Bible Treasury: Volume 18

Table of Contents

1. Names of God in the Psalms.
2. Names of God in the Psalms.
3. On Acts 24:10-21
4. The Trial of Jealousy
5. Christian Liberty of Preaching and Teaching the Lord Jesus Christ: Part 1
6. On Acts 25:1-12
7. Hebrews: Introduction
8. Religious Societies: Part 1
9. The Catholic Apostolic Body or Irvingites: 13. Doctrine - Christ's Second Coming
10. Scripture Imagery: 65. The Slave's Ear Bored, the Thirty Shekels
11. All Things to All Men
12. Joseph: Part 1
13. Christian Liberty of Preaching and Teaching the Lord Jesus Christ: Part 2
14. On Acts 25:13-22
15. Hebrews 1:1-2
16. Religious Societies: Part 2
17. The Catholic Apostolic Body or Irvingites: 14. Doctrine - The Revelation Misused
18. Scripture Imagery: 66. Israel As Illustrating the Principles of Divine Service
19. A Few Words on Things New and Old: Review
20. Joseph: Part 2
21. Religious Societies: Part 3
22. Parochial Arrangement Destructive of Order in the Church: Part 1
23. On Acts 25:23-27
24. Hebrews 1:2-4
25. The Gospel and the Church: 1.
26. The Catholic Apostolic Body or Irvingites: 15. Doctrine - The Revelation Misused
27. Scripture Imagery: 67. The Ark, the Mercy-Seat, the Sanctuary
28. Joseph: Part 3
29. Parochial Arrangement Destructive of Order in the Church: Part 2
30. On Acts 26:1-8
31. Hebrews 1:5-9
32. The Believer Entering Into God's Rest: Part 1
33. The Catholic Apostolic Body or Irvingites: 16. Doctrine - Prophets, and Apostles, &c.
34. Denial of Propitiating God by Sacrifice
35. Mr. Haslam's the Lord Is Coming
36. Scripture Imagery: 68. The Candlestick, the Table, the Tongs
37. On Receiving
38. Joseph: Part 4
39. Parochial Arrangement Destructive of Order in the Church: Part 3
40. The Believer Entering Into God's Rest: Part 2
41. On Acts 26:9-15
42. Hebrews 1:10-14
43. The Catholic Apostolic Body or Irvingites: 17. Doctrine - The Incarnation
44. Scripture Imagery: 69. Boards, Bars, Sockets and Curtain of the Tabernacle
45. The Two Natures in a Believer
46. Biblical Criticism of the Old Testament
47. Ecclesiastical Defilement
48. Propitiation
49. Man's Need and God's Grace
50. On Acts 26:16-23
51. Hebrews 2:1-4
52. The Gospel and the Church: 2. Good Tidings of Great Joy
53. The Catholic Apostolic Body or Irvingites: 18. Doctrine - The Atonement
54. Scripture Imagery: 70. Coverings of the Tabernacle
55. True Worship
56. Few Words on Propitiation or Atonement
57. On the Character of Office in the Present Dispensation: Part 1
58. On Acts 26:24-32
59. Hebrews 2:5-9
60. The Gospel and the Church: 3. The Source of the Gospel
61. The Catholic Apostolic Body or Irvingites: 19. Doctrine - Justification, Sanctification, &c.
62. Scripture Imagery: 71. The Brazen Altar
63. Impregnable Rock of Holy Scripture: Review
64. Advertisement
65. Thoughts on 1 Chronicles: Part 1, Chapters 1-21
66. On the Character of Office in the Present Dispensation: Part 2
67. On Acts 27:1-13
68. The Promise of Life: Part 1
69. Hebrews 2:10-15
70. Advertisement
71. The Catholic Apostolic Body or Irvingites
72. Scripture Imagery: 72. Aaron, the Priests, the Court of the Tabernacle
73. Prof. Drummond's Greatest Thing in the World
74. On the Character of Office in the Present Dispensation: Part 3
75. The Promise of Life: Part 2
76. On Acts 27:14-26
77. Hebrews 2:16-18
78. The Catholic Apostolic Body or Irvingites: 20. Doctrine - Priesthood and Sacraments
79. The Gospel and the Church: 4. The Subject of the Gospel
80. Scripture Imagery: 73. The Breastplate, the Priest's Robes
81. Thoughts on Mark 9:50
82. Advertisement
83. Thoughts on 1 Chronicles: Part 2, Chapters 1-21
84. On the Character of Office in the Present Dispensation: Part 4
85. On Acts 27:27-44
86. Hebrews 3:1-6
87. Development (Duplicate)
88. The Gospel and the Church: 5. The Gospel
89. The Catholic Apostolic Body or Irvingites: 21. Doctrine - Tithes, Etc.
90. Scripture Imagery: 74. The Laver, the Staves of the Altar
91. Advertisement
92. Rahab as Cited in Hebrews and James
93. Thoughts on 1 Chronicles: Part 3, Chapters 1-21
94. Obedience and Blessing: Part 1
95. On Acts 28:1-15
96. Hebrews 3:7-13
97. The Gospel and the Church: 6. Character of the Ministers of the Gospel
98. The Catholic Apostolic Body or Irvingites: 22. Doctrine - Symbolism
99. Scripture Imagery: 75. The Golden Altar
100. Thoughts on 1 Chronicles: Part 4, Chapters 1-21
101. Obedience and Blessing: Part 2
102. On Acts 28:16-31
103. Thoughts on 2 Timothy 1:7
104. Hebrews 3:14-19
105. The Rest, the Word, and the Priesthood
106. The Gospel and the Church: 7. The Gospel
107. The Catholic Apostolic Body or Irvingites: 23. Conclusion
108. Scripture Imagery: 76. The Incense, the Ointment, Counterfeits
109. The Early Chapters of Genesis: Chapter 1:1
110. Shelter From Judgment: the Soul's Start With God
111. Naaman the Syrian
112. Thoughts on the Chronicles: Part 1
113. The Psalms Book 1: Introduction
114. Obedience and Blessing: Part 3
115. Hebrews 4:1-2
116. The Gospel and the Church: 8. The Snares in the Path of Its Ministers
117. Scripture Imagery: 77. The Golden Calf
118. Angels
119. The Early Chapters of Genesis: Chapter 1:2
120. Elimelech and Naomi
121. Thoughts on the Chronicles: Part 2
122. The Psalms Book 1: 3-8
123. Obedience and Blessing: Part 4
124. Thoughts on Matthew 11:27
125. Hebrews 4:3-10
126. The Gospel and the Church: 9. The Church
127. Scripture Imagery: 78. The Intercession of Moses
128. The Cross
129. Promise
130. Scripture Queries and Answers: "Baptized Into Christ"
131. Advertisement
132. The Early Chapters of Genesis: Chapter 1:3-5
133. The Offerings: 1. The Burnt Offering - Leviticus 1
134. Thoughts on 1 Chronicles: Part 5, Chapter 5
135. The Psalms Book 1: 9-15
136. Hebrews 4:11-13
137. The Gospel and the Church: 10. The Church
138. Scripture Imagery: 79. Results of Moses' Intercession
139. Sin-Bearing
140. Advertisement
141. The Early Chapters of Genesis: Chapter 1:6-8
142. The Offerings: 2. The Meal Offering - Leviticus 2
143. Orpah and Ruth
144. Thoughts on 1 Chronicles: Part 6, Chapter 5
145. The Psalms Book 1: 16-18
146. Obedience and Blessing: Part 5
147. Hebrews 4:14-16
148. The Gospel and the Church: 11. Mystery of the Church
149. Scripture Imagery: 80. Outside the Camp, Illumined Faces
150. Baptism of Fire
151. The Early Chapters of Genesis: Chapter 1:9-13
152. Cain and Abel
153. The Offerings: 3. The Peace Offering - Leviticus 3
154. Hannah
155. Thoughts on 1 Chronicles: Part 7, Chapter 5:25-26
156. The Psalms Book 1: 19-21
157. Hebrews 5:1-4
158. The Gospel and the Church: 12. What Is the Ground or Foundation of the Church?
159. Death in Atonement
160. Advertisement
161. The Early Chapters of Genesis: Chapter 1:14-19
162. The Offerings: 4. The Peace Offering - Leviticus 3
163. Hannah's Prayer
164. Thoughts on 1 Chronicles: Part 8, Chapter 6
165. The Psalms Book 1: 22-24
166. Hebrews 5:5-6
167. Hearing and Faith
168. The Gospel and the Church: 13. Character and Position of the Church
169. Scripture Imagery: 81. Gifts and Work of the Tabernacle, the True Atlantes and Caryatides
170. Day-Dawning and the Day-Star Arising
171. Eternal Punishment
172. Evolution
173. Advertisement
174. The Early Chapters of Genesis: Chapter 1:20-23
175. The Offerings: 5. The Sin Offering - Leviticus 4
176. The Death of the Wife of Phinehas
177. Thoughts on 1 Chronicles: Part 9
178. The Psalms Book 1: 25-28
179. Thoughts on 2 Corinthians 13:14
180. Luke 2:14
181. Hebrews 5:7-10
182. Scripture Imagery: 82. The Pillar of Cloud
183. The Joys of Christ
184. It Is God That Justifieth
185. Advertisement
186. The Early Chapters of Genesis: Chapter 1:24-25
187. The Offerings: 6. Trespass Offering - Leviticus 5
188. The Sin of Eli and Its Results
189. Thoughts on 1 Chronicles: Part 10
190. The Psalms Book 1: 29-31
191. Come Unto Me
192. The Father Seeking Worshippers
193. Hebrews 5:11-14
194. The Gospel and the Church: 14. Christian Discipline
195. Scripture Imagery: 83. Knops, Loops, Taches
196. Punishment and Reward
197. Advertisement
198. The Early Chapters of Genesis: Chapter 1:26-27
199. The Offerings: 7. Leviticus 5 - 6:1-7
200. Samuel the Prophet
201. Thoughts on 1 Chronicles: Part 11
202. The Psalms Book 1: 32-34
203. The Burden of the Cross: Part 1
204. Hebrews 6:1-3
205. The Gospel and the Church: 15. The Church
206. Scripture Imagery: 84. Abridgment of the 2000 Years
207. The Early Chapters of Genesis: Chapter 1:28
208. The Offerings: 8. Their Laws - Leviticus 6:8-30 - 7
209. Samuel, the Last Judge of Israel
210. Thoughts on 1 Chronicles: Part 12
211. The Psalms Book 1: 35-37
212. If Thou Knewest the Gift of God
213. The Unwritten Things Which Jesus Did
214. Hebrews 6:4-8
215. The Gospel and the Church: 16. Fatherly Watchfulness and Care
216. The Burden of the Cross: Part 2
217. Advertisement
218. The Early Chapters of Genesis: Chapter 1:29-31
219. The Offerings: 9. The Priesthood Consecrated - Leviticus 8
220. Samuel's Farewell Address
221. Thoughts on 1 Chronicles: Part 13
222. The Psalms Book 1: 38-39
223. And Who It Is That Saith to Thee
224. Hebrews 6:9-12
225. The Gospel and the Church: 17. Discipline of Christ As Son Over His House
226. The Efficacy of Christ's Cross
227. The Burden of the Cross: Part 3
228. Scripture Imagery: 85. Death in the Sanctuary
229. All in John 12:32
230. Evolution
231. The Early Chapters of Genesis: Chapter 2:1-3
232. The Offerings: 10. The Priesthood Consecrated - Leviticus 8
233. Saul
234. Thoughts on 1 Chronicles: Part 14
235. The Psalms Book 1: 40-41
236. Thou Wouldest Have Asked of Him
237. Hebrews 6:13-20
238. The Gospel and the Church: 18. Ananias and Sapphira
239. Scripture Imagery: 86. Israel's Diet, the Swine, the Hare
240. Advertisement

Names of God in the Psalms.

Jah seems to be the existing One objectively. There is One and only One Who is. Eh'yeh is His own assertion of it—conscious existence in will. Jehovah is He Who does so exist but in relation with others and revealed in time. He always is, but “was and is to come” is brought in. There is existence, yet not only an eternal now but a past and what is to come. He is in relationship and in connection with time, and so a Securer of promises. And we read of His mercy enduring “forever.” Adonai, related to none of these, carries the thought of lordship and rule.

Names of God in the Psalms.

Jah seems to be the existing One objectively. There is One and only One Who is. Eh'yeh is His own assertion of it—conscious existence in will. Jehovah is He Who does so exist but in relation with others and revealed in time. He alway is, but “was and is to come” is brought in. There is existence, yet not only an eternal now but a past and what is to come. He is in relationship and in connection with time, and so a Securer of promises. And we read of His mercy enduring “forever.” Adonai, related to none of these, carries the thought of lordship and rule.

On Acts 24:10-21

The defense of the apostle is characterized by straightforward truth and courteous dignity, as the accusation had been by servility to the governor and abuse of the accused. It is noticed, on the one hand, as the Jews joined in their venal advocate’s assault, affirming that his falsehoods were fact (ver. 9), that, on the other (ver. 10), there was no haste to reply till the governor gave the sign to that effect.
“And when the governor beckoned him to speak, Paul answered, Knowing that since many years thou art judge to this nation, I cheerfully make my defense: as thou canst ascertain that it is not more than twelve days since I went up to worship at Jerusalem; and neither in the temple did they find me discoursing with any one or making a tumult of a crowd, nor in the synagogues, nor throughout the city. Neither can they prove to thee the things of which they now accuse me. But this I confess to thee, that according to the way which they call a sect, so I serve the God of the fathers, believing all things that are according to the law and that are written in the prophets; having hope toward God, which these also themselves look for, that a resurrection is to be, both of just and unjust. Herein also do I exercise myself to have a conscience without offense toward God and men continually. Now after several years I arrived to bring alms unto my nation and offerings; in which they found me purified in the temple, not with crowd nor yet with tumult but certain Jews from Asia, who ought to have been present before thee, and to have accused, if they had aught against me. Or let these themselves say what wrong they found in me when I stood before the council, [other] than for this one voice that I cried out standing among them, Touching the resurrection of [the] dead I am judged this day before you” (Acts 24:10-21).
The length of time that Felix had passed in official relation to the Jews was a plain matter of fact, of which the apostle justly availed himself. Their feeling, habits, and prejudices were thus necessarily more familiar than to a new procurator. On this circumstance the apostle grounds his cheerfulness in making his plea. Flattery is wholly absent.
As to himself, it was so brief a space since he went up to Jerusalem that his course there could easily be traced. And when he did go, but twelve days before, it was “to worship,” the very reverse of moving sedition or other pestilent conduct, least of all to profane the temple. On the contrary he brought forth alms to his nation, and offerings.” Could anything be more opposed, either to riot, or to profanation? He was at liberty to discourse if he had judged meet; but in point of fact “neither in the temple did they find me discoursing with any one, or making a tumult of a crowd,” common as this was in a people so zealous and so excitable, “nor in the synagogues,” numerous as they were, “nor throughout the city.” What could be less like an agitator? “Neither can they prove to thee things whereof they now accuse me.” More than this distinct challenge, or at best denial, of the vague and general calumny the apostle does not allege. The facts stated, of which the evidence was easy and ample, refuted the talk of Tertullus.
But far from denying what was said of “the sect” (ver. 5), he avows it openly. “But this I confess to thee, that according to the way which they call sect, so I serve the [or our] fathers’ God.” This was of moment for the governor. Tolerant as the Romans were toward the religions convictions of the nations they ruled, they were stern in disallowing innovations, especially such as tended to stir up civil discord. The apostle accordingly prefers here, as on two other occasions not quite similar, to depart from the usual phrase, and says πατρώῳ θεῷ rather than τῶν πατέρων ἡμῶν as Kühnöl and others have noticed. As the heathen without God themselves called the Christians godless or Atheists, because they had no idols, so the Jews called the church “a sect.” Yet was it the only institution on earth that could not be a sect while true to Christ. The apostle goes farther however, and confesses his faith in all things according to the law, and the things written in the prophets. There is no hesitation in declaring boldly his faith in all the ancient oracles before the high priest and the Sadducean party, who notoriously slighted the prophets, as they had no real reverence for the law. If any Pharisees were in alliance with them as “elders” of Israel, what a position in confederating with infidels against a more thorough believer than themselves!
Further, there is nothing left indistinct here. For the apostle adds, “having hope toward God, which they themselves also look for, that a resurrection is to be of both just and unjust.” This could hardly have been said if there had not been then present Pharisees who confessed the resurrection of the dead. They must therefore have made up their difference with the heterodox Sadducees in their eagerness to put down and punish Paul. The tendency among the Jews seems to have been to regard resurrection as the privilege of the righteous simply, which would be sure to degenerate into the reward of Israel in the kingdom of Messiah. But the apostle, guided of the Holy Spirit, shows its universal character, “of both just and unjust.” So it was to be inferred even from a book so ancient as that of Job, and of the deeper interest in this respect as evidence of the faith of Gentile believers before the law. Yet it is certain that in Job 14 Job speaks of man’s resurrection (that is, of man, as such), when the heavens are no more and eternity begins, contradistinguished from the rising of the righteous, like himself, to enjoy their hope when the Kinsman Redeemer shall stand on the earth, which is clearly for the kingdom. Naturally the resurrection of the just, the resurrection from among the dead, the better resurrection, and other kindred phrases, are more frequent as a cheer and incentive to saints in present suffering; but John 5 and Revelation 20 give doctrinally and prophetically the twofold resurrection, severed by a thousand years, to which Paul here alludes as that which had roused so much feeling on the part of his Sadducean adversaries.
Nor this only; for he lets them know by the way that on himself the hope of resurrection was most influential practically. “In this [Therefore, or accordingly] I also exercise myself to have a conscience without offense toward God and men continually.”
Here not only were the Jews, but Christians for the most part are, weak indeed, rising in faith but little beyond thoughtful heathen who reason on the immortality of the soul. No doubt the God-inbreathed soul, the inner man, is immortal; but as this is no security against sin, so neither does it involve immunity from judgment. Indeed it is rather the ground why sinful man, alone of beings on the earth, has moral responsibility, from which he cannot disengage himself; for, if he refuse life eternal in the Son, he must be judged by Him at the last, as Scripture abundantly testifies. The believer of course needs no such awful measure to vindicate the rights of Christ, but, what is far better, honors Him now in the day that follows His cross, honors Him not by that tremendous and irresistible constraint, but with a ready mind, as the One Who for him died and rose that he might live no longer to himself but to Him.
People may reason, as alas! not a few in Christendom have not been ashamed to do, that the blessing of the soul is of a more spiritual nature, and that any hope associated with the resurrection of the body is external. But they are beguiled of the enemy in thus preferring their own thoughts to God’s word, which insists on the fullest blessing for the soul now, even salvation in the richest way, but on resurrection or change at Christ’s coming as our proper hope. Then only shall we be like Him, when the body of humiliation is conformed to the body of His glory. It is this hope which gives power in the Spirit to mortify our members on the earth, instead of indulging the common dream of present ease and honor here before the soul goes to heaven for its glory. Never does Scripture so speak. It does declare the superior blessedness of departing to be with Christ, as compared with remaining here. But it never stops short of Christ’s coming for our everlasting change as the true hope which purifies us meanwhile on the earth.
The apostle next states that after a lapse of several years he arrived bringing alms to his nation, and offerings. Was this the action of a seditious pestilent man “In which [business of the offerings] they found me purified in the temple, not with crowd nor yet with tumult.” Was this again profaning the temple? “But certain Jews from Asia” — they were the true culprits in the matter. It was they whose guilty rashness imputed the false charge. For the four men under the vow were not Greeks but Jews; and with these only was Paul associated in the temple at the instance of James. Why were these Asiatic Jews not here face to face, as Roman law required? “Who ought,” as the apostle here quietly adds, “to have been present before thee, and to have accused, if they had anything against me. Or let them themselves (the Jews then present) say what wrong they found in me when I stood before the council, [other] than for this one voice which I cried out among them, Touching the resurrection of [the] dead I am judged this day before you.”
It was irrefragably and solely the Jews themselves who made the riot (stirred up by the blunder about those brethren from Asia), who were not there to be convicted that day, as Felix could not but see. Even though the witnesses were not present, those actually there were challenged to state any wrong whatever done by the apostle, unless it was his putting forward the great truth of the resurrection: as really embarrassing to the Pharisee elders now as before; for they assuredly would regard such a cry as true and right, and in no way a fault. But “evil communications corrupt good manners”; and those who at first felt sympathy for the truth at stake, now give their support to the enemy against the great representative of the gospel, even when they all were convicted of the grossest mistake, and of unfounded calumny. So hard is it for men engaged in a campaign, above all a religions one, to stop short of glaring injustice when arrayed on an evil side. When men are right, they can afford to be gracious. Wrong-doers and malicious men add turbulence also.

The Trial of Jealousy

“His blood be upon us and upon our children,” said the Jews of their betrayed and crucified King. And so it is with them unto this day. Their land, which should have been the vineyard of the Lord of Hosts, has become an Aceldama—a field of blood; and as they themselves loved cursing, so has it come upon them.
The Lord in His doctrine determined this—that we are the children of Him Whose works we do, and Whose ways we imitate (John 8). Hence it is manifest that, in the judgment of God, Israel at this day are not the children of Abraham (for they have not done the works of Abraham) but the seed of Judas, for they did his work, being one with him of old in the betraying of Jesus, and still in the disowning and rejection of Jesus (see Acts 1:16; 7 -52,1 Thess. 2:15). But Psa. 109 leads us directly to this mystery. There the rejected Messiah first complains of His adversary, and Judas, we know, is intended (Psa. 109:8, and Acts 1:20). But afterward He speaks of His adversaries (ver. 20) calling for judgment on them as the children of His adversary; and the Jews, we may also know, are intended. For surely it could not have been the natural seed of Judas, the adversary (even if he had any), but rather mystically. And his mystical seed, as we have seen, are the Jews in their unbelief; for they it was who joined with him in his deed, and still in spirit imitate his evil way. Consequently the various judgments invoked in that Psalm, upon the children of the adversary, may be seen lying on the Jews to this day. They it was who persecuted the poor and needy man (v. 16); and they have their reward. They it was who delighted not in blessing (ver. 17), refusing to say, “Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord;” and blessing is therefore far from them. They it was who “loved cursing,” saying of Jesus, Crucify Him, crucify Him; “so has curse come upon them: a curse and an astonishment, and a by-word are they made, through all the nations of the earth unto this day.
But in the course of the holy complaint and invocation of vengeance by the disowned rejected King of the Jews, set forth in that Psalm, I may observe, that He makes reference to the ordinance of the “Trial of Jealousy” (see Psa. 109:14-18, and Numbers v. 23-27); and therefore as to that ordinance I would speak more particularly.
This ordinance was for the discovering of unconfessed infidelity. A suspected wife was set by the high priest in the presence of God as the Searcher of hearts. Her head was uncovered, in token that on the present occasion she knew of no subjection to any but to the Lord; and therefore she removed the covering from her head, for that covering was the sign of subjection to her husband (1 Cor. 11:3). The priest then put into her hand “the offering of jealousy.” This was a meat-offering prepared by her husband, in a manner suitable to her approach to God, and which the priest afterward took from her hand, and waved before the Lord, offering the memorial of it on the altar; by which action was signified, on both the husband's and the wife's behalf, the committal of this matter to God. Then holding in his hand a vessel containing holy water or water taken from the brazen laver mingled with dust (the sign of curse or fruit of sin; Gen. 3:19), the priest solemnly abjured the woman, and read to her the curses that would come upon her if she were guilty. To this, if she pleased to stand the trial after all this warning, she said, “Amen, Amen;” and then the priest wrote the curses in a book, blotted them with some of the bitter water, and gave the rest of it to the woman to drink. The trial was then made. If she had been unfaithful, the water would enter into her and become bitter; her belly would swell, and her thigh rot; and she would be made a curse among the people. But if her husband's suspicions had wronged her, none of these things would happen to her. For the curses in the book would all be blotted out, so as to be legible no more; and thus, being freed and avenged, she would receive strength of the Lord to conceive seed.
Now in the Psa. 109, the Lord appears as one Who had brought up Israel to this trial, and by it found her guilty. He was entitled so to bring her up for this trial, for He had of old married her (Jer. 31:32), of old had spread His skirt over Jerusalem (Ezek. 16:8), and at the time of the marriage had warned her of His holy jealousness (Ex. 20:5). And time after time subsequent to the marriage He had been provoked to jealousy, but had forborne, and been patient, calling again and again for repentance and confession (Deut. 32:21, Ezek. 8:3). But at length He pleads with her by this ordeal, while she, like any hardened wife who would dare to stand the trial with the consciousness of sin upon her, defies divine justice. “His blood be upon us and upon our children,” from the lips of Israel, was as the woman's “Amen” to the invocation of the curse. But their confidence has been their shame. The sin of their mother was not blotted out in the trial (Psa. 109:14). The water entered in and did its deadly work (v. 18); and to this day they are under the penalties of convicted infidelity. Israel has been judged as a woman that breaks wedlock (Ezek. 16:38).
Such is the end of their ways. But the Lord has His ways also, and if theirs ended in conviction and shame and judgment, His will end in mercy, in peace, and in honor. There is with the Lord forgiveness for Israel. As Jesus said on the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” There is to be acceptance for this unfaithful one with her injured Lord. She has played the harlot, it is true, and so has the trial of jealousy found it; she has said, “I will go after my lovers,” but the Lord has also said, “I will betroth thee unto Me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in loving-kindness, and in mercies” (see Hos. 2; 3). And when this comes to pass, the very blessing which is promised to the wife who stood acquitted in the trial of jealousy, shall be Israel's; for she shall then be made free, the free-woman and a joyful mother of children (see Num. 5:28, and Isa. 54:1).
But before she be thus married to her Maker and Redeemer in the bonds of the new covenant, she is to have a time of espousals, in which the Lord will discipline her and form her for Himself. She is never to be restored to the old covenant. Her ruins under that lie as enduring as the ruins of Sodom and Gomorrah; but God will remember His covenant with her and establish unto her an everlasting covenant (Ezek. 16:55, 60). And her day of espousals will prepare her for this abiding union. In that day she will be brought to know her own ways and loathe herself for all her abominations, to be confounded and never open her mouth any more because of her shame. But she will also be taught to know the Lord's ways, and rejoice in the grace and the fullness of His love, whereby He will then be pacified toward her (Ezek. 16:60-63). In that day He will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and then speak comfortably unto her. He will hedge up her way with thorns, and make a wall so that she shall not find her paths; but all this discipline will only be in order to lead her to say, “I will go and return unto my first husband, for then was it better with me than now” (Hos. 2). “She shall in that day seek again the Lord her God, and David her king” (Hos. 3). The Lord will give her “the spirit of adoption” (Jer. 3:19). “She shall forget her own people and her father's house” (Psa. 45:10). “She shall hearken and incline her ear, and the King shall greatly desire her beauty.” Then shall the cry of “Ishi” be put into her mouth, and the Lord will delight in her, and call her His “Hephzibah” (Isa. 62, Hos. 2).
The book of Song of Solomon and a large portion of the Psalms, give us the exercises of Jerusalem, the bride elect or the remnant of the Jews, during that day of her espousals and discipline. Ruth who first gleaned in the fields and afterward lay at the feet of Boaz on the threshing-floor, is the type of Jerusalem thus in discipline and in espousals, as Ruth the wife of Boaz the mighty man of wealth is her type in all that honor and estate to which she shall be brought when the day of espousals ends in the covenant. And these things are also variously celebrated by all the prophets. But in all that they notice of these things, and of the Lord's tender love to His Jerusalem, I must mark one feature which has its peculiar interest for us. It is this—when the Lord has brought her to Himself in the bonds of the covenant, He does not refer to her former state as one of divorcement, but rather of widowhood. That is, He does not call to mind the shame, but rather the sorrow, of her former estate. Though it may be divorcement and shame (Isa. 1:1), yet the Lord will not remember it as such. May we not, brethren, notice the perfectness of such love as this? Does it not sweetly and affectingly tell us that with our God there is forgetting as well as forgiving? the taking away the sting of rebuking recollections, as well as the covering of the multitude of sins? We see this in that beautiful chapter (Isa. 54). There Jehovah, re-married to Jerusalem, looks back as in pity on her widowhood, and not as in anger on her divorcement. All this is perfect in the ways of the divine love. The human expression of this we get in Joseph, who is the type of Christ in this His love to Israel. For when Joseph forgave and accepted his brethren, he would have the memory of all that which was their guilt and dishonor blotted out forever. “Now therefore,” said he, “be not grieved nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither; for God did send me before you to preserve life.”
These are some of the ways of His grace, beloved; but the source of them all, which is in Himself, is unsearchable. Unmeasured heights, and lengths, and depths, and breadths of love are there—a love that no man knows, and that is preparing for us what eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived. Oh! that we drank more simply, more unmixed of these waters. We should think much of the love of God, as it is in its fountains in Himself, and as it is in its streams spreading and diffusing itself among us, poor withered sinners. Let us not so much brood in sorrow, and complaint over thoughts of our narrow love to Him, but rather let His love be shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, our enlarged souls entertaining the thought of it continually.
And here, for a moment, I would turn aside to express what I have felt at times touching the book of God, that in one respect it is indeed a melancholy saddening book. But I mean only as it is a record of man's ways. Open any historical portion of it, and there you will see man in his evil courses, going on in active enmity or reckless forgetfulness of God. Open any prophetic portion of it, and there you will hear the voice of God's minister exposing, rebuking, warning or threatening poor evil man. All this makes the book a melancholy and saddening volume. From Genesis, through Exodus, and onward to the end, as your thoughts are led through man's paths, your heart will be led into lamentation and mourning.
But it is a book of light and joy also, full of rest for the weary, and of refreshing for those who are thus sick of man and his doings. But I mean only as it is the record of God's ways. Open it in any place of it, and there you will find His grace meeting man's sin, His counsels correcting man's foolishness, His efforts of love essaying one method after Another to bring man home to Himself; and in the end you will see Him though refused and slighted, in the sovereignty of His grace building up families for heaven and earth, and filling all things with creation's joy in His own praise. Thus, brethren, let one page of this wondrous book show man to us, and all is sorrow and shame; let another show God to us, and all is rest and joy. And this will be found to be just as it should be, that “according as it is written, he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”
Let us return, and for a little while meditate on the church's more immediate interest in the truths I have been considering. I would observe that Scripture teaches us that the church knows of no marriage with her Lord, but of election and grace; and of that covenant which pats away sin, and preserves union forever—in principle such a marriage as Jerusalem is to know in the latter day, and not such as Israel knew when of old they came out of Egypt. The church has never been married by a covenant that rests on her own fidelity and strength. Indeed as yet there has been no marriage of the church at all. There will be, but as yet there has been no presenting of the bride to the Lamb. Nor indeed could there have been; for the church is not fully formed, nor has the scene of their union, the home and inheritance of Christ and the church, been as yet prepared. For heaven is the scene of union (Rev. 19:7), and out of heaven the Lamb's wife is seen to descend (Rev. 21). But it was otherwise with Israel of old. There might have been a marriage between her and the Lord of Hosts, as we have seen there was, because Israel as a nation was manifested under Joshua; and Canaan was the scene of the union.
But the church has never yet been manifested, for she is not yet fully formed. She is passing now through the time of her espousals, the time of discipline and preparation, that when she is married, she may be ready for her Lord, and fitted for abiding everlasting anion with Him. She is during this age or dispensation on her journey to meet Him. She is like Rebecca under the charge of Abraham's servant, having left her father, her kindred, and her country, as the espoused of the distant and as yet unseen Isaac. But she fears not, she suspects not. She has committed herself to the care of a stranger, One Who is not known in this Mesopotamia of ours, On.. “Whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him” (John 14:17). But she knows Him, and trusts Him, and believes the report that He has brought her about her Isaac, and that His Father has given Him all the wealth of His house (Gen. 24:36, John 16:15). And though she, like Rebecca, has not seen Him, yet she loves Him; though as yet she sees Him not, yet believing she rejoices (1 Peter 1:8). Her eye is toward Canaan, and her heart upon Isaac. But she has not yet reached Sarah's tent, Isaac's desired dwelling-place. She has goodly ornament upon her, brought out from Abraham's treasures, the pledges of Abraham's wealth, of Isaac's love, and of her guide's faithfulness; but she is still only on her way. And blessed is it, brethren, when our hearts are “in the way,” when we are contented to know that to the end here it is but a journey. And we must take heed, lest, like Israel, we become discouraged because of the way. For the will of God must first be done, and then the promise (Heb. 10:36).
Thus is it with us, beloved. It is a going still from strength to strength through the valley of Baca. It is the way before, as well as behind us, but still the way. So does the word of God describe it for us, and the word also describes this dispensation to us under the figure of the vestry to the church, if I may so speak, where the guests are putting on their wedding garments in preparation for the marriage. It is a kind of anteroom to the kingdom or the King's palace (Matt. 22:11); a day of espousals, as we have already spoken, in which. the church is learning the mind of the Lord, and the ways of His house; “I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.” Mark that I may present you. The marriage is but in prospect. Personal individual union of the saints with their Head, so as to bring forth fruit unto God, there is now; but presenting of the church unto Christ there is not as yet. Adam was cast into a deep sleep, and of the rib taken from his side while thus in sleep, was made a woman. But not till she was fully thus made, and Adam had awaked, was she brought to him. So in the mystery. The act of forming the church—the woman, is now going on; but the presentation cannot be till that act be finished, and Adam awakes; till “the whole body be fitly joined together and compacted,” and the Lord arises, and shows Himself, and takes His prepared and loved one.
(see Hos. 2; 3). And when three stages of it, is beautifully disclosed to us in Eph. 5:25-27.
1.— “Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it.” That is, loving before the world was, He said “Lo I come “; and when His delights, as He speaks, “were with the sons of men.” Then did He set His love upon the church, and in due time He gave Himself for it, sold all that He had that He might possess her—His pearl of great price.
2.— “That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.” That is, during the present age, He is forming the church for Himself by the virtue and continuous ministry of His word and Spirit, till she is prepared as a bride for her husband.
3.— “That He might present it to Himself a glorious church.” That is, after this age, in the coming kingdom, when He will have taken His bride, the church, then formed and ready, and made glorious like Himself; that He may find her His help-meet, and be satisfied in her forever.
We thus are taught that the church has not been, neither indeed could have been, as yet presented for the marriage in heaven (Rev. 19).
But the looking upon the church as though she had been already manifested and married has been, I judge, the occasion of giving her a very undue place and condition in the world. It has been a warrant for establishing her in the earth; for an establishment is an attempt to manifest or present the church. But this cannot be here, as we have seen. With Israel it might have been so, and was so; for the earth was Israel's home, but the church is a stranger here. And an understanding of this (and an understanding we should have in all things, 2 Tim. 2:7) would have hindered this attempt. But there has not been in all this knowledge, and we have each of us, brethren, much of slowness of heart to bear with in one another, as the Lord with all of us a thousand-fold more than we ever estimate. And it is well to remember that it is written, “If any man think that he knoweth anything, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.”
But the understanding of this would, I judge, have hindered the Lord's people from ever consenting to the establishment of the church, which is the giving her a place and a dowry thus on the earth; as though the earth was her place, and she were as yet in this age, entitled to the form and the rights of a presented or married church. But the understanding of this would, not only as I judge, have thus hindered error, but have furnished comfort. For it would prepare the saints for the present distracted broken condition of everything among them. And this would be no small comfort. It would teach them that they were not to expect in this age a perfect exhibition of the church, but they must look on it only as the time for forming and fashioning the church after the mind and counsel of God. And this would further lead them to know that things might be really better when apparently worse, worse as to their external general condition, but better as to the great ends of the dispensation. For the purpose of the divine Former of the church is to have the saints grow up in the life and power of communion with their Lord through the Spirit, rather than to assume any consistency and order, however good for present credit and security, which would not stand the light and purity of that day. For this would be answering the ends of the dispensation, bringing each of us into readiness for the day when we shall all be presented together without spot.
Oh! let us, dear brethren, have grace to cultivate this readiness for the Bridegroom. It depends on this communion with Him, while as yet He is absent; and on our minds being “kept in the simplicity that is in Christ,” on their being formed only in and for Christ. Christ is our salvation, but Christ is our lesson also, the holy lesson we should each be diligently learning, careful and jealous that Satan be not teaching us another. When the Lord God was fashioning Eve, His design was to make her a helpmeet for Adam. His eye rested on Adam's joy, and on that only, all the while. Had any other design intruded, it would have been a corrupting of the fair workmanship. But the Lord God was true to the counsels of His love toward Adam. And so Adam found it; for when Eve was brought to him, he said, “This is bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh; expressing thus his complacency in her, and thus owning that the Lord God had prepared her for him in perfect love and wisdom.
And so when Abraham's servant, Eliezar of Damascus, was getting Rebecca ready for Isaac, he clothed her with raiment, and adorned her with jewels which he had brought out of Abraham's house. Nothing of Mesopotamia was found upon her; for Rebecca was to be for Isaac, and not for her own people. And so with the Spirit now. The purpose of the Holy Ghost now is to get the bride ready for the Lamb. We have been espoused to one husband that we may be presented to Christ. And how jealous should we be lest anything should be forming our minds for any one but for Him! The gifts that have been sent down are only for uniting us in the knowledge of the Son, and that in all things we, may grow up unto Him. Any other attempt is but sleight of man and cunning craftiness (Eph. 4). It may be fair and boastful of great and good things; but it is deceiving an angel of light, if it be not forming us in Christ. That is the point of jealousy with the saint. It may appear to be wisdom, or knowledge, or religion, or order, or some other thing of esteem; but it matters not—it is deceitful and corrupting, if it exercise any art but the art of making us to grow up unto Christ. We want the broken heart, dear brethren, the fragments of which Jesus can take up. We want to dismiss all confidence in the flesh, for Jesus cannot use the flesh. We want to know more of the widowhood, the longings of one who waits for her Lord. He is absent, and many things solicit us the while, but we are to keep ourselves for Him. We are to be preparing as Eve for Adam, that when he awakes he may see the fruit of his deep sleep and be satisfied—as Rebecca for Isaac, that when the solitary saint lifts up his eyes and sees her who had left her kindred and country for him, he may be comforted (Gen. 24:62-67). And doubtless we shall then be comforted and satisfied also. Will it not be enough to find ourselves by His side forever? will it not be enough to see Him rejoicing over us as “His pearl of great price,” for the sake of which He had parted with all that He had? Oh! if the sweetest joy of a faithful wife be this, to know that she has the abiding and best love of her lord; will not this be ours, brethren, without fear of change forever? May we be true to Him Who never can be false to us, Who nourisheth and cherisheth us as His own flesh! J. G. B.

Christian Liberty of Preaching and Teaching the Lord Jesus Christ: Part 1

“ They that were scattered abroad went everywhere, preaching the word” (Acts 8:4).
That “the word of the Lord may have free course” is a matter which few will deny to be of ultimate concern to the glory of God, though it be one which has in many ways been let and hindered by human perverseness; and in nothing more than by confining the preaching of the everlasting gospel within arbitrary limits of place and person, prescribed by man, but sanctioned in no way by scripture. To a single mind which has known the value of God's love, and which views things in the light in which they are put by that blessed knowledge, it would not seem that in the midst of a world lying under condemnation, yet visited by this love, aught beyond spiritual qualification was needed for anyone to declare to those whom he sees around him ready to perish the remedy, that Jesus has died for sinners. Man has been pleased to set up restrictions; but the point with the disciple is to know whether the Lord has done so, and what is the warrant for precluding any from full liberty of preaching to whom He has given His Spirit for the purpose: seeing that if He has been so given, there is infinite loss in the hindrance, and the Spirit of God is grieved. The same faithfulness to Christ, which will yield unqualified obedience to every jot and every tittle of His commands, will also lead us to search out every hindrance to His service, in order to its removal from ourselves or others. The present question is one of deep importance, for it is evident that if the restrictions be not verily and indeed ordered by the Lord Himself, or by His apostles, it comes to this, that in upholding them there is a. loss on the one hand of much comfort and edification to the church by confining to the ministry of one that which should flow from the Spirit in many; and on the other the gospel which was “to be preached to every creature” under heaven is bound and fettered, and multitudes are shut out from the springs of life for want of the invitation which should be upon the lips of all who themselves have drunk of the living waters.
The point to be proved by those who are opposed to the unrestricted preaching of the word is this either that none who are not in prescribed office have the Spirit of God in testimony; or that, having it, the sanction of man is necessary. I do not purpose here a general investigation of the principles of the subject, but merely to inquire whether any of the church of God are not entitled to preach if the Lord give them opportunity, or whether there be any human sanction needful for their doing so. The following considerations are intended, by the Lord's help, to maintain that it is not needed; and that no such sanction can be proved to be necessary from scripture; and that no such sanction was therein afforded.
The question is not whether all Christians are individually qualified, but whether they are disqualified unless they are what is commonly called ordained. I say “commonly,” because the word as used in scripture does not in the original convey what it does to an English ear at present. I affirm that no such ordination was a qualification to preach in the days of scriptural statement. I do not despise order, I do not despise pastoral care but love it where it really exists, as that which savors in its place of the sweetest of God's services; seeing that, though it may be exercised sometimes in a manner not to our present taste or thought, a good shepherd will seek the scattered sheep. But I confine myself to a simple question—the assertion that none of the Lord's people ought to preach without Episcopal or other analogous appointment. The thing here maintained in few words is that they are entitled. The scripture proves that they did so; that they were justified in doing so, God blessing them therein; and that the principles of scripture require it, assuming of course that they are qualified by God. For the question here is not competency to act, but title to act if competent. Neither do I despise herein (God forbid that I should do so) the holy setting apart according to godliness to any office such as are competent, by those that have authority to do so.
Let us then try the question by the light which the word affords us upon the subject. There are only two cases upon which the question can arise: namely, as to their speaking in the church, or out of the church; amongst the “congregation of faithful men,” for their common profit and building up in the faith; or as evangelists, declaring to the world, wheresoever God may direct them, the message of that “grace which has appeared unto all men.” If these are admitted, all anomalous cases will readily be agreed in.
First then let us look into the, speaking of Christians in the church. And here I remark that the directions in 1 Cor. 14, are entirely inconsistent with the necessity of ordination to speak. There is a line drawn there, but it is not between ordained or unordained. “Let your women keep silence in the churches:” a direction which never could have place, were the speaking confined to a definitely ordained person. Quite another ground is taken; which implies directly, not that it is right for every man to speak, but that there was a preclusion of none, because of their not being in any stated office. Women were the precluded class: there the line was drawn. If men had not the gift of speaking, of course they would be silent, if they followed the directions there given. The apostle says, “Every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation.” Does he then say none ought to speak but one ordained? No” Let all things be done unto edifying.” This is the grand secret, the grand rule: in a tongue, by two or at the most by three, and by course, and interpret; the prophets, let them speak two or three, &c. “For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted,” “for God,” &c. “Let your women keep silence in the churches; for it is not permitted onto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience.”
It is undeniable then, that here we have distinction, not of ordained and unordained, but of those who from their character (women) are not permitted to speak, and the rest are; being also directed in what order to do so, and the ground of distinction stated. And this is God's plan of decency and order. For the rest they were all to speak, that all might learn, and all be comforted. Not all to speak at once, not all to speak every day, but all as God led them, according to the order there laid down, and as God was pleased to give them ability for the edifying of the church. I apply all this simply and exclusively to the question of Christians in general, having God's Spirit, using their respective gifts; and I assert that there was no such principle recognized as that they should not, but the contrary.
It may and will be said by many that these were the times of the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit. But this is a false view of the case; for do those who make this objection mean to argue that ordination did not begin as a distinctive title till after the departure of the Spirit of God? Moreover the Spirit of God does not justify, by systematic rules, breaking through His own order; it would be most mischievous to say that He did. But the case, let it be observed, was not one of the prerogative of spiritual gifts, but of order; for women had spiritual gifts, as we read elsewhere, and directions are given for their exercise; but they were not to use them in the church, because it was out of order—not comely. At the same time there was no hint that any or all of the men were not: but the contrary, because it was not out of order. Aptness to teach may be a very important qualification for a bishop, but it cannot be said from scripture to be disorderly for any member of the body to speak in the church, if God has given him ability.
Besides, though these extraordinary gifts, tongues, &c., may have ceased, I by no means admit that the ordinary gifts for the edification of the church, of believers, have ceased. On the contrary, I believe they are the instruments, the only real instruments, of edification. Nor do I see why, on principle, they should not be exercised in the church, or why the church has not a title to the edification derived from them. If the presence of the indwelling Spirit be in the church, it has that which renders it substantially competent to its own edification, and to worship God “in Spirit and in truth.” If He be not there, nothing else can be recognized, and it is a church no longer; for no makeshift is warranted by scripture in default of the original constitutive character and endowments of a dispensation.
But in thus upholding, as one is bound, the common title of the saints, it may be supposed by some that the argument will be at once met by referring to the orderly way in which Christ originally gave His church, “some apostles, and some pastors and teachers,” &c. Now, unless one man centers all these offices in one person by virtue of ordination, the objection will not apply, but on the contrary brings its own refutation. For we read, some were of one office, some of another; the head, Christ, “from Whom the whole body fitly framed together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” We read also that the members are set in the body, one the eye, the other the foot, the other the ear, that there “might be no schism in the body.” And it is a thought which might well commend itself to our minds, that if we have indeed lost many and ornamental members, it is no reason why we should summarily cut off the rest—the word of wisdom, and the word of knowledge, and the like, of which there is assuredly some measure yet remaining in the church.
But if the attempt should be made to close the inquiry by silencing all discussion with the startling assertion that it is useless, for the Spirit of God is utterly and altogether gone out of the church, it at once brings on the question, If so, what are we, and where are we? The church of God without the Spirit! Verily if He be not there, all union between Christ and His members is cut off, and the promise, “I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world,” is of none effect. But the word of God shall stand. “The world indeed cannot receive the Spirit of truth, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him;” but let the disciples of Jesus know that He is with them; and that Wheresoever two or three are gathered together to His name, there, in proportion to their condition and necessities, His Spirit is with them, for every purpose of instruction and blessing.
(To be continued.)

On Acts 25:1-12

The new governor gave a fresh opportunity to the Jews. Morally more respectable than Felix, he knew not God, and therefore could not be trusted for man. Faith to him was quite unintelligible, an enthusiasm. But he soon learned enough of the Jews do make him guilty in his willingness to gratify them in the sacrifice of Paul. Policy is a sad destroyer of conscience.
“Festus therefore, having come into the province, after three days went up to Jerusalem from Caesarea. And the chief priests and the principal men of the Jews informed him against Paul; and they besought him, asking a favor that he would send for him to Jerusalem, laying wait to kill him on the way. Howbeit Festus answered that Paul was being kept at Caesarea and that he himself was about to depart [there] shortly. Let them therefore, saith he, that are of power among you go down with me, and if there is anything amiss in the man, let them accuse him” (Acts 25:1-5).
The providence of God is still in action. On the one hand the Jews sought under color of favor to have the apostle waylaid on the road to Jerusalem; on the other the governor stood to the dignity of his office, and would not have it lowered. As Paul had already been sent to Cæsarea, he declined moving him back to Jerusalem. It is possible that he knew little or nothing of their murderous designs. If so, it was the secret care of God for one unjustly assailed. But rumors would easily get currency as to any such plot. At this time the governor was not prepared to surrender a Roman citizen to the malice of his enemies, especially of a Jewish sort on a religious dispute. The Lord in any case watched over his servant. The accused was in Caesarea, and if anywhere in that land the supreme seat of judicature was there in Roman eyes. The governor by his decision hindered the execution of their plot. He was returning to Caesarea himself shortly: if therefore any wrong was in question, they had their opportunity to come down and accuse the prisoner.
“And when he had tarried among them not more than eight or ten days, he went down unto Cæsarea; and on the morrow he sat on the judgment-seat, and commanded Paul to be brought. And when he was come, the Jews that had come from Jerusalem stood round about and laid many and grievous charges which they could not prove; while Paul said in his defense, Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I sinned at all” (Acts 25:6-8). The case was as plain as could be. The accusations were without proof; the defense was complete. The Jews were simply bitter enemies. The apostle had not transgressed as to any of the many serious charges they had laid to his account.
But Festus was really little better than Felix. The change of judge was only slightly in favor of justice. There was the same selfishness which had counteracted equity before. Impossible to expect the fear of God in a heathen man, though some may have been more depraved and unjust than others.
“But Festus, desiring to gain favor with the Jews, answered Paul and said, Wilt thou go up to Jerusalem and there be judged of these things before me?” (Acts 25:9). So little can man be reckoned on. Festus had refused this very favor to the Jews in Jerusalem; he could scarcely be in the dark as to the reason why Paul had been hurried down to Caesarea. His motive was to curry favor with the Jews. “But Paul said, I am standing before Cæsar’s judgment-seat, where I ought to be judged. To the Jews have I done no wrong, as thou also very well knowest” (Acts 25:10).
The apostle must have had cause for speaking so plainly. “If then I am a wrong-doer, and have committed anything worthy of death, I refuse not to die. But if none of those things is [true] whereof these accuse me, no man can give me up [or grant me by favor] unto them. I appeal unto Caesar” (vs. 11). It is clear that all the righteousness of the case lay with Paul. He therefore avails himself of his title as a Roman citizen against those who would have infringed Roman law. He agitated no change of law, he sought nothing for himself, he employed no lawyer. The law had already ruled, and he pleaded it before one in office to administer it.
Thus so far the difficulty was terminated. The governor was bound by the appeal. “Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered, Thou hast appealed unto Caesar: unto Caesar shalt thou go” (Acts 25:12). The king, or emperor, was to hear, no less than subordinate magistrates; and this not by fawning on, or seeking access to, the princes of this world, but as holy sufferers with Christ and for His name (Matt. 10:18).

Hebrews: Introduction

From the absence of an address it has been doubted whether this is an epistle. The closing chapter however, with not a few confirmations less marked throughout, is proof positive that it has a real epistolary nature, though, like the letter to the saints in Rome, somewhat of a treatise also. Its contents demonstrate beyond just question that the Epistle before us was directed to Jews professing the name of the Lord Jesus. For all would be truly applicable if not a Gentile were called at this time to believe. Beyond all other books of the New Testament it is as to every point of doctrine and even exhortation based on the ancient scriptures familiar only to the people chosen of old.
This stamps it with a character different, whoever the writer might be, from every other. It appeals to the Old Testament from first to last as no other Epistle does. Yet the Law, the Psalms, and the Prophets, are made to speak as it were with new tongues. They all render a distinct, united, and glorious testimony, once earthly in the letter, now heavenly in spirit, to the Lord seated at God's right hand, His proper position for the Christian. To lead on the believing Jew to know and enjoy Christ where He is, to worship and walk in this faith, is the prime object of the bright, glowing, deeply interesting and instructive Epistle that claims our attention.
It is therefore the inspired exercise of the teacher's gift rather than of the apostle and prophet announcing absolutely new revelations. There is no such language here as “I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery,” as in Rom. 11:25. There is not a word about his apostleship here, as in the two Epistles to the Corinthians; of the mystery of Christ, as to the Ephesians and the Colossians; nor even “this we say unto you by the word of the Lord,” as to the Thessalonians. The writer speaks of others as “those that heard” the Lord; he himself is here a “teacher of” Israelites “in faith and verity.” He simply cites and reasons on the ancient oracles as well as histories; he applies prophecies and expounds the types of the law; but rarely if ever does he unveil the magnificent scenes of the latter day, when Israel shall be blessed, under Messiah and the new covenant, and the nations also in a circle concentric indeed but not so close. He writes with the utmost fullness of Christ's exaltation on high in view of the heavenly calling and those who now partake of it before that day.
Christ is never spoken of as the Head, nor consequently is the one body wherein the old differences vanish, nor that new man where is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free; but Christ is all and in all. The nearest approach to unity is that the Sanctifier and the sanctified are all of one. The assembly is of the firstborn ones, viewed as an aggregate of individuals and not as the body of Christ. Those who composed it were heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ; but joined to the Lord as one spirit is not said here.
This may be conceived by some as implying another hand rather than Paul's. But the inference is baseless. For though he alone develops the mystery concerning Christ and concerning the church, it is only in the Epistles to the Ephesians and the Colossians, with the First to the Corinthians practically and in that to the Romans allusively. In the rest of his Epistles we find “the body” no more than in that to the Hebrews; and this as distinctly in the ordering of the Holy Spirit, as in those which contain it fully. Our individual relationships are no less important than our corporate. The divine design regulates the topics introduced, as much as their appropriate handling. Each Epistle or other book of Scripture is perfect for the purpose God had in view when He inspired each writer. As the main object in that to the Hebrews is Christ's priesthood with its necessary basis, due adjuncts, and suited results, and as this is for the saints individually, the one body of Christ could not fittingly fall within its scope, if it were a divinely inspired composition, whether by Paul or by any other. Its central doctrine is, not we one with Him as members of His body, but He appearing before the face of God for us. Abiding forever, having His priesthood unchangeable, He is able to save to the uttermost those that by Himself approach God, as He al ways lives to intercede for them. The same persons compose the body of Christ; but the associations are wholly distinct and only compatible through the fullness of Christ.
Some have wondered why Paul, if the writer, should not have given his name at the beginning. The peculiarity is at least equally true of any writer. It would in fact be more strange in one who had written no other Epistle. If the great apostle wrote, its analogue is in the First Epistle of John, who does not prefix his name there, though in the two lesser he addresses himself “as elder” in a style unmistakably his own. In the Revelation, where the difference of the subject matter calls for a manner of writing wholly distinct from either his Gospel or his Epistles, his name appears alike in the preface as in the conclusion. Is not this self-evidently as it should be?
Now supposing Paul to have written the Epistle to the Hebrews, it is not difficult to suggest weighty motives for his putting forward, not his own name and apostolic authority, but such a treatment of the Old Testament scriptures as must carry divine light and firm conviction to all who weigh them before God. That the Hebrew Christians were prejudiced and disputations even in early days is a fact beyond question, for one who reads Acts 11; 15; 21, to cite nothing else. They could not but feel that the doctrine of the apostle had a depth, and height, and comprehensiveness which made it a strain for those so long swathed in Jewish bands to follow him. He was apostle of the uncircumcision, in itself no small trial to ordinary minds of their mold, as we may assuredly conclude even from the Apostles Peter and Barnabas, favored as they had personally been of God toward Gentiles. Therefore does the writer, supposing him to be Paul, approach them with the most consummate delicacy and tact, as his burning love for his brethren—doubly brethren, both after the flesh and now after the Spirit—would dictate. He becomes as a Jew that he might gain the Jews; to them that were under the law, as under law, though being himself not under law, that he might gain those under law. The omission of his name had thus at the starting-point a special propriety in his case beyond that of other man.
Another ground for that omission is plain from the unusual task before him. The force of the appeal lay in its coming from the first and throughout with the authority of God; and to Jewish Christians this could be effected in no way so telling as that here employed. “By many measures and in many manners God, having spoken of old to the fathers in prophets, spoke to us in [the] Son Whom He appointed Heir of all things, through Whom also He made the worlds” (Heb. 1:1, 2). How enfeebling would have been the apostle's introduction of himself in such a connection! Even we who were of the Gentiles, and who are of the church, would feel it in either way out of place, aesthetically in the one instance, spiritually in the other. For the Hebrew Christian no method so impressive, welcome, and authoritative. It was the true end of controversy. Impossible to evade or to gainsay that which carried in itself the evidence of God's mind revealed in His word—at least to a believer.
Hence all flows on the ground of what is confessedly divine; and any living man's authority, however truly conferred of God and admitted by believers, would be felt rather to interfere than to be seasonable. Therefore we hear in chap. 2. of the word which, having had its commencement in being spoken “by the Lord,” was confirmed to as by those that heard, even thus God also bearing witness both by signs and wonders, and manifold powers and distributions of the Holy Ghost according to His own will. In like beautiful accordance Jesus is shown in chap. 3. to be the Apostle, as well as High Priest, of our confession. Clearly therefore it is superficial in the extreme to reason on 2:3, 4, as evidence against Paul's authorship. Those who were designated apostles by the Lord on earth are merely “those that heard “; and as Saul then was but an unbeliever of Israel like the mass, he graciously sinks himself among the rest as “to us.” Just thus, long after he was an apostle by call, he could say on meet occasion, “I am a Jew born in Tarsus of Cilicia,” and even “I am a Pharisee, son of Pharisees,” and “according to the strictest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee.” It would have been self-importance, not gracious wisdom, to have asserted his apostleship in this place, writing as he was by the will and inspiration of God, but evidently outside his special field of the nations, as laid down in Gal. 2:7-9 and elsewhere. It was a final warning to the Christian Jews; and who so fitted in love no less than in everything else as one who had ere this testified to the Roman Christians that he loved the ancient people as much as Moses, when he asked Jehovah to blot him out of His book if He would not forgive their sin? As the apostle of the circumcision had been employed, and not Paul, to open the kingdom of heaven to the Gentiles (Acts 10), so did the only wise God use the apostle of the uncircumcision, and not Peter, to summon for the last time the Hebrew Christians, whose attachment to the old and earthly system He had so long borne with.
No doubt there were not a few who had learned better than the amalgam which had hitherto prevailed in Jerusalem among the baptized. But the time was come, and the most suited instrument ever raised up on earth, to bring to a close a state of things abnormal to the spiritual eye, and dangerous for the carnal: who, even if they love the Lord at bottom, are apt to fluctuate and more prone to palliate and foster natural and educational inclinations than to judge them by the word. Jerusalem was about to pass visibly away with the temple, ritual, and priesthood. It was of moment that, before the external blow of judgment fell, the faithful in Palestine should learn what they had been too slow to apprehend. Jesus is not only the Savior and the Lord, but the great High Priest Who has passed through the heavens, and to this end both Son of God in the supreme sense, owned as God and as Jehovah by Him Who is God and Jehovah, and thus as both divine and human in One Person seated at God's right hand on His throne where no creature ever did or can sit.
Hence the Epistle starts with Christ in that glorious condition; and we know who it was that saw this great sight to his conversion from Judaism as well as sin—who it is that above every other even of inspired men was given to seize and preach and write down permanently the great truth of a Christ known no longer after the flesh, but dead, risen and exalted in heaven; who accordingly writes death on all that flesh and even religions flesh gloried in, that he and we might find life and righteousness, wisdom, sanctification, redemption, in a word all we and all that God wills us to possess, in Christ at His right hand. We are thus heavenly, as is the Heavenly; and with the assurance of safe keeping and ultimate triumph over every foe; for as we have borne the image of the earthy (Adam's) we shall also bear the image of the Heavenly (Christ's).
This was the apostle's great ministry of the church, and thus he was enabled by the Holy Spirit to fill up the word of God, even that blank which was left for the revelation of the mystery that had been hid from all ages and generations. Here it is circumscribed no doubt, as was necessary because of the infantine state of the believing Jews, who little suspected that their adhesion to the old things, and mingling them with the new, hindered progress more than aught else could. Hence the aim of the Epistle is to show the substance, force, and perfection, of all the ancient forms in the truth of Christ's person, and office, work and position, thus raising the Jews who believed to heaven in faith, affection, worship, service and hope, and making it easy and even happy for them to see the old covenant passing away, the Aaronic priesthood giving place to a better, and earthly sacrifices of no account, yea of exceeding peril if they became rivals of that finished work by which the faithful have been and are sanctified, and perfected in perpetuity, as surely as Christ sat down in perpetuity at God's right hand. Thus “the camp,” once the place so favored of God's people, is a place for the Christian Jew to leave. For the blood of atonement has been carried into the holiest for us, and He Who shed it suffered without the gate. Our place therefore is now within the holiest before God, and without the camp before man; for it is effectively and ought to be only with Christ in both. “Having therefore, brethren, boldness for entering into the holies by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh; and having a High Priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water” (Heb. 10:19-22). But let us not forget the other side and present duty: “Let us go forth to Him without the camp bearing His reproach; for we have not here an abiding city but we seek that which is to come” (Heb. 13:13, 14).
It is impossible to conceive anything equal to this Epistle, whether in the most winning approach to the Jewish Christians where they were, or in the no less admirable deliverance from the ritual yoke by the proof from God's word that Christianity alone yields the true and intended and complete meaning of all they had been well nigh idolizing in the letter.
It ought not to surprise any that Scripture has settled the authorship of the Epistle; and this not by men reasoning on the reference to imprisonment and release in Italy, with relationship to Timothy, but by a sufficiently determining statement of Peter in his Second Epistle, addressed as we know it is to the elect Jews of the dispersion (cf. 1 Peter 1; 2 and 2 Peter 3:1), as the Epistle to the Hebrews contemplates those in the land. In either case believing Jews are contemplated. What then can be plainer than the apostle Peter's word? “Even as our beloved brother Paul also, according to the wisdom given to him, wrote to you; as also in all Epistles speaking in them of these things” (2 Peter 3:15, 16). Now this Epistle repeatedly speaks of the day of the Lord, with some things as usual hard, especially for Jewish minds to understand, as in 9., 10., 12. Thus it is certain that Paul as well as Peter wrote to the Hebrew Christians; and that these are spoken of as “scriptures” by implication in the words that follow. Either then the Epistle to the Hebrews is what Paul wrote to them; or that portion of the “scriptures” is lost. It has been shown already that the scope of truth is eminently that of Paul; and the peculiarity of his task to any reflecting mind would readily account for an elaborate handling of types, most desirable for Jews, but out of place in his writing to Gentile saints.
The contents and connection of the Epistle are plainly defined, which from its nature is less colored with feeling than the other letters of the writer. The personal glory of the Lord Jesus is the basis of all, chap. 1. Son of God, chap. 2. Son of man. Thence follows in chap. 3. the superiority of the Apostle and High Priest of the Christian confession to Moses and Aaron. He was the divine Builder of all, Son over His house, Moses being but a ministering servant, though faithful. And this introduces the wilderness as the scene through which we are tried, with promise of entering into God's rest—glory at Christ's return. Hence not only is God's word needed by us but a High Priest able to sympathize with our infirmities, as in chap. 4. This leads in chap. 5. to the contrast of Christ's priesthood, God's Son according to the order of Melchisedec, with that of Aaron taken from among men, and able to exercise forbearance toward the ignorant and erring, since he himself was clothed with infirmity, and was bound to offer for sins, as for the people, so also for himself.
But here the apostle turns aside, as his manner is, to lay bare the hindrance through Jewish elements, still pertinaciously clung to, yet incompatible with the everlasting and heavenly things which suit our relation to that great High Priest Who has passed through the heavens and set Himself in a seat so glorious. The word of the beginning of Christ, however good, is quite insufficient; and the Christian must go on to full growth (chap. 6.); for as it is expressed elsewhere, we are no longer under the law, suited and given to man in the flesh, but under grace, as should be self-evident. How else could we be heavenly, as is the Heavenly? Sovereign grace, reigning through righteousness, alone accounts for it. And hence the danger of going back from the heavenly privileges now revealed to those elements which are nailed to the cross and vanished away to faith in the light of Christ on high: a danger to which none were so exposed as Hebrews. He therefore desires that each might show diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end, having God's oath as well as word with a forerunner in Christ within the veil.
Chap. 7. proves how immeasurably and in all respects the priesthood of Jesus, the Son of God, surpasses that of Aaron, bound up as it was with the law which made nothing perfect. The ancient oracles which fully prepare for it intimate also a new and better covenant (chap. 8.), before which the first grows old and ready to vanish away, instead of possessing that immutability with which Rabbinical pride and imagination clothed it. And this leads to the great truth of sacrifice according to God's mind and will (chap. 9. 10.), which has found alone its adequate force in the blood of Christ Who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself spotless to God. Therefore its unity is insisted on, as its completeness is attested by His sitting in perpetuity on God's right hand, the work finished, and those that are sanctified perfected forever by that one offering. Here too the warning of abandoning for sin such a sacrifice is solemnly rendered, while it is allowed that we have need of patience in faith, till Jesus come.
This is followed (chap, 11.) by the striking roll of God's worthies, all being testified of for their faith, before the law and during it, culminating in Jesus the Leader and Completer of faith, Who, infinitely above all in person, suffered immeasurably more and differently, and is alone now in commensurate glory at the right hand of the throne of God (chap. 12.). And here is beautifully shown that for believers suffering flows from His love as the Father of spirits, and not now of a nation. Our standing is in His grace, not the law of Sinai; and we are come in faith to the glorious results anticipated for heaven and earth, as the kingdom will display when at His appearing He will cause not earth only but the heaven to tremble.
Brotherly love, hospitality, and compassion are urged, with the sanctity of marriage, and freedom from avarice through trust in the Lord (chap.13.) Departed leaders are to be remembered, as living ones to be obeyed. Jesus abides the same. Serving the tabernacle has no more value: all is found in Him, His work, and His offices. “Let us therefore go forth unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach.” Such is Christianity as here shown from divinely handled Jewish types and O.T. teaching. Prayer for the writer and those with him is asked, as he beseeches of the Lord peace for them, saluting all their leaders and all the saints.

Religious Societies: Part 1

There are two great subjects of interest to which any one taught of God most necessarily be awakened—the glory of God, and the necessities of man. In Jesus we perceive the most acute sensibility to the wretchedness of man: He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief—sighing, groaning, and weeping at the dominion of evil and misery over man. But whilst He met it in all the sovereign power of relief, He so met it that men should glorify God, and thus made the occasion of ministering to man's necessities, the occasion of bringing glory to God. In this as well as other particulars He has left us an example that we should follow His steps. We are apt to have a much quicker perception of the necessities of man than of the glory of God. It is the Spirit alone which can make us of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord, while our own natural selfishness enables us in some measure to enter into man's necessities. We see them as being ourselves in them, as those which personally affect us. Jesus saw them indeed, as in them, but yet with the judgment of One Who saw them from above. Hence it is, that whenever the church has been awakened to a sense either of the pressing necessities of the world around it, or of its own deficiencies, it has in the one case been busy in doing, rather than zealous to repent; and in the other, more ready to engage in some active exertions to mitigate or remedy the pressing necessity, by the means it found readiest at hand, than to ascertain what might be God's way of meeting it. The end proposed has alone been to remedy the destitution felt, or misery discovered; and if this end has in any wise been answered, by God's blessing vouchsafed, the church has been satisfied, and too often has rested in complacency in its own efforts, and made them the criterion of its prosperity, instead of finding the evidence of its failure, both in the necessity which called them forth, and in the dereliction of many important principles of truth which the exertion of those efforts has entailed.
It is impossible not to trace the origin of the many Religions Societies, which have arisen within the last hundred years, to an awakened sensibility about the spiritual destitution around us. Nor can we deny that it was the Spirit of God which put the desire into the hearts of the good and holy men from whom they originated. They were begun in faith and prayer, and little perhaps did any of their founders anticipate to what a magnitude they would grow. One can hardly now, except by history, trace the origin of the Bible Society to the concern of an obscure individual, in the principality of Wales, for the pressing want of the Scriptures in that part of the kingdom. The want when made known became a palpable object, and led to the discovery that many other places were equally destitute of the Scriptures. Many were the motives that induced to a co-operation in such an undertaking. But the object, though in itself confessedly good was only to meet the necessity discovered. For this many were associated; but when the test of that very word was applied to them—to own God in their associate character, it was discovered not only that many would not, but that they could not; for there were those associated together who did not worship the same God. Notwithstanding the question raised on this point for a moment seemed to shake its stability, yet the Society still continues, because its immediate object is answered: translations of the Scriptures are multiplied, and Bibles are widely distributed.
That good is done is not denied, and that God works in the sovereignty of His grace by all means is most fully allowed. But the real question to be considered is, how far the children of the kingdom should rest satisfied with any religions society, with any society where moral influences are exerted upon the minds of men, unless it be simply based upon the principles which the apostles have developed, as those which are to regulate the association of the children of God. And how far will God be satisfied with anything short of this for the accomplishment of His end? This, while it includes man's blessing, is always His own glory. A society so constituted, would be the church in its varied work and labor of love. And is not this the deficiency, the necessary deficiency of all religious societies—that they fall short of what the church is, and therefore can never effect that which the church can only accomplish?
Whilst therefore the many societies which have arisen, based on more or less catholic principles, have evidenced an awakening desire among many Christians for unity in service, have they not very much tended to blind the mind to the simple truth, that such a desire can only be answered by God's own plan—the church? Now the very differential character of a (so called) religions society, is, that it need not be a communion of saints. The end proposed does not necessarily require that it should be. It is in its very constitution an appeal to the world, and therefore must needs meet the world's principles. Now the world's judgment is never the judgment of faith. They expect results, and will not labor except when the object can be commended to their minds as plainly attainable and worthy. Hence it necessarily follows that, in addressing the world, success is to be looked for and proved, in order to establish the utility of the effort; and thus the great moral feature of the church's obedience—viz., to walk by faith, “to go out not knowing whither,” when God's glory calls, is altogether lost, and expediency usurps the place of uncompromising obedience to the word of God. It is not therefore the defects in the constitution of any particular religious society, which render it questionable how a Christian can rightly unite in its efforts. But the obstacle is this, that such societies are in themselves objectionable, because they are not the approved mode of God's agency, however we may rejoice in their objects. That they may succeed in part is possible and likely.
God is accustomed to compassionate our ignorance and to bless the endeavors of His people, so long as the light which He dispenses is faithfully obeyed; and He may have blessed these societies in removing many stumbling blocks which hindered the progress of the saints, and in leading them to a less exceptionable basis of co-operation than they had previously attained. Nevertheless, while they are societies formed on self-chosen principles, for the attainment of one particular end, and whilst they judge of their prosperity as that end is, or is not, obtained, they have not the character which the word of God requires; they fall short of that real union of brethren which is good and pleasant—good in the sight of God, and pleasant to the saints themselves. This may further be illustrated by facts. The question raised as to prayer in the Bible Society, opened the eyes of many to perceive, that, whilst they were associated for a. religions object, they were not pursuing it in a religious way. This led to a separation. And the same object was pursued by those who separated in a way of prayer, and of confessing to the name of Jesus, by requiring faith in the Trinity, as a necessary requisite to membership. The great difficulty generally understood to have been found by the pious individuals engaged in forming the new society, was the danger of forming a church. That the effort of forming a society on really Scriptural grounds had this tendency, was made very apparent by the fact of some of its first able and zealous promoters drawing back when they perceived whereunto it would grow, and that they were in that instance really acting on a principle which condemned themselves.
The very same principle contended for, separation from heretics, and godly co-operation as needful for the pursuance of an end where God's glory was concerned, was ably turned against the promoters of the new society by the advocates of the old. We cannot but mark the hand of God in this, in making the effort instrumental in opening the minds of many to a more just apprehension of the fellowship of the saints, both in worship and service. But the fears of the founders of the society were groundless. There was one hindrance to approximation too closely to a church form; and this was, that there was something besides the possession of the one spirit necessary to membership—money. The subscriber of a certain sum fixed as minimum, if he would confess to the Trinity, was registered as a member; and thus whilst a barrier was raised against the free admission of every saint who might desire to co-operate, but could not by reason of his inability to pay the required sum, the door was sufficiently widened to admit the worldly professor, or even the profane.
Allowing the zeal and piety of the managers of this society, it may be asked, have they not reversed the order of their most blessed motto, and given to beneficence towards man the priority over God's glory? and if we waive the objection as to the non-exclusion of the worldly or profane, and suppose that they can meet as those who in sincerity worship and serve the Lord, there is yet one very simple way in which it may be shown, that this society (for the institution of which we may we thankful) does still stop short of the one great principle of union. The society meets, its scriptural character is set forth, its principle is extolled for its catholicity. The souls, it may be, of many are refreshed by the fervor and spirituality of those who address them; but if the question were put, Can those who seem so united meet together in the Lord's appointed ordinance of fellowship—the Lord's supper, the answer is, No! For the object of man's necessities primarily, and God's glory indeed remotely, they can unite, but for God's glory in His own appointed way they cannot; and why? Because they are a society, whose end is answered stopping short of this; but where God's own glory is concerned—that is, in the oneness of His children, where His own appointed way is proposed, immediately difficulties arise, and a sectarian spirit is still manifested, and the landed catholicity is found to be ill-grounded. (To be continued.)

