OUR ENEMIES-M. L. HerrJuly 22 to 30, 1916
Text-"For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of the Father abideth forever." 1Jo 2:16, 17.
How specific is the language of the dear apostle of our Lord in his statement that this most powerful enemy of all of our new creature interests is not of the new life from our Father, but is of the world. Precious indeed to us are all of our new creature interests, all that has come to us of our Father. Every holy joy that we know because of the truth that we have received of God is to multiply, increase and abound. All His gifts are permanent and only increase in blessing. This is not true of anything that is of the world. It is a painted toy; beautiful when seen at a distance but having no intrinsic value. It may indeed bring a momentary pleasure, but it has no duration. How different are all those satisfying experiences when we do the will of our Father. Could the joy of a little gratification of the fallen qualities in our flesh compare with the enduring joys of doing our Father’s will? It is indeed agree able to our flesh to deceive ourselves into thinking that we are superior to others and that a great gulf exists between them and us. But can this pleasure compare with the joy of doing the Father’s will in speaking the timely word of comfort to a heart, hungry and longing for the truth? Can it compare with the still greater joy of revealing the love of God in acts of mercy and tenderness toward those to whom the gifts of the Lord properly belong?
In a Bible class which a brother was conducting the question of a specific definition of pride arose. Various suggestions were made, but none entirely satisfactory. Finally the brother leading the meetings turned to a blackboard on the wall and laconically wrote: "I."
Great big "I"; little "u." this expresses the idea of pride perfectly. The comment of our text in our comment Bible is: "Exultation over those in humbler walks of life." It is not pride to appreciate abilities and attainments possessed by us. It is not pride to be aware of our possession of powers that others do not have. It is the exultation over others that constitutes pride. The accident of birth; the present unequal distribution of the things of this present life, put some in possession, and others in dispossession not always on the basis of merit, but often by merest accident of circumstances. This fact gives room for an assumed importance on the part of some over others not so fortunate. To some this is a great source of pleasure. They take great delight in recounting their advantages over others not so fortunate.
The rich, fertile valleys of the plains where dwelt the people of Sodom and Gomorrah were far superior to the barren uplands surrounding. The rich vine-dressers of the plains took great delight in laughing at the poor ignorant shepherds of the mountain country, making sport of their simple speech and habits. It was a great satisfaction to them to mimic their boorish ways and ignorance of refined custom. But how shallow was such pleasure. The seeming ignorant shepherd was the intellectual superior of the rich land owner a dozen times. Ignorant indeed of the tricks of finance and of the ways of polite custom, polished to hide corruption in the heart, the pure-hearted and lofty-minded shepherd possessed astronomical knowledge that the patrician never dreamed could be known. Is it not plain that the pride of the people of Sodom was greatly to their disadvantage? Pride is always a disadvantage. It is our heavenly Father’s purpose to make this fact so evident that eventually no creature in heaven or on earth will ever permit motives of pride to actuate him. This will be one of the lessons perfectly learned before the establishment of everlasting righteousness.
We began by taking the position that pride is our enemy; that it has been always an enemy to every creature who ever permitted it to find a place in his heart. Now let us see if this can be unequivocally proven. The first record that we have of pride in the heart of any of God’s creatures was in Lucifer, "Sun of the Morning." This was one of God’s most beautiful cherubim. "Lifted up because of his beauty." Eze 28:17.
The words "lifted up" would seem to have the thought of exaltation in heart, in his own estimation, above others. This led him to an untrue estimation of himself. Nor has this been altogether to his advantage. The office of the cherubim in some sense relates to covering, it would appear. (Eze 28:14) "Thou art the anointed cherub which covereth and I have set thee so." While we might not surely know just what this office represents, we do know that the function of covering plays a most important part in our organism. The hair of our heads for a covering, so especially abundant in woman, represents a most important office, shielding, protecting. The most important organs of the body are covered and protected so they may perform their designed function. The membranes, the seat of the life of the body, are the coverings of the organs that they enclose. When we place a seed in the ground we are very careful to cover it with the warm, moist earth that the principle of life may find its normal environment and spring forth into complete development. The roof over our house is a covering as is the wing of the mother-bird over her little ones. We read, "He will cover thee with His feathers, and under His wing shalt thou trust. "Cover my defenseless head, With the shadow of Thy wing."
‘With only this one passage of scripture, suggesting the possible office of the covering cherub, we catch a glimpse of the possibilities of joyful service to his fellow-creatures, that was open to this exalted being had he not lifted up his heart by pride to the assumption of an office to which he was not invited by the heavenly Father. The heavenly Father had no reason to request his assistance in governing mankind. He was thoroughly competent to perform this office Himself, for in Him inheres all authority. But the Father had appointed him a service, which if joyfully and faithfully rendered, would have brought him the eternal gratitude of all of God’s creatures, receiving blessing at his hand. But what joy it would have brought him to have remained obedient. What a never-ending fountain of blessing would the memory of faithful obedience have been to him. What blessing to many of God’s creatures. But he opened his heart to pride, and from that moment his downfall began. How evident is the forecast of the scriptures. "Pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall." (Pr 16:18) Eze 28:17 states "Thine heart was lifted up." To really take an advanced position would be thoroughly commendable. All should have the laudable ambition to advance from lesser to greater attainment, but all sudden rise to power and position without a legitimate right thereto is generally the result of pride in the heart and in no degree the result of attainment. The result of this unwise course is clearly stated in the words: "Thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness." Have not all mankind, to the degree that they have followed a similar course, experienced great loss in so doing? "Professing themselves to be wise their foolish heart was darkened." Ro 1:22
Must not all creation ultimately learn that only the wisdom that inheres in the Father is wisdom. All else is costly expediency—always disadvantageous.
How different in every experience was the course of the faithful loyal logos. "Who being in God’s form did not meditate usurpation to be equal with God." At no time was his heart "lifted up." He found no greater aspiration than to be loyal to the Father’s will. Proper ambition is essential to every creature. To be devoid of a purpose is to be devoid of energy. The very essence of joy is the motive and purpose that gives life its impulse. It was the joy of the son to be in obedience to the Father—"I was daily His delight." Does not every son of God realize this same delight in doing the Father’s will? As the Father found him obedient and faithful in the work of creation He extended his privileges, finally opening before him the pathway to a higher nature. While it is true that this pathway lay down through the dark valley of the shadow of death, yet it led upward to the heights of joy such as only beings of a higher order can know.
But let us very particularly observe: Not once in all that son’s experience was pride a factor in the attainment of exaltation. There are those who think that the person without some measure of pride is at a great disadvantage. The course of the Father’s son is a living witness to the fact that this view is a misapprehension. Pride is only and always a loss- disadvantage. It leads to weakness and never to power. It defeats the very object that it desires to attain. It is always and only an enemy. It is the Father a purpose to have all of His creatures realize ultimately that so awful are the results of even for a moment to give the heart over to pride that none will ever, in all of the eternal ages to come, even consider such a course. Yet now so universal is this spirit of exaltation over others that such assumed to be inferiors that it is the very keynote of human ambition. What government on earth but was organized out of the very impulse and motive of pride. Even the republican governments take a positive pride in the assertion "WE THE PEOPLE." It is back of all man-created religions and religious systems. It lies at the foundation of all educational systems. The very warp and woof of the social fabric is formed of it, including the home. It lies behind the surgeon’s knife, the sculptor’s chisel and the artist’s pen. Alike the artist and the artisan find in pride their most powerful inspiration. Do we wonder that Greece and Rome found little in the religion of Jesus to interest them? What a rebuke were his counsels and what a contrast. "He that is greatest among you let him be the servant of all."
The lofty dignity of our heavenly Father is so supervising the affairs of men that they are not wholly hindered in their proud course; neither in government, finance, religion, medicine practice, science, or any department of their plans. Men are given every opportunity to accomplish all that they proudly assert that they will do. He will not establish his kingdom by a conquest against the kingdoms of this world. After men by their arrogance, pride and self-assertion shall have failed; having done their utmost and having made acknowledgement of failure THEN shall the Most High set up His kingdom which shall never end. Great indeed will be the contrast when the kingdom of Christ will reveal what blessed results will follow when every man is given his true estimate and none are lifted into advantage and prominence undeservedly. That there is a right standard of honor and of exaltation is evident, both from the Father’s promises and from His promotions. Of the son it is written: "Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him and hath given him a name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow and every tongue confess." Php 2:9, 10.
