1 And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him,
2 And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went 7 devils,
3 And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance.
These manifestations [of providence] are human in their form but divine in their origination, though not obviously so. Yet the persons made use of do not act mechanically. They do the work of God: at the same time, their work will be rewarded as, in a proximate sense their own work, as it is written:
"God is not unrighteous to forget your work of faith and labour of love which ye have shown towards His name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister; and we desire that everyone of you do show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end" (Hebrews 6: 10).
Ways of Providence Ch 23
The parable of the sower
-- In this, a man is introduced in the act of sowing seed in a field, containing various kinds of soil. The difficulty with us Westerns as regards the mechanism of the parable is to understand how there could be in one field such a variety of conditions of ground as is here depicted. This difficulty disappears when we learn from travellers, that Oriental agriculture differs in nothing more from agriculture in the west than this, that the fields put under seed are not really enclosed patches of land, all of a sort, but scattered over a hill side containing all the varieties mentioned in the parable. The feature of the parable is the difference of the yield in differently conditioned soil...
...men are by no means the same in their moral and intellectual natures: that there is just as much diversity in their mental constitution as there is variety of earth and stone in the constitution of the crust of the earth: that some are as impenetrable to all fructifying influences as the road side: some as irresponsive as ground in which there are more stones than soil: some as cumbered and obstructed as a thistly patch: and some like the generous garden mould, ready to yield to every effort of tillage. These are Christ's own comparisons, and they are true to nature.
The seed, he afterwards explained, is "the word" -- the word ministered by himself and co-labourers. "The word," it is perhaps needless to say, is a synonym for the class of ideas comprehended in the gospel, called "the word" because it has been divinely spoken (1 Thess. ii. 13), and "the truth," because it is pre-eminently that form of truth without which men cannot live in the ultimate sense (Jno. viii. 32).
The comparison of this spoken word of God to seed is a very happy comparison. Viewing the mind of man as soil, there is a strict analogy between the one and the other. Just as soil -- the very best -- has no power to yield garden flowers without seed or its equivalent, so the human brain has no power to evolve knowledge or wisdom without the impartation of ideas from without.
Ideas are not innate in the human mind. The mind of a new-born babe is an absolute blank: and the mind of a grown man would be the same, if from his babyhood he were kept away from all contact with idea-acquiring agencies and sources.
The kind of ideas he forms depends upon the class of ideas implanted by these external agencies. His mind will develop according to the influences acting upon it from without. No more baneful philosophy is taught under the sun than that which teaches man to look into himself for light. There is no "light within" unless it has been put in, and it is "light" not because it is "in," but because it is "light" before it is put in, quite irrespective of the vessel into which it has been put.
Ideas having such a power to form the mind are most naturally compared in this parable to seed. They germinate according to their nature. False ideas if bad ideas, taken in and nurtured and assimilated, will bring forth false results -- bad results -- first in thought and then in action -- both being comprehended in the term "fruit." The seed in the parable is "good seed," because it represents good ideas -- ideas that have come from God --
"the seed is the word of God" (Luke viii. 11).
Admitted to the mind and nourished, the good seed will bring forth good fruit.
But the extent of the result depends upon the state of the soil and the nature of the husbandry.
Nazareth Revisited Ch 26
7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it.
Thorns and weeds of all kinds will thrive in good soil, of course. If they are allowed to do so, the plant shot up by the good seed will have little chance of "bringing forth fruit to perfection'.
8 And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
But the extent of the result depends upon the state of the soil and the nature of the husbandry. The good seed falling into unfit minds will prove abortive, notwithstanding its goodness, because the soil is bad: so Christ teaches, and so experience shows. The good seed falling into good soil will bring forth good fruit if the soil is not pre-occupied with other growths which absorb the power of the soil. "
11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.
14 And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.
There must be a care to protect the mind from those influences that are calculated to undermine the power of the gospel. There are many things competing for human affection; and for most of them, the mind possesses a natural affinity. The danger therefore is great: the need for wise and energetic horticulture very pressing.
Happy are they who practically recognise this and act accordingly. As for the seed that fell into good ground, Christ's explanation is very clear and simple:
"The good ground are they who in an honest and good heart, having heard the word and understood it (Matt. xiii. 23) keep it, bring forth fruit with patience" (Luke vii. 15).
