[Rev. Franklin D. Elmer in Christian Register.]

Pharisees are poor scholars. Jesus failed to win the learned men of his time because they stubbornly set their minds against a progressive revelation. Their ideal of a Messiah was one who should satisfy ancient interpretations of prophetic Scripture. In his sermon on the mount, where Jesus announces the principles of the kingdom, he repeatedly uses the expression, "Ye have heard ... but I say." The Pharisees were satisfied to stop at "Ye have heard." The kingdom, declared Jesus, in all its phases of growth is like nature, "first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear;" therefore, while conserving the old, be ready to receive that which out of the old becomes new. He also taught his disciples that new truth, because of its dynamic energy, might be expected to break old bottles.

What a sorry world this would have been had the pharisaic spirit prevailed against the progress of truth. The joyful religion of our time is based on the fatherhood of God. "The Lord is my shepherd." sang David; "Like as a father," said the prophets; but in Jesus' confession, "my Father," and in his assertions, "your Father," there burst over the hearts of men a flood of prodigious love not unmixed with a mighty awe which has transformed our thought. Out of this conception of the immanent Father there develops in the Master's teaching the truth of the abundant life which knows no death; as Paul writes, "Who brought life and immortality to light through the gospel." Surely no Christian would be willing to part with this priceless heritage, but we are prone to neglect Jesus' injunction to continue in his school. If he should come now with the truth translated into terms of the day, there would not lack enemies of the truth, to deny, to blaspheme, to kill. "I have yet many things to say unto you." "When he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth." "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." To refuse to seek or accept the highest form of truth is sin. We are thereby under the judgment define by John, "that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light." Tremendous importance attaches to our attitude toward the instructions of the Spirit. Jesus was careful to say, "I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil." Herein is our permanent test of unfolding revelation. Does that which styles itself new truth fulfil his principles, grow up out of the same stock, appear a branch of the vine?

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January 6, 1912

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