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1 Wine [yayin] is a mocker, strong drink is raging [a brawler]: and whosoever is deceived [seduced to be led astray] thereby is not wise.
The effects of too much wine leading to a drunken state are well illustrated (23: 29 -35)
Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? Who hath contentions? who hath babbling?Who hath wounds without cause? Who hath redness of eyes?
They that tarry long at the wine...
At the last it biteth like a serpent,
And stingeth like an adder.
2 The fear of a king [wrath of a melech] is as the roaring of a lion: whoso provoketh him to anger sinneth against his own soul [nefesh].
The wrath of a king is as messengers of death: But a wise man will pacify it (16: 14)
3 It is an honour [kavod] for a man [ish] to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling [any fool can start a quarrel].
Bro Thomas in the course of excavating the truth was forced into constant strife with orthodoxy and in particular the so-called revivalist movement he referred to as Cambellism. The opposition he encountered compelled him into deeper study in order to search out the scripture and for this opposition he was therefore grateful. As a result there are many pages in the Herald magazine given over to friction arising from his growing opposition to Cambellite false doctrines.
Once he found and established the True faith in its entirety he dispensed with Cambellism. Now was a time for the establishing of the faith and enlightening the people.
There is plenty of contention to be had with quasi Christadelphians. Our time is limited and should be used profitably. Debate can easily become a waste of time and not fruit producing - quite the opposite. Efforts of persuasion based on reasoned argument for our hope are a duty and privilege (Jude 23). Protracted arguments often become rooted in fleshly pride.
Fighting 'error from within' is not the scriptural way. This is a great mistake bringing uneccessary distraction, grief and suffering to those who become enmeshed. The counsel of wisdom is 'to cease from strife'.
'Therefore leave off contention' (Prov 17: 14)
The apostle Paul is both our example and instructor, for our own benefit, and for the welfare of the ecclesias. He exhorts us as follows -
In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth (2 Tim 2: 25)
If they are self-willed, wise in their own conceits, and refuse to comply with plain scriptural teaching the instruction is clear
A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject (Tit 3: 10)The first and second admonition! This precludes weeks, months, even years of quarreling. The sooner the canker is removed the less likely it is to infect other parts of the body.
The smooth, oily words, flattering lips, and charismatic personalities of the errorists are a danger because they can beguile the unwary who fail to detect the deception (2 Cor 11: 3).
4 The sluggard [atzel (sluggard, lazy one)] will not plow by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest [katzir], and have nothing.
Nothing comes of nothing...the lazy stay in bed and do not tend to the necessities of life. They come to poverty and destruction. The exhortation in the proverbs is to be dilligent, especially in seeking for and applying wisdom. This is the main purpose of life. As Bro Roberts once said, a man's life is only TRUELY useful when made the means of gaining the life to come.
As the door turneth upon his hinges,
So doth the slothful upon his bed. (16: 14)
The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing:
But the soul of the diligent shall be made fat. (13: 4)
5 Counsel [Etzah] in the heart of man [lev ish] is like deep water [mayim]; but a man of understanding [ish tevunah] will draw it out.
6 Most men [Rav adam] will proclaim every one his own goodness [chesed]: but a faithful man [an ish emunim] who can find [one]?
Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips. (27: 2)
These quasi friends of the truth have had a meeting in Edinburgh, at which representatives from several parts of Scotland were present. The proceedings at the meeting have been reported and published in the magazine of the body, The Messenger of the Churches, and copies of the number containing the report have been gratuitously circulated in parts where the magazine is not taken, with the object, in plain words, of re-establishing the influence of Dowieism. This movement on their part is our reason for taking notice of their meeting, which otherwise would be of no consequence.
The speeches at the meeting, and the tone of the report, are very plausible, and highly calculated to deceive the unwary. They ignore the facts which cause Christadelphians to stand apart from Dowieite fellowship; and indulge in honeyed generalities which have a heavenly lustre about their exterior, but which (wittingly or not,) are the mere covers of Dowieite faithlessness and ignorance.
They would heal slightly the hurt of the daughter of the people, saying peace, peace, when there is no peace. They would build, like their ancient counterparts, the false prophets of Israel, the wall with untempered mortar; but their refuge of lies will not stand. Their smooth things will turn to gall before the testimony of truth; their sleek maxims and dreamy generalities, which consistently carried out, would land them in the bosom of the Old Mother at Rome, will disappear before the simple application of principles which they themselves profess.
