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The Division of Unity, the Unity of Division
THE UNITY OF DIVISION:
SPURIOUS AND FURIOUS
That is precisely what Christ predicted, even to the point of the virtual (but in view of His power, not actual) impossibility of not being deceived. It is not only true to type; it is eventuation so intimately related to prediction, as to take a place as if the very wife of the husband which foretold (Matthew 24:11, 24:5, 24:22-24). Such would be the wonders and devious betrayals, that these would deceive - "if," He said, "it were possible, even the elect."
The world only just does subsist; and its continuation is subject
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>both to the obvious plunder by the powerful, equipped with new power,
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>the equally manifest and wilful working of the once for all ruin of the terrestrial environment, and
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>to the spiritual assassinations of the heedless with new powers of deception, delusion and degradation, even starting with the false education in a burlesque of true principles, in thousands of schools, of the young (That Magnificent Rock Ch.8, Lead us Not into Temptation);
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>while the many are successively deprived of reality in a new multitudes of morals, starting with self, continuing with the human race and residing in pleasure and profit, desire or contemplation.
Added to the mix, the depravities of the flesh, in all its hauteur and imaginary grandeur and autonomy, are increasingly furnace fed by the delusions of survival of the fittest (the sure path to the condemnation of the survivors for their modes), revival of the idolatries of the flesh (through the dignity of all religions without thought or assessment, because by pre-assessment, they all MUST be GOOD! ... except perhaps for the Jonesvilles and their more modern counterparts).
There is moreover the glamour of high-flying, high-paid pastors who preach success and profit from it, in worldly terms that bear little resemblance to the cross of Christ, whose 'success' was in being God, and whose profession was in dying sacrificially for sin for all who come in faith to Him. There is the clamour of the UN, with the implicit departure from all that is authoritative in Christianity, real in God and moral from above.
Again, there is:
1) the hammer of Communism and all similar ideologies, like Nazism, allied together in this, that man is their victim and man is their oppressor, and deliverance to be delightful is their delusion, based on nothing, and achieving just the same, nothing.
2) the drama of UN or similar secular subservience by nations which know not God, or if knowing of Him, substitute this pagan illusion, this misdirected, unfounded social pap, the offspring of the nations, so that a new morality which is not moral and a new rule which is not opted, can grasp the nations by the throat, and rebuke their (undoubted) wickedness with equally misled pronouncements. Thus is prepared, to add to the religious case, a secular model of papacy, both with unfounded pretensions, each with confounded contentions, making the god of this world far more than an empty phrase, as the evil one seeks to misuse what in some cases may have started as ideological hope, only to end in humanist dope.
Nor is it the UN alone, for many organisations and movements such as the World Council of Churches and the New World Order (cf. SMR pp. 445ff.,732B, 743ff., 750Aff.) have their own contributions to the enormity of man making his morals and his ways with his powers, as if man had long ago ceased to be born, and to need to die, under the hand of the One whose handbook has long ago stated the morality and the spiritual components, starting with HIMSELF!
Some banish the book, some invade it, some
pollute it, some make new christs (cf. SMR pp. 864ff.) some make New Age 'churches'
as if the name 'church' lent sanctity to humanist folly, and so the
manufacturing of the twentieth century quickly comes into the spiritual arena,
companies formed for purposes of profit ... to some one or something or other,
but scarcely to God, whose name is defiled, whose power is defied and whose
plan continues just as stated, in the predicted midst of these things!
3) the glamour of gullibility in multiplied 'tongues', fascination with gurus or gibberish, as if a specialised function could become a criterion of holiness or a necessity of the faith, or a leader could outdistance the word of God, with words of his own spilling like flood water from a spillway, without any of the criteria of truth. Thus tongues are indeed multiple, since they are unlicensed in new gospels using at times even the name of Christ, and litter the auditoriums as if profusions of syllabification with a kind of spirituality. It is as if the fact that 'tongues' may (with the intrinsic value of 10,000 such words in church being about equal to 5 of wisdom, by the account of the apostle Paul) be used in certain ways at certain times, meant that they should herald conversion, or assure it, or be desirable for all (when they are excluded for many in I Cor. 12-14 cf. A Question of Gifts); or be used in unauthorised ways at all times, or forbidden times at will, though the letter concerning them concerned ALL the churches, as it states at the outset.
