Paul bears testimony to his separation from the world by the grace of God. In Eph.2:2, 3 he speaks of the time when he lived among those who were worldly. He says, "Wherein [in sin] in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind: and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others." In the next two verses he testifies to the effects of saving grace: "But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ; by grace ye are saved." It must be made obvious to all by these texts that salvation from sin by grace saves from walking according to the course of the world.
Again the apostle gives testimony: "But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world." Gal.6:14. How true! When man accepts Christ he is by him separated from the world. Jesus was not of the world. He was the light of the world. The world was in darkness. Light is the opposite of darkness. Had he been of the world and like the world he would not have been a light. Christians are said to be "the light of the world," and are to shine as lights in the world. They are lights in the world because of the righteous principles they possess and manifest. They are like Jesus and in as direct contrast to the world as he. The Savior says, "I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world even as I am not of the world." John 17:14-16.
It is impossible for the heart's affections to be centered upon opposing natures. For instance, it is impossible for man to admire honesty and dishonesty; to love temperance and intemperance; to enjoy peace and strife. It is equally impossible for man to both love and possess sin and righteousness. "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye can not serve God and mammon." Mat.6:24. It is impossible to love God and the world: "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever." 1 John 2:15-17. "For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ." Gal.1:10. "Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God." Jas.4:4.
These are plain declarative texts. It is not meant by them that Christians do not love sinners and can not be friends to them. Christ loved and died for sinners. He visited them in their homes while here on earth, but never did he approve of their sinful ways. He never participated with them in anything that was worldly. He was not influenced by the world into any spirit of worldly merriment. He loved the souls of men, but he did not love the world. He was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners. Heb.7:26. Christians, like Christ, love mankind, and are friendly and treat with respect and kindness the sinner, but never participate with him, nor become influenced in sinful, worldly ways. The affections of the Christian are set on things above. Col.3:1.
In the early ministry of the Savior there is an intimation that the righteous shall be persecuted. It is found in these words: "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake." Mat.5:10, 11. From whence may the righteous expect these persecutions? We learned in the preceding subject that Christians were not of the world. We learn also by the Scriptures that they are hated by the world. Jesus was hated by the world because of the light of Christian virtue and righteousness that shone through him. Those that glorify God by reflecting the righteousness of Christ to the world will be regarded with the same feeling. "If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you." John 15:18. In every age of the world, from the days of Cain and Abel to the present, true Christians have been hated and persecuted by the wicked, and especially by false worshipers.
We will farther quote the language of the Savior: "If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his Lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me." John 15:19-21. When pretended worshipers of God are free from persecutions for Christ's sake it is because they are worshipers in form only, but in spirit they are worldly. In truth these people are usually foremost in persecuting the true children of God. Jesus was persecuted and hated by the very pretentious Pharisees and Sadducees. "He came unto his own, and his own received him not." John 1:11. Those who professed to be children of Abraham sought to take the Savior's life. John 8:39, 40. Because Jesus by a pure, holy life rebuked sin, because he in burning words of Heaven's glorious truth exposed the hypocrisy of the proud Jews, because he told them of their sins, they gnashed upon him with their teeth; they told him he had a devil; they spit upon him; they smote him; they mocked him; they placed a crown of thorns upon his brow, and were the instigators of his death.
Jesus says to his own beloved followers: "If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you." John 15:20. "If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?" Mat.10:25. "And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake." Luke 21:17. Those who live like Jesus, those who will boldly declare the truth of the gospel, and rebuke sin and hypocrisy, they shall receive persecutions from wicked men, and cold, proud-hearted professors, as did the Savior. "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." 2 Tim.3:12.
Christians must suffer the taunts of a sinful world, but they "rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the Spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you." 1 Pet.4:13, 14. "Blessed are ye when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets." Luke 6:22, 23.
One evening, shortly after God by his saving grace had separated us from the world and bestowed his righteousness upon us, we for Christ's sake received insults and abuse from the wicked. We turned away from our persecutors and entered the privacy of our home, when a rich glory rested in such a heavenly sweetness upon our souls that we cried out, "O God, why am I so wonderfully blessed?" The answer came: "If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the Spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you." "Rejoice ye in that day and leap for joy." The grace and glory that was poured out upon our soul on this occasion would have made the coals and flames of martyrdom a bed of sweet repose.
