Humble!—Few can stand success. The praise of men, the laudation of the crowds, so often turns the head and lifts up the heart. It is misunderstanding, criticism, difficulty, abuse, persecution, failure, that usually draws—or drives—us to God. When everything seems to be coming our way,—attendance, offerings, approval, appreciation, laudation, converts, success,—'tis then that we need to watch, lest we be lifted up in our own estimation and spoiled for the greater service. Under such circumstances, it takes discipline and humbling before an all-wise Father to bring us down from dizzying heights to walk humbly with our God. This is not an easy thing to pray for, but we need it for the sake of our souls' safety.
Research!—Earnest, honest, persistent research work by those properly equipped on the essential junction points of history and prophecy should ever be encouraged and never discouraged. When it has the full, unassailable truth of God as its objective, and reverent, unswerving loyalty thereto as its motivating spirit, none need fear its results. It is stultifying traditionalism that is our peril, as it was with the Jews of old, and of every churchly movement of the Christian Era. To attempt to maintain with pious declarations a detail that cannot be sustained by sound historical evidence, is fundamentally dishonest. Better to be silent than to prostitute conscience by repeating discredited evidence on some nonessential. We are not to think that because some such nonessential position was once taken that it is ever after to be maintained as inerrant and vital. The relentless scrutiny of a critical world will soon be turned upon us. Truth must not be caught unawares. And truth has really nothing to fear. Those who have had the privilege of such research opportunity are the stronger, surer, and sounder in the faith because of the opportunity.
Leaders!—There are leaders and associates who stimulate us to ever greater achievement by their moral and expressed support. We are conscious of their backing. We know where they will stand, irrespective of shifting tides of sentiment. They counsel us candidly concerning our trends and weaknesses, helping us to avoid pitfalls and mistakes, and we love them for it. They bring out the very best that is in us. There is nothing we would not attempt for them in their leadership of the cause we love. There are, alas, others who chill every atom of enthusiasm we possess, and who stifle all initiative by their reserve, their expressed or obvious criticisms, and their studied countering of every expression or plan projected. We serve in spite of, and not because of, them. It is the love of the cause that impels despite their efforts to "balance" us. 0 that such might see how much more would be achieved by adopting the former attitude and method!
Turning Point!—If the one church that stands for the full expansion of the truth of God—Biblical, historical, factual—should ever come to the place of codification and rigidity, refusing to go on to perfection, or refusing to revise inaccuracy of detail in the light of additional, corrective facts in the field of exposition or interpretation, she would reach the turning point of her career, and would thereby turn her face away from God's expansive truth.
Issues!—Some men would be hard put if they did not have a succession of "issues" over which to battle. And if issues do not exist, they proceed to create them. There can be no championing without issues, and issues are necessary to the spotlight. Significantly enough, such matters rarely if ever have any direct relationship to real salvation. To brush aside nonessential issues, and preach a saving gospel that transforms the life and nourishes the soul, would be a revolutionary experience for them, and an amazingly blessed spectacle to behold. Let us encourage it.
Discussion!—Absence of discussion concerning doctrine and prophecy does not afford the ground for complacency erroneously believed and declared by some. Rather, it is cause for concern, for it is fraught with peril of a serious character. Instead of indicating that all is well, it reveals indifference or superficiality, stagnation or fatal compromise. For this we have the clear dictum of the Spirit of prophecy. (See "Gospel Workers," pp. 299, 300.) Continual growth and development is always accompanied by discussion; and where there is no discussion, real, personal study that produces conviction is lacking. The history of the post-Reformation church bears eloquent and tragic witness to this vital principle. We must avoid her mistakes. There are many prophecies, such as Revelation 17, which infold much light that has not yet been discovered, and for which we should be constantly praying and diligently seeking. Fulfillment often makes clear what could never be discerned before. And added light, be it noted, never sets aside genuine light, already received. It intensifies, enlarges, clarifies, and enforces, expanding our vision and correcting our misconceptions. Let us pray for and seek everincreasing light.
L. E. F.