(Meditation in Luke's Gospel) by JIM FLANIGAN, (Belfast)
7. The Temptation
As we approach the holy ground of our Lord's temptations there are several important considerations which must be borne in mind.
Firstly, let us be clear as to the uniqueness of the humanity of Christ. It has often been pointed out that there have been three kinds of manhood in our world. In Eden, in Adam, there was innocent manhood. After Adam's disobedience, and in the world ever since, there has been fallen manhood. But the unique manhood of Christ was neither innocent nor fallen. His was holy manhood. He lived in a prepared body which was capable of weariness and pain, but not of sickness, disease, or sin. Neither was it subject to death or corruption. He was God incarnate. In Him dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. He was the Man of whom Jehovah said, 'The Man who is my fellow" (Zech 13.7). And in this holy manhood there could be neither shadow or stain of sin, nor the possibility of it.
Secondly, let us be equally clear that there are two ways of understanding and using our English word "tempted". How often we use it in the sense of soliciting or enticing to sin. But it does not always have that meaning. When we read that "God did tempt Abraham" (Gen. 22), we know that this has nothing whatsoever to do with enticement to sin. When we read "Your fathers tempted Me" (Psalm 95.9, Heb. 3.9), it cannot have that meaning here either. Too sadly are we aware that there are temptations which come to us as an appeal to our base and fallen natures, and if, after a struggle in our breasts, we overcome in such temptations, it is only by grace and by the power of the indwelling Spirit of God. Our Lord never knew such temptation. There was nothing in Him to which any evil suggestion would appeal. In what sense then, could it be said that He was tempted? The answer lies in the other meaning of the word. It means '"to test", "to prove", "to be tried"
Abraham was tested by God. God tries men to prove them, for their own good and blessing. The Devil would tempt Jesus. But in the heart of the Holy One there could be no such inward struggle as we might have. Trial, testing, in the wilderness, will only serve to prove the innate and intrinsic holiness that was His, and the utter impossibility that He should sin.
Thirdly, notice that it was not the Devil who brought Jesus to the wilderness. He was driven there by the Spirit. It was as if Jehovah would say to the Devil, "You remember the first man? And what you did to Him? In the garden ! Come to the wilderness and see the second Man. Test Him! Try Him! Prove Him!" Here is the Perfect Man, who for thirty years has lived holily in Galilee, with no blemish upon Him; no fault, no failure either in word or deed or thought. What a confrontation is this, Satan and Jesus in the wilderness.
It will be noticed that in Luke the order of the three recorded temptations is different to that given by Matthew. Matthew's is the historical order; the chronological sequence of the temptations. Luke's is a moral order. He has told us in the opening words of His Gospel that he writes with method. His method here in Ch. 4 is to let us see the temptation in the wilderness first, then the temptation on the mountain, and lastly, the temptation at the temple. Our Lord will be tested as to His dependence, as to His patience, and as to His obedience.
When the forty days of fasting were ended, Jesus was hungry, and naturally so. The Devil points to the stones. "Command that they be made bread", he exhorts. Our Lord replies with a quotation from Deut. 8.3. It was a word spoken to the Nation in another wilderness. Had Jehovah not cared for them? fed them? clothed them? and kept them? And did He not experientially teach them that man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God? Was He not teaching them to be a dependent people, waiting upon Him for every necessity? Jesus in the wilderness is a truly dependent Man. He will not use the power of deity to meet His physical and human need. Later, He will turn water to wine for others, but He will not turn stones to bread for Himself, His meat was to do the will of Him that sent Him. He will quietly wait in trust upon Jehovah, truly dependent indeed.
The Devil now takes Him up into a high mountain, and in a moment of time shows Him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them. If the first test was physical, the second is political. "All this power will I give Thee, and the glory ... If Thou therefore wilt worship me all shall be Thine" (Luke 4.6-7). Jesus quotes again from Deuteronomy (6.12). "Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God . . . Him only" "Get thee behind Me Satan". The kingdoms of the world and the glory were already Christ's by right. In patience He would wait until the appointed hour. In Rev 13.2 another will take from the Devil that which Jesus refused. But his glory will be short-lived. It is in the mind and purpose of God to give the glory to His Son, and in patience Jesus will wait
The third temptation is at the temple. Now the Devil will also quote Scripture. On the pinnacle of the temple, looking down into the deep valley below, he says to the Lord, "Cast Thyself down from hence; for it is written, He shall give His angels charge over Thee, to keep Thee... to bear Thee up". Our Lord's reply is again a simple quotation from Deuteronomy (6.16). "Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God". To put God to the test is really mistrust. Testing His promise is akin to doubting His word. And. in any case, Satan has not fully quoted the Scripture to which he refers (Psalm 91.11). He omits, "in all thy ways". It is the whole life of the child of God that is in view, and when a man really walks in honesty and in true dependence upon God, then Jehovah will protect and keep and preserve that man. The truly trusting man will not seek to test this by deliberately putting himself in the path of danger. He will trust as he walks, and will walk as he trusts. In the wilderness we "Behold the Man", whose patience, dependence, and obedience, are all put to the test and proven. He is the perfect Man.
A perfect path of purest grace,
Unblemished and complete,
Was Thine, Thou spotless Nazarite,
Pure even to the feet!
The vow was on Thee - Thou didst come
To yield Thyself to death;
And consecration marked Thy path,
And spoke in every breath.
Messages from Muller
These are notes of addresses given by the late George Muller
Paul's Letter to Philemon — Paper 1
Notes of an Exposition of the Epistle to Philemon, delivered on Lord' s-day Evening, March 2nd, 1873.
The occasion which gave rise to this letter was this: Philemon, who resided at Colosse (for this is plainly to be seen by the last chapter of the Epistle of Paul to the Colossians. The letter to the church at Colosse was written at the same time with this letter to Philemon. Onesimus and another brother were the bearers of the letter to the church at Colosse, and of this private letter to Philemon),—Philemon, who resided at Colosse, had a slave by the name of Onesimus, and this slave in his ungodly state ran away from his master Philemon, and in the providence of God, as we say, he comes to Rome. Rome was the greatest place in the whole world at that time. In all probability this slave said to himself, "If I could get to Rome, what prospects there would be before me." This may have occurred to his mind after he left his master. He wanders on from Asia Minor to Rome with bright prospects before him. "Oh, what pleasures I shall have in Rome; what sights I shall see in Rome; what companionship I shall meet with in Rome!" No doubt some such thoughts passed through his mind. And what happened in Rome? He was converted. So God allows men to go their own way; so God allows men to follow the desires of their own heart, and if they could they would yet farther and farther run away from Him. But God says, " Thus far shalt thou go, and no farther." Many have gone to London and to other places, not to get good for the soul, but in the service of the Devil; but God there laid hold on them, in the very way which they least thought of, and converted them.
