Bible Treasury: Volume N4

Table of Contents

1. Jacob: 1. At Bethel
2. Priesthood: 27. Leper on the Eighth Day
3. Day of Atonement: 12. Azazel
4. Proverbs 14:13-27
5. Alms
6. Gospel Words: the Beatitudes
7. 1 Peter 2:18-20
8. Life Eternal Denied: 1
9. Scripture Queries and Answers: Number of Lot's Daughters; Pharoah Perished in the Red Sea?
10. Advertisement
11. Publisher
12. Jacob: 2. Meets Rachel
13. Priesthood: 28. Poor Leper
14. Day of Atonement: 13. Azazel
15. Proverbs 14:28-35
16. Gospel Words: the Prayer of the Disciples
17. 1 Peter 2:21-23
18. Life Eternal Denied: 2
19. The Inspiration of the Scriptures: 1 Timothy
20. The Inspiration of the Scriptures: 2 Timothy
21. Scripture Query and Answer: Genesis 19:8, 12, 14
22. Advertisement
23. Published
24. Jacob: 3. The Marriages of Jacob
25. Priesthood: 29. Leprosy in the House and Its Cleansing
26. Day of Atonement: 14. Concluding Remarks
27. Proverbs 15:1-7
28. Gospel Words: Grace in Practice
29. 1 Peter 2:24
30. Life Eternal Denied: 3
31. The Inspiration of the Scriptures: Titus
32. The Inspiration of the Scriptures: Philemon
33. Scripture Query and Answer: Genesis 12:1
34. Jacob: 4. Leah and Her Four Sons
35. Priesthood: 30. Leprosy Summed Up
36. The Day of Atonement: 15. Concluding Remarks
37. Gospel Words: Treasures on Earth or in Heaven?
38. The Responsibility of Disciples
39. 1 Peter 2:25
40. Life Eternal Denied: 4
41. The Inspiration of the Scriptures: Hebrews
42. Scripture Queries and Answers: The Five Wise Virgins
43. Scripture Queries and Answers: The Flesh in Us
44. Scripture Queries and Answers: Acts 26:22-23
45. Scripture Queries and Answers: The Temple Described in Ezekiel
46. Scripture Queries and Answers: Gathered to the Lord's Name
47. Advertising
48. Publisher
49. Jacob: 5. The Wives and Their Maids
50. Priesthood: 31. Flux in Men and Its Defilement
51. The Day of Atonement: 16. Concluding Remarks
52. Proverbs 15:18-25
53. Gospel Words: Christ Came to Fulfill
54. 1 Peter 3:1-6
55. Life Eternal Denied: 5
56. F.E.R. Heterodox on the Person of the Christ
57. Scripture Queries and Answers: Sheol
58. Scripture Queries and Answers: Reconciled to God
59. Scripture Queries and Answers: Greek Words for Eternal
60. Advertising
61. Publishing
62. Jacob: 6. Leah and Rachel Again
63. Priesthood: 32. The Atonement for Flux
64. The Day of Atonement: 17. Concluding Remarks
65. Proverbs 15:26-33
66. Garments White and Head Anointed
67. Grace in the Wilderness
68. Gospel Words: Thy Father in Secret
69. 1 Peter 3:5-6
70. The Inspiration of the Scriptures: James
71. Scripture Queries and Answers: Matthew 18:20 Translation of Greek
72. Scripture Queries and Answers: The Crucifixion in Mark and John
73. Fragment on Romans 5:21
74. Is the Flesh Really Gone?
75. Jacob: 7. Jacob and Laban
76. Priesthood: 33. Other Impurities
77. The Day of Atonement: 18. Concluding Remarks
78. Proverbs 16:1-8
79. Gospel Words: Lamp of the Body Is the Eye
80. 1 Peter 3:7
81. Free Will: Part 1
82. The Inspiration of the Scriptures: 1 Peter
83. Scripture Queries and Answers: Luke 23:43
84. Scripture Queries and Answers: 1 Corinthians 9:27
85. Scripture Queries and Answers: 1 John 5:16-17
86. Advertisement
87. Publisher
88. Jacob: 8. Flight From Haran
89. Day of Atonement Appendix: 19. The Scapegoat and Modern Views Subversive of the Atonement
90. Israel Holy to Jehovah: 1
91. Proverbs 16:9-16
92. Gospel Words: Be Not Anxious
93. Free Will: Part 2
94. The Inspiration of the Scriptures: 2 Peter
95. Responsibility and Grace
96. Scripture Query and Answer: Mystery
97. Advertisement
98. Published
99. Jacob: 9. Laban and Jacob in Covenant
100. The Day of Atonement: 20. Appendix
101. Israel Holy to Jehovah: 2. Eating Blood Prohibited
102. Proverbs 16:17-24
103. Gospel Words: the Kingdom of God
104. 1 Peter 3:8-12
105. The Christian's Special Relationship and Privileges
106. The Inspiration of the Scriptures: 1 John
107. Daniel 9:27
108. The Life Is the Light of Men
109. Advertisement
110. Jacob: 10. Jacob in Distress and Praying
111. Israel Holy to Jehovah: 3. Israel's Duty in Natural Relations
112. Proverbs 16:25-33
113. Gospel Words: Judge Not That Ye Be Not Judged
114. Lord's Prophecy on Olivet in Matthew 24-25: 1. The Jewish Disciples
115. The Inspiration of the Scriptures: 2 John
116. Christ's Witness Not Alone, but if Alone, Divine
117. 2 Timothy 4:1
118. Advertisement
119. Published
120. Jacob: 11. Wrestling With God
121. Israel Holy to Jehovah: 4. Abhorrent Mixtures of Relation
122. Proverbs 17:1-7
123. Gospel Words: Confidence in Our Father's Giving
124. The Lord's Prophecy on Olivet in Matthew 24-25: 2. The Jewish Disciples
125. Giving Thanks to the Father
126. The Cross of Christ
127. 1 Peter 3:13-16
128. The Inspiration of the Scriptures: Jude
129. Gathered Unto His Name
130. Advertisement
131. Published
132. Jacob: 12. Meeting of Jacob and Esau
133. Israel Holy to Jehovah: 5. Other Abominations Forbidden
134. Proverbs 17:8-14
135. Gospel Words: the Narrow Gate
136. The Lord's Prophecy on Olivet in Matthew 24-25: 3. The Christian Profession
137. 1 Peter 3:17-18
138. The Inspiration of the Scriptures: Revelation
139. All the Truth Requisite
140. Scripture Queries and Answers: King of Israel
141. Scripture Queries and Answers: Words Translated Altar
142. Scripture Queries and Answers: Matthew 12:31-32
143. Scripture Queries and Answers: Covering the Head
144. Scripture Queries and Answers: 1 Corinthians 15:3-4
145. Scripture Queries and Answers: Colossians 1:23
146. Scripture Queries and Answers: Hebrews 9:12
147. Advertisement
148. Published
149. Jacob: 13. Succoth and Shechem
150. Israel Holy to Jehovah: 6. Israel's Practical Righteousness
151. Proverbs 17:15-21
152. Gospel Words: Fruits
153. Lord's Prophecy on Olivet in Matthew 24-25: 4. The Christian Profession
154. 1 Peter 3:19-20
155. Inspiration of Scripture: Conclusion
156. The Future Tribulation: Part 1
157. Jehovah Jealous and an Avenger
158. Advertisement
159. Published
160. Jacob: 14. Dinah and Her Brothers
161. Israel Holy to Jehovah: 7. Israel's Practical Holiness
162. Proverbs 17:21-28
163. Gospel Words: Bare Profession Worthless
164. Lord's Prophecy on Olivet in Matthew 24-25: 5. The Gentile Portion
165. 1 Peter 3:21-22
166. The Future Tribulation: Part 2
167. The Gospel of God
168. Advertisement
169. Published
170. Jacob: 15. Go Up to Bethel
171. Israel Holy to Jehovah: 8. Israel's Holiness
172. Proverbs 18:1-12
173. Gospel Words: Christ and the Law
174. The Coming and the Day of the Lord: Part 1
175. 1 Peter 4:1-6
176. Christ and God in 1 John
177. Scripture Queries and Answers: Absence of Father's Name in Revelation; Gospel of the Kingdom; Mission of the Seventy Omitted
178. Advertisement
179. Published
180. Jacob: 16. The Patriarchal Name of God Revealed to Jacob
181. Israel Holy to Jehovah: 9. Israel's Practical Sanctification
182. Proverbs 18:13-24
183. Gospel Words: Anger
184. The Coming and the Day of the Lord: Part 2
185. 1 Peter 4:7-11
186. The Hope of the Christian
187. Jacob: 17. Rachel's Death
188. Israel Holy to Jehovah: 10. Sanctity in the Priests
189. Proverbs 19:1-7
190. Gospel Words: Brotherly Reconciliation
191. The Coming and the Day of the Lord: Part 3
192. 1 Peter 4:12-14
193. Scripture Queries and Answers: Peoples Associated With Israel in Latter Days
194. Scripture Queries and Answers: Union of the Divine and Human in Christ
195. Scripture Queries and Answers: "Spirit" in Romans 8:10
196. Scripture Queries and Answers: Marrying "Only in the Lord"
197. Published
198. Jacob: 18. Israel Put to Shame and Isaac's Death
199. Israel Holy to Jehovah: 11. The High Priest to Be Unsullied
200. Proverbs 19:8-14
201. Gospel Words: Impurity
202. The Coming and the Day of the Lord: Part 4
203. 1 Peter 4:17-19
204. The Four Witnesses
205. Advertisement
206. Published
207. Jacob: 19. Jacob and Joseph
208. Israel Holy to Jehovah: 12. Defective Priest
209. Proverbs 19:15-22
210. Gospel Words: Purity in Divorce
211. The Coming and the Day of the Lord: Part 5
212. 1 Peter 5:1-4
213. Advertisement
214. Published
215. Jacob: 20. Sons of Jacob Contrasted
216. Israel's Practical Sanctification: Part 1
217. Proverbs 19:23-29
218. Gospel Words: Swear Not at All
219. The Coming and the Day of the Lord: Part 6
220. The Heavenly Hope: The Rapture of the Saints: What Saith the Scripture?
221. Advertisement
222. Published
223. Jacob: 21. Jacob's Lowly Son Exalted
224. Israel's Practical Sanctification: Part 2
225. Proverbs 20:1-7
226. Gospel Words: Resist Not Evil
227. The Heavenly Hope: Part 1
228. 1 Peter 5:5
229. Jesus Only
230. Advertisement
231. Jacob: 22. Israel and His Sons Go Down Into Egypt
232. Israel Holy to Jehovah: 13. Priestly Privilege and Responsibility
233. Proverbs 20:8-14
234. Gospel Words: Giving
235. The Heavenly Hope: Part 2
236. 1 Peter 5:6-7
237. Letter to an Unbeliever
238. Church Obedience
239. Advertisement
240. Published
241. Jacob: 23. Jacob Blessing Joseph's Sons
242. Israel Holy to Jehovah: 14. Sanctification Required of Priests and People
243. Proverbs 20:15-23
244. Gospel Words: Love Your Enemies
245. The Heavenly Hope: Part 3
246. Published
247. 1 Peter 5:8-11
248. The Law and Christianity
249. Not Feelings, but Faith
250. Advertisement
251. Jacob: 24. Jacob's Last Words to His Sons, His Death and Burial
252. Israel Holy to Jehovah: 15. Israel's Sanctification
253. Gospel Words: Perfect, as Your Heavenly Father Is Perfect
254. 1 Peter 5:12-14
255. The So-Called Apostolic Fathers on the Lord's Second Coming
256. Advertisement
257. Published

Jacob: 1. At Bethel

This scene is remarkably characteristic of the outcast from his father's house, but of God's care over the destined progenitor of His earthly people. Fathers and Puritans have alike missed their way, who, not seeing the grand place reserved for Israel in the latter day and Messiah's millennial Kingdom, turn all blessed persons and things to the church's aggrandizement, and thus deny at the end God's ancient people their restored and enhanced dignity here below. This by necessary consequence lowers the Christian and the body of Christ to an earthly place, however favored and exalted. It is to judaize the future; while it balefully reacts on the present also, enfeebling if not blotting out His glory on high and our proper heavenly privileges in the Spirit.
“And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran. And he lighted on the place, and lodged there, because the sun was set. And he took of the stones of the place, and made his pillows, and lay down in that place. And he dreamed, and behold, a ladder set up on earth, and its top reached to the heavens. And behold, angels of God ascended and descended upon it. And behold, Jehovah stood above it, and said, I am Jehovah, God of Abraham thy father, and God of Isaac: the land on which thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed. And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt break forth to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south; and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. And behold, I [am] with thee, and will keep thee in all [places] whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee till I have done that of which I have spoken to thee. And Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, Surely Jehovah is in this place, and I knew [it] not. And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful [is] this place 1 this [is] none other but God's house, and this the gate of the heavens. And Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he made his pillows, and set it [for] a pillar and poured oil upon its top. And he called the name of that place Bethel; but the name of that city was Luz at first. And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and keep me on this road that I go, and give me bread to eat and raiment to put on, and I come again in peace to my father's house, then shall Jehovah be for God to me. And this stone which I have set [for] a pillar shall be God's house, and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee” (vers. 10-22).
The place on which Jacob lighted was to be notable for the checkered fortunes of Israel; it had no bearing typically on the church. Jehovah made Bethel a pledge of assured mercy to Jacob when utterly forlorn, whatever the king raised up to be a scourge to the people might pervert it to in honor of a strange and rival god. There tarried Jacob all night, with nothing but the stones which he put for his pillows. But he dreamed, and saw set up on earth a ladder, whose top reached to the heavens; and Jehovah stood above it, declaring Himself Jehovah, God of Abraham his father, and God of Isaac, with the promise of the land, whereon he lay so desolately, to him and to his seed; and the seed to be as the dust of the earth (not a word about the stars of the sky), which should break forth on every side to the blessing of all the families of the earth in Jacob and his seed. Whatever the sad and lonely beginning, this should be the glorious end.
All is prophetic and for the earth, a dream from and of God, not such speech and open vision as Abraham had enjoyed, unless when on one occasion of deep sleep a horror of a great darkness fell upon him, when he too learned the power of death in order to establish covenant security for the earthly seed, whatever came meanwhile, and the land was strictly defined and delivered from its usurpers, as the people had been from their oppressors. Isaac had only Jehovah appearing to him whether by day or by night to bless him in Canaan, and multiply his seed as stars of the heavens, and set him above fear. Jacob, however guaranteed by the striking sight of the ladder from earth (where he lay) to Jehovah at the top in the heavens, was afraid, and with angels of God ascending and descending on the ladder could only say, How dreadful this place! none other this but the gate of the heavens! Yet had Jehovah promised to keep him in all places whither he went (and which of the patriarchs such a wanderer?), and never to leave him till He had done all of which He had spoken to him. Could words more explicitly portray the Jewish portion, or stand in more marked contrast with the peace, liberty, and heavenly access of the Christian, while suffering with joy here below like Christ?
Yet the closing verses which give us Jacob's acts and words add still weightier confirmation. For he at once set up his stone pillow for a pillar and anointed it, and called the name of the place Bethel, and vowed the first recorded vow, strikingly different from Isaac or Abraham. Therein he rises not above providential care, and the supply of present wants, yet God with him (for the root of the matter was there as his first thought), so that he should come to his father's house in peace. Jehovah should be to him for God, and this stone pillar, His house, and of all He should give him he would surely give the tenth to Him. It is, indeed, not Christians blessing the God and Father of our Lord, as from the first blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ. How Jacob's vow differs from Abraham in Gen. 14 refusing to be made rich by aliens and giving unasked tithes of all to Melchizedek, priest of the most High God, possessor of heavens and earth

Priesthood: 27. Leper on the Eighth Day

HERE we have the shadow of truth, both of high import, and unthought of since the apostles passed away, when men took their place whose scanty faith fell woefully short of the inspired deposit. Thus we need peculiarly that we be on our guard and looking up for divine guidance so as to read the written word with that discernment which only the Holy Spirit can give.
“(10) And on the eighth day he shall take two he-lambs without blemish, and one ewe-lamb of the first year without blemish, and three tenths of fine flour mingled with oil for an oblation [or, meal-offering], and one log of oil. (11) And the priest that cleanseth shall present the man that is to be cleansed and those things before Jehovah at the entrance of the tent of meeting. (12) And the priest shall take one he-lamb, and present it for a trespass offering, and the log of oil, and wave them for a wave offering before Jehovah. (13) And he shall slaughter the he-lamb at the place where the sin offering and the burnt offering are slaughtered, in a holy place; for as the sin offering, so the trespass offering is the priest's; it is most holy. (14) And the priest shall take of the blood of the trespass offering and the priest shall put it on the tip of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and on the thumb of his right hand, and on the great toe of his right foot. (15) And the priest shall take of the log of oil, and pour it into the palm of his own left hand; (16) and the priest shall dip his right finger in the oil that is in his left hand, and shall sprinkle of the oil with his finger seven times before Jehovah. (17) And of the rest of the oil that is in his hand the priest shall put on the tip of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and on the thumb of his right hand, and on the great toe of his right foot, upon the blood of the trespass offering. (18) And the remainder of the oil that is in the priest's hand he shall put upon the head of him that is to be cleansed, and the priest shall make atonement for him before Jehovah. (19) And the priest shall offer the sin offering, and make atonement for him that is to be cleansed from his uncleanness; and afterward he shall slaughter the burnt offering. (20) And the priest shall offer the burnt offering and the oblation upon the altar; and the priest shall make atonement for him, and he shall be clean” (vers. 10-20).
The ritual of the eighth day foreshadows the work of Christ in the light of His resurrection, the Christian's rich appropriation, and the consequent gift of the Holy Spirit. It is not merely the general and indispensable efficacy of Christ's blood with the action of the Spirit as living water in order to purification morally as well as judicially. Here we have the conscience cleansed from dead works to serve or worship a living God, and be at home as it were, coming not merely into the camp but into his tent. It is in its measure a consecration like the priests'. Only here it is founded, not on a sin offering (Lev. 8:14; 9:2) but on a trespass offering (14:12, 13); for there had been a violation of a holy relation to meet. And the priest applied its blood to the right ear, right thumb, and right great toe (14). All the man is brought under the most holy blood, what he hears and does, with his walk; he belongs wholly to God in thought, work, and way. In the case of the priests it was the blood of a peace offering.
Then follows the unction from the Holy One (15-18). The waving too of all was before Jehovah, so was the application, as with the priestly consecration. The oil was put where the blood had been. How clearly was prefigured the full blessing first enjoyed at Pentecost. Not only was Christ's death for removing evil, but entered into in all its fullness as before God, and in the Holy Spirit's power to give personal consciousness and enjoyment of it all, as having redemption in Christ through His blood, as well as priestly access to the sanctuary, we may add. We are meant to be already in known and near relation to God. Whatever be the intrinsic efficacy of Christ's work (and here it is viewed in its various value as it is really infinite), how much we owe to the Spirit sent personally to abide in and with us! For thereby we dwell in God and God in us, as 1 John 4 says of the Christian. The heart is thus free intelligently to realize God's righteousness and grace in Christ's work to His glory, when the worshipper once purged has no more conscience of sins. But this can never be rightly or safely unless the conscience has first been searched and cleansed in the light of God.
There is great force in the figurative state of ver. 18, crowning the previous details. Yet when the completeness of the Spirit's power is thus set out, how sedulously God takes care to mark after this in ver. 19 the sin offering offered, as well as the burnt offering and its accompanying meal offering, each essential to make atonement for him that was to be cleansed from his uncleanness, and all offered that he should be clean and know it with the utmost assurance. For atoning virtue Christ is the all; yet has the Spirit His own blessed function. What a testimony to that which God is in grace and truth and righteousness withal on behalf of the evil and lost!

