Bible Treasury: Volume 12

Table of Contents

1. Absent From the Body-Present With the Lord. 2 Cor. 5:8.
2. Notes on 2 Corinthians 2:12-17
3. Notes on 2 Corinthians 3:1-6
4. Notes on 2 Corinthians 3:7-11
5. Notes on 2 Corinthians: 3:12-16
6. Notes on 2 Corinthians 3:17-18
7. Notes on 2 Corinthians: 5:4-5
8. Reading on 1 Peter 1; 2: Part 2
9. To Correspondents.
10. Conscience.
11. Notes on Job 38:1-33
12. Notes on Job 42
13. Notes on John: 14:1-4
14. Notes on John 14:5-12
15. The Holy Ghost in Person
16. The Church of God, and the Two or Three Gathered Together in My Name.
17. THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ?????? and ???? AS USED IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
18. From Troas to Miletus
19. The Book of Joshua, and The Epistle to the Hebrews. 1.
20. Notes on Matthew 22
21. The Lord's Table, and Its Place in the Church
22. Notes on Job 28
23. The Closing History of the Lord and of Paul
24. Fragment: 2 Corinthians 5:14
25. Fragment: Didaktikos
26. Thoughts on Isaiah 7-9
27. Divine Life
28. Notes on John 13:1-5
29. I and We in 1 and 2 Corinthians
30. Notes on 2 Corinthians: Introduction
31. Testimony of Peter and John Compared With Paul's
32. The Day of Atonement: Leviticus 16
33. Life by the Word
34. Notes on Job 29
35. Notes on Matthew 16-17
36. Notes on John 13:6-11
37. Notes on 2 Corinthians 1:1-7
38. Epistles of Paul
39. Fragment: God's Promises
40. Fragment: The Spirit's Guiding in What We Say
41. The Gospel of God
42. John 1-3
43. Deliverance: Part 1
44. Notes on Job 30
45. Notes on Matthew 18
46. Notes on John 13:12-17
47. The Truth
48. Notes on 2 Corinthians 1:8-14
49. Deliverance: Part 2
50. Thoughts on the Atonement
51. Righteousness and Peace: Part 1
52. Letter on Hebrews 10:2
53. Notes on Job 31
54. Notes on John 13:18-22
55. Notes on 2 Corinthians 1:15-20
56. Discourses on Colossians 2: Part 1
57. The Bible and Its Critics
58. The Sea and the Song
59. Righteousness and Peace: Part 2
60. Pauline Greeting
61. Difference of Romans 12 and Ephesians 5
62. Deuteronomy
63. Notes on Job 32-33
64. Notes on John 13:23-30
65. Notes on 2 Corinthians 1:21-24
66. Discourses on Colossians 3
67. The Unsearchable Riches of Christ
68. All of One
69. Righteousness and Peace: Part 3
70. Notes on Job 34
71. Notes on John 13:31-32
72. Notes on 2 Corinthians 2:1-4
73. Discourses on Colossians 2: Part 2
74. The Beginning of the Creation of God
75. In Christ and the Flesh in Us: Part 1
76. The Rest of God
77. On the Greek Words for Eternity and Eternal
78. Notes on Job 35
79. Notes on Matthew 19
80. Notes on John 13:33-38
81. Notes on 2 Corinthians 2:5-11
82. God's Purposes
83. Discourses on Colossians 1
84. In Christ and the Flesh in Us: Part 2
85. Two Sticks: 1 Kings 18:12
86. Watchman, What of the Night? Part 1
87. Science and Scripture
88. Notes on Job 36-37
89. Notes on Matthew 20
90. Judas, Not Iscariot
91. Watchman, What of the Night? Part 2
92. Thoughts on John 20
93. Two Greek Words Translated as House
94. Notes on Job 38-39
95. Colossians 1
96. Watchman, What of the Night? Part 3
97. Conversion and Salvation
98. Scripture Queries and Answers: The Breaking of Bread
99. 1 Corinthians 5
100. Notes on Matthew 21
101. Notes on John 14:13-19
102. Christ in Heaven and the Holy Spirit Sent Down
103. The Heavenly and His Heavenly Ones: 1 Cor. 15:46
104. On War
105. Scripture Queries and Answers: Giving Thanks to the Father
106. To Correspondents: 1 Corinthians 5
107. Notes on Job 40-41
108. Notes on John 14:20-24
109. A Letter on Separation
110. To Correspondents
111. Notes on John 14:25-31
112. Wherefore Comfort One Another With These Words
113. ?The Book of Joshua? and ?The Epistle to the Hebrews? Part 2
114. To Correspondents: Letter on Separation
115. Notes on Genesis 1-3
116. Notes on John 15:1-4
117. Notes on 2 Corinthians 4:1-4
118. ?The Book of Joshua? and ?The Epistle to the Hebrews? Part 3
119. Saul and David: 1. The Responsible Man and the Man of God's Choice
120. Saul and David: 2. The Responsible Man and the Man of God's Choice
121. Letter as to the Principles of Gathering
122. ?The Book of Joshua? and ?The Epistle to the Hebrews? Part 4
123. Notes on John 15:5-8
124. Notes on 2 Corinthians 4:5-6
125. The Law and the Gospel of the Glory of Christ
126. The Penalty Paid and Sins Forgiven
127. Saul and David 3.
128. Notes on John 15:9-11
129. Notes on 2 Corinthians 4:7-11
130. Thoughts on Hebrews 11
131. From Antioch and Back to Antioch: Acts 13, 14
132. Affection and Consecration
133. The Oneness of the Church
134. Penalty Paid, Sins Forgiven, and the Debt Cancelled
135. Notes on Matthew 23
136. Notes on John 15:12-17
137. Notes on 2 Corinthians 4:12-15
138. Paul at Philippi
139. Fellowship, Not Independency: Part 1
140. ?Neutrality? Its Value in the Things of God Briefly Tested and Examined by Scripture
141. The Penalty Paid, Sins Forgiven, and the Debt Cancelled
142. Letter on the Lord's Death
143. Matthew 24-25
144. Notes on John 15:18-21
145. Notes on 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
146. How Judaising Was Met in Jerusalem
147. Fellowship, Not Independency: Part 2
148. Christ of the Gospels as Seen in the Epistles
149. Legality and Spiritual Elation
150. Notes on Matthew 24
151. Fragment: Rejecting the Word
152. Notes on John 15:22-25
153. Notes on 2 Corinthians 5:1-3
154. The Ground of the Church of God
155. I, Sins, Sin
156. Brief Sketch of Matthew
157. Due Spirit of Discipline
158. Correspondence on God's Grace and Man's Ruin
159. Fragment on Discipline
160. Scripture Queries and Answers: 1 John 1:7
161. Notes on Matthew 25
162. Giving
163. Notes on John 15:26-27
164. Thoughts on 1 John
165. A Note on the Similitudes of Matthew 13, Especially the Treasure and the Net.
166. The Blessing of Jacob
167. Gilgal
168. Notes on Matthew 26
169. Notes on John 16:1-6
170. Thoughts on John 14
171. Notes on 2 Corinthians 5:6-9
172. Abigail
173. Notes on James
174. God's Answer to the Exercised Heart
175. Reading on 1 Peter 1, 2: Part 1
176. Fragment: "We Have the Mind of Christ"
177. Thoughts on Revelation 11-12
178. The Hebrew Servant: Exodus 21:1-6
179. Notes on Matthew 27
180. Notes on John 16:7-11
181. Notes on 2 Corinthians 5:10-11
182. Thoughts on Revelation 13
183. Christ Dwelling in Our Hearts by Faith: Ephesians 3:14-21
184. God Sufficient in Himself
185. The Lord's Supper
186. Propitiation, Substitution, and Atonement
187. Christianity in Contrast With Rationalism
188. Notes on Matthew 28
189. The Lord in Matthew 28
190. Fragment: Cast Out by Man
191. Notes on John 16:12-22
192. Notes on 2 Corinthians 5:12-15
193. God's Dealings With David
194. King Agrippa: Acts 26
195. How to Get Divine Affections
196. The Lord Standing or Sitting on High: Acts 7 and Hebrews 10
197. Thoughts on Revelation 14-16
198. Thoughts on Revelation 14-16
199. Thoughts on Deuteronomy 16
200. Ruth: Part 1
201. Psalm 105-106
202. Notes on John 16:23-28
203. Notes on 2 Corinthians 5:16-17
204. A Word on 2 Peter 3:17-18
205. Thoughts on Revelation 1:5-6
206. The Israel of God and Abraham's Seed
207. Scripture Query and Answer: Daniel 9:24
208. Son of Man
209. Ruth: Part 2
210. Notes on John 16:29-33
211. Notes on 2 Corinthians 5:18-21
212. The Epistle of Christ: 2 Corinthians 3
213. It Must Needs Be That Offences Come

Absent From the Body-Present With the Lord. 2 Cor. 5:8.

Two things go together for us as saints; the certainty of the Lord's coming, and the uncertainty whether or not we shall fall asleep before He come. Known to God only is it whether I shall have put off the tabernacle of the body, or be found in occupation of it when Christ returns in the cloud: but in presence of the certainty of His coming, the uncertainty whether I shall then be in the body, or out of the body, however much it may interest, does not disturb, me. In either case a blessedness is assured to us richly surpassing our present blessing, and we can happily entrust to His sovereignty the disposal of our earthly house of tabernacle! It is good to be for Him here; it is “far better” to fall asleep and go to Him; but best of all to awake in His likeness if I have slept, or, if living when He comes, to see Him as He is! This, the superlative thing, and not the comparative, though that also be blessed, is what the Lord always puts before us as the object of our hope; nothing short of this is the “mark for the prize,” or the desired consummation when He and we are glorified together! The fact that in scripture the Holy Ghost uniformly connects our hearts' aspirations with the return of Christ should suffice to satisfy every saint of God that the superlative thing, that which is the subject of “that blessed hope,” is His coming, and that if we substitute anything else, it only indicates that we are out of the mind and current of the Spirit of God. But while that be incontestable, and cannot be too emphatically maintained, the fact that so many saints have fallen asleep since the assembly of God first acquired “that blessed hope,” and that one after another around us is over and anon retiring to rest, necessitates to our souls a very deep and ever renewed interest in the character of their blessing.
The thief in whom grace wrought on the cross, blessed as was the new-born desire of his heart, got help on three points, each of exceeding interest. He asked (1) to be remembered by the Lord, (2) at His coming, (3) in His kingdom. The Lord both corrected and surpassed each feature of his request, for He promised (1) that he should be with Him (2) that day (3) in paradise! This affords the fullest scripture teaching as to the blessedness of those who put off this tabernacle, and connecting it with Paul's testimony, that “absent from the body,” the saint is “present with the Lord;” that “to depart and to be with Christ is far better;” and that “to die is gain,” clearly establishes that the emancipated spirit enjoys (1) the blessedness of being with Christ, which is far better than any blessing enjoyed below, (2) that such blessedness is immediate, and (3) it is in the elysium of His own presence, a locality otherwise undefined.
But if this summarizes the direct instruction which the Holy Ghost has given us in the word, yet may we safely and soberly predicate a variety of aspects of the blessedness involved in that momentous change of condition into which the spirit is introduced when the earthly house of its tabernacle is vacated. Disencumbered of the body, it is at once relieved from the drag or resistance which a sinful body, however well adapted for the exercises of faith, and as an instrument for service to the Lord in a sinful world, must inevitably impose upon its freedom. With what new gladness shall we reflect that we can never grieve His blessed heart any more, nor ever again bring dishonor upon His peerless name; that sin and sorrow, toil and trouble, care and conflict, and all that tends to weaken our love and attachment to the Lord, or hinder its outflow, with every other thing that tells of the fall and the curse, are left behind forever I Whether it be the needs and weakness of humanity as created, or its sick and suffering condition as fallen, or as the vehicle in which my will would work, that abode in which the flesh dwells—all this I am freed from on leaving the body: no more can I know want or weariness; no more pain and anguish; no more workings of a perverse will, of a carnal mind, of a heart at enmity with God! By vacating the body I have broken every link with the flesh and its activities, with the world and its elements; I have parted company, never to be resumed, with the first man and the Adamic creation, with man's world and the world's god. What a release from Satan's hostility and subtlety; what an escape from every snare of the fowler; from the world, too, Satan's usurped empire; no further exposure to its hydra-headed opposition to Christ and to those who are His; the wilderness past, with all its painful experiences of battlings and buffetings, and the haven reached where all evil is excluded, and all toil ceases in the eternal calm and sublimity of His presence!

Notes on 2 Corinthians 2:12-17

The apostle resumes for a moment the account of his course, but the aim is to testify his affectionate concern for the Corinthian saints who misjudged him, and, failing in love themselves, saw not his love which spared them, as much as it sought their blessing to the Lord's glory.
“Now when I came unto the Troad for the gospel of Christ, a door being opened to me in [the] Lord, I had no rest in my spirit at not finding Titus, my brother; but having taken leave of them, I went forth unto Macedonia. But thanks [be] to God that always leadeth us in triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the odor of his knowledge through us in every place. Because we are a sweet odor of Christ to God in those to be saved, and in those that perish: to the one an odor from death unto death, but to the others an odor from life unto life; and who [is] sufficient for these things? For we are not as the many, retailing the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as of God, before God, we speak in Christ.” (Vers. 12-17.)
We see two things here: the apostle's deep value for the gospel; his still deeper value for the saints as in danger of compromising Christ. Hence, whatever his purpose in coming into a new region, and in the face of a distinct opening for the work of reaching souls outside, he could not rest without hearing of those souls, so dear to him for the Lord's sake, and so exposed to Satan's wiles. He had hoped to have heard news of Corinth through Titus; but Titus he did not find; and so, turning his back on those on the eastern side, where he then was, he repairs to Macedonia. His heart was on the saints. Anxiety for the assembly decided him to abandon for the time even so promising a field for the gospel. The church has the nearest claim, and the apostle acts on it. It was not only that the letter he had written bore witness of his love for them, and grief over the grave circumstances of the Corinthian assembly, but also his relinquishment of the gospel work in the word he so valued, and this spite of an opening in the Lord. His heart was tried greatly, as he thought of the saints and of his own letter. Would they accept it as of God, and judge themselves by the light? Would they resent his plain and searching, but deeply affectionate, appeals? The situation was most critical. Taking leave, then, of the saints in Troas, he goes forth where he hoped to hear the most speedy and authentic tidings of their state, and the effect of his own letter.

Notes on 2 Corinthians 3:1-6

From this the apostle turns in a peculiarly touching way to the saints at Corinth. His spirit felt that his last allusions to a triumph, in contrast with those who trafficked in truth (never then given out with genuine purity), might expose to unkind personality. He therefore, in disclaiming the need of human commendation, in any form, lets out what grace forms in the heart before contrasting the law with the gospel.
“Begin we again to commend ourselves? or need we, as some, recommendatory epistles unto you or from you? Ye are our epistle inscribed in our hearts, known and read by all men, being manifested that ye are Christ's epistle ministered by us, having been inscribed, not with ink, but [the] Spirit of [the] living God, not on tables of stone, but on fleshy tables of [the] heart (or, hearts). And such confidence have we through the Christ toward God; not that we are competent from ourselves to reckon anything as of ourselves, but our, competency [is] of God, who also made us competent [as] servants of [the] new covenant, not of letter but of spirit, for the letter killeth but the spirit quickeneth.” (Vers. 1-6.)
It is plain that there was then, as now, the practice of giving and receiving letters in commending stranger brethren to the assemblies. And a valuable means of introduction as well as guard it is, provided we hold it in spirit, not in letter: otherwise we might fail doubly, in refusing those who ought to be received, where circumstances have hindered the requisite voucher, and in receiving those who, being deceivers, can supply themselves with any letter which may the more effectually mislead. The aim of all such provisions is to afford adequate testimony to the assembly of God, which is in no way bound to a form however excellent, if wanting, provided perchance other means of godly satisfaction leave no reasonable hesitation to those who judge fairly and in love. It is mischievous when that which God uses for our mutual comfort is perverted by legalism into an instrument of spiritual torture, as may be sometimes the lack of a commendatory note, or some kindred informality.

Notes on 2 Corinthians 3:7-11

The apostle proceeds next, in a long parenthesis (7-16) to contrast the respective services of the law and of the gospel, the ever rising debate wherever Christ is named and known. And no wonder, for sovereign grace is not natural to the heart, though it alone reveals God fully. The believer himself never keeps grace fresh, pure, or even true, save as consciously in God's presence, with Christ before him. As in Christ thus, it is simple and appreciated as the one principle and power which snits either God on the one hand, or those He saves on the other. Grace alone puts each in the place which befits them. But the effect or assumption of the mind even in the believer to take up grace and reason it out, apart from present dependence, is as bad or worse than its use of the law; for conscience answers to the law when it condemns every evil way, but faith is needed for grace. Outside God's presence it is but allowance of sin. In His presence it deals with sin far more overwhelmingly than law, as is evident in the cross of Christ. Only there can the believer enjoy grace safely, happily, and holily: and there is no possibility of having peace in His presence but through grace—grace reigning through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
“But if the ministry of death in letter, graven on stones, came in with glory, so that the sons of Israel could not look intently toward the face of Moses for the glory of his face, that was to be done away, how shall not the ministry of the Spirit more be in glory? For if the ministry of condemnation [have] glory, much more doth the ministry of righteousness abound in glory. For even that which hath been glorified, hath not been glorified in this respect on account of the surpassing glory. For if that to be done away [was] with glory, much more what abideth [is] in glory?”
It is of moment to notice that the apostle reasons here on Ex. 34, not on Ex. 20 as in Heb. 12. It is a question, not of law pure and simple, when God's voice shook the earth, with a sight of terror which caused even Moses to be full of trembling; but of law when given the second time, accompanied by the mercy which not only forgave but accepted mediation. It was a mixture of law with grace, and precisely what people now conceive to be Christianity. But this is what is designated the ministry of death in letter, engraven on stones. For the second time, not the first, was it introduced with glory (ἐγενήθη ἐν δόξῃ), and then, not before, was there any difficulty for the sons of Israel steadily to gaze at his face. Only then are we told that the skin of the face of Moses shone (Ex. 34), and that the Israelites were afraid to come nigh him. It was the glory of Jehovah which caused his face thus to shine, an effect entirely peculiar to the second occasion, Nevertheless this is styled “the ministry of death.” The mercy which had spared Israel did not alter its character, nor did the glory which shone in the Mediator's face. How different is that which the Spirit now ministers in a dead, risen, and glorified Christ! The reflection of glory in Moses' case was but a passing thing: it was neither intrinsic nor permanent, but to be done away. Not so Christ's. Here all that is the fruit of His work abides. It has everlasting value. It is no question of letter, nor of graving on stones, but of a divine Savior yet a man, who has glorified God atoningly as to sin, not in living obedience only, but up to death, the death of the cross, and is thereon glorified in heaven, yea, in God Himself, and gives the believer, once a wretched, guilty, and lost ginner, now washed, sanctified and justified, a righteous title to stand in perfect grace, to be with Him in glory, one with Him even now by the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven. This is the gospel, this the ministry of the Spirit which abides and is assuredly in glory.

Notes on 2 Corinthians: 3:12-16

This leads the apostle in the Spirit to apply the incident of Moses with and without a veil, as before of the glory of his face. He glories that in the gospel all is open. It is no longer the unhappy though wholesome detection of sin in man, but the plain revelation of good from God in Christ, and this righteously through His cross, yea, gloriously in His place at God's right hand in heaven: the ground of our association with heaven now, and of glory there not in spirit only but in body at His coming. In Judaism man could not bear to hear the truth, which was the sentence of death to flesh; in Gentilism all was doubt or deception. In the gospel we can speak plainly: it is God's good news of His Son. There is no reason or motive for reserve, but just the contrary. We cannot be too open. So the love of God who gave such a treasure would have it. Leave darkness to Rabbis and philosophers, who love it rather than light.
“Having then such hope we use much openness of speech: and not as Moses used to put a veil on his own face, that the sons of Israel should not look steadfastly unto the end of that to be done away. But their thoughts were darkened [lit, hardened]; for until this very day the same veil at the reading of the old covenant abideth unremoved [lit. unveiled], which in Christ is done away. But unto this day when Moses is read, a veil lieth upon their heart. But whenever it shall turn to the Lord, the veil is taken off.” (Ver. 12-16.)
Christianity is no system of restraint as evil in the first man, with ordinances suited to the flesh in the world, and God afar off in the dark, but founded on the grace of Christ, who, after establishing righteousness by the cross, is gone up into heavenly glory, and is ministered by the Holy Ghost in power. Hence, the unseen, the future, and the everlasting converge on the believer now; and having such a hope one can be thoroughly outspoken: there are the strongest motives for openness in every way, in contrast with the dimness, distance and reserve of the law. Not only did God in Christ come down to man, but, now that his evil has been judicially and conclusively dealt with in the cross, man can go up—nay, has already sat down at His right hand—in the person of our Savior and head. The accomplishment of redemption, as it closed the ministry of death, opened the way and became the basis of the ministry of the Spirit, to abide in glory. The previous state of concealment, where man had such reason to dread the sight of glory according to the law, is set forth in Moses putting a veil on his face when he spoke with the children of Israel outside, whereas he invariably put it off whenever he went in before Jehovah.

Notes on 2 Corinthians 3:17-18

The central portion of the chapter, from verse 7, contains not only the remarkable allusion to Moses veiled and unveiled, but the contrast between the ministry of letter in the law with that of the Spirit. The parenthesis being closed, he forthwith recurs to that contrast of letter and spirit which preceded it. “Now the Lord is the spirit, but where the Spirit of the Lord [is, there is] liberty.” (Ver. 17.) Scarce any scripture shows more instructively than this the necessity of understanding the mind of God, in order even to present it correctly in form. For it is an utter mistake to give “the spirit” in the first clause a capital letter, which would imply the Holy Ghost to be meant; and whore would be the sense, where so much as the orthodoxy, of identifying the Lord with the Holy Ghost? To me the meaning, without doubt, is that the Lord Jesus constitutes the spirit of the forms and figures and other communications of the old covenant. These, if taken in the letter, killed; if in the spirit, quickened. “The Lord” was their real scope; and now this comes out into the fullest evidence. Faith sees in Him contrast with Adam, analogy with Abel; the light of which shines even on Cain and Lamech. Yet more manifestly do we see types of Him in Joseph and Moses, and in that vast system of sacrifice and priesthood which, coming in by Moses, furnished those shadows so abundantly. Unbelief never laid hold of the coming One, faith always did; though it might not apprehend the bearing of all, nor perhaps fully of anything, till He actually died and rose. But “the Lord is the spirit,” and the new testimony is so precise, that there is no excuse for misapprehending the old longer. “The true Light now shineth,” and “we who were once darkness are now light in the Lord.” In the light we walk, and we ought to walk as children of it; and an immense help it is to our souls intelligently to apprehend the Lord in every part of the word. It is this which gives the deepest interest, and truest solemnity, and living power, to every part of the Old Testament. Thus only have we communion with the mind of God with positive and growing blessing to our own souls. Now that He is revealed, all is plain.
But there is more than this, for “where the Spirit of the Lord [is, there is] liberty.” Here the truth requires that there should be a capital, for the apostle means not merely the true inner bearing of what was communicated of old, but the presence and power of the Holy Ghost now; and He is not a spirit of bondage unto fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind; not a spirit of bondage, but the Spirit of the Son, whom God had sent into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Hence the effect is liberty, not alone because it, is the Son that makes us free, but the Spirit of life in Him risen from the dead, after the mighty work in which God, sending Jesus in the likeness of flesh of sin, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh. Thus all was condemned that could be condemned, and we by grace are delivered—free indeed. “Where the Spirit of the Lord [is, there is] liberty,” as opposed to Gentile license as to Jewish bondage.
It is liberty to do the will of God, “for sin shall not have dominion over you, for ye are not under law, but under grace.” Yet do we yield ourselves slaves for obedience; and having got our freedom from sin, and become slaves to God, we have our fruit unto holiness, and the end eternal life. We are no longer in the flesh, and are clear from the law, so that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in oldness of letter. “Where the Spirit of the Lord [is, there is] liberty.” It is not yet the liberty of the glory of the children of God; it is the liberty of grace before glory dawns at Christ's coming.

Notes on 2 Corinthians: 5:4-5

Having given so solemn a word of warning for conscience, the apostle returns to the groaning and the longing spoken of in verse 2 in order to clear the truth more fully.
“For also we that are in the tabernacle groan, being burdened, because we desire not to be unclothed but clothed upon, that what is mortal should be swallowed up of life. Now he that wrought us for this very thing [is] God, that gave us the earnest of the Spirit.” (Vers. 4, 5.)
The true knowledge of the living possession of Christ, far from neutralizing one's sense of the groaning creation, deeply increases it. Peace and joy in believing there is most really and to the full; but it is in Him who suffered here and is glorified above the sorrow and death that He tasted and the sins which He bore in His own body on the tree. Our body is the tabernacle in which we are, a part itself of the creation made subject to vanity; and we who are in it groan under the oppressive sense of its utter ruin, not because we are not delivered in Christ, but the rather because we are and feel deeply therefore what is under the bondage of corruption. We know that deliverance is at hand, not merely for our body but for all that is now travailing in pain, and that Christ will have the glory, as all creation will have the joy in that day.

Reading on 1 Peter 1; 2: Part 2

(Concluded from page 313.)
“If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature” is another idea; he is a new creation, and belongs to an entirely different state of things. In Gal. 5 it is more applied to the individual. It is the thing so many will not have. Some men openly ridicule the idea of two natures; but “that which is born of the Spirit is spirit, and that which is born of the flesh is flesh.” Methodists always took wrong ground, having no thought of being born again at all, and this has run very much through all the body of the evangelical world. New creation takes in everything, new birth is my having a nature that is fit for it. New creation, if you take it in its full sense, leaves nothing else. If you say, I am the same man after I am born again, I do not doubt you are, but you will find a difficulty in saying what “I” now is. I have life from Adam; that is never mended one atom, but I get a new life from Christ, a totally new thing— “He that hath the Son hath life.” Adam had not that, but I have the life of the second Adam. Adam innocent had not that life one bit more than Adam guilty. That which is born of the Spirit is spirit, and Adam was not born of the Spirit, but God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. But this is a new thing, that eternal life which was with the Father, and has been manifested unto us. That is the Christ who becomes my life through the operation of the word, and is a totally new thing, it does change the man.
As to the Old Testament saints, eternal life was no part of the Old Testament, even if the Old Testament saints had it; “life and incorruptibility are brought to light by the gospel;” not that they were brought to existence, but “brought to light.” And. when He in whom life is came down, and died, and rose again, then a totally new thing is brought out. Eternal life is twice found in the Old Testament, but both passages are prophetic of the millennium. And therefore you never get conflict between flesh and Spirit, in the Old Testament. You get “born in sin” (Psa. 51), but no thought of flesh lasting against spirit.

To Correspondents.

The Invercargill Circular Of April 1878.
The recent New Zealand Circular has appeared in this country, and indicates such an advance in the writer's soul that, if strengthened in faith to walk consistently with its avowed principles, he cannot abide in the ranks of neutrality, but must seek his place with those branded as Exclusives. He owns that he wrote erroneously in his former tract (entitled “Discipline and Position,” &c.) on the question of wicked association, which is the hinge on which the controversy turns. He dwells on the incompatibility of fellowship with evil and Christ, as in 1 Cor. 8-10, and the still deeper sin of countenancing those who bring not the doctrine of Christ, as in 2 John. But he is, in my judgment, mistaken in grounding the answer of God to this solemn question on the omission of εἰς σέ in Matt. 18 as read by Tischendorf in the eighth edition of his New Testament, following such slender evidence as the Sinai and Vat. MSS., two cursives, and fathers who cites loosely and insert as well as omit.
The mass of the uncials and cursives, and every ancient version known, save one, as far as I can speak, add the words, as Tischendorf did in his valuable seventh edition, and almost all editors, save Lachman, including one so extreme as the late Dr. Tregelles, disposed as he was to the narrow line of a very few witnesses of extreme antiquity. Dean Alford even suggested hierarchical reasons as the motive for the omission, in order to enlarge the church's discipline; but this seems questionable, especially as the Latins, ready enough for practice of that kind, give unanimous testimony to what limits the scope to individual trespass.

Conscience.

Conscience is a great difficulty with infidels. It is practically the weak point in their armor. Protect themselves with reasonings as they may, yet they cannot shield their conscience.
It would be, doubtless, a convenient thing for modern infidelity, if it could show that conscience—instead of being a witness to evil present, and good lost—is a part of the system of human development, but “the history of the conscience, from an evolutionist point of view, remains yet to be written,” and we may safely assert, that the evolutionist will find such “history” difficult writing.
The beasts which perish possess consciousness of various kinds in common with man, but the beasts which perish possess not that which makes mortals quake. Man alone, of the creatures upon this earth, has a conscience. However, as some beasts possess a power through which they acquire the knowledge that some of their actions will receive the reward of their master's favor, and others punishment, from his hand, and because some beasts can be instructed in obedience by their masters, there are not wanting some men to assert that, consequently, a moral link exists between such consciousness in the beast and the conscience of a man!

Notes on Job 38:1-33

JEHOVAH'S INTERVENTION.
IN a material age which questions the personality of Him who created and governs, who saves and will judge, one cannot wonder that it seems wholly incredible that He should appear and speak. Yet the great facts which abide before all eyes, and attest to every upright mind and conscience the only writings worthy to be considered divine revelations, bear witness to the same great truth, only on a larger scale. For it is impossible adequately to account for either the law or the gospel, either Old Testament or New, apart from the intervention of God. How God manifested His voice at this time is no more set out in detail here than elsewhere, save that He is said to have answered Job out of the storm or whirlwind. The fact is distinctly revealed, and this is enough for faith. It was what Job had ardently longed for, though dreading it, not because his conscience was bad, but through not yet knowing himself in His presence, and the end of the Lord that He is exceedingly pitiful and of tender mercy. The moral profit of such an intervention is beyond man's estimate.
And Jehovah answered Job out of the storm and said,

Notes on Job 42

We have now the second and closing answer of Job to Jehovah, while the three friends have not a word to say, as silent before His solemn intervention and appeal, as they had been silenced by the sufferer, and unable to speak with Elihu. Here is the moral solution of the book before formal sentence on the great controversy was pronounced in verses 7, 8, or the open mark of divine blessing followed, as in verses 10-17.
And Job answered Jehovah, and said,
I know that Thou canst do all things,

Notes on John: 14:1-4

The way was now opened to bring out the Christian's hope. Death, in its most solemn and most blessed aspect, had been put before the disciples, however little, as yet, able to follow their Master in thought, impossible, then, in deed in any way, as the Lord let the too confident hear, though he learned it not till he proved his own utter powerlessness by the basest denial of Him he loved. How much we have to learn by most painful and humbling experience of ourselves, because we fail in sustained subjection to, and dependence on, our Lord! But now, this cleared, the Savior turns to what is unfailingly light, because it centers in Himself. It is no coming as Son of man to judge, no appearing in glory, to set all that is crooked straight, and govern all righteously. It is His own coming for His beloved ones, that they may be with Him where He is, in the Father's house on high.
“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe in me also. In my Father's house are mail), mansions: if not so, I would have told you, because I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I am coming again, and will receive you unto myself, that where I am ye also may be. And where I go ye know the way.” (Vers. 1-4.)
A greater break with Jewish feeling could not but be than such a hope, a shock, assuredly, as wholly changing all they had expected, but only as supplanting an earthly prospect, however blessed, by a heavenly one incomparably more blessed. If His going away by death, not yet understood, either in its depth of suffering or in its efficacy, but as departure from them on earth, might naturally disturb their heart, He begins to explain its all-importance as making way for faith. He was no longer to be as the Messiah of Israel, according to prophetic intimation, on earth, still less displayed there in indisputable glory and resistless power. He is about to go a man yet to heaven, and there to be an object of faith, as no longer seen, even as God is. “Ye believe in God, believe in me also.” This was a quite new thought about the Messiah, rejected here, glorified in heaven, believed on in earth: simple enough now, but then a. strange sound, and an entirely new order of associations, which set aside for a time all that saints and prophets looked for; not that these were more than postponed, but that those things, altogether unprecedented and unexpected, were to come in by the Lord's going on high after redemption, with just enough in the Old Testament (as in Psa. 110:1) to stop the mouth of a Jew who might pervert the law to deny the gospel.

Notes on John 14:5-12

The Lord had laid down the inward conscious knowledge of the disciples, according to God, and the glory of His own person, whom they confessed soon, by redemption and the gift of the Spirit to bloom in full intelligence. But in this they were as yet dull to apprehend His meaning; and he who was remarkable among them for his gloomy thoughts expresses this for all.
“Thomas saith to him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; [and] how know we [or can we know] the way? Jesus saith to him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no one cometh unto the Father but by me. If ye had known me, ye would have known my Father also; and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.” (Vers. 5-7.)
No the thoughts of Thomas limited the Lord to that earthly horizon which formed the boundary of his own hopes of Israel clustering around their Messiah. He could not conceive, any more than the rest, whither the Lord was retiring, now that He had come to the people and the land which, he knew, He was pledged to bless richly and forever. How, then, know the way? His mind was yet earthly. As he had no thought of heaven for the Lord Jesus, so he overlooked the way. But this furnished the opportunity for the Lord to announce, in words as simple as profound, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” Much conveyed in them might have been gleaned from testimonies to Him, most from His own previous discourses, as given in this very Gospel, but nowhere so much combined with so brief an expression. It was worthy of Him, and at that moment above all.

The Holy Ghost in Person

Each of the divine persons in the eternal Godhead has, in connection with Christianity, obtained a blessedly distinctive expression, which never previously had any place in the revelations made to faith. The Father has been Himself revealed; the Son, as man, risen from the dead, has been glorified in heaven; and the Holy Ghost has for eighteen centuries been a dweller in the house of God upon earth, and in each member of the body of Christ.
Yet it would be difficult to predicate which of these blessed facts—facts which constitute the essential character of Christianity—has been most ignored, not to say denied, by Christendom. How many are they who rank as Christians, but have no solid apprehension of the revelation which has been made of the Father, who have no divine perception of union with Christ in glory, and perhaps, least of all, have clear, conscious possession of the Holy Ghost in person.
These remarkable verities of Christianity which, impinging at every point upon our souls, are unfolded in all their wondrous bearings in Paul's epistles, constitute the framework—the very bone and sinew—of that special character of truth which sitting at the feet of Gamaliel gave no qualification for apprehending, but for which the “light above the brightness of the sun,” and the voice that spake with him, afforded preparation, and which was itself divinely supplied by the revelations made to him in the third heaven. But the Christianity which prevails around us, even where divine life really exists, is the crude, and alas! almost purely selfish, thing which is undisturbed by divine claims, and unimpressed by divine desires. Relief from the load, deliverance from the guilt, escape from the wrath, in a word, forgiveness of sins, and, at the most, some knowledge of justification, exhausts the ordinary conception of it as a present reality; finally, heaven after death!

The Church of God, and the Two or Three Gathered Together in My Name.

The idea of a church (or an assembly) of God is one foreign to scripture. We find in scripture “the assembly of God” in a particular locality, and also as applied in a corporate sense to the totality of the church in the world—to the system which is built upon the profession of Christ's name, admittance into which is by baptism unto His name. To these two ideas (facts as they were at first), and to nothing else, is the term “Church of God” applicable. No assembly of Christian people can now be designated as “the assembly of God” in a locality; this would be to ignore the real and received condition of the church, and would be an unjustifiable and untenable assumption. The remedy for those Christians who desire to quit what they know to be evil is in Matt. 18:20, the “two or three gathered together” in Christ's name, but proving the reality of it by subjection to Him. His name is owned in all orthodox denominations; the proof of the being gathered together in His name, and the reality of it, depends upon the principle of those so gathered, and upon practical obedience to His word. Otherwise it would be as easy to say, (and certainly more guilty) “I am of Christ,” as “I am of Apollos.” But when gathered in that name, and practically subject to His word, they have the assurance of His presence as the object of their affections, and the living source of authority, and they have likewise the teaching of God's word, both as to their individual privileges as Christians, and as to the doctrine of the church, whether as to its calling or as to its interior action and economy. It is our duty, as well as our privilege to be guided by the latter, as far as is possible under the circumstances, for God's rules as to His church remain, however long and generally they have been set at naught, and the Holy Spirit yet dwells in the church (not merely in a particular section of it), in spite of the church's utter disobedience and insubjection. Special blessing is, without doubt, with those who seek to be obedient; but there should be no assumption of what in the present divided state of the church, would not be true—of what would be true only of all believers together, and in common with ourselves.
Moreover, “the church of Christ” is a phrase never found in the New Testament as applied either to a single local assembly, or to the church collectively. In these senses it is always as we have seen, “the church of God.” We meet, it is true, with the expression, “the churches of Christ,” and that remarkably enough in the Epistle to the Romans (chap. 16:16), an expression as anti-Popish, and as anti-Roman Catholic as the apostle, under direct inspiration could have used.
Again, Christ is never spoken of as “Lord of,” or “Lord to,” the church. It is well to search scripture carefully, not for the sake of making distinctions, but with the object of (by God's grace) learning what God would teach us by distinctions He Himself has made. We need to search scripture in the present day—when in the department of scripture knowledge as in every other, men's minds are active, and a mistake, which might at first be unobserved, as though immaterial, may in due time be at the foundation of and vitiate a vast superstructure built upon it Godly vigilance and care were never more needed than at the present time.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ?????? and ???? AS USED IN THE NEW TESTAMENT

THE word τέκνον (from τίκτω to bear) is used for “child,” irrespective of sex, as descended by birth from its natural parents. (See Matt. 2:18.) Whilst olds, “son,” is the word used to distinguish a male from a female child (see Matt. 10:37), it is also used in a general sense to denote descendants as representing the family or line of the particular person. (John 4:12.) When we look into scripture to find the use of these words, in reference to the relationship of a believer to God, we remark that the word υιὀς—son—is the word always used in the Epistle to the Hebrews, and τέκνον does not occur in the book, whilst in the Gospels and Epistles of John τέκνον (child) is used to express that relationship with only one exception, which will be referred to hereafter. The word υιὀς occurs frequently in John, as applying to Christ, or in the simple sense of male, child, or descendant, (and once in John 17:12, son of perdition), never (save in chap. 12: 36, the exception referred to), in allusion to a believer's relationship to God.
Our English version does not give the distinction, as both words are translated promiscuously, “child” and “son.” A Greek Testament, or the Englishman's Greek Concordance, will show the distinction, and at the end of this paper a list of the transposed renderings is given. When we consider the character of the Epistle to the Hebrews as contrasted with the writings of John, we shall find a key to the difference, and it is one which opens up many other portions of scripture where the words are used.
The Gospel and Epistles of John treat, as all admit, of life and nature, and they teach that the life which a believer has is the same that is in Christ, and the nature is derived from God and is thus divine. On the other hand the “Hebrews” takes up the position rather than the nature of a believer, and shows his heavenly calling and access to God, in contrast with the earthly calling and distance from God of the Israelites.

From Troas to Miletus

Let us remark in this brief narrative, which is not accidental, that when Paul had planted the gospel in a country, he did not abandon the converts, but returns with affectionate solicitude, instructs, exhorts, edifies, and watches over the seed planted by his instrumentality, in order that it may be preserved and grow in the knowledge of Christ. He does not neglect the Lord's garden, well knowing that tares may spring up where the good seed grows, and that the enemy can spoil the harvest, if it is not well guarded. It is more needful now than ever to do this, for we are in the perilous times of the last days. Though the enemy can never pluck the sheep out of the Good Shepherd's hand, yet he may disperse them; they may be subjected to the effect of every kind of evil doctrine, by which their growth is hindered, the Lord's glory trampled upon, testimony to Him destroyed, and the candlestick taken away. Let the Lord's servants take warning!
Paul then returns to Macedonia. It is not important, but in verse 4 we should read, “Gaius and Timotheus of Derbe.” From verse 5 we see that many attached themselves to Paul in the work: and others, besides those in verse 4, went before.
Luke accompanied the apostle in his journey towards Troas. The others tarried for him at Troas. It is not without interest to see this emotion of hearts moved by the gospel which Paul preached. All were free; some, such as Apollos, laboring apart; the others, the companions of the great central figure—great for his faith in Christ, and as sent directly from Him by the voice of the Holy Ghost—occupied and sent by him to carry on and accomplish the work in places he would himself have visited, had he not been obliged to go elsewhere, when the opportunity presented itself for them to be thus sent.

The Book of Joshua, and The Epistle to the Hebrews. 1.

The leadership of the people of Israel by “the ark of the covenant and the priesthood,” under Joshua, when the time was come for them to cross over Jordan into Canaan, form the magnificent fore-front of this book. Besides this, their history reveals the coming forth of “the captain of the Lord's host with the drawn sword in his hand,” followed by their victories, and overthrow of all their enemies. Nor is this all; for it is not till after this clearance is made, that “the tabernacle of the congregation was set up at Shiloh,” under Eleazar the high priest, in order that the covenant relations of Jehovah with the twelve tribes might be seen to stand upon election and grace, and be maintained inviolate amongst them, on what God was in Himself. Moreover, “the tabernacle at Shiloh in the land of Canaan” was as necessary a part in the book of Joshua, as opening the way of approach to God for Israel as worshippers; as was Gilgal, and their recurrence to it, indispensable in the history of their conflicts, for their renewal of strength in the day of battle.
If we look into these subjects we must take a larger view than this circle embraces, and think of the nation of Israel in their primary relations to Jehovah. For this we must obviously refer to the books of Numbers and Exodus, that we may not lose sight of the original ways of God and His purposes, as declared to them by Moses, when he was their commander and mediator, and Aaron their great high priest. Indeed this link is manifestly kept up in the early chapters of the book of Joshua, and applied in a most encouraging way to him by the Lord, who said, “As I was with Moses, so will I be with thee, I will not fail thee nor forsake thee.” Besides this assurance to Joshua personally, as the appointed successor of Moses, there was the necessary continuation. of the high priest, and the Levitical priesthood in their midst for services connected with the ark of the covenant and the order of the tabernacle at Shiloh, which neither Joshua nor his armed men dare touch. Each of these great functionaries held their respective appointments directly from the Lord; and the two in their combined action, whether in the sanctuary of God, or in the camp of Israel, carried out the mind of Jehovah concerning His own holiness and majesty, or His people's glory.
Indeed, the priesthood and the tabernacle were indispensable as the way of approach for them as worshippers; whilst outwardly the relations of God with Israel by the ark of the covenant were manifested in the sight of all their enemies. This was true during the ministration of Aaron in the wilderness, or the Levites with Joshua when Jordan fled; or when marching round the city Jericho, and the walls fell down flat. Moses and Aaron were inseparable in their varied ministries at their exodus from Egypt, as were the priest and the captain at the door of the tabernacle in Shiloh for the settlement of the twelve tribes in the promised land. Indeed, these orders and services were not only established by God at the first, but when Aaron died on Mount Hor (as recorded in Num. 20) “Moses stripped Aaron of his garments, and put them upon Eleazar his son,” as the Lord commanded him. So likewise when Moses was to die on Mount Abarim, and he prayed the Lord “to set a man over the congregation,” he was directed to take Joshua and put him before Eleazar the high priest, and give him a charge in the sight of all the people. The connection, and yet the contrast between these two, are also marked in Num. 27, “And he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall ask counsel for him, after the judgment of Urim before the Lord, at his word shall they go out; and at his word shall they come in; both he, and all the children of Israel with him, even all the congregation.”

Notes on Matthew 22

The parable of the husbandmen refers to the responsibility of man, even when it treated of Christ's coming. Now the Lord proceeds to speak of the ways of God in grace toward Israel and also toward the Gentiles. In the preceding parable it was a question of seeking fruit as God was doing in Israel. Here a king makes a marriage-feast for his son, and invites the guests to the feast. Remark also that it is a likeness of the kingdom of the heavens (ver. 2), whilst in the preceding parable they were seeking the fruits according to a fixed measure of obligation, that is, the law, though this were by the ministry of the prophets and the Son, without the kingdom being in question.
Those first invited were the Jews, and of course also during the lifetime of Christ. (Ver. 3.) Afterward, when all things were ready He sent once more His servants—the apostles after His death—to invite them to the wedding-feast (ver. 4); but they made light of it. We find here the two characters of men: the preoccupied whose interest is in the world, and who do not trouble themselves about the Lord; and the violent who persecute His messengers. (Vers. 5, 6.) Luke, as is so often the case when moral things are treated of, enters more into detail, whilst for the other part he recounts in few words a crowd of incidents which do not make a moral picture. Luke 1 say, enters more into details for the purpose of showing what excuses men present for neglecting Christ; then he gives us to see the Lord seeking in grace the poor despised ones of Israel when the chiefs would not have the Messiah.
Here we have the great historical fact that Jerusalem and the Jews as such would not have anything to do with Him and would persecute those that are His, bringing on themselves as they have done the judgment of God and ruin.

The Lord's Table, and Its Place in the Church

The Epistle to the Romans lays the foundation of Christianity. There, first, we see man, whether Gentile or Jew, a guilty sinner under the judgment of God which awaits him, and God as a justifier through Jesus and His blood; secondly, man, connected with Adam, born in sin, and God a deliverer through the same Jesus, whom He gives as His gift of eternal life. (Rom. 1-7) The fruit is that the Holy Ghost is also given to him that believes, and Rom. 8 shows his full place as being in Christ, and Christ in him, and the Holy Ghost dwelling in him, bearing witness with his spirit that he is a child of God. In this position he waits for his body of glory, and the deliverance of creation by the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ from heaven.
1 Corinthians follows in beautiful order. The individual place of the Christian having been settled, his corporate place in the church of God is then seen. We have there the internal condition of an assembly of God laid before us, and the true place the church holds in the midst of the world explained. It is addressed to the assembly of God at Corinth, which is looked at under two aspects, namely, the body of Christ and the temple of God. In chapters i.-x., the church is looked at as the temple of God, and in chapters x.-xiv. as the body of Christ. This double portion is seen in the first few verses, where the saints are first looked at as sanctified in Christ Jest's, and then as those who in every place called on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. (See chap. i. 1-8.)
The first great point in the epistle is to bring out the three great foundations on which Christianity as a corporate thing is founded; to correct that human wisdom which was acting amongst the saints, and creating Paul, Apollos, and Cephas into heads of schools of opinion, and thus forming sects. These three great foundations of corporate Christianity are, first, the cross of Christ as the judgment of everything of man as looked at in the flesh. (See chap.. i. 18-29.) Second, Christ in glory made unto us wisdom, righteousness, justification, and redemption. (Vers. 30, 31.) Third, the Holy Ghost come down here as the Revealer and Communicator of that wisdom of God, which was written in Spirit-taught words, namely, the scriptures. (Chap. ii. 6-16.) This is Christianity in its foundation-principles as contrasted with the world's wisdom and power.