Let it be carefully noted that our Lord is given this exaltation at the hands of the Father. It was not necessary for him to aspire to that which was never given him. All who know our heavenly Father know that no good thing will He withhold from them which walk uprightly. Pride never did and never can gain an advantage. Pride is always a disadvantage. Must not the time come, when this is plain as daylight to every creature in all of God’s universe? It is needless to aspire. From the hand of divine goodness and fatherly care every blessing that is best, is sure to come. All that the human heart can ever desire will come to mankind in the completed and perfected condition that the earth restored will bring. Nothing will be wanting; nothing left out. Could the Church but catch a glimpse of the glory to be revealed it would give such an incentive to faithfulness as to assure overcoming. But it has pleased the Father to test each member of his body by calling them out of the world at a time when the supply of blessings are comparatively meager and when the glorious things to come are as yet grasped only through the exceeding great and precious promises. It is because of this that the disposition to aspire is peculiarly susceptible to the wakened ones since it offers a delusive present reward. The heart awakened has a hunger peculiar to its new longings. Unless one is thoroughly in earnest there is great danger that the heart shall be moved from its moorings and one become ensnared in the alluring prospect presented by the Adversary. On this point we have the beautifully expressed counsel of Studies Vol. 1, Page 193: "The few good things possessed even under the present reign of evil and death so captivate the human nature that we need special help from God to keep our eye and purpose fixed on the spiritual promises."
But is it not evident who will be thus ensnared? Just as surely as we become self-centered, just so surely will we become "lifted up." As long as we are little in our own eyes we are not in this danger, but as surely as we become some great one and as surely as we come to despise others, just so surely are we in grave danger of opening our heart to pride and self-sufficiency. Pride is most positively the enemy of the new creation. It is in no sense a part of the new creature, but it is nevertheless the enemy of the new creature. To entertain it even for a moment is to greatly endanger the new creature’s interests. It subjects us to just the danger we would risk did we take an enemy into our secret counsels. And what a terrible enemy pride becomes when it enters the heart of a new creature in Christ Jesus. Begotten from above to newness of life such have the superior mind of the loftier spiritual estate. These have developed to some degree in righteousness having sacrificed as typed in the great copper altar and washed as pictured in the great copper laver. Their outward life, purified by the truth, makes such specially susceptible to pride. Because of their outward righteousness and because of the works that they have, by divine grace, been permitted to accomplish, should the heart at this stage diverge from the holy divine will, it would be sure to find an anchorage in pride, self-sufficiency, arrogance. It was the divergence of just such a class in the early church that developed the great apostasy, the mystery of iniquity foretold by the prophets and by the apostle. In Isa 28:1 we read: "Woe to the crown of pride to the drunkards of Ephraim, whose glorious beauty is a fading flower which are on the head of the fat valleys of them that are overcome with wine." In verse 3 we are told: "And the crown of pride. the drunkards of Ephraim shall be trodden under foot."
Can we hope that any becoming intoxicated with the spirit of self-sufficiency can develop the character prepared for the kingdom? O dear brother, sister, shall we not waken to a full realization of what it would mean to us were we to be thus ensnared? We may feel safe and strong, but let us never forget that entrenched in our flesh is a mortal enemy. Pride interwoven with every fabric of our humanity, which forms the basis of our new creature life. It is only as we keep this wide distinction defined, and separated between our downward inclinations in the flesh and the pure holy desires of the spirit that we are safe.
There is but one safeguard. "Walk in the spirit and ye shall not fulfil the desires of the flesh." Let us, dear brothers and sisters, day by day, so earnestly, so faithfully, so zealously live this holy life of the spirit, the new creature life, that it may completely absorb all of our energies. The city of the plains destroyed by fire from heaven, a type of the destruction of the incorrigibly wicked, is thus described in Eze 16:49: "Behold this is the iniquity of thy sister Sodom: pride, fullness of bread and abundance of idleness was in her, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy." Are we not in danger of making doctrinal faithfulness the only thing we carefully guard, when as a matter of fact our greatest danger is that we should fail to keep the heart with all diligence since out of it are the issues of life? The heart is the will. Only as the impulses of the new mind prompts us to loving service can we hope to safeguard our interests as new creatures.
Toward the close of the civil war, a regiment of soldiers who had completed their term of three years’ enlistment were returning from the front to be mustered out of service. Their hearts were overflowing with joy at the thought that they were soon to join their loved ones at home. they had not seen their faces for three long and weary years. All about them their comrades in battle had fallen on the field, but amid all the dangers they survived. Their hearts were exultant at the thought, and their vigilance was measurably relaxed. Of this the enemy was observant as they pressed eagerly ahead failing to remain within the lines of safety and the protection of the main body of the army. After they had gotten sufficiently beyond the lines of defense, the enemy came down upon them suddenly, taking them captive to languish as prisoners of war. These never reached the home to which they had come so near. What a sad fact to contemplate. Is it not exactly descriptive of some of the Lord’s dear people? The insidious enemy, pride, is entrapping some who are almost home. They have run well for many years and now in very sight of the goal of attainment, they are getting beyond the lines of safety and protection.
Shall we not in full realization of this keep our hearts so abounding, so overflowing with the love divine that there will be no possibility that our enemy, pride, will find any unguarded place? Abundance of idleness is the downfall of many a new creature. Activity, ceaseless employment of every power, will prove a sure protection.
But what then is the attainment, the character element that directly offsets pride and its assumption? It is undoubtedly the possession of actual value or merit. As pride is based upon a lie, humility is based upon the truth. We do not need to deny that we possess character attainment or ability in order to be humble. So little is real humility understood that many seem to think that we must lie concerning our abilities or attainments in order to possess humility. There is indeed such false humility, but is it not an outward form to cloak pride in the heart? No true child of God should be deceived by such perversion. Honesty, truthfulness is violated by such a procedure, for it is self-evident that anything based on a lie is not God-like. Our Lord and the apostles never falsified concerning their attainments and abilities in order to appear very humble. The fact that true humility is often associated with adversity has led to an incorrect conclusion concerning the nature of humility. One need only contrast the relative experiences of pride and humility to discover why the humble sometimes are called upon to endure adversity. It is absolutely impossible for a proud heart to endure adversity. Since, as we have seen, pride is based on a false value, the least measure of adversity reveals the nature of the foundation and all of the assumptions of pride come to naught.
The proud heart builds his house upon the sand. "And the rains descended and the floods came, and the winds blew and best upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall thereof." (Mt 7:27) But the humble only prove their strength by adversity. "And the rains descended and the floods came, end the winds blew and beat upon that house and it fell not, for it was builded upon the rock." Mt 7:25.
The Lord may prove a humble character by dealing with him as he was pleased to deal with His son. Had the grandeur, loftiness, dignity of our Lord’s character been merely assumed, he never could have stood the test of the experiences that followed Gethsemane. The ignominy, shame, humiliation represented in the spitting upon, buffeting, mock-trial, only reveal the grandeur of his character. Contrast the adversities of the proud of earth. "Truth crushed to earth shall rise again, The eternal years of God are hers. But error, wounded, writhes in pain; And dies amid her worshippers."
How could anything assumed endure such a test? You hold in your hand two bright coins. One is solid gold and the other gilded alloy, of very common metal. The alloy is the brighter of the two. Subject them to acid test. How quickly you make evident which has the assumed value and which the gold. Only the humble can endure adversity. This is why it pleased the Father to "Put him to shame;" to permit so great a degree of adversity as to lead men to "esteem him smitten of God, and afflicted," as though he had sinned. Only one whose character was not assumed but genuine could endure such adversity. He could be even "numbered with the transgressors" and prove his worthiness of exaltation.
Some of us know a beloved brother whose genuineness of character has stood the test of half a century. We have seen him stand unmoved: "Amid the scorn of those who little know and love the Lord." Shaft after shaft of bitterest invective; foulest accusation such as only depravity could frame has ceaselessly poured against him with such merciless persistence, and at times such overwhelming power, as though it must devour him with its burning tongue of flame. Does not the fact that he has endured and continues to endure through weeks and months and years demonstrate to angels and to men that no character structure built on lies could so endure? Only the rock of eternal truth can stand such a test.
