Our Master Thoughts for Salvationists about Their Lord

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Language: English
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Just as one of the great proofs, if not the great proof, of the truth of Christianity is the vast fact of the world's need for it, so one grand proof of the Resurrection lies in the fact that no interpretation of Christ's teaching or Christ's life would be worth a brass farthing--so far as the actual life of suffering man is concerned--without His Death and Resurrection. That teaching might be illuminating--convincing--exalting; yes, even morally perfect; and yet, if He did not die, it would be little more than a superior book of proverbs or a collection of highly-polished copy-book maxims. That life--that wonderful life--might be the supremest example of all that is or could be good and great and lovely in human experience; and yet, if He did not rise again from the tomb, it would, after all, be only a dead thing--like a splendid specimen of carved marble in some grand museum, exquisite to look upon, and of priceless value, but cold and cheerless, lifeless and dead.

For it is a Living Person men need to be their Friend and Saviour and Guide. The splendid statue might possibly invite or challenge us to imitate it, but it could never call a human heart to love its stony features. Noble and pure as Jesus Christ's example undoubtedly was, it could of itself never satisfy a human soul or inspire poor, broken, human hearts with hope and love, or wash away from human consciousness the stains of sin. These things can only be done by a Living Person. So it is that we are not told to believe on His teaching or on His Church, but on Him. He did not say "Follow My methods or My disciples," but "Follow Me." If He be not risen from the dead, and alive for evermore; if, in short, it be a dead man we are to follow and on whom we are to believe--then we are, indeed, as Paul says, "of all men the most miserable."

I.

But it is the life of Jesus, and the evidence of that life, in us that are really all-important. No extent of worldly wisdom or historical testimony can finally establish for us the fact and power of Christ's Resurrection, unless we have proof in ourselves of His presence there as a Living Spirit. With St. Paul, we must "know Him, and the power of His resurrection." That is the grand knowledge. That is the crown of all knowledge. That is the knowledge which places those who have received it beyond the freaks and fancies of human wisdom or human folly. That is the knowledge which cleanses the heart, destroys the strength of evil, and brings in that true righteousness which is the power to do right. That is the greatest proof of the Resurrection.

No books, not even the Bible itself; no testimony, not even the testimony of those who were present on that first Easter Day, can be so good as this, the experimental proof. It is the most fitting and grateful, and adapts itself to every type of human experience. And it is beyond contradiction! What avail is it to contradict those who can answer, "Hereby we know that we dwell in Him, and He in us, because He hath given us of His Spirit"? It is even beyond argument! For of what advantage can it be to argue with a man that he is still blind, when he tells you that his eyes have been opened, and when he declares, "Whereas I was blind, NOW I SEE"?

To us Salvationists, the hope of the world, and the strength of our hard and long struggle for the souls of men, centre in this glorious truth. He is risen, and is alive for evermore; and because He lives we live also' All around us are the valleys of death, filled with bones--very many and very dry. Love lies there, dead. Hope is dead. Faith is dead. Honour is dead. Truth is dead. Purity is dead. Liberty is dead. Humility is dead. Fidelity is dead. Decency is dead. It is the blight of humanity. Death--moral and spiritual death in all her hideous and ghastly power--reigns around us. Men are indeed dead--"dead in trespasses and sins." What do we need? What is the secret longing of our hearts? What is the crying agony of our prayers? Is it for any human thing we seek?...