Notes on Job 28

The connection between this chapter and the preceding has perplexed readers and writers on the book; but, though it passes (as not infrequently do Job's discourses) into a sort of soliloquy, there seems to be an intelligible and weighty link with what went immediately before, where the miserable end of the ungodly fool is set out most vividly. This might appear an extreme case; but in truth it is the too general experience of the race, that men walk after a vain show, zealous after every other object under the sun, yea, in the bowels of the earth, and in the depths of the sea, overlooking that wisdom which consists in and is inseparable from the fear of the Lord, and that understanding which departs from evil. Such is God's saying, who knows the place of wisdom inscrutable to all others, for destruction and death can only say that they have heard its report with their ears. Not seeing the connection, the Vulgate, followed by Luther, &c., gives no expression to the particle éÌÄë as others soften down into a musing ejaculation, “Yes truly,” “Indeed.” The antithesis in any case is in verse 12, “But wisdom,” &c.
For there is a vein for the silver,
And a place for the gold they refine.

The Closing History of the Lord and of Paul

I have been much struck with the comparison between the blessed Lord, at the end of His life, and Paul, in his last visit to Jerusalem, faithful and blessed servant of the Lord as He was. Christ, aware of the purpose of the Jews, as indeed the disciples were, remains calmly at a distance when He had gone away from Jerusalem, moved by no human claim, touching as it was, till God His Father's will was manifest, and then goes up without fear; dismayed as the disciples were at the thought of it, He walked in the light, and stumbling was not before Him. Paul, bound in his spirit, warned in every city of bonds and afflictions, and, not only so, but told by those who spoke by the Spirit not to go up, goes, no doubt under the hand of God overruling it all, but listening to the counsel of Judaizing Christians, to be taken, and, as we have seen it recorded by the Holy Ghost, close his public ministry, not carrying out his purposes as to Spain, &c. He is taken in a tumult, and then seized by the Romans. The blessed Lord delivers Himself up, saying, “If ye seek me, let these go their way.” In the temple all classes of the Jews come to prove and try Him, but are judged one after another, and, unable to answer Him, dare ask Him no more questions, and then He is condemned for the testimony to the truth He gave Himself, both before the chief priests and Pontius Pilate. All was simply perfect, as it became One who, if in grace among men, must have manifested His perfection among them. If ever man was honored and blessed, it was Paul; but he was a man simply, a divinely raised up and divinely gifted testimony to Christ, and faithful in his walk. But Christ was the subject of testimony (through the Faithful Witness), Paul a testifier to Christ, and, however prominent in service, a man as we are.

Fragment: 2 Corinthians 5:14

To apply 2 Cor. 5:14 to death to sin, instead of death by it, is more wrong than I thought, because πάρτων is absolute. “He died for all,” and οἰ ράντες applies necessarily to the same all.

Fragment: Didaktikos

The word διδακτικός is not the gift of teaching, properly so called; it means suitable to communicate the truth he might have. It is a practical qualification as all the others, not a specific gift. What confirms in this is 2 Tim. 2:24, where it is among the qualities characterizing the manners to the Lord's servant, as avoiding foolish questions, and dealing with souls for their instruction. (1 Tim. 3:2; Titus 1)

Thoughts on Isaiah 7-9

I take this passage because it contains a great outline, and is an instance of what is common in the prophets, the taking what was passing then and connecting it with the great counsel and plan of God which has its full result in Christ. In Isaiah you generally get the whole scheme or plan of God, who was thus revealing as Peter says, “no prophecy of the scripture,” &c.
You do find a present application to encourage faith while the prophet looks out to the full result. But this as to the earth. The events were to happen there. We belong to heaven.
There are two great principles of judgment. One is departure from original standing, the other is fitness to meet the Lord when He comes. See the vine for the one (Isa. 5.); the other we see in Isa. 6, the Lord high and lifted up, and “I am undone,” &c.

Divine Life

There are three especial privileges and their effect in divine life—obedience, love of brethren, and confidence in God, all manifested in Christ. So in the temptation, and in death as in life, loving His own. Love is the divine part properly, the love of God shed abroad, the spring being God's revelation, and this by the Holy Ghost given. Christ was it in the world. God was in Christ. There the human aide is obedience, God's will the motive as well as rule, Christ's obedience, to which we are sanctified. Confidence is the natural fruit of this revelation of God in the dependent creature, only it is but as walking in obedience, and not grieving the Holy Spirit, that we have this confidence. Not that there ever should be doubt of His love, but not liberty in love with Him. Obedience (righteousness) and love are the two figures of divine life, both prevailing in Christ. Thus love to the brethren is the divine side, which is not without importance. It is love to God, the reflex and outgoing of the sense of divine love in the heart; God in us, and so known. “As my Father loved me, so I you: abide in my love.” As I have loved you, that ye also love one another. But this is really a weighty proverb. Love never fails.

Notes on John 13:1-5

We enter now on a new section of our Gospel—the last communications of the Lord to His disciples, closing with His opening out His heart to the Father about them. The entire drift is in all points and ways to lead His own into a true spiritual understanding of their new place before God the Father, and in the world in contrast with that of Israel. It is not the church, but most fully and distinctively the Christian position.
“Now, before the feast of the passover, Jesus, knowing that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto his Father, having loved his own that [were] in the world, loved them unto [the] end.” (Ver. 1.) He was the only man whom nothing took by surprise. All was read, and known, and felt in the presence of God His Father. Not only did He know throughout that He was to die, and its form, character, and object in God's purpose, as well as in man's and Satan's malice, but we see here that its immediate proximity was before His mind. Yet in John it is not man's or God's forsaking Him in that bitter hour, but the hour came for His departure out of this world to His Father, instead of staying here as Jews expected according to the Old Testament in their Messiah. As the other Gospels bring out the evidence of His rejection by the people, our evangelist sees Him from the first rejected, and at the end preparing the disciples for the immense change at hand, when the Messiah should be in heaven, and the Holy Spirit sent down to be in and with His own on earth, the Father too being the relation of God not to Him only, but in due time and way to them also.
Further, He would show His love in fresh and suited forms: “Having loved his own that were in the world,” He loved not merely till the end, but taking up each need, and incurring all labor for them, whatever the draft in it, unremittingly and without wavering. Such is the love of Jesus to His own in the world, where it is constantly wanted. We know what love He expressed to them at that last passover (Luke 22:15) and how infinitely it was proved in His blood and death for them as a lamb without blemish and without spot, foreordained before the foundation of the world, but manifested at the end of the times for their sakes who believed. But now He would show them a love as active for them when He should depart to His Father, as when He fulfilled the passover in dying for them.

I and We in 1 and 2 Corinthians

Remark the singular beauty and fitness, as to feelings, of the way in which the apostle passes from “I” to “we” in 2 Cor. 2:14, and more variously in chapter where he passes from one to another: so in chapter 8, and the chapters which follow, as chapter 9, save verse 11. See how he turns in chapter 10: 2, and the mixture in verse 8. The apostle is one. Paul is “I;” and his heart made him so with the Corinthians. See much of the “I” (as it were foolishly). Chapter 11: 21 brings in “we,” but is generally “I;” chapter 12, “I,” save verse 19. The same interchange in chapter 13 as in chapter 8. Chapter 3 is all “we,” chapters 1 and 2 being naturally varied. Save Paul and his children, chapters 6: 3; 3, 4, 5, 6, is all the ministerial “we.” But the natural appropriateness is striking. See the change in 1 Cor. 2:6 as characteristic. So chapter 1:23: so chapter 2: 12, 18. See the change in chapter 4:1, 2, 3. See verse 9, changing in verse 14. In chapters 5, 6, 7 we turn to “I.” In chapter 9 we return to the apostolic “we;” in verse 15 to Paul again, and to the end, save chapter 15: 15: only he has mentioned the apostles.

Notes on 2 Corinthians: Introduction

Very distinct in tone from the first Epistle, yet not less distinctly from the same mind and heart, is the second Epistle to the Corinthians. No writing of the apostle bears more unequivocally the marks of all which characterized him; none more corresponding with the state of those whom he addressed; but this in rich restorative grace and deep triumphant feeling before God. Of all the epistles none abounds in more rapid transitions; as indeed it flowed from profound exercises of soul. The circumstances through which he had passed evidently fitted him for the work in hand, which forbids any division of orderly treatment of subjects. This however is just what should be; nor does any epistle afford a finer example of what is suitable.
Personal experience, and this used for the help of others in their trials; the work of the Lord in all its varieties, with the action of the Holy Ghost answering to it; the truth of God in its distinctive shape and highest forms, or the glory of Christ in contrast with the spirit, in former days hidden under the letter; the walk and service which befit such revelations of grace; the affections called into action by all this in the midst of sorrow and suffering, with evil abounding and grace much more abounding; the trials and wants of saints, calling out the loving remembrance of others; the opposition of self-seeking men, employed of the enemy to hinder the blessing of saints and to lower the glory of Christ, to distract the weak and give scope for unscrupulous activity; but on the other hand the energy of the Holy Ghost working not only to give heavenly visions, and so give faith its object, but to manifest Christ in weakness and suffering where the power of Christ may rest, are all brought out with remarkable fullness.
Hence the expression of feeling is far more frequent and pronounced in the second Epistle than the first. Not that the first fails in showing that the apostle loved the Corinthians, and still hoped all things. But the second brings out still more manifestly how he bore all, believed all, endured all. Here therefore he speaks with far more confidence of his sure reward, in a love which sought not his own things but theirs. Here he explains his motives with much greater openness. Their subjection to the rebukes of his first epistle, their obedience to the word of the Lord which he had charged on their consciences, left him free now to explain himself. But even so he speaks with the greatest delicacy, lest he might seem careful to vindicate himself instead of cherishing jealousy for the Lord alone. Their edification was the nearest object of his heart, next to the glory of the Lord, if indeed we may even thus far sever what faith knows to be inseparable. More than once he takes up the case of the soul under discipline (as in the first epistle he had urged them to act in holy jealousy for Christ), first to show grace in restoring him who was surcharged with grief; and secondly to own how they in every way had proved themselves pure in the matter.

Testimony of Peter and John Compared With Paul's

It has been of old noticed how Peter and John are ministerially brought forward in John 21, Paul's ministry being of course omitted. But I want to inquire more into the two former, and first John. The main teaching of the Spirit of God by him is the person of the Lord as come from heaven, bringing life; and after having His sheep and His heavenly care, after being owned in His three characters, His sending of the Holy Ghost. In his epistles eternal life in Him become our life, and its characteristics, with one remarkable statement of the love of God. But dispensationally he has to do with earth, as Peter, that is, Christianity as developed on earth. In chapter 6 the Lord is owned prophet, refusing to be king, and goes up on high as to the priestly place; but His going up on high only just alluded to in His discourse, the disciples having the character of the Jewish remnant when He rejoins them, whereupon they come to land. Our individual place in Him we have fully, but the church never; rarely what is heavenly: what is divine manifested here, but not man in heaven. Literally in the former chapter (17.) we have the whole time skipped over, from the Jerusalem church to appearing in glory (only in ver. 24 coming to what is heavenly), in verse 21 the immediate converts of the twelve; in verse 22 the glory. The Jews are set aside from the first chapter, and Christ is the true vine on earth. As a general truth the Spirit replaces Him. In chapter 20:17 is the Christian's individual place by redemption. The Lord is then in their midst on earth. From that place He sends them, and, as risen, confers the Holy Spirit in the power of the breath of life, and gives the title of administering forgiveness of sins. This is the remnant, there as Thomas, when they hereafter see and own Him. Personal revelation, then, three times, and the case of the remnant committed to Peter as his present service.
John's ministry reaches mysteriously over till the Lord comes. And this we have with warning in the epistle that the last time was come already in apostasy and Antichrist; and in the Revelation the judicial account, first of the church, then of the world, the Christian's place being found in chapter 1: 5, 6; but all an earthly Christ, though what He has made us in it; and chapter 22: 17, where the whole circle of their affection as on earth is described. The church formed on earth is unnamed by Peter and John. We have sheep and a flock, one flock and one shepherd, children and family unity, but no body. Then Christ builds His church: the living stones come to the Living Stone. It grows to a holy temple, but there is no present body or present house. Peter has the keys of the kingdom entrusted to him, and what he bound on earth was bound in heaven (so of the two or three in Matt. 18; cf. 2 Cor. 2:10). In the kingdom I get conferred authority and administration, and I think in this Jerusalem church sphere, administrative forgiveness, as distinct from redemptional forgiveness (though founded on redemption), which is eternal. But this administrative forgiveness, as a present dealing, is very important; only there is another and greater redemption through His blood, and consequently no sin imputed to us at all, no more conscience of sins. Redemption and salvation of the soul we have in Peter (and in his sermon baptism to the remission of sins), but not peace (save salvation), nor completeness in Christ. In John we have believers in Christ, and as He is so are we in this world, personal standing in Him. We have cleansing by Christ's blood and propitiation. But all this was in this world—blessing enough too.
But Paul's ministry was wholly apart. He was delivered from Jew and Gentile, united to a glorified Christ, and thus witnessed of our sitting in Him in heavenly places, and of a new creation. The foundations were all the same, but the distinct heavenly position as entered into now was his alone to tell, death being on all the past, and so the church's place. Christian and apostolic forgiveness he could speak of down here, but administered forgiveness of past sins, a reception of it, as to the past, is not his affair. He is not an administrator with authority from heaven, as in Matt. 16, but one who brings us there. The nearest to it, “ye are washed, ye are sanctified, ye are justified.” But this just shows the difference: it is not forgiven. If there is forgiveness, it is identical with imputing no sin. There may be no government, as in James. So that the forgiveness in John 20. is a wholly inferior thing. He could bind and loose, his orderings were the commandments of the Lord, but with him all this was church detail. What he had was a new dispensation, an οἰκονομἰα, dating from Damascus, not Antioch, though formally in mission inaugurated at Antioch, showing its second great proof, the power of the Holy Ghost present down here, as the glorified Christ was the basis and starting-point of it. Hence He owns no apostles before the ascension of Christ. It started entirely anew, independently and directly from Christ, though recognizing, and, in one sense, tacked on through Ananias to the old thing; for he washed away his sins in baptism, but not sent, therefore, to baptize at all. The basis of the mission of the twelve, as in John, not merely in Matt. 28, is resurrection, which is indeed the seal of salvation work, but knows no union with Christ—our resurrection with Him leads into it; but even baptism for Paul was not for remission of sins, however true, but to Christ's death, putting on Christ. Hence, of course, with Him alone we have the rapture, not merely the revelation of Christ.

The Day of Atonement: Leviticus 16

It is of some importance to see, and I therefore remark it at the starting-point, that atonement differs sensibly from redemption. In the book of Exodus stands the great type of redemption, and in Leviticus of atonement; the truth in both centers in the death of our Lord Jesus Christ. In the Old Testament redemption was the deliverance of Israel from Pharaoh and Egypt. In His mercy God interposed to set free the people from the house of bondage, and as the passover set forth its righteous ground in the blood of the lamb, so was there the figure of Christ's death and resurrection in the passage of the Red Sea, or rather of death with Christ, and hence of faith living to God. But this is not so much what is taught in the book of Leviticus, as a sacrifice for sin perfectly glorifying God within the holiest, and a testimony to the people without that their sins were confessed and borne away to be remembered by Him no more.
On one day alone every year in Israel there was a sacrificial work done which had for its object to fit the people and the priests for their respective measures of nearness to God. It was now a question, not of enemies, nor even of Israel's being delivered, but of conciliating with God's holiness and righteousness a people guilty and defiled. Could He own in living relationship a people with sins and transgressions upon them? Were they by these defilements to be utterly incapacitated in the person of the high priest from coming into or standing in the presence of God?
Atonement met their need and His glory; for therein God proposed for that very people while in the wilderness—the place where uncleanness abounds and men are always exposed to it—to provide a way worthy of Himself and suited to them whereby their representative might approach Him. He proposed Himself to give them a ground of access to His sanctuary, and this in such a way that there should be no lowering of His character on the one hand, and on the other no denial of their uncleanness, but both known far better and more deeply felt than before. There was such a laying bare before God of their evils on that great day as was never witnessed on any other of the year. But the same institution which exposed did also cover them, at the same time judging and canceling their guilt, and this, one may add, by the most unsparing dealing on God's part and the most solemn confession on man's. Nevertheless that judgment fell not on the guilty but on a God-appointed sacrifice. This is the truth with which the chapter opens. Here of course it is but a figure; but the figure of a most blessed and efficacious reality, of the utmost interest to us to whom God has now revealed its fullness in the death of Christ. For this very figure of atonement in Israel the Spirit of God takes up in the New Testament to show, not merely that we have an atoning sacrifice no less than they, but that theirs was but a feeble shadow and not the very image, of what grace has given us now in the one offering of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Heb. 9; 10)

Life by the Word

My Dear Brother,
I have nothing very especial on the points you speak of, save holding fast the great foundations that it is a new life communicated. “He that hath the Son hath life; he that hath not the Son of God hath not life;” only 2 Peter 1:4 is more conformity to the divine nature, as you say, though not merely attainment.
The word is the instrument as it is said, faith comes by hearing, ἀκοή, report, and hearing, ἀκοή by the word of God. It is hard to say how the word merely works, save that it is God's method of the revelation of Christ, and where accompanied by the quickening power of the Spirit, it becomes thus the means of life, what is spoken of as the word communicated to the soul by the Spirit becomes life.

Notes on Job 29

A fresh discourse of Job here begins, and it is his final one, which naturally parts into the three chapters which follow, each presenting a distinct portion, and the whole a very complete summary of the case, as it now presented itself to the sufferer's spirit. He takes a retrospective glance at his past life, when divine favor lavished on him every enjoyment that an upright soul could desire on earth, and this in the relief of the needy and distressed, quite as much as in the universal honor of those that knew him. Then in chapter 30 he contrasts his actual circumstances of degradation, an object of scorn and insult to the lowest, even of the young, and this without the smallest comfort within, yea, the bitterest dregs of his cup lying in the fact that he cried unheard to God who indeed with strong hand was putting him down, as surely as He had once blessed and exalted him; so that he could only surrender himself to hopeless sorrow as regards this life. Yet does he, in chapter 31, with the utmost detail and solemnity repudiate all consciousness of secret iniquity, whether wandering in lust, or in any stain on domestic propriety, either in public or in religious life, so as not only to imprecate judgments if there was hidden evil, but to speak with unbecoming boldness in the presence of God, who however well knew that His poor servant was far more distant from hypocrisy than his friends that suspected him. Thus runs the first of these sections.
And Job continued to utter his parable and said,
Who giveth me like the months of old,

Notes on Matthew 16-17

Chapter 16. We arrive at that part of the Gospel where other ways of God, other manifestations of His character and of His glory, are substituted for Judaism. The kingdom and the form that it would take have been already revealed to us in chapter 13. However, though the form announced in the parables was to be new, the kingdom itself was in view since the time of John the Baptist, though it could not be established then, Jesus being rejected. Purposes of God, important in, very different respects, were to be accomplished through the death of the Lord. And although the judgment of Israel had been plainly declared, and the new condition of the kingdom depicted in the parables of chapter 13, the power and the patient grace of the Lord were manifested in the midst of the people, up to the close of chapter 15. But now all is terminated: the church and the kingdom of glory take the place of an Emmanuel Messiah in the midst of the people. The unbelief of the heads of the nation is manifested in their request for a sign from heaven; signs enough had been given. It was not genuine faith, and the Lord reproves them and goes away. They knew well enough how to observe the signs of the weather that was coming; how was it then that they did not see the far clearer signs of Israel's condition—signs which were precursors of the judgment of God? It was nothing but hypocrisy: they should only have the sign of Jonas; the death and the resurrection of Jesus bringing the judgment, the terrible punishment of the nation, as a natural and necessary consequence of the scornful rejection of their Messiah come in grace.
The disciples themselves participate, not in the want of sincerity, but at least in the want of intelligence, of the Jews. Their faith understood no more than that of the Jews did the power that had manifested itself daily before their eyes. Jesus was to find nowhere a heart that understood Him. This isolation is one of the most striking features of the ordinary life of the Savior, a Man of sorrows in this world. The Lord introduces what was going to be substituted for the kingdom in Israel by a question destined to bring out the doctrine of His person, the first foundation of everything recognized by faith. “Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?” This is the character assumed by the One in whom God was proving men according to His own thoughts and according to His counsels. The heir of all the glory which belonged to man according to the determinate counsel of God taking His place among men here below, and before God the representation of the race, a race then accepted by Him, although He associated Himself with all their miseries, the true heir and representative of the race alone perfect before God.
Psa. 8; 80:17, and Dan. 7 represent Him thus to us in the Old Testament according to the thoughts of God. Men, struck by His miracles and His walk, had their opinions; faith, through the revelation of God, acknowledges His person. Peter, answering the question addressed to all, proclaims this truth, the foundation of every hope, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” It is worth while saying a word as to the character of the great apostle.

Notes on John 13:6-11

The Lord proceeds to the work in hand. “He cometh then unto Simon Peter. He saith to him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Jesus answered and said to him, what I am doing thou knowest not just now, but shalt know afterward. Peter saith to him, In no wise shalt thou wash my feet forever. He answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. Simon Peter saith to him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. Jesus saith to him, He that is washed [bathed] hath no need to wash [other] than his feet, but is wholly clean; and ye are clean, but not all. For he knew him that was delivering him up: on this account he said, Ye are not all clean.” (Vers. 6-11.)
In divine things the wisdom of the believer is subjection to Christ and confidence in Him. What He does, we are called to accept with thankfulness of heart, and as Mary said to the servants at the marriage feast, “whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.” This Simon Peter did not. For when the Lord approached him “in the form of a servant,” or bondman, he demurred. Was there not faith, working by love in Peter's heart? Both undoubtedly, yet not then in action, but buried under superabundant feeling of a human sort: else he had not allowed his mind to question what the Lord saw fit to do. He had rather bowed to Christ's love and sought to learn, as He might teach, what deep need must be in him and his fellows to draw forth such a lowly yet requisite service from his Master. Ah! he knew not yet that Jesus must go lower down far than stooping to wash the disciples' feet, even to the death of the cross, if God were to be glorified and sinful man to be justified and delivered with an indisputable title. But the grace which was undertaking that infinite work of propitiation, the groundwork for meeting every exigency of the divine nature and majesty and righteousness in view of our guilt, and unto the glory of God, would provide for every step of the way where defilement abounds, that we might enjoy communion, spite of Satan's power and wiles and our own weakness, yea spite of failure be restored to communion with Him in the light and glory of God to which He was going back, and into which we shall in due time follow Him.
Peter did believe, but he did not yet believe “all that the prophets have spoken.” He feebly entered into what He Himself afterward called the sufferings as to Christ, and the glories that should follow them. He continued to regard the Lord too exclusively as Messiah, little estimating till afterward the depths involved in the Son of the living God, though his own lips had thus confessed His glory before. Nature was too little judged in Peter, so that he did not yet appreciate its meaning and application and results as subsequently under divine teaching when the cross manifested its worth or rather worthlessness before God and man. Too self-confident and indeed ignorant not only of himself and the defiling scene around, but of the depths and constancy of Christ's love, Peter says to Him, “Lord, dost thou wash my feet?” Granting that he could not know what was not yet revealed, but was it comely in him, was it reverent, to question what the Lord was doing? He may have thought it humility in himself, and honor to the Lord, to decline a service so menial at His hands. But Peter should never have forgotten that as Jesus never said a word, so He never did an act, save worthy of God and demonstrative of the Father; and now more than ever were His words and ways an exhibition of divine grace, as human evil set on by Satan, not only in those outside, but within the innermost circle of His own, called for increased distinctness and intensity.

Notes on 2 Corinthians 1:1-7

Restorative grace, according to the character and power of life in Christ, is the key-note of this epistle, and that accompanied by the deepest exercise of the heart under the disciplinary ways of God. If the Corinthians had to learn in a manner suited to their state, the apostle too, far more profoundly, that he might be enabled fittingly to carry on and complete the gracious work of humbling and self-judgment begun in them by his first epistle. The Lord called him to pass through the severest personal trial and suffering in order the more effectively to serve and sympathize with them, now that their state interpreted by love admitted of unreserved affection and its free expression to them. The influence of all this, as we may see, is very considerable on the style of his second letter, which abounds in the most rapid transitions and abrupt allusions, as he tells out for their profit his own affliction, and the faithfulness of God, intermingling experience, doctrine, comfort, and warning, most intimately; yet so far from confusion that all helps on the great aim of bringing home the lessons of grace to the annihilation of self-confidence or glorying in man.
“Paul, apostle of Jesus Christ by God's will, and Timothy the brother to the assembly that is in Corinth, with all the saints that are in the whole of Achaia; grace to you and peace from God our Father and [our] Lord Jesus Christ.”
The opening words of the second epistle naturally resemble those of the first, yet with well defined marks of difference. There is no repetition here of his calling to the apostolate, nor is the assembly at Corinth qualified as sanctified in Christ Jesus, and saints by the analogous calling of God, which one cannot but judge intrinsically calculated and intended by grace to exercise their consciences in the then state of things in that city. Sosthenes was there graciously associated with the apostle, as one known to and probably of themselves, whom he could honor if they did not; as here we find Timothy from elsewhere, as to whose worthy reception by them the first epistle shows him solicitous. But in the first the apostle had joined the Corinthian church “with all that call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ in every place, both theirs and ours,” here “with all the saints that are in the whole of Achaia.” It is clear that the first gives a far wider extension than the second, and leaves room for a profession which might not be real, as indeed the apostle evidently feared as to the Corinthians themselves in both epistles, especially the first. But the direct force seems to be to embrace, in the express address, saints here or there in Achaia who might not be gathered into assemblies, or such as called on the Lord's name everywhere. As it was of moment that all these should know their heritage in the privileges given and revealed, and be kept from the snare of unbelief which denies their catholicity and continuance, so it was of moment that all the saints throughout Achaia should know and rejoice in the grace that had wrought restoratively in the Corinthian assembly, whatever might remain to be desired from the Lord. It was their common interest and profit for others as well as those immediately concerned. If one member suffer, all the members with it; and if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. In both Epistles he could not but wish them characterized by “grace” the spring and “peace” the effect of love above evil and need, flowing richly and freely “from God our Father and [our] Lord Jesus Christ,” the source and the channel of every blessing, but here again characterizing the desired grace and peace.

Epistles of Paul

Roman, Ephesians, Colossians, and Philippians were not addressed to assemblies. Why? It is not only a chronological mark, though it be the last ones which do not speak of churches, which were addressed in the midst of his active ministry and moving among them.
When, as a wise master-builder, he had laid the foundation, he was still the immediate responsible caretaker of those he had founded. This public ministry was closed when he wrote to the Romans. He had never been there. It was not the case of a church he had founded. It is, before he went, an elaborate treatise on justification, and the position of the Jews as a people in reference to the “no difference” principle.
To the Philippians, though to a church he had founded, the epistle was a thank-sending for their love, showing also what walking in the Spirit really is, and its power. It is the experience of the individual in the power of the Spirit of God. It was no ordering of a church, but individual walk, and he a debtor to them for their care of him. It was therefore necessarily to the saints, not to the church, though their church order is specifically recognized.

Fragment: God's Promises

God’s promises are precepts to Himself, binding on Him, and, as His to us, showing us what He is in Himself.

Fragment: The Spirit's Guiding in What We Say

What appears frankness is not always full openness. What is the Christian part? To say nothing unnecessary on principle; and then one is simple in both. Let the Spirit guide us in all we actually say.

The Gospel of God

In the opening verses of the epistle to the saints at Rome, the gospel is spoken of as God's gospel—God's power unto salvation. It is that in which the righteousness of God is revealed. All is of God; and we are told what the gospel is about, what it reveals, what its power, and on whom its marvelous blessings are conferred. God is the source of all our blessings, and all is made ours on the principle of faith. We observe that Paul was an apostle by calling, and separated unto the work of the gospel by the sovereign acting of the Holy Ghost. He tells us he had received grace. Those too, in Rome, to whom he wrote, were saints by calling, beloved of God, called of Jesus Christ. All these ways were entirely of grace, and completely opposed to the principle of law.
The real value and point of the glad tidings of God, however, can only be rightly estimated by the consideration of the alarming fact, stated in connection with these verses, that “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness” (ver. 18), which shows that God's terrible judgment against all that is contrary to Himself is coming upon men from heaven. It is not a local or partial intervention of God's anger, but “against all ungodliness.” Divine wrath then is coming, and happy are those who like the Thessalonians can say they are “delivered from the wrath to come.” But let us not fail to notice, that wrath is revealed from heaven, not only against all that is hostile to God, but against all those who, while holding fast the letter of the truth, are practicing unrighteous ways. In the days of our Lord the Jews were the holders of the truth. All the truth of God known in the world was with them. The oracles of God had been committed unto them; but alas what grievous unrighteousness was among them, culminating in preferring a robber to Christ, and spitting upon and crucifying the Savior whom God had sent. In our day Christendom holds the truth—professes to be for Christ in contradistinction to Mahometanism, Judaism, and idolatry; but the prophetic delineation of the last days is being rapidly fulfilled, that men would be “covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers.... lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God, having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.” (2 Tim. 3:1-5.) What is this but holding the truth in unrighteousness? And on such may we not expect that the heaviest blow of the wrath of God will speedily fall? Are we not told that God will judicially send “men strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: because they received not the love of the truth, that they all might be damned, who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness?” (2 Thess. 2:11, 12.) However the solemn and arousing fact remains unmistakably clear that “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness.” It is in connection with this alarming warning that the glad tidings of God are sent forth.
Firstly, it is well to observe that the gospel is “the gospel of God” —God's message to man; a ministry that makes no demands on man, but communicates glad tidings, which can make him happy (sinner though he may be), and at rest in God's infinitely holy presence. In the gospel God speaks, and it becomes man to hearken. If a prophet in olden times said, “Hear and your soul shall live,” the blessed Master was wont to say, “He that heareth my word, and believeth him that sent me, path everlasting life,” and an apostle could write that “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

John 1-3

John 1; 2 are complete in themselves. What Christ was (not relatively, however, but what He was), then what He became (σὰρξ ἐγένετο); then His work and operation, Lamb of God, and Baptizer with the Holy Ghost, and then John's gathering when He is owned as Messiah, and His gathering on earth (specially the remnant in Israel), then the guileless Nazarite, known under the fig-tree, that is, in Israel owning Him, according to Psa. 2, and the Lord assuring Him he should thenceforth see Him, according to Psa. 8, that is, as Son of man, with the highest creatures waiting on Him. Then comes the marriage (of Israel), and the water of purification turned into the wine of joy, and judgment purging His Father's house, His death and resurrection being the warrant for such acts of authority.
But this before His public ministry, which, though in Israel, was not in Judea, brings in the whole new ground of what was coming in. Reception by outward just human conclusions is of no avail; subjectively we must be born again, a new divine life (ἄνωθεν), even for the kingdom, to see or enter in, and Messiah rejected and crucified, the Son of man bringing in redemption and eternal life, association with what is heavenly, meeting man's necessity as Son of man, and revealing God's love as Son of God given, and this for the world, the wind blowing where it listed, though even for Israel's future earthly part in the blessings promised in the kingdom, the teacher of Israel might have known, e.g., from Ezek. 36 that this new state must be. Eternal life is connected with the cross, not with being born again, though it was the action of sovereign grace, and went out where God pleased, as the wind. But men were perishing, and now received eternal life, salvation, through the cross. He did not come into the world to judge it now, but to save it; but then came the responsibility and consequent judgment which hung on the believing on Him or not. This was from light coming into the world, and men loving darkness rather than light.
On the other hand, in the end we have the fall blessing in Him by faith. He is above all coming from heaven, tells what He has seen and heard, and now receives this new kind of knowledge. So verse 11. But His words are God's, the Spirit not being given by measure. Such is His place on earth. Further, as Son the Father loves Him, and has put all into His hand. The believer in Him bas everlasting life; the unbeliever shall not see life, but God's wrath abides on him. He is set up as God's testimony, with God's words from heaven whence He came, and besides, as the loved Son, the Father has put all things in His hand. Eternal life and wrath depend on His being believed in, or the contrary. The responsibility is light come into the world, but the full character of what is involved in His presence. (Vers. 31, 36.) Here we are far away beyond Judaism; even if the bride is taken as Judaism, though it be a generic idea. Chapter 4 begins the history of sovereign grace in a rejected Savior, neither at that mountain, nor at Jerusalem.

Deliverance: Part 1

Rom. 8:1-4.
The beginning of Rom. 8 is the full answer to the cry of wretchedness in chapter 7: “O wretched man that I am I who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” There are three great parts in the deliverance: first, the setting free of the soul at the commencement of its career; then practical freedom in its course; and, finally, ultimate deliverance for the body in resurrection at the coming of our Lord. What concerns souls pre-eminently, in the first instance, is that spiritual freedom, without which there can be no practical power, any more than in the service of the Lord, or in worship. Hence it is this first part of the deliverance that it will be my main business to dwell on at present. Not that the application to practice is not of the highest moment; but we should remember that practical freedom and power depend on this primary deliverance. Again, final deliverance must not be supposed to be forgotten; but that is a question of the Lord's intervention by-and-by, when there can be no possibility of a flaw. Now there may be first, failure, in appreciating the soul's deliverance, as in verse 2; and, secondly, in turning practical liberty to the Lord's account in walk. But when the Lord comes to quicken these mortal bodies—and they are called mortal in contradistinction from the soul—no failure will be possible. It was not necessary to call the soul immortal, because immortality is essentially bound up with its nature.
Let us, then, turn to a little consideration of the first grand truth, the setting free of the soul. And this remark may be made at the threshold, that the deliverance in question is quite distinct from quickening. Rom. 7 is the strongest possible proof of this; for we have, from verse 7 onward, exactly the experience of a man quickened, but not delivered. We see there a soul going through much painful exercise inwardly, ending in the cry, “O wretched man,” &c. It is not a careless or unawakened person, but neither is it one delivered. There are two errors to be avoided here, over-rating and under-estimating the condition of the case in Rom. 7. These two mistakes carry away far the largest part of Christendom, and perhaps of real Christians. There are those who consider that the soul in this distress is unconverted; and one reason why they do so is, because in the progress of its exercises it says, “I am carnal.” But such an inference is unwarranted, and arises from confounding carnal with natural, which is ignorance of scripture. There are three classes, and not two only; there are natural, carnal, and spiritual men. Now Rom. 7 describes the intermediate class; the person there is neither natural nor spiritual. This is where the great mistake is made, and by none more than by the theologians. They confound a carnal with a natural man, supposing that “carnal” means one dead in trespasses and sins. But in 1 Corinthians this distinction is plainly drawn. In chapter 2 the apostle, speaking of the natural man, declares that he “receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God.” In chapter 3 he takes up the other term, and distinctly tells the Corinthian believers that they were carnal; not, of course, natural, but “carnal.” They were believers, but in a wrong and low condition. They ought to have been, but were not, “spiritual.”

Notes on Job 30

Now Job sets forth the misery and degradation to which he had been suddenly reduced. And, first, he dwells on the disdain which was his portion, not from the high and haughty, but from the most wretched and despicable of men. None was so low that he could not regard Job with derision and scorn. It would be hard to find such a picture of utter baseness in the habits of men; yet was there no expression of malicious contempt which he had not to endure from these loathsome objects, who set on him, not only with their vulgar ribaldry, but with the coarsest of practical jokes and rude indecorums, which utterly unnerved him. But then a deeper and more constant sorrow oppressed him, for he could not shut out from himself the harrowing conviction that his ceaseless sufferings in the body were from the hand of God, from whom he might have looked for compassion. Whereas now he could not but abandon all hope of relief or deliverance from above, any more than of the commonest sympathy from men ordinarily quick enough to feel for the misery of their fellows.
And now at me they laugh, younger in days than I,
Whose fathers I had disdained to set with the dogs of my flock!

Notes on Matthew 18

The three chapters, 18,19, and 20, up to the end of verse 28, form a subdivision of our Gospel. They show us from the Savior Himself the principles that ought to characterize the disciples in the new order of things on which they were entering—principles of life and conduct, individual and collective. Nature, as far as established of God, is owned; but the state of the heart is sounded, grace and the cross characterizing all the new system. The first principles enjoined by God in the Christian order are humility and simplicity.
The disciples, as usual, wished to have a good position in the kingdom, each for himself, this time, however, more in relation with moral character, with qualities. The Lord's answer is limited to calling a child, and placing him in the midst of His disciples, as an example of the spirit which ought to characterize them: he who resembled that little child should be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. The child pretended to nothing, and passed for nothing in the eyes of the world. He who was nothing in his own eyes should, be great in God's eyes. Whoever should receive a little child in the name of Jesus had entered into His thought—into the estimate that He had of the world, and of the things that were in it. As to the principles of his conduct, he received Jesus Himself, acting upon the principles which governed Him. But, further, should there be in the child faith in Jesus, then, whoever should cause him to stumble in the way of the Lord, or should put an obstacle in the way, so that he should not follow Him, was fastening a millstone around his own neck to drown himself; and, worse still, there were stumbling-blocks in the world, but woe to him who should place them before the feet of others. The question between man and God was entirely laid down. They were either for or against Him. Neither was it any longer a question of a captivity in Babylon, of a governmental chastisement, however severe it might be, but of being finally cast into hell; it would be better to lose the best of one's members than to find oneself there.
But the special principle of the ways of God which were then being manifested was grace. The Son of man had come to save that which was lost—a testimony of immense range! It was no longer the accomplishment of the promises made to Israel, nor the Messiah, as Head of the kingdom, expected by that people, and reigning in their midst, but a Savior, Son of man, but of man lost without Him. Man was lost. The difference between the Jew and the Gentile disappeared before the total ruin which was common to them, and before the salvation which was coming in His person. According to this spirit of grace, it was unsuitable to despise even the least important of human beings. Salvation was there, and the little child was of value in the eyes of God. God, who was giving His Son for the lost, took account of children. He took an interest in the happiness of men, and the child was not the least part of it. The work of Christ was available for them; He had come to save that which was lost. It is no question here of bearing the sins of the guilty, but of the general principle of the coming of the Savior. “Lost” speaks of our condition; “guilty,” of what we have done: we are all lost together, every one will give account of what he has done in the body. Judgment relates to this latter point; bearing the sins of many does also; but lost is the condition common to all. Now children under the benefit of the work of Christ are accepted of God; “their angels continually behold the face of my Father which is in heaven,” said the Lord: a comforting passage, which gives us the happy assurance that children

Notes on John 13:12-17

It is of capital moment to hold fast along with atonement the washing of water by the word. Else the blood of Christ is diverted from its true aim and effect before God, and practically used as the resource in case of failure. Let us hear Calvin as an influential witness of the error it involves, where he teaches from the word of reconciliation in 2 Cor. 5:20 (“Be reconciled to God"), that Paul is here addressing himself to believers, instead of illustrating the message of grace to the world. “He declares to them every day this embassy. Christ therefore did not suffer, merely that He might once expiate our sins, nor was the gospel appointed merely with a view to the pardon of those sins which we committed previously to baptism, but that, as we daily sin, so we might also by a daily remission be received by God into His favor. For this is a continued embassy, which must be assiduously sounded forth in the church till the end of the world; and the gospel cannot be preached unless remission of sins is promised. We have here an express and suitable declaration for refuting the impious trust of Papists, which calls upon us to seek the remission of sins after baptism from some other source than from the expiation that was effected through the death of Christ. Now this doctrine is commonly held in all the schools of Popery—that, after baptism we merit the remission of sins by penitence through the aid of the keys (Matt. 16:19)—as if baptism itself could confer this upon us without penitence. By the term penitence however, they mean satisfaction. But what does Paul say here? He calls us to go, not less after baptism than before it, to the one expiation made by Christ, that we may know that we always obtain it gratuitously. Further, all their prating as to the administration of the keys is to no purpose, inasmuch as they conceive of keys apart from the gospel, while they are nothing else than that testimony of a gratuitous reconciliation, which is made to us in the gospel.” (Comm. Epp. to the Cor. Calvin Soc. ii. 240, 241.) Clearly this teaching is erroneous, not only founded on a misapplication to saints of the gospel ministry to sinners, but consequently unsettling their reconciliation as a great finished fact. It is not true that the apostle declares this embassy to believers every day. He declares on the contrary that the work is done, and the worshippers once purged so as to have no longer any conscience of sins, that is, no question of imputing sins or errors, nor of God's judgment of them by-and-by. The error undermines or excludes the constant relationship of the Christian on the ground of peace made by the blood of Christ's cross, and present and permanent fitness for showing the justice of the saints in light. (Col. 1) The one offering of Christ does not merely once expiate our sins but has perfected in perpetuity the sanctified. The Romanist meets the need created by failure after baptism by penitence aided by the keys; the Protestant by fresh approach to the sacrifice of Christ, the one being as ignorant as the other of the washing of the defiled feet by the word in answer to the advocacy of Christ with the Father. The continued embassy is by the Lord's servants in proclaiming the gospel to the world. There is no such thing as God's receiving the believer by a daily remission into His favor. There may be the necessity of removing the uncleanness of flesh or spirit which hinders communion, but this supposes the groundwork of propitiation undisturbed and of the favor in which we stand. That the Christian requires to be reconciled afresh, that the call “be reconciled to God” goes out to failing believers proves that Calvin, able as he was and a saint himself, was ignorant even of the elementary and distinctive truth of the gospel, and opened the door to the opposed error of Arminianism which takes its stand more consistently on the same mistake, that the failing believer has to start afresh, as if eternal life had no meaning, and the blood of Christ lacked everlasting efficacy.
The truth puts everything in its place. The blood of Christ abides in its unchangeable value before God sacrificially and judicially; but the failing believer is inexcusable, and needs to wash his feet. The word must deal with him morally, producing self-judgment and confession; and the Lord looks to it in His ever watchful grace by taking up His cause in living love with the Father. The Spirit too has His own suited function in producing, not the joy of fellowship with Christ in the things of Christ, but grief and shame, pain and humiliation in recalling the man's own ways—haste, levity, pride, vanity, and perhaps corruption or violence; for of what is the flesh unjudged not capable? By that word of truth he was begotten of God, awakened to self-judgment in His sight; by the same word in each defilement judged day by day, making it so much the more painful because He reminds the soul of what Christ suffered for the sins which the flesh feels so light. But far from dissolving the relationship, it is the sense of inconsistency with it, and with the grace which at so much cost and sovereign grace withal conferred it on us, that most of all tries and humbles the erring one. Flesh would like exceedingly to have its way and indulge its pleasures, and the soul begin again; but God holds the believer to a relationship, which if real, is everlasting and makes every delinquency therefore to be so much the deeper sin, because it is against not conscience and righteousness only, but the richest grace God could show Christ. We were reconciled to God through the death of His Son. There is no repetition of reconciliation any more than of the new birth. There is complete remission of sins through His blood, and hence no longer a sacrifice for sin. The one and only offering which could avail is made and accepted. But there is, whenever needful, a fresh application of water. And this ever deals with the soul. The word detects whilst it removes the defilement, applying the death of Christ thus to the man, as the blood dealt with the sins before God. Thus is the work carried on holily without weakening the sole foundation for a sinful man's peace as well as for His glory.
“When then he washed their feet and took his garments and reclined again, he said to them, Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me the Teacher and the Lord, and ye say well, for I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, wash your feet, ye also ought to wash. one another's feet; for I have given you an example, that even as I did to you, ye should also do. Verily, verily, I say to you, A bondman is not greater than his lord, nor yet an apostle greater than be that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.” (Vers. 12-17.)

The Truth

Christ is the truth; the Father's word is the truth; the Spirit is the truth. The word is the perfect and divine revelation of God's thoughts from and of heaven (John 3:11, 12, 31, 32), but perfectly suited to man on earth as Christ, the living Word, was. Thus begotten by the word, by God's will, the new man lives by every word that proceedeth out of God's mouth, follows Christ, is led by the Spirit in the path through the world which the vulture's eye hath not seen. An act of obedience, for which he has perhaps but one word, is acceptable to the discovery of divine wisdom, not unrighteousness, but perhaps not righteousness, according to man, but a divine path in the desert where is no way. The spiritual man judges all, but is himself judged of none. The word of God abides in the young man. He that doeth His will abides forever. The anointing abides even in the babes, who shall abide in the Son and in the Father. With them is one Spirit. So Peter from Isa. 40, and the same prophet later, “With thee is continuance.” But here we have our abiding through the word abiding in us. The word and Spirit both abide, and in us; and so we abide in the Son and in the Father. So here, too, we abide in Christ, and do not sin. The abiding is applied to God and love in chapter 4.

Notes on 2 Corinthians 1:8-14

The apostle now refers to the afflicting circumstances into which God had been pleased to bring him, in order the more deeply to teach, not merely him, but the Corinthians, and indeed all saints, His ways. The process is painful, no doubt, the profit immense, to others, as well as the soul itself, and this to God's glory. How good is the God we adore!
“For we would not have you ignorant, brethren, as to our tribulation that came to pass in Asia, that we were excessively pressed beyond power, so as to despair even of our living. But we ourselves have had in ourselves the sentence of death, that we should not have our trust in ourselves, but in God that raiseth the dead, who delivered us from so great a death, and doth [or will] deliver, in whom we have hope that he will also yet deliver, ye also laboring together by supplication for us that from many persons the gift toward us may by many be matter of thanksgiving for us. For our boasting is this, the testimony of our conscience that in holiness and sincerity before God, not in carnal wisdom but in God's grace, we conducted ourselves in the world, and more abundantly towards you. For no other thing we write to you than what ye read, or even recognize, and I hope that ye will recognize unto the end, even as also ye recognized us in part that we are your boast, just as ye also are ours in the day of our Lord Jesus.” (Vers. 8-14.)
Thus does God prove Himself rich in mercy, and this, not in conferring objective favor only in Christ, but in rendering His tried ones superior to all trouble, not by exempting those He loves from suffering and sorrow, but by giving the faith that accepts all at His hands with confidence in His love. Here we see, not the Holy One of God, who suffered as He was tempted to the uttermost, sin apart, and on the cross knew not sin indeed, but what it was for God to make Him sin; here we see a man of like passions with ourselves, strengthened with might in the inner man, and the outer crushed in every way, yet out of the eater meat coming forth, and out of the strong sweetness. Nor is this all. But he had to do, as we too, with One who knows how to order the tribulation so that its fruit, in divine consolation, should come out just at the right moment for the saints that needed succor and comfort. The apostle's mouth is opened to the Corinthians; his heart, which had been repelled by their evil and hardness, has expanded. He can now speak freely of deliverance, that they too, humbled, if not humble, may hear and be glad, with him magnify the God and Father of the Lord Jesus, and exalt His name together. By the trouble that happened in proconsular Asia he had been pressed excessively beyond his power, so as to despair, as he says, even of living, but grace, as suits God always, wrought unfailingly. It was not by a providential intervention to screen the apostle from suffering, still less by a miracle which might confound the adversaries, but because he had abidingly the sentence of death in himself. This Job had not, and so his long struggle, as he writhed under his sorrows from without and within; to it, as far as could be, he was brought at the last before his deliverance and blessing came. The apostle bowed to it all along, and hence was above all that Satan could do, for he has no power beyond death, and was utterly baffled by the faith which accepted such a sentence, and this “in ourselves, that we should not have our trust in ourselves, but in God that raiseth the dead, who delivered us from so great a death, and doth, or will, deliver, in whom we have our hope that he will deliver.” It is the power of the resurrection brought into the present, so as not to shrink from, but to retain, the sentence of death in himself. If Abraham learned this in his last lesson of faith in Isaac (Heb. 11:17-19), the apostle declares that he had it in himself. Such was to him the power of life in Christ, not ascetically, so as to exalt self after all, but finding strength in faith, giving glory to God, the perfect and unlimited deliverer. But his unburdened heart brings them in also as laboring together by supplication on his behalf that the gift of grace towards him by many persons may be matters of thanksgiving from many on his behalf. Thus would he by grace bind together, at whatever cost to self, the hearts of saints in thanksgiving for him, once in danger of wanton and utter alienation through the levity which exposed them to Satan's wiles. How far from Christ is independence, whether personal or ecclesiastical!