In this case, it is exacerbated by one of the
fastest growing of the 'churches', though such is a name too great for
many of the rebellious misuses of the Bible involved, such as appear now to be
looking for new unities across
On the other side, various sects, all minimising Jesus Christ, arise like weeds, flourishing with great growth, much persistence but eventual subjection to a negative assessment of their value, as with all the false prophecies of old, as more recently (Jude, II Peter, Jeremiah 23). The practices are not new, but they are world-wide, rapidly developing like a rash, with swollen words and puffed up flesh.
Thus there is, both literally and metaphorically:
4) the stammer of specialised disobedience, or babble as the Bible refers to it in the Isaianic reference to which Paul alludes (op.cit.).
Literally, 'tongues' and their allied manifestations may be, and are being USED as a bond of spurious unity, now widely incorporating even those who categorically reject the Reformation's return to the Bible from the delusions of Romanism. Thus what is forbidden enables a bridge to what is condemned, and with the prohibitions on both sides joined together, it is as if two minuses make a plus, in some sort of nightmare mathematics of its own!
Indeed, one may well ask, How much truth is in babble ? let alone multiple and multiplied babble teeming with profusion, such as Paul expressly forbade! The case is merely aggravated if the stammering, the babble is not, as is most frequently the case, even interpreted! Thus it becomes a bond of 'experience' for Romanists and liberals, so that many actively join in joint sessions, the babble thus becoming a bridge across the 'dead body' of the Bible, which condemns what this builds (cf. SMR pp. 1032-1088H). The Bible however lives, and it is what abuses its graces that will die, as did those who disobeyed of old (cf. Jude and the treatment of this in Benevolent Brightness or Brothy Bane 88.
Metaphorically, the 'tongues' in this spate of expression remind us of Peter's prediction (II Peter ) of false prophets speaking "great swelling words of vanity", and Paul's of "a form of godliness" which is without the beauty of holiness. Indeed, the list includes this, in his prophecy of the state and spate of things in these times nearing the predicted criteria for the return of Christ: men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth (II Timothy 3). It is difficult to imagine anything worse; it is not at all difficult to see the developments, as if following a medical case book while watching developments in a patient; and they exactly follow the text, in this case, the word of God, the Bible. While this is an excitingly stimulus to faith, it is a devastating prospect for the world. The diagnosis is the manner of death, and the prognosis is destruction.
"All those who hate Me love death!" says Wisdom in Proverbs 8:36. This 'love' is sometimes seen in misplaced and intemperate affection, like that of a child for the prospective site of an atomic bomb, on its way but not yet there, not wanting to 'leave home'.
Thus there is -
5) the amour of spiritual subservience - like goggle-eyed slaves of infatuation, following
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>whatever appeals - such as the sacred self (see A Spiritual Potpourri 17), or the World Council of Churches, with its love of the phantoms of phraseology as disguises for the hard facts of divergence, its intemperate passion for enshrining economic and social issues in the spiritual basics, rather than the practical outcomes of life in the Lord, so diverting the gospel like a stream turned from the needs of agriculture, direct into the sea! Here the cheerless, smoking fires of pretended unity, with its chilling formalistic phrasings and noddings can become an enveloping desire.
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>Even the mythical acceptance of anything so long as some structure is preserved that can fill the bill: for organised religion can figure here, as an amour, a drab affair of the emotional dilettante who is always "on to something". This sort of affair or infatuation by its relativity may satisfy the State, and by its visibility be pleasing to this-world enthusiasts, who somehow want to twist eternity on THIS earth from the indications of Scripture, that its demise is sure, its end is certain, its status is to be removed, its future is to have had a past.
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>You see this in II Peter 3, Matthew 24:35, Isaiah 51:6 and in Revelation 20:11, 21:1, giving us the mode of wearing out (2nd law of thermodynamics covers one such feature), the scenario for its dismissal (in the "fervent heat"), its essentially temporary character compared with the word of the Speaker who Spoke it into existence (Genesis 1:1, Hebrews 11:1ff.) and its significance and place in the scenario which treats it as one does a first house: something which has had its place, and will in due course have fulfilled its function.
Similarly, the passion of infatuation may be for a mutated denomination, fast being scarified by the cancer of unbelief, while the congregation may be inclined to stay if not by habit, then by the bonds of tradition, the impact of time or some other irrelevant feature and focus.
armour of brazenness that tells the
Bible, the Lord and the world what it will, contrary to the Bible and to the
world, because it seems good. The "sanctions" of this or that society,
club, scientific programmatic philosophy such as organic evolution, all figure
here. This is science
(I Timothy 6:20-21 - picked long ago as a dynamic of delusion, by the inspired apostle, Paul); and it is a mere, contemptible prostitution of the real energies of science in the interests of foolish, fairy-tale beliefs which cannot even begin to stand up to rigorous, rational investigation (cf. Stepping Out for Christ Chs. 2, 3, 8, 9,10, Wake up World! Your Creator is Coming... Chs. 4, 5, A Spiritual PotpourriChs. 1-9, That Magnificent Rock Chs. 1, 8, SMR Ch.2).
