Living with Opposition

                                                               Titus 1:1-5, 10-16

                                                            August 11, 2019-07-31

 

Ø      The apostolic office was designed likewise to impart the full knowledge

of the truth which is after godliness.

 

o        Truth is the object — the Word of truth, which comes from Him who

is the God of truth, who is Christ the Truth itself, who is the Spirit of

truth. It was this truth that the apostle preached with all faithfulness and

clearness.

 

o        Knowledge is the subjective aspect of it, and becomes ours through

faith.

 

o        The fruit of this truth is “godliness” It is designed to promote holiness

of life and character. It is impossible that this knowledge can be morally

unfruitful.

 

·         THE BASIS OF THIS TRUTH. “In hope of eternal life, which God,

that cannot lie, promised before eternal times.” The ground and condition

of this truth is the hope of eternal life, which is the animating principle at

once of the apostle and of the Church of God.

 

Ø      The principle of hope. The word occurs fifty-two times in the New

Testament, and is always connected with God, with the Mediator, and with

believers.

 

o       Its author is God, who is “the God of hope” (Romans 15:13), who

has given us “a good hope through grace” (II Thessalonians 2:16),

and given us Christ as “our Hope,” even “the Hope of glory.”

 

o       Hope connects us with the future as memory with the past, and is

intended to neutralize the materializing influence of earthly life

around us.  Thus, God has given us prophecy and promise to

gratify:

 

§         the wants,

§         the longings, and

§         the anticipations of the human soul.  (comment yesterday

      by a Catholic priest on .......Braum.  There is nothing in the

      world that can fill the heart of man unto satisfaction, other than God

      Himself, our Shield, as Abraham’s, and our Exceeding Great Reward.

      CY – August 7, 2019)

 

Ø      The object and sum of Christian hope. Eternal life, which God, that

cannot lie, promised before eternal times.”

 

 

 

 

                                    Believed in Everywhere (v. 4)

 

“The common faith.” Amid all diversities there is unity. In this sense we know

that what is called “catholic” (all-embracing) authority rests on what was believed

always, everywhere, and by all.” Theories of religion vary, but the great facts

and doctrines are the things which cannot be shaken, and still remain.  The word

faith is sometimes used for that experience of the soul which we call trust,

and as such is an inward reception of Christ and His cross; but it is also used,

and is so used here, as descriptive of the gospel revelation itself.

 

(So how did faith become believed everywhere in American culture, especially

in the Bible Belt?  It took decades, even centuries, for God’s people to spread

out, live their lives as a witness for Him, and share their faith, become a beacon,

and a light in the world, a city set on a hill, so as to saturate society much like

mentioned in Habakkuk 2:14; Isaiah 11:10; “for the earth shall be filled with

the knowledge (glory in Habakkuk) of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.”  -

and all this without the aid of modern technology, the Holy Spirit of God

working in His people as they yielded and He saw fit!  Now with modern technology

the major television companies, ABC, NBC, and CBS, major Cable Networks,

major newspapers, and now of all  things, Google, Facebook, and other wannabees,

with satanic-like distraction and deception, are attempting to wipe out this godly

influence in a generation.   (To understand this, one needs to be familiar with

United States History of the last sixty or so years, this could never

have occurred without the United States Supreme Court’s liberal agenda, they

apparently being appointed by more liberal presidents than we thought.  The

Founding Fathers meant for change in America to come through the legislative

branch, which have historically abdicated [failure to fulfill or undertake a duty

or responsibility] their responsibilities, by inaction or stepping aside, and allowing

a minority of Judges on a nine man court [perhaps the deep state has been around

longer than we thought – regardless, Jesus said, “there is nothing covered, that

shall not be revealed, neither hid, that shall not be known.  Therefore whatsoever

ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light, and that which ye have

spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.”  Luke 12:2-3]

to carry out in matters of denying public religious practices, abortion, and among other

things, homosexuality, a minority of rule, much like Thomas Jefferson’s accusation

that the US Constitution in the hands of John Marshall, was a ball of wax to be

manipulated as he thought fit.  Remember the words of Jesus – “This generation

shall not pass till all these things be fulfilled”  [Matthew 24:34] - this in reference to

the question in – ibid. v. 3.  Christ reiterates this in Mark 13:28-31, Luke 21:29-32.

