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

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CHAPTER VI.

 

THE TERTIARY GRACES OF GOD'S

CHARACTER.

 

THE NATURE AND NAMES OF THE TERTIARY GRACES. MEEKNESS. ZEAL. MODERATION. MAGNANIMITY OR GOODNESS. FAITHFULNESS.

 

WE HAVE come in our study to the tertiary graces of God's character. This book began with a chapter entitled, "The Existence of God." It proceeded with chapters on God's attributes. Of these we first discussed fourteen of His attributes of being; thereafter we began to discuss His attributes of character, treating first of His four higher primary attributes, then of fourteen of His lower primary at tributes and finally of ten of His secondary attributes. There remain yet for our study of God's character His tertiary attributes, which we will now take up for discussion, praying the Lord's blessing upon our study of the tertiary attributes of God's character.

 

In the outstart of this study we are confronted by the question, What is meant by the tertiary attributes or graces of character? Properly to appreciate the answer to this question we should first refresh our minds as to what is meant by the primary and secondary attributes or graces of character. As we have already learned, a primary attribute or grace of character is one that is developed by the direct action of one or two of the affection-organs; and a secondary grace or attribute of character is one that is developed by the primary graces laying hold of and suppressing the efforts of the lower affection-organs to control us. Several of the higher primary graces, e.g., piety, brotherly love and charity, are the direct products of the activity of several higher affection-organs. Thus, piety is the direct product of conscientiousness and veneration; brotherly love is the direct product of conscientiousness

 

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and benevolence; while charity Godward and Christward is the direct product of appreciation and sympathy on the one hand and of veneration on the other hand, and charity manward is the direct product of appreciation and sympathy on the one hand and of benevolence on the other hand. The only affection-organs that operate in the production of the higher primary graces are the higher affection-organs. While several of the higher primary graces are produced by the direct action of more than one higher affection-organ, the lower primary graces are in each case the product of but one lower primary affection-organ. So, too, the secondary graces in each case are limited to the effect of the suppression of each lower affection's efforts to control our motives, words and acts.

 

The tertiary graces result from the combination of higher and lower primary graces and secondary graces. A higher primary grace is never the direct product of a lower primary affection-organ; nor is a lower primary grace the direct product of a higher affection-organ; but whenever the products—graces—of both of such organs combine with one or more secondary graces, then the resultant grace is a tertiary grace. E.g., meekness is a tertiary grace, and exercised Godward it is a combination of the higher graces, faith, self-control, patience, piety and charity on the one hand, and of the secondary graces, humility, longsuffering and forbearance on the other hand, along the line of a mild submissiveness of heart and mind; for in the exercise of meekness toward God the above eight graces blend with the five higher primary graces in control of the three secondary graces along the lines of mild submissiveness of heart and mind, which is what the Bible means by meekness. Manward, meekness is a combination of self-control, patience, brotherly love and charity with the above-mentioned three secondary graces in a mild submissiveness.

 

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An examination of the other tertiary graces will show such a combinative feature in each of them. The other six tertiary graces are: zeal, moderation, magnanimity or goodness, gentleness, joy and faithfulness. Zeal results from a combination, first, of faith, hope, self-control, patience, piety, brotherly love and charity (higher primary graces), second, of combativeness, aggressiveness and industriousness (lower primary graces) and, third, of bravery, self-denial and liberality (secondary graces), along the lines of ardent and active devotion to a cause. Moderation results from a combination, first, of faith, hope, self-control, patience, piety, brotherly love and charity (higher primary graces), second, of tactfulness, restfulness, thoughtfulness and friendliness (lower primary graces), and, third, of humility, longsuffering and forbearance (secondary graces), along the line of balance of mind and heart. Magnanimity or goodness results from a combination, first, of faith, hope, self-control, patience, piety, brotherly love and charity (higher primary graces), second, of agreeableness, peaceableness, and friendliness (lower primary graces) and, third, of generosity, longsuffering, forbearance, forgiveness and leniency (secondary graces), in thought, motives, word and acts, in favor of proper persons, principles and things. Gentleness is a combination, first, of faith, hope, self-control, patience, piety, brotherly love and charity (higher primary graces), second, of agreeableness, friendliness, restfulness, peacefulness and tactfulness (lower primary graces) and, third, of generosity, longsuffering, forbearance, humility and modesty (secondary graces), along the line of leniency or mildness in manner of action. Joy results from the proper activity of any single grace or of a combination of any two or more or all of the graces along the lines of delight of heart and mind. Faithfulness results from the activity of any single grace or of a combination of any

