Studies in the Scriptures
Zion's Watch Tower
THE SCIENCE OF HEALTH.
"Be in health, even as thy soul prospereth."
—3 John 2.
In this day of general awakening and independent thinking, many are coming to realize the wonderful power of the mind over the body. They fancy that this is something new, and some even appropriate as a name for their theories the "New Thought." Other names are Christian Science, Mental Healing, Hypnotism, Mind Cures, etc. Peculiarly enough, all these writers find the best expression of their sentiments in the language of Scripture, although they ignore the Scriptural teachings as a whole and very evidently do not understand them. For instance, favorite amongst their quotations are these: "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he" (
); "Be ye transformed by the renewing of your minds" (
); "Changed into the same image from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord" (
), and again, "Whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap."—
But, notwithstanding tributes to the teachings of the Bible, so far as we can discern few of these "mind-cure" teachers are really "believers" in the Scriptural sense of the word. We have yet to find any of them willing to accept the Bible teachings connected with the very passages just quoted. Very generally, while referring to Jesus in a respectful manner, they give evidence that they do not accept Him as the only Teacher—the Sent of God. Rather they seem to class Him with Plato, Socrates, Confucius, and others of the good and great, and to accept His teachings as on a parity with theirs. As for the Apostles these teachers quote their words, but generally ignore their teachings. (
.) The advocates of these false doctrines are surprisingly active everywhere.
ON A FALSE FOUNDATION
We do not claim that these various theories are wholly bad, wholly false. Satan himself is aware that nothing that is wholly false could succeed; hence the Apostle says there is a "deceivableness of unrighteousness," and "Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light." (
.) Having kept the world in darkness for long centuries, as the Apostle explains, "The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not," Satan now realizes that it is impossible to shut out the light of the incoming Day. Hence his transformation, by which he becomes a leader, teacher, is along what might be termed good lines in many respects. He would be a teacher of gentleness, quietness of spirit, good thoughts, pure thoughts. He would teach the downwardness of every evil thought, every evil passion, every impurity of mind, word, and deed, and theoretically he would be an angel of light. In this capacity he now is flooding the world with spurious teachings, and making a special point of mental healing. Indeed we cannot doubt that he even stands prepared to assist these theories which he is now promulgating by granting blessings of health and relief from disease to those whom he would more particularly associate with himself and his theories.
This power is manifest to some extent in the healings done in the name of Mormonism, in the name of Christian Science, in the name of Spiritism, in the name of Occultism, in the name of Mind Cure, etc.
But what motive could Satan have in so doing? Is there any power in respect to disease under his control?
We answer the last question first. The Scriptures everywhere not only recognize Satan as a malevolent being, opposed to God and to righteousness, but they declare that he does possess certain power for evil. In olden times these were known as occult powers, and the Apostles wrote about those who were afflicted of the devil. Our Lord said of one poor woman whom He healed, "Whom
Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years." (
.) Mrs. Eddy’s son, in a published newspaper interview, declared his belief that his mother was under occult influence, and that she herself acknowledged this to him years ago.
Answering the other question: God declares in His Word His ability to control sin completely, and promises that ultimately He will do this—that Satan shall be bound during the thousand years of the Millennial Kingdom of Christ, during which time the world will be blessed and uplifted from sin and death and from the malevolent influences that are now upon mankind. They declare that even in the present time God will permit the wrath of man and the malevolence of Satan only so far as He can use these ultimately for good, and that the remainder He will restrain. In other words, God at the present time is gathering out of the world the "little flock," the Bride of Christ, whom He designates His "jewels"; and He uses Satan, evil men and the malevolent conditions of the present time to try, to prove, to test, to polish these saints whom He is preparing for the Heavenly Kingdom—for joint-heirship with His Son in the work of the Millennial age—the work of uplifting humanity, so many as will return.—
We might say, then, that the adverse influences of the present time constitute the grindstone upon which these jewels are polished, and that Satan through his various agencies is used of the Lord in turning this grindstone.
And this is the Scriptural thought. Note the experience of Job, and how God in his case gave Satan permission to try, to prove, to test that noble man—to polish him.
