•  5 min. read  •  grade level: 6
10. "J. C," Cirencester. We should consider it quite wrong to take such a step.
11. " D. W." Old Cumnock. The idea of departed spirits being in an unconscious state is as absurd as it is unscriptural. Has Paul been unconscious for the last eighteen hundred years? If there were any truth in this notion, could he have said, " To die is gain?" Would it be gain to be unconscious? Would it be " far better" than to enjoy Christ here, and serve Him in the gospel and in the assembly? When the Lord said to the dying thief, " To-day, shalt thou be with me in paradise," did He mean that he was to be unconscious? Why say, " with me, in paradise?" If he was to be unconscious, what difference could it make where he was to be? When the blessed apostle says, " Absent from the body, present with the Lord," does he mean a state of unconsciousness? Had Stephen nothing but a state of unconsciousness before him, when he said, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit?" It is really most deplorable to find any calling themselves Christians, holding such a miserable theory. Excuse our strong language. It is hard to speak in measured terms of such a baseless absurdity as a ransomed spirit asleep in the presence of Christ! May the Lord deliver His people from all vain and foolish notions!
12. " G. B.," Lewisham. We agree with you, in the main; but we need to exercise patience and forbearance in such matters.
13. « F. A. F. G.," Christchurch. The inspired apostle tells us that " every creature of God is good and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer." But, on the other hand, he says again, " If meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend." Here we have the two sides of this practical question.
14. "Ε. J. G.," Jersey. Thanks for your kind note and the accompanying lines.
15. " G. H.," Toronto. Scripture is, as you say, totally silent on the point; and we must ever bear in mind that, where scripture is silent, discussion is useless; where scripture speaks, discussion is closed.
16. " L.," Leicester. The word rendered " rest" in Matt. 11:2222But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. (Matthew 11:22) is not the same as in Heb. 4:99There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. (Hebrews 4:9). In the former it is αναπαυσιν (anapausin); in the latter it is σαββατισμος (sabbatismos). Our Lord says, " Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will (jive you rest" This is rest of conscience—rest as to our sins, our guilt, our responsibilities as sinners—rest as to everything which might raise a question between our souls and God.
But, further, He says, " Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye skull find rest" This is rest of heart, as regards our present path—our circumstances, our cares and anxieties, our difficulties and trials. This rest is the opposite of restlessness, and flows from our being subject, in all things, to the will of God, as our blessed Lord was perfectly. He could say, " I thank thee, Father," when everything seemed to be against Him. " Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight." And when we can say with all the heart, " Thy will be done, Ο Lord," then we "find rest." If our will be active, we are restless; if our will is subject, we have rest—sweet rest, rest of heart—the peace of God which passeth all understanding. Precious portion!
Then, in Heb. 4:99There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. (Hebrews 4:9), we have another thing altogether. " There remaineth a sabbath-keeping for the people of God." This is the future rest, the rest of glory to which we are on our way. It is God's rest into which He will, blessed be His name, conduct us when all our wilderness toil is over. The Epistle to the Hebrews presents the people of God as pilgrims on their way to rest, and it exhorts them to labor to enter into that rest. The sinner is not told to labor for rest, but the Christian is. This makes all the difference.
17. "T. S.," Hamilton, Ontario. There is a pamphlet on the subject, written thirty years αgo, to be had of our publisher, Mr. Morrish, 20, Paternoster Square, London, E.C., entitled, " Thoughts on the Lord's Supper, designed for Christians in this Day of Difficulty." Also a small tract, entitled, " Hints and Suggestions as to the Lord's Supper, and those who partake of it."
18. "Μ. M.," Kingston-on-Thames. The question of insurance, whether of life or property, is entirely one of individual faith. If you put your trust in God, you will have no need of an insurance office. The promise of God, which you get for nothing, is better far than an insurance policy for which you must pay. At least so we judge; but each one must learn this for himself.
19. "J. B.," Kingstown. Thanks for your kind suggestion. The Lord, we trust, will guide, as He has graciously done for the last twenty years.
20. "Hartest," Suffolk. In 1 Timothy i. 20, the apostle delivers Hymenreus and Alexander to Satan. It sets forth an act of solemn discipline by direct apostolic power. In 1 Corinthians v. the assembly at Corinth is commanded to deliver the evil doer to Satan for the destruction of the flesh. In both cases, we take it to be an act of discipline. A person put out of the assembly where the Holy Ghost ruled, was handed over to the power of Satan in order that his flesh might be thoroughly judged and crushed—serious, but needed work! May we learn, dear friend, to judge ourselves, in secret, before our God, so that the assembly may not have to deal with us. If the roots of evil are judged in private, the fruit will not appear above the surface of our practical life.