1 CORINTHIANS 3
1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
It is hard work in our generation. The world is in such a wretched plight with regard to the truth, that we cannot begin where the apostles began. The apostles began straight off, whereas we have to convince men of the elementary principles. We have to begin at the very foundation, and show that man is mortal; that Christ is coming, and that the kingdom of God is to be established on earth.
Consequently, there is the tremendous danger that people getting to know these elementary things may think they are all right, whereas the fact of the matter is that the foundation is only laid for the work of fashioning them into the likeness of the people prepared for the Lord.
Well, if the difficulties are great, no doubt Christ's sympathies are great; if our situation is peculiarly discouraging, no doubt our welcome before him, if we overcome, will be correspondingly cordial.
Bro Roberts - Present suffering, Seasons 1:32.
3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
Disruption...must necessarily be the history of the truth everywhere in the absence of its great centre and head, for this simple reason: some love the truth and some do not, mistaking the love of the social circumstances generated by the truth for the love of the truth itself. (No discerning person will deny the truthfulness of this proposition.)
Now when two classes of persons in this condition associate together, sooner or later the divergence of their affections becomes manifest to each other. When this arises, antagonism, passive at first, becomes more and more distinct as circumstances afford scope for it, till at last it assumes the complexion of animosity, especially on the part of those who are lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.
My Days and My Ways Ch 16
7 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.
One of the two evenings, I spent with the Roberts' family, who are all in the Truth, except one (the youngest). They occupy the large farm adjoining Sunnyside. They recently lost the father, who died in the Faith. It appears they came from the neighbourhood of Huddersfield, Yorkshire, thirty years ago. The family consists of mother, five sons and one daughter, who, since the father's death, work the farm among them and manage very well.
Their acceptance of the Truth was a great surprise as well as a great comfort to brother Watson. He says he never did a thing with a more hopeless sense of duty than when he gave them Christendom Astray to read. He had begun to be considered in the district a little off his mind, and he expected this act of his likely to add to the evil report. But in some two or three months (during the father's lifetime) he was surprised to receive an invitation to the house, and to find that they had all been reading the book and were sure it was the Truth, and wanted some difficulties cleared away preliminary to their being baptized.
It is certainly an extraordinary circumstance that God should have given brother Watson society in the Truth on the very next farm to his own, with symptoms in various; directions of further increase. The elder three sons are most earnest and interested; indeed, they all are. They are a great comfort to brother Watson.
Bro Roberts - Second Voyage to Australia
9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.
Be thankful that God has guaranteed you a job. For an able-bodied, able-minded person, there is no affliction worse than unemployment. There is never unemployment for the true children of God. They always have full time employment: plenty to do. They are spiritually-minded, and they perceive the vast amount of spiritual labor crying to be done, and the laborers few. And they lovingly rejoice at the God-provided opportunity to be "laborers together with Him" .
And they cheerfully set to work at the huge pile, from dawn to dusk, in total, exhilarating satisfaction and enjoyment. They retire at night to sweet repose, serene in the consciousness of a good day's work done for the eternal, triumphant, ever-advancing divine purpose.
Very little result can be seen with the natural eye, but the mighty edifice progresses steadily, stone by stone. What a wonderful blessing that God's spiritually-minded, spiritually-aware children have an abundance of wholesome, useful, enjoyable work. What a tragedy is slothfulness and unemployment. How sad the poor blind earthly creatures who "don't know what to do with their time"!
11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
These materials had all to pass through "a fiery trial" for the proof of their faith. If the persecutions on account of the word were too hot for some of them, those that apostasised were thus proved to be "wood, hay, and stubble," consumed; but if they bravely withstood the adversary, and overcame him by their faith, they were as gold, silver, and precious stones, purified from dross. Now, if a teacher had built a hundred converts upon Paul's foundation, and seventy-five of them had denied the faith to save their worthless lives and fortunes, he would "suffer loss."
When the Lord shall appear, and he should render an account of his stewardship, he would only receive reward for the abiding twenty-five; and no consideration at all for the "washed hogs who had returned to their wallowing in the mire." Still this loss of seventy-five percent would not result in his own perdition. He would himself be saved, provided he was on the foundation, and with the twenty-five had kept the faith, however fiery the times had been. This is being saved so as by fire -entering the kingdom of God through much tribulation.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, March 1853
13 Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.
