1 And it came to pass on the second sabbath after the first, that he went through the corn fields; and his disciples plucked the ears of corn, and did eat, rubbing them in their hands.

2 And certain of the Pharisees said unto them, Why do ye that which is not lawful to do on the sabbath days?

The palliation in David's case was David's need and David's discretionary power as Yahweh's anointed servant, on whom the Spirit of the Lord rested. An identical palliation existed in the case of Jesus: his disciples were hungry, and he had a far higher measure of divine authority than David.

Nazareth Revisited Ch 25

5 And he said unto them, That the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.

Lord of the Sabbath ...the millennial day of 1 000 years

A Greater than Solomon

They had never heard such a teacher before --

bold, grave, emphatic, ardent, lucid, independent, authoritative.

They would all agree with the verdict of the officers sent to apprehend him on another occasion, and returning without doing "their duty:"

"Never man spoke like this man."

None had presumed, as he had done, to place his authority above Moses. Several times he had said, "It was said unto them of old time ... thus and so; but I say unto you, thus and so." It was something new for a public teacher to say "Behold a greater than Solomon -- a greater than Jonas -- is here" -- "In this place is one greater than the temple" -- "Lord even of the Sabbath day" (Matt. xii. 6-8; Luke xi. 31, 32).

The pleasure his teaching gave them was not very deep. It charmed them by the novel sensation it imparted to them: it impressed them with its benevolent positiveness and its grave and righteous emphasis. Except as regards a few, its true nature was not discerned. Had they known that

"the Spirit of the Lord God was upon him" (Is. lxi. 1),

filling him with wisdom and understanding (Is. xi. 2), making his mouth a sharp sword and a polished shaft (Is. xlix. 2), and pouring grace upon his lips, and rendering him fairer than the children of men (Psa. xlv. 2) -- had they known that in very deed, the God of Abraham dwelt in this human form in the abiding fulness of His presence, and addressed them through the earnest eyes of this Galilean mechanic, they would have listened with the reverent and rapt attention that will be the universal habit in the day when every knee shall bow to him, and every tongue confess, to the glory of God the Father.

Though they did not "behold his glory" as the disciples did (Jno. i. 14), they were attracted by the charm of his teaching and the wonderful nature of his works.

Nazareth Revisited Ch 18

12 And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.

13 And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;

It is recorded that before the day on which he called his disciples together to choose from among them "twelve, whom also he named apostles," "he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God".

There is probably a deep connection between these two things. Jesus had just enjoined his disciples to pray to

"the Lord of the harvest that he would send forth labourers into his harvest;"

and here we have him engaged "all night in prayer to God" just before performing the most important operation in connection with that work -- namely, the appointment of twelve special men who were to take the leading part in the planting of the gospel in the earth, and who, with one exception, were to rank next to him in the glory of the kingdom of Israel restored (Luke xxii. 29, 30; Acts i. 6; Jno. xiii. 18, 21).

Our estimate of the greatness of Christ may interfere somewhat with our appreciation of his dependence upon prayer. This is because of our inability to reach to the greater greatness above him, even the Father, of whom he said,

"My Father is greater than I" (Jno. xiv. 28).

Jesus "knew what was in man," and "needed not that any should testify what was in man" (Jno. ii. 25). Therefore, we are liable to conclude that he needed not to pray the Father to guide him in the selection of men for companionship in suffering and glory. We may learn the blindness of such a thought as we behold him retire to a mountain solitude during the darkness of night to pray all night to God.

God had prepared the men. John the Baptist, as we saw him in an early chapter, was sent before him to do this work --

"to prepare his ways" (Luke i. 76), "to make ready a people prepared for the Lord" (verse 17).

John having done his work in the preparation and gathering together of a people, Jesus was introduced to notice, and the prepared people transferred to him.

Jesus refers to this in the beautiful prayer of John xvii.,

"Thine they were, and thou gavest them me" (verse 6).

