The following notes were taken from a presentation given by Brother Nathan Taylor on August 7 at a Combined Southern Fraternal. Brother Nathan spoke with Brother Stephen Hill to the theme of “Remove Not the Ancient Landmarks” showing how Brother John Thomas held so tenaciously to apostolic Faith once discovered. We have included these notes in the context of “Remembering the Days of Old” so that we might look back further than living memory to that which motivated our pioneer brother. His intense love and devotion to the law of Yahweh is an outstanding personal exhortation for us who endeavour to maintain the Faith in perilous last days.

In his love for us God provided one through whom the truth would be re-discovered in the last days.

It was a wonderful work which our brother Thomas had the determination and commitment to undertake.

“For something comparable in toil and devotion to the gospel we look back to apostolic days. Then a full-hearted expenditure of heart, mind and strength on the part of the apostles carried the gospel throughout the Roman world.

The revival of the truth was a lesser work, but one that called for similar courage, perseverance, and labour. By the test of work performed, gratitude and respect is due to the man through whom in God’s providence the gospel of the Kingdom was again proclaimed.”

So wrote Brother John Carter in his introduction to the book Faith in the Last Days. Indeed we do owe gratitude and respect to such a man, and not only for the work performed but also for the example provided in his courage, perseverance and labour.

Courage, Perseverance and Labour

There is also seen in his life another beautiful attribute which we do well to consider, a force which compelled him to give his life in the search for the Truth. We find it referred to in the same work quoted above, “He was a man of integrity who displayed the Christian graces in everyday life. From a man in love as he was with the Word of God such traits of character would be a natural result.” Brother John Thomas was known to be a man in love with the Word of God. His devotion to its study could not be otherwise explained. As he read and studied the Word he came to see its beauty and its power. As his understanding of it grew, so did his love for it and the one it revealed. The more he loved, the more he wanted to understand.

It was a similar attitude to that of David, the man after God’s own heart, who wrote: “O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day” (Psa 119:97). The psalmist so loved the words of God that they were continually in his thoughts, a practice which would bring blessings: “Blessed is the man … (whose) delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night” (Psa 1:1–2). Not only did David give his time to meditating on the words he loved, he also valued them above all else: “Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold” (Psa 119:127). What we love we will value highly and give our time to.

The love of God’s word was a force which motivated our Brother Thomas in his rediscovery of the Truth. Love of the Truth is necessary for us to be delivered from unrighteousness that we might be saved. Paul told the Thessalonians that the “man of sin” would come “with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thess 2:10–12 esv).

We either love the truth and are thereby saved, or, we have pleasure in unrighteousness and perish. The apostle John wrote: “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world” (1 John 2:15–16).

“We ask the world for nothing”

One who truly loves the words and ways of God will not be enticed by worldly lusts. This was true of our Brother Thomas. His thoughts are revealed in the words of an article he wrote in the Apostolic Advocate.

“A public life is not a life of our seeking, but if we must engage in its concerns, we will strive to direct our course by no other rule or standard of expediency than that of the Word of God. We plead for no man but ‘The Man Christ Jesus’; for no sect but that ‘everywhere spoken against’ of old, and we are resolved to hold no man’s person in admiration for the sake of advantage, even should it result in our falling back upon the much loved solitude of private life. Our wants are few and simple. Mankind have nothing in the way of honour, glory, or renown to bestow that we think worth contending for. We ask the world for nothing. We neither fear its frowns nor court its smiles.

If a nobleman of old would receive nothing at its hand lest it should be said that it had made Abraham rich; neither would his descendants” (Apostolic Advocate, vol5, p88).

“We ask the world for nothing”, said our brother. Could we say the same? It is a test of our love to ask the question. The apostle John challenged us with the words, “If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” Those who truly love God and are devoted to the study of His Word will be better equipped to deal with temptation, as was our Lord and master.

Developing a relationship with our God and His holy word is achieved by giving time to the reading and study of the Word, just as we know we must give time to building any loving relationship. Unlike human relationships, spending time building a relationship with God will never lead to disappointment. Our devotion to the Word of God will only intensify our feelings of love for it and the great God who is revealed in its pages.

A love of God and the Word through which we know of Him will develop in us hearts like His. The more we meditate upon the word of God the greater our love for it will grow, even until we might say with David, the man after God’s own heart, “O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.”

Such love is necessary in us if we are “to continue the work begun” and ensure that the truth is maintained and spread.