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Show details for 1. What is the importance of self-control?1. What is the importance of self-control?
Hide details for 1. What is the importance of self-control?1. What is the importance of self-control?
Pr 25:28; 16:32; E112 ¶1; R2878 col. 1 ¶1, 2;

(Pro 25:28) He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.

(Pro 16:32) He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.

One of the chief battles of those who walk this narrow way is against self-will; to bring their wills into fullest subjection to the Heavenly Father's will, and to keep them there; to rule their own hearts, crushing out the rising ambitions which are natural even to a perfect manhood; quenching these kindling fires, and presenting their bodies and all earthly interests living sacrifices in the service of the Lord and his cause. These were the trials in which our Captain gained his victory and its laurels, and these also are the trials of his "brethren." "Greater is he that ruleth his own spirit [bringing it into full subordination to the will of God] than he that taketh a city:" greater also is such than he who, with a false conception of faith, would leap from the pinnacle of a temple, or do some other foolhardy thing. True faith in God consists not in blind credulity and extravagant assumptions respecting his providential care: it consists, on the contrary, of a quiet confidence in all the exceeding great and precious promises which God has made, a confidence which enables the faithful to resist the various efforts of the world, the flesh and the devil, to distract his attention, and which follows carefully the lines of faith and obedience marked out for us in the divine Word.

R2878 c1 p1,2
How, then, and against what shall we exercise our combativeness, that it may be well directed to the Lord's pleasement and in the service of his cause? We answer, that our combativeness is to be turned against sin, and that its first exercise must begin with ourselves: the battle with self is the greatest battle, and we have the Lord's Word for it that he that "ruleth his spirit (his own mind, will) is better than he that taketh a city," because he has to that extent learned to exercise the combativeness of a true character in the right direction, in self-control. It is after we have had considerable experience in battling with sin and selfishness in ourselves, in casting the beam out of our own eyes, in subduing anger, malice, hatred and strife in our own hearts and flesh--it is then, and by means of this severe battle and experience, that we will be prepared to assist the brethren, and to assist our neighbors in their difficulties--to help them to overcome their besetments and weaknesses.
Whoever starts out by fighting even the sins of others before he has made a vigorous campaign against his own weaknesses and errors, is making a mistake. He needs humility and sympathy to assist the others to fight their battles, and this he cannot gain without first battling with himself and learning to appreciate how strong is the foe to be contended with, and how thoroughly entrenched is sin and selfishness in all the avenues of the flesh. He even needs to be worsted in some of his battles with self in order to have a clear appreciation of his own inability to overcome and to force him to go to the throne of the heavenly grace to obtain mercy and find grace to help. He needs this because, as the Apostle says, it is when we are weak that we are strong; and when we are strong in our self-confidence, and therefore neglect to go to the Lord, then we are weak and liable to make failure in the battle, and to be overcome by the enemy--Sin.--`Heb. 4:16`; `2 Cor. 12:10`.

R2892, Subhead: for the victors are the rewards
Some may feel that if they thus sifted and tested and rejected all the untrue, the unworthy, the unjust, the impure and the unamiable thoughts presenting themselves, that they would have no topic left whereon to engage their minds, and this we believe would be true with a great many--their minds for a time would be quite vacant of thoughts, if all the evil and improper ones were rejected, banished; but by the time they would be in this attitude they would have such a "hunger and thirst after righteousness," truth, things lovely, things pure, things noble, that they would be in the right condition to receive the very spiritual food which the Lord has provided for them. There is one thing, and one thing only, which fully combines all of the above propositions, and demonstrates itself to be the one thing true, honorable, just, pure, lovely,--and that is, the divine character and plan. Let us think upon its various features. Let us study the divine Word and behold through it, as a telescope, the beauty of the divine character, the splendor of the divine plan, as revealed in God's Word and plan...whose length and breadth and height and depth no man can measure, and only the saints can comprehend by the holy spirit, and that in proportion as they receive of the holy spirit, the holy mind, the holy thoughts, replacing and displacing the unholy thoughts and sentiments of the natural man. (`Eph. 3:18`.) What a splendid premium the Lord thus places upon the study of his Word in the esteem of all who are of the class addressed by the Apostle in our text!
Such a ruling of the mind is a conquest; such a self-mastery is a victory; the greatest victory that can be gained. As the Scriptures declare, "He that ruleth his spirit [mind] is better than he that taketh a city." (`Prov. 16:32`.) And the prescription given by the Apostle in our text, for the mental health of the saints, is the very soul-discipline necessary to our development in character, to the degree pleasing to God and acceptable, through Christ Jesus our Lord. These are the victors to whom will be granted a share in the Kingdom. Ah, then, as the Apostle exhorts, "Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin that doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author of our faith" until he shall have become the finisher of it (`Heb. 12:1,2`); remembering that he who is on our part, and who has engaged to help us and to carry us through every difficulty, and to fully instruct us if we submit ourselves to him, and thus to "make us meet for the inheritance of the saints in light," is Jesus, --who loved us and bought us with his own precious blood.
Well do the Scriptures generally enforce the importance of guarding the mind, the will, the heart, saying, "Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life." Keeping it, to the saints now called and in the race, means life more abundant, with glory, honor and immortality. Neglecting it, refusing to exercise self-control, means the permission of selfish desires to be conceived in our brains, and to lead away from the Lord and his "narrow way" on toward sin, on toward the wages of sin-- death--Second Death.

Show details for 2. Is self-control necessary in the interest of others?2. Is self-control necessary in the interest of others?
Hide details for 2. Is self-control necessary in the interest of others?2. Is self-control necessary in the interest of others?
1Co 8:13; R3145 col. 1 ¶2 to end of article; R2199 col. 1 ¶1

(1Co 8:13) Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.

R3145 c1 p2 to end of article
The Apostle intimates that the majority of the Church had such knowledge as enabled them to discern that an image of wood or stone, being no god, could neither improve nor injure the food in any sense or degree; but that this knowledge did not necessarily mean a great growth in spirituality. A very small mite of soap will make a large air bubble; and so, a comparatively little knowledge might puff one up greatly, without any solidity of character. He points out the advantage, therefore, of measuring oneself by growth in love, rather than by growth merely in knowledge--though, of course, to be great in both knowledge and love would be the ideal condition. The same lesson the Apostle inculcates further on (`1 Cor. 13:2`) asserting "though I have all knowledge and have not love I am nothing." Knowledge without love would be an injury, and to consider it otherwise would imply that real knowledge has not yet been secured; but, says the Apostle, to the contrary of this, "If any man love God, the same is known to him,"--acquainted with him. We might have a great deal of knowledge, and yet not know God, and not be known or recognized by him; but no man can have a large development of true love in his character without personally knowing the Lord and obtaining the spirit of love through fellowship with him. Hence, the getting of love is sure to build us up substantially (avoiding the inflation of pride) in all the various graces of the spirit, including meekness, gentleness, patience, long-suffering, brotherly kindness, knowledge, wisdom from above and the spirit of a sound mind.

Having laid down this premise, the Apostle proceeds to build his argument thereon, and to show that although it is true, as claimed, that the idol could do no injury to the food, nevertheless with Christians love must have the last word on the matter. Love, after securing knowledge and liberty, will look about to see what effect the use of liberty might have upon others; and would perceive that by reason of differing conditions of mental strength, perception, reasoning faculties, etc., all could not have exactly the same standpoint of knowledge and appreciation of principles. Love, therefore, would forbid the use of knowledge and liberty if it perceived that their exercise might work injury to another.

True, there is only one God, and idols, therefore, are nothing as gods; nevertheless, the appreciation of idols as gods had become so ingrained in the thought of many that it would be impossible for them fully to divest themselves of some respect for the idols--impossible for them to eat meat that had been offered to idols without the feeling that in some sense of the word they had done wrong--had been contaminated or injured by the unholy associations. This would be true also of food offered to the heavenly bodies worshiped as gods--the sun, moon and stars.

Knowledge is beneficial;--"To us there is but one God, the Father;" of, or from whom, as the first cause or Creator, all things came, including ourselves; and there is one Lord, Jesus Christ, by, or through whom all things, including ourselves, have been brought into existence. The knowledge which would enable us to discern this matter clearly would assuredly be of advantage. But some dear brethren did not possess ability to reason clearly from this premise, and they had a claim upon their stronger brethren under the Law of Love.

We must pause a moment in our consideration of `vs. 6`, not because the Apostle's language is in any measure obscure; but because the Adversary seeks continually to wrest the Scriptures, and to misrepresent their plain teachings, and thus to mislead the Lord's flock. We refer to the false teaching abroad today, that this statement, "Of whom are all things," signifies that all the sin, all the wickedness, etc., of the world are from God; are his direct work, traceable to him as their author or fountain. Surely it is nothing short of blasphemy for anyone who has first tasted of the good Word of God, and been made a partaker of the holy spirit, thus to attribute to God the various evils which, throughout the Scriptures are uniformly condemned, and which God declares he will ultimately--"in due time"--destroy! The Scriptures are clear in their statement that "all his work is perfect;" that "God is not the author of confusion;" that "God tempteth no man," and is not in accord with any suggestion to the effect that evil may be done so that good results may follow. (`Deut. 32:4`; `Rom. 3:8`; `1 Cor. 14:33`; `Jas. 1:13`; `1 Pet. 3:11`.) It is in full agreement with the declaration that "all his work is perfect," that having made Satan a perfect being, as also he made our race perfect, representatively in Adam, God has not hindered his free moral agents from taking a course of sin in violation of his commands. His wisdom and power are such that he will eventually bring a blessing out of these evils to those who are not in sympathy with them, but the evils themselves, yea, and "all the wicked, will he destroy."--`Psa. 145:20`.