A part of the process by which they were so "given" by the Father to Jesus, we see in this earnest and prolonged entreaty by Christ for guidance in the selection from the whole multitude of the disciples of the twelve, who were to be with him in a special and intimate manner. In this we may learn the need for our own application at all times to the same source of direction.

"Commit thy way unto the Lord, and he shall direct thy steps."

On the other hand, we will be protected against the presumption of so-called modern "faith," by observing that Jesus, having sought direction, proceeded to take the measures for the appointment of the apostles, instead of sitting down supinely to wait for God to bring them to Him. We must use the means; we must work with God. This is His beautiful arrangement by which God is glorified without man being spoiled.

Nazareth Revisited Ch 22

17 And he came down with them, and stood in the plain, and the company of his disciples, and a great multitude of people out of all Judaea and Jerusalem, and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases;

The "Sermon on the Mount," reported by Matthew, was an earlier utterance than that recorded by Luke, and spoken in a different place; which accounts for the difference between the one and the other, on which unbelief lays such stress, and also for the circumstance that while Matthew says Jesus "went up into a mountain" to speak on the occasion, Luke says "he came down and stood in the plain."

A superficial resemblance has led unbelievers to the conclusion that they are an identical speech differently reported by two (untrustworthy) historians. It has not occurred to them, or, at all events, they have not recognised, that in speaking in so many different localities, Jesus would sometimes say in one place things somewhat resembling what he had said in another.

Nazareth Revisited Ch 16

20 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.

See notes in Matt 5

21 Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.

This is the sort that were not only left out of account, but that were avoided, as at this day -- because of their sorrow, their dullness, their lowness.

Men seek the prosperous, the high-spirited, the gay -- who are not burdened with regrets or scruples of any kind.

Blessedness is associated in human thought with the very opposite class to those on whom Jesus pronounced his benediction: -- The proud spirited, the independent, the stoical, the gay, the happy go-lucky, who taste life's glad moments, with eyes avert from darkness; the manly, the plucky, the self-defenders; those who trouble not their heads about impracticable questions of religion and morality, but take things rough, ready, and jolly in a rough-and-ready world.

Such would be pronounced blessed by the wisdom of this world; but the wisdom of the world is not wisdom truly: but folly.

...Worldly philosophy may work well for a while, but only for a little while. Time is against it, and washes it away at last with a dark and angry flood.

Christ is the wisdom of God. His voice, heard amid the mountains of SyrIa 1,850 years ago, and preserved in wonderful writing to our late and passing day, was the voice of wisdom: and its benediction will be realised by the class on whom they were bestowed -- the believers in him, who have in all ages mainly consisted of the afflicted and the sorrowful.

Christ gives the reason, and as we listen, it shines out in as strong a light as the fact of the blessedness. 

"Their's is the kingdom of heaven ... they shall be comforted ... they shall inherit the earth ... they shall be filled."

Nazareth Revisited Ch 16

27 But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,

LAY your foundation in love and service and kindness. We are never going to help anyone to make a hard decision against the pull of their own animal desires, if we have already embittered them against us by criticism and unconcern: rather in such a case we re-enforce their resistance. We may have gratified our ego by condemning them, and achieved cheap self-satisfaction, but we have done no service for God.

Bro Growcott - Search Me O God

32 For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them.

There is a great difference between love and benevolence. Love is drawn out of us, whereas benevolence is brewed within. Love is a state of mind engendered by circumstances without, and is alike gratifying to the subject and the object.

Benevolence, on the other hand, when exerted towards an unlovely object, is an impulse of kindness created by the will in spite of deterrent influences. The exercise of it is a trial, an improvement. Love is the best, but this is not yet the age of love. It is delightful to be in the circle of love. All people wish to be in it, but nearly all miss their way. They don't go in at the door, but try and climb up some other way.

The secret of entrance is to be lovely, but this means more than is possible with most. Yet the majority of those professing the truth are surely capable of some of the conditions. Be patient; minister to others; do your duty and love is sure to grow.