This faith of millions of Americans is being challenged thru misinformation, by the

the attempt to refabricate the past into  politically correct acceptance, and foolishly

thinking that they can, as media outlets, daily obliterate God and His people

into non-existence, literally, from the face of the earth! CY – 2019)

 

                This is our situation, and who will may know it. By perseverance and fortitude we have

                the prospect of a glorious issue; by cowardice and submission, the sad choice of a variety

                of evils - a ravaged country - a depopulated city - habitations without safety, and slavery

                without hope - our homes turned into barracks and bawdy-houses* for Hessians, and a

                future race to provide for, whose fathers we shall doubt of. Look on this picture and

                weep over it! and if there yet remains one thoughtless wretch who believes it not,

                let him suffer it unlamented.   December 23, 1776  (by Thomas Paine)

 

·         Bawdy house means a dwelling house where individuals conduct criminal or immoral activities

        that are a nuisance to the neighborhood.

 

·         THE APOSTLES DIE, BUT THE FAITH REMAINS. We are not

disciples of Paul, or Barnabas, or Timothy, or Titus, but of Christ. These

apostles did not draw men to themselves, but to Christ. They were, as Paul

declares, “ministers by whom ye believed.”  (I Corinthians 3:5)  To be in

the true succession is to have the spirit of the apostles, and to hold the

faith of the apostles. So far as the gospel has been perverted by mediaeval

superstition or the earlier traditions of the fathers, it is not the common faith.

(Read Jude 1:1-4 and recommend the whole chapter for insight into the

times.  Also II  Peter 2:1-25)  An inspired revelation of truth enables us in

every age to preserve the common faith. As the philosophic Coleridge said,

“It is evident that John and Paul held Christ to be Divine.” The glorious

gospel of the grace of God is preserved to us intact by the holy Gospels

and the Epistles, and men true to the Bible harmonize in their acceptance of

the common faith.”

 

·         THE LIFE OF THE TRUE CHURCH IS THE SAME IN EVERY

AGE. The root must be the same, because the fruit is the same.

 

Ø      First TRUTH and then LIFE!  

Ø      The cry for forgiveness, and then peace that comes through the cross.

Ø      The power of the atonement to crucify selfishness, and to lead men

   to live as not their own.

Ø      The consciousness of human impotence, and of the might of

   the Holy Spirit in the inner man.

 

All these are inward experiences of life, resulting from a common faith.

Added to these are the experiences which attest life in conduct. We know

the same artist’s touch in the picture, the same sculptor’s hand in the molding

of a figure, the same architect’s design in the buildings; and we know

Christians by the “life hid with Christ in God  (Colossians 3:3), producing

those “fruits of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-23) which attest, in their beauty

and their purity, the energy and the sanctity of THE DIVINE LIFE!

It is “the common faith” which gives to Christians, in every land and every

age, the same likeness to their Lord.

 

 

 

                                                            Order (v. 5)

 

·         THAT IN EVERY CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY THERE SHOULD

BE THE MAINTENANCE OF ORDER. “Thou shouldest set in order the

things that are wanting.” “The words,” says Dean Spence, “explain the

cause of Titus’s appointment in Crete. The ‘things that are wanting’ were

what Paul meant, no doubt, to have done himself, but was prevented by

being hurried away; for him the end was nigh at hand. These ‘things’ were

want of Church officials, lack of Church government, want of cohesion

between the Churches of the island; in a word, there was plenty of

Christian life, but no Christian organization as yet in Crete. It was rather a

number of Christian brotherhoods than one.” “Set in order.” God is the

God of order, as witnessed in the harmonious operations of nature.

