One Here, One There

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Of all we meet in life’s great stream,
There’s but one here and there
Who treasures most the better things;
Each man to self most tightly clings,
For self he toils, for self he sings,
Except one here, one there.

The world would be a desolate place,
But for one here and there,
Whose heart with self hath not been filled,
Whose love for God hath not been killed,
Whose thankful praise hath not been stilled;
There’s one such here and there.

And this hath been the Lord’s wise will,
To find one here, one there,
Who counting earthly gain but dross,
Would daily take the Christian’s cross,
E’en at the risk of any loss:-
God finds one here and there.

‘Tis not the numbers that He seeks,
But just one here, one there;
He seeks not souls, but jewels fair,
For those who will His suff’ring share,
And for His sake reproaches bear;
They’re few; one here, one there!

But oh! the grandeur of the work
For this one here and there,
To join in lifting up our race,
To wipe away of sin each trace,
To make of earth a perfect place,
Put glory everywhere!.

From Pilgrim Echoes by Br Benjamin Barton

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The words below are from Reprint No. 2127-2129, from the Original Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence as documented on “Harvest Truth DataBase Version 9: http://www.htdb.one

GOD’S “PECULIAR PEOPLE”

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“Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light: which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God.”1 Pet. 2:9,10.

WE LOOK in vain for this “holy nation” amongst the various nations of the world today. The pathway of even the best of those denominating themselves Christian nations is marked with blood and violence and various evidences of selfish rapine. The very best of them would fall far short of any reasonable standard of holiness. They are all, as the Scriptures declare, parts of the kingdom of darkness under the prince of darkness, “the prince of this world,” who still rules the “kingdoms of this world.”

This “holy nation” was founded by our Lord Jesus, and had no existence before his advent. The basis upon which it was founded was the “ransom for all” which he gave at Calvary, and the beginning of the construction of his kingdom was at Pentecost. Since then it has progressed after a manner which is adapted to his purposes, though very contrary to the manner of the world and the nations of earth. It is unknown to the worldly, as it is written, “The world knoweth us not, even as it knew him not.”

This Kingdom is an ecclesiastical Kingdom—a Church-Kingdom; but even if we look amongst the numerous church-kingdoms which have sprung up in the world (each of which claims to be the kingdom of God’s dear Son), we find that this “holy nation” or Kingdom is none of these. It is not the Roman Catholic church or ecclesiastical kingdom, nor the Greek church, nor the Armenian, nor the church of England, nor the Methodist church, nor the Lutheran, nor the Presbyterian, nor the Baptist, nor the Congregationalist. These all may have amongst their millions some members of this “little flock,” this “holy nation,” this true Kingdom class which the Lord is selecting; but none of these institutions is the Lord’s Kingdom; none of them contains all who are his. There is only one record in the universe that enrolls all the members of this “holy nation” or Kingdom: it is called, “The Lamb’s Book of Life.” Hence, if we examine church history, we shall no more find this “holy nation,” this holy ecclesiastical Kingdom, than amongst the temporal kingdoms. The historians knew not of the true “holy nation:” they saw and knew and recounted the incidents of the human organizations, called “Christ’s kingdoms,” but they knew nothing of the true one. Although it has existed from the day of Pentecost to the present time, it has always been the kingdom of heaven suffering violencedespised and rejected of men, insignificant and ignored in the sight of the world.—Matt. 11:12.

The reason for this is that it is a “peculiar people”—not peculiar in dress, nor in manners, nor in language, nor in foolish, senseless forms and idiosyncrasies; but peculiar in that it is separate from the world and the spirit of the world. It has the spirit of Christ—a spirit of full consecration to the Lord, and separateness from the world and its selfish aims. It is peculiar in its adherence to the Word of the Lord as its only law. It is peculiar in that it rejects worldly wisdom when it conflicts with the divine revelation. It is peculiar in that it is in the world, but not of the world. It is peculiar in that it has a decided faith and acts in harmony with its faith, and with zeal. It is peculiar in that it is self-sacrificing and knows no will but the will of its King. It is peculiar in that it knows the truth and is able to give a reason for the hope within, while others merely speculate and wonder and doubt.