What then is humility? It is a character built on truth and righteousness. It needs no trumpet call to sound its worth. It can afford to be obscure and despised and even rejected for a time. It can be even trampled upon and its rights violated. It can be proclaimed as vile, and worthless—the filth and the off-scouring of the earth. But when God’s due time shall come He shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light and thy judgment as the noonday. Ps 37:6.
Brother Herr closed his talk with the poem entitled THE SERVANT’S PATH IN A DAY OF REJECTION—verses 1, 3, 4, 6—Poem book page 148. (Herr-6)
REVERENCE IN SERVICE-W. M. Wisdom(Discourse by W. M. Wisdom—1916 Convention Report, page 228)
A precept I learned from my mother, an old-fashioned but a very practical one, was this: "You can catch more flies with molasses than you can with vinegar." And in my service in the pilgrim work especially have I tried to put this principle into practice. I might say further that it has had a great influence on my whole course of life, because it bespeaks kind, loving consideration for the feelings of others. But if perchance this afternoon, dear friends, I divert from this principle, it will be because of my conception of the general interests of the work that I do so, for I do not willingly ever wield the club, and I am not going to do it this afternoon. But I do purpose by the Lord’s assisting grace to call attention to some of the things we observe from time to time, and from place to place as we go about in the Lord’s service.
Now the topic we have might be comprehended and considered from various standpoints. Primarily, reverence in service. Now, dear friends, we can serve and reverence God at all times, and in all that we do. Indeed whatsoever our hands find to do we should do heartily, cheerfully unto Him. We can reverence our God sweeping, washing the dishes, going about our various duties of everyday life, provided we do it as heartily unto Him, with one object, one purpose, one motive in mind, and that is to glorify the Giver of every good and perfect gift. But for several reasons we have thought to confine our remarks at this time more particularly to reverence in connection with the service in the House of God, which you and I are privileged to engage in, and in doing so we are going to call before your mind not something that we might conceive of as supposedly hypothetical cases, but we are going to draw before you attention practical things, things we have seen and experienced at times with great regret.
And so it will be with kindest consideration for all that we make these remarks, and trust that all may correspondingly be profited thereby. And I am sure, dear friends, we all appreciate the need of a deeper reverence for God, and in the House of God especially. I remember once in the Bethel Home, Brother Russell having returned from a trip abroad made reference to the deeper sense of reverence shown by the English brethren in comparison to the American friends, noting what a deeper sense of reverence was manifested in their entire attitude and spirit, especially in the services. And upon this, dear friends, we have thought a great deal, and have noted these things to which he has called our attention as well as the things we ourselves have seen in our experiences.
Now then, reverence in respect to the services, in respect to the House of God, begins when? Why it begins, dear friends, from the very time we begin to prepare to enter the service. But before touching upon the preparation we are going to read one of the Psalms, that we might have this as a basis upon which to build our structure, that this may indeed put each one in a deeper reverential mood, and therefore that we might show forth more particularly in our hearts, the praises of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.
Psalm 111: "Praise ye the Lord. I will praise the Lord with my whole heart in the assembly of the upright and in the congregation (that means a great deal, dear friends). The works of the Lord are great sought out of them that have pleasure therein. His work is honorable and glorious; and his righteousness endureth forever. He hath made His wonderful works to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and full of compassion. He hath given meat unto them that fear Him. He will ever be mindful of His covenant. He hath shown his people the power of His works, that He may give them the heritage of the heathen. The works of His hands are verity and judgment; all His commandments are sure. They stand fast for ever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness. He sent redemption unto His people. He hath commanded His covenant for ever; holy and reverent is His name. The fear (reverence) of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, a good understanding have all they that do His commandments; His praise endureth forever". Now, let this, dear friends, the spirit of this Psalm be a fundamental principle as we now consider some practical thoughts based on experiences in our service in the field.
As was stated, reverence indeed respecting the service in the House of God should begin from the very moment that we take the first preparatory step toward entering the House of God. And if we are actuated by the proper spirit of reverence, one of the first things we will have uppermost in our mind is to be sure that we are prompt at the service, and , right on time, for we cannot reverence the Lord if we are negligent about the time we arrive at service. Any old time seems to be the thought in the mind of some.
I remember a very important lesson from our Pastor at the time the head-quarters was moved. When holding a series of meetings there he noted the disposition to come straggling in from ten to twenty minutes after service began. And I remember, I think it was about the third Sunday he spoke, not later than the third, he stopped right in his discourse, after he had been speaking—and this always interrupted the thought of the speaker—and he made a few remarks on the matter and spoke to the ushers that hereafter at three o’clock close the doors and lock them, and anyone that comes thereafter will have the privilege of returning to their homes. For, said he, in substance, it takes no longer—and we realize this principle—it takes no longer to get to the House of God on time than it does to get there ten or fifteen minutes after time, and if you figure it takes so long to get there it is a very good idea to start ten or fifteen minutes ahead of time. In traveling I don’t think of getting there just as the train leaves, but ten or fifteen minutes before the train is scheduled to leave. They don’t always land me at the destination on time, but that is no fault of mine. It is my business to be there. And it seems to me, dear friends, this should be the principle actuating all the Lord’s people—to get there on time, and to be sure you get there on time, start ahead of time. Calculate you are going to start ten or fifteen minutes before time and then you will be there on time. Then it will not be as sometimes the case—the elder will say, "Friends, they are not all here yet." "Well," I have said, "the Lord is here, and the pilgrim is here, and we are going to start the meeting right on time." That is the principle, dear friends—reverence for the Lord.
Sometimes where we have been entertained we have inquired, "Well, how long does it take to go down to the meeting place?" "Twenty minutes." "How often do the cars run?" "Twenty minutes." "How often do the cars run?" "Every twenty minutes." And they say, "Now, if we start at 2:30 we will have plenty of time and get there ten minutes before meeting time." "I don’t know, dear brother or sister, what time you purpose to start, but I am going to start on the car twenty minutes ahead of that." And sometimes I have gone ahead by myself and they came behind on the car they purposed to come on, and they got there about ten minutes after the meeting had started. Do you think that shows proper reverence for our Head? I do not think so, dear friends. I think that is disrespectful to our Head.
Suppose we were going to meet an earthly potentate, King George of England, for instance. Don’t you suppose we would recognize in advance that it would be a very serious offense if we kept him waiting for us and we arrived several minutes after the time appointed for our reception? Yes, my dear friends, and he would not receive us. And in this connection I might remind you of a practical lesson more than one has received from our beloved Pastor in respect to this matter. Sometimes friends having a time assigned to them for an interview with Him have come in possibly three or five minutes behind the appointed time and begin to explain how it happened. "Well, my dear brother, you have lost your opportunity. No second chance. The time was so and so. You didn’t get here on time.’ Now the friends are inconsiderate on this point. We think it comes from being thoughtless. They don’t consider what inconvenience it may place upon others by keeping them waiting. We know our trains don’t wait for us. I found that out by experience long before I got the truth, for I was a traveling man, and never missed one in my life but once, and that was because I was delayed in business and couldn’t help it. I always made it a point to get there on time. Now, if we are careful in temporal matters, how much more careful each and all should be in keeping our appointment with the Lord. Because instead of meeting an earthly potentate we come to meet with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, our Head, if you please. Yes, for He declares that where two or three are gathered together there will He be in their midst. And therefore, if aware of this fact, dear friends, we will see the impropriety of keeping the great King of Kings waiting. And not only so, but think of the disturbance it causes in the meeting, if the speaker has started in his discourse, to have them, straggling in ten or fifteen minutes after meeting opens, and so disconcerting his train of thought. It is not fair, right or proper, and we feel sure not right in the sight of God. And so as children of the Lord we want to learn as much as possible to be prompt along these lines, and so develop more and more this spirit of exactness, of accuracy in our daily lives, because we are living in a very careful and critical period, and we are being judged by the great Judge of the earth.
