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THE SECRET OF TRUE PEACE

"Let not your heart be troubled."--John 14:1.

The world is full of troubled hearts; for it is full of imperfection, directly or indirectly the result of sin and its death penalty, which for 6,000 years has been preying upon our race, impairing our mental, moral and physical powers and bringing us instead depravity, disappointment, sorrow and pain. If each of us only had his own burdens he would have too much for his strength; but additionally each is in touch with others in life, in the home, in business, in society, in all of life's affairs; and his own weaknesses and blemishes are augmented and his troubles increased by his contact with the idiosyncrasies of others, their troubles, blemishes and peculiarities --mental, moral and physical. Well did the Apostle write, "The whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together." Well did the Prophet write, "Man that is born of woman is of few years and full of trouble." --Rom. 8:22; Job 14:1.

None know more respecting the burdens of life than do sympathetic physicians, attorneys and ministers. The groaning creation in the time of its special perplexity and anguish, physical, mental and moral, turns to those whose knowledge of balms, physical and spiritual, and of legal relief are loopholes through which the light of hope streams in a little upon the troubled soul. These three professions, therefore, are esteemed to be amongst the most honorable and most beneficial known; and where backed by sympathy and love they are sure to accomplish much good, to afford great relief, to inspire new hopes. But alas, not all physicians, not all lawyers, not all ministers are actuated by love and sympathy! Without judging them individually we are safe to suppose that like the remainder of the race, these men, possessing the highest opportunities in the world for the relief of their fellows, are sharers in general of the selfishness that has developed in the hearts of men as part of the fruitage of sin, as a result of its partial destruction of the Divine likeness in which man was created--a perfect image, in the flesh, of God--the God of love, "the God of all grace."

"WONDERFUL WORDS OF LIFE"

Our text was part of our Lord's message to His disciples just before His crucifixion. Himself bowed with grief and exceeding sorrowful in anticipation of the shame of the death He was about to suffer, our Lord's thoughts and comforting words went forth to His disciples, who were perplexed and distressed. Hiding his own sorrow He comforted them, and thus has set an example to all of His followers who, walking in His steps and imitating Him, are at once in the world good physicians, expounders of the Divine Law and ministers of the Divine Law of Love. Indeed, however much we appreciate the miracles wrought by our Lord--the healing of the sick, the awakening of the dead, the opening of the blind eyes and deaf ears--that which appeals to us as the most wonderful manifestation is His teaching, His doctrine. Truly did some of His day say, "Never man spake like this man" (John 7:46); and again, "And all bare Him witness, and wondered at the gracious words that proceeded out of His mouth"--"Beautiful words, wonderful words of life."--Luke 4:22.

And so must it be with the footstep-followers of Jesus. Our Lord might have spent all of His time and all of His energy in healing the sick, in awakening the dead. But this was not His mission. He merely in these miracles gave evidence of the power of God residing in Him, and foreshadowed the blessings yet to come to the world at His Second Advent--Times of Refreshing that then would come, "Times of Restitution of all things spoken by the mouth of all the holy Prophets since the world began." (Acts 3:19-21.) At the Pool of Bethesda were multitudes waiting for healing, but our Lord healed only one; for this was sufficient for His purpose, and not because of lack of sympathy. The due time had not yet come for the healing of the woes and difficulties of the world. Those whose interest was awakened by the physical healing had their attention promptly drawn to the Lord's readiness to heal all the broken-hearted, to give the oil of joy for the spirit of heaviness, and to awaken those dead in trespasses and sins to a newness of life through faith.--Isa. 61:1-3.

