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Last Updated on : Saturday, October 11, 2014

 

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selah

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Chapter 8

Meditations


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"Without holiness no man shall see the Lord." Let there be no talk of this standard being too high; this is the language of the unwise. We must rather accustom ourselves to the thought and the language of the Spirit, and labour to conform to that statute of the kingdom that requires us to "deny ungodliness, worldly lusts, and live soberly, righteously, and Godly in this present world."

 

Awake to Earnestness!

THERE are many who desire the resurrection of the wise, and, as Balaam would like to be of the number; but who either gave themselves no trouble to attend to it, or are ignorant of the means of attainment, or will only labour for it according to their own suppositions or possibilities. These suppose everything but prove nothing. The blessedness of the resurrection is a laborious acquisition - a contention for the mastery over ourselves, and the world around us. This can only be attained by the "taught of God", who understand His doctrine and yield the faithful and self-sacrificing obedience He requires. Then "labour to enter into his rest; for many shall seek to enter in and shall not be able". They will be excluded from the Kingdom of God because they have not sought entrance into it in the appointed way. "Seek first the Kingdom of God," saith the Great Teacher, "and His righteousness." How highly important is this exhortation now, seeing that in a very short time the resurrection will have transpired, and no further invitation to inherit it be presented to the world. Ought we not, then, to awake to earnestness, and by rigid scrutiny of our faith and practice, obtain a scriptural satisfaction, if we shall be able to stand unabashed before the Judge of the living and the dead? -- Bre. J. Thomas

 

Be Ye Holy

EVERY true son and daughter of the Lord God Almighty is a miniature tabernacle or temple, as saith Paul, 'Ye are the temple of the living God; if any man defile the temple of God, him will God destroy.' Our minds should be a holy place lined with gold of a tried faith, in which the one Christ-sacrifice for sins, is continually offered. The smoke of grateful incense, kindled by the fire of the altar, should be continually ascending. Deeply secreted in the innermost recess of our hearts and affections, as in the Ark in the Most Holy, should be the law of Gad in remembrance, the desire to seek out its hid treasures in study and meditation, and an unabated zealous determination to hold the institutions of Divine appointment in continual reverence. Thus shall we be the sons of God in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, misunderstood by all, hated by many, despised and rejected of men, persevering in a bitter probation that will end at tast, in life, and light, and joy everlasting. Then "The tabernacle of Gad shall be with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people and Gad shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain, for the former things are passed away."

 

An Object in Life

THERE is nothing so likely to help us to hold on in an earnest, loving manner, to the work of the truth, as the realizing in our own minds of an object in life. For what object do you live? Have you an object? Too many, it is to be feared, have no definite object in life beyond the whiling away of the passing hour; they are satisfied if they have succeeded by passing the day or the hour without being truly miserable, and such will tell you that they do so and so "to pass the time away." If such would only busy themselves in any useful direction with an earnest mind, they would find the time go too quickly with the greatest of ease. What result have those accomplished whose chief business in life is to while away the time? None! When the time is gone everything is gone, and there is nothing laid up in store against the day of reckoning.-J.R.

 

Sisters in the Ecclesia

IN writing to his son in the faith Timothy, concerning the purpose of his first Epistle, the Apostle Paul declared, "These things write i unto thee that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the ecclesia of the living God, the pillar and ground of the Truth." There is much in the Apostle's instruction of especial interest and importance to sisters.

In most ecclesias, sisters are numerically stronger than brethren, and this fact in itself emphasises the influence for good or ill which they exert. The Apostles frequently reminded Timothy of the power of example - "Take heed unto thyself." This precept, when applied to sisters in the ecclesia, is capable of the widest application. From the moment that each sister enters the "assembly of Called Out Ones," she becomes an example for good or bad to all her fellow-worshippers. A faithful sister will remember the gracious appeal of the Psalmist, "O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness," and will endeavour to comply with this beautiful precept. Her mind will be suitably prepared to receive the impressions which collective worship affords. Quietness and thoughtfulness will characterize her demeanour before the commencement of the meeting. Close attention will be given to the spiritual ministrations of prayer, praise and exhortation. Meticulous care will be exercised to maintain the standard of holiness which becomes those who would worship the Father in "Spirit and in Truth." No worshipper at the weekly memorial feast will so far forget her call to holiness as to manifest unseemly

behaviour of any kind in the presence of Christ. She will

not attend to pay her vows clad in unbecoming or unsuitable

attire. Her appearance will be modest, neat and undistracting

to fellow-worshippers. With regard to hats,

many women of the world have almost discarded this

article of clothing. Even the leaders of religion have so far

relaxed their rules as to permit women to attend Church

services with their heads uncovered. No such innovation

will mar the meetings of the brethren and sisters of Christ.