Not only should we regard these principles and have them uppermost in our mind before starting from home, being sure we will be there on time, but also after we arrive at the House of God, how shall we deport ourselves?—As ambassadors for Christ. Ah, my dear friends, the highest office in the world is now being fulfilled by these ambassadors of Christ. Yes, indeed. And what think you of an ambassador of the U. S. to a court of one of the European governments, to the English government, if he had an appointment, would he be careless and indifferent about the time, and would he be lacking in dignity and deportment when he arrived in the presence of the king? No, indeed He would be respecting the great United States and he would want to do this in a respectful and honorable way. But surely he would not be accomplishing this if he was careless and in-different about his attire and respecting the time he want and his deportment after he got there. Now, dear friends, in coming to the House of God we are coming to meet with our Head. And if we have this uppermost in mind when entering the House of God we will do it with proper decorum, with a proper sense of reverence, and see that we be quiet and orderly and decent in our conduct and conversation and free from those things that would detract from us as ambassadors of Christ.
Now this applies to the House of God wherever it is. The House of God is not made with hands. It is the meeting place, and is just as applicable in the little companies of three and five and fifteen as in larger congregations of hundreds, as applicable one place as much as another. Now, I feel I ought to call attention to some things, and I don’t find any pleasure in doing it. But today when prayer was being offered on this platform, loud talking was heard in the rear. I was sitting in the rear and could hear it all. Does that show reverence in the House of God? I am quite sure it does not. It shows irreverence. It might have been thoughtlessness, but I want to say, my dear friends, we are accountable for those things. We should not be thoughtless when coming to the House of God, but have reverence.
Now in speaking on reverence, if anybody ever needed to cultivate it, it was the speaker. For years and years of my life I was in the darkness of infidelity, and I was giving reverence to the creature rather than to the Creator and had developed irreverence. And I want to say to you that it has been my daily prayer ever since coming to an appreciation of the truth that the Heavenly Father would increase my sense of reverence in respect to Him and all things pertaining to Him and His service, and the result is I have been able by divine grace to cultivate quite a measure of reverence. But I would not wish to convey the thought that I am satisfied. No, I will not be satisfied until I awake in His likeness. But we ought to feel, dear friends, that we are making some progress on the way, and it will be so if we are striving with might and main to conform our course with that which will have divine approval.
So when coming to the House of God, let us come with a due sense of reverence for the fact that we are coming to meet with our Lord and Head, the Great King. We want to be conscious of this fact in our meetings, because ‘Where two or three of you are gathered together in my name there am I in your midst." Now if we get this thought in our mind and keep it there, I am sure then we will recognize as soon as we step in the House of God that the House of God is wherever the people of God are meeting, and then we do so with a proper sense of reverence for the occasion and the fact that a religious service is being carried on. We will be thoughtful enough to see that if others are enjoying themselves we will not detract from it by our conduct, and not because we think we are sitting way back in the audience we may engage in conversation at the same time the speaker is giving forth his message, because if you don’t want to listen then the best plan is to go outside and talk. Don’t show irreverence and dishonor our Head by engaging in conversation, because others may desire to hear what the speaker is saying. You can only hear one thing at a time, and if this chattering is going on you can’t hear the message.
Another thought we want to call to your attention in connection is this—a proper consideration and care for the children when they are brought to the meetings. You see dear friends, these expressions are not given with the thought of hurting anybody’s feelings, but to call attention to some practical thoughts which we trust will be assistful, because it never hurts us to have our pure minds stirred up even if it does not fit us individually. The law is made for transgressors, and to the transgressor it becomes a burden, irksome, but the law is never irksome to the righteous person. It is only hard on the one that wants to break it. And so in calling attention to these things, it is not going to hurt anyone actuated by the divine principles, but rather those who are self-willed, and want to have their own ways and are unconscious of the feelings of others. So then proper care should always be given to the children. Now, we love children very very dearly, but our thought is that children should be kept in their places and not be given the liberty they are sometimes given.
I want to tell you of a recent incident. Once out in the middle west I had an assignment where I was for two days at one home and held four meetings there. It was a very nice home, very comfortable, more than comfortable indeed. There were three children in this home. The mother was a widow. The meetings were held in the front room. There were large double parlor doors connecting it with the dining room, and it was in the winter time. So the children sat in the dining room around a good hot stove, but they were constantly running to and fro. I was sitting facing the double doors. It is hard to keep one’s mind going when these things distract attention. So finally one of the older children, a lad of about 12 or 13 years of age, got so restless in the dining room that he came in and took a chair near me as close as he could be. I turned to him and said, "Now, my boy, I hope during the rest of this meeting you will sit in that chair and sit quiet, because you have been running back and forth quite a while. Unfortunately the mother took offense, and for the remaining three meetings held in that house she never came to one of them, though they were in her own home.
Now, dear friends, you can readily see some of the experiences we must have along that line when we must preserve good order, but we don’t like to do it, and yet we must on account of others. It is a proper thing to maintain order. And therefore as children of God we want to keep those things before our minds continually lest they slip from us. Now I am quite sure all of the Lord’s people are desirous of serving the Lord, but these things happen because of weakness of character and these poor brains of ours, and consequently we are detracting from the interest of the meeting and dishonoring our Head.
And so we trust, dear friends, as we think along these lines we will be actuated by the spirit manifested in the Apostle’s instructions to his son, Timothy: "But if I tarry long that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth." As the Wise Man says, "Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools, for they consider not that they do evil." One of the features of the law given to the Jews was this: "Ye shall keep my sabbaths and reverence my sanctuary." These are fundamental principles, dear friends, laid down clearly and distinctly in God’s word, and therefore as obedient children we ought to heed them, for to obey is better than to sacrifice, and no sacrifice is acceptable unless based on obedience. You remember the notable case of King Saul who despised the divine command and sought to make up by offering sacrifice. But it would not. He lost his kingdom and life because of his disobedience.
The Apostle says, "all Scripture given by inspiration of God is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." Therefore we may not properly disregard these instructions. But, dear friends, if we are going to get into the kingdom it will result from being obedient to the divine instructions and bringing our hearts more and more into line with the teaching of the Lord and the Apostles and indeed with that servant who is raised up to give meat in due season to the Household of faith.
In conclusion we think we cannot do better than to read an article from the pen of our Pastor. We ourselves have found it meat in due season. We have no doubt all read it. But I haven’t found anybody who has read it too much. Whenever one thinks he can get all the meat out of the Pastor’s writings by one reading he is deceiving himself and being deceived.
(Here Bro. Wisdom read the entire article dated Dec. 1, 1915 entitled "Decorum in the House of God." Reprint page 5809, reprinted from 5186.)
Let us therefore take these principles to our heart, and put them into daily use and let this be a time of making firm resolutions along these lines. Those who neglect these things are neglecting their highest interests. But we can’t afford to neglect theme So when these suggestions are given to us let us see to it that we do not neglect them, but more and more conform our course to these wise and helpful suggestions which we know to be in conformity to the teachings of the Master and His duly appointed apostles.
***************************************************************************** THE APOSTLE PAUL
As to Paul’s temperament and character, Paul is himself the best painter. His humility induced him to abandon the grand title of "Saul," and assume the humble one of "Paul," i. e. "little one," appropriate, perhaps, from his bodily size, but adopted, no doubt, from that humility which makes him count himself to be "less than the least of all the saints, and not worthy to be called an apostle." His speeches and epistles convey to us the truest impression of him. In these we perceive the warmth and ardor of his nature, his affectionate disposition, the tenderness of his sense of honor, the courtesy and personal dignity of his bearing, and his perfect frankness. We see also the rare combination of subtlety, tenacity, and versatility existing in his intellect, with a practical wisdom generally associated with a cooler temperament than his, and a forbearance and tolerance seldom united with such impetuous convictions as he entertained. (From Young’s Concordance, under the heading of "Paul.")
DAY BY DAY—HOUR BY HOUR
God broke our years to hours and days That, hour by hour and day by day, Just going on a little way, We might be able all along To keep quite strong Should all the weight of life Be laid across our shoulders, and the future rife With woe and struggle, meet us face to face At just one place, We could not go. Our feet would stop; and so God lays a little on us every day. And never, we believe, on all the way Will burdens bear so deep, Or pathway lie so threatening and so steep, But we can go, if by God’s power We only bear the burden of the hour. —(Author Unknown) (Wisdom-6)
VALUE OF THE HEAVENLY MANNA-S. N. Wiley(Discourse by S. N. Wiley, N. D. 1916 Convention Report, page 112)
All things that have life, whether animal or vegetable, must have food to sustain that life. If for any reason food is not taken in proper quantities or at proper intervals, leanness and weakness will result, and if food is not taken for a considerable length of time, starvation is sure to follow and death.