The King, when establishing this Kingdom, forewarned all who would be of it that, in proportion as they possessed his character and his truth, and were thus “children of the light,” and likenesses of himself, who was “the Light of the world,”—in that proportion they would have the enmity of the world and the opposition of the flesh and the devil to withstand and overcome. In view of his forewarnings, “Marvel not if the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you;” “If ye were of the world, the world would love its own, but now ye are not of the world; because I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you;” “Whosoever will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution;” in view of these admonitions it should not surprise us that the nations of the world (political and ecclesiastical kingdoms) have always hated and persecuted the individuals composing this “holy nation.” They seem to realize an antagonism, however little it may be expressed. This “holy nation” looks to a higher King and higher laws than any by which others are governed, and as Herod sought to destroy “him who was born king of the Jews,” so the various worldly nations have sought (under the influence of the prince of this world) to hinder the development of this holy nation as antagonistic to their systems.

Nevertheless, we note the care with which the apostles pointed out that all who compose this holy nation shall, so far as possible, “live peaceably with all men”—avoiding strife and contentions, except where principles are involved; and even when contending “earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints,” to manifest the spirit of meekness and patient forbearance, that “whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.” He urges, therefore, all of the holy nation, saying, “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake:…For so is the will of God, that with well-doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as servants of God….For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully….For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps; who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth; who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously.”1 Pet. 2:13-23.

Thus the King of this “holy nation” set for every member of it an example that they should walk in his footsteps. He declared that his Kingdom was not of this world; consequently neither does the Kingdom power of this “holy nation” belong to this present age. It awaits the return of the King himself, who said, “If I go away, I will come again, and receive you unto myself.” He has promised, moreover, that when he comes again it will not be in a body of humiliation for sacrifice on behalf of the sins of the world—for this sacrifice he has already accomplished to the full: He comes to reign, and has promised that his “holy nation” shall be associated with him in the reign of righteousness, wherewith he will “bless all the families of the earth.”

But we notice further the Apostle’s statement that this “holy nation” or Kingdom is also a “royal priesthood.” We look amongst the priesthoods of earth, but we find that the priestly office is distinctly kept separate from the kingly office, everywhere. Indeed, they are generally antagonistic. The kings and royal families usually represent the highest developments of ambition and self-gratification: the priests of earth, theoretically at least, present sacrifices, and thus seek to make atonement for sins. Priests do not exercise kingly authority, nor kings condescend to priestly services. But in this “peculiar people” the priesthood and kingship are united.

It was so with the King himself,—as a priest he offered up his own life, unselfishly, for the redemption and blessing of others. As a King he still has the same unselfish character and will use his kingly office to carry forward to all mankind, and make available to all, the blessings, liberties and privileges purchased with his own precious blood. His reign will be for this very purpose;—and for the establishment of righteousness and the extirpation of evil and those who adhere to it. The King himself is the great High priest of this “peculiar people,” this “holy nation,” this “royal priesthood;” and it is required of each individual member of this “holy nation” that he shall be a priest; that he shall be a sacrificer; that he shall partake so much of the loving and generous disposition of the King that he will desire to do good unto all men, as he may have opportunity, especially to “the household of faith;” and that he shall lay down his life for the brethren—in the service of the truth, in their interest. In these and all respects they must all be conformed to the image of God’s dear Son.—Rom. 8:29.

This experience as sacrificers in this present time as sufferers for righteousness’ sake, as tempted and tried and able to sympathize with the weak and the erring, is a necessary part of the educational discipline which must be undergone by this priesthood before they are accounted ready to enter the honors and powers of their divine kingdom, as representatives and associates of the King of kings and Lord of lords.

Nor does their priesthood end when their kingly powers begin, for it is written concerning their future reign,—“Thou hast made us unto our God kings and priests, and we shall reign on the earth.” (Rev. 5:10,11.) This “peculiar people,” this “holy kingdom” or nation all of whom are “royal” priests, has a great work to do when established in the kingdom power; for it is none other than the promised “Seed of Abraham,” which, according to the divine promise, is to have entrusted to it the great work of blessing all the families of the earth, by bringing them to the knowledge of the Lord, and into harmony, if they will, with the New Covenant sealed by the precious blood of the King. As explained by the Apostle Paul (Gal. 3:16,29), the King himself is the head of this “seed,” this “peculiar people,” this “royal priesthood;” and they are reckonedly members of his body, and with him they complete this holy seed to which is committed the work of blessing.—Rom. 11:31.