Paul's words here need quoting: "O Timothy, Guard what is committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called science". In our day, some of this humanistically contrived irrationalism (cf. That Magnificent Rock Chs. 5,7), is not only a matter of "idle" babblings, but idol babblings, making "nature" into a spawning society (cf. Wake up World, Your Creator is Coming... Chs. 4, 5), for which it shows neither practically nor theoretically, the least aptitude. Information studiously keeps to its books, and declines to increase in nature. Only humanity increases its field, on this earth, by using ... intelligence.
Nor is this all. There is also lust or carnal desire for a unity of yet another kind.
Not only is there a 'sanctified lust' for something to love, whatever, as if God Himself were a mere irrelevance, or a word to be added like chopped chives to cheese: there is a yet more evacuated pretence, where even misplaced love yields to holy forms and formulae, coldly admired, like glass and steel architecture. Aptly for this kind of delusion, it despairs of any real divine power in the personal God, and can even reach the point of not believing in God at all, sometimes explicitly, just as for many here, the deity is rejected implicitly in the wash of their passing and undisciplined thoughts. This ? It is the religion of man making his religious architecture with words. What then is this ? It is ...
Highly conspicuous, it is the
matter of -
7) the manner, a matter of form. This is the religion of form which Paul predicted (II Timothy 3:5): as if ceremonial activities or mere moral aspirations (let alone self-congratulations) were in some way the same as faith, or as if the faith in an event executed by sinful man, even if ordered, is the same as glorying in the cross of Christ (Galatians 6:14), which is prescribed as the ONLY way (Galatians 1, 3), and constitutes an event of intense significance foretold for a millenium, executed by God. Indeed the significance also was foretold (Isaiah 40, 42, 49, 52-55).
THIS glorying is no mere form, but in addition to the provision of pardon, statedly involves the Christian being CRUCIFIED to the world and the world CRUCIFIED to the saint (all Christians are saints - Romans 1), who with Paul should be able to say,
THERE is unity (cf. The Kingdom of Heaven, Appendix, The Frantic Millenium and the Peace of Faith 11, Highway to Hell, in Barbs, Arrows and Balms 30). It is not however in form and manner, but in reality and faith.
None of this is the Biblical unity. When the Lord comes with all His saints as in Zechariah 14:5, Revelation 19, I Thessalonians 3:13, there will indeed be unity; but it is not this. With them is a unity of doctrine according to HIS word, for this is the UNITY such as HE enjoyed and enjoys with His Father, a unity in truth which HE is! "If they speak not according to this word, there is no light in them," assures the prophet Isaiah ( - cf. SMR Appendix D).
Here let us revise the point made in Bible Translations, in The Kingdom of Heaven Ch.9, from which we now quote, with some amplification:
Deuteronomy 33:2-3 gives a vitally interesting background to "all His saints", with whom Christ comes as shown in I Thessalonians 3:13, for what this phrase signifies in translation, in concept. The references in Revelation 19, where the saints are first shown arrayed as the bride in the costume which is precisely that of those who, after the marriage feast in heaven, accompany Christ, as He returns in triumph to the earth, have the significance of symbolic consistency: His raptured and received people are those who are His company.
In Zechariah 14:5 similarly we see Him come to earth with all His saints, while in Deuteronomy 33:2-3 we see a reference to His coming with ten thousands of saints, and immediately afterwards, a designation of "all His saints", which are so much the redeemed, as to be seen in this context:
"Yes, He loves the people;
All His saints are in Your hand:
They sit down at Your feet:
Everyone receives Your words.
Moses commanded a law for us,
A heritage of the congregation..." (bold added).
This is in precise accord and indeed striking accord with John 17 where the unity of the brethren is so INTENSELY and IMMENSELY desired,
- that the world might believe, and see
- that Christ was indeed sent from heaven, and
- that God has loved them as He loved His own eternal Word, incarnate as Christ (John -23,1-3, 1:1-4, -23).
