Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing (epiphany) of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;  Titus 2:13

< Previous : Next >

 

181

In the first place, God begets His children. Without begetting children one cannot really be a father; for the begetting act is fundamental to fatherhood. The Scriptures clearly teach that God has begotten Jesus and His followers (John 1: 14, 18; 3: 16, 18; Jas. 1: 3; 1 John 5: 1, 18). Of course we are not to think of God's act of begetting the Christ as a carnal thing. It is altogether spiritual. The seed whereby the begetting has been done is God's Word as it pertains to sanctifying faith and love (Jas. 1: 18; 1 Pet. 1: 23). The mother in whom the begetting has taken place is the Sarah Covenant in the third or wide sense of that word. She furnishes truths other than those that create sanctifying faith and love unto the begettal of the Spirit. With these other truths she has nourished the begotten powers implanted in the consecrated head and heart. These truths correspond to the ovum and subsequent nourishment furnished by the human mother to the seed of human begetting and to the begotten thing. If we ask what the act of the begetting is, we answer: the impartation of spiritual capacities to all the brain organs of a consecrator. These capacities enable each brain organ of ours to reach beyond its natural objects and to attach itself to corresponding spiritual things. E.g., our intellectual organs naturally reach out and grasp human knowledge. While after our spiritbegettal our intellectual organs continue so to exercise themselves; yet, through the spiritual capacities bestowed upon them by the begettal, they additionally reach out and grasp, spiritual knowledge. Again, our heart organs— affections—naturally reach out to human objects, like our human parents, brethren, friends, etc. But after our spiritbegettal, while our affections still continue to go out to our human parents, etc., our affection-organs through the implanted spiritual capacities reach out to our heavenly Parents—God and the Sarah Covenant, our heavenly brethren and friends—Jesus and the Church, etc. God

 

182

has been our begetter, because by the pertinent Truth He implanted spiritual capacities in every one of our brain organs, adapting them to spiritual objects. The begetting of the Spirit is God's first act as our Father. With the greatest of care has He done this, choosing the proper persons, time, place and condition, so that the embryo new creature is started on his way under the best circumstances for his development; which is real fatherliness.

 

A second thing that belongs to the quality of fatherliness is fatherly love. The proverb puts it like this: Every father loves his child. Human experience proves this with respect to a good earthly father; and certainly the Scriptures and the experiences of God's children prove that God loves them. "The Father Himself loveth you" (John 16: 27). "He that loveth Me [Jesus] shall be loved of My Father … If a man love Me [Jesus], he will keep My words, and My Father will love him" (John 14: 21, 23). "Thou … hast loved them as Thou hast loved Me … That the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in [given to] them" (John 17: 23, 26). These passages show that God loves Jesus and His faithful ones and that with the same kind of love, though, of course, not in the same degree. "All that be at Rome, beloved of God, called saints" (Rom. 1: 7). "His great love wherewith He hath loved us" (Eph. 2: 4). "Our Father, who hath loved us" (2 Thes. 2: 16). "Herein is love … that He loved us … God so loved us … He first loved us" (1 John 4: 10, 11, 19). This love includes duty and disinterested love in appreciation, sympathy and service. What are His creative works toward us other than expressions of His love? Look at His providential blessings on us and therein see His great love for us. Consider His redemptive work in giving up His Son, even unto death, and His love toward us becomes manifest. His instructional blessings prove His love for us by experience. His justifying

 

183

blessings in forgiving us our sins and in imputing Christ's righteousness to us, are another proof from experience that He loves us as His children. His sanctifying blessings, both with respect to the sacrifice of our humanity and the development of our new creatures, evidence from experience His love for us. His delivering blessings, giving us victory in our battles with sin, error, selfishness and worldliness, reveal in experience His love for us. And what shall we say of the future features of His delivering blessings—deliverance from the grave and human nature into heaven, the Divine nature and joint-heirship with Christ. All this certainly proves His love for us. Yea, in these ways God loves us as His children. So, in the highest sense, He has that feature of fatherliness whereby He loves us as His children.