Stephen as he faced death at the hands of cruel persecutors, saw the glory of God and the heavens opened and saw the Son of man for whose sake he was now stoned. Paul and Silas with their feet made fast in the stocks at midnight prayed and sang praises to God. Is it not an occasion of wonder and astonishment how the bigoted zeal of deceived and blinded, high-minded professors leads them to become the most vile persecutors of the righteous? Paul persecuted the church of God and wasted it. He thought he was doing God's service. The children of God in every age have received their persecutions from religious bigots, and so will it ever be. We rejoice to be counted worthy to suffer for Jesus' sake. We glory in the midst of tribulations. The Spirit of God and of glory rests upon the devoted Christian in affliction's furnace, and a bright, blessed hope of great eternal reward ever cheers and nerves his faltering soul. He, who, in this dark world will suffer with the Savior shall share a blissful eternity with him.
The affections of a Christian's heart are set on things above, and not on things on the earth. Col.3:2. The entertainments, such as suppers, festivals, parties, concerts, regardless of what may be the ultimate object, are engaged in and enjoyed only by the worldly minded and graceless hearted. "She that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth." 1 Tim.5:6. Those who find enjoyment in the amusements afforded by the world are without spiritual life. "Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.... Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton." Jas.5:1, 5. A life of pleasure here on the earth in wantonness is directly opposed to a life with Christ. "No man can serve two masters." People who participate in and enjoy the socials, the suppers, the fairs, and picnics, the Christmas festivities and church entertainments of the present time have but little or no comprehension of true Christianity. They are ignorant of God's true character and the power and beauty of his holiness. Children of God are to live "soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world." Titus 2:12.
Revelry is one of the fruits of the flesh, which if borne in our life, or, in other words, if we engage in, Paul tells us we shall never inherit the kingdom of God. Gal.5:21. Peter tells us that the time of his life when he walked in sin, when he indulged in the lusts of the flesh was sufficient to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, to walk in lusts and engage in revelings and banquetings. Salvation saved him from such a life, and his former worldly associates think it strange that he will not engage with them in the worldly riotousness and pleasures any longer, and because he is saved from such a course they speak evil of him. This is the substance of 1 Pet.4:1-4. The gay scenes of a worldly life with their pleasures and mirth have no delight for the heart filled with Christian love. He who loves God has no love for worldly sports. The pleasurable society of Jesus destroys all taste for the society of the world. The Christian's walk is alone with God.
An individual saved by grace will experience a marked change in his language. The apostle says that in the time of his life when he walked according to the world he had his conversation in the lusts of the flesh. Eph.2:2, 3. It is true the word "conversation" in this text, and many others, is by many translators rendered "conduct," which is a more correct translation. But this is made to include the words of speech. "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." Mat.12:34. Where worldliness and foolishness is lodged in the heart it will be manifest in the conversation. Gay, frivolous, foolish talk, mirthful stories, and language in jest, indicate a graceless heart. Listen at the world in conversation. Note the idle bywords, the slang phrases, the jestings, the gay, giddy, foolish expressions, the low and impure speech, which is all foreign to the kingdom of grace. Man is not to be known by his profession, but by his fruits: "Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them." Mat.7:20. Thus we know regardless of profession, when man's conversation is as the above, that he is destitute of God's pure love and grace.
"Be ye holy in all manner of conversation," is the command of God's holy Word as recorded in 1 Pet.1:15. From a pure heart can only flow a pure and holy speech. "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers." Eph.4:29. Our words are to be in such gravity and sincerity, in such depth of wisdom, and so flavored with the seasoning qualities of grace as to be elevating or inspiring to a higher degree of piety the listener. "Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man." Col.4:6. God's saving grace effects a change in the heart, and as a natural result a change in the conversation. Paul no longer walked according to the course of this world in conversation when saved by the grace of God.