Deliverance: Part 2

Rom. 8:1-4
The apostle gives two conclusive reasons for this “For,” says he, “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus had made me free from the law of sin and death.” Before saying more, perhaps one ought to explain why the last clause of the first verse is quite ignored. It is not scripture. The same clause is scripture in the fourth verse, but not in the first. It is as perfect and divine in the one case, as it is wrong and human in the other. But the monastic scribes who copied for us the writings of the apostle seemed to have thought the first verse as it stood meager, and rather dangerous too, and so did their best to improve and guard it by this addition. Was not this rationalistic? Rationalism does not mean conscience judging what is wrong, but man presuming to judge where he should believe and learn of God. Any attempt to mend the scriptures is about as bold and bad rationalism as can be. You may find it in a monk just as much as in a monkey-loving professor. No doubt the monks included many a rationalist of the middle ages; I leave you to judge who are such now. In the first verse there cannot be a question that the words referred to are a mere human accretion. Ask any one entitled to speak: Mill, Griesbach, Scholz, Lachmann, Tischendorf or Tregelles, will tell you that the clause is an interpolation. They rejected it, not because all, or any of them, liked the truth resulting from the true text, but because they were honest men, and competent scholars, and stuck to the best witnesses. In the Catholic Greek Testaments of Munich, 1847, and of Dublin, 1860, you will find the same thing; the clause is omitted, and quite correctly, spite of the Vulgate. So also Bishop Wordsworth and Dean Alford, in their editions of the Greek New Testament, omit it.
Do not mind what people say about, “peculiar views.” For that is just what I eschew, at least as much as they. I want to help souls more fully into the truth, which surely ought not to be “peculiar.” I call human views, old tradition or modern speculation, peculiar, if not wicked too. But I do not call it peculiar, and I hope you do not, to adhere uncompromisingly to the words of the Holy Spirit, and to seek the genuine, simple, and sure sense of God's word. The true form of the verse, then, is, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus.” The apostle so speaks without the smallest qualification. If you add, “who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit,” if you translate it more correctly as not “who,” but “if,” “when,” or “because they walk not,” &c., you bring in another idea—walking in the Spirit, not standing. It would amount then to this: that there is no condemnation to them if they walk in holiness. But this were to mix up the walk with the position, the effect of which is that you can never be sure of your position. All is plunged in uncertainty. Place in Christ and walk in the Spirit are two distinct things. I do not know what a man's position is by looking at his walk, for he may often shift and move. The walk is surely of the utmost importance. But the first verse of the chapter speaks only of position, and if you bring in walk there, the position is unsettled, and the truth is spoiled.

Thoughts on the Atonement

The sacrifice of Christ was one and indivisible, but the doctrinal (like the practical) application of that sacrifice, as taught us in scripture, is another thing; that is, these are various. Thus, as to His death, “He died for our sins.” (1 Cor. 15:8.) But also, “In that he died, he died unto sin once.” (Rom. 6:10.)
Again, as to His blood, “He hath washed us from our sins in his own blood.” (Rev. 1:5.) But we nowhere read that we are washed from sin in His blood. “Sin is lawlessness;” that is, it is a state or condition, and there is no such thing as being washed from a state or condition. The very state or condition is destroyed by death, and we are dead with Christ, as well as” quickened with him,” “raised with him,” &c.; though we did not die when He died, &c., for evidently we did not die before we were born. Hence, being dead with Christ, we have passed out of the old condition of sin, and being quickened and raised with Him, are as to our souls, in a new condition, namely, resurrection: we may add that in spirit we are ascended with Him. It is God who has done this. (Eph. 2:4-6.) And though it ever be divine power in the Son, there is a difference between “with” Christ, and what Christ Himself does. (John 5)
The death or blood of Christ has expiated the sins of those who believe in Him; but the obedience unto death of the Son of God—death too to Him, as expressing the divine wrath against both sin and sins—the death of Christ is now to believers complete deliverance, for the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set us free from the law of sin and death. Hence practically, we are exhorted to mortify our members which are upon the earth, whilst as a matter of privilege, there is the “bearing about in the body the dying of Jesus.” (2 Cor. 4:10.)

Righteousness and Peace: Part 1

Rom. 3:19-28; 4:23; 5:1-11
It is very blessed to preach the fullness of the grace of God, as we were seeking to present it last night—all things of God, all things ready, all finished; God's own precious grace flowing like a river, the river of the water of life, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb, to a barren world, and for every thirsty soul. But I never yet found that a soul got really established in peace by hearing only of the Love of God. The riches of His grace must be unfolded, but also the absolute perfection of His righteousness, His righteousness in justifying the sinner. Until a soul gets thoroughly grounded in righteousness, if it knows only of the grace of God, it will fail to have settled peace. I will give you an illustration, which may help to put the matter more clearly before you. A young man was arrested in London for a grave offense (on a charge of forgery); and it so happened that his father was a friend of the Lord Mayor; so that, when the young man was brought into his presence as his judge, and saw the face of his father's friend, of one who had often nursed him on his knee, he was convulsed with emotion. When he saw the tears began to trickle down the Lord Mayor's face—tears of love and compassion—he covered his face with his handkerchief, and sobbed as if his heart would break. What was it made him weep? What added to the acuteness of his sufferings? The consciousness of the love that he knew was in the mayor's heart. But here was the difficulty; no amount of love on the part of the judge could justify that young man, for he was a criminal; and how could love justify a criminal, or make him feel at ease? Indeed the sense of love only made him more unhappy, only deepened the intensity of his sufferings as he stood there.
Now such exactly is the condition of many a soul that knows the love of God. The more you think of the love of God, the more intense is your suffering and self-condemnation. How can a criminal stand before a judge, and look for justification, when he is guilty? With man this is impossible; and it is far from easy to open up satisfactorily how God can justify a guilty person. It was a great difficulty in days of old, e.g., in Job's ease. Bildad asks (Job 25:4), “How can man be justified with God? or how can he be clean that is born of a woman?” How can a sinner be justified with God? This is the point. Job's friends could have shown well enough how an innocent man can be justified with God; it would be an easy matter then; but he is guilty; and how then? The law will justify him who keeps it; and if there be one here who has kept it, I tell him “the law will justify you at once.” Law is extremely profitable for you in that case; but if you break it, what can it do for you? And where is the person who has not broken it? Show me the man, and Job's friends would justify him at once; but they could not justify the guilty. If your little girl did something naughty (stole a piece of sugar, say,) her mother could not justify her, though she be her mother; and suppose she grew up to be a thief, her mother could say and do nothing to justify. There is a lady who belongs to one of the highest families, not only of England but of Europe, who from a child sank step by step into the deepest degradation, and may now be found haunting the lowest gambling places of the continent. Could her mother justify her, however her heart might bleed for her? Of course not. Suppose your child—God forbid it—grew up to be a thief, whatever amount of love you may have to your child, it will not lead you to justify the child. What! justify a thief, or thieving! Love alone neither can, nor will, justify the guilty; indeed it rather adds to the condemnation. I never yet met with a magistrate who could justify one guilty of the most trifling offense. You cannot justify either the sin or the sinner. That Lord Mayor loved the young man, his heart was breaking to see his friend's son stand before him in such a position, and proved guilty. What a dreadful thought and word and reality “guilty” is! But do you think he could have taken that young man up in his carriage, and say, “I will drive him to the Exchange, and proclaim to every one that he is innocent?” He could not. It would have been untrue and unjust.

Letter on Hebrews 10:2

Dear——
I believe Heb. 10 is absolute and forever. It is a question of imputation and a purged conscience, not of sensibility to failure, and confession of it, which is a state of soul connected with communion, or fellowship, to which 1 John 2 applies. But here the apostle says, if this were not perfecting forever; (εἰς τὸ διηνεκὲς) Christ must often have suffered from the foundation of the world, but He was once offered to bear the sins of many. And when I go to God, even to confess failure, He is there, and all the value of His blood, so that imputation is impossible. Hence, in 1 John we have Jesus Christ the righteous, and He is the propitiation. This is the basis of advocacy. And the very ground in that part of Hebrews, that the falling into sin is fatal and final's drawing back to perdition,” is, that there is no more sacrifice for sin. But this for such, and for the believer, is founded on there being but one, but thus that one for the believer must finally and forever settle the question, or it never could be. And this is to the furthering of holiness, because what would be otherwise a question of acceptance and righteousness is now a question of holiness and walking with God, and present divine favor and communion. But as to conscience of sins, I cannot go to God and not find Christ there, not without blood, who bore them all, so that it is impossible they can come in question as to imputation, or my conscience be burdened with them, as yet unsettled between me and God; but it makes them doubly hateful as to holiness, that one in the light as God is should do them, and find even momentary pleasure in what made Christ's agony; but if it did, it cannot be imputed. Num. 19 is applicable here; the great day of atonement was valid, or he could not have had that, and he was an Israelite. I believe it to be of great moment to true holiness to know that the worshipper once purged has no more conscience of sins. When He had by Himself purged our sins, He sat down. It is absolute for the divine glory, eternal in, its value, and unchangeable, and wholly finished, and εἰς τὸ διηνεκὲς.

Notes on Job 31

Here, as the conclusion of his last discourse, Job makes the most solemn and complete protestation of his innocence; not, of course, denying what he had already owned of man's condition—of his own among the rest, but absolutely repudiating the thought of grievous wickedness concealed under a fair exterior, with which God could be now waging war, as his friends had surmised. In personal purity—and this again as a married man, in his behavior toward his domestics, in his remembrance of the poor and exposed, in his abhorrence of idolatry and avarice, in his cultivation of generous and hospitable ways, in his hatred of hypocrisy, he prays that, if false, he may be put to utter shame, appeals to the Almighty for an answer, and avers his willingness to endure the closest scrutiny, where no evil can be cloaked or tolerated; nay, more, he imprecates a curse on himself from His hand, that, if it can tell of fraud or violence, baneful weeds and thorns may take the place of wheat or barley.
I have presented a covenant to mine eyes,
And how should I think on a maiden?

Notes on John 13:18-22

The hint which closed verse 10 is now expanded into the growingly solemn intimations in word and deed that follow. It is no longer Christ's love caring for His own, either once for all, in atoning self-sacrifice to God for them, everlasting in its efficacy; or in unintermitting cleansing by the word, as for them He died on earth, living for them in heaven, that they might be practically in unison with the relationship of grace into which they had been brought, spite of the defilements of the way. Here it is the faithless indifference of nature, with a conscience increasingly seared by indulgence in a besetting sin, which Satan was about to lure into and blind to high treason against Christ, availing itself of the closest intimacy to sell the Master and Lord, the Son of God, for the paltriest price of a slave—to sell Him into the hands of enemies thirsting for His blood. It may not be the hatred of these; it is utter lovelessness, betraying Him who was at this time more than ever showing and proving His love, not only up to and in death, but in life beyond it evermore. Now the unbelief which, having eyes and heart, sees not nor feels such love, precipitates, above all, into Satan's deceit and power. This we sorrowfully behold in Judas; and no one felt the sorrow as the Lord.
“I speak not of you all: I know whom I chose out, but that the scripture may he fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me [hath] lifted up his heel against me. Henceforth I tell you before it come to pass, that, when it hath come to pass, ye may believe that I am [he]. Verily, verily, I say to you, he that receiveth whomsoever I send, receiveth me; and he that receiveth me, receiveth him that sent me. Having said these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say to you, that one of you shall give me up. The disciples [then] looked one on another, doubting of whom he spoke.” (Vers. 18-22.)
The Lord, then, did, and does, look for activity of love among His own. If they were objects of a love which could never fail, He would have them instruments or channels of it one toward another, and this in respect of evil to remove it, whereas legality could only condemn. Himself the Son, yet the servant in love, He would exercise them in the service of love, where defilement otherwise would repel. But as He came to suffer for our sins, so also He was going away to form us while on earth into His own mind and affections, through the truth, and in doing so to cleanse from every way which might grieve the Holy Spirit, whereby we are sealed till the day of redemption. For it is not a question of removing the guilt of a sinner only, but of restoring the communion of a saint, whenever interrupted by allowed evil. And in this last dealing of love, He would have His own caring one for another. But He did not speak of all the disciples then present: sad presage of what was to be far more common in after days! He knew whom He chose out: Judas was not among such, though called to be an apostle. He had never known the Lord—knew nothing truly of His grace or of His mind—was not born of God. Why, then, had he been selected for that place of honor, the apostolate, in immediate and constant attendance on the Lord here below?

Notes on 2 Corinthians 1:15-20

The apostle now explains circumstances which some in Corinth were as quick to misunderstand as ready to turn to his advantage. He is free to explain now as things are, but he is more anxious to turn all to the account of Christ and the truth, and this in the truest interests of the saints.
“And with this confidence I was intending previously to come unto you, that ye might have a second favor, and through you to pass into Macedonia, and again from Macedonia to come unto you, and by you to be sent forward into Judea. Having, then, this intention, did I, pray, use lightness? Or what I purpose do I purpose according to flesh, that with me may be the yea yea and the nay nay? Now God [is] faithful that our word that [was] unto you is not yea and nay. For the Son of God, Christ Jesus, that was preached among you by us, by me, and Silvanus, and Timothy, became not yea and nay, but is become yea in Him. For as many as [are] God's promises, in him [is] the yea; wherefore also by him [is] the amen for glory to God by us.” (Vers. 15-20.)
The injurious impression, and even charge, of some at Corinth against the apostle was based on the slenderest appearances, and these severed from the action in him of power and love and a sound mind. How opposed to the Spirit were not such thoughts in them! The modification of his plans in not going before to visit them was as distinctly in subjection to the Lord, as his actual desire to see and help them. It was not dread of any there, still less was it from lack of moral purpose in himself. His heart was toward them in the large and holy activity of divine love. Blessed before to them, he sought that they might be favored of the Lord again, on his way to and from Macedonia for Judea; and their affectionate care in sending him on to the East he valued and counted on. His true motives he let them know afterward. Those who yielded to such surmisings proved both their own bad state, and their ignorance of the apostle; for character and state are according to the object before the man. If it be Christ in love to His own, and even to man generally, the result follows in a walk according to God. This is to imitate God, and serve the Lord. If there be an absence of purpose on the one hand, or on the other a planning according to flesh, in either way self governs, and there could be for others no just ground of confidence. The man is as he loves, or loves not. He that dwells in love, dwells in God, and God in him. He that lacks an object, lacks character, and can only be frivolous and inconstant; he that seeks personal influence, power, honor, money, &c., is degraded according to what his heart is set on. What is of the flesh is worthless, and its purpose untrustworthy. In God only is continuance, and His Spirit alone works it in the heart and ways, where Christ displaces self as the object. For man otherwise is incapable of walking or serving according to God. He is either and evidently fickle, or his planning, however positive, is without God's guidance and strength.

Discourses on Colossians 2: Part 1

There is practically one subject in what I have read, but divided into two parts: one, Christ as contrasted with all the thoughts of the world; and the other, the true place of the Christian as in Him. It is a new place, even in Christ. He begins by pressing on them a warning against all the philosophy and Judaism abroad. They really ran into the same channel; and this is connected with the second point referred to, because they belong to this world. Christ is put, first, in opposition to all that; and, secondly, he unfolds that what is in Christ is in a risen Christ, outside of this world. There are the same things current now, for people are turning back to “the rudiments of the world.” All this infidelity and ritualism have just the same root, though not the same shape; both belong to this world, and are what man's mind and imagination, as a child of Adam, can take up. The contrast is Christ risen—Christ out of this world.
This chapter brings out both. They are the workings of man's mind and imagination—what man can do; whereas the moment you get what God has revealed in Christ, and the place Christ is in, man has nothing to do with it. They are the rudiments of this world: the one is reasoning, mental flesh; and the other is imaginative flesh. This Ritualism—Christ offered every Sunday, &c.—is as if there was not one offering for sin. But I find “By one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.” Then it is not perfected! This makes all the difference. My imagination and fancy can take hold of these things, or the mind rejects them; but they are the denial that Christ has finished the work.
We are very little aware (though they are quite different parts of human nature) how it all has to do with man—man not delivered from himself—and having Christ instead: The apostle first warns them, and then shows what the real thing is, that is, Christ in heavenly places. God had taken up human nature among the Jews to see if it could be brought into connection with Him, and it could not. It was, in a certain sense; but God had to hide Himself behind a veil: if there were no veil, you must be able to stand in the light, as God is light. God never came out, but He gave a gorgeous worship, and He gave the law as a more perfect rule for human nature, for man as he is. The question is, has man kept it? No one has. Where a person is going on under Judaism, he will take all the gorgeous part of it, and, on the other hand, be takes the law, without the consciousness that he has not kept it. Of course numbers fear the law when their conscience is awakened; and, where there is truth of conscience under such a system, they are always unhappy. Man's mind takes its own course, and ends necessarily without finding God. “Can man by searching find out God?” Instead of that, you get God fully revealed in Christ, and man brought to God in Christ. Christianity supplants the darkness of the natural mind (I do not say soul), which could have nothing to do with God, add which, take it in its fullest broadest sense, it is necessarily atheism, as it never reaches to God, it confining itself to what my mind can find out; and that is what they were all at here.

The Bible and Its Critics

Dear Mr. Editor,
With the question now stirring the Free Church of Scotland, respecting the teaching of one of its professors, the readers of the Bible Treasury have no direct Concern. Yet when the scriptures are assailed by criticism to prove that large parts of the Pentateuch were not written by Moses, but by others after his time, all Christians are deeply concerned in the accuracy of Such startling statements. The Lord quoted from the Pentateuch as the writings of Moses. “Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law?” (John 7:19.) The Spirit of God teaches us, that “the law was given by Moses.” (John 1:17.) Professor Smith, in his recently published statement in vindication of himself, would, by criticisms on Old Testament scripture, invalidate such teaching. Now what are such criticisms worth? To a consideration of them let us now turn, first quoting his own words (page 36): “Apparently, says criticism, the only way to make the new law an integral part of the old legislation was to throw it into such a form, as if it had been spoken by Motes, and so incorporate it with the other laws. Of course, if this plan was adopted, the statute-book ceased to be pure literal history. The ascription of a law to Moses could no longer be taken literally, but could only indicate that the law was as much to he observed as if it came from Moses, and that it was a legitimate addition to his legislation. Such a Method of publishing laws would not be free from inconvenience; but the actual unquestioned inconveniences of the Pentateuch, when measured by our ideas of a law-book, are so great, that this cannot prove the thing impossible. On the other hand, there is no deceit implied in the use of an artificial literary form proceeding on a principle well understood, and so it is a pure question of literary and historical evidence whether the Hebrews did at one time recognize and use such a principle. There is one piece of direct historical evidence which seems to sheer that they did, for in Ezra 9:11 a law is quoted from Deut. 7, expressed in words that throw it back into the wilderness period, and yet the origin of this law is ascribed, not to Moses, but to the prophets.”
Leaving it to the simplest Christian to determine whether there is no deceit in stating that Moses wrote what he did not write, and remembering that God in His word, and the Lord Jesus, speak only of Moses as the one by whom the law was given, let us examine the scriptures to which the professor turns in support of his statements and position. A law, he tells us, is quoted by Ezra 9:11 from Deut. 7, and yet the origin of this law is ascribed, not to Moses, but to the prophets. Now it would scarcely be credited that any one contending for, and engaged in, critical studies, could have made such a statement. A quotation the professor calls it! Why, the fact is this: there is not a word in the one passage quoted the same as those in the other. Of the three verbs in the law in question in Deuteronomy, only one of them is made use of in the passage in Ezra. The negative particles used by Ezra are not the same as those in Deuteronomy; and the nouns in the one passage are in the singular, and in the other are in the plural. With these important differences in a raw of only eleven words, it is surely trusting too much to the credulity or inability of his readers to verify his statements, to assert that a law is quoted in Ezra 9:11 from Deut. 7:8. That the ready scribe in the law of. Moses referred to this passage of Deuteronomy we may well believe; but, that he meant it to be a quotation of it, his words would surely negative. He speaks of what God commanded by His servants the prophets. It was the tenor of prophetic teaching that he spoke of. Now Deut. 7 is not the only passage in the Pentateuch which refers to such a subject. In Ex. 34:16 we have a reference to it; and elsewhere, in Josh. 23:12, likewise. Ezra does quote from in Deuteronomy that passage, but it is from Deut. 23:6. A quotation, then, from the law of Deut. 7 the passage in Ezra clearly is not.

The Sea and the Song

Ex. 14; 15
When Israel crossed the sea, there was a visible manifestation of power to a double end—the rescue that Jehovah effected for them, and the destruction with which He overwhelmed the pride and flower of Egypt. But the victory was so signally of God, so purely miraculous an interposition, in a way foreign to all human thought, that it fittingly betokens, with a force peculiar to itself, the crushing defeat of the enemy about to be displayed before all worlds, and suggests that which our souls welcome with divine joy and delight—the final and total eclipse of every agency, human or Satanic, which has ever raised an impious front before God Jehovah wrought so conclusively that day for His own glory, in vindication of His title to have and to hold His people, that one cannot but be struck with the sublimity and finality of the action. But how much more with its twofold fitness for stereotyping upon every heart, on the one hand by the deliverance He wrought, His desire and His purpose to bless; and on the other, by brushing away to utter destruction, with the breath of His mouth, all the hosts of Pharaoh, that the marshalled forces of the enemy, in their mightiest array, are but as a cobweb in the pathway of the onward march of His counsels from eternity!
What could be more sublime than the command before Pi-hahiroth— “Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord which he will show to you to-day. The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace!” Six hundred thousand men were to stand still in the profound silence that befitted them in a scene where so unparalleled a drama was about to be enacted, moving neither foot nor finger! How calculated was such an inspiriting word to draw the trembling heart of Israel from a fatal occupation with its own exigencies to faith in Jehovah of hosts! A Savior-God was there, and, according to the word of His power, was about to interpose for them to a degree not determined by their own conception of their extremity, but by the fitness and adequacy of the occasion for bringing into bold relief a revelation of Himself in that character, the character in which He loves to present Himself to faith. The One who “plants His footsteps in the sea, and rides upon the storm,” stood by the Red Sea shore on that momentous night, to give effect to the rod of Moses in cutting a narrow channel through the surging waters for His beleaguered people to slip through! Who shall arrest His hand, or have the temerity to curse whom He blesses? Apart from Jehovah those waters were death and destruction, but Jehovah and the sea (Christ's cup of death in principle) meant life and liberty, deliverance and redemption, for them, but an eternal collapse for their enemies and His, to whom, when He makes bare His arm, He will give no quarter.

Righteousness and Peace: Part 2

Rom. 3:19-28; 4:23; 5:1-11
If you plant a tree in your garden, and want to know what it is, you wait and see what kind of fruit it bears. What then was the fruit produced by man? The latter half of Rom. 1 to the first half of chapter 3 is the answer. Read first that awful category of evil, which blackens the page of ancient history, for these are historical facts, and facts, I may add, that live to this moment. Who but God knows the sin and the misery in this town the groanings of those poor brokenhearted wives and children, the wickedness which is crushing hearts into the dust, even here and now? Will you say that some were better than that? The apostle answers by going on to show, that there were those who were in the schools of philosophy and the seats of government, moralists, magistrates, and the like, who assumed to judge of right and wrong, but then the very things which they condemned they practiced themselves. Then he proceeds to prove that the chosen people, the Jews, were no better. They might have God's law, but they broke it before all the world. Is not this terrible, that professors are no better than the world which makes no profession at all? If a man kept the law it would be excellent, but what good is it if not kept except to condemn the man who is under it? He then quotes in chapter iii. the Jewish scriptures, to prove that they were as bad as, and so more guilty than the Gentiles. The aim and the object of all this must inevitably be, not to improve man's case, but to demonstrate what it is. Yet the fact that man has no righteousness whatever, no strength, that he is the slave of sin and of Satan, utterly dead to everything that is good before God, his heart and his ways as well, yet the very badness of his condition commends the righteousness of God. The greatest sinner that bows to God is welcome to the Lord Jesus, because he is the Savior of the lost.
Still, how can a righteous Judge justify a sinner? how get over from his sins righteously? How is God righteous in justifying the believer? What then is righteousness? Righteousness is what one does consistently with relationship. Holiness is what one is according to God's nature. If the righteousness of man is what he does, the righteousness of God is what God does, or has done. Now man is found to have no righteousness at all, nor is there anything but sin in him, and the law brings it out evidently in transgression; so that, as you know, the more a man tries to keep the law, the more he finds himself breaking it. Nay, I will go farther, and assert that when you come and question a man converted if not delivered you will find the same principle true. As I, the other day, asked of a lady elsewhere, How can God say to us, “There is therefore now no condemnation?” “This,” she said, “is just my difficulty, for the longer I live the more I condemn myself.” Look at a Christian or at an unconverted person, the difficulty remains. How can you as a man stand before God and say that there is nothing in you that He can condemn when you are every day condemning yourself? Did you ever abhor yourself so much as to say, “Oh! that I had never been born?” As you walked along the streets, did you wish to sink into the earth from the gaze of men? If this was your judgment of yourself, what, think you, will God say to you, who knows the very thoughts of the heart, and every sin, infinitely better than you? God who cannot look on sin with the least allowance? Does He say of you, “I do not see anything in that person that I can condemn?”

Pauline Greeting

We have now to inquire why in some of Paul's epistles the salutation is only in his name; some have merely, “Grace be with you,” and others a fuller form.
1 Timothy alone is individual, σοῦ. In Titus it is, “be with you all.” The general fact stands thus: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ,” or our Lord Jesus Christ, which last is more general (2 Corinthians adding, love of God and fellowship of the Holy Ghost), found in Rom. 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Phil. 1 and 2 Thessalonians, and Philemon; “Grace be with you,” or with you all, in Ephesians, Col. 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, and Hebrews, The former seems more elaborate and formal from one sitting down to address them as an apostle commissioned so to teach them from Christ, and speaking from Him in a didactic way; the latter, the personal expression of his own feeling, the wish of his heart. He had finished what he had to say, and then closes by wishing them grace, a natural feeling. The former was a formal part of the epistle, and which he added formally. In the latter he had finished what he had to say, and wishes them grace. In 1 and 2 Timothy this is natural, and in Titus.
There remain only Ephesians, Colossians, and Hebrews. In Eph. 6:24 it is clearly a distinct and personal wish of his heart, as is manifest from what precedes, and it closes according to the former character, and the objects which follow. So in Colossians it is expressly his personal salutation, written with his own hand. The same character is in Hebrews, which is in fact a treatise, not an epistle. What is epistolary, the last verses, is finished. Ephesians and Colossians are pretty much treatises too, but addressed formally to certain saints. Romans is in a great measure a treatise, but in an epistolary form, the last part fully so, and the salutation forms part of it.

Difference of Romans 12 and Ephesians 5

The beginnings of Rom. 12 and of Eph. 5 are evidently different, and the difference is not only interesting, but according to the tenor of the epistles.
In Romans the Spirit looks for an entire separation to God as men on earth, the giving up of self in consecration to Him as a living sacrifice. I am a man here, and am to be as one offered up to God. But love, as going out, does not come in here. We living men give ourselves by grace up to God.
In Ephesians we are sitting in heavenly places, and come out from God as Christ did, and that in love. And this is the direct connection, we forgiving and forbearing, as God in Christ did. Do you therefore, says the apostle, be imitators of God, and walk in love, as Christ did, giving Himself for us.

Deuteronomy

Deuteronomy is a recital to the people, not simply a reiteration of the commandments. Hence in its solemn reference to the commandments the addition of motives, which, clearly are no part of the commandment. Unbelief is blind, as well as bold and bad.

Notes on Job 32-33

A new, and hitherto unnoticed, person joins the great debate, now that even Job is silent. It is not that he only just enters the scene, for he soon gives the fullest proof that one present had listened more attentively to all that had been urged, and very especially to his arguments who had stopped the mouths of those that misjudged him. He is careful to apologize for his own intervention, and would evidently have preferred to listen, if any one older than himself had produced matter relevant to the question, and adequate to expose the not infrequent occasions in which the sufferer had been provoked into impropriety. There is no lack of moral courage or of force in dealing with Job's actual words and line of thought. Whilst he avoids insinuating evil of which none knew, he does not spare where there was too high a thought of self, or a lack of reverence toward God, in one under His correcting hand. He has juster thoughts as to the divine discipline of the soul than any one of the interlocutors, not excepting Job himself, who had not yet been brought down to the true place of nothingness before God. The introduction and first discourse of Elihu go down to the end of chapter 33.
Chapter 32.
And these three men ceased answering Job, because he [was] righteous in his own eyes. And the anger of Elihu, son of Barachel the Buzite, of the family of Barn, burned: against Job his anger burned, because of his justifying himself rather than God; and against his three friends his anger burned, because they found no answer, yet condemned Job. And Elihu had waited for Job in words [that is, till Job had spoken], because they [were] older than he in days; and Elihu saw that [there was] no answer in the mouth of the three men, and his anger burned. And Elihu, son of Barachel the Buzite, answered and said,

Notes on John 13:23-30

The announcement of a traitor among the twelve troubled the disciples and led to anxious thought, as they looked one on another. What a testimony to His perfect grace who had known it all along, and had given no sign of distrust or aversion! How solemn for the saints who have to do with the same unchanging One day by day! Nothing precipitates into the enemy's hands more than grace abused and sin indulged, while outwardly one is in the presence of the only One whose life rebukes it absolutely. Let us look a little into the scene.
“[Now]” there was at table one of his disciples in the bosom of Jesus whom Jesus loved. Simon Peter then beckoneth to this one and saith to him, Tell who it is of whom he speaketh. He then having just fallen back on the breast of Jesus saith to him, Lord, who is it? Jesus [then] answereth, That one it is to whom I, having dipped the morsel, shall give [it]. Having then dipped he giveth the morsel to Judas [son] of Simon Iscariot. And after the morsel Satan then entered into him. Jesus then saith to him, What thou doest do more quickly. But no one of those at table knew why he said this to him; for some supposed because Judas had the bag that Jesus saith to him, Buy the things that we have need of for the feast, or that he should give something to the poor. He then having received the morsel went out immediately; and it was night.” (Vers. 23-30.)
Peter and John are often seen together. So here in their perplexity Simon Peter beckons to John as he reclined at table in the bosom of Jesus; for that John and no other was this favored disciple cannot be doubted from chapters 19:26; 20:22; 21:7,20,24. And how truly of the Spirit that one enjoying such favor should describe himself, not as loving Jesus, though indeed he did, but as beloved by Him, and this too as the disciple whom Jesus loved, withholding his name as here and elsewhere of small account, though plainly described at the close, where needed, and named where men might deny the authorship as they have done I It is intimacy with Jesus that gathers secrets, but imparts them, for others' good. Falling back just as he was on the breast of Jesus, John asks who it is; and the Lord answers, not in word only but with a sign, strikingly according to Psa. 41:9, though an even more special mark of intimacy. In Judas' state that token of love only hardened the conscience long seared by secret sin, which shut out from the heart all sense of love. His very familiarity with Christ's passing through the snares and dangers of a hostile world may have suggested that so it would be now with his Master, while he himself might reap the reward of his treachery; the knowledge of His grace, without heart for it, may have led him to hope for mercy he had never known refused to the most guilty. The moment comes when holy love becomes unbearable to him who never relished it; and the sin he preferred blinded his mind and hardened his heart to that which had otherwise touched the most callous. “After the morsel, then Satan entered into him.” The devil had already put it into his heart to deliver the Lord up; now, after receiving without horror or self-judgment the last token of his Master's love the enemy entered. At being thus designated, there may have been irritation, which if retained gives room for the devil, even in ordinary cases, much more in his who had trifled with unfailing grace, and thus forgot wholly His glory, as he had ever been insensible to God's nature and his own sin. Jesus then saith to him, What thou art doing do more quickly, that is, sooner than was indicated by his pretension to share the doubts of the disciples or to join in what was before their hearts.

Notes on 2 Corinthians 1:21-24

The apostle refutes yet more the insinuation of uncertainty in his preaching, by the drawing out, not merely of the verification of the truth, and accomplishment of all God's promises in Christ, but of our firm association with it all in Him.
“Now he that establisheth us with you in Christ, and anointed us is [God], who also sealed us, and gave the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.” (Ver. 21.) It is not man's own will or effort that is able to secure us Christward, nor, consequently, is it a mere question of his fickleness, feebleness, or failure in any way. He that binds us fast to Christ is God; and the emphasis is all the greater, because God is expressed, not objectively, but as a predicate. It is truly surprising, then, that a professed commentator, and a distinguished scholar, should have said that ὁ δὲ βεβ....ἡμᾶς is the (prefixed) predicate, and θεὀς the subject; for this is to reverse all that is certain in the language, and to lose the true force of what is here insisted on. Had ὁ δὲ β.....ἡμᾶς been affixed to θεὀς, instead of prefixed, the sense had been the same, the order of the words in a sentence affecting it only as a matter of emphasis, and in no way disturbing the relation of the subject to the predicate, which it is the chief function of the article to distinguish. Compare chapter 5:5, where a precisely similar construction occurs. Nor is this a casual mistake, for it re-appears no less distinctly in the comment on Heb. 3:4, where θεὀς is said to be the subject, and ὁ πάντα κατασκευάσας the predicate, though it is allowed that the ancient expositors, almost without exception, take θ. as predicate, and ὁ π. κ. as a designation of Christ, thus making the passage a proof of His deity. It ought not to be disputed that in all these, or the like, instances, the object before the mind, or subject of each proposition, designated as operating in the way described, as to either the saints or the universe, is declared to be God. Man is excluded by the nature of the case, as in Hebrews; or he that is said so to act is affirmed to be God, for the confirmation of the saints, as here. Had it been ὁ θ. in these cases, the propositions would have been reciprocal, and either might have been viewed as subject or as predicate. But the effect of the absence of the article is to characterize Him who works as is described in each instance. He as divine is God: a very different statement from saying that God so works.
Here, then, it is laid down that He who firmly attaches us to Christ is God, as elsewhere we are declared to be in Him. Man is weak and vacillating, and yet more in deed than in word; but He who binds fast unto Christ is God, and this, not the strong only, but the weakest, as needing most such securing grace and power. Hence, in a love that rises above all that wounds the spirit, the apostle adds, as coupling the saints in Corinth with himself and Timothy, “He that establisheth us with you.” Christ for both was the impregnable fortress, the rock that never can be moved.

Discourses on Colossians 3

We get here the great groundwork of Christian life, and the development of Christian life itself, both negatively and positively—what we put off, and what we put on.
It is of all moment for us, not only to understand it as stated in scripture, but to have the statements of scripture transferred to our hearts and consciences, that we are in an entirely new creation, “renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.” So the first man was made in the image of God, though now a lost ruined creature. In death and resurrection man gets a new place altogether, not only quickened, but quickened together with Christ. A man may be quickened as to the state of his mind, and yet think he is alive in the world, which is the very thing we are not. As to our condition before God, we do not belong to the life that is on this side of death. A new life may be given, and the man left down here; but Christ is looked at as a man who has died here, after having come into our place, taken the judgment, the cup, and gone away beyond it; and this is our place; not as to our bodies, of course, for we have the treasure in earthen vessels, waiting for the adoption, to wit the redemption of our bodies; but our place in faith and in life is Christ's place, the second Man's place, and not the first man's. If our bodies, it is the first; if our souls, it is the second. We are taken out of the old place by redemption. I repeat it, for it is very important for the apprehension of faith, that Christ the Son, a divine person, communicated life, but Christ died, and now we are quickened together with Him. The place we were in by sin and disobedience, He was in for us, and having perfected the work needed to redeem us, we are taken up into the place where He is, and when He comes to raise the dead, we shall be there actually. Now it is putting on the character of Christ, then it will be actually the thing in glory.
All through, the teaching here is not simply that we are born of God, but raised with Christ, He as man actually thee, and it is the basis of Christianity to understand it, and the love that gave Him too. We have to watch and deny the ways of the old man; he seeks a place in the world, likes consideration, &c.; but Christ took the lowest place, and calls us to follow Him. As to our place with God, it is as near Him as Christ is. “If you died with Christ, how can you be alive spiritually in this world?” It is very strong as to a Christian's place; the world is always soliciting the Christian back into it; it is an immense system which Satan has built up to act on the flesh and to hide God. This cannot satisfy conscience, and therefore, when a. man's conscience is awakened, he bows his head as a bulrush—saying, “Shall I give the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” and gets under ordinances. He has not got out in spirit and state from this world—not dead to it; it is the religion Paul had when he was Saul the Pharisee. An unconverted man can do these things better than a converted one, for the latter has too much thought to be satisfied, though he may be doing it. He may go on his knees, and be vexed and angry if you do not think well of him for it: he is making out his religion as a living man, not as a redeemed man.

The Unsearchable Riches of Christ

Eph. 3:8
“Enough is as good as a feast,” says the world, and as to that which perishes with the using it is true in its way. Yet even here the world convicts itself; for it acknowledges that by enough every man means something more than he has; so that practically he never reaches his “enough,” and how much less the feast? This only makes good the conclusion of the preacher, “the eyes of man are never satisfied.” (Prov. 28:20.) And again, Eccl. 12:8, “vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” The human heart is too large for any terrestrial thing to fill it!
But on entering the now creation, that blessed expanse where “all things are become new.” I begin with God's feast; I find “all things are ready,” and I prove that “all things are of God,” as He says, “my dinner, my oxen, my feelings” all is of Him; I have come to a marriage feast; it is the initial thing in “the creation of God!” We road in Luke 15 that, as soon as they entered the house, “they began to be merry;” and since that joy met no reverse, we may conclude it is without a break and without a bound; assuredly then that newborn joy ought to go on characterizing all who know that they are within that festive scene, and as truly now as by-and-by in the glory, though then, of course, circumstantially and manifestly:

All of One

(Heb. 2)
We never know our place rightly till we know Christ's place. What we find in this chapter is, that we are completely associated and identified with Him. “For both he that sanctifieth, and they who are sanctified, are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren.” (Ver. 11.) Then God's way is to settle our relationship with God Himself first, and then to pass us through the wilderness, till the time comes for the full accomplishment of His purpose in glory. If we do not connect our place with Christ, we do not get the key to it. He passed through the wilderness, dying for us too, and He is now crowned with glory and honor. This chapter puts Him in this place.
The wilderness is no part of God's purpose for us at all; it is a part of His ways, not His purpose. Christ could take the thief straight to paradise without any wilderness at all, so absolute was that work of His in its efficacy. Bringing us to God and into the wilderness are the same thing. Christ's work is complete, and the effect of redemption is to bring us into the wilderness. The Israelites began the wilderness, properly speaking, after Sinai. As soon as they had passed through the Red Sea, they could say, “Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them by thy strength unto thy holy habitation.” (Ex. 15:13.) At Sinai Jehovah said, “Ye have seen.... how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself.” (Ex. 19:4.) They were brought to the wilderness and to God.

Righteousness and Peace: Part 3

Again, He said (John 14), “My peace I give unto you.” Ah 1 this is an apple brought from the new creation garden, not something produced in me; it is mine, but it comes from Him. He has made peace; I have not to make it, as you hear people speak of making their peace with God. “He is my peace,” but I cannot enjoy this till Christ gives me light. Unless the table with the twelve loaves was placed before the lamp, the light could not fall on the loaves. If you make an imitation table (as Jeroboam did), and place it somewhere else, away from the presence of God, the light cannot shine upon it, you can never there enjoy the peace of God in its perfection. But the first thing to be ascertained is—what is our peace?—to see the foundation on which it rests. When I, a sinner, could not be justified, what could be done with me? I might be condemned, and this I have been, but God has done it in the person of His Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin. Everything in me that was not in Him, everything offensive to God, had the sentence of condemnation executed on it in the cross of Christ. And now I bring you back to that lady's question. “Now just tell me,” I said, “if God has condemned all that He could detect in you, if He has laid the whole of the sins, and the sin, on the person of His Son, and if everything that God could see wrong in you has been already condemned in His cross, how can there be anything left to condemn in you?” “Now,” she said, “I see it: I never did so before.”
I ask you, can any man stand up, and say that God was not righteous in raising Christ from the dead? Did He finish the work, or not? Did He glorify God for sin on the cross? Could the Infinite offer a finite sacrifice? Could the eternal Son fail in the work He was engaged in for you? No; He glorified God perfectly; He put away sin completely; He is now crowned with glory, and God is righteous in so crowning Him. And He is your peace. He was made to us wisdom from God, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption. Christ is all, and in all that believe. And if God has crowned Him with glory, He will crown me with glory too. His glory is ours. (John 17)
“Well, if that is the case, as a believer I am justified!” Of course you are; God says so. “Be it known unto you that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins; and by him all that believe are justified from all things.” (Acts 13:38, 39.) Christ is the propitiation for the whole world. Jehovah's lot, you remember (Lev. 16), was offered and slain, and its blood carried in; but there was no laying of hands on it, no identification of the people with it. There was no substitution in this case. Christ is not the substitute for the whole world, for then the whole world would be saved. He is the ransom for all. (1 Timothy Scripture nowhere speaks of Christ being the propitiation for the sins of, but simply for, the whole world. When you come to the scape-goat, then you have substitution; the people were identified with it, and their sins confessed upon its head—faith is the hand on the head of the sacrifice. And thus you see how immensely important is the principle of faith, because otherwise you have no part in the thing. If you read Lev. 16, you will see that on Jehovah's goat, which was for all the people, there was no hand laid. The propitiation is for the whole world, so that mercy and pardon may be proclaimed unto the world, but none are pardoned and justified, save those who believe. Faith alone gives you a part in the thing. It is only where the soul believes God, and says, “I believe that God sent His Son, and that He died for sinners, and that He was raised again, If this is enough for God, it is enough for me.”

Notes on Job 34

The second discourse of Elihu has for its scope to prove that the divine equity in government is in no way to be doubted, and that Job, who did venture to impeach it, is himself deserving of grave censure, as giving countenance, in thought and word, to the evil and scornful. God, sovereign in Himself, cannot err in His ways, but is necessarily righteous. So Abraham reasoned in Gen. 18:25; so all men, unless their mind and conscience be defiled. Impossible to conceive of injustice in the Almighty. His servants may fail—never the Fountain of all good. And if it be in the highest degree unseemly to tax a king with worthlessness, how much more to impute wrong to Him who is infinitely above all kings, and knows not the rich before the poor, having made both alike! Therefore falls under the invisible hand of God the mighty ruler whose guilt was marked of Him, spite of the darkness that enveloped it, now in the night, now openly, so as to warn others, as well as to dell with himself, and to relieve the oppressed. Submission of heart is, then, the only due feeling for man, that he may be taught more, as becomes one conscious of his faults, and turning from them in the fear of God. And what can be less consistent than, like Job, to insinuate unrighteousness in God, and withal appeal to His decision and desire his intervention? Elihu (who is sure of the sympathy of intelligent men) could not wish Job relieved, but rather tried to the uttermost for thus adding rebellion to his sin, and multiplying his words, not only among them, but at God.
And Elihu answered and said,
Hear, ye wise men, my words,

Notes on John 13:31-32

The Lord felt the gravity of the moment, and sew the way and end from the beginning. All the wondrous and everlasting consequences of His death were stretched out before Him, and now that Judas is gone, He gives free expression to the truth in divinely perfect words. “When therefore he was gone out, Jesus saith, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him.” (Ver. 31.) His own cross is fully in view, and there was laid the basis for all true abiding glory, not for God only (though assuredly for God, for there can be none really unless He be foremost) but for man also in the person of the Lord, the Son of man, who alone had shown what man should be for God, as He had shown what God is, even the Father, in Himself the Son.
It is indeed a theme of incomparable depth, the Son of man glorified, and God glorified in Him; and no statement elsewhere, though from the same lips, was meant so to present and fathom it, though each was perfect for its own object, as the one before us.
In chapter 12, when certain Greeks came to Philip the apostle, desiring to see Jesus, and Andrew and Philip tell Jesus, He answered them, saying, The hour is come that the Son of man should be glorified, and forthwith, with His most solemn emphasis, He speaks of His death as the condition of blessing to others. So only should He bear much fruit. Otherwise the grain of wheat abode alone. A living Messiah is the crown of glory to Israel; a rejected One, the Son of man, by death opened the door, for the Gentile even, into heavenly things, and is the pattern thenceforth; so much so that to love life in this world is to lose it, to hate it here is to keep it to life eternal; and hence following Him who died is the way to serve Him, secure the Father's honor, and be with the heavenly Master and Lord. It is by death that He takes the place, not of Son of David, according to promise (though this in grace He does also, according to Paul's gospel), but of Son of man, and thus have all things and all men, Greeks no less than Jews, according to the counsels of God, heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ. There was no other for guilt to be taken away, for heaven to be opened and enjoyed by those who were once lost sinners. Thus the heavenly glory follows the moral glory; and every hope, for the Gentile most manifestly, turns on Christ's obedience even unto death, wherein Satan's power was utterly broken, and the judgment of God perfectly satisfied; but if the world was therein judged, and its prince to be cast out, Christ lifted up on the cross becomes the attractive center of grace for all, spite of degradation, darkness, and death.