Again, Onesimus might have come to Rome and never seen Paul. He might have spent fifty years in Rome, and never seen Paul; but God has purposes of grace and mercy towards him, and in His good providence orders it that he may fall in with Paul, that he must become acquainted with this Paul. And who was Paul at this time in Rome? Not a great man in the eyes of the world. Truly a great man in one sense, and yet in the greatest obscurity in another sense. Paul was at this time a prisoner for the gospel's sake. Paul did not walk about in the market place, the Forum, where the great and wealthy of the capital met together. He was in prison, with a soldier watching him, and yet God so orders it that this runaway slave must fall in with Paul and that Paul shall become a blessed instrument in the hands of God of converting his soul. How full of encouragement this should be to us all! Some have dear ones who are far from Christ, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, and other relatives, and many of them are apparently getting farther and farther from God, and caring less and less about the things of God, and more and more about the things of this world. Go on, beloved in Christ, believingly, patiently bringing their cases before the Lord, and you will yet have the joy of finding out that your prayers have not been in vain. There is every reason to believe that Philemon, the godly master of this slave, was concerned about his spiritual welfare; but all seems lost when this slave runs away, and yet God follows him, and lays hold on him at the very time when you and I would least have thought he would have been brought to the Lord.
Let us read and meditate on this letter to Philemon.
Ver. 1. "Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, unto Philemon our dearly beloved and fellow-labourer."
He regarded this Philemon as one who laboured with him in the gospel. He speaks of him and treats him as a fellow-labourer.
Ver. 2. "And to our beloved Apphia (the wife of Philemon), and to Archippus our fellowsoldier (this Archippus was a brother who laboured in the word and doctrine at Colosse), and to the church, in thy house." The house of Archippus was the meeting place of the church, for at that time it was not so that there were designated buildings, but they met in private houses or in some places which were fitted up for the purpose. We have an instance of this in the 20th chapter of the Acts, where Paul was preaching in an upper chamber. It was not the aim of the disciples to have costly places, to resemble the temple at Jerusalem. The first hundred and twenty met in |in upper room. So here the church at Colosse had for its meeting place the house of Philemon.
Ver. 3. "Grace, to you." You observe how this comes in in the various letters addressed to the churches, and there must be a reason for it It is not a common phrase which is brought in. The reason seems to be this: we have to be reminded that grace has been bestowed upon us by God through Christ Jesus, and that He is willing to bestow more and more blessing. And so also we have to be reminded continually of the fact that we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. I am now only speaking to those who trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, who having passed sentence on themselves, and having condemned themselves in the sight of God as guilty sinners, are trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ, who atoned for sin, as the one ground of acceptance before God. (to be continued)
by David Ogden (Luton, England)
Verses 1 and 2 - HIS REALM AS CREATOR Seen in relation to his Power - Outward Majesty.
An ordered territory must have a RULER, and here He is announced as Jehovah. The Authorised Version, and fortunately most versions follow this example, correctly differentiates between the Hebrew words for Lord. The AV uses capitals when Jehovah is meant and normal type when Adonai or Sovereign Lord is used. This distinction is to be noted especially in the book of Ezekiel. Psalm 110.1 also is a very important example in the Psalter. The Spirit of God uses Divine titles with precise and reverential care. It is noticeable that He does not say "The Earth is God's". That would involve the use of El (singular) or Elohim (plural) which is His Creatorial Name. Here he is seen as JEHOVAH, The LORD or the Eternal, unchanging Covenant One. The title occurs alone three times in this Psalm. Here in verse 1 the time is the Past and the aspect is Creation. In verse 2, it is the Present and the aspect is Consecration. Verse 5 shows us the Future and the aspect is Consummation. In all things and at all times we have a supreme, and Holy source of all blessing. One who changes not. If there is a Ruler, then He must have a REALM and it is the earth. Here it is Geological, for the idea is that of the land as regarded as God's special possession. He is "the Most High God, Possessor of Heaven and Earth", Gen. 14.19; "Judge of all the Earth", Gen. 18.25; "Great King over all the Earth", Psalm 47.2; "the God... of all the Kingdoms of the Earth"; 2 Kings 19.15 and the "Earth is his footstool" Isa. 66.1. He has graciously placed man upon it Psalm 115.16 "The earth hath He given to the children of men." Nowhere in scripture do we read that the earth is Satan's. He is "Prince of the Power of the air", Eph. 2.2; "God of this age" (AV world'), 2 Cor. 4.4 and "Prince of the world", John 12.31,14.30, and 16.11. One day he will be cast down to earth, there to personally oversee man's final rebellion against God. At present he has man in his rebellious natural state in bondage under the suzerainty of his usurpation. This is why, as Handley Moule has said, "the New Testament idea of reconciliation points rather to winning the pardon of an offended King, than the consent of a rebel to yield to his kindness".
A realm to be profitable, must have REVENUE. Here, this is seen as " the Fulness thereof." This relates to the Geographical aspect. Psalm 50.12, "The world is mine and the fulness thereof. Then the RULED are seen," They that dwell therein". Here the inhabitants are viewed. God announces His complete Sovereignty over creation. Man may misuse the earth and be in utter rebellion but his Creator issues a statement which shows His absolute authority. The verse is not only the divulgence of Divine ownership, it is also the declaration of Divine omnipotence as this verse can be linked to the Millennial reign "when every knee shall bow and every tongue shall swear", Isa. 45.23 and the earth shall truly yield her fulness, (Psalm 72.15, Isa. 41.18,19.)