The Catholic Apostolic Body or Irvingites: 13. Doctrine - Christ's Second Coming

If it were a question of setting out Irvingite doctrine in the order of relative gravity, it would be necessary to present in the first place their views of Christ's person. The Epistles of John, as indeed the N.T. word generally, makes us feel that no truth is of equal moment in itself or as a test of divine teaching. But it is proposed here to examine their chief dogmas historically, and therefore to begin rather with that which they themselves now as ever put forward zealously and notoriously through their evangelists wherever they essay to catch the public ear in Christendom and particularly among the English-speaking races. There is some skill in this; for as a rule the denominations, great and small, are dumb for the most part on the Savior's return in glory; while undeniably Scripture, especially the N.T., everywhere insists on its preciousness as our hope and its practical value for every day. On the face of things therefore the Irvingite emissary comes before the public to render a service which is in general painfully neglected. Thus are not a few drawn speciously into their net of error.
It would be strange, however, if those who have been shown to be the victims of extraordinary and dangerous delusion of the worst kind proclaimed “that blessed hope” in its purity. Error as to fundamentals is apt to weave a web of vast extent, and in no case is this more conspicuous than in Irvingism, especially as it developed after his death who was its only great man. Not that error will be found really consistent with itself; for consistency is only found in Christ, and blessed are they who, in the face of deceivable appearances which is Satan's work, cleave only to Him in the unity of His body, and with whole-hearted subjection to His word by the Holy Spirit.
The fact is that the truth of the Lord's coming again, though asserted prominently, is misused in almost every possible way, being made subservient to the sect without shame, instead of held in the bridal spirit of faith and love and holy liberty, so as to exalt Christ, fit in with His work, will, and word, and minister a hope as heavenly as is the relationship of the Christian and the church.
No one can intelligently read their writings, even the most fully considered and authoritative, without perceiving how much they are under the influence of passing circumstances. The spirit of the age, as shown in the various French revolutions, and the growing democracy of Great Britain and elsewhere, fire their minds as antagonistic champions. It is quite true that the principles now at work, not only in the world but religiously, are alien and opposed to God's word. But the Christian is not of the world; and if he enter the political arena, all must suffer proportionately, his faith, hope, service, and walk. Such a position is radically false, and must lower and darken and pervert all who are drawn aside by it, most of all those who assume that God has spoken to them exclusively by His prophets, and has restored to them apostles who sanction such heart-occupation with the world whilst boasting of their separateness. When they do testify of. Christ's coming indeed, who does not know that the real aim at the close (for as ever “The prophet that teacheth lies, he is the tail") is to insinuate if not inculcate “the restored apostles” (or “apostolate”) as the grand resource in these last days and in view of the Advent? The favorite weapon is, as the originating idea was, terror from present and imminent circumstances in Christendom, supplemented by the Zoar they offer all who seek sealing at their hands.
How different is all this from the heavenly peace and holy power of the Christian hope! Our Lord Himself represents it in far other guise. Take the virgins in the first Gospel. “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened to ten virgins, which took their lamps and went forth to meet the bridegroom” (Matt. 25:1, etc). It was the original call from first to last, the only faithful and ever responsible attitude, due to Christ's love and word, which His own were meant to cherish. It was inexcusable to be found otherwise. What had it to do with distant predicted events, with French anarchy or British liberalism? The true apostles were set in this place, even before the church was formed at Pentecost by the descent of the Holy Spirit Who gave energy to the words of the Lord; and fresh communications of the N.T. demonstrate and apply as well as confirm all; for the truth is one, no less than the head and the body. Spurious profession is anticipated. The Lord would not have His own surprised. If five were wise, five were to be foolish; and their folly was to be shown in going forth “without oil.” The gift δωρέα (not necessarily gifts, χαρίσματα) of the Spirit essentially distinguishes the true confession of the Lord from the false. “The wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps:” in them only did the Holy Spirit dwell, not special energies but His unction. Alas! they gave up going forth to meet the Bridegroom, wise as well as foolish; and perhaps the wise mainly through the foolish, though the flesh be ever evil even in the regenerate. Certain it is, as the Lord adds, that while the Bridegroom tarried, they all grew heavy and slept. But grace intervenes: God raises indeed a testimony. “At midnight there was a cry, Behold the bridegroom! Go forth to meet Him.” They could not have slept had they adhered to their first call. They, wise and foolish, had gone in here or there to sleep. What a picture of the departure of Christendom! and how true! Decay in the hope practically dissolved the bond, and flesh and world gained the mastery. Nor is unity of value if not in the Spirit. But the cry aroused: “Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.” Even the foolish were excited and busy. The wise possessed of the oil alone could resume the first and only right portion—going forth to meet the Bridegroom. The foolish seek the divine reality, which they have not. The wise do not pretend or dare to give of their oil. As their lamps were going out (for wick without oil could not last) the foolish repair “to them that sell.” Vain hope to buy for themselves! And while they went away to buy (exactly what the foolish are doing now throughout Christendom—a time almost unequaled in financial effort and human energy), “the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him unto the marriage feast; and the door was shut.” The other virgins were left without. They might cry loud, “Lord, Lord, open to us:” but the answer was, “Verily I say unto you, I know you not.” They are so much the more guilty, and surely lost, because they had no more than an empty profession, baptized with water but not of the Holy Spirit.
Look at Luke 12:35, 36: “Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately.” The Christian hope is quite independent of times and seasons. It is Christ coming in person, and precisely the same now as when the first disciples waited for Him from heaven. Prophecy may confirm our hope, but is quite distinct in its nature. Hence a Christian ignorant of prophecy might be abounding in hope by the power of the Spirit. He waits for Christ, like a true servant his master's return, to open the door immediately when the knock is heard. Such is the right moral state, which Luke gives more than any other.
John 14 presents the hope as ever from the elevation of Christ's person and love and glory. The Son was going to the Father's house on high, no longer to be visible as Messiah on earth, but an object of faith as God always is. This is proper Christian faith. But He is coming as surely as He goes, having prepared a place for us in those many mansions; “I come again, and will receive you unto myself, that where I am, ye may be also.” Meanwhile as loving Him we keep His word, and have the Paraclete with and in us forever. Christ was all, His love perfect as proved in His death, His provision of the word and Spirit complete, His “coming” for us sure. It is in no way bringing on the accomplishment of this awful change or that; but those events on earth are connected closely with His “day,” which is to execute judgment on the beast, and the kings of the earth, on “the king” or Antichrist in the land and temple, as well as on his enemy “the king of the north.” But these are the details of prophecy. The hope of the Christian is quite distinct in character as in source, and depends on His loving promise, so as to be always fresh and firm to faith till He comes to receive us to Himself and His heavenly home. Can contrast be more decided with the excited watching of events and dates, renewed and disappointed again and again, to say nothing of the vanities of a modern apostolate (as presumptuous officially as the true twelve were lowly), and of the ravings of prophets so called which practically supplant scripture?
It is all well to study every prophet, and above all the great prophetic book of the N.T., which stands to Christendom similarly related as the book of Daniel to the Jewish nation. They reveal the result of each of these failures respectively. It is certainly for no Christian to neglect the Revelation; but the Revelation guards against the error which blinds Irvingism even more grievously than most of the Christian sects. The hope has nothing to do with dates or earthly events: it is the confusion of the hope with prophecy, which has everything to do with them. How could we have such words of assured promise as are found in the conclusion after the visions of judgment, the constant hope to the faithful, if we had to wait for the accomplishment of seals, trumpets, and vials, as so many signs? Revelation is perfectly consistent with the rest of the N.T., which discriminates them, as Peter formally does at the end of chap. 1. in his Second Epistle. We do well to take heed to the lamp of prophecy. But daylight dawning with the Day-star arising in the heart is a better light and the proper Christian hope, quite distinct from the lamp of prophecy shining on events in a dark squalid world.
Thus the apostolic teaching, the written word from the beginning, is as sober, sound, and sure, as God could make it; and abides the special resource for the faithful in the last days of self-will and pretentiousness and form without the power of godliness. Irvingism as to the Second Advent, like Millerism in America, is only another form of excitement through prophecy misunderstood, as was found when “the new-prophets” —mania broke out in the early part of the eighteenth century, or earlier still when the Cromwellian rebellion let loose mind, will, and imagination in religion hardly less than in politics. The Reformation was comparatively free from that excitement, because more urgent wants craved and found utterance, save perhaps among the Anabaptist fanatics of Munster. But even in times when Rome had almost all its own way in Western Europe there were two grand eruptions, as is commonly known, about 1,000 A.D. and some four hundred years before.
Yet one great error there was which characterized them all, if they took the ground of Christianity and the church—the dread of the Judge appalled them, instead of “going forth to meet the bridegroom.” This, and this alone, becomes him who rests on redemption and is sealed with the Spirit. It was not hope founded on the known grace and truth of Christ; it was alarm and extreme agitation, such as the false teachers sought to infuse among the Thessalonian converts, young in the faith. And therefore is it now ignorant and unbelieving not to profit by the apostle's correction of that early error. For he takes pains to beseech them by reason, or for the sake (ὑπὲρ), of that bright hope of Christ's coming and our gathering together unto Him, not to be “quickly shaken in mind, nor yet troubled, neither by spirit or by word or by epistle as from us, as that the day of the Lord is present.” Next, after having thus shown the hope, he explains that that “day” cannot come in judgment till the evils are fully manifested which it is to judge. The “day” of the Lord is quite distinct, and full of what is most tremendous to man on earth. The hope of being gathered to the Lord at His “coming” is the motive alleged against the disquietude caused by the rumor that His “day” was come. It is not said that His presence must be before the development of the predicted evils, but that His day could not be before the horrors it is to judge. We must distinguish between His “coming” (ver. 1) and “the manifestation or epiphany of His coming” (ver. 8), which last corresponds with His “day,” as it naturally ought; and we must not invert their relative order.

Scripture Imagery: 65. The Slave's Ear Bored, the Thirty Shekels

When Tischendorf went to Mount Sinai, he found a copy of the Gospels there, where it had been for nearly 1,500 years. It was a strange phenomenon, the mountain laboring and bringing forth a dove. In the same way when the Law itself had existed for about 1,500 years, the Interpreter came Who showed us that in some respects within the letter of its text it held the spirit of the new dispensation. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God......and thy neighbor as thyself.” “Love is the fulfilling of the law.” The gospel goes beyond it, but not against it. There is sometimes a mistaken effort to exalt the gospel by contrasting it with, and by inference disparaging, the law. This is not “using the law lawfully.” For in its most legal and condemnatory passages it contains by implication or prophecy, a foreshadowing of good things to come; and even the record of the giving of the ten commandments is immediately followed by a most remarkable passage (Ex. 21), where the obedience of love is compared with the obedience of law—the spirit with the letter.
The slave who had to be set free on the sabbatical year might elect to remain in perpetual servitude “If the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children: I will not go out free; then his master shall bring him to the door post and bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall serve him forever.” Here the thought is so far from an obedience sub pcena, that the slave voluntarily suffers pain and sheds his blood sooner than not serve. Nor can there be any doubt that the interpretation is right which regards this as a type of the divine Servant voluntarily engaging Himself to perpetual servitude because of His love to God and to the spiritual Bride. In Psa. 40:6 He says, “Mine ears host Thou opened:” the word translated “opened” —kahrah—is translated in Psa. 22:16 “pierced” (my hands and my feet).
As Jacob's seven years' service for Rachel suggests Christ's becoming a servant in order to win the church, so this represents an everlasting service willingly undertaken in order to retain it. The depth of love and the height of devotion here implied only seem the more infinitely beyond our contemplation the more we meditate upon them. Now and then we see some faint reflection here on earth, as when Devine, following her whom he had wooed into prison, was wedded to her in the condemned cell, and held her dead body in his arms till he himself expired with a last “Je t'aime” dying on his lips; or when Leonhard Dober deliberately gave himself into slavery that he might preach the liberty of Christ to his fellow-slaves in the West Indies. Sometimes too we see some reflection of such love and fidelity in a servant— “I love my master” —as when, that brave Russian leaped amongst the wolves to save his master, or when the French bonne recently gave herself to the mad dog that her mistress's children might escape.
There are two other typical references in this chapter which are significantly associated with this. In ver. 13 the Cities of Refuge are briefly alluded to, whither the poor outcast, blood-guilty by misfortune, might fly for protection; and in ver. 32 the mention of thirty pieces of silver, which we find stated as the compensation for a dead slave. To the dishonor of our race we remember that this was the precise value which, after bargaining, was put upon the Son of God by the religious leaders of the day. It was a sober business transaction, and therein consists its bitter contempt, its being undesigned. They thought Him a wicked man, but, even so, not worth more than a few shekels' reward. This insult was keenly felt, even amongst so many other terrible injuries. “They weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver...... Cast it unto the potter; a goodly price that I was prized at of them! “ We frequently see twenty times as much offered for the apprehension of some common malefactor. This was a long time ago. Yes, but there are millions of people around us who would not surrender even that for the possession of Christ now.
Consider for a moment what became of the money for which our Lord was sold. The traitor could not keep nor use it: it blistered his hands, and he threw it back to the priests; but their piety prevented their taking it. Eventually it was paid for a potter's field, as had been prophesied. Now is there anything more desolate than a field—robbed of its clay, and strewn with calcined cinders and other refuse—which a potter has done with? And to what purpose was the field put? The most miserable and melancholy of all, though perhaps in this world the most useful and necessary of all— “to bury strangers in! Therefore that field was called the Field of Blood onto this day.” Characteristically to the last, even the blood-money of the great Martyr goes to buy a refuge and resting-place for the bodies of wretched aliens. Oh, can there be a more pathetic connection of thought in all the long eternity, past or future, than the thought of the dead Benefactor hanging on that rude cross, with His thorn-crowned head sunken on His breast, and the desolate burying-ground for nameless paupers that was purchased by the price of His betrayal!

All Things to All Men

I have noticed of late what I am forced to consider a misuse of 1 Cor. 9:19-22, which, although perhaps not very new, is none the less important. The argument is, “If Paul became as a Jew to the Jews, we ought to become as Wesleyans to the Wesleyans,” &c. I think a careful perusal of the passage will show the fallacy of this deduction. Such a statement contradicts the apostle's teaching concerning the church of God. The mistake consists in this, that those who profess the name of the Lord are put in the same category with those who may deny Him Surely to belong to a kingdom and to join in divisions within it is not the same as to have always belonged to the ranks of the enemy! There is a sophism too: that if Paul went to open enemies, much more should we to these bodies of friends; whereas the truth is that faithless friends are worse than open enemies. Have not “sects,” or “heresies,” put a taunt into the mouth of the scoffer? Hear the Lord's prayer, “That they all may be one that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me” (John 17:21). All the severest judgments come upon those who in the place of nearness are really unfaithful (1 Peter 4:17; Ezek. 9:6; Amos 3:1, 2).
On referring to the passage, we find the apostle's object was to save (ver. 22), but he builds them, being saved, upon the one foundation, Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 3:10); gathers them to one name (1 Cor. 5:4); teaches them they have one Lord (1 Cor. 8:6); and that they are one body, by the baptism of the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:13). This body he writes to at Corinth as the church of God. But now quite another thing occurs—they begin to divide first in, then from, the church, as followers of different teachers. Does Paul say he will become as a follower of Apollos or Cephas? Surely not, any more than he would allow them to become followers of Paul. The apostle is indignant at such a thought. “Was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?” (1 Cor. i. 13.) But he asks, “Is Christ divided?” They were united to the one Christ in the unity of the one Spirit. It was carnality! Would Paul become as “carnal”? Certainly not. All things were theirs, and they were Christ's (1 Cor. 3:22, 23). Could he say this to those to whom he was made all things, that he might by all means save some? They could not be a testimony to a divided Christ: were they truly his, or did they hold up his name? There were divisions among them (1 Cor. 1:10): Paul said there would be “heresies” (sects) (1 Cor. 11:19). Divisions were sects in the bud; have they improved by becoming full-blown? Have they ceased to be the false testimony, that Christ is divided? You cannot reform a sect: its very existence contradicts the unity of the body. (It should be clearly understood, that I am not speaking of the condition of individuals, but of the testimony of their association.)
I remember a pamphlet headed—"Why do we meet separate from other Christians?” There is a fallacy in the question. We do not separate from Christians, known to us as such, and not guilty of any sin requiring discipline; but we do separate from sects, which is a very different thing. How could we be unsectarian if we did not? We should be careful not to allow toward others in our hearts any sectarian feelings under the fairest show; for we know there were those who said, “I of Christ” (1 Cor. 1:12) in opposition to those who said, “I of Paul, and I of Apollos.” Some say sectarianism began at Corinth; but it is more correct to say it began in the heart (Gal. 5:20, Matt. 15:19). Every godly-walking one of the children of God should attract us; while the party to which he belongs may rightly repel. Not all those who say they are unsectarian are really so. It is very easy for a body of Christians, in a carnal state, to drift into a sect; yet I believe there is some special warning, where this departure takes place, some act, which constitutes them such, and makes the fact clear to those who really wish to do His will (John 7:17), and look into the matter believingly for that purpose. Further, we know that the Lord generally allows false doctrines &c., to enter in such cases; because He permits sects, “that they which are approved may be made manifest among you” (1 Cor. 11:19). That the blessed Lord may keep us, not only unsectarian but devoted to His name and glory in this difficult time, is the prayer of
Yours affectionately in Him, C. O. A.

Joseph: Part 1

For judging the history of Joseph to be typical or allegorical, like that of Hagar and Ishmael and a thousand others in scripture, we have clear warrant of the Holy Ghost. See Acts 7. But without this warrant, the use which in the New Testament is made of the Old Testament narratives, might authorize us to look for some mystery or “hidden wisdom,” in none of them so strongly marked as this.
I propose now simply to follow out the series of events in this history, as given us in these chapters, briefly unfolding what I judge to be their mystical or hidden meaning. May the Lord, in such sweet and heavenly labors, both enlarge and control our minds!
37—This chapter gives us the first part or section in the history.
Joseph here signalizes himself as the righteous or separated one, and as such provokes the enmity of his wicked brethren. The light makes manifest the deeds of darkness, and the darkness hates it, as Joseph's Lord was afterward hated of the world, for He testified that its deeds were evil. And this enmity is only further moved by tokens of the divine favor which are put upon the righteous one. Joseph was a younger son, no way entitled according to the flesh to distinguished favor; yet the Lord marks him out as the appointed heir of blessing and glory, and Joseph speaks of the goodness he had found, and of the high purposes of God concerning him But his brethren did not care for any divine purpose which interfered with their pride. He might be the one that was to receive the kingdom, but they said, “We will not have this man to reign over us.” As Cain had slain his brother Abel because his own works were evil and his brother's righteous, so it is now. Joseph's brethren envy him; and again when in the field together, like another Cain, they take counsel together whether to slay him, to cast him into the pit, or sell him to strangers. And they do sell him for twenty pieces of silver. And they who could thus trespass against their innocent brother's life, easily deem it a light thing to wound their aged father's heart. “This have we found,” said they of Joseph's coat which they sent to Jacob besmeared with blood: “know now whether it be thy son's coat or no.” And thus was their offense of high and double bearing—they sinned against their aged father, and their righteous unoffending brother.
In all this we have the stiff-necked and uncircumcised Israel betraying and murdering the just one. His father had sent Joseph to his brethren to inquire after their welfare. But it was not as the bearer of kind tidings that they saw him or received him, but “behold this dreamer cometh.” “Come therefore and let us slay him.” So afterward toward the Greater than Joseph; it was not as the minister of grace and messenger of love, but as the envied Heir of the vineyard that they looked on Him with malicious heart, and said, “come let us kill Him, and the inheritance shall be ours.” His love was refused, and for envy His brethren delivered Him unto death. For His love they were His adversaries. There might be one in the counsel who would plead for the prisoner, as Reuben did, who would not consent to the counsel and deed of them (Luke 23:51, John 7:51); but this could prevail nothing. Thirst for blood may yield tai covetousness, but the evil heart, in some of its desires against the righteous one, must have its way. For thirty pieces of silver they sold Him to strangers. They crucified Him that was the Father's elect One, and all His delight. “They pleased not God, and were contrary to all men; they sinned against God and their brother.
38.—This chapter gives us the second part in the history.
The spirit of revelation here interrupts the course of Joseph's history, in order to give us a view of his brethren during Joseph's separation from them. And what is the view we get of them here? Just filling up the measure of their sins, making terms with the uncircumcised, and defiling the holy seed.
And so it is now. The holy seed has mingled itself with the seed of men, and all in Israel is corruption and uncleanness. They have profaned the covenant of their fathers as Judah here does; and the Lord has been a witness between them, and the wife of their youth. Judah dealt treacherously and profaned the holiness of the Lord, marrying the daughter of a strange god. He wrought lewdness with many, and the holy flesh passed from him. (Jer. 11:15.) So Israel has played the harlot with many lovers, and is now, while Jesus is separated from them, filling up the measure of their sins.
But while the Spirit of God thus for a moment raises the veil, and we see the abominations that are now done in Israel, we are given also to catch the faint glimpse of distant blessing. Judah is brought to know and confess his sin; the pledges of his full abomination are produced and owned by him in the spirit of a repentant one; and then “mercy rejoiceth against judgment.” Pharez comes forth, and he is the second Jacob, the supplanter, who, in spite of fleshly title in his elder brother, gets the birthright. The kingdom suffers violence at his hand, and he takes it by force. And from this Pharez comes the true Inheritor of the blessing, the righteous Supplanter of every usurper, the one that shall prevail, and whose kingdom shall stand forever. (Matt. 1:3.)
(To be continued.)

Christian Liberty of Preaching and Teaching the Lord Jesus Christ: Part 2

Thus far then, in the first case, for speaking in the church. I advocate no system. I mourn over the departure of many of the comely part or parts, however, on which God set comeliness. These passages of the word I take as scriptural evidence that the confining of the edification of the church to nominal office alone has not the scriptures to rest upon. I speak not here of elders or appointed teachers, their value, or the contrary; observing only that grace, and grace alone, should be our standard of valuation, that in the arrangements of the Holy Ghost it is only the gift of God which gives any title to office in the church, or to its claims (nominal office merely as such having no claim upon any one). I speak simply of the one point—the wrongness of a Christian speaking in the church as such. One point—and that is a most important one—in this part of the subject remains to be noticed. If we are reminded of the dangers arising from all teaching, it is admitted at once; for it is admitted that here, if anywhere, mischief would spring up. But looking to scripture, we are not warned against it, upon the ground of its being wrong as regards office, nor because of its effect merely on others. And warning against it is given, as being one of the things in which, as evil will more or less have a tendency to show itself, so the remedy is applied to the spirit from whence it flows. “My brethren, be not many teachers, for so shall ye heap to yourselves greater condemnation.” Here again the warning itself shows that there was no such restriction of office as is now supposed, for thus it would have been, “You have no business to preach at all, for you are not ordained.” But no, the correction was turned to moral profit, not to formal distinction of pre-eminent office.
But the question becomes more important when considered in the second case, viz., as to speaking out of the church, because it precludes the testimony of the gospel by a vast number of persons who may have faithfully borne it to others. Let us inquire into the scriptural facts. In the first place, then, all the Christians preached: “They that were scattered abroad went everywhere, preaching the word” (Acts 8:4); and those who were scattered were all, except the apostles. Some critics have endeavored to elude this plain passage, by saying that it is only speaking, which one not in office may do. But a reference to the original at once disproves the assertion. It is εὐαγγελιζόμενοι—evangelizing the word; and we read elsewhere that “the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord” (Acts 11:19, 20). Now, unless all the church were ordained (I think they are to preach, as far as they have ability), here is the simplest case possible, the case in point. The first general preaching of the gospel which the Lord blessed beyond the walls of Jerusalem knew no distinction between ordained and unordained. It had not entered into their minds then that they who knew the glory of Christ were not to speak of it where and how God enabled them. “And the hand of the Lord was with them.”
Paul preached without any other mission than seeing the glory of the Lord and His word; in a synagogue too, and boasts of it. And he gives his reason for Christians preaching elsewhere, as it is written, “I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak” (2 Cor. 4:13). Apollos preached; “he spake and taught,” “diligently taught the things of the Lord,” and of him it is said that when Paul would have sent him from Ephesus to Corinth, he would not go. Yet so far from being ordained before beginning to preach, he knew only the baptism of John. And Aquila and Priscilla took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of the Lord more perfectly. And then, continuing his labors as before, “he helped them much which had believed;” “and mightily convinced the Jews, and that publicly, showing by the scripture that Jesus was the Christ.”
Again, at Rome, many of the brethren waxing bold by Paul's bonds, preached the word without fear. And here let it be added, for the sake of those who have doubts respecting this passage, that the word is κηρύσσουσιν heralds; which shows the character of the work. The same habits of wandering preaching we find in the 2nd and 3rd Epistles of John guarded not by ordination, but by doctrine. Nor in truth is there such a thing mentioned in scripture as ordaining to preach the gospel. We have seen that Paul preached before he went out on his work from Antioch. Now if any plead his being set apart there, still the question is not met; for, as before stated, I reason not against such setting apart, but against the assertion that Christians as such are incompetent to preach. But the case alleged, if it proves anything as to the question at issue, proves that the power of ordaining, as well as of preaching, was not specially connected with office, and nothing more. The only other passage which, though not commonly quoted, seems to me nearer the purpose, is the apostle's command, “The same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also” (2 Tim. 2:2). But the thing committed here was the doctrine, and proves tradition, if anything, not ordination; for it does not appear that they were ordained for the purpose.
I have now produced ample evidence from scripture to a fair mind. My object has been simply to show the general liberty of Christian men to speak, whether in or out of the church, according to the several gifts which God may bestow upon them, without need of the seal of human authority; and I say that the contrary assertion is a novelty in Christianity. I have abstained from diffusive discussions upon what has led to it, or the principles which are involved in it. I put the scriptural fact to any one's conscience; and I call upon any one to produce any scripture, positively or on principle, forbidding to Christians the liberty of preaching, or requiring Episcopal or other analogous ordination for the purpose.
And here I will advert to that which is commonly adduced upon the subject—the case of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. It is remarkable that those who rest upon it should pass by a case immediately preceding, bearing upon this immediate subject: that of Eldad. and Medad prophesying in the camp, though they had not come up to the door of the tabernacle, because the Spirit rested upon them. “Would God,” said the meek man of God, “that all the Lord's people were prophets, and that the Lord would put His Spirit upon them.” That which was here typically proposed, the pouring out of the Spirit upon all, was in principle fulfilled in the Christian dispensation. Then, subsequently, Korah, Dathan, and Abiram acted not under the influence and energy of the Spirit in testifying to the people, but would have assumed authority—the kingship of Moses, and the priesthood of Aaron. This was their fault, which very outrage is committed by those who attempt to defend themselves by urging the case before us: seeing that they are taking to themselves that kingship and priesthood which are Christ's alone, and setting up themselves as the only legitimate channels of blessing; and usurping His authority again on the other hand by excluding those who have the Spirit of God from exercising that which they have by the authority of God Himself.
These things here spoken of were typical of our dispensation, as also the apostle states; and the conclusion is, that they make universal preaching desirable, and the assumption of priesthood a sin. To the same purpose is the argument of the apostle applied (Heb. 5): the exclusion from the office of priesthood, save by such call as Christ had; in which, in one sense, all believers are partakers—in another sense, He is alone, unaccompanied into the holy place. In a word, the claim of unrestricted liberty of preaching by Christians is right. The assumption of priesthood by any, save as all believers are priests, is wrong. This is the dispensation of the outpouring of the Spirit here, qualifying for preaching any here who can do so—in a word, for speaking of Jesus (for the distinction between speaking and preaching is quite unsustainable by scripture, as anyone may see if he takes the trouble), and in which Christ alone exercises the priesthood within the veil, in the presence of God for us.
This, then, is the force of these passages. The type of the pouring out of the Spirit in the camp with the gracious wish of Moses is the characteristic, the essential distinction of Christianity. Accordingly we find its primary presentation in the world, the Spirit poured out on the hundred and twenty who were assembled together, who therefore began to speak as the Spirit gave them utterance. And Peter standing up explains to the Jews that they were not drunk, but that it was the thing spoken of by Joel, the undistinguished pouring out of the Spirit upon men of all classes—servants and hand-maidens, their sons and their daughters prophesying—the pouring out of the Spirit upon all flesh. This was the characteristic of its agency, and this we have seen acted upon in the subsequent history; to deny this is to mistake the power of the dispensation, and, I will add, to lose it. And what is the consequence? Irregular action goes on, and cannot be restrained; for kingly power cannot be assumed to such purpose, or they are taking the part of Dathan and Abiram.
But the power of the Spirit, in which God would give competency to restrain evil, has been slighted. And nominal office, which has been relied on, affords no remedy, unless the rights which the Roman Catholic system has assumed be attached to it, which is the assumption of power not given to the church at all. It is not for me to assert what is the evil of the present day. I am sure it is not the overflowing boldness of testimony against evil; and if evil exists, the remedy is not in seeking to hinder or to reject (for hindered it surely will not and cannot be) the title of preaching the word which the Spirit of the Lord gives to whomsoever He listeth, but the cordial co-operation of those who hold the truth, by which the common energy (and common energy is infinite energy in this matter) may be exercised against all which does not hold the truth, and for the “seeking out of Christ's sheep in the midst of this naughty world.”
One important advantage from taking God's order instead of man's is at once seen—that men will have their place and agency, whether within or without the assembly of the faithful, by virtue, not of nominal official situations formally set up, but of the gifts which God has given them: a most important principle in the difference between Babylon and the divine economy. In truth, there are few things more important to remember, and especially in the present state of things, when human prescription regulates everything in matters of religion, that for anything but grace to be our criterion of station in the church, save in the awful responsibility of the individual, “these sinners against their own soul” must be wrong. In the last dispensation there was externally appointed order independent of qualification; in the present the manifold grace and gifts of God in His church are the only means of adjusting and blending in true harmony the various parts and offices of the body of Christ.
With regard to one part of the work, evangelizing, it is clear that a large portion of those who preach officially are incapacitated for it by their own act, as being shut up within restricted limits, and universally without any reference whatever to their individual qualifications, whether teachers, pastors, or evangelists, &c., or to the particular necessities of the station in which they are to labor. To such it must be obvious that the deficiency cannot be otherwise supplied than by those who may be willing to allow God to appoint the field of their operations, and to do the work of the Lord wheresoever they shall be led by Him to labor for His name's sake (3 John 7), and who will be owned by Him though a Diotrephes may reject them. Nothing argues greater want of submission to Christ—greater proof of preference of man's authority to the Lord's, than for any to discredit the free and unrestrained bearing forth of the gospel of the grace of God, who have placed themselves in circumstances where they are obliged to stop short of the work, for fear they should be discredited themselves. It is a work which they cannot do, which they have themselves put it out of their power to do, at least without utter inconsistency; for in so doing, they would be acting in defiance of the authority which has placed them in their prescribed position. Such is their situation, that in following the Spirit of God in their work they would, in most cases, act unrighteously, for it would be against the authority which they recognize and act under.
Take a case, by no means uncommon, which illustrates the dilemma in which they place themselves. A large tract of country is destitute of the gospel.
One in whose heart God has put the desire and whose mouth He has opened to speak of His love, goes, preaches there, and is blessed—gathers out of darkness into light many souls. The district is already full of persons professing to hold office in the church of Christ, but who are not shepherds. What is the laborer to do? leave them for Socinians or enthusiasts to catch, or unheeded altogether? There is no godly righteousness in this. But it becomes a matter of faithfulness to Christ that he should preach to those who are ready to perish; yea, it is a necessity occasioned by the systems which sanction or have sanctioned the idol shepherds, by whom he is surrounded. Now which must an authorized minister, even though a Christian, recognize? He must recognize those idol shepherds, and he cannot recognize the faithful man of God; that is, he must associate himself with ungodliness because it is in nominal office, and not with the Spirit of God because out of it. But he has placed himself in a position in which he must be wrong either way. For if he did not own those shepherds, he would be acting in dereliction of his own responsibilities to the system to whose authority he has voluntarily submitted himself.
Hence also we learn the answer to the question, “Why not take the nominal office?” Because the source is so vitiated that many conscientious men cannot identify themselves with it; and a consideration which, to one who habitually waits on the Lord, is of no small account, that the work or the scene of his operations is not regulated by the Lord's guidance, and the varied exigencies of His service—exigencies which can be met only by entire and unfettered looking to the Spirit of the Lord, Who is the Spirit of true order, for doing the Lord's work according to His own time, place, and purpose—considerations without which His servants are but περιεργαζόμενοι, busy out of place, whatever may be the apparent result of their labors, and which in many instances amount to the acquirement of a positive disability to fulfill the office to which God may have appointed the individual, as in the case of an evangelist.
I would make one further observation, suggested by the present question. In observing the infinity of contending interests with which the church is now filled, the “wars and fightings” amongst brethren, the restlessness of those who are spending their power and spirituality in defending one human system against another, the inquiry solemnly forces itself upon us whilst witnessing the surrounding scene of excitement—For what are we to contend? The apostle has answered the question: “contend earnestly for the faith which was once delivered to the saints.” Let the inquiry then be calmly proposed to all our minds, For what are we contending If it be for anything of secondary derivation, God cannot own it: the contention is for our own, and not for the things of Christ; for nothing since delivered is of His Spirit.
The preceding considerations do assuredly tend to show that opinions, supported by ever so fair an appearance of antiquity, are worthless, being deeply injurious to the glory of God, unless based upon His word. The end in view will have been fully answered if but one servant of Christ should be added to the field of labor; or the doubts removed from the mind of but one brother who hesitates to acknowledge as his fellow-workers those who have been called by the same Spirit. And let it be observed that in this, as in all things, the liberty of the believer is not the spirit of insubordination, but of entire subjection to the Spirit and the church of God, wheresoever they may be found; not the spirit of enthusiasm, but of a sound mind, of a mind at one with God, which alone gives righteous judgment. And let the people of God be waiting on Him for His guidance. It is a time in which those who act with the simplest purpose will carry the work with them (for it is a day in which God is separating realities from forms), as that which can alone stand the universal dislocation which every institution is undergoing, and which the Spirit of God shall, and can alone, go through unscathed, and that they are led by Him unmarred and unhurt.
May God work by His Spirit abundantly. “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few; pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest that He will send forth laborers into His harvest.”
J. N. D.

On Acts 25:13-22

It was Paul’s purpose to visit Rome (Acts 19:21) after going to Jerusalem; and God gave effect to it, for it was God’s purpose (Acts 23:11). But how different was the way under His hand from the apostle’s expectation? He must go a prisoner to Rome. This befell him through his appeal to Caesar — all appeal by no means always granted, as it was evidently liable to abase. If the guilt were manifest, it was refused so also if the case were frivolous enough to be unworthy of the emperor’s hearing. Paul, whose innocence was unquestionable, while the case was rendered in the highest degree serious through Jewish ill will, appealed when he saw the procurator trifling with justice to gratify the Jews. This decided matters for the present. But the Spirit of God saw further testimony needed by man, and this was brought about by a visit of distinguished visitors to the Roman governor soon after.
“Now when certain days passed, Agrippa the king and Bernice arrived at Cæsarea to salute (or, having sainted) Festus. And as they were spending several days there, Festus set Paul’s case before the king, saying, There is a certain man left prisoner by Felix; about whom when I was in Jerusalem the chief priests and the elders of the Jews filed information, asking for condemnation against him. Unto whom I answered, that it is no custom for Romans to give up any man before that the accused have the accusers face to face, and have had opportunity of defense concerning the complaint. When therefore they came together here, I made no delay but next day sat on the judgment-seat and commanded the man to be brought; concerning whom, when the accusers stood up, they were bringing no charge of such evil things as I supposed, but had certain questions of their own religion, and of one Jesus dead as He is, Whom Paul affirmed to be alive. And I, being perplexed in the inquiry concerning these things, asked whether he would go to Jerusalem and there be judged of these things. But when Paul appealed to be kept for the decision of Augustus, I commanded him to be kept till I should send him unto Caesar. And Agrippa [said] unto Festus, I also should wish to hear the man myself. To-morrow, saith he, thou shalt hear him” (Acts 25:13-22).
The royal personage here introduced was son of Herod Agrippa I, whose awful fate was described in Acts 12. Too young to reign at his father’s death, he was by Claudius given Chalcis, the principality of his uncle, with certain privileges in Jerusalem; and Philip’s old tetrarchy and more were added by the same emperor soon after, with the title of king. Bernice was his elder sister, Drusilla his younger, and each of them famous or infamous in that day with reason too grave. As Felix and Drusilla had a most solemn warning from the prisoner, so now were Agrippa and Bernice with Festus to hear an appeal which leaves no soul as it is found. The truth before the conscience carries with it a responsibility which eternity, not to say the judgment seat of Christ, will fully manifest. Yet the man involuntarily forced to feel its power can ask What is truth? and goes out hard and wretched from His presence Who alone can give the adequate answer. But wisdom is justified of all her children; as she learned. who had been till then a child of folly: Jesus was of God made to her wisdom and every other good she lacked. Why was it not so with these high estates?
The governor’s motive for bringing Paul before Agrippa appears to have been his own doubt what to report to the emperor. Festus was just a man of the world. Of grace, of truth, he had no notion. The invisible and eternal realities were to him only imaginative ideas. Present things, changeable and fleeting as they are, were his life and all. God was in none of his thoughts; apart from the Lord Jesus He remains unknown.
There was another obstacle in his way, his good opinion of himself, and endeavor to claim from others the highest character for honesty and honor, energy and prudence. This runs through his speech, as we saw it pervading the self-applauding letter of Claudius Lysias in chap. 23. What is man to be accounted, whose breath is in his nostrils? One look at self in God’s presence puts in dust and ashes, as in Job’s case when approved of Him, for his three friends were not. How can ye believe, said our Lord, receiving as ye do glory one of another, and the glory that is from the only God ye seek not? Where there is no self-judgment, the Savior is but “one Jesus,” like any child of man. He who so speaks is a sinner ripening for judgment.
What the sentiments of Festus were about the mythological reveries of the Greeks and Romans, bound up with their paganism, we know not. Skepticism, ever the fatal dissolvent of society and the body politic, as it is the reaction from idolatry, was then all but universal among the educated class. It is clear that, with the contempt usual in such men, they never conceived of the truth outside themselves. Above all appeared the strange tale and great stumbling block of unbelief, Jesus dead and risen, and this in the midst of the busy heedless world, among a despised and subject race. It is just named incidentally as a psychological phenomenon in Paul and as singularly rousing the animosity of the Jews, an ever-turbulent race. Unable to give the emperor any reasonable account of the prisoner who had appealed, he states the case to one whom current report declared to be, on the one hand well versed in all Jewish questions, and in some respects the more zealous religiously because he was not of Israelitish lineage, as on the other he was notoriously devoted to the Roman interest. So indeed he continued throughout the great war that demolished the Jewish polity, their “place and nation,” and throughout a long reign to the first year of Trajan. To hear the case might gratify the curiosity of Herod Agrippa and perhaps relieve Festus of some perplexity.
The explanation to the king was not unskillful. It was in truth, as he intimated, a matter of Felix, left over for him. Paul was a prisoner when Festus entered on his province, who could not therefore be expected to know all from the first. Next, it was certain that the leading Jews were grievously incensed against him, which could not but weigh with a governor of little or no experience locally. Roman self-complacency breaks forth in the assertion of their policy of inflexible and impartial equity: an excellent principle by no means the rule in the provinces, any more than at home, but convenient to lay down by a governor as a check on flagrant injustice, which Felix and Festus surely saw in the actual prosecution. Who again could reproach himself with lack of zeal in the public cause? The Jews had been prompt enough in coming down from Jerusalem to accuse in Cæsarea; and the governor had lost not a day in sitting to judge the case, if there had been one according to Roman law. But there was nothing tangible before the court; no infraction of the public peace or propriety, any more than private wrong in violence or corruption. It was absurd to bring before a Roman tribunal such matters as occupied Paul’s accusers. Facts there were none; only questions of a visionary nature.
It is improbable that even a Roman procurator of Judea would be so discourteous as to speak of the views in controversy as a “superstition,” especially in speaking to king Agrippa; any more than that Paul so characterized the Athenians, when he was setting before them Jesus and the resurrection. It seems better therefore to avail ourselves of the better, or at least colorless, sense which the word undoubtedly bears in authors of that day still extant. “Religion” is therefore here chosen, as “system of worship” has also been suggested in a similar sense.
But when one knows the infinite truth that the Son came to bring God into the world and put sin out of it, how shocking is the dark incredulity that slurs over facts so transcendent in the words, “one Jesus now dead, whom Paul asserted to be alive”! The vindication of God’s moral glory, and the display of His love, and the proof of coming judgment, all turn on it. Without it sin reigns in death, and destruction for sinners without exception or hope. There is no kingdom possible of righteousness and peace; only hell filled with the wicked and accursed. Jesus alive from the dead for evermore has changed all. Nor need we wait to see the glorious results. The Christian sees and walks by faith, not by sight. We rest, not only on a God that cannot lie, but on the fact already accomplished that Jesus died as propitiation for our sins; rose from the dead, and has taken His seat at God’s right hand in heaven. We rest on the accomplishment of God’s will in the one offering of Himself for sins; and now He sits as truly man on the Father’s throne, as He came down God to become man and bring in new and everlasting glory to God by His death. He therefore is made unto us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption; and we who believe are of God in Him, as once we were only in Adam, heirs of sin and ruin. When the Lord appears again, the results will appear before the universe; and the creation, all the creation, that now groans in bondage and corruption will be delivered: for He is the Second man and Last Adam, and we shall reign along with Him in glory.
But the wisdom of the world is folly, which slights the grace and truth which came by Jesus Christ, Who came to His own things, and they that were His own received Him not. He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. So Festus showed now, as did Agrippa afterward in the same blindness of unbelief which pervaded other princes of this age: for had they known they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. And Christendom is returning to the darkness of heathenism. Never among the baptized did naturalism so govern men’s minds; never before did nominal Christians manifest such incredulity in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, or even in creation. If the dead Jesus is alive, He has the keys of death and hades; and where is then philosophy? Where is natural law? What has natural law to do with creating? Still less can it apply to grace reigning through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
But to return: when Festus mentions Paul’s declining to go to Jerusalem and appealing to Caesar, Agrippa expresses the wish himself to hear; and an audience is fixed for the morrow. This leads to a yet fuller testimony as we shall see, before not a governor only but a king.

Hebrews 1:1-2

The opening words are worthy of the great theme. In Christ only is the perfection of all that Israel gloried in. Every other person and office, every other walk or object, honored in God's living oracles, had it most of all in and for preparing the way for Him. He is the one comprehensive aim of the Holy Spirit, open or understood, positively or negatively, throughout scripture.
Here that which was comparatively obscure of old is set in the light; for Christ is the true light. It is He Who, once dimly discerned, now stands fully revealed, and thus illumines what once seemed dark, what without Him is and must be dark indeed still. Thus is all scripture knit together into one whole. There is the Old Testament; there is also what is called the New Testament, even if the Spirit avoid so characterizing it; together they constitute the Bible, whose unity turns on Christ, once promised, now come and, after accomplishing His work on earth, exalted at God's right hand in heaven. It is above all God revealed in the Son.
Hence it will be apparent, when once pointed out, why this Epistle does not unfold the mystery of Christ; for this would involve the introduction of what was absolutely unknown to man, yea, not then revealed by God. The revelation of the mystery supposes the rejection of the people of God, to make way for an entirely new and distinct purpose where a Jew as such is no more than a Gentile; and the church of God becomes the absorbing scene of the Holy Spirit's operation to the present exclusion of Israel. The church therefore in its full character implies a break in God's dealings with His ancient people, not merely because of idolatry which let in the times of the Gentiles, but because of the rejection and cross of the Messiah, His only-begotten Son, which let in the new and heavenly purpose of God in the church, Christ's body.
Here it is rather the continuity of divine testimony culminating in Christ, Who has laid in His blood and death the unchangeable basis for everlasting blessing, and gives the most glorious expression to its character in His own session as man on the throne of the Majesty in the heavens. For this reason, from the first chapter to the last of this Epistle to the Hebrews, we have the Law, the Psalms, and the Prophets cited more fully than in any other part of the N.T. So also the ritualistic services, the vessels, and the holy places are turned to direct account; in an elaborate way; and the persons whom the Holy Spirit could employ from the beginning, are either detailed or taken in the gross (chap. 11.) till we are brought to Christ, the crown and fullness of all. With this will be found to agree the particulars, which we now proceed to consider.
“In many measures and in many manners God, having spoken of old to the fathers in the prophets, spoke to us at [the] end of these days in a Son.”
The words that compose this grand exordium are most pregnant, as well as undeniable truth. They briefly, yet distinctly, convey the character of the O.T. communications. It was not in their nature to be complete or final. They were essentially piecemeal. No doubt the prophets wrought “at sundry times,” and the modes in which God dealt were “divers:” but neither phrase of the A.V. conveys the force of πολυμερῶς καὶ πολυτρόπως. The common translation is borrowed from the Version of Geneva, in 1539. Wycliff, in this not faithful to the Vulgate, had dropt altogether the first words, though he rightly gave “in many manners.” Tyndale and Cranmer unite in “diversely and many ways,” as does the Rhemish with a change in the order. “In time past,” or “of old,” πάλαι, is the sole expression of time. It was the same God and the same Christ; yet the object is to prove an immense change of His dealing: God speaking in a Son, after having spoken to the fathers in the prophets; also Christ no longer connected with the earth, but in heavenly glory. Then He spoke “in many parts.” His word was but fragmentary; perfect in its object, but in no wise that fullness which it was in His purpose to bestow when the due moment arrived. As a variety of persons were employed in that work, so “many ways” or methods of revealing, as open speaking to Moses, visions, and dreams ordinarily. “I have also spoken by the prophets, and I have multiplied visions, and used similitudes, by the ministry of the prophets. And by a prophet the LORD brought Israel out of Egypt, and by a prophet was he preserved” (Hos. 12:10, 13).
How mighty the advance now! God, though He be not here revealed in the elevation and intimacy of the Father, “spoke to us at the end of these days in a Son.” The apostle in no way dissociates himself from the chosen nation, though he takes care throughout to show that only the Israel of God, the true believing remnant, have valid title. But writing to those who were dull to appreciate that which was absolutely new and above this creation, he gives frill weight to all previous revelations, however partial and short of what was now come; not only does, he record the honor from God put on “the fathers,” but ranges himself with their sons, as among the “us” to whom His word had now come in a completeness beyond all given before.
“ In these last days” (as Tyndale began, followed by all the Protestant English) is too vague a rendering, and apt to be confounded with the different phraseology of 2 Peter 3, Jude 18, or even the more distant phrases in 1 Tim. 4 and in 2 Tim. 3 Still more objectionable is the Rhemish text following the Vulgate. Wycliff is nearer the mark, “at the last in these daies,” though not quite right. “At [the] end,” or [the] last of these days is the literal and true force, the close of these days of the age under the law, when the Messiah comes.
God Who spoke to the fathers in past days spoke to us at the last of these days in a Son. The omission of the article has to do neither with the preposition going before nor with emphatic position, as many learned men have said. That there was intention is obvious; for ἐν τοῖς προφ. would naturally call for ἐν τῷ υἱῷ. Yet the phrase is anarthrous, and therefore does not present the person as an object before the mind, b at brings character into prominence. The prophets were, like Moses, only servants; He in Whom God spoke at the end of these days was Son. Compare chap. v. 8, &c. Such was the quality, such the relationship to Himself, of the One in Whom He now spoke. Our language does not so well bear the absence of the article; but it is regular in Greek, and at once the most forcible and the most accurate form of expressing character, which is precisely what was wanted here. Not in the prophets any longer, nor in angelic guise as often, but as Son God spoke now.
This adds a fresh reason why a man's name, however blessed or in whatever a position, would be unsuitable; and we have already shown grounds why the author in divinely given wisdom and grace preferred his name in particular not to appear, though the character of the truth and the final notices ought to leave no doubt who he was, without any external voucher, inspired or not. This is much confirmed by the next chapter (ver. 3, 4), where our Lord Himself is introduced, the Prophet that should and did come, though Son. The apostles themselves, the twelve, were but His hearers, God joining in the attestation both with signs and wonders and divers powers, and distribution of the Holy Spirit according to His own will. How out of place would have been the introduction of his own apostolate! The Son of God, the Christ, had deigned to be the Apostle of our confession (ch. 3:1).
Was there aught in this justly to offend the warmest love and reverence for the O.T.? Rather does the O.T. bear it out and even require it to seal its own truth. For Law and Prophets bear their consenting witness that One would come, even a prophet like onto Moses, only greater as he himself testifies; Who should speak in God's name, but so that whosoever would not hearken must bear the penalty from God. Then should be made on God's part a new covenant, not according to the former one when they were brought out of Egypt—a covenant which they broke no less than they idolized it; but a new one marked by God's grace and power, as the former one was by man's responsibility and total failure.
This Epistle proves that the Blesser is come, if not yet all the blessing, and appropriately opens with God's speaking in the Son. His silence after Malachi made it all the more impressive, since that last messenger of Jehovah sealed the canon. Then the interval of four hundred years, not without marked and varied premonitory signs, is closed by a prophet and more than a prophet in John the Baptist, disclaiming to be more than a “voice,” yet proclaiming One standing in their midst Whom they knew not, Whose shoe-latchet he was not worthy to unloose, the Lamb of God, Who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. “This is the Son of God.”
With the same truth we start here. God speaking was no new thing; for He had in many parts and in many ways. Now there was no limit; for it was in a Son, only-begotten, full of grace and truth. It was therefore no mere assemblage of revelations from God, divine but partial and suited to the instruments and the circumstances; it was God revealing Himself. His Son was the sole competent One for this purpose. In the beginning of the Epistle it is God so speaking when He was on earth; toward the close it is He that speaks from heaven (ch. 12:25). Everywhere it is God revealed, and not merely communications from Him. This therefore gives the utmost force and impressiveness and authority in the last resort to every subject that is handled, especially to that change which it is the main object of the Epistle to make known. “For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law” (ch. 7:12).
The immeasurable superiority of Christ, and consequently of Christianity, comes out in this respect at the starting point; and the more strikingly, because no Christian questions the divine inspiration of all the ancient oracles. Yet every true Christian feels the different and surpassing character, not only of Christ's words in the Gospels, but of the apostolic writings and the N.T. as a whole. It is truly Christ speaking in them all; it is God revealing Himself in Him as Son, with an intimacy peculiar to Him alone and in all its perfectness. And this superiority we may see running through the entire Epistle. He is above all men and angels; He is God and Jehovah, seated though man where no creature could be. He is the true Captain of salvation, not Joshua. He is far above Moses the apostle of the Jewish confession, far beyond Aaron the Levitical high priest, more than filling up the wonderful picture of Melchisedec. And no wonder; for Moses and Aaron were but servants in that house of which He was the builder, as indeed of all things. They were all brought into being by Him, and without Him was not one thing brought into being of the created universe.
Nor is it only above all persons and offices that we see Jesus; but He alone gives a fuller and more divine meaning to every institution God set up in Israel. Take covenant in chap. 8: and sanctuary, sacrifice, and offering in chaps. 9,10. Everywhere His incontestable superiority is no less apparent; so as in Christianity at least to involve and prepare the way for their passing away, as the shadows and signs of that substance which now abides in all its preciousness to God, in all its efficacy for the believer.
If we look at faith, on which in every way the N.T. lays the utmost stress, others of old may and do show its beautifully refracted colors; but away from so great a cloud of witnesses we must look steadfastly on Jesus if we would see the Leader and Completer of faith. He is the full and pure light of it all. Therefore are we come in spirit even now to such an assemblage of glories (ch. 12:18-24) as not only eclipses but contrasts with the earthly and terror-inspiring associations of Sinai, whence dates the national distinction of Israel as God's people on the footing of the law. It is ours, receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, to have grace whereby let us serve acceptably with reverence and godly fear. Others, however to be remembered and imitated in their faith, pass; but another blessed superiority is that Jesus Christ, God and man now glorified, is the same yesterday, and to-day, and forever. And He defines our place with Him both before God and man: within the veil through His blood, without the camp bearing His reproach. What God has joined, let not man's unbelief and selfishness sunder. The force of this for the Jewish Christian was immense: do we now make them both good in our souls and ways?
It is the voice of Christ all through if on earth to gain the ear of the remnant and attach them to Himself, to God in the Son; in heaven to detach from all the earthly elements of Judaism which had done for the faithless their worst in becoming a rival through Satan's wiles, their best in spelling His name Who is all and in all them that believe. And here is another superiority which we shall trace in detail, that what He gives us is in each case declared to be “eternal,” in contrast with the temporary good things of Israel. He is the author of “eternal salvation” (chap. 5: 9). He has found an “eternal redemption,” and we receive the promise of the “eternal inheritance” (chap. 9.), even as He by the “eternal Spirit” offered Himself without spot to God, and the covenant consequently is “eternal” (chap. 13.).
The personal glory of Christ, Son of God, and His work as profound as His dignity is of high account for all, when we see Him to reveal God and give effect to His grace beyond all thought of man. This would, if anything could, draw Jews out of Judaism, where made willing to grow by the knowledge of God. And this we shall find to be the practical gist of our Epistle from first to last; nor was any so suited for the work as Saul of Tarsus, nor any time so seasonable as before Jerusalem was swept away, and the temple with its priesthood and sacrifices came to an open end as already defunct.

Religious Societies: Part 2

(Continued from page 13.)
From this brief statement it is hoped that the question may be raised in the minds of some, not whether a society be properly constituted and properly managed, but whether it is God's own means of acting; and to help to form a judgment there are some few considerations to be added. Only let it be again repeated, that in anything said here it is not intended to deny that God has blessed and owned them. But since their principle is unchangeable, if this is faulty, we are not to set down that to the society which is only ascribable to the sovereignty of God's grace, using any means according to the good pleasure of His will. And first, these societies have doubtless been very useful to the church in setting before it those works on which it ought to be engaged, and in stirring up much individual energy. But this has been greatly counterbalanced by the use which has been made of them, as if they had arisen from a healthy state of the church, instead of owing their existence entirely to its failure in its own bounden duty. The existence of so many societies for religious purposes has been hastily and unwarrantably assumed to be a ground for congratulation; whereas the object of them all would have been attained by the healthful state of the church in itself, in holy separation from the world, through the energy of the indwelling Spirit dispensing the streams of life. Men have united and concentrated their power for some present temporal object; and Christians have followed their wisdom, and have almost practically forgotten that, although worldly objects of pursuit may be obtained by worldly association, yet is there one thing, without which Christian service can never be fully, or other than partially effective, and this is the power of the Holy Ghost.
It is very much to be feared that an active and busy zeal, stirred up by the means of societies, has helped on very fearfully the error of the church in rejecting virtually its present portion, the guidance and power of the Holy Ghost. “Not by might, not by power, but by my Spirit saith the Lord.” It is the necessary consequence, when we are looking to our own multiplied means, to say we are rich and increased in goods, and have need of nothing; and not to know that we are poor, and blind, and miserable, and naked. It is an important consideration, exemplified in the conduct of the Jews during our Lord's ministry, that there may be much bustle and activity even apparently about the things of the Lord, and yet Luke warmness in reference to the Lord Himself, and rapid progress toward the consummation of apostasy.
Connected with this is another evil, which is, that the society instead of a means soon becomes an end. It is its prosperity that is looked to. The end of its agency and ramifications is, that the society may flourish. Now if a society be not God's way of advancing His own glory, however excellent it may be for the end it proposes, the moment that it becomes the object to sustain and to support, an opening is made for the flesh in all its rivalry and self-seeking. Besides, the maintenance of the society, being almost unconsciously the object of its agency, must lead to a certain kind of worldly prudence which would conceal its miscarriages, and only put forth its success. For example, we read of one case it may be of deep interest, and are and ought to be thankful for it; yet that one case is stated in an isolated manner, and we have not before us at all a fair statement of the proceedings of the society. Now in the church, if it flourishes, it becomes what God set it to be, His witness in a dark world. It does not flourish from any power extrinsic to itself, or from any adventitious circumstances, but from the energy of the Spirit working mightily in it; and it is impossible to seek the prosperity of the church, without seeking the glory of God. And the blessing of the church is, that its resources are from within: if it goes without itself to the world for aid, it virtually forgets that God is its strength; and the practical result of this seeking after outward resources has been to exclude the help of God.
Again it may be said, that religious societies have been the means of calling into activity much energy, which would otherwise have remained dormant. And this is doubtless true; and we have seen not only the acknowledgment of lay co-operation, but likewise the strange inconsistency of lay management in societies, which would hesitate about the propriety of employing an unordained missionary. But however this may have tended to disabuse some minds of the prejudice that everything of a religions nature was to be done through a clergy, it has been one of the evils arising from the management of a society, that it has greatly tended to lower the value of church order. In the church, those who role and have the control of things affecting the well-being of the church are not elected or supplanted by others who may be chosen to succeed them. In a communion of saints, there may be one only with the gift of rule, or there may be several; but if they have grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ, they cannot be superseded by others having even the like gift in a greater measure. There would be room for the different exercise of all the gifts; and thankfully should they be received. The disposition of these things is in the hands of the Lord; but is this recognized in the constitution of any society?
The entire management of religious societies is left to the control of a Committee, or a board of directors. Now a Committee, or directory, is that which has suggested itself to worldly prudence, as the readiest and easiest way of furthering its own plans. Christians have therefore in this instance borrowed from the world. They have not the power to delegate the government of themselves, in the things in which they are engaged, if indeed they be the things of God, to those in whom they may choose to confide. True it is indeed, that according to apostolic rule and practice, where money was concerned, it was left to the people to select those gifted of God as competent for the service (see Acts 6; 1 Cor. 16:3,4; 2 Cor. 8:19, 20). But the Committee of a religious society is entrusted with far more than a faithful application of its funds. Looking at religious societies, either as Bible or Missionary societies, the committee have the control of translations in the one, a most important work indeed, and of the missionaries in the other, which is equally important. Now these functions are the very highest in the church, and yet they are formally delegated from year to year to a nominated committee. Surely such a proceeding at once shows, that they are not recognized as so placed of God; for if they were, there needed not the renewal of their commission. And then to whom do the Committee so constituted stand in immediate responsibility? If they held any church place, their responsibility would at once be to the source from whence their power was derived—that is, the great Head of the church Himself. But however fitted and gifted, even by Him, a number of individuals forming a committee might be for the execution of so important a trust, yet being dependent on annual choice for their existence, the sense of direct responsibility to Him is much deadened; and, what is of importance too, it tends to induce forgetfulness of individual responsibility, “as every man hath received the gift, so minister the same, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”
It is a serious consideration for Christians to weigh well the question, whether either in appointing a committee or being appointed to it, they are not indirectly interfering with the Headship of the Lord. For what office recognized of Him does a committee hold? what gifts given by Him does it pretend to? In fact the constitution of societies has necessarily given rise to very lax notions on the point of church government, as if it were a matter left either to our tastes, or will, or convenience. And it may be soberly said, that the powers which a committee pretends to exercise are unheard of in the church, such as the college of apostles never thought of asserting—viz., so completely controlling the agency it employs, as effectually to hinder the liberty of the Spirit of God. If the Spirit should now as plainly forbid a missionary to preach the gospel in a given region, as Paul was forbidden to preach it in Asia, the Committee might still say, That is your sphere, there you must remain, till we tell you to move. And this is not hypothetical; a society constituted as religious societies are seeks to carry into a heathen land the arrangements it has for religious instruction in its own country. A station is selected by the Committee—a missionary sent forth—a mission house and chapel built—a school established; but after years of labor the preaching has not been found to be owned of God. The missionary cannot shake off the dust of his feet and go where a door may have been opened of the Lord, because the society has now a property in the station; and it is no uncommon thing in India to see men of God tied down to a station by the assimilation of their labor to the model of an establishment, whose love of souls would lead them to declare the glad tidings to those who are perishing for lack of knowledge. And this hindrance to the liberty of the Spirit almost necessarily arises from the constitution of a religious society.

The Catholic Apostolic Body or Irvingites: 14. Doctrine - The Revelation Misused

What has been already said as to Christ's Second Coming is greatly confirmed by a fuller consideration of the misuse of the Apocalypse which is alike prevalent in, and characteristic of, this society. To state the truth it enunciates is in itself the best disproof of the wrong done, partly in ignorance, partly by party spirit. In the great book of N. T. prophecy there are well-defined landmarks which afford the most seasonable help and yet demand no sustained attention or study, but he may run that reads them. The first and very essential distinction for all right understanding of it as a whole is that laid down by our Lord Himself in chap. i. 19, “the things which are, and the things which shall be after these,” not a vague “hereafter,” but what next follows. There are in fact three divisions; “the things which thou rawest,” namely, the Lord Jesus as presented after a new sort in the midst of the seven golden lamp stands (chap. 1.); “the things which are,” or the seven churches shown out in the seven letters respectively (chaps. 2.,; “and the things which shall be after these,” that is, after the church-state closes (chaps. 4-22.). The bearing of this on the application of the prophecy, simple as it seems, is immediate and immense, neglected by none more than by Irvingite interpreters. This is the more regrettable as they are among the few exceptional communities that really ponder the Book. For the most part in Christendom only individuals here and there appear to pay it any marked attention. As the Catholic Apostolics must be pretty familiar with its contents, they ought to have noted well the divinely registered postponement of the strictly prophetic visions to “the things that are"; especially as their ablest leader, Mr. Irving, devoted the greater portion of his Exposition of the Book (4 vols. 12 mo, 1831) to the seven Epistles, and with no small measure of truth. They constitute the mystery of the church-condition, or “the things which are,” from the days of the prophet till it vanishes from the earth, the faithful to meet the coming Lord in the air, the faithless to sink into the corrupt or apostate evils that await His day. Of the church, as a recognized object on earth, we never hear again in the Revelation, till the visions of the future are closed (chap. 22: 6). In ver. 16 of the last chapter John is instructed to testify “these things,” that is, the sum of these inspired communications, in or for the churches. Also in ver. 17 the church symbolically is shown longing for Christ. But this leaves the fact untouched in all its force, that the outwardly prophetic visions follow the seven-fold picture of the church, till it is no more seen or heard of on earth.
This again is corroborated by the opening vision of “the things that must come to pass after these” in Rev. 4; 5 The scene is transferred from earth to heaven, where the prophet in the Spirit sees a throne set, and One sitting on it, Who is celebrated as Holy, Holy, Holy, the Lord God, the Almighty, which was, and which is, and which is to come—the Eternal. But an absolutely new element appears. Around the rainbow-encircled throne were four and twenty thrones, and upon them four and twenty elders sitting arrayed in white, and on their heads crowns of gold. Now, without going into debatable and delicate questions, these elders are admitted, with or without the four living creatures, to represent the heavenly redeemed. It was a new sight for Stephen to see at God's right hand the Son of man. Now in heaven John looks on the symbol of the glorified saints as the chiefs or heads of the royal and heavenly priesthood. Never before had man even in the Spirit beheld them there. Their number is complete, twenty-four elders answering to the four and twenty courses of the Levitical priesthood. Others are called on earth to suffer and blessed subsequently, as we learn (Rev. 6 to chap. 18.); some are seen to go up to heaven (chap. 11.); many sufferers are raised at the last moment, earlier or later in the Book (Rev. 20:4) priests of God and of Christ, to share in His reign for a thousand years; but not one is ever added to the twenty-four elders, or chief priests.
The inference is irresistible. There can be no fall complement of the glorified Old and New Testament saints, as we see in the symbol of Rev. 4, till the Lord comes and gathers them to Himself on high. For though the O. T. saints could have none added after Christ's first advent, they are but disembodied till He comes again. Then alone the church His body will also be complete, both being changed in a moment, the dead and the living, into the likeness of His glory, as these demonstrably are here. For separate souls no more sit on thrones than angels do. Here the saints are crowned and glorified, which can only be after He comes for them. They re-appear expressly in Rev. 7; 11; 14, and in the early part of chap. 19. taking the deepest interest in what is done to God's glory; but they are to the last mention “the four and twenty elders,” whatever and wherever the blessing of others; for the book lets us also into no small variety of blessing to Come in God's mercy. But the blessed are others, after the church is taken to heaven, and presented separately.
Be it observed again, “out of the throne proceed lightnings, and voices and thunders” (ver. 5). It is not a throne of grace as in Heb. 4 to which the Christian approaches boldly now; nor yet is it the throne of millennial glory on high (Rev. 22:1), out of which proceeds a river of water of life, bright as crystal. Most commentators interpret Rev. 4; 5 of the present period, whereas it is only applicable in reality to a transition yet future. The throne expresses such providential inflictions as fill the hour of temptation that is coming, after the church goes to meet the Lord before the appearing. So too the Spirit of God assumes henceforth from Rev. 4 a judicial character (“seven lamps of fire burning before the throne”); for it is no longer sovereign grace gathering into one, the body of Christ. Further, the sea before the throne is as it were “of glass” like unto crystal; for the elders no longer is the washing of water by the word needed, as once necessarily to have a part with Christ, whatever Peter foolishly thought. Theirs is now, not a purifying process, but fixed purity and in its highest form, “like unto crystal.” The difference of Rev. 15 makes the meaning all the more striking; for there also we see another company of saints at the close who come off victors over the Beast and over his image and over the number of his name, not by any means characterized as the elders, yet singularly honored, standing upon the sea of glass, and having harps of gold. But in their case the sea is as it were glass “mingled with fire.” These do pass through the fiery tribulation at the end of the age, whereas the saints symbolized by the elders were caught up before; even as the Lord had promised the faithful who were awaiting His advent, to keep them out of the hour of temptation which is about to come upon the whole habitable world (Rev. 3).
Certainly Irving was behind few and not more negligent than most Christian teachers, who allow in word the meaning of the elders and living creatures, and yet fail to hold it fast when they proceed to interpret the visions that follow. The consequence is the inevitable confusion which prevails. They almost all overlook that, instead of churches, Jewish or Gentile saints, no longer forming one body, are seen as the object of divine care but of the world's hatred throughout the external predictive visions of the Revelation. Hence in Rev. 6 the cry of the martyrs of the fifth seal takes us back from the grace of Stephen and the church of God as seen in the N. T. to the cry of the righteous in the Psalms and the O.T The reason is evident. The church must already be caught up, in order that the vision of Rev. 4; 5 should be verified. Hence the saints subsequently called in that hour of trial which succeeds have a relationship, and therefore experience and affections, according to those that preceded the actual heavenly parenthesis of grace, whilst Jews and Gentiles are gathered in unity. Beyond controversy the holy sufferers, that had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held, are represented as crying aloud, “How long, O Sovereign Master, the holy and true, dost Thou not judge, and avenge our blood on those that dwell on the earth?” They are in unison with a God Who will then be dealing judicially; as we ought to be with His grace Who is now not only longsuffering but saving and blessing the lost gratuitously to the uttermost. It is a day of salvation; by-and-by it will be one of solemn judgments. Why confound them?
Rev. 7 affords ample and distinct evidence of the change which then will follow, anticipative though it is, as being an evident parenthesis between the sixth and seventh seals, answering to a similar case in the trumpets and the vials. Therein first is pledged a numbered company from each of the twelve tribes of Israel; as next the prophet sees a countless crowd from out of the Gentiles, both blessed, but quite distinct, and declared (of the latter at least) to come out of the great tribulation: in neither case the church, but by one of the elders explained, as far as the Gentile multitude is concerned (for the twelve tribes are so expressly described as to need no explanation), to be a special class of that still future period. The promised blessing snits, not heaven but the millennial earth, where the sealed of Israel are also to be. The church is exalted far beyond either.
In Rev. 8:3-5 farther proof appears, indicating that all the saints then on earth are witnesses, not of heavenly grace, but of God's intervention in judgment. For the effect of their prayers is that the angelic high-priest cast from the altar fire on the earth; “and there were voices and thunders and lightnings and an earthquake:” the premonitions, not of the gospel of the grace of God, but of His displeasure and ways that express it unmistakably; and the trumpets follow without further delay.
The only allusion bearing on this in chap. ix. is the negative one of ver. 4. The men not sealed on their foreheads are to be smitten. There is not a trace of the church on earth. Other witnesses follow.
So in Rev. 10 it is God's prophetic testimony as to many peoples and nations and tongues and kings, but neither the gospel nor the church as now.
More than this is made plain in Rev. 11, where the witnesses of that day, clothed in sackcloth, have power to inflict judgments such as those of Moses and Elijah, till their brief term of testimony is completed when the Beast kills them. What can be more in contrast with the apostolic witnesses or of the true men in their day who heard God's beloved Son rather than the law and the prophets, however truly they believed both?
Rev. 12 opens what may be called the second volume of the prophecy, and shows a retrogressive vision. For assuredly we err if we fail to see that the seventh trumpet brings us in a general way to the end. Momentous matters which take us back in time had to be particularized; and the birth of the Man-child Who is to shepherd the nations with a rod of iron is mystically before us, in order to link on with God's future designs and ways in Israel. Hence it is not the bride, but the mother here, the clear symbol of Israel according to God before the day of deliverance shines. The remnant of her seed that keep the commandments of God and have the testimony, as it is here, are clearly Jewish, and not what we now know as Christian. This book is admirable not only to clear the eyes as to the future, but to enlarge hearts. The church, incomparably blessed as it is, does not cover all the plans that are before God or revealed in His word.
In Rev. 13 those who have their tabernacle in heaven are definitely distinguished (6, 7) from the saints on earth with whom the Beast makes war. Cf. ver. 8, 9, 10. Not a word hints at the assembly, Christ's body; but there are saints Jewish and Gentile, and separately viewed.
This is palpable in Rev. 14 where we hear of 144,000 with the Lamb on mount Zion, a remnant of Judah, yet more honored and more closely associated with the earth-rejected Christ than the sealed company out of all Israel in chap. 7. After this scene, the everlasting gospel goes out to those settled down on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people, but no hint of baptism into one body as now in the church. We have afterward (12) the endurance of the saints noted who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus—this is indispensable, but the church nowhere on earth; and no wonder if caught up to heaven before the accomplishment of Rev. 4; 5 The blessedness from henceforth of those who die in the Lord is proclaimed (13); and immediately after the Son of man's appearing to judge, whether discriminatively, or unsparingly.
Then comes in Rev. 15 the vision of those who overcome the Beast and sing the song of Moses as well as of the Lamb, owning the King (not of saints but) of nations, as in Jer. 10:6. That these follow on earth the church gathered already to heaven has been fully shown.
In Rev. 16 the vials contemplate the awful hour of man's and Satan's worst evil with God's last judgments, before He sends the Lord in person to inflict vengeance, and then introduce the reign of righteousness and peace. Hence the Lord comes as a thief, unwelcome and unexpected; but blessed will he be who then watches, even if it be not the bridal joy of those caught up before.
Rev. 17 is a description which strictly has nothing to do with the three great series of judgments in the book to occupy the book from chap. 6. and onward, though we may gather from Rev. 14:8 and 16. 18 its relative place in the last of these dealings of God. But being descriptive it can show us Rome's corruption all through her lofty and false history, as Rev. 12 connected Christ in the past with God's purposes about Israel in the future. The blood of the saints and that of the witnesses of Jesus (6) seems purposely general, as we see most pointedly in Rev. 18:24. But it is certain that the one chapter speaks of the glorified saints coming with the Lord Jesus when He overcomes the Beast and the kings; and that the other gives a final call of God to His people, true in spirit ever since the Roman pseudo-Christian Babylon persecuted, but pointedly to the Israel of the future before judgment destroys. “My people” properly designates (not Christians but) the elect nation, and the execution of external widespread judgment is the purpose of the warning as usual. The heavenly redeemed have been already caught up and come with the Lamb.
Chap. 19. is another evidence of the same truth; and it is plain, full, and precious. Here the symbols of the twenty-four elders and of the four living creatures appear for the last time after the judgment of the great harlot, the corrupt pretender to that place of holy privilege which belonged to God's church Immediately follows the announcement of the Lamb's marriage-supper, and His wife has made herself ready, and the guests are called blessed, even if they have not her relationship, the O. T. saints, in glory as well as the church; to both of whom answers the uniting symbol of “the armies which were in heaven” that follow our Lord when He is seen, not as the Bridegroom though ever so, but for the while as the Warrior in righteousness. To this we must add the weighty fact that the martyred remnants of the earlier and later persecutions during the Apocalyptic hour of temptation are seen raised from the dead in time for the millennial reign in chap. 20: 4: “the souls of those that had been beheaded for the witness of Jesus and for the word of God (cf. 6: 8); and such as worshipped not the Beast nor his image, and received not the mark on their forehead and on their hand.” The O.T saints and the church had been already raised or changed, and had followed the Lord out of heaven in the glorified state. Indeed this state was made true ever since Rev. 4 showed them crowned and enthroned. Now they are seen on the millennial thrones, before those slain under the Apocalyptic visions join them in resurrection bodies for the reign with Christ.
If all this evidence be justly weighed, the Irvingite application of the Revelation is seen to be thus far a tissue of mistake. The sealed on their foreheads in chap. 7. are the “Israel of God” at a future epoch after the translation to the Father's house of the church as well as of the O.T. saints; when the same chapter next reveals an innumerable throng of saved Gentiles unmistakably distinct. This is enough to put to the root the allegorizing view of the twelve tribes in the preceding vision. But what they teach is worse than mere error of interpretation; it is a “strange doctrine,” which upsets a cardinal truth and standing privilege of God's church. For every member of Christ is and has been sealed of the Holy Ghost since Pentecost. “He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit.” “If any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” “If then God gave unto them (Gentiles) the like gift (δωρέαν) as unto us (Jews), on our having believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?” “By one Spirit were we all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free, and were all made to drink into one Spirit.” These scriptures suffice to prove the indispensable and universal character of that great gift for every Christian: without it one cannot be a member of Christ's body. To allow a constant line of such members since the twelve died, and to aver that sealing can only be by the imposition of apostolic hands, such as they and they only have in the Irvingite community, is obviously and unanswerably to contradict themselves.
Here their system is inexcusably astray. It is scriptural to affirm that the gift of the Spirit, and also gifts, were conferred for special ends by the imposition of apostolic hands. It is the grossest ignorance of scripture to overlook the fact that on still greater occasions the Spirit was given, even where an apostle was present, or all the apostles, without any such laying on of hands, as we have already shown; how much more where apostles were not present and could not be? How has so serious a heterodoxy pervaded these men? A snare of the enemy working on the pride or vanity of would-be apostles designated by modern false prophets. These apostles forsooth can seal, they only now: what follows logically, but that none are sealed outside Irvingism? none since the apostles till these men? That there is no mistake about their arrogant pretensions, built on a total misconception of the Scriptural doctrine and facts, will be plain to any upright Christian on reading the following statements from their most authoritative document, “The Great Testimony,” given in a footnote.

Scripture Imagery: 66. Israel As Illustrating the Principles of Divine Service

(2a) Xenophon relates a conversation which Socrates had with Aristodemns the Little concerning the obligation of divine worship. Aristodemns was inclined to atheism, but by an argument which Socrates advanced in his usual, courteous, questioning manner, he succeeded in convincing him. Up to this part of the dispute the old philosopher had been perfect: his arguments in proof of a divine design, wisdom and beneficence have been the model of all such reasonings ever since; the embryo of Paley's famous illustration of the watch and Lord Brougham's of the crab's tentacle might be found in the remarks to Aristodemus about the human ear and eyelash. When, however, Aristodemus at last says, “I would have [the Deity] send on purpose to let me know expressly all that I ought to do or not to do,” the sage's reply shows us how lamentably in the dark on these subjects the human race was. For the greatest and most capacious mind of a nation of philosophers gives answers concerning portents and prodigies; and (subsequently to Euthydemus) he says approvingly that the Delphian oracle commands to “follow the custom of your country.”
It seems harsh and crude to say that a modern Sunday-school child knows much more of this subject than the ancient philosopher, yet it is quite true—as true as that the modern child knows very much more of geography and astronomy than Plato and Aristotle, who never suspected that the western hemisphere had continents, that Saturn had rings, or Jupiter moons; but of course all this is no matter of credit to the modern child or discredit to them. What was unknown to them has been disclosed to us, that is all. “If I can see more than others,” said Sir Isaac Newton, “it is because I am standing upon giants' shoulders,” meaning that his discoveries were based upon those of Copernicus and others who preceded him. And if we in the Christian era know more as to the service of God than those of former times, it is because we have been raised on giants' shoulders to see that which God has been pleased to reveal—primarily by means of the Hebrew system.
“ Do but consider,” continued Socrates on this subject, “that the sun, that seems to be exposed to the sight of all the word, does not suffer us to gaze fixedly upon him, and whoever has the temerity to undertake it is punished with sudden blindness.” This is only partially true whether of the type or of the antitype: the sun will sometimes, while still visible, veil himself sufficiently to be gazed on by all; “Lo, in the orient when the gracious Light Lifts up his burning head, each under eye Doth homage to his new-appearing sight, Serving with looks his sacred majesty...... Attending on his golden pilgrimage.” If Herschel sat to study the sun for twenty-five years, so may those whose telescopes reach into that heaven far beyond the stars contemplate forever the great Source of all light and life, with reverence and godly fear indeed, but with ever increasing love and adoration: ever to apprehend, never to comprehend. “When I have laved the sea dry,” said the boy to Augustine, “then thou shalt understand the Trinity.”
But it is true that this kind of contemplation has a powerful effect on the sight. Gazing long on the sun somewhat unfits the eye for the time for minute discernment of surrounding things. Sir Isaac Newton had looked so much on it that its image remained continually impressed on his sight, even, it is said, when in the darkness of night; and there seems to have been some similar persistency of vision on the spiritual retina of his namesake, the friend of Cowper— “I meditate on Thee in the night watches.” A recent biographer says that when John Newton was getting old he used sometimes to forget himself when preaching, and would turn to an old servant standing near him, saying, “What was I speaking of?” when the answer invariably was, “You were speaking of the Lord Jesus Christ, sir.”
Now that which Aristodenans and multitudes of others sought vainly to know, which even a Socrates could not disclose, has been revealed to man by means of the Hebrew system. God thus made known the principles on which and the methods by which He required that men should approach, worship, and serve Him. At that time they were only to stand “afar off,” it is true, and behold Him with the outward eye. When Christ, the true Israel, was appointed, He disclosed infinitely more; then men were “brought nigh” and beheld Him with the inward and spiritual vision,—in a sense in which He had never been seen before. But all the main elements relating to Approach, Worship, and Service, are here set forth in a system of symbol-teaching; this part of the Pentateuch being arranged as a Kindergarten for the world, in the childhood of the race. This system of instruction has been for three thousand years on the earth; therefore it would be strange indeed if we did not know more on such subjects than the ancient philosophers. How much mankind need the instruction, and how terribly misguided the most devout minds may be for the lack of it, we may see in the puerile superstitions, the gross cruelties and foul abominations of even such highly civilized peoples as the ancient Greeks and modern Chinese. How pitiful it is to read of that devout Phoongye who deliberately burnt himself to death the other day, to offer himself to God. If he had had some of our knowledge! and if we had some of his devotion!
The method in which this instruction is conveyed is by a vast and elaborate system of symbols in connection with the scheme of the tabernacle. These symbols are impressive by reason of a certain majestic dignity in their arrangement, which is most strange; for it must be admitted that symbols are in a sense toys, though useful ones; and it is not easy in general to keep the mind from a kind of levity in considering them. This, however, is chiefly a matter of association. For we may sometimes see a bereaved mother weeping as if her heart would break over a few little toys, which to her are as pitiful and pathetic as to others they are puerile and unmeaning. Symbolism had to be used, as Italian is used in music, because it is the only language universally understood (in connection with that subject); and, further, there are no other means—even now, much less in olden times—of conveying in human language many of the highest spiritual principles. Besides this, symbols attract the attention, impress the memory, and enlighten the understanding.