Now, this "precious faith" can only be educed by trial; for the trial elaborates the works. This is the use of persecution, or tribulation, to believers; which in the divine economy is appointed for their refinement. Peter styles the "manifold persecutions," to which his brethren were subjected, "the trial of their faith;" and Paul testified to others of them, that "it is through much tribulation they must enter the kingdom."
Probation is a refining process. It purges out a man's dross, and brings out the image of Christ in His character; and prepares him for exaltation to His throne (Rev. 3:21). We can enter the kingdom through the fire (1 Cor. 3:13); but, if a man be courageous, and "hold fast the confidence and rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end," he will emerge from it unscorched; and be presented holy, unblameable and unrebukeable (Col. 1:22-23) before the King.
Elpis Israel 1.3.
14 If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
A man has no heart to "fight," or "run," or "labour," if his attainment of a reward for so doing become doubtful or uncertain. On reading this, someone will exclaim "shocking," "base," "mercenary." But not so. Common sense, backed up by Scripture, leads us to look for a reward. If we are not to strive for reward-much reward-why is the encouraging term "reward" employed? "My reward is with me," "Your reward shall be great," "The labourer is worthy of his reward," "He shall reward every man according to his works."
Further, does not Christ set forth the same truth in his parable of the talents? Also Paul in his allusion to the effulgence of the stars in the millennial heavens? All this teaching is too simple to be misconstrued. It must mean, and only mean, that great faithfulness means great reward; little faithfulness, little reward. The margin is large, and where we individually stand, Heaven alone can tell. Let us then aim high, and appreciate the goodness and equity of God in the arrangement He has made. ATJ
The Christadelphian, Jan 1899
18 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.
There is no use trying to reason with the mind of the flesh - it will justify everything, and confuse the issue where it cannot justify. It must be abandoned. All that the world regards as fine-brilliant worldly intellect, strong passion, fierce animal courage, self-esteem, animal beauty, ambition, assertiveness, and envy in its many deceptive forms - all these must be seen in their true and ugly light, and resolutely repudiated.
Christ, we are told, emptied himself. These were the natural desires and tendencies which he overcame and rooted out. Paul describes them as filthiness - natural filthiness of flesh and mind. All this demands self-abasement, a bitter recognition of the uncleanness and corruption of our animal natures and thoughts, a clear conception of the deceptiveness of the flesh.
Bro Growcott - Ye are full
Science and Revelation
The writer ... says, "If I have rightly understood your position, you repudiate science, and rely solely upon the Bible for your evidence."
Upon this we would remark, that "science" is all very well in its place, if it be true science, and not babbling about science. Truth natural and revealed, all originates from Deity. No sane man disputes this. Natural truth discovered and systematized by human observation and reason, is called science; and truth that cannot be discovered experimentally and inductively, but comes to us by the will of God through "holy men" specially moved to speak and write it by his spirit, is divine science, or system of knowledge, and called revelation.
This is always the same. Time changes neither its facts, purposes, testimonies, principles, nor reasonings. But not so with human science. What passes for science in one age, is repudiated in another. Hence the science of Paul's age is an old wife's fable in ours; and much of what now passes for first rate science, will be exploded in less than fifty years as the vain babbling of mere pretenders to knowledge.
The natural sciences cannot expound "the things of the spirit of God." The profoundest knowledge of chemistry, astronomy, or physiology, cannot answer the question "What has God prepared for them that love him?" The answer to this question cannot be read "in trees, and stones, and running brooks." All nature is dumb and silent as the grave upon it.
Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, Euclid, Archimedes, Galen, Celsus, Bacon, Leibnitz, Davy, Faraday, Gall, Morse, and a host of others devoted exclusively to science and philosophy, with all their principles and facts, could not thence approach within the shadow of a shade of "the things prepared." This is the testimony of Scripture; and therefore whatever speculators in science may say to the contrary, we believe it.
A person, then, may be as ignorant of what passes for science, as Balaam's most learned of all donkeys, and yet be able most intelligently and demonstrably to answer the question before us. All the prophets and apostles could do this, and have done it, but were nevertheless ignorant of what is called science in our time; but with all their ignorance of this they were better physiologists than any now extant; for none of these can demonstrate the motive power of the animal machinery called Man; and he that is ignorant of this, is a mere quack in "physiology and the laws of health."
