I have read your recent articles on “The Old Baths.” I appreciate your Scriptural approach to this matter. Could you give us further light on the exact interpretation of the passage in Jeremiah 6?
A Brother in Christ.
Dear Brother in Christ,
“The Old Paths” of Jeremiah chapter 6 are moral, not ecclesiastical. Four of these paths are described in chapter 2:2-3, as kindness, love, obedience, and holiness. These moral qualities picture souls in the beauty of first love. The Lord said to Israel, “I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after Me in the wilderness … Israel was holiness unto the Lord.” Departure from these virtues results in a forsaking of God as the source of all our joy and the satisfaction and rest of our weary souls (2:11; 6:16).
The complaint of the Lord against the church at Ephesus (Rev. 2:1-7) is the exact counterpart of His complaint against Israel. Said He to that church, “Thou hast left thy first love.” That church was ecclesiastically correct, but morally and spiritually incorrect. So serious was this lack that our Lord threatened it with extinction.
Would to God that we might all walk in moral suitability before God, in the beauty of first love to Christ, and in the drinking from the fountainhead of the virtues of kindness, love, obedience, and holiness. There would be no boasting about walking in “The Old Paths,” but a humble reflection of the image of Christ.
Let brethren who make high church claims test themselves by the unerring balances of the sanctuary; yea let all of us put ourselves under the search-light of God’s holy Word. “The Old Paths” are paths of uprightness, trodden by men and women of the highest character (Prov. 2:13); they are paths of pleasantness and peace, not paths of depression and division (Prov. 3:17); they are paths of mercy in contrast to paths of cruelty and oppression (Prov. 25:10). Moreover, they are paths of righteousness, straight paths where moral crookedness is unknown (Psa 23:3. Matt. 3:3); they are paths directed by the Lord, and not by certain men who would, in their pride, assume an ecclesiastical lordship over their brethren (Prov. 3:6).
Thank God for all who in fellowship with God, walk in the midst of the paths of judgment (Prov. 8:20).
Yours in our Lord,
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A LETTER FROM KOREA
September 18, 1958
As you probably know, I arrived in Korea on the 14th of last month. I am working as Chief Clerk in the administrative section. I am pleased with my assignment and feel that I will probably be more satisfied here than I would be in most other places in Korea. Korea has very little to offer in the way of modern conveniences and as a result we are dependent on the Army for almost everything. The people here are very poor. Most of them seem to be underfed and they have very little to wear. The average Korean lives in such a state of filth and stench that it would make most Americans sick just to see it. There is plenty of room here for Christian work. I have found the people very curious and eager to learn. I am in almost constant contact with them in my work here in the office and feel that I have made some definite progress in teaching two of them about Christ. I still have plenty to learn, however, and find that I am the greatest obstacle I have to overcome. I pray that the Lord will be able to use me in some way.
I have missed my wife very much since I left and I have greatly missed being with the Lord’s people, at … It was there that I came to Christ and so, naturally, … has a special meaning for me. I was very much at home there for over a year (it is still home in a way) and it was there that I received some of the most valuable instruction and fellowship in the Lord that I think it is possible for a Christian to receive, especially one who has just been born into the family. I know that I cannot be proud of an exceptional accumulation of knowledge — I never have applied myself to study as I should have, but I also know that because of being in fellowship with the Christians at … that I now have a better knowledge and understanding of Scripture and the Lord than most Christians who are not in the Assemblies. I have not gone far, but I feel that I have something which is solid and will last and grow throughout the rest of my life. I am grateful to you and everyone at … who contributed so much to the welfare of my soul. I have never ceased to be amazed at my salvation. I know that a human being is not naturally prepared for the tremendous change that occurred in me that night I accepted Christ. I was not immediately aware of a great change. It has been a constant revelation to me. Sometimes I feel that it is almost too much and I wonder if I can really go on forever with it becoming more beautiful. It was a tremendous price my Saviour paid for me. There is a tremendous distance between where I am now and where I was before. It is a little frightening to look back, but how wonderful to know that I can never return!
I miss very much being gathered with the Lord’s people around His table. There is a blessing and joy there that I do not believe can be found anywhere else. I have not been able to find an Assembly over here. I am in an awkward location and travel is purposely discouraged. We do have a very good Bible study group every Sunday morning in the Library. The teacher is a Christian who is sound in doctrine from what I can see. He has asked me to take the class Sunday morning. I welcome the opportunity to work — I need it. He will be going home in January and I hope to have the class completely then, unless of course, someone else shows up who is more qualified to teach.
I am due to leave Korea on the 16th of August next year. I am counting the days until I get home. What a joy that will be! It will be wonderful to see you all again. Thank God for everyone there. Please remember me in your prayers. I think of you every day and wonder what you are doing. I know the lord is blessing your work for Him. Please write to me if you can find time and let me know how things are with you and the Assembly.
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Sweetest rest and peace have filled me,
Sweeter praise then tongue can tell.
I am satisfied as well.