When God placed our first parents in the garden of Eden He provided them with food adapted to their nature and to their needs. According to God’s arrangement it was necessary for Adam and Eve to eat of this food—the fruits of the trees—in order to sustain their lives; and we understand that had they continued obedient to God’s commands they might have continued to live indefinitely.
When they disobeyed their Creator He took away from them the privilege of eating of this life-sustaining food; as a consequence they died-starved to death.
When the children of Israel were on their journey through the wilderness, God gave them food—which they called manna. It was furnished to them without any effort on their part—for Moses said: "This is the bread which the Lord hath given you to eat." (Exod. 16:15) It was found in the morning in small particles like hoarfrost. It was necessary for them to gather this food daily for six days each week. On the sixth day they were instructed to gather enough to last over the seventh day. All that was gathered on any other than the sixth day was found to be unfit for use on the following day.
Each one was instructed to gather a specified quantity for each member of his household. No one was permitted to gather a quantity for sale to other?. Each was obliged to gather for himself. This arrangement prevented any one from making personal profit out of a God-given blessing intended for the use of all. While the manna was provided without effort on their part, they were obliged to gather it and prepare it for use. Had they neglected to gather the manna so generously provided, or having gathered, had they neglected to properly prepare it and to partake of it, they would have died—starved to death.
So, dear Friends, as God provided food for His first children, Adam and Eve, and as He provided manna for His chosen people, the children of Israel. so has He provided food for us—His children of the new creation—sufficient in quality and quantity for all our needs. He has provided in His Word a vast storehouse filled with food for our spiritual needs.
By God’s grace through His chosen servant a splendid arrangement has been made for the Church in this our day. We have provided for our daily use this "Daily Heavenly Manna." As God supplied the manna to the children of Israel in small particles, so has He supplied our food in small particles—small verses. As they were obliged to gather these small particles and prepare them in certain prescribed ways that they might be eaten and digested and assimilated, so these small verses must be properly treated. They must be properly gathered—and rightly divided. We must not only read, but study God’s Word.
The manna was sweet, like honey to the taste; so the psalmist said: "How sweet are thy words to my taste". Yea sweeter than honey to my mouth!" Ps 119:103
Do we find our daily manna sweet as honey to our taste? The Prophet Jeremiah said: "Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and Thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart." (Jer 15:16) Dear friends, are we eating of this daily manna? Are we appropriating it to our own use? Our Lord Jesus said: "I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread he shall live forever. (Joh 6:51) Jesus again, in speaking of himself, said: "This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live forever." (Joh 6:58) Do we find this daily manna the joy and rejoicing of our hearts? If not we should pray earnestly that it may become such. Just as the Israelites had to partake daily of the manna that they might live and be strong, so, dear friends, if we would live and grow and become strong, develop spiritually, we must partake daily of our Heavenly Food.
As the natural body grows and develops by means of the food taken, and as the natural mind grows and develops through the mental food provided, in like manner the new mind, the new creature, grows and develops by the food taken. Bro. Streeter has recalled to our minds that when we are begotten to the new nature, become prospective new creatures, we are not given new organs, new brains, with which to think and speak. We are given new things to think about, new things to talk about. We are given a new kind of food.
The apostle tells us, "as a man thinketh in his heart so is he." It is our mind that is being transformed, and we are admonished to think upon the things that are just and pure and true and honest and of good report. We are enjoined to set our affections, our minds, our thoughts, our words, on things above and not on the things that pertain to this old body and this old life.
We all know that when we start out in the morning on a journey, the main thing is to start in the proper direction—start right. If we start wrong we may go wrong all day; or if we do turn about after a time, we have lost valuable time. So is it with our thoughts. If we begin our day with thoughts of worldly things, of human things, thoughts of our temporal affairs, with thoughts of human things uppermost in our minds: if we first read the morning paper just to see how the war is going; the adversary will see to it that our minds will be abundantly supplied along these lines. But if on the other hand we begin our day with thoughts of God and of our dear Lord, and of heavenly things of spiritual things, we shall have much less difficulty all the day in keeping our affections, our thoughts, our minds, our conversation on things above.
This little book, the "Daily Heavenly Manna," has been a great help to me, personally. Ever since I have known about it, I have made daily use of it. I would far rather do without my physical breakfast than without the portion of spiritual food that is daily supplied to us here.
When I had access to my file of the Pastor’s articles, I made it a practice whenever it was possible, to look up and read the article from which the comment was taken. In this way one can keep in close touch with a vast amount of spiritual food.
The plan now employed by many, we hope by all the ecclesias everywhere, of using the Thursday Manna text as the topic for the following Wednesday testimony meeting, is a most valuable and helpful arrangement. By using this text as a fixed point about which to cluster the experiences and thoughts of the week is proving a great blessing to many of the Lord’s children. To know that thousands everywhere are thinking on the same text throughout the week; and that on Wednesday evening many of those same , thousands are gathered in little groups all over the world thinking about and talking about the same things—what an inspiration it is! Is there anything like it anywhere in the world today? If any of the dear friends are, for any avoidable reason, neglecting these precious privileges, they are neglecting one of the most helpful means of progress along the "narrow way."
Our dear Pastor has often told us from the platform and through his articles that of all the meetings of the week, the most helpful is the testimony meeting; and all who avail themselves of its privileges have found it so. Thus does the heavenly manna become to us the most precious of spiritual food. This daily manna used properly brings life and health and growth; while if neglected or taken only at long intervals or carelessly, will be followed by spiritual leanness and weakness. If neglected for a longer period, death—spiritual death—is sure to result: starvation of the new creature. (Wiley-3)
H. hill (Reprint page ~6~)
THE NEW CREATION-E. Whelpton(Discourse by E. Whelpton, 1916 Convention Report, starting on page 246)
In the first lecture of the "Photo-Drama of Creation" we read the following words: "The study of Creation" is the ‘Key to Knowledge.’ Using this Key we begin to realize that the only worthy ambition is to cooperate with our Creator’s beneficent designs respecting His creation." And we would like to suggest that those who shall become members of the New Creation have the most wonderful opportunity for cooperating with the Lord in respect to his creation. Not only have they the great privilege now of cooperating in the development of the New Creation, but when they shall become completed as New Creatures and be born and associated with the Lord Jesus in the work of the future, it shall be their privilege to deal with mankind, and to have the largest part of the bringing of the blessings to the world of mankind and dealing with other parts of God’s creation.
It is important in considering our subject that we find out first of all that the New Creation is separate and distinct from all other creations. That is suggested to us in a passage of Scripture which speaks about our redemption. You remember that "He (the Lord Jesus) is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world," thus making a distinction between these New creatures and mankind in general. And again this matter is vividly brought to our notice and forcefully brought to our attention in what we are told in the Bible about the two ways of salvation. I remind you briefly. You remember the Lord Jesus said, "Straight is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth to life and few there be that find it." But you recall also that the Prophet said, "A highway shall be there and a way, and it shall be called the way of holiness.’ I think we might more clearly see a very sharp distinction between these two ways if we shall notice the difference in the phraseology and notice the different tenses used. I remind you the Lord Jesus spoke in the present tense" Strait IS the gate and narrow IS the way that LEADETH unto life." But the Prophet spoke in the future, saying, A highway SHALL BE there, and a way, and it SHALL BE called . . " You see a comparison between—something is here and something shall be there; something is called a narrow way, and something shall be called a way of holiness, a highway of holiness. Suppose I take time enough to quote that Scripture, and note and you will see how that expression is carried on right to the end of the quotation. Let me quote: "A highway, shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called the way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over, but it shall be for them; the wayfaring man, though a fool shall not err therein; no lion shall be there nor any ravenous beast go up thereon. It shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there, and the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. It is very evident, my dear friends, for several reasons that this is not the way that the New Creation walks in. It is very evident that the Lord walked in a narrow way, and that all who shall be members of the New Creation shall follow in His footsteps. They themselves must walk that Narrow Way.