Notes on 2 Corinthians 2:1-4

The apostle now explains more fully his motive for not going before to Corinth. They ought, from 1 Cor. 4, to have gathered plainly enough why it was. But the flesh never appreciates motives of the Spirit; and the enemy takes pleasure in embroiling the saints, if he fail with those that serve them for Jesus' sake. Now, however, that grace had begun to work in the Corinthians, the language is modified accordingly. The apostle had then asked if he was to come with a rod, or in love and a spirit of meekness. Here, as he had already stated that it was to spare them he had not as yet come to Corinth, he follows up with words that show how far from him it was to lord it over their faith, as some might have drawn from his threat of a rod.
“But I judged this for myself not to come again [or back] unto you in grief. For if I grieve you, who then [is] he that gladdeneth me, if not he that is grieved by me? And I wrote this very thing, that I might not on coming have grief from those from whom I ought to have joy, having trust in you all that my joy is [that] of you all. For out of much tribulation and distress of heart I wrote to you with many tears, not that ye should be grieved, but that ye may know the love that I have very [lit. more] abundantly unto you.” (Vers. 1-4.)
It is a mistake that these words imply a former visit in grief; and therefore a second intermediate and unrecorded one, distinct from the first. The work began, as described in Acts 18. The next visit of which scripture speaks was in Acts 20:2, 8, after both epistles were written—the first from Ephesus (1 Cor. 16:8), the second from Macedonia—but whether from Philippi (as is the traditional idea), or from some other place, as Thessalonica, does not appear. Tradition is certainly wrong in asserting that the first also issued from Philippi, as it may be about the second. 2 Cor. 12:14, 21; 13:1, in no way indicate the fact, but the intention of a second visit, put off because of their state, and in the hope that the delay might give occasion to the intervention of grace, and thus the need of judicial severity be spared, on the apostle's part, toward many in the assembly. Indeed chapter 13: 2 seems plainly to indicate that he had not really been a second time: “I have declared beforehand, and say beforehand, as present the second time, and now absent,” &c.

Discourses on Colossians 2: Part 2

We see in this epistle that Christ is all: there is life in Him; then we see the object into which this life grows—the child grows up into that. We get, further, all the scene into which Christ has entered, as the child grows up into the scene around him. Christ is all, and He is in all too. Then another thing, which we are all conscious of—the way in which He has met our need as poor sinners, the work of Christ which He has wrought for us all alone; all that meeting our consciences, and the effect of it too, which is that the Christian is looked at in two different ways—as a sinner saved, and as one who stands in the system and circle of God's purpose; they are two very distinct things, and the way of treating them is distinct too.
There are many thorough and devoted Christians who do not get beyond this first thing that. God has done; but there is another thing—the thought and purpose God had in doing it, our portion looked at as connected with the Second Adam.
He is our Savior as regards the first man, looked at as responsible man, but behind all that, and beyond all that, there is the purpose of God, in which we are looked at, not as in the first man, but in the Second. You get the old man looked at (vers. 12, 18), one dying for our sins, standing in our place as guilty sinners, saving and justifying us; and then you get the second point, “quickened together with Christ.” Whenever he speaks of quickening in these epistles, it is not merely the fact of having life; He looks at us as dead in our sins, not responsible people, but dead, and God not dealing with a responsible man, but a new creation, totally new; it is quite a different aspect, though they run into one another. I have died in Christ— “in which things ye walked when ye lived in them,” and death had to come in as to that life.

The Beginning of the Creation of God

Rev. 3:14
Few things are more calculated to give stability and comfort to the heart of a saint in passing through this world than the conviction that, according to the counsels of God, he has been introduced in a divinely effective way into an entirely new order of things, and that he is eternally established therein upon immutable guarantees. So wonderful and so impressive is this discovery of the “new creation,” that most of those who have any adequate apprehension of it can probably remember what a moment it was to them, when, in all its blessedness, it broke in upon their souls, opening up a lovely and an incomparable scene, and revealing at the same time their own integral part in it, in the length of it and the breadth of it, without restriction and without reserve.
But one is painfully convinced that the subject is foreign to the minds of believers generally, forming no part of the creeds of churches, and unknown as a doctrine in the theology of Christendom; also, among ourselves, alas I many have never possessed themselves of it in its marvelous sublimity and precious import. What, we may ask, do such make of the last title of Christ to the church as a professing body on earth, the title specially taken by Him in view of these closing Laodicean days— “the beginning of the creation of God?” If Laodicea set forth a spurious and apostatizing form of Christianity, denying the power of godliness, such as in its incipient state at least is disclosing itself everywhere around us, and by means of which Satan is making the name of Christ as a football in the streets, the title which our sovereign Lord takes at such a moment is peculiarly refreshing to every loyal heart, indicating as it does a new glory inalienably re served to Him, and distinctly suggesting to our souls that sinless, cloudless, domain into which He has brought us even now, and where no unholy element can ever enter, nothing that defileth or worketh abomination, but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.

In Christ and the Flesh in Us: Part 1

Such is the Christian. Through infinite grace he is no longer before God in his sins and in the flesh, but in Christ Jesus. He was “without Christ,” he is “in Christ,” he will be “like Christ.” A Christian, then, is not one who hopes to be, but one who is, in Christ. A man may be much reformed, and not in Christ. He may be earnestly taken up with religiousness, yet not in Christ. He may even be convicted, yet not converted. Those who stop short of Christ are still in their sins. To be in Christ is to be the workmanship of God—a new creation. Such have died with Christ, and are alive to God in Christ. It is an entirely new condition and standing. All is of God. The old things have passed away; all things have become new. Whatever, therefore, a man may think of himself, whatever changes may have been wrought in his outward deportment, or however esteemed he may be by others, he has no authority for calling himself a Christian, if he is not “in Christ.”
Nor is it correct to say that those who are in Christ were always in Christ, as some have asserted, because they confound purpose and redemption. We are told that “we were all by nature children of wrath, even as others.” The apostle seems gladly to acknowledge that he knew some who had been brought into this marvelous character of blessing prior to himself. He says, “Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen... who also were in Christ before me.” (Rom. 16:7.) As to the purpose of God, we know that all those who compose the church of God were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world. It is also clear that redemption, though accomplished more than eighteen hundred years ago, is only the present blessing of those who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of their salvation, and believed in the Son of God. Before that we were afar off; “but now, in Christ Jesus, we, who sometime were afar off, are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” Of such, too, it is truly written, “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sine, according to the riches of his grace.” (Eph. 1:7, 11, 13.) No one, then, can be spoken of in a scriptural sense as in Christ Jesus, before he has received Him who “was delivered for our offenses, and raised again for our justification” as his Savior. Before he was made alive (quickened) he was dead in trespasses and in sins—in the flesh; but, through a divinely-wrought faith in the Son of God, he has received eternal life, the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. He is associated with Christ in life, and by the Holy Ghost he is one with Him. This, too, he is entitled to know and to rejoice in, as Jesus said, “In that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.” (John 14:20.)
In the apostles' days persons were accredited as being “in Christ,” and they were spoken of, and written to, as such. For instance, Paul's first letter to the Corinthians is addressed “to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus;” and the letter to the Philippians, “to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi,” thus showing that saints in those days were ordinarily recognized as “in Christ Jesus.”

The Rest of God

It is full of encouragement to the hearts of such as believe, that we have God in His word telling us of Christ, not only after He came, but so long before, and thus giving no to see the unity of His mind. What displays its unity is the constant reference, not to ourselves, nor anything that pertains to the church of God in itself, but to Christ. Undoubtedly God has purposes for the earth, as well as those heavenly counsels which necessarily have a nearer hold on our hearts, not so much because we have a part in them, but because it is where Christ Himself is most intimately known, where all that God feels, as well as all that He will do, comes out in unclouded light and glory; for the earth, after all, even in the day when the glory of Jehovah rises upon it, will still be a place not perfectly free from mist, if one may so say, though not of clouds; for it will be a morning without clouds; but even then there will not be that absolute perfection which God will have brought in for the heavenly saint before the day of eternity. On high will be our portion, but, above all, there will be Christ, as God will make Him known, as He knows Him Himself, and will bring us into His own delight in His Son. Even now it is our portion by faith.
Thus, then, it is not merely after Christ came, and redemption was accomplished, that God spake of Him, but here (Lev. 23), long before, in these early days of God's working with man on the earth, where His dealings were only provisional, where He was setting forth a great moral experiment, if I may so speak, in His ancient people; for the question was, whether anything good could be got out of man; even then God would let us know that Christ was ever before Him; for what would this chapter be without Christ? It would be to wrench the heart out of it, the center of all its movements, the attractive power to every saint of God. Accordingly we shall see how, everywhere, Christ is before God; but one may note, too, in this particular chapter, a peculiarity in the way the Holy Ghost discovers to us the Christ. There is a beautiful order in it, which it is helpful for the soul to discern and enjoy. My hope is to contribute somewhat in this respect to the simplest of those who know our Lord Jesus Christ.
First of all notice, that God does here what is often seen elsewhere, though not always with the same completeness which we find in this chapter. He introduces the sabbath, in what may be called a prefatory way, as well as exceptionally. Verse 2 treats it as one of the feasts; and so verse 3 describes it in due course. But verse 4 follows as a fresh beginning of the feasts of Jehovah, which are limited to the holy convocations, which occurred but once a year. Nor was it quite a new thing to have the sabbath. Again, it is observable, in the book of Exodus particularly, that, no matter what God does, the sabbath, somehow or other, is enacted in connection with it. So here with the feasts. If grace is being revealed, the sabbath appears; if the law is enforced, the sabbath has a central place. It matters not what comes out, God is never wearied of bringing in the sabbath', and for the good and plain reason, that the sabbath, in its full meaning, is the ultimate result of all God's ways. The sabbath may be, and in fact is, the first thing God Himself lays down when He gathers His people round, but it is the aim He has in view: whatever He may work, He works to this end—the rest of God; I do not say rest for God, as if He needed it, but it is His own rest; and not merely a rest that God will effect, and that will meet His mind and affections, but a rest that He will share, in one way or another, with all that are His.

On the Greek Words for Eternity and Eternal

Dear Mr. Editor—I have thought that, as one of the forms in which infidelity circulates at present is Universalism, or the Restitution of all things, it might be well to put out clearly and simply some facts (for that is what they are), which may deprive its advocates of one main ground of their reasonings, and that without any reasoning on the general subject of a doctrine, which, when examined, sets aside the truth of Christianity. I refer to the meaning of αἰών, and also of allince. We are told by Dr. Farrar, with much pretension to competency in affirming it, that “everlasting” or “eternal” ought not to be found in the Bible; by Mr. Cox that it means properly an “age” and “age-long,” and that it cannot be right to translate them eternal or everlasting. Mr. Jukes with a wild imagination takes the same ground. They simply echo one another. Now all I purpose to do here is to state some passages from other authors, which prove that (while used in other senses, some of which are not found at all in scripture,) it does mean “eternity” and “eternal.” I will afterward examine some of the passages in scripture in which it is found.
Αἰών, in Greek properly means “eternity.” I do not dispute here, whether we are to believe with Aristotle, that it is derived from ἀεὶ εἶναι; or with other modern writers from αἴω I breathe, whence it had the meaning in Homer, Euripides, and other authors, of life and breath; or possibly these may be two different words, one from ἀεῖ ὤν, the other from as, ἄω, whence the two very different meanings. This is certain, that the word is distinctly used by Plato, Aristotle, and Philo; (and, according to the dictionaries, by Lycurgus, whom I have not the means of consulting) as “eternal,” in contrast with what is of time having beginning or ending, as its definite and proper meaning.
Plato (Timaeus, ed. Steph. III. 87, or ed. Baiter Orell et Winck. 712,) says, speaking of the universe: “When the father who begot it perceived that the image made by him of the eternal (ἀΐδίων) gods moved and lived, he was delighted with his work; and, led by this delight, thought to make his work much more like that first exemplar.” Inasmuch therefore as it (the intelligible universe) is an eternal (ἀΐδιον) animal (living being), so he set about to make this (the sensible) universe such with all his power. The nature therefore of the animal (living being) was eternal (αἰώνιος, before ἀΐδιος), and this indeed it was impossible to adapt to what was produced (τῷ γεννητῷ, to what had a beginning), he thinks to make a movable image of eternity (αἰῶνος), and in adoring the heavens he makes of the eternity permanent in unity a certain eternal image moving in number, that which in fact we call time; that is, days and nights, and months and years, which did not subsist before the heaven began to be, then with its being established he operates their birth” (beginning to be, γένεσιν αὐτῶν). And after unfolding this, he says (p. 88): “But these forms of time imitating eternity (αἰῶνα), and rolling round according to number, have had a beginning (γἐγονεν)... Time therefore began with heaven, that they having begun with it may be dissolved with it, if there be indeed any dissolution of them, and according to the pattern of eternal (διαιωνἰας, in some MSS, αἰωνἰου -ας) nature that it might be as like as possible to it. For that pattern exists for all eternity (πάντα αἰῶνά ἐστιν ὄν), but on the other hand; that which is perpetual (διὰ τέλους) throughout all time has had a beginning, and is, and will be.” And then he goes on to speak of stars and planets, &c., as connected with what was created in time. It is impossible to conceive any more positive statement that aisle is distinct, and to be contrasted with what has a beginning and belongs to the flux of time. Αἰών is what is properly eternal, in contrast with a divine imitation of it in ages of time, the result of the creative action of God which imitated the uncreate as nearly as He could in created ages. It is a careful opposition between eternity and ages; and αἰών, and also αἰώνιος mean the former in contrast with ages.

Notes on Job 35

It is not only unkind insinuation which has danger for the heart. There is need of vigilance and self-judgment. And we do well, always and in everything, above all to vindicate God, who needs nothing from us, and can in no way be a debtor to us, yet deigns to occupy Himself with us in infinitely condescending mercy and compassion. Here Job had failed, not under the blows which fell on him so heavily and fast, but when stung by the evil surmisings of men who knew incomparably less, of God than he, and as they could not help the sufferer to the secret none of them understood, so they hindered and provoked him by the cruel misunderstanding they expressed. Elihu lets him know plainly that he thought too much of himself, and forgot the majesty of God. One should not use complaints which imply failure in His moral government, who is infallibly right, and beyond measure good. None should indulge in the dream of blamelessness before God. The heavens are high above man; but God is high above the heavens, and if man will talk of himself or his doings, what can all this be to God, who is above all man's measures? And if He seem to disregard the cry of the oppressed, He has good reason, and they fail to ask aright; else their lamentations would soon change to songs of thankful praise in the night. To groan is not enough, as the brute may; it is to God that the tried should cry. God remains God, and is the judge of all, however slow to punish, as He surely will in His day. Feebleness in giving God credit for what He is spite of appearances, Elihu feels, had betrayed Job into no little impropriety of speech.
And Elihu answered and said,
Hast thou counted this for judgment,

Notes on Matthew 19

Next the Pharisees raise the question of marriage, which gives the Lord occasion to lay down some principles as the basis of natural relationships, and of grace in the Christian; then, at the same time, to bring out man's true moral state according to nature; and, finally, the consequences and the principle of devotedness according to grace.
That which God ordered in the beginning is strictly maintained. God created man, male and female; he united the two to be but one flesh, and this union is indissoluble according to God. Sin may break the bond, but divorce is totally forbidden under any condition, but that of the fact by which the bond is thus already broken. It is God who has formed this link; man has no right to break it. Since then a power was come to work in man, outside and above nature, which can put him outside natural relationships, it can take and endow him with energy, in order to keep him, apart from those relationships, for the service of the kingdom. The relationship of marriage is fully recognized, its holiness, its indissolubility; but God has taken possession of man, so that he might be for Him. In His creation, that is, God has made marriage; but the Holy Ghost, acting in power, appropriates to Himself a man, who, from that time, recognizes marriage, and yet does not marry for love of the kingdom of God.
Next (ver. 18) we have nature viewed on its beautiful side: little children, and a young man of charming character. In the Gospel of Mark we read, “Then Jesus, beholding him, loved him;” but his heart had to be put to the proof. Little children, with whom malice, falsehood, and the spirit of the world were not yet in action, furnished the model of what was suitable to the kingdom of heaven; the root of evil, no doubt, was there, but it was the creature in its simplicity and confidence, things which the world despised, and not will, bearing fruits of wickedness and corruption. Thus their character, being such, served as a model. The difference between the amiability of nature and the state of the heart before God, was to be shown in the case of the young man. Irreproachable in his conduct, be sought the Teacher, who appeared to his conscience able to give the most excellent directions for well doing. He comes with the thought that there is goodness in man, and in his eyes goodness was manifested more in Jesus than anywhere else. He seeks His counsel as to how to gain eternal life by his doings. He addresses the Lord as a man, a Rabbi, attracted nevertheless by what he had seen in Him. He calls Him good. The Lord stops him short, “'One only is good.” Now the young man did not know Him as such. He had not asked what must be done to be saved, but to have eternal life. The Lord reminds him of the commandments, the rule for the man who wishes to have life through the law: “This do, and thou shalt live.”

Notes on John 13:33-38

Not only was His death before the Lord, but His departure from the world—a notion absolutely new to a Jewish mind in connection with the Messiah. The more such an one believed Him to be the promised One, the less could it be conceived that He should quit the scene which He had come to bless. “We have heard out of the law,” answered the people not long before, that Christ abideth forever; and how sayest thou, the Son of man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of man?” There too He had intimated to the Jews, not only His death, but what death He should die, and His retirement from their midst. A new creation and heavenly glory were beyond their field of vision. But here the Lord prepares His disciples more fully for what was then coming and is now come—facts simple enough for us who have to do with them every day, but wholly unlooked for in Israel, who expected the kingdom immediately to appear, not the things unseen and eternal, with which our faith is called to be conversant.
“Little children, yet a little I am with you. Ye will seek me; and, as I said to the Jews, where I go away ye cannot come, also to you I say now.” (Ver. 33.) None had passed this way heretofore. It must be a new and living way, and only His death could make it possible, consistently with God or with man. But to His own there is a title of endearment; and if He was to be but a little with them, they were to seek Him. Heaven, however, was in no way accessible to man, like the earth, of whose dust his body was made. Christ came from God, and went to God, as He will come by-and-by and receive us to Himself, that where He is, there we may be also. But no more is the Christian able to go there than any other man; Christ alone can bring any therein, as He will surely do with His own at His coming.
But He meanwhile lays a characteristic injunction on them here below. “A new commandment I give to you, that ye love one another; as I loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love among one another.” (Vers. 34, 35.)

Notes on 2 Corinthians 2:5-11

There is, perhaps, no place where the delicacy, as well as faithfulness, of the apostle appears, than in dealing with the case which had so deeply pained his heart, in view of the dishonor done to the Lord at Corinth. For if it betrayed how low the unjudged flesh of a Christian might carry him, it had also discovered the low state of the assembly, and made it a special trial to him who loved them, and a special danger for those who were otherwise alienated. Nevertheless, the grace and truth which came in Christ wrought so mightily by the Holy Spirit in this blessed servant, that even the light-minded Corinthians were roused to repentance quite as decidedly, as to disciplinary activity; and so far communion was restored between them and the apostle. It ought to be doubted that, as he commanded them to put away the wicked person from among themselves, they could not but bow, purging out the old leaven, that they might be a new lump, as they were unleavened. The paschal sacrifice of Christ is inseparable from the feast of unleavened we have to celebrate here below. We cannot shirk the responsibility, if we enjoy the privilege. Sincerity and truth must characterize the believer.
But if the saints in Corinth were only of late awakened to feel and act with honor and holy resentment at such an outrage in God's temple, there was danger now of a strong reaction. Severity is as little according to Christ as laxity or indifference; and those who needed such a powerful appeal to arouse them to vindicate the injured name of the Lord, were now disposed to an extremely judicial sternness, as far from the grace of the apostle, as before from his care for holiness. Thus fellowship of heart was imperiled from the opposite side.
The apostle, however, seizes on what was good, through the action of the Spirit in them, to labor for still more and better. Recovery from a low state is rarely immediate. Correction is needed there, as well as here; and the very fact that the call to righteousness is again heard, may, for the time, so pre-occupy the soul, that love cannot yet act freely. So it was at Corinth, till he who so blessedly represented the Master laid his hands again upon their eyes, which as yet saw men like trees walking, that, restored fully, they might look on all clearly. He had written out of much tribulation and distress of heart to them, with many tears, which refuted the charge of either levity or self exaltation; not that they might be grieved, but that they might know his very abundant love toward them. Now he turns to the one in question, who had grieved him from the first tidings of the sin, than since his epistle had been used to put his and their sin in the light of God before their consciences.

God's Purposes

I do not doubt that God's purposes are in their nature eternal, and He purposed the mystery in Christ Jesus. But the church is not spoken of as a purpose before the world. It is a πρόθεσις τῶν αἰώνων, and is εἰς πάσας τὰς γενεὰς τοῦ αἰῶνος τῶν αἰώνων, but not τρὸ τῶν αἰώνων. This is according to His nature and relationship as Father to the Son (but owned in Christ). But it is spoken of, though hidden in the ages, yet only when Christ is raised as men, and so we with Him as man, and so formed by the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Then Christ loved the church; this also is in view of His special relationship with it as a man, second Adam. The Christ gave up all He had to have it and form it for Himself, and present it, glorious, to Himself. Still it is God's assembly; only the Father does not give it to Christ as He does the saints individually. It is an actual thing on earth after Christ's ascension, unrevealed in the ages, in a certain sense not till then (we have Matt. 16), but being revealed in connection with Christ manifested in flesh, not according to the nature of God and the Father. This is full of interest as regards the church. Head over all things is connected with creation and not with God's nature and His being the Father as in Ephesians; that is, it is God's calling, God's inheritance; and then Christ comes in to introduce the church, as raised from the dead, and given to be Head over all things. It is with Him the church is in relationship. Chapter i. 4, 5 is another thing; but all how wonderful! Hence we have operative power from verse 19.
But is not πρ. τ. αί. a purpose, as to the ages, about them, the word πρόθεσις being of God giving the absoluteness of the intention? (Cf. 1 Cor. 2:7.) But it was purposed as to the ages, whatever eternity unfolded as to it.

Discourses on Colossians 1

It is not the body and its privileges we have here, but the Head and its fullness; not the Spirit, but Christ as our life. But this is quite as momentous. So also we have the walk in view of the hope. We see where the apostle puts us as thus risen with Christ, and yet walking down here, and so a question of finishing our course. In Ephesians we come forth from God, and, being with Him there, show out His character as Christ did. If I say I am risen, let me walk as risen; if justified from sin, yield myself unto God, dead to sin, and alive from the dead.
Verse 4. He had heard of their love to all saints. But one cannot get the knowledge of His will unless it is connected with all saints; for Christ's heart does take in all, and if we do not, we fail to embrace that of which His eye has taken in the circle. (Eph. 3:18.) The moment we get into a risen state, we are all one. We are Jews, Gentiles, all sorts of things, when looked at as men on the earth; but when risen, all that is done with.
There are two things—one may say three—which we have in the resurrection of Christ. First, the testimony of God is to the full acceptance of Christ's work— “God hath raised him from the dead;” and, secondly, the effect of that, which is a new place with God altogether, where neither Jew nor Gentile, neither Adam innocent nor Adam guilty, ever were. It is an entrance into an entirely new condition; we belong to a new creation altogether. This, beloved friends, is of all moment to our hearts—the consciousness of our relationship with God. As to Christ, sins are past, judgment past, death past, Satan's power past, when He rose from the dead. His death had been a terrible testimony to the state of the old man—it was a total breach with man in the flesh. “Let no fruit grow upon thee henceforth and forever.” We never get fully into the consciousness of our proper blessing till we clearly and distinctly understand, not only that we are guilty, but that the tree is bad. God has set-aside man, and in the flesh he cannot please God; he has no actual living connection with Him whatever—no life, no nature, in which he can please Him. (Rom. 8) When we talk of being risen with Christ, we have left all that scene behind us which Christ has left behind; not of the world, as He is not of it, though we have to go through it, of course, and to keep ourselves unspotted from it. Christ got into life again—a totally new state past all these things; we are crucified with Him, dead to sin and the world, and in this new condition in which Christ is now. He was there dying under our sins—we, found dead in them, and now quickened along with Him, with all our trespasses forgiven. In Colossians it is only this change of position, not all that it involves.

In Christ and the Flesh in Us: Part 2

On, the marvelous depths and heights of divine grace! Its depths in embracing us when in our sins and guilt, exposed to the wrath of God, and its heights in bringing us to God in Christ for everlasting blessing. And so truly does scripture teach the reality of this translation from being in Adam to our present standing in Christ, that we are now spoken of as “not in the flesh,” “not of the world,” “not under law,” but “in the Spirit,” and “blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” The important question for us is, How far have we received these truths into our hearts? How far have we mixed faith with the truth of God concerning what He has wrought in Christ? The practical point is, Do we habitually take our place when consciously dealing with God as in Christ? Those who have not received this truth may be trying to work themselves into nearness to God and be always disappointed, instead of taking in simple faith the nearness and acceptance in Christ which His own grace has given us. Those who are working and redoubling their efforts to get near, only prove that they have not yet entered upon the place in Christ in which divine grace has set them. Those who by faith take possession of it do rejoice therein, and rest in God's presence. Such are never so happy as when inside the veil, where the Lord Jesus is. They worship God, and in measure enter into the wondrous truth of fellowship with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.
But though the believer is not in the flesh, he sorrowfully finds that the flesh is in him. He learns through humbling experiences to say, “In me, that is in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing.” He does not say, “In me dwells no good,” because he has a new life, and the Holy Ghost in him; but he says, “In me, that is in my flesh, dwells no good thing;” for, though delivered from the Adam standing, he still has the Adam nature—the flesh, with its passions and lusts—that evil principle which is ready to serve the law of sin. He has, in fact, two natures: the old nature, “that which is born of the flesh, which is flesh;” and the new life, or new nature, “that which is born of the Spirit, which is spirit.” The new nature which is born of the Spirit is strengthened by the Holy Ghost which indwells us; so that, while the flesh lusts against the Spirit, the Spirit is against the flesh in such antagonistic power, that we cannot do the things which we otherwise would. The delivered soul knows that he is the subject of the actings of these two opposing natures, and his conclusion is, “so then with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.” (Rom. 7:25.)
The great trouble of every believer is not so much what he has done as what he is. It is the painful consciousness of having this evil nature—pride, self-will, and lust cropping up within, even if it does not come out. And the more his desire to live for the glory of God, the greater his sorrow at the garment being spotted by the flesh. This is his greatest enemy, his constant opponent, that upon which Satan and the world can act, and which neither time nor circumstances can improve, so desperately wicked is it, and deceitful above all things. The more we are occupied with it, the weaker we are toward it, because it becomes an object in the stead of Christ. The secret of power over it is to know that it has been crucified with Christ because of its incurable badness—to reckon it dead—to disallow its cravings, and to find all our springs of comfort and strength in Christ glorified—to “reckon ourselves to have died indeed unto sin, and alive unto God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:6-11.) In the heavenly glory we shall not need so to “reckon,” for we shall be completely and forever delivered from it. But to so reckon now is because “the flesh” is still in us. Yet it is equally our privilege to say with the apostle, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I [that is, not the old nature] but Christ [my new life] liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh [that is, in this mortal body], I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20.) This is Christian life.

Two Sticks: 1 Kings 18:12

How many believers in this day are culpably like the poor widow of Sarepta before she met the Tishbite. They know so little of the wonderful service they are predestined of the Lord to fulfill for Him here, that they are, ignobly enough, looking only for a couple of sticks, accounting that they have just sufficient in the barrel and the cruse to die upon, but far from enough to live upon! They have so little understood the wonderful fact that they have present possession of Christ and of the Holy Ghost, as the inexhaustible resources of faith—of which the meal (or wheaten flour) and the oil were types—that they go along with their eyes upon the ground; and their piety chiefly consists in a suitable preparation for death! It may be in the near, or it may be in the distant, horizon, but this only is looming before their souls. These are they who religiously affirm that “in the midst of life we are in death,” never having learned how much happier it is to be able to say, and how much more divinely true it is to the saint, that in the midst of death we are in life, not knowing either how incomparably greater a thing it is to be fit to live than to be fit to die.
When the famine had long raged throughout the land, and even beyond its borders, the prophet of God was directed to forsake Israel's dried-up rivulet, Cherith, for Zarephath of Zidon, for there had Jehovah commanded a widow woman to sustain him; the many widows of Israel being passed over, that a Gentile might taste of His goodness, and be also the almoner of His resources. At the very gate of the city they met, and he, being entitled to draw at once upon her supplies, requests of her bread and water, only to elicit the disclosure of her abject penury. Everything but the last mouthful was gone, and she and her son were at the point of death.
Elijah's reply, “Fear not,” &c., beautifully asserts the ascendancy of his faith. Be it that the famine was at its height, and that the person upon whom he was billeted was an embodiment of wretchedness and misery the most profound, he had gone there in the name and at the word of the God of Israel, to live, and not to die, and to announce, as well as to receive, succor. And as the two mites dropped into the Lord's treasury by the Jewish widow of another and a later day, met the commendation that she had cast in more than all the rest, so were the “two sticks” of this Gentile widow, gathered with a view to the last desperate morsel before death, to be used for preparing, by the bounty of Jehovah, “enough and to spare,” the prelude of a new lease of life to herself and to the prophet, and the pledge of unmeasured mercy and grace to the Gentiles. She had gone forth of the city, having no object higher or happier than the “two sticks,” but she found the Lord, as it were, at the gate; for there she met His prophet, and there she heard His word. How many believers are like her, as she sallied forth that eventful day, full of their own thoughts and forebodings! In what they have, and what they seek, they have self for their motive, thus rising no higher, and seeing no further, than the couple of sticks, for they have not yet met the Lord at the gate, or, in other words, have not yet got their commission—the service for Himself He has assigned to them here.

Watchman, What of the Night? Part 1

Isaiah 21:11
The watchman of that early time, and as under the spirit of prophecy, said, “The morning cometh, and also the night; if ye will inquire, inquire ye, return, come.” God has never let the night-time of the ruin of creation and of man—no, nor yet of Jerusalem and of His people Israel—pass out of His own hands; and to them that look for Him, all will, yet issue in “a morning without a cloud,” when the Sun of Righteousness shall arise, with healing in His beams.
Another (and he, the anointed apostle for these last times) sent to us from the risen Son of man, exalted above the night of chaos and of ruin,, and seated in the glory of God, cries, “The night is far spent, the day is at hand, let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.” The prophet and the apostle are each right, and in the mind of the Lord, in their respective occupations and seasons, giving out these varied lessons to the people of God.

Science and Scripture

Dear Brother,
It is far happier to take the word of God simply as the word of God, and have nothing to do with the infidelity of man. When in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom know not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe; and that is the true ground for the soul. “He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself; he that believeth not God hath made him a liar.” If man does not bow to what God says now, God will show he had enough evidence of the truth in Christ and His word, so that the rejection of it proves what he is, and he will have to bow to it in that day. “The word that I have spoken” says the Lord, “the same shall judge him in the last day.”
But we all know that infidelity is rampant, and that numbers of young Christians, in houses of business and elsewhere, are beset by it; for “the unjust knoweth no shame.” I send you therefore a few remarks, very brief, not going into the discussion of the subject, but merely some general principles which may help them when they have to do with it—principles which set its just limits to science. Science is occupied in phenomena, what the perceptive mind of man can take cognizance of. It may search into these with the utmost minuteness, it may see that these are regularly governed by general laws, and from the universality of phenomena discover a general principle which acts in all of them. It sees too that certain phenomena are constantly consequences of other phenomena, so far as that, when certain phenomena occur, they are, if not hindered by some external power, followed by other phenomena which are their consequences. There are certain constant facts, and facts which flow from other facts, with (as a general rule) a regularity which constitutes a law of nature. All this science can investigate.

Notes on Job 36-37

We have next the final discourse of Elihu, in which he proceeds to clench his justification of God's ways against Job, who had virtually impeached them. He no longer deals with the human side, but rises up to God's own character, and His moral government of men, wherein mercy rejoices against judgment. But there is, withal, that distinct reference to His glory in creation and providence which is characteristic of the Old Testament generally, whether law or prophets, yet with ample and definite application ethically; an admirable transition to the interposition of Jehovah Himself, which immediately follows:
And Elihu added, and said,
Wait for me a little, and I will show thee;

Notes on Matthew 20

Chapter 20:1-6, shows, to explain it, that while recompensing each sacrifice faithfully according to His goodness, God is sovereign in what He gives; and that if He judges good, He can find the occasion of giving, to those who, in man's estimate, might not have labored so much, the seine reward as to those who wished to gain according to their labor. The first workman has for principle, so much labor, so much pay the others betake themselves to the goodwill of the lord of the vineyard. You shall receive what is just; and grace recompenses beyond all desert of labor. Such is the great principle of all true service rendered to the Lord. There is the principle in question, and the final phrase (ver. 16), refers to what was said at the beginning: “So the last shall be first, and the first last.” It is the inverse, however, of what is said (chap. 19: 30), at the beginning of the parable, where this sentence refers to the thought of man, “What shall we have therefore?” whilst the final phrase refers to the thought of God who takes pleasure in blessing, according to the riches of His grace and power according to His goodness. It is always thus in every case. The workman shall receive according to his labor, as that happened to the first that was called. God gives according to His goodness and His grace. There had not been a refusal to the invitations among the last (ver. 6, 7): God called them when the moment that pleased Him arrived.
In the last words by which He closes the parable, the Savior establishes in a formal manner this principle of grace. Many are called, but few chosen. This principle is laid down as the foundation of all for many. We find the same principle in chapter 22:14, where it is also laid down as the basis of all. A single man furnishes the example of it. A mass of people unite under the standard of Christianity, giving themselves up to the call of God; a small number only among them comes under the influence of the word of God, and is the fruit of it. It is this sovereign grace which is the true and only source of all blessing. Here the Lord, after having spoken of the operation of this grace in the parable, lays it down in an abstract way as the basis of all.
There are yet some other moral traits of deep interest which relate to this in connection with the Savior's humiliation. (Ver. 17-28) The Lord warns His disciples on the way to Jerusalem, that He must be condemned to death by the Jewish authorities, and delivered to the Gentiles, but that He will rise again the third day.

Judas, Not Iscariot

It is an interesting characteristic of John that he enshrines in divine revelation the questions and observations of the less notable of the Lord's apostles. Thus what dropped from Andrew, Thomas, Philip, and Judas brother of James, is found recorded by him and by none of the other evangelists.
Of the last of these, but one saying is preserved, his memorable inquiry of our Lord how He would manifest Himself to His disciples, and not unto the world (John 14:22), and it is he who has given us by the Holy Ghost that short but remarkable letter known as the Epistle of Jude.
Comparing Mark 6:7, where we read that the Lord sent out the twelve by two and two, with Luke 6:14-16, where the apostles are enumerated in pairs, we gather the significant fact that Judas Iscariot, the first apostate from Christ, was accompanied when they went forth on their mission, by Jude who was characteristically that prophet whose burden would be the Christian apostasy. And this is the more remarkable as while Simon is coupled with his brother Andrew, and James with his brother John, Jude is separated from his brother, James the less, with whom his name is always previously connected, to be associated with the Iscariot.

Watchman, What of the Night? Part 2

Isaiah 21:11
(Continued from page 110.)
The Second Book of Chronicles introduces us, in its early chapters, to scenes like these, and the whole world is wakened up, on this break of day, to lay bare its treasures, and mines of gold, and all the precious things in the depths of the earth, because God has risen up out of His place, and is coming in with the brightness of the morning into Jerusalem, to make it “the city of the great King.” What change—yea, what mighty revolution—in favor of mankind, can have come up before the God of heaven and of earth, that all kings and countries should be tributary to Him on this great occasion of His temple on Mount Moriah? Again, we may say, “Watchman, what of the night?” when Hiram, king of Tire, is a willing servant, and lays the forests of Lebanon at the feet of Solomon, with cedar-trees, fir-trees, and algum-trees in abundance. He provides also a cunning man, endued with understanding, who is skilful to work in gold, and in silver, in brass, in iron, in stone, and in timber. In purple also, and in blue, in fine linen, and in crimson; for Jehovah was coming forth into this kingdom and its costly temple. “Likewise men to grave any manner of graving, and to find out every device that shall be put to them, with thy cunning men, and with the cunning men of my lord David thy father;” for this sun was to rise upon Solomon without a cloud.

Thoughts on John 20

In this chapter we have the whole picture of the dispensation, from the remnant of Israel that first received Him risen, to the remnant that will know Him when they see Him again, represented by Thomas.
Mary comes early to the sepulcher, while it is yet dark: her heart is there, and she has no rest without Him. The others came when it was light—the natural hour to come. When they had been buying spices for the body and what they were going to do next morning, they come at the light. But Mary Magdalene has no heart to be without Him, and, before the light, she is there. The church began by a remnant, but John never gives us the church, but the remnant at the end, and in verse 17, “My Father and your Father, my God and your God” —two dispensations if you call them so.
First, Mary goes to the sepulcher and finds the stone rolled away. She runs and tells Peter and John, and they go to the sepulcher. Peter goes in first as usual; those two constantly go together, they both loved the Lord, but in very different characters. They do not shine in this history. They come and see and believe, and go away to eat their breakfasts, or for something at home. They did not know the scriptures, nor did they stay to be anxious about it at all. They saw and believed, for they knew not the scriptures. It was not faith in God's word, but sight convinced them. The clothes all lay quietly there; there had been no stealing away, and they said He must be risen. Afterward Christ reproaches them for their unbelief. At any rate like Mary, they might have inquired. Mary stays when they have gone off; and there she is weeping, and thinks when she sees Him He is the gardener, and says, “If thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.” She feels she has a right to dispose of His body, and talks to the gardener as if he knows all about it— “Tell me where thou hast laid him” —just as I might go to a house where one is ill, and say, “How is he?” without stating a name, because all hearts are full of the sick one. Then Christ brings out (the angel had done so too) where her heart was; and, when that is done, He calls His own sheep by name, and she turns and says to Him, Rabboni, that is, Master. Then she would have taken Him by the feet, but He anticipates her, for she thought she had got Him back again for the kingdom. You must not touch Me,” but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and my God and your God.” It is the highest expression of personal relationship, and she is the messenger of it to the apostles themselves. He has accomplished redemption, and they are His brethren, for He has put them into the same place as Himself. The women in Matthew touch Him, but they were no messengers of a higher calling in contrast with the kingdom. They thought nothing about the act save as a mere token of respect and attention, and He let them do it.

Two Greek Words Translated as House

On the whole, in spite of authorities, I am disposed to think that οἶκος is the house viewed from outside as an object set before us, οἰκία from inside; οἶκος the building as such, the temple always, so a family, or lineage metaphorically. It is very often merely a difference of conception in the writer. If I think of the house as a building to which I came, I should say, οἶκος, if I was going in to a set of people in it, or having to do with the house inside of it, not materially, but as containing, I should say, elide. We have a striking example, how near they run together, and yet have a different sense: in 1 Cor. 1:16 οἶκος of Stephanas, the family looked at objectively from without; in xvi. 15, οἰκία. The material house as from without was not the first-fruits, but the household as a whole which was so. What seems a difficulty is the end, of sermon on the Mount, building the house on a rock. (Matt. 7:24; 25 Luke 6:48, 49: as far as I find, it is always thus, ᾠκοδόμησεν οἰκίαν.) I think οἰκία is the whole concern the builder had in his mind for his habitation, a dwelling with his family, which was of course a house. Hence “go not from house to house,” is οἰκία, though they might from οἶκος to οἶκος. Cf. Matt. 5:15; Phil. 4:22, and more strongly Matt. 10:12, 13, 14; 13:51; John 4:53. In Luke 10:5, we have both. They go into the οἰκίαν or dwelling containing the family, and say, Peace be to this house, οἴκῳ, an object before their minds as one thing. They brake bread, κατ' οἶκον; and τὴν κατ' οἶκον αὐτῶν ἐκκλησίαν, meeting there, not in the household. See Acts 2:46; 5:42; 8:3; 20:20. So the blessing comes as the peace on the οἶκον, Luke 19:9. In Matt. 12:25, οἰκία κατ' ἑαυτῆς, in Luke 11:17, οἶκος ἐπὶ οἶκον. Here in Luke οἰκία would not do; it is a single whole thing, not collective as in Matthew: οἰκία would have been too intimate.

Notes on Job 38-39

From the wonders of inanimate creation above, beneath, and around, Jehovah now turns to the phenomena of the animal kingdom. The lion, the raven, the wild goat or ibex, the wild ass, the wild ox, the ostrich, the horse, the hawk, and the eagle successively appear, to convince of ignorance and powerlessness him who ventures to sit in judgment on God's doings.
Dost thou hunt prey for the lioness,
And fill the desire of the young lions,

Colossians 1

The character of Colossians is that the saint is looked at as risen: we hear nothing of the Holy Ghost except the expression, “your love in the Spirit.” But it brings out the other side, Christ as life in us, more fully here than anywhere. Christ is in us, “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” The way the saint is looked at is as risen; the consequence is, he is not, as in Ephesians, in heavenly places. In Ephesians you have the work of the Spirit of God, and the presence of the Spirit revealing things above, and associating us with them: here in Colossians the saint is dead and risen with Christ, a risen man walking through the midst of this world. In Romans you see a living man actually in this world, as we all are, Christ being his life, and rejoicing in the hope of the glory of God. We find, therefore, in Romans that a man is to yield himself to God, whereas in Ephesians we are looked at as coming from God to show God's character in this world. If you are able to do what is in Ephesians, you will be able to do what is in Romans. Christ had given Himself a dying sacrifice; you are to give yourself a living one. In Ephesians we have, “Be ye therefore imitators of God as dear children” (Eph. 5:1); this goes farther. Wilt Colossians gives us is, not heavenly places, but that we are dead with Christ, and risen with Him, and this life is fully developed here.
We see the way the Christian is to live, and that founded on the place in which he has been put by grace. After that he speaks of all things as to be reconciled to God, while the church He has reconciled. First he takes the great truth of what our life is and our walk, and what it is founded on. There is a path in this world, the spring and character of which is that God's will is in it, a path the vulture's eye has not seen, which was perfectly fulfilled in Christ. “He that saith he abideth in him, ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” (1 John 2:6.) The saint is given a path through this world which has nothing to do with the world, but which displays the character of Christ in it. “But I say unto you that ye resist not evil; but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” (Matt. 5:39.) This would not be righteousness, but Christ displayed. You will see this immense privilege of walking down here like Christ, who could speak of Himself as “the Son of man who is in heaven,” who lived a heavenly—more than this, a divine life down here. There was not a single motive in Christ which governed the world, or a single motive in the world which governed Christ. “I will even make a way in the wilderness” (Isa. 43:19), that is the Christian's path.
Sometimes we get stopped on the road. “Well,” I say to myself, “the eye was not single, or the whole body would have been full of light.” It is a path of God. Christ comes down to this world, and He treads a path like which there is nothing at all. We are sanctified to the obedience of Christ;” God's will was the motive of everything with Him, this was the very way in which He baffled Satan. He never did anything but because it was God's will, not merely that it was according to God's will, though this was true of course. “If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.” (Matt. 4:3.) He had been owned as Son, and the Spirit had descended on Him (there He makes our place), and then He was led of the Spirit to be tempted in the wilderness. When Satan comes and says to Him, “Command that these stones be made bread,” there was no harm in eating when He was hungry, but He says, “I have got no orders to do it,” “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” So He does nothing, and Satan does nothing—he could not, for that would have been an end to his wiles. The blessed Lord comes to do God's will, and He was “obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”

Watchman, What of the Night? Part 3

Isa. 21:11.
(Concluded from page 110.)
It is time to ask now, what is the solemn result of these trials and tests of such a distinguished man, and what our lessons by God in this history, and of His ways with a nation, in the brief record of his reign? Or rather, what should be the effect of this great proof in such a king, and of an elect people, when gathered round God Himself, with His glory in the temple, and this endowed man upon His throne, as the guarantee (if there could be one outside Christ) of permanent and universal blessing? Ought not the leaders and great men of modern times to allow such an one to challenge them all by the question, even if they do not like to answer him, “What can the man do that cometh after the king?” Nay, is it not presumption, if not a presumptuous sin, for the men of this period to suppose the problem of what man is, and is worth, in his relation to God, and to his neighbor, and to the world, to be an open question still, and left for them to solve? This, too, in the face of the prophecy which challenges all, “What more could have been done for my vineyard that I have not done?” Do any of them come up to Solomon, or can they excel God? Will the scientists, and the men of mark and renown, say they are at an advantage, because experimenting amongst a non-elect people, instead of an elect one, which was so beloved, and placed under law to God? Will they tell us it is better to begin the problem in the midst of Gentile nations, with whom God does not stand in any relationships of this kind, than with the nation which He chose, and brought to Himself?

Conversion and Salvation

It is important to ponder deeply the difference between conversion and salvation. I have already spoken on this subject, but it is one that is so much neglected, and Christians are so accustomed to be content with a low state of soul, and are so uncertain with regard to salvation, that I shall take the opportunity of adding a few more words. Cornelius was already converted; his prayers and alms were acceptable to God. He was to call for Peter who would tell him words whereby he might be saved. God had been working in his soul, but he did not yet know the value of the work accomplished by the Savior. It is the same in the case of the woman in Luke 7; she loved the Lord deeply, had felt the height of His grace and the depth of her sins; but knew not that all was pardoned. The Lord tells her so. The prodigal son was converted, confessed his sins, and turned towards his Father, but he was not yet clothed with the best garment. His Father had not yet fallen on his neck, he knew not His love; he hardly hoped to be admitted as a servant, and was not in a fit state to enter into the house. Every privilege awaited him, but he did not possess them.
I doubt not that He who has begun the good work will continue it till the day of Christ Jesus. As long as a soul reasons about its state, seeks to know whether it is saved or converted, and judges by its own heart of what is in the heart of God, it is under law; salvation for such an one depends on his own state, not on the love of God and the efficacy of the work of Christ. He may perhaps say he is truly converted; he feels the need of salvation, and believes that others have found it; but he does not himself possess it; just as Israel was not out of the land of Egypt till the sea was crossed. Two things, which cannot be separated, are necessary; faith in the work of Christ, and the knowledge that it is finished. I say they cannot be separated, because, when we believe in the work of Christ, and by faith trust in it, we are sealed by the Holy Ghost, we enjoy peace (the love of God being shed abroad in our hearts), we are reconciled with God, and in Christ are made meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light; and we know it by the Holy Ghost given to us. In spirit we are in the Father's house, partaking of the food with which He nourishes His beloved children. Not only has the heart turned towards God, but Christ is our righteousness, who also appears for us continually before the face of God.

