Apostolic Counsel

James Smith

"Each person should remain in whatever situation he was called." 1 Corinthians 7:24

External circumstances and human distinctions, are of small consequence to the Christian for the religion he professes is able to make him useful and happy anywhere, and everywhere. Whether master or servant, sovereign or subject the believer need not be much concerned; for in spiritual things, all are equal. All have the same spiritual privileges, all are alike the sons of God, and the brethren of the Lord Jesus; all are accepted of God, and all have access to Him on a throne of grace; every one is promised strength equal to his day, and grace according to his station; and all have the same glowing prospects opened before them.

Every condition has its peculiar trials and temptations; the wealthy are not exempt nor have the poor an undue share. The master is tried in his station as well as the servant in his. The poor are often the happiest, being rich in faith, fervent in prayer, and rejoicing in hope; their situation being low is more sheltered, and they find the gospel of Jesus peculiarly suited to them.

Present distinctions will not last long. Death, the great leveler, will soon pass by, and lay all alike in the dust; and then it will not much matter whether we were masters or servants; the only point of importance will be were we holy and useful and accordingly will every one, "have praise of God."

The grand object to be kept in view by us all, is abiding with God as His children, walking with Him like Enoch did and if we do so we shall realize His presence, exercise faith in His word, keep up daily fellowship with Him on His throne, look not so much at present things as future, and expect Him to ratify His word in our experience. This will bring joy in sorrow, strength in weakness, light in darkness, and inspire with immortal hope. It will enable us to adorn the gospel, convince the gainsayers, and glorify our Heavenly Father.

More depends on the state of the mind than on any circumstances in which we can be placed; therefore, let not the wealthy be high-minded but fear; let not the learned be proud but humble; let not the poor be depressed but hopeful; let not the illiterate despond but look for divine teaching. Let no one be anxious or hasty to exchange situations. We know what our trials are in our present situation but we know not what they may be in another. Let us all endeavor, where Providence placed us, to, "abide with God."

This counsel reproves many rash speculating professors; dissatisfied with their present condition, determined to rise rapidly, they run before providence, and move without the approbation of God; and so fall, "into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition."

This counsel is calculated to check the murmuring and repining of others. Remember, friend, you are where God in his providence has placed you. In your present situation the Lord can make you useful and happy; therefore be more concerned for and increase of grace, than for a change of situation. If you move without God, you may have to repent of it as Lot did; but if you aim to glorify God where you are, you cannot be neglected, or have cause to be distressed. "Godliness with contentment is great gain." Therefore, "Be content with such things as you have, for God has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you."

A restless spirit is not to be indulged but mortified; if it is encouraged, it will become unmanageable, and cause us bitter sorrow; but if it is subdued by discipline and grace, it will become settled and composed. Complaining does not befit a Christian, nor is dissatisfaction consistent with our principles. We do not know what is best for us here! Lazarus was better off than Dives; for he was preparing for glory; while the rich man was ripening for perdition!