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THE WORD WITHIN.pdf

THE WORD WITHIN.pdf

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Published by glennpease
BY SAMUEL COX



" For the commandment which I command thee this day, it is
not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven,
that thou shouldest say. Who shall go up for us to heaven, and
bring it unto us, that we may hear it and do it. Neither is it be-
yond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea
for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it and do it. But
the word is very nigh thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that
thou mayest do it." — Deuteronomy xxx. 11-14.
BY SAMUEL COX



" For the commandment which I command thee this day, it is
not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven,
that thou shouldest say. Who shall go up for us to heaven, and
bring it unto us, that we may hear it and do it. Neither is it be-
yond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea
for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it and do it. But
the word is very nigh thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that
thou mayest do it." — Deuteronomy xxx. 11-14.

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Published by: glennpease on Nov 10, 2013
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THE WORD WITHIN.BY SAMUEL COX" For the commandment which I command thee this day, it isnot hidden from thee, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven,that thou shouldest say. Who shall go up for us to heaven, andbring it unto us, that we may hear it and do it. Neither is it be-yond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the seafor us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it and do it. Butthe word is very nigh thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, thatthou mayest do it." — Deuteronomy xxx. 11-14." But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise :Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven ? (that is, tobring Christ down) ; or who shall descend into the abyss ? (that is,to bring Christ up again from the dead). But what saith it ? Theword is nigh thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart : that is, theword of faith which we preach." — Romans x. d-Z."Would you find God?" said Plato: ''Look within:'" Look within^'' said Moses long before Plato was born," if you would find the word, or commandment, of God.Look within, not above you or beyond : you need notclimb to heaven for it, nor sail across the sea ; it is verynigh you, in your mouth and in your heart." " Look within" echoes and responds St. Paul, " if you wouldfind Him who is both God and the Word of God : youneed not ascend into heaven to bring Him down ; norTHE WORD WITHIN. 351plunge Into the abyss to bring Him up. He is withyou, and in you. If you would find Him, look within."Now we should have thought that the method of spiritual research prescribed by these great teachers,
 
who beyond all question knew more of God and of theWord of God than almost any of their fellows, wouldhave been generally adopted and pursued. If anyrespect is due to wisdom, character, genius, authority,inspiration, it would only be reasonable that all whodesire to acquaint themselves with God and God's willshould retire within themselves, and search in the depthsof their own nature for any image or reflection of God,any impress of his character, any echo of his word,which would aid them to conceive rightly of Him andof his will for them ; aid them also to test and to inter-pret any revelation, or supposed revelation, of Him thatcame to them from without. Yet, for the most part, itis the very opposite of this inward method which menhave pursued, and still pursue. Instead of lookingwithin for a key to the external disclosures of his willwhich have been vouchsafed them, they have endeavouredto infer his character from his handiworks, in which Heis not so instantly and vitally present as He is in them-selves ; or they have brooded over words which He hasspoken to the outward ear, and inferred from themabstract dogmatic conceptions of what He is and whatHe would have them do. And thus they have, as itwere, driven the God who was nigh them far off fromthem, and made Him inaccessible, translating Him abovethe clouds of a verbal and dogmatic heaven, or trans-352 THE WORD WITHIN.porting Him across a metaphysical sea without bottomand without bounds. Age after age they have persistedin framing theological conceptions of God and of theWord of God which answered to nothing within them-selves, to which no fact of their own moral experience§ave substance and form and life ; conceptions, there-fore, which awoke in them no response of affection orobedience.
 
Working on this outward method, the justice of God,for example, has become a quality wholly different fromthe justice of man ; and different, not in the sense of being more pure and large, more considerate and im-partial, more nobly tempered with compassion, but in asense which absolutely makes it a positive and monstrous^'//justice when tried by human standards. God is just,they tell us ; and yet God can accept the sufferings of spotless innocence in lieu of the punishment due to thesinful and disobedient ! God is just, they say; and yetwhen He has accepted the sufferings of the innocent forthe sins of the guilty, He may nevertheless punish theguilty for the very sins for which innocence has atoned !In their hands, again, and as the result of followingthe same vicious method, the virtue of Christ becomesaltogether different from virtue in man. With us, allvirtue is obedience to a righteous law, conformity to anethical standard, the faithful discharge of obligationsinvolved in the very structure of our nature. But,according to them, the very essence of Christ's virtuelies in the fact that it was purely optional, that He wasunder no moral obligation to do what He did, that HeTHE WORD WITHIN. 353was keeping no law ; that He was much better than Heneed to have been, so much better as to lay up a storeof merits which, by some trick of spiritual magic, maybe " conveyed " to us. Thus our very conceptions of virtue and justice are outraged in the sacred name of Religion ; and God, instead of being brought near to us,is removed far from us, carried up into some inaccessibleheaven, or wafted across a pathless sea.If we would have any solid ground for our religious

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