God is governing.
            That is the conviction of faith, and it is that confidence in the unseen that gives us conviction concerning things hoped for. We cannot escape Browning at this point:
"That, after Last, returns the First;
Though a wide compass round be fetched;
That what began best, can't end worst,
Nor what God blessed once, prove accurst?"
            In every age, as it succeeds, God is in it, molding it, and allowing man his choice; but so shutting him in to the moral of eternal principles that at last his choice, whether for good or evil, comes to the harvest. "Be not deceived, God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man," or a nation, "soweth, that shall he also reap."
            Yet the last thing to say in this connection is this: All history shows—and this is the marvel of it—God is making possible recovery, in spite of pain. There is always a second chance. There are always forces available to humanity, wherein and whereby humanity may turn in repentance, and find recovery and grace, and so be enabled to move forward. It is the very fashioning of the passing ages that they are for evermore moving on toward that final age when that rule and reign shall be acknowledged, and when the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. Man might return to the true science based on faith, based on truth and thereby receive a good report!!!

Friday, April 26, 2013


Mark 11:12-14, 20-25

"He that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a Rewarder of them that seek after him."—HEBREWS 11:6

            In our last article we were considering a definition of faith in the abstract. Faith is "confidence in things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." How­ever in neither the words cited in Habakkuk nor in that definition contained in the first verse of this chapter have we struck the deepest note. Faith is there seen to be an activity in two realms, those of things hoped for, and the unseen things. We do not, see that upon which faith builds.
            In the words of the text above we come to bedrock, as it declares the fundamental facts of the activity of faith in that duplicate sense. I say a duplicate sense, because faith may have a hundred and one suggestions; and may make many suggestions to the mind when reading the illustrations of faith in the Bible. This word, how­ever, brings us face to face with something funda­mental. "He that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a Rewarder of them that seek after him."
            The Bible assumes these two things. From the first it assumes that God is. It assumes, moreover, that He is the Rewarder of those that seek Him. The Bible never argues for either of these things, nor did the great men of the Bible, presented to us in their messages to men. With profound reverence I may say that Jesus Himself never argued for the existence of God, nor concerning His availability to men. He assumed them. He took them for granted. He proceeded in His teach­ing and in His mighty work upon these very assump­tions. There may be arguments about the love of God, the justice of God, the care of God, but never about His existence, and this simple fact that God and man may have dealings with each other; that God is available to human life. Indeed, the old singer dismisses with con­tempt the man who doubts that. He says the man who does not believe in God is a fool. Faith bursts into the realm of things hoped for, of things not seen; and faith becomes confident, and enters into agreement.
            We will stay first with the central idea expressed by this writer when he says, "He that cometh to God"; and then look at the declared conditions. We must believe that God is, and that He is a Re­warder. "He that cometh to God." For a long time, in my reading of this passage I thought of it as referring to prayer. While I have by no means given up that idea, I have come to see that it means far more than that. Prayer is involved, but there is more than prayer in coming to God. Simply and inclusively, the writer means by coming to God, approaching God, and drawing near to God, getting into direct and living and vital contact with God. "He that cometh to God." Coming to God is having communication with Him.
            Now we realize that a man can believe in God in cer­tain ways, and yet never get into communication with Him. A man may have a perfectly orthodox creed. But a very orthodox thinking about God may be in­finitely removed from contact with God; and it is con­tact with God that is rewarded here. That is what faith is for. Faith is not merely acceptance of certain truths about God. Faith goes through the truths to God Him­self. "He that cometh to God." Simply and inclu­sively that means to approach God, to get near to God, to put oneself into communication with Him; to have a relationship with Him as Adam each day.
            That approach to God has two main ideas. The simplest of all is that to come to God is to speak to God. To come to God is to hear God speak to us. We must not divorce these two ideas.      That, of course, is prayer. This word does refer to prayer, but to far more. It refers to a man talking to God. There are two functions of the human soul in the matter of speech to God. The first is prayer, the second is praise. I put them in that order because I think in human experience prayer always precedes praise. In living experience we begin to pray before we begin to praise, which is the truest and highest function of speech. Prayer is the first experience, and praise is the highest and the last.
            That, of course, is the whole subject of worship. We come to the Table of the Lord. We do not come there to pray but to praise. I love the word which describes the Table as the Eucharist. What is that? Simply the offering of praise, or worship. We make a great mistake if we come to the Table to confess sins. That should have been done before we came. Although it was at the table instead of at the door that the feet was washed at the Supper of the Lord. That is the foot washing portion of the Supper with the Lord. If we have not sought for cleansing before we eat His supper, we have no place at the Table (John 13:8).Note: the one who would deny Christ 3 times was allowed to ask Him why He was washing his feet. Therefore here absolutely we approach God, speaking to Him in praise.