Fellowship has its basis in the truth. Morality makes man an agreeable neighbour; but it does not make him a Christadelphian. He becomes a Christadelphian, or brother of Christ, when he believes the gospel and is baptised. In this position, his righteousness must truly exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, for "the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God;" and we are not to fellowship a man who walks disorderly, even if he believe the truth.
But his Christadelphian position arises not from his righteousness, but from his connection with Christ, through the truth believed and obeyed, and his position only continues so long as he "holds fast the beginning of his confidence." If he let the truth go, his position perishes, even if he continue amiable, correct in behaviour, and religious in sentiment. On the other hand, it is also true that even if he continue in the truth, and walk after the flesh, he will die.
Now if the foundation is wrong, of what advantage will perfection of superstructure be? If a man is not in the truth, what will it profit him that he is benevolent, honest and devout? The question between the Christadelphians and the Dowieites is as to the foundation, and what answer do they make? They point to the beauty of their own superstructure and condemn the superstructure of the Christadelphians. This is shirking the question. It is no answer at all. If the Christadelphians were as bad as they declare them, it would not disprove that they stand in the truth; and if the Dowieites were as saintly as they make out, it would not make their position in the truth a good one, if it is a bad one.
If they mean discussion, let them buckle honestly to the work, instead of raising a false cry about arrogance, love, &c., and diverting attention from the real question at issue. Let them grapple with the question whether the principles of truth contended for by the Christadelphian, are to be upheld in the profession of our faith or not; and then there may be some chance of coming to a basis of agreement.
Is it to be a question of indifference, whether Jesus was "a man anointed of God with the Holy Spirit and with power," or the incarnation of a previously existing invisible son of God?
Is it to be a question of indifference whether the devil-power that Jesus came to destroy is a supernatural being, or the sin of the world?
Is it to be a question of indifference whether Christ will judge his people at his appearing or not?
Is it to be a question of indifference whether the immortality of the soul is or is not incompatible with a belief of the truth?
These are some of the questions at issue, and time bestowed upon their discussion might be of some use; but to preach up unity and love under existing circumstances, is a waste of time. It is talking away from the point, and throwing dust in the eyes. It is covering up the real sore, and trying to make the impression that the cause of division is that the Christadelphians are very sour, harsh and cruel, and the Dowieites sweet, heavenly, and truly Christian-that all have one faith, but not one spirit; that all believe the truth, but that the Christadelphians are self - willed, arrogant, and carnally-minded; while the Dowieites are full of all grace and virtue.
This is proclaiming a large falsehood in every particular. It is the truth that is at issue; and as to character, there is such a thing as a sleek and white exterior for a foul inside; a sheep's coat on a wolf's back; pious volubility with a mean and cantankerous nature. There are opposite combinations, of which Jesus and the prophets are examples-men of bitter speech, but true benevolence; of disagreeable out-spoken hatred of evil; with large souls, full of true love to God and man.
Dowieism does not understand this, but glorifies the insipid sweets of mere sentimentality, to the hoodwinking and destruction of the great principles upon which existence is founded and regulated. The "enjoyable festival" of Dowieism, by which it seeks yearly to palm itself off as Christ's true witness, is, therefore, a mockery; a seduction of the serpent; a delusion, at which "good words and fair speeches" are largely ventilated to the deception of the hearts of the simple.
There is much fair show of piety, and much protestation of brotherly love, and other excellencies which people most loudly talk of as a rule, when they are least possessed of them; but there is an absence of that clear and robust apprehension of divine truth, which alone can constitute, in these days of Old Mother ascendancy and spiritual stupefaction, a safe basis of fraternal communion and divine service.
Ambassador of the Coming Age, Sep 1868
9 Who can say, I have made my heart clean [ lev pure], I am pure [tahor] from my sin? [chattat?] there is no man that sinneth not (1 Kin 8: 46)
Bro Thomas described the heart of man as comprised of intellect, sentiment (morality) and propensities (inclinations of the flesh [desires or lusts]).
In our Lord Yahoshua anointed the intellect and sentiment were at one with his heavenly father - he being the word made flesh. And he also felt the full force of the propensities or lusts of the flesh when perturbed. But he governed them decisively in favour of his father's will.
Our own success or otherwise depends upon how rigorous we are in the regulation of our fleshly inclinations. And so the apostle Paul commented on this agonising internal conflict
O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? (Rom 7: 24)
...if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. (1 Cor 11:31)
Therefore let us confess our sins in prayer. Let us think back on our lives and pray for forgiveness now so those sins might be blotted out and not held against us in the day of judgment (24: 16; Psa 130: 4). And let us remember to pray for sins of ignorance.