If the latter part of verse 1 shows the EXTENT, verse 2 gives the ESTABLISHMENT. Upon the waters of chaos, the Spirit of God moved, and from those waters God brought an earth. He who stilled the raging torrents still controls the wild elements both physical and spiritual. The word for flood here is often translated river since it means river or stream and is used to denote the major Old Testament rivers. It has been observed that the Hebrew word is used in the Psalms more generally for torrents of water in various similes. Were the Authorised translators using an elegant variation to translate river, or had they the thought of the river in all its proud full spate, to parallel the word seas? There are some interesting applications to be seen in a study of some of the principal rivers of scripture. For example, Euphrates would speak of the old life, the Nile and the river of Egypt of bondage, and the Jordan of blessing and separation. The seas may be tempestuous, the rivers may flood, but they are but integral parts of an earth which is ultimately under the control of the Sovereign Creator. One day they will all vanish to be replaced by a new creation where there is no disharmony. In the Millennial reign Messiah's Dominion "shall be from sea to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth", Zech. 9.10. The hearers of the Psalm might consider the vagaries of the elements and the fact that the earth was under the curse, but triumphantly ringing out comes the glorious paean "The earth is Jehovah's."
by A. D. THROPAY (California)
A.2. The Protection of Unity. 4.7-16.
—But: (de) This word is used to show a distinction. In this case it is used to show the distinction between "all" in verse 6 and the individual believers mentioned in this verse.
—unto every: (hekasto) each.
—one of us: This shows that a personal interest is taken in each believer. Though God indwells all (verse 6), it is on an individual basis.
—is given : Literally, "was given." This refers back to the time when a person became a true Christian.
—grace: (chads) The unlimited (Romans 11.6), unmerited (Ephesians 2.8), unselfish (II Corinthians 8.9), uncompromised, un-recompensable, loving favour of God to the sinner which produces "leaping for joy" and "thankfulness." The context shows that the grace was given so that they might serve God with spiritual gifts as in 3.7. See verses 11,12.
—according to: (kata) in accord with. It is measured by ...
—the measure: (metron) "A determined extent. A portion measured off. (Thayer) —of the gift: (dorea) "A gift freely bestowed."
—of Christ: He measures out the gifts and gives the grace to serve Him as He wills. He gives the gifts in varying amounts. Not all have the same gift or amount of grace.
—unto every: (hekasto) each.
—Wherefore: (dio) Confirming what he said in verse seven
—He: That is, referring to God.
—saith: In Psalm 68.18
—when He ascended up on high: The picture is of a conquering king or warrior after his victory, returning home and ascending (or being exalted) to the place of honour, for admiration and praise by all. In this case, the victorious king is the Lord Himself who arose to the highest position possible. Compare Ephesians 1:21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:"
—He led captivity: (aichmalosia) "A body of captives." (Revelation 13.10 and here, only N.T. uses. — Cp. Judges 5.12)
—captive: (aichmaloteuo), To make a prisoner of war. This phrase alludes to the victor's procession displaying prisoners of war. This is referred to in Judges 5.12 after the battle was won against Sisera. "Awake, awake, Deborah: awake, awake, utter a song: arise, Barak, and lead thy captivity captive, thou son of Abinoam." (Word used only here and II Timothy 3.6 in N.T.) — The captives of the Lord Jesus were the hosts of fallen angelic beings; demons. Compare Colossians 2.15.
—and gave gifts: (doma) A general word for anything given.
—unto men: The victorious monarch distributes the spoils of war among his followers, or uses them as he sees fit. David, as a picture of Christ, said that the spoils would be distributed evenly among those that participated in the actual battle and those that guarded the stuff. I Samuel 25.13 says, "And David said unto his men, Gird ye on every man his sword. And they girded on every man his sword; and David also girded on his sword: and there went up after David about four hundred men; and two hundred abode by the stuff." I Samuel 30.24 continues, "For who will hearken unto you in this matter? but as his part is that goeth down to the battle, so shall his part be that tarrieth by the stuff: they shall part alike."
Paul likely had the Roman procedure of leading captivity captive in mind when he wrote these words. The method used by the Romans is explained by Mr. Church. While referring to the triumphal march of Titus and Vespasian after the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, he states, "Not many days after,-these two, even Vespasian and Titus, went after the manner of the Romans in a Triumph to the capital. Now the manner of the Triumph was this. While it was yet night all the soldiers that were in the city, being ranged in their squadrons and companies, surrounded the temple of Isis, for there the Emperor and his son passed the night And so soon as it was light the two came forth, having crowns of laurel about their heads, and clad in the robes of purple, after the manner of their country ... and he himself with Titus went without the city to the gate of the Triumph, which has its name because all the Triumphs pass through it..." (he then describes the glory and splendour of the spoils on display) . . . "And the men that carried these things had purple robes and crowns of gold. Also there were to be seen the prisoners that had been kept for the Triumph, all very splendidly adorned, and the splendour and variety of their equipment was such that men noticed not their weariness and misery." (THE LAST DAYS OF JERUSALEM, by Alfred Church, M.A., Pages 161-165)
The parallel with the Lord Jesus can be seen clearly.
The Lord ascended up on High, that is to Heaven itself.
The body of captives that the Lord made prisoners of war were the evil "principalities and powers." Colossians 2.15 "And having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it."
The triumphal procession was made with chariots of angels. Psalms 68.17 "The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: the Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place."
Some have suggested the following as some of the spoils of war:
Individuals which used to be slaves of sin and Satan who are now slaves of God. These are given to men (the church) to serve them. (Please see verse 11 where the gifts are not abilities, but men.)
Spiritual abilities and responsibilities that the defeated evil spirits possessed. Since they were not using them, the Lord took these spiritual abilities away with them, and distributed these abilities among His followers on earth as spiritual gifts.
Obedient angels of God have the ability to teach others (Judges 13.8), evangelize (Revelation 14.6), and signify prophecies of the Lord (Daniel 9.22, 23; Revelation 1.1).
Disobedient angels misuse these abilities. Instead of presenting truth they teach error (Genesis 3.4,5), prophecy lies (1 Kings 22.22,23), and preach another gospel. God has placed the ability and responsibility for proclaiming truth through word and life in the hands of men. Psalms 68.18 "Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them."
—Now: (de) But, now. This word is used to show a transition.
—that he ascended: That is into Heaven
—what is it: What significance does it have?
—but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?: This phrase can have three meanings all true to the Greek text.
"Lower parts which are the earth, or which compose the earth." (Genitive of apposition).
"Lower parts belonging to the earth." (Such as Sheol, the place of the righteous dead). (Genitive of Possession).
"The parts lower than the earth." As Philippians 2.10. The place of wicked spirits. (Genitive of comparison).