The Apostle proceeds in his argument to show that it is not the food that we eat that makes us acceptable to God, neither our abstaining from any particular food. Our relationship to God is that of the New Creation, a heart relationship; and the blessing which the Lord gives us is as newly begotten children,--not along the lines of the flesh, but along the lines of the spiritual and heart development, which shall ultimately be perfected in the resurrection.

True, "whom the Son makes free is free indeed," and we all should "seek to stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ makes free;" but it is also true that we need to be on guard lest we use our liberty in such a manner as would stumble others more weak than ourselves, --not so able to use the liberty of Christ discriminatingly. The liberty wherewith Christ makes free may be viewed from two standpoints: if it gives us liberty to eat without restraint, in a manner that the Jews were not at liberty to eat, it gives us liberty also to abstain;--and whoever has the spirit of Christ and is seeking to follow in his steps has already covenanted to the Lord to use his liberty, not in the promotion of his fleshly desires, ambitions and appetites; but in self-sacrifice, following in the footsteps of the Master, seeking to lay down his life, even, on behalf of the brethren --for their assistance. How different are these two uses of liberty! Its selfish use would mean self-gratification, regardless of the interests of others; its loving use would prompt to self-sacrifice in the interests of others.

But why?--what principle is involved that would make it incumbent upon one whose conscience is clear to consider the conscience of another? Why not let the person of the weak conscience take care of his own conscience, and eat or abstain from eating as he felt disposed? The Apostle explains that this would be all right if it were possible; but that the person of weaker mind, feebler reasoning powers, is likely to be weaker in every respect and, hence, more susceptible to the leadings of others--into paths which his conscience could not approve, because of his weaker reasoning powers or inferior knowledge. One might, without violation of conscience, eat meat that had been offered to idols, or even sit at a feast in an idol temple, without injury to his conscience; but the other, feeling that such a course was wrong, might endeavor to follow the example of his stronger brother, and thus might violate his conscience, which would make it a sin to him. Every violation of conscience, whether the thing itself be right or wrong, is a step in the direction of wilful sin--it is a downward course, leading further and further away from the communion and fellowship with the Lord, and into grosser and grosser transgressions of conscience and, hence, possibly leading to the Second Death. Thus the Apostle presents the matter: "For through thy knowledge he that is weak perisheth, --the brother for whose sake Christ died."

The question is not, Would it be a sin to eat the meat offered to idols? but, Would it be sin against the spirit of love, the law of the New Creation, to do anything which could reasonably prove a cause of stumbling to our brother;--not only to the brethren in Christ, the Church, but even to a fellow-creature according to the flesh?--for Christ died for the sins of the whole world. It is a very serious crime against the law of love and against the Lord's injunction, to cause one of his brethren to stumble (`Rom. 14:13,21`; `Matt. 18:6`), but it would also be a crime in his sight for us to stumble others,--to hinder them from becoming brethren, and of the household of faith. Hence, it is clear that although knowledge might remove all prohibition of our consciences and all restraints of our liberty, yet love must first come in and approve the liberty before we can exercise it. Love places a firm command upon us, saying,--Thou shalt love the Lord with all thine heart, and thy neighbor as thyself. Love, therefore, and not knowledge, not liberty, must finally decide every question.

Let us take our stand with the Lord, and determine that so far from using our liberties in any manner that might do injury to others we will refuse so to use them; and will rather sacrifice them for the benefit of others;--even as our Master, as our Redeemer, gave all that he had. Let us adopt the words of the Apostle in the last verse of this lesson, and determine once for all that anything that would injure a brother we will not do--any liberty of ours, however reasonable in itself, that would work our brother's injury, that liberty we will not exercise; we will surrender it in his interest; we will sacrifice it; we will to that extent, on his behalf, lay down our life for him.

There is, perhaps, occasionally a danger of misapplication of this principle; as, for instance, the Doukhobors might say to us, We regard that it is wrong to eat any meat and wrong even to use the skins of animals for shoes, and you are to condescend to our weak consciences in this matter, and ought not to eat meat or wear shoes either. We answer that that is not a similar question to the one which the Apostle has explained in which we should surrender our liberties. On the contrary, the Word of the Lord and the customs of society are all opposed to these bewildered people, and to yield to their mental unbalance on this question would be to assist them in a wrong direction. Our abstaining from eating meat or from the wearing of shoes would in no sense of the word help them to better views; nor does our eating of meat or wearing of leather in any sense of the word interfere with their consciences. Other brethren have an antipathy to the use of instrumental music in the worship of God, as there used to be people who objected to having meeting places heated and provided with comfortable seats. These may sometimes abuse the Apostle's argument, claiming that their consciences are injured by the liberties of the brethren; and that such liberties should be abridged in their interest. Our answer to them must also be,--that they misapply the Apostle's argument: it is not his meaning that the Lord's people are to favor the mental crotchets of each other in such a manner as would be to the general injury of the Church. Superstitions are not to be encouraged in the Church, nor its spiritual advantages and liberties sacrificed on account of them. Nevertheless, love must always have a voice in all of the affairs of the Lord's people; and even such as would mistakenly impose upon their brethren upon the score of weakness, should be treated with love, and their objections, etc., should be reasoned upon. They should see that they have full liberty to do any and everything that the Lord requires of them, abstaining from every appearance of evil, and that their brethren should be accorded the same privileges. If they cannot conscientiously sing with instrumental music or sing hymns, let them keep silence, or for the time do their singing at home. Praising God with instruments is a very different question from eating in an idol's temple.

A somewhat similar question to this one which the Apostle decided, may come before us today in respect to attendance at public worship in the nominal churches, Protestant and Catholic--including the propriety of partaking of the "sacrament" or the "Mass." On such a question each has personal liberty; each should be fully persuaded in his own mind, and follow the direction of his own conscience. In our judgment it would be a much more serious offense to partake of the Mass in Roman Catholic, Greek Catholic or High Episcopal Church services, than to sit in an idol temple and partake of the foods offered to the idols; because the Mass is particularly an abomination before the Lord. (`Heb. 7:25`; `10:14`.) As respects participation in the Lord's Supper, as observed by the majority of Protestants: We could see no harm in this of itself;--those participating might intelligently reverence and worship God in such a manner, even though realizing the inappropriateness, according to the Scriptures, of such a celebration. We would, however, think that a regular participation in the services of Babylon and in her misinterpretation of the Lord's Supper would be reprehensible; --injurious to our own spiritual progress, and dangerous also in the stumbling of some weaker in their discernments. Our advice, therefore, would be that on the one hand we do not feel such a restraint that we would fear to enter a nominal church building to hear a service there; and on the other hand that we do not seem to give our assent to their errors by regular attendance and participation--except at such meetings as would afford us full opportunity for the presentation of the truth.

Another illustration of this principle in our times, is found in the liquor question. There will be no dispute that it would be wrong for any man to get drunk --to lose his senses, and additionally to render himself liable to do injury to others, and surely to dishonor his Creator. The question of liberty comes in only in respect to the use of liquors in such a manner as would work no dishonor to God and no injury either to ourselves or to our neighbors. All recognize the fact that intoxicating liquors are a dangerous temptation to the world in general, and our suggestion to the brethren who feel that they have full power of self-control in the use of liquors, is that they apply the argument of the Apostle in this lesson, and determine whether they could not more honor the Lord and help those who are weaker than themselves by using their liberty in the direction of total abstinence,--sacrifice of rights,--rather than by using it in moderate drinking.

So far as we are able to discern, intoxication is one of the most terrible evils scourging our race at the present time. Many are so weak through the fall, by heredity, that they are totally unable to resist the control of intoxicants, if once they yield to them. Is it too much to ask of those who have consecrated their lives to the Lord, to righteousness and to the blessing of others, that they should deny themselves in this matter, and thus lay down some liberties and privileges in the interest of the brethren, and in the interest of the world in general?

Similar arguments might be urged respecting the use of tobacco, cards and the various implements which the Adversary uses in luring mankind into sin. The whole, be it noted, is the argument of love. In proportion as we grow in the graces of our Lord, in his spirit of love, we will be glad, not only to put away all filthiness of the flesh for our own sakes, and to be more like the Lord, but also, at the instance of love, we would desire to put away from us everything that might have an evil influence upon others, whatever we might consider our personal liberties to be in respect to them.

Our Golden Text is in place here--it appeals to all who have become new creatures in Christ Jesus. "Let us, therefore, follow after the things which make for peace"--for the blessing of others and for our own blessing and upbuilding as new creatures in Christ, members of his body.

R2199 c1 p1

To fail to have this love and this active, self-sacrificing consideration for the welfare and conscience of a weaker brother, the Apostle declares would not only be a sin against the brethren and wound their consciences, but a sin also against Christ--against the very spirit of his law of love one for the other. How nobly the Apostle sums this matter up when he declares that as for himself, if he found it necessary, in order that he might be a help to the brethren, and not a stumbling block to any, he would take pleasure in denying himself, not only the meat offered to idols, but all meat of every kind, as long as he lived. Paul thus manifested the true spirit of brotherly love; and every follower of the Lord Jesus Christ should seek to have this same spirit and sentiment active in all their intercourse with each other.

Show details for 3. Are we to be ‘temperate in all things’?3. Are we to be ‘temperate in all things’?
Hide details for 3. Are we to be ‘temperate in all things’?3. Are we to be ‘temperate in all things’?
1Co 9:25; R2155 col. 1 ¶4; R2119 col. 2 ¶2 to end

(1Co 9:25) And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.

R2155 c1 p4

The third addition, self-control, is one of the most important elements of good character. He that ruleth his own spirit is greater than he that taketh a city, is the counsel of the wise man; and many a victorious general has yet to learn to conquer and control himself. Self-control has to do with all our sentiments, thoughts, tastes, appetites, labors, pleasures, sorrows and hopes. Its cultivation, therefore, means a high order of character-development. Self-control, accompanied by faith, fortitude, knowledge from on high, implies increased zeal and activity in divine things and increased moderation in earthly things, in judgment, in conduct, in the regulation of temporal affairs, etc. "Let your moderation be known unto all men."