Nazareth Revisited Ch 26
15 But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.
Those who are accustomed to the indiscriminating gush of "Evangelical" Christianity may revolt at this view. That may feel it to be a harsh and repulsive doctrine which teaches that men can only be influenced by the gospel to the extent of their capacity to receive it. But it is a true doctrine, even if it is "harsh," as many true things in the universe are. It is impossible for intelligence to ignore the fact that it is the doctrine of Christ and the lesson of painful experience. It is not alone this parable. The whole of Christ's practical teaching is tinged with it, as when he says:
"To him that hath shall be given" (Luke xix, 26), "He that is able to receive it, let him receive it" (Matt. xix, 12), "Ye believe not because ye are not of my sheep" (John x. 26), "No man can come unto me except the Father who hath sent me draw him" (John vi. 44).
And every man who has any extensive contact with his kind in this present evil world, is bound to learn that the men are more rare than precious stones who have capacity to discern or taste to relish the good things of the Spirit of God. The patches of good soil are few and far between: and more often than not, they are too covered over with vigorous thistle growth of all kinds to make it possible for the good seed to have an opportunity.
As to why the matter should be so, that is another and not a very practical question. God is the worker out of his own plans. There are no other plans with stability in them. The revolutions of time kill them all off the surface of the earth. God having his plans, and having adopted his own means of working them out, it is ours simply to learn what they are, and what demands of conformity they may have for us which it may be in our power to render.
Nazareth Revisited Ch 26
23 But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy.
Jesus, wearied with his recent efforts, laid himself down on some cushion - work in the hinder part of the boat, and was soon fast asleep.
Nazareth Revisited Ch 19
24 And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm.
There never is or can be such apparent just cause for apprehension to men as when they are in a storm at sea in a frail vessel that is being overwhelmed by the waves. Men never fear more than in such circumstances. That Jesus felt differently was due to the power he possessed. That he expected the disciples to share his feelings on the subject was due to the evidence he had previously given them of his possession of that power.
"O ye of little faith!'
It was the smallness of their faith he rebuked.
Faith is trust on the ground of evidence. He had given them the evidence; and on this, faith ought to have worked with the effect of inspiring confidence in all circumstances. But man is weak, and their faith failed them in the presence of unfavourable appearances. -- Having uttered these few quiet words of rebuke, he rose and addressing himself to the elements, said
"Peace: be still!"
The effect was instantaneous. The rush of the wind was arrested; the tumult of the waves stopped. The water ceased its convulsions and immediately settled to a quiet level. The storm was gone, and the ship, dripping, glistening with the water that had covered it, was riding in calmness and safety. In the presence of this great and sudden change, Jesus again looked at his disciples, and said,
"Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith?"
questions far more telling, under the circumstances, than the most fervid effort of rhetoric.
It would be impossible to imagine a situation in which the power of Christ could be more impressively shewn, or more stringently and convincingly tested. Never is man so powerless as in the presence of the elements in their raging power. A pretender may do something with appliances and protected platforms and dark rooms. But place him on the storm-swept deck of a reeling vessel in a gale, and he is as helpless as the struggling cattle that are washed overboard.
It does not even want a storm to show the impotence of man in dealing with nature. The quiet side of a mountain, the expanse of primitive moorland, the depths of the forest, or the face of the smiling ocean at any time in the finest weather, overwhelm a man with a sense of mortal littleness and helplessness. We have all heard in history of the vanity of monarchs or the extravagant loyalty of subjects that has sometimes claimed dominion over nature, and that has received its quiet but effectual confutation from nature itself.
We have heard of the Persian Xerxes vainly apostrophising a mountain that he wanted out of the way, and whipping the waters of the Bosphorous for presuming to sweep away his bridge of boats.
We have heard of Canute planting his throne by the edge of the sea, and vainly commanding the rising tide to stop its advance. But here is a man who says, "Peace be still," and at whose word the rage of the tempest itself stops, and the sea becomes smooth. What more appropriate comment can be made than the one the disciples passed one to another:
"What manner of man is this that even the winds and the sea obey him?"
What manner of man, indeed!
