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OUR MASTER

Thoughts for Salvationists about Their Lord

BY

General Bramwell Booth.







"_As man He suffered - as God He taught_."



TO

MY WIFE




Contents.


Preface

I. The Man for the Century

II. The Birth of Jesus

"_For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour,
which is Christ the Lord_." (Luke ii. 11.)

"_The firstborn among many brethren_." (Rom. viii. 29.)

III. Contrasts at Bethlehem

IV. Christ Come Again

"_And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in
swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger_." (Luke ii. 7.)

"_Christ formed in you_." (Gal. iv. 19.)

V. The Secret of His Rule

"_For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the
feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as
we are, yet without sin_." (Heb. iv. 15.)

VI. A Neglected Saviour

"_And He came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were
heavy_." (Matt. xxvi. 43.)

VII. Windows in Calvary

"_And they crucified Him, and parted His garments, casting lots:
that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet. They
parted My garments among them, and upon My vesture did they cast
lots. And sitting down they watched Him there_." (Matt. xxvii. 35,
36.)

VIII. The Burial of Jesus

"_And after this Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus,
but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might
take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came
therefore, and, took the body of Jesus_." (John xix. 38. And
following verses.)

IX. Conforming to Christ's Death

"_That I may know Him . . . being made conformable unto His
death_." (Phil. iii. 10.)

X. The Resurrection and Sin

"_Concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was . . .
declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the
spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead_."
(Rom. i. 3, 4.)

XI. "Salvation Is of the Lord"

"_Salvation is of the Lord_." (Jonah ii. 9.)

"_Work out your own salvation_." (Phil ii. 12.)

XII. Self-Denial

"_If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and
take up his cross, and follow Me_." (Matt. xvi. 24.)

XIII. In Unexpected Places

"_And . . . while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus Himself
drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were holden that
they should not know Him_." (Luke xxiv. 15, 16.)

XIV. Ever the Same

"_Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and
might are His: and He changeth the times and the seasons_."
(Dan. ii. 20, 21.)

"_I am the Lord, I change not_." (Mal. iii. 6.)




Preface



The present volume contains some of the papers bearing on the Birth and
Death and Work of our Lord Jesus Christ which I have contributed from time
to time to Salvation Army periodicals. I hope that in this form
they may continue the service of souls which I am assured they began to
render when, one by one, they were first published.

Much in them has, I do not doubt, come to me directly or indirectly by
inspiration or suggestion of other writers and speakers, and I desire
therefore to acknowledge my indebtedness to the living, both inside and
outside our borders, as well as to the holy dead.

Bramwell Booth.

Barnet, _May_, 1908.




I.

The Man for the Century



I.

_The Need_.


The new Century has its special need.

The need of the twentieth century will be men. In every department of the
world's life or labour, that is the great want. In religion, in politics,
in science, in commerce, in philanthropy, in government, all other
necessities are unimportant by comparison with this one.

Given men of a certain type, and the religious life of the world will
thrive and throb with the love and will of God, and overcome all
opposition. Given men of the right stamp, and politics will become another
word for benevolence. Provided true men are available, science will take
her place as the handmaid of revelation. If only men of power and
principle are at hand, commerce will prosper as she has never yet
prospered, rooted in the great law which Christ laid down for her: "Do
unto others as ye would that they should do unto you." If the men are
found to guide it, philanthropy will become a golden ladder of
opportunity by which all in misfortune and misery may climb, not only to
sufficiency and happiness here, but to purity and plenty for ever. And,
given the men of heart, head, and hand for the task, the government of the
kingdoms of this world will yet become a fulfilment of the great prayer of
Jesus: "Thy will be done on earth, as it is done in Heaven."

But all, or nearly all, depends on the men.



II.

_The Man_.


The new Century will demand men.