Note that the Apostle similarly refers to his own experiences, saying that a certain adverse condition of the flesh was used of Satan to buffet him, but that the Lord assured him, "My grace is sufficient for thee; for My strength is made perfect in weakness." (
.) Therefore, says the Apostle, I will glory in my infirmities,
since I shall have correspondingly more of the grace of God wherewith to resist them and be profited by them.
For, he declares, the light afflictions of this present time are working out for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we look away from the things seen to the things that are unseen.—
DECEITFULNESS OF UNRIGHTEOUSNESS
In these words the Apostle points out that Satan will be granted by the Lord special power in the end of this Age, and that as a result there will be special, severe testings upon the people of God. We are to discriminate closely between Divine permission and Divine authorization.
We are to remember that "God tempteth no man" (Jas. 1:13), and that it is a totally different matter that He permits Satan to tempt. The Divine thought as interpreted by the Apostle is that the Lord’s people of our day have had special opportunities, privileges, mercies, blessings and assistances in respect to the Divine Word.
Such as have been of the right disposition of heart profited by these opportunities, and became strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. They have put on the whole armor of God, and are therefore strong, and can stand much more of testing than others could have done, less favored in the past. It will be no injustice to these that after they have been better qualified they should be expected to fight the good fight more valiantly than others can do.
But why will these tests come when the Lord knows that a "thousand shall fall at thy side and ten thousand at thy right hand," as He has foretold by the Prophet?
We answer that He wishes some to fall. They will not be falling into eternal torment, nor falling into the Second Death, but merely falling away from a Christian profession and a nominal faith, which in many respects have been mere forms of godliness without real meaning or power. Thus the Lord would separate the wheat class from the tare class, and not only so, but divide the wheat
class into two portions, two classes—a "little flock" of "more than conquerors," and a "great company," loyal at heart but not sufficiently zealous to be counted worthy a place as members of the Bride of Christ. These are represented as the "virgins," the "companions" of the Bride, who also shall be brought near before the King in due time, and who shall have an honorable place beyond the veil.—
So much for the reasons why God permits Satan now to masquerade as the champion of pure thoughts and righteous living, and to deceive and lead astray all those who, having the Word of God in their hands, have loved the error rather than the light. Or, as the Apostle puts it, "They receive not the Truth in the love of it"; therefore now there come to them strong delusions that they may believe a lie, that they all may be condemned—that it may be manifested that they were not worthy of the glorious things which God has in reservation for those who love righteousness and hate iniquity, who love the Truth and hate falsehood.—
SELFISHNESS AND FALSEHOOD REWARDED
We are not uncharitable but truthful when we say that in the case of many of these false teachings the reward of health is sought from selfish motives purely.
Nor are we too severe when we say that the health is frequently secured as a reward for systematic falsification.
The very teaching is that the facts are to be denied and that the denial, the untruth, is to be insisted upon until it becomes a very part of one’s being. Those who take this evil mind-cure are taught to lie to themselves as well as to others, and to say, "I have no pain, I have no aches, I am well, thoroughly well." This systematic lying is no doubt rewarded by the father of lies who, if he had the power to inflict with all manner of diseases in olden times, doubtless has considerable of the same power today; and if he has power to inflict he would also have
power to release somewhat from his affliction. Very different from this is the plan which the Lord gives through His Word; yea, the Word of God, the Truth, stands forth pre-eminently. As our dear Redeemer said: God’s very name is Righteousness, "Thy Word is Truth." The power of selfishness in this system is seen in the fact that, for the sake of relief from the aches and pains, many, very many, are willing thus to deny the Truth, to deceive others and to deceive themselves.
But, do you say, how could Satan be interested in such a propaganda? We reply:
(1) That all who follow this prescription and learn to lie thoroughly to themselves thereby vitiate their own minds and consciences so that thereafter they cannot reason correctly because they have lost the foundation of Truth. Their minds are in confusion, upon every religious subject at least. With them the entire Word of God has become warped and twisted.
Their minds are perverted. It is impossible to influence them with the Truth. They are wholly captives to the error and caught by their love of relief from pain and their willingness to have relief at the cost of the Truth.
