Faith in the Last Days - J. Thomas
21 - CHRISTIAN DISCIPLES

THIS term Disciple is derived from the latin noun discipulus , which signifies a learner or scholar. He then who styles himself a Disciple announces to mankind that he is a student whose object is to learn. If he adopt the term as a sectarian distinction, it then imports that he is a student of the system of theology approved by his denomination, that he may learn all its mysteries. There are innumerable disciples of this class, subdivided also into a multitude of orders. In this sense they are as followers and adherents to the doctrine of another, who is therefore always more or less in advance of themselves; and therefore their leader. But there is a non-sectarian sense in which men are styled disciples, namely, when they are students of the Word, "proving all things", (1 Thess. 5:21) that they may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that they might be filled with The fulness of God; and so understanding what the will of the Lord is. (Eph. 3:18,19) Hence a church of disciples is an assembly of learners; and a church of Christian disciples is an assembly of persons who believe the things of the Kingdom of God, and of the Name of the Lord Jesus, and, thus believing, have been immersed into Christ and patiently continue in the faith and well doing of their vocation, reading, marking, learning and inwardly digesting all things revealed in the scriptures of truth. Such were the disciples first called Christian at Antioch (Acts 11:26). These Christian disciples shone as lights in the world, holding forth the Word of Life. They counted not their lives dear unto them: but hazarded everything, reputation, liberty, wealth and friends, for the Word's sake. Their treasure was in heaven (Matt. 6:19-20); therefore their anchor was within the veil (Heb. 6:19). The icy coldness of their old nature was thawed into the genial sympathies of the new man (Eph. 2:15;4:24;Col. 3:10; See 2 Cor. 5:17;Gal. 6:15) by the benevolence of God. Heart clung to heart, and hand joined in hand, the expressive symbol of unity and love. We want to behold a Church (Ecclesia) of Christian Disciples such as these; we fear that such an one is yet a stranger in our world. When such a community of churches (ecclesias) is restored, we shall glory in it as a Reformation in verity and deed.