Whatever "theologians" may have done, the Bible has not "mistaken the nature of man's disease, but has well defined it, and prescribed a remedy which is the only true one, of which "theologians" and the scientific are ignorant alike.
The Bible does not "promise future good to all," nor does science. Science teaches nothing about the destiny of nations and individuals. It is only pretenders to science, who set up for prophets with only a little learning for their stock in trade, who prophesy lies in the name of science, often "falsely so called." These "promise future good for all," and prophesy smooth things to soothe the flesh in the practice of abomination, and the rejection of the truth of God. The Bible testifies evil for every soul of man who knows not God, and obeys not the gospel of Jesus Christ.
It is no evidence of boldness or courage to profess faith in what all the world believes. With comparatively few exceptions, all the world thinks it believes in the natural immortality of man. Our correspondent, however, is truly "bold" in saying that "he can prove it!" All the world and his wife have failed to do it, and have confessed the failure through the most wise and prudent of their sons. But this does not appall our Iowa friend. He can do what said parents, and all the rest of his brethren cannot! "Bold," indeed, is he!
Truth, however, requires few words. If the natural immortality be true, the Bible, where alone true immortality is taught, will certainly teach it. We ask, therefore, but one plain and direct testimony from the Scriptures, declaring that man is naturally immortal. He is indeed a bold man, bold even to recklessness, that will undertake it; when such a passage is produced, it shall certainly be emblazoned to the honour and glory of the discoverer in the Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come. All future generations will remember the name of G. J. Tisdale as the prodigy of the nineteenth century, whose "theologians" and philosophers, ethical and physical, he will have convicted of learned ignorance, and of the shallowness of a rippling brook in things pertaining to God.
In conclusion we would respectfully invite our correspondent's attention to the words of Paul, "the teacher of the Gentiles," whether scientifics or barbarians. "Avoid," saith he, "profane, vain babblings and oppositions of science falsely so-called, which some professing have erred concerning the faith."-1 Tim. 6:20.
Paul's interpretations were independent of science, which he pronounced "false," when all the world protested it was the true wisdom. Paul declared that it was folly; and his judgment has been endorsed as true and altogether right by all the real lights of the science of to-day.
His interpretations were true, and only true together; yet he knew nothing of modern science. We argue, then, that the truths of revelation are perfectly intelligible to all unsophisticated, unspoiled, childlike inquirers after them without any aid that "science" or the sciolists [superficial scholars] can afford; who prophesy only in the words of their masters, whose "science" is a hash of facts, principles, and arguments plagiarized from the works of the thinkers and discoverers of the age, and unverified by their own experiment and observation.
The mere man of science is a fool in "the deep things of God," in which the unscientific man of an intelligent faith is as the sun in the midheaven to a lightning bug compared to him. Our friend is welcome to the bugs, big and little, light and dark; give us the fools whose science is the word of God, which lives and abides forever.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Nov 1860.
*How true this has always been, and always will be, though. each proud current generation-recognizing it of all previous generations-would always indignantly deny it of itself. Such is the flesh. And yet 'brethren' feel embarrassed by the unchanging simple Truth of God, and feel they must adjust it in each generation to the ever-changing kaleidoscope of 'science.'
19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.
20 And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.
Skilled in the wisdom which comes from beneath, he is by nature ignorant of that which is "first pure, and then peaceable, gentle and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy." This is a disposition to which the animal man, under the guidance of his fleshly mind, has no affinity. His propensity is to obey the lust of his nature, and to do its evil works, "which are adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, sects, envying, murders, drunkenness, revellings and such like" (Gal. 5:19).
All these make up the character of the world, "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye and the pride of life," upon which is enstamped the seal of God's eternal reprobation. "They who do such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God," but "they shall die."
Such is the world of human kind -- the great and impious enemy of God upon the earth. Its mind is not subject to His law neither indeed can it be. What shall we say to these things? Is the world as we behold it a finality? Are generations of men, rebellious against God, and destroyers of the earth, to occupy it successively through an endless series of ages? Are men to repeat the history of the past for ever? Is the earth always to be cursed and sin and death to reign victorious? Who can answer these enquiries?
If we survey the starry canopy, thence no sign or voice is given expressive of the truth. They declare the eternal power and divinity of their Creator, but they speak not of the destiny of the earth or of man upon it. If we question the mountains and hills, the plains and valleys, the rivers, seas and oceans of the earth, and demand their origin, why they were created, their rocks, their strata, their fossils or deposits afford us no response.