The context however, requires number 1. The prophecy of the Lord's ascension in Psalm 68 indicates that He was to come into the world first, thus providing that God was to become incarnate prior to winning the battle described in this Psalm.
—He that descended is the same also that ascended up: That is, from earth as His starting point. Luke 24.51.
—far above: That is His destination. But, far above what?
—all the heavens: That is, all the universes that He created, including the Heaven of the Heavens. The universe surrounding our universe. Scientists estimate that it takes 30 billion light years to travel across our entire universe! (A light year equals approximately 6 trillion miles. This universe is small in comparison to the Heavens that surround it!
—that: (hina) In order that, to the end that.
—He might fill: (pleroo) To fill to the full.
—all things: (ta panta) He was exalted that He might fill the universe with His presence, His kingly sway, and with His activity as its Sovereign and God. This is the prerogative of God. Jeremiah 23.24 "can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD." HE IS PERFECT GOD; present everywhere. HE IS PERFECT MAN; present anywhere.
Aspects of The Holy Spirit and The Believer
by B. Currie, (Belfast)
No. 3(b) — Holy Spirit Baptism
We noted in the previous paper that this subject could be considered under the following headings:
The constraint of space meant that we considered the first three of these only, leaving the last two for this paper.
We finished the previous paper by concluding that the baptism in the Holy Spirit marked the formation of the church and was an event complete in itself and was never repeated. We shall now consider something of typology and see there that this conclusion is substantiated.
In Acts 2 something new was formed. There was a corporate baptism which marked the birthday of the church. It is clear that a new thing cannot be repeated or else it is no longer new. We have only one day of our birth which is unrepeatable. We can celebrate birthdays but not repeat them. The thought of a repeat birth was a mystery to the natural mind of Nicodemus, John 3.4. In the Old Testament the nation redeemed and moving from Egypt was marked by a corporate baptism. I Cor. 10.2 states that our fathers "were all baptised unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea". The question that must be asked is did all our fathers physically pass through the Red Sea? The answer is obviously that they did not. Paul says in Acts 28.25, "Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esias the prophet unto our fathers ..." It is certain that the fathers who were living in the days of Isaiah were not alive when the nation passed through the Red Sea. They were however seen by God in His sovereign purpose.
Furthermore we come to Lev. 23 where we are told of the feasts of Jehovah. Space would not permit a lengthy outline of the typical teaching of these feasts but it is important to note that there were those which were of one day duration and others of seven days duration. The one day feasts typify for us events which were complete in themselves and were not repeated. Three of these one day feasts have had their fulfilment. They are the Passover, depicting the death of Christ; the Feast of First Fruits, depicting the resurrection of Christ; and finally Pentecost, depicting the baptism in the Holy Spirit and the formation of the church. The words of Acts 2.1, ". . . the day of Pentecost was fully come, . . ." do not simply mean that the day to celebrate the annual feast had arrived. We note JND's translation, "And when the day of Pentecost was now accomplishing, . . ."; and his footnote, "It was come and running its course of fulfilment as a feast." It had FULLY come and was being completely accomplished. Therefore to speak of a second Pentecost is as foolish as suggesting a second Calvary or a second resurrection of the Lord Jesus. It is clear that all three suggestions are all equally untenable.
To suggest a series of baptisms in the Spirit is to undermine the truth that the Holy Spirit is a Person. That He is a Person we have already considered in our first paper. Titus 3.6 records that the Holy Ghost was, "shed on us abundantly," or better, "poured out upon us richly" (RV). It is very obvious that a part of Person cannot be poured out. Thus to entertain the thought that each believer is baptised in the Spirit either at, or subsequent to, conversion must imply that the Holy Spirit is poured out, taken back, poured out, taken back etc. etc. Such a process is unscriptural since the Spirit descended to take up residence in the saints and shall not be withdrawn until "He who now letteth will let, until He be taken out of the way" 2 Thess. 2.7. This will not happen until the bride, the church, is raptured to glory.
In certain circles of believers there are various practices and doctrines which are associated with being baptised in the Holy Spirit. As we have noted in the previous paper they often speak unscripturally about the baptism OF the Holy Spirit. We wish to examine some of these practices in light of the teaching of Holy Scripture which is always the final court of appeal.
(a) The Second Blessing
The thought of a second blessing occurs once only in the NT in 2 Cor. 1.15 where we read of "a second benefit". Note the definite article is not employed it is not THE second benefit. The clear meaning is that if Paul had visited the Corinthians for the second time they would have had a second benefit, if he had visited a third time it would have brought a third benefit and so on. There is no hint in the verse of being baptised in the Holy Spirit. In fact Paul had already taught in 1 Cor. 12.13 that they were already in the good of that baptism, and so this second benefit could not be to bring to them that which they had formerly experienced. There is no scriptural authority for thinking that God hands out blessings in a piece-meal fashion. Rather the Giving God has "blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ," Eph. 1.4.
There are many who afflict themselves mentally, emotionally and spiritually waiting and waiting for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. As we have underlined frequently in these papers the Holy Spirit is a Person and therefore cannot be partially given. He was given on the day of Pentecost and since He has never been withdrawn, He cannot be again poured out. The command of the Lord Jesus to His disciples in Acts 1.4 "to wait for the promise of the Father" is parallel in meaning to Luke 24.49 "tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high". That this was a historic event which took place in the named place,
Jerusalem, concerned the named people, the disciples; and took place "not many days hence", (Acts 1.5; referring to Acts 2), is evident. There is nothing in these (nor in any other) verses to encourage a believer in this present age to tarry for the Spirit.
(c) A Sign of Super Spirituality
It is frequently stated that the baptism in the Holy Spirit is the experience of those who have reached a very high level of spiritual experience and are very mature in the things of God. We must again bring such a claim to the touchstone of the Scriptures. In 1 Cor.12.13 the apostle has stated that all have been baptised in the Holy Spirit. He means that he together with all saints, including those of Corinth, had been so baptised. Were all the Corinth saints spiritually mature? The answer is given in 1 Cor. 3.1-4 where four times the apostle tells them they are carnal. Note the severity of the language, to those who were baptised in the Spirit, "For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife and divisions, are ye not carnal and walk as men?" It is important to note two matters:
to be baptised in the Holy Spirit involves being in the one body 1 Cor. 12.13,
Rom. 8.9 records, "Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His". Thus if we have not been baptised in the Spirit we are not in the body of Christ and do not belong to Christ, clearly implying that we are not saved. This makes it clear that Spirit baptism cannot be subsequent to conversion, nor an evidence of spiritual maturity.