Nazareth Revisited Ch 19
25 And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him.
Signs and wonders
God, who made all things, can control all things, whether it be the physiological conditions of the body, or the momentum of the atmosphere, caused by the mechanical action of the laws of heat. It is in His power to radically change the one, or put a brake on the other. It is a question of the object and opportunity.
There is a time to show the power, and a time to conceal it. One time to show it was when Jesus, the Son of God, was on earth to declare the Father's name, and open and shew the way of life and love in the ministry of reconciliation. It was shewn in such a variety of ways as to exclude the possibility of doubt as to its being the power of God: and one of the most impressive certainly, as the demonstration that even the wind and the sea were subject to the will of Christ.
Nazareth Revisited Ch 19
28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? I beseech thee, torment me not.
29 (For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For oftentimes it had caught him: and he was kept bound with chains and in fetters; and he brake the bands, and was driven of the devil into the wilderness.)
The unclean spirit
...a deranging influence, which might well be called an unclean spirit on the same principle by which "an excellent spirit" is recognized in connection with those who are wise... in this Jesus disregards the madman's version, and simply recognises the presence in the man of "the unclean spirit"*
30 And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion: because many devils were entered into him.
Herein we have the madman's hallucination exemplified. His diseased imagination led him to suppose himself a plurality*
Having then taught us that we are to understand by a pathological demon, a man whose brain and nervous system are morbidly affected, he explains what Luke means by a man having demons. Luke says that the man Legion "had demons long time;" and which demons, as I said before, he styles "the unclean spirit," and "the demon."
Matthew's phrase, parallel and expletive of Luke's ̓σ ξιχξ δαιμονια, is δαιμονιζομξνοζ χαλξτοζ λιαν, demonized exceedingly fierce. The plural, "demons," is not then a plurality of persons or beings; but a plural indicating intensity. An editor uses the plural we, though speaking of himself only. Majesty does the same as "we, the King." These are plurals of intensity; that is, enforcing to a high degree the thing referred to. A man demonized so as to be exceedingly fierce, is to have demons, even a legion of them; and to be "in" or of "a vicious spirit," temper, or disposition; and where incurable, to be untamable.
Having expressed the intensity of the madness by "demons," Luke returns to the singular number, and says, "It seized him many times, and bursting the bonds, he was driven by the demon into solitary places." This is his way of telling us, that the demonized man was not always so fierce; but that his madness came upon him by paroxysms, when nothing could bind him.
Men may be mad, and untamably ferocious, and yet retain their memory, and the rational use of many of their cerebral faculties. The country of the Gadarenes was "over against Galilee," where Jesus began to make proclamation of the gospel of the kingdom, and to perform his wonderful cures. "And his fame," says Matthew, "went throughout all Syria; and they brought unto him all sick people, taken with divers diseases and torments, and demonized, and moonized, and paralytic: and he healed them. And there followed him great multitudes from Galilee, and Decapolis, and Jerusalem, and Judea, and the farther side of the Jordan."
The man whose name was Legion was an inhabitant of the region of Decapolis, beyond the Jordan. It cannot therefore be supposed that, when all this stir about Jesus existed in his country, he was unacquainted with the cause. On the contrary, he was doubtless cognizant of all that had been said and done by the "Great Light" that had shone forth so extraordinarily in the surrounding darkness; and being a Jew, was not ignorant that when Christ appeared he would punish the wicked as well as reward his friends.
He had a habit also of running at people to attack them, "so that," says Matthew, "no person was able to pass by through that way." Let the reader bear these things in mind, and he will understand how this son of Abraham, "when he saw Jesus at a distance," came to "run towards him."
Though mad, and exceedingly fierce, he was not destitute of apprehension of evil. He recollected that Jesus was called "the Son of God the Most High," and that he was of wonderful power. As he ran up, that power encountered him in the words, "Vicious Spirit, from the man begone!" This laid him prostrate before the Lord. He fell down before him. He was afraid now, lest this power should be exerted against him, as the power of his neighbours had been, to bind him with fetters and chains, which had no doubt proved very tormenting. He, therefore, exclaimed with a loud voice, "What hast thou to do with me, O Jesus, Son of God the Most High? I conjure thee by God not to torment me!"