 

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two or more or all of the graces along the lines of loyalty to principles, persons or things.

 

The above descriptions and analyses of the seven tertiary graces prove that they are a combination of higher and lower primary graces and of secondary graces. It because of their being compounded by certain features of other graces that they are sometimes called compound graces. Those who so call them speak of all the other graces as simple graces. This method of classifying the graces is fairly good; but not so good, we believe, as the method used in our pertinent series of chapters; for the classification of primary, secondary and tertiary, sets forth their nature, originating organs, relations and functions, while the other has respect to their ingredients only. We trust that the preceding remarks on the three classes of graces will help us, one and all, better to appreciate the nature and function of each class, and thus better fit us to understand and appreciate God's tertiary graces of character. The first of these that we will discuss in this chapter is God's meekness.

 

Meekness is a mild submissiveness of heart and mind. It is not enough to define meekness as submissiveness; for there are many expressions of submissiveness that are not expressions of meekness. The convict who has in his stubbornness been subdued by a severe chastisement into submissiveness could hardly be called meek. The necessity for his chastisement—his stubbornness—proves him not to be meek. We could rightly speak of him as subdued, but that very expression proves him not to be meek. There is, therefore, more than mere submissiveness implied in meekness. It implies that the submissiveness be one that flows from mildness and must come from the heart and mind. A truly meek person is always mild; and if one lacks mildness he lacks an essential ingredient of meekness. The mildness of meekness makes us refuse

 

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to ascribe meekness to all characters that must be subdued by force or fear before they become submissive.

 

But the kind of mild submissiveness of which we treat exercises itself in activities of both heart and mind. Its activities of mind have as their essence docility— teachableness—and its activities of heart have as their essence leadableness—tractability. The unteachable are not meek, nor are the intractable meek. To be meek one must be both docile and leadable. But true meekness is not docile and leadable as to everybody and everything. It is docile as to truth and righteousness only, and leadable as to truth and righteousness only. It refuses to be docile and leadable as to error and unrighteousness. Hence, true meekness only then exercises itself toward others when this is in harmony with truth, righteousness and love. This accounts for meek Christians refusing to exercise meekness toward those who have sought to dissuade them from their loyalty to the Lord, as during persecutions, time and again, efforts were made to induce them to renounce the Lord, the truth and the brethren. In such cases their meekness exercised itself, not toward their persecutors, but toward the Lord, the truth and the brethren, as was very proper.

 

Nor should we, as many do, confound meekness with humility, which is a proper self-estimate, and hence in us is lowliness of heart and mind. The reason for this mistake is on the surface; for humility being one of the ingredients of meekness, of course, wherever we have meekness we will find humility. But we sometimes find humble persons who are not meek; for there are some who have a proper, hence a lowly self-estimate who, however, are not mildly submissive in heart and mind. On the other hand, humility is conducive to meekness, as it must be, since it is an ingredient of meekness. It is also very apparent from their definitions that they are not the same, for one is a proper self-estimate, i.e., in us lowliness of heart and

 

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mind, and the other is a mild submissiveness of heart and mind. Furthermore, their Scriptural uses show that they differ, e.g., when our Lord said, I am meek and lowly in heart, He certainly did not mean that He was humble and humble, or meek and meek (Matt. 11: 29). Again, when St. Paul exhorts us to "put on … humbleness of mind, meekness, etc.," he certainly means not one thing, but two different things. Eph. 4: 2 is another passage to the point. Accordingly, we do well to avoid confounding humility and meekness.