A Few Words on Things New and Old: Review

Perhaps the little paper so entitled and just received scarce calls for notice; especially as edification is here desired, not controversy. But it is sad to see truth trampled in the streets, and one thing of moment perverted to undermine another still more momentous.
The writer of the pamphlet, “On the Formation of Churches” (originally in French) urged the responsibility of the Christian to keep the unity of the Spirit, and none the less because of its actual state of ruin. Indeed anything else is but ecclesiastical antinomianism. The truth of what the church of God is binds the members here below as long as the relationship of Christ's body exists. And scripture has fully provided for those who desire fidelity to the Lord and obedience of His word in such abnormal circumstances. Nor can we complain of lack of power for this, if we know the Holy Ghost since Pentecost abides forever.
Wholly opposed to these sound principles is the pretending to restore, as at the beginning, or perhaps even in a novel and arbitrary way; which presumption the tract in question censures. But most of all did it direct and encourage saints in assembling to the Lord's name and doing His revealed will in liberty and lowliness, as we await His coming.
To deny that either God's house or Christ's body remains is unbelieving ignorance; and Matt. 18 in its central portion seems a singular choice of strange scripture on which to base such an insinuation. The truth is that the presence of the Lord in the midst survives all failure, and is His gracious assurance if but two or three were gathered to His name. It is precisely the maintenance of holy discipline, as an inalienable duty in the darkest day of self-willed scattering, which gives occasion to this resource above all price. No doubt it widens out in ver. 20 as a general promise to any and every purpose for which His own might be assembled according to His word; but this is clear gain.
Nor is it intelligent to seek this enfeebling of the truth by speaking of “the second temple “: an expression of Rabbinical unbelief. Scripture, on the contrary, is careful, as we may see in Haggai, to maintain in faith the unity of God's house. “Who is among you that saw this house in her first glory? And how do ye see it now?” (ch. 2: 3.) It is “Jehovah's house” while “waste” (1: 9), no less than when “magnifical.” Hence even in the grand future “I will fill this house with glory” (2: 7).
Nor does ver. 9 really modify, still less contradict, its unity; for as the Revisers rightly render (as was known well before they were born), the true force is, “The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former.” So it stands in the oldest version of all, the Septuagint, to say nothing of others. Here Jerome led or followed others astray, as in not a few instances. There is really no legitimate doubt that it is Jehovah's house all through, and neither a first, a second, nor a third.
How much more solid is the tenure of God's house now, where an eternal redemption is the ground, and the Holy Spirit came down in person as never before save for the Lord Jesus! Granted that the house is in ruins, and that those err deeply who deny it and feel it not; but faith owns and acts on it, and can only do so aright as guided by a spiritual understanding of the written word bearing on it. Still more evidently is this true of the body of Christ, which is a distinctively heavenly relationship to the glorified Head. It is a “strange doctrine” ("theology” we may leave) to say it was formed in our Lord's resurrection, though impossible without His resurrection and His cross. Eph. 4 does not teach so, as it is said; still less John 20, which does not even touch anything about the body as such. Christ set on high above all God gave to be Head over all things to the church; but the saints on earth were in fact united by the Holy Ghost sent down at Pentecost and not before (see 1 Cor. 12:13).
The old perversion of Rev. 2; 3 should be relegated to Rome and the fathers from whence it came. Impossible that God could sanction congregational independency in the Apocalypse against the truth of unity uniform elsewhere. In the introduction to a prophecy other objects were before the Spirit which have been thus misunderstood by not a few parties. As well might it be argued, as many do, from “the angels” there, to destroy the divine system of Christ's gifts, and even plurality of elders, by a bishop or a “minister.”
The railing of the close God will look to, if His children be indifferent. It is to be hoped that but few professors of the Lord's name on earth could descend so low in the blindness of ill-feeling. No man is infallible; but the translator thus recklessly assailed contributed to present the Scriptures in English, French, and German beyond any man that ever lived; and no wonder, as he had adequate power, commanding knowledge of all helps, and spiritual acumen unequaled. And when one adds to this, who the detractor is, and on what ground of assumed qualifications he takes his stand, it might provoke a smile, if it were not rather a call for tears.

Joseph: Part 2

Gen. 39-41—These chapters together form the third part in the history.
Here we see Joseph filling up the measure of his sorrow, while his brethren are filling up the measure of their sins. He in exile preserves his purity and separation to God, like a Nazarite purer than snow and whiter than milk, while they at home are defiling the covenant. God is with him, and man against him. He takes his place in the cloud of witnesses, suffering for righteousness' sake. For conscience toward God he endures grief, suffering wrongfully. But the Lord is still with him. God shows that His covenant was with him, and that in him all the families of the earth should be blessed; for Potiphar first, and then the keeper of the prison, were made to prove this in their own persons. The archers are sorely grieving him, and shooting at him; but his bow abides in strength, and the arms of his hands are made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob. He may be persecuted of men, but God will not forsake him, but give him favor in the sight of strangers in spite of all the dishonor and humiliation to which the wickedness of his kindred and others may reduce him. And all this “affliction of Joseph” is made the discipline of God, Who loved him; for as we read, “the word of God tried him” (Psa. 105:19). This tribulation under the divine hand was made to work patience, and by it the crown was brightening for him
And we find Joseph not only distinguished with favor, but in some sense glorified also in his prison. For though power in the earth is not his yet, so that he could burst his prison doors, yet we see him glorified as a prophet, knowing the secret of God.
These dreams of the butler and baker were “according to the interpretation,” words which imply that they were of God. For dreams have two sources either God sends them, or the multitude of business (Joel 2:28, Eccl. 5:3). In them God may reveal His mind, or they may be simply “divers vanities,” the fruit of our own passions or necessities (Eccl. 5:7, Isa. 29:3).
And thus was it with the Lord in the day of His sorrow, and still with Him in measure in His sympathy for the church, for in that He is still saying, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?” In Jesus, as in Joseph, it was clearly shown that, though in weakness and rejection, God's covenant was with Him, that He was God's object, all blessing passing through His hand, though in shame and poverty. And even beyond this. Jesus was in His day of sorrow, like Joseph, glorified as a Prophet (Luke 4:15). And so in His saints now in measure. They may be despised, but they “have the mind of Christ,” they are in the secrets of God, they know the love of the Father, the judgment of the world, and the coming kingdom and power of Jesus. And of these secrets they bear witness to sinners, as Joseph told of the secrets of God to Pharaoh, and his servants. They tell both of judgment and of mercy, as he did.
Such are the ways of Christ, and the saints now. They are among strangers, in a world that is but foreign to them, and where they have no citizenship. They may be poor, “silver and gold having none,” lonely, in prison, and forgotten there, like Joseph. But “God is with them.” Patience with self-denial, and a holy keeping of their Nazaritism or separation to God, is their calling, and their present praise. But even in the humiliation, they have “treasures of wisdom and knowledge” in Christ. They can interpret the dreams that tell out God's purposes; the voices of the prophets and apostles are their delight and their counselors.
But in the close of all this we see Joseph not only as at the first comforted in sorrow, but brought out of sorrow—not only glorified as a prophet, but introduced into the full confidence of him who held the royal power, and authority in the earth. Pharaoh was then the lord of Egypt, and Egypt was then the lady of kingdoms; and Pharaoh gives Joseph authority to go over all the land, as the great executor of all rule, desiring that no man in Egypt was to lift up hand or foot without him. Joseph receives the king's ring, and rides in the second chariot. He is made lord of Pharaoh's house, and ruler of all his substance, to bind his princes at his pleasure, and teach his senators wisdom (Psa. 105).
He becomes the sole treasurer and dispenser of the resources of the whole earth, the one who alone could open and shut those storehouses on which his once injurious brethren, and all the world were soon to become entire dependents for preservation in the earth. Only in the throne was Pharaoh greater than he; and all this Pharaoh makes him and gives him, because he owned that the Spirit of God was in him, that he had been distinguished as “the friend of God,” knowing His ways, and was entitled to be called “the revealer of secrets.”
This was indeed glory among the strangers. The poor was thus raised from the dust, and the beggar from the dunghill, to be set even above princes. But this was not all. Joseph must have joy as well as glory among them, and the king gives him a wife, a lady of honor, and Joseph becomes the husband and father of a family in this strange land. Like Adam he gets Eve as well as dominion.
Such was Joseph now. And surely a greater than Joseph is here. Surely this is none other than Jesus the Son of God seated beside the Father on His throne in His full confidence and favor, and though cast out by Israel, receiving unquestioned title to all power, and made the Treasurer of all that grace and blessing upon which Israel and the nations are soon to draw for life and preservation in the earth. And all this because a right spirit was in Him as Pharaoh owned in Joseph. Jesus honored not Himself. “Do not interpretations belong to God?” said Joseph. “My doctrine is not Mine, but His that sent Me,” said Jesus. Jesus was obedient, wherefore God has highly exalted Him. “Grace is poured into Thy lips: therefore God hath blessed Thee forever.”
And besides all this present glory on the throne, the Son of God has received a present joy, as we have seen Joseph did in Egypt. He has now received, from among Gentile strangers, a new unlooked for family. And Joseph's Egyptian family clearly typify Christ's heavenly family, or the church. For in the joy of His having received the church, the Lord has for a while forgotten Israel, as Joseph called his first-born “Manasseh,” for “God,” said he, “hath made me forget all my toil and all my father's house;” and his second son, he calleth “Ephraim,” for “God,” said he, “hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.”
All this a child might trace; but the Holy Ghost, Who graciously reveals “to babes and sucklings,” has Himself led us in this interpretation. In the seventh chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, the rapture of the Son of man into heaven is given exactly the same place as the glory of Joseph in Egypt. The whole bearing of Stephen's words leads to this. He is drawing out the proofs, that Israel had been always resisting the Holy Ghost; that as their fathers had done, so had that present generation been then doing; and thus that their treatment of Joseph and Moses (whose history as well as Joseph's he recites) were thus types of their treatment of the Just One. Joseph, it is true, was at last made known to his brethren, as we shall see presently, and at the last also Moses delivered his people. But during a long interval, both were separated from them. And so with Christ. In the end He will be made known to Israel, as their Redeemer and Brother, but for the present He is separated from them. And His separation is unto heaven, as Joseph's had been unto Egypt, and Moses' unto Midian. And wives and children given to Joseph and Moses, in the place and during the season of this separation, is thus necessarily the type of the gathering of the church to Jesus now.
But Joseph and Moses not only get a special glory and a peculiar joy in the separated place, but they are there also under preparation for becoming the future benefactors and redeemers of their unbelieving brethren. Joseph, as I have been noticing, is made the treasurer of those supplies on which Israel was soon to draw; and Moses gets the rod of strength by which he was soon to make a passage for Israel forth from the land of their bondage. But, till the appointed hour, Israel was in an evil case, filling up their sins, and knowing the service of the nations; as now they are a scattered and outcast people, and their sanctuary a disclaimed dishonored ruin, while He, Whom they have rejected, is in heaven. So perfect are the patterns of old, of the secrets which are now revealed onto us by the Spirit.

Religious Societies: Part 3

The utter in-subjection of the minds of Christians to real church authority in the Spirit has doubtless been materially helped on by the introduction of the worldly expedient of a committee into a society professedly religions. Nor does the evil end here. We find among the agents of the several societies many able and gifted individuals; but in their place as agents or secretaries of societies, what are they as given of the Lord? Are they apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, or evangelists? Surely not—they hold no church office at all. It is no office given of the Lord or owned of Him. Nothing surely but being misled by the desire of doing good could possibly have induced so many men of piety to put themselves in so anomalous a position. It need hardly be added, that the constant habit of appealing to a worldly auditory leads them for the most part into very low and meager statements of truth; and some have not thought it beneath them to amuse their hearers, instead of simply stating what God has wrought. The mischief arising from this entire disregard of church office and church order, through the setting aside of both by societies, is incalculable.
But then it may be said what are the saints to do? Now the object of this paper is rather to awaken inquiry as to the wrongness of their present means, that they may seek to ascertain the way of the Lord more perfectly, than to say, Here is a perfect plan into which you may at once come. There is a perfect plan, God's own plan—His own society—the church; but who can say we have attained unto it? And that which is specially intended to be pressed on the minds of God's children is, that the very existence of the societies in question is a proof of the fallen and low state of the church, and calling for humiliation and sorrow, rather than congratulation. The word surely is, “Be zealous and repent.”
There is one simple way however of proceeding, and that is, immediately, without regard to consequence, to leave off doing evil. Let the children of God separate from the unholy and disobedient, and conform their plans, not to the judgment of man, but to the mind of Christ. But further, the church has been shown its deficiencies and lack of service, and bounden duty. Let it importunately seek of the Lord of the harvest to send forth missionaries both at home and abroad, men of faith and prayer, and simply dependent on the Holy Spirit, without the expensive machinery of a society taking upon itself to send them. If there are such to be found—those whose desire it is, constrained by the love of Christ, to go forth to the heathen, taking nothing of them; assuredly the children of God will be ready to help them on their way after a godly sort, that they may be fellow-workers to the truth (2 John 6-8). But let them not go forth thus provided only, but likewise in the fullest sympathy of the church, and strengthened with all the counsel and wisdom, that the Lord may have given to it in any of His servants, so that they might feel assured that in their difficulties they were not alone. Thus would they be made to feel their entire dependence on God, and at the same time perfect liberty of giving themselves up to the guidance of His Spirit, whilst the knowledge of a loving and watchful oversight on the part of others would alike tend to check the hastiness, or stir up the sluggishness, of the flesh. And so also as to Bibles—have Christians done well in letting the sacred deposit committed to them out of their hands? Are translations of the scriptures to be entrusted to the superintendence of those who do not stand as acknowledged to have received those gifts by which the church is edified? Persons are often placed in this position of most solemn responsibility from their rank, influence, wealth, or learning, none of which renders a man competent to judge of a version of the Scriptures. All that are spiritual do know how that the exercise of the mere cultivated human understanding is disposed to draw inferences from the word of God which that word itself forbids. The church is the pillar and ground of the truth; even as Jesus is the truth itself, and the Spirit alone can guide into all truth. It is sorrowfully known from the agitation of the question, how little the real inspiration of the Scriptures is held by men of decided piety, and how soon and how easily such a principle would lead men to be content with a paraphrase instead of a translation.
Let not however the mischiefs arising from the constitution of societies be used as a cloak for slothfulness—hindering the saints from undertaking in God's own way the work they have engaged in. The foolishness of God is wiser than man. Let it therefore be shown that, with much less of palpable display, the work is more effectually done, when only undertaken in the Spirit and for God's glory, than when undertaken with the most promising human means for an end, however good, short of it.
Again let it be repeated that, in nothing that has been said, is there the intention of speaking to the disparagement of any religious society. The aim of this paper is to show merely that it is not God's way of proceeding. Let us most thankfully own, that their objects are of very deep importance, and rejoice in the measure of good they have effected. Let us again also see in them how gracious God is, in bearing with the experiments of our own wisdom, and in leading us by His gentleness, through our own failures, to the knowledge of His truth and of His ways.
J. L. H. (Concluded from page 27.)

Parochial Arrangement Destructive of Order in the Church: Part 1

“ God is not the author of confusion” (1 Cor. 14).
To treat with apparent lightness of spirit anything that concerns the church of God I hold to be a great sin; and though there are a few occasions, very few, and those not connected with the humiliation of Jesus, in which the folly of evil may be brought before the eyes of the many, yet my present subject, although absurd to the moral mind, leads me to no such feelings, nor do I desire to treat it in any such spirit. Looking upon it as a matter wherein the Holy Ghost is grieved and dishonored, if I speak under the influence of that Spirit, I shall feel grieved also: and such is my feeling whilst observing how much of that which wears the fairest appearance, and ranks highest in ordinary estimation—nay, which is considered as the very triumph of Christian skill, and perfection of ecclesiastical arrangement—is actually at utter variance with the mind of God, and consequently with essential beauty and truth, which are only expressions of that mind.
It is often thought that the complaint of the church is a wild feeling, taking the dissatisfaction of self-will for the freedom of God's Spirit, and seeking licentiousness under the name of liberty, and in defiance of order. But, where principles are not assumed (which is often the unsuspected foundation of many a pile of well connected reasoning), it would not be difficult to prove that such a complaint is not necessarily fanatical or visionary, and that the plain and practical path of obedience is marked out on the other hand by nothing more than common spiritual discernment, and common honesty of heart toward God. Now it appears to me that the present circumstances of the church have destroyed order, as well as liberty, which two things, at any rate while man is a sinner, must go together; and this is shortly proved.
Take the existing state of things in its broad lines: it is not order, that all or the majority of those called pastors should be, instead of pastors, unconverted men. Yet this is admitted, even by many who acquiesce in the circumstances which have of necessity produced this fruit. It cannot be called order, that they should be appointed by man (by men perhaps not members of God's church) and not by God. This is not order, nor does it produce order but dissent and schism and confusion. But this is a fact not only in its results, but in its principle—namely, that in what is called order the appointment of the pastors flows from men not members of God's church at all. Succession, in whatsoever degree it may be rested upon, comes not from Christ the minister of God's power, but from the prime minister.
In days of infidelity or indifference it must be immediately evident to any one, into what danger this at once throws the church, as far as it depends on this succession. Nor is this a speculative apprehension; for the danger is oven now in full operation, and by no means a mere probability, but in fact working in its worst possible form, namely, in showing itself as the instrument of evil principles, not of good. Where such a fact is evident, and that on all sides, it may seem superfluous to reason on the principle of the succession itself, for we have its legitimate results before as; but as many who are children of God hold by it, and seek to defend it, it may be of some service to the truth to state it on their own principles.
The ordinary arguments against all objections are usually these—that in theory the appointers are members of the church of God, that in this view only they can look at it, and that the actual evil is no ground to go upon. But, as will be seen, Christians will often find themselves in strange situations who disregard actual evil on the assumption that the system which produces it is theoretically correct; for in this manner there may be no limit to the measure of practical wickedness which will be tolerated, while conscience satisfies itself on the plea of an abstract excellence which may turn out to be a mere shadow, or worse. Such, however, is not the path of sound and Christian principle, which at once pronounces that the actual evil is the ground to act upon. God acts upon it, even though the system may be His own, as in the case of the Jews. “You only have I known of all the families of the earth; therefore will I punish you for your iniquities:” and the church is bound to act upon it, having the intelligence of God's Spirit to discern the evil. The distinctive character of the church, of the individual informed by the Holy Ghost, is this, “Let every one that nameth the name of the Lord depart from iniquity;” but the argument used admits the actual evil, yet, whilst avowing the name of the Lord, does not depart from it.
I ask high churchmen in particular, is it not iniquity that pastors, chief pastors, should be appointed, not by the church, by Christ, but by men, be they what they may? Is not this the fact? and if so, do they then depart from it? Is it the church that appoints them? If the predicament into which they are forced by this question is sought to be evaded upon the plea that the Congo d' elire saves them, (a drowning man will catch at a straw) the answer does but further prove the iniquity of this system, from which men should depart. For it assumes that the persons in ecclesiastical office have the power to elect, or the argument is null; and consequently shows only the uniform betrayal of the interests of Christ by them into other hands than those of the church. They are thus driven to an extremity, where choice is to be had only between two conclusions; the last of which, i.e., the surrender of the power if possessed, exhibits the constant iniquity of the church: whilst on the other hand, if not possessed, the church is proved no longer to exist in the exercise of its habitual and necessary functions. Indeed practically, it seems most honest and simple to say that the sovereign appoints to the bishopric. In Ireland even the poor excuse of the Congo d' elire is taken away, for the bishops are appointed by letters patent openly by the crown. I have touched on this ground because refuge is sought in it by some who feel conscientiously upon the subject. Let us return to the plain facts of the case.
The minister of the crown appoints the pastors to the flock of Christ; but churchmen defend themselves on the plea that it is still the church that does it. The simple answer is this—it is not so now, even in theory. No religion is necessary to the prime minister, nor does it practically constitute part of the theory of the state at all. But even on the supposition that it did, and that all the persons appointing were churchmen and Christians, it is not as such that they have to act in the capacity of appointers. But supposing it still further to be so, what at best is the state of things? We have Christians and laymen (I speak upon the church theory) appointing to the highest ecclesiastical offices, the superior pastorships of the church, because they have secular office which the church, save in civil subjection, knows nothing about. Now I say this is disorder and not order: the real bishops of the Established Church are the king and ministers of the day; for there cannot be a more important function of the church in its order, than the appointment of fit persons to feed the flock.
I can see nothing which seems to me Christian order in such appointments of bishops or chief pastors of God's flock; it presents nothing but immense disorder. I cannot recognize the hand of the church in the bishop of Exeter, or the archbishop of Armagh, though I do the church's responsibility. He may, through God's mercy, be a very good man, nay, he may have eminent qualities for the pastoral or, Episcopal office. Yet there is no order of God's church in it, but the order of the prime minister of England, or the lord lieutenant of Ireland, who are not God's constituted officers for the appointment of the bishops of His flock, in any church order. In point of fact, the necessary consequences have resulted in confusion and discord in the church of God. For while there was nominal order to which holy minds might desire to be subject, there was at the same time the complete amalgamation of the church and the world, which the Spirit of God loudly testified against, and holy men must separate from, and the professed church become the great author of schism.

On Acts 25:23-27

The purposed hearing of the apostle wholly differed from that before Felix and Drusilla. This was private; and the apostle availed himself of it in divine love and holy courage to strip the guilty pair of their vain show, and to let them see themselves as God regarded them, as He will judge by-and-by through our Lord Jesus. Were men not insensate by the wily power of Satan, they would feel how gracious it is of God to send one faithful and able, willing and loving, to tell them the unerring truth, that, believing, they might be saved. But if they hug their sins, it cannot be. True repentance is the inseparable companion of true faith. From both the enemy finds plausible excuses to hold souls back. Conscience may tremble; but there is no repentance till self is judged before God, and faith alone produces this.
Here it was even more public than the indictment before Felix or Festus. And the appeal to the emperor, though it relieved Festus in the main, embarrassed him in that he had no tangible rational explanation of the case to lay before Nero. Hence when Agrippa expressed the desire in person to hear the accused, Festus gladly caught at it, and fixed the next day for the purpose. Agrippa’s known familiarity with Jewish affairs was too good to be lost, besides gratifying the wish of so exalted a guest.
“Therefore on the morrow when Agrippa came, and Bernice, with great pomp, and they entered into the audience-chamber with the commanders and the distinguished men of the city, at the command of Festus Paul was brought. And saith Festus, King Agrippa, and all men that are here present with us, ye behold this man about whom all the multitude of the Jews applied to me both in Jerusalem and here, crying out that he ought not to live any longer. But as I found that he had done nothing worthy of death, and as he himself appealed to Augustus, I decided to send him, about whom I have nothing certain to write to my lord. Wherefore I brought him forth before you, and especially before thee, king Agrippa, so that, after examination had, I may have what I shall write. For it seemeth to me unreasonable in sending a prisoner not also to signify the charges against him” (Acts 25:23-27).
Our evangelist as usual presents the scene most graphically; for which reason probably tradition gave out in error that he was a painter, whereas Scripture is positive that he was a physician: a fact abundantly confirmed by evidence in both his Gospel and the Acts. The king and the queen are before us with great pomp; military chiefs add to the show, as well as the most distinguished civilians; the governor gives the word of command, and the prisoner is brought into the hall of audience. Festus opens the proceedings. It is hardly to be allowed that the courteous Roman meant to insinuate a slur on Bernice when he said, “King Agrippa, and all men that are here present with us.” Undoubtedly the word is not the general ἄνθρωποι but the precise ἄνδρες, expressive of men as distinguished from women (γυναῖκες). The truth is however that ἄνδρες is used regularly in addresses as more respectful, though women may be present (cf. Acts 1:16; 2:14; 3:12; 13:16; 15:1; 17:12); and in this sense only is it here employed. Out of courtesy the distinction is ignored for the time. That the queen’s presence was implied to be improper is not the thought.
Festus addresses himself directly to the point. “Ye behold this (person) about whom all the multitude of the Jews applied to me, both in Jerusalem and here, crying that he ought not to live any longer.” There was no doubt of the general and vehement antipathy of the Jews to the noblest man of their stock and the most honored servant of the Lord. Their cry in the holy city and elsewhere was that he ought not to live longer. He, the governor, found that Paul had committed nothing which deserved death, but does not explain why he himself had occasioned the appeal to the emperor by the proposal that the prisoner should go to Jerusalem for judgment. Paul knew too that worldly religion is of all things least just and most cruel, and, declining such a change from Cæsar’s tribunal, appealed to Augustus. To this Festus agreed, as we know, and he repeats, “I decided to send him.”
But thereon arose a difficulty. What was he to write with the appellant? “About whom I have nothing certain to write to my lord.” This was his main motive for the hearing before Agrippa, versed as he was in Jewish customs and learning and prejudice. “Wherefore I brought him forth before you, and especially before thee, king Agrippa, so that, after examination had, I may know what I shall write.” The governor naturally considered it senseless, as he adds, to forward a prisoner without signifying the accusation laid to his charge. We shall find however that the issue was a true and fresh testimony to Christ far more than a solution of the governor’s perplexity.

Hebrews 1:2-4

The peculiar form of the phrase then “in a Son,” difficult without loss or a paraphrase to convey adequately in our language, is simply to characterize the relationship, not Who but what, as in Matt. 4:6; 9:29; 27:40, 43, 54, Luke 4:3, John 1:1 (last clause θεός), 5:27, 8:54, 10:33, 36, 19:7, as well as in Heb. 3:6; 5:8; 7:8, 28. Where the person is the object before us, the article is invariably inserted, as may be seen in the context of these texts and in Scripture generally. “In the person of the, or His, Son,” or “in Him Who is Son,” would therefore require ἐν τῷ υἱῷ. A subordinate sense where the article is absent is in no way the truth, in the mind either of friends or of foes. Where character is predicated, the article is excluded, as here. Only in English we must say “a” or “the” which so far enfeebles the expression of what is here intended: “a” as capable of implying others which is not at all meant but the reverse; “the” as presenting Christ objectively, where is meant predicatively that character of intimate relationship to God which is proper to Him only in eternal title and right. Some only have it subordinately by creation, as angels; others again, as the faithful, by sovereign grace through faith in Christ and eternal life in the Son.
Next comes His heirship. “Whom He appointed Heir of all things, through Whom also He made the worlds:” testimonies to the glory of Christ of exceeding moment, to which we shall return after citing the passage in full. “Who being the effulgence of His glory and the very impress of His substance, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He made purification of sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high, made so much better than the angels, as He hath inherited a name more excellent than they” (ver. 2-4).
As in Rom. 9 to Gentile saints, so here to Jewish, in general “the ages,” but also beyond just dispute used by Hellenistic Jews for the universe (perhaps as the theater of the divine dispensations or ages) as here and in chap. 11:3. See Eccl. 3:11 in the Sept., said elsewhere. the apostle proves that Christianity reveals the Messiah in a grandeur far surpassing the imagination of the former or the tradition of the latter. He is Son as none else. He is Heir of the universe; and no wonder. For as He created the worlds, so He upholds all things by the word of His power. Yes, the very Man Whom they crucified by the hand of lawless men, Who was crucified through weakness At the moment He bowed His head and expired, He was sustaining all creation. It were absurd to think or say so, had He been only man; but He was God; and the dissolution of the tie between the outer and the inner man in no way touched His almighty power.
Jesus then is not merely the Messianic Heir of the nations as in Psa. 2. He is the Heir of all things as He created all. Compare John 1:3. All things in the heavens, and the things on the earth are to be summed or headed up in Christ: such is God's good pleasure which He purposed in Him (Eph. 1:9, 10). He is exalted accordingly to the highest seat, the pledge of all that is to follow; for now we see not yet all things subjected to Him, but we behold Himself crowned with glory and honor. And we know from elsewhere why He does not yet enter on the immense and glorious inheritance. He awaits the calling out of all the joint-heirs whom He will invest with the inheritance at the same time as He takes it Himself; for if children then heirs, heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ. Such are the wondrous. counsels of God, through His Son and to His glory.
He, Who is the appointed inheritor of the universe, and also fully entitled as being the Creator of the worlds, is yet more set forth in ver. 3: being the effulgence of God's glory and the very impress of His substance or being, and upholding all things by the word of His power. He is in the highest sense (as intrinsically there can be none other) a divine person no less than the Father, and the Holy Spirit. But He is specially the displayer of Godhead, as in power and providence so in goodness, and in grace even to the lost. (Compare 2 Cor. 4:4 and Col. 1:15.) And this comes into the utmost prominence in the words that follow— “having made,” or when He made, “purification of sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;” where we may observe that, even omitting “by Himself” with the oldest uncials and good versions, &c., the participle carries in itself the remarkable force of having done it for Himself. He took His seat on high on the accomplishment of His work in the purification of sins. For this He had come as being the will of God, and only goes on high to take that place of glory when He had Himself done the work.
It will be observed that Christ is said here to be the outshining of God's glory. In our Epistle it is not the Father (as in John) but God. Both are true and each has its own importance. And it is scarcely needful to say that “person,” borrowed in the A. V. from that of Geneva, is a mistake. It is “substance” or essential being, as in Wickliffe, Tyndale, Cranmer, and the Rhemish from the Vulgate. The doctrine of course is one hypostasis and three persons, as is commonly known: both truths are made evident in Isa. 6 compared with John 12 and Acts 28, as indeed by many other scriptures.
Christ's maintenance of the universe presents His divine glory in a striking way. “By Him all things consist,” as the apostle affirms in Col. 1. They were created by Him and for Him, and they subsist together in virtue of Him. This becomes all the more remarkable because He deigned for the deepest purposes to become a man. This however trenched not on His deity; for the incarnation means not Godhead swamped by humanity, but this taken into everlasting union with itself, each nature abiding in its own perfectness, not metamorphosed but constituting together the one person of Christ. As He therefore brought all into being, so does He sustain all the universe, and ever did so.
There is another and profounder element of His glory, His effecting in His own person the purgation of sins. To create needed but His word; to sustain, His will; but not so redemption. To command in this case would have been wholly insufficient. The purging of sins could not be without the shedding of blood, without sacrificial death, for which the O.T prepared men from the beginning. The earthly sacrifices could neither suffice for God's glory, nor cleanse man's conscience, as we are taught fully later on. But they were weighty testimonies from the days of Adam downward, though only elaborated into a system most full and instructive of types by divine inspiration under Moses. Christ's was indeed “A sacrifice of nobler name, And richer blood than they.”
Christ alone gives the full meaning and the true dignity to sacrifice, as is here briefly shown and bound up with the glory of His person. Sin is rebellion against God; it is lawlessness. God therefore is the One invariably concerned, whether it be also a human wrong or not. “Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned and done this evil in Thy sight:” yet he who so cried had been guilty of blood as well as of the worst corruption. As God's majesty and character are thus intimately in question, it is He who undertook to settle all in His Son. But here nothing less than His death could avail, yea, death of the cross, where He Himself laid the sins on the spotless Victim's head (Isa. 53) that they might thus be borne, and borne away. Not otherwise could there be forgiveness of sins according to God. There must be the purification of sins; and it is the “blood of Jesus Christ His Son” that “cleanseth from all sin,” from every sin.
No wonder this deepest work of God is treated here as part of the divine glory of Christ. He must be man on behalf of men, He must be God to be available with God; He is both in one person; and thus as the justification was thus perfect, the result is unfailing for all who believe. Once cleansed thereby the worshippers have no more conscience of sins; and He, having offered one sacrifice for sins, “sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high,” sat down in perpetuity, as Heb. 10 tells us, not only forever but without a break in the efficacy of His sacrifice. How could it be otherwise if God in the Son undertook that work? And as this is thoroughly reasoned out and applied in the latter part of the Epistle, here we have the great truth stated clearly at the start: a truth “hard to be understood,” by a Jew particularly, accustomed as he was to the routine and repetition of sacrifice as well as all other Levitical observances. But the Holy Spirit of God does not keep it back, giving it a foremost place in the introduction.
It was scarce needed to say that Christ “by Himself” made purification of sins. For He alone suffered for sins; He alone was sacrificed for us. The Father had His will in giving Him for the purpose; and the Holy Spirit bears testimony to the complete efficacy, as He previously held out types and predictions and promises. But it was for Christ alone to suffer for sin; and this He did to the uttermost. “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way, and Jehovah hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all......It pleased Jehovah to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief: when thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin,” &c., “He poured out His soul unto death; and was numbered with the transgressors; yet He bare the sin of many and made intercession for the transgressors.” (Isa 53)
And this is the basis of what the apostle elsewhere calls the “righteousness of God,” that righteousness, not of man which the law sought, yet found not in the sinful, but of God Who in virtue of Christ's propitiation can fully bless all that believe, and freely plead with and call on all men as they are. The purification of sins effected by a divine person is not limited and cannot fail; but it necessarily can take effect on none that hear the gospel unless they believe: God would be consenting to the dishonor of the Son if He made light of men's unbelief. Besides, the word received in faith has a morally cleansing power, as all believers are born of water and the Spirit. But here it is the work, not in man, but efficacious before God which occupies the apostle, and this is the purification of sins by Christ before He sat down at God's right hand.
What an attestation is that seat of His to the perfection and completeness of the work He undertook! When Jehovah laid our sins on Christ, He was made sin for us, and treated it as it deserved at the hand of God. For what did man, or even saints, know then of that infinite task? God indeed marked it by a darkness for which nothing in nature can account, and Christ confessed it in that cry of His inapplicable to all others but Himself: “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” Yes, this was the necessary result of sin-bearing: absolute abandonment by God. Though He were His God, yet Christ was made sin; and it was no make-believe, but real if anything ever was; no slurring over the least sin, no leaving out the greatest. It was Christ bearing the judgment of sin, the sole righteous way for the purification of sins. And the work was done, finished, in such perfectness, that the only adequate seat for Him Who had borne all was at the right hand of the Majesty on high. David's throne will be taken another day when blessing dawns on the earth on Israel. And when the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then shall He sit on the throne of His glory; and before Him shall be gathered all the nations. But here is a seat incomparably more august, and in fact proper and possible to none but a divine person; yet is it also presented as the place suited to Him Who had just made purification of sins. In this He suffered and wrought; on that He sat down, the work finished and thus accepted. What more glorious for the humbled Messiah? What more blessed in its fruit for the believer? A sacrifice to God, He gave Himself up for us.
There is another word added here, the bearing of which is no less evident on Jewish minds They thought much of angelic glory. The law they received as ordained by ministry of angels (Acts 7:50, Gal. 3:19). They were wont therefore to regard with awe and wonder those obedient messengers of God's power, of which there can be no stronger proof than John's temptation in Rev. 19; 22. Hence the gravity of the further testimony to Christ's glory here, “made so much better than the angels, as He hath inherited a name more excellent than they” (ver. 4).
It is Christ Who renders evident the ground of God's counsel to raise from among men those destined to a place incomparably higher than that of angels. If the Son of God became man, it was at once intelligible, becoming, and necessary. And the redemption that is in Christ, and our consequent nearness of relationship into which grace brings the believer makes plain our association with Him and our elevation above angels. For they are not called, but kept. Not sunk into moral ruin, they have no experience of the mercy that saves and unites with Christ. Hence angels are never said to reign. They serve, instead of sitting on thrones. We are to reign with Him, yet shall we serve then as we serve now, and all the better through grace, because, delivered from the lowest estate of guilt and evil, we are objects of His ceaseless and infinite love, and shall share His glory as surely as we now rest on His grace. Angels know not either extreme, as we do, but all we boast is through Him Who became so much better than the angels as He hath an inheritance more excellent than they.

The Gospel and the Church: 1.

At all times it has been a well-known stratagem of the enemy, when he cannot prevent the promulgation of divine truth, to advance some portion of it at the expense and to the neglect of other much higher and more blessed truths, in order to confine the attention of believers to such as are of secondary import—however precious they may be in themselves—and to keep out of sight, or at least in the background, truths of primary and deepest importance.
What more precious portion of divine truth than the gospel? And what more blessed service than that of the evangelist? Paul, the apostle of the gospel and of the church, writes that he is “not ashamed of the gospel; for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”
But the same apostle writes, “If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God, which is given me to you-ward: how that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit, that the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel, whereof I was made a minister,” &c.
The gospel then, as we learn from the apostle, is the means for forming the church, which is the body of Christ, composed of Jews and Gentiles. The same apostle calls himself “minister of the gospel,” and “minister of the church” (Col. 1:23-25). The gospel is to the church what the recruiting officer is to the army. The army could not subsist without the recruiting officer. Without him it would soon die out. Neither can the church do without the evangelist. The gospel then is the means of founding the church, and the evangelist is a minister or servant of the gospel and of the church, as we learn from the apostle (Eph. 4:11, 12); “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.”
Now it is beyond dispute that that which is merely instrumental, however blessedly instrumental, cannot hold the same place of importance as that for which it is instrumental. We know from God's own word through His apostle of the gospel of the church, that next to Christ there is nothing so near and dear to God as His church, the body of Christ and the habitation of God in the Spirit. Christ and the church form the very center of the counsels of God! What a sad thing then to assign a secondary or subordinate place to that which in God's sight is of primary importance!
There is joy indeed before God and His angels over one sinner that repenteth. The heavenly joy does not wait until the sinner finds “joy and peace in believing.” But the divine joy of Him Who knows the end from the beginning begins as soon as His divine work in the sinner's soul begins in repentance toward God. Wondrous indeed, yet but natural to those unenvious blessed angelic ministers of God's good pleasure, were those heavenly acclamations on the night of our Savior's nativity, which accompanied the first proclamation of the “good tidings of great joy.”
“ How rightly rose the praises{br}Of heaven that wondrous night,{br}When shepherds hid their faces{br}In brightest angel light!
“ More just those acclamations{br}Than when the glorious band{br}Chanted earth's deep foundations,{br}Just laid by God's right hand.
“ Come now and view that manger:{br}The Lord of glory see,{br}A houseless, homeless stranger{br}In this poor world for thee.
“ To God in th' highest glory,{br}And peace on earth to find,{br}And learn that wondrous story—{br}Good pleasure in mankind.”
But the time is not very distant when another glorious song, equally if not more glorious still, will be heard at the outburst of the joyful heavenly Allelujah. “Praise our God, all ye His servants, and ye that fear Him, both small and great. Allelujah, for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted, that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white; for the fine linen is the righteousnesses of saints.”
It is true, what the chief apostle of the circumcision wrote—after our precious Savior had accomplished His glorious work of an eternal redemption, and as a risen and ascended Savior and Head of the church had taken His seat on high, and the Holy Ghost had been sent down from heaven— “which things the angels desire to look into.”
But it is no less true, what the same Spirit says through Paul the apostle of grace and glory, viz., “To make all see what is the dispensation of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, Who created all things by Jesus Christ; to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in the heavenlies might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose, which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
And is that from which the angels derive their lessons in studying the wisdom of God to be a matter of minor importance to you and me, fellow-believer, who are living stones in that wonderful divine building, and members of the body of Christ? Jesus died “not for that (Jewish) nation only, but that also he should gather into one (i.e., into one body) the children of God that were scattered abroad” (i.e., those of the Gentiles) John 11:52. He died not merely to get a certain number—however great—of saved individuals or units, but that those units should be united into one body, the church, of which He is the glorious, Head.
What then could be more injurious to the individual believer than to neglect and to slight that marvelous privilege which God in His wondrous grace has bestowed upon us, to be members of Christ, members of His body, the church? None can treat such divine blessings lightly without serious damage to the soul. The evangelist who neglects the church and his place in the church, will soon take a low ground in the preaching of the gospel, and the believer who grows cold in his interest in the gospel, thus failing to get the heart established by grace, and stores up church truths in the head, instead of treasuring them up in the heart, will soon become a more or less useless member of the body, a kind of withered branch, besides the grave danger resulting from either, of falling into the snare of evil doctrine or practice. These “latter days” constantly furnish us with solemn instances of both. Alas! how sadly do we fail to realize even in our little measure the immensity of God's blessings connected with His gospel and His church! The greatness of our salvation is but too much neglected, though generally not so much as the greatness of God's blessings connected with that wondrous mystery revealed to His apostle of the church, and, through him, to us.
Whilst in that blessed Gospel-Epistle to the Romans the gospel most properly holds the first, and the church, being its result, appears in secondary; in that grand Church-Epistle of the same apostle to the Ephesians, we find the first place by the Spirit of God assigned to the church, whereas the gospel, being only the means for accomplishing God's wonderful counsels and purposes as to the church, appears in the second line (Eph. 1:7). Those counsels of divine sovereign grace and infinite love in which God predestinated us for the adoption of children to Himself, could not flow out and abound towards us when those wounds had been opened and the precious blood been shed on the cross, which alone could procure their accomplishment. When Jesus was on earth He said, “I have a baptism to be baptized with [even His sufferings and death upon the cross], and how am I straitened until it be accomplished.” All those stores of divine love and grace and wisdom, treasured up in Him, in Whom the whole fullness of the Godhead was pleased to dwell, Who was the center of all those divine counsels of blessing, however precious and wonderful in themselves, could never have flown out towards their objects, but would have remained pent up in Christ, till the spear of man's wickedness drew forth the blood to save. No sooner is that precious fountain mentioned (ver. 7) when at once those inexhaustible tides of grace and every blessing flow forth “towards us” without let or hindrance, “according to the riches of His grace, wherein He hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure, which He hath purposed in Himself.”
Beloved brethren in Christ and fellow-members of His body, the church, are we going to make that which, next to and with Christ, is nearest and dearest to God's mind and heart, for which Christ gave Himself, that we might be members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones—that which He has bought at the cost of His cross, “that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the Word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish” —are we going, I say, to make all this a secondary object of our Christian meditations, pursuits, and service?
As already observed at the beginning, it is, and has been throughout the Christian era, one of the subterfuges of the adversary of everything divine, whenever he cannot entirely prevent the promulgation of divine truth, to subvert the order of it by putting that which in God's word and mind is of primary importance into the background, if he cannot entirely put it out of sight or pervert and corrupt it; and by giving a vantage ground to that which, according to God's order, is secondary (however glorious and blessed in itself), being only the means for the accomplishment of that which is of primary importance. For he knows well that where this divine order is subverted, those who suffer themselves thus to be duped and robbed by the enemy will in consequence lower the standard of the gospel truth, for which the apostle of the gospel and of the church endured such opposition in endeavoring to keep up the gospel to that height of divine truth, which had been delivered to him by the Lord.
The preaching of evangelists who, contrary to the truth they had been instructed in, devote all their energy to preaching, to the neglect of the church, will sooner or later assume the character of that soft, sentimental, and humanitarian gospel preaching of the day, which produces slight wounds, if any; and slight healing, if any, with antinomian tendencies and twofold hardening of conscience in its wake. “Trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots;” Gibeonites, trimmed lamps without oil. One of the Revivalists said, “It is a glorious sight to see ten thousand standing up, confessing Christ!” Alas! what has become of them?
It is solemnly instructive to see how soon after the days of Paul, and ever since, the wily adversary of the truth has sought, and alas! succeeded but too much, to keep the truth of the church of God, as revealed in His Word, in the background, thus robbing the saints of God of that spiritual wealth and strength connected with conscious entering of the soul upon that portion of divine truth. And not only so. Satan, whose character since the days of Paradise has ever been to mar and corrupt what God had established in and for blessing, has succeeded to lower and corrupt both the church and the gospel—the means of forming the church. But the first thing he did in undertaking his mischievous work was to turn that wondrous revelation of the great divine mystery of Christ and the church to a mystery again, by putting and keeping it in the darkest and farthest background possible.
Christ; the glorious Head of the church, His body, Who had sent His Holy Spirit, a heavenly Eliezer, to conduct His heavenly bride through this wilderness to her heavenly Bridegroom, has awakened by His Spirit from time to time faithful witnesses of the truth, especially with regard to His gospel, which like the written word of God itself, had been almost lost beneath the rubbish of the corrupting religious ordinances of the Roman Church. But those witnesses, faithful though they were in the proclamation of the truth of a faller and purer gospel (whose heavenly side in resurrection, deliverance by and union with Christ was but imperfectly known even to them), had but little, if any light about the true character of the church as the “habitation of God in the Spirit,” nor about its heavenly position, calling, and hope. That defect is but too apparent even in the best of the Reformers of the sixteenth century.
After the Thirty Years' War, so ruinous in its religious as well as in its moral and temporal effects, the so-called Protestant church relapsed into spiritual slumber and worldliness, and the prophetic word as to “tares” found its sad accomplishment. God in His longsuffering mercy towards the end of the last century again raised several faithful witnesses, especially in this country, to arouse the Protestant church from her sinful sleep. But even the testimony of such men as Berridge, Hill, J. and C. Wesley, and Whitefield was chiefly confined to the preaching of the gospel. And though one of the chief blessings of the Reformation, the unimpeded circulation of Holy Writ, continued to exist and the Bible had become accessible even to the poorest, it seemed as if the glorious truth of the church, so long buried under the religious rubbish of centuries, was farther to remain unheeded and neglected.
But our blessed Lord Jesus Christ, Who is not only the Savior of sinners, but above all the Head of His body, the church, composed of saved sinners, would not permit the enemy now, when His coming for His saints is so near at hand, to obscure or keep in the background any longer the precious truth as to Christ and the church, the real center of the counsels of God.
During the third decade of this century (from 1825-30) the Lord raised in England several eminently gifted witnesses of the truth. One of these, in an especial way endowed by God, was used by the Lord for recovering the full truth of the gospel in a purity and fullness which had not been known since the days of the apostles. But not only for the recovery of the truths of the gospel did the Lord use that honored instrument of His gracious designs. The light of the pure scriptural truth of the church, which appears to have been altogether lost during the lapse of so many dark centuries, was by that distinguished servant of the Lord placed again upon the bushel, and shone with a brightness of scriptural simplicity unknown since the days of the apostles. What characterized that movement was especially the practical acknowledgment of the presence and authority and guidance of the Holy Ghost in the church or assembly, and the authority of the word of God, which is “truth,” written by the “Spirit of truth.” In those days that wholesome principle prevailed, “Never the word without the Spirit, nor the Spirit without the word.”
The Holy Ghost, Who glorifies Christ, receives of His and shows it to us, being thus practically owned in His presence in the assemblies of those Christians, His blessed activity among them as well as in them was realized in its own unimpeded power in spiritual joy and liberty. It almost seemed as if the blissful days of Pentecost were about to be experienced afresh amongst those simple believers. They realized their dependence upon the glorious Head, and under Him of their mutual dependence as members of Christ's body. Their evangelists did not consider themselves to be independent beings, who went whither they would, and did what seemed good in their own eyes, under plea of their sole dependence upon the Lord; but they entered upon their work from the bosom of the church, commended to the Lord by the church, as did Paul and Barnabas (though the former was not only a preacher but an apostle), and after the completion of their service they returned to the church and “rehearsed all that God had done with them,” and “there abode a long time with the disciples.” Neither did they who were pastors and teachers in the church make themselves the starting-point and terminus of all that was carried on, nor the center of the assembly, saying (like Louis XIV.) “The assembly, that is, me;" but they considered themselves to be servants of the church for Jesus' sake (2 Cor. 4:5).
“But the church is in ruins,” some will say, “and as we cannot rebuild it, the only thing that remains is the gospel. There remains nothing therefore for the faithful and zealous Christian laborer but to devote all one's energy to the blessed work of the gospel, that precious souls may be saved, before the saints and every evangelist be removed and the sudden awful judgments of God break in upon this world.” I can only say that such reasoning is based on altogether false premises.
It is sadly true that the church is in ruins, and he must be blind indeed who would deny it. Yea, I make bold to say that the labors and testimony of a servant of Christ will in the same measure lack the savor of that grace and love which is never without truth, and the fragrance and freshness of the Spirit, as he has failed to realize in his own soul the rain of the church in the spirit of a Daniel and Nehemiah, having far more reason than they to “remember from whence we are fallen.” Not being truly humbled before the Lord do not say about himself and his own failures, but about his share in the common ruin and shame of the church) his ministry, be it in the gospel or in the church, will lack, if not the outward energy, yet the savor of the grace and freshness and unction of the testimony of those honored men of God of old, not being the result of true and deep brokenness of heart and spirit. David could “encourage himself in the Lord” amidst the rains of Ziklag, whilst his men thought of stoning him. And why could he do so? Because he must have been down in the dust before the Lord about those silently eloquent ruins around him, they being the sorrowful and humiliating result of not only his little faith but of his faithlessness to God and His people. How graciously the Lord restored after that, all the lost ones to David!
“ Who shall despise the day of small things?” was the prophet's encouraging word in the days of the rebuilding of Jerusalem, when the enemy taunted the builders with the mocking words, that a fox could leap over their walls. Those days of small things were just God's opportunity for doing great things. But let us, beloved, beware of attempting to do great things in a day of small things. It would be pretty much like the language of those Ephraimites and Samaritans in the days of Isaiah the prophet, who said in their pride and stubbornness of heart, “The bricks are fallen down, but we will build with hewn stones; the sycamores are cut down, but we will change them into cedars” (Isa. ix. 9, 10).
I do not say this to discourage any true-hearted evangelist in his zeal for, and labor in the gospel of our blessed God. God forbid! Surely the fields are white for the harvest and the laborers few. Let us pray the Lord of the harvest to raise and send more of them, but such as do not disconnect, in a spirit of independency, their labors from the church of God, the body of Christ, whose members they are, pleading the ruin of the church as an excuse for self-will and independency. Has the church (Ephes.) as to its divine side fallen into ruins, because the human side (2 Tim.) as to man's responsibility has become a wreck and fallen into ruins? Has the Lord been unfaithful, because we have been unfaithful? No, blessed be God, He Who when on earth as the faithful Witness was faithful amidst unfaithfulness all around, is now faithful above our unfaithfulness.
Does the Spirit of God in the Epistle of Jude, which was written in a day of low tide, tell the saints to strike the flag, or even to lower the standard of truth on account of the low tide all around? Does he tell them to leave the ruins behind and go on with the gospel? On the contrary, he had intended when sitting down to write his Epistle, to speak to them about our common salvation in the sense of the gospel, but the increasing dangers and corruption in the church, far from making him indifferent or used to it, made him, inspired writer as he was, turn aside from the (however blessed) subject of the gospel to a still higher subject of paramount importance in the sight of God, even the church of God, fast declining toward a ruinous condition, as it then already was, but no less, nay even all the more on God's and His and our Christ's heart on that account, even as a mother cooes and nurses her sick child all the more just because of its bad health. Does the apostle tell the saints to be less careful as to the “assembling of ourselves together,” on account of the low condition of the church? No, he enjoins them all the more to “build up themselves on their most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,” and to “keep themselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”
It is a truly wretched thing to make the low and ruined condition of the church a plea for neglectful indifference as to the precious divine truths of God's word, as if the authority of God's word concerning His church were less binding on our consciences because of our having failed as to our responsibility under such privileges. Shall we go on sinning because we have sinned? Certainly every true Christian would with horror recoil from such a thought, most repulsive even to any honest natural man.
Nay, beloved, our responsibility under such grace not only as to our common salvation, but still more as to our common privileges as members of the body of Christ, even the church of God, is in these very last of the “last days” greater than ever for faithful adherence to God's written word, and faithfulness in testimony both in the church and the gospel. The assembly is a divine institution, and we cannot neglect a divine institution without damage to our souls and to our testimony. It is God's nursery for His saints, and especially for His servants not only a nursery but, as it were, a divine drilling-place, for their outfit for service in the gospel. If the evangelist neglects that place, his ministry will lack the unction of the grieved Holy Spirit, Who dwells in the assembly no less than within the evangelist individually, and his ministry of the gospel will gradually have a more or less profane, often so-called popular, character, pleasing the multitude and the great, and despising the small and the few.
May the Lord send more laborers into His gospel field, but such who, like Paul and Barnabas, start from the bosom of the church, borne up by its prayers, and return to it when their labor is finished for common praises and joyful thanksgiving to God from Whom all blessings flow and to Whom all power belongs.
In my next paper I propose, if the Lord will, to offer a few remarks as to the origin, character, and subject of the gospel in its ministry. J. A. v. P.

The Catholic Apostolic Body or Irvingites: 15. Doctrine - The Revelation Misused

That the entire groundwork is fictitious is shown by another sure consideration. The “sealing” of Rev. 7 is not employed as we find it in the Pauline Epistles, but a symbolic form of this prophecy, which therefore is said to be “upon the foreheads” of those selected from the twelve tribes of Israel. It is an astounding blunder to confound the sign of a divine exemption from outward judgments, as this will be, with that richest inward privilege which God makes true of every believer in Christ since Pentecost. Its essence is the indwelling Holy Spirit, of which not a trace appears in Rev. 7. Indeed the effusion of the Spirit appears from the Prophets and the Psalms quite inconsistent with the revealed condition of God's ancient people during their future crisis: even the godly, though born of the Spirit, will not have the gift of the Spirit till the Lord appears in glory; just as the disciples, though born again, only received the Holy Ghost after Christ was glorified.
As Rev. 7 did not speak of the Lamb nor of mount Zion, so Rev. 14 says not a word about sealing on their foreheads. There indeed a different lot appears to await a different company of 144,000 from Judah: not protection from the awful tempests of that judicial period, but the Lamb on mount Zion associated with holy sufferers, having His name and His Father's written on their foreheads. It is not here a living God's seal of immunity from hurt, but undefiled ones that refuse idolatrous corruption and follow the Lamb whithersoever He goes. Hence another and higher class, though clearly not the church, nor even heavenly; for they, and they only, learn the song chanted before the throne, and the living creatures and the elders, i. e., those who symbolize the church and the O.T. saints in glory. They follow, and are associated (in God's mind at least) with the Lamb on mount Zion; no doubt anticipatively, for the Lord has not yet appeared, as we see from the closing visions of this chapter; just as in chapter 7. the 144,000 out of the twelve tribes of Israel are merely marked out and assured by a living God of the general Messianic portion of Israel, the day-spring that will dawn on them foreshown before the dark apostasy at the end of the age. But the elect of Judah who tread in the footsteps of the Lamb stand with Him on Zion where He will sit as King soon, and are near enough to catch the “as it were new song before the throne.” This is the highest place on earth and quite distinct from the ordinary blessing of Israel; it was such as had David's companions in sorrow and prowess compared with the people at large. Both visions give the intervention of God earlier and later, for His ways of goodness toward the seed of Abraham; the confusion of which indicates total ignorance of the structure of the Apocalypse, as if chap. 14. were a mere repetition or at best supplement of what was revealed in chap. 7. In fact they are just as distinct as those slain under the fifth seal are from their brethren that were about to be killed (further on) as they were, who are distinguished even when raised to reign with Christ (chap. 20:4).
The two chapters therefore do not treat of the same subjects, but of different at distinct epochs and of evidently varied character. The first chapter speaks expressly of those sealed out of the twelve tribes of Israel, in contrast with a still larger complement from among the Gentiles; and both companies wholly apart from the known and acknowledged symbol of the O.T. saints and the church presented in the same chapter. The second chapter does not speak of the twelve tribes, but from the context it is implied to be rather from the Jews proper, mount Zion being the keynote; and here again is the symbol of the heavenly redeemed quite distinct, the four living creatures and the elders (ver. 3).
There is no doubt that those “sealed” in Rev. 7 are supposed to have an appropriate blessing thereby. To apply this to a special time for some of the church, which no Christians had enjoyed for ages previously, nor yet do the great mass at that very time (and such is the Irvingite interpretation), is not only infatuation and arrogant self-complacency, but such a subversion of every Christian's most essential privilege as could not be entertained for a moment by any soul that understood what the church of God is. For this reason, as for others already given, a living God's seal as in the prophecy cannot be here meant of the church at all, still less at a specific season, and yet less of a mere part. Such notions are incompatible with the seal of the Spirit which is the inalienable mark and joy of the Christian (2 Cor. 1:22, Gal. 4:6, Eph. 1:13, 14; 4:30).
On the whole then, and in every point of view, their accepted and uniform interpretation of the Revelation is unintelligent and unsound; whilst their doctrinal use of sealing is a denial of God's church, of whose unity, catholicity, and apostolicity they falsely claim to be champions, whereas their teaching overthrows each and all. Now the book rightly understood carefully guards from all these errors, confirming the truth elsewhere revealed, instead of undermining anything and confusing all. Mr. Irving was quite right, with Vitringa, Sir I. Newton and others, in giving (besides the mere historical application) a larger and protracted view of the Seven Apocalyptic Epistles, as long as churches exist on earth. The very terms employed by our Lord, “the things which are,” might have suggested a continuous sense, especially as the internal contents indicate, and the cessation afterward of any church-condition clenched the fact. But this being so, where is the consistency of interpolating Christians and churches into “the things which should be after these?” The visions of prophecy from chap. 6. to 18. concern not the church, but the world; and accordingly Jews and Gentiles come before us, not the body of Christ where such differences are effaced. Even those blessed are expressly or by adequate implication Jews or Gentiles, in no case do they rise up to church or Christian relationships.
With this concurs the all-importance of Rev. 4; 5 as indicating beyond just question the presence above of the complete company of the heavenly redeemed, risen and glorified as they can only have been by Christ's coming Who introduced them there. His presentation of the saints on high at once makes the way clear for God's ways in putting Christ into actual possession of His inheritance by providential judgments, in the midst of which those to be blessed on earth are gradually prepared; as the heavenly ones from chap. 4. were already in their place. And these heavenly saints are distinguished by the clearest marks from the earthly, however favored (with differences too) the latter may be. They are enthroned assessors round God's throne, in the intimacy of His counsels, and worshipping with full spiritual intelligence. Further, they have not only a royal but a chief-priestly function altogether peculiar. And when this symbol founded on the heads of the twenty-four priestly elders comes to an end, it is merged for the church in the unity of the Lamb's wife (chap. 19.), with the O.T. saints as the guests or “they that are bidden” at the marriage. Accordingly both these classes of heavenly saints soon after follow our Lord out of heaven, and, when the thousand years' reign comes (chap. 20.), sit at once on thrones for judgment, resurrection not being then predicated of them, the first general class, as they were changed before they were caught up long before; whereas it is said of the two classes of saints subsequently martyred in the Apocalyptic period, “that they lived,” being just before seen as “souls” in the separate state till then (ver. 4). Compare Rev. 6:11.
The raising up of these two classes of what may be called Apocalyptic martyrs is a beautiful sample of God's compensating grace. For they only come into the rank of holy witnesses after the Lord will have received the saints at His coming. They do not escape persecution unto death, as others will who are to be delivered when He appears in judgment. Hence they might seem to have lost much. But not so: dying for Christ, even though they may have known very little of the truth, they are destined of God exceptionally to a far higher place than their fellows who survive. For they are raised at the last moment, so to speak, in order to have their blessed and holy part in the first resurrection; whereas those that escaped death are “the people of the saints of the Most High” (or heavenly places). Those dead and risen are “the saints of the Most High” themselves, and reign; whereas “the people” are reigned over. Only we must carefully notice that the first part of Rev. 20:4 sets out the great bulk of the saints in general from the beginning till the Lord comes to change and translate them to heaven. The later clauses embrace the twofold martyrs who only come forward after those symbolized by the twenty-four elders are glorified.
Be it noticed here that the critical form of Rev. 5:9, 10, as approved by the best editors, helps and is helped by seeing this. For the new song celebrates the Lamb because He was slain and did purchase to God with His blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and made “them” to our God a kingdom and priests, and “they” shall reign over the earth. It is not thanksgiving for their own portion. It is the joy of divine love that others are to be blessed highly even in face of that dismal day. It is true that these are not to be made elders or chief priests in the heavenly hierarchy; but they are to be royal priests when the time comes to reign over the earth. In Rev. 20:4 the time is come, and their anticipation is fulfilled. The singers of the new song followed the Lord out of heaven (Rev. 19) as “the hosts that were in heaven,” where they had been as the twenty-four elders, ever since the church-state closed, and “the things which must be after these began as shown to John (Rev. 4). All this while they had been changed; and therefore we read, “And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them.” They were in a glorified condition already; whereas those who had suffered for the testimony and for the word of God, before the Beast had developed, and such as worshipped not the Beast but refused every shade of the evil after it was full-blown and in highest power, and were killed even as their earlier brethren were, are now alike raised to reign with Christ a thousand years. So consistently does the word of God shine, and so much the more as it is searched in faith, and as attested by the best ancient evidence.
How the visions of the book fall in with and justify the distinction pointed out between the Christian hope and prophecy needs no elucidation. Our hope belongs to “the things that are” or church-period; the lamp of prophecy deals with the judgments, times, seasons, &c., or “the things that shall be after these.” The coming of the Lord to gather the heavenly redeemed to Himself is the mystery fully revealed in 1 Cor. 15, 1 and 2 Thessalonians and elsewhere, which it did not fall within the scope of the Revelation (as being characteristically judicial) to describe; but it is necessarily implied after Rev. 3 and before Rev. 4 As no one pretends that it is portrayed anywhere in the prophecy, there must be a space more suitable than any other for that wondrous event; and what so proper as that which immediately precedes the presence of the crowned and enthroned elders in their completeness on high? The Revelation does predict and describe the emerging out of heaven (chaps. 16:14, 19:14); but this is prophecy: not properly our hope of the Lord's coming to receive us unto Himself in the Father's house. The epiphany or appearing of His coming naturally follows His coming; for the measure of the interval between them we are dependent on scripture, mainly the Apocalypse, to decide. In a general way at least this, we have seen, is not difficult.
It may be well to add that the Revelation may be regarded from another point of view, which has its importance and may be here briefly stated. If we look at the seven churches as they existed historically and only so in the apostle's day, “the things which most come to pass after these,” or the prophetic scenes that follow, must be allowed their place from that time onward. According to this aspect of the book, Rev. 4; 5 would be the anticipation of the heavenly saints gathered on high, before the revelation of God's dealings with the world in the seven seals, which announce His unveiling of the great changes in the Roman world from the days of the prophet till the downfall of heathenism, which made way for a vast influx of men from Judaism and the nations, as seen prophetically in the parenthetical chapter vii.
Then as introduced by the seventh seal the seven trumpets proclaim successive judgments first on the Western Empire (Rev. 8), next woes on the Eastern Empire and from the east (Rev. 9), with another great parenthesis (chap. 10. 11.) which brings before as a mighty cloud-clothed angel, with symbols of supreme power and judicial setting his right foot on the sea and his left on the land, and the full expression of divine majesty, swearing that there should be no more delay but that the seventh trumpet should see the mystery of God finished according to. the prophets. Sackcloth prophesying follows, sustained by power like that of Moses and Elijah; and the blast of the seventh trumpet ushers in the world-kingdom of the Lord and His Christ. Now in the shadowy application of the book, which the Protestant school labors to treat as complete and final, it is admitted that this may foreshow in a vague way the providential work of God in the Reformation. It is not the Lamb or holy earth-rejected Sufferer, as in Rev. 5-7, any more than it is yet the Son of man actually invested with and coming in the kingdom as later on. It is angelic or providential, whether in priestly action first, or in the prophetic announcement of the end of man's day and the coming kingdom of God over the world; in the course of which we see a little open book, not the sealed one as at the first, and prophecy resumes its course before many peoples and nations and tongues and kings. But when we seek the real and minute interpretation of what is said, there is total failure in predicating the two witnesses, and indeed all other details, of pre-reformation times culminating in that great event; and none more forcibly disproves its adequate fulfillment than such an able and intelligent advocate as the late E. B. Elliott. To allow a general application to the past history is the utmost possible. In this vague point of view the seventh trumpet prefigures the closing scene, when God will intervene to reward His own and destroy the destroyers of the earth: a state of things clearly not yet arrived.
Then from Rev. 12 (or rather including chap. 11:19) we are taken back for a second survey of what is coming, in order to give more special facts not particularized in the visions which compose what we may call the first volume of the prophetic vision.
Here God's purpose in Israel comes out, with a mystic view, not only of Christ the center and supreme object of His glorious counsels, but of the translation of those identified with Him to heaven apart from all dates, circumstances, and times, followed when His dealings with the earthly people begin to be developed. The church is the body and bride of Christ, not His mother, which is alone true of Israel, whatever tradition may blunder about it. Every Christian moderately acquainted with the more pious commentators on the prophecy knows how they apply the vision to the vindication of Christ's glory against Arianism and the uprising of Satan's antagonism in that Roman empire which had given up paganism and outwardly acknowledged Christianity. And this is followed in ch. 13. by the gigantic instruments of Satan in hostile powers, whether external or ecclesiastical according to the Protestant theory, with the intervention of God's ways in recent times.
The Lamb, it will be noticed, reappears (14.) with suited followers, testimony unprecedentedly active to the nations, warnings of Babylon's fall and of the Beast's doom for all his party, the blessedness henceforth of those that die in the Lord, and the Son of man's judicial coming for the harvest of the earth, with unsparing vengeance on the vine of the earth. These visions may in the earlier part be applied to what God has wrought, as we are awaiting the later part ripening into its tremendous accomplishment we know not how soon. And so may be regarded the detailed vision of the vials (chaps. 15. & 16.), with that of Babylon's sad story and fall (chaps. 17. & 18), before the Lord appears from heaven (chap 19.) followed by the glorified saints, both to execute the closing judgment and to bring in the millennial reign over the earth (Rev. 20), and eternity as the sequel (Rev. 21), with a retrogressive vision in Rev. 21:9-22:5, and the conclusory appeals for present profit or warning.
If the protracted or historical application of the Revelation be sound, which may be allowed without enfeebling the rapid and exact fulfillment of the book in the future crisis after the church state terminates, and the question of Christ's actual assumption of the inheritance ensues, with the preparation of Jews and Gentiles as His earthly objects, it is plain that the Irvingites err as decidedly in the one view as in the other. It may be said no doubt that too many companions are involved in error among the godly both now and in the past. But they have the unenviable peculiarity of perverting the Apocalypse, as they do almost all the scriptures, to exalt themselves and exclude true members of Christ from their sure and blessed privileges to the deep dishonor of the Lord, the grief of the Holy Spirit, the perplexing of weak ones who differ from them, and their own hurt and shame. If this were not the inevitable effect of their false application of the Revelation, as well as of the divine word generally, it would hardly become a believer to occupy time in the investigation here pursued. But assured that so it is, I am bound in the love of Christ and by His truth to help souls, either within or without their bounds, against that which presents appearances sufficiently attractive to many in a day of increasing confusion and self-will. We have already seen that according to the fulfillment in the future crisis, which is the only accurate and exhaustive accomplishment of the book, there is not the smallest room for their reveries as to Rev. 7 or 14.

Scripture Imagery: 67. The Ark, the Mercy-Seat, the Sanctuary

“Let them make me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them: “ the primary principle of worship was enunciated in that word “sanctuary.” The dignity and majesty of God is of such nature that no worship can be acceptable that is not holy; and, as there was no word in human language that would convey the true meaning of this, it has to be conveyed by physical types, ordinances and emblems.
There were, indeed, words which conveyed part of the meaning. All those terms which carry the idea of consecration, corban, taboo, fetish, signify that a thing must be kept apart for the deity's service and must not be made common use of. This principle we see all day around us. The head of the house, of the firm, or of the state, will object to have other persons using his implements. He says, “That is my pen, or sword, or scepter: leave it alone.” He would not use them if they become common and unclean by general handling. Nay, do we not all extend this kind of sequestration over our immediate belongings to a certain extent, and feel somewhat resentful if people roughly use and coarsely handle them? Does not every mother say at times to her child, “You must not touch that; it is your father's”? And this is not merely a question of dignity: one of the chief reasons for this exclusive appropriation is in order that the instruments may be kept clean and fit for the master's use, which would be impossible if everyone be allowed to take them. Precisely the same considerations apply to the use of instruments appropriated by God, but the elements which disqualify them from being fit for His service, being moral and spiritual, are naturally little understood by men. Hence they needed an elaborate ritual (originally) to enable them to understand this word sanctify; that it does not merely mean “keep apart” (like taboo, corban, or fetish) but it means, keep apart in purity.
For instance the priests separated to many of the Greek and Roman gods organized as part of their worship the most horrible and nameless crimes; and it was generally true of any idolatrous priests of old, that so long as he observed certain exclusive attitudes and forms he could be as evil as he liked; as now in such places as Dahomy where a person or thing is “set apart for the deity, Ju-Ju, but it may be the foulest person in the tribe or the most unclean thing—a serpent frequently. The gigantic high-priest of the Hawaiians was perhaps the most wicked man in that hemisphere: he would kill a man for treading on his shadow. But a priest sanctified to Jehovah must avoid evil, for that is especially what is abhorrent to his God; and (since no man but One has avoided it altogether) the ordinances taught him to live in the habitual condemnation of evil, and provided him with a means of cleansing himself, when from casualty or infirmity he was defiled by earthly contacts (but they made no provision whatever for his wanton continuance in it).
The directions for making the Ark are given first of all, even before the building in which it was to be placed. Who but God would think of the furniture before the house? Yet the reason is plain: the Ark was the type of Christ, and consequently everything had to be built out from and in connection with it; for it sets Him forth as the core from which everything flows centrifugally, and the Center to which everything tends centripetally in God's system of worship. Around it all the people were to assemble; when it moved they were to follow, when it stopped they were to encamp, till it ultimately led them through the Jordan into the promised land: arrived thither, it is deposited in the magnificent temple constructed for its reception where it still maintained its central and dominant position.
It was made of a fragrant wood (signifying the humanity of Christ) covered with gold, “within and without” (the symbol of His divine majesty). It contained the tables of the law (“thy law is within my heart “), also the pot of manna, the treasured memorial of His humiliation here on earth; and (subsequently) Aaron's rod that budded, the emblem of priestly power and authority. Upon it was placed the mercy seat, and upon that rested the Shecaniah, the visible semblance of the divine presence. That is, Christ is the basis on which mercy is exercised and dispensed; the Mercy Seat rests on, and is in a sense part of, the Ark: the mercy seat is beaten out of solid gold, however—no wood or human element in the divine mercy; it is absolute—and beaten out of the same piece of gold are the cherubim, one at each end, emblems of judgment. Justice and mercy are thus met in Christ and combined in favor of the approaching worshipper, for the cherubs' faces are toward each other and toward the seat: that is to say, justice answers to the face of justice, and, looking upon the mercy seat, sees the atoning blood sprinkled thereon.
They were commanded to make staves to carry the ark by. These were symbols of itinerancy, and express to us the manner in which our Lord accompanies His people in all their wanderings through the wilderness, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Until they crossed Jordan they were commanded to leave the staves in their rings; but when they reach their goal in the promised land they take out the staves, for now they were to wander no more.
There was to be a golden crown round the top of the ark. This would be about the edge of the mercy seat, and thus we see what is expressed in the words “Thy glory crowns Thy grace.” Men usually connect crowns with physical conquests and material successes, not with patience and forbearance. The nine crowns of heraldry are of this nature. The Romans had indeed the corona civis which was awarded for the rescue of a citizen in battle, and the corona obsidionalis for a general who saved an army; but the first was of oak-leaves, and the second of grass or wild flowers, while their crowns for deeds of prowess and slaughter were of gold. No man ever thought that there was anything glorious in grace that a, crown of beauty and dignity should be awarded to it: we had derided it and awarded it a crown indeed, but of thorns. But God's thoughts are not as ours. He “beheld His glory, the glory [not of outward dignity as Messiah or Son of man, though these also, are His, but the inward moral beauties of divine nature] as of the Only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” “Grace is poured into Thy lips: therefore God hath blessed Thee forever.”

