Beloved in The Lord: – We are on the eve of a new year, which brings us nearer to the new heaven and new earth, nearer to our new home, of which the Maker of it says: “Behold, I make all things new,” and nearer to the hour when our bodies, which are now old, like the old year, shall be made new. This will be the fulfillment of the glorious new covenant, which is infinitely better than the old. How blessed for us that the old must give place to the new. Yet our nature is to cling to the old, not only to the old year, the old life, the old body, but the old law, the old covenant, the old heaven and the old earth. All these things are as natural to us as the old earth we dwell upon and the old atmosphere we breathe, for we are born to them, and they are our heritage in the first man, the old Adam. All these old things are our mother religion, and at this shrine we bow down and worship. Left to our old will, which we boast of as free, we would never give up the old for the new. And when the new Master comes to destroy the old master and take away from us the old religion, we verily think it is to our everlasting destruction. We therefore strive with all our might to keep alive the old, and when we must die to it we die hard, for of a truth we give up all that is old just because we “can’t help it.” This is the experience of all the people of the new covenant. When the Lord comes in his mercy to make a new covenant with us, we resist and fight against all his good work in us, because it all seems against us, for he is taking away from us all that we trusted in and held as dear and sacred as life itself. So do the little eagles cleave to their old nest when the mother so cruelly (it seems) takes it away from them, not knowing that it is to the end that they should mount up to the skies far, far above the old earthly nest.
Seeing, beloved, that all this is true, why do we so much wonder with sorrow that so many, even of these called by the name we bear, the name of the Lord, so zealously cling to the old covenant religion, and either strive to mix it in with the new, or else make war upon the new! For even Paul, the apostle of the new covenant, said, “The commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.” This was an experience of the loss of all things, and verily a bitter death, which his own will would never have chosen. It was Paul who said of the Maker of the new covenant, “He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.” This he does in our experience, and to us it is a continual and most painful taking away, even of life itself, a dying daily. The Lord killeth, and he maketh alive. This way of salvation no one, no child of the new kingdom, will ever voluntarily choose, and all men in the flesh fight against it. The old legal covenant, with its conditions, rewards and punishments, is the religion of the flesh and of the world. So the children of the old covenant have ever hated and persecuted the children of the new covenant, because the flesh wars against the Spirit. As of old, “He that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.” The wise and holy counsel of God is in all this, and it is unto his eternal glory and the bringing away of all his new covenant people from all that is old into the blissful possession of all that is new. “In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.” Thus it is with the old year, with the old life, with the old world, with all that is legal and old. God himself has ordained it so; man would resist and reverse it, and perpetuate the old, but he cannot. The new subdues and takes the place of the old. When in the Spirit, we bless God that it is so; for death is in the old, but life is in the new. Terms, conditions, works, rewards, punishments, belong to the old; but promises, gifts, grace, mercy, forgiveness, belong to the new. Wrath and curses are in the old; love and blessings are in the new. Therefore, my beloved, let us glory in tribulations and give thanks to God that he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up to heaven; maketh poor, and maketh rich; takes away the old life of sin, and gives the new life of holiness. “And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done.” None can undo it or alter it; no conditions nor possibilities can add to it or take from it; it is ordered in all things and sure; it is not yea and nay, but yea and amen to the glory of God. The blessed children of the new covenant, the happy people saved by the Lord, are glad and rejoice that “It is done.”
Burdened and weary with the old, waiting and hoping for the new, your brother in the new life,
Lakeland, Fla., Dec. 28, 1904.
Signs Of The Times
Volume 78., No. 3.
FEBRUARY 1, 1905.