 

But how can we say that God is meek—that meekness is one of His tertiary attributes of character? Certainly we can not say that God is meek toward His creatures; for none of these teach Him anything, nor can He be taught anything by them. None of these lead Him, nor can He be led by any of them. Hence He does not exercise meekness toward any being in the universe. Can He, then, be meek at all? Yes, we answer. How, then, is it possible for Him to be meek, if He does not have or exercise it toward anyone? We reply, He is meek as to good principles; for. He is mildly submissive to His own law of truth, righteousness and love. It is a great mistake, yea, a blasphemy, to say that God is not subject to His own law of truth, righteousness and love, as those mistake who teach that He predestinated some angels and Adam and Eve and all their descendants to sin, and gave them such dispositions and placed them into such circumstances as forced them to sin. Had God done such a thing, He would have violated His own law, and by that very fact would have sinned against meekness—would have made Himself stubborn—the opposite of being meek. He would thus have denied Himself—a thing that the Scriptures say is (morally) impossible of Him (2 Tim. 2: 13). Hence we know that He did not predestinate anyone to sin.

 

That God is meek toward the principles of truth, righteousness and love, the following Scriptures abundantly

 

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prove: "God is not a man that He should lie … hath He said, and shall He not do it? Or hath He spoken, and shall He not make it good?" (Num. 23:19). "All His ways are judgment; a God of truth … is He" (Deut. 32: 4). "All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth" (Ps. 25: 10). "Thou hast redeemed me, Thou God of truth" (Ps. 31: 5). "All His works are done in truth" (Ps. 33: 4). "I have not hid Thy righteousness … and Thy truth" (Ps. 40: 10). "God shall send forth His mercy and His truth; for Thy mercy is great … and Thy truth" (Ps. 57: 3, 10). "O Lord, Thou art … plenteous in mercy and truth" (Ps. 86: 15). "Mercy and truth shall go before Thy face" (Ps. 89: 14). "His mercy is everlasting and His truth endureth to all generations" (Ps. 100: 5). "Thou hast magnified Thy word above all Thy name, [i.e., subordinated Thy character to Thy truth]" (Ps. 138: 2). "Who keepeth (obeyeth) truth forever" (Ps. 146: 6). "Thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth" (Is. 25: 1). "I will direct their work in truth" (Is. 61: 8). "All whose works are truth" (Dan. 4: 37). "But He that sent Me is true" (John 8: 26). "Let God be true" (Rom. 3: 4). "O Lord, holy and true" (Rev. 6: 10). "Just and true are Thy ways" (Rev. 15: 3). These passages, one and all, show that God is subject to His law of truth and some of them show that He is subject to His law of justice and love.

 

We will now quote some showing that He is subject to His law of justice: "Shall not the judge of all the earth do right?" (Gen. 18: 25). "Shall one man sin and shalt Thou be wroth with all the congregation?" (Num. 16: 22). "Just and right is He" (Deut. 32: 4). "Judge Thy servants, condemning the wicked … and justifying the righteous" (1 Kings 8: 32). "There is no iniquity with the Lord" (2 Chron. 19: 7). "Far be it from God that He should do wickedness and … iniquity. Surely God will not do wickedly … He will not lay upon man more than is right" (Job 34: 10, 12, 23).

 

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"The righteous Lord loveth righteousness" (Ps. 11: 7). "Thou shalt judge the people righteously" (Ps. 67: 4). "Justice and judgment [truth] are the habitation of Thy throne" (Ps. 89: 14). "The Lord is upright … There is no unrighteousness in Him" (Ps. 92: 15). "His righteousness hath He openly showed in the sight of the nations" (Ps. 98: 2). "The Lord is righteous in all His ways, and holy in all His works" (Ps. 145: 17). "The Lord, our God, is righteous in all His works which He doeth" (Dan. 9: 14). "The just Lord … will not do iniquity" (Zeph. 3: 5). "Is God unrighteous? … God forbid; for how then shall God judge the world?" (Rom. 3: 5, 6). "Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid" (Rom. 9: 14). "God is not unrighteous" (Heb. 6: 10). "He is faithful and just" (1 John 1: 9). "Thou art righteous, O Lord. righteous are Thy judgments" (Rev. 16: 5, 7). These passages prove that God is subject to His law of justice.

