Bible Treasury: Volume N2

Table of Contents

1. Remarks on 1 John 2:28-3:11
2. Gospel Words: 23. The Lost Drachma
3. James 3:5, 6
4. James 3:7, 8
5. James 3:11, 12
6. Sanctification, or Setting Apart to God.
7. Proverbs 1:20-23
8. Proverbs 2:1-9
9. Proverbs 3:21-35
10. Proverbs 5:1-14
11. The Early Chapters of Genesis: Chapter 11:1
12. A Millennial Picture
13. The Offerings of Leviticus: 1. Offerings for Sin and Trespass
14. Proverbs 1:1-6
15. Gospel Words: the Guests
16. Thoughts on 2 Timothy 1:13
17. James 3:1
18. Remarks on 1 John: 1:1-4
19. The Hope of Christ Compatible With Prophecy: 1
20. The Inspiration of the Scriptures: Introduction
21. Scripture Queries and Answers: Seven Beads and Seven Kings; ACT 20:7-11
22. Fragment: Light
23. Erratum
24. Advertisement
25. Advertisement
26. Advertisement
27. Advertisement
28. Advertisement
29. Advertisement
30. Advertisement
31. The Early Chapters of Genesis: Chapter 11:2-4
32. The Offerings of Leviticus: 2. Sin Offering for the Priest
33. Proverbs 1:7-19
34. Gospel Words: the Host
35. James 3:2
36. Remarks on 1 John: 1:5-10
37. Life and Union
38. The Hope of Christ Compatible With Prophecy: 2
39. The Inspiration of the Scriptures: 1. Divine Authority
40. Scripture Queries and Answers: The Little Horn
41. Erratum
42. Advertisement
43. Published
44. The Early Chapters of Genesis: Chapter 11:5-7: 1.
45. The Offerings of Leviticus: 3. Sin Offering for the Congregation
46. Gospel Words: the Great Supper
47. Two Receptions in the Gospel of John
48. James 3:3-4
49. Remarks on 1 John: 1:9-10, 2:1-7
50. The Hope of Christ Compatible With Prophecy: 3
51. The Inspiration of the Scriptures: 2. Apostolic Doctrine
52. Scripture Queries and Answers: Continents Under the Roman Beast; Many Mansions
53. Review: G. E. Tarner's Future Roman Empire
54. Erratum
55. Published
56. The Early Chapters of Genesis: Chapter 11:5-7: 2.
57. The Offerings of Leviticus: 4. Sin Offering for the Ruler
58. Proverbs 1:24-28
59. Gospel Words: the Lost Sheep
60. Remarks on 1 John: 2:8-27
61. Differences of Dispensation
62. Sanctification or Setting Apart to God: 1
63. The Inspiration of the Scriptures: 2. Apostolic Authority
64. Dwellers on Earth: Part 1
65. Scripture Queries and Answers: HEB 9:12; Offenders Causing Divisions and Stumbling Blocks
66. First Records of Thermal Springs
67. Published
68. The Early Chapters of Genesis: Chapter 11:8-9
69. The Offerings of Leviticus: 5. Sin Offering for One of the People
70. Proverbs 1:29-33
71. Latter Times and Last Days (Duplicate)
72. The Inspiration of the Scriptures: 3. Its Uniformity
73. Dwellers on Earth: Part 2
74. Scripture Query and Answer: Zion and Heaven
75. Early Testimonies (Fragment)
76. Advertisement
77. The Early Chapters of Genesis: Chapter 11:10-26: 1. The Genealogy
78. The Offerings of Leviticus: 6. Sin (Trespass) Offering
79. Gospel Words: the Lost Son
80. James 3:9-10
81. Sanctification or Setting Apart to God: 2
82. Remarks on 1 John: 3:12-24, 4:1-6
83. The Inspiration of the Scriptures: 4. the Human Element
84. Suffer the Word of Exhortation
85. Scripture Queries and Answers: John 1:5
86. Scripture Queries and Answers: Serving the Lord
87. Advertisement
88. The Early Chapters of Genesis: Chapter 11:10-26: 2. The Generations
89. The Offerings of Leviticus: 7. Trespass Offering
90. Proverbs 2:10-22
91. Gospel Words: the Prudent Steward
92. Sanctification or Setting Apart to God: 3
93. Remarks on 1 John: 4:7-14
94. The Inspiration of the Scriptures: 4. the Human Element
95. Are the Newman Street Teachers (Catholic Apostolic) Sent of God? 1
96. Scripture Queries and Answers: JER 51:39, 57, REV 14:10, 11; Last Trump; Without; Dead and Living Saints; JUD 9
97. Advertisement
98. The Early Chapters of Genesis: Chapter 11:10-26: 3. The Crisis
99. The Offerings of Leviticus: 8. Trespass Offering
100. Proverbs 3:1-4
101. Gospel Words: the Rich Man and Lazarus
102. Reflections on Galatians 6:3-10
103. James 3:13
104. Sanctification, or Setting Apart to God: 4
105. Remarks on 1 John: 4:15-21, 5:1-5
106. The Inspiration of the Scriptures: 4. the Human Element
107. Are the Newman Street Teachers (Catholic Apostolic) Sent of God? 2
108. Scripture Queries and Answers: He Led Captivity Captive; LEV 16; HEB 10:29; 1PE 4:17
109. Advertisement
110. The Early Chapters of Genesis: Chapter 11:10-26: 4. Ages
111. The Offerings of Leviticus: 9. The Law of the Burnt Offering
112. Proverbs 3:5-8
113. Gospel Words: Unprofitable Bondmen
114. The Wish of Paul in Chains: Part 1
115. Reflections on Galatians 6:7-10
116. James 3:14
117. Remarks on 1 John: 5:6-19
118. The Inspiration of the Scriptures: 4. the Human Element
119. Are the Newman Street Teachers (Catholic Apostolic) Sent of God? 3
120. Fragments: Cain and Abel; The Utterances of the Cross; Dying Thou Shalt Die
121. Scripture Queries and Answers: Reverend; PHI 3:11
122. Advertisement
123. The Early Chapters of Genesis: Chapter 11:27-28
124. Scripture Queries and Answers: Mistranslation; Organization in Divine Things
125. The Offerings of Leviticus: 10. Law of the Meal Offering
126. Proverbs 3:9-12
127. Gospel Words: the Persistent Widow
128. The Wish of Paul in Chains: Part 2
129. James 3:15-16
130. Remarks on 1 John: 5:6-21
131. The Person of Christ: Part 1
132. The Inspiration of the Scriptures: 4. the Human Element
133. Are the Newman Street Teachers (Catholic Apostolic) Sent of God? 4
134. A Letter on Recent Heterodoxy
135. 1 Timothy 4:14
136. Advertisement
137. The Early Chapters of Genesis: Chapter 11:29-30
138. The Offerings of Leviticus: 11. Law of the Meal Offering of Aaron and His Sons
139. Proverbs 3:13-20
140. Gospel Words: the Pharisee and the Tax Gatherer
141. James 3:17
142. The Person of Christ: Part 2
143. A Call to Remembrance
144. The Body, the Church: 1
145. The Inspiration of the Scriptures: 4. the Human Element
146. Are the Newman Street Teachers (Catholic Apostolic) Sent of God? 5
147. Letter From an Old Disciple to a Young Sister in the Lord
148. Advertisement
149. Advertisement
150. The Early Chapters of Genesis: Chapter 11:31-32
151. The Offerings of Leviticus: 12. Law of the Sin Offering
152. Gospel Words: Christ's Returning to Reign
153. James 3:18
154. The Body, the Church: 2
155. Signs and Waiting for the Son From Heaven
156. The Inspiration of the Scriptures: 4. the Human Element
157. Are the Newman Street Teachers (Catholic Apostolic) Sent of God? 6
158. Advertisement
159. Isaac: 1. Introduction
160. The Offerings of Leviticus: 13. Law of the Trespass Offering
161. Proverbs 4:1-19
162. So Shall the Sea Be Calm Unto You
163. The Shepherd of the Sheep
164. The Promise of the Father
165. The Body, the Church: 3
166. James 4:1-3
167. The Inspiration of the Scriptures: 5. Divine Design
168. Scripture Queries and Answers: Castaway; Day of Atonement
169. Advertisement
170. Isaac: 2. His Antecedents
171. The Offerings of Leviticus: 14. Priest's Portion in General
172. Proverbs 4:10-19
173. Gospel Words: the Door
174. The Promise of the Father
175. The Body, the Church: 4
176. The Administration of the Fullness of the Seasons: 1
177. James 4:4-6
178. The Inspiration of the Scriptures: Genesis
179. If and Not If
180. Advertisement
181. Isaac: 3. The Son and Heir Born
182. The Offerings of Leviticus: 15. Law of the Peace Offerings
183. Abigail Compared With Jonathan
184. Proverbs 4:20-27
185. Gospel Words: the Good Shepherd
186. The Administration of the Fullness of the Seasons: 2
187. James 4:7-10
188. The Inspiration of the Scriptures: Exodus
189. Christian Science: Falsely So-Called
190. Nothing but Christ (Duplicate)
191. Scripture Query and Answer: Conversions in the Millennial Age
192. The Cross of Christ
193. Fragment: Priesthood and Advocacy
194. Fragment: Baptism
195. Advertisement
196. Isaac: 4. Isaac Abiding, Hagar and Ishmael Dismissed
197. The Offerings of Leviticus: 16. Prohibition of Fat and Blood
198. Gospel Words: Feet Washing
199. The Administration of the Fullness of the Seasons: 3
200. To Depart and Be With Christ
201. James 4:11-12
202. Jewish and Christian Expectation of Christ Contrasted: 1
203. The Inspiration of the Scriptures: Leviticus
204. On Isolation or Independency
205. Scripture Queries and Answers: Entrance vs. Ascension; Bread Broken Before and Wine Poured After?
206. Fragment: The Historical Church
207. Advertisement
208. Isaac: 5. Jehovah, God Everlasting
209. The Offerings of Leviticus: 17. Supplement on Peace Offerings
210. Proverbs 5:15-23
211. Gospel Words: the Vine
212. James 4:13-15
213. Jewish and Christian Expectation of Christ Contrasted: 2
214. The Christian
215. The Church
216. The Inspiration of the Scriptures: Numbers
217. Sabbath
218. Advertisement
219. Isaac: 6. Isaac Dead and Risen in Figure
220. The Offerings of Leviticus: 18. Final Summary of the Offerings
221. Proverbs 6:1-11
222. Gospel Words: Christ the Bread of Life
223. Jesus and the Resurrection
224. James 4:16-17
225. Jewish and Christian Expectation of Christ Contrasted: 3
226. Grace
227. The Inspiration of the Scriptures: Deuteronomy
228. Righteousness
229. Scripture Query and Answer: 1 Corinthians 14:29
230. Scripture Queries and Answers: Man Child Caught Up
231. Scripture Queries and Answers: Genesis 4:23-24
232. Scripture Queries and Answers: Hebrews 4:14; 9:11-12
233. Advertisement
234. Isaac: 7. The Numerous Seed and the One Seed
235. Priesthood: 1. Introduction
236. Proverbs 6:12-19
237. Gospel Words: Eating Christ's Flesh and Drinking His Blood
238. James 5:1-6
239. Jewish and Christian Expectation of Christ Contrasted: 4
240. We Know
241. The Inspiration of the Scriptures: Joshua
242. The Inspiration of the Scriptures: Judges
243. The Inspiration of the Scriptures: Ruth
244. To the Editor of the Chinese Recorder: Part 1
245. Advertisement
246. Isaac: 8. Sarah Dead and Buried
247. Priesthood: 2. The Priesthood Consecrated
248. Proverbs 6:20-26
249. Gospel Words: Christ the Corn of Wheat
250. James 5:7-11
251. The Day Star
252. Jewish and Christian Expectation of Christ Contrasted: 5
253. The Inspiration of the Scriptures: 1 Samuel
254. The Inspiration of the Scriptures: 2 Samuel
255. The Inspiration of the Scriptures: 1 Kings
256. The Inspiration of the Scriptures: 2 Kings
257. To the Editor of the Chinese Recorder: Part 2
258. Universal Redemption?; Salt?
259. The Force of Regeneration
260. Advertisement
261. Isaac: 9. The Bride Called for Isaac
262. Priesthood: 3. Consecration of the Priests
263. Proverbs 6:27-35
264. Gospel Words: the Demoniac Mute
265. James 5:12
266. The Inspiration of the Scriptures: 1 Chronicles
267. The Inspiration of the Scriptures: 2 Chronicles
268. The Inspiration of the Scriptures: Ezra
269. The Inspiration of the Scriptures: Nehemiah
270. Inspiration of the Scriptures: Esther
271. Innovation
272. Scripture Query and Answer: Captivity Led Captive
273. Walking Worthily
274. The Red Sea and Jordan
275. Advertisement
276. Isaac: 10. The Bride Called for Isaac
277. Priesthood: 4. The Priests Consecrated
278. Proverbs 7:1-5
279. Gospel Words: the Withered Hand Healed
280. James 5:13-15
281. God's Promises to Abraham and His Grace to the Church: Part 1
282. Separate State and the Resurrection (Duplicate)
283. Kingdom of God: 1
284. The Inspiration of the Scriptures: Job
285. Forgiveness and Positive Grace
286. The Gospel of the Glory of Christ
287. The Second Tables of the Law
288. Advertisement
289. Isaac: 11. Bride Called for Isaac
290. The Holy Attire
291. Proverbs 7:6-23
292. The Blind and Dumb Demoniac
293. James 5:16-18
294. God's Promises to Abraham, and His Grace to the Church: Part 2
295. Kingdom of God: 2
296. The Inspiration of the Scriptures: Psalms
297. Advertisement
298. Isaac: 12. The Bride Called for Isaac
299. Priesthood: 5. The Consecration
300. Proverbs 7:24-27
301. Gospel Words: Feeding of the Five Thousand
302. James 5:19-20
303. Kingdom of God: 3
304. Providence and Faith
305. The Inspiration of the Scriptures: Proverbs
306. The Inspiration of the Scriptures: Ecclesiastes
307. The Inspiration of the Scriptures: Song of Songs
308. Published

Remarks on 1 John 2:28-3:11

If faith in the leading of the Spirit is lost, and we desire to be led, there is nothing flatters and pleases some men more than to lead us; to be religious “superiors,” with an usurped authority which practically sets aside that of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. In verse 28 observe that the apostle does not say “you” but “we.” It is the same in his second Epistle, (ver. 8). He felt his responsibility for the sheep (so Paul in 1 Thess. 5:23 R.V. and Peter, 1 Peter 5:1-4). In 1 Thess. 2:19, we see the joy of Paul in the hope of meeting in glory those to whom he had ministered here.
John looks seriously at another possibility, and touchingly says, “And now, my children, abide in Him that when He shall appear we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.” What true pastors the apostles were! (Read Rom. 14:10-12; 1 Cor. 4:5; 2 Cor. 5:10.) The thought of that supreme moment when the Lord Himself will give to every saint the fullest light on the things in his course that have been acceptable to Him, and on those that have not been acceptable—His final judgment on the good and the evil which each hath done, and about which there is hesitancy now—this thought leads to the third great subject of this Epistle, a very full and clear description of the two “seeds” that now are in the world and of their doings. There are those who are of God, and there are those who are of the devil (3:8, 9); and the issues of life can be only of the same nature as their source, an oft-forgotten truth.
God is righteous; the devil sinneth from the beginning, that is, from the moment of his fall he has done nothing but evil. Now “if ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that does righteousness, is horn of him.” Man by nature does unrighteousness, cover it over as he may. (See from Gen. 6:5 to Eph. 2:3 and the final and eternal judgment of the lost, Rev. 20:15.) Then let the child of God in taking a step, in doing a deed, yea in speaking a word, keep in mind that he is “born of God.” He is not indebted to “blood” (that is natural generation, however godly his parents) “nor to the will of the flesh, nor to the will of man.” For this endearing relationship to God (John 1:12, 13) is the work of God alone, and the spring of love that was in His heart, when He begat His child, is as full for that child all the way through as at first. Hence the rapturous joy with which the third chapter of our Epistle begins; surely, written by one who knew it well.
1 John 3:1. With holy delight and admiration the greatness of the love of God is set before the new affections of the quickened soul. “Behold what love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God.” The personal ministry of the Lord when here was ever to this end, that His disciples should know and enjoy this manner of love (John 17:6-26); and in His absence the Holy Spirit continues the work in every believer (Rom. 8:15, 16). The disciples were not only taught the truth of it, but witnessed it livingly in Him. “The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father” (John 1:14), and of “the only-begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father” (John 1:18). They thus affirm His eternity, but equally declare that they beheld Him in the relationship and the affection which they were called to share. “My Father, and your Father” (John 20:17). With reverence we feel and own His pre-eminence: He—infinite, divine, eternal: we—begotten in time, who were once children of wrath even as others (Eph. 2:3); and are prepared to read the remainder of our verse in the heart-cheering light of this beginning” — Therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not.” All His goodness, His innumerable acts of mercy, did not shield Him from the world's hatred (John 15:24). He who was the well-beloved of the Father was despised and rejected of men. Can we not see the fitness of the “therefore” to follow such a “because?”
Again in verse 2 the apostle says “Beloved,” addressing those whom the world knows not, many of them suffering from its hatred. He sees them in all the dignity of their relationship to God, his own enjoyed relationship far more to him than his apostleship. “Beloved, now are we children of God;” not a question, not a doubt about it. There is more than this. He looks at what we shall be when Jesus is manifested (or appears). Then all that is unlovely in us will forever pass away, “we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is;” or, as expressed by Paul, we shall be “conformed to the image of His Son, that He may be the first-born among many brethren” (Rom. 8:29). This divine way of regarding those who believe in Jesus is important, and a study of John 17:20 to 24 will greatly help to an understanding of the verses we are considering. The desires of the Lord are, by the Spirit, very present with the apostle.
In verse 3 our practical condition is brought powerfully home to the conscience, “Every one that hath this hope (set) on Him purifieth himself even as He is pure.” How feebly have we estimated His perfect purity (see John 17:19), and sought in the light of it to be separated to God from all that is evil! He was, is, and ever will be pure. As in Him, there is no spot on us (1 Cor. 6:11); but as to walk here, though clean every whit, we have need continually to have the feet washed. Contact with the world, unless cleansed as to our ways by the word, defiles us. A study of John 13:1-10 will throw much light on this, and check the proneness to rest in present attainment as well as self-complacency. When Stephen was wholly occupied with the Lord Jesus as He is, “looking up steadfastly into heaven,” how closely he resembled Him when here in grace (see Luke 23:34, 46 and Acts 7:60), and how the world, yea the most religiously enlightened in it, knew him not, even as they knew not his Lord and Savior. He was full of the Holy Ghost Whom they always resisted; and while he was praying for them, they were stoning him
Now (ver. 4), it is doing sin that defileth men, and sin is—what? Not as in the A.V., “the transgression of the law” for sin was in the world when there was no law (Rom. 5:13, 14), but “sin is lawlessness” (see R. V.), and we are conceived in it. Rebelliousness is natural to us. As Paul, looking at man as man, says, “the mind of the flesh is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Rom. 8:7).
John on the other hand, looking only on the life bestowed on the believer, says, “the seed of God abideth in him, and he cannot sin because he is born of God” (ver. 9). He, in this important statement, leaves aside the flesh which Paul affirms never does anything but sin. The Christian as a Christian, does not live after the flesh, although exposed to being drawn aside by it. These first principles of our most holy faith must be apprehended to follow the teaching of this chapter. For it deals with the fact, solemn to realize, that God sets His children in the presence of the children of the devil as a testimony for His glory, and for their blessing (see Phil. 2:15, 16); God loved the world, and sent His Son, not to judge it, but that it might be saved (John 3:17); and He is the propitiation for the whole world (1 John 2:2).
The difficulty therefore in the case of the sinner lies not in the fact of his fallen state, nor in the hopelessness of making the flesh better, nor in the powerlessness of nature to overcome the wicked one. It lies wholly in his unwillingness to look to the Son of God, Jesus Christ, for salvation from it all. When the serpent was lifted up by Moses in the wilderness, the difficulty was not with the fiery serpents, however numerous; nor was it in the deadly character of the poison instilled by their bite; but whether or not the bitten would look to the serpent which Moses by God's command had lifted up, and realize in the new life given the undoing of the work of the serpents. So here in verse 5, “the Son of God was manifested to take away our sins,” and in verse 8, “to destroy” (lit. undo)” the works of the devil,” the latter as truly as the former. We are not only to rejoice in full and everlasting forgiveness —for if He shall have taken away our sins, who shall bring them back?—but the works of the devil, and all his untiring energy of evil, are overcome, and in the believer undone. The prey is taken from the mighty, the lawful captive is delivered (Isa. 49:24), and
“He owns himself the Savior's prize,
Mercy from first to last.”
Hence the ninth verse is all-important. The seed of God is not only communicated to, but remaineth in, every one that is born of Him. There is no such seed in the unbeliever. He may be accredited as having it by those who assume to be the church, but to rest on that is to build on sand. The seed of God is the new life from God by which a man becomes a partaker of the divine nature, and joys in God. Can the receiver of it lose it? Never. “It remaineth in him, and he cannot sin because he is born of God.” Faith, strong in its simplicity, will do this word of God justice, and say with Paul, “I have been crucified (perfect tense) with Christ, yet I live; no longer I, but Christ liveth in me,” and will add, conscious of need, “that life which I now live in the flesh, I live in faith (the faith), which is in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself up for me” (Gal. 2:20, R.V.).
Beyond cavil the blessing of such teaching is great, its moral power most precious, and for testimony in the world—where neither divine righteousness nor divine love exists—it is of supreme value. To manifest both, Christians are left in it (ver. 10), not righteousness without love, nor love apart from righteousness. A further “message” from the Lord is given in verse 11, (for this compare John 15:12-17): a “message” from Him Whose love passeth knowledge and never fails; and it is only by learning of Him the truth of divine righteousness and love that the learner can become a doer (see ver. 16).

Gospel Words: 23. The Lost Drachma

Luke 15:8-10.
THE parable which follows the lost sheep presents the sinner's case in another form. It is not as that animal foolish and straying, but like a coin without life, a dead thing. Both are true of fallen man. As all are gone out of the way, and none seeketh after God, with destruction and wretchedness in their ways (Rom. 3), so were all dead in their offenses and their sins, by nature children of wrath one as another (Eph. 2). But grace goes forth to save and does save; not the creature's grace, but God's. This the Pharisees and scribes disliked; but the Lord demonstrates it, and draws the despised near to hear One so capable of telling out the love, of which He was the brightest witness and the richest gift. These parables are a pair, as the opening word indicates.
“Or what woman having ten drachmas, if she have lost one drachma, doth not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently till she shall have found it? And on finding, she calleth together the friends and the neighbors, saying, Rejoice with me, because I found the drachma which I lost.
Thus, I say to you, there ariseth joy in presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth” (Luke 15:8-10). Herein is a scene within the house, and a woman is active in seeking out the lost object; as in the former a man strenuous to recover the stray one without. But in both it is divine grace, grace entirely above man or woman, which the Savior sets before us so vividly; and the lost one is man or woman whom grace seeks and saves. Is it nothing to you who read these lines that you are “lost”? that you have turned your back on God? and that you are utterly hard and insensible in your alienation? Assuredly He is not cold or indifferent Who so loved the world that He gave His Only-begotten Son; that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish but have life eternal (John 3). Not hard nor regardless of guilty man is He Who commends His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us,-died for the ungodly (Rom. 5). Herein is love, not that we loved Him, but that He loved us and sent His Son as propitiation for our sins (1 John 4). Such is the true God Whose compassion the Lord Jesus here makes known. He here represents the painstaking of grace by a woman who spares no pains to win back her lost silver piece. She cannot rest about it. If sinners are beguiled by the enemy to disbelieve their ruin, the direct contrast is plain in her. She lights a lamp; she sweeps the house; she searches carefully till she finds it. It is not otherwise with the Holy Spirit. In the redeemed He is come to dwell, and causes the saints, however opposed in their old natural state as Jews and Gentiles, fitted together, to grow into a holy temple in the Lord, even now being builded together for God's habitation in the Spirit. Also He takes a most energetic part as well as loving interest in awakening the sinner from the slumber of death. It is He that makes the candle of the word shine into the dark recesses of the heart. It is He that probes the guilty conscience. It is He that discovers the fatal evil of darling sins in the light of God. Oh, have ye not experienced these gracious workings in your souls? Have you not felt as you read or listened to scripture, that somehow God was speaking to your conscience? Beware of turning a deaf ear to Him Who warns and would win you to Himself from all evil. If He press home the certainty that God will have every work and word brought into judgment, He does not fail to remind you of the riches of His goodness and forbearance and longsuffering. Do not longer ignore that the goodness of God leads you unto repentance? What goodness can match His spending the Only-begotten on you? What was it for the Lord of all to become Servant of all-yea, to die as a sacrifice for sinners.
Fear not to lay your hand on that infinite offering for sin. If the blood of hulls and goats could be no more than a witness by the way, if their effect could be but provisional and temporary, it is not so with the blood-shedding of the Lord Jesus. By His blood peace was made for those who had been at war with God; and who can wonder? For His blood cleanses from all sin. It is God's word which so testifies to you. “See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spoke on earth, much more shall not we if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven? And his voice then shook the earth; but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I will shake not the earth only but also heaven” (Heb. 12).
It may be remarked, that as the first of these three parables points evidently to the Lord Jesus, so does the second to the Holy Spirit, and the third yet more unmistakably to the Father. How blessed is it, that all the divine Persons of the Godhead are engaged on behalf of the lost one that he may be saved! Who can deny that this the Savior preached when here? And the Spirit has inspired the scripture for you to her and believe.

James 3:5, 6

Many there are in all ages disposed to take account of nothing but deeds. Freedom in speech seems a necessary prerogative of a man, and its excess of all things most venial. Far different was our Lord's estimate of words (Matt. 12), which yet more than deeds express the feelings and bent of the inner man. And similar is the language of His servant here, couched in terse, severe, highly figurative, but all the more unsparing, terms. “So also the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. See how large a wood how little a fire kindleth! And the tongue is fire, the world of iniquity; the tongue cometh to be in our members that which defileth the whole body, and setteth in a blaze the course [lit. wheel] of nature, and is set in a blaze by gehenna” (vers. 5, 6).
That the tongue should be physically diminutive only gives the more vividness to its capacity for mischief beyond reckoning or measure. Who can conceive the destructive effects of an evil word? Yet the tongue, little as it is, boasts habitually and also great things; and is so much the more readily enticed to persevere and grow bolder, if sin is limited to deeds of the body. It may be observed that the word ὕλη (here as generally translated “wood” or “forest”) is often in philosophical writings used to express “matter,” and by historians or others, like “materia” in Latin authors, the stuff or material of anything, timber, &c. The A. V. had ground for its rendering, even if the preponderance lean to that view which is presented here.
How energetic is the opening of ver. 6! “The tongue is fire.” It is not only that a mighty conflagration ensues from an apparently trivial spark; but the tongue itself is “fire” morally. However free from open acts of unrighteousness he may be who gives it loose rein without God before his eyes, it is without going farther “the world of iniquity.” He Whose ears are open to the cry of the righteous does not fail to mark unbridled license of speech, which shrinks not from any imputation, however unjust, that ill-will can dictate.
The best witnesses, both MSS. and Vv., omit the “thus” which smooths the way for the second time “the tongue” is introduced. It is most forcible as it stands simply. “The tongue cometh to be in our members that which defileth the whole body,” and this is a sense which, prevailing in the best authors so that no detailed justification is necessary, seems to suit the clause, better than the bare “is” of the A. V. or “is constituted” as it frequently means. Here it is liable to give the erroneous notion of being divinely arranged to so evil an end; which is a thought impossible to a good conscience and wholly opposed to the truth. It is through the fall, and the self will or lawlessness which characterizes sin, that the tongue comes thus to be such a burning power of evil in the members. It is the defiler of the whole body, for there is no limit to its unrighteousness; “the world of iniquity,” deeming itself to have immunity as long as it only injures in word.
But the latter clauses both enlarge the sphere of the evil, and deepen our sense of its source to the highest degree. For we are next told that “it setteth in a blaze the course of nature, and is set on a blaze by hell.” The wheel or course of nature extends far beyond the whole body; and such is the inflammatory range for the malignant tongue. What then must be the spring? It is, as we lastly hear, “set on a blaze by hell.” The evil one is a murderer as well as a liar; and unceasing antagonism to Christ in both respects is its flagrant proof.

James 3:7, 8

ANOTHER consideration is now urged, and not a little humiliating to set souls on their guard in the allowance of the tongue, and to hinder surprise at the extravagance of its outbreaks.
“For every nature of both wild beasts and birds, of both things that creep and things in the sea, is tamed and hath been tamed by the nature of man; but the tongue is none of men able to tame: an unsettled evil, full of deadly poison” (vers. 7, 8).
Here the inspired writer alleges an indisputable fact. What savage brute has not yielded to the dominion of man? What has not been subdued and become his pet or playmate? What bird of the air fierce or timorous has not bowed to his superiority and obeyed his will? Serpents even, however wily, powerful, or venomous, have been often taught harmless familiarity; while creatures of the sea have made friends and rendered homage or service to him.
But where is the man that has truly tamed either his own tongue or another's? Here one can appeal to universal observation, though not less forcibly and painfully to personal experience. It may and ought to be a heart-breaking confession; but is it not most true? Who does not know how rapid and ready is the tongue to break bounds; how slow to seek or keep the peace? How vehement its invective, how irritating its insinuations, how bitter and unmeasured its revilings? Is any one too obscure or feeble to escape its assault? Is any so venerable or exalted as to overawe its audacity? What piety or godliness can suffice to shame its insolence, or to silence its malice?
It is indeed, as it is here called “an unsettled” or unstable “evil, full of deadly poison.” Nor is the poison ever more attractive and dangerous than when administered in a gilded pill. Good words and fair speeches to make the worse appear the better reason is a favorite device of the enemy, and peculiarly fitted to deceive the hearts of the guileless.
Does this seem a too highly colored picture of the tongue? It is from One Who knew what is in man, and needed none therefore to bear witness of him. And He Whom James served in this Epistle as in his life-ministry knew what it was to have a human heart and tongue, both bearing good and sweet fruits continually to His God and Father. It is to Him that the believer looks and on Whose grace he counts. For underneath the gloomy description of a still gloomier reality, there is a streak of light divine. Is it written that absolutely none is able to tame the tongue? By no means. None “of men” can tame it. Ah! we can thank God. He is our desire, our expectation, and our strength. It were a wholly unchristian thought to subjugate our own tongue. It is our confidence to look up to God for that which is altogether beyond our capacity. And He works His wonders in everything through Christ our Lord. If all the rude men of Nazareth bore Him witness and wondered at the words of grace which proceeded out of His lips, does not our God and Father use these to humble and to transform and to invigorate, so that the tongue, that once was our shame, should be by His grace truly our “glory,” according to the Hebrew phrase? Christ indeed was here perfect. “Never man spoke like this man,” said the officials who were no friends, to their superiors who were His foes. But we are His; and as He is our life, may we learn of Him in this respect as in every other.

James 3:11, 12

In this portion follow fresh illustrations to impress on the readers the incongruity and the enormity of injurious speech, all the worse for utterances of piety and propriety interchanged with it, and beyond just question condemnatory of it, as indicating the lack of the fear of God and of regard for man. The inspired writer's sense of its evil kindles into glowingly indignant questions, to which expostulation he himself supplies the answer in a few pregnant words.
“Doth the fountain out of the same opening pour forth the sweet and the bitter? Can, my brethren, a fig tree produce olives, or a vine figs? Neither [can] salt water produce sweet” (vers. 11, 12).
Here as elsewhere, the homeliness of the examples lends the more force to the reproof. To take the first instance: who ever heard of the fountain from the same slit emitting sweet water and bitter? Nature itself rebukes so shameless a mixture, and issues so contradictory, in those who praise the Lord and the Father. The great apostle of the Gentiles drew weapons from the same armory in 1 Cor. 11:14, 16 for divine order, and in 2 Thess. 3:10 also; as he did repeatedly to his confidential fellow-laborer Timothy in his First Epistle (2:12-15, 4:3-5, 6:6-8). But nowhere have we more telling thrusts of this kind than in the Epistle before us; where the impossible in nature is made to expose and castigate the ethically inconsistent, especially aggravated as it was by the profession of relationship to God and by the claim to enjoyment of His favor. Is the new nature to be disgraced by that which the old universal nature repudiates even though fallen?
In the second the demand is still more peremptory. It is not, Does, but “Can a fig tree produce olives, or a vine figs?” And we have the repetition of “my brethren” in this second case, though so soon after its dignified affectionate introduction just before in verse 10, in order to send the appeal home to their bosoms. One of the learned men who, setting up to interpret the words, set at naught its spirit, dares to compare the figure with our Lord's in Matt. 7:16-20 in order to disparage His servant here. But it is only another sample of the ill-willed ignorance which so constantly appears where erudition is not subservient to faith; that is, where man assumes to judge God, instead of seeking to profit by His word. For the Lord was there laying down the error of expecting good fruit from a bad tree; whereas His servant in, order to rebuke the glaring inconsistency of calling on the Lord of glory and indulging evil speech, confronts it with the natural impossibility of a tree producing any but its own proper fruit. Both are plainly true, and each exquisitely adapted to its purpose. Unbelief blindly errs, but only betrays its sinful presumption to those that know God and bow to His word. It is possible that the first word of the last clause (οὔτε, neither) may have through hasty misapprehension given rise to the added οὔτως (“thus") of the Text. Rec. Then came an effort to make the phrase more pointed by reading οὐδεμία πηγή (no fountain). The Sinaitic Uncial has οὕτως οὐδέ. But even Tischendorf, and Westcott and Hort decline to follow; for they with Alford, Lachmann, Tregelles, and Wordsworth, read the text which yields the translation given above. There is, it would seem, a certain strangeness in reading οὄτε rather than οὐδέ. But this appears to be explicable by the writer's carrying on in his mind the preceding clause. The insertion of the conjunction (καἱ, “and") in the last clause is opposed to the weightiest of the ancient witnesses, both MSS. and Vv. and loses the point of the true text, which varies the figure by a negation which is indisputable.

Sanctification, or Setting Apart to God.

1 Peter 1
THE Jews under the law said indeed, trusting to their own strength, We will do all that Thou hast spoken. They undertook to do everything when it was prescribed to them as a condition. But here it is much more; it is the Spirit that makes one say, “What wilt thou have me do?” It is submission, it is the principle of obedience really produced in the heart “I know not what Thou wilt, but here am I to do Thy will.” It is obedience without reserve. There is no question here of rules that man cannot accomplish, but of the whole will changed, no more to do one's own will but to do God's will.
The book of the law was sprinkled, as well as the people. That in fact gave its efficacy to the requisitions of the law. But the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus, gives to the changed heart the purification and the peace which belong to those who are placed under the efficacy of His blood. We are placed there as the Jews were under the blood of the goat of atonement, not however for a year only but forever.
Take a soul, then, that the Holy Spirit has hewn out of the quarry of this world, being honest, amiable, kept by the good providence of God, but withal doing its own will. Well, God has found it there in the world and of the world, notwithstanding all its good qualities; and He has to put His love in its heart, in order that it may, without hesitation, only care about the will of God to do it. But, thus separated, it is under the blood of sprinkling, it is cleansed from all its sins.
This is the first principle; the separation wrought by God Himself, Who places us outside of this world, or rather of the things of this world, and makes us Christians. Without this there is no Christianity.
God acts effectually; He does nothing by halves, and that is all His work. God does not deceive Himself. He must have realities. He does not deceive Himself as we deceive ourselves, and as we try to deceive others, although we deceive others less than we deceive ourselves.
I would point out to you the meaning of the word sanctification. It is rarely used in the scriptures in the sense in which we generally use it, that is to say, in the progressive sense. It is only three times spoken of in this sense. It is said, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness (sanctification), without which no man shall see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14). “The very God of peace sanctify you wholly” (1 Thess. 5:23). These two passages show that I do not set aside this sense of the word.
But it more particularly designates an act of separation from evil, a setting apart for God. If we have not laid hold of this meaning, there will be an entire mistake as to what sanctification is. In the two passages quoted above, the word has an everyday application. In the sense in which it is used by the apostle in the beginning of this Epistle, it is perfectly in the sense. Of taking a stone out of the quarry of the world to fashion it for God. Sanctification is attributed to the Father in more than one place in the Bible; see Heb. 10:10. Now, it is by this will that we are sanctified; by the offering once made of the body of Jesus Christ. It is by the will of God that we are sanctified.
1. There is the first thought, the will of God which is to set us apart (to sanctify us);
2. And the means, namely, the offering of Christ.
And it is always, with scarce more than a few exceptions, which we have already quoted, in this manner that it is spoken of in the Hebrews. Sanctification is attributed to God the Father in another passage also, Jude 1 [though the better reading says, “beloved “].
The Father having willed to have children for Himself, the blood of Jesus does the work, and the Holy Spirit comes to accomplish the counsels of the Father, and to give them efficacy by producing the practical effect in the heart. The soul separated from the world is sanctified by His vital act. There is the old trunk which pushes forth its shoots, but God acts in quickening, and His act, which takes place by the Holy Spirit, works the daily practical sanctification. The heart each day more and more realizes it. It is not like a vase, because in man it is the heart which is set apart. Thus, when life is communicated, and thereby the man is sanctified, there is a daily work of sanctification which applies to the affections, to the habits, to the walk, &c.
Let us see how God does this (verse 3).
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, according to his abundant mercy, hath begotten us again to a living hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”
Such is the way God does it. He sets us apart for Himself. It is not by modifying what was bad in us, but by creating us anew. He makes afresh a new creature, for the old man cannot be made subject to the law. He gives a new life.
If one be not thus born anew, one belongs yet to the world, which is under condemnation; but when God acts, it is altogether another thing. Being born in Adam, we have need to be born by Christ. When the heart is visited by the Holy Spirit, it is born anew by a life which is not of this world, which urges it to another end—Christ. It is not by precepts addressed to the old man; it is by another life. The precepts follow afterward. That is to say, that this life of which we speak, which is the new birth, belongs not to this world, neither in its source, nor in its aim; it cannot have a single thing in common with the old life. This life is found here below in the body; we eat, work, &c., as before: but this is not what Christ came for. Christ came to make us comprehend quite another thing from the life here below, into which He entered. And such is the rule of the Christian's conduct. He has for object, for aim, and for joy, what Christ has for object, aim, and joy; his affections are heavenly, as those of Christ.
If the life of Christ is in me, the life and the Spirit of Christ I have cannot find joy in that wherein Christ finds not His joy.
The Spirit of Christ in me cannot be a spirit differing from what was in Him; and it is evident that he who is separated from this world for God cannot find pleasure in the life of sin of this world, or prefer it to that of heaven.
We know well that the Christian often fails in this rule; but this hinders not that there is nothing in common between the life of heaven and that of the world. It is not a question of prohibitions as to using this or that, but of having altogether other tastes, desires, and joys. Hence it is, on that account, people imagine that Christians are sad, as if they were absorbed by only one thought. It is that our joys are altogether different from those of the world; for the world knows not our joys.
No unregenerate person can comprehend what renders the Christian happy. In other words his tastes are not for the things of this world. His thoughts rise higher. This is the joy of the Christian, that Christ is entered into heaven, and has Himself destroyed all that could have hindered us from entering there.
Death, Satan, and the wicked spirits, have been conquered by Christ, for the resurrection has annihilated all that was between him and the glory. Christ placed Himself in our position. He underwent the consequence of it. He has conquered the world and Satan. It is written, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you “: if he is already conquered, we have not to conquer him, but to resist him. When we resist him, he knows he has met Christ, his conqueror. The flesh does not resist him. Jesus gives us a living hope by His resurrection from the dead; in this way, and being in Him, we are on a foundation which cannot fail.
Christ has already shown that He has won the victory; and what grace is here presented to us! Even that of obtaining “the inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for us who are kept by the power of God through faith,” &c.
The treasure is in heaven. I have nothing to fear: it is in perfect safety. But this is what I fear for myself, temptations, all sorts of difficulties; for I am not in heaven. This is true, but what gives every security, is not that we are not tried or tempted, but that we are kept in the trial here below, as the inheritance is kept in heaven for us.
Here is the position of the Christian, set apart by the resurrection of Christ, and regenerated. It is that, in waiting for the glory, we are kept by the power of God, through faith, separated from the world by the power and communication of the life of Him Who has won the victory over all that could have hindered us from having a part in it. And why are these trials sent to us? It is God Who works the soil, in order that all the affections of the heart, thus sifted, may be purified and exercised, and perfectly in harmony with the glory of heaven and with the objects which are set before us.
Is it for naught that gold is put in the furnace, or because it is not good? No, but to purify it. God, by trials, takes out of our hearts that which is impure, in order that when the glory arrives, we may enjoy it.
(To be continued, D.V.)

Proverbs 1:20-23

It is a characteristic of this book, and exactly in keeping with its contents, that we have “wisdom” personified from the first chapter, rising up (as is well known) to the Person of Christ in chap. 8:22-31. Even in this first introduction, though the form is plural, as in chap. ix. 1, and in later occurrences, the cry does not fail as it goes on to assume the solemnity of a divine warning of inevitable judgment, so that it is difficult to sever it from the voice of God Himself, as in ver. 24 if not in 23, and in those that follow. Compare in the N. T. Matt. 23:31 with Luke 11:49.
“Wisdom crieth without, she raiseth her voice in the broadways; she calleth at the head of the noisy (streets), at the entry of the gates; in the city she uttereth her words, How long, simple ones, will ye love simpleness, and scorners delight them in scorning, and fools hate wisdom? Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour forth my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you” (vers. 20-23).
Under the law there was nothing that properly, still less that fully, answered to the grace of the gospel in extending to every land and tongue, to be preached, as the apostle says, “in all the creation that is under heaven.” Yet when not only Israel fell as a whole but Judah revolted to the uttermost and was swept away to Babylon, yea, when the rejection of Messiah added incalculably to their older guilt of idolatry, and brought on still worse and wider and longer dispersion, the Holy Spirit inspired the prophet to write of the richest mercy which should surely dawn on their ruined estate. After the triple call to “hearken,” followed by the triple summons to “awake” (Isa. 51, 52), we hear the cheering outburst, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth glad tidings, that publisheth peace, that bringeth glad tidings of good, that publisheth salvation, saying to Zion, Thy God reigneth.” So in due time will the kingdom be restored to Israel in God's mercy and sovereign grace. But as this is displayed in another and yet profounder way now in the gospel, the apostle does not hesitate to apply these glowing words to those now sent to preach the gospel of God's indiscriminate goodness, alike to Jew and Greek. For now there is no difference, and the same Lord of all is rich unto all that call upon Him. But if Israel be yet deaf to the report of those that believe, the gospel goes out like the voice of those heavenly orbs whose sound cannot be confined to one people or country, but went out unto all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the habitable earth, as Psa. 19 suggests.
Still here where Jehovah's law ruled, wisdom was not confined to parental discipline, still less was it shut up in philosophic schools but “cries without.” She “raiseth her voice in the broad-ways” instead of seeking only the refined and exalted; she “calleth at the head of the noisy places of concourse, at the entry of the gates.” The moral profit was sought assiduously of those that had most need, if culture despises the vulgar. Not in the calm and quiet of the country is she said to utter her words, but “in the city” where is far more to attract and distract the mass of mankind. “How long, simple ones,” says she, “will ye love simpleness, and scorners delight them in scorning, and fools hate wisdom?” There is thus a climax in these classes of careless ungodly souls. The simple are the many weak ones who, lacking all moral discernment and object, are exposed to evil on all sides and at each turn, and by this easy indifference they become a prey. The scorners manifest more positive pravity, and reject all appeals to conscience and reference to divine things by unseemly jest and insolent sneer. It is an ever growing moral disease, never so prevalent as in these last days. The fools that hate knowledge may be more godless still, and become openly atheist, as scripture shows. For the apostasy must come, and the man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition who will set himself and be received as God; and this in the temple of God, where the affront is deepest.
But Jehovah gives wisdom's remonstrances, and, if heeded, her gracious encouragement. “Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour forth my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.” It is an error, which goes beyond the purport of the verse, to conceive that the gift of the Holy Spirit is here promised. There is undoubtedly an inward blessing promised which is ever by the Spirit, and an intelligence of wisdom's words. This is much, and Jehovah made it true from the time the book was written. But it is dangerous either to exaggerate what God always was to His people, or to undervalue those privileges which awaited redemption through our Lord Jesus. The Holy Spirit was not poured out as at Pentecost till Christ was glorified. But whatever of blessing there ever was for man is by the Spirit, and this too is in knowing the words of divine wisdom; and here it is amply assured, where the reproof was heeded.

Proverbs 2:1-9

Here the Holy Spirit turns from the sad end of impious indifference and contempt, to enter on a new part of His design. He shows how the moral wisdom and right understanding is to be obtained, which consists in the fear of Jehovah and the knowledge of God, at least by the submissive and docile heart.
“My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and lay up my commandments with thee; so that thou wilt incline thine ear to wisdom, and apply thy heart to understanding; yea if thou cry after discernment, [and] lift up thy voice for understanding; if thou seek her as silver and search for her as for hid treasures; then shalt thou apprehend the fear of Jehovah, and find the knowledge of God. For Jehovah giveth wisdom; out of his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He layeth up sound wisdom for the upright, a shield to those that walk in integrity; guarding the paths of just judgment and keeping the way of his saints. Then thou shalt understand righteousness and judgment and equity-every good path” (vers. 1-9).
As we are begotten of God's will by the word of truth, so to receive His words, and lay up His commandments with one, is the constant condition of blessing. We see in Luke 10 our Lord deciding for Mary the good part which should not be taken from her. In this Martha complained of her sister's indifference. For she herself was wrong in judging Mary's sitting at His feet and hearing His word. It is really to incline the ear to wisdom, and to apply the heart to understanding. Yet this is not all; for at the beginning of Luke 11 our Lord shows the need and the value of earnest prayer also. So here to cry after discernment, to lift up the voice for understanding follows according to God the reception of His words. We are called to dependence and to confidence in thus importunately looking up; for every good gift and every perfect giving is from the Father of lights, as Solomon could attest, who thus sought and found wisdom.
Our age can testify the zeal with which men seek silver and gold and other hidden treasures; as Solomon's day of magnificence and noble designs of an earthly sort was famous for its success, for that enterprise was conducted by his skill beyond any other monarch. Now it is the mere vulgar thirst for lucre to spend on vanity and self-indulgence to a degree without parallel in the breadth of its diffusion. But now, as then, the toils are immense, the dangers continual, the sufferings extreme, the experience full of bitter trial and frequent disappointment, the moral atmosphere shameless. But the quest demands in any case constancy and endurance and undaunted resolution; and thence does the Holy Spirit draw the lesson where no disappointment can be. “If thou seek her [wisdom] as silver, and search for her as for hid treasures, then shalt thou apprehend the fear of Jehovah and find the knowledge of God.” Jehovah is full of goodness and mercy. So here He “giveth wisdom,” when the heart is thus in earnest. It is the reversal of man's dream of education. Man is proud of his own acquisitions. “Jehovah giveth wisdom; out of his mouth [not of man's mind or heart] come knowledge and understanding.” Where are we to find what “His mouth” gives out but in His word?
Solomon failed to maintain the brightness of his beginning; and old age found him foolish about his wives and faithless about the glory of Him Who had given him all that made him what he was at first. Still less could Solomon guarantee wisdom for the son that succeeded to his throne; none acted less wisely than Rehoboam, and his humiliation was not small. But “Jehovah giveth wisdom,” He only and surely, to such as wait on Him with purpose of heart, and diligent search into and value for the treasures of that word which He has magnified above all His name.
It is plain throughout that not intellectual activity is in question, but what is spiritual and for moral ends practically. Hence in verse 7 it is said, “He layeth up sound wisdom for the upright; a buckler [he is] to those that walk in integrity.” There is assured a supply of what is valued most, and guardian care for those whose eye and heart are toward His revealed will in their ways. But it is wholesome to notice that He guards the path of just judgment, that is, His own chosen way; and He also preserves the way of His saints or godly ones. He knows the way which pleases Him, and He shows it to His own, who desire nothing more than to see and follow it. Christ it is Who brought this out habitually and in manifold forms. See John 1:44; 8:12; 12:26; 14:6. It is as real to-day as when He presented it in following Himself. Indeed the disciples far better knew its blessedness when He went on high and the Spirit came to be in them, Who abides for us to know it now. “Then thou shalt know righteousness and judgment and equity—every good path.” We ought to know it even better and in higher ways than a godly Israelite could.

Proverbs 3:21-35

If Jehovah manifested wisdom, understanding, and knowledge in creation and in its least things as well as the greatest, how vain in all to forego the quest, or the means open to them from on high!
“My son, let them not depart from thine eyes; keep true counsel and discretion: so shall they be life to thy soul, and grace to thy neck. Then shalt thou walk in thy way securely, and thy foot shall not stumble. When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid, but thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet. Be not afraid of sudden fear, nor of the desolation of the wicked when it cometh; for Jehovah shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken” (vers. 21-26).
Change is a snare to the young especially; hence Jehovah's wise ways were no more to depart from their eyes than they were to be wise in their own eyes: life inwardly, honor outwardly, would follow; the walk be secure, the foot stumble not. Nor would the night bring fear but sweet sleep. Nor would alarm surprise when the storm falls on the wicked, for Jehovah is the confidence against all snares and terrors.
“Withhold not good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thy hand to do it. Say not unto thy neighbor, Go and come again, and to-morrow I will give, when thou past it by thee. Devise not evil against thy neighbor, seeing he dwelleth securely by thee. Strive not with a man without cause, if he have done thee no harm. Envy not the man of violence, and choose none of his ways. For the perverse [is] an abomination to Jehovah; but his secret [is] with the upright. The curse of Jehovah [is] in the house of the wicked; but he blesseth the habitation of the righteous. He indeed scorneth the scorners; but he giveth grace to the lowly. The wise shall inherit glory; but shame shall be the promotion of fools (vers. 27-35).
The heart is deceitful as well as suspicious in a world of evil. Hence the importance of the simple-hearted integrity which confiding in Him gives. He that gives (exhorted the apostle), in simplicity, which is liberality. The lack of looking to Jehovah brings crookedness in dealing with man; the bowels of compassion are closed. The same lack may be even mischievous, and quarrelsome, instead of, if possible, as far as depends on us, living peaceably with all. And why envy the violent man, or choose any of his short cuts? All these ways are turned aside from God's will, which alone is good, acceptable, perfect, and which alone makes happy him who learns it in Christ. The perverse is an abomination to Jehovah, as His secret is with the upright. “Shall I hide from Abraham the thing that I do?” So His curse is not only on the person but on the house of the wicked, as He blesseth the habitation of the righteous. Neither wealth can avert the one nor poverty prevent the other.
Yet there is an evil even lower, and never did it abound so much as in the end of the closing days as now, scorn or mocking, where self reigns unblushingly in contempt of all that is good and noble and generous, as well as holy and true. But “He indeed scorneth the scorners,” as surely as “He giveth grace to the lowly.” The wise shall understand, as Daniel assures; but, further, “the wise shall inherit glory,” whereas “shame shall be the promotion of the foolish,” whatever the deception of present appearances or of such as trust them. “Judge not according to sight (said the Lord), but judge righteous judgment.”

Proverbs 5:1-14

Here the call of the son is to attend to “my wisdom,” before “a strange woman” is depicted vividly. Corruption demands and receives a yet deeper guard than violence.
“My son, attend to my wisdom, incline thine ear to mine understanding, that thou mayest keep reflection, and thy lips may preserve knowledge. For the lips of a strange woman drop honey, and her mouth [is] smoother than oil: but her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on Sheol. Lest she should ponder the path of life, her ways are unstable, she knoweth [it] not. And now, children, hearken to me, and depart not from the words of my mouth. Remove thy way far from her, and come not nigh the door of her house; lest thou give thine honor to others, and thy years to the cruel; lest strangers be filled with thy wealth, and thy labors [go] to the house of an alien; and thou mourn in thine end, when thy flesh and thy body are consumed; and thou say, How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof; and I have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to those that instructed me! I was well nigh in all evil in the midst of the congregation and assembly” (vers. 1-14).
Evil men were bad, a strange woman worse still. A higher wisdom is used, and an exercised understanding, that there may be discretion and knowledge so to apply the principle on the largest scale. The beast is lawless and shall perish utterly; but Babylon is even more loathsome, as to the Lord, so to all who seek His mind There is nothing in nature so lovely as affection; but how ruinous and defiling, where the fear of God does not guide it! He it is that puts and keeps us in our relationships which are the ground of our duties. But a strange woman is such because she ignores and forsakes them, and seeks to entice others. Fair words of flattery may be the beginning, sweet to the flesh; but her end is bitterness extreme, and frequently deep wounds. Nor is it loss of present happiness only, but the end of those things is death, and after death comes the judgment. Satan employs her to hinder all reflection and to shut out all light from above. The strange woman abuses the quick perception of her sex to baffle moral discernment by such changes as none else can know. Thus will works without check, and conscience is more and more numbed by self-indulgence.
And what is the counsel here given? Prompt and thorough steering clear. “And now, children, hearken to me, and depart not from the words of my mouth. Remove thy way far from her, and come not nigh the door of her house.” So must every one act who would preserve moral purity. The path of life is far from her and her house. Christ alone gives life eternal and guides it; His word is for one in such a world as this, Follow Me. Is the warning not heeded? More follows to lay bare the paths of death. For there is a righteous government, whatever the complication in this life. Selfishness reaps its sad recompence. None can yield to it with impunity. Beware then of self-indulgence, “lest thou give thine honor to others, and thy years to the cruel; lest strangers be filled with thy wealth, and thy labors go to the house of an alien; and thou mourn in thine end, when thy flesh and thy body are consumed; and thou say, How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof; and I have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to those that instructed me! I was well nigh in all evil in the midst of the congregation and assembly.” Bitter self-reproach is the end of the honey and oil which captivated at the beginning; and no wonder, after a career of sin and shame. It is a retrospect of guilty self-pleasing, the headiness that valued no authority, yielding neither respect nor obedience. “What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.” Nor is it the least painful reflection that all the evil committed was “in the midst of the congregation and assembly.” This was no doubt that of Israel wherein all then revealed was by Jehovah. There was hypocrisy therefore covering the sins. How much more is the similar wickedness, when and where the fullest light of God is enjoyed!

The Early Chapters of Genesis: Chapter 11:1

The last chapter gave us with minute detail the new fact on the earth of the sons of Noah after their generations, in their nations, after their tongues, and in their lands. Here were traits and arrangements, unknown to the world before the deluge, and in no degree seen for some time after. Gen. 10 casts invaluable light, found nowhere else, on the rise of those families distributed on the earth, every one after his tongue. It is only in chap. 11 that we find the originating cause and occasion. The previous chapter comes in, not flowing according to historic time, but as a descriptive parenthesis between chaps. 9 and 11. It was of very great importance to give us inspired certainty where men had no adequate record, and no reliable tradition; where pride hastened to disguise or forget a divine judgment which effectually rebuked it. East or west, men set up claims to be indigenous from the first, sprung from their own soil; and if they believed that man was an outcast from Paradise, though in forms disguised by pride, setting up to speak the original language of our primeval parents.
The A. V. fails to express the two thoughts. The speech and the words were alike one. “And the whole earth was of one language (lip) and the words one” (or the same) (Gen. 11:1). The Latin Vulgate gives the literal reflection of the Hebrew text. Moses beyond doubt here goes back to the universal state of mankind for a certain period after the great catastrophe of the flood. Till then and after it, man had but one “lip” and the same words.
There had been ample space before the deluge for the development of many languages. Soon after the murder of Abel had furious Cain gone forth, an unrepentant despairing man, who failed to profit by Jehovah's patience, and dwelt in the land of Nod, away from the scene which even he could not face at ease or unabashed. There is no real ground to accept either von Bohlen's identification with India, or Knobel's with China. Enough for us to know that the land of his “Wandering,” as it means, was toward or in front of the east of Eden. Still less can we identify the city Cain built and called “Enoch” after the name of his son. But the Holy Spirit plainly intimates the rise in his line (not of a rudiment of a different tongue nor of a distinct nationality which we in our ignorance might have thought only natural, but) of science and art, and even the fine arts. The holy wisdom of God took care to apprise His people of the true origin of civic life as well as of nomad, the latter not previous but posterior, of music and its practice in stringed and wind instruments, of the working in copper and iron, of polygamy, and self-occupied verse, the first recorded song of man. It is a picture of man's skill and energy, civilization, letters, and luxury. The Pagans long after attributed these to their spurious gods but real demons. Here we have them shown to be the inventions of men far from God, vainly striving to make the earth of their exile a paradise of their own.
But here first do we learn how, when, where, and why it was that diversity of tongues superseded the “one lip” which had characterized the whole earth hitherto. The original unity of language prevailed for some time after the deluge, as uninterruptedly before it. This is an immense difficulty to such as reason from the existing multiplicity of tongues; for there are confessedly at least 900 in possession of the earth. Of late the researches of the learned have reduced them to families or groups, and have named these Aryan, Shemitic, and Turanian. But a deeper affinity has disclosed itself to patient, comprehensive, and minute study. For these family groups, whatever their strongly marked distinctions from each other, have been proved to yield decided proofs of common relationship, which cannot be thought accidental but indicative of one source. Thus were scholars forced to the conclusion, neither expected nor desired by most, but opposed strongly to the skepticism of many, that these languages point to a time when was spoken but one and the same tongue, whence all drew those common evidences of flowing from the same fountain-head.
Such was the judgment of A. von Humboldt in treating of the prolific varieties of aboriginal American speech in his contribution to the “Asia Polyglotta,” p. 6 (Paris, 1823). Such too was the conviction of Julius Klaproth in that erudite survey itself of the Asiatic tongues. It is the more striking because the latter's incredulity is daring and undisguised. Nor was any wish more remote from his heart than testifying in result to the truth of inspired history. Yet he declared that, in his comparative tables &c., “the universal affinity of languages is placed in so strong a light that it must be considered by all as completely demonstrated. This does not appear explicable on any other hypothesis than that of admitting fragments of a primary language yet to exist through all the languages of the old and new worlds” (Vorr. § ix.).
But the believer stands on an impregnable and unchanging vantage ground. He receives the fact on the word of God, and therefore in simple faith common to all who are led of the Holy Spirit, apart from all linguistic lore, apart from all historic investigation where so much is difficult and obscure, apart from philosophical discussion where vanity revels in opposing old hypotheses and inventing new ones of the day and the man. He knows the only true God, the Father, and Jesus Christ, His sent One; living of that life eternal he delights to honor that word which is open to Jew or Greek, bond or free. But he is not displeased to note how the adversaries of revelation are compelled to bow to the force of proofs which divine mercy leaves to convince inquirers, even though pursuing their own paths without a care for His truth or glory, perhaps not afraid to gainsay Him now and then, as they are estranged from the life of God by reason of the hardness of their hearts.
Is it objected that these were investigators early in the century? Though one distrusts the childish assumption that recent men have better knowledge or judgment, for such experts are rare, let them learn that in this field no living man has greater claim to be heard than Max Muller; that he is morbidly afraid of mixing up theological arguments with his “Science of Language;” and that his real object was not at all to assert revealed truth, but to show how rash it was to speak of different independent beginnings in the history of human speech, before a single argument had been brought forward to establish the necessity of such an admission. On the contrary he endeavored to show how even the most distant members of the Turanian family (the one spoken in the north, the other in the south of Asia) have preserved in their grammatical organization traces of a former unity. So later he says, in the enthusiasm of his theme, though in terms which a believer could not endorse, “the Science of Language thus leads us up to that summit from whence we see into the very dawn of man's life on earth; and where the words which we have heard so often since the days of our childhood ‘and the whole earth was of one language and of one speech’—assume a meaning more natural, more intelligible, more convincing than they had before.” This is so doubtless to himself and others like him on natural ground; but to him who sets to his seal that God is true, no evidences or reasonings of man can compare with the certainty, simplicity, or sweetness of God's testimony. If the child accepts it without question, the mature Christian finds in it truth which lifts him far above the summits of philology, and jarring or jealous disputes of philosophers, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth: possibility, probability, necessity are their respective idols, one as vain and unreliable as another.

A Millennial Picture

Exodus 18
THIS chapter is the termination of the first part of the book of Exodus. Up to this point, the dealings of God with Israel had been in sovereign grace. When He first looked upon them in Egypt, there was no cause in them to draw out His favor. They seem to have sunk almost to the level of the Egyptians around them and to have forgotten God's name. But Jehovah remembered His promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and so in the grace of His heart came in and gave them a great salvation. Egypt was judged and its power broken. Israel was brought forth by divine power, after having been screened from the holy judgment of God by the blood of the Paschal lamb. Law had not yet been spoken of; all was grace. This being so, all their murmuring was borne with, and their needs supplied. The tree was shown that could sweeten the bitter waters of Marah (chap. 15), bread from heaven and quails were granted (chap. 16), and water was made to gush forth from the flinty rock (chap. 17). Whatever their perverseness, we read nothing of the plague in the camp, nor of burning fiery serpents.
Chapter 18 closes this section, and then we note a change. Grace not having been appreciated, terms of law were proposed, and eagerly accepted by the people, not knowing their own hearts nor the God with Whom they had to do. It was necessary that the question of righteousness should be raised with man ere the Deliverer was sent forth; this was the suited opportunity. Israel's after history shows sadly what man is when tested by law, even though possessing every advantage and favor.
It is fitting that the section of grace should, close with a millennial picture. Grace ends ever in glory, either in heaven or on earth. Moses stands forth here as a type of Christ; first sentenced to death by the power of the world; then given back from death, as it were; afterward being used of God to deliver Israel from all their foes. He is now seen as their ruler establishing order and government among them. The people had been borne on eagles' wings and brought to God; Moses now takes his place in their midst as their divinely appointed leader and king. Remarkable foreshadowing of the One, Who has more honor than Moses, our Lord Jesus! This will He do for Israel in the end of the age. Once more they will stand before God on the ground of grace, all human attempts at righteousness being flung aside by them forever.
Zipporah was there also, a well-known type of the church of God. Moses was a husband by blood to her, herself being witness (Ex. 4:24-26). She became united to the deliverer during the period of his estrangement from Israel, through their rejection of him. While Israel's deliverance was proceeding, she was sent home, but now reappears to share in the general joy. This is what is happening, and will yet happen as regards the church of God. Christ is at the moment in the distant land as far as Israel is concerned, but souls are being united to Him on high by the Holy Ghost to be His body now and His bride in the approaching day. Israel's deliverance will be wrought out during the trouble unparalleled of the closing days (Dan. 12:1); but then the heavenly bride will be safely sheltered in the Father's house, to appear with the Lord when He comes to inaugurate His season of earthly glory.
Eliezer is brought in at this point in a very striking way. Gershom's name shows that Moses' heart was yearning after Israel while separated from them, in contrast with the names of Joseph's sons, which show the satisfaction and joy his heart' found in other relationships while apart from his brethren after the flesh (Gen. 41). Eliezer is introduced no less suitably in Ex. 18:4, “and the name of the other was Eliezer; for the God of my father was my help and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh.” Most seasonable after the great deliverance just experienced, not only by himself but by the whole people of God.
Jethro too has his place. “He heard of all that God had done for Moses, and for Israel His people, and that Jehovah had brought Israel out of Egypt” (ver. 1). “And Jethro rejoiced for all the goodness which Jehovah had done to Israel whom He had delivered out of the hand of the Egyptians” (ver. 9). He looked on unselfishly and praised Jehovah for all His goodness, owning Him to be greater than all gods. Thus will it be in the day of Christ's glory. All parties will fall readily into the places divinely assigned to them, none envying the other his portion of joy. The dead and risen Deliverer will have His heavenly bride in closest association with Himself on His throne; the tribes of Israel will be at rest from all their oppressors, and be in the enjoyment of the grace of God, which alone can bless a ruined people; and the Gentiles will praise God's ways of grace and power, and themselves enjoy it in connection with the people of God's choice. Haste the happy time!
W. W. F.

The Offerings of Leviticus: 1. Offerings for Sin and Trespass

Lev. 4-6:7
Now we come to a new and necessary class of offerings. Unlike those which have hitherto occupied us, they were not voluntary nor for a sweet savor. They were compulsory, to clear the conscience, to make reparation, and to vindicate God's honor injured by wrongs in His people to God or man. Forgiveness was sought and secured thereby; and as it was needed by all from the highest to the lowest, so it was imperative on each guilty individual, and no less by the assembly as such when it had failed corporately.
The sacrificial character was preserved at least as carefully in these offerings for sin, &c., as in the Holocaust or in the Thank offering. The notable principle of transfer was ineffaceably maintained in both classes. It was the provision on God's part for those hopelessly lost otherwise. Grace has given Christ for saints as well as sinners; the love of God goes out fully to both, if the form differ as it must. Alike they are typical of the atoning work of the Lord Jesus; alike they attest through faith in His death man's acceptable approach to God, his guilt effaced. But the application of the transfer is as notably different; for in the sacrifices of sweet savor the transfer is from the acceptance of the offering to that of the offerer, in those for sin or guilt the offerer's evil was transferred to the offering. For in very deed Christ's own self bore our sins in His body upon the tree. Cf. also Eph. 5:2.
How does divine mercy shine in either case? Each is most admirable, both are requisite to present an adequate insight into the work of Christ. Yet are they but shadows, not the very image; and they leave much unexpressed which even Himself left among other things for the Holy Spirit to guide His disciples into, when His own redemption accomplished on earth and His session in heavenly glory should prepare them to receive all the truth. But where is Christendom now? where are those who boast highly of themselves, and slight the inspired word of God?
“Safety” is all but universally the evangelical measure of the gospel; some add “certainty,” others “enjoyment” too. But the system of all in their respective way is utilitarian. They make man's wants the horizon of their faith, and can dimly see “the salvation of God,” as scripture habitually presents His mind, because it is filled with His glory in His Christ. Salvation accordingly goes far beyond these human thoughts of safety. The once sinful woman, now penitent (whose faith drew her into the Pharisee's house to stand weeping behind the Lord as He reclined at meat, lavishing on His blessed feet every mark of sorrow, love, and reverence), was as “safe” when she entered as when she left. But only before leaving she knew from Him that her sins, her many sins, were forgiven; and when unbelievers questioned His title to forgive, He added, “Thy faith hath saved thee: go in peace.” Is not this much more than safety? It is salvation. With this fact in Luke 7 observe the Lord's teaching in Luke 15. The prodigal son in his rags was “safe” enough assuredly when the father ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. But it was salvation according to God's gospel, when the best robe was put on him, and the slain fatted calf was eaten with glad hearts, yet to the joy far deeper in Him Who created it than in the prodigal with all who shared it. And the Son was just the One thus to make known the Father's love. How miserably short of the truth fall the Catechisms of man! and this because Christ is not all.
So in these offerings revelation begins, not (as man would) with that which his misery and guilt stand in need of, but with the witnesses, as far as could then be consistently imparted, of Christ's perfectly acceptable work, and positive excellency, and sweet savor to God, made over fully and forever and now to the believer. It is the more striking. that Leviticus should open thus from God's side; because, in fact, defiled and guilty man had to commence with his offering for sin or trespass.
Without the removal of the delinquency by the prescribed offering it would have been lack of conscience in man, and a wrong to God instead of honoring Him. Where all was thus cleared righteously, he was free and encouraged to let out his heart Godward by presenting the offerings of sweet savor. The reader of the N. T. may see in the opening verses of Eph. 1 a characteristically high expression, yet analogous to this. For instead of rising as Rom. 3 does from the remission of sins by the blood of Christ to the bright triumph of faith in constant grace, the hope of glory, and even boasting in God Himself, as chap. v. shows, we have the God and Father of our Lord Jesus beginning with His eternal purpose, and blessing the Christian with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ, and then descending to point out the possession of redemption in Him through His blood, the remission of offenses.
There is another preliminary remark which it seems well to point out in the offerings for sin. In none is there more stringent requirement of holiness. Like the Minchah or Meal offering, those for sin might have been thought rather lower from representing, one, the concrete person of our Lord in His life, the other, His identification with the consequences of our sin in divine judgment. Both are called, and they only, “most holy.” See Lev. 2:3, and 6:17, compared with 6:25, 29, 7:1, 6. So even when the body of the victim was carried forth without the camp and burnt with fire, all the inward fat was burnt on the brasen altar. How perfectly this separation to God at all cost was verified in Christ suffering for our sins, though all His life and services bore unswervingly the stamp of holiness Therein indeed the Son of man was glorified, and God was glorified in Him in such a sort and to such a depth as He never was before, and could never be again, though the entire course here below was to the glory of His Father. No wonder that God thereon glorified Jesus in Himself, and this immediately, before He receives the kingdom and returns to introduce it visibly in power.

