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be Thy Name
Thy Kingdom Come
On Earth as it is in Heaven
Lilies in the Song of Solomon are not the stuff of flower children. THEY had no God, no guide, no principles embracive of all reality, and interpretative of it; theirs was a kingdom minus king, a love minus purity, a lust without life, an erosion without soil.
Rather is beauty a component of strength, not self-affirmative strength, but a composition of peace with truth, mercifulness with manliness, manliness with godliness, and if you want to misinterpret the generic 'manliness' then let us put 'godly grace of true humanity, ex God, but not without Him, made by Him, but not living apart, imbued with Him, but not submerged, humble in intention, intense in practicality, at work for Him, in the love of truth, compassionate but not gulled, gracious but not patronising, empowered but not invasive, charitable but not cold, thoughtful but not impractical, living in the light of His way who as Creator, made not only the body to co-operate with an intimacy of concern, part for part, but a kingdom in which the spiritual personalities do likewise'.
Manliness with godliness is shorter, that is all. However the exercise is worth it, since it helps us to define more precisely what is meant.
There MUST be beauty. The elegance of vases can be futile, but it MAY be evocative of a slenderness of form, a composition of colour, a mosaic perhaps of parts, a design beyond all, a willingness to serve, but a definiteness about what is serviceable and what is not. After all, to serve leaves wholly unanswered this simple question: To serve whom or what ?
That is always the weakness of mere noblesse oblige. In that phrase, of course, there is probably, historically implicit the concept of someone BEING king or aristocrat or ruler, and being SERVICEABLE within that power, post, position, to those not in it. At its best, in a Christ professing body, it might indicate that one in the service of such a King as Christ, of course wishes to serve where it will help the kingdom of Christ.
Is that not rather NARROW ? some might ask. Yes, it is, like the electrical wiring which brings power to different sections of the house for different purposes. It is very narrow - there is no point in trying to create an electro-magnetic field all over the place, but rather in applying power in order and with organisation, where it is well spent for productive purposes as prepared.
Christ indicated that the way was narrow; and so it is. Your DNA is narrowly confined to its magnificent exploits by mathematics of the most intricate kind, conceptions of co-ordination that are nothing short of utterly brilliant, and it works. WHAT DOES IT WORK ? It works precisely as a WHOLE for a purpose which is NOT given except in other writing in another book, this time not cells and their co-ordinated whole, but on paper, with words which can be read by the intellect of the man or woman whose cells have been so narrowly arranged and arrayed that it all WORKS to such an end as READING and COMPREHENDING what is being said by the writer of the other book.
BOTH BOOKS have gone on for thousands of years. NEITHER is at fault. It is true that in transmission in the body, there can be relatively minor (in the VAST proportion of cases) errors, but there is a mighty editorial method to limit this to the minimum which, after thousands of years, in fact occurs. Of course the ABUSE of the system which with alcohol, and sexual perversity now like a self-induced plague without quarantine, with the raw thrust of tedious ambition and the travails of endless seeming wars: this does not help it, but it continues with power in its narrowness so great that the earth is being fairly successfully shattered by its MISUSE. The system of the earth, the meteorological, the atmospheric, the oceanic, it is being brilliantly ruined as a system, by the misuse of the thoughts of another system, one with a personality attached, which controls and uses it.
THAT is the point. Our freedom is our futility when in the name of utility we turn it to fecklessness. Let us have wealth. For what ? Let us have control. For what and to do what ? Let us prevail over our enemies. In order to achieve what, then ? Let us be harmonious. In what direction, under whose auspices and for what purpose ? Harmony implies a purpose, a direction and a conjointness in the process. How do you have it when the purpose is never the same, the selves have their own broad aims, as all the tyrannies whether Nazi, Romanist, Islamic or Communist, declare in the end, whether for the glory of the sect or segment, the man or the idea. Other men, other sects, other ideas, these are out. They may be tortured, killed, falsely accused, wheedled into wimpishness, arrogantly imprisoned till they die or decline; while corrupt morals in perverse people flourish for a time, till by their own follies they are overrun, and they decline, like Napoleon, Hitler or the millions slaughtered by Mao, Hitler, Stalin or the papacy, the Islamic sword or the mind invading nullities of domineering systems.