Israel after the flesh, the natural seed of Abraham, supposed that they would have inherited this great privilege and honor, of being the divine representatives in blessing and enlightening the world; but when the King came unto them as “his own,” they received him not, as a nation, but to as many as received him, the faithful remnant, to them gave he “liberty to become the sons of God” and members of this “peculiar people,” this “royal priesthood;” and he then visited the Gentiles to take out of them suitable ones of sufficient number to complete this foreordained priesthood. This “royal priesthood” then, be it noticed, is not the priesthood of Levi, even as this “holy nation” is not the nation of Israel. It is a new priesthood, a new people and a new nation, which never before had any existence, “which in times past was not a nation,” and was not a priesthood, but now is become the people of God, the “royal priesthood,” the “holy nation.”

The Apostle notes still another distinctive feature pertaining to this “peculiar people,” saying that it is a “chosen generation” or race. How strange it would at first seem that the Apostle should speak of this peculiar people, gathered out from amongst various races, Jews and Gentiles, as being a special, particularly chosen race: as though they were a different family entirely from the remainder of mankind. If tribal relationship be understood, is not this “peculiar people” a mixture of all the races? And if all humanity be considered, are not these “peculiar people” of the same race as the remainder of mankind?

Ah, no! they are a new race, a race separate and distinct from all others. True, they once were of the same race, and some belonged to one branch or family and some to another; but their King, in calling them to be this “holy nation,” set aside entirely their previous genealogy and started them as a new race. As members of the Adamic race they were already slaves of sin and under condemnation of death; but their Master and King, who redeemed them from sin and death, opened the way for a full completion of the great divine purpose, and they were begotten again, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:13; 1 Pet. 1:3.) They are therefore “new creatures” in Christ Jesus. (Gal. 6:15.) To them old things have passed away, and all things have become new.2 Cor. 5:17.

The apostle therefore was right in his declaration that these are a different generation or race from others of mankind. He was right also in speaking of them as a “chosen generation”—the race which God himself is selecting for the accomplishment of his great and wonderful plan, first declared to Abraham, but not understood, and expected to be fulfilled in Abraham’s literal posterity. In reality this salvation “began to be preached by our Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him.” (Heb. 2:3.) True, God has certain provisions and blessings in reservation for the natural seed of Abraham, and let us remember that to them also came the first opportunity, and the first place, in this new, select, spiritual race or “chosen generation.” The Head or Chief of this chosen race, the twelve subordinate chiefs, the apostles, and many of the other members of this “holy nation” came from the literal seed of Abraham; but as a whole the natural seed was not worthy to become the “chosen race” or generation; but only to as many of them as received him (Christ), to them gave he liberty to become the “sons of God,”—by regeneration.John 1:11,12.

Grasping the full statement of the Apostle with reference to this peculiar people, this holy nation, this new or regenerated race, this royal priesthood, we can see readily that none of the human systems or organizations of earth, past or present, fit these demands. But we can see also that the conditions are well fulfilled in a “little flock” of which we may find scattered members here and there to-day, and all the way back to Pentecost. They are all self-sacrificing priests, who serve the living God through Christ Jesus acceptably, by serving one another, and all men as they have opportunity, and in general serving the gospel. Fully consecrated to God, and their imperfections (unintentional) all covered by the merit of the Redeemer, they are indeed a “holy nation,” with higher and different aims from those of the world, and with a different spirit, they are indeed a peculiar people. And the royalty of their priesthood, although unknown to the world at present, shall be revealed in due time; for it is declared by the inspired Word, that “the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now,” “waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God.”Rom. 8:19,22.

When the glory of these sons of God, this chosen race, this royal priesthood, shall be revealed in the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom, during the Millennium, the entire groaning creation—the whole race of Adam, condemned in Eden, but ransomed at Calvary—shall be blessed by this great “Seed of Abraham.” Instead of their groanings they may have joy and peace, through accepting the blessed arrangements of the New Covenant; and as a result, by the close of the Millennial age, all who will may have experienced the blessings of the divine promise, “God shall wipe away tears from off all faces and turn away the reproach for being his people.” Then shall be brought to pass the saying which is written, He that sat upon the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new; and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”Rev. 21:4,5.

Is it any wonder that the Apostle declares that each and all of these “peculiar people” should make it the first, the chief, practically the only business of life, “to show forth the praises [the virtues of character and plan] of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light?” And the showing or the telling of these is the preaching of the gospel, whether it be done in public or in private, by word of mouth or by printed page. And this, the chief business of the peculiar people, begun now, will continue to be their business throughout the future, tho under more favorable circumstances, in the majesty of the Kingdom, with power to enforce the wise and just and wholesome laws, and with love and mercy to help and to succor the weak and the erring, and gradually to restore them, if they will, to all that was lost in Adam.