Joseph: Part 3

Gen. 42-44. —These chapters give us the fourth section of the history.
In the preceding sections, we have seen, first, Joseph cast out by his brethren; secondly, his brethren filling up the measure of their sin; thirdly, Joseph brought to glory and joy in the midst of those strangers among whom his brethren's enmity had cast him. And all these we have seen setting forth Jesus, Israel, and the church.
But Israel is not always to lie in their blood or be forgotten. Their sins and iniquities are soon to be remembered no more, as soon indeed as sore affliction brings them to Jesus and to repentance, so here stress of famine in the land of Canaan leads his brethren to seek that help which was now laid for them on Joseph alone.
Joseph, however, had something more to do for them than simply to supply their present need. He must prepare not only a blessing for them, but them for a blessing. And though the method which he had to take may be strange in their sight for a while, yet love and wisdom were to direct it all from beginning to end. In order to bless them with real blessing, as he purposed, he must lead them to repentance; and he orders his behavior before them now according to this purpose. He had once come to them and they had said, “behold, this dreamer cometh;” they now come to him, and he says, “ye are spies, ye are spies.” He makes himself strange, and speaks roughly to them, and by this he calls their sin to remembrance. “We are verily guilty,” say they, “concerning our brother.” But he hides himself while all this is going on. He speaks to them by an interpreter. It was indeed his work, but it was his strange work; he was doing his act, but it was his strange act. He orders circumstances so as to let sorrow work repentance, but he does not yet show himself. For all this may be the way of his hand, but it was not the way of his heart. In secret, though unknown to them, he enters into the very sorrows that he was occasioning. In their affliction, like One that is better than he, he was afflicted. He would not have put on this rough mood, could he have helped it. But by this their iniquity was to be purged, and this was all the fruit to take away their sin. His love therefore must be firm and wise, as well as tender. They had once bound and sold their poor brother to strangers, and now a stranger takes and binds one of them. All this was fixing the arrow of conviction in their hearts, there to spend its venom, and lay the sentence of death deeply in them. He dismisses the rest with present supplies for their houses, charging them not to see his face again, except their youngest brother was with them. For he must know whether they had as yet the affections of children and of brothers, or whether they were still, as once, when he had known them, reckless of a brother's cries and a father's bereavement.
Ere they departed, however, he commands his steward to restore every man's money to his sack. But this was only to carry on the same work of repentance in their now awakened hearts. And so it does; for on opening their sacks, and discovering their money, “their heart failed them, and they were afraid, saying one to another, what is this that God hath done to us.” The money in their sacks will not let them forget that, though they may now have turned their backs on that stranger in Egypt who spake so roughly to them, and called their sin to remembrance, yet God's eye was still upon them, and God had still to do with them.
Thus the work goes on in their souls. They had been convicted, and godly sorrow was then working fear in them. And very soon much more than sorrow and fear is seen in them, for being returned home, and letting their father know that Benjamin's presence with them was the only condition on which they dared to hope for a fresh supply from Egypt, Reuben and Judah at once stand forth in the spirit of self-sacrifice. “Slay my two sons,” says Reuben, “if I bring him not unto thee.” I will be surety for him,” says Judah: “of my hand shalt thou require him.”
All this blessedly shows how repentance was yielding its meet fruit in them, but to aggravate their grief, and thus still to carry on the work in their souls. Jacob seems now for the first time to come to a suspicion that they had been guilty concerning Joseph. He had before said, “An evil beast hath devoured him,” but now it is “me have ye bereaved of my children.” He seems to say of them, “I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me.” All this must have stirred the arrow afresh in their hearts, that it might still be doing there its needed work.
But Jacob at last consents to let Benjamin go—and after all this exercise of heart, and with Benjamin in their hand, more prevailing than all the honey and balm and spices which they carried, they return to Joseph. On seeing Benjamin, Joseph is moved to new affections, and fresh kindness, and he gives his house commandment that all these men should dine with him at noon. But kindness or roughness works alike with an evil conscience. To the defiled and unbelieving is nothing pare. A shaken leaf might well frighten the brethren now, for conscience had made cowards of them all. “They were afraid because they were brought into Joseph's house.” And other thoughts await them there. They are seated before Joseph, “the first-born according to his birthright, and the youngest according to his youth,” and they marveled one at another, while they ate and were merry. So wisely was Joseph calling in every passion of the mind, and weaving them together, wonder with fear, and gratitude with joy, that there might be a thorough renewal unto repentance.
Thus does the work go on, and prosperously too, but it has some way to travel, ere it reach the perfection that Joseph had purposed. He lays a farther plan for fully testing whether indeed a child's heart and a brother's heart were in them. Joseph's cup is put into Benjamin's sack, and they are again dismissed with fresh supplies. But now was the crisis. Benjamin, the cup being found on him, becomes forfeited to Joseph. This was the solemn moment in the whole proceeding; and the question is, how will the once murderous brethren, and the once thankless children, now carry themselves? Are they still what once they were, or has the heart of flesh been given them? Will the sorrows of Benjamin move them, with whom the cries of Joseph could not prevail? or will the thought of the grief of their aged father at home, plead with their hearts as once it refused to plead? These were the questions, and they get their triumphant answer. Judah stands before Joseph in the shame of confessed iniquity. They were all innocent touching the cup; but they were not so touching their brother, and this their sin only is before them now. “What shall we say? what shall we speak?” says he, “how shall we clear ourselves? God hath found out the iniquity of thy servants.” Joseph for a moment feigns as though their former iniquity, thus confessed, were nothing to him. Benjamin is his, and he must remain with him. Then Judah draws near, and again pleads as with the bowels of a son and a brother for Jacob and for Benjamin. “The lad” and “my father,” are the oft-repeated burthen of Judah's sorrows now. He is ready to abide a bondman himself, only let “the lad” go back to “his father “; let the father's heart be comforted, and the brother's innocency preserve him, and Judah will be satisfied, come to himself what may.
Thus did Judah plead, proving himself indeed one “whom his brethren might praise.” And now nothing more is asked for. Joseph had not been willingly afflicting his brethren. All his way was only to lead them to this place of repentance. He meets them now not as a judge, but as a brother. His love could no longer hide itself. “Cause every man to go out from me,” said he, and then he made himself known to his brethren. He showed to them his thoughts how kind they were. He set free their evil conscience, and bound up their broken hearts. The channels were now cleared, and grace and blessing flow through in living, refreshing, and gladdening streams.
So it will be with Israel and the Lord. The Lord has now retired to His place, the place to which Israel's enmity had sent Him, but made to Him of God the place of honor and of family delights, as Egypt was to Joseph. But in their affliction by-and-by, they will seek Him in that distant place (Hos. 5:15), and He will then be found of them, and, in richer wisdom and love than even that of Joseph, lead them to repentance, sit over them as a refiner and purifier of silver, give them a broken and contrite heart, cause them to look on Him Whom they pierced, and then open to them a fountain for all their sorrows. For though He has spoken against them, He remembers them still, and in all their afflictions has been afflicted, and will then rejoice over them. Joseph no longer spoke to them by an interpreter, no longer hid himself as with a veil from his repentant brethren. “Your eyes see,” said he, “that it is my mouth that speaketh unto you.” And so shall Israel's eyes see the King in His beauty, and the veil shall be taken away, and with a surer and readier love, than that with which Joseph fell on his brethren's neck, and kissed them, will Jehovah Jesus return to them (Lev. 26:40-42). “I will say it is My people, and they shall say, the Lord is my God.”

Parochial Arrangement Destructive of Order in the Church: Part 2

And here we must note what is a great fallacy in the notion which the Church of England desires to give respecting her own constitution. It carries a falsehood on the face of it. We are referred to the articles, or canons, and prayer-book for her constitution and order; but she has not said a word there about her constitution and order, or what she has said is false. The constitution and order of the Church of England and Ireland is, that the king and his ministers, or other analogous persons, appoint to all the pastoral offices in the country. Where is this stated in these fair-spoken documents? Would churchmen who hold fast by these documents state and avow this, that laymen, it may be ungodly men, should appoint to all the pastoral offices in the country? Is this what they mean to plead as order, church order? Yet church order it is. They state indeed that they only ascribe to their princes to rule with the civil sword all estates of the realm; but they ascribe a great deal more. This was a most godly ascription; but if they have only ascribed this, their princes have ascribed a great deal more to themselves (and they acquiesce in it, though they have not put it in the book; and yet it constitutes the special difference of the system, and makes it the church, or, as some say, not the Church of England); and that is, that these individuals, who might be in excommunication, appoint nearly all the pastors in the country.
I would ask if there is any order in all this? We have an eminent instance of the system in principle and practice latterly, when, with one fell swoop, a minister, and not the king at all, but a House of Commons (and who are they in the church?) strikes off ten or twelve bishops of a country. That is, he not only is the appointer of the persons, but orders the whole internal arrangement of their superintendence, saying how much is a proper extent of Episcopal care, and who shall exercise it. But the great point which strikes at the root of all the church order (of which the documents state nothing, and therefore are a false witness for the church) is, that the pastoral appointments have no connection at all with the church. The succession is from the crown, from the world and its power, not from God at all; so that the great distinctive difference of the Church of England would not be found on the face of her own account of herself at all. But that distinctive difference destroys the principle of a church.
But while the church does not honestly state its character, the principle of disorder goes a great deal farther, and all real order is destroyed by the system. By virtue of this system a number of persons are appointed as clergy or ministers of parishes. There is no reference whatever to the various offices flowing from specific gifts. The scripture indeed speaks on this wise, “He ascended up on high and gave gifts unto men,” “and gave some, apostles; some, prophets; some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:” the beautifully ordered and united means by which the body is perfected and built up.
But this is trampled under foot for a fancied succession which is denominated clergy, a body of men not appointed to offices in the church, but to the exclusive government of a geographic district. That is, the offices of the church, the legitimate channels for the exercise of the combined gifts by which Christ ministers to its edification and the perfecting of the saints, are thrown to the winds: so that even when the clergyman happens to be a godly man, the saints, if there be such in the place, are deprived of the ministration of their offices through which Christ has provided for their edification, by virtue of the system which calls itself order, but the principle of which is to throw the appointment of even nominal pastors out of all order into the hands of secular men. The same individual must be evangelist, pastor, teacher, and every other office necessary for the perfecting of the saints and edifying of the body of Christ, or the ministry must be crippled and maimed, and the results accordant. And this is the principle of the system. Christ has ordered certain gifts for the edifying of the saints; men have ordered the placing of certain persons, who may not even be Christians, in a given place, with the sole ordering of the church in that place.
The argument then is brought to this point: either the system must assume the possession of every gift by all the individuals it pleases to appoint, and exclude all others from them; or it is proved that their system is at variance in principle with the right order of Christ's church. But they can assume no such thing, for the Spirit distributes to every man severally as He will. This is His prerogative. The system is proved, therefore, to be at variance with the order of Christ, and that in its vital object, “the perfecting of the saints.” It is at variance with the actual order in which He declares that He ministers it, for He gave some, evangelists; some, pastors and teachers.
But no! we must make all of them everything, or the system violates Christ's order in its very objects; and this the apostle controverts (how much more may we in these days), “Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers?” But no! Christ gives gifts as He pleases; and man gives authority as he pleases, and then calls this order! It is the devil's order, a turning of things upside down, and exhibits a state of things justly calling forth righteous indignation no less than of godly sorrow. Surely “it is yet a little while.” So that on the whole the principle of the system is at variance, not only with the derivation of grace and knowledge (seeing that the selection is made by the crown and its ministers, not by the church of God), but also necessarily with all office in the church, by which the body should be ministered to, according to the gift which Christ had given to every man for the effectual purpose of that ministry.
I speak now of the theory, passing by all charges on the state of facts in parochial ministrations; and I affirm that the theory precludes the exercise of the offices which Christ has instituted for the perfecting of the saints. A man is appointed a deacon for the purpose, perhaps, of being an evangelist, and would justly, it may be, refuse to attend to tables. God may have called out, by the ministry of this individual, another eminently qualified to be an elder in the church of God, for which, though gifted as an evangelist, the former may be eminently disqualified. Nevertheless the same person now perhaps transferred to the order of a presbyter or priest, without the least change of gift, becomes elder there with no qualification, to the exclusion of one who is qualified, having, it may be, his usefulness as an evangelist quite destroyed by his being put in an office for which God never qualified him But it must be so, because he is the clergyman. Thus again we find in principle, that the offices of Christ's church, by which its order is kept, are altogether avoided by this system which is called order; yea, that the offices and the system are incompatible. For the notion of the individual who was called to it being presbyter, or of any one being presbyter whom God has qualified for it, is precluded; for some one is called the clergyman of the place.
Again, reverse the case. A godly man well qualified to be the pastor and edifier, it may be, of saints, a terror of the ungodly, and healer of them that are wounded, a warrior against Satan's entrance into the fold, is set in a place where, from neglect, there is scarcely any practical knowledge of Christ. God has not gifted the man as an evangelist: what is the consequence? He has no saints to edify, and his heart is discouraged at his utter uselessness; he might have been a signal blessing to the church of God somewhere, if such a system had never existed.
But let us look a little farther. One whom God has gifted as an evangelist comes in and exercises his gift in the same locality (it must not be a clergyman—that would be disorderly, nor is evangelizing properly a parochial ministration); but he is irregular. The godly pastor without any flock is a bar, on the system of the Church of England, to any of God's ministry being carried on; and, if he be consistent with the system, he opposes God's ministry in the place, and, while perhaps a real saint himself, has none of the church of God around him to which he might be useful. Thus a schism is created, or, it may be, the other qualified to be an evangelist is constituted by the people to be a pastor, to which God never called him at all; and he who would have been a blessing to them is despised and neglected, because of the system of the Church of England, which necessarily involves the subversion of all the offices of the church of Christ. Indeed it does not proceed on the recognition of them: the country has been secularly divided into districts, and the clergy appointed, without reference to the state of the people at all, in their respective districts. The effect of this is only to place any one besides, who exercises the office which is necessary there, in the position of a schismatic. It is quite clear too, that, in a vast number of instances, being a secular interest, the appointment is made by those who have no church principles at all for temporal reasons and motives. And if we are then told “the church is not to blame,” and the question is asked, “how can the bishops help it?” I answer not at all, and therefore the church is fundamentally wrong in principle; it avows it cannot help evil, and how could it, since the heads of it are appointed on the same principle?
But supposing the bishops to be godly pastors of Christ's flock, and to appoint to offices according to Christ's institution, evangelists, and teachers, and pastors, or to recognize any other office in the church, they would at once be in schism as to the whole present constitution of parochial arrangement. That is, the system, if recognized, is irretrievably at variance with the admission of offices in the church of God, by which the saints are perfected, and the body edified; and the effect of it is to give the character of schism to all those who exercise the office to which God has ordained them. And this is called order—it is the most heinous and wicked disorder!—in God's church. Let me be ever such an evangelist, gifted like an apostle, I am disorderly in exercising it. Nor would ordination in any way mend the matter; for my exercise of the gift would be disorderly because of a nominal pastor in a given place: all is pre-occupied; and evangelizing has no place, and becomes irregular. (Continued from page 37.)

On Acts 26:1-8

Luke sets the scene vividly before us. The king, whose opinion the governor sought, and who himself was desirous of hearing, gives courteous leave, and the prisoner enters on his defense with outstretched hand. Orators no doubt used the same action to engage the ear of their countrymen; rhetoricians in their schools; but his heart went out thus in desire over souls about to hear that message from God which, in whatever manner put, is the turning-point of salvation or perdition to all that hear it. No doubt the soul is beyond all price for every one in view of such everlasting issues. But it was no light thing even for the apostle to confront, without his seeking it but at their own desire, the great ones of the earth with all that swelled their train.
“And Agrippa said to Paul, it is permitted thee to speak for thyself. Then Paul stretched out his hand and entered on his defense. Touching all things of which I am accused by Jews, king Agrippa, I count myself happy that I am to make my defense before thee to-day; especially as thou art skilled in all customs and questions that are among Jews. Wherefore I beseech thee to hear me patiently” (Acts 26:1-3).
“My manner of life then from my youth which was from the beginning among my nation and at Jerusalem know all Jews, knowing me before from the outset, if they be willing to testify, that according to the strictest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee. And now I stand to be judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers; unto which our twelve tribes earnestly serving night and day hope to arrive. And concerning this hope I am accused by Jews, Ο king. Why is it judged incredible with you, if God raiseth dead [men]?” (Acts 26:4-8).
It may be a small matter, yet it is well to avoid the mistake of confounding the apostle’s act here with what he did in the synagogue of Antioch in Pisidia (Acts 13:16), or what Alexander did in the tumultuous assembly at Ephesus (Acts 19:33). This was “beckoning with the hand,” quite different in character and aim from stretching it forth, here too with a chain, What a witness of the world’s enmity to God’s infinite grace in Christ! For, to say nothing of his loving labors, wherein had His servant done wrong? He was sharing the sufferings of Christ.
It will be observed that the apostle graciously passes by the various calumnies of the Jews which had been put forward by their venal orator and the unscrupulous men who supported his charges. He expresses his satisfaction at having to speak before one so exceptionally competent as the king in all the ways and controversies of Jews, as he does not fail even in this acknowledgment to preface it with an allusion to such accusations coming from Jews, not “the” Jews. In this connection there is no article in the text of verse 2, 3, as there should be none in verse 4 and 7, though in verse 4 there is much conflict among the MSS. (even the best uncials), and only Lachmann, and Alford, Tregelles, with Westcott and Hort, following B E, and others, against the rest. Nor is it to be wondered at that Tischendorf, who had dropt it in his later editions up to the seventh, went back in his eighth to that of his earlier issues in 1841 and both of 1842. The fact is that the sense required in this phrase here seems without example in the N. T., where in other cases πάντες οἱ ‘I, is the correct form, and the article, as far as I have noticed, could not be omitted without damage. Here there is a distinct and unusual peculiarity; for “all the Jews” are not meant, but all Jews knowing Paul before from the outset. This accordingly requires πάντες Ἰ προγινώσκοντές με ἄνωθεν.
All Gr. T. students know of course the late Dean Alford’s note on verse 2, which seems a long-standing reproach to scholars and ought to have been repudiated far and wide: for I cannot doubt there must be not a few besides the late Bp. of Durham, who are aware of the fallacy. “There is no force in Meyer’s observation that by the art before Ἰουδαίων, Paul wishes to express that the charges were made by some, not by all of the Jews. That omission is the one so often overlooked by the German critics (for example, Stier, here), after a preposition. See Middl. ch. 6. § 1, and compare κατὰ Ἰουδαιόυς in the next verse, of which the above cannot be said” (Greek Test. ii. 276, fifth ed. 1865.
Now it is admitted that the celebrated German expositor’s remark is imperfect, even though in many cases true. The omission of the article is due here and every where to presenting the word or combination of words characteristically, whilst the use of the article presents it as an object before the mind. There may be a very few exceptions, but these only prove the otherwise universality of the rule. And prepositions are in no way an exception, though they admit freely of serving to define the characteristic design of the anarthrous construction, which has been overlooked by English scholars quite as much perhaps as German. This is exactly one of the great defects of Bp. Middleton’s able treatise, which has for effect the making imaginary exceptions as numerous as the rule. This of itself ought to have indicated failure in generalization. John 4:9 is a plain illustration of the principle: not only πῶς σὺ Ἰουδαῖος ὤν which every one sees, but Ἰουδαῖοι Σαμαρείταις, where the article for either would be out of place if the object were, as it certainly is, to mark both characteristically.
It is no question of “some” no doubt. And the article might have been with truth prefixed to both; but the meaning would have been altered. The two peoples would then stand contrasted as objects, not characteristically as they now are. Compare for this a selection from the book of the Acts — Acts 2:5,7,9-11; 11:19; 14:1,5,19; 18:4; 19:10,17; 20:21; 25:10. Again, any intelligent examination of the Greek T. cannot fail to convince that the preposition makes no difference whatever. The article is or is not used with the word in question like every other, in accordance with its principle of insertion or omission.
Thus in Matthew 28:15 character is the point and therefore it is παρὰ Iουδαίοις. In John 4:22 the Jews are the object, and hence it is ἐκ τῶν I.: so in Acts 10:19 and Acts 11:54, ἐν τοῖς ‘I., in Acts 11:19, ἐκ τὠν ‘I.; in Acts 18:38, πρὸς τοὺς ‘I. It is really a total oversight of the nice shades of thought in the Greek language to conceive that there is the least laxity or exception after prepositions. Perhaps the notion is due to the difficulty of always representing the distinction in English, which sometimes compels us to use our definite article where there is none in Greek. But this is no right reason to deny that there is invariably an intended difference. Weigh Acts 23:8 where we have Σαδδ. and Φαρ. without the article, though there is no preposition. If οἱ, had been prefixed to each, it would have been true; but the absence of the article makes them characteristic, however hard it may be to express it in English.
And there is an analogous difference in the cases before us, alike when with or without prepositions. “I am accused by Jews” in verses 2 and 7 is far more forcible than if the article had been inserted. It was not lost on Agrippa or Festus or the Jews that heard it. Of all men Jews were the last to have accused Paul for proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection that is from among the dead. Sadduceanism had alas! withered up their old faith. As a fact too, which may have weighed with Meyer and Stier, the Pharisees diverged in Acts 23 from the dominant faction which persecuted Paul. The preposition clearly gives no license, (Inni) Jews, not the Jews, being meant. Nor is it otherwise with κατὰ ‘I., however confidently urged. Doubtless “according to the Jews” would have been true in fact; but it is stated characteristically; and here again as “Jews,” not “the Jews,” is the force intended, so it is evident once more that the preposition does not really affect the question. The article is inserted or omitted with prepositions on its own principle. Lastly, to be correct, π. οἱ ‘I. would require οἱ προγιν qualifying the subject, π. ‘I. προγιν is correct as it is given; for it means only all such Jews as previously knew Paul from the outset. In a word, it is characteristic and therefore anarthrous. Not only is π. οἱ ‘I. the more usual expression, but quite distinct in sense; for it means the whole Jewish people as a known, definite, and complete object, whereas the phrase here means all Jews qualified by the peculiar and described knowledge of Paul.
Returning from this digression, we may note that the apostle begs for a patient hearing from one so skilled as Agrippa, and dwells (Acts 26:4-5) on his known early life under strict Pharisaic belief and discipline “among my nation and at Jerusalem,” as all Jews cognizant from its outset could testify if willing.
But the question; he insists, for which he stood for judgment was the hope of the promise made by God unto our fathers (Acts 26:6), onto which our twelve tribes earnestly serving day and night hope to arrive (vs. 7). How strange and flagrant that, of all men, Jews should lay accusation against him for that hope! Certainly his testimony to the risen Jesus did not weaken faith in the promise of the Messiah or in the resurrection of the dead. Yet the whole nation in their public and earnest service of God night and day bore witness of their hope of attaining to that promise. Why is it judged incredible if God raises dead men? The prisoner assuredly did believe what the service of the chosen nation confessed night and day. Were Jews then gainsayers of their own boasted faith?

Hebrews 1:5-9

Next comes a series of quotations from the O.T pertinent to the Sonship of Christ just laid down. This fullness of citing the ancient oracles, though found elsewhere in the apostle's writings and conspicuously in the Epistle to the Romans, is nowhere so rich as here. Nor could we well conceive it other. wise, if he were writing to believers from among the chosen people, and anxious in his loving consideration for them to rest all on God's word already known to them familiarly rather than on his own fresh prophetic communications.
“For to whom of the angels did He ever say, Thou art My Son: I this day have begotten Thee? And again, I will be to Him a father, and He shall be to Me a son? And when, again, He bringeth in the firstborn into the habitable earth, He saith, And let all God's angels worship Him. And indeed as to the angels He saith, Who maketh His angels winds and His ministers a flame of fire; but as to the Son, Thy throne, O God, [is] unto the age of the age, and the scepter of uprightness [is] scepter of Thy kingdom. Thou lovedst righteousness and hatedst lawlessness therefore God, Thy God, anointed Thee with oil of gladness above Thy fellows” (ver. 5-9).
As Jews they were accustomed to think much of angels who were seen often on critical occasions by the fathers, and took a most distinguished part in bringing in the law, as well as in heralding or accomplishing deliverances afterward, as every one can see who reads the Law and the Prophets with attention. This tended to produce no small veneration in the minds of the just, and to superstition in such as went beyond scripture. Christ alone gives and keeps the truth in us by grace. And here we have a clear instance in point, as throughout the Epistle. Not only was the Life the light of men, rather than of angels, but the Son of God becoming man really, as He had often anticipatively intervened in human guise, gave proof that the good pleasure of God is in men, and prepared the way for the revelation of the glorious counsels He has ever had for such as believe, in the day of Christ, when even angels are to be in a subordinate place as indeed throughout eternity. This assuredly could not be without redemption, as redemption in the full sense could not be without incarnation, supposed in chap. i. and openly stated in chap. ii. as we shall see. As the Son is incontestably above the prophets, so is He now proved far above the angels; and He is the foundation of all our blessedness.
The first scripture quoted is from Psa. 2:7, “Thou art My Son: I this day have begotten Thee.” Never was such a word addressed to an angel. It applies only to Christ. But how? The apostle John loves to expatiate on His eternal Sonship. Again, elsewhere in the Epistles of Paul He is often shown as Son of God in resurrection (Rom. 1:4; 8:29, Col. 1:18), as of course also when He returns from heaven (1 Thess. 1:10). How is He regarded here? As Son of God born in time: so we see Him in Luke 1:32, and yet more definitely in ver. 35. The assumption of flesh in no way lowered His Sonship: Son of God eternally, He was still and no less Son of God when born of the virgin, as He is in resurrection and evermore in glory; He only, and in virtue of divine right acknowledged of and to Jesus solely by the word magnified above all Jehovah's name.
It is the more important that this should be seen clearly and irrefragably, because even the learned Bp. Pearson in his famous work on the Creed over and over again gives countenance to the mystic view of this verse of the Psalm cited in Acts 13:32, 33, as if the apostle had so definitely ruled. But this is quite an oversight. On the contrary and beyond controversy the apostle distinguishes in ver. 34 the Lord's resurrection (attested by Isa. 55:3 and Psa. 16:10) from His Sonship in the days of His flesh as in Psa. 2:7. The “raising up” (not “up again” as in A. V.) in 32, 33, is as Messiah on earth; with which is contradistinguished in 34 God's raising Him upfront the dead.
Hence there is no need or even room for swerving from the simple yet grand truth that, as the Psalmist, so the apostle, in preaching at Antioch of Pisidia and here in writing to the Christian Jews, speaks of what Jehovah said of His Son when born a man. It is therefore His birth in time: “I this day have begotten Thee.”
The next citation appears to be from 1 Chron. 17:13 (2 Sam. 7 where the same words occur being more historical); “I will be to Him a Father, and He will be to Me a Son.” This is the assertion of the perfect and mutual affection that reigned between the Father and His Son now a living man: not what became an accomplished fact as Psa. 2:7, but what should subsist when He was born of woman, “Son of David, Son of Abraham” (Matt. 1:1).
As to the second text there has been little discussion among orthodox men. Not so in the third, which stands in our Epistle identical with the Vatican (not the Alexandrine) Septuagintal text of Dent. 32:43, and in substance with Psa. 97:7. But it has been keenly urged as to the prefatory words that “again” (πάλιν) belongs to εἰσαγάγῃ and denotes a new and second introduction of the Messiah, instead of being as in the A. V. and many others the mark of another citation. Not a few ancients, mediævals, and moderns have so understood, though they differ widely as to the alleged second introduction. But the Pesch. Syr. found no such difficulty as the Vulgate; nor did Erasmus, Luther, Calvin, Beza, Bengel, Wolf, any more than the fullest of modern commentators, Bleek. It is assumed that πάλιν would not stand where it is in the Greek if it introduced another citation; yet the good scholar who so speaks allows that in point of interpretation the rendering of the A.V. is much to be preferred! Is this really safe? That a false version yields better sense than the true? That the true is not justifiable grammatically?
The fact is that the collocation stands alone, as far as I can see, in the N. T. and that there is nothing either way in the LXX. T., in the other instances of the N. T. there is no case precisely like this before us, not only no ὅταν δέ, but nothing analogous. I do not admit (until a real case is produced adverse to what is confessed by a candid and competent man, Canon Humphry, to be a much preferable resulting sense) that we are driven to deny an elasticity to the Greek of which our tongue is perfectly susceptible. Englishmen are certainly not tied down to such an order, as “Again, when He bringeth in.” What proof is there that the far more pliant Greek is more restricted? Not infrequently there are solitary examples of collocation or construction even in the N. T. as in other writings. If we may say, “And when, again, he bringeth in,” &c., I know not why the writer may not with equal liberty have adopted a corresponding order, even though there be no other instance of or call for such a variety.
What then is the grammatical principle or the usage which is supposed to be traversed here? “Ιn this Epistle, when it is joined to a verb, it has always the sense of a second time, e. g., ch. 4:7, 5:12, 6:1, 6.” Is it not unfortunate that the very first is adverse? It is no more joined to a verb there than in the verse debated. It means “Again, he limiteth,” not “He limiteth a second time.” No one doubts that in 5:12, like 6:1,6 it means iterum (not rursus, particularly when used as a sort of parenthesis, as in chap. 1. and often elsewhere). Indeed, the very first occurrence in the N. T. refuses this imaginary canon of grammar. Our Lord said (Matt. 5:33) πάλιν ἠκούσατε, of which the unequivocal and universally allowed sense is, Again, ye heard, and not, because a verb follows, Ye heard a second time. To say “joined to a verb” begs the question. Is it really so? We may be assured it may not be.
The fact is that the apostle's object appears to be, not defining time when God ushers the Firstborn into the world, but (whenever it shall have been, past or future perhaps) proving the universal homage of all God's angels to the glory of the Son And surely Luke 2:13, 14 is a beautiful witness to it. Nor is there the smallest ground to limit “the firstborn” to resurrection. As any reader may see, Col. 1:15 points out the Lord Jesus as the Firstborn of all creation, quite distinctly from His subsequent and still more glorious position of “Firstborn from the dead” in ver. 18 (cf. Rev. 1:5). “Firstborn” as such is therefore more suitable to Him simply as incarnate; which tells, as far as it goes, against construing π. with the verb as “a second time.” At the same time it is frankly allowed that the fulfillment of Dent. 32. or of Psa. 97 as a whole awaits the Lord's second advent.
We have, after this, words cited from two Psa. 104:4 as to the angels, which no Jew would dispute, and indeed such messengers and servants cannot but be angelic, whatever Calvin may argue to the contrary; 45:6, 7 as to the Lord Jesus. I have no right to pronounce on the true objects and the true predicates in the Hebrew. But it cannot be doubted that the Epistle to the Hebrews cites from the Sept. as in the Vat., save in the form of the last words; and there the true order admits of no question. So the meaning of the earlier Psalm is beyond just controversy. The glorious beings of heaven, its natural denizens, are made to do God's will in providence and to act in wind or flame. But instead of making Christ this or that, He says, Thy throne, O God, is for the age of the age (forever), and the scepter of uprightness is scepter of Thy kingdom.
Here, be it remarked, that it is a question of the time of fulfillment no more than in Dent. 32. (or Psa. 97); for it is very certain that the judicial kingdom described in Psa. 45 is still future, having had no real accomplishment yet. But none the less is the recognition of Messiah's glory most available even now for the object of the Epistle. For God owns the Messiah as no less than Himself; and, if God, it cannot be a mere question of time, whatever of glorious display may yet be in store.
The past too is not forgotten, nor ever can be by God. “Thou didst love righteousness and didst hate lawlessness.” Such was Jesus as a man here below; for in truth He is both in one person, and not more truly God than man, nor man than God. Compare Phil. 2 “Therefore God, Thy God, anointed Thee with oil of gladness beyond Thy fellows.”
How beautiful to see the largeness of grace and truth. After this lofty owning of Messiah as God by God comes the fullest acknowledgment of others. He Himself is no more ashamed to own us His companions or fellows than God is to own Him God. He that sanctifieth and they that are sanctified are all of one. Yet He is God no less than the Father, Who will have all men honor the Son even as Himself. What have infidel dreams of progress to compare with simple and sure Christian truth?

The Believer Entering Into God's Rest: Part 1

That which is specially set before us in this chapter is the comparison of the state of Israel in the wilderness and the believers entering into God's rest.
We are apt continually to be referring something to ourselves, even when we acknowledge that it is grace that begins to work. We are still making ourselves the center of our thoughts; and in thinking of heaven, it is the thought of our getting there. The rest is ours, no doubt, just as the salvation is ours; but then we know its value much better when we know that it is God's salvation. It is so with the rest; and the more we can bring our souls to lean upon God, whether as it respects salvation, sanctification, or the rest of heaven, or glory to come—regarding it as God's rest, God's heaven, God's glory, as much as it is God's salvation and God's sanctification—the more shall we understand our full blessing.
We never get a blessing in its true value until we see that it all is God's. If I am thinking about my rest, I shall be thinking of my toil and my labor. This is true, but this is not the measure. In order to get the full measure, it must be God's—something so good and so blessed, that it can be God's own rest. It is mine because He has brought me into it; but I never learn the full power of it until I learn that it is what God has wrought for His glory, according to the perfections of God, and not according to the wants of him who needs it. This truth of God's being in the thing enters also into all my thoughts of that into which God is bringing me. God is the first leading thought of all that I hold precious in Christ.
He acts in grace by our wants, and toward our wants: but He does, by and through our wants, lead us to know what the God is to Whom we are brought. He does not say simply, Ye ought to be holy; but He chastens us that we may be made partakers of His holiness. Why so? Because God is acting from Himself toward us. His great delight is to act simply from His own love. This is true grace: and I never know the spring of blessing, of joy, of happiness, of peace to my soul, until I know God acting from Himself in grace.
In all God's dealings with His creatures there are two great principles, responsibility, and the source of life. Even in the garden of Eden there was the tree of knowledge of good and evil (here was man's responsibility); and also the tree of life. This is true also to us. Man, as a sinner, has his responsibility to God; and likewise as a saint, though the latter in grace. Angels are responsible to do His pleasure. All are responsible to God: but if the creature is to be blessed, he must have God's grace as the spring of life to his soul.
That is the grand difference which God has brought out between law and grace. The law dealt with man's responsibility. The law said, “Do this, and thou shalt live.” But though given as a rule, it really came to be the test of man's estate, and as much as says, “There you are, and that is what you are responsible for;” and therefore it never could give rest or make perfect. God gave law as the measure of man's responsibility; but that responsibility could not be the allowance of sin. Its measure as given of God must be according to what man ought to be before God: God could give no other. And hence, though ordained to life, the sinner found it to be unto death; because it brought to light the sin, and the law of sin, which could not be subject to the law of God. It never was a guide to man. You cannot guide a will opposed to God. You can never guide a sinner by all righteousness. It is the perfect rule of man's responsibility; but it gave nothing, while it required everything. You cannot talk of requiring from a sinner: for a sinner is in principle bad, and the requisition becomes the proof of it. What use, save for condemnation, to say, “Thou shalt not lust,” to a man who has lust in his nature? You cannot guide a will opposed to God. The effect of the law was to discover man's condition. The law of sin in his members was what he was: the law of God was what he ought to be. Paul was not guilty of immorality; but when it said, “Thou shalt not lust,” there was no hope for him: it was all over with him, because there was the detection of what he was. The law could not be a guide for man, who had lust in his nature. It was but the means of discovering that all he could produce was sin, making the law the minister of condemnation. The ten commandments were the prohibition of man's natural state: the last saying, “Thou shalt not lust.” The law, therefore, was not condemning merely what I had done, but my nature. It prohibited that which the sinner really was; and found him even in that state which it came to prohibit. You can give no rule to a man's sinful state. It only acts to detect the lust and sinful wanderings of the will in his nature.

The Catholic Apostolic Body or Irvingites: 16. Doctrine - Prophets, and Apostles, &c.

The next subject calling for examination is as distinctive a doctrine of the community as any that could be named: their view of prophets and apostles, and pretension to them. The restored apostolate is the unfailing claim in their books and pamphlets, their teaching and conversation. The very posters of their evangelists keep it up before all eyes.
It is remarkable that one is obliged in dealing with this matter to depart from the order of scripture, where on every ground we hear of “apostles and prophets.” Such was the order in fact as in position. It is not that these modern claimants fail in crying up the superiority of their apostles; but beyond doubt prophets in their case preceded apostles and also designated them. Even their first actual apostle, J. B. Cardale, was named by prophecy; and so were others, not only such as served in that office, but Mr. D. Dow, who refused in the face of all remonstrance—himself a man who spoke “in the power.”
Thus the doctrine in the Great Testimony is contradicted by the facts of their history. Their first designated apostle was Mr. R. Baxter, who had been also fully acknowledged as a prophet, like Messrs. Cardale and Drummond afterward. Of this there is the amplest evidence. But Mr. B., alarmed at the failure of his own prophecies (to say nothing of others), got his eyes opened to the power of evil at work; as he also stood firm in refusing the name without the signs of an apostle. Others were less scrupulous and more ambitions. And Mr. B. discerned in a measure the fatal heterodoxy as to Christ, which lay at the root, and perverted the truth in many ways.
Here is their own statement to the patriarchs, &c., and to emperors, kings, etc., in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Daring men some certainly were, with weaklings carried along for a while. “Without apostles, it is not difficult to understand that prophets should have ceased; for the laying on of apostles' hands is God's ordinary way of bestowing the Holy Ghost, whether in gifts, in administrations, or in operations. Apostles are His gift, direct and immediate; but prophets and other ministries ordinarily are His gifts, mediate and through apostles,” &c. On the face of their history the reverse is true. For prophets preceded in point of time, and named each at least of the early apostles, as well as Messrs. Baxter and D. Dow, the last declining, the first utterly rejecting.
The truth is that in scripture the gift of a prophet is no less direct and immediate from Christ than that of an apostle, though they have not the same degree of dignity. Where is there revealed a single case of a prophet mediate and through apostles? They contradict God's word in this, as we have seen they do their own history when they lay down doctrine. No doubt the cautious man of strong will, the bold and energetic pillar of the apostles, saw it needful to put his foot down, after that prophecy had done its part in elevating him. This alone seems to account for his monstrous departure from scripture in ordaining Mr. Taplin as prophet. The N.T. knows of no such thing as ordaining a prophet, or yet evangelists, or pastors and teachers. They were alike “gifts.” Apostles no doubt were officers, as well as gifts; and they did choose or ordain elders, and lay hands on deacons, both of which were local officers. But apostles as gifts, prophets, and the rest in Eph. 4, were not only alike direct from Christ, but alike in the unity of His body, not local; though some might hold local office also, as we see in Stephen and Philip, who had gifts quite independent of the diaconal office they exercised in Jerusalem.
Scripturally judged, therefore, all is confusion in the Catholic Apostolic theory of prophets and apostles, and the antagonism to scripture is as evident as complete. The facts and principles are certain as laid down in God's word. The Messiah on earth chose the Twelve in plain relation to the tribes of Israel (Matt. 19:28); and when one by transgression fell, the son of perdition, another was in the Jewish way (as the Holy Ghost was not yet given) shown to be chosen of the Lord. Not one was designated by a prophet. But the Lord had further purposes, and expressly acted outside and beyond the Twelve by the extraordinary and heavenly call of Paul in sovereign grace. He declares himself apostle, not from men nor through man Those who construe Acts 13:2-4 as either his call or nomination or ordination to the apostolate contradict God's word and play the part of the many adversaries of his ministry. It was solely a separation of him (and Barnabas) to a special work, after being already called and laboring for years. Do men argue that his inferiors ordained him? It was repeated in Acts 15:40; which compare with Acts 13:2-4. His was to be, and in fact was, the apostleship of the uncircumcision, as theirs of circumcision: so it was settled between him and them (Gal. 2). The break with Jerusalem order was no less distinct and intended; so that Popery and all tradition-mongers are not more baseless in tracing up the succession to Peter than the Catholic Apostolics are in seeking and claiming another Twelve. Paul was not one of the Twelve; and it is from him that those called out from the Gentiles ought to derive, if derivative succession were true; as he (not Peter and his fellows) gives the special type of that development which is bound up with the revelation of the body of Christ, which is the true principle with which we have to do ever since. To point to the Twelve, and pretend to reproduce another batch in any measure, is unintelligent and retrograde; it is to abandon the fuller, special, and standing instruction given us through the great apostle of the nations.
Again, according to scripture (Eph. 2:20) we are “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the chief corner stone.” Of this (unless the foundation were ill laid, which will not be said by believers) account must rightly be taken in applying the further word of Eph. 4. 11-16. “And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers,” &c. On the one hand, the Holy Spirit abstains from language implying such a stay for the church on earth as would defer the constant hope of Christ's coming; but on the other adequate provision is assured, whether by the gospel to call souls in, or by guidance and teaching to feed and guard those called. The continuance or restoration of apostles and prophets is therefore in no way implied or admissible, unless we are deceived by him who could wrest “It is written” from its context and learn not from Him Who safeguards us by “It is written again.”
As the Catholic Apostolics have not a word in the N.T. even to suggest, still less to warrant, this their favorite but most unfounded and presumptuous hobby (rather have we seen, from comparing Eph. 2 and 4., its exclusion) they are driven here, as almost everywhere, to the wildest falling back on the O.T. to eke out what fails utterly. How absurd for the details of a strictly N.T. institution! Hence their recourse to Isa. 1:26, “I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counselors as at the beginning." What deplorable ignorance and unspiritual perversion of God's word! Every word of the chapter concerns the Jew only, their moral judgment, and the execution of divine wrath on the impenitent, but their glorious restoration when they repent and Jehovah avenges Himself of His enemies. It is the same Jerusalem (morally Sodom and Gomorrah) that gave up fidelity to become a harlot, which afterward, when the Lord Jesus appears and we with Him in glory, shall be called Town of Righteousness, Faithful City. But this is not at all under the gospel or the church, but when Zion shall be redeemed with judgment and her penitents with righteousness. It is not at all “this evil age,” but the age to come.
It is evidently the most extreme form of that misapplication, especially of the promises to Zion, Jerusalem, Israel, &c., which since the so-called fathers has been the bane of Christendom, and, even before that, of the Judaizing against which the apostle strove mightily in his testimony. Mr. Irving indeed had light on at least the essential difference between Israel and the church; but Messrs. Taplin and Car-dale and Drummond “in the power” seem to have most contributed to lead away the society into more fatal depths of this ruinous amalgam than was found then in any sect, though others have followed since still more heterodox. And one of the most mischievous results was the assumption that the promise to Zion of restoring its judges and counselors in pristine purity, which awaits its fulfillment “in the regeneration,” is the adequate scriptural ground for expecting a fresh dozen of Gentile! apostles to put in order what is confessedly Babylon, and prepare the bride to meet the Bridegroom.
Now the N.T. continually sets before us the anticipation of coming ruin in Christendom, as surely as it had been in Israel (Lake 17:26-37; 2 Thess. 3-12; 1 Tim. 4:1-3; 2 Tim. 3:1-13; 4:3, 4; 2 Peter 2; 3; 1 John 2:18-26; 4:1-6; Jude; to say nothing of the solemnities in the book of Revelation). There is no restoration for corrupt Babylon or Gentilism that bore the Lord's name faithlessly; there will be for poor guilty Israel, beloved for the fathers' sake. This is taught authoritatively in Rom. 11 “Toward thee [the professing Gentile] goodness, if thou continue in goodness: otherwise thou also [no less than the Jew in the past] shalt be cut off;” and not one word intimates restoration, as pledged positively in divine mercy to Israel (ver. 25-32). For the far more favored Gentile the rain is irreparable, whatever grace may work meanwhile for individuals and a remnant.
Granted that on the death of the apostles the evils kept in check by their holy vigilance came in like a flood ever-growing. So Paul warned; so Peter, Jude, and John, as we have seen. “I know that after my departure grievous wolves shall enter in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverted things to draw away the disciples after them” (Acts 20:29, 30). Here surely was the fitting place to have directed attention to any provision of God, if such there were either in the shape of apostolic succession or of a restored apostolate, to meet the imminent ruin. But neither here nor anywhere does the apostle drop one word; nor does any other of the apostles in speaking of the deepening gloom hold out the smallest hint of any such expedients. The word of God's grace, scripture, is the resource and safeguard in the difficult times before them; as they already knew an ever-abiding Paraclete, the witness and energy for enjoying the presence and power of the Lord Jesus. A revived apostolate is a far more daring invention than apostolic succession in Episcopacy. They are alike unscriptural vanities. It is remarkable that even the brothers Macdonald of Port Glasgow, who seem to have been pious men, did not accept the apostolic claims set up in England but mourned “for their very great blindness,” and “dared not receive them as apostles.” So we are told in their “Lives,” pp. 212 and 215. They charged the Catholic Apostolics, even in early days, with “giving the Lordship to the Spirit, and not to Christ” (p. 220).
Of the Irvingite prophets there is no need to say much, though (if one wished to criticize) scarce a subject could be found more inviting or provocative. But this is far from my aim. Immortal souls, yea, children of God are concerned, not to speak of what is due to Christ and the truth. In the early history of the movement a good deal has already come before the reader in the personal experience and excellent testimony of Mr. R. Baxter; and the darkest page of all is yet to be written in tracing the relation of prophecy to that fatal departure from the faith of Christ's person which has exercised so malignant an influence on Christendom, as well as of course still more nearly on the Catholic Apostolic body.
Mrs. Cardale (wife of Mr. J. B. C.) is said to have been the first to open her mouth in what they called a tongue and in prophesying. But as usual the utterance was only remarkable for its strange mannerism. “The Lord will speak to His people. The Lord hasteneth His coming. The Lord cometh.” This was on the last day of April, 18.31.
Mr. Taplin followed, as has been stated already, some time afterward in public; nor was anyone more remarkable for crash of sound, whether in a tongue or in English. But “Jehovah, hear us!” gives no sign of the Holy Spirit in a Christian; nor can one accept as of God his next utterance, “It is thou, O Britain: thou art the anointed cherub.” What sort of interpretation or even application is that? Again, is it to be believed that the Holy Ghost led to say on the following day, “The Lord hath come down”? “He is in the midst of you. His eye hath seen,” &c. What now is any possibly true sense of “The Lord hath come down”? Never does scripture warrant such language among Christians.
We may say little of Miss Hall, who, though she took full part and was recognized by all, at length owned she was not genuine and eventually left the body. But amidst those scenes Mr. Taplin towered over all, with little or nothing in it save what was Jewish and not Christian. For the utterances were beyond mistake denunciatory. Grace and truth there was none, as the rule. Miss E. Cardalo came into great prominence and the highest account with Mr. Irving and others. All the gifted recognized Mr. Baxter as having the same spirit as themselves, but refused his solemn warning that it was a lying spirit of evil.
But why crowd these pages with the crude and vehement inanities thundered or shrieked out even in Mr. Irving's presence, and taken up by him to clothe with his impassioned thought and feeling in beautiful forms of speech? Even Mr. Drummond, vigorous as a man, was utterly vapid as a prophet, save in an utterance out of all ordinary human experience. Now what has such unearthly loudness to do with true prophesying? It did characterize the raving prophets or prophetesses of the heathen. Prophecy in scripture revealed new truth from God, or laid bare the secrets of man's heart. It would be strange if any sober unbiased Christian could so testify of these uncouth ejaculatory cries of Irvingite men and women.
Miss E. C. did indeed rebuke Mr. Taplin in the power, and brought him on another occasion to confess evil against the Lord. After Mr. Irving's death, when Mr. Ryerson in Newman Street was thought to be preaching at the same Mr. T. for gift without grace, Miss C. in an “appalling” way, says Mr. Baxter (Irvingism, 41-44), followed this up in power with “he never had it; he never knew it; yet Mr. T. remained as he was the chief among the prophets till the end. The same Mr. T. prophesied of one from America that he was to be a prophet to gather men there into God's church. But the man was soon proved an impostor.—Equally false was the prophecy about an American Indian, who, spite of grand predictions, returned unconverted. The intimation of a great work to be wrought in Scotland by Mr. Irving himself was notoriously falsified by his death. The baptism of fire too never had the semblance of a fulfillment in any, though promised to all. Was not the second Napoleon said “in the power” to be the coming Antichrist?
But enough. It is painful to be compelled to speak of the details of such wholesale error. He who desires to know the truth of things has already sufficient evidence.

Denial of Propitiating God by Sacrifice

Repeatedly urged to say more on the recent heterodoxy as to propitiation, I had declined on various grounds. Enough as it seemed to me was published to warn souls; and those who did not heed it were disposed to think what had been written too strong, bitter, personal, and I know not what. One could not convince those whose will was adverse.
But now attention is drawn to a development, new to most, in “Help and Instruction,” compiled by Walter Scott, and published some two years ago by E. P. Nicholls, 19, Church Street, Kensington, which contains the following statements— “Now we are not to understand by this that God needed to be propitiated by the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ, in order to reconcile Him to us. We, not God, needed the reconciliation,” &e. (p. 38); “To speak then of propitiating God by sacrifice would be to belie the teaching of revelation, and to deny what He is Whom we know as our God. Such a thought would do for a heathen, but not for Christians;” &c. (p. 39); “But if He needs not to be propitiated,” &c. (Ib.); “To be propitiated on their behalf He never needed” (Ib.); “Propitiation, therefore, had to be made, though God needed not to be propitiated” (Ib. and 40).
These words have alarmed souls who did not see the doctrine of propitiation in “Recent Utterances” to be fundamentally unsound. No wonder it is seen now. They deny what is universally among Christians felt to be the essence of propitiation in the O.T. as well as the New. The sentiment is really skeptical. Not that propitiation is denied in terms; it is asserted in the same pages and elsewhere. But the necessary appeasing of divine wrath is here categorically excluded from propitiation, as by all misbelievers or rationalists, who also confound it with reconciliation. There might be a loophole of escape in the first of these extracts, “in order to reconcile Him to us;” for this no intelligent believer accepts for a moment. Reconciliation according to scripture is, in God's love, of us only. But the author goes farther, and lays it down thrice in the page that follows in the most unreserved and absolute way.
John 3:16 is cited, without a word about ver. 14, 15. Yet the cross is the turning-point of propitiation, whatever the love of God that gave the Son. On such a question think of leaving out here “even so must the Son of man be lifted up”! The presence of the Lord on earth was indeed a blessed witness of His errand of reconciliation; but how does, how could, it refute the faith of God's elect, that God needed to be, and in fact was, propitiated in His vast abhorrence of our sins by Christ's death? Was there not the deepest displeasure on God's part borne by the Sin-bearer? This is now plainly, deliberately, repeatedly denied to be a vital part of propitiation, in a pamphlet of selections made by another, revised throughout by the author, and sent forth for the direct edification and blessing of all who love our Lord Jesus Christ! The editor is “satisfied that the truths therein unfolded will commend themselves as of God to Bible readers.” May all concerned be forgiven so wanton a wrong!
It is not insinuated for a moment that there are not true things in the pamphlet, and some of them (as in pp. 63, 64) quite inconsistent with the new doctrine on propitiation. But I affirm that the author has abandoned the truth of God on propitiation in a way which the simplest believer in the most unenlightened sect, if orthodox, would denounce as false and evil. Other truths cannot lighten the guilt of setting aside the truth, the foundation truth, of the propitiation. God made Christ sin for us, and forsook Him on the cross, where He became a curse for others, and suffered for sins, Just for unjust. This indeed was needed in propitiation, to meet the righteous but offended majesty of God, a God that had indignation every day. But this, to which the simplest saint clings in his soul and for which the most instructed only deepens in his thankful and adoring value, is just what is now excluded. “To speak then of propitiating God by sacrifice would be to belie the teaching of revelation and to deny what He is Whom we know as our God.”
Are we to sink below what Israel will soon confess, when Isa. 53. is no longer explained away but believed. “He was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.” Does anyone doubt that it was God Who so dealt with Him and that He so suffered in propitiation? The next verse is conclusive: “Jehovah made to light on Him the iniquity of us all,” and farther on, “Yet it pleased Jehovah to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief: when Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin,” &c. So will the converted Jew own the infinite sufferings of his Messiah in propitiation. The heterodoxy before us jumbles it with reconciliation, and so shuts out God in this, the pivot (I do not say the source) of all blessing to saint or sinner. Man is the object of reconciliation, God of propitiation. It is a shutting out of God's wrath revealed from heaven, which the gospel enables us to behold in all its holy nature and solemn issues, because we have submitted ourselves to His righteousness. But it is no true testimony to love in God if one denies that He needed to be propitiated by sacrifice: thereby we lose His love incalculably.
So far is the author blinded by his error that he does not scruple to say that the thought of that need “would do for a heathen.” The fact is that not only did God in the law keep the need of appeasing Him ever before His ancient people by the sacrificial system, but that Gentiles, besotted though they were, could rarely rid themselves of some imperfect and corrupted notions of its necessity. To have no such conscience, no such faith, is so far to be lower even than a heathen. That God provided Himself the Lamb is undoubtedly of faith, and the revelation of His grace and truth in Christ; but it is the enemy's work to leave out and deny that anger of God against sin, even when only imputed to our blessed Lord, which befell Him as propitiation for us. And the astounding fact lies before us, that, as far as is known of the author's associates, there has not been a cry or a groan, not one public protest or private secession of a faithful soul, because of an error which every single-eyed Christian ought to reject, and clear himself from for Christ's sake. It is not merely (as in 1886) a fable supplanting the truth; it is since then an open contradiction of a most essential element of propitiation as revealed in all the scriptures of God, though presumably the last error flowed from the first. For if propitiation be only in heaven after death, there can be in it no abandonment of God, no suffering of Christ. Both errors make shipwreck of the faith; but the former is the parent of the latter, and necessarily involves it.

Mr. Haslam's the Lord Is Coming

This little book, like others of the author, contains not a little truth put simply and earnestly, but a good deal also that is crude and misleading.
Part I. sets forth the coming of the Lord for His saints. The parable of the ten virgins is effectively applied. The church is imperfectly understood, though there is a true if vague glimpse of it far beyond current views. Our brother speaks of saints in pre-reformation times, after the church fell from its due estate, knowing “nothing whatever about the Lord's second coming” (p. 38). This is too strong. They all looked for His coming; but they were as confused about it as the great majority of believers are still who misplace it or overlook its character. The fact is that the same deficiency applies to all other truths, save perhaps the Trinity and the person of Christ. Therein even the darkest in most respects are firm and decided, which is a great mercy from God. Even God's righteousness is to them cloud-land, and God's church a mystery unknown, though revealed, as well as the personal abiding presence of the Holy Spirit: all has been and is at least as ill understood for near 1,800 years as the second coming of Christ.
It is in no way surprising that one who has been learning under difficulties and hindrances should err now and then. Of small mistakes we need not speak; but there are others more serious. It is wrong for instance (pp. 28, 29) to hold out a groundless hope to false professors, as if they may be reached by the “gospel of the kingdom” after the heavenly saints are caught up and before they with the Lord appear in glory. 2 Thess. 2:11, 12 warns very differently. Those converted by the gospel of the kingdom appear rather to be from the nations outside Christendom, certainly not among such as may have refused the gospel of God's grace that is preached now.
Nor is it wise to enfeeble 1 Cor. 9:24, 25; 2 Cor. 5:10; but these are common oversights among fairly instructed brethren.
So again it is a mistake to suppose that the emblems of a judicial sort in Rev. 4 characterize what the Lord is to accomplish as Son of man; for it is as Son of man that He will appear in glory when His saints accompany Him from heaven. And this is also His revelation (ἀποκάλυψις). The division of the book is therefore erroneous, at least Mr. H.'s making the “revelation” of Christ to be Part II. and His “epiphany” or “appearing” to be Part III. They are all in substance also “the day of the Lord,” as distinguished from His coming or παρουσία. The fact is that, after the seven churches, in the early judicial future that follows, Christ acts as “the Lamb,” not as Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven till the harvest in Rev. 14. He is revealed also angelically (Rev. 8-10). It is quite true that from Rev. 4 the saints now waiting for Him on earth are translated to heaven, and intermediate judgments set in.
So far in a general way Mr. H. is not astray. But the details are inaccurate. Thus to confound Revelation 1, 2 in any measure with Rev. 19:11 is outrageous. The first seal is conquest, and comparatively bloodless conquest, as the second prefigures a subsequent scene of carnage and civil war; then the third is scarcity in what is most necessary to subsistence on earth; and the fourth is plague and other scourges of human life; and all these follow each other consecutively. The four horses and their riders may and do differ; but they are generically alike; and the Lamb, instead of being the agent of any of them, opens the four seals which represent those four initiatory forms of divine providence. They are all alike human instruments. The Roman empire is not revived till long after, as we see in Rev. 13 or at most Rev. 11. Hence the order of the visions is wholly upset by such an interpretation. Mr. H. sees important points, but does not at all understand the structure of the book, or its relative parts. His “plain narrative of prophetic events in their order” is, to be candid, plain disorder.
But there are dangerous doctrinal aberrations here and there. Take pp. 69, 70 as a sample. The gospel of the kingdom he contrasts with that of grace in this, that the latter sets before men Christ's finished work and reliance on the risen Christ to keep us to the end, the former tells men to show (as if we were not!) their faith by their works, and to endure to the end in order to be saved! the one offering the robe of righteousness that needs no washing, the other requiring men to wash their robes in the Lamb's blood! This is very unhappy. Difference there is. But no soul ever was, or will be, saved by his own faithfulness. Grace does find its richest display now. By-and-by, in the Apocalyptic period of judgment, less light and truth will be enjoyed; but salvation is of the Lord and of grace always. We, no less than they, are delivered from the wrath to come; but it is true that we look for Christ to come and take us to the Father's house apart from judgments, they look for deliverance by the execution of destruction on His and their enemies on earth.
Mr. H. ought to have known (p. 87) that the unquestionable text of Rev. 5:10 is (not “we,” but) “they shall reign.” It is the glorified rejoicing that these also are to reign who suffer after their translation. These are to have a higher place than either the sealed of Israel, or the palm-bearing Gentile multitude, or the followers of the Lamb on Zion, blessed as they each and all shall be.
The chief error prophetically is his confounding the head of the Beast or Roman empire with the Antichrist who is the head of the Jews in Palestine. No doubt the Western emperor will support the Jews, as the king of the north (the last representative of the Greco-Syrian power as in Dan. 8) will oppose them. Mr. H. makes the Western emperor of Dan. 7, the Eastern horn or king of the north, and “the king” of Dan. 11:36-39 to be the same individual. They are really three distinct persons, two of them allied, the other hostile. The little horn of Dan. 7 is the had of the revived Roman empire, and consequently the one answering to the Lucifer of Isa. 14; for Nebuchadnezzar was the first representative of that imperial system, of which the little horn will be the last. But “the king” who abruptly appears in Dan. 11:36-39 is the Antichrist, set up by Satan over the Jews in the land, and the object of assault to “the king of the north,” who is the same power that is symbolized in Dan. 8:9-12 and explained in ver. 23-25. It is the last Roman emperor who comes before us in Dan. 9:27, “the prince that shall come,” the future protector of the Antichrist.
What is said of the Ephah of Zech. 5 and of a future Babylon seems nothing but imagination, and derived from no good source. Assuredly Antichrist will reign not there, any more than in Rome, but over Palestine, and be attacked by both Egypt and the Syrian power. Such is the plain sense of the closing verses of Dan. 11 It is the Western empire that is represented in Rev. 17 as upholding, till with his ten vassal horns he turns and rends, “the great whore.” But this is not “commerce,” any more than a future city in the plain of Shinar. It is Rome, that idolatrous and corrupt system which, pretending to be the bride of Christ, committed fornication with the kings of the earth, and made men drunk with her wine, and persecuted the saints to death.
The emperor of the West, and the Antichrist reigning in the Holy Land, are in the strictest alliance, but distinct, the one greater civilly, the other religiously, both the slaves of the dragon, the old serpent. It is the Antichrist, not the Western Beast, that is referred to by our Lord as coming in his own name, whom the Jews would receive, as they rejected Him Who came in His Father's name. The little horn of Dan. 7 becomes virtually the Beast, and is viewed in the Revelation as the last head of the Roman empire. “Tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble,” not Antichrist but his enemy, the last king of the north (p. 151). See Dan. 11 Antichrist is the false prophet and king in the land. He does not attack his own people or capital; he is assailed by his north-eastern foe. And when the Beast comes to his aid, both are cast alive into the lake of fire, as is their great enemy subsequently. See the end of Isa. 30
As Mr. H. is not at all free from the confusion which prevails as to the evil powers then to be on earth, so he misunderstands the distinct righteous companies in the Revelation. Neither the sealed Israelites nor the palm-bearing Gentiles in Rev. 7 are martyrs or even dead but living men, as are those on Mount Zion in ch. 14. The earlier martyrs are seen in Rev. 6:9-11, the later in ch. 15., both raised in ch. 20:4 after the translated saints come forth and sit on thrones.
It is really grave heterodoxy that any saints “have to work and do for themselves what has been fully and freely done for us” (p. 138). This is no gospel at any time, but mere self-righteousness. What can Mr. H. (an evangelist too) be dreaming about? Is it not inexcusable error?
The sixth seal is wrongly applied to the Lord's appearing. It is quite an early judgment, which so alarms men that they say the day of His wrath is come. When it actually arrives, they are hardened and bold; but this is not till considerably afterward.
If these remarks wound, they are the wounds of a friend. If the flaws were corrected, the book would be much more helpful as well as a truer testimony in the Lord's eyes.

Scripture Imagery: 68. The Candlestick, the Table, the Tongs

The next thing in the tabernacle that is treated of is the position of the people of God. They ax represented by the twelve loaves of shewbread, corresponding to the number of the tribes; and these emblems are placed on a table before the ark—but outside a vail. This vail is removed in the present dispensation, having been rent asunder at the death of our Lord. It was torn from the top to the bottom, signifying, (a) that it was done by God and not by man—from His side, not ours; and (b) that the action is final and absolute. Therefore the people are brought immediately into the divine presence— “brought nigh.” The table on which the shewbread rested was a further type of Christ. It was made of wood covered with gold (deity covering and investing His humanity), surrounded by a golden crown and border, or guard: and over the bread, which lay in rows, was laid the frankincense. Thus we have them in a certain sense “in Christ.” His people rest on Him, as the bread rests on the table. They are surrounded by Him, as the guard and crown surrounded the bread on that table, to protect and glorify them; and they are covered by the fragrant frankincense of His holy and perfect nature, ever ascending to God in their favor. The table has rings and staves, which fact shows that its application is now, during the time of their earthly pilgrimage, that all this is true of the redeemed. We do not wait to be in heaven to be in Christ in this position of extraordinary privilege and honor. The best robe is brought forth, from the father's house (to apply another type) that the prodigal may be invested with it just where he stands.
Immediately connected with that is the Candlestick (or lampstand) of pure gold. It consisted of the central shaft with triple branches at each side something in the form of a vine, with which its meaning is somewhat parallel, though distinct. There is the same primary idea of the branches abiding in Christ as their center and support, but in the vine the chief thought is fruit-bearing; here it is light-giving. The two services, though continually mingled, are distinct operations. In the vine each branch is supplied with the life-giving sap from the central stem, as each soul receives his power for spiritual bloom and fruitfulness by abiding in Christ. And each branch of the candlestick is made with a flower, and the developing fruit (knop) behind it. As light-givers, however, the source of power is the Holy Ghost, symbolized by the usual figure of the oil; even our Lord Himself, the central shaft, gives light in this way, that is, by the power of the Holy Ghost. This light shines continually on the table upon which in symbol the redeemed are exalted, covered with frankincense in the divine presence.
The light-giving function is at its highest and most appropriate use in the tabernacle, where it reveals all the relations between God and His people, but of course its use is universal. That was the true light, which (lit.) coming into the world lighteth every man. That of Galilee, and not—for example—Buddha, though his name signifies the Enlightened One, nor even Moses, though he gave an anticipatory reflection of that light, as a mirror might. What literal darkness, with its sins and doubts, its fears, perils, and lurking evils, is to the outward man, spiritual darkness—ignorance, prejudice, evil—is to the inward man. Light is knowledge; which seems a very meager definition, but it is beautiful in itself as well as in what it discloses and creates. For it discloses loveliness as truly as deformity, and not only discloses but creates all the beauties of color that deck the gorgeous universe. Light, which is the primal work of creation and which is a symbol of God Himself, is of so mysterious a nature that even though we find out year by year more about it, yet we do not know even now for certain what it is—whether for instance it be an element that travels to us from the heavens, or the vibration of some omnipresent ether, impalpable and all-pervading. None can understand it, but all can benefit by it. Each decade brings us some fresh discovery concerning it. Its susceptibility to sound; its power to produce sound; its power to reproduce form; its actual physical power to move bodies, as shown by the radiometer; its power to draw the tender shoot of the plant above the black earth; and when the darkness is doing its deadly work of producing poisonous carbonic acid gas from its leaves, the light suddenly appears, stops it, and in its turn produces the life-giving oxygen.
All this is true of that spiritual revelation and instruction which comes primarily from on high, to show us our sins and dangers, to guard us from hell and guide us to heaven, to heal and refresh our eyes—though it be painful at first as the sun's rays to those who have been long buried in the dark mines. When we struggle in darkness and the shadow of death with unseen foes, and cry in an agony for light, like Ajax of old; or when we feel the world sinking from us, the pall of a heavy, benumbing gloom settling down over us, and call for more light, like Goethe, then how good and how pleasant it is to behold the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
There is no wood in the candlestick: it is all gold. All the appliances are divine. The only element that could suggest anything merely human is the wick, and that was consumed in doing its beneficent work. Even the tongs and snuffdishes—those instruments with which the wick is trimmed and kept in order—must be of gold. “And look that thou make them after their pattern which was she wed thee in the mount.” All that pertains to light-giving must be in a divine way, the way shown in the mount to Moses, and in that other Mount of Olives, whence came the oil—where the divine instruction shone forth, not in a way dogmatic, bigoted, or apologetic, but full of grace and truth. And for all that the pattern be divine and the construction perfect, yet must the work of discipline and affliction take its course: the gold must be beaten and the wick must be shorn.

On Receiving

Feeling increasingly our responsibility in receiving to the Lord's Table, I wish to make a few remarks upon the subject. Surely our hearts' desire is that we should not keep any away unnecessarily, nor admit any the Lord would not have there; because we are to receive “as Christ also received us, to the glory of God” (Rom. 15:7). So the blessed Lord, Who knew we should feel this great responsibility, has given us this precious promise in connection therewith, “I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of My Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 18:19). Do we always avail ourselves of this promise when receiving? Might not the want of such dependence be often the source of trouble afterward? But I do not wish now to enter into the question as to who should be received, but rather to attempt to define from God's word who holds the authority to receive, and how reception is carried out. I write because of some little differences of thought, and with the desire that we may “be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Cor. 1:10).
It seems to me then that the word teaches us that the responsibility of receiving lies with the assembly (translated “church” in the A.V.). The assembly binds and looses (Matt. 18:18); judges them that are within (1 Cor. 5:12); puts away (1 Cor. 5:13); and forgives, after the punishment inflicted has had the desired effect (2 Cor. 2:6, 7). To individuals it is written, “Judge not, that ye be not judged” (Matt. 7:1). Where then is the authority to judge? It is vested in the assembly when gathered with the Lord in the midst. “In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together (ye being gathered together R.V) and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 5:4, 5). With a jury the principle is the same. There is authority when gathered together as a jury, which the individuals have not. The simile is imperfect, but it gives the principle as to when and where the authority is.
Assembly responsibility is local— “where (= in what place) two or three are gathered in (unto) My name” (Matt. 18:20). “Tell it unto the church” (Matt. 18:16), means, of course, the local gathering. Each gathering must act for itself, though of course acting not independently but in unity. Gifts belong to the whole church, and brothers may come to the place to exhort, teach, admonish, and the like; but the Corinthians must cleanse themselves. “In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear (pure) in this matter” (2 Cor. 7:11).
So it is now with the few gathered as at first. Some beloved brothers who argue that, because they belong to the one body, they are right in taking part in the responsibility of receiving or rejecting in any gatherings, do not, I am sure, realize the result of such a course. We have seen it worked out to our shame and sorrow. Hence the importance of insisting upon the order of God's word, which distinctly appoints the authority (Matt. 18:18-20; 1 Cor. 5:4, 5, 12, 13). Upon the danger of using the doctrine of the unity of the body for opposing local responsibility, which doctrines are in perfect harmony in the word, I hope with your permission, dear Mr. Editor, to make a few remarks upon a future occasion.
But I hear some say, “Why make so much fuss? If Mr. So-and-so is satisfied, we are satisfied.” I answer, No doubt such a thought, or the wish to avoid responsibility which was father to it, was one cause of the existence of “our Minister” who does all this sort of thing for us in the present day. Nevertheless it is written, “Let all things be done decently and in order” (1 Cor. 14:40). Oh! if God's order had been kept from the first, how much trouble would His people have been saved!
If the foregoing be admitted, the carrying out will not be difficult. As soon as a believer expresses a desire to be received at the Lord's Table, the fact should be made known to all those gathered to the Lord's name in the place, and the assembly called together as such, with the object of going into the matter, in dependence upon the Lord (Matt. 18:19), and with His authority (Matt. 18:18-20; 1 Cor. 5). Of course a time should be arranged convenient to all, yet those who do not attend are still responsible. It is often done at the end of the prayer meeting. Simply giving out the brother's or sister's name at the Lord's Table is not due reception.
I add, to avoid misunderstanding, I fully acknowledge that a brother may be used of God in applying the word to the particular case, and so far speak as the oracle of God (2 Cor. 4:2), and this is the farthest from over-ruling the church (1 Peter 5:3, margin); the rather will he, as Paul did with the Corinthians, press their responsibility upon all the gathering. Pressing this upon saints seems very generally required in the present state of things.
That there may be increasingly among us the longing to carry out His every wish Who loves us so much is, through mercy, the desire of
Yours affectionately in Him,
C. O. A.
[It is necessary to take into account the present scattered state of Christ's members; for it is not a question now only of accrediting souls brought to God from the world as at the beginning. Suppose a known godly confessor wish to break bread: are we to refuse? or even to treat a well-proved saint as if he were a novice who had to be recognized by the assembly? Surely neither. In every case the assembly acts on adequate testimony and welcomes those whom the Lord has added to the church. But we have to distinguish, on the one hand, between novices or unknown persons who seek fellowship And ought to be carefully visited by those who inspire confidence; and, on the other, those well-seasoned Christians, already better known and on better evidence than if, as persons unknown, they were seen during a week or fortnight by two or three visitors. But on introducing such there ought to be so distinct a statement of their known Christianity as to satisfy all right-minded souls in fellowship. It would be a mistake, in my judgment, to subject such to the ordeal necessary for novices or unknown people. On these principles the most intelligent servants of Christ have ever acted in our day, as I trust they ever will. ED. B.T.]

Joseph: Part 4

45.-47. These chapters give us the fifth and closing section of our history.
The reconciliation, which waited only for the repentance, being now perfected, all was ready for the loading of the brethren with unstinted blessing: and Pharaoh's good-will is to be fully toward them, as well as Joseph's. They were Joseph's brethren; that was enough for Pharaoh; and Pharaoh will have their aged father brought down, and, with his households and his flock, seated in the fattest and choicest portion of the land.
All this was marvelous in Jacob's ears when he heard it. He “believed not for joy and wondered;” for this to him was receiving Joseph alive from the dead. But Jacob seems to tremble a little at the thought of Egypt. There Abram had sinned, and there Isaac had been warned not to go. Jacob might say, “Joseph is still alive, I will go and see him before I die;” but he seems to enter on his journey with some godly fear, for it was bearing him toward this Egypt. Accordingly, when he reaches Beersheba, he pauses in his way, and offers sacrifice to the God of his father. But the hand of the God of his father is now to appear to Jacob for his full confidence. He comes to him in a vision of the night, and adds His encouragement to that of Joseph's invitation and Pharaoh's desire. He enters into a covenant of promise with him, as He had done with Abram (xv.), giving him to know that Egypt was to be the place where Israel was to be made a great nation; and thus encouraged and commanded of the Lord God of his fathers, Jacob is fully ready, and accordingly goes down into the land of Egypt, and finds Joseph there of a truth and the place itself, the scene of Joseph's greatness and wealth-being thus given to prove that whereas he had thought all things were against him, all things had rather been working together for him; and in spirit he says, “Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation.”
But Joseph was not only, as we have seen, to be made known to his brethren, but Joseph's kindred are also now to be made known to Pharaoh (Acts 7:13). Accordingly he presents them to the king. They were shepherds, it is true, keepers of cattle from their youth, such as were held in abomination in the land of Egypt. But what of that? “He is not ashamed to call them brethren.” He owns them in the presence of the king, and the king himself is of one mind with Joseph toward them; he owns them also, and honors them, and will have them regard the whole of his land as before them. And they are accordingly placed in the best of the land, in Goshen in the land of Rameses, and Joseph nourishes them and their households.
All this is great, and all significant. But this is not all. Joseph is to be the upholder of the whole earth in life and in order, and to secure the full honor of Pharaoh's throne, as well as to be thus the healer and restorer of Israel. He must seat the king in the dominion of the world with the willing homage of a preserved and happy people, who were to owe their lives to him. And this he does. He gives the Egyptians their lives out of his storehouses; but he gathers their money, their cattle, their lands, and themselves, all for Pharaoh. For himself he retains nothing but his place of honor and trust and service under the king. Every one, it is true, was to confess that he was lord, their deliverer and preserver, but this was to be Pharaoh's glory. “Thou hast saved our lives,” said they, “let us find grace in the sight of my lord, and we will be Pharaoh's servants.” It was into Pharaoh's house that Joseph brought their money; it was for Pharaoh alone that he bought them and their land. He settled the whole country, it is true, according to his wisdom, removing the people into cities from one end of it to the other; but the land was still to yield her increase, her holy portion, her double tithe, unto Pharaoh and his throne. This was the law of “the Joseph earth,” of that world that had now been brought back from famine and the curse.
There may be no speech or language here, but a voice is heard by the ear that is awakened. Joseph has now received his brethren, and enriched them with the richest of the land. He has also presented them without shame before the lord the king. He has preserved the whole earth, and secured the full glory of the throne of his master. And so will it be in the end of the days. The long-forgotten and then repentant brethren shall be seated in the true Goshen, the glory of all lands, and Jesus shall own them and present them as His brethren without shame, and the world shall then be established from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth. God shall be merciful to Israel, and bless them, and the earth shall yield Him her increase, and the people, yea, all the people, shall praise him (Psa. 67). At His name every knee shall bow of things in heaven and things in earth, and every tongue confess that He is Lord to the glory of God the Father.
I do not notice the remaining chapters of this history, for in them Jacob becomes principal again, and the place which Joseph occupies in them is of another character. But these chapters give us properly Joseph; and constitute one complete mystery, beginning with the rejection and ending with the kingdom of Christ, taking up, by the way, His union with the church and His heavenly glory. J. G. B.
(Concluded from page 50.)