R2119 c2 p2 to end

The Apostle's declaration, in the lesson before us, is an illustration of the right spirit concerning every such question. If our neighbors meet in worship on the first day of the week, because they believe it to be the command of God, our liberty can be just as fully exercised meeting on the same day; not from a sense of obligation, not under law, but in the full enjoyment of the liberty wherewith Christ makes free. Indeed, we can enjoy the day very much more when we realize it as a liberty and privilege rather than as a duty and command. Yet there are trifling liberties which we should yield; for instance, our neighbor, thinking that he is under the Jewish law, might consider the driving of a tack to be a violation of the day of rest. We who know that we are not under the law but under grace, realize that no sin would be committed in driving a tack; but nevertheless we can well and properly set aside our liberties in that matter and conform and cooperate in the maintenance of the peace and quiet of the day. Indeed, we realize that the mistake of our friends is in many respects a blessing and a mercy to us. For if many appreciated the matter as we do, as a liberty and privilege and not as a law of God, quite probably a majority would pay no respect whatever to the day, and very soon it might be as other days. We are very glad, therefore, that a day for rest and quiet and study and meditation on holy things is set aside by the laws of the land in which we live. But even if we saw no reason whatever for observing the day, the fact of its legal secular appointment is a sufficient ground for abstinence from earthly labors. But on the contrary we see the wisdom of having a day for special fellowship in spiritual things and the day adopted by early Christians is eminently proper. The opening day of a new week symbolizes our new rest, new hopes and new life--all of which spring from the resurrection of our Lord.

We advise those who are seeking to walk in the "narrow way" to follow the Apostle's counsel and example closely, and while realizing themselves free in Christ to make themselves servants unto all--"doing good unto all men as we have opportunity, especially to the household of faith."

The Apostle was not moved to this abrogation of his own liberties from any selfish motives, but by his love of the gospel and his desire to supply to others its blessed healing balm, which had come to his own spirit. Wherever the spirit of Christ is, this spirit is received; and if developed it will manifest itself sooner or later by this disposition of self-negation in the interest of other--especially in spiritual interests and affairs.

(`24-27`) The Apostle would have us see that while we are granted liberties in Christ, nevertheless the essence of Christian teaching is to deny ourselves the use of those very liberties. As slaves of sin we were set free in order that we might become the voluntary bond-servants of righteousness--serving with self-sacrifice "even unto death." The Jews, as a house of servants under Moses, were bound as servants by rigorous laws, the meaning and object of which were not even explained to them. But the house of sons, of which Christ is the Head, is left free from any law, except the one--to love God with every power of being and our neighbor as ourself. But this very liberty, which is granted to us on the one hand, is the greater trial on the other hand. It leaves with us each the responsibility of proving our love to God and to his cause and to his people, and our sympathy for the world, by the extent to which we are willing to abandon our liberties for these--as their servants.

The Apostle illustrates this by the Olympic games of his day, prominent amongst which was foot-racing. Racers were set free to run, so we as Christians are set free from the law that we may run our race and win the great prize; but he that complies with certain recognized conditions, and "so runs," shall be crowned an overcomer.
Consecrated Christians have entered the lists, to run the great race for the prize of our high calling in Christ Jesus--the prize of joint-heirship with him in the kingdom of glory, to be established at his second coming. We start on our race course not aimlessly, not hopelessly, not simply for the sake of denying ourselves, not to do penance for sins, nor simply for the sake of developing character; but the Lord has graciously arranged the matter so that we will have a grand and noble incentive to self-denial. The prize at
the end of the race is his "Well done, good and faithful servant;" and to the faithful little flock "the crown of life" and the glory of the Kingdom. Therefore we are not running uncertainly, doubtfully, not knowing what the prize will be, for we are instructed by the Lord's own words.

The Apostle points out in this connection that if we hope to be overcomers and approved of the Lord we must be moderate, temperate, self-denying in all things. This he emphasizes in verse twenty-seven. It is not only necessary that our whole being should be consecrated to the Lord at the beginning of the race, but it continues necessary all along the way, that it shall be continually subject to the new mind, the mind of Christ, which is to dwell in us richly and abound. Otherwise, if we allow the old, fallen nature to rise up and hinder the new mind, the mind of Christ in us--if we permit the will of the flesh thus to come into control again, we may count the race as ignominiously terminated and ourselves as "castaways;" because the mind of the flesh leads to death, but the mind of the new spirit of life in Christ, by which we are begotten through the Word of truth, leads to life everlasting, and through faithfulness to eternal glory.

Show details for 4. Does self-control imply purification of the thoughts and intents of the heart?4. Does self-control imply purification of the thoughts and intents of the heart?
Hide details for 4. Does self-control imply purification of the thoughts and intents of the heart?4. Does self-control imply purification of the thoughts and intents of the heart?
1Jo 3:3; R2517 col. 2 ¶3( 1), 4; R2890, Subhead: THE CONTROL OF THOUGHT

(1Jo 3:3) And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

R2517 c2, p3(1), 4

(1) "He that hath this hope in him purifieth himself even as he [the Lord] is pure."--`1 John 3:3`.

The hope mentioned is that we have been adopted as sons of God, with the promise that if faithful we shall be like him and see him as he is and share his glory. As our minds and hearts expand with this hope and we begin to measure its lengths and breadths, its heights and depths, it surely does set before us the Heavenly Father's love and the Redeemer's love in rainbow colors and we more and more love the Father and the Son because they first loved us. The divine form of love becomes more and more our ideal; and as we seek to reciprocate it and to copy it, the cleansing and purifying of our hearts follows: for looking into the perfect law of liberty--Love--we become more and more ashamed of all the meanness and selfishness which the fall brought to us. And, once seen in their true light as works of the flesh and of the devil, all anger, malice, wrath, envy, strife, evil-speaking, evil-surmising, backbiting and slander become more and more repulsive to us. And finally when we see that such as to any degree sympathize with these evil qualities are unfit for the Kingdom and to every good work worthless, we flee from these evils of the soul as from deadly contagion. Our hearts (wills, intentions) become pure at once and we set a guard not only upon our lips but also upon our thoughts-- that the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts may be acceptable to the Lord.

R2890, Subhead: the control of thought

Some are inclined to believe that since man's brain differs from each other man's brain to some extent, therefore his thinking must necessarily be different; in a word, that a man can only think in harmony with his brain construction. But we reply, Not so; each may learn to weigh and balance his own thoughts, to curb some and to encourage others; but to do this each must have before him an ideal of character, to be copied. Thoughts can be controlled just as words and actions can be controlled: the will is at the helm, and must decide which thoughts and sentiments it will entertain and encourage, and which it will repel. It is necessary, therefore, first of all for the will to be rightly directed, and secondly, to be strong, and to use its power in the control of thought; --in curbing those thoughts which it recognizes as evil, and in stimulating those which it recognizes as good, helpful, beneficial. The will, in Scripture called the "heart," is therefore continually appealed to by the Lord, as he now seeks amongst men for his "peculiar people." The message is, "My son, give me thine heart"--thy will. This request is not addressed to wilful sinners, for they are not recognized or addressed as sons of God, but as children of the Evil One. Those whom God recognizes as his sons are such as have been brought into harmony with him through forgiveness of sins, by repentance and faith in Christ Jesus, the Redeemer. It is to such that the Lord makes known that if they would "go on to perfection"--to the full attainment of his gracious purposes respecting them, the only proper course would be to give their hearts, their wills, to him in consecration.

The heart, the will, thus given over to God, seeks to know the divine will, to catch the divine thought and to obey it in word and in act; and in proportion as this condition of the new mind is attained, in that same proportion will there begin to be a newness of life in every respect; in ambitions, hopes, sentiments, and efforts. It is for this reason that the revelation of the divine will and plan is furnished to believers --that by growing in the knowledge of it, by thinking on these things, by filling the mind with the divine plan and will, the transforming influence may extend into every avenue of life.

Show details for 5. Does temperance or self-control apply to our language?5. Does temperance or self-control apply to our language?
Hide details for 5. Does temperance or self-control apply to our language?5. Does temperance or self-control apply to our language?
Jas. 1:19, 26; Col 4:6; Ec 5:2; R2355 col. 1 ¶3; R2447 col. 2 ¶1

(Jam 1:19) Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:

(Jam 1:26) If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain.

(Col 4:6) Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

(Ecc 5:2) Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.

R2355 c1 p3

Temperance, self-control, in the Christian, is applicable to all the affairs of life; he is to be temperate in his language, not given to exaggeration or misrepresentation, better or worse than the facts; his yea is to be yea, and his nay, nay. He is to speak forth "words of soberness," and even if it be necessary to speak in correction or reproof, he is to be temperate, making sure that he speaks the truth in love, and not in severity or bitterness. His speech is to be with grace--seasoned with the saltness, the preservative quality, of his consecration to Christ,--for is he not a part of the "salt of the earth?"

R2447 c2 p1

But of all our members the most influential is the tongue. The tongue's influence exceeds that of all our other members combined: to control it, therefore, in the Lord's service, is the most important work of the Lord's people in respect to their mortal bodies and the service of these rendered to the Lord. A few words of love, kindness, helpfulness,--how often have such changed the entire course of a human life!--nay; how much they have had to do with moulding the destiny of nations! And how often have evil words, unkind words, slanderous words, done gross injustice, assassinated reputations, etc.!--or, as the Apostle declares, "set on fire the course of nature"--awakening passions, strifes, enmities, at first unthought of. No wonder he declares such tongues "set on fire of Gehenna" --the Second Death!

