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“Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshiping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind. And not holding the Head from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.” Col. 2:18,19
The word angel signifies messenger. All of God’s children become messengers of truth when they tell the glad tidings to others. All the members of the Church of Christ are taught to help one another. No member of the body of Christ is so insignificant as to be of no service to the others. If any lay away their one or two talents, neglecting to use them, they soon become paralyzed members of the body—dead branches of the vine, and must be cut off. If one member of the body has more talents than another, in carrying out his consecration he will faithfully bring them all into active service.
Just here our warped human nature is apt to run to either one of two extremes, against both of which we are faithfully warned. Some who have many talents are tempted to become puffed up, and to think of themselves more highly than they ought to think; and that weed, Pride, if not promptly dealt with, may soon gain full control and sink its possessor in ruin and death. Others are naturally timid, and neglecting to use their one talent or two, they rely solely upon other members. The latter class is by far the most numerous.
The danger to this class must be very apparent when we call to mind the words of Paul (Acts 20:30): “Of your ownselves shall men arise, speaking perverse things to draw away disciples after them.” And in the above text he says they will “vainly intrude themselves into those things which they have not seen”—attempting to wrest scriptures which they do not understand and apply them to their own theories, in their desire “to draw away disciples after them,” being “vainly puffed up by their fleshly mind.” Such, ministering to their own exaltation as teachers, would lead the flock into dangerous paths.
How strange that it should be so! but the flock of Christ is not left without warning, and a way of escape, narrow though it be, is open to every faithful follower of the Lord. How natural is the disposition to worship, to give undue honor to the messengers of truth. While we should honor and love all of God’s messengers, we should ever bear in mind that all truth comes from Him, and that no human skill ever discovered the hidden treasures of infinite wisdom, until, in God’s due time, He has chosen to reveal it. All honor and praise to him; and we may love for their work’s sake the humblest instrument he may chose to make his messenger.
John, the Revelator, who typified the living Church in the last days, when he had received in symbol the truths now made plain to the saints, made the same mistake that many now are prone to make. He fell at the feet of the messenger to worship him. But the faithful messenger said: “See thou do it not; I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus; for the testimony of [concerning] Jesus is the spirit [import] of prophecy—worship God.” (Rev. 19:10.)
Yes, we are all servants one of another and messengers of the glad tidings as fast as we receive them; and we are all brethren who have received the testimony of the Scriptures concerning Jesus. Our worship must not be one of another, but of the great giver and author of the wondrous plan. Who can tell which brother messenger will prove faithful to the end, neither becoming puffed up, discouraged, overcome or weary in well doing? Indeed we are told some will run well for a time and then fall away, becoming the enemies of the cross of Christ; if worshiping or leaning on such messengers how insecure would be our standing.
Many think it is a mark of humility to discard reason and blindly follow others. It is against such “voluntary humility” and worshiping of messengers that Paul warns the church, saying that in so doing there is danger of losing the reward—the High Calling.
To the Master we look for example and direction, though not ignoring each other, for all help that comes through our brethren and fellow servants comes from him. But while we esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake, rejoicing in the talents through them given to the whole body, the little flocks should ever remember to hold our Head, our Bridegroom in highest esteem as our redeemer and guide.
MRS. C. T. RUSSELL.
— June, 1883 —