This impactive parallel is the more obvious in this, that those concerned, in John 17, are a limited selection compared with the large number of nominal Christians: for they in fact are those of whom this may be said: "I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me" - John 17:8, and this: "the glory which You gave Me I have given them", with this great resultant desired, "that they may be one just as we are" - John 17:22 (bold added).
Comparing this with Deuteronomy 33, and 18:15ff. above, we see Christ as the greater than Moses, the One of "more glory than Moses" since "He who built the house has more glory than the house" and "He who built all things is God," while Christ has the place of "a Son over His own house, whose house we are", who are His (Hebrews 3). In this Christ is fulfilling His decisive role as acme and ruler, as designated and predicted in Deuteronomy 18, and Isaiah 55:4. It is He for whom many of the Jewish people of His day looked, wondering if Christ were "that prophet": though indeed many did not receive Him when He came. Indeed, they are those of whom this may be said: "If you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins" - John .
Hence those who accompany Christ as He comes in judgment to the earth, "all His saints", are converted, regenerated people having a spirit of oneness on the basis of a written word which is wholly endorsed, received, a Lord, living and changeless, who is truly acknowledged as deity and indwells them, whose blood covers (Isaiah 53), whose word rules (Matthew 28:20, 5:17-19) so that they not only believe it, but in obedience to Him, teach ALL that He has commanded, or forward the work of those who do. It is not just believing the book 'cover to cover', but counting on by faith, receiving what is in it: accepting its teaching.
THIS is the unity that counts!
While we must therefore seek unity with "all His saints", we must never make THEIR words a criterion, but HIS; and when, through deficiency of understanding, one is less aware than another of the meaning of His word, provided it is not gross and clear rebellion against what is written, a unity of heart can and should still be manifest beyond the imperfections of comprehension. Sometimes in this way, both learn! Nevertheless, where there is rebellion against the clear teachings of the Lord, there can in this case be no organic unity (see The Kingdom of Heaven, Ch.7).
It is then the faction of form, setting up a Babel of pretence, and living by something else, defective, deficient, delusive, undeclared, unrighteous, unauthorised, presumptuous (if you want to see the Bible on such subjects, read Jude and II Peter 2, Jeremiah 23 ..., and Matthew 23!).
'ALL HIS SAINTS' then both literally as to the people in view, in their integrity, and the primary background in Deuteronomy, include those who are called in Christ, who sit as His feet, receive His words, to whom He has imparted His Spirit (cf. Romans 8:6-9).
THE DIVISION OF 'UNITY'
Here we observe the fact that the spiritual and genuine unity though earnestly desired, is NOT to be confused with
It is none of these, but a unity in the word of God written, in the name of the word of God living, who has endorsed the former (Matthew 5:17-19) in stringent terms, just as did the prophets; whose error, if they were not authentic, but deceitful and not sent, was death.
There may be unity of a type: humanly contrived, not really arrived, with pride, power and lust the criteria, or the development of a race which can omit God, His word or Christ's work, or minimise it as in the Baptist case, according to report, in The Frantic Millenium and the Peace of Truth Ch.11.
In any event, such an approach as specified in that report is precisely what many unbelievers put forward, and the development of such attitudes is given attention in the Epilogue in Ch. 11. In short, to be so near to God that there is no real chasm, abyss, gulf of moral divergence, so near to the standards of Christ that it is only a matter of mere degree, between oneself and Him, so that He makes up that small difference in quality, is such a delusion for the flesh, which in fact cannot please God (Romans 8), CANNOT - categorically and without qualification, that the delusion of non-divorce, non-alienation is a lethal deviation from the sanctity of truth and the necessities of the Gospel.
It is, for example, versus Ephesians 4:17ff., 2:1-12, Galatians 3:1-14, Romans 3:19-28, as to the entire sacrificial system which Christ fulfilled, and to Hebrews, which notes that without blood there is no remission, and that the blood is for the redemption of transgressions - 9:6-28, Matthew 5:17ff.. Innovative self-remission of culpability before the unapproachable magnificence of divine standards as shown in Christ, is as fatal as flight without wings from a cliff. Indeed, it becomes just more one cliff over which the unwary ponderously pour themselves with vast self-assurance into the deep.
THEN, without the only Christ there is, who gave Himself a ransom for many, whose blood is shed for the remission of sins (Matthew 26:28), He having redeemed "in the body of His flesh through death" (Colossians 1:22), they are all, after all, divided as the air flows and the storms pulse, on the way down to the sea.
This one for his pride, that one for faith in
the flesh and so on, the miscarried fall without wings, their own words wholly
inadequate to prevent the disaster in the rocks of reality which are below.