What a wonderful gospel! What a wonderful privilege to be permitted to engage in its proclamation in any manner! Truly, all of the peculiar people can appreciate the testimony of the great Apostle Paul, “Woe is me if I preach not the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

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Tears of Joy – A Thanksgiving Offering To God

(7) In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. (8) Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. (9) And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, 10 being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek” (Hebrews 5:7-9, ESV).

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Beloved Brethren, dear friends:

This testimony sonnet is for you written,
For praise to God, through Christ who was smitten,
To comfort those mourning for righteousness sake—
Suffer for Christ, your election sure to make!

Some still remain who need to hear,
For ’tis not too late with Christ to share.
With fortitude and strength divine from above,
Present on the altar every labour of love.

Let us, begotten of Him, overcome the world,
Layer upon layer of character, impearled.
Should this cause many a tear to flow,
It will be mingled with Christ-like joys, we know.

Often, when the head is bowed low,
And tears in anguish like a waterfall flow,
With no courage in self, nothing good within,
“Depend on God for mercy and grace,” we sing.

Dead to the world, we feed the New Mind,
Sharing God’s precious Truth with various kind.
Could we keep the promises of the glorious Word,
Only for self? Letting God’s Plan be unheard?

As we trumpet Christ’s Millennium soon to come,
As ambassadors, sharing the hope now to some,
Opposing us the world, flesh, and devil, these three,
From these tempters let our conduct be free.

If told to stop sharing the Kingdom to come,
Booklets or tracts dust-binned by some,
Rejoice, dear pilgrim, keep carrying your cross,
Even if those served count your words as but dross.

Why should we flee, terrified of man, when reviled?
Is not this a test for those reconciled?
All previous instruction through God’s Holy Scriptures,
Helps us in such moments to be counted as victors!

Are not these trials the opportunities prayed for,
Without them, what testimony of sonship, and more?
The answer may follow through unbidden tears.
How God’s mercy does strengthen us through these carnal years.

Are not tribulations what our Lord has forewarned?
It would cost, the consecrated, all that we owned!
To be worthy of belonging to Christ alone,
Means sharing his sufferings, to the world unknown.

God understands the sum of your tears perfectly,
Each drop in a jar labelled “shame,” mournfully,
Others fallen to one labelled “ridicule and scorn,”
But Christ’s name on our foreheads, will forever be worn!

Those who sow in tears for righteousness now,
Shall reap fullness of joy when fulfilled is our vow.
When, later, the Truth floods each heart and mind,
Then your clay jar of tears, will Christ to them remind.

If your tears have been your meat, both day and night,
Rejoice in afflictions, walking in Christ’s light.
They prepare you for glory beyond all comparison,
Patiently accept them, kindly, like a good Samaritan.

As we continue for Jesus, representing his cause,
Man cannot stop us declaring, even through closed doors.
As martyred for Truth’s sake were the apostles, but John,
Through tears may your trumpeting “ALL FOR JESUS” go on!

Put your trust in Jehovah to overcome all fears,
Our Master in Gethsemane, offered loud cries and tears!
Jesus was heard for his reverence, by One above who all sees,
Things misinterpreted by man — so please be at ease.

It is our Heavenly Father whom we are to please,
If dimly considered by even friends, and trustees,
Job’s friends gave him scorn, while he “poureth out … unto God,”
So you, put your confidence, in the power of His rod.

Aaron’s rod reminds us, antitypical under-priests,
Of our privilege of service, which our heavenly joys increase.
Be productive, put on the fruits of Christ-likeness,
To become heavenly “stars” in Christ’s brightness.

Recognizing in each experience a divine appointment,
Changing from glory to glory since our sanctified anointment.
Each labour to deaden all of self-will,
Leads the heaven-bound follower, God’s will to fulfil.

Now hidden in a jar, our tears soon will be no more,
When in glory and immortal, we are united with Christ.
When the Day of Sacrifice soon is complete,
Beyond the vail then gathered, all the Gospel’s true wheat.

Whom they once pierced, Israel shall finally recognize,
Accepting Christ as Messiah, no more false surmise,
Tears then of joy will stream down their face,
For God’s Spirit shall be poured upon all by His grace.