(2) By this so-called new light, new thought, new mind, science, etc., the Adversary directs and draws away from the true light, the true science, the Word of God. He kept it hidden under a foreign language for centuries, called the "dark ages"; then, subsequently, as the Reformation light broke in, he endeavored to turn it aside, and to twist it and to misrepresent it. So, now, when the true light is shining forth, showing that the Word of God is grand, beautiful and harmonious, and that our difficulties in the past were mistranslations and misinterpretations of the Word, Satan draws attention away from it entirely to what his unwitting votaries style the power of the new thought, the new mind.
(3) Those whom Satan is using in this direction, as we have already seen, quote Scriptures freely wherever they can pervert them to an apparent support of their theories. But they do
not really believe the Scriptures, neither do they really believe in Christ. Does this seem a hard saying?
We answer that by their words they deny Christ; for although they use His name—as, for instance, Christian Scientists—they really deny the foundation of His teachings.
They deny, for instance, that man was ever perfect, in the image of God; they deny that he ever fell from perfection into sin; they deny that a death penalty was upon him. They declare that there is no such thing as sin and death, that belief in these are merely mental delusions that should be put away. And if they deny sin and death, of necessity, logically, they must also deny a redemption from sin and from death; and if they deny the redemptive work of Christ they as surely deny that He is the Redeemer. I call your attention to Mrs. Eddy’s latest published statement, so far as we know. It appeared in the "Christian Science Sentinel," copied from the "New York American" and endorsed as true. In it she says, "If there had never existed such a person as the Galilean Prophet, it would make no difference to me."
This statement was no doubt made inadvertently, but the spirit of it runs through everything that is written along the lines of Christian Science, New Thought, Mind Cure, etc. The essence of all this teaching is, "Every man his own savior," by transforming his own thoughts from evil to good, from disease to health, etc.
"LOOK UNTO ME AND BE SAVED"
We are opposed to Satan and all his healing falsehoods and to all the various delusive arguments by which he is now seeking to put darkness for light, and to make the true light of God’s Word appear to be darkness. It is time that every soldier of the cross should see to it that he is lifting high the royal banner, not only as respects his own heart and experiences but also as respects his influence upon fellow-soldiers of the cross, that all may put on the whole armor of God and be able to withstand the attacks of the Adversary in this evil day, and fighting
the good fight of faith, to be esteemed as more than conquerors by our dear Redeemer, through the Word of His testimony. While, therefore, others are looking to Mind-Cures, Hypnotism, Christian Science, Spiritism, Occultism, and other "isms" selfishly, for the cure of their maladies, let us hearken to the voice from Heaven, saying, "Look unto Me, and be ye saved." (
.) Let us be content to have what the Lord has promised us in His Word and to desire no more. And, on the other hand, let us not be content with anything less than He has promised us. God promised typical Israel health, wealth, prosperity, in proportion as they would be obedient and loyal to Him. But those blessings were all to an earthly people and were earthly blessings. Spiritual Israel enjoys God’s favor during this Gospel Age, and is promised health, wealth and prosperity of a spiritual kind.
Indeed the Spiritual Israelite is exhorted to have such an appreciation of the spiritual blessings proffered him that he would gladly surrender all of the earthly blessings that he may have the Heavenly—even to the extent of laying down wealth, strength, life itself in the service of the Lord and on behalf of the brethren. "We ought to lay down our lives for the brethren," says the Apostle.
.) And the laying down of life frequently means the laying down of health and strength. It means self-denial in the interests of others. It is the reverse of seeking first physical health and personal advantage.