Similarly all the footstep-followers of Jesus are commissioned as His representatives to tell the Message of Good Tidings to all who have ears to hear--to announce to such the Divine Program, that as sin and death came by one man's disobedience, so a redemption has been accomplished by another, by "the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a Ransom for all, to be testified in due time." (1 Tim. 2:5,6.) They are authorized to do the work of a good physician and to bind up the broken-hearted. They are authorized as lawyers versed in the Law of God to point out to those willing to hear that sin, the violation of the Divine Law, has brought all the havoc upon our race which causes countless thousands to mourn. They are authorized further to point out that Jesus our Lord gave Himself a full Ransom-price, meeting the demands of the broken Law; and that thus it is possible for all who have turned from sin, and who are seeking to come back into harmony with God and His perfect Law of Love, to approach Him through Christ as their Advocate, and to realize that they are no longer condemned, but justified freely from all things through their faith in their Redeemer and Advocate.

They are further authorized as ministers of the Gospel, the Royal Priesthood, to point out to those who have the hearing ear that the reconciliation accomplished by our Lord Jesus not only covers our sins of the past, but also covers weaknesses and imperfections of the present and of the future for the believer to the extent that these are involuntary, disapproved, striven against. They are authorized in the Master's name to assure all such that "the Father Himself loveth you"; that "all things are working together for good to those that love God, the called ones according to His purpose"; and that eventually through the glorified Christ, Head and Body, Bridegroom and Bride, a blessed opportunity for reconciliation to God under the terms of the New Covenant are to be extended to "all the families of the earth"--including those who have gone down into the great prison-house of death without having had a full, proper knowledge of the Lord and of His Plan, such as the death of Christ has guaranteed that all shall have ere they could die the Second Death.--John 16:27; Rom. 8:28.

"BIND UP THE BROKEN-HEARTED"

Thus seen the Lord's consecrated Little Flock, the Royal Priesthood, have even in the present time gracious opportunities for serving the brethren and such of the world as have hearing ears and a desire to become of the "brethren" class. It is not true that God gave a commission to His ambassadors to go through life breaking the hearts of their fellow-men. On the contrary, the commission reads that those members of the Body of Christ who have received the anointing of the Holy Spirit from the Lord Jesus, their Head, are commissioned to bind up the broken-hearted, to comfort all that mourn in Zion, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

If some are disposed to object that the comforting of mourners and the binding of broken hearts imply that God's ministers, servants of the Truth, are first of all to break the hearts, to cause the mourning, we answer, No! It is not thus written, and we are not to add to the Word of God. Various agencies are at work all about us, doing the heart-breaking and the wounding. It is for us to receive so much of the Lord's spirit that so far as possible we shall break no hearts, wound none, but on the contrary do all in our power to effect the proper healing of such as are within the range of our influence. Sin is breaking the hearts of thousands. Disappointment in themselves, in their own ambitions, in their own efforts, disappointment in their friends, in business, in pleasure-- all of these are doing the wounding and the breaking. So many more hearts are troubled and broken that the Lord's people can possibly heal that we can rest well content to do the work which the Master gave us to do, and to leave to the Adversary and those who are in outer darkness of sin and ignorance of the Lord and His Spirit to do the heart-breaking.--Isa. 42:16.

In our understanding the Scriptures teach that a great Time of Trouble is near at hand--the great final trouble of this world's history, in which, during a period of anarchy unparalleled, all human hopes and ambitions will utterly fail. As the Scriptures declare, "There shall be a Time of Trouble such as was not since there was a nation--no, nor ever shall be afterward." (Dan. 12:1; Matt. 24:21.) That great trouble, as the Scriptures point out, will be the result of selfishness reaching its limit, becoming ripe and going to seed. The world has always been selfish; but according to the Scriptures and according to our observation, this spirit of greed and selfishness is extending more and more widely, and impressing almost every member of the race. Eventually it will be true, as the Scriptures describe, that "every man's hand will be against his neighbor" with the result that there will be "no peace to him that goeth out or to him that cometh in."--Zech. 8:10.