Then God shall wipe away tears from all eyes,
No longer Adamic sin will cause all to die.
With minds then brightened with Godly righteousness,
Mankind will learn, and then show, their own faithfulness.

When tears shall turn into JOY FOR ALL,
Then tears no more shall ever again fall.
Jehovah’s Universe shall eternally stand,
God’s glory will then forever expand!

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The below words are from “Pilgrim Echoes” (page 326-328) by Br. Benjamin Barton:

Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted.” Jesus did not mean, Blessed are those that mourn from the worldly standpoint, any more than he meant, Blessed are those that are poor in spirit from a worldly standpoint. There are two ways of being poor in spirit; there is the world’s way and God’s way. For instance, somebody mistreats you and you do not stand up for your rights; the world says, That man is poor in spirit. But Jesus did not mean it that way. And so the same way with this word “mourning.”

Our Redeemer did not mean, Blessed are those that mourn because they cannot own a finer house. Blessed are those who mourn because they cannot buy an automobile. Blessed are those who mourn because they cannot buy the diamond they saw in the jeweler’s window. Blessed are they that mourn because their head aches so badly. No, no, He meant, blessed are those who mourned like He mourned. How different His mourning was from that of other people.

There was something so unselfish about His mourning. You remember when He went to the tomb of Lazarus it was not for himself He was weeping. When He wept over Jerusalem He was not mourning for himself but for them. He wept as He thought how unwilling they were to praise and glorify God as they should, and what they were bringing on themselves because of their disobedience.

Then there was another occasion when He mourned in the garden of Gethsemane. You remember His tears, His strong crying. There again there was something unselfish; it was not because He had to die that He wept; He came into the world for that very purpose. He wept because of that cup He was drinking then. What was that? The cup of expectation of death? No. The Lord Jesus was so desirous that the Father should be pleased in every little point, and He realized that His ability to accomplish the work the Father entrusted to Him, the redemption of the race, depended upon His actual perfection; He realized there was no advocate to make up for His deficiencies; and it was along this line He mourned. There was nothing selfish about it.

So we way, Blessed are we if we mourn like Jesus mourned, if our mourning is unselfish. Do you mourn because you want the Lord glorified to a larger degree than people seem to want you to glorify Him? Do you mourn because you want more of the joy and peace which comes from a closer acquaintance with God and a better understanding of His Plan? Oh, that is the right mourning!

I remember a good brother in the northeast said this to me a year or so ago: Many years ago I lost a child and I thought I never would

PE327 get over it. I cried and cried until I thought I would not have any sight left; and when it was all over I made up my mind I would never cry again. Another child died, but I did not weep. My wife died but I never cried. I had a great deal of trouble on various lines and I have always been able to restrain my feelings so it was not shown outwardly. But, he said, I go to bed at night and as I think of all my weaknesses and imperfections and my inability to serve God better that I do, I cry and cry until the pillow is wet with my tears.

Oh, that was mourning like Jesus wanted us to mourn. That is the right kind of mourning. That is more in imitation of Jesus. If you mourn because you say so many things you don’t want to say, you mourn like Him. If you mourn because your hands do so many things you do not want them to do, you mourn like Jesus. If you mourn because your feet go so many places you don’t want them to go, you are mourning like Jesus. That is the way with Him. He mourned as His tongue and lips said so many things He did not want them to say.

He mourned as His hands would engage in so many works He did not want them to do. He mourned as His feet would go so many places He did not want them to go. Yes, dear friends, Jesus was continually mourning because of those things.

Why, you say, that astounds me! Do you mean to tell me that Jesus was imperfect? I thought He was perfect, I thought He was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners. I thought He never did anything wrong, and now you say His lips said so many things they ought not to have said, and His hands did so many things they ought not to have done, and His feet went so many places they ought not to have gone. Is that really so? Yes, friends, it is so. But Jesus was perfect in spite of all this. He was holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners. He never sinned.

Then how do you account for that seemingly inconsistent statement you have made?

