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Observer, Aug. 1, '75
against God, and that the heavenly messenger was Jesus, he immediately said—“ Lord, what wilt thou have me to do ?” (Acts ix. 6.) When the gaoler saw his lost condition, his awakened soul found' vent in the expression—“Sirs, what must I do to be saved ?” (Acts xvi. 30.) The above cases illustrate the natural outcry of every convicted sinner. Now how is it, if man needs to do nothing for salvation, that every man seeks to do something ? Did God create the powers of the human soul so as to operate in every case diametrically opposite to His religion ? Did He send His Holy Spirit to awaken these powers and direct them in a wrong channel ; and afterwards hand them over to a class of teachers who should undo both what the promptings of their own natures and the convictions of the Spirit sought to accomplish? Unless we can answer these questions in the affirmative, Do-nothingism is not of God, but of man ; is not from above, but from beneath; is not conversion, but perversion.
3. If mun requires to do nothing to be saved, both Jesus and the Apostles luve misrepresented the plan of salvation. It is a stubborn fact that our Lord never contemplated the salvation of any man without his being required to do something. Hear his own words
“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven : but he that DOETH the will of my Father which is in heaven. Therefore, whosoever heareth these sayings of mine and DOETH them, I will liken him to a wise man, who built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house : and it fell not, for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and DOETH THEM NOT, shall be likened unto a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand : and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” (Matt. vii. 21-27.) Surely there is no uncertain sound here. Just before ascending into heaven He gave the commission, which clearly points in the same direction, and fixes the world's destiny, “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned.” (Mark xvi. 15, 16.)
The Apostles in carrying out their Lord's instructions understood that men were to do something to be saved. When the three thousand on Pentecost, cried out what shall we do? “ Peter said unto them, Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and ye shall recive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts ii. 38.) The above is but a sample of all other cases in the history of the Apostles. All required to obey the Lord in order to salvation. It is remarkable that although the question what must I do to be saved ? was often put both to Christ and the Apostles, yet never one was rebuked for it, but in every case instead of the answers being do nothing, the inquirer was directed to obey some conditions in order to be saved. More than this; while the disciples were instructing the people that they must do something to be saved, “God was bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost according to his own will.” (Heb. ii- 4.) Now unless we are prepared to affirm that Jesus and the Apostles were
Observer, Aug. 1, '75.
in error, and that God also is implicated by confirming their testimony with signs, we must hold that Do-nothingism is not God's plan for saving our lost race. Every one who has a spark of grace will say, , " Let God be true.”
4.. If a man needs to do nothing to be saved, the Bible does not teach the plan of salvation. Search the entire book of God from Genesis to Revelation, and you fail to find anything approaching the conclusion that a man is saved by doing nothing. Such an answer was never given to an inquiring sinner, by an inspired teacher, from the days of Moses till the death of John the Apostle. The following passage is a sample of New Testament teaching :-"The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven, with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power: when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe.” (2 Thess. i. 7-10.( If Do-nothingism is the plan of salvation, and if the Bible does not teach it, the natural conclusion is that the Bible cannot be a safe guide. Now if it is not to be found in the Bible where shall we go to find it ? The true answer is, in the imaginations of men. - This wisdom descendeth not from above."
In conclusion, we fearlessly affirm that religion is neither made up of four, nor of forty letters ; but that it contains all that are needful to communicate God's will. The person who seeks to lay aside what God has appointed, must suppose himself wiser than his maker. This is surely a sample of pride, ignorance, wickedness, and folly. “It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." (Matt. iv. 4.)
JOHN BUNYAN, in his matchless allegory, shows a man whose eyes were always cast down, and in his hand he held a muck-rake: just over his head was an angelic being, holding a celestial crown in his hand, which he offered to give him; but the man never raised his eyes to look at it, nor did he lift his hands to take hold of it, but with eyes ever fixed on the earth, he continued to rake unto himself dust and straw and rubbish that was of but litttle worth.