The world, ignorant of God and of the Plan He has prepared for the blessing of all the nations during the Millennium, will feel the Time of Trouble most keenly. But the Scriptures give us to understand that their sorrows, woes and heart-breakings will eventually be favorable to them, so that that general plowing of the world with the plowshare of trouble and the perplexity of that time, when all its hopes will be dissipated, will work for good to them eventually, and draw their attention away from the false hopes which many of them had long been vainly chasing--to the better, the true hope which the Lord has provided, the center of which is Christ's Kingdom and the ground of which is His Ransom-sacrifice at Calvary.--1 Tim. 2:5,6.

THE FUTURE WORK OF BLESSING

How wise is the Divine arrangement that those who are to be associated with the Lord Jesus during His Millennial Reign in the work of uplifting and helping mankind over their difficulties and out of their various degradations are to be the same ones who gain practise in this matter now by binding up the broken hearts of the comparatively few, and who have the ear to hear and the desire to respond to the grace of God during this Gospel Age. Thus we see illustrated the statement elsewhere given us in the Scriptures that we are in the School of Christ, in preparation for future usefulness. Thus we see that, as physicians and nurses are given a training for their future work, so those whom the Lord has called to the glorious "Royal Priesthood" of the future for the blessing of mankind are now given a practise-work in their own hearts, in their own families, amongst their own kin and in the Household of Faith.

What a thought, that our future graduation and the possibility of our sharing in the Kingdom work is dependent upon how we shall learn now the art of binding up the broken hearts of those with whom we are in contact! Not that the skill is the important matter, but the love. He who loves much and who now sees the broken and troubled hearts around him will be led to "do good to all men as he may have opportunity, but especially to the Household of Faith." If, on the contrary, his love and sympathy do not go out toward these troubled ones, if his best energies are spent on money-making or in some other selfish channel, how dwelleth the love of God in him? Let us remember the words of Scripture, "The Lord your God doth prove you whether ye do love the Lord your God with all your heart or not." (Deut. 13:3.) For, as the Apostle tells us, he who loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God, whom he hath not seen? (1 John 4:20.) The test then upon us all is Love--"He that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and he that loved not is not begotten of God."

Here we note that, with sympathetic minds, some are improperly, injuriously binding up broken hearts. It has become the general message of what is termed the New Thought and the New Theology that there is no exclusiveness in God's Plan--that all mankind are children of God, that our Lord Jesus made a great mistake when He declared to some, "Ye are of your father the Devil." (John 8:44.) It has become with many a stock phrase, the "Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man." But we warn all that there is no Scriptural authority for such teaching, but that on the contrary they are drawing away the hearts of men from the good Physician and the Divinely given balm; for "there is none other name given under Heaven and amongst men whereby we must be saved," but the name of Jesus. There is none other, therefore, qualified to speak true peace to the troubled soul or to properly bind up the broken heart.

"ONLY JESUS WOULD I KNOW AND JESUS CRUCIFIED"

Our Lord forewarned us of these various theories of salvation through another channel than that which God has provided. He declared Himself to be the only Door into the sheepfold, and that all who attempt to get into it otherwise are thieves and robbers--that no man can come unto the Father save through Him. (John 14:6.) We therefore warn against every theory which attempts to present mercy and restoration to Divine favor otherwise than through faith in Christ's sacrifice. And we denounce as unscriptural all those teachings, growing increasingly prevalent because of the Evolution theory, which present the thought that there was no original sin, no original sentence, and hence no need of a Redeemer and no need of an uplift by Restitution, such as God has promised and made provision for, and which He assures us will be accomplished during the Millennial Age, when Satan shall be bound. We hold forth as God's olive branch, as His message of peace, the invitation that all the "called" may come unto the Father through the Redeemer--through the merit of His sacrifice, and, coming, may realize their sins forgiven, their restoration to Divine favor, the Lord's loving interest in all of their affairs, and His willingness and ability to make all things work together for their good, and His promise that, if faithful, ultimately they shall be made sharers with their Lord in the blessings of the resurrection of the just-- glory, honor and immortality; and that by and by, during the Millennium, all those now blind and deaf may taste of Divine grace.

