(Luke vi. 41-45.)
Brother Peter Mowers, of Cobleskill, N. Y., Has requested us to preach through the SIGNS from Luke vi. 41-45; and although we do not feel prepared to sermonize in what we may write upon the subject, we feel inclined to offer some remarks, which we hope maybe edifying to brother Mowers, and to our readers generally.
The text as he recorded by Luke is, according to the version of Matthew vii. 3, embodied in what is called Christ’s sermon on the mount, which was addressed exclusively to the disciples of our Lord. – Matt. v. 1, 2. Great multitudes, attracted by the fame of the miracles which cheese is wrought, and which was spread throughout Syria, followed him from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judea, and from beyond Jordon; but the discourse was not addressed to the multitudes, for it is written, “And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: and he opened his mouth, and taught them.” The instructions, exhortations, reproofs and admonitions been in there uttered were all dressed the disciples, apart from the multitudes, and should be regarded as peculiarly applicable to his disciples throughout all time. In the instructions given, our Lord solemn reward his disciples against attempting to instruct others in regard to those things of which they have themselves no reliable knowledge. To assume to be teachers of things of which we are ourselves profoundly ignorant, is like the blind leading the blind, exposing both teacher and pupil to a disastrous bull into the ditch, or into difficulties which the blind cannot see until involved in them. Assuming to know that of which we have not really been taught of the Lord, or to be wise above what is written is forbidden, and has a tendency to darken counsel of words without knowledge. If there were no such vain ambition in the fleshly nature of the children of God, no lofty aspirations to seem to be something more than we are, why are the solemn admonitions given to the disciples by the Master, and reiterated by his own apostles?
A censorious and pharisaical demeanor tour De our brethren, a quickness to detect faults and infirmities of others, and slow indeed to discover or confess our own, is open to the reproofs of him whose all-seeing eye looks into the dark recesses of our hearts. “And why beholdest thou the moat that is in thy brother’s eye, but perceive not that being that is in thine own eye?” The eye is a very tender organ, and a very small moat will sometimes cause great pain and inflammation, and so there are some very tender members in the church, which is the body of Christ, and it is undoubtedly right for those were blessed with clear sight to carefully remove the motes and allay the pain; but an occultist with a glaring been in his own eye, is thereby a totally unfit to operate upon the eye of another, and he is like those Pharisees who were very precise in tithing of mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and passed over judgment and the love of God. – Luke xi. 42. To make a brother and offender for a word, while we indulge in much greater departures from a law of the Lord, is pharisaical and hypocritical. To illustrate his point, permit us to support a case. A brother discovers a fault, or what he’d magnifies into a fault, in a brother, and flies into a passion, assumes to be grieved, when he is only angry, tells what he considers his brother’s fault to others, and does what he can do to produce a prejudice against the brother, pursues him with a vindictive, turbulent and persecuting spirit; the persecuted brother’s fault must be very great indeed, if it is not a trifling mote in comparison with the beam that blurs the eye of his accuser. “Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own mind, and then shall thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in my brother’s eye.”
We are not, however, to infer that, because we are bowed down under a sense of our own imperfections, we may suffer sin to rest on a brother, without making an attempt to admonish the brother; for a sense of our own imperfections is a necessary qualification for dealing faithfully with the erring, if we see and feel our own shortcomings, it isn’t evidence that we can see clearly, and have not had been in our own eye. “If a brother be overtaken and a full, ye that our spiritual restore such a one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” – Gal. vi. 1. If we do not consider our own liability to temptation and faults, we’re not in a proper frame to deal with the erring; the beam is in our own eye, and we would be more likely to point out our brother’s eye and to relieve him of his mote.
We learn from this admonition the necessity of self-examination when we admonish others. See that we’re meek and lilee in our own spirit, and that our desire is to restore, not to persecute, the erring. If we first cast out the beam that obscures our own site, we shall lay aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speaking, (1 Peter ii. 1); then shall we see clearly to pull the mole from brother’s eye.
“A good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.” The spirit of Christ that we receive in the new birth cannot commit sin, for his seed remain a th in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. – 1 John iii. 9. This spirit in the saints is compared to a good tree, and such as are called “Trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.” – Isa. lxi. 3. They cannot bring forth correct fruit; for “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” – Gal. v. 22, 23. With these fruits abounding in us we shall see clearly, and be able to render valuable service to our brethren; but the old corrupt tree of flesh cannot produce such golden fruit, for, “Now the works [or fruits, or productions] of the flesh [that which is born of the flesh, and is flesh, is a corrupt tree, and its fruits] are manifest, which are these: Adultery fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like.” – Gal. v. 19-21. Now when any of these fruits or works are manifest, it cannot be hard to discover which tree has borne them. The works of the flesh never grew on the good tree planted by the Lord, and made manifest by a heavenly birth, neither have the fruits of the Spirit grown on the fleshly tree; for the one can not bear good fruit, nor can the other bear correct fruit. “For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes.” Only the fruits of the Spirit that dwelleth in those who are born from above can qualify us to labor successfully for the restoration of an erring brother, while the works of the flesh will blur as with the blinding being our eye, and disqualify us for usefulness in the house of God. “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good.” God has shined in and written his law in the new heart which he has given his children, and this treasure they have in their earthen vessels, from which they bring forth good things, for God working in them both to will and to do of his good pleasure. “And an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.” The old man, our fleshly nature, we are told, is corrupt, with its affections and lusts, and this corruption is manifest, as we have shown, in all the works of the flesh. But the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness, is born of incorruptible seed, by the Word of God, which live with and abide forever, and cannot, therefore, bring forth correct fruit.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Middletown, N. Y.
Signs of the Times
Volume 49, No. 7.
April 1, 1881