Proverbs 1:1-6

BEYOND all others David was the sweet Psalmist of Israel, though not a few worthy companions find a place in the divine collection of holy lyrics. Solomon stands in like pre-eminence for the utterance of the sententious wisdom of which the book of Proverbs is the chief expression, with Ecclesiastes when the sense of his own failure under unique circumstances of creature advantage gave a sad and penitent character to his experience in the power of the inspiring Spirit. It is the more striking when compared with the Song of Songs, which shows us the Jewish spouse restored to the love of the once-despised Messiah, and His adorable excellency and grace, after her long folly, manifold vicissitudes, and sore tribulation.
Every one of these compositions is stamped with the design of inspiration, and instinct with the power of the Holy Spirit in carrying out His design in each. But they are all in view of man on the earth, more especially the chosen people of God, passing through the vista of sin and shame and sorrow in the latter day to the kingdom which the true Son of David, the born Son of God (Psa. 2), will establish as Jehovah's King in His holy hill of Zion, though far larger and higher things also as we know. Hence, these writings have a common governmental character: only that, in the Psalms especially, the rejection and the sufferings of Christ give occasion to glimpses of light above and to hints of brighter associations. But the full and proper manifestation of heavenly things was left for the rejected Christ to announce in the Gospels, and for the Holy Spirit sent down from on high to open out practically in the Acts, and doctrinally in the Epistles, especially of the apostle Paul. Any unfolding of a church character or even of Christian relationship, it would be vain to look for in these constituent books or any others of the O. T.
The express aim of Proverbs, for example, is to furnish, from the one better fitted for the purpose than any man who ever lived, the light of wisdom in moral intelligence for the earthly path of man under Jehovah's eye. Being from “the king of Israel,” it is also for the people he governed; and therefore with a slight exception (only six times it seems easily accounted for) in known relationship with Jehovah, Whose name pervades from first to last. See ii. 5, 17; iii. 4; xxv. 2; xxx. 5, 9. But being divinely inspired, it is a book for him that reads or hears to profit by at anytime, for the Christian in particular as having by grace the mind of Christ. All scripture is for our good and blessing, though most of it is not addressed to us, nor is it about us.
1 Kings 4:29-34 historically testifies to the unrivaled capacity conferred of God on Solomon, and a wisdom He would not let die. “And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore. And Solomon's wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all men; than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, and Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol: and his fame was in all nations round about. And he spoke three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five. And he spoke of trees, from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall; he spoke also of beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes. And there came of all people to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all kings of the earth, which had heard of his wisdom.” “Three thousand proverbs” cover far more than the inspired collection; as the songs uttered far exceed those meant for permanency. Inspiration selected designedly.
We have remarked how “Jehovah” characterizes the book. In Ecclesiastes on the contrary the use of “God” or Elohim is constant, and flows solely and appropriately, one might even say necessarily, from its subject-matter. As the book of Proverbs is for the instruction of “men-brethren (Israel),” so there is the constant tenderness of “my son,” or more rarely, “sons.” But there is not nor could be, as in the N. T., the basis of Christ's redemption, or the liberty of adoption in the Spirit: the groundwork there is in the cross, and the character is consistency with Christ glorified in heaven. Morally too God is revealed, and the Father's love made known in Christ to be enjoyed in the Spirit's power.
“Proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel: to know wisdom and instruction: to discern the words of understanding; to receive instruction in intelligence, righteousness, judgment and equity; to give prudence to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion. He that is wise will hear and increase learning, and the intelligent will attain to sound counsels: to understand a proverb and an allegory (or, interpretation), the words of the wise and their enigmas” (vers. 1-6).
Such is the preface. It remains for its right appreciation to explain briefly terms which many readers fail to distinguish.
“Wisdom” here is derived from a word that means “practiced” or skilful, and applied very widely from arts of varied kind to powers of mind and philosophy. The verb is used for being “wise” throughout the Hebrew scriptures; the adjective even more extensively and often; the substantive more frequently still. The “wise men” of Babylon are as a class correspondingly described in the Chaldee or Aramean. But the employment of the term is also general. It seems based on experience.
“Instruction,” connected with “wisdom,” is expressed by a word signifying also discipline, correction, or warning. The moral object is thus remarkably sustained, in contrast with mere exercise or displays of intellect.
Next comes in its place to “discern the words of understanding.” For this is of great value for the soul, understanding founded on adequate consideration so as to distinguish things that differ. The verb and noun occur plentifully in the Bible.
Then we have “to receive instruction in intelligence, righteousness, judgment and equity.” Here circumspection has a great place in the learning to behave with becoming propriety and tact, as David did when Saul was on the rack through jealousy.
“Prudence” in ver. 4 may degenerate into cunning or wily ways as in Ex. 21:14, Josh. 9:4; but as in Prov. 8:5, 12, so here and in kindred forms, it has the fair meaning of practical good sense.
“Discretion” at the end of the verse is the opposite of heedlessness, but capable like the last of a bad application. Employed laudably it means sagacity through reflection.
As the proverb is a compressed parable, or an expanded comparison, so it often borders on the riddle or enigma in order to fix attention. The same Hebrew word appears to mean both “proverb” and “parable,” which may in part if not wholly account for the former only in John's Gospel, the latter in the Synoptists. There too the parable stands in contrast with speaking plainly (John 16:25, 29: compare also Matt. 13:34, 35).
Solomon then introduces himself in his known relation and position as the channel of these divinely given apothegms, not to glorify man like the seven sages of Greece, still less to magnify himself who bears witness to his own humiliation, but to exalt Jehovah in guarding him that heeds these words from folly and snare. For the declared end is the moral profit of man by what God gave to His glory—to know wisdom and instruction, to discern, and receive. However precious for all, the first aim is to give prudence to the simple, so open to deception in this world, and knowledge and discretion to the young man, apt to be heady and rashly opinionated. But there is another result surely anticipated; “he that is wise will hear, and the intelligent will attain to sound counsel: to understand a proverb and an allegory, the words of the wise and their enigmas (or, dark sayings).” Who more in place to teach these things than the man then inspired of God?

Gospel Words: the Guests

Luke 14:7-11
It is beautiful and blessed to mark how our Lord turns the least things of daily life to everlasting account. This we find in all the Gospels, in none more than in that of Luke; whose design under the power of the Spirit was to contrast the God of grace with fallen selfish man, that through the faith of Christ and His work he might be saved and walk accordingly. Thus it is that the Lord spoke a parable unto those that were invited i.e. as guests, noticing how they chose out the first places (ver. 7).
“When thou art invited by anyone unto a wedding, recline not in the first place, lest perhaps a more honorable than thee be invited by him, and he that invited him and thee shall come and say to thee, Give this [man] place, and then thou begin with shame to take the last place. But when thou hast been invited, go, put thyself down in the last place, that when he who hath invited thee come, he may say to thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have glory in presence of all that recline with thee. For everyone that exalteth himself shall be humbled, and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted” (vers. 8-11).
It is a world of evil, and man is fallen under sin and Satan, which gives occasion to grace and its ways, as God was then displaying in Christ. This tests the heart, which naturally seeks its own things, honor or power, ease or pleasure, money therefore as the means of gratifying self, whatever may be its direction. Here it was present honor that men coveted: and it is as true now as then. The true Light, coming into the world, laid every man bare.
But He has done infinitely more. He, the Lord of lords, and King of kings, was the faithful witness, the living exemplar of all He taught, of all that pleased the Father. Who ever took the last place as He? If born in Bethlehem David's city, to mark prophetically the “ruler in Israel,” none the less was He the One “Whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.” Yet was He to be smitten with a rod upon the cheek (Mic. 5:1, 2), as He was born in a manger, because there was no room for such in the inn (Luke 2:7). As the parents fled with Him into Egypt from the face of the destroying king, so did they return with Him to dwell, not only in Galilee the despised, but in its most despised Nazareth; so that it might be fulfilled which was spoken through the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.
So it was throughout the days of His flesh. Son of the highest, and subsisting in the form of God, He did not esteem it a thing to be grasped to be on equality with God, but emptied Himself. He did not and could not divest Himself of deity, but He did of glory, taking a bondman's form, having come in the likeness of men. And who ever humbled Himself as He did unswervingly? Who but He could say, and say with absolute truth, “Lo, I am come to do Thy will, O God?” Others, His servants may have done miracles as mighty, or, as He said, “Greater works than these;” but He and He alone never did His own will, always the Father's. And this is the perfect moral place of man which He took and kept to God's glory.
But more even than this had to be if God were to be glorified about sin, if men were to be saved through faith from their sins? Would He stoop down to a depth unfathomable and bear the divine judgment of evil, so that the guilty might by grace be freed? Therefore it was that having been found in figure as a man, He humbled Himself, becoming obedient even unto death, yea, death of the cross. Him Who knew no sin God made sin for you, that you might be made God's righteousness in Christ. It was God's perfect way: no other could avail.
Do you believe this, poor soul, miserable in the sense of your guilt, weary under sin's intolerable load, despairing haply of efforts to do the law of God? Not thus, never thus, can you come to God. He waits to be gracious, He can save to the uttermost; He gives all you need without money and without price, but only through your believing on Jesus, Who only is the way, and the truth, and the life; and He is the propitiation for our sins. How could it be otherwise? Did not the prophet say (seeing the great prediction as though come, seven centuries before the great fulfillment), “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and Jehovah hath laid upon him the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53:6).
Believe God's call on you to doubt in yourself, to hear Christ's word (for the law can only condemn a sinner), and believe Him that sent Jesus in love as a Savior. And what is His message to you? “Verily, Verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth him that sent me, hath life eternal, and cometh not into judgment, but is passed out of death into life” (John 5:24). The bold unbeliever braves the word of God and refuses to humble himself; the serious unbeliever tries to do better, trusting himself and his powers. The true believer owns himself lost, and finds Christ a Savior in deed and in truth. Oh! look to Him and live.
To the believer Christ is life as well as propitiation; and because He lives, we shall live also. He is our life now while we are on earth. Thus only do we live to God; and we are called all through to have Him as our object, and way, our motive, strength, and end. The apostle knew, and, walking thus, could say, To me to live is Christ (Phil. 1:21). Obedience, as He obeyed, is what the believer is sanctified to, in that humility which is content to be nothing in the world as it is. Christ took the last place. Let us who love Him seek to be as near that place as grace enables each.
In the regeneration He will say to each of His own, Friend, go up higher. Then shall the poor and despised apostles sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Then shall they that are Christ's, risen from the dead, reign with Him. The Corinthians sought to reign now, as do most in Christendom. But they were humbled, and by grace humbled themselves. Profit by that lesson; and God will exalt you in due time.

Thoughts on 2 Timothy 1:13

It has been acutely remarked that forms are not necessarily useless because sometimes empty, and that the same charge might be made against barrels which are sometimes empty likewise. Nay, it is hardly too much to say that truth may become formal as soon as it becomes definite. It was by no means the most perfect state of this planet when it was “without form and void,” however interesting to the scientific student, if such an one could have been there and had some vantage ground (some ποὒστῶ) from which to study its phenomena.
Form is not limited to material things, but appertains to spiritual truth, and only when it degenerates into formality does it become offensive to God. It is true we must recollect that God's word is not a matter of gradual evolution, whatever part the latter may undoubtedly have played in the gradual preparation of this earth for man; though it is perhaps unnecessary to add that the writer has no sympathy with current theories as to man's origin. God speaks with authority, and it is for us to hear. Science may be, and is, laboriously built up; not so scripture, however slow our apprehension of its meaning, its unity being all the more marvelous, because it was written by so many different hands across a period of 1500 years.
Hence we find the apostle Paul bidding his son in the faith to “have an outline of sound words.” No doubt error was already creeping in which made it all the more incumbent on Timothy to preach the truth in the most definite terms, learned, as we read, from apostolic lips. For Christianity is no system of shadowy dreams. Such were the speculations of the Gnostics, even then starting into unhealthy life; who, while pretending to a more spiritual conception of truth, were really undermining and explaining away the truth itself. To them apparently such a form was naught: mystical reveries shrink from distinct and definite signification; though doubtless the same words possess implicitly a potency of meaning beyond what the most spiritual mind can fathom.
Such is divine revelation which, in its last and fullest form, comes to us embodied in language of transcendent precision. No doubt it was providentially ruled that its medium should be so copious, that it should be written in the most flexible, as it is the most beautiful, of human tongues. God of course could have molded any language to His purpose, even that massive yet child language which embodied His law. But infinite Wisdom, “unresting, unhasting,” ever has the right instrument at hand for the right work, be it the man or the tongue in which he speaks. May we esteem it a privilege so to be used, in however humble a service. R. B.

James 3:1

WE are here directed to a weighty matter in the believer's practical life, already but briefly noticed in chap. 1:19, 26, now treated in full. It is opened with remarkable exhortation about “teachers,” as it unequivocally ought to be. The connection with speaking confirms the required meaning, independent of philology, though this of course admits of nothing else. It would seem however that, in stages of our tongue now obsolete, “master” had not only the general sense of “superior” which is here quite out of place, but the special force of “teacher.” So it was used in the English versions of the Gospels as the counterpart of the Hebrew “Rabbi.” And so it is rendered here by Wiclif and a Wiclifite (Oxford, iv. 599), Tyndale, Cranmer, Geneva, Rheims, as well as the A.V. It was as natural for Jews to claim external honor in that position, as it became Christian teachers to follow their Master in the lowly love which led Him to serve and to give His life a ransom for many. or did our Lord leave this to spiritual inference from such words as these; He enjoined it explicitly on the most honored of His disciples. “Ye know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and the great ones exercise authority over them. Not so shall it be among you; but whosoever would become great among you shall be your servant (or, minister), and whosoever would be first among you shall be your bondman” (Matt. 20:25-27).
“Be not many teachers, my brethren, knowing that we shall receive greater judgment” (chap. 3:1).
No Epistle in the N. T. is less ecclesiastical than this; not one has less before it the gifts of the Lord for the perfecting of the saints. The task which the inspiring Spirit enabled the writer to perform was to warn against empty profession and to insist on holy practice in speech, walk, and affections, conformable with the new life begotten by the word of truth. This makes it all the more striking, that he, like the great apostle of the circumcision, should in this hortatory preface use language which implies that liberty of ministry among the confessors of Christ, which fell to the greater apostle of the uncircumcision to develop with certainty, precision, and fullness. The Acts of the Apostles historically presents the unspeakably momentous fact which accounts for and explains that liberty. Again the Epistles make plain that it was also a question of responsibility to the Lord Who gave to His own bondmen His goods, to each according to his several ability; as He will, when He comes, reckon with them on the use they made of His trust; and woe shall be to the wicked and slothful servant who traded not with the talent given, because he was afraid and distrusted the grace of the Master.
Here the openness of the church in apostolic times to receive instruction from all competent to impart it is beyond controversy. As gifted men were by that privilege bound to give it out, so were the saints bound to profit thereby. Thus we are taught in the capital seat of this fundamental truth for the assembly, 1 Cor. 12-14. There Paul lays down, in that great Epistle of ecclesiastical order, the correction of their abuses about women's place, the Lord's Supper, and the assembly also. “If any one seemeth to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.” Human societies naturally fall into the inventions of men; not so those that believe God has revealed His mind for the church as authoritatively as for every other thing on which He has spoken.
If the Holy Spirit abide no longer with and in us, we are left orphans indeed. But it is not so. The Father, Who in answer to the Son's request sent another Paraclete or Advocate, gave Him to abide with us forever. So abides the one body like the one Spirit. In chap. xii. we have this power shown in His varied activity in the members, as His presence is their uniting energy. Not of course that all is given which once abounded as signs of Christ's victory. Tongues and interpretations, powers and gifts of healings, did follow those that believed, as the Lord promised. But He never intimated that these were to continue “till the end of the age,” or in any equivalent phrase elsewhere. But the gifts needful to complete, what the apostles and prophets began, as the foundation, are guaranteed in Eph. 4:12. In 1 Cor. 13 divine love is notably introduced, as requisite for the right exercise of this new relationship, and having its blessed scope there pre-eminently. And chap. 14 closes the teaching by the authority of the Lord in His word, directing and controlling the action of gifts in the assembly; so that an unbeliever might report that God was indeed among those gathered, and the believers be responsible that all should be done to edification, comely and in order. Nor is there any other order for the church as such sanctioned of God. Can the church change it or correct Him?
But 1 Peter 4:10, 11 also furnishes a word of great price. “Each according as he received a gift, ministering the same one to another as good stewards of God's manifold grace: if any one speaketh, as God's oracles; if any one ministereth, as of strength which God supplieth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom is the glory and the might unto the ages of ages. Amen.” Here is the same liberty and the same responsibility as elsewhere. Each gifted one is bound to act as a good steward of God's various free-gift. But the speaker is to speak as God's mouthpiece, as God gives then and there; and service of another kind is to be full of strength which He supplies, that (not man but) God be glorified through Christ Jesus. Only the power of the Spirit could make either good. No creature ability could avail. It is alone through Christ to His glory.
Our text adds another and characteristic lesson. Though the door be open, the solemn caution is heard: “Be not many teachers, my brethren, knowing that we shall receive greater judgment.” Conscience is appealed to here, as faith by Peter. Let there be no haste, no levity, no self-confidence, no vanity in seizing the opportunity; but there lay danger, the capability of ready abuse. The guard however is no official restraint, as in Christendom generally, to shut out liberty, but the counsel in this case unmeaning, against many teachers, knowing as we do that we shall incur greater judgment. Our Lord, denouncing every idle word and the account thereof to be rendered in the day of judgment, said “By thy words thou shalt he justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned;” so His servant here reminds us, that by thus speaking responsibility is increased. God is not mocked and remembers words lightly said, which might he urged on others, with little or no thought of our need. “Thou then that teachest another, teachest thou not thyself?” In every way judgment becomes heavier if teaching flow not from love and in the fear of God. But the inspired writer never thinks of closing the open door as a divine remedy.

Remarks on 1 John: 1:1-4

Chap. 1:1-4
The apostle John was preserved to minister to the children of God after the other apostles had finished their labors, and when feebleness became more and more apparent in the churches, and enemies without and within increased— “many anti-Christs,” “many deceivers,” and “many false prophets.” To meet this state of things the Holy Spirit brought forth more prominently the truth of “life” — “eternal life, which God that cannot lie promised before the world began” (Titus 1:2). It was in His mind from all eternity, and, in His grace He would, by this aged apostle, set it more fully in the minds of His children. The word “life” (ζωή) occurs in his Gospel thirty-six times and in the Epistle thirteen times: while in Matthew it is found seven times, in Mark four times, and in Luke six times.
The expressed object of writing this Epistle to us is, “that ye may know that ye have eternal life, unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God” (chap. 5:13, R.V.); and, that possessing it, we may be in the enjoyment of its holy and blessed fellowship, realize its divine affections, and display here on earth, whatever the state of the church, its moral excellencies; looking forward to the perfection of all in heavenly glory. In a word it is “that our joy may be full.”
We may observe an arrangement of parts in it, so perfect that every device of the enemy to darken the Christian's path is frustrated. After the first four verses we have “a message” to be kept in mind at all times (ver. 5). How can we, conscious of proneness to evil, and of failure, stand in the presence of, and walk with, so holy a God? This occupies the first part, 1:5 to 2:2. Then, with connecting verses, we are in company with the whole family of God—2:12 to 28; and it is not difficult to find one's place among them, and the truth suited to us. In chap. 3 the world is in view, its moral state is exposed, and the contrast between the children of God and the children of the wicked one is forcibly drawn. In chap. 4:1-6, spiritual dangers are set forth. Many false prophets are at work, and we must “try the spirits” and “take heed what we hear.” Finally, in chap. 5 the important question of brotherly love is taken up, and receives important elucidation. The remaining verses certify to those who believe on the Name of the Son of God the fullness of their blessing, and the whole ends with the thrice repeated words, we know “; and “children, keep yourselves from idols,” a needed warning.
The writer of this inspired Epistle has not given his name, but scarcely any one questions that the author is John, the son of Zebedee. The fourth Gospel was also written by him, but no name is either prefixed or added: he hides himself under the happy description— “that disciple whom Jesus loved.”
In this Epistle, or Address, he enters at once on his theme, “the eternal life;” that which he had heard, and seen with his eyes, had contemplated, and his hands had handled (ver. 1). He is absorbed with what he had witnessed of the perfections of Him who had suffered him to recline on His bosom, “God manifested in the flesh.” Every inlet of his soul is engaged in receiving more and more of Him, Who, under the guidance of the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, was his life-study, the spring of his fellowship, his service, everything; and his heart was filled to overflowing in the enjoyment of His love. He intimates in ver. 4 that his joy was full, and unselfishly longs that the joy of others should be so too.
What an answer to the infidel, who represents Christianity as a system of incomprehensible abstractions for the mind to work upon, and embittering many a spirit with endless controversies: and to the mere philanthropist, who gives it a cold welcome as an aid in the service of humanity, and useful as an auxiliary in the conflict with vice. Not so with this beloved apostle. The knowledge of “eternal life” he gained by beholding its excellencies and perfections in a Person, and that person Jesus Christ. “He is the true God and eternal life.” Are we surprised that John hides himself, and is nameless? How could it be otherwise in the presence of Him— “the eternal life who was with the Father and was manifested to us” (ver. 2). He is declaring Him, and Him only. And his object in writing is, that we may have fellowship with him, even with him who was one of the first disciples of the Lord, was with Him on the holy mount, stood by His cross, entered into His tomb, beheld His hands and His side in resurrection, saw Him taken up into heaven, and received the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, Who brought all Jesus had said to his remembrance. “Fellowship!”
What a profound meaning the word had for him, as he added, “yea (or truly) with the Father, and with His Son, Jesus Christ” (ver. 3). It was his own experience, and he longed that others should share in it. This longing was a mighty incentive to apostolic work (see the first mention of the word “fellowship” in Acts 2:42). Every convert was their care, who ever had been used in their conversion (Acts 11:22-26, Col. 2:1). They were not cruel, like the ostrich, “who leaveth her eggs in the earth,... and forgetteth that the foot may crush them” (Job 39:14, Lam. 4:3). John wrote to all believers. Our souls need time to dwell, by the Spirit, on the exalted character of the fellow ship here presented, its unreserved fullness of blessing, going back in memory to when we were without God. Did we then think of this fellowship? Did we connect fullness of joy with it?
Did the younger son, even when he came to himself, anticipate what awaited him, the love of his father, the time of rejoicing, and, (marvelous to say it) of mutual gladness of heart? Shame on us if, when brought to God at the cost of the sufferings of His Son, we ever allow anything to hinder a life of communion with Him. Have we really tasted its joy? It was when the father was on the neck of the prodigal, and kissing him, that he said, “Father, I have sinned.” The sense of the past did not hinder the joy of the present. It deepened it. He was not worthy, but he, nevertheless, had such a father. So in the case of Paul.
It was at the moment of intensest realization of the rebelliousness of his heart and ways in the past, that, he, the chief of sinners, burst forth in that grand doxology, “Now unto the king eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, he honor and glory forever and ever, Amen” (1 Tim. 1:15-17).
( To be continued, D.V.)

The Hope of Christ Compatible With Prophecy: 1

As for the relative bearings of the different portions of the New Testament, it may be said in general, that the Gospels have a character peculiar to themselves. Certainly it is not an exclusively Jewish condition, neither is it a proper church condition, but a gradual slide, in John more marked than in the others, from the one to the other. The Lord Jesus, rejected, was with His disciples here below. The Holy Ghost, Who of course was then as ever the faith-giving, quickening agent, was not yet given, i.e. in the new unprecedented way of personal presence as sent down from heaven, because that Jesus was not yet glorified. Hence the disciples, although possessing faith and life eternal (John 6:35, 47, 68, 69), were not yet baptized by the Holy Ghost into one body. (Compare Acts 1:5 with 1 Cor. 12:13). In a word, the church was not yet built nor begun to be built: “Upon this rock,” says the Lord, “I will build my church” (Matt. 16:18).
On the other hand the Acts historically, and the Epistles doctrinally, describe a different state of things as then existing: Jesus absent and glorified in heaven; the Holy Ghost present and dwelling on earth in the saints, who were thereby constituted one body, the church. Christ had taken His place as Head of the body. above, and the Holy Ghost sent down was gathering into oneness with Him there, into membership of His body, Who is Head over all things. Such is the mystery of Christ, which it was emphatically given to the apostle Paul fully to make known. And as the Gospels may be regarded as the preparatory transition out of Jewish relations to the blessed elevation on which the church rests, the Revelation answers as the corresponding transition from the church one with Christ in heavenly places, by various steps or stages, down to those Jewish relations which for a time dropped out of sight in consequence of the calling of that heavenly body.
The doctrine of the church is clearly concurrent with the one hope, which is found in the intermediate part of the New Testament. For along with the truth of the peculiar calling of the church, as the body commenced by the descent and indwelling of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost, and thenceforward guided and perpetuated by Him-along with this truth, it will be found that the peculiar aspect of the coming of the Lord, for which I am here contending, stands or falls. None of the school of interpreters commonly called “the Protestant school” understood by the church anything more, at best, than the Augustinian notion of an invisible company from the beginning to the end of time. None of them, therefore, has an adequate idea of the new and heavenly work which God began at Pentecost by the baptism of the Holy Ghost. The consequence is that, if they read of saints in Daniel, in the Psalms, or in the Revelation, they are at once set down as of the church. If they read of “this gospel of the kingdom” in Matt. 24, or of “the everlasting gospel,” it is to their minds the same thing as what Paul calls “my gospel,” the gospel of the grace of God preached now. Hence follows, and quite fairly too, a denial of any specialty in the walk and conversation of the saints since Pentecost, and a general Judaizing in doctrine, standing, conduct, and hopes. It is also a simple and natural result of this, that all Protestant interpreters, if they admit a personal advent at all to introduce the millennial reign, present as the hope of the church that which is, in fact, the proper expectation of the converted Jewish remnant; viz. the day of the Lord, the Son of man seen by all the tribes of the earth, and coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
Nor is the truth of the church unknown to the Protestant interpreters only; it is equally an object of dislike to most of the Futurist school. And it is my conviction that the two baleful heresies, which have brought such shame upon the revival of prophetic study towards the beginning and the close of the years 1830 to 1850, are intimately connected with the rejection of this grand truth. For an error touching the church cannot but affect Him Whose personal presence is what is so essential to it; and that which dishonors the Spirit goes far, in the long run, to disfigure or deny the person and work of Him of Whom the Spirit is the vicar.
In the Epistles, it is beyond doubt that the church is continually addressed, as if there were no understood, necessary, revealed hindrances to the rapture at the coming of the Lord. How could this be if the church be the same body as those saints who are described in Daniel, the Psalms, &c., as being destined to certain fiery trials still future from a little horn which is to wax greater to the highest degree, and his satellites who are yet to appear? How comes it that the apostle Paul, when he speaks of the coming of the Lord, never hints at this tribulation, as one through which the church must pass; but always presents His presence as an immediate hope which might occur at one unknown moment to another? That this inspired man understood the just application of these prophecies, better than any since his day, is that which few Christians will question. They were scriptures long revealed and familiar to Jews, and the Lord Jesus in Matt. 24 had very significantly linked His fresh revelations upon that occasion with the predictions of Daniel. Yet the Holy Ghost, in His constant allusions throughout the writings apostolic to the future hopes of the church, never once refers to those terrible circumstances as a future scene wherein the church is to enact a part. On the contrary, the way in which the coming of the Lord is put before the saints, as a thing to be constantly looked for, seems incompatible with it. We have examined the only statement in the Epistles which might appear to interpose such a barrier; and we have seen that, so far from contradicting the thought of immediateness, the apostle seeks to relieve the Thessalonian saints from all uneasiness about the day of the Lord and its troubles: by the blessed hope of His coming and their gathering unto Him, two things in his mind indissolubly bound together. It is a gathering unto Him which must he before He appears to the world, for its judgment, because He and they are to appear together. It is certain, moreover, that there must arrive the apostacy and the revelation of the man of sin, not before the coming, but before the day, of the Lord. His coming will gather the saints on high; His day will judge the world here below.
(To be continued, D.V.).

The Inspiration of the Scriptures: Introduction

No considerate Christian will question the momentous weight due to this truth, both in itself and as it bears on every question arising in things divine. It is no disparagement to scripture that we need also a new nature, a purged conscience, and a heart purified by faith. Let us add the Holy Spirit given, as He is now, to know the only True God and Jesus Christ Whom He sent. For this is life eternal, inseparable from the object of our faith, of the Father's delight, and of the Holy Spirit's testimony. “He that believeth hath life eternal;” he has life in Christ, the Son, as truly as the apostle John, who wrote expressly to the family of God, for all, babes no less than fathers in Christ, that they might know that, believing on the name of His Son, they have life eternal (1 John 5:13).
When thus assured of a portion precious beyond reckoning, we are in a condition to appreciate the scriptures as becomes children of God. What a contrast between the rich grace that shines in Christ, the Personal Word, for every believer to enjoy, and the hesitating spirit among the baptized to appropriate these divine communications Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! didst Thou not bless every child of Thine with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ? Are they not to-day for the most part hesitating whether they are Thine or not? Are they not in doubt whether their sins be really all forgiven for His name's sake? And is not this painful uncertainty as plain in the third or fourth century after Christ, as in the eighteenth or nineteenth? And why is it, but that souls then as now were in general as feeble in believing God's written warrant as in receiving God's salvation by Christ and His work? How sad that a saint should even seem to he always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth!
Undoubtedly in God's mercy there are all over the world simple-hearted believers, in the aggregate a great multitude; who rest with cloudless confidence in the grace and truth that came by Jesus Christ; who accept for themselves, and attest for all others that believe, the absolute reliableness of God's love and Christ's redemption; who know the Holy Spirit's presence with and in us forever. Hidden ones too, far beyond our thoughts there may have been, in all ages since our Lord died and rose, to profit by faith; whereas the recognized leaders prove by their remains how quickly and far the Christian profession departed from their proper privileges and divine joys. For it would be intolerable to doubt that those who express what prevailed were as real in Catholic times of old, as in Anglican or Puritan times nearer us. Far be the thought! The fail from grace was deep and wide-spread; the truth was clouded with dark traditions of men, ancient and modern. Scripture itself is plain how soon. such changes came in even among the best taught confessors of Christ. And the inspired men, Paul and Peter, John and Jude, prepare us for profound departure without one promise of restoration, still less of progress, for Christendom. These facts accentuate the all-importance of the written word, which then as now is the standard of truth and the sole means of recovery, applied by God's Spirit to remove obstructions, that Christ might give them light once more, yea that He should be formed in them.
Thus it is sadly, humblingly true that God has been dishonored throughout Christian times by unbelief of their best blessings in those who have borne the Lord's name; as we were warned, not least of all by false teachers among them as by false prophets in Israel. In teachers and taught our own day beholds the bold and growing development of what is nothing less than sheer and systematic infidelity. This assumes the euphemistic name of “higher criticism” and puts forward the plea of fuller inquiries into the literary history of the scriptures. If we listen to themselves, it is in conflict neither with Christianity as a whole nor with any articles of the faith. But it is really a system as imaginative for the process they call the building up of (at least the earlier books of) the Bible, as is the Darwinian hypothesis for excluding God from creating species in the natural world, and for assigning this process to Time, the late Mr. D.'s great god, and to Natural Selection, his goddess. When souls are thus seduced to abandon the divine authority of scripture and to deny its inspiration in any real sense, it is no consolation to feel that deceivers are themselves deceived. Nor indeed is there a fact more notorious, than that the men beguiled to disbelieve God's word readily show themselves the most credulous of men.
Take an instance clear and sufficient. In hardly anything are the “higher critics” more unanimous or jubilant than as to Astruc's theory of Elohistic and Jehovistic documents, and the audacious consequences deduced from that assumption. But if it have an apparent sense as applied to the Pentateuch, how does it bear on Job? How on the Psalms? on Proverbs? on Ecclesiastes? or on the prophets, say Jonah for example? Did then Ezra and Nehemiah (or the inspired writers of these books) compile the annals of their own days from Elohistic and Jehovistic documents? If the theory hung together, to this absurdity it would fairly lead. The truth of God, conveyed by the admirable propriety with which inspiration employs these and other divine names, is wholly lost by such superficial guess-work. But this short introduction is not a suitable occasion to go into the minute and full proofs, on the one hand of the rationalist blunder, and on the other of the divine wisdom and beauty displayed in the inspired choice of the divine designations, in all scripture from Genesis to the Revelation, as well as in the books of Moses.
These considerations make it an urgent duty to survey the subject afresh, and with such a measure of precision and comprehensiveness as grace may supply for guarding souls in this increasingly evil day. The Christian wants divine certainty in his relations with God. Probability is all that man, as man, seeks or can have because he knows not God. But believers have ever craved and ever taken the wholly different ground of divine certainty by God's word. They had it and were blessed in it by faith long before there was a single scripture. Abel knew it, and Enoch, and Noah before the deluge, not to speak of the elders conspicuous in Heb. 11 for the various characteristics of their faith. So it is with all that are taught of God. All rest on His word, whatever the marked result in each by grace. It wrought long before there was a people of God like Israel. It remained vigorous when, on the temporary ruin of the Jews, God formed the church the body of Christ, calling out of Gentiles as well as a remnant of Israel. Thus every believer as of old, only now with immensely superior privileges, stands on ground of divine certainty, and not on probability however reinforced.
It is here that the Tractarian party proved the unsoundness of their position. So Dr. J. H. Newman lets us know in his” Apologia.” Mr. J. Keble, with all his melodious strains, was no better in principle. They were alike and all along on a plane which inclined to Romanism, the former being more consistent than the latter in going to Rome at last. Hence the attempt to supplement probability, “the guide of life” (61, 62), with faith and love within, to give it more force (69). Of natural life it may be with conscience as the monitor. The question is of our new life in Christ, of which philosophy takes no account. But no assemblage of concurring and converging probabilities can raise probability to absolute certainty. God's testimony received by faith does and alone can give divine certainty.
Dr. J. H. N., though professedly at the opposite pole of thought, was really in the same quagmire as his skeptical brother, Prof. F. W. N. It is the case with the rationalists, be they superstitious or profane. Their ground is human, not divine. There are found the “higher critics” with all others who renounce God for man. Reasoning may predominate here, imagination and religious sentiment there; as others betake themselves to erudite speculation. But in no case is it the faith of God's elect, even if ensnared believers yield to it. What the word, and now the written word, was given to produce by the living operation of the Holy Spirit in the believer's heart is divine certainty. But it is exactly what the “higher criticism” tends to destroy, even more directly than do the rank weeds of superstition which choke the good seed.
Such are the two schools which are to-day struggling for the mastery. They unite, as we have seen, in untiring effort to withdraw men if they can, from simple thorough subjection to God's word in faith. Of this they are alike jealous, and alike they cast scorn on it, though such faith alone becomes man, alone honors God. For it finds the God-given center in Christ, full cleansing by His work, its exercise in His service, and its joy in His love and the Father's, by the power of the Holy Spirit. Nor is this all. For by one Spirit were we all baptized into one body, and therein have our place and fellowship as worshippers, no less than as saints, one with another. Those on the ground of probability can never breathe this pure atmosphere freely; they have never emerged from the fog of nature. They betray their dark state by their inability, whether profane or religious rationalists, even to understand what is meant by such a scripture as “the worshippers, having been once cleansed, would have no more conscience of sins.” Yet it is simply the common Christian position in this respect (but to both those classes unintelligible), because it is the fruit of Christ's perfecting work, made known to the Christian only, above man's intellect and beyond his conscience, though faith enjoys its divine certainty. Confidence (one may not say faith) in the church can no more impart it, than confidence in criticism higher or lower. It is the will of God now established, the work of Christ now finished and accepted, and the witness of the Holy Spirit, according to scripture, now received in full assurance of faith. Hence all joy and peace in believing is unknown to the gloomy man of superstition, and to the airy higher critic. (To be continued, D.V.)

Scripture Queries and Answers: Seven Beads and Seven Kings; ACT 20:7-11

Q. 1. -Rev. 17:9-11. How are we to understand “the seven beads” and “seven kings?” Is it legitimate to take “the seven heads” as 1, Egypt; 2, Assyria; 3, Babylon; 4, Medo-Persia; 5, Greece; 6, Rome; 7, Israel in its apostate state? And is it correct that “the seven kings” can be, 1, Pharaoh; 2, Sennacherib; 3, Belshazzar; 4, Antiochus Epiphanes; 5, Herod; 6, Nero; 7, Napoleon; 8, anti-Christ? F. R. G. S.
A.-One of the most important helps everywhere for right interpretation is a firm adhesion to the context. In the present case the object before us is the Beast or Roman Empire, which the Holy Seer beholds in its last form before it goes into perdition. The seven heads are doubly interpreted. They are seven mountains (or hills), whereon the woman sits (compare ver. 18). Rome is the seat geographically, not Jerusalem, nor the plain of Shinar. But they are seven kings, or differing forms of ruling power. The Beast is thus distinguished. There had been, 1, kings; 2, consuls; 3, dictators; 4, decemvers; 5, military tribunes; who held successively and constitutionally the imperium. And these five were fallen. The sixth was actually then in power-emperors. The seventh had not yet come; and it was to be transient. “And the Beast that was and is not, himself also is an eighth, and is of the seven; and he goeth into perdition.” Thus the context fixes the heads, not only in connection with a Roman seat, but to the peculiar and complete changes of its ruling powers, explaining that the last is an eighth, and yet one of the seven. It is the imperial form, which had been wounded to death (13:3), revived by the dragon as the resurrection-head of the empire rising up at the close against the risen Lord of glory. The introduction of other kingdoms or empires, south, north, and east, long before the Roman empire began, is out of the way imaginative; still more so the strangely unconnected episode, as that of the queried list of kings. Even in the heads, as here mistakenly separated from the kings, to make apostate Israel the seventh head of the Roman empire is a singularly wide if not wild conjecture. Hengstenberg followed by the late Dean Vaughan so took six of the heads, but the seventh to be the ten horns in a cluster! a not much happier guess than Israel, though somewhat more homogeneous. The context suffices to correct all such thoughts. The proposal was to explain the seven heads, which we have in vers. 9-11; then the ten horns, which follow in vers. 12-14.
Q.-Acts 20:7-11. Does not this scripture indicate that the remembrance of Christ in His Supper should be kept prominent, and that speaking save in praise, &c., should rather follow? E. P.
A.-Certainly the Holy Spirit records apostolic ruling and practice for our guidance, lest we should yield to the habits of Christendom. It was not “preaching” as in the A.V., but a discourse to the saints, prolonged unusually, because the apostle was about to depart on the morrow. Yet here as elsewhere no rigid law is laid down, and an exception might be due to urgent need of a special kind. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” But undoubtedly it is well to learn from those given by the grace of Christ to teach us His ways in every assembly. Common sense, excellent for the world, is out of court for the church. We are called to walk by faith, not by sight, and are sanctified to obedience.

Fragment: Light

IT was the saying of the famous Joshua Scaliger that “he who has lived to throw light on a single passage of scripture has not lived in vain.” Much more becoming and truly blessed is his place who has no pretension to throw light on scripture, but to remove the obstructions that the light divine in it may freely shine. For scripture as a whole is God's testimony to Christ, the True Light. The same faith that appreciates Him denies that real light can be had through any saint or means on earth; and those who are made light in Him would be the last to claim it as of themselves. “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not.”


In last month's B.T. p. 377, col. 2, 1. 5 for “in” read “to.”


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The Early Chapters of Genesis: Chapter 11:2-4

How many dialects, how many languages, have on the one hand perished practically, or have on the other sprung really into being and the most extensive use, long since the Christian era! Yet here, on the shortest reckoning for nearly as many centuries since our first parents were created, we have the fact calmly and clearly revealed, which was nowhere else made known and wholly inconsistent with human experience as well as all scientific theory of languages, that there was but one “lip” or (as we and others say) one tongue, the “words” also one and the same. This we believe, without reasoning which is here out of court, from one qualified divinely to give us certainty. For Moses was distinguished above even all other prophets, who had a vision or a dream adequate in the power of the Spirit. But to him mouth to mouth did Jehovah speak openly.
So too did the Son of God, both in the days of His flesh and after He rose from the dead, attest Moses, not only as the channel but as the writer of the Law or Five Books (John 5, Luke 20 and xxiv.). But if in presence of supernatural power sons of Israel “were not afraid to speak against” him living, we need not wonder that, in fallen yet haughty and unbelieving Christendom, professing Christians take their place with infidel Jews, in denying that he wrote aught but the merest shreds. These shreds some of these men do rather pretend (for there is no ground, but their self-sufficiency) to identify among the legends of an Elohist, and a Jehovist, with as many more imaginary hands in the patch-work as the pseudo-criticism may invent to hide its empty and naked impotence. Not that any prophet failed to give the word of God; but Moses, besides the divine authority which attached to what he wrote as well as spoke from Jehovah, had a divine intimacy peculiar to himself, the fruit of which is in no part of the Law more conspicuous or of richer consequence than in the book of Genesis.
“And it came to pass as they journeyed [lit. pulled up their tent-stakes] east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. And they said one to another, Come, let us make bricks and burn (them) thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and asphalt had they for mortar. And they said, Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower, whose top [head] (may be) to the heavens; and let us make ourselves a name, lest we be scattered over the face of the whole earth” (vers. 2-4).
Things were no longer as before God's judgment in the deluge, when men were left, outside paradise, to their own ways without covenant or government. The law which tested innocent Adam in the garden did not apply to himself when an outcast or to his sons who were never there. As fallen men, however, they had conscience, that invaluable monitor universally possessed, which does not fail inwardly to pronounce on right and wrong, or, as scripture says, “to know good and evil.” Nor were they without revelation to and through their first father, brief indeed but of unspeakable moment to fallen man. Other divine intimations also followed, even to Cain, as well as Enoch, Lamech, and Noah: each of deep importance; all together not beyond what the fear of God in every one was bound to weigh, and fairly remember, and might fully profit by.
Only after the flood came in the great principle of divine government laid on man responsibly, never to be revoked to the eternal day. It was not creation left to itself in departure from God, but creation set under government in human hands. Noah walked with God. But Noah, preserved with his family from the destruction which befell the world of ungodly men, failed in an unwatchful hour to govern himself; as his sin and shame gave occasion to the heartless rebellious wickedness of a son, who brought on a curse narrowed to one line instead of overspreading all his seed. But the government, which from God through man abode unreversed, spite of personal flaws does still to this day. For there is no authority except what is from God; and those authorities that exist are established by God.
We have now a new development, in which not one or a few but the race displayed its state. God originally had in blessing men said, Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it. After the deluge, His word to Noah and his sons still was, Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. But mankind, though awed by that judgment, had no care to do His will. Their mind was to keep together. And assuredly they pitched on a region, by its great rivers on either side and its exceeding fertility, eminently suited for their purpose; which was to constitute themselves a universal republic without God. Was it then for man to live by bread alone? So at least they spoke and acted: God was in none of their thoughts. It was the first joint, and public, step of the post-diluvian race. They were without excuse, not only because of the witness to God's eternal power and divinity manifested to them, but from such knowledge of God as Noah, “preacher of righteousness,” professed and testified, backed by such an intervention as the deluge itself fresh in their memory. They glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful. Into what folly in their inward reasonings this led them ere long need not be stated here. For we do not as yet hear of that new plague of Satan, idolatry; but it soon followed, as we may assuredly gather from Josh. 24:2, Rom. 1:20-23.
But we do learn their united purpose, independent of God, yea, in defiance of His will that they should fill the earth. As stone and lime were not furnished by the plain of Shinar, they none the less resolved to build a city and a tower; and they had brick thoroughly burnt for stone, and asphalt, of which abundance was there, for mortar. But their aim (for this it is that mainly determines man's acts and life)—what was their object? “Come (said they) let us build ourselves a city and a tower, whose top (may reach) to the heavens; and let us make ourselves a name, lest we be scattered over the face of the whole earth.” There is no need to conceive that more was meant in their aspiration, than in the depressing tone of the spies in Deut. 1:28: “the cities are great and walled up to heaven.”
Nothing was farther from their thoughts or from common sense than to rear a pile to save them from another deluge, as some have fancied for them. God had solemnly assured Noah that this was never to be again. If they had nevertheless dreaded it, the highest of lands might have been chosen with that foolish design; certainly not the low-lying plain they settled on. It was a deep-laid human scheme, ignoring God altogether, and in rebellious self-will; it was for “ourselves” throughout. It was not merely a city to live in (which had been from early days), but to “build ourselves a city and a tower,” and with high-flown pretensions. But worse still, “let us make ourselves a name.” What! poor sinners, saved by divine mercy, from the flood that swept all else away! Noah, they well knew, built an altar and offered Burnt offerings. The earth as a whole now changes all that. They sought to themselves a conspicuous center for every eye; they would make themselves a name, though this belongs only to God, or to a head with an authority delegated of Him. What is man to be accounted, whose breath is in his nostrils?
Yet clearly had they, notwithstanding their self-sufficiency, the fear that accompanies a bad conscience; for what they sought was “lest they should be scattered upon the face of the whole earth.” But therefore it was that Jehovah scattered them. Their forebodings were more than realized in a scattering, by Him Whom they willingly forgot, which immediately and completely dispersed them and their descendants till this day.

The Offerings of Leviticus: 2. Sin Offering for the Priest

The Sin Offering for the High Priest
Lev. 4:1-12.
IN this chapter four cases demanded a Sin offering. The first two had no limit in the consequence entailed. It was all over without that for the entire people of God; for in both cases the communion of the whole camp was interrupted: in the second because the whole assembly of Israel had sinned and were guilty; in the first, because the high priest had sinned, which had the same result for all as for himself. We shall see how grace provided against that which was in itself ruinous. In the last two cases of the chapter the ill result did not go beyond the individual concerned.
“And Jehovah spoke to Moses saying, Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, If a soul shall sin inadvertently against any of Jehovah's commandments, that ought not to be done, and do any of them; if the anointed priest sin to the trespass (or, guilt) of the people, let him offer, for his sin which he hath sinned, a young bullock without blemish to Jehovah for a sin offering. And he shall bring the bullock to the entrance of the tent of meeting before Jehovah; and he shall lay his hand upon the head of the bullock, and slaughter the bullock before Jehovah. And the anointed priest shall take of the blood of the bullock, and bring it into the tent of meeting. And the priest shall dip his finger in the blood and sprinkle of the blood seven times before Jehovah, before the veil of the sanctuary. And the priest shall put of the blood on the horns of the altar of sweet incense before Jehovah, which is in the tent of meeting; and he shall pour all the blood of the bullock at the bottom of the altar of burnt offering, which is at the entrance of the tent of meeting. And all the fat of the bullock of the sin offering he shall take off from it: the fat that covereth the inwards, and all the fat that is on the inwards, and the two kidneys and the fat that is upon them, which is by the flanks, and the net above the liver which he shall take away as far as the kidneys, as it is taken off from the ox of the sacrifice of peace offerings; and the priest shall burn them upon the altar of burnt offering. And the skin of the bullock, and all its flesh, with its head, and with its legs, and its inwards and its dung, even the whole bullock shall he carry forth without the camp unto a clean place, where the ashes are poured out, and burn it on wood with fire: where the ashes are poured out shall it be burnt” (vers. 1-12).
As the law, we are told by divine authority (Heb. 7:12), made nothing perfect, so it spoke of nothing perfect for the most guilty. It was exactly a ministry of death and condemnation. Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. The law, being a system of human righteousness, could not be but partial, as the test of fallen man, not the transcript of God, nor yet the rule of the new creation. It provided, as we see here, for no more than inadvertent or unwitting sin. If this were all that the gospel meets, who could be saved? No more is here contemplated (ver. 2).
Then comes from ver. 3 the particular case of the anointed or high priest. If he should sin to make the people guilty-this is the true force of the phrase, and the real effect of his sin in the ways of Jehovah. “According to the sin of the people” as it stands in the A. V. seems doubly defective, and scarcely in fact an intelligible proposition, unless one consider it to mean tantamount to the sin or rather guilt of the people as a whole; which, though true in itself, hardly appears to be intended here. The R. V. gives the meaning. If the anointed priest “sin so as to bring guilt on the people,” i.e. without their sinning.
As the high priest represented the people, so his acts brought, not only blessing on them, but also the guilt of his sin. How blessedly in contrast is the High Priest of our confession, a great High priest, passed through the heavens as He is, Jesus the Son of God! For though tempted in all respects in like manner, it was apart from sin, not merely from sinning, but sin absolutely excepted. In Him was no sin; on the contrary He was holy (and graciously so), harmless, undefiled, separated from sinners, and become higher than the heavens.
But if the anointed should sin, as indeed was not infrequently the case, “let him offer for his sin which he hath sinned, a young bullock without blemish to Jehovah for a sin offering.” It must be the largest offering. Option was not permissible. He must bring this victim, and no other. “And he shall bring the bullock to the entrance of the tent of meeting before Jehovah; And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the bullock, and kill the bullock before Jehovah” (ver. 4). As Jehovah's command had been infringed, the high priest must bring the prescribed animal before Him to the appointed place, and there slay it before Him, with his hand laid on its head: the token of transferring the guilt to the victim-how precious for the sinner
“And the anointed priest shall take of the blood of the bullock and bring it into the tent of meeting; and the priest shall dip his finger in the blood and sprinkle-of the blood seven times before Jehovah, before the veil of the sanctuary. And the priest shall put of the blood on the horns of the altar of sweet incense before Jehovah, which is in the tent of meeting; and he shall pour all the blood of the bullock at the bottom of the altar of burnt offering which is at the entrance of the tent of meeting” (vers. 5-7). Without or within the sanctuary what is done is “before Jehovah.” He is the One Who has to be vindicated. Blood is brought not only “to” but “into” the tent of meeting, and sprinkled before the veil of the sanctuary. Only on the solemn and single day of atonement did the high priest go with incense within the holiest and sprinkle of the blood upon the mercy-seat and before it. Here it was only within the holy place, where he put of the blood upon the horns of the golden altar; and all the rest of the blood was poured out at the base of the brazen altar.
“And all the fat of the bullock of the sin offering he shall take off from it,” &c. Just as was done with the ox of the sacrifice of Peace offerings (8-10, compared with iii. 3-5), so the priest was to burn it on the brazen altar: a blessed witness, not only in the blood but in the fat, of the intrinsic acceptability of Christ sacrificed for us and our sins. These were shadows most instructive: His the one offering infinitely agreeable to God, everlastingly efficacious for us that believe on Him.
Still there is the witness not less plain that it was a Sin offering; and so we read in vers. 11, 12 what quite differs from the eating of the Peace offering. “And the skin of the bullock, and all its flesh, with its head and with its legs, and its inwards and its dung, even the whole bullock shall he carry forth without the camp unto a clean place, where the ashes are poured out, and burn it on wood with fire; where the ashes are poured out shall it be burnt.” There too does it differ from the Burnt offering which was burnt within the court on the brazen altar. The Sin offering must be burnt without the camp: holy, most holy, but thoroughly identified with the sin thereon confessed. How it was all more than verified—enhanced on every side to the highest degree—in Him Who suffered for our sins

Proverbs 1:7-19

THE book begins with the foundation principle of the fear of God, but this in the special relation established with His people Israel. It is therefore “the fear of Jehovah.” For as He deigned thus to be made known to them; so were they called to prize that name as their special privilege. Jehovah was God in Israel, though alone the true God, and Lord of all the earth. As Jehovah was God, Who spoke through the prophets, and wrought wonders according to His word; so the people at a great crisis with heathenism cried (1 Kings 18), Jehovah, He is God; Jehovah, He is God. The usage of the abstract term, and of the relational name, has nothing in the least to do with imaginary legends or various writers; it is most instructive for the twofold truth that is set out.
“The fear of Jehovah (is) the beginning of knowledge: fools despise wisdom and instruction. My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law [or teaching] of thy mother; for they (shall be) a garland of grace for thy head, and chains about thy neck” (vers. 7-9).
In Psa. 106:10 the fear of Jehovah is declared to be the beginning of wisdom, as here of knowledge. Both are equally true, and each important in its place, though wisdom be the higher of the two as built on the experience of the divine word and ways, which “knowledge” does not necessarily presuppose. He who wrote for the reader's instruction was pre-eminent in both, though in his case there was extraordinary divine favor in the communication, and the keenest ardor in improving opportunities without parallel. In this general part of the book we have “wisdom” introduced (chap. 9:10), “the fear of Jehovah is the beginning of wisdom; and the knowledge of the holy [is] understanding.” This gives the moral side its just prominence in both; and so it is in Job 28:28, where that chapter, full of interest throughout, closes with “unto man He said, Behold, the fear of the Lord [Adonai, not Jehovah as such], that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.” He is feared as the Sovereign Master, Who cannot look on evil with the least allowance.
But even where external knowledge is pursued, what a safeguard is in the fear of God! Assuredly the Creator would be remembered, not only in the days of youth but in those of age. Who that had the least real knowledge of God could confound the creature with Him Who created it? To him the heavens declare the glory of God, and the expanse shows the work of His hands. If he beheld the light when it shone or the moon walking in brightness, it was but to own and adore the God Who is above, unless a deceived heart had turned him aside, that he could not deliver his soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand? How, with Him before the mind, deny creation for an eternal matter under Fate or Chance? for a desolating Pantheism, where all men and things are god, and none is really God, where is neither sin nor its judgment, nor grace and truth with its blessedness in Christ for faith to life eternal? where all that appears to our senses is Maya [illusion], and the diabolical substitute, but real death of hope, is Nirvana [extinction]? How true it is that the foolish “despise wisdom and instruction!”
What again were his last words to his judges, of whom Westerners boast. “It is now time to depart—for me to die, for you to live; but which of us is going to a better state is unknown to everyone but God.” What a contrast with the apostle! “To me to live is Christ, and to die gain.” Certainty on divine warrant, and the deepest enjoyment everywhere and always, the beginning of which is the fear of God in Christ, the power of God and the wisdom of God.
This funadmental deliverance is followed up by the usual appeal of affection, “my son.” For here the relationships God has made and sanctions are of as great value where His fear reigns, as they perpetuate sin and misery where it is not so. Parents are to be honored and heard, the instruction of the father and the teaching of the mother. This the son first knows to form and direct obedience, if self-will oppose not; and they are his graceful ornament. How early they act on the heart, and how influential on the conduct and even character, many a son can testify. Alas, that men have forgotten the word of the wisest, and proved their folly, parents and children! And to this sad side we are now introduced.
“My son, if sinners entice thee, consent not. If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause; let us swallow them up alive as Sheol, and whole as those that go down into the pit. We shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil: cast in thy lot among us; we will have all one purse. My son, walk not in the way with them, keep back thy foot from their path. For their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed blood. For in vain is the net spread in the eyes of a bird; and they lay wait for their own blood; they lurk privily for their own lives. So (are) the paths of every one that is greedy of gain: it taketh away the life of its owners” (vers. 10-19).
Here we have the soul warned against listening to the voice of enticement. For Satan has instruments not a few zealous to draw others into evil; and companionship is as natural as dangerous. “For also we were aforetime foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another” (Titus 3:3). And in this the least scrupulous lead: their mouth full of cursing and bitterness; their feet swift to shed blood. The word is, Walk not in the way with them, keep back thy foot from their path. Covetousness, and robbery to gratify it, are vividly drawn: violence follows lust, and one's own life the forfeit. The day comes for judgment without mercy, the judgment of flesh. Listen, for in vain is the net spread in the eyes of any bird. In reality they wait for their own blood, as surely as God knows how to deliver. How many a one that is plotted against escapes, while those greedy of gain lose their own lives, the end in this world of their wicked schemes!

Gospel Words: the Host

Luke 14:12-14
The Son of God was the true Light, Who, coming into the world, casts light on every man. It is not that all are enlightened by Him, but that He set each in the light. So here He lays bare alike guest and host. High and low, Jew or Gentile, Pharisee or Sadducee, priest or philosopher, were far from God; according as it is written, There is not a righteous man, not even one; nor he that understandeth; there is not one that seeketh after God: there is no fear of God before their eyes. If the law spoke thus of Israel, as it did, much more palpably did it apply to the heathen with their religious abominations and their unspeakable demoralizations; that every mouth might be stopped and all the world be under judgment to God.
Man seeks his own things and his own will; nor is anything pleasanter to the natural man than to exalt himself. The Lord Jesus brings before us from first to last a mind wholly different. “For ye know the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, that ye through his poverty might become rich” (2 Cor. 8:9).
Such was the mind in Him and in all its perfection only there. But it is the mind God would have in His own now; and thus it was Christ spoke as we have here. It is an entire reversal of human thoughts generally, of Jewish feeling in particular. Settled down in the earth as it is, men seek present pleasure, worldly honor, earthly advantages. What did this age give Christ? A manger when born, nowhere to lay His head, and a cross to die on. What does Christ give to him that believes? Eternal life, and everlasting redemption. Life was in Him; and He gives it in Himself. Redemption He obtained by His death, and we have it in Him through His blood, the forgiveness of offenses. Hearing His word, and believing Him Who sent Jesus, we are thus doubly blessed. Our evil He takes away, and His good He freely imparts forever.
Thus believing we can profit by all He was and all He says. He has laid the ax to the root of the tree of self-seeking, and shown the blessing of humbling ourselves in a world quite out of course, in plain denial of a nature that seeks to be upper most. Here He opens out the beauty of unselfishness in faith, love being the spring, glory the recompence and rest.
“And he said also to him that had invited him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends nor thy brethren, nor thy kinsmen nor rich neighbors; lest haply they also invite thee in return, and a recompence be made thee. But when thou makest a feast, invite poor, crippled, lame, blind; and thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee; for thou shalt be recompensed in the resurrection of the just” (vers. 12-14).
“It is more blessed to give than to receive,” as He Himself not only said but acted on, Who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed by demons. If we have not that power, as things have long been, we are called to walk, as He walked, in love, and in distinct testimony of separateness to God from the pride of the world and the selfishness of the first man. Hence His exhortation would form our hearts for His path here below, instead of walking as men according to public opinion, which is just the spirit and course of the age. For if we are His, we are “heavenly” even now (1 Cor. 15:48, 49); as we are destined by grace to bear the image of the Heavenly at His coming.
Let our hearts then go forth to welcome the despised and suffering here below, and to show “the kindness of God” to poor, crippled, lame, blind. And the more too, in order to win their ear through the heart to hear of Him Who alone can take away the guilt and power of sin for eternity, Who alone brings through faith in Himself into the place of sons of God even now. Thus is the believer blessed himself; and those who, touched by unworldly love, receive the Savior by believing on His name. And both will have their portion, when He comes, “in the resurrection of the just.”
For scripture never speaks of one common, simultaneous, and indiscriminate resurrection. There shall indeed be a resurrection of both just and unjust. But God's word is clear and positive that the resurrection of the just differs not more in character and consequence than in time from that of the unjust. Hence the Lord calls the former a resurrection of life, the latter a resurrection of judgment (John 5:29): the one for such as have believed on Him and done good; the other for those that, dishonoring both the Son and the Father, only did ill, and are judged accordingly. In the great prophecy of the Revelation (20:4-15), we find the gap, which severs these two resurrections, to be that special reign with Christ which follows the resurrection of life before the resurrection of judgment.
How is it then with you, dear reader? Had you in your own person spiritually all the disabilities of the poor, crippled, lame, and blind, you are none the less welcome to God's feast, to the glad tidings of His grace. Listen not to the tempter, but to the Savior. Put not off His call. You are really worse than if yourself had all these bodily ailments together and with no means to alleviate them. For what state can be so awful as that of a lost sinner? And is not this actually yours? He Himself is express that He came to seek and save such. Oh, receive Him now! God's word warrants you. It is the only way a lost sinner can please Him. Doing good will follow here below, and the resurrection of the just at Christ's coming (1 Cor. 15:23). Fear not, but believe God, Who has no purpose so dear to Him as the honor of His Son. Oh, no longer dishonor Him, the Son of His love, the Savior of the lost!

James 3:2

From the over-eagerness to teach, gift or no gift, we come in the next verse to a far wider range of caution, which is illustrated in the usual practical way, but with singular aptitude and force.
“For in many things [or, often] we all offend. If any one offendeth not in word, he (is) a perfect man able to bridle the whole body also” (ver. 2).
Thus the Spirit of God turns from the vain readiness to teach in public to the irrepressibility of speech in general. “For in many things we all offend.” The word translated “offend” passes from physical stumbling to moral failure, as in chap. 2:10, the transition already being marked in Rom. 11:11. Compare also 2 Peter 1:10 with the double occurrence in our verse.
Without doubt each saint is responsible in all humility as regards himself, to speak for the Lord where His glory and will, grace and truth, are plainly revealed. Alas, how much is said that has no higher source than self, however veiled it may be! But self when opposed is apt to break out into strife and party-work, with all their deadly accompaniments and results. Nor are any souls more deceived than those who accredit themselves with the best motives, and fear not to assail those who reprove them with odious imputations. It is clear that James knew this deplorable evil but too well, as indeed the other inspired writers; nor did anyone perhaps suffer from bitter experience of the evil so much as the apostle Paul. It could not be otherwise, when we read of the state of the Galatians on the one hand and of the Corinthians on the other, and of his own responsibility to pronounce on such early departure from both divine truth and the ways of the Lord. For they are ordinarily associated with a self-exalting and rebellious spirit.
But these servants of the Lord did not refrain from the most trenchant denunciation of both errors and moral condition, any more than He Himself when here in perfect love, and because it was perfect. Who but He called Peter “Satan?” For he was an offense to Christ, because in the most amiable way he was minding the things of men, not those of God. How often too He had to mark and rebuke the rivalry of men, whom grace alone caused to differ from others, craving after their own honor, where He pointed the way to shame and suffering now (Himself alone entering its unfathomable depths), but to heavenly glory with Him shortly! Even after He rose, what could He say to the sorrow-stricken doubters, but “O senseless and slow of heart to believe in all the prophets spoke?”
Not less cuttingly does Paul remonstrate with the Corinthians as carnal and walking as men, to whom he gave milk, not meat as being not yet able to bear it. These were the men ready to sit in judgment on the apostle's authority and practice! Were not the signs, of an apostle wrought out among them in all patience? The humbling thing to his heart was that he should have one word to say about it to saints so deeply indebted to him. But he does not fail to speak with severity, whatever the anguish it might be to himself. How little they knew what it cost him, when they winced under the reproof! How far from feeling the love according to God that lay beneath the truth, which did not flatter them but laid bare their lofty thoughts and low ways!
Just so the apostle reproaches other children of his in the faith, “O senseless Galatians, who bewitched you?... I am afraid of you, lest indeed I labored in vain as to you.... of whom I again travail in birth, until Christ be formed in you.... The persuasion is not of him that calleth you.”
Let us not forget what spirit it was that resisted of old such faithful men as Moses and Aaron, or taxed them with taking too much on them, “seeing all the congregation are holy, everyone of them, and Jehovah among them.” It was their own self-sufficiency that left out His will and word in their eagerness to lift themselves up. And such gainsaying is not obsolete. It is the spirit of the age increasingly, and displays itself religiously yet more than in the profane world.
Yet even the most spiritual have to watch habitually and to judge self in this respect at least as much as in any other. “For in many things we all offend. If any one offendeth not in word, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body also.” It is trying to hear men talk of matters which they are incompetent to judge. And it is easy enough to overshoot the mark of a true and deserved horror of what no godly mind should tolerate; and all the more because true discernment is rare. Christ is the pattern. A perfect man is he who offends not in word, able to bridle the whole body also. May our word as the rule be always with grace, seasoned with salt. May we also, if by God called to the duty, be brave to overthrow reasonings and every high thing that lifts itself up against the knowledge of God, and to lead every thought into the obedience of Christ.

Remarks on 1 John: 1:5-10

Seeing that the purpose of John's writings is that we should have this fellowship to the completing of our joy, even if we know experimentally but little of it, we are encouraged to study them. And surely we may, while doing so, plead with God that in our case he may not have written in vain. But let us remember that it is an individual thing.
Not until verse 7 do we get communion with saints; and though many have been the attempts to invert this order, and to bring about communion with saints without the individual communion of the saints, such attempts have failed and worn out; for the communion exists only in name if it exist at all.
And, after all, we are individuals. “The heart knoweth his own bitterness; and a stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy” (Prov. 14:10). Mr. Bellett tells of a young lady who, when suffering from disease and drawing near to death, said, “that at times she found such joy in the thought of Christ that she was compelled to leave off thinking of Him.” Doubtless she was physically too weak to bear it. It is probable that those who visited her knew neither what she suffered, nor the extent of her joy; yet how real were both to her! And we may surely say that this individual fellowship has cheered a countless multitude of prisoners of Jesus Christ in lengthened captivity, and of martyrs in view of torture and death. And though our lot in England is cast in easy times, there are many true saints in isolation and profound distress: the tears of God's dear children have not ceased to flow.
Blessed be God, then, for lengthening out the days of His servant, that he might minister to us that which filled his own heart with joy and delight, though the state of the churches might well fill him with distress and alarm. Great changes he had seen in the world, but he gave them not the tribute of a thought; all his concern was for his “little children.”
The truth in verse 5 should be pondered and cherished in our hearts. It is the foundation of all that follows, and is at once laid—deep, solid, immovable. The extreme malignity of the poison which the serpent instilled into Eve, his detestable wickedness and cruelty, are seen in separating her from God, and awakening in her the love of darkness rather than light; and the human race has never overcome this fatal preference. Some have fought hard to triumph over its results, and even to get out of the darkness. “Light, more light,” was the pathetic dying cry of a modern philosopher; and the touching story of the young ruler in Mark 10, whom Jesus looking on loved, are among the many evidences of its impossibility with men. But, oh! to His eternal praise, it is said, “not with God.” Paul said of himself and of all true Christians: “God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6).
Our estimate of the value of “the message that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (notice the force of the reiteration, so common with John), will increase as we go on. We shall learn that we are safe and happy as we consciously abide in His presence. Thoughts and intents of the heart that hinder communion are there detected and nipped in the bud, and the innumerable inconsistencies are avoided of those who are Christians merely in profession. In verse 6 is supposed the case of mere profession, “If we say,” &c. The broad principle is affirmed, whoever may be the speaker, and the need of it is only too evident when unreality in the things of God prevails, saying and not doing; singing hymns expressive of fresh, bright, heart-enjoyment of the love of God and of Christ, while there is not a trace of it in the life. The word to meet this is very sharp. “If we say that we have fellowship with God and walk in darkness” (that is, as if there had been no revelation of God in Christ), “we lie, and do not the truth.” “Doing the truth” is a weighty word (see John 3:21). The force of it becomes more and more distinct to the mind, as we are more filled with the knowledge of the will of God, and patiently continue in doing it; confiding in Him, as to everything and in everything, for needed grace and timely help to do it.
In scripture “the walk” is a person's course of life, in effect what he is; and in verse 7 this is supposed to be in the presence of God fully revealed. “No man hath seen God at any time; the only-begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (John 1:18), that is, hath made Him known, as He knew Him. The partial light of past dispensations is over: Judaism is left; the way into the holiest is made manifest. “He that hath seen” Jesus “hath seen the Father.” The first question for a Christian is, therefore, not how he walks, all important as it is, but where. Is he in the full peace of the finished work of Christ, the peace of His blood “which cleanseth us from all sin?” His walk may be slow and feeble; he may stumble, as indeed we all do (James 3:2); but God, who has called him to walk in His presence, knows his need, and will supply all to meet it. In this path he will not be alone, others by grace are walking in it; and nearness to God will bring such near to each other. This principle of true Christian fellowship is unfolded here. It is in the presence of God without a veil, distance over forever,
“More happy, but not more secure,
The spirits departed to heaven.”
Another saying is supposed in verse 8 in order to give a full and final decision upon it. If cleansed from every sin by the blood of Christ, has the root of evil, the sin in which we were conceived, and that dwelleth in us, been eradicated, so that we are justified in saying “that we have no sin?” We deceive ourselves if we do, and the truth is not in us; a very serious word indeed. It is said of the devil, only more emphatically, “There is no truth in him” (John 8:44). The question is not as to personal acceptance. This is declared in the fullest and most absolute terms in chap. iv. 17. Neither is it a question whether sin, though in us, has dominion over us; whether we are its slaves. No! a true Christian “is the Lord's freedman.” In the death of Christ he has died to every claim but His. He is Christ's servant, and God has given the Holy Spirit to them who obey His rule (1 Cor. 7:22; Acts 5:32). His body is a temple of the Holy Spirit which is in him, which he has of God, and he is not his own, he therefore keeps it under (1 Cor. 6:19, and 9:27).
(To be continued, D.V.)

Life and Union

Scripture never speaks of union with Christ while on earth—never. It always speaks of union with an exalted Head. And it is evident to me that, when Christ breathed on them after His resurrection, He conveyed an accession of living power. The second Adam is a life-giving Spirit; and as God breathed into man's nostrils the breath of life, so here Christ breathes upon them. He does not send down the Holy Ghost from heaven, so that they should be the habitation of God through the Spirit; but He does what He never did before the resurrection; and I have no doubt that this was life more abundantly.
The Spirit of life in Christ Jesus it is that has made us free from the law of sin and death. He quickened Lazarus; yet it was not a question of his soul, but victory over death by power, in answer to His cry to the Father, though He were in living power then the resurrection and the life. But His resurrection was another thing. It was according to the power of an endless life; and this was not Lazarus' case. We are quickened together with Him; and this is so true, that (notwithstanding Lazarus, and other persons raised to life during the period recorded in the Old Testament) He is the first-fruits of them that slept. All these cases belonged to, and were brought to pass in, the old thing, through the power of God in it. If man had not been in the state he really was, totally and fundamentally corrupt, so that atonement was absolutely necessary, there was power, living power, in Him (the Father had given Him to have life in Himself; in Him was life) to restore all.
Adam was not, in fact, the head of the race, till fallen and in sin; so Christ is not a corporate Head till He has wrought out righteousness, and we can be made it in Him; and then we belong to the new creation. Whereas, divine and perfect as He was, He, supposing He was the new thing, was come into, and dealing with, the old-God's last dealing, we may say, with it (save a peculiar special intervention with Israel), and therefore abode alone till the foundation was laid of the new thing, the new creation, in His death (by which He passed out of and closed the old) and His resurrection (by which He began in power the new, breaking the bonds of Satan, who had conquered in the old, in his last strong hold-strong by God's judgment). Hence when, in instructing us what the church is, the apostle speaks of the new creation, he speaks of our being risen and quickened together with Christ, and set in heavenly places in Him, the middle wall of partition being broken down to make both one, making peace, and to present both in one body by the cross.... Accordingly, it is a serious thing to make the death of Christ necessary only to the ordering of the church, and not to its founding and existence, and to make Christ alive in the earth before that solemn, and, in the literal sense of the word, all-important act, the center of union, when the apostle says it could not be till after-nay, when Christ says that He abode alone till then.
It has been urged, and rightly urged, that incarnation was not union. But the Lord affirms there could not be union without death: He was to die, to gather. We are baptized into one body. That life was communicated, I fully recognize; but I do not see that this is necessarily union, in the sense of forming the body, which is everything to the church. I find it distinguished from heavenly things in Christ's conversation with Nicodemus. He had spoken of earthly things, when speaking of regeneration; for the Jews, taking earthly things of God, must be regenerate. But with this He contrasts the heavenly things, and, when He mentions these, states to Nicodemus that the Son of man must be lifted up.
That God forgave from Adam's sin downwards in respect of the cross is plain, and stated in Rom. 3:25; and that He communicated life to the O.T. saints I do not doubt. It is too clear to reason on it here; for, without it, none shall see nor enter the kingdom of God. But Christ is never spoken of as the Head of the body, the church united to Him, until He was Himself exalted to the right hand of God, and had accomplished the work which made the church's whole place before God. It was not, therefore, merely arranging the church's form that was in question; it was doing the work which could give it a place before God, lay the foundation for its existence, and make the peace, reconciling Jew and Gentile in one body unto God by the cross.
J. N. D.

