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Saturday, May 19, 2018

JESUS PROVIDES SALVATION AND MAKES IT KNOWN

JESUS PROVIDES THE GOD DESIRED SALVATION FOR MEN


"His right hand and His holy arm hath wrought salvation for Him. Jehovah hath made known His salvation" Psa. 98:1, 2

The theme is the same in these last Psalms, that of the reign of Jehovah. This song opens and closes in almost the same words as in Psa. 96. Here the central matter for which praise is offered is the salvation which results from the reign of this God. It moves in three measures; first, the salvation of God's people Israel, and that in righteousness; second, the consequent discovery of His Kingship by all the earth; and third, the gladness of Nature as it expresses the greatness of God. In these words at the beginning of the song two great truths concerning human salvation emerge. The first statement is that salvation is God's work; His right hand, and. His holy arm, hath wrought "salvation for Him." The idea is that salvation was in HIS PURPOSE; He desired it; He willed it. That being so it was imperative that He should provide. Whatever needed to be done, He must do. The singer rejoiced that Jehovah had provided what He desired. Here the heart of truth concerning salvation, in all the Gospel fullness of the term, is revealed. GOD DESIRED THE SALVATION OF MEN. MEN COULD NOT PROVIDE SALVATION. Then He wrought in a mystery of love and holiness and power; and so salvation is made possible. The second statement is that HE HAS MADE KNOWN His salvation. He has REVEALED it to men, and in its victories He makes it known more and more perfectly. Thus this Hebrew singer celebrated a truth the full value of which he hardly recognized. Here we have in the first statement, a declaration concerning those profound activities within the Deity, out of which human salvation is possible; and in the second, a declaration which covers the ground of the life and death and resurrection of Jesus. In Phil. 2:5-11, we find the New Testament light on this passage.

Friday, May 18, 2018

THREE TYPES OF FAITH

THREE TYPES OF FAITH


"And he removed from thence, and dug another well" Gen. 26:22


In these words we have a revelation of the character of Isaac, and an indication of the nature of his faith. He was a quiet, placid man, not given to making any great ventures, not given to restlessness. His was the pastoral habit that loved to dwell peaceably, DIGGING WELLS and so providing for the needs of those of his people and his cattle who were dependent upon him as the head of his tribe. But he was a man of persistence. He would not engage in strife with those who stole his wells, but he would quietly go on digging until they were tired of stealing. When his persistence found its reward in a well which his enemies did not appropriate, he called it Rehoboth, and attributed his victory to Jehovah, saying: "Jehovah hath made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land." All this is very valuable, as it helps us to see that faith expresses itself in different ways, according to differing temperaments. The faith of Abraham was forever of the high, adventurous order, and was the means by which God could lead him to great experiences. The faith of Jacob was always that of restlessness, but it was faith, and so was the vantage ground which God found for the perfecting of the man, and for using him. That of Isaac was restful, persistent devotion to immediate duty, and it was the principle which made it possible for God to give room in the land to the people He had chosen. God needs, and will honor and use, the ADVENTUROUS FAITH of Abraham, the RESTLESS FAITH of Jacob, and the PATIENT, PERSISTENT FAITH of Isaac.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

DYING EMPTY OR FULL

DYING EMPTY OR FULL



"Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full" Gen. 25:8


That is a great word, especially if we leave it as it is in the Hebrew Bible, without the addition of the words, “of years." Abraham died FULL, not of years only, or principally, but of life, of experience, of all the great things. By faith he had abandoned much, but he had gained far more. He had come to know God; to walk with Him, to talk with Him; to enter into a true fellowship with Him in all the great processes of His heart. "He was called the friend of God" (James 2:23). Such life is FULL, whatever it seems to lack. The man whose vision is bounded by the things of time and sense might well say that Abraham died singularly EMPTY. As the writer of the letter to the Hebrews said he "died in faith, not having received the promises" (Heb. 11:13). For a hundred years he had dwelled in a land given to him in a covenant, but he had not possessed it according to the standards of human possession. Surely he had little of earthly gain in which to boast, and he had given up very much when he left Ur of the Chaldees. Nevertheless he died FULL, for in his fellowship with God, he had learned, to measure time by eternity, to value the things of sense by those of spirit. To such a man death is but passing on to wait the accomplishment of the Divine purposes, and the fulfillment of the promises of God on the other side. So the FULLNESS of Abraham was that of a wealth which death could not touch. The FULLNESS which men gain who live by sight and not by faith, is a FULLNESS of which they are EMPTIED in death. They leave their possessions behind them. The men of faith carry their FULLNESS with them. It is a great thing thus to die—FULL.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

GOD DISCRIMINATES

GOD DISCRIMINATES


"I cannot do anything till thou become thither" Gen. 19:22


In these words we find the carrying out to the uttermost of the principle for which Abraham had contended in his communing with God. They reveal to us the fact that it is impossible for God to be untrue to His own character of righteousness. His judgments can never be inconsistent with His justice. All this is emphasized when, reading this whole account, we see the reluctance of Lot. He was a righteous man, vexed with the lawless deeds of the men of Sodom (2 Peter 2:7, 8); but his associations with the city, and doubtless his possessions therein, were such that he lingered, and could hardly be persuaded to leave. While he was there God could not do anything, because to do so would have been to destroy that man, righteous, though reluctant to leave; and that would have been to deny Himself, and to undermine the very foundations upon which His throne is built. That is the truth which gives us confidence at all times. However terrible the judgments of God are, they are always DISCRIMINATIVE; and even when to our limited vision it may appear that the righteous are involved with the wicked; we know it is not so. Amos had that conviction when he said: “I will sift the house of Israel among all the nations, like as grain is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least kernel fall upon the earth" (Amos 9:9). This does not mean that the righteous never suffer as the result of the sin of others. They may suffer, and even die; it does mean that such suffering and death have another meaning.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

