If Thou Wilt Be Perfect - Oswald Chambers



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Talks on Spiritual Philosophy Oswald Chambers Copyright © 1939 Oswald Chambers Publications Association Introduction If Thou Wilt Be Perfect Source Lectures on biblical philosophy given at the Bible Training College, to July 1912 * London, from January Publication History • • As articles: First published as articles in the Bible Training Course (BTC) Monthly Journal * from October 1937 through October 1938 As a book: First published as a book in 1939 Mrs Chambers had planned to title it S
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  Talks on Spiritual Philosophy   Oswald Chambers  Copyright © 1939 Oswald Chambers Publications Association Introduction    If Thou Wilt Be Perfect   Source  Lectures on biblical philosophy given at the Bible Training College, * London, from Januaryto July 1912 Publication History   • As articles: First published as articles in the  Bible Training Course (BTC) Monthly Journal   * from October 1937 through October 1938 • As a book: First published as a book in 1939 Mrs Chambers had planned to title it Spiritual Philosophy    but bowed to David Lambert‟s * suggestion to use Jesus ‟ words to the rich young ruler †   † in Matthew 19:21  —“ If thou wilt be perfect ”  Always a voracious reader of wide-ranging taste, Chambers included the writings of many  philosophers in his personal study During Oswald‟s student days at the University of Edinburgh (1895-1896), he very likely studied Metaphysics and the History of Philosophy under ProfessorAndrew Seth and Moral Philosophy under Professor Henry Calderwood In addition, he may well have attended Dr Alexander Whyte‟s *   Young Men‟s Classes, held every Sunday evening * Residential school near Clapham Common in SW London, sponsored by the League of Prayer OswaldChambers was Principal and main teacher; Biddy Chambers was Lady Superintendent Known as theBTC, it closed in July 1915 because of World War I* The Bible Training Course Journal  was published from 1932 to 1952 by Mrs Chambers, with help fromDavid Lambert* David Lambert (1871-1961): Methodist minister and friend of Oswald Chambers Assisted MrsChambers with OC publications from 1917-1961* Alexander Whyte (1836- 1921): Scottish minister who influenced Chambers during Oswald’s time at Edinburgh University, 1895-1896  following the service at Free St George‟s Church When Chambers arrived in Edinburgh, DrWhyte was dealing with “ The Mystics, ” incl uding Tauler and the book, Theologia Germanica,  which are both quoted throughout  If Thou Wilt Be Perfect  In 1900, Chambers was teaching philosophy at Dunoon College, * a small theological schoolacross the Firth of Clyde from Glasgow, Scotland When his students, most of whom had nouniversity training, expressed their difficulty in making sense of existing textbooks, Chamberscompiled and published his own Outlines for the Study of Historical Philosophy as a guide forhis classesOf his lecture series on Biblical Philosophy at the Bible Training College * in 1912, Chambers said: “ The Ethics and Philosophy classes have taken a great stride in advance, and thisis all the more surprising as the Bible Philosophy class is anything but a popular subject ascommonly conceived; yet the numbers attending this class grow ”  One of Chambers ‟ recurring themes was the critical necessity for every Christian to think“ The reason why the average Christian worker is only the average Christian worker, ” Oswald to ld his students, “ is that he or she will remain grossly ignorant about what he does not see anyneed for All of you have intelligence, and you must use it for God ”   Foreword   On Tauler and on Theologia Germanica  Two names are mentioned in this book, one is a man, Tauler, and the other a volume, Theologia Germanica Quotations are made from them Both belong to pre-Reformation timesJohn Tauler was born in Strasbourg about 1300 He was a Dominican monk and had alreadyachieved honour and reputation as a preacher when a great change occurred in his spiritualoutlook An unknown layman, after hearing him preach, was moved to tell him that he was allowing himself to be “ killed by the letter, ” and was yet in darkness, and had not tasted the sweetness of the Holy Ghost The preacher took the words in a spirit of meekness and was ready to receive helpful counsel from his unknown friend “ You must, ” he said, “ take up your crossand follow our Lord Jesus Christ and His example in utter sincerity, humility and patience, andmust let go all your proud reasoning ” He advised him to cease his preaching for a while and inquiet contemplation examine his life in the mirror of our Lord‟s Tauler was nearly fifty, but he took the place of abasement and self-surrender, and for nearly two years was a seeker of God‟sway, praying that God‟s life might be brought forth in him His former friends thought him demented When the clear light came and he knew the time had come to bear his witness inpublic, he found it not easy to begin, but soon wisdom and grace from the Holy Spirit werebestowed in abundant measure So began years of wonderful work for God In those days whensalvation by simple faith in Jesus Christ was so largely hidden beneath ceremonial worship, he * Chambers spent 1897-1906 at Dunoon Theological College as a student, then as a tutor* Bible Training College, London, 1911-1915  taught many that the way to God was by a New Birth that brought men into a vital relation to the  Living God His sermons greatly influenced Luther They have ministered to many in manycountries A volume of his sermons has been published in English under the title, The Followingof Christ  The book, Theologia Germanica, belongs to the same period Its author is unknown That also prepared for the Reformation, as it lays stress on the Holy Spirit‟s application of Christ‟s work to the heart of a believer God never leaves Himself without a witness, and in thatbedimmed period these lights were shining and have been shining ever sinceJohn Wesley complained to William Law * that when he was an earnest inquirer he had beendirected to the mystic writers, and so had missed the basic truth of salvation by faith in JesusChrist We all need to know the initial experience of Christ as the Propitiation for our sins, and asthe One who has brought to a world of sinners the abundance of grace and the gift  of righteousness Afterwards we may find, as Wesley did, much light in such writers as the aboveupon how God works in us to will and to do of His good pleasure, and how we can work out ourown salvation ( Philippians 2:12-13 )The quotations made by Oswald Chambers are themselves of great value, and the expositorywords that follow are full of luminous and practical teaching for us to-dayLondonDavid Lambert *  April 1939 Contents  I The Philosophy of PerfectionII The Philosophy of the Fall  —  IIII The Philosophy of the Fall  —  IIIVThe Philosophy of DiscernmentV The Philosophy of Following Our LordVI The Philosophy of GodlinessVIIThe Philosophy of Reason * William Law (1686-1761): English devotional writer best remembered today for his book  A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life (1728)* David Lambert (1871-1961): Methodist minister and friend of Oswald Chambers Assisted MrsChambers with OC publications from 1917-1961