Show details for 6. Does self-control extend to business affairs?6. Does self-control extend to business affairs?
Hide details for 6. Does self-control extend to business affairs?6. Does self-control extend to business affairs?
1Ti 6:10; R2355 col. 1 ¶4

(1Ti 6:10) For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

R2355 c1 p4

The Christian's temperance is to extend to his business. He is to be moderate in his aims and ambitions, in his money-getting and money-saving. He is to remember that under the Lord's call the riches which he seeks for are heavenly and not earthly, and that the Master says, "How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the Kingdom." Christian moderation, then, will seek first the Kingdom of heaven, esteeming that its attainment would be great riches, and cheaply bought, even at the cost of earthly welfare, riches and comforts.

Show details for 7. Why is temperance necessary in our eating and drinking?7. Why is temperance necessary in our eating and drinking?
Hide details for 7. Why is temperance necessary in our eating and drinking?7. Why is temperance necessary in our eating and drinking?
1Co 10:31; R2355 col. 1 ¶5

(1Co 10:31) Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

R2355 c1 p5

The Christian should be temperate in his food-- his eating, as well as his drinking. As he has consecrated himself and all that he has to the Lord, is it not, therefore, a part of his bounden duty to obtain from life the largest possible yield to the Lord's glory? Must he not, therefore, consider what and how much he shall eat, to the intent that he may render to the Lord his largest, his best, service? This will mean self-denial, self-control, for the appetite of food, as well as the appetite of drink, is considerably depraved in all. True, gluttony will not rob one of his senses, and make him crazy, as will spiritous liquors, yet overeating does frequently, to a considerable extent, sap the energies of the mind, or by over-stimulation weakens them. Thus many are weak and sickly through self-gratification in the matter of food as well as drink. Temperance, self-control, is the command of the Lord to all such;--not that it will benefit the Lord, but that thus we may build up proper characters,--loyal to that which is right, good, reasonable, proper.

Show details for 8. Should we be temperate in our joys as well as in our sorrows?8. Should we be temperate in our joys as well as in our sorrows?
Hide details for 8. Should we be temperate in our joys as well as in our sorrows?8. Should we be temperate in our joys as well as in our sorrows?
R2355 col. 1 ¶6, col. 2 ¶1; R3530 col. 1 last ¶

R2355 c1 p6, c2 p1

The Christian should be temperate in his joys. He should not set his chief affections upon the earth, or earthly things--pleasure, wealth, influence, popularity, etc. He is to remember that very much of the present order of things is wholly contrary to righteousness, and he is to seek to use even approved things of this world temperately, utterly rejecting those things which are contrary to righteousness, truth, goodness, purity: he is to find his pleasure in another quarter-- in serving righteousness--in the service of the Lord, in the Word of the Lord, in the promises of the Lord, in the spirit of the Lord.

The Christian is to be temperate in his sorrows. He "sorrows not as others who have no hope," but he believes that Jesus died for the sins of the whole world, that he rose again in order to justification of those who believe and obey him, and that either now or in the age to come all mankind shall have a full opportunity to know of divine grace, and to accept and share therein, under the terms of the New Covenant. Thus may the Christian, living up to his privileges under divine grace, be temperate in his sorrows:--

R3530 c1 last p

The tear of sympathy is not to be understood as a sign of weakness. Our Master's tears proved this, and additionally we have his exhortation that we should be moved with a sympathy for others in their sorrows as well as in their joys. He himself has bidden us weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. The cold, stoical hearts which neither weep nor rejoice are not after the fashion of our great Pattern. Let us be more and more like to him and permit our sympathies to have some reasonable measure of expression. Nevertheless let us remember that great wailing and weeping are not appropriate to us, for, as the Apostle says, "We sorrow not as others who have no hope;" our blessed hope, confidence and trust moderate our expressions of both earthly sorrows and joys as well.

Show details for 9. Is it possible to be intemperate in studying the Scriptures and in attending religious meetings?9. Is it possible to be intemperate in studying the Scriptures and in attending religious meetings?
Hide details for 9. Is it possible to be intemperate in studying the Scriptures and in attending religious meetings?9. Is it possible to be intemperate in studying the Scriptures and in attending religious meetings?
F319 ¶1; F503 ¶1


Our fourth proposition: Growth in knowledge is very liable to detract from devotion--strange as it may appear that it should be so. We find our capacities so small, and our time for religious things so limited, that if attention be energetically directed in one channel it is apt to lead to dwarfing in other directions. The Christian is not to be all head and no heart, nor all heart and no head. The "spirit of a sound mind" directs us to cultivate all the fruits and graces which go to round out and complete a perfect character. The tendency of our day in all matters is in the opposite direction --to specialize. One workman does this part, another workman that part; so that now very few workmen understand a trade in full as in former times. The New Creature must resist this tendency, and must "make straight paths for his feet" accordingly; lest while cultivating one element of grace he falls into danger through the lack of the proper exercise of another God-given faculty or privilege.


If the wife be a member of the New Creation and the husband have the spirit of the world, and they be well mated, the problem will similarly be comparatively easy of solution. The noble-minded husband, even though worldly, will recognize the conscience of his wife in its moderate exercise; and his desire to provide for her mental and moral and spiritual opportunities, as would be his duty as a husband, would give to her all that she could desire as a wife except the desire for spiritual companionship in her husband. To such a noble-minded man as we are discussing, his wife's faithfulness to the Lord, and to himself in all of life's duties, might eventually be blessed by bringing about the husband's consecration to the Lord. The wife might have good desires and ambitions in respect to temporal or even to religious matters which her husband might not be able to appreciate, however noble a natural man he might be. In such case she should consider the counsel of the Lord to his people, to be moderate in all things; she should consider her husband's general liberality, and while not compromising any matter of conscience or principle, she should remember that amongst her wifely duties, recognized by the Lord, is one requiring her to give her husband a measure of her companionship. This might, not improperly, hinder her from attending some of the meetings of the Church; but she should beware lest in her desire to please her husband she should violate her conscience and hinder her responsibilities and obedience to the Lord, her Heavenly Bridegroom. She should remember his injunction that we should not forget the assembling of ourselves together. All we are urging here is that she exercise moderation, consideration for her husband, etc., so that she might divide the time to some extent with him, giving him a reasonable share of her company.

Show details for 10. What is the relation of the ‘new will’ toward the control of the flesh?10. What is the relation of the ‘new will’ toward the control of the flesh?
Hide details for 10. What is the relation of the ‘new will’ toward the control of the flesh?10. What is the relation of the ‘new will’ toward the control of the flesh?
1Co 9:27; F600 ¶1; F488 ¶2; F489 ¶1; R2878 col. 1 ¶3, 4;

(1Co 9:27) But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.


But although the old will was thus renounced thoroughly and forever, and declared dead (by the Lord and by all who view matters from his standpoint), and while the flesh was reckoned dead, too, as respects sin, but alive toward God, quickened by the promises, and brought under the control of the new will (Rom. 6:11; 8:11), nevertheless this death of the flesh and its will, and this resurrection of the flesh as the servant of the new will, to serve the Lord, the Truth, under the Golden Rule, are only reckoned matters. The "dead" and "alive" conditions need continually to be maintained by opposition of the new will to any life or activity of the old will and its influence over the flesh. If the new will becomes indifferent and fails to use the mortal flesh continuously as its servant in higher and spiritual things, the flesh will very shortly reassert itself and have motions and desires of its own, antagonistic to the new mind, opposed to the interests of the New Creature. The latter must, therefore, be constantly on the alert for insurrections, and, as the Apostle expresses it, must keep down, keep dead, the old will, with its affections and its desires--must continually mortify, or put to death, the ambitions and desires of the flesh. The Apostle explains this, saying of himself, "I keep my body under [dead, as respects all control from the old, selfish will of the flesh], lest after having preached to others I myself should become a castaway"--might fail to make my calling and election sure. 1 Cor. 9:27


In view of these facts it will be readily seen that the new will has an arduous task before it: (1) To please God in the accomplishment of the sacrifice of the flesh; (2) to discern distinctly which appetites and demands of the fleshly relationship should be considered and allowance made for them; (3) to what extent these demands and concessions may properly be made without infringing upon and invalidating the covenant--which is unto life or unto death-- "For if we live after the flesh we shall die; but if through the Spirit we do mortify [kill] the flesh we shall live"--eventually attain perfection in the resurrection. Here arises another difficulty. The flesh does not voluntarily die: it must be put to death by the will, the mind, the New Creature; and so, finding that there are certain allowances to be made, according to the will of God, the flesh is very apt to take advantage of these allowances, and to claim not only greater allowance than the "things needful," but also liberties and rights along lines which are not obligations, and which would be interferences with the covenanted sacrifice.


These endeavors of our mortal bodies, sometimes to excuse sin and sometimes to avoid sacrifice, cause the New Creature frequent perplexity, and not infrequently temporary stumbling; until gradually he learns more and more of the deceptiveness of his own flesh and of its weaknesses, and gradually grows in grace and in the wisdom which comes from above, and obtains more and more of a mastery in keeping the body "under"--in subjection to the new mind. (1 Cor. 9:27) Thus, by bitter experience often, the New Creature learns to appreciate the declaration of the Lord's Word, that the natural heart, the will of the flesh, although slain, and not in any sense of the word in control, is "deceitful above all things" and, sometimes, "desperately wicked," and desperately in earnest in its endeavor to overthrow the rule of the new will, and thus to destroy the New Creature-- to the intent that the old creature may revive, and walk after the flesh, and not after the Spirit.