Then let us consider who the New Creation are. Who are new creatures? This is spoken of in the Bible as a "mystery." And I think that we all realize that it is indeed mysterious, that it is not understood by the world in general. I think that quite likely if we were to ask most of our dear friends in the nominal systems their thought, if they would express it, would be something like this—they would say, "Well, a general division should be made between the saved and the unsaved; put the unsaved on this hand, the left hand, and the saved on this, the right hand. All the saved of the world of mankind, all who have ever been saved, all who ever will be saved, are members of the new Creation That I think, would be about their thought. But, my dear friends, that is not true. The Bible speaking of this matter assures us that the New Creation are a first-fruits unto God of His creatures—very clearly implying that there will be after fruits. The apostle speaking on this subject, as I have already stated, tells us quite plainly there is a mystery connected with the matter. And he goes on to explain what that mystery is. He tells us that Jehovah spoke of the whole plan, preached the gospel, to Abraham when He said, "Abraham, in thee and thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed." And He undertakes to give an explanation of what the Lord meant when He said, "In thy seed;" drawing our attention to the fact that the Lord used very explicit language and spoke not of seeds but spoke of a seed, one "in thy seed." And then he assures us that that "seed" is Christ. "Well," you say, "it seems to me there is no particular mystery connected with the matter." It is the other part that has been mysterious, and it is highly important that we all understand it. Unless we do understand this matter, we will not understand the Bible. If that remains a mystery to us, the Bible remains a mystery. All new creatures should understand this matter. I trust all here do, although I rehearse the matter.
Continuing, the Apostle says that not only is it true that that seed is Christ, but that if we are Christ’s, we are the seed of Abraham, and it is that statement that has indeed been mysterious. But the apostle endeavors to explain the matter, and he explains it as you endeavor to explain many things. He uses an illustration, and says in substance, Now, brethren, this matter about the seed being one and yet many is well illustrated by the human body. "Well, how so, Paul?" Well, Paul answers, do you not see that the human body is one body only? "Oh, yes." Do you not see further that though one body it is composed of many members? "Indeed we do. We recognize there are many members in the one body." Well, then, Paul tells us, so it is with Christ. The Christ has a body of many members. "And who is the Head of that Body?" Oh, the Lord Jesus has been appointed by the Father to be the Head in all things. "To what?" To the Church, which is his body.
The text on our program says that "if any man be in Christ, he is a New Creature." So now if we are Christ’s members, then we are in him. If we are in him, we are New Creatures. Now, do we all see? I trust we do. Do we all see the New Creation? Do we have it before our minds? The Lord Jesus, the Head of a body, a glorious body, when completed, it will be, the New Creation.
Let us consider next how the New Creation is created. That seems to me to be an important matter. We recognize that Jehovah God is the great Creator, and as brought to our attention in the first chapter of the volume entitled "The New Creation," various are Jehovah’s agents and innumerable are His agencies for carrying out the various features of His plan. And so we recognize that the New Creation is His creation, but since He operates in many ways we inquire, How does He create the New Creation? We are plainly assured that we are His workmanship, that we are created in Christ Jesus, and that assures us that the work is God’s. "But," you say, "what we desire to know is, HOW does God work?" The apostle answers that quite pointedly by saying," God works in you." And what does He work in us to accomplish? He tells us that God works in you to WILL. Oh, I fancy that perhaps someone’s mind has come to that Scripture which says, "Has not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honor and another unto dishonor?" And the thought may come to their mind, "Why, it does not seem God does give us any will in the matter. That illustration suggests He has power to do as He pleases with the clay." Well, my dear friends, that is surely a statement of the Bible where the apostle is not talking about that matter in this connection. He is not telling how God makes the New Creation. He tells us it is God’s own business who has the privilege of being of the New Creation, and has the perfect right to give you a privilege of being a new creature, and a perfect right to withhold it from anybody else. But he is not telling us how God makes the New Creation. He is not suggesting to us that God sits as a great workman with pattern before Him and taking lifeless elements and moulds them without consulting that which is to be made. But he is rather on the other hand suggesting that the Heavenly Father as a workman holds before us the pattern and we admiring it say, I would like to be, I wish to be, I want to be, I desire to be like that pattern. When we are willing, if we are willing to be formed by Him, if we are willing to be in His hands and willing that He the great workman shall work in us, then we are His workmanship; then He will carry forward this work of the New Creation.
You remember how that matter was with the Lord Jesus. We recognize, I think all of us, that the Heavenly Father worked with the Lord Jesus, and that He brought him forward as a New Creature through various stages of development, finally perfecting him, and we recall that right at the inauguration of this great work, right at the time he received that begetting power which thereafter influenced his entire life, that he said, "I delight to do Thy will." What is Jehovah’s will? Oh, it is clearly expressed: "This is the will of God concerning you, even your sanctification." And as vessels sanctified and made meet for the Master’s service will be the individual members of the New Creation. Let me suggest, my dear friends, that there is something far more than merely willing to do the Lord’s will—something far more than that. I feel that that is sometimes not very clearly recognized. I think that some of those that the apostle describes when he says, "Many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep." I feel that many of them do not get very far past that stage of being willing to do the Lord’s will. "Why, is there anything more than that?" Oh, indeed, my dear friends, some things far more than that. "Well, what more?" Well, do you remember the apostle tells us that we are to understand what the will of the Lord is? Not merely being willing to do it, but UNDERSTANDING WHAT IT IS. So I suggest that that is the great work the Heavenly Father does in us after we have come to the point where we are willing. Then He reveals to us more and more of His will and that is the power of God working in us.
Let us go back for a moment and consider the Head of the Body at Jordan. He said, "I delight to do Thy will." And he immediately went into the wilderness and spent forty days in contemplation of the divine plan, coming to a very clear understanding we may be sure of what the Lord’s will was there. Then he busied himself during the remainder of his ministry in doing that will, so thoroughly that he could look up with confidence to the Father end say, "I do always those things that are pleasing in Thy sight." Not, "I am always willing as I was at Jordan to do your will" and never got beyond that; but "I have progressed beyond that. I have found out now what it is. I have seen through the types and shadows the whole matter portrayed and now I am doing your will." So now in respect to the creation of the New Creatures, they are wrought upon by the Heavenly Father, not in opposition to their wills, not without it being considered, but in harmony with their will or desire they are called to will and do of His good pleasure, and that is what is meant when the Apostle tells us that we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. He does not suggest that there needs to be today or tomorrow or the next day some change occurring in your will—not at all. Your will is as it was years ago after we came to the Lord then. But what change has there been? Oh, there has been a filling of the mind more and more with an understanding of what the will of the Lord is, and then if our desire has remained with us to do to the extent of our ability those things pleasing in his sight, and if that is true, you are being created in Christ Jesus. You are growing up into Him in all things, the Head of the Body. That I suggest is how the New Creatures are created.
But another phase of the same point. Not only is it true that God works in us, but it is also true that we are workers together with Him. And that is why He sets before us a pattern. The Lord Jehovah Himself does not need especially to have a pattern in mind. It is we who have need of the pattern before us. And so more and more of the glorious character of our Heavenly Father and more and more of the glorious character of our Lord Jesus, the pattern, is brought to our attention, and as a result of beholding we are transformed into that same image. Shall we not then more earnestly pray that the eyes of our understanding may continue to open widely, and still more widely may they open so that this transforming influence may be more and more fully operating in us?
But another point. I suggested at the outset what is mentioned in the Photo Drama in the first lecture, that we have the privilege of cooperating with our Creator’s beneficent designs respecting His creation, and that is a noble ambition. Surely, my dear friends, it would be the noblest ambition to cooperate with Him in the creation of the new creatures. And so I am suggesting under that heading also that not only are we workers together with God in the sense that we work toward our own development, but that we are workers together with Him also in respect to the development of the fellow members of the Body. Do you not remember to have read that the whole body fitly joined and compacted together by that which every part supplies makes increase? Isn’t that a wonderful privilege? And while we are contemplating that we might, I think properly get before our minds the importance of that work. Remember what the Head of the Body said upon that point. He said, "Take heed that you offend not one of these little ones. Unknown and unrecognized by the world, they are considered by the Heavenly Father as being so important that although He has a boundless creation, nevertheless their angels, the angel of the humblest one of them, may at any time have an audience with Jehovah God who inhabits eternity. Take heed, therefore, said the Head of the Body, that ye offend not one of these little ones that believe in me. So, my dear friends, if we are thinking of being workers together with him in the sense of working together in the development of each other, let us be impressed with the weighty importance of the matter. One who has been very helpful indeed to all the members of the Body said, "If meat make my brother to offend I will eat no meat so long as. the world stands." He considered the importance of it surely.