So it is with men who should ever be ascending the “hill of the Lord,” and whose aspirations should carry them into the “holy place ;" whose deepest desire should be to climb the ladder Jacob saw to go up the mount of prayer as Moses did Mount Sinai; or go with the Saviour, as Peter, James and John did, into the “Holy Mount," and there behold Him in all His glory as the altogether lovely one, to meditate upon His purity and contemplate His character until the world recedes and vanishes and he feeels that he is on holy ground, surrounded by master spirits who have fought life's fight and solved the mystery of death-feels that it is a delightful place, and that he is very near to
Observer, Aug. 1, '75.
Him in whose presence there is fulness of joy. Yet man, with the fadeless diadem of eternal life over his head, and with the possibilty of attaining such a high and pure enjoyment, still looks down and is satisfied to rake to himself rubbish, rubbish, RUBBISH.
Did you ever think how often, by command and example, the Book of God directs and encourages us to look up? It was when Abraham lifted
that he saw the friendly angels near to his tent-door ; and is it not likely that kind visitors now come near to God's people, “though too often unperceived ?" Again: when this most faithful servant of the Most High was passing through the most awful trial of his life, he “lifted up his eyes” and saw the ram that was to be the substitute for his child. Balaam for a moment “ lifted up his eyes” from gazing upon the “houseful of gold” which Balak had offered him and which he so much desired, and saw the Morning Star coming out of Jacob and the Scepter coming out of Israel : he listened, and he heard a voice, saying, “God is not a man that he should lie, or a son of man that he should repent." Purer thoughts and more heavenly aspirations filled the old prophet's soul, and he longed to die the death of the righteous, and prayed that his last end might be as calm and beautiful as is the end of the righteous. Perhaps none of the old Testament men felt as deeply and understood the heart so well as did David. Why do his psalms touch so delicately all the chords of our hearts, as his fingers touch the harp--quieting souls to-day as in days long gone he stilled the troubled spirit of the king ? Why are they store-houses of bread to the hungry, and wells of comfort to the afflicted ? Is it not because he “lifted up his eyes to the hills from which came his help.” (Ps. cxxi. 1). Early in the day he looked up unto God, and his prayer ascended with the morning sacrifice. (Ps. v. iii.). In the darkest hour, when God seemed to have hidden his face, still he said, “ Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” Again he says: - Unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.” Have we had such feelings ? Are there such longings in our souls? Do we often say:
“ Rise, my soul, and stretch thy wings,
Thy better portion trace,
To heaven, thy native place ?"
A strange and terrible insanity once came upon Nebuchanezzar, which changed him into a wild man. He gave up his palace for the wilderness, and the habitations of men for the society of wild beasts. Nor did he get any better until, as he tells us himself, “I lifted up mine eyes unto the heavens, and mine understanding returned unto me." So it is now, when man lifts up his thoughts from this world is his spirit restored in the image of God-in righteousness and true holiness. Did not Christ often lift up His eyes to heaven, and did He not tell His Disciples to “ look up and lift up their heads ?” When He was about to heal a blind man, He first made him look up, and after the blind man had done this, it is said “He was restored and saw every man clearly.” (Mark viii. 25). Plutarch, whose writings will last as long
. ) as human character and history are studied with interest, in speak
Observer, Aug. 1, '75.
ing of the hog, says: “The eyes of the hog are so formed and disposed of in the head, it is always looking on the lowest objects, and can in no manner contemplate things elevated and lofty. It cannot look upward unless thrown on its back with its feet upward. Although this animal is addicted to the most discordant squealing and grunting, yet as soon as it is laid on the back it is immediately silent; so great is its astonishment at the heavens, the sight of which it is unaccustomed to, and which causes such fear that it is unable to cry.” Are there not many so unaccustomed to things spiritual that, if their eyes were suddenly turned up to them, they would be dumb with astonishment ?
I think it is Dr. Holland who says: “ There is a great deal of pig in human nature, or human nature in a pig;” and it is true, for there are many pig-men whose only songs of thankfulness are low grunts, and whose eyes are always looking on the "lowest objects."
