1 This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:

No matter how pure minds may be-that is, no matter how thoroughly they have freed themselves from worldly things, they still need constant stirring up to remembrance. Here is the wisdom of constant reading of the Word.

God Himself is a great Remembrancer. He forgets nothing except that which He wills in mercy to forget. The scriptures contain many exhortations to remembrance. Forgetfulness is one of the greatest enemies of the spiritual mind in the present day of weakness. The Apostle speaks of those who get all worked up with zeal and determina­tion-then straightway go and forget. "Keeping in memory" is the distinguishing mark between a substantial and a superficial faith-James 1.

All flesh truly is weak and forgetful, but it will be noticed that memory generally follows the line of interest, and the things people love, those things they remember. Notice the class of things people remember and discuss without difficulty. It is a good index to their heart and mind.

Three things combat forgetfulness-search the Scriptures daily, exhort one another daily, and "forsake not the assembling of yourselves together," but "do this in remembrance of Me."

Any who neglect these salutary admonitions court disaster. This principle, like other scriptural principles, works both ways. It is recorded that God keeps a book of remembrance for those who remember Him, and talk often together about Him-Mal. 3.

Bro Growcott - Strength and weakness

2 That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:

The end of all things hath approached-Peter.

We attend to the prophets first and to the Apostles afterwards; because Jesus and the Apostles always gave the prophets the first place in all inquiries. Jesus came to fulfil the law and the prophets, not to destroy them, as the rabbis and clergy, Jews and Gentiles, of the nineteenth century do; and his Apostles always write in accordance with Moses and the prophets, and, therefore, we know that they always speak the truth.

The reason why such absurd interpretations of Peter's third chapter are given by Millerites and other world-burning sentimentalists of the apostacy is because they base their misinterpretations upon the thinkings of the flesh, and not upon the words before spoken by the Holy Prophets.

Those to whom Peter wrote, and whom he styles "beloved," knew what the prophetic word testified concerning the last days; but our contemporaries do not; for they do not know to what period of the world those days belong; for which cause they cannot but misapply the prophecy.

His brethren knew that he was writing of their own times and of their own nation, and that what he said, consequently, affected their own interests and those of their countrymen, Christian and rabbinical, in their fatherland. Hence, Peter writes to them, saying:

"Seeing, therefore, that ye know these things before, beware, lest ye also, being led away by the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness."

They understood prophecy before it came to pass, and were warned by it, taking note of the signs of the times in which they lived.

Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, July 1859

3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,

'For men shall be lovers of their own selves...' The Last days of Judah's commonwealth - 2 Tim 3: 12.

"the end of all things has approached;"

Now, "the last hour" of John, "the last time" of Jude, and "the ending of the Aion" of Jesus, are "the last of the days" referred to in 2 Pet. 3:3—επ͂ εσχατον των ημερων. In the English version, these words are rendered "in the last days." This is incorrect, and should be as we have translated them.

The "last of" the days is a very different idea from the last days. The latter phrase is used by Paul in Heb. 1:2, and answers to what he terms in Heb. 9:26 "the ending of the Aions" συντελεια των αιωνων. He says in the former text,

"in these last days God had spoken to us in a son;"

and of this son he says in the latter, that

"he appeared once in the ending of the Aions for a putting away of sin through the sacrificing of himself."

The teaching and sacrifice of Jesus were in the last days;" but not in "the last of the last days." The first days were from the sending of Moses to his death; and the last days from the sending of Jesus to the abolition of the Mosaic order of things; both first days and last being of forty years' continuance.

Jesus began to teach in the first of the last days; and the mockers of his teaching, who had "forsaken the right way," appeared in the last of the last days, as Peter saith.

Paul speaks of the last days without specifying the beginning or ending of them in 2 Tim. 3:1, saying,

"this know thou that in last days (εν εσχαταις ημεραις) perilous times (καιροι) shall impend."

Then follows a description of men professing christianity, whose wickedness would be the cause of the impending of the vengeance. These are they of whom he warned Timothy in his former epistle, saying,

"The spirit speaketh expressly that in latter times (εν υστεροις καιροις) some of the faith will apostatize, giving heed to seducing spirits, and to teachings of Demons speaking lies in hypocrisy, their own conscience having been cauterized; forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats"—Epist. 4:1–3.

Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Aug 1859

The Last days of Judah's commonwealth - 2 Tim 3: 12.