No, poor fellow, "the time" was not come for that. Jesus had come to "bear the griefs, and carry the sorrows" of such as he; and not to execute vengeance and torment upon the unfortunate. His mission was one of mercy, which rejoiced against judgment; and of that mercy there was store for him and his associate in woe. Jesus then kindly asked him, "What is thy name?" But, not yet in his right mind, he called himself "Legion;" and gave as a reason, that he, and what Luke terms "demons," the intense affection, were many; that is, equal to many. "My name is Legion, for we are many;" or, as Luke says, "because many demons were with him;" in other words, It is Legion; for I am demonized exceedingly fierce.
Still prostrate before him, and uncertain what was to become of him, "he entreated Jesus earnestly that he would not send them away from the country." Here the man of unsound mind is the speaker. Under the impression that he was not alone, but in company with many, he says, "Pray do not send us out of the country! But send us unto the swine, that we may break in upon them."
These two madmen had been accustomed to fall upon all that came in their way; and being still delirious, they wanted to drive the swine into the lake, and choke them. These were the ravings of delirium; and as the man called himself "many demons," Mark attributes these raving to "all the demons," if indeed the reading is to be accepted, which is equivalent to attributing them to the man himself bearing that name.
At the crisis of the cure of these men, Jesus concluded to adopt the suggestion. It was contrary to the law of the land for men to raise swine for food there. It would be a vindication, therefore, of the law, to destroy the whole herd; and Jesus determined to do it. He undemonized the men, and demonized the swine.
I have seen a furious man drive thirty or forty people out of a room; and rush up to another, as if to floor him, who upon his approach said in a firm tone of voice, "Be still!"-and the man was powerless for further mischief. Matthew says that Jesus ordered the unclean spirits of the men to "Begone!"-that is, Be healed; and let your madness seize upon the swine. The result immediately followed. The men were forthwith restored to soundness of mind, while the maddened swine rushed violently into the lake, and perished in its waters.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, July 1854
31 And they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep.
The idea that the "demons" in the case were intelligent beings is precluded by the way they are treated in the narrative. They are, both by Jesus and the narrator (Luke), treated as "an unclean spirit" -- a spirit of madness.
Their existence in the man is the man's own theory of himself, propounded in answer to Christ's kindly question, "What is thy name?" and merely adopted in some parts of the narrative in accommodation to this introduced aspect.
Had they been intelligences literally seeking transfer to the swine, as a more congenial sheathing or dwelling, they would not have instantly frustrated their own wishes by destroying the swine in the sea.
The whole of the circumstances adapt themselves to the view that Christ in benevolently curing a violent madman, judicially transferred the madness to a herd of swine that had no business in the land of Israel.
The narrative is necessarily tinged with the notion universal in the world at the time, that madness was due to the presence of malignant beings: tinged with it, that is, in the sense of its being taken into account just as we take into account the views of children or lunatics, when we talk to them about their affairs: but not tinged in the sense of its being accepted as true: only in the sense in which the doctrine of Beelzebub tinged the discourse of Christ when he seemed to assume the existence of that mythical deity, in his conversation with those who believed in it (Matt. xii. 27).
It is one of the evidences of the divinity of the Gospel narratives, that while necessarily dealing extensively and minutely with the heathen theory of demonology in its record of the cure by Jesus of mental disorders of all kinds, it steers clear of an endorsement of the theory as such.
Nazareth Revisited Ch 19
In Luke 8:31, the two demonized men from the tombs, under the maniacal impulse of their disorder, besought Jesus not to command them to go away "into the abyss."
They apprehended that, being near the Sea of Tiberias, this would be the "torment" he would inflict upon them. But he did not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them; he therefore cured them, and transferred their malady to the swine, who, becoming mad, rushed "into the sea."
Luke styles the abyss a lake in 5:33; and Mark and Matthew term it the sea. In the common version, abyssos in Luke is rendered the deep.
The Christadelphian, Apr 1872
32 And there was there an herd of many swine feeding on the mountain: and they besought him that he would suffer them to enter into them. And he suffered them.
Jesus adopts this suggestion which afforded an opportunity of vindicating the law forbidding the culture of the sow. The malinfluence obstructing the faculties of the man was then by divine power, transferred to the swine herd.
