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1997 Issue 4

My dear friend, - You can have no doubt that in the course of a few years you will have terminated your earthly course, and be added to the great congregation of the dead. This truth is clearly taught in the Scriptures, and is fully confirmed to us by daily observation. Human life is often terminated suddenly; still oftener, unexpectedly; and pains and sicknesses are its ordinary premonitions. You also probably acknowledge the immortality of the soul, in conscious existence; and consequently must be persuaded that such existence must be one of happiness or misery. This also is clearly taught in the Scriptures, for they assure us of a judgement to come, from which the wicked "shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal." The difference between these states is immeasurable - inconceivable. The day which ends your life on earth, will seal up your destiny for one or other of these states - "For there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave whither thou goest."

The Greek word for "weep," klaio, denotes audible weeping and sobbing. Hungering and sobbing are evidences of our poverty of spirit, and our consciousness of it. The Christian "sobs" over his poverty of spirit, his sinfulness and unworthiness before God.

"Behind the sobbing of the godly there is the recognition of the merciless power of sin and of our helplessness to ward off this power and to escape. Hence this sobbing is a constant cry to God in our distress." - Lenski. The present participle tells us that this sobbing is a constantly sobbing. In fact, as Martin Luther said in his 95 Theses, that our entire life must be a continuous contrition and repentance.

Calvin's abiding desire for true and lasting unity in the Church of Christ.

"Anyone who sees in Calvin the author of all modern centrifugal tendencies in church life shows that he has not read a single line of him." - Wilhelm Niesel

No one who has ever seriously studied Calvin's doctrine of the Church can accuse him of being schismatic. He passionately worked for the unity of the Church throughout the entirety of his life. In 1544, Calvin wrote to the Emperor Charles V on "The Necessity of Reforming the Church." In that wonderful defense of the Reformation, Calvin wrote, "In like manner, the unity of the Church, such as Paul describes it, we protest we hold sacred, and we denounce anathema against all who in any way violate it." In his commentary on Ephesians 6:4, Calvin reveals the duty of ecclesiastical unity.

With Lee In Virginia: A Story of the American Civil War by G.A. Henty.

Loyalty. This word that is ebbing from the shore of our cultural character is at high tide in this Henty volume. Vincent Wingfield is the son of a widowed Virginia plantation owner. Through Vincent's gallant pre-War adventures, the reader is exposed to a facet of Southern history and philosophy often missing from history texts. Herein we see the loyalty many owners and slaves had to one another. Also evident is the loyalty to justice that many had to mistreated slaves and their mean-spirited overseers.

We now return to our study of God's law as contained in Deuteronomy. We turn now to consideration of one of the more perplexing laws in Deuteronomy. It has caused consternation not only in regard to its particulars, but in regard to its general subject matter. The law is one regulating the very important and touchy question of divorce. When we actually get to the law's application later on in the message, we will see why Moses included it in the section dealing with the eighth commandment: "Thou shalt not steal." The word "divorce" means "rutting off." It has to do with the fact of "cutting off' of a spouse, in a moral, spiritual, legal, and even physical sense. We must remember that in God's sight and in a certain literal sense, husband and wife become "one flesh" when united in marriage. Divorce severs or cuts off that relationship. But let us see how and under what circumstances this is done.