R2878 c1 p3,4

All those who have had any experience in the matter, and who have learned how and where to direct their combative energies, find that there is full scope for the exercise of every particle of combativeness he possesses. (1) In himself, continually; as the Apostle expressed it, "I keep my body under, and bring it into subjection; lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway" (`1 Cor. 9:27`). O, how much of energy and how much persistency in fighting the good fight of faith, and of loyalty to the Lord, is needful in the conquering of self--"bringing every thought [and so far as possible, every word and act] into captivity to the obedience of Christ" (`2 Cor. 10:5`). Plenty of room here for combativeness; plenty of room for all the contention and wrangling we want;--contention with sin and self-will, wrangling with the will of the flesh and opposing it at every step--mortifying it, killing its affections and desires. No wonder the Apostle speaks of these present experiences as a fight; no wonder he tells us that we must be prepared to endure hardness as a good soldier of the Lord Jesus Christ.

(2) As soon as the victory over self has been gained, and as soon as the new mind has put a garrison in every quarter of the conquered body, to guard it from rising in insurrection, to hold it in subjection to the King of kings and Lord of lords--forthwith all the remaining energies that can be spared from self-control will find ample opportunity for usefulness in battling for the Lord, battling for the brethren, battling for the truth, battling against error, battling against all the wiles of the devil, "for we are not ignorant of his devices," as the Apostle declares.

Show details for 11. What is the duty of the Church toward those ‘new creatures’ who are lacking in self-control?11. What is the duty of the Church toward those ‘new creatures’ who are lacking in self-control?
Hide details for 11. What is the duty of the Church toward those ‘new creatures’ who are lacking in self-control?11. What is the duty of the Church toward those ‘new creatures’ who are lacking in self-control?
F148 ¶2; F149 ¶1; F150 ¶1; F289- 292;


Another class of the consecrated, but spiritually diseased, needs consideration. These, apparently justified by faith and sincere in their consecration, seem to make little or no progress in controlling their flesh. Indeed, in some instances, it would appear that their faith in God's goodness and mercy, removing the brakes of fear, have left them rather more exposed to temptation through weaknesses of the flesh than they were at first--when they had less knowledge of the Lord. These have experiences which are very trying, not to themselves only, but to the entire household of faith with whom they come in contact; their lives seem to be a succession of failures and repentances, some along the lines of financial inconsistencies, others along the lines of moral and social delinquencies.


What is the remedy for this condition of things? We answer that they should be distinctly informed that the New Creation will not be composed of those who merely covenant self-denials and self-sacrifices in earthly things and to walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit; but of those who, because of faithfulness in the willing endeavor to keep this covenant, will be counted overcomers by him who readeth the heart. They should be instructed that the proper method of procedure for all the consecrated is that, being made free by the Son, they should be so anxious to attain all blessings incident to divine favor, that they would voluntarily become bond-servants--putting themselves under certain restrictions, limitations, bondage, as respects their words, their conduct, their thoughts--earnestly desiring of the Lord in prayer the aid he has promised them, expressed in his words to the Apostle, "My grace is sufficient for thee; my strength is made perfect in weakness." Each time they find that they have transgressed they should not only make amends to those injured, but also make confession to the Lord, and by faith obtain his forgiveness--they should promise greater diligence for the future, and should increase the limitations of their own liberties along the lines of weakness ascertained by their latest failure.


Here we remark, however, that so long as they give evidence of repentance for their wrong course and a desire of heart to go in the right way and of continued faith and trust in the Lord, they must be esteemed as brethren--however necessary it may be to restrict fellowship with them until they have given some outward, tangible demonstration of the power of grace in their hearts in the restraint of their fleshly weaknesses. Nevertheless, they are still to be encouraged to believe that the Lord is very merciful to those who trust him and who at heart desire his ways, although they cannot be encouraged to expect that they could ever be counted worthy of the overcoming class unless they become so earnest in their zeal for righteousness that their flesh will show some considerable evidence of its subjection to the New Mind.


Discipline in the Ecclesia --Matt. 18:15-18--

The administration of discipline is not the function of the elders only, but of the entire Church. If one appears to be in error or in sin, his supposed wrong should be pointed out to the erring one only by the one he has injured, or by the member first discovering the wrong. If the reproved one fails to clear himself, and continues in the error or sin, then two or three brethren without previous prejudice should be asked to hear the matter and advise the disputants. (Elders they may or may not be, but their eldership would add no force or authority in the case except as their judgment might be the riper and their influence the more potent.) If this committee decide unanimously with either party, the other should acquiesce and the matter be wholly at an end--correction, or restitution, so far as possible, being promptly made. If either of the original disputants still persists in the wrong course, the one who made the original charge or one of those called in committee or, preferably, all of these together, may then (but not sooner) exercise their privilege of bringing the matter before the Ecclesia, the body, the Church. Thus it is evident that the Elders were in no sense to be judges of the members--hearing and judgment were left to the local body, or Church.

The two preliminary steps (above mentioned) having been taken, the facts being certified to the elders, it would be their duty to call a general meeting of the Ecclesia, or consecrated body, as a court--to hear the case in all of its particulars, and in the name and reverence of its Head to render a decision. And the matter should be so clear, and the condemned should have such generous treatment, that the decision would be a unanimous one, or nearly so. Thus the peace and oneness of the body (the Ecclesia) would be preserved. Repentance even up to the moment of the Church's condemnation is possible. Nay, to secure repentance and reform is the very object of every step of these proceedings--to reclaim the transgressor; his punishment not at all the object. Punishment is not ours but God's: "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord." (Rom. 12:19) Should the wrongdoer repent at any step in this proceeding, it should be a cause of thanksgiving and rejoicing to all who possess the Lord's Spirit, and no others are members of his body. Rom. 8:9

Indeed, even if the transgressor refuse to hear (obey) the decision of the entire Church, no punishment is to be inflicted or even attempted. What then? Merely the Church is to withdraw from him its fellowship and any and all signs or manifestations of brotherhood. Thenceforth the offender is to be treated "as a heathen man and a publican." Matt. 18:17

At no time in these proceedings are the faults or failings of the offender to be made public property--scandalizing him and the Church, and the Lord, the Head of the Church. Nor is he to be harshly spoken of even after the separation; just as we are not to berate, or rail against, heathen men and publicans, but are to "speak evil of no man" and to "do good unto all men." (Titus 3:2; Gal. 6:10) Love is the quality which insists on the strictest obedience to these last two requirements to "all men": how much more will love insist that a "brother," a fellow-member in the Ecclesia, the body of Christ, shall not only not be injured by false or garbled statements, but that additionally, his weaknesses or blunders or sins be carefully covered, not from the unsympathetic world only, but also from "the household of faith" and from even the Church--until the final step of "telling it to the Church" should be found absolutely necessary. At every step the spirit of love will hope that the wrongdoer is laboring under some misapprehensions, and will be praying for wisdom and grace to turn a sinner from the error of his way and thus (possibly) to save a soul from death. James 5:20

Oh, that the holy Spirit, the spirit of love, might dwell in every member of the Ecclesia so richly that it would give pain to hear a defamatory tale about any one, and especially about a fellow-member! This would at once eliminate one-half the friction, or more. Nor would the following of the above procedure, outlined by our Lord, lead to frequent church trials: rather, while removing the ground for animosities, it would inculcate a respect for the judgment of the Church as being the judgment of the Lord, and the voice of the Church would be heard and obeyed accordingly. Furthermore, with order and love thus prevailing we may be sure that each would seek as far as possible to "mind his own business" and not attempt to reprove his brother or correct him, or bring the matter before a committee or the Church, unless the matter were one of some importance as concerned himself or the Church or the Truth.

Unquestionably, the majority of the Church troubles (and society and family troubles as well) spring not from a desire to wrong, nor even from a wrong unintentionally committed, but from misunderstandings and, at least, partial misinterpretations of intentions or motives. The tongue is the general mischief-maker; and it is part of the spirit of a sound mind, therefore, to set a guard upon the lips as well as upon the heart, from which proceed the ungenerous sentiments which, the lips expressing, set fire to evil passions and often injure many. The New Creation--the Church-- has strict instructions from their Lord and Head on this important subject. His spirit of love is to fill them as they go alone, privately, to the injuring person without previous conference or talking with anyone. They go not to make him (or her) ashamed of his conduct, nor to berate him or otherwise punish, but to secure a cessation of the wrong and, if possible, some recompense for injury already received. Telling others of the wrong, first or afterward, is unkind, unloving --contrary to the Word and Spirit of our Head. Not even to ask advice should the matter be told: we have the Lord's advice and should follow it. If the case be a peculiar one, the wisest of the elders should be asked for advice along the lines of a hypothetical case, so as not to disclose the real trouble and wrongdoer.

Unless the trouble is serious, the matter ought to stop with the personal appeal to the erring one, whether he hears or forebears to hear--to yield. But if the second step be deemed necessary, no explanation of the trouble should be made to those asked to confer until they gather in the presence of the accuser and the accused. Thus slanderous "talk" will be avoided and the committee of brethren will come to the case unbiased and be the better able to counsel both parties wisely; for the trouble may be on both sides, or, possibly, wholly on the side of the accuser. At all events, the accused will be favorably impressed by such fair treatment and will be much more likely to yield to such counselors if his course seems to them also to be wrong. But whether the one deemed by the committee to be in error shall yield or not, the whole matter is still strictly private, and not a mention of it should be made to anyone until, if thought sufficiently important, it is brought before the Church, and passed upon finally. Then for the first time it is common property to the saints only, and in proportion as they are saints they will desire to say no more than necessary to anyone respecting the weaknesses or sins of anybody.*

In carrying out the findings of the Church court, the matter rests with each individual; hence, each must discern the justice of the decision for himself. The penalty of withdrawal of fellowship is designed to be a correction in righteousness, and is of the Lord's prescribing. It is to serve as a protection to the Church, to separate those who walk disorderly, not after the spirit of love. It is not to be esteemed a perpetual separation, but merely until the reproved one shall recognize and acknowledge his wrong and to the extent of his ability make amends.