            But to come near to God means not only that we come to speak to Him, but we come to be quiet, to listen. In that call to quietness there are two things: silence and reception. There can be no reception of the speech of God directly to the soul of man until man is quiet. Do we take time to listen? It is an old and familiar thing to say. People say, God does not speak to men as He did in the great records of the past. God does not speak to men today as He did to Abraham and to Moses. Might it not be far truer to put that in another form? Men do not listen as Abraham did. Man is not waiting to hear what God has to say as Moses did. Approach to God means time to be quiet. When the last prayer is uttered, when the last note of praise is silent; then in the silence, the heart can wait and listen to Him. I have never done that without having heard Him speak. Not necessarily with an articulate voice; but so surely as I have heard, and stopped my hurry, and bustle, and rushing, and turmoil, and ceased giving attention to the babel of voices and sounds beating all around me; and have said, "Lord, speak to me," He has done so, often in rebuke, and constantly in love. But He speaks.
            Now he who comes to God, who approaches God, he who makes communication with God, which means freedom of utterance in His presence; and in the silence listens to what He would say, what are the conditions of that coming? They are so simply, clearly, and suc­cinctly stated here that we need not stay with them. We will but emphasize the things we know. "He that
cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a Rewarder of those that seek after him." It is a sim­ple statement, but it is a inspiring conception. The in­clusive condition is that of faith, confidence, and conviction with regard to His Being; and with regard to His attitude toward certain human disability.
            If we come to God we must believe that He is. Can one really come to God if we do not believe that He is? A man may say No, and perhaps that is why we do not come to Him, and do not make contact with Him. It is not easy to believe that He is. How often that is af­firmed. I am of the contrary opinion. I declare that it is the easiest thing in human life to believe in God. Effort is not required. Effort is required to disbelieve, rather than to believe. All one has to do is go outside and take a good look.
            Read again the story of Helen Keller—that marvelous and matchless story which reflects such glory upon Miss Sullivan, the woman who cared for her and taught her, a child silent, deaf, dumb, and blind, and yet reached her. When she had led Helen Keller a certain distance, she sought someone to talk to her about God. The man she approached was Bishop Phillips Brooks. He came to see her, and when he tried to bring to her the idea of God as existing, suddenly Helen Keller's face became radiant as she said to him, "I see what you mean, but I have known that all the time." All through the years she had known God, and that God is. So simple, so tender. Can you find me a little child who does not believe in God, except where that child has been brought up in utter ignorance and hate? It is the natural in­stinct of a child to believe in God. All simple souls believe in God. It is a universal conviction. There may be differing views about God, but are there any who have no conception of God? That is the first necessity. If lines of proof are asked for, I shall appeal to imagination, to reason, and then to historic mani­festation.
            I appeal first to the imagination. There was a book published many years ago, Paley's Natural Theology, one of the greatest books ever published. In it he argued from design that God was evidenced every­where (Rom. 1:20). Grasping a handful of sand, and looking at it, no one would be able to count the grains, for there are so many. Again, take a watch and hold it in your hand; whether you stop to argue concerning its natural move­ment, your mind would run ahead to the fact that somewhere there is a watchmaker. That is a very clear illustration of what Paley meant by evidence from de­sign. We cannot imagine a watch without a watch­maker. Apply that to the universe in which we live. If that watch argues a watchmaker, what does this uni­verse argue? Even if I am told watches have improved since Paley's time that does not for a moment invali­date the argument, but rather enhances it. The better watch proves a more skillful watchmaker, but the watch­maker is there. It is a fact that the mechanism of the universe has been proved far more complex than our fathers believed; but are the growing proofs of the complexity of the universe any less an attestation of the mind of a Creator? It is easy to believe in God.
Think for a moment of the creation. Creation with­out intelligence? Order without arrangement? Order is everywhere. Put it to the test. Go into an apple orchard, and gather the fruit, and you will find that the leaves on the twig grow in spirals, and the sixth is al­ways exactly over the first. Did that just happen—happen a myriad times? No, there is method behind it: Somebody Who knows. Go at harvest time, and take an ear of corn in the field; and you will not find a single ear with an odd number of rows. Somebody counts! A man tells me that all is without God. I do not, and cannot believe that. I must believe that He is. That is the appeal to the imagination.
            Then there is an appeal to reason. That has been involved in what I have said. Can we imagine man without God? Some people seem to. Surely they must be shockingly ashamed of their ancestry. If a man as he is today—I care not whether good or bad—surely there is some mind behind this creation, surely some in­telligence that accounts for such a being. In appealing to reason, all I want to say is this. It is far easier for me to believe that He is, than that He is not. I must believe that. I must start there.
            And yet we are not left to such illustrations. Light is beating all around us concerning God. It broke in upon human intelligence two thousand years ago, when God was manifested in the flesh. The Man of Nazareth made His claim to be one with God. He ex­horted men to believe in God; and His victories were always those of leading men to that conviction, and to that understanding. If we would approach Him, we must begin there, and believe that God is.