 

We will now quote some passages that prove that God is subject to His own law of love: "Thy lovingkindness is better than life" (Ps. 63: 3). "The Lord loveth the righteous" (Ps. 146: 8). "Thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of destruction" (Is. 38: 17). "I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee" (Jer. 31: 3). "I have loved you, saith the Lord" (Mal. 1: 2). "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3: 16). "The Father loveth the Son (John 5: 20). "He that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father … if a man love me … My Father will love Him" (John 14: 21, 23). "The Father Himself loveth you" (John 16: 27). "Thou hast loved them, even as Thou hast loved Me … that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them" (John 17: 23, 26). "Beloved of God, called to be saints" (Rom. 1: 7).

 

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"God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom: 5: 8). "God loveth a cheerful giver" (2 Cor. 9: 7). "The God of love and peace shall be with you" (2 Cor. 13: 11). "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" (Eph. 2: 4, 5). "God, even our Father, who hath loved us" (2 Thes. 2: 16). "The kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared" (Tit. 3: 4). "Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth" (Heb. 12: 6). "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God" (1 John 3: 1). "God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, that God sent His only begotten Son into the world that we might live through Him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins … We have known and believed the love that God hath for us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him … We love Him, because He first loved us" (1 John 4: 8-10, 16, 19). These verses show that God obeys His law of love.

 

Thus, according to these three sets of verses, God is subject to His own law of truth, justice and love. But a blending of truth, justice and love, produces a mild submissiveness of heart and mind, which is meekness, and, therefore, since these qualities blend in Him, they make Him meek—mildly submissive in heart and mind to His own law of truth, righteousness and love. This proves that God has the meekness of wisdom which He commends to us for our practice (Jas. 3: 13). But it proves that His meekness is not exercised toward any person, i.e., any of His creatures, since it is exercised only toward the law of His own being. This last remark should be given its due weight; for the law to which God is subject is not something external to

 

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Himself, but is the law of His own being. It is His own character. Hence it expresses itself in all His thoughts, motives, words and acts, which are but the outflow, the expression and the revelation of His character, especially in wisdom, justice and love.

 

God's meekness, as just described, naturally warrants His expecting and requiring meekness of us. He is not unreasonable and unjust to ask of us good qualities lacking in Himself. Meekness, being in us a part of the image of God, self-evidently is a part of His character—the law of His being—whose images we are. And laying this requirement upon us, by His exercising meekness toward truth, justice and love, He gives us an example, encouraging our imitation of Him. This example shines out repeatedly in His acts as they display themselves in His Word and plan. As the requirements of truth, justice and love call for expressions of meekness on His part toward these qualities in His dealing with the opponents of, and sinners against His plan, He has exercised it most markedly. This can be seen in the way that He has borne with the opposition of Satan, the wicked antediluvians, the peoples of the cities of the plains, Laban, Joseph's envious brethren, Pharaoh, the murmuring and rebellious Israelites in the wilderness, the heathen nations with whom they had more or less contact, the backslidings of Israel during the periods of the judges and kings, the weakness, self-will and apostasies of some of their kings, nobles and priests, their and others' persecutions of His prophets and His other worthies, their making His religion a formalism and His teachings a background of traditions and manmade ordinances and their rejection and persecution of His Son and His messengers in the Jewish Harvest, i.e., from 29 A.