WALKING PERFECTLY

WALKING PERFECTLY



"I am God Almighty; walk before Me, and be thou perfect" Gen. 17:1



In this word Jehovah revealed Himself in a new way to Abram, and called him to a yet more complete devotion. The name or title, EL-SHADDAI is peculiarly suggestive, meaning quite literally, “The mighty One of Resource or Sufficiency”. We miss much of its beauty by our rendering God Almighty. The idea of Almightiness is present, but it is fully, expressed by the word El. The word Shaddai goes further, and suggests perfect supply, and perfect comfort. We should reach the idea better by rendering God All-bountiful, or even better still, God All-sufficient. This was the new revelation, and it was in connection with its making that Abram was called to walk before this God, and to be perfect. This is ever God's way with His own. He reveals the perfection of their resources in Himself, and then calls them to a walk which is made possible by these very resources. WHO CAN WALK BEFORE GOD AND BE PERFECT IN HIS OWN WISDOM OR STRENGTH? Surely none! But, on the other hand, who need fail to do so, if depending upon Him for all He, in tender and mighty strength, is able and willing to supply. To gather sustenance and consolation from the bosom of God, is to be made strong for all the pilgrimage, however long the march, or difficult the route. For us, the revelation of this truth about God is perfected in our Lord, for "The only begotten Son, Who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him." (John 1:18) And more; "Of His fullness we all received, and grace for grace." (John 1:16)

Monday, May 14, 2018

FAITH ACTS REASONABLY

ACTING REASONABLY



"Thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife for my son Isaac" Gen. 24:4



On the part of Abraham this sending of his servant to seek a wife for Isaac was an act of obedient and intelligent faith. He was now about a hundred and forty years old, and Isaac was forty. The record declares that "Jeho­vah had blessed Abraham in all things" (vs. 1); and the chief blessing granted was this son. Through him the promises made to Abraham were to be fulfilled; the promised Seed was to come. The certainty of this promise made it incumbent upon Abraham to co-operate with God intelligently. Therefore he took this method of securing the seed of his son from CONTAMINATION with the people of the land. It was an activity of faith. This is seen in the answer Abraham gave to his servant when he suggested that the woman he might find might not be willing to follow him. He declared that Jehovah would send His angel before him. The sequel shows how wonderfully this man was guided through the ordinary circumstances of everyday life. The principle suggested and illustrated by this whole story is that FAITH IS TO ACT REASONABLY. To believe in the promises of God is to act in accordance with them, in the sense of intelligent co-operation. Faith does not sit down and say: God has promised, therefore I have nothing to do. It rather says: God has promised, therefore I must do everything in the line of His promise; and so far as in me lies, see to it that nothing interferes with His purpose.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

FOOLISHNESS OF THE GLOBALISM DESIRE

FOOLISHNESS OF THE GLOBALISM DESIRE



"The joy of Jerusalem was heard even afar off” Neh. 12:43



In this chapter we have an account of the commencement of the solemn dedication of the wall. It would seem as though it had been postponed for some considerable time. Differences of opinion exist as to the length of time. Some place this dedication ceremony in immediate relation to that which is recorded in the following chapter, which would place it twelve years after the first coming of Nehemiah. Others say that the account given here has reference to what took place within a few months of the actual completion of the work. It is difficult to decide, and really the matter is of no vital importance. The ceremony, whenever it took place, proceeded in three stages. First, there were two great processionals, in which the appointed singers chanted the praises of God. This was followed by the reading of the Law and the consequent separation of the mixed multitude from the people of God (Ch. 13). The present chapter is principally occupied with the rejoicing, and in this connection the statement is made that "The joy of Jerusalem was heard even afar off." It was a great day, greater even than these people knew. The reformers had sought to bring the remnant, weak and small though it was numerically, back to a recognition of the deepest truth concerning the NATIONAL life that; namely, of its relation to God. Their joy that day was the joy of the Lord, and that was indeed their strength. All the pomp and pageantry and material splendor of the days of the monarchy had passed; but in that devotion to the Law, and to the purposes of God as manifested in the building of the wall, there was more of moral power than the old days had ever known, since the time when in THEIR THOUGHTLESSNESS, the people had CLAMORED FOR A KING LIKE THE NATIONS (GLOBALIZATION OF ISRAEL).

Saturday, May 12, 2018

IMPOVERISHMENT AND MORAL BREAKDOWN WITH NO WORSHIP


IMPOVERISHMENT AND MORAL BREAKDOWN WITH NO WORSHIP


"We will not forsake the house of our God" Neh. 10:39



In this chapter we have some further particulars of the Covenant which the people made with Jehovah following upon the great Day of Humiliation. This Covenant was sealed as represented by the priests (vv. 3-8); by the Levites (9-13); by the rulers (14-27); and to its terms all the people agreed (28). These terms are set forth in general phrases and in some particular applications. Generally, the people promised "to walk in God's law . . . to observe and do all His commandments." Particularly, the Covenant referred to matters in which the people had already failed—those, namely, of inter-marriage with the surrounding idolatrous peoples, of neglect of the Sabbath, of Temple maintenance and arrangement, and of the offering of first-fruits and tithes. It would seem as though Nehemiah laid special emphasis on these later things, and these concluding words give the reason for this stress. He knew the utmost importance of the house of God to the national life, and therefore he said: "We will not forsake the house of our God." The MAINTENANCE OF STRENGTH of the worship of God is of utmost importance, principally for the sake of the worshipers. There is a very true sense in which it may be affirmed that our worship cannot enrich God. But there is yet another sense in which He is ROBBED IF WE CEASE TO WORSHIP, for whenever we do, we suffer IMPOVERISHMENT IN OUR DEEPEST LIFE, and that results in MORAL BREAKDOWN. Therefore let us also forever say, "We will not forsake the house of our God."

Thursday, May 10, 2018

STRENGTH FROM THOSE WHO OBEY THE LAW

STRENGTH FROM THOSE WHO OBEY THE LAW 


"The joy of Jehovah is your strength" Neh. 8:10



The material side of Nehemiah's work being completed, the spiritual and moral work of bringing the people back more intelligently under the influence of the Law, went forward. Ezra now appeared upon the scene, and we have the account of a most interesting and remarkable religious Convention. The first day witnessed the assembling of the people. The phrase "gathered as one man" indicates their unity of purpose. They had assembled to hear the reading of the Law. This was not merely the reading aloud of passages from the Law, or even the reading of the Law. It was reading, accompanied by exposition, which was undertaken by men specially appointed. It would seem as though there were, first, a public reading, and then a breaking up into groups under the direction of selected Levites. Their work was that of translation and interpretation. The Law was written in Hebrew, and the people spoke in Aramaic, hence the need for translation. It was a day of conviction, resulting in great sadness, as THE PEOPLE DISCOVERED HOW SERIOUS THEIR FAILURE HAD BEEN, AND HOW SEVERE WERE THE TERMS OF THE LAW OF THEIR GOD. It was to this state of mind that these words were addressed, and they constitute an interpretation of the real nature and value of the Law. The joy of Jehovah is that which gives Him satisfaction, and that was expressed in His Law. Thus the Law was their strength. Only as they OBEYED it could they be STRONG. This surely was the thought of the Psalmist when he sang: "Thy statutes have been my songs" (Psa. 119:54). Because the LAW OF JEHOVAH IS THE METHOD by which He makes known to men THE WAY OF STRENGTH TO THEM, it is the joy of Jehovah. When we discover that, the statutes which fill us with fear, become our delight, our song. They are indeed our strength.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