A transfer of this kind is a common thing in mesmerism. Rheumatism or pain of any description can be removed from one to another with the transfer of the diseased nervous fluid.
...The narrative is that of the cure of a madman, and the judicial transfer of his madness to a herd of swine, which it was contrary to the divine law to cultivate in the land of Israel. The narrative, however, is dressed up in the language appertaining to the theory of madness at that time prevalent.*
33 Then went the devils out of the man, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the lake, and were choked.
Partial and typical cleansing of the Land
When Jesus had landed, a man at a long distance off was seen running towards him at the top of his speed, accompanied by another man who did not figure prominently in the transactions that followed. The men were madmen, who lived, not in the city, but among the tombs in the neighbourhood of the city. They were naked, and possessed of abnormal strength.
They had been the terror of the neighbourhood for a long time -- particularly the first man, who, night and day, at spasmodic intervals, made the air ring with his maniac shouts, as he cut himself with stones and cried out. Many attempts had been made to put him under restraint, but all in vain.
Chains and fetters had been successfully put upon him several times, but each time, with the strength of Samson, when left to himself, he snapped them asunder in the paroxysms of his madness. He now ran towards Christ, whom, from a distance, he had seen landing. The fame of Christ had
"spread into all the regions round about."
Consequently, this madman had heard something of him, and ran to worship him. Jesus saw him coming. It is probable that the disciples also would apprehensively direct his attention to the approach of a madman. Jesus knew the state of the man, and before he had come quite close, he sought to disarm him by cure. He said,
"Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit."
The man, mistaking Christ's adjuration for an imprecation of judgment upon himself, fell on his knees and responded in a voice of terror,
"What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most High God? I adjure thee by God that thou torment me not."
Jesus then speaks kindly to him: "What is thy name?" The man said,
"My name is Legion, for we are many."
This was the man's hallucination. Jesus had recognised but one unclean spirit (that is, the deranging influence that obstructed his faculties), saying to him,
"Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit."
But the man imagined himself inhabited by a multitude of demons. The lunatic asylums to-day will furnish instances of a similar delusion: the difference is, they are not at large, and there is no living Christ going about, for their aberrated faculties to act on.
The man proceeded to earnestly implore Christ not to send him (that is, "them": for the man and the demons were identical to the man's deranged mind) -- not to send him out of the country. It was a revealed work of the Messiah, that he would
"cause the unclean spirit to pass out of the land" (Zech. xiii. 2).
Nazareth Revisited Ch 19
35 Then they went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the devils were departed [language of that era of pagan superstition], sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.
He was in his wrong mind before, or, as we say, "out of his mind," which we know is the result of disorder of the brain, or a diseased state of the nervous system, and not of the inhabitation of malign intelligences.*
*The Christadelphian, March 1871
36 They also which saw it told them by what means he that was possessed of the devils was healed.
John the Baptist had spoken of him "standing in the midst" of Israel while he spake, and of having the "fan in his hand" with which he would
"thoroughly purge his floor" (Matt. iii. 12; Jno. i. 26).
This phase of the Messiah's work is the one that would most readily be apprehended by the populace. It would easily and naturally diffuse itself as a panic which the madmen of the country would catch up and reflect in an aberrated form.
Consequently, we may understand this madman's anxiety as he kneels imploring Christ to spare him the banishment which he feared at his hands, and suggesting to him that he would, instead, allow him to go among the swine that were feeding in multitudes on the hill brow overlooking the sea.
Of course, it was mixed up with the hallucination that he was a legion of demons; and the suggestion took that form.
"Suffer us to enter into the swine."
Jesus acted on the suggestion. The culture of the pig was a breach of the law of Moses. It was part of the disobedience which he was about to revenge on the nation in a baptism of fire (effected 40 years later). It was therefore a fitting thing to mark with his displeasure in the way now suggested.
He said, "Go," and at his word the maddening influence which had so long possessed the man was transferred from him to the 2,000 swine, and transformed into a judicial impulse which projected them in a general stampede down the brow of the hill into the water, where they were all drowned -- as intended.
Nazareth Revisited Ch 19
37 Then the whole multitude of the country of the Gadarenes round about besought him to depart from them; for they were taken with great fear: and he went up into the ship, and returned back again.