Day of Atonement: 12. Azazel

Azazel, or the People's Lot (Continued)
Still the message goes forth to all, for in verse 23 it is written, “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all.” But the moment you come to application it is said, “And upon all those that believe.” These are justified, but the word of grace goes out to every one. Thus the two truths are borne witness to in a remarkable manner throughout the New Testament. There is universal proclamation by virtue of Christ's precious blood; and there is the positive assurance of justification wherever there is faith in Him. So in Rom. 5 we are told, “God commendeth His love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.”
We may observe by the bye, that scripture speaks in three ways of justification as the need of man naturally unrighteous—justified by His grace (Titus 3:7), if we speak of the source; justified by His blood (Rom. 5:9), if we seek the procuring cause in the work of our Lord Jesus Christ; and justified by faith, if we ask the way by which the soul is individually brought into the blessing (Rom. 5:1).
You may have heard possibly that there are those who will have faith to mean the sum and substance of all Christian virtues. This is in principle to annul the gospel of God. Faith means the soul's reception of divine testimony. He who believes is one who sets to his seal that God is true. If God testifies of Jesus as His Son, he who believes receives it heartily. It is for the guilty and lost: how then can it be the sum and substance of all Christian virtues, when the gospel is expressly for any poor soul as a lost sinner? When we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Take even a stronger word, “To him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is reckoned for righteousness.” Is this the sum and substance of Christian virtues? It is the full contradiction of such unbelief. Yet it is not simply believing God, or receiving His testimony; it is trust in Him and in His grace. Compare 1 Peter 1:21. There is enlarged exercise of faith, through Christ, on God Himself.
Alas! what is thus expressed is the doctrine of men that heard, but do not understand the gospel: though the particular person referred to is the late Dr. Pusey, and indeed men of his school, besides that party in particular. Their heterodoxy or rather misbelief is, that in effect we become our own saviors by the help of the Holy Ghost. Redemption is unknown, little as they suspect it; for outwardly they pay reverence to more than Christ, some seeming to adore the sign of the cross. They believe that Christ died to put every one, especially the baptized, in the way of salvation, and that without baptism nobody in general can be saved. But when it comes to the application, they bring in ordinances and morally the sum of all Christian virtues. So that it is a complete robbing the Lord of His redemption spoil, as it deprives the lost of all possibility of peace with God. How could any upright man say to God, “Now let me have peace with Thee, for I have the sum and substance of all the Christian virtues?” The very thing the Holy Spirit has been proving home is, that the soul has not one good thing as it ought to have; and therefore is it forced to fall back on God's sovereign mercy in Christ. The idea completely nullifies the direct operation of God in quickening souls, as well as in redemption. Yet these are the sentiments of pious men. But withal they are blinded by human tradition. They read the Bible only through deceiving mists, unless when they defend it in some little measure against rationalists; for their ignorance of truth is deplorable.
There is no more fruitful source of darkening the spiritual understanding than the allowance of man between the soul and God, particularly at that solemn moment of a soul's coming for the first time into God's marvelous light, the revealing of the Savior for eternity.
But, passing on, we may see the same truth in the twin Epistles to the Ephesians and Colossians, and with no small precision and brilliancy. It may assume a somewhat different shape. For instance, “In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” Although redemption and atonement are very distinguishable, they are indeed none the less in fact inseparable. You cannot have atonement without redemption, or redemption without atonement. Therefore it appears to be quite lawful to adduce the force of these scriptures into the case. As all is based on the blood of Christ, so it cannot be enjoyed without faith. The “we,” who “have redemption,” are those who believe, those described in a previous verse as the faithful in Christ.
So again we may look at a scripture very distinct indeed in the First Epistle of Peter. I purposely pass over the Epistle to the Hebrews for the moment; but in 1 Peter 2 we have what distinctly refers to Christ making good the day of Atonement. “Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps; who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth; who, when He was reviled, reviled not again, when He suffered, threatened not, but committed [Himself] to Him that judgeth righteously; who His own self bare our sins in His body on the tree.” It is not “up to” the tree. The margin, after many others, so gave it; but this was an ignorant and total oversight of the sacrificial language in the Old Testament. There are two forms employed in the LXX., and always distinctly. When it is a question of “up to,” or “to,” another different preposition is compounded. Where the one found here is expressed, it invariably means “upon,” and not “to.” It is allowed that in other connections this may not always hold; but in sacrificial language the distinction is certain and constant. Now it is plain that here the apostle Peter is referring to the sacrificial language of the Old Testament. All his Epistle indeed abounds in allusions of a similar kind. If the world tells us that Peter was an unlearned man, let not believers forget that the Holy Ghost inspired him. There may be no show of human reasoning or rhetoric, no effort to gild the golden truths in what he was given to announce; but the language for all that is divinely accurate. Any unbiased scholar ought to understand it also on the surface of the passage. The believer ought to be sure.
It is sadly plain that there is, at the bottom of all these efforts to mystify, a want of faith in the true inspiration of God's word as well as in the perfect efficacy of Christ's work. But let me refer to another point showing how unfounded is the idea that our Lord was bearing sins all His life. The word “bare” excludes the desired notion. “Bare” (ἀνήνεγκεν) does not convey continuity but a transient act. The aorist is the definite expression of such a fact. It expresses therefore what took place on the cross, certainly not what was in process before, any more than after. Christ's bearing our sins in His body was complete then, and only then. The form of the word excludes anything begun before that solemn epoch, and it implies a completeness on the cross, where it began. Therefore the notion “up to” is false, not perhaps in the form of the word itself, but in its contextual and sacrificial usage.
We may add another thing. When our Lord became a sin-bearer, He was surrounded by a supernatural darkness. It is notorious that, on scientific grounds, there could not have been an eclipse at that time. It was not then a merely natural shadow; it was a supernatural darkness. There were other supernatural tokens which accompanied it. The veil of the temple was rent from top to bottom. The graves were opened. The sun was darkened, and the darkness, we know, was absolutely unique. Thus and then it was that Christ was made sin for us. If Christ had been bearing our sins all His life, there ought to have been these mysterious tokens all the while. If Christ had been made sin before, as such He must also have been throughout forsaken of God. But plainly the forsaking of God was then, and only then. The supernatural darkness, the forsaking of God, and all the other wonderful signs, marked the presence of a crisis unequaled and unfathomable, which stands apart from all before and after. Is it too much, with scripture for our warrant, to say that in all eternity there never can be such a crisis again? How blessed to know that it all points to Christ made sin for us. No doubt it was God's doing for His own glory, whatever the wickedness of the creature in its part about it. The heart is not to be envied which can reason such things away, instead of growing by the truth that what Christ suffered that day constitutes the most important fact that ever was, or can be.
When a soul is awakened, not merely to the deep and outrageous evil done to the Son of God, but to His and the Father's unspeakable grace in achieving infinitely more than creature could either do or suffer, that sin might be judged and put away as well as forgiven, and God be glorified even as to that which in itself is most hateful to His nature, how immense the change and blessed the victory of good over evil! Conscience, in us who believe, feels that God ought to be vindicated. But if we cannot but care for His moral glory, yet more has God set His heart on the blessing of man lost in sin. Therefore has He in the cross of Christ made peace, and given us to have redemption through His blood, rising in the majesty of His love above our hatred where it was vilest against His Son going down to the uttermost to save us out of our miserable selfishness, rebellious works, and foreboding of just wrath and judgment. He therefore gives us to know that the same death of our Lord Jesus Christ was both the complete meeting of His glory as Judge of sin on the one hand, and the blotting out by His blood of our sins on the other. Irreconcilable everywhere else, they are united in the reality of Christ's death; as His person alone afforded the sole Being capable of solving the problem of sin to the sinner's blessing and Gods honor as well as His love.
The sending away of the people's sins, grounded on the sin-offering of Atonement-day, is the meaning of the scape-goat. We have but glanced at certain unhallowed speculations which need not be dwelt on. Suffice it now to say that, from the early days of Christendom's departure from apostolic truth till our own day, not a few learned persons have not been wanting who have dared to conjecture that the scapegoat represents the devil! Plain Christians might think that these men must have lost their senses to broach such defiling notions, as if God's word sanctioned them. But one form of the dream was put forward by a chief champion of orthodoxy as opposed to the neologists of Germany. It was quite common among the Fathers, so called, some of whom went so far as to think that there was even a sacrifice to the devil! Far be it from me to attribute such low heathenism to the learned Dr. Hengstenberg of Berlin, or to the respected Mr. George Stanley Faber of our own country. They were Christians, but slipped into the extraordinary delusion that the scapegoat meant Satan dealing with our Lord Jesus Christ. No! it was the figure which God graciously vouchsafed, as the complement of the sacrificed goat, for the removal of all their sins from the burdened souls of His people. It was God Who, as He found His rest as to sin in the shed blood of Christ on the cross, would also signify His banishment of all dread of judgment from the verily and confessedly guilty that looked to Him who confessed and bore their sins on the tree.
It is almost superfluous to commend the subject as one of urgent and exceeding moment to souls. May the Lord grant, if any now who look to Him be still troubled by their sins, that they may see God's written testimony to the cross, blood, and death of Christ, if one may put it in the largest form. It is not a mere question of their loss through unbelief of scripture; but are they truly doing honor to the atoning work of our Lord Jesus Christ? The Holy Spirit testifies strongly the virtue of Christ's death (Heb. 10:15). It is not the bare fact of His death of course, but God's declaration to and for man of its value in His sight that you are called to weigh—the revealed power of it for your sins. It is the cleansing and peace which God gives the believer by reason of Christ. He wants you to have the settled assurance that all against you is so clean gone that God will never remember it more.

Proverbs 14:13-27

IT is truly a dreary world of grief, where man seeks pleasure and mirth, in lieu of a happiness which cannot be where the conscience is not purged after a divine sort, and the heart has not Christ before it, God's object as ours too.
“Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful, and the end of mirth [is] sadness.
The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways, and the good man from himself.
The simple believeth every word, but the prudent heedeth his going.
The wise one feareth and departeth from evil; but the foolish is overbearing and confident.
One soon angry dealeth foolishly, and a man of mischievous devices is hated.
The simple inherit folly; but the prudent are crowned with knowledge.
“The evil bow before the good, and the wicked at the gates of the righteous.
The poor is hated even of his own neighbor; but the rich have many lovers.
He that despiseth his neighbor sinneth; but he that is gracious to the afflicted [or, meek], happy [is] he.
Do they not err that devise evil? But mercy and truth [are] for those that devise good.
In all labor there is profit; but the talk of the lips [is] only to want.
The crown of the wise [is] their riches; the folly of the fools [is] folly.
A true witness delivereth souls; but deceit uttereth lies.
In the fear of Jehovah [is] strong confidence; and his children shall have a place of refuge.
The fear of Jehovah [is] a fountain of life, to turn away from the snares of death” (vers. 13-27).
“Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful, and the end of mirth [is] sadness.” So it is till man receives Christ. All otherwise is hollow; and the passing levity leaves its sting. “Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thy heart and in the sight of thine eyes; but know thou that for all these God will bring thee into judgment.”
Still darker is “the backslider in heart.” Terrible is the promise to him he “shall be filled with his own ways “; and all the more terrible, because he had outwardly known the lines in pleasant places, and the way of peace. On the other hand “the good man” by grace shall have his boast in what belongs to himself alone, and not what belongs to another. He shall be filled from himself. God has freely given him all he values most, the unseen and eternal in the promised One.
In such a world as this few greater follies can be than credulity. Believing God is the effectual safeguard. “The simple believeth every word; but the prudent heedeth his going.” We are exhorted to “prove all things,” but to hold fast the good (τὸ καλόν), the comely.
Next, it is for us to use “fear and depart from evil,” as a wise man does; to be “overbearing and confident” is arrant folly. “Honor all,” says not the least of the apostles; as a greater still loved to style himself, and in truth was, “a bondman of Jesus Christ.”
And what folly to be soon angry? Even a wise man “deals foolishly” who is easily provoked; but “a man of mischievous devices” makes himself odious when found out as he is.
“The simple” again “inherit folly.” This is what descends to man naturally. “The prudent” are lowly enough to receive and learn from the Highest; and theirs it is to be “crowned with knowledge.". “He giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to those that know understanding.”
Here we have not the simple or the foolish, but the evil and the wicked (ver. 19) and their failure even before a King shall reign in righteousness, and princes rule in judgment. God is never without a testimony in the evil day, if it be only here and there, now and then. Yet things are as yet far from what they ought, and are, to be.
What men sow they reap, and soon sometimes. Nor are the evil without conscience, so that they bow to the good, as the wicked court the favor and the help of a righteous man.
Poverty is dreaded more than sin; and hence the poor is hated even by his own neighbor, while the rich man has many who make up to him. Such is the covetousness of the heart, and the hollowness of the world.
To despise one's neighbor, what a sin in His sight who despises not any? Let us lay to heart what Christ was to needy men, women, and children. What an example to us! Who ever showed such kindness to the afflicted? May we have the happiness found in grace like His!
Yet proud heartlessness may go to greater evil in devising evil, but not escape His eyes who sees cunning mischief and every secret of the heart. How profound and fatal the error! For judgment slumbers not, any more than His mercy and truth fail for those that devise good unobtrusively:
For man as he is labor is as useful as idleness is worthless. Hence we are told here that in all labor is profit, while the talk of the lips tends to want.
The crown, not of the foolish, but of the wise, is their riches; for these turn their wealth to the account of unselfish goodness and the relief of human misery, and the furtherance of God's will and glory. They would be rich toward God. The folly of fools on the contrary is folly. God is in none of their thoughts, and all they express or do is folly all the more seen, if they have riches to attract a crowd of witnesses.
We pass through a world of evil and error. Hence the value of a true witness in delivering souls open otherwise to be mistaken and misrepresented by the false. But not many are willing to speak out at all cost. One there was who never failed, the Faithful and True Witness; and He the great Deliverer of souls. May we cleave to Him, and represent Him in this! But deceit, what can it utter but lies? It were sad to think that there could be no repentance for a deceiver; but it must be hard for a deceiver to gain credit for his self-judgment. Nevertheless if real, God would not fail to vindicate what His grace effects.
So we read next that in the fear of Jehovah is strong confidence. For this fear takes away all other fear, and becomes a tower of strength; and it avails for others who tremble at His word, especially His children. What place of refuge so sure and near?
But the fear of Jehovah is much more than a protection from enemies. It is a fountain of life, not a well that may fail when most needed, but a perennial spring of enjoyment to strengthen the heart, ever so timid and dejected without it, to turn away from the snares of death with which Satan overspreads the world, and which are dangerously nigh to every heart of man.


Luke 12:32-34. Act the part of kings, as persons called to and having a higher inheritance; and give alms. And there is a reason—it is a separating principle: let your treasure be there, your heart will be there also; you will be formed for God. It is not, observe, the value of the gifts meritoriously, but the effect internally. Such is the suitable position of believers in the kingdom: hereunto are they called.

Gospel Words: the Beatitudes

In what is called the Sermon on the Mount the Lord does not treat either of new birth or of redemption. He addresses His disciples that came unto Him, and begins with pronouncing who are the blessed in the kingdom. It is a solemn test whereby every disciple may try himself.
“Blessed the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of the heavens.
Blessed they that mourn; for they shall be comforted.
Blessed the meek; for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed they that hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled.
Blessed the merciful; for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed the pure in heart; for they shall see God.
Blessed the peace-makers; for they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed they that have been persecuted for righteousness' sake; for theirs is the kingdom of the heavens.
Blessed are ye when they shall reproach and persecute you, and falsely say every wicked word against you for my sake. Rejoice and exult; for your reward is great in the heavens; for thus persecuted they the prophets that were before you.”
Such are the qualities, said the Lord, which suit the kingdom. They are not those of man fallen nor even unfallen. The first man in Paradise had none of them any more than the outcast race. “Ye must be born anew,” and even then have your new character formed and impressed by the Lord Jesus. None other He owns (vii. 21-23), nor can others have to do with the Kingdom save for judgment. Those only do the will of His Father that is in the heavens. But the Savior Son of God elsewhere shows, and is, the unfailing way. “As many as received Him, to them gave He authority to become children of God” (John 1:12). Who are they? “Those that believe on His name.” They are born of God. They have life eternal, and can each say, “I live, no longer I, but Christ liveth in me; and that which I now live in flesh I live by faith in the Son of God that loved me and gave Himself up for me” (Gal. 2:20). O, believe Him in Whom is life producing every quality God values! There is none other in His sight. Believe, and it is yours now; and with an evil nature in an evil world as is the fact, here it is indispensable as well as for heaven.
You, my brethren, may not have noticed that there are seven characters, all blessed in vers. 3-9, divided as after into four and three. Four righteous qualities are first, three gracious follow; and they rise respectively in each class. Christ manifested each and all in perfection. Those that follow Him, having Him as their life, must have His qualities reproduced and manifested in them.
Poor in spirit is the first named. It is just the opposite of fallen man's aspiring spirit. Outward forms of poverty will not do. Under that garb what pride may lurk, what self-seeking, what party-spirit! “It shall not thus be among you, but whoever would be great among you, let him be your servant; and whoever would be first among you, let him be your slave” in this evil age and rebel world. Such was the Son of man in life and I death. He is the disciple's example; for his is not a present place of honor but the kingdom of the heavens whether to faith now or displayed by-and-by.
And who was such a mourner where His Father I was unknown, and His own light and love scorned?' Here too the disciple treads in His steps and looks for the comfort wherewith He was comforted and comforts.
Next, as He was meek and lowly in heart, so must he be who takes His yoke and learns from Him, assured of inheriting that earth where the hard and haughty have now their brief portion.
The last of these are such as hunger and thirst after righteousness, which marks not only persevering energy but this in inward personal desire, and they shall have satisfying fruition in and like “Jesus Christ the Righteous.”
After this, we have the higher characters of grace, but with righteousness preceding. As Jesus was full of grace and truth, so His followers not only exceed in their righteousness that of scribes and Pharisees, but show mercy not known to these. And truly they shall find mercy, as they have found it plenteously.
Theirs too is purity in heart, and as by faith they see God now, so shall they beyond others by-and-by (Rev. 22:4).
In fine, they are the blessed peace-makers who now represent the God of peace; and His sons shall such be called as they are.
But observe that the Lord reveals a supplemental blessedness for each of the two great classes. “Blessed they that have been persecuted for righteousness' sake” answers to the opening class in 3-6, and so fitly repeats the opening blessing, “for theirs is the kingdom of the heavens.” The last of the two rises to the highest, and leaves the abstract for direct personal words of love: “Blessed are ye when they shall reproach and persecute you, and falsely say every wicked word against you for my sake.” This was suffering for grace in full. “Rejoice,” says the Lord therefore, “and exult, for your reward is great in the heavens; for thus they persecuted the prophets that were before you.”
As Christ only is all-sufficient now for evil and lost man, if he believe, so in His day shall the poor in spirit have the true and abiding riches. What then must be the lot of all who despise Him?

1 Peter 2:18-20

The exhortation is next addressed to domestics (οἰκέται), instead of continuing the unrestricted appeal of verses 11-17. The apostle begins with those, and does not follow up to their masters as in the Pauline Epistles; and then he writes to the wives and the husbands, without specifying either the children or the fathers. But it may also be noticed that the “domestics” here exhorted are a milder name if not a wider class, not necessarily “bondmen” as in the letters to Ephesus and Colosse. At least they were in contrast with the οἰκόυτιφ or born slave. One can understand hired servants of Jewish origin among Jews.
“Household servants, be in subjection with all fear to your masters (δεσπόταις), not only to the good and gentle, but also to the crooked. For this [is] grace if for conscience toward God one endureth griefs, suffering unjustly. For what glory [is it] if when ye sin and are buffeted ye shall endure? but if when ye do well (ἀγαθοποι) and suffer ye shall endure, this [is] grace with God” (vers. 18-20).
One of the hateful and fatal plague-spots of Romanism is the so called church's interdiction of God's word, save according to its own will. None but Satan gave such an authority. But Protestantism never rose in this to the truth; for, in opposing Popish arrogance, it fell into the snare of claiming man's right to the Bible; which easily led on to the wicked principles of the French revolution, socialism, and other like iniquities. The Christian knows it as his real privilege and solemn obligation to assert God's right to address His word to His children now, as of old to Israel, not forgetting man universally in the Old T. as well as in the New. And this it is which constitutes the apostate guilt of the miscalled Higher Criticism, which is but a euphemism for base infidelity, however many amiable and would-be reverent persons are thereby ensnared in both Nationalism and Dissent as well as Popery. What a contrast with the world is God's communication first to the domestics whose lot among Greeks and Romans was hard indeed! The slaves at any rate were no more than living tools or possessions; and their numbers were immense, public as well as private.
With these home-menials as a class the apostle begins. As he had exhorted all in view of public authority, here he presses like subjection in the house. The domestics are enjoined to be subject with fear on every side to their lords; they were Christians, and bound to serve many a master where the danger of provocation was extreme. They needed therefore to walk in all awe. For according to Christ their godly subjection was due not only to the good and gentle, but to the crooked or perverse which last naturally abounded.
Where was any so noble a principle, morally speaking, found among men? We see in the O.T. how selfish were the ways of the Jewish chief men toward their own brethren after the flesh. What a conflict, and what humiliation to such as Ezra the priest and Nehemiah the governor! Of heathen heartlessness and cruelty we need not speak, even among the civilized Greeks and especially the Romans who had to face reprisals and rebellions and serious wars through their barbarity. It is Christ seen by faith as we perceive in the context that follows, which explains the elevation of heart which is here counted on by the apostle. They were to serve the Lord Christ in the spirit not of self-abnegation but of grace. No matter how worthless their masters might be, grace raises the soul above the most morose, and enables it to obey and suffer even in face of wrong.
For as the apostle explains, this is grace, in contrast with the natural bias toward the legal claim, if for conscience toward God one endure griefs, suffering unjustly. The A. V. renders it “acceptable,” and this is a fair sense in this place, and capable of defense. But it appears to me simpler and more forcible to adhere to the ordinary meaning, bearing in mind of course that it is not grace as in God which is in question, but the answer to it in those who believe. They were in this and in their measure imitators of God as beloved children, and walking in love as Christ loved them.
An effort has been made to translate the word “thank worthy” here as in Luke 6:32-34. But this seems short-sighted, because there is no ὑμῖν (to you) here as there, which makes a sensible difference. We can readily perceive the propriety of “thanks to you,” where “grace to you” could not stand. Here in the first case it is used absolutely; and in the second it has the very different adjunct παρὰ τῷ θεῷ (with God), who delights to find in His child what reflects Himself.
The apostle carries his argument yet more deeply in ver. 20. “For what glory is it, if when ye sin and are buffeted ye shall endure (or, bear it)?” This no person can affirm. One bears the burden of admitted fault. It is only natural in such circumstances. “But if, when ye do good and suffer, ye shall endure (or, bear it), this is grace with God.” This is supernatural; yet it is what the Lord looks for, not only in the mature and better instructed of His saints, but in the most down-trodden menials who call upon His name. For God despises none, and has called by His grace the foolish things of the world that He may put to shame the wise; and chosen the weak things of the world that He may put to shame the strong things; and the base things of the world, and the despised did God chose, that He might bring to naught the things that are: that no flesh should boast before God. A house-servant if a Christian was exhorted instead of resenting injustice to follow Christ in
His path of suffering love. Impossible so to do unless abiding in Him; but he that says he abides in Him ought, just as He walked, so to walk himself.

