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1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,
First principles and baptism are just the bare beginning. Only those who make every effort to "go on" toward perfection of knowledge and character have hope of life. *
SUMMARY OF PRINCIPLES.
1. Religion is that system of means by which the breach made by sin between God and man is repaired, and the wound inflicted upon the latter is healed.
2. Man's defilement was first a matter of conscience, and then corporeal. For this cause, his purification is first a cleansing of his understanding, sentiments, and affections, and afterwards, the perfecting of his body by spiritualizing it at the resurrection.
3. An evil conscience is made manifest by the truth, and is evinced by shame, and by "doubts and fears."
4. A good conscience is characterized by a full assurance of faith and hope, founded upon an understanding of the gospel of the kingdom in the name of Jesus, and an obedience to it. The obedience of faith gives the subject "the answer of a good conscience."
5. A seared conscience has no compunctions. It is that condition of thinking flesh which results from the absence of all divine knowledge, and habitual sin. It is incurable.
6. Religion is a system of faith and practice.
7. The faith of religion embraces what God has done, what He promises to do, and what He teaches in His Word; all of which is presented for the elaboration of a Godlike disposition, termed "the divine nature," in the believer.
8. To be of any value religion must be entirely of divine appointment.
9. The obedience of religion is a conformity to "the law of faith," resulting from the belief of "the things concerning the Kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ." It is termed "the obedience of faith; for believers only can yield it."
10. The repentance of religion is the thinking contrary to the flesh, and in harmony with the testimony of God, accompanied with an Abrahamic disposition as the consequence of believing it.
11. The morality of religion is the taking care of the widows and orphans of Christ's flock, and "keeping one's self unspotted from the world." Collectively, it is the "fruits meet for repentance."
12. Religion hath its "elements," which are styled "weak and beggarly." These are "days, and years, and months, and times," "meat and drink," sacrifices, ablutions, ordinances of divine service, holy places, veils, altars, censers, cherubim, mercy-seats, holy days, sabbaths, &c., "which were a shadow of things to come; but the substance is of Christ" (Col. 2:17).
13. The elementary doctrinal principles of religion are few and simple, and no other reason can be given for them than that God wills them. They may be thus stated:
a. No sinner can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him; that he should still live for ever, and not see corruption (Psalm 49:7-9).
b. Sin cannot be covered, or remitted, without the shedding of blood.
c. The blood of animals cannot take away sin.
d. Sin must be condemned in sinful flesh innocent of transgression.
e. Sins must be covered by a garment derived from the purification-sacrifice made living by a resurrection.
14. To be naked is to be in an unpardoned state.
15. The proximate principles of religion are "repentance from dead works, faith towards God, doctrine of baptisms, and of the laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment" (Heb. 6:1, 2).
Elpis Israel 2.5.
2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
The emendations made will place this revise in accord with the author's latest work; so that he considers this revised [4th] edition is the best.
The most important correction has been that emendatory of allusions to the resurrection. The understanding of this "element of the beginning of the oracles of the Deity" - Heb. 5: 12; 6:2 - has been enlarged in the author's mind since 1849.
The question was not then the resurrection in its detail; but the necessity of resurrection and a judgment at all in view of the immortality of the soul and its instantaneous translation to heaven or hell at the death of the body. Such a dogma as this is a logical denial of both resurrection and judgment. It makes them both superfluous, and absolutely unnecessary.
It was, therefore, met at that time by a testimony, pure and simple, for resurrection of the body, as indispensable to the incorruptibility and immortality of the dead. But the times are now changed. The Laodiceanism of the Clerical Apostasy has been fully exposed and refuted; and the resurrection and judgment are just at hand. The time had therefore overtaken us in which the author found it necessary, in Eureka, to expound more in detail so important a consequence of the speedy and thief-like advent of Christ. Some, who have no objection to resurrection in general, are very much dissatisfied with it in its particulars, The resurrection ordained of the Deity does not suit them; and, therefore, they loudly disapprove it! They contend,
1. That the judgment of the righteous, in which they are giving account of themselves to God, is in the present life, after which they will have no account to give.
2. That resurrection of an imperfect body is not taught directly or indirectly in the word.
3. That the righteous are not brought to judgment.
4. That the Scriptures teach positively and without reservation, that the righteous are raised incorruptible.
With such theorists it is judgment first, and resurrection afterwards! This is an inversion of the divine order, by which the whole subject is confused. The author believes that the divine order is the best; and he believes, too, that the righteous are raised incorruptible; but, also, that the raising is not one instantaneous event like the lightning's flash; but an order of development, initiated in the dust, and ultimating after judgment in incorruptibility and deathlessness of body.
Elpis Israel- Preface 4th edt.
4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the holy spirit,
5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,
6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
Where much is given, much will be expected. Where time and opportunity have been given for development, development will be called for.
"Falling away" does not necessarily mean open forsaking of the Truth, but-as he shows in vs. 7-8-"falling away" is failure to bring forth spiritual fruit after the labors and blessings of God and Christ have been freely expended upon us.*
9 But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.
They had failed so far to grow in the Truth, and he feared for their stability, but they had manifested great care for the brethren, and for this God would have greater patience with their backwardness. *
10 For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
Well did the apostle write to the Romans (viii. 24, ) "We are saved by hope."
This hope is a flower of delicate growth; it only arrives at perfection in those who sow to the Spirit, suffering with Christ, not counting present losses for the thought of the glory which shall be revealed in them, when they are manifested sons of God, at Christ's appearing.