D. to 69 A. D.

 

His meekness toward the law of His own being can be seen in His Gospel-Age experiences with His opponents and with the weaknesses of His people. Satan's

 

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oppositions have during the Gospel Age been much more subtle than his previous ones; the persecution of God's people has during the Gospel Age been more severe than in former times. Error has been decidedly more rampant than formerly. Sin has increased and abounded the more as the Age has advanced. Blasphemies against God and His Christ have been multiplied increasingly during this time above former times. God's plan has been caricatured, misrepresented and distorted as never before. But none of these things have turned God against acting with meekness toward the law of His being. Throughout it all has He been mildly submissive in heart and mind to the law of truth, justice and love, as these are written in His character. So, too, have the weakness, the unprofitableness, the slowness to hear, heed and do, on the part of His people, and their lack of more fruitfulness, not availed to detract God from exercising the meekness that mildly submits in heart and mind to His law of truth, justice and love. Always, everywhere and amid all conditions and experiences, has God preserved His meekness, as He will so continue to do.

 

From God's meekness toward His own law of truth, justice and love, we can learn many lessons. The first is that we exercise meekness to whomsoever and whatsoever we owe it. Always, everywhere and in all circumstances and experiences do we owe it to God and Christ. And the example of God's exercising it always, everywhere and in all circumstances and experiences, should arouse us to exercise it toward Them. Again, God's meekness toward the law of His being should arouse us to exercise it toward His law of truth, justice and love. Furthermore, His general example of mildly submitting in heart and mind to everything to which it is due that He so do, gives us the example of doing this, not only toward what He does it, but toward others to whom it is due to us so to do, even though it is not due for Him so to do to them. Here

 

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His example lies in the principles and not in the external things concerned. We owe it to be meek toward many beings to whom God does not owe it to be meek; for meekness is a quality that works especially toward superiors, to whom it is impossible for God to be meek, because He does not have them. Accordingly, we should exercise meekness toward our parents, rulers, teachers, employers and elders, compatibly, of course, with our higher duty toward God and Christ. As servants of the Truth, we make ourselves submissive to the principles of service toward many who in God's sight are our inferiors. Thus, we will be "in meekness instructing those that oppose." Even when mistreated, reviled, persecuted and slandered, we are to be so mildly submissive in heart and mind to the principles underlying the experiences as to exhibit "the meekness of Christ."

 

Another good lesson that we may learn from God's meekness, is to trust Him as reliable in His words, plans and acts, as being always in harmony with and subordinate to His law of truth, justice and love. As God never deviates from a mild submissiveness in heart and mind to these, we may depend upon His exemplifying these in all His dealings with us. If we are His in justification and sanctification, we may be certain that in all His dealings with us He is acting in harmony with His own law, and ever will so do. Even when, for the time being, we are not able to trace Him, "faith can firmly trust Him, come what may," because it knows that truth, justice and love are the source, expressions and channels of all His promises, purposes and acts toward us. Hence we know that He will work and is working all things for our good in harmony with truth, justice and love. If meekness as above described were not a characteristic of God, we could not trust Him through thick and thin, in good days and in evil days, in sickness and in health, in sorrow and in joy, in pain and in pleasure and in

 

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living and in dying. Then we would be in doubt at any turn of circumstances and experiences as to whether He would not forsake us, change His attitude toward us, cast us off and have nothing more to do with us. We could not be sure that He would keep His promises, observe His oath, continue to execute His plan and perform works of providence, instruction, justification, sanctification and deliverance for us. God's meekness is a guarantee against all such evils and is a shield and buckler to us in our fight with its incidental dangers on behalf of His cause. Therefore God's meekness is His pledge to us of the fruition of all His good purposes on our behalf. Hence we are by it given strong consolation. We, therefore, rest in faith on account of His meekness. It incites us to imitation. It gives us hope for present overcoming and of future inheritance. In it we may well glory; and for it we may well praise God; for all His qualities call for praise of Him; and meekness, next to His higher primary graces, does this perhaps above all others of His graces of character.