The Hope of Christ Compatible With Prophecy: 2

THE prophecy of Daniel had already revealed the leading features of the interval during which “the prince that shall come” plays his terrible role. “And he shall confirm a covenant” [see margin and. compare Isa. 28:15] “with the many” (i.e. of Daniel's people, the Jews) for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease; and on account of the protection of abominations a desolator shall be, even until the consummation (or consumption, as in Isa. 28:22), “and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate” (Dan. 9:27). That the desolator is not the Roman prince is manifest. He is hostile to both. The latter prince is described as one “that shall come,” after the Messiah had already appeared and been cut off (as is plain from verse 26). There is also the certainty that “the prince that shall come” is the chief of the Roman people. For his people “shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.” We all know who destroyed Jerusalem and the temple-the people of this future prince.
The latter part of the twenty-sixth verse does not continue the thread of the history, further than the general expression, “and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.” In the last verse we are transported to the epoch of “the prince that shall come,” and his actings during the last week of the age. This period is shown to be broken into two parts, during the former of which, according to a covenant, Jewish worship is resumed; but “in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease.”
Nor is it in chap. ix. only. If chap. vii. be consulted, it will be seen that there is a certain little Horn rising after the ten Horns of the fourth Roman Beast, before whom three of the first Horns fell-” that horn that had eyes and a mouth, that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows” (ver. 20). “And he shall speak great words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High (or, of the high places) and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand, until a time and times and the dividing of time” (ver. 25). Is it not evident that in chap. vii. is a Horn or king whose blasphemous pride brings judgment upon the Beast or Roman empire; and whose interference with times and laws, that is, with Jewish ceremonial order, continues for three years and a half? and that for the same space of time, or the last half week, “the prince that shall come,” the Roman prince of chap. 9, overthrows this ceremonial worship? For the Jew is still unbelieving and unpurged.
Now the Revelation not only takes up the last half of Daniel's week (Rev. 11, 12, 13) but shows what is the place of the church during this period. This truth it was not given to the Jewish prophet to reveal; because it was that which supposed and fitly followed the revelation of the mystery hidden from ages and from generations. Paul had given us the church waiting for the presence of the Lord. What is it that the Holy Ghost adds by John? What is the great outline seen in the Revelation?
After the vision of the Lord Jesus in chap. 1, we have “things that are,” in epistles to the Seven Churches, so conveyed as to apply not only at that time, but as long as the church subsists on earth. Then comes the properly prophetic part, the “things which should be after” the church-condition had passed away. Throughout the prophetic portion of the book, the church is never described as being on earth. At the close of the third chapter, it altogether disappears from earthly view. Instead of the churches being any longer traced here below, a door is opened in heaven; and the prophet is called up there to see “the things which must come to pass after these,” i.e. after “the things which are,” or the church regarded in the completeness of its varying phases on earth. Besides other things (the throne, and One that sat upon it being the center of the vision), John sees, not seven candlesticks, but, suited to the new circumstances of heaven, four and twenty thrones, and upon them four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment and on their heads golden crowns.
Thus we have, in vision, the place and functions of the saints after they shall have been taken up to meet the Lord, and before their manifestation with Him in glory. Here is the simple reason. The way in which He and they are here represented emblematically is totally different from what is revealed as connected with either, when the moment comes to leave heaven for the purpose of judgment upon the beast, &c.; or from what is revealed touching the reign for a thousand years subsequent to that judgment: that is, in Rev. 19:11, and in 20:4-6. For can the scene in Rev. 4; 5 be interpreted consistently with any view, save that of the church being actually caught up and completed in the presence of God? It is a quite distinct thing from our sitting in heavenly places in Christ. Such is the subject of the Epistle to the Ephesians. Neither is it the same thing as the boldness which the partakers of the heavenly calling have even now to enter into the holiest 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. Such is the subject of the Epistle to the Hebrews, where the high-priesthood of Jesus is dwelt on at length, and the liberty which we have in consequence to draw near with a true heart and full assurance of faith. For it is still faith, and not actual possession, however it may be, through the power of the Holy Ghost, the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
But quite distinctly the purpose of the Revelation is to disclose the dealings of God (whether the facts be expressed or understood)—but dealings which involve a certain condition of things that was future, if considered in relation to the circumstances looked at in the seven Epistles— “the things” in short “which must be after” those actually subsisting at this time. Nor can chapters 4, 5. be supposed to describe the blessedness of the spirits of the saints previous to the coming of Christ for the church. How could the departed who are with Christ be in fairness symbolized by twenty-four elders? that is, by an image evidently borrowed from the full courses of Jewish priesthood. The whole church, and not a part only, is comprehended in the symbol. But this can only be after the dead in Christ rise first, then we which are alive and remain are caught up together with them in the clouds, and so to be ever with the Lord. Accordingly, here they are represented as in heaven, the Lord being also there; and although made kings and priests even when on earth, still the time is not yet come for the exercise of government.
In beautiful harmony, therefore, with this peculiar and transitional period during which they are removed from the world, they worship above. But the saints below are not forgotten. Those above have golden harps and golden vials full of odors, “which are the prayers of saints.” And they sing a new song, celebrating the worthiness of the Lamb to take the book and open the seals, not only because He was slain and had redeemed themselves, but had made them, i.e. these saints, to their God, kings and priests. And they should reign over the earth. The fulfillment is seen in Rev. 20:4-6: the reigning with Christ not merely of those symbolized by the elders, but also of the Apocalyptic suffers after that on earth.
Moreover, it is clear on the one hand, that the lightnings, thunderings, &c., suit neither the day of grace nor the millennial state. Earth is certainly not then brought under the power of the blood of Christ, when these symbols will find their accomplishment. On the other hand, it is equally clear that there are saints on earth, while the twenty-four elders are before the throne above. That is, it is neither the millennial nor the present state; but an intermediate period of a peculiar nature, in which we have the throne, not of grace as now, nor of displayed glory as by-and-by, but clothed with what has been justly termed a Sinai character of awful majesty attached to it. It is judicial.
But those above exercise their priesthood in the presence of God as the full completed chief-priests. Hence the symbol of twenty-four elders round the throne, at the time when, as all confess, earth is still unreconciled, however there may be, in the next chapter, the anticipative song of every creature. If this be true, it follows that the Lord's coming to meet the saints takes place between Rev. 3 and iv. (if the thought be pursued, which I doubt not, that chaps. vi.-xix. will be fulfilled in a rapid crisis), room being left there for His coming described in 1 Thess. 4 and elsewhere.
Then the properly prophetic part begins, when of course the main action of the book goes on subsequently to the removal of the church. It is plain that another character of testimony from that of the church properly is announced. For God Himself is revealed in ways different from those which He is displaying now; that is to say, not as showing the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus, but in the chastening judgments of the seals, trumpets, and vials, preparatory to the great day of the Lord which Rev. 19:11 ushers in.
On this coming state of things Daniel compared with the Revelation will be found to cast and to receive much light. For it seems plain that the saints of the Most High or heavenlies, of whom we read in Dan. 7, identify themselves with the saints who suffer under the beast, after the rapture of the church and before the Lord's appearing. They keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. This, be it noted, is the Spirit of prophecy. Yet, though they are not of the twenty-four elders, they will have their blessed and holy part in “the first resurrection.”
Let it be remarked, that this term has nothing to do with the question whether all are raised at the same time. It simply describes the condition of those who rise and reign during the thousand years, as distinguished from those who do not rise till that period is ended. The truth of this seems manifest from the fact that Christ has part in the first resurrection; yet He nevertheless rose before the church more than 1800 years at least. Hence the thought is not forbidden of certain saints being raised who stand and suffer after the church is gone.
The symbol of the twenty-four elders continues unchanged throughout the course of the book, till chap. 19 They enter into God's ways and judgments, as interested in whatever affected His glory, as may be seen in Rev. 4; 5; 7; 11; 14; 19. But in chap. 19 there is a striking change. After the opening scene of the rejoicings over Babylon the elders no longer appear. The time for the marriage being come (and how evidently the church therefore is still viewed in the Revelation as unmarried!), the Bride, the Lamb's wife, is only then announced as made ready. (To be concluded, D.V.)

The Inspiration of the Scriptures: 1. Divine Authority

Chapter 1 Divine Authority
We open the Bible. Its first words are necessarily either a revelation or an imposture, either God's word or man's guess claiming His authority. A middle ground here is impossible.
The first and in extent the greatest of all miracles is revealed. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” There is no specific date given. It is expressly indefinite. Many have confounded ver. 3 with ver. 1, some with feelings hostile, others friendly, to revelation. Both were inexcusably wrong, because both carelessly overlooked the scripture before their eyes. For this scripture, even were there no other confirmatory, affirms in ver. 1 the original creation of the universe, then in ver. 2 its chaotic condition. The earth was not created empty and waste when first called into being (Isa. 45:18). It may have become so often, if able geologists are heeded. It certainly was so immediately before the days of man's world began, which commenced, not with creating light, but with its activity after ruin and darkness. “And God said, Light be, and light was.”
Then ver. 2 does not describe God's creation like ver. 1, but a state of utter contrast with it, when total disorder ensued for the earth. Neither the one fact nor the other called for more than passing notice, as being physical, and as in no direct way the sphere of God's moral dealings with man. Yet was it of moment to have facts of deep interest briefly disclosed, which were entirely beyond the ken of man, lost in contending dreams of eternal matter in the West, and of emanations in the East, illusion and falsehood both of them into which evolution, the fashion of our day, no less surely entices unwary souls. Whatever of detail Gen. 1 furnishes is solely about the formation of the world as it was prepared for the human race; eventually for Christ the Man of God's counsels. It was no speculation of some “Hebrew Descartes” or Newton, but God's account of His own work by His servant and prophet Moses. It is worthy of God, deigning in love to communicate what man could not discover and ought to know.
Science is powerless to speak of the beginning of things. So the inductive philosophers own, ashamed as they may well be of all the cosmogonists, Egyptians, Phoenicians, Greeks, Orientals, or any others. There stands God's revelation, simple, majestic, and complete for His purpose, without even a rival throughout all ages, against which the pride of man can allege nothing but his own errors of haste and misapprehension. How could such a chapter have been written but by divine revelation? Search, ye men of science, ransack all your stores; scrutinize the reports and transactions of the most renowned societies. Did not your wisest own himself but as a child picking up a pebble here and there on the ocean shore? Did not he own reverently this inspired record of creation?
But is there not what some foolishly call a “second account” in Gen. 2? The first chapter reveals simply that which Elohim “created to make,” closing with the sabbath He blessed and hallowed (chap. 2: 1-3). Then follows from ver. 4 Jehovah Elohim presenting man, formed specially and in moral relationship to Himself, and so not merely as in chapter 1 the head of creation. Hence it is that here, only in chap. 2, we have the garden with every tree pleasant and good for food, and the tree of solemn import to humanity, life and responsibility; the last, a moral test applied to a condition of innocence; man exercising his lordship over all the lower creation, yet with no like helpmate; and then woman's peculiar formation out of man. These and more pertain to God as moral governor (Jehovah Elohim), and therefore demand as they have a new section of scripture.
How quickly the fall brought in death and ruin on man, an outcast from paradise! But grace revealed the Second man, the woman's Seed, to crush the old serpent, the tempter. Clearly then, far from being another and inconsistent narrative, Gen. 2:4 as a new subject begins the moral trial of Adam, and in it his wife too playing so grave a part, in that scene of paradise formed, no less than themselves, to give it best effect in His wisdom Who put man to the proof. Hence chapter 3 under the same divine title reveals the result, so glorifying to God, so humbling to the creature, yet a needed key to all that followed here below, with assured hope of the conqueror of Satan in a bruised Savior to be born of woman.
In all the Bible there is not, save in Christ's person and work, a fact so momentous as the fall, nor a revelation more essential than Gen. 2; 3 God alone could have given us the truth as there made known. It is monstrous to conceive the guilty pair adequate witnesses. Who then else but God?
Here it is the unadorned truth, still more profound morally than chapter i., in Christ revealing the grace of God to the Highest, God's glory in His person with man's ultimate deliverance, and thus of the utmost moment to the salvation, well-being, and happiness of the believer. All comes out in plain facts, such as a child could take in, yet involving principles truer and deeper than any ideas evolved by the most philosophic of mankind. Herein lies an essential difference between revealed truth, and all its rivals. Take Vedaism, Brahmanism, Buddhism, Lamaism, or aught else in India and the adjacent lands; take Confucianism, Taoism, Foism, in China; take Sabaism, Jovism, Fetichism ancient and modern: can anyone of these systems allege a single fact as their basis? The religion of the Bible, O. or N. Testament, Judaism or Christianity, rests on facts, on realities, not on mere ideas of man's mind.
Whether a partial dealing of a moral nature by law within a particular people, or the full world-wide revelation of grace and truth in the Lord Jesus Christ, God's word was the divine communication of immensely momentous facts. The related divinely inspired writings are precisely those which rationalists, claiming to be Christians, devote their efforts to dislocate, discredit, and destroy, like Pagan philosophers of old. Like fallen Adam, I am born and have lived an outcast from God. Revelation, God's revelation, His word, is the only possible way of making God known to me. Now rationalism has no more than Paganism or its philosophy any just sense of the fall, or of sin, or of God's remedy for it in Christ. Here in the earliest revelation we have the fact unmistakeably brought out in its relation to present government on the earth, with light sufficient for faith to higher and everlasting things, as we see in Abel, Enoch, &c.
Nor is it otherwise with the law any more than the promises. As the latter was no aspiration proceeding from the heart of the fathers by the Spirit, but an objective revelation made to Abram, Isaac, and Jacob; so still more manifestly was the giving of the law by Moses for the sons of Israel. Not the least detail was left to the genius of that great man: everything was presented and regulated by the commandment of Jehovah.
So it is in Christianity, wherein is the revelation to us by the Holy Spirit of what is wholly beyond man's eye, ear, and heart; in the written word is the unswerving standard as well as the richest means of communicating all. All is established on sure and infinite facts; for the Incarnation, the Ministry, the Atoning death, the Resurrection, and the Ascension, of the Lord Jesus are such realities. No doubt they may well exercise heart and mind, now that the believer's conscience is purged, and to the uttermost by the word and Spirit of God. Still they are facts, attested by divine testimony to God's glory through man and for man, to be made good also in man by faith and love, by experience and obedience, by life-service and worship. There can scarce be a stronger contrast than between law and gospel, the earthly calling and the heavenly. But this at least is common to them both, that their groundwork is one of facts, not mere thoughts of the mind; and these facts are communicated to us with the known certainty of God's mind and word, such as the Holy Spirit alone could give.
Hence we may observe there is no formal claim in the opening of the Bible. The great of this world may enter with a flourish of trumpets, naturally if not necessarily. Not so the divine record. Who could speak of creation but God? or tell it adequately in its relational light but Himself taking His relative name to His people? Who but He in both ways could fully let us know the cause, history, and consequences of the deluge? Who else, what led to the rise of nations, languages? or to the call of Abram and the fathers who followed of His chosen and separate people? Yet even here throughout we have “God said” and wrought; and so with Him as “Jehovah.” He is an enemy who denies its absolute truth and divine authority.
Then comes Exodus, where the redemption of His people appears first, with the bitter bondage and oppression that preceded and brought judgment on their enemies, and His dwelling in their midst that followed, with the law but not without the shadow of the good things to come. Then accordingly we have His name of relationship specially, explained. Here yet more abundantly “Jehovah said” and acted. But, either historically, or when nature is introduced, it is God as such, i.e. Elohim. No man or varying document has the least to do with this, but His own wisdom in the inspired word. The book must be a romance or imposture like the Koran, if it be not God through Moses. The peculiarities of it (such as reserving to chap. 30, where it even looks out of order, the altar of incense, the atonement-money, the holy anointing oil, and the holy incense for Jehovah) flow from the deep design of God, instead of the blunder of legends, or the incapacity of an editor, to which the imbecility of “higher criticism” rashly and ignorantly ascribes them. The repetitions, as of the sabbath, &c., which they regard as self-evidence of several scribes, are due to a like divine design; and they only learn and profit who bow to divine authority.
Leviticus is even more manifestly Jehovah speaking from first to last, with the least of history in it but this as manifestly by divine authority. It deals with access to Him, and hence begins with sacrifices and offerings, and priesthood. Thence it treats of unclean things and state; and the central truth of the Day of Atonement, and of blood reserved to God; then of evil relationships and holy ones; the feasts, &c.
Numbers is a book too varied for so brief a notice as the present; but treats it has the people's journeyings, and its characteristic moral facts are selected by the inspiring Spirit for God's permanent record, above all the wisdom of the writer or of any man at any time. The apostle in 1 Cor. 10 declares the typical character of the events recorded, for which God alone was competent, to say nothing of copious and special injunctions to Moses, to Aaron, and to both, or of the wondrous predictions Jehovah spoke through Balaam compelled to bless Israel.
Deuteronomy has not only its task of rehearsal in a way beyond human thought, but is anticipative of their possession of the land, and solemnly insists on obedience of Jehovah's word, and on a covenant distinct from that of Horeb. But we need not say more than express the horror which a believer unsophisticated by the spirit of the age must and ought to feel at the blasphemous denial of the N. T. testimony to Moses as the writer, and of its divine authority.
It would be too much to glance at every book, as we have at those which compose the Pentateuch. But all else in the O. T. as in the New has the same authority of God. Hence the O. T. scriptures are called as a whole by the apostle Paul (Rom. 3:2) “the oracles of God;” as Moses is said by Stephen (Acts 7:38) to have received “living oracles” (not dead legends) to give unto God's people. And the Lord Jesus when risen said to the disciples, “These are the words which I spoke unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses and prophets and psalms concerning me” (Luke 24:44). This covers the entire Hebrew O. T. as the Jews present it to us. And herein the Latin church has proved a faithless guardian by adding apocryphal Greek writings to that Canon, which even Jerome in his Prologus Galeatus to the Vulgate admits to be not properly included. So similar unfaithfulness was essayed in early days by reading publicly uninspired writings, and joining them, as an Appendix, to the copies of the Greek N. T. But even Rome did not commit itself to so gross an imposture as this last.
The great apostle in his First Epistle to Timothy (v. 18) quotes Deut. 25:4 and Luke 10:7 as “the scripture.” He might have quoted Matt. 10:10 from one an apostle like himself; he was led of God to quote from one who was a prophet, not an apostle. For we are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets (Eph. 2:20). This stamps Luke as no mere amanuensis expressing but as an inspired writer whom the apostle cites Paul's mind, according to the tradition of Eusebius, when writing in the Spirit. So 2 Peter 3:15, 16 shows us the apostle of the circumcision referring in this inspired document to Paul's Epistles as part of the scriptures. Thus we learn the unerring and far-seeing provision of allusion, which might to some seem casual, but the fruit of infinite wisdom, and weightier to faith than a world of human reasonings. Indeed the intrinsic character of the N. T. is so unequivocally self-evidencing, that only the pride of unbelief in Jew or Gentile can account for one who accepts the Old as divine hesitating about the New as no less. (To be continued, D.V.).

Scripture Queries and Answers: The Little Horn

Q.-Can the little Horn of Dan. 7 be the last Roman Emperor? Is he not rather the Jewish Anti-Christ? On the one hand the ten Horns are not the beast, nor is the little Horn which comes up among them, and destroys three of the first Horns. And as the Beast was destroyed because of the great words the Horn spoke, their distinction is clear on the other. Taking the little Horn as the Willful King, or the Anti-Christ, he is the Beast's minion, and corresponds more with the Second Beast of Rev. 13. He has all cunning (eyes like those of man), pleases the Beast, and represents him, though a distinct personage.
(condensed from) D. P.
A.-It is quite true that John's Anti-Christ (or willful king of Dan. 11:36 et seqq.), being the subordinate of the Beast as to earthly power, is the Second Beast or false prophet, the highest pretender to spiritual eminence and energy, answering to the man of sin in 2 Thess. 2. They are, one no less than the other, worshipped, and they perish together in the lake of fire (Rev. 19). But the Roman empire, or first Beast of Rev. 13, has a chief; and this clearly the little Horn, which came up after the ten, dispossessed three, and became the dominant power, to which the rest gave their kingdoms as vassals. Dan. 7 alone gives the historic details. It is the once little Horn become great, whose pride and blasphemies brought judgment on the imperial Beast as a whole.
In the Revelation, which gives character rather than history, it is the Beast that said and did what its last ruler said and did. Compare Dan. 7:20, 21, 24, 25, 8-11, with Rev. 13:4-7. This solves the difficulty. The Revelation therefore does not distinguish this last Horn as such like Daniel, but attributes to the Beast in its last form what Daniel predicates historically of the little Horn. So true is this, that Rev. 17:11 identifies the Beast or Roman empire with the eighth resurrection head, which answers to Daniel's little Horn; and in ver. 12 takes no notice of the then fallen Horns. John speaks of the characteristic ten Horns. There is the clearest guard against confounding him with the second Beast, the lawless king in Judea (Anti-Christ).
There is no doubt that the Roman imperial Horn is said to have “eyes like the eyes of a man “; but this only symbolizes his extraordinary intelligence and insight humanly. The second Beast pretends to give breath and speech to the inanimate, as well as to call fire from heaven in the sight of men—the crucial proof of Jehovah as God against Baal in Elijah's day. Again, it is certain that the Roman prince in Dan. 9 causes sacrifice and oblation to cease in the temple; so that his thinking to change times and laws was quite consistent with Dan. 7, instead of bringing the Anti-Christ into what belongs to the Roman power. But as they are confederates, it is easy to identify them mistakenly.
We must also beware of the still more prevalent confusion of the little Horn of Dan. 8 with either the Emperor in Rome or the Anti-Christ in Jerusalem. He is the enemy of both, being “the Assyrian” of the prophets in general, and the “king of the north,” whose last doings and end we read of in Dan. 11:40-45. He is destroyed no less signally than the Beast and the False Prophet soon after their awful catastrophe.


in last B.T. p. 4, col. 1, last line, for “own” read “work of.”


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The Early Chapters of Genesis: Chapter 11:5-7: 1.

THESE verses are a striking example of the childlike simplicity which, as it characterized the ways of God with man in these early days, is reflected in the divine record, and nowhere more so than in the book of Genesis. There it was in the account of creation in itself (1), and in its varied relations (2). Nor was it only with Adam and Eve, innocent or fallen (3), but with wicked Cain (4) and with righteous Noah (6-9). A similar feature prevails throughout the book, as the expression on the one hand of tender interest and on the other hand of His heart grieved by perverseness and rebellion in those that were the object of His great and countless favors. We see it even with such as Pharaoh (chap. 12) and Abimelech (21), not only with Abraham (12-22), Isaac (26) and Jacob (28), but with Sarah (18:15) and Laban too (31), Hagar also (16; 7-13), and Rebekah (25:23). The same simplicity characterizes the ways as the words of God, and produced like effects on the faithful.
“And Jehovah came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of Man builded. And Jehovah said, Behold, the people [are] one, and have all one language (lip); and this have they begun to do; and now they will not be hindered in all that they meditate to do. Come, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech (lip)” (vers.5-7).
He Who is not the Creator only but the moral governor, Jehovah, came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of Man builded. No designation suited the occasion but this. For He it is Who concerned Himself with all who stood in moral relation with Him, as He had breathed into the nostrils of their first father the breath of life. In the style of the account He would also impress His people with His calm and full judicial survey of men's ways, though all was known to Him from the beginning (ver. 5). God was in none of their thoughts. They never thought of a temple to His honor being a center for themselves. They built no altar to Jehovah, as Noah did on emerging from the ark. They called not on His name, neither sought they His will. On the contrary, “let us make us a name” was their purpose; “let us build us a city and a tower, whose top [is] unto heaven,” their plan, “lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.”
It was Jehovah thrown off in open independency; and as He saw and said and wrought before the deluge, so did He now deliberately and righteously deal with this new and daring impiety. We may be assured that those who walked with God had no fellowship with a project of practical atheism. If they forgot Him, it is no wonder that Noah or Shem did not enter their minds. To the exclusion of God, the root of all infidelity, they would make themselves a public center and a striking rallying-place. What did it matter to them that God called man to replenish the earth? Here on this fertile plain, watered by two noble rivers, would they dwell, and construct such a visible symbol of that union which is strength as would keep them together and guard against all danger of scattering. But Jehovah had His plan wholly differing; and as they abandoned both Him and His expressed will, so He made manifest their folly, and perforce scattered them by a simple, peaceful, and effectual means which subsists to this day. How vain is human wisdom in collision with God! How ineffectual is the prudence that trusts self and does without Him! What sin too!
“And Jehovah said, Behold, the people are one, and have all one language, and this have they begun to do; and now they will not be hindered in all that they meditate to do. Come, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech.”
The race had dared to set themselves in direct opposition to Jehovah, Who, in answer to Noah's offering of sweet savor, had guaranteed the continuance of the earth with its seasons, the ground to be cursed no more for man's sake, nor any more every living thing to be smitten as by the deluge. It was not the day for the powers of heaven to be shaken, nor for the kingdom of God to come in power and glory for the earth. But as the principle of government had been set up in Noah, so Jehovah was content to confound man's scheme of union without God, themselves the makers of a center the work of their own device and of their own hands! It was a universal socialism they sought, which Jehovah brought to naught by the confusion of tongues. This compelled them, not only to give up their godless project, but to disperse according to His will and replenish the earth:
What a contrast with God's work in the church! Therein grace gathered from every nation under heaven. There in honor of Him, the righteous Servant of Jehovah (Who suffered for our sins to the uttermost, died, rose, and ascended). His name was the God-given center; and in virtue of one Spirit were we all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free, and were all given to drink of one Spirit. Thus was He Whom all in heaven adore made the object of worship and service for all that believe on earth: a worthy and divine center; else it would have been an idolatrous rival and a derogation from the true God. But on the contrary it is His revealed word that we honor Christ as we honor the Father, Who is only known and possessed by such as thus confess the Son. And in witness of the gracious power of God in Christ, while the government of man was left as it had been, and the effect of divine judgment in divers tongues still subsists, His love wrought in unlettered Jews, become Christians, to proclaim the wonderful works of God in all the tongues of Gentiles.
Still greater or at least wider and more conspicuous will the contrast be when the Son of man appears in the clouds of heaven, dominion and glory given Him, and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations, and languages shall serve Him: His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed. Even then manifestly all the peoples, languages, and nations remain, but in blessed harmony around the true center to the glory of God the Father. Only in the eternal state will such distinctions vanish, when God shall be all in all, and His tabernacle be with men.

The Offerings of Leviticus: 3. Sin Offering for the Congregation

Lev. 4:13-21
The first of these compulsory offerings attested the specially representative place of the anointed priest. His sin involved the whole congregation of Israel. Communion for all was at once interrupted. Now we learn in the second case of the Sin offering that the high priest was identified with the congregation in its collective defilement. It was not so ordinarily when an individual sinned, no matter how high his position, though this too had its effect as we shall see. But in the former cases there was a suspension of communion for all; and the requisite Sin offering must be to restore.
“And if the whole assembly of Israel err [or, sin inadvertently] and the thing be hid from the eyes of the congregation, and they have done any of all the commandments of Jehovah which should not be done, and are guilty; and the sin wherein they have sinned against it is become known; then the congregation shall present a young bullock for the sin offering, and bring it before the tent of meeting. And the elders of the congregation shall lay their hands upon the head of the bullock before Jehovah; and the bullock shall be slaughtered before Jehovah. And the anointed priest shall bring of the bullock's blood into the tent of meeting; and the priest shall dip his finger in the blood, and sprinkle it seven times before Jehovah before the veil. And he shall put of the blood on the horns of the altar that is before Jehovah, which is in the tent of meeting; and he shall pour out all the blood at the bottom of the altar of burnt offering, which is at the door of the tent of meeting. And all its fat shall he take off from it and burn it on the altar. And he shall do with the bullock as he did with the bullock of the sin offering, so shall he do with this. And the priest shall make atonement for them; and it shall be forgiven them. And he shall carry forth the bullock without the camp, and burn it as he burned the first bullock: it is a sin offering of the congregation” (vers. 13-21).
Jehovah would have the sin judged in every case; but in every case He provides for its removal from before Him. There was, there could be, no respect of persons in His sight. Yet He makes a difference according to position, and especially in the anointed one who represented all. How blessed for us that He Who bore all our sins in His own body, before He entered into the holies for us, is there now not only to sustain us in our weakness and represent us in His perfectness, but as the Advocate for us with the Father if any one sin! It was He Who when here was tempted in all things in like manner, sin excepted. “Such a high priest became us” is the wonderful word of God, holy, guileless, undefiled, separated from sinners, and become higher than the heavens: no need ever had He as the high priests, His types, to offer up sacrifices for His own sins. All the more was He alone competent to act efficaciously for those of others; and this He did once for all, having offered up Himself, a Son perfected forever. But the assembly-ah I this is another matter. They indeed could sin, and sin as a whole. For this He made atonement, as we see here in the shadow, that it might be forgiven them. It may be noticed that in the counterpart of the great priest this assurance is omitted. That his sin when atoned for was forgiven him cannot of course be doubted; but the omission points to the only One Who had no sins to be forgiven, though He be the One Who made atonement for all.
But Jehovah would have His people exercised in conscience as to any sin of theirs when it became known; and so the congregation was to present a young bullock for the Sin offering and to bring it before the tent of meeting (ver. 14). As all could not lay their hands upon the victim's head, the elders of the congregation were directed to lay theirs representatively (15). When it was killed before Jehovah (for sin ever refers to God), the anointed priest was called to act on behalf of the congregation as in his own case, not so in those that follow: any priest was competent ordinarily, here the high priest only. And he must bring of the bullock's blood into the tent of meeting (16), dip his finger in it, and sprinkle it seven times before Jehovah before the veil, as for his sin (17). He must as then put of the blood on the horns of the golden altar that is before Jehovah; for the communion of all had to be restored. It is the more in striking distinction from the individual cases, because in all the others the blood of the sin offering that remained was all poured out at the bottom of the brasen altar (18). And there all the fat was burned, not outside but on the altar (19), and with the same particularity as in the Sin offering for the anointed priest (20). There was thus the fullest witness to the intrinsic holiness of the victim; while verse 21 carefully shows how thoroughly it was identified with the sin of the congregation, and burnt on a clean place outside the camp, where as a whole the carcass was carried. The word for burning even was carefully varied as before to suit the twofold truth.
What wondrous forethought such minute differences indicate! What jealousy for the honor of the Great Priest, so long before the time of His manifestation! and for that of the incomparable sacrifice of Himself, so acceptable to God, and efficacious for sinners! Not only is the book the authentic and the genuine writing of Moses, but it approves itself to be the work of God through him. Who but He Himself could have foreseen all?

Gospel Words: the Great Supper

Luke 14:16-24
Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God, said one to the Lord. Far different is the real thought, as was shown in the parable. Grace is repulsive to nature; man shrinks from God and slights His call.
“A certain man was making a great supper, and bade many; and he sent forth his bondman at supper-time to say to those that were bidden, Come, for things are now ready. And they all at once began to excuse themselves. The first said to him, I bought land and must go out to see it; I pray thee, have me excused. And another said, I bought five yoke of oxen, and I am on my way to prove them; I pray thee, have me excused. And another said, I married a wife, and on this account cannot come. And the bondman when he came up reported these things to his master. Then the house-master in anger said to his bondman, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring here the poor and maimed and blind and lame. And the bondman said, Sir, What thou didst command is done, and yet there is room. And the lord said to the bondman, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel [them] to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say to you, that none of those men that were bidden shall taste of my supper” (vers. 16-24).
The corresponding, though scarcely the same, parable in Matt. 22:2-14 is a likeness of the kingdom of the heavens, which gives prominence to the wedding feast for the king's son, to the dispensational difference of the Jews, and to the judgment that befell their city. Here man's moral roots are more laid bare; and where sin abounded, grace surpassed.
There was no harm in buying land, in acquiring oxen, or in marrying a wife. The evil lay in pleading these things, or any else, to set aside the call of God. The heart is at fault, which makes present interests or even duties a reason for putting God off and neglecting so great salvation. Have you, my reader, no object or pursuit, which stands between you and the knowledge of God and His Son which is life eternal? Be not deceived. Sin gives Satan the means of blinding every soul to the light of God's glory in the face of Jesus Christ, as well as to his own ruin and exposure to the Gehenna of fire, where one's worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. Your peril is extreme.
God in the gospel meets you in your need and guilt and danger. He asks nothing, He gives all things; and they are now ready. He provides a great supper; He invites freely. Oh, begin not once more to excuse yourself. Too long have you turned aside. Why should you die in your sins, lost forever? The Son of man expressly came to save the lost. But it is through faith.
Those who first had the invitation valued what was before them, forgot God's judgment for eternity. The Lord recorded their folly that you might fear God—the beginning of wisdom—that you might hear and live. He would give you another life, which is only in Himself, life eternal; and this life in Him loves the will of God, as it refuses the baits and bribes of the enemy. It begins with faith-obedience, and is sanctified by the Spirit to obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ. Thus one becomes a child of obedience instead of fashioning oneself according to the former lusts in one's ignorance. The call of God is paramount. He calls one to receive His grace in Christ. This is His commandment that we believe the name of His Son Jesus Christ. The first of rights is that God should have His rights; and He commands us to believe on the Lord Jesus.
See the activity of God's love. He is not content with gathering in the poor and maimed and blind and lame from the streets and lanes of the city. He will have His bondman go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them in importunate earnestness to come in. He insists that His house be filled. What a God is ours A just God and a Savior He is assuredly. Why then trifle, when all blessing is proffered in Christ, when all is and must be ruin where He is refused? For does He not say to you, that none of those that were bidden shall taste of His supper? Are you not bidden? Come, then; for He welcomes in the name of His Son. Come without delay—dangerous everywhere, most of all in presence of your sin and of God's everlasting judgment. Now it is all grace, grace reigning through righteousness unto life eternal by Jesus Christ our Lord. Practical love follows, and practical obedience. It is the first step that weighs. That it might be open to you, it cost the Savior all in unfathomable humiliation and the sacrifice of Himself for you and your sins. Oh, put off no more, but believe and be blessed in and with Him!
In vain men talk of a larger hope. There is no Savior but Christ, nor any way to the Father but Himself by faith. For not to believe is to give very deep insult to God and to His Son. There is another evil yet worse; the abuse of His grace, the attaching of indulged lusts and passions, of unjudged pollution of flesh and spirit, to that worthy Name. Should such men taste of His supper?

Two Receptions in the Gospel of John

There are two important facts intimately associated with the coming into the world of the Son of God, viz., how He found it when He came, and its state when He left it. John 1 declares, that He Who was in the beginning with God, and emphatically was God, was in the world that He made (nothing having been made without Him), yet the world knew Him not. In Him too was life, a life shedding its pure and holy light not only on His people Israel, but on man generally. Still the darkness did not comprehend it, any more than the world by wisdom knew the One Who made it. Moreover He came specially to His own things, and His own people received Him not. Therefore the state was one of moral darkness and death, with no desire for the Light of Life. The same Gospel, that so fully declares the love and grace of God made known by the Son, definitely proves that the world was no better but worse for His presence. Light, love, holiness, and truth, all so perfectly expressed by Him, only brought forth hatred and opposition, thereby showing that the world was incomparably worse at the end than at the beginning. The Light that shines in darkness in chapter i. is about to leave the world in chapter xii. He Who was God's only-begotten Son, His gift to the world, touchingly said, “Yet a little while the light is with you; walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you.” Clearly, God's best and final gift failed to win man back to God; yea every sign given connected with the pure light of life shining around, crowned with displayed power at the grave of Lazarus, drew forth the fullest hatred in plotting to kill Him, which finally was carried out. Thus no alternative remained but for the Son of God to declare in view of it, “Now is the judgment of this world.”
Light and Love coming into the world in the Person of the Son, Who brought God to man, having been entirely despised and cast out, of necessity left the world in moral darkness and death. It is therefore proved, that the world was in darkness when He came; and much more so when He left, consequent upon its willful ignorance, hatred, and rejection of Him.
Man's sin and God's purpose significantly have their place in the Gospel of John, where sovereign grace so distinctly shines. He came to His own and was rejected: hence condemnation closed their final responsibility. Nevertheless grace in purpose would have a new set of people termed “His own” taken out of the world; not limited to the chosen earthly nation, but all who receive the Son, or in other words “believe on His name.” Here it is that reception blessedly comes in, making known an entirely new family that has a birth and relationship distinctly of God: a privilege reserved for the time of the Son's rejection, fully brought out after His death, resurrection, and exaltation; no less made good by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven by the Father and the Son, and given in connection with not only divine birth but heavenly relationship to a child of God. It is the Father known by the Son in the indwelling power of God the Holy Spirit. Wide, significant and emphatic, are the words faith welcomes in contrast to those that received not God's Son, Who came in grace; as it is written, “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power (title) to become children of God, even to them that believe on His name; which were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” Therefore to receive or believe on the Son of God gives new life and relationship, completely outside man and the world, his sphere. Yea, it is eternal life in and by the Son, and by the Father known in Him.
If all is of God Who reconciles to Himself by the death of His Son, truly so is the life given to as many as receive the Son, in character with the grand gospel verse of chapter v. 24. To hear the Son's word, and believe the Father Who sent Him, is to have everlasting life and not to come into judgment, having already as before God passed out of the state to which it applies. The life and relationship being heavenly and not of the world, which is fully declared in the heart-breathings and desires of the Son to the Father in chapter xvii., the hope and prospect of the heaven-born family must be in character with it.
The opening of John 14 makes known both the return of the departing Son of God and the place by His presence in the Father's house He has gone to prepare. Those who received Him according to chapter 1 He designates as His own (in chap. 13) when about to give them a sample of His needed service on high, to wash their feet in the hour of His absence. They are also told for their hearts' comfort that He is coming from heaven to take them to His Father's house, assuring them it was love's intention to have them where He Himself was. This is the blessed hope and prospect handed down to the 19th century, as fresh as when uttered from His heart Who desires to live in the heart of every believer; not only to be in the consciousness of present heavenly birth and relationship, but in daily anticipation of going home to the Father.
This will be consummated in its blessedness by the reception the Son of God will give to all His loved ones when He meets them in the air fashioned into His own likeness, and takes them into the Father's house to spend an eternity of unmarred happiness to the good pleasure of the Father and the Son. “I am coming again and will receive you to myself, that where I am, ye may be also.”
May the heavenly hope and prospect have its sanctifying effect in fuller separation from the world, and devotedness of heart to the Son of God for Whom we wait, watching with girded loins and clear burning lamps, and serving during watching time for His sake. G. G.

James 3:3-4

The figure of “bridling” in verse 2 suggests the illustration in verse 3, which again is strengthened once more in the verse that follows. In the received text we appear to have an error exceedingly frequent among the copyists, who are apt to confound εἰ and ἰ where it does not affect the sense, and where here it does. Probably ἰδοὺ in the beginning of verse 4 led to the idea of commencing verse 3 with ἴδε; but it ought rather to have induced hesitation, for why then vary the adverb? It would seem that εἱ δὲ was thus mistaken, and the more because the apodosis might easily be overlooked by being made part of the conditional protasis.
“Now if we put the horses' bridles (or, bits) in their mouths, that they may obey us, we turn about their whole body also. Behold, the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by rough winds, are turned about by a very small rudder, where the impulse of the helmsman may purpose” (vers. 3, 4).
The instances chosen energetically tell for the purpose in hand, being homely and familiar. It would be a palpable mistake to doubt the power of a given object, because its size is diminutive. Such are the bits we insert into the horses' mouths. Impetuous the animal may be; but thereby as the rule it is reduced to obedience. Nor is it only the mouth or head that is governed, but “we turn about the whole body also.” Thus is complete contrast secured.
It is true that we ought not to be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding, whose trappings must be bit and bridle for restraint, or they will not come near unto thee (Psa. 32). But this is restraint, and our shame where it is needed, as in the case supposed; for it is our joy, when walking in the spirit of obedience, to know God's guidance in the way we should go, counseled with His eye upon us. But if it be needed, He knows and fails not to restrain and to chastise.
In another form is pointed out a like principle on the sea, as we have had on the land, and in an inanimate object of immensely greater proportions. Let the ship be of ever so vast bulk and driven sometimes by a wind however rough, yet is it turned about by a very small rudder, whither the steerman's impulse may direct. The steering, if it could be questioned, is made evident in the sequel.
We may notice by the way how little avails either a powerful mind or ponderous learning for the just interpretation of scripture, when such a commentator as Grotius could understand “the body” in these verses as said of the church. No inspired writer but the apostle Paul ever employs that figure. James means simply the outer man. He is still dealing with the extreme liability to fail with the tongue. If one does not fail in word, this is a perfect man; for he had owned that we all do fail. This he follows up by two illustrations, which show the influence of a small thing in controlling a great even in the most difficult circumstances, to impress the importance and the duty of governing our speech. Blessed indeed is it, when the tongue, under the guidance of God, testifies to the whole body under His control! He who more than any other urges works, in evidence of reality in those who profess faith in the Lord Jesus, warns us of license in our words, so influential for evil if not for good; and all the more seriously as indicative of the inner man and involving the outer.

Remarks on 1 John: 1:9-10, 2:1-7

1 John 1:9-2:11
Paul had to do it, and did it with delight. One has but to face the difficulty in the strength of the Lord, and it is gone. When the feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brim of the water (Jordan), it fled (Josh. 3:15). But what if we yield (ver. 9)? An act or word, which would not trouble a natural man, will break the heart of a true child of God. What then shall he do? Sit down, like Lot in Sodom with a vexed soul, or rise up, like Abraham in Egypt and get back to the Lord (Gen. 13)? Jonah-like “he has forsaken his own mercies;” but “salvation is of Jehovah” (Jonah 3). God is God, let sin bring even a prophet into the lowest depths. “He is faithful and righteous” in His estimate of the work of His Son to forgive His returning child (see further in chap. 2:1, 2): then why not return speedily? The light which convicts us, reveals God thus waiting to be gracious, waiting for our confession, for the pouring out of our hearts before Him; waiting to reassure those hearts, and to cleanse them from all unrighteousness: i.e. inward cleansing, a fresh, sweet, powerful sense of grace which fills the soul with peace, and makes the light beautiful, and welcome, and loved; an ever increasing joy to abide in it, and walk in it.
The last case supposed is, “If we say we have not sinned (10).” This is the expression of self-satisfaction which sets aside the word of God, the need of atonement, and the ground of all God's dealings with men in judgment. The first expression of human religiousness, recorded in the scriptures, was based on this assumption of righteousness. Cain's offering was no acknowledgment of sin, but a display of what he had wrought in the earth; and “the way of Cain” is approved of, and taken, by many a professor of Christianity who mistakes it for the path of life; and it is often coupled with hatred of those who, like Abel, confess themselves sinners, and trust only in the blood of Jesus. Solemn beyond conception will be the time when God shall deal in truth with those who have given Him the lie. “If we say that we have not sinned we make him a liar, and His word is not in us.”
Thus then the apostle opens his address. He treats profession seriously, encouraging truth, but setting all who make a profession in the full light of the unveiled presence of God, where what men say, whether in creed, in formularies of devotion, in hymns, or in religious services, is put to the test. “The very basis of communion with God is reality.” “Be not deceived, God is not mocked” (Gal. 6:7).
The second chapter of the Epistle opens with a title of affectionate endearment, “My children.” All the household of God are before the apostle's mind; yet he sees them in their various stages of spiritual growth, “fathers,” “young men” and “little children” (vers. 13, 14, 18), each needing a special word to encourage, or warn, in the various details of life. But his great concern as to all is, “that they may not sin.” He uses plain words, never softening down what is so hateful in the sight of God. Still He adds, “If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous.” The eye has wandered from Him, and the heart has followed it; the attractions of present things have overcome the man, and he has yielded to them. Grace must first, then, turn the eye back to Christ. Where would Peter have gone, had not his eye thus met the Lord's (Luke 22:61)? The love of Jesus is as real to each of His own as to Peter, and now that He is on the Father's throne, as when He was bound a prisoner in the high priest's palace. He is ever the same, yesterday and to-day and forever: our one necessity, and our perfect sufficiency. And when we have no defense and can say nothing in our own behalf, He is our “Advocate with the Father;” and our cause is safe and must succeed, for it is in His hands.
Yet there must be exercise of soul in the one who has sinned. It is one thing to acknowledge that we have sin (chap. 1:8); it is another thing to watch and pray lest we fall into temptation and get drawn away by it. When a child of God sins, it is against light and love, known love, the love of the Father and of the Son; and all fellowship is forfeited. There is no change in the Father and the Son; the whole change is in the child. How profound then is the wisdom! how rich the grace! that begins the work of restoration by recalling the sufferings and death of Christ for sins. Truly in the short sentence, “He is the propitiation for our sins,” we have a volume of truth, the most peace-speaking, the most precious to a wounded conscience. Would that it were ever before us, engraved on our hearts! In the forsaking of Jesus and His death, our sins, each and all, met with full and final judgment; and, while it is unmingled grace to us, it is righteousness to Him, that not only should our standing in Him before God be perfect (see 2 Cor. 5:21), but that His advocacy should avail if, in our walk, we fall and sin. Indeed, there is infinite worth in the propitiation. It would meet the need of the whole world, if believed in. Hence Mark 16:15.
Thus we learn that, while provision is made in the rich mercy of God, if His child disobey, for his restoration to communion, and that in a way which thoroughly condemns his sin, yet to preserve him from such a fall is surely of the first importance. How this may be is declared in ii. 3-11. The commandments of God by Jesus Christ are set before us for the direction of our every step in life. We are not left to the pious thoughts of pious men. The authority of God is supreme, and all that is esteemed to be morally right or wrong by even good men must be tested by His word. And above and beyond all, we have set before us the perfect walk of Christ, His obedience even to death, the death of the cross (Phil. 2); and this is to rule our obedience. “He that saith he abideth in him, ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked” (ver. 6). In immediate view of the cross, Jesus said, “That the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do” (John 14:31).
Love therefore, we next see, is to be with us the motive, as the commandments are the guide, or we cannot walk as He walked. What a “light of life” we have in Jesus! And how it brings into view our limited fellowship with Him, and the deep need every day of such prayer as in Col. 1:9-11! May God keep us in the sense of it.
Ver. 4 sets in a solemn light the moral condition of Christendom, boasting in its knowledge of God, yet wanting in obedience to His declared will. Where the essential characteristic of eternal life (the new nature) is wholly wanting, everyone who makes this boast is a liar. In ver. 5 we have the contrast to this, the true Christian giving to the word of God its place and authority: “a doer of the word, and not a hearer only, deceiving himself.” “In him verily is the love of God perfected,” its end and purpose is attained. Obedience to the word keeps him from going with the world, and casts him more and more on the love of God to bless him in spite of the world's opposition; and he proves His love to be perfect, and realizes his nearness also. He knows that he is “in Him.” The fullness of this blessing is so great that the soul needs time to apprehend it: “in Him, even in His Son Jesus Christ” (chap. v. 20). “Is HIM” is the inexhaustible fountain of all blessedness, of all that is holy and good; and the effectual resource against every evil, and affliction. If we dwelt on these words as written, how it would enlarge our interest in them! They are not “light food.”
In ver. 7 we should read “Beloved,” not “Brethren;” for the writer's heart was warmly engaged in those whom he addressed, and he would have them as warmly interested in each other. It is true that our experience and walk are lower than our “standing,” but our standard is not to be lowered. Confess this, and all difficulty as to the meaning of vers. 7, 8 disappears. “The old commandment which we had from the beginning” is found early in the New Testament. The first word of our Lord, recorded in the Gospel, is “Follow me” (John 1:43), and the last is the same but more emphatic, “Follow thou Me” (21:22). The characteristic of His sheep, each and all, is that they hear His voice and follow Him (John 10). And, as to love, “He giveth us an example that we should do as He hath done to us,” and “love one another as he hath loved us” (John 13:15-34). We have examples, and bright examples, of obedience in the O. T. They shone as lights in the world in their day, but they disappear in the brightness of “the true light” (Christ) which “now shineth.” Where is there anything written which, as to moral power, can compare with Phil. 2:5-8? Obedience and love after that sort were never seen before; yet “the thing is now true in us;” for Christ is our life, and we have the supply of His Spirit. Indeed nothing short of this is true Christian obedience. (To be continued, D.V.)

The Hope of Christ Compatible With Prophecy: 3

The heavenly joy and the Bridegroom and His bride being thus incidentally glanced at, He takes a new aspect, for the day is about to break upon the world; and so do we, for we will have gone long before to be ever with the Lord, and if He is about to appear, so are we along with Him in glory. Hence, in the eleventh verse, the prophet sees heaven opened, and a white horse, and He that sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He doth judge and make war. In unison, therefore, as He thus comes to smite and rule, the armies which are in heaven follow the Lord of lords and King of kings; and they that are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful. These expressions are sufficiently clear to determine who are meant by “the armies,” if any one should have a doubt. It is the glorified who were in heaven following Christ, in the capacity of His hosts, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
Contrasted with the marriage supper of the Lamb, all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven are invited to the great supper of God. The prophet sees the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against Him that sat on the horse and His army. The result all know, as it ought never to be doubted (vers. 17-21).
In Rev. 20 follows the angelic binding of the dragon for a thousand years, and the parenthetic revelation of the sitting on thrones, or, at least, of the living and reigning with Christ, during that period, of such as had part in the first resurrection. They will not cease to be priests of God, though their office may be discharged in a different way from what we saw as to some of them in Rev. 4 and 5. But they all reign with Christ for a thousand years.
It is a prominent feature of the book, that in it is traced the sovereignty of God, not only in His purposes regarding the church properly so called, but in His gracious ways with an election from among Jews and Gentiles subsequently. Thus, after the glorified are seen in completeness in heaven, under the symbol of the twenty-four crowned elders (chap. 4, 5), we hear in chap. 6:9-11 of saints suffering, yet crying for vengeance. The announcement to them is that they should rest yet for a little, until their fellow-servants and brethren, doomed to be killed as they were, should be fulfilled. Vengeance should not arrive till then. These are evidently not the church, but saints on earth after the glorified are in heaven; their sufferings and cries to the Lord accord much with the experience detailed in the Psalms. Still, whether Jewish or Gentile saints, it is not named here.
In chap. 7 we have a numbered company out of all the tribes of Israel, sealed with the seal of the living God; and after this an innumerable crowd out of all nations, &c., who are characterized as coming out of the great tribulation, and as having washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb. These groups are evidently distinguished from, if not contrasted with, each other; and they are still more markedly shown to be different from the glorified. For we have the facts not only of a certain defined tribulation out of which these said Gentiles come, but of the elders (i.e. the confessed symbol of the glorified) still represented as a separate party in the scene (ver. 11).
Under the trumpets again it is that we find the prayers of “all the saints” alluded to, who are of course supposed to be still on earth (compare chap. 8:3-4, with 5:8), and an implication of the sealed Jewish remnant being in the sphere, though saved from the effects of the fifth trumpet (chap. 9:4).
Further, in the eleventh chapter are seen the two witnesses, prophesying in sackcloth, and killed; in the twelfth, the woman persecuted by the dragon, who wars with the remnant of her seed that keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus. This evidently is accomplished by the Beast of chap. 13, who makes war with the saints and overcomes them.
The fourteenth chapter consists of a sevenfold sketch of the dealings of God, which brings the crisis to a conclusion: the hundred forty and four thousand associated with the Lamb on Mount Sion; the everlasting gospel summoning all to fear and worship God because of the proximity of. His judgment; the fall of Babylon; the declaration of torment for the Bestial worshippers; the blessedness from henceforth of those dying in the Lord; the harvest of the earth (out of which were redeemed the one hundred and forty-four thousand, as the first-fruits to God and the Lamb); and lastly, the vintage of the same. The reader has only to weigh verses 12, 13, in order to have the foregoing remarks confirmed. Even here we have the patience of saints described just before the harvest, the portion too, not of the glorified (for we shall not all sleep), but of a special class of sufferers here below, while the glorified are hidden above.
In chap. 15 (preparatory to chap. 16, i.e. the seven outpoured bowls of the wrath of God) is heard the song of the conquerors over the Beast, celebrating the works of the Lord God Almighty and the ways of the King of the nations. Compare also Rev. 16:5, 6, 15; 17:6; 18:4-6.
Now it will not be forgotten that to those who kept the word of Christ's patience (Rev. 3:10) the promise was to be kept (not in, or during, but) “from” the hour of trial, out of the fearful tribulation which is in store for the dwellers upon earth. But in the preceding scriptures it is clear that after Christ has fulfilled His promise in the translation of the glorified to heaven, there are saints on earth, both from among Jews and Gentiles, who suffer throughout the tribulation. And these Apocalyptic sufferers are described in Rev. 20:4 as having part, equally with those glorified, in the first resurrection. For that text discloses, first, the general place of the glorified in the millennial reign, “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them.” Next come those killed in the earlier persecution of the book (chap. 6:9-11), “And I saw the souls of those that were beheaded because of the witness of Jesus, and because of the word of God.” Thirdly are the later witnesses for God, “and those who had not worshipped the beast,” &c. (chap. 15:2). Those saints, who were called and suffered after the rapture of the glorified are emphatically mentioned, because it might have appeared that they had lost all by their death. Not members of Christ's body before He comes for His own, they share not in the rapture; not protected from death during the prevalence of the Beast, they cannot be the living nucleus of Jews, or of Gentiles, saved to be the holy seed on earth during the reign of Christ. The two later classes suffer, are cut off, but are not forgotten. “They lived and reigned with Christ the thousand years,” as well as the first general class.
Thus the truth, brought to light in the Epistles to the Thessalonians, is assumed in the view which the apostle John was the honored servant to enunciate-viz., the blessed condition and holy employ of the glorified round the throne and the Lamb, after their removal from earth, but previous to their appearing with Christ in glory.
The central part of the Revelation then appears to corroborate, on an irrefragable basis, the truth that the glorified will be taken away and fulfill the symbols we have been noticing, previous to the day of the Lord. During that same time other saints are still groaning and shedding their blood like water here below (Psa. 74; 79).
Such seems to be the main key which unlocks an important portion of the book, and confirms the view, so bright to the renewed mind, of going to meet the Lord, without one earthly obstacle between. Thus is kept unblunted the point and energy of a truth only revealed in the New Testament. For the Old Testament spoke of His coming with all His saints, not for them; of His appearing in glory to the confusion of His enemies; not of His descending to meet His friends, when we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed and caught up together in the clouds. And hence, it would seem, the emphatic language of the apostle, conscious that God was by him revealing a new thing to faith. For in 1 Cor. 15 he says, “Behold I show you a mystery,” and in 1 Thess. 4, “This we say unto you by the word of the Lord.”
How sweetly do the closing appeals tell upon the heart of him who has an ear to hear! “I am the Root and the Offspring of David; the bright, the morning Star. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come; and let him that heareth say, Come.” It would be to lose or at least to misuse the prophetic sayings of this book, were we to have any other hope than that Jesus is coming quickly (chap. 22:7). It is well to read in their light the signs of the times: knowing the awful end, we can thus detect the principles now at work.
But it is a mistake to construe of such signs obstacles to the coming of the Lord; to say, until I know the arrival of this or that precursor, I cannot in my heart expect Jesus. Blessed be God! such is not the language of the Spirit. “The Spirit and the bride say, Come.” Are these the words of mere feeling, unguided by spiritual understanding of the mind of God? As a fact, we know that the Lord has delayed; but He is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness. He is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But who will say that it is conceive-able to be looking for the Lord, wholly uncertain of the time of His advent, and at the same time to have the revealed certainty of a number of events which determine the year, or, it may be, the day?
That Jesus will arise, the Sun of Righteousness with healing in His wings (Mal. 4), is clear; and we know that the righteous shall shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father (Matt. 13,). But “this same Jesus” is far more than the supreme power of righteous government on earth. He is known to the church, at any rate, as the bright, the morning Star. Blessed light of grace, ere the day breaks, to them who watch for Him from heaven during the dark and lonely night! “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come.” The weakest Christian too can join: “and let him that heareth say, Come.”
“He that testifieth these things saith, Yea, I am coming quickly. Amen; come, Lord Jesus.”

The Inspiration of the Scriptures: 2. Apostolic Doctrine

Chapter 2 Apostolic Doctrine
WE are not left to facts however momentous, nor to incidental statements though abundant, plain, and reliable. The N.T. pronounces the most distinct and conclusive doctrine on so all-important a subject. For it concerns not man only but God's honor, and the character of His word in both Testaments so called. “For thou hast magnified thy word [saying] above all thy name” (Psa. 138). Let us weigh a few of these testimonies.
The Lord Himself in John 14-16 prepared the way not for fresh promises, but for the fullest revelation of the truth by the Pentecostal gift of the Spirit. It was indeed to comprehend the power of enjoying every privilege and of supplying every need for the new creation, for the children of God, once scattered, now to be gathered together into one. “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he shall guide you into all the truth; for be shall not speak from himself, but whatsoever things he shall hear shall he speak; and he shall declare to you the things that are to come. He shall glorify me; for he shall take of mine and shall declare it to you.” He had already announced that the Paraclete or Advocate, the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father would send in His name, should teach them all things, and bring to their remembrance all that He said to them. At Pentecost He came and made all good.
1 Cor. 2 is remarkably full as well as precise. The O. T. left “secret things” belonging to God, which were then unrevealed: so intimated the law (Deut. 29:29); and the greatest of the prophets acknowledged that it was not theirs to lift the veil (Isa. 64:4). The apostle refers to this last, and contrasts the silence of old with what the Holy Spirit was now disclosing. “But to us God revealed [them] through the Spirit; for the Spirit searcheth all things, even the depths of God. For who of men knoweth the things of the man, except the spirit of the man that is in him? Thus also the things of God knoweth no one except the Spirit of God. But we received not the spirit of the world but the Spirit that is from God, that we might know the things that were freely given to us by God; which [things] also we speak, not in words taught by human wisdom but in [those] Spirit-taught, communicating spirituals by spirituals. But a natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he cannot know [them] because they are spiritually examined. But the spiritual examineth all things, while he is examined by no one. For who knew Jehovah's mind that he shall teach Him? But we have Christ's mind” (vers. 10-16).
Here in fact is the whole case. God by His Spirit revealed what had been hidden, even His depths, which He only knows. We, says the apostle, received His Spirit that the things freely given to us by Him we may know as they are. The first is revelation of the truth, of His counsels. Next comes the making known to others what God thus revealed: “Which things also we speak not in words taught of man's wisdom but in Spirit-taught, expounding spiritual [things] by spiritual [words].” Thirdly, follows the necessary spiritual condition to apprehend them. For a natural man neither receives nor can know what is scanned spiritually. It is the Spirit of God Who works in the Christian, the last stage, as He wrought in the first and the second. Thus we have God's gracious power by His Spirit, first in revealing divine things, next in communicating them verbally, and lastly in real reception or communion. Thereby have we Christ's mind, beyond even prophets of old.
The chief question lies in the word (ver. 13) translated “comparing.” As it undoubtedly has this meaning in 2 Cor. 10:12, it was a natural temptation to understand it similarly here. But notoriously words are modified by their context; and as we have no other occurrence in the N. T., we must search into the usage of the LXX or the like, For the sense of “comparing” is wholly unsuitable to the intermediate process, of which the apostle treats, though it might well form part of that which pertains to the reception or understanding of what was already written. Now in the Septuagint the most prevailing application of the word in its cognate forms is to the expounding or explanation of what God was pleased to reveal (Gen. 40:8, 12, 16, 18, 22; 41:12, 15), as in vision or dream (Dan. 2:2, 5, 6, 7, 9, 16, 24, 25, 26, 30, 36, 45; 4:3, 4, 6, 14, 15, 16, 17, 21; 5:7, 8, 13, 16, 18, 20, 28; 7:16). As however in our text it is no question of a dream or vision to be interpreted, the sense naturally admits of a larger modification, and hence in this instance requires “communicating” or some such equivalent.
This accordingly and perfectly falls in with the bearing of the clause and the demands of the context. For the clause is occupied, not with the spiritual man's apprehension of what is propounded, but with the conveying it to him in words taught by the Spirit. They were as to this expressly not left to man's wisdom or ability. Not only divine ideas were seen in the Spirit, but moreover the wording was no less taught by the Spirit. Herein “comparing” has no propriety and is therefore inadmissible. And though “interpreting,” “expounding,” or “determining” might convey the sense in substance, none of them seems to give it at this stage so unambiguously as “communicating.” The connected words also acquire a definite force, free from the liability to different meanings which add nothing of moment. For “comparing” opens the door to vague and uncertain adjuncts; whereas with “communicating” the sense is fixed to “spiritual [things] by spiritual [words].” He had already spoken of the things of God, here designated “spiritual things,” and he had also treated of words Spirit-taught; now brought together briefly in communicating “spiritual [things] by spiritual [words].” “To spiritual men” would be premature in ver. 13; for he takes up this question in the verses that follow.
His latest Epistle (2 Tim. 3) gave the apostle the fitting occasion to lay down the distinct and full dogmatic decision of the Holy Spirit on the scriptures. He had himself been raised up, not only as “minister of the gospel” but as “minister of the church,” to fill up the word of God, as he tells us in Col. 1:23-25. To Timothy he writes in view of difficult times to prevail in the last days, men who presented its evil traits being already there to turn away from. For if they had a form of piety, they denied its power. They had their prototypes in those who withstood Moses, and their folly should be quite manifest to all, as theirs too became. But Timothy had followed up Paul's teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings, what things befell him at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions he endured, and the Lord delivered him out of all. But wicked men and impostors shall advance to worse, leading and led astray. “But abide thou in the things thou didst learn and wast assured of, knowing of whom thou didst learn, and that from a babe thou knowest sacred writ that is able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith that is in Christ Jesus.”
Here we learn the safeguard to be in no way the church's witness; for therein it is that we see the awful spectacle of a veneered Christian form, yet a moral heathenism, with hypocrisy added, the grossest ways only concealed or withdrawn (cf. Rom. 1). The man of God rests on no Unnamed one, great or small. He was well aware of whom he learned the truth, even the apostles; as he thoroughly knew what sort of life was his with whom he had the closest intimacy. For what is teaching without practice akin? Here it was maintained in face of persecutions and sufferings, with the marked deliverances of the Lord throughout; as indeed all should expect persecution who desire to live piously in Christ Jesus. Thus was manifested a marked difference in the later revelation as compared with the earlier. For its witnesses and instruments were contemporaries, bringing out the truth finally an together by the Spirit after Christ's advent and redemption; as the earlier writers had done their piece-meal work, spread over more than a thousand years, yet with a unity most marked.
But was it not the O. T. that Timothy knew from a babe? Unquestionably. Would anyone with wicked heart of unbelief thence seek to question or lower the N. T.? Let him learn that the apostle, while upholding God's ancient oracles as “sacred writ” (ἱερὰ γράμματα), is careful to affirm in the most comprehensive terms the divine authority of all, or rather “every,” scripture, not old merely but new. For he, γραφὴ, which he declares in its every part to be inspired of God, or God-breathed, as is no other writing. It runs through the four Gospels, the Acts, and the apostolic Epistles in this sense alone, singular and plural.
The more general sense was expressed by γράμμα, a writing, which might mean a “bill” (Luke 16:6, 7), or “letter” in the abstract (Rom. 2:27, 29; 7:6; 2 Cor. 3:6), “alphabetic characters” (Luke 23:38; 1 Cor. 3:7; Gal. 6:4), “epistles” (Acts 28:28), “letters” or learning (John 7:15; Acts 26:24), or “writings” (John 5:47), which needed the epithet ἱερὰ, sacred, &c. to stamp them as scriptures. But γραφὴ in Greek N. T. usage means nothing else, even without the article here or elsewhere, as our idiom also bears.
“Every scripture [is] God-breathed, and profitable for teaching, for conviction, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped completely for every good work” (vers. 16, 17). The Revisers, like some others, take “inspired of God,” not as the predicate but as qualifying the subject; and the clause would then run, “Every scripture inspired of God [is] also profitable.” But who will say that this is the natural meaning? who can deny that it involves a twofold awkwardness, but both by withholding the understood copula where one cannot but look for it, and by supposing it where it jars with the flow of the sentence? None of the constructions within or without the N. T. cited by Dean Alford approaches the one before us. One near in some respects is 1 Tim. 4:4, where it would be intolerable to make καλὸν (good) part of the subject. Still nearer perhaps is Heb. 4:13, where nobody doubts that “naked and laid open” is the true predicate, if so, “God-breathed and profitable” ought to be thus taken here.
The truth appears to be that the conjunction καὶ though indubitably genuine was overlooked by early versions, as the Memphitic, Peschito-Syr., and many of the Latin copies, besides the Clem. Vulgate: so too some fathers Greek and Latin. This error necessitated, one may say, the view that “God-breathed” belonged to the subject. Other Latin copies, with the Gothic, Harklean-Syr., Arm. and Aeth., interpreted καὶ in the sense of “also” as introducing the predicate. Taken thus, καὶ is here feeble, and so superfluous that it was easily forgotten; whereas, wherever it is correctly so taken, it has an emphatic or supplementary force, as in Luke 1:36, Rom. 8:29, 34, Gal. 4:7. It would certainly become those who contend for their construction to produce a sentence, where a like severance occurs or indeed can be between two adjectives ostensibly connected by a conjunction.
But, if possibly allowed as grammatical, can this rendering be counted tenable on internal grounds? For if θεόπνευστος be treated as part of the subject, it must be taken either as an assumption, or as a condition. If it be assumed that scripture is God-inspired, nothing is gained by those who favor so harsh a construction. The sense is substantially alike, whether you assume or assert the inspiration of every scripture. But if the aim be to understand a condition (i.e. “if divinely inspired,” rather than “being divinely inspired),” you are confronted with the acknowledged fact that γραφὴ in the N. T. is appropriated to scripture and spoken of no other writing. Hence the conditional construction, in order to apply, contradicts the known usage, and would require the wholly unauthorized sense of mere “writing” “every writing, if inspired of God, is also profitable, &c. If we understand γ., as we must, in the sense of “scripture,” and take the epithet with the subject, we gain nothing but a strangely incoherent phrase, yet in substance agreeing with its natural sense: “every scripture, being inspired of God, is also profitable,” &c., as in fact Origen long ago took it, but not Athanasius, nor Greg. Nyss, nor Chrysostom, who held as the A.V.
The R. V., whether intentionally or not, is ambiguous: “every scripture inspired of God [is] also profitable, &c. If it was not meant to raise a doubt, why was it so left? If it was, is it possible to conceive an object more opposed to the context? For the Spirit of God is furnishing the 'invaluable and needed safeguard against the difficult times of the last days; and after dwelling among the rest on the fact of Timothy's privilege in knowing from a babe the sacred writ of the O. T., he crowns all with the universal principle (which applies to the N. T. no less than to the O., and to what might yet be written as well as to what was), “every scripture [is] God-inspired, and profitable for teaching,” &c.
The apostle gives first, as was most reverent and worthy, its relation to God, the Author of this incomparable boon as of all others; next, its profitable uses for the blessing of the man of God. For as no creature but man in virtue of his spirit can know the things of a man, no more can one know the things of God save by the Spirit of God, Who both revealed and communicated them, and enables the believer to discern them, as we have already seen. Scripture teaches us in our ignorance, convicts us of obstinacy or errors, correct us when shirking or straying, and disciplines us in righteousness inward and outward, that in our stand for God we might be complete on every side, and with equal fullness furnished for every good work.
A learned dignitary (in loco) speaks of “God-inspired” not excluding verbal errors or possibly historical inaccuracies, and those of human transmission and transcription. But is not this doubly a mistake of grave import? It would first make the written word a divine guarantee of untruth, both originally as well as in its dissemination. Next, how he could mix up the two points is hard to say; for clerical blunders have nothing to do with the question of God's inspiration, solely with man's responsible use of its fruit. The former is a virtual denial of “God-inspired,” unless the God of truth can lie: if He sanction errata in trifling matters, why not in greater things? But “scripture cannot be broken,” said the Lord. Compromise is unworthy of faith. “It is written” was His answer to Satan's temptations, and is the guide and standard of all saints since grace gave scripture. It is not a question of man's spirit, but of God's, Who is beyond doubt able to secure the truth absolutely, as the Lord and the apostles and the prophets every where assume and assert. To imply such weakness in man as is beyond the power of God is a feeble, not the full, inspiration, taught in the Bible. But when philosophy is sought as the ally of divine truth, the issue cannot but be vacillating, inconsistent, and misleading. “Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures nor the power of God.” It is a singularly loose comment on “every scripture is also inspired of God,” &c. One can scarce doubt that a rendering so halting and strange tempts to a hesitating interpretation, even though not a whisper be given that they hold any scripture to be uninspired. Yet it is a plain and peremptory utterance of the apostle, calling for a version and a comment of no uncertain sound.
(To be continued, D.V.)

Scripture Queries and Answers: Continents Under the Roman Beast; Many Mansions

Q.-What will be the position of the Continents of America, Australia, &c., with their populations in the coming crisis? Will they be under the Roman Beast?
A.-I am not aware of any distinct reference to the continent of America in the scriptures. But in a general way it appears to me that “the waters,” on which the great Harlot Babylon sits (as in Rev. 17), include its population on all sides of the world. It was, we do not doubt, peopled not only by migratory hordes of Chinese, &c. across Behring's Straits, but by Icelanders, Norwegians, &c., who are believed on sufficient grounds to have made their way there little after A.D. 1000, and therefore many centuries before its discovery by Christopher Columbus, who opened it to the enterprise of Europe.
But it seems plain that the American or the Australasian lands and races cannot find themselves under the Roman Beast. For it, as I understand, is exclusively western, and does not comprehend even Greece or Macedonia, still less the properly MedoPersian or Bahylonish empires. Hence in Dan. 2 the gold, the silver, and the brass, are seen at the end when judgment falls, no less than the iron and clay, the symbol of the Roman empire. Compare also Dan. 7:12. It is an error to make the range of the Beast, and of his Jewish ally, the Anti-Christ, universal. We must leave room for a great adversary in the king of the north or the Assyrian, and for Gog, the chief of the Russian races, behind that king, and after him.
It may however be well to add that the late Mr. E. B. Elliott (in the Hore Apoc. ii. 73, fifth edition) imagined that there is a more direct allusion to the discovery of America, if not of Australasia, in Rev. 10:2 (latter clause). He naturally says little, and is somewhat indefinite, but as usual confident. It is the end of footnote, 3 though the reference in the General Index might lead one to expect more. “Dr. S. R. Maitland thinks it strange that no notice should have been taken in the Apocalypse of the discovery of America, supposing it a prophecy of the history of Christendom. (Remarks on Christian Guardian, p. 120). If I am correct in my understanding of the vision before us, the supposed omission does not exist.” This is all the notice I can find in his four large volumes.
Q.-John 14:2. Does the Lord by the “many mansions” mean equality of reward for His laborers? M. L.
A.-It is rather His unjealous love in giving all His own the place of intimate nearness to the Father which He alone was entitled to enjoy as the risen Son of God. On the contrary each will receive his own reward according to his own labor (1 Cor. 3:8). In the kingdom, as we are taught in the parable (Luke 19), one is to have authority over ten cities, another over five. But the Father's house rises wholly above such differences, and His children alike share it with Christ. It is the answer, not to their services, but to His redemption, His infinite love and His glory, Who would have told us if it were not so. There was indeed room for all His own. He was far from holding out too sanguine a hope. He would at His coming have them with Himself where He was going.

Review: G. E. Tarner's Future Roman Empire

This little book is the more curious as proceeding from a friend rather than an enemy of God's work and word. Yet his faith must be small as he is so anxious to clear his speculations of Chiliastic reproach. He is careful to say in his introductory chapter that, while regarding with due respect the conscientious students of Apocalyptic prophecy, he “identifies himself with neither school, and attaches no Chiliastic reference” to his remarks. But is it not a serious reflection that he, a professing Christian, openly advocates the revival of the defunct Roman empire? Whereas prophecy in its latest voice declares it to rise up “out of the abyss,” ordained (we may say) not of God but of the old serpent, the dragon, and to bring or itself and its votaries the condign judgment of God, when the Lord Jesus appears in power and glory, and His world-kingdom follows. Is it not a solemn proof that speculation is dangerous when God has revealed this coming catastrophe? Mr. T. argues out the desirableness of that empire, which, as it played its representative part in crucifying the Lord of glory, will be judged as no empire ever was for its apostate and God-defying rebellion when He comes again to establish the kingdom prepared from the world's foundation. Is then Mr. T. writing with God or against Him?


in last No. p. 31, col. 2, line 2, read, but it treats of P. 32, col. 1, line 4 should be interchanged with 5.


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The Early Chapters of Genesis: Chapter 11:5-7: 2.