Parochial Arrangement Destructive of Order in the Church: Part 3

The conclusion therefore which is forced upon our minds is, that the system is not only evil in the disastrous results of so many being called pastors who have no pastoral qualifications—a consequence flowing from the system of appointment; not only mischievous as restraining the exercise of liberty in the people of God (a restraint indeed which is often very right if done according to godliness), but as being destructive of all offices in the church of Christ, and subversive of the principle on which they rest; and moreover that, under the parochial or rather clerical system, the offices of the church of Christ cannot be exercised, at least in order. Nor does the system of dissenters appear in this respect at all different: they equally confound the order of the church, with the difference only of having no local limits, which so far prevents the notion of schism; a system of local limits having by the way no possible consistency or warrant from scriptural order of churches.
I am not entering now on the question of diocesan episcopacy, but it is quite clear that in its origin it went by churches, not by geographical limits; that is, a bishop governed the churches in such a limit, i.e., those who might be gathered out from heathenism—but that was all; and within such district, all the offices above mentioned might be exercised with gladness of heart and profit to those who were gathered. But parochial clericalism cannot in any way combine with this. It is absolutely without consistency with any order in the church. An individual is appointed (at three or four and twenty) to a curacy or parish, and he alone may be the elder (an office for which it is clear that he is seldom qualified), teacher, pastor, evangelist, if needed. He is the shut-door to the exercise of any office in the church, whether he himself have any gift or the contrary. If God's Spirit is to work at all, then He must be a schismatic; and this is the hateful evil and disorder of such a system—it makes a schismatic of the Spirit of God.
The office of an evangelist is not a parochial office. It may in given instances be exercised within the limits of a parish, but the office knows no such limits; nor does the exercise of such an office imply qualification for being a pastor; nay, in its ordinary exercise it necessarily disqualifies for being an elder. But the notion of a clergyman, which is wholly unsupported by scripture, summarily settles the whole question, and removes all the offices at once; for it assumes all within the limit to be Christians, and decides that the person (having the sphere of his service prescribed by men, though his ostensible commission is from the laying on of the bishop's hands) who is thus considered as being over his flock, is to have the title to exclude the exercise of office which he may not happen to possess, though it is evident that even if a good man (most frequently not the case) he may be gifted for no office at all, and clearly cannot be assumed in every instance to possess them all.
And now suppose the Spirit thus grieved and dishonored should begin to work in sovereign mercy, will it be exclusively confined to the system which has dishonored it, and haughtily domineered over all its order and grace? It cannot be so; He works where He may work, blowing where He lists. Some of those who, unconscious of the evil, are in the system, may be quickened into energy by His influence; and though in extreme irregularity and disorder (an evangelist exercising the office of a pastor here, and a pastor exercising the office of an evangelist there, and both unprofitably), yet in some measure they may work within their respective limits. The system however itself is unmended. Some of those who are without may be raised up into energy. They at once see that the system is essentially wrong; they wish not to be schismatic in any sort. Labor they must—yea, exercise pastoral care if God has committed it to them; but these individuals with the very same class of gifts are stamped at once dissenters and schismatics. And what is the meaning of this but that the system which gives the name schism is such as to preclude the exercise of God's gifts as far as it can?
Let us suppose for farther exemplification of our argument a large district without the gospel preached in it. An individual is raised up of God, a stranger to the place, who preaches there. A thousand souls are converted: what is to be done? Of the number thus awakened five are specially gifted of God for the office of pastor, or teacher, or elder. The question at once arises, Are these thousand souls to be left shepherdless, because men have chosen to appoint persons called clergymen, who turn out not to be Christians at all—nay, who, it may be, belie the gospel of Christ? I will suppose that, to prevent heresies and confusion—a point surely of material import in these days—some or all of these five practically act as pastors. Ordained for it according to the church system they cannot be, for the clergy are there already; but the love of Christ constrains them to do the best they can for the sheep. They are at once set down as censers of division: that is, the whole church of God, as far as this place is concerned, is denounced as schismatic.
In a word, the effect of the Church of England system, instead of being godly order, throws into schism in reputation nearly the whole church of God. And this is anything rather than an imaginary case. Afterward, it may be, a saint becomes a clergyman in the district; he draws some back to the church, or is the instrument of converting others; and thus two systems are formed in which saints within one and the other are thrown into opposition. And of the whole of this part of the evil the Church of England system is the original cause; however it may be perpetuated by the other system which its evil may have generated. The mischievous results are endless; but while these are abundantly sufficient to act upon, the truth is that the principle of the system is irreconcilably at variance with the order, the discipline, and the efficiency of the church of God; while it excludes the recognition of all offices in the church, and infallibly perpetuates schism. And such has been its effect.
The point to which I now specifically allude is, that it has been the author of, or has at least perpetuated, the destruction of all offices in the church of God, by which the saints are to be perfected, and the body edified; which are absolutely incompatible with the notion of that scripturally unrecognized and actually undefined office—a clergyman. By casualty it may have happened that one gifted for office may have had a limited opportunity of its exercise, but in no case can it have been exercised according to the order of the church of God. It does not appear to me that the dissenting body has at all emerged from this snare, office with them being equally confused. I will now give its effects even within the system, where there are godly ministers, under circumstances in which it is practically reduced to the limit of dissent as a system—the private choice of ministry, which is the common practice in large towns. I give it in the words of one who, being a godly high churchman, forms an unexceptionable witness to its practical effects.
“ It is one of the sad consequences of our divisions and disunions, and of the neglect of pastoral superintendence, that the oneness of interest which ought to prevail among the members of one church, and especially of one flock, is very much weakened, if not lost sight of. Each man looks to his own things, his own edification, his own comfort, his own progress, so that a kind of selfishness has sprung up in our religion itself. The injury which this has done in the church is incalculable. It leads to endless divisions. Each man is tempted to seek a ministry adapted to his own state. If he be only a little way advanced in his perception of divine truth, he will go where he can hear taught the early lessons of the school of Christ. If he be further advanced, he will go where he can hear deeper things; and the temptation arising from this to the ministry is, that it should ever be accommodated to the state of the hearers, thus checking all growth in grace, and destroying all symmetry in the body of Christ. Hence it arises that we have some congregations who are only babes in Christ, and content to remain so; and others more exclusively strong men in Christ, who, forgetting their own former weakness, are apt to be filled with self-sufficiency and pride.”
The statements I have made are neither an exposition of abuses (though abundant room might have been afforded for it) nor indefinite, though I have reasoned on the principle, because the soundness of this is alleged when abuse is admitted. I say “abundant room for exposing abuse,” for the computation of the most sanguine evangelical ministers is that two-thirds of the pastors so-called of the church are not merely without specific gifts for given office, but do not preach the gospel at all. Surely it is a strange state of things, and one which flows from the system they are anxious to vindicate; whilst the perpetual use of this criterion of preaching the gospel shows the want of any apprehension of the difference of offices in the church, which the habits of their system have generated: a system, I repeat it, subversive of all specific office in the church of God. J. N. D. (Concluded from page 52.)

The Believer Entering Into God's Rest: Part 2

Then we come to another thing. We learn that God is the source of grace and life to those in this condition; and what in grace He does for man in this condition. Here we must begin altogether with God.
In Romans, God discovers man as a sinner, shows what he is, Jew and Gentile, and then presents the blood of Jesus. And there again he takes up man's righteousness, contrasts it with His own, and shows its nothingness. As it regards man's glory, it was all gone; all that was wasted and destroyed by sin. Of God's glory he was altogether short; but God brings in Christ's glory—His own glory in Christ. Christ is God's man set up in perfect righteousness to be the head of a new creation. God becomes the source of life in this new creation. He brings in glory when all was spoiled by sin. It is His rest after all. If it is life, glory, righteousness, it is the life of God, the glory of God, the righteousness of God. There is no rest worthy of those who possess the life, and the glory, and the righteousness of God, but the rest of God. God makes us partakers of His holiness: He does not demand it (though in another and practical sense this might be said); so likewise He makes us partakers of His rest.
The labor of a saint is of God, not that of a sinner; the sinner labors of man—he is seeking to work so as to satisfy God. He may be honest and sincere in that: but it is all based on this thought—man must work up to God. The end of it all is, he finds a law in his members that he can never satisfy God. That which man does under the law is laboring up to God. “O wretched man that I am!” is its end, even where the desire and understanding are right concerning it. There is the saint's labor in Christ in 1 Thess. 1, the labor of love. Christ's labor (while faithful under the law indeed) was not up to God, but from God. It all came from God—flowed from Him as the source and spring of it all; and such is the labor of the saint. Persons suppose that when a believer labors, it must be to get up to God; and if not, of what use is it to labor? But it is the sort of labor which was in Christ, when He came from God to work the works of God. Still, this is not rest—labor is not rest. We have not ceased from our works. We have rest of conscience, it is true; but not rest from the labor of love.
The Hebrews were in danger of slipping back into the law, like the Galatians; and of ending in the flesh, having begun in the Spirit. The laboring up to God is a very different thing from laboring from God. The laboring from God has the consciousness first of being in God (Heb. 3:6). “Hold fast the beginning of your confidence steadfast unto the end.” Here is the labor of love—holding the treasure committed to them, being in bodies of flesh. And also there is conflict with principalities, powers, and spiritual wickednesses, like the children of Israel walking through the wilderness. There is nothing in this world, nor of this world, which could refresh the new man, any more than there is in heaven to satisfy the old man. We are in danger, as the children of Israel, of getting weary of the way.
When Joshua got into the land, there were fleshly enemies in the land of Canaan. We also have spiritual wickednesses in heavenly places to contend with. We do not obtain any promise without a spiritual victory. This is not rest. What, then, is the rest of God? In order to have God's rest, we must have God's mind, that we may delight in what He delights in. If so, I never can have complete rest until things are in accordance with God's mind. God may act in grace in and toward things as they are now; but He cannot take His rest in them; therefore the Lord says, “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work” (John 5:17). God has no sabbath now, so to speak. I see the consequences of sin weighing down the hearts of sinners, and I cannot rest.
There is one preliminary to all this. If you are at war with God, and uncertain whether it is a question of judgment against you, or if under the law, there is not rest.
The first thing is to have the great question—your acceptance with God—settled; and then the conscience gets rest. If I am uncertain whether God will save me, I cannot speak of rest: the conscience must first have rest. And here be it observed, that when God deals with man as to rest of conscience, it is not what man is to do, but what he is: not what is the fruit merely, but what is the tree. Man may bring many offerings, but God dashes them all away, and says, “I have to do with you, and you with Me: the condition of your soul is what I have to do with;” and then all question of man's working is set aside (see Mic. 6:7). The fountain is foul. Things are traced up to the fountain, and this is unclean. Something may be introduced into the stream to make the water more sweet, but itself is ever foul; this cannot satisfy God. But God has settled the question by putting sin out of the way by the blood of Jesus.
When the grace of the gospel is presented, it may be received very sincerely, and yet often without the full practical discovery of the evil within, or of the law of sin in the members, to the extent that is afterward discovered; and the result is that, in measure, the knowledge of the grace of God is superficial and the soul often gets alarmed. But whenever the soul has been really brought to the practical knowledge of the law of sin working in the members, and the grace of God in Christ Jesus putting away sin thus known, then it knows that God is for us, thus evil as we were, and so ceases to be harassed by the workings of the law. God's grace has judged the condition of the sinner, thus fully shown, and put away the sin by Christ; and we have only to adore and praise Him for what He has done. The sin has been imputed to Christ, and He has put it away, and that is all, and the conscience has peace. The soul knows God, not as under law, but under grace. This being settled, we have altogether ceased from our own works, as it regards the conscience (ver. 10). We have peace then through the blood of Christ.
To return to the subject of God's rest—the rest is like the first rest. When God had made everything, He ceased from His works. Sin has destroyed His rest. It may be modified by a number of things, but there is nothing which God rests in, for evil is all around; and where we have Satan's power to contend with, there can be no rest to the saints. Not that we have any uncertainty of the rest; but by virtue of the joy, through the Holy Ghost, of entering into this rest, we groan on account of all around. God cannot rest in the corruption of sin, in the world as it now is, and therefore He is bringing in the new man to rest in a new state of things, which He creates for Himself. But it is not in rest yet, while in the midst of evil; therefore there remains a rest (ver. 9). The believer does not grieve because he is not accepted. He does not keep groaning, “O wretched man that I am!” but, as he gets further discoveries of God, he longs to be with Him. The heart of the renewed man rests in the rest which God has accomplished in the Lord Jesus Christ, as to judgment, for there is God's rest; and it looks for the rest which He is about to fulfill in Christ.
As God satisfied Himself with mere creation blessedness before the fall (placing man in the midst of it), He likewise will be so satisfied in the new creation as to plant the Second Man there. This never will be spoiled; and He cannot rest until He has accomplished all His purposes, and brought the Lord Jesus Christ into all that scene of blessedness; and this is God's rest. And such is the rest into which we are to be brought: a rest fit for the risen man Christ. The more I look at the Lord Jesus as God has accepted Him, the more my desires flow after this rest.
When rest of conscience is obtained, I find there is a work to be done in the meanwhile, by the Spirit working in love and in energy in the new nature. I have joy in God looking up; I serve God looking down. There is a work going on, in the patience of hope and labor of love. Moreover, the saint finds within him that which is contrary to this life of faith—something that hinders him in his life of service. Besides the opposition from without, there is that in him which tends to mar his undivided purity of service. Just so Paul found a tendency to be puffed up. The flesh would say to him nobody had been in the third heavens but himself; when he went about that blessed work, his having been in the third heavens would give the flesh an occasion for abusing this grace; and therefore he had the thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet him. This was very profitable, but it was not rest; it was not sin, the thorn he had to contend with; it was rather what checked the tendency to sin. We are in the conflict, and in the work of faith and labor of love we make the discovery, not of that which is imputed to us as sin, but of that which hinders us from fully glorifying God in the work and service of love.
Many a saint considers himself in Egypt because he finds himself in conflict. This is wrong. If Israel had not been redeemed out of Egypt, they never would have had to contend with the Canaanites. We must not confound bondage to Pharaoh with conflict against the Amalekites and Canaanites.
All through this conflict, what is the standard of the path of the saint who has got this hope (ver. 12)? Why talk of falling—"lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief” (ver. 11)? Because the constant tendency of the flesh in the saint is to that to which it would bring the unrenewed professor, and would bring us, were we not kept of God. It is the working of my will: I get away from the strength of God; and therefore this allusion to the falling in the wilderness. How does God work in this? He sends His word, which detects the things which lead to his fall. “For the word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” The word is the light which shows him that which is in his heart, which would tend to his fall. The thing which produces the danger is detected by the searching light of the word (ver. 12). Now it is that the soul does not shrink from the light, but, as in Psa. 139, says, “Search me, O God.” But, oh, what confidence that is, what amazing confidence! Is there anything that can prove such confidence in grace as that? Could any who thought God would impute the sin say, “Look well if there be any way of wickedness within me”? The moment he knows that God has wrought salvation and quickened him. in the grace of Christ, he can say that. But God detects the evil, and chastens His saints to prevent their stumbling in the way. He looks well to see if there is any evil in their hearts, in order to strip them from evil and prevent their falling. And this brings the one who has tasted of the rest to go on; and God never rests until He brings us into what satisfies His desire. “He shall rest in His love.” God's love never rests until He has brought us into that which completes His desires, not our desires. Where shall we find the measure of His love? Even in what God has done in glorifying His Son, and putting everything into His hands, and bringing us into the same measure of blessing. He meets us in His love, and brings us with Him into life, glory, and blessedness. When He has redeemed us, He puts us through trial and conflict, that the old man may be completely judged, and that we may be delivered from the power and works of the old man.
All along through this conflict we have the sustaining power of Christ our High Priest, Who intercedes for us, and watches over us, while passing through it. “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession” (ver. 14).
The first thing is to be brought into this great place of service for God. There must be the realization that redemption has been accomplished and settled—that we are altogether accepted in Christ Jesus.
The grace which has blotted out every sin will impute none at all. If a tittle of sin could be imputed to man, it would be all over with him. In order to stand in the presence of God, there must be no sin between us and God. Then there is the thorough and complete searching of the old man, in order to the enjoyment of all blessing by the new man. J. N. D. (Concluded from page 57.)

On Acts 26:9-15

The apostle returns from argument to the account of his own life, from which he had turned aside for a moment.
“I therefore thought with myself that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus the Nazarene; which things I also did in Jerusalem; and I both shut up many of the saints in prisons, having received the authority from the chief priests, and I railed against [them] when they were put to death; and throughout all the synagogues, often punishing I was compelling them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them I was pursuing them even as far as to the outside cities” (Acts 26: 9-11).
We have repeated allusions in the Epistles to his life before conversion. Thus to the Galatians he wrote, “For ye have heard of my manner of life at one time in Judaism that beyond bounds I was persecuting the church and ravaging it, and was advancing in Judaism beyond many of mine own age in my race, being more exceedingly a zealot of my ancestral traditions (Acts 26:13-14). To the Philippians his language is, “As to law a Pharisee, as to zeal persecuting the church, as to righteousness that is in law found blameless” (Phil. 3:5-6). Lastly to Timothy (1 Tim. 1:13) he says, “Though formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and an insulter; but I obtained mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief.”
Here he lets us see how unsafe a guide conscience is for the natural man, no matter what may be his religious helps. He considered it his duty to oppose the name of Jesus and zealously persecute all who called on Him. Nor does God accept such a plea. He had sent His Son with adequate proof of His Messiahship for all who would compare His written word with the facts of Jesus the Nazarene: prophecy accomplished; miracles wrought not only by Himself but by His servants, and of a character quite peculiar, yet harmonizing with a teaching altogether unexampled; and a moral power of holy life ending in a death of deepest shame on the cross, which He ever held out as not man’s sin only, but God’s grace as the ransom for sinners, to the reality of which all sacrifices pointed from Abel downward. Paul therefore had acted ignorantly in unbelief, as do others who refuse all revelation or misuse one part to reject another still faller and more glorious.
The greater the religious zeal in such a state of unbelief, the farther it carries the devotee from the present testimony of God. Hence it was that Paul gave himself up with all his soul to opposing the faith of Jesus as the Christ in Jerusalem, which he would feel outraged by His claims. Here before Agrippa he does not hesitate to confess to his own shame that he shut up “many of the saints” in prisons. To the Jews he had employed the more vague expression “this way” (Acts 22:4); as Luke in the history spoke of “the disciples of the Lord” (Luke 9:1). How little he so thought when he received the requisite authority from the chief priests! Nor was it only imprisoning. When it was a question of putting them to death, had he not given an adverse vote? Notably it was so in Stephen’s case, as this book records. Had he not visited all the synagogues, often punishing souls and forcing out blasphemy if possible? And had he not in his excessive madness pursued them even into cities outside the land?
But a mighty change was at hand. Not a hint of relenting appears here or elsewhere, not one emotion of pity for the victims, not a trace of self-judgment or hesitation in his own course. Who verified so conspicuously the Lord’s own words? “They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the hour cometh, that whosoever killeth you shall think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do, because they have not known the Father nor Me” (John 16:2, 3). This is the new revelation of the Messiah come and rejected; and on that rejection bringing to light the Father and the Son, wholly unknown to those who in their zeal for the law broke out into hatred and persecution of what was beyond them and condemned their unbelief.
“On which [business] when proceeding unto Damascus with authority and commission of the chief-priests, at mid-day on the road I saw, O king, a light above the brightness of the sun shining round me and those that were proceeding with me. And when we all fell to the earth, I heard a voice saying unto me in the Hebrew language, Saul, Saul, why persecutest then Me? [It is] hard for thee to kick against goads. And I said, Who art Thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus Whom thou persecutest” (Acts 26:12-15).
Never was sovereign grace so signally demonstrated. I do not speak of the wonder. But now evidently the Lord was giving a typical case, in the letter it would seem for the Jews by and by, in spirit for the Christian now. For what could more completely prove that Christ is all to him that believes? To a man up to that moment blinded by his legal zeal against the grace of God in Christ, that very Christ reveals Himself, sweeping into nothingness all that a Jew boasted of and rested in, and identifying himself in the glory of God with the One Who died, between two crucified robbers, the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the whole world.
On earth Messiah is to be set God’s King on His holy hill of Zion. This is the decree. Judgment will surely silence all that oppose, be they kings or nations, rulers or peoples. Their rage is as vain as all their imaginations to the contrary. Execution of judgment will make all plain to every eye. Then will Messiah ask and receive the nations for His inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for His possession. Then will He break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. It will be no longer as now grace preached, but the kingdom established by divine power seen and felt beyond question; and the kings of the earth will be wise, and the judges instructed, serving Jehovah with fear and rejoicing with trembling.
Now Christ sits in heaven on the Father’s throne, and has a new object of love and a new testimony carried on here below by the Holy Spirit suited to His glory on high and that object, even the church which is His body. This mystery is great, as it must be, for we speak about Christ and about the church; concurrently with which goes forth the gospel of God’s grace to every creature under heaven, all distinctions of Jew and Gentile vanishing meanwhile.
Paul was called to be a minister, both of the church and of the gospel, as he says himself in Colossians 1:23-25. And the special manner of his conversion was exactly suited to it in the wisdom and goodness of God. For it was not only unmistakable grace in its deepest character, but from heavenly glory entirely above the distinctions so important on earth. And Paul alone was there personally favored, though the truth of it was to act most powerfully on souls all over the earth. This may help to show the immense importance of what the apostle recounted that day, in substance recorded now for the third time in the brief book of the Acts.
Impossible to doubt that a divine person speaks out from the brightness beyond that of the sun at mid-day. If all were prostrate and heard but a sound, Paul could not mistake the voice of His lips, saying to him (and in the Hebrew language), “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me” How overwhelming, yet how blessed, to hear in answer to his question of astonishment, “I am Jesus Whom thou persecutest!” Thus even from the starting-point he heard the truth that the saints are one with Him. To persecute them is to persecute Jesus.
Doubtless the blessed apostle had revelations of the Lord, and from Him, not a few afterward; and the bearings of the mystery, as well as its consequences were made known to him by the Spirit. It is, however, full of interest to learn that the germ of all was planted in him, as we see here, from the moment that grace wrought in his soul and brought him into God’s marvelous light. He obeyed the truth immediately. It is hard to kick against goads, on the one hand; and on the other the Lord had drawn his heart into the love of the truth, whatever it might cost. He was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, which thenceforth gave its impress to his life, his faith and his testimony. “And straightway in the synagogues he proclaimed Jesus, that He is the Son of God.” He was Messiah, but far more; eternally the Son; now exalted and given to be Head to the church in the heavenly places; universal Lord to the glory of God the Father, in virtue of Whose name all things shall bow; as indeed He is our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. Henceforth Saul could say, “For me to live is Christ.”

Hebrews 1:10-14

The quotation from Psa. 45 was most distinct and conclusive. No Jew then, if now, could doubt that the psalm refers throughout to the Messiah introducing and maintaining His kingdom on earth in association with the godly Jewish remnant. Christ is seen as King, not Head of the church (though godly Jews are now anointed as His partners, before He appears in His royal glory). But the one object for which it is cited is to prove that God recognizes the Messiah as God. It is not men only nor angels, nor Jews nor Gentiles. It is “God,” the divine title, not of special earthly relationship, but of essential nature in contrast with the creature. What an answer to reproach and rejection!
It might be supposed impossible to find any ascription beyond this in honor of Christ; but it is not so: the next witness exceeds. Here is another and higher testimony to the Son from the fourth book of Psalms (102:25-27): “And, Thou in the beginning, Lord, didst found the earth, and the heavens are works of Thy hands. They shall perish, but Thou continuest; and they all shall grow old as a garment; and as a vesture shalt Thou roll them up, and they shall be changed; but Thou art the same, and Thy years shall not fail” (ver. 10-12).
The “and” simply connects this fresh quotation with the former as said to the Son. But the divine title differs. It is the name which every Jew owns as incommunicable and supreme. “God” may be used subordinately in peculiar circumstances of those who represent His authority, as kings or judges. Compare Ex. 21; 22, Psa. 82. But Jehovah, in the LXX. translated “Lord” as here used, is never applied otherwise than to God in the highest sense, and this in special or covenant character of relationship with Israel, as the Everlasting and Immutable.
The force of this application of the closing words in the psalm is immense. It is Jehovah's answer to the prayer of the Afflicted, the humbled, cast off, and suffering Messiah, and especially to His petition in ver. 24. No language can more thoroughly show Him man when overwhelmed and pouring out complaint before Jehovah, yet the Holy One of God, so born and so sustained under unparalleled temptations in unbroken dependence and obedience. In ver. 1-1 Messiah spreads out His distress, His heart smitten like grass, His enemies' reproach, Himself taken up and cast down because of Jehovah's indignation and wrath, certainly not against Him but for Israel's sake, so that His days were as a shadow. Then from ver. 12 He contrasts Jehovah's permanence and fidelity to His covenant as the security of Zion, whatever her desolations even in the set time to have pity on her, with the results sure and blessed not only for the generation to come, but for the peoples and kingdoms and nations in that day of fearing and
Christ on His throne in the age of His display, no angel will ever be. Angels were made to serve, not to reign: they never did, nor will. Dominion was given to Adam, the type of Him that was to come. God ever had the kingdom in view from the foundation of the world. Of this kingdom Christ is the destined King. But as He will have in His grace the changed saints to reign with Him, so also He will have saints unchanged set on His right hand and despisers on His left, when He sits on His throne of glory and judges all the nations according to their treatment of His messengers (His brethren) sent forth just before He appears again.
Never will the church sit where Christ sits now, nor any members of it, apostle or prophet. It is peculiar to God Who calls Christ there: because Christ also is God and Jehovah, as we have seen, no less than He Who sent Him, Christ sits there. During the Apocalyptic period judgments from God fall successively and with increasing intensity on guilty man, especially in Christendom, and at length, when His enemies are set a footstool, Christ personally appears to tread them down. Then when in association with His ancient people Jehovah sends the rod of His strength out of Zion, and He rules in the midst of His foes. But such no longer are the Jews, who once constrained the Gentiles to crucify Him; they offer themselves willingly in the day of His power. He will have then the dew of His youth, the generation to come. “Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children.” Men corrupt themselves more and more, whatever they vaunt of progress. Nevertheless under Christ there will surely be the best wine for the earth kept till then. And then will the blessedness be shown of Jehovah's oath about the great Melchizedek; for though Christ is so now as to order, only then will it be exercised. He will bring out the bread and the wine for the victors in all their meaning, blessing man on the part of God most high, and blessing God on man's part. For indeed will it be the good age, and every one and thing in its due place, which He only can accomplish. No doubt that clay will open with wrath, as we know it will close with judgment when time melts into eternity.
But then again the aim of the Spirit is not to open out the coming glory for the earth, but to demonstrate the singular dignity proper to Christ at God's right hand, in contrast with angels who at best are all ministering spirits sent forth on service for those that are to inherit salvation. Higher than this they never rise. Christ might and did become David's Son; but He was also David's Lord, as our Lord Himself put the case to the Jews and unanswerably, because their lips were held fast in unbelief. But faith here answers at once. He was God equally with the Father. Where else then should He sit but at God's right hand? Surely none the less because man or Israel would have none of Him. The first of Israel's royal line, the father (after a long succession then to come) of Him Whose is that kingdom everlasting, though yet awaiting it, owns his Son, by the strangest reversal of nature, as his Lord: a thing unaccountable, unless He were God, the Root as well as Offspring of David. The holy angels are sustained of the Lord. It is ours to know salvation, whether as now seen complete in Christ (as in Eph. 2, &c.) or as completed in AB at His coming and therefore future (as here and elsewhere).

The Catholic Apostolic Body or Irvingites: 17. Doctrine - The Incarnation

The subject which now calls for consideration is most solemn, and demands the clearest evidence, not only because one is bound to beware of exaggeration, but because the society concerned are here extremely unwilling to face the facts which condemn them. They refer to the opening words of Mr. Irving's preface to the Orthodox and Catholic Doctrine of our Lord's Human Nature (London, 1830). “It is necessary to inform the reader, that whenever I attribute sinful properties and dispositions and inclinations to our Lord's human nature, I am speaking of it considered as apart from Him, in itself; I am defining the qualities of that nature which He took upon Him, and demonstrating it to be the very same substance with that which we possess. To understand the work which He did, you must understand the materials with which He did it. The work which He did was, to reconcile, sanctify, quicken, and glorify this nature of ours,” &c.
Now no one subject to God's word could agree to this, but must reject it as wholly unscriptural. For we read of “reconciling the world,” “you... hath He reconciled,” “we were reconciled,” “reconcile both unto God.” We read also of “reconciling all things,” looking onward to the day of glory; but never, nowhere, and in no sense of reconciling human nature. Mr. I.'s idea is unknown to scripture, and the source of manifold error. If sinful flesh were in Christ, clearly it had to be reconciled to God; and this accordingly Mr. I. teaches habitually and resolutely.
Clearly therefore it is not humanity apart from Christ that is in question, as to which no sober Christian could hesitate. The horror inspired by this able but misguided man, and not least in the treatise to which we are referred, and by his sermons on Incarnation and in short all his writings on the subject to the last, was through his doctrine on the human nature in Christ's person here below.
Some extracts, spread over the work, will prove it distinctly to a believer or even an upright man. “If then Christ was made under the law, He must serving Jehovah. Lastly, in ver. 23, 24, He spreads before Jehovah His own strength weakened and His days shortened, and begs not to be taken away in the midst of them, while owning that Jehovah's years are throughout all generations. Thereon follows the glorious answer to the self-emptied and suffering Son: “Of old didst Thou lay the foundation,” &c. “They shall be changed, but Thou art the same,” &c.
It is Jehovah from above Who thus answers Jehovah below in the midst of His entire submission to sorrow and humiliation, “crucified in weakness.” Jehovah will arise and build up Zion; and when He does, He will appear in His glory; but Zion shall not be without her humbled and afflicted Messiah, whatever the weakness He bowed under for the glory of God and the deliverance of His people; for the Son is as truly Jehovah as the Father. “Hear, O Israel, Jehovah thy Elohim is one Jehovah.” Such is the meaning of Psa. 102, as interpreted by one no less inspired than he who wrote the Psalm. Without Heb. 1 we might not have found it out; with it we at once see that no other interpretation gives adequate meaning to the Psalm. But what a proof of Christ's supreme deity, and this grounded on His possession of the ineffable Name from Him Who has it confessedly! The divine glory of Christ is the answer to all appearances and every dilemma.
If it be argued that the word, “Lord” (κύπιε) in the LXX., has no counterpart in the Hebrew, the answer is that the truth meant in no way depends on the insertion of that word, but on the attributes of creative and judicial glory, as well as divine unchangeableness in His changing all creation, ascribed to the Messiah by Jehovah. He was man, and crushed to the uttermost, as must be if He made good the errand of grace on which He came—righteously vindicating God in the face of sin and delivering the people on whom lay indignation and wrath; and this He did in suffering weakness, not in power, but is owned in that suffering as ever the same, the Eternal: not only as having an everlasting kingdom, but as the One Who was and Who is and Who is to come, the Ancient of days albeit Son of man, as John testifies in Rev. 1.
The contrast of perishable creation with the permanence of Christ (really Jehovah) deserves to be weighed. For the assumed perpetuity of the world is a root principle of infidelity, and never more than in the matter worship of modern philosophers, the revival of ancient heathenism. Scripture on the contrary insists on the certainty of a God of judgment, and not less physically than morally. All depends on His sovereign and holy will. It is not only that science is obliged to confess divine intervention in creating and destroying (I say not annihilating, for this is false) the earth many times and through many periods, ever so long between its original call into being and its being made the dwelling of man. But since Adam's children lived on it, a judgment both moral and physical has borne witness, however scorners may be willingly ignorant, that God is not indifferent to wickedness breaking through creature bounds; for the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished; as it will surely meet with a more signal doom, being reserved against the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. Now all judgment is committed to the Son. He has executed it, as He will execute it.
Nor is it only that these or those subordinate parts of creation shall perish. But as the earth and the heavens were the works of the Son's hands (John 1:3), so they all shall wax old as a garment. Nor is it from creature's defectibility but from the Creator's righteous will: “as a mantle shalt Thou roll them up.” The unchangeableness of the heavens and of all that is visible or invisible in them is no more true than that of the earth and of all in it that men aver to continue as they were. The astronomers, the geologists, the chemists, the physicists, the physiologists, to speak of no more, are apt to swamp all recognition of the true God in sole occupation with His works, and thus sink into an atheism so much the more guilty, because it is apostasy from the only true Light that revealed Him. Yet not more truly are they to die than they must rise. For the resurrection of Christ gives the pledge of clearance from judgment, yea, of present justification to His own, and of sure judgment to follow for all who despise him. Christ's resurrection proves the succession of cause and effect to be in fact under God's absolute control; as is true of every real miracle: There will be a grand change to inaugurate Christ's coming; a complete and final one as the result when the kingdom gives place to all things made new for eternity.
This series of quotations closes with words taken from the opening of Psa. 110, which is again Jehovah's utterance to Messiah on His rejection.
“But unto which of the angels hath He said at any time, Sit at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies a footstool of thy feet? Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to do service for the sake of those that shall inherit salvation?” (ver. 13, 14.)
Psa. 110 is the more striking as immediately following the Psalm which describes the son of perdition, Messiah's betrayer. Here the rejected of Israel and of man is bid to take His seat at God's right hand, a fact alluded to or quoted throughout the N. T. perhaps more than any other Ο.Τ. statement, unless it be to His sacrifice or His kingdom. Nor need we wonder at this. Christ's present glory is asserted therein. it gives occasion to the bringing in of “the mystery of Christ.” It is the starting-point of the gospel in its heavenly character. It explains the enigma of Christ exalted above, whilst rejected outwardly and having nothing of His rights as yet here below. It equally falls in with the mystery of Israel's eclipse while unbelieving.
No angel was ever invited as He is to sit on that throne. Indeed, though the saints are to sit with have been made by His human nature liable to, yea, and inclined to all those things which the law interdicted” (p. 10)! It is vain to attempt unsaying this by the plea that he speaks of His human nature in itself. No one charges Mr. I. with meaning that Christ yielded to sin. It is not humanity in the abstract. He means, as he continually speaks of, His fallen or sinful humanity. Hence this fundamental error drove him from the truth of atonement to the falsehood of atonement. For Irving like other heterodox men confounded it with reconciliation and poured contempt even to blasphemy on the cross and sufferings of Christ for our sins. This consequence of sinful humanity was inevitable; for how could a blemished creature be a sacrifice to God? and what could be more so than fallen manhood, even by Mr. I.'s own description as we shall see?
“And in the face of all these certainties, if a man will say that His flesh was not sinful flesh as ours is, with the same dispositions and propensities and wants and afflictions, then, I say, God hath sent that man strong delusion that he should believe a lie” (p. 23)! “Now if there had not been in Christ's nature appetites, ambition, and spiritual darkenings, how, I ask, could the devil have addressed these several temptations to His will?” (p. 24.) It is sorrowful to report such enormities, but truth must be vindicated.
“If His human nature differed, by however little, from ours, in its alienation and guiltiness, then the work of reducing it into eternal harmony with God hath no bearing whatever upon our nature, with which it is not the same” (p. 88). Here again it is the evident consequence of a false start—that atonement means a fallen nature brought into reconciliation with God, by overcoming all its inherent propensities: a different gospel, which is not another, and what is worse, not the Christ of God, but an antichrist.
“Was He conscious, then, to the motions of the flesh, and of the fleshly mind? In so far as any regenerate man, when under the operation of the Holy Ghost, is conscious of them (!). Yea, verily, He knew the evil law of that nature He was clothed with (O; He knew every point and passage of it (!), and at every point and passage of it He met it with the Spirit, and drave it back and put bonds upon it, and let it forth again tamed and reclaimed(!); a servant, of itself an unwilling servant, and still in all things a servant of God. I hold it to be the surrender of the whole question to say that He was not conscious of, engaged with, and troubled by, every evil disposition which inhereth in the fallen manhood (!), which overpowereth every man that is not born of God; which overpowered not Christ, only because He was born or generated of God; the Son of God that day begotten in flesh when He was conceived of the Virgin” (p. 111). This is bold speaking. Three words of God put it all to shame: He “knew no sin.”
There is if possible worse and more blasphemous still. “This is the human nature which every man is clothed upon withal, which the Son of man was clothed upon withal, bristling thick and strong with sin like the hairs of the porcupine. . . I stand forth and say that the teeming fountain of the heart's vileness was opened on Him; and the Augean stable of human wickedness was given Him to cleanse, and the furious wild beasts of human passions were appointed Him to tame. . . I believe it to be most orthodox, and of the substance and essence of the orthodox faith, to hold that Christ could say until His resurrection, Not, I, but sin that tempteth Me in My flesh(!); just as after the resurrection He could say, ‘I am separate from sinners'“ (pp. 126, 127).
It is unnecessary, after such copious and varied extracts from the later treatise to do more than refer briefly to Mr. Irving's earlier sermons in 1828, the first vol. of the three being devoted to the Incarnation. But there too, though not yet so developed, is the same plague-spot. “I shall proceed to open, in the second part of this sermon, how God by uniting the person of His Son to fallen flesh doth thereby reconcile the whole lump of fallen humanity into Himself,” &c., (140) i. “That the Son of God...should join Himself unto fallen creation, and take up into His own eternal personality the human nature, after it had fallen, and become obnoxious to all the powers of sin and infirmity and rebellion. . . That Christ took our fallen nature is most manifest, because there was no other in existence to take...I believe therefore...that Christ took unto Himself a true body and a reasonable soul, and that the flesh of Christ, like my flesh was in its proper nature mortal and corruptible,” &c., 2. (160) 3. At the same time his testimony to Christ's vicarious sufferings was far simpler and clearer than afterward, though even here atonement was confounded with reconciliation, and both with Incarnation, which last is misunderstood and perverted, being made a question of human reasoning instead of faith in the word of God. “The human nature is thoroughly fallen; and without a thorough communication, inhabitation, and empowering of a divine substance, it cannot again be brought. up pure and holy. The mere apprehension of it by the Son does not make it holy” (140) 13.
Every simple and sound believer will own that this denies the Incarnation of scripture, yea of the creed of Christendom, inferior as this is and must be to God's word. For there it is owing to the action of the Holy Ghost, and to the power of the Highest, that the Holy thing was to be born of the Virgin and as such called the Son of God. The anointing of the Spirit of God afterward was for power in service. He was the Holy One even in His humanity from first to last: there could be no question of the divine nature. Had there been sin (no one says sins) in His humanity, Immanuel as to flesh would have been no longer holy. Thus the evil doctrine divides as well as defiles the person necessarily; and the flesh of the Lord Jesus was represented, not as so united as to form one person, but as a fallen thing surrounding Him like a garment or a pit (Mr. I.'s own illustrations), from which flesh His life was one series of conflicts to liberate itself victoriously, as an example to us who are really what is here falsely said of Christ. It will be seen too that, as Christ's person is overthrown by unbelief in the true Incarnation, so atonement according to God is denied; and Mr. I. goes so far as to say that “atonement and redemption have no reference to God (1); they are the names for the bearing of Christ's work on the sinner!! and have no respect to its bearing upon the Godhead”!!! This would satisfy an Arian or even a Unitarian. There are statements quite inconsistent with this fundamental falsehood. But there it is; and no lie is of the truth.
In the preliminary discourse to Ben-Ezra (the copy now before me being a gift to an elder of the Caledonian church “with the tender affections of Edward Irving”) Mr. I. spoke after a far more orthodox sort. “Between Him and His people there is no difference in respect to that which is observable; while there is the utmost difference in respect to the principle and cause: in the Son of man the cause was the imputation of the sins of the people, in our case it is indwelling sin, and the sin which is around us” (p. 114.). So (in p. 126.) he says “the Word of God took flesh of the Virgin Mary, passive humanity He took, obnoxious to every temptation, and begirt with every sinless infirmity.” One need not insinuate a fault; but the statement would have been correct, had he predicated sinlessness of every temptation as well as of everything else. This at any rate is done with emphasis and jealousy in Heb. 4:15, Christ apart from sin, 10. χ. ἁμ.: in Him, not only by Him, was none. But Mr. I. probably so believed at that time (1826) without a jibe at “imputation,” or contempt for “stock-jobbing theology": this followed his heterodoxy. As yet Christ's person and work were unassailed.
No unsophisticated child of God could read such statements without both rejecting and resenting them as an insult to Christ and the truth. The Incarnation is subverted, the person of Christ belied. What room is left by this unholy and destructive system for the wondrous message, “That holy thing which shall be born [of thee] shall be called the Son of God”? What has the new birth in our case to do with the wholly exceptional action of the Godhead in the birth of Christ? Beyond doubt the believer is quickened by faith; he has life in the Son. What has this in common with the Son's taking humanity into union with His Deity, That Holy Thing by the power of the Holy Spirit to be born of Mary? When a man is born of God, is his human nature born again? The Irvingite fabric is shattered by the merest touch of scripture. The language about Christ's birth is wholly inapplicable to any other. How could it be otherwise if He is the Savior and we the saved, He a divine person, however truly deigning to become man and by redemption bring glory to God even where sin was and abounded, impossible in any other way?
In keeping with this defamation of Christ, it is not Irvingites only who misapprehend temptation as spoken of the Christ of God. Mr. I. repeatedly in this treatise misquotes Heb. 4:15 by leaving out the last words, which are essential to the truth. He and all who judge of Christ from themselves, from human nature as it is in us, did not understand its bearing. Christ has been tempted in all things in like manner with us, sin excepted. The sense is not merely that He never sinned when tempted, but that He had been thus similarly tempted in all points “apart from sin,” and not merely without sinning. In Him was no sin; in us there is. This characteristic and peculiar difference is here pointed out as an exception of the utmost magnitude qualifying His temptations in contrast with ours. In Him even what was born of His mother was holy, whilst we, the regenerate, no less than others, were shapen in iniquity and conceived in sin. He therefore did not know sin, and never had a lust or passion from fallen humanity. His temptations were exclusively those of a holy being, and full of suffering to Him, because He felt always according to God when the enemy thus tried but found nothing in Him—alas! how much in us, even in the regenerate. Flesh yields to evil temptation and is gratified, instead of suffering.
They talk indeed as if it was necessary to sympathy with us, that Christ should know our unholy temptations, as in Jam. 1:14, 15. But this is most superficial as well as false. He sympathizes with us so much the more, because we have an inward traitor which He had not, while He suffering perfectly in keeping out the enemy is undistractedly and perfectly free to feel for us in every trial. In fact, if their principle were at all sound, it ought to go farther; for it would involve His failing under temptation, in order to comfort adequately those bitterly conscious of their failures. But the principle is false and evil. The believer abhors the notion of Christ's sympathy with his evil thoughts, feelings or ways. He hates them all and judges himself for them, and finds the true answer to sin in Christ a sacrifice for it. He seeks and obtains Christ's sympathy with the new man in loathing every evil within, and comes not in vain and even with boldness to the throne of grace, to receive mercy and find grace for seasonable help. What he needs for his sins, I repeat, is that propitiation and substitution of Christ which Mr. L's heterodoxy taught him to despise. Christ died for our sins. This was what was required by God for us—not sympathy, but infinite suffering in atonement; and by that one offering they are effaced, and we are purged for God's presence, condemnation having already been executed on their root, sin in the flesh, when He became a sacrifice for sin (Rom. 8:2, 3).
To this end God sent His Son, not in “flesh of sin” as this horrible doctrine presumes, but “in the likeness” of it, being born of woman, and thus more fully man than Adam unfallen, but by the power of the Highest born “holy,” as no man ever was. Born in sin would have unfitted Him for communion as well as for sacrifice. Likeness of flesh would have been unavailing and useless; but “in the likeness of flesh of sin” was just what was wanted for the divine glory, as well as for our salvation. And thus in the cross was God glorified even as to sin, as Christ had glorified the Father as the obedient man, most holy alike in life and death, holy from first to last in all His being, as in all He did and suffered, He only.
It will be argued, however, that in all this dark antagonism to the truth of Christ's person and atonement it is a question of Mr. Irving, rather than of the Catholic Apostolic body. But these are facts: that Mr. I. was incomparably the most influential teacher they ever had; that no tenet is more characteristic of their one joint organ (the Morning Watch) throughout its seven volumes and by many if not all its contributors; and nowhere more acrimoniously than in the last vol. Thus it is in vain to represent their first angel as an exception instead of being the most prominent and active leader in doctrine. Indeed it is to his credit that none can impute underhandedness or bringing in things privily, the almost unfailing reproach of false prophets. He at least was outspoken; which did not please more prudent men well aware of the umbrage given far and wide to Christians by language on this subject so vehement, unmeasured, and profane. Incarnation was not at all that action which works in the regenerate, as he alleged, but peculiar to Christ; while no one doubts the power of the Spirit in which He invariably walked.
Another plea, by no means candid, is that Irving preached the sinful humanity of Christ before the ordinances, as they call the setting up of apostles, &c. They all know he preached it no less when he was ordained angel by the pillar of the apostles.
But the truth is, as another has acutely observed, that his preaching that Christ took flesh of sin has so much the greater weight because it preceded the gifts and authorities. For, as they alleged, “the power” sealed its truth. No fact is more certain. Mr. Irving himself wrote on April 21st, 1832, to Mr. Baxter, who had testified his unsoundness on the Lord's humanity, on imputing righteousness, and on holiness in the flesh (for the same error asserted sin in Christ's flesh and the possibility of its absence from ours). In that letter Mr. I. adhered to the evil, and distinctly reported that the spirit in Miss. E. C. laid down that Mr. B. “had been snared by departing from the word and the testimony,” and that L had maintained the truth, and the Lord was well pleased with him for it; that in some words he had erred, and that the word by the spirit in B. was therefore true; that if I. waited on the Lord, He would show this by His Spirit, but that He had forgiven it, because He knew his heart was right before Him; that I. had maintained the truth and must not draw back from maintaining it. They then joined in prayer, among the rest for Mr. Baxter's deliverance from the snare concerning the flesh of Christ and the holiness of the believer. Mrs. I. advised leaving it to the Lord, but Mrs. C. gave an utterance in power that Mr. B. had stumbled greatly, dwelling most on the doctrine of perfect holiness. A third utterance from Miss E. C. taught Mr. Irving that Satan sought to overthrow his confidence in the truth, and to bring him into a snare, but that he was called upon to maintain it more firmly than ever.
In the same letter Mr. I. warns Mr. B. that now he is “brought to oppose that very doctrine which alone can bring the chosen to be meet for her Bridegroom—that as He was holy in the flesh, so are we, through the grace of regeneration, brought to be holy—planted in a holy standing—the flesh dead to sin, as His flesh was dead to sin—and that by the baptism of the Holy Ghost we are brought into the fellowship of His power and fullness, to do the works which He also did, and greater works than these.” Mr. I. read his report to his wife, as well as to the two prophetesses, who said it was a full and exact account. He also reiterated that not the motions of the flesh but the law of the flesh was all present in Christ, only in Him by a holy life put down; and that thus ought we to be and shall be, when the flesh becometh the sackcloth covering. (Mrs. C. had prophesied that the baptism by fire would burn out the carnal mind.) Narrative, pp. 103-108.
Who can wonder that on this rose a doubt in Mr. B.'s mind whether the whole work were not of Satan (Narrative, pp. 116, 117). And it is perfectly clear that it was not only the heterodoxy of Mr. Irving before the alleged restoration of the Comforter, but the spirit, which built up the entire Catholic-Apostolic structure, stands fully committed to Mr. I.'s doctrine in substance, save some unguarded expressions. Just so Mr. I. stated. previously that “The way for the coming of the Comforter had to be prepared by the preaching of the full coming of Christ in our flesh and His coming again in glory, the two great divisions of Christian doctrine which had gone down in the earth, out of sight and out of mind, and which must be revived by preaching, before the Holy Spirit could have anything to witness unto.”
We have now amply seen by his own words what Mr. I. meant by the coming of Christ in “our” flesh; and the spirit which the Catholic Apostolics acknowledged as the voice of God sealed that lie against the Lord, contrary to the faith of God's elect in every age, land and tongue, contrary to every creed of Greek, Oriental or Roman, as well as the articles of faith of all Protestants. But one rests, as all ought, on the unfailing standard of God's word, and cannot but pronounce it an antichrist. On this evil foundation rests the Irvingite body, as surely as the witnesses produced are irrefragable. Nor can they purge themselves from their original error, any more than Papists, who adhere to their dogma of infallibility. So no less but rather more are the Catholic Apostolic adherents bound by most unhappy lot to the sanction of that spirit they own as divine. To judge it a lying spirit means their dissolution; and hence every effort to hide, evade, and explain away, so characteristic of the party.

Scripture Imagery: 69. Boards, Bars, Sockets and Curtain of the Tabernacle

As the temple is stated in the New Testament to be merely typical of the body of the redeemed, who are built together as “living stones,” so the tabernacle is another aspect of the same principle. The latter gives the aspect of the church in the wilderness; and it is strange to see that in God's view and purpose it is as complete in all details (though somewhat differing) as the temple is ultimately in the promised land. In the tabernacle the people of God are living boards. They are built in together around the Ark and then covered with the gorgeous curtains which represent the resplendent glories and beauties of Christ.
These various boards are formed into one complete whole for the indwelling of God. The literal house of God is a people, not a building “He dwelleth not in temples made with hands.” The word “church” in the scripture always means a people, never a building. Thus we read, “Tell it to the church;” “Feed the church;” “the church that is in thy house:” expressions that could not be used except in reference to persons. These boards are formed from the same wood as the ark: the regenerate nature is of the same character as the nature of our Lord; and they are covered with gold—invested with the divine righteousness. “As He is, so are we in this world.”
They are founded on large heavy sockets of silver, and this silver was formed of the half-shekels that the Israelites had to pay for their redemption. They were to be shaped by discipline of cutting, planing, and polishing as divinely ordained; and they were linked together at the corners above and below by rings. There were then five bars shot through these upright boards transversely, to aid in holding them together in their places. These horizontal bars, kept in their position by golden rings, correspond with the five gifts in the church, “apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, for the perfecting of the saints.”
Thus “all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord; in Whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God.” The whole building, surrounding its sacred contents, was then over-canopied by a curtain of gorgeous tapestry in beautiful and elaborate symbolism of blue, purple, scarlet, fine twined linen, and cherubim of cunning work. Each of these things, like the swan of Wordsworth on St. Mary's Lake, “Floats double, swan and shadow;” and we are told that their resemblance to the things of which they are types is the resemblance of a shadow, not of a reflection. That is, the law has “a shadow of good things to come.” Let us consider what that word “shadow” implies. All the brightness and splendor, all the affluence and elaborate skill, all the solemn pomp and imposing magnificence of the ancient tabernacle and ritual, in comparison with the spiritual privileges of the present and coming dispensations, is but as the dark rough shadow to the regal beauty of the crested swan whose supreme grace it so imperfectly adumbrates. These colors in the tabernacle curtains have doubtless all significant meanings, and though there are many who suffer from what Livingston called “the soul's color-blindness,” yet the colors are real and full of meaning. Those who have especially studied these subjects consider that the blue (which is in the harmony of shades what the treble is in music) suggests the heavenly attributes of Christ, as in John's Gospel; the scarlet suggests His Jewish royalties, as in Matthew; the purple, His characteristics as the Son of man as in Luke, and the fine twined linen indicates that pure and perfect human life of interwoven service to God and man which we find to be the special feature of Mark's Gospel. The cherubim typify the power of truth and faculty of judgment with which Christ is invested, for the whole curtain is unquestionably typical of our Lord Jesus Himself covering and investing His people with His own glorious attributes.
Now consider how an individual board is kept in its place. It was made with two tenons (Hebrews “little hands”), which were to fit into and take hold on the solid silver socket of the redemption-money underneath. But that is not all; for the little hands would soon yield to the enormous leverage of any pressure on the top of the board. Much more than what strength is found in itself is needed to keep any one soul in its place in the building of God. It is founded on accomplished redemption; that is its faith. It rises up into the iridescent glories of the enfolding curtain; that is its hope. It is built in amongst all its fellow boards, standing shoulder to shoulder with them, stretching out on either side to them, holding them and being held by them; that is its charity. Moreover it is supported by the five transverse bars (gifts) and rings, also by the other rings above and below, the symbols of union and eternity. But above all and more powerful than all else to keep the board in its place of honor and security was the weight and strength of the curtain, in which verily it is a type of the ever-blessed Savior Who over-canopies, surrounds, and encompasses His redeemed people, investing them with the resplendent glories of His own personality and attributes. “As HE IS, SO ARE WE IN THIS WORLD.” These humble pieces of dead wood are taken up from the wilderness dust, and emblazoned with the splendors of a mystic heraldry in the hieroglyphics of the celestial worlds.

The Two Natures in a Believer

A Letter to the Perfectionists in the Flesh, Or Holiness People
Dear Friends,
Scripture says of the believer in Gal. 5:17, “The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other,” There is then the Spirit of power, but also the old fleshly nature. The apostle Paul personates the previous struggle in one born again. “In me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing” (Rom. 7:18). Even after the deliverance, a few verses farther on in the same chapter, he shows that his old nature is in no way gone. “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord;” yet he adds in the same verse, “So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.” Notwithstanding this, he proceeds to say in chap. 8. what is the summing up of the matter. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus” (the rest of the verse being spurious).
Thus the Christian is in Christ Jesus, and Christ is in him (vers. 1, 10). “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh” (vers. 2, 3). The first reason why there is no condemnation for the Christian is because he is delivered in the power of Christ's risen life, which life in the new man God cannot condemn; the next is, because God has already condemned the old man in Christ an offering for sin. But the old man, though crucified with Him, is still in us, for us, walking in the Spirit, to condemn and spare not.
The believer is thus judicially dead to sin and to the law with Christ (chaps. 6. and 7.), that we may walk in newness of life. So we reckon ourselves dead to sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus. For God, I repeat, has condemned sin in the flesh by the cross of Christ: and has annulled its power for the believer, so that we should no longer be in bondage to sin. It would seem that ver. 6 of Rom. 6 is better given in the R.V. “done away;” for sin is there: and we are exhorted, “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof” (ver. 12). It is there, but must not “reign.” By the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, we have power to walk in newness of life; even though the flesh is still in us, its power and authority are broken and set aside by Christ's death. “I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life that I now live, I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me, and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).
“If we live in the Spirit, let us therefore walk in the Spirit.” “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16, 25). The power of the Holy Spirit in us detects by the word and hinders, through Christ's grace, the flesh from acting, even though still there. “Sin shall not have dominion over you; for ye are not under law, but under grace.” Were we under law, sin would be provoked into action. It is there, but grace gives us the victory through the death and resurrection of Christ. The last clause in Gal. 5:17 as to this is ill rendered in our A.V., “So that ye cannot.” This accredits the flesh and strips the Spirit of His power, representing it as an impossibility to overcome the flesh and walk in the power of the Spirit. But this is erroneous. The correct thought is given us in the R.V., “That ye may not.” Doubtless the flesh strives to hinder; but as we live in the Spirit, let us therefore walk in the Spirit (even though the flesh would ever so hinder), and we shall not fulfill fleshly lusts. We are called to “mortify the deeds of the body,” as having already died with Christ. The Holy Spirit in us is of power and of love and of a sound mind.
Devotedness according to Rom. 12:1 is our calling, living, and walking thus in the Spirit, presenting our bodies (not “the flesh”) a living sacrifice to God. It is similar practical devotedness which is set before us in 1 Thess. 5:23, The God of peace Himself sanctify (or set apart) you wholly: spirit, and soul, and body be preserved entire, blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Scripture nowhere teaches that the old nature is exterminated, or burnt out, or ameliorated. It has had God's sentence executed on it in Christ's cross. But the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us acts on and in the new nature given us in Christ; and we are able thus to walk in newness of life, bringing forth fruit unto God. From our start as Christians we walk in the light, as we have life eternal in fellowship with the Father and the Son (1 John 1). Devotedness to God is not the cause of salvation, but its effect by grace. Christ dead and risen is the ground upon which salvation rests; but a holy walk is the fruit, brought forth, to the glory of God. It is a great privilege indeed, and what we are saved for, and called to walk in down here, through a series of temptations and evil, to the praise of the Savior, as also to our own present joy and everlasting reward, when the Lord shall examine our lives, and manifest all; not before we get to heaven, but when we are there.
Salvation is of grace, through faith in Christ (Eph. 2:5-9). Rewards are for faithfulness (Matt. 19:29; 1 Cor. 3:14). I repeat that entire devotedness by the power of the Holy Spirit in us does not extinguish the carnal mind, or the flesh; which is still there, and will still hinder if allowed. The power of the Spirit, answering to Christ's work on the cross, lifts above it; and the new nature thus led says No to its every motion, and thus prevents its breaking forth into activity.
The flesh in us is neither forgiven, nor cleansed, nor renewed, nor improved. It is incurably evil and therefore “condemned” by the death of Christ; and so the believer in Him is delivered from it, and, being in Him “a new creation,” he is not in the flesh, though it is in him. Faith, prayer, watchfulness, self-judgment, as well as all public means, and holy discipline, are needed; or the flesh will act. And herein learn your mistake, in blaming the devil for much which comes from the flesh, though no doubt he acts on it, when we slip out of dependence on God.
Yours truly,
G. R.

Biblical Criticism of the Old Testament

I wish it were possible to discuss face to face the momentous questions involved in Biblical criticism. As it is, we must resort to writing, which has however this advantage, that thoughts can thereby be perhaps more calmly weighed as well as more exactly recorded. I agree with you that the subject is most momentous: all others in comparison with the authority of God's word are insignificant.
You may know that characteristic sonnet of Cardinal Newman's, in which he sighs forth the words, “I dreamed with a passionate complaint, I wished me born amid God's deeds of might.” That is, he sighs for evidence to his reason, faith being weak. One can sympathize with the feeling, having experienced it, without the eloquence of that distinguished man. For him, as for us all, there is but one remedy—the word of God, the written word. If we have not that, we have nothing. Bear in mind that nowadays that word is being surrendered piece-meal by apologetic friends. Hence many for tranquility of mind are going to Rome, where Dr. Newman sought repose long since in the bosom of a soi-disant infallible church, that “beauty ever ancient and ever young” which has charms for poetic minds. He had better have gone to head-quarters, and rested on the divinely perfect word. This is the ground men of faith take, believing that providentially the word has been preserved of God by Christendom as a depositary. Hence we have them everywhere holding on to the integrity of the word, while the men of tradition receive it on the testimony of the church merely. Doubtless many Anglicans as individuals accredit the Bible on its own evidence, and dissenters too; but the fashion now is to sit in judgment on that word, and to accept just so much as scientific men will permit. Hence two “streams of tendency” (to quote a renegade): to Rome on the one hand, to infidelity on the other. This is the present serious position of affairs. These Oxford essayists are simply playing the skeptic's game. I do not wonder you feel it acutely. It is right that one should, especially with regard to the person of our blessed Lord.
Now as to Archdeacon Denison, I do not read his words as necessarily those of a man deprecating investigation; for I agree with you that such a position would be foolish and utterly untenable. Whatever is of God, it goes without saying, must be able to stand the most exhaustive scrutiny. A defender of the faith could never intelligently take up such a position. But what the Archdeacon,. having read “Lux Mundi,” bewails, seems what I, who have not seen that book, bewail, viz., the apparent readiness, not to say alacrity, on the part of professed believers to accept all the conclusions of modern thought, to be dogmatic as to them, and at the same time—a natural concomitant—to surrender all, if need be, that has been cherished for ages, to regard nothing as vita], nothing as essential, to squeeze out the wine, so to speak, from the grapes, and to proclaim them blood-red still. This appears to be what the Archdeacon deplores. I judge so because the essays of the late Canon Aubrey Moore, one of the contributors to “Lux Mundi,” gave me this impression. Suppose all that which this destructive criticism alleges were proved true, surely (to quote a statesman in another connection) “the decencies of mourning might have been vouchsafed to so irreparable a loss.” But no! there is a self-complacency, an almost arrogant boastfulness of tone, a general loosening of ill beliefs, and a superior judgment that disestablishes anything or everything at the bidding of latter-day criticism. The grapes are squeezed, but they are to be called grapes still. Our blessed Lord was incarnate God, but He did not know He was making a profound mistake when He attributed Deuteronomy to Moses (for the other surmise that knowing He accommodated Himself to the popular view is too profane to be entertained)! He had not the advantage of living in the closing years of the nineteenth century, of reading the “higher criticism” of the Oxford Essayists or their German leaders, themselves led by our old English Mists!
No, my dear—— half measures will not do. I can understand logically the position of a Huxley or a Herbert Spencer. They do not believe in the Incarnation, nor in the Fall; we do, through God's grace, and we dare not allow that the blessed One was not infallible in all He said. Nor is it on isolated passages that we have to rest as to the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch. It is asserted again and again by Christ. Take one striking instance. “For he (Moses) wrote of Me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe My words?” (John 5:46, 47). And here we have more: Christ actually puts the written word (by Moses) as testimony above the spoken word, albeit by Himself. Again, “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets,” &c. These instances could be easily multiplied. Hence on the Mosaic authorship rests the credibility of Christ. I know you do not put it as an actual assertion, but rather as a supposition, viz., that the divine character of the Pentateuch. remains intact if Moses were proved not the author. This however is but the thin end of the wedge with which Christianity is undermined. On the other hand, how can they prove that Moses was not the author of the books bearing his name, or anything else of the kind; unless, as seems to be the case, reverent acceptance is less forthcoming for the truth than robust credulity for whatever destructive criticism may hazard?
It is agreed that we cannot understand how the human and divine could be indissolubly blended in the Lord Jesus Christ. There is just the mystery of His person. He reveals the Father, but the Father is not said to reveal the Son. “No man knoweth the Son, but the Father” (Matt. 11). There the Lord stops. Those passages you quote refer most significantly to His wondrous humiliation—that deep descent (comp. Eph. 4:9, 10; Psa. 68:18), His partaking of all human conditions apart from sin. The perfect child became perfect man. He could be hungry, thirsty, weary, though, as you say, He could fast for forty days, and afterward He hungered. Nay, in Mark (as you quote) we read that the Son knew not “that day” (13:32). Do you not think, by the way, that there is a peculiar appropriateness where it occurs, and in the fact that it occurs here only? Our Lord takes the place of the servant in this Gospel, and as such, fulfilling His service, He knew not. But whenever He did speak, surely He spoke “with authority” (1:27; 2:10; 4:41; 6:2; 11:18). Thus even as a dependent man, a perfect servant, all He said was “with authority.” Again, “He Whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God” (John 3:34). If, when our Lord speaks, He is not to be trusted in one instance, how do we know that He is to be trusted in another? Is one to wait and see what the next budget of higher criticism will allow us to believe?
This is rather rambling, but you will excuse it. In short, the position is, Positively, we must accept the words of Christ, and that absolutely, or we embark on a shoreless sea; negatively, why should we believe all that the scientific men tell us about dates, &c.? Nor am I the more disposed to it because certain professed Christians are characterized more by “bated breath and whispering humbleness” in the presence of destructive criticism than avowed skeptics, whose trade is to destroy.
Jonah is not touched upon. Suffice it to say here that our Lord refers to Jonah's experience (Matt. 12:40) as an actual fact, and as a type of His own death and resurrection. What need of more?
Very sincerely yours,
R. B., Jun.

Ecclesiastical Defilement

There is not a little vagueness as to ecclesiastical defilement, which God's word dispels. Danger lurks on both sides of the truth, whether from lack of care or from misdirected zeal.
On the one hand it is ungodly to quench hatred of error or of evil by making unity everything. For what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? 2 Cor. 6.
On the other hand it is unbelief to abandon unity because of the simple entrance of evil, however heinous. 1 Corinthians is the standing witness against such unwarrantable haste. Yet what more flagrant than the evil denounced in 1 Cor. 5? Even the heathen would not tolerate it. Notwithstanding the apostle neither severs himself nor disowns them. He censures their state and demands the putting out of the leaven, so as to vindicate the Lord and clear themselves. What disqualifies is the refusal to hear His voice, the rejection of adequate testimony in His name. So the assembly if faithful ceases to say “brother,” and designates the evil-doer as “wicked.” When repentant, the apostle charges them to confirm love to him.
Can any saint doubt that, if the Corinthians had disobeyed the apostolic command, they must have become a leavened lump? For the church to bind up evil with the Lord's name by glossing it over is to judge itself no longer fit to be called God's church: holy discipline is the indispensable condition of its recognizable status and title. For God is not mocked.
Evil doctrine is yet worse and more dangerous to others; it lowers Christ or His work. So we read in Galatians that their adding a Jewish element is. vehemently rejected and designated as “leaven,” no less than immorality. What can be more unspiritual (not to say faithless) than to treat it now with more indulgence?


It may help souls, in danger of being perplexed by words as unintelligent as they are confidently uttered, if it be clearly understood that the same Hebrew expression for “atonement” is used throughout Lev. 16, and that this finds its counterpart in the Greek verb which the Revisers correctly render “make propitiation” in Heb. 2:17, and its derivative substantive “propitiation” in 1 John 2:2 and 4:10.
It is a characteristic of the N. T. that there alone do we find “reconciliation” in the sense of divine grace. The Septuagint never uses καταλλάσσειν or καταλλαγὴ with any such force. Indeed the verb only occurs in Jer. 48:39, the substantive in Isa. 9:5, the one meaning “changed” and the other exchange or “restitution “: so remote is the application from its N. T. usage. We can easily understand that, as with other words, so Christ's presence and work of grace gave K. an entirely new and blessed character. God was in Christ reconciling, not merely the Jews, but the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them—the very thing the law must do. But the world, though made by Him, knew Him not: its wisdom was its darkness. The Jews more guiltily received Him not. In result both crucified Him. On that cross Him Who knew no sin God made sin for us. This is atonement; for no ignorance can be more pitiable than only looking for the bare word. God has graciously revealed the thing in all variety of forms, for which faith praises Him On the cross the Savior was charged with sin and our sins, and bore the judgment of all unsparingly, that we might become God's righteousness. Thus the reconciliation which unbelief and hatred refused is now made good; and God has not only reconciled to Himself us who believe, but given as the ministry of reconciliation. Grace reigns through righteousness here also. What do we not owe Him?
Now the fact already stated as to Lev. 16 proves—the utter fallacy and sheer heterodoxy of denying that propitiation applies to the blood of the cross, and of limiting it to putting within the sanctuary. For in that chapter, which is the main ground of course of the N. T. references, call it atonement or propitiation, one and the same term, is used of all the work of that great day. So we find it employed in general, ver. 6, as none can deny, without the least restriction to the sanctuary. It is striking that it is next expressly said of the scape-goat, Azazel (ver. 10), where such a limitation is manifestly absurd. Again in ver. 11 it occurs with presenting the bullock for sacrifice. Afterward it is said, as all agree, of the sanctuary in ver. 16, 17, whatever be judged of ver. 18. What is more, the same term is applied as elsewhere to the burnt offering for the high-priest and for the people. In short the Holy Spirit applies the word for making atonement or propitiation to all the sacrifices of that day, and to each part without no less than within (ver. 30-33,) so as completely and without the least arguing to demolish the human theory that restricts propitiation to the sanctuary alone, and thus excludes the work on the cross from that expression.
The N. T. speaks with no less largeness; and “to propitiate” or “propitiation” there means that God-glorifying; work as a whole, not a part only. To limit it to an act in the heavenly sanctuary, to deny propitiation to Christ's work on the cross, is therefore flying in the face of the truth of scripture without the smallest warrant, and to the deep dishonor of that which gave its righteous efficacy to the blood before God, or to the dismissal of all sins into the land of forgetfulness.
If any one were to say that the Lord on the cross failed to make good the type of the blood put within the holiest., &c., such teaching on Lev. 16 ought surely to be refused as unsound. To set forth the efficacy of Christ's blood in figure, Aaron had to bring in some of the atoning blood, as well as when he came out to lay the sins on the scape-goat for their total removal out of sight. But the substance of the atonement or propitiation was the sacrifice offered to God. The slaying of the victim, the carrying in of the blood, the dismissal of the confessed sins (to say nothing of the incense at an early point and of the burnt offerings at the close), were each and all aspects of the same one work. What is so painful and new to most of us (certainly to myself in general fairly informed) is the singling out the intermediate portion of this instructive ritual as alone propitiation or atonement, in the face of the scripture which itself so speaks of all the parts composing it. To me this is an irreverent anatomy of atonement, as dangerous to faith in His work as the severing of His person in which other speculators have unholily indulged. All sound in the truth hold that the propitiation or atoning work of Christ is a whole, and “finished” here below as Himself said. And a most serious slight of His infinite sacrifice I cannot but regard it to deny that to be propitiation wherein sin was judged and God forever glorified as to it.
But the new doctrine goes farther, and by a mischievous putting together of Heb. 2:17; 8:4, and 9:12, assumes that Christ went on high after death and before resurrection (of course therefore in the disembodied state) to effect propitiation; and that this alone did it! Nov His sacrifice on the cross instantly owned before God, as the rent veil testified on earth! Propitiation was not even begun then, whatever the Lord cried! The new doctrine boldly tells us that He in the separate state and in heaven alone made propitiation for our sins. Is this the truth of God? or a cheat of the enemy? He that rests in the simplicity of faith on the atoning sacrifice of Christ as prefigured in Lev. 16 rejects the hypothesis of these separate stages of life and death, of earth and heaven. The true force of the types he sees in their combined value, as the inspired text carefully impresses on every soul subject to the word. The interpreting of the blood taken within, as alone propitiation, and never verified till after Christ died and was a separate spirit on high, not only shocks the spiritual sense but dislocates scripture, disparages the cross, and invents a strange unheard of propitiation in lien of that which God's elect have hitherto believed in. Familiar as perhaps one may say I am with what has been written on propitiation since the church began, it has not been my lot to hear a whisper of the kind till some four or five years ago.
But what say the N. T. scriptures whence we are entitled to look for the fullest final light from God? Does Heb. 2:17 give a hint of a work done after death to propitiate? We hear very simply of Christ “a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God to make propitiation (or atonement) for the sins of the people”: a clear reference to Lev. 16 and as clearly fulfilled in that complete work in which He stood representatively on earth for the exceptional work of atonement, the basis of all that blots out sin, and glorifies God, before interceding for the saints in their temptations and sufferings. But not the most distant hint of a disembodied priesthood before He was made perfect, saluted of God a High Priest after the order of Melchizedek, and forever set down on the right hand of God.
Does 1 John 2:2 or 4:10 give cause for the scheme? The first text simply declares Christ the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but for the whole world. Thus the essential requirement, the foundation of all the rest based on it, is the death and blood-shedding of the victim; for apart from shedding of blood there is no remission. Now the truth includes what is meant by putting the blood before God, but it insists on the sacrifice as the absolutely necessary and most integral part of propitiation. This spurious novelty on the contrary as absolutely excludes it from being itself propitiation, which is conceived to be a special action by Christ's presence—in heaven for a little while after His death. Just think of the boldness of trusting a bit of reasoning against the plain and large bearing of God's word in order to pick out, not Jehovah's lot nor the people's, nor yet the bullock, but a manifest result however interesting, instructive and momentous, and contending that this alone is propitiation! Certainly 1 John 2 is ominously silent on any such point.
Still less does 1 John 4:10 help the desired inference. It appears distinctly and decisively adverse. The love of God was manifested in our case, that God, hath sent His only-begotten Son into the world that we might live through Him. Such was the first want of man morally dead, even life Godward; and this life is in His Son. But however precious and eternal, it is not all we want, for we were guilty and lost sinners. Therefore another proof and gift of His grace— “Herein is love, not that we loved God but that He loved us, and sent His Son as propitiation for our sins.” He sent Christ to be such. The heterodoxy to gain the least show requires His going to heaven after death, for the purpose. As far as it speaks, the intimation here is altogether in favor of the large, full, and sound view of propitiation, and against the notion of a retreat to heaven to effect it. And scripture cannot be broken. Whatever added light may be from other texts (and I am dead against limiting our view to where the mere word literally occurs), no other can undo the certain and simple intimation to our faith that God sent His Son to be propitiation, instead of the dream that He went back to heaven after He died and before He rose for any such purpose. We know that He was that very day of His death in Paradise, and the converted robber too; but what scriptural link has this with making propitiation? If ever a time and place could be supposed to forbid such an association, Lev. 16:17 excludes it. The triumph of grace is seen in such companionship in Paradise. Whatever the importance of our Lord's passing through the separate state, nowhere does scripture connect it with effecting propitiation. And as for Heb. 9:12, what can be stranger than to lower that grand entry once for all into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption, to the imagined brief errand to make propitiation? To say that it is not ascension is the merest assumption.
I am not ignorant that some complain because I do not set out other views of the author, such as his faith in the Lord's sacrifice, bearing the curse and judgment, and dying for us. This seems to me wholly unreasonable. I did allow of much truth, and truth altogether inconsistent with his error. The statement that “expiation was made on earth, for Christ suffered on earth, died on earth” (Help, 63, 4), overthrows his system completely. For every scholar knows that expiation means at bottom the same thing as propitiation, and that any real difference is imaginary. In Greek and Hebrew it is the same Word.
Nor ought it to be forgotten, by those who feel a difficulty of seeing how the dismissed live goat fills so weighty a place in the rites of atonement, that Aaron was expressly to take the “two he-goats for a sin-offering,” and to set both before Jehovah at the door of the tent of meeting (Lev. 16:5, 7). Indeed it is added, as if to forestall any objection of this kind, that the goat upon which the lot fell for Azazel shall e set alive before Jehovah, to make atonement over (or, with) him, to send him away as (or, for) Azazel into the wilderness.” The removal of our sins, though thus typified, as truly hung on our Lord's death on the cross as the witness to the efficacy of His blood in the sprinkling of the sanctuary. To deduce separate acts of Christ, at distinct times and different places, and even in another condition of His person, is foreign to Christian truth.
What I affirm (in the face of all special pleading to minimize a mere fable which lowers the cross by denying its propitiatory value, and draws the mind away to itself from the solid truth of God's word) is that all which is peculiar to Mr. C. E. S. on the most solemn of subjects is unquestionably false. Therefore I envy not the human feeling that essays to put forward other things that are true in order to weaken the just indignation which rejects and resents such an error. An outcry from any beguiled by the, heterodoxy is natural. What can one think of an apology for it from any that reject it? With such human liberalism one cannot sympathize. God is light and God is love. To predicate of Christ as propitiation a false scheme which diverts from the revealed truth is to my conviction beyond measure grave, though I do not expect to convince all that may read this protest. To palliate it by a show of argument in order to justify fellowship with those in such et or one can leave the Lord to judge.
When we are subject to the scriptural testimony to Christ and His work, there is no difficulty. If we take it up in a human way, there is nothing to save us from error one way or another. But it does seem marvelous that one imbued with N. T. truth should fail to see that what gives character to all the accessories of Lev. 16 is the offering to God, the great sin-offering of Aaron, not more the center of the book than of the entire Jewish system. No doubt therein were many measures and many manners; but it formed, specially to the Christian eye, a unity without parallel among these types. We may study with profit the distinction of the goats from each other, and of the bullock from both (5-11); so also the censer with its burning coals causing the cloud of incense to cover the mercy-seat, the witness of the personal acceptance of Christ when ever so tried by divine judgment (12, 13); again, the sprinkling of the blood, not only of the bullock but of the goat upon the mercy-seat and before it, and the cleansing and hallowing of the holy places and altar (16-19). We may weigh the dismissal of all the confessed iniquities on Azazel to a land of separation (20-22). We may consider the resumption of the ordinary garb of the high-priest instead of what marked the exceptional action in the previous verses, and the offering of the burnt-offerings as well as the fat of the sin-offering (23-25). But not even a pious Jew would have singled out one of these many parts as exclusively atonement or propitiation, whilst he would simply, unequivocally, have viewed the sacrifice as not only the grand basis but that which in the highest way gave an atoning character to all that followed.
That Aaron had to enter the sanctuary in order to put some of the atoning blood there according to the word of Jehovah is true. That Christ had to enter heaven before He rose to do something analogous is to beg the question altogether; just as it is to overlook the type of Aaron's coming out again for the transaction of the scape-goat. The force of this last is evaded by making it solely prophetic of future dealings with Israel at Christ's appearing. For it figures what Christ did atoningly, as the ground of that mercy to guilty but repentant Israel by-and-by. It is the removal, rather than the forgiveness, of the iniquities confessed. The two goats are regarded together as a sin-offering.
And when the Christian looks at Christ on the cross given in infinite love, yet withal abandoned of God, His God, drinking the cup His Father gave Him, suffering infinitely for sins, sin itself judged on His person—there it is that both conscience and heart rest by faith according to the fullest revelation of the word. He believes without hesitation that all was made good there and then. He does not limit the work any more than the person of our adorable Savior: it immediately penetrated heaven, and is the ground of a reconciled universe for eternity. He gladly interprets the shadow of the incense, and of the blood put in the holiest as the highest witness to Christ vindicating God for His own presence, but this solely because the essence of the propitiation was in the sacrifice. He does not admit for a moment another act in the Antitype for the necessarily separate and the subsequent stages of Aaron; and he points not only to the scape-goat as the manifest disproof of it, but to the burning of the fat of the sin-offering as well as the burnt-offerings as assuredly fulfilled in the one great sacrifice of Christ. All were parts of the atonement, as the chapter clearly shows save to a reasoner bent on his own will and indifferent to the N. T. key which God graciously affords us in our weakness and ignorance.
It is this holy and beautiful and solemn unity which is infringed by the delusion lately broached of the blood in the sanctuary being alone propitiation; and this in the face of the express statement of the chapter itself which applies the same word, call it atonement or propitiation, to the entire work of the high-priest on that day. So arbitrary a restriction has the effect of denying the sacrifice itself, the ground of what follows, to be propitiation. And this not only does the greatest wrong to Christ's work on the cross, but opens the door for the will-o'-the-wisp of a distinct action of Christ in heaven after death and before resurrection which alone claims to be propitiation.
It is by more than one said that in pointing out the unscriptural temerity of this false teaching I am attempting to fasten heterodoxy on its author. But this seems wholly unfounded on their part. Nor am I in the least unfair or one-sided, as they are who set the true things the author says to screen the error from the abhorrence of all who glory in the cross of Christ. Nothing is easier than for a partisan, if he will, to give good excuses for a bad thing. It is the invariable way of human alliance faithless to Christ and the truth. I have briefly enough exposed a novel intrusion into a foundation of the faith, which is refuted by the scriptures alleged and would supplant the revealed propitiation by a fable. Nor has the author or any friend title to complain of its summary and decided exposure, after venturing in his “Recent Utterances” to attack the faith of all save his own small following, as if they denied propitiation or made it impossible. For in this respect Mr. P. differs not substantially from all saints known to me. The aim of the enemy is plain. If the only propitiation be something that followed Christ's going to heaven after death, the sacrifice is robbed of that value which scripture gives it in the faith of all outside the Reading fraternity, and must sink into a subordinate place. Some who accept the dream may continue in a measure old habits of speech notwithstanding; better still some having real faith underneath their new creed may retain honor for the cross of Christ. But inevitably where souls are formed only on this notion, they must eventually sink to the level of the heterodoxy that Christ's sacrifice is not the essence of the propitiation, which last is a mysterious and subsequent sprinkling of His blood by Himself in heaven after His death and before His resurrection. To state the view is its truest and strongest condemnation to all single-eyed believers. And any effort to. fritter away its seriousness by putting forward other things the author states is in my judgment not of God.
It is a fact that the N. T. does not expressly say that God was propitiated, but speaks of Christ expiating our sins, of His being a propitiation for them and sent for this purpose by God. Admiring the wisdom that avoids language which heathen, ignorant of divine love and holiness, might from their old habits seriously misunderstand, I believe it quite another thing to deny that God needed propitiation. For herein the offended majesty and violated will and outraged nature of God were vindicated. It is therefore profoundly erroneous to confound it with reconciling love. The gift of the Son in God's love, in no way negatives the necessity of Christ's blood, as a propitiation: it is unbelief to array them in opposition. Therefore one hails these words of C. E. S. in Dec., 1888 (only just seen), “God requires propitiation to he made, because men have sinned, that He may in righteousness be propitious to them,” even though the N. T. may not so express itself. But they seem quite inconsistent with, and surely corrective of, the expressions reprobated in “Help and Instruction,” which shocked souls by setting the letter against the spirit of all scripture. For the essence of propitiation is Godward, on man's behalf indeed, but in the unsparing judgment of his evil, the ground of divine righteousness as we see so plainly declared in Rom. 3:25 and elsewhere. Nowhere was it said, thought, or implied, that the author believed not in Christ's sufferings on the cross. But this doctrine was judged, whatever else was right, to be ruinously wrong, first, in eliminating propitiation from the sin-offerings of atonement to confine it to the blood carried and sprinkled within the sanctuary; secondly and worse, in insisting that. Christ only made this type good, and Heb. 2:17 true, by going into heaven after death and before resurrection, to make propitiation for our sins.
To me it seems no honor to brethren beloved, but a real indignity to the Lord, that every question of moment seems of late to drive so many to a departed and honored brother, as to their living oracle. Have we no Bible? or can Christian men not interpret it in the Spirit? are they cast on the safeguard of his tradition? No man had a greater horror of such unbelief in God's word, such idolatry of man. And perhaps I may be allowed to express my personal grief and shame, the more for having given not a few laborious years to collecting and editing what is being so painfully abused. But it seems unobjectionable and called for to say, now that his name is so often invoked for what he detested, that J. N. D. has repeatedly left on record under his own hand (what his life-long ministry proved to all that knew it) his distinct faith that Christ's making propitiation for our sins was here below on the cross (Heb. 2:17), and by no means after death and in heaven as an action of His priesthood there. Any one who has access to his Collected Writings can verify this without doubt by examining Doctrinal iii. 484, 5, iv. 325. From this conviction I never knew a single godly man in or out of fellowship, still less a teacher, dissent; and if it be true that the Reading error appeared ten or twelve years ago, I can only presume that no man of discernment had read the articles, almost all such at that time being absorbed in the then impending or occurrent sorrow.