Disorder, both in the mental and moral domains, is abnormal and

pernicious; it implies evermore a deviation from the established LAW

OF ALMIGHTY LOVE!  A disordered body is diseased, so is a disordered

soul. A disordered family lacks the condition both of peace and prosperity. A

disordered Church, for many reasons, is the greatest of all evils. Confusion

in a Church is a calumny of Christ, and obstructive at once to its peace,

power, prosperity, and usefulness. “Order,” says Southey, “is the sanity of

the mind, the health of the body, the peace of the city, the security of the

state. As the beams to a house, as the bones to the microcosm of man, so is

order to all things.”

 

·         THAT THE MAINTENANCE OF CHURCH ORDER MAY

REQUIRE THE MINISTRY OF SPECIAL SUPERINTENDENTS. The

words elder,” “bishop,” “pastor,” etc., all refer to the same office, and that

office means “superintendent,” or “overseer.” “These presbyters were to be

most carefully selected, according to the instructions Titus must remember

Paul had given him on some previous occasion.” There was to be some one

to overlook all. Such a one is to maintain order, not by legislating but by

loving; not by the assumption of authority, but by a humble devotion to the

SPIRITUAL INTERESTS OF ALL!  The ministry of such a man is needed

because of the many elements of discord that exist, even in the best

communities, such as temper, self-will, pride, etc.

 

·         THAT THE SUPERINTENDENTS SHOULD BE MEN OF

DISTINGUISHED EXCELLENCE. “Blameless,” etc. The highest offices

in Church and state should always be filled by the highest characters. The

morally small man, elevated to a high office, is an incongruity and a curse;

and yet HOW COMMON IS SUCH A SIGHT!

 

Ø      Moral serfs on thrones,

Ø      moral rogues on the bench,

Ø      moral sycophants in the ecclesiastical world!

 

Here Paul denotes the style of men required to superintend the Church.

“If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children

not accused of riot or unruly,” etc. “The expressions,” says Dr. Fairbairn,

indicate one possessed of that prudence and self-control, that uprightness

of character, that kind, generous, disinterested, gracious disposition, which

were fitted to command the respect and secure the confidence and affection

of a Christian community — one altogether such as might serve for a pattern to

a flock over whom he was appointed to preside, and guide their affairs with

discretion.” (These qualifications of a Christian leader, I wonder if there has

ever been a President in the United States that fits these qualifications but

live in a secular world [which God did not mean for there to be a difference].

The qualifications of this office are here given in:

 

Ø      A negative form. “Not self-willed, not soon angry, not given to wine,

      no striker, not given to filthy lucre.”

 

Ø      A positive form. “The husband of one wife, having faithful children, a

lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate,

holding fast the faithful Word as he hath been taught.”

 

   

           

            The Sins of the Sect and the Sins of the Tribe (vs. 10-14)

 

“For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of

the circumcision,” etc. In the preceding verses Paul stated one purpose for

which he left Titus in Crete, viz. to set in order “the things that are

wanting,” and to ordain elders in every city. He recognized at once, not

only the importance of order in the new community, but also the

importance of appointing men who, intellectually and morally, were

qualified for its establishment and continuance., In these verses he gives

Titus directions as to his aggressive work in Crete. He was to do battle

with sin. “For there are many unruly [men] and vain talkers and deceivers,

specially they of the circumcision: whose mouths must be stopped, who

subvert [overthrow] whole houses, teaching things which they ought not,

for filthy lucre’s sake.” The great work of the gospel minister IS TO DO

BATTLE WITH SIN!  In the text, sin is referred to as appearing in two aspects:

 

Ø      in religious sect and

Ø      in national character.