 

The third thing that a genuine father does toward His children is that He companions them—gives them fellowship. He is not a real father who in cold austerity holds his children at arm's length, feeling, looking, speaking and acting sternly and distantly toward them. Such a father may secure their obedience and fear; but he will never endear himself to them; nor will he ever draw out the spirit of childship from them toward himself. Companionableness on his part that draws out his children's confidence and love are needed as elements of fatherliness, if he would fulfill this one of the functions of fatherliness. God as our Father exercises this quality of fatherliness in His dealing with us as His children. The chief elements of such companionableness are: Confidence, sympathy, adaptability, agreeableness, kindness, interest and partnership. God as our Father has confidence in us to the degree that our qualities of heart and mind and our spirit of consecration warrant; and He shows us that He has such confidence by imparting to us the secrets that He keeps within the family circle and by entrusting us with a stewardship in His interests. He sympathizes

 

184

with us in all our joys and sorrows, pleasures and pains, successes and failures, hopes and fears, aims and ambitions, works and recreations; for it is especially with reference to the Church that it is written, "In all their affliction He was afflicted" (Is. 63: 9). Moreover His sympathy with us is also one of heart's oneness— kindredness of feeling with us. Such sympathy, of course, conduces to fellowship.

 

Then He certainly adapts Himself to the peculiarities of all His children. There is not a quality in us that He does not understand; there is not a weakness in us toward which He does not know how to act and does not act properly. There is not a circumstance in our lives but He accommodates Himself to it. There is not an experience coming to any one of us but He sees and feels its ins and outs. In all the changes of our moods and modes, in all the vicissitudes of our work and rest, in all the diversities of our talents and attainments, in all the varieties of our graces and faults and in all the variations of our states and activities, He knows how to, and does adjust Himself to us in most helpful, uplifting and beneficent ways. His agreeableness toward us as His faithful children is never ruffled; it is unchangeable and it is always in evidence. No petulance, no touchiness, no garrulity, no grouchiness, marks His carriage toward us. When we offend in weakness or ignorance, He knows how to close one eye; when we do not play fair, He knows how to forgive; and when we do well, He knows how to smile most charmingly and winsomely. Then He is also interested in us and in what concerns and interests us. He never loses the sense of a personal concern for us and a personal feeling toward us. And in what interests us He is interested; and for what concerns us He is concerned. He is not indifferent to what is for our weal or woe. He never clothes Himself with the mantle of forgetfulness and the girdle of abstractedness when our good is concerned; for He always

 

185

makes our interests His. His kindness, too, is ever on hand and active. If danger lurks in some place, He beneficently points it out and guards against it. If need threatens us, He provides against it; and if it is present, He supplies it. If good is present, He works on it to improve it; and if anything is wanting for our best good, He sees to it that it is bestowed. And, finally, in His fellowship feeling toward us He enters into a real partnership with us. This partnership is one of spirit; for He gives us His Spirit. It is one of interest; for He shares with us His wealth. It is one of work; for He makes us colaborers of His. And it is one of ambition; for He associates us with Him in the realization of His plans and purposes. Thus in the highest sense He embodies in His companioning of us as His children the qualities of confidence, sympathy, adaptability, agreeableness, interest, kindness and partnership; and this is the third element of true fatherliness.

 

The fourth thing that a good father does for his children is to provide their food, raiment and shelter, and that in harmony with his ability and station in life. This God does, not only in earthly, but more especially in heavenly respects, from which latter standpoint we desire to give briefly some general items. He provides the best of spiritual foods for them—the pure and unadulterated nourishment of the Word, both in its milk [simpler truths] and in its strong meat [deeper truths] aspects (Heb. 5: 12-14). This food covers doctrinal, ethical, promissory, hortatory, prophetical, historical and typical truths, variously adapted in each of its forms to the babe, the child, the youth, the man and the aged. And the raiment that He provides for them is both beautiful and useful. How beautiful is our Lord's robe of righteousness, which God has provided for us to wear (Is.