(d) Accompanied by speaking in tongues
Again we turn to 1 Cor. 12.13 and note that ALL the Corinthians had been baptised in the Holy Spirit. The charismatic teaching would demand that they ALL spake in tongues. That this was not the case is clear from 1 Cor. 12.29,30 where we read, "Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?" The answer to every one of these seven question is a resounding "No." See also 1 Cor. 12.7-11, especially v.10 "to another (of a different sort) divers kinds of tongues." Thus it cannot be that all who are in the good of the baptism in the Spirit also speak in tongues. In fact, as already noted there are seven references in the NT to the baptism in the Holy Spirit and there is no reference to speaking in tongues in any of these references. The teaching of the Scriptures in relation to the gift of tongues involves the following:
not all believers had this gift - 1 Cor.12.10,30;
should only be used in conjunction with an interpreter - 1 Cor. 14.27,28;
is inferior to the gift of prophecy - 1 Cor. 14.5;
is a sign to unbeliever - 1 Cor. 14.22;
cannot be publicly used by a woman - 1 Cor. 14.34;
must be used orderly - 1 Cor. 14.26-30;
it shall cease - 1 Cor. 13.8
the cessation took place when the totality of the Pauline revelation was concluded - 1 Cor. 13.10.
In conclusion let each reader be assured of this, that the baptism in the Spirit was a once and for all historical event which took place in Acts 2 which cannot be repeated, and every believer in the Lord Jesus is in the good of this baptism.
PAPERS ON PROPHECY
by The Late W. W. Fereday (written in 1897/98)
Paper 2 (a) The Resurrection of Life and The Resurrection of Judgment
We have seen what the Lord had set before believers as the goal of their hopes—His own personal coming to receive them to Himself. It is now proposed to deal with the momentous connected theme of Resurrection. It is believed on all hands, save by men very far advanced in infidelity, that "There shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust" (Acts 24.15). But all are by no means clear as to the matter. It has long been thought that all, both saved and unsaved, will rise together in a general resurrection at the last day. This idea, however ancient, is a serious mistake. Scripture lends it no countenance whatever, but speaks in unmistakable terms of two resurrections, separated from each other by at least a thousand years.
Let us turn to Rev. 22. There we have the preparations for the millennial kingdom. The previous chapter gives the public appearing of the Lord Jesus, accompanied by His heavenly saints, and the overthrow and destruction of those who oppose His progress. Then we get Satan bound and consigned to the bottomless pit for a thousand years. What remains? Simply to point out those who are to share with Christ in the glory of that wonderful period. Hence we have "the first resurrection." The various classes of the heavenly saints are shown in their risen condition; and we read, 'They lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection; on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years" (Rev. 22.4-6). Nothing can be plainer than this to a simple mind. It is not a resurrection of good principles, as some have strangely said, but of persons; and that prior to the millennium, and long before the last great judgment. There is no meaning in the term "the first resurrection" if there be but one; and what can be made of the words "the rest of the dead?"
When the Lord Jesus comes for His own every sleeping believer will be raised up in glory. We read, "Christ the firstfruits, afterward they that are Christ's at His coming" (1 Cor. 15.23). At the same moment that the living are changed the sleepers will be raised. They will hear the shout of their Lord and the trumpet call, and will come forth to be re-united with all their brethren in His presence. The bodies of the saints sown in corruption will be raised in incorruption; sown in dishonour, will be raised in glory; sown in weakness, will be raised in power; sown as natural bodies, will be raised as spiritual bodies, conformed to Christ Himself (1 Cor. 15.4244). No others will be raised at that time. "The Lord knoweth them that are His." All who have despised Him, whatever their morality and religiousness in life, will be left in their graves for the judgment at the great day.
This mighty act will include all those who have died in faith from the earliest ages. The Old Testament believers, though forming no part of the Church, and therefore not coming into the heavenly Bride, will unquestionably be raised at the same moment as the Church of God. The expressions, "They that are Christ's, in 1 Cor. 15 and "The dead in Christ," in 1 Thess. 4, take them in beyond just controversy. Abel was the first believer to die; all from his day up to the moment of the rapture will be raised simultaneously to go with Christ into the Father's house.
The sleeping saints are as truly waiting for the coming of Christ as we who are alive and remain. They have not yet received all that they have looked for. They are at rest in heaven with Christ, which is far better than toiling and suffering here. They are enjoying His love in a fuller measure than we do, who have so much to hinder us. But they are in a disembodied state; their precious dust is still in the hand of the grave.
This cannot satisfy either them or the Lord. The redemption price includes the body as well as the soul, and the Lord will raise up the bodies of all His own at the fitting time. The whole of 1 Cor. IS should be carefully pondered as to this. The subject there is the resurrection of the body, which some at Corinth were disposed to deny. The apostle commences from the resurrection of Christ; and goes on, as regards the saints, until we bear the image of the heavenly at the coming of the Lord from heaven. The resurrection of the lost is not mentioned in the chapter at all; it was quite a different subject to the mind of the apostle, never to be confounded with it.
Ours will be a resurrection "from among the dead." This expression, so frequently used in the New Testament, escapes the notice of Bible readers too often. Look at Mark 9. 9, 10. As the Lord and His disciples came down from the Mount of Transfiguration "He charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen till the Son of Man were risen from the dead. And they kept that saying with themselves, questioning one with another what the rising from the dead should mean." Wherein do you suppose lay their difficulty? Not in the general fact of the resurrection, for they were orthodox Jews, not Sadducees, and believed thoroughly in it. But the Lord spoke of a resurrection, "from," or, more properly, "from among, the dead;" and of this they had never heard before. The Old Testament says nothing of a special resurrection for saints, not coming at all within its scope; and the disciples, at the moment, had no clearer light than it afforded.
Christ's resurrection was "from among the dead." God came in on the third day and raised Him up. 'Thou wilt not leave my soul in Hades: neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption" (Ps. 16.10). It was not a general resurrection. The great mass of graves were left untouched. True, some saints arose, as an earnest of what is to come (Matt. 27.52,53). Christ's resurrection was an act of Divine favour and love. He had glorified God; God could do no less than glorify Him at His own right hand in heaven. This gives us a title. He rose as the "firstfruits of them that slept" (1 Cor. 15.20). What God did for Him He will presently do for those that are His. He will make a marked distinction between such and the ungodly, not merging all in one, as so many suppose vaguely.