 

In the preceding portion of this chapter we have treated on the tertiary attributes in general, and on God's meekness, as the first of these, in particular. We will now proceed to treat of God's second tertiary attribute—zeal. As a rule people do not associate zeal with God. In fact, to most people He seems to be without zeal. They rather think of Him as so self-contained and self-restrained as to allow of no place for zeal in His character. This is certainly a mistake, as we will see. That the Scriptures attribute zeal to God is evident from a number of passages. Speaking of the various works of Christ in both of His Advents, particularly in His Second Advent, God promises, in Is. 9: 7, to bring them to a complete success: "The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this." The same prophet (Is. 37: 32) in foretelling the discomfiture of Sennacherib and of the deliverance of

 

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God's elect Israel, said: "The zeal of the Lord of hosts shall do this." Yea, and not only did the events fulfill the prophecy, but God made them a type of the greater discomfiture that He by His zeal would bring upon Satan as the antitype of Sennacherib and of the greater deliverance of His elect spiritual Israel shortly. The same prophet (Is. 63: 15), voicing the heart fears of God's fleshly and spiritual Israels at times when God seems to have forgotten to carry forward His plans and promises, cries out in language that implies that God has zeal, but seems to keep it in abeyance: "Where is Thy zeal and Thy strength … are they restrained?" Ezekiel (5: 13) likewise gives testimony to God's zeal in the words: "They shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken it in My zeal, when I have accomplished My fury in them." In the following citations the same original root in various forms is translated as jealous and jealousy: Ex. 20: 5; 34: 14; Deut. 4: 24; Ezek. 39: 25; Joel 2: 18; Nah. 1: 2; Zech. 1: 14; 8: 2; 1 Kings 14: 22; Is. 42: 13; Zeph. 1: 18; 3: 8. In every case the meaning is zealous or zeal. Accordingly, we see that zeal is an attribute of God's character, and is needed for its perfection.

 

Above we saw that, as a tertiary grace, "zeal results from a combination, first, of faith, hope, self-control, patience, piety, brotherly love and charity (higher primary graces), second, of combativeness, aggressiveness and industriousness (lower primary graces) and, third, of bravery, self-denial and liberality (secondary graces), along the lines of ardent and active devotion to a cause." It will be seen that in the above statement on zeal we pointed out especially two things on the subject: its elements and its nature. This statement shows, first, the composition of zeal; and therefrom we note that all of the higher primary, some of the lower primary and some of the secondary graces are compounded as its elements. We might have mentioned some other lower primary graces as sometimes

 

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entering into the make-up of zeal, like patriotism, friendship, domesticity and family love, which were not mentioned because they are frequently absent from zeal expressions. But not only did our statement on zeal previously given set forth its elements, but also its nature, and that in the words: "along the line of ardent and active devotion to a cause." There can be no zeal disassociated from a cause, nor can there be zeal without devotion, and that devotion must be both internal (ardent) and external (active). Thus all of the ideas in the expression, "ardent and active devotion to a cause," are implied in the nature of zeal. They make it what it is; for it is what it is because of its constituent elements.

 

God's zeal is, therefore, His ardent and active devotion to a cause. In Him it springs from, and is constituted of, the higher and lower primary and secondary graces mentioned above. But this must be kept in mind, that when we speak of piety and brotherly love in connection with zeal, we refer to them as they are in God's creatures. To accommodate to God our statement of these two higher primary graces as being elements of zeal in God, we must modify their pertinency by understanding piety in God as applicable to His duty-love to the principles of truth, righteousness and love, and brotherly love in God as applicable to His duty-love to His creatures. With this modifying explanation kept in mind, our statement of zeal above given is applicable to God as well as to His spiritual and human creatures. God's zeal, therefore, means His ardent and active devotion to a cause, springing out of, and consisting of a combination of the higher primary graces, faith, hope, self-control, patience, duty-love toward good principles, duty-love toward His creatures and charity; of the lower primary graces of combativeness, aggressiveness and industriousness; and of the secondary graces of bravery, self-denial and liberality (generosity).