Its rule is, Seek first the Kingdom of God and its righteousness, and all earthly blessings shall be added unto you according to the Heavenly Father’s wisdom of what would be for your highest welfare. Of those who make the earthly interests the chief concern of life, physical health and prosperity the chief aim, the Apostle says, "Whose god is their belly, and whose glory is their shame, who mind earthly things."—
True Christians, the Elect, are urged to set their affections on things above and not on the things of the
earth; for they are reckoned as dead to the world and as having become alive as New Creatures in Christ and as therefore enjoying with Him superior joys—seated in the Heavenlies with Christ Jesus. These can thank God often for earthly adversities, and can say with the Apostle, "These light afflictions that are but for a moment are working out for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory"; and again, with the Prophet, "Before I was afflicted I went astray." (
.) They have afflictions and trials which to others may seem wonderfully severe but to these—because of the grace of God and because their affections are set on High—these are esteemed to be light afflictions and as only momentary, because the Lord’s grace is sufficient for them. As the Lord permitted Satan to have some power over Job, so He has permitted him to put some of His saints on the grindstone, and to do for them a grand polishing work, as the result of which, under the Lord’s supervision of their interests, they shall sparkle and shine gloriously by and by.
"BE IN HEALTH—EVEN AS THY SOUL PROSPERETH"
Our text presents another side of this question which many of the Lord’s dear people evidently have overlooked.
On account of this oversight many of them are perplexed by the teachings of the Adversary respecting the power of the mind in the care of the body, in its comfort, its joy, its prosperity. Had they properly studied and properly appreciated the wonderful teachings of the Bible they would be ready to say at once to these mind-healers, etc., "O my dear friend, we Christians have full instructions along those lines in the Word of God, and much clearer and much better than you have them, because on a much better foundation of reason and logic, built upon the Redemption Sacrifice of Christ and the blessings which God’s Word assures us flow from it."
The Scriptures acknowledge sin, sorrow, pain, suffering, death; and they teach us to sympathize with those
who are thus afflicted. They show us that all these are the works of the flesh and the Devil, that Satan was a murderer from the beginning, that it was through his lie that our first parents were led into disobedience. They show that Satan’s course since has been to lead men downward through error, through falsehood, through the perversion of their minds with all manner of untruth and impurity. They show God’s condemnation of sin and His declaration of sympathy, and the manifestation of that sympathy and love in the providing of Christ as man’s Redeemer. They show that ultimately the Redeemer is to be the King of the world and to take His great power and bind Satan, destroy all unrighteousness, and lift up the poor fallen race during the Millennial Age, called in the Scriptures the "Times of Restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all the holy Prophets since the world began." (
.) They tell us that this will be accomplished at the Second Coming of Christ and that in the interim between the sacrifice and the time of the establishment of the Kingdom in power and great glory a special work is in progress; namely, the selection of a Little Flock of footstep-followers who, hearing of the grace of God, have been so moved thereby to love righteousness and hate iniquity that they have accepted the Master’s invitation to walk in His footsteps of self-denial, self-sacrifice, under the promise that if they do so faithfully they shall be sharers with Him in His glory, honor, immortality and work of blessing and uplifting the race during the Millennial Age.
"A MORE EXCELLENT WAY"
We have been surprised that Christian people of considerable development and experience have been attracted by the literature and theories of Mind Cure, etc., when we have heard them comment upon the good, helpful advice given in some of these writings. We have been astonished that they did not seem to know how much better advice is given in the Word of God, in comparison with
which all such writings are but as twaddle and nonsense.
The little truth they contain is so mixed with error as to remind us of a story told by an African missionary, that, traveling through a torrid country almost destitute of streams, himself and family and several natives came upon a pool of water almost dried up. The natives jumped in and splashed and cooled themselves from head to foot with the wet mud; and the missionary and his family were glad to take some of the same after it had been thus washed in, and squeeze the water out to get a drink. If, in the illustration, the water represented Truth, and the wet mud error, it seems as though a considerable number of people with the Bible in their homes know not of the spring of living water which it contains, useful for their refreshment in every way. If they knew of this surely they would not stop to squeeze the few drops of water from the mud and slime of the various "New Thought" books, tracts, articles, etc.