Life Eternal Denied: 1

Though my immediate duty be to vindicate the Christian truth of life eternal and to expose its frightful and pernicious denial now propagated, I cannot refrain from pointing out how the revealed testimony of Christ here suffers eclipse, and little remains but a morass of mud and vapor. Who but F.E.R. would say that we get in Ex. 15 figuratively “an idea” of the Kingdom? No one denies that as to this it goes no farther than anticipating the everlasting reign of Jehovah (18) at the end. But the true aim is the celebrating of the people's redemption by power as well as blood, and the destruction of the enemy's force for salvation accomplished. In no way is it the Kingdom come, which in this series of types is the figuration in chap. 18. Hence here as elsewhere all is confusion worse confounded.
Indeed the like destructive vagueness characterizes the volume from the first address at Quebec and its first page (8): “The Kingdom was coming in in connection with the Lord Jesus, who was the expression of the grace of God.” Could any one of spiritual discernment thus put together Luke 10:21-42 &c. with John 1:17? Indisputable that the Kingdom of God came in Christ and was proved by His casting out demons in virtue of God's Spirit (Matt. 7:27) equally so that it was in their midst then, instead of coming with observation as in the days when the Son of man is revealed. But it is olla podrida to mix up as here grace and salvation with God's Kingdom even in its present moral aspect, which scripture declares to be “righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
Passing over wild statements about reconciliation, in page 17 as often before we have that phrase, so offensive to a spiritual mind, “you touch life “; “You touch His life now because you have accepted His death.” Among other outlandish expressions (p.172) we read, “The moment you love God, you are in the life of Christ.” Scripture puts the truth in quite the opposite way: Herein was the love of God manifested, that God in our case hath sent His only-begotten Son into the world that we might live through Him. Never is it written or meant that when we love Him, we are that moment in the life of Christ, unscriptural as the language is. That life is from God's love, not from ours. But the constant error is pretending to be in the life of Christ, whilst we have not life eternal; for His life exclusively is that life eternal, and there is no other. Had Christ two lives to give, a life of His now that is not eternal, and another life at His coming which is eternal? Whatever it means, it is a detestable lie of the enemy, incompatible with scripture, and contradictory to it.
What impresses one's soul in reviewing these dreary talks and effusions (“readings” and teachings they are not, save by euphemism), is that Christ is lost, not being held in faith. Hence the truth sinks into a chaos, partly of traditional ignorance as on the Kingdom and the world to come, and partly of hazy “ideas” as on the new covenant and reconciliation far beneath old puritanism. On the kingdom enough has been said however briefly. But a fairly sober Christian has only to confront the “readings revised” with the Epistle to the Hebrews to convince himself how manifestly these speculations stop short of the “divine teaching” vouchsafed to us in holy writ. They are no more than the inanities of an active and feeble mind, which has broken away from subjection to scripture. In 2 Corinthians care is taken to guard against “letter” instead of “spirit “; for though the foundation is laid in the blood of Jesus, the terms and fulfillment of the new covenant can only be for the houses of Israel and Judah. We have only that of it which is compatible with a heavenly calling, yet enough to help greatly the Christian remnant of Jews to whom the Epistle was addressed.
What F.E.R. means by saying in page 38 that “you get two things in this chapter (Col. 1), viz. the new covenant and reconciliation” is just a proof of his total incapacity to expound scripture. Where is a trace of the new covenant in the Epistle to the Colossians? Apparently he, for one statement, alleges “In Him all the fullness was pleased to dwell “, but this immense truth goes far beyond, and wholly differs from, the new covenant; and, for the other statement, “by Him to reconcile all things to Himself” is a purpose wholly future. “In the cross” says he, “there was the removal of the old man to the glory of God: but where that man was removed, the love of God was expressed. The latter gives you the covenant! and the former reconciliation!” Can one imbued with scriptural truth imagine greater imbecility, letting pass the phraseology employed? For according to scripture the love of God was preeminently expressed in His Son's mission, that we might live through Him, and that He might die as propitiation for our sins. Only F.E.R., not scripture, connects it with “the removal” of the old man. Nor does scripture but F.E.R. say, that “where that man was removed the love of God was expressed,” but that “love hath been perfected with us, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment, because as He is, so are we in this world” (1 John 4). This we could not be if we had not now eternal life, propitiation, and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in a power far beyond the new covenant or the reconciliation, as Israel are to know under Messiah.
The new creation is a distinct truth, super-added to reconciliation and never in scripture confounded. No divine teaching is clearer on it than Rom. 5:10, 11; which closes the question of God's righteousness in view of our sins, before the supplement which treats the annulling of our old man, a special Christian privilege for faith but not without the need of learning it experimentally.
As to the new covenant the apostle cites Jeremiah's words for days to come of blessing on all Israel; but thence for the Christian he turns to the beautiful shadows of heavenly things which the Mediator's death brought in, “God having foreseen some better thing for us.” This never seems to enter the mind of these interlocutors. Yet is it the express truth which God opens in the Epistle to the Hebrews, a hope that enters within the veil, of which the new covenant in itself knows nothing, and never will. Have these sorry laborers forgotten what used to cheer and gladden the hearts of true men in days that are past, and of some by grace still? Let them read and learn what follows in Heb. 9. 10. where the Christian is shown to be put into living relation with the true holies, ourselves not only sanctified but perfected in perpetuity. Israel even under Messiah and the new covenant will have no such spiritual portion, but Levitical priests, material sacrifices, and an earthly temple with a veil, and the sons of Zadok. How fallen from divine teaching are those who once seemed to enjoy it forsaking the fountain of living water for broken cisterns which can hold no water! And what are others who sit quiet and dumb in the face of such enormous corruption? For there are not a few spiritual men who value heavenly truth, I feel sure, and who groan at this spurious substitute.
But it is in the Toronto reading (23-34) that the vagaries about the Kingdom come out so grotesquely. Matt. 18 is spoken of as very important, notably for the condition of entrance, but “at the close the great principle of the Kingdom i.e., grace reigning through righteousness.” Now every person of real intelligence must know that the closing parable gives a totally different teaching, not in the least grace reigning through righteousness, but after pardon was proclaimed, the one who proved alien from its spirit consigned to condign torment. Can we conceive an archer more thoroughly missing the mark? No wonder he and his friends regard dispensational bearing with disfavor. “This is the rock on which many have split” (26) says the wrecker.
Nor is this specimen of “divine teaching” all the error here. In p. 32 we read that David's throne is really the throne of God! the very thing which the apostle contradicts in Acts 2. For David both died and was buried, and his monument was among the Jews unto that day; but being a prophet he testified of Messiah's resurrection, and to Psa. 16 we can add Psa. 110 where he tells us of His Son sitting at God's right hand, on His throne above, where none ever sat or ever can sit but Himself. “You could not understand this well from the Old Testament, but in the New find that David's throne is God's throne!” Was there ever a more perverse as well as pretentious blunderer? The O.T. does speak of Solomon chosen to sit upon the throne of Jehovah (1 Chron. 28:5), which as it is differently expressed has quite another import. “But in the New” you do not “find that David's throne is God's throne.” Not only is it an invention but a falsehood. The Son of God, the anointed of Jehovah, shall sit on David's throne. But every decently taught Christian knows that this will not be till He appears in glory: and we have always treated such an identification as the ignorance and even folly of adversaries. In contrast with sitting as King on Zion by and by Christ sits now on God's throne, His Father's throne. This is not mere ignorance in F.E.R. It is shameless abandonment of the truth which he long confessed. Yet not one of his fellows moved the wing, or opened the mouth even to chirp. They seem spell-bound and won over to invincible darkness. Can one be surprised that these unworthy retrogradists allowed it to pass that “ecclesiasticism! standing!! ground! and such ideas! have almost ruined us” (34). Brethren, how have such insults to God's precious truth been heard or read without rebuke and repudiation? Truly “all have not faith": if they have only “ideas,” they must come to ruin. Yea, they seem ruined already.
“The New Covenant and Reconciliation” (35-47) abounds in judaizing and the like confusion as before.
But let us turn to page 148 which led to this retrospect. There we find contradiction of himself as well as of his betters. To the question of the difference between the Kingdom “of God” and “of Heaven,” the absurd answer is given that the latter is analogous to what God did at the beginning: [For it was on the fourth day] He set a great light in the heavens to rule the day. Surely any old woman might furnish one with more sense and any Christian child with more truth. But his explanation of the former is duller still. “The Kingdom of God, on the other hand, is connected with the presence of the Holy Ghost down here.” Now he had already acknowledged, as all know, that the Kingdom of God was here before His presence at Pentecost. Again, to one who asked, what was once universally owned, whether the Kingdom of God is a more inclusive term, says F. E. R. “I don't think so.” Yet when another remarked that “the Kingdom was really set up when Christ took His place on high,” his answer was, “Yes, the Kingdom of Heaven.” Yet he adds what contradicts himself that “the Kingdom of God was present when Christ was on earth;” for this conclusively proves the latter to be the “more inclusive term.”
Is it by the way worth noticing the absurd change (p. 121) from the plain and certain force of Gal. 3:26? The only error in the A.V. is in “the children,” where all agree it should be “sons,” of God. Thus “W.M. Do you read that passage in Galatians Ye are all the sons of God in Christ Jesus by faith? F. E. R. I do.” This seems drawn from the R. V. which by its strange punctuation comes to the same sense, or from an English scholar who followed two or three Germans, and, being himself learned, had great weight with the
Revisers in misleading them too often. But learning carries none safely through Scripture. The present instance is a distortion of the sentence, and the issue a truly unnatural abortion. No scholar would so twist a classic. Where is there anything in the N. T. to warrant “sons” any more than “children” in Christ Jesus? Either would be out of harmony with God's word. It is due to sonship on the brain of one who has no title to pose as the least authority in such a question, despising here as elsewhere an honored servant of God who really had the fullest claim to respect.
Who can wonder that one who dispenses such “ideas” says in page 150 “I think a great point in connection with the Kingdom is to get away from dispensational ideas. We have been greatly hindered by taking things up dispensationally”? Think of so bold a revolt from the fullest chapter God ever inspired on the Kingdom! For Matt. 13 (and it is far from being alone) for the most part sets forth dispensational teaching, though not this only. “He that hath ears let him hear” said the Lord. F.E.R. says on the contrary, “Get away from dispensational ideas.” “Have ye understood all these things?” the Lord asked. F.E.R. is not afraid to gainsay Him: “We have been greatly hindered by taking things up dispensationally”. Exactly so think the uninstructed leaders of Christendom. Extremes meet. Yet only samples are noticed by the way, by no means all that deserves severe castigation as well as entire rejection, that those who love the truth may see how far-reaching is the departure which once would have been felt intolerable and without excuse.
Think too of such monstrous teaching in the same short paragraph (154, 155), “for the moment the Kingdom is hid at the right hand of God,” compared with the quotation of the future day when “the angels shall gather out of His Kingdom all things that offend,” &c. Had it been said that “the King” is hid, one could understand; but “the Kingdom” has no sense. It is the fruit of sneering at dispensational truth and cultivating a crop of moral vanities. “In a day of confusion” (153) scripture is the divine resource not mere moral views, which without it only mislead. But what can Christians think when to one who asked the difference between the Father's Kingdom and that of the Son, the answer was, “They refer to the same point”! And to another on the same page he maintained that Christ has “received the Kingdom,” and cited for this error, “we see Jesus crowned with glory and honor!” It is to be hoped that all who heard knew the gross mistake of both answers. Heb. 2:9 is no more proof of Christ's reception of the Kingdom than Rev. 4 v. proves that the heavenly saints then reign. It is His present exaltation when we do not yet see all things put under Him. When He comes to reign, He wears many diadems and is not merely crowned. Who can fathom this disgraceful ignorance? or the dense delusion which accepts it as fresh light and truth?
In p. 164 (the Minneapolis reading on the Sanctuary) we come again to the old strange doctrine. “You don't begin with eternal life,” says an accommodating disciple.
F.E.R. You end with it, at least if scripture is right, ‘The end everlasting life.'
W.E. And that scripture does not mean then that you die?
F.E.R. I don't think so. A man gets to eternal life on earth. He may not get it until resurrection, but get it he will. Every believer will certainly get it.
W.H.F. Before he leaves earth? F.E.R. Yes. W.H.F. You don't enter into it now, but in resurrection?
F. E. R. You will be put into it then; you will not enter into it.” The meaning of this utterance seems to be eternal life given only at Christ's coming when we shall not all sleep, but all be changed. But this is to efface the Lord's giving it to believers now as a known and present possession, for mortality swallowed up of life at His coming, with which he confounds it. Scripture is as plain about the beginning as about the end. F.E.R. denies it for the believer when he most needs life eternal to know God, follow the Lord, overcome the world, and resist the devil. He is doing the enemy's work and corrupting the temple Of God.
The human invention of the believer's life by the Spirit, which is not a present reality in Christ or life eternal, explains much said hitherto, and is distinctly taught in “The Wilderness and the Land.” “You have not yet got to eternal life, but it is life Godward in the wilderness” (185). The truth is that life in Christ, life eternal, is at the starting-point; as is taught in John 3:15, &c., v. 24, 25, vi. 40, and very clearly in 1 John 4:9 compared with 10. It is unmistakably false doctrine that “John 3 [3] carries you farther than Rom. 8” [8]: a total misconception of that Gospel, which tells of the Son comedown from heaven yet Who is withal in heaven, light come into the world then manifesting God on earth. This is not less “the wilderness” than anything in the Epistle to the Romans: and “the thought of God” is as truly in both Rom. 5 and Rom. 8 as in John 3. In short the teaching is a string of discreditable and mischievous blunders. Hence “perishing” is in the wilderness (181), yet means not only to “apostatize” like Judas, a lot so exceptional, that there is another string also to the bow. It really expresses the everlasting perdition, whatever its shape, which befalls every unbeliever. And what more inept than the comparison (180), even before that, of Rom. 8 with v.— “what we are for God in the Spirit?” Surely if Rom. 5 is God fully known in grace superior to our sins, Rom. 8 is our place in Christ, superior to law, sin, and every other difficulty. But this book drags souls from divine truth to self habitually, instead of ministering Him Who alone acts on us in the power of grace by the Spirit.
Think too of the strange “idea” in 182 that “The only way in which you escape from the wilderness is in your own house. I don't think one's own house is exactly the wilderness, for it is a circle which God owns. The moment you are outside of your own house, you are in the wilderness”!!! Was there ever such puerility in a Christ-given teacher, or even a sane man? Who does not know that if typically we pass through the wilderness, which the world is to the new man, tents are an essential part of it, and that these become the pilgrim rather than the settled houses of Egypt? But what a conglomerate of thought or at least of words and figures, to claim for “our own house” so favored a circle! Would to God, our homes were more pilgrim-like, and more redolent of Christ!
But we come to more serious and systematic development of error in the use made of some later types in the book of Numbers.
“G. R. Does the brazen serpent answer to Rom. 8; 3?
“F. E. R. Quite so....
“J. S. A. And I suppose that although a person might be out of Egypt through the Red Sea, and. brought to God in that sense, he cannot enter into the purpose of God unless he apprehends the brazen serpent.
“F. E. R. No, the Spirit is the real beginning of life in the believer, ' The Spirit is life' (184)... God goes back to Adam (!) and the serpent, and sin is condemned in the flesh in the sacrifice of Christ, in order that God might impart the Spirit as life to man. You get the Lord's own expression of this in John 3.”
These heterogeneous “ideas” may please souls immature in the truth; but they indicate a mind caught by appearance, and at sea with a compass wholly out of order. For the book of Exodus furnishes the shadows of redemption and its consequences, up to God's dwelling in the midst. There we have not only the sacrifice of Christ in the Passover but God's action in power for His people in the passage of the Red Sea, Christ dead and risen. “The purpose of God” had been before them in Ex. 3:17, and vi. 4, 8; as they all celebrated in the song, Ex. 15:13-17. In figure they were truly and fully brought to God. Then come lessons of grace by the way and conspicuous among them the Bread of life come down from heaven marking out the true rest, and the gift of the Spirit in the living waters from the smitten rock fitting for conflict, though victory depend on the Mediator's intercession on high.
Is it not therefore certainly and manifestly in contradiction of scripture that one could not enter into God's purpose without the serpent of brass? For its object as the emblem of Christ crucified was to annul the power of Satan through the fiery serpents which bit those that loathed “this light bread.” And it was an absolute and immediate remedy to the look of faith, Aaron being dead just before: and those concerned seem not such apostates as Jude speaks of, but such as had not come out of Egypt nor passed through the Red Sea. They were a fresh generation requiring a new enumeration soon after, who have God's intervention for them against the enemy within and without, and hence too receive the Spirit's refreshing, as they had the emblem of Christ made sin for them previously. It was meet that God should grant all this for the generation about to leave the wilderness; as He had done for those who left Egypt for the wilderness.
But what a hodge-podge is made of “divine teaching” by these ill-assorted ingredients from Exodus and Numbers boiled together for a witch's caldron of poison! Yet not a soul among his British companions or his American friends raised a note of warning! If the progress of audacious error is alarming, the silence of men in the party who must see more or less through Satan's deceits seems more distressing still.
If we turn to the fuller light of the N. T., the violence done to revelation is extreme. For a twofold reason is given in the opening of Rom. 8 why there is no condemnation to those that are in Christ Jesus, itself a wondrous expression of divine favor. “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus freed me from the law of sin and death.” This was not only life eternal but in its risen power: God could not condemn one so liberated. But there is more. “For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God, having sent his own Son in the likeness of flesh of sin, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us that walk not according to flesh but according to Spirit.” As God already in Christ's cross condemned sin in the flesh, not merely sins but sin, He is not satisfied only (as the old divines were wont to put it) but glorified therein. Thus on neither score can condemnation fall. The sins of the believer are forgiven in virtue of Christ's bearing them on the tree; and the sin in the nature also has already been condemned there to God's glory. The believer in both respects stands clear, in order to righteous practice in loving God and man, as he walks in that life which he has in Christ according to which the Spirit enables him.
No Christian doubts the part played by the Holy Spirit in new birth: but how can anyone overlook the plain truth that, when the apostle discusses the further working of grace in the verses which immediately follow, not a word here implies that “the Spirit is the real beginning of life for God in the believer, the Spirit of life'“? For F. E. R's aim is to deny that Christ now gives life, life eternal, and here in resurrection power, to the believer. This he deliberately discards as the beginning or indeed at any time in our actual existence till He comes; for “life eternal” he believes only in “the end” —an end of glory which can never come without its beginning in grace now. The apostle shows that it is no question of duty only, but of a new nature with its spiritual affections quite opposed to the flesh and its lusts which are enmity against God. The believer's relationship to God is in the Spirit, but grounded on having Christ for life and on being in Him. This is made clear even by ver. 10: “But if Christ [be] in you, the body is dead because of sin, and the Spirit life because of righteousness.” Christ already in him as life warrants him to disallow the body as a guiding power, that the Spirit may act in that life and be life practically. For thus only is sin excluded and righteousness produced. As no Christian doubts that the Son quickens in communion with the Father, so he holds that one is thus also born of the Spirit. God in the fullness of His being acts in this operation of His grace. And here we learn how the Spirit is the immediate energy in the inner man all through. But to pervert it (as heterodoxy usually avails itself of a scripture difficult to many, in order to deny Christ as the present giver of eternal life), O what a sore grief to Him who is sent here to glorify Christ, and should receive of His and report accordingly!
Is it not blindness to say as in p. 185, after Rom. 5 and 8:3, which is said to answer to the brazen serpent, that “you have not yet got to eternal life, but it is life Godward in the wilderness?” As we have seen, the very verse (Rom. 8:10) abused to put forward the Spirit, in exclusion of Christ's gift of life eternal, refutes the unbelief, and makes “Christ in us” the antecedent to the Spirit's power in making it good in our practice. But more: the Lord's application in John 3 proves that the life given forthwith to such as looked on the serpent of brass answers to “eternal life,” and not to an imaginary different and inferior life meanwhile. Scripture never speaks of Christ giving the believer any life but His own life eternal. F. E. R's doctrine is a fraud of dangerous consequence from every point of view. Can a faithful man doubt that the Holy Spirit, far from accepting F. E. R.'s error in pretended honor to Himself, resents it as a profane slight on the Son of God and the Father's love?
If it were really meant that the life we have in Christ may in some disclose little beyond a pilgrim character, whilst they ought to have a heavenly character also as occupied with Christ glorified on high, one would accept its truth as long confessed and prized. This however is in no way his “idea.” He fancies life eternal to mean neither the one nor the other: he asserts it to be “a purpose of God,” and “a promise” to the believer, but in no case his present and known reality, and less still admits it to be the life of which all Christians live. His notion that “the Spirit is life,” to the exclusion of eternal life in Christ now given, is a wicked falsehood, and beneath not only every Christian teacher, but any Christian whatsoever. It is possible indeed that he was beguiled by his own misapprehension of the difference between the heavenly life and the earthly (or pilgrim) life in a practical sense, whether of Christ or of the Christian. Such a misunderstanding of one truly taught of God may have been the enemy's snare into his own systematized error. But if any one a dozen years ago doubted what he meant, there can be no real excuse now. The reader of this volume has abundant and decisive proof. Who with the fear of God can now say that there has been no false system, nor false doctrine at root? To deny it at this time of day would be party-spirited will and obstinacy unworthy of Christ.
No doubt mistake on the side of these who were right in the main weakened their testimony and gave a seeming aid to the adversary. For all ought to have seen that there are two principles and directions for the life Christ communicated, figuratively the wilderness, and Canaan. The heavenly ways and the wilderness walk are quite distinct. It was so even for Christ, where all was perfection. But this raises no uncertainty as to the unity of His life, any more than as to the life eternal now given to us. It affords no real cloak for the error, which positively denies the communication here and now of eternal life, and only admits the gift of the Spirit (56 et passim). For it is foolish and evil perversion of Rom. 8:10 to exclude our having at present eternal life in the Son, under the plea that without it “the Spirit is life.” Even verse 2 had clearly joined Christ with the Spirit, like the verse tortured into the contrary. For what means “the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus,” if not that? What God joined together, let not man venture to sever.
Further, what Christian taught of God does not see that in Rom. 8 it is a question, first in 2, of delivering power in the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, and, next in 10, of the Spirit as power inwardly in order to walking in the Spirit? Think of confounding all this with being born of the Spirit, or with the gift of the Spirit! Yet this is a root-error throughout the volume; as if one could be born of the Spirit without life, or have life imparted to the believer which was other than life in the Son, life eternal. What a return to old ignorance, if one conceive that the experience of Rom. 7 could be that of a soul not born of God! Yet as clearly it is one without the Spirit of liberty. But F. E. R. is on every side wrong; and the worst is, that it is a departure from light into darkness on the foundation as well as the privileges of Christianity.

