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Obedience the Solvent of Doubt

Obedience the Solvent of Doubt

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
By T. Harwood Pattison, D. D.

If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine,
whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself —John 7
By T. Harwood Pattison, D. D.

If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine,
whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself —John 7

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Feb 17, 2014
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OBEDIENCE THE SOLVENT OF DOUBT By T. Harwood Pattison, D. D.If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself —John 7 These words enshrine one of those great princi-ples of which the teachings of Jesus are so full. The principle in this instance is one of perpetual importance and was never needed more than it is now. As we read the text in our version, however, we fail to get this principle clearly before our minds, and indeed we may even mistake it alto-gether. The Revised version reads : **If any man willeth to do his will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it be of God, or whether I speak from myself." Comparing this with the words as we have them in our text, you will see how important is the difference. " If any man will do God's will " calls only for an external obedience. From inferior motives, from fear, from formalism, from fashion, men will perform the will of God. Balaam did when he blessed Israel, though his base heart would rather have cursed them. But this is not what Christ said. No. " If any man willeth to do
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God's will." Here we are led into the man's mind and soul. His obedience is not "from the teeth outward/' His whole will is set to do the will of 169 170 OBEDIENCE THE SOLVENT OF DOUBT his Father in heaven. This is what Jesus taught here. When any man is fully and heartily resolved to do God's will, then he shall hold in his posses-sion the one sure test by which to decide on the value or worthlessness of religious teaching. The text reminds us of the abiding perplexity about Jesus of Nazareth. He was teaching in Jerusalem. By common consent, as the last verses in this very chapter say, ** Never man spake like this man." Whence then, it was asked, came his spiritual insight? ''How knoweth this man learn-ing? " He owed nothing to the schools. He was self-taught. He had never crossed the threshold of any college. He had not sat at the feet of any Gamaliel. This calm, dogmatic tone of his, finding
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its voice in his words "I say unto you," might be the presumption of sheer ignorance, but it might be the prerogative of divine light. Did that light die out with the last of the prophets ? Or was this the star foretold so long ago, and was Simeon right when he called Jesus ''A light to lighten the Gentiles" ? Our Lord answered this conflict of opinion : " My teaching," he said, " is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know about this teaching whether it be of God or of myself" " Fear God. Keep his commandments from the heart, then come with your illumined  judgments to these words of mine." The principle OBEDIENCE THE SOLVENT OF DOUBT I7I of our text, then, is this : Obedience the solvent of doubt. Put into a very famihar proverb we can say, **The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge." At this time we will examine for a while this
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