In illustration: These various "New Thought" instructors give out as a piece of news, as something thoroughly original with themselves, the declaration that fear is the basis of much of the pain and sorrow and disease of mind and body which prevail. There is truth in this beyond a doubt, a truth that was recognized and taught long ago by physicians of every school; namely, that to fear a disease is to induce the disease; and the same lesson in much its best form is taught in the Scriptures. For centuries they have been telling such as have the ear to hear that while "the fear [reverence] of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom," the "fear of man bringeth a snare." Do they not again declare that "fear hath torment" or trouble? Do they not exhort God’s people saying, "Fear not their fear, neither be afraid, but sanctify the Lord God in your heart, and let Him be your fear and Him be your dread." In other words, fear nothing except what would be displeasing to God, and therefore wrong and injurious toward yourself and others.
On the other side of the question do not the Scriptures hold out hope and courage in a way that no other writings in the world ever did? Do they not say, "Be of good courage and He shall strengthen thine heart?" Do they not apply this mental medicine to all of life’s affairs and interests, as, for instance, assuring us, "The Father knoweth what things ye have need of," and He "is more willing to give the Holy Spirit to them that ask than are earthly parents to give good gifts unto their children?"
Do they not assure us that "As our days so shall our strength be?" Do they not tell us that "No good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly?"
Is it not written, "The eternal God is thy Refuge, and underneath are the Everlasting Arms"? Again, "Thy help cometh from the Lord"; "Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid"; "Take no anxious thought for the morrow"; "Cast all your cares upon Him; for He careth for you"; "It is God that girdeth me with strength"; "When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers they shall not overflow thee"; "Surely I will be with thee"; "My strength is made perfect in weakness"; "If God be for us who can be against us?" "He hath said, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee"; "When He giveth peace who then can make trouble?" and again, "Let the peace of God which passeth all understanding rule in your hearts, and be ye thankful."
THEIR ROCK IS NOT AS OUR ROCK
What a rock foundation is thus presented in the Word of God for those who have the proper faith and can claim these promises! How wishy-washy and puerile in comparison are the words of the worldly-wise of our day, who are attempting to give the world the "New Thought"—attempting to take away their fear and instead to give them hope and courage. We might say without fear of contradiction that the only strength their position contains is gained from the occasional
misapplication of Scripture. We say misapplication of Scriptures advisedly; for the Scriptures are applicable only to the class who have made their peace with God according to His own terms, and are not applicable to the world, which the Scriptures declare "lieth in the Wicked One" and are still "children of wrath."
The messages of peace which the Bible extends are not for the world. On the contrary, we read, "There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked." (
.) The peace, the joy, the rejoicing, the blessing, the comfort, the refreshment, the rest of heart set forth in the foregoing expression of sympathy and love and assurances of help are all and only for the Lord’s beloved ones, His saints, His holy ones—those mentioned through the Prophet, saying, "Gather together My saints unto Me; those who have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice."
.) "They shall be Mine, saith the Lord, in that Day when I come to make up My jewels." (
.) "But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare My statutes, or that thou shouldst take My covenant into thy mouth? Seeing thou hatest instruction and casteth My words behind thee."—
CLEANSED, TRANSFORMED, RENEWED
These "new thoughts" are antagonistic to the Bible, and anti-Christian in that they teach unregenerate men and women to ignore the sin which separates them from God, and to claim to be God’s children and to appropriate promises of peace and of Divine favor—thoughts contrary to the doctrines of devils, which ignore Him who is the Way, the Truth, the Life; and aside from whom none can come unto the Father nor under Divine blessing, nor properly have peace with God.
These philosophies of men seem to parallel the Truth on a false basis. This is another evidence that they are not merely of human origin, but that the father of lies has had to do with their arrangement and propaganda.
They give out as a brand new thought that all disease is the result of filth, mental, physical or both; that the proper course for man is to put away sinful thoughts, impure affections, from his mind, and to fill it instead with good things; that his body similarly should be cleansed by an abundant use of water, inwardly and externally; that the system should not be clogged by gluttony, else the blood will become impure and sickness result; that the air we breathe should be pure and plentiful; and that physical exercise is necessary to proper health. To all this we agree. It is all good, it is all useful, and we wish that all mankind—the world and Christians—might appreciate it and obey its suggestions.