As the case of the Babel-builders is quite misconceived latterly by some of influence, it seems well to review the observations made by the late Abp. Whately in the third Preliminary Dissertation of the Encyclopaedia Britannica (ed. eighth). Here they are in extenso.
“There is reason to believe that the confusion which is recorded as having occurred at Babel afterward called Babylon, and which caused the dispersion of mankind into various countries, was in reality a dispute among them as to their worship of some god or gods. This at least is certain, that the scheme mentioned in Gen. 11 was something displeasing to God, and therefore could not have been merely the building of a tower. And it is plain also from the Bible history, that some ages after the flood mankind had very generally fallen into gross idolatry, though we are not told expressly when and how it was introduced. As for the Tower of Babel, it is said indeed in our version that a number of persons joined together to build ‘a tower whose top should reach to heaven’ (our translators meant an exceeding high tower), in order that they might ‘not be scattered over the face of the whole earth'; and that God sent on them a confusion of language, which ‘caused them to cease building the tower, and scattered them.' But it is to be observed that the word ‘reach ' is supplied by our translators, there being nothing answering to it in the original, which merely says, ‘whose top to the heavens.' And the meaning doubtless is, that the top of the tower should be dedicated to the heavens—that is, that a temple should be built on it to Bel, Belus, Zeus, or Jupiter; under which title the ancient Pagans worshipped the heavens. For we find the historian Herodotus (I. cxxxi.) who many ages later visited Babylon, expressly declaring that there was there in his time a very high tower, on the top of which was a temple to Belus; who, he says, was the same with the Zeus of the Greeks. The ancient Pagans, it is well known, were accustomed to erect altars to the Heavens, or to the Sun, on 'high places' (Num. 33:52), on the loftiest mountains. And as the land of Shinar is a very fertile plain of vast extent and quite level, it seems to have been designed to make a sort of artificial mountain on it—that is, a very high tower—and to build a temple on the top of this, to their god Belus, and so establish a great empire of people worshipping at this temple. The 'confusion' which God sent among them, and which caused the tower to be less lofty than originally designed, and dispersed many of the people into other lands, was most likely not a confusion of languages, but a dissension about religious worship. The word in the original literally signifies lip. And it is more likely that it was used to signify worship than language. A dissension as to that which was the very object of the building would much more effectually defeat the scheme than a confusion of languages. For laborers engaged in any work, and speaking different languages, would in a few days learn by the help of signs to understand one another sufficiently to enable them to go on with their work. But if they disagreed as to the very object proposed, this would effectually break up the community. As for the different languages now spoken in the world, there is no need of explaining that by any miraculous interference. For tribes who have not the use of letters, and have but little mutual intercourse, vary so much from each other in the language after even a few generations, as not to be able at all to understand each other” (165, 466).
Those who accept what has been said already on these verses will have no hesitation in pronouncing the whole statement a string of strange fancies, which supplant the truth, concluding with undisguised disbelief of scripture. Not a trace does the inspired narrative give of a dispute about worship. Not a word breathes a question about the true God, still less does it “about some god or gods.” We hear of a city and a tower. A temple was as wholly absent from their minds as God Himself. This could not but be displeasing to God.
But there was far more here. They sought only their own glory. They willfully hid from themselves His judgment of the ante-diluvian world, and His merciful preservation of a few, their own progenitors still living. They set their heart unitedly on a city, and a lofty tower which built on the plain should call attention all the more as a centralizing object in the land of their settlement. The name of God was nothing in their eyes. “Let us make ourselves a name.” Was this a peccadillo in the eyes of the archbishop? Their aim was the unity of man without God, and this avowedly in self-exaltation. What a tale it tells that a prelate should fail to understand how displeasing this must be to God! It was setting up a unity of man independently of God; it was claiming for themselves what alone can in truth belong to God, alone is due to His power and glory, to His righteousness and mercy. It was rebellion and usurpation. He alone is the rightful center.
They did not yet set up “some god or gods.” They left the true God out. They would make a name for themselves. It was not merely the building of a tower, but man's first collective effort after unity without God; to make himself a name round a self-made center, instead of multiplying and replenishing the earth. The time would soon come when they would set up other gods beside and before God. The time will at last come when a man, energized by Satan, shall sit down in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. But to everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven; and neither of these had yet come.
It was however sad and evil enough, that, while the witnesses of a divine and universal judgment still lived to glorify God for his saving themselves through the deluge, the progeny could forsake the fountain of living water, and set themselves up, cisterns, broken cisterns, that could hold no water. The language of Jehovah confirms all this as the truth; not a word here points to strange gods or idols. “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do; and now nothing will be restrained from them—all which they purpose doing.” It was irreligious combination, not false worship. “Once hath God spoken, twice have I heard this, that strength [belongeth] unto God.” They had heeded not but forgotten Him. Their own union would be their strength, and a name of renown on earth. At the end punitive judgment must fall on the full results. But meanwhile Jehovah would bring their pride to naught, and would disperse them by a means as simple as effectual. He would there confound their language, that they should not understand one another's speech; and they would be compelled to scatter as they feared. But what mercy in their dispersion! Not a hair of their heads was lost.
It is utterly unfounded that ver. 4 can mean “a top dedicated to the heavens.” This is perversion, and one so gross that no version however faulty known to me follows it, no scholar as far as I know has ever attempted to justify it. Nor can the testimony so late in the day prove anything of the original tower, even if the site were the same. Not till afterward was the worship of the heavens, as of the sun, or of Bel. Nor had dissension about worship the least to do with the bold builders of Babel, any more than the word translated “language” and “speech” (lit. “lip”) means worship. Indeed it is a notion destructive of the plain sense of the history. If we assume it, what folly Does Jehovah create ever so many forms of false worship? He certainly made the “one lip” to be many, even if the wonder seemed too great for Dr. W. to believe.
The tower then was not designed for religion, but as a rallying center for man in that great plain; which was thoroughly frustrated by the confusion of tongues. The Abp. talks of laborers learning signs of communication; but the sudden completeness of the divine measure overawed men too much, lest a worse thing might befall them. They had not yet learned the rationalists' lesson. The fact that all as yet spoke one language, though men had lived some seventeen or eighteen centuries, not crowded together, nor boasting the use of letters any more than much mutual intercourse, makes only the more impressive Jehovah's dealing in the immediate introduction of different tongues. Yet was it a dealing tempered with wisdom and mercy; for each tongue was spoken by the same clan. They did not part (as might easily have been if God had so willed) from their families, but spread abroad after their generations; and national history thus began in their various lands. How paltry is the misreading, how worthy is the truth!

The Offerings of Leviticus: 4. Sin Offering for the Ruler

Lev. 4:22-26
THERE is an important difference which presents itself here. The guilt attaches to the party concerned; others are not involved. The first case is that of a ruler, or principal man.
“When a ruler sinneth and through inadvertence doeth any of all the things which Jehovah his God hath commanded not to be done, and is guilty; if his sin wherein he hath sinned come to his knowledge, he shall bring his offering, a buck of the goats, a male without blemish. And he shall lay his hand on the head of the goat, and slaughter it at the place where they slaughter the burnt offering before Jehovah; it is a sin offering. And the priest shall take of the blood of the sin offering with his finger, and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and pour out its blood at the bottom of the altar of burnt offering. And he shall burn all its fat on the altar, as the fat from off the sacrifice of peace offerings; and the priest shall make an atonement for him from his sin; and it shall be forgiven him” (vers. 22-26).
Peculiar care is taken to impress a chief with his responsibility. In his case only do we hear of Jehovah “his God.” His position honorable and public renders his offense the more serious. For Israel were bound to own their God with them in the world, and making one to differ from another in a way that the nations never conceived (Eph. 2:12). In his measure he was to rule as well as walk in the fear of God.
Nevertheless it was not of the same large consequence as when the high priest sinned or the whole congregation, which demanded a steer. For the ruler a buck of the goats was enough, but an unblemished male was requisite. No latitude was left in any respect or degree more than in the graver cases. As there was nothing to hinder his compliance, so his God would have the sin felt and judged, when it came to his knowledge.
The ruler brought his offering then, and laid his hand on its head, and killed it in the place where they killed the Holocaust before Jehovah. It was for sin; and death alone could expiate sin, the victim's death for him who, by his hand laid on its head, transferred his guilt by God's provision to the slain beast. Whatever the difference in the form, they every one agreed in this; and they all pointed to Him Who knew no sin, yet Whom God made sin for us, that we might become divine righteousness in Him.
But it will be noticed that the priest was to take of the blood with his finger, and put it on the horns of the brazen altar, as well as pour the rest of the blood at the bottom of the same. No more was needed than to meet the individual's need, even though a prince, at the altar which is the means of the individual's approach to Jehovah. Only his communion had been interrupted as it was now restored. Had it been either the high priest or the congregation as a whole, the golden altar would have been defiled, and the blood must have been sprinkled on its horns. Here the brazen altar being alone in question, the blood was put there accordingly, and the individual Israelite, even if a ruler, returned to the enjoyment of his privileges.
It is of all moment to appreciate the contrast the Epistle to the Hebrews establishes for the Christian by Christ's work. It is done once and forever. There is no repetition. Not only is the believer now sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all, but he is perfected by it in perpetuity, i.e. without a break. This is due exclusively to the absolute and everlasting efficacy of Christ's sacrifice. Less than this would be His dishonor, which God would not tolerate. Would that believers now knew what a standing His blood has given them!
Hence it is that not in the Epistle to the Hebrews do we find provision for failure, but in the Gospel of John (13) and in 1 John 2:1. It is not fresh sprinkling of Christ's blood, or repeated recourse to it; but according to the figure, washing the defiled feet in the water of the word, and according to the doctrine of the advocacy of Christ—Jesus Christ righteous as He is, and the propitiation for our sins. He pleads for us and works in us by the Spirit and word of God the self-judgment needed to restore the communion which one's sin interrupted; as we may see practically in Simon Peter with all its detail and rich comfort and blessing through grace.
We need, as Christians, both these truths fully held, without sacrificing one to the other. If we do not rest on the one offering of Christ in all its everlasting and uninterrupted efficacy, we cannot know the perfect clearance before God which the Epistle to the Hebrews claims for faith. If we do not bow to the doctrine of 1 John 2:1 in accordance with John 13, how can we taste the grace that restores us to the enjoyment of the communion interrupted by a sin? Our God would have us enter into our portion as worshippers once purged; but as our Father He loves us too well to allow anything in our walk unworthy of the grace wherein we stand. And here it is that the advocacy of the Savior applies, to the cleansing of defilement by the way, while He abides as our righteousness and the propitiation too in all its value.

Proverbs 1:24-28

Here it is not the gospel which is thus shown, but the call of God in the government of man on the earth. Hence it does not pass beyond the judgment which will be executed in the day that is coming here below. This is the more important to heed, because Christendom is as unbelieving about the judgment of the quick Christ will surely enforce on the habitable world, as the Jews were about the judgment of the dead in the resurrection state.
Both are revealed in the written word, and both are to be in the hands of Him Who loved to call Himself “the Son of man.” But if He came, the Son of man in grace to the lost, He will assuredly return the Son of man in judgment of all who despise Him, whether alive or dead. Thus there is the judgment of the wicked living at the beginning of His kingdom and through it, no less than the judgment of the wicked dead at the end, before He delivers it up to Him Who is God and Father. Now it is the former which is treated here, though commentators and preachers are apt to see in it only the judgment at the close.
“Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no one regarded; and ye have rejected all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity. I will mock when your fear cometh; when your fear cometh as sudden destruction, and your calamity cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish come upon you. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently but shall not find me” (vers. 24-28).
It is sad when Jews do not rise above Gentile moralizing on the life that now is or the death that terminates it; but how much sadder still when Christians are content with similar platitudes! Christ is the only True Light which on coming into the world casts light on every man. He, and He alone, gives us the truth of everything. The divine judgment of man thus acquires proper definiteness and its full solemnity; and the light of the New Testament is thus thrown back on the Old, besides revealing what belongs to itself preeminently if not exclusively.
Take the picture the Lord in Luke 17 draws of the kingdom of God, when it is no longer a hidden matter of faith or of mere profession as now; but the Son of man shall be in His day as the lightning which lightens out of the one part under the heaven and shines unto the other. It will be in truth as in the days of Noah or in those of Lot: unexpected, inevitable, and utter destruction of the ungodly, as they are in the midst of their busy pursuits. When the Son of man thus comes, shall He find faith on the earth? How far is it to be found now?
Take again the view He gives in Luke 21, not only of signs in the sun and in the moon and in the stars, but of the moral state on the earth when the powers of the heavens shall be shaken. It is not the end of the world, but of the age when the Son of man is seen coming in a cloud, and the kingdom of God will be established manifestly and in power that will put down all opposition.
This “sudden destruction” is here before the inspiring Spirit, Who maintains the edge of His sword unblunted by tradition and callous unbelief. The word of God of old, all His word, is good, wherein He calls man to hear; but He is refused. He stretched out His hand imploringly; but none regarded; His counsel was rejected, and His reproof no less. What remained possible under the law? Unsparing judgment. How terrible when Jehovah, patient and longsuffering, laughs at the calamity of those that despised Him, mocks the fears, distress, and anguish of those who mocked Him, and has no answer for their call, nor will He be found, though then sought diligently! To fear the judgment, especially when it falls, is not to fear Jehovah.

Gospel Words: the Lost Sheep

Luke 15:3-7
Grace, the grace of God, is hateful to man's pride. The self-righteous take offense. What is the good of their decorous behavior, of their prayers at home, of their public devotions, if they be no better than loose and open sinners? Yet the Lord (Matt. 21:31) solemnly assured the chief priests and the elders of the people, who built on their religious character, that the tax-gatherers and the harlots go into the kingdom before them. They are ready to repent and believe. So here the tax-gatherers and the sinners draw near to hear the glad tidings, while the Pharisees and the scribes kept murmuring, He receiveth sinners and eateth with them.
Yes, it was true; nor was He ashamed of divine love to the lost, but gloried in it, and vindicates it against all cavilers. Is God to save nobody? If He save, it can only be by His grace through faith. Let us hear the Son plead His God and Father's title to save sinners.
“And he spoke this parable unto them, saying, What man of you, having a hundred sheep and having lost one of them, doth not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after that which was lost until he find it? And having found he layeth [it] on his shoulders rejoicing, and, when come to the house, he calleth together the friends and the neighbors, saying to them, Rejoice with me, for I found my sheep that was lost. I say to you, that thus joy shall be in heaven over one sinner repenting, [more] than over ninety nine righteous, such as have no need of repentance” (vers. 3-7).
Man, selfish man, is not so indifferent about his lost sheep, as he thinks God to be about a sinner. A bad conscience makes him doubt God's love, still more does bad religion. The Lord Jesus alone represents God truly and perfectly. There He was in their midst the Savior of sinners, the Son of man come to seek and save that which was lost. Did He not proclaim it from the first in the synagogue at Nazareth? Did not the prophet Isaiah predict seven centuries before, that Jehovah's Spirit should be on Him Whom He anointed to evangelize the poor, to preach deliverance to captives, and sight to blind? The miracles of His ministerial life were for the most part signs of His grace to the guilty and wretched; for this His death in atonement would give the ground of God's righteousness; as all proved His unfathomable love for us when powerless and ungodly.
He, the Lord of glory, pursued the wandering sheep till He found it. What did it not cost Him? Teaching the disciples, weaning them from Jewish elements, showing them heavenly things, forming their hearts according to God, exercising their perception to distinguish good and evil, were all blessed to the ninety nine in the wilderness; but what about the lost one? The Good Shepherd leaves the rest safe, in quest of the stray sheep. After it He goes in earnest love, as if He had none else; and having found it, He lays it on His shoulders rejoicing; and when come to the house He calls together the friends and the neighbors, that they may rejoice with Him over the lost one found. He bore our sins in His own body on the tree. By His stripes were we healed. For we were as sheep going astray. If we returned, as we can now say, it is only because the Shepherd and Bishop of souls came to seek and save us.
The mere idea never dawned on Pagans of old, north, south, east or west. They admitted sympathy between God and His faithful. worshippers; but what must befall the unfaithful? What would make and keep faithful? Their gods, on their own showing, had lusts and passions, evil demons self-evidently, and deserving punishment like their adorers. The true God declared Himself in Jesus, Who came to bring God truly known into the world, and to put sin out of it, as He surely will in its season. As God is light and love, so did the Lord prove Himself to be, Whom none could convict of sin, Who died for sinners, suffered for their sins, Just for unjust, that He might bring us to God. Yes, He is the true God, and life eternal.
Why then stay longer? Are you not away from God? Are you fit for His presence? If you know you are not, what is to fit you? Christ is the way, and the only way, to the Father. But what of your sins? He, Who came in love to reconcile you to God, took the load on Himself; He alone could bear it, and bear it away forever. And God in the scriptures calls you to believe on the Lord Jesus, His Son, your Savior. God raised from the dead Him Who died for sins and sinners: does not this give you confidence?
You hesitate. Why? Do you love darkness rather than light? Alas! is it not because your works are evil, and your heart is proud, and you therefore hate the light which makes all manifest? Hear then His warning word. You cannot escape the resurrection of the unjust; you cannot escape the Judge of quick and dead. Jesus, Whom you now refuse as Savior, will judge those works of which you now boast; Jesus will prove their worthlessness to your everlasting shame, when He sits on the great white throne. What thenceforward must be your portion, if you reject Him now? “He that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:36). May you now hear and live.

Remarks on 1 John: 2:8-27

1 John 2:8-27
We are one Spirit with Him; and we are loved by the Father even as He was loved. Let us then, since these things are really so, as true to-day as at the beginning, welcome the keen edge of the word. It is aimed at the heart where self struggles hard to be considered (see Heb. 4:12), but self is not Christ. It is the enemy of God, as Amalek against His people (Ex. 17:8-16). Can we then wonder at the severity of verses 9-11? They need no comment. To boast advanced light while the heart is without brotherly-kindness is a proof that, however high the doctrine, it is self that rules: there is nothing of the divine nature (see 1 Cor. 13:1-3). We should read (ver. 8) “because the darkness is passing away,” not “is past.” Every child of God was once darkness, but is now “light in the Lord” (Eph. 5:8). Once he comprehended not the light (John 1:5); now he loves it. It is Jesus, the true light ever shining on him, guiding, cheering, and blessing him (John 14:19, 20). Yet the joy of this, real as it is, is not complete. There is a difference between the saint and his Savior. All glorious is He, “the true light now shineth;” not so the truest saint until He come. It can be said of the holiest and the best only this— “the darkness is passing away;” there are spots in the brightest Christian; some words to recall, some steps to retrace.
In verse 12 all difficulty as to whom the apostle writes is removed. There are startling things said in the Epistle; and the question might arise, Are these things really true of me? But this verse furnishes a complete answer to those who will receive it. It is to such as the woman in Luke 7:48 that John writes; those he calls “little children” (see John 13:33). He will carefully notice the different traits which distinguish their spiritual condition; but from “the babe” to “the father,” they are alike objects of mercy: “their sins are forgiven them for his name's sake.” Dwell on these words, for there is a tendency to legality in every one of us.
Alas! this is not at all the only danger. The assurance of salvation by grace, through faith, has lulled some souls into a subtle kind of antinomianism, and their testimony has been terribly marred; but there is, in the verses that follow, a word for each conscience according to the holy principle in Psa. 130:4. To “the fathers” (ver. 13) little is said, but what a volume there is in that little! “I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning” (see John 1:1-14). This knowledge “of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, of His person, His grace, His glories, stands at the head of all knowledge; and the fathers have so counted it. Paul ranks as “a father” in Phil. 2; 3 and it is the end and purpose of all true ministry (Eph. 4:13).
Such may not be “teachers"; nevertheless they do teach by their lives. They may not understand all mysteries and all knowledge, but they know the glory due to Him, and it is dear to them. They will suffer no dishonor to Him, or question or debate about Him. The “understanding” given to them is cultivated, and is fruitful with choicest fruit (see ver. 20).
The few words addressed to the “young men” (vers. 14-17) have an importance that cannot be over-rated. The personality of the devil, and the fact that he is the determined and ceaseless foe to be overcome by all who belong to Christ, are plainly intimated. From other scriptures we know that his kingdom is now commensurate with the whole unbelieving world, and that he is not acting alone but by means of subordinate spirits, “his angels.” When Christ was here, he incited the world's hatred against Him, and directed it how to rid itself, by unparalleled violence and wickedness, from Him Who sought on the part of God to reconcile it. Such is the “wicked one” to be overcome, and the present evil world under his rule. We have to pass through it, but are not to participate with it.
“Young men” are specially liable to fail in this. With ardent minds they would be “benefactors,” and the world offers them share in authority that they may be so (see Luke 22:24, 25). But no. We have Christ's mind. He sanctifies Himself, sets Himself apart from all here, that in heavenly glory He might attract our hearts (John 17:19). He will soon give to us the glory given to Him (xvii. 22), and, what is more, give us to be with Him where He is that we may behold His glory (ver. 24). This is our proper portion and place. But the devil seeks to excite desires in the unwary in this world, at least to improve it; and even Demas, who had the advantage of Paul's example and teaching, was ensnared (2 Tim. 4:10). The apostle warns against lust, but adds, “the pride (lit. boasting) of life.”
This is to be observed, as so in harmony with what prevails in the world; boasting of one's capabilities, development, resources, energies, success, work accomplished in the world, good done—and all by the natural life and for its delight. Yet all to perish! All to pass away, even the world itself (ver. 17)! Nothing abides for the unbeliever but the wrath of God (John 3:36). Solemn truth! The contrast is great in him “that doeth the will of God, however obscure; “he abideth forever.” What will he be doing in heaven, in eternity? The will of God. The thought is precious, and will check self-will now. Let the “young men” cherish it, for even Samson's strength went from him (Judg. 16). The world has proved to be a Delilah to many a promising Christian. She was a closer enemy to Samson than all the Philistine host.
Next we are given to hear of the “little children” (a different word to that in vers. 12, 28 where “little” might be left out with advantage). They are characterized by child-like confidence in God; they “know the Father” (ver. 13), and they “have the anointing from the Holy One;” which anointing, received from Him, abideth in them (vers. 20-27). That is, they have the Holy Spirit from Jesus glorified, according to Acts 2:33-39. This fullness of blessing is at once the portion of the soul, old or young, who, hearing the word of the truth, the gospel of salvation, believes in Christ (Eph. 1:13).
We see the immediate fruits of it in the converts in the Acts (compare also Col. 1:6, and for the preachers, 1 Peter 1:12), and their simplicity and freshness of heart are delightful. They need instruction, of course, and are eager for it; and it is striking to witness the earnest care of the apostle as to this. By the word which they “heard from the beginning” God quickened them and blessed them; and nothing else will keep them; not the words of “the fathers” of the church (so called), nor of the church, nor of man at all. All living affections to Christ, all fellowship with the Father and the Son are maintained by the word as we have it in the N. T. scriptures, and not by the gleanings of others but by our own. The rain will fill pools, but we must dig our own wells. “The Anointing” which dwelt in them dictated the instructions, warnings and encouragements which the apostles ministered to them, a truth never to be lost sight of by the youngest when reading the word, and a safeguard for all when, as we here learn, “there are many anti-christs,” and “it is the last time (or hour).” Verses 18, 20, 24, 27, are all-important.
The world, having crucified Christ and resisted the Holy Ghost, will not walk in the light, as God is in the light, and gross darkness is coming on it. The boasted enlightenment of Christendom will not escape. Isa. 60:1-3 reveals that Israel will emerge from it by grace, the children of God being first caught up to meet the Lord in the air before that (1 Thess. 4:16-v. 11). This was a line of truth set before the youngest saint by the apostles: and they were preserved from the delusion that the world would receive the gospel which they had received. “Ye have heard that Anti-christ cometh” and he will be received. How little the world thinks of it! That Jesus is the Christ, in Whom all the promises of God from Gen. 3 to Rev. 21 are certain (see 2 Cor. 1:20), has brought comfort to a vast multitude of saints from an otherwise intolerable load of suffering, cares, and anxieties. “The liar” will deny this in toto (ver. 22). And yet more, as “the Anti-Christ” he will deny the revelation of the Father in and by the Son. Every ray of hope, or of blessing, that poor guilty man can possibly have in God for earth or heaven, for time or eternity, whether revealed by the prophets or by Christ Himself, will be excluded; that this man of sin may exalt himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped (2 Thess. 2:3, 4). It will not be piecemeal work then, as it is now by the many anti-christs, though they work on the same lines and for the same end. Few, however, feel as this aged servant of Christ; hence his intense interest in these young, bright souls, so inapprehensive of danger. As Rebecca had Eliezer only to conduct her from her home to Canaan and to Isaac, to tell of him and assure her of her destined portion when she should meet him, so have we the HOLY SPIRIT. But there is nothing “the wicked one” will not do to put us under another guidance.
(To be continued, D.V.)

Differences of Dispensation

These differences of dispensation are the displays of God's glory; and therefore of all importance and most essential, because a positive part of His glory. The law maintained His majesty and title to claim obedience; as the gospel displayed His grace, and gave the obedience of a child. To say that the breaking down of the middle wall of partition, and the accomplishment of the glorious work by which it was effected, produced only an official difference (because man had life, and man was forgiven, or forborne with in view of it), is to say that the display of God's glory was an unessential thing: the display of all His glorious wisdom, power, and love, in that mighty work which stands alone in heaven and earth, the object of angels' research. Was it unessential to them, who found scarce even an official difference, though doubtless it affected their position, to see Him, Who created them, nailed to the tree in that mighty and solitary hour which stands aloof from all before and after? Let us only remember that dispensations are the necessary displays of God's glory, and we shall soon feel where we are brought by what makes mere official difference out of them.
Besides, the difference is very great indeed as to man. It is everything as to his present affections, as to his life; because God puts forth power, power too which works in man through faith, according to the display He makes of Himself. And, therefore, the whole life in its working, in its recognition of God, is formed on this dispensational display. And this is the field of responsibility too. Thus, if God reveals Himself to Abraham as Almighty, Abraham is to live and walk in the power of that name; and so of the promises given to him. Israel is to dwell in the land as the redeemed people of Jehovah—their affections, ways, responsibility, and happiness, flowing from what God was to them as having placed them there. So [no less is what God is] to us, the presence of the Holy Ghost Himself being the great distinguishing fact, with the knowledge He affords. Because all this is what faith ought to act upon; and the life which we live in the flesh we live by faith, for the just shall live by faith. Hence the Lord does not hesitate to say, “This is life eternal, to know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” That could not have been the life of those before. Had they then not life? Nay, but it could not be stated in that way: their life was not that; and to undo these differences is to make a life without affections, character, responsibility—in a word, without faith. You cannot do it; for, to us, to believe is to live. The more you succeed in calling them to one thing, the more you succeed in stifling divine affections, and active human responsibility—destroying, as far as may be, divine communion, and frustrating divine grace—the more the glory and energy of faith is null, and hence God's glory in us. J. N. D.

Sanctification or Setting Apart to God: 1

1 Peter 1
There is something very sweet in the certainty with which the apostle Peter presents to us the truths contained in this Epistle. There is neither hesitation nor uncertainty. The word speaks of things received, of a certainty for those to whom it is addressed. Their faith was tried, but the thing was certain. The apostle speaks here of an inexhaustible fund of truths which belonged to him; and it is not as one groping in the dark that he speaks of it. These things are too important to be left in doubt; they deserve all our attention: our hearts need it. It is not the unregenerate heart that loves the Lord Jesus. One may be brave and all that, and think that if one's conduct is good, the result in heaven will be accordingly; but therein is no love for the Lord Jesus. And this is the badge of the Christian.
The apostle says in the eighth verse, “Whom (Christ) not having seen, ye love; on whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.” Now, there is no such thing as that without regeneration, which is a new life that has interests, and affections-quite a new world; and without this there is no Christian, because there is not Christ.
We will now see the two principles laid down in this chapter, and in the work here attributed to the Holy Spirit.
God finds the soul in a certain position, in certain relations, and removes it to place it in quite a new state; and this separation is according to the power of the resurrection of Christ.
The apostle speaks to the Jews of the dispersion (that is, to those of whom it is spoken in John vii. 35, those dispersed among the Greeks) in these words. “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father,” &c. He addressed himself to the dispersion, to Jews now converted to Christianity, to those who are elect according to the foreknowledge of God, through the sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ, grace and peace, &c. He says this because he is speaking of another election than that of the Jewish people. The Jewish nation was elected after another manner. Here he writes, as we said, to Jews who had believed on the Lord Jesus; so that sanctification in them was not sanctification of a nation by outward means, but by the Holy Spirit, Who separated the souls from among the Jews to belong to God, and to form a part of the present dispensation of grace. It was not with them as with the ancient Jews, who were separated from the Egyptians by the Red Sea. They were separated by the sanctification effected by the Holy Spirit. Observe particularly this word “sanctification “: the first idea is separation for God, not only from evil, but a setting apart for God Who sanctifies.
This is what God does in those whom He calls, finding souls lying in evil. John says on this subject, in his First Epistle, (chap. v. 1.9), “We are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness;” and it is very precious to have things clearly stated. “We are of God": it is not merely that we should conduct ourselves aright; doubtless, that is well. But the great difference is, that we are of God, and that “the whole world lieth in wickedness.” Does this mean that we are always as we should be? No: but we are of God. One is not all one would desire to be: that will come to pass only in heaven, for only there will God make us conformed to the image of His beloved Son.
But this is what God has done: He has separated us to Himself, as a man who hews stones out of a quarry. The stone is hewn out of the quarry and set apart, destined to be cut and fashioned, in order to be placed in the appointed building. And God detaches a soul from the quarry of this world to separate it for Himself. I say not but there is much to do; for a rough stone cut out of a quarry requires often considerable labor before it is placed in the building for which it is destined. Even so God separates, prepares, and fashions this soul to introduce it into His spiritual building. There are many useless matters to take off; but God acts every day in His grace. Howsoever, this soul is sanctified, set apart for God, from the moment it is taken out of the quarry of this world.
The apostle speaks here of sanctification before he mentions obedience and the blood of Jesus Christ. We are sanctified to these two things (ver. 2): “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.” He takes us out of the quarry of this world to place us under the efficacy of the blood of Christ. The stone is entirely His and adapted to His purpose. Although He has yet to work upon it, the question is not of what He does each day, but generally of the appropriation to the end God has proposed to Himself. It is the Holy Spirit Who acts in the soul and appropriates it to Himself. It may previously have been very honorable, or very wicked in its conduct; this makes no difference: only it will be more grateful, if it feels itself more evil. But as to the former condition, that matters little: one belongs now to God.
To what does God destine this soul? To obedience. Up to this period what has it done but its own will? It has followed its own way, no matter what appearances may have been, more or less good, more or less bad; it is all one. The character may have been weak, or more or less fiery, until, as with Paul, the Lord arrested him on his road. Now behold this soul, hitherto filled with its own will, set apart for obedience.
Paul had been very learned in what concerned the religion of his fathers; he had sat at the feet of Gamaliel. He honestly believed that he had done the will of God, but there was nothing of the kind. He followed his own will, according to the direction impressed by the tradition of the fathers. Never, till the moment that Jesus stopped him on the way to Damascus, had he said, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?”
Thus, whatever may have been the conduct of a soul before this setting apart, nothing of all before has made it do the will of God. But the aim of the life of a soul sanctified, set apart, is to do the will of God. It may fail.; but that is its aim. Jesus said, “Lo, I come to do thy will, O God.” He had no need of sanctification, in one sense, because He was holy; but the aim of His whole life was obedience. Here am I “to do thy will, O God.” He took the form of a servant, made in the likeness of men, and He was obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. He existed only for God; the principle of His life was obedience. He was come to do nothing but His Father's will.
As soon as a soul is sanctified, it is sanctified unto obedience; and this is manifested by the spirit of dependence which has done with its own will. It says, “What must I do?” It may fail through weakness in many respects; but that is its aim.
As to the second thing, we are sanctified to enjoy the sprinkling of blood. The soul, thus placed under the influence of the blood of Christ, is thereby completely cleansed. The blood of the Son of God cleanses us from all sin; it is by the efficacy of His blood that we are separated from this world.
The question here is not of bulls and goats which could not sanctify the conscience of him who did the service, but of the blood of Christ, Who by the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God. It is the blood which purifies the conscience. (To be continued, D.V.)

The Inspiration of the Scriptures: 2. Apostolic Authority

Chapter 2 Apostolic Authority
In ordinary thoughts and discussion on inspiration it is not always remembered that the apostle claims it authoritatively for “every scripture.” This goes far beyond what men uttered from God, moved or borne along by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21). For we are taught, not only what the Holy Spirit gave by His living instruments, but that what is written by Him abides now of at least equal divine authority. It is painful to see the readiness of any Christian to allow the compatibility of this divine power with historical or any other inaccuracies, natural enough to man's spirit. But the apostle Paul in the text before us leaves no room for evasion or uncertainty. “Every scripture” is either assumed, as some argue, or asserted as others believe, to be God-inspired. Does He fail to exclude verbal errors? Is He capable of historical or any other inaccuracies?
The imputation really leaves God out, as every measure of skepticism does. It dwells on human infirmity and ignorance, which no believer ought for a moment to forget. But God's inspiration of “every scripture” gives to faith the certainty that no such inaccuracies attach to the written word as it came from Him; and this is all that plenary inspiration means. It in no way excludes mistakes in transcription, translation, or interpretation. But it is an abuse of language, calculated to deceive the simple and gratify the enemy, if one allow divine plenary inspiration in word and then annul it in deed. For as God cannot lie, so He does not pledge His inspiration so as to sanction errors ever so small. He used men of God as the vehicle for carrying out His purpose in giving His word; He employed their mind and heart as well as their language and style; but He communicated His own wisdom in fulfillment of His design beyond the measure of the instrument, and in absolute exclusion of mistake.
For any then to contend that plenary inspiration admits of “leaving” inspired men to themselves in any respect is really to leave out God, and to blow hot and cold in the same breath. It is openly and absolutely to contradict the apostolic canon here laid down. Not only were the writers moved by the Holy Spirit, but “every scripture is God-inspired.” Scripture is no mere accident, nor simply a providential arrangement, where blemishes may naturally be. If God's purpose intended to give us His word, the Holy Spirit wrought to effectuate it in a wisdom, power, order, and end which bespoke Himself. One can understand unbelief blind even to the grace and the truth which came through Jesus Christ, and seeing only discrepancies and blunders in the Gospels, where spiritual intelligence finds the deepest demonstration of the divine mind which produced a perfect result to Christ's glory before the eyes of faith. How strange and distressing that any who hear Christ's word and believe Him Who sent the Lord fail to perceive that, of all theories, none is less satisfactory, tenable, or reverent! For is it not that the Holy Spirit Who inspired the evangelists recalled facts and words imperfectly to their remembrance, and stamped misleading memoirs with the authority of God's word? It is the more inexplicable that there should be no less than a divine Person for such compilations, supposed to be mutually inconsistent as well as defective in small points!
Here is not the place to show, not only how baseless is this unbelief, but the divinely admirable truth which the Holy Spirit set out in these inspired accounts of our Lord as everywhere else in the Bible. It would demand volumes and can be found by those who seriously inquire. But such speculations ought never to have been entertained for a moment. Their source is evil, though good men be ensnared by them. “Every scripture is God-inspired.” We are entitled as believers to set one's seal to it that He is true; so is His word. We are bound in simple faith to deny errors or discrepancies in scripture as He wrote it. We may not be able to answer every objection, or to clear up every difficulty which ingenious ill-will or even weakness may muster; for this depends on our intelligence, which may be small. But if we believe the apostle's deliverance on the Bible to be “the commandment of the Lord” (as he claims generally and for smaller things in 1 Cor. 14), we are warranted to rest in the peaceful certainty that “every scripture is inspired of God.”
So our Lord acted with friend or foe. So He taught His own, as He had confronted the great enemy. “It is written” was the conclusive answer to temptation and to question; and if scripture were perverted, “It is written again” is the short and best refutation. What an example for us, so ready to trust in our dialectic skill of defense or in dissecting an adversary's ignorance and error? The simplest believer can reckon on the word and Spirit of God. This honors Him and His word, and is for us the humblest, holiest, and safest ground.
In vain then do men argue that there are many things in the scriptures which the writers might have known, and probably did know, by ordinary means; that for some things they must have been supernaturally endowed; and that other things again required nothing less than direct revelation. The aim of this is unconsciously to lower scripture, and bring as much as possible within man's capacity. Now no believer need question God's use of means, if He pleases, or rising above them if for His glory. But “Every scripture is inspired of God” settles all questions. We have there wicked men's hypocritical words, and their rebellious ones; we have even Satan's temptations and his accusations in scripture; but “every scripture is inspired.” To present the least fact, to record the simplest word in scripture, was as truly of God's inspiration, as to reveal “the mystery” or to disclose the future glory of heaven and earth. Documents or none, the insertion in scripture was God-inspired: else the apostolic rule were infringed. But as our Lord said (John 10:35), “the scripture cannot be broken.”
As Jehovah magnified His saying above all His name, so did our Lord take His stand on the written word, the scriptures, as the most authoritative of all testimonies. All scripture, every part of it even, is God-inspired for permanence, and the true end of controversy for those that believe; while such as believe not must learn their sin and folly in the judgment. The question is in no way, whether the writer knew or did not know what they wrote (for both are found abundantly in scripture), but whether they were inspired of God to write it. And “every scripture” is so inspired. This alone makes it God's word, not its known truth or usefulness, but His inspiring it; and this we have in every scripture. Some writers may be sublime and others simple; some may be pathetic and others severe; but all are God-inspired; and the plain proof is that they are part of the scriptures. In the N. T. we have differences as wide as sever the Epistle of James from those of Paul, and the Gospel of Mark from that of John. But inspired they are equally, as their writings are part of the scriptures. Inspiration of God is a fact, and does not admit of varying degrees.
It is quite within the power of the Holy Spirit in giving God's word to adopt the style of each individual writer. But no effort on a writer's part could make his words to be God's. Even before the adversary the Lord told the twelve to have no anxiety how or what to speak, for in the hour of need it should be given. “For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father that speaketh in you” (Matt. 10:20). How much more was that divine energy wanted and given, when not their vindication was in question, but the communication of God's mind and will for His own and forever? Indeed it is no more than the certain fact; for every scripture is God-inspired.
Speculation into the “how” of inspiration is a prying into what is not revealed, and therefore unwise and unbecoming. We are not told how God inspired the writers of the scriptures. It is probable that none could know save those who were so energized. Theories “mechanical” or “dynamical,” so called, are out of place and explain nothing. As 1 Cor. 2 maintains the principle, the necessity, and the fact of Spirit-taught words, so 2 Tim. 3:16 speaks, not of the revelations before the mind only, but of “scripture;” and decides for it as inspired of God. This is the all-important truth conveyed. It is God Himself in scripture removing all doubt about scripture, and even about every part of it. One can conceive no other communication more distinct or conclusive. The language is as plain as its aim is spiritually momentous, and its intimation is of the utmost practical interest and value. (To be continued, D.V.)

Dwellers on Earth: Part 1

It is both a happy and a safe place to be an inquirer: happy, because it keeps the soul in direct intercourse with the Lord, for we must inquire in His temple; safe, because His word will be regarded as that which is to search and guide us, rather than as a subject for the speculation of our minds. But we are naturally prone to be impatient of the place of inquirers, and readily fall in with a theory, which, though it may embody great features of truth, hinders the direct application of the truth to our consciences and affections.
Whilst we are thus impatient of inquiring in the temple in the attitude of worshippers, we are no less impatient of inquiring among ourselves. Self-confidence will lead a few to dogmatize; while, to save the trouble of thinking and judging for themselves, the many will follow on in the wake of dogmatic teaching. The result is opposing theories; and then all the help which one might afford another is lost. When Christians, with the single desire of ascertaining the mind of God, have inquired one of another, as in His presence, concerning the meaning of scriptures, how many a crude thought has been shaped! how many a precious thought has been disentangled! while some imaginative mind has perhaps been checked in carrying out a particular truth beyond its limit. Thus too have “hearts been knit together in love, unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding;” all have been edified, all have been comforted. And can we only say that such things were? May the Lord, in His abounding grace over all our sin, grant to us in His own time such profit and refreshment again!
I would now desire briefly to inquire as to the expression, “they that dwell on the earth,” which so frequently occurs in the Revelation. Is it to be understood as applied universally, or within certain geographical limits, or as expressing the moral condition of a class?
The following are the passages in the Revelation in which the expression occurs:
1—Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth” (iii. 10).
2—And they cry with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth” (vi. 10)?
3— And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe to the inhabiters of the earth, by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels which are yet to sound” (viii. 13)!
4— “And they of the people, and kindreds, and tongues, and nations, shall see their dead bodies three days and a half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth” (11:9, 10).
Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down to you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time” (12:12).
And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them; and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written, in the book of life of the Lamb slain, from the foundation of the world” (13:6-8).
And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast whose deadly wound was healed. And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth, by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast which had the wound by a sword and did live” (13:12-14).
And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation and kindred and tongue and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come, and worship him that made heaven and earth and the sea and the fountains of waters” (14:6, 7).
9. — “And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither, I will show thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters, with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication” (17:1, 2).
10.— “And they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is” (17:8).
In reading these passages, there is a great deal to intimate that they do express the moral condition of a class. In the original the participle is invariably used, whether our translators have rendered it “them that dwell on,” or “inhabiters of,” “the earth.” This of itself is presumptive evidence that the expression has reference to quality; i.e. that there is a certain class of persons largely introduced into the scene of the Revelation, characterized as “dwellers on the earth.” This presumption is greatly strengthened by the dwellers on earth being found in contrast with another class, also mentioned in the Revelation, “dwellers in heaven” (or literally, “tabernaclers in heaven”). “And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven” —literally, “tabernacle in heaven” (chap. 13:6). And then follows in verse 8, “and all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written, in the book of life of the Lamb slain, from the foundation of the world.” We have indeed in this passage heaven and earth locally contrasted; but is there not a moral contrast between the two classes also?—heaven giving its impress to those who tabernacle there, and earth its impress to the dwellers thereon.
But this is not a point to be settled philologically, which is rarely satisfactory to the spiritual mind. It will often be found at fault; when dependence on the Holy Ghost, as a present guide into all truth, will furnish the internal evidence for a solid and sound interpretation.
The expression, “inhabiters of the earth,” cannot well be regarded as universal, because we find the expression, “people, kindreds, tongues, and nations,” and in close connection, yet not synonymous, with it. “And they of the people, and kindreds, and tongues, and nations, shall see their dead bodies three days and a half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because those two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.” (See also xiii. 6-8; xiv. 6, 7).
(To be continued', D.V.)

Scripture Queries and Answers: HEB 9:12; Offenders Causing Divisions and Stumbling Blocks

Q.-Heb. 9:12. Is it legitimate to infer that this verse speaks of our Lord, entering the holies as a separate spirit before He rose and ascended? Mαθ.
A.-Not only is there not a tittle of scriptural evidence pointing in that direction; but other scriptures speak of His entrance, not in that transitional condition, but when become forever high priest after the order of Melchizedek. Compare especially Heb. 6:20. Nor is this all. For the verse itself precludes all but one entrance to this end, though all admit our Lord's presence in the disembodied state in Paradise. But the word here is that “by His own blood He entered once for all into the holies, having found an everlasting redemption.” This is simple, plain, and decisive.
Q.-Rom. 16:17. What sort of offenders is meant by “those causing the divisions and the stumbling blocks,” whom the apostle called the saints to avoid? Y. T.
A.-They were as yet different from the separatists of Titus 3:10, 11. “Heretic” as in the Auth. V. gives a misleading sense; for in modern usage it means “heterodox.” This is not intended, but one forming a party or sect outside, to which schism ever drifts. Therefore in 1 Cor. 11:18, 19, the apostle says, “I hear there exist schisms among you, and I in some part believe it. For there must even be sects [heresies] among you, that the approved may become manifest among you.” It is not that schisms must lead to heterodoxy, but that, if not judged, parties within (or schisms) naturally land in an outside party or sect. When this happens, disciplinary action is foreclosed. They have gone without. Such are perverted, and sin, being self-condemned to all who know what is due to the Lord, and what the assembly of God is.
But the case in Rom. 16 is an earlier stage. It supposes self-confident and restless zeal inside, inconsistent with the teaching already learned by the saints, and reckless of the pain, shame, evil, and danger treated by striving after innovations without scriptural warrant. In accordance with the word is the amplest scope for every kind and measure of true gift; and gift ordinarily is apt to be overestimated, as we see it was in Corinth and is today. But the self-seeking and self-important are never satisfied with the place of subjection which scripture claims from us in deference to our Lord. Hence the desire for popularity and excitement. “From among your own selves,” warned the apostle, “shall rise up men speaking perverted things to draw away the disciples after them.” For such men chafe under the protests and reproofs, urged by spiritual experience and insight into scripture, to save them from a course as dishonoring to the Lord as ruinous to themselves and any swayed by them.
Those in our day gathered to the Lord's name have labored in and according to His word for near seventy years; about the same time it was from Pentecost till the canon of scripture closed and the apostle John died. Gifts various and great abounded then; as by grace in their measure they were not lacking in our day. Yet no man ever rose up so presumptuous as to organize what is called an “all-day-ministry.” We have known offenders, some of them men of light and leading, who fell away now and then; but no one so much as proposed what on the face of it is outside the teaching of the apostles and their fellowship. This was enough for ordinarily faithful men. Even the bold did not dare to canvass, still less to carry out, a device unauthorized by God's word. Our profession was to have left human associations and plans, no matter how many pious persons might sustain them. We took, and are resolved in divine mercy to keep, the only hallowed ground of obedience.
We eschew therefore all definitive authority but the written word. “What is the harm?” is the excuse of unbelief and disobedience. An apostle might choose a personal companion in ordinary ministry: so may a wise brother now; but no apostle ever arranged anything even resembling an “all-day ministry.” This settles the matter to faith; and one can but grieve over the want of faith which thought of action so unscriptural, borrowed by rash inexperience from the bustling spirit of the age. Where Christians do not own the Spirit's presence any more than subjection to scripture alone, such methods are natural. But how sad that any who professed to turn their back on such unfaithfulness should do their utmost to foist in among us an unquestionable departure from the word! For it has not the paltry merit of an invention, but is a plain imitation of a novel fashion even in fallen decrepit Christendom. “The time shall be,” said the sorrowing apostle in his last Epistle, “when they will not endure sound teaching, but, having itching ears, will heap to themselves teachers according to their own lusts, and will turn away their ears from the truth, and turn aside unto fables” (2 Tim. 4).
May grace preserve from such an issue! If we are to be kept, it is and must be as sanctified by the truth. And sanctification of the Spirit from the starting-point is “unto obedience and the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.” What then does the apostle prescribe, when there are those that cause divisions and stumbling-blocks contrary to the teaching we learned? He commands us in the Lord's name to “mark” and “avoid them.” It is no question of “division” in the sense of people gone out, but that such innovating work habitually gathers a group of unsuspecting supporters, in opposition to what the mass of saints have ever believed and practiced. Were there a scrap of modesty or active grace, the remonstrance of those whom scripture calls “chief men among the brethren” would have peacefully hindered the project; whereas to the self-willed that is only another incentive to go on at all cost. In such a state one's own way is dearer than anything else; and people are not wanting to back it. As the apostle adds, “They that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ but their own belly, and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the guileless.”
Tender conscience shows itself in readiness to obey the word of the Lord. Our bounden duty is, not to put such misleaders away, but to keep clear of sanctioning them in any way, till they abandon their wrong course and are content themselves to obey. There is holiness, not hardship, in that. “If any one think to be contentious, we have no such custom, nor the assemblies of God.” As long as the agitation continues, the willful who persist ought distinctly to forfeit the confidence of the godly. More is at stake than the disorder of women's independence about a veil, though the apostle ruled this to be intolerable, even if they were prophetesses. Those that serve in the word are surely bound to submit to it themselves. It is no question of liberty to minister, which all own to be of God, but of a new-fangled license to organize the work of others; which is not only unscriptural but trenches on the Lordship of Christ and the ways of the Holy Spirit as revealed by the word.

First Records of Thermal Springs

DR. P. JAMES is right in preferring the Revised to the A. V. of Gen. 36:24. Anah found, not “mules” but, “hot springs” in the wilderness. So the Vulgate rendered the word from early days correctly, followed by Wiclif and the Wiclifite, and in the Douay Bible. The Septuagint makes the word an unmeaning proper name, τὸν 'lαμεὶν (τοὺ 'l Aq. et Sym.), having lost the sense; and later Jews were misled by the Talmud, which loved to indulge in fables about “mules,” some of them filthy as in this case. The Samaritan text for yemim has Emim as in Gen. 14:5, which as an appellative means “terrors” or the like. This seems to be the source of “giants” in the Targum of Onkelos; and so the Pseudo-Jonathan.
The word yemim is never used for “mules.” “Mule” in Hebrew is peredi or pirdah). Rechesh is also translated so, and “dromedary” too, as well as “swift beast.” Etymologically Y. is akin to “hot,” and modern philologists agree in the meaning of “hot springs.” Indeed the horse does not seem to have entered Palestine till the days of David, when we first hear also of “mules,” which were probably imported as the law forbade any such mixture (Lev. 19:19). In the N. T. we do not read of the mule, but of the ass used as in ancient times.
But any of our readers who might like to peruse this little treatise of the discovery of Thermal waters will find reliable information in Dr. J.'s pamphlet.


T. WESTON, Publisher, 53, Paternoster Row.
EXETER: Gospel Depot, &c., 17, Cathedral Yard.
Printed by T. Cheverton, 100 City Road, E.C.

The Early Chapters of Genesis: Chapter 11:8-9

Thus was the scheme of human self-will brought to naught. They had left out God and at best forgotten His word. They had dared to oppose His will Who commanded that they should fill the earth. They sought on the contrary to hold together in a region well suited for union, being alike fertile in itself and peculiarly adapted to receive supplies from all sides. There they proposed not only to built a city and a tower of imposing pretension, but to make themselves a name, that they should not be scattered over the face of the whole earth. Therefore Jehovah interfered, not yet in punishment of their rebellious audacity, but by a dealing which left no doubt of His hand and compelled their dispersion according to His declared mind.
“And Jehovah scattered them thence over the face of the whole earth. And they left off building the city. Therefore was its name called Babel (confusion); because Jehovah there confounded the language of the whole earth. And Jehovah scattered them thence over the face of the whole earth” (vers. 8, 9).
Thus it was that mankind spread everywhere after the flood. It came to pass after a certain lapse of time, not willingly but under the constraint of divine power. This so thoroughly and at once confounded them, that they might well dread the issue of any further effort to disobey. Thus nationalities began, each with its peculiar tongue, in their lands, but as mercy ruled according to their families. There was no confusion in Jehovah's ordering. Chap. 11:1-9 is the key to the previous chap. 10, the moral account thus graphically of what was there given as a fact.
It is sorrowful to find the lack of simple faith even in minds not at all unfriendly to revelation. But men suffer, partly through undue heed to tradition, partly through indulging in dreams of their own. Thus Jacob Bryant, in his New System, or Analysis of Ancient Mythology (vol. iv. 34-45, 3rd edition, 1807), strives to give a very different turn to the confusion of tongues. As his learned work may weigh with some, it seems well to notice briefly what he alleges for denying the general bearing of the event, which he would limit to the Cushite, and pare down in itself to a labial failure, so that the people affected could not articulate and thus failed to understand each other.
“This I take to be the true purport of the history: from whence we may infer that the confusion of language was, a partial event; and that the whole of mankind is by no means to be included in the dispersion from Babel. It related chiefly to the sons of Cush, whose intention was to have founded a great, if not an universal, empire; but by this judgment their purpose was defeated” (37). Hence he distinguishes the scattering here as partial, from the earth divided to the nations the days of Peleg as a general event in which all were concerned. “We must therefore, instead of the language of all the earth, substitute the language of the whole country “; also “a failure and incapacity in labial utterance. By this their speech was confounded, but not altered; for as soon as they separated, they recovered their true tenor of pronunciation; and the language of the earth continued for some ages nearly the same.” For evidence Mr. Bryant sends us to M. A. Court de Gebelin's Monde Primitif Analyze et compare avec le Monde Moderne, in nine vols. 4to (17741784): an ambitious effort of no solid value, any more than this speculation of our own countryman before us.
Now not a word in scripture belittles the fact or God's dealing as is here done. In chap. x. 8-10 we have the pride of power which a son of Cush betrayed early; but a wholly different phase is here, not individual usurpation, nor a kingdom or empire, but a sort of universal republic, as we have already remarked. In that chapter which is not chronological but descriptive we have simply the families of Noah's sons after their families and tongues, in their lands and nations. Here in chap. xi. we have the moral cause, why Jehovah scattered them contrary to their perverse resolve to hold together in the land of Shinar. We have not a word about Nimrod or any other individual here. The force lies in its universality. Attention is expressly called to the whole earth being of one lip and of words alike also. Not a hint is dropped of one land in particular. There would be nothing to surprise in one country pervaded by one tongue; but we are reminded of the state that thus characterized all the earth, in order the better to appreciate the judgment which compelled men suddenly to speak diversely, and so not to understand one another's speech.
It is then an unsubstantial dream to fancy that it was only the Cushites, however numerously followed by others. Not only is there no evidence of any specific family, but the inspired record excludes any such construction. Nimrod was subsequent to the scattering; for “the beginning of his kingdom was Babel,” other cities following. He was not afraid to start his ambitious enterprise from a city branded by divine displeasure. The scattering had already taken place. It was a new form of man's will; for there was no thought or pretense of its being ordained of God. Nor was there any such mark of God's intervention as that which dealt with their purpose to unite unholily and to make themselves a name.
But it was no mere temporary fit of labial failure as Bryant imagined, again without a scrap of divine evidence. It was Jehovah confounding their language, so that men should be no longer one, but be divided into nations henceforth, though mercy took care that the tongues should not dislocate their families. It was Jehovah's doing, not nature nor circumstances, nor development, but a manifestly judicial and a lasting dealing of divine power. And the account is exactly suited to the inspired and only reliable Book of Origins; where man's history fails, and tradition is as puerile and misleading as pretentious philosophy, spinning cobwebs from within.

The Offerings of Leviticus: 5. Sin Offering for One of the People

Lev. 4:27-35
IT is full of interest to notice the care bestowed by Jehovah on the Sin offering for the ordinary Israelite. He marks the difference between him and a ruler or chief man, by demanding “a male without blemish” from the latter, “a female without blemish” from the former. They were to bring a kid of the goats; but there was this distinction; and Jehovah directed it. He provided in His goodness for both; but He did not leave it to man's discretion; He directed each how to efface the sin.
“And if one (a soul) of the people of the land sin through inadvertence in doing any things which Jehovah hath commanded not to be done, and be guilty; if his sin which he hath sinned come to his knowledge, then he shall bring his offering a goat, a female without blemish for his sin which he hath sinned. And he shall lay his hand on the head of the sin offering, and slaughter the sin offering at the place of the burnt offering. And the priest shall take of the blood thereof with his finger, and put [it] on the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and pour out all the blood thereof at the bottom of the altar. And all the fat thereof shall he take away, as the fat is taken away from off the sacrifice of peace offerings; and the priest shall burn it on the altar for a sweet odor to Jehovah; and the priest shall make atonement for him, and it shall be forgiven him” (vers. 27-31).
Jehovah would have the lowliest soul among His people feel that He entered into his concern about his sin, done unwittingly, and now troubling him when known. He therefore would impress it on his soul when he brought the unblemished female goat, by the stress even then laid on “for his sin which he sinned.” For the gracious effect of the offering is felt all the more if the sin be also. To the ruler it was but “the goat,” and “it” in ver. 24 though with “it is a sin offering” at the end. Here (ver. 29) it is “he shall lay his hand on the head of the sin offering, and slaughter the sin offering.” Yet more striking is the consolation given to the poor Israelite in ver. 31; where he alone is expressly assured, that the fat burnt by the priest on the altar should be “for a sweet odor to Jehovah.” “Before Jehovah” was said in the ruler's instance about slaying the offering, as it was yet more emphatically where the whole assembly sinned, and about the use made of the blood. But He deigned to consider the lowly man by the special expression of the mark of communion in the burning of the fat for him when the offering for his sin was made.
Nor is this all. For the poor man alone was there an alternative offering. He might have a difficulty in providing a goat, and yet might find a sheep or lamb more readily. Hence for him alone this was permissible.
“And if he bring a lamb as his offering for a sin offering, he shall bring it a female without blemish. And he shall lay his hand on the head of the sin offering, and slaughter it for a sin offering in the place where they slaughter the burnt offering. “And the priest shall take of the blood of the sin offering with his finger, and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering; and all the blood thereof shall he pour out at the bottom of the altar. And all the fat thereof shall he take away, as the fat of the lamb is taken away from the sacrifice of peace offerings; and the priest shall burn them on the altar with (or, upon) the fire offerings to Jehovah; and the priest shall make atonement for him concerning his sin which he sinned, and it shall be forgiven him” (vers. 32-35).
Here again we should not overlook the kindness of Jehovah in giving consolation. The blood of the lamb was no less efficacious as a figure than that of a goat. There was no loss incurred by the alternative. But in the dealing with the fat there is indeed the peculiar mention of burning on the altar “upon the fire offerings to Jehovah,” as in chap. iii. 5; although there it was a question of Peace offerings, here of an offering for sin. Gracious acceptance was implied, and not merely the removal of the sin or its forgiveness.

Proverbs 1:29-33

THE warning of Jehovah was solemn, but not more solemn than sure. Impossible that He could lie. If faithful to His own in doing all He says to cheer them now, He is no less righteous in dealing with His enemies; He will recompense them.
“Because they hated knowledge and chose not the fear of Jehovah; they would none of my counsel, they despised all my reproof; therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their way, and be filled with their own devices. For the turning back of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them. But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely and be at rest from fear of evil” (vers. 29-33).
Divine compassion is unfailing for the ignorant where it is not willful. No less severe is the abhorrence of such as hate knowledge in the things of God, which of course is alone considered here. And what can be more sadly plain than to “choose not the fear of Jehovah?” It proves the enmity of the heart. Is He indifferent to man? It was only the vilest of the heathen who laid it down formally; but what was the general state of the Jews of old? What is that of professing Christendom in our own land and every other to-day?
Christ has shed better and perfect light; and the final revelation of God is fullness of grace and truth through Him. But what is the issue of slighting it and Him? It is more conspicuously true now than in Solomon's time that “they would none of my counsel, they despised all my reproof.” When God came into the world in Christ's Person, they turned Him out of it. They hated Him without a cause. His grace only made Him more despicable in their eyes. His counsel irritated, His reproof was a laughing stock. What will the end be?
Jehovah is not mocked with impunity. “Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their way and be filled with their own devices.” Sowing to the flesh must be reaping destruction. He does not execute judgment as yet; but it will come assuredly and soon: tribulation and anguish for man; indignation and wrath on His part Who judges. It is easy to turn away from grace and truth, from righteousness at any time; but the backsliding of the simple will slay them, and the prosperity of the foolish shall lure them to perdition.
“Hear, and thy soul shall live.” So said the prophet Isaiah; and it is blessedly true under the gospel. “He that heareth my word, and believeth him that sent me hath life eternal, and cometh not into judgment, but is passed from death into life.” So declared He Who is the Truth, as He is the Way and the Life. Or, as it is written here, “Whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be at rest from fear of evil.” Is it not a goodly shelter in a world of evil and danger? Christ is it now to every one that believes on Him, not only rest from evil but from the fear of it by grace.

Latter Times and Last Days (Duplicate)

It is sorrowful to have to look at departures from God and His truth. It has been said of the Lord, that His soul tasted some of its bitterest grief, when He looked on the treachery of Judas; and ours should be thus affected when we think of the corruptions of Christendom, which are as the kiss and the treason of that apostle again.
“The mystery of iniquity” had begun to work, we know, in the times of the apostles. And as the small seed cast into the ground carries with it the form and character of all that which the harvest is afterward to manifest and to yield, so the leaven that was working secretly then, to the keen eye of the Spirit in the apostles, had in it the varied evils which, in the progress of corruption, were to be manifested in Christendom: so that Paul guards Timothy, even then, against the pravities of both “the latter times” and “the last days,” as though Timothy himself were in the midst of them.
But these pravities are different. In “the latter times,” there was to be a departure from the word of God, or from the religion of “the truth,” which alone is “godliness.” Consequently there would be the giving heed to something beside the word or the truth, to “seducing spirits,” and-to “doctrines of devils” or demons. Then there would be speaking lies “in hypocrisy,” making an exhibition of religion; and all this, man's religion or what man has got up, would “sear the conscience,” deaden it to God's religion or the religion of “the truth,” fortified, as it would be, by man's forbiddings and “abstinences,” which must be complied with and practiced, though so contrary to the thoughts and gifts of God (see 1 Tim. 4,).
“The last days,” on the other hand, were not to be religious but infidel, Superstitious vanities were to yield to man's will and independency. He was to be a lover of “himself,” and in the train of that, “heady,” “high-minded,” “disobedient to parents,” “covetous,” and such like-all qualities and characters making him as one who had broken the bands, and cast away the cords; not religious, but willful. And in the midst of all this, there was to be “the form of godliness “-the appearing to return to that from which “the latter times” had departed, “godliness,” or the religion of “the truth"; but when looked at a little within, no “power” would be found, though so much “form” (2 Tim. 3).
Now here we see a great moral reaction: all the cords and bands of the latter times cast away, and man indulging and admiring himself-religious vanities gone, but human independency asserted.
And these things have had their day. In the two great characteristic eras in the history of Christendom we get them-in the times before and since the Reformation. In the times before there was man's religion, opposing itself to “the truth,” and having its own vanities; in the times since there has been man's pride, asserting his independency and breaking off all bands. These have been the characters of the two eras. Of course something of the second was known during the time of the first, and much of the first still lives in the second; but these different pravities are the characteristics of the two eras.
And what is a very solemn truth, I judge that the history of corrupted Christianity will close by a kind of coalition between the two pravities. And of such a state of things we get the pattern in the time of our blessed Lord, when there were both man's religion and man's independency combined against Him,-the unclean spirit who had gone out, having himself returned and brought with him other spirits more wicked than himself. There was Jewish religion, which would not let its votaries go into the judgment-hall, lest they should be defiled; and there was Jewish infidelity, which could say, “We have no king but Caesar.”
This is a solemn, fearful prospect. Surely there is real godliness in the midst of it all, but the sight is dreadful.
And there was the counterpart of what I have been here tracing in the wilderness. There was, first, the calf, and then the captain-the two ensigns of Israel's departure from God during their journey from Egypt to Canaan, the two distinct standards of rebellion set up at different eras.
The calf was the ensign of man's religion. Man had his own gods then, and in eating and drinking, and rising up to play, man exhibited his religion, spake “lies in hypocrisy.” The captain was the ensign of man's infidelity. Man was his own god then, setting up himself to be his own leader, as though answerable to none, breaking all bands, “heady, high-minded.”
Thus, by either the calf or the captain, man is ever working against God and his truth. It is either false religion or a spirit of independency that is moving him. And reaction is always to be dreaded, even by the true worshippers and saints of God, as is also the spirit of the times in which they live. Both of these must be watched against. If the present time exhibit much of the spirit of human pride and independency, of course the saint has to guard against his being drawn into the stream, and carried along the current which has set around him. But he has also to guard against reaction. He has to watch and pray, that he may not, through dread and hatred of the present form of evil, look for relief by a return to the previous form of evil. I believe there is very much of both of these at present. I see people, who should have stood only in godliness, dropping into the current of these times; and in the revival of high church principles, and return to ecclesiastical ceremonies and observances of human imposition, there is evident unhealthy reaction among men of a sensitively righteous order of mind, who have marked the evil that is now predominant, and have sought relief from it, but have been turned back by Satan to the religiousness of man, and away from “godliness” or the religion of “the truth.” In avoiding the evil of the last days, they have returned to that of the “latter times,” at least in measure.
In the midst of all this condition of things, I believe the poor saint of God, “who walks in the truth,” as John speaks, may now see himself. His path is narrow. Errors on both sides threaten and attract him. The calf and the captain are erected as the standards of rival parties. The word alone is to work his passage through both, and the Spirit to lead him along it; he is to “purify himself by obeying the truth through the Spirit.” He has been baptized to the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, and his soul is to know its living communion according to this. He has to continue in the things that he has learned, knowing the holy scriptures, which are able to make a child, a fool in this world's wisdom, wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. He is to know that, as a sinner, he is cast only upon God-as a sinner, God, and not man, has to do with him-and taking his sin, yea, and his sins too, into the presence of God, he is to see them there, by faith, washed away by the precious blood of a precious sacrifice. He has to keep his conscience unclouded, so that his living communion with the Father and the Son, in the life of the Holy Ghost, be not broken, and to walk in the love of the Spirit with all who are Christ's, and in the charities of the gospel with all men-doing withal what service among the saints he may be fitted to do by gift of the Spirit, and what service to others he may have opportunity or power to fulfill-waiting daily for the Son from heaven, Who, he is to know, has delivered him from the wrath to come. J. G. B.

The Inspiration of the Scriptures: 3. Its Uniformity

Chap. 3. Its Uniformity
We have dwelt the longer on the claim demanded by the great apostle for “every scripture,” because it really settles for the believer all the questions which the busy mind of man can raise. For we are not now debating with the Atheist or even the Deist, who openly disbelieves a revelation from God, but meeting the difficulties raised among professing Christians, though it may be too often originated by real empties. Doubts are more guilty now than in the days of our Lord Who reproached the Sadducees with not knowing the scriptures nor the power of God. For not only was He come as the True light to shed light on every man, and to give an understanding that we might know Him that is true, but the entire book of the final revelation from God has been added since by the Holy Spirit sent forth from heaven. And it is in one of these latest communications of divine truth that we have God attesting His own inspiration of “every scripture.”
This was as it should be in view of man's need, and especially for the safeguard of believers, soon to be left without the living presence of apostles. But from the beginning of revelation God took care that they who read or heard His word should be assured that it was His truth in His power and by His authority, that His people might believe and obey Him. Thus in that last book of the Pentateuch, which it is a modern fashion to imagine of late date, in Deut. 4:2, we read, “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish aught from it, that ye may keep the commandments of Jehovah thy God which I command you.” As with the Law, so it was with the Prophets: “Jehovah hath spoken,” though by Isaiah (i. 2); “The words of Jeremiah... to whom the word of Jehovah came” (Jer. 1:1, 2); and so with the others. It did not differ with the Psalms, as their chief writer says, “The Spirit of Jehovah spoke by me, and his word was in my tongue” (2 Sam. 23:2).
The Lord Jesus when here set the scripture in the clearest light, in the simplest way, and on the firmest ground. He repels Satan's temptation with “It is written “; and when Satan uses the word, He answers by its right use, “It is written again.” It is remarkable and instructive, that all His replies are taken from Deuteronomy: the book that reveals the obedience of faith when the people should be ruined through failure under the law. He appeals to the earliest history (Gen. 2) as God's word. He also prepared His disciples for those new communications of grace and truth which the Holy Spirit would come to make on His own departure (John 14; 15; 16): these we have now in what is called the New Testament. So the apostles themselves declare (Rom. 16:25, 26; 1 Cor. 2; 14:36; 2 Cor. 13:2, 3; Col. 4:16; 1 Thess. 2:13; 5:27; Heb. 1:1, 2; 2:1-4; 12:25; 2 Peter 3:2, 15, 16; 1 John 4:6). 2 Tim. 3:16 has been already before us. Apparently “occasional and fragmentary,” the writings of the N. T. have a real completeness unmistakably divine.
It is because this divine character of all scripture is not held in simple faith that men, and even pious men, have yielded to human thoughts which dishonor God's word and have opened the door to skeptical evil more and more ungodly. As the O.T. consists of the Law, the Psalms, and the Prophets, so does the N.T. of the Gospels and Acts, the Epistles, and the Apocalypse. Its basis is grace and truth come through Jesus Christ, Who on His own departure sent the Holy Spirit as the other Paraclete to be with and in us forever. Again, the Epistles form quite as characteristic a part of the New Testament as the Gospels, following up those memoirs with the truth dogmatically, which saints could not bear before redemption; as in the Acts we have historically the Holy Ghost's action when personally descended and present.
Hence the contrast is greatest with the Psalms or poetic portion of the O. T.; and it is the Epistles, which to us stand over against them: of all compositions the most familiar and intimate. Therein it is no longer outpourings which anticipate Messiah's coming, sufferings, and reign in Zion, with groans and cries meanwhile; but heart communicating to heart in the Spirit the grace and the glory of the Son of God already come and gone, but about to come again to have us with Himself in the Father's house as well as to appear and reign, as we shall with Him, in that day. No wonder that a new walk (Eph. 2:10), and a higher nearer worship, go along with the new relationship most fully brought out in the Epistles. The closest analogue to the O. T. is in the Apocalypse which alone answers to the Prophets, but rises above while it confirms them, completing the whole to the glory of God and the Lamb.
The development of all, whether in the Old Testament or in the New, gives occasion to the most delightful variety in God's communications through His chosen instruments. But this only the more strikingly manifests the unity of the Divine Author. “Every scripture is God-inspired.” No notion can be more false or superficial than to infer from their variety of matter and manner a difference in the degree of inspiration, Neither the revealed facts nor the revealed doctrine allow an idea so baseless, unreasonable, and dangerous. Scripture pronounces that “every scripture is inspired of God.” One can understand cavils or disbelief about its parts, or even the whole where skepticism is extreme; but, for any one who admits scripture from God, a varying inspiration is negatived by divine authority.
This suffices to prove without further ado the egregious error of the late D. Wilson, Bishop of Calcutta, in his Evidences of Christianity (i. 508). “By the inspiration of suggestion is meant such communications of the Holy Spirit, as suggested and detailed minutely every part of the truths delivered. The inspiration of direction is meant of such assistance as left the writers to describe revealed truth in their own way, directing only the mind in the exercise of its power. The inspiration of elevation added a greater strength and vigor to the efforts of the mind than the writer could otherwise have attained. The inspiration of superintendency was that watchful care which preserved generally from anything being put down derogatory to the revelation with which it was connected.” There are no such kinds of inspiration taught in the Bible, which speaks of God's inspiration pure and simple, and predicates it of “every scripture” alike. Dr. W.'s first kind is the only real inspiration, though even it is not fully stated. The other three are not the inspiration of any scripture, but such direction, elevation, and superintendency as His servants look for, and not in vain, day by day. But none of these is true inspiration, which conveys God's mind or will as perfectly as it excludes every error of man.
Doctors Dick (Lect. on Thess. i. 195), Pye Smith (Ser. Test. to the Messiah i.), Henderson (Lect. on Inspir. 36 sec.) and others have put forth a similar hypothesis of different degrees in inspiration, influenced partly by the free thinking of modern Germans, partly by a name so respectable as that of Dr. Doddridge (Works v.), of older date. There is modification; for Henderson makes five degrees, while Doddridge states no more than three. But all agree in the hypothesis of differences which oppose the authoritative declaration of the apostle, without the semblance of warrant from any other scripture.
To what source then are we to attribute these unbelieving speculations? It would seem mainly to Moses Maimonides (A.D. 1131-1204), from whom B. Spinoza borrowed much, followed in that at least by Le Clerc, as Grotius derived it directly from Jewish channels. In his “Moreh Nebochim” Maimonides conceives eleven “degrees of Prophecy.” These the Portuguese Jew, Abarbanel (A.D. 14371508), melted into three degrees of inspiration for the O.T., answering to the three divisions of the sanctuary and its court: the Thorah, the Nebiim, and the Ketubhim, the Law, the Prophets, and the rest of the O.T. or Hagiographa. That Moses personally enjoyed the divine Presence, as no ordinary prophet did, is certain: Num. 12 and Deut. 34 are as to this explicit. John the Baptist (and we have our Lord's authority for it) was a prophet, and greater than a prophet. None of woman-born was greater than he; yet he neither wrote a line nor wrought a miracle. But whosoever wrote, inspiration is a fact, and admits of no varying measures. “Every scripture is God-inspired;” and God is equally true at all times and by all persons He employed to write or even speak His word. It was certainly a monstrous position of the Jewish scheme that the lowest in the scale of the inspired should be assigned to the Holy Spirit; for He, as we know, is the divine agent in man of all divine inspiration, and He does not differ from Himself.
Such then is the murky ditch whence the Jews have derived their chief theory on the books of the O.T. Such men abide still in the unbelief for which the branches were broken off from the olive tree of promise. No other origin perhaps can be assigned to the low and debasing influences, otherwise enlarged, which are in our day working to greater ungodliness among professing Christians. Can anything he more humbling to one who loves Christ and the church? How all-important to cleave to God and the word of His grace! This, and nothing else at bottom, is able to build us up (instead of leaving us a sport to every wind of doctrine), able also to give us an inheritance among all those that are sanctified. It is the truth, the Father's word, that sanctifies His children. Error, all error, defiles. What error more poisonous, next to heterodoxy on Christ's Person and work, than the dishonor of God's word, the great means of making divine truth known to us? How imminent and far reaching the peril of tampering with humanitarianism as to scripture!