Turn we to man and ask him "whence camest thou, and what is thy destiny, whence all the evil of thy nature, why art thou mortal, who made thee, who involved thee in this widespread ruin and calamity on every side?" Ask an infant of days the history of the past, and he can as well detail it as man can answer these enquiries without a revelation from Him who is before all and to whom is known from the beginning all He intends shall come to pass.
So true is it, that, unaided by light from heaven, "since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside Thee, what is prepared for him that waiteth for Him; but, adds the apostle in his comment upon these words of the prophet, "God hath revealed these things unto us by His spirit . . . which things we apostles speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth but which the Holy Spirit teacheth, interpreting spiritual things in spiritual words" (1 Cor. 2:9, 10, 13),
To the Bible, then, all must come at last if they would be truly wise in spiritual things. This is a great truth which few of the sons of men have learned to appreciate according to its importance. A man may be a theologian profoundly skilled in all questions of "divinity;" he may be well versed in the mythology of the heathen world, be able to speak all languages of the nations, compute the distances of orb from orb, and weigh them in the scales of rigid calculation; he may know all science and be able to solve all mysteries -- but if he know not the true meaning of the Bible he seemeth only to be wise, while he is, in fact, a fool.
Therefore the apostle says "Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. And again, the Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain. Therefore let no man glory in men" (1 Cor. 3:18-21).
If our contemporaries could only attain to the adoption of this great precept "let no man glory in men," they would have overleaped a barrier which as a fatal obstacle prevents myriads from understanding and obeying the Truth.
Elpis Israel 1.1.
21 Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours;
22 Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours;
But, the "pure and undefiled religion" of God has no present temporalities, or worldly interests. It has no "lands, tenements and hereditaments," nor "states," colleges, or "sacred edifices." It is like the Son of God in the days of His flesh, homeless, houseless, and poverty-stricken among the sons of men. It has great riches, and good things in store for the poor in this world who are rich in faith (James 2:5); it promises them the possession of the world (1 Cor 3:22) with all the honour, and glory, and riches of it, with endless life for the enjoyment of them; but, it requires faith in God with filial obedience to His law, in a time of tribulation (Acts 14:22; 2 Tim. 3:12), as the condition of the inheritance.
It is perfectly absurd to imagine, that men who are revelling in all the luxuries, conveniences, and comforts of life, enjoying the honour, glory, and friendship of the world, as do the ecclesiastics of antichristendom in their several ranks, orders, and degrees -- to suppose, I say, that such can inherit the kingdom of God with Jesus, and that "cloud of witnesses," of whom Paul says "the world was not worthy," is preposterous. If men would reign with Christ they must believe His doctrine, and suffer with Him (2 Tim. 2:12), in enduring persecution for the word's sake (Mark 10;29, 30; Luke 18:29).
Elpis Israel 1.5.
The wisdom of the world is obnoxious to God-it has no place in His temple... Above all do not glory in men and their wisdom and accomplishments. Take a broader view. If you are worthy, all things are yours, and these men are but a means to that end, supplied and equipped by God for your benefit.
How incongruous to fret and scheme for the temporary possession of an insignificant fraction of our inheritance when in due time, if we are worthy, all will be given us freely! The earth is ours eternally- surely we can withdraw from the mad worldly scramble for a few years and conduct ourselves in patience and faith and obedience!
All things are yours! Everything is subservient to your interests. All things are working together for your good. The present international tensions and conflicts, the life and death struggles of mighty nations are just pre-arranged details of God's plan of the ages centering around His elect.
If we could only get this conception permanently ingrained into our outlook, we should never be tempted or dismayed by any events. All is as sure and planned and necessary as the expert movements of the surgeon's knife.
Bro Growcott - Ye are full
23 And ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's.
I understand that a man who becomes Christ's ceases to be his own. He is the property of Christ, and as such is bound to give himself to his service. He is the brother of Christ (and therefore a Christadelphian), and as such is bound to place his chief affections on his Elder Brother, Lord, and Master. It is his duty to spread a knowledge of the truth by every means in his power, to regulate his life in conformity with his precepts, to obey him in all things, to do good to all, especially those of the Household of Faith.
The Good Confession