Rather will sisters ensure that the hats they are wearing are

really a covering. They prefer to approximate more closely

to Apostolic command, than to descend to the worldly

fashions and customs of their more fleshly-minded contemporaries.

In imparting instruction concerning "good behaviour

in the house of God", the Apostle includes exhortation and

warning concerning speech. His words have particular

reference to sisters. They must be "grave". No breath of

slander must escape their lips, nor words of gossip or tittle-tattle

be found on their tongues. Rather will the "assembly

of the saints" be utilized for the furtherance of mutual

spiritual interests. Many opportunities present themselves,

for which wise sisters will be on the look-out. Visitors from

other meetings can be given an affectionate welcome newly

immersed sisters imparted words of tenderness and

love. The harassed and wearied can be buoyed up. Problems

can be discussed with sisterly affection; arrangements

can be made for the writing of letters, for the care of

children, for the visiting of the sick, and sometimes invitations

can be extended to troubled or lonely ones. These are

golden opportunities which will not be missed by energetic

and zealous workers in the service of Christ who desire to

use the social intercourse available at the ecclesial meetings

as a means of useful and edifying conversation.

An important duty in ecclesial life which may devolve

upon sisters is the election of serving brethren. Their

influence on these occasions can be very far-reaching, for

their numerical strength may greatly affect the result of the

ballots. It is imperative, in the interests of the Lord's work,

that the divine commands relative to the elections of those

who serve the ecclesia are fully comprehended and acted

upon. No hesitation or doubt must be entertained, for the

word of the Apostle to Timothy are emphatic on this point 1

Tim. 3:1-10. Before completing the Ecclesial ballot sisters

should carefully study the necessary qualifications required

by divine command, and after prayerful consideration

decide, to the best of their knowledge, upon the suitability of each brother to be elected to office. Intelligent

interest will also be taken in all ecclesial arrangements and

affairs, and loyal co-operation and support given in the

furthering of the Truth of God.

 

Sunday School Teaching

IT is those who sincerely know and love the truth who are the best fitted to impart the spirit of the truth to others. Such interpret the scriptures, not as a mere book, but as the rule and inspiration of their own life. You do not merely work up a lesson, you must first live it, and know from experience that what you say is true. The foundation of good class work is in yourself; for your own work reflects your own personality. If you receive the message of the Bible as a living message from God, acting on your own daily life, then you will be able to bring it practically near to the children. Thereby not only will you impart that which you first receive through reading and absorbing the Word of God, but your own life will be brought into harmony with its teaching. The more it is read, the more it is loved; the oftener and the more closely we hold intercourse with it, the better men and women we become; and when it has saturated the brain with its wisdom, and is pouring into the veins its inspiration and hope, the truth will flow out of the teacher like rivers of living water. -- HCL

 

Too Tired Sunday Morning

I am too tired," "I prefer to hear the lecture," "Brother so-and-so is the speaker, and I never get any good from his addresses." These are not justifiable excuses for absence from the Breaking of Bread. Christ's command is this: "This do in remembrance of me" (1 Cor. 11:24), and for us to ignore the command is to imperil our salvation. Was ever a divine appointment set aside without incurring disastrous consequences to ourselves and God's displeasure towards us? Those who absent themselves from the Lord's Table should think of this. To refrain willfully from assembling together on the first day of the week is not only to display a shocking lack of appreciation of the importance and profit of the appointment, but it is a direct insult to Christ. -- A.T. J

 

Wait on Yahweh, and keep His way, and He shall exalt thee to inherit the land

(Psalm 37:34).

 

The State of the Lamp

Say, is thy lamp burning, my sister!

i pray thee look quickly and see;

For if it were burning, then surely

Same ray would fall brightly on me!

Though walking the road, yet I falter.

From the straight path I oft go astray;

I am weary, and faint, and disheartened,

Discouraged because of the way.

But if only thy lamp had burned brightly,

And showed what the road was to thee;

I, too, might have journeyed more rightly,

And found the road better for me.

There are many and many around thee

Needing sorely thy light's cheering glow:

if thou knew that they walked in the shadow,

Thy lamp would bum brighter, I know.

i think were it trimmed night and morning,

lt would not so likely go out,

'Midst the fierce raging storms of temptation

Or the terrible tempest of doubt.