 

·         IN RELIGIOUS SECT. Specially they of the circumcision.” These,

undoubtedly, are Judaizing Christians, men who pretended to be converted

to Christianity, men who sought not only to mingle Judaic elements with

the new religion, but to inculcate (instill by persistent instruction) and

disseminate it in that form. Observe the description of sin as it appeared

in this religious sect — these men of the circumcision. Here is:

 

Ø      Factiousness. “Unruly.” Not only would they not bow to the established

order of the Church, but not to the spirit and principles of the new religion.

They would not yield to the masterhood of Christ, the Author and

Substance of the gospel; they were self-willed. (so are heretics – as

discussed in recent lessons – CY – 2019)  They would have a sect of

their own.

 

Ø      Ostentation. “Vain talkers.” Vain, not merely in the sense of proud, but

in the sense of emptiness. In truth, as a rule, the emptiest men,

intellectually, are at once the most conceited and talkative. They talk, not

for the edification of others, but for the gratification of themselves. Their

fluency, whilst it:

 

o        wins the admiration of fools,

o        deludes the ignorant, and

o        disgusts the thoughtful.

 

Ø      Falsehood. “Deceivers.” All merely nominal Christians are deceivers.

They practically misrepresent the doctrines they profess to hold.

 

Ø      Mischievousness. “Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert

[overthrow] whole houses.” “The translation should run, ‘seeing they

subvert,’ etc. There was, indeed, grave cause why these men should be put

to silence: the mischief they were doing in Crete to the Christian cause was

incalculable. It was no longer individuals that their poisonous teaching

affected, but they were undermining the faith of whole families. For an

example how Titus and his presbyters were to stop the mouths of these

teachers of what was false, compare Matthew 22:34-46, where the Lord,

by His wise, powerful, yet gentle words, first put the Sadducees to silence,

and then so answered the Pharisees ‘ that neither durst any man from that

day ask him any more questions’” (Dr. Ellicott).

 

Ø      Greed. “Teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake.”

All the speeches they made, all the influence they exerted, sprang from

sordid motives. Sin has a thousand branches and but one root, and that

root is selfishness. How many, in what we call the religious world, are

found teaching things which they ought not, for “filthy lucre’s sake”

things that:

 

o        gratify popular taste,

o        agree with popular prejudice, and

o        chime in with the popular thought!

 

All this to fill their pews and to enrich their coffers. Now, these sins which

are discovered, in the religious sect are PREVALENT OUTSIDE ALL

RELIGIONS;  but they receive a peculiar color, shape, enormity, and

mischievousness when we find them in the religious realm.

The devil is less hideous amongst his fellows in hell than he is amongst the

sons of God. Hence, to do battle with sin in these religious forms is the

grand work of a true preacher; and truly, in this age, and here in England

(USA), he will find these sins on every hand. He will see:

 

o        factiousness building up sects, and little sects within sects;

o        ostentation — vain speaking, braggardism, sometimes cooing

     and sometimes bawling, everywhere (I see a lot of this in the

House and Senate of the United States Legislative Branches –

CY – 2019);

o        falsehood — rogues robing themselves in the garb of sainthood,

      wolves in sheep’s clothing;

o        mischievousness — by their empty words and pernicious

example subverting whole houses,” filling the domestic air with

poisonous cant (hypocritical and sanctimonious talk, typically of a

 moral, religious, or political nature).

o        greed — the gospel itself made a trade, and vested interests created in

connection with doctrines and doings antagonistic to the life and spirit

of Him whom they call Master. Ah me! conventional (contemporary)

religion is a calumny on the religion of Christ. Never was a Luther

wanted in Christendom more than now. He is wanted to substitute

the pure gospel of Christ for the denominationalized gospel.

 

 

·         IN NATIONAL CHARACTER. “One of themselves, even a prophet of

their own, said, The Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, slow bellies [idle

gluttons].” There are three sins mentioned here which seem to have

prevailed amongst the Cretans as a race.

 

Ø      Lying. “The Cretans are always liars.” Who made this charge against the

Cretans? Paul says, “One of themselves, even a prophet of their own.”