Where there are amusing stories told, idle expressions, unmeaning remarks, jestings and jokings, regardless of the assumed sanctity in the hour of public worship, it is a life after the manner of the world, and betrays a heart devoid of God's sober, solemn, holy presence, and the sanctimonious appearance on sacred occasions is but an effort of the human will, and not the deep piety and spontaneous reverence of the heart. Jesus said that for every idle word that men shall speak they shall give an account thereof in the day of judgment: "For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned." Mat.12:36, 37. "Young men likewise exhort to be sober-minded. In all things, showing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine showing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech, that can not be condemned." Titus 2:6-8. "But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient." Eph.5:3, 4. Slang phrases, gay, frivolous, foolish talking, and unholy conversation is degrading to society, disgraceful to Christianity, and a shame and a reproach to any people.
When the new birth is experienced a marked change is made in the life. The individual is made a new creature, old things are passed away and all things become new. The heart that loved this world is gone, and a heart filled with the love of God and heaven takes its place. The radical change effected within the heart will affect the exterior man. "Make clean the inside of the cup and platter and the outside will be clean also." "Out of the heart are the issues of life." "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." It is impossible for a proud heart to receive the grace of God. "God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble." 1 Pet.5:5. The wonderful salvation of God which changes the heart will also change the manner of dress, if the dress formerly was worldly, which is very natural. The dear Lord has been so very careful to distinguish his loved children from the world and make them a shining light that he has given them plain directions how to dress. What a privilege the Christian has in obeying God in what is considered the "little things" of his Word, which however small are of such importance as to cause the eternal loss of the soul if wilfully disobeyed.
Respecting the manner of Christian dress we will quote from 1 Tim.2:9, 10: "In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works." This is a much abused and wrested scripture. The proud-hearted, who have endeavored to persuade themselves to believe they are Christians, have surmised and planned to enforce upon themselves the conclusion that God did not here mean what he has said. In earlier days when the human systems of religion were more consistent with the Word of God such texts were incorporated in their creeds, but so deep has been their plunge into the whirlpool of worldliness that they are rejected from both Bible and creed. Many tell us that this was for the women in the primitive days of Christianity when it was the custom to plait the hair with gold and silver strands. This is only a ready sophistry to allure the soul. We will admit it was for women in the early days of Christianity, but we deny it is any less for women and men also in any other day. With respect to Christianity some people are shamefully dishonest. All the duties and sacrifices not congenial to a proud heart they are glad to impose upon the Christians of some past or future time, but all the blessings God has promised the saint they would gladly receive in this present time.
The Christian is commanded to dress in "modest apparel" "with shamefacedness." It frequently happens that people become so boldly proud that they can dress in the height of fashion and profess to be Christians without a shame upon their face. One who is really and truly saved will dress in modest apparel, while humility, meekness, and modesty are depicted in loveliness upon their countenance. Those who adorn themselves in pearls and gold and costly array usually bear a proud, disdainful look. When redeemed by grace the fashionable dress and proud look give place to a sweet Christian modesty. A humble heart and a fashionable dress are incompatible. Shamefacedness is derived from aidos in the Greek, and has "modesty" and "bashfulness" for its primary meaning.
How beautifully the teachings of the apostles harmonize. Peter tells us that the Christian's adorning should be the hidden man of the heart adorned by a meek and quiet spirit. This man in the heart, hidden as he is, does however reveal himself. "Out of the heart are the issues of life." When the heart is meek and humble, lowliness, gentleness, and modesty will be seen in the countenance. A meek, modest, Christ-like countenance under a fashionably decorated hat is the greatest incongruity. With shamefacedness the Christian is to be adorned with sobriety.
Fashionable dress is directly the opposite of sobriety. This word is translated from the Greek word sophrou, which is properly defined, soundness of mind. The weary toil and labor that many undergo to earn money and then make the unnecessary expenditure in buying costly, fashionable dress does certainly betray a lack of wisdom, which might in reality be termed an unsoundness of mind. Gold and pearls and costly array is intemperance in dress. Instead of dressing in sobriety many are crazed or drunken on the spirit of worldliness in dress. There is a beautiful consistency in Christianity, but how inconsistent with divine things is the expenditure of money for the adornment of the physical being. No one can spend money for gold rings and chains and charms, for pearls and beads, for plumed hats, and such like, with the number around that are destitute, penniless, and starving, without incurring the displeasure of a merciful God. Man shall have to give an account in the day of awful judgment how he has expended the money the Lord has entrusted to his care. In the purchasing of any unnecessary article of dress there will be a reproving of the Spirit unless the heart is so intoxicated with the love of self that it is unconscious of the things and voice of God.