Another error which we should warn against is that of acceptance of Jesus and a hope in Him contrary to the presentation of the Scriptures. Some tell us that they reject the thought that Jesus died to be man's Redeemer, but that they, nevertheless, accepted Christ as their Teacher and Example. Our reply is that as our Teacher the Master taught us that He "came into the world to give His life a Ransom for many"--for all. If His life was not a Ransom, or Corresponding-Price, then He falsified in so stating; and those who believe that He did falsify could not consider Him a proper teacher. Furthermore, if He came into the world merely to be our Exemplar and not to be our Redeemer, our Ransomer, then His mission was a failure; for no one since His coming has been able to follow the example He set. To view our Lord as merely as Example for proper living for the world would be an absurdity, since no one of the fallen race can possibly live up to the perfect standard which our Lord set in sacrificing all of His rightful interests as a man.--Matt. 20:28.

The Scriptures present the opposite view--that mankind are all imperfect through the fall, and under the death sentence; and that "Jesus Christ by the grace of God tasted death for every man"--"gave Himself a Ransom for all, to be testified in due time." They teach that this sacrifice for the sin of Adam, and applicable through him to the sins of the whole world, was necessary for the meeting of the Divine sentence before Divine forgiveness and restoration to eternal life and favor would be possible. They represent that for the majority of mankind such a restoration will be effected during the Millennial Age. They represent that to a very small minority, even "as many as the Lord your God shall call," our Lord was not only a Redeemer but an Exemplar: that these called to a separation from the world to walk in the narrow way of self-sacrifice are to copy Christ's example as far as possible, though admittedly they will never be able to come up to His standards. The Scriptures assure us that the best endeavors of this class, covered by the merit of Christ's sacrifice, will be acceptable and reckoned to them as though they were perfect sacrifices, and that thus they may have their share with their Redeemer in the glory, honor and immortality of His Kingdom, and be participants with Him in the great work of bestowing upon the world during the Millennium the blessing of Divine forgiveness and favor secured through the sacrifice of Christ.

"YOUR HEARTS NOT TROUBLED"

We come finally to the application of our text to the Apostles and those who have believed through their word. The hearts of these are not to be troubled under any circumstances. They are no longer of the world, because separated from the world through their acceptance of the Lord and His acceptance of them. While still sharers in the trials, difficulties of the world in general, these have now the consolations of the Scriptures to offset these troubles and to make of them "light afflictions"--not worthy to be compared with the glories promised to be revealed in us. (2 Cor. 4:17; Rom. 8:18.) Indeed, it is not an unusual thing for the Lord to permit trials and difficulties to come upon His faithful much more severe than those which fall to the lot of the world.--Heb. 12:6-11; Rev. 3:19.

Yea, as the Apostle says, so it should be with us all that "none of these things move me"--none of these experiences in life cause anxious thought. Why? The Apostle tells us, "Because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts." (Acts 20:24; Rom. 5:5.) We have not only learned that God has forgiven our sins, that He is our Father and our best friend, that He is merciful to our imperfections, that He has called us to glory and association with our Redeemer, but that these blessings are to be ours at the Second Coming of our Lord, the resurrection of the just and the establishment of the Kingdom. Additionally also, we have now the peace, the joy, the blessed hope which these gracious promises afford. These the world can neither give nor take away.

What wonder if the hearts of this class are not troubled! Their Father knoweth the things they have need of. Day by day they are learning more distinctly than ever before that He who cares for the sparrows and for their necessities, He who clothes the grass of the field, is much more interested in them, will be much more careful of their interests, so that figuratively speaking not one hair of their heads could fall without Divine attention. "Nothing shall by any means hurt you," is the Master's assurance. (Luke 10:19.) Why then should we be troubled? Surely anxiety on the part of such would be a lack of faith, a lack of confidence, or else ignorance of the Divine promises, character and arrangement.