Man's Need and God's Grace

(Matt. 15:1-28.)
Here we have the wonderful contrast between the ways and actings of man's heart toward God, and the ways and actings of God's heart toward poor needy creatures. These two things must be brought close, the one to the other, and be shown as they rightly are. Men's hearts were not fully put to the test (before the Lord Jesus came, John 15:22-24, “If I had not come and spoken to them, they had not had sin; but now have they no cloak for their sin. He that hateth Me, hateth My Father also. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin; but now have they, both seen and hateth both Me and My Father.” It was all fully brought out then; and what man's heart was, was plainly proved. When he saw God, he hated Him. Although God was present in the midi of Israel, He was not openly revealed. He was hid within the vail, within which the high priest, shrouded in a cloud of incense, alone approached His holy throne. Neither did man's heart come up there to see the holiness of it; nor did God come down fully, to man. It was not the full revelation of God. It was that which could leave man in a good deal of darkness, and God hid; and therefore could not clearly detect man's heart. Consequently He says “if I had not come, they had not had sin:” not that they had not sinned; but that God would not hold them finally guilty, until He had manifested Himself in Him of Whom He had spoken to Israel. But when God was made manifest, man hated Him. God had before revealed a great deal, but not Himself. He revealed much in the figures of the law, much which foreshadowed and veiled better things; and we find the use man made of it. I am not here speaking of the law, as trying man's conscience: though, in passing, we may notice that too, as bringing in, not sin, for this was there already, but transgression. The use God made of it was to prove maul a sinner. It was used to make manifest—in fact, to create—transgression.
To turn for a moment to the use man made of the law, in contrast with God's purpose in it. God used it, as we have seen, that the offense might abound—that sin might appear exceeding sinful. Man set about to make himself righteous by the very thing by which God was proving him a sinner, and sin exceeding sinful. This you are doing, if you are seeking to satisfy the demands of God's righteousness by your own ways. Man seeks to save himself by the righteousness of the law; but God's use was not that, for He never thought of saving any but by Jesus. When a child is forbidden by its parent, by an express law, and breaks that law, it not only makes manifest the evil disposition that is in its heart, but there is then positive disobedience, and the consciousness of sin, in that which the child does. It might have followed its inclination in many cases before, without consciousness of sin; but now not so; the conscience is affected and defiled; and by the law we are under condemnation and death.
To return to the figures and shadows of better things: men took those very ceremonies and sacrifices, which were typical of that One Sacrifice which sin had made necessary; and by them, their conscience nothing satisfied, tried to eke out their own righteousness. We know that there were a great many sacrifices for sin under the law; for God has tried this way, that we might know its incapacity of bringing us to Him. Now it is mere superstition, and denial of Christ. Men first set about to be righteous by commands which they cannot fulfill; and then they seek to add ceremonies to eke out a righteousness of their own. That is the sum of the religion of so many, making an attempt at keeping the law, and adding ceremonial observances thereto; and then they tack the name of Christianity to it all, and thus God's truth is shut out.
Further, after all, the conscience never can be satisfied; because there will be the dread of that day when God shall make manifest the secrets of the heart. The soul is not on the road to have a conscience at peace with God. Traveling on this road, the man will go on from one thing to another; he may add ceremony to ceremony, and tradition to tradition, but he has only got farther from God; he has only got more between God and his conscience, and no forgiveness after all. The conscience gets satisfied for a moment or two, by man's dealing with it in this way; but there is no peace with God. When the sin is brought into the presence of God's holiness, the conscience, if not despairing, gets hardened. See what a state those Jews were in, who could go and buy Christ's blood for thirty pieces of silver, and yet have scruples of conscience as to where the price of blood should be put, refusing to put it into the treasury because it was the price of blood! Anything will suit man, provided it is not his conscience in the presence of God. Where He is detecting the heart, and making it know complete forgiveness, so that it can be in His presence without sin, it is another thing. Nothing is more simple than this, glorious as is the grace that has wrought it; indeed, it is too simple for those who are not taught of God to love the truth. Still, it is his conscience in the presence of God, and anything suits man rather than that.
Though God is infinitely high, He is very simple to man's wants, and to man's conscience. The washing the hands is not that which signifies or defiles, but that which comes from the heart. Here we have something more simple than all the intricacies of ceremony and tradition. God's light deals with realities; and God's purpose is, by the powerful light of His Spirit, to bring into the conscience of man all the different evils of his heart. When God's light shines in, that evil of which the conscience before took no notice—a vain thought or the like, that passed and was forgiven—is now made manifest. “That which cometh out of the heart is what defileth a man.”
God is dealing with realities. He wants nothing from man. He is showing him what he is. He is bringing into man's conscience what is already in his heart. When God's light shines in, it detects what is in the heart, and thus there is a manifestation to a man's conscience of all that comes out of his heart. Talk not of washing your hands: you may go and offer prayer, which is worse than a Jew offering his bullocks and his goats, for you have more light. That may have come out of your lips, “but the heart is far from Me.” “But out of the heart of man proceed evil thoughts,” &c. There God's light comes in and shows what comes out of the heart. Take the first index of what is there, when seen and expressed in the light—an idle word, perhaps (James 3). He does not say, You have done this or that, but He traces it to the root. He traces the conduct or the words of man to some source; to what? To the heart! If there are idle and corrupt words, there is an idle and corrupt heart; and “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” That is, what his nature is, he is. So that, though men have the fairest conduct outwardly, God unmasks all their outward ceremonies as a means of eking out a righteousness of their own. He regards not the mere outward conduct of man, but measures the heart; and tracing all the evil to that, asks, Why is this? Because out of the heart of man proceed evil thoughts (ver. 19), and there He closes with man; because His purpose by the use of all these things is to show what man is before God.
Then we turn to the other side of the picture, in which God's heart is brought out, in the case of the woman of Canaan, ver. 21-28. This woman had not the pride of human distinction in which the Jews gloried. She was neither a Jewess nor a Pharisee—quite the contrary; she belonged to a city which God had held up as a most reprobate city, Matt. 11:21. She was a Syrophenician, a Canaanite, of a race in the Old Testament condemned, whence nothing of repentance could be expected. The Lord comes into the coasts of Tire and Sidon. That is where grace ever comes (“cursed is Canaan”); and she was an outcast in the fullest sense of the word. She had no privileges, no claims. Well, she recognizes Him here as the Lord, the Son of David, and salutes Him as such. As such she knew what mercies He had brought among the Jews; and she comes and asks for blessing. He does not answer her a word. Retakes no notice of her whatever. His ear was closed to her request, at least so far that He gave her no answer. A repentant Jew might have pleaded (ver.. 24) “I am not come but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel": this He was in the place of promise which Messiah came to accomplish. But for this, there must be some claim to the promise. If you meet Christ on the ground of what He is as promised, you must have some fitness for the promise. If you are seeking by righteousness to get the help of grace, That is not my errand, says Christ, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Why is there no answer? the heart may say, for she had recognized His Lordship. She had, and could have, no claim on or connection with Him on that ground; with the Son of David a Canaanite had nothing to-do. The disciples were anxious to get rid of her by satisfying her hand, but He would not allow it; Beholds to God's order. If she came to the Son of David to get help, she must come as a Jew. But here (ver. 25) she vets a step further; she ceases to address Him as the Son of David (the ground on which she supposed, giving Him the due honor, she might expect something); and her sense of want constrains her to cry out “Lord, help.”
Are there none here expecting that, because they entitle Christ aright, because they give Him His due title, and honor Him, He must answer them, and are astonished that He does not? The poor woman felt her sorrow; she wanted something, and there was the simple expression of her need; but, even then, He answers, “It is not meet to take the children's bread and to cast it to the dogs.” My errand is from God; I do not go beyond that. Her owning— and addressing Him as the Son of David was in the way of righteousness, which was true. Her need still makes her go forward, and she says, “Lord, help me!” But He answers, I am come to the children, to seek for fruit on the vine which God owns. You might think God would own righteous, well-conducted persons, and that they might then take the fruits and blessing God attached to that. But you have no claim on that ground, you are sinners. As far as God's ways were revealed outwardly, the Jews were God's people. But she was outside everything—a dog. She is looked upon as a dog, and she now takes the place of a dog. What now, being a dog, could she hope for? Why not give up hope? Why? Because she abandons all title and claim in herself, but the need which cast itself on pure bounty; and there was, she asserted, an overflowing abundance of grace, which could even give some supply to the dogs. There was bounty in the house of God for dogs themselves. Be it, she was a dog; she made no pretense to take the children's place, and therefore it was no answer to her to call her that, because the Master could look beyond the children, and there was an overflowing supply of grace and fullness that did not leave even the dogs without provision (ver. 7). And such the poor woman's real state was. She knew the Master of the house was infinitely rich. She knew God and Jesus ten thousand times better than the disciples around. She knew that there was bounty and plenty enough in the Master's house, and from that super-abounding supply of grace He could let the dogs eat. The vilest and the most hopeless could find food in the Master's house. The real understanding of God is according to our understanding of our total vileness and nothingness. Israel had never understood Divine love, as it was here exhibited to the dogs; fathomed by her need, fathomed by her wretchedness. She reached up to the source from whence even the children are fed, the fullness of the love of God Himself, which did not shut even dogs out from His bounty. She passed by all dispensation, even to what God Himself had done, seeing He had come down not to hide His holiness, but to show what He really was. And when the woman was brought to a confession of her own nothingness, He swept away everything between the sinner and Himself, as He did with the woman of Samaria.
She had arrived at what God was. He had done away with that which brought man a little nearer to i.e., ordinances, &c., for He now comes down to show what He is, and what man is; and when man comes to his true and real standing, God is there to meet him in all His unlimited grace. Law was given by Moses, and was but a vail; but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. The full truth of what man's heart is, is brought out by the revelation of God in Christ. Now there was nothing or one between God And man, to vail His holiness or conceal His love not even any oft repeated sacrifice, nor ever. a Moses with a vail on his face; but man must deal with God Himself—with God in Christ. And here you see, the Lord would not satisfy this poor woman on any other plea, but on that of her own real character. He calls her really what she was, and she understood that there was, in God's heart, all that the Lord Jesus Christ had seen in it when He was in heaven, for He was here to show it. And supposing she had been something more than a dog, would she have needed so much grace? It is our vileness which brings out that wonderful grace which is in God. For if she had been in less need, what would have been the consequence? Why, that there would have been less grace manifested on God's part.
And what is the great truth in Christianity that is brought out by all this? That the vail is rent from the top to the bottom; and that man, as he is, is in the presence of God, the man is there unveiled. What have we got in the cross? The first thing is, God dealing with man in His own presence. But how? Did He come to require anything? Nothing; how should He come and require it? In a certain sense He had required fruit from the vine: but there was none. What, then, did He come for? why did He come into a world made up of sin? what did He seek? He sought sinners! Did He come here ignorant of the extent of their sin? No; for He knew what was in man's heart full well before He came. He knew their sin well. Christ knew all that would come upon Him. But what stops the sinner? Not that he is to come to God—we see the Lord Jesus Christ come down to him in his sins. Is there anything between Him and the sinner? No, my friends; nothing; not even His disciples. They might quiet and get rid of importunity, but they neither show God's holiness nor reveal His love. It was the prerogative of His own love to come and touch the sinner without being defiled by the sin: just as He did to the leper. The leper exclaimed “If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.” The Lord puts forth His hand and touches him, saying, “I will, be thou clean.” And remember, if He came to show God's love to man in his sins, so that his heart might be won, and have confidence in God, He came to take away sin from man by taking it upon Himself.
The vail of the temple being rent from top to bottom, I see the holiness of God; but the very stroke which has thus unveiled the holiness of God, has put away my sin that would have hindered my standing in the presence of that holiness. I see what God, in His holiness, has done for us in the person of Christ. I see that the bruising has taken place. In Christ God Himself is coming down to me, and I am enabled now to go back with Christ into the rest of His holiness. In the death of Christ I see the fearful vengeance of God against sin; and the rending of the vail, which displays God's holiness and love to man. And so the more the eye of God scrutinizes and searches me, the more it brings out the blessed truth that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin. The light shows the whiteness of the robe that has been washed in the blood of the Lamb.
If I hesitate to stand in His presence, I am putting in question the value of Christ's precious blood. You may say, “I hope to be saved.” How can you hope Christ will die for you! It cannot be a matter of hope whether Christ is to die! The way the heart reasons is, ‘I am not hoping Christ will die for me, but I hope to get an interest in Him. I want a proof of His love.' When you question this, you question whether Christ has become the friend of publicans and sinners; and, further, you question the power of His blood.
Suppose you had a title to demand some proof of His love, what could you demand more than what God has given? He has given His own Son. You could not ask so much as He has already given. And if I am seeking that God should tell me something else, I am seeking some other revelation than what
He has given me. He rests my peace on believing the one He has given. The soul that has come to God knows that He is love, and it is to Himself we are come by faith of Christ.
The very way in which I know God, is through faith in His Son. I know His own love, that He thought of this and did it for me. Why is it some souls do not get this wondrous ample peace, to be in His presence without a cloud on His love? Because we are telling to God, and to our poor hearts, something short of this, that we are dogs. Grace is to the sinner, and to none other. If I can stand before God in my own righteousness, grace is not needed. He will bring down your hearts to your real condition. There He can act in the fullness of His grace, according to the need of the heart that has discovered its need in His presence. God is manifesting that grace, according to the value of the sacrifice, now that Christ is at the right hand of God. Not merely now that God can come to the sinner, but the cleansed sinner stands accepted in the presence of God—accepted in the person of Jesus. Therefore nothing stands between us and God. The Lord give us only to own the fullness of His grace, and see the way in which we are debtors to Him Who was willing to suffer all things, that He might present us spotless to God.—Amen. J. N. D.

On Acts 26:16-23

The decisive words were uttered, “I am Jesus,” to one who could not doubt the utterer was the Lord; nor this only, but “I am Jesus Whom thou persecutest,” the germ of that mystery (and it is a great one) which the astonished hearer was to develop beyond all others, even of the apostles. Thereon follows what is of the deepest interest.
“But rise up and stand on thy feet; for to this end I appeared to thee, to appoint thee a servant and a witness both of what thou hast seen and of those things wherein I shall appear to thee, taking thee out from the people and from the Gentiles unto whom I send thee, to open their eyes, that they may turn from darkness unto light and the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive remission of sins and inheritance among those that are sanctified by faith that is in Me. Whence, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but reported both to those in Damascus first, and in Jerusalem, and through all the country of Judaea and to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, doing works worthy of repentance On account of these things the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to slay me. Having therefore obtained help that is from God I stand unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said should come, whether Christ should suffer, whether He first by resurrection of [the] dead should announce light both to the people and to the Gentiles” (Acts 26:16-23).
Such a vision to such an end stamped on Paul the apostolic title in its highest character. It was from heaven in the power of resurrection life and ascension glory; and this not only by one determining act, but with the guarantee of all that was to be made known from Him personally in the future. We should not know from this account that he was blind for three days and that Ananias was sent directly by the Lord to heal as well as baptize him. Nor have we particulars of his testimony either in Damascus on in Jerusalem, any more than of his going away into Arabia. Each fact is set forth where it was called for; all was stated not only with truthfulness but according to holy and divine design, as is invariably the case in scripture. The Lord led either Luke or Paul according to His will to say what was fitting. Here the apostle gives summarily what was of moment for his audience, and for all that should read and weigh the words afterward.
It was not only to convert and save him that the Lord had spoken to Saul of Tarsus. He was to arise and stand on his feet; for the Lord had appeared to him to appoint him a servant (ὑπηρέτην) and a witness both of what he then saw and of those things in which He was to appear to him. A work lay before him of immense magnitude and unprecedented character. And the Lord’s revelations then and afterward were of all moment. He was to be a typical servant too, though his own calling might be unique; for no such appearing of the Lord was to be the portion of those who should follow in the faith and footsteps of Paul.
Acts 26:17 is not well given by either the Revisers or the A.V. Though the word may bear “delivering,” as it often signified, its simpler meaning of “taking out” is far more suitable to the context and the truth intended and verified in the apostle’s career. It is admitted on all hands that the Lord’s taking Saul out from the people (or the Jews) is suitable; but De Wette and Meyer allege that it does not chime in with the Gentiles. This seems quite a mistake. Separation from both is most appropriate to characterize his position; and there is no need to extend “unto whom I send thee” beyond the latter. He was to be apostle of Gentiles or uncircumcision, and as such magnifies his function in Romans 11. The “I” is emphatic, and the adverb “now” only added by inferior witnesses. The difficulty these scholars feel is owing to their ignorance of Christian position, and even of Christianity according to scripture. For the Jew believing in Christ is not leveled down to a Gentile, nor yet is the believing Gentile raised up to that of the Jew; but the Holy Spirit unites both to Christ in heavenly glory, while at the same the gospel of grace goes forth indiscriminately, but to the Gentile practically, as the once favored nation is given up to temporary blindness in God’s just judgment. Never was there a more striking representative of both than the apostle, minister of the church, and minister of the gospel (Col. 1). Stier has only noticed half the beauty of the contrast; for if Peter declares himself “a witness of the sufferings of Christ and a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed,” Paul was a witness of the glory of Christ and a partaker of His sufferings; and it is him we are called to imitate, though we only by faith see Him glorified. To share His sufferings is the Christian’s and the believer’s moral glory.
Then follows in verse 18 a vivid description of his works among the Gentiles: “to open their eyes, that they may tarn from darkness unto light and the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive remission of sins and inheritance among those that are sanctified by faith that is in Me.” Doubtless Jews needed these operations of grace no less really than the nations; but in the latter case the necessity was far more conspicuous, besotted as they were not only in shameless immorality but by gross superstitions which darkened and demoralized them more than if they had had no religion at all. If, as the Jews say, it was reserved for the Messiah to open the eyes of the blind literally, here we see how He sent Ηis apostle to do the work, not physically alone but morally. And this was manifested by Gentiles, when they heard the call of the Lord, turning from darkness into light, and (defining yet more their sources) the power of Satan unto God, followed by the great characteristic privileges of the gospel, the reception of remission of sins and allotment among the sanctified by faith in Christ. For there was now a new, deeper, fuller sanctification, not fleshly or by ordinance merely as Israel’s was, but living and genuine by believing on Christ, the permanent result of an accomplished separation to God from the Christian’s starting-point.
The effect of such an announcement of sovereign grace, not only for Paul himself but in his mission, was immediate and immense. “Whence, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but reported both to those in Damascus first and in Jerusalem and through all the country of Judea and to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, doing works worthy of repentance” (Acts 26:20-21). Undoubtedly it had been not only rebellion, but madness and destruction to have slighted such a vision and call; but this voucher the apostle gave which nothing but self-willed folly could evade or escape, a life of unequaled sufferings as well! as labors in bearing witness of its truth — truth so all-important to every child of man. Hence his burning zeal in reporting to all near or far off that they should repent and turn to God, doing works worthy of repentance. For as the ground of the gospel consists of a person revealed and facts accomplished (not merely a promise as of old), no call to believe can be agreeable to man’s heart, and grace only can effect aught vital or acceptable, the conscience being bad and the will estranged from God, yea enmity against Him. There are doctrines infinitely deeper than elsewhere, and beyond comparison nearer to man’s heart, to say nothing of their essential furtherance of God’s glory. But all the doctrines flow from Christ and His work; and a renewed child can rest confidingly in both and be drawn out in wonder, love, and praise, as well as in a life of devotedness and self-sacrifice. This, however, never can be apart from repentance and turning to God. As surely as there is the faith of God’s elect there is a divinely wrought repentance, which through the confidence which Christ inspires wins the soul to God in self-abhorrence and earnest pursuit of His will, doing works worthy of repentance.
It would be incredible if it were not the most certain fact that a faith and life so formed are abominable in Jewish eyes. “On account of these things the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to slay me” (vs. 21). But none of these things swerved or even moved the blessed apostle, save to sorrow over them. “Having therefore obtained help that is from God, I stand unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying nothing but what Moses and the prophets said should come, whether Christ should suffer, whether he first by resurrection of [the] dead should announce light both to the people and to the Gentiles” (Acts 26:22-23).
It is not that the Jews erred in looking for a glorious kingdom of Messiah, of which Israel should be the center on earth, but that the law and the prophets were clear that the Messiah should suffer and die as a sacrifice, as well as in rejection by man and even Israel, and thus risen from the dead bring in blessing of grace and mercy to faith, before the glory be revealed publicly. For it needs no reasoning to prove that the suffering and death cannot be after the glory; “but first must He suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation.” “Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory?” So Christ, beginning from Moses and all the prophets, interpreted in all the scriptures the things concerning Himself.

Hebrews 2:1-4

From the foregoing cluster of O.T. quotations this conclusion is drawn—
“ Therefore we ought to pay the more earnest heed to the things that were heard, lest haply [or, ever] we should slip away. For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation? Which having begun to be spoken through the Lord was confirmed to us by those that heard, God also bearing witness with [them] both with signs and wonders, and varied powers, and distributions of [the] Holy Spirit according to His own will” (ver. 1-4).
The danger set before the Hebrews is of the gravest. They had known the Jews' religion originally. They had now professed to believe the gospel. Woe to such, above all men, if they slipped away from Christ; for the truth of God and the blessing of man center only in Him. Christianity and Judaism are as different as heaven from earth; but as the heavenly things are not yet displayed, all enjoyment of them must be by faith of God's revelation, crowned by the standing facts that Christ is come, has accomplished redemption as far as remission of our sins is concerned, and so glorified God in it, that He has now glorified the Son of man in Himself, the Holy Spirit being already given the believer as unction, seal, and earnest. If the believer look away from Christ, he is like his forefathers in the desert without the living God, with nothing but the barren sand. Now a Jew naturally expected a bright path of honor and prosperity on earth. The cross stumbled him when Messiah came. “We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth forever; and how sayest Thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of man?” (John 12:34.) If they got occupied with trial and disappointment, not only did murmuring set in but faith was imperiled. And if self-judgment did not work restoration of communion, what could the end be but total drifting away? What did this mean? How could it be otherwise?
God had spoken fully and finally in a Son, the Heir and Creator of the universe, to Whom even the preparatory testimonies of His word bore witness as His Son, God, and Jehovah; Whose position after He made purification of sins was unique in heavenly glory, the object of angelic homage according to God's will and word. The greater His grace and glory, the more solemn the responsibility to heed the testimony. For this only it is as yet: the time is not yet arrived, nor can it be under the gospel, for His power to compel absolute submission, as it will by-and-by (Phil. 2:10, 11). It is the day for obedience of faith. But the word was nigh them in their mouth and in their heart, the things read as well as heard. To grow light, cool, or listless, exposed them to the danger of slipping away, not the truth only, but themselves also. God would not be mocked in His Son and in His grace. To have once owned His glory binds the soul ever to heed His word and person.
Here again angels are introduced as the foundation of a stronger call. “For if the word spoken by angels was made steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received just retribution, how shall we escape if we have neglected so great salvation” (ver. 2, 3)?
The Jews were not mistaken in boasting of the singular honor God had put on the law, introduced as it was by angelic ministration. The N.T. is as clear in this attestation as the O.T. Nor were they wrong in maintaining the inviolability of the law in itself. How could its authority waver if it was God's law? It is not only in great things but in small, as man would think and say, that we see God vindicating it. Every transgression and every refusal to hear received righteous requital. Other ways of God came in no doubt, whereby mercy could rejoice against judgment; but unsparing judgment of evil was the principle proclaimed and enforced throughout. It was a ministry of death and condemnation.
Incomparably more serious is it to despise grace brought in by the Head of all glory. No notion more contrary to truth than that grace makes light of evil—that the gospel is a sort of mitigated attenuated law. It was when man, and man under law, was proved wholly bad and irreparably rained, that God sent His Son and laid on Him the entire burden. Salvation is the fruit for him that believes. There is and can be for sinners no other way. It is entirely Christ's work, exclusively His suffering. His blood cleanses from every sin—if not from all, from none. Such is the grace of God that has appeared in Christ, and especially in His death. But man is the enemy of God through listening to an older and mightier rebel than himself; and grace is far more alien and offensive to man than law. In the law his conscience cannot bow to righteousness, even though he is himself righteous; but he knows and approves what is right, while he follows what is wrong. Grace is beyond all his thoughts, all his feelings, all his hopes, because it is divine love in God. rising above all His hatred of evil which He lays on the only sacrifice capable of bearing it before Himself and taking it away righteously.
This the gospel proclaims, not promises only but preaches, because the Savior has come and finished the work given Him to do on behalf of sinners to God's glory. And hence the supreme danger of neglecting so great salvation. For its immensity is proportionate to His dignity Who came to save sinners, and to the unparalleled work in suffering at God's hand for all our sins what they deserved. His divine person gave Him competency to endure as well as infinite efficacy to His work. He became indeed man to suffer for man; but He never ceased to be God.
Such is the doctrine here, and uniformly in scripture where it is treated. It is a salvation on which the Holy Spirit never wearies of expatiating. And how gracious of God toward those who have His word and yet are in danger of neglecting “so great salvation"! not only neglecting to receive it but negligent of it when professed. This snare of a religions people like Israel is just the danger of Christendom now.
It will be observed that “we” is emphatic in the first part of ver. 3, and that the writer includes himself too in its occurrence before the close. This is one of the stock arguments against Paul's authorship of the Epistle. But it appears to be only superficial and an oversight of its character. For, supposing Paul to he the writer, this merging himself with the Hebrews he was addressing outside his special apostolic province is precisely in keeping with his task in hand. To make this inconsistent with Gal. 1:12 seems petty indeed; for the latter is distinctively personal, and Heb. 2:3, 4 has evidently a studious generality. He is setting forth the claim of that word which began to be spoken by the Lord Himself in contrast with the law of old, august as its introduction may have been, which he would have been the last to deny. But the Lord was here in the midst of the Jews to bring us not the law that kills lithe guilty, but His own great salvation for the lost. The first person does not at all mean that he had heard it, but that when it thus began to be spoken it was confirmed “unto us” by those that heard. Indeed, he distinguishes himself rather from those ear-witnesses, without at all branching off to his own peculiar and long subsequent privilege outside Damascus. But he does identify himself with those whom the Lord addressed at the beginning without in the least implying that he had himself heard Him. Was he not a Hebrew of the Hebrews To cite Eph. 3:2, 3 is therefore wholly beside the mark. Both are true, and manifestly so.
The great aim of all indeed is to put forward the Lord as the Apostle no less than High Priest of the Christian confession, as He is styled in ch. 3:1. This accordingly leaves out not only himself born out of due time, but the twelve as apostles. In presence of Him they are only “those that heard.” The Lord began the word of this salvation; they heard and confirmed it to the people responsible to receive the Christ of God; and God also bore witness with them in all way beyond all example. The object in view excluded all mention of the extraordinary Gentile apostleship, to say nothing of the grace in Paul that sought to meet the Jews, as God did, and to disarm their prejudices.
Nor can any description be conceived more exact and guarded than the language here used, while at the same time intended to impress the believing Jews with the superiority of the gospel to the law, “Which [salvation] having begun to be spoken through the Lord was confirmed unto us by those that heard, God also bearing witness with [them], both by signs and wonders and varied powers and distributions of [the] Holy Spirit according to His own, will” (vers. 3, 4).
Salvation took only a beginning of publication in the days of His flesh. For the work of atonement was not yet touched, as it was and could only be accomplished by His death at the close. Yet salvation assuredly began to be spoken of, when the Lori entered on His public ministry. Of this Luke 4:16 et seqq. is the beautiful witness, founded on His reading on the sabbath in the synagogue of Nazareth Isa. 61:1, 2, and stopping with the acceptable year of Jehovah. The day of vengeance, surely to come in its season, was not to be till He comes again. It was salvation now. “To-day hath this scripture been fulfilled in your ears.” Earlier still Simeon saw in the Babe the salvation of God. Now a further step was taken. The Lord had begun to speak of it. For indeed the Spirit of Jehovah was upon Him, and He was anointed to preach good tidings to the poor. Jehovah had sent Him to proclaim release to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those that were bruised, in short, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. And so to weary, heavy-laden souls He gave rest in His grace from first to last, as the cross itself testifies.
Certainly when in due season Christ died for the ungodly, when He rose with “peace be unto you.” and again “Peace” in sending by Him, that salvation was confirmed by those that heard. Nor did God fail to bear His joint testimony, if those sent out were weak indeed. The Spirit given was of power and of love and of a sound mind. And His operations were such as, to arrest the most careless and even hardened, while they did not, as they could not, fail to awaken unbelievers however prejudiced. Such was the effect of the Pentecostal signs and wonders and manifold powers and distributions of the Holy Spirit according to His own will. The tongues of scattered man's speech were spoken in a moment, as the Lord had promised (Mark 16), not only a “wonder” but a “sign” to Jews gathered to the feast from all nations; as the “varied powers” were displayed in healing the sick, casting out demons, and the like. “Distributions of the Holy Spirit” find their explanation in such a scripture as 1 Cor. 12. They all were forms of divine attestation that accompanied or rather followed the great salvation confirmed by those that preached it.

The Gospel and the Church: 2. Good Tidings of Great Joy

“And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them; and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:9-11.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel [of Christ]; for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith” (Rom. 1:16, 17).
“Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech by us; we pray in Christ's stead, Be ye reconciled to God. For Him Who knew no sin He hath made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:20, 21).
How lovely and honorable is the office of the evangelist, whether we look at him as the messenger of peace in the Epistle to the Romans, or as the minister of reconciliation in the Second Epistle to the Corinthians (chap. v.)! There is no ministry more blessed and glorious than that of the gospel of grace and glory. God honors it highly, both in the great gospel-prophet of the Old and in the grand gospel-Epistle of the New Testament. “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation.” And if this be true of the messengers of peace in the sense of the Old Testament, how far more of the messengers of the gospel of peace in the Christian sense, be it for the burdened and troubled sinner in the light of the Epistle to the Romans, or the hostile sinner in the sense of 2 Cor. 5.
Beautiful indeed are the feet of the Lord's messenger of peace, who with his heart glowing with the love of Christ, and his willing steps hastening at the Master's bidding from place to place, be it into the centers and hotbeds of infidelity, corruption, and voluptuousness of the great cities, or into the Egyptian darkness of some out-of-the-way village or hamlet, or to the idolatrous heathen in the dark portions of this globe. Opposed step by step, and thus honored and encouraged in some places, or met by silent indifference in others, where the very stones appear to be ready to cry out against the deadness of the place, the message he carries and delivers faithfully and fearlessly ascends permanently to heaven as a sweet savor of Christ to God, though to the unbeliever a “savor of death onto death,” whilst to the believer a “savor of life unto life.” “Knowing the terror of the Lord,” he “persuades men,” sounding in the very face of the enemy the note of alarm, to warn them to “flee from the wrath to come” to Him Who alone is able and willing to deliver from it. He “standeth in the top of the high places, by the way in the places of the paths.” He “crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in of the doors, O ye simple, understand wisdom; and ye fools, be of an understanding heart.”
Guided by the Spirit sent down from heaven for the preaching of the gospel, he is content to be nothing but a mouthpiece of that blessed Spirit, and the “two-edged sword,” being wielded by that Spirit, does its quick and powerful work, “piercing and dividing asunder,” laying hold of consciences and placing them face to face with a thrice holy, sin-hating God, all things being “naked and open unto the eyes of Him with Whom we have to do.”
And, the love of Christ constraining him, he applies the healing balm of the gospel to the wounded and broken-hearted, beseeching, as Christ's ambassador, sinners and enemies to be reconciled to God, pointing to the Lamb slain as the perfect expression of the love of that God to Whom men refused to be reconciled by the life of His Son, when “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them;” but hated Him without a cause Who was the perfect expression of that love. He impresses upon his hearers that surpassingly marvelous truth, as high above man's blinded mind and hostile heart as the heavens are above the earth, viz., that the very same blood of God's own Son, which was the final proof of man's entire ruin and consummate guilt, should have been made the means, and the only means, of cleansing from all sin even the vilest sinner against that God Who “made Him Who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”
And when the “ambassador of Christ,” whilst thus faithfully and lovingly preaching to a crowd of perishing sinners the glad tidings of God's full and free salvation, now perceives the first daybreak of divine light in some sin-benighted face before him as a sign that God Who commanded the light to shine out of darkness has begun to shine into the darkness of that heart; or when he beholds in another's face, as in the “mirror of the heart,” a soul just passing from death unto life by faith in the Son of God; or, perhaps, in another sorrow-stricken countenance the tears of repentance changed into tears of “joy and peace in believing,” through the delivering power of a full gospel—does not the evangelist's heart go up in deep joy and silent praise to the God of all grace, whilst his voice continues with increased assurance, power, and liberty to set forth the greatness and completeness of God's salvation through and in Christ Jesus? Behold, another of his hearers, apparently bowed down under the burden of sins and sin, or under the yoke of legal bondage, heaves a deep sigh of relief from its heavy pressure. It is evident that the cry of despair, “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” is just about to be followed by the song of deliverance, “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
And as the evangelist now winds up his address with a powerful appeal to the hearts of his listeners, a man whose face, distorted with passion, gives evidence of the intention of opposition and hostile demonstration with which he had come, can be noticed, his head bowed down, as if crushed by the mighty hammer of the word. His dark, hostile features gradually relax and soften down into an expression of sorrowful tenderness. His eyes begin to be moistened with a dew coming from a higher quarter than that of Hermon. And when the last tone of the “small voice” of God's beseeching love and grace in Christ's words, “I will in no wise cast out,” has died away from the lips of God's messenger in the quiet and solemn night air, that opposers face and bearing have become the literal expression of those lovely lines,
“ Nay, but I yield, I yield!{br}I can hold out no more;{br}I sink, by dying love compelled,{br}And own Thee Conqueror!”
and when the closing Doxology is sung,
“ Praise God from Whom all blessings flow,”
the figure of that Saul, turned into a Paul, is standing upright, with lit up and lifted up face and streaming tears of joy, joining in
'“ Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.”
whilst the Father's house above is ringing with joy.
The crowd disperses. The evangelist goes home pale and fatigued, but with face reflecting the heavenly joy. Sweet will be thy rest, faithful ambassador of Christ! May His peace be with thee, His messenger of peace, until thou enterest into His rest and hearest His “Well done enter into the joy of thy Lord.” Meanwhile may that prayer, “God bless you!” uttered by some of thy hearers on parting, return in abundant blessing upon thy soul and service!
Let us now briefly consider some salient points connected with the testimony and work of the evangelist, especially for the sake of younger laborers in the gospel field, who from want of a fuller acquaintance with the character of the gospel, and from lack of experience as to the dangers besetting his path of service, is exposed to suffering loss and injuries that might have been avoided if he had been forewarned and thus forearmed. I therefore propose to offer a few remarks as to
1. The source of the gospel.
2. Its character.
3. Its subject.
4. Its object.
5. Its effect.
6. The character of its ministry and ministers.
7. Its end and final result; and,
8. The dangers and snares besetting the path of its ministers, and how to avoid them.
The Lord willing, I shall enter upon these important points in my next paper.
Man, who makes himself the center, would have light to have life. God's way is just the opposite: “the life was the light of men.” Life in the person of Christ comes first; and this is right, because it, and it alone, puts God in His place. The law could not do this, being given to man as man.

The Catholic Apostolic Body or Irvingites: 18. Doctrine - The Atonement

Necessarily, as the person of Christ is the truth, if His person is defamed, the very core is corrupted. And such we have seen to be the fact with Irvingism. They are unsound, not on this or that side merely, but in the heart and center of all revealed truth. The spirit which built up their system throughout, which they accepted as the voice of God, affirmed the doctrine of Christ's fallen humanity. It is therefore an impossibility for the society to purge itself from this root of error as for Popery, when once committed; because it would be to own that their boast of infallible guidance is false and a delusion of the enemy. They are bound, wrapt up, and blinded by this spurious self-security, to persevere in every evil thought into which the spirit of error can drag them.
And so in fact it is found. For, whilst they have a vast deal of truth with which they are occupied beyond the various denominations of Christendom, they are steeped in error beyond ordinary example. What they hold of truth is, so far as I have observed, invariably tainted, so as to exceed in malignity the traditional creeds even of those most mistaken. Again, their pretension to what not even Popery or the Greek system, still less any Protestant body claims, exposes them both to the setting up of lifeless forms and to the snare of a reality of power from beneath which distinguishes them most painfully.
The proof of what is here stated will be apparent from a few citations out of the “Orthodox and Catholic Doctrine of our Lord's Human Nature.”
“ Now that Christ is a sinless person we all admit, and how then could He reach death? He could not reach it by coming in a sinless and unfallen nature, such as Adam's for such a nature, not having sinned, could not die, without making death void as the great sign of God's holiness. To reach death there is no other way but by coming in the nature of a sinful creature; in that nature which, having sinned, did underlie the curse of death. with His holy person He inform this nature, He may die; nay He must die: for when human nature was sentenced in the person of Adam to death, it was all sentenced, every particle of it whatever; and the death of it is the grand demonstration of God's holy hatred and final judgment against sin. And therefore, agreeing that the death of the clean and innocent Lamb of God is the means unto our redemption or atonement, I say it could not be otherwise reached but through His taking humanity, fallen, sinful, and under sentence of death” (p. 91). Any believer ought to see through this poor human reasoning, which disproves itself because it destroys the grace of Christ's death. For if He must die, His death was only at most a little before its time. But to pursue from page 95. “How, it may be said, is this an atonement for me? It seems to be no more than a bearing of the infirmities of His own human nature; it seems to be no more than a righteousness wrought in His own human nature for it. I answer, There is but one human nature: it is not mine, it is not thine, it is not His; it is the common unity of our being. Bare He the infirmities of human nature? He bare the sins of all men. Bare He the infirmities of human nature? He bare the infirmities of all men. Overcame He the enemies of human nature, sin, death, and the devil? He overcame the enemies of all men. Took He them captive? They are at large no more; they are impotent, they are as nothing, and ought so to be preached of. He hath abolished death; He hath taken away sin; 'He hath judged the prince of this world.' Whether this be new doctrine or not, I appeal to the Epistles of Paul; whether it be new in the reformed church, I appeal to the writings of Martin Luther.
“I know how far wide of the mark these views of Christ's act in the flesh will be viewed by those who are working with the stockjobbing theology of the religious world—that God wanted punishment, and an infinite amount of it; which Christ gave for so many; and so He is satisfied, and they escape from His anger, which flames as hot as ever against all beyond this pale. And this you call preaching the free grace of God, the justice of God, the work of Christ, the doctrine of election, atonement, &c.! Yet one word as to suffering. The atonement, upon this popular scheme, is made to consist in suffering; and the amount of suffering is cried up to infinity. Now I utterly deny that anything suffered but the human nature of Christ; and that could only suffer according to the measure of a man: more, no doubt, than unholy men like us suffer, because He was perfectly holy, and so. His soul felt the smart of every pang manifold of what we do; but still it was only according to the measure of a holy man. If more, whence came it? From the divine nature? But this is contrary to all sound doctrine that the Godhead should be capable of passions. Well, let these preachers—for I will not call them divines or theologians—broker-like, cry up their article, it will not do: it is but the sufferings of a perfectly holy man, treated by God and by men as if He were a transgressor.” Here every moderately taught Christian will feel into what ignorance and contempt of the truth Irving was plunged by his idol dogma, to say nothing of the grossest dividing of Christ's person.
But take another specimen from p. 98, which ought to alarm some too sure of their own soundness: “very poor wit have they, and a most barbarous idea of God, who will represent this sublime, stupendous action of Godhead as taking place to appease the wrath of Godhead, which verily takes place to manifest the love and grace and mercy of Godhead.
Why, what mean they? It is God Who doth the thing. And why doth He it, but because it is godly so to do? Love and grace are in Him; of His essence, of His ancient eternal essence, which is unchangeable. If they are of Him and in Him now, they have been of Him and in Him forever. And out of the fountain of His love cometh that stream, hiding its head in darkness for a while, that it may wash the very foundations of the base world, and appear in light and glory unpolluted, the life, the beauty, of this redeemed world. But what a system of theology is that which representeth God as in Himself implacable to the sinner, until His Son, by bearing the sinner's strokes, doth draw off the revenge of God? Then God is changed in His being with respect to a few; but with respect to the many His implacable nature worketh on in its natural course. Such a God cannot be the object of love; and upon such a system an object of love He never is. And all this they represent as needful for the glory of His holiness and justice.” It is needless to say that this grievous misrepresentation of the truth springs simply from Irving's heterodoxy which made him caricature the divine judgment of sin and cleave to his own exaggeration and one-sidedness.
An extract from p. 99 may be well. “In whatever light these remarks may appear to others, to myself they have brought this solid conviction, That while the present views of atonement continue to be doted on by the church, it is in vain to attempt to carry any point of sound doctrine.” This witness is true, though in an opposite direction. So vital is the doctrine of atonement, that all else is sure to be shaken where it is false, and established where it is true. As the person of Christ is bound up with it, so all the communion, walk, and worship depend on it. In what follows the reader will observe that the same fundamental error re-appears as in our day. “Atonement and redemption are the names for the bearing of Christ's work upon the sinner! and have no respect to its bearing upon the Godhead!, nor upon Christ, the God-man!! and on that account, instead of occupying the first and highest place in theology, they should occupy the third only, being preceded by the glory of God, and the glory of Christ.”
One more from p. 116 must suffice. “The man who will put a fiction [this is the way imputation of sin is treated], whether legal or theological, a make-believe into his idea of God, I have done with; he who will make God consider a person to be that which he is not, I have done with.” Compare what the apostle lays down in Rom. 8:3; 2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 3:13. It is evident not only that atonement and reconciliation are confounded, but that atonement is nullified, and that reconciliation is wholly misunderstood and depraved.
The bearing of their fundamental heterodoxy as to Christ's person on His atoning work is absolutely destructive of its truth. Propitiation is lost as well as substitution, the two essential sides of the truth adumbrated by the great Day of Atonement in Israel. It is in vain to say that Mr. Irving or others did not mean this. The question is, what the enemy meant who beguiled them. They were carried utterly away by a vain dream which shut them out from the healthful workings of the word of God, and committed to a torrent of error which can readily find appearances to sanction every wild imagination, and ingeniously bound over the firmest obstacle. The Holy Spirit gives subjection to scripture by keeping the soul in self-distrust looking only to Christ and His glory. But here the essential difference of Christ is ignored. His being personally in the Father, and the Father in Him, they confound with what we may enjoy in the Spirit by faith. So that in general we may say that their system debases the Second man as it exalts the first, and is thus at perpetual and incurable issue with God's mind. In fact, it is the old quarrel of Satan with God. In the last paper we saw that their doctrinal basis is the Son's assumption of fallen or sinful humanity, and His work victory over it in the Spirit, thereby rendering it holy and acceptable to God. They may say other things which sound fair and good; but this which the spirit among them expressly sanctioned as the truth overthrows both the person and the work of Christ. No doubt some of them learned to speak more guardedly and condemned more or less the outspoken language of Mr. Irving; but the doctrine characterized them as distinctly as the claim of the restored apostolate, prophets, and other gifts in their ecclesiastical polity, notwithstanding their desperate efforts after secrecy save with the initiated. Hence the, infinite sufferings of the cross are ignored or even decried; hence the railing and ridicule heaped on the substitution of Christ, on the imputation of righteousness to the believer, in short on all that the Christian elect of God have found most solemn and precious in and through the Savior's death. Even if His death or blood be referred to, it is to put all the race upon one, level of redemption and forgiveness: as to this the special blessings of the faithful are nowhere. How could it be other wise if the Son of God took fallen sinful humanity into union with Himself? Its reconciliation must then supplant propitiation, and reconciliation itself be confounded with atonement; as is verbally done indeed by unhappy errors of the A.V. in both the Old Testament and the New. And their fatal result is that reconciliation is thus rendered altogether vague and impersonal, the reconciliation of humanity, instead of its being the enjoyed and exclusive portion of those who actually believe. Finally, holiness is as much lost by this misbelieving scheme as righteousness; for it takes as into the falsehood of improving and perfecting by the power of the Holy Spirit that old man which, according to scripture, is irreparably evil, the mind of which is enmity against God and is not subject to His law, neither indeed can be. Now whatever the moral perfection of our Lord in the days of His flesh, it is in resurrection only that He becomes Head of the new creation. Till He died atoningly, He abode alone. Only after sin was judged in the cross is He “the beginning,” and bears much fruit. His living relationship is with the sanctified, not with the race.

Scripture Imagery: 70. Coverings of the Tabernacle

There were, then, three coverings over the completed tabernacle to shield it from defilement and injury: First, the curtain of goats' hair which presents its aspect to man—nothing indeed very attractive to sight: a curious contrast to its aspect toward God, which we saw in the gorgeous and radiant beauties of the tapestry now hidden underneath. The goats' hair signifies more than this, however. It was the sign of a prophetic function, and an expression of separation from the world—perhaps also of an exalted and estranged life. Over this went the covering of rams' skins dyed red, which means consecration and leadership consecration being an advance on separation, the one negative, the other positive. “Cease to do evil; learn to do well.” And over all a covering of badger skins, which would protect from harm and evil. The badger is peculiar for its hardiness (the skin is so impervious that the stings of bees make no impression on it); and its caution, cleanliness, and watchfulness are well known. It is the pilgrim aspect.
Inside, the holiest place was to be secluded by the vail, which until the death of our Lord divided it from the part where the table of shewbread and the candlestick stood. “The vail, that is to say, His flesh,” was rent in death, and a way was made open for the worshippers into the immediate presence of the divine Majesty. We are thus told then that the vail is the flesh or human life of Christ; and the symbolism of blue, purple, and scarlet is reproduced here as in the curtains. The colors are varied features of character (and of office, as already indicated). There is a harmony and meaning in the seven colors as truly as in the seven musical sounds, and there is much affinity between the two modes of expression. Complementary colors are as pleasing as concordant notes, and discordant sounds as displeasing as hoes garish and ill-assorted. Red is spoken of by scientific men as the bass in color, as blue (the color of the heavens and of the sun's flames, according to Dr. Marcet, before the earthly atmosphere modifies them) is the treble. Purple is a blending of these other two, and many interesting applications have been made of such facts as these.
At least there is no doubt whatever that these passages before us indicate the analysis and interblending of the heavenly and earthly elements of our Lord's nature, the divine light, dissolved into its different elements, just as when one looks at the sun through a prism. And pray observe that, while everything else in nature becomes repulsive when dissolving into its elements (decomposing), light alone grows the more exquisitely beautiful, the more its component parts are revealed.
The vail was to be hung on four pillars, which doubtless represent the four evangelists whose mission is to set forth and disclose that holy and beautiful life in the Gospels, whilst hiding themselves in Him. These four pillars are probably much larger and stronger than the boards, and occupy in a sense a more honored position; but they neither rise higher nor are founded deeper, and they are just the same in being of the common wood and being based on the silver sockets of redemption. Their hooks are of gold—all that connects them with Christ and enables them to support Him is divine: mere developed human nature will not do The table and candlestick are then placed outside the vail; the candlestick on the south side, the side of grace, with which truth is associated—"grace and truth;” and the table on the north or judicial side for the principle of fellowship is always connected with the exercise of discipline in one form or another.
The doorway (or “hanging”) through which the holy place was entered was supported by five pillars which cannot typify men, for they are not socketed on silver but on brass. Perhaps these express the five gifts as occupied in advancing and supporting Christ as “the door,” the sole means through which intending worshippers can enter into this highly privileged position. These pillars being socketed on brass suggest that the capability to bear judgment unscathed is the foundational element in respect of the exercise of all ministerial gift; for this is what brass signifies, whence it is put on the altar of atonement to sustain the fires that would consume the wood. This hanging has all the same Messianic symbols of blue, purple, scarlet, and fine twined linen as glorify the tapestry of the curtain and the vail, but the cherubim are omitted; the symbols of judgment would be unsuited there, where it is a question of receiving a guest. They might repel. The brass sockets indeed speak of judgment, but a judgment borne; and they are hidden out of sight. The old welcoming word on the Roman door-steps of Salve was more encouraging than the warning one of Cave.
Indeed it is remarkable how the invitations of the gospel are always set in the terms that can make them most attractive, and how everything that could possibly repel is removed out of the way. When the
Philistines said to Jonathan, “Come,” they meant to slay him. When Leonidas said to the Persians, “Come,” he meant to withstand them. When Mahmoud said to the Grecian slave, “Come,” it was in order that the gleaming scimitar might sever his head from his body. But from the mouth of the divine Ambassador the whole mystery of godliness is expressed and characterized by that invitation, “Come,” and the accompanying assurance, “Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.”

True Worship

True worship is in a known relationship, praising, adoring, thanking, blessing God, in the consciousness of His favor, in His presence as those brought in by the work of Christ, both cleansed and according to the value and savor of His sacrifice; but as in a known relationship of present favor and grace wherein we stand; so that we joy in God, and, I may add, are before the Father Who Himself loves us.
It is the outgoing of heart, delighting in God, and adoring Him for all that He has done when we think of that; but it flows from what He is to us. And we are actually in His presence, never forgetting surely how we got there; for He has been manifested. In that we have learned love and righteousness and holiness there, but as within, praising Him Whom we have found, in our present relationship to Him.
There is another thought connected with the Lord's Supper, besides its being that symbolically, in virtue and in the perfect savor of which we, risen and in God's presence, do worship. These are the sin-offering which comes first for the returning sinner, and the burnt-offering. In the peace-offerings the fat was the bread of the offering of the LORD. Jehovah fed upon it, and the priest, the offerer, and his friends fed upon the rest. Christ, Who was God's delight, is our delight: He feeds upon the perfect offering of Himself. “Therefore doth My Father love Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again.” We feed upon His broken body. We do feed with delight upon that which came down from heaven; but we cannot feed upon it as such without or separate from its being broken and its blood shed. And even when dwelling on Christ in His humbled life, it is always with the consciousness that the cross completed it and threw its character of perfectness over His whole path, besides the work that was wrought there. It is not a glorified Christ that we feed on then, but a sacrificed Christ; wherefore it is “in remembrance of Me.”
J. N. D.

Few Words on Propitiation or Atonement

It has been attempted to say, there is no appeasement of wrath with God. The words ἱλάσκεσθαι, ἱλασμός, ἱλαστήριον, all have exactly this sense. They meet the qualities or attributes in God which are necessary, and must be maintained; or He is not God as He is (or not God at all), to maintain what He is, His holiness and righteousness. But He is supreme in love.
No doubt the true love of God in this attracts man by grace, but that is not the meaning of propitiation. I propitiate an offended superior, or render him propitious to me. Does God do that to man? To a horn, as the offended person, was the blood always presented and offered? It is revealed to man that it has been presented to God, and accepted; so that we may come boldly to God through faith in it. But it never was presented to man.
This marks the two parts of propitiation, man's responsibility, and access to God given according to His glory and nature: in the sins borne and put away—the scapegoat, God judging evil according to what man ought to be; and [in] access to God according to what He is. The last specifically characterizes the Christian; but the former was necessary and accomplished for every one that believes: both by the same work of the cross, but each distinct; judicial dealing according to man's responsibility; access to God according to His nature and holiness.
Propitiation, then, meets our sins through grace according to God's holy nature, to which it is presented, and which has been fully glorified in it. It meets the requirements of that nature. Yet it is perfect love to us—love indeed only thus known as wrought between Christ and God alone, the only part we had in it being our sins and the hatred to God which killed Christ. But it does more, being according to God's nature and all that this nature is in every respect. It not only judicially meets what is required by reason of our sins—man's failure in duty and his guilt, but it opens access into the presence of God Himself known in that nature which has been glorified in it.
It is not true therefore that wrath cannot be where there is love. A father full of love may be rightly angry with his child ...  ... There is no hatred in God to man assuredly. Yet God is a righteous judge; and God is angry with the wicked every day and ought to be so.
But peace had to be made when there was wrath, and the sovereign love that saves is not the favor which rests on those reconciled (Rom. 5:1). God loved us when we were sinners; He loves us without any change when we are cleansed. But we are cleansed, reconciled.
Glorifying God was the first grand object, and not merely love to us. This was part of the glory no doubt, but not all. It is not simply that God was putting away our sins, but there was a Mediator with Whom He was dealing about sins. God was making Him sin, and dealing with Him in the way of a curse because of it, when He had “offered Himself without spot to God.” Curse and wrath have been executed; and thus peace has been made.
God smelled a sweet savor, the odor of rest, and said, I will no more curse; and this is calledἱλασμός, ἱλάσκεσθαι, and the mercy-seat ἱλαστήριον in the New Testament. Now these words refer to God. They involve forgiveness and favor, but favor obtained by the sacrifice of Christ presented to God. I do not say love caused, for it was infinite love gave the Son to be the Lamb of propitiation; but that love wrought by a work which maintained the righteousness and holiness of God in forgiving and justifying; and though the word may be used for its effect, it is applied to God in the New Testament, and its meaning is “propitiation,” or “appeasement.” “Reconciling,” which is applied to believers, is a totally different word, καταλλάσσω, καταλλαγή. The ἱλασμός was offered to God, ἱλαστήριον was where the blood was placed on God's throne, and it was God Who was the object of ἱλάσκεσθαι., man of καταλλαγή (1 John 2:2; Rom. 3 25; Heb. 2:17); and as to καταλλάσσω, see Rom. 5:10, 11; 2 Cor. 5:18-21; Col. 1:20, 21.
And it is an unhappy thing, because the effect of the atonement (when wrath would justly come on against us) is to cleanse and reconcile us, to weaken the truth of that righteous wrath, and its being righteously arrested by the precious blood presented to God, and that bearing of sins which makes it righteous in God to justify the ungodly and forgive their sins. Appeasing God, ἱλάσκεσθαι, placare, let the word be what it may, is not changing God, but glorifying and satisfying God's righteous judgment; so that He may say, “When I see the blood, I will pass over.”
I add that, though the priesthood of Christ be now in heaven where He appears in the presence of God for us, yet all His life was in every sense a preparation for it. He had so taken up man that it became God to make Him perfect in that heavenly place through sufferings. He was tempted, He suffered being tempted, that He might succor them that are tempted. Not only so, but He was made like to His brethren in all things, that He might be a merciful and faithful High-priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. And so, in chapter 5 of the same Epistle, comparing Him with the Jewish high-priest, though showing the difference. And it is clear that the priest represented the people before God, confessed their sins on the scape-goat, and went into the sanctuary for them, as Christ has done into the true sanctuary for us. The priesthood of Christ is no doubt for believers; but to deny that He represented men, stood there as man for them before God, and that on the cross (as in Heb. 2:17) as man, alone indeed but for men, is ruinous error. J. N. D.

On the Character of Office in the Present Dispensation: Part 1

It is remarkable how the Lord, when He has led us a little way by faith in simplicity of dependence on Him, provides for the exigency of circumstances which the failings of men produce around us, by the intervention of His gracious loving-kindness and guidance. He thereby teaches us to depend on Him for circumstances, as well as for ourselves; and keeping us (the great position of truth) in continual dependence, that we may in our feebleness learn the fullness of His resources, and the faithfulness of His love; His watchful care thus to keep us leaning on it, our only security from the power of selfishness and evil. Men, in all circumstances, shrink from the sense of dependence—dependence upon God. It requires faith; they are willing to trust upon man present, not upon God to their eyes absent; though a thing to be learned—the great lesson of the Christian dispensation—the character of all sanctity. It is true of righteousness in the Christian dispensation, and of course therefore ever in truth; and it is true in every circumstance of individual life, and of the necessities of the church.
The book of Numbers, the history of the Israelites, is a lesson of this—a lesson of faith. We get out of
Egypt, not knowing perhaps how, whither, or where we are going, only that we are leaving Egypt. But when Canaan is our constant hope, the wilderness is our constant way. Whether our journey be long or short, of vigor of attainment, or of self-earned weariness of unbelief, it is still through the wilderness. And God is there with us teaching us faith, teaching us to depend upon God, where there is nothing else to depend upon. There may be green spots from Him Who gives rivers in the wilderness; yea from our own souls rivers may flow, fed from the Rock that never fails. At the commandment of the Lord we may journey, at the commandment of the Lord we may rest awhile. Manna may daily surround our camp, surely fed every morning's early dawn; but we are still in the wilderness, in entire dependence upon God, learning to enjoy in the well-taught lesson of whence the enjoyment really comes. The losing the sense of this was the very mark of guilt for the Israelite in the land. A Syrian ready to perish was their constant confession in their faith, when they brought the first-fruits of that good land, a land of valleys, and watered with the dew of heaven, a land where the Lord's eyes continually were. This is our continual failing in the service of the church, namely, in the sense of entire dependence. There is nothing so hard to the human heart as constant dependence; when faith fails, we constantly find out where we are. It is the wilderness or God: nothing is so foolish as self-dependence; for in very deed it is God or the wilderness. Thus it is in the righteous position of the church's exigence: apt to loathe the light food, but conducted ever of God.
But there is another state of things far worse than this: when Babylon has carried the body of the people away, the reluctance of the residue to stay in dependence of faith, and their determination to go down into Egypt for help, where judgment would surely overtake them. Such is the continual tendency of the human heart, such help is the church therefore continually seeking. But the church is not of the world, even as Christ is not of the world. And how is Christ not of the world? Surely in spirit and in character He was not of it, as an evil world, unholy, opposite to God. When His spotless excellency passed through it, it was unscathed, though passing through every scene that wearies, that bows down our frail and feeble hearts. But it was with other thoughts also that Jesus is not of the world, and so said He of His disciples. He was not of it, but of heaven, the Lord from heaven; and we are not of it, but from thence, associated with Him Who was holy, harmless, undefiled, separated from sinners, and is now made higher than the heavens, now in manifested association (i.e., to faith), as the object of it there, in the accomplishment of what forms the dispensation in the heavens. The founding of the dispensation upon the accomplishment of the exaltation of its Head is of the highest importance, because it is the ground of ascertained righteousness and its extent, and the seal of the character of the whole dispensation. It belongs, as being rejected in its Head from the world, to the heavenlies.
But it is not merely in the result of the treatment of the Lord, and His being glorified, that the dispensation had such a character, and held such a place. In the purpose of God it had no other place. It was the secret of God hidden from ages and generations, and formed an extraordinary break in the dispensations, to the rejection for their unbelief of the proper earthly people of God, a forming out of the earth but not for it, a body for Christ; a heavenly people associated with Him in the glory in which He should be and should reign, when the full lime was come, over the earth, in those times of restitution which should come from the presence of the Lord. A system forming no part of the earthly system, though carried on through the death of Christ in the forming of its members in it, but that when all things are gathered together in one Christ, in the dispensation of the fullness of times, these should be associates of His glory, in whom it and the riches of His grace should be shown, given them in Christ Jesus before the world began, according to the gift of the Father; a purpose formed for Christ's especial and personal glory before the worlds, and kept secret till the time of His sending down the Spirit after the actual glory was accomplished, after He had entered in risen manhood into the glory which He had with the Father before the world was.
The church has sought to settle itself here, but it has no place on the earth. It may show forth heavenly glory here according to that given to it; hut it has no place here, only in glory with Christ in heavenly places at His appearing. We, through the Spirit, wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.
This subject, as to the special distinctness of the dispensation, has been treated of in a former number, in an article under the title of “The Secret of God"; and therefore I do not enter into it at large here. I believe it to be the most important point for the church to consider now. Looked at as an earthly dispensation, it merely fills up (in detailed exercise of grace) the gap in the regular earthly order of God's counsels made by the rejection of the Jews On the covenant of legal prescribed righteousness, in the refusal of the Messiah; till their reception again under the new covenant in the way of grace on their repentance. But though making a most instructive parenthesis, it forms no part of the regular order of God's earthly plans, but is merely an interruption of them, to give a fuller character and meaning to them. As to the thing introduced, we are called to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is not the place or time of His glory. Our calling therefore is not at all here; but when Christ Who is our life shall appear, we also shall appear with Him in glory. Ministration upon earth is merely to this purpose. The moment there is a minding of earthly things, there is enmity to the cross of Christ; for “our conversation is in heaven, from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who shall change our vile body that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.” The system was a system of derived earthly authority, and, while the church was among them simply, it never lost its earthly character entirely. It was open at any time to the return of the Lord, and was formed upon the order of derivative authority from Him when He had not yet ascended into glory, though it was accompanied by the Spirit which enabled them to testify to His ascended glory. But they were Jews, and they maintained the character of the earthly system so far as it was associated with the risen Savior, the hope of Israel; for that which was identified with the resurrection of Christ was the “sure mercies of David.”
Thus we find the Lord telling them, “But when the Comforter is come, Whom I will send unto you from the Father, He shall testify of Me; and ye also shall bear witness of Me, because ye have been with Me from the beginning.” Accordingly we find the eleven choosing Jewishly by lot, before the descent of the Holy Ghost from heaven, the Witness of the glory, one to be a witness with them of the resurrection; one who companied with them all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among them. So in the sermon to those who came together on hearing of the tongues, we read, “This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we are witnesses;” and then he uses the descent of the Holy Ghost as the Witness of His exaltation. Again in the sermon in Solomon's porch, “Whom God hath raised from the dead, whereof we are witnesses,” and then goes on with a sermon purely Jewish. In Acts 5:22 the double witness is directly referred to and distinguished. So after the resurrection the Lord breathed into His disciples the Spirit of God, saying, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost: whose sins ye remit,” &c. Subsequently they received the Holy Ghost, the Witness of exalted glory.
(To be continued.)

On Acts 26:24-32

The truth was fairly before the king. The prophets and Moses had told out what was now accomplished in the Christ that Paul preached. If their testimony was divine, He who had suffered and risen from the dead is their sure fulfillment, however much may remain. The question whether the Christ should suffer, and whether He first by rising front death should proclaim light both to the people and to the Gentiles, can admit of no answer but the most distinct affirmation. The Messiah to suffer, die, rise, and so shed light on man universally is the surest force of the law and the prophets. This alone gives meaning to sacrifices, this explains the cleansing of the defiled. No doubt there is the kingdom to come, and the judgment of the world, as well as of the dead; but the basis even of all the rest lay in the dead and risen Messiah, the object of faith for salvation to every believer, Jew or Gentile. Here, however, the apostle does not go beyond present facts.
“And as he thus defended himself, Festus saith with a loud voice, Paul, thou art mad: much learning doth turn thee to madness. But Paul saith, I am not mad, most excellent Festus, but speak forth words of truth and soberness. For the king is cognizant of these things, unto whom also I speak with openness; for I am persuaded that none of these things is hidden from him, for this hath not been done in a corner. Believest thou, king Agrippa, the prophets? I know that thou believest. And Agrippa [said] unto Paul, With little [pains] thou art persuading to make me a Christian. And Paul [said], I would to God that both with little and with great [pains] not thou only but also all that hear me this day should become as I too am, except these bonds. And the king rose up, and the governor, and Bernice, and they that sat with them; and when they had retired, they spoke one to another, saying, This man doeth nothing worthy of death or bonds. And Agrippa said to Festus, This man might have been set at liberty, if he had not appealed unto Caesar” (Acts 26:24-32).
Festus, ignorant of God and His word and bewildered to the highest degree by the assertion of Messiah’s resurrection, forgot the gravity of the occasion and of his own office, and branded the apostle as a madman, though softening the term by imputing it to his much reading. Calm in the sense of God’s presence and of the truth which alone gives true freedom, Paul shows the only moral elevation discernible in that splendid throng, and so with real courtesy rebuts the senseless charge with words bearing the stamp of the “truth” he testified and of the “sobriety” in which he laid all before others.
Love gives a single eye. With that keen discernment which characterized him, he turns from the benighted heathen who saw nothing beyond the present life and therefore saw it only as a question of power and pleasure and fame, an utter degradation for the undying soul, consistent only in shutting out the light of the true and even the warning of conscience not wholly ignorant of sin — from the heathen he turns to the Jewish king, who, immoral though he was, knew what altogether condemned himself, as well as the glorious visions of which Messiah is the center in Holy Writ. “For the king,” said he, “is cognizant of these things, unto whom also I speak with openness; for I am persuaded that none of these things is hidden from him; for this hath not been done in a corner.” It was notorious that no man living was more interested in or familiar with all that affected the Jews than the younger Herod Agrippa. But how little such acquaintance with facts avails, unless the Holy Spirit bring the word of God home to an exercised conscience! unless a soul bow to God in the overwhelming sense of its own sin and ruin, yet clinging to the hope of mercy in Him! Still to one that owned scripture as divine the apostle could speak as he could not with the same degree of freedom to another who denied and scorned it.
Therefore he turns in the most unexpected way with an appeal to the king’s conscience. “King Agrippa, believest thou the prοphets? I know that thou believest.” Surprised out of his imperturbable self-complacency, and endeavoring to cover his confusion by a jest, the king replies, for it is no answer, “With little pains thou art persuading to make me a Christian.” This appears to be the sense if we take into account the critical reading μεγάλῳ in what follows. Were the Received Text justified which gives πόλλῳ, “much,” this rendering could hardly stand; for the more natural force would then be “in a little while,” distinguished from “much time.”
It is plain that Agrippa had no answer to what had been shown from scripture and the gospel facts. It is equally plain that the conclusion was irresistible, which he strove to parry. The truth is no question of reasoning but of faith in the testimony of God: only there is no root save in the conscience that owns sin and looks to God’s grace in spite of it. And Christ and His work on the cross give the troubled soul confidence; because God sent His Son into the world for the twofold blessing, blessings equally needed by the sinner and flowing from God Himself, that we should live through Christ, and that He should die a propitiation for us. Faith in God’s testimony of His love who therefore gave His Son receives these infinite blessings in Christ. But it is not mere mind that makes the discovery; and if it were, it could avail nothing. It is only to the babe, to the broken in heart, to the consciously ruined sinner, that the truth comes from God. For He is calling souls to the knowledge of Himself, not training theologians It is salvation made known in Christ, not religious science which the world builds up for itself out of it.
So the apostle takes up the king’s word to escape further parley, and takes it up with a love and dignity suited to the Holy Spirit that dwelt in him. It is the simple but deep utterance of a heart supremely happy in the Savior, and in the assurance of grace in Him that could embrace not Agrippa only but all that composed his audience that day. What mercy to man! What goodness of God! What inexhaustible power and fullness in the name of Jesus! Even in the most general form such an ardent wish of blessing had been much. But the more clearly we regard his words the wonder grows. “I would to God that both with little and with great pains not thou only but also all that hear me this day should become as I too am, except these bonds.” The largeness of heart suits admirably him who made known God’s righteousness unto all, and upon all those that believe. The readiness to take all pains is in keeping with the debtor both to Greeks and barbarians, both in wise and to foolish, who working night and day not to burden any, preached the gospel to all. But the perfect happiness of his soul flows over when he wishes to God for them that they might be as he too was. What! the man who had been beaten for dead, and in prison for years, known to be innocent by successive governors, yet chained to a soldier night and day to please a people whom these governors despised and hated. Yes, this is the man who wishes for them all, by little pains and by great as the case might be, that they might not be forgiven or saved only, good a wish as this is, but far, far more, that they might become even as he, filled with the conscious joy of being blessed with Christ and enjoying the present cloudless favor of God. Indeed nothing less is normal Christianity. Yet he adds, except these bonds: “this he could not, did not, wish for one of them. Truly it was a soul that kept itself in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
Was there one heart that responded, one conscience pierced? We know not, but only that forthwith the court retired, yet owned that the prisoner’s course deserved neither death nor bonds. Agrippa especially, and he was the most competent to speak, declared that he might have been set at liberty but for his appeal to Caesar. How little the king knew God’s purpose or ways! Paul, as he suffered with Christ, was called in due time to suffer for Him. In due time he was to have his wish, to become conformed to His death (Phil 3:9-11).

