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Light and Truth: The Old Testament: Chapter 72 - Every Christian a Teacher

By Horatius Bonar


      "They that understand among the people shall instruct many." -- Daniel 11:33

      WE do not receive knowledge for ourselves alone. We must share it with others. Like our High Priest, we must "have compassion on the ignorant," and must remember Him who said, "Learn of me."

      In the days here spoken of by Daniel there shall be some, it is said, "who do know their God" (ver. 32). These are "they that understand"; for it is the knowledge of God that is alone accounted understanding in the Bible. He who knows God is a man of understanding, he who knows Him not is "void of understanding,"--"a fool." For this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.

      They that have understanding are evidently few. They are described as "among the people," as if they were a light in a dark place; a few who are of God, while the whole world lieth in wickedness. "Not many wise" are called, is the law of this age; nay, not many of the world who become wise. To be wise in Christ is the privilege of few; in order to this they must become "fools,"--fools in the eye of men,--"fools that they may be wise," for the wisdom of God is foolishness with men. It is a great thing to know God,--to understand the things of God. Happy they who thus know and understand.

      Taking these words as applicable to every Christian man and woman, let us see what they teach us.

      I. A Christian is one among the people. He is in the world, but not of it. He has been delivered out of it. He is of the same stock as the rest of mankind, just one of the people, one of Adam's race. He is one of a small band, not one of a multitude; one of those of whom our Lord spake when he said, "Few there be that find it." He was born of the flesh before he was born of the spirit; he bore the image of the earthly before he bore the image of the heavenly.

      II. He is one that has understanding. It is this that specially marks him out from "the people." He knows what they know not. He has come to be of an understanding heart. He may not have much of earthly literature or human science, but he knows God; not only knows about him, but knows him. He has not much to say for himself save this, that he knows God. The special distinctiveness of a Christian is that he is a man of understanding. He may be poor, obscure, unlearned, untravelled, yet he understands what millions understand not. He may not know the world and its wonders, but he knows Him who made all these, he knows His greatness and His love.

      III. A Christian is one who does not keep his knowledge to himself. He is not proud because he knows what others know not. He pities others, and longs to share his treasures; not to divide his inheritance, for that is impossible, but to impart what he possesses. He gives, yet he retains; he shares, yet he is none the poorer. He has got a loving and unselfish heart as well as an understanding one. He becomes a liberal giver of what God has given. He is like the clouds, which cannot contain their water within themselves; like the sun, which cannot but shine; like the river, which cannot but scatter fertility; like the flower, which cannot but dispense fragrance.

      A Christian is an instructor. He has been taught, and he becomes a teacher. He has found the preciousness of knowledge and he seeks to impart it. He feels that what he formerly needed so much was teaching, that what the world still needs is teaching, and so he becomes a teacher. Not as if setting up for superior powers or knowledge, but simply as one who has had a treasure imparted to him, and who therefore longs to impart to his poorer fellow-creatures his divine gold and silver. He sees that the great need of humanity is teaching, true teaching, teaching in the things pertaining to the true God, and he sets himself fervently to teaching an untaught world. Christians, you must be teachers. This is your vocation, as those who have themselves been taught of God. Teach by your lives. Teach also in words. Lose no opportunity of instructing others, young or old. Let your lips keep knowledge for all. Live an instructive life.

      A Christian is an instructor of many. He does not confine himself to a small inner circle, but he has his eye on everybody. Not with one or two is he content. He remembers the words of commendation to Levi, "He walked with me in peace and truth, and did turn away MANY from iniquity." Many, many, is his watchword. Like Joseph Alleine, he becomes "insatiably greedy of souls." Many, many is the burden of his prayers. Many, many is inscribed on all his plans. His spirit widens and widens, his eye and heart take in larger and larger circles. He remembers the multitudes whom his Master taught, the thousands in the early days of the Church, and he seeks many, many.