ENEMIES WITHIN THE WALL

ENEMIES WITHIN THE WALL



"For he was a faithful man, and feared God above many" Neh. 7:2



This is a description of the man whom Nehemiah placed in authority over the city of Jerusalem after the WALL WAS COMPLETED. The whole of the arrangements for the safety of the city, as here recorded, were characterized by statesmanlike caution. THROUGH THE ENTIRE COUNTRY ROUND ABOUT THERE WERE ENEMIES, and the position of the partially restored city therefore was one of PERPETUAL PERIL. Nehemiah was conscious of this, and made the most careful provision as to the hour for the opening and closing of the city gates and as to the arrangements for the watchers. No greater mistake can ever be made in connection with work for God in difficult places, than that of lack of caution. Carelessness is never the sign of courage. True bravery prepares for the possibility of attack. The man who had built, sword in hand, to completion, did not imagine that with the swinging of the gates on their hinges, the time for anything like relaxation in watchfulness had come. His choice of the governor was characteristic. He was chosen for two reasons; his fidelity to duty, and his fear of God. If we speak of these as two, they yet are but the two sides of one fact. Faithfulness to duty is the outcome of the fear of God. The fear of God always produces faithfulness. There is no sanction sufficiently strong to produce true loyalty other than that of this holy and loving fear. If a man is UNFAITHFUL IN HIS APPOINTED TASK, while yet declaring his loyalty to God, he lies, and the truth is not in him. The secret of the courage that is cautious, of the caution that is courageous, is always that of a complete fear of God.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

THE WALL FINISHED


THE WALL FINISHED


"So the wall was finished" Neh. 6:15


The significant word in the statement is the word "so," as it calls us to reconsideration of how the dangerous and difficult work was accomplished. In elusively and exhaustively, we may at once say, the work was of God. That WALL WAS THE OUTWARD AND VISIBLE SYMBOL OF THE INCLUSION AND GUARDING OF THE REMNANT, until the Messiah should come and the Faith should appear. From now until then, this, remnant was to be kept inward. The Law was the custodian to bring them to Christ. The wall was the material expression of that isolation and security. When we turn from that consideration of the building of the wall by the will and through the overruling of God, to the human agencies, we find that the wall was built through the patriotism and high devotion of one man; and through the fact that he was able, by his influence and leadership, to weld the people into a unity of heart and purpose and endeavor which carried the sacred work to completion. The efforts of this man and the people were characterized by caution and courage, and passionate persistence against all opposing forces. Perhaps this latter quality is the most outstanding. By all means the enemies of the work sought to prevent its carrying out. HAVING BEGUN IN CONTEMPT, AND PROCEEDED THROUGH CONSPIRACY, THEY TURNED TO SUBTLETY. Against every, method, Nehemiah and his helpers were proof. Nothing turned them aside until the wall was finished. This strength against opposition was the outcome of a clear sense of the greatness of their task. Thus God's walls are always built, God's work is always done. He leads and guides and compels circumstances to aid His, workers; and they respond in agreement with His purpose, and in resolute refusal to allow anything from without or within to hinder them.

Monday, May 7, 2018

ANGER MINGLED WITH CONTEMPT FOR THE WALL


CONTEMPT FOR THE WALL


"We made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch" Neh. 4:9



That is always the true attitude of those who are called upon to work for God in face of danger. As the work proceeded, the opposition of the enemies of the people, which first expressed itself in derision, passed to ANGER MINGLED WITH CONTEMPT. Nehemiah was conscious of the menace of this attitude to the work he had in hand, and lifted his heart in prayer to his God. An illuminating sentence in the narrative at this point shows how completely Nehemiah had captured and inspired the people. It declares that "The people had a mind to work." Thus the work went forward, until the wall was raised to half its height. At this point the OPPOSITION BECAME FIERCER, and a determined attempt was made by CONSPIRACY TO STAY ITS PROGRESS. With immediateness, and a keen sense of the necessity created by this fact, Nehemiah says, "We made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch." In this method there was neither foolish independence of God, nor foolhardy neglect of human responsibility and precaution. Everything was done to insure that twofold attitude of complete faith in God, and determined dependence upon personal effort, which always makes for success. How often God's workers fail for lack of one or the other of these important elements!

Sunday, May 6, 2018

WALLS UNIFY


WALLS UNIFY

"Next unto him" Neh. 3:2


This is the first occurrence in this chapter of this phrase. It, or its equivalent, "next unto them," runs on through the first half of it, occurring no fewer than fifteen times. Then another pair of phrases "after him" and "after them" emerges, and one or the other continues to the end, occurring sixteen times. These phrases mark the UNITY of the work. By this linking up of groups of workers the whole wall was built. The description is in itself orderly, and proceeds round the entire enclosure of the city, including all the gates, and the connecting parts of the wall. Beginning at the sheep-gate, which was near the Temple, and through which the sacrifices passed, we pass the fish-gate in the merchant quarter, on by the old gate in the ancient part of the city, and then successively come to the valley-gate, the dung-gate, the gate of the fountain, the water-gate, the horse-gate, the east-gate, the gate Miphkad, until we arrive again at the sheep gate, when the chapter ends. All this is highly interesting in its revelation of method. THE UNIFYING FACT WAS THE WALL. All were inspired by the one desire and intention to see it completed. In order to realization, the work was systematically divided. Each group was UNITED, as to its own workers, in the effort to do the particular portion allotted to them. All the groups were UNITED to each other in the effort to COMPLETE THE WALL. It is a striking picture of the UNITY OF DIVERSITY, and has its lessons for us. There was no sense of separation. Each worked "'next to," or “after" some other; and so the complete union of workers and work was realized.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

TEST FOR FOOLISH THINKING


TEST FOR FOOLISH THINKING

"Seeing thou a man wise in his own conceit? There is more hope of a fool than of him" Prov. 26:12