TC 11/1869

This divine love does not depend upon the lovingness or loveliness of the recipient. It is in its essence universal and unrestricted in its radiation and warmth like the life-giving light of the sun. To plead unloveliness as an excuse for not loving is to miss the whole meaning of scriptural love. It is the least lovable that are the most in need of love. Jesus said-

What is the virtue in such a cheap, common, natural thing as that? To be nice, and kind, and friendly, and cheerful, when things suit and please us, means absolutely nothing. It is how we react when things do not please us that counts. It is so easy to think we are a kind, sweet character because most of the time we do not show our teeth and temper. But our reaction under provocation and annoying circumstances is the real test of our character, however we may attempt to justify and belittle and rationalize and treat as "exceptions" these evil outbursts.

They manifest the ugly rottenness that lies beneath the artificial surface. THEY ARE THE REAL, NAKED "US," and unless we face this mortifying fact and bend every effort and prayer toward doing something about it, that is the "us" that will stand shivering and exposed and ashamed at the judgment-seat of Christ.

When Jesus said here, "If you just love those that love you, what thank have ye?" he used that same beautiful word that Peter used in a similar expression-grace. "What grace have you if your so-called "love" is restricted to just those that please you?" That is just a pleased animal reaction, like the purring of a cat.

Bro Growcott - Grow in Grace

35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.

That love requires a distinct effort.‭ ‬It cannot develop itself in a selfish bosom.‭ ‬It is an impulse created from within‭; ‬and not from without,‭ ‬like the other.‭ ‬Its cultivation helps to assimilate us to the supreme source of love,‭ ‬and tends to amalgamate and improve inferior elements.

The Ambassador of the Coming Age,‭ Dec ‬1867. p302-304

A Hard Task

We see people who are ungrateful,‭ ‬who are inferior,‭ ‬and low and vulgar and unworthy‭; ‬nevertheless,‭ ‬having Christ in view,‭ ‬we are enabled to do good to them.‭ ‬It is a good discipline:‭ ‬but if we keep Christ out of view,‭ ‬we shall only consider our own feelings,‭ ‬and bestow our benefits where they will be appreciated.‭ ‬We have a good many things to learn,‭ ‬and many of them difficult to learn‭; ‬but we must ever try to submit to the divine lessons.‭ ‬The children of God are to be like their Father,‭ ‬who sendeth rain upon the just and upon the unjust.

The Ambassador of the Coming Age, May 1868

LAY your foundation in love and service and kindness. We are never going to help anyone to make a hard decision against the pull of their own animal desires, if we have already embittered them against us by criticism and unconcern: rather in such a case we re-enforce their resistance. We may have gratified our ego by condemning them, and achieved cheap self-satisfaction, but we have done no service for God.

There is nothing more usual than to hear persons justifying unkindness on the ground that the object of it is unworthy. Some one is in need: the need is not denied, but it is said that the man is undeserving, and this is accepted as a reason why assistance should be refused.

Some one asks a favour who has proved ungracious in former transactions, and this is made the ground of refusal. Some one is ill, who in health was savourless, useless, and perhaps hurtful; and goodness is denied on this ground. A complaining widow is neglected because she refreshes not the soul.

These things ought not so to be. We are in such matters to act from allegiance to Christ, and not from our own tastes. We are to minister because he has commanded us so to do, and not because it is sweet to do it. It is our discipline, and though ofttimes bitter, sweetness will come even now...

The Christadelphian, Apr 1872

36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.

The sentiment of mercy was comparatively unknown in the times of Greek and Roman paganism. Purity, peace, and submission to maltreatment have been practiced only where Christ's doctrine has been influential.

The eulogy of them and the declaration of a blessing on those who practice them, implies that without them, salvation will not be attained. And this is indeed what is taught expressly in other parts of the apostolic writings, such as

"He shall have judgment without mercy that hath shown no mercy" (Jas. ii. 13), "Without holiness no man shall see the Lord" (Heb. xii. 14), "Woe unto you when all men speak well of you" (Luke iv. 26).