The quotation is from a poem on ‘Oracles,’ by Epimenides, of Phoestus,

who flourished B.C. 600, lived to the age of a hundred and fifty, and was

supposed to have been a sleeper in a cave for fifty-seven years. He appears

to have deserved the title prophet in the fullest sense. Plato speaks of him

as a Divine man. The Cretans were characterized by the sin of lying —

always liars.” This expression was quoted by Callimachus in his ‘ Hymn

to Zeus,’ and well known in antiquity. “The very word ‘to Cretize

(Kretizein), or to play the part of a Cretan, was invented as a word

synonymous with ‘to deceive,’ ‘to utter a lie (For the last month or so

I have been trying to emphasize the connection of the Anti-Christ with

Satan and his deception of humanity in our present culture and world!

CY – 2019),  ‘just as Corinthiazein,* ‘to play the part of a Corinthian,’

signified ‘to commit a still darker moral

offence.’ Some writers suggest that this despicable vice of lying was

received as a bequest from the early Phoenician colonists.”

 

* the verb Corinthiazein= to live as the Corinthians, had become

proverbial, as early as the time of Aristophanes (Frag. 133), for a

course of profligacy. The harlot priestesses of the Temple of Aphrodite

gave a kind of consecration to the deep dyed impurity of

Greek social life, ** of which we find traces in I Corinthians 5:1;  6:9-19.

                                                (https://biblehub.com/acts/18-1.htm)

 

** Corinth was noted too for its immorality, even compared to the rest of Greece. The verb

corinthiazein  "to act like a Corinthian" meant to be immoral. Kore Korinthe, literally, "Corinthian girl,"

meant a prostitute.  The temple of Aphrodite on the high point of the city, the Acrocorinth, was said

to have had 1000 hierodules, sacred prostitutes. Its position on the isthmus, astride east-west traffic,

meant many sailors  would be there, which did not help the moral tone.

                (https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/most/getchap.cfm?WorkNum=243&ChapNum=6)

 

Ø      Sensuality. “Evil beasts.” Not only liars, but gross and sensual, living in

animalism and for it. All men may be called “beasts” who attend to their

animal appetites as means of gratification rather than of relief. He who

seeks happiness from his senses rather than from his soul is a beast;

he who seeks it from without rather than from within is not better than

a beast. (II Peter 2:12-14) 

 

Ø      Gluttony. “Slow bellies [idle gluttons]. Their gluttony made them dull,

      heavy, and lazy. Such are what may be called tribal or national sins.

They were not confined to the Cretans, but for them the Cretans were

notorious. These are national. But are these sins extinct in England/

the United States? Have we no lying here?  Our social air is

impregnated with falsehood. (Little wonder of the use of this terminology

since so much is made of sex!  - CY – 2019)  Have we no sensuality and

gluttony? Yes, alas! tens of thousands are every day pampering

themselves with luxuries, while millions are being starved to death.

Here, then, are common sins with which the preacher has to do battle.

He has to “rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith.”

 

·         CONCLUSION. A true preacher, then, has no easy task. He has to wage

fierce battle with the sins that are around him — the sins of the sect and.

the sins of the tribe. He is not to pander to men’s tastes, nor to battle with

mere opinions and theories, but with sins; he must “resist unto blood,

striving against sin.” (Hebrews 12:4).  For this purpose the Son of God

was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.”  (I John 3:8)

 

 

 

 

 

                        The Supreme Importance of Moral Character (vs. 15-16)

 

“Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving

is nothing pure,” etc. We notice, at the outset, two facts suggested by the passage.

 

1. That there is an essential difference in the moral characters of men.

There are some “pure” and some defiled, some holy and some unholy.

