Will Elder Ker please give his views through the SIGNS OF THE TIMES, when convenient, on the text recorded in Matthew v. 25, 26: “Agree with thine adversary quickly,” &c.? and oblige one of the least, it one at all,
WM. F. SLOAN.
Lexington, Ky., June 2, 1908.
Not long since, we were requested by sister Mary Hill Terry also to write upon this text. The Scripture reads as follows: “Agree with thine adversary quickly, while thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.”
The two preceding verses to those of the text are the key to the subject, and show the impossibility of offering gifts upon the altar when enmity exists between two brethren. The gift in itself may be right, but the man with ill feeling toward his brethren is not in the proper spirit to worship God in the offering of sacrifices. On the other hand, if a brother who desires to offer a gift remembers that his brother has “ought against” him, while he may have nothing against the offended brother, his gift in the eyes of his adversary would not be spiritual. Therefore the gift must be left at the altar, and the presentation of it delayed until reconciliation is made between the two brethren. No worship can be rendered to God except in the spirit, and while a man may sing the songs of Zion, pray and even preach eloquently, nothing reaches the altar of God if he has hatred or malice in his heart against his brother for whom Christ died, or while one remembers that his brother has aught against him.
The language, “Agree with thine adversary quickly,” does not mean that the devil is the adversary, and that we must fall in with his evil and sinful designs and therefore be one with him, nor that we shall agree to anything wrong regardless of its source, but the brother who has “ought against” us is the adversary. Hence to “agree with thine adversary “is to become one with or reconciled to the brother offended with us because of something done or said, or it may be only an imaginary wrong; but whatever it is, while we are in the way (church fellowship) with him become reconciled to him. If we have wronged him, confess the wrong, ask his forgiveness; if there be a misunderstanding on his part, explain if possible to his satisfaction that no wrong or insult to him was meant in our conduct. Some men feel it too humiliating to confess a wrong, and many have died without doing it, but no principle in man is greater than that which prompts him to confess a transgression. This is the proper and only way to avoid more serious trouble. If a matter of difference continues, it grows until the offended brother feels that he must have justice, and at last the matter is brought into the church, then when the accused brother is brought before the church (judge) he must pay the uttermost farthing; that is, he must then make whatever confession and amends the church demands; should he fail to do so he is “cast into prison,” “bound,” (excluded) until he does as the judge demanded.
We have now given what we understand the text to teach, and hope at least we have not abused the Scripture. K.
Editorial – Elder H. C. Ker
Signs Of The Times
Volume 76., No. 16.
AUGUST 15, 1908.