Scripture Queries and Answers: The Breaking of Bread

THE BREAKING OF BREAD.
1. Two or three saints in fellowship at the Lord's table, meet, with or without previous concert, at some place where they have gone for a temporary purpose—a watering-place commonly—where there is no gathering, and no one in fellowship. Can they rightly spread the table for the time they are together in the place, the whole thing being discontinued (unless in the meantime some residents should be brought into fellowship) as soon as they leave? Under such circumstances is the true character of the table maintained? And if so, is it material whether the fact of their breaking bread be known only to themselves, or done in such a way that others may know and perhaps come to the room?
2. If there be a resident brother or sister in fellowship at the place, but no breaking of bread, can the table be spread at any time that another brother in fellowship may happen to be there for a limited time, and then discontinued until another similar occasion arise? If the brother should go to the place on an occasional day for the express purpose of enabling the resident brother or sister to enjoy the privilege of breaking bread, would it make any difference?

1 Corinthians 5

Q. 1 Cor. 5 In an excommunicable case, that is, one of grave or gross wickedness, can rebuke or withdrawal be substituted for “putting out?” If insisted on by leaders and accepted by an assembly, spite of the strongest protest, in what position does it involve that assembly? Is it really proved “clear"?
A. If a person gave just occasion for public discipline, and there was good ground to fear worse, of which no adequate evidence to convict appeared, it would be godly order to rebuke one thus sinning; and, if he withdrew, it would in the actual state be not only a relief to all, but a more proper course for the assembly to accept his withdrawal by announcing it formally before all, than to put him out without full proof of guilt.
But if the guilt were grave and palpable, so that the common conscience of the saints rejects such offenders, merely to rebuke the person is not to “purge out the old leaven,” nor is it to be a new lump but a leavened one. And if further and heinous evil came to light, it would still more show the state, not of the, offender only but of that assembly, if they then let him withdraw by announcing it, instead of distinctly refusing such a wish at such a time, and forthwith putting out the wicked person from among themselves. We have no such custom, nor the assemblies of God, as to treat rebuke and withdrawal under such circumstances as tantamount to putting out, or allowable to God's assembly; nor does scripture warrant it. No doubt the assembly cannot put out a man if they have accepted his going out; but who has ever known the acceptance and announcement of withdrawal where the assembly had before it the proof of guilt demanding excision? Such a course would give a premium to the wicked in evading solemn judgment, and the command to put out would soon become a dead letter. It has been often tried but always refused hitherto. And no wonder; for it would hinder all adequate clearing of themselves among the saints; it would annul the Lord's authority by His word in the last resort of the church's responsibility; and it would lower a professing assembly of God (yea, in principle the assembly as a whole if acquiesced in) beneath a decent club of the world, which assuredly would not deal so lightly with flagrant offenses against public law or common morality. No special pleading, no detraction of others, can extenuate so plain a dereliction of a holy duty on the part of those who are unleavened. Such an assembly, to its own ease, may have got rid of the offender, as well as of those whose consciences protested against such ways as ungodly; but it has never vindicated the Lord in thorough hatred of the manifest evil, nor so much as mourned that the evildoer might be taken away from among them, still less sorrowed to repentance after a godly sort with diligence, clearing of themselves, indignation, fear, longing desire, zeal or revenge. In no way therefore has it proved itself to be pure in the matter, but the contrary. Till it does, it should not by my judgment be owned as God's assembly by all who would obey Him rather than man.

Notes on Matthew 21

Arrived at Bethphage, near Bethany, He sends two of His disciples to the village, where they should find an ass and its foal, in order to His sitting thereon, and thus entering the city of Jerusalem, which was near. Prophecy had announced this fact: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem; behold, thy King cometh unto thee; he is just, and having salvation [or saving himself]; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.” Remark, however, these words, “just and saving himself,” are omitted here. He was first to come in humiliation; later He, the true King of Israel, should come with power, bringing with Him the deliverance of the people. Notwithstanding, though in humiliation, He acts already with royal and divine authority, and God disposes hearts to own Him. The owners of the ass let it go at the demand of the disciples. In the Gospel of Luke we find more details; here we have the fact that He acts as King The crowd, under the divine influence, recognize Him also as such, and He enters, in the midst of this triumphal procession, into the holy city, accompanied by the cry, Hosanna to the Son of David. All the city was moved, and the multitude said, “This is Jesus, the prophet of Nazareth.”
Now that He is owned prophet and king (His priesthood was to be accomplished elsewhere), the hand of Jehovah displays itself clearly. It was not then the testimony which failed in the heart of the Temple. The Lord exercises His authority in purifying the people, profaned by the trading which took place there, and which provided for the wants of those who had need of animals for their sacrifices. This traffic brought in with it another, that of money-changers. They had made the house of God a den of thieves. Matthew only cites the passage. It was the house of His Father, but such is not the point of view presented here. He is the King, Emmanuel; also His power is manifested in grace; He heals the blind and the lame.
All this provokes the hatred of the chiefs of Israel, who express their sore displeasure. The Lord quotes to them Psa. 8, which reveals to us the Son of man, according to the counsels of Jehovah, when the Messiah is rejected of Israel. It is well to remark the two citations in verses 9 and 16. The first is taken from a psalm constantly cited by the Lord and His apostles, which reveals the restoration of Israel in the last days, when they shall own Him whom they pierced. (Psa. 118:25, 26.) Hosanna means, Save now, or Save, I pray thee. Other verses of this psalm are frequently cited. Psa. 8 presents the position of the Son of man, all things being put under His feet, when (in Psa. 2, which shows Him King in Israel and Son of man) He has been rejected, but with the declaration on the part of Jehovah that He will be King in Zion, spite of Israel and the world, which is invited—at least its chiefs—to bow before Him. (Compare John 1:49, 50; Matt. 16:20, followed by xvii.; Luke 9:20-22.) Now (ver. 17) the Lord wishes no more of Jerusalem; He quits it, goes to Bethany, and there passes the night.

Notes on John 14:13-19

Thus had the Lord guaranteed the solemn and withal cheering promise, that His proceeding to the Father was in no way to stem and dry up the mighty stream of gracious power in which He had wrought here below. The believer in Him was to do what He did, and yet greater things. This He now follows up and explains by the place given to that exercise of faith which issues in prayer, henceforth to have its fullest character in His name who had glorified the Father to the uttermost.
“And whatsoever ye shall ask [or beg] in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask [or beg] anything in my name, I will do it.” (Vers. 13, 14.) The disciples were thus to count on power that could not fail, if sought in His name; for Jesus was no mere man, whose departure must terminate what He used to do when present. Absent, He would prove Himself divine, and none the less interested in their petitions because He was risen from the dead. Whatever they might ask, He would do, that the Father might be glorified in the Son. And, not content with a broad assurance in verse 13, no matter what the difficulty, He repeats it in verse 14, as to any particular petition on their part, with a yet more emphatic pledge of His personal action.
But the Lord adds a great deal more, and of the deepest moment. “If ye love me, keep [or, ye will keep] my commandments; and I will ask my Father, and he will give you another Advocate, that he may be with you forever, the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it beholdeth him not, nor knoweth him; but ye know him, because he abideth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you orphans, I am coming unto you. Yet a little, and the world beholdeth me no more; but ye behold me: because I live, ye also shall live.” (Vers. 15-19.) The way to show their affection and devotedness to their Master would be by obedience; for, whatever His grace, He does not disguise from them His authority. To obey His commandments, then, would prove their love far better than zeal in work or sorrow for His absence. For His absence, however serious in itself, is turned by God's goodness and wisdom, to better blessings and deeper ways for the saints, even as it furnishes the occasion for bringing out the bidden counsels of God to His own infinite glory in Christ. Their place was to obey His commandments, as they loved Him; whilst He would ask His Father, who would send them Another, a Paraclete or Advocate as He Himself had been, One who would undertake and carry through their cause, as a Roman patron of old did for his clients, or a modern solicitor does in his measure and sphere. “Comforter” seems too narrow a word, and separates the Spirit unduly from our Lord, who could hardly be so styled in John 2:1, where Paraclete is applied to His action on high, as here to the Holy Ghost's on earth.

Christ in Heaven and the Holy Spirit Sent Down

Acts 2:22-36.
This passage brings very definitely before us (Christ having been exalted as man by, and to, the right hand of God), consequently how the disciples received the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost. This runs through all the instruction given here. The place of Christ, having finished redemption, is to sit now at the right hand of God, “expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.” (Heb. 10:18.) He has not yet taken His own throne at all; He is seated on the Father's throne. “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” (Rev. 3:21.) Thence He will “come again,” as He says in John 14, and receive us unto Himself.
Christianity is not the accomplishment of promise. Of the earthly part the Jews were the center. But God meanwhile “hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ;” and then, till Christ comes again, He is sitting on the throne of the Father, and has sent the Holy Ghost down.

The Heavenly and His Heavenly Ones: 1 Cor. 15:46

Two efforts of the enemy are characteristic of the present day, and go along together with the humanizing Christ, and the giving a worldly character to Christianity, leading in result to multifarious forms of human religiousness and of earthly organization, having little or nothing in common but this, that they exhibit practical departure from heavenly principles and grievous independence of the divine persons.
It is therefore of no little moment that we should recognize that Christianity in its very essence is as heavenly as He who inspired it. Many are they who accept its divine authorship, who have never adequately apprehended it to be an absolutely heavenly thing, though in an earthly locale. But practically we find that the less it is apprehended as heavenly, the less also will its divine aspect be before the soul. And this we may safely predicate, that it is impossible to understand its character and its scope, unless in its origin, in its essence, in its operation and in its end, it is seen to be altogether a heavenly product for a heavenly purpose. Outside a very small circle, how rarely do we meet a Christian who understands his parentage, and occupies according to God, his present portion! How contracted and how erroneous are the commonly-prevailing thoughts of what Christianity is. How little is it accepted as the reflection of a heavenly Christ in a heavenly people redeemed from the earth, who are here only for Himself and looking for translation at His coming!
“The first man of the earth, earthy,” had been running his carnal and material course for forty centuries here below, before “the second man” paid a visit of three and thirty years to the same scene, having been sent into it in grace to “the first.” As man, He was, He is, “the heavenly,” and by this title is contrasted with “the earthy.” In God's reckoning He was “second man,” for all before God counts as one; and He was “last Adam,” for there could be no more after. But more than this He was “from (or out of) heaven” as the first was, “out of the earth, made of dust.” Refused and cut off from the earth, having nothing, He is now the risen Man in the glory of God, and alike in incarnation and in resurrection is He “the heavenly” —there, now and eternally!

On War

A Few Notes on the 1878 Appeal issued by the Society
of Friends (London).
That war is wholly opposed to the Christian spirit, as well as to all the precepts of our Lord, no soul subject to scripture will deny; and so far the Society of Friends is quite right in calling attention to it. Among Christians it is absolutely unjustifiable. But we have in this Appeal assertions that, to say the least, confuse the mind, and for which the humblest. Christian may ask, Have we for these the authority of scripture? To my mind, the Appeal (well-intentioned as it is) lacks God's word in its most important statements, as, e.g., the two first, on which it is based. To warrant them, the Friends can produce no scriptural proof. But to assert that scripture teaches so-and-so, when it teaches otherwise, wherever it treats of the matter in question, is serious and mischievous.

Scripture Queries and Answers: Giving Thanks to the Father

Q. It is asserted by some that thanksgiving at the breaking of bread should always be addressed to the Lord Jesus, never to the Father. The ground taken is that the table is that of the Lord Jesus, not in any sense that of the Father. How far have these thoughts foundation in scripture? μαθητής.
A. There is no doubt that the table is the Lord's, but it is as far as can be from the truth, and a mere human inference, to draw thence that there is not the fullest liberty to praise God, and to worship the Father, while fully owning and giving thanks to the Lord. Such thoughts are the mere workings of a reasoning mind; they are not Christ, nor of the Holy Ghost, who never limits the truth as revealed, nor turns one truth against another. The Spirit might on one occasion make God in His nature the theme of blessing, at another the relationship of Father. And even in exalting our Lord Jesus, there is all variety of His personal glory, as there are also most distinct aspects of His grace to us, of which the Lordship is rather the least, however true and important. But He is Son, Priest, Advocate, and Head of the church, which differ quite from His Lordship, and are every one of them fraught with blessing, and call out the praises of the saints. In every point of view then to address our thanksgiving to the Savior only is narrow and wrong, and especially so were He to be worshipped at His table as the Lord only.
John 19:5.—A question is sent, whether “Behold the man” may mean, Jesus says, “Behold the man.” But the whole context shows it is Pilate. As to the form of the sentence, the words, “And Jesus came forth, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe,” are a parenthesis. It runs thus: “Pilate went out therefore again, and he saith to them, Lo, I bring him out to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him (Jesus therefore came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe), and he saith to them, Behold the man!” Jesus had thus, consequent on the first part of Pilate's speech, been led out before them. For they did not enter in where Pilate judged, that they might not defile themselves.

To Correspondents: 1 Corinthians 5

1 Cor. 5 On the Question and Answer in the last number a letter was written, but not received till after its writer had agreed that it should not appear. Only he wished it stated that a meeting, which gave rise to the later (in contrast with the earlier) remarks, subsequently declared him who withdrew to be a wicked person outside, instead of merely letting him withdraw by his own act. In the last sentence however, room had been left expressly for adequate clearance: if truly done as in God's sight, it is well and due to Him. And it should be understood that the judgment thus added studiously avoided going beyond the recent guilt: the rest of the question remains where it was.

Notes on Job 40-41

It is Jehovah-God, then, who alone orders, alone knows, with a beneficent wisdom which takes in every creature, and not least those which are obviously outside all the care or even ken of man. Is he, then, either to contend with God, or, if he be so presumptuous, can he pretend to instruct God? Job feels and owns his vileness; he proceeds no farther in such a path; and Jehovah gives a final word in what follows.
Chapter 40.
And Jehovah answered Job, and said,

Notes on John 14:20-24

BUT there is more than life, blessed as it is, living because Christ lives, Himself their life, not as Son simply but as risen and gone to heaven. The Spirit is power to see and know, in contrast with flesh and world. And here He is supposed to be given, known, abiding with them and in them. A most solemn thing is His power, where Christ is not the life: unspeakably blessed, where we live of His life.
“In that day ye shall know that I [am] in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.” (Ver. 20.) It is not here simply the glory of His person as in verses 10, 11. This was true and an object of faith then. “Believed thou not,” said the Lord to Philip, “that I [am] in the Father and the Father is in me?” Words and works both attested it. “Believe me,” He said to all, “that I [am] in the Father and the Father in me.” His being man in no way hindered or lowered His dignity, nor His essential oneness with the Father; and it was and is of all moment to believers unwaveringly to hold it and adoringly. The Son is God, even as the Father. But now more was to be, and to be known, impossible without His personal glory, but dependent on His work and the gift of the Spirit. This we have now, for that day is come. It is not the future glory, but present grace putting us in the closest vital association with Him who has gone into heavenly glory, and yet is one with us here, as we with Him there, by the Spirit given that we might know it all.
In this knowledge saints, true saints of God, are painfully dull, not merely to their privation in countless ways of the utmost moment, but to His dishonor who cannot be duly served or worshipped now but in Spirit and in truth. The day of forms and shadows is closed; the true light now shines in Christ only, of whom His saints are the responsible light-bearers as they hold forth the word of life. But there is more here, though all is bound up with Him. It is not Christ present in the world, and reigning over the land or even all the earth. He is here the despised and rejected of men, but glorified on high. “In that day ye shall know that I [am] in my Father” —a relationship and sphere incomparably more glorious than the throne of His father David. It is not only heavenly, but also expressive of infinite nearness to the Father; and this gives its character to Christianity. All its blessedness turns on who and what and where Christ is. Unbelief in saints, walking with the world and numbed by tradition, treats all as lifeless fact, not as truth which by the Spirit forms and guides the soul; unbelief in men learns fast to deny and deride even the fact. So much the more urgent call is there on those who believe by grace, to walk in the heavenly light; and the more so, as we know not only that He is in the Father, but that we are in Him and He in us, as the Lord proceeded to say.

A Letter on Separation

I write rather because of the importance of the point than for any immediate occasion of circumstances: I mean leaving an assembly, or setting up (as it is called) another table. I am not so afraid of it as some other brethren, but I must explain my reasons. If such or such a meeting were the church here, leaving it would be severing oneself from the assembly of God. But (though, wherever two or three are gathered together in Christ's name, He is in the midst, and the blessing and responsibility of the church is in a certain sense also,) if any Christians now set up to be the church, or did any formal act which pretended to it, I should leave them, as being a false pretension, and denying the very testimony to the state of ruin which God has called us to render. It would have ceased to be the table of the people and testimony of God, at least intelligently. It might be evil pretension or ignorance; it might call for patience if it was in ignorance, or for remedy if that were possible: but such a pretension I believe false, and I could not abide in what is false. I think it of the last importance that this pretension of any body should be kept down; I could not own it a moment, because it is not the truth.
But then, on the other hand, united testimony to the truth is the greatest possible blessing from on high. And I think that, if any one through the flesh separated from two or three walking godlily before God in the unity of the whole body of Christ, it would not merely be an act of schism, but he would necessarily deprive himself of the blessing of God's presence. It resolves itself, like all else, into a question of flesh and Spirit. If the Spirit of God is in and sanctions the body, he who leaves in the flesh deprives himself of the blessing, and sins. If, on the contrary, the Spirit of God does not sanction the body, he who leaves it will get into the power and liberty of the Spirit by following Him. That is the real way to look at it. There may be evil, and yet the Spirit of God sanction the body (not, of course, its then state), or at least act with the body in putting it away. But if the Spirit of God by any faithful person moves in this, and the evil is not put away but persisted in, is the Spirit of God with those who continue in the evil, or with him who will not? Or is the doctrine of the unity of the body to be made a cover for evil? This is precisely the delusion of Satan in Popery, and the worst form of evil under the sun. If the matter, instead of being brought to the conscience of the body, is maintained by the authority of a few, and the body of believers despised, it is the additional concomitant evil of the clergy, which is the element also of Popery. Now I believe myself that the elements of this have been distinctly brought out at ——; and I cannot stay in evil to preserve unity. I do not want unity in evil, but separation from it.
God's unity is always founded on separation, since sin came into the world. “Get thee out” is the first word of God's call: it is to Himself. If one gets out alone, it may require more faith, but that is all; one will be with Him, and that, dear brother, is what I care most about, though overjoyed to be with my brethren on that ground. I do not say that some more spiritual person might not have done more or better than I: God must judge of that. I am sure I am a poor creature; but at all cost I must walk with God for myself....

To Correspondents

Acts 5:31; 17:30, Rom. 2:4.— “Ens” is quite right. To say that the command to believe and repent belongs to and flows from the law is not scriptural, but the fruit of theology. Others in their desire to set forth the freeness of grace, have fallen into the Sandemanian trap of denying the distinctively moral character of repentance, and thus reduce it to a changed mind about God. Whereas grace works so that in faith the eye of the soul looks to Christ as the Savior, and in repentance that eye looks at self and judges what it is and has done as before God. Faith and repentance are inseparable: if one is divinely given, so is the other; if the repentance is human, the faith is no better.

Notes on John 14:25-31

The value of what directs the life, of which it was also the revealing means, cannot be exaggerated; and this we have seen in the commands and words of our Lord Jesus, by which He exercises the life He has given to the believer, as indeed He is their life. But now He adds fresh consolation and blessing in the relation borne by the Advocate, or Paraclete (for so now the Spirit is not only characterized but called). “These things I have spoken to you, while abiding with you; but the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things which I said to you.” (Ver. 26.) How blessed that the same Holy Spirit, who anointed and abode in Him while ministering here below, was to teach the disciples all things, and to give them back all the words of Jesus 1 And so it was fulfilled, and more, as became a divine person who deigned to serve in love, sent by the Father in the name of the Son. It is not here the on asking the Father, and the Father giving, as in verse 16, but the Father sending in the name of the Son the One who could, and would, teach all things, besides recalling all that Jesus said to them. Room is thus left, not only for His reviving in their memory all the injunctions of Christ, but also for His own unlimited teaching.
But there is more than doctrine. “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you, not as the world giveth give I to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (Ver. 27.) Throughout the Lord supposes His death. This was necessary to peace; His own peace goes farther still. It was the peace He enjoyed while here—a peace unruffled by circumstances, and in unbroken communion with His Father; a peace as far as possible from man's heart, in such a world as this, ignorant of the Father, and on all points at issue with Him. But it characterized the second Man, who gives it to as. In the faith of Him who loves us perfectly and to the end, who has accomplished all to God's glory and for us, we are entitled to it. And the Holy Ghost would have us enjoy it according to His word. He who gives it gave it not away, and had it not the less because we were to receive it. Like all else that He gives, it is enjoyed unimpaired in its own divine fullness, everyone that shares rather adding to it than taking from it. The question is not merely of reality, but of its course and character. “Not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Why, indeed, with His peace, should the heart be confounded or fearful?
But the Lord looks now for hearts purified by faith to delight in His glory. “Ye heard that I said to you, I go away, and come unto you; if ye loved me, ye would have rejoiced that I go unto the Father, because the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it come to pass, that when it is come to pass ye may believe.” (Vers. 28, 29.) Thus, whatever His essential and personal glory, He never forgets that He is man on earth. As such He goes away, and comes back to the disciples. As such He calls upon them to rejoice in His proceeding to the Father. It was no small thing that man in His person should thus enter into glory; and there is almost as much unbelief in Christendom's taking it as a matter of course, in utter indifference to its value, as in Jewish rejection of it as incredible, if not impossible. The Jew, as such, looked for man, that is for himself, to be blessed in the highest degree by God on the earth, and so, doubtless, beyond his thought it will be in the kingdom by-and-by. But the Lord would have the Christian rejoice in the second Man, gone up even now into the paradise of God, the sure pledge of our own following Him there when He comes back again for no. And therefore does He the more impressively call attention, not to the fact only, but to His mention of it then before it came to pass, that when it did, they should believe. Himself in glory is the living object of faith, full of weighty and fruitful consequence for us. It is well to give His death the deepest value. Never can we lose sight of His profound humiliation in self-sacrificing love to glorify God, and to bear our burden of sins and judgment, without incalculable loss to our souls; but we do well to have our eye fixed on Him received up in glory, and ever to wait for Him as about to come and have us there with Himself in the Father's house.

Wherefore Comfort One Another With These Words

1 Thess. 4:18.
The blessed and animating hope of the Lord's return for His saints is so definitely marked in scripture, in varied and striking ways, that its super-eminent importance cannot for a moment be contested by any one who is truly subject to the word. With it is bound up the fulfillment of God's eternal purposes, for the glory of Christ and of those who are His at His coming. And by it, as a motive and object before the saints, the Holy Ghost seeks to make good to our souls all the present ways of God—detaching our hearts from every un-Christ-like thing, and connecting our affections with Himself in always-increasing conformity to His own image, till He come. No object could be more blessed, as an object, than this consummation in glory then, and no motive, as a motive, more powerful in swaying the affections and the life now. It eclipses by its unique blessedness to the heart, every other desire that the revelation of the glory has formed in the soul of the saint, and it equally transcends in its present spiritual power every other means of practical sanctification to God.
This being established in our souls, there is little difficulty in apprehending why the Spirit of God has given such limited instruction upon the state of the disembodied spirit of the believer.

?The Book of Joshua? and ?The Epistle to the Hebrews? Part 2

(Continued from page 175.)
We shall thus find as we proceed with this chapter 4, and chapter 6, that the priests with the ark of the covenant, have a much larger footing as well as Eleazar and the tabernacle at Shiloh in this book, than we are accustomed, or perhaps know how, to make room for or give to the fact, especially when we come to apply it to ourselves and Christianity, and still more so when we attempt to run a parallel between the book of Joshua and the writings of Paul. Leaving this too for the moment, the priests, with the ark, whether in Jordan or when over it, and confronted by a great city instead of a river, are not only in prominence, but take the lead of the whole congregation and the armed men as at Jericho, or else stay in the danger, till all beside are gone clean over, as in Jordan.
In chapter 4, “twelve men” out of every tribe, were to take up twelve stones out of the river, “where the priests' feet stood firm,” and carry them over, and leave them in the place where they would lodge that night. Besides this, “Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests stood which bare the ark of the covenant,” as a memorial that the twelve tribes who had risen up, out of the power of death at Gilgal, were the same people who had been there.

To Correspondents: Letter on Separation

It is notorious to all readers of the “Collected Writings” that the “Letter on Separation” in our last Number was written and printed many years ago. A date never was affixed to that letter, which kept to the general principle. Not a word was changed, nor was there even a thought that any one would conceive it referred to recent circumstances. It was inserted, like many other pieces from time to time, because a similar need calls for it now as when written: for the exercise of his judgment the Editor of the Bible Treasury is alone responsible. He believes that there is a superstitious notion largely prevalent, that once an assembly, always an assembly (save for judgment): a notion which wrought of old the fatal false security of the Jew, and which helped to build up the vast imposture of popery, where unity is the constant plea to swamp, not conscience only, but the energy of the Spirit in testimony to the glory of Christ, and to the holy nature and righteous ways of God. Those who think themselves exempt from such a snare are already deceived; and there is no danger which may not assail those who desire to stand together in their weakness, but faithfully on God's ground for His saints in the present ruin-state of Christendom. It is a great sin to abandon what is of God I it is equally a sin to accredit what dishonors Him collectively or individually. None can escape from responsibility; nor. would faith desire it but to glorify God in obedience though in suffering and grief for Christ's sake, as well as righteousness.

Notes on Genesis 1-3

“In the beginning God created,” &c. This stupendous fact, thus recorded at the very commencement of God's word, is elsewhere referred to—1, as proof of His proprietorship of all things (Psa. 89:11, 12); 2, as proof of His power (Isa. 40:26); 3, of power and Godhead (Rom. 1:20). 4, as, the ground on which praise is demanded (Psa. 148:5); 5, His glory stated as the object (Isa. 43:7); 6, His pleasure (Rev. 4:11); 7, proof of absolute sovereignty (Isa. 45:9-12); 8, to be inhabited, and thus not in vain, the end being accomplished in millennial times; 9, God's glory in the church by Christ Jesus, stated at the end of creation (Eph. 3:9, 10); 10, one God is the Creator; still, all the persons in the Godhead recognized; God the Father in all the above passages; 11, by Jesus Christ (Eph. 3:9; Col. 1:16; Heb. i. 2; John 1:5, 10); 12, by the Spirit (ver. 2): 13, the whole calling on us to remember our Creator (Eccl. 12:1); to worship and serve Him supremely (Rom. 1:25; Rev. 4:11); and to receive His gifts with thanksgiving. (1 Tim. 4:3.)
Supposing the Bible to be a revelation from God, how exactly it begins as we might expect! Not that men ever begin thus their disquisitions on the origin of all things; far from it. But this is precisely what illustrates the point. Supposing God to be the Author and the inspired penman the instrument of communication, how natural to begin with the simple absolute statement of verse 1! To suppose God writing a preface would be absurd.
What the first verse declares is the fact of God's creating the heavens and the earth when they began to exist. There is no intimation that this was part of the first day's work, nor of the space of time elapsing between the creation, as in verse 1, and the earth being found, as in verse 2, in the condition there described. Innumerable ages may have intervened, for anything the narrative says to the contrary. But at a given epoch the earth was without form, and void, and darkness was on the face of the deep. How impossible that the darkness could ever have enlightened itself, or that chaos could reduce itself to order! Equally impossible that light and order can be educed from the deeper darkness and more dismal confusion of man's fallen state by any power inherent in himself. But the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. In like manner does He, as the source of all that is to be produced in those born of Him, act upon their souls. But it is to impart what is not there, not to develop what already exists. “Let there be light, and there was light.” So “God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ.” It was by His word “God said, Let there be light,” &c. So it is by His word that He shines into the sinner's heart.

Notes on John 15:1-4

The change of subject having been made thus apparent, the Lord now proceeds to set forth His mind for the disciples, in one of the allegories peculiar to our Gospel. “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me not bearing fruit, he taketh it away; and every one that beareth fruit, he cleanseth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Already ye are clean, because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you: as the branch cannot bear fruit from itself, unless it abide in the vine; so neither [can] ye, unless ye abide in me.” (Vers. 1-4.)
Thus the Lord sets aside Israel as any source of fruit-bearing for God. Long since had the prophets denounced the nation as bearing wild grapes, or an empty vine, or only fit for the burning. But the Lord brings to light Himself, as the true and only stock acceptable unto God. This was an immense truth for Jews to learn. In Israel was all that they trusted of religion. There was the temple, there the priesthood, there the sacrifices, there the feasts; there every ordinance, public or private, great or small, instituted of God. Outside Israel were the heathen, who knew not God. Now the Lord does not merely strip the veil from the elect people's hollow state, but makes known the secret—He is the Vine, the true Vine. He is not merely a fruitful branch, where all others were unfruitful; He is Himself the true Vine. Thus we have the positive Object before us, the one source of fruit-bearing.
“And my Father,” He adds, “is the husbandman.” But there is another truth needed, the revelation of His Father (not yet revealed as theirs, though soon so to be in His resurrection), no longer of Jehovah as once in the vineyard of the nation, nor as the Almighty as to their fathers. As Father, He deals with the branches of the Vine, which is Christ Himself on earth, object of all the active and watchful interest of His Father, who looks for fruit. But it is not Himself alone; there are branches in Him. And here their responsibility enters; for they are the disciples, Jews in their natural condition, henceforth called to bear fruit unto God.

Notes on 2 Corinthians 4:1-4

The apostle returns to the manner and spirit of his service in the gospel. Such a hope, such glory, demands and by grace inspires good courage, as well as conduct, of a divine sort. “On this account, having this ministry, according as we obtained mercy, we faint not, but refused the hidden things of shame, not walking in deceit, nor guilefully using the word of God, but by the manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every conscience of men in the sight of God. But if even our gospel is veiled, in those that perish it is veiled, in whom the god of this age blinded the minds [or thoughts] of the faithless, that the illumination of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is [the] image of God, should not shine forth.” (Vers. 1-4.)
It was not only the surpassing and abiding excellence of this ministry, but the possession of it, which touched the heart with the sense of divine mercy, and took away all disposition to be craven-hearted in presence of the gravest difficulties, and the keenest and constant sufferings. It is true that the Corinthians knew but little of such experience, but therefore was it the more needful that the apostle, who knew little else here below, should bring it out clearly. On the other hand, men admire cleverness in baffling adversaries, and in evading dangers or difficulties, alas! too often in glossing over what cannot bear the light, and in turning aside the edge of what exposes and condemns. Here also the saints at Corinth were not without the contagion of their city and its schools. Could they, like the apostle, say that they refused the secret things of shame?—that they did not walk in trickery?—that they did not falsify the word of God? Some among them certainly gave too much appearance of being thus lacking in the faith that counts on God, and declines secret influence, and shrewd, if not unscrupulous, plans after the flesh. The ways of the servant should harmonize with His blessed service, as they did in Paul's case, leaving to the children of darkness all that shrinks from the light, which it does not suit, no less than evil surmisings of the good they cannot sympathize with. It is not only what is scandalous, but all cunning, which is abhorrent to Christ, who needs nothing that is not of the Spirit. And if Satan lures us to the path of self-seeking, the desire to win others soon slips from hesitation into a guileful handling of that word which breathes only light and love, like its source.
The apostle, far from uncertainty in his own soul, acted and spoke in the consciousness of divine authority, as he says, “by the manifestation of the truth” (what a blessing in a world of darkness!) “commending ourselves to every conscience of men in the sight of God.” Activity of mind, which likes to propagate its ideas, and to produce common action, was not wanting at Corinth; but where was this conscious possession of truth which formed the ways in accordance with it, and sought no other influence, but only thus in love to appeal to conscience in God's sight? To shine before men, to gain applause, to have a party, are snares to avoid, unworthy of Christ's servants. To seek, or even to receive, glory one of another, instead of seeking the glory which is from the only God, is the ruin of faith, and wrought not in the Jewish unbeliever, but in many a Corinthian believer. The apostle, in unwearied love, and unquailing before difficulties, and unflinching in candor, pressed the truth in season, out of season, whether men heard or forbore, fissured that, while he preached as in God's presence, every conscience bowed inwardly, even if the will were set on its own way in defiance of God.

?The Book of Joshua? and ?The Epistle to the Hebrews? Part 3

Continued from page 190
As their Messiah, He had not only been accredited from the opened heavens by the voice and the dove, in these new relations with a repentant people, accepting a baptism of John in the waters of Jordan, but Jesus had also been “led of the Spirit to be tempted of the devil.” The wilderness and the solitary place are made glad by reason of Him who, by His obedience to God, made the desert to rejoice, and blossom as the rose. As the Son of Abraham, and Son of David, according to the flesh, though Son of man, and Son of God (like the pure gold of the ark), He overcame the tempter morally first, and by means of the temptations to which He submitted. Unswerving in His obedience anti devoted allegiance to the Majesty of God, He overcame the devil, and said, Get thee behind me, Satan. He has entered into the strong man's house in righteous title, and proved Himself, as the tempted Man, stronger than he. He then goes forth upon His mission as the Deliverer, with His disciples, to proclaim “the glad tidings of the kingdom of heaven,” to preach repentance for the forgiveness of sins, and to cast out devils from the men into whom they had entered. Such was “the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God,” when originally given out in pattern to Moses, and when borne along upon the shoulders of the priests under Joshua and Eleazar, in “the form of shittim wood, and the pure gold,” in the fore-front of the great congregation of Israel. Such, too, was “the ark of the covenant,” when “come in flesh and blood” into the midst of this same people, disgraced by their disobedience, and driven out of the land into which Joshua had led them aforetime. What a moment was this!
Will they welcome this Joshua-Jesus, come to begin a new history with them morally, by repentance and confession of sins to the Jehovah they had offended when in Canaan by their idolatry? He began this wonderful ministry in their synagogues, when He opened the book where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, and to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” But such beauty and glory as this, which dwelt in Him morally, and come so close to them bodily in grace, as to be in real flesh and blood in their midst, required other eyes and hearts to appreciate and worship; “And they said, Is not this Joseph's son?” They have lost the sense of what “the shittim wood and the fine gold” of the typical ark represented to their fathers, nor can they see “the form and comeliness” in the mystery of the Word made flesh; and fail more deeply by refusing Him thus in the glory of His humiliation. They will not follow this “ark of the covenant of the Lord” in their midst, but rise up, and thrust Him out of the city, and lead Him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, “that they might cast him down headlong.” They refuse “the acceptable year of the Lord,” and have rejected their Messiah, the true Ark of the covenant between God and Israel, till another day, when His people shall be willing in the day of His power.

Saul and David: 1. The Responsible Man and the Man of God's Choice

OR,
THE RESPONSIBLE MAN, AND THE MAN OF
GOD'S CHOICE.

Saul and David: 2. The Responsible Man and the Man of God's Choice

OR,
THE RESPONSIBLE MAN, AND THE MAN OF
GOD'S CHOICE.

Letter as to the Principles of Gathering

Dear Brethren,
I write for both, because I hardly know who is in ——, indeed for all, as to my heart's desire; and you will not be astonished at my being interested in the assembly at ——. I have heard from Mr. D., and also through T., only one side of course of the circumstances; consequently I say little of them. N., indeed, alluded to the question raised, but not to circumstances. I shall refer chiefly to principles, for you will feel that we are all, as of one body, interested in the position taken by ——, and still more in the glory of Christ and our brethren's welfare.
The question is as to reception of saints to partake of the table of our Lord with us—whether any can be admitted who are not formally and regularly amongst us. It is not whether we exclude persons unsound in faith, or ungodly in practice, nor whether we, deliberately walking with those who are unsound and ungodly, are not in the same guilt—not clear in the matter. The first is unquestioned; the last brethren have insisted on—and I among them—at very painful cost to ourselves. There may be subtle pleas to get evil allowed; but we have always been firm, and God, I believe, has fully owned it.

?The Book of Joshua? and ?The Epistle to the Hebrews? Part 4

(Continued from page 202.)
The temple, it is true, is not named in the Hebrews, for how could it be, seeing that its patterns were not even given out till Solomon was in view, and after David had brought up the ark “from the fields of the wood at Ephratah?” We may turn for a moment from the ark, and its connection with Joshua and the drawn sword, to notice Eleazar and “the tabernacle which was pitched in Shiloh” for the worship of Jehovah, as this forms another center. Indeed we may ask, What would all the fighting in Canaan be worth, or the conquests, if the relationships of God “by the ark of the covenant” were not maintained with His people in their midst; and if Eleazar and the tabernacle were not at Shiloh, as the way and means of their approach to Him as worshippers? Again, we may inquire, Are not these three typical things, which are the prominent characteristics of the Book of Joshua, namely, the ark of the covenant, the Captain of salvation, and the priest in the tabernacle at Shiloh, the groundwork of Paul's Epistle to the Hebrews? To be sure, the book is typical and earthly; whereas the epistle is matter of fact, and heavenly; but such differences as these are familiar to us, and natural to the Christian standing, with the ark at the right hand of the throne, in its proper place of rest, and the journey, with its combats, over and ended. It is as out of Jordan, by Him who destroyed the whole power of death, and as one with the Priest who has made propitiation for our sine, and as one with Him who sanctifieth, that the “holy brethren” are addressed as “partakers of the heavenly calling,” and exhorted to “consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus.”
“Holy brethren” come into place in connection with the ark and the priest in the sanctuary, so that, perhaps, this part of the epistle has more to do with worship, from chapter 5 to 10, than with the ark of the covenant, and our following it through death and resurrection, at the time when Jordan overflowed its banks, as in chapters 1, 2. No doubt the tabernacle in the wilderness was taken over Jordan, and became the tabernacle in Canaan, for “the whole congregation of the children of Israel assembled together at Shiloh, and set up the tabernacle of the congregation there.” Thus we find, in chapter 4, the wilderness, and the journeying, and the grace for “the time of need,” side by side with the rest of creation, and the rest of Canaan, and the rest that remaineth for God and His people. In short, there is no temple in the Book of Joshua, nor any temple in the Hebrews, but there is a tabernacle instead, with Eleazar, and pitched at Shiloh; and, correspondingly, we have the true one in chapter 8, “which the Lord pitched, and not man.” Indeed, it is because Shiloh, and the tabernacle, and Eleazar the priest are in such prominence in their own circle in the Book of Joshua, that the correspondence becomes so important in Paul's epistle as the antitype.

Notes on John 15:5-8

The opening words had laid down the principle of Christ as the source of fruit, in contrast with Israel, and under the living, watchful, care of the Father. It was wholly distinct from government of the flesh by the law before Jehovah, as in the chosen nation to which all the branches belonged. Christ here displaced the old associations. He had shown fruit to be so indispensable in the Father's eyes, that not to bear it involves the removal of the branch, whilst that which bears fruit is cleansed in order to bear more. He had pronounced the disciples already clean by reason of His word, and had urged them to abide in Him, as He in them; and this because they could not bear fruit except they abode in Christ, any more than the branch itself except it abide in the vine.
Next, He sums up and applies this weighty truth of communion with Him, in its great positive elements, and in strong contradistinction from abandonment of Him. “I am the vine, ye the branches. He that abideth in me, and I in him, he beareth much fruit; because apart from me ye can do nothing.” (Ver. 5.) Nothing more precise. The Lord leaves no uncertainty in a matter so nearly affecting both Himself and them. As surely as He was the Vine, they were the branches. There is, and could be, no failure on His part. It is easy for us to fail in dependence, and to lack confidence in Him. To abide in Him supposes, not merely distrust of ourselves, but cleaving to Him and counting on Him. Every influence around us is adverse to this; every natural feeling not less so. Faith working by love alone secures it, for self and the world are then alike judged in the light of God. It is not only that we need, and cannot do without, Him for the least things as truly as the greatest, but He attracts us by His positive excellency. If He is the one source of fruit according to the Father, He cannot be slighted with impunity, least of all by those who confess Him. It is not the grace which gives eternal life in Him, of which the Lord speaks, but throughout these verses the responsibility of the disciples. Hence, as we shall see presently, there is danger of ruin, no less than fruitlessness, where one does not abide in Him.
This, then, is the secret of fruit-bearing. It is not in saints, any more than in self, but by abiding in Christ, and Christ in us. Then there is more than promising blossom; fruit follows. Where He is intercepted from our view, or we look elsewhere, there is no such power: we manifest our nature, not Christ. Nor does the character of the circumstances affect the result. He is superior to all, spite of our weakness. Abiding in Christ, we may safely face the most hostile; and if traps be laid, and provocation given, what matters it, if Christ abides in us, as He then does? For that the two are correlative, He guarantees, and we know. Again, does fruit follow because we are with dear children of God? Alas! how often the very reverse is proved, and the levity, if not the bitterness, in the heart comes out so much the more because we are saints not abiding in Christ. For gossip about saints to saints is even more painful than among the sons of this age, not a few of whom are above it, though on grounds of nature—of course not of Christ. Trials, again, cannot shake off spiritual fruit, nor blighting influences enter, if we abide in Christ, and Christ in us; but the greater the pressure, the more fruit where we thus abide. And the heart feels that so it should be, as it is. For, as ordinances fail, and law is the strength of sin, not of holiness, flesh being what it is, Christ here, as everywhere, has the glory by faith, and to faith; “because apart from him ye can do nothing.”

Notes on 2 Corinthians 4:5-6

There is no defect, then, in “our gospel.” There is not only the firmest foundation of righteousness, but the brightest heavenly glory in the display of that righteousness. In Christ exalted love with us is made perfect. How could it, indeed, go farther? because as He is, so are we in this world. It is the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is God's image. We are not yet ourselves in possession of the glory as an actual fact, but we have it in Him in whom it shines most fully, and through whom it shines into our hearts. No greater proof, then, of the blinding power of Satan, than that men should be insensible to such glory. But an evil conscience cannot endure the light of God, whatever the love from which the light of that glory springs. For they cannot endure the discovery and judgment of their sins, even though the rejection of His testimony exposes them to everlasting ruin. They believe themselves, or really Satan, the god of this age, rather than the only true God; they are lost. This is what the gospel supposes, though it fully provides for it. But the blessing is inseparable from faith; for God is not saving only, but making the saved vessels on earth to reflect the glory of Christ in heaven.
Such pre-eminently was the apostle. He himself, the stoutest of combatants against the name of Jesus, was struck down in mid-career by the glory of Jesus shining from heaven. He therefore knew, if any soul ever did, the gospel of the glory of Christ. Lost, spite of all that law could give or boast of; saved by sovereign grace, spite of all that the strongest enmity could breathe against the Lord and His own, he became the milted witness of a Savior and Lord on high. Where was self now in his eyes? and what the worth of religions authority in Israel, any more than of that philosophy which leaves men groping in the dark, whatever the vauntings of its several schools? The worthlessness of all here below he had proved; for him henceforward Christ was all, as indeed He is all, and in all.
“For not ourselves do we preach, but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves your bondmen, for Jesus' sake, because it is the God that bid light shine out of darkness, who shone in our hearts for the illumination of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (Vers. 6, 6.) Others might preach themselves; the apostle, Christ Jesus as Lord. He was content to be servant of Christ, and, for that very reason, of the saints, for the sake of Jesus. This alone is true service; anything else a snare, both to him who serves, and to those who are served, who, in such circumstances, alike serve themselves to His dishonor.

The Law and the Gospel of the Glory of Christ

THE SUBSTANCE OF AN ADDRESS ON 2 Cor. 3
We learn here what a Christian is, and how a man comes to be one. First, we notice what introduces the subject; and next, the circumstance to which the apostle alludes as bringing out the true character of Christianity.
The apostle had been forced, by the attacks of those false Judaizing teachers, who said he was no apostle, to speak of himself, though he is grieved to have to do so. He began, in the end of the previous chapter, to say a few words which lead to this: “We are not as many who corrupt the word of God,” &c. Then he asks, “Do we need letters of commendation to you, or from you?” He means just such letters of commendation as are given now. But he tells them, “Ye are our letter of commendation.” He had them so much on his heart, that, if people asked him for proof of his apostleship, he just said, “Look at the Corinthians.” At this time they were going on well; they had received the first epistle, and the apostle had seen Titus, and learned that it had produced its effect. They were brought back again to a right walk; his heart was enlarged towards them (chap. 7:11), and he could say, “Ye are our epistle.” He could hardly have said so in the first epistle, though he was the means of their conversion.

The Penalty Paid and Sins Forgiven

“And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat. But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Gen. 2:16, 17.)
None can deny to God that He was entitled to lay this or any other command upon the man He had created, and it carried with it an obligation to absolute obedience. Directly God prefers a demand we are thereby constituted debtors to Him, since we owe unquestioning, unqualified obedience; and directly we fail therein we become defaulters who have brought ourselves under the penalty attached to its breach, which penalty God was equally entitled to impose. We are, everyone, then, debtors to God, because in the exercise of His inherent and unimpeachable authority He has been pleased to lay upon us certain commands, and we have everyone of us incurred the penalty, because we have failed to discharge these admitted obligations.
Our relations to Him as intelligent creatures of His hand, to whom He has vouchsafed to make known His will, involve the obligation to render Him perfect, uniform, and unceasing obedience. This constitutes the debt we owe to Him, an inextinguishable debt which attaches to our existence and nature in common with other intelligences, as angels, who are equally bound to obey His behest and for the same reason.

Saul and David 3.

OR,
THE RESPONSIBLE MAN, AND THE MAN OF
GOD'S CHOICE.

Notes on John 15:9-11

Another element of incalculable value in the disciple's path is the consciousness of the Savior's love. This is next set before them. “As the Father loved me, I also loved you abide in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. These things have I spoken to you that my joy may be in you, and your joy may be fulfilled.” (Vers. 9-11.)
We must bear in mind that the subject is fruit-bearing daring the disciple's passage through this world. It is not eternal purpose, nor is it that love in relationship which secures unfailingly from first to last, but Christ's love toward each in his path of daily walk and trial. He knew what this was on His Father's part to Himself as man, though never ceasing to be Son here below. Such was His own love to the disciples; and now He calls on them to abide in it, not in Him only, but, what is more, in His love: an immense and unfailing spring of comfort in the necessarily painful and otherwise disappointing current of earthly circumstances so strongly opposed to them for His sake. Give wine, says the Book of Proverbs, unto those that be of heavy hearts. But His love is better than wine, cheering and strengthening without fleshly excitement. There is thus not only dependence on Him, but that confidence in Him which His love is meant to inspire.
But there is more that follows, even obedience. “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love.” (Ver. 6.) It is manifest that we have nothing here to do with the sovereign mercy of God which goes out to the lost, and reconciles enemies by the death of His Son. For as by the disobedience of the one man (Adam) the many were constituted sinners, so also by the obedience of the one (Christ) shall the many be constituted righteous. Grace in Christ surmounts every hindrance, and reigns righteously above all evil, whether of the individual or of the race. Here not the sinner's ruin or deliverance, but the disciple's path, is in question; and his obedience is the condition of abiding in his Master's love. He who in all things has, and must have, the pre-eminence trod the same path and accepted the same condition as man here below; though He counted it no robbery to be on equality with God, He became obedient, and this to the lowest point, for the glory of God the Father. He in unwavering perfection did the will of Him that sent Him, and enjoyed its fruit in a like perfection; we follow Him though with unequal steps; and assuredly he that says be abides in Him ought himself also so to walk even as He walked. And obedience is the way. None other morally befits us; as this but verifies our love to Him and sense of relationship to God. Nothing is so lowly, nothing so firm, as obedience. It delivers from self-assertion on the one hand, and on the other from subjection to the opinions or traditions of men. It brings us face to face with God's word, and tests our desire to please Him in the midst of present ease, honor, lust, or passion. Here too it is a question of keeping Christ's commandments, as that which secures His love, as in chapter 14 we saw that it proved their love to Him.

