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2 Both low and high, rich and poor, together.
In casting away the Bible, and the rigid restrictions of God's law of holiness and purity on conduct and morals, man thinks he has cast away his chains; but in reality he has cast away his compass, and all the real values and meanings and beauties and joys of his life.
Bro Growcott - Yahweh Elohim
12 Nevertheless man being in honour abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish.
Master of the Universe?' Man! - How insignificant in the scheme of things! Like the flower of the field that fadeth, springs up in the morning, withers by the evening. Transient, ephemeral, passing, mortal, a creature subject to sin, disease and death.
Look at the sick society, look at the hospitals, full of sick and dying, demented people, look at the cemeteries, look at the ruins of former empires scattered across the earth (Nineveh, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome).
The stark lessons of man's utter imperfection and helplessness are all there Psa 49:6-20 Psa 90:1-17Psa 91:1-16. Yet flesh full of pride and arrogance fails to see the obvious lessons and pursues its own course down the serpent river of death Jer 10:14,23.
Bro Richard Lister
The Apocalyptic Messenger
18 Though while he lived he blessed his soul: and men will praise thee, when thou doest well to thyself.
A man may succeed in life, as the world reckons success, by acting on the selfish propensities; he may do well to himself, and make himself insensible to the well-being of his neighbours; but such success is a poor achievement, whichever way it is reckoned. Even now, such a man is despised by those who profess to respect him, though it is truly written,
...The praise is a sinister praise; men defer to success only on the chance of getting a share of it. A successful selfish man will find the true estimate in which he is held after his success deserts him. The friends of sunshine all disappear when the sun goes down, whereas a man acting on divine principles is loved, not for what he has, but for what he is; and if all that he has deserts him, the reality of friendship, which submission to God creates, will be manifest in the constancy of friendship under clouds.
Bro Roberts - The completeness of the truth
20 Man that is in honour, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish.
They shall not rise
But some will say : Are all that ever breathed the breath of life to stand up in resurrection ?
Unquestionably not. I have already shown from Scripture that "multitudes sleep a perpetual sleep," but not all. What, then, it may be said, is the ground of difference ? Why should some rise and others not ? In the first place there is no necessity for resurrection where hope is excluded and condemnation is final.
" All the world is guilty before the Deity, who has concluded all under sin " (Rom. iii. 9, 19 ; Gal. iii. 22).
Now, respecting this guilty world,
"walking in the vanity of its mind, having its understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of the Deity through its ignorance and blindness of heart " (Eph. iv. 17-18),
respecting this, Jesus says, " it is condemned already" -it is condemned to " sleep a perpetual sleep."
But some will say, " Has the Deity then made all men in vain ?" Nay, verily, His PURPOSE IS TO EVOLVE A RIGHTEOUS AND IMMORTAL WORLD OUT OF THE WORLD OF MORTAL SINNERS, and to lay the foundation of this great work in their scriptural intelligence and the obedience of faith. This being His purpose, knowledge, belief, and obedience are made the basis of accountability and responsibility.
By the former is meant liability to give an account, and to receive reward or punishment for the same ; and, by the latter, the state of being answerable for something entrusted to one's care. Now, Christ Jesus says in John iii. 19,
" this is the ground of judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light, because their deeds were evil."
The light shining into the darkness and divinely attested, makes sinners accountable and SAINTS responsible ; but into that region of the shadow of death where the light has not shone with divine attestation, the inhabitants of that region, who do not attain to the comprehension of the light, are not accountable to the resurrection and judgment it reveals.
"The whole world lieth in the wicked one,"
-in sin ; and, therefore, in the shadow of death ; for the wages of sin is death. When Paul appeared in Athens upon Mars Hill, he shone as a bright light into the darkness of death's shadow. The polished and learned Athenians he addressed, were the sons of a superstition inherited from a remote ancestry.
They had been made subject to it by circumstances they could not control, or, as Paul expresses it, " made subject to vanity not willingly." Of the God of Israel manifested in
flesh, His purposes, promises, and commands, they knew no more than their ancestors knew for ages ; and had not Paul, or someone else divinely commissioned, visited them, they would never have discovered the truth concerning these things.
" Who by searching can find out the Deity ? "
No one ; yet He " was found of them who sought Him not ; " for to a nation not called by His name He said, by Paul, " Behold me, behold me ! "
Thus they were under " times of ignorance " when Paul appeared in their midst. They were not liable to be called.upon to give an account for not doing what they were helplessly ignorant of.
" In times past, the Deity had suffered all nations to walk in their own ways " (Acts xiv. 16).
This was winking at times of ignorance. Their own ways were the ways of death, in which they were hopeless and atheistic (Eph. ii. 12).
To them there were neither rewards nor punishments beyond the grave. By their wisdom, of which they boasted, they knew not God. "Professing to be wise, they became fools," and, being left to themselves as devoid of understanding, they died and perished like the beasts (Ps. xlix. 12, 20).
Such is the fate of all who die without an understanding of the truth revealed for the faith of their generation. He that understands the truth, but declines the obedience it commands, will be held accountable for its rejection ; for
" he that believeth not shall be condemned" " in a day' of judgment," " when the Deity shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to the gospel Paul preached " (Rom. ii. 16 ; Mark xvi. 16).
But, sinners understanding and believing the truth, and rendering the obedience it commands, in that enlightened and faithful obedience, become saints. As such, they have received the truth as a sacred deposit, for the use or abuse of which they are held responsible in the great day of account (Jude 6).
Saints, who use the truth aright, styled by James " doers of the Word, and not hearers only," are the " just " or " righteous " ; but saints who abuse it, being hearers only of the Word and not doers, lovers of the world and the things that are in it, striving at once to serve God and Mammon, are the " ungodly " and the " unjust," who, like Esau, sell their birthright for a morsel of the world's meat; to whom, in the judgment, will be found no place for repentance, sought ever so carefully with tears (Heb. xii. 16-17).
These three classes are indicated by Peter in the words,
" If the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear ? " (1 Epist. iv. 18) :
the enlightened sinner, who rejects the truth," the ungodly, who disgraces it ; and the righteous, who do it. Add to these a fourth class, constituted of unenlightened sinners, among whom, and into whom, the light has not shined and cannot shine, from whatever cause, and the whole race of Adam is marshalled, or arranged in due or scriptural order before the mind.