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I am sorry
have been struck with the similarity between this buying and selling with the combinations of the day for this very purpose. A large store is opened for the sale of all sorts of articles, but it is not simply a store, for no one is allowed to purchase anything unless he is a member or has some mark of membership.
I am aware I am on tender ground here, for it may be that some of your readers are members of some of the many societies formed for such purposes.
if it is so, for I never could see how a Christian could consistently be a member of any human society for any species of worldly gain. I fear many join such schemes without seeing what is involved therein.
I take it that to belong to a combination or society for the purpose of buying articles of everyday life is the lowest order of combination. From this it rises to that of securing work. And from that to securing certain rates of wages. And with this is connected the question of strikes among the workmen, and all the complications attending combinations for personal advantages.
Now I hope all your readers will agree with me that there are many combinations that they cannot as Christians consistently join. And I hope they will see it right and go a step further, and refuse to join all and every worldly combination formed merely for the benefit of its members. God has formed all Christians into a holy union with Christ, and this disassociates them from the world as such. The world is crucified to them, and they to the world-not merely the bad and irreligious world, but the good, the prudent, and the self-seeking world.
I might also add, that many of these schemes
are directly opposed to the principles of doing to others as I would wish to be done by. If I were a small but honest tradesman, should I like an extensive store to be opened near, by which I am injured, if not ruined ? No, then I cannot join that. store that will ruin the small tradesman, though I may thereby, perhaps, save a penny a pound in my bacon and cheese.
Again, if I were a master who under a contract was bound to do a certain work at a certain price, should I like my men to take advantage of that contract to strike for higher wages by which my profit would be absorbed ? Then I could not belong to any combination that would force me to
I might also remind your readers how many Christians have joined societies to insure to themselves certain advantages, who have been miserably disappointed by God blowing upon the scheme, and as the passage in Isaiah says, it came to nought. Many a workman has joined a society to insure to himself work and good wages, and by that very combination he has lost all work for months.
But I take my stand rather upon the plain truth of scripture that I, as a Christian, am once and for ever severed from the world and all its plans and combinations.
Thus far I have spoken to the teachers as to themselves-sorry I am that I have felt there was a need for it but how shall the subject be brought before the scholars? I speak of course as to the elder scholars who are soon about to enter into life for the purpose of earning a livelihood. If they are Christians I feel no difficulty in enforcing the same principles on them that I have named for the teachers : but if they are not Chris
WHERE THE TREE FALLETH, THERE IT SHALL BE.” 119
tians, how can the same truths be instilled into their minds ?
To me it is very remarkable that in the first book in the Old Testament, and the last of the New we have examples of combination. The one in Genesis is the tower of Babel. There men combined to make themselves a name, lest they might be scattered. It was making man the centre, and it left God out. God blew upon their scheme and it came to nothing
The one in Revelation we have already looked at --the privilege of buying and selling is a part of the scheme of Antichrist.
These two examples, and others that are in scripture, together with God's golden rule of doing to others as we would have others do to us, may well be enforced on the unconverted scholars. It is not difficult to illustrate by facts also, how God has often blown upon the combinations of men, and brought them to nothing, and that too when those forming them were very sanguine of success. I like too to impress on the unconverted that God who feeds the sparrows, cares as Creator for all His creatures, and to encourage them to look to Him for what they need rather than to the feeble arm of man.
“ WHERE THE TREE FALLETH, THERE
IT SHALL BE." MR. EDITOR,
We constantly hear this text quoted thus : 'As the tree falls, so it lies,' and it is applied to those who die—that there is no change after death: if they fall being bad, they remain bad, &c. Is this
the meaning of the passage? If so, what is its connection with the former half of the verse ? I quote the whole: “If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth; and if the tree fall toward the south or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be.' (Eccles. xi. 3.)
The two verses that precede this may help us to understand its meaning: “ Cast thy bread upon the waters; for thou shalt find it after many days. Give a portion to seven, and also to eight; for thou knowest not what shall be on the earth." Then follows verse 3 as quoted above; and then “ He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap." So that the connection is evidently an exhortation to service.
The former part of verse 3 is plain : If the clouds be full of rain, they do not keep it to themselves, but water the earth. In the New Testament we are exhorted to be perfect as our Father in heaven, who maketh His sun to shine upon all, and sendeth rain upon the just and the unjust. So we are to be like clouds full of water, and be ready to do good unto all men, especially unto the household of faith. (Gal. vi. 10.)
The latter part of the verse is not so easy to interpret. An aged well-taught Christian explains it thus, that the clouds give water to all, and if the tree falls to the north or south it remains for the master's use. So, if we do good to all men, it shall be put to our account notwithstanding the result.
NOTES ON SCRIPTURE.
VERSES 1-12. This address was given by our Lord "to the multitude and to his disciples;” it was suitable to all. It made an important difference between what the scribes and Pharisees said, and what they did. In all true workmen the two should go together; but here they did not, yet, as these rulers sat in Moses' seat, our Lord bids His hearers do what they commanded ; but warned them not to do as their leaders did.
The first charge is, that they laid the heavy burdens of the law on others—and perhaps more than God had ordained-but excused themselves from any of its penalties.
Then they did all their works to be seen of men. They made broad their phylacteries and enlarged the borders of their garments. The phylacteries were pieces of parchment, on which were written certain passages of scripture, as Exodus xiii. 11-16; Deuteronomy vi. 4-9. These were placed in a case of calf skin and worn upon the forehead, or the left side near the heart, or on the left arm. These were made broad by the scribes and Pharisees, lest they should not be noticed.
Enlarging the borders” is doubtless a reference to the riband of blue, enjoined in Numbers xv. 37–41. It was to remind them that they were to be heavenly in all they did-holy unto their God. They enlarged these borders to be seen of men.
They loved the chief places, both in the synagogues and at their feasts; whereas God required humility. They loved to be called Rabbi, Rabbi. That is