Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing (epiphany) of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Titus 2:13
THE DEVELOPMENT OF CHRISTLIKENESS – PART 8
Scriptures are cited from the King James (Authorized) Version, unless stated otherwise.
2 Peter 1: 5-11
THE HIGHER primary graces not only abound toward our religious sentiments with respect to the evil, but also with respect to good.
First, they do this by attaching one another to the good. This is needed by the weak graces in times of temptation, at which time the strong higher primary graces act in this respect. The abounding acts through the first mode of procedure, which is also the third special method for doing good – attaching the affections to the good. All the general methods will be helpful. The result is the third process – production of growth in the higher primary graces and religious organs. Continual use will produce the fourth process – strengthening that which has grown.
Another application of the third line of procedure in respect to good in the higher or religious sentiments is for the higher primary graces to use one another to serve righteousness and holiness. Accordingly, the third line uses the sixth mode of procedure within the sphere of our religious affections. The agent is the new will, using one or more of the higher primary graces to stimulate and help the others in the Lord’s service. Besides the general, the fifth and sixth special methods for doing good will be found helpful: (5) enslaving our sentiments to God’s will, and (6) supporting the weak by the strong features of Christian character. This activity of “the abounding” will produce the fourth process – strengthening that which has grown in the religious faculties; and its other effects will be honoring, pleasing and serving God, and serving the brethren, the world of mankind and our enemies.
Still another way in which our higher primary graces may abound in good toward our religious affections and their qualities is that of adjusting themselves to one another in harmony with proper principles. Peter gives the order of this adjustment in the order in which he enumerates these virtues. The harmony of this adjustment requires that each one of these qualities acts and permits the others to act so that each respects the rights of the other. This is done according to the seventh mode of procedure in the higher sentiments and qualities. The agent is the new will. Apart from the general, the first, second and seventh methods for doing good will be helpful: (1) imitation, (2) subjection and (7) dominating all features of character by wisdom, power, justice and love combined with one another in orderly adjustment. The result is the sixth process – balance of character in the religious organs and their qualities, the higher primary graces.
Finally, the higher primary graces abound toward the good in the religious organs and their graces in crystallizing them individually and in their relations to one another according to correct principles. This means to make them unbreakable, each one separately, and each one in relation to the others. Sore trials and temptations afford the necessary experiences thereto. The agent is the new will. All the methods will be found helpful in this activity. This work is done by the third line of procedure in connection with the seventh process – crystallizing the religious organs and their graces, individually and in their relations to one another. This results in perfection of character in the higher sentiments.
b. Abounding of the Higher Primary Graces Toward the Lower Sentiments, Their Qualities and Relations
1. With respect to evil.
The second, third and fourth modes are here used, just as they were toward the evil connected with the higher, or religious sentiments.
The first thing that the higher primary graces do in their abounding toward the lower sentiments in respect to evil is to detach them from the objects for the desire of which they seek to control the higher primary graces. The second mode is here used, by which the higher primary graces abound toward our lower sentiments. The higher primary graces also detach our selfish desires, as far as a selfish enjoyment of them is concerned. They may only be desired as they can be used to God’s glory. Besides the first special method for overcoming evil, which as the second mode of procedure is used in this activity, the second (cleansing by the Word) and the sixth special method for overcoming evil (overcoming by restraints) are the most helpful in this application of the “abounding.” The general methods for overcoming evil will also help thereto.
A second application of this line of procedure is through the third mode – suppressing by the higher primary graces the control that the lower sentiments and their faults seek to gain over the higher primary graces. The third mode, which is also the fourth special method for doing good, also operates in this application, and is best assisted by the fifth and sixth special methods for overcoming evil: (5) displacement of evil by the opposite good and (6) restraint of evil by other than the opposite good, and by the general methods of overcoming evil. The faithful use of such abounding through the third mode of procedure produces the fifth process – destruction of evil in the lower sentiments and faults.
A third application of this line of procedure is presenting impenetrable sentiments and graces in resistance to attacks from our faults, thereby securing and maintaining the subjugation of the lower sentiments and their faults to the sway of the higher primary graces. This is done according to the fourth mode. The agent is the new will. This application makes permanent the effects of the two preceding modes and thus completes the fifth process – the destruction of evil.
2. With respect to good.
All four of the modes applicable to good are operated toward the lower affections. First is the abounding of the higher primary graces toward the lower sentiments by the first mode – attaching them to the good. This first mode, being the third special method for developing good, assists as a method in this work. It is helped by all the general, as well as by the first and second special methods for developing good: (1) imitation of God and Christ by devout contemplation of their characters and (2) subjecting the heart and mind to the influence of the Divine Word by holding its pertinent parts on them. This line of procedure works the third process – production of growth in the lower sentiments; it also cultivates the lower primary graces.
Strong Higher Primary Graces Support Lower Sentiments
A second way of causing the higher primary graces to abound to the lower faculties and their graces is to support by the strong higher primary graces these lower sentiments and their graces. This is done through the fifth mode – supporting by the strong higher primary graces all the weak features of character. The agent is the new will. The fifth mode, being also the fifth special method for developing good will help in this activity; so will the first, second, sixth and seventh special methods, as well as all the general methods for developing good. The work to be done is to recognize any weak lower sentiment and its grace, summon the higher primary graces to their aid and cause them to support the weak feature of character while it is under pressure. The result is the fourth process in the lower sentiments and their graces, strengthening that which has grown; assisting the sixth process, balancing character; and the fifth process, destroying the evil, thus lessening our tendency to fall into wrong doing.
The third thing that the abounding of the higher primary graces to the lower sentiments with respect to good does is to make them serve righteousness and holiness, the sixth mode. The agent is the new will. The general, and the first, second and fifth (enslavement of our all to God’s will) special methods render valuable aid. Its leading results are: God and Christ are honored, pleased and served, others are blessed and we are developed in the third and fourth processes: (3) production of growth and (4) strengthening of that which has grown in our lower sentiments, and the possession of the lower primary graces.
Classification of the Graces
The classification of the graces into primary, secondary and tertiary, though not Scriptural terms, is based upon the way the organs of the brain are related to the graces. The primary graces act through special organs as their qualities or attributes; the secondary graces work in connection with special organs properly controlled by the higher primary graces; and the tertiary graces, though not connected with any special organs, are qualities or attributes of the whole heart and mind. The higher primary graces are the qualities of the higher or religious sentiments; the lower primary graces are the qualities of the lower sentiments. The higher primary graces must dominate the lower primary graces, and all other features of character.
(to be continued)