Dwellers on Earth: Part 2

Is the expression to be strictly limited geographically? For that there is a special local sphere, in which the closing scene of the Revelation is laid, is apparent to many. It would appear that by “the earth” in the Revelation is meant what we regard as the civilized world: that a special geographical sphere into which the light has come, and at least externally remained, however really it may have become darkness, is readily conceded. But, in allowing all this, the several passages in the Revelation, where the expression “them that dwell on the earth” occurs, will be found readily to bear a moral meaning. It is a class who, with all the outward profession of the light, acknowledging even the truth of the testimony in the word of God, both to the present grace of the gospel and to the coming judgment on the world, nevertheless have their interests exclusively on the earth. There may be an actual crisis, as undoubtedly there will be, when this will be clearly manifested; yet, as a principle, it is one of the deepest practical importance to recognize the light in which “dwellers on the earth” are regarded by God.
The two great subjects of the testimony of the Holy Ghost are the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow. When these two connected truths are received into the soul by the teaching of the Spirit, they necessarily sever it from the absorbing power of earthly interests. Take the cross, for example. “They are enemies to the cross of Christ who mind earthly things.” On the other hand, take the resurrection. “If ye then be risen with Christ... set your affection (the same as “mind,” in the former quotation) on things above, not on things on the earth” (Col. 3).
The great morale of the gospel, if I may so speak, is heaven as a present enjoyable reality, as the home of our affections, the center of our interests. This is indeed a wondrous truth; but how little do we know the power of it in our souls! The characteristic of our present calling is, that it is “heavenly.” We are addressed as “holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling.” Our true tabernacle is in heaven; our only Priest is in heaven. The Epistle to the Hebrews sets forth the heavenly worship, which faith alone can recognize in direct contrast with earthly worship, which the senses could recognize. The priest of the Jews was a visible person; the sacrifices, tangible objects; the temple, a material structure: all beautiful and orderly, and suitable to the system with which God Himself had connected them; but, to faith, they are mere shadows of glorious and abiding realities. The heart of man naturally lingers about the shadows; and the full-blown evil of the Judaizing tendency, with which the apostle dealt so sternly, is now become habitual to the thoughts of Christians, and has helped to form the characteristic of “dwellers on the earth.” Judaism has been taken as the pattern of what men call Christianity, and thus Christianity itself is regarded as a mere improvement or refinement of Judaism, instead of being regarded according to the apostle as its direct contrast. “The new piece has been added to the old garment, and the rent is become worse.” “The new wine has been put into old bottles,” and all the liquor is soon gone.
But, to turn again to our calling. We are exhorted to walk worthy of the calling wherewith we have been called (Eph. 4:1). This implies the knowledge of our “calling.” It is a “high calling.” The word rendered “high” is the same as that rendered “above” in Col. 3 “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” This explains its meaning: we are called of God from beneath to above, from earth to heaven. We are locally and bodily on this earth and in this world, yet we belong not to either; even as the Lord Himself said of us when here, “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” Hence also the pilgrim and stranger character of the saint: heaven is his home, though actually he is away from it; and oh, that we as ardently desired to be with Christ where He is, as He desires to have us with Him! So entirely is heaven regarded as our home, that the apostle, in speaking of those whom God by His grace had quickened, affirms them to be “raised up together and made to sit together in heavenly places in Christ.” God has done this for us, however feeble may be our apprehension of its blessedness. The only place as it were, in which we can now sit down and take a calm survey of all around us, is heaven. “Our conversation,” rather our citizenship, “is in heaven “; and this is stated in a passage in contrast with minding “earthly things” (Phil. 3). It is from heaven too that we “look for the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body.”
On the other hand “dwellers upon the earth” can only regard Christ as coming in the character of a judge. It must necessarily be so; because the coming of the Lord Jesus to the earth is invariably represented in scripture as coming in judgment, in order to introduce righteousness and blessing into the earth. The popular thought of Christ's coming is in judgment. This indeed is a truth, and a most important one; but it quite overlooks, and, as it were, overleaps, the great truth of Christ's coming with respect to His body the church, which will not be in judgment, but in deliverance. He comes not to the earth, but to meet the saints in the air. He comes to receive His own unto Himself, that where He is, there they may be also.
We then, as “heavenly,” wait for the Savior (not the Judge) from heaven. We then “wait for His Son from heaven, Whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus, that delivered us from the wrath to come.” If by faith we take our place as tabernacling in heaven, such a distinctive hope appears to us as suitable as it is blessed. But if, declining from our high calling, we settle on the earth, then Christ's coming can only be the expectation of dreaded judgment; for the great event of Christ's coming must necessarily take its character from the point from which we look at it, from heaven or from earth. The day of the Lord, so often mentioned in the Old Testament, is invariably connected with the thought of judgment on the earth.
The consideration of the peculiarity of our calling and the distinctiveness of our hope, will very naturally lead us to consider the expression, “those that dwell on the earth,” as characteristic. Moralists, philanthropists, and politicians, all recognize something valuable in Christianity, and use it as helpful to their own ends; and thus has Christianity been dragged down from its lofty eminence, till almost all that is distinctive is lost amidst so many elements which are foreign. The long continued attempt to apply Christianity to the world, merely as an aid to its civilization, has led to the loss of even the theory of the church. And if things progress in this line, I can readily believe that nothing will be so offensive to “the dwellers on the earth” as the assertion of the peculiar privileges and special hope of the church.

Scripture Query and Answer: Zion and Heaven

Q.-It is acknowledged that the Lord will reign in Zion (Psa. 2; 99; Isa. 12; 24 &c.; Zech. 2; 8 &c.). Yet it is drawn from the N. T. that His or our especial scene of glory will be in heaven. How can this be? R.
A.-Few truths are more important, whether one thinks of Christ or of the church. It is a question of the purpose of God, hidden in the ages and dispensations, but now brought to light formally and fully by the apostle Paul. Take Eph. 1:9-11 as a grand unfolding of it, where we learn that for the administration of the fullness of the times (or seasons) God will gather together (or head up) in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth; in Him in Whom also we obtained (or were given) inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him Who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will.
This rises incomparably beyond the kingdom in Zion, or the yet larger dominion of the Son of man, both of which will assuredly be accomplished “in that day.” It is even beyond all the promises to which the O.T. saints have just claim, and wherein no disappointment shall ever be. But grace gave to the apostle to reveal the divine counsel of setting Christ at the Head of all creation, the Heir as the Creator of all, now His (as the Epistle to the Colossians shows) on the ground of reconciliation. He is thus constituted the glorified Head over all, as we now know by faith. And “that day,” which proclaims Messiah's reign over the land of promise with Israel renewed as His people, and all nations and tribes circling round Israel and subject to the Son of man, will make known the still more wondrous glory of our Lord over all things heavenly, angels, principalities, &c., with the church in the same glory His bride as now His body.
When this characteristic truth of the N. T. dawns on the soul, a crowd of scriptures confirm it. Thus in Matt. 6 our Lord taught His disciples to pray for “Thy” (i.e. the Father's) kingdom to come, as well as His will to be done on earth. The Father's kingdom is as distinctly heavenly as the Son of man's is earthly: so Matt. 13:41-43 clearly proves. The risen saints shine as the sun, which is not earthly, in their Father's kingdom; whereas the Son of man by His angels executes judgment on all offenses and unrighteous persons in His kingdom as manifestly on earth. But it will be the day for His exaltation manifested on high as well as here below, being the Son of the Father and set by God over all things heavenly and earthly.
Then John 14 is unmistakable that our special hope of blessedness is not merely reigning with Christ, as all suffering saints shall, but that He is coming to receive us to Himself in the Father's house where He now is. And the great N. T. prophecy shows us (Rev. 21:9 to the end) the bride the Lamb's wife the center of heavenly and universal glory; as the O. T. is equally clear that Zion will be for all the peoples of the earth, then owning Israel to be the seed which Jehovah has blessed and set at the head of all nations under the Great King, Himself Jehovah-Messiah.
So Rom. 8:16, 17, designates the Christians as God's children. “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.” This goes far beyond the earth; as Rom. 5:17 cannot be limited to the millennial reign.
Again, 1 Cor. 6:2, 3, teaches that we shall judge the world—nay more, judge angels. And chapter xv. 48, 49, distinctly calls us even now “heavenly” in title, after the pattern of the Heavenly One, and points on to our bearing that heavenly image, as we have now borne the image of the earthly (Adam's).
But instead of gathering up other intimations, look at the glorious type of that day furnished by Gen. 14 where Melchizedek meets Abram victorious over the foe in the hour of their short triumph, and pronounces him blessed of the most High God, possessor of heaven and earth; as he blesses the most High God Who had delivered his enemies into his hand. Christ is even now, as the Epistle to the Hebrews teaches, priest forever after the order of Melchizedek; but He will exercise its privileges in the blessings of. that day of blessing. One might add many a glimpse in the types of Joseph, and of Moses, as well as in that of the sanctuary. But enough is said to show the blank left by looking no higher than the earth for the Lord in that day. If nature abhors a vacuum, the Christian in hope awaits glory in the heavens for Christ and the church, while fully assured that the glory of Jehovah and the knowledge of it shall fill the earth as the waters cover the sea.

Early Testimonies (Fragment)

IN Adam and Eve (under the judgment where man is still) was shown figuratively sovereign grace, which clothed them with a garment that testified to death, before they were driven out; then, in Abel the sacrifice by which the fallen can approach God; next, life eternal in Enoch taken up to heaven, after bearing witness of the Lord's coming with myriads of His saints to execute judgment; lastly, in Noah the end of the age was announced, and the judgment gone through, before emerging for a new earth. Compare Heb. 11:1-7.


By W. KELLY, Demy 8vo. cloth, price 7/6.

The Early Chapters of Genesis: Chapter 11:10-26: 1. The Genealogy

WE are now presented with a genealogy which ends with Abram, and is followed in the next chapter with the mighty principle of grace, God's call. That prepares the way outwardly. But Jehovah shines through this dealing and revelation. Here we have the special line. It is no more an “endless genealogy” than that of Adam to Noah in chap. v. We may notice ten links in the chain of both chapters.
But there are notable differences to be noticed also. The sorrowful chime is heard throughout the earlier one, “and he died.” Not once does this sound in the later one, though as a fact all spoken of in chap. xi. did die; whereas there was in chap. v. the conspicuous exception of Enoch, “who walked with God and was not, for God took him.” Human life was so prolonged in those days, that it was all the more affecting to say of each with that exception, “and he died.” In the latter half of chap. xi. we read of the line of blessing, and we are told of each succession down to Abram, the time when the promise was made, and the years were lived; but nothing is said of death. Let who will count either accidental, the believer can hardly avoid seeing a distinct purpose in each, which may well awaken serious but happy reflections.
Again, neither is drawn in the style of formal, legal, or historical documents. Each is suited to its own place where it is placed by inspiration, and either would be strange in any book but God's. Yet are they invested with such precise information over the earliest ages, before the Deluge and after it, without a gap, that no genealogical line for that period outside of scripture can be compared with it. But over and above reliable information as to every link in the chain, a special design on God's part governs in each case. This even now earthly learning fails to see, and it has no interest for those intent on literary questions. Yet how great a thing for those whose ears are opened to the voice and teaching of God! But a divine purpose is as far as possible from casual documents or floating traditions from ancient sources, nobody knows whence, pieced together at a later date. The fact of a deep and distinct moral design pervading these lists respectively refutes the notion of any such trivial accident.
“These are the generations of Shem. Shem was a hundred years old, and begot Arphaxad two years after the flood; and Shem lived after he had begotten Arphaxad five hundred years, and begot sons and daughters. And Arphaxad lived thirty-five years, and begot Shelah; and Arphaxad lived after he had begotten Shelah four hundred and three years, and begot sons and daughters. And Shelah lived thirty years, and begot Eber; and Shelah lived after he had begotten Eber four hundred and three years, and begot sons and daughters. And Eber lived thirty-four years, and begot Peleg; and Eber lived after he had begotten Peleg four hundred and thirty years, and begot sons and daughters. And Peleg lived thirty years and begot Reu; and Peleg lived after he had begotten Reu two hundred and nine years, and begot sons and daughters. And Reu lived thirty-two years, and begot Serug; and Reu lived after he had begotten Serug two hundred and seven years, and begot sons and daughters. And Serug lived thirty years and begot Nahor; and Serug lived after he had begotten Nahor two hundred years, and begot sons and daughters. And Nahor lived twenty-nine years, and begot Terah; and Nahor lived after he had begotten Terah a hundred and nineteen years, and begot sons and daughters. And Terah lived seventy years, and begot Abram, Nahor, and Haran” (vers. 10-26).
We may readily discern the specialty of this account by comparing it with what is said of the same progenitor in chap. 10:21. “And to Shem, to him also were [sons] born; he is the father of all the sons of Eber, the brother of Japheth the elder. The sons of Shem: Elam, and Asshur, and Arphaxad, and Lud and Aram.” Here the aim is quite of another kind in a genealogy of Noah's sons parting into their several lands, every one after his tongue, family, and nation. Even so, it wears little or no resemblance to a document such as any human object might demand. For Elam and Asshur, though, of celebrity among mankind (prominent also in the Bible and connected with Jewish story), are but named, though before Arphaxad, like Lud after him; and the apparently youngest, Aram, is introduced before Arphaxad. “And the sons of Aram: Uz, and Hul, and Gether, and Mash.”
Certainly the divine wisdom of the record is not at all questioned; but it is not man's fashion. Divine design is stamped on this case, as in the other lists. There is neither repetition nor oversight, still less the clashing of differing documents or writers. Not the slightest evidence of solid worth has ever been alleged to shake the fact that Moses wrote every one of them; but the truth still more precious to the believer, and most solemn for every other, is that God is the author of all. And we can perceive that the design in chap. x. was not to pursue Arphaxad's line there beyond his grandson, Eber's son Peleg, to state the deeply interesting fact of his name's reference to the division of the earth his days. Thence it branches off to his brother Joktan, and his sons who settled in the south of Arabia west and east.
Compared with his father Noah and those before him, Shem's years mark the growing diminution of human age after the flood. Yet it was given to him before he came near the end of his six hundred years to live into the days not of Abram only but of Isaac. Peleg, the fifth in this series, did not reach half the limit of Shem's term; and Nahor, the father of Terah, dwindled to a hundred and forty-five years. So that in God's providential arrangements man was coming by rapid steps to the span of years ordinary since the prayer of Moses (Psa. 90), himself an exception as there have been a few even in modern times.

The Offerings of Leviticus: 6. Sin (Trespass) Offering

Lev. 5:1-13
This section, it may be observed, is a sort of appendix to chap. iv., and of transition to the proper Trespass offering which begins in chap. v. 14. For this reason, while it falls under the same revelation from Jehovah to Moses as the chapter before, it is called both a Trespass offering and a Sin offering in ver. 6. Four distinctions in the circumstances calling for the offering are laid down in the four opening verses. They were defilements incurred by special inadvertent offenses against ordinances of Jehovah; as in chap. iv. provision was made for inadvertent sins in general which simply violated the conscience.
“'And if a soul sin, and hear the voice of an oath, and he is a witness whether he hath seen or known, if he do not inform, then he shall hear his iniquity. Or if a soul touch any unclean thing, whether it be the carcass of an unclean beast, or the carcass of unclean cattle, or the carcass of unclean creeping things, and it be hid from him, he also is unclean and guilty. Or if he touch the uncleanness of man, any uncleanness of him by which he is defiled, and it be hid from him, when he knoweth, then he shall be guilty. Or if a soul swear rashly with his lips, to do evil or to do good, in everything that a man shall say rashly with an oath, and it be hid from him, when he knoweth, then shall he be guilty in one of these. And it shall be when he shall be guilty in one of these, that he shall confess wherein he hath sinned; and he shall bring his trespass to Jehovah for his sin which he hath sinned, a female from the flock, a lamb or a goat for a sin offering; and the priest shall make atonement for him from his sin” (vers. 1-6).
Adjuration was all the more solemn for an Israelite, as Jehovah dwelt in their midst to judge. It was not secret providence, or waiting for a final assize. He was there to deal according to His law and their relationship as His people. Even in a day of utter ruin and in proceedings which mocked all righteousness, we hear our Lord, silent before man's profound hypocrisy and false witness, at once answer the wicked high priest when adjuring Him, though He knew it would seal His condemnation unto death. Did one shrink and keep back or prevaricate, one must bear one's iniquity if left there. Then came cases of defilement from contact with death, either unclean beasts or cattle, or crawling things, or again from uncleanness of man, whatsoever its form. Lastly, there might be defilement from a hasty vow unperformed, it mattered not what its shape, “to do evil or to do good,” which on reflection one shirked, dreading to do or not to do. Think of Jephthah's vow!
What then was he that feared God in such circumstances to feel, when it comes before his soul? Was he not guilty? If in any of these cases he was defiled, he was called on to “confess wherein he hath sinned,” not after a vague general sort. It is the first time we hear of it. Was it not due to carelessness before Jehovah? But more; nothing but sacrifice could remove the stain. “And he shall bring his trespass offering to Jehovah for his sin which he hath sinned.” What more specific for the clearing his guilt away? Here, as in the Sin offering for one of the people, a female sufficed, lamb or goat, and was called an offering for trespass and sin; and the priest should make atonement for him to clear him from his sin.
The tender consideration of the poor (to us the young or feeble in faith) is marked in the alternative that is next given.
“' And if his hand be not able to bring a lamb, then he shall bring to Jehovah for his trespass which he hath sinned two turtle doves or two young pigeons; one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering. And he shall bring them to the priest, who shall offer that which is for the sin offering first, and pinch off its head at the neck, but shall not divide it asunder; and he shall sprinkle of the blood of the sin offering on the wall of the altar; and the rest of the blood shall be wrung out at the bottom of the altar. And he shall offer the second for a burnt offering according to the ordinance. And the priest shall make atonement for him from his sin which he hath sinned; and it shall be forgiven him” (vers. 7-10).
Jehovah was even more minute in His concern for him who could not bring a sheep or goat. The victim's blood was sprinkled unusually, or at least there is a fuller expression given to it. The offering of less pecuniary value He prized for the conscientious soul, and gave a witness of acceptance as well as of the sin judged and gone. The same principle is yet more conspicuous in a third case. “But if his hand cannot attain to two turtledoves or two young pigeons, then he that hath sinned shall bring for his offering the tenth part of an ephah of fine flour for a sin offering; he shall put no oil on it, nor shall he put frankincense thereon, for it is a sin offering. “And he shall bring it to the priest, and the priest shall take his handful of it, the memorial thereof and burn it on the altar with Jehovah's fire offering: it is a sin offering. “And the priest shall make atonement for him from his sin which he hath sinned in one of them, and it shall be forgiven him; and it shall be the priest's as the oblation” (vers. 11-13). Here we have the most abject need of all: even pigeons are beyond the means. But grace has its resource for the least condition of faith. His pity was shown, not in dispensing with an offering, but in suiting the need. Though no part of this form of the offering could have the character of Burnt offering like the second bird, Jehovah would accept an offering of fine flour. But unlike the oblation proper, neither oil nor frankincense must be there. It was for sin. The quantity was just that of the manna for a day's food. Of this the priest took his handful to burn according to the Fire offerings to Jehovah, though for one ceremonially unclean; and as this was valid to atone, so the rest became the priest's as in the ordinary oblation of meal. Truly God was good to Israel, even to such as owned their uncleanness in the humblest way He prescribed. Here again, as has been already noticed elsewhere, the lowest form of an offering passes from its proper distinctness into assimilation with others: in the second alternative, with the Burnt offering; in the third with the Meal offering. The stronger the faith, the less can one relish vague apprehension of Christ's work: one seeks, cherishes, and enjoys God's side as well as our own in the fullness of divine revelation. The weaker it is, the more one is disposed to be content with a view so misty that the wondrous and instructive differences in its manifold relations vanish in a comprehensive but hazy sense of efficacy. The value of Christ is the same to God, whatever shape the offering might take in God's condescension. The absence of blood-shedding in the last instance is just the exception which proves the rule. Jehovah testifies His consideration for such poverty as could bring no animal to die, where there was real concern about the trespass and an offering to Him in acknowledgment of it,

Gospel Words: the Lost Son

Luke 15:11-32
The Savior adds a third parable to complete as well as confirm the truth of God's grace in saving the lost who repent. The first set out the heedless active straying of the sinner; the second, his insensible dead state till the Spirit works through the living word; the third uses the figure, not of a sheep or a coin, but of a man to point the fact of an inward work in the conscience, and of the reception the returning soul finds in the Father's love and the privileges of grace.
“And he said, A certain man had two sons; and the younger of them said to the father, Father, give me the share of the property that falleth to me. And he divided to them the means of living. And after not many days the younger son gathered all together, and went abroad into a far country, and there wasted his property by dissolute living. And when he squandered all, there arose a mighty famine in that country; and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to one of the citizens of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine; and he longed to fill his belly with the husks which the swine were eating; and no one gave him. But coming unto himself he said, How many hirelings of my father's have abundance of bread, and I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go unto my father and will say to him, Father, I sinned against heaven and before thee; I am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hirelings. And he arose and came unto his father. But while he was yet a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with pity and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him much. And the son said to him, Father, I sinned against heaven and before thee; I am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said unto his bondmen, Bring out the best robe and put [it] on him; and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; and bring the fatted calf, kill [it], and let us eat and make merry; because this my son was dead and came to life again, he was lost and is found. And they began to be merry” (vers. 11-24).
Impossible to conceive a sketch more graphically true. The younger son indicates very emphatically the sinner's path from his start in self-will and independency to open profligacy and the depths of degradation. Such were “some of you” even very far; such were most in a measure. We shall hear of another form of sin at least as evil before we have done. But this “far country” knows what extreme famine is. “No one gave him.” But as the wasteful feel the pressure of dire want, so that even swine's fare becomes desirable, God turns all for good in His grace.
O my reader, have you known such an experience? Have you ever tried to shake off parental authority, especially where pious? Have you, when you could, plunged into the pleasures of sin, the more eagerly because you were debarred under a father or a mother's eye? Have you fallen into the depths of immorality, and been “almost in all evil?” And in your misery have you learned what the world feels toward one who has lost all? “And no one gave him.” What! none of those who helped to drain the once full purse? No, not one. So the Lord describes the lost son. Are you like him in sin and misery? May you be also in repentance. For coming to himself he saw the folly, evil, and ruin of his life. His mind is made up. He must clear his burdened conscience, and confess his iniquity. He will go to the One before Whom he had sinned, and have all out with Him, to His vindication and to his own shame.
The terror of the Lord may alarm, but the goodness of God leads to repentance as here and always. It produces true self-judgment in His sight. But whatever the hope of mercy that draws, spite of shame and self-loathing and grief at one's own sin, the grace of God much more exceeds. “While he was yet a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with pity and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him much. And the son said to him, Father, I sinned against heaven and before thee; I am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his bondmen, Bring out the best robe and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; and bring the fatted calf, kill it; and let us eat and make merry; because this my son was dead and came to life again; he was lost and is found. And they began to be merry.”
How incomparable is God's grace! With slow and sad steps came the prodigal, hope mingling with shame and many searchings of heart, in the rags that told the tale of ruin to the uttermost. Not so the father, who saw him a long way off, but moved with pity, ran, fell on his neck, and covered him with kisses just as he was. What was the impression made by such love? If ever such a vile son, certainly there never was such a father. The son speaks out his conscience, but not “make me as one of thy hirelings “: the father's love arrests this. Nor was it after all the humility of grace, but rather of law, drawing inferences from his past misconduct.
But in the gospel it is a question of God's love, giving Christ and resting on what is due to Him and His work, before which the sinner's evil vanishes. “Jesus was found alone,” the ground of all blessing. Therefore is it God's righteousness, not man's. The best robe is brought out and put on the repentant prodigal, a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. Beyond all re-instatement, the lost son now found is blessed and honored as never before. He put on Christ, not Adam even unfallen; he became God's righteousness in Him. He feasts, and not he only but all that are of God on the fatted calf; yea God Himself rejoices in it with a joy proper to Himself and far deeper than that of all the rest put together.
In the elder son the Lord vividly portrays the self-righteous, the murmurers against grace such as the Pharisees and scribes; and they are many in every age, especially where scripture is current and men boast of religion. As he is represented returning from the fields and approaching the house, the music and dancing there struck his ear offensively, when he learned from a servant that it was his father's joy over his returned brother (25-27). He was angry and would not go in (28). And when his father went out and entreated (for what will not grace do?), he answers with self-complacency that insulted his father and the object of his compassion as much as it exalted himself. “Lo these many years do I slave for thee, and never transgressed thy commandments; yet never didst thou give me a kid to make merry with my friends. But when this thy son came that devoured thy living with harlots, thou killedst for him the fatted calf” (29, 30). What an answer of patient love the father's! “Child, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. It was meet that we should make merry and be glad; for this thy brother was dead and came to life again, was lost and is found” (31, 32). It is the day of grace, not judgment. He who despises grace will be judged another day.

James 3:9-10

From this point our Epistle takes up the ground of manifest and gross inconsistency. None but the most heedless can regard lightly a fault so self-condemnatory; nor can God either originate or sanction so plain a disorder and misuse of that excellent possession, the speech, conferred on man by His Creator. Least excusable is the inconsistency in such as own their relationship with God and the Lord.
“Therewith we bless the Lord and (the) Father, and therewith we curse men that are made according to God's likeness. Out of the same mouth cometh blessing and cursing. Not so, my brethren, ought these things to be” (vers. 9, 10).
There is the article, and but one, to “Lord and Father.” Grammatically therefore the phrase admits of meaning “Him Who is Lord and Father,” no less than “the Lord and (the) Father” brought together under that link of objects united here expressly though in themselves distinct. This they could not be fittingly unless there were a common nature and glory. So we may see in such a phrase as “the kingdom of God and Christ.” Far be it from the heart or mouth to question in the least that Christ is God, which is declared comparatively so often. But ask for instance if we must, whether Eph. 5:5 means this, though the single article bracket's together both terms. So we may see in “the apostles and prophets” of Eph. 2:20, combined for the foundation, but given separately in Eph. 4:11.
The idiom is common enough even with proper names, as when the man in Acts 3:11 held fast “Peter and John” thus united, though in vers. 1 and 3 both names are presented historically without the article to either. Such is the reading of ample and good authority. But the Sinai, the Vatican, and the Alexandrine with half-a-dozen cursives insert the article before John, which if right would individualize, instead of combining in a special way, the two apostles. In chap. iv. 13, 19, there can hardly be a doubt that they are thus joined together. Both cases occur with Paul and Barnabas in chaps. xiii., xiv. Chap. xv. is instructive from varieties of form, each employed with exquisite propriety. Ver. 2 presents Paul and Barnabas, first severed, and then without emphasis as simple fact, as also in ver. 12. But in ver. 22 they are expressly combined in unity as in 25 (the order changed), as in ver. 35 the fact is merely stated historically.
There seems no sufficient ground then for doubting that “the Lord” in the usual acceptation of the term is here combined with “the Father” as objects united in our praise. That it is unusual, all admit; but so it is in many a phrase of holy writ, that our narrowness of thought may be corrected and enlarged out of the fullness of divine truth. On the other hand no one should stumble at predicating “Lord” of the Father, if such were the aim of the inspiring Spirit here. For though the crucified Jesus was made by God both Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36), and He is in distinctive office one sole Lord, as the Father is simply in His nature one sole God (1 Cor. 8:6), it does not follow that “Lord” may not be applied to the other Persons in the Godhead. Thus in 2 Cor. 3 it is predicated of the Spirit in the last clause of the last verse; as it is of God rather than of Christ (Who is distinguished as His Anointed) in Rev. 11:15. It was the rarity of the combination, however taken, which no doubt led to substituting “God” as in the common text, following the more modern MSS. for “the Lord.” But if we accept the ancient reading, our language, we must bear in mind, does not, like the Greek, admit but one article.
The grand principle is plain beyond all question, that no inconsistency can be more gross than to employ the tongue, now in blessing the Supreme, now in cursing men that are made according to God's likeness. We are objects of His loving counsels, begotten of Him by the word of truth, and should be the last to curse any, as being blessed ourselves of mere mercy. It is not that fallen men have any intrinsic moral worth, as we above all should know from our own humbling experience. So we at least should never forget how they were brought into being as in God's likeness. How unbecoming in man, how shameless in us who bless the Lord and the Father, to curse men so made! Time was beyond doubt when we lived in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another; but the kindness and love of God our Savior broke down our pride and purified our souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, and gave us a heart touched with divine grace toward all mankind. Instead then of cursing others, we want them to obey the truth, share the blessing, and join us in blessing Him Who is the source and giver of it all.
The incongruity is heightened by the figure of the next verse (10), “Out of the same mouth cometh forth blessing and cursing;” and by the quiet but pungent appeal, “Not so, my brethren, ought these things to be.” The consistency of the Christian in its perfection is ever and only in Christ; and He is the sole and constant standard for us.
What love in Him even for the vilest and bitterest of His foes Called to inherit a blessing, may we not render evil for evil, or railing for railing, but contrariwise blessing, knowing that we are thereunto called. This is surely, dear brethren, what it ought to be.

Sanctification or Setting Apart to God: 2

1 Peter 1
Let us see a little what the apostle says on this subject. “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations; that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold which perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found to praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” Whereabouts are we then, when the process of sanctification is carried on? It is that although we have not seen Jesus, we love Him; and although now we see Him not, yet believing we rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory, receiving the end of our faith, even the salvation of (our) souls.
It is there that the heart finds itself; and while saying that His love is boundless, passing all knowledge, we can say also that we have the intelligence of it.
The magnet always turns towards the pole; yet the needle may tremble a little when the storm and tempest roar; but its direction changes not. The needle of the Christian heart points truly towards Christ. A heart which understands, which loves Jesus, which knows where Jesus has passed before it, looks at Him to sustain it through its difficulties; and however rugged and difficult the way, it is precious to us, because. we find there the trace of the steps of Jesus (He has passed there), and specially because this road conducts us, through difficulties, to the glory in which He is. Seeing, says the apostle, that it need be, in order that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perisheth, though it be tried by fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.
It is not only that we have been regenerated, but that we should receive the end of our faith, even the salvation of (our) souls. The end of my faith is to see Christ and the glory that He has gained for me. He says here, the salvation of souls; because the question is not of a temporal deliverance, as in the case of the ancient Jews. I see now this glory through a veil, but I long to see myself there. And being now in the trial, I look to Him Who is in the glory, and Who secures it to me. The gold will be completely purified; but the gold is proved: as to me, as to my eternal life, it is the same thing as if I was in the glory. Salvation and glory are not the less certain, though I am in the trial, than if I were already in the rest. And that gives practical sanctification; habits, affections, and a walk formed after the life and calling one has received from God.
If I engage a servant, I require him to be clean, if I am so myself. God says “Be ye holy; for I am holy.” And as it is with the servant I desire to introduce into my house, so it is with us. God requires that we should be suited to the state of His house; He will have a practical sanctification in His servants. Moreover, the aim of the apostle is, that our faith be firm and constant. He gives us in the twenty-first verse, full security, in saying to us, “that your faith and hope may be in God,” not merely in that which justifies us before a just judging God. It is a God Who is for us, Who willed to help us, and Who introduced us into His family, setting us apart for obedience, and to share in the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus. He has loved us with an eternal love. He has accomplished all that concerns us. He keeps us by His power through faith, in order to introduce us into glory.
He places us in trial; He makes us pass through the furnace, because He will wholly purify us. It is Himself Who has justified us: who shall condemn us? It is Christ Who is dead, or rather Who is risen again, Who is even at the right hand of God, and Who also maketh intercession for us: who shall separate us from His love (Rom. 8:33). Our faith and our love being in God, what have we to fear?
We have in Zechariah a very encouraging example (chap. iii). Jehovah caused Zechariah to see Joshua the high priest, standing before the angel of Jehovah, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. And Jehovah said to Satan, Jehovah rebuke thee, O Satan! Jehovah, who hath chosen Jerusalem, rebuke thee. Is not this a brand that I have plucked out of the fire? Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments (the sin, and corruption of man), and he stood before the angel. And the angel said, Take away the filthy garments from him. And he said to him, Behold, I have made thine iniquity to pass from thee, and have clothed thee with new garments (the righteousness of God applied). Satan accuses the children of God; but when God justifies, who can condemn? Would you then that God were not content with His work, which He hath wrought for Himself? Is it not in order that we be holy and unblameable in love before Him?
Can you say, “He has sanctified me,” in the sense that He has given you Jesus for the object of your faith? If it be thus, He has placed you under the sprinkling of His precious blood in order that you may be a Christian, and happy in obedience. You may say now, He is the object of my desires, of my hope: You may not yet have understood all that Christ is for you, and you may have much to do in practice; but the important thing is to understand that it is God who has done all, and has placed you under the efficacy of that resurrection life, in order that you may be happy and joyful in His love.
It is remarkable to what point God makes all things new in us; and this because He must destroy our thoughts, in order that we may have peace. There is nothing morally in common between the first and the Second man. The first sinned and drew the whole human race in his fall; the last Adam is the source of life and power. This applies to every truth of Christianity, and to all that is in this world. There are but these two men.
Nicodemus is struck with the wisdom of Jesus, and with the power manifested in His miracles; but the Lord stops him, and cuts the matter short with him by saying, “Ye must be born again.” He was not in a condition to be instructed. He did not understand the things of God, for to do so a man must be born again; in short, he had not life. I do not say that he could not arrive at it; because, further on, we see him paying honor to Jesus in bringing the necessary spices to embalm Him.
I have been led to this thought because the end of this chapter recalled to me the fortieth chapter of Isa. 1 do not speak of the accomplishment of the prophecy which takes place at a later day for the Jews, but of a grand principle. This chapter begins with these words, “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably unto Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of Jehovah's hand double for all her sins. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of Jehovah, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: and the glory of Jehovah shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of Jehovah hath spoken it. The voice said, Cry. And he said what shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: the grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of Jehovah bloweth upon it; surely the people is grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand forever.”
Before God begins, He must cause it to be understood that all flesh is grass, &c.
If God will comfort his people, what saith Jehovah? “All flesh is grass,” &c. It must begin there. “The grass is withered, because the spirit of Jehovah hath blown upon it. But the word of God endureth,” &c. Therein lies the foundation of hope. Had it been possible for anyone to have obtained anything, it would have been the Jews, who had all; but they were nothing more than the grass of the fields, than the grass that withereth. When God will comfort man who has failed in the responsibility which attaches to him, it is thus He begins. “All flesh is grass,” &c.; and it is for this reason that there is such a confusion in the heart of the newly converted man, and even of the Christian. Let him then pay attention to it: namely, that the word comes to tell him, “The grass is withered,” the flesh is incapable of producing any good; and that he does not yet rest on this, that the word of Jehovah endureth forever, and that the blessing consequently cannot fail to His own. Till we cease in our efforts to get good from the flesh, and till we are assured that the word of Jehovah endureth forever, we shall always be troubled and weak before the assaults of the enemy.
The people had trampled on the ordinances, broken the law, crucified the Messiah, done all possible evil. Has the word of God changed? In no wise. God alters nothing in His election, nor in His promises. Paul asks, Has God rejected His people? God forbid. Peter addresses himself to the people; there is no more of them apparently. The grass is withered, but the word of God remains; and He can say to them, You are now a people, you have obtained mercy. Thus we are going to see that this word becomes the instrument of blessing and of practical sanctification. God never sanctifies what withers like grass. He introduces, on the contrary, what is most enduring and most excellent of man into heaven.

Remarks on 1 John: 3:12-24, 4:1-6

1 John 3:12-4:6
To go back to Cain, as in ver. 12, speaks volumes. Is the contrast between the two seeds still so great? and does the professed Christian need to be warned by the course of Cain? He does (Jude 11). However an unbeliever may adopt Christian language, assume Christian forms as a member of a professedly Christian body, and even admire intellectually Christian truth; if he be not born of God, if he thus have not the seed of God in him, he is in the way of religious Cain. It is of such an one that the apostle says, “he is in darkness even until now” (2:9); “he abideth in death” (3:14), “he is a murderer” (ver. 15). Solemn language! This is the state of the world (ver. 13); and of every professor who is not a partaker of divine love, even when it is tempered and subdued, the fire of the world's hatred still burns. Persecution once permitted, the progress of the flames will be marvelous.
Have we a doubt of it as we read those verses! How suddenly some in 1555 were called to meet martyrdom and welcomed it! Ver. 16 reveals the secret of this grace. “Hereby we perceive (come to know) love, because he laid down his life for us.” The apostles never lost sight of the cross, and in serving the saints could rejoice in laying down their lives for them (Phil. 2:17). But how many there are who have not learned Christ thus, and yet are not wanting “in word and tongue” (ver. 18)!
Sentiment is valueless and worse, and the soul suffers grievous loss whenever practical sympathy is withheld from a brother in need by one able to render help. The heart itself secretly protests against such unreality, and condemns the selfishness it has manifested: the contrast to the love of Christ is felt, and the conscience will be heard. Confidence in the succor of God in its need is shaken, and prayer is hindered. How can the hands be lifted up to God in supplication that have been closed to a brother's necessities? “For if our heart condemn us (ver. 20), God is greater than our heart and knoweth all things.” It is but little we can know of the deceit that lurks within us, but God is light, light that makes everything manifest; and the thought of pleasing Him, and the sweet assurance that He hears our prayers and will fulfill the holy desires of our hearts, how it exceeds in worth the possession of earthly riches, yea of the whole world! Let us never for a moment lose sight of Christ Who did always those things that pleased the Father, and was always heard by Him (John 8:29; 11:42). If He be not before us, like Israel when Moses was absent, we must have some object; and what object nearer than self, “the golden calf” that is sure to “come out” (Ex. 32:24), whatever excuses we, like Aaron, may put forth!
To every simple and true Christian, desirous to do the things that are pleasing in the sight of God, there is wonderful encouragement in the explicit statement of His holy will in ver. 23; and in ver. 24 of His gift of the Spirit to be the power of obedience. His one commandment is, “that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ” and, as flowing from this, “love one another as He gave us commandment.” Beautiful indeed is the action of the soul as here commanded—unceasing dependence, unfaltering faith on the Son of God, first for eternal salvation, and then for present, timely salvation, looking (as Jude expresses it) for His mercy all through, the tenderness of His compassion, truly divine, yet as truly human. (Jude 21; Heb. iv. 15, with vii. 25). “With exercises of soul under the discovery of corruptions, the accusings of Satan, from the tendencies of nature, and from the wear and tear of Christian warfare,” we can never stand if our faith fail; but, as the Lord prayed for Peter, so He intercedes for us. And here we have the secret of power to love our brethren, to long after them all in the bowels of Jesus Christ (Phil. 1:8), because we have experienced the tenderest affection from Him, meeting our every need and sympathizing in our every sorrow (see as to ver. 24, John 14:15, 16; Acts 5:32).
How vain to hope for love from a brother who is not consciously experiencing this love of Christ; feeling the unspeakable honor done to him, and the exceeding sweetness of the comfort given to him, by that love, he being what he was, and in himself, still is He must drink for himself before he can refresh others (John 7:37-39).
Further, let us observe in ver. 24 how near God is to us and the manner of it. “We know that he abideth in us by the Spirit which he hath given us.” All that is not under His guidance is not obedience. The importance of the faith of the Holy Ghost dwelling in us will be more evident as the counter working of the devil comes before us.
1 John 4.
The fourth chapter begins with exposing the subtlety of the present ways of the devil as regards what is religious. God, in giving the Spirit, has provided ministry under Christ for men (Eph. 4:7, 11-16). But here we learn that there are many false prophets who speak in the power of the spirit of error (lit. deceit). In all affection we are consequently exhorted to try the spirits. Of course we must believe that there are spirits, and that men who preach by them are in the sight of God identified with them, a fact of appalling solemnity. “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (ver. 1).
Tests are therefore supplied, and the trial is thus not difficult. First, as to the Person of Christ. We see from Matt. 16:16, 17, that a true confession of Him is not the expression of human opinion, but in every case flows from the revelation made by the Father, which is the foundation truth of Christianity and specially dear to the true Christian. A true prophet seeks in every way to exalt Him, to manifest Him, to magnify Him, presenting Him as the food of God for the soul. His theme is “Jesus Christ come in flesh.”
“Our whole resource along the road,
Nothing but Christ—the Christ of God.”
The doctrine of the Epistle is that Jesus Christ is God (see ver. 20, and the many verses where the antecedent to “he” and “him,” is “God,” as 3:2); but here His coming in flesh, His holy humanity, is affirmed. He is God and man. The false prophets will not thus confess Him (ver. 3, R.V.). Their theme is the world for man, and man for the world; and how from the first, by industry and skill, he has improved it! “A whole city was built before Eden had time to wither “; and the remarkable progress of modern times may well stimulate to further exertion. This is put religiously, and “the world hears them” (ver. 5). Of future judgments coming on the world they are silent. Indeed they do not acknowledge the inspiration of the apostles. “He that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us” (ver. 6). Paul, also writing to Timothy, warns against “seducing spirits,” leading some to depart from the faith, and to hold doctrines of demons (1 Tim. 4). How all this will end, is told in Rev. 18:2.
The goodness of God in uncovering this method of religiously alluring souls is great indeed. Let us never forget that there are many false prophets, many deceivers, many antichrists; and the whole heart of the aged apostle,” our brother, and companion in tribulation,” is in this warning, “Beloved, believe not every spirit.” (To be continued, D.V.)

The Inspiration of the Scriptures: 4. the Human Element

Chap. 4. the Human Element
Nobody doubts that scripture without exception has a human element. In it God speaks and writes permanently to man, and therefore in human language. It were unintelligible otherwise. As the general rule Hebrew was employed in the so-called O.T., Greek in the New. We can readily perceive His wisdom in thus writing by man to man (Deut. 5:22; 9:10; 10:4), save in the most solemnly exceptional case: the law with all its variety of meaning in the language of His ancient people; the gospel with all the fullness of grace and truth in the chief tongue of the Gentiles.
But God was pleased to do much more—even to work to this end on man and in man, so that the reproach of “mechanical” is unfounded, no less than the setting up of “dynamical” is cold and insufficient. The inspired are through His goodness far beyond being His pen or even His penmen, as it has been said. Their minds and affections He uses as well as their language. There was indeed dictation in certain parts of scripture, as in His promises and His threats, His predictions, His ordinances, statutes, and judgments. Such is the latter half of Exodus, and almost the whole of Leviticus, a great part of Numbers, and not a little even of Deuteronomy, special as its character is. So there was to the Prophets, where they had to search, like their readers, what or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did point out, when it testified beforehand the sufferings that belonged to Christ and the glories after these; “to whom it was revealed that not to themselves but to you they ministered those things which were now reported to you through those that evangelized you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven” (1 Peter 1:11, 12).
In N. T. days, as we learn from 1 Cor. 14, men were not to speak in a tongue without the gift of interpretation. If there were no interpreter, such an one, gifted as he was, must be silent in the assembly, because all things there must be done to edifying, whereas even the man's own spirit was unfruitful. The great thing was to speak with the spirit and with the understanding also. Hence the apostle thanked God that he spoke with tongues more than any of them; but in the assembly he preferred to speak five words with his understanding that he might instruct others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue. What a rebuke to the childishness which doats on the display of power! What strengthening of holy love that all might learn and be encouraged!
This of course was not inspiration, but it furnishes a principle for estimating intelligently the various forms which the Holy Spirit adopted in that work also. Nor can any right mind overlook on the one hand that where it was God's power conspicuously and unmistakably working in a tongue, it far from holds the highest place for the assembly; it was without the presence of an interpretation excluded, as having no more title in itself to be there than the performance of a miracle, a sign for unbelievers, not for the faithful. And so they and the like are classed together, the lowest in the scale of these divine gifts (1 Cor. 12). Prophesying on the other hand has the highest value; for he that exercises this gift speaks to men's edification and encouragement and consolation, he edifies the church; which the speaker in a tongue cannot do, unless there be also interpretation with it. Thus God gave the better place where His Spirit brought in the distinct element of profit for others. Power, though plainly God's, is subordinate to spiritual blessing, order, and love.
So it is with the fruits of inspiration. All have alike divine authority. All are of the Spirit, and in their place and for their end give God's mind. Scripture says little of the mode in which He wrought in each case; but the little that is said shows that all were not favored with the same degree of intimacy in the manner, while the utmost precision was taken to affirm that “every scripture is inspired of God.” Some may exhibit simplicity, others majesty; some are models of terseness, others are rich and flowing; some are familiar with human life, its difficulties, dangers, disappointments, and snares; others are occupied with the trials of conscience and the affections God-ward. Then again some are historical (as Genesis), but with the momentous aim of giving us God's mind and principles of moral government as found nowhere else. This indeed is but a small part of its scope, which takes in the germs of almost all that God will do till time melts into eternity, as developed elsewhere in the Prophets. Others, like the Kings, are historical in presenting the conduct of His anointed rulers and of His people under law, where are episodes (rare indeed of men of faith) of kings, priests, prophets; where man's ways are stated just as they were, and God's ways thereon as no earthly historian ever gave or could. In all this the human element has a very large place; but inspiration yields God's word throughout, and thus the Bible is unique.
Take a quite different instance and a book outside Israel directly, yet devoted to solving the problem individually which applies to that people. The book of Job brings before us a godly man set on by the unseen adversary, and suddenly cast down from honor and affluence into such loss, bereavement, and personal suffering as never was allowed to fall on another, yet through causes that looked ordinary. Was God indifferent? On the contrary (and expressly to prove not only to Job but to all others who might be tried here below, that He can overrule even now the enemy for the good of His own), it was He that initiated the entire transaction by His gracious notice of the saint before Satan's envious and malicious ears. Job needed to judge himself before God as he had never yet learned, and to bow to God confidingly. The bearing of his friends does what Satan's cruel wiles wholly failed in; and Job breaks down in impatience, as his friends in misjudgment. Elihu intervenes, when they were reduced to the silence of vexation (but Job still unbroken), and proves that if the present world be as far as possible from being a reliable manifestation of divine government, God nevertheless carries on His government of souls in a most efficient and unfailing manner. And Jehovah Himself in His majesty ends the controversy by an answer to Job which humbles him in the dust, yet shows Himself very pitiful and of tender mercy; as He also puts to shame and censure the self-righteous friends (who deemed the sufferer a hypocrite), now dependent on Job's intercession who was blessed doubly more at the end than in his beginning. Here the human element abounds in the most instructive way. It was not that God approved all that Job said, still less what his friends uttered in their pride and self-complacency, to say nothing of Satan or of Job's wife. But inspiration gives the entire, perfectly to let us know where they all were, and to give us God's mind and aim from the first and to the last. Only He could have furnished the scene, where sacrificial offering had its due place, and righteous government ruled in the face of all appearances to the contrary.
The style of the history too is notable. How touchingly Jehovah is heard in Genesis adapting Himself to the childhood of mankind! “It is not good that man should be alone: I will make a help-mate for him, his counterpart.” “And they heard the voice of Jehovah God walking in the garden in the cool of the day.” Hear too His expostulation when they sinned, and His mercy toward man glorying against judgment in His curse of the Serpent. Hear it with Cain when nursing the wrath which was soon to slay his holy and righteous brother, yea after that impious murder. What grief at His heart appears over the race in Gen. 6:5-7! What ready recognition of Noah's holocaust after the deluge, as He said in His heart, “I will not henceforth curse the ground any more on account of man.” How vigilant for the life of man, whoever might shed his blood! “And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it,” not man merely from below! Compare also Gen. 11:6, 7; xviii. 20, 21. So too as to His people it is in Ex. 2:23-25; 3:7-9 before their deliverance from Egypt.
It is not that divine majesty is lacking. The opening words of the Bible, simple, sublime, and absolutely true, proclaim the mind that inspired, no less than the words of the first day's work which drew out the admiration of the heathen Longinus. But “the philanthropy” of God, as the apostle calls it, could not be hidden from the first before the day of its full display; and this not only in His works and ways but in His word. Only the dullest of readers could fail to observe the varieties of style which pervade both Testaments. From Moses to Malachi each writer preserves his peculiarities intact; and it is precisely the same from the Gospel of Matthew to the Revelation of John. This is a fact patent, in presence of the still more wondrous fact of a mighty purpose flowing from One self-evidently divine wrought out in and by so many different agents with the most marked diversity of position and character, of time and place. It is just the human element maintained and governed by the divine; and so far is there aught inscrutable in this, when we see its admirable result in the scriptures, the believer feels that it is altogether worthy of God and gracious toward man. The difficulty indeed, now that we know it as a subsisting reality, would be to conceive any other mode emanating from Him that could so satisfy His mind and love. Thus is man morally elevated and best enlightened; thus alone is God's glory secured, while His grace has the fullest scope and exercise. We have nothing to reconcile: God has done it perfectly in scripture. It is for us to believe and be blessed, even to true and living communion with the Blesser; a blessing impossible for man save through the word and Spirit of God.
The wonder is deepened immensely when we recall the marked and radical difference of the two volumes, as we may call them, Hebrew and Greek: the one characterized by the law and the land; the other by the gospel and heaven. Yet it is the same living and true God, only now revealing Himself in the Son incarnate, and by the Holy Spirit sent forth from heaven. And therefore it is that the N.T. acquires a human character yet more pronounced and more profound than the O.T. For not only did the Son become man, as He will never cease to be, but through His redemption the Holy Spirit deigns to dwell in the believer as He never did or could before, and acts as a Spirit of communion, not merely as One of prophecy. The assembly too or church is God's temple, His habitation in virtue of the Spirit Who dwells there. Yea, as baptized by Him it is Christ's body. Hence the human element shines as never of old, of the deepest interest and with the richest intimacy of grace, and only second in moment to the divine, because in their perfection we know and have both in the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the True God and Eternal life; and this we have in Him. But we are also “members of His body “; for “He is the head of the church.”
Now the O.T. discloses a state of things under the kingdom of God wholly distinct from that of the gospel and the church, wherein Jew and Gentile cannot be, nor bond nor free, nor male and female, all being one in Christ Jesus. Whereas in the age to come Israel is to be restored and exalted, Zion to have the first dominion, and all the nations to be blessed, and the whole world set under His reign in manifest power and glory, Who is alike Messiah, Son of man, and Jehovah. And the N.T. confirms the same blessed prospect for the earth and all its families in that day; while it alone reveals the heavenly portion of the glorified, and the church's marriage with the heavenly Bridegroom, sharing the inheritance with Him Who is the Heir of all things.
This therefore imparts unequaled ground and occasion for the human element in God's counsels and ways, as it is no less reflected in the inspired communications of the N.T. The Epistles are accordingly the fitting form of God's mind thereon; as the Christian himself is Christ's epistle as well as the apostle's, known and read of all men, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not in stone tables but in fleshy tables of the heart.
Yet the O.T. proclaimed the coming of the New, and that ruin of the chosen people through the rejection of the Messiah which made their own fall necessary, and thus opened the way for Christ's exaltation on high, the call of the Gentiles by the gospel, and the formation of the church in union with the Head by the Spirit come from heaven. Hence too the new volume of inspiration authenticates the new work going on till the Lord comes, but seals the truth of the O.T. which it replaces for the Christian and the church. Yet it assures that the Law and the Prophets are verily to be fulfilled in the day that is rapidly nearing, when Christ shall be hidden no more but appear to gather together in one all things in Him, the things in the heavens and the things on the earth.

Suffer the Word of Exhortation

Beloved brethren and sisters in Christ—The day of the apostasy is hastening on with rapid strides, and also the moment in which the Lord shall come to snatch His own away. The present hour is of so solemn a character that I feel constrained to address you this word of exhortation. Godly men everywhere, who watch the signs of the times, see the moment approaching which shall terminate the present actings of grace.
The time has evidently arrived when one must speak plainly and decisively, and ask you where you are, and what you are about. You have by grace, which has shone brighter and brighter as it has approached its termination, been gathered out of the seething mass of idolatry and wickedness which now threatens Christendom and the world with an overthrow more awful than that of Sodom and Gomorrah of old. The question is whether you are adequately impressed with the responsibility, as well as the blessedness, of the ground you are on, and walking like men and women whose eyes have been opened.
Believe me, there has never been in the world's history such a time as the present, and Satan is occupied with none as he is with you; and his occupation with you is the more to be feared because of the subtlety of his operations. His object is to withdraw your attention from Christ, while you suppose you are on safe ground and have nothing to fear. He would destroy you with the very truth itself. For mark the subtlety: you are on safe ground and have nothing to fear. He would destroy you with the very truth itself. For mark the subtlety: you are on safe ground, but only while Christ is your all as He is in all.
Here is where Satan is drawing some away. Interpose anything between your soul and Christ, and your Philadelphia becomes Laodicea. Your “right ground” is as unsafe as the rest of Christendom; your strength is gone from you, and you are become weak like any ordinary mortal.
Some of you are young, recently converted or brought to the right ways of the Lord, and you do not know the depths of Satan. But you are hereby solemnly warned of your peril; and if mischief overtake you, you cannot plead ignorance.
Again I say, Satan has his eye especially upon you, for the purpose of interposing the world in some form between your soul and Christ. He cares not how little, or in what form. If you but knew how little will answer his purpose, you would be alarmed. It is not by that which is gross or shameful; such is the development, not the beginning of evil. It is not by anything glaring that he seeks to ruin you, but in small and seemingly harmless trifles—trifles that would not shock nor offend any one as things go. Yet these constitute the deadly and insidious poison, destined to ruin your testimony and withdraw you from Christ.
Do you ask what are these alarming symptoms? and where are they seen?
The question does but show what is the character of the opiate at work. Brethren and sisters, you are being infected with the spirit of the world. Your dress, your manner, your talk, and your lack of spirituality betray it in every gathering. Does not a sense of weight or of restraint, a want of power, often reveal itself in the meetings, sometimes as if your heart were visibly displayed and its thoughts publicly read? A form of godliness without power is beginning to be seen among you by degrees, as in Christendom generally. As surely as you tamper with the world, insensibly will you drift away to its level.
This is the nature of things. It must be so. If you tamper with the world, the privileged place you occupy, instead of shielding you, will only expose you to greater condemnation. It must be Christ or the world. It cannot be—ought not to be—Christ and the world. God's grace in drawing you out of the world in your ignorance is one thing; but God will never permit you to prostitute His grace, to play fast and loose, when you have been separated from the world. Remember you take the place, and claim the privilege, of one whose eyes have been opened. If on the one hand this is unspeakably blessed (and it is), on the other hand it is the most dreadful position in which a human being can be found. What is it to be at the wedding feast without the wedding garment? It is to say, “Lord, Lord,” while you do not the things that He bids. It is to say “I go, sir,” as he said who went not.
Beloved, I am persuaded better things of you, though I thus speak; and I have confidence in you, in the Lord, that you will bless Him for these few faithful words. Nothing can be more excellent than the position you are called to occupy in these closing days of danger and many antichrists.
Saints have stood in the breach, have watched through weary days and nights these eighteen hundred years; and you only wait for the trumpet of victory, to go in and take possession of the glorious inheritance. Other men labored, and you are entered into their labors; and yet, forsooth, you are lowering your dignity to the level of the poor potsherds of the earth, who only wait for the rod of the Victor (and yours too) to be dashed into pieces. Oh, awake then from your lethargy Slumber no longer; put away your idols and false gods; wash your garments, and get you to Bethel, where you will find God to be better than ever you knew Him, even in your best days.
Lay aside your last bit of worldly dress; see to your speech, that it be of Christ and His affairs, and not, as you know it too often is, of anything but Him. Let your prayers mingle with those of other saints at the prayer meetings: they never were more needed. Neglect no opportunity of gathering up instruction from that word which alone can keep us from the paths of the destroyer; and let your life be the evidence of the treasures you gather up at the lecture, at the reading meeting, or in secret with the Lord. If you want occupation with a glorious reward from a beloved Master, ask that Master to set you to work for Him; you will never regret it, either in this age or in that which is to come.
Beloved, bear with me: I am jealous over you with godly jealousy. You belong to Christ, and Christ, to you. Break not this holy union. Let not the betrothed one be unfaithful to her Bridegroom! Why should you be robbed and spoiled? And for what?, Empty husks and bitter fruits, while you waste this little span of blessing?! All the distinctions acquired here in the energy of the Spirit will but serve to enhance your beauty, and render you more lovely in the eyes of Him Who has espoused you to Himself.
Can you refuse Him His delights in you? Can you refuse Him the fruit of the travail of His soul Who once hung a dying man between two robbers on Calvary, a spectacle to men and angels, and for you? Can you have forgotten (for you cannot have despised) this devotedness for you? He could have taken the world without the cross, and left you out; but He would not. And now will you, having been enriched by those agonies and that blood, take the world into your tolerance and leave Him out? Impossible! Your pure minds did but need to be stirred up by way of remembrance.
Let us therefore take courage from this very moment. We have lately been offering up prayers, confessing the lack of piety and devotedness. May we not take His word, as the answer of our ever-gracious faithful Lord, to arouse us? And then if He re-awaken our drooping energies, the more quickly He comes the better. We shall not be ashamed before Him at His coming. Q.

Scripture Queries and Answers: John 1:5

Q.-Does John 1:5 refer to the Word when incarnate as in vers. 9, 14? or to His action as light in the ages before? W. S. L. B.
A.-I am not disposed to limit verse 5 to the Lord when He became flesh. As He was ever the object of faith for fallen man, so He appeared and spoke in testimony from the earliest days; and this was the action of divine light to faith, while the darkness apprehended it not, but liked better the deceits of the enemy and the spurious devices and imaginations of man far from God. The True Light, in coming into the world, sets every man in the light as never before; so that there was a vast increase of privilege, and hence of responsibility. It could not be otherwise, when such a One became Man and tabernacled here below, full of grace and truth,

Scripture Queries and Answers: Serving the Lord

Q.-Is it true that a servant of the Lord, acting out of his own zeal without God's word, must be left free' even Of remonstrance beyond private? C. H. R.
A.-Nothing can be more opposed to both letter and spirit of scripture. Of all who call on the Lord's name, Christ's true minister is bound to be the most submissive to His word. For with what face could he enjoin the saints to submit to the word, if he himself claimed exemption, instead of being an example in faith, obedience, and humility? All alike are sanctified. by the truth, all chosen in sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience, on the pattern of our Master, in its perfection. “If any one think himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things, that I write to you are the commandment of the Lord. But if any one is ignorant, let him be ignorant” (1 Cor. 14:37, 38). Condemnation, more cutting cannot be of those who pleaded their little gifts for setting up personal independency or some new thing.
No doubt, we are bound not to be hirelings of denominations, and should not seek to please men, as is done by adopting human methods. If the church is one, it does not admit of men's ways (1 Cor. 4:16, 17; vii. 17; xi. 1, 2). We have to persevere in the teaching and fellowship of the apostles, remembering that ministry means not mastery but service, the service of Christ, and of every one for His sake. But, even the greatest gift and highest office, if it went wrong, was liable not only to private remonstrance but to public rebuke. So we find Peter solemnly blamed before all for what many, and very probably the great majority, must have thought the venial change of teasing to, eat with the Gentiles. To Paul it was dissembling, and an offense against the truth of the gospel.
Who of us ever heard so egregious and unfounded an assumption since the days of 1845? Then a like piece of ministerial irresponsibility was sought to be based on the metaphor of a shepherd. His place was to judge the sheep, not they him


By W. KELLY. Demy 8vo. cloth, price 7/6.
Also by the same, just published,

The Early Chapters of Genesis: Chapter 11:10-26: 2. The Generations

At this point it seems well to look a little more closely into “the generations” which so frequently come before us in this book. Some remarks on them were made in looking at the verses preceding; but the matter well deserves further consideration.
No believer in God's plenary inspiration of the scriptures is under the least necessity of denying the incorporation of human documents, any more than of speeches or conversations of men who may have been godless or hostile. Thus in Acts 23 we have the letter from the chiliarch Claudius Lysias to Felix the governor; and in Acts 24 follows the speech of the rhetorician Tertullus accusing Paul. The speech was public, the letter private; but there this is, evidently just as it was written, as the Holy Spirit designed that we should know it. Yet there is no reason to imagine that the contents transpired through officers at Jerusalem or at Cæsarea friendly to Paul. He who inspired Luke to give the private document as unerringly as the open speech is in no way limited to any such means; and it is unwarrantable, when we read of such things in scripture, to cast about for some conceivable way of a natural kind to account for them. The great fact is that in a world of evil, falsehood, and vanity, scripture gives us the truth, and this in relation to God as well as to man. Thus only can we have the certainty of His mind revealed to us, though we still need the guidance of His Spirit in its apprehension and application.
If then God led Moses, in writing the book of Genesis, to make use of documents written (say) by Noah, Shem, the Patriarchs, Joseph and any others, there could be no valid objection on that score. But the unity of style and plan, which pervades each part in the face of all that petty criticism has ever alleged to the contrary, does stand adverse to any such theory. The essential condition is that God should inspire His chosen vehicle to convey to us the truth as He intended it for His own. It cannot be denied on solid ground that the alphabet even of Greece and Rome points to a Shemitic source, though it may have reached them according to the common tradition through a Phoenician or an Egyptian channel. In the days of Moses, at least in the wilderness, the Bible bears testimony that reading and writing prevailed among the Israelites, not merely in a sacred or learned class, but even largely among the rest (Deut. 9:9; 11:20; 24:1, 3). Thus from the earliest date of inspiration there was no difficulty of finding writers or readers.
Is it true then that the book of “Genesis is a compilation, and is stated so to be?” Is it the fact that these “generations” prove it to consist of so many separate documents, each beginning with this title? Let us see.
The first occurs in chap. 2:4: “These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that Jehovah Elohim made earth and heavens.” Now it is plain that this opening verse of a new section of the book, characterized by a very special employment of the divine names in the rest of chap. 2 and in chap. 3, also sums up the salient facts of chap. 1. What went before gave creation completely. The new section does not speak of the creation of the heavens and earth. It is not a second, still less a different or discordant account, but the added revelation of man set in moral responsibility, tried by Jehovah Elohim; as he, and he only, is said here to become a living soul by His immediate communication of the breath of life. Hence here we have the park or garden planted by Jehovah Elohim; here the tree of life, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; here a simple test of obedience suited to innocence. Here too the relation of the man and the woman is given, and Adam's exercised authority over the lower creation, in contrast with his associate taken out of himself, his one meet companion, whose name he gave to mark the difference. Then in chap. 3 under the same name of the Creator in moral relationship, the Temptation and the Fall, the present result in death and ruin, but with the revelation of the Deliverer in the woman's Seed: a wholly new presentation of the truth on the moral side, and grace too rising above sin, not the platform of creation as in what preceded (ch. 1-2:3).
Who but the Supreme could have made known the majestic course of creation, and in terms as simple for the hearer as dignified for the Speaker? Was Adam, or any of his sons, the man to announce the solemn yet profound message of his trial and fall, and of the yet future triumph of the bruised Seed of the woman? These assuredly are not casual fragments or “separate documents,” but the words of the One Infinite conveying His mind on the immense foundations of divine truth, creation every whit good, and creation with its head ruined through sin and Satan till the Second man by redemption and in power vanquish the enemy, deliver those that believe, and reconcile all things to God's glory. The title is in the precisely right place. Had it been put as a heading to chap. i., it would have utterly marred the calm sublimity of the description. Where it stands, it is a suited introduction to the moral government that follows, while it seals the already accomplished grand material work, of the one true God; it shows us all coming to ruin that hung on the first man, and points to the Second and Last as the object of faith and destroyer of Satan.
Next in chap. 5 we have and here only, and most appropriately, “the book “ of Adam's generations. It says Elohim throughout, save in Lamech's prophecy where His government comes in, and therefore we hear of Jehovah. It is a summary of the ante-diluvian world. Who could have drawn it up but Himself?
Then in chap. 6:9 we read, “These are the generations of Noah:” where the fitting ground is given for his exemption from the flood, with his three sons and their wives; and “the book” of chap 5 would be out of place.
In chap. 10 we have “the generations of the sons of Noah,” but there collaterally rather than successively unless in measure and for special reason, in order to set out an entirely new thing, the separation of the nations, after their families and tongues, and in their lands. The moral cause is explained in chap. 11: 1-9; after which we find “the generations of Shem” in vers. 10-26, and those “of Terah” to complete the picture, and make way for Abram, the man of God's choice, call, and promise. Here we have, unlike any of those before, at least two genealogies side by side: the nations separate one from another, and the man separated to God with blessing and promise in him, and his seed natural or spiritual.
After Abraham's death in chap. 25, we have also two genealogies—vers. 12-18 Ishmael's, and vers. 19-26 Isaac's—of the flesh, and of promise.
In chap. 36, we have the generations “of Esau” still more pretentiously, ending in kings before there was such a ruler over the sons of Israel. Only it is untrue that the times of the Jewish monarchy, long after Moses' day, are spoken of. The kings of Israel are not alluded to historically; but not one had reigned in Israel when Edom had been thus ruled. To say the least, the eight named may all have reigned when Moses wrote. Did he not know from God (Deut. 17) that Israel would set up a king? if so, he had to charge Israel that he should not be a foreigner but a brother.
Chapter 37:2 gives “the generations of Jacob,” with Joseph the special object of interest and a plain figure of Him Who was rejected by His brethren and separated thence, but exalted of God and wielding the power of the throne over the Gentiles. In due time His brethren are brought to repentance and humiliation before His glory, and Himself made known to them. Even a mere man, to say nothing of a believer, must be a thoughtless reader of the O.T. in the light of the New, who fails to perceive the type of Christ rejected by His natural brethren, and condemned unjustly by the Gentile, yet the Interpreter of God's mind in humiliation, then raised to be the Savior of both Jews and Gentiles outside the land, and at last owned by His own people. So in earlier days was Isaac, the beloved son, after the figure of Christ's death and resurrection (chap. 22), shown us in Canaan only, and the bride brought across the wilderness for union with the heir of promise, to whom the father gave all that he had. Yet the others had gifts; none was forgotten. Ishmael lived before God, and had his twelve sons princes, as Esau had his kings, while the chosen family passed through the furnace and were oppressed in bondage for hundreds of years, Jacob himself typifying their wanderings and sorrows before their restoration and glory.
It is freely granted then that these genealogies are wholly different from those of human pride, and their style in harmony with God's book of beginnings, which adumbrate His ways even to the end of the age and of that to come. The misconception is that God deigns to write history any more than to teach science. But He has written the scriptures to make known Himself and His ways, as well as to let man learn himself as can be nowhere else save in His Son, the center, substance, and display of all truth. To Him all scripture testifies from Genesis to Revelation. Even these genealogies, which seem strange to literary men and furnish materials for all sorts of speculation to such as lack the key of Christ for all the word, in the midst of much variety of form, testify to one and the same writer, even Moses, and bear the stamp of future purpose as on God's part. Surely it is most important, that we should not fail to recognize His wise and holy mind, but grow in grace and faith and the knowledge of Him Who is our all, but the Judge of all that believe not to their utter and everlasting condemnation. “For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed Me: for he wrote of Me” (John 5:46).