But if men, then certainly a _man_. Human nature has, after all, more
influence over human nature than anything else. Abstract laws are of
little moment to us until we see them in actual operation. The law of
gravitation is but a matter of intelligent wonder while we view its
influence in the movements of revolving planets or falling stars; but when
we see a baby fall terror-stricken from its little cradle to the floor,
"the attraction of large bodies for small ones" takes on a new and
heart-felt meaning. The beauty of devotion to truth in the face of
opposition hardly stirs an emotion in many of us, as we regard it from
the safe distance of our own self-satisfied liberty; but when we see the
lonely martyr walk with head erect through the raging mob, and kiss the
stake to which he is soon to be bound; when we watch him burn until the
kindly powder explodes about his neck, and sends him to exchange his shirt
of flame for the robe he has washed in the Blood of the Lamb; then, the
beauty, the sincerity, the greatness, the God-likeness of sacrifice,
especially of sacrifice for the truth, comes home to us, and captures even
the coldest hearts and dullest minds.

The revelation of Jesus in the flesh was a recognition of this principle.
The purpose of His life and death was to manifest God in the flesh, that
He might attract man to God. He took human nature that human nature might
see the best of which it was capable. He became a man that men might know
to what heights of power a man might rise. He became a man that men might
know to what lengths and breadths of love and wisdom a man might attain.
He became a man that men might know to what depths of love and service a
man might reach.

The men we need, then, for the twentieth century will find the pattern Man
ready to their hand. Be the demands of the coming years what they may, God
is able to raise up men to meet them, men after His own likeness - men of
right, men of light, men of might - men who will follow Him in the
desperate fight with the hydra-headed monsters of evil of every kind, and
who will, by His Name, deliver the souls of men from the slavery of sin
and the Hell to which it leads.



III.

_Standards_.


The new Century will demand high standards, both of character and conduct.

Explain it how we may, the fact is evident that religion has greatly
disappointed the world. The wretched distortion of Christ's teaching which
appears in the lives and business of tens of thousands of professed
Christians, the namby-pambyism of the mass of Christian teachers towards
the evil of sin, and the unholy union, in nearly all the practical
proceedings of life, between the world and the bulk of the Christian
churches, no doubt largely account for this, so far as Christianity is
concerned.

Mohammedanism is in a still worse plight, for though, alas! it increases
even faster than Christianity, it is helpless at the heart. The mass of
its devotees know that between its highest teaching and its best practice
there is a great gulf, and they are slowly beginning to look elsewhere for
rules by which to guide their lives.

And what is true of Mohammedanism is true also of Buddhism - the great
religion of the East. Its teachers have largely ceased to be faithful to
their own faith; and, as a consequence, that faith is a declining power.
Beautiful as much of its teaching undoubtedly is, millions who are
nominally Buddhist are estranged by its failures; and are, with increasing
unrest, looking this way and that for help in the battle with evil, and
for hope amidst the bitter consciousness of sin.

Such is a cursory view of the attitude of the opening century towards the
great faiths of the world. Perhaps one word more than another sums it all
up - especially as regards Christianity - and that word is NEGLECT - cold,
stony neglect!

And yet men are still demanding standards of life and conduct. The open
materialist, the timid agnostic, no less than the avowedly selfish, the
vicious and the vile, are asking, with a hundred tongues and in a thousand
ways, "Who will show us any good?" The universal conscience, unbribed,
unstifled as on the fateful day in Eden - conscience, the only thing in man
left standing erect when all else fell - still cries out, "YOU OUGHT!"
still rebels at evil, still compels the human heart to cry for rules of
right and wrong, and still urges man to the one, and withholds him from
the other.

And it is - for one reason - because Jesus can provide these high standards
for men, that I say He is _The Man for the Century_. The laws He has
laid down in the Gospels, and the example He furnished of obedience to
those laws in the actual stress and turmoil of a human life, afford a
standard capable of universal application.