4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming [parousia]? for since the fathers [of the nation]  fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

They maintained the form of Christianity, but the false prophets among them neutralized its power over them by their traditions, which deceived and corrupted them. They betrayed and hated one another; smote their fellow-servants, and ate and drank with the drunken in their disgusting revels. They were presumptuous and self-willed, and spoke evil of the things they did not understand.

They were spots and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feasted with the faithful. Cursed children, who had forsaken the right way for the wages of unrighteousness-the scoffers of the last days, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the (fulfilment of the) promise of His parousia or proximity?

What evidence is there of His being near to put an end to the age and commonwealth of Israel-"the (Mosaic) heavens and the earth which are now," a.d. 66? For since the fathers (of the nation) fell asleep, all things continue as from the creation.

Such was the apostasy foretold by the Lord Jesus, which exhausted the patience of God with Judah; and caused them to be broken off as a withered branch at the destruction of their city and temple.

"Many," said He, "shall be seduced, caused to stumble), and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of the many shall be cooled. But he who suffers patiently to the end, the same shall be saved."

Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, May 1855.

The Apostasy of the First Century

Immortal-soulism and its consequents, and the denial of the true humanity of Jesus and its consequents, were the "damnable heresies" introduced by the false teachers of the first century.

As Paul predicted, so have they truly gangrenously eaten out the faith originally delivered to the saints; and it is these heresies, organized into an ecclesiastical system, that constitute the Christianity of our day.

The apostles were exceedingly incensed at the planters and propagators of these abominations; and well they might be, for their work was brought to contempt and destroyed by their operations.

Peter is very indignant, and bears his testimony against them, saying,

"There were false prophets among the people (Israel), as there will be false teachers among you, privately introducing damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them (denying that he came in real flesh). And many will follow their pernicious ways, by reason of whom the way of truth will be evil spoken of. ..

.... These were the scoffers of the last days of the Mosaic dispensation, walking after their own lusts, who tauntingly inquired, Where is the promise of his coming? of that coming predicted in Mat. 10:23; 24:27?

From the existence of such "evil men and seducers" diligently and indefatigably circumventing the doctrine of the apostles, and, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, corrupting the minds of the disciples from the simplicity that is in Christ; there appears great propriety in Jude's exhortation that they should "contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints." Indeed, he declares that this was the reason of his exhortation. "For," continues he,

"there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to the condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ."

...The unhappy state of things in the last thirty years of the Mosaic dispensation defined by these testimonies, was a literal accomplishment of the words of the Lord Jesus, predicting the signs indicative of the approaching destruction of the Mosaic world.

Addressing his apostles, he said,

"Ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another; and many false prophets will rise, and deceive many; and because iniquity will abound, the love of many will wax cold. But he that shall endure to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the habitable for a testimony unto all the nations, and afterwards shall the end come." Matt. 24:9, 14; Col. 1:23.

The apostle John, alluding to the fulfillment of these words, in writing to those whose "sins had been forgiven them for his name's sake," says,

"Little children, it is the last hour (ωρα); and as ye have heard that The Antichrist comes, even now there are many antichrists, whereby we know that it is the last hour. They (these antichrists) went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us." 1 John, 2:18.

These antichrists professed great zeal for "divine things," claiming to be Christians of superior sanctity to the apostles themselves. Their antichristian character consisted in not consenting to their teaching concerning the Father and the Son.

As we have seen, there were great numbers of them of exceedingly bad minds, nevertheless, many made a great show of piety in word and austerity of life, by which they were enabled to pass current among the simple for good saints and ministers of righteousness.

They professed to have the Holy Spirit, and to speak by its impulses. Some of them, not understanding in what sense "Jesus was made a curse for us," went so far as to pronounce him accursed, which led Paul to say,

"I give you, Gentiles, to understand that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed." 1 Cor. 12:3.

There is no doubt they were moved by a spirit to teach, even as some of our pious contemporaries profess to be; but it was not the Spirit of God.

It was the spirit of those phrenological organs which, before they professed Christianity, had been defiled and perverted by rabbinical traditions and fables, philosophy and vain deceit, or by the grosser paganism of the vulgar, as they happened to be led. They had received the word of the kingdom as "way side," "stony," and "thorny ground" hearers. They received it with joy, but when tribulation and persecution arose because of the word, when worldly cares increased, the word was choked, they became offended and unfruitful.