Scripture Queries and Answers: Number of Lot's Daughters; Pharoah Perished in the Red Sea?

Q.-Gen. 19:14-16. Is it correct, as often assumed, that Lot had only two daughters of sorrowful memory?—A Disciple.
A -It would seem that besides the two maiden daughters in his house Lot had others with his sons-in-law outside, whom he sought in vain to save from the doomed city. In the “Introductory Lectures on the Pentateuch” this oversight is said to have been made. That the confusion has been often made by excellent men is of no weight against the simple force of the word.
Q.-Ex. 14, 15. Is there substantial ground for doubting that the Pharaoh of Exodus, Menephthah, perished with his host in the Red Sea? I am aware that Sir G. Wilkinson (Ancient Egypt, i. 54) so thought, and that the Rev. Professor Rawlinson follows him (Hist. of Anc. Eg., ii. 336).—A Disciple
A.-We are not limited to the writings of Moses. The Psalms are no less divinely inspired. If the language is only general in Exodus, Psa. 136:15 is explicit, that Jehovah “overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea.”


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Jacob: 2. Meets Rachel

Jacob, strengthened by his dream, pursues his journey to the land of his kindred. The first phrase is an uncommon one; the nearest to it is used of the priests in quitting the channel of the Jordan for Canaan (Josh. 4:18), which hardly confirms the alacrity ascribed to it here.
“And Jacob went on his journey (lifted up his feet), and came into the land of the sons of the east. And he looked, and, behold, a well in the fields, and, behold there, three flocks of sheep lying by it; for out of that well they watered the flocks, and the stone on the well's mouth was great. And when all the flocks were gathered there, they rolled the stone from the mouth of the well and watered the sheep, and put again the stone on the well's mouth in its place. And Jacob said to them, My brethren, whence [be] ye? And they said, Of Haran [are] we. And he said to them, Know ye Laban son of Nahor? And they said, We do know [him]. And he said to them, [Is it] well (peace) with him? And they said, Well; and, behold, Rachel his daughter cometh with the sheep. And he said, Behold, [it is] yet high (great) day; [it is] not time that the cattle should be gathered together: water the sheep, and go, feed [them]. And they said, We cannot till all the flocks be gathered together, and they roll the stone from the well's mouth: then we water the sheep. While he was still speaking to them, Rachel came with her father's sheep, for she kept them. And it came to pass when Jacob saw Rachel daughter of Laban his mother's brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother's brother, that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well's mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother's brother. And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice and wept. And Jacob told Rachel that he [was] her father's brother, and that he was Rebekah's son; and she ran and told her father. And it came to pass when Laban heard the tidings of Jacob his sister's son, that he ran to meet him, and embraced him, and kissed him, and brought him to his house; and he told Laban all these things. And Laban said to him, Thou [art] indeed my bone and my flesh. And he abode with him a month of days” (Gen. 29:1-14).
How strange that pious eyes of old and to our day should see in Jacob's foregoing journey and arrival in Haran a type of Jesus, Son of God and Heir of all things, despised and rejected of men, Jesus leaving heaven's glory to become a wanderer in the world, to accomplish redemption, and to espouse the church to Himself! Here evidently it rather typifies a contrast with Isaac, only son of his father, the dead and risen bridegroom of her that was fetched by Eliezer's guidance, the bride that must pass through the desert to be His bride in the heavenlies. Here it is one that leaves the land of promise after the saddest failure, but not without blessings in grace, with Jehovah assuring him in the dark night of His care, and not to leave him till He do so with His hand what His mouth had spoken. Jacob does not rise above the house of God on earth, the gate of heaven but not glory on high; and his vow, and anointed pillar, and tithe, and hopes, are all in unison with Israel, yet a prince with God here below. He is a type at most of the earthly side of the Lord; which tradition and theology, not discerning, have lowered so as to narrow the truth. These, seeing only the church position, have reduced the Lord's relationship accordingly, and appropriated Israel's place to the loss of the Christian's, as well as to the denial of the predicted blessings of the Jewish people as the head of the nations on earth under His coming reign.
Jacob is characteristically here under God's providential care, even when we hear only of the shepherds of Haran; and Rachel appears and Laban follows. It is His sure but unseen and unnamed direction. Yet we may remark the difference from Eliezer's distinct prayer of faith and immediate worship in chap. 24, also from God's prompt answer, and from the bride's ready response and journey to join him whom unseen she trusted, and for whom she forsook all her existing ties of nature.
Here it is a touching scene, and the quick emotional outburst of Jacob's nature is in keeping, and even Laban's. But the deep communion with God, when it is the type of calling the bride for heaven, and the entire absorption of heart in the risen bridegroom's glory, are as wanting here as they are indelibly apparent in the unique episode of Isaac and Rebekah.

Priesthood: 28. Poor Leper

Here, as elsewhere, appears the gracious consideration of God, not for the poor only, but also for what is so represented typically. Jehovah at least does care for such as have no earthly resources; and this is attested in the strongest way when they suffer from an extreme evil which leprosy was and figures. Does He not compassionate the poor in faith, due in general to defective teaching?
“21And if he [be] poor, and his hand be not able to get it, then he shall take one lamb a trespass offering, a wave offering to atone for him; and one tenth part of fine flour mingled with oil for a meal offering; 22 and a log of oil, and two turtle doves or two young pigeons, as his hand may be able to get: the one shall be a sin offering, and the other a burnt offering. 23 And he shall bring them on the eighth day of his cleansing to the priest unto the entrance of the tent of meeting before Jehovah.
24 And the priest shall take the he-lamb of the trespass offering, and the log of oil, and the priest shall wave them a wave offering before Jehovah. 25 And he shall slaughter the he-lamb of the trespass offering; and the priest shall take the blood of the trespass offering, and put [it] upon the tip of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and upon the thumb of the right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot. 26 And the priest shall pour of the oil into the priest's left hand, 27 and the priest shall sprinkle with his right finger of the oil that [is] in his left hand seven times before Jehovah. 28 And the priest shall put of the oil that [is] in his hand upon the tip of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot, upon the place of the blood of the trespass offering. 29 And the remainder of the oil that [is] in the priest's hand he shall put upon the head of him that is to be cleansed to atone for him before Jehovah. 30 And he shall offer one of the turtle doves or of the young pigeons, of what his hand was able to get; 31 of what his hand was able to get the one a trespass offering, the other a burnt offering with the meal offering; and the priest shall atone for him that is to be cleansed before Jehovah. 32 This is the law [for him] in whom [is] the sore of leprosy, whose hand cannot get what is for his cleansing” (vers. 21-32).
The allowance of grace here is solely for the falling short on the eighth day; and it is here where poverty is now and long has been found. Few rise up to the riches of God's grace in its Christian form and fullness. But the principle must be maintained if the right measure is deficient. If unable to take two unblemished he-lambs and one like ewe lamb, with three measures of fine flour, with oil for the oblation, and a log of oil besides, the poor leper was to take one lamb with one deal of oil mingled for the oblation, with a log of oil. This was indispensable for rich or poor alike. The priest began with the lamb slain for a trespass offering, and not a sin offering simply, still less a ram of consecration of sweet savor. Such was the blood sprinkled on each characteristic organ of his body; nothing other or less was permitted. The defilement must be felt and met adequately. Intrinsic cleansing by blood over the living water to be sprinkled did not suffice.
There is judicial cleansing in the sprinkled blood of the trespass offering, which is the leper's consecration to God, suited to the new creation, and hence applied to the renewed mind, as for work, and for walk. Then and not till then, for poor as for rich, is the unction from the Holy One. Not life only nor redemption or rather purification by blood which dedicates to God, but divine power is figured by the oil which follows the blood; and this oil is completely sprinkled before Jehovah anterior to putting it on each member of the poor leper, and the rest poured on his head. For the priest did all as punctiliously for him as for the richest. But two turtle doves, or two young pigeons, such as he could get, were sufficient, one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering. His poverty must not hinder his full cleansing and acceptance.
Thus what to the superficial reader seems strange if not tiresome repetition is in reality the witness of God's rich mercy and His loving the poorest with great love. But such a scripture ought also to be a serious guard from that levity which modern revivalism accentuates, though it has ever been the snare of those who are carried away one-sidedly with the freeness of grace to forget its fullness. In reaction from a systematic putting under law as a preparatory course for due reception of this gospel, they confound conversion with salvation, and as it were argue the interested soul to believe and say, I am saved! I am saved before the soul has any genuine sense of sin before God. Those who are strong have no need of a physician but such as are sick; and if the wounds are deep, it is well if they be probed without haste to cover them up. Repentance is most important, lest a crop of such faith arise as James 2 refuses to own. Consider the Prodigal in Luke 15.
The jailer, though speedily and truly converted (Acts 16), was not proclaimed as a saved soul there and then; nor does scripture ever speak with the hurry-scurry so popular among many excellent persons and ardent evangelists. What Paul and Silas said was, Believe on the Lord Jesus, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. So the pious and prayerful Cornelius had to hear words whereby he should be saved, and his house. No doubt when he received the Spirit of adoption, he was duly enabled to know that by grace he was saved as a continuous fact. It is well if the preacher is not precipitate, that the work in souls be deeply laid and sure. It is not for forgiveness only but for deliverance, and communion with God, yea with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ.

Day of Atonement: 13. Azazel

Azazel, or the People's Lot (Concluded)
Some of my hearers may remember the teaching founded on the bullock, and perhaps wonder that the scapegoat seems applied to the same purport. Let us look for a few moments how the truth is told us. We all begin standing without, just like Israel; we who believe were no less guilty of sins and iniquities. The bullock is seen when we come to the knowledge that we are made free of entrance into the sanctuary, and so can as priests draw near where God is. This is very far from being our apprehension when first, however truly, awakened. The soul then feels itself without the sanctuary, and cries for mercy, while owning itself a just object of divine judgment. Such is the state to which the two goats apply. Not only do we plead the blood as vindicating God on the one hand, but need the remission of our sins on the other to give us assurance that they are gone.
But are we left there? Not so. Christ is gone into the holiest of all. Are we, now like Israel, waiting for Christ to come out? This is the type strictly for them. The second goat depends on the high priest come out of the sanctuary, to the unspeakable relief of the people who cannot in any sense enter within. When any one presses the literal accomplishment of the scapegoat, it must be Israel. They are outside now, and will be so up to that day. But the Lord Jesus will leave the heavenly sanctuary and will come with power, glory, and blessing. Are we in any such position as Christians? Certainly not, when we bow to the full efficacy of His blood. The gospel brings us far more than the comfort of the second goat to the people without. We give thanks to the Father Who made us meet for sharing the portion of the saints in light (Col. 1:12). Through Christ we have access, whether Jew or Gentile who believe, by one Spirit unto the Father (Eph. 2:18). Even those who were once afar off are become nigh by the blood of Christ (13).
The Holy Ghost, as already come out of the sanctuary, makes us know this while Christ is within; so that we may await Christ's coming, not to announce remission of sins, but to change our bodies into conformity with His own, and to present the church to Himself glorious. Such, beyond controversy, is Christianity, and the Christian hope. Through the Holy Ghost now come we draw near within, where Christ is. When Christ quits heaven and appears to bless His people, the Holy Ghost will be shed on all flesh at the same, and a second, time. The blessing of Christianity is that we know Christ while He is in the heavens. This is where the application of the bullock applies to us in all its force; though one must always begin as poor sinners, where Israel ends, with the two goats.

Proverbs 14:28-35

NEXT follow maxims public and private of great weight.
“In the multitude of people [is] the King's glory; but in the lack of people [is] the ruler's downfall.
One slow to anger [is] of great understanding; but the hasty of spirit holdeth up folly.
A sound (or, tranquil) heart [is] the life of the flesh, but envy the rottenness of the bones.
He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker; but he that honoureth Him is merciful to the needy.
The wicked is thrust down by his evil doings; but in his death the righteous trusteth.
Wisdom resteth in the heart of the intelligent; but [what is] in the inwards of fools is made known.
Righteousness exalteth a nation; but sin [is] a reproach to peoples.
The King's favor [is] toward a wise servant, but His wrath to him that causeth shame” (vers. 28-35).
To have a numerous population is the king's glory; but David made it his pride, and persisted in a tainted public measure, notwithstanding the earnest protest of his chief servant, a mere worldling, to his own sin, shame, and chastening in the very point of his glorying. Yes, David who owed everything to God's favor, not to an arm of flesh! But a dwindling people prepares for a ruler's destruction.
Again, it is a sure sign of a great understanding morally to cultivate slowness of anger, though never to be angry before the Lord evinces total want of right feeling in presence of evil. How slow was He Himself, yet could and did He kindle to God's glory. The hasty of spirit only exposes his own folly.
Then again a sound or placid heart is a general healing power, just as envy rots even the bones, a corroding evil without doubt.
And what is it to oppress the poor, but to reproach Him that made him and his lot? Whereas he honors the faithful Creator that shows compassion to the needy.
It is his own evil that expels or thrusts down the wicked, while even in his death the righteous retains his confidence. Even if a feeble believer be before us, there is no moment in his life so happy as his departure to be with Christ. Gloom on the other hand is unbelief.
The intelligence here commended began with the fear of Jehovah, and grew by hearing and gaining wise counsels which fools despise. Wisdom accordingly rests not on the tongue merely but in the heart which prizes it.
In the foolish, even when deeply sounded, is nothing to make known but lack of sense. Jehovah, God, is nowhere within such a spirit.
On the other hand it is not only a man but a nation which righteousness exalts; and righteousness is a just sense of relationship to God and man, the very reverse of absorption in our own interest which ere long ruins those blindly devoted to it. Sin is a real reproach to peoples as well as to men.
It is also no small contribution to national wellbeing that the king should not forget but heed and honor a wise servant, no less than frown on him that causes shame.

Gospel Words: the Prayer of the Disciples

Are you a disciple of the Lord Jesus? Are you born of the Spirit? Are you a child of God entitled to say Abba, Father? Such were they, and no others, whom the Lord taught to pray thus: Our Father that art in the heavens, Sanctified be thy name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done as in heaven also on the earth, Give us to-day our sufficient bread, and forgive us our debts as we also forgive our debtors, and bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. If you are a disciple as they were, you too can pray thus, even if like them you could not say that you have in Christ redemption, the forgiveness of your trespasses (Eph. 1:7). Such too was necessarily their state then, for Christ had not yet suffered for sins. But it ought not to be yours now; for the atoning work is done. If then you believe on the Lord Jesus, be it known to you, that through Him is (not promised, but) proclaimed to you remission of sins, and in Him is every believer justified from all things (Acts 13:38, 39). You have not appreciated the alphabet of the gospel, if you know not that once purged you have no more conscience of sins.
While in this unformed condition, born of the Spirit but not resting on redemption known as yours (and therefore not yet having the Spirit of adoption, Gal. 4:4-6, Eph. 1:13), you do well to pray as the Lord taught His disciples waiting for the Spirit (Luke 11:1-3). When the Paraclete was given, they entered into peace and liberty, far beyond their then state (Rom. 5:2, 1-11; 2 Cor. 17, 18); and so may you prove when thus subject and obedient to God (Acts 5:32). Nevertheless, though the standing of a Christian will lead you to pray in the Spirit according to the new relationships, how blessed ever is that which the Lord here taught! Do you really know what He meant? Many fail in this. Let us weigh His words.
It is in the First Gospel we hear of the Father who is in the heavens. The aim was to raise the eyes on high of Jews who were used to wait for God to display His glorious power on earth (Isa. 25:9; 31:4; 35:4. &c.), as He did in measure since the day of redemption from the old house of bondage. Now He is made known as the One who makes His sun rise on evil and good, and sends rain on just and unjust, yet with special favor to His sons.
The petitions are seven, and divide into two classes; the first three are of righteousness, as the last four are of grace. This is an order intrinsically due to God, and proper for saints. If lost sinners as such were contemplated, all must begin with sovereign grace. But of this we hear not in the so-called sermon on the Mount, but such grace shines appropriately elsewhere.
1. And how right, even our hearts feel, is the opening petition, Sanctified be thy name! It is the foremost desire of the renewed, however young in faith. Without this made good, there can be nothing good.
2. Thy (not My) Kingdom come, the Father's Kingdom (Matt. 13:43) where the heavenly saints shine forth as the sun in risen glory, the dearest object of His love here as Father, Who will have them there with and as Christ, through Whom alone it could be.
3. Thy will be done as in heaven also on the earth. This is at the same time the Son of man's Kingdom, Who will send His angels to gather out of it all offenses and all that work lawlessness (Matt. 13:41). It is the earthly things of God's Kingdom, as the other the heavenly (John 3:12), Christ being Head of the church and over all things (Eph. 1:10, 22).
Then come the petitions of grace.
4. Give us to-day our sufficient (or, necessary) bread. Thus are they taught to begin with confessing dependence for ordinary wants, as the apostle called us to be content with food and raiment.
5. And forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors. For indeed all saints are bound to judge self and confess sins; as an antecedent spirit of forgiveness is imperative. See Matt. 18:35, Luke 17:3, 4.
6. And bring us not into temptation. So the Lord impresses on the disciples; for He ever knew their weakness as none else did yet. Luke 22:46. To “endure” temptation is as blessed, as “entering into” it is full of danger.
7. But deliver us from evil in general, if not from the evil one in particular. This was not the sifting, or temptation, deprecated in the clause before, which grace may put us through for good, as we see in Peter; but the power of the enemy in drawing into sin against God. The proper desire was to be kept from the evil, or, if one fell, to be restored from it. Grace in no case fails, if a disciple alas! did. Deliver us from evil.
The doxology is an ecclesiastical accretion and therefore uninspired. Luke was led by the Holy Spirit to omit the special title (2), the earthly Kingdom (3), and the final clause (7), as not so much called for in the case of Gentiles.
Reader, can your state admit of your adopting the prayer for a disciple of Jesus? How sad to use it lightly and untruly?

