« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
and though there would be a variety of apprehensions, there would not necessarily be strife, if the one object were common to them all. Each of the apostles wrote on subjects diverse from the others, and yet they were in perfect concord.
If, then, a common object ensures a common interest, how is it that there is not concord between Christians who have Christ and the church as their object? If they have one common interest, we might conclude that there would be no discord. But we do not find it so. Many have Christ as the one common interest who are not agreed, but who, on the contrary, disagree much as to the way and mode in which this interest is to be expressed. This was the case with Martha and Mary. They had one common interest; but one sought to please the Lord according to her natural mind, while the other waited on Him for the unfolding of His own mind; and this was really the "good part” which should not be taken away. Hence, it is evident that there is something more required than a common object of interest, even though it is the greatest. There cannot be a common interest without a common object; but when, as in the Christian, there are really two powers in deadly opposition to each other, it is necessary for agreement that each should co-operate in the same power; that is, in the Spirit, and not in the flesh. The real cause of the disagreement between the two sisters, was, that one was occupied with the Lord in man's way, and the other was learning from the Lord His way.
Now this is the great cause of all the differences amongst us. There is far more real love to Christ amongst Christians than is generally allowed by one denomination to another : but the strife is often bitterest where there is most zeal. When the flesh is countenanced, and its means adopted, there must be direct collision with every one walking in the Spirit of God, for the more the aim of each is the Lord, the more openly must the contrariety in
their modes of action appear; and thus they are manifestly distanced. The purpose is right in a multitude of cases, but the
the purpose is carried out, discloses whether one is carnal or spiritual. The Spirit lusteth against the flesh, and the flesh against the Spirit, and these
are contrary the one to the other. There must be strife, when flesh and Spirit come in contact. All the mistakes of the disciples, while personally attached to the Lord, arose from this. He was their object, but they, regarding Him with their natural mind, misapprehended everything. Thus Peter proposes to build three tabernacles on the mount of transfiguration, and at another time rebukes the Lord for speaking of His death, which drew from Him the severe censure, “Get thee behind me, Satan; thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.”
Now in this lies the root of our strife in general; that is, man's feeling or judgment sways, and not the Spirit of God.
Every one, walking conscientiously, can see how easily he can slip into his own judgment or feeling with regard to the Lord, and thus be at the very antipodes of the spiritual mind with reference to the matter in hand ; and, as a rule, the natural counsel has many more approvers than the spiritual, because it addresses the natural mind, which, in its judgment, always makes man prominent; and hence, every natural mind in the audience is in sympathy with it.
- The natural man understandeth not the things of the Spirit of God;" on the other hand, the Spirit of God considers absolutely for God. The collision, in every case, is really between God and man. Is it for man you are considering, or for God ? From what arose all the distress and exercise of heart to the psalmist, in Psalm lxxiii., but that he had made himself paramount in his review of all that was passing around him, for when he was in the sanctuary, where God was paramount, everything appeared quite differently? The greatest
contrariety existed between the psalmist, when he was outside the sanctuary, and when he was inside. There was not one single point of agreement between the two.
Let us learn from Isaac how a natural thing can influence us.
He did eat of his son's venison, and hence he determined to bless him, entirely forgetting the word of the Lord “the elder shall serve the younger." But he was delivered. It is a terrible moment when we have to cast off the works of darkness, and put on the armour of light. “ And Isaac trembled very exceedingly, and said, Who? Where is he that hath taken venison, and brought it me, and I have eaten of all before thou camest, and have blessed him ? Yea, and he shall be blessed.”
If we are not walking in the Spirit, it is as natural to us as is the air we breathe to give self a prominence, even in the things of God. A thorn in the flesh was inflicted on Paul, lest he should be exalted above measure, because of revelations which were given