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hood of man,” with a flavour of intellectualism, is the gospel that is now being emphasized with much gusto, and never fails to solicit the indorsement of all denominations. “Be good and do good " is the multum in parvo of present day righteousness.
Who but a chronic faultfinder could object to this upward move, so obvious now in all directions ? The world is getting kinder, more sympathetic, more charitable; creed lines are dissolving like snow under an April sun; sectarian prejudice is dying under the withering frown of new ideals. Does this not indicate a gradual leavening of the “whole lump"? The spirit of Christ, they tell us, is being adopted everywhere. He is mounting the throne of universal empire, and the time surely is not far distant when the social, political, commercial and domestic life will be regenerated by His influence. Yes, it would appear so to be; much that is done bears a Christian label; it comes in the name of Christ; but, says a writer, “it is the Christ of Bethlehem and not the Christ of the Cross." It is the human Christ and not the sacrificial--the exponent of a blood Atonement.
The righteousness that has the full swing of modern religionists makes much of Christ's “example," His beautiful character and self-abandonment—"He went about doing good." Much attention is given to studying His leadership, His pedagogy, His art of public address, His humanity. His example and not His sacrifice saves the world; step by step the human Christ has displaced the Christ of Calvary; His atonement was misguided zeal. This propaganda, on the surface, us reasonable and popu. lar; but close scrutiny will reveal a poison as dangerous as it is subtle. It leaves out the Blood; it is a glorification of Man. “ Count the number of the beast, for it is the number of man."
This issue is an old one; it became an entering wedge in the religious life when the first services were held after the Fall. Cain and Abel made altars; Cain piled his high with beautiful, luscious fruits of the field. No festal board ever looked more tempting, loaded with sweet smelling fruit, having variegated colours, than the altar which Cain presented to God. They were the results of his own sweat and toil; he offered them as the “ first fruits." But God rejected the offering; somehow the very beauty and attractiveness of it all insulted Him...
Abel's altar was smeared with blood; on top lay a limp, bleeding lamb. Nothing attractive about this picture; our esthetic nature recoils at the gore and cruelty of such an offering. Yet God graciously accepted this bloody, unsightly offering; and no doubt rained fire upon it-anyhow, Abel was justified. Why did God reject the one and accept the other ? Cain and Abel alike had been taught from their infancy that “without the shedding of blood there shall be no remission of sin." By transgression man stood as an alien before God; he had forfeited divine favour. Notwithstanding, Cain boldly brought before God a bloodless sacrifice, and presumes to force Him to accept it. Through all the millenniums before Christ every approach to God must contain in the sacrifices and offerings an element which reminded God of the coming Atonement. He declared : « For the life of the flesh is the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your soul. For it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul” (Lev. xvii. 11).
Coming directly to the point : all this new notion of things, touching Man's religion, fast becoming prevalent is the “ way of Cain," with a twentieth century touch and terminology. What is the essence of this new righteousness ? what does it do? Observe, it sets aside God's estimate of man, and ignores the plan of redemption He established at the beginning in types and shadows, then consummated in the atoning death of His Son on the Cross. The righteousness of to-day has much in it to commend; but it utterly disregards the only feature upon which God places emphasis. The Blood and the Cross, as of old, is an offense; they have found a more excellent way, but it is the "way of Cain." It is offering self-righteousness rather than seeking the righteousness of God. The bloody offering of Abel suggested suffering, punishment, death, judgment—but it honoured God. Modern righteousness scoffs at the Abel offerings by hanging a wreath of flowers on the Cross, bearing a perfumed tag, “ With sympathy.” It is Cain setting up business in town once
A sacrificial propitiation for sin is unnecessary when we have" inherent goodness." The modern righteousness contends that each man has selfredemptive qualities; all he needs is a chance. Salvation is not internal, but external,
The Cainites are filling the earth; they are preaching the popular sermons, writing the magazine arti
cles, the poetry, the fiction; they occupy the chief synagogue seats of seminaries; they are conspicuous at all chatauquas and baccalaureate occasions.
It is a well-known psychological fact that evil cannot exist apart from Personality-whether it be bad laws, bad books, bad town, or a bad house. Whence comes all this audacious, undermining insult to the whole sweep of God's plan for saving the world? Whence comes all this preaching about righteousness which places the crown on man, and robs the Cross of its glory? The righteousness being sounded in double diapason and angelus keys is the righteousness of the Devil. Bear in mind it is Righteousness, and a high type of it, he demands; he wants the offering of Cain to cover up all the needs of the soul-cheat the blood of its merit-insult God, and lead the race through a bowery of flowers, fruits, and music on to its ruin. Anything to cheat the depositum of the Gospel—that which gives a title to heaven-the precious Blood. The righteousness that leaves out the Blood is the “ way of Cain"_“the righteousness of the Devil."
THE WORLD'S TEMPTER “ Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high moun. tain, and showeth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; and sayeth unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.”—Matthew iv. 8-9.
TEMPTATION is a seduction : meaning to allure or entice one to evil. It is submitting a proposition which carries with it inducements of pleasure or gain. The mind that accedes readily and willingly to an act is not tempted. A temptation is a clash of wills, one being superior to the other if the contest results in a yielding. The word embodies the idea of an elastic—“ stretched to the snapping point.” If there is no response, no struggle against desire-it is not a temptation. The Master was very man as well as very God; yet strange as it may seem-He was really tempted, and just as we are.
Our purpose in this discussion is not to analyze the different phases of our Lord's temptation-the tests to which He was subjected, but we wish to emphasize one thing: He was tempted. The appeals came from His old time enemy ; His rival for supremacy. He was not taken unawares; the facts were clearly before Him, just who and what it all meant-yet He was tempted. The diabolical assault did not cease until His threefold nature was “ stretched to the snapping point." It came from an inferior being, and for sake of illustration, had the scheme succeeded, the Sun of righteousness would have gone