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,
"go on," therefore, "to perfection"
of character-work out such a manifestation of the inner man with reverence towards God and diffidence of yourselves, as will secure your presentation before him holy, blameless, and without reproach in his sight, at the appearing of Jesus in his kingdom and glory.
Hence, then, salvation is not an instantaneous work. The saving of individuals, and the saving of the nations, is a progressive affair. The saving of an individual begins with saving him from the sins of his times of ignorance and unbelief; and ends, or is consummated, in his deliverance from death and corruption; and in his exaltation to glory and honour in the kingdom of God.
Here is an interval lying between two points, which to him is "a day of salvation;" as it is written,
"Now is an acceptable time, now is a day of salvation."
The heart of man being naturally "deceitful above all things and desperately wicked," it requires a period of time to break it, and to bring it into subjection to the will of God; that it may be "a broken and a contrite heart," which are
"the sacrifices of God that he will not despise."
To turn such a natural reprobate into a faithful and obedient son, is beyond all power save that of God's; and, though God is omnipotent, "the power" he has established "for salvation," though of extraordinary efficacy and might, is not equal to the work of breaking the spirit and hearts of all mankind.
It requires hearts of a peculiar character to operate successfully. Seed, though good, will not vegetate in all sorts of soils; neither will "the power of God for salvation" prove effective in all sorts of hearts. With time, and "honest and good hearts," it can do wonders. It can break the proud and world-loving spirit of the flesh, and make it humble and teachable as a little child's; so that the only desire will be to know what God requires, and to do it.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Mar 1857
It is of the first importance to observe this. The "glorious gospel" comprehends a call to repent from dead works. Paul puts this among first principles (Heb. 6:1), a place which reason would assign them; for of what value are the purposes of God to a man apart from the righteousness and benevolence in which they have their foundation?
Where men have not learnt the nature of "dead works." and the imperative duty of turning from them, they have not perfectly learnt the "glorious gospel," however lucid may be their apprehensions of the nature of man and the nature and purposes of God.
The first lesson connected with baptism is that the subjects of it, having been buried with Christ, become dead to sin, and rise to newness of life.
It is much to be feared that in the discussion of abstractions, for which the human intellect is not fitted, the practical object of the hope in purifying the believer from
"all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord"
is lost sight of, or, at all events, not realised in practice. That it is so in many cases is unquestionable, which calls for fear. The unpurified zealot, who compasses sea and land to make a proselyte; the mere theorist, who is glib in the phrases of the spirit, but in practice unsubject to the law of Christ, is a bastard, and not a son.
...The Pharisees, outwardly appeared righteous unto men, and thought themselves righteous, for they thanked God they were not as other men; yet, behold the Lord's verdict, which is, doubtless, applicable in many modern instances.
Doing things to be seen of men is a practice not yet extinct.
Sunday Morning 41
The Christadelphian, Feb 1873
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.
It is to be feared that faith is a scarce article even amongst those who have embraced the Truth. The sort of method by which we have to get at the Truth in these days, is unfavourable to some extent to the development of this kind of thing. It is a process of intellectual sifting, by which venerable fables are put to the test and rejected, and the truth ascertained in its theoretical features.
The process is conducted in the face of opposition, and followed up by argumentative contention. The consequence is that the mind is liable to become so absorbed in the mere process of finding out what the Truth is, as to fall short in the apprehension of the purpose for which it exists, and to fail in those moral developments in which alone it has its lasting and valuable fruit.
In this respect, there is great danger connected with the modern phase of apostolic truth. In its primitive phase, there was no need for the amount of argument and investigation which in our times are indispensable. A certain authoritative testimony was presented and confirmed by sign, and believers had but to receive it and at once surrender to the moral power connected with it. All they had to do was to believe the truth infallibly presented, and make use of that truth in the purification of the inner man in preparation for the Lord Jesus.
We have to get at the same result by a different process. The process is a matter of indifference so long as the result is secured.
The danger is we may come short of the result. This ought to be an anxious point. Let us not devote all our time to mere intellectual exertion. Having attained the Truth, let us realise the use of it in the formation of the character Christ will approve.
One often sees lamentable cases in which interest in the Truth is kept up so long as the excitement of polemic encounter is maintained, but disappears when that calm region is reached, in which the Truth has to work out the fruits of righteousness and true holiness.
Argument and contention for the Faith are not worth the trouble if they are to end in the mere establishment of a theory. The object of all work in the Truth is to develop real, loving, warm-hearted, intelligent and consecrated disciples of Christ, who personally feel that they are not their own, but the property of him who died that he might purchase a people with his own blood.
Therefore, as Paul says, leaving the first principles, let us go on unto perfection, rising with increasing strength to the great fact that God is, and that He has all things in His hands, that He doeth according to His will in the earth as well as in the armies of heaven.
Give us a man or woman of this sort, with living faith based upon an intelligent understanding of the testimony-who have the faith of God in their hearts as the result of the Truth comprehended-and you give us a man or woman who will act of their own accord in the things pertaining to the divine service.
Having the light "within" themselves, they are not dependent upon external stimulus. They will be found in the way of duty, because it is their duty so to be found, and not because it is pleasant. It may be unpleasant. It is oftener unpleasant than not, but the children of light are not children of pleasure.
Finding themselves in a probationary state of evil, they accept their lot with that resignation which is the only attitude of wisdom, and bend their energies to that high calling of God in Christ Jesus, working out their salvation with fear and trembling.