Hebrews 2:5-9

The glory of Christ has however another side. He is Son of God before the worlds, Son of God incarnate, Son of God risen from the dead. He is God; He is Jehovah. His position suits and attests His divine dignity. But He is Son of man also; and the moral glory of His humiliation is answered by His conferred glory, as the Epistle proceeds to develop, but with marked reference to the present exaltation of our Lord since the cross on high, and not to the millennial day, though this is assured for the earth by-and-by.
“For not to angels did He subject the habitable [earth] to come, whereof we speak, but one somewhere testified, saying, What is man that Thou rememberest him? Or son of man, that Thou visitest him? Thou madest Him a little lower than angels; with glory and honor thou crownedst Him [and didst set Him over the works of Thy hands] : Thou didst put all things in subjection beneath His feet. For in that He subjected them all to Him, He left nothing unsubjected to Him. But now we see not yet them all in subjection to Him. But we see Him that hath been made a little lower than angels, Jesus, for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor, that by God’s grace He should taste of death for everything” (vss. 5-9).
Here the angels are not only surpassed beyond comparison, but have no place whatever. It is a question of subjection and of rule; but this is not for angels. They serve; they never reign. Man is called to rule, to have dominion. God was looking on to His Son, the Son of man. For Him the habitable earth is destined. God has not made it in vain. He knew from the first that the first man would fail. His counsels ever center in Christ. But He must reign alone, if this were all; for all sinned and do come short of the glory of God. Yet rest for man with God in glory was ever His design. This could only be by death, the death of the Lord Jesus. His death is therefore the sole possible meeting-point, the solution of all hardest enigmas, the conciliation of perfect love with inflexible righteousness, of grace to the sinner with the untarnished glory of God, of man’s weakness and of Satan’s power, of judgment borne and of peace made, of the Highest taking the lowest place in obedience that He might receive the highest on a ground on which He could have the vilest now sanctified with Him, the sharers of His joy through redemption. Such the counsels, such the ways, of God in Christ.
It will be observed that man, the Son of man, comes into the greatest and most fitting prominence. It was only the name of shame and sin, if He to Whom it specially belongs were not Son of God as no one else is as divine. But this held fast, what can be sweeter to man if he believes God? For its true force and ways we have His word, the only sure standard. Now it is never applied to Him vaguely. It is His title when the consciously, evidently, rejected Messiah.
In the N. T. it first occurs in Matt. 8:20. So He speaks of Himself to a scribe that proposed to follow Him “whithersoever Thou goest.” This might be all well for a Jew subject to the Messiah, the King, the fountain of dignity and reward. But the Lord even then realizes His position. “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the sky nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay His head.” He had come to His own things, but His own people received Him not. This was about to be fully and awfully demonstrated; but He knew it then, and speaks as already outcast and having nothing. The death of the cross would be ere long the undeniable and absolute proof; but He realizes it and expresses it, not only by the title but by what accompanies it, if any were ignorant of its import. Again, “the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins” and proves it by enabling the paralytic at a word to arise, take up his bed, and walk (Matt. 9). He will have come before His envoys shall have gone through the cities of Israel (Matt. 10) — a mission to be resumed before that day. At the later stage of Matt. 11:19 the transition is plain; as in the solemn charge of ch. 12: 32, 40, preparatory to His bringing out the mysteries of the kingdom of the heavens, the earth and earthly people were morally judged and found good for nothing. It was now a question of “the Sower,” of a new system which He was to begin, though Satan again would ruin, as far as public result on earth appeared, yet would He secure the good and judge the evil.
Still more emphatic is the testimony of Matt. 16, where the utter unbelief of the Jews forms the background, in contrast with which shines the faith of the chief spokesman of the twelve, who receives a new name from the Lord and learns that, on the rock of the Father’s revelation of the Son, the Son of the living God, Christ was to build His church. It was then He charged His disciples to tell no one that He was “the Christ “not Jesus, (which is absurd and not authentic, but the addition of copyists ignorant of the truth). From that time forth He began to show them that He must suffer many things and be killed and raised again: His manifest change to the fall meaning of Son of man, as is pointed out expressly in Mark 8:29-31, Luke 9:20-22. The Gospel of John in his personal way sets out the same truth of transition for the Lord in chapter 12., where, after being presented as the Christ, as is written in Zecheriah 9:9, in the face of the Pharisees more hostile when He raised Lazarus from the grave as the quickening Son of God, His word to Andrew and Philip speaking for the Greeks is, “The hour is come that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit” (vss. 23, 24). All judgment is committed to the Son of man, Who must be honored thus by those who, not believing in Him as Son of God, despised Him as man: He will judge all such (John v.). So He appears coming in the clouds of heaven (Matt. 24); so He deals with the Gentiles in that day (Matt. 25).
Nor is it otherwise in the O.T. It is the same Spirit, as the truth is one. For it will be observed that, as Psalm 2 is a weighty testimony to His Sonship as incarnate in Hebrew 1, Psalm 8 is the no less appropriate citation here in chap. 2. Nor is this casual, but the kernel that they respectively bear. The first Psalm sets before us the Jewish covenant and contrasts the righteous with the ungodly, as the judgment will manifest. Psalm 2 introduces the Christ, Jehovah’s King on Zion. Such is the decree. For He is Son, begotten in time, as we are told here for His kingdom, before time and all things (being their Creator) as we are told elsewhere. When He asks, He will receive not Judea merely but the nations for His inheritance and the uttermost parts of the earth for His possession. But this is characterized by judgment executed publicly, by His breaking them with a rod of iron, and dashing them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. Clearly this is postponed by His rejection on the part of the unbelieving Jews and lawless Gentiles; and when it is fulfilled, the church will be with Him and share His rule in a glorified state as is explicitly declared in Revelation 2:26, 27. Now this further stage of His rejection and its blessed consequence in a higher elevation and larger sphere, not as the Messiah only but as the humbled and glorified Son of man is precisely the truth taught in Psalm 8 as we are instructed in our Epistle.
Thus, the prefatory Psalm 1 and 2 give us the righteous and the Messiah according to Jehovah’s purpose, spite of opposing kings and peoples, the Psalm that follow, 3-7, point out how His Spirit works in the circumstances and sorrows of the righteous while He does not reign; and Psalm 8 closes this series by Christ as the humbled Son of man set over all things. Though the habitable earth be not yet subjected to Him, as our scripture tells us, yet when we look at Him crowned with glory and honor on high, we behold by faith even now the divine glory set in Him above the heavens, the pledge that His name will soon be acknowledged excellent in all the earth, as it really is. Without Christ man is indeed feeble and fallen. Angels excel in might; and we naturally look up to the heavens, the moon, and the stars, though but the work of Jehovah’s fingers and His ordinances. But look at man in Christ! His shame and suffering on the cross are the ground of the highest glory even God could confer on the Man that went down below all, now exalted above all far beyond the oath to David or the promise to Abram. It is the glorious denouement of His abasement for the suffering of death, as it is here explained, and that God’s grace might have its fullest exercise. His present place is in heaven, in no way the subjection of the habitable earth, which is “to come” as the scripture itself says; still less is His seat on the Father’s throne the assumption of His own throne. It is God straightway glorifying in Himself the Son of man Who glorified Him as to sin in death. For the rest we await, as He does, the times and seasons the Father has set within His own authority. He is Himself, and as man, in the highest; and we seeing it by faith bear witness to Him, to His sufferings and the glories that should follow. His immeasurable superiority to angels as man is not to be doubted, though the time is not yet for seeing all things subjected to Him. From 1 Cor. 15 we learn that it awaits the resurrection at His coming. So absolute and universal is the supremacy over the universe He had created as God that it seems good to the Holy Spirit in the Epistle to the Corinthians to except Him Who subjected all to Christ; as here it is affirmed that He left nothing that is not put under Him.
How blessed and precise the appended words “that He by God’s grace should taste death for everything"! This last rather than “man,” appears best to suit the bearing of the context. It is the sphere not merely as a universe but including “everything” brought under the reconciling power of His death. The following brings in persons and different language is used.
What gives peculiar force to “the habitable earth to come” is the undeniable fact that the main object of the Epistle is to develop and maintain the present glory of Christ as He sits, on the accomplishment of redemption, at the right hand of God on high. From first to last this is obvious and all-important. The Jewish Christian, disposed to abide in or glide away into earthly hopes with the Messiah on His throne for their center, needed to be continually recalled to his actual relationship with Christ in heaven. At the same time there is no lack of testimony throughout, to the rest of God that remaineth for His people (chap. 4.), to the age to come, of which the powers vouchsafed in apostolic era were a sample and pledge (chap. 6.), to the new covenant to be made with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah (chap. 8.), of which we have now only the principle, not the letter but spiritually, in the blood shed which is its basis, to the appearing of Christ a second time (chap. 9.), to the day approaching (chap. 10.), to the blessing concerning the things to come when the promise shall be received in fact, instead of in faith (chap. 11.), to the full and ordered scene of glory in heaven and earth (chap. 12.), when the Lord shakes not earth only but also heaven, and to the city actually come and continuing (chap. 13.).
Here we have the most distinct evidence that, whatever may be the displayed glory of the heavens in that day, (and no one intelligent in Ephesians 1, Colossians 1, and other scriptures, would enfeeble but insist on it for Christ and the risen saints), yet it is an irreparable blank to leave out of that day’s blessedness “the habitable earth.” Abundant strains of the prophets anticipate it with assurance, joy, and praise, as the law had of old, and the Psalms afterward. Nor does the fullest light of the N. T. omit the earth in the proclamation of the coming kingdom, though the opening of heaven as the characteristic faith and hope made the higher naturally predominant. If the Lord taught His disciples to pray that the Father’s kingdom should come, He did not fail to add as the next petition, “Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth.” The revelation of new things does not blot out the old; as indeed Christ will be the center and head of both in that day to the glory of God the Father. So His outpouring in John 17 He asks what assuredly will be fully answered in connection with His giving to the saints the glory which the Father gave Him (not of course what was personally intrinsic and eternal), “that they may be one, even as we [are] one; I in them and Thou in Me, that they may be perfected into one; that the world may know that Thou didst send Me, and lovedst them even as Thou lovedst Me.” In the day of glory it will be a question of “knowing,” not as now an appeal to “faith” (cf. ver. 20, 21). But there is undeniably “the world” to know when they see those truly divine counsels of grace fulfilled in the manifested glory of Christ and His own. There are earthly things no less than heavenly in the kingdom (John 3); which is as different from the present time of the gospel as from the still more remote eternity with its conditions of total and fixed change.
And how suitable is it that “the habitable earth” where the Lord was born, where He labored, suffered, and died on the cross, should be subjected to His government, and behold His glory, and experience more blessedness under His scepter than it groaned in misery and corruption under rebellions man misled by a mightier rebel than himself! It is His due, not only as Creator of it all, but as Redeemer. There He was put to shame, there He will triumph. There man and Satan brought in death and the curse; there God and His Son will fill the earth with peace and glory. How sad the blank if this were not to be!
In vain do ancients and moderns err from the word and pervert this scripture to the state of the church under the gospel. On the face of it “to come” distinguishes the world into which God brought in the Firstborn (Hebrews 1:6). Such is its state in the future; as no mystification or argument can make it legitimately mean a heavenly and spiritual system such as our condition of gospel and church privilege. Nor is there any difficulty in the clause that follows, “whereof we speak.” For the matter treated of is the future subjection of this habitable world to the Second man, and not to angels. Undoubtedly it is not the eternal state when He shall deliver up the kingdom to Him Who is God and Father. It is His reign till He has put all His enemies under His feet, death last of all. It is not the time when He ministers as the High-Priest in heaven for those who on earth suffer and need His succor and sympathy. It is not the gospel state, but the millennial kingdom which intervenes between the gospel as now and the eternity which closes all. It is the world or habitable earth under the manifested power and kingdom of the Lord Jesus, the rejected Messiah but Son of man exalted to reign over all peoples, nations, and languages.

The Gospel and the Church: 3. The Source of the Gospel

God, the God from Whom all blessings flow, to Whom all power belongs, and from Whom life proceeds, is the source of the gospel. It is the gospel of God,” as we are reminded by the very first verse of the great gospel-epistle of Paul to the Romans. God alone, Who “is light,” and Who “is love,” could be the source of the “gospel of God.” What heart but a divine could devise and form that vast and wondrous plan of salvation for rebellious sinners, to be accomplished upon the cross, the preaching of which is foolishness both to the wise and to the religionists of this world! All the wisest, most ingenious, and most productive minds, all the kindest, most benevolent, and loving hearts of men, if welded into one, could never have devised or formed such a salvation. Such a mind or heart, however creative, to speak after the manner of men, would be still that of a creature, and of a sinful creature to boot.
And as there was only One Who could conceive and form such a plan, so there was only One Who could perform it and carry it out, even the Man Christ Jesus, the Mediator between God and men—"the Word made flesh,” and “God manifest in the flesh” —the Son of God, Who became the Son of man, and was made a little lower than the angels, to die as the “Lamb of God” upon the cross, where He suffered, “the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us unto God.” If all the righteous men that ever lived on earth from Abel to Nathanael under the fig-tree could have been concentrated and made into one just man, that just man could not as a substitute have suffered for the unjust, to bring them onto God, even if he had been willing to do so; for he would be still a man subject to like passions as we are.
And as there was only One Who could carry out that wondrous plan of salvation, even the obedient Son of the Father, Who when about to exchange His glorious heavenly home for this world, the home of sin and misery and rebellion, said, “Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God;” so there is only One Who can testify that that vast plan has been carried into effect and accomplished. God the Spirit alone could and can bear that testimony, even the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven to preach the gospel by His messengers. He Who glorifies Christ receives of His and shows it unto us, bears witness of Christ Jesus and His accomplished work of an eternal redemption, in the word written by that same Spirit of truth.
All the united wisdom of the universities of the world, and of their professors and “divines” so-called, would be powerless to bear a true and effectual testimony of what Jesus has done and is for poor sinners. The spirit of the world cannot make known or teach the things that are freely given to us of God.
Man's wisdom cannot teach or learn them, but only the Holy Ghost. For “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him, because they are spiritually discerned.”
There are many preachers now-a-days, but not many true evangelists, who go forth on their blessed errand, conscious of being sent by the Lord, having drunk well and deeply of that divine fountain of the “God of all grace” and the “God of peace,” which stands ever open for thirsty souls and for those who truly thirst for souls. All His fullness dwelleth in Christ bodily, “of Whose fullness we all have received, and grace for grace,” and “in Whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” By the Spirit we are united to Him, “one spirit with the Lord,” that we might draw from His fullness everything we need here below to glorify Him in our walk and testimony. “He that abideth in Me, and I in Him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing.”
I cannot forbear here to give the words of an aged devoted evangelist, who not long ago entered into his Master's joy and rest.
He writes:
“ We must not forget one great secret of success in preaching the gospel. It is one that has impressed me all my life, and never more so than at present, after more than fifty-three years, through much failure, in preaching the word of God. Long have I noticed how the apostle Paul takes care to show that he was not the servant of any party; neither did he derive authority from any human source, not even from the apostles at Jerusalem. He could say, ‘Paul, an apostle, not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, Who raised Him from the dead.’ See the whole context of this verse (Galatians 1:1-24). No doubt the Holy Ghost foresaw the authority that men would assume in the place of Christ as to this.
“But is it not as important for the humblest servant of Christ to be the servant of Jesus Christ now as for Paul to be so then? Think what it is to receive your commission from Christ Himself, and to be His servant alone, whatever may be the state of the church! 'Do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Jesus Christ.' These are searching words. Who can say them from the heart? Surely they do not set aside the blessedness of the fellowship of saints. But the church does not give authority to the servant of the Lord to preach the word, as is clearly seen in the above scriptures. Well then, if I am the servant of Christ, what would He have His servant do in any place to which He may send him? What is the heart's desire of Christ as to all that are His in that place? What is the will of God as to the whole world, or the unconverted in that district? “
All our resources are in that divine source of light, life, love, grace, joy, peace, power and wisdom, and every blessing in Christ Jesus. May we enjoy more truly the drafts of refreshment in joy and peace flowing from that fountain, in communion with the Father and the Son in the power of an ungrieved Spirit, and so realize more our only safety and strength in dependence upon our Lord Jesus Christ, Who holds not only the keys of death and hades, but of service also.
The character of the gospel is that of grace, peace, and glory. It is the “gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24). Grace is its very keynote, even the glory of God's sovereign, and the riches of His saving and pardoning, grace in and through Christ Jesus (Acts 2:41, 47). Saved by grace, we are to be “to the praise of the glory of His grace” and of the “riches of His grace.” Both we find mentioned in the first chapter of that grand church-epistle to the Ephesians, though it is especially the sovereign glory of God's grace which appears in the first chapter, whilst the second particularly speaks of the treasury of the riches of that grace, reminding us of the pit whence we have been digged, and of the rock whence we have been hewn. First the “basket of first-fruits” (chapter 1.), then “a Syrian ready to perish was my father” (ch. 2.). This is divine order. It is the deep sense both of the glory and the riches of that grace, which we behold so beautifully evinced in the apostle of the gospel and of the church, and which imparted such an exquisite character and savor to his ministry both in the gospel and the church. The very next chapter (Ephesians 3) furnishes us with a precious instance of how deeply and thoroughly his soul was imbued with the sense of his entire indebtedness to that rich and sovereign grace of God in and through Christ Jesus. The sense of that grace was ever present to him, and lost none of its intensity even when disclosing the wonderful truths of the mystery confided to him alone of all the apostles (ch. 3. 8, 9; comp. 1 Corinthians 15:9, 10; 1 Timothy 2. 12-16). It was at the same time the living and constant sense of that divine, rich, and glorious grace that “establisheth the heart,” which enabled that “mighty man of valor” to brave the “bonds and afflictions” awaiting him, and made him say, “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” A preacher of the gospel of that grace who has never had a deep sense of sin, nor consequently of grace, can be but a sorry evangelist.
A further character of the gospel is that of peace, as has been mentioned already. Peter preached it as such in the first preaching to the Gentiles, to Cornelius and to his household. In the same way we find it mentioned by Paul in Ephesians 2:17 that portion so abounding with grace and peace (in an especial way applied to Gentile believers in that chapter). But the express term, “gospel of peace,” we find in the closing chapter of the same Epistle (Ephesians 6:15), “and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.” Here (Ephesians 6) it is not a question of preaching the gospel to poor sinners, but of the believer's contest with the hosts of wicked spirits in the heavenlies, who oppose the saint's progress in the realization of our blessings in the heavenly Canaan. It would be just as absurd here, where we have to do battle with wicked spirits, to talk of the evangelist ready to preach the gospel, as it would be to transpose the “breastplate of faith and love” from 1 Thessalonians 5 into Ephesians 6.
But what is then the meaning of “your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace”? It simply means that the feet of the soldier of Christ, i.e., every believer, to stand his ground in such contest, must be steadied and strengthened with the preparation which the gospel of peace gives us. In short, it means that to stand his ground in that contest, the believer must have “peace with God,” which is the fruit of believing the gospel of peace. Only think of a soldier going slipshod into the battle, or with torn boots, especially over stony or muddy ground! How can he stand his ground against the enemy with his feet blistered and wounded?
For one who has no peace, it is a dangerous thing to preach the gospel of peace to others, thus giving out and commending to others what he has not got nor knows himself. But how shall he be able (if it were not for the preserving grace and mercy of God) to stand his ground and contend against those terrible powers and principalities, even the hosts of wickedness in the heavenlies, if he has no peace with God and does not know his standing and acceptance in Christ? None of those parts of the “whole armor of God” in that important closing chapter of the Epistle to the Ephesians must be absent in such a contest, the “feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace” as little as the rest.
But the gospel of the God of all grace and of peace has further the character of glory. It is the “gospel of the glory of Christ, Who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4). It is especially with regard to this character of the gospel that Satan, the god of this sin-benighted world, as we learn from this passage of holy writ, is so busy to blind the minds of them that believe not. It was the Lord, Whose glory, brighter than the sun at noon, had shone upon the apostle on his way to Damascus, when, in the zenith of his religious reputation, he had to make that all-over-powering, crushing discovery that to be a zealous Jew was to be at open war with Jehovah, Whom he thought to serve so well. The Lord, Whose glory had blinded Saul's eyes, that God might “shine into his heart, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ,” had entrusted Paul with the gospel, not only of grace and peace, but especially with the “gospel of the glory of Christ, Who is the image of God.” This was in an especial way the gospel of Paul the apostle of glory. Saul's natural eyes, blinded by the splendor of that glory, were re-opened when Ananias came to him, and “there fell from his eyes as it had been scales;” but the eyes of Paul's mind were thenceforth forever blind to the vain glories and natural attractions both of the open and religious world. Forgetting those things that are behind and reaching forth unto those things which are before, he pressed toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. He followed after, if that he might apprehend that for which he had been apprehended of Christ Jesus.
Such was the effect of the gospel of the glory of Christ upon the apostle and evangelist Paul. Like his fellow-apostles, the elegant scholar and whilom disciple of Gamaliel and most honored Pharisee was “made the filth of the world and the offscouring of all things.” In him grace, peace, and glory were beautifully blended into one harmonious accord, reflecting the character of the gospel he so well and faithfully preached and sealed with his life-blood.
Dear brother and fellow-laborer in the gospel, fellow-pilgrim and fellow-heir of glory, what effect has the gospel of grace, peace, and glory on us? And how far are our lives as well as our ministry the reflectors of it? Depend upon it, if our own hearts are not daily imbibing the refreshment and strength of the gospel of grace and peace we preach to others, and the eye of faith be not steadily upwards to that glory held out by that gospel, the delivery of it may be accompanied by liberty and power (as being connected with the gift of the evangelist), but it will not be in the power and demonstration of the Spirit, and must lack the unction of the Holy Ghost, not being the effect of living communion with the Father and the Son. It will, even in the style and way of its ministration, sooner or later fall in with the low tone and character of the preachers of these days, pandering to the carnal taste of the multitude who have “itching ears,” and will assume the soft character of so many “popular preachers” —grace without truth, peace without righteousness, and love without holiness, leaving out glory altogether, except self-glorification.
In my next paper a few words, if the Lord will, on the subject, object, and effect of the gospel.

The Catholic Apostolic Body or Irvingites: 19. Doctrine - Justification, Sanctification, &c.

No spiritual mind that sees the antichristian character of the Irvingite community, as tested by the person and the work of Christ, can look for truth in its application. For the center of all is false and evil; yet it may not be amiss to prove their wanderings from the word of God here also. And the work of Mr. Sitwell, the apostle of Spain and Portugal (or in their strange dialect, of the tribe of Naphtali), “Creation and Redemption,” the third edition of which lies before me, furnishes the means of ascertaining their views authoritatively.
The treatment of justification is characteristic of the body, for he professes to combine the disjointed fragments of doctrine, and to put each in its place, as well as to repudiate the falsehoods that have been added to it. Thus he hopes to show how needlessly the high churchman is divided from the low, justification being not only imputed at first but imparted at last. Here is this “end of controversy.” “There are seven ways mentioned in scripture, or which can be fairly deduced from it, whereby a man is justified. These are—1, Faith. 2, Blood of Jesus Christ. 3, Righteousness of Christ. 4, Word of Christ, by means of the ministers of the church. 5, Sacraments of the church. 6, Works. 7, Resurrection. In each of these seven the double sense and power of justification, viz., imputation and impartation, will be found in operation” (p. 231).
To any intelligent Christian this suffices. It is pretentious and deplorable confusion, the effect of which is to darken the truth and perplex every one heeding it. “What saith the scripture?” There is but one way or principle in which a soul is justified. It is by faith (έκ π. Rom. 5:1), as the apostle had expressly laid down before, apart from works of law, the only other way conceivable—the very way whereby he had said no flesh shall be justified in God's sight, Rom. 3:20, 28. The blood of Jesus is not another way, but the efficacious ground (Rom. 3:25; 5:9), for it cleanses from every sin; and His resurrection is the proof and living witness of its acceptance (Rom. 4:24, 25). Undoubtedly it is. God reckoning faith for righteousness, as in Abram's case (Rom. 4), for the soul believing on God that justifies the ungodly (ver. 5), as David also testifies. If we ask the source therefore, it is grace—God's grace (Titus 3:7), and no desert of man whatever. The gospel meets him as a lost sinner: therein is God's righteousness revealed, for all is over with man's. But so glorified is God with Christ's work on the cross that He can be and is just and the justifier of him that has faith in Jesus. To say, “Yet the justifier,” &c., shows God's righteousness to be unknown.
Nor is this all. The salvation of the gospel embraces God's dealing in the cross with sin, as well as our sins, the root no less than the fruit. What he is troubles the renewed soul as much or more than past evil deeds. Has this been overlooked of God? In no wise. As Adam is the fallen head, Jesus is the living one; for without dying He had abode alone. It is not only that Christ died for us: we who believe are entitled to say that we died with Him. This if we were dumb is the expression of our baptism. We were baptized unto His death; that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life. Accordingly this we know, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away, that so we should no longer be slaves to sin. For he that died (the Christian) has been and is justified from sin. It is our abiding status since redemption. Nevertheless, as Galatians enables each to say, “I live; yet not I but Christ liveth in me” —Christ risen our life. Ours is, as Rom. 5 calls it, a “justification of life.” Baptism however is the sign of our death with Christ, the sole efficacy being His work, on which faith rests before God; and as 1 Corinthians 10 warns, all is ruin where there is not life. But life is only by the faith of Christ, and therefore through the word and Spirit (John 3:3, 5, 6; James 1:18 Peter 1:23-25; 1 John 5:1, 4, 5). Indeed this is necessarily implied in faith which cannot be without God's revealed word (Rom. 10 I 7), of which Christ is the object and center, and now for the Christian His accomplished work also.
What then does James 2 mean? Not at all the justifying of a sinner before God, but that of a true professor as distinguished from a false one before men. Hence says he, “Show me thy faith apart from works, and I by my works will show thee my faith.” And this is strikingly confirmed by the samples alleged; for faith alone gave true character to Abram's offering up of Isaac or Rahab's receiving the spies: without it, what had either work been? Murder, or treason, as is clear.
And this entirely falls in with the Epistle of James, which does not, like most of Paul's, bring out the wonders of Christ's blood, death, and resurrection, and ascension. His object is to insist on practical reality in those who professed the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, Lord of glory. Hence he speaks in his first chapter not only of faith and enduring temptation, but of that intrinsic life which grace gives to those otherwise dead. “Of His own will He begat us by the word of truth that we should be a kind of first-fruits of His creatures.” A Christian walk is the effect, and ought to be the expression, of the life we have in Christ. It is, as the apostle says, faith working by love, the only faith of value in the sight of God. It would seem that there was excessive danger for Israel (a danger now so long prevalent in Christendom) of a merely sentimental or intellectual faith, not insincere but without a real work of the Spirit of God's word in the conscience, a faith resting on evidence or tradition, to which our Lord did not trust Himself (John 2). Man “must be born again.” This only produces reality. “He that believeth hath everlasting life.” This therefore is what James throughout insists on, rather than Christ's blood, however indispensable this may be for cleansing us from all sin. But even the acknowledgment of Christ's blood might be without living faith, as we see in Hebrews 10. Those were not wanting even in early days, who after being thus set apart had given it up and sinned willfully, counting the blood of the covenant an unholy thing. Good reason there was then for insisting on a new nature in Christ as the basis of practical holiness.
No believer doubts what the portion of the saints will be when changed at Christ's coming. But it will only be the displayed perfection of what grace has now given us, and given us to know by the Spirit. We shall be found in Christ, not having a righteousness of our own, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith. Yet are we not waiting for righteousness then; but, as the same apostle tells us, we through the Spirit by faith wait for the hope of righteousness (that is, heavenly glory). The righteousness we have already in Christ entitles us by God's word to look for nothing less, even as Christ is already entered in personally; and we shall be with Him and like Him.
Mr. S. confounds (p. 236) baptism with water, important as it is outwardly, with baptism in virtue of the Spirit, which scripture strongly distinguishes; he surpasses a Jew in his idolatry of the sacraments, but in this hardly worse than millions outside Irvingism. Only it is to be remarked here that the fatal virus peculiar to their company reappears in p. 251: “So our Lord, having come into flesh, always laid down His life as a sacrifice to God While our Lord died daily, and we are called to imitate Him in this,” &c. Now this is not only misconception in every way, and false, but most evil. Death, death with Christ in His death, is the necessary way of life for us, sinful as we are, even though a new creation in Christ: to make it so for Christ is blasphemy. These statements betray the old heterodoxy as to our Lord's person. What else is the meaning of His always laying down His life and dying daily?
But the truth of revelation is that we died with Christ. So elsewhere we are called to “mortify our members,” that is, to put them to death, but never to die, as the mystics think and teach, ignorant of what grace gives us in Christ dead and risen. Our old man was crucified with Him. Therefore are we to reckon ourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. But that Christ had anything to die to daily is the worst of slanders. Our comfort of faith is that we died with Him when He died. When the apostle speaks of dying daily, he refers to his constant exposure to literal death, and not at all to the Christian doctrine which Mr. S. misunderstands, not only for us but, alas! for the Lord, the Holy One of God. They may strive to conceal this deadly wound to the truth and to His glory; but it cannot be hid. The leveling down of Christ and the leveling up of ourselves naturally go together, both wholly in opposition to God's word.
The idolatry of ordinances accompanies both, evil enough in a Jew ignorant of the Messiah: how much more terrible is the unbelief, now that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding that we may know Him that is true, and we are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ!
Of sanctification personally, that first action of the Spirit which sets us apart to God in new birth, before peace and liberty, Mr. S. knows nothing. It is clearly laid down in 1 Peter 1:2, as well as in 1 Corinthians 6:11, &c. He only speaks of it, and even so speaks feebly and imperfectly, as one seeing no more than is seen in Christendom generally. He had not learned that the Holy Spirit invariably works by keeping the eye on Christ. See 2 Corinthians 3 and the N. T. as a whole. We are Christ's epistle in the world, and can only reflect Him aright by walking in the Spirit, as we live in the Spirit, Who is here to glorify Christ.
This is strikingly shown in John 17 “Sanctify them by (or, in) the truth; Thy word is truth. As Thou hast sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world; and for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by truth” (ver. 17-19). There are thus in His mind two especial means of Christian sanctification: the Father's word, the truth: and Christ set apart on high as the glorified man Who forms, as the personal model before our faith.
It is accordingly no question now of the law, grave as its function is when used lawfully; nor yet of prophecy unveiling the government of the world. Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. The Father sent Him into the world that we might know His word—know it in Him that is true. And now sent into the world by Him Whose death has severed His own from the world, they behold Him in heaven, as the further power of fashioning them spiritually. Both are needed, and both are given. Christ was infinitely more than the obedient man under law; He was the manifestation of God in man. He that had seen Him had seen the Father. The only-begotten Son Who is in the bosom of the Father, alone did, alone could, reveal Him; He manifested the truth about every one and everything, and this in grace—in a love superior to evil.
But while this was the essential and first want which only He, the Son of God yet a man in the world, could supply, ver. 19 adds more and differently—Christ as man glorified according to divine counsel and perfection in heaven before the Father. In the one case it was Christ as the Lord come down and on the earth revealing God the Father; in the other it is the same Christ as man setting Himself apart in glory, and the truth revealed then and there. Both were new and unique, that the truth might be known and work effectively; and the believing Jew no less than the besotted pagan needed to be sanctified practically according to both principles, distinct as they are, yet united in the person of the Lord. It is the revelation of the Father in the Son in grace, and of the Son as glorified man in righteousness, that the mission of His servants might be according to the truth which separated them from the world according to God's nature and the relationship of His children, though nothing be so foreign and distasteful and hateful to the world as His grace and the objects of it.
But the book commented on scarce rises above the measure of Israel, and is quite short of the truth of that sanctification which the N. T. presents, as we have seen its total deficiency and indeed error about, justification. It proves what the new apostolate is worth.
Is it not passing strange that men who have studied scriptural figures and symbols should have failed to see the use made of “water” as compared with “blood” in this very connection? “But ye are washed “; “The washing of water by the word” “This is He that came by water and blood,” &c., are samples; and the types of the O.T. answer to the figures of the New. We all know that in Christendom such things are passed over for the most part without serious thought, perhaps without a word: sometimes they are confounded, oftener all is vague. The difference is that the action of the blood of Christ is once and forever, as the Epistle to the Hebrews pointedly and repeatedly says, whereas that of the water is not only the dealing with the soul at the start, but whenever need arises throughout the walk (John 13). Thus the propitiation abides in its unchanging value before God for the believer; but the impurities of daily walk need the application of the word and Spirit continually. To be washed or loosed from our sins by blood is once for all; but, if bathed in water ever so truly, the soiled feet call for fresh washing. It is the answer of the Spirit by the word to Christ's advocacy. Expressly and evidently the notion of repeated application of the blood overthrows the truth of the unity of Christ's sacrifice and of its efficacy on our behalf. On the other hand the teaching of the constant need of the washing of water by the word is bound up with practical holiness. It is just because we are brought nigh to God by Christ's blood that we are called to habitual self-judgment lest we grieve the Holy Spirit of God whereby we were sealed unto the day of redemption. Yet more should we humble ourselves on actual failure.
The propriety of the figure is obvious. Water among other uses is to cleanse. For this the Holy Spirit employs God's word. We are begotten by the word of truth (James 1 Peter 1; 1 Corinthians 4), and cleansed by reason of the word (John 15:3). So deep is the original uncleanness that nothing short of death, Christ's death, can avail us. Therefore He came by water and by blood. He purifies as well as atones by His death; and purifies our hearts consequently by faith (Acts 15:9 Peter 1:22), as scripture declares. Only the washing of the water by the word applies through our entire earthly path, exposed as we are to defilement continually. Not so the cleansing by blood, which takes place once for all. For the blood of Jesus cleanseth from all, from every sin. If He needed to be offered often, He must suffer often, whereas it is but once, once for all, as Heb. 9; 10 insists. But the communion, interrupted by sin, must be holily restored. Hence the need of the water for purification for defilement by the way. Compare Numbers 19—and so the Jews by-and-by. It is not enough to look on Messiah-Jehovah pierced (Zechariah 12): a fountain also is opened for sin and for uncleanness, a fountain not of blood, pace Cowper, but of water. See Zechariah 13:1.
Thus all Christians must allow progressive holiness as a matter of growth through the truth and that self-judgment which is the more incumbent on us because we enjoy not only the word and prayer, but the remembrance of Christ in His supper regularly. There is such a thing as deliverance when the soul after toiling under law is brought to give up self and condemn the flesh as utterly and incurably evil. This however is simply the normal state of the believer, no longer striving in vain to improve what God has condemned in the cross (Rom. 8:3), but, resting on that work of Christ as a sacrifice for sin, sees himself in Christ henceforth; so that he is now to live by the faith of Him dead and risen, and to abhor in himself what he finds not in Christ. This some call sanctification or perfection, and consequently turn it to error by making it a matter of feeling, instead of owning it true of all who submit to the righteousness of God.
Plainly therefore according to scripture we are personally “sanctified” or set apart livingly to God when born of Him by faith of the truth, sanctified by the Spirit unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus. Thereon follows the practical call to holiness, because God, our God and Father, is holy, as we see later on in the same chap. 1 of 1 Peter. Holiness in spirit and ways is a duty flowing from the relationship of saints and children already formed by sovereign grace—not in order to become, but because we are, His and in the nearest way through Christ our Lord.

Scripture Imagery: 71. The Brazen Altar

Directions having now been given regarding everything within the tabernacle except the golden altar, we might naturally expect that that would be the next thing treated of, but three long chapters intervene. We must not think however that there is any lack of order here: the lightning may move (to apply a figure of Dr. Holmes) in a zigzag way as if undecided, but it knows perfectly well where to strike. The order in which the scripture comes is one of the most powerful evidences of its divine origin; and we shall find ample reasons why, instead of our going on to the golden altar, we are led abruptly outside into the court to the brazen altar to learn that the foundation of all this fabric of worship is in the Atonement.
That which is appropriately called the “religious world” would naturally omit this part, constructing a religion without a basis, a house without foundation. The atonement is becoming ignored or else characterized as a slander upon God. If however we take anything direct from God's own word we can be in no danger of receiving any such slander. But the present increasing surrender of the doctrine of the atonement is a natural reaction against those strained and irreverent analyzes of this awful and sacred theme by scholastic disputants who have contended over such hard and artificial subtilties as Objective and Subjective, Crypto-dualistic, Dynamic or Organic atonement and the like. From such hard and barren theories it is not surprising that the “religious world” should oscillate to a religion which its leaders define as “morality touched with emotion,": a stream of tendency,” &c., &c., where there is no need of a brazen altar at all, and only need of an altar of—say, Britannia metal or German silver—in order that men might burn incense to one another. For they reverse the maxim of old King George, who indignantly said to the fulsome preacher that he had come to his “place of worship” to hear the praises of God and not his own.
The religion that omits the brazen altar is bloodless and consequently lifeless, for the life is in the blood; and it bears the same relation to the religion which God has inspired that the corpse on a dissecting table bears to the man who is examining it. The parts and arrangements are similar; nothing is wanting but the vital principle—the blood. It was said that the war-horse of the Paladin Orlando was in every respect perfect but for one fact—it was dead. And even a dead horse is of more value than a dead religion, for though it may be given a spasmodic semblance of life, such as that which the magnetic current gave to Galvani's frog, yet it is only for a time.
But in the divine plan the brazen altar is an all-essential part. It represents Christ as the means by which a sinful being can approach the holy sanctuary of God—a seeming impossibility; and by which he can whilst thus approaching become divested of his polluting guilt and absolved from sin's tremendous curse and penalty—a still greater seeming impossibility. For it is natural to expect that as a sinner approached God, his sin would be but the more fastened on him, and his penalty the more imminent and threatening: all of which would assuredly be true if this brazen altar were not found on the way. Now the thought is familiar, that the sacrifice on the altar typifies Christ offered, suffering and slain as the atoning Victim; but we have to see in the altar itself which supports the sacrifice the same divine Being in another aspect. The wood of its symbolic humanity was covered by the flame-enduring metal, which represents that our Lord's infinite capacity to support and endure the fire of judgment is the basis on which His sacrifice rests. Being infinite, His atonement was infinite, because His sufferings were infinite. That is why the brazen altar is larger than the other appointments of the tabernacle. The number of those who are illuminated by the sacred candlestick, or represented on the table of shewbread, or permitted to approach the golden altar, is limited; but in respect of the sacrifice at the brazen altar we read, “He tasted death for every man.” The measurements of these former are in restricted numbers, 11/2, 21/2, &c.; but the circumference of the brazen altar is in fives; the number of human responsibility, universally quadrupled. And, while the brazen altar is double the height of the ark and table and even a cubit higher than the golden altar, he grating on which the sacrifice is laid is adjusted to exactly the height of the mercy-seat. There is to be round this altar no crown, nor attraction, nor ornament—nothing but a terrible presentation of judgment and suffering.
And how much there may be in all of the details! Its “horns” are the symbols of the authority by which it claimed, and the power by which it held, the destined victim of its terrible purpose. “Bind the sacrifice with cords, even to the horns of the altar.” In the Antitype this power was exercised by Himself in deliberate self-surrender and solemn self-dedication. It is “hollow with boards:” He emptied Himself. The staves signify its earthly and present character: that wherever the people of God are, they are seen associated with that infinite atonement. “And thou shalt make his pans to receive his ashes, and his shovels, and his basins, and his flesh-hooks, and his firepans; all the vessels thereof thou shalt make of brass.” To trivial minds alone such words are trivial: for others they contain suggestions of an infinite pathos, thoughts that “lie too deep for tears.” Each figure is a hieroglyphic of suffering; each implement a symbol of pain and death. The same God that gave solemn directions concerning the ashes of the sacrifice ordained that the dead Christ should be tended and shielded from insult by reverent hands and loving hearts.

Impregnable Rock of Holy Scripture: Review

In the April number of a popular periodical an article appears bearing the title of “The Impregnable Rock of Holy Scripture.” It comes from the pen of one who is unquestionably a leader of men in the sphere of politics, no other than Mr. Gladstone, the glamor of whose name is sufficient to dazzle the minds of many, and to clothe his remarks with an air that would silence most objectors. As the subject of his paper is of the highest importance, and has relation to man's eternal interests, I do not think it unbecoming, or presumptuous, to offer a few words upon what so vitally concerns one.
This paper which purports to be the first of a series has for the faithful a pleasing and high-sounding title; but we have not to wait for the last to know that the promise is only to the ear and eye. The reality offered is rather “the sand,” and utterly subversive of the truth of a revelation from God to man. For if imperfect comprehension, and imperfect expression characterized the “vehicle,” i.e., the man, who received the first communication from God, then we certainly have not God's word to man, but only man's word about God. Of the title “The Impregnable Rock of Holy Scripture” Mr. G. says “it sounds like a challenge.” And the challenge is to accept the scriptures, on the moral and spiritual and historical ground of their characters in themselves. What all this means, or the latent thought wrapped up in it, comes out soon. The challenge is as high-sounding as the title, but, when stript of its wordy garment, it stands before us in its naked repulsiveness as a challenge to accept the Bible as a Divine Revelation, after the critic has deprived it of all its real and peculiar authority and value.
Mr. G. would contend for the scriptures “as corresponding by their contents to the idea of a divine revelation to man.” This idea is then outside and independent of the scripture. For to attempt to prove the correspondence between the scripture and an idea is valueless. It would seem that man has it through the “known divine operations in other spheres” (I suppose, the material creation, and providence). How does man know apart from the Bible that there are divine operations in other spheres? The ancient pagans saw these self-same operations, but looked at them as the operations of nature, and concluded that nature was eternal. If he admits—as he must—that these divine operations in other spheres are only known through the scripture, his reasoning amounts to this, that by the Bible—we know that these operations in other spheres are divine; and then, by a change of front, these same operations are proof that the Bible is a divine revelation. Is this logic? Is it not rather arguing in a circle? There must be a fixed point to begin with. That fixed point every believer has by faith in God's word (Hebrews 11:1, 2). All this illogical shuffle is because he says holy scripture is a divine revelation, in which nevertheless we see the imperfection and failing memory, &c., of man. But if he does not admit receiving this “idea” from the Bible, we can only ask where did he get it? Was it from the prehistoric documents of other religions, or from himself?
There is no need to notice more than one or two points; the aim and infidel character of this article (I grieve to say it of a professedly religious man), is patent. His point of departure is this, “And yet on the very threshold I embrace, in what I think a, substantial sense, one of the great canons of modern criticism which teaches us that the scriptures are to be treated like any other book in the trial of their title.” Mark it well: the Bible (he talks of venerating it) is brought down to the level of any other book! If he really believed it God's word, would he dare thus treat it? That one of the shameless and morally despicable Oxford Essayists so spoke is the fact: but does the Anglican Mr. G. accept that rationalism as the truth? The holy scripture reveals to us man's sin and ruin, God's judgment, grace and redemption through Christ. Is that to be treated like any other book? But Mr. G. has applied “modern criticism,” the shallowest quack of a day shallow in faith, which sits in judgment upon God's word, and leaves us—NOTHING! God's word proclaims its own title, and admits of no trial. “Thus saith the Lord.” Mr. G., in charging the book with imperfections, &c., virtually denies it to be the word of God.
This is Mr. G.'s “Impregnable Rock of Holy Scripture.” Is language only to be used to conceal thought and to deceive? This is intolerable enough in the House, or at the hustings: what is it when one takes the chain of divinity with God's word as the theme? It will charm freethinkers of every shade. “The many diversified [= contradictory] utterances it contains proceeded from man.” Is this true or false? Is it so, a believer speaks of “holy scripture"? Man's copies, and translations is not the point; for “the question whether through supernatural guidance [i.e., whether they were inspired] they were for this purpose more than men is to be determined like other disputable questions by the evidence.” So then it is a “disputable question” whether God has spoken through men or not! Is it harsh to call this paper infidel?
“Thus the accuracy of the text, the age, and authorship of the books open up a vast field of merely literary controversy.” How he confounds “holy scripture” with human copies and translations and external or subordinate questions! He owns his ignorance of Hebrew. Therefore the “accuracy of the text” is for him the accuracy of the translation, so far as the Old Testament is concerned. But it is enough for him that the chronologies of the Hebrew, the Septuagint, and the Samaritan Pentateuch are variant, to doubt the accuracy of the text, that is “holy scripture.” Who says that the versions of the Bible are inspired? “And such a question as whether the closing verses of Mark's Gospel have the authority of scripture must be determined by literary evidence, as much as the genuiness of the pretended preface to the Eneid, or of a particular stanza in Catullus.” How utterly absent from his mind is the thought that he is speaking of God's book! The pretended preface, the stanza, and the close of Mark's Gospel to him stand side by side. If the close of Mark's Gospel be not scripture, prove it if you can, but know that your canon of modern criticism is not sufficient. Can we wonder that infidelity so pervades the “masses,” when the man who would pose as their champion, or advocate, can so write? The progress of infidelity is not more due to the lectures and writings of the avowed skeptic than to such as, professing Christianity, sap its foundation.
But there is more which cannot leave a doubt in any right mind, that the Bible as the word of God is denied. “I will remind the reader that those who believe in divine revelation, as pervading or as contained in the scriptures, and especially who accept the doctrine of literalism as to the vehicle of that inspiration have to lay their account with the following (among other) considerations, which it is hard for them to repudiate as inadmissible. There may have been, “and then follow the considerations, seven in number, which treat the text and the copies as the same, that effectually denies “inspiration,” and if there is no inspiration there is no “holy scripture.” But what are these weighty considerations? “(1) Imperfect comprehension of that which was communicated. (2) Imperfect expression of what had been comprehended.” Now these two are essentially a denial of “holy scripture” as a revelation from God.
The remaining five points have their importance as regards copies and translations into different languages. But the accuracy of copies and translations is a small matter compared to the question in the first two considerations, which is—if God was pleased to give a revelation to man, could He not, nay, would He not, enable the man whom He chose as His “vehicle” to comprehend perfectly, and to express perfectly, what He in love was pleased to communicate? To attribute possible imperfect comprehension or imperfect expression to the “vehicle” is a denial of God's wisdom, His care and love; of His wisdom in using an imperfect instrument; of His care and love for a lost world in not (for the time) fitting the “vehicle” to give without possibility of error His own thoughts and words. The word of God gives explicit answers to both these “considerations.” As to imperfect comprehension “holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:21). Does Mr. G. suppose the Holy Ghost was not able to make them comprehend? Then as to imperfect expression “not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth,” read 1 Corinthians 2:13. In presence of these scriptures the two considerations above are nothing short of infidelity. But more: 2 Tim. 3:16 declares that “every scripture is inspired of God and profitable,” or, if we take it as is possible, “every scripture, being inspired of God, is also profitable,” it comes substantially to the like result of flatly contradicting on God's part this unholy canon. Scripture, observe, is the grand safeguard for the last days, for modern times. Would that Mr. G. and thousands like him laid it to heart! All holy writ is said or assumed to be inspired of God.
Mr. G. thinks it a legitimate question to discuss about the books of the Bible, differing so much “from the other documents of pre-historic religions, while they too [the other documents] are precious in various ways, as to make them witnesses and buttresses to the office of holy scripture rather than sharers in it, although in their degree they may be this also.” What can this mean, but that admitting the “holy scripture” to be a divine revelation, these “other documents” may be such also in their degree. We shall soon have revelation stamped upon all the books of prehistoric religions ever known. “Prehistoric” is a convenient word for “modern criticism,” which pretends to look back into the past, and surmise at least the existence of “other documents” independent of the Bible, and in their degree divine! What is the meaning of a measured divinity? The aim is clear: to lower the scriptures; to exalt ancient impostures.
We could smile at this, were not the theme so solemn. There is in the word of God a very serious “consideration” for those who make void the word of God by their traditional teaching; what about those who say that the Bible is in part a forgery? Mr. G. by the aid of “modern criticism” has come to that conclusion. “It has long been known, for example, that portions of the historical books of the Old Testament, such as the Books of Chronicles, were of a date very far later than most of the events which they record, and that a portion of the prophecies included in the Book of Isaiah were later than his time, &c.” Well, the Books of the Chronicles go up to Adam no doubt and thus may be said to be very far later than the events! But it is false of the closing events recorded. Does the man expect a record of the events before the events themselves occur? Immediately, or even considerably after, does not touch the truthfulness of the record. A child would know that the events must happen before they can be recorded. Is it a sly insinuation that the so-called record was invented? Or that the events as given never occurred at all? This is worthy of a “specialist,” of the most destructive critic.
There is no insinuation, but positive statement in what follows, “that a portion of the prophecies included in the Book of Isaiah were later than his time.” So then we have quasi-prophecies handed down to us under a false name, endorsed by the Lord and His apostles as we see throughout the N. T.! “Modern criticism” knows better. Is this God's book? Is it “holy scripture"? Is it an “impregnable rock”? For if the Book affirms such and such writings to be the prophecies of Isaiah when they are not, the character of the whole book from Genesis to Revelation is gone. It cannot be holy scripture when there is a lie in it. Think of a man passing as an advocate for the impregnability of the holy scripture, yet affirming that it contains falsehoods! Mr. G. must have drunk copiously from the pool of destructive criticism before he could calmly make such an assertion. He must be much of the same opinion as T. Carlyle—who said of the English people, “mostly fools” if he thinks that his readers can accept him as an advocate for the “impregnable rock” of holy scripture which he charges with falsehood.
Thus Mr. G. and the “specialist” (a euphemism for an infidel) come into the “open field” of literary criticism, as it were arm in arm, to attack the text, the age and the authorship of holy scripture; and what do they leave us? Can we respect forgeries?
Mr. G. reminds his readers “that those who believe, in a divine revelation as pervading or as contained in the scriptures.” So then scripture as a whole is not a divine revelation after all, but only contains it! i.e., you must take the divine revelation out of the scripture, as you take the jewel out of its casket; but he has not told us how, save by “modern criticism,” which rejects jewel, and casket, and all.
He says that the form of the older books of the Old Testament does not correspond as a rule with their titles. We ask, Does the form of his paper correspond with its title? The true title of the Bible is found within itself, and we are sure that the form of the book, as a whole, and in all its parts, does correspond with that title. We know that the holy scripture IS an impregnable rock; but this Mr. G. in complimentary terms labors to disprove and undermine.
Honest criticism (not of the modern kind) of what uninspired copyists have done is a helpful work to maintain the purity of the sacred text. It has long been known that some German skeptics, followed by some credulous Englishmen, say that the prophecies under the name of Isaiah are not his, but the work of an impostor; if it were truly so, the book, however wonderful, is not the scripture of God. There is not the slightest need for “specialists” to waste time and learning (!) upon a book that has long been known as an imposture. In the alleged case we may without fear let the true and the false Isaiah remain side by side within the same covers. How can these men explain that “the great unknown” rises if possible beyond the highest of prophets? (Yet set here and there in this paper are passages which lead one to think, yea to hope that the affections of the writer's heart are in conflict with the infidelity of his intellect.). Incontestibly there is nothing so sublime, nor such sustained sublimity, as Isaiah 40-66. Is there no key to such perversity of modern criticism? A simple, sufficient, and sure one. They start from the skeptical. premise that there is no such thing as true prophecy. They can allow more or less the early chapters to be Isaiah's, as the times were prehistoric. For them the historians must be heathen, or the Jewish of no real value, as writers long after the events. But as the grand strain of Isaiah 40-66, if genuine, is indubitable prophecy, prophecy not merely of Babylon destroyed by Cyrus, but, what is far more serious, of Christ rejected by the Jews, “modern criticism” will not have it. It is not Isaiah, but a pseudo-Isaiah! Q.E.D. But it was certainly even in Greek version long before our Lord was born and rejected by the Jews. How came a pseudo-Isaiah to write Isaiah 53? The “modern criticism” of Mr. G. is folly as well as infidelity, though he may stop short of its logical and necessary consequences. R.B.


W. WALTERS, Printer and Publisher, 79, St. Paul's Churchyard, London, E.C.

Thoughts on 1 Chronicles: Part 1, Chapters 1-21

The Chronicles are by some thought to be a supplement to the preceding historical books, that is, to supply the omissions and defects supposed to be found in them. This is a denial of God as their Author. For if holy men of old were divinely inspired to write them, failure or error is impossible. To assert that the Chronicles are a mere supplement to correct what went before is to misapprehend the aim and purpose of the Holy Spirit Who has never written one book as a supplement to another, in the above sense and meaning. Each separate book of the Bible is perfect in itself, though each a necessary part to form one divine whole, and needs neither filling up nor correction. Even in the historical books the events related are never a bare record, but all are in special relation to the object the Holy Spirit has in view. And all, being under His control, are just so many steps leading to the accomplishing of His will and purpose. So it may be that many circumstances, having no direct and immediate bearing upon the object of the Spirit in the particular book, are omitted, not because they are unimportant in themselves, but that the purpose of God does not call for their mention. And these same circumstances may be most essential in another book written for another object. The true question is, What is the purpose of God in this or that book? And only when we have apprehended it, can we see why events are mentioned in the one book and not in the other, although both may be concerning the same persons and nation. Take for instance David and Bathsheba and the moral processes by which David is restored, so fully given in the Kings, and not alluded to in the Chronicles. Only one fact connected with it circumstantially is found in Chronicles, viz., that David tarried at Jerusalem when he ought to have been at the head of his army. The consequences are narrated in Kings. The purpose of God in Chronicles did not require that mention.
Yet the Chronicles are the counterpart, the complement, of the Books of Samuel and of the Kings; for complement does not imply defect in that of which it is the complement. Supplement, ordinarily, implies omissions in the thing supplemented. A perfect book or epistle may have a complement, never a supplement in the above sense and meaning. The Epistles to the Ephesians and to the Colossians are counterparts to each other, and both are perfect. We have the glories and fullness of the Head in the one; but Head implies body, and the fall privileges and blessedness of the body are given in the other: not the one Epistle supplying omissions in the other, but each perfect in itself. And the body is the fullness (complement) of Him Who fills all in all (Ephesians 1:23). These Epistles are complementary to each other. So Paul speaks of filling up what is behind of the afflictions of Christ. That is, the sufferings of the body—the church—are the complement of the sufferings of Christ. Does this mean that His sufferings were not perfect?
So also the Books of Samuel and of the Kings on the one side, and the Chronicles on the other, are complementary. The former is a record of mercy and forbearance. The iniquity of the people reached its climax when they rejected God as their king, yet He forbore. It was God's mind to give them a king, and this necessarily appears in their history, as proof of God's goodness which their sin could not turn away. But it in no way lessens Israel's guilt in desiring a king like the surrounding nations, that it was the purpose of God to give them a king in His own good time. Israel would have a king before God's man (typical) was prepared for them. The result was ruin. But the point in Samuel and the Kings seems to be the complete breakdown of man as seen in Israel; responsibility and ruin are correlatives. Now in Chronicles, where of course the ruin is as plainly read as in the former books, the point is God's predetermined bringing in of His Only-begotten, through a human line, but His only begotten Son. That is to say, His purpose is the more prominent in Chronicles. The genealogy is proof of this, and gives the key to the book. The sin and rebellion of the Kings involving the ruin of the people is met by God's purpose that His King shall reign.
The grand solvent for every apparent difficulty as to what is recorded or not is that Christ is the one Object before the Spirit of God, whether in the Bible as a whole or in each separate book. Nothing is there but what exalts Him. And He must be before our hearts if we would understand; and then we can laugh to scorn (or rather mourn over) all the futile objections of ignorant infidelity. If David and Solomon are historically more prominent in Samuel and 1 Kings, it is only because they are types of the Lord Jesus, in His rejection, than of His kingly power and glory. Suffering was David's pathway to the throne; it was the necessary path of Christ to His kingdom. “Ought not Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory” (Luke 24:24)? In Chronicles there is no rejected David; his history begins with the transfer of the kingdom to him and the establishment of his throne, though when the kingdom is committed to the responsibility of man, Israel becomes irretrievably ruined. And for the time the ruin is not merely apparent, but real. This, however, only for a season, so that in the end grace will be seen to provide the only stable foundation and sure basis for the accomplishing of the counsels of God. Saul's enmity, David's failures, and all to the consummated sins of the sons of Josiah, could not annul God's counsels or set aside His purpose. What a triumph for Satan if God had on account of Israel's wickedness revoked His promise to Abraham, for in his seed all the nations, not Israel alone, are to be blessed! What would have become of the blessing? Apparently all was contingent upon man's obedience and faithfulness. Really, all rested upon an unassailable foundation, God's promise, given to Abraham 430 years before the law. But if Israel made the fatal step of accepting law as the ground of inheriting blessing, man's failure can never annul the purposes of grace.
Though the people sinned till there was no remedy (save that remedy which was only as yet in God's counsel), and they were carried away captives into a foreign land, during all that dark time of disobedience and idolatry grace was constantly watching over them, and guiding the destinies of this wonderful people. And grace is, now that they are scattered and for the most part unseen by human eye, controlling the world's history for their sakes. Now Lo-ammi is written upon them with a pen of iron; the time is coming when in that place where it was said, “Ye are not My people,” there it shall be said unto them, “Ye are the sons of the living God” (Hosea 1:9). That will be when the true Anointed, the Man of God's right hand, comes, Who is not only Son of David, but also Son of man. For when grace acts in sovereign power it cannot be limited to the sphere of Israel. Such grace must be unto all. Hence the genealogy begins, not with Abraham which might suffice for a Jew, but with Adam proof that not Israel's future blessing is alone before the mind of the Holy Spirit, but Christ in His exaltation and glory. The throne of the world is His, as well as the throne of David.
The types being only of men afford much instruction over and above the great and prominent fact that God is leading His chosen man to the throne. David's trials and faith, his failures and victories, come in by the way and are written for our learning.
His failure cannot interfere with God's purpose. Rather do they bring out more manifestly the unchangeable decree of God, that David as the great type of his greater Son must sit upon the throne of Israel. For David had done enough to be righteously thrust aside; his willingness (real or feigned) to fight under Achish against Israel was alone sufficient to have debarred him from the throne. But he was the man chosen to be type of Him Who could not fail and so there was a divine necessity that he should reign. Therefore David's failure in offering his services to Achish is not mentioned in Chronicles, nor any part of his life previous to Saul's death. Not God's grace in meeting David's failures in the path of suffering is the point, but the accomplishment of His purpose. David is king. This purpose fulfilled, and a glimpse of the glory seen in Solomon's day, when the temple was finished, and we may say consecrated by the fire of Jehovah consuming the sacrifice, His glory filling the house (2 Chronicles 7.), the proper typical aspect ceases. The exaltation of the king becomes the sphere of his responsibility. Soon the inherent disobedience and evil of man appears, and David's house and the whole nation are speedily corrupted. On Israel's throne we see man in his best estate; the glory of the greatest Gentile monarch, pales before the glory of Solomon, who truly was in honor, but where of himself he could not abide. The kings sinned and the people followed them, and God closes that period in judgment. The kingdom, so bright in Solomon's earlier days ends in Babylon, and an alien if any occupied Israel's throne afterward.
Ruin was stamped upon the kingdom long before the Babylonian captivity. For when the ten tribes were cut off through the revolt of Jeroboam, Judah, alone could in no wise answer to the thought of God respecting His King as the Son of David. Not two tribes but the whole twelve form the kingdom over which Christ the Son, of David must reign. Even if Judah had been faithful, and no evil king ever found on the throne, Christ could not be shorn of His glory in having only two tribes instead of twelve.
But in point of fact Judah became more offensive than Israel, Jerusalem more guilty than Samaria. While there were entreaty and warning, promise and threatening to Israel, but never one ray of goodness from the throne, while in Judah there were some good kings, and the channels of governmental blessings, yet we have the testimony of the prophets that Aholibah was worse than Aholah. God had His own among them. The righteous are distinguished from the wicked, but the condition of Judah as a whole appears far deeper sunken in idolatry and iniquity (see Ezekiel 23).
Idolatry was always dominant in Israel. In revolting against the house of David, the ten tribes forsook the ground of covenanted blessing. Patience waited long, and called with wondrous evidences of mercy and power in the days of Elijah and Elisha.
The signs and wonders wrought by these men were proof that they (Israel) were off the ground of God's covenant. Israel as a nation rebelled against God. Judah as a nation remained professedly true, inasmuch as they clave to the house of David, and outwardly to the temple and worship of Jehovah; yet were in heart as rebellious as the Israelites. God said of them, “This people draweth nigh with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.” The hypocrisy of Judah was more hateful to God than the open apostasy of Israel. God had His remnant in both kingdoms. In Israel He had His seven thousand who had not bowed to Baal, and righteous ones were found in Judah with whom it should be well (Isaiah 3:10). Both kingdoms sinned till each filled up the measure of its iniquity: their land given to strangers, themselves captives.
Aholibah took no warning from the fate of Aholah, but became more idolatrous. If Judah is worse than Israel, why is Judah in captivity preserved as a people? Why not dispersed and lost among the nations, as are the ten tribes? Because there was a purpose of grace to be accomplished and full judgment was delayed. God had set David upon the throne, and it was a pledge that Christ must sit there also. For Christ on the throne of David is God's center of blessing for this earthly sphere. Accordingly the tribe whence the King was to come is preserved till the appointed time when Jesus is born in Bethlehem. So this tribe is preserved while the ten are hidden in the dust of the earth, and has the prominent and sole place in the books of the Chronicles, and the family of David pre-eminent in that tribe. It is the royal tribe, and David's is the royal family. The line of true heirs, during the captivity when the Gentile was in possession of the throne, is sacredly preserved, and after the return from Babylon carried on by Matthew to the birth of Christ in Whom it ceases.
Wonderfully, yea divinely, kept are these family records, so that the title of Jesus of Nazareth to the throne might be established both legally and naturally: by law the Son of Joseph, by birth the Son of Mary. Then when the Christ has appeared Judah is overtaken in full judgment: there was no reason for further delay.

On the Character of Office in the Present Dispensation: Part 2

Thus the apostles became the heads of derivative power apparently, at any rate the existing depositary of authority, for derivative commission was never conferred upon them; and stood before the world the founders of the church among the Jews with commission to extend it to all nations. But the Lord, save in the testimony of apostasy by the apostle John in the Revelation, gives us no authentic account of any such transmission of it through the world. It formed no part of the record, nothing on which the church of God had to rest for its rejection. It is remarkable, too, that the prayer of our Lord in chap. 17. of John was literally fulfilled in the Jewish church (see the first chapters of the Acts of the apostles) in them who were one together, in the unity of those who believed on Him through their word, in their separation out of the world even to the surrender of their goods, and the witness thus afforded to it, praising God and having favor with all the people, great grace being upon them all. Here the scene all but closes: such we see not elsewhere at all. This was the church of those connected with Christ in the flesh, who had seen Him in the resurrection, and derived their authority from Him in earthly association, though endued with power from on high; ignorant of the times when the kingdom should be restored to Israel, but knowing that the heavens had received Him Who was able, and was to do it; and looking for the repentance of the people that He might return.
But they did not repent. Another witness was raised up when this witness of His resurrection was refused, and the power of the Holy Ghost in it rejected, to declare Jesus at the right hand of God; and to show demonstratively in His power, that they were doing as their fathers had ever done, resisting the Holy Ghost. But this was, in fact, a testimony against them in their rejection of the apostolic word and power recorded in the previous chapters, and is closed by the testimony of seeing heaven now opened, launching the church into a new scene, a scene of death to itself, but into which it entered by the perception of heaven open, and Jesus seen there. With this accordingly Jewish testimony to it, as a church, closed. Jesus was not now sitting as we see Him in spirit, but standing at once to receive His suffering church. Here the Jewish scene finally closed till they should say, “Blessed is He that cometh in the name of Jehovah,” accomplishing this word of the Lord, and the view of Him in heaven thus opened to the church. Individuals might be converted and doubtless were, but the order of Jewish ministry ceased. Heretofore it had been confined to Jerusalem, and in regular witness by the apostles, eyewitnesses of His resurrection to the Jews, and filling up and arranging the necessary offices, as we read in the Acts. But death and the heavenlies were now the portion of the church of God; its earthly order and continuance gone. And though Peter preached among the Jews and the rest we know not from scripture where, succession and order as to them we find not in scripture at all. There is no authentic statement at all, save that Peter continued his labors as apostle of the circumcision, the only place he holds in scripture; and that the apostle continued at Jerusalem, as we find in the Acts and other parts of the apostolic writings.
But another scene now opened. The heavenlies we have now seen as the positive, known, and only portion of the church (for the earthlies were Jewish); and the Jews had rejected the testimony of Christ risen and exalted by the Holy Ghost, from the apostles and Stephen. Stephen's ministry was suited to this. Chosen among the Hellenists, he formed the link, having purchased to himself a good degree and great boldness to bear witness, not as an eyewitness but by the Holy Ghost, of Christ. Accordingly this is entirely his charge: not “We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard,” as Peter says to the rulers; but the witness of the rejection of the Holy Ghost, of which being full he saw Jesus in the heavenlies.
Thus he formed the link of Jewish rejection, and the position and state of the church which followed.
And what succeeds? Not Jewish order, but sovereign grace approving itself by the energy of the Spirit.
They were all scattered abroad except the apostles, lest it should seem derived from them; and they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word. Who sent them? Persecution. Who enabled them? The grace and Spirit of God: and it reached the Gentiles. There was no Gentile church but by what in those days is called irregularity; what is really the sovereignty of the grace by which any Gentile is called in the extraordinary and seemingly irregular act of God. For salvation is of the Jews. A Jewish Jesus is not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel; but a glorified Jesus does what seems good unto the glory of the grace of which He is now the indiscriminate, as to men, but sure distributor. But the character of the change which took place, is at once shown by this dispersion, and universal preaching wherever they went. The ordinary Christians preceded the apostles, that it might be plainly not derived from them. The whole matter then to justify anything was “The hand of the Lord was with them, and many believed:” a very irregular and out of the way thing for human nature, but which God has ordered as the way of salvation. Thus we find the instantaneous cessation of derivation arrangement in the Jewish rejection of the apostles, and the whole dispensation as carried on upon earth assuming a new character. This was the actual breaking of the earthly order, as the former seen with Stephen was the closing of the Jewish possibility of the dispensation.
But a new scene now opens, the regular Gentile form and order of the dispensation in the hands of the apostle Paul, the apostle of the uncircumcision, the apostle of the Gentiles. Did he then derive it from the apostles, or was he indeed a successor to our Lord by earthly appointment and derivation? No, in no wise. It was his continual boast that it was not so—his continual conflict with judaizing teachers, what was often charged on him as though lie needed it, with which they pressed his spirit, but which he as sternly and steadily refused, withstanding them who had such authority to the face. He is the type of the dispensation. Every dispensation has its character, from the manner in which Christ is manifested and introduced in it; and its order from Him under whom it takes its rise as to ministration.
God not yet known to the church in covenant, but the same God revealed as Almighty was the dispensation to Abraham called out to trust in Him, and gave its character to the path in which he had to walk in hope.
Christ, for now it was in covenant, revealed as Jehovah, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, was that under which Moses the leader in the wilderness, and Joshua in the land, led in succession the children, of Israel under the order of successional priesthood forever.
Christ manifested as Messiah, God manifest in the flesh, the end of the law for righteousness, the head of all Jewish order, was He Whom they should have received, Who could give and did give His derived authority to the apostles whom He had chosen. Christ risen, still a Jewish hope, the securer of the sure mercies of David, was He Whom they rejected, in spite of the testimony of the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven. Christ glorified and supreme, the hope to every Jew scattered abroad and every Gentile sinner, is the witness of sovereign grace, whatever the failure in evil. Those in whom it was deposited, Abraham, Moses, Joshua, formed the characteristic of the time in which the Spirit wrought by them. So of the twelve, Christ was the true Vine (not the nominal Israel), and they the branches, deriving their authority from Him as the Patriarchs from Israel; the dispensation thus far taking its entire and orderly character from them.
It was a Jewish, though a Christian thing; that is, it was Jewish in its present order; it began at. Jerusalem; but this ceased as a line when the risen Christ was rejected. The grace of God flowed in through the sandy desert and wilderness of the world, to make green (where it flowed) what it found buried in evil in it, when no watering of the tree which He had planted could cause it to bring forth good fruit to His glory, and its own profit and acceptance.
And as the Spirit went as the wind where it listed, every one that was born of it was, according to the measure of the grace, the witness of the grace that he had received; for God had not lit candles to put them under bushels. Paul became the head and characterizing agent of the dispensation among the Gentiles, not derivative but efficient. Hence God made him so powerful and so tried against derivative mission. “I received it,” says he, “not of men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father Who raised Him up from the dead.” So of the gospel which he preached, he certified them, he was zealous of this point, he neither received it of man, neither was he taught it, but by revelation of Jesus Christ; and he gives this general character of himself, “Last of all He was seen of me also, as one born out of due time,” as an ἔκτρωμα; and this character attaches to the whole dispensation, an extraordinary arrangement and provision, something ektrormatal, born out of due time, for the time present till the earthly system is just ready to be restored, but belonging entirely to the heavenlies, having no earthly derivation or connection in its power with the succession of that order which was first outwardly established. It derived its stream higher up from the same source, though recognizing it in its place (see Galatians 2). If it had such succession, what was all Paul's reasoning about, or why did he take such pains to prove it did not derive itself? Why did the Spirit of God refute the notion of Paul's derivative character when he preached the same doctrine, and held the same truths? It was the grand testimony to the break of successional authority, which was Jewish; the church, as a separate thing for glory, being now set on this earthly footing on its own basis of apprehension of it by the Spirit. (Continued from page 99.) (To be continued.)

On Acts 27:1-13

Thereon follows the voyage of the apostle to Rome, a narrative full of interest in every way. What believer can fail to find refreshment and cheer, as he ponders its details and sees the prisoner as perfectly master of the situation on board ship in a storm and wreck, as before in the presence of judges and a king who attested his guiltlessness? But what reader of any version even if believing could anticipate, what every scholar ought to know, that there is more of real information about an ancient merchant ship, quite simply and incidentally conveyed, than is found perhaps in all the extant remains of Greek and Roman authors? So the late Dean Howson owns in Smith’s Bible Dictionary, as indeed the soundness of the judgment is notorious.
“And when it was determined that we should sail away for Italy, they delivered Paul and certain other prisoners to a centurion named Julius of an Augustan cohort. And embarking in a ship of Adramyttium about to sail to the places along Asia, we put to sea, Aristarchus of Macedonia a Thessalonian being with us. And the next day we arrived at Sidon, and Julius treated Paul kindly and permitted [him] to go unto the (or, his) friends and receive attention. And thence putting to sea we sailed under the lee of Cyprus because the winds were contrary. And having sailed across the sea that is along Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came unto Myra [a city] of Lycia. And there the centurion found a ship of Alexandria sailing for Italy, and put us on board. And sailing slowly many days and coming with difficulty abreast of Cnidus, as the wind did not farther suffer us, we sailed under the lee of Crete abreast of Salmone, and coasting it with difficulty, we came unto a certain place called Fair Havens, near to which was [the] city of Lasea. And much time being spent and the voyage being already dangerous because the Fast was already past, Paul admonished them saying, Sirs, I perceive that the voyage will be with injury and much loss, not only of the cargo and the ship but also of our lives. But the centurion believed the master and the ship-owner rather than the things said by Paul. And the harbor being ill-suited to winter in, the most gave counsel to put to sea thence, if by any means they might arrive at Phoenix to winter in, a harbor of Crete, looking north-east and south-east. And when a south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their purpose, they weighed anchor and coasted close by Crete” (Acts 27:1-13).
We see at once that Luke is with the apostle on his voyage, and Aristarchus also. “One” in this case is quite uncalled for, as in all the Protestant English Versions from Tyndale. The fact is that he has been before us in this book from time to time as the companion of the apostle. See Acts 19:29; 20:4; as he is afterward named in Colossians 4:10, Philemon 1:24. Neither appears to have been at this time a prisoner. Both became partakers with the one that was so used. Love led these to join him in the face of shame and danger. They did not therefore cast away their boldness which has great recompense of reward. Of Julius the centurion nothing more is certainly known than what is here recorded: but we are enabled to see at least his amiability, and the moral respect inspired by the apostle from first to last, hindered one may say perhaps, at one point which must in the sequel have increased it more and more as we shall observe. It would seem that there was no special Augustan cohort; nor does the text say more than that he commanded a cohort which bore that designation. It is known that the emperor Nero had a body-guard organized at this very date, consisting of veterans specially called out for service. Julius may have been an officer among them. They were called Augustani (Tac. 14. 15). Why he was in Palestine does not appear: if there, we can readily understand the prisoners and soldiers under his charge on his return to Rome.
It seems amazing that there should be the least doubt about “Asia” in verse 2. Neither the continent, nor even Asia Minor is meant, but the Roman province, which was but the western seaboard of the latter according to the usage of the book.
“The (or his) friends” were the believers in Sidon, a mode of speech which we find in the Third Epistle of John. Evil times made them manifest: false brethren turned aside, ashamed of the cross. What the “attention” was that is meant is conjectural, and may be expressly left so to meet any case in future.
The lee of Cyprus was in this instance to the north of the island, the winds being contrary. Hence they coasted along the south of Cilicia and Pamphylia. Otherwise the direct course must have been south of Cyprus. But it would seem that the ship had to touch at places (vs. 2) which called them north. Myra lay due north of Alexandria; so that the ship from this port met the one of Adramyttium in that Mysian harbor. Both ships were in their right course according to the winds then blowing. Where the first was bound we are not told. But the centurion avails himself of that from Alexandria, which had a cargo for Italy, and transferred all his company accordingly (Acts 27:6).
Greater difficulties speedily follow; but disciples need not be agitated if the Lord seem not to heed. “Scarce” as in the A. V. (vs. 7) does not give the thought intended, but “with difficulty.” The wind being about N.W., as Mr. Smith shows in his interesting “Voyage and Shipwreck of St. Paul,” made it slow and hard work to bring up the ship from Myra and Cnidus, even though with the advantage of a weather shore and a westerly current. The wind did not allow them to go on (not to put in); so that their course lay under the lee of Crete, and this time its south side, after sailing abreast of its eastern point, Salmone (called Sammonium by Pliny the elder, as by Strabo Σαμώνιον). And it may be mentioned that Fair Havens to this day bears the same name corrupted—Kalolimounias, five miles W. of Cape Leonda, in the immediate neighborhood of which, inland, lie the ruins of Lasma, as distinctly identified by our countrymen lately.
The insurmountable delay from adverse winds and other circumstances brought them to a season of no small peril in that sea (vs. 9); and the apostle gave counsel on which events soon after, but too late, impressed the seal of indisputable value. Nevertheless he seems not to claim divinely given foresight for his warning: the terms employed in verse 10 are rather his own judgment simply, in apparent contradistinction from the prophetic intimation announced in Acts 27:21-26. “I perceive,” introducing a general admonition of danger, differs widely from “I believe God” with a precise assurance of the loss of the ship but of no life among the passengers and crew, which last he was unable to guarantee when he first spoke out. But the shipmates and the shipowner were opposed to the warning words of the apostle; and we can easily understand why the centurion paid more heed to the opinion of men accustomed to the sea (vs. 11), themselves no doubt disposed to regard cheaply what a landsman might think or say. Then again, whatever its title promised, Fair Havens was beyond doubt inconvenient for wintering in, as the bay is open to almost one-half of the compass; and as all could see this, the majority advised to put to sea also from there, as from other places before (vs. 12): not that they meant to pursue the voyage to Italy in such weather and at such a time, but hoping to reach the unquestionably better port of Phoenix, now identified as Lutro, though well aware of their risk in attempting it.
It may interest some to know that competent men declare Fair Havens to be a better harbor than its exposed look conveys at first sight. Mr. Smith, who studied the whole question on the spot with minute care and professional skill, pronounced it to be “so well protected by islands and reefs, that though, not equal to Lutro, it must be a very fair winter harbor; and that considering the suddenness, the frequency, and the violence with which gales of northerly wind spring up, and the certainty that, if such a gale sprung up in the passage from Fair Havens to Lutro, the ship must be driven off to sea, the prudence of the advice given by the master and owner was extremely questionable” (Smith’s Voyage,. 35c, p. 88, second edn.). Hence we may learn that there is such a thing as divine guidance in the ordinary things of life, short of inspiration no doubt, but superior to man’s experience and wisdom. Are we so unbelieving as to deny its reality save in an apostle? Blind indeed must we be, if we do, to the facts of every day among God’s children.
The value of a close adherence to the text is remarkably shown by the numerous mistranslations of this chapter, which had introduced confusion and insuperable difficulty for exposition. A striking instance occurs at the end of verse 12, where the A.V. represents this haven of Crete, Phoenix or Lutro, as lying “toward the south-west and north-west.” What the clause says is that the harbor looks “down” (κατὰ) south-west and down north-west. But looking down a wind means along or with the direction in which it blows, and not to the quarter whence it came. The meaning therefore is that the port of Phoenix looks north-east, and south-east, the points precisely opposite to those which have been understood. Now this (says Mr. Smith) is exactly the position of Lutro, which “looks” or is open to the east; but, having an island in front which shelters it, it has two entrances, one looking to the north-east, which is κατὰ Λίβα, and the other to the south-east, κατὰ Χῶρον. Hackett who does not think it safe to give up the common interpretation objects to this view of Mr. S. that it involves two inconsistencies. First, it assigns opposite senses to the same term, viz., south-west as the name of a wind and north-east as the name of a quarter of the heavens. Secondly, it destroys the force of βλέποντα, which implies that the wind and the harbor confronted each other, and not that they were turned from each other. But the reasoning is faulty, because the fact is misunderstood. The harbor in question does look with the wind in each case, so that the force of “looking” is preserved intact; and again the winds in question are preserved in their exact force and not confounded with aught else.
Only looking down, south-west wind and down, north-west wind means in fact looking north-east and south-east. The A.V. confounds κατὰ with πρὸςον εἰς. The direction toward the source of the wind is expressed by the latter; whereas the nautical phrase of down the wind means whither it blows. Hence Phoenix looked north-east and south-east. The look of the harbor signifies the direction to which — not from which — these winds blow. The harbor looked down the S.W. and down the N.W. winds, that is, in both directions; and hence to the N. E. and S.E. quarters, as the resulting force. The winds are only to mark the outlook definitely. Nautical phrases abound in the chapter. Josephus uses κατὰ λίβα just as it is here (Antt. Judges 15:9. 6). See Liddell & Scott on κατὰ B.I.I.
But appearances often deceive, as they did here. For when a south wind blew softly, they thought to gain their purpose, and weighing anchor (“lifting” is the technical phrase), they coasted close by Crete. Here the Vulgate misled Wiclif, Tyndale, and Cranmer to give the imaginary port of Assos (the true place was away in Mysia, compare Acts 20:13-14), instead of “close,” rectified in the Geneva V. after Beza who refuted the proper name with ability, and proved the necessity of understanding the adverb.