Unwilling to abandon Christianity entirely, they sought to popularize it by mixing up its doctrines with rabbinical and philosophical traditions, that the offense of the cross might cease, and the persecutor be appeased. But neither Jesus nor the apostles would tolerate this. They would admit of no blending of their doctrine with mere human tradition. The consequence was, that these false prophets or teachers, these cowardly and infidel pietists, pitched themselves αντι, against' Ξριστος, Christ, as taught by the apostles, and were therefore styled "antichrists," and the spirit that begat them, "the spirit of the antichrist."

They did not renounce Christianity, but corrupted it. They set up "a form of godliness" which had its God, its Jesus, its Holy Spirit, its gospel, its piety, and so forth; but when these were compared with those taught by Jesus and the apostles, they were found to be destitute of the power.

The form and the power were apostolic Christianity; the form, mutilated by superstition, theirs. The latter is the Christianity that has been traditionally and papistically handed down to us. It is the Christianity of all Christendom, state and denominational, which is as much possessed of the spirit of antichrist as were the antichrists of the first century; for it is the very antichrist itself in its ecclesiastical constitution.

Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Nov 1857

The coming of the Son of Man to take the Kingdom from the evil husbandmen, and to avenge the death of his servants from Abel to the Son of Barachias; was a matter of laughter and scorn.

"Where" said they, "is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep all things continue as they were from creation's beginning."

This was the faithless objection of professed Christ[adelphians] who were willingly ignorant of the great example of the Eternal Spirit's long suffering, and sudden and unexpected overthrow of human society in the catastrophe of the Flood and the cities of the plain.

Hebrew Christ[adelphians] of the first century in the very presence of the apostles themselves, like Gentile professors and Jews of the nineteenth, had become scoffers, and vain, and light, frivolous, worldly, and treacherous, people. The point of the question was this-

"We, whom ye apostles style unruly and vain talkers, and deceivers of the circumcision, or Judaizers; and professors of profane, vain babblings, and oppositions of Gnosis falsely so called, or Gnostics;

-We have heard you preaching for the past thirty years about the coming of the Son of Man to overturn the Commonwealth of Israel; to suppress the sacrifices; to abolish the Mosaic Law; to set aside the ruling of the State; to take away the kingdom of God from Aaron's family and the Pharisees; to avenge your sufferings by the Jewish Power; to punish us for differing from you; to burn up Jerusalem and the Temple; and to scatter the Jews from the Holy Land into all the lands of their enemies:

-you have been incessantly telling us of this 'judgment to come' for all this long time; and also that Jesus, and Daniel the prophet, have spoken of these things; and that the former has predicted that

"in those days there shall be affliction such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created until this time, neither shall be.'

And except that the Lord had shortened those days no flesh (of Judah) should be saved; but that for the elect's sake, whom he hath chosen (those of your apostolic party in the country) he will shorten the days:-all these things, and much more, we have heard from you apostles; but, 'Where, we would like to know, is the fulfilment of this promise of the coming of the Son of Man?'

We see no signs of the disturbance of the usual course of things. In short, we do not believe in this coming of the Son of Man, which is merely "a cunningly devised fable" to terrify the weakminded, and to deter them from becoming, what you very impertinently term, 'Judaizers and Gnostics'-Mark 13:14, 19, 20; 2 Pet. 1:16; 1 Tim. 6:20; Tit. 1:10.

In view of such a state of things, as characteristic of the greater number of Hebrew Christians, Jesus might well inquire:

"When the Son of Man cometh, shall he find the belief of his coming to avenge his servants and their persecuted adherents in the minds of those who dwell in the land of Judah?"

Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, July 1859

9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

He does not say to this man, "I elect you from all eternity to be saved from the flames of hell, do what you may;" nor does He say to that, "I predetermine you to reprobation, and eternal torture, do what you can."

To affirm this of God is to blaspheme His name.

The scriptures declare, that "He is no respecter of persons; "that" He has no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way, and live;... (Acts 10:34; Ezek. 33:11; 2 Pet. 3:9).

Such a statement as this, is entirely at variance with "theology," whose traditions are the exhalations of the carnal mind of a fierce and gloomy age...

... everything in relation to the kingdom is ordained upon sovereign principles. Nothing is left to the will of man. Hence, the apostle saith, "It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy."

The call of the Gentiles to take part in the future kingdom is a striking illustration of the truth of this. Had things been left to the apostles, they would not have extended the invitation to men of other nations to become with them heirs of the kingdom of Canaan, and of the dominion of the world.

They were running to and fro among their own nation, calling upon them to become the children of the promise who are counted for the seed; but it was not of their will, but contrary to it, that "the word" was preached to the Gentiles, opening the kingdom to them.