How strikingly similar are many of the actions and practical consequences of things so ostensibly different in principle in the beginning, in the end! When there is just man, whether in the final imprint, as in the papacy, on earth, or in the initial squalor, as in Nazism or Fascism, or in the word of the one to displace the One sent from God, Mohammad, there is frequently no restraint. This or that word may be ADDED for this or that occasion, this or that exception. Man without the true God is ever the same; he tends to act as if god, when no god is he. The result is palpable calamity. Afghanistan with women, Auschwitz with Jews, union as with Italy, St Bartholomew’s Day with Rome, and many the month of days of like squalor. It is not mere barbarism; it is the dislocation of displacement from God, and the misdirecting jarrings of the uncontrolled empowering itself as if god or even God, but so in name alone. In reality it is rebellion; and it is not just.
Beauty is not possible in all of this. There is not even a clear duty, but only mutiny from the source of the very systems in our bodies, carrier sets in our brains and spiritual donations for our personalities, to control and direct the same, in co-ordination or clash with those of others. Where to go ? What to do ? Why!
There is of course no answer as to WHAT a piano should, of and in and for itself, play. There is no answer as to where an airplane should go. None can be directed if merely a utility, as to destiny. It is a question in an elevation of thought beyond means. Means cannot by their very nature and definition, contrive ends. That is beyond all program, and a matter of personal proclivity, preference, in practice for millions; or of truth and righteousness, for some.
It is in the end not possible to be given a new racing car, and to know by that fact on what circuit to run it, in what competition or with what ethics.
The human body, brain and equipment is the car. The driver cannot expect, in all reason, the car to tell him for what it is a carrier, the roads to choose or the destinations to select.
Man without God is precisely like that. He asks of himself questions: He will climb a mountain, says one, BECAUSE IT IS THERE. There is rather a lot implicit in that. IF you CAN, then SHOULD you do this ONE thing when millions of others could also occupy your equipment. WHY should you use it at all ? In order to ... yes ? To keep it going. Where ? Whither ? There not only is, but can be no answer to such a question until you answer the allied question: Whence ?
Power is not purpose, and purpose is not power. To gain purpose you either solicit people to agree with some captious thought of your own, some self-product of your philosophy, itself unbased on any ground other than desire, for without truth there is no good, only proposal; and with truth, and we have seen many times, there is only God at the beginning, so answering readily the WHENCE question, and that necessarily and beautifully. Yes, this it does with a radiance of splendour, not a nullity of provocation of empty thought: which in sum and summit brings one to the WHITHER answer (cf. Repent or Perish Chs. 7, 2, SMR Chs. 1-3, 10 and News, Facts and Forecasts 122, Benevolent Brightness or Brothy Bane 81- 82, and Spiritual Refreshings for the Digital Millenium Chs. 13 and 16).
It is not merely that the beginning has bearing on the end; the mode of initiation relates closely to the powers and point of performance. This, however, though it be true to the point, is not in itself sufficient. It is as in the case of Churchill's reported retort to an American statesman, who advising him that Britain was in debt to the US, replied that this was true but not exhaustive. That is, HOW did this happen, and in WHAT circumstances did the debt arise. To what end did both proceed, and who was helping whom, in bearing the brunt of things for so long ? and so on, and on, and on...
Likewise, beginnings bear closely on ends; but they do not determine them.
Thus a birth can give genes, but whether they are used for genius or degeneration is another matter. People of this or that chromosome pattern or even pathology, may be more likely to do this or that, but it is not at all inevitable, as for example in homosexuality, and is even contested as to whether the whole matter is simply this, that some circumstances foster some things, and some cultural or family patterns provoke some things, and some weaknesses are exploited in this way or that, in some situations and so forth. It is OBVIOUS that some things are more conducive to some results than others, OTHER THINGS EQUAL, or at times not even this, IN CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES PROVIDED that certain involvements occur. A strong neck is less likely to be the source of the sort of weakness which can lead to the sort of pain which may lead to the sort of exasperation which could produce the sort of frustration which could account for the sort of intemperance which could ... and on and on.