But it would be a mistake to suppose that these things are new to a Christian who is informed respecting the teachings of the Word of God. Is he not therein taught by the Apostle, "Cleanse yourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and the spirit [mind]?" Is he not urged to be abstemious and instructed—"Let your moderation be made known unto all men?" Is not purity of thought, word and deed inculcated by the words of Jesus and the Apostles? Are we not taught that the beginning of the cleansing work, the purifying work, the transforming work is in the heart, and that if we get the heart right, the effect will be a proportionate cleansing and purifying of the flesh? Did not the Master teach this when He said, "Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God?"—
Did not the Apostle teach the same when he taught that out of an evil heart proceedeth enmities, murders, blasphemies, etc.? Did not the Master Himself say that an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth evil fruitage in his life? and that a good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth good fruitage of kindness, mercy and love—good works? Did not our Lord go further than any good teacher ever went before or since when He declared that whoever in his
heart hateth his brother, is in heart a murderer? that he who in heart desires adultery is in effect an adulterer?
and that he who in his heart covets the things of another is in effect a thief? Is it not the Scriptures which enunciate the now well-known proverb, "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh?" Is not this the reason why the Scriptures everywhere exhort—not the world, but those whom they address, who will appreciate good from the right standpoint, and are building upon the only foundation which He can recognize, on the redemptive work of Christ—to be pure in heart? For such Jesus prayed, "Sanctify them through Thy Truth; Thy Word is Truth."—
The "New Thought" teaching that anger, by its effect upon the nerves, throws off into the blood a poisonous element which tends toward disease, and therefore that anger should be avoided, but that correspondingly good and loving thoughts produce healthful currents in the system, which make for peace of mind and of body and for health and strength, may be inculcating something that will be beneficial to the world, but certainly not to the Lord’s saints. The latter should all know that this is the teaching of God’s Word; and all should have realized in considerable measure the advantageous results in their own experience. That is to say, all Christians should know that the Scriptures direct that their minds should be transformed—that they should put away all these, anger, malice, envy, hatred, strife (
), and that they should put on instead the fruits and graces of the Lord’s Holy Spirit—meekness, gentleness, patience, long-suffering, brotherly kindness, love. (
.) They should remember the Apostle Peter’s words, "As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former desires in your ignorance; but as He that has called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of living."
The general teachings of the Word of God for those
who have made the consecration of themselves is that they should set their affections on things above and not on things of earth; that they should be transformed by the renewing of their minds; that they should seek to prove, to know, the good and perfect and acceptable will of God. What does this mean but a purifying of the thoughts, the lifting of them from sensual, earthly things and fixing them upon the higher and nobler things which accord with the Divine character and the wonderful Plan of God of which our present high calling is a part—to be heirs of God, joint-heirs with Jesus Christ our Lord in His Kingdom, and as heirs of the great Abrahamic Covenant thereunder bless all the families of the earth during the Millennial Age? Well does the Apostle say of this cleansing, "If a man cleanse himself from these he shall be a vessel fit for honor and meet for the Master’s use."—
"THE PERFECT LAW OF LIBERTY"
It is not a new thought that love should be the guiding, the controlling impulse amongst men everywhere.
But the Bible first of all presented this teaching—love for God and the brethren, love for kindred, love for our neighbors, yea, even love for our enemies. It is the Bible that pre-eminently teaches that perfect love filling our hearts will cast out fear and selfishness; and that relieved of these—which are the representatives of darkness—our whole bodies may be full of light and be refreshed and reinvigorated and strengthened, and that thus we may be blessed, not only in the life to come but also in the life that now is. But we hold, with the Scriptures, that while a kind of love may be possible to the world, the real genuine love which is of God can come only through the begetting of the Holy Spirit, and all other loves are merely fragments or imitations of this true love. This love alone will stand the careful inspection and criticism which the Apostle gives us in
In concluding this subject we urge upon all who have
approached the Father through the new and living way opened by the Redeemer’s sacrifice to exercise more and more of faith and trust in His goodness and in His wonderful provision for all those who are seeking to know and to do His will. As we come to understand His Word more fully we find that He has made provision—not merely for those whose eyes and ears are now open to hear His message—but that eventually all the families of the earth will be pleased to know of His gracious provision and offer, through Christ, of eternal life. This should give us a rest and peace of heart which the world little understands. And in respect to our own affairs shall we not apply the gracious promises? Shall we not rest upon them? Shall we not allow the peace of God to rule in our hearts? In proportion as we do this we shall be refreshed, reinvigorated in mind and in body.