*Additionally see Chap. ix--"If thy brother trespass against thee."

Show details for 12. Why is self-control an essential qualification in an Elder ?12. Why is self-control an essential qualification in an Elder ?
Hide details for 12. Why is self-control an essential qualification in an Elder ?12. Why is self-control an essential qualification in an Elder ?
Ti 1:7, 8; F251 ¶2; R2157 col. 1 ¶1; F249 ¶2; R2447 col. 2 ¶2; R2654 col. 1 ¶6

(Tit 1:7) For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not self-willed, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;
(Tit 1:8) But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;


We read, "Let the elders that rule well be accounted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in word and doctrine." (1 Tim. 5:17,18) On the strength of these words the nominal church has built up a class of Ruling Elders; and has claimed for all elders a ruling or authoritative, if not a dictatorial, position amongst the brethren. Such a definition of "ruling" is contrary to all the presentations of the Scriptures on the subject. Timothy, occupying the position of a general overseer, or Elder, was instructed by the Apostle, saying, "Rebuke not an Elder, but exhort him as a brother," etc. "The servant of the Lord must not strive, but be gentle toward all men." Nothing here, certainly, would sanction an autocratic ruling, or dictatorial bearing--meekness, gentleness, long-suffering, brotherly-kindness, love, must be prominent qualifications of those recognized as elders. They must in every sense of the word be ensamples to the flock. If, therefore, they should be dictatorial, the example to the flock would be that all should be dictatorial; but if they should be meek, long-suffering, patient, gentle and loving, then the illustration to all would be in accordance therewith. A more literal rendering of the passage under consideration shows it to mean that honor should be given to the elders in proportion as they manifest faithfulness to the responsibilities of the service they have accepted. We might, therefore, render the passage thus: Let the prominent elders be accounted worthy of double honor, especially those bending down through hard work in preaching and teaching.

R2157 c1 p1

In the choice of leaders for meetings the "tongue" qualification, as here laid down should not be overlooked. The fiery tongued should not be chosen, but the meeker, the moderate, who "bridle" their tongues and endeavor carefully to "speak as the oracles of God" only. Such tongues constrain, while others more frequently wound and repel. The Word of the Lord is quick and powerful and sharp and cuts "to the heart" without bitter and acrimonious and uncharitable human expletives to enforce it. Hence the divine instruction that we "speak the truth in love."


They should be generous men, men of pure lives, having no more than one wife; and if they have children it should be noticed to what extent the parent has exercised a wholesome influence in his own family--for it should reasonably be judged that if he has been derelict in his duty toward his children, he probably would be unwise or derelict in his counsels and his general ministries amongst the Lord's children in the Ecclesia, the Church. He is not to be double-tongued or deceptive, not to be a brawler or a contentious person. He should be one of good reputation amongst those outside the Church: not that the world will ever love or rightly appreciate the saints, but that the world should, at least, be unable to point to anything derogatory to their character as respects honesty, uprightness, morality, truthfulness. There is no limitation made respecting the number of elders in a Church or Ecclesia.

R2447 c2 p2

The public servants of the Church are to some extent specially its "tongues," and what an influence they wield for good or for evil, in the blessing and upbuilding of the Lord's people, or for their injury--cursing! How necessary that all the tongue-servants of the Lord's Body be such, and such only, as are of his spirit! Their influence not only extends to those who are in the Church, but in considerable measure they are mouthpieces heard outside. And the same principle applies to every individual member of the Church, in his use of his member, his tongue. He may use it wisely or unwisely, with heavenly wisdom or with earthly wisdom. He may use it for strife, and tearing down the faith and character of the brethren, in overthrowing love and confidence, or he may use it in building up these graces of the spirit. How many have proved the truth of the Apostle's words, that the tongue has great possibilities, either for defiling the whole body, the Church, and setting on fire the course of nature, by stirring up the evil poisons and propensities of the fallen nature! How few amongst the Lord's people have conquered the tongue to the extent of bringing it into subjection to the will of God, that they may minister good, and only good, to all with whom they come in contact! Let us, dearly beloved, be fully resolved that by divine grace (promised to assist us) the present year shall witness great progress in our control of this most important member of our bodies, bringing the same into full subjection and obedience and service to the King of kings and Lord of lords--to him who hath called us out of darkness into his marvelous light.

R2654 c1 p6

Where these speak, all of the body of Christ are to give attention to hear. Where these are silent, no one has authority to speak. And while an Elder should be chosen to the position of serving and feeding the flock because of special aptness to teach (to point out the instructions of our Lord and the apostles upon any subject), and while such an Elder should, therefore, in this way be specially helpful to the body of Christ in drawing the attention of all to the inspired authority of the Word, nevertheless any member of the body of Christ has the same privilege--not of exercising authority, but of calling the attention of his fellows to the Word of authority. The Apostle exhorts the Elders that so far from in any manner or degree exercising a lordly or authoritative position in the Church, they should rather be "ensamples to the flock." They should be examples in the matter of meekness, in the matter of patience, in the matter of brotherly kindness, in the matter of courtesy, so that the more any of the brethren would copy these Elders the more would the spirit of the Lord prevail in the flock, and the fruits and graces of the spirit be manifested. On the contrary, we know that if the Elder or leader of a little company of the Lord's people be self-assertive, dogmatic, imperious in manner, tone or look, the effect upon the company under his influence is to produce bickerings, rivalries, ambitions, strifes as to who is greatest, etc.

Show details for 13. Why is it important that parents exercise self-control?13. Why is it important that parents exercise self-control?
Hide details for 13. Why is it important that parents exercise self-control?13. Why is it important that parents exercise self-control?
Col 3:21; F526 ¶1; F527 ¶1; F528 ¶1, 2; F530 ¶1, 2

(Col 3:21) Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.


It is scarcely necessary to admonish the New Creation that they should not use angry or harsh words to their children; for such know that language of that kind is improper to any one under any circumstances. On the contrary, their "speech should be with grace," with love, with kindness, even when reproving. Nor is it necessary to suggest to the class we are addressing the impropriety of a hasty blow, which might do injury to the child not only physically-- perhaps permanently injuring its hearing--but also wound its affections, develop in it a fear of the parent instead of love, which should be considered the only proper groundwork on which the obedience and order of the home are built. Furthermore, the hasty blow or cutting remark would be wrong, would indicate a wrong condition of mind on the part of the parent--a condition unfavorable to a proper, just decision of the matter along the lines of the Law of Love. The parent owes it to himself as a part of his own discipline, as well as to his child, that he shall never inflict a punishment which he has not sufficiently considered, and coolly and dispassionately found to be not more, but less, than justice might properly demand. He owes it to himself also that the child shall fully understand the situation, the necessity for the preservation of order in the home, that the happiness of the home may continue to the blessing of all its inmates; that the child understand thoroughly also that the parent has no anger toward him, no malice, no hatred, nothing but sympathy and love and the desire to do him good.


Many parents forget to look backward and to note at how early an age they themselves learned to appreciate principles of righteousness--to appreciate the parental care which neglected not to reprove, to correct, and even to chastise as seemed necessary. Let us recall, too, how keen was our sense of justice when we were children--how we mentally approved parental discipline when we understood its motive to be for the development of character, but how we resented it if we did not see a principle of justice, if we were reproved or otherwise punished for things of which we were not guilty, or if we were punished beyond a reasonable chastisement comporting with the offense. Not only is it the best and surest way of controlling a child thus to direct its mind along the lines of right and wrong, truth and falsehood, justice and injustice, but this constitutes also a training of the child in character, when it is most susceptible to parental influence. It is character-building at a time when the conscience and judgment of the child are in their formative condition, and when it properly recognizes the parent as its sole lawgiver. If this work of character-building be ignored in infancy, the work is many times more difficult in future years, besides the disadvantages that will accrue both to parent and child and neighbors and friends in the interim.


It is all-important, then, to notice that the training of a child does not consist solely in teaching it respecting its outward deportment in politeness, cleanliness, obedience, etc., but further, and indeed chiefly, in the establishment of right principles in the heart--proper recognition there of the mind of the Lord as being the only standard of living, both for old and young. The Golden Rule, the Law of Love, of generosity, meekness, patience, gentleness, forbearance, should be inculcated as respects the child's relationship to other members of the family, to playmates, etc. The child that is taught to be selfish, or one whose natural selfishness is not brought kindly to his attention (though not in the presence of others) and lovingly reproved and corrected, is missing a most important lesson at the most opportune moment.

The parent who neglects such an opportunity for giving instructions and corrections of the mind and judgment, as well as of outward conduct, is not only missing the most favorable opportunity in respect to his child, but is allowing weeds to grow in the heart garden where only the graces of the spirit should grow; and is thus laying up more or less of trouble for himself in dealing with that child throughout future years. Many of the heartaches and tears of well-intentioned parents over the waywardness, wilfulness, selfishness and "wild oats" of their children might have been spared them had they done their duty by those children in infancy. Furthermore, such parents lose a great blessing in their own experiences; for it is undoubtedly true that the parent who is properly training his child in unselfishness, love, obedience, reverence to God, helpfulness to his fellow-creatures, etc., etc., will be getting valuable experiences for himself--growing in grace, growing in knowledge and growing in love, while endeavoring to teach these principles to his child. He will learn, too, that the child will expect to find him illustrating in his daily conduct and in his relationship to God and to the members of his family, and to his fellowmen, the principles he seeks to inculcate in others. This will make him the more careful of his own words, his own conduct; and such carefulness, such circumspection of all the little affairs of life, public and private, will assuredly develop in such a parent more and more of the graces of the Lord's Spirit, thus making him more and more acceptable to the Lord, and preparing and perfecting him for the Kingdom.