The invitation to our race, as the apostle truly saith, was "of God that showeth mercy."

Elpis Israel 2.3.

10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the [Mosaic] heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

The words of the prophets to which he referred, related to the destruction of the Hebrew commonwealth. His brethren were acquainted with these prophesies, and therefore knew what was about to happen, though not the day or the hour. Hence, this knowledge was to be their caution and security against being led away by the spiritualizers of the time, who wrested the scriptures to their own destruction (v. 16).

Elpis Israel 3.1.

10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

The end of all things hath approached—Peter.

The heavens and the earth of the last days do not now exist. They were in being when Peter wrote; but having decayed and waxed old, they vanished away with the days to which they belonged. This is a very important consideration in the premises; for Peter was writing about their destruction, not about the destruction of a system that might be in existence some eighteen hundred years after his time.

But it is thought that Peter must have referred to "the great globe itself" as "the earth;" and to the sun, moon, stars, and constellations around it, as "the heavens which are now," because he refers to the earth which perished by the flood. But this supposition is based upon a careless reading of what Peter wrote. He does not say that the earth perished; neither could he; for he was living upon the same earth the antediluvians occupied as well as we.

The earth, though overflowed, did not perish; nor were the heavenly bodies in the least affected. What he said was, that the kosmos, or world, then existing, being overflowed by water, perished. Now this kosmos that perished was the order of things that constituted the civil, ecclesiastical, and social organization of mankind before the flood. It was this order in its heavens and earth that perished, and nothing else.

It is clear from Gen. 6:11–13, that "the earth" signifies "all flesh." He there says,

"The earth was corrupt before the Elohim, and the earth was filled with violence. And Elohim viewed the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted His Way upon the earth. And Elohim said unto Noah, the end of all flesh is come before me, for the earth is filled with violence through them (the "mighty ones of renown," in verse 4); and behold, I will destroy them from the earth."

The mighty ones of renown were the giants of the heavens; the world-rulers before the flood. These and the earth, or "all flesh," they ruled—"the world of the ungodly"—were overflowed by water, and perished from the earth, leaving an example unto those that after should live ungodly—2 Pet. 2:5, 6.

"The heavens and the earth which are now," that is, the Mosaic, which had not been dissolved when Peter wrote, consisted of certain "elements." These elements were not the physical "elements" of which the ancients imagined all nature was composed, namely, "fire, air, earth, and water;" which modern science has proved to be no elements at all. The word used by Peter was στοιχεια, the diminutive of στοιχος a row, order, from στειχω to go, proceed in order, and signifies elements, elementary parts, e. g. of discourse, i. e. an elementary sound, letter of the alphabet; elementary instruction, the first principles, or lowest rudiments of any knowledge, science.

Paul uses the word in Heb. 5:12, as "the stoicheia or principles of the beginning of the oracles of God:" and in Gal. 4:3–9, as,

"when we were children, we were in bondage under the stoicheia, or elements of the kosmos, or order;" and, "how turn ye back to the weak and beggarly stoicheia or elements to which again, as before, ye desire to be enslaved? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you," and so forth: "tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?"—5:21.

And again, in Col. 2:8–20 as,

"beware, lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the stoicheia or rudiments of the kosmos, or order, and not after Christ." "Wherefore, if ye be dead with the Christ from the stoicheia or rudiments of the kosmos, or order, why, as if living in the order, do ye subject yourselves to the ordinances. 'Touch not, taste not, handle not,' which is all to corruption in the using after the commandments and teachings of men?"

Now, from these quotations showing the New Testament meaning of the word "elements," it must be evident to all that they are the elements of which the Mosaic order of things was composed, styled by Paul in Heb. 8:26, "the heavens;" the principalities and authorities which Jesus spoiled, when, in being crucified, he nailed the handwriting which constituted them to his cross, took it thereby out of the way; and, rising from the dead, exposed them with boldness of speech, triumphing over them—Col. 2:14, 15.

Jesus, Paul says, "was made higher than the heavens"—than these heavens over which he triumphed. The temple, and its ordinances of service, and its priesthood, and all other things constituted by the law, or handwriting of Moses, were elements which, collectively, made up the Mosaic order, or kosmos. "The heavens," "the example and shadow of heavenly things," "the patterns of things in the heavens," these pattern-heavens "shall pass away," says Peter, "with a great noise, and the elements, being burned, shall be abolished."