The simple fact is this, that many people with many peculiarities, whether of genes or genius, of poverty or mistreated youth, do in fact so far rise above and contrary to what might have been the imagined direction of things, or being caught, as in perversion, so completely depart with loathing from lust, in conversion and regeneration of mind and spirit, from the passion for wealth or prestige or position or power, or whatever other error and evil of PURPOSE it may be, that any endeavour to make this or that proclivity, imaginary or real in the equipment brought into the situation, is almost as irrelevant as asking whether Paganini could or could not possibly play good music on one violin string. The results attest it: it is so.
Thus beginnings and endowment are not at all the full explanation, and certainly do not give the full account of purpose. In fact, they may give to it very little: a youth brought up a Nazi with all education and method directed to that end, may in fact, on becoming a Christian, selectively re-distribute this and that element of provision from youth, with new purpose, and discard much more. Spirit is always the criterion, and while equipment for its part, is what it is, its use as is seen in things physical, mental and social, psychological and spiritual, moral and personal, can be so original, so different, so divergent from all expectation that you get ... history. That is one of its beauties, that it is SO original. Alas, however, it has many patterns which are far from original.
However even that is not by any means the full explanation. Even the genius of spirit - and all spirit in collocation with body is genius in the CONSTRUCTION, whatever the quality and calibre comparatively of the result - together with the beginning of a thing, this does it in itself provide at all thoroughly the conception of PURPOSE and AIM and SELECTION of objectives, ethical calibre or moral might.
It is so immensely simple. It is the case that personal beings have a personal beginning, as has been demonstrated repeatedly (cf. above references as examples); and the person back of it all has MORALS and PURPOSES and QUALITY REQUIREMENTS and provides INDEXES to the same in the case of the derivative but personal product call man.
These, with the work of the book of life inscribed in our cells at work on this next stage, the book of the Creator, Redeemer, with man's derivative powers, simply need to be checked. As the old chestnut goes, If you cannot make it work, at last, then try the handbook, the instructions! This is not at all so foolish an utterance as might at first appear. There is in man at times such an obstinacy to DO IT MY WAY, to find it by sheer spectacular endurance, pursuing a thing either from pride, or semi-automatic persistence, or personality insistence or whatever other synthesis of motives, strange or sensible, that the thought of finding what is RIGHT is almost, even IN PRINCIPLE, forgotten!
If and when it is remembered,
then it may be disdained, as making one lose all the results of one's earlier
endurance, or prestige, or personal significance. That last, it is a demon
when it is abroad on its own. To ACHIEVE a place in history, this or that
President of the USA or China or Russia or whatever, we read, has a desire
for an historic museum, or a living result in this or that sector of the
world, or a reputation as this or that, and so proceeds. WHY ? For glory.
IN GOODNESS IS NOT A CONUNDRUM BUT A SIGN-POST TO GOD
(Cf. Benevolent Brightness or Brothy Bane 82)
Glory ? It is not for nothing that you have only to leave out one letter and you have gory. How much blood has been shed for the glory of Empire or Nation or Ideology, or Idiocy or the last two combined! Glory for WHAT! That YOU are the greatest nation, or race, or ideological exponents ? What is the criterion of assessment then ? Is it to be the old and apostolically mocked case of measuring yourself by yourself as if the result of the use of an implement were to be measured by the implement ? Are results ot be assessed on size, wealth, power, prevailing ? Why ? Prevailing over what with what ! Is murder and prevailing, like Jehoshaphat's monstrously immoral son, in killing all your siblings so that you surely and alone may rule, an example of glory ? Is enslaving many in Africa so that you may be strong and conquer other nations, is this glory ?