The ruler, contending with unruly men; the workman, fighting for
consideration from a greedy employer; the outcast, struggling like an
Ishmaelite with Society for a crust of bread; the dark-skinned, sad-eyed
mother, sending forth her only babe to perish in the waters of the sacred
river of India, thus "giving the fruit of her body for the sin of her
soul"; the proud and selfish noble, abounding in all he desires except the
one thing needful; the great multitude of the sorrowful, which no man can
number, who refuse to be comforted; the dying, whose death will be an
unwilling leap in the dark - all these, yea, and all others, may find in
the law of Christ that which will harmonise every conflicting interest,
which will solve the problems of human life, which will build up a holy
character, which will gather up and sanctify everything that is good in
every faith and in every man, and will unite all who will obey it in the
one great brotherhood of the one fold and the one Shepherd.



IV.

_Liberty_.


The new Century will call for freedom in every walk of human life.

That bright dream of the ages - Liberty - how far ahead of us she still
lies!

What a bondage life is to multitudes! What a vast host of the human race,
even of this generation, will die in slavery - actual physical bondage!
Slaves in Africa, in China, in Eastern Europe, in the far isles of the sea
and dark places of the earth, cry to us, and perish while they cry.

What a host, still larger, are in the bondage of unequal laws! Little
children, stricken, cursed, and damned, and there is none to deliver.
Young men and maidens bound by hateful customs, ruined by wicked
associations, torn by force of law from all that is best in life, and
taught all that is worst. Nine men out of ten in one of the great European
armies are said to be debauched morally and physically by their military
service; and all the men in the nation are bound by law to serve.

What a host - larger, again, than both the others - of every generation of
men are bound by custom in the service of cruelty. It is supposed that
every year a million little children die from neglect, wilful exposure, or
other form of cruelty. Think of the bondage of those who kill them! Look
at the cruelty to women, the cruelty of war, the cruelty to criminals, the
cruelty to the animal creation. What a mighty force the slavery of cruel
custom still remains!

All that is best in man is crying out for emancipation from this bondage,
and I know of no deliverance so sure, so complete, so abiding as that
which comes by the teaching and spirit of Jesus. But, even if freedom from
all these hateful bonds could come, and could be complete, without Him,
there still remains a serfdom more degrading, a bondage more inexorable
than any of these, for men are everywhere the bond-slaves of sin. Look out
upon the world - upon your own part of it, even upon your own family or
household - and see how evil holds men by one chain or another, and grips
them body and soul. This one by doubt, this by passion, this by envy, this
by lust, this by pride, this by strife, this by fear, this one by love of
gold, this one by love of the world, and this one by hatred of God! _Is
it not so_?

What men want, then, is PERSONAL, INDIVIDUAL LIBERTY FROM SIN. Given that,
and a slave may be free. Given that, and the child in the nursery of
iniquity may be free. Given that, and the young man or maiden held in the
charnel-house of lust may be free. Given that, and the victim of all that
is most cruel and most brutal in life may still be free. Oh! blessed be
God, he whom the Son makes free is free indeed!

This, and this alone, is the liberty for the new Century - the Gospel
liberty from sin for the individual soul and spirit, without respect of
time or circumstance; and here alone is He who can bestow it - Jesus, the
Lion of the Tribe of Judah.

This, I say, is _The Man for the new Century_.



V.

_Knowledge_.


The new Century will be marked by a universal demand for knowledge.

One of the most remarkable features of the present time is the
extraordinary thirst for knowledge in every quarter of the world. It is
not confined to this continent or that. It is not peculiar to any special
class or age. It is universal. One aspect of it, and a very significant
one, is the desire for knowledge about life and its origin, about the
beginning of things, about the earth and its creation, about the work
which we say God did, which He alone could do.

Oh, how men search and explore! How they read and think! How they talk and
listen! Where one book was read a generation ago, a hundred, I should
think, are read now; and for one newspaper then read, there are now,
probably, a thousand. Every man is an inquiry agent, seeking news,
information, or instruction; seeking to know what will make life longer
for him and his; and, above all, what can make it happier.