That great noise was the tumult of battle without, and of strife within the city, during the siege. There was blood and fire enough to satisfy the most insatiable craving for the horrible. The temple and city were reduced to smoking ruins; and the blood of the priests and people poured out like water by mutual massacre, and the Roman sword.

But the destroying fire was not confined to Jerusalem and the temple; the land in general, and the works in it, were burned up. Its crops, and towns, cities, villages, synagogues, homesteads, and other improvements, all partook in the fiery destruction brought upon them by the hosts of the Little Horn. This was the "judgment and fiery indignation that devoured the adversaries" of the truth in the last days; the

"furnace of fire into which apostates and hypocrites were cast; and where there was wailing and gnashing of teeth."—Matt. 24:51; 13:42; Isai. 31:9.

Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Aug 1859

11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,

Consider the solemn privileges and responsibilities of those who approached God in the natural Mosaic tabernacle -- how careful they had to be of every detail! Our privileges and responsibilities are far greater than theirs. We are the living temple, we bear the name of God with us everywhere -- exalting it or abasing it according to what action we take.

"If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die," says Paul (Rom. 8).

That is simple enough. If you just live an ordinary life, like ordinary people, actuated by natural motives and inclinations, you will die. A good life in its way, perhaps -- so much the better if it is -- but still at the end of it, you will die.

". . . But if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live."

We must live according to a different principle. We must live for something besides ourselves. We must win a place in the heart of God, because that is what is going to endure.

If we are inspired by the love of God, and the glorious prospect of eternal fellowship with Him as our Father, we shall bend every effort to overcome those things which draw us away.

God wants to use us, to beautify and glorify us, to give us a place in the mansion He is building for His eternal habitation:

"He is not willing that any should perish"(2 Pet. 3:9)

-- But if we live after the flesh, He cannot do any of this for us --

"The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh, and these are contrary the one to the other" (Gal. 5:17).

"As many as are led by the Spirit of God -- THEY are the sons of God" (Rom. 8:14).

Bro Growcott - Holy and blameless in love

13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.


This is a long period of time, extending from the destruction of the Royal City and Temple by the Romans, A. D. 74, to the return of Jesus to Mount Olivet, to fight against the nations under Gog, which shall then have assembled against Jerusalem to battle; and, having defeated them with a terrible overthrow, to restore the kingdom again to Israel, and become the king over the whole earth.—Zech. 14:1–9; Ezek. 38:39.

This interval will have occupied about 1796 [now 1954 inc 4 BCE] years, calculating the birth of Jesus at 4 years before the Vulgar Era. We style it the interregnum, because it is an interval of time between the kingdom in its past existence under the Mosaic Covenant, and its future existence under the Covenant, called "the New." During the continuance of the interregnum the kingdom does not exist.

"It shall be no more, until He come whose right it is; and I will give it him,"

saith Yahweh.—Ezek. 21:27. The kingdom and throne are in ruins, and the royal city and temple are trodden under foot of the Gentiles, even the worst of them. But, saith the Lord,

"I will return, and build again the dwelling of David (eth-succath Daivd, that is, Zion, the city where he dwelt,) as in the days of old."—Amos 9:11; Acts 15:15.

All things are now tending to this crisis. The present policy of the Gentile powers is working out a result, which will manifest itself in Gog, the Prince of all the Russias, possessing himself of Jerusalem, "the city of the great king."

When the saints see this, let them rejoice greatly; for the interregnum will be about to end in the deliverance of the Holy City, which shall become thenceforth "the throne of the Lord."—Jer. 3:17; and the glorious things spoken of Zion, accomplished facts.

Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Sept 1851

14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.

We speak of high standards. Here is something we are told to labour diligently for. It may he said we cannot be perfect. That is beside the point. Let us concentrate our attention upon the positive, constructive aspect-what we can do in this direction of perfection, towards attaining to that divinely set standard.

"Without spot."

A spot is a very small thing-quite insignificant, we would say, in comparison with the whole. But one small dirty spot on an otherwise spotless white garment can be very noticeable and very embarrassing. The Spirit, through Solomon, records,

"Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour"-Eccl. 10.

God will not accept a stinking savour. Let us be careful we do not offer Him one by permitting small spots to appear.

What are these little spots composed of? Jude says: "Hating even the garment spotted by the flesh." And James:

"Keep unspotted from the world."

The flesh and the world. The flesh is that part of the world that is in our own members: the world is the whole aggregate of the mind and activities of the flesh that is outside ourselves.