It is inescapable that you have to have both morals and purpose, EVEN TO ASSESS results, and far less can you do so without them. With them, however, there are still questions, questions ... WHOSE morals, Hitler and Nietzsche like BLATANT POWER AND PREVAILING OVER FOES, for this or that reason. To be strong, not meek, to be blatant, not gracious, this was the OBJECTIVE, and its attainment was accordingly accorded glory. The glory however was in principle; the gory in fact.
Purpose ? The purpose to make the earth nice for people to live in, an ecological paradise with an atmospheric stability, with much that is green graciously abounding: this is the purpose ? It is for this one must live ? Then can one kill and be cruel to opponents to get it ? No of course not ? Then there is another purpose at once: you must be ecologically effective and kind to all in the process. What is kindness ? It means that you aid those who are willing to share your purpose and oppose those who are not ?
THAT, it is kindness. You push and conquer in parliaments and ensure that your objective wins, while those who want advance in knowledge as a prime purpose, are to be abased, and those who see the personality of man as the criterion are discounted, for the environment must be here or we will not be: so goes the chant. But there is human as well as ecological environment, and the main problem with the latter is the former, the purposes past the mere pleasure or fickle, fashion-fashioned predilections of man. Is this to be ignored ? Then the purpose is to have man and ecology both stable and sound and agreeable to one another ? How is this to be brought about ? By force ? Then there are morals which do not go away.
Purposes and intentions, ideologies and inventions are cast into the arena like so many wild bulls, competing, clashing, without wisdom, prompted by this and that, incited, excited! There is something missing: the ACTUALITY of what man is for, why he is given life, how he is to relate to others, in whose domain does he find vitality, and how does he have not only coherence socially, understanding ideationally and peace militarily, but justice spiritually. Being little gods is childish, since there are none. Being responsive to the necessary cause of laws and the greatest design visible on earth, himself, man has to bow. When he bows to none but autonomy, he wreaks vengeance on none more than on himself. Intentional blindness is no excuse: merely a reason for treason to truth.
What then, they capitulate to untruth, and seek harmony at all costs ? With what ? With which components and causes and considerations primarily ? Man cannot agree because as in mathematics, when you are wrong, there IS no answer.
Indeed, even if they are all brought into line, and everybody, repeat every body is willing to do what is necessary to these blindly harmonious ends, what is the METHOD ? HOW and in what way are all people to become reasonable and harmonious ? On what basis and with what ethos, with what concept of man, and with what picture for his performance and progress ? Is all talk which can upset people to be barred or banned, which is very nearly the case in Victoria, it seems ? Then where is freedom of thought and speech, and even corrective when it is needed ? Are its people to be so tame and tamed that the possibility of ideational error, religious fecklessness and human folly is to be promoted through fear of libel and prison if someone objects to correction ? Is truth itself to be pre-empted by convenience ?
In the Victorian case, it is quite explicit that the MOTIVE for the action is IRRELEVANT! That stops the rot, if it be rot; but it stops thought and truth from being a criterion as well.
If however TRUTH is to be
a criterion, what IS IT! That is the point. You MUST sacrifice something
if you choose something short of it. If you choose truth, then how can
you find it ? By measuring yourself by yourself ? By first assuming you
are its correct exponent and then binding it on others ? or that your group
is this ? or your philosophy ? SO we start all over again, and history
continues as usual, but not as normal, for it has been abnormal for millenia.
ANSWER IS HUMILIATING SIMPLE,
but NOT SIMPLY HUMILIATING
ORIGIN then, which is RELEVANT to the question of PURPOSE, and the EQUIPMENT
which after all is to be used, and hence has a place in the matter, these
are to be considered. But they do not answer the question. SURVIVAL as
the aim leaves unanswered the question, BY what
means ? and is entirely out of court with its omission of the further question: FOR WHAT PURPOSE ? It is merely begging the question, the browning of Summer upon the philosophy of green...