And here, again, I say that _Jesus is The Man for the new Century_.
He has knowledge to give which none other can provide. I do not doubt that
universities, and schools, and governments, and a great press, can, and
will, do much to impart knowledge of all sorts to the world. But when it
comes to knowledge that can serve the great end for which the very power
to acquire knowledge was created - namely, _the true happiness of
man_ - then, I say, that JESUS is the source of that knowledge; that
without Him it cannot be found or imparted; and that with Him it comes in
its liberating and enlightening glory.

Oh, be sure _you have that_! No amount of learning will stand you in
its stead. No matter how you may have stored your mind with the riches of
the past, or tutored it to grapple with the mysteries of the present,
_unless you know Him, it will all amount to nothing_. But if you know
Him who is life, that is life eternal. Knowledge without God is like a man
learned in all the great mysteries of light and heat who has never seen
the sun. He may understand perfectly the laws which govern them, the
results which follow them, the secrets which control their action on each
other - all that is possible, and yet he will be _in the dark_.

So, too, knowledge, learning, human education and wisdom are all possible
to man; he may even excel in them so as to be a wonder to his fellows by
reason of his vast stores of knowledge, and yet know nothing of that light
within the mind by which he apprehends them. Nay, more! he may even be a
marvellous adept in the theory of religion, and yet, alas! alas! may never
have seen its SUN - may still be in the blackness of gross darkness,
because he knows not Jesus, the Light of the world, whom to know is life
eternal.



VI.

_Government_.


The new Century will demand governors.

Every thoughtful person who considers the subject must be struck by the
modern tendency towards personal government all over the world. Whatever
may be the form of national government prescribed by the various
constitutions, it tends, when carried into practice, to give power and
authority to individual rulers. Whether in monarchies like England, where
Parliament is really the ruling power; or in republics like France and the
United States, where what are called democratic institutions are seen in
their maturity; or in empires like Germany and Austria, the same leading
facts appear. Power goes into the hands of one or two who, whether as
ministers, or presidents, or monarchs, are the real rulers of the nation.

Perfect laws, liberal institutions, patriotic sentiments, though they may
elevate, can never rule a people. A crowd of legislators, no matter how
devoted to a nation, can never permanently control, though they may
influence it. Out of the crowd will come forth one or two; generally one
commanding personality, strong enough to stand alone, though wise enough
not to attempt it. In him will be focussed the ideas and ambitions of the
nation, to him the people's hearts will go out, and from him they will
take the word of command as their virtual ruler. It has ever been so. It
is so to-day. It will always be so.

And as with nations so with individuals. _Every man must have a
king_. Call him what we will, recognise him or not, every man is the
subject of some ruler. And this will, if possible, be more manifest in the
future than in the past. Men will not be satisfied to serve ideas, to live
for the passing ambitions of their day, they will cry out for a king.

Am I wrong when I say that JESUS IS THE COMING KING? In Him are assembled
in the highest perfection all the great qualities which go to make the
KING OF MEN. And so the new Century will need Him, must have Him; nay, it
cannot prosper without Him, the Divine Man, for He is the rightful
Sovereign of every human soul.



VII.

_A New Force_.


The new Century will demand great moral forces as well as high ideals.

Nothing is more evident than that the forms and ceremonies of religion are
rapidly losing - even in nominally Christian countries - all real influence
over the lives of men. The form of godliness without the power is not only
the greatest of all shams, but it is the most easily detected. Hence it is
that a large part of mankind is either disgusted to hostility or utterly
estranged from real religion by theories and ceremonials which, though
they may continue to exist in shadow, have lost their life and soul.

For example, the old lie, that money paid to a Church can buy
"indulgences" which will release men in the next world from the penalty of
sin committed in this, and the miserable theory which made God the direct
author of eternal damnation to those who are lost, are among the theories
which, though they are still taught and professed here and there, have
long ago ceased to have real influence over men's hearts or actions. In
the same way, there are multitudes who still conform to the outward
ceremony of Confirmation, upon whose salvation from sin or separation from
the world that ceremony has absolutely no influence whatever, although,
for custom's sake, they submit to it.

