5 O ye simple, understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart.
Advice is cheap, and as a rule, about as useful as most things that can be had for nothing. If a man cannot, by the use of his senses, discern good and evil, there is no hope for him in this age. In the age to come, as in the apostolic age, inspired guidance will lead the simple into wisdom.
At present, we have but the written oracles and such faculties of penetration and application as God may have given us. If with these prayerfully exercised, we cannot see our way, there is no alternative but to drivel on in the dark-hard words, but true.
A man "believing such errors to exist in the Christadelphian faith," would, of course, wish himself as far away as he could get from the faith and all its belongings. It would be a pity, with such a conviction, that he should have anything to do with it,-a pity for himself, considering the violence to which his feelings would be subject in intercourse with such an error-stricken and "uncharitable" system; a pity for those whose hands and hearts would be weakened by his palpitating adhesion.
A better solution than either staying or going in such a state, would be to look into the matter anew, and beholding that there are "no such errors in the Christadelphian faith," to
"lift up the hands that hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way:" Even so! Amen!
The Christadelphian July 1870
10 Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold.
"Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and run with patience the race set before us."
In the race for life eternal, there are many things lawful enough in the abstract; but that viewed in relation to the object to be attained, are highly inexpedient, and to be "laid aside," as Paul advises.
It is a simple, and a safe, and a reasonable, and a wise rule, and one that will give us much cause for joy at the last, to dispense with every habit or pleasure, or occupation, or friend that hinders our progress in the narrow way. This is but another way of saying what Christ said:
"If thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out. It is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into the fire of Gehenna."
It is better to make our calling and election sure at the expense of worldly friends and engagements, and advantages, than to secure all these, in this present time, and find, at last, that we have cherished them at the expense of Christ's approbation, and have to pay for them with the loss of the kingdom of God.
These considerations may fall faintly now on the heart, pre-occupied with the affairs of this life; but in the day certain to come -- as certain as the final flight of the life that is every hour passing with us now -- they will be felt with a force and a grief that will cause
"weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth."
It is better to listen to wisdom now in the day of her call. She stands at the door and knocks...The Spirit tells us to hear: and the reason is beautiful:
"Length of days is in her right hand, and in her left hand, riches and honour. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her, and happy is every one that retaineth her."
But if we turn away from her voice, a terrible retribution awaits:
"Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded. But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof. I will also laugh at your calamity. I will mock when your fear cometh. When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me. For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord."
Bro Roberts - Strangers and sojourners
18 Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness.
Seek not wealth and pleasure and power. Pray fervently for the real treaures: the treasures of character and personality and realitionship to God -- for deeper, clearer, stronger faith and vision. Pray for compassion and love and patience and zeal. Pray for knowledge and understanding and wisdom: seek them constantly in the Word. Labour for the imperishable treasures that enrich the mind and the heart, the treasures that become part of yourself forever.
External relationships and circumstances are nothing, except as they help to relate us to God and to eternity. Build your character by constant study and self-discipline. Lay up the true riches. Every spiritual thought we think, every spiritual fact we learn, every spiritual deed we do -- adds to our true wealth and inner value.
We begin life as useless, valueless, empty shells. Most end life as useless, valueless, empty shells: a once-for-all eternal opportunity frittered away in stupid folly. They only are rich who fill themselves with God's freely offered riches of spiritual instruction and transformation. Let us be rich.
Brother Growcott - Search Me O God
The personification of wisdom
THE SPIRIT OF YAHWEH
22 Yahweh possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.
23 I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.
24 When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water.
25 Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth:
26 While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world.
27 When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth:
28 When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep:
29 When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth:
30 Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him;
Here was the offspring of Yahweh, of whom it is said:
"She is more precious than rubies. Length of days is in her right hand; in her left hand, riches and honour: a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her."
Here is an existence previous to the existence of the earth and all that it contains. "By me," says Wisdom, "Yahweh formed the earth." "I am understanding;" and
"by understanding he established the heavens."
As a comment upon this, it may be remarked that in Job it is written:
"By his Spirit he garnished the heavens;"
or in the words of David,
"By the Word of Yahweh were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the Spirit of his mouth."
For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast. From these premises, then, it is evident that Wisdom, the Word, and the Spirit, are but different terms, expressive of the same thing; so that the phrases, "the Spirit of Wisdom," and "the Spirit of Counsel and of Might," are combinations expressive of the relations of the Spirit in certain cases.
The apostle John, in speaking of this, saith,
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was made not any thing which exists. In him was life, and the life was the light of men."
This appears to me to be a very intelligible account of the matter. The Word, Wisdom, Spirit, God, all one and the same; for He, being the fountain and origin, is as the emanation from himself.
Now, this Spirit, Word, or Spirit of Wisdom, Peter styles
"the Spirit of Christ, which was in the prophets;"
or in the words of Nehemiah, who saith to Yahweh concerning Israel,
"Thou gavest also thy good Spirit to instruct them;" "many years didst thou forbear them, and testifiedst against them by thy Spirit in thy prophets."