VALUE OF GOOD THOUGHTS
In proportion as we by faith grasp the promises, and in proportion as we daily strive to live so as to maintain our relationship with the Father and with the Son and with their gracious promises, in that same proportion our faces will show all these—joy, peace, patience, love.
These will gradually become more and more written in the lineaments of our faces, visible to all. And more and more will our health and strength prevail, spiritual and physical. It is proper in this connection to remember the instruction of the Apostle, that we should not think about the evil and undesirable things, but think about the pure, good, noble things. Undoubtedly a poisonous effect upon the system is engendered by thinking about sinful or injurious things of any kind. Undoubtedly also the body and mind are both strengthened by thinking about things noble, good and pure. The Apostle’s words are, "Whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good repute, think on these things."—
As daily and hourly we seek to cultivate this spirit of love, and to allow it to dominate in our words and deeds, in the same proportion will be the measure of our blessing, because in this we shall be "doers of the Word and not hearers only." We are not, however, to place too high an estimate upon the present life, and health and earthly blessings and joys. Rather we are to be content with such things as we have, and to realize the Divine supervision of our affairs and to allow all of life’s experiences to bring us more and more of the peace of God which passeth all understanding and which should continually rule in our hearts. But while not seeking to save the present life, but rejoicing in the privilege of laying it down prudently in the Lord’s service as opportunity offers, we shall, nevertheless, find that the rest and peace of mind which comes through believing and through following the Lord will be a favorable influence as respects our physical health, peace, joy, blessing. We who believe enter into rest now, and yet, as the Apostle declared, "There remaineth a rest for the people of God."
.) We shall attain that in our change in the First Resurrection—we shall be satisfied when we wake in His likeness.—
"As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." This is not to be understood as meaning that whatever a man thinks is true. That is a false definition; the correct thought respecting this statement is that what a man may seem to be outwardly is not necessarily a correct view of his real character—his heart, his will, his intention, the real man as God sees him. If, therefore, our hearts condemn us not, we have peace with God; but if our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts and knoweth all things. Then we should not have peace, but should repent of the wrong-doing and come again into harmony with God, where we may enjoy true peace.
The Apostle illustrated this, saying, "If any man seem to be religious and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth
his own heart, that man’s religion is vain." (Jas. 1:26.) Outwardly he might have seeming piety, might be a church attendant, etc., but so surely as his heart is changed, so surely as he is begotten of the Holy Spirit, so surely as the Spirit of love dwelleth in his heart and more and more abounds richly, it will affect not only his actions but also his looks and his words. He will seek to bridle his tongue, to bridle all of his passions, to be emptied of his former ambitions and desires, and to be filled with the noblest, purest and best which come to us from the fountain of grace and truth in God’s Word.
The majority of mankind, fearful and discouraged, fail to make the best possible use of their talents and opportunities.
The Scriptures instruct those who have entered the School of Christ that the will is the first matter to be settled—that a double-minded man, who has never a settled purpose in respect to his life, is unstable in all his ways. They urge positiveness—a full consecration of heart, mind, body, talents, everything to the Lord. To those who take this position of a full consecration the Scriptures give valuable assurances which should strengthen every fiber of the human body. As the Apostle expresses it, "Gird up the loins of your minds and hope to the end," as again he says, "Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might," and again, "According to thy faith be it unto thee." O what marvelous power has come to weak and fainting hearts through the fixing of the will—the conversion of the will to do and to be in harmony with the Lord at any cost—and the appropriating then of these promises, exceeding great and precious, which, belong to none others than this class!
How many have found that thus the Lord’s strength was made perfect in their weakness after they had taken the proper step of consecration—after they had exercised the faith which He called for, and which is necessary for our development! No wonder these can rejoice in the Lord—no wonder the Apostle says that they are able to rejoice in tribulation!—