A man, wise in his own conceit, is a man who is perfectly satisfied with his own judgment, his own opinion. He seeks no light or counsel from without. He holds the views of other men in contempt. No one can teach him anything. In this Proverb, which is one of wisdom as defined, the thought is principally that of a man who does not fear God, who does not seek to be guided by the Divine Will. A FOOL here is simply an ignorant person who knows his own ignorance. Such a one may be helped. However naturally dull of apprehension, he is willing to be taught. His natural foolishness makes it difficult to instruct him, but it is not impossible. This other man, starting with the conviction of his own wisdom, makes it impossible to help him, because he will have no help. The Proverb is not one that needs to be defended when we are looking at others. We see it exemplified so constantly, and however mistaken we know this man to be, we leave him to himself, for we know the hopelessness of trying to show him his ignorance. But the Proverb is one which we may safely use as a searchlight for ourselves. The peril is a very subtle one. We are prone to be wise in our own conceits, without knowing that we are so. A simple test may be employed. WHEN WE FAIL TO SEEK DIVINE GUIDANCE IN ANY UNDERTAKING, IT IS BECAUSE WE DO NOT FEEL OUR NEED OF IT. In other words, we are wise in our own conceit. There is no safer condition of soul, than that self-distrust, that knowledge of ignorance, which drives us persistently to seek for the wisdom which comes from above.

Friday, May 4, 2018

THE AGE OF TRUTH AND LIES


THE AGE OF TRUTH AND LIES

"The lip of truth shall be established forever: but a lying tongue is but for a moment" Prov. 12:19



That is a pre-eminently superlative way of stating a fact, and there are some facts which can only be adequately stated so. They do not admit of the comparative. They are positive, but in a superlative sense. Taking the second part first—"A lying tongue is but for a moment"—we are inclined to question its accuracy. A lie lives longer than that. Some have seemed to persist for centuries and millenniums. The Hebrew here literally is: "A lying tongue is but while I wink." How is it possible to believe that? The solution of the apparent problem is found in a consideration of the earlier phrase referring to duration—"forever." That is a phrase of which we often make use, but how seldom do we consider it? We employ it in the sense of time. As a matter of fact it is timeless, because it includes all time. In its presence all mathematical measurements break down. The lying tongue may continue to utter its falsehood for long years by the calendars of men, but when you place those years by the side of the ages of God, they are as a moment, as the winking of the eye, as nothing. Here, then, is comfort. IT IS TRUTH WHICH ABIDES. A LIE MUST PERISH. In a world still largely mastered by lies, it is difficult at times to believe this. Yet to review the history of the race is to have evidence of it. Lies are always perishing. Through the ages we see them shrivel and die however strong their power seemed to be. Truth, oft-times insulted, battered, wronged, never perishes. It has age-abiding life, for it is of God. Let individuals and statesmen observe this, and they will discover the secrets of strength and permanence. TRUTH is a Person and His name is Jesus Christ and He is eternal.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

FORGETTING


FORGETTING

"Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forget him" Gen. 40:23


There once was a quaint and forceful preacher, Thomas Champness in England, who read this chapter as a Lesson. Through the reading he made no comment, but as he finished this verse he closed his Bible, and said: "And his name isn't always Butler!" It was an unconventional, humorous, almost startling remark, but it left an impression upon all who heard which will never depart. It has helped me often to remember. This forgetfulness on the part of this man cost Joseph two more years of prison. It is perfectly true that he was safe in the will of God, and quietly preserved for the hour when he would be needed to be the deliverer; but that does not excuse the butler. How true the words which we have often quoted are: "Evil is wrought by want of thought, As well as want of heart!"
We bear no malice; we really desire to help; but we forget. Our own good fortune drives out of mind the evil fortunes of those whom we would serve, and sometimes those to whom we have pledged our word. It is wholly wrong. To forget may be as evil in its effects upon others as the doing of some posi­tive harm to them. Good intentions and sincere promises are of no value until they are carried out, fulfilled. There are many things we have done today. Have we forgotten something?

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

ALL SEEING EYES


ALL SEEING EYES

"The eyes of Jehovah are in every place, keeping watch upon the evil and the good" Prov. 15:3


Let us never forget this, or fail to derive from the fact its comfort and its saving strength. The word employed describes a very active and purposeful seeing. The statement is far more than that God sees; it is that He is investigating, observing, or, in the most satisfactory rendering of the Revised, "keeping watch." He is keeping watch upon the evil. It is never out of His sight. It loves the darkness rather than the light, but He sees as well in the darkness as in the light. The endeavor of evil is to accomplish its purpose secretly, before it can be discovered at its work. It is often successful, so far as men are concerned. It is never so, so far as God is concerned. He keeps watch; knows the hour, the place, the method, and the intention. He is keeping watch upon the good. He never fails to see it. Men often do. It struggles behind appearances, and often behind actions which are denials of it. Human eyes fail to detect it. Not so the eyes of Jehovah. They discern it, approve it, and reckon with it. The comfort of this truth is created by the character of God. He is the God of unsullied purity; His watching of evil is always with the intention of limiting it, and ultimately destroying it. He is the God of unfathomable grace; His watching of good is in order to develop it, and make it finally victorious. To remember this truth is to be halted whenever we are tempted to evil. It is to find new courage in all our efforts after the high and noble. He is never deceived as to our badness or our goodness. Therefore to live in His fear is wisdom.

Monday, April 30, 2018

GOSPEL HARDENED


GOSPEL HARDENED

"Cease, my son, to hear instruction, only to err from the words of knowledge" Prov. 19:27



This is a proverbial appeal. The voice is that of a father deliberately counselling his son not to listen to instruction unless he intends to obey. The truth involved is, that it is better not to know, than, knowing, to fail to do. This cuts at the root of that most pernicious heresy, which yet is so largely held, that knowledge is in itself power. It is not so in any realm of life—scientific, economic, artistic, or moral. KNOWLEDGE IS ONLY POWERFUL WHEN IT IS THE INSPIRATION OF ACTIVITY IN HARMONY WITH ITSELF. The application of the truth in this proverb is in the realm of wisdom, and so of things moral and spiritual. The advice is good, because it is not only true that to know is of no avail apart from the doing which it demands—it is also true that UNLESS KNOWLEDGE IS OBEYED, in process of time it ceases to appeal. This means that knowledge of the way of right, which is merely intellectual, exerts a hardening effect upon the finer things of the soul. In that sense familiarity breeds contempt, or indifference, which is, after all, the subtlest form, of contempt. There is an old phrase, which some of us heard our fathers use. They spoke of some people as being "Gospel-hardened." A human being may become so accustomed to the Gospel message that it ceases to make any appeal to mind or heart or will. It is this grave peril which gives warrant to this appeal. If we are purposed to error from the words of knowledge, it is better to cease to hear instruction.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