Notes on 2 Corinthians 4:7-11

Such then is the ministration of the Spirit and of righteousness in Christ, the revelation of God's glory in His face. This is the treasure which grace gives.
“But we have this treasure, in earthenware vessels, that the surpassingness of the power may be God's, and not of us, in everything being afflicted, yet not straitened, sorely yet not utterly perplexed, persecuted yet not forsaken, cast down yet not destroyed, always bearing about in the body the dying [or, putting to death] of Jesus, that the life also of Jesus may be manifested in our body. For we that live are ever being delivered up unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh.” (Vers. 7-11.)
Thus does the apostle meet the natural thought of men which the carnal mind among the Corinthians had taken up against himself, to their loss and his grief. In an apostle they had looked for a grand style of speech, for lofty speculation and subtle argument, as well as a dignified and attractive presence, backed up by such a display of power as would overawe all the world. They could not understand therefore that one who was not a whit behind the chiefest apostles should be with them in weakness and fear and much trembling, and that on principle he should forego every advantage of intellectual ability and acquired learning, of all that which is a matter of boast to the flesh; nay more, that he should glory in infirmities, and treat as his foolishness all reference to his devoted service and mighty deeds, signs and wonders, with the vast and deep effects of his preaching. He was indeed the most remarkable of sufferers no less than of laborers; but he insists that, whim he was weak, then was he strong. What he gloried in was the Lord, and His strength made perfect in weakness. Doubtless, as the apostle surpassed all others in depth of heart and all-endurance for Christ and the church and the gospel, so in this also, the most abiding consciousness of weakness and insufficiency keeping him in dependence on the Lord.

Thoughts on Hebrews 11

In 2 Tim. 4:7 I think we get a key to the understanding of the order of this chapter, not dispensationally, but considered as an illustration of the Christian life.
The apostle there speaks of his past career in three distinct aspects: as a Christian soldier he has “fought the good fight;” as a racer he has “finished his course;” and as a witness for God in this world he has “kept the faith.”
This threefold division marks often the apostle's writings. Thus, in 1 Tim. 6 he divides his exhortations into “following after,” fighting, and holding fast. In Philippians also, the epistle of his practical life, we find him enduring hardness as a good soldier, “set for the defense of the gospel.” In chapter i., and (omitting chapter 2, which speaks of Christ rather than Paul), in chapter iii., we find the ardent racer, his eye steadily set upon the glorious goal, running with patience the race set before him; while in chapter 4 the word is, “Stand fast in the Lord.”

From Antioch and Back to Antioch: Acts 13, 14

IN the assembly at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers. These ministered to the Lord and fasted. While thus engaged, with hearts consecrated to the Lord, the Holy Ghost said— “Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.”
Doubtless the command was given by the mouth of one of these prophets, for this reason called such; but the important fact to remark is that these two apostles were called by the Spirit Himself.
Then, under the impression of the seriousness of the call, having again fasted and prayed, they laid their hands on them and sent them away. And it was on a mission of the greatest importance. The gospel, and the revelation of the assembly, is now formally given to the Gentiles, they and the Jews (as believers) being united in one body on the earth and for the heavens. Let us consider a few particulars.

Affection and Consecration

Paul, active in love, his work accomplished for the moment at Antioch, turns towards the gatherings he had founded, desiring to know how it fared with them. But now Barnabas, like Peter before him, disappears from the scene. Not that he no longer worked for the Lord, but he did not maintain himself at the same level of service of Paul. Eclipsed in the work when with him, now he disappears altogether. A good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith, he was yet not detached from everything as was Paul, for whom, according to his call on the way to Damascus, Christ glorified and His own was all in all.
This remarkable servant of God knew no longer anything after the flesh—a consecration necessary to the founder of the church of God. He had given up Judaism that he might become a minister of the economy of the church. (See 1 Cor. 3:10; Eph. 1; 2 Col. 1:23-25.) This economy had always existed in the counsels of God, but after the delay granted by His patience till the preceding mission of Paul from Antioch, which mission was then only put into execution, it is put on its true footing on account of the attachment of Barnabas to things which were only objects of natural affection. John Mark was the cousin of Barnabas, and the island of Cyprus his native country. (Col. 4:10; Acts 4:36.)
Barnabas was quite disposed to accompany Paul in his journey, but he wished to take Mark with him; this, however, was displeasing to Paul, for Mark had left them in the preceding journey at Perga. He had not courage sufficient to confront the difficulties of the work outside of Cyprus. Paul only thought of God, Mark of the circumstances; but it is not thus that difficulties are to be overcome. It is possible that the flesh may have manifested itself in Paul; but at all events he could not boast of being in the right. Paul did not think of the economy entrusted to him, but of what according to faith suited the work—the principle of life and heart necessary to accomplish it. He did not know the results, but what was necessary to produce them. Separation was necessary, and that God had wrought out in him. Still acerbity was unnecessary. At the bottom Paul was right, and the hand of God was with him. Even where the purpose of the heart is just, the flesh may very soon manifest itself.

The Oneness of the Church

Although Saul was called to preach the gospel to the nations, and was set apart to the mission by a special dispensation of God founded on a more perfect revelation, which left the Jews behind as sinners by nature as well as the Gentiles, and taught that there was no difference, since all had sinned, bringing in the new creation, and knowing Christ no more after the flesh; yet there were not to be two assemblies: the oneness of the church was to be maintained.
Peter is employed, after the conversion of Saul, to bring the first Gentile to the knowledge of Christ. But he never taught what the church was as the body of Christ: this is not revealed in the case of Cornelius. That the Gentiles should take their place among the Christians without becoming Jews, or being circumcised, was something that Peter and the other Jews had great difficulty in believing.
As to the progress of the gospel, let us see what is taught us in the sequel. We shall find that those who had been scattered, being Hellenists, or Jews who had lived in foreign countries, and were accustomed to maintain daily intercourse with the Gentiles, spoke with these: so that the free action of the Spirit also communicated by this means the gospel to the Gentiles. Paul had a new formal mission to every creature under heaven, and then he taught what the assembly was—a truth set forth by no other. (See Col. 1) And he himself was to be a member of the assembly, already founded and established on Christ, which was His body, the habitation of God through the Spirit, though He alone taught this doctrine.

Penalty Paid, Sins Forgiven, and the Debt Cancelled

Dear Mr. Editor,
I have just read a paper in the Bible Treasury for this month, entitled “The penalty paid and sins forgiven,” and from it turn to God's word, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Cor. 5:17.)
There cannot be a more absolute statement of the difference between an unconverted sinner and a believer in Christ—a difference both as to position and condition. The believer is in Christ, a new position, and he is a new creation, old things are gone, all things are new. That is, both as to his person and to his circumstances, his condition is totally changed. With the old position are gone—else all the responsibilities belonging to it. If but one which belongs to the old creation still remained, it could not be true that all things are become new. Not that the believer in Christ, the new creation, has no responsibility, but that it is essentially and totally distinct from that of the old creation.

Notes on Matthew 23

Without speaking of the instruction it contains, this chapter is important because it shows the manner in which this Gospel moves in the relations of God with Israel, whilst indicating the judgment which the people were drawing on themselves by the rejection of the Messiah.
We find here, first the position of the disciples in the midst of the Jews, as long as God would endure these last, and that which, in this respect, suited the servants of Jesus; then the iniquity and the hypocrisy of the scribes and the Pharisees; lastly the love and sovereign grace of Jesus, grace which overflows and displays what He is, even when He is announcing judgment. Hence all this part of the Gospel is bound up with the ways of God in relation with His earthly people, as the then moment when all that was passing is bound up with the last days. All connects itself with the Jews of that time and with the relation of the disciples with this people, and thence passes to the last times, leaving the church aside, save that the mention of the last times introduces necessarily the responsibility of those who replace the Jews as servants of the Lord during His absence, and finally the judgment of the Gentiles.
The disciples are left by the Lord in the relation with the Jewish chiefs in which they were then found and up to the judicial rejection of the people at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem. The Savior places them in the same category as the multitude. All were subjected to the authority of the scribes and the Pharisees. These were seated in Moses' seat; and one ought to hear them as to injunctions which they drew from the law given by his means. Nevertheless one must carefully guard against following their walk: they were hypocrites who spoke and did not act. They made the law very strict for others and very light for themselves; they loved to appear before men with the forms of piety to acquire a religious reputation; they sought the first places in the synagogues, salutations in the public places, and to be called Rabbi, making themselves esteemed in the eyes of the world by religion.

Notes on John 15:12-17

The Lord now specifies one special character of fruit, ever precious, but here in the disciples' relation one to another, as before we had the relation of Christ and the Father to them.
“This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I loved you. Greater love no one hath than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends if ye do what I command you. No longer do I call you bondmen, for the bondman knoweth not what his master doeth; but you I have called [my] friends, because all things which I heard from my Father I made known to you. Not ye chose me, but I chose you and appointed you that ye should go and bear fruit, and your fruit abide; that whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name he may give you. These things I command you, that ye love one another.” (Vers. 12-17.)
Love is emphatically the Lord's injunction on His disciples, the love of each other. It is not the general moral duty of loving one's neighbor, but the mutual love of Christians, of which His own love to them is the standard. The nature of the case excludes the love of God which went out to them in their guilt, enmity, and weakness, when objects of sovereign grace. They were now born of God, and hence love; for love, as it is of God who is love, is the energy of the new nature. Hence, whatever else the Lord may enjoin, this is His commandment: He loved them, and would have them love one another accordingly. So Paul tells the Thessalonians that he needed not to write about it to them, for, young as they were in divine things, they were taught of God to love one another. This too was the more excellent way he would show the Corinthian saints, pre-occupied to their hurt with power rather than love, at best the display of the Lord's victory in His creation over Satan rather than the inward energy which enjoys His grace toward our own souls or others to God's glory. On the Roman saints again love is repeatedly urged, as that which should be unfeigned, and also which, wherever it is, has fulfilled the law practically without thinking of it. It is needless to go over all the epistles where the Holy Spirit unfolds its immense place and power.

Notes on 2 Corinthians 4:12-15

Verse 12 is the conclusion of this part of the subject, the service of Christ in divine love and self-abnegation which works death to the servant as surely as life to the saints he serves. This was true of the master in the fullest way; it is verified in those who follow Him in the labor of love, just so far as they are true to Him.
“So that death worketh in us, but life in you. But having the same spirit of faith, according to that which is written, I believed wherefore [also] I spake: we also believe, wherefore also we speak; knowing that he that raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also with Jesus, and shall present [us] with you. For all things [are] for your sakes, that the grace having multiplied through the greater number might make the thanksgiving abound unto the glory of God.” (Vers. 12-15.)
It is a total misapprehension of the opening words to suppose that the least approach to a withering rebuke lies hid here, as in 1 Cor. 4:8-14. Calvin and others have thought so, but there is no real ground to doubt that the apostle very simply states the present effect of serving Christ when His mind and grace govern in such a world and state as this. It is death to him who in the work shares the affections and thoughts of Christ. Continual exposure to trial, habitual experience of grief, ridicule, detraction, opposition, enmity on the one hand; on the other, hopes, fears and disappointments; a never ceasing succession of all that can draw out, and withal distress the spirit cannot fail to do their work in him who thus serves Christ and the saints for His sake. But in the face of all, in spite of evil, and in virtue of grace, the saints are helped, strengthened, cleared, comforted, and blessed. Death worketh in us, and life in you. The apostle habitually toiling and suffering was thoroughly content, and rejoiced in the gain of others: if he was wearing away bodily, those ministered to were being led on in what is imperishable. The service of Christ truly carried out costs all here below, but the blessing is commensurate even now; and what will be the result in glory? Not only was life in Christ given to those that believed, but it was fed, exercised, and developed by ministrations of truth, of which grace was the spring and character and power, in presence of the deepest shame and pain and all calculated to dishearten, yet ever rising above the obstacles and persevering, no matter what the weakness, not only in view of death, but death working already.

Paul at Philippi

The apostle gathers that the Lord had sent him to Macedonia, and goes there. He stops at Philippi, the principal city of the country and a Roman colony. He commences, as he always does, with the Jews. It appears that there was not a synagogue there. It was the custom of the Jews to have their worship in such a case, as it is still, on the banks of the river—I believe, for the sake of purification. There were but a few women there: Paul contented himself with them, and spoke to them of Christ, and of salvation through Him. There was Lydia, a proselyte who worshipped the true God; she was among these women, had not the knowledge of Christ, but the piety which does not neglect the worship of the sabbath day in a far distant country, where it was not the natural occasion to observe it. The blessing is accorded at least to that one in whose heart this faithfulness is found. The Lord opened the heart of Lydia to attend to the things spoken by Paul. She was a Gentile, but brought to the knowledge of the only true God; and she is another example of the difference between conversion and the knowledge of salvation in Christ.
There were many such worshippers—their souls were wearied with the folly and iniquity of paganism, which was insufficient to satisfy the needs of the soul, and through grace they were turned to the only true God, known among the Jews, and they frequented the Jewish worship, without being circumcised. They were called religious persons, persons who served God. They listened to the apostle more than the Jews, and were often the occasion of their jealousy; of this class was Lydia. See chapters 17:17; 13:16; where it is said, “and ye which fear God.” They are found without being named, in chapter 13: 1, and distinctly in verse 48, and also elsewhere.
Lydia is baptized with all her house: and Paul and his companions enter her house and dwell there. It may be said that now the assembly was founded at Philippi.

Fellowship, Not Independency: Part 1

In looking a little into the subject of fellowship, there is no thought of trespassing on the truth of the believer's individual responsibility to the Lord, which is so often brought before us in scripture. On the contrary, there can be no doubt that true fellowship in the Spirit flows out of personal dependence on the Lord, and felt obligation to His claims.
It is interesting to observe that, when the Holy Ghost came down on the day of Pentecost, a new and distinct character “of things was produced. Among others, we read of saints being in “fellowship.” This was not known before, because redemption had not been accomplished. At Pentecost believers were baptized into “one body.” People on earth were thus, by the gift and indwelling of the Holy Ghost, united to a Head in heaven—Head and members forming one body. Before this, they had individually been partakers of life, and were children of God. Christ was not ashamed to call them “brethren.” Then, however, they were by the Holy Ghost, united to Christ, and to one another, in a divinely formed unity. All being partakers of resurrection-life in Christ, redeemed by the same blood, formed into “one body” by “one Spirit,” there was now a basis and a power by which saints could act together, and continue in a fellowship, such as never could have been known before. Hence we read that believers “continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship.” (Acts 2:42.) It is not by this implied that their individual responsibility to the Lord was lessened, for, when after this Paul addressed the elders at Ephesus, before he admonished them to care for others, he said, “Take heed to yourselves.” We find also when writing to Timothy about his ministry, he says, “Take heed to thyself, keep thyself pure.” This has always been the way of truth. Service must flow from personal piety. In olden time it was said, “Greater is he which ruleth his spirit, than he which taketh a city.”
Christian fellowship is then the result of the gift and indwelling of the Holy Ghost, consequent on the accomplished redemption of our Lord Jesus Christ. Its activities are therefore spiritual. Fellowship is free and unfettered in its operation, but gives no license to levity or pride. It is serious, and gives none occasion to the flesh. It is a divinely wrought work.

?Neutrality? Its Value in the Things of God Briefly Tested and Examined by Scripture

“Prove all things, hold fast that which is good.” 1 Thess. 5:21.
It is well for us to pause sometimes, amid the roar and bustle of this world, and consider the bearing and end of things wherein our day is cast, and amidst which it is God's will that for a time we shall walk. That the world, as a system, is drifting on swiftly to the hour of its judgment, is certain from all scripture testimony. The Christian has been called out of it, and is exhorted to walk in separation from it. (See John 15:19; Rom. 12:2; James 4:4, 1 John 2:15, &o.)
But, besides the world, there is what we may call its religious forms, what men speak of as “The Christian world,” and in these much is accepted as right, with but little examination of scripture. One of these is the assumption of neutrality by some, as a way of escape from the present sorrowful and confused state of the church on earth.

The Penalty Paid, Sins Forgiven, and the Debt Cancelled

Dear Mr. Editor,
Your readers must determine whether your correspondent's strictures on my paper are scriptural or not; for myself I see no reason to depart from what I have advanced. As to responsibilities he says, “If but one which belongs to the old creation remained, it could not be true that all things are become new,” and almost immediately after, “The obligation and responsibility of obedience to God attaches to every creature.” I ask, Did not that belong to the old creation, and does it not equally obtain in the new, “constantly due, constantly to be paid"? Have I ceased, or shall I ever cease, to be a creature? And if not, how can my creature responsibilities have ceased? Shall I be told that God has forfeited or foregone His creatorial rights?
Brethren must judge for themselves, but for my own part I say once for all, as I have no intention of pursuing controversy, that I refuse such teaching as forms the staple of this critique. My moral sense revolts when I am told that my responsibilities to God as His creature are at an end. Your correspondent says he turns to scripture, but scripture nowhere teaches that “when God forgave us, all our creature debts were canceled.” It as much traverses scripture “thought” as scripture language.

Letter on the Lord's Death

Dear Brethren—All exclusive points are out of place at the Lord's table: it is clear Christ's death is before us...—It was not to be done in remembrance of deliverance from Egypt, but in remembrance of Him— “my memory.” But the simple answer to this link-breaking out of the sentence is, that there is nothing about it in it. The Greek does not mean breaking every link with the creation, and says nothing about it; that is a simple fact. Should anyone press it as a consequence, if led by the Spirit of God, all well, and show that Christ's death involved it, if it be so, is another matter; but it is not in that sentence. I am not quite sure that I understand it, and though I am quite disposed to see a right intention, in those who taught it, for it was breaking with the world, I doubt a little that they do any more. My impression is, that their intention is right, and that they aim at an important truth, but I cannot go quite so fast as some. When He comes again and takes this earth and governs it and blesses it, it is as Himself risen, that is true: but you can hardly call this world then the new creation. “The link of life in Him with this world was broken,” but then I should be a little shy of speaking of His being linked with it at any time, though coming into it as a true man born of a woman, for the suffering of death and partaking of flesh and blood. But He says, “They are not of the world, as I am not of the world.” And again, “Ye are of this world, I am not of this world; ye are from beneath, I am from above.” Yet, I repeat, I believe the object to be right (that is, that we are crucified to the world, and the world to us), at least, I am quite ready to suppose so. But I affirm positively it is not εἰς τὴν ἐμὴν δνάμνησιν, though it be in death He is symbolized before us; but it is Him we remember, and I doubt that the form in which it is put could be made good from scripture, and scripture is wiser than we are. But as an effect, it does imply our having died to the world; for we show forth the Lord's death till He come; but I cannot admit with this absoluteness that every Christian is, according to scripture, dead to the old creation, because his body is of the old creation: we are waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of the body. I see it held up as desirable that a man should live absolutely in the power of the Spirit, and know nothing else. But he that marries does well: what creation is that of? and he that forbids to marry does very ill. I see two things: God's part in the old creation, and yet fully recognized, marriage as at the beginning, children, amiable nature (the Lord loved the young man when He looked on him); but a power brought in wholly above and out of it. If one lives according to this, all well, it is to be desired; but to condemn the other is to condemn God. Sin has come in and spoiled it, and there is thus hindrance, care, sorrow in the flesh, that is true; but God ordered it in the beginning, and God owns what He ordered till He brings in something new. Dead to sin, to the world, to the law, that I find in scripture, but not to the old creation, and that is the place of every Christian, and he is to hold himself so; but dead to the old creation God does not say, for it is God's creation, and every creature of God is good. Live above it in its present state, all well, and better, if it be given to us; but death to the first creation, and breaking every link with it, is not true whilst we are in the body. Scripture does not say so; and scripture, I say again, is much wiser than we are. There is a new creation, and as in Christ we are of it, I think we may say the first fruits of it, and of His creatures at any rate. Καινὴ κτίσις is a very singular expression; it is not “he is” as in English, but merely affirms its existence and character for one in Christ. But then when the scriptures say He died, it is not to the old creation; but “He who knew no sin was made sin,” and elsewhere, “In that he died, he died unto sin once.” It is well and safe not to go beyond scripture. Fresh truths and mighty powers fill our sails, and it is well; but they may, if we trust them, and the consequences we draw, carry our minds on to rocks hidden underneath the surface. The word of God checks, or rather keeps us in the right and safe course. The first intentions may be right: but when not so kept, when one's own mind is trusted, it may run into open ungodliness—the common result of the human mind being trusted with mighty truths, or rather trusting itself with them; and in these days this has to be watched.

Matthew 24-25

These chapters constitute the most distinct and definite portion of our Lord's service as a prophet. Strictly speaking, they only are the prophetic part of His ministry.
The previous part of the Lord's history was the presentation of Himself as the object of previous prophecy, to those who were responsible for His reception, as coming in by the door, according to that which those oracles of God had spoken concerning Him. This character and place of the Lord is particularly the subject of this Gospel, which bears in all its statements on the circumstances and condition in which the Jews were placed by previous scriptures. It closes in a very marked way in the previous chapter. The Lord had begun His ministry with the blessings of the character suited to His kingdom, revealed by the introduction of His Father's name. He closes, on the continued and willful rejection of Him by that people, by the woes justly denounced on them for their hypocrisy and iniquity. (Compare Matt. 5-7, and xxiii.) From one evil they claimed exemption, but in terms which showed their birthright in sin; they had not killed the prophets as their fathers had done. Jesus, assuming the character of Lord, hereon declares that He would send such unto them, and they should have an opportunity of showing the difference of their spirit and conduct; then they would treat them in the same way, and, the measure of iniquity being filled up to the brim, God would dash the cup out of their hand to fill it with His own wrath to be poured upon them. Then the Lord apostrophizes Jerusalem (for all this He speaks as Jehovah), His beloved Jerusalem given up for the wickedness of them that dwelt therein, but still loved in itself and abstractedly in her children, and rejected with a “till,” and not cast away as not foreknown, “Ye shall not see me henceforth till ye say, Blessed be he that cometh in the name of Jehovah.”
Here came in the proper place of prophecy, this people and Jerusalem the special and immediate subject.

Notes on John 15:18-21

To love one another then is the new and repeated commandment of Christ to His own. To love is the positive and proper and constant exercise of the new nature, as acted on by the Spirit's ministration of Christ, not always brotherly kindness in exercise, but love never failing. But this very affection, strange here below, exposes those in whom it is found to the direct counter-working of Satan, a murderer and liar from the beginning.
“If the world hateth you, know [or, ye know] that me it hath hated before you. If ye were of the world, the world would love its own; but because ye are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, on this account doth the world hate you. Call to mind the word which I told you, A bondsman is not greater than his lord. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also; but all these things they will do unto you on account of my name, because they know not him that sent me.” (Vers. 18-21.)
To be Christ's is enough to rouse the world's rancor. Circumstances may be needed to call it forth, but there it is. The world hates those who, being His, are no longer of the world. But the Lord would have us know that, not more surely does it hate us, than it had hated Himself before us. (Ver. 18.) Is it not sweet and consoling to us that so it is, however awful in itself, to have such a conviction of the world? For it bates us because of Him, not Him because of us. It is not our faults therefore which are the true cause, but His grace and moral excellence, His divine nature and glory; it is the world's repugnance and enmity to what is of God, and to Him who is God. The world hates the Father shown in the Son; hence it hates the children who were the Father's and then were given to the Son. Christ was hated first, they next, and for His sake.

Notes on 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

There are thus, along with the consciousness of utter weakness and exposure, spiritual forces of the most powerful kind, which sustain in the face of all trial and suffering the faith of what God has already wrought in Christ risen; the hope of what He will do for us who believe on Him; and the love which bears all for the blessing of those so precious to both the Father and the Son.
“Wherefore we fail not; but even if our outer man is consuming, yet the inner is being renewed day by day. For the momentary lightness of our affliction worketh out for us in surpassing measure an eternal weight of glory: while we have the eye not on the things that are seen, but on those not seen, for the things seen [are] temporary, but those not seen, eternal.” (Vers. 16-18.)
On each divine ground the apostle repudiates all thoughts of succumbing, and declares for moving on undauntedly. Enjoyment, ease, honor, are out of the question as a present thing; nay, pain, tribulation, detraction, contempt, opposition, all that can wear away the outer man as sure as the path of Christ is trodden. But in all these things is the life of the Spirit. Grace turns to our account by Christ, and this, even now, the things which seem most contrary to man's life in this world. Be it that it perishes, yet the inner man is renewed day by day. (Ver. 16.) It is not that the saint becomes more meet for partaking of the inheritance of the saints in light, for this rests on Christ and His redemption; but there is growth spiritually, a new nature and sure judgment of things around us, there is less value for what once attracted, and a more undivided deepening joy in the Lord and His objects here as well as in heavenly things. The babe becomes not a young man only, but a father. (1 John 2) Christ is more unwaveringly the attraction and the standard of thought, feeling, conduct, everything; while flesh and world not only sink, but are judged unsparingly, as one passes through all that would otherwise disappoint and torture, now regarded with calm and even thanksgiving.

How Judaising Was Met in Jerusalem

But the Jews—those at least who made a profession of Christianity with Satan as their instrument—sought to place the Gentiles under the yoke of Judaism, and destroy the work of God within, if they could not hinder it without the church. They went down from Judea to Antioch, teaching the brethren that they must be circumcised, and observe the law of Moses, in order to be saved. The moment was a critical one. It was necessary, according to them, that the Gentiles should submit to the law of Moses, and become Jews, or that two separate assemblies should be formed. Paul and Barnabas, however, oppose themselves to these exactions. But God did not permit the question to be settled at Antioch.
It will readily be understood that, had the cause of the Gentiles been vindicated by a decision given at Antioch, and, in spite of the Jews, they had preserved their liberty, the danger would have been imminent of two assemblies being formed, and of unity being lost. All the spiritual and apostolical power of Paul therefore was insufficient to overcome the opposing spirit at Antioch, and decide the question. It was God's will that it should be decided at Jerusalem, and that the Christian Jews themselves, the apostles, the elders, and the whole assembly, should pronounce the freedom of the Gentiles; and that thus holy liberty and unity should be secured. It is decided, therefore, that Barnabas and Paul shall go to Jerusalem concerning this matter. We learn from Gal. 2:2, that Paul went thither in obedience to direct revelation.
God permitted that these Jews, without mission, zealous without God for the law, the authority of which over the conscience had been terminated by the cross, should raise this question, so that it might be definitely settled. The apostles and elders, therefore, meet together. It seems that all the believers may have been present, since verse 12 speaks of the multitude; however it is the apostles and elders who meet together. Paul and Barnabas relate what has happened in their journey—the conversion of the Gentiles—and the brethren rejoice with great joy, Here the most simple hearts enjoy with simplicity the grace of God.

Fellowship, Not Independency: Part 2

Continued from page 250
Nor can the ruin of the church, looked at in its place of responsibility on earth, its almost endless divisions, and increasing confusion, be rightly pleaded as a reason for acting on the principle of isolation, and individual loneliness, much less for the formation of human confederacies and associations not according to the Lord's mind. For God has given us the Holy Ghost, and revealed in His word, that He has formed a unity of all believers in Christ. “By one Spirit are we all baptized into one body.” This unity we are enjoined to keep. This unity is as true as ever for all the members of the body of Christ, before the eye of God; though, as to its manifestation before men, where is it to be seen? Alas! how very opposite it is to this divine character. Still, the principles of God for our guidance during the interval of our Lord's absence have not been changed because of man's failure. The injunction that we should, with all lowliness, be “endeavoring to keep the Spirit's unity in the bond of peace” has never been abrogated. The faithful are to act on it as much as ever. It is simply a question of carrying out the will of God. If one true Christian can only find another to act with him on the ground of “one body and one Spirit,” these two persons would be so far carrying out the will of God, even if there were no other persons in the world so doing. It is not setting up the church again, nor reconstructing what has been practically broken in pieces; but, while owning humbly its departure and ruin, such take the place of acknowledged weakness, and cast themselves on the mercy and faithfulness of the Lord. They are obedient to His word who is holy and true, and, however few they may be, they stand for the true character of the church of God— “one body and one Spirit.” Such know that God is faithful, His word as true as ever, His Spirit abiding, and that the Lord Jesus is still in the midst of two or three, when gathered together to His name. They know Him as Head of the body, the Sender of the Holy Ghost, the Son over His own house, and soon coming to take us unto Himself. Of course if others are found acting on these truths in other places, all such companies of saints become practically one; they rightly own that the only ecclesiastical association which God has set up on earth is “one body” united to Christ the Head in heaven, formed and energized by “one Spirit.” This is true all over the earth. God looks down from heaven and beholds this “one body,” formed by “one Spirit,” however man may have defaced its manifestation by endless divisions, and untrue associations. This only is the divinely-ordered character of fellowship, consequent on an accomplished redemption, and the gift and indwelling of the Holy Ghost.
Gifts indeed have been bestowed by Christ the Head in glory, and for what purpose? We are told they are for the edification of the body, and that the body is edified by that which every joint supplies. Sign-gifts were necessary at first, such as miracles and tongues, as witness of the power of God to them that believe not. But these soon passed away. Apostles and prophets, the spiritual founders of the assembly, also passed away. They were the foundation stones of the building, and we may still be edified by their writings. But are there not evangelists, teachers and pastors? Can anything be more distinctly seen on earth now than servants of the Lord Jesus, having spiritual ability for evangelizing, teaching the children of God, and shepherding the flock? (See Eph. 4:11-13.)

Christ of the Gospels as Seen in the Epistles

Nothing that touches the person of Christ, for good or evil, can be without interest to any heart that has learned His value. In view of this we may profitably look at the way in which He is presented by the Holy Ghost in the writings of the New Testament other than the Gospels, but in relation to them; that is to say, the Gospels' character of Christ as it is enshrined in the other books of the New Testament.
As might well be expected, these writings, emanating from the same Master-hand, contain many historical additions to the Gospel narrative of incalculable value, besides wonderfully beautiful touches that tend to heighten and complete the divine transcript.
In Acts 1 we learn, as nowhere else, the fact of the Lord's continuance on earth after His resurrection for forty days, during which He was seen of His disciples, making known to them His valedictory commands, and speaking to them of the kingdom of God. Also the special question which, when gathered together, they preferred before Him as to the time of the restoration of the kingdom again to Israel. This elicited that momentous word of His designed, without setting the kingdom aside, to direct their hearts to the coming in of the Holy Ghost—an unseen spiritual power—with all that it carried with it to faith, signifying that it was not Israel in revived glory and a Messiah in displayed power that He would set before their hearts, but a refused and departing Savior bringing in a time of testimony, in which the Holy Ghost and they were to be His witnesses, as also He had Himself said before He suffered. (John 15:26, 27.) Of the One bated without a cause the Holy Ghost and they were to be the witnesses; all this had faded from their minds, and the Lord's latest breath on earth was expended in re-enforcing it upon their souls (Acts 1:8), expressing as it does the whole character of the period until He return. We all know that the first word with which He met His disciples in resurrection at the beginning of these forty days was, “Peace unto you,” expressing their portion in Him; and now, in the closing moment before He ascended, He clearly suggests that His portion would be in them (“Ye shall be witnesses unto me"), and the Holy Ghost's advent would be the incoming of power unto this specific end. Nor is it unimportant for us to see that it is as the refused One of men He is received up, and it is as associated with this refused Man, the Christ of that glory into which He has entered, that they go forth joint-witnesses with the Holy Ghost. And, indeed, we may fittingly go much further, for it is in fact the key-note of the whole period of His absence. He went away as the refused Man, and is that refused Man to-day. He constituted His disciples, in the presence and power of the Holy Ghost, His witnesses in the scene of His refusal, even unto the uttermost part of the earth, and it goes without saying that just such, if up to our calling, is what we are to Himself this day.

Legality and Spiritual Elation

It may be accepted that all of God's people—whose souls are in His presence—have desires after holiness. Neither does the fact of the age in which a believer lives affect the principle, for if the Holy Spirit be not hindered, He is assuredly leading on those who are partakers of the divine nature to God.
Holiness, practically speaking, results from fulfilling God's will, pleasing God. The nature of things is not changed by labeling them other than what they are, and very frequently what is supposed to be holiness is nothing of the kind. Those who watch the working of the soul know how subtle self is, and as it reappears over and over again in various garbs. Jacob was Jacob despite Esau's garments. Though he declared it was not his, yet the voice was the voice of Jacob. Isaac was blind to the reality, but in ordinary Christian life it is less difficult to deceive others than ourselves! Indeed it is as astonishing as bumbling to discover what we are, and to see ourselves as others see us. All pride lacks sense, but spiritual pride excels all other pride in foolishness; and the man who glories in himself, his attainments, or knowledge, before God, is spiritually proud.
Now accepting that desires after holiness are common to God's saints—supposing such saints not to be morally away from God—we are confronted with strange differences in men's minds as to what holiness is. Unquestionably, if there was implicit obedience to scripture, these differences would not occur, but the fact of their existence is evident.

Notes on Matthew 24

That which precedes shows how in all this we have the Jewish people under our eyes. What follows is the history of the Jews, or rather that of the testimony of the servants of Christ in the midst of the Jews, in the interval which separates the rejection of the Messiah, here in question, and His return in glory. They are still—or anew—in Palestine; not yet delivered nor publicly owned of Jehovah, but under His hand in chastening, if it is a question of those who are under the influence of His grace and of His word, and finally in judgment against those who cast themselves into the arms of Antichrist. This statement comes very naturally following up the testimony of the last verses of chapter 23, and is connected, as to its contents, with that which is there said.
The Lord quits the temple now forsaken in judgment up to His return, and sits on the mount of Olivet, separated by the valley of the brook of Cedron from the lofty plateau on which the temple was seen in all grandeur.
The disciples approach to draw His attention to the beauty of the majestic building. The Lord does not seek to turn away their eyes from the object which was pre-occupying them, but He foretells the complete destruction of what seemed to be the indestructible palace of their religion, necessary, in fact, for the accomplishment of the duties which it imposed, and the compulsory place for the offerings which were the only means of putting the people in relationship with God. All was about to be destroyed, from top to bottom, and their religion and all their relations with God, according to the ancient covenant which had to do with the temple, would be entirely abolished with it.

Fragment: Rejecting the Word

It is really a question between faith and infidelity. If I believe the Bible to be the word of God, the judgment is formed; I have only to bow. If I reject it, I am an infidel; my judgment of it is formed. I may be ignorant of it; then there is no judgment to be formed: though I am sure, if a new nature be in us, it will be received by us as light is by the eye, and known. The rejection of the word, it being what it is, is the judgment of what rejects it.

Notes on John 15:22-25

The presence and testimony of the Son of God had the gravest possible results. It was not only an infinite blessing in itself and for God's glory, but it left men, and Israel especially, reprobate. Law had proved man's weakness and sin, as it put under curse all who took their stand on the legal principle. There was none righteous, none that sought after God, none that did good, no, not one. The heathen were manifestly wicked, the Jews proved so by the incontestable sentence of the law. Thus every mouth was stopped, and all the world obnoxious to God's judgment. But the presence of Christ brought out, not merely failure to meet obligation as under law, but hatred of divine goodness come down to man in perfect grace. God was in Christ, as the apostle says, reconciling the world to Himself, not reckoning to them their offenses. How immense the change! How worthy of God when revealed in His Son, as Man amongst men! But they could not endure His words and His works, and this increasingly, till the cross demonstrated that it was absolute rejection of God's love without bounds. It is not here the place or time, as with the apostle, to show how divine love rose in complete victory over man's evil and hatred as attested in the ministry of reconciliation which is founded on the cross. Here the Lord is affirming the solemn position and state of the world in antagonism to the disciples, after preparing them for persecution: from its hating them as Him, and its ignorance of Him who had sent their Master.
“If I had not come and spoken to them, they had not had sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. He that hateth me hateth my Father also.” (Vers. 22, 23.) Sin before or otherwise was swallowed up in this surpassing sin of rejecting the Son come in love and speaking not merely as man never spoke, yea, as God never spoke; for by whom should He speak as in a Son? It was meet that He who is the image of the invisible God, the only-begotten in the bosom of the Father, should speak above all, as He is above all, God blessed forever. Servants had been sent, prophets had spoken; and their messages had divine authority; but they were partial. The law made nothing perfect. Now He who had thus spoken of old πολυμερῶ καὶ πολυτρόπως spoke to us ἐν υίῷ. He was their Messiah, the Son of David, born where and when they expected, attested not only by the signs and vouchers of prophecy, but by the powers of the world to come; but He was more, infinitely more, He was Son of God, unapproachable in His own glory, yet here on earth the most accessible of men, giving out the words of the Father, as none had ever spoken since the world began. There never had been an adequate object on earth to draw out such communications; now there was in both dignity of person, intimacy of relationship, and moral perfection as man. And the disciples were reaping the benefit; as the Jews, the world, which had Him before their eyes and oars had the responsibility. Flaws, failure, there had been in all others who had spoken for and from God, so as to weaken the effect of their testimony where men thought of men and forgot the God who sent them.
But now the Father had sent the Son who had come and spoken not in law but in love, the true Light shining in a world of darkness which apprehended it not, and sin appeared as never before. What pretext could be pleaded now? It was no question of man or his weakness; no requirement of his duty as measured by the ten words, or any statutes or judgments whatsoever. There was the Son, the Word become flesh dwelling among men, full of grace and truth, in divine love that rose above every fault and all evil, to give what is of God for eternity, only met by increasing hatred till it could go no farther. Their ignorance of Him who sent Christ was no doubt at the bottom of their hating Him, but it was inexcusable. For He was God as well as Son of the Father, and so perfectly able to present the truth and render man thoroughly and evidently guilty if he bowed not. What then did their not bowing prove but sin, without excuse for it, and hatred of the Father also in hating the Son?

Notes on 2 Corinthians 5:1-3

This leads the apostle to open out the power of life we have in Christ, and its results. “For we know that if our earthly tabernacle-house be dissolved, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, everlasting in the heavens. For also in this we groan, longing to clothe ourselves with our dwelling which is from heaven, if indeed also when clothed we shall not be found naked.” (Vers. 1-3.)
What calm and confident knowledge the apostle here predicates of Christians as such! And what a contrast with the dark uncertainty of unbelief, or with its impious audacity! The eternal things are none the less sure in hope because they are not seen. For we know that, if death destroy the earthly tent we live in, we have a building of God. The body in its present state he compares to a tabernacle to be taken down, in its future to a building from God as the source, and to a house not made with hands, and hence everlasting in the heavens, its suited and purposed sphere forever. As we already heard, God who raised up the Lord Jesus shall also raise up by Him those also who sleep, and then present us all together faultless before the throne of His glory: here details are entered into with clearness and discrimination. It is one of the few passages which treat of the intermediate state, as well as of the resurrection or change of the body for glory, and therefore of the deepest interest to the faithful personally and relatively. And in a few brief and plain words adequate light is given, without the smallest indulgence of irreverent curiosity, for all that concerns the family of God after death as well as the change at Christ's coming. One cannot conceive a communication more worthy of God, or more characteristic of His word generally, while it bears the deep impress of His blessed servant who was inspired to give it.
Of course theology is here little more than a Babel of discordant tongues; and even the more pious and learned seem unable to answer with precision what is meant by the building we have of God. Some will have it that this house not made with hands is heaven itself, but how then could it be said to be “in the heavens?” How could we be in this case said to be clothed with our house or “dwelling which is from heaven?” The house and heaven itself are carefully distinguished. Others again, with less error but with an imperfect view of the passage as a whole, think only of the resurrection body. But it does not follow that the passage throws no light on the state of the soul between death and the resurrection, or that it treats solely of what is to happen after Christ's second coming.

The Ground of the Church of God

I am writing for those who have learned at least that the church of God is one, and that the sects and denominations of Christendom are, as such, necessarily wrong and to be refused. This is a great truth, however simple a one. If the church be God's—if Christ be its Head, and it His body—if by one Spirit we are baptized into that body—if the word of God be Christ's complete authoritative instruction. for His own, then of necessity the formation of divers bodies, the union of Christiana by what distinguishes them from one another, the adoption of human creeds and confessions (as if the word of God were not full enough or plain enough for the guidance of His people), all this must be judged as so much real confusion. There remains for us only the one church of God, to which every one baptized by the Spirit belongs, a body which it is not ours to make, admit into, or legislate for, but simply to recognize as that to which we have relationship, and a sphere of duty founded upon this, which scripture can alone authoritatively define for us. My conscience, delivered from the usurpation of traditional authority, is set free only to learn humbly in God's presence what is my path with Him, and to follow it in subjection to His word and Spirit.
I do not dwell further upon this then, however important. Two questions that are pressing upon many in the present day, and the various answers to which are dividing those who are so far united, I seek briefly to consider—
How far and in what way is scriptural unity attainable in a day like this? and

I, Sins, Sin

There seems to me great confusion in many between our ever unchanging personality, and consequent responsibility, and the sin that dwells in us, as well as the sins we commit. Man is spirit, soul, and body (Gen. 2:7), a responsible being. Sin was introduced into him at the fall, as a distinct thing, an evil principle. (Gen. 3; Rom. 5:12.) Sins were the evil fruits as the result. Coming under the power of sin, the fleshly tendency became predominant, and so the term flesh was stamped on his moral condition. (Gen. 6:3), and as to God he became dead in trespasses and sins. (Eph. 2:1.) Now the Epistle to the Romans brings, out the threefold thought distinctly. There is the responsible man, the sins he commits, the sin that entered into him at the fall.
In Rom. 1:18-22; 2:1-16 we have the responsibility of the heathen set before us, consequent on the light of creation shining upon them, and their conscience giving the knowledge of good and evil (chap. 2:14, 15): the judgment of God is against the heathen for not walking according to that knowledge. But God is wroth with the responsible man for his sins (sin is not responsible), and He will judge the responsible man for his sins and rejecting His forbearance and goodness. (Chap. 2:2-6.)
Chapters 2:17-29; 3:1-20 take up the responsibilities of the Jew, as also his privileges, bringing out the law as the measure of those responsibilities, and he, the responsible Jew would be judged by the law, which, besides proving guilty of sins, given the knowledge of sin. (Chap. 3:19, 20.) Man's universal moral character is described from head to foot (chap. 5:10-18), then the law applied, proving guilty of sine, and giving the knowledge of sin. Thus the three things are clearly brought out in the history of man's responsibility. There is himself—the responsible “I” —guilty of sins, and, if he will learn, the law will give him the knowledge of sin. (Chap. 5: 19, 20.)

Brief Sketch of Matthew

The aspect in which Christ is presented here is as the Emmanuel, Jehovah-Messiah, promised and prophesied of, presented to Israel but rejected, and thus rejected Israel making way for the assembly and the kingdom; but all in earthly or Jewish connection, from that point of view. Hence, as in John, the final scene is in Galilee, and there is no ascension.
Let us now go through its general structure as the evidence of special design—of a design which, has divine largeness of view and object. It begins with the roots of promise to come to the promised Seed—Abraham, David, Christ. There are none of the lovely details of the state of the poor and godly remnant in Israel which we find in Luke, but simply the accomplishment of prophecy in the miraculous birth of Jesus, whose name was to be the expression of the coming of Jehovah to save His people.
Next we have the false king seeking to thrust Him out, the Gentiles having come to own Him; God's wondrous testimony according to prophecy, and God providing, when once Jesus was thus owned, for the non-fulfillment of the blessing in legal Israel then, but a recommencing their history in His Son called out of Egypt. All this is in Bethlehem, according to prophecy. The result is, that He is cast out into Galilee among the poor of the flock, to be brought up as the separated One from among His people.

Due Spirit of Discipline

“Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the Lord thy God chasteneth thee.” This blessed word holds good at all times and under all circumstances, whether the discipline be individually or corporately applied; whether, passing on New Testament ground, we take 1 Cor. 5 or Heb. 12. Our Father never departs from this principle, never uses the rod, save under the prompting of perfect love. Holiness is the end, love the motive. Moreover, true discipline is but one of the forms of the activity of true love. It is good and wholesome to keep this in mind. Correctness of judgment and tenderness of heart should be blended in us as they are in our God. All that is right must be learned from His ways, and ourselves in subjection, so that we may not neutralize that which is of Him by the adjunction of that which is our own. “Neutralize” is not an adequate expression, for positive harm may be wrought by doing right things in a wrong way.
The manner in which discipline is to be exercised in the assembly is plainly laid down in 1 Cor. 5, as well as the full measure of the Lord's requirements; but we must place ourselves behind the scene, as it were, to see the spirit that suits such an act. Not until we come to 2 Cor. 2 do we learn what it cost the apostle to write, under the dictation of the Holy Ghost, 1 Cor. 5 Not until the saints were themselves broken under the sorrow could he make them understand how much he himself had suffered. It is not merely a question of the Corinthians humbling themselves for the sad and gross evil immediately connected with them; but there is a deeper and wider truth, which is, that those who are right should teach the wrong ones their proper place by taking it themselves. Paul—the right one—is the first to enter into the sorrow, with a breaking heart, that he might draw the Corinthians where he was, and that they might, in their turn, draw the guilty into the same. Paul had chiefly to do with and to say to them; they, I submit, to, the culprit himself, their grief being, more than anything else, calculated to touch his conscience, and win his heart back to the Lord. It can never be only an act of putting away, although there must be that, as due to the holiness of the Lord; but in that act is involved a question of eating the sin-offering in the holy place, confessing the sin in self-judgment, and ever keeping in view the ultimate restoration of the soul. Sever 2 Cor. 2 and vii. from 1 Cor. 5, and a deal of mischief will arise. Saints will form themselves into a court of justice, to pass sentences right and left, without the consciousness that each sentence strikes upon them, and brings them into the punishment. These are the words of the apostle, as to what he felt at the time when he wrote the first epistle: “For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you, with many tears;” and this is the record of the effect produced upon the saints by the spirit of his letter: “For, beheld, this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly soil, whet carefulness it wrought in you; yea, what clearing of yourselves; yea, what indignation; yes, what fear; yea, what vehement desire; yea, what zeal; yea, what revenge!” The only way to a godly clearing of ourselves is by godly sorrow; without this, none of that.
This is an unchangeable principle with God. As in Israel of old, so in the church now. When the ancient people had crossed Jordan, and seen in the fall of Jericho how Jehovah dealt with the enemy, they came before Ai to be broken down, They, like the Corinthians later, had lacked “carefulness,” and by their indifference to evil within, room was left for Achan to lay hold of the accursed thing. And the record is striking. It does not say, “Achan,” but, “the children of Israel committed a trespass.” All were involved in the deed, and the people judged before the culprit himself. This is not easily accepted nor entered into, even by Joshua. Sad indeed were his words on the occasion: “Would to God we had been content, and dwelt on the other side Jordan!” That is, we do not like the principle of discipline that strikes the many even before the guilty one is. reached. And not only was this the case when things were in order, and the people one, as under Joshua; but also at the end of Judges, when the tribes lived practically isolated from each other, and “there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes” —a principle which must lead to fearful wrong. A molten image in the house of Micah, and, worse yet, the connivance of a Levite with idol worship, were sad enough; but not until the downright evil of apostasy, the sin of Sodom, and that which brought the flood upon the earth (Gen. 6:12), had been confronted, was the moral sense of the Israelites roused, and then they “gathered together as one man.... unto the Lord in Mizpeh.” The voice of Mizpeh, or sentinel, seems to say, Be on the watch. And now that Jehovah has got them together once more, He must carry out the principle of old—strike the many before the few, and at the cost of forty thousand of their own did they learn their connection with the iniquity of Benjamin. Nay, more: “All the people went up, and came unto the house of God, and wept, and sat before the Lord, and fasted that day until even, and offered burnt-offerings and peace-offerings before the Lord.” Only after this painful, but wholesome, ordeal could God side with them, and fit them to deal in righteousness with “Benjamin, my brother.”

