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There's nothing standing still in the great universe of God. Everything's moving onward, whether physical or moral. The great world's moving in its alloted sphere, and the sun, moon, and stars follow the paths marked out for them in the sky. The rivers run into the great sea, yet the sea isn't filled, for the water's evaporated by the sun. If evaporation should stop, it would cause the death of every living thing. Can we imagine what the result would be if the sun should cease to shine? The consequences would be multiform. Directly, every heart would cease to beat, and also at that moment time would come to an end, and necessarily the day of mercy would be past. If Jesus Christ were suddently to cease in his office-work as Mediator between God and man, the world would be without an Advocate, and no one could obtain an audience with God. Let's delight to think upon Christ as one whose blood's continually flowing, the cleansing properties of which are available to all the world.
The Native American...
This law of progress seems to resolve itself into a universal command which says to all things, animate and inanimate, "Go on... Go on... Go on." A principle is laid down in the Word of God that if a man won't work, neither should he eat. It was the execution of the aweful law of cause and effect that drove the Native American off... from a land which seemed to be his own. The white man didn't drive him off(?), it was the law of progress(?). Some years ago the writer, with hundreds of others, was standing on one of the main streets of Toledo, Ohio...watching the structural iron workers placing beams in the eighteenth story of a large building. Suddenly a heavy hand was laid upon my shoulder, and a stern voice commanded, "Everybody move on, you're blocking the street, and hindering traffic. Move right on---everybody move on"... And such is the voice of the law of progress.
The law commanding moral progress is true of the individual and of the nation. "If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered" (John 15:6). "If those ordinances depart from me, said the Lord, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me forever" (Jer. 31:36).
The Beginning of Life...
From the moment of true conception, an individual entity has taken its place in the universe of God, the human is immortal---it can't die. Unless arrested by physical death, the embryonic days are soon past, and a new being takes its place in the home and in the world. Not only is there a law compelling growth, but we desire the child to advance. At first it's upon its mother's breast, then her lap, by her side, and then at school. First it kicks, then creeps, walks, and then runs. No heavy responsibilities are laid upon the child until its mentality has developed commensurate with duties required. The only law it knows, or penalties to which it's amenable, are those in the home and school. It can't go back, it must go on.
During the period of childhood's innocency it's passive under the blood of Christ, i. e., it's not held responsible to God for any acts pertaining to morals. By education it learns to respect the rights of others in the home, in the school, the neighborhood, the state, and the nation. By obedience to just laws...he enjoys religious, political, and physical freedom. About the time there comes a physical awakening of the moral faculties of the soul, whatever he's been taught by parent or school becomes his belief; and that belief becomes his religion, whether it be Mohammedanism, Confucianism, or Christianity etc. He must go on.
Responsibility to God...
The animal kingdom doesn't differ materially today from what it was in the day Adam gave names to the beasts and fishes, etc., of Eden. Living creatures eat, drink, lie down, and are satisfied. Man differs from the animals; for he may be surrounded by every earthly substance for which he craves, and still be unsatisfied. There's a longing in every human heart which God alone can fill. Man's a worshipful creature and will never be satisfied only in the exercise of that which differentiates him from the animals which are below him. The fish finds pleasure in the swiftly flowing river, in using its fins, the exercise of which makes it different from the worm that finds pleasure in crawling beneath it at the bottom of the water. The little song-birds fly from limb to limb in the trees above the stream, finding pleasure in the exercise of the wing, that which makes them different from the fish that swims with its fins. If either were taken out of its native element it would be unhappy, and finally die. The fish placed upon a limb of a tree could not use its fins, hence would be unhappy and die. The bird taken out of its natural element, the air, and placed in the water, where it could not use its wings, would be unhappy and in time would lose its life. If both were left in their native element of water and air and yet become paralyzed, they'd still be unhappy and die. Happiness, then, with regard to the animal kingdom, depends upon free exercise of native instincts in elements suited to their kind.
Of what can man boast that makes him superior to the beast? Since man can't be fully satisfied only in the exercise of that which makes him different, it's necessary that man find his proper place. Man can't boast of physical strength, for the horse is stronger than he; nor of swiftness of foot, for the antelope is swifter than he; not of sharpness of sight, for the eagle can see farther and plainer than he; not of delicacy of tasete, for the honey-bee can find honey where men would never suspect it. Of what, then, can man boast? Answer: Man was made to know and to worship God---that's his native instinct, his soul's element. Man alone has a moral instinct, and he can't be happy or be fully satisfied until he's free from the paralyzing effects of sin and in favor with the God for whom he was made, and in the service of love, outside of which he's unsatisfied and unsafe.