TELL NO MAN THAT HE WAS THE CHRIST


TELL NO MAN THAT HE WAS THE CHRIST

"I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, that ye stir not up, nor awake love, until it please" Song of Songs 8:4



Let us go back and read 2:7 and 3:5. The similarity to this verse is at once recognized. In each case I omit in reading the "my" which is suggested by translators, and adopt the marginal reading "it” instead of “he.” In each case there is identity in the call; the only difference is that in this last occurrence the illustrative words "By the roes, and by the hinds of the field" are omitted. When this great Song is carefully set out, it is found to consist in the main of words of the Bride and Bridegroom. To these are added certain words of the virgins addressed to Bride or Bridegroom. But on these three occasions it is yet another voice. This is the voice of Wisdom, uttering a warning, which is needed, and which is made powerful by the matchless love-story. What is this warning? That love is so sacred a thing that it must not be trifled with. It is not to be sought. It stirs and awakens of itself. To trifle with the capacity for it, is to destroy that very capacity. This is the evil of all philandering, would that these words could be sung into the deepest soul of all youths and young girls. The tragedies of disobedience to the warnings are everywhere. Is there any application of these words possible in that higher realm which we have had in mind throughout our reading? I think there is. They warn us against the peril of endeavoring to FORCE AN EXPERIENCE OF LOVE to Christ and God in others. Our privilege is to introduce our loved ones, our children, our friends, everybody, to Christ; but they must fall in love with Him for themselves. Was not this in His mind, when He told His disciples to TELL NO MAN THAT HE WAS THE CHRIST (Matt. 16:20)? As He had said to Peter, that revelation comes, not of flesh and blood, but of the Father (Matt. 16:17). We wrong the souls of the young, and indeed of any, when we endeavor to force an experience. Let us lead them to Him. HE WILL AWAKEN LOVE.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

ETERNAL SIN


ETERNAL SIN


"The man and his wife hid them­selves from the presence of Jehovah God amongst the trees of the garden" Gen. 3:8



That is the first revelation of the sense of the soul towards God, resulting from distrust and rebellion. It is the sense of sin. They hid because they were AFRAID. Their FEAR was not the outcome of any change in God. The change was in themselves. They had yet to learn that there can be NO HIDING from God. And, moreover, they had yet to learn that their only chance of restoration lay in that fact that there could be NO HIDING from Him. They had cut themselves off from the possibility of COMMUNION with Him, but they had NOT ESCAPED either from His law or His love. These are the highest revela­tions of this account. How true all human experience is to this first picture! The fear of God which prompts men to de­sire to escape Him, and to hide from Him, is as potent today as ever. The hiding may take the form of denial of His existence, of rebellion against His law, of indifference to His claim. It is always the same, a dislike of God, born of fear; and it is always caused, not by what God is, but because of what MAN IS. The fear of God is always a witness to the holiness of God, even though it is a proof of IGNORANCE OF HIS LOVE. In so far, therefore, it is a principle of real value. In that sense the fear of the Lord is the BEGINNING OF WISDOM as the Psalms and Proverbs teach (Psa. 111:10; Prov. 1:7; 9:10). But it is only the beginning. If when, in spite of our hiding, He find us and make known to us His love, we yet per­sist in fleeing His presence, and refusing His claims, then we commit the sin that has NO PARDON, nor can have. That is what Jesus described as ETERNAL SIN. The only safe hiding-place from the holy wrath of God is in the wounded heart of God. There is a Tree which will hide us, but that is the Tree where we find God in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself.

Friday, April 27, 2018

REMEMBRANCES


REMEMBRANCES

"He hath remembered His covenant forever" Psa. 105:8


This song has close connection with the next, with which the fourth Book of Psalms closes. In this, the theme is that of God's faithfulness; in the next, it is that of Israel's infidelity. The burden of this song is expressed in these words. This is the fact which inspired the praise. Whatever the story of His people may be, God has never forgotten His covenant; and WITH GOD, TO REMEMBER IS TO ACT. The song is an illustration of this fact by selections from the history of the people, which prove it. The covenant was made with Abraham, ratified by oath to Isaac, and confirmed to Jacob, and so to Israel. He remembered it, and preserved them while they wandered among the nations, possessing no land, in the earlier days of their history. He remembered it in the days of famine, and prepared for their security through Joseph. He remembered it when they came to be oppressed in Egypt, and sent Moses to deliver them. He remembered it when they found themselves free, but in a wilderness, and guided them by cloud and fire, supplying all their wants. He remembered it amid the discipline of the years of wilderness wandering, and at last brought them out therefrom, and into the land promised. A review of history, personal or national, always becomes a revelation of the persistent faithfulness of God to His covenants with man and especially with Israel. He will remember them in the two-weeks of tribulation with the last week called great tribulation. (Matt. 24:21; Rev. 7:14)

Rev. 7:14

"And I said unto him, Sir, thou know. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."

Thursday, April 26, 2018

GOD LOOKS AND REMEMBERS


GOD LOOKS AND REMEMBERS


"I do set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between Me and the earth" Gen. 9:13



Thus God selected one of the already existing and most beautiful of natural phenomena, and made it the abiding sign of the covenant that He had made with man. Apart from clouds and rain there can be no rainbow. But the rainbow is never seen on the clouds except when the sun is shining. In view of the instrument of the judgment through which the earth had just passed, that of the rain and the flood, this was an exquisitely fitting symbol of that covenant made with man by the God of mercy and of grace. The context shows us the use to be made of it. Necessarily when seen in the cloud it would speak to man of this covenant, and without any doubt that was within the mind of God. But that is not the purpose for its adoption as a sign which is stated in the account. It is rather that God said: "The bow shall be seen in the cloud, and I will remember My covenant" (vv. 14, 15); and that is still further emphasized by the words, "The bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it that I may remember" (vs. 16). The full value of the rainbow in the cloud, then, was not so much that when man looked at it he remembered the covenant; but rather that he remembered that GOD WAS LOOKING AND REMEMBERING. That touches a deeper note, and creates a profounder sense of peace. When next we see the rainbow, let us remind ourselves that we are looking at something at which GOD IS LOOKING, and that as He looks He REMEMBERS.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

CURSED BY LAWLESSNESS


CURSED BY LAWLESSNESS


"Why is this come to pass in Israel, that there should be today one tribe lacking in Israel?" Judges 21:3