But a greater danger than this lies in the fact that _it is possible to
hold and believe the truth, and yet to be totally ignorant of its
power_. Sound doctrine will of itself never save a soul. A man may
believe every word of the faith of a Churchman or a Salvationist, and yet
be as ignorant of any real experience of religion as an infidel or an
idolater. And it is this merely intellectual or sentimental holding of the
truth about God and Christ, about Holiness and Heaven, which makes the
ungodly mass look upon Christianity as nothing more than an opinion or a
trade; a something with which they have no concern.

The new Century will demand something more than this. Men will require
something beyond creeds, be they ever so correct; and traditions, be they
ever so venerable; and sacraments, be they ever so sacred. They will ask
for an endowment of power to grapple with what they feel to be base in
human nature, and to master what they know is selfish and sinful in their
own hearts.

And right here _The Man for the Century_ comes forward. The doctrine
of Jesus is the spirit of a new life. It is a transforming power. A man
may believe that the American Republic is the purest and noblest form of
government on the earth, and may give himself up to live, and fight, and
die for it, and yet be the same man in every respect as he was before; but
if he believes with his heart that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,
and gives himself up to live, and fight, and die for Him, he will become a
new man, he will be a new creature. The acceptance of the truth, and
acting upon it, in the one case, will make a great change in his manner of
life - his conduct; the acceptance of the truth, and acting upon it, in the
other, will make a great change in the man _himself_ - in his tastes
and motives, in his very nature.

Again, I say, this is what we shall need for the new Century. Not good
laws only, but the power to observe them. Not beautiful and lofty ideals
only, but the power to translate them into the daily practice of common
lives. Not merely the glorious examples of a pure faith, but the actual
force which enables men to live by that faith amid the littleness, the
depression, the contamination, and the conflict of an evil world.



VIII.

_Atonement_.


The new Century will demand an atonement for sin.

The consciousness of sin is the most enduring fact of human experience.
From generation to generation, from age to age, amidst the ceaseless
changes which time brings to everything else, this one great fact remains,
persists - _the condemning consciousness of sin_. It appears with men
in the cradle, and goes with them to the tomb; without regard to race, or
language, or creed it is ever with us. It was this robbed Eden of its
joys; it is this makes life a round of labour and sorrow; it is this gives
death its terrors; it is this makes the place of torment which men call
Hell - for the unceasing consciousness of sin will be "the worm that never
dies."

All attempts to explain it away, to modify its miseries, to extract its
sting - whether they have come from the party of unbelief, or the party of
education, or the party of amusement, have failed - and failed utterly. No
matter what men say or do to get rid of it, there it is - staring them in
the face! Whether they look amongst the most highly civilized peoples or
amongst the lowest savages; whether they look into the past history of
mankind or into its present condition, there is the _stupendous fact of
sin_, and there is the incontrovertible fact that everywhere _men are
conscious of it_.

It is going to be so in this twentieth century. If God, in His mercy,
allows the families of men to continue during another hundred years, this
great fact will still stand out in the forefront of life. Sin will still
be the skeleton at every feast, the horrid ghost haunting every home and
every heart, the spectre, clothed with reproaches, ever ready to plunge
his dripping sword into every breast.

Sin. The world's sin. The sin of this one generation. The sin of one city.
The sin of one family. The sin of one man - _my sin_! Ah! depend upon
it, the twentieth century will cry aloud, "_What shall be done with our
sin_?"

Yet, thanks be to God! there is an atonement. The MAN of whom I write has
made a propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but for the sins
of the whole world. He stands forth the ONLY SAVIOUR. None other has ever
dared even to offer to the sin-stricken hearts of men relief from the
_guilt_ of sin. _But He does_. He can cleanse, He can pardon, He
can purify, He can save, because _He has redeemed_. "Thou wast slain,


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