But this is the negative side of the matter, to take heed not to hinder the Lord a work. What about the positive side of that work? Let us revert again to what we have said about how God works. Surely if we work with Him, we will be working like He does. At any rate we must work under His directions. And so I have suggested God works in us. And how? By bringing to our attention and understanding more and more the things of His word, giving us in the first instance an enlightening as a result of the operation of the Holy Spirit, and we work together with Him if we as the apostle suggests admonish one another and exhort one another, and consider one another to provoke unto love and good works. Now do you not see the connection? God works in us to will and to do, and we work with each other to provoke unto love and good works. We remind each other of the exceeding great and precious promises. We comfort the feebleminded, we support the weak, we are patient toward all, and thus we cooperate with the great Creator of the New Creation in the development of the New Creation. Could any privilege be higher? Could any ambition be greater than that? Surely not.
Then we consider next the change that is to come to the New Creation. We all understand I think, that the present condition is represented in the Bible as being an embryonic condition, and though while we are tabernacling in the flesh we have much of the joy of the Lord and much peace, a peace which the world did not give us and a peace which; thank God, the world cannot take from us; nevertheless all New Creatures are looking forward earnestly to, earnestly desiring their change. Well, what change? The change of the mind? Oh, no. We are not talking about that now. The change that we are talking about now is the change of the body. We must all be changed. And is this change very great, you inquire? Oh indeed yes, it is wonderfully great. The Apostle speaking of it says, "It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown a natural body, (or an animal body), and is raised a spiritual body"—a spiritual body like to that of the Lord Jesus. "We shall be like him," we read. Surely that is a great change, a wonderful change. How are we straightened while the work of development goes forward, while we wait this glorious change of the first resurrection! And that great change will usher us into the future work of the New Creation, and I wish to consider that for a few moments.
The work of the present time is indeed joyous. It is a glorious thing to have an opportunity to stir up each others minds and minister to each other. I am sure you all appreciate it. It is a glorious thing to have any part in it. And bear in mind that it is not merely those that preach to others who have that opportunity, but those who, as our brother told us the other day, put a tract in the hand as somebody comes along who might appreciate it, and if as a result of receiving that tract, the one who receives it comes to a knowledge of this great privilege of making a consecration to the Lord, entering His service and running in the Narrow Way and faithfully to the end, they are workers together with God in the development of the New Creation. And so I am saying now that the present work, and the incidental work of giving a witness to the world is a glorious work. The joys and blessings of that service I am sure we have all appreciated. Nevertheless we are looking forward to the great work beyond the vail. We are looking forward to the time that we will be with the Lord and share his glory. The glory of that future work is not appreciated by mankind—"Eye hath not seen and ear hath not heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of the natural man." They can’t receive those things. Let me say a word about that. Sometimes we find those who think that is rather an overstatement, who think the natural man CAN receive them. They are mistaken in this respect. They think that because people HEAR about spiritual things that they RECEIVE spiritual things. That is not it at all. The Bible does not say the natural man doesn’t hear ABOUT things. The Bible plainly states that the natural man receiveth not the things of the kingdom of God.
When I speak about that and endeavor to explain that view, I usually call to mind the parable of the wise and foolish virgins, and I make mention of what we are told there when we read they went forth to meet the Bridegroom. And so when suggesting now that those who merely hear about these things and it makes no difference to their plans in life, no difference to their aims in life, no difference to their ambitions in life, no difference to their business affairs, spend their money lust the same as formerly, makes no difference in their arrangements for the family, they do not go forth. Those who order their affairs in harmony with the message that has come to them, go forth to meet the Bridegroom. They go forth because they receive the things, not because they hear about them, or rather, not merely a result of hearing. Those who hear and nothing more, do not go forth. They stay where they are.
Let me give you an illustration: You remember that the Lord Jesus speaking about John the Baptist, said, "And if ye can receive it, this is Elias which was to come." Did you read about that years ago? Did you ever hear about that? Did you ever read those words of the Lord Jesus? Why hundreds of times. How long ago did you really receive that in an understanding way in the mind so you were able to see how John was Elias to come? Now, if the natural man cannot receive or understand the glories that wait the New Creature, how are we to understand? Well, the Lord tells us that they have been revealed to us by the Spirit. Well, we call to your attention briefly some of the things that have been revealed. One of the things that has been revealed is this—you recall we read, "I saw as it were on Mount Zion a Lamb slain and with Him 144,000." With Him? Yes. Who are those 144,000? That is the New Creation. With Him? Yes. And are the glories of the future anything more than merely being with Him? Oh, further than being with Him. As a result of being with Him we share His glory. Well, what glory? Why, the glory of the future work. You see, that is what I am speaking about now, about the future of the New Creation, the glory of His future work.
When upon earth Jesus gave various illustrations of that future work. He cleansed the unclean leper; he opened the eye. of the blind; he unstopped the deaf ears; he made the lame to walk; he stopped that funeral procession as the daughter of that widow was being borne out to the sepulcher; he entered the home of Jairus and said to that sleeping child they all thought was dead, "Arise;" he stood before the tomb of Lazarus and calling, said, ‘Lazarus, come forth!" And that merely shadowed forth the work of the future, pointed to the great work that He will accomplish. When? When the 144,000 are with Him. Does that great and important work await the completion of the New Creation? Indeed it does. The apostle assures us on that point, saying, "The whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now." And how much longer than now? Until the 144,000 are with Him on Mount Zion. And what then will result? Oh, the apostle assures us on that point likewise. He says there will be the manifestation of the sons of God. Who are these sons of God? They are the New Creation. The sons of God without rebuke, the fully perfected sons, the fully born sons. And in the meantime the whole creation groans and travails in pain. Lepers remaining unhealed; the eyes of the blind still remaining blinded, both physical and mental; the ears of the deaf still remaining closed, both physical and mental, and the sleepers still in the tomb by the thousands and millions, waiting—for what? For the glorious future work of the New Creation.
This was very beautifully pictured in the type, and I suggest this now because we are endeavoring to combine two things—to combine the change, the great change to come to the New Creation, and the future work, the work resulting from that change. You remember on the tenth of the seventh month before the Tabernacle thousands and thousands of Israelites were prostrated lying in the dust, sackcloth and ashes upon them, and that inside the Tabernacle was a priest engaged in a work of service, a sacrificial work. You recall that he was clothed in white linen robes, but when he had completed that sacrificial work, two great changes occurred. The priest laid aside those white linen robes, the robes of sacrifice, and put upon him those glorious vestments, the garments of glory and beauty. I can’t take time to describe them, but you recall the picture to your mind. Think about the gold and the white and the purple and the scarlet, about those things interwoven, about the golden bells and fruit and about the ephod representing the covenant, and about the gold clasps and gold chain; and think especially about the holy anointing oil coming down from the head to the members of the body. In that we have a picture of the completed Christ possessing the proper qualifications for the great future work and anointed by Jehovah, authorized by Him, recognized by Him, as the proper channel, the properly qualified class to deal with His earthly creation. Well my dear friends, that was a wonderful change surely; that is the change we are looking for. You are saying to yourself daily in the words of the apostle, "I desire to be found in Him to experience the power of His resurrection, and in order that I may I am daily being conformed unto His death." But that was just one change. Presently that priest came forth. I like to put this along with the verses I have already quoted where the apostle says, "The whole creation groaneth and travaileth," because the one is a statement in fact and the other represents that which is a plain statement of fact. The Israelites in general, before the door of the Tabernacle, represent the whole creation groaning and travailing in pain. The priest coming forth represents the completion of the New Creation. And then what occurred? Oh, the apostle says that the creation waits for the manifestation of the sons of God, and the people there waiting for the manifestation of those sons of God are represented in type. And when the manifestation occurred then what happened? Oh, a general arising, rising up, shaking off the dust and the ashes, laying off the sackcloth. Let those things which are emblems of mourning give place to those which have to do with joy and gladness. "Go to your homes" —restitution; "eat the fat and drink the sweet and send portions"—cooperate. Not only will it be the privilege of the New Creation to cooperate with Jehovah in respect to His creation, but every single person who shall be worthy of everlasting life must do that, every one of them; and those who do not do that, those who do not consider it a worthy ambition to cooperate with Him, shall be cut off in the second death.