But why was the good spirit of Yahweh in the prophets styled by Peter the Spirit of Christ? Because it was the same spirit that dwelt in Noah, Moses, and the prophets; that afterwards dwelt in Jesus without measure, and so constituted him preëminently the Anointed One, or Christ.
Now, of this anointing it is said in the prophets concerning
"the man whose name is the Branch:"-"The Spirit of Yahweh shall rest upon him; the Spirit of Wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of Counsel and of Might, the Spirit of Knowledge and of the fear of Yahweh; and shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of Yahweh."
This was one spirit, not many; and styled in the New Testament,
"the Eternal Spirit through whom Jesus offered himself without fault to God."
"The Spirit of Yahweh," said David, "spake by me, and his word was in my tongue." Let us hear, then, what the Eternal Spirit saith by David in the fortieth Psalm:
"Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; āznăim khārithā li, ears hast thou carved for me; burnt-offering and sin-offering thou hast not required. Then I said, Lo! I come: it is written of me in the volume of the book, Thy will, O my Elohim, I delight to do; yea, thy law is within my heart. I have preached righteousness in the great congregation: lo, I have not refrained my lips, O Yahweh, thou knowest."
Thus spake the Eternal Spirit of Wisdom, who was brought forth before the earth had being, and who was from the beginning by Yahweh, as one brought up with him. Did not Yahweh, then, sustain the relation of a Father to the Spirit; called "eternal," because, previous to the beginning, it was in him, concentrated and condensed in his Divine Substance, not having then as yet irradiated, or been brought forth therefrom?
Yea, the Spirit of Wisdom is the Son or Offspring of God,
"by whom all things were created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by him and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist."
... "And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self, with the glory which I had with thee before the world was?"
The body of Jesus had no existence before its formation in Mary; but the Spirit of Christ which forsook it on the cross a short space before the Vail of the temple was rent in twain, was "brought forth" from everlasting "or ever the earth was."
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, May 1855
34 Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.
Literally, in our day, this means the determined adoption of the plan of daily reading the Bible. We easily slip out of it. The only way is to give it an iron place in the day's programme. Some think they haven't the time to spare. I am sure this is a self-deception. I am certain there is not a man upon earth, however menial his position, but who could manage 20 minutes a day for talk with God in the quiet reading of the Bible.
The circumstances may not be favourable, but they can be arranged if the enlightened determination exists. They will be coerced by wise men. All men find place for that which is imperative. Bible reading is imperative. Man cannot live by bread alone. His mental well-being now-his material well-being ultimately-demands that he take in the knowledge of God so cunningly woven into the structure of all Bible writing. A man recognising this will find place for it. If he recognise not this, he is a foolish man, however much he may know of current life's affairs.
The information we get from the Bible as to the will of God concerning us, is so "wrapped up" (as a friend well expressed it the other day) that it cannot be got at except by loving, patient, and constant intimacy. It yields not its secrets to the flippant, or the careless, or the scorner. "The wise shall understand: none of the wicked shall understand:" this is true in all directions. It requires more than mere "intelligence" to penetrate the myriad significances concealed in the Divine word.
It requires the docile disposition of true and pure reason: expressed by Jesus as the humility of a little child. Even in science that other department of the truth of God-the same qualities are essential to successful achievement. Jesus says: "If any man will do His will-(that is, desires truly and intends to do his will), he shall know of the doctrine." This is the first condition of successful accomplishment in the things of the Spirit. Those who "stumble at the word" are the "disobedient," according to Peter's definition.
Now, in all parts of the Bible at the last, when we are in the right attitude, we get access to the mind of God as to "what manner of people we ought to be...
Blessed are those servants watching
He tells us he will invite them to enter into his joy, to sit down at his table, to share his throne, and to partake of the glory, and dominion, and honour, and gladness that will belong to him as the conquering King of all the earth. Yea, he will change them into his own immortal nature and bring them into his Father's House as the bride whom he loves and whom he will take pleasure in nourishing and cherishing and honouring for evermore.
These are not pretty fables. They are not poetical fancies. They are the words of authentic truth, as sober and demonstrable as any problem in mathematics. How reasonable, then, to open our hearts wide and warm to the reception and reciprocation of his love. How irrational and narrow-minded and benighted to despise the love of Christ as effeminate or a visionary. It is neither visionary nor effeminate.
It is as actual and solidly founded as any human love under the sun, and it is nobler and more beautiful love than any to be found in merely natural channels among the sons of men. It is one of the thousand sadnesses of the age that a man cultivating the enthusiastic love of Christ should be regarded as an insipient maniac. It is all perfectly intelligible to those who are abreast of all the facts.
The world does not love Christ because he stands as the symbol and incarnation of ideas with which it has no sympathy. He is the manifested name and authority of God, and for God the world has no taste. The world is a mass of population which cares only for what it can eat and drink and sensuously enjoy. As John says,
"All that is in the world is the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life."
As Jesus says,
"All these things the nations of the world seek after."
"They have not known the Father nor me."
They are, in relation to real wisdom, where the barbarians of uncivilised countries are in relation to the problems and achievements of science.