The origin of man is personal, is God and is expressive, since God has spoken. This, as and where noted above, has been proven; but it is now relevant for thought. WHAT is His design of man ? The genome for one element, is after millenia at last being better understood, so that the construction, if you will, of the piano and the way its parts relate, and in our case, the way it has baby pianos, all this is being better understood. But what are you to PLAY! (cf. SMR pp. 316Dff.).
The word of God, which made us, tells us. LOVE is the mode for man. Not hate. LAW is the construction for METHODS. There is good and bad. The law is based on due regard for God and man, in that order. MORALS are told, based on just the same, and as Christ put it, Love God with all your heart and soul and mind and strength, the first commandment, and your neighbour as yourself, the second, and on this it all hangs (Matthew 22:40).
But love ? (cf. Spiritual Refreshings for the Digital Millenium Chs. 9 -12). It is not a matter of self-display, or self for the fray, or self for the day, or self for the way, whether the individual, the corporate, the national or the aspiringly cosmic! It is a matter of finding the nature of God, who made us for and with purpose, and implicitly for loving one another and Himself. But you cannot command love. You can show that this is the correct command and the only way; but you cannot MAKE people follow it. You invite, and give it the status of command, and if it be broken, there is suffering for it does not work that way, any more than a ball-point pen works as a scalpel. That is not the nature of the equipment. It could be used with a little more success as a artist's equipment, but not very much. There is less, there is more; but there is also the SPECIFICATION of purpose. This at the first hallows His name, and acts in love, because of truth. It is true that this is for what we are made.
But how do you love ? I Corinthians briefly covers the question. But WHY do you love ? Because that is the nature of your Creator (I John 4:7ff.), and this is the way our natures are made, the specifications are of that mould, model and kind. But what if we do not WANT to love one another ? Then there is trouble, and there IS trouble, and neither can it go away, rationally as we see, by IGNORING the question, nor will it, by ignoring God. That is the way it is. It is so amazingly simple.
But what if you find disgusting the concept of such love, and want to dominate and achieve so that you or your family, house, body, group, nation or cosmos, mankind itself now more recently the issue, can domineer, and dominate and be and control and - and ... the breath fails, but the lust does not! It has as a matter of prophetic fact, increasingly obvious in current events, anything but failed in its thrust to bust program. The next great tragedy of man is about to unfold; and the last one, finale reserved.
IF you find this disgusting, then the world awaits you. The HUMAN RACE as object of worship (the end of the Romans 1:18ff. program), with whatever nonsensical substitutes in lying wonders and miracles, as foretold in Revelation 13:13ff., is to be on the drawing board for a while, until the man of sin takes over in PERSON with that distressingly common egotism, arrogance, delusion and confusion, that charm of conquest and that pathology of spirit which simply makes war on God. The lesser wants to take over from the greater; the creature from the Creator (Romans 1:24), the foolish from the wise, the one without knowledge from the One who made it so much as relevant to the mind of man.
The image of delusion, a mere ‘man of sin’ (II Thess. 2:3-4) asserts himself as God, together with whatever principles appeal to him, depraved, and deprived of truth by the negations back of his self-affirmation, his words therefore a blather of self-contradiction and an artistry of vacuity. And of course, FORCE wants to take over from LOVE (Rev. 13:3-7, 13-16 shows the intricate and deceptive steps). It has to: there is otherwise no agreement, since man with God is not available for stable worship of man, and in this declension, both powers and duties are simply recklessly, fecklessly dumped.
You can dump them, but as they rot, they smell. There is a desire, a longing yet, for the beauty of it all, for the beauty of holiness, the peace of truth, rational harmony, enduring testimony, spiritual reality: for what is eminently worth while, not this unromantic, merely semantic sovereignty, which has nothing but lust.
The earthquakes and lava of lust do not compare with the splendour of oceans and the tides of truth. The volcanic is not virtue; the eruptive is not to endure. Love is lost in all of these things, and God’s judgment vexes and taxes vice.