Paul says that Christ loved the ecclesia and gave His life for it, so that He might be able to offer it without spot unto God, and the way Paul says He was to cleanse it was by the washing of the Word. The Word will remove the spots if we humbly seek guidance from it with a sincere mind-Eph. 5.

"Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness."

Bro Growcott - Strength and weakness

17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.

Resolute adhesion

But experience over a wide and constantly fermenting field shows that unless there is resolute adhesion to the position of Divine wisdom recovered with much difficulty during the last two generations, there is danger of easily losing it all: not all at once, but point by point-one point at a time till all is gone. How many are now drowning in the dark and turbid waters of human folly who were once on the safe and sunny terra firma of Divine truth. They became engulfed through an inveterate propensity for dabbling in the polluted flood. They should have kept away from the dangerous banks.

Bro Roberts TC, November 1896 pages 428/9.

The error of the wicked

Those who sympathise with heresy naturally dislike the disrespectful style of language employed towards it by those who contend for the faith. We cannot take their squeamishness into account.

With trumpet at the mouth, we shall cry aloud and spare not, conferring not with flesh and blood, when the precious interests of the newly-recovered truth are imperilled by men who have shown indifference to the tender interests of the truth and its poor friends, in this cloudy and dark day.

The Christadelphian, Dec 1873

Be ye steadfast, immovable

Such is one of the leading exhortations of the truth. It would seem as if it ought to be a very easy duty—to be steadfast. In truth, we have a special liability in the contrary direction. Steadfastness sufficiently prolonged goes against the natural grain. The human mind tires of monotony just as the body tires of one position. It is pleasant to have a change for mere change's sake.

Hence new things have an attraction for many people who resemble the ancient Athenians in nothing else. New things may be all right, but they may be much the reverse. They may be a mere appeal to the weakness that tires of one mental attitude.

A liking for them, regarded as a symptom of intellectual superiority, may be due to a mere love of change, such as marks and constitutes the shallow and the fickle mind. The change of fashion from age to age, in every department of human activity, is the result of this. Taste roves and returns in an aimless whirligig of change.

God changes not, and His children partake of this characteristic. Enlightened and well-balanced intelligence stably rests in that which is true and eternal. It is the mark of wisdom to be established—to be steadfast—to abide in the same thing from year to year as time rolls. Of course, this pre-supposes the attainment of truth. Pilate asked what this was. He did not wait for he answer.

Those who know the gospel know the truth, and recognise the wisdom of being "steadfast, immovable." In this connection, change is not progress. In divine things, change is always more likely to be retrogression than progress.

The inherent tendency of the natural mind is to indulge in thoughts and fancies in harmony with its own predilections, which are opposed to divine thoughts and ways; and as the process is combined with the pleasing sensation of the relief that comes from variety, it has resulted in past ages of the world's history, first in slight declension and then in complete apostasy from the ways of God—as in the case of Israel in Canaan after the death of Joshua; and 1,500 years afterwards, in the case of the Christian community when the apostles had all gone to their graves.

Sunday Morning 196 - The Christadelphian, Apr 1889

18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

Grace and knowledge are mutually essential. Neither can truly exist without the other. Grace is a word that is difficult to define. It is the harmoniously balanced sum total of many virtues. It is a definition of the Godly character in all its relations.

It is, in the original, derived from the root word meaning

"joy, gladness, rejoicing."

It is very closely related to the words of Jesus, see John xv. 11.

"These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy may be full."

A life built around this principle, and always in harmony with it in all associations with God and with man is a life of grace.

A few examples will help define grace as scripturally used. The original word is charis.

"If ye love them which love you, what charis have you? If ye do good to them which do good to you, what grace have you?"

Even sinners do that much.-Luke vi. 32-33.

"For this is charis (grace), if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? But if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is grace with God."

So writes Peter by the direction of the Spirit.

"It is a good thing that the heart be established with grace"-that is, settled and grounded on an inward unshakable joy and peace that leads it to act in a spiritual and godly manner in all circumstances.-Heb. xiii. 9.

To grow in grace and knowledge is to take firmer and deeper root in divine things, so that the disposition and viewpoint is less and less affected by outward things, and the conduct more and more truly motivated by spiritual perception and discernment.

These closing words of Peter's epistle define the whole purpose of our present existence. The success or failure of our life will be measured in relation to this one consideration-how far we have, through faith, transformed our fleshly weakness into spiritual strength, and to what extent we have grown in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Bro Growcott - The Berean Christadelphian Magazine, June 1948