King's Business - 1928-03


March 1928

T h e

K i n g ’ s

B u s i n e s s

man]. It is no part o f our present plan either to defend or condemn Wesley’s doctrines, but simply and honestly to supply the incidents of his wondrous history. “ There is no evidence to prove that Wesley held many o f the wild whimsies of millenarians of the present age, or that he ever pretended to fix the date of Christ’s second coming. ‘I have no opinion at all,’ said he, ‘upon when the millennial reign of Christ will begin; I can determine nothing at all about it; these calculations are far above, out o f my sight.’ Still, Wesley was a believer in the certainty of such a reign; and so was Fletcher, and so was Wesley’s friend, the Vicar of Bexley, Mr. Piers; and so seem to have been writers of some of the hymns in the Methodist hymn-books.” In face of such authoritative statements from one of Wesley’s most reliable biographers, how is it the Metho­ dists of the present day have so totally disregarded the doctrine? Why is it that Methodist ministers, who every year have to signify their continued acceptance of all the points o f doctrine as taught by John Wesley, completely ignore this one? Why is it that they proclaim from Meth­ odist pulpits, as again and again they do, that Christ’s second coming has “already taken place at Pentecost,” and that “ He is always coming,” and how can they seek to spiritualize this whole subject? It is high time ,in these last days, that all who call themselves the follow­ ers o f John Wesley, and especially those who are leaders and teachers of his flock, should inquire further into what the great founder of Methodism himself terms “ that com­ fortable doctrine, o f which I cannot entertain the least doubt as long as .1 believe in the Bible.” word except the destructive power. The force of the injunction to reality is unmistakable. S e e L azaru s A lso St. John 12:9 Men raised from the dead are themselves the media for the revelation of God’s glory. People who carelessly pass by the offers and claims of the Savior are always arrested by the sight o f one in whom so obviously is His power illustrated. Christ was no stranger to the crowd which gathered at Bethany. Doubtless they had all seen and heard Him in previous days. But the spectacle o f a man raised from the dead evoked all their curiosity and wonder. It filled them with something of the awe of the unseen world. With Christ’s doctrine and teaching they might be at variance—honestly or dishonestly. But such a manifestation of His power they could neither disre­ gard nor explain away. And so it ever is. It is in redeemed men that the power of God unto salvation is exhibited to the world. “ Ye are my wit­ nesses” is Christ’s abiding commission to those whom He has touched into life, and from whom the grave-clothes of sin have been unbound. Each one is an authentication o f Him, stating the case for Him beyond all power of contradiction. With what a steadying responsibility does this fact invest our lives! Many who will not hearken directly to Him cannot fail to be arrested if we exhibit before them the evidences o f a new life. What a record alike o f Lazarus and ourselves is that which declares that “ by reason o f Him many went away and believed in Jesus” ! And what a responsibility should the record of our lives be the reverse o f this!

him, was a millenarian, a believer in the second advent of Christ to reign on earth visibly and gloriously, for a thou­ sand years. This is a matter which none of Wesley’s bi­ ographers have noticed; and yet the above is not the only evidence in support of it. In his letter to Dr. Middleton, published in 1749, he refers to the millenarian creed of Justin Martyr-—namely, that at Christ’s second coming the martyrs will be raised, and for a thousand years will reign with Christ in Jerusalem, which will then be re­ built, enlarged and richly adorned, according to the proph­ ets (Isa. 65), and that at the end of the thousand years there will be a universal resurrection, in order to the final judgment. These were the views o f Justin Martyr, views which, Wesley says, Justin deduced from the prophets and the apostles, and which were also adopted by the fathers of the second and third centuries. “ In fact,” says Wesley, “ to say that they believed this was neither more nor less than to say they believed in the Bible.” There is also a remarkable article in Wesley’s Armin- ian Magazine for 1784 on “ The Renovation o f All Things,” in which it is urged that according to prophetic promises there will be a middle period, “ between the present pol­ lution, corruption, and degradation of the earth, and that o f a total, universal restoration of all things, in a purely angelical, celestial, ethereal state,” and that in this middle period between, these two extremes, the earth will be re­ stored to its paradisaical state, and be renewed in its prim­ itive luster and beauty. “ These are facts in Wesley’s history with which the reader must deal as he thinks proper [writes Mr. Tyer- We are apt to forget the darkness of the terror of the Lord in the light o f His tenderness. The fact that on His way to the Cross He could pause to pronounce such a doom upon the worthless tree, should persuade and stimulate our memory to full apprehension of His perfect character. It is o f the nature o f the fig tree to produce its blos­ som and fruit before its foliage. Hence the raising of Christ’s expectation, and His disappointment. As a pic­ ture o f profession without piety, and o f creed without character, its likeness is self-evident. For there are many whose lives it unerringly represents. Christ comes to them hungering at heart for some fruit o f their faith in the form o f practical love toward Him, of self-sac­ rificing service for Him, of supreme desire for His glory. And He is disappointed and saddened at finding none o f these things. The leaves of religious observ­ ance, or external worship, or correct theology, are all there in luxuriant abundance. But He who searches hearts looks behind and beyond these for the one at­ testation of true discipleship-fruit. Note the significance of the punishment o f worthless­ ness. That which does not fulfil the Divine purpose dies. There is a sin of omission which can only lead to the withdrawal of opportunity and the forfeiture o f life. This is the full force of Christ’s acted parable, which voices to us all the plainest and tenderest warnings of the love o f God. It is as though He can bear with any­ thing except calculated insincerity. For this He has no M

m Two Meditations by Dr. J. Stuart Holden N oth ing B ut L eaves St. Mark 11:13

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