Some passages in Luke's Gospel may be profitably looked at in this connection. In chap. 14.14 we read, "Thou shall be recompensed at the resurrection of the just." What does this mean if all rise together? Is it not something special, something blessed, that the Lord holds out in this place? Look also at chap. 20.35,36. In the course of His reply to the cavil of the Sadducees the Lord said, "They which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world (age), and the resurrection from (from among) the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: neither can they die anymore, for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection." Clearly this is not the mere general fact of resurrection. That cannot be a matter of attainment, for no one can shirk it. The most ungodly man must rise again and stand before the throne. Obviously the verse treats of the special portion of the saved when the Lord claims His own. Such will be raised from among the great mass of the dead and made equal in condition unto the angels. Our calling is superior, for we are children and sons, while angels are but servants; our condition until the Lord's coming is inferior, but this He will change then by His mighty power. This is what Paul longed for so ardently in Phil. 3.11. The Revised Version of the passage is to be preferred to the Authorised, which is quite a mistake: "If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection from among the dead." This does not imply doubt in any way. What he means is that the prospect to be attained at that blessed moment was so wonderful, so overwhelming, that he cared not how trying the path might be that lay between. The thought of the end sustained him on the road. It lifted him above all his sufferings, and energised him for service and conflict. Does it act thus with us?
Some of our readers may say at this point, "These passages seem to indicate very plainly that believers will have a special resurrection of their own at the Lord's return; but there are other passages that seem to teach with equal plainness a general resurrection;" and John 5.28,29, Dan. 12.2, and John 6.39,40, are the Scriptures usually brought forward as objections. Let every Christian reader be assured that there are not, nor can be, contradictions in the inspired word of God. It is of the highest importance, in this day of renegade thoughts and principles, to be very firm and decided as to this. If we meet with portions of Scripture at any time that seem to be contradictory the defect is with us, not with the Holy Spirit of God. Never let us surrender what is sure for that which may be doubtful. Rather let us hold fast what we have learnt from God, and wait patiently on Him for clearer light as to the difficulties, even if we have to wait for years.
—(to be continued D.V.)
By E. J. Down (Weston-Super-Mare)
Nehemiah, in 3.13, refers to the valley gate which seems to introduce us to a doorway through which the lessons of the valleys can be learned.
Firstly we turn to the Valley of Elah, I Sam. 17, to find a most important message. The valley where the battle was fought concerning the great enemy of Israel, a mighty powerful foe who had all Israel's men hiding as the challenge came, "Give me a man". David appeared now to take up the challenge, for in the spiritual picture there was no man who could take up this and defeat the enemy, sin and all its attendant lawlessness. David was looked upon by Israel leaders as one who was despised: a mere youth against a man of war from his youth; David had no chance at all and even Saul's armour was not accepted.
David with all his knowledge of, and faith in, the God of Israel goes forth in the name of the Lord. (The name of the Lord is a strong tower). This depicts to the believer the Lord Jesus and the inspired commentary is in Hebrews 2.14, "He also himself likewise took part of the same (Partakers of flesh and blood) that through death he might destroy him that had power of death — that is, the devil: and deliver them who through fear, death were all their lifetime subject to bondage." The little hymn says,
"Made sin He sin overthrew,
Bowed to the grave destroyed it so,
And death by dying slew;"
Pilate said, "Behold the Man," and this seems to answer the giant's call, "give me a man" — yes, what a Man!
We who have found the Saviour are, now a new creation belonging to the family of God in a world which is antagonistic to this new life. Hence battles begin to take place as decisions are made according to our standing as one of His.
The Valley of Siddim (Gen. 14) has a message for the young believer. As we live in a world from which we can get no help, the picture of Lot and Abraham, and the choice Lot made has an important lesson for us to learn since he became involved in the battle which took place in the Valley of Siddim.
The word is supposed to indicate extention, but we read concerning the Vale and Slime pits. If we are in a state of worldliness like Lot and make decisions along worldly lines, we invariably get caught up in the world's warfare — but the Slime pits, what do we learn from these? The lust of the flesh, lust of power, lust of money and lust of position, how tragic all this is! —and there are many more of them. Absalom illustrates one—he wanted to rule. How easy it is for the young intelligent believer (male or female) to want to go their own way — as often they do. Absalom was a very handsome young man, and intelligent, but he slipped into the Slime pit of 'self importance'. Solomon knew one — he also fell in. Also David. Did the writer of Psalm 40 know what the Slime pit was? He could say, "thou hast brought me up out of a horrible pit and out of the miry clay."
In 2 Peter 2 there is much instruction concerning the Slime pit We should read this chapter lest we end up wallowing in the mire. These pits are very slippery places, and many a professing Christian has slipped into one or die other of these.
There is always Abraham and the trained men of his household to bring deliverance, but sadly many live lives contrary to the will and mind of God.
The Psalmist could say, "that God gives springs in the Valleys," Psalm 104.10. Also Psalm 84.6 "Who passing through the valley of Boca make it a well", a place of weeping and they surely come. The Prodical son found it eating swine's food. David at Ziklag all his family gone, home burned, yet he turned to God — the true place of the well. Again, Job lost his family and all his possessions, what a place of weeping having now a loathsome disease, with no modern help, what a sight! Did he find refuge in the valley? He must have, for his declaration of faith in God regardless of all his troubles and pain, and his unspiritual friends and helpers, who made it worse by their criticism. Paul knew this valley and prayed there three times, but God gave His answer "My grace is sufficient" — what a spring in his valley, he then learned to say, "I glory in infirmities that the power of Christ may rest in me."
Psalm 23, "The valley of the shadow of death." So much has been said and written concerning this lovely Psalm that it automatically becomes one to which we all turn and enjoy its helpful spring. The Valley of Berachah (2 Chron.20) has a beauty of its own to the Christian who is willing to listen to God and carry out exactly what He says. It became the Valley of Blessing. We read Jehosaphat feared (v3) and set himself to seek the Lord and proclaimed a fast to all Judah. Jehosaphat prayed before all the congregation, they all stood before Jehovah, their little ones their wives and children. They worshipped the Lord (v18) and as they go out to meet the enemy they begin to sing and praise, and the Lord began to work for them against the enemy. Israel found only a dead enemy but with spoil they returned to Jerusalem a victorious people, and there was much joy and the fear of God came upon all nations. Would that we could see such today, God is just the same!
