Example Better than Precept

Because men's words often do not conform to their deeds, Doctor Johnson could declare that example is more efficacious than precept. Moreover, the force of example, of doing rather than of the mere talking about doing, is very generally recognized. "Make full proof of thy ministry," Paul admonished Timothy.

Through the centuries there has been much speculation as to what would have been the result of Christ Jesus' words had they not been buttressed by his mighty works. Would mankind have accepted his teachings as sound, had they not been proved true by actual demonstration? Whatever answer one may make to this query, the fact remains that he proved the power of Spirit to destroy all the works of the devil (evil), overcoming even the "king of terrors," the belief in death itself. "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away," leaves no doubt as to his estimate of the importance of his message from the Father; but the works were necessary in order to impress mankind with the practicality of his teachings.

Tracing the successive steps of his ministry through the various gospels, one concludes that the Nazarene realized that only in the degree that he proved his words would his teachings be accepted. From the time of his first recorded demonstration at the wedding in Cana to his reappearance after the resurrection, he progressively proved the power of Spirit to overcome false beliefs, however outwardly manifested. So great stress did he place upon the works that one may justifiably doubt if his message would have been received but for the force of his inspiring example.

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God's Gifts
March 8, 1924

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