This is a very sad chapter, and gives us the last of the illustrations of the conditions obtaining when there was no king in Israel, and I’m not talking about Trump or any other earthly head. We have thrown out God from all portions of our government and country. We have allowed false religion to enter in His place.  As we have seen, more than once the writer drew attention to the fact, and, so traced the LAWLESSNESS TO THE LACK OF AUTHORITY. The truth is that Israel had lost its living relation to its one and only King. Uninstructed zeal, even in the cause of righteousness, often goes beyond its proper limits, and does harm rather than good. The ter­rible slaughter of the men of Benjamin continued until not more than six hun­dred of the tribe was left. Then an­other of those sudden revulsions which characterize the action of inflamed peo­ples occurred. Israel is seen suddenly filled with pity for the tribe so nearly exterminated. They realized that the unity and completeness of the family of Jacob was threatened by their action. The sad part of the story is that, to remedy the threatened evil, they re­sorted to means which were utterly unrighteous. Wives were provided for the men of Benjamin by further unholy slaughter at Jabesh-Gilead, and by the vilest iniquity at Shiloh. It is impos­sible to read these last five chapters without realizing how perilous is THE CONDITION OF ANY PEOPLE WHO ACT WITH­OUT SOME CLEARLY DEFINED PRINCIPLE. Passion moves to high purpose only as it is governed by principle. If it lacks that, at one moment it will march in heroic determination to establish high ideals; and purity of life; and almost immediately, by some change of mood, will act in brutality and all manner of evil. HUMANITY WITHOUT ITS ONE KING IS CURSED BY LAWLESSNESS.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

RACIAL REVELATION OF GOD


RACIAL REVELATION OF GOD

“Till we ALL attain unto the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a full-grown man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." (Eph. 4:13)


Thus the redemption that is in Christ Jesus will finally make every individual a REVELATION OF GOD, in the measure that is possible to each individual capacity. Here, however, again there breaks upon the consciousness that larger vision of the Divine purpose which consists in a race made up of individuals each one contributing something to the FINAL PERFECTION through which race all the glorious fullness of the Deity is to have its perfect outshining. This also is according to God’s original intention. The creation of the first man was the creation of a race, and while he was in the image of God, it was in the larger creation of the whole family that the ultimate manifestation of the glory of God was to be made. This is the true doctrine of the solidarity of humanity, and the inter-relationship of individuals. Towards this, man is forever attempting to grope his way, and forever absolutely failing. Perfect human society has never been realized outside the economy of grace, be­cause perfect human individuality does not exist. In the redemption of the individual, Christ prepares for, and makes possible the final realization of the race, through which the Divine glory will be manifested. The best inspiring argu­ments concerning this are to be found in the writings of the apostle Paul, whose vision of the Church in its consummation was forever that of a society dominated by the One Life, walking in the One Light, obeying the One Love. The ultimate victory of redemption therefore will consist in the realization of the first Divine purpose in a race which, being composed of individuals, each of whom perfectly answers the Divine ideal, will in its entirety re­veal God, and thus be His utmost medium of manifesta­tion throughout the coming ages. Christ will only be completed in that whole race which united to Him, is to form His body.
Twice at least the apostle Paul uses the word Christ with reference to that whole race, including the Head and all the members. In writing to the Corinthians he said “for as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of the body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ." (1 Cor. 12:12) Here evidently the reference is to Christ and the Church, the complete fulfillment of the Divine thought and purpose.
And again, in writing to the Ephesians, he speaks of the building up of the body of Christ, “till we all attain unto the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a full-grown man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." (Eph. 4:13) "Christ in this passage (so full of the idea of the oneness in, and with the Lord of His mystical body) is, in effect, Christ and His Church. The Lord the Son becomes in accomplished fact all that He wills, and is willed, to be, only when He is the Head, of a perfected mystical Body, which lives by His sacred life, and is His incorporate 'limbs, His immortal vehicle of action, if we may so speak. So He and they are guardedly and reverently spoken of here and there as One Christ with full reservation, from other Scriptures, of the truth of the undying personality of each individual limb of the glorious Head, and of His Divine Personality." (Bishop Handley Moule) The specific purpose of this unity is declared by the apostle in the glorious doxology with which the first part of his Ephesian letter closes. “Unto Him be the glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus unto all generations forever and ever. Amen." (Eph. 3:21)
It is not, however, sufficient to declare that redemption's final victory is that of the realization of this original Divine intention. While that is true, it must not be lost sight of that the peculiar and marvelous plan of the victory lies in the future, that this result is produced by Christ through victory gained over the original failure. The glory of the first ideal was great, but the glory of the realization of that ideal, out of all the awful results of human sin, is infinitely greater. Perhaps the note that now wakes the profoundest wonder in the mind of unfallen intelligences concerning the issue of redemption is that suggested when in speaking of the glories of Christ in his Colossian epistle, the apostle refers to Him as “the First-born from the dead." (Col. 1:18) As to all creation Christ is the First-born, but the added wonder with regard to the new creation is that it has been created by the emergence of the last Adam from the death which resulted from the failure of the first Adam, and His having brought out of that death, members of the new race. Thus redemp­tion's greatest victory lies, not merely in the fact that through the new race the glory of God is to be manifest, but that the profounder truth will be revealed that His greatest glory lies in the mighty working of His wondrous grace. The most inspirational and profoundest song of all will be that ascription of praise, which occurring in the first chapter of the Apocalypse, prepares for, and includes within itself all the subsequent numbers of that majestic oratorio, the subject of which is the movement to finality of the dispen­sations of God. "Unto Him that loves us, and loosed us from our sins by His blood; and He made us to be a kingdom, to be priests unto His God and Father; to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen." (Rev. 1:5-6)

Crown Him with many crowns, 
The Lamb upon His throne;
Hark! how the heavenly anthem drowns
All music but its own.
Awake, my soul, and sing
Of Him Who died for thee,
And hail Him as thy chosen King Through all eternity.

“Crown Him, the Lord of Love!
Behold His Hands and Side
Rich Wounds, yet visible above
In beauty glorified:
No angel in the sky
Can fully bear that sight,
But downward bends his burning eye
At mysteries so bright.

Crown Him, the Lord of Peace:
Whose power a scepter sways
From pole to pole—that wars may cease
Absorbed in prayer and praise:
His reign shall know no end,
And round His pierced Feet
Fair flowers of paradise extend
Their fragrance ever sweet.