61: 10)! It hides every uncomely feature in us and adorns us in real beauty. Our Father, whose sense of beauty and comeliness is superior

 

186

to that of any other being, looks upon us when so arrayed with the utmost satisfaction and pleasure. It protects us from too much cold and heat, keeps us comfortable and expedites our movements. Additionally, He provides us with the means and instrumentalities whereby we may embroider our raiment. With threads of gold [Divine Spirit] and needles of silver [Truth] we are by Him enabled to work out on our Divinely provided raiment beautiful designs drawn thereon into the Christian graces, whereby our wedding garments will be charmingly beautiful (Ps. 45: 13, 14). So, too, He gives us the best of shelter; for He Himself is our habitation (1 John 4: 16). This is the most beautiful, tasteful and practical home ever erected. It is well lighted and ventilated. It is roomy and comfortable. It has the elegance of a palace and the invitesomeness of a home; and perpetual joy and peace reign there. Father, mother and children here are in the best of bonds, in the finest of spirits and in the most joyful of hearts. The house is well protected from the contagion of error, which cannot come nigh it (Ps. 92: 10). The sun of temptation (Luke 8: 6, 13; Matt. 13: 6, 21) cannot beat upon this house so as to make it uncomfortably hot within, or smite with sunstroke those who dwell therein. In the winter time of trouble it is kept comfortably warm, so that those who dwell therein are never cold; for no tribulation too great for them to bear is allowed to come nigh them. And while outside of this house the night of sin reigns with its sorrows, woes, uncertainty and fears, within that house it is always light; for the light of Truth illuminates its every room and hall. Thus God Himself provides His children perfect shelter. His giving His children food, raiment and shelter, and that of the best quality and in abounding quantity, proves Him to fulfill perfectly the fourth function of a father— providing for his family—and thus proves that He has also this ingredient of real fatherliness.

 

187

The fifth function of a father is training his children; and therefore the ability so to do and the exercise of this ability are the fifth element of fatherliness. As a true Father, God trains His children. This training embraces intellectual, heart and manual matters. He trains their heads by teaching them true knowledge, which He enables them to perceive, remember and reason on, so that this knowledge becomes a part of their very being. Thus they live in His knowledge, and it becomes, so to speak, a second nature to them. This knowledge is both theoretical, inasmuch as it gives them the right principles of thought, speech and action, and practical, inasmuch as it is of a kind that they can and do apply helpfully to all the problems of life. Furthermore, He trains their hearts, because He knows that character is the best of all acquisitions, the most useful of all attainments and the most attractive of all embellishments. In their training He puts them through every process of character development: supply of lacks, overcoming of faults, quickening in good, growth in good, strengthening in good, balancing in good and crystallizing in good. And when He has finished His training of their hearts, they have the finest of hearts in the universe; and thus with such characters they will be well adapted to living forever (Ps. 22: 26). Then, God as Father gives His children manual training as well as head and heart training. He trains them in the arts of building (Matt. 7: 24-27; 1 Cor. 3: 10-15), whereby they erect the structures of faith and character; husbandry, whereby they plant and water God's garden (1 Cor. 3: 6-9); vineyardry, whereby they grow precious fruits in God's vineyard (Matt. 21: 28-31, 41, 43); and farming, whereby they sow, reap, sheave, dry, thresh, winnow, supervise the sifting and co-operate in the garnering of the wheat. Many of them He trains in the work of shepherding sheep (Acts 20: 28); and some of them make a splendid success of such work. He trains them to be good

 

188

merchants (Matt. 13: 45, 46), capable fishermen (Matt. 4: 19), careful watchmen (Matt. 24: 42-44), successful executives (Matt. 25: 14-17) and good teachers (Matt. 28: 19). He develops them into being athletes, whereby they become great racers (Heb. 12: 1; 1 Cor. 9: 24-26), mighty wrestlers (Eph. 6: 12), skillful boxers (1 Cor. 9: 26, 27) and brave, efficient and victorious soldiers (2 Tim. 2: 3; Rev. 3: 21; 15: 2). Thus He trains them for many forms of occupation in this life; but additionally He is training them for successful careers in life everlasting as Kings, Priests (Rev. 20: 6), Mediators (Acts 3: 23; Heb. 9: 15-17), Physicians (Rev. 22: 2, 3), Teachers (Ps. 22: 30, 31), Judges (1 Cor. 6: 2, 3), and Saviors (Ob. 21). Accordingly, God as Father gives His children a splendid training.