Oh, if all the lamps that are lighted,

Would steadily bum in a line:

What guidance for many benighted!

What a girdle of glory would shine!

 

Visiting the Sick

THE visit of a true sister will turn to good account in those mutual visitations and rejoicings in the truth, which are natural among those of like precious faith. Such interchange of hope in the things promised, and shortly to be realized, will greatly quicken faith and courage in both visited and visitor. Specially will this be the case in visiting the sick and afflicted. The sister who knows experimentally the sweetness of the promises, both as regards His paternal care of us in this life, and of what He has in store for us in the future, can from the treasury of the Spirit created within her by the Word, follow the apostolic example of ministering the same comfort wherewith she herself is comforted of God. Where material help is needed, she will be ready, and if not sufficient of herself for the occasion, she will seek the co-operation of others likeminded, and be able to relieve the immediate wants of the afflicted. The poor among us we shall always have. Our Lord has told us so, perhaps to test our loyalty to him who deigns to acknowledge, that in every poor brother who is rich in faith, there is a representative of himself. -- Sis. A. Hopkins

 

We must not keep our alabaster boxes of love and sympathy sealed up until our dear ones are gone, but fill their lives with sweetness. Cheering and helping them by our words and actions. The things we mean to do and say, let us do them now. Let us brighten their homes with the sweet flowers we might place upon their graves. Many an alabaster box full of the fragrant perfume of affection and tenderness has never been broken till the one we intended to anoint has passed beyond recalling, without having tasted the sweetness of human sympathy, or their wearied senses being refreshed by the fragrant flowers of kindness.

 

Go Tell the Others

THERE was a moment when a deeply grief-stricken woman was wandering about in the half-light or dawn looking for the body of the man _ . she loved. The things that she had witnessed done to him had been bad enough, but now to her tortured mind it seemed that his body was not allowed to rest in peace. Suddenly a voice spoke to her, "Mary." Oh the joy, the intense relief there is in her one cry of response, "Rabboni" She knew that voice, as she knew no other! So here we see the first instructions given in a new era - and they were given to a woman! "Go, tell the others." How her feet would fly to meet the others, and how breathlessly she would give them the news! No matter that they only half believed. She knew! She had been the first to see the Lord alive! What a wonderful privilege Mary was given. How she would talk, and talk, and talk to everyone who would listen! There are listening ears around us today. Do we talk to them? We have been privileged to have Him speak to us, and to call us out from the world to become His sisters. Should not sisters, then, make the most of their opportunity, and "go and tell?"-- EG

 

What do we do, each of us, if "one asketh us a reason concerning the hope that is in us". Do we say, "I will bring you a leaf/et about that"? Do we say, "I should like you to meet Brother Dot or Sister Dash, who know a lot more about this than i do"? Do we simply change the subject? Or do we tell them?

 

Pleasure

HE fascinations of the present evil world are

usually powerful with the weaker sex. There is

a present relish about them which pleases the

inexperienced mind. Those who have learnt to

be wise will let them pass. They are pleasures

too short for those who long for immortality, and too dearly

bought when enjoyed at the risk of God's displeasure and

our own hurt. The danger is greater than the simple know.

lt is not the immediate effect of an individual act of participation

in the world's pleasures that is to be considered; it is

what it may easily lead to in associations formed, and the

fostering of an inferior taste to the weakening of such as

the truth creates within us.

Then there is that social rivalry which still more easily

draws even wise women into its coils, in which the foolish

votaries of fashion put themselves to immense trouble to

commend themselves to their equally-foolish contemporaries.

This is great vanity, the victims of which at last get

wearied and disgusted. For one professing godliness to get

entrapped in this mistake. (living in the world and of the

world), is sadder than the case of even an out-and-out

worldling, who, at least, never having aspired to a crown of

immortality, does not lose it. Far rather not to embrace the

glad tidings of the kingdom, and not to rejoice in the

prospect of that untold goodness of God. and set oneself

to the attainment thereof, than for a woman to lay hold on

these things, and engraft upon them "the lust of the eye,

the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life."

We are required, while the Lord is away, to honour him

by a faithful compliance with all his commandments,

whether spoken by his own lips or delivered by his servants,

whom he commissioned to speak for him; and we

cannot expect to attain this faithfulness, otherwise than by

the constant study and remembrance of these things.

This brings to mind again the thought that, apart from

the daily study of the Word, there is little chance of success.