We are hoping and desiring to see him shortly; with what different feelings shall we greet him. Shall we desire him to depart out of our coasts? No; he may say to us 'Depart', but if we are amongst those who having seen him love him, as Peter says, our desires will be the reverse of the people in question.
What an extraordinary aberration of judgment on their part; what a mighty privilege was theirs, had they only known, to have the son of God in their midst, 'the Word made flesh', the long-promised Messiah speaking gracious words such as never came out of human mouth before, and doing such works of power as had never been heard of, and yet they besought him to depart out of their coasts.
Bro Roberts - Right Understandings
39 Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee. And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him.
The cured madman was not fit to be a companion of Christ, and not suitable for an apostle. Jesus "knew all men," and knew this man, and therefore "suffered him not" ...He did not and could not forget what had been done for him.
Nazareth Revisited Ch 19
46 And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me.
A crowd is ever about the Master, but we must break through it if we are to touch him. The greater part of the crowd is too busy money-making and pleasure-seeking to devote any time to an endeavour to touch him. They are busy circulating the Bible (together with whisky and tobacco), and denying its authority, in his name; busy proclaiming his peace with shells and bombs, and excusing war and bloodshed, in his name; worshipping him with shouts of strife, and discord, and contention; all busy about Christ, all part of the crowd, all calling themselves by his name, but not touching him.
Another part of the crowd is busy discussing his meaning, explaining away his teaching, and his commandments; are they touching him? How clearly we can see all this. But how does it affect us? We are not of the world; neither have we "reservations" on Christ's teaching; nor do we tolerate false teachers; we have obeyed the call to "come out" and "turn aside" from such. Surely none of these things apply to us-surely we are touching Christ? Well, let us remember this, it is not simply membership of an ecclesia and attendance at the meetings, but the personal individual effort, which enables us to touch Christ.
One by one (not as a body), his brethren and sisters, by continual and strenuous endeavour in faith and obedience, are pressing through the crowd and touching Christ. Are we among the number? You, brother, and you, sister, who read these words, and I who write to you, are we touching Christ?
If so we must know it; yes, and it will be known and seen by those around us; for, we cannot touch him without receiving and partaking of his virtue, his humility, and meekness. We are constantly exhorted to examine ourselves, to see that we are in the faith: what is the result of our self examination?
Probably we have assured ourselves that we are in the faith, having obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered to us. But, let us go a step further in our self-examination? Are we touching Christ, daily, hourly, constantly?
We have accepted the Truth; we have been baptised; we attend the weekly breaking of bread, the lectures, and the various meetings of the brethren; but it is possible to do all these things and still fail to touch Christ.
In his epistle to the Romans the apostle Paul speaks of those who "hold the Truth in unrighteousness," and declares that the wrath of God shall be upon all such. That is a solemn warning to us brethren and sisters, for it is addressed, not to the outside world of unbelievers but to Christadelphians who hold the Truth.
Let no one rest satisfied with the external forms of their connection with the Truth, lest, at the last, they are declared to have held the Truth in unrighteousness. Let us press through the crowds which throng around the Lord Jesus, but are not touching him; who call themselves by his name, but do not the things which he commands. The woman of whom we read touched Christ secretly; no one knew it but Jesus and herself, but immediately virtue or strength went forth from him and was manifested in her.
So it will be with us if we are not satisfied to remain one of the crowd, mere onlookers, but press through it in an effort to reach him. We also shall succeed and receive virtue and strength, and, though the effort is made in secret, the result will be evident to those with whom we come in contact.
We shall manifest a Christ-like disposition-gentleness, readiness to forgive and overlook offences and injuries, and a meek and quiet spirit, which is, in the sight of God, of great price-1 Peter 3: 4.
If any doubts or questions arise in our minds as to our course of action in any matter (and such must constantly arise in these pleasure-seeking times of trouble and unrest), let us be guided by this question; "Will it help me to keep in touch with Christ?" Only if that question is faithfully answered, and acted upon, will the words of Jesus to the woman who touched him be said to us in the day of judgment,
"Be of good comfort, thy faith hath made thee whole." -C.F. FORD.
The Berean Christadelphian, Aug 1924