Let me prove that. I remind you of that parable where he said, "When the Son of Man shall come in His glory." We read that when the thousand years will have been completed, he will have them divided into two classes. The goats on the left hand, the sheep on the right hand, and that then he will say to those on his right hand, "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." Does he assign any reason why they are accounted worthy of so great blessing? Indeed he does, He says, "I was an hungered and ye gave me meat (sent portions); I was thirsty and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger and ye took me in; naked, and ye clothed me; I was sick and ye visited me; I was in prison and ye came unto me." And they answer, "Lord, I don’t remember to have done anything of that kind for you. I didn’t think we had the privilege." "Ah, you did it to these, my least brethren, to those of the human family, those coming forth from the tomb. You did it unto me. That is why I say, Come, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." And then turning to those on his left hand, he says, "Depart, go away." Does he assign a
reason again? Oh, indeed yes. "I was hungry and ye gave me no meat (did not send any portion—received portions but did not send any); thirsty, but no drink; naked and ye clothed me not; sick and in prison and ye visited me not." What had they failed to do? They had failed to exercise their privilege of cooperating with the Creator’s beneficent designs respecting His creation: not the New Creation, not those prospective members of the New Creation, not those prospective members of the New Creation are receiving reproof because of that—not that; but the world of mankind. So, my dear friends, do we again see the importance of it? The people here caused to rise up and go home, eat the fat and drink the sweet and send portions—a day of joy and gladness. That, my dear friends, suggests briefly some of the glory of the future work of the New Creation. Do we not want to be members of that glorified High Priest clad with those glorious vestments and anointed for that glorious future work? If we are faithful now and come to the point of full development, being born from the dead, or changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, we will have the blessed privilege under the glorious Head to share with him that glorious work, His glory, the glory which was shown forth by Him when He performed those various works of mercy while on earth. They shadowed forth the glory that will be manifested when the sons of God are manifested, when the New Creation is complete.
Then I remind you of another picture in that connection. You remember that statement quoted by the apostle when he says, "Thus saith the Lord, in an acceptable time have I heard thee." Heard whom? We will see. "And in a day of salvation have I helped you." helped whom? We will see later. "And I will preserve thee and give thee for a covenant of the people." Now, who is spoken about? Oh, the very class we are considering today—the New Creation are being spoken about. You know something of the narrow view entertained about that statement. You know many suggest that which would entirely refute the view we have. Instead of suggesting at all any possibility of salvation in the future, they say it says "NOW is the acceptable time," which truly it is. But they do not know what is meant by "now. The time indicated is the time between the time of the Lord’s creation and the completion of the New Creation, and the Lord is saying, "Now, during that acceptable time, I heard thee." Did He promise to hear us? Oh, yes, indeed; that is one of the great encouragements for the New Creation. He hears our prayers. We can call upon him in our every time of need and he will hear us— " In an acceptable time have I heard thee." He heard our vow of consecration, our prayers, and his grace is sufficient for every time of need. "In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee. Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation." But we want the part now that deals with the future work. We are talking about the future work of the New Creation. We come to that part. "And I will preserve thee." Well, why does the Lord need to preserve us? Oh, one reason is because they must all die like men end fall like one of the princes. And he will preserve us and in resurrection power bring us forth. And then what? Oh, then comes the future work. "And I will give thee for a covenant of the people." Not that the church ARE the covenant, but they are to be the great mediator of the covenant. "I will give thee for a covenant of the people." Do what? We are considering the future work now. What are we going to do? "To establish the earth." My deer friends, it looks, and every day it looks more and more, as though the world indeed will need to be established. Is it not coming to be recognized more and more that the work of disestablishment is going on? And are we not assured that it shall go on until all the things being shaken shall be removed?—nothing left at all. It will be like the chaff of the summer threshing floor, and the wind carried it away. But the New Creation comes on the scene at that point and their work is to establish the earth, establish it in righteousness. "To cause to inherit the desolate heritages." Ah, my dear friends, you mark it doesn’t say to inherit the desolate heritage. Oh, the Lord’s people are to have an inheritance that has never been desolate. Not something lost; but they are to CAUSE to inherit the desolate heritages, cause the world of mankind to inherit. Won’t that be a joyous service? "That thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, show yourselves."
In order that we may see something of the grandeur of that work, let me refer to what I have already referred to. I have already spoken about the Lord Jesus standing at the tomb of Lazarus and saying, "Lazarus, come forth." And I remind you when he had called him forth that he said, "Loose him and let him go." Who do you suppose would feel disposed to respond to that invitation—to accept that privilege? The Scribes and Pharisees who might be there? They were displeased because Lazarus had been put forth. They wanted to put him to death because they had an influence on the people. But some were there who were heartily in sympathy with the dear Master, and when the Master said, "Loose him and let him go," as he stood there with a napkin around his head and wrapped in his grave clothes, how long do you suppose Peter would hesitate, or John or James, or others before they would go up and take off those grave clothes so he might walk and embrace his sisters and all might say he was indeed alive and the Master had awakened him? Oh, I am sure it would be a privilege, a proud moment for those dear disciples.
The Lord Jesus is to stand before the great prison house. He has the keys you remember, to open those prison doors, and then to call, not for Lazarus, not for the widow of Nain’s son merely, not for the daughter of Jairus, but he is to call for all that are in their graves, and they will hear his voice and come forth. Our minds can’t comprehend how many that will be. We can only comprehend in part what a glorious work that will be. But nevertheless we can comprehend sufficiently so that every one of us feel like saying, Oh, that I might be worthy to share that great work! Oh, that I might be worthy to be one of those associated with the Lord Jesus who may help loose the world of mankind and let them go. And so now, as the Lord Jesus will do that great work, there will be associated with Him a new Creation there. Part of the glorious work of the future will be to take away the things that now blind our minds, to take those hindrances, those things which will hinder them from walking in that highway of holiness; take off those things which will hinder them from sending portions, from giving meat to someone else, from giving drink to others, to remove those things and bring about that glorious deliverance that the whole creation groans for.
A thousand years we all understand will witness the completion of that great work, and the class we are speaking about are to have an endless life—glory, honor and immortality are promised to them. What will be our THEN future work? We have been talking about the "now" future. Will it all have ended then, that glorious work that will be their delight to do?—that work when it is spoken of as "Blessed and holy are they which have part in the first resurrection. . . they rest from their labors, but their works do follow them". They rest from their labor, but they go on with the glorious work it is now their joy and privilege to do. Oh, there will still be work for the New Creation.
Briefly it is brought to our attention, and briefly I remind you of the apostle’s words when he says, "In the ages to come. We all understand that the Lord’s plan is a plan that has to do with ages. The Lord has divided off or arranged for different ages or worlds. They are spoken of in the Bible—the world that was, the world that now is, and the world to come. During the Millennial Age, the thousand years, his work that I have been speaking about will be completed. But beyond that—what about that? Well, the apostle does not undertake to tell us how many ages are beyond. But he does undertake to assure us what it will be our privilege to do during those ages, telling us that in the ages which are approaching, He (Jehovah) will show forth the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us by Christ Jesus. Could anything be grander than to be the instrument of showing forth the riches of Jehovah’s grace? Would you not like to be one of those counted worthy to do that?—to bring about those glorious blessings of the Millennial Age and then through the ages which are coming, to show forth the exceeding riches of His grace. If you would, my dear friend, bend all your energy toward making your calling and election sure as members of the New Creation. Add to your faith, virtue; to virtue, knowledge, to knowledge, temperance, to temperance, godliness, to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you add these things you shall never fall, never lose your standing as prospective members, but have an abundant entrance into the glories of the future, be fully installed in your office under the Head as members of the glorious New Creation. May the Lord bless you. —Selected—