The Promise of Life: Part 1

Titus 1
It is at the beginning of this chapter that the Spirit of God marks with an especial character that on which I desire to speak—the eternal thought of God toward us which we find in verses 2, 3. Evil had come in; the Spirit takes notice of it; and the effect in a most remarkable way is to throw us back on the whole mind and thought of God from the beginning. As evil progresses, and corruption comes in, the apostle turns back to the origin of all, and coming from the divine nature itself (and all that could meet the evil, and convey us on, must come from that); that is, the eternal life which God, Who cannot lie, promised before the foundation of the world; that which was in the mind of God as to the thing itself before the foundation of the world; that which God had in His mind, the counsel of God for us before itself was created. It just shows us what we are, and what man is, with and apart from that eternal life.
In Ephesians we find it in connection with Christ (chap. 3. 3-7): a mystery hidden through all ages in God until Christ was raised up as Head of the body, the bride. It is not on this I would dwell. I am not going to speak about the church, but would turn back to what the life is, and would dwell on this thought, the promise of life in the mind of God before the world ever existed. Before that, I say, this life existed in a person, Christ, the One Who was in the beginning with God, and was God; that is the Christ with Whom my life is hidden with the Father. Being in Himself life, He came into the world as the Life, and manifested the Life. The thing was embodied in the person of the Lord as Man; and there it was—the life of man, not of angels. That which was specially God's divine thought toward man is shown out when Christ becomes Man; and this life is communicated to us, the instrument used being the preached word of truth. This divine life had been manifested here in a Man—the Lord Jesus. He having given it to us, it is now manifested in our bodies. It has the character of godliness in its manifestation. It tells you what you are. It is in a poor vessel, and where there is a wretched will; but it tells you what you are, and what the world is; it throws out an additional light to show what man is as a creature totally departed from God.
Morally speaking, the world has grown up in departure from God; that is, the world we live in—all that we see around—has sprung up from the creature having got away from God. But the life we have existed before the creation of the world; and this portion of scripture is very full of the simple, quiet, blessedness of what that life is, practically manifested and given in Christ. A great deal of evil had come in. Satan was corrupting the truth by the wild reason of man's mind. The apostle specially warns Timothy and Titus, and throws them back, not on common Christian profession, but on the faith of God's elect, the acknowledging the truth which is after godliness. They were to be as those who knew what were the thoughts and mind of God, and were cast on Him. If I have got divine teaching, I can say I know the Shepherd's voice; and if it is not His, I shall know that too. The truth which is after godliness is not only acknowledged, but is marked and stamped as of God by a man living to and for God. Godliness is what a man would do if instigated by God; and what a man would not do if God were close by him, it is clear, would certainly not be for God. A man daily taught by the knowledge of God how to be living for God would do everything to manifest the ways of godliness, knowing those ways because of God. I speak not of doing right instead of wrong, or of conscientiousness. A believer clearly ought to be righteous with regard to others; but I speak of godliness. You never can be for God without knowing what God is. I cannot walk worthily of God if I do not know Him. I cannot walk with God without that, though I may walk uprightly with man. Here it is walking worthy of God, the loins being girded (affections tucked up). This applies to all revealed to us in Christ. A believer, as to his motives and life, has Christ's mind revealed to him, to show him how to guide himself through all circumstances. Sorrow could draw out His heart in divine love, but in motives and all circumstances He was always Himself (perfect, of course). It is the mind of Christ that believers are to have. What a wonderful place we have got! Only as we are taught of God can we get hold of this; that is, the hope of eternal life promised by God before the world began. Mark that; for as to the Adam life, it never could be that, but a divine life in those who are saved—a life for heaven. We have got it now, and we shall be there on account of it. There will be its full manifestation, everything there, every word, and all praise will be according to the presence of God. As participators of the divine nature we shall be in fullest blessedness there, where nothing inconsistent with the divine nature can exist, but everything will be in accordance with that life, and ourselves as possessors of it in the highest and most blessed perfection. We belong to that place now, whilst our bodies are down here. The life we have got came down from thence, and has its only full sphere of blessing there.
The promise of God before the world began, this life was in the mind of God for us before ever the world existed. I do not speak now of predestination, but of the thing itself in the mind of God before ever the world existed. If we turn to 1 John 1 we see how this Life came down. What “our hands have handled, of the Word of life” (ver. 1-3). It is a real Man. The Life which was with the Father was manifested down here in the person of Christ. In many you will find great vagueness of thought in connection with this life. It is Christ Himself. “When He Who is our life,” &c. Before He speaks of the communication of life, He speaks of its manifestation. John could see what it was down here, amongst friends and enemies. He says, “We have looked upon, and our hands” &c. The Life which was with the Father is the life promised before the world began. I get what it is perfectly displayed. I see this life in One Who, in due time, fully manifested it as Man. The last Adam is the Man in Whom its perfection is seen; a Man in this world, in all points tempted like us; a perfect Man, without sin, walking in the world in meekness and holiness, a pattern set before us to follow.
2 Tim. 1:9 shows the way it was given us in Christ. God connects the two things here: saved by Christ according to His own purpose and grace given us in Him before the world began. In this life we see a thing that has its display in heaven. We have got it now, and in a place where it is hindered. It leads my thoughts and feelings to be ever in heaven, where it is as before the world began. Though displayed in all perfection down here by Him Who has abolished death, and has brought life and incorruption to light, the life was in heaven before it was manifested here. Wonderful truth!
For the power of this life Christ has gone through death and annulled it. Death is an abolished thing for saints. It takes us out of all the misery of the first Adam. It was not so with saints in the Old Testament. They could not say, “Absent from the body, present with the Lord.” It was all death to them. Elijah was taken away for a testimony without passing through death; but Christ passed through it and annulled it, rose and went up to heaven; and life and incorruption are thus brought to light. Turn to John 1:4: “In Him was life.” You never could say that of a saint. God gave us to have that life in His Son. If in ourselves we might lose it, but if He is my life I cannot. “He that hath the Son hath life.”
He is the life and light of men, not of angels. This is an unutterably humbling truth for us. If God was exercising life-giving power, it was to be manifested in a man, and therefore the Son of His love becomes Man. God displayed it by the incarnation of the Word—the eternal Son. He was given in promise to us before the world existed: and He came into the world personally. The Word, made flesh, dwelt among men in all the circumstances in which we walk. He goes down into the death of the first Adam and abolishes death, bringing life and incorruptibility to light, and goes up to the right hand of God as the display of this life in a Man up there. What a thought! That eternal life in this world—a man, a poor man, a carpenter, One Who had not where to lay His head. The life promised before the world began now has been made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, and in due time manifested to those who believe through preaching. Christ Himself is the great firstfruits of the life that we, as saved ones, have in Him—He the firstfruits of the great harvest of God. I repeat, this life, given in promise before the world existed, was manifested by the Christ, Who in the power of it passed through death; and in heaven it is now manifested in the risen Man Christ Jesus: while down here it is manifested in those who believe through preaching.
That is how we get it. It is preached in the world now. And what does the world make of it? That is the solemn thing for your consciences. If we take the world, we get not the Second Man, but the first. Turn back to the garden of Eden, and you get the clue to the present state of the world and how it began. Man, created in responsibility to keep his first estate, was commanded not to eat the fruit of a certain tree. He eats it, doing his own will, and is cast out of paradise. And the world begins where paradise ends; and that is the world we live in, only it is a thousand times worse, because it has rejected Christ. Yes, the world around us sprang up when man was driven from paradise. A man in a state of responsibility, departed from God, made the world what it is. And what a world! Solemn as is the responsibility of man in it, for us who have life it is only by-the-bye. True, we have to go through it; but it has nothing to do with the eternal life we have, except as being the place where the eternal life has been manifested and brought to us. I would ask, What is man departed from God about? Making the world a scene of delights for himself by cultivating the arts and sciences. (You will find among the heathen the most beautiful exhibition of the arts and sciences.) I repeat, man is making a scene for developing and displaying faculties that have nothing to do with God (the best as well as the worst have nothing to do with Him). (To be continued.)

Hebrews 2:10-15

Certainly the death of Christ is not here associated with God's law. What possible boon was law for the guilty? For such it can bring no blessing nor pardon, but a curse, and this righteously. Compare with Deut. 27. Rom. 4:15, 1 Cor. 15:56, Gal. 3:10, 1 Tim. 1:9. But here it is grace, God's grace, and by it Christ tasted death for every one, if it be not rather “everything.” Compare the verses before. What more, what so, expressive of outspreading mercy, with glorious consequences to the universe, from His personal glory Who thus deigned to die by God's grace! God could not but have worthy purposes of goodness to accomplish rising over sin and rain by such a death! Where sin carried the first man and his race, the Second man went by God's grace. He died; but He for everything.
“ For it became Him for Whom [are] all things, and by Whom [are] all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the leader of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both the Sanctifier and the sanctified [are] all of one; for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, I will declare Thy name to My brethren; in [the] midst of [the] assembly will I sing Thy praise. And again, I will put My trust in Him. And again, Behold, I and the children which God gave Me. Since then the children have a common share of blood and flesh, He also Himself in like manner took part in the same, that through death He might annul him that hath the power of death, that is, the devil; and might deliver all those that by fear of death were through the whole of their life subject to bondage” (ver. 10-15).
The grand truth first before us, and justly, is that it became God—Him for Whom and by Whom is the universe—in bringing (not everybody but) “many sons” unto glory, to make the Leader of their salvation perfect through sufferings. Where sin is, in God's righteous government there must follow suffering. Undoubtedly in Christ was no sin, not only no sin done, but none in Himself. But He became the responsible Man to retrieve God's honor outraged everywhere by the creature above and below. Satan and his angels had left their first estate. Man was disobedient. All was ruin. The Son of man goes down in obedience and bears all the consequences, glorifying God infinitely even as to sin, and on the road endures sufferings in every shape and degree, as none else could, according to His moral perfection and personal glory, till all was exhausted in the cross, so that it was for God's righteousness to exalt Him, as now in glory. Thus was His course finished, that He in glory might bring “many sons” to glory; but the path lay through sufferings. Thus was He perfected: not that He was not ever the Perfect One, but that so only could it be if God were to be vindicated and Himself the Leader of salvation for the many sons to share that heavenly glory. The work is done which gives Him a title to “everything” by redemption, as He had also the rights of Creator. He died, having made peace by the blood of His cross, to reconcile all things, whether the things on the earth or the things in the heavens. But He responded entirely to the gracious purpose of God which would also have “many sons” reconciled to share the glory with Him, and therefore He accepted all the sufferings which were the necessary condition. Judgment must have closed the door irrevocably on all men as on all angels that sinned. Where would grace then have been? The sufferings of Christ made it righteous to have many sons in the same glory as Himself, not derogating from God's glory but enhancing it and giving it a new, larger, and higher form than ever. Where would judgment have been otherwise?
“ For both He that sanctifieth and they that are sanctified are all of one.” No thought can be more opposed to the truth than confounding this blessed association of the saints and incarnation, so as to bring in all mankind. Beyond controversy without incarnation it could not be; but their association is founded on His death and displayed in His resurrection. Incarnation means not Christ's union with all the race, nor yet the union of the saints with Him, but (what was essential to redemption as the basis for this union) Deity united with humanity in the Word made flesh. Sinful man could not be sanctified otherwise. Incarnation was but the state of His person, henceforth God and man indissolubly joined, in order to His suffering for sins once, as He did atoningly on the tree; but it is as risen and glorified that He is said to be “made perfect,” and to have become the author of everlasting salvation to all those that obey Him (Heb. 5:9).
Christ is thus effectually separating to God. He is the Sanctifier; and both lie and the sanctified are all of one. The Epistle does not rise to the unity of which we learn in Ephesians and Colossians or even in 1 Corinthians He and they are not here said to be one, but “of one.” There is efficacious and blessed association, yet the unity of the body of Christ is not the truth which is here opened, but rather heavenly calling, as we read in Heb. 3:1. Nothing can be conceived more unwise, irreverent, and childish than therefore to slight its aim. No Epistle is more adapted than this to the Hebrews to exalt the Lord or to draw out the renewed affections of the saints. So far from being Jewish, it is the final word to deliver the too slow disciples from earthly thoughts and fleshly hopes and worldly religion to Christ in heaven.
But it is false that He and mankind are “all of one,” only He and the sanctified. And sanctification is not union but separation to God. Therefore is it that in John 17 our Lord speaks of Himself, not as sanctifying others, but as sanctifying Himself. This He did not at all in the moral sense (for He was ever the Holy One of God, and even demons confessed Him so), but as setting Himself apart in heaven, the model as the glorified Man, to form and fashion us now by the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; and this expressly in absolute separation from the world of which we are not, as He is not nor was. There was grace toward the race in all perfection. God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself. But the world proved itself irreconcilable, though there He was rising above human sin, selfishness, and misery, “not reckoning their trespasses to them.” But they despised the reconciliation and rejected Himself. In His rejection on the cross God made Him sin—laid on Him atoningly its awful consequences, that the believer might become God's righteousness in Him. Thus both the Sanctifier and the sanctified are all of one. They are one set.
This truth, so often gainsaid by some and undermined by others, is set forth by apt quotations from the O.T. introduced by the words, “for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren.” As God was not ashamed to be called the God of the fathers, so Christ is not ashamed (I say not to be called Brother but) to call us, the children, brethren. It is His relationship which He nowhere extends to man as he is, nor even to His own disciples though born of God, till He rose from the dead. Before then the utmost He uttered was altogether vague: “Behold, My mother and My brethren. For whosoever shall do the will of My Father that is in heaven, the same is My brother and sister and mother.” As risen, He sends the new message, “But go unto My brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto My Father and your Father, and My God and your God,” followed the same day at evening by His characteristic act of inbreathing and saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit". Henceforth they had life in resurrection power, life more abundantly as indeed He had promised.
But Psa. 22:22 intimates more. The time was not yet come for Messiah's praise of God in “the great congregation” (ver. 25), of Judah and Ephraim in their twelve-tribed fullness (Acts 26), when all the ends of the earth also shall remember and turn to Jehovah, and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before Him. Ver. 22 is pointedly different, and applied now by the Spirit that inspired the Epistle to the Hebrews. Indeed the truth of it was made good that evening when Jesus came, though the doors were shut for fear of the Jews, and stood in the midst of the assembled disciples, and said, Peace be unto you, showing them withal His hands and His side, the marks of that death in which He was made a sacrifice for sin. The Psalm impresses on the scene, not the mission of peace as in the gospel, but the united praise of the assembly which Jesus Himself leads as “in the midst.” And how deep and high and truly of divine savor is that praise which Jesus hymns! How unbelieving to doubt that, as He is in the midst where two or three are gathered to His name, we may count on His leadership of praise! May we be not faithless but believing!
Is this to lower the Lord? It ought to strengthen us in the grace that is in Him, drawing out the proof how truly the Sanctifier and the sanctified are all of one. Hear farther, “And again, I will put my trust in Him; and again, Behold, I and the children which God gave me.” The first of these truths occurs repeatedly in the O.T., but it would seem that it is cited with a suitable modification from the same prophecy which furnishes the second, Isa. 8:14, 18. The original passage is full of interest, and affords a strikingly pertinent application to the Christian Hebrews. For the Son of David had been just before predicted as to be born of the virgin, yet called Immanuel (chap. 7.), and owned (chap. 8.) as a child born to the Jews, yet Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, unquestionably the Messiah. Before the day when He increases the nation and breaks the rod of the oppressor, He shall be for a sanctuary, but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offense to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And many shall stumble thereon and fall and be broken and be snared and be taken. Still more remarkable language follows. “Bind up the testimony, seal the law among My disciples. And I will wait for Jehovah that hideth His face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for Him. Behold, I and the children whom Jehovah hath given Me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from Jehovah of hosts Who dwelleth in Mount Zion.”
This has been accomplished to the letter. The day is at hand for the display of His power and glory in the deliverance of Israel. Meanwhile it is only a remnant of them that is in relationship with Him; and they are more than ever favored spiritually. The testimony is bound up, the law or teaching sealed, among His disciples to whom He is a sanctuary, while His face is hid from the house of Jacob generally. So that He and the children given Him of Jehovah, the Sanctifier and the sanctified, are for signs and for wonders while He is a rock of offense to both houses of Israel. It is just the place of Him Who became man to trust in Jehovah, and of those given Him by Jehovah from the Jews (as in principle true of all Christians) meanwhile. He was as truly man as Jehovah; and we who are given Him reap the blessing of both facts united in His person. The dependent man was the LORD God of Israel, the sanctuary of the remnant when the nation stumbled at the Stumbling-stone.
Here is the deduction. “Since then the children have a common share (κεκοινωηκεν) of blood and flesh, He also Himself in like manner took part in the same, that through death He might annul him that hath the power of death, that is, the devil, and might deliver all those that by fear of death were through the whole of their life subject to bondage” (ver. 14, 15). The Son of God became man, as the children were men, in order to meet Satan in his last stronghold of death, and thus by dying exhaust his power for those who being under law were harassed all their life long by fear in their conscience. It is plain that the enemy is here in view, as God was in ver. 10; and as the sufferings of Christ vindicated God's holy nature and character, leaving His love free to act in saving us and bringing as to glory, so did His death break Satan's power to naught and deliver from fear the troubled saints, henceforth in peace, for He was raised for their justification. Satan is no longer to the believer the King of terrors. Christ has disarmed the enemy by submitting to death, and his power is gone forever for His own. His resurrection proved the seal of death broken for us, as for us He died; and our resurrection will be the demonstration of its truth, not to us who believe, who have in ourselves the witness of His grace and glory, but to all who disbelieve, rejecting Christ and the gospel.
“ Since then the children have a common share of blood and flesh, He also Himself in like manner took part in the same, that through death He might annul him that hath the power of death, that is, the devil; and might deliver those that by fear of death were through the whole of their life subject to bondage” (vers. 14, 15).
Here we have indeed the Incarnation set out more definitely than anywhere else in this Epistle or perhaps in any other. Here then those who base their theology on that immense and to us most affecting truth, considering Who He was that was thus made flesh, should compare their deductions with the revealed mind of God. The Holy Spirit brings before us its true objects and design. Far be it from the heart to seek to limit its scope. Let other scriptures be taken into account, and no ray of heavenly light from any be shut out. Only let it be the divine truth, and not human speculation; for no one fully knows (ἐπιγινώσκει) the Son but the Father. Be it ours therefore to hear, and to adore.
Clearly then “the children” are in immediate view, and not a vague and vain thought of all mankind. As they had blood and flesh as their common portion, He also in like manner took part in the same. Blessed a proof as it may be that God's good pleasure is not in angels, however near Him and in themselves glorious, but in men, weak though they are, yea, worthless and wretched through sin, His eye is on them for good, His heart toward them in mercy, and so much the more because misled and oppressed by a powerful and relentless foe. But it is no ineffectual testimony that we hear. Jesus had come in grace, or, as we are told elsewhere, “anointed of God with the Holy Ghost and with power; Who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with Him.” But man would none of Him, however welcome at first; least of all His own people. Jew and Gentile conspired to reject Him even to the death of the cross. In that death God broke the power of the devil, wrought deliverance for His own, and laid an atoning and eternal basis, not only to meet, but through faith to save, the foulest sinners on earth. Nothing but the death of Christ could bring to naught him that had the power of death; nothing else deliver all those who through fear of death were all their life-time subject to bondage.
Incarnation is a blessed truth, but it is only the means to the end here specified; and where misused as it often is, it clouds and shuts out that death which defeats the enemy, and delivers the captives, as being the true ground of God's righteousness, because sin there only was judged definitively and in grace toward the guilty. Infidelity denies God and His Christ altogether: His deity and His incarnation are to it nothing, as God is in none of its thoughts. But with fallen Christendom the controversy habitually is, whether the blessing turns on a living Christ on earth? or on a dead and risen Christ exalted to heaven? Tradition and humanitarianism affirm the former. The latter alone asserts the truth, because it alone, while holding incarnation fully, leaves room for the vindication of God and the annulling of Satan, the judgment of sin and the deliverance of the believer, as well as the glorifying of Christ.
The same death of Christ lays doubtless a ground for all men, as we see in Rom. iii. and elsewhere. In virtue of the blood on the mercy seat God's righteousness is “unto all,” and “upon all that believe.” Here it is the last only. It is “the children” who are in question, whom Christ is not ashamed to call “brethren.” The world at large does not here come into account. We must be subject to the word of God, and receive truth as God reveals it: else we fall into confusion.



The Catholic Apostolic Body or Irvingites

We have seen how shallow is the view of Mr. Sitwell as to Christianity, that is to say, our standing and privilege individually considered, even where it is not plainly erroneous. It is no better as to the church, that is, our corporate place, even Christ's body here below. The entire scheme is faulty from first to last. Thus his “first part” is the calling of the church (pp. 1-36); but in it not a true trace of that calling occurs even accidentally. He confounds the church absolutely with the kingdom; whereas the latter is another relationship of no small moment, as distinct from the former as power is from grace. As Christians, we are now after a special way in the kingdom; but we also compose the church, being members of Christ. Following Him in His rejection, we are not mere subjects like Israel by-and-by, but become kings and priests, and shall reign with Him in that day. This is the kingdom, not the church, His body; and the effect of the confusion is inevitably and in every respect mischievous. In this pseudo-apostolic volume the mystery concerning Christ and concerning the church, great as it is declared to be, is not at all understood. The exclusive topic throughout is “the gospel of the kingdom.” The immense and eternal purpose of God revealed in Eph. 1, etc. does not enter his mind, the heading up in Christ of all things in heaven and all things on earth, and our association with Christ in both the calling and the inheritance.
Mr. S. does not look above man on the earth. “And the habitation, the dwelling-place of man is the earth—forever” (p. 5). We may praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and exult in His glory, no less than own the riches of His grace, that it is far otherwise for the saints, even now blessed with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ. How sad not to have the eyes of our heart enlightened to discern our incomparably higher blessedness! The Epistles to the Ephesians and the Colossians, to say nothing of others, are ignored for this. Not that one would depreciate “the kingdom” for a moment. It is meet that the scene of our Savior's infinite humiliation should shine in the day of His manifested glory. But it is only a part, and an inferior one, bright as are the visions which prophecy opens about the earth, Israel, and the nations, to the eye of faith. But the New Testament, on the accomplishment of an everlasting redemption in Christ's cross, discloses what had been kept hid from ages and generations—hid in God till Christ ascended and the Holy Ghost came down to dwell in us. This mystery makes known the church in union with the Head; yet as to it all Mr. S.'s book is a complete blank. Surely as one of the new apostles he ought to have been an adequate exponent, when his task was to explain the calling of the church; he seems from his book to have known nothing about it.
Mr. Irving, boldly astray as to the object which ought to be dearest to us, Christ's person, rose far beyond this poverty. Indeed the “part first” unwittingly proved what is justly enough laid to the door of Christendom in his “part second” (pp. 37-129), that not only most people, but Mr. S. himself, forgot the church's calling and became earthly. His doctrine, as we saw, makes all who receive it earthly in principle. Amiable approval of certain traits in Rome, Greece, Anglicanism, Presbyterianism, and Dissent, shows how all he can say is incompatible with the feeblest faith in the church's calling. He divides the past course into six periods of declension: the apostolic, the episcopal, the imperial, the papal, the reformed, and the revolutionary; but on this we need not dwell now.
The third part is the church recalled to her true standing (pp. 130-254). Here again the same judaizing pursues us. Hos. 2 is said to be fulfilled, which is certainly untrue; as the prayer for the outpouring of the Spirit denies the distinctive abiding privilege of the church. It is a lapse into Israel's need. Tongues and powers, even if true, could have in no measure availed before the ruin of the church: nothing but humiliation, and obedience, sure of blessing in the grace of the Lord. Apostles and prophets constituted the foundation; and such they were in divine power and grace. How out of place and season to have this over again? or, to meet the objection, by talking of a John Baptist ministry? For Christ's forerunner was no apostle. No! The setting up of apostles was presumption, and as far from God's mind as can be conceived. It was the work of a spirit. All is simply an apology for Irvingism, with its vain misinterpretation of the Tabernacle, the Cherubim, and the Seraphim. Of doctrine we have spoken, but left other points.
The fourth part is the end—its progress and consummation (pp. 255-336). Here they have a little more truth, because there is less of the church and more prophecy. Bat antichrist, the man of sin, is confounded, as usually, with the last Roman emperor, whereas he is the prophet-king in the land; and also with the king of the north, or Assyrian, the enemy of both! And though the two Witnesses (Rev. 11) are allowed to be future, Rev. 14:1-4 as well as 7:1-5 are applied to the Irvingites, as well as the manchild! Of these puerilities enough has been said before.
The fifth is the conclusion, which still lingers over the society, as the sixth part consists of answering objections to their work, and especially to apostles. Mr. S. was only like others occupied with themselves, not with the Christ of God; so that the true calling of the church, and the blessed hope, were lost in earthly things.
As to the Irvingite interpretation of Rev. 12 can anything be more out of the way? It is self-evident that, lacking intelligence of the book as a whole, they of course cannot be trusted for any particular part. The woman is seized on for the church, the twelve stars for the new apostolate, and the catching up of the manchild for the party rapture to heaven.
Now in the prophetic visions three women appear with marked differences. The first is the mother, the second the harlot, and the third the bride, the Lamb's wife. This the new Jerusalem is beyond just dispute, the glorified church, as the harlot is the corrupt counterfeit, Babylon. The first needs more care, but is distinct from either, and points to Israel, of whom Christ the Son and Heir was born. The chief difficulty is to account for introducing what was past in a revelation of the future; but this is far from inexplicable.
Rev. 12 (or more strictly 11:19) begins the second part of the prophecy, the first bringing us to the seventh trumpet which unmistakably carries us on in general terms to the end of all. The second part therefore, which explains much in detail and with more precision, must go back; and in the manner of the O. T. prophecy it gives us a mystic view which identifies Christ and the church. It goes indeed beyond Rev. 4, 5 where are the heavenly saints in peaceful session on their thrones round God and the Lamb. Here they are wrapt up as it were in a Son of glory, the Manchild caught up to God and to His throne. The translation of Christ (long before) omits His life and death, and passing over all the intervening times joins with itself those who are to share with Him the rule of all the nations. This, we know, is the promised portion of Christ and the church (Rev. 2:26, 27; 3:21); so that scripture confirms fully what is here advanced. But there can be no favored party: what more abhorrent to the mind of Christ? For “we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.” The entire church are concerned. Isaiah 1 shows how the Christian is lost in Christ like a binary star (cf. Rom. 8); as Isaiah passes at once to the Second Advent from the First. Indeed both are not uncommon; and the Revelation recurs to the prophetic style. There is this characteristic difference, however, that while O.T. prophecy skips clean over the Christian or church parenthesis, from the Lord's birth and rejection to His taking His great power and reigning publicly, the Apocalyptic view here is rather to show us in an enigmatic way God's purpose in Christ and the translation of the heavenly saints found in Him caught up to the throne of God. This, it will be observed, is absolutely dateless: a token not without moment. It is in virtue of the rejected Christ on Clod's throne that the saints can be caught up and thus seen mystically in Him.
But what of the vision as a whole? “The temple of God that is in heaven was opened.” On earth His temple was to be the scene of the most daring rebellion of man and triumph of Satan, the man of sin worshipped there as God. But God's purpose is declared on high before judgment effects it here below. “And there was seen the ark of His covenant in His temple.” Israel the covenant people is to be the theater of His plans for blessing, the church having been proved irreparably guilty and ruined, and no promise of restoration for her, as for the Jews beyond controversy and in mercy that endures forever. The accompanying signs of divine judgment (“lightnings and voices, and thunders,”) etc. still mark that actually it is a time when God's hand is on men in displeasure, the harbinger of wrath to come yet more terribly. It is not yet His day, any more than it is properly the day of grace, but of special judicial dealings in providence. “And a great sign was seen in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon underneath her feet, and on her head a crown [or chaplet] of twelve stars.” It is the chosen people of God as in God's purpose, invested therefore with supreme authority, lifted quite above their old servitude to the reflected light of legal ordinances, and adorned with the evidently complete instrumentality of administrative rule in man for the earth. So it will surely be when the Lord reigns in Zion; and this is Apocalyptic intimation of God's purpose in heaven before the conflict with Satan is described. His opposition immediately follows, and this foremost against Christ in every way. But there is this added, “And being with child she crieth, travailing and in pain to bring forth.” It is not millennial joy, but the hour of sorrow yet. “And there was seen another sign in heaven; and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his heads seven diadems. And his tail draweth the third of the stars of heaven and did cast them unto the earth.” Christ, and those one with Him must be in their place first, whatever the dragon's enmity. For though he is seen, not as of old but with characteristics of the Roman Empire and casting them down from God's light and order in the west, as I suppose, and with destructive hostility against God's counsels in Christ, all is vain. “And the dragon stood before the woman that was about to bring forth, that when. She brought forth he might devour her child. And she brought forth a son a male, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God that there they should nourish her a thousand two hundred and sixty days.” Rev. 11:19-12:6.
Once the Christ thus mystically regarded (see 1 Cor. 12:12) is caught up, we find ourselves in the latter day; and the rage of Satan under the form of the Roman power is directed against the Jewish people, the tree mother of Christ; and set times come into reckoning. They have to do with the earth and the earthly people, not with the church of the heavenlies. This is not agreeable to those who are pre-occupied with Christendom, which tends to make the practical question one between Romanism and Protestantism.
This was not Mr. S.'s snare, who thought as cheaply as any could, either of the Popish dream about the Virgin Mary in the same woman, or of the historical fancy that the rapture of the Manchild to God's throne means the political elevation of the Christian profession under Constantine and his successors. If this were true, the woman might rather have been worshipped, or seated on a throne, than driven into the wilderness: an absurd result of the christening of the empire.
Now we can readily understand that, when God has His heavenly ones with Christ above, His purpose for the earth comes into view; and that a mighty change occurs in the true seat of power-heaven, when those who are Christ's for His glory there are in their place. As long as the church is here below, -wrestling with spiritual wickednesses in heavenly places goes on. But after the translation, there is war in heaven; Satan loses his bad eminence and is cast to the earth (Rev. 12:7-12), which fires his wrath the more against those destined to inherit the earth under Christ's reign, the Jews especially. These accordingly have nothing to do with such wrestling as Eph. 6:12 describes. It is thenceforth a dispute for the earth; God forbid it should be so for the church. Satan accordingly is seen, not only in his efforts against the woman and the rest of her seed, the godly Jewish remnant of this transitional time before the millennium (Rev. 12:13-17), but bringing forward his final instruments of blasphemous power and deceit against the Lord and His Anointed (Rev. 13). Matt. 24, &c., and above all the Revelation, furnish N. T. light on this future remnant.
The attempt to make party capital out of Rev. 12 is altogether inferior to what is called the Protestant interpretation, unsatisfactory and even absurd as this has been shown to be, one evil effect of which is the direct countenance it lends to consecrating worldliness in the church. The Popish idea is as childish and profane as their peculiar opinions usually are in divine things. But the Irvingite fancy is a vain essay to catch at symbols in a random way and with gross inconsistency in order to flatter their “Twelve” as well as their adherents. The truth gives all the glory to Christ in Whom the church, not some members but all, is regarded as hidden, its regular place in the prophetic word, its happiest place morally—the joy and boast of hearts true to the Bridegroom Who alone is worthy, whatever His grace to all that are His The mystic man, Christ and the church, being out of reach, the hatred and last efforts of Satan against God's earthly purpose in Israel ensile without delay, with the measured times which connect all with O. T. prophecy. Daniel in particular, is the prophet of Gentile supremacy on the total failure of the Jews, as John is of the world's judgment on the proved and irreparable ruin of Christendom. The church, normally, belongs to heaven which does not like the earth come under times and seasons.
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Scripture Imagery: 72. Aaron, the Priests, the Court of the Tabernacle

The tabernacle was surrounded by a spacious court which was enclosed by white curtains suspended from sixty pillars, socketed on “brass” and filleted with silver: the curtains being five cubits high, one hundred long and fifty wide. The court represents the especial sphere of God's operations by human instruments in the world, and though the measurements (five and multiples of five) indicate human responsibility, yet the curtains of fine twined linen express that purity is expected to be maintained on the basis of a capacity to bear judgment, around all that pertains to God's service on the earth. The silver filleting connected the whole. The principle of redemption traverses and unites all that is really divine. A religion that ignores redemption and what it implies is not of God at all.
When we reach the gate of the court we find, as we might well expect, that the Messianic glories and beauties are emblazoned upon it; but again the judicial cherubim were absent, for it typifies the One through Whom “if any man shall enter in he shall be saved.” The first thing seen by one who enters thus through Christ is the sacrifice on the brazen altar, which at once reveals the inexorable justice of God, and the gracious provision by which its claims are satisfied. The three entrances then are, (1) this outer “gate” which admits the sinner to the ground of salvation, and reconciliation; (2) the “door” of the tabernacle, which admits to fellowship in the Light with the people of God; and (3) the “vail” which—being rent—admits to the inmost mysteries of the divine abode, the ineffable glories of the Shekinah and the exalted privilege of worship.
The house of Aaron is typical of the whole body of the followers of Christ, “whose house are we,” and Aaron, of course, typical of Christ Himself, “the High Priest of our profession.” The high priest was usually understood to be the most noble, wise, learned, devout, and sympathetic amongst men; and in that character—as the very highest development of manhood—he stands towards God to represent and intercede for men. When he turns, then, towards men to represent and intervene for God, he is invested with the absolute power and exalted dignity of his divinely privileged position, It is extremely unfortunate that human sin or infirmity have so obscured to our minds the majesty and magnificence of the original idea of a priest. His “holy garments of glory and beauty” —of blue, purple and scarlet, of exquisite embroidery, and of the iridescent splendor of gold and flashing gems—were full of a sacred symbolism of hieroglyphic meanings. From the mystic miter that crowned his head to the golden bells and pomegranates pendant from his robe, his raiment was emblazoned with an elaborate heraldry of manifold spiritual significations. The names of the people of God were engraved on precious stones to be carried on his shoulders and in his breastplate; their memorial too was in the formula upon the miter on his head; signifying that on the seat of power, affection and intelligence our Great High Priest continually carries the remembrance of His beloved people. The head plans for them; the shoulders support them; the heart beats for them. And one thing more has He assured them of—for all types are imperfect—that their names are also engraved on the palms of His hands.
That is the original idea of a high priest and it abides still, notwithstanding the way in which men have maligned and burlesqued it. Aaron the first to fill the office was the first to dishonor it. Yet probably there has been no living man—then or since—so fit for the position: evidently a man of noble presence and of an exalted eloquence, of calm and dignified bearing, even in times of crisis and calamity. When his sons are smitten dead at his feet, “Aaron held his peace.” He had attained the faculty which that illustrious German prince, who had suffered so much, recently desired for his son” Learn to suffer without complaining.” When he hears that he is to die without seeing the promised land, toward which he has fought and labored for forty years, he calmly prepares for his lonely pilgrimage up the sides of Mount Hor. He was in the main a consistent and devout man and had to sustain a certain amount of obloquy by being associated with the enterprises of Moses, but such a man as Aaron is generally respected. Even the Koran, which is pretty hard usually on makers of idols, deals very gently and apologetically with him: while those writers who have, like Paine, written with the greatest virulence against Moses, generally leave his brother alone.
And this indicates where his shortcomings were: a man who is never abused, never accomplishes anything of the first order. “Woe unto you when all men shall speak well of you!” Aaron was weak and was turned aside at one time by the influence of the strong mind of his sister, at another by the pressure of popular opinion. To him vox populi was become vox dei, when he should have recognized (in that case) the vox diaboli. Not that he was weaker than men generally, but his position required one who was stronger. The position needed one who could, like Sans, look upon the thousands of his prostrate companions appeasing their thirst, whilst he suffered on and merely sprinkled his face with water. Within the imposing personality and behind the eloquent tongue of the first high priest there was a spirit infinitely less powerful than that which enabled the little battered old man whose “bodily presence was weak” to look on the furious opposition of whole nations and say, “None of these things move me “: or even than that which enabled the common-looking old Greek philosopher to refuse to escape from the poison cup of his enemies, when he was offered the opportunity. “Why are you surprised,” he said to Hermogenes, “that God thinks it best for me to leave this earth?” But when such a man as Aaron is led astray, the noble gifts which he has received become perverted to unworthy uses: that faculty of language which formerly had resounded with such sonorous power before the Egyptian courtiers is afterward used to effect a most dexterous palliation of his offense. “Thou knowest the people, that they are set on mischief...then I cast it [the gold] into the fire, and there came out this calf!”

Prof. Drummond's Greatest Thing in the World

It is painful to have to condemn utterly the writing of a man who claims to be a believer. But this essay, though taking as a homily on love or meditation on that magnificent chapter 13 of 1 Corinthians is entirely vitiated by the thinly disguised assumption that such love, such practical “religion, is not a strange or super-added thing, but the inspiration of the secular life.” It is with the writer a mere question of “practicing.” And so carried away is Mr. D. by his theories, imported from the scientific arena, that he even speaks of the Lord Jesus as “practicing” love in the carpenter's shop! To such unworthy thoughts of the perfect and spotless One— “that holy Thing” —does a materialistic philosophy incline even a professing Christian. No one disputes that our Lord “learned obedience.” To obey was to Him a new thing. Yet it characterized the Son when He became man. As God, He had been wont to command.
Again, our author says that spiritual laws are as natural as the laws of nature; that they are both natural or both supernatural. St. Paul says, “First that which is natural; afterward that which is spiritual.” Our blessed Lord Himself says, “The flesh profiteth nothing.” Again, “that which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” Has Prof. D. weighed the force of these words? or is he prepared to explain them away? They will not fit in with his theories. Must they be “re-crystallized,” to borrow his own metaphor? As an eminent prelate (the Abp. of York) said the other day, “A revelation without the supernatural cannot be conceived; it would be merely a speculation.”
But if anything more were wanted to show the hollowness and profanity of Prof. D.'s views, the following remark from his address would demonstrate it. “We do not get the soul in different ways, under different laws from those in which we get the body and the mind.” What plainer denial can there be of original endowment? It is a virtual negation of the truth of man's spiritual nature, and, though probably the Prof. is not aware of it, sheer materialism. Mr. D. is evidently bent upon riding to death his favorite hobbies of “environment and habit,” borrowed as they are from the godless philosophy of Herbert Spencer. But is there nothing more than this in “religion”? Is man merely a creature of “environment and habit”? No one would deny the influence of surroundings and of good, as alas! of evil habits. But Professor D. shows where he is, when he makes it everything, and actually puts the Christ of God on the same level! And so, as everything spiritual is to be degraded to the natural, he labors to minimize faith, “without which (says the scripture) it is impossible to please God.” How fatuous to set one grace against another! All grace is of the Spirit, and if love be undoubtedly the greatest, faith is essential as owning our evil, looking to God, and receiving Christ and His work, our only salvation, which flows from God's gratuitous love to us and alone produces love in us. Without faith man has no love according to God.
As was remarked at the outset of this paper, Mr. D.'s pamphlet may serve as a practical homily, and many simple souls who discern not the shadowy foundation may even be edified, and possibly stimulated to nobler practice and walk. All the same, the article is at bottom pernicious in the extreme. That this contention is fully borne out is plain from other remarks early in the address, where it is urged that commandments such as to love God, and not take His name in vain, are useless, because a man who loves does not need them. Also that “it would be preposterous to tell a man not to kill if he were full of love to his fellow.” Quite so. But is man full of love by nature, by “environment and habit?” What do we see on every hand? And how idle to speak and write as if there were no sin, no Fall, no death (part of the wages of sin), as if, in short, these were only nightmares, and what man has to do were simply to practice love and improve his “environment and habits?” Nay, Prof. D., the Spirit of God can and does (by faith in Christ and His redemption) produce love in the renewed heart, in the “new man” that is in him, “born of water and the Spirit,” in the one who, recognizing his impotence to keep God's holy law, whereby sin is shown to be “exceeding sinful,” died with Christ and reckons himself dead to sin, and alive to God in Christ Jesus. But these are the very points slurred over in the essay, if not indeed ostentatiously shut out from souls. In truth, while pleasingly written, like everything that comes from the Professor's facile pen, and with a wealth of pointed remarks (no ill whipping up for a true Christian) the article is based upon the shallowest possible conception, and indeed ignoring of real Christianity in Christ. The writer is so enamored of his evolutionist theories that he can see nothing else, and makes divine love merely a growth, to be produced as mechanically as a new color in a tulip.
Nothing would be easier than to traverse many of the isolated statements; but the object is merely to point out the fundamental falsity of the writer's position as a warning to the unwary. A few statements, however, may be adverted upon. “We make a great deal of peace with heaven; Christ made much of peace on earth.” Can we make too much of peace with or in heaven? Did not Christ “make peace by the blood of His cross”? Is not that work of His the basis of our peace, for heaven as well as on earth, of the rest to our consciences, of our “deliverance from the wrath to come”? Does Prof. D. believe in “wrath to come”? But again, did Christ, make so much of peace on earth? Angels announced what will infallibly be one day, its pledge even then in the birth of Immanuel. But did He not say, “Think you that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division “: “I am come to send fire on earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled? “Hence no such thing as immediate peace on earth was contemplated, as indeed Luke 19:39 implies to the intelligent ear. It will surely reign in the millennial earth.
Again, we are told that “our heart is slowly changed.” This is strange from a man who has written truth on the “new birth.” But to the readers of that too popular volume, “Natural Law in the Spiritual World,” to such at least as had eyes to see, it was too plain that the author would drift still farther away. It seems strange, to make one more quotation, to say (though this does not bear directly on the question, but may serve as a specimen of Prof. D.'s hasty inferences) that love was not Paul's strong point! It was strong enough to make the great apostle of the Gentiles wish himself “accursed from Christ” for the sake of his brethren, and to give him “continual sorrow of heart.” Did John go farther or as far, blessed witness though he was of the same divine love?
The rationalism of the Professor is shown later in the pamphlet as his materialism is prominent throughout. For he interprets the “failing” of prophecies to mean that, having all been fulfilled (was this before they were uttered?), they have now nothing to do but to “feed a devout man's faith.” And faith, according to Mr. D., is not of much account. Are we not abundantly justified in our strictures? Alas! one prophecy is being fulfilled, that “men shall depart from the faith.”
In conclusion, some of the closing words may be quoted. “The words which all of us shall one day hear sound, not of theology but of life, not of churches and saints but of the hungry and the poor, not of creeds and doctrines but of shelter and clothing, not of bibles and prayer-books but of cups of cold water in the name of Christ.” And Christ is spoken of merely as “the One Who fed the hungry, clothed the naked, visited the sick! “Not a word of His deity while very man, not a word of eternal life in the Son, of His sacrifice, of His atonement, of Himself our righteousness. Nay, it is rather insinuated that be who feeds the hungry, he is also Christ! And this is the modern substitute for the “faith once for all delivered to the saints.” R. B., Jun.

On the Character of Office in the Present Dispensation: Part 3

Accordingly the evidence which the apostle affords—of his apostolate is never derivative, or that he had Authority from others; but, “If I am not an apostle unto others, doubtless I am to you; for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord: for though ye have ten thousand instructors, ye have not many fathers, for in Christ Jesus have I begotten you through the gospel.” “Since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me,...examine yourselves;...Know ye not that Christ dwelleth in you except ye be reprobates?” “Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.” So his argument, as to dispensation, is, “When He ascended up on high, He gave some, apostles; some, prophets;” etc. Now the twelve were apostles, and had the express name from our Lord's commission before He ascended up on high at all. Yet they do not come into the apostle's contemplation in spirit at all (i.e., in any such character); because they did not, in that state, constitute a part of the dispensation of gift, authority by gift, of which he was minister and expounder. This was associated with the ascended glory of Christ— “When He ascended up on high, He gave.” Accordingly, when the apostle was called, he was called not as knowing Christ after the flesh (if he had, he would know Him no more); but as one who, as a Jew, in ignorance indeed, consented to that very act against Stephen which showed the rejection of the Jews; and was a killing apostle of the Sanhedrim who had been so guilty, to find any of those who called upon His name; he was identified, not with the believing, but with the unbelieving, portion of the Jews when the question was between them; and he was not a Christian at all while the church had this character. He was the witness of the calling of grace, and of the perception of supreme glory.
The manner of his call was declarative of both. He was in the career of opposition to Christ, and arrested to be the witness of His glory, and of whatever had been revealed to Him—not of His earthly career (to that he had been a spiritual stranger); not of His fellowship when risen with His brethren (from that he had been a careless outcast, or a bitter opposer to it), but of His ascended glory; not the patient tracing with slow under standing the unfolding of the Man Jesus conversant among them, till it followed Him, through the apparent death of all their hopes, by the resurrection, seen of Him forty days, into the known certainty of His exaltation, following Him to the clouds in which He should one day appear again so coming, and the witness of where He was, because the Spirit had been sent down from the Father. But the sudden and unlooked for perception of the heavenly glory of the Lord, above the brightness of the sun, and finding that this was Jesus; that is, beginning at the glory, the heavenly glory, and aware that he saw and heard the Lord speaking from heaven, he asks and finds that this glorified One, this glorious Lord, was Jesus, Whom he was persecuting.
Hence the mission of Paul was wholly of the glory in its source, not a witness of the sufferings and a partaker of the glory to be revealed, but a witness of the glory and a partaker of the sufferings; and so ever preaching this mystery among the Gentiles, “Christ in you the hope of glory.” This then was the calling of Paul, a sovereign calling by grace, revealing the Son in him—one born out of due time; and this when the church was entirely heavenly, entirely underived, and necessarily rejecting derivation, or he would have denied the character of his calling, and lost the authority of his mission, for the Jewish things would have remained. It was heavenly, underivative, of grace, and by revelation, and this of the glory; and drew all its character and all its evidence from this. And this is carefully insisted on by him, and urged by the Spirit of God. The ordination of the apostle stamped the seal on the same truth. First, it was secured by the divine counsels that he should preach and testify within and without the synagogues and congregations concerning the Lord Jesus. Without anything further than the calling spoken of, he preached the faith which he had once destroyed; as he himself expresses it, “as it is written, I believed and therefore I spake, we also believe and therefore speak;” as the other apostles, “we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”
And so is the energy of the Holy Ghost ever, whether it be the sure resurrection of Jesus, the revealed glory of the Lord, or with Jeremiah, in derision daily because of his words to the people—it is in his heart as a burning fire shut up in his bones; he was weary with forbearing and could not. If in liberty, there was the rejoicing as being counted worthy to suffer shame; if reluctant and tried by the abounding iniquity in a state ready to be judged, the word of the Lord was more powerful than the fear, though on every side: he believed and therefore spake. The glory of the Lord must be vindicated.; and it becomes a positive responsibility. Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed, and not to be set upon a candlestick? For there is nothing hid which shall not be manifested, neither was anything kept secret but that it should come abroad: and it is our business to manifest it in the truth and energy of the Spirit. Therefore “If any man hath ears to hear, let him hear;” and “Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you, and to you that hear shall more be given.”
Hence we also find the apostle declaring, “When it pleased Him Who separated me from my mother's womb and called me by His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood, neither went I up to Jerusalem to them that were apostles before me, but I went into Arabia and returned again to Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days; but other of the apostles saw I none save James the Lord's brother.” Fourteen years after, he went up, but it was by revelation; and in conference he found that those who seemed to be somewhat added nothing to him; and this was the point with him. It was no haughtiness of spirit, and he was willing to try his word by theirs; but he found they could add nothing, and they owned the grace that was in him; though lie derived no authority from them, the appointed apostles of the Lord, and recognized none in them save in the sphere which God had allotted to them; and they owned the grace of God which was in him. When need was, he withstood them to the face, because they were to be blamed who were insisting upon the old ordinances. To such things he would give subjection, no, not for an hour.
And what after was his career because of the glory revealed to him, his ordination as men speak, if he did not go up to those who were apostles before him? The energy of the Spirit consequent on the revelation of the Lord still held its character in securing the breaking through the apostolic succession. There was no derivative link from the Lord; there was the revelation of the Lord and mission by Him, but no human ordination; and in this he worked long: not only was preaching or teaching strangers, but Barnabas, having gone to Tarsus to find him, brings him to Antioch; and it came to pass that for a whole year they assembled themselves with the church and taught much people. Who settled this? Who appointed them here? Who, Paul? Who, Barnabas? The grace of the Spirit of God wrought effectually in them, and so the apostles, as we have seen, had to judge; they perceived the grace of God that was given to him, and they gave them the right hand of fellowship.
But still in public mission had they no derivative authority from some human ordination? Or was not abstract apostolic mission the ground on which it rested? Long had it been so, for God was securing, in every way, that human dependence, human derivation, should be broken in upon, for its place, was gone in the earth. The dispensation was one born out of due time; it must prove itself by its energy from on high; so it had been proved both in preaching Christ and teaching the church. But now Barnabas and Paul were to be sent out on a definite mission, and of course they had derived authority now. Whence? Everything still is made to depend on the energy and calling of God. “As certain prophets and teachers were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Ghost said, Separate Me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them; and when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. Did the apostle derive his authority, his apostolic authority, from his ordination? That would be a strange assertion; for he says he had it neither of men, nor by man.
If this had been his first going forth to preach, it would have been almost impossible to have hindered the conclusion that it had its source in this, and the apostolate would merely have been from the church at Antioch. Therefore the Lord, to maintain the character of the dispensation, makes the apostle not” confer with flesh and blood, but immediately preach on his calling, and afterward separates him merely to the particular work to which he was called, thus securing its underivative character. Its value was the energy of the Spirit of God, because of the glory to be revealed, and the heavenly character of the dispensation which had its place in the glory (to be revealed), not here at all, and so ordered of God. Otherwise apostolic authority is derived from laymen, by modern theory, self-ordained men, and the apostle's assertion of his apostolate falsified. But it was not; it was the Holy Ghost's separation of him to Himself for the work to which the Lord had called him; not the conferring a gift as if his apostolate depended on. that mission, for this the apostle denies at large in the Epistle to the Galatians, and passes by this going forth from Antioch entirely in the account of his mission which he gives to them; not the derivation of authority, for this he is equally earnest to deny.
In Paul then we have the founding of the service of this dispensation, resting on the fully recognized apostleship, but caused in the way it is founded to be, entirely of a heavenly character, springing from the Lord known then in the glory, having its working and energy by the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven, and breaking in upon the derivative character of the apostolate in the Jews by every careful arrangement of God; and the laying on of hands made little of as regards the apostolate, and coming not from superior derivative authority, but entirely—collaterally, that every link of the sort should be broken. And we may add, failing as to its earthly position, the moment the energy of the Spirit failed, the moment the unstained godliness failed which kept out evil, and left the operations of the given Spirit free. Because the witness of the glory among the Gentiles was not to take the place of the glory, any more than the witness of the resurrection among the Jews was to take the place of the resurrection-glory (and it was only a witness, and therefore shown only to the apostles and teachers among the Jews, and Paul for the Gentiles); but having been witnessed, to fail as regards holding any place here, though effectual by the Spirit to them that believe, that they abounding in hope through it might have an entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior, when He shall be manifested as the risen and glorified One, and sorrow and trial pass away.
And though the filling up as it were was in the ascended glory, of which Paul was the special witness, and therefore he labored more abundantly than they all, as the full testimony was to be given to the world in him, the continuous Gentile dispensation, yet, though he sustained it (by the energy of the Spirit) during his life, he knew well that it would end then, that is, as thus corporately held together. “I know this, that after my departing—shall grievous wolves enter in, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things to draw away the disciples after them.” It was not that God, in the word of His grace to which He commended them, as able to build them up, would not both gather out, and sanctify souls. But he felt and knew well that Ichabod was written on the dispensation, as on every other; till He comes Who could sustain it, enduringly in the present power of a manifested life, Satan being bound from before Him. So it was among the Jews, the resurrection-denying Sadducees being raised against the testimony of that, as the self-righteous Pharisees against the ministry of the Righteous One. So it was among the Gentiles, false teachers bringing into disrepute the energies of the Spirit of God, and thus devouring the flock, because of the feebleness of the shepherds. Oh! how little does the church know the service of crying and tears, the humility of mind which accompanies the watching the fold of Christ against the inroads of the enemy—of Satan. But it is gone. Yet there is One that is ever faithful, Who, be the shepherds ever so cowardly, does not let His scattered sheep be plucked out of His hand.
(Continued from page 117.)
(To be continued.)

The Promise of Life: Part 2

Well, it is in this world that the eternal life has been and is manifested now. Is it by first mending and reconstructing man, by setting the world right, that God gives eternal life? Is life to be got by reforming the world, by modifying the evil of the ways and the tastes of man away from God, by improving man first without God?
What is man? A responsible being that has never been lost! A responsible being, I repeat, away from God, and in departure from God, he has built up for himself a world without God. Bring God into all the fine things that man is doing, and what would be the effect? Most of us know it as a matter of fact that this world, with all its pleasures and things delightful to the flesh, does not let God in, nor Christ, Who is the eternal life; and I get it as a thing that comes in between. Eternal life has come down here, and I have it in a world that has all its life from the first man; in a world entirely departed and alienated from God—a world that had its origin in man having been turned out of—a world that, when Christ in divine beauty and grace was in it, spat in His face and turned Him out. That is the world I am in now.
But where does my heart go to out of the world? To that blessed life I have in Christ. I may have got it but yesterday, but the thing I have received was up there for me before the foundation of the world. I have got Christ as my life: “the life I live is by faith of the Son of God;” and it was in God's mind to give me this life before the world was. “He that hath the Son hath life” —a life not of man at all; and having got it I am to show what is the effect of it, and from whence I got it. What is the life I got from the first Adam? All sin; if put under law, not subject to it; a life with lusts and a will of its own. I judge it altogether. When Christ was here, the tree being bad had judgment pronounced against it. The flesh is a judged thing. I find only sin and condemnation in connection with it, but I get God dealing with this sin in the flesh: “What the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
Mark, it is not only sins remitted, but sin condemned. Oh, I say, sin is in the flesh; I have got it, and I hate it! It is lusting in me, making me dislike what Christ likes whilst my heart is set on Christ. But I find God has dealt in judgment with it, and put it away on the cross. He condemned it where it was put away, and that is where I find I am. I have sin, but I am not to be judged for it—Christ was of God made sin for me. He, in grace, has taken it. My soul in the power of this truth gets perfect peace. I have no more conscience of sins; I am no longer dreading God's judgment, because I am forgiven; all has merged into the deliverance Christ has given. I have perfect liberty; sin has not dominion: I judge this flesh of mine, and all its lusts and will entirely, because it is a judged thing. I am crucified with Christ; I stand in a new condition; I have eternal life in me, Christ being my life. I have liberty and joy by His going through death; I have died, and am risen with Him. This is where I am brought by grace.
I have not only a life of him that departed from God, but as a believer the life of Him Who came into the place where I was away from God, to bring me back to God. I belong to Him; I am risen with Him, where the eternal life is to be displayed. In spirit I am up, there now whilst in the body waiting for Him to come. I am in a world that is merely by the bye to me, only a thing I have to pass through; not of it, even as Christ was not. He passed through and left us an example that we should follow, walking in His footsteps. I am to reckon myself dead. “As we have borne the image of the earthly, even so,” etc. A believer does not belong to the first man, but to the Second. The life of Christ is his, and that is all be owns as his life—that life so blessed, so divine, that the world would not have it, and shrunk from it because it was so perfect, and God took it up and put it on His throne as the only place fitted for it.
Christ down here displayed everything that characterizes this life. I should like to mark one or two traits of it. One is that quiet confidence with God that springs from, and is the fruit of, divine love, that which can trust God and is capable of enjoying blessed communion with God, enabling one through all things and circumstances here to walk confiding in God. One could not have had that confidence if Christ had not died to put away sin, and brought me into relationship with God. Having a purged conscience, I can delight in God; and as regards my walk through this world, Christ is my life, my all. I am consciously dependent on Him. As we pass on through this world we have to overcome. How? “This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” Life has this especial character. It avoids evil, and walks in grace through the world. If I have the life of Christ, I am to walk down here as He walked, in practical life, “Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord,” etc. with the consciousness that it came from God, promised before the world was.
We shall most surely find defectiveness in this from not having self-judged, and the spirit free to enjoy Christ. We have to watch that things of this world do not narrow up the life that is to be made manifest. Do we not find continually that we get under the power of circumstances, by which the heart is often narrowed? How often we have to say, I did not think of that at the right moment! But if always bearing about the dying of the Lord, it would be always easy to manifest His life. If the heart be full of Christ, it will always be ready for Christ. The tendency of saints is to have the heart narrowed up—not ever ready for God and their neighbor. It would not be so if we could only get the heart exercised under a deep consciousness of what the life we have got is, and what the world is, what a. poor, little, wretched thing it is. Having hearts exercised to discern good and evil whilst down here, we should pass through this world as pilgrims and strangers, having cleansed consciences able to judge the flesh as being only the old thing. Life being given, the world (grown up from man rejecting God) is the place where this life is to be exercised, and we get various exercises. See what Paul passed through “We who live are always delivered unto death,” etc. He gloried in tribulation and in infirmities if only the life might be manifested. I desire that your hearts should get hold of what this eternal life is, so to live in the power of it, that you should see how it came into the world revealed in Christ.
Seeing all its blessedness and beauty in Christ, the heart clings round it. In Him the life was the light of men. What a thing—in the place where Satan rules to have God's own life given to us in His Son, and that we live in Christ only, but ever remember that this life has no affinity with the world! We have to manifest the light of life in the midst of the world that will not have Christ; and, alas! how constantly everything tends to make us live by sight instead of by faith. But whatever we fail in, we shall certainly find that God has given us everything in Christ.
Oh, may He give us to know more and more what that eternal life is which was promised in Him before the foundation of the world! J. N. D. (Continued from page 117.)

On Acts 27:14-26

The result justified the apostle’s advice notwithstanding a fair start. But seamen ought to have remembered how apt a mild southerly breeze, in those seas especially, is to shift to a violent northerly wind. So it was now.
“But not long after there beat down it a tempestuous wind that is called Euraquilo; and when the ship was caught and could not face the wind, we gave up and were driven. And running under the lee of a certain small island called Clauda, we were able with difficulty to secure the boat: and when they hoisted it, they used helps, frapping the ship and fearing less they should be cast upon the Syrtis, they lowered the gear and so were driven. But as we were exceedingly pressed by the storm, the next day they began a clearance overboard; and the third [day] they cast out with their own hands the gear {or furniture] of the ship. And when neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small storm lay on, at last every hope that wished us saved was taken away. And when they had been long without food, then Paul stood forth in their midst and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened to me, and not have put to sea from Crete and have gained this injury and loss. And now I exhort you to be of good courage, for there shall be no loss of life among you, only of the ship. For an angel of the God Whose I am and whom I serve stood by me this night saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must stand before Caesar; and, behold, God hath granted thee all that sail with thee. Wherefore, sirs, be of good courage; for I believe God that it shall be as it hath been spoken to me. But we must be cast upon a certain island” (Acts 27:14-26).
The hurricane that caught the ship beat down from Crete, which appears to be the true force of κατ αὐτῆς not “arose against it,” that is, the ship as in the A.V. This is confirmed by Luke 8:23, though ἒβαλε κατὰ is a far more forcible expression than κατέβη...eis as indeed the case here demanded. Compare also, as Mr. Smith suggested, κατὰ τοῦ κρημνοῦ in Luke 8:33. Other ways of taking the words are unnatural in the extreme. Tyndale, after Luther probably, refers “it” to “their purpose” in verse 13. The version of Geneva (1557) should be noticed: “But anone after, there arose agaynst Candie, a stormye wynd out of the north-east.” Now this was not the fact. The wind blew down from Crete, not against Crete, which it could not do. Besides the accusative not the genetive would have been employed in that case. The A. V. with most understood the ship, which however is in the context always πλοῖον, and so ungrammatical. Only in verse 41 is ναῦς employed. The beating of the tornado down the highlands of Crete seems a far more graphic account than its striking against the ship, which was a matter of course in that sea when exposed to a rushing S. N. E. wind. And here it may be remarked that Euroclydon is no known appellation, nor is there any satisfactory source of the word. The more ancient εὐρακύλων is to be preferred, testified by the best MSS. and Vv. J. Bryant’s objections to the compound are not well grounded. Earo-Auster is a similar hybrid. A north-easterly wind fully accounts for the course of the ship. “Bear up into” is more literally to “face,” a term often applied to the collisions of warfare and of common life. Some have attributed it to the practice of painting an “eye” on each side of the prow, so common of old and not unknown still in the Levant.
The small island to the leeward of which they drove before the wind is now called Gozzo. Chlavda they say on the spot, which is the Romaic pronunciation of Clauda; so that the identification is certain. It was under this lee that they got the boat on board, though with difficulty (vs. 16). When ἆρανυες was used absolutely as in verse 13 (cf. Thuc. 2. 15), it meant weighing anchor; here in verse 17 it has its ordinary force of lifting or taking up. The “helps” in question were means to counteract the violence of the gale, rather than the aid of the passengers as some have thought. “Frapping” is the technical English expressed by “under girding.” It is done by passing a large cable four or five times round the ship’s hull. It was common of old, but has been practiced in recent times and on British ships, mercantile and naval. The precariousness of mere scholarship in explaining such a thing may be seen in the learned A. Bockh’s notion that the cable was applied horizontally. Indeed on his authority Dr. L. Schmitz so gave it in the art. Ships in Dr. W. Smith’s Diet. of Greek and Roman Antiquities.
What is rendered in the A. V. “the quicksands” ought really to be “the Syrtis.” Two Syrtes are spoken of. This was the greater or eastern, now the Gulf of Sidra, which Admiral Smyth was the first to survey adequately, as shown in his “Memoirs on the Mediterranean “: an object of great and natural dread to ancient seamen. In this same verse occurs one of the most serious of the many mistakes in the older versions, even Meyer and other moderns perpetuating them. Had they “struck sail,” the ship must inevitably have been driven directly into the Syrtis. “It is not easy (says Mr. Smith) to imagine a more erroneous translation than that of our A. V. ‘Fearing lest they should fall into the quicksands, they strake sail, and so were driven.’ It is in fact equivalent to saying that, fearing a certain danger, they deprived themselves of the only possible means of avoiding it.” Some sail, as the authorities lay down and as common sense feels, is absolutely requisite to keep the ship steady, and hinder her from pitching about and rolling so deeply as to strain and work herself to pieces. Hence the measures necessary were that storm-sails should be set and the ship go on the starboard tack. “Lowering the gear” is the right translation. Kypke, who was a sensible man and sound scholar, is surprisingly loose in his annotations here. He will have it to be “letting down the anchor”! as βλ. κατὰ in verse 12, and so forth, he illustrates βλ πρός. It is singular that Kuhnol, De Wette, and Meyer followed in this wake, so inconsistent with the context.
In verse 18 we see them reduced to the very frequently adopted resource of getting rid of cargo, ὲκβ. ποτ. being the proper terms employed, as we may see in the Onom. of Julius Pollux. In verse 19 they go farther, and “with their own hands” the seamen threw away — what they would not have done save in imminent danger — the ship’s furniture, spare gear, and so forth. The inability to see sun or stars added to their danger, and the violence of the weather so prolonged.
But now leaving the details of the voyage, interesting though they are in the decisive proof they afford at every turn of the absolute reliableness of the divine word, and its incomparable superiority to all the versions and the commentaries of the learned and pious, let us turn to the devoted servant of the Lord, who stands forth in the hour of need and danger and darkness. If he gently recalls their former slight of his counsel, it is neither to pain them nor to exalt himself. Dwelling in love, he dwelt in God and God in him, as every Christian should; and thus he is enabled to use wisely what grace gave. He confesses openly the secret of favor from on high, a favor that extended to them; for the true God despises not any, while He loves perfectly those Whom He adopts as sons to Himself by Jesus our Lord. Yet He does not overlook His offspring, as the same apostle once preached to the Athenians, idolatrous though they were. It is of no small moment that we too should remember this; for evangelical men are apt to think only of the relations of grace. These are of all importance, and only too feebly held by the saints in general. We can scarcely exaggerate what sovereign grace has given us in Christ. But we do not well to slight what scripture reveals of the place man has, as man, and sinner though he be, in the divine mind and compassion. It is the more to be remembered in these days when infidel dreams of development or evolution entice and defile real believers. Truth ignored or neglected by the faithful is the constant resource of Satan for those who know not God and His Son.
Man has a relationship to God which be alone of earthly beings possesses. Other creatures here below began to live when they were organized. Not so man, till Jehovah Elohim breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, the ground of his immortal soul and of his immediate responsibility to God. Therefore, when for him death came in through sin, he alone is to rise again and to give account to God.
Undoubtedly another than Adam was in the counsels of God, the Second Man and Last Adam, infinitely higher than man, even the Son of God no less than the Father, in due time to become the new Head of divine blessing to God’s glory, far, far more than retrieving in obedience unto death what the old head had lost through disobedience; so that mercy might rejoice over judgment, and grace to the sinner be a display of God’s righteousness in virtue of the blood of Jesus.
There are three considerations of no little moment to hold intact and without con fusion. First, the moral nature of God abides in its invisible purity and honor. He loves good and hates evil. His will alone is entitled to guide and govern. The creature is responsible to obey Him. Secondly, the race being alien and sinful (for Adam innocent had no child), grace in Christ alone produces what suits God’s nature according to His word and by His Spirit; as grace alone provided an adequate and everlasting redemption in Christ’s blood and gave that life in Him which is ever holy, dependent, obedient, as He — Himself was in all perfection. But, thirdly, God does not for all this give up His place as “a faithful Creator.” He is the Savior (that is, Preserver) of all men, especially of those that believe. Not a sparrow falls on the ground without our Father, yea, the very hairs of our head are all numbered. Surely there is no reason to fear those that kill the body but are unable to kill the soul. He only is to be feared who is able to kill both body and soul in hell. Not only are others not to be feared, but as the children and servants of God, we are in a position and ought to have the heart to make supplications, prayers, intercessions, thanksgivings for all men; for kings and all that are in high places, no less than for the wretched, and suffering, and degraded, whom their fellows avoid and despise. Grace not only elevates above all the present glory of the world by uniting us to Christ at God’s right hand, but sheds abroad in our hearts the love of God through the Holy Spirit given to us.
All these elements we may see here full and active and in harmony. Christ before the heart delivers from mere and barren theory as well as one sidedness. Not only is there the union of humbleness and dignity, but faith and love with the unflinching confession of Him whose he was and whom he served. There is no seeking to please or win men as his aim. He abides the Lord’s bondman. He testifies a direct revelation sent at that very time. He declares the witness it bore to God’s compassion toward them all, united to His special favor to His servant; and all this in the midst of this busy, blind, selfish, ungodly world.
Two things are to be noticed in that divine message to the apostle, while a prisoner in the hands of the Gentiles through the malice of the Jews. First, he can speak of all his fellow-voyagers given him by God, not of course for eternal life, but for present security. Secondly, he predicts that they must be on a certain island, without pretending to know more. God had not disclosed its name; and he faithfully follows. Revelation was given to exalt not man but God.

Hebrews 2:16-18

Now we come to those in whom the Saviour directly and blessedly interested. Here again is nothing vague, but all is made carefully precise.
“For doubtless not of angels doth He lay hold, but of Abraham's seed he layeth hold. Whence it behooved Him in all things to be made like to His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to help those that are tempted” (ver. 16-18).
The rendering of verse 16 is faultily given in many versions, in none perhaps worse than our own A. V. The sense is totally changed, and a preterite form assigned to the verb, instead of the present tense, the natural consequence of such a change of sense. “He took not on Him the nature of angels, but He took,” etc. This, it is evident, ὲπιλαμβάνευαι cannot bear. It is expressly a present. Again, the word means to lay hold of, especially when with a genitive as here in the middle voice. Such is its force, even when uncompounded; and the preposition defines or emphasizes. Never does it mean to take a nature, though the A. V. seems to have been led into this, partly by Beza, chiefly by certain Greek commentators, for whose mistake no excuse can be made. They were occupied with controversies which misled them to catch at straws. The incarnation was the chief one in this case. But this had been fully treated and just closed. The Holy Spirit here goes on to Christ's making a special object, not of angels, but of Abraham's seed, which of itself ought to have guarded reflecting minds from the error. Why Abraham rather than Adam? It is evidently owing to another truth, no longer the assumption of human nature, but their cause he undertakes. Incarnation was the necessary means, in order to accomplish this and other ends according to God. Here the seed of promise comes into view, a truth palatable to those who valued their descent from Abraham; but, as our Lord showed (John 8), they only are Abraham's children who do the works of Abraham; and none do his works who share not his faith; which, as it did not go with mere fleshly descent, so it was open to those who had like precious faith. For they that be of faith are blessed with the faithful Abraham (Gal. 3:9).
The uncertainty that has prevailed is extraordinary as to almost every word. “For” is the only right sense, not “moreover” as Macknight says, nor “besides” with M. Stuart. The word δήπου was quite mistaken by those that followed the laxity of the Vulgate. The Syriac Versions early and late pass it by altogether. It occurs nowhere else in the Greek Testament nor yet in the Septuagint; but its force is unequivocally in the ordinary usage of the language, as “doubtless,” “I presume,” “forsooth.” We have already seen that “to take up” or “undertake the cause” is the meaning of the verb so emphatically repeated, negatively and positively. Angels He has not as the object of His care, but Abraham's seed He has. It may be applied to laying hold or arresting with hostile intent: where a gracious aim is plain as here, the sense is no less certain. Assuming a nature is without example and in no way involved in the word itself. Nor does it suit the verse either; for, for our Lord to assume Abraham's seed had no nature distinctively. Of blood and flesh it had been already declared He partook, but this is humanity; and the reason assigned is that, as the children, or Abraham's seed, had a common share of the same, He is no doubt undertaking their cause, not that of angels. When it comes to the question of espousing a cause, not of incarnation, we hear not of human nature, but expressly of those separated on the ground of divine promise, the objects of grace.
Hence the moral necessity that He should be “in all things made like to His brethren.” Even though deigning to become man, He might have been in wholly different circumstances from most or all. Yet Adam never knew what it was to be a man, as the Lord of glory did from birth onward. From what trial or suffering was He exempted, sin only excepted? and this that He might in due time be of God made sin on the cross, bearing its bitterest consequences? And this we see as the end in view in 18, “That He might be a merciful and faithful high-priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.”
The allusion is plain to the exceptional position of the high priest on the day of atonement. He and he alone was the actor on that day, and this typically. Christ and Christ alone was the one Sufferer also in the antitype. What was wrought on the cross goes far beyond the “shadow,” though the shadow was constructed to indicate a great deal. But Christ alone gives us the full truth of atonement or of anything else, because He is the truth. His person, unique and divine, made the superiority in every respect.
It was not at all the normal action of priesthood in the holy place. The high priesthood on that day was representative of the people before God in their sins. This was quite extraordinary. A far deeper need was in question than intercession that followed, or representing them within in their acceptance. If sin was to be adequately dealt with even in type, and only for the purifying of the flesh, and but for a year, no other way lay open. It is not application, but God met according to His nature: even the people's lot was putting the confessed sins away out of His sight in the form. The momentous reality appears in all its moral glory and efficacy in that work of Christ's death for sin and our sins, which has perfected and glorified God and brought in eternal redemption.
The English versions are various, and none of them exact, yet there is no uncertainty as to the sense. Wiclif is the most periphrastic “that He should be made merciful and a faithful bishop to God, that He should be merciful to the trespasses of the pupil.” Tyndale is closer, “that He might be merciful, and a faithful high priest in the things concerning God, for to purge the peoples sins.” And so Cranmer and the Geneva Bible. The Rhemish has the barbarous Latin servilely reproduced, “that He might repropitiate,” &c. The A.V. gives “to make reconciliation for the sins of the people": an awkward misrendering. Reconciliation is of persons, as well as of creation; but for sins is not justifiable. Propitiation or atonement for them is correct.
Here too it will be noticed that the Spirit of God does not warrant that unlimited extension for which so many contend. And such is the frailty and caprice of man's mind that those who without and contrary to the text would widen the sphere of “the people,” and “the children of Abraham,” and “His brethren” to all mankind are often the same who on shallow grounds would expunge the universality of the outlook of divine righteousness in Romans 3:22, and change the beautiful distinction of “unto all, and upon all those that believe,” into the indiscriminate and feeble generality of “unto all them that believe.”
The propitiation of Christ is the basis of His priestly action on high. Save the exceptional work of atonement, there was and could be nothing of the kind. For heaven alone is its regular sphere; and this runs through our Epistle from first to last. It was when made perfect (and this was clearly after His sufferings were complete), that He became the cause of everlasting salvation to all that obey Him, being addressed or saluted of God as High-priest after the order of Melchisedec (chap. 5). But the basis of an all-sufficing, God-glorifying propitiation must first be laid and accepted; and then He takes His place in heaven to intercede for those whose sins He bore.
But there was another necessity fully met. He must know not sin, but suffering. He must be tempted to the uttermost, sin excepted (Heb. 4), in order to succor the tempted. “For in that He hath suffered when tempted, He is able to help those that are tempted” (Heb. 2:18).
Temptation means trial; never in Christ's case, what is in fallen man's, inward solicitation to evil. This is what the Holy Spirit expressly denies of Him, and what no one who believed in His person ought to have allowed for a moment. Lustful experience or sin is incompatible with the Holy One of God; and, so far from being in a single instance predicated of Him, it is wholly excluded: χωρίς άμαρτίας could be said of neither Enoch nor Elijah, nor of John and Paul, but of Him only. The blessed endurance of temptation (James 1:2, 12) He knew beyond any; but what James describes in verses 13-15 of his first chapter was foreign to Him, and a blasphemous imputation, as it proves fundamental unbelief of Who and what He is. We are too familiar with the human and selfish argument that He could not sympathize with us adequately if exempt from those internal and evil workings, bemoaned in Rom. 7 and bitterly known by every soul born of God, at least in the early days of his awakening. But if we needed the Lord to be similarly harassed in order to feel fully with us, we should on that ground want Him to have yielded, as we alas! have often done, in order to sympathize with us in our sad failures. No! that ground is wretchedly and absolutely opposed to Christ; and what the word reveals as the remedy for evil within and without in every form and degree is not Christ's sympathy but Ηis propitiatory suffering for us. He sympathizes with us in our holy, not in our unholy, temptations. For our unholiness He died: the cross alone has met it fully in God's sight. Had there been in fact the least inward taint of sin, His sensibility of evil had been impaired, His sufferings diminished, and His sympathy hindered, to say nothing of the deadly wound to His person, unfitted by such an evil nature to be a sacrifice for sin.

The Catholic Apostolic Body or Irvingites: 20. Doctrine - Priesthood and Sacraments

We may now take up a pertinacious system of priestly ordinances which Irvingites share with all the bodies which claim to be Catholic. This assumes a more than ordinarily virulent character in the modern society, just because they after their manner own N. T. truth and power wholly inconsistent with those “old bottles.” In their hands it is no mere confusion, as with some Protestants, but a deliberate and radical error which undermines and destroys fundamental and distinctive privileges which the gospel of God confers on the Christian.
There is no question about their views, which they love (in this case at least) to state hi bold and open terms. Take the preface to Mr. Drummond's “Abstract Principles of Revealed Religion,” p. v. “That without priesthood there can be no sacraments, and without sacraments no spiritual life can be rightly imparted or adequately sustained; that the due worship of God can be carried on only by priests appointed by Himself; that all its parts are definite; forms of buildings in which it is carried on; rites therein performed; furniture appropriate to that end; vestments of those who officiate; hours of celebration, &c.; and that the single act which constitutes Christian worship, and distinguishes true from false worship in Christendom, is the offering up of the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ, without the eating and drinking of which no one can have part in Him.”
Were this a true standard, it would soon and certainly appear that the church of God as built on the foundation of His holy apostles and prophets must b