Love however, it is not a mere principle. It has a spirit indeed, but it is directed to ... an object, or subject. GOD BEING PERSONAL, then the love of Him is not simply a principle, but a personal inter-relation, with emotion, reason, ground, grace, tenderness, affection, devotion and commitment, inspiration and worship, resolve and resolution.
? Of course: it resolves questions. The self-declaring truth presents itself
in word and person to man, and there is no human filter or limit on either,
the one coming by inspiration and the other by incarnation. Each inspires
with knowledge, directs in truth, acts in love, mercy and truth at peace.
THE WORK OF THE WORD OF GOD
Meanwhile, the WORD OF GOD, having made clear what is the CHIEF thing concerning the CHIEF BEING who is also infinitely beyond man, being both eternal and illimitable in power and knowledge, grace and truth, tells us much more. The REASON WHY we are as a race so incredibly feckless - no sooner having opportunity for peace and power and prosperity as in the early nineteen hundreds, than we squander it in wars in which various imperious, imperial philosophies, while powers have their squalid desires, and various forms of dominion, their ulterior motives. Philosophies, constructions of man about what to do, in general terms, when you do not worship and follow the Lord (though there is a Christian philosophy, which simply shows the truth of God), these are systems of rebellion in the main. Political forms and formularies, social systems and psychological 'methods', all these come loudly and cacaphonously chiming in like cannons in an orchestra, with co-ordinate and expected effect. You get what we have got. It is not very good.
What then is the reason for our sinfulness ? It is that we are sinners.
What is sin ? The desire, design and conduct which opposes God and His construction of man, His command to him and His offers for him. How do you get it out of the sovereign squalor in which it dominates the human heart, if not with carnal composition, behaviour, then with pride in its abstinence, the self glorified, the system or whatever, but not God! You go to the REDEEMER who CAME TO US, and after all these millenia, you repent of your sin and accept His salvation, who paid for you, if you are His, and offers payment to all. WHY ?
It is because this is the divine program FROM love, out of truth and for peace. God must be returned to, in Him there is to be acquiescence. Not only is there no other answer; there can be none other. There is synthetic substitute for truth, in which truth is not even possible, since the relativities rule, and the absolute is neither found nor can be found; or there is truth. Where there is no truth, nothing is true, so that the fact that this is so only in the system, but not in fact, brings a necessary, an inherent, jarring with what is the truth. No ecology can overturn this fact; and likewise no psychology, while no political regime is even remotely relevant.
Once you are redeemed, there is peace with God. There is still His word. It tells you in detail the ways of beauty. There are not mere commands. They are also communications of love. They show the way. We follow. There is enormous scope for liberty, such as man has been made to love, but worshipping it, has often come to hate, and then to despise as he submits to wild notions of this or that ruler, and it is to this he now comes.
But for following Him, the Truth who came, the way is far other.
aloft in truth, at peace in love, identified and redeemed, man can OPERATE
as he was meant to do: not as a surrogate God but as a friend of God. Than
that, there is no more perfect benison, for man CANNOT BE God, and if he
were, how could he compete with SUCH A ONE, who in fact knowing all, has
made him, and loving all, has redeemed those who come, and paying for all
who come, and offering to all, has achieved that stability in truth, of
utter peace, the sanctity of the beauty of holiness, where the past is
covered by HIM who alone could so meet justice with truth, in mercy (cf.
Romans 3:23ff., 5:1-12).
Nothing else can be STABLE, since it conflicts with truth, never reaches agreement, and is a morass of mutual sedition.
Nothing else can be ABLE, since power belongs to God, and mere collision with it at every turn is nothing short of a recipe for ruin.
Nothing else is WORTHY, since no one else either has paid, could pay or will pay for sin, but the Lamb, who having once become man, is impressed once for all into that mould, and will not again take it, having finished His work with an eternal redemption, as secure as the utter individuality which He displayed as a man on earth, finally, ultimately and without our aid (Hebrews 9:12ff., Psalm 100, Hebrews 2:10ff.).
