1 KINGS 18


"The First Cause"

The divisions are heart-breaking, but there is no help for them. They are forced on us. You think it is the other way. You can think this only by shutting your eyes to the first cause. If a man spoils the furniture in a house by throwing water about, to put out a fire kindled by a careless servant, who is to blame for the water-the man or the servant? The servant undoubtedly, though the man threw the water.

Ahab complained to Elijah that he (Elijah) was a troubler of Israel in restraining the rain. Elijah denied the impeachment, and said it was Ahab that was to blame. How was this? Elijah was the restrainer of the rain, and yet put the blame on Ahab. Because Ahab was the first cause.

Our current divisions have a first cause. Place them there, and you will be right. Proximately, they may be due to the action of those who cannot consent to the fellowship of the doctrine of partial inspiration; but who is to blame for their action?

Is it not those who have introduced that doctrine, or who (the doctrine having been introduced) refuse to repudiate it or to disfellowship it? or who while in words disfellowshipping it, in actions do the contrary? The divisions are grievous, but they are inevitable; and the responsibility lies in those who are the first cause.

The Christadelphian, Feb 1886



26 And they took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, nor any that answered. And they leaped upon the altar which was made.

27 And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked.

28 And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them.

The worship of God recognizes no such practices as these. When persons make their meeting houses to echo with clamorous prayers, such as may often be heard among some who profess the religion of Christ -- shouting, I say, like the priests of Baal, as though God were "talking, or pursuing, or on a journey, or peradventure sleeping, and needed to be awaked" -- such persons evince that they are "scheue dregez", vessels of wrath, who comprehend not the genius of the truth; and not "scheue eleouz", vessels of mercy, whose thoughts are in harmony with the divine law.

How different was the prayer of Elijah. From him ascended the "still small voice" of fervent, but tranquil supplication. He knew that God was neither deaf nor asleep; but a God everywhere present by the universality of His spirit. His words were few. (Eccles 5:1,2) He did not expect to be heard for his much speaking; knowing that God is not to be moved by "vain repetitions", or volubility of speech; but by the love He has for His children, and for the glory of His name.

Elpis Israel 1.5.