How, otherwise, in the absence of voice and sign, are we to

continue in harmony with the expressed mind of our

Master who is in heaven? Familiar acquaintance with the

Word enables us to realise that it is not according to His will

that we should coquette with the world, or keep it secret

that we are espoused to him; neither is it his will, when we

have withdrawn from the world, that we should plan how

nearly we may conform to its foolish and faithless ways,

and yet retain His favour. He desires that abundant love

which He has shown for us, and which should constrain us

readily and lovingly to be content to be as He was in this evil

world. We may have Him continually before us in memory as

our pattern; the example which we shall be alone safe to

follow.

 

No one who knows the truth, can flatter a world which is ignorant, unbelieving and disobedient, and be guiltless before God. -- Dr. Thomas

 

Thoroughness In All Things

God requires from His children an all-round obedience. All His commands are equally binding There is to be no picking and choosing, no carefulness in one direction, and carelessness in another. There must be a genuine endeavour to fulfill God's will in ways disagreeable as well as agreeable. Covetousness has to be eschewed, but evil speaking quite as much so. We have to be honest, but also chaste. Let us take care lest our good points blind our eyes to our bad ones. We are not safe, not acceptable to Christ, unless we show a general all-round thoroughness, avoiding exceptions and reservations. This thought will bear unlimited amplification. To take one or two illustrations. No amount of zeal and activity in the public proclamation of the Truth will exempt us from the obligation of enlightening and rearing our own children in the fear of Gad. No amount of warm love and amiability towards the brethren at the meetings will excuse coldness and churlishness with our own kith and kin at home. No amount of time spent at committee meetings will justify neglect of our daily readings. God's law is very searching; it leaves no corner of our mental nature untouched. It takes away all ground for spiritual swagger. Great is the man who can discern his own weaknesses, and has pluck enough to grapple with them. --A.T.J.

 

With the anointing of the Lord's head and feet by Mary, John records "the house was filled with the odour of the ointment". Faithful and loving service will have this effect any time. Let a sister figuratively perform similar service in Christ's Name, and the odour of the action will till the ecclesial house .

 

Meekness

MEEKNESS is a name given to those dispositions, natural or acquired, which are opposed to undue violence, wrath and revenge. It implies whatever is serene, quiet and peaceful, in opposition to what is irritable, turbulent and vindictive. Its appropriate signs are endurance, forbearance, gentleness in the midst of provocations, calmness of words and actions, where all around is contention and anger, acquiescence in unmerited injuries without insisting on satisfaction, and a preference of the least offensive motives of gaining redress where to seek it is felt to be a duty. A disinclination to the indulgence of any feelings but those of tenderness, goodwill, and kindness; a uniform evenness and stillness of temper, a strong desire of being at peace, and avoiding offence so far as possible, these indicate the virtue of meekness.

 

Control that Temper

PEOPLE of violent temper sometimes console themselves with the thought that it is soon over, and then they are alright. That may be as regards how they feel themselves. But what about others? Wounds are made that do not easily heal and love is checked that does not easily revive. Stand over "temper" as your worst enemy. When you feel it stirring, run away, or at least be silent. Salomon well says: "He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down and without walls."

 

Sin, like a river, begins in a quiet spring, but ends in a tumultuous sea.

 

Bear with Each Other

WE are all moving on a great march, a vaster assembly than ever moved through the wilderness of old, and when we stand revealed to Him, and He to us, and we to each other, we shall look back with unspeakable sorrow at the jars, and the discords, and the uncharities of this mortal life; and for every sweet kindness, for every loving helpfulness, for every patience, and for every self-denial or self-sacrifice, we shall lift up thanks to Almighty God. -- R.R.

 

Trials of Ecclesial Life

You are troubled at the un-Christlike ways of some in your meeting. You thought, when first you came among the Christadelphians, that everyone would be exemplary, gentle, kind, upright, pure. It is not strange, dear sister, that you should think thus. You have our sympathy. But do not be downcast. There is no real ground for disappointment. You have left some things out of account. You must not forget that the ecclesia as at present constituted are not the Kingdom, but merely a collection of imperfect men and women, in a state of preparation for it, and that many of these, according to divine intimation, are destined to turn out unworthy, abortions, styled by Paul mere wood, hay, stubble and earth (1 Cor. 3:12; 2 Tim. 2:20). Reflect upon ecclesial life in the light of this revelation, and your surprise will cease. Remember that many in the brotherhood have only just started on the road of well doing. To expect from such the ability and spirituality of an aged Paul is not reasonable. But you say that there are some who have been on the road for a long time who are far from satisfactory. True, if it were not so something would be wrong, the Scriptures would not be fulfilled. The brethren also would be lacking in opportunities for the display of patience and long-suffering, as divinely enjoyed. If there were not the unruly, the feeble minded, and the weak in our midst, what scope would there be for carrying out such a duty as that referred to in 1 Thess. 5:14? Think again upon the subject, and you will see that the situation of which you complain is inevitable, that it is nothing more than what the Scriptures lead us to expect. Ecclesial life, more or less, is one of trial, and will continue so to be until Christ shall come. The experience, however, will end, and that gloriously for all who remain "steadfast, un moveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord."