Contrast such a home, with its sweet odor of love, kindness, patience, gentleness, with the home in which the Lord's Spirit is not manifested--the home in which selfishness is the law, in which the child notes the quarrels between the parents, and how each seeks his own at the expense of the other, in which the child hears little but chiding, complaining, faultfinding, angry words, harsh sounds, etc. These become contagious amongst the children, and they in turn quarrel over their little affairs, speak angrily to each other, and keep the household in perpetual turmoil. The continued practice of selfishness in the home develops this organ in the mind and in the conduct of the child.

If in an angry voice the parent calls it "a little rascal," and the feelings of the child, at first hurt by such reflections against its character, become toughened, it gradually learns to glory in being a little rascal. When first it hears the angry and impatient mother exclaim, "I'll thrash you within an inch of your life!" or "I'll break your back!" no doubt there is a measure of terror conveyed by the words to the heart of the child, but it is not long in learning that these are idle threats, from which it has comparatively little to fear; and gradually as it learns that the civil laws of the land would not permit the parent to do it serious violence, the childish mind concludes that the parent had the will to do it evil, but simply lacked the liberty. From such a little mind much of the original instinct of love is driven out. It finds its parent equally untruthful in respect to promises-- that the promises are frequently given without the slightest intention of their fulfilment. Thus the child is taught to lie, to threaten, to promise, to deceive others in respect to its real intentions. Is there any wonder that such a child grows up a hard character? The wonder, rather, is that between the bad training, the indifferent training and no training at all the civilized world is not a great deal worse than it is.

Show details for 14. How can suggestion be applied in teaching children self-control?14. How can suggestion be applied in teaching children self-control?
Hide details for 14. How can suggestion be applied in teaching children self-control?14. How can suggestion be applied in teaching children self-control?
F551 ¶1 to 554

F551:1 to 554

The same method should be adopted in the guidance of the child's dietary in sickness or health. Never should the child have aches or pains suggested, for the mind will almost certainly fasten upon these and tend to aggravate any weakness or pain, nor should aches and ailments be made the topic of conversation--especially not at table, where every thought and influence should be cheerful, healthful. The good suggestion should be given early and be oft repeated: "Is my little boy feeling happy this morning? Does he love papa and mamma and sister and brother and doggie? Yes, that's right--I thought so! Is he hungry for some nice breakfast?--some nice porridge with sugar and milk and cracker and bread and butter and jam? Now we must remember not to eat any cucumbers today--nor unripe apples; these give my little boy the stomachache. Instead we will have something else for him specially good for him. Won't that be nice? There will be corn on the table today, but that would not be good for my little man, and so when the dish passes he will say, 'No, thank you!' He wants to be well and strong as God wants him to be and as papa and mamma desire to see him. That will be a good lesson in self-denial, too, and papa and mamma will take pleasure in seeing their little boy (or girl) learning this great lesson, so necessary to true manhood and womanhood. God wants all Christians to practice self-denial in respect to sins and in respect to everything which would hinder his cause in any degree. And even worldly people all recognize that the person who is a slave to his appetites is pitiably weak and unmanly or unwomanly. Now papa and mamma will be watching to see how strong is the will power of their little boy and we feel sure he will succeed bravely." How highly God appreciates self-control is shown by the Scripture statement, "Better is he that ruleth his own spirit [will] than he that taketh a city." Prov. 16:32

On moral questions lessons by suggestion are equally potent for good or evil. Let us do evil, is a powerful incentive to evil deeds. Let us do good, is a powerful incentive to well-doing. Hence the right and the wrong, the true and the false, the noble and the ignoble, should be frequently appealed to every day, in everything--the true, noble and right being shown in their true grandeur, as approved not only by our Lord and Creator, but also by the noblest and best of men and women, whom alone we should emulate. The child-mind, thus taught early and persistently to admire the noble and the true, has a bulwark reared in his mind against mean and dishonorable conduct in general. If never sanctified by the Truth, if never begotten of the Spirit, he has deeply laid the character needful to noble manhood or womanhood, and if sanctified and begotten of the Spirit, he or she will have the larger opportunities for successful service, both in the present and the future life.

In the event of the child's disobedience and hence its need for reproof or correction, it should be admonished from the standpoint of sympathy and confidence in its good intentions. "I know that my little girl whom I love so much and endeavor continually to make happy, and to train as the Lord would approve, did not willingly disobey me. I am sure this disobedience was rather the result of following the example of others and not sufficiently exerting her will to do as mamma told her to do. I believe that this time I shall forgive you and not punish you at all, except that tonight I will give you no good night kiss--just to impress the matter upon your mind, my dear. Now you'll try still harder next time to exercise self-control and do as I direct--won't you, dear? I am sure you will!" Next time take the matter still more seriously, but never question the child's proper desires or intentions. "I am so sorry that my little daughter failed again. I do not doubt your good intentions, dear, but I am sorry to see that you do not exercise your will power in the matter as I am sure you could do, and as I earnestly hope you will do in the future. It is necessary, my child, that I do my duty toward you and punish you, though it would be far more to my pleasure to commend you. I trust I may soon be enabled to rejoice with you in your victory over this besetment. The matter affects far more than is directly involved in the disobedience; it affects your entire future, for if you do not now learn to say 'No' to temptation you will fail also in the more important and weighty questions of life as they present themselves in the future. But I am confident that my love and confidence and instructions will yet bear fruit. And remember, my child, that our very defeats, as in this case of yours, may become helps to us, if we but set our wills the more firmly for the right. We learn to be specially on guard at points where we find by experience that we are weak. Let us bow before the Lord and ask his blessing, that this failure may be a profitable lesson, and ask his assistance in laying it to heart, that your conduct may be more pleasing to him when next you are assailed by temptation."

All suggestions should take into consideration the Lord-- "The fear [reverence] of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." Scripture text cards in every room in the house should continually remind parents and children and visiting friends that the Lord's will is the only standard recognized, that the Lord is cognizant of all our doings and affairs, and that God is "for us," his newly begotten ones, and for all who are seeking righteousness in humility.

Show details for 15. How can we cultivate self-control?15. How can we cultivate self-control?
Hide details for 15. How can we cultivate self-control?15. How can we cultivate self-control?
R3273 col. 1 ¶2, 3; R2355 col. 2 ¶3
(a) By prayer- F149 ¶1, 2
(b) By study of the Word- R3090 col. 1 ¶1, 6, 7
(c) By being filled more and more with the holy Spirit- R3070 col. 2 ¶1, 2; E252 ¶2; E260 ¶2, 3
(d) By fasting- R2260 col. 2 ¶3

R3273 c1 p2,3

As we look at the world of which we once were a part, "Children of wrath even as others," we see that all of its strife is for some purpose. The politician strives for emoluments and sometimes for honor; the merchant strives for affluence and wealth; the struggles in the social arena are for place and influence. These are their prizes, and in their efforts to attain their ideals many are the sacrifices that are endured, many are the risks that are run, many are the night vigils and careful plans and schemes and plottings. Nevertheless, few of those who strive ever attain to their hearts' desires. The prize eludes their grasp; and the more fortunate ones who do grasp the prizes find that there is much bitterness connected with the success, much disappointment as to the real pleasure accompanying them. The Apostle compares these earthly ambitions of the world with the higher ambitions of the soldiers of the Lord's army. He points out that those who strive in earthly matters, either as race runners or as prize fighters in any department of the strife of earth, put themselves to certain tests of patience, endurance and self-denial in their endeavors to attain their ambitions; and he indicates that much more the soldiers of the cross should highly esteem the great prize for which we are called to fight the good fight--the prize of life eternal. The Apostle says, "Every man that striveth is temperate in all things: now they do it to attain a corruptible crown [reward], but we an incorruptible."

These who strive for earthly prizes do so in the face of much uncertainty. Every politician admits the strong probability of his defeat; every one who seeks wealth will acknowledge a strong probability that he will fail in his fight for it; but not so with the soldiers of the cross. The prize is not only superlatively great and grand and incorruptible, but it is a certainty, as the Apostle adds, "I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air." We know that faithfulness as followers of our Captain will bring results not only blessed to ourselves, but results which will be under the Lord's providences a blessing to all the families of the earth. It is in view of this certainty on our part as to the results and the grandeur thereof that the Apostle intimates that we, as soldiers of the cross, should be willing to endure much greater hardness and self-denial and buffeting for the sake of the cause we represent than would those who strive for the earthly crowns and prizes. And if they practice self-denial and disciplines late and early, in season and out of season, when convenient and when inconvenient, whether of food and drink if preparing for some physical contest, or of comforts and conveniences and pleasures if for political or business contests, much more should we not be slothful in our business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord, fighting the good fight of faith, laying hold on eternal life as a sure thing, not an uncertainty. The Apostle applies this thought too, saying, "I keep my body under [its ambitions, appetites, desires], and bring it into subjection [to the new mind]: lest by any means when I have preached to others I myself should be a castaway [rejected from being a member of the little flock]."-- `1 Cor. 9:25-28`.

R2355 c2 p3

There is need for this temperance, moderation, self-control, and its accompanying spirit of kindness and gentleness everywhere; in the shop, in the store, in the schoolroom, in traveling, in visiting, at home with the various members of the family,--and above all, in the Church, the household of faith, the family of God. It will help us in cultivating this Christian temperance in all things to remember that we are the representatives of God and of our Lord Jesus Christ in the world. We are his ambassadors, and as such our lives of temperance and godliness, or of intemperance and ungodliness, are living epistles, known and read of all men with whom we come in contact. It is a part of our bounden duty, day by day, to see to it that not only the thoughts of our hearts, but also the words of our lips and all the acts of life are acceptable in the Lord's sight, and showing forth the praises of him who called us out of darkness into his marvelous light.