Their false and formal unity is separated into the strands of the wreckage
wrought by ... truth! (cf. Romans 2, Proverbs 1:24-33).
THE UNITY OF THE BRETHREN
LET US CONSIDER THIS IN AN ANALOGY NOW
There is the question of standards. In architecture, there is the glass and steel structure, the Gothic beauty and solidity, the soaring wonder of the Renaissance modes, the flying buttress, the Greek column, the baroque: there is a wonder and a marvel of variety. Some want ONLY ONE, but they are wrong. There is the question of the PURPOSE, of the art, inspiration or utility of the body, it purpose for worship or self-aggrandisement, national aggrandisement, or the sheer expression of splendour, even indeed, for the enjoyment or stimulation arising from the spectacle of the spectacular. Apart from the underlying moral questions and criteria in these, there is the simple question of purpose, good or bad, but most varied.
Then there is the question of style. Just as inspiration has its vision, so style has its expressions.
In music it is the same: the tin whistle suffices for the representation of certain tunes; but it is not the same as the symphony.
Just the same is the case in literature, with this difference, that the expression is specific and distinct in verbal communication. The current inordinate preoccupation with the simple, scientific or descriptive precision, often without regard to the reductionist philosophies which make it so 'simple', is merely one of the moods and modes, the passions and fashions of humanity. The work of Carlyle is not gone because it has long sentences, nor for that matter, Milton or Thackeray - or Dickens, because he uses a plenitude and multitude of words. They have their place in the race.
What then of religion ? Here too there are varieties: woman abasing cruelties as often practised in the Moslem variety; vague and illogical abstractions as in the Hindu and Buddhist varieties, both associated with mysticism (cf. SMR pp. 993-1026). Then there is the 'Christian' radical, obsessed with a love which is divorced from the Creator and wants its own salvation to be without humiliation and with the spice of one's own design.
Again, we find the neo-evangelical, obsessed with forms, but forgetting practice, doing what one is told by the wisdom of man, being infilled with sociological, psychological splendour and philosophic deportment of the natural man, as if God were still a learner, and modern man, once again has it made. The predicted false prophets for our current era (cf. SMR Ch. 8, pp. 683ff.). It certainly makes fortunes for some, but it also makes rebellion against what differs from all the art cases above.
This ? It has its specific nose! God uses whatever form He pleases, but in the power, fact, the authority, the truth that matters, not the literary form is the crucial import! Thus a recruit analysing the form, the speech of the sergeant major, and comparing it with the literary forms of the poets, is likely to be given short shrift if he 'forgets' to DO IT! Is it because the human race is a veritable quagmire of deceit in so much, so often (as in Jeremiah 17:9, Ephesians 2, 4), that the obvious is never less clear than in 'religion'!
Then there is the simple cocktail variety. Shall we not, say some, then look on various religions, like swigs of brandy and now whisky, then a beer or two ? take a little drap of the one or the other; and while their presentation of their intentions may be more pompous, this is the sense. Mix the drinks of religion and stagger off. Stagger ? yes, the religions are in flagrant contradiction of one another in crucial regards (cf. SMR Ch 10, and pp. 43ff., 47ff.), just as the Canon Law of Rome. You simply grow confused with the profusion of things, if you try not to analyse what they are about, but to imbibe them all indifferently, and so come to resemble the man described in Proverbs 23:29ff. so tellingly!
The fundamental failure, therefore, of such an approach is simply that what man has said and what God Himself has elected to deposit with man, from Himself, have authors infinitely different in knowledge, power and purity. To mix the one with the other is rather like mixing the prattle of a two year old with that of an Einstein in mathematics. They BOTH use some sort of words, it may be, but the significations are not at all comparable.
Doubtless, for example, this is ONE of the reasons why the misuse of the biblical prescriptions about a particular form of worship (such as in 'tongues') which is drafted very low down in the list (I Cor. 14:19, and see Tender Times for Timely Truths Ch.9) are so abused, until what is a rebuke for formalism and presumption (A Question of Gifts pp. 29ff.) is turned, by some sort of social magic, into a ground of self-importance, of imaginary eminence or a unity across the board with other non-language performers, such as Romanists, so that the assorted and disparate realities become as sensible as a babble of school children who do not elect to listen to the teacher, but in incomprehensible gabble, concoct some plan of their own! Conspiring against the Lord (cf. Isaiah 29:12-14, Jeremiah 11:9-10) by direct and indubitable deviations from His directions both in their babbling modes and in their combinations against His word, they soon can come to share what they find in their prattle, and then decide, if possible, what is to be done. Of course, in the end, something would have to be done about the teacher, and this is what is seen in Revelation 19:19.