Ah, how shamefully inconsistent with the tender-heartedness and sympathizing spirit of Christianity in this lavishing of charms and adornments upon self! Our dress should be only such as is necessary for protection and health. Going about in the world doing good in all humility of heart, modest and unassuming in our manners and dress, making ourselves as little conspicuous as possible, but lifting up Jesus everywhere, is the true Christian life.
The present-day institutions known as "Secret Orders," are of an earthly, worldly origin. They are one of the things of this world which man can not love and continue in the love of God. Within those secret organizations are bundled together by strong oaths the professed Christian, the infidel, the lawyer, the doctor, the saloon-keeper, the gambler, and almost every character upon the earth. By the bonds of this secret union the preacher is made a brother with an infidel. The apostle Paul tells us, "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? and what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?" 2 Cor.6:14, 15.
The preacher who professes to believe in God is here having a part with an infidel contrary to the Word of God. You who are professing to be a light in the world, how can you in the fear of God take the oaths necessary to make you a member of a secret order? How can you join in the worldly hurrah and laughter, and foolish, ungodly pranks as played upon the candidate within the secret walls? What do you think of a preacher, or layman, becoming the laughing-stock of infidels, lawyers, saloon-keepers, drunkards, and gamblers, as he trembles beneath the blindfold? What kind of light are they letting shine? I appeal to your reason and common sense. Is it Christlike? Do you think Jesus would engage in such dark works? Some have charged the Savior with being a freemason. Such is a libelous statement. In Isa.45:19, the Lord says, "I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth: ... I the Lord speak righteousness, I declare things that are right." Christ only speaks the things that are right and never the dark, ungodly oaths and sayings of the secret lodge. Again, the Savior said, "I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort: and in secret have I said nothing." John 18:20. Jesus spake nothing in secret, and to charge him with having connection with the dark, secret mysteries of masonry is as slanderous as the charge made by the people who said, "Thou hast a devil." John 7:20. The Savior not only knew that men would, in order to defend their unrighteous systems, charge him with having a devil, but he also knew that for the same purpose men would charge him with having connections with such systems; therefore he said, to uncloak the falsity of such charges, "Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not." Mat.24:26. Jesus gives commandment to preach upon the housetop what ye hear in the ear. Mat.10:27. "For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil." Eccl.12:14.
It is not the mission of this work to reveal the awful oaths and secret works of these various orders. Other men by many volumes have done this. We only hope to help you to see that secrecy is contrary to the Bible and the Spirit of Christ and Christianity. It is a thing of the world and conducted on a worldly basis. Connected with many of these orders are life insurances -- a thing of the world. The Christian is separated from the world and Christ becomes his all in all. To make prominent the good qualities of their secret systems men tell us of their obligations to help their brother and his family. How these orders provide help for a man in time of need, and how true each member is to his obligation, etc. Such might do if there were no God nor Christianity. Secrecy provides only for its own members. Salvation provides for all. A member of a secret order is under no obligation from his order to visit a poor sick man by the way who is not a member of his order, but is under obligation to visit and care for a sick fellow member, though he be rich. We see no Christianity in this. We see no humanity. It is having respect of persons, forbidden by Scripture. Humanity, and much more Christianity, will not only send man to do good to the rich, but to the poor also, be they of any class or nation. A man that is a Christian will visit the sick and afflicted, no matter what may be their station in life.
If a man thinks he is a light in the world because he is true to the obligations of his secret order in visiting and administering to the needs of his sick brother, he is very much deceived. Such is a false light. When a man has to place himself under such solemn oaths to do good, it proves that he has but little or no humanity. "Do good to all men," is the spirit of Christianity. A man need not take the obligations of a secret order to be furnished with the qualifications for doing good. The Word of God is all that is needed for reproof, correction, and instruction, that a man may be thoroughly furnished unto all good works.2 Tim.3:16, 17. A man need not seek membership in some secret organization in order to be provided for in his old days, or his family in case of his death. The Psalmist says, "I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread." Paul says, "But my God shall supply all your need." Phil.4:19. "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." 2 Cor.6:17, 18. "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world." John 17:16.