1 Peter 2:21-23

The place of suffering is enforced for the Christian, to the special comfort of Christian servants, by that of Christ Himself.
“For to this were ye called; because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you a model that ye should follow up his steps; who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth; who when reviled did not again revile, when suffering did not threaten, but gave over to him that judgeth righteously” (vers. 21-23).
The world's relations to the saints, whether servants or not, is made unequivocally plain. So it was even for the apostles. “I have given them thy word, and the world hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world” (John 17:14.) “If the world hateth you, ye know it hath hated me before [it hated] you. If ye were of the world, the world would love its own, but I chose you out of the world: therefore the world hateth you. No bondman is above his Lord: if they persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also (15:18-20).” If it be trying as it surely is, how great is the moral honor of “such association with Christ!” “For to this were ye called.” God allowed, overruled, and used it for the good of His children here below.
Earlier still, and more widely, had the Lord made known His will, God's will. “But I say to you that hear, Love your enemies, do good to those that hate you; help those that curse you, pray for those that use you despitefully. To him that smiteth you on the cheek offer also the other; and from him that taketh thy coat forbid not thy coat also. To everyone that asketh of thee give; and from him that taketh away thy things ask them not back; and as ye wish that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. For if ye love them that love you, what thank (grace) have ye? for even sinners love those that love them. And if ye do good to them that do you good, what thank have ye? for even sinners do the same. And if ye lend [to them] from whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners that they may receive back as much. But love your enemies and do good, hoping for nothing back; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be sons of [the] Highest; for he is kind to the thankless and wicked. Be ye therefore merciful even as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:27-36).
It is Christ practically, and the manifestation of the Father's character reproduced in His children. Nothing less palpable or more absurd than to expect such a character in fallen man as such, that is, in the world; nothing less is what the Lord looks for from those that are His. Who is sufficient for these things? Our sufficiency is from God. Do not doubt Him, nor allow to unbelief that these are bygone things. They become and bind the Christian at all times. And so we read here, “because Christ also suffered for you.” Was this to dispense with our suffering? On the contrary He suffered for you, “leaving you a model, (or, copy) that ye should follow up his steps.”
The saint needs an object from God to form our souls and fashion our ways. And He sets before us Christ. What or who can compare with Him? Flaws were in the best of saints at their best, think of Peter, Paul, John. Christ “did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth.” Christ “when reviled did not revile again; when suffering, did not threaten, but gave over to him that judgeth righteously.” Who among his most bitter foes that sought every occasion ever convicted Him of sin? He always did the things that pleased His Father, and never once did any will but His, the lowliest of men, yet above the highest. For there is nothing so lowly as obedience; nor is there anything so pure and morally elevating as ever obeying God. He and He only was “His righteous servant,” He absolutely and perfectly.
It has not been shown as far as I am aware that the word rapa admits of the reflexive sense, good as it would be in itself, that is, of meaning “gave himself over.” Hence various modes of supplying the ellipse have been proposed. But why should it not be rendered, though a little rugged, as it seems used, absolutely? So we find in Mark 4:29, where there seems no need of rendering, “is brought forth” or “provided.” Why not “should permit”? See Pind. P. v. 4; and Demosth. 1394. 23 even for the aorist; which A. Buttmann oddly denies. The present, &c. are common as in Herod. vii. 15; Xen. Anab. vi. 4, 34; Isocr. 106 C.; Polyb. xxii. 24, 9, as given by Liddell & Scott.

Life Eternal Denied: 2

IT would be tedious to analyze “The things before God” (pages 198-207). But there is the like confusion, instead of the truth, in what is fantastic-ally entitled “the world to come” (pages 208-225) and its continuation (226-242), the submerging of Christianity under Jewish expectations, just as in the denial of life eternal as a known and present reality for our souls in Christ. Take the statement that “The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has properly reference to the world to come” (208, 9). Now where is the Christian of spiritual intelligence and candor who can fail to discern that this is no casual slip but error down to the foundation of revealed truth? It is the surest self-evidence that he who holds and utters such a view was not taught of God as to either the present or the future; and this in what is and must be the innermost of all, the true relation of God to each according to His word. “The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” has no proper reference to “the world to come.” His only reference properly, if we bow to the word, is now to the saints and faithful in Jesus Christ, though of course they will enjoy Him forever. The error is complete on both sides. The proper title of God in reference to the world is not the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ that blessed us already with every spiritual blessing in the heaven-lies in Christ, but Jehovah, El-Elyon or the Most High God, possessor of heaven and earth, according to the beauteous type of Abraham and Melchisedek in Gen. 14, so predicted in the Psalms and the Prophets.
Nowhere does scripture warrant the faintest hint that God's relation to the world will be “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ;” which is His exclusively given relation even now to those who compose the church. No Papist, no Protestant, within the scope of my reading, ever erred so scandalously, not even B.W.N. in his Thoughts on the Apocalypse or any other of his most erroneous writings, though he shared the vulgar ignorance that all saints from the beginning to the end compose the church. F.E.R. learned better through Brethren; and therefore his error is the less excusable, because it is the more inconsistent. Alas! what makes it hopeless, as it is, is his consistency, rather than his inconsistency. He dares, after professing the truth in both respects, to contradict revelation in both; he robs the Christian now of his most cherished relationship shared with his risen and ascended Lord, and bestows it improperly and with reckless ignorance on “the world to come.” All the effort of J.S.A. or J.P. to palliate it (209) is in vain. None ventured to expose or even oppose the twofold lie against the truth.
Again, weigh the words in page 210: “Every thought enumerated in chapters 1-10 (Heb. 1-10) connects itself with the world to come.” Now had it been said that there are points of connection through the Epistle to the Hebrews with “the world to come” (beyond the text in chapter 2 which openly speaks of it), no one could fairly dispute it. But the grand central truth, which governs its teaching through more than those ten chapters, turns those bold words into dust and ashes. Christ's session at God's right hand after having made for Himself (if not also “by Himself”) purification of our sins is from first to last characteristic for the Christian now, and does not connect itself with the world to come. Any one versed in the truth could disprove it in detail from each one of these ten chapters and indeed from all. But, not to heap up counter evidence, it suffices to allege the indisputable fact of the teaching throughout, that sacrifices are now consummated and closed for us Christians in His one offering. Hence even every tyro in prophecy knows that it will not be so for “the world to come;” as for example Ezekiel (43.-46.) proves for Israel, and Malachi (1:11) for the Gentiles.
In these revised notes, after ample time for reflection, there is the issue to every eye of what deliberately and systematically reverses apostolic teaching of a fundamental kind. For in the Epistle from which it is sought to show that “all is viewed in relation to it with the world to come,” the wilderness with the tabernacle and its antitype is ever the ground, not Canaan and the temple as then and there according to the prophets. Our position as Christians ever looking on as sufferers in full assurance of hope is the express aim of its teaching; not “the world to come” but the holiest relationship [not union here] with Christ in heaven itself which contrasts with that world. It is the better light of God's presence on high, the “heavenly” soon to be our actual portion. We are Christians, not Jews anticipatively or the Israel of God, as Christendom fancies; and our time, if this be meant (211), is the eighth day, not the seventh. So the Lord by His word (in John 7:37 et seqq.) would have us enjoy now in the Spirit. But these judaizing errors flow from the fatal root-error of denying to us the known present possession of life eternal.
In the notice of Heb. 11 according to the new school, we are told that since “sin came in saints were being instructed in some way or other in detail as to the world to come. In Abel we see the principle of the world to come, that is acceptance by sacrifice. Then in Enoch we get translation and in Moses the destruction of the world power” (211). Did ever a narrow and prejudiced Puritan convey anything paltrier? In Abel it was really a question, not of the world to come, but of righteousness from and of God, as it was testified in Enoch the next case for heaven and eternity. Noah might as to this bear such a view in the world after the flood; but what God's word actually says is that he condemned the world, instead of inheriting it, and became heir of the righteousness that is according to faith. No doubt the pilgrim fathers are said to be heirs of the same promise; but it is carefully shown that they all sought a better country, that is, a heavenly, the city that hath the foundations. Must one tell these darkened brothers, who formerly needed it not, that “the world to come” means the habitable earth to come, and does not include the heavenly side of the scene? The Epistle, while owning it habitually and in this chapter, was written to set their eyes on things above where Christ sits. This book retrogrades below the “ways” of old. Lastly what halting poverty of application only to get in Moses the destruction of the world-power! Why not point out, in blessed type, the overwhelming downfall of Satan's power and ourselves brought to God by the death and resurrection of Jesus? Yet no one denies the outward analogy when Israel's foes are destroyed by-and-by.
One of the pupils remarks that “It is not that they were delivered at the moment, but they were waiting for the One who delivered them” (213). Now scripture (1 Thess. 1:10) puts “our deliverer” from the wrath to come, as the most expressive form of conveying their abiding rescue. So said our Lord in John 5:24 speaking of the last crisis of that coming wrath (cf. Rom. 2:5, 16), the believer “cometh not into judgment.” It is a present and assured exemption. Another adds from his teacher that “we do not need Christ as our righteousness for this world. We need practical righteousness here, Christ is our righteousness in view of the world to come.” Well, if we have not got eternal life now, and thereby communion with the Father and with His Son, this might be; but just think how its denial degrades His life both now and by-and-by! A third has found out the error of taking (Col. 1:12) as heavenly, the inheritance of the saints in light! “That is not heaven", says J.S.A., “but the world to come”! How deplorable the descent of error!
It may help him to learn that the word which deceived him is not κληρονομίας (inheritance) but κλήρου (portion or lot). It is far above the “world to come.” Even “inheritance” in Eph. 1 rises higher than the earthly horizon. Let him unlearn this folly and use this scripture, as they were all wont to do. How evidently one lie about a vital truth unsettles, vitiates, and falsifies many more! Would to God that no saints might “grasp these thoughts “; for they are a grievous perversion, and can only defile and destroy. A soul less an adept did cite 1 Cor. 1:30 for Christ made to us of God wisdom and righteousness now. Yet F. E. R., after admitting it, said “I don't think it is in relation to this world, but to the world to come(!)” It was written to the saints here and now; and has no more to do with “the world to come” than the rest. “The age to come” attached to “the world to come.” Neither contemplates heaven. This prattle is one tissue of blunder on blunder. No sound and well-taught man can truthfully deny it; and I trust that none such out of party zeal may have the hardihood to palliate it. They are likely enough to cry out about my tone and spirit, as once against J.N. D. because he did not mince his words when his soul fired up against outrage done to Christ or the truth. He was not at all animated by fleshly enmity or feeling, which I too disclaim. Is there to be no righteous indignation?
We can see in pages 220, 221 that neither J.S.A. nor O.O.B. could give up without a protest the certain if mysterious truth of Eph. 6:12; but F.E.R. showed himself alert to lower, too, all he could. “I don't think the rendering is quite right (I). We wrestle against the spiritual things or influences of wickedness in the heavenly places (I) We don't wrestle against the wicked spirits (1:1) We have to do with the effect down here. There are influences which are abroad in Christianity. We have escaped one evil, but may fall into another.” “We don't wrestle against wicked spirits” says this adversary of the truth, ever bold against God's word when it is plain. “We have to do with the effect down here,” says F. E. R. But the apostle says we have to do with the sources up there. The express aim is to assert that our wrestling is, not against blood and flesh which are down here, but against principalities, against authorities, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against “spiritual [hosts or powers] of wickedness in the heavenlies.” This I venture to affirm is the right rendering; and it is dead opposed to “things or influences,” which sense in the context is nonsense; for this would-be renderer himself means “influences which are abroad in Christianity” [? Christendom], and can hardly mean to call the evil spirits “things” on high. The apostle speaks here solely of spiritual beings of subtle energy and malice banded against us; and all the more seriously, because they rule the world's darkness from that heavenly elevation by their wiles as quasi-deities; he does not speak of “spiritual things or influences” in the heavenlies, but a man as far as possible from being an apostle, for he contradicts the true one. Nor does he seem to be aware that infidelity and rationalism are as real if not rampant in Popish lands as in Protestant, though the latter are generally more open and outspoken.
The reading ends with a few vague, obscure, and scarcely intelligible remarks on eternal life; but there is nothing definite enough to call for any notice further than the mistake of putting resurrection, instead of the Son, for the coming out of that life (225). How all these “thoughts” belittle Christ, and becloud the truth Whose work is it to do either? Not the Holy Spirit's certainly.
Passing by not a little worse than worthless in the last reading as in those before, we may now consider in its continuation (220-242) some of the more shocking errors. Take this in concurrence with J.S.A. (page 227).-” F.E.R. Every point in the Epistle [Hebr.] holds good for the world to come.” Such a sentiment is worthy of a Jew masquerading as a ritualistic clergyman. He saps the transparent truth of the Epistle; for as it proves the “better thing” than even the fathers looked for in the fulfillment of promise, the surpassing difference of Christianity is almost everywhere made plain. The lowest object in God's purpose, the habitable earth to come (ἡ οἰκουμένη ἡ μέλλουσα), is abused to swamp the far more commanding and distinctive truths of the Epistle.
It is utterly false that “every point in the Epistle holds good for the world to come.” Israel and the nations shall see the King in His beauty, and their hearts muse on the terror of His day begun on earth. But not even the most spiritually intelligent among them can look by faith on the Son seated on the right hand of the Majesty on high when He had made purification of sins (Heb. 1). Nor will they behold Him crowned with glory and honor in heaven, as we do when we see not yet all things put under Him (Heb. 2). For though it is a citation of Psa. 8, the Epistle shows that Christians have the excellency, which Thomas had not, of having believed without seeing. Then again is it no point of vantage that Christians are “partakers of a heavenly calling” (Heb. 3) while the millennial saints have an earthly one? Nor will it be theirs to suffer being tempted, like Christ, yea, to endure, and reign with Him, as 2 Tim. 2:2 says, whereas they are reigned over, having had no such gracious experience. And the rest of God (Heb. 4), is there no difference in enjoying it on the habitable earth to come, or with Christ above?
In all the similar and deadly thrusts of B.W.N. at our heavenly privileges, I remember none so sweepingly pernicious as these “thoughts” of F. E. R. palmed on the unwary as the truth of God. Surely “an enemy hath done this “; for one might easily go through the Epistle and prove that in every salient point it ascends and associates us with Christ, in contrast with the descent to the world to come. But, even again, to cite (the same page) “we which have believed do enter” as our anticipation of it ought to disgrace a child on the outside seats of a meeting-room. For it is really “a promise,” and not our anticipation by faith, as ranters preach, but a simple fact that we enter there (viz. at Christ's coming), not that we have in any sense entered in; in the same context, as ever in the Epistle, we are as yet and only passing through the wilderness. No: this is the reverse of divine teaching, and wholly opposed to the truth accepted and taught by every instructed person among brethren. Surely they are not all traitors to it now!
“This brings in the House of God, for the truth of the House of God is not literally fulfilled in the present time, it points on to the time to come” (page 229). What a discovery! One might have expected a due appreciation of what is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being a corner stone for God's habitation in the Spirit, though it be not literal, and no saint need deny or grudge the future house in the land of Israel. But will that house of visible glory be comparable to a living God's church, pillar and ground (or basis) of the truth? Truly this abuse of “the world to come” is letter, not spirit; and a like abuse pervades the volume. Christianity is here debased. How very largely it is “I think” and “I suppose” and “quite so” we all can see; and alas! how many are content to remain “by this wonderful system” bereft of the truth! Consider the absurdity of counting it (page 234) “a great mistake to think that Christianity is one thing, and the world to come another”! Christianity not another thing from the habitable earth to come! One might excuse such ridiculous error in a pulpit rhapsody from a preacher to whom that earth is an unknown land, or who is a spiritual babe.
But is it honest to allege that F.E.R. can plead either excuse? He poses as the burning and shining lamp in the obsequious company of several who do not think meanly of their lesser degrees of light. Is it not a stern duty, for any loving the truth who can, to expose so shallow and self-complacent a pretender? For where is “Christianity” or “the world to come” in the admirable group of Heb. 12:22-24? Does he identify “Zion” with the one, the heavenly with the other? If so, he only demonstrates the same darkness into which he has fallen by yielding to his own ideas. We can hardly conceive that he found either in the “myriads of angels,” or in the “spirits of just men made perfect.” It would be blasphemy to identify them with God or with Jesus, and folly to do so with the church of firstborn ones (which is neither Christianity nor the heavenly city), or with the blood of sprinkling. Christians these are without doubt.
But Zion, though the most exalted spot of the millennial earth and the embodiment of royal grace as its principle, is a very small part of the habitable earth to come; and the city of a living God, heavenly Jerusalem (distinguished from David's city, the earthly one), is the glory above this world, for which the patriarch waited (Heb. 11:10, 16), not the new Jerusalem seen by the last Seer, the symbol of the Bride, the Lamb's wife herself, not of the glory which is to be the seat of the elders who believed of old. Thus self-evidently this heavenly city is not Christianity, and as clearly distinguished from the assembly of those associated with Christ as first-born ones.
The order of Melchisedec does apply now, in that Christ like him is the one sole priest without predecessor or successor; but the exercise of His priesthood now is after the pattern of Aaron in the sanctuary and His intercession founded on sacrifice, in contrast with the blessing and refreshment of Melchisedec for the world to come. F.E.R. shows he is a bungler following the tradition of Christendom, not scripture, when he says (page 232), “It is King and Priest, Jesus crowned with glory and honor, and at the same time saluted as High Priest.” Heb. 2 has not a word on His kingdom, which is not come till the seventh trumpet of the Revelation, long after the rapture, and only announced a little before His appearing. It is not “at the same time.” The soi-disant teacher is a forgetful professor, and a pretentious dreamer. As almost all in fellowship used to know better, so he must have been drinking the waters of the veritable Lethe from the dark regions. A King in righteousness by and by is not grace reigning through righteousness as now: none but a hopeless ignoramus could say so. But it is far worse; for it indicates, as far as the truth is concerned, a wicked heart of unbelief in departing from a living God. Even he once learned better when at school, and apparently grateful for sound teaching.
Page 236 has again the ridiculous disorder of the new covenant, purgation, reconciliation, and sanctification, directly opposed to what the Epistle indicates, as a child may see. How Satan must enjoy such nonsense greedily swallowed by persons who once seemed to love the truth, and the sad sight of grave men deterred from their allegiance to the Lord in not clearing His name and word by fear of consequences Think too of such trash as the comment (page 237) on 1 Cor. 6:10! “F.E.R. I think every man is set apart in the mind of God (I) before he is justified.” Brethren, is not this a falsification of this text? “Washed, sanctified, justified,” you used to know, is a blessed existing fact, whatever the difficulty of such as have not learned the truth of setting apart to God before justification, as also in 1 Peter 1:2. If it is a childish but mischievous suggestion to say that “the old man [is] gone in the death of Christ” (ib.), it is too plain that the truth largely “is gone” from F.E.R. Just think that his answer (page 238) to What is the Minister of the sanctuary? should be, “Christ is Head of the body, the Church, and has the place of Minister of the sanctuary. He presents the saints to God; He takes the place of Head;” and this is interpreting the Epistle to the Hebrews!
Other remarks follow which in an average saint might have seemed strong; as in 240 where F.E.R. says to W. M., “Yes, but you see we are now going in so that we may be qualified to come out. W.B. I never saw that before. F.E.R. Well, it is a very good thought “[!!!] Whatever may be felt at such self-applause, all sober Christians must agree that it was sad for any to remark (241), “I think that word ' will ' declare it, in the second clause of John 17:26, is what has been misleading to many of us.” No, no: the misleading is from another source. But I do call the attention of every saint just after that to the atrocious verdict of F.E.R.: “Eternal life is realized only in the Assembly; no one touches eternal life except in that connection(!)” This is an unmitigated lie of Satan. Scripture never speaks of it in that connection. It is strictly an individual privilege, and was as it is realized in each Christian apart from the assembly. Their corporate communion begins and goes on in the given Spirit. Such a statement betrays a soul not taught of God as to the assembly any more than individual Christianity. It is wanton opposition to scripture; and what must one conclude from his saying (page 242) that “the proper connection” of life eternal is with the world, the habitable earth, to come? Has he ever done more than read to talk about John's Gospel and First Epistle? Is it not there we find eternal life applying to the Christian now, there only assured and applied in the fullest and deepest way? Never is it there connected with the habitable earth to come, which is a prophetic “connection” and not “the proper one;” nor is it “in association” that we get it as a present thing, but individually by faith in the Son of God. “You are out of death” by His death and resurrection, as His coming will prove. As to our souls, we are risen with Him now. To deny this by talking of earning one's living and providing for the family now is like a creature raving.