“Crown Him, the Lord of Years,
The Potentate of time;
Creator of all rolling spheres,
Ineffably sublime:
All hail! Redeemer, hail!
For Thou hast died for me:
Thy praise shall never, never fail
Throughout eternity."
—M. BRIDGES

Monday, April 23, 2018

DIVINE IN THE HUMAN


DIVINE IN THE HUMAN

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Matt. 5:48



This consideration demonstrates without need of argument that man being restored to the likeness of God in Christ, is therefore restored to the essential possibility and purpose of his own being. Referring once again to that analysis of human personality, which was considered in the earlier articles, INTELLIGENCE, EMOTION, AND WILL, it will be seen how in becoming like God, man becomes himself in all the spaciousness of that primal in­tention. The INTELLIGENCE having passed from underneath the eclipse which was the result of sin is able to set all things in their true perspective, and to value them in their right proportion. Not in measure or degree, but in method and direction, the human intelligence now apprehends with the Infinite Intelligence. In this realm, as in every other, all things have become new. The new understanding of God has issued in a new appreciation of man and of all that creation which is apparent to the mind, but which is now known to be a window through which the Infinite is seen; and which, consequently is of less value than that which it reveals. The feverish restlessness resulting from limitation ceases, as the mind recognizes that beyond all natural phenomena there exists the one Eternal Verity, of which all phenomena are but the transitory expressions.
The EMOTIONAL NATURE having been freed from its degra­dation now operates in conformity with the Divine Love. Affections are set upon the things above the upper things, the dominant, and the eternal. Every movement of love is henceforth conditioned by the relation of the object to God, and all its operation seeks the highest good of the loved one.
The WILL is restored to its relation to the true governing principle. It does not cease to be, and therefore its activity is not discontinued. Now however instead of choosing and deciding upon the false basis of rebellion against government, it perpetually elects to act under the compulsion of that Eternal One, Whose essence is Love. Thus by redemption man becomes a being, whose will decides in answer to the impulse of pure affection, in the light of unclouded intelligence. The center and throne of personality being thus restored to the true Divine order, all the powers and capacities conditioned can be directed and employed at their highest and their fullest. The sense of beauty, expressing itself in music, or in art, becomes dominated by that unswerving holiness, which is the character of love. Wherever this is so, all discords cease, and harmonies are perfected; all that is grotesque and untrue is corrected by the lines of undeviating loveliness, and the colors of undimmed beauty. The capacity for investigation is now enlarged, and science emerging from the mists of mere hypotheses, affirms with actual accuracy of statement, for which she has so long sought, and yet been unable to discover. At this point again the understanding of all that lies in the future for man is necessarily limited, but it may surely be affirmed that "whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report," (Phil. 4:8) in human nature as we know it, will not be lost in the hereafter, but rather found and fulfilled in all power and perfection.
The present application of this consideration is that even today the measure of man's appropriation of the redemption in Christ Jesus, is the measure in which, what he is in the essential of his Divinely created being is realized and ennobled and through such realization and ennoblement man is seen to be Godlike. The expression of this likeness here, as in the former case, will be found in the consecration of man's own redeemed personality to such cooperation with God as shall move towards the future perfect unfolding of the DIVINE IN THE HUMAN (Matt. 5:48).

Sunday, April 22, 2018

CHARACTER AND CONDUCT


CHARACTER AND CONDUCT




There is no necessity to deal with the close relation existing between CHARACTER and CONDUCT, except to declare the fact as necessary to an understanding of the line of the present article. It must, however, be kept in mind that they are necessarily and indissolubly connected. Conduct is always an expression of character, and character therefore is the cause of conduct. Character is the condition of being, while conduct is the expression thereof in doing. In both these, Christ was the Revelation of God, and in proportion as man is Christ like, he is therefore like God. Zacharias, filled with the Holy Spirit, referring to the coming of Messiah, declared that the purpose of His coming was that man should serve God "in holiness and righteousness." (Luke 1:75) These words cover the whole fact of life as to its general trend, holiness referring to character, and righteousness to conduct. It is at once seen that these words belong primarily to God, the first declaring the ultimate truth concerning His character and the latter that concerning His conduct. He is holy, and therefore acts righteously. Both these facts are however the result of another and profounder one, that namely, of the love which is of the very essence of His Being. Holiness of character is the result of the nature of love, and so also is righteousness of conduct. In Christ these facts concerning God have been revealed, and always in this setting and proportion. The holiness of the character of Christ was the inevitable necessity of His Love. His righteousness of conduct was the immediate outworking of His holiness of character which resulted from Love. By the impartation of His life to man, and its realization progressively man is subdued by Love, and obedience to this new nature issues in holiness of character, and righteousness of conduct.
The finality of all this is that man's essential nature being transformed into perfect conformity to that of God, his holiness of character will be forever established, and he will then be perfectly prepared for all that exercise of life, which expresses itself in righteousness of conduct, which is always that of cooperation with God. Here the point of difficulty is reached, because it is impossible to know today along what line the activities of God will be continued, in the ages lying ahead. There are certain principles how­ever which may contribute at least to a lofty conception of what the activity of redeemed man will be. The question of character need not therefore be discussed because conduct is its outward expression. It may therefore be affirmed that as the activity of God is constructive, and never destructive, man in union with Him will cooperate in the expression of the Infinite Energy, along the pathway of perpetual perennial manifestations of that essential Love, which is fullness of joy and pleasure forevermore.
For today man's likeness to God, in likeness to Christ, is manifest in his approximation to the character of holiness, and his cooperation in the work of redemption. Said Jesus, "My Father works even until now, and I work." (John 5:17) The work of God and the work of Christ are identical, and the proportion in which man is already like God, is manifest by his cooperation with Him in the inspiring and serious enterprises of seeking and saving the lost. Man is only equal to this cooperation upon the basis of likeness to God in character, and he is only holy in proportion as he is indwelt and impulsed by love.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

MAN LIKE GOD IN CHRIST


MAN LIKE GOD IN CHRIST



The final fact in redemption is that of the restoration of man to the image and likeness of God. Underling every creation of God is a most definite purpose. This may not always be easy to trace, but the general principle is most certainly revealed in the vast majority of cases, and therefore it is reasonable to believe it to be universal, and the fact that it is beyond the power of human intelligence always to discover the reason, is to be accounted for by the limitation of that intelligence, rather than by the absence of the purpose. The purpose of angelic life is certainly that of service. In the great Psalm of thanksgiving, angels are referred to in such a way as to declare the very mean­ing of their existence:—
“Bless Jehovah, ye His angels,
That are mighty in strength,
That fulfill His word,
Hearkening unto the voice of His word," (Psa. 103:20)