Correspondence on God's Grace and Man's Ruin

My Dear Brother,
I have lately felt somewhat perplexed how to answer the following statements, and should be glad if you will kindly tell me how scripture meets this serious question. It has been said, “God is love. He does not leave the poor heathen without divine aid in their darkness. Though the Holy Ghost may not be in them as an indwelling Spirit, yet, as external, He deals with the conscience of every human being; in the case of a heathen aiding him towards right convictions and good practice, and helping him so to live that he may be saved, and this, though he may never have heard the name of Christ, and knows not the true God in Christ. Such texts as Acts 17:27; 10:35; Rom. 2:7; Gen. 6:3, corroborate this view.”
Ever, my dear Brother,

Fragment on Discipline

It is well to remember here that Christian discipline has always the recovery of the soul for its object. Even if the Offender should be delivered unto Satan, it is for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord—a most forcible reason for exercising this discipline, according to the measure of our spiritual power; for we cannot go beyond that. At the least we might always humble ourselves before God, in order that the evil may be removed. To be indifferent to the presence of evil in the church is to be guilty of high treason against God; it is taking advantage of His love to deny His holiness, despising and dishonoring Him before all. God acts in love in the church; but He acts with holiness and for the maintenance of holiness: otherwise it would not be the love of God which acted; it would not be seeking the prosperity of souls.

Scripture Queries and Answers: 1 John 1:7

Q. 1 John 1:7.-Is it true that the last clause of this verse teaches us that the blood of Jesus cleanseth the sins of believers as a present process (that is, ie actually cleansing)?
A. It is always a serious thing when an effort is made, on grammatical grounds, to overthrow a plainly revealed truth of the gospel. Now, there is not a single fact more certain than that in Christ we have redemption through Christ's blood, the forgiveness of sins or offenses. (Eph. 1; Col. 1) So, in the next chapter of our epistle, John writes to the entire family of God,” Because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake.” In Rom. 5 we are said to be justified in virtue of Christ's blood, and reconciled by His death; in Hebrews, sanctified by the offering of His body once for all; yea, more, perfected by it forever (εἰς τὸ διηνεκές), for unbroken continuance. But why heap together scriptures so familiar and precious to the youngest Christian To represent the cleansing of the believer by the Savior's blood as a continuous act, and therefore incomplete, is to dishonor the efficacy of His work, and to weaken the ground of that peace which He is declared to have made by the blood of His cross., (Col. 1:20.) How manifest it is that a false interpretation not only introduces an error, but sets one scripture against another—the surest way to discredit all.
Thus, if sin-cleansing by the blood of Jesus is assumed to be only going on, it would falsify the same John's language in Rev. 1:5, where we are said to be already washed by His blood, and this comes out more strikingly in any exact rendering, like Dean Alford's version: “Unto him that loveth us, and washed us from our sins in his blood.” His love is constant, but the washing, or loosing, us from our sins is set forth by a participle of that tense which expresses an action simply past, excluding duration. John could have used no such form, if we had to come before God for daily cleansing by the blood, of Jesus; for in this case it would be correct to employ, not the aorist, but the imperfect tense, which precisely expresses a continued, or repeated, action.

Notes on Matthew 25

The coming of the Savior gives occasion to look at Christians as ten virgins gone forth to meet the Bridegroom. The true force of the word is that the kingdom of the heavens will then have become like to ten virgins thus gone out. Nothing more solemn and more instructive than this parable as to the state of Christians. It is a question of the return of the Savior and of that which will happen to Christians, to the members of the kingdom, at that epoch. If the servant said, “My Master delayeth his coming,” it would be his ruin, the demonstration of the state of his heart. But in fact the Bridegroom would delay; and this is what has happened.
It is of moment to remark the mutual relationships in which the personages of the parable are found. It is not a question here of the church as bride. If one would absolutely think of a bride, it is Jerusalem on earth. Christians are regarded as virgins gone out to meet Him who was the Bridegroom. The Jewish remnant does not go out. When Jesus shall come again; it will be found there on earth in the relationships in which it will have remained here below. The Bridegroom tarried, and the virgins, the wise like the foolish, went asleep, no longer expecting the Bridegroom. Further, they go in somewhere in order to sleep more conveniently. Nevertheless there are of them such as have oil in their vessels with their lamps: it is divine grace which sustains the lamp of the Christian profession. They are not surprised. It is a question of those who make profession.
The moral state of the kingdom consists in this that all are gone asleep: the coming of the Lord is forgotten by all. At an unforeseen moment the cry makes itself heard, Behold the Bridegroom! God re-awakens souls that they may think of it; but what a testimony rendered to the state of Christians! That which should have characterized them, the thing for which, as a living state of the soul of the Christian here be low, one had been converted (according as it is written, “How ye turned to God.... to wait for his Son from heaven") had been entirely forgotten. They were no longer waiting for the Lord; and though there was oil in the vessels of some, the lamps were not trimmed. It is the soul that awaits the Lord which watches to be ready to receive Him. Their lamps shone no longer suitably. There might be smoke and ashes; the fire was perhaps not extinct; but there was little light, enough however just to manifest negligence and slumbering. Where was then the love for the Savior, when all forgot Him, no more occupied with His return? Fidelity and love to the Savior were equally at fault.

Giving

The great characteristic of the present dispensation is that God is revealed as a Giver. In its season during the legal dispensation, that is from Moses to Christ, He made certain requirements on man; for man had, been created a responsible being, put into relation with His Creator as a creature, and under obligation to Him. The law was the perfect measure of those obligations due from the creature to His Creator. But addressed as it was to man already fallen under the power of sin, it could only bring out his infinite distance from God. And just as every standard puts to the test all things that are put under it, so the true use of the law was a test to bring to man's conscience his guilt, and to give him the knowledge of his sinful state by nature.
In this way it was a most useful schoolmaster to the Jew who would learn its lessons. Shutting him up to death under its, demands and potting him under the curse) it would phew him that the only way of deliverance and pardon was through the promised Messiah.
In due time the Messiah came, and the change in God's dealings with man was most sweetly brought out in the Lord's conversation with Nicodemus the Jew in John 3:16, and with the Samaritan woman in John 4:10. These were the words, “God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have eternal life,” and again, “if thou knewest the gift of God and who it is that saith to thee, give me to drink, thou wouldest have asked of him and be would have given thee living water.” God was now revealed as a Giver, giving His Son; the blessed and only way by which poor guilty man, born in sin and lost, could have his sins met and answered for; the only way by which he could be delivered from his state of sin, and set in a place where he could really please and glorify God. And since the Gentile born in sin (yet having the light of creation and conscience as his rule), and the Jew (having the law as his perfect standard), have both been proved on that ground utterly lost, and shut up to death, so now Christ having been revealed to the whole world as the gift of God, both Gentiles and Jews are shut up to Him as the only way of salvation.

Notes on John 15:26-27

Thus had the Lord prepared His own for the world's hatred, not only because He had known it before them, but because it had fallen on Him with an intensity and groundlessness beyond all experience. As even their law had forewarned of it, they were the more inexcusable. But nothing is so blind as unbelief, nor so cruel as its will irritated by the light of God which treats it as sin, and sin refusing God in sovereign grace, the Father and the Son. For they that dwell at Jerusalem and their rulers, as Paul could say elsewhere, because they knew Him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every sabbath-day, they have fulfilled them in condemning Him.
It might seem then all must be swept away by the murderous rancor of man, and especially religious man. But not so. It is not that the Lord was not to die as well as suffer; nor that His feeble followers should escape the lot of their Master, as far as God was pleased to let them taste it; but that He was about to leave the world for glory on high, and to send down the Holy Ghost thence, as a new, divine and heavenly witness here below.
[“But] when the Paraclete is come, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceedeth out from the Father, he shall testify concerning me; and ye too testify, because ye are with me from [the] beginning.” (Vers. 26, 27.)

Thoughts on 1 John

I. “That which was from the beginning.” (Ver. 1.) The moment Christ appeared in the world, we find a beginning of accomplishment for all the purposes God had in view before the foundation of the world. These purposes had not been revealed before the gospel; they are only so fully after the death and resurrection of Christ. The first Adam, put to the proof without law and tinder law, failed; Christ came, and we have in Him the beginning of the counsels of God in the sense of their accomplishment. In order that we should have part in these things, redemption is needed; and therefore I do not say that it was the beginning of Christianity.
When Christ comes, He is the expression of our position before God and before Satan. Up to Christ God finds nowhere an object on the earth that He can own positively. His person was the beginning. Once there is a Man, the Son, on the earth, we have the first revelation of the Trinity: the voice of the Father makes itself heard, the Holy Spirit descends, the Son is there and on the earth. Christ on the earth, such is the beginning; but the history of man under responsibility is the link between the beginning and the counsels of God which preceded. Angels are holy creatures knowing good and evil, and are the proof that God could keep His creature; but we are the proof that God could redeem His creature.
“Eternal life” (ver. 2) and immortality are not the same thing. As a Christian I have eternal life; and yet I am as mortal as before.

A Note on the Similitudes of Matthew 13, Especially the Treasure and the Net.

I suppose that the kingdom of heaven, in the six parables in which it is here spoken of, means the same thing. It is the subject of comparison. It may be, and is, viewed in various aspects, but the thing compared is the same. Your interpretation of the last makes of it an entirely new dispensation, when Christ has taken to Him His great power and is reigning and judging; or at least you mix these two together as one. I am not aware that, though “the heavens rule,” the term “kingdom of heaven” is applied to the earthly dominion of the Son of man. The Son of man gathers out of His kingdom all things that offend, and them that do iniquity, and the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.
It has been long ago noticed that the first three of these parables present the outward apparent effects of the gospel in the world, the three last the thoughts of God in it: one, the result in man's responsibility; the other, the intention of God. We get the manifested effect on earth in the three first. The crop spoiled in the world, and to be left so till the harvest; the spread of a common doctrine in place of individual conversion; and that doctrine corrupt, a great power in the earth. Hence, in the parable, the tares are only gathered together in bundles on the earth, and the wheat gathered into the garner. The scene has ceased on earth, save that the tares are gathered in bundles for judgment. The wheat has disappeared there. Then God's actual judgment in power explains what now is known only spiritually. Hence the explanation of symbolical prophecy and parables always goes farther than the parable or prophecy, because these give the facts in their enigmatic form, which the spiritual mind alone can explain. In actual judgment all is manifest. In the explanation the tares are cast into the fire, which they were not in the parable, and the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. The parable closes with the closing of the public state of things in the world—the closing of the present state of things. The explanation (not the parable) gives the judgment of God on the wicked, and the shining forth in glory of the saints. The Son of man in judgment gathers out of His kingdom all things that offend.
In the last three parables we have the mind of the Lord in what took place, and first, it seems to me, in contrast with Judaism. Judaism, and Israel itself, was no hidden treasure, no mystery of the kingdom. The Lord gave up nothing to have it. They were His known people and inheritance in the world. He came to His own, though His own received Him not. When He comes again, He will take them to have the world, not the world to have them. In no case has the Lord, it seems to me, taken the world to have the Jews.

The Blessing of Jacob

It seems to me that there is this difference between the prophecies of Jacob and Moses as to the tribes. Here the prophecy refers to the responsibility of the first parent source of the tribe, as Reuben, Simeon, Levi; and to the counsels of God, which put forward Judah (the stock from which the Lord sprang as regards the royalty) and Joseph (type of Christ as Nazarene, separated from his brethren, and afterward exalted). The rest, if we except Benjamin who ravages with power, gives the general characters of the position and conduct of the tribes of Israel; Dan, of his wickedness, and even of his character of traitor. Moses gives rather the history of the people as entering into the country on leaving the wilderness; and we find the priesthood and people to be the two points brought into prominence, although power and a special blessing be given to Judah.
But I add a few details as to this prophetic blessing. We may remark in the tribes’ responsibility and the future of Israel as firstborn according to nature. Reuben represents Israel in this character; Simeon and Levi, who come after, and will maintain their right by nature's force, are no better. Then we have the purpose of God in the king and the whole of the royal tribe till Christ come, to whom the gathering of the peoples shall be. Joseph comes with Benjamin at the end, the representative of Christ personally glorified, as Benjamin of Christ in judgment on earth. Joseph is a personal representative of Christ, separated from his brethren, glorious and blessed as the heir of all the resources of God. Dan, before this, though owned as a judging tribe, and so Israel in him, yet marks out that apostasy and power of Satan in Israel which led the remnant to look beyond the portion of the people, unfaithful in every way to Him who was the salvation: “'We have waited for thy salvation, O Jehovah.”
I rather think that in the other tribes we have a distinct contrast of what Israel is as oppressed, before Christ, who has taken the full Joseph character in glory, and has answered the faith of the remnant expressed in verse 18, and after, and that thus, in these characters of the tribes, we have the whole history of Israel. Judah and Joseph have been already marked out and distinguished in the history—Judah as surety for and connected with Benjamin, and Joseph in all his history. Thus, after Judah, in Zebulun and Issachar we have Israel mixed with the world, busied in its waters to seek profit, and a slave to it for rest and quiet; but this ends in Dan and apostasy, so that the remnant, In the spirit of prophecy, wait for the salvation which is to come with the true Joseph. All is prosperity when this is looked to. Once overcome, he overcomes at the last: his bread is fat, and yields royal dainties in his own land, not seeking them by mixture with, and subjection to, the world. And Naphtali is in the liberty of God, and full of goodly words. In Joseph and Benjamin we have the crowning of all blessing in the double character of Christ, the heavenly Heir of all, and power and strength upon the earth that subdues all.

Gilgal

After the victory Israel returned to the camp of Gilgal. But the return thither of the conquerors of the Canaanitish kings contains the instructive lesson that, whatever our victories and our conquests may be, we must always return to the place that becomes us before God in the annihilation of self; to the application of the knowledge we have of God (the resurrection of Christ having set us in the heavenly places), to the judging and the mortifying of the flesh, to spiritual circumcision, which is the death of the flesh by the power of resurrection. There is a time to act and a time to be still, waiting upon God that we may be fit for action. Activity, the power that attends us, success, everything, tends to draw us away from God, or at least to divide the attention of our fickle hearts.

Notes on Matthew 26

Now, having finished that which He had to say when He had quitted or rather abandoned Jerusalem, the Lord recalls the attention and the thoughts of His disciples to His sufferings and His cross. Two days later came the feast of the Passover, and the Son of man was to be betrayed in order to be crucified. This was not the mind of the sages of the world, of the great men and the authorities, who found that the moment was hardly opportune at the time when there would be such a gathering together of people. For these, having enjoyed in vast numbers the effects of His power and His goodness, might stir up a tumult if the authorities attempted to get rid of Him in a violent and unjust manner. But in the counsels of God that was to be accomplished at this time.
True Lamb of God, He was to suffer for us in realizing the type of the deliverance out of Egypt by means of a redemption excellent in a very different way. Also the Lord, in the value of His perfection, announces to His disciples that which was going to happen, making use of the very plots of the guides of the nation to accomplish the counsels of God, whilst all their precautions were reduced to nothing. Now man was sufficiently wicked and the enemy sufficiently powerful, When God permitted it, that there should be no tumult. The world shows itself completely under the power of its prince, and the enemy of God. As far as tumult was concerned, there were only those cries, Crucify Him, crucify Him.
All that which follows is the solemn testimony that, at this supreme moment, the Savior, the victim of atonement, the Lamb destined for the slaughter, the Sheep dumb in the hands of him that shears it; was to find no succor, no refuge, no support for His heart, not one to have compassion on Him though He sought for it. At the same time His perfection, His grace are displayed so much the more that He is put to the proof.

Notes on John 16:1-6

The Lord proceeds to explain why He had now and not before spoken of the things which were then occupying His heart and being made known to the disciples.
“These things I have spoken to you that ye should not be offended. They wilt put you out of the synagogue; nay, an hour is coming that everyone that hath killed you will think that he is offering service to God. And these things will they do to you because they knew not the Father nor me. But I have said these things to you, that when the [or, their] hour shall have come, ye may remember them that I told you; but these things I told you not from [the] beginning, because I was with you. But now I go unto him that sent me, and none of you asketh me, Where goest thou? But because I have said these things to you, sorrow hath filled your heart” (Vers. 1-6.)
Many were to be stumbled among the Jews who looked for anything but sorrow, shame, and groundless hatred to be the portion of those who follow the Messiah. But the Lord graciously considers His own; and while He uses trial for the blessing of the strong, He would shield and strengthen the weak, both by warning them of the world's undying and of the Holy Ghost's coming to add His testimony to theirs in the face of the persecution of the servants as of their Master. (Ver. 1.)

Thoughts on John 14

There are in this chapter various aspects of the truth and grace of God in Christ, connected with the place of government in which we stand related to our God and Father.
First, there is the one hope that grace has given to us. And there is nothing, to my mind, more remarkable throughout such wondrous words than this, that our Lord Jesus gives us credit for the highest motives and for the best affections. This is the more touching when we remember that He was just about to die by the wicked hands of men; and we can only understand it by reminding ourselves that we are now invariably addressed according to a nature that is of God; and if we are made partakers of the divine nature, if we have Christ's life as our life, how can it be anything but that which answers to God? The life that is in the Christian in no wise differs in its character from that life which is seen in its perfection in Christ. It differs in its manifestation, it differs in its measure of action, but it is one and the same life, and can be none other. Just as the old nature that we had does not differ in its character from Adam after he fell, but shows the same distrust of God, the same love of its own way, the same tendency to tax evil on God Himself, to throw the blame on wife or anybody in order to excuse self. Such is the life that was manifested in the first man directly he fell. We have, of course, only touched upon some of the leading points that we find in Gen. 3, and yet we all feel how applicable every point is to the children, as the Holy Ghost has described, it, of our common father. No otherwise is it with the life that we now have in Christ; Christ Himself is its divinely manifested perfection; but Christ is the life of the feeblest soul that belongs to Him, and nothing strengthens that life more than the calm and peaceful consciousness of the believer that it is the same life, while looking to Him as an object. What immense joy and comfort to think that our life is not merely immortal being! Angels, of course, have an existence that never terminates, even as the human soul does not; but ours is the very life of Christ Himself. He is our life, and that now, even in this world. Hence, first of all, we find that the hope is of the very highest character, suited to such as know Christ as the way, the truth, and the life. It is a hope according to Christ, not a hope of seeing this world completely changed, of the Jews delivered from their unbelief and their degradation, and the Gentiles from all their restless, self-vaunting, godless plans, in which the first man magnifies himself, as if there were no second Man, nor His cross, nor His coming again; nor is it even the triumph over Satan put down and the curse removed.
All these things belong to the first creation, and to God's dealings with the creature, and will be displayed on the earth. But Christ does not belong to the earth. Although He was pleased to descend from heaven, and to be a man on earth, yet we know that he who sees no more than a man in Christ, however glorious, knows nothing at all of God. What gives the essence of the truth as to Christ is not even His being glorified as Man in heaven merely. He is God, the Word, the Son, who was pleased to take up manhood into union with His eternal person, and to bring us by redemption into a place with Himself, and to be like Himself, glorified in the presence of God. This then is the hope given to us. The Son of God, who is known by the Father as no creature ever did, or could, know Him (Matt. xi.), came to glorify God as man in the place of sin and for sin (John 13), and then in divine grace, when cleansed every whit by water and blood, to give its a place with Himself in the Father's house. We are to be with the Son, according to divine counsel and His love, in the presence of the Father. Hence it is He speaks here at first exclusively of what is in heaven, and of the highest and nearest place there, for there is much in the heavenly places that is not the Father's house. Angels are never said to be in the Father's house, nor any created beings, save those who have the Son as their life, as well as accomplished redemption.

Notes on 2 Corinthians 5:6-9

Soon then is the power of life in Christ which we possess now. We look for glory even for the body if it were dissolved, for mortality to vanish before it if Christ came without any need of death, which was already vanquished. God has wrought us for this very thing, the same glory as Christ, and meanwhile has given us the earnest of the Spirit.
“Therefore being always confident, and knowing that, while present in the body, we are absent from the Lord (for we walk by faith, not by appearance [or sight]), we are confident and well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. Wherefore also we are zealous that, whether present or absent, we may be agreeable to him.” (Vers. 8-9.)
The good courage of the Christian is unbroken by death, though he looks not for death as a man does. His confidence is founded on Christ, he knows God for him, and he has the spirit as earnest of all he hopes for. All things are sure, and among them life or death: but Christ governs all, and we are Christ's, and Christ is God's. Neither death nor life nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. We are courageous then at all times, whatever the way of God with us meanwhile, and know that, while at home in the body, we are abroad from the Lord. This is not our rest, it is polluted. He is not here but risen and in glory, and our hearts are with Him where He is, and we look for Him to be like Him as well as with Him. But this is not all. We know that, while sojourning in the body as now, we are away from the Lord. This is neither the ground of our confidence, as Calvin most strangely misconceived, nor is it an exception to it as Romanists and Rationalists have thought. It accompanies our good cheer and falls in with it as a part of our Christian knowledge, and it accounts for our readiness of mind to quit the body when summoned, and to go home with the Lord. The connection of εἴδοτες is both grammatically and logically with εὐδοκοῦμεν, though afterward resumed in another shape.

Abigail

Let us mark the features of Abigail's faith, All rests upon her appreciation of David (it is this which forms a Christian's judgment—in every respect he appreciates Christ); his title as owned of God; his personal perfection, and that which belonged to him according to the counsels of God. She thinks of him according to all the good which God has spoken of him; she sees him fighting God's battles, where others only see a rebel against Saul; and all this from her heart. She judges Nabal, and looks upon him as already judged of God on account of this, for with her everything is judged according to its connection with David; a judgment which God accomplishes ten days later, although Nabal was at peace in his own house, and David an exile and outcast. Nevertheless the relation of Abigail to Nabal is recognized until God executes judgment. She judges Saul. He is but a man, because, to her faith, David is king. All her desire is that David may remember her. Jonathan says, when he goes out to David, “I shall be next unto thee;” and David abides in the wood, while Jonathan returns to his house. In the order of things which God had judged (a judgment that faith recognized) he remains with his family, and shares its ruin. This is important to a Christian. For instance, he respects, in so far as based on God's authority, official Christianity, which in the world is the religion of God while God bears with it, and does not stand up against it. As to faith and personal walk, this Christianity is nothing at all; just as Saul was only a man to Abigail's faith.

Notes on James

James addresses his Epistle to the twelve tribes of Israel; but at the same time that he owns the people beloved because of the fathers, he places himself on the ground of faith: “James a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.”
At the time when this epistle was written, the gospel, preached first in Judea, bad had among the Jews very great results. Numerous churches had been formed; many myriads of Jews had believed (Acts 21:20); a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith. (Acts 6:7.) In those days of beginning, the believers from among the Jews still took part in the old order of things. They, were all zealous for the law; and there were even some of them who offered sacrifices. Jerusalem on its side occupied a very particular position; it was under a new responsibility by the fact of the introduction of Christianity and the deposit of faith granted to the holy city at the starting-point of the gospel. But this privilege, too little appreciated by her children, was going shortly to pass from their hands into those of the Gentiles. It is in the midst of these different elements that James, whilst having in view principally the believers, addresses nevertheless his epistle to the twelve tribes, to all Israel, giving them this last warning before God should detach the church from the Jewish system.
James does not at all advance toward Israel like Paul, who, soon in collision with the synagogue, separated from it the disciples and pursued far from it the work of the gospel in favor of the Gentiles. There is even a difference to remark between the two apostles of the circumcision, Peter and James, in the manner of regarding Israel in their epistles. Peter is occupied specially with the faithful remnant, and he finds it in those of the Jews who had received faith; he sees Israel only in the remnant; whilst James embraces the people in its totality. The faithful which is found there comprised is the living part of it doubtless, that in which evangelical truths, the great truths of faith and life, have their reality; but it is to the address of all the people that James writes. He sees this people under the favor of the promises of God then presented by the gospel.

God's Answer to the Exercised Heart

It is instructive to observe here the difference between the exercises of heart which are the result of faith, and the answer of God to the wants and difficulties which are caused by those exercises. We have the expression of these exercises in a soul under the weight of the same oppression as his brethren, but who feels it thus because his faith in the Lord was real. Then we have the answer which produces peace, and, with peace, worship. It is the same, when, after having suffered death, the risen Jests reveals Himself to His disciples with the same words that God uses here, and lays down the foundation of the church gathered together in worship. In Luke 7 we find the same experiences in the woman who was a sinner. She believed in the person of Jesus. His grace had made Him her all; but she did not know yet that one like her was pardoned and saved, and might go in peace. This assurance was the answer given to her faith. Now this answer is what the gospel proclaims to every believer. The Holy Ghost proclaims Jesus. This produces conviction of sin. The knowledge of God in Christ, and of ourselves, casts down (for sin is there, and we are in bondage, sold under sin); but it produces conflict, perhaps anguish. Often the soul struggles against sin, and cannot gain the mastery; it cannot get beyond a certain point (the greater number of the sermons from which it expects light, go no farther); but the gospel proclaims God's own resources for bringing it out of this state. “Peace be unto thee,” “thy sins are forgiven.” “Thy faith” (for she has faith), says Christ to the poor sinful woman, “hath saved thee.” This is what she knew not yet. Compare Acts 2:37, 38.)

Reading on 1 Peter 1, 2: Part 1

Peter is only laying the foundation here; you do not get anything of the proper subject of his epistle until “Dearly beloved, I beseech you,” in chapter 2. In each epistle he lays the foundation of redemption. They are the government of God that the Jews were put under. “He that will love life and see good days,” that is not redemption for heavenly glory. Or, again, “The eyes of Jehovah are over the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayers.” As far as I have seen, the first epistle is government in favor of saints, telling them they will suffer, and so on; and the second is government in respect of the wicked. In this chapter he tells first of redemption, and then how judgment begins at the house of God. And it is very instructive as to the order of the revelations and dealings of God. It is addressed to the scattered Jews through Pontus, &c.: “sojourners of the dispersion” it really is. “Will he go unto the dispersed among the Gentiles?” is the same. They are Christians, converted Jews, though scattered, before the destruction of Jerusalem. Peter was put to death before Jerusalem was destroyed, according to common chronology. You never find anything about the church as a body in Peter, but as a house. Paul alone speaks of it as the body of Christ; that was his special ministry. Peter does address them in their new standing, but it is individually in accomplished redemption, not as in the one body united to Christ.
At the end, “the church that is at Babylon,” I doubt. “Elected” is in the feminine, and no word is given for “church” at all; many have thought it refers to Peter's wife—she. Only Paul touches the subject of the body of Christ, and so he alone speaks of the rapture. There is in John's Gospel, “I will come again, and receive you unto myself,” but nothing more. As the house it is in chapter 2. They were Christian Jews, converted, elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father; it was any quickened soul among the dispersion. Peter was specially the minister of the circumcision.
James writes on a larger scale, He says, “the twelve tribes,” and he talks about anyone coming into their “synagogue;” it is like a national body, but he singles out those Who are believers. And he says “twelve,” though ten are in captivity; this is faith. Like Paul, “Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come.” And like Elijah at Carmel, twelve stones. He could say “instantly,” as it was so, though they were doing it very ignorantly and badly; just as Paul himself had been doing when he was Saul. All really honest Jews were doing so. They might have done it in a bigoted way; still they were serving. Just as you may have a church near you kept open night and day, it is kept open whatever may be there beside the truth itself.

Fragment: "We Have the Mind of Christ"

The difference between Isa. 63 and gospel knowledge as made by Paul in 1 Cor. 2 is striking, often quoted for just the contrary. These things, he says, have not entered into man's heart; but God has revealed them unto us (Christians) by His Spirit: so at the end of the chapter,” but we have the mind of Christ.”

Thoughts on Revelation 11-12

We find ourselves here in the midst of Jewish circumstances, not earthquakes, horsemen, &o., as before, but the ark, the covenant, Moses and Elias testimony, &o. The reason is simple, namely, the government of the earth is connected with Israel. Israel is the center of Gentile blessing and judgment. The church is in heavenly places with Christ, but the object round which all God's ways on earth center is Israel. (See Deut. 32:8.) There we see the grand center round which He portioned out the nations at first. (See also ver. 15.) They forgot God, His anger is stirred, He scattered them among their enemies. Then, verse 36, the Lord turns His hand again upon them for good. He has mercy on His heritage, and then judges the Gentiles. (Read to ver. 43.)
To this point of the history we have now arrived; but the subject of Revelation is judgment upon the apostate part of the Gentiles, not the Gentiles generally. It is where the light shined and has been rejected. Here in the true sense of the word are adversaries, and we have to notice the rebellious character of this apostasy, and Jew, Gentile and church of God (so-called) are in open opposition to Him who has the right to reign.
The time will come when there will be only a passive testimony for God, in those who refuse to worship the beast; and as the iniquity ripens, there will be no testimony for God at all, when those who are in Judea will Rae to the mountains.

The Hebrew Servant: Exodus 21:1-6

We have here in a lovely picture set forth the ways of grace as seen in Christ rising above righteous title to stop short of them. The Lord indeed came into this world for the purpose of displaying both in perfection. He did show us a Man born of a woman, born under the law; and this too undoubtedly in its perfection. It was never seen before, sin having made it impossible, even if the first man had otherwise been capable of it. But in Him was no sin; and our Lord Jesus Christ, living on account of the Father, displayed the astonishing spectacle of a man who never in one single act or way sought His own will, but God's—a man, therefore, who was the perfect pattern of a servant, who had but one purpose that filled His life, doing the will of God. He was the true Hebrew servant; He was the only One that could have challenged even God Himself to find a single particular in which He had not brought Him glory.
But in the type before us there was another thing. First maybe viewed in it the righteous claim of God on man: and when once the Son of God had been pleased to become a man, He owed that entire allegiance in all things small or great. The Lord Jesus showed His subjection to His mother and to him who was only by legal repute His father. He was subject to them both; much more intimately and absolutely was He to God Himself. I say much more, not as if there was any difference in the perfectness of Christ: but only that God had a still fuller and more indisputable claim; and this He Himself expressed, as a youth of twelve years of age, long before His entrance on the public service of God. “Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?” said the Lord Jesus, when His mother and father had sought Him sorrowing. This was always to Him what governed. But then it was not merely to Him a governing motive. There was this in it, and in the very highest respect it was in it. Even in death itself, in laying down His life, though it was His own delight to glorify His Father and His God, yet even there He could say, “This commandment have I received of my Father.” He was the servant; He obeyed unto death—yea, death of the cross.
Nevertheless there is another character of service that the Lord Jesus fulfilled, which belongs to Him alone. As the Hebrew servant serving six years with the title to go out at the end of the time, He only shows us the perfection of a man in human circumstances and acting according to that place of righteous subjection into which He had put Himself with God. But scripture is never satisfied with showing us this alone, because it would derogate from the glory of Christ. Hence we have another part of the Lord's service of a wholly different nature, and here we pass out of all that is merely human. He is a man, but we pats into the region of divine motives, and where nothing but divine love could stoop to fulfill human duty, and rise into what is no question of duty at all—nothing but grace; and this was true of Christ even when He was here below, in all His service. Our Lord never was merely a man, or simply meeting a claim. In everything He did He was displaying God to man as truly as He was showing what is the perfection of man before God. Further, this came out in a transcendent manner in His death.

Notes on Matthew 27

The death of Jesus being already determined in the unpremeditated council held at the beginning of the night, when He had been brought before Caiaphas, the scribes and the Pharisees held a formal council very early in the morning to pronounce His definite sentence; then they lead Him away to Pilate. Here we find the iniquity and blindness of all in presence of Him who was about to die. Judas who, evidently as it seems to me, thought that Jesus would escape them as He had so many times escaped, as long as His hour was not yet come, struck in any case in his conscience at seeing Jesus condemned, comes to the chief priests with the thirty pieces of silver. Seized with remorse, be declares that he had sinned in betraying the innocent blood. Little sympathy awaits him there. They had attained their end; their business had succeeded; as to the sin of Judas, it was his affair. Such is all the compassion that remorse finds with those who make use of the iniquity that produces it. The end is attained; and if their instrument is lost forever, so much the worse for him; it is his business. They have gained their end. Judas casts into the temple the silver, poor price of his soul; then goes away to hang himself, sad end of a life passed without conscience near the Lord. Nothing hardens like that. The cruel and insolent indifference of the chiefs of Israel, that does not relieve a bad conscience, pushes to suicide this man, who loses his life, his soul, and the money for which he had sold it.
But what a picture of the heart of man we find in what follows! Men who had no scruple in buying the blood of Jesus could not put in the, treasury the money they had thus employed, because it was the price of blood! What a testimony to the blindness of conscience! How much scruples differ from conscience Good and evil affect, the conscience, which in itself is the noblest of the faculties. The scrupulous man is servile, dreads for himself, is occupied with ordinances, and fears to violate them. The god that the scrupulous serves is a god who watches over what affects him; and he abandons his miserable servant who does not take account of that which concerns the honor and the will of the master that he fears. It is a false rancorous god, the god of a heart that knows not the true God, even when the heart names him the Eternal. If the heart is but externally in relation with the true God, it will neglect that which bears upon His true character: righteousness, true holiness, love, to be occupied with His ordinances, which man without faith and without knowledge of God can accomplish, and which he fears to neglect because he is afraid of God. Now the chief priests could attach importance to Israel which was being ruined and which had been rejected before because of its iniquity: Israel ought not to be defiled; but for miserable Gentiles to whom the door was going to of closed on Israel, a field defiled by the money which had bought it was good enough. It is thus that a place of burial is bought for strangers. All is blindness, pride, and darkness. Light they would not have. But the counsel of God, declared long before by the prophet, was to be accomplished. When their counsel was opposed to that, it came to nothing; but their own acts of folly were accomplishing the prophecies that they heeded not, though they were constantly read in their synagogues.
Now Jesus was standing there before their governor. He bears a good confession before Pontius Pilate. He is the King of the Jews. When the Jews accuse Him, He is mute. He is there to be victim. God gives testimony to Him by the dream of Pilate's wife; then the governor makes efforts to deliver Him from the bloodthirsty malice of the Jews, profiting by a habit they had of releasing a prisoner at Passover. But the unhappy Jews must consummate their iniquity, for the moment arrives when God permits iniquity to have its course even unto the end, in order that it should be manifested such as it is. Thus was propitiation accomplished by the suffering and death of Jesus. Pilate shows only the feebleness of a man who despised all that which surrounded him; of a man who would keep his conscience, but had very little of it and still less of the fear of God; of a man who, when it becomes too inconvenient to him to maintain righteousness, yields to the violence and perseverance in evil of a will which fights utterly against God and good. In the eyes of Pilate it was not worth while, for a poor just man who had no human importance, to compromise both his person and the public peace. He washes his hands of it, and leaves the responsibility of this death on those who desired it.

Notes on John 16:7-11

This leads the way to the main distinctive truth the Lord is intimating, the presence and action of the Holy Ghost when sent down from heaven.
“Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is profitable for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Paraclete will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send him to you.” (Ver. 7.)
The Lord had told them before, that had they loved Him, they would have rejoiced because He said, I go unto the Father. What was it not for the humbled, holy, and suffering Son of man to quit the scene of His unequaled sorrows for His Father's presence on high? Now He shows the connection of His departure with their fresh and deeper blessing. It might seem, to them especially, strange to say that the loss of His bodily presence should be their gain. But so it was to be. The truth is not what seems but the manifestation of what really is, nor is it found in the first man but in the Second; nor can we know it but by the Spirit. Now it was to be established and enjoyed more than ever. For Christ was going to heaven on the ground of accomplished redemption, thence to send the Holy Spirit to the saints on earth. It was profitable for them then that Christ should go away. He who alone effectuates any spiritual good would not otherwise come.

Notes on 2 Corinthians 5:10-11

The apostle now introduces the very solemn consideration, not exactly of judgment, but of the judgment-seat of Christ. Judgment of course is included, but the judgment-seat embraces more, as we shall see.
“For we must all be manifested before the judgment-seat of Christ, that each may receive the things [done] in [literally, by] the body according to what he did, whether good or evil. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord we persuade men; but we have been manifested to God, and I hope also to have been manifested in your consciences.” (Vers. 10, 11.)
Grace is not at variance with righteousness, but on the contrary reigns through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. Nor can any truth be more indisputable or universally applicable than the manifestation of every man, saint or sinner, before the Lord. There is the utmost precision in the language as always in scripture. Never is it written that we must all be judged. Indeed this would contradict the clear declaration of our Lord in John 5 that the believer has eternal life and does not come into judgment (εἰν κρἰσιν οὐκ ἔρχεται). It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment; whereas we, believers, are not all to die, but all to be changed: in fact, none of us alive when Christ comes shall fall asleep but be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven without passing through death, mortality being swallowed up of life. But if no believers shall be judged, all must be manifested, saint no less than sinner, that each may receive the things [done] by the body (or, as the Authorized Version says, done in it), according to what he did, whether good or bad.

Thoughts on Revelation 13

In this chapter we have the history of these two beasts, and they are something distinct from Babylon. One point must be remembered, that beasts are great temporal powers or empires; instead of being in subjection to God's authority, they are ravenous and exacting.
Nebuchadnezzar was the first and Babylonish power; and all the four great empires have taken the same character. They rose out of the sea, unformed peoples, and became great corporate powers, ruling the world.
Notice that it is not only the ravenous character of the beast, but here the dragon gives it its power.

Christ Dwelling in Our Hearts by Faith: Ephesians 3:14-21

It is of God's sovereign grace, and our precious privilege, to know that in Christ we are brought into an unchangeable place of blessing before Him. It is not only that we are made the righteousness of God in Him, nor that the righteousness of God never can rise in value in His sight, never can grow in us though we may understand it better, and can never justify us one whit more than it did the first moment that we were justified by His grace. And this is of immense moment for our souls to receive and rest on calmly, without fear of change. We require, as the very first answer for the need of our souls when we are awakened, that we should be thus established in peace with God for evermore. But God has wrought for His own glory, and according to His own counsels in Christ, quite apart from Adam or Israel, to bless as with Christ; and this we have in Eph. 1, closing with the prayer that the saints should know it.
Besides this standing which should be known, we do need to be exercised in our souls, and to have our hearts drawn out to Christ, and to grow up to Him in all things. To be only unchangeable in righteousness, blessed as it is, would never meet the full wants of the saint, any more than it could suit the love and ways of God with us. We need that which should ever act on us in renewed affections toward Christ; changing us habitually and increasingly into His image, to whom we shall be conformed perfectly when we see. Him as He is at His coming. But we are not in resurrection yet, though we seek more and more to know the power of it in Christ. The very reverse. We are in a body wherein we never act aright, unless we by the Spirit treat it as a mere instrument, reckoning it as dead. (Rom. 8:10.) Where and when we give it a place or title to act for itself, we are always wrong. “Therefore,” says the apostle, “if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.” Let the body act independently, it will produce nothing but sin: reckon it as dead, and the Holy Ghost will prove that He is life in a practical sense, and will not fail to produce in us the fruit of righteousness which is by Jesus Christ unto God's glory.
Hence, while holding fast that place in Christ which never changes, we need to look at the other side, and to have it ever before us, that we should be transforming habitually. We should not allow as a fixed thing before our souls to-day what we had attained yesterday. It will be found that there is apt to be death in the pot wherever the soul sacrifices the one truth to the other, whether it be the foundation of grace, or the building up. Do we take our stand only upon that which is accomplished, and settled, and finished? Do we make only our standing to be Christianity? If so, it is and must be a sad coming short of Christ—a shutting out the present living power of the Lord Jesus, to the deepest practical loss to the soul. On the other hand, where an awakened soul only seeks after Christ as a means of heart enjoyment and present communion with God, without having the assured consciousness of establishment in Christ, without guilt, sin, blot, cloud, or question, there will always be weakness; and even, to say the least, the danger of self-righteousness, an habitual sense of struggling after this and that, leading into not only a self-occupied spirit, but also censoriousness as to others. Now our God would deliver us from all evil, not only as to guilt, but practically, and this, too, in the face of all that is against us.

God Sufficient in Himself

God alone is sufficient for Himself—is αὐταρκής, and hence not self-seeking, for that comes from not being satisfied, not sufficient for self. Out of Him the αὐταρκεία is pride, satisfaction with misery and itself a sin-dependence is the right, holy, loving, excellent place. To be independent, if we are not God, is folly, stupidity, and a lie, living in a lie. If we are God, we must be the only one, or we are it not at all. Yet in Christianity we are made partakers of the divine nature, in order to our having the fullest capacity of enjoyment; but we for that very reason have, He being perfectly revealed, such a knowledge of Him as makes us undividedly delight in His infinite excellence, and makes our dependence to be our deriving in love from infinite excellence, and in our normal state unmingled delight in it. The connection of the derivative and perfect objective character of divine life and love is what is so brought out in John, particularly in his epistle; it makes its essential depth and beauty, and when not seized, because not possessed, its difficulty and apparently mystic character. It is this which makes the Trinity have so pure and perfect a place to the soul; I do not use this as a proof, save as the real present enjoyment of anything proves to the heart it is true. In the Father I have absolute Godhead in its own intrinsic permanent perfection. In the Son I find what is divine (if not in the same perfection, I have not God revealed) brought out in man, fully wrought into all that is sinlessly human; so that it is not only suited to man, but to be apprehended (if morally capable of it) by man. All the fullness of the Godhead dwells in Him bodily, at the same time in the personal relationship of Son. And the Holy Ghost, besides my having a life from God, and so being partaker of the divine nature, is the power in me (morally as well as in power of apprehension), by which I apprehend and enter into communion with God, with the Father and the Son; while this presence of the Holy Ghost secures in my feebleness the truth and purity of this communion, because any inconsistency grieves Him, and He works in the conscience by the revelation of God, though not then in communion.

The Lord's Supper

The apostle, guided by the Holy Ghost, seizes the opportunity to declare to us the nature and the import of this ordinance. We may notice here, that the Lord had taught it to him by an especial revelation—proof of the interest that belongs to it, and that it is a part of the Lord's mind in the entire Christian walk, to which He attaches importance in view of our moral condition, and of the state of our spiritual affections individually, as well as those of the assembly. In the joy of Christian liberty, amid the powerful effects of the presence of the Holy Ghost—of the gifts by which He manifested Himself in the assembly, the Lord's death, His broken body, was brought to mind, and, as it were, made present to faith as the basis and foundation of everything.
This act of love, this simple and solemn deed, weak and empty in appearance, preserved all its importance. The Lord's body had been offered for us! to which the Holy Ghost Himself was to bear witness, and which was to maintain all its importance in the Christian's heart, and to be the foundation and center of the edifice of the assembly. Whatever might be the power that shone forth in the assembly, the heart was brought back to this. The body of the Lord Himself had been offered, the lips of Jesus had claimed our remembrance. This moral equilibrium is very important to saints.
Power, and the exercise of gifts, do not necessarily act upon the conscience and the heart of those to whom they are committed, nor of those always who enjoy their display. And, although God is present (and when we are in a good state, that is felt), still it is a man who speaks and who acts upon others; he is prominent. In the Lord's supper the heart is brought back to a point in which it is entirely dependent, in which man is nothing, in which Christ and His love are everything, in which the heart is exercised, and the conscience remembers that it has needed cleansing, and that it has been cleansed by the work of Christ—that we depend absolutely on this grace. The affections also are in the fullest exercise. It is important to remember this. The consequences that followed forgetfulness of the import of this ordinance confirmed its importance and the Lord's earnest desire that they should take heed to it. The apostle is going to speak of the power of the Holy Ghost manifested in His gifts, and of the regulations necessary to maintain order and provide for edification where they were exercised in the assembly; but, before doing so, he places the Lord's supper as the moral center, the object of the assembly. Let us remark some of the thoughts of the Spirit in connection with this ordinance.

Propitiation, Substitution, and Atonement

My Dear Brother,
Propitiation is properly for sins, as Heb. 2, and 1 John 2, and Rom. 3:25, 26 is to the same effect: only, Christ having taken the condemnation for sin, persons who do not search out words exactly may speak of the effect as for sin. Sin, as calling for it, was not properly known in the Old Testament. Lev. 1 does not, as far as I see, apply to this, except in a very general way. It was as a περὶ ἀμαρτίας that God condemned sin in the flesh in Christ for us, so that there was no condemnation for us. In Lev. 1, though blood was shed and atonement made, all is sweet savor. Man's state is no doubt assumed, that is, sin; but the condemnation side is not what is in view, but acceptance. In the περὶ ἀμαρτίας sin is properly in view. In propitiation sins are in view. Substitution is a human word, though a right one, but properly it is sins, that is, the scape-goat in contrast with the Lord's lot. Sin, as such, is never forgiven, God condemned sin in the flesh, but Christ took this place, was given περὶ ἀμαρτίας—and knowing no sin, the condemnation of sin in the flesh took place, and that in death, and we are dead with Him for faith; it has ceased to exist: the condemnation of it gone. Death in Christ involves both. Guilt is from sins. We are dead to sin with Christ, but He has died for our sins. This last is what is properly atonement, and meets judgment. Death to sin is a question of state, not of guilt, though of exclusion from God. A question of defilement, not guilt, refers, and rightly, to what was done in the sanctuary, which was defiled (not guilty), which in full apprehension of the work has its importance.
The scape-goat had to do with personal guilt, the blood on the mercy-seat with approach to God, but the sanctuary was cleansed. The word “atonement” is very vague, and never used in the English New Testament but once, where it ought not to be. In the Old, ëôø “to make atonement” refers to the removal of positive guilt out of God's sight. And, as I have said, sin properly does not come into question in the Old Testament, though birth in it is recognized in one place (Psa. 51:5) only. Even where the sweet savor of Christ's acceptance is figured, man's sinful condition is recognized, and the work that is infinitely acceptable is in view of this. But this, though it assumes it, does not deal with sin in itself. Lost and guilt are different: one my state; the other, my responsibility and guilty failure. I believe I have said all I can at this moment.

