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The Mind That Was in Christ

The Mind That Was in Christ

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PHIL. 2:1-5

PHIL. 2:1-5

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jun 21, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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THE MID THAT WAS I CHRISTBY W. G. JORDA, B.A., D.D.PHIL. 2:1-5Though we have here a flood of tender sentiment we cannot regard the writer as a weak emotional man, or a preacher given to the utterance of shallow raptures. Paul is too well knownfor us to make that mistake; we have felt theforce ot his mighty arguments and passionateappeals, we know that he is strong-minded andthat he despises empty cant. It is quite safe tostake his intellectual reputation upon these letterswhich have lived for almost nineteen centuries,and which seem to be just coming into their fullheritage of power. There is constant danger fromthe "falsehood of extremes." The man who isemotional in temperament and who loves religiousexcitement is in danger of cultivating that sideof his nature to the neglect of clear earnestthought. The man who delights in intellectualactivity and demands a logical presentation of truth may just as easily undervalue emotion.But the full view of truth is not given to eitherside of our nature, but to the complete and harmonious working of all our powers. Paul s greatstrength is seen in the fact that his varied powersare so well balanced. Such a strong thinker and99ioo THE PHILIPPIA GOSPELactive worker may safely yield to tender sentiment without danger of unreality. He had no
tears for fancied evils, but he was often moved todeep sorrow by the sight of sin and wretchedness."If" is a small word but it has been well saidthere is much virtue in it, it can suggest doubt,insinuate suspicion, contrive excuse. It mayeven make a strong assertion, here it tells us thatcomfort in Christ, consolation of love, fellowshipof the spirit, tender mercies and compassion areof the essence of the Christian religion. The formof the statement throws us not upon the authorityof the teacher but upon the reality of our ownexperience. The apostle is not a cynic whodoubts the reality of love and sympathy. Hisown disciples knew how splendidly he had set forththe sympathy of Jesus, how nobly he had lived it,and how wonderfully the same spirit had beenkindled in them. Hence they are exhorted by all 1that is most real in their own lives to seek peaceand mutual happiness.Paul s arguments have always a practical application; in his writings, therefore" is not the closeof a theoretical demonstration; it turns the particular train of thought in the direction of presentduty. The glory of the Cross, the power of thepreacher s own faith, the responsive experience of believing men all strengthen the call to mutuallove and loyalty. In this way the problem isfaced which is always present in some form,namely, how to reconcile the conflicting claims of the undivided soul and of the society into whichour common faith leads us. Paul s teaching laidTHE MID OF CHRIST 101great stress on personal thought and individuallife, and such teaching, essential as it is to the
highest forms of life, has its dangers, especially,when under the influence of great enthusiasm itleads men to break away from the trammels of tradition. Some have exalted the individual lifein such a way as to destroy the unity of theChurch and prove its infinite divisibility. Whilerejoicing in the name of "brother" they have losthold of the brotherhood. The other extreme isnot more satisfactory, there is loss all round whenthe individual is crushed by the community. Inthe older times men thought more of the Churchand the State than of the individual soul. Aman was regarded not as a soul to be saved butas a member of society to be drilled and disciplined. Amos and Isaiah quickened the life of their time by making clear the great truth that Godspeaks directly to the spirit of the believing man.In the teaching of Paul the same truth appears inbold yet reverent forms. But the man who layssuch stress on individual conscience will alsoemphasize the need of harmonious co-operation,and the beauty of social service.A lonely life may be simpler, but it is alsopoorer; the problem of living is shirked, not solved.To submit to a dictator may save thought but itis a lower form of life. Paul does not desire eithera despotism or a state of anarchy but a livingsociety in which we are really "members one of another." It is not possible for the ChristianChurch to be always and everywhere the same inall the details of its life, but we may hold fast to102 THE PHILIPPIA GOSPELthe central truth and cherish the one essentialspirit of Christian love. This passage suggests howmen may live together on the basis of a common

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