« PreviousContinue »
must be separate.* The true church is in the world, but not of it.94 There are three parties in the world, viz.: the Jew, the Gentile and the Church of God.9B As the Jews were a separate, called-out and peculiar people,90 not to be reckoned among the nations,97 so is this true church a separate and peculiar people,98 called unto cleansing and holiness,99 sealed by the Spirit of God, unto the day of redemption (Eph. 4:30), no longer darkness, but "children of light," and exhorted to "have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness" (Eph. 5:8-ll). They are of God, while the whole world lies in the wicked one.100 There is an irrepressible conflict between them— uo possible harmony exists. On the contrary, their principles and tendencies are absolutely opposite. It is therefore entirely inconsistent that they should be spoken of as forming one general mass.
we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:
19. Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the vail;
20. Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made a high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
(94) John 17:11. And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.
15. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
16. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
• See (91) pg. 144.
(95) 1 Cor. 10:32. Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God.
(96) Ex. 19:5. Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine.
6. And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy
nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.
Ex. 33 :16. For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? Is it not in that thou goest with us? so shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth.
Also Deut. 7 :6, Psa. 135 :4.
(97) Num. 23:9. For from the top of the rocks I see him, and from the hills I behold him: lo, the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations.
(98) Tit. 2:14. Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
1 Pet. 2:9. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.
(99) 2 Cor. 7:1. Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
Also Eph. 5 :25-27.
(100) 1 John 5:19 We know
Art, Science and Invention.
Second, the triumphs of art and science, the progress in inventions, discoveries, etc., by no means argue an increase in godliness.
Many of the acknowledged leaders today in science and philosophy—yes, even those who rank the very highest among them, are positive infidels. And very many more, who disclaim absolute infidelity, deny the divinity of Jesus Christ.
It is strange, indeed, that the Christian optimists, in their noisy trumpetings of the strides of science, should lose sight of this momentous fact. And history bears a similar testimony. The power, splendor and wisdom of David and Solomon were followed by the idolatry and innocent blood of Ahab and Manasseh, resulting in the overthrow of Jerusalem and the Babylonish captivity.
The temple, built by Herod, was one of the grandest works of art. It fairly flashed with splendor, and the temple service was conducted on a magnificent scale. The Jews of his time enjoyed great privileges in literature and learning, and yet they crucified the Lord Jesus.
The Greeks rose to a pinnacle of triumph in literature, poetry and art, and yet they failed by wisdom to find out God. To them he was the unknown God.101 See how plainly this is brought out in 1 Cor. chapters, 1, 2 and 3: "For after that, in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe" (1:21). The trouble is not with the heads, but with the hearts of men. No matter how great the learning, man must have a new
that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in the evil one.
(101) Acts 17:23. For as I passed by, and beheld your devo
tions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye igignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.
heart, and this is obtained not by education, but by the operation of the Spirit of God. It was not many wise men after the flesh who received the grace of God in Corinth, but the simple and the despised. "I thank Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth," said Jesus, "that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent (discerning ones) and hast revealed them unto babes." Luke 10:21.
The world, then, by "wisdom" or "philosophy" (Col. 2: 8), or "science falsely so called" (1 Tim. 6:20), can never find out God. Indeed, we have a clear evidence of this in the rationalism, infidelity and atheism of our day. No matter how refined and polished is their garb or the delicacy with which they may be set forth, still they are only the poisonous deceptions of him who can appear as "an angel of light."102 The truth is that Satan is the arch enemy of God, and the world, in this present evil age (Gal. 1:4), is in his power (1 John 5:19), so that he besets the people of God with his "wiles," and arrays against them "principalities .... powers .... and the rulers of the darkness of this world." Eph. 6:11-13. Therefore the Christian must "love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world." 1 John 2:15-16.
The World Not Growing Better.
Surely, then, this wicked world, which is so radically opposed to God, and under the present control of His arch enemy, is not growing better. On the contrary, judgment, fire and perdition are before it.103 Perilous
(102) 2 Cor. 11:13. For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.
14. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
16. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be
transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
(103) 2 Pet. 2. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
3. And through covetousness times are coming.104 "Evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived." The tares, which naturally grow much faster than the wheat, shall continue up to the harvest. Mat. 13:40. "The mystery of iniquity" which already worked in the days of the apostles, shall culminate in "the man of sin," the persona] Antichrist, whom even the mass of the Jews will receive,105 and who will be so great and rule with such universal authority that he is to be destroyed only by the personal appearing of the Lord Himself.106
There is no hope, then, for the world, but in the coming of Christ the King. And, praised be God for the promises, the Lord will come at the end of this age. Antichrist will be destroyed.108 All things that offend shall be gathered out,107 and the Millennial Kingdom of righteousness shall be established on the earth. So, while there is a gloomy prospect for the world during this evil age, there is a bright and glorious prospect during the coming millennial age.
shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.
2 Pet. 3:7. But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
Also Jude 7, Mark 9:43-48.
(104) 1 Tim. 4:1. Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
2 Tim. 3:1. This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
(105) John 5:43. I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.
Also Isa. 28:15-22.
(106) 2 Thes. 2:8. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
9. Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
Also Rev. 19 :20.
(107) Matt 13:41. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;
42. And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
43. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in. the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. Civilization and Beneficent Institutions.
But perhaps it is still insisted that the world has made great progress in civilization and refinement, in benevolence, in personal liberty, international fraternity, Christian work, etc. In proof of this, the abrogation of slavery is cited; also the cessation of the inquisition and martyrdom, the establishment of charitable institutions, the great postal and commercial means of communication, built upon the agencies of steam and lightning; the right of trial by jury, international arbitration, missionary triumphs, etc.
Well, first of all we answer that Civilization and Refinement are not the Source of Holiness. They may elevate the head, while the heart is untouched. The gilded palace of sin is as certainly the gateway to hell as the darkest den of vice.
The cultured and scientific atheist is as surely in the service of Satan as the thief or the murderer. Jesus Himself classed them all together when He said, "He that is not with Me is against Me." Mat. 12:30. So it matters not how much more like an angel of light the serpent may appear, nor how civilized and refined the world may be.
Satan is the devil still.
And the world is still the world.
His manifestations and methods may be changed, but the spirit of darkness is the same. And accordingly we see that while slavery is disappearing, communism, socialism and nihilism are lifting their godless, headless forms. And darker are their forebodings than were even the days of the' inquisition and martyrdom. Oppressing monopolies, systematic speculation and fraud are parallel with charitable institutions. The mails, so useful for news and correspondence, afford a most convenient agency for disseminating the flood of obscene literature which is blasting the morals of the young. Trial by jury has too often proved a mere farce, in which the criminal escapes. The nation which opened the way for the missionary also forced upon the teeming millions of China the awful curse of opium.