Nothing else WILL LAST, since voiding reality leaves an inherent collision both with reality itself, and with the deployment of and destiny for the selves who so play the prince, leaving a fricative depletion, its saddening outlawry a matter of endless diminution (cf. Daniel 7:14, Revelation 22:5).
Nothing else is BEAUTIFUL in holiness, for otherwise it is a matter of impressing and compressing and suggesting and moving in a riot of unrealism of dream, with no basis in logic or life, functioning as far as may be, in a formless destiny for form, mindless destiny for mentality, dispirited destiny for the spiritual, degraded destiny for man.
Nothing else is DUTIFUL in truth, for the truth being made to absent itself as with Christ in the crucifixion of body, so here in the crucifixion, if it were possible, in Spirit (cf. Hebrews 10:29ff., and see Repent or Perish Ch. 7) , there is merely an arrogation instead of correct designation, or proliferation instead of due unity and a multiplication instead of a singularity of mind, purpose and truth in love. Chomping on the bit instead of being guided by God, this may seem drastic and macho, but in the end, it leads to tooth-ache, and restraints for ruthlessness, direct, indirect, and at times ironic! Thus man in charge of the atom becomes man in terror of his new charge!
The word of Christ:
BE THY NAME
THY KINGDOM COME ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN.
God's name is not a religious exercise for those who want it; it is a rational
and religious and a spiritual necessity for human life.
What alone is valid
and verified*2 may indeed be rejected; but
then reason must go with it! And yet modern man in his skulking sulking
philosophical phantasms DARES to intrude into angst and inveigh as he declines,
like a setting sun, explosive in a dysfunctional fury.
THE GRACE OF HIS BEAUTY AND THE BEAUTY OF HIS GRACE
The Kingdom of heaven is not only beautiful in grace, and kindness and tenderness, in concern and thoughtfulness, in devotion and reliability, in the diffusion of care and the infusion of lovingkindness, it is the sole association for mankind which can so much as work. It is the glory of God that it is so beautiful as well, so entrancingly, intriguingly, enticingly, and happily fulfilling of what man is MEANT TO HAVE. Here are answered all problems, here is given all peace, here is found the very source and original of love, and its purpose is not subordinated to lust of this or that sort, but ultimate.
It is to be found not in the spirals of desire, nor in the carnalities of lust, not in the epigrams of wit nor yet in the casuistries of imperial religion. These contest and compete in irrational travesties of truth, and bury millions of dead in attestation of their witless confusion (cf. Divine Agenda Ch. 6, Ancient Words, Modern Deeds Ch. 14). Now terror and compromise move in spasms, as if to placate, and then to confront, while means multiply and aims evacuate. Man is so far from vacuous in deliberate design, past all his own creations within, that living in a moral vacuum, in a subjective or imperial mutiny, means certain death, just as any other design stolen for contrary purposes is, according as it is specialised and sensitive, one step from disaster. It is nothing new. It is exceedingly old.
Where then does he go, if he is to receive the wisdom for his wit and the work for his mind ?
It is to God alone who made us free, and has given in Christ the life of His eternal word for the impress of truth, that dying He might defy and overturn, overcome and triumph openly over all lies, and all displays. This desire for liberty, free from the absurd proliferations of philosophic splendour, based on precisely and exactly nothing, this animates man intensely, though now he capitulates to confusion, now he is energised to intrinsic integrity, insisting on answer to all questions, rather than irrationalities for some and sleep for others which cultures so readily construct, oscillating like a hammock.
That is why it is so intensely and immensely humorous to find some physicists now actually STATING that nothing is the beginning, in the most flamboyant contradiction of terms (cf. That Magnificent Rock Chs. 6-7): this desire is rationally, religiously met in TRUTH. Christ is that truth. It is not that they lack wit; it is just that when you ignore the source of rationality and causality, then there is no place for it! (cf. Aviary of Idolatry, Causes).
