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Comment By Torchlight

For our Learning

Two papers in this issue call for comment. The article on pages

149-151 reviews the lives of Moses and Aaron, two men of God in the forefront of God's purposes in their generation. On pages 152-155 is a character study of Simon Peter, a leader among the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. We commend to readers the lessons drawn from the lives of these devoted servants of God. An important part of divine revelation is the Scripture record of God's dealings with men from the beginning. The Spirit of God has chosen this method of revealing the character of God, and our knowledge of God will increase as we study His ways with men down the ages. Human nature does not change, yet, in spite of its limitations and infirmities, men and women are taken up by God to serve His purpose in every age. This gives us strong encouragement and demonstrates the wisdom of the Spirit's method.

There are lessons to be learned from the methods used by God in the training of His servants. Sometimes, all unknown to the person concerned, the circumstances and experiences of life are a preparation for some particular form of service. Such a consideration should lead us to take care not to impose on ourselves a rigid life-pattern of our own design. When making important decisions, some of which may be irrevocable, divine guidance should be sought lest we go athwart some purpose of God in our personal lives.

We learn not only from the triumphs of men whose record is on the page of Scripture, but also from their failures. Beacons of warning mark the path to spiritual disaster. These are on record for our admonition. We also have encouragement from instances of men and women who failed at one point and then recovered to go on to higher things. Such a case is that of Simon Peter. We have a gracious Master, "If Thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities ... who shall stand?"

One lesson stands out in all God's dealings; He never calls to service without supplying the necessary strength to perform it. We may shrink from the task, as did Moses. But let us beware of a spurious meekness. Sometimes what masquerades as meekness is an unworthy excuse to evade responsibility and let others carry the load. God's service is no drudgery-it is the highest privilege. Wounds we incur in its performance are honourable scars. Then,

"Shun not the struggle

Face it; 'tis God's gift.

Be strong!"

The service of God is not the monopoly of those whose gifts bring them into public prominence. "Each hath received a gift" (1 Peter 4.10). "As good stewards of the manifold grace of God" we should each use our gift to the glory of God and the profit of God's people. Our service is not unimportant because hidden. A captive maid in the house of Naaman and a boy beside the lake of Galilee with a few small loaves and fishes were used in God's service with far-reaching consequences. If we be but vessels "sanctified, meet for the Master's use", then He will use us in His service as occasion affords.

"I ask Thee for the daily strength

To none that ask denied,

A mind to blend with outward life

While keeping at Thy side;

Content to fill a little space,

If Christ be glorified".

The menace of Humanism

The influence of humanist philosophy on modern art, music, culture and morals is increasing. It finds congenial soil in the present widespread disillusionment with politics and institutional religion. It is getting a strong foothold in modernistic theology through the existential theories of such men as Tillich and Bishop John Robinson. Existentialism is: "A modern theory of man that holds that human experience is not describable in scientific or rational terms. Existentialism stresses the need to make vital choices by using man's freedom in a contingent and apparently purposeless world".

What this means in humanist philosophy is perhaps grasped more easily by considering two recent statements by prominent humanists:

"On humanist ideals life leads to nothing, and every pretence that it does not is a deceit".

"Man is a useless passion. It is meaningless that we live, and it is meaningless that we die".

This philosophy underlies one of the songs of the Beatles entitled, "The Nowhere Man":

"He's a real nowhere man

Sitting in his nowhere world

Making all his nowhere plans for nobody.

Doesn't have a point of view,

Knows not where he's going to,

Isn't he a bit like me and you?"

Humanism is a philosophy of despair. It leaves mankind without hope. It is the modern version of an old adage, "Let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die".