And the writer of the letter to the Hebrews asks, "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to do service for the sake of them that shall inherit salvation?" (Heb. 1:14) while all the sacred history reveals them as occupied ever in serving in gladness the will of the King. That was our one of original intent.
The purpose underlying the creation of man was far more inspirational. He was made in the Divine image in a sense that angels never were and in the very nature of that creation there is revealed its purpose. Man was intended as a medium for the Divine manifestation, one through whom; because of his likeness to God it would be possible for God to express Himself to other creations more perfectly. Redemption therefore is only complete when man is re­stored to the perfection of his own being, and thus to fit­ness for the fulfillment of the Divine purpose. This then is the ultimate issue of the work of Christ in man. For the accomplishment of this, vital restoration is the power, and restoration to knowledge is the process. The life of Christ imparted to man by the Holy Spirit is the constrain­ing, transforming power, and the new vision of God in Christ is at once the pattern, towards the carrying out of which the power works, and therefore the governing prin­ciple to which the will of the saint being submitted, the Christ life is the product.
The 1rst fact in redemption that of restoration to God was perfected in JUSTIFICATION;
the 2nd, that  of restoration to the  knowledge of God,  is being perfected through SANCTIFICATION;
the 3rd,  that of restoration to  the likeness of God  will be perfected in GLORIFICATION.
 Redemption is thus seen to be the restora­tion of man to fellowship with the Father. John, who writes most minutely of the great subject under this aspect, affirms that as to standing, that fellowship is accomplished. "Now are we children of God," that as to finality it will be accomplished, "we know that, if He shall be mani­fested, we shall be like Him" that as to process the work goes ever forward, "every one that hath this hope set on Him purifies himself, even as He is pure." (1 John 3:2) The founda­tion fact is created by the reception of the Christ life in germ, the experimental advancement is being caused by the mastery of the whole being by that ever-conquering life; the final fact will be consummated by the complete conformity of the whole life to the Christ. Therefore as Christ is the express Image of the Father, in perfect like­ness to Him, man will fulfill the primary Divine purpose, by becoming restored to the image and the likeness of God. Thus it is evident at once that the present life is, by com­parison with the life to come, as utterly insignificant, as the days of school are, when compared with the sternness and importance of the days for which they are but preparatory. And yet this view of the finality, in another sense, lends new meaning and urgency to the life that now is; for School-days very largely determine the place to be occupied in the more mature opportunities of life.
In considering this last phase of the plenteous redemp­tion, difficulties confront the mind, which it is better at once to recognize, as John did when he wrote, “It is not yet made manifest what we shall be." (1 John 3:2) It will be per­fectly safe, however, to accept the certainty as declared by John, "We know . . . we shall be like Him," (Matt. 5:48) and within that assurance, consider
1st, man becoming like God in his realization of the character and conduct of Christ;
2nd, man becoming like God in his realization of himself;
3rd, man becoming like God, becomes a revelation of God.

Friday, April 20, 2018

HATE TURNED TO LOVE


HATE TURNED TO LOVE

"Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us: this is Jehovah; we have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation." Isa. 25:9



Thus God is known to man, and that after the method of the original Divine intention through a Man Who is His express Image. Redeemed man acts upon the same principle as fallen man in his search after God, with a distinction and a difference both in method and in result. Man's darkened understanding, still conscious of his need of a god, projected into immensity himself, with the result that his conception of God was that of a monster, because not only were the essentials of his nature, intelligence, emotion, and will, magnified in the process, but their degra­dation. Restored to God, man still projects Man into in­finity, but not himself. It is now by the magnifying of the Man Christ Jesus, Who by the Spirit indwells the be­liever, that God is found. The intelligence of Jesus, char­acterized by clearness, freedom from questioning, and unanswerable statement of truth, surprises and startles the soul anew in every fresh understanding of it through the Spirit's interpretation. And as these lines are projected from the wisdom of Christ into infinity, the mind catches some conception of what the wisdom of the infinite God is in its perfectly clear understanding of all things, so that "in Him is no darkness at all." (1 John 1:5) His freedom from per­plexity carried out into the immeasurable, aids man in his apprehension of that great reason for the quiet calm of Deity, in the midst of the things which, coming of their imperfect understanding, so trouble and vex the heart of the finite. Every century of consideration of the Word of Jesus proving as it has, that His teaching was not a de­duction from appearances, but the uttering forth of eternal principles in the speech of man, has given to men a new conception of the authority of God, as based upon the necessity of the things that are.
Perhaps the utmost consciousness of God, however, has come by the projection into immensity of what may still be spoken of as the EMOTIONAL FACT in the Person of Jesus. In Him love proceeded out of the necessity of its own might, and expressed itself in self-forgetfulness to the point of absolute sacrifice, and that without regard to any worth in the object upon which it was set. In Him moreover, love was patient, optimistic, and powerful. No lack of response was sufficient to quench its zeal, no degradation sufficient to extinguish its hopefulness, no opposition equal to overcome its might. It was this revelation of His love that made it possible for there ever to have been written the statement, so simple and inspiring, so sweet in its con­straint, so manifold in its beauty, that heaven's music will be needed to express its harmonies, while earth's discords are by it being changed towards the heavenly symphony, "God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have eternal life." (John 3:16) It was surely with his eye resting upon the Man of Nazareth, and his heart speaking of his consciousness of the marvel of the love of the Perfect One, that Paul wrote his classic passage descriptive of love. (1 Cor. 13)
And yet again, the action of the will of Jesus as respon­sive forever to the supreme will of His Father, and moving always under the impulse of love, has revealed forever­more the truth of unutterable value, that the will of God operates not arbitrarily, but under constraint, the constraint of the essential fact of His own nature, that of an infinite and immeasurable love.
Thus Jesus the perfect Man, standing before the soul in all His perfection, is the gateway through which the mind passes out to a conception of God which arrests, subdues, and commands the loyalty of the life. It is in His pres­ence that man exclaims "Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us: this is Jehovah; we have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation." (Isa. 25:9)
To say this is to declare also the difference in result. Man of old, projecting himself until he found an enormity, learned only to hate and to fear his conception of God. Today, man, projecting the perfect One finds infinite satisfaction in the revealed Father, and his heart goes out in adoring love, and his life is spent in glad service. Thus in Christ, man is restored to the knowledge of God by the enlightening of his intelligence, and the presentation thereto of all the gracious facts, in such way, and in such measure as he is able to bear, and capable of receiving.