 

The sixth thing that a good father does for his children is to prepare for them an inheritance. And God has this feature of fatherliness in His character. Before the foundation of the world He made a plan, an integral part of which embraces the preparation of an inheritance for His children (Eph. 1: 11). This inheritance is not gotten in this life, but is one that will be bestowed in the next life with the saints in light (Acts 20: 32; 26: 18). It is therefore an inheritance reached through the salvation process, and that at its end (Heb. 1: 14). St. Peter assures us of this also, adding that it will be incorruptible as to the body, undefiled as to the heart and mind, unfadeable as to life, and heavenly as to nature (1 Pet. 1: 4). The process through which it is being prepared is the Spirit begettal, quickening, growth, strengthening, balancing, crystallizing and birth (1 Pet. 1: 3; Eph. 2: 5; 2 Pet. 3: 18; 1 Pet. 5: 10; John 3: 5-8). Our Lord Jesus is God's Agent in preparing this inheritance (John 14: 2). The offer and acceptance of the hope of obtaining this inheritance makes us heirs of God and joint-heirs with the Lord Jesus (Rom. 8: 14-17; Gal. 4: 6, 18). The

 

189

things that the heirship has in store for us are: eternal heavenly life (Titus 3: 7) in heavenly Divine bodies (1 Cor. 15: 41-54; 2 Cor. 4: 16-5: 8; 2 Pet. 1: 4), joint-heirship with Christ (Rom. 8: 17) in the kingdom promise of ruling and blessing (Jas. 2: 5; Rev. 1: 6; 5: 10) and in the administration of the universe by perfecting yet uncreated orders of beings and their residential planets in harmony with God's plans yet to be revealed (Eph. 2: 7; Is. 9: 7). Truly, the preparation of our inheritance outshines any other parental preparation of inheritance for children.

 

The final thing that a good father does for His children is to give them a well ordered and sufficient inheritance—the best he can give. Certainly, Jehovah as Father does this for His children in superlative degree. The time when He will give this inheritance is our Lord's Second Advent (1 Pet. 1: 7). It will be before the assembled heavenly host. It will include all God's wealth—the boundless universe with all that pertains to it. It will be an undivided inheritance. Nor need any fear that such an inheritance will breed discontent and strife in the heirs, because each of them will love the others more than self; and thus they in perfect peace and prosperity will jointly administer their inheritance. Nor will they be the objects of others' envy for their great inheritance, since they will use it for the best interests of all concerned—first for fallen men and fallen angels, and then for the good of various orders of beings that God is planning for the billions of planets in His universe; and in this work of developing their inheritance they will have the glad cooperation of the angels, those who never fell, as well as those who fell and will rise again. The wealth of this inheritance is inconceivably great, which will appear when we think of the wealth of this earth and remember that there are billions of at least as rich planets in the universe. And this wealth will ever increase as these planets and their various orders of beings

 

190

are developed to perfection. It is an inheritance that will be developing endlessly; for the work of the Faithful will be the development to perfection of one planet after another with their pertinent orders of beings. And they will have the satisfaction of perfect success in their task, as the Ages to come will witness the planets and their inhabitants started on the way of, and reaching perfection. Nor will their entering into the possession of their inheritance be marred by the sense of loss of, and mourning for, a dead Father, as it is among men; for the Immortal Jehovah will give them the inheritance and live on; and this He can safely do, because their absolute devotion to Him and His interests will have been unchangeably proven by most crucial tests. What a super-wonderful inheritance God will give His people! Surely He has the seven main features of the grace of fatherliness, as our study abundantly proves; and this grace of fatherliness surely is His.

 

We have hitherto treated of God's main selfish lower primary attributes of character and of two of His main social lower primary attributes of character. We now proceed to our discussion of the rest of God's lower primary attributes of character. We trust our discussion of this subject will prove instructive to our readers' heads and uplifting to their hearts. We rejoice in the prospect of such blessings and trust that a like experience will follow the study of all the chapters of this book. After finishing our discussion of God's primary attributes of character we hope, D.v., to consider in turn His secondary and tertiary graces. Such a study should equip all of us with a reasonably comprehensive understanding and appreciation of God's qualities of Spirit. In the rest of this chapter we propose to study friendship and kingliness as social lower primary attributes in God.