It is the Teacher Himself who will BY HIS WORD (cf. John 12:48-50) judge, and set in order the hideous vagrancies of professing zealots who use their zeal as a substitute for conformity to the word of God itself! (cf. Matthew 7:21). That many who take such liberties have no idea of their folly, having long since failed to assess all things by the word of God is eloquently shown in the verse 21 just noted, where such COME to the Lord and CLAIM marvellous performance in mighty works, only to be advised that He never knew them!
Thus the mixture method, though popular, is
polluted, fatally, far more than any Los Angeles or London ever was by gases of
this kind or that. it is mixture of the word of God with the psyche, the
desires, the lusts, the demands for false alliances, for intemperate actions,
for wise naturalisms, for political compromises, for social dalliances: anything
and everything except what is stated, ordered and required.
Woe to those who under pretence of unity, would wed it to philosophy (cf. Repent or Perish Ch. 5) or to the desires of flesh, man's prescriptions for man, which are about as wise as those of a two-year old when faced with the fact he has scarlet fever. He simply does not understand.
The word of God is wholly distinctive by all test as seen so often (cf. verification in SMR index), and is:
If you add to, subtract from or adulterate the word of a sovereign, you are just fine, provided you are his superior...
THIS is a first requisite for the unity of the brethren, and the love which the Father has for the Son, it is this love which is to be with them. Hence the brethren, so founded in the word, and on Christ, display in their understanding and restraint, their concern and, if need be, loving but incisive rebukes (cf. Galatians 2:11ff.), the wonder of the Lord. This is a unity to be practised, to be sought, with or without any organisational counterpart.
It is this which the saints find, in their hearts, in their yearning for one another in the Lord, and above all, for the Lord before anyone and anything (Psalm 73:25-26).
- It is Christ who is the acme, the test, whose words show the necessity of the written word, the sole authorised word of God to mankind in written form; and it is to and for Him that unity is expressed, as it has been expressed through all ages (cf. Broadbent whose work on the The Pilgrim Church, though not in all points to be admired, is suggestive and expressive on this point). It is not the unity of papal armies, as forbidden by Christ when He addressed Peter; or the unity of this world, under ITS OWN PRINCE (John 14:30), but a unity of spirit and heart based on the word and found in the body of Christ. It has Him as its Head, giving to it cohesion, coherence and concern, direction, integrity and impulsion.
It is this which transcends all the multiplying falsities which, unless it were true that the elect could not be deceived, would be bemuse and confuse and delude and destroy them so that they would be like children in a circus, wondering on what merry-go-round or big dipper to go next. This they might otherwise be, and not like children with the word of their actual father wisely enshrined in their hearts, without the qualifications of impudence or the disqualifications of rebellion. If this is fitting for the very young, it is much more so for those created by the Father of spirits, and then re-created in the mercy of redemption (Titus 3:5-7).
This then is a testimony to the faith which enables one -
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>to watch with awe and delight their sufferings (as in Fox's Book of Martyrs) and
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>to thrill at their audacity (as with Cranmer when his hand was FIRST burnt off because it had erred, contrary to the glory of the Lord, in a temporary retraction before the lusting powers of Rome, which did not hesitate to BURN him);
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>to delight
<![if !supportLists]>o <![endif]>in their compassion (as in Wilberforce and Shaftesbury in slavery deliverance and industrial amelioration),
<![if !supportLists]>o <![endif]>in their integrity (as with Abraham Lincoln), and
<![if !supportLists]>o <![endif]>in their sheer scientific delight in the works of the Lord (as in epochal scientists such as Newton, Faraday, Boyle, Maxwell, and a multitude of other or less notable contributors, who shone in their assurance that majesty controlled all things, and that the symbols and events were in inextricably glorious rational association, one Lord, maker of the minds of men and the world of events).
In sermons one can read such as Chrysostom, in theology Augustine, or the Puritans, from the early centuries of the church onward over thousands of years, and profit; and while we do not always see all things in common, their vigour and the expertise in so many things mark them as brothers; and with the beauties of the martyrs in their ranks and expeditions, excursions into truth in the very presence of lies, it is all one body, one Lord, one faith, though the adventurers into apostasy are numerous, the fraudulent imitators are legion and the false christs not a few.