Well, here it is. You know we have trouble with our lips, hands and feet, but in our case it is with our physical members in this physical body. Jesus did not have any trouble with the physical members in His physical body, but it was with His spiritual members in His mystical body. These were the members that gave Him trouble. You remember that while the Body of Christ was not organized in a certain sense until the day of Pentecost, yet in a rather preparatory sense we might speak of the apostles as composing the Body of Christ during even our Lord’s lifetime. How much these members of His Body tried the Lord Jesus! You and I have only one tongue to give us trouble, and He used to have twelve tongues that gave him trouble. There was James’, and then Peter’s,

PE328 and Judas’, and then Andrew’s tongue—Oh, how much trouble He had with His twelve tongues! It is bad enough for us to have the one. We know how much trouble it gives us. I have sometimes thought of a verse that says, “O, for a thousand tongues, to sing my great Redeemer’s praise.!” I am so thankful in God’s providence He has not inflicted a thousand tongues on me; yet if they would all sing my great Redeemer’s praise it would be all right. I would not mind it; but I am afraid that while about three of them would be singing the praise, the other nine hundred and ninety-seven would be in some kind of mischief. But we see Jesus had twelve tongues to give Him trouble, and those twelve pairs of hands that would not always do His will, and those twelve pairs of feet that wandered so frequently.

Think what that must have meant to Him. You see in a certain sense He had a similar experience to ours, only with Him it was with members of His mystical body.

But we see this must be the character of our mourning. How are we mourning? Look back over your life. You made a consecration of yourself to the Lord and what worries you to the largest degree? Is it because you are not able to buy that new piece of furniture? Or is it because you cannot be more patient under the test? Are you troubled to a larger degree because you are not able to do financially what some other people can do from the worldly standpoint? Or is your greatest trouble because you want to glorify God better? If you can answer that and say, I know it is a thousand times easier for me to bear the ordinary trials of life from a natural standpoint, it is a thousand time easier for me to miss a natural meal than to have to miss a spiritual meal; it is a great deal easier for me to be deprived of some little worldly advantage than some spiritual advantage, then you have another one of the marks of the Lord Jesus, another one of the evidences that you are one of His bond slaves. “Blessed are they that mourn.”


 

Here is an extract from an article titled “The Power of the Gospel of Christ” in The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom Magazine June 1927 :-

St. Paul’s Tears of Joy and Sadness

O, how the Apostle bore the burden of the Church’s peace and tranquillity upon his heart as he languished in dungeon dampness, or spent the days in weary toil, making tents that he might continue spending and being spent in the service of the Church he loved so intensely, until he had been literally poured out as an offering on the sacrificial altar of devotion to them! And how sympathetically we may enter into his disappointments and anxieties as again and again he is reminded of the immaturity, carnality and contentiousness of so many for whom he would willingly die, as we see those burning tears of affection blinding his afflicted eyes as he laboriously pens his fervent entreaties to these bickering, factional brethren! Our tears must flow in unison with his and for the same reason that today as in his day the unity of the faith is so often marred or disrupted by the same things.

But there were bright and happy experiences mingled with St. Paul’s frequent  disappointments, oases in the way, where the seeds of truth had fallen and germinated, producing the luxuriant greenness that shone out in pleasing contrast to all the barrenness around, where the Gospel of Christ had been permitted to exercise its grace and power and make manifest its sanctifying, ennobling, maturing effects. If in writing to the Corinthians he must reprove and lament and deplore much of what he found there, not so in writing to the Thessalonian brethren. To these dear brethren he could write with the strains of our text as a sweet melody in his heart, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.” He could point to these faithful brethren who had always been loyal, responsive, and reciprocative as a living testimony of the Gospel’s fruitage. We may again share with him his joy as he remembers the operations of grace in his own life, of all that “seeing Jesus” had meant to him personally, and of his energetic enthusiasm to make Him known to others; and we can enter into his joy as he writes these precious sentiments of commendation and love, “And you followed the pattern set you by us and by the Master, after you had received the message amid severe persecution, and yet with the joy which the Holy Spirit gives, so that you became a pattern to all the believers throughout Macedonia and Greece. For it was not only from you that the Master’s message sounded forth through Macedonia and Greece; but everywhere your faith in God has become known so that it is unnecessary for us to say anything about it” (1 Thessalonians 1:6-8, Weymouth). “Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father” (Verse 3).

“For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? For ye are our glory and joy” (1 Thessalonians 2:19, 20).

“We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth; so that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God, for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure” (2 Thessalonians 1:3, 4).

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“These prospective kings and priests are urged to look away from the afflictions and persecutions incidental to their sacrifice and loyalty to Christ; that they look to Jesus, the author of their faith, who is also to be its finisher; that they remember his example and what he endured and that everyone whom the Father accepts into the house of sons under this call must expect to have chastisings, disciplines and various testings of faith and obedience for the development and crystallization of character.”
(Reprints of the Original Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence, R4513).

 

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