The Offerings of Leviticus: 7. Trespass Offering

Lev. 5:14-19
A fresh intimation from Jehovah introduces the proper Trespass offering. ““ And Jehovah spoke to Moses, saying, “If any one commit a perfidy, and sin inadvertently in the holy things of Jehovah, then he shall bring his trespass offering to Jehovah, a ram without blemish out of the flock, according to thine estimation by shekels of silver after the shekel of the sanctuary, for a trespass offering. “And he shall make restitution for what he hath done amiss in [lit. from] the holy thing, and shall add the fifth part thereto, and give it unto the priest; and the priest shall make atonement for him with the ram of the trespass offering; and it shall be forgiven him” (vers. 14-16).
We may discern another shade of evil met in the Trespass offering as compared with the more general and public one for sin. The word for the latter is chata which literally signifies departure from right; whereas asham, which is translated trespass expresses guilt. It was an act of treachery (maal) in the holy things of Jehovah, though supposed to be done not presumptuously but through inadvertence. Still, though not a moral wrong before the eyes of others, it was a secret perfidy against Him with Whom they stood in holy relationship, and guilt was contracted thereby. Hence for one who had failed thus in his responsibility a ram without blemish was required in every case. Compare also Lev. 19:20-22, where the offense, though morally wrong also, is viewed as guilt against Jehovah, and the ram of atonement was required as in Num. 5:5-10, whereas in Num. 6, as a modified case, a lamb was offered. We shall see appended to this first instance an added provision in vers. 17-19; but there is no difference allowed in the victim Jehovah required. A new ordinance follows which in the English is so strangely relegated to chap. 6, but in the Hebrew text continues the fifth chapter as vers. 20-26, and treats of a trespass done to a neighbor, a failure in responsibility which Jehovah counted an act of treachery against Himself; but there also an unblemished ram must be brought by the guilty soul. We may and surely ought to inquire why this animal and no other was suitable to meet the occasion.
Now, in setting apart Aaron and his sons to Jehovah for their priestly place and functions, we know that a ram of consecration had its distinctive importance. There were indeed two rams, one of which was for an olah or Burnt offering, that followed the bullock slaughtered for a Sin offering. But the special feature of that rite was the second ram, the ram of consecration, the blood of which was not only sprinkled like that of the first ram on the altar round about, but, before that, Moses was directed to put of it, first on the tip of Aaron's right ear, and on the thumb of his right hand, and on the great toe of his right foot, and then on those of his sons also.
The ram accordingly was the fitting animal to offer for the inverse question of desecration; and such was just the aspect of evil which was met in the Trespass offering. It was not simple wrong for which the Sin offering was provided, but treachery in relation to Jehovah. And this is confirmed (ver. 15) by Moses' “estimation in silver by shekels after the shekel of the sanctuary.” For as gold typifies divine righteousness in God's presence, silver figures His grace rather, as we may see in the atonement money for the children of Israel, and indeed wherever it appears.
There was another element distinctive of the Trespass or Guilt offering. “He shall make restitution for what he hath done amiss in the holy thing.” More than this; as Jehovah commanded the tithe of the Israelite's increase as blessed of Him, so He demanded as the fine of the Trespass offering the fifth part, or a double tithe. All this was to go to the priest; which again keeps up the relative character already seen. “And the priest shall make atonement for him with the ram of the trespass offering; and it shall be forgiven him.”
The appendix which follows adds words even more precise as to ignorance and worthy of all attention.
“And if any one sin or do against any of all the commandments of Jehovah what should not be done, and hath not known, yet is he guilty, and shall bear his iniquity. And he shall bring a ram without blemish out of the flock according to thine estimation for a trespass offering unto the priest; and the priest shall make atonement for him concerning his inadvertence wherein he sinned inadvertently, and knew it not; and it shall be forgiven him. It is a trespass offering: he is certainly guilty before Jehovah” (vers. 17-19).
Here while inadvertence is stated plainly, the case goes beyond this. But though the ram was the normal victim required for this character of evil, the demand was modified where the ritual failure differed. Thus for the leper's cleansing (Lev. 14) a lamb was to be offered as a Trespass offering, and the priest put its blood on the person of him that was being cleansed, as Moses did on Aaron and his sons on the day of their consecration, where the oil followed the blood (vers. 12-18). Then came the Sin offering (ver. 19), and after it the Burnt offering. Thus the distinction of Trespass and Sin is made clear, whatever be the “great controversy” as to the difference among theologians, and the uncertainty of their sound to this day. And it is intelligible why in the consecration of the priests the Sin offering (whether bullock or calf) was brought, but no Trespass offering, any more than on Atonement Day, the tenth of the seventh month.
We may see too, in the visions of God vouchsafed to Ezekiel of the coming kingdom on the earth, there is provision for the Burnt offering, the Sin offering, the Trespass offering, and the sacrifice of the Oblation (40:38, 42; 42:13; 44:29). The Epistle to the Hebrews is in no way at issue; for it treats of the abolition of these shadows for the Christian only. Vain self-sufficiency denies the future hopes of Israel in Jehovah's mercy, and, counting itself the sole object of grace, seeks the exaltation proper to Israel, and loses its own special privileges of suffering with Christ while awaiting glory on high.
It is distinctly laid down that, though the person in question “hath not known, yet is he guilty.” Jehovah would exercise His people in the sense of what was due to His relationship and their privilege who had the sign of His presence in their midst. He would have them read or hear His word with serious spirit and submissive heart. It was no matter of conscience, or of open immorality, such as the Sin offering was prescribed for; but perfidy in respect of those commandments of Jehovah in their favored position toward Him.
Hence the necessity of diligent heed to His statutes and judgments. Ignorance was no tenable excuse. They were Israelites, and Jehovah had imposed commandments with which they were responsible to comply. If any one did not know, yet was he guilty. Indifference to His requirements must have been the antecedent state; and what is this in His eyes? What did it detect in the Israelite? Was Jehovah to be blind, because he failed to know what was plainly written in His law, though not in the ten words? He was guilty, and must bear his iniquity (avon). Therefore was be to bring an unblemished ram from the sheep according to Moses' estimation for a Trespass offering unto the priest. Neither inadvertence nor ignorance availed to screen his guilt or do away with the offering indispensable for it. But it should be forgiven him that thus offered. Even with greater energy is the language here, “It is a trespass offering: trespassing he trespassed before Jehovah.” Man otherwise might have readily excused it.

Proverbs 2:10-22

The preservative power of wisdom is next shown in guarding from moral perils, whether of iniquity or of corruption.
“For wisdom shall enter into thy heart and knowledge be pleasant unto thy soul, discretion shall watch over thee, understanding shall keep thee:—to deliver thee from the way of evil, from the man that speaketh froward things; [from those] who forsake the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness; who rejoice to do evil-delight in the frowardness of evil; who in their paths are crooked, and pervert in their course—to deliver thee from the strange woman, from the stranger who flattereth with her words; who forsaketh the friend of her youth and forgetteth the covenant of her God. For her house inclineth unto death, and her paths unto the dead; none that go unto her return again, nor attain unto the paths of life;-that thou mayest walk in the way of the good and keep the paths of the righteous. For the upright shall dwell in the land, and the perfect shall remain in it. But the wicked shall be cut off from the land, and the treacherous shall be plucked out of it” (vers. 10-22).
How admirable is the wisdom Jehovah gives the heart! and not less on the negative or dark side than on the positive; especially where the knowledge that accompanies it is pleasant to the soul. Discretion and discernment follow with vigilance against an evil world. Violence and greed are not the only dangers, but the way of evil through deceitful speech. Silence is not always golden; but “the tongue of the just is choice silver” (Prov. 10:20); or as the N. T. exhorts, “let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt.” How powerful is the soft and pure answer, not only to turn away wrath, but to check heat and pride and will! It is dangerous to hear froward things; it is wicked to speak them. How soon after this the paths of uprightness are forsaken to walk in the ways of darkness! Evil words allowed lead to a walk which God's light never illumines. How sad the descent in rejoicing to do evil! Delighting in the frowardness, or deceits of evil! It is to glory in the worst shame. How crooked in their paths and perverse in their course! Truly their judgment is just.
But the discretion that flows from wisdom is no less efficacious to guard from “the strange woman” (16), and her flattering words, where lust reigns, not love, and selfish passion, not true affection and tender regard. Debauchery is all that could be expected from her that forsakes the guide of her youth and forgets the covenant of her God.
We do not hear the glad tidings of grace in this book. There is no gospel call throughout. It addresses those who are under the law and the covenant, whoever else may profit by it. If it is very excellent for any man that has ears, and those who know most of grace and heavenly privilege will most prize it, its voice direct is to the ancient people of God, to Israel. For them all flows simply and easily. There is no strain of a single sentence or word, no need of accommodation, no lending it a sense which it does not truly contain or convey. In it therefore “Jehovah” appears regularly, and “Elohim” rarely used has its exceptional force.
By the way, remark how the notion of various writers here or any where indicated by such designations is the shallowest of dreams. It may afford pleasant pastime to men who, not knowing God (or, at least, beguiled and blinded by such), find in its cultivation a field for imagination and ingenuity without truth, conscience, or love, a mere linguistic or intellectual tour de force whetted by the keen will to damage and deface every landmark of divine authority.
It is evident that corruption, especially when it takes the form of the violation of a holy relationship is as hateful to God as it is destructive to man. See how Babylon and its counterpart is spoken of and dealt with in the Revelation. So here it is said that “her house inclineth unto death, and her path unto the dead.” This Israel as a people had to prove, before Christendom existed to follow the fatal wake. It is no less true of individuals. “None that go unto her (the corrupting woman) return again, nor attain unto the paths of life.”
Wisdom then from Jehovah it is that ensures discretion to walk in the way of the good and to keep the paths of the righteous. So were led the faithful of old; but how much brighter is the light of life in following Him Whose ways and words here below we know from God as of none else! Yet was Jehovah's word, before He shone in this world of darkness, a lamp to their feet and a light to their path. And the day hastens when it will be made manifest to every eye that “the upright shall dwell in the land, and the perfect shall remain in it.” What was plainly attested in the days of David and Solomon is but a witness to the full display of this truth in the coming kingdom, when “the wicked shall be cut off from the land, and the treacherous shall be plucked out of it.”

Gospel Words: the Prudent Steward

Luke 16:1-13
This parable, though addressed by the Lord to His disciples, is a word of warning and instruction to all. It shows, not the way to the heavenly dwellings, but the character of those who get there.
“There was a certain rich man who had a steward; and he was accused to him as wasting his goods. And having called him, he said to him, What [is] this I hear of thee? Render the account of thy stewardship; for thou canst no longer be steward. And the steward said to himself, What shall I do? because my lord is taking the stewardship from me. I cannot dig; I am ashamed to beg. I am resolved what I will do that when I have been removed from the stewardship, I may be received into their houses. And having called to him each one of the debtors of his own lord, he said to the first, How much owest thou to my lord? And he said, A hundred baths of oil. And he said to him, Take thy bill [writings], and sit down quickly, and write fifty. Then he said to another And thou, how much owest thou? And he said, A hundred cors of wheat. He saith to him, Take thy bill [writings], and write eighty. And the lord praised the steward of unrighteousness, because he did prudently. For the sons of this age are for their own generation more prudent than the sons of light. And I say to you, Make to yourselves friends from the mammon of unrighteousness that, when it shall fail, ye may be received into the everlasting tabernacles. The faithful in a very little is faithful also in much, and the unrighteous in a very little is unrighteous also in much. If therefore ye were not faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will entrust to you the true? And if ye were not faithful in that which is another's, who will give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two lords; for he will either hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (vers. 1-13).
In a general way man, especially the Jew, has wasted the goods entrusted to him, and forfeited his place. But grace gives him the opportunity of turning these earthly things to everlasting account. It is sheer folly to hold fast the brief present, regardless of the unending future. The Lord praises not the past waste any more than the selfish unrighteousness, but the prudence that sacrifices time and its passing interests in view of the unseen eternity and heavenly glory.
Christ by His infinite sufferings for sin and sinners has made this possible. The first man brought in ruin by sin; Israel made bad worse and earned a curse by his transgression and apostasy. Grace and truth came not by law but by Jesus Christ Whom God made sin for us as He bore the curse, that the guiltiest might through the faith of Him go free. He Whose grace opens the way into blessing beyond all thought has been wronged and plundered without measure. It is not the aim of this parable to show the way in which He is vindicated, and the evils of the sinner are blotted out, and His own righteousness by faith takes the place of man's righteousness sought no matter how assiduously, but always in vain. Thus it comes to pass that no flesh can glory, but he that glories truly must glory in the Lord.
It is Christ alone Who, heard in faith, gives a divinely sound judgment of ourselves and of things around us. Conscience alone is powerless to cope with temptation and blinding wiles of the enemy, ever alluring by what is in sight, seemingly fair and desirable. Without faith it is impossible to please God. To believe in Christ, the Word become flesh and dying for us, the Propitiation for our sins, that we might live of His life, how blessed for us! and how worthy of God! This is grace, this is truth. It centers in Christ, the object of faith; Who gives new eyesight to discern, and decision to abandon the sin-stained present, for an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and unfading, reserved in the heavens for the faithful.
How is it then with you, dear reader? Are you setting your mind on earthly things? cleaving to the dust in quest of the unrighteous mammon, instead of making friends out of it that you may be received, when it shall have failed, into the everlasting tabernacles?
Everything like Judaism is on God's part now obsolete. It is no longer a system of earthly rewards or punishments, of a worldly sanctuary, of present ease, honor, or advantage. Heavenly things are revealed by Him Who was then rejected on earth and is now glorified on high. There alone are the true riches. The bait of Satan is the mammon of unrighteousness. This may procure the pleasures of sin for a season, and present results on the earth. But what will the end be? where must go those who in contempt of Christ lived only for that which is to fail?
The steward's prudence is a lesson for disciples. See the promptness of his course and his careful consideration of the debtors, the generosity too which gave right and left. This, and this alone in the unscrupulous steward, is commended for our imitation. What men call ours is really another's (ver. 12). It is easy to be generous with another's goods; and so faith would consider them. Such is Christ's yoke; and His yoke is easy, His burden light. To accumulate and keep or use for self is unbelief and covetousness. Faith gives freely, makes friends with what is but mammon, and turns it to everlasting account, when, faithful in a very little, we shall have much. The true riches then shall indeed be ours: for with Christ, His own Son, God will also freely give us all things. We are but stewards now, and are exhorted by the Master to the generosity of grace. It is vain, it is impossible, to serve God and mammon.

Sanctification or Setting Apart to God: 3

1 Peter 1
The word withers man, the breath of Jehovah has passed over. Introduce man's glory into heaven, it is dreadful! This work is painful, because of the often prolonged wrestlings of the pride and the self-will of the flesh; and God does not begin His work by modifying what already exists. Neither can He, because He will destroy it. He can neither require nor produce fruits before the tree be planted. But He begins by communicating a new life, and detaches the creature from the things to which its flesh is attached; and the Holy Spirit communicates to it the things of the world to come, and the instrument He employs is the word-that word whereof it is said, “it abideth forever.” The word, which was of promise for the nation, becomes an instrument of life for our souls. We are begotten by the word of truth, which judges also as a two-edged sword all that is not of the new life.
Let us now examine the difference between our justification and our sanctification. Justification is something not in ourselves, but a position in which God has placed us before Himself; and those who possess His righteousness, those to whom it is applied by God, being the children of the Second man, possess all that He has and all that He loves. He who becomes the righteousness of God is born of God, and possesses all that belongs to his Father, Who assimilates the rights of His children to those of His Son, Who is heir of all things. So soon as I am a child of the Second man, I am in the blessing and righteousness in which Christ Himself is found; and thus as I have inherited from the first Adam all the consequences and results of his fall, even so, being born of the Last Adam, I inherit all that He has acquired, just as I had inherited from the former.
If it be thus, it is evident that I have part in the glory of Christ; but if life be not there, it is naught. God presents His love to us. He reveals it to us, and His word abides eternally. And here is the way God begins with the soul. He presents the truth to us, ever fresh before Himself. It is not a result produced in us that He makes us see; on the contrary, it is, that man, such as he is, has no part in this righteousness, because of the flesh, which, being as grass, cannot be in relation with God. He reveals and imparts to us a justification He has accomplished.
God cannot give precepts of sanctification to such as have no justification. The effects of the life of Christ are to convince of sin, and also to cause fruit-bearing. When the gospel was presented at the beginning, it was to Gentiles who, till then, had had no part in the promises of God. There was no need to speak to them of sanctification. But now that all the world calls itself Christian, I must see whether I be really a Christian; but this idea is not found at all originally in the Bible. The state of sin was spoken of, and the gospel declared. Now, men say “Am I really a Christian,” which thing was not so then. A man takes his practical life to see whereabouts he is, believing that the question is of sanctification, when it is only of justification. This question was not necessary at the commencement; now people look at the fruits to see if they have life, and confound with sanctification that which is only a conviction of sin previous to justification by faith and peace with God. Until a soul has consented to say, “Jesus is all and I have nothing” —till then, I say, there is nothing in this which relates to Christian sanctification. These things must be set right before the soul can have peace.
At one preaching of Peter three thousand persons were made happy; they were not in doubt. From the moment a man embraced the gospel, he was a Christian, his soul was saved.
The progress of practical sanctification must not be confounded with justification, because practical sanctification is wrought in a saved soul that has eternal life. It is an entirely new thing, of which there is no trace before I have found Christ. Do we comprehend this passage, “Without holiness” (sanctification) “no man shall see Jehovah” (there is nothing troubles a soul as that often does)? It is clear that if I do not possess Christ, I cannot see Jehovah; that is very simple. If I have not in myself the life of the Last Adam, as I had before the life of the first, never shall I see His face. The tastes natural to the one will develop themselves therein, as they developed themselves in the other.
The first inquiry to be made in such a case is, “Have you peace with God, the pardon of your sins?” If not, the question is of the justification of a sinner. “Having then purified your souls in obeying the truth by the Holy Spirit,” that is the power “by the Spirit.” The essential thing is the obedience of the truth; people seek purification and desire to bear fruit. But this is not what God first asks of us; it is obedience, and obedience to the truth.
Whereof then does the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, speak? He has much to say to us, but first of all, “All flesh is grass.” He says that no good thing exists in man; the Spirit convinces the world of sin. The whole world lies in wickedness; that world would none of Christ; and the Holy Spirit cannot present Himself without saying, “You have rejected the Christ.” The Holy Spirit comes into this world and proves to it its pride and its rebellion. Behold, the Son is no longer there; and why? The world has rejected Him. The Spirit comes to say, “The grass is withered,” &c.; then, when that is acknowledged, He communicates the peace that He has preached. He says truly, “You are sinners,” but He does not speak to sinners of sanctification; He will produce it by the truth, and He tells them the truth. Can man produce it? Nay. It is Christ, He Who is the way, the truth, and the life. The Holy Spirit speaks to the sinner of God's grace, of the righteousness of God-of peace, not to make, but made; this is the truth. He convinces the world of what it is, and He speaks to it of that will of God by which the believer is sanctified, that thus we may be obedient to the truth, in submitting to the grace of God; and when the soul is subject to the truth, life is there.
He communicates life, “being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.” The word abides eternally. It is thus that God first produces the principle of sanctification, which is the life of Christ in us; if the practical means be inquired, it is the word of truth.
Does the Holy Spirit tell pagans to make progress in sanctification? Does He say this to men unconverted? No. When a sinner has understood the truth, such as God presents it, then the Holy Spirit puts him in relation with God the Father, and the sinner rejoices in all that which Christ has acquired for him. Thus having purified your souls in obeying the truth by the Holy Spirit, &c., ye have been born again of an incorruptible seed, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever. Dear friends, you will find that it is ever thus. (To be concluded, D.V.)

Remarks on 1 John: 4:7-14

Chap. 4:7-14
Having exposed these devices of the devil, working with untiring energy through his ministers, “deceitful workers” after his own type (see 2 Cor. 11:13-15), he resumes the subject of love still further to guard us against any counterfeit; for natural affection may express itself in heroic deeds, but natural affection is not love. Though the word may be applied to it, a holy and an exclusive use is claimed for it here— “Love is of God, and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.” Adam, though created by God, and placed in circumstances and a position calculated to draw out his gratitude and affections to God, revolted from Him, and hearkened to the voice of his wife. Morally his affections were ruined. When called to account, hoping to shield himself, he became her accuser, reflecting on his Maker and hers for giving her to him (Gen. 3). It is a repulsive scene, the earliest exhibition of the human heart when ruined by sin, its deceitfulness, and its weakness. Natural affection, however, in one born of God, and directed of Him, is a tender solace in a world where so many are sinking under a load of sorrow; it is then neither deceitful nor weak, but a lovely trait of character, holier, purer, more devoted, patient and enduring, because divine love is supreme. With adoring hearts we may contemplate it to perfection in the Son of God (John 19:26, 27). In Him all is perfect.
The gift of life, and the sacrifice such a gift entailed, are then set before us as the manifestation of the love of God in the case of sinners, that is, in our case (ver. 9); an amazing gift had it been bestowed on a sinless being, for it is eternal life, indefectible, and endowed with the most exalted capacities for fellowship with the Father and the Son now and throughout eternity. Adam innocent had not this, still less Adam guilty, and his race. Life being thus a sovereign gift of love, it is evident that we were without it, and a meaning is given to “death” as found in scripture (as applied to the state of men) which it is important to grasp. With the outward aspect of physical death we are painfully familiar; the separations it makes we in some small degree understand. Have we attempted to realize what separation “death,” as found in scripture, expresses? When wasting his substance in riotous living, the prodigal was dead (Luke 15:24). The woman living in pleasure is dead while she liveth (1 Tim. 5:6). How countless then the multitude of the living who are dead, some even professing to be of the Christian brotherhood (iii. 14)! Do we thus view them? Truly even single words in scripture are volumes, but we glide over them too quickly.
The very early experience of eternal life in the receiver is the love that gave it, and it is the sweetest. “God sent His ONLY BEGOTTEN SON into the world that we might live through Him.” Ver. 10 intensifies this. “Not that we loved God.” This puts our case in a positive form: not the absence of good, but the presence of evil, a state of alienation and enmity; and propitiation for our sins was needed. There will be “the day of judgment,” “the judgment to come “; for “it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” But, before the day of judgment, God has sent His Son to bear our sins, to take our place in judgment. He having finished the work which God, His Father, gave Him to do, we take, as given righteously to us, His place now in blessing; and before He comes to judge, we shall be raised in glory (cf. ver. 17 and iii. 2), as we “shall not come into judgment” (John 5:24, R.V.). If God has thus manifested His love to us, even to us who did not love Him, what have we to do but to behold it, and drive away every thought or suggestion that at any time would obscure it? Let every earthly refuge fail us, the love of God will not fail. As He is from everlasting to everlasting, so is His love; it is as enduring as eternity. Let us boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 5:11), for well we may.
In ver. 11 our service to our brethren, little or much, is to be in the consciousness of the love of God to us, a pure and powerful motive; and in ver. 12 such manifestation of love on our part is a testimony that God Himself “dwelleth in us “: a wonderful expression! but compare chap. iii. 24. Surely we know that we have not strength to bear with what is contrary to us in our brethren, or they with us. The realized presence of God alone will give strength, and ver. 13 explains how this can be in the weakest. “He hath given us of His Spirit” – “of His Spirit” speaks of an inexhaustible supply, for “God giveth not the Spirit by measure.” Thus as a vessel, however weak and small, we dwell in God and God in us. Amazing truth! (see ver. 15).
In ver. 14, by virtue of the indwelling Spirit our testimony goes out to the world. “We,” must not be confined to the gifted only (see Acts 8:4). It is indeed a great wrong to the unsaved to make evangelizing the work of a few. Neither office, nor gift is indispensable for this, but the Holy Spirit. There are gifts (Eph. 4:11); but all who are saved, and thus know the Savior, are (each in his or her sphere) to bear testimony— “that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.” The principle is expressed in 2 Cor. 4:13, “We believe, and therefore speak.” ( To be continued, D.V.)

The Inspiration of the Scriptures: 4. the Human Element

Chapter 4—the Human Element
It is evident that a human element is in one form or another characteristic of inspiration, that it is even more “prophetic” in the New Testament than in the Old, and that it is only second in interest and importance to the divine which is there. But it is a phrase employed to insinuate liability to human error in some respect if not in all; just as men avail themselves of the Incarnation to overthrow or undermine the personal glory of Christ. Such unbelief is in both altogether unfounded and unworthy. Scripture is most explicit in guarding souls from thus dishonoring God's Son or His word; and all the more because appearances afford a handle to such as seek this occasion. For scripture, like the Lord Jesus, is a grand moral test; and those who desire not God's will can readily find reasons against both out of that will which is declared to be “enmity against God.” To impute human defect to scripture is to deny its inspiration of God.
1. As an important instance to test the unbelieving cavil, take the genealogy in the first chapter of Matthew's Gospel. This, pseudo-criticism will have to be a compilation of ignorance and mistake. It is often assumed that Matthew simply adopted the existing Jewish register. Gaps in such pedigrees were quite understood and made no difficulty where the line was sure, and give no real ground for the charge of discrepancy with other lists. Compare Ezra 7:1-5 with 1 Chron. 6:1-15 for the stem of Aaron. This was open to the inspiring Spirit here as elsewhere, if such were God's will. But the genealogy here has marks of design which we find only in scripture. It opens with marking out the Lord as “son of David, son of Abraham,” the beginnings of the kingdom as settled of God forever, and of the promises. Then it presents from Abraham to David fourteen generations, from David to the Babylonish migration as many, and the same from that migration to the birth of Christ.
It is universally known that three generations are omitted from the intermediate series. Nobody can with candor conceive that Matthew, whose Gospel displays pre-eminent and profound acquaintance with the Law, the Psalms, and the Prophets, did not perfectly well know that Ahaziah, Joash, and Amaziah were here left out between Joram and Uzziah. An unenlightened Israelite could not be ignorant of a fact so patent. It was therefore due to purpose, in no reasonable way to oversight or confusion. It was intended to arrange the line with but twice seven in each of its three sections the beginning of the stock of promise down to the king of God's choice; the course of the kingdom till its utter evil and humiliation in Babylon; and the faithfulness of God notwithstanding in preserving the royal line to the virgin's Son according to prophecy. As therefore some links must be dropt to effect this aim, who could be so fittingly omitted as these three descendants of the foreign and murderous Athaliah? The Jews themselves may well have done this in some register of theirs, assuredly not ignorant of what they did, but with moral design. Whether this was so or not, we cannot say, as the registers were lost at the destruction of Jerusalem. But the omission is plain at this point and to the extent of leaving the intended links of fourteen generations. Whatever may have been the motive of the writer, the fact is before all; and the character of the Gospel altogether refutes the imputation that it was lack of care, intelligence, or honesty. If he was inspired to give the genealogy, it is impossible that God could either lie or err.
But the proof of divine design appears in other features also. Think of any one on human grounds selecting such women as are here named in the earlier chain! Think of a Jew on his own motion inserting these only in his pedigree of the Messiah! Not a word about Sarah or Rebecca, of Leah or Rachel; but “Judah begot Pharez and Zarah of Thamar!” Certainly it was no accident to drag out a history so scandalous into the light of the N.T. risking the dishonor of the Messiah. And is it “after the manner of men” to blazon the fact that “Salmon begot Boaz of Rahab?” or even that “Boaz begot Obed of Ruth?” And when we come down to “David the king,” what can one say of recalling the chief shame that stained his life? “David begot Solomon of her [that had been wife] of Uriah?” An incestuous woman! a harlot! a Moabitess! an adulteress! Never was there such a choice, and in the face of so many admirable and saintly wives passed by!
No; it is incredible that any priest or scribe or lawyer ever drew up as a legal document such a genealogical roll. Further, it is not conceivable that Matthew himself would ever have thought or dared to do it without the power of the inspiring Spirit working in him to this end. It is at first sight as opposed as can be to every natural instinct. Nothing can account for it but the direct and deep purpose of God, Who was pleased to disclose to us the depths of sin abounding in Messiah's ancestry, calmly but expressly singled out, that we may see in His redemption, where sin abounded, grace surpassing yet more through Christ to God's glory. And if the Holy Spirit be the true author, and the result God's word, who and what are they who venture on their petty and unhallowed criticisms?
Again, the same spirit of unbelief objects to the genealogy that it is Joseph's line; whereas what they want is Mary's! There extreme ignorance is betrayed; for the genealogy needed to satisfy an inquiring Jew was and must be descent from Solomon. This was solely through Joseph. If our Lord had not inherited legally his title, He could not have been David's Son in the direct royal line. And this was given to Matthew, who proves Him to be beyond doubt the Heir through Solomon whose succession Jehovah confirmed with an oath: the true and expected David's Son Who was David's Lord, yet born of the virgin and so marked off from all others, Emmanuel, yet Jehovah, Who should save His people from their sins.
On the other hand, Luke's genealogy (which is quite mistakenly counted Joseph's, but can be shown demonstrably to be Mary's) was essential for the due proof that our Lord was her Son, not legally merely but really, Son of God and Son of man in one Person, and thus “Light for revelation of Gentiles, as well as glory of God's people Israel “: so all this Gospel illustrates. He was truly man: how else had He reached all mankind, or even Israel, as the Savior? He was as truly God: else He had never revealed Him adequately in His life, nor availed efficaciously in His atoning blood and death, as all the Gospels testify and above all John's. Christ was thus according to the law Joseph's heir, both naturally and supernaturally Mary's Son; above all He was the Only-begotten Son of God through eternity. This last is given by John, who furnishes no earthly genealogy any more than Mark, though for a wholly different reason: John, because He is presented as being God, and therefore far above it; Mark, as becoming Servant of God for every need of man, wherein nobody looks for a genealogy.
2. The next case we may here review is the inextricable difficulty some critics have found in comparing the Synoptic Gospels, and in particular on the supposition that the writers which succeeded each other had before them the Gospel or Gospels that preceded. The conclusion is that they had a common oral tradition or teaching, while each was left to tell his own story with all the modification incident to human weakness where there was also veracity. Let me cite the late Dean Alford on the example in question, which seemed to him not only typical but peculiarly plain and sure from his frequent allusion to it. “The real discrepancies between our Evangelistic histories are very few, and those nearly all of one kind. They are simply the results of the entire independence of the accounts. They consist mainly in different chronological arrangements, expressed or implied. Such for instance is the transposition, before noticed, of the history of the passage into the country of the Gadarenes, which in Matt. 8:28 ff. precedes a whole course of events which in Mark 5:1 ff. and Luke 8:26 ff. it follows. Such again is the difference in position between the pair of incidents related Matt. 8:19-22, and the same pair of incidents found in Luke 9:57-60” (Gr. Testament, Prolegg. I. 12, fifth edition). He gives these up as “real discrepancies,” complaining on the one side of enemies who would thereby overthrow the truth, and on the other of the orthodox who would harmonize at the expense of common fairness and candor.
Now why is it that one who sincerely loved the Lord and His word felt driven to so helpless a dilemma? Because he failed to hold unflinchingly that “every scripture is inspired of God,” and allowed under that standard that the writers were “left, in common with others, to the guidance of their natural faculties!” But this is not divine inspiration. It does not rise above the gracious guidance of the Spirit every Christian looks or ought to look for day by day. If the Dean would confine it to “much variety,” i.e. discrepancy in points of minor consequence, he could not resist the demands of others who apply it to any or every statement, be it of the highest moment. He thus surrenders the unwavering standard which faith finds in God's inspiring “every scripture.”
Is there then any insuperable obstacle in the way of believing that the differing arrangements, being equally inspired, are to be received implicitly as God's word and absolutely true? Why impute the difference to man's weakness? Why not to God's wisdom? One can heartily sympathize with a believer who says, Here is a difficulty beyond my solution; and so I wait and search with prayer to Him Who gave it by His Spirit for my comfort and instruction. Therefore, as I am sure it is all and equally true, I hope yet if it please Him to see the apparent discrepancy cleared, perhaps in my own reading, or yet more probably through another believer. For we are members one of another; and thus the Spirit loves to help. Far be it from me to lay on God's word the blame which belongs to my own spiritual dullness. In the present case, without in the least claiming power of the Spirit to meet every hard question or to answer all possible objections, let me say that the special design of each Gospel (ascertainable by grace from its own contents) is the main key.
Matthew was led of God frequently to depart from the mere order of the facts with the deeper end of the Spirit in setting out the dispensational change from Jehovah-Messiah's presence, and His rejection by the Jews. Luke was led to act similarly in presenting the moral principles which shone in Christ's words and ways as the Holy Thing born of woman, the Son of God, Man on earth among men. Chronology was on these occasions subordinate and vanished before the weightier aim of the Holy Spirit. In ordinary cases it was preserved; and so we may observe it to be all but invariably in the Gospels of Mark and John, the divine design in them not interfering with it.
Matt. 8 opens first with the Jewish leper cured; then follows the Gentile centurion's servant healed. Yet the fact of the leper occurred before the Lord went up the mountain in chaps. v., vi., vii., as is certain from comparing Mark! The centurion's servant was not healed till He came down. Again, Peter's mother-in-law was restored to strength from fever, and of course the crowd of sick and possessed after sunset of the same sabbath, before even the leper, as the same chapter of Mark proves beyond cavil. For in his Gospel we have the day specified and the order of events kept; whereas it is not so in the part of Matthew we are examining, where we have only “and,” “and,” “and,” leaving the time open, save in the connecting vers. 16, 17 with vers. 14, 15. Further, it is quite clear from Mark 4:35—5 that the passage across the lake and the storm that obeyed the Lord's rebuke were on the evening of the day when the Lord gave utterance to the great parables of Matt. 13, and that the two demoniacs were delivered on the other side after that, Mark and Luke being inspired to dwell on the more desperate case of Legion. There is not even the semblance of discrepancy; because Matthew states the facts without any note of time, and states them in the order suited to give a display of the Lord's power in detailed testimony on earth to show the dispensational change that was imminent. Mark gives them as they happened in his ministry; which enables us to see how hasty are all who set one account against another. The design explains each and all.
It may be added that Luke 9 appears to indicate that “the pair of incidents” which illustrate Christ's position in Mark 8 occurred historically after the transfiguration given in Matthew's chap. xvii. Hence we have there no note of time in the First Gospel. This cuts off all ground for the charge of “real discrepancy.” It is unworthy of a believer that anything of the kind should issue in a wanton insult to scripture, due to one's own haste and ignorance.

Are the Newman Street Teachers (Catholic Apostolic) Sent of God? 1

It is the character of heresy always to conceal itself, to cover the plain statement of the doctrine which forms its basis, or to misdirect the attention, so that the evil really introduced by the heresy may not be apparent. Heresy is not merely error; it is the power of error in seducing men's minds from the plain truth of the Spirit of God, so as to rest in, and be guided by, something besides the gospel.
The attention of many has been directed very much latterly, first to very large hopes, and then to assertion of the restoration of gifts to the church.
The destitute state of the church of God naturally gives great importance to such hopes in the eyes of those who, by Divine grace and the leading of the Spirit, are really interested as Christians in the condition of the church of God. And there are none, whose eyes are turned much upon the Lord, who do not more or less feel its need and troubled state.
The hopes press upon the mind; and they are naturally also much associated with the expectation of judgment, or at least liability to it, on the part of those whose lamps are not trimmed and their vessels full of oil. Under such circumstances the assertion, that persons are sent by God to announce that the gifts and presence of the Spirit are restored to the church, naturally awakens curiosity or interest.
But the doctrines connected with the assertion are little known, and not put forward so as to awaken the attention of those to whom the announcement of the restoration is made; while the responsibility of attending to the direct message from God is pressed strongly. Hence the conscience, not well informed, may be easily dismayed at the thought of not listening to God thus interfering in mercy, and at the judgments which will be the portion of those who refuse to hear.
But the first question is, before we listen, “Is it God that is speaking?” It is as awful and fatal an error to take that to be God speaking which is not, as to refuse to hear when He does speak.
When once we have taken it for granted that it is God who is speaking, then whatever is said we must implicitly receive. Judgment is gone; all investigation by the word of the truth of what is said ceases. We must follow implicitly everything without further inquiry. It becomes therefore a very important inquiry, Is it God who is speaking? This indeed would be a very anxious question, but that He has spoken already, and we have His word. Thus therefore I have the opportunity of trying everything that is asserted to be of God by that which I know to be of God. For the believer has many blessed truths indelibly printed on his mind by grace and the power of God's Spirit; yea, wrought into the framework of the new life, by which, if once touched, he knows that the truth upon which his soul infallibly rests is touched also.
Now I said that the doctrines with which the promises and gifts are identified are little known, and little brought forward into light. I shall state some of them; and then Christians may take the word and their own experience (by which I mean God's truth known in their souls), to see how what is here alleged to be of God, and what they know to be of God, agree. If they find it not to agree with God's word, with the known truth of God, then they can say at once, “It is not of God; and I have done with it.” The whole question is settled.
There is another simple way of determining it. And this is, if any one thing has been stated by that which we are told is the voice of God in the church which has not come to pass, or has been falsified by the event—as prophecy, not merely a threatening of judgment averted by repentance, but a distinct prophecy which has proved untrue—we can at once pronounce it not to be the testimony of God, and we have done with it as no true light.
Thus Jehovah says, “If there arise among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder come to pass whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet,” &c. (Deut. 13:1-3).
Because God had already claimed their allegiance as the true and only God, this could not be surrendered, whatever happened. It was a trial of allegiance to Him. So in the New Testament, “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:8, 9). For God had already revealed the true gospel. Now mark, if we do not know that, and what He has revealed about it, so as to have a means of judging anything else by it, we can have no hope, no knowledge, no expectation about the church at all. It is our sure knowledge of the truth of God's word that gives us any expectation about the church at all; so that those who make these promises to the church must admit this, and be content to be always tried by it, or not to be received at all.
They say, “Receive the testimony; come not judging, but willing to hear: God is speaking, and you must hear; and then you will receive light upon the scripture. What you have read and understood of it hitherto has been in the flesh.” If once I do this, I must then receive everything they say; for I admit that God says it. Take care of this. But the scriptures which they use to make me receive them are not the only scriptures I have read, nor the only ones which God's Spirit enables me to understand, nor the only ones sealed to my soul by His power; nor can they say these are the only ones you are to use. If I have read the scriptures without understanding them, whence my scriptural hope of the gifts? Is that the only scripture a Christian has understood? Well then, if not, I must hold to the rest too, and judge what is alleged to be of God by these known scriptures. One guard in the perilous times is, “Continue thou in the things which thou hast learned;” the other is, “that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” Nor are extraordinary gifts ever alleged as any guide at all. See 2 Tim. 3. We know that they will accompany evil. [See 2 Thess. 2:9, and Rev. 13:13-15.]
If I have been taught any of the scriptures of the Lord, then I am bound to judge that which the spirit they profess to give heed to has said, by every part of scripture which I have been so taught, by whatever scripture I know; or I despise the known word and guardianship of the Lord—I am departing from Him. (To be continued, D.V.)

Scripture Queries and Answers: JER 51:39, 57, REV 14:10, 11; Last Trump; Without; Dead and Living Saints; JUD 9

Q.-How are we to regard such scriptures as Jer. 51:39, 57, Rev. 14:10, 11? J. L. H.
A.-The “perpetual sleep” is through man's day with which the O. T. was conversant. The Chaldean Babylon should never wake. And so it has been. Rev. 14:10, 11 pierces more deeply as divine judgment on individual worshippers of God's enemy, and “forever” has the unlimited force of the N. T. Christ has brought to light, not only life and incorruption, but the second death and everlasting judgment. “Seventy years” in no way measure Babylon's doom, but the chastening of the land and people of Judæa; and the rejection of the Messiah has again sealed their desolations till the day of Jehovah brings them deliverance.
Q.-1 Cor. 15:52. What is the connection, if any, between the last trumpet here, and the last of the seven in Rev. 11? M. A.
A.-The figure of the trumpet sounding, and of the final one, is common to both; but the connection of each is wholly different. In Rev. 11 it is the culmination of God's loud warnings of judgment, after both Judaism and Christendom had run their sad, sinful, and apostate course. The day of Jehovah follows. In 1 Cor. 15 it is the close of the Christian testimony in the triumph announced by that figure when the risen Lord not only raises the dead saints but changes the living at His coming. “The last trump” seems to be drawn from what all in that day knew so familiarly, the final signal when, after preparatory tokens to guide, the last sound was given for a Roman legion to quit their old encampment and march.
Q.-What is the difference between ἄνευ and χωρὶς, as both mean “without”? D.
A.-The first expresses privation or non-existence; the second only separation, or apartness. Thus on the one hand Matt. 10:29 denies the exclusion or non-existence of their Father's care in the least thing; 1 Peter 3:1 shows how unbelieving husbands may be won absolutely without the word by the pious conduct of saintly wives; and 4:9 would have hospitality quite without a murmur. On the other hand Matt. 13:34 and Mark 4:34 only assert that apart from parable He spoke nothing then. So Matt. 14:21 and 15:38 may not deny the presence of women and children, as ἄνευ would, but do not count them. In John 1:3; 15:5, χωρὶς alone suits: apart from Him did not anything come into being; apart from Him the disciples can produce no fruit. So Rom. 3:21 does not negative the existence or importance of law, but shows that God's righteousness is now manifested apart from law. In Rom. 4:6 ἄνευ (privation) of works would never do, but χωρὶς apart from them.
Q. What is the Lord's way of bringing the dead saints in company with the living ones into the kingdom at His coming? A. W.
A.-The answer is given expressly in 1 Thess. 4:13-17. It was raised by the death of some believers at Thessalonica to the astonishment of their brethren. So full of immediate expectation were they as to be stumbled by the event. They had exceeded the error of those in Jerusalem who wrongly inferred that John was not to die, but to be found alive when the Lord came. The Thessalonians still more extravagantly assumed that no Christian could die before it. But neither the Lord in the Gospels nor the Holy Spirit when come gave any warrant for it. Again, the martyrdom of Stephen and James (son of Zebedee) was so publicly known, to speak of nothing else, as to prove its fallacy by the simple facts. Nor can we doubt that many had already fallen asleep both in Judæa and among the nations.
The apostle here therefore explains how the Lord will act at His coming. So far from unavailing sorrow and unintelligent disappointment, they should rejoice that God will bring with Jesus those put to sleep by Him, This will be for introducing the kingdom; but how? Are not the living to precede those that sleep? Certainly not. For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with an assembling shout, with archangel's voice, and with the trump of God; and instead of being anticipated, still less of losing their place in the kingdom, “the dead in Christ shall rise first, then we the living that survive shall be caught up together with them in clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” He comes for the saints, dead and living, to be thenceforward forever with Him; so that, when the moment arrives to come in His kingdom and in the execution of the judgment that precedes its establishment in peace, they all follow Him out of heaven, and are manifested with Him in glory. Compare 1 Cor. 15:23, 51, 52; Col. 3:4; 2 Thess. 2:1; Jude 1, 14; Rev. 17:14; 19:14.
Q.-What do you gather from Jude 9? J. D. P.
A.-We know from Dan. 12 that to Michael the archangel is confided by God the chief place of guardianship over Israel. He it is who “at the time of the end,” when the final collision of the powers rages in and around Jerusalem, shall stand up for the children of Daniel's people. It was no new interest of his. Jude was inspired to recall the thrilling fact of the unseen world, that even so early as at Moses' death there was a contention between him and the devil about the dead body. Doubtless the adversary's aim as ever was to deceive and destroy thereby; and it may be by setting up for adoration that relic of him whom when living he stirred them up to disobey, oppose, and revile. Even Michael railed not against Satan but said, Jehovah rebuke thee. Compare Zech. 3. It is for the vilest to revile those whom God honors in any way. Jude helps to fill in the sketch drawn in Deut. 34:6.



The Early Chapters of Genesis: Chapter 11:10-26: 3. The Crisis

From the detailed comparison of the genealogies in this book, let us turn to the humbling crisis at this stage of man's sad story. Very interesting it is to note that we are indebted for it to the book of Joshua. In its last chapter we have him making a covenant with the people after his farewell charge at Shechem to the assembled tribes. Thus carefully but in our eyes peculiarly does God order His word. Is it not that we may search and cherish every part of it? Who beforehand could have looked for such important information about the father of Abraham in the book of the conquest of Canaan? Who yet more surprisingly could have anticipated in the Epistle of Jude the account of Michael's contention with Satan? The effort to reduce scripture to the merely human or historical method is vain. Its divinely inspired character is wholly inconsistent with such an aim. Man may not believe God; but he gives Him the lie at his own peril, and must justly suffer if he does not repent.
It is then in Josh. 24 we read that Joshua said to all the people, “Thus saith Jehovah, the God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt of old on the other side of the river [the Euphrates], Terah, the father of Abraham and the father of Nahor; and they served other gods.” It is the first notice the Bible affords of idolatry; and this not when it began, but when it corrupted the immediate progenitor of Abraham. There was abundant and flagrant evil in the ante-diluvian world; but of serving other gods we never hear. Nor is there any hint of its existence after the deluge till scripture thus speaks of the fathers in Terah's day, though self will wrought strangely in the race generally and in Nimrod particularly. God was in none of their thoughts. Human association only drew out dispersion; and individual energy subjugated mankind, as it had the beasts previously.
The judgment of God abides in the confusion of tongues; and man's age dwindles with comparative rapidity down to the common standard that subsists. The obedience or gathering of the peoples is reserved for Shiloh. In Him indeed it is God's purpose to head up all things, the things in the heavens, and the things on the earth. The entire universe shall find in Him the true center; and we who are His shall share His exaltation Who is the Heir, as He was the Creator, of all things.
But the enemy at this point is shown to have taken a new step of daring moment. He establishes himself as God in the worship of mankind; and so successful were his wiles that, when first told of the fact, we hear of its prevalence in the fathers of Israel. Blessed, said Noah, be Jehovah the God of Shem; but now we find the sons of Shem, and in the most favored stem, serving other gods. Had Ham been thus apostate, or Canaan, Shem's bondman, it were not so astounding. But no; it was not even haughty Japheth enlarging his border and in his earthly energy forgetting the only true God. It was Shem's descendant Terah, father of Abraham and father of Nahor; it was they that “served other gods.” This too was the fitting moment to show how grace had shone on Abraham, when he and his brother and his father were walking thus evilly, separating him to be a witness of the true God. So the sons of Israel knew that they themselves were called to be His people and witnesses since Moses led them out of Egypt. But it is precisely therein lay their danger of returning to what they were called out of. This Satan ever seeks as the enemy of God and man: how successfully when God is forgotten! And Joshua appreciated the danger.
Genesis simply states the fact on God's part and on Abram's, and even in this delays stating it till Terah was dead, when Abraham acted on it freely and faithfully, for he had been hindered as long as Terah lived. It is only when Joshua was near his departure that we learn the deplorable evil, to which Jehovah applied in sovereign grace the separative principle of His call, choosing Abraham to enjoy His promise, blessed and a blessing to all the families of the earth, as will yet be proved in the fullest way when Christ comes.
Let us consider the unclean thing as scripture treats it. The deluge left mankind with the strongest impression of the living God's hand. But they soon ceased to glorify Him as God and were unthankful. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and, changing the truth of God into falsehood, they worshipped the creature more than the Creator Who is blessed forever. Amen. When idolatry began, or by whom is not said, but that Terah and his sons were involved in it. Now in 1 Cor. 10:20 the apostle, citing Deut. 32:17, pronounces on what it really is, though the form may differ. The worship of the heavens and all its host, of the earth and the sea and their denizens, the serpent especially, or again of heroes and departed ancestors, or of fabulous beings and their images, soon laid hold of men's imagination, not only to shut out God but to debase their votaries to the uttermost. And no wonder. For both O.T. and New, as we have seen, declare that what they sacrificed they sacrificed to demons, not to God. Demons were in effect behind the idols. If the idols were nothing in themselves, the demons were an awful reality of subtle and malignant evil to the ruin of such as paid the idols reverence.
Man was corrupt and violent, as before the deluge. But it was an awful advance in rebellion against God, when men not only did without Him absolutely, but chose as their gods many and lords many those who were only mightier rebels than themselves. What a deadly insult to the true God!
How humbling that the lesson is lost on philosophizing linguists like Max Muller! In the second series of Lectures on the Science of Language (419425) he mildly deprecates the strong language of the Bible just cited, and misconstrues God's word in Acts 14:16 and especially in Acts 17:22-31. He admits a great amount of incontestable truth in “hard words such as idolatry and devil worship;” yet he “cannot help thinking that full justice has never been done to the ancient religions of the world (!) not even to those of the Greeks and Romans (! I) who in so many other respects are acknowledged by us as our teachers and models.” It is to be feared that a classical taste has not been acquired without the moral degradation which accompanies idolatry, and not least that of Greeks and Romans. Alas! it has ever been apt to dispose the youth of Christendom toward the not less real but more guilty idolatries of Popery and her Greek and Oriental rivals. Augustine was right in believing the inspired warning that demons exercise real mischief in connection with idol worship; he was deplorably wrong in thinking that it was better for professing Christians, as they would get drunk on feast days, thus to indulge in honor of martyrs rather than at the altars of Jove or Bacchus.
So Prof. M. contrasts the language in Acts with that in 1 Cor. 10:20, saying that the former “are truly Christian words” and that “this is the truly Christian spirit in which we ought to study the ancient religions of the world: not as independent of God, not as the work of an evil spirit, as mere idolatry and devil-worship, not even as mere human fancy, but as a preparation, as a necessary part in the education of the human race—as a race ‘seeking the Lord if haply they might feel after him.'“ Can infatuation or perversion be more complete? Fallen man has a conscience, which refers even in a pagan to God, and vainly sought satisfaction by sacrifices to the gods of its own imagining. Of this the apostle at Athens availed himself, by an altar “to God unknown,” to proclaim the true and only God. It is too plain that this learned man failed to see the perfect consistency of seeking to win the heathen by preaching the grace and truth of Him Whom they knew not, while sternly reproving the profane levity of the Corinthians in partaking of the table and of the cup at a Gentile temple, on the plea that the idol was nothing. The same apostle declares that to do so is communion with demons, and that he did not wish them to be in communion with demons. Think of Paul wishing them or any other Christians “to study the ancient religions of the world!” and to study them “as a preparation, as a necessary part of the education of the human race!” Such is the wisdom of this age, totally insensible to what God revealed to us through the Spirit, as it is to what the cross of Christ means.

The Offerings of Leviticus: 8. Trespass Offering

Lev. 5:20-26 (6:1-7)
There is another form of the Guilt offering, which meets treachery against a neighbor, or falsehood as to something lost. This Jehovah counted against Himself indirectly, as the former case affected Him directly. Ignorance is not supposed in question with a neighbor, but it might easily be alas! in the things forbidden to be done by the commandments of Jehovah. It is obvious that these seven verses, though a fresh precept which Jehovah spoke to Moses, are the proper conclusion of chapter 5 as in the Hebrew Bible. They ought not to be the opening section of chapter v as in the English Bible. Why the Revised V. did not rectify the mistake seems strange; but it shows how hampered they were by prejudice or restriction. For it severs the true complementary link with chapter:14-19, and interferes with the due order for “the laws of the offerings” which begin with what is thus made verse 8 of chapter 6.
“And Jehovah spoke to Moses, saying, If anyone sin, and commit a perfidy against Jehovah, and lie to his neighbor as to a matter of trust, or a loan, or a robbery, or a cheat to his neighbor; or have found what was lost and lieth therein, and sweareth falsely; in any of all these that a man doeth, sinning therein, then it shall be, if he hath sinned and hath trespassed that he shall restore what he robbed, or what he defrauded, or the trust entrusted to him, or the lost thing which he found, “or all about which he swore falsely; and he shall restore it in the principal and shall add the fifth part more thereto; to whom it belongeth shall he give it on the day of his trespass-offering. And his trespass offering he shall bring to Jehovah, a ram without blemish out of the flock according to thy valuation as a trespass offering unto the priest. And the priest shall make atonement for him before Jehovah, and it shall be forgiven him concerning anything of all he did to trespass therein” (vers. 20-26).
What grace on Jehovah's part thus to regard wrongs against a neighbor as wrongs against Himself also, and to require a reparation and a like Trespass offering! Yet was it due to His glory and needed by man that a distinct ordinance should draw the line between them. The trespass against a neighbor brought out a new speech from Jehovah to Moses, instead of being a simple appendage as verses 17-19 were to verses 14-16, an appendage which refused to allow the excuse of ignorance in the holy things of Jehovah.
Yet there is, as might be expected, no small variety in these wrongs which demanded a Trespass offering. The first form of the guilt here denounced appears to be a failure in private trust. It might be any valuable or document of use, committed to the custody of a friend; it might be only an animal, or a book lent, an ax borrowed, or money confided however little. But Jehovah took notice and bound up the trustful Israelite's rights with His own name. The next would seem to be a matter public, of barter, or of virtual partnership perhaps in business, where the evil done was not viewed as a wrong but as a failure in responsibility, however fair in appearance. Here our version like the Septuagint renders it “in fellowship,” as distinct from the preceding case of private trust. The Vulgate translates loosely and confounds the two. The better Jewish authorities distinguish the second as a loan, from the former as a deposit. Then we have a violent exercise of power, followed by one of deceit as in withholding wages, &c.: both apt to be common and covering many a failure which Jehovah resented. Next, we have the finding of what one's neighbor lost, and falsehood about it, even to perjury.
In every such case Jehovah demanded a Trespass offering as rigorously as in His holy things. Not only must there be restitution of the principal, but a double tithe, or fifth part, rendered as a penalty. And as His own honor was concerned, in the failure to maintain the holy relationship of Israel, an unblemished ram was prescribed as the one unvarying Trespass offering permissible. By this, and this only, the priest should make atonement for the guilty offerer, “and it shall be forgiven him,” with the striking addition here only “for any one of all which he did to trespass therein.”
But it is well to take note of the difference in the order prescribed between the guilt in Jehovah's holy things (14-19) and that incurred in the cases of one's neighbor (20-26), with which we are immediately concerned. In the former the offering took the first place; in the latter the reparation. Both were required. Jehovah regarded either as His dishonor: and the ram was equally necessary as the reparation with the added fifth part. But the difference of order was made to impress the Israelite's heart with what touched Jehovah directly as compared with what was indirect in defrauding the neighbor. Who but God could have provided thus holily for His people in distinctions so nice and profitable? Neither Moses nor Aaron, nor Samuel nor David, still less men later in a dark, fallen, and comparatively careless state. It was Jehovah from the beginning.
It was not yet nor could be under the law to proclaim remission of sins absolutely and forever to every believer. This awaited the Lord Jesus and His accomplished work of redemption in the gospel. For “the blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleanseth us from every sin.” But it was no niggardly comfort the righteous Jehovah even then and thus gave the penitent Israelite, conscious of having sinned shamefully, and of desecrating the holy standing of His people.

Proverbs 3:1-4

The opening chapters set out moral wisdom in the fear of Jehovah as the true and sure preservative in a world of self will and its evils of violence and corruption. Redemption is not introduced any more than a new nature, but the duty primarily for the Israelite of subjection to divine instruction, with the consequent establishment in the land when the wicked perish out of it.
Here follows still more ample exhortation as well as admonition, that the discipline might issue in the happiest and most fruitful results.
“My son, forget not my teaching, but let thy heart keep my commandments: for length of days and years of life and peace shall they add to thee. Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the tablet of thy heart; and thou shalt find favor and good understanding in the sight of God and man” (vers. 1-4).
We thus learn how far the O. T. was from casting the people of God on the sentiments, emotions, or reasonings of their own hearts. It was but an imperfect or at least partial revelation. “For the law made nothing perfect.” The first man was under process of trial; the Second had not yet appeared. There were dealings of God and testings of man; revelations from God, but not yet God revealed. For the Son of God had not come nor given us an understanding that we might know Him that is True.
Yet even in the days when faith waited for its Object and His work, and the best blessing then lay in promise, the heart was formed by the positive teaching afforded, and trained in the observance of commandments which came from God. They might come through a parent; and such no doubt was the due order in Israel, as it had been marked from their father Abraham, as Jehovah deigned to express His pleasure in his commanding his children and his household, that they might keep the way of Jehovah, to do justice and judgment. But what gave divine value was that it was His teaching, and that the commandments enjoined were His. This alone sanctifies-obeying God, obeying His word, the effect and proof of love, when any are in relationship with God. Nor do we forget but remember what we love and value.
So the Lord puts it in His matchless way to the disciples. “He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me; and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself unto him” (John 14:21). What a contrast with dark superstition, forbidden to have His commandments through fear of making an ill use of them, and shut up to a sinful director, and to its tradition nobody knows whence, both human and precarious at best! What a contrast with the yet darker sin, which denies the authority of God to every scripture, and thereby would deprive His words of spirit and life! Even a Jew was not so bereft of blessing. He was called not to forget what he had been taught, and his heart to observe commandments which were Jehovah's, only through Moses or any other that communicated them. What a blessed picture Luke 2 sets before us of the Lord, thus obedient in the days of His early sojourn, subject to Joseph and Mary in Nazareth, yet conscious of a higher relationship and so occupied with His Father's things! And blessed were the fruits. Even then truly, as He said afterward, He kept His Father's commandments and abode in His love. So here it is written for the obedient Israelites, “length of days, and long life, and peace shall they add to thee.” But this is far from all. As we know that “grace and truth came by Jesus Christ,” the Israelite was exhorted to cherish confidence in mercy, or loving kindness, and truth. Let them “not forsake thee,” is the word. He was entitled to believe and count on them habitually and evermore. “Bind them about thy neck, write them upon the tablet of thy heart.” What ornament can compare with them? What inward lesson so cheering and invigorating! “And thou shalt find favor and good understanding [if this last be the shade of sense here meant] in the sight of God and man.” So we see in our perfect pattern. Our Lord assuredly found in His unequaled path of subjection “favor” with God and man, as we are told. Whether the word often rendered “good understanding” is not modified here as sometimes elsewhere may be questioned. But as it stands, it was a good and welcome stamp of divine approval through devotedness to God's will, without either self-seeking or men-pleasing. Happy, when as here, it comes as the answer without as well as on high, to grace and truth written on the heart! Now too one word, Christ, expresses all; and the Spirit of the living God is given to us who believe, that He may be written truly and deeply on those tablets of flesh, our hearts. How rich the grace wherein we stand! For we all, contemplating with unveiled face the glory of the Lord, are being changed into the same image from glory to glory as by the Lord the Spirit.

Gospel Words: the Rich Man and Lazarus

Luke 16:19-31
In the second half of this chapter the Lord still makes known the truth which came into evidence through His rejection. The light of eternal and heavenly things is let in on the present state and life on earth. The first man is fallen, evil and lost. If the Jew pre-eminently had been God's steward, he was unjust, and his occupation gone. Prosperity was no test of divine favor. That which is exalted among men is abomination in the sight of God. Since John, the Kingdom of God is preached: it is therefore an urgent question of pressing into it, and this on the part of “every one “; for grace opens the door to any. His death was at hand, which gives the believer even from the tribe of Judah or of Levi righteous deliverance from the law; so that there is no adultery, when one belongs to Another raised up from the dead, in order to bear fruit unto God, as the apostle wrote to the Roman saints.
How solemn and momentous the issues in the unseen world!
“Now there was a certain rich man, and he was clothed in purple and fine linen, making good cheer splendidly day by day. And a certain pauper by name Lazarus was laid at his gate-way, full of sores and desiring to be filled with the things that fell from the table of the rich man; nay, even the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass that the pauper died and was carried away by the angels into the bosom of Abraham. And the rich man also died and was buried; and in Hades lifting up his eyes being in torments, he seeth Abraham afar off and Lazarus in his bosom. And calling he said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in anguish in this flame. But Abraham said, Child, remember that thou in thy lifetime didst fully receive thy good things, and Lazarus likewise evil things; but now here he is comforted and thou art in anguish. And besides all these things, between us and you a great chasm is fixed, so that those desiring to pass hence unto you cannot, nor those from that side may cross unto us. And he said, I beseech thee then, father, that thou wouldest send him unto the house of my father (for I have five brothers), that he may thoroughly testify to them, lest they too come into this place of torment. But Abraham saith [to him], They have Moses and the prophets: let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham; but if one from the dead go unto them, they will repent. And he said to him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, not even if one rise out of the dead will they be persuaded” (vers. 19-31),
The Savior depicts a man easy and luxurious in a world of misery, without faith in a world of sin, morally decent, outwardly religious, but living to self and practically infidel. Who did not know it in Israel? Who is not familiar with it in Christendom? Lazarus represents the contrast of the pious beggar laid hard by with none to pity his bodily sores but the dogs. The Conqueror of death lifts the veil. Then appears the truth for eternity: Lazarus in Abraham's bosom, the rich man that enjoyed himself in torments! What mattered the funeral pomp? or if the poor man had not even a grave? The angels carried the godly soul to the bosom of God's friend; the rich man left the vain and transient show of this world, and opened his eyes in the flame of Hades, aggravated by the sight of the blessed afar off—yea, of him there who on earth awakened only his disgust. Now he implores of his father Abraham that Lazarus might allay his burning tongue with the merciful touch of water at the tip of the finger!
It is not a picture of resurrection to come, but of what instantly follows death, though expressed in figures drawn from the body through which we now derive our sensations. The believer once wretched is comforted, the godless is in anguish. Like the parable before, it reveals not the means of salvation, but the character and end, whether of the saved or of the lost. Through many tribulations we must enter into the kingdom of God. If we suffer with Christ, we shall also be glorified with Him. To try to reign now is a danger and delusion: if we endure, we shall also reign together. Even Christ is not reigning yet, but rejected by man He is waiting on the Father's throne.
The latter verses (27-31) bring out the all-importance of faith; as the Jew, long favored, is now the standing witness of ruin through unbelief. The testimony of God in His word, O.T. or N.T, is the ground of faith. Even a Lazarus sent from the grave would not avail to convince those who do not listen believingly to Moses and the prophets. In fact another Lazarus was raised by the Lord Jesus not long after; but instead of convincing the Jews, he only provoked the murderous nature of the chief priests and the Pharisees (John 11:47-53). The carnal mind is enmity against God, and rises, proudly and most of all, against His grace in Christ. Yet by grace only are any saved through faith. Hence it is by hearing the word of truth; and this is now in the richest form and fullness, the gospel of our salvation, as the apostle calls it. For God has gone beyond all thoughts and wishes of man in raising up Jesus our Lord from the dead, Who, as He was delivered for our offenses, was raised for our justification.
It is Christ's death and resurrection which alone could save. Therefore is it God's righteousness, not man's, that He might be just and the justifier of him that believeth on Jesus.
There is no other way, no other salvation. To the poor is the gospel preached; but it had not been God's gospel, unless it were equally open to and reliable for the rich. For the truth of Christ is mighty to make the lowly boast in his elevation, and the rich in his humiliation. To Him be the praise and the glory now and evermore. Amen.
Assuredly for you, my readers, no great gulf is fixed between God and you. Christ is still speaking from heaven as a Savior that you may believe; and as faith comes by a report, so the report is by the word of God. Your guilty conscience may well dread an impassable gulf; but there is a perfect way, a safe bridge fixed between God and you; and Christ is that way. Oh! take it now, this way to the Father in the Son; for the Holy Spirit deigns and loves to proclaim the glad news to you.

Reflections on Galatians 6:3-10

Gal. 6:3-6
THE law of Christ tends to keep the soul subdued and humble in contrast with Moses' law with which the Galatians were so enamored. The sense of divine grace is then deep and real in the soul, and preserves from inflation, to which the flesh is ever prone. Hence the apostle says, “For if a man think himself to be something when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself” (ver. 3). Time was when Paul thought himself to be something. Recall his list of legal attainments and advantages as given in Phil. 3:5, 6. He then thought himself the best of men and gloried in flesh to the utmost. But how vast the change when the light of God was let into his soul! How complete the transformation after his memorable meeting with the glorified Christ! The best of men discovered himself to be the chief of sinners; for whom nothing but sovereign grace and mercy could avail. “I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 1:12-16). Never afterward did he “think himself to be something.” The proud haughty Pharisee became the lowliest of men, the closest possible follower of a rejected and suffering Lord. Only grace can accomplish this. Law tends to puff up. It flatters flesh, or at least flesh uses it in this way. Man with the law in his hand thinks himself competent to worship God and to serve Him.
With this humility and brokenness, the apostle connects heart-searching and examination of one's ways. “But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden” (vers. 4, 5). Verse 4 in no way contradicts verse 2. In the earlier verse it is a question of sympathy with one another's infirmities. We are to be helpers of each other, bearing one another's burdens (Βάρη). Here it is responsibility where each must stand alone; “every man shall bear his own burden” (φορτίον). Responsibility cannot be shifted to other shoulders; each individual saint will have to render his own account to God. Solemn consideration! We are apt to lose sight of the judgment-seat of Christ where all that we have done in the body will be gone into by the Lord. But to overlook it is dangerous. Grace does not do away with responsibility, but rather deepens it.
The point before the mind of the Spirit here is that everyone should look to his own ways, that in the coming day he may have rejoicing as to himself. The word is needful and wholesome beyond all doubt. The heart is so treacherous that there is always a tendency to be occupied with the ways and failings of others rather than with our own. It is perfectly possible to complain loudly of a mote in the eye of another and be quite unconscious that a beam resides in one's own. A great advantage is thus given to the enemy, which he is never slow to avail himself of, to the sorrow and shame of the saints and above all to the Lord's dishonor. Let us esteem such ways, beloved brethren. While not overlooking evil in others, let us correct our own ways, remembering that each has to answer to the Lord for himself. Beware of mounting the judgment-seat; it is the prerogative of the Lord Jesus Christ.
A word as to Heb. 13:17 may be useful here. There the apostle bids the saints to obey their leaders; “for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy and not grief: for that is unprofitable for you.” This must not be misunderstood. The verse by no means teaches that spiritual guides are responsible for the souls placed under their care. Such an idea may suit priestly pretenders, but not the Spirit of God. Each man stands on his own responsibility to God, as we have seen. But all who serve among the Lord's saints are accountable to Him for their behavior; and this is what the apostle has before him in Heb. 13:17. The Lord will inquire by-and-by as to whether the diseased have been strengthened, and the broken ones healed. On the other hand, let those cared for look well to it that they cause no unnecessary grief to such as love and care for them for the Lord's sake.
To return to our chapter, we next meet with a word as to the temporal support of laborers. “Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things” (ver. 6). If spiritual things are freely sown, it ought not to be a great matter if the temporal is reaped in return. God looks for this from His own. It is not only the due of His servants, but His due, which He never foregoes, though all is on the ground of grace. The apostle's exhortation in this place is purposely general, not local. Suppose in a given place, the saints are served by those who need no return from them, are they free from all responsibility as before the Lord? Assuredly not. The church of God is one, and the laborers are one; in such a case the heart must find vent for its bounty elsewhere. This is an important principle for all to remember. A harvest of blessing will always be reaped where it is acted upon in faith and love.

James 3:13

From the preceding illustrations, so pungent and powerful, against the inconsistency and unnaturalness of unloving and unworthy language in lips which were avowedly consecrated to the glory of Jesus according to the character of a new nature, the Epistle turns to and raises the question of the wisdom and understanding which becomes His followers.
“Who [is] wise and understanding among you? Let him show out of his good conduct his works in meekness of wisdom” (ver. 13).
It is the opening of a new paragraph which continues to the end of this chapter, and passes indeed into the following one by way of contrast. The appeal here is searching. For assuredly those who set up so zealously to teach others did not doubt their own wisdom and understanding. Yet are they not rare and precious qualities?
1 Cor. 12 speaks of the “word of wisdom” and the “word of knowledge” as given through the Spirit, and presents them in the front place when he particularizes the forms which “the manifestation of the Spirit” takes, as given to each for the common profit. On the other hand he puts in the last place “kinds of tongues” and “interpretation of tongues,” of which the light-minded and unspiritual Corinthians had shown themselves vain and had made a disorderly use. He is far from denying the divine source and character of either; on the contrary he declares that “all these things” (after giving a considerable list of powers then in action) “worketh the one and the same Spirit, dividing to each in particular as He will (or, pleaseth).” For He is sovereign as a divine Person. But they had not all the same spiritual value. Some gifts edified the assembly by revealing God's mind and counsels; others nourished and directed the new life of individuals in His will; some strengthened for service, others issued in praise and thanksgiving. Again, some were for a sign to the unbelievers, while others were directed distinctly to the believers. And as prophesying had this latter character peculiarly, so tongues and the former had a lower place, though to outward appearance far the more extraordinary of the two. But here we may notice, as in 1 Cor. 12:28 too, the apostle's uniform guard against an estimate altogether human and erroneous. Why not desire earnestly the greater but less showy gifts? “Brethren, be not children in mind, but in malice be babes, but in mind be of full age” (1 Cor. 14:20).
In our Epistle however there is no development of that which is so prominent in the First Epistle to the Corinthians, but a moral dealing with the danger there and then prevalent among those addressed. The aim is to correct the haste and the character of speech generally, and the readiness to teach in particular. From the beginning, not only of the Christian confession, but of Israel's history, we may observe what importance was given to wisdom and understanding. Weigh such plain instances as Deut. 1:13, 15, and 4:5-6. “Take you wise men, and understanding, and known, according to your tribes, and I will make them heads over you.” “So I took the heads of your tribes, wise men, and known, and made them heads over you, captains of thousands, and captains of hundreds, and captains of fifties, and captains of tens, and officers, according to your tribes.” “Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as Jehovah my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the midst of the land whither ye go in to possess it. Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.” Indeed the spirit of it runs through that remarkable book, as obedient heed to the word of God forms it. What else can be the condition of blessing for all in relationship with God, be it for earth or for heaven?
Here a similar object appears in the inquiry, “Who is wise and understanding among you?” and in the counsel that follows, “Let him show out of his good course of conduct (that becomes such a man, in deed and in truth) his works (not self-complacently or ostentatiously, but) in meekness of wisdom.” What more holy, sober, or pertinent? What more sad than when wisdom seems assuming or harsh? It is abiding in Christ that produces fruit acceptable to our God and Father, But we need His words too, and prayer.

Sanctification, or Setting Apart to God: 4

1 Peter 1
In 2 Thess. 2:10 it is written, as to the unbelieving contrasted with the Christians, that they have not received (or rather accepted) the love of the truth, that they might be saved. Therefore God will send them a strong delusion, that they should believe a lie, that they all might be damned who have not believed the truth, &c. But, my brethren, beloved of the Lord, we are bound to give thanks to God for you, because God hath chosen you from the beginning to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.
It is then the belief of the truth; it is not the belief of its fruits. The Holy Spirit cannot present to me the works He has produced in me, as the object of my faith. He speaks to me of my faults, of my short-comings, but never of the good works that may be in me. He produces them in me, but He hides them from me; for if we think of them, it is but a more subtle self-righteousness. It is like the manna which, being kept, produced worms. All is spoiled-it is no more faith in action. The Holy Spirit must always present to me Christ, that I may have peace.
The same principle is in John 17:16, “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by thy truth; thy word is truth.” The world was not Christ's aim.
During His whole life, though He was not gone out of the world, He was no more of the world than if He had been in heaven. When practice is in question, He says, “They are not of the world, as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by thy truth.” Truth is not of the world; the world is a vast lie, which is demonstrated in the history we possess in the Bible. There we find the manifestation of sin in the natural man, and the manifestation of the life of God in the regenerate man by His word. “Sanctify them by thy truth.” “For their sakes I sanctify myself.” What does the Lord Jesus here for us? He sets Himself apart, He sanctifies Himself. It is not that He may be more holy, but He makes Himself the model-man. It is not a law requirement; but it is Christ Himself Who is life and power, whereof He presents the perfect result. It is Christ Who presents the fulfillment and the perfection; He is the vital spring of all; and in considering these things, the reflection of them is in me by faith, which reproduces them in the inner man and in the life.
We find something interesting on this subject in the first chapter of John's Gospel. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God... In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” The law was not this. It was not a light that condemned; but the Life was this light, and we have seen it, full of grace and truth-not of truth only but of grace; and of His fullness have all we received, and grace for grace. When we have received Christ, there is not a single grace which is not for me, and in me. There is no Christian who has not every grace that is in Jesus. Suppose even a state of failure; it is the strongest case: but this hinders not that we possess all in Him. Failure is a sad thing, but it changes not the position; for the Christian has not received a part only of Christ, but the whole of Christ.
On the one hand, it is encouragement: when I say to myself, “I must seek after such a grace,” the answer is, “Thou possessest it;” and on the other hand, “it humbles me,” for if I possess it, why is it not manifested? This always supposes that we have received the truth that God has made peace. We must always return to this, “Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth.” Is it by looking into myself that I shall find this sanctification? No: but in looking to Jesus, in Whom it is, Christ having been made unto us of God “righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.”
I see perfect humility in Christ, and take pleasure in it. When I look to Him by faith, my soul is in peace. His Spirit is always in me, and I am sanctified by faith in Him, according to that grace which makes me one with Him. Christ gives me all that; and His truth reveals to me that the redemption is made, and I enjoy it, having obeyed the truth.
If anyone seeks after sanctification without being assured of his justification, and is consequently troubled about it, doubting whether he be a Christian, then I ask him: “What have you to do with sanctification?” You have not to think about this for the present. Assure yourself, first of all, that you are saved. Pagans, unbelievers, do not sanctify themselves. If you have faith, you are saved; then sanctify yourself in peace. The only question is to consider your sinful state. First, have you obeyed the truth? have you submitted to it? What does God speak to you about? He speaks of peace made. He says to you, that He has given His Son; He says to you, that He so loved the world, that He gave His Only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. This is the truth to which you have to submit, and to receive above all; specially before you busy yourself about sanctification, which depends upon Him Who has given you eternal life.
Begin then by obeying the truth of God. This truth tells you of the righteousness of God, which is satisfied in Jesus, and which is yours; yea rather that you are in Christ. Then you will enjoy peace, and you will be sanctified in practice: for practical sanctification flows from the contemplation of Jesus. Here is what the apostle Paul says to us on this subject in 2 Cor. 3:18: “We all, with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord are changed into the same image, from-glory to glory, even as by the Lord the Spirit.”
You see that it is in beholding Jesus that we are transformed from glory to glory. Life, the principle of life, is there, and not in your anxieties; the development of the life of Jesus is progressively realized by looking to Him. It is faith which sanctifies, as also it justifies; it looks unto Jesus.
When Moses came down from the mountain from before God, he did not know that he also shone with glory; but those who saw him knew it. Moses had looked toward God; others saw the effect. Blessed be God that it is thus in a practical sense! As to practice then, the question is the sanctification of Christians, because they are saved, because they are sanctified to God as respects their persons (not those who are not yet so). It is not to exact (on God's part), but to communicate life. Now, this communication proceeds from Jesus, Who is its source. He communicates life, which is holiness in effect.
Oh! that God might always show us the grace to make us ever more and more feel that all flesh is as grass, and all the glory thereof as the flower of grass; but the word of Jehovah endureth forever! “And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” It is of this incorruptible seed we are born. What ought not our confidence to be in His word! J.N.D.