Oh! may we realize that man was made for better things; that there is within him a spark of that heavenly flame which should be fanned until he himself shall become a flaming fire in the service of God. From the time that the ark which held all the human family rested safely on Mount Ararat, until the day when the Son of God ascended to heaven from the Mount of Olives, many of the most important and sublime events in Bible history transpired on mountains in and about the Holy Land. So much is this true than there is hardly a mountain in Palestine that, from some event, might not be called a sacred mount. And why all this, if not to teach us to lift up our eyes to the cross that was planted on Mount Calvary, and direct our most profound attention to the law that went forth from Mount Zion ? If you open a bird-cage, and let the captive out, it does not go down to the ground, but flies up into the sky. How much more should that person from whose soul the fetters and chains of sin have been stricken off fly and mount up to its God and Saviour !
I think it is Mrs. Hemans who, in speaking to her son of the eagle's defying the tempest and rising above the storm-clouds to gaze upon the sun, says:
“ Boy, may the eagle's flight ever be thine,
Onward and upward, and truth the line." Are there not dark clouds for the child of God to rise above: and is there not a sun for him to fix his gaze upon ? The trees that lift their branches to the heavens; the stars that twinkle in the sky above; the birds that sing in the forests over heads; the showers that fall from the clouds above; and the sun which brings its twofold blessing of light and heat every time he looks down upon us—all teach us to lift up our hearts and voices to Him who is the giver of every good and perfect gift. Then
Rise, O my soul! pursue the path
By ancient heroes trod ;
Observer, Aug. 1, '75.
DAVID ENGEL.-A WORTHY EXAMPLE. ABOUT three years ago a very plain unpretending man, apparently about fifty years of age, called at my study, desiring religious conversation. He proceeded to make certain inquiries as to our views of baptism, the Lord's supper, feet-washing, as practiced by some denominations, etc. Slow and hesitating in speech, his conversation showed such quiet habit of deep thought, and his questions were of so practical a character, that in a two hours' interview, quite a respectable library of books of reference from my book-case, had grown up by our side.
His family connections were among the German Baptist Brethren, as they call themselves, or Tunkers, as others often call them. As between them and the Pedobaptist denominations he became satisfied that we held the golden medium ground, and a short time after was immersed, and received into our congregation the day we re-opened our house of worship, May 5th, 1872.
Since that time he has been to the church a most edifying example of earnest effort to learn in the school of Christ how to work for His
Signalizing his entrance into the church by a liberal contribution to the cost of the improvement then just made, no enterprise of the church was ever presented to him without a liberal contribution. He at once began attending all the meetings of the church, and with great modesty speaking a word of exhortation and joining in prayer, and though possessing no natural gifts in that direction, by dint of much study and deep piety become exceedingly acceptable in both.
Carrying on extensive business operations in taking up ground, building rows of houses, laying out a new cemetery, etc., he yet found time for the most pains-taking study, in fitting himself to teach his large Sunday-school class on each Lord's day morning. When our church was reorganized he become one of its officers and trustee.
On the 19th of May last he was taken suddenly ill, and typhoid pneumonia developed itself rapidly. I called upon him the next day, and he calmly told me he would certainly die. I did not for a moment believe it, and tried to change his opinion, but in vain. The next day he was better; but on Saturday much worse, and still firm in the conviction that this was his last illness. We conversed of the future. I have never, even in the oldest and ripest Christians, seen the manifestation of greater clearness of apprehension and a more implicit confidence in the hope of eternal life. As he himself expressed it, it was not a mere matter of faith, but amounted to the clearness and force of knowledge. “I know that heaven is mine. I know that I will dwell with Christ for ever.
Tell the brethren to hold out faithful and meet me in heaven, for I know that I shall be there." So absolute was his confidence that he seemed to be already amid the heavenly joys.
During this interview he called for a bundle of papers, and handing them to me, requested me to find a certain paper, a note of one thousand dollars which he had taken up for the church, and which represented just one-half of our entire liabilities for our building. Finding it, he quietly handed it to me as a gift to the church.
On the next Monday night his prediction was fulfilled. He passed