Presumption, the counterfeit of hope, grows rank enough by the wayside, among the thorns, almost everywhere; but he who sows to the flesh, who is the presumer, will find none of his presumption realised; for he who is our hope laid up in heaven, cometh to take vengeance on the ungodly; but the patient, working, hopeful soul has strong consolations-having fled for refuge to the hope set before him; he feels sure, and stands stedfast-hope acting as an anchor to the soul.
Yes, we are saved by hope; for who will be saved that has not hope? and that hope once for all delivered to the saints. But James asks the question, "Was not our father Abraham justified by works?" Yes, he was; though by the works of the law shall not man be justified. Abraham's works were not works of the law, but works of faith; for he believed that God would provide a lamb, when according to God's command, he offered up Isaac. He acted upon his faith, which brought forth works that were justifying.
Works without faith are no more justifying before God, than faith without works; but the works of faithful servants are remembered; "For," says Paul, "God is not unrighteous, to forget your work and labour of love."-(Heb. vi. 10.) "Ye see, then, how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only."-(James ii. 24, 26.) "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also." "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord; forasmuch as ye know that your labours are not in vain in the Lord."-(1 Cor. xv. 58.)
Secondly, grace, faith, hope, works, these four blend one into the other as the colours of the rainbow; and as there could be no light without the sun, so there would be no faith without grace (or favour.) In God's favour we hope, looking to the recompence of the reward. Faith is the motive power of good works. Good works prove our faith to be alive.
By faith as sinners, we are justified from sins that are past; as saints we are justified by works; for works make our faith perfect. A patient continuance in well-doing is the only way by which, as saints, we may expect to reap glory, honour, and immortality.
Therefore, let each of us be up and doing, and what we find to do, do it with all our might, imitating him who was mighty in word and deed.-(Luke xxiv. 19.) The Chiefest among ten thousand will soon be here; the Deliverer will only quicken into incorruptibility, those who sow to the spirit; may we be found faultless before the presence of his glory, unblamable and irreprovable in his sight-holy and without blemish.-H. Turner.
The Ambassador of the Coming Age, May 1868
11 And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end:
A man deliberately makes a choice. A man's religion should never be a Sunday religion, or a death-bed religion. It should not be the kind of sentiment that depends upon tragedy; that is melted by the sun or blown away by the breezes of the mountain top.
It should be a matter of wisdom, deep set, logical, real-a something that is continually present, and takes full and calm possession of the mind.
Ambassador of the Coming Age, May 1868
12 That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
13 For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself
14 Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee.
15 And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.
The verb "inherit" [v12] is here used indefinitely, and may be past, present, or future, or all together at the same time, according to the nature of the subject. Supposing, therefore, the allusion is to the promise of eternal life and the kingdom of God, it settles nothing as to the question when these are possessed: the scope of the tense would have to be governed by the facts of the case. But the context shows that the allusion was to a past occurrence.
Paul immediately adds, "For when God made promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no greater, He sware by Himself, saying, Surely blessing, I will bless thee, and multiplying, I will multiply thee; and so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise."-(Heb. vi. 13, 15.)
The reference is therefore to the promise of a multitudinous posterity, which Abraham began to realise before his death. When the promise was given, Sarah was old and barren, and there was no human probability of his having seed; but after patient faith, the promise was fulfilled.
But that Abraham is inheriting the promises, in so far as they involved eternal life and the kingdom of God, is contrary to Paul's express declaration. "These all (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, &c.,) died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off."-(Heb. xi. 13.)
The Ambassador of the Coming Age, April 1868,
19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;
Now such a citizen is in a waiting position. His faith lays hold of Christ within the veil. His thinking concentrates there. On earth bodily, his mind is anchored within the veil (Heb, vi. 19); for the "anchor of his soul" is the hope of Christ's departure from the far country where he now is; and that he may unveil himself, the veil of mortal flesh being no longer a curtain excluding the believer from "seeing him as he is" (1 John iii. 2).
His hope is, the manifestation of Jesus out of heaven. Thus, he is looking, or waiting, for him, that he may come and remodel or transform him in the twinkling of an eye (1 Cor. xv. 51,52); or, if he may have been previously "laid aside" in the earth, that he may build him up, and convert his mortal remains into "a house not made with hands," that it may become a habitation for God, who shall dwell in it by Spirit (Eph. ii. 22) -- a habitation produced by Jesus Christ, the life-imparting Spirit, at his appearing and therefore styled our habitation from heaven.
While I was writing Eureka, I was, as it were, "within the Veil," listening to the words of the Holy One of Israel concerning "the things that are, and the things that shall be after these," so necessary to be developed in the preparation of that place of reception he told the apostles He was going down to make ready.-(John 14:2, 3.)
But since that work, by the liberal aid of a few, has issued from the press and gone forth upon its travels to the ends of the earth, the discourse within the veil being finished, and "full assurance of understanding" thereof attained, I have, as it were, returned into this nether and outer "evil world," in contemplation and practical manipulation of which I find myself a solitaire, "cabin'd, cribb'd, confined," a "prisoner of hope," in a pit wherein no water is. It is a dry and thirsty land, whereof the heaven is brass and the earth iron.
When a man is deeply and continuously engaged in an atmosphere of divine thoughts, he has neither time nor inclination to plot mischief and play the fool. This is the vocation of vacant minds and idle hands, who know not what it is to enter within the veil. It is essential to a man's contentment, if not to his happiness, to be engaged in something, either for himself or for an object dearer than self.
Ambassador of the Coming Age, March 1868