But if the eulogy of mercy, purity, and peace distinguished Jesus from all who went before him, how much more was he marked off as a new and revolutionary teacher by his command to "Resist not evil," to "love those who hate," and submit to the compulsions of evil men, yea, even go beyond their desires in our compliances.

Such precepts were opposed to the radical impulses of flesh and blood. The injunction of them is one of the strongest proofs of what Christ asserted when he said to the Pharisees:

"Ye are from beneath. I am from above. Ye are of of this world, I am not of this world, I proceeded forth and came from God: neither came I of myself, but he sent me ... He that sent me is true, and I speak to the world those things that I heard of him." -- (Jno. viii. 23, 42, 26).

Had Jesus been a natural thinker, he would have taught in harmony with nature's impressions and instincts, as do the "philosophers," so-called, of every age and country. He would, therefore, have inculcated self-defence, and would have glorified the virtues of "patriotism" as appreciated and applauded by flesh and blood everywhere. He would have scouted principles and practices which, apart from their special objects, are pusillanimous, cowardly, and contemptible. But he did none of these.

Nazareth Revisited Ch 17

37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:

One of the great mental infirmities to which human nature is subject,‭ ‬is that of giving a verdict or judgment upon things which they do not understand.‭ ‬In the language of scripture,‭ "‬they speak evil of things which they understand not‭" ‬and there is not wanting in every society a class of persons,‭ ‬censoriously inclined,‭ ‬who have an inveterate propensity to magnify the‭ ‬motes in their neighbours‭' ‬eyes,‭ ‬into very uncomely,‭ ‬sight-destroying‭ ‬beams.‭

To form some kind of a judgment,‭ ‬however,‭ ‬upon things which we see and hear,‭ ‬is a natural instinct,‭ ‬and a very useful and important one-for without it,‭ ‬we should be deprived of that tact and sagacity essential for carrying on our affairs,‭ ‬for self-protection and preservation,‭ ‬and for proper discernment between right and wrong‭; ‬this is the lawful,‭ ‬legitimate use of the faculty‭; ‬but like all other faculties which we inherit by natural descent from the first Adam,‭ ‬it has been sadly misused and perverted,‭ ‬as the natural consequence of the blindness and perversion of judgment manifested by the father and mother of our race.

Many persons,‭ ‬labouring under this very unhappy inheritance,‭ ‬allow their judgment to revel in the mazes of conjecture,‭ ‬supposition and imagination,‭ ‬concerning‭ "‬other men's matters,‭" ‬and finally decide to condemn the apparently real ways and conduct of others,‭ ‬the inmost recesses of whose private affairs,‭ ‬it is impossible for them to fathom-pronouncing judgment upon things which they understand not.‭ ‬Judgment used in this way,‭ ‬is‭ ‬misused and perverted,‭ ‬and is a fruitful source of mischief in any society,‭ ‬but especially among the faithful in Christ who desire to live in peace,‭ ‬love and harmony with each other.‭

There is a natural judgment,‭ ‬and there is a spiritual judgment-or in other words,‭ ‬there is a judgment according to the flesh,‭ ‬and there is a judgment according to the spirit.‭ ‬When we become members of the spiritual family,‭ ‬we must not assert the right to judge our fellows according to fleshly rules,‭ ‬but according to the divine standard,‭ ‬by which all are to be judged.‭ ‬Let no one judge or condemn his brother on account of some infirmity or weakness of character,‭ ‬which causes no special violation of gospel principles or divine commands‭; ‬the one who does this,‭ ‬is himself the subject of a great infirmity-and,‭ ‬as often happens,‭ ‬is far more culpable,‭ ‬than the object of his censure or condemnation.