2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
It is not "examination" that makes people "fit subjects of baptism," but their belief of the truth. "Examination" is merely intended to find out if this belief exists, and is more an act of self-defence on the part of the believers whose fellowship is sought than as contributing any element of qualification to the candidate.
The Christadelphian, June 1898
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.
3 And this will we do, if God permit.
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.
In pursuing our duties in the truth, we must be actuated by a higher motive than that of present success. Whether man will hear or forbear, or whether by evil report or good report, we must steadily and cheerfully go on. God more frequently than not permits our labour to be fruitless.
"How few receive with cordial faith the tidings which we bring!"
Our failures, too, are not confined to the alien. How often is the faithful word of warning, of counsel, of reproof, treated with heartless contempt by professors of the truth. Yea, there is now but little success; failure is the rule. Yet so far as the obedient are concerned it is not really failure, for by means of it inconceivable good is being evolved.
This will be apparent when the day arrives for the manifestation of the sons of God. Even the offence given, the misunderstanding created, the enmity and bitterness evoked, and in developing the sufferings which teach obedience and bring perfection.
Christ's service calls for the exhibition of patience and long-suffering. These virtues can only be cultivated by turning a deaf ear to the likes and dislikes of man and performing our duties as unto Christ, who is at the head of affairs manipulating them as his wisdom sees fit. Let us pray with Paul that we may be
"strengthened with all might, according to His (God's) glorious power unto all patience and long suffering with joyfulness." (Col. 1:11.)
Bro AT Jannaway
The Christadelphian, Feb 1888
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,
18 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:
Vs. 13-19 emphasize the certainty of the promise, lest their faith should waver or grow dim. All their faith had once been in the Law. He was showing that the Law was waxing old and vanishing away.
What then was there secure and permanent in their Scriptures? He reminds them of the promise to Abraham, given long before the Law. Not only did God promise, but He confirmed the promise with an oath, making the ground of faith doubly sure. *
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
20 Whither the forerunner is for us entered [within the veil - the most holy/ incorruptible], even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
Within the veil
The veil was a composite fabric. It was not a simple sheet of linen or of any other woven stuff: it was composed of various materials and various colours, "blue, purple, and scarlet, and fine-twined linen of cunning work" (that is, clever, complicated needlework), and it was embroidered with cherubic figures.
Where are we to look for the significance of this complexity? Looking at Christ (who "opened the new and living way through the veil, that is to say, his flesh ") we readily get the answer. The veil did not stand for the flesh merely, but for the form of it provided in Christ, who blended in himself all the elements foreshadowed by the different materials of the symbolic veil.
If it had been a prophecy of the flesh merely, a red cloth would have sufficed. But such a prophecy and such an appointment were impossible, as we readily discern when all the truth involved is seen.
"Fine-twined linen" is a speaking part of the symbolism. Linen alway stands as a figure for righteousness, as illustrated in the bridal array at the marriage supper of the Lamb, which it was explained to John represented the righteousness of the saints (Rev. 19:8), and also in the wedding garment, for lack of which the speechless guest was expelled from the marriage feast (Matt. 22:11-12).
Hence we easily read righteousness in the fine-twined linen of the veil; and that a special righteousness, a perfect righteousness deftly wrought, as signified by fineness of the twining or working. It is the prophecy of a perfectly righteous man who should be no product of accident, but the express provision of divine workmanship, as exampled in the begettal of Jesus by the Spirit (Matt. 1:20; Luke 1:35), giving point to the apostolic declaration that "he of (or by) God is made unto us righteousness, sanctification, wisdom and redemption" (1 Cor. 1:30).
Mere flesh and Adamic generation would have lacked this element of the veil. A mere son of Adam would have been fit for death, but not for raising to immortal life, because a mere son of Adam would have been, as he is everywhere, a mere sinner.
It was needful that the Adamic nature should be divinely handled, divinely shaped, divinely embroidered with the antitypical "fine-twined linen", before there could be in the nature of Adam the undefiled and holy one required for the taking away of the sin of the world, that the way into eternal glory might be opened through the veil. Those who allege Jesus to have been the son of Joseph come into collision with this part of the Mosaic prophecy.
But though a sinless man was needed for this work of wisdom and mercy, yet he had to be a man clothed in the very nature that is the historical sinner, and that has come under death by sin; for the very aim of the whole institution was that this nature should be redeemed in him.
Hence the scarlet enters into the composition of the veil. It was not all linen. Had it been all linen, the prophetic import would have been that an angel or an immaculate man (a new man provided outside the Adamic race) would open the way into the holiest of all by death and resurrection. But it was fine linen, blended with scarlet.
Scarlet always stands for sin in scripture metaphor, e.g., "Though your sins be as scarlet" (Isa. 1:18); "a scarlet-coloured beast" (Rev. 17:3), etc.
But the difficulty with some is how to associate such an ingredient with the sinless Son of God. There ought to be no difficulty if the whole case is kept before the mind. It is not the whole case that "he was without sin": it is part of the case that he was "made sin for us" (2 Cor. 5:21); that he was made of a woman in the likeness of sinful flesh (Gal. 4:4; Rom. 8:3), and that by a figure God hath laid on him the iniquities of us all (Isa. 53:6), and that he bore our sins in his own body to the tree (1 Pet. 2:24).
Law of Moses Ch 14