The Inspiration of the Scriptures: 1 Timothy

Chap. V. Divine Design. 42A. the First Epistle to Timothy
That the pastoral Epistles should have a common character distinct from those to the saints is easily understood; and that each has its own peculiarity is a plain matter of evidence to the attentive reader. The difference is conspicuous in the two letters to Timothy; for the first is as careful to insist on order as the second is to provide for a state of disorder, that the godly might even then have divine directions for their walk, bound as they were, and we are, to take account of so sad a change. That to Titus comes in character between the two extremes.
1. “Paul, apostle of Christ Jesus according to command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope, to Timotheus, genuine child in faith; grace, mercy, peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.” The prefatory words, as usual, give a clear insight into the scope of what follows. The apostolic title is as important for authority here as for the truths of the gospel and of the church to the Roman and to the Corinthian saints, to the Galatians, Ephesians, and Colossians. “According to command” assimilates this letter and that to Titus, while it differentiates both from the second Epistle to Timothy. “God our Savior is also very notable here and to Titus, bespeaking the universal testimony of God's grace in the gospel, and strongly contrasted with Judaism. God in love goes out actively to man in the death of the Mediator. Christ is the hope, and unfailing if cherished. The exhortatory injunction to Timothy was first and foremost to guard the truth from all alien teaching, and specially fables and interminable genealogies which are such as yield questionings rather than God's dispensation that is in faith (3-7), the end of it being love out of a pure heart and a good conscience and unfeigned faith.
These then are the substantial blessings of the gospel, and missed by such as turned aside to vain discourse, wishing to be law-teachers. There was the early plague of imagination, and of legalism which assails grace as antinomian while itself tending to that evil, whatever its own contrary claims. It is not that the lawful use of the law is denied, which is to convict lawless and insubordinate persons. The gospel alone witnesses of Christ to save sinners (of whom the apostle specifies himself as first) to whom, in his ignorant unbelief, mercy was shown—Christ's whole long-suffering (12-16). This draws out his praise, after which he repeats the injunction laid on Timothy, that he might war the good warfare, maintaining faith and a good conscience. For such as put away the latter make shipwreck of the former; of whom he holds up Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom he had delivered to Satan for their dishonor to God (18-20). How practical and personal it all is! And what is truth but a sham and a shame if it be not so?
2. Here we find the public attitude of Christianity. All should breathe of loving goodwill toward man and the chiefs of the world, even if heathen and persecuting. “I exhort therefore first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, thanksgivings be made for all men; for kings and all that are in authority,... for this is good and acceptable before God our Savior, who wisheth that all men be saved and come unto full knowledge of truth. For there is one God, one mediator also of God and men, a man Christ Jesus who gave himself a ransom for all, the testimony in its own times; to which I was set preacher and apostle (I speak truth, I lie not), teacher of nations in truth and love” (1-7). Grace rises above all natural thoughts, feelings, and ways, and calls on those who believe to bear a living witness of “God our Savior,” Who is willing to save all that bow to Jesus, the ransom for all. Such is the testimony; and now that the cross on man's side proves the guilt of all, Jews and Gentiles, the same cross on God's side proclaims salvation to all that believe.
Paul was herald of this grace, but moreover apostle in full authority, and teacher in patient wisdom, that even besotted Gentiles might believe and know the truth. Yet reverence and divine order become those who profess the truth. “I will therefore that the men pray in every place, lifting up pious [or, holy] hands, without wrath and disputation.” All the faithful were holy brethren; and it was no longer the question of a Jewish sanctuary any more than of a Gentile high place. They were free and invited to pray elsewhere. The women were to cultivate modesty and discretion, instead of fashion and finery, with good works their true ornament. To learn is their place, not teaching, nor authority, but quiet subjection; for which he cites the case of Eve, who, deceived, brought in transgression, whatever mercy may do even in her chief natural sorrow.
3. Then Timothy has directions for the local charges of bishops (or, overseers) and deacons. “Faithful is the saying: if one is eager for oversight, he desireth a good [or, right] work.” The requisite qualities (2-7) are moral or spiritual, rather than the possession of an express gift. Free from reproach, husband of one wife, sober, discreet, orderly, hospitable, apt to teach; not quarrelsome over wine, not a striker, but gentle; not fond of money; ruling his own house well, having children in subjection with all gravity (for how could one command respect in God's house who had it not in his own?). And again, not a novice, nor one destitute of a good report without. All this is of so much the more moment as it has been slighted habitually by the greatest systems down to the least. But we cannot wonder where the office itself is turned to ecclesiastical and even worldly show. Those to be entrusted with the diaconate are briefly described in 8.13, and in this case the women or wives, who might be useful or a hindrance.
Occasion is given, not here to a doxology, but to a solemn presentation to that church in which the apostle, Timothy, elders, and deacons, and indeed all saints, each called in his special place, have to walk. “These things I write to thee, hoping to come to thee rather soon; but if I delay that thou mayest know how one ought to behave in God's house, which is a living God's assembly, pillar and support of the truth. And confessedly great is the mystery of godliness: He who was manifested in flesh, was justified in Spirit, was seen of angels, was preached among nations, was believed on in the world, was received up in glory.” Godliness depends on and is the fruit of the truth in Christ, the secret no longer hidden but revealed; which as a whole, therefore, is in ways wholly distinct from and above a Jewish Messiah reigning in visible power, but known as we Christians know Him. Compare 2 Cor. 5:16-18.
4. With this the apostle draws a dark contrast. “But the Spirit speaketh expressly that in latter times some shall fall away from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons by hypocrisy of legend-mongers branded as to their own conscience, forbidding to marry, [bidding] to abstain from meats which God created for reception with thanksgiving by those faithful and well acquainted with the truth; because every creature of God [is] good, and nothing to be rejected if received with thanksgiving, for it is sanctified through God's word and prayer” (1-5). Asceticism is no more Christian than moral laxity, though it assumes a fairer form. It is a pretentious assault on the Creator and Preserver of man by setting up a superior sanctity, which ends in turpitude against nature. Monachism is unconscious war against God. Timothy was called to be a good servant of Christ Jesus by laying the contrary good teaching of benign and faithful providence before the brethren, and avoiding what he calls profane and old wives' fables. For piety or godliness is profitable for everything, having promise of the present life as well as that which is to come; our God is Preserver of all men, especially of the faithful. He must not be deterred by such as objected to his youth, but meet the reproach by an example in word, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Reading, exhortation, and instruction are enjoined till he came. The gift that was conferred on him he was not to neglect, but to be diligent in these things, and wholly in them, that his progress might be manifest to all. A divided heart ruins the service of Christ. Self-vigilance, too, is imperative, to save both himself and others.
5. Here we have the proprieties of that work, which cannot be slighted without danger and harm. An elder he was not to rebuke but exhort as a father, younger ones as brethren, elder women as mothers, and younger ones as sisters, with all purity (1, 2). Widows were to have special and careful consideration (4-10), and younger ones to be shunned, in which case suited directions are laid down (11-16). Elders or bishops were to rule, and those who ruled well to be counted worthy of double honor especially those laboring in word and teaching: a scripture important to bear in mind: as it is also to receive no accusation against one, save with two or three witnesses. Those that sin should be convicted before all, that all the rest too should fear. He adjures Timothy solemnly to observe these duties without prejudice and without favor, cautious against haste in sanctioning others, lest it might compromise him; he even deigns to counsel liberty where his scruples might injure health, before he closes the warning he had begun, lest he should unwarily be a partaker of other men's sins.
6. Christian slaves are not forgotten, as to whom grave and gracious counsels are given, in the face of different teaching, which is exposed sternly, though the last clause of verse 5 is a spurious accretion. Godliness or piety with contentment, the reverse of making it a means of gain, is great gain. For as we brought nothing into the world, neither can we carry anything out. Having food and covering, we will be, or let us be, content therewith. How true that those who will be rich fall into temptation, and a snare and many foolish and hurtful lusts, such as drown men in destruction and perdition! For the love of money is a (not exactly “the”) root of every evil, after which some too eager wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows. Timothy is then urged, as God's man, to flee these things and to pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, meekness, to combat the good combat of faith, to lay hold on eternal life, according to the good confession he confessed. Then follows a deep and lofty injunction which crowns this Epistle, and urges his keeping it spotless and irreproachable till the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which in its own seasons the blessed and only Potentate shall show, the King of those that reign and the Lord of those that rule, Who only hath immortality, dwelling in light unapproachable; Whom none of men hath seen or can see, to whom be honor and might everlasting. Amen.
Thereon Timothy is told to charge the rich to rest, not in uncertain wealth, but on the living God; to be rich in good works, laying up for themselves a good foundation for the future, that they may lay hold of what is really life. Timothy, in fine, is to keep the entrusted deposit, avoiding profane vain babblings and oppositions of falsely named knowledge. How trenchantly the apostle speaks before he wishes him grace!

The Inspiration of the Scriptures: 2 Timothy

Chap. V. Divine Design 42B. the Second Epistle to Timothy
The second Epistle to Timothy assumes a deeper character because of the grave disorder of a general kind which was before the eyes of the Holy Spirit. The regular means would not meet that which already and most seriously disclosed departure from God. Hence in the address it is no longer “according to command,” &c., but “by God's will according to promise of the life that is in Christ Jesus,” anticipating in measure that on which the apostle John falls back for the last time. Individual fidelity is the more required, yet in no way giving up but maintaining the divine association of saints.
1. The value of unfeigned faith rises before the apostle's heart in this last word of his to his beloved child, to whom he again wishes grace, mercy, peace. He thanks God whom he serves from his forefathers in a pure conscience, with increasing remembrance of Timothy and his tears, and longing to see him that he might be filled with joy. He speaks even more decidedly of the faith which dwelt first in Timothy's grandmother and in his mother, as in his child also. He puts him in mind to stir up the gift of God in him through the imposition of the apostle's hands, and bids him not be ashamed of the Lord's testimony, nor of Paul His prisoner, but suffer evil with the gospel according to God's power. He it was who saved us with a holy calling not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace that was given us in Christ Jesus, before everlasting ages, but now manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, annulling death as He did and bringing to light life and incorruption through the gospel, unto which Paul was appointed herald and apostle and teacher of Gentiles. For this cause he was suffering thus, but not ashamed; “for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that he is able to guard for that day my deposit.” Hence he says, “Have an outline of healthful words which thou heardest from me in faith and love that is in Christ Jesus; the good deposit guard through the Holy Spirit that indwells in us.” Scripture alone is reliable, as afterward expressly said, not human tradition, of all things the most uncertain. Timothy knew the cowardice of many—that all those in Asia, specifying two, had deserted Paul. How different Onesiphorus, for whom and whose house he asks mercy, because he often refreshed him, and when in Rome the more diligently sought him out when a prisoner, besides his loving service in Ephesus.
2. Faithful as Timothy had been, the apostle is most earnest, “Thou therefore, my child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things thou heardest from me among many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, such as shall be able to teach others also. Thou therefore take thy share of suffering evil as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one on service entangleth himself with the businesses of life, that he may please him that enlisted [him]. But if one also contend [in the games], he is not crowned unless he have contended lawfully. The laboring husbandman must first partake of the fruits.” These maxims need only to be correctly represented to carry their weighty sense. It was no rite, but truth which had to be communicated, yet suitably an earnest devotedness is pressed, and subjection to the Lord's will and, as the laborer, first to share the fruits. “Remember,” says he, “Jesus Christ risen from the dead, of David's seed, according to my gospel, wherein I suffer evil unto bonds as a malefactor; but the word of God is not bound.” Royal rights gave Him no exemption. On the contrary, death was His portion, and what a death! Him Paul followed and imitated as far as this could be, as he urges on all in verses 11-13, and on Timothy to put them in remembrance of these things, instead of wordy fights worse than profitless. His earnest zeal cut straightly the word of truth, warned by two others whom he names as samples who had strayed in asserting the resurrection as past, overthrowing faith under so spurious an exaggeration.
This gives occasion to an instruction of great and general value. “Nevertheless the firm foundation of God standeth, having this seal, the Lord knoweth those that are His; and, Let everyone that nameth the Lord's name depart from unrighteousness.” From individual comfort and responsibility he goes on to corporate condition and duty. “Now in a great house are vessels, not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor. If one therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel to honor, sanctified, serviceable for the master, prepared unto every good work. But flee youthful lusts, and follow after righteousness, faith, love, peace, with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” If the Lord's secret is with Himself, responsibility is mine if I call on His name; I am bound to have done with iniquity. No presumed usefulness, can justify my persevering in wrong. But does not God's house abound in anomalies? Am I to leave it? No, I dare not cease from the public profession of the Lord's name with all the baptized; but I am here to purge myself from the vessels to dishonor in that house, and instead of isolation to follow every Christian duty with those that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. It may cost much but it is plain and obligatory in all times and places. And while moral care is ever incumbent, He claims my soul also, with a peaceful and gentle bearing, “in meekness instructing those that oppose if haply God may give them repentance unto acknowledgment of truth, that they may wake up out of the snare of the devil, taken as they are by him, for His will.”
3. Next comes a solemn warning of the outlook in Christendom, for many would expect progressive good on earth. “But this know that in the last days difficult (or, grievous) times shall be there. For men shall be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, haughty, blasphemous, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, implacable, uncontrolled, fierce, haters of good, traitors, headstrong, puffed up, pleasure-lovers rather than God-lovers, having a form of piety [or godliness] but deniers of its power; and these turn away from.” One might have shrunk from a course so peremptory, had the apostolic charge been less plain. It was direct to Timothy, but for every Christian also. The evil was at work even then, and the apostle severely characterizes not only the corrupt misleaders, like Jannes and Jambres, but the misled as silly women laden with sins, led by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to right knowledge of truth.
As the false or senseless teachers have their limit set, Timothy is told how he had closely followed Paul's teaching, course, purpose, faith, long-suffering, love, patience, persecution, sufferings. Such is the ministry of Christ the Lord, with persecution endured, and the Lord delivering out of all! What is more, the apostle assures that all who desire to live piously in Christ Jesus shall be persecuted, but wicked men and impostors shall advance for the worse, deceiving and being deceived. How sad, yet how true! What is the resource or safeguard for Timothy and for all saints? “Abide thou in those things which thou didst learn and wast persuaded of, knowing of whom thou didst learn them [they were no mere traditions of unknown source]; and that from a babe thou knowest the sacred letters [those of the Old Testament] that are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith that is in Christ Jesus. Every scripture [of New Testament or of Old] is God-inspired, and profitable for teaching, for conviction, for correction, for instruction that is in righteousness; that the man of God may be complete, furnished thoroughly unto every good work.”
4. Not less solemn is the apostle's direct charge. “I testify earnestly before God and Christ Jesus that is about to judge living and dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word, be instant in season, out of season; convict, rebuke, encourage with all long-suffering and doctrine. For the time will be when they will not endure sound teaching, but according to their own lusts they will heap up to themselves teachers, having an itching ear, and will be turned aside unto fables. But be thou sober in all things, suffer evil, do evangelist's work, fully perform thy ministry.” Be it observed that Christ's appearing, not His coming as such, is immediately connected with His Kingdom. He comes to receive His own to Himself and for the Father's house; He appears to establish His kingdom, and all shall see Him, and then in the same heavenly glory. “For I am already being poured out, and the time of my departure is all but come. The good combat I have combated, the course I have finished, the faith I have kept: henceforth is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me in that day; and not to me only, but also to those that love [have loved and do] His appearing.” Here again, as His coming is the expression of sovereign grace, His appearing is the display of His righteous remembrance of faithfulness, and, of course, of the want of it.
Then the apostle bids Timothy be diligent to come unto him quickly; he valued his loving presence, and knew that Timothy reciprocated it. He speaks of Demas with grief. Whatever he might be as known to God, he deserted the apostle through love of the present age. Crescens and Titus had their work, and only Luke was with the apostle. He wished Timothy to take up on his way and bring Mark with him. There indeed he had joy, if sorrow over Demas. For Mark, says he, is useful to me for ministry. He had no longer Tychicus whom he sent to Ephesus. How interesting in these ministerial matters, to have the apostle—while writing an inspired pastoral epistle—telling Timothy to bring the cloak which he left behind in the Troad with Carpus, and the books, especially the parchments! Hence we learn of the Christian liberty the apostle exercised as to these outward things of body and mind. He preferred to have a cloak brought than to buy another, and he asked for his books there, which had their interest or use for him, though looking for death he knew not how soon. He would not so speak of the scriptures. If he put special stress on “the parchments,” or unwritten material of a costly and durable nature, was it to have his Epistles correctly copied and multiplied?
Next, he alludes to the hostility of Alexander, the coppersmith, not in a prayer, but in the grave conviction that the Lord would render to him according to his works; for he showed much evil against the apostle, who warns Timothy also to beware of him. He pathetically names how all deserted him on this repeated inprisonment when his first defense came on; but the Lord stood by him, turned it for all the Gentiles to hear, and delivered him from most imminent danger, as He surely would from every evil work, and preserve him for His heavenly kingdom. He wishes salutations to his old friends Prisca and Aquila, and to Onesiphorus' house. He tells of Erastus at Corinth, and Trophimus left sick at Miletum; for a sign of healing (as the rule) did not apply to a Christian, who came under the Lord's government. He gives the greeting of Eubulus, Pudens, Linus, Claudia, and all the brethren; he prays that the Lord should be with the spirit of Timothy, and grace be with him and others there.

Scripture Query and Answer: Genesis 19:8, 12, 14

Q. & A.-Gen. 19:8, 12, 14. An American friend writes wondering at the oversight in Lectures on the Pentateuch (76) where Lot's daughters are spoken of as brought out without “their unbelieving husbands.” It is clearly new to him that there is any question possible. But it is a fact that very competent persons agree with the Vulgate that the two daughters were only espoused and still under the father's roof, not yet taken to their future homes. Hence the Hebrew well bears the marginal reading of the Revisers, “were to marry” in ver. 14; for it is literally “the takers of.” The A.V. agrees with the Sept. If these be right, it would of course imply other married daughters who perished in the judgment that befell Sodom. Bp. Christ. Wordsworth accepts the Latin version unhesitatingly. But enough is said to show the question.


TITUS & PHILEMON expounded by W.K. Cloth, 2/-THE REVELATION


LONDON—T. WESTON, Publisher, 53, Paternoster Row.
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Jacob: 3. The Marriages of Jacob

IT is well to bear in mind that Jacob, however vigorous, was no longer a young man, being seventy-seven when he arrived in Haran. There he must bow to the divine discipline which had already forced him to leave his father's house, and the late unhappy influence of his mother. So it is with each of God's children. Grace is sovereign in calling even the most untoward; but they pass under a moral government which takes notice of every fault, that they may become partakers of His holiness. Compare John 15 and 1 Peter 1:15, 16.
“And Laban said to Jacob, Because thou [art] my brother, shouldest thou therefore serve me for nothing? Tell me, what [shall be] thy wages? And Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder [was] Leah (Weariness), and the name of the younger [was] Rachel (Ewe). And the eyes of Leah [were] tender; but Rachel was beautiful of form and beautiful of countenance. And Jacob loved Rachel, and said, I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy youngest daughter. And Laban said, Better [that] I give her to thee than [that] I should give her to another man: abide with me. And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they were in his eyes a few days, for his love to her. And Jacob said to Laban, Give [me] my wife for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in to her. And Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast. And it came to pass in the evening that he took Leah his daughter, and brought her to him; and he went in to her. And Laban gave to her Zilpah his maid-servant [for] maid-servant to Leah his daughter. And it came to pass in the morning that, behold, it was Leah. And he said to Laban, What [is] this thou hast done to me? Have I not served with thee for Rachel? Why then hast thou deceived me? And Laban said, It is not so done in our place, to give the younger before the first-born. Fulfill the week of this one; and we will give thee the other also for the service that thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years. And Jacob did so, and fulfilled the week; and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife. And Laban gave to Rachel his daughter Bilhah his maid-servant for her maid-servant. And he went in to Rachel also, and he loved Rachel more than Leah, and served with him yet seven other years” (vers. 15-30).
It is no small contrast to remember Isaac the heir, the son abiding in his father's house, and the honored servant Eliezer sent to represent him and his father with suited equipage and Costly gifts for the bride. Here the outcast wanderer has nothing to recommend him but his relationship and his service. Nor was Laban slow to discern the value of so capable a man for interests dearer to him than all other considerations. So the bargain was soon struck, and the warm offer of Jacob instantly accepted. But when the full time of service for his bride arrived, the crafty uncle, under all his show of the wedding-feast to Jacob's honor, felt no scruple in the cruel deceit of substituting Leah for Rachel, the object of his heart from the first.
Then followed the humiliating temptation of this younger daughter offered on like conditions of long service, which to Jacob seemed but a few days, for his love to her. But we must not measure this case any more than others in Old Testament times by the light which the Savior cast on marriage as on everything else. Yet it is refreshing to notice what He could draw from what was instituted at the beginning, before sin entered to throw into confusion the ways of God, by those manifold lusts of the flesh which war against the soul.
Here it was Jehovah dealing with Jacob that he might judge himself, and learn in his own experience the hatefulness of yielding to deceit, even if it were to gain the birth-right or the blessing over a profane brother, who cared only for himself and never had God as a living object before his soul.