It is well understood that all men and all women are compassed with infirmities - otherwise what need have we of a saviour‭? ‬Our Lord said,‭

 "‬I came not to call the righteous but‭ ‬sinners to repentance‭"

-‬that is,‭ ‬he came not to call the righteous in their own estimation,‭ ‬who,‭ ‬in reality were sinners,‭ ‬but those who knew that they were sinners - with honest and good hearts,‭ ‬notwithstanding all the sins which they had committed - sinners,‭ ‬possessing a love for truth,‭ ‬and consequently with unsophisticated understandings - that is,‭ ‬understandings untrammelled by the intricate meshes and webs of the serpent's deceitfulness.‭ ‬Such sinners as these were considered fit receptacles for the truth of God,‭ ‬by which they might be cleansed from all unrighteousness.‭ ‬We see that there is a classification of sins in the scriptures.

The heart that is full of serpentine subtilty and deceitfulness,‭ ‬is not a heart in which the truth can take root and bear fruit unto eternal life - but only the honest and good heart,‭ ‬although it may have been guilty of evil thoughts resulting in evil actions.‭ ‬

When repentance comes to such,‭ ‬turning them from dead works to serve the living God,‭ ‬they are prepared to accept any conditions,‭ ‬to make any sacrifice,‭ ‬to give up their whole heart with unselfish devotion to the service of God and His truth‭; ‬completely divested of selfish objects and feelings - having only one object before their minds,‭ ‬viz.‭ ‬the glory of God‭; ‬that is,‭ ‬the promotion of his truth,‭ ‬the service of his ecclesia‭; ‬the internal culture of their own hearts - showing the triumphant power of the truth over the flesh,‭ ‬the devil....

A heart filled with tender mercy and loving kindness,‭ ‬is not likely to be severe in judgment upon fellow heirs of the saints‭' ‬inheritance.‭ ‬The more our hearts are filled with love toward our brethren for the truth's sake,‭ ‬the less inclined we shall be to judge them at all‭; ‬but if at any time it become necessary to exercise the faculty of judgment in any particlar case,‭ ‬we shall be careful to judge righteously,‭ ‬according to the Written Word,‭ ‬and not according to fleshly standards.

In the law of Moses it is written‭ "‬Thou shall do no unrighteousness in judgment‭; ‬but in righteousness thou shalt judge thy neighbour.‭" ‬This is also according to the gospel,‭ ‬for Jesus said‭ "‬Judge not according to the appearance,‭ ‬but judge righteous judgment.‭" ‬It was because of their failure to render righteous judgment,‭ ‬that the eyes and ears of the Jewish people became dim and heavy,‭ ‬and powerless to act for the general good‭; ‬the Lord accused them of heavy transgressions in this respect,‭ ‬when enumerating their iniquities,‭ ‬which brought down His wrath upon them.‭ ‬If,‭ ‬therefore,‭ ‬He spared not the natural branches because of these things,‭ ‬it behoves us to take heed that we come not under the same condemnation‭; ‬for the gospel rule is,‭ "‬with what judgment ye judge,‭ ‬ye shall be judged.‭"

The judicial courts of the kingdom of heaven,‭ ‬being based upon a higher code of laws,‭ ‬will pronounce judgments upon higher principles,‭ ‬than can be attained under the present order of things‭; ‬for it is written of the supreme judge himself,‭ ‬that‭ "‬He shall not judge after the sight of His eyes,‭ ‬nor reprove after the hearing of His ears‭; ‬but in righteousness shall He judge the poor,‭ ‬and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth.‭"

Under present arrangements,‭ ‬the sight of the eyes,‭ ‬and hearing of the ears,‭ ‬generally form the only basis for judgment,‭ ‬owing to the limitation of human wisdom,‭ ‬and being disqualified to discern the hidden springs of action‭; ‬the thoughts,‭ ‬motives and intents of the heart.‭ ‬May we,‭ ‬therefore,‭ ‬who profess to follow Christ,‭ ‬cease to judge after the flesh,‭ ‬but endeavour to form our judgment upon a more enlightened basis.‭ ‬Indeed,‭ ‬it is very essential that we who are to be the future judges and rulers of mankind,‭ ‬should seek to build upon the true basis in this respect as well as in all others.‭

Above all things,‭ ‬let us not judge or condemn our brethren upon light,‭ ‬frivolous grounds‭; ‬but if,‭ ‬as before stated,‭ ‬it become necessary to exercise our judgment in some particular case,‭ ‬we have the rule‭; "‬judge not according to the appearance‭" ‬and in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall everything be established.