 

When we speak of friendship we mean a mutual regard cherished by like minds and hearts. Friendship

 

191

can never be experienced by one person alone. It implies at least two persons as its possessors; for it is a mutual regard cherished by like minds and hearts. Thus friendship is a quality that requires at least two persons before it can be exercised at all. In this it differs from friendliness, which does not necessarily imply a mutual regard. Accordingly, friendship, as an attribute of God, implies that it is exercised by Him and others mutually. It means that there are hearts and minds that are kindred to God's heart and mind, and that these and God's heart and mind have a mutual esteem toward one another. This is true of the relations of the Father and the Son to each other; for they are linked together in kindredness of heart and mind by the fact that they have the same Holy Spirit or disposition. This is likewise true of God and the good angels, and of God and certain ones in the human family. It is not now true between God and all human beings; for some are now not at all of a kindred spirit with God. Hence there can be between them no mutual regard that constitutes friendship. Sometime there will be between God and all mankind such kindredness of disposition as will make them hold one another in mutual esteem, i.e., when after the Millennium all who after full opportunity prove that they are worthy of everlasting life are rewarded with it, and all others are destroyed.

 

The entrance of sin among certain—the fallen—angels and among mankind has disrupted friendship between God and them. Sin of necessity destroys friendship between God and the sinner; because sin is a repudiation of friendship with God on the sinner's part. Thus God could not find in fallen angels and men, as such, that kindredness of heart and mind necessary for a mutual regard based on harmony with righteousness, which is the necessary foundation of a friendship in which God is a partaker; for He is of too pure eyes to behold [look with favor and esteem

 

192

upon] iniquity (Hab. 1: 13). Hence when certain angels and mankind fell into sin, God withdrew from the relations of friendship with them. We are not to understand that thereupon He hated them. Rather that He became so displeased with them for their casting away of their former state of mind and heart that was kindred to His, that mutual esteem was no longer possible as between Him and them. But while this became the condition between them, and while sinful men and angels turned into hating Him, He, instead of returning hatred for hatred, continued to be as friendly toward them as their changed attitude toward Him permitted this to be; i.e., insofar as this was in harmony with truth and righteousness. Hence in His friendliness He gave them such blessings as were compatible with the sentences that He imposed upon them severally for their wrongs. Furthermore, He cherished the hope of winning them back into friendship with Him, after their experience with evil would sufficiently teach them the unprofitableness of sin and the desirability of righteousness.

 

His friendliness toward them despite their evil reached an almost inconceivable height of greatness when, in order to restore them to friendship with Himself, He willingly gave up His Son to a most shameful, cruel and painful death, as the basis for the restoration of such a friendship. And in the meantime He kept Himself open to entering into friendship with any of the race that, hungering and thirsting after such a condition, would accept of His overtures of friendship. It was in harmony with this thought that He and Abraham entered into friendship with each other, so that Abraham became known as the friend of God (Jas. 2: 23). And not only Abraham, but all who walked in his footsteps have entered into friendship with God (Rom. 4: 12; 5: 1). Accordingly, God welcomes back into friendship with Him all who exercise repentance toward God and faith in

 

193

Christ. These thereby become friends of God and God the friend of them. We trust that all of our readers have at least attained to friendship with God.

 

It might be well for us to look into the ingredients of such a friendship. Keeping in mind the thought that in spirit the sinner must retrace the steps that he took when he left the condition of friendship with God, and that the restoration of the long-wrecked friendship does not imply that God lowers Himself to the degraded state of mind and heart of sinful man, though it does imply that He condescends to lift man back toward the state of heart and mind that existed before sin entered into the world, we will be able to see the ingredients of the restored friendship. On God's part it implies that He retain the same thoughts and feelings that He had before friendship between Him and man was broken off. It also implies that He has sought to renew mankind into a condition in which He can take the same interest in them as formerly, exercise the same trust in them as of yore, show them the same amiableness as before, bestow the same benefits as in days gone by and give them the same companionship as He once did. Unless He would do these things and thus renew them unto their former condition toward Him, mankind could not perform their part in the mutual relations implied in friendship between God and themselves. And all these things God works on behalf of all who are responsive to His advances; and as a result, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, He and certain humans have already re-entered into friendship with one another.

 

And in this friendship we see operative a kindredness of thought in which man accepts the Divine thoughts connected with friendship's restoration. Thus this enables such men to gain kindredness of mind with God and one another. Again, by renewing kindred feelings in the responsive, God puts men into a condition in which they love the things that God loves.

