by W.B. Screws

The Pilgrim's Messenger

"Have a pattern of sound words which you hear from me, in faith and love
which are in Christ Jesus."--11 Timothy 1:13
Published Monthly By W. B. SCREWS, Glennville, Georgia
Twenty-five Cents a Year


February, 1949

Number 7

Entered at the postoffice at Glennville, Ga., as second-class matter.

See the ship on dry land! Once there was water here, else ship would not have been built. But the water has dried up. The ship may be a cozy place in which to live, but as a vehicle for going places its value is nil.

Something similar might be said about faith without love. The spirit of Christ creates faith and love in the heart. Paul, in telling of the Lord meeting him, said, "The grace of our Lord overwhelms with faith and love in Christ Jesus". Christ would not give faith without also, at the same time, giving love. And what love this is! It is a love that causes us to have the correct attitude toward God and mankind.

But through selfishness, love sometimes dries up, to all appearances. Since Paul says that the faith that is of value is the faith which operates through love, we must conclude that when love has dried up, faith may be used for a smug, complacent existence; but it can no more operate, than the ship can float without water. The saint thus afflicted may be very satisfied as to his own condition, but he will never "go places," and cheer the hearts of others.

Faith is believing God. Who can define love? In the heart that has been newly touched by the spirit of Christ, there is faith and love. But faith can grow weak, and love can become dried up, so far as its manifestation is concerned. Sometimes a saint will hold to a fossilized brand of faith --- finding satisfaction because God favors him---but so completely lose love, that he feels no interest in others. This is the kind of saint who becomes so sectarian that he looks with suspicion on all who do not fully agree with him. He will then begin, not merely to not do anything FOR others, but to actually do things AGAINST them.

There is a brightness, or radiance, or loveliness, that is put into the heart by the Lord our God, and unless it shines through to the surface, so as to be manifested in our words, deeds and looks, love becomes dried up, and faith becomes a fossil. The Psalmist prays that the brightness of the Lord our God shall be on us. Psalm 90:17. Brightness in this passage, is, of course, a figure of speech. When it is ON us, it is because it was first put IN us. And, being on us, it can be seen and recognized as loveliness of spirit, of countenance and of deeds.

I have in mind a lady who was a scrub woman. She made very little pretense to being "religious," but she had a loveliness of spirit that overshadowed the plainness of her features and the shabbiness of her dress. She endeared herself to people in a remarkable way, for she manifested, not in a "goody-goody" manner, but in wholesome kindness, the spirit of the Christ. That she had faith, was proven by her trustful spirit, and that she had plenty of love in which it could operate, was to be seen in her everyday life. She has been dead these many years, but her life and service is yet a fragrance, when the influence of even preachers who lived in the community at the same time, is forgotten.

Not long ago I met a man whom I had never seen before, and his genial smile and his manifest interest in others bespoke faith and love in the heart. How refreshing was our conversation! Neither of us inquired as to the religious affiliation of the other, for this is unimportant when the loveliness of the Lord our God is so manifest. What cared we for denominations? Of what importance was "profession?" The loveliness of the Lord was there, and this is not always to be found where one is interested in a sect.

Not only many who have joined something, but many who have NOT joined, are secarian. They have a group, and this seems to be all that matters. Sectarianism dries up love. It leaves the ship of faith stranded. Selfishness is manifest in such people. Paul tried many ways to combat sectarianism. In one of his pleas against it, he bids us to take into account that which is true, grave, just, pure agreeable, renowned, virtuous, or worthy of applause, and these are not confined to any one group. In evaluating people we should look for these things. We have faith, and if there is sufficient love to "float" it, we will not be looking through a magnifying glass, to see how many faults we can find but we will use the glass to see if there is, in the lives of those with whom we come in touch, anything that can be commended. And we will find some of these things!

I have said that faith is believing God. Believing Him, we trust Him. The more we trust, the more we love Him. And this love cannot be for Him, alone; we will love our fellows. And it will be a pleasure for us to say things that show forth His glory and perfection, because words of sincerity along this line will find lodgment in the hearts of others, and bless them. Thus our faith is floating in love, and we are "going places", instead of dwelling in a shell like a terrapin.

For instance, I was made very happy a few days ago, when I said to a neighbor, "It is a good day". He replied, "Yes, and there is far more good than bad for us. God is looking after it". This lifted me, and I went as if on wings, the rest of the day. Even now, my memory can see his face as he spoke these simple words of praise to God. He does not claim to be religious. He has never joined any church. But he has faith---such faith, perhaps, as he would have to hide if he tried to please a sect.

Moses, who wrote Psalm 90, knew something about the loveliness of the Lord our God. His meekness was that loveliness. When he asked the Lord to blot our his name from the book, if He would not pardon Israel, that loveliness was taking the form of words. Paul, God's apostle to us, was putting that loveliness into effect, when he was looking after the saints as a father, and as a nurse, as he tells us in the Thessalonian letter that he did.

It is a time of hatred around the earth. What an opportunity for saints to translate into kind words, kind deeds and a kind attitude, the loveliness that has been put into our hearts! How dare we take time to bicker? How can we afford to take time out to hurt someone? Yea, how can we afford to not use the precious moments to help and cheer those who so much need us? 

The Letter from which I quote below, show how saints are starving for the kind deeds and words and looks that we are supposed to give them: "I do so much wish you could come to see us between times, for life is so short, and we get such a little bit of the better things of life, that it keeps us downhearted". This is from one to whom I minister in the evangel. How much more that saint needs, than I have been giving!

It seems incredible, but it is, nevertheless, true, that many saints have so little confidence in each other, that they regard it as a sin to love. Let such ones point out one lovely thing that has ever come, that did not come out of love. On the other hand, let such a one tell of any act of hatred that has been done with a design to bless. Love ---- love deep enough for our faith to operate in is a blessing that cannot be replaced by anything else.

Never, Oh God, let me be afraid to love,
(Since out of love comes every lovely thing);
To know the merciful, high hearted dreams
Born to all men to cleanse and make them whole;
To take the gifts of life with fearless hands,
And when I give, to give with all my soul,

It is most important that we evaluate ourselves. What we say in "print", as well as in the "pulpit", and in private conversation, is it really true that we say it in love? Do we REALLY desire the welfare of the one of whom we are speaking or writing? No unlovely remark can come out of a loving heart. No hurtful accusation can be the outgrowth of love. We may feel secure in our "connections", and not see the necessity of being careful to have the correct attitude. But in so doing we are building a house that will not stand the test of the dais of Christ. Is our faith operating through love? Is the ship floating, or is it stranded?

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