In 2 Kings 3 we read of a valley in which the army of Jehosaphat and Jehoram and the Kings of Edom had found no water and were in danger of a great catastrophe. We should learn the lesson and not company with religious sects and their devotees. Israel was instructed regarding their separation from the nations but disobeyed. The testimony today fails also in this regard. There are many strong leaders and gifted men in the great mass of religion and the people of God can be drawn to them. However there is still the call to be here simply as the Lord Jesus was in separation to God and to carry out God's will for His glory.
Here then they were in great danger, and they called for a man of God (how lovely); a man whom God could trust. This messenger from God said, "make this valley full of ditches or channels". What a message! Get digging and make your life a channel. The waters came alright, because they did what God told them to do. God never lets you down. He will fill all channels and ditches (2 Kings 3) or pots (2 Kings 4), the metaphor changes, but the fulness comes in every case.
Our Lord could say, "I am the way, the truth and the life, no man cometh unto the Father but by Me." He is the only way, gate or door. But the valleys teach us that in that way while there are many valleys, hills and mountains, Christ is the answer to our every need. Is He the spring in your valley?
Elijah was told to go to the brook Cherith in the vale of Jordan which implies a valley. There alone and in silence Elijah learned that God would provide all that was required — bread and flesh.
We find a lovely picture of The Valley Gate in the Song of Solomon 2.1. The writer states, "I am the lily of the valleys (note the plural). To the enlightened Christian, He only can be the lily in any valley. How delightful is His description of His Bride, a lily among thorns. How much He must have felt thorns as He walked this scene. As the pure lily in all His perfect whiteness growing in a place completely unlike His holy thoughts or deeds, behaviour and words. No wonder the disciples could not really understand Him, and the rulers and religious people hated Him — His purity showed their sins.
He truly is 'The Lily of the Valley and Bright and Morning Star, He's the fairest of ten thousand to my soul" Regarding the springs in the Valleys we can say, "all my springs are in Thee", Psalm 87,7.
MY CONVERSION AND CALL (24)
by Robert E. Surgenor (U.S.A.)
THE STORY OF A GODLESS STEEL WORKER
My dear mother was informed by the doctor that she would never bare children, but when in her mid-forties she found herself to be with child. I was born September 2, 1928, a healthy child, but with a heart deceitful and above all things desperately wicked.
While in my second year pneumonia struck my little body and my mother was told that there was no hope of my survival. My fever rose to 107 degrees and the doctors packed me in ice. My mother sat at my bedside day and night. Father brought her food, for she refused to leave my bedside. Lifting up her heart to God she prayed, "Oh Lord, thou hast given me the only child that I will ever own. If he would ever grow up to die in his sins and go to hell, take him to Thyself now. If He would ever be used of Thee, please spare him to me." The Cleveland Assembly, which numbered over 200 at that time, engaged in prayer. God spared me.
The earliest age of an act of mischief that I can recall was when four, I pinned spring loaded clothes pins on my cousin's cat's ears. The cat went frantic. My cousin cried, my aunt became angry. I laughed but my English mother whipped me and my laughing was brought to an immediate halt. My father was from Kells, Co. Antrim, and knew how to use the razor strap on me, but my mischief continued in spite of his chastening. More than once I stole his car for joy-rides. I proved the truth of Psalm 58.3, "They go astray as soon as they be born," and he proved the truth of Proverbs 23.13,14; "Withhold not correction from the child .. . thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell."
At the age of eleven my mother took me to the shores of the Atlantic Ocean while visiting her sister. As they sat on the boardwalk I asked my mother if I could wade in the ocean. She told me to walk in no farther than ankle-deep. From the beach there were posts planted on the ocean's floor extending above the water's surface. Tied to these posts was a rope, providing a fenced-in area for bathers. When my mother wasn't looking, I held on to the rope and moved out into the deep waters. I didn't know how to swim. Suddenly a large wave broke my hold on the rope and I found myself with nothing underneath me to support me. I was hundreds of feet from shore. Thrashing in the water I tried to swim, but was making a poor job of it. Wave after wave pounded over me. The next thing I knew, I was laying on the shore with a life guard working with me. Salt water was running out of my mouth and my mother was bending over me crying. As I opened my eyes she blurted out, "Robert, if you had drowned, your soul would have been in hell!" That stuck as an arrow of God in my soul.
That same year I made a false profession under the preaching of Albert Joyce and Herb Harris. However, I only held on to it for two weeks and upon giving it up immediately told the saints that I wasn't saved. What convinced me was the fact that I had no desire whatsoever to read the Bible or pray, but still had a thirst to sneak to the picture shows and to puff on smokes.
When 13, another voice from God penetrated my soul—a friend died. Ed was one of my good friends and on a Friday I borrowed 25 cents from him, promising to pay it back Monday. Other friends in the group laughed and told Ed, "Kiss your quarter goodbye, he'll never give it back." I assured him I would since I would be working in the grocery store on Saturday. Ed never got his money back—instead we went to his funeral. Saturday he drowned and as our class sat in the funeral service, the clergyman said, "Our dear brother Ed is an angel in heaven today." I thought to myself, "You hypocrite, he's in hell today!" Ed was wicked. As we filed by the open casket a voice inside me said, "Where would you be Bob, if that was you?" I tried to push the God-given thought out of my mind.
Working after school in a factory at the age of 14, my father allowed me to purchase a motorcycle for $75. Also, I began to pilot airplanes and at 15 acquired a license to fly solo, much to my mother's consternation. I wrecked the motorcycle, plowing into the side of the school principal's car. They took me to the hospital unconscious but I was released the same day with no serious injuries, only a bruised and swollen head. The next year I wrecked my friend's motorcycle, plowing into the rear of a car. The impact threw my girlfriend onto the trunk of the car we hit and me onto its roof. Another voice from God, but not heeded. That same year, firing guns I was almost shot in the head by a companion. The bullet missed my head somehow, but my face sustained powder burns from the gun's muzzle. He aimed right at me from a distance of three feet and missed.
