We are a united body. We are bound together by a common religious conviction, by one and the same divine discipline and by the bond of common hope. We form a permanent society and come together for communal gatherings as if forming an army around God and besieging Him with our prayers. This is the kind of force in which God rejoices. …
Sunday, December 27, 2015
Sunday, December 20, 2015
For Christ is of those who are humble-minded, and not of those who exalt themselves over His flock. Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Sceptre of the majesty of God, did not come in the pomp of pride or arrogance, although He might have done so, but in a lowly condition, as the Holy Spirit had declared regarding Him. For He says, “Lord, who has believed our report, and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? We have declared [our message] in His presence:
Sunday, December 13, 2015
Some most worthless persons are in the habit of carrying about the name [of Jesus Christ] in wicked deceitfulness. They practice things unworthy of God and hold opinions contrary to the doctrine of Christ, to their own destruction. … For “they are dumb dogs, that cannot bark,” raving mad, and biting secretly, against whom you must be on your guard, since they labor under an incurable disease. But our Physician is the only true God, the unbegotten and unapproachable, the Lord of all, the Father and Begetter of the only-begotten Son. …
Let not then any one deceive you, as indeed you are not deceived; for you are wholly devoted to God. For when there is no evil desire within you, which might defile and torment you, then you live in accordance with the will of God, and are [the servants] of Christ. … They that are carnal cannot do those things which are spiritual, nor they that are spiritual the things which are carnal; even as faith cannot do the works of unbelief, nor unbelief the works of faith. But you, being full of the Holy Spirit, do nothing according to the flesh, but all things according to the Spirit. You are complete in Christ Jesus, “who is the Savior of all men, specially of them that believe.” …
And pray without ceasing in behalf of other men; for there is hope of repentance, that they may attain to God. For “cannot he that falls arise again, and he that goes astray return?” Permit them, then, to be instructed by you. Be therefore the ministers of God, and the mouth of Christ. … Conquer their harsh temper by gentleness, their passion by meekness. For “blessed are the meek;” and Moses was meek above all men; and David was exceeding meek. Wherefore Paul exhorts as follows: “The servant of the Lord must not strive, but be gentle towards all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves.”
Friday, December 4, 2015
These are the bones of contention, which you are perpetually gnawing! If God is good, and knows the future, and able to avert evil, why did He permit man … to be deceived by the devil, and fall from obedience of the law into death? For if He had been good, and so unwilling that such a catastrophe should happen, and knowing of the future, so as not to be ignorant of what was to come to pass, and powerful enough to hinder its occurrence, that issue would never have come about, which should be impossible under these three conditions of the divine greatness. Since however, it has occurred, the contrary proposition is most certainly true, that God must be deemed neither good, nor prescient, nor powerful.
I find, though, that man was constituted free by God, master of his own will and power; indicating the presence of God’s image and likeness in him by nothing so well as by this constitution of his nature. … The goodness of God, then fully considered from the beginning of His works, will be enough to convince us that nothing evil could possibly have come forth from God; and the liberty of man will, after a second thought, shows us that it alone is chargeable with the fault which itself committed. …
Saturday, November 28, 2015
Let us therefore, brethren, be of humble mind, laying aside all haughtiness, and pride, and foolishness, and angry feelings; and let us act according to that which is written (for the Holy Spirit says, “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, neither let the rich man glory in his riches; but let him that glories glory in the Lord, in diligently seeking Him, and doing judgment and righteousness”), being especially mindful of the words of the Lord Jesus which He spoke, teaching us meekness and long-suffering.
For thus He spoke: “Be merciful, that you may obtain mercy; forgive, that it may be forgiven to you; as you do, so shall it be done unto you; as you judge, so shall you be judged; as you are kind, so shall kindness be shown to you; with what measure you use, with the same it shall be measured to you.” By this precept and by these rules let us establish ourselves, that we walk with all humility in obedience to His holy words. For the holy word says, “On whom shall I look, but on him that is meek and peaceable, and that trembles at My words?”
It is right and holy therefore, men and brethren, rather to obey God than to follow those who, through pride and sedition, have become the leaders of a detestable emulation. For we shall incur no slight injury, but rather great danger, if we rashly yield ourselves to the inclinations of men who aim at exciting strife and tumults, so as to draw us away from what is good. Let us be kind one to another after the pattern of the tender mercy and benignity of our Creator.