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See Also:
   Preface
   Chapter 1 - The Old and New Creation
   Chapter 2 - The Link Between Being and Non-Being
   Chapter 3 - A Happy World
   Chapter 4 - The Sin, the Sinner, and the Sentence
   Chapter 5 - Man's Fig-Leaves
   Chapter 6 - Expulsion and Re-Entrance
   Chapter 7 - The Blood of Sprinkling and the Blood of Abel
   Chapter 8 - The Way of Cain
   Chapter 9 - The Man of Rest
   Chapter 10 - Going Out and Keeping Out
   Chapter 11 - The Shield and the Recompense
   Chapter 12 - Liberty and Service
   Chapter 13 - The Day of Despair
   Chapter 14 - The Blood of Deliverance
   Chapter 15 - How God Deals with Sin and the Sinner
   Chapter 16 - The Fire Quenched
   Chapter 17 - The Vision from the Rocks
   Chapter 18 - The Doom of the Double-Hearted
   Chapter 19 - Be Not Borderers
   Chapter 20 - The Outlines of a Saved Sinner's History
   Chapter 21 - Divine Longings Over the Foolish
   Chapter 22 - What a Believing Man Can Do
   Chapter 23 - Song of the Putting Off of the Armour
   Chapter 24 - The Kiss of the Backslider
   Chapter 25 - The Priestly Word of Peace
   Chapter 26 - Human Anodynes
   Chapter 27 - Spiritual and Carnal Weapons
   Chapter 28 - Divine Silence and Human Despair
   Chapter 29 - Jewish Unbelief and Gentile Blessing
   Chapter 30 - The Restoration of the Banished
   Chapter 31 - The Farewell Gift
   Chapter 32 - God's Dealing with Sin and the Sinner
   Chapter 33 - God Finding a Resting-Place
   Chapter 34 - The Moriah Group
   Chapter 35 - Diverse Kinds of Conscience
   Chapter 36 - The Soul Turning from Man to God
   Chapter 37 - Man's Dislike of a Present God
   Chapter 38 - True and False Consolation
   Chapter 39 - Gain and Loss for Eternity
   Chapter 40 - Man's Misconstruction of the Works of God
   Chapter 41 - The Two Cries and the Two Answers
   Chapter 42 - The Knowledge of God's Name
   Chapter 43 - Deliverance from Deep Waters
   Chapter 44 - The Excellency of the Divine Loving-Kindness
   Chapter 45 - The Sickness, the Healer, and the Healing
   Chapter 46 - The Consecration of Earth's Gold and Silver
   Chapter 47 - The Gifts of the Ascended One
   Chapter 48 - The Speaker, the Listener, the Peace
   Chapter 49 - The Believing Man's Confident Appeal
   Chapter 50 - The Love and the Deliverance
   Chapter 51 - The Sin and Folly of Being Unhappy
   Chapter 52 - The Book of Books
   Chapter 53 - The Secret of Deliverance from Evil
   Chapter 54 - The Voice of the Heavenly Bridegroom
   Chapter 55 - The Love that Passeth Knowledge
   Chapter 56 - The Vision of the Glory
   Chapter 57 - Man's Extremity and Satan's Opportunity
   Chapter 58 - The Day of Clear Vision to the Dim Eyes
   Chapter 59 - The Unfainting Creator and the Fainting Creature
   Chapter 60 - The Knowledge that Justifies
   Chapter 61 - The Heritage and its Title-Deeds
   Chapter 62 - The Meeting Between the Sinner and God
   Chapter 63 - God's Love and God's Way of Blessing
   Chapter 64 - Divine Jealousy for the Truth
   Chapter 65 - Divine Love and Human Rejection of it
   Chapter 66 - God's Desire to Bless the Sinner
   Chapter 67 - The Resting-Place Forgotten
   Chapter 68 - The Day that Will Right all Wrongs
   Chapter 69 - The Glory and the Love
   Chapter 70 - False Religion and its Doom
   Chapter 71 - No Breath No Life
   Chapter 72 - Every Christian a Teacher
   Chapter 73 - Work, Rest, and Recompence
   Chapter 74 - Human Heedlessness and Divine Remembrance
   Chapter 75 - Lies the Food of Man
   Chapter 76 - The Love and the Calling
   Chapter 77 - The Anger and the Goodness
   Chapter 78 - Darkness Pursuing the Sinner
   Chapter 79 - Jerusalem the Centre of the World's Peace
   Chapter 80 - Jerusalem and Her King
   Chapter 81 - Looking to the Pierced One
   Chapter 82 - The Holiness of Common Things
   Chapter 83 - Wearying Jehovah with our Words
   Chapter 84 - Dies Irae

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