What is the underlying inspiring principle that makes this difference? The

predominant disposition. Perhaps there is no moral being in the universe

who is not under the masterhood of some one sentiment or passion, to

which can be traced, as to a mainspring, all the motions of his being. This

controling tendency is the moral monarch of souls, or, in Scripture

language, is the moral “heart of the man.” This supreme disposition exists

in all men in two distinct and opposite forms, either:

 

a.      in sympathy with the true, the right, and the spiritual, or

b.      in sympathy with the false, the wrong, and the material.

 

That soul alone is pure whose governing sympathy is God and the true. Supreme

love for the supremely good is the true life of the soul, and the fountain of all its

virtues. He whose controlling sympathies run not thus, is impure and corrupt.

 

2. That the outward world is to men according to this difference. The

whole external universe is to a man according to the moral state of his soul.

“As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Poverbs 232:7) - so is he in relation

to himself, to all without, and to God. This being so, the text teaches the supreme

importance of moral character. Let us look at —

 

·         THE MORALLY PURE IN RELATION TO ALL THINGS. “Unto the

pure all things are pure.” This is true in relation to three things.

 

Ø      In relation to appearance. The proverb goes that the greatest rogues are

ever the most suspicious. A thoroughly selfish, ungodly soul will see but

little good even in the best men. It is a law that man judges his fellow by

himself, and the more corrupt a man is, the more severe his judgment on

others. A good man is neither given to suspicion nor censoriousness; he

sees some good in all men.

 

Ø      In relation to influence. The influence of all outward things upon men is

dependent on their moral character. Our Lord says, “Not that which goeth

into the mouth defileth a man, but that which cometh out of the mouth

defileth a man.” (Matthew 15:11)  The moral character is an all-

transformative power in the center of man’s being. It turns the unclean

into the clean, and the reverse. A good man, like the bee, can extract honey

from the bitterest plant; or, like the AEolian harp, can turn the shrieking

wind into music.

 

Ø      In relation to appropriation. As the body lives by appropriating the

outward, so does the soul; and as the effects of the appropriation, whether

universal or otherwise, depend on the condition of the body’s health, as the

appropriation of a diseased body only increases the physical ailment; so

with the soul. A corrupt soul appropriates, even from the most

strengthening and refreshing means of spiritual improvement, that which

weakens and destroys. Pharaoh and his host got moral mischief out of the

ministry of Moses; and the men of Capernaum were pressed into a deeper

and darker hell through the elevating and enlightening ministry of Jesus of-

Nazareth.  (Luke 10:15)  Mark, then, the supreme importance of

moral character.

 

·         THE MORALLY DEFILED IN RELATION TO ALL THINGS.

“Unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their

mind and conscience is defiled.” Here is the converse. Mark, in passing,

three things.

 

Ø      The sphere of the defilement. “The mind and conscience.” “The mind,”

says a modern expositor, “is the willing as well as the thinking part of man,

as it has been well defined the human spirit (pneuma) in one of its aspects,

not simply quatenus cogitat, et intelligit, but also quatenus vult.

Defilement of this mind (νοῦς - nous) means that the thoughts, wishes,

purposes, activities, are all stained and debased. The second of these,

the conscience (συνείδησις - suneidaesis), is the moral consciousness

within, and that which is ever bringing up the memory of the past, with

its omissions and commissions, its errors, its cruel, heartless unkindness,

its selfish disregard of others. When this is defiled, then this last

safeguard of the soul is broken down.  The man and woman of the

defiled conscience is self-satisfied, hard, impenitent to the last. Every part

and faculty of the soul is stained with sin. The body may be cleansed by

ceremonial ablutions, and the external manners and speech kept pure by

culture and civilization, but the soul be black; the outside of the “cup and

of the platter clean,” but inside full of corruption.  (Matthew 23:25;

Luke 11:39)

 

Ø      The cause of the defilement. “They profess that they know God, but in

works they deny Him.” There is nothing, perhaps, so morally defiling to the

soul as religious hypocrisy. The man who with the lip professes to know

God, and who in the life denies Him, gets deeper stains upon his soul than

the agnostic who professes that he knows nothing about Him. What

millions in our churches every Sunday publicly, at each service, avow with

their lip their belief in God, but in their week-day life “he is not in all their

thoughts”!   (Psalm 10:4)  Thus souls get deeply dyed in corruption in

Christian churches.