God has spoken in grace ... why in GRACE ? It is because when sin is in the saddle, the thing is soiled. It takes grace to love such a result. God has acted in grace. How did He act ? He SENT the SAVIOUR to us. He did not expect us to crawl, stricken into heaven, only justly to be heaved out! God has moved in grace, by displaying on His program board, the scriptures of the Bible, what is to be, and telling us quietly the way of things to the end, so that we can both check it as we go and in peace, glorify His grace as we go.
God has prepared in grace a PLACE. How has He prepared it ? He has first overturned the JUSTICE of DEATH, by having Christ die for us, then overturned the IRRELEVANCE OF MERCY by dispensing with justice by rising from the dead, being justified in His claims and attested in His truth, and so allowing it to flow unimpeded by truth. Truth has come and in truth paid. Now there is mercy which in truth, wells up to eternal life. The place is NOW in His kingdom (cf. John 3) and THEN where it is prepared.
EVERY ONE has a place prepared who now is, has been or is to be HIS. If you do not want it, then hell is merely a terminus that is apt and fitting. If you DO want it, then take it. HOW do you take it ? Take HIM who came for you, by COMING TO HIM. HOW do you come to Him ? This you do by accepting gladly His sacrifice in coming from heaven for the job, doing it and actually exhibiting the truth, the love, the payment, the power and the way in PERSON.
Then you TRUST HIM, for without that, you merely name Him liar. Then you FOLLOW Him, for without that, you are merely hypocrite. Then if you slip and sin, you repent and are cleansed (as in I John 1:7ff.), and however 'holy' you are, this is necessary, for wholly perfect people on earth at present are wholly mythical, as I John 1 expressly states.
But what do you DO ? What you are told, in His book (Isaiah 34:16). By no one else ? By no one else, for no church has any power to bind ANYTHING ELSE, for to start humanism all over again is simple contradiction. As Christ put it, CALL NO MAN ON EARTH MASTER FOR ONE IS YOUR MASTER (Matthew 23:8-10). How do you LIVE ? By having His life within you by HIS HOLY SPIRIT who is expressly sent to deliver the power, grace, comfort, companionship and inter-relation with your heavenly Redeemer. Where do you stop ? Where the Bible prescribes. How far do you go ? Wherever it directs. How do you make choices ? By following what is written, sharing with fellow Christians as may seem apt and proper in the church, and asking for WISDOM, which being promised, is available if you believe in Him so that you take it by faith.
How do you END ? You do not end. This kingdom is stable and and worthy and will last, and here is the dutiful and the beautiful. You have eternal life (John 6:47, John 10:27-28, Ephesians 1:11, I John 5:11ff., John 4:14, 5:24, 6:50ff., Philippians 3:19ff.). When you START by coming in faith to HIM, how to you act ? By CRYING to the name of the LORD, seeking His will, power, grace and working out your salvation with fear and trembling, knowing that it is God who works in you both to will and to do.
is the place for ability, agility, for liberty, for finding, for growing,
for knowing, for showing. All this is fine in its place. NOW you are on
your journey, why not read Pilgrim's Progress
of John Bunyan, for of a truth, it is a picturesque and impelling depiction
in story form of what is coming. The Christian life is challenging, it
is sure, it is stable, it is loving, it is gracious, and it requires you
to grow and to strive (Philippians 3:7-13), not to GET THERE, but because
you are already ACCEPTED IN THE BELOVED (Ephesians 1:6), to PROCEED on
your way rejoicing.
The Place for More on these Topics ?
more on the Kingdom of Heaven and the Church which is in fact that of Christ,
which follows HIM and not itself, see The Kingdom of Heaven Ch.
2 and Barbs, Arrows and Balms Ch. 25;
and for The Christian Life, see Ch. 21
of the last named volume.
*1 Galloping Events Ch. 7, End-note *2, News, Facts and Forecasts 156.
*2 See TMR Ch. 5, Repent or Perish Ch. 7, and CELESTIAL HARMONY FOR THE TERRESTRIAL HOST.
journey to the next Chapter, use this link.