Remarks on 1 John: 4:15-21, 5:1-5

John 4:15-5:5
We have then the truly blessed place of witnesses to the world of the love of the Father in the gift of His Son; would that we occupied it more faithfully. Ver. 15 follows with yet fuller light to guard us against being betrayed into any irreverent familiarity in preaching or speaking. The name of Jesus is not to be used lightly. Though, when sent of the Father into the world, He endured from men every indignity and hid not His face from shame and spitting, though He was reviled by the basest and foulest, He was then, and always, the Son of God. Hence the solemn question for the witness is — Am I confessing that Jesus is the Son of God? Meeting man's need is right and blessed, but we cannot be trusted, we cannot trust ourselves, save as we have in view the Person Whom we preach, and exalt Him. As Paul in Gal. 1:15, 16 says, “When it pleased God... to reveal his Son in me that I might preach him among the Gentiles.” No professed love for souls can palliate failure here, for the power of God is present. “God dwelleth in him” who thus, and at all times, confesses Jesus, “and he in God.” This is to dwell in love knowing and believing (note the order) the love that God hath to (in) us (ver. 16). It is not eloquence we want, but the happy realization, like the returned prodigal, that all is love at home, and God Himself is our dwelling-place. It is this that makes good, if unpopular, witnesses (whether in private or public) of a “good confession “; nothing else will. Finally, the perfection and unchanging continuance of the love of God is declared (ver. 17 R.V.) so that, in view of the coming day of judgment we may have boldness, and not fear; utterly lost as we are by nature and conduct, if God should enter into judgment with us, no man living would be justified (Psa. 143:2). Therefore the perfect love of God has taken us off that ground altogether, and by redemption has put us before Him “in the Beloved, in whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Eph. 1:6, 7). Not a fear is to torment our soul, not a timid or doubting thought to disturb our mind, “because as He is, even so are we in this world.” This is sure ground for confidence, the boldness of faith in God's word, faith in the blood of Christ, faith in accomplished salvation, in being before God as He is in glory, even while we are still here in this world in weakness and failure.
Faith, then, discovering this perfect unchanging love of God revealed in His Son, draws the affections to Him. “We love (him), because he first loved us” (ver. 19) and loving Him we love those who are dear to Him. The motive is both pure and powerful; indeed, it is His commandment (ver 21). It is not only happy fellowship with Him in His love, but obedience to His will, to love our brother. The ways of some may grieve us, but it is genuine love that feels the sorrow. Abraham loved Lot, and gave proof of it, but he could have no fellowship with him. The severity of ver. 20 is righteous; God would guard us against all hypocrites and all hypocrisy. It is a crushing rebuke where needed, and put in a form that challenges the conscience. “He that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?” If that which is of God be seen in a brother and awakens no sympathy, no love, how can there be any for God?
The first and imperishable element of true abiding fellowship with one another is formed and found in the faith once for all delivered unto the saints, “faith in Jesus.” “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God; and every one that loveth him that begat, loveth him also that is begotten of him (v. 1).” When the woman of Samaria received this truth, her first action commends itself to all who have obtained like precious faith (John 4:21-29). She at once left her water-pitcher to testify of Him to others. We think no longer of her race, her rudeness, or her past immorality. Our hearts are drawn to her more than to the timid hesitating ruler of the Jews (John 7:50-51). But now that Jesus is glorified, and the truth that He is “the Christ” is connected with heavenly glory and power, our faith in Him enlarges our understanding by the Spirit of truth, and fellowship with each other increases. The secret of lack of fellowship in modern times is the result of woeful decline of first faith, first love, and first works (Rev. 2:4, 5). Thus all that believe are not together, and are not of one heart and of one soul, as at the beginning. Alas! this state of division finds apologists, and to go on with one or another of the religious systems, which have established themselves in Christendom, is defended. Solemn and forcible is the protest of the Spirit against this in vers. 2, 3. It is not the fruit of love to God, or to the children of God. “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God that we keep his commandments.” Plans and systems of man's devising are not the commandments of God, but the actings out of human will, and the giving up of the spirit of obedience. What a rebuke to this is the walk of Jesus!
“If we say that we abide in him, we ought ourselves so to walk, even as he walked” (2:6); and sanctification of the Spirit is “to obedience, and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 1:2). Self-will is not obedience, and is not consistent with the blood of Jesus Christ. “He was obedient to death, even the death of the cross.” It is thus “the blood of his cross.”
The change in ver. 4 from “whosoever” to “whatsoever” is peculiar and to be observed. The life given of God, whoever may be the recipient of it, is looked at abstractedly, as in John 3:6. “That which is born of the Spirit is spirit,” in contrast with that which is born of the flesh. And each nature seeks its own things: the flesh, the things of the flesh; and the spirit, the things of the Spirit (Rom. 8:5). The desires of the two natures, being opposed, are never in agreement; and the power of the Spirit is on the side of the “spirit.” The world is a system ordered by “the prince of the world” to suit the flesh (11-16). “Whatsoever is born of God” —the life given of Him— “overcometh the world,” acting on His judgment of even its best; for “That which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God” (Luke 16:15). Practically and experimentally the victory is gained by faith, and here pointedly called “our faith,” not the faith of the most eminent saint before the cross. There the world was finally judged morally (John 12:31-32), as it will be judicially on the appointed day, by Him Who was hanged on it (Acts 17:31).
The mind of man is set on having the world without God. The apostle grasped this fact firmly, and continually impresses it on us. “Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God” (ver. 5)? For His confession of this before His judges, He was condemned to death; and the Jews, led by their rulers, insisted on His crucifixion; and Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required (Mark 14:61-62, Luke 22:70; 23:24, John 19:7). John was an eye-witness of this, a competent and faithful witness, and (while seeking to maintain us in communion with the Son now risen and victorious, with the Father and on His throne) He would have us, while on earth, in spirit take our place with Him when standing by the cross (John 19:26). Spiritually our history begins there. There God begins with us personally. It is there that we see the love that Christ has for us personally. There we, too, begin to see clearly that our very self, that which is expressed by “I” and “me” was before and on the heart of Christ when He delivered Himself up for us (Gal. 2:20). All vagueness, all uncertainty, all that is confused and mystical, vanishes. Gazing by faith— “our faith” —on the Son of God on the cross, the most sinful can truly say— “He loved ME, and gave Himself for ME.” To use the cross, as it is too often used in Christendom, as a symbol of the Divine sanction of worldly splendor, must be a dreadful outrage, in the sight of God, on the cross of Christ (see Phil. 3:18-19).
(To be continued, D.V.)

The Inspiration of the Scriptures: 4. the Human Element

Chapter 4. the Human Element
3. There is a passage which is constantly adduced by those who contend that scripture itself denies its own divine character and claims no more than diligence in using human means to arrive at authentic history. It is the well-known preface to Luke's Gospel. Does it warrant such an inference? Does it in the least contradict 2 Tim. 3:16? Is not a Gospel as fully inspired as an Epistle? Are they not alike God's word? And is not the word of God such in reality as in name?
“Forasmuch as many took in hand to set forth a narrative concerning the matters that are fully established (or, believed) among us, according as they who from the beginning were eye-witnesses and ministers of the word delivered to us, it seemed good to me also having accurately followed up all things from the outset to write with order to thee, most excellent Theophilus, that thou mightest fully know the certainty about things (or, words) in which thou wast instructed” (Luke 1:1-4).
Can there be a more striking witness of divine design and special character? This Gospel more than any other develops the ways and words of the “man Christ Jesus who gave himself a ransom for all” (1 Tim. 2:6): not the Messiah rejected by the Jews, not the Servant of man's need and specially of the gospel, nor yet as the Divine Word become flesh, the Only-begotten Son. Here pre-eminently He is the Son of man among men, and so traced up to Adam, though carefully shown to be the Son of God as no one else. Here have we the beautiful sketch, not only of the Babe just born, but of His youth; here the sabbath in the synagogue at Nazareth where He read the beginning of Isa. 61, closing the book (or, roll) exactly where it was fulfilled that day. On their expression of unbelief, He reminded them of Israel's long famine when God's mercy flowed to the Gentile widow of Zarephath, and of the Syrian cleansed when there were many lepers in Israel.
Here we read more than elsewhere of His praying; here only we find the widow of Nain whose only son He gave, raised from the bier of death, to his mother. Here is given the affecting story of the penitent woman in Simon the Pharisee's house, forgiven, saved, and in peace. Here we read of the many women blessed in various ways whom He allowed to minister to Him of their substance. Here we are told of James and John rebuked for their lack of grace toward certain Samaritans. Here is given the mission of the seventy, and the Lord's call to a joy in heavenly privilege rather than in power over the enemy. Here the Lord teaches Who is my neighbor? by the good Samaritan. Here Mary's good part is declared to anxious and bustling Martha. Here the rich fool is laid bare to rebuke such too as would make Christ a divider of inheritance. Here waiting is shown to-be beyond working for the Lord, though His own are called to both.
Here men who prate of judgments are warned to repent lest they all perish alike. Here the great supper comes before us, and man's contempt for God's inviting goodness. Here are presented the combined parables of the lost sheep, coin, and son, here too the Father's love and joy in saving. Here meet us the prudent that sacrifice the present in view of the future; here the light of the unseen shows us Lazarus exchanging extremist misery on earth for Abraham's bosom, and the rich man his sumptuous ease for torment unspeakable. Here the repentant tax-gatherer is justified rather than the self-trusting Pharisee. Here the Son of man brings salvation to the rich Zacchæus. And here at the end the rejoicing disciples praise God for “peace in heaven and glory in the highest,” as the heavenly host at the beginning ascribed “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good pleasure in men.” So here only we have the touching assurance to denying Simon Peter of his restoration through the Lord's intercession, and of his subsequent confirming his brethren. Here only do we read of an angel strengthening Christ and of His bloody sweat; here of Jerusalem's daughters warned; here of the converted robber to be that day with Him in Paradise. Here lastly have we the walk of the risen Jesus to Emmaus; here the preaching, unto all the nations, of repentance and remission of sins in His name, beginning with Jerusalem; here His ascending from Bethany to heaven, while He blessed His own on earth.
Thus we have distinct facts and words indicating a marked design, and doubtless a design far deeper than Luke's mind, though God wrought in his affections and his understanding powerfully, as He did in each of the inspired men. But it was given to him in particular to trace Christ morally and in His grace to man universally. So his preface savors of that design; and he speaks of the motives that animated his writing to another fellow-disciple, instead of plunging into his task without a word about himself or Theophilus. The human element is therefore at its height here as throughout. This is exactly the special character with which God was pleased to invest the beloved physician whom He employed, (himself distinguished with others from those of circumcision in Col. 4) to write to a young Christian who was a Gentile. Hence this Gospel, though commencing with “the Jew first,” like the great apostle, breaks quickly forth out of Jewish trammels, and reveals in the Savior what God is to man in grace.
Just so is it with the preface and introduction and dedication to Theophilus with his Gentile title. Luke contrasts rather than compares his account of our Lord with the composition of others. If the “many” who undertook the work had done it with the certainty requisite, there had been no need for him. The others had drawn up their reports, in accordance with the tradition of those that from the beginning were eye-witnesses and ministers of the word. Nor does he censure them or their accounts. But it seemed good to him also, having accurately followed up all from the first, to write in an orderly way that Theophilus might know the certainty respecting what he was instructed in.
How he had had this full and accurate acquaintance with all this history of infinite interest and importance, he does not tell us, as none of the inspired do more than he. But he does open out his mind and heart in a way peculiar to himself, yet in perfect accord with the Gospel throughout, so as to hear the stamp of the Holy Spirit working in him unerringly to that end. “Every scripture is inspired of God “; and Luke's Gospel no less than any other portion. But if the gracious and godly motives of the writer appear in the preface in a way quite unusual; so the absurdity and superficial narrowness of the critics are evident in perverting that fact, beautifully characteristic, to lower the divine authority of this book of scripture he was employed to write. It is on the contrary an additional and powerful evidence, in passing, of God's inspiring him to do the work in a way beyond the power of man, who fails even to see it when done.
It is unfounded too, as may be remarked here, that Luke says he derived his knowledge from what was delivered by other people, as they did who undertook the accounts alluded to, which were evidently not the Gospels we have. He like the other evangelists, wrote his Gospel with full knowledge of its exactitude. But it was not the usual way of inspired men to speak of that divine power which gave them, each and all, to communicate the truth in words which the Holy Spirit teaches. The truth shines in its own light, and needs no taper of man that it may be seen. It is light from God, though the blind may not see: only His gracious power can open their eyes.

Are the Newman Street Teachers (Catholic Apostolic) Sent of God? 2

The other mark I gave, besides false doctrine, was false prophecy.
“And if thou say in thy heart, how shall we know the word which Jehovah hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of Jehovah, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which Jehovah hath not spoken; but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him” (Deut. 18:21, 22).
So that, if the thing spoken follow not, Jehovah hath not spoken: we are not to be afraid. And if a sign or a wonder follow, but we are called to do or give heed to anything contrary to the revealed will and knowledge of God, we are to pay no attention to it whatever, not if it were an angel from heaven, or an apostle himself.
Let me make another remark connected with this subject. Howsoever truly we may be Christians, and whatever attainments we may have made, or gifts we may possess, Satan can use our errors in conduct—what can we do in the flesh?—to only and worse purpose than if we were not Christians at all. “Before that certain came from James, [Peter] did eat with the Gentiles; but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him, insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.” The only effect of the eminence of Peter and the influence which he had was, to enable his flesh to do more mischief when he acted in it. Dissembling Peter carried away all the Jews and Barnabas with his dissimulation. So when the flesh acts thus in a saint, though in the form perhaps of holiness, it carries away all those over whom the saint has acquired influence by his spiritual walk before. But this is not of God, but a delusion of the enemy. Paul withstood him to the face.
Now let us remember well the assertion of God's authority, upon which the present claim to be heard is founded. It is not merely particular things which the Newman Street teachers may say that are in question; their claim to be heard is the appointment and mission by the spirit which speaks in Newman Street. We are therefore to learn from them, as having authority to teach from God, which they allege that spirit to be. Now, I say again, this would be an alarming thing, if we had not already got what we know to be the word of God; and then the simple inquiry is, Do this spirit and it agree? If not, we must repudiate at once the whole thing as not of God. Blessed be our God, Who has given us His own word to try it by.
Now the doctrine sanctioned by the spirit, alleged to have sent these missionaries here, is that our blessed Lord's human nature was sinful human nature. They are now very guarded in their statements; but they have said quite enough in their most guarded statements to make one acquainted with the subject perfectly aware of their real doctrine. They refuse now to say more, on being asked, than that “Christ was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin,” adding, that the last clause was not meant to qualify the first. But this is the whole question. The absence of sin did not qualify or characterize the temptations of Christ! In plain words, there was sin mixed with His temptations! for the Lord, they say, does not qualify the statement of His temptations by the latter clause, “yet without sin.”
They might have acknowledged it more unequivocally; they could not really have stated it more plainly. We say, scripture adds this qualification, this difference, in the temptations of the Lord; namely, that they were “without sin.” There was no sin mixed with them: in our case, there is continually. They say, there is no such qualification of the temptation in the sentence; it is hard then to say what the latter clause is for. If they say that it did not issue in sin in Him, then I get their mind plainly; there is no qualification as to the temptation itself. We know that our temptations are connected with sin; and according to them there is no qualification in the passage before us! Observe, “sin” is the thing in question. It is admitted on all hands, that it never produced as a fruit actual sin in the Lord. The point in which there was no difference in the temptation then is, that there was sin in the nature—sin in the human nature of Christ!
Let us see the matter stated a little more plainly by one more open and undisguised, believing it doubtless to be truth. These are the statements of Mr. Irvine, appointed by the spirit by whose authority these persons teach, the angel of the church from whence they come, and the teacher and expounder of doctrine there.
“If then Christ was made under the law, He must have been made by His human nature liable to, yea, inclined to, all those things which the law interdicted.”
“Conceive every variety of human passion, every variety of human affection, every variety of human error, every variety of human wickedness which hath ever been realized, inherent in the humanity and combined against the holiness of Him, who was not only a man but the Son of Man, the heir of all the infirmities which man entaileth upon his children.”
“If His human nature differed by however so 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.”
“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. 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.”
“Manhood, after the fall, broke out into sins of every name and aggravation, corrupt to the very heart's core, and from the center of its inmost will sending out streams black as hell. This is the human nature which every man is clothed upon withal, which the Son of Man was clothed upon withal—bristling strong and thick with sin, like the hairs upon a 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 to Him to cleanse, and the furious wild beasts of human passions were given to Him to tame. This, this is the horrible pit and the miry clay out of which He was brought.”
Now, take notice in passing, that reconciliation, in this view, is not reconciling sinners at all, but His own sinful nature, “reducing it into eternal harmony with God;” and that incarnation is being clothed upon with human nature. He was clothed with a nature bristling with sin; and so separate then was His nature from His person, His clothing from Himself, that what was in His nature was not in Him. Thus we see the way this view affects atonement and incarnation also.
But, again, Mr. Irving says, “I hold 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. And, moreover, I believe that the only difference between His body of humiliation and His body of resurrection is in this very thing, that sin inhered in His human nature, making it mortal and corruptible till that very time that He rose from the dead.”
Many such passages might be quoted, but these will suffice. I add, however, a general one. It is an “heretical doctrine, that Christ's generation was something more than the implantation of that Holy-Ghost-life in the members of His human nature which is implanted in us by regeneration.”
(To be continued, D.V.)

Scripture Queries and Answers: He Led Captivity Captive; LEV 16; HEB 10:29; 1PE 4:17

Q.-Eph. 4:8. What means “He led captivity captive”? Did the Lord go anywhere but to Paradise after dying? Does Luke 16:23 mean, after death, a risen state?
A. Christ in ascending led captive the evil powers which held man captive previously. It had nothing to do with the O.T. saints or any others. The Lord after death went to Paradise where His Father received His Spirit. It was in Hades, not yet Gehenna, that the rich man lifted up his eyes, being in torments. The express object of the parable is to show the great and immediate change in the unseen state for the believer, no matter how wretched now, and for the unbeliever, no matter how at ease here. Resurrection or final judgment is not in question. The converted robber on dying joined the Lord in Paradise. Abraham's bosom, the blessed expression before, was not suitable for Him and His now, though both speak of bliss in heaven; and Paradise still remains for the risen and glorified by-and-by (Rev. 2:7).
Q.-Heb. 2:17; 8:4; 9:12. How are these texts to be applied and held consistently with Lev. 16 to which allusion is made? S. B.
A.-The first text refers to the exceptional action of Aaron as representing first his own house, next the people, on Atonement-day. The second presents the normal place of Christ's priesthood on high. The third speaks of Christ's entrance there once for all, not by His personal perfection which would have been for Himself alone, but by His own blood in infinite efficacy, having found an eternal redemption. Lev. 16 figures this and more even to the restoration of Israel by-and-by as a shadow, not the very image which the N.T. alone gives. Nor indeed does the Epistle disclose the union of the body with the Head; but it fully reveals that entrance of the Lord into heaven once for all, due alike to His person and His work.
Q.-Heb. 10:29. (1) Those persons guilty of renouncing Christ's sacrifice, and objects of divine judgment to the last degree, in what way can it be said that such were sanctified by the blood of the covenant? Also (2) 1 Peter 4:17, what is meant by the time is come when judgment must begin at the house of God, and the end of those that obey not the gospel of God? R.M.
A.-(1) None can be compared for guilt with apostates; and apostates from the gospel are immeasurably worse than from the law. These are the persons in view here. If they now abandoned the infinite sacrifice of the Savior which they hitherto had confessed, there was no other that could avail for their sins. None had real and everlasting efficacy but that one; and those who gave it up, after owning it, were absolutely resourceless. Only divine judgment awaited them which must be their perdition. Their guilt was despite of grace, and of the Holy Spirit its witness and power. Of course in their case it had been mere profession, and the sanctification but outward in separating them from their Jewish fellows who made the law (that is, their own righteousness under it) their sole dependence before God. They never possessed living faith in Christ; “they only received the knowledge of the truth,” of which flesh is quite capable. And what flesh takes up it can as easily give up under trials, which only by grace lead the believer to purge himself practically as well as into a holy deepening acquaintance with God. “For the just shall live by faith,” besides receiving remission of sins by Christ's blood.
So (2) the apostle Peter refers to the broad general principle of God, and particularly to Ezek. 9:6. His house is the special sphere of His moral government; and if departure and disorder be allowed there, there His judgment must begin though it will extend to all mankind and the whole earth. If His people dishonor, Him, they must bear the righteous consequences, while grace knows how to save those who are His. Compare 1 Cor. 11:32. Yet the difficulty of the salvation here spoken of is great, considering their own utter weakness, the many trials in a world of sin, and the exceeding danger from a subtle and sleepless foe. Only God's power and faithfulness could bring His own through the wilderness. Now if this be so with the righteous one who calls on Him as Father and has Him guarding by His power (1 Peter 1:5), if he is saved with a difficulty insuperable save to God; how will it fare with the impious and sinful man? The warning is solemn, the argument plain and forcible, the condition inevitable. We may assuredly apply, as a general maxim, what our Lord said to His amazed disciples of the particular peril for a rich man and his salvation: “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” It is by grace only that any sinful souls are saved, through faith; and this not of themselves, but the gift of God; not of works, lest any one should boast.


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The Early Chapters of Genesis: Chapter 11:10-26: 4. Ages

The verse before us is a remarkable example of the manner of scripture which men are apt to mistake. Terah, it is written, lived seventy years, and begot Abram, Nahor, and Haran. So it was said, Noah was five hundred years old, and Noah begot Shem, Ham, and Japheth. The father's age was stated before naming any that were begotten. In neither case also was the elder named first but last, as the examination of other scriptures proves beyond just doubt. The first place in both cases was given to mark the special and spiritual honor God put on each respectively. We have already spoken of the relative seniority of Noah's sons. Here it remains to determine from scriptural facts that of Terah's family.
Now we are told in ver. 32 that Terah lived two hundred and five years. As the birth of his eldest occurred when he was seventy, it could not have been Abram; for he was but seventy five years of age as we are told in Gen. 12:4, when he left Charan, after Terah's death. He was not begotten therefore till sixty years after the firstborn. It would seem from the history that Haran was the eldest son, born when his father was seventy. Thereby we can understand how Nahor married Haran's daughter Milcah, his niece, and (if the Jewish tradition were reliable that Iscah and Sarah are the same) Abram did also. We also apprehend more clearly how the granddaughter of Nahor became the wife of Isaac, Abraham's son. Nor is it hard to explain why Sarah should be spoken of as his sister, seeing that Lot is spoken of as his brother, though strictly his brother's son.
Nevertheless I cannot but believe that the words of Abram to Abimelech (Gen. 20:12) point more naturally to Terah as Sarah's father by a second and later wife, as she was ten years younger than her husband. Scripture does not hide the facts which were at issue with the law given at a later day; but it is easy to see that the Jews might endeavor to soften or get rid of what was discreditable by a so called tradition, and might seek to confirm their wish by any phrase of scripture which could lend it color.
Abram then, though the youngest son, took precedence in God's mind and word through the grace that was shown him. “The last was made first": a principle applied frequently in Scripture, and in the N. T. even more distinctly than in the Old, though there we see it every now and then from the earliest book to the latest. Nor need any wonder that Abram should be thus honored. We have seen ample grounds for it already, and may observe more. In him God began a new headship, not like fallen Adam of mankind universally as they are, but of the faithful. He is the one of whom it is written that “he believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness” (Gen. 15). It is not insinuated that Abel, Enoch, Noah, or others did not believe God before; but in him the privilege of faith was first publicly established, being brought out in a striking manner, as exercised on a definite promise.
Abram had already been called out into separation by the appearing of the God of glory to him in Ur of the Chaldees; and it was to a very thorough separation from country and kindred and father's house. These associations might be and were the providential arrangements subsisting still, as the general rule for all mankind since the confusion of tongues, families, countries, and nations; yet Jehovah called Abram to come out of them all. And more was added, not only in Gen. 15 but in Gen. 17, which gave him, to say this only, a unique place, as the starting-point of that line of promise and testimony, which the apostle compares to the olive tree in Rom. 11, reasoning on it at great length not in this Epistle only but in that to the churches of Galatia. For it came to light first in his seed after the flesh, who, accepting law as their tenure, and consequently their own righteousness, lost everything in the face of the patient and persevering dealings of Jehovah and all possible healing measures till there was no remedy. Even the advent of the Messiah served but to aggravate and seal their ruin on the ground of their responsibility; for they utterly rejected Him, as they do still, till in the latter day they repent and say, Blessed He that cometh in the name of Jehovah. Self will be renounced and judged; divine mercy in Messiah, all their confidence, rest, and boast. Meanwhile during the gap made by their rejection there is secondly not only the remnant according to the election of grace, but the call of Gentiles who believe and (being Christ's) become the seed of Abraham and heirs according to promise. He who was raised up to bring out that which rises far above all such hopes, the mystery concerning Christ and concerning the church, the apostle of the Gentiles, is also the most careful to clear the promise assured to all the seed, not only to that which is of the law, but also to that which is of the faith of Abraham who is father of us all.
Who can be surprised then that God's word should place Terah's youngest son before his older brothers? The reader is left to search out the facts there revealed for his soul's profit, where those we find honored, who honor God, their haste confounded who doubt, and their faith confirmed who believe. How many and great are the errors of such as try to persuade themselves and others, that the Bible is to be treated like any other book! How could this if it be, as it claims to be, the word of God?

The Offerings of Leviticus: 9. The Law of the Burnt Offering

Lev. 6:1-6 (Or, 8-13)
WE followed the Hebrew text in taking the first section of the sixth chapter (vers. 1-7) as the end of chap. v. to which it unquestionably belongs; so that chap. vi. begins with the new subject, the laws of the offerings, and chap. vii. concludes it.
These laws add supplementary particulars of distinct moment, which bring into relief the characteristics of each, especially marking where communion was permissible and enjoined. The first, or Burnt Offering, was the exception, though even there the skin of the victim was the priest's perquisite. The portion of man, where and as far as it was allowed, is noticed carefully.
“And Jehovah spoke to Moses saying, Command Aaron and his sons, saying, This [is] the law of the burnt offering: this, the burnt offering, [shall be] on the hearth upon the altar all night unto the morning, and the fire of the altar shall be kept burning on it. And the priest shall put on his linen raiment, and his linen breeches shall he put on his flesh, and he shall take up the ashes to which the fire hath consumed the burnt offering upon the altar, and he shall put them beside the altar. And he shall put off his garments, and put on other garments, and carry forth the ashes without the camp unto a clean place. And the fire upon the altar shall be kept burning on it, it shall not go out; and the priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and lay the burnt offering in order upon it, and shall burn thereon the fat of the peace offerings. Fire continual shall be kept burning upon the altar; it shall not go out” (vers. 1-6).
Spoken to Moses, this was a command for the priestly house. All that composed it were concerned; and they, as we are taught, point to Christ and His own, as Son over His house whose house are we (Heb. 3:6). The law of the Burnt Offering is here set out clearly. It was to be on the hearth upon the altar all night unto the morning; whereas save for this it might have been thought that it was but for the day, that the offerer might rejoice in seeing that which was for his acceptance. Here on the contrary stress was laid on its burning “all night unto the morning, and the fire of the altar shall be kept burning on it.”
Here as elsewhere we discern the bearing of these types, save in an exceptional reference. It is for the comfort of faith now in the day of temptation in the wilderness. The morning without clouds has not yet dawned. It is the night still for Christ rejected of men, though the night is advanced, and the day has drawn nigh. But all through the darkness rises up uninterruptedly the witness of our acceptance. Propitiation is made for every one associated by faith with the Burnt Offering. Man may slumber, the world be wrapt in darkness; but the offerer had the satisfaction of knowing that the fire that was kept ever burning upon the altar consumed that which was on his behalf a Fire Offering, an odor of rest to Jehovah.
What is here so carefully enjoined can scarcely be said to appear in chap. 1, which enters fully into the general instruction as to the Burnt Offering, and its several kinds, the immaculate purity requisite for each, the presentation of the victim, with the priest's sprinkling of the blood, cutting it in pieces, and washing as specified, here passed over, save the fact of laying all on the wood upon the fire of the altar. Here, not there, is the stress laid on the continual burning all the night through till the morning. While Israel slumber during the dark, the sweet savor rises in unfailing efficacy for him that offered: even Israel are kept, however impenitent yet, for the blessing that will surely come, when they say, Blessed He that cometh in the name of Jehovah.
Then in vers. 3, 4 we read of the careful clothing of the offering priest with the linen garments that spoke of spotless righteousness. These were what the high priest wore when he entered into the holy of holies on atonement day; and these the priest must put on even when he should take up the ashes of the Burnt Offering that the fire had burnt upon the altar to put them beside it. But of these he divested himself for other garments to take away the ashes at last to a clean place outside the camp.
Lastly in vers. 5, 6 the burning of the fire on the altar is again emphatically mentioned. Not only was the priest to burn wood on the fire of the altar every morning and to set in order then the Burnt Offering, but thereon also was he to burn the fat of the Peace or Prosperity Sacrifices. And the law concludes with the fire to burn continually upon the altar; never was it to be extinguished. Is it possible that any shadow could more forcibly point to acceptance maintained with unchanging savor of rest before Jehovah?
It appears to me not to be the truth intended by the type, that the ever burning fire during the night pointed to the smoke of the torment of the lost ascending forever and ever. Rather did it testify the wondrous meeting-place with God for a sinful man who brought the Burnt Offering. But the unbeliever either foregoes the Burnt Offering, or treads under foot the Son of God, and profanes His blood as a common thing. So the Epistle to the Hebrews speaks, not of God abstractly but of “our God” as a consuming fire. It was a sacrifice wholly burnt for acceptance. It shadowed Christ giving Himself up absolutely to God in death for us; and nothing but a sweet savor rising up, however tested to the uttermost. Therein was God glorified as to sin in Him Who knew no sin; and the issue for the believer is an efficacy perfect and everlasting.
So will it be for Israel at the end for the age to come, when they wake up from their long sleep in the dust of the earth. They will behold, as it were in the morning, the Burnt Offering despised during the dark night. They will penitently acknowledge their shameless unbelief, when they considered the Messiah as stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted; whereas they will thankfully own that He was pierced because of their transgressions, bruised because of their iniquities-that the punishment for peace to them lay upon Him, and through His stripes came healing to them. The fire ever burning on the altar is in contrast with the smoke either of Babylon or of the Beast's worshippers (Rev. 14:11, 18:8-10, 19:4). It is Christ the holocaust to God for all believers.

Proverbs 3:5-8

Confidence in God, and in the relationship He forms for us with Him, is the fruit of faith. It is the next call here; and it found ever the sure answer of His grace. It ought to be still more easy for the Christian, seeing that how many soever be the promises of God, in Christ is the Yea; wherefore also through Him is the Amen unto the glory of God through us. This is just as it should be for the saints passing through a wilderness world. If all were fulfilled in us, the changed state of glorification would be incompatible with the needed trial. But that they are fulfilled in Him, that in Him is the Yea, is the ground of peace and joy and comfort; and victory for us is exactly what the God of all grace meant that we should have in the fullest measure by the Holy Ghost given to us. For we have in Christ's redemption the remission of our sins, and only await His coming for adoption, the redemption of our bodies, having already the Spirit of the Son sent into our hearts crying, Abba, Father. What a power of deliverance from leaning upon our own understanding!
“Trust in Jehovah with all thy heart, and lean not unto thine own discernment; in all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall make straight thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes; fear Jehovah, and depart from evil; it shall be health for thy navel, and moisture for thy bones” (vers. 5-8).
Worthily does the chapter open with the call to trust in Jehovah. As He, He only, is God, so was He the God of the fathers, the God of Israel. How blessed for the Israelite that he had Him to trust in! that He even demanded his trust! He was in no way exhorted to trust himself. He was but a creature whose breath is in his nostrils: what is he to be accounted of? It was wise to have done with man to lean on, wiser still to trust in Jehovah. Yes, He was and is the eternal God, merciful, gracious, slow to wrath, great in goodness and truth, keeping His goodness to thousands of generations, pardoning iniquity, transgression, and sin, yet holding no guilty one as innocent, but visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the sons and on the sons of sons, on the third and on the fourth generation. Not that this is His language to the Christian or the church, but just His declaration of Himself to Moses the mediator for Israel, that they should know His governing character and principles.
Yes, it was good and right to trust in Jehovah with all the heart, and to “lean not on one's own discernment,” as the tempter always advises to ruin, sorrow, and shame. This is the divine counsel for the heart. But the Israelite needed also to “acknowledge Him in all his ways.” And the heart if loyal would prompt to honor Him thus. For practical inconsistency is a burden to the upright; and it is due to Jehovah to own Him where He is apt to be ignored, or forgotten in each detail of walk, and in them all. Nor was it even without present fruit, for He could not be unmindful Who never slumbers or sleeps. “And He shall make straight thy paths.” He is Lord of all, no less than He is the Eternal, and concerns Himself with every obstacle and difficulty for such as would walk unswervingly according to His will.
The great danger for all, though for some of thought and experience more than others, is to seek counsel from within. Yet experience should have taught the reflecting a less flattering tale. All scripture re-echoes what is here written, “Be not wise in thine own eyes.” The bait of Satan was to become so; and man has ever coveted it. How blessed when we learn our folly and find an incomparably better wisdom open to us! Certainly to the Christian, to them that are called both Jews and Greeks, the crucified Christ preached to us is God's power and God's wisdom. What they counted foolishness is wiser than men; and what looked the extremity of weakness is stronger than men. Of God are we in Christ Jesus, Who from God was made to us wisdom and all things. Well may we glory in Him.
But there is a word for conscience as well as heart; and none the less now, but more when, having been purged once for all, we have no more conscience of sins. “Fear Jehovah, and depart from evil.” Was there ever true fear of Him without pardon? Certainly Psa. 130:4 makes clear, that there is pardon with Him that He may be feared. Without it, what can the fear be but servile and tainted? This nerves the soul to “depart from evil.” We hate it, because He hates it; and such doubtless it is in itself, intrinsically evil. We turn away from what the serpent commands, trembling at His word. A son honors his father, a servant his master. His honor, His fear, are no longer light things to us. And the effect is wholesome and blessed. “It shall be health for thy navel, and moisture for thy bones.” The boast of altruism might perhaps in a way suit an angel, not a sinner nor a saint. We need to be blessed that we may be a blessing to others; we need and have God in Christ the Lord and Savior. We love Him because He first loved us. Is it a wonder that all then goes on well? How sad when it is not so!
Read Job 1:1-8; 2:3; and think what pleasure God takes in him that fears Himself and abstains from evil. He knew all the while the weak point and danger for Job; but Satan failed to reach it by his hostile measures, Jehovah did through Job's friends, though they were beyond comparison more faulty than Job, and indebted to his intercession to shield them from His dealing according to their folly, wise as they had thought themselves.

Gospel Words: Unprofitable Bondmen

Luke 17:7-10
One needs to be saved by Christ before one can serve Him. Salvation is of grace and by faith. It was Christ Who alone bore the burden. We contributed the sins, and nothing else; but awakened by the word and Spirit of God we repented and believed the gospel. How is it with you, dear reader? Beware of going on in dark uncertainty. The true light already shines since the Son of God came. Turn not your back on Him, lest the true character of yourself and your works should be shown as they are. Be honest Godward. Confess yourself a sinner, and your deeds evil. Receive Jesus as the one divine Savior, expressly sent by and from God to save the lost. We were indeed bondmen of sin; but set free from sin by the Savior, we would henceforth yield our members in bondage to righteousness unto holiness, each the Lord's freedman, now Christ's bondman.
We are in a world of snares, pitfalls, and evils. Christ is not only the Savior but the sole path of safety. Hence an exercised conscience, and a spirit of compassion become those who confess Christ and are saved by grace. Self-judgment is the fruit, a careful walk, and readiness to forgive. As we may not weary of well doing, so neither should we of pardoning. Stumbling-blocks abound and work mischief; woe to him through whom they come! A terrible death were better than to cause one to the least disciple. Our Lord's call is, “Take heed to yourselves.” Let fidelity to God rebuke sin; let grace forgive it to the repentant, were it seven times in the day. Do we not know it without limit in Christ? It is the kingdom and patience now. By-and-by it will be power and glory, when He reigns.
No wonder that the apostles said, “Lord, increase our faith.” All things are possible to him that believes. Were their faith minute as a grain of mustard, He would have it count on God's power that answers the call for His glory, which roots up a tree, say this mulberry, and plants it in the sea obediently. Man may be weakness itself; yet is it God's purpose in and through man to glorify Himself. Is not the Lord Jesus the sure pledge and the manifest proof of it?
Bought with a price (and what a price!) we are here to obey in all lowliness and meekness. God loves to work in us, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. While faith is encouraged to the utmost, self-complacency is absolutely condemned and excluded. Brokenness of spirit is the fitting preparation for the energy of faith. The Christian here is simply witnessing Him Who is not here, his Lord and the Lord of all. We are not fellow-workers with God, but under Him. We are His fellow-workers, but in entire subjection to Him, in no way on a level with Him. The wording in the A. and R. Versions of 1 Cor. 3:9 and 2 Cor. 6:1 is equivocal and dangerous; if interpreted as it often has been to put God and His servants on a common plane, it is evil and presumptuous. This, scripture repudiates and the new nature surely resents. The parable which follows reduces such a claim to dust.
“But which of you, having a bondman plowing or keeping sheep, will say to him when come in from the field, Come in straightway and recline at meat? But will he not say to him, Make ready what I shall sup on, and gird thyself and serve me that I may eat and drink; and after that thou shalt eat and drink? Is he thankful to the bondman because he did what was ordered? I judge not. Thus ye also, when ye shall have done all the things ordered you, say, Unprofitable bondmen are we; we have done what we were bound to do” (vers. 7-10).
It is a shameful perversion of serving Christ to make it either a ground of acceptance with God, or a measure of ease or rank among men. Bring in the Master, and behold every such plea exposed as evil and vanishing away. Even Christ pleased not Himself, but according as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached Thee fell on Me. And the great apostle of the Gentiles loved to style himself “bondman of Jesus Christ.” What an overthrow of human feeling and worldly pride for him, the free-born citizen of Rome, so to introduce himself to all that were in Rome beloved of God, saints by calling So indeed to the utmost was it with the Lord of all, Who, subsisting in the form of God, did not esteem it robbery to be on equality with God, but emptied Himself, taking a bondman's form, becoming in likeness of men, and being found in figure as man, humbled Himself, becoming obedient unto death, yea, death of [the] cross.
Here the Lord lays down the servant's place, so readily slipping out of our light hearts. He had shown what faith ever so small can do through God's power. Here He would remind us that we are His bondmen. A great honor it is for us, yet a great reality. It is fellowship with Him in what His love led Him to become.
Time was when we were enemies of God. Death and judgment were then our sure and appointed lot. He interposed and by His sacrifice changed all for those that believe. His love that made Him a bondman constrains us to the same service of love. Whatever our privileges, this is our place: servants not only of Him but for His sake. Has not grace made us debtors to all, to saints and to sinners, to countrymen and to foreigners, to wise and to unintelligent? But pre-eminently and unalienably and always are we Christ's bondmen. In this let us not forget that he who loveth his life shall lose it, and that he who hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. Let us remember that the rule for anyone who may serve Christ is to follow Him, and the issue will be that where He is, there also shall His servant be, and honored of His Father.
Assuredly the Lord owes us no thanks. It is our privilege as our duty to serve Him in all things great or small, day and night, sick or well. We are His altogether and evermore. Is a master “thankful to the bondman because he did what was ordered? So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all the things ordered you, say, Unprofitable bond-men are we; we have done what we were bound to do.” Never did man speak like this Man, our Master. Others without an exception have thought, that it was enough to confess ourselves unprofitable when we fail to do our duty; He teaches us to say it, when we shall have done all the things ordered us.
How completely His word destroys the vain and unbelieving dream of works of supererogation! Not a single saint was other than His bondman; not a single right work done by anyone of them but was his duty to do. They were God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which God before prepared that they should walk in them. What short-coming themselves found in what others deemed the best! Whatever they were, they had only done what they owed to Him.

The Wish of Paul in Chains: Part 1

Acts 26
It is much, dear friends, to say with Paul to Agrippa, “I would to God that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost and altogether such as I am, except these bonds” (ver. 29).
There is what the apostle could say from the bottom of his heart to those who surrounded him, that they might be such as he was without his bonds. He might have answered to Agrippa (who had said to him, “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian” ver. 28), “Would to God that thou wert.” The answer would have been good and according to charity; but it would not have presented us with a state such as that expressed by the words of the apostle, whose heart, full of joy, overflows with his wish of love. A happy heart does so naturally.
The apostle was pressed to say what he knew, that is, to express what was passing in a heart which enjoyed its position in God. His soul was so happy, that he could desire for others the same thing of which he had the consciousness for himself. Joy is always full of good-will; divine joy of love. But more, this wish describes to us the state of the apostle's soul, notwithstanding his circumstances. In the face of his confinement, which had already lasted more than two years, his heart was completely happy; and it was a happiness of which he could render himself a reason; and all that he could desire was that those who heard him, even the king, were such as he was except those bonds.
Such is the effect of the strange happiness that is produced in a soul wherein Christianity is fully received. It possesses a happiness which in principle leaves nothing to be desired, and which is always accompanied by that energy of love which is expressed by the wish that others were such as itself. We see moreover here, that it is a happiness that outward circumstances cannot touch; it is a fountain of joy springing up within the soul. The whole outward position of the apostle was but ill calculated to produce joy. It was long since he was prepared to expect bonds and tribulations; but none of these things moved him, neither counted he his life dear unto himself, so that he might finish his course with joy, and the ministry he had received to testify the gospel of the grace of God (see Acts 20).
Paul had been taken and led to the castle because of the violence of the people. He had been dragged from tribunal to tribunal. He had languished two years in prison, obliged to appeal to Cesar. And, to sum up his history, be was a man that might have been supposed to be worn, harassed as he was, pressed on all sides by all that can break the heart and daunt the courage. But there is nothing of this. He speaks before the tribunal of what he came to do at Jerusalem, and not of his sufferings. He was in the midst of all these things, as he says himself, exercising himself to keep always a conscience void of offense before God and man. All the difficult circumstances through which he passed were idle to him, and did not reach his heart. He was happy in his soul; he desired nothing but this happiness for himself or others; and the happiness which fills with perfect satisfaction is surely a remarkable happiness. True, he was bound with chains, but the iron of his chains reached not his heart: the Lord's freedman cannot be bound with chains. And he desired nothing else, either for others or for himself, save this complete enfranchisement by the Lord. All he could wish was that all might be altogether such as he was without his bonds.
We are going to examine what gives this happiness, this tranquility, which leaves nothing to be desired. We may have joy to a certain point, but not peace, when there is something yet incomplete. In Paul was to be seen a perfect happiness. A free and ardent love was found in it. Doubtless, he had not already attained to perfection, as he said himself, “I count not myself to have apprehended;” but there was happiness and love. He possessed a perfect happiness; and, being “before kings and governors,” surrounded by all their pomp, he wished for them that they might be such as he was: and his testimony was so powerful, that Agrippa could say to Paul, “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.”
Persons may be found here, all whose circumstances are painful, who have anguish of heart. Well, Paul was in a position to be “of all men most miserable:” not only did he suffer, but his work was stopped; he could not attend to what concerned the dear flock of the Lord. Every spring of happiness that he might have sought in these cases as a resource failed him; and although, according to man, he might have had good reason to complain, he is there a model of happiness. That which he enjoyed was independent of all outward circumstances, for they were not what rendered him happy.
There are persons who imagine that, if such and such circumstances met together, they might be happy. But that could not have procured Paul the happiness which he possessed: God alone was the source from whence he could have drawn it. We may have sorrows, but the happiness which we have just spoken of will not be troubled by them; and we have need, dear friends, of the firmness of this happiness. For if we knew the circumstances of this life, whether among the rich or among the poor, we should see that sorrows never fail. But to return to relations with God, we are going to see the source whence Paul drew his happiness.
Before his conversion, he possessed not this happiness. His privileges as a Jew could not give it him. He had a good conscience as a man, but ill enlightened; he did things which he thought he ought to do against Jesus (vers. 9, 10). Conscience is so often falsified by education (and this was his case), that he followed its directions and obeyed its dictates; and, through that very thing he opposed Christ with all his might. He did conscientiously what was the greatest possible iniquity. As for the rest, he was well instructed in the religion of his fathers, a “Pharisee after the straightest sect.” very active, and distinguished for his zeal. He had been taught at the feet of Gamaliel, he was directed by the high priest (ver. 12), and in open war with the Lord Jesus (vers. 14, 16). With all our conscience, our religion, our learning, and the approbation of the doctors of this world, we may be at open war with the Lord.
The enjoyment of all these advantages does not hinder us from being bankrupt before God. Now it is a terrible and painful thing to be bankrupt before God; and so much the more, as the things we have so much esteemed not only do not support us, but are found to have been the instruments of the blinding of our souls. Although the apostle had a good conscience, was pious and directed by wise men, all these advantages had served in the issue only to place him in open war against God. One may boast and glory, “nobody can say anything against us” (and it is the saying of many people), yet finally one discovers that all has led us to make war against the Lord.
The flesh has its religion, as its lusts; it does everything to hinder the conscience from meeting God. When Paul acted in the flesh, he was satisfied with himself, and, with the help of the good he did, that settled his affair. The religion that the flesh uses is put into the balance to make weight. If conscience says, “Thou hast not been quite what thou shouldst have been,” this religion, which adds certain forms, certain ceremonies that the flesh can accomplish, puts the whole in the balance, tranquillizes itself, and rests there.
This is not faith, for faith draws nigh to God. One has no religion before God; one has a conscience convicted of sin, and one is too much occupied about the judgment of God upon it to think of one's religion; rather, it is all gone; and there is not a person here who, if he were in God's presence, could think of his religion. Worldly piety only serves when we need it not. When we do need it, whether before the justice of God or on account of a broken heart, it is naught. It has only served as a means to turn us away from the consciousness of our need as sinners. But this consciousness, through the grace which produces it, would have led us to the true remedy, to that which would have done us real service in the hour when it would have been necessary for us.
What made Paul happy? It was indeed the truth, but not immediately; for he found he had made war against God, when God met him on the way to Damascus. Hitherto he had been content, but he is so no more (see chap. 9). The Lord Jesus manifests Himself to him in glory, and convinces him of sin. He is three days without eating or drinking, upset as he was by meeting the Lord; he was not then in a position to say, “I would that not only thou, but all that hear were such as I am.”
The Lord sends him to Damascus to hear the word of truth, and after three days' sufferings (produced by the conviction that the Jesus against Whom he wrestled with so much fury was the Lord) this same Lord sends Ananias to him and then we see how complete was his conversion. From an enemy be becomes the friend of Jesus, and the apostle of grace. That is what God does: of a persecuting “Saul” he makes a “Paul,” a powerful witness of the love of Jesus.
(To be concluded, D.V.)

Reflections on Galatians 6:7-10

Chap. 6:7-10
God looks to see the fruit of the Spirit developed in His own in every way. He is thus glorified in His saints, while theirs is the blessing and profit of it.
The apostle goes on to show that saints in their walk on the earth are as subject to the general principles of the government of God as any. “Be not deceived: God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting” (vers. 7, 8). Our souls are apt to forget this, and to act as if, because subjects of grace, we are free from responsibility. In no wise. Grace can never be forfeited: every believer will infallibly be carried safely through the wilderness and presented in glory; but on the road the unchangeable principles of God's government touch us even as others. Flesh is not to be indulged: they that are Christ's have crucified it with its passions and lusts. It is to be treated as an evil thing—neither place nor quarter is to be given to it. This is our solemn responsibility all the way along.
Alas how many genuine saints have reaped a bitter harvest through the folly of their ways Lot is a solemn instance in the Old Testament. His harvest was unquestionably corruption in many respects, yet was he “righteous” (2 Peter 2:7, 8). Life everlasting is the blessed crown of the life of the Christian, pursued in the power of the Spirit. Eternal life is viewed here as a future thing rather than as a present possession. The latter is more John's line. In his Gospel and Epistles we are assured again and again that eternal life is ours now in Christ. Paul presents to us the other side of the matter. We shall find it in all its fullness and blessedness, without aught to hinder, in the presence of the Lord in glory.
This should encourage the heart of the believer in the midst of all the trials of the present scene. Often now the foot has to be placed on the neck of some cherished object; often has the knife to be applied to what our poor hearts naturally cling to; but the path will end presently in bliss and glory, where the divine life in us can develope itself without alloy. Thus the apostle exhorts; “and let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (ver. 9). The hands must not be allowed to hang down, however earnestly the heart may suggest it; every good work must be steadily pursued until the Lord Jesus comes. The “due season” is not far distant; then joy will crown the servant's toil. We need especially to remind each other of this now. Latter-day service for Christ is often deeply discouraging in many respects, and the worker is apt to faint on the road or give up in despair. Courage, brethren! the Lord is at hand.
The apostle proceeds to define the sphere in which we should do good, with the order in which the matter should be considered. “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith” (ver. 10). No doubt temporal good is to the front in the exhortation of this place; but we learn nevertheless an important principle as to all service. The church of God has the first claim. It is the circle of Christ's affections and interest in the earth; and it should be our joy and privilege to serve Him in it in any possible way.
We need to be reminded of this very much in this day. There is a growing tendency in many quarters to make everything of evangelization to the neglect and even disparagement of service amongst Christ's members. This will not do. It misses the mind of God. No doubt there are fewer difficulties in the way of evangelistic labor, and results are apparently larger; but the church of God is the first circle with God nevertheless. It should be so with us. How great the honor to be allowed of God to do good to His own! How highly is it prized in heaven, and with what joy will it be recognized and rewarded' at the judgment seat of Christ!
But our service must not stop short here; “all men” have a claim upon us for what grace has entrusted to our care. The heart of God takes in all, seeking their salvation and blessing. Herein grace differs from law, as we have already observed while examining this epistle. Law addressed one nation only, demanding righteousness from them (alas! finding none); grace on the other hand addresses all alike, offering salvation full and free to all who believe in Jesus. Such is to be the line of our service in this dark scene; first the household of faith, then, as we may be enabled, “all men.”

James 3:14

Having exhorted him who was reported wise and understanding to show in the reality of comely works, not mere words, his good conduct or practical life in meekness of wisdom, not in superstitious criticism or self-conceit, the Epistle turns to warn of the dark side.
“But if ye have bitter emulation and faction in your heart, do not boast and lie against the truth” (ver. 14).
Such is man: self is his idol, self will his way. The profession of Christ in no way eradicates it, but makes it all the more sad and inconsistent, in Jew even more than Greek. As we see in 1 Cor. 3, so we read here. “Bitter emulation” in the disciple of the crucified Lord of glory! Alas! it was no hypothetical case, but a fact. “But if ye have “; and this not in the hasty speech, but “in your heart.” So early and everywhere did the Christian confessors slip away from the reason of their being, and rival the failure of Israel. So quickly did they forget that Christianity, while emphatically “faith” (Gal. 3:25), in contrast with the law (the previous tutor), depends on life from God, or a divine nature partaken of, as we have noticed in this Epistle and may in every other. Now what room is there in that new life for “bitter emulation”? Christ condemns it, root and fruit. In Him was none of it, but meekness of wisdom, and zeal for God. First and last the zeal of His Father's house ate Him up. When or where else do we hear of His taking disciplinary work in hand, expelling outrageous offenders, and pouring contempt on their profane trade? Though the Holy and the High, when does He contend for His own glory, when and where does He resent the slight and scorn of guilty man?
If Christ be as indeed He is the Christian's life, what is it for him to have “bitter emulation” in his heart? Is it not the indulgence in an evil work of the old man, and the dishonor of the Master by the servant? This was bad, but “faction” is worse; because it is not only the individual gratifying the vanity of an evil nature, but its spread to others too ready to exalt self and depreciate such as ought to be loved and honored. For is it not to this we are called here below? “Let nothing be (said the great apostle) according to faction or vain-glory, but in lowly-mindedness each esteeming one another more excellent than themselves” (Phil. 2:3). We are entitled to regard them as saints beloved of God; though by grace the same, we cannot but feel our own unworthiness. What do we know of them as we know of ourselves? On every ground bitter emulation and faction be far from our heart. So pleads meekness of wisdom, that we may show out of our good conduct the works that now become that excellent Name by which we are called.
But if we have in our heart these unclean things, bitter emulation and faction, “do not boast and lie against the truth.” Love, we know, is not emulous, nor does it rejoice at iniquity, but rejoices with the truth. But the vaunting, which accompanies emulation and faction, is against the truth: for the truth wholly exposes and condemns it as of the carnal mind which is enmity against God. He was the truth, Who was meek and lowly in heart, and bids us take His yoke upon us and learn of Him, and we shall find rest to our souls. For His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
If we cherish these evils so contradictory of Christ, while called by His name, what is it but “lying against the truth”? So trenchantly does the Epistle denounce what the enemy ever seeks to introduce under cover of zeal for the truth.

Remarks on 1 John: 5:6-19

1 John 5:6-19
THERE is an apparent abruptness in the way in which the final scene on the cross is brought prominently forward in ver. 6. After saying in ver. 5, that Jesus is the Son of God, it is added, “This is he that came by water and blood; not by water only, but by water and blood.”
The chapter is full of the truth of the new life given of God to those who believe on the name of His Son. But if a sinner is to receive life from God, His Son must die for that sinner. The testimony of the Lord to Nicodemus was clear and definite as to this (John 3:14), and (in John 19:34) the fact that blood and water flowed after death from the pierced side of Jesus is related with special emphasis. The moral necessity for cleansing the sinner and making propitiation for his sins arises from his condition. He is unclean, and he is guilty God has met both in judgment on His Son; and He sets before us (believers) these remarkable signs as abiding witnesses, with the Spirit, that He has given us eternal life in His Son.
For ver. 7 there is no sufficient authority. Read— “For they that bear witness are three: the Spirit, and the water, and the blood; and the three agree in one” (ver. 8).
The Spirit, received from Christ in glory, bears witness that Christ's death cleanses the believer from the defilement of his nature: “sin in the flesh” is condemned (Rom. 8:3). He is, in the sight of God counted as having died under judgment. He died with Christ, and is so to reckon himself, to count with God as to himself (Rom. 6) The flesh is not cleansed, but he is cleansed from it; and this, when seen in the clear light of the Spirit's witness in the Epistles, is exceedingly cheering and strengthening to the true but timid Christian. This is the meaning of the sign “water,” as interpreted by the Spirit in connection with the blood.
The blood testifies to justification from all the doings of the flesh. “Being now justified by His blood we shall be saved from wrath through Him” (Rom. 5:9). God, the Judge of all, has set forth Jesus Christ (before the day of judgment) as a propitiation (mercy-seat) through faith in His blood (Rom. 3:23-26), and declares His righteousness in justifying him who believes in Jesus. “Christ our passover hath been sacrificed” (1 Cor. 5:7), and God is saying, still, “When I see the blood, I will pass over you” (Ex. 12:13). The combined testimony of the water and the blood, with the Spirit also witnessing, is most powerful, and deeply affecting too: the voice from the Cross and from the Throne.
In the presence of such testimony, not to believe God is to make Him a liar. How grave, how solemn, how wicked, thus to dishonor Him! seeing that in far less important matters we receive the witness of men. Is not His witness greater? And this the more so, since he that believeth receiveth in the Son what is witnessed; the cleansing, the justification, and the life are his (vers. 9-10). Unbelief dishonors God and robs man beyond measure.
The apostle presses this. Much that he had written before might be misused to lead sincere souls to look to themselves, their experience and their walk, for full assurance of having eternal life. Surely the fruits of life are to be theirs, as well as the life itself. Hence such passages as 2:5-29, 3:7-14, 18, 19, 24, 5:4. But he would not close the Epistle without making the clearest statement that the one sure ground of assurance is faith in God's testimony, not making light of the comfort flowing from other assurances. “These things have I written unto you that ye may know that ye have eternal life, (even) you that believe on the name of the Son of God.” And remark, that here the verb “know” means conscious knowledge (chap. 5:13, R.V.). Divinely assured of the possession of eternal life, our thoughts are led to that which is proper to it—confidence in God (ver. 14). This is remarkably beautiful, because blessedly practical. We are still in the body, still in the world where we have tribulation (John 16:33); but the relationship of children to God is known, and is proper to eternal life (John 17:3). The Spirit of His Son in our hearts cries, “Abba, Father” (Gal. 4:6), and our very groanings are heard (Rom. 8:26-27); so that in the depths, as to circumstances, we have all the resources of God. When we think of all He has done for us, how can we limit Him? He has a delight in our prayers (Prov. 15:8), and would secure to us exceeding quietness and rest of spirit, whatever the turmoil and distractions around us.
There is an “if” in ver. 14. “And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us,” but an “if” we need not fear. It conveys a warning against self-confidence, as if, in any of our matters, we knew what was best. No: faith leaves all to God. It is enough to know how He careth for us (1 Peter 5:7).
“So will He by His Spirit lead
In ways unknown to us indeed,
And, our well-ordered conflicts o'er,
Bring us where sorrows are no more.”
Verse 15 will check all impatience, as ver. 14 all self-confidence. The answer may not come at once; “but we know (are inwardly conscious) that we have the petitions which we have desired of Him,” petitions for ourselves, petitions for others. Ver. 16 shows clearly that in our petitions we must not lose sight of the direct government of the Father in the family (according to 1 Peter 1:17); and, while soul prosperity is ever to be the first consideration, the health of the body is of account also (3 John 2). There is to be no prying into evil, nor suspecting it; “but if any man see his brother sinning a sin not unto death, he shall ask, and (God) will give him life for them that sin not unto death.” What an honor to put upon one, perhaps of no account in the church, but one with a tender heart that enters into a brother's affliction, yet jealous for the glory of God! Precious grace! precious in the sight of Him Who is the alone witness of it. To be in haste to deal with evil in another has often made matters worse. To be brought on our knees before God for a brother is to love him with a pure heart.
“There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.” Cases of extreme heinousness, as some in Corinth (1 Cor. 11:30) and Ananias and Sapphira are in point. It is a very solemn view of sickness in the family of God; and therefore the responsibility is put upon us (seeing how many of the children of God are sick) to be exercised as to what is fitting to pray for in certain cases. “I do not say that he shall pray for it” —that is, for the forgiveness of it. The apostle is clearly writing about physical death, and the Father's dealings in discipline, not the final judgment of the last day. In all this, His glory and our brother's blessing should be very dear to us.
Now, in the sight of God “all (or every) unrighteousness is sin, and there is a sin not unto death” (ver. 17), that is, not calling for that severe discipline. There is much need to be reminded of this. Every unrighteousness toward God or man is sin. We own to failures, inconsistencies, slips and mistakes; but to drop these euphemisms and to substitute “sin,” would quicken the moral sense. In how many things, even religious things, do we need to have our senses exercised to discern good and evil (Heb. 5:14)!
It is quite true that all discipline is not for sin, and also, as one in sore affliction said— “The Father does not send the rod, He brings it;” but there is always a cause. The real state of the soul in the sight of God is the point. The case of Job is most instructive. The truth is, the flesh often escapes detection and must be discovered and kept down. When this was accomplished in Job, he prayed for his friends, not they for him. If the flesh escapes our observance, the wicked one is not blind to any movement of it in us; hence the truth in ver. 18, A.V.
“We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not, but he that is born of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.” In Jesus he had nothing to touch. He came to Him and found sinless perfection, infinite love, absolute obedience (John 14:30, 31). But if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us (i. 8). As born of God, we enter on a life of conflict. While on earth, we are in the field of warfare. Armor and weapons are provided, the wiles of our enemy are exposed (Eph. 6:2; 1 Thess. 5:8; Rom. 13:12), and we are called to fight (1 Tim. 6:12; 2 Tim. 4:7). Happy it is to serve others; but let us not forget that there is oneself to keep watch and guard over, and to see to it that, by the word of God and in His strength, the wicked one shall do us no hurt. In God our Savior there is power to keep us from falling, and to present us faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy (Jude 24, 25), “So fight I,” said Paul in a passage full of energy (1 Cor. 9:26, 27). All this (and more might be added) leads one to think that in this ver. 18— “keepeth himself” is the inspired reading, and not “keepeth him,” as in the R.V. The next verse discloses the power of the enemy and his success in the world. “And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness (or, the wicked one).”

The Inspiration of the Scriptures: 4. the Human Element

Chapter 4. the Human Element
1 Cor. 7. has been appealed to confidently as going even farther, and disclaiming inspiration! This would be strange indeed if true, seeing the Ep. is not only one of the most important of the communications in the N.T. but is opened expressly with the writer's claim of apostolic authority. It is therefore one of those Epistles which the apostle Peter classes among the “scriptures” (2 Peter 3:15, 16). Still as it is alleged to prove that the apostles “sometimes candidly admit that they are not speaking by inspiration,” we are bound to refute the perversion. Any such inference drawn from ver. 6 is wholly baseless: “But I speak this by allowance, not by commandment.” The apostle means that he speaks here not as commanding but as conceding. No compulsion was laid on the saints as to the advice given in ver. 5; but he recommends this to them. He was inspired thus to speak. The mistake lies in the sense of the Lord's permission of him to write; whereas he means that it was not compulsory on them but for their discretion before the Lord. Compare 2 Cor. 8:8, But ver. 10 is also adduced, and quite as much misapprehended: “But to the married I enjoin, not I but the Lord, that wife be not severed from husband.” This the rationalist would make a distinction between inspired and non-inspired. Whereas the apostle is drawing attention to the fact that the Lord had Himself settled this question personally; and therefore it was not now left to His servant: see Matt. 19:6, and Mark 10:12. This is made remarkably clear in ver. 12, “But to the rest speak I, not the Lord.” For the call now in question had not been ruled by the Lord, as shown in the Gospels. Therefore the apostle in the Holy Spirit determines it here by authority given to himself. But it must have been and was from the Lord, though not the Lord deciding in person. For the question is of the mixed marriages that arose as the gospel spread. Now according to the O.T. the Jew was bound to abandon the Gentile. On the contrary the apostle shows that grace now intervenes. Hence if a brother has an unbelieving wife, and she consents to dwell with him, he is not to leave her; and a woman that has an unbelieving husband who consents to dwell with her is not to leave the husband. Here then if anywhere divine authority was required in an absolute way. Is it possible then, that this could be no more than the “human element”?
The very fact that the Lord when on earth had not spoken as to this case made all the more conspicuous the authority of the apostle, who under the gospel supersedes what the law demanded of a Jewish man or woman in analogous circumstances of old. God owns no longer the feebleness or the partial dealing of the law. Grace now reigns; the truth is spoken according to God fully revealed; and the apostle, not the Lord in person, was here the spokesman, as the Epistle is the inspired communication, that we might have it livingly here, as we had the other for permanent guidance in the Gospels. Clearly then it is hardly possible there could be a more cogent disproof of the rationalistic aim than the true force of vers. 10 and 12 before us. Not only is there not the most distant thought of lowering the character and weight of what the apostle writes, in comparison with the Lord, but the passage brings out in a singularly striking manner the authority conferred on the apostle in consonance with gospel liberty to remove the shackles imposed by the law on the ancient people of God when marriage had been contracted with Gentiles. Not the Lord when on earth, but Paul now by His authority from heaven abrogates the Jewish restrictions, which, without this apostolic word would have surely clogged the question and hindered the will of the Lord in the church. “And thus I ordain in all the assemblies” (ver. 17). What can be stronger?
But there is another case, not as to the mutual conduct of believers in the married state, nor yet about the mixed condition of those so related (a believer and unbeliever), but the virgin or unmarried in the latter half of the chapter. Here the apostle declares that he has no commandment of the Lord, but he gives his judgment, as having received mercy of Him to be faithful (ver. 25), which he winds up with the words at the close (ver. 40), “And I think that I too have God's Spirit.”
Here is equally certain the absurdity of supposing that the apostle conveys one word derogatory to his own apostolic authority. But this last case is an interesting illustration of what many have failed to see in the ways of God as to His word. Everything written therein is inspired, the latter part of the chapter just as truly as the former. But as the apostle had shown in the former that the Lord had decided the general rule of marriage, and himself the special case of mixed marriage, so here he was inspired to give for the unmarried not any commandment from the Lord, but his own judgment who was entitled assuredly to form and express one, if ever man could. Yet the intention of God in thus inspiring the apostle was to distinguish this particular case from the Lord's commandment, which in all other unrestricted matters he declares what he wrote to be (1 Cor. 14:37).
Thus we have in scripture as the rule the “Lord's commandment.” But we have here what inspiration carefully distinguishes as a distinct spiritual judgment, given as such from the faithful apostle to the faithful for profit and guidance. By divine design it was not inflexibly bound on the conscience, but set before the saints with the exceeding value of one who labored more in the gospel than any who ever lived, of one who revealed the church's nature, character, and hopes as no other, even apostle, did. What this exceptional passage is, rationalist unbelief would like to make all scripture; not the Lord's commandment, but the holy view taken of an important question for Christian practice by a most eminent servant of the Lord, and conveyed to us. Only they fail to see that inspiration admits of a godly judgment commended to our consideration, no less than of the words of worldly and wicked men, or even of Satan where no reasonable man could imagine them to be the Lord's commandment. But they are all alike inspired of God, because they are scripture, and every scripture is so inspired. Now the nature of the case decides that the record of evil counsel, or the counsel of evil beings, cannot be the Lord's commandment. So the apostle distinctly excepts from the category what he gives of his own spiritual judgment. In this instance, it must be perverse not to receive it as such. Still worse would it be to deny to be the Lord's commandment what he wrote without any such restriction. It is the exception that proves the rule. He discriminates his judgment in this particular case to be what it really is, and what God meant it to be. All else is the Lord's commandment. But even a judgment thus characterized as his is scripture; and every scripture is inspired of God.

Are the Newman Street Teachers (Catholic Apostolic) Sent of God? 3

Now many of Mr. Irving's followers and associates have used stronger and worse expressions than these; but I do not quote them.
It is stated that the spirit rebuked him for using unguarded expressions. This may be; we reason not about expressions but about a fundamental doctrine. Perhaps some may repudiate this, where there is the professed unity of the Spirit.
It is also stated that these things were stated before the spirit was given. Now, though they were held and taught subsequently too, it is most material to see that they were taught previously; because the spirit came amongst them who taught them as the witness and sanction of the doctrine taught (just as the Holy Ghost came down as the witness of the resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ). And Mr. Irving honestly and expressly states, that the spirit's coming was the consequence of this doctrine, and that until this doctrine it had nothing to witness to.
This too was yet more expressly shown when Mr. Baxter left the body and wrote to Mr. Irving, stating his error in saying that the law of sin was in Christ's flesh. Mr. Irving maintained his opinions, and told him that the spirit came upon Miss E. C. declaring that Baxter had been snared by departing from the word and the testimony; that Mr. Irving had maintained the truth, and the Lord was well pleased with him for it. This was followed by another utterance from Mrs. C. and a second from Miss E. C. to the same purpose. Thus, on the point being raised, whether the law of sin was in Christ's flesh or not, the spirit thrice confirmed Mr. Irving's teaching on the subject. I do not say justified his expressions, but “confirmed his doctrine” —his doctrine previously taught. What this is, we have sufficiently seen. Is this spirit then, which has declared that Mr. Irving maintained the truth on these points, a spirit of truth? is it of God?
Mr. Irving has taught that Christ was conscious of every evil disposition which inheres in the fallen manhood; that sin inhered in the human nature; and that Christ's work in the flesh was reducing a nature, in no way different from ours in alienation and guiltiness, into eternal harmony with God.
After the gifts came, in a work entitled, “Judgment on Decisions of the General Assembly,” he says, “There is no other work of the Son in the flesh but this, that He took our nature in its fallen state, and redeemed it into the immortal state.”
“It was manhood bristling strong with sin.” To say the law of sin was not in the flesh in Jesus, was departing from “the word and the testimony,” this spirit declared. Now the scripture says, “He knew no sin” — “was made sin for us,” but knew no sin. Either therefore evil dispositions in our nature are not sin, or He was conscious of sin; for He was, they say, conscious of every evil disposition. The scripture says (that is, God has said), “In him is no sin.”
This spirit has sanctioned the doctrine that sin was inherent in His nature.
This spirit has sanctioned the doctrine that sin tempted Him in the flesh.
Scripture says, “He was in all points tempted in the likeness [of our nature] except sin.”
I cannot therefore believe this to be of God; for it contradicts what God has said, what the Spirit of God bears witness to me that God has said.
It was a “holy thing that was born” of the Virgin Mary; and I am “shapen in wickedness, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” Here is therefore all the difference.
They say, if His nature differed however little in alienation and guiltiness from ours, He did nothing for reducing it into eternal harmony with God,
I have to say, “Cleanse my heart:” was Christ's heart unclean? They say the teeming fountain of the heart's vileness was opened on Him. What do they mean opened on Him? Was not His heart in Him? I read, “from within, out of the heart.” Was vileness then in Him—the heart's vileness? The Lord pardon me for using such a word. Is this the truth of God? If we receive this spirit, we must say This is maintaining truth, for it says it is; or reject this, and the spirit, and all the authority, all the promises, and all the assumptions and terrors of them sent by it, as not of God.
After this spirit was amongst them, and the General Assembly had condemned their sentiments, Mr. Irving says, “The duty, which the Christian people owe to their ministers who in the General Assembly did give their condemnation of this doctrine by which we hold the Head, is in their several parishes to go boldly in, and ask them to their face if they believe that Christ came in the flesh, and had the law of the flesh, and the temptations of flesh to struggle with and overcome; and if they confess not to this doctrine, to denounce them as denying the Lord that bought them, as wolves in sheep's clothing.”
Nothing can be clearer, then, than that the spirit which has sent the Newman Street teachers to this country has sanctioned, and is identified with, a doctrine which declares sin to have been in the nature of Christ. The teachers here, in attempting to guard their expressions, have made the matter worse. They have refused to say sin was in the nature of Christ, or use their own words on the subject. But since thus on their guard (for they were much plainer at first), they have fixed upon the statement that “He was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin,” and that the last clause is not meant to qualify the first. Now this makes it not merely dead and dormant in the nature, which was the way the doctrine used to be defended, but connected with temptation that is acted upon, and made a matter of consciousness by the temptation, so that we should have sympathy in its actings in us, in its being acted upon so as to be felt by us when we are so tempted. If this be not putting sin into Christ, I know not what is. It must at least be a question of sympathy in our own thoughts, and “the thought of foolishness is sin.”
In a word, sin dwells in Him, that is, the way it is in us, the way it is connected with our temptations, so as to be acted upon by our temptations I Their effort at securing themselves has made the matter much clearer and much worse. Sin was not only dead but active in Him: for so it is, however repressed, when temptation reaches it. It is in vain their saying they do not mean to charge sin upon Christ. The scripture calls that sin, and the believer knows it to be such (it is a distinguishing point of a believer) and therefore Christ must have been conscious of sin, and this is everything. I know that some of them would say that it is not sin till acquiesced in and acted on. This admits its being such then, and what they mean. As to its being sin, we are directly at issue. Paul has stated it to be such, the believer knows it to be such; he would not be grieved by, and hate it, were it not. Was this in Christ?
We thus see the first mark of the false assumption of prophecy shown, if any signs or wonders come to pass; false doctrine, the undermining the foundation of Christianity, which they do by the way they meddle with the person of the Lord Jesus.
(To be continued, D.V.)