 

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The cause for which God's zeal, as an ardent and active devotion, exercises itself is, generally speaking, the creation, preservation and well being of the universe and its creatures, and is, specifically speaking, The Divine Plan of the Ages. Therefore the universe, its creatures and the Divine Plan are the sphere in which God's zeal works. This statement of the matter implies the immensity of God's zeal; for it concerns all His works and creatures. Therefore He is zealous as the Creator, Preserver and Benefactor of the universe and its creatures, and of His Plan with respect to His spiritual and human creatures. In the Ages to come, as He initiates one plan after another for the creation, preservation and development of other free moral agents, His zeal will exercise itself in the execution of each one of them unto a completion. Hence God's zeal is an eternally active quality. Hence its sphere of activity is as wide as the universe and as lasting as eternity! And this implies a never-ending and all-embracing activity. Certainly it must be a very strong quality to be never-ending and all-embracing in its sphere of activity. And before Him, as the Exemplar of such a stupendous quality, it is fitting that we bow down in praise, worship and adoration. All glory, praise and honor be to our God as the Exemplar of such an all-embracing and never-ending quality! It surely honors Him.

 

And be it observed that His zeal is one of wisdom, power, justice and love. Many are selfish and worldly in their zeal; some are sinful and erroneous in their zeal; and the majority of those who have zeal do not have it according to knowledge. But God's zeal, by virtue of His character and the sphere of its activity, is in harmony with His wisdom, power, justice and love. Never does it act independently of these; never does it act contrary to these; but it always flows out of these as its principal source and expresses itself along the lines of these as its principal ingredients. If

 

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God's zeal acted independently of these or contrary to these, it would be a fault, not a grace; and He would consequently be sinful and not holy. Accordingly, we see that this quality in God must, like all lower primary, secondary and other tertiary graces, act in subjection to God's higher primary graces. The same principle applies to the activity of this grace in all of God's creatures. An unbalanced character and unbalanced conduct, as is often exemplified in zealots, bigots and fanatics, results from the failure to subject zeal to the control of the higher primary graces as its dominating ingredients. And the perfect balance that exists in God's character and conduct subjects zeal to the control of His character's chief ingredients— perfect wisdom, justice, love and power, all perfectly balanced with one another. Such a subjection of zeal to these qualities guarantees that God's zeal is always pure, holy and good, and acts accordingly.

 

And these qualities are also the main incentives to the exercise of zeal in God. God has no base motives for His active and ardent devotion to the causes that He espouses. All men may have, some men do have, and the devil always does have such incentives for their acts; but not so Jehovah. Purer than the light, holier than the best of His creatures, as loving as supreme love, as just as supreme justice, as wise as omniscience and as strong as omnipotent will, is God's zeal. If His zeal were not so, if it were like Satan's or fallen man's, we could not safely nor wisely attach our zeal to a cause championed by Him. We would forever be haunted by the fear that He was enlisting our zeal in a failing and injurious cause—catastrophic to itself and injurious to others and to ourselves. But with a zeal that is subject to His higher primary graces, and that flows out of them as its incentives, God engages only in wise, just, loving and powerful causes; and when He invites us to enlist zealously in the outworking of His plan, He honors us with an

 

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invitation to participate in the execution of a holy, just and good cause. What cause could be holier, more just and better than the cause of the Divine Plan of the Ages? What cause calls for holier motives, better thoughts, more truthful word and nobler acts? Verily, none! And this is because of the character of Him who made and is executing it. Hence our faith in Him is justified in following Him in zeal, even when unable to trace Him; for "faith can firmly trust Him, come what may." Therefore we rejoice that the Divine Plan of the Ages was produced by Divine wisdom, power, justice and love, is supported by these and will completely, in its every feature, be enacted by these; for "the zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish it" in due time in each of its parts.

