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Where Do You Stand?
By: Paul Thompson
At a fork in the road - that's where!
In one direction runs a broad, well-paved path, bordered with all things that delight and impress human vanity, all the things that the world holds in high esteem and value. But the horizon is dark.
Down this path a great many people have walked. Hannah Barnard, the New Lights, and Elias Hicks all walked this way. George Keith walked this way. Centuries of apostates, along with those people whom they gulled, all have gone in the same direction.
Down the broad path walk all the people who prefer their own views and opinions to the Truth - the people who regard the Scriptures as a "believe-as-you-like" book, or worse, as having no truth at all and being so corrupt, or at best a fable, that it is a wonder anyone reads it. Here are the footprints of people who deny the historical truth of everything from
Genesis to Revelation, and say that the miracles may not have taken place, but are only there to teach some "spiritual truth". Here have trod people who consider it irrelevant whether Christ rose from the dead.
Down this broad path go all the people who state that science is totally superior to the Scriptures, and those who superciliously tell people that if they believe the account of Genesis they "need light to see more clearly"!
Down this path go all the people who treat Scripture as a "pick & mix" anthology, where they can cherry-pick the bits which seem to conform to their prejudices - so out goes most of the Old Testament because it mentions wars! With them walk all those people who insist on calling God "it", even though Christ himself calls God "Father".
Down this broad path also go many others who make a study and a profession of the Scriptures, pretending to honour and revere them, but applying only man's reason and learning to them. Down here we find all the Reverends, Monsignors, Doctors of Divinity, Eminences, and all those who adopt flattering titles - there are plenty to be picked up at the wayside, more than enough to satisfy vanity - all those who pretend to be "fundamentalists" and who set Scripture up as an idol higher than Christ, yet who also pick and chose according to their prejudices. For they are following in the footsteps of the scribes and Pharisees before them.
Down the broad path go the false churches with their false gospels, and all who claim to preach the Gospel, but are not of the true Church.
Down the broad path go all the presecutors, the sneerers, the scoffers, the gain-sayers, the mealy-mouthed, happy (for now!) in the company of their fellows. Here walk those who do not wait upon the Lord, but wait upon some other name or supposed power.
Down this broad path go all those who will not humble themselves before the Master, and will not learn of him. All those who will not listen to his Voice speaking in their consciences, but listen to the siren voice of self instead. Everyone since Eve - the first person who ever made the mistake of believing that God could tell an untruth - has walked down this broad path.
In the other direction leads a narrow path. It is stony, the land around it is uninviting, and there are to be seen none of the things that the world values. Few people tread this path. George Fox and his valiant comrades walked it, as has every faithful Friend since. Through the centuries of apostasy, individuals who heard the Voice of Christ through the din of the world, have walked down this path, heedless of the names the world called them, and heedless of the persecution they suffered.
The apostles walked this narrow path, and with them walked the chosen generation, the royal priesthood, the holy nation, the peculiar people, the community of saints which was the Church, gathered unto Christ. Down the same path Abraham walked, and all those who have been faithful from the beginning to the Lord's call.
Here you will see the footprints of those people who know, believe, and declare that Christ died and rose, and that "our faith is vain and we are the most miserable of all men if Christ did not raise from the dead". Those people would rather sit at the feet of the Master and listen to him, than listen to any philosophy of man, and would rather be a fool for Christ than a genius in the sight of man. They know that though truth may have many facets, it never changes, and that Christ himself is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. They know that the things of the spirit are spiritually discerned, not rationalised or intellectualised.
Down the narrow path go all those who know that God has preserved the Scriptures of Truth through the centuries to make our understanding of his salvation and his kingdom more full, and that only his Holy Spirit can interpret them for us.
Down the narrow path walk those who are content to wait upon the Lord, sure that he will renew their strength. These are the people who are slain, and have risen as new creatures with Christ Jesus, whose eyes are single.
The narrow path is the route by which the woman, who fled into the wilderness and was fed there, returns to give birth to the Man-child. This woman is the true Church, of which Jesus Christ is the sole, living, eternal, ever-present Head, effective in all his many offices. The coming into being of the Church is an integral part of the Gospel, and it is the Church - and Christ in the Church - who alone can preach the Gospel. No other can!
Though the country through which the narrow path goes may seem uninviting, at the horizon a bright Light shines, and not only at the horizon, for its steady beam illuminates the pathway, so that - narrow as it is - no one who follows the Light shall stumble. And this Light calls to a light in the heart of each person who walks the narrow way - like to like - and the Light within each person grows stronger, as that person is led further into the kingdom of God, into unity with all those who walk the narrow path, unity with the Father, unity with the Son, joy, peace, rest, and eternal life.
Those who walk down the broad path imagine a light ahead. But it is a dull, red glow - the first warning of the eternal lake of fire - for the broad path, which many tread, leads only straight to the maw of hell! Can there be any turning back? Is an angel with a flaming sword set in the way of retreat?
Where do you stand? At the fork in the road - that's where!
Given to Paul Thompson
For free publication
20th of 6th month 2001-06-20
Praise be to Almighty God.