Christianity in Contrast With Rationalism

Life and incorruptibility were brought to light by the gospel; but this life did not begin to exist then. Christ, who is the Lord from heaven, is a lifegiving Spirit; He has not merely a living soul, though that He had of course; and He communicated this life to others, from Abel—I may well say, and doubt it not, from Adam—downwards. But then, for that very reason, though the great contrast, the enmity of man—of the carnal mind—against God was not brought out till the cross, when the perfection of God revealed in flesh was fully presented, those who partook of this life through grace were hated and rejected of the world, whose boasted progress is depicted to us by the new philosophy. “He that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit.” They were moral contradictions: one loved God, judged self, and owned God's authority; the other sought self, and would none of God for that reason. Conscience there was and is in all: conscience judges good and evil: but a new life is good in a divine way. Hence you will find that, with all this modern school of rationalism, even in its most infidel forms, Christ will be recognized, provided He be a restorer of what the scripture denounces as flesh. They will use what appears Christian language to many a simple mind. But the just condemnation of a sinner, the absolute condemnation of flesh, and a new life in Christ, and atonement for the sin of the old—all this will not be heard of; and into this anti-Christian system even Christians fall in measure. It exalts man; and all the blessed light of God, the heavenly place into which Christ is entered, is lost.
See what a magnificent picture we have in Stephen of this!—in a remarkable way, no doubt; but still exhibitory of it morally as well as by a vision. The whole question between Christianity and the rational system is brought to an issue. The progress of human nature, with the very elements it speaks of, and the contrasted result, is stated. “Ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.” There is the relationship between man and the Spirit. Next, “Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which showed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers.” These were their ways with those who unfolded the law in a more spiritual manner; and with the great living witness of perfection Himself. Such was man—flesh in contrast with the law. Such was his state: he always resisted the Holy Ghost. Now note the contrast of the objective spiritual man. Stephen, “full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and said, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God.” And what was the effect—the subjective effect in one full of the Holy Ghost—of his objective perception of heavenly objects? In the midst of rage and violence, and while being actually stoned, in all calmness he not merely bears, but kneels down, and says, “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.” So Jesus: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Then he said, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit;” as Jesus had said “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” He beheld with unveiled face the glory of the Lord, and was changed into the same image from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord. But how full and complete a picture! man always a resister of the Holy Ghost—under law, not keeping it; with prophets, persecuting: with the Just One, a murderer; with the witness of the Holy Ghost, gnashing his teeth and slaying in rage. Christianity is in contrast: a man full of the Holy Ghost, seeing Jesus the Son of man in heaven, changed into His image, and killed by man, falls asleep, Jesus receiving his spirit.

Notes on Matthew 28

Here the recital becomes rapid and abrupt. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary arrive at the end of the sabbath—that is, the evening of Saturday—to see the sepulcher. Then, in the morning of the Sunday, the sepulcher opens, an angel having rolled away the stone from the entrance. The glory of this angel terrifies the soldiers who are guarding it, so that they become as dead. The same angel comforts and encourages the women; he shows them where the body of the Lord had lain, saying, “Fear not; for I know that ye seek Jesus which was crucified, He is not here, for he is risen, as he said.”
That which follows has altogether the character of this Gospel: it is important to remark this. We find neither the profoundly interesting and instructive conversations which are recounted in the Gospel of John, nor the ascension which took place at Bethany, and is related by Luke. The angel tells the women to go quickly and tell His disciples that He was risen, that He was going before them into Galilee, and that there they should see Him. This makes conspicuous an entirely new character of His relations with them since His resurrection. He is still with the remnant, with the poor of the flock, in the place where the Messiah was to appear to Israel according to the prophecy of Isaiah. These relations are renewed on the footing of resurrection. No doubt He possessed all power in heaven and earth; but He was re-establishing His relations with the remnant of Israel, not yet as King manifested in glory to subdue the nations, but as associated with His disciples, viewed in the character of messengers of the kingdom, then when Christ, rejected from Jerusalem, had gathered the residue of Israel, and had recognized them in grace. Such is the character which the disciples wear here. The women go to announce these things to the disciples; they enjoy, by virtue of their faithfulness and their attachment to Jesus, this special privilege. They are the first witnesses (and that even to the apostles) of the victory which the grace and power of God gained over the efforts of the enemy, now conquered for evermore.
Nevertheless it is not only the angel who sends them. As they are going to carry the message to the disciples, Jesus Himself, full of love, comes to meet them, so that they may be eye-witnesses of His presence on earth: a touching response of the Savior to their fidelity; a blessed testimony, which proves that the heart of Jesus is as full of love and of human condescension now that He is risen, as when He was walking in lowliness down here, the most accessible of men. He also encourages them. But this fact is related to other truths which are connected with the position which the Lord takes in this Gospel, and specially on this occasion. In John, where the heavenly side and the actual position of the Savior are in question, He forbids Mary Magdalene to touch Him. She thought she had again found Him whom she loved, as come back on the earth to remain there in His character of risen Messiah. Such was not the case; He was ascending to His Father and our Father, to His God and our God. His bodily presence on earth was no longer to be the object of affection to His own. He had placed them in His own position before His Father; in the same relationship as His own—ever a man with God, the well-beloved Son of the Father. This is why Thomas will only believe on condition of touching Him; the Lord grants him this favor, but makes him feel nevertheless, that those who believe now without having seen are more blessed than those who will only believe when they see. Christians, though now they see Him not, rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory; while the remnant, typified by Thomas, will only believe when they look upon Him whom they have pierced.

The Lord in Matthew 28

The sabbath-day was ended. It was the night before the first day of the week. The women were there, the sabbath over, poor things, without any assignable cause, but they loved the Lord. The hope of embalming Him would have availed little with the keepers; but love could reckon on what seemed hopeless. Man was not to roll away the stone. Pleas of unbelief might have been raised. God acted by His angel, and Jesus manifestly was not there when it was rolled away. (Compare verse 6.). “He is not here; for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.” Angels own Him their Lord, are witnesses to His resurrection, as ministers in His weakness and suffering; alway His due and ready servants, concerned in the speedy honor of Christ and comfort of His disciples; but they cannot go beyond their message or commission. In that they speak with authority.
Verse 7. The women, with instant thankfulness, or readiness of. obedience, with fear and great joy, run to tell His disciples. The account here is very brief, as of Jesus' death, merely taking in the facts together which apply themselves to the evidence of the immediate subject.
It would seem, then, that the Lord rose before the stone was removed by the angel, who was, for the satisfaction of the disciples, and a testimony to others that His appearance, was not delusive—a wonderful testimony to that wonderful change awaiting us. Here a summary only in connection with the immediate subject is manifest. No interview with the appearance is mentioned, save that in the mountain in Galilee, where, moreover, a spiritual commission is noticed. He was seen of them forty days, and conversed with them. John gives the apostolic meeting twice in Jerusalem and at the sea of Tiberias. There are other interviews in 1 Cor. 15, where we learn, too, that He was seen by above five hundred brethren at once. Matthew was at many of these in person; and this shows how entirely their accounts are matters of inspiration, and not merely the Holy Ghost aiding or directing the memory for things which, in such cases, Matthew might naturally have been expected to mention, be does not, but simply what puts the dispensation on its own basis as to this, the Spirit so dealing by Him. The Lord had left Jerusalem, and gives them, therefore, His word in His accustomed place with them, and putting them in the new commission there in the power He had now given Him to all nations, and He with them. They were now to disciple them all the Gentiles, gathering them in the new full revealed name, and He would be with them. Hence merely what is characteristic is synoptically related: the earthquake, angel speaking, Jesus speaking, and then meeting all His disciples in Galilee. Comparing accounts, we find all the disciples in great perplexity about it, no idea of resurrection. (So John 20; Luke 24:22, 24.) Though some particulars may have been credited, no understanding or faith of the great fact.

Fragment: Cast Out by Man

Outward progress in prosperity, joined to actual progress in evil inwardly, is a very solemn thing. It is at once a snare to the flesh and a trial to faith. David, on the contrary, is apparently—and in fact, as to circumstances—driven out from the people. He has neither home nor refuge. But the testimony of God, in the person of the prophet Gad, and communion with God by the priest's ephod, are his portion in his exile. Cast out by men, he is where the resources of God are realized according to the need of His people.

Notes on John 16:12-22

Men are apt to err doubly in their estimate of the Holy Spirit's relation to us. They either overlook the immense effect of His presence and teaching, or they attribute to Him what may be the mere fruit of natural conscience and diffused information. Our Lord here puts in His own perfect way what the Spirit would do as sent down from heaven, not now in external demonstration to the world, but in the positive blessing and help of the disciples.
“I have yet many things to say to you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, shall have come, he will guide you in [or, into] all the truth; for he will not speak from himself, but whatever he shall hear he will speak; and he will report to you the things to come. He will glorify me, for he will receive of mine, and will report [it] to you. All things that the Father hath are mine: on this account I said, that he receiveth of mine and will report [it] to you.” (Vers. 12-15.)
It has been repeatedly shown, and in this chapter most expressly, that the presence of the Spirit depended on the departure of Christ to heaven consequent on accomplished redemption. This changed the entire groundwork, besides morally fitting the saints for the new truths, work, character, and hopes of Christianity. The disciples were not ignorant of the promise that the Spirit should be given to inaugurate the reign of the Messiah. They knew the judgment under which the chosen people abide” until the Spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest;” so vast outwardly, no less than inwardly, the change when God puts forth His power for the kingdom of His Son. They knew that He will pour out His Spirit upon all flesh; not only the sons and daughters, the old and young of Israel enjoying a blessing far beyond all temporal favors, but the servants and the handmaidens, in short all flesh and not the Jews alone sharing it.

Notes on 2 Corinthians 5:12-15

The apostle felt, as we have seen, that he could appeal to their consciences, now that self-judgment was begun in the Corinthians. We have been and are manifested to God; and I hope also to have been manifested in your consciences. This might have seemed, to ill-disposed men, savoring of self-complacency. It is really what every saint walking in the truth with integrity of heart is entitled to say, whatever an enemy might insinuate: a blessed state and statement doubtless; but what does not grace give to and effect in the Christian? And when strife and party feeling are rebuked and hushed, conscience cannot but approve what is of God, even in those most defamed like the apostle. In this confidence of love he had written, and quickly guards the sheep from any misleading shaft; and this for their sakes rather than his own. A calumny indeed injures not the assailed, but those who are influenced by it.
“For we are not again commending ourselves to you, but giving you occasion to boast on our behalf, that ye may have [it] with those boasting in face and not in heart. For whether we are beside ourselves, [it is] to God; or are sober, [it is] for you. For the love of Christ constraineth us, having judged this, that if one died for all, then the all were dead [or, died]; and he died for all, that those who live should no longer live to themselves, but to him who for them died and rose.” (Vers. 12-15.)
Nothing can be conceived more admirably than the apostle's delicacy, as far from indifference to the saints as from lording it over them, and equally far from the arts of those who, while ingratiating themselves with the Corinthian assembly, in order to exalt their own reputation and lower the apostle, were blinded by the enemy to attribute to him their own unscrupulous ways. He loved the saints with an unsullied conscience and an unselfish heart, and he counted on their confidence, now that grace had begun to work restoratively. As he did not seek to commend himself by what he said of his ministry, so neither did he again by appealing to their consciences as to his ways. He was but affording them occasion for boast, as he says, “on our behalf, that ye may have [it] with those that boast in face or person, and not in heart.” (Ver. 12.) For, on the one hand, holiness and truth go together, care for God's glory and love of His children; and, on the other, those who however fair in his presence aimed at undermining the apostle, were serving not the Master but their own belly.

God's Dealings With David

God does not set David at once in the height of power, as He did in the case of Saul. He must make his way by grace and faith through all kinds of difficulties; and, although filled with the Holy Spirit, he must act in the presence of a power devoid of the Spirit, and which God has not yet set aside. He must be subject and be humbled, be must feel his entire dependence on God, that God is sufficient in all circumstances; and his faith must be developed by trial in which God is felt to be all. Beautiful type of One who, without sin, journeyed through far more painful circumstances and not only a type, but at the same time a vessel prepared by God for the Holy Spirit, who could fill him with sentiments which, while describing so touchingly the sufferings of Christ Himself and His sympathy with His people, exhibit to those who were to tread in weakness the same path as Himself their resource in God. For one cannot doubt that the trials of David gave rise to the greater part of those beautiful psalms which, depicting the circumstances, the trials, and the complaints of the remnant of Israel in the last days, as well as of Christ Himself (who in Spirit has identified Himself with them, and has undertaken their cause), have thus furnished so many other burdened souls with the expression and the relief of their sorrows; and although their interpretation of these psalms may have been incorrect, yet their hearts were not mistaken.

King Agrippa: Acts 26

In Agrippa there was, I believe, more curiosity than conscience, though there may have been some desire to profit by the occasion to know what the doctrine was which had so stirred up people's minds, a disposition to inquire which was more than curiosity. In general his words are taken as if he was not far from being convinced that Christianity was true; perhaps he would have been so if his passions had not stood in the way. But it may be questioned whether this is the force of the Greek, as generally supposed, and not rather, “in a little you are going to make a Christian of me,” covering his uneasiness at the appeal to his professed Judaism before Festus by an affected and slighting remark. And such I believe to be the case. The notion of an “almost Christian” is quite a mistake, though a man's mind may be under influences which ought to lead him to it, and yet reject it. He would have been glad for Paul to be sit free. He expresses his conviction that it might have been done if Paul had not appealed to Caesar. He gives his opinion to Festus as a wise and reasonable man; but his words were in reality dictated by his conscience—words that he could venture to utter when Festus and all the rest were agreed that Paul had done nothing worthy of death or of bonds.
God would have the innocence of His beloved servant proved in the face of the world. His discourse tends to this. He goes farther, but his object is to give account of his conduct. His miraculous conversion is related in order to justify his subsequent career; but it is so related as to act upon the conscience of Agrippa, who was acquainted with Jewish things, and evidently desired to hear something of Christianity, which he suspected to be the truth. Accordingly he lays hold with eagerness of the opportunity that presents itself to hear the apostle explain it. But he remains much where he was. His condition of soul opens however the month of Paul, and he addresses himself directly and particularly to the king; who moreover, evidently engrossed by the subject, had called on him to speak. To Festus it was all a rhapsody.
The dignity of Paul's manner before all these governors is perfect. He addresses himself to the conscience with a forgetfulness of self that showed a man in whom communion with God, and the sense of his relationship with God, carried the mind above all effect of circumstances. He was acting for God; and, with a perfect deference for the position of those he addressed, we see that which morally was altogether superior to them. The more humiliating his circumstances, the more beauty there is in this superiority. Before the Gentiles he is a missionary from God. He is again (blessed be God!) in his right place. All that he said to the Jews was right and deserved; but why was he, who had been delivered from the people, subjected to their total want of conscience and their blind passions which gave no place for testimony? Nevertheless, as we have seen, it was to be so in order that the Jews might in every way fill up the measure of their iniquity, and indeed that the blessed apostle might follow the steps of his Master.

How to Get Divine Affections

If you would have blessing or holy and divine affections, hold fast the revelation of a divine object, and the divine revelation of that object,

The Lord Standing or Sitting on High: Acts 7 and Hebrews 10

THE Holy Ghost opens heaven to our view, and enables us to contemplate that which is found there; and forms us on earth according to the character of Jesus. As to the change that took place in the progress of God's dealings, it appears to me that it was the realization by the Spirit of the effect of the veil being rent. Jesus is seen still standing; because until the rejection by Israel of the testimony of the Holy Ghost, He did not definitively sit down, waiting for the judgment of His enemies. Rather He remained, in the position of High Priest, standing; the believer with Him on high by the Spirit, and the soul having thus far joined Him there in heaven; for now, by the blood of Christ, by that new and living way, it could enter within the veil. On the other hand, the Jews having done the same thing with regard to the testimony of the Holy Ghost that they did with regard to Jesus, having (so to speak) in Stephen sent a messenger after Him to say, “We will not have this man to reign over us,” Christ definitively takes His place, seated, in heaven, until He shall judge the enemies who would not that He should reign over them. It is in this last position that He is viewed in the Epistle to the Hebrews; in which consequently they are exhorted to come out of the camp of Israel, following after the victim whose blood had been carried into the sanctuary; thus anticipating the judgment which fell upon Jerusalem intermediately by means of the Romans, in order to set the nation aside, as it will be finally executed by Jesus Himself. The position of Stephen therefore resembles that of Jesus, the testimony being that of the Spirit to Jesus glorified. This makes the great principle of the Epistle to the Hebrews very plain,
The doctrine of the church, announced by Paul after the revelation made to him on his way to Damascus, goes farther than this; that is, it declares the union of Christians with Jesus in heaven, and not merely their entrance into the holy place through the rent veil, where the priest only might go in previously, behind the veil which hid God from the people.
We may remark here, that the sanctuary, so to speak, is open to all believers. The veil indeed was rent by the death of Christ, but the grace of God was still acting towards the Jews, as such, and proposed to them the return of Jesus to the earth, that is to. say, outside the veil, in the event of their repentance, so that the blessing would then have been upon the earth—the times of refreshing by the coming of Christ, which the prophets had announced. But now it is no longer a Messiah, the Son of David, but a Son of man in heaven; and, by the Holy Ghost here below, an opened heaven is seen and known, and the Great High Priest standing as yet at the right hand of God is not hidden behind a veil. All is open to the believer;. the glory, and He who has entered into it for His people. And this, it appears to me, is the reason why He is seen standing. He had not definitively taken His place as seated (εἰς τὸ διηνεκές), on the heavenly throne, until the testimony of the Holy Ghost to Israel of His exaltation had been definitively rejected upon earth. The free testimony of the Spirit which is developed, here and afterward, is highly interesting, without touching apostolic authority in its place, as we shall see. As to the Jews, till the High Priest comes out, they cannot know that His work is accepted for the nation; as, in the day of atonement, they had to wait till he came out that they might know it. Bit for us the Holy Ghost is come out while He is within, and we do know it.

Thoughts on Revelation 14-16

BEFORE the judgments are poured forth, not before tribulation, you get the redeemed from earth hid—their place marked out; not delivered, but sheltered, before the Lord appears, The moment they see Him, it will be the defeat of the anti-Christian action. Those who obey the word of prophecy will not be exposed in the last three and a half years. This chapter 14 stands alone. Whether in testimony or in judgment, it contains the Lord's dealings while this evil is going on.
(1.) Zion is royal grace, after failure at Sinai; Zion in Heb. 12 is earthly. The passage takes in the millennium up and down—church blessings and earthly blessings. Zion is of great importance in scripture. “Ichabod” was pronounced by the faithful on Israel, the ark being taken into captivity; there is a thorough break up, and then comes in a new thing by the divine interference of David, and the ark is then placed on Zion. Those who had faith went to the ark in David's time. All was confusion in David's reign. The ark was brought back, but the ark and the altar are never united again; the ark never set up again in the tabernacle. The priest walked before God's anointed; but now it was before God where the ark was. A believer would say, I go to the altar and there is the priest; but I find no ark, no cherubim, and the faithful would connect themselves with David, and then get the ark of the covenant. The high place was at Gibeon, and then God did visit his people, as Solomon: to faith the Solomon-reign was inferior to the David. This is the state of things now. “Ichabod” is written on the whole system of things; Christ is the ark. These 140,000 are not the same as those sealed in chapter vii. They are Judah, and do not include the ten tribes; the saved remnant of those who pass through the tribulation three and half years— “continuing with me in my temptations.” It is “the” (not “a") lamb as in common editions. (Verse 1.) The remnant are in an analogous position to Christ (and now His body), only on earth; and not united to the Son of man in heaven. Therefore they are learning the song from the church in heaven, and in principle like Christ, suffering from the evil around.
There are two points distinct in repentance. Two kinds we get in the Psalms and also often in our own hearts.

Thoughts on Revelation 14-16

The declaration that the Word was God (and many such like) is a declaration which has authority over my soul. I make God a liar, as John speaks, if I do not believe it: and so I can use it with others. God has declared it. He that believes not has made God a liar; because he has not believed the record which God has given concerning His Son. He that believes has the witness in himself. And all these traits, which clothe, or rather reveal, the beloved person of Him who was humbled for us, are ineffably sweet: but the positive declaration is of all importance too.

Thoughts on Deuteronomy 16

There is this beautiful and important feature in Deuteronomy—that the Spirit of God presents throughout not only the test, but the motives, of obedience. Thus one main object of the book is to strengthen the people of God in a spirit of obedience to the Lord. For this reason, too, we do not hear so much about the priests and the ritual system. It follows hence that Deuteronomy, more than any other of the five books of Moses, puts the Lord and His people as near as possible into proximity to each other. Instead of weakening, it really strengthens obedience; and the same book, which most of all insists on subjection to the Lord in heart and ways, shows us the Lord and His people as much and as closely together as could be, till the veil was rent, and resurrection laid a now ground for nearness in Christ.
Concurrently with this we may notice in the chapter before us that the three greatest feasts of the Jewish year are set out in their moral and distinctive import. They were the feasts at which it was compulsory for every Israelite to appear. He must go three times before Jehovah in the year, these occasions being the passover, the feast of weeks, or Pentecost, and that of tabernacles.
Now I would desire to make a few remarks on these, not as entering into the exposition of the chapter, but as contributing to our joy and fellowship hi the Lord. However precious the passover may be—and it is the foundation of everything—we do not, for all that, find joy especially connected with it. It was a feast undoubtedly the starting-point thenceforward of all the rest, and so momentous a feast that, if a man did not observe the passover, he was to be cut off: it would have been useless for him to attempt to keep the others. We are thus taught by it the fundamental and indispensable place given to the sacrifice of Christ. For the passover, as all know, represented Christ slain for us.

Ruth: Part 1

“If thy brother be waxen poor, and hath sold away some of his possession, and if any of his kin come to redeem it, then shall he redeem that which his brother sold.” —Lev. 25:25.
Redemption, as one has said, was no afterthought with our God; it was His purpose from the beginning. By the work of redemption He prepares the richest glory for His own blessed name, and the fullest joy for His creatures. “The morning stars sang together,” it is true, “and all the sons of God shouted for joy,” when the foundations of the earth were laid; but the shootings of grace, when the new creation is finished by the bringing forth of the Head Stone, will be louder still. Never were such music and dancing in the house before, as when the poor prodigal had returned, and been received as one alive from the dead. Never had such affections been awakened within him before. Never had the father's treasures been brought forth till then: till then the fatted calf, the ring, and the best robe had been laid up; and never had the father himself so full a joy in his child as when he fell on his neck and kissed him. And so it is in the wondrous ways of our God. Creation brought forth the resources of His love, and wisdom, and power, and heaven on high was glad through all its order; and earth smiled beneath, the fair witness of his handy-work; but redemption has drawn forth still greater treasures that were lying hid in God; it has awakened still more adoring joy and praise “in the presence of the angels;” and it has given new and diviner affections to the children of men.
And nothing now hinders us from sharing in. these joys of the Father's house but refusal to take the character and place of returned prodigals. “Thou never gavest me a kid,” said one who trusted in himself. He had never tasted of real gladness; no feast of fat things had ever been spread for him, for he drew upon himself as though he were something; for “these many years do I serve thee,” said he in his own sufficiency, “neither transgressed I at any time thy commandments.” He was of those who “trusted in themselves.” And then, and then only, is our joy hindered, when in this pride and vain conceit of our own sufficiency we come not to God as received prodigals. For to come as such is the decreed way of the whole family of God, and so their only spring of joy and triumph. So it is written, “And every creature which is in heaven, and in earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb forever and ever.”

Psalm 105-106

Let me at this time make a single and simple remark on these two Psalms. Observe the different shape that the very same transactions with the same people have, when weighed either as a part of the dealings of God's grace, or as the ways of His government.
In Psa. 105 it is God reviewing His people as all, that they were and all that they had done before His eyes; and through the whole of that Psalm, no matter what He may have to say, grace triumphs.
In the next Psalm (cvi.) though the very same things may be alluded to, it is His government that is in question; and the consequence is, that however He may intervene and may cause in the end His goodness to prevail, righteousness takes its course. Hence instead of being all the dealings of pure mercy and grace, there are the solemn ways and judgments of the Lord.

Notes on John 16:23-28

The Lord proceeds to set forth yet more fully the blessing and privilege which should flow from His going to heaven and so bringing out the Father's love to them.
“And in that day ye shall ask me nothing: verily, verily, I say to you, whatsoever ye shall ask the Father, he will give you in my name. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” (Vers 28, 24.)
It is well known that the Greek words we are well nigh obliged to translate “ask” in verse 28 are not the same, the first (ἐρωτάω) being expressive rather of familiar entreaty, the second (αἰτέω) of lowly petition. Hence, while our Lord often in this Gospel employs the former in His asking the Father on behalf of the disciples, never does He use the latter. However low He may go down in grace, He is ever the conscious Son of God, a man but none the less a divine person; whilst Martha shows her slight appreciation of His glory by supposing that He might fitly and successfully appeal to God after a suppliant sort. (John 11:22.)

Notes on 2 Corinthians 5:16-17

The sin of Adam ruined creation here below. It fell in its head. Not less but more, as is due to the surpassing glory of His person, has the death and resurrection of Christ changed all gloriously for faith. The apostle draws the consequence for the present characteristic knowledge of the Christian.
“So that we henceforth know no one as to flesh: if we have even known Christ as to flesh, yet now are no longer knowing [him]; so that, if one [is] in Christ, [there is] a new creation; the old things passed; behold, they [or, all things] are become new.” (Vers. 16, 17.)
Man as he is in his present life with all its objects, pursuits, and interests, is morally judged in the cross of Christ, where alone God is glorified as to sin. Where are earthly rank, grandeur and power? Where are intellectual activity and learned attainment? Where is mental acuteness or far-reaching all-embracing thought? Where the wisdom of the wise, or the understanding of the prudent? Where even are moral exercise, and reverence in religion? All are closed, in death, all proved worthless in presence of perfect holiness and most lowly love. It is no question now of thunders and lightnings, and of Jehovah descending in fire, and every heart quaking in fear. The same God descended in grace, yet all that was of man cast Him out in the person of Jesus; and so death is stamped on all. Man judged himself in judging Him, and proved his own worthlessness in either with the pride of vain knowledge, or in not knowing Him who made the world, in receiving Him not, whom the living oracles attested and every testimony that should have gone home if man had not been deaf, yea, dead. Christ's death under man's guilty hand proved the moral-death of all; and as all played their part in it, so all were sentenced before God by it.

A Word on 2 Peter 3:17-18

There are no epistles that show us in a more distinct and serious manner the danger of practically dishonoring the Lord, or of going back, than we find here and in the Epistle of Jude, unless it be Hebrews for the latter. And I believe there are none so exposed to that danger as those who take the ground of Christ. I do not mean that therefore any who are really born of God will ever forfeit His grace. But departure from the Lord may be allowed as a distinct chastening, as far as it goes, of our carelessness and lack of dependence.
I grant you that, in any case, the righteous with difficulty are saved. Everything is against them but God. He, however, is for them; and “if God be for us, who can be against us?” Still, on every side the difficulty is such that God alone can surmount it. Notwithstanding it is a difficulty that God does surmount, without in any way lessening it, in order to exercise our faith and patience. If He did, He would detract from His own glory, and He would diminish the proofs of His grace to us, of His intimately watchful care, and, finally, of His sure prevailing over all His and our foes. Now it is God that undertakes to bring every Christian through. But this does not at all hinder either the difficulty, on the one hand, which God only is equal to, nor, on the other, the danger of slips by the way, even though deliverance and restorative grace triumph in the end.
But there is another thing. All that are not of God, but who take such a place, will infallibly become much worse than if they had never taken it. This is what we find so solemnly in Jude and Peter. There is no place in the New Testament where we find such a fearful character given. In both cases they were persons who had taken the stand of Christians, and a bad Christian is worse than an ordinary worldly man. Nor do I now confine myself in so speaking to a merely professing Christian. For when even a real Christian gets into a bad state, he will do and say things more unkind and more contrary to all that is becoming and right than any other man. It is the same flesh, whether it be in the Christian or in the non-Christian. The fallen nature of man is the same in all. The difference between the Christian and the unconverted man is not that the flesh is better in the one than in the other, but that the Christian has, with a new nature and the Spirit, One on high to guard and strengthen him against the flesh. But if there be anything allowed to hinder the Holy Ghost's working in him, the flesh shows itself.

Thoughts on Revelation 1:5-6

The ways in which the gospel may be preached and reach the heart are so many, that one has to look to the Lord to direct one, that it may be brought so as to comfort the saint and awaken the sinner. The moment the word is revealed to the soul in grace, the point is gained. There may be a thousand thoughts on men's minds, but there is enough in this blessed word to meet these thoughts, and to bring everyone of them into captivity to the obedience of Christ. He is the Lord of all; and in His person all truth centers. He is the substance of all truth—the ground and center of truth to the soul. As we know Him, we get comfort, peace, and joy; as we walk with Him, we have power to overcome. In verse 5 we have Christ presented in a threefold character. He is the one most drawn out by the Spirit of God. Alas! it is not always so drawn out in our heart. The answer character to that in the spirit of grace is, “To him that loveth us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.” In verse 7 is an application to the world—it will be a day of mourning to them. The Jews behold Him whom they have pierced, and the nations wail because of Him.
Let us especially consider the way in which Christ is presented to the soul. First, we have grace and peace in a peculiar form from God, that is, Jehovah; and the seven Spirits, His spiritual perfectness; not the Father speaking to His children, but the Eternal, and the seven spirits, the Holy Ghost exercising the varied power of the throne. Christ is brought near as connected with the earth; the faithful witness when He was here below. This is what our souls need to remember—faithful testimony to what God is; for without this we have no certainty, whether as saints or sinners. A holy man cannot know God without the witness, nor whether the witness would suffice to meet a holy God. When I know God, I get sure ground to go upon, I shall know where I am—a terrible thing if I am walking in sin; but there is only uncertainty out of Christ, for He is the light.
There are sufficient traces of power in creation to serve as a witness of the eternal power and Godhead—enough of misery around us to see ruin—enough in conscience to learn that we have sinned; but we cannot learn God in providence, for we know not why He does this, or refrains from doing that. Providence is a depth out of our reach; we are not able to find out and judge the ways of God, nor indeed of the thoughts of a man's mind very often. There is another, the law, which appears to be a clear witness for God against sin. It is true that this is a witness of God's claim on man. We ought to love God with all our hearts, mind, and strength, and our neighbor as ourselves, but it reveals nothing of God's thoughts to us, and if this were the only witness, we should be reined forever. The object of the law is not love, but righteousness—God's everlasting claim of righteousness. But the law cannot meet what we want, for it says,” Thou shalt not covet,” and there was never a man since the days of Adam that did not covet. If you do not satisfy God's claims, there is a curse upon you. Thus the law is man's letter of death. We turn to Christ, the faithful Witness, “the same yesterday, to-day, and for over” —the Witness down here amid the same circumstances in which we are placed, and dealing with men in all the feelings of life.

The Israel of God and Abraham's Seed

The expression of the Israel of God, as being the whole body owned of God in heaven and earth, has been repeated so very frequently, that the hearer will have got the habit of using it in this sense in his mind, and so lose the sense that it is quite unfounded. The expression is used once in scripture, and with no. possible connection with the subject, or the millennial state at all. It is found in Gal. 6:16, where, false teachers having sought to introduce Judaism among Christians, the apostle (having closed his reasonings and exhortations on the subject, and shown what was really valuable, namely, the new creature) says, “As many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God” —evidently in contrast with fleshly Judaism, which the false teachers were seeking to introduce. But they were those then and there owned of God as His Israel; and there is not an idea of the millennium, nor any gathering of all into an Israel of God in heaven and in earth. Such a thought is never found in Scripture anywhere.
And then what is the proof? Why, that Jewish things are used as types, or symbols as the author calls them. And what then? Who denies it? Why does the use of circumstances of the fleshly Israel prove that the church is a constituent part of another Israel? We keep the paschal feast typically or figuratively. Well, and what then? I repeat. What does that prove? “Sons of Aaron.” We are priests—everyone owns that; and if it be merely that, in the whole creation, to all on earth, and I add even ostensibly to the unconverted during the millennium, we hold the place of priests; nobody will deny that. We are the children of the heavenly Jerusalem which is above. And what does that prove but just that we are a separate people, having a Jerusalem of our own? As to children of Abraham, and branches in the Abrahamic olive-tree, it has been already considered. It is of more importance than the others, which really are of none.
There is one general principle, owned of all who believe John 3, that for earthly blessings as well as for heavenly, a man must be born again, must have the new creature. But it does not follow thence that, if this be necessary for all association of man with God, even in the lowest place, there can be no special place of glory. It would as much set, aside degrees in glory as anything else, and I should pretend to be necessarily as exalted as the Apostle Paul, because I was born again. But this is not so. The principle is quite false. There is a difference, and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labor, though all be saved and born again.

Scripture Query and Answer: Daniel 9:24

Q. Dan. 9:24.-Having lately seen it stated (in print) that Dr. Posey denies “holy of holies” to be the right rendering in Dan. 9:24, and asserts “an all-holy” (alluding to the Messiah) to be the true one—I should be glad of information on a point of so much prophetic importance. P.
“It cannot be spoken of the natural ‘holy of holies,' which in contrast to the holy place is always the ‘holy of holies,' never holy of holies. Still less is it the material temple as a whole, since the temple, as a whole, is never called by the name of a part of it. ‘Holy of holies,' that is, lit. ‘holiness of holinesses.' All-holiness is a ritual term, used to express the exceeding holiness which things acquire by being consecrated to God. It is never used to describe a place, but is always an attribute of the thing, and in one place, of the person who is spoken of.” —(Posey on Daniel, pp. 179, 180.)
A. I cannot find that any person is called in the Old Testament םקרש קרש(Dan. 9:24.) Things are, where characteristically described. The innermost part of the sanctuary is properly called הקרשם קרש(Ex. 26:33.) In Ezek. 45:3 the sanctuary is called “holy of holies” without the article. For the prophet there writes of the most holy sanctuary, not of the sanctuary and the most holy place, as the Authorized Version would represent it. With Ezekiel, then, before us we have a precedent for Daniel, there describing the sanctuary; and looking at the subject of his prayer for the sanctuary (ver. 17), city and people (vers. 18, 19), the answer of the angel is in full keeping with his request. Seven heptads are determined upon thy people, and upon thy city, at the end of which the sanctuary will be anointed. I take it the Authorized Version gives the sense, though the anarthrous form is not the usual one where the house is described. So I should dissent from Dr. Pusey's views. The context would lead me to accept the Authorized Version as correct in making it the sanctuary, and not the Messiah. S.

Son of Man

Observe the expression, “Sort of man.” This is the character in which, according to Dan. 7, the Lord will come, in a power and glory much greater than that of His manifestation as Messiah, the Son of David, and which will be displayed in a much wider sphere. As the Son of man He is the heir of all that God destines for man. (See Heb. 2:6-8; 1 Cor. 15:27.) He must, in consequence, seeing what man's condition is, suffer in order to possess this inheritance. He was there as the Messiah, but He must be received in His true character, Emmanuel; and the Jews must thus be tested morally. He will not have the kingdom on carnal principles. Rejected as Messiah, as Emmanuel, He postpones the period of those events which will close the ministry of His disciples with respect to Israel unto His coming us the Son of man. Meantime God has brought out other things, that had been hidden from the foundation of the world, the true glory of Jesus the Son of God, His heavenly glory as man, and the church united to Him in heaven. The judgment of Jerusalem, and the dispersion of the nation, have suspended the ministry which had begun at the moment of which the evangelist here speaks. That which has filled up the interval since then is not the subject here of the Lord's discourse, which refers solely to the ministry that had the Jews for its object. The counsels of God with respect to the church, in connection with the glory of Jesus the right hand of God, we shall find spoken of elsewhere.
Luke will give us in more detail that which concerns the Son of man. In Matthew the Holy Ghost occupies us with the rejection of Emmanuel.

Ruth: Part 2

To resume the history, then, we may here notice that we have Naomi and Ruth in the land of promise, the place of all desired blessing, the appointed scene of glory and the land of the living. But they are there at first empty and afflicted, though the land is fruitful again, and the harvest is gathering. But so will the Lord's remnant be found when the nation has returned. As says the Lord by His prophet, “I will leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of the Lord.” (Zeph. 3:12.)
But Ruth and Naomi are not wholly unblest, they are at least at home; and though in scanty measure, living on the gleanings of another's field, and waiting for the crumbs that fall from another's table, yet kindness is shown to them of one who was “a mighty man of wealth.” (Chap. 2: 8-13.) And so will the kindness of a mightier and more generous one than Boaz be seen, when tending again “the poor of the flock, the flock of slaughter;” for then bread shall be given them, and waters shall be sure. (Isa. 33:16.) And so will the poor of the flock trust in Him, and wait upon His hand, as their shepherd in the cloudy and dark day; so will they enter the pavilion of His presence, and hide themselves, while that day passes by, and, remembering the days of their fathers, they will humble themselves, like Ruth, as less than the handmaids of the Lord.
But Ruth ere long was destined to look on this “mighty man of wealth” as her kinsman and husband, sharing with her—gladly sharing with her—the treasures of those fields, where now she gleaned a scanty living; as will his poor and afflicted remnant that shall trust in him for bread and water, soon see their Kinsman, “the King in his beauty,” and their Zion “a quiet habitation never to be removed.”

Notes on John 16:29-33

IT would be difficult to find a verse of John which presents more tersely and completely toe the character of his Gospel than the one we have just had before us; nor one less really apprehended now as then by the disciples. His divine relationship and mission from the Father stand clearly revealed on earth before they join Him on high, His presence as man in the world, no less than His quitting the world, and going to the Father, none the less the Son become now mall, with the immense results of all this for God, and more especially the saints; these great truths wholly transcend all Messianic glory which as yet filled the minds of His followers, who proved, how little they knew by the very fact that they thought they knew all clearly.
“His disciples say [to him], Lo, now thou talkest with openness and speakest no parable. Now we know that thou knowest all things and hast no need that one ask thee: herein we believe that thou didst come out from God.” (Vers. 29, 30.) Their own language bewrayed them. Simple as His words were, they had not taken in their depth. They had no conception of the mighty change from all they had gathered of the kingdom as revealed in the Old Testament to the new state of things that would follow His absence with the Father on high and the presence of the Spirit here below. It sounded plain to their ears; but even up to the ascension they feebly if at all caught a glimpse of it. They to the last clang to the hopes of Israel, and these surely remain to be fulfilled another day, But they understood not this day, daring which, if the Jews are treated as reprobate, even as He was rejected of them, those born of God should in virtue of Christ and His work be placed in immediate relationship with the Father. His return to the Father was a parable still, though the Lord does not correct their error, as indeed it was useless: they would soon enough learn how little they knew. But at least even then they had the inward consciousness that He knew all, end, as He penetrated their thoughts, had no need that any should ask Him. “Herein we believe that then camest out from God.” Undoubtedly: yet how far below the truth He had uttered is that which they were thus confessing! The Spirit of His Son sent into their hearts would give them in due time to know the Father; as redemption accomplished and accepted could alone lay the needful ground for it.
“Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe? [or, Just now ye believe]: lo, an hour cometh, and is come, that ye should be scattered, each onto his own, and leave me alone; and I and not alone, because the Father is with me. These things have I spoken to you that in me ye may have peace. In the world ye have tribulation; but be of good courage: I have overcome the world.” (Vers. 31-33)

Notes on 2 Corinthians 5:18-21

Nor is it a question of new creation alone, great as is the power requisite for it, and precious as its exercise is in presence of death and ruin. Man can avail nothing. It is a question therefore of God; and love and righteousness would reconcile the lost and guilty foes to God, without which His glory must be compromised. Hence it is written, after “all things [or, they] are become new,” “And they all [are] of God that reconciled us to himself by Christ and gave to us the ministry of the reconciliation: how that it was God in Christ reconciling [the] world to himself, not reckoning to them their offenses, and putting in us the word of the reconciliation. For Christ then we are ambassadors, God as it were beseeching by us, we entreat for Christ, Be reconciled to God: him that knew not sin he made sin for us, that we might become God's righteousness in him.” (Vers. 18-21.)
One object of reconciliation, as we read in Col. 1, is all things in heaven and on earth. But this is future, and awaits the appearing of Christ. Meanwhile believers are already reconciled, being not only born of God but redeemed. In virtue of the work of Christ God can act freely, not reinstating merely but making good their relationship, as it suits His own nature as well as theirs, according to His love and for His glory. Traditional orthodoxy errs in insisting on the death of Christ to reconcile His Father to us. Scripture never speaks thus. But if it declares that God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son in order that the believer should not perish but have everlasting life, it is no less peremptory that the Son of man must be lifted up in order to the same blessed result. (John 3:14-16.) Still more dangerous is the error that leaves out that God is light in the anxiety to press that He is love. Grace reigns through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. We must not let the needed expiation of our sins by the blood of Christ be weakened by the blessed fact that we are also reconciled to God. The enmity was on our side, not on His; but what was our evil nature, what our sins, in His eyes? Does not God abhor iniquity and rebelliousness, hypocritical form or even indifference to His will? And, if He abhor, has He no majesty to vindicate, no authority to judge? After sin and before judgment came Christ, who gave Himself up, not only to manifest God in this world but to suffer on the cross. Hence, instead of nothing but righteous judgment awaiting guilty man at the end, the Lord Jesus has so met and even glorified God as to sin in His death, that His righteousness now justifies the believer; and the reconciliation is so complete that in virtue of His redemption we stand in a wholly new relationship which derives its character from Christ risen from the dead. In due time all things in heaven and on earth shall be made new accordingly. Even now if one is in Christ, it is a new creation. The rest will follow in its season, whether for our body, or for heaven and earth; but for us reconciliation is a fact now. God reconciled us to Himself by Christ, as surely as He gave the ministry of reconciliation.
For the saving grace of God has a service suited to itself. It does not, like the law, govern a people already in relationship with God; it calls, as Christ did, not the righteous but sinners to repentance. The word of truth it proclaims for all to hear is the gospel of salvation; and those who hear not only live but are saved by grace through faith; quickened with Christ, raised up together, and made to sit down together in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus, that God might display in the coming ages the exceeding riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

The Epistle of Christ: 2 Corinthians 3

What I desire in reading this chapter is to set out, as simply as possible, what the testimony of the apostle was in it, for this reason—that it is a chapter which tells us what the ministration is with which the apostle was entrusted. He spoke of God, from God, and in the sight of God. This was saying a great deal; and so he knew they were a savor of God to them that believe and to them that perish. Paul was a chosen vessel, in a particular manner, in a special character different from the others; none of them spoke of their apostleship as he did—indeed he speaks of being a fool in boasting. He was converted by the Lord of glory from the glory; the other apostles were led up to the glory, but it was Paul's starting-point from which he began. He began with the knowledge that the church, in all its weakness and trials, is one with Christ; and the epistles are full of this great truth, which seems to us a very high subject; but he began with it. He was not, like Peter, a witness of the sufferings, and a partaker of the glory which should follow when Christ is to be revealed. He begun with being a witness of the glory, and became afterward practically acquainted with fellowship in the suffering. Hence, in presenting Christ in all His glory to the Gentiles, he could not say, as Peter did to the Jews, that they had rejected Him, for the Gentiles had no Messiah, whilst he could speak to them of their thorough wickedness, and of the vanity of their minds. Paul was not accredited of the apostles at Jerusalem—he had no authority from thence, and this he presses on the Galatians, and goes on to say, “Be as I am, for I am as ye are: ye have not injured me at all.” He was as free as any Gentile.
Did Paul need letters of recommendation from the Corinthians, or to them? The answer is in the well-known words, “Ye are our epistle written on our hearts.” Their existence was a proof of his service: there was the epistle that recommended his ministry to which his heart turned. They were in his heart; he could not say this in his first epistle, because he was grieving on their behalf; but now, through Titus, he had a good report. Such had been his solicitude about them, that he could not stay at Troas, though a door was opened to him to preach the gospel; but because he got no tidings of the Corinthians, be was quite cast down. The Lord was thus exercising His servant; but when he got to Corinth, his heart was relieved, and now he can speak with all openness. This he could not before, though he did not hide their privileges from them; for their standing in Christ was untouched; but there could not be joy in the saints, the confidence of love towards them in the Spirit, when they were walking disorderly.
Paul preached Christ at Corinth; and because the church at Corinth was a manifestation of Christ, his epistle became the epistle of Christ manifested by them—not written on tables of stone, but in fleshy tables. Any gathering of the saints, however feeble, is the epistle of Christ. We shall see how forcible this description is, if we think what an epistle is. The church was a recommendation of Paul, because they were an epistle of recommendation of Christ to the world. The world reads, and ascertains what Christ is, from the lives of the saints: I do not say that they might not learn it from the word. Just as the ten commandments were the declaration of the mind of God, so the church is the engraving of Christ to be read of men. We see the amazing force and importance of this, that we hold the place of the commandments under the Jewish law. The law was the declaration of God's mind in what He required of man.

It Must Needs Be That Offences Come

Q. Whose are the “offenses” in this word? Offenses in the world, or in the church? R. H.
A. 1. To judge from the scope of the chapter, it would seem to have to do with “them that are within,” rather than with” them that are without.” Its counsels and warnings are addressed by the Lord to “the disciples,” not to “the multitude.” It is manifestly offenses on their own part that these are admonished to deal with in verses 6, 9; and if the denunciation against the offenders of the little ones in verse 6 be somewhat general in character, the warning of verse 10, with the parable employed to enforce it, are clearly for the admonition of the disciples.
Of the bearing of verses 15-20 on questions within the assembly, there can, I presume, be no doubt, and Peter's question in verse 21, “How oft shall my brother sin against me?” along with the Lord's own application in verse 35, “If ye from the heart forgive not everyone his brother,” determine with sufficient precision the application of the intervening parable.