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14 Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.

‭"‬Blessed is he that watcheth and keepeth his garments.‭" ‬This is the Master's‭ ‬order of the day for this period particularly of the world's history.‭ ‬With the Euphrates dry,‭ ‬and the nations embattled through the Franco-frog diplomacies of the last‭ ‬40‭ ‬years,‭ ‬we may be certain,‭ ‬on the authority of the Apocalypse,‭ ‬that the Lord is at the door.‭ ‬It is a time when wise men will exercise their minds on the substantial facts of the truth as distinguished from what may be called the mere metaphysics of the truth.

‭ ‬A certain amount of metaphysical subtlety is doubtless essential to complete mental action:‭ ‬but there is always a danger that it may run away with the lion's share of mental energy,‭ ‬and leave the mind impoverished.‭ ‬As in some departments of natural philosophy,‭ ‬men reason themselves out of the recognition of all facts whatever,‭ ‬so there is a possibility of metaphysical disputation dissolving the substance of the truth,‭ ‬and robbing the mind of all the joy,‭ ‬and love,‭ ‬and praise that the facts of the truth inspire.

The metaphysicians of the first three centuries of the Christian era blighted the work of the truth as effectually as the hot wind of the desert parches vegetation.‭ ‬The glory and the joyfulness of the gospel were lost amid their arid definitions and cantankerous disputations‭; ‬and the faith of Christ was reduced...‭ ‬to as ugly and lifeless a thing as Barnum's manufactured mermaid,‭ ‬or the showman's Egyptian mummy.‭ ‬Like causes produces like effects.‭ ‬There is a danger of the joy and the beauty of the truth being destroyed by metaphysical contentiousness at this supreme hour of destiny,‭ ‬when the advent is nearly due.

A contention for the faith once delivered to the saints is a totally different thing.‭ ‬But even this dies down in the shadow of the judgment-seat.‭ ‬For everything there is a time.‭ ‬It is far more important at such a time as this to establish truth-believers than to contradict errorists.

‭ ‬It is far more important to bring forth the fruits of the spirit than to expose the pretences of superstition.‭ ‬It is far more important to comfort the heart of believers by the joyful facts of the truth than to bewilder both stranger and saints by the endless logic-choppings of metaphysical ingenuity.‭ ‬There is such a thing as propensity in these directions:‭ ‬which differs as much from the wise handling of knowledge as the brandishing of razors by children differs from the use of tools in the hands of trained mechanics.‭ ‬The mischief will never stop till the Lord comes.‭ ‬Still,‭ ‬it may be minimised in many cases by the reminders that are said to be useful for those who love wisdom.

The Christadelphian Dec 1896