Reconciliation Necessary...
There's only two termini at the end of our earthly pilgrimage: life in a world of eternal joy; or death... i. e., eternal separation from God and the pure in heart. Man must go on. He can't retrace his steps. He must meet his God and answer for his deeds. There's no turning backward of the wheels of time. Death's upon man's track, perhaps but a short distance behind. Man must hasten on. Ahead of him is God, the Judge of all; behind him, coming on at a fearful pace, are the influences he set in motion and all the dark deeds of a sinful life. Beneath him are the regions of darkest night. Within his inmost soul's a feeling of sorrow, guilt, and awful suspense. What shall he do? Where must he go for help? The answer comes down from over the everlasting hills, "Look unto me and be ye saved, for I am God, and besides me there is none else." Another voice takes up the strain, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." A candle of hope is lighted in his heart, and he inquires, "What must I do to be saved?" Fully awakened to his condition he exercises
Repentance For Sin...
Repentance includes an awakening, sorrow on account of wrongs committed aginst God and one's fellow man, a desire to do right.
Being sorry for past conduct of wrong will work in him a willingness to make a
Confession of Sin...
The Bible declares that he who covers his sins shall not prosper, but that those who confess them shall find mercy. There's a shade difference between a confession and an acknowledgment. For example: A man steals an automibile. In a distant State he looks behind him and sees the sheriff coming at a rapid rate. He turns and says, "I'm the guilty man." That's more of an acknowledgment than it is a confession, because he owned up only when caught. Had there been no officer in sight, and, coming to himself, he'd volunteered to return the car, and had turned about and gone and delivered it to the owner, that would've been a real confession. For a person to live for himself all his life, and when he sees the messenger coming with a death-warrant...then to throw up his hands and say, "I'm guilty," is more like a simple acknowledgment. It'd be far better to arise in the strength of manhood or womanhood and say, "I'm doing wrong. My life isn't right. I'm sorry I've so sinned," and then call upon God for mercy and forgiveness. Having confessed his sins to God, it'll be comparatively easy for him to make
Restoration of What's Stolen...
The Bible teaches restitution. It plainly teaches that we must give back what we've taken from another and which doesn't belong to us. If a person has stolen, he's a thief until he's returned the stolen goods and been forgiven. The law of progress says, "Give again that he hath robbed."
Forsaking of Sin...
He who confesseth and forsaketh shall find mercy. He mustn't only stop what's been wrong in his life, but he must'n repeat it in the future. He must go out of the sin business. The thief must stop his stealing, the liar his lying, and the adulterer his lewdness. Not only so, but he's willing to exercise
Forgiveness of Offenders...
Jesus said that if we don't forgive men their sins, neither will our heavenly Father forgive us our sins, and he also explains that we must forgive from the heart. If people have wronged us, we must hold an attitude of forgiveness until they come asking us to forgive. A person once asked the Master how many times we should forgive our offenders, and he answered that we should forgive as often as they come asking. Not only does the Bible teach that we should forgive those who've wronged us, and we make right the wrongs we've done, but that there should be
Perfect Reconciliation...
The law of progress will send us to the person with whom we've quarreled. In the Word of God we read that if we go to the altar (Christ) and there remember that our brother hath ought against us, we should leave our gift, and go first and be reconciled to our brother, and then come back and take up our subject with the Lord. This's all very reasonable; for it makes for a perfect understanding and full restoration of confidence and brotherhood. When a repentant soul has decided to obey God, and do the right, it won't be hard for such a one to take another necessary step, which is to believe that he's saved, or to accept
Salvation By Faith...
The Lord says to a repentant sinner...that if he knocks, the door will be opened. If he asks, he shall receive. If he seeks, he shall find. Christ faithfully declared that he won't turn away any who come to the throne of grace. He says that if men ask forgiveness of him, he will forgive and will remember their sins against them...no more...forever. So with such offers of mercy the sinner can boldly approach the mercy-seat (Christ) and find that for which his soul craves. The result of such seeking and believing brings a joy and freedom into the soul never felt before. The power of sin is broken, the paralyzing effects of sin neutralized, and the soul set free...bounds back into its native element, the love of God---like as a beast, finding the cage door open quickly returns to his habitat in the jungles. Salvation's not by works, but by faith in God. Yet the law of progress teaches us the road we must travel to reach the goal at last.
[ The End ]


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