Fragments: Cain and Abel; The Utterances of the Cross; Dying Thou Shalt Die

Abel’s sacrifice was not a sin-offering. Neither Cain nor Abel came before God with the conscience oppressed by a known transgression. It is the state of each of them that is in view, the state of man before God: the one owning himself driven justly out from His presence because of evil, yet drawing near to Him according to His grace; the other, the natural man insensible to sin. In God's answer to Cain (Gen. 4:7), the subject is positive transgression; and this confirms the thought that in the passage an offering for sin is meant, and not sin itself simply.
The cross of Christ said, Man will not have God, even when He comes in grace. But it said also, God in infinite grace spared not His own Son, in order to reconcile man to Himself (2 Cor. 5:17-19).
WHAT a horrible thing, if Adam had been able to eat of the tree of life, and to fill the world with immortal sinners, having no more fear of death than of God! But He allowed it not.

Scripture Queries and Answers: Reverend; PHI 3:11

Q.-Psa. 111:9. What is the strict meaning of the word here translated “reverend?” Does it bear on the official title taken by so-called Christian ministers? J. S., M. D.
A.-As the word in question simply means “fearful,” “dreadful,” “terrible,” and is so translated elsewhere in the O. T., it will be obvious that it applies to God as manifesting His ways of old, not at all to its modern usage. There is no real ground therefore for charging the clerical class or its supporters with profane appropriation of Jehovah's title, as is sometimes done. For they give or take the title in the quite different sense of respect paid to a consecrated class. As a matter of fact “reverend” seems a prefix of courtesy in use rather late, not legal or canonical. Its assumption was thus open to the officials of all denominations, without definite right or sanction. Hence as some pious dissenting chiefs despised what the more vulgar seized with eagerness, so the established clergy began sixty years ago to fall back on the more legal style of “clerk,” or their distinct ecclesiastical status of vicar, rector, &c., as the case might be. The question was raised in the Courts of Law, and decided in favor of a dissenting tombstone inscription, in which a widow claimed it for her deceased husband. It was proved, it seems, that ancient usage gave “reverend” as a title to lawyers! before it was also accorded to men of ghostly pretensions; so that any exclusive application was invalid. But all such contention was clearly of the world. Therein titles of earthly and present honor have their place. But Christians are not of this world, as Christ is not. God set in the church as He chose; but apostles, prophets, teachers, &c., were not recognizable in the world. And the Lord had solemnly warned His disciples on this head. See Matt. 23:8-12, Mark 10:42-45, Luke 22:24-27, When the cross lost its power both in truth and in practice, flesh asserted itself unblushingly, and the offices of His servants in the church were turned into badges of rank in the world: a chaos which reigns everywhere really, but more or less conspicuously, to this day. Hence the haughtiest offender, even when flaunting his peacock feathers, proclaims himself “servus servorum Dei.” Who can wonder that, when carnal vanity and worldly pride (arrogating the right to beat or anathematize fellow-servants) took the place of love and lowliness, hypocrisy and hatred came in like a flood over Christendom! Nor is there real escape from the evil save in unfeigned self-judgment by Christ's word, and cleaving with full purpose of heart to Christ's name, not as Savior and Lord only, but as center and Head.
Q.-Phil. 3:11. What is its bearing? M. A.
A.—The verse is not intended to raise the least doubt or uncertainty in the believer's mind, but to convey the deep blessedness of that glorious goal, the “out-resurrection” from the as the apostle puts it here only. So incomparable was it in his eyes that, in the view grace gave him of it, he welcomed the fellowship of Christ's sufferings, being conformed to His death (as indeed he was to be literally), if in any way to arrive at that wondrous result of Christ's resurrection. He minded no labors nor pains nor shame meanwhile to win and know Christ thus. He would not have his own righteousness if he could, which is of law-nothing but what is by faith of Christ, the righteousness that is of God conditioned by faith: all of His grace, and in His righteousness, and according to Christ both along the way and at the end in glory.


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The Early Chapters of Genesis: Chapter 11:27-28

WE have seen then the immense importance of what God was pleased to accomplish in the call of Abram. But that which accompanies it is not without its interesting instruction, as a brief notice may help to show.
“And these [are] the generations of Terah: Terah begot Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran begot Lot. And Haran died before the face of Terah his father in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldeans” (vers. 27, 28).
The order of the three sons of Terah reverses that of nature. Abram was in no sense the head of the family after the flesh, not even when his brother Haran died. The comparison of dates and facts makes it evident that Abram was the youngest of all, and as Haran was born when his father was seventy, so Abram only when he was one hundred and thirty years of age. His foremost place therefore was due to the choice of God.
We may dismiss the traditional dream (Ant. i. 7 § 2) which Josephus was too prone to interweave with inspiration, in order to aggrandize the head of the Jewish people and to commend him in the eyes of Greeks and Romans for wisdom and knowledge, as the teacher of monotheism to the Chaldeans, as well as of astronomy and mathematics to the Egyptians. He even quotes Nicolaus of Damascus, a contemporary of Augustus and therefore not long before his own day, for Abram's reign over Damascus, whither “he came with an army out of the land above Babylon, called the land of the Chaldeans. But after a long time he got him up and removed from that country with his people also, and came into the land then called the land of Canaan, and this when his posterity were become a multitude.” Yet all this is not only without but opposed to scripture, which, brief as it may be, gives us to gather with certainty that the delay was in Charran or Harran, not in Damascus, and that Abram had no “posterity” till a much later day. The fact that he had a confidential and chief servant, Eliezer of Damascus, is a slender guarantee of any conquest there, whatever trophy of victory Dean Stanley may have fancied with others (Jewish Church i. 9).
Nor can we entertain for a moment the Jewish tradition which tells of Abram faithful to the true God from his boyhood. That Terah and his family served other gods, we know on divine authority. That Abram, when at fifty years and trusted to sell the idols which his father manufactured, took in hand the practical measure of demonstrating to Terah the sinful folly of idolatry, is a story suited for the credulity of the Jew Apella, even without the legend of Nimrod's punishing Abram in the flames, and the fountain springing up to extinguish them, with a delightful garden, wherein were seen angels sitting and Abram in their midst. Truth needs neither fables nor more miracles to exalt man. It humbles even those whom it blesses to God's glory. “The God of glory (says Stephen, Acts 7:2) appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia before he dwelt in Charran.” Here is the truth of God in its simple and sure and satisfactory light. It was he that believed and acted accordingly. Of Terah we are told nothing which gives happy confidence. Of Haran, father of Lot and of Milcah, we only learn that he “died before the face of his father Terah in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldeans “; he did not reach Charran, the halfway sojourn in the migration; he died before any left their common Chaldean abode. Nahor, it is evident, did not relinquish Ur for Charran till a later day; but there he stayed, so that he made it “his city” in Aram-naharaim or Paddan-Aram.
Wholly distinct was Abram, but it was the sovereign call of God that made him so. “Look unto Abraham your father (says the prophet), and unto Sarah that bare you; God called him alone, and blessed him and increased him.” Terah was of no account in this, nor even Lot though designated a “righteous man” in his day. But Abram was called “alone,” whoever might accompany him, or share less or more the blessing which was his rich portion.
Still we do not well to confound his singularly honored place, chosen and called out by promise to be father of the faithful, with that which is now distinctively given to the Christian as in Eph. 1 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, that blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ, according as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him in love.” The difference in character is immense. It is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ Who blessed, not the God of any earthly father. Next, it is universal blessing and above all things of a natural sort on earth. Further, it has no connection with a land to be shown, or Canaan; it is a choice of us in Him Who is above every name. Then again it was not to meet the frightful departure of man when they gave up the true God for other gods who were nothing but puppets with demons behind them. There it was before the world's foundation, a choice not due to creature apostacy or any other evil in time, but flowing from God's own heart when no creature existed to affect it in any way. Nor was it simply to receive blessing or to be the channel for it to all families of the earth, but that we should be holy and blameless in His sight in love. He would surround Himself with partakers of His own nature and character, and this in love. Such was His choice in our ease; and this “through Jesus Christ to Himself.” What a pattern before Him “according to the good pleasure of his will unto the praise of the glory of his grace!” Could the true God rise higher than this ground and purpose?

Scripture Queries and Answers: Mistranslation; Organization in Divine Things

Q.-2 Sam. 24:13 and 1 Chron. 21:12. Dr. Temple lately said on a public occasion that he had no doubt there were inaccuracies in the O. T., though the writers told the truth as far as they knew it! Still more recently he owned the statement, and referred to the verses above as an instance. Is it mistranslation, or what? W. C.
A.-The superficial looseness and irreverent unbelief of the rationalists is too plain; but there is really a choice of explanations in meeting objections of this kind. 1. Numbers are apt to be mistaken in transcription; but this is the inaccuracy of copyists, not of scripture. In this case the Sept. (far the most ancient of versions) gives three years in 2 Samuel as in 2 Chron. 2 Difference of design explains many an apparent discrepancy, the one statement being as true as the other but not the same. Thus in the earlier book Jehovah is said to have moved David, whereas in the later Satan is the mover: very different aspects, but equally certain, and neither open to just exception. So we see difference in the sum given by Joab to David; in the first 800,000 of Israel and 500,000 of Judah; in the second 1,100,000 and 470,000 respectively. But the lesser number of Israel we find qualified as “valiant men,” as those of Judah were given in a round number. Again, in 2 Samuel David bought “the threshing-floor and the oxen” for 50 shekels of silver; yet in 1 Chronicles he gave to Ornan for “the place” 600 shekels of gold. It was not the mere floor for the altar site, but the whole of mount Moriah for the house of Jehovah Elohim as well as for that altar.-It may be noticed too that details of interest, are added in each of the accounts, but omitted in the other; and the language, not more notable for similar shades than for dissimilar, is equally striking. Nevertheless who doubts the later writer was familiar with the earlier writing? The one was no less inspired than the other. Had it been a human arrangement, the irresistible impulse would have been to make the two identical. But knowing them both to be inspired of God, neither priest, nor people, nor prophets, nor scribes, dared to lay a sacrilegious hand on either. Assured that Jehovah was the author through the instruments He chose, they left it to faith to receive if they could not explain all the difficulties, and to rationalists to call them “inaccuracies.”
Q.-1 Cor. 7:23, Gal. 1:10. What is organization in divine things such as ministry?
A.-It is arranging the ministry of the word in ways of men without God's will. As the Lord from on high gave the gifts, He controls livingly by His word. His servants are not left to their own discretion, but subject to His direction in scriptures open to all saints. Not only is there doctrine as to its source, character, and nature, but inspired history, that those who walk by faith might have an adequate unvarying standard from God. Well may we cherish the full liberty of the Spirit there laid down; and we cannot depart from the word for the fancied improvements of the age without presumption and error. How far are we from making it good as we ought, even in these islands small as they are, and with so crowded a population, according to that holy precedent! Innovation is fatal; for, however pleasing to the superficial, it can only precipitate declension. One can understand perfervid and erratic ways in those filled with zeal over perishing souls. But those who undertake to instruct the many and needy professors of Christ in Christendom ought assuredly to be patterns of obedience. With what face can they urge the word on others, if they do without it themselves? Do we believe in the sufficiency as well as in the authority of scripture? Is it rich enough in profit, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly fitted unto every good work? Can we add anything of value in God's eyes?
At the meetings called Conferences, prayer and praise, open assemblies, and testimony have scripture warrant and just proportion. For the Christian public a discourse or two at most would convey ample material for profit. But where quantity, not quality of speech to professing Christians has its monopoly, how sad the principle! and what may not be the issue?

The Offerings of Leviticus: 10. Law of the Meal Offering

Lev. 6:7-11 (Or, 14-18)
Under this law comes to light the great prominence given to the eating of the Minchah, or Meal Offering, by Aaron and his sons. This is one of its most marked characteristics. All the males among the children of Aaron were to eat of it. Here too is one of its strongest points of contrast with the Olah or Burnt Offering, whereof no part was eaten but all rose up to God. However requisite and important the Minchah, it only accompanied the Burnt Offering; and so here it is not a fresh or separate word from Jehovah but a sequel as in chaps. i. “And this is the law of the meal offering; the sons of Aaron shall present it before Jehovah, before the altar. And he shall take of it his handful of the fine flour of the meal offering and of the oil thereof, and all the frankincense which is on the meal offering, and shall burn [it] on the altar: a sweet odor of the memorial thereof to Jehovah. And the remainder thereof Aaron and his sons shall eat: unleavened shall it be eaten in a holy place; in the court of the tent of meeting shall they eat it. It shall not be baked with leaven. As their portion I have given it of my fire offerings: it is most holy, as the sin offering and as the trespass offering. All the males among the children of Aaron shall eat of it: an everlasting statute in your generations, from Jehovah's fire offerings; what [or, who] ever toucheth these shall be holy” (vers. 7-11).
Varieties of form such as came before us in chap. 2 are wholly omitted now. From the law here given we could not gather anything as to this, but the one great general truth: the shadow of Christ, not giving Himself up in atoning death to Jehovah without blemish and unreservedly, but in the perfectness of His life on earth, all pure and in the Spirit's power, the fire only bringing out His matchless fragrance, the one like the other a fire offering to Jehovah for an odor of rest. Yet even the early chapter gives us the marked difference from the Burnt Offering. For the Meal Offering had only the priest's handful of its flour and oil with all the frankincense taken out and burnt as its memorial on the altar: the rest went to Aaron and his sons.
But the law opens with “the sons of Aaron” offering it “before Jehovah before his altar.” One might be the offering priest, to leave the memorial (ver. 8); but they were all concerned. It was priestly food, not properly man's, whatever might be true of the corn and the oil generally. This was the Minchah or Meal Offering to Jehovah, following the Burnt Offering, and not otherwise. For the offerer in either case was an Israelite, a sinful man, though the offering was not in view of his sin or guilt like their appropriate offerings, but of the divine provision for his acceptance in drawing near. None but One could answer to this absolute fitness for being offered before Jehovah, before His altar. Every other needed first an offering for sin. Death in the Burnt Offering was rather and fully the glorifying of God in the suffering Son of man, Himself morally glorified therein as God was. The fire of God drew out nothing, again, from all His activity here below, from the smallest no less than the greatest, but perfect fragrance before God. Only He could estimate it aright; so that “all the frankincense” with a sample of all the rest was burnt to God.
But here stress is laid on what remained: “and the remainder thereof Aaron and his sons shall eat,” not Aaron's sons only, but Aaron with them (ver. 9). It is the entire priestly house, Christ and His own, whose house are we, those who now partake of a heavenly calling (Heb. 3:1-6: cf. Heb. 2:11-13). The manna figures the Lord given from heaven for Israel's food: and in John 6 the Lord declares Himself the bread of life for every one who beholds the Son and believes on Him, the Living Bread that came down from heaven, so fully and freely that if any man (not the Jew only) eat of this bread, he shall live forever. It is for the sinner that believing on Christ he may have life eternal. But by grace through the same faith we become also a holy priesthood (1 Peter 2) and, so brought nigh to God, we eat in a general way what pertains to the family (as the daughters did equally with the sons), the offering of the holy things, the first-fruits of a goodly land, etc.
Besides that holy fare, there was the more restricted privilege as here, of which the males alone partook. These types find their counterpart now in those that are Christ's, where feeding on Christ pertains to the sanctuary, and appropriation their right according to the believer's realization of his nearness to God. The more we make our own the place in His presence by the work of Christ, the more also we enjoy Him as the food of our souls, not now merely as indispensable to having life, but in the way of communion and appreciation in the Spirit of all the perfection that God found in Him when thoroughly tried in His path here below. Hence it is that the Gospels afford to the spiritual mind such especial delight and divine joy in that which they furnish of Christ here below; whereas those who do not enter into their present nearness to God by His atoning work turn rather for comfort to the Epistles, especially such as those to the Romans, Galatians, and Hebrews, besides the first of Peter. This is well and of God; but as priests we are entitled to far more of Christ.
It will be observed that the right sense of what follows in ver. 9 is not “with unleavened bread,” but itself unleavened was to be eaten, and this not in “the holy place” but a holy place, rather in the court than in the house appropriated exclusively in its use to Jehovah, as indeed the last clause specifies expressly.
In ver. 10 the exclusion of all corruption is carefully repeated, as we know it was in the original institution of Lev. 2 So of Christ the written word declares that not only in Him was no sin, but that He knew none. What a contrast with every other man! Yet did He become very near, and knew manhood incomparably better than the first man (when created, made of full growth, instead of “come of woman” like the Second): a babe, a youth, a man, tested as none ever was, least of all Adam before he fell. Yet as become flesh, and put to the proof beyond all in a world of evil He is the Holy One of God, as demons cried out; and as the Father's voice said, This is My Beloved Son in Whom I found My delight. If the Burnt Offering witnessed the perfectness of His work in death, the Meal Offering shows us the no less perfectness of what He Himself was here below under all conceivable trials. What a privilege to feed on Him thus given of God as our portion of His fire-offerings! Assuredly it is “most holy,” as the Sin Offering and the Trespass Offering, where absolute freedom from taint must be: else how could there be atonement before God? How forgiveness for the offender? It could be in none but Christ, Whom unbelief would fain lower to level up wretched self and dishonor God, making His glory as impossible as man's deliverance through the wreck of Christ's person and work.
The last verse (11) reiterates solemnly the exceeding privilege Jehovah secures forever to “all the males of Aaron's children” in partaking of the Meal Offering (in communion with Himself of Christ). As man He was the delight of God on the earth, only appreciated by those free of His presence; for even converted Israel will own, as their exceeding sin, that in seeing Him of old there was no appearance in Him to give them pleasure. He was despised and forsaken of men; not because of a single flaw in Him Who was wholly perfect, but because man alike was blind and evil, yea, God's enemy. But Christ being what He was and suffering atoningly as He did, all is changed now for the believer. “Whatever [or, whoever] toucheth these [Jehovah's fire-offerings] shall be holy.” Not only was the Meal Offering “most holy,” but all that came in contact with it was separated from common use to Jehovah.

Proverbs 3:9-12

Prosperity, and chastening, are treated, each in the next pair of verses respectively. Let us hear the wise king, inspired now with the best wisdom for man on the earth; and first in view of earthly blessing on the due recognition of the living God.
“Honor Jehovah with thy substance, and with the first-fruits of all thine increase; so shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy vats shall overflow with new wine” (vers. 9, 10).
Jehovah is precisely that designation of God which He gave to Israel that they might learn His ways and bear witness to Him in His earthly government. Things are sadly changed now; for His people played Him false, went after strange gods, and rejected His Anointed. But He abides the same, and will arise and have mercy on Zion; and when He does, the nations shall fear His name, and all the kings of the earth His glory. But when things looked fair, and Judah and Israel were many, and the king made silver to be in Jerusalem as stones, and cedars as sycamores for abundance, this was the word, “Honor Jehovah with thy substance, and with the first-fruits of thine increase.” It is always morally true, though then when the reality of direct divine government was being shown, the result was unfailing: “so shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy vats shall overflow with new wine.” The rejection of Christ brought in the revelation of heavenly hopes for believers, and sufferings, persecutions, etc., with better spiritual blessings even while they are here. The text speaks of normal results for the earth and Israel on it.
But, man being as he is, there is another side, which brings out divine goodness yet more strikingly. “His eyes behold, His eyelids try the children of men.” Still more closely bearing on us, we read that “the eyes of Jehovah are upon the righteous, and his ears are toward their cry. The face of Jehovah is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth"; as on the other hand “Jehovah is nigh to those that are of a broken heart and saveth those that be of a contrite spirit.” Hence the need and the blessing of His ways with our ways.
“My son, despise not the instruction of Jehovah, neither be weary of his chastisement; for whom Jehovah loveth he chasteneth, even as a father the son in whom he delighteth” (vers. 11, 12).
There is, as always, another and more intimate kind of divine government, and this wholly independent of the public state of things. It was true when Solomon reigned and wrote; it is only more fully disclosed and deeply known under the gospel. There is ever a government of souls, and here it is stated with all simplicity. How affectionate the call! “My son, despise not the instruction of Jehovah, neither be weary of his chastisement.” For these are the snares of the enemy: either to make light of His training on the one hand; or on the other to sink under His reproof, as if He dealt hardly with us.
The Epistle to the Hebrews (Heb. 12:5,6) appropriates this ancient order, and applies it to the Christian now, pointing out the love which acts unfailingly when we fail as we too often do, Nor is the blessed object less which the Father of spirits has toward us; for it yields peaceable fruit in those thus exercised, though for the present it seems not joyous but grievous. There is therefore no ground in it for despondency, but the best reason for the lame that they be not turned out of the way but rather be healed.
The first Epistle of Peter (1 Peter 1:15-17) is no less plain. “As he who called you is holy, be ye also holy in all manner of living; because it is written, Be ye holy, for I am holy. And if ye call on him as Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to the work of each, pass the time of your sojourn in fear.” It is now that the Father judges His children in the love that will make us hate our every inconsistency; for His grace has through Christ and His work exempted us from that future judgment which is appointed for all that believe not, and walk in evil and darkness (John 5:23-28).
Even more explicit is the word in 1 Cor. 11:29-32. The apostle explains that in the sickness and death that fell on not a few saints at Corinth the Lord was judging those who did not discern or discriminate themselves, but walked carelessly, even as to the Lord's Supper. But when thus judged now, “we are chastened (or, disciplined) of the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.” It is a present moral dealing which might go as far as cutting off; but even so, it was His chastisement in love, that saints should not share the world's condemnation, as all unbelievers must.
The reason given in our text and cited in the N.T. bears out fully the love from which present chastening flows. “For whom Jehovah loveth he chasteneth, even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.” It is not always however because of evil done; His chastening may be to guard us from evil. It may be preventive, as well as corrective. Shall we not, as children confiding in Him, accept it with thanksgiving? We have the distinct proof of His love. Let us never doubt, but believe and bow.

Gospel Words: the Persistent Widow

Luke 18:1-8
The closing verses of Luke 17 are occupied with the appearing of the Lord, when He comes in His kingdom and executes judgment on the quick. Hence the comparison is with the days of Noah and of Lot. It is not the heavenly hope dawning, as in Luke 12:32-38; but “the day that the Son of man is revealed” (2 Thess. 1), when the birds of prey are gathered together over the corpse.
In moral connection with His coming in personal judgment of the earth the Lord intimates the urgent value of prayer.
“And he spake also a parable to them that they must always pray and not faint, saying, There was in a certain city a certain judge, not fearing God and not regarding man; and there was a widow in that city and she kept coming unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. And he refused for a while; but afterward he said in himself, If even I fear not God and regard not man, yet because this widow is troublesome to me I will avenge her, that she by forever coming may not worry me. And the Lord said, Hear what the judge of unrighteousness speaketh. And shall God in no wise avenge his own elect that cry to him by day and night, and he is long suffering over them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Howbeit, when the Son of man cometh, shall he indeed find faith on the earth?” (vers. 1-8.)
As God's call is the warrant of faith, so faith is exercised in prayer, and rests always on the unseen in the midst of seen experience. And when things are most trying through the prevalence of evil, those that believe are encouraged the more to cry, How long, O Lord? He puts faith to the proof; He can never deny Himself, nor disappoint His people. But endurance is to have a perfect work, that they may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
The figures employed were the best possible to encourage: on the one hand a judge of unrighteousness neither fearing God nor respecting man, on the other a widow wronged by an adversary near enough to inflict so much the greater evil, because he should have been her protector. Yet her persevering cry wore out the judge's indifference. He could not stand her continual appeal, and, to escape the annoyance, he let her have justice. The Lord reveals the thoughts and motives of the judge's heart, and draws the believer's attention to the way in which even now God's providential ways act in the most reckless and unprincipled on behalf of the oppressed.
But how much more will it be when God rises up in judgment of the world, as He surely will in the person of the Lord Jesus at the end of the age. Then will He shine forth as the Judge of the earth, and the elect will have their cry by day and night at length heard, and the wicked triumph no more. They speak arrogantly now, they boast themselves. They will slay the widow and the stranger, and murder the fatherless. But Jehovah will not cut off His people, nor will He forsake His inheritance. For judgment, instead of diverging to the right or the left, shall return to righteousness, and all the upright in heart shall follow it. So it will be in the day of the Lord's appearing. She who had long played Him false and sought many lovers will take by repentance the place of the desolate widow, and shall forget the shame of her youth, and the reproach of her widowhood shall He remember no more. For her Maker is her husband in that bright day; and the Holy One of Israel is her Redeemer; the God of the whole earth shall He be called, as indeed He is, and she shall know. He may be long suffering over His own elect in their tribulation; but He will avenge them speedily in that day. For in His hand is a cup, and the wine foameth; it is full of mixture, and He poureth out of the same. Surely the dregs thereof all the wicked of the earth shall wring out, and drink them; and the horns of the righteous shall be lifted up when those of the wicked also shall be cut off. But it will be a dark hour, not only in the land but elsewhere, and faith seems then extinct as regards public profession up to that mighty intervention.
0 my reader, forget not that you still hear the gospel. Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. Him Who knew no sin God made sin for us, that we might become God's righteousness in Him. Such is His testimony to you. It is not a promise or a hope; it is the most wondrous of all facts in the grace of God; and you, if you have not already believed God as to it, are now called to believe on Christ Whom He gave and sent that you might be saved. To Him and His work of redemption does the Holy Spirit now bear witness in the gospel, which is God's glad tidings to every one that believes. Trifle not with grace so unparalleled. To put it off is to trifle with the will of the Father, the work of the Son, and the witness of the Holy Spirit. Can there be more glaring or guilty unbelief?
Why do you now delay? The atoning work is done. Be it known to you therefore, that through Christ is preached to you forgiveness of sins; and in virtue of Him every one that believes is justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. This was no defect of His law, which indeed was God's law and must condemn, not justify, the sinner. But the gospel is from God the good news of Jesus the Lord His Son, the Son of man come to seek and to save that which was lost. Beware then, lest that come upon you which is spoken in the prophets, Behold, ye despisers, and wonder and perish; for I work a work in your days, a work which ye will in no wise believe if one declare it to you.

The Wish of Paul in Chains: Part 2

Acts 26
Paul had been conscientious and very zealous for the religion of his fathers; but, with all his conscience and his religion, an enemy of God. He was the most wicked, and, as he says himself, the “chief” of sinners. And nevertheless, there he is; he becomes in three days the most remarkable apostle of grace. And how did that happen? It is a very simple thing. He had become acquainted with Jesus. He could not at once manifest what he would be; for he had been terrified at seeing the state of death wherein he was, but he had heard in his heart the voice of Jesus. Jew or Gentile, it is all the same, while the soul is unstripped, the conscience unconvinced of sin, and the man has not understood, that all his religion is but enmity against God. This conviction of sin does not come to all in the same way; there are different circumstances; but it must always be that the soul be naked, and that Christ reveal to the soul His relations with His own. There are poor Christians, dishonored by those who are in consideration, designated by injurious terms. Well, to these persons, despised and pointed at because of their faith, the Lord reveals His relations with them in a manner most positive and clear. The revelation that Jesus made to Paul is, that they are entirely identified with Himself. He says, I am all those men whom thou persecutest. Paul sees the glory, and he is arrested; no doubt that it is the Lord. But this Lord is Jesus,
Who shows him that he persecutes Him in persecuting the Christians. “It is Myself,” says Jesus, “whom thou persecutest.”
There were in those days differences in faith, patience, and piety, amongst the Christians; but Jesus bears them all on His heart. He says, “It is Myself.” And there is a complete revolution in Paul, learned, religious, and a persecutor. The more there is of religion of the flesh, the greater enemies we are to Jesus. The finer the outside, the more honest and brave I give myself out for, exactly so much the more I am God's enemy, and so much the more opposed to the grace of Jesus. He who wallows in sin will not pretend to be the friend of God, to be reconciled with Him.
But as for those who have believed, Christ identifies Himself with them. In this room there are those who believe, and others who do not believe. Amongst those who believe there are (without doubt) many degrees of spirituality; but I can say of all these believing ones, “They are one with the Lord Jesus.” It is evident that this simple truth changes all in the state of the soul—the being one with Him Who is in glory.
Paul had been later caught up to the third heaven, and had precious revelations. When he was arrested on the road to Damascus, he had yet much progress to make, for he was shocked at himself, till Ananias had explained and made him understand what Jesus wanted of him (see Acts 22:14). Then Ananias said to Paul, “The God of thy fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know His will and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of His mouth. For thou shalt be His witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard.” But from the moment that he truly knew the Lord Jesus, he was one with Him, and he knew it.
Whatever then might be the circumstances of Paul, whether at Jerusalem, at Caesarea, before Festus, or before Caesar, he could say, “I would that you were such as I am, except these bonds;” for he knew what he possessed in Christ. It was a question of this truth—the being one with Christ. Of course, Paul had yet a great deal to learn of the Lord, but in spite of that, he was one with Him. He had understood, that in persecuting the Christians, the beloved of Jesus, he was persecuting Jesus. “Why persecutest thou me?” The nearer we are to the Lord Jesus, the better we understand that he who touches His brethren “toucheth the apple of His eye.”
I will add a few words more on what we are in Christ. All in us has been enmity against God, our religion, our works, our whole conduct, so that in this state it is impossible to please Him. It is sad, but, after all, it is true. Paul admits it; he no longer esteems what he thought was “gain “; on the contrary he looks upon it “as dung.” But he understands that by faith all are one in Christ. Faith makes him take his place with them. He does not ask if he has faith, he does not begin a metaphysical discussion to know what faith is; but he becomes a Christian, because he believes that Jesus is the Lord of glory and that Christians are one with Him. And this is the life and joy of our souls, to comprehend that Christ has not asked us if we have faith, but that He has said, I am One with thee. We are one spirit with the Lord.
All was sin in this world. There was no longer any means of entering into relation with God. It was necessary, in order that these relationships should be re-established, that Jesus should come into the world to accomplish the will of God, and to manifest to sinful men the deep interest that God took in them. But in this case I have nothing to do but to weigh what Christ is for me, and that is faith's business. I find in Him that which takes away all my mistrust, because He knows me altogether. He knows my sin better than I know it myself; in going to Him, my heart is free, because He knows all, and that He is come expressly for that. I find all goodness, all grace, and all liberty, in Him.
Moreover, knowing that He is God, I know Him as the Savior God. And what a revolution takes place in the soul which knows that it has to do with the God Who never denies Himself, and Who is love I Not only is He come to relieve me, but more—to save me. And what is exceedingly precious is, that when I have met Jesus Christ a man, I have met God; I am one with Him, not upon the cross (there He had taken my place), but in His risen privileges. He has taken up the cause for me as a sinner, and has given Himself as propitiatory victim for sin. God cannot sue again for my salvation, because I am one with Him there in heaven; and if I torment myself, it is only with myself, for I cannot have the least uneasiness before God.
Satan has done all he could, but it is only to show that his power is destroyed forever. There is nothing remaining which can disquiet me before God: He has everything to be the source of life and joy. I find all in Jesus, in Whom “dwelleth the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” I find in Him all grace for my need, my righteousness, and my strength.
Another righteousness has succeeded that of man; it is the righteousness of God. Christ is become head of all things; and all the glory is manifested at the right hand of God, as a consequence of the expiation which has been made for my sin. Thus all the fullness is manifested, and Jesus has said, being glorified, that He is One with us, and that He has sent His Holy Spirit to make us understand it. Christ has said of us, “It is I.” Thus I have only to examine what Christ is, and to rejoice too in seeking to manifest what He is, since He has said of His own, “It is I.”
The Holy Spirit is given to be in the heart of these poor worthless, ones, the “seal,” and the “earnest of the inheritance.” When one has the Holy Spirit, is one to despair, if one should sin? Quite the contrary, for then we are one with Christ, Who considers us as “His flesh,” and Who looks after us. Sometimes, perhaps, He must wound it a little, but He does so because He cannot neglect it, since it is “His flesh.” The Holy Spirit makes us sensitive to all that with which Jesus is not satisfied in us as being one with Him, His body; and the nearer we are to Him, the more alive we are to these things. Besides the fact of being one with Christ, in order fully to enjoy this privilege, and that the heart might overflow with joy in the consciousness of possessing it, the Holy Spirit must not be grieved. If the heart of Paul had not been set at liberty, although the truth of his oneness with Christ remained, he could not have said, I would that all ye should be such as I am. His understanding would have recognized the truth of it, apart from sin; his heart could only have said it by the Holy Spirit: for the Holy Spirit is repressed neither by prison nor by every kind of tribulation. Nothing hinders Paul from enjoying the grace of Jesus. He was able to call himself happy in every circumstance, and to say to those who heard him, “I would that all were such as I am,” &c.
When Agrippa says to Paul, “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian,” if that had been addressed to us, what had been our answer? Perhaps we should have said, “Would to God that thou wert!” but could we have said: “I would that thou wert such as I am,” &c. That shows the inward happiness he possessed. Oh! happy is the man that can say so, and all can say it in Christ, for Christ has said of all, “It is I!” But, if we are not close to Christ, in Paul's state, we are not at liberty.
Alas! there may be many things in the life of the poor Christian which oblige Christ to chastise him; and there is a diversity in the manifestation of His love; but that changes not this truth—He is one with me. The Christian sees in God all goodness towards him, and, as a sinner, nothing but grace. There is in Christ the righteousness of God, the life of God, the glory of God, and that in Christ which declares him one with Him, and which says of him, “It is I.” He has the Holy Spirit, that he may understand Him, and enjoy Him, and that he may know by this “earnest,” that the fellowship and happiness of God are his forever, and according to the sweetness of the peace which assures him of it. Is it then astonishing that, filled with love, he cries out, “Would to God that those who hear me were such as I?”
Being in the presence of God destroys whatever we have put to hinder the conscience from being alive. With all your religion, would you be naked before God, before whom every veil is rent? All that we put before us to hinder us from seeing God, all the cares, all the pleasures, our very religion as it was, all disgust us, when the conscience is awakened.
Are you content that your conscience should be naked before God? If it be so, Christ can say to you, “You are one with Me, and God is occupied about you, because you are one with Me,” like those of whom He said, “It is I Whom thou persecutest.”
May God give us grace, dear friends, to comprehend this truth so powerful, and so blessed to our souls. J. N. D.

James 3:15-16

Wisdom like faith shows its character by the spirit and conduct that accompanies and reflects it. Every good gift and every perfect giving cometh down from above, from the Father of lights, Who of His own will begot us by the word of truth. What is the source and character of any wisdom, however pretentious, that coalesces with bitter emulation and faction? Is it not a lie against the truth? Does it flow from anything higher than hearts governed by self-will, instead of being purified by faith?
“This wisdom is not descending from above, but earthly, natural, demoniacal. For where envying and faction [are], there disorder [is] and every bad deed (vers. 15, 16).
To describe it thus was to brand it as thoroughly evil and of the enemy. The tone of James differs from that of John and Jude, of Paul and of Peter; but all agree in testifying that Christ alone is, and shows us, the wisdom acceptable in God's eyes and suitable for His children. Man's wisdom is in truth his folly, for it is in disobedience of His word, and seeks independence of His will. The Lord of glory was the obedient man and gave the pattern of One on earth Who did not merely live through or by the Father but on account or by reason of Him. So perfectly was He the servant (and this is the perfection of man Godward) that He had no other motive in His living; and He lays this down for him that feeds on Himself-even he shall live on account of Me (John 6:57). He is the Bread that came down from heaven and gives life to the world; but more than this, He gives His flesh for the life of the world. Less than this would not suffice to meet its ruin and accomplish the blessing God had in His heart for the believer. To eat His flesh and drink His blood is indispensable, if we are to have life in ourselves, as was His purpose of grace about us. He that thus eats and drinks has the communion of His death, and has life eternal, with the assurance of being raised by Him at the last day, yea more-of abiding in Him, and of His abiding in him, this day.
No other wisdom therefore suits the believer. The wisdom of the first man, and of the world, has no link with heaven. It is at best earthly, and either seeks glory from men or yet more proudly tramples on other men as unworthy of a thought. The sage thinks he is the king, and will have not fellows but slaves, in the fullness of his self-complacency and disdain. The most offensive condition to his mind is to be a servant, to be God's bondman, This is love's place, and Christ took and filled it unfailingly; and by His redemption we can follow in His path, having Him as our life, which He truly is, and are free to cultivate this wisdom coming down from above. For we too can love one another, because love is of God; and as everyone that loves has been begotten of God, and knows God, so he that does not love never learned God, because God is love.
Further too, it is not only “earthly” wisdom, but “natural.” It has no true sense of God's mind any more than of His love. As the apostle tells us in 1 Cor. 2, a natural or soulish man receives not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot gain knowledge of them, because they are spiritually discerned; whereas the spiritual man discerns them all, while himself is discerned by none.
Another word completes the sad picture of wisdom outside Christ; it is “demoniacal.” It is quite enough to render it accurately; for though demons may be distinguished from their prince, yet are they the emissaries of Satan and the instruments of his malicious power. How little do men believe that the wisdom of self, so coveted of mankind, is “demoniacal!” How little do the children of God seek that which is of Christ, the best proof that it is of God's Spirit! For He is here to glorify Christ; and this He does by receiving of Christ's, and announcing it to us.
But are not God's children exposed in their weakness to danger and evil? They are not in the flesh, but the flesh is in them; they are in the world with all its snares; they are the object of the evil one's incessant and subtle seductions. But greater is He that is in them than he that is in the world. Have they not Christ? And Christ is God's wisdom no less than His power. Far from them to boast of wisdom or aught else in themselves. Indeed God chose the foolish things of the world to put to shame the sages. And of Him are they in Christ Jesus, “Who was made to us wisdom from God, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.”
Yet God does not fail to set even the weakest on their guard against the assumption of a wisdom that is not of Him. Its moral character betrays its evil source, when smooth language and fair-speaking might easily ensnare the unwary. The least intelligent of saints who keeps the Lord Jesus before him can discern “envying and faction;” and these allowed bring in speedily “confusion and every bad work.” By their fruits therefore the earthly wise become manifest ere long to those who are neither intelligent nor spiritual enough to discern otherwise. They are thus warned and kept by divine grace.

Remarks on 1 John: 5:6-21

1 John 5:6-21
What must the world be in the sight of God! Jesus, born of Mary, was the display of His love for it, and in it. He sent His Son into it to be its Savior—trusted it, so to speak, with One so precious to Him, His delight, His well-beloved; and the world crucified Him! So powerful was serpent subtlety then over the wisdom of the princes of the world. Now, God displays His love to those who believe, by drawing and redeeming them out of it to His Son in heaven; and the world lies in the power of the deceiver, still boasting of its wisdom! We think of Noah and still more of Enoch. They were not of the world in their day. They were of God, and yet how few! The skill of men had advanced the world, and the arts flourished in the family of Cain. All seemed so well (Luke 17:26, 27). And all seems well now to millions; and the flock of God that will receive the kingdom, how little it is (Luke 12:32)! Do we belong to it? If there be a thought delightful to those who do, it is, that they are of God. His almighty grace has triumphed over all the blinding powers of darkness, and all the want of heart and power in them, and, however they may differ in attainments, they are confident that “He who hath begun a good work in them will perform (perfect) it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6), “God is faithful” (see 1 Cor. 1:9; 10:13; 2 Thess. 3:3; 2 Tim. 2:13).
As the Epistle opens, so it appropriately closes. At the beginning John wrote, “truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.” This, doubtless, is the apostolic “we”; but all who believed are addressed, in order that they may have their part in this eternal blessedness (1 John 1:3, 4). Now in a few words—the fullness of their meaning being truly inexhaustible—he expresses what every believer should for himself consciously know of God, and what His infinite grace has accomplished, “And we know 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. This (“He,” or the “same”) is the true God, and eternal life” (ver. 20).
The mercy bestowed upon us reveals our need. This is strikingly exhibited here. Sin has not affected our bodies only, the evil has reached, and is deeply seated in, the understanding. It is darkened (Eph. 4:18), and, naturally, “there is none that understandeth: there is none that seeketh after God.” “The world by wisdom knew not God;” and no greater proof of this can there be than its ignorance of Christ. “O righteous Father, the world hath not known Thee;” for had they known Him, they would have known His Father also (Rom. 3:11; 1 Cor. 1:21; John 17:25; 8:19). Men are not innocent, they are not pure in heart; therefore their understanding is incapable of holding a true balance. Alienated from God and enemies in their mind by wicked works, how can they know Him?
But the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding that we may know Him that is true, and thus deliver us from the intricate system of deceit which in one way or another has caused all our race to wander from Him. Eve's innocent mind was deceived by the serpent, the devil who deceiveth the whole world (Rev. 12:9), and blinds in Christendom the minds of them which believe not the gospel (2 Cor. 4:4). Sin, too, is deceitful, lusts are deceitful, riches are deceitful, the heart is deceitful. There are those who handle the word of God deceitfully, and false teachers by good words and fair speeches deceive the simple. Innocence was no safeguard; the ablest intellects have not escaped; minds stored with knowledge have proved no protection. The abounding privileges of Nicodemus and pre-eminence in the outward service of God availed him nothing. His questions show what the natural understanding makes of divine truth (John 3). He must be born again, must have a new nature and thus a new understanding; and the Son of God was come to give it him.
But thus to know God, to have spiritual understanding to see that in Him, Jesus Christ, dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Col. 2:9); and not to have faith in our place in Him (ver. 10) will rob us of that full joy which God would have abound in our hearts. “We are in Him that is true, (even) in His Son Jesus Christ.” He would have His joy made ours, and this could not be if we were separated from Him for a moment. His joy is our present portion, and His glory will be ours soon: “we are complete in Him.”
But the warning of ver. 21 is needed, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols.” It is a warning against seeking satisfaction elsewhere than in Christ. “He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me” (Matt. 10:37).
In N.T. language much more is meant by “idol” than the image of a god. “A covetous man is an idolater” (Eph. 5:5). “Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Matt. 6:24).
An esteemed brother has written— “The true God being now revealed, let no thought of Him, no reasoning about Him, no conclusions of our own wisdom and theology arise independently in the heart. All this will but end in idolatry—refined, it may be, speculative and philosophic; but still idolatry.” W. B.

The Person of Christ: Part 1

The great question for souls everywhere is not so much, What think ye of Christ's moral teaching? as “What think ye of Christ” Himself? It is not only conceivable but certain that many would accept much of His teaching without accepting His personal dignity and rights. The scribe said, “Well, Master, Thou hast said the truth “; but we have no evidence that he ever believed in his heart that Jesus was the Son of God.
To the ruler of the Jews who came to Jesus by night and said, “Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God,” the Lord Jesus immediately replied, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God “; and “Ye must be born again.” There is in this a marked difference between Christ and all other teachers. Their personal place is quite subordinate to what they lay down for their disciples. Nay more; it is becoming, and frequently convenient, that the teacher's personality should be hidden and forgotten in his message. But in Christ the wondering eyes are filled with the Lord Jesus Himself, ever the Son of God, and seated now as the glorified Son of man, after atonement, “where our sins no more can rise.”
Miracles, as wrought by Christ's servants, were proofs of their mission. They gave weight to their testimony to the Master, though His servants were careful to take no credit for the miracles to themselves. But miracles, as wrought by Christ Himself, were evidence of His divine personality, and manifested forth His glory and His grace. God Himself, at Christ's baptism and transfiguration, gave testimony to the Person of His Son. The Holy Spirit expressly came down to earth on the day of Pentecost to glorify Christ, working signs by His servants in His name; and He has abode here ever since. It was because of Christ's personal title that the Pharisees took up stones to stone Him; and it was the Savior's own assertion of the truth relating to His person that led to His rejection and death.
It is clear from scripture on the other hand (and this is the living court of appeal), that the Person with the work of Christ is and must be the solemn question for every soul. Only unbelief can dare to treat it as a secondary question. At the same time, those who love Him will surely keep His word: for He is God no less than the Father. Hence it is to Christ Himself, that the weary and heavy laden are invited to come; and him that cometh to Christ He will in no wise cast out. Though conduct flows from the life given in Christ, and a right character is more or less speedily formed; yet the conscience finds peace through faith in Christ's blood. It is God's will; and so the Holy Ghost testifies to His work (Heb. 10). So decidedly clear is this that advanced Christians, of all others, still live on, and finally leave this scene rejoicing in the Lord Himself, and in Him rejoicing always, not in their own character and conduct. They rightly regard all devotedness to His name, vital and real as it is, as the outcome of life in Him, in no way as the cause of it. They faithfully and wisely take their stand on such words as these, “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God.” “Who is he that overcometh, but he who believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” With the deepest pity for others, they see no prospect for those who reject Him, but “the blackness of darkness forever.” It was the Person of Christ, even when a Babe, which led the devout Simeon to say, “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation.”
Christian practice is tested by our confession of the Person of Christ. Christ taught nothing more plainly than that those who confess Him before men He will confess before all heaven; and that those who deny Him He cannot but there and then deny. On the other hand, “Whosoever confesseth that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him (by His Spirit), and he in God.” We are bound to test any and every man by the confession of Christ's Person. 1 John 4:2 really means, “Every spirit which confesseth Jesus Christ come in flesh is of God.” It is the Person of Christ, not the fact of His birth, life or death, which is confessed. The simple fact many unbelievers do not deny. The translators by making it the admission of the mere fact, instead of the confession of Him Who came in flesh, have spoiled the sense. It supposes His divine place. Of no other is there any force in saying that He came in flesh. Every other man must come in flesh, or not come at all. He might have come in divine glory, or in angelic. But He was pleased to come truly man, though in Himself true God.
Again, “Who do men say that I, the Son of man, am?” and “Who do ye say that I am?” These are questions that the Lord put concerning Himself. Simon Peter answered, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” The Lord replied, “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona; for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” We see here the value of this confession in the eyes of Christ; and we learn that none make it, but those who are directly taught of God. On it His church is built.
Persecution is to be expected in connection with the confession of Christ; whereas the propagation of His moral teaching only might be popular with Jews and Gentiles. Before Christ came, and since, persecution for righteousness' sake was and is to be expected; but the advance on Matt. 5:10 in the next verse 11 is noteworthy. Persecution in the former verse is “for righteousness' sake “; but in verse 11 it is expressly for “Christ's sake.” Here it concerns His Personal honor. Again, in Matt. 10 the Lord warns His followers that for the sake of His name they shall incur the hatred of all men.
Is there any one thing here below which so much provoked the enmity of man? So we read in the Acts of the Apostles. In sending forth the apostle Paul the Lord said, “I will show him how great things he must suffer for my Name's sake.” How often has it been felt that, in proportion as the Person of Christ is kept in the background, while divine goodness is proclaimed, or the subjects of creation, or the providential government of God dwelt upon, the opposition to the preacher gives place to human applause. It does not even disturb a guilty conscience. But this is not to preach Christ, though these truths may have their place. “Revile Christ,” said the Proconsul to Polycarp, “and I will set thee at liberty.” “Eighty and six years have I served Him,” answered Polycarp, “and He never did me any wrong. How then can I blaspheme my King and Savior?” This might be a poor confession; but it did not save Polycarp.
(To be concluded, D.V.)

The Inspiration of the Scriptures: 4. the Human Element

Chap. 5. the Human Element
1 Tim. 5:23 and 2 Tim. 4:13 are a fair sample of texts which unbelief regards as unworthy of divine inspiration. It may be of interest and profit to consider in our measure as believers, why God was pleased to give each of them a place in His word. To the neo-critics such vulgar details, wholly lacking in the theological element, seem beneath the operation of the Holy Spirit for permanent use.
It will be observed that they both are found in the Pastoral Epistles, and in the two addressed by the apostle to the fellow-servant who had his most intimate affection. The Epistle to Titus contains no such tender or familiar communications. This was just as it should be. To Philemon there is again a shade of difference, which is of exquisite moral beauty in its place. All are of the utmost value for that instruction or training in righteousness which God purposed to give by these scriptures. In various forms they each illustrate the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling and working in man, and even in his body now made a member of Christ (1 Cor. 6:15) and a temple of the Holy Spirit that is in him which he has from God. For he is not his own, but bought with a price, and so is to glorify God in his body. This by the way, seeming strange and low in natural or philosophic eyes, led to early tampering with the text by the addition, “and in your spirit, which are God's.” But there is no doubt of the genuine text amply attested by the best MSS. and most of the ancient versions, &c. As little should we doubt the general doctrine of the believer's body, as now claimed for God (Rom. 6:12, 13, 19; 12:1; 2 Cor. 4:7, 10, 11; Phil. 1:20). It was no peculiarity of the heathen or Gnostics to pretend holiness in spirit, while giving license to the body. Scripture leaves no loophole for such antinomianism. The body is for the Lord, and therein dwells the Holy Spirit. God is wise. Man cannot improve scripture, but injures it by his supplements or corrections.
Now it is the gift, the Pentecostal gift, of the Spirit which gives its distinctive character to N.T. inspiration. This is displayed in the Epistles following up the infinite fact of the Son of God revealing the Father, and accomplishing redemption, sending out the gospel, and building the church as the Gospels tell. It would indeed have been extraordinary if the human element had not been given a new and far richer place than ever, just when God was making Himself fully known and had effected that work in which He is perfectly glorified. Christ is the key to both and the perfect manifestation of both; which indeed could not be, had He not been as verily God as man, and so manifested.
Take the Epistle to the Romans. There the apostle elaborately develops God's righteousness in the face of man's proved unrighteousness; and the holy practice to which the Christian is called. Yet from this immense scope of divine truth and grace the last chapter turns to the most touching salutations of love with an individuality of cordial interest in each beyond parallel; and the more striking because the Epistle is written to all the saints in the metropolis of the world, which he had not as yet visited. Yet there his heart went out into characteristic details of their service, many of them lowly men and women, honored and loved for Christ's name by him who was alike His greatest servant and greatest sufferer. Was not this truly divine? Yet where was the human element more conspicuous? It is equally God's word, in which one has well said, Nothing is too great for man, nothing too small for God. As He can afford, so He effectually works in Christ and by His Spirit.
It is not otherwise in the confidential letters the apostle sent to his true and beloved child in faith. The weightiest injunction is in the First Epistle laid on Timothy; not only as to godly order but also fundamental truth, but along with directions for befitting decision in his public position, tender solicitude for his bodily health and frequent illnesses. So in the still more solemn dangers which the Second contemplates, with the apostle's speedy departure. Timothy's affectionate care in what the apostle wanted at that time is fully counted on, as love ever does. Such episodes would be doubtless entirely out of place in a Bishop's Charge or a Pope's Encyclical; but they admirably bring out the wholly different atmosphere of scripture, and in particular of the N.T. There the Holy Spirit working in man delights in blending zeal for the eternal principles of God's nature and glory in the gospel, and in the church as the witness of His truth, with consideration for an earnest man of God, lest he should yield overmuch to abstemious scruple and forego that liberty in the use of the creature which his bodily well-being required. There, even when the imminent and hopeless ruin of the Christian profession was intimated along with the holy and unfailing safeguards for the most difficult times, the same Spirit does not fail to show that His entering into the least details of life are perfectly compatible with the solemn last words of the great apostle. Do we not find the same principle in the dying charge of the Savior Himself (John 19:27)?
Here are the passages. “No longer be a water-drinker, but use a little wine on account of thy stomach and thy frequent infirmities” (1 Tim. 5:23). “The cloak, which I left behind in Troas with Carpus, bring when thou comest, and the books, especially the parchments” (2 Tim. 4:13).
In the first case divine wisdom overrules the morbid tendency of a truly devoted servant. The body is for the Lord, as the Lord is for the body. Hence as impurity is evil, so is asceticism alien, though flesh may glory in the latter, as it might indulge in the former. Christ alone maintains both holiness and liberty; and the apostle was here inspired so to exhort Timothy. A Rabbi, a theologian, might regard such a reference beneath the dignity of a divine mandate for all time. But thus they only betray the empty arrogance of the earthen vessels. Here we have the treasure in it. Here we own the condescension of God's love, as we do the majesty of His truth and the purity of His ways, in the same context, pressed by the awe-enforcing words, “I charge in the sight of God and of Christ Jesus and of the elect angels that thou keep these things without prejudice, doing nothing according to prepossession” (ver. 21).
In the second case, what a lesson for us to read, at such a crisis of the apostle's life, and in delivering his final message in the Spirit to the same cherished fellow-laborer in tones of the deepest gravity, and on truth meant to be the stay of the godly when seducers wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived! He was again a prisoner, already being poured out, and the time of his release come, looking for the crown of righteousness, which the Lord would render to him, and not to him only but also to all who love His appearing. He bids Timothy use diligence to come to him quickly, but withal to bring with him the cloak left with Carpus in Troas and again to come before winter (ver. 21). Is not this a pathetic glimpse why he wished “the cloak?” God was not unmindful of his need nor of ours. Whether he had no means to procure a new one, or he judged it of God rather to request the old one, have we nothing to learn? Nor are “the books” without guidance to us. I do not believe he meant either “the sacred letters” of the O.T. (chap. 3:15), nor “scripture” generally (ver. 16), but his “books” of an ordinary kind. The apostle was no fanatic, but as far as possible from it, as this testifies, particularly at such a moment. “The parchments” he wished especially. They were wanted for more permanent use, and seem to have been not yet written on. Did he desire them for copying his Epistles, now that he had his departure in immediate view? Oh! the grace of the Lord in giving what is here conveyed, not as a private note but in an Epistle of his, which is among those which the apostle Peter pronounces to be “scriptures.” It is the human element of God's word.

Are the Newman Street Teachers (Catholic Apostolic) Sent of God? 4

The next mark was, if anything was spoken, and the thing came not to pass, the prophet had spoken presumptuously: they were not to be afraid of him.
Now multiplied prophecies have been made by the spirit that is amongst these persons, which have proved false: not merely threatening of judgments, averted by repentance, to which they have been endeavored to be compared; but prophecies of blessings and establishment of the church, and of positive definite facts about people, which have never taken place.
First, it was prophesied that, at the end of three years and a half from the beginning of the prophecy of the witnesses, Satan should take to himself the sovereignty, and stand forth in all hideous power in the person of one man, to receive the worship of all the earth. The person who should be so energized of Satan, and be set up as his Christ, was at a subsequent period declared to be young Napoleon.
At the time this latter point was prophesied, it was declared that within three years and a half, the saints would be caught up to the Lord, and the earth wholly given up to the days of vengeance.
The power came upon another at the same time, confirming the rapture of the saints within three years and a half.
Young Napoleon is dead some time.
It is now said, that the prophecy made him only a type of the man of sin. This is not the statement of those concerned in the prophecy. But, observe, it admits the prophecy, and the responsibility of those so excusing it for it, as coming from the spirit which they own and are sent by. If it were true, which it is not, from the manifest absurdity of making him a type, the explanation is worse or as bad as the thing excused. For young Napoleon, instead of being a type of hideous power in the person of one man to receive worship, died a boy of nineteen, brought up in quietude and retirement, under the care and superintendence of his grandfather in Austria; and was a type of nothing at all. It might do very well for a prophecy of what he was to be after, but to make him a type of it then was ridiculous.
Again, it was distinctly revealed in the power, and, says one who spoke in it, “I was made to utter, that the American Indians were the lost ten tribes, and that they should within the three years and a half, appointed for the spiritual ministry, be gathered back into their own land, and be settled there before the days of vengeance set in; that the chief who was now [then] in London, was a chosen vessel of the Lord to lead them back; that he should be endowed with power from on high, in all signs and mighty wonders, and should lead them back, though in unbelief—that he would receive this power here, and be speedily sent forth to them.
“On another evening, I was made in a most triumphant chant to address him as the vessel chosen of God, and to be endowed of God for the bringing back of his brethren. The chief went away an unbeliever in the work, and none of the powers have been manifested.” Now, this also they attempt to explain by news from America, that two missionaries of theirs have since been in America; that Paul Jones (the name of the American) received them, allowed them to preach to the tribe, and says, searching the records of their tribe, he believes they are the ten tribes; but what is there here of the fulfillment of the prophecy? But we must observe, there is the admission of the prophecy having been so uttered as stated.
I must now give a somewhat longer account of remarkable promises made, which, though waited for, never came.
The failure was afterward explained, and the promise renewed by the spirit itself, and failed again; and then an explanation and direction given, which contradicted the express testimony of the previous utterance.
The great subject of the hopes raised, now quite otherwise stated amongst them, was, that the baptism by fire was to be given, entirely burning out sin; and the gifts of the Holy Ghost were to follow, and miracles to be performed; and that this belonged to a period of three years and a half of ministry, the last ministry on the earth; at the end of which England was to be desolate, the saints would be caught up to the Lord, and the earth wholly given up to the days of vengeance within three years and a half; and the spiritual ministry was to commence from a given Sunday then next ensuing, and mentioned in one of the testimonies or utterances of the spirit. Subsequently to the declaration of the rapture of the saints in their three years and a half (which was itself rather inconsistent with a declaration that the baptism and gifts were reserved for the three years and a half's ministry), there were utterances telling them to enlarge their hearts, lest, through unbelief, they should stumble at the greatness of the favor. A few days afterward was an utterance, declaring that the Lord had set an individual apart for himself; that from the day that he was called to the spiritual ministry, as mentioned above, he was to count forty days; that this was now well-nigh expired; that, for these forty days, it was appointed he should be tried; that the Lord had tried him, and found him faithful; and, having now proved in him the first sign of an apostle, ‘patience,' he would give to him the fullness of them, in the gifts of ‘signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds; ' that the Lord had called him to be an apostle, and by the laying on of his hands, and the hands of the other apostles whom the Lord should call, should the baptism by fire be bestowed. On the fortieth day power should be given, the sick should be healed, the deaf should hear, the dead should be restored. Wednesday was the fortieth day. There was nothing particular on Tuesday; but on Wednesday a prophecy of how much the endowments of the apostles to be sent forth would exceed the endowments given to the twelve apostles. The day passed over, without any manifestation of the power which had been foretold.
(To be continued, D.V.)

A Letter on Recent Heterodoxy

My dear Brother,
As warning has been already given (full enough) as to this system of strange doctrines, I have not thought it wise or good to be occupied with an unsavory and dangerous theme. When we have arrived before God at the conviction, not only that such a truth for the saints as life eternal is darkened and rendered uncertain, but that Christ Himself is dishonored and misrepresented, one may turn away from the darkness to enjoy Him Who is from the beginning, and the love that was manifested in Him and is perfected in us and with us.
But as you and others desire to know its late phases, I will cite a few passages from “Readings and Addresses at Weston-Super-Mare, Jan. 3rd. to 10th. 1897,” which suffice to prove how daringly unreliable and perilous it is.
“The mystery is the body simply” (p. 38). Now the apostle took pains to lay down emphatically and on the contrary, that it is concerning Christ and concerning the church. How sad to leave out Him on Whom all depends, of Whom the assembly is but the complement! Compare Col. 1:27. To ignore the Head as the chief and efficient glory of the mystery is a fatal blank.
“I do not think there will be any fellowship in heaven” (p. 81). Its perfection, outside the scene of contrariety, is a singularly perverse ground for denying it; its absence there, what a blank!
“We shall not know Him as Lord in heaven, we shall know Him as Head” (p. 82). We now know Christ as Head on high, while we are on earth; but where is it revealed, that we are to know Him so when we are there? Where, that we shall cease to know Him as Lord? The book of Revelation tells us most of such things; but it assuredly endorses neither of these random utterances. Shall we ever cease to say or sing “Lord Jesus?”
“I have thought [speaking of Rom. 8:30] that for the Holy Ghost to be given to a man is in a sense to glorify him; all is settled morally” (p. 111). What a monstrous comment on the apostle's word, who in giving us the links of divine purpose speaks of glorification with striking anticipation!
But the worst and most shameless contradiction of fundamental truth is in p. 127: “Becoming a man, He becomes the Logos.” Need I say that John 1 teaches that He was the Logos, or Word, in the beginning or eternally? He became flesh in time. The other chief speaker evidently felt the error, and stated the truth subsequently, but did not dare to say more. Was this loyal to Christ?
Now these notes are “revised.” But where are they that care for Christ, wounded afresh in the house of His friends? Is there no fidelity left? no faith? no jealousy for the truth?
Of more than one I have heard, who owned such doctrines to be “diabolical.” This was the word. Why do you then go on in fellowship with such? For testimony was the answer. Testimony! certainly not to Christ, but rather to the enemy. Is it not infatuation?
Yours ever in Christ, W.K.

1 Timothy 4:14

Q.-1 Tim. 4:14. How do you explain this? D. S. T.
A.-That the apostle was God's channel in conferring a special gift of grace on Timothy for his work, as we know was done generally on saints not before landed on Christian ground (Acts 19:1-7), is plain and sure. There were prophecies preceding about Timothy, as a prophet or prophets designated Barnabas and Saul at Antioch. Only in the latter case no gift was conveyed. The laying on of hands by their fellow-laborers was no more than the sign of their commendation to God's grace for the work given them to do (Acts 13:2-4; 14:26), and was repeated, as we learn from chap. xv. 40). Thus to Timothy a spiritual gift was imparted by the imposition of Paul's hands (2 Tim. 1:6), with the accompaniment of the elders (1 Tim. 4:14) who were incapable of conferring the Spirit in any way, but joined by the apostle in that act by way of fellowship. There is no question of “a gift” in Acts 13. Those called in this case had a higher place and a greater gift (see Acts 14:4) than the prophets and teachers, whom the Spirit directed to set them apart for His special mission.


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The Early Chapters of Genesis: Chapter 11:29-30

Not only is Haran's death “before the face of his father Terah” recorded, but the relationships the other sons contracted. We need not speculate on Haran's death. Enough for us to learn from this note of scripture how unusual it was for a son to die before his father's face in the land of his nativity. Had there been any divine lesson in the undisclosed details and facts, the goodness of our God would have given this also. It is as truly unbelief to imagine or to accept the imaginations of others, as it is to hesitate about the communications of the inspired word. Where scripture ceases to speak, let us learn to be silent. The attempt to conjecture is presumption, the refusal of it honors God and His word.
“And Abram and Nahor took wives: the name of Abram's wife [was] Sarah; and the name of Nahor's wife Milcah, a daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah and the father of Iscah. And Sarah was barren; she [had] no child” (vers. 29, 30).
God takes a beneficent interest not only in the persons who have to do with Him but in their relations, especially in that which, of all natural ties, is the most important for a human being. It may have been that those here in question on either side did not yet know Him; but He at least knew the end from the beginning and guided in His providence those who were to play an influential part in the future dealings of His grace. He registers it in that word of His which endures forever. He would thus impress its gravity on all that fear Him for their own steps here below. He would have them above all to seek His guidance, now in particular since the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. For there His word assures a character of deeper intimacy than with a people chosen to be the theater of His direct government, or even with the fathers resting on His promises. Nor is it only that His word is thus adapted to our calling; for He has now also given us the Holy Spirit in the power of personal indwelling, to speak of nothing else, which could not be till sin was judged in the cross, and the Savior took His new place in heaven before God. Therefore if any one be in Christ, it is a new creation: the old things are past; behold, all things are made new. And all things are of God Who reconciled us to Himself by Christ.
Nor is this all. For the true and sound knowledge which grace gives us of God enables the Christian to vindicate Him as to the things of the old creation, instead of yielding to the teachings of demons which would put a slight on marriage or meats, as we read in 1 Tim. 4. Thus Satan may, to dishonor the Creator, affect a spurious holiness. But the truth delivers us from such reveries and insists that every creature of God is good, and that nothing is to be refused if received with thanksgiving, for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. Now we know every barrier gone in Christ's death: not divine compassion only come down where and as we were, but ourselves free to draw near to God in His victorious love, proved to the full, efficacious and everlasting. Unbelief may mock Christ and His work; it must another day take the bitter consequence in the face of the amplest possible evidence to convince and satisfy. But faith is entitled even now to enjoy divine goodness, both in the heavenly sphere where Christ sits, and in the scene where He was rejected, and we still are in our weakness, waiting for the appearing of His glory. The name of Abram's wife was Sarai, of whom in due time we are told so much comparatively; and this not only in the O.T. history, but in the profoundly instructive comment of the great apostle in N.T. doctrine. Of Milcah we hear but little. She was Haran's daughter and Nahor's wife, and as Gen. 22 and 24 inform us, mother of Bethuel and seven other sons. Bethuel was father of Laban and Rebekah, of whom so much is said there or afterward. No more of Iscah is known than that she too was Haran's daughter. But it is said here that Sarai was barren; she had no child. And this remained a painful fact for many years. Yet was she destined, after long patience of faith, checkered by some impatience of unbelief to bear Abram's heir, the child of promise. In Isaac should his seed be called, type of the “Child born” and of the “Son given” in Whose name every knee shall bow and every tongue confess, yea, a type of Him even received from the dead in figure. Another woman in after years was to be His immediate mother (Luke 1) and she not barren, though a virgin of David's house when David's tabernacle was fallen down. Of her it was promised centuries before that Emmanuel should be born as He was, Who will assuredly raise up that ruin with every other that is for Jehovah's glory. Highly favored was that maiden, blessed among women in good sooth. But, as He said (and His words are spirit and life) to a woman who lifted up her voice in blessing the mother, “yea rather, blessed [are] they that bear the word of God and keep it” (Luke 11:27, 28).
Those who affirm, or introduce anything, are bound to furnish proof. The onus probandi lies entirely on such. A single scripture would suffice. Those who deny are entitled to do so till that authority be produced which to faith is an end of controversy.

The Offerings of Leviticus: 11. Law of the Meal Offering of Aaron and His Sons

Lev. 6:12-16 (Or 19-23)
There is a new divine communication for the next law. It was indeed a special case, peculiar to Aaron and his sons, and limited to the day of his anointing. The general word of the Meal Offering on the contrary fell under that of the Burnt Offering, of which it was the regular supplement. Hence, as it had no separate application, it had no separate law here any more than in the institution of Lev. 1; 2 First and last they were bound together. So should we honor the Lord Jesus in our faith: not only His devotedness in giving Himself up to death sacrificially, but in all the holy and obedient activities of His life. In Him the Father found His delight; and so His voice declared. But is it not full of instruction, that in revealing those divine pictures the Burnt Offering stands first, not the Meal Offering? This simply and always follows as an adjunct, whatever might be the reversed order in the sequence of Christ and His work. How differently they speak who dwell on the Incarnation to disparage the Atonement? God sets aside what we might deem the order of nature, even in Christ Himself and His work.
“"And Jehovah spoke to Moses, saying, “This [is] the offering of Aaron and his sons, which they shall present to Jehovah on the day when he is anointed: the tenth part of an ephah of fine flour, as a continual meal offering, half of it in the morning and half of it in the evening. “In a pan with oil it shall be made; saturated thou shalt bring it in; baken pieces of the meal offering shalt thou present, a sweet odor unto Jehovah. “And the anointed priest that shall be in his stead from his sons, shall make [or, offer] it: an everlasting statute, it shall be wholly burnt unto Jehovah. “And every meal offering of the priest shall be wholly burnt; it shall not be eaten” (vers. 12-16).
In the Meal Offering ordinarily, where an Israelite made his oblation to Jehovah, after his portion was taken by the offering priest and burnt on the altar, the remainder was for Aaron and his sons. It was Christ an offering to God throughout all His days here below, wholly separated to God's will and glory. None but those who draw near to God, the priestly class, could appreciate Christ thus; not the Israelite simply as such, but those only who were free of the sanctuary, It was theirs to feed on Christ thus living on account of the Father. So in the First Epistle of John the fathers in the Christian family, as distinguished from the young men and the babes (the παίδια, not the τεκνία who embrace all the three): they are described as knowing Him that was from the beginning, that is to say, Christ as He was here below declaring God and manifesting the Father.
All disciples believed that He was the Christ and were born of God (1 John 5:1); only the fathers knew Him that was from the beginning; only they found their delight and their food in His person as He walked on earth perfect God and man in one Person, solving all questions as they arose day by day, as only God could manifested in flesh and by ways no less than words. It is not meant that any, even of the twelve, could be thus characterized while He was here. Not even they then were “fathers.” It was when the Holy Spirit was given that such a class began to be; and thank God, it was not confined to apostles or prophets, to evangelists or pastors and teachers, who might or might not be fathers. It in no wise depended on such gifts, but a Spirit-taught entrance into Christ as here manifested, and as He is presented in the Gospels. Fathers have communion with Him there and then. How comparatively few such appear to have ever been! Biographies and autobiographies, writings and letters, even of the most valued servants of the Lord, abundantly prove it, as does living experience.
But the essential difference of the Meal Offering before us is that it was wholly burnt to Jehovah. Of the tenth part of the ephah, or the omer here prescribed, the same measure as of the manna for an Israelite (Ex. 16), no part was reserved for priestly food. For a Meal Offering perpetual it was to be half in the morning and half in the evening; but not a morsel was to be eaten: the whole must be burnt on the altar. The reason is plain. It was for the priests, and therefore wholly went up to Jehovah. What an Israelite offered for himself, they were privileged to eat, all the males in a holy place; but their offering on the day of anointing was all for Jehovah, like the Burnt Offering. It was no question of fellowship with others, but of Christ wholly offered up as a sweet savor to Jehovah on their own behalf.

Proverbs 3:13-20

But chastening or discipline is far from all, proof though it be of Jehovah's love. There is positive blessing to reap and of a high order. “Blessed [is] the man [that] findeth wisdom, and the man [that] getteth understanding. For the gain thereof [is] better than the gain of silver, and her revenue than fine gold. She [is] more precious than rubies, and all the things thou canst desire are not equal to her. Length of days [is] in her right hand, in her left hand riches and honor. Her ways [are] ways of pleasantness, and all her paths [are] peace. She [is] a tree of life to them that lay hold on her; and blessed [is] he that retaineth her. Jehovah by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding he established the heavens. By his knowledge the depths were broken up, and the skies drop down the dew” (vers. 13-20).
It is God, we are told in a later revelation, that giveth liberally to all, and without reproach. Yet He will be asked for it: not that any one adds to Him, or that He is beholden to man's hand. But He cannot deny Himself; and this it would be, if one found wisdom or got understanding elsewhere. The blessing comes through dependence on Him. Who of mankind knew this better than Solomon himself? Did not God say to him, “Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies, but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment; behold, I have done according to thy word.” Nor is there another means; and “blessed” in