Priesthood: 29. Leprosy in the House and Its Cleansing

Lev. 14:33-53.
What we have seen is leprosy in the man and his raiment, and the cleansing of the leper. There is this further case, rightly reserved for the end, leprosy in the house. The preceding regarded the person, and his immediately surrounding circumstances. Here we have to look at the assembly typified, not of course in its full heavenly aspect in union with Christ, but in that which is formed on earth by the Spirit's indwelling. It therefore fittingly pointed to the land, not to the wilderness. Neither relation could be before Pentecost.
“33 And Jehovah spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, 34 When ye come into the land of Canaan, which I give to you for a possession, and I put a leprous plague in a house of the land of your possession, 35 then he whose house it is shall come and tell the priest, saying, It seemeth to me like a plague in the house; 36 and the priest shall command that they empty the house before the priest go to see the plague, that all that [is] in the house be not made unclean; and afterward the priest shall go in to see the house. 37 And he shall look on the plague, and, behold, the plague [is] in the walls of the house, greenish or reddish hollows, and their look [is] deeper than the wall, 38 then the priest shall go out of the house to the entrance of the house, and shut up the house seven days. 39 And the priest shall come again the seventh day, and he shall look, and, behold, the plague hath spread in the walls of the house, 40 then the priest shall command that they take away the stones in which the plague [is], and they shall cast them out of the city in an unclean place. 41And he shall cause the house to be scraped within round about, and they shall pour out the dust that they scraped off, out of the city in an unclean place. 42 And they shall take other stones, and put [them] in the place of those stones: and they shall take other mortar, and shall plaster the house. 43 And if the plague come again and break out in the house, after he hath taken away the stones and after he hath scraped the house and after it is plastered, 44 then the priest shall come, and shall look, and, behold, the plague hath spread in the house, it [is] a corroding leprosy in the house; it [is] unclean. 45 And they shall break down the house, the stones of it, the timber of it and the mortar of the house, and shall carry [them] forth out of the city to an unclean place. 46 And he that goeth into the house as long as it is shut up shall be unclean until the even. 47 And he that sleepeth in the house shall wash his raiment, and he that eateth in the house shall wash his raiment. 48 But if the priest shall come in and look and, behold, the plague hath not spread in the house, after the house hath been plastered, the priest shall pronounce the house clean; for the plague is healed.
49 And he shall take to purge the house the two birds and cedarwood and scarlet and hyssop; 50 and he shall kill one bird in an earthen vessel over living water; 51 and he shall take the cedar-wood and the hyssop and the living bird, and dip them in the blood of the bird that was killed, and in the living water, and shall sprinkle the house seven times; 52 and he shall purge the house from the defilement with the blood of the bird, and with the living water, and with the living bird, and with the cedar-wood and with the hyssop and with the scarlet; 53 and he shall let go the living bird out of the city into the open field; and he shall atone for the house, and it is clean” (vers. 33-53).
Literally, as the Israelites dwelt in tents, and had no proper houses till they entered the land of promise, it is clear that the provisions here laid down could not apply while they were in the wilderness. But the typical force does apply to Christians while here below, because there is in Christ association with heaven also before going there themselves. It was not so while Christ was with His disciples, who were living stones indeed but not yet builded together. “Upon this rock,” said He, “I will build my church.” But men build too since His ascension; and hence there is room for what defiles and corrupts, as well as for what is precious and holy. There is collective evil as well as individual; and consequently God insists on purity in that way no less than this. The allowance of evil is the plague spot for the assembly. Holiness becometh, not the believer only, but “thy house, O Jehovah, for evermore.” Any evil may enter from time to time, none too flagrant or deadly; but if judged according to God and put out, the saints prove themselves pure in the matter.
It is altogether different when known evil abides in the midst. Then it is the leprous plague in the house. But even then it is “the priest” who is looked to in order to pronounce. He is over the house of God. Man is apt to be hasty and unreliable, whether lax or severe. Christ never fails, and makes His judgment felt by the spiritual, and knows how to warn in the Spirit all concerned. If the defilement be removed by the adequate means prescribed in His word, it is well: the house is again recognizable, though the atoning work of Christ is just as needful for it as for the sinner. But if the evil remains despite the scriptural measures to extirpate it, there is nothing for the faithful but its demolition. They must at all costs and in the most absolute way abandon what is incurably unclean. There is most solemn responsibility here in the Lord's name. Compromise is fatal.
Is it not striking and instructive to see how completely the truth of the leprous house is ignored by all who fail to recognize the church or assembly as taught in the New Testament? One need not quote names or books; this would be invidious indeed, where all is a blank or worse.

Day of Atonement: 14. Concluding Remarks

These then were the special offerings of the great Day of Atonement; and the difference is clearly given by the Spirit of God between the position of those who can enter the sanctuary, and that which Aaron secured for the people outside by the dismissal of the scapegoat.
After both were done, when Aaron came into the tabernacle of the congregation, he “put off the linen garments which he put on when he went into the holy place and left them there.” Then he washed his flesh with water in the (or, a) holy place, and put on his garments, that is, his ordinary attire, and came forth and offered his burnt offering, and the burnt offering of the people, thus making atonement for himself and for the people; when he also burnt on the altar the fat of the sin offering (vers. 23-25).
Now these burnt offerings were in no way a specialty of the Day of Atonement. Hence it is observable that at this point he divested himself of the garments of holiness, which the high priest did not put on except for this single occasion. It has been already adverted to as helping to explain the difficulty some find in Heb. 2:17. They have indeed involved themselves in much needless trouble; for the proper call and salutation of the High Priest was after resurrection and ascension. Then He perfected became to all that obey Him author of everlasting salvation, named or addressed by God as high priest according to the order of Melchisedec. But it is no less plain that the high priest was to expiate the sins of the people; and, as this clearly was by an atoning sacrifice, the difficulty for some is, how to conciliate a propitiation made by His blood with an office exercised in risen glory above. The answer is, that what the high priest did on the great Day of Atonement was as peculiar as of the deepest moment. Yet he was not acting in his ordinary functions as the high priest. His proper place was in the sanctuary.
It is matter of common knowledge too, that when an Israelite brought a burnt-offering or a peace-offering or a sin-offering, it was the offerer that laid his hand on the head of the victim. In every offering by fire to Jehovah, where death intervened, as the offerer identified himself with the slain victim, so the priest sprinkled the blood afterward. It is a mistake that the priest slew the victim. It was the offerer. The priest's part began when the animal was slain. It was in sprinkling the blood where his functions entered. But Christ deigned to fulfill even this and none less than He.
Now in what special light did the high priest stand on that day? Not at all as the high priest in his habitual glory; not even as an ordinary priest in the sanctuary. The high priest identified himself, first, with the sins of his own house, and subsequently with those of the children of Israel. Thus he stood that day more as a representative, taking upon himself what God directed for the putting away of sins, than according to the dignity of his ordinary duties. This may be illustrated by the distinctive dress during the characteristic acts of that day, as it is stated clearly enough in the text referred to. “Wherefore it behooved Him in all things to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God to atone for the sins of the people.” For this and more He partook of blood and flesh.
Again the apostle puts it thus in Rom. 8:3, “God, sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.” This is remarkable phraseology. Adam was not made “in the likeness of sinful flesh.” Adam was certainly made of flesh and blood as to his body, which on his fall became sinful. Our Lord Jesus, on the other hand, was certainly not a fallen man, not a partaker of sinful flesh and blood. Not only would it have ruined His person, but thus He could not have been a due offering for sin. Had there been the smallest taint of evil, He would not have been “the Holy One of God,” nor could He have offered the most holy sacrifice for sin, nor could He have borne our sins. He must have died for His own condition; He could not have suffered vicariously for others. The necessity for the expression of the Spirit is apparent. God sent forth “His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin,” &c. There exactly is the truth; and no single-eyed Christian could fail to see and believe it.

Proverbs 15:1-7

The chapter opens with the great moment of our words in a variety of ways, under the controlling sense of Jehovah's eyes, or indifference to Him.
“A soft answer turneth away fury; but a grievous word stirreth up anger.
The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright; but the mouth of fools sputtereth out folly.
In every place [are] the eyes of Jehovah, keeping watch upon the evil and the good.
The healing of the tongue [is] a tree of life; but perverseness therein [is] a breaking of the spirit.
A fool despiseth his father's correction; but he that regardeth reproof becometh prudent.
In the house of a righteous one [is] much treasure; but in the revenues of a wicked one is trouble.
The lips of the wise disperse knowledge, but not so the heart of the foolish” (vers. 1-7).
In the first case fury is presupposed. As this dishonors God and misbecomes man, a soft answer disarms it. On the contrary a grievous or mortifying word excites anger. Christ is our example, into whose lips grace was poured, and, when reviled, He reviled not again. Yet who so withering to the proud and hypocritical (Matt. 23)? Who so unsparing even of an apostle when a stumblingblock (Matt. 16:23)?
Next, wisdom is requisite for the tongue in order to use knowledge aright or make it acceptable; whereas what can be expected from the foolish but to sputter out folly? Such is the contemptuous rebuke. They should escape censure if they held their peace.
But there is a far mightier and worthier principle to guide wise or foolish, the realizing of Jehovah's eyes, which without an effort act on every place, beholding the bad and the good.
How cheering to those that are wise! How solemn for the foolish evil-doer!
Then benignity, or healing, of the tongue, is a fruitful source in a world of death. How many pitfalls does it not save from, and rough places smooth? But perversity or crookedness in the tongue is provocative of griefs and wounds without end. How truly a breaking of the spirit!
God ordered the parental relationship to regulate the family; and as a father is responsible to instruct his children, so is he a fool who ignores his responsibility and despises that instruction. To regard reproof, though painful to self-love, is to get prudence. It is not confined to a father's reproof, and where incurred, to heed it is a real gain morally.
A righteous man secures much treasure, not in himself alone, but in his house; for it brings far better than much of this world's goods. A just sense and carrying out of relationship to God and man is the righteousness here intended, and never fails of blessing, even in the midst of trials however keen. On the other hand what can the revenue of a wicked man be but trouble that disturbs and denies godly order and comfort?
Again, the lips of the wise not only exhibit and use knowledge but disperse it in a world where it is as needed as rare. What a blessing to others Far beyond the lavish giving of silver and gold, which might bring with it a curse. But the heart of the foolish, to say nothing of his lips, has nothing of the sort to bestow.”

Gospel Words: Grace in Practice

There is nothing that comes before the eyes of men which strikes them more than the meek, lowly, thankful spirit which endures a wrong. The natural man resents, and, if he can, avenges everything of the sort. You might as well tell him to feel otherwise, as to walk in the air a mile or a foot above the ground. To the disciple such grace is a principle of his new life. It is what in its perfection he has beheld in Christ, and what suits his Father who is in the heavens and looks for the reproduction of His own character in His sons. Retaliation is here reversed and uprooted.
“Ye have heard that it was said, Eye for eye, and tooth for a tooth. But I say to you, Resist not evil; but whoever shall strike thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And to him that would go to law with thee and take thy coat, leave him to take thy cloak also. And whoever will impress thee one mile, go with him two. To him that asketh thee give, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not away.
“Ye have heard that it was said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy. But I say to you, Love your enemies, and pray for those that persecute you, that ye may be sons of your Father that is in the heavens; for he maketh his sun rise on evil and good, and sendeth rain on just and unjust. For if ye should love those that love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the tax-gatherers the same? And if ye should salute your brethren only, what beyond do ye? Do not even the Gentiles the same? Ye therefore shall be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
It may be personal lawlessness, an unjust suit, or a hard law; but the disciple of Christ is taught by the Master to bow. What is a brutal insult compared with truly representing Him? Consistency with Him is far more than one's coat, and cloak to boot. Instead of begrudging the service pressed for one mile, add another to please Him who would have us walk by faith, not by sight, still less selfishly. Luke, who was led to note not the legal side but unauthorized violence only, omits the impressment, and inverts the stripping by letting the plunderer take the inner garment as well as the outer, the Lord no doubt exhorting to both. Nor did He end here, but bade the disciple give habitually to him that asked; for what had not he himself received from the divine Giver beyond all he asked? The object of countless and rich mercies, was he to turn away from one that would ask or borrow?
But the Lord goes farther in His next utterance. Whatever was said of loving one's neighbor and hating one's enemy, His word to His disciples was and is, Love your enemies, and pray for those that persecute you. So too the Epistles insist on those that bear His name. In the Gospel of Luke rightly stand the clauses, Bless those that curse you, do good to those that hate you, and pray also for those that use you despitefully. These enlarge the grace which disciples are exhorted to show to hostile men of the world; and from thence they were imported into the copies of Matthew by scribes who were prone to assimilate. The inspiring Spirit was pleased through him to urge loving our enemies, and praying for our persecutors, which last pertained to Jews pre-eminently, because of their hot and proud religious prejudice in the flesh.
Such love and piety, to be of value, must be no mere form but a living reality, that they might be sons of their Father in the heavens; for such is their place of dignity. And what a pattern He sets! For He makes His sun rise on evil and good, and sends rain on just and unjust. What rich grace in the first comparison, and what faithful goodness in the second!
Nor was the Lord content with the pointed reference to His Father and our Father, to His God and our God. He would make them ashamed, as His disciples, of not rising above the practice of Jews and Gentiles. If they loved those that loved them, did pot the odious tax-gatherers the same? If they greeted their brethren only, the scorned Gentiles did also the same. This was altogether beneath the Christian according to Christ. “Ye shall be therefore perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” A lower standard of feeling and conduct was to the Savior intolerable.
Have we such confidence by grace toward God? Assuredly we have no competency as of ourselves: but our competency is of God, according to the spirit of the new covenant, not of the old. The grace of Christ alone suffices the believer. If you reject Him, you are lost. Flee to this the only refuge, if you would be saved; flee to Jesus now, ere the House-master shuts the door, when “Lord, open to us” will be in vain. Then will He judge strictly, instead of saving as He does now in all grace; then will He say, I know not whence ye are: depart from Me, all ye workers of iniquity.

1 Peter 2:24

At this point the apostle turns from the more general reference to the Lord's sufferings for us, the peerless example of un-repining love and unswerving yet patient righteousness in a world of evil, to that which stands alone from all before and after in the expiation of our sins, here expressed in terms of extreme simplicity. In atonement Christ had no companions and no followers.
“Who himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live to righteousness; by whose stripes ye were healed (ver. 24).
Both our text and the Epistle to the Hebrews (ix. 28) make certain the strict sacrificial sense of ἀνήνεγκεν (“bore”) when connected with the object, “our sins." So joined, this is the simple and sole sense of the word. Such too is the regular, if not invariable, employment by the LXX, as any Scholar may satisfy himself. The notion of a pregnant sense “bringing up to,” and “bearing on” the tree, equivalent to the altar, is as certainly a mistake as anything can be. For to express the former, the usage is προσφέρειν or προσάγειν, as opposed to ἀναφέρειν. Thus we read in Lev. 1:2, 3, 5 (as in the corresponding cases), with the distinct term ἐπιτιθέναι which answers to the latter in 9. The same fact occurs in Lev. 2:1 compared with 2, as in 16 ἀνοισει is given, the exact term instead of its substitute. Compare also Lev. 3:1 with 5; 6, 7, 9 with 11, and 12 with 16. The Hebrew is always exact, and does not warrant the weak confusion of the LXX. in 14. The due distinction reappears in Lev. 4:1 contrasted with 10, though the high priest himself was in question; and so for the whole congregation, 14 with 19; again the ruler, 23 with 26; and one of the people, the simple ὀίσει is used in this case, and the proper ἀνοίσει in the other. In the intermediate mixture of sin and guilt, as well as the full guilt-offering, there is at least no violation of the usage, though other terms displace the latter; and so it might be shown from Genesis to Ezekiel that ἀνήνεγκε (“bore”) expresses the final sacrificial act, and not the preparatory “bringing up” which also some have sought to attach to it. This, as we have seen, has its own distinct and appropriate expression.
Our apostle and the still greater one to the Gentiles cite Isa. 53:12; which stamps these words of the Septuagint with divine authority. Heb. 9:28 has the deeper use of exhibiting in the same verse the exact distinctiveness of the two words (προσφέρειν and ἀναφέρειν), which many scholars have confounded, and incomparably more who were far from being scholars. In the Epistle to the Hebrews is no wavering, as in the Septuagint though generally correct. Both terms are used with strict accuracy, as for instance Heb. 7:27 for the closing act, and ix. 14 for what preceded it. Heb. 11:17 beautifully shows the proper word in the great trial of Abraham's faith, and with the added exactitude of the perfect and imperfect tenses, of which none perhaps but the inspiring Spirit would have thought, but which when revealed is appreciated by every Christian who understands it.
Does it surprise any reader that so plain a point should be proved so elaborately? Look at the margin of the A.V. and especially of the Revisers. And who does not know. the bitter zeal of too many in our own day to found, on the gross ignorance of that mistranslation, the dangerous misconception of Christ's work involved in Christ's bearing “our sins in His body to the tree?” To translate competently one must know a great deal more than a grammar and a dictionary; one needs to consider the varied usages of the language as modified by its application, and especially the scope and requirement of the context. Who but a tyro could write, “It is the same word that in the verse before us is rendered on, that in the following verse is rendered to, ‘Ye are returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of souls.' This, then, we apprehend, is the apostle's statement, ‘He himself bare our sins in his own body to the tree.'“ The blunder led him and many another to the utterly false doctrine, that Christ “as really, though not so obviously, bare our sins when he lay a helpless infant, in the manger in Bethlehem, as when he hung, an agonized man, on the accursed tree.”
O foolish theologians, who bewitched you? One may not expect all to read the Greek Testament with intelligent and reverent care, especially if persons doubt that “every scripture is inspired of God.” A single word of the text before us upsets bushels of essays, sermons, and expositions. The dark and perilous hypothesis would require the imperfect tense to give continuity of bearing our sins, which men have imagined and reasoned on. It is the aorist, on the contrary, which above all shuts out relative duration, continuity, repetition, or action commenced and not accomplished. Here it is a simple fact of the deepest moment for God and man, for time and eternity.
The hypothesis is incompatible, not merely with the word used by the Holy Spirit here and everywhere else, but with the broadest and most solemn facts which the most unlettered of believers, taught of God, receive with awe and adoring gratitude. What meant that supernatural darkness which in the hours of broad daylight wrapt up the cross from a certain point? What the cry of Him who had ever, in the fullest enjoyment of love, said “Father,” but now “My God, my God, why didst thou forsake me?” Had He not, when His baptism might have raised a question, received the testimony of the Father's absolute complacency in Christ as His beloved Son? How strange bearing up our sins in His body to the tree! Undoubtedly Christ did never so profoundly glorify God; but His bruising, His stripes, His being made sin and curse, were they all while He was enjoying His Father's love? His suffering for our guilt and God's face, shining at the same time! If He had been all His life bearing our sins, He must all His life have been abandoned by God who cannot look on sin with the least allowance. But no: Isa. 53:6 attests that Jehovah laid our iniquity on His Anointed when He hung on the tree: nothing more characteristic of the atonement, or more opposed to the perfectly enjoyed communion of His life.
Christ's work on the cross, then, is here before us, the answer of divine grace to man's need and danger, and the base of divine righteousness; but this last was left for another, Paul, to treat formally and fully. The practical aim was that which fell to the fervor of Peter, “that, being dead to sins, we should live to righteousness.” Both apostles delighted in these wondrous antitheses which gave glory to God and to the Lord Jesus, His Son.
The word ἀπογενόμενοι, “being dead,” is so uncommon in the N. T, that this is its only occurrence. It occurs in the best classic authors, and answers to our “deceased,” rather than the ordinary word for “dead.” This the apostle Paul used for the privilege into which the Christian is let in order to know his deliverance from sin, as distinguished from the remission of his sins. The further privilege he treats from chap. v. 12 of his Epistle to the Romans to the end of chap. 8. It is too often confounded with what goes before, though it is clearly a grave question of the Christian's state which arises generally for the soul when he knows his sins forgiven. But our apostle speaks of “having died to sins,” which is quite another thing from Paul's doctrine. It is simple and practical (having done with sins), as was his province generally. It is true that the word sometimes means “having taken no part in,” and “being absent or aloof from “; but the context of any correct writer always suffices to fix what is intended. Here it proves that death spiritually is meant, because it is that we may live to righteousness. No other sense would apply here. It never implies “being freed from,” as some have said. The apostle adds a gracious encouragement as the result already achieved by Christ and given to the believer, for which he borrows the language of Isaiah, in the same chapter but a different verse, yet as exclusively descriptive of Christ's expiatory sufferings: “by whose stripes ye were healed.” Strange paradox, but no less blessedly true! It is literally the weal or rising left by the lash which many a slave knew well. How comforting to the Christian, slave or not, who rests with assurance, not on the puerile use made of Pilate's unprincipled indignity (whatever general custom might be pleaded in excuse) to the Lord of glory, but to that which God wrought for the ungodly through the ignominious but glorious death of His Son.