 

And yet to the natural man God seems to be without zeal in His conflict with Satan, sin and the curse; for the race looks back on over six thousand years of human history in which these have seemingly triumphed. It sees to this day sin on the increase and righteousness oppressed and baffled. It sees Truth crushed to the earth and fighting for a foothold with its back to the wall, and error raising its head in boasting triumph. It sees the curse multiplying its sorrows, suffering and deaths, and their stunting and injurious effects. "Where," it cries out, "is there evidence that God is working zealously against the oppressions of Satan, the corruptions of sin, the delusions of error, the exactions of selfishness and the degradation of worldliness? Where?" Ah, to him who sees not the Divine Plan all this seems but contradictory to God's zeal as enlisted in the cause of man's deliverance. "What man," the race cries out, "would allow sin, error, selfishness and worldliness, as manipulated by Satan, to triumph for more than six thousand years and would not overthrow them, had he the power, wisdom, justice and love to do so? Surely his professions without fulfillment would by now be regarded as

 

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hypocritical and his promises without performance would by now be regarded as deceitful." To such we answer, "Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God" (Matt. 22: 29). Shortsighted man sees not the depth of the Divine Plan, which in its present operating features is accomplishing God's good pleasure, as its future operating features will do the same (Is. 55: 10, 11). Blind unbelief is sure to err and scan His work in vain. Hence all this seems to be an unsolvable enigma to those who have not faith.

 

But wherein the world is blind and sees not God's zeal outworking those features of His Plan that have been due for execution, those who have the necessary faith, hope, love and obedience see the complete success of those parts of the Plan so far due to be fulfilled. They see His zeal to execute His Plan in sentencing sinful man to death, to be undergone amid an experience of evil, well knowing that an experience with it in the present life, followed by one with righteousness (in the Millennium), will more effectively than any other method teach the race to hate and forsake the former and love and practice the latter, and thus exemplify forever the reign of moral law, to secure which is God's purpose in connection with these contrasted experiences for the unbelief class. Hence he can see God's holy zeal in the over six thousand years of sin's seeming triumph; for God will in due time cause the wrath of man, sin and the curse, to praise Him, and the remainder of wrath He will restrain (Ps. 76: 10). Again, he sees God's zeal in permitting evil to afflict the righteous; for he sees that through no other schooling could the righteous by their faith in God be better developed in character for their high future office than in the school of affliction, whereby they develop graces, and that to a degree of strength otherwise unattainable, so indispensable to their fitness for their future exalted office. He sees the zeal of God active throughout these six thousand

 

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years in selecting and training His agents for the work of delivering the unbelief class when their experience with evil will have been completed, and when they thereby will have been prepared for a proper reception of the experience of righteousness to be administered under the superintendence of those elect helpers who will, by their faithfulness in their experience with evil, have been qualified to deliver the others. He sees that in these six thousand years God has been zealously proceeding with the work of preparing four elect classes—the Little Flock, the Ancient Worthies, the Great Company and the Youthful Worthies—as the deliverers of the non-elect classes. He sees God's zeal, unchilled by six thousand years of effort amid utmost and subtle opposition, persevering, amid much weakness in these elect classes, in the work of selecting and developing them. He sees the work, so long and zealously persevered in, now approaching its completeness. He, therefore, does not at all doubt the activity of God's zeal in these over six thousand years. And in it all He sees that that zeal is all of what we described it to be and more than we could describe it to be; for it baffles adequate description.

 

Having seen so many features of God's Plan successfully carried out by God's zeal, he has the full assurance of faith that the unfulfilled parts as due will be zealously carried out by God. The prophetic Word assures him that the zeal of the Lord will shortly overthrow Satan's Empire, in its governments, religions, aristocracies and bourgeoisies, in the time of wrath, which had its start in the World War. He confidently looks for the zeal of God to establish God's kingdom at the hands of His Elect under Christ, on the ruins of Satan's Empire, to offer the Kingdom blessings, first to the living Jews, then to the living Gentiles, then to the non-elect dead from our times even to Adam's time, by canceling the death sentence, awakening them from the dead, giving them an accurate

 

 

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