            But we may believe all that, and yet fail to make contact with God. That is why the second statement of condition is of vital importance. We must also be­lieve that He is the Rewarder of them that seek after Him. That is not belief in the moral government of God, though that, of course, is necessarily involved. It is a belief that He does not and cannot abandon man, created in His own image and in His own likeness. And by the way the monkey wasn’t. A man may say that he believes in God, and in His omnip­otence, and yet say that He is careless of man.             It is impossible to make me believe that. Whether it be the result of scientific investigation or the result of the Biblical declaration, man is the crowning glory of crea­tion as we know it in this world. I am only an indi­vidual in this world, and there are worlds that I have not yet seen. My thought of heaven is not merely one place, but a universe. What exercises we shall have when we investigate God's great universe! But in this earth, the highest work and form of being is man; and the highest thing in man is his moral character, his sentiment or conviction. God must have to do with that man, and He must have to do with that man morally, if He is a Rewarder. Then He must be avail­able to man.
            We must be careful here, because there are men who do not reach God, and men that God does not reach. In a certain way He reaches all men, for in Him we live and move and have our being. But there are men who are not conscious of Him, they have no dealings with Him, He cannot have dealings with them. He cannot reach them. He cannot tell them His secrets; no general tells the enemy his secrets. "The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him." He can communicate with such. So He is the Rewarder of them that seek after Him. It is a great word, those who diligently seek Him. It conveys effort in its sim­plicity and sublimity.
            One can walk through the cornfields, and across the meadows by the river bank, and over the mountains, and never touch Him. We must "seek Him." The word has all the force of investigation, of demand made upon us. Why should I use any other words than those that Jesus uttered, "Ask . . . seek . . . knock"? They describe the attitude of the soul to which God can make His response. He is the Rewarder of those that seek after Him. These are the people who "ask, seek, knock," who reach God, and whom He can reach. (Matt. 7:7; Luke 11:9).
            But is that possible? The first proof that it is possi­ble is found in the ability of man to do this very thing. God has so created man that he can ask, he can seek, and he can knock. There are no half measures in Na­ture, we are told. If God gives a fish fins, there is water in which to use them. If God gives a bird wings, there is air in which it can fly. If God gives to man the capacity to seek Him, there is the possibility of an an­swer to his seeking. We may therefore conclude that
God is a Rewarder, which is testified by the experience of man. If testimony is to be accepted as evidence on any subject, it must be accepted here. Multitudes of people have testified to the fact in their lives that hav­ing sought, they have found; having asked, they have been answered; having knocked at the door, it was swung open, and God has come to them.
            The final proof is the testimony of the Man of Naza­reth, Who, whatever doubts we may have concerning some of the things He said, as to what they meant, has left no room for doubts that He believed, and intended men to believe that God is available to souls, will an­swer them, will reward them, will come to them in grace, in aid, in strength, in love, in help—when they seek after Him.
            Let us consider, in conclusion, the teaching involved.
            In the whole of the Biblical revelation, from beginning to end, belief in God is manifest as in One Who knows, and Whose wisdom is infinite. There is no journey to take to find Him. He is all-powerful. He is alive. How easy it is to come to Him, for perfect love casts out fear.
"This is the God we adore,
Our faithful infallible Friend;
His love is as great as His power,
And knows neither measure nor end."
            If we believe He is a Rewarder, it means we believe He is interested in us, an infinite mystery and wonder, something that baffles the intellect. Amid all the won­ders of the far-flung splendors of the universe, here am I, insignificant, a grain of dust, and yet God is inter­ested in me! I think it is well to advise young people to go back and study the Old Testament, and particu­larly the book which some people consider dry and un­interesting—Leviticus. There we see how interested God is in man, in the very simplest matters. He is in­terested in what we wear, according to the climate, and the texture of wool or cotton. The clothing ordered then was hygienic and necessary, in that climate, for the people. That is illustrated all through the Bible. "Thou shalt not seethe a kid in its mother's milk." Have we ever stopped to think about that command? I see His interest in man, in him, and his home, his furniture, his reading, in everything. He is a Re­warder.
            That means His purpose is a purpose of blessing; and He will bestow it forever upon people that will seek after Him. How easy it is. No persuasion is necessary. "Nothing in my hand I bring." I may rest assured that there will be no refusal, except the refusal of infinite Love, and His "No" is as much a proof of His love, and often more so than if He gave the thing asked for. He never denies save in love. "No good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly." (Psa. 84:11).
            Yet I would remind you that the text marks the note of urgency. Belief means more than conviction; it means obedience. It means trusting, and venturing upon God, coming to Him, speaking to Him, listening to Him, daring everything upon His word. That is the condition to which God can appeal. He who comes to God, comes to One Who rewards that kind of coming.
            We should not forget the setting of the text. The section begins in the tenth chapter. Let us go further back, to the beginning of the letter. There we find that God, Who spoke to the fathers by divers portions and in divers manners, has spoken in His Son; and He stands to us in the place of God, for He is God. Faith in Christ is faith in God; and he that comes must be­lieve that He is. So humanity is brought face to face with the Person of Christ. As we believe in Him, faith is passing through the manifestation to the thing mani­fested, and we are finding God; and that is the bedrock of faith.