 

194

Further, by arousing the responsive to taking interest in truth and righteousness for themselves and others, He creates in them the same interests as He has. So, too, by enabling these to stand fast in devotion to truth and righteousness for themselves and others, He makes them dependable, and thus restores His confidence in their integrity; and of course only such as trust Him are dealt with in such restoration of friendship, as is evident from the case of Abraham and those who follow in his steps. God's amiableness toward them takes away from them all unamiableness toward God and fills them with amiableness toward Him. His constant benefactions on them arouse them to do good to Him, in the sense of benefiting His cause. And His companioning them arouses them to companion Him; and thus every ingredient of friendship is restored between God and responsive ones.

 

This description of the restoration of friendship into operation between God and man shows that friendship as a quality operating between God and man consists of the following things: Mutual thoughts, mutual feelings, mutual interests, mutual trust, mutual amiableness, mutual helpfulness and mutual companionableness. God shares with reconciled humans every one of these things. We may say that He craves these things—not that He needs them for His own existence, but for the pleasure that it gives Him in working in others the blessings for them implied in these things. We are not to think of this matter as though God could not get along without entering into friendship with us, as though He needs us or what we can give Him. Rather, in His friendliness He does out of pure benevolence the things that we need for our well being, in a restoration of friendship with Him; and He is made happy in such restored friendship in the thought that it has blessed, uplifted and ennobled us; for His delight is in benefiting others. Thus His friendship is of the noblest character,

 

195

the most generous feeling and of the most comprehensive kind. Blessed indeed are they who have God as their Friend and who are friends of God!

 

And who are these? We reply that now, they are first, those who have taken the steps of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus; and second; those who thereafter have made a full consecration of themselves to the Lord. The first class are indeed friends; but they are not privileged to enter into the deepest friendship with God unless they take the further step of consecration. Justification gives them peace with God; but only the consecrated enter into God's heart of hearts, in the most intimate friendship in which their very beings become one with God's Spirit. While we, therefore, rejoice with the justified in their measure of friendship with God, we would urge them to enter into still deeper and closer relations with God and bind themselves to Him with still stronger ties than those of justification—even those of consecration; for in the latter, becoming dead to self and to the world and becoming alive unto God; they take His good and perfect and acceptable will as theirs, and this enables them to enter into most intimate thoughts, feelings, interests, trust, amiableness; benefaction and companionship with God in ways that those who have proceeded no further than justification are unable to experience, understand and appreciate: This is the unanimous testimony of the faithful consecrated. And this friendship is mutually to God and them one of the most precious, endearing and happifying of all experiences.

 

It is not only such, but it is also a very fruitful one to both parties of this friendship. God has His fruitage in their profiting, which shows His unselfishness in this friendship; while they have as their fruitage from this friendship the blessings of creations providence, redemption, instruction, justification, sanctification and deliverance. Therefrom are they undergoing

 

196

a recreation, in ultimate analysis, to perfect spirit natures. God makes all things work together for their good in His providence. He has given His Son in redemption to recover them from the curse. In instruction He teaches them all the things of His Word due in their times, so that they are favored with His thoughts. In justification He forgives their sins and reckons them righteous in Christ's righteousness. In sanctification He enables them to become and remain dead to self and the world and alive unto God, while sacrificing their humanity in His interests, and while undergoing transformation into Christ's likeness as new creatures. And in deliverance He protects them amid, and gives them victory in, their battles with sin, error, selfishness and worldliness, as these fight against them under the leadership of the devil, the world and the flesh. And ultimately He will give them victory over the grave by raising them from the dead, and will give them pertinent rewards in life eternal. These are the fruitage that God's friends receive from Him in their friendship relations with Him; and, as stated above, His fruitage from His friendship is the possession of such friends and the pleasure of so greatly benefiting them.