(a) By prayer –


What is the remedy for this condition of things? We answer that they should be distinctly informed that the New Creation will not be composed of those who merely covenant self-denials and self-sacrifices in earthly things and to walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit; but of those who, because of faithfulness in the willing endeavor to keep this covenant, will be counted overcomers by him who readeth the heart. They should be instructed that the proper method of procedure for all the consecrated is that, being made free by the Son, they should be so anxious to attain all blessings incident to divine favor, that they would voluntarily become bond-servants--putting themselves under certain restrictions, limitations, bondage, as respects their words, their conduct, their thoughts--earnestly desiring of the Lord in prayer the aid he has promised them, expressed in his words to the Apostle, "My grace is sufficient for thee; my strength is made perfect in weakness." Each time they find that they have transgressed they should not only make amends to those injured, but also make confession to the Lord, and by faith obtain his forgiveness--they should promise greater diligence for the future, and should increase the limitations of their own liberties along the lines of weakness ascertained by their latest failure.

Thus watching and praying, and setting guards upon the actions and words of life, and bringing "every thought into captivity" to the will of God in Christ (2 Cor. 10:5), it will surely not be long until they can assure themselves and the brethren also respecting the sincerity of their hearts, and walk in life so circumspectly that all may be able to discern, not only that they have been with Jesus, but also that they have learned of him, and have sought and used his assistance in gaining victories over their weaknesses. The cases of such brethren or sisters would come under the head of what the Apostle terms "walking disorderly"--not after the example of the Lord and the apostles. In another chapter we will see the Lord's direction respecting the manner in which those weak in the flesh and who bring dishonor and discredit upon the Lord's cause should be treated by the brethren.

(b) By study of the Word –

R3090 c1 p1,6,7

To such a virtuous character we are counseled to add knowledge--the knowledge of God's character, that we may the more thoroughly imitate it, and of his truth, that we may more fully conform to its teachings: and to knowledge, temperance--moderation, self-restraint, in all things. "Let your moderation be known unto all men." We are not to be hasty and hot-tempered, or rash and thoughtless. But we should strive to be evenly balanced, thoughtful and considerate: our whole manner should be characterized by that carefulness which would indicate that we are ever mindful of the Lord's pleasure, of our responsibility to him as his representatives, and of our influence upon our fellow-men, to see that it always is for good, never for evil.

Peter indeed describes a most amiable character, but who can consider it without feeling that to attain it will be a life-work. It cannot be accomplished in a day, nor a year, but the whole life must be devoted to it; and day by day, if we are faithful, we should realize a measure of growth in grace and of development of Christian character. It is not proper that we know the truth, and are contented to hold it in unrighteousness. We must see to it that the truth is having its legitimate and designed effect upon the character. And if the truth is thus received into good and honest hearts, we have the assurance of the Apostle that we shall never fall, and that in due time we shall be received into the Kingdom of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Hence we see the necessity of ever keeping the instructions and precepts of the Lord fresh in our minds, and of drinking deep into its inspiring spirit, although we are already established in the faith. To be established in the faith is one thing, but to be established in Christian character and in all the graces of the spirit is quite another.

(c) By being filled more and more with the holy Spirit –

R3070 c2 p1,2

Having so entered, the Apostle now urges that we be filled with the Spirit of Christ, that we may not be led by the desires of the flesh away from God and from the course which he has marked out. Then the body, the human nature, must be kept under the control of the new mind, the spirit of Christ in us. Its ambitions and hopes and desires must be kept down; and the only way to do this is to keep filled with the spirit. "Walk in the spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the desires of the flesh."--`Gal. 5:16`.

If we are filled with the spirit--with the same mind that was in Jesus Christ--we will act from the same motives: it will be our meat and drink to do the Father's will. We will engage in his work because we love to do it, even aside from the inspiring prize at the end of our course. Christ was so full of sympathy with humanity, and so thoroughly of one mind with the Father, that he could not do otherwise than to devote his life to the good of others. Yet in all his labors he strictly observed the divine plan. Though, like the Father, he loved the whole world, he did not go beyond Israel to bless the Gentiles with his ministry, because the appointed time for that work had not yet come.


The question arises, How or wherein does the impartation of the holy Spirit to the Christian serve to repair his judgment, and become to him the Spirit of a sound mind? We answer that the divine mind is perfect, "sound," and consequently to whatever extent Christians are able to set aside their own minds or judgments, on any or all matters, and to accept instead the divine mind, will, judgment, for the control of their lives, to that extent they will have the spirit or disposition of a sound mind--God's mind. We do not mean by this that the brains of Christians undergo a change or a reversal of the order of nature in their operation, but that under the guidance of the holy Spirit, the Spirit of the Truth, such learn gradually to rectify the errors of their own judgments in respect to all the various questions which come before them, to harmonize with the teaching of the holy Spirit through the Word of God. To illustrate: suppose we had a clock, a poor timekeeper, and without means for regulation; suppose also that we had access frequently to a chronometer of absolute correctness, which showed us that our clock lost thirty minutes every twenty-four hours, we would learn how to correct it, by resetting every twenty-four hours. Moreover, we would learn also how to estimate its error at any point in the day. So with our judgments, and the various matters and affairs of life: when we measure them with the perfect standard, we find that we are either too fast or too slow, too weak or too strong, in our mental and physical emotions. And while we are quite unable to alter our methods of thought and action so as to have them perfect and in full accord with those of our Lord Jesus, our standard, nevertheless we are enabled to regulate our thoughts, our judgments, according to the standard which is before our minds, in a way and to a degree which those who have not this perfect standard, or who are not seeking to be regulated by it, will neither appreciate nor be able to copy.


In proportion as he develops in this holy Spirit of his adoption, a "new creature in Christ Jesus," he becomes, through its operation, gradually more patient, more sympathetic, more generous, more loving--more Godlike. And these benevolences of character will affect not only the outward acts of his life, but also his words and his thoughts. In proportion as his holy Spirit discountenances a dishonorable or dishonest action, in the same proportion it discountenances a dishonorable or a dishonest word, in respect to friend or neighbor or enemy; and similarly it discountenances the slightest injustice or unkindness of thought to any of these.

The Spirit of a sound mind will therefore gradually but surely make the husband a better husband, the father a better father, the son a better son, the wife a better wife, the mother a better mother, the daughter a better daughter. It will do this, because the basis of thought and word and conduct has changed from selfishness to love. The one possessed of this Spirit of a sound mind, the holy Spirit, the Spirit of love, will, in proportion as he comes into possession of it, be less touchy in respect to his own rights, privileges, preferments, and more considerate for the rights and feelings and preferences of others. The will of the Lord must, of course, stand first, but next to pleasing the Lord he will take pleasure in pleasing others with whom he may come in contact, especially those of his own family: and in harmony with this desire to serve and to please the Lord first, and then the Lord's family, and all men as he may have opportunity, his thoughts will operate, his words be guided and regulated, and his conduct shape itself.

(d) By fasting –

R2260 c2 p3

Fasting is proper enough when intelligently done and from a right motive, but it is certainly worse than useless when done as a formality or ceremony, or to be seen of men, that they might think us holy. Fasting is specially commendable to the Lord's people at times when they find themselves lacking in spirituality and exposed to severe temptations from the world, the flesh and the devil; for by impoverishing the physical force and vitality, it may assist the full blooded and impulsive to self control, in every direction. We believe that a majority of Christians would be helped by occasional fasting,--a very plain diet for a season, if not total abstinence. But fastings, to be seen and known of men or to be conjured up by our own minds as marks of piety on our part, would be injurious indeed, and lead to spiritual pride and hypocrisy which would far outweigh their advantages to us in the way of self-restraints.

Show details for 16. What other most important grace will naturally be developed by attaining a large measure of self-control?16. What other most important grace will naturally be developed by attaining a large measure of self-control?
Hide details for 16. What other most important grace will naturally be developed by attaining a large measure of self-control?16. What other most important grace will naturally be developed by attaining a large measure of self-control?
R2355 col. 2 ¶2; R2037 col. 1 ¶7

R2355 c2 p2

This quality of temperance, once attained, will manifest itself also in kindness, and in patience. The Christian who has developed in self-control is the one who will be the most patient with the unwilling, unintentional faults and frailties of others: he will be ready to restore the repentant ones, remembering himself also, lest he should be tempted. The Apostle has reference to this temperance in all things, when he says, "Let your moderation be known unto all men." The cultivation of this moderation from the right standpoint of desire to be pleasing to the Lord, and in full harmony with him, leads to kindness, sympathy: for, finding how many are his own weaknesses, besetments, difficulties and desires, such an one can have a larger measure of sympathy with the entire "groaning creation." As a result, this temperance will work kindness of speech and of look and of act, inspired by the kindness of heart.

R2037 c1 p7

This knowledge, received into a good and honest heart, will bring forth the fruitage or grace of character here termed "self-control" (common version, "temperance"). As is elsewhere stated, "He that hath this hope in him, purifieth himself," controls himself, purges out more and more of the old leaven. Following and connected with the attainment of such self-control would come patience: for the self-mastery would teach the necessity for sympathy with and patience toward others. This patience in turn would lead to and develop the next grace mentioned; namely, piety--a condition in which the love of God is shed abroad in the heart, influencing all the thoughts and words and deeds. This condition in turn develops brotherly kindness --a love for all who are brethren and yoke fellows in the cause of righteousness and truth, the cause of God. And brotherly kindness in turn leads to that still broader and deeper experience designated the chief of all graces; namely, love, love for God, love for the brethren, love deep and pure and true, which thinketh no evil and doth not puff itself up, and is not easily offended, rejoices always in the truth and never in iniquity, the climax of Christian attainment in the present life; the grace of all graces, which never fadeth, and which will but be perfected when we receive the new resurrection body.