Let not the brother or sister who is gifted with ten talents,‭ ‬condemn the possessor of only one‭; ‬and let not the possessor of one talent envy‭ ‬and misjudge the possessor of the ten.‭ ‬The Lord has distributed to all according to His good pleasure,‭ ‬for the furtherance of the gospel‭; ‬only let all take care that these talents are applied for the given purpose,‭ ‬and not used for selfish objects,‭ ‬that we may receive the blessing in due time,‭ ‬and reap abundantly,‭ ‬if we faint not.

The Ambassador of the Coming Age, Aug 1867. p185-188.

40 The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.

Here is no uncertain human philosophy, bewildering with its cloudy vagueness, and fatiguing the mind with futile abstractions. Here we have an authoritative rule of life -- simple as the alphabet, and reliable as the guidance of the pole star to ships at sea: -- a straight, definite, dogmatic enunciation of duty in the practical relations of this mortal life, -- authoritative because divine -- and bringing with it the most beautifying moral results whether as character seen by the observer, or mental state as experienced by the man who obeys.

Its excellency will be seen in the beautiful results necessarily developed where it is accepted and practised as the rule of life, -- especially when these results are compared with the moral and intellectual stolidity of Greek and Roman paganism.

What, for example, can exceed the beauty or the comfort of the anticipation of ineffable good created in the mind of the believer by the assurance of "blessedness" as the upshot of a course of mercy, meekness, purity, and righteousness, pursued even in sorrow or persecution? What can induce a greater sense of circumspection than the information that Christ regards us as the light of the world and the salt of the earth?

What can tend more powerfully to elevate and purify the character than the intimation that righteousness only will secure an entrance into the Kingdom of God? What can more powerfully modify the harshness, or mollify the asperity of the natural character than the declaration that even anger is sin, and the use of terms of personal reproach an offence endangering salvation? What more conducive to chastity than the reprobation of impurity even in thought?

Consider, also, the chasteness of speech engendered by the command to "Swear not at all:" the gentleness of character calculated to result from the command to resist not evil: the kindness and urbanity necessarily springing from the effort to give in to importunities, even of unreason, and even to return benefits for the harm done by those who hate us; the modesty and genuineness certain to result from the enjoined habit of doing good unseen and unknown, and praying in secret.

How noble, also, the recommended cheerfulness that endures grief without parading it: and the industry that is busy without avarice; and the stewardship that is faithful without anxiety.

Such a model of perfect character was never conceived before the days of Christ.

Nazareth Revisited Ch 17

A real thoroughgoing and perfect saint of the apostolic type, will be characterized by a dignified, but modest and gracious demeanour; a friendly, fraternal, sympathetic, and self-sacrificing disposition; a humble, peaceable, and neighbourly deportment; a holy, meek, and consistent walk and conversation; a savoury, kindly, wholesome, uncorrupt, and edifying speech; a sincere, affectionate, liberal, generous, and benevolent heart; an inwardly joyful, hopeful, spiritual, and thanksgiving mind, a godly gravity, and sobriety of conduct; a single-eyed principle of action; a devout, righteous, and God-fearing behaviour; an earnest, abounding endeavour; a diligent, good-doing activity; a uniformly upright and honourable character; an hospitable, sociable, and good-tempered manner; a courteous, considerate, decorous, respectful, and obliging way; a pure, unselfish, and God-serving motive; a truthful, covenant-keeping, and reliable word, and will be altogether characterised by a discreet, circumspect, blameless, and persevering course of action, through evil and through good report, to the glory of God, and the benefit of everybody.

"Be ye, therefore, perfect as your Father who is in heaven is perfect."