At seventeen, while flying at 1,200 feet some Mitchell bombers and P 47 fighters came in on me from the N.E. I was flying due North and they were headed into the sun S.W. The sun was directly in their eyes. They never saw me. The fighters just cleared the top of my aircraft and the bombers went under me. My aircraft was tossed about but I was spared—another voice from God, but unheeded. On another occasion, we had the plane overloaded with radio equipment and lost power just upon take-off. Flying with the tail of the craft bouncing along the top of the trees we finally made it back to the airport in one piece. This was only two of many close calls with death in our little plane.
At the age of 18 sunstroke overtook me in the Nevada desert. My two friends put me in the car and drove all that night to California instead of taking me to a doctor. I was delirious for most of that journey, then recovered. I could have died.
At nineteen I entered the steel works in Cleveland. My father, being the melter foreman over the open hearth shop got me a job working on the furnaces. Working behind a furnace after die molten steel had been tapped from it, I fell into the pit. In the history of that mill, two other men fell, but were burnt alive. The day I fell, the furnace didn't drain as normal and there was no molten steel below my 15-foot-high working platform. They rushed me to the hospital, but all I sustained was a small hole in my leg. My mother pleaded with me to quit that dangerous work, but the money was to big for me to ever consider leaving for other employment. Another voice from God—stilled.
On my 22nd birthday I took to me a wife and we purchased a house on the other side of Cleveland. I was glad to be away from all Christian influences. My mother thought that now all chances of me ever being saved were gone. Mr. William Warke reminded her of her prayer in the hospital when I was but two years of age, "If He would ever be used of Thee, please spare him to me." He told her, "God spared him and God's going to save him and use him."
What I didn't know when we purchased our house was that there was a gospel hall just a ten-minute walk from us! We were 21 miles on the other side of town from my parents, but only a mile from a gospel hall! I was upset. My life of 100-mph escapades on my big motorcycle ended with my marriage and I settled down to family life. My wife was not saved either but was a highly moral woman. I continued to drink and had a brewing room upstairs where we produced beer by the gallons. Normal consumption was six quarts per day in the summer. I had 50 gallons in stock at all times. The mill was exceptionally hot in the summer months which provided me the excuse for the excess.
We were hardly moved into the house when my old S.S. teacher, who had been commended to the Lord's work full-time, came over and invited us to the gospel meeting—just around the corner. My wife insisted on me going, reminding me that I had promised my mother, upon getting married, that I would attend when possible. We attended two Lord's Days and my wife professed. I was devastated, angry and confused. She had never heard the gospel before.
Working the midnight shift that week, God began to work on me. One night, while standing on the open hearth floor an overhead crane hook, swinging out of control, headed for my head. Hearing a workman yell, I looked to see where the yell came from and that saved my life, for in turning my head, the huge 1,000-pound hook just nipped my ear as it swung by. Immediately I heard a voice saying, "He that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy." Fellow workers on the scene shouted in jest, "Hey Surgenor, if that thing had hit your head, you'd be shovelling coal in hell right now!" Their laughter pierced my soul. Looking into the furnace through a wicket, preparation was made to draw out a sample of molten steel. As I gazed into the inferno I saw a 700-gallon-per-hour flame roaring across a lake of fire. Five hundred tons of boiling molten steel, 3,000 degrees hot, burned its image into my brain. I was melted with despair.
That week was desperate. I couldn't eat, think right, or do my work properly. It was hell, hell, hell—ever before me! The following Lord's Day we went to the gospel meeting. The message was on the Lord's coming! I went home that night convicted more than ever. Trying to sleep I began to tremble and cry. My wife inquired as to what was the matter. I told her to "keep quiet and go to sleep, that nothing was wrong." My crying got worse and rising she turned on the light and repeated her question. Breaking down, this 225 pound 6'1" steelworker cried out, "Wilda, you heard the gospel just a couple of times and was saved and I've heard it all my life and I'm not saved and I'm never going to be saved and the Lord's coming tonight and you will be gone and I'll be left to go to hell." Opening her newly acquired Bible she turned to the Gospel of John, but I couldn't tell you what she read. I sat there trembling and sobbing. Finally she said, "Bob, the reason that you are not saved is because you don't believe that His blood can save you from your sins. If you could only believe on His blood, you'd be saved!" I replied, "Is that all there is to it?" She answered, "Yes." Immediately I placed my faith in Him, believing with all of my heart that His blood was sufficient. A flood of relief came over me and I gasped, "I'm saved!" She answered, "How do you know?" In my ignorance of being able to explain things I replied, "Because I did what you told me!" That was February 10, 1952—My mother's prayer was answered! In 1963,I went out into the work of the Lord full-time, under the wing of William Warke. Praise God, from whom all blessings flow!
The Bible says that love is great,
Outweighing other gift,
When other things shall fade away,
Love will the heart uplift.
Though faith and hope may still abide,
When knowledge comes to nought,
Tis love alone that will sustain,
And keep the purest thought.
It teaches self to value truth,
Whatever wrongs may come,
Enduring pain and suffering,
To hold to things wholesome.
To seek for others' benefit,
Neglecting one's own needs,
Just satisfied to humbly serve,
With faith supported deeds.
So ponder your own motives now,
As daily life survives,
And see if love's a driving force,
In yours and others lives.
May be sung to St. Agnes.
—W. Beynon (S. Wales)
THE CROSS OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST (Galatians 6.14)
Crucifixion was an ignominious death. The cross was connected with shame. To be crucified unto the world means to be made hateful, and to be a derision to the world. To have the world crucified to me implies that the world becomes an object of hatred and derision to me. The world is crucified to me when I can no longer see attractions in it. The thing I used to love I no longer love. The pleasures I used to follow have lost their charm. The treasures I used to seek to amass have been resigned for the treasure that is laid up in heaven. New tastes have been developed so that the old dainties now are sickening to me, and the things I once revolted from are my meat and drink.
So the world has been put on the cross and nailed there and I look on it and deride it and take it and abhor it, and I wonder that it ever had any charms for me.
Then I am crucified to the world when the world cannot find in me the charm it once found nor the attraction it once found, nor the sympathy, nor the service it once found. I do not now yield myself to the world and the world hates me because I am not of the world. If I am no longer the world's it has nailed me to the cross as a malefactor, and it passes by and hangs its head in hateful and malicious derision.