 

Ø      The hideousness of the defilement. “Being abominable and disobedient,

and unto every good work reprobate.” However fair their conduct in the

religious observances, they are “abominable” within, hideous TO THE

EYE OF GOD!  However rigorous in their observances and religious

ordinances, they are “disobedient” in heart, they outrage moral laws;

however useful they regard themselves and appear to others, they are

reprobate, they are rejected and worthless. These “defiled” in soul

defile everything without; all outward things in their appearance, influences,

and appropriation are to them corrupt.

 

·         CONCLUSION. Mark:

 

Ø      The natural sovereignty of the human soul. We are not necessarily the

creatures of the outward; we have within the power:

 

o        to bend circumstances to our will,

o        to get good out of evil,

o        to turn:

§         outward dissonance into music,

§         deformity into beauty,

§         poison into nourishment.

 

Let us adore our Maker for this wonderful endowment — an endowment

which:

 

o        guards us from the coercion of outward forces,

o        secures to us an inward freedom of action, and

o        enables us to put all outward things in subjection to our

own spiritual selves.

 

Ø      The dependency of the souls destiny on itself. A man’s destiny depends

upon his moral character, and his character depends upon himself. As food,

however nutritious, cannot administer strength to a man’s body without the

digestive and appropriative power, so no external influences, however

good and useful in themselves, can raise a man’s soul without the right

action of its faculties. Man cannot be made good. His body may be borne

to the summit of a lofty mountain without the use of his limbs, but if his

soul is to ascend “the holy hill of the Lord” (Psalm 24:3), he must climb

it every inch himself. Fortune or patronage may raise him to some eminent

social position, but he cannot reach a single stage of moral dignity

 the true dignity of man — apart from his own earnest endeavors. The

transformative power of the soul is to external circumstances what the

builder is to the materials out of which he rears his edifice. The choicest

materials may be brought together — gold, marble, and cedar — but unless

the builder use them with artistic skill they will never take the form of a

beautiful structure. So the providence of God may gather around man all

the facilities and elements for the raising of a noble character, but unless he

use them with his own spiritual hand, he will never produce such a

structure.

 

Ø      The grand end of true teaching. What is that? The supreme importance

of every man obtaining a true moral character. “Marvel not that I said unto

thee, Ye must be born again.” (John 3:7)  In moral goodness of soul alone,

can we find our way safely and happily through this life. We live in a world

of evil. We cannot escape its sinful influence by endeavoring, like the

anchorite (religious recluse), to avoid its touch. Whilst no man should

put himself in the way of temptation, no man should be afraid to confront

evil, to go into its most malarial regions if duty call. In truth, if man’s well-

being depended upon escaping outward evil, it could never be realized,

because to live in the world he is bound to live in its midst, and evil must

stream into him every day. How, then, is he to reach a blessed destiny? Not

merely by endeavoring to frame his life according to the outward rules of

morality and religion, but by a right use of his own spiritual powers. There

is a power in the body, when in a healthy state, to appropriate whatever

goes into it from external nature that is wholesome and necessary, and to

expel that which is noxious and superfluous. The soul has a power

analogous to this; a power to appropriate the wholesome and to expel the

injurious. This power we call the transformative. Let us use it rightly —

use it as Noah did, who, amidst the blasphemy and ridicule of a corrupt

generation, walked with God, and fulfilled a noble destiny (be aware

that in the last days it will be like the days of Noah [Matthew 24:37-39;

Luke 17:26-27] – CY - 2019); as Paul used it at skeptical Athens, in

dissolute Corinth, and in pagan Rome, who from experience left the world

this testimony:  “All things work together for good to them that love God.” 

 (Romans 8:28)

 

 

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