1 CORINTHIANS 13
3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
''Though I Give My Body to Be Burned''
Martyrdom during the second seal period (Rev 6)
Such "miserable sinners," styling themselves "christians," abound in our time; multitudes of whom, tired of the troubles of life, would joyfully suffer death under the delusion that by giving their worthless bodies to be burned, they would by a brief torment acquire posthumous notoriety, and hide a multitude of sins. All this voluntary martyrdom was the result of ignorance and misdirected zeal.
It was no proof of the sufferers being Christ's Brethren. We may admit the piety and sincerity of many of them; but Paul has taught us that giving the body to be burned is no equivalent for the want of that "love," which he, after the teaching of the Christ, says is "the fulfilling of the law" -- hoping and believing all the things testified in the truth (1 Cor. 13). Martyrdom, then, is no proof of a man's being in Christ; and without being in him, he cannot be a christadelphian.
The most it proves is the sincerity and devotion of the martyr to his profession, whatever that may be. Hence, the martyrdom of Huss, Jerome, Cranmer, Servetus, and such like, proved the sincerity of their anti-romish and anti-calvinistic opinions; it did not alter the fact of their being eminently pious members of the Apostasy; the stain of which cannot be obliterated by body-burning, but only by an intelligent belief and obedience of the truth.
5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
We are in a very disjointed condition at present. Men are on all hands imperfect, and, of course, brethren too; and if we do not clothe ourselves with something of divine magnanimity that puts up with the frailties and shortcomings of men, we shall never get on at all.
We have to shut our eyes to a great deal. We need not give countenance to faults, but we must not be too critical; we must forbear much and pass things by, or we shall only make a bad job worse. Charity hides a multitude of sins. It exhibits solicitude towards one's neighbour; it looks not only to one's own things, but about the things of others and is rather prone to put a good construction (where such is possible) upon a man's actions, than a bad one.
10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
3. -- The Apostolic Ministry.
To make the communities of Christ's brethren effective for their objects, Christ, by the Spirit, appointed and qualified a variety of officials, in the first century, whom Paul enumerates as -- 1, apostles; 2, prophets; 3, teachers; 4, miracles; 5, gifts of healing; 6, helps; 7, governments; 8, diversity of tongues. Their appointment by the Spirit made them the responsible overseers of the one body, whom the members were bound to obey. This ministration of the Spirit, and this presence of divine authority in the ecclesias, continued during the days of the apostles, and the generation next ensuing.
After that, an apostacy arose in the apostolic community, after the analogy of the case of Israel, in their first settlement of Canaan; who "served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the Lord that he did for Israel" (Jude vii).
The apostacy prevailed more and more, as the Apostles, by the spirit, predicted would be the case (2 Tim. iv 1-4 ; ii 17), until all trace of primitive truth disappeared, and the spirit of the Lord was withdrawn from all association with an empty Christian name. Whatever genuine profession may have existed since then, has not been honoured by a return of the Spirit's witnessing and governing presence.
The Ecclesial Guide