Life Eternal Denied: 3

The reading on “Fellowship and the Lord's Supper” opens with the effort to draw the contrast between the coming together and the Assembly: the former in connection with our life down here; the latter having it in association with Christ (243). There is the usual fog of thought and phrase; not mystery, for this is God's revelation, but mist wrapping things up in dark ideas. “I think the supper is introductory in the assembly; the supper rallies the saints, and they come together in assembly to eat the supper: it is what is immediately before us in coming together, but as introductory to the assembly” (244). What does this mean? The Supper “is introductory in the assembly,” and yet “introductory to the assembly “, both in the same sentence, and each incompatible with the other, How can the same thing be introductory “in” and “to”? The mystification is increased by the care taken to show that “fellowship may exist even if we never come together” without the least pains to explain what sort of fellowship is meant. The enemy's aim is helped on by leaving high-sounding words in entire vagueness. Truth is not stated or even sought, save that 1 Cor. 10 is referred to for “fellowship” insisted on, without any “coming together.”
Now what true-hearted saint can fail to discern that this is the letter that kills, not the spirit that quickens? Here is what the apostle lays down in real and refreshing contrast with that vain and unprofitable idealizing. “I speak as to intelligent ones, judge ye what I say. The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not communion of the blood of the Christ? The bread which we break, is it not communion of the body of the Christ! Because we the many are one loaf, one body, for the whole of us partake of the one loaf.” In 1 Cor. 11 it is the authoritative order of the Lord's Supper where the coming together of the saints is in season and place to eat it. Here, where the object was to preserve from all taint of idolatry without and not from internal disorder, he even begins with the cup and ends with the one loaf as symbolizing the one body of Christ. Hence there was no moment here to speak of our coming together, but think of the folly of forgetting it is strictly presupposed! We have here as to cup and loaf the expression of our most intimate association with Christ, more so even than in chap. 11. It is not merely fellowship with one another, but also the communion of Christ's body and blood.
But we come next (245) to the still more solemn and most fatal error as to 1 John 1:1-4; for the effort is to confine the fellowship there to the apostles, or to omit the best. This troubled O. O. B. and no wonder.
No soul of the least intelligence doubts the special place of the apostles and prophets as inspired vehicles of Christianity; and here the beloved disciple treats of truth and privilege made known, second to none. The apostles' function is perverted to deny the selfsame fellowship to the Christian. Those heard, saw, contemplated, and handled; for this was manifested, and to many beyond them. But they had seen, and were witnessing and reporting to the saints generally, as none others could with like certainty and power, the eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to them. To what end was this testimony and report? Expressly that others, Christians, also might have communion with them. “Yea, and our communion (says John) is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ; and these things write we to you that your [or, our] joy may be filled full.”
Due honor to the chosen witnesses; all praise to the Father and the Son made known in the Incarnate Word, the eternal life that was with the Father manifested. But even the witness and the report of the apostles came that the saints everywhere should know that they share the most essential boon grace bestows, the present possession of eternal life. No otherwise can there be communion with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. This communion is enjoyed in having life eternal. The way is this, and there is none else. Satan never more audaciously assailed “the proper Christian privilege.” Others in general may have been feeble, doubtful, and dark. F.E.R. is his deadly instrument, striking at its principle.
The reason why limitation to testimony is spoken of is because thereby life eternal as ours now in the Son is wholly denied. Thus and thus only had the apostles fellowship with the Father and with the Son; and they in the power of the Spirit communicated the truth of Christ to us, that we having the same eternal life as they should enjoy the same divine fellowship. There is many an inconsistent thing said in these readings; but the most awful feature is the consistency of the error with itself and its power of perverting other things to subserve and confirm the capital error. In my judgment only an evil spirit could effect such con catenation of falsehood and impose a gloss of truth so persuasively on unwary souls.
Observe how smoke from the pit darkens the truth of God: “If anyone will take the trouble to read the first four verses of John's epistle he will see that they are an introduction, in which the apostle shows their title to address us. Then it goes on to say this then is the message which we have heard of Him and declare unto you.” Such a remark proves fundamental ignorance of this scripture; for these verses, far from being a mere assertion of apostolic title, are the foundation laid for all that follows. What proof could be more complete, that this system leaves out the revealed manifestation on which depends the gift of life eternal to the apostles, as well as to the saints for whom their testimony was written, as well as that divine fellowship which follows?
“These things write we to you that your joy may be filled full” refers not to “the message” subsequently sent, but to that manifestation of which the opening speaks, the pillar on which depends all grace builds up. It is utterly false that John begins with the lowest point. This is the spiritual blindness generated by the enemy. He begins with Him fully and intimately manifested, Who was the eternal life with the Father, but afterward a Man as truly as the witnesses, though infinitely more; and what they had seen and heard, they report to other believers also, that they too may have that fellowship which they themselves had with the Father and His Son. And this is the truth to fill with joy, which is evaded and annulled by F.E.R. and his school. For it is plain that many besides himself are caught in the net of the fowler.
Very far is “the message” in the rest of the chapter from being that grace. It follows the true beginning in 1-4; and consists of tests in varied forms of the deepest wisdom and interest, applied to false profession under the name of Christ. The pretension to life is put to the proof by God as light, in whom is no darkness at all by the three “if we say” (6, 8, 10). The first two verses of chapter 2 are an appendix completing all by the provision of grace for any so blessed, if there should be a sin. But the deadly lie betrays itself by denying fellowship in heaven, because of the wildly false hypothesis that fellowship is in a scene of contrariety. If persons born of God can so think and talk, does it not show how far such can wander from the truth?
But this too is sad consistency with the statement in page 116, “I think eternal life refers to earth, I don't think that we should talk of eternal life in heaven.” Were it one demented who blurted out such folly and falsehood, one could compassionate. But no; it is a man with his wits, energized by will to undermine the most precious privileges of Christianity under the darkening work of the great enemy. If eternal life be not now given to be our life, and its best fruit communion with the Father and His Son Jesus Christ, Christianity is unknown in its positive and proper character. But if and as it is our sure and present joy, where are F.E.R. and his echoes? That both the life eternal, and the divine fellowship thence, are our portion in God's love by faith in a scene of contrariety is most true, though denied by this dismal system; nor is there ground to doubt that they will be perfectly known and enjoyed in heaven and forever. It is distinctly affirmed in the “eternal” life, and the fellowship results unfailingly by grace.
Next (250 &c.) we find a quantity of truly small talk, as in the previous readings, unfounded and unedifying and indeed injurious: but we may skip these trifles now as before. But in 260 we arrive at words which manifest alienation from God's mind very plainly. “R.S.S. Does not the more blessed part of the meeting come properly after the breaking of the bread? F.E.R. The supper is introductory to the assembly; and that is the reason for finishing all that is formal at first. Passing round the bread and the cup and the box are so far formal; you cannot help this, but it is a great thing to be free of it, so that you may be prepared for the assembly in its proper character."!!! Surely no reverent believer will bear lightly such a profaning of that which is the very heart of true worship, as is the solemn calling of Christ to our remembrance. Can it be that the great thing which ordinarily follows is the speaking of one or more? And the same pair add yet more clearly to the same effect of irreverence and presumption. “R.S.S. Is the first part of the meeting what you do, and the last part what the Lord does? F.E.R. Yes, It is the cup we bless and the bread we break. The Lord never does that again. And then the presence of the Lord is realized; He has His place, and we are conscious of Him as Head.” “If the Supper is over it is over. If you get hymns and thanksgiving after, it is worship in connection with Christ as the Minister of the sanctuary. He leads the praises.” “We are risen with Christ and quickened with Him, and therefore are priests.”
Can words disclose more clearly men who have broken loose from God's word? This never hints at such splitting in two the gathering for the breaking of bread, that is, the Lord's Supper? Least of all, does it sanction any such slight put on the saints in sharing the bread and the wine for remembrance of Christ. There is no part, no time, so profoundly near or deep in the meeting; and the contrast of what goes before with what follows is a myth. The Lord does not come into the midst at the Supper, nor does His word justify such words as you cannot help the formality of passing round the bread and the cup and the box, and a “great thing to be free of it,” or again that “when the Supper is over” it is “worship in connection with Christ as the Minister of the sanctuary.” It is letter work and theorizing with little reality and not a little contempt for the Lord's Supper. And where does scripture connect the Christian priesthood with being risen and quickened with Christ? It is random and sensational effort or mere dogma.
So in One Spirit and one body (263), the Lord and His death are lowered to a means: “the subject leads on to the assembly.” Where is such an “idea” in scripture? In this page the error grows bolder still. “F.E.R. You cannot call Him to mind as dead, but as One who is living, Who did die.” This is to destroy the force of the Lord's repeated words, Do this for remembrance of Me; which is simply, expressly, and exclusively recalling Him to mind in His death, His body given, His blood shed. It is in no way looking up to Him as alive again for evermore and glorified. This is a present joy, not at all His remembrance: His headship or our risen state are not what should then occupy the heart. The argument about the Duke of Wellington is beside the mark. Christ's love in dying for us, for the remission of our sins, is His alone; and Him thus would He have us call to mind. His being made known to the two disciples in the breaking of bread, though it was not His supper, is not “curious” but most instructive.
Further, the contrast (268) between the Corinthian saints and the Hebrews in the Epistle is utterly contrary to scripture and facts. They were alike short of being “perfect” or full-grown Christians; and their state distressed the apostle according to both Epistles. He speaks of falling away or reprobation, and warns solemnly of such an end. Nowhere have we the body of Christ more unfolded than in 1 Cor. 12, save on the still more elevated ground taken for the Ephesians; the practical interior of the assembly on earth is given in 1 Cor. 14. The Epistle of the Hebrews richly treats the heavenly calling and gives the key to the Jewish shadows, and more; but it is silent on the great mystery as to Christ and as to the church.
Again, how incorrect to say that Matt. 18:20 has to do “with prayer, not discipline!” In fact it lays down the great governing assurance of His presence in the midst of even two or three if gathered together unto His name, including both discipline (18) and prayer (19), as well as a larger range not limited to those aims. This may seem a comparatively small mistake; but does it not expose the folly of so unfit a person assuming, or accepted, to “correct” “what is defective or erroneous?” See page 5.
One can hardly conceive a greater muddle of speculation than the theory advanced on spurious authority without a tittle of scripture for a progress from the Lord's supper to the assembly, and thence for some to the sanctuary. As throughout, it is confusion of things which differ, and here of the Epistles to the Corinthians and to the Hebrews (270-280). How loose too to say that “if a man is a believer, he is a Christian!” Cornelius is a sample of genuine piety by faith before Peter was sent with words whereby he and his house should be saved. So indeed it had been for Peter and the rest when they received the same gift from God. No doubt all such had been born of the Spirit; but sealing with the Holy Spirit of promise is essential to the new relationship. The error is owing to denying the difference of having life eternal and receiving the Spirit, an error shared with all the uninstructed in Christendom. Only in F.E.R. and his companions it is departure from all that was fully believed, and I hope is still believed by not a few who connive at this painful declension and incredulity. Faith in the gospel of salvation goes far beyond faith in Christ's person. How misleading to say “you may accept the truth of these chapters [presumably 1 Cor. 11 and 12.] and never enter into the reality of the calling, that is, of the sanctuary and the service of God In chap. 15 the apostle deposits tee truth of the gospel with the Corinthians! and in the second epistle he brings to them the new covenant and reconciliation !! So they could not as yet enter into the calling of God !!! (281).” Contrast with it what the apostle says to the Corinthians (i. 26-31). No doubt they were shallow; but this is a sadly common complaint. Is it necessary to refute falsehood so palpable? Was there ever among brethren such a bungler in print? and with pretension so unbounded, yet unrebuked?
The same dark departure appears throughout “Things Unseen” (283-304). Truth, well known comparatively, on Heb. 12:18-29, is set aside, from first to last, yet with a superficial gloss suited to deceive. Speaking of Mount Zion, he says, “I don't think there is the idea of sovereignty in grace so much as in mercy.” Why? Was it his pleasure and Satan's plan here, to oppose one in particular to whom God's children are pre-eminently indebted? to repay his own debt by the vain contradiction that characterizes much through this wretched book? He refers to Eph. 2:4-6; to Ex. 33:19 (where divine mercy occurs), and to the fact that the mass of the people in Indianapolis were not present. But how does all this support his correction of J.N.D.'s “defective or erroneous terms”? The truth is that “mercy” in no way characterizes Jehovah's choice of Zion; nor yet grace only, but royal grace in view of David, and of his greater Son and Lord. This makes it the most honored seat on earth and clothed with the principle of such grace in contrast with Sinai or law.
Next he is equally astray as to “the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem” (Heb. 12:22), which like other untaught men he will have to be the church, with of course his correction. “I think the idea presented is [not God's revelation to himself, but] according to the work of the twelve, especially according to Peter” anything to change and differ. Now there are plain and solid and unanswerable grounds to disprove the general thought, to say nothing of the futile specialty. For first, the epistle speaks fully and 'distinctly of this very city (as none can dispute) in Heb. 11:10, 16; 13:14. By a suited figure it is the designation of heavenly glory, for which the patriarchs waited. But they never awaited the church of God, Christ's body and bride, either in its present condition or in that which is to be. The mystery in all its parts was then hid in God. Secondly, the context itself refutes “the idea.” It is not the truth. “The church of the firstborns enrolled in heaven” is given as a fresh object in its due place within this group (ver. 23).
We may leave the childish talk, and turn to the object subjoined, “To an innumerable company [or myriads] of angels, [not “to"] the general assembly.” Here we have baseless speculations imported from Rev. 21:9 et seqq. which does present the bride, the Lamb's wife, symbolized as the holy city, new Jerusalem: not the heavenly glory where she is to be, but herself. The only one of these vague remarks worth a notice is the strange fancy that “God's providence may in a way appear to be against His people; but angels are not the providence of God, but agents employed for His people” (288)! Is this to “correct” the belief that they were and are so used in His providence?
Then comes the notable idea that “the church of the firstborn which are written in heaven” is “another aspect,” Paul's work here, as the former Peter's. O brethren, is it come to this, that even the least of you should be so readily and madly deceived? Can you have entertained for a moment this double of the church? Separated too by “myriads of angels,” universal gathering as they are, and wholly distinct? Once you were not so easily taken in; but now that you have so soon forgotten the sound teaching of so many departed to be with Christ, you are become the prey of folly and imposture; and silence pervades the better sort, lest the truth should lead to a universal explosion. O why do you not trust the Lord, clear His name, save your own souls from blighting errors, warn the deluded, and deal with the deceivers? If all fail to deliver others, deliver your own souls from His dishonor.
Having demonstrated the false teaching thus far, I have no wish to occupy the reader with lesser points, though it is sad to think even F.E.R. could not see an incomparably higher reference of the firstborns than to those of Israel. The truth is that it beautifully agrees with Heb. 2:12, and means the assembly of persons thus associated individually with the Firstborn, an aggregate, not a unity, in accordance with the Epistle. Nor need we discuss the curt and unsatisfactory remarks on the other objects in this group of glory, which are far from a just explanation. All is poverty-stricken as well as untrue. And you who know it, and are one lump with all, hold your peace Is there not even a watchman to blow the trumpet? How different of old what pity for mere weakness and ignorance! What hatred of presumption in divine things! What intolerance of error! Now you seem looser within your borders than the loosest you used to loathe. Beware too of hypocrisy. You still profess veneration for Mr. Darby as a great expounder of “divine teaching.” Yet none but a simpleton or a knave can fail to discern that this deplorable book undermines his witness in all that is here pointed out and in much more that it would be a wearisome and needless task to expose. Are you now, through desire to hold together at all cost, imitating those with whom we have had “no communion”? They would be ashamed of much which here and till now passes as “great blessing” among you.

The Inspiration of the Scriptures: Titus

Chap. V. Divine Design. 43. the Epistle to Titus
There does not appear to be enough of external marks to decide when the apostle wrote this Epistle to his genuine child and fellow-laborer. But internally we may gather that it was after the First Epistle and before the Second to Timothy, with which letters it has closer links of connection than with any others. For on the one hand it treats like 1 Timothy of official government; on the other it speaks like 2 Timothy of the hope of life eternal which the God that cannot lie promised before times everlasting. As in the former it is our Savior God who commands; it is not the law, but faith of His elect, a common faith.
I. “Paul, bondman of God, and apostle of Christ Jesus according to faith of God's elect and acknowledgment of truth that (is) according to godliness in hope of life eternal, which the God that cannot lie promised before times everlasting, but manifested in its own seasons, his word in a preaching wherewith I was entrusted according to our Savior God's commandment, to Titus genuine child according to a common faith: grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior” (vers. 1-4). Truth according to godliness is to be acknowledged. National or birth privileges, so prized in Israel as in the world, vanish before a revealed and believed Christ, in whom was life eternal before all ages, but now in virtue of His word preached in its own due time, as authoritatively entrusted by a God of saving love to the apostle, who writes to Titus with his usual Christian salutation. “For this cause I left thee behind in Crete that thou mightest thoroughly set right things remaining, and appoint city by city elders, as I directed thee: if one is unimpeachable, husband of one wife, having children faithful, not accused of excess or unruly. For the overseer must be unimpeachable as God's steward, not self-willed, not passionate, not a wine-sitter, not a striker, not a base-gainer: but hospitable, loving good, discreet, just, pious, temperate, holding to the faithful word according to the doctrine, that he may be able both to encourage with the healthful teaching and to rebuke the gainsayers. For there are many unruly, vain-speakers and beguilers, chiefly those of circumcision, who must have the mouth stopped, who upset whole houses, teaching what they ought not for the sake of base gain. Said one of themselves, a prophet of their own, Cretans, always liars, evil wild beasts, lazy gluttons (or, bellies). This witness is true; for which reason rebuke them severely, that they may be healthful in the faith, not heeding Jewish fables and commandments of men turning from the truth. All things (are) pure to the pure, but to those that are defiled and faithless nothing (is) pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled. God they profess to know, but in works deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and for every good work worthless” (vers. 5-16).
Thus we see that elders (not gifts) required apostolic establishment, direct or indirect; and that moral weight was sought, and a good report in themselves and their households, to cheer those who valued healthful teaching and to rebuke adversaries. For already disorder was at work largely, and evils had entered within like the world's without. Epimenides is cited as a prophet, not of God but of their own, frankly and unsparingly denouncing what Titus was to rebuke severely, helped on as it was by Jewish professors who set Jewish fables and human ordinances before them, not the truth. Thus man and his deceits cover impurity, while our souls are purified by obeying the truth unto unfeigned brotherly love. To the pure all things are pure; to the defiled and faithless is nothing pure, yea, both their mind and their conscience are defiled. Professing to know God only aggravates the case of those who deny him in their works, being loathsome in themselves, disobedient to God, and for every good work reprobate. What a picture of the Christian confession before the first generation passed away! How like that which we have to face to-day! There is yet more now and worse.
II. Titus, however, was not only to ordain elders, such as the apostle describes, and to so carry out the moral government which the Lord enjoins suitably to the need of souls; he is instructed also in his own charge to the same end. Hence his duties are laid down toward elder men and elder women, young women and young men. Bondmen have a large place: and it is after dealing with them that the apostle speaks so grandly of the saving grace of God that appeared for all men, and its all-important teaching for such as received it meanwhile and await the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. Separateness and zeal for good works become those redeemed to Himself, a people purified. He was to deal out exhortation and rebuke with all authority. “But speak thou the things that beseem the healthful teaching, that elder men may be sober, grave, discreet, healthful in faith, in love, in patience; that elder women in like manner [be] in mien beseeming sacred things, not slanderers, not enslaved to much wine, teachers of comeliness, that they may train the young women to love husband, to love children, discreet, chaste, home-workers, good, subject to their own husbands, that the word of God be not reviled. The younger men in like manner exhort to be discreet, as to all things affording thyself a pattern of comely works; in the teaching incorruption, gravity, sound word not to be condemned, that he who is opposed may be abashed, having no evil to say about us; bondmen to be subject to their own masters, to be well-pleasing in all things, not gainsaying, not purloining, but showing all good faithfulness, that they may adorn the teaching of God our Savior in all things. For the saving grace of God hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, having denied ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live discreetly, and righteously, and godlily in the present age, awaiting the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all lawlessness, and purify for himself a people for his possession zealous for comely works. These things speak and exhort, and rebuke with all command: let no one despise thee” (vers. 1-15).
Here we learn how momentous it is, that those who are the objects of God's grace in the gospel should be to its praise by a walk in every relation of this life formed, strengthened, and guided according to Christ; and how inconsistency or disorder in these respects gives occasion for the enemy to blaspheme. How touching is that grace which is developed in its rich and direct bearing immediately after the exhortation as to slaves! Beyond doubt it was for all the faithful, and for every relation among them; but how considerate our Savior God's care to tell it out at that point in the chapter! The law of God was imposed on one people; the grace of God appeared with its saving character to all men, as it teaches “us” who believe that, having denied ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live discreetly as to ourselves, righteously towards others, and godlily in the highest respect. Nor is this all; but awaiting the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. And how assuring for the heart to remind us here, that He gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from all lawlessness and purify for Himself a people for His own portion, zealous for works good and comely!
III. But there are other relations more external which are not overlooked. The self-will which breeds emulation and strife in the homes and in the assembly, is not less disorderly, evil and destructive in the world. “Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to revile no one, to be uncontentious, gentle, showing all meekness toward all men.” It was not so always in our case. Grace it is that made the difference in us that believe. “For ourselves too were once senseless, disobedient, going astray, slaves to various lusts and pleasures, spending our time in malice and envy, hateful, bating one another. But when the kindness and the philanthropy (or, love to man) of our Savior God appeared, not from works in righteousness which ourselves did, but according to his mercy he saved us through washing of regeneration and renewing of Holy Spirit, which he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior; that, justified as we were by his grