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THE CALL TO UNION AND MUTUAL HELPFULNESS

THE CALL TO UNION AND MUTUAL HELPFULNESS

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE

BY W. G. JORDAN, B.A., D.D.

PHIL. 4:2-4

BY W. G. JORDAN, B.A., D.D.

PHIL. 4:2-4

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jun 21, 2013
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THE CALL TO UIO AD MUTUAL HELPFULESSBY W. G. JORDA, B.A., D.D.PHIL. 4:2-4Here are the names of three persons perhapsof four as some read Synzygus instead of yokefellow, and all we know of them is that theywere Christian disciples at Philippi more thaneighteen centuries ago. The attempt to turn allthese names into symbols comes from fancifulallegorizing which dissolves history into thin air.We are convinced that these names stand foractual men and women who trod the solid earth,and knew the real experience of life, both of itslofty aims and its petty misunderstandings. Theywere once very much alive on this earthly scene,and as they looked with changeful feelings outupon the world s battle-field, they cherished highhopes in the name of Christ; and yet, they werein danger from the smallness of personal feeling,and the spirit of faction. As we know so littleabout the details of the outside life of these people,speculation has been busy, but it is baseless andprofitless. Much more helpful is it to dwell uponwhat we do know. When we know that theywere real disciples, helping to build up a new community and finding difficulty in reconciling con-237238 THE PHILIPPIA GOSPELflicting claims and opposing feelings, we knowsomething that brings them nearer to ourselves.We see a growing life contending with the usual
 
hostile conditions; we learn that those churches inthe early days were not perfect in their social life,and because things did not run along smoothly of themselves, the highest harmony was not reachedwithout some one s self-sacrifice and silent pain.If we will think carefully upon what life reallymeant for such people, rescued from false debasedforms of religion, fired with new enthusiasm andcalled upon to construct a new society upona purely spiritual basis, then even these obscurenames will possess a living interest. Standingthere in their apparent obscurity, they will yieldfruitful suggestions without the help of uncertaintraditions.THE IMPORTACE OF COMMO PEOPLEThe saying that the history of the world is thestory of the lives of the great men is only a half-truth. The story of such lives has to be takento mean the picture of the whole period, includingthe careers of those who helped them, and wereinfluenced by them. The great men in this senseare the men who have a genius for generalship,who can see a value and power in all kinds of men.Paul mentions a few who were probably bearinga large burden in that particular congregation,but there were other "faithful labourers" whosenames, if unrecorded, are written in the book of life. o prophet could have done a great work THE CALL TO UIO 239had he stood absolutely alone; in the darkesthours God appointed some lowly companions,some sympathetic souls. In the few who gathered round Jesus of azareth, the critical eyewould have seen only "common people," but
 
when they had been the subjects of patient teaching and loving care, they exercised an uncommoninfluence. Cromwell and apoleon could nothave wielded such tremendous power if there hadnot been millions of "common people" capable of sharing their aims and ambitions, their loves andhatreds. According to some, Paul wrote manywonderful letters, and so moulded the life of theChurch that he has been credited with "makingChristianity." According to others he wrote noletters, but simply travelled and preached, andmany followers gave their lives to promote themovement he had started, and sheltered theirnoblest thoughts under his great name. In anycase, he could only have accomplished his greatwork by acting through a living medium, thatmedium being the many men and women whofelt that the life he preached was a real life inwhich they could share, and from which they drewnew energy. His own account was that he wasa herald or ambassador of the king. His powercame from the living Christ who stood behindhim; his influence was carried forward by thoseto whom his message commended itself in thesight of God. These people Paul now calls to thehighest life, namely, to put away their differences and work in harmony for the common240 THE PHILIPPIA GOSPELcause. This is one of the great problems to besolved by Christian faith and love, to banishpetty jealousies and call forth the exercise of kindly consideration. To be at peace, and toexercise the office of a peace-maker this requirespatience and tact. To deepen differences andcreate factions is an easy thing. To do goodwork alone and in one s own way is not the most

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