 

Speech

CONCERNING speech, the Scriptures say much, and no marvel, for speech may be regarded as a sure index to character. If we wish to know the bent of a person's tastes and thoughts, we have but to await the opening of his lips. The philanthropist talks of his plans and schemes for benefiting humanity; the pleasure seeker converses of places of amusement and sightseeing, the egotist discourses about himself, the righteous "speaketh wisdom and his tongue talketh of judgment." Truly "out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." We profess to be righteous: does our speech answer to the Divine description? If the Truth occupies the supreme place in our affections, we shall be constrained to speak of it. If we allow the things of the present to absorb our interest, then our conversation will be of the people, places, and things of the world, of eating, drinking, and apparel, but of the high and lofty things of God it will be barren. The scriptures lay down no greater test of saint-ship than the use to which we put the gift of speech: "By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned." -- C. H. J

 

Effective singing is a great accessory to a spiritual assembly. It elevates the mind in its endeavours to realise the great things of the Spirit. There was splendid music in the temple; splendid music among the angels who announced the birth of Christ. There will be splendid music among "the redeemed of the Lord when they come with singing unto Zion;" Let us therefore make earnest and likewise endeavours now in connection with our cherishment of "the blessed hope." -- R.R.

 

The Talebearer

OH! the unkindness of some. They will search out, magnify, and publish to the four quarters of the globe the failings of their neighbours; but for their neighbours' good traits they have no eyes, no ears, no tongues. Why this unkindness? lt may arise from envy, or spite, or the mere love of scandal But whatever the cause, the practice is utterly wrong, for God has forbidden it. "Speak not evil one of another." "Thou shalt not go up and sow as a talebearer among thy people." It is wrong, for it is thoughtless and cruel. Have we not all failings? Is it not, as a rule, calling the kettle black? Who would wish their own weaknesses to be advertised to the world? Let those who are given to the pernicious habit of scandalising cease, for if persisted in it will unquestionably imperil our salvation.-A.T.J.

 

There is nothing more stringently forbidden by the law of God, nothing more blighting to friendship, and nothing more common among men than backbiting, speaking evil of people behind their backs. -- R.R.

 

Words That Encourage Or Destroy

WORDS, like fire, require wise management to keep their usefulness from turning to destructiveness. To repress a harsh answer, to confess a fault, and to stop in the midst of self defence, are three golden threads with which domestic happiness is woven. Harmony will take the place of discord where self-restraint in words is practised. "A soft answer turneth away wrath." We are exhorted to "confess our faults one to another." God will be our defender if we are in the right in the use of words. Our Master's example should be a source of strength. "He was oppressed and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth."

 

WORDS

Keep a watch on your words, dear sisters,

For words are wonderful things,

They are sweet like the bees' fresh honey,

Like the bees they have terrible stings.

They can bless like the warm, glad sunshine,

And brighten a lonely life;

They can cut in the strife of anger,

Like a cruel two-edged knife.

Keep them back if they are cold and cruel,

Under bar, lock and seal;

For the wounds they make my sisters,

Are always slow to heal.

May peace guard your lips for ever,

From the time of your early youth,

May the words that you daily utter,

Be only the words of love and truth.

 

The Inner Man

THE character we are required to form that we may realize the "one hope of our calling" must be inspirited by the Truth. That is, the Law of the Lord must dwell in us, with the courageous determination to obey it, or live in conformity to it, and to contend earnestly for it. At all hazards, God must be in all our thoughts, and our actions must be shaped with a view to His approbation alone. How will this or that be approved by our Father in Heaven, and not what will the people or their leaders say, should be the only question permitted to stand up between our conceptions and the practice of them. In short, "the grace of God that bringeth salvation" teaches us that "denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and Godly in the present world; looking for that blessed hope, even the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works;" it charges "them that are rich in this world that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate, laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on to Eternal Life." Such are the things which constitute the character of the man whose religion is pure and undefiled, and who will be accepted when the Day Star shall illume the world. Bro. J. Thomas.

 

 


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