To-day over a land containing about seventy-live millions of people is proclaimed by the rulers thereof a fast of thanksgiving and prayer. The observance of this day did not originate from any rule of life given in the testimony of the word, but through the teaching of a religious sect which has been influential with the rulers of the land to such an extent that it has become a part of their policy to ordain a “fast” once every year. As far as my observation extends, the day is one of feasting and jollity, even among the strictly “pious” religious teachers. It is true there are many religious meetings to-day, but see the vain show displayed. Will-worshipers will say, We thank thee, O Lord, while God’s poor and afflicted people will say, Lord, make us thankful, for we doubt as to our ability to know our hearts that they are truly thankful to God for the many blessings bestowed upon us. The observance or non-observance of this day is immaterial to the child of God. Certainly the observance of it as it is generally kept cannot teach him to be thankful to the great Giver of all good. We are to be in subjection to rulers, for the powers that be are ordained of God, “for there is no power but of God.” Kings and governors cannot, bind or control the conscience of a child of God; this work belongs to a different government, the Ruler of which has complete jurisdiction over his conscience and all the secrets of his inner mind, to rule in him “both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” The poor, dependent subject of this higher and better government relies upon the Governor to qualify and animate him to offer praise and thanksgiving unto the Most High. In his worship, whether praise, thanksgiving or prayer, he is amenable alone to him who bears the government, for “the government shall be upon his shoulder.” His government shall increase and shall be peaceable, because he has unlimited power in all his domain. He bears the key of his Father’s house upon his shoulder, having absolute control over all things; he opens and none can shut, he shuts” and none can open. He that bears allegiance to this royal Governor cannot bear allegiance to another power in the things controlled by him, but must look to the highest for comfort. How then can a child of God be dependent upon an earthly potentate for an order how or when to worship! It is the same principle that has ever moved antichrist to dictate to men in regard to their worship. What a contrast this is when compared with the Spirit of Christ as it is manifested in his children. This spirit of meekness forbids that any should presume to bind the conscience of his fellow-creature, or rob God of his glory.
A day of thanksgiving. Every day to the “lively stones” of God’s grace is a day of thanksgiving. “In all things give thanks.” It is one continuous day of thank-offering to God’s quickened sons and daughters, who are sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty. These are told to pray without ceasing, and I am persuaded that they do by the spirit or holy desire given them, which is not of man, nor after the manner of men. This spirit is against the flesh, and it is contrary to it, hence not of the same origin, if it were, it could not be said to be contrary to the flesh. In this respect we see the difference between those who worship God and those who cannot worship him. Those who have the spirit of grace worship God in spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh.
God’s worship ’must be pure, not adulterated with works of the flesh, but adorned with the fruits of the Spirit. God seeketh such to worship him as do worship him in Spirit and in truth. They that worship him must worship him in Spirit and in truth. How then can a man of the flesh worship God? It is impossible. If a man of the flesh cannot worship God, how can he pray to God? Again impossible. If a man cannot pray to God, he is dead to God and to all spiritual things. The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for these are spiritually discerned, neither can he know them, simply because he is flesh, without any spiritual life, light or being. Who but God has made this distinction in giving life, light and liberty to some, while others are left dead to the quickening power! If we are alive from the dead, or are risen with Christ, let us seek those things which are above, seek the substance and not the shadow. Days and seasons in olden time were but the shadow of coming events. The apostle would have us to know that days or seasons were unimportant. We are to let no man judge us in respect to a holy day, feast day, new moon or Sabbath days, which are a shadow of things to come, but the body is of Christ. May all of our days be a day of praise and thanks. In hope,
J. F. BEEMAN.
Carmen, Okla., Nov. 21, 1901.
Signs Of The Times
Volume 72., No. 24.
DECEMBER 15, 1904.