A mere unsanctified professor of the truth may be known by a certain flippancy of speech, or an untoward, overbearing, and brow-beating manner; or an irascible and ungovernable temper; or a thoroughly selfish and worldly policy; or a boastful, swaggering, vulgar, and uncourteous address; or a cold heartless, distant and unsociable disposition; or a pleasure-loving, honour-seeking, and ungodly ambition; or an insipid, trifling, foolish, and vain mind; or an unsympathetic, unfeeling, ungracious, and unyielding nature; or a carnal, grovelling, covetous appetite for mere creature enjoyments; or a slothful appreciation of spiritual things; or a lack of generous and benevolent enterprise in the truth; or a miserable, envious, churlish, and timeserving spirit.

Bro Shuttleworth

The Christadelphian, June 1873

45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.

If the Truth is uppermost in our hearts, it will be uppermost in our speech. We all know brethren and sisters of whom this is true, and we know brethren and sisters of whom it is not true. Here is one of the most searching tests as to whether we truly are "in the Faith." Of course, some talk a lot about the Truth who do not have the true spirit of the Truth -- talking is not everything -- but we can be sure that those whose conversation is always about other things are certainly not "in the Faith."

And it is not just the subject matter of our conversation that determines our heart -- it is the spirit and character. The Truth can be used in conversation as an instrument of abuse and antagonism to gratify pride and the perverse, evil reactions of the flesh within us. Solomon says:

"There is that speaketh like the piercing of a sword, but the tongue of the wise is health" (Prov. 12:18).

We know, of course, that the pure Spirit-Word is sharper and more piercing than any sword, but it must be wielded in meekness and wisdom and love to purge and purify, but not to condemn and destroy:

"If a man be overtaken in a fault, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness, considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted" (Gal. 6:1).

And again (2 Tim. 2:24-25):

"The servant of the Lord MUST NOT STRIVE, but be gentle unto all men, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves."

"Speak evil of no man, but be gentle, showing ALL meekness unto ALL men" (Tit. 3:2).

Bro Growcott - BYT 1.4

46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

It is not sufficient to hear the truth and like it. There are many who sit and listen with pleasure to the beautiful sentiments of the gospel, to whom the words spoken to Ezekiel are applicable: (33:32.)

"Lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument; for they hear thy words and do them not."

You will not forget that Jesus likens this class ("who hear these sayings of mine and do them not") to men building their houses on the sand, which when the rains descend, and the floods come, and the winds blow, fall with great ruin.-(Matt. 7:26.)

If, therefore we are to be associated with Jesus and the glorious band that constitute the kingdom of God, we must distinguish ourselves by the present and actual performance of his commandments.

The Christadelphian, Apr 1872

48 He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.

Discourse on the Mount

A perfect equilibrium comes from the action of the whole, and it was never intended that any part should be left out. A man of meekness, resisting not evil, and taking no thought for the morrow, will not degenerate into effeminacy and sloth, when he is called upon also to let his light shine before men, to exceed the Pharisees in righteous deeds, to be prompt in seeking reconciliation with the offended, to do good to those who hate him, and at the same time to have a quick eye for spiritual imposture.

All this would indicate and foster an executiveness of character quite equal to that required in the affairs of the children of this world: only it would be executiveness tempered and mollified by the law that makes gentleness and non-resentfulness a matter of obligation. The sinners have the vigour and the executiveness without the oil of moral repression.

Consequently, there is an undercurrent of harshness in their moral composition which is ready to flame into anger and destructiveness against any interference with their rights.

... A man who sees God, as this discourse requires: who loves him as the discourser did: who has the faith in Him that He commands, would be the last man on earth to be spiritless or vapid or slothful.

There probably lives not the man whose conformity to it has been perfect in all particulars; but there are measures of attainment in the case: and it will remain an incontrovertible truth to the end of the world, that those who come most nearly to the commandments of Christ in the sermon on the mount, are the most interesting and lovable of the human race.*

*Nazareth Revisited Ch 17