 

As precious and fruitful as His friendship is, so lasting and strong is it. One of the sad facts of human friendship is in most cases its weakness and transitoriness. Most friendships are unable to bear the weight even of prosperity, let alone adversity. Hence, earthly friendships for the most part quickly break up, and former friends frequently are lightly forgotten. Almost none survive the pressure of adversity. Not so with Jehovah's friendship. Time does not only not weaken, but strengthens it. Prosperity brightens it, and adversity crystallizes it. The dangers incidental to it cement its possessors the more firmly together. Pressure put upon it makes it all the more enduring. Our faults and weaknesses arouse Jehovah

 

197

to all the more manifestations of it. In health and in sickness, in joy and in sorrow, in pleasure and in pain, in rest and in labor, in safety and in danger, in prosperity and in adversity, and in life and in death, it abides strong and enduring; for no such things can separate the faithful from the friendship between them and God. The only thing that can make God withdraw friendship from His friends is that faithlessness which sins willfully against God, the best of friends; for His friendship is so strong and enduring that it stands all other pressures, while this one disrupts its very conditions of existence. Such a friend is a friend indeed. Blessed are those who are knitted together in friendship with God; nothing shall stumble them, nothing shall injure them and nothing shall be lacking to them; for in God and in His friendship they find their all in all.

 

The last of God's lower primary graces of character that we will consider in this chapter is His kingliness. Kingliness is a social grace. It is true that all social beings do not now have it; for it is limited to but a small class of human beings—royal rulers. Its ingredients, however, should in part be found in all who, as social beings, are placed in some respect or other over others. Thus certain phases of this quality should be found in husbands as the heads of their wives, in parents as the guardians of their children, in teachers in the management of their scholars, in employers in the direction of their employees, in political officials in the governing of their subordinates and nonofficial citizens and in officers in the command of soldiers and sailors, etc. By kingliness we mean the quality of heart and mind whereby one is, thinks, feels, speaks and acts as a royal ruler must, in order properly to govern his people. We would not think of everybody as being kingly in character and bearing. Certainly an ignorant and foolish person could not commend himself to us as kingly; nor could an impulsive, weak

 

198

willed person do so. Nor would we think that a tactless or a cringing person were kingly in heart and bearing. Neither does a selfish and unpatriotic person deserve the praise of kingliness. So, too, does the world not regard one who is impractical and unfaithful as being kingly. Why so? Because these qualities are the direct antithesis of those that we think a king should have. His being the leader and ruler of his people, he must be intelligent and wise enough to think out laws and policies to put into effect, whereby to lead, benefit and rule them. He must be steady and firm to give these laws and policies the necessary backing to make them operative. He must be tactful to win his subjects to them, and dignified enough to command that respect that insures obedience to them. He must be so unselfish as to put the interests of the commonwealth above his own interests, to insure the good of his country; and he must be so patriotic as to sink every consideration into the interests of the nation. He must be so practical as to execute with good results his laws and policies and so faithful as to make himself the embodiment of conscientiousness in fulfilling the duties of his office. Such a king is indeed kingly. David in Israel and Alfred in England are among the most conspicuous examples of such kings among human rulers. Of each of them it can properly be said that he was every inch a king.

 

But Jehovah has these features of kingliness in the supreme degree; and He is therefore the greatest and best of all royal rulers. His omniscience makes Him know everything that pertains to royalty in itself, in its duties, in its laws, in its subjects, in its processes, in its purposes and in its results. His wisdom makes Him able to use His knowledge in ways best calculated to achieve the ends of rulership—the well being of His subjects. His self-rule makes Him adjust Himself to the conditions and demands of His position as King; and His moderation makes Him steadfastly pursue

 

199

His ends to a successful consummation. His tact is unendingly making Him speak and do at the proper time what is necessary, as it also makes Him suppress unsuitable words and acts. Such tactfulness makes Him winsome in the superlative sense toward those who are winable. He is always dignified in carriage, in sentiment, in speech and in act, with a result that He inspires His subjects with the profoundest reverence to His person, laws and works. He neither fears, nor stands in dread of, anyone; hence He needs not, nor does He, cringe before anyone. He is wholly unselfish in His ways; and thus instead of exploiting His subjects in His own interests or tyrannizing over them to their own detriment, He constantly seeks and achieves their good. He does not set at naught, nor break His own laws; but is subject to them as a supreme ruler, and thus commends them with all the greater impressiveness to His subjects. This is all the more noteworthy in Him, inasmuch as He is an absolute monarch in the supreme sense of the word; for He never submits His decisions to the vote of His subjects in order to make them valid, as do most earthly rulers. But He commends them to their willing obedience by virtue of their intrinsic value and their source. Indeed He and His viceregents are, and will forever be, the only absolute monarchs who can be absolutely trusted to use their unique power solely in the interests of their subjects; and for this reason they will forever be the only ones really worthy of, and fitted for, the exercise of absolute and unconditional power over subjects.

 

As a sovereign God is the highest example of a patriotic ruler. He loves His country, its laws, its policies, customs, citizens, works and ideals, and in all His works and plans as its ruler He ever keeps this in mind and furthers them. He defends them against corruption, attack and conquest; and successfully assails and overthrows every person and thing that seek

 

200

to effect any injury to the realm. As an executive, He carries out the laws and policies that He makes for His kingdom, attaining thereby every feasible result. No executive has His abilities as a successful executive in His empire. And finally, as our king, He is faithful in everything pertinent to His office as king. Faithfully does He use His intelligence and wisdom to devise laws and policies for the good of the realm. Faithfully does He exercise self-control and steadfastness in initiating and carrying out these laws and policies. In all negotiations He faithfully exercises the necessary tact and dignity to gain His ends and gain and retain the reverence of His subjects. He is faithful to make love for proper principles and the interests of His empire and of His subjects incite Him to ruling acts on their behalf; and this excludes every species of tyranny, cruelty and injustice from His rulership. His faithfulness keeps Him ever on the alert to plan, to initiate and to carry on in the interests of His kingdom and its subjects. He is the best and most successful of kings, because He is the most kingly of them all.

 

His kingdom is an orderly one. It has officers and subjects. These officers are in harmony with the King and His ideals. They are bound to Him by the most lasting bonds of devotion, appreciation, sympathy and harmony. For them to fail in these respects for any length of time would mean dismissal from His service. So devoted to Him and His interests are they that they willingly lay at His feet their all in His service, and demonstrate loyalty to Him, His cause and His people unto death. And His subjects have the same spirit of devotion. Hence His subjects excel those of other kings. They show much loyalty to Him, His cause and His people, better than the subjects of other kingdoms do to their rulers, countries and peoples. And they are bound to Him not by ties of self-interest; but of principle and love. So greatly have His

 

201

benign policies and deeds as Ruler enhanced Him to them that out of grateful and appreciative love they are devoted to Him, and they are happy and prosperous in such devotion to their great King. At the present time these subjects are comparatively few; but when the war is over that is now on between His and Satan's empire, the latter being destroyed, its subjects will become His subjects; and those that faithfully submit themselves to the Vicegerent that He will put over them in the Millennium will gain the favor of being everlastingly under His kingship, while all others who reject such a benign rulership, will be destroyed, all evil conditions being likewise with them destroyed. The result will be that all beings worthy of existence in heaven and on earth will in everlasting innocence, righteousness and blessedness acclaim Him in a universal hallelujah chorus of peerless harmony and sweetness, singing, "Blessing and honor and glory and power be unto Him that sitteth on the throne" of the Universe (Rev. 5: 13). And in the securing of this glorious result His kingliness will play a very large and important role. Surely Jehovah, our King, in His kingliness is worthy of our supreme devotion as subjects of His benign and beneficent reign. Blessed is the people whose King Jehovah is!

 

With this we will conclude our study of the lower primary graces of God's character. In both their forms, the selfish and the social, we have found them good, perfect, appreciable and worthy of our imitation. Our God is from every standpoint worthy of our love, praise, worship, adoration, devotion and service. In the highest sense His higher primary graces reflect credit on Him, and only in a less degree do His lower primary graces honor Him. And as we devoutly contemplate these, we are enabled to imitate them and thus become transformed into His likeness. To secure this end is one of the main reasons for these chapters on God's graces of heart and mind.

 

202

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!

Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee:

Holy, holy, holy! merciful and mighty!

God in the Highest, blessed Majesty!

 

Holy, holy, holy! all Thy saints adore Thee,

Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;

Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee,

Which wert, and art and evermore shalt be.

 

Holy, holy, holy! Though the darkness hide Thee,

Though the eye of sinful man Thy glory may not see,

Only Thou art holy; there is none beside Thee,

Perfect in power, in love and purity.

 

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!

All Thy works shall praise Thy Name in earth and sky and sea.

Holy, holy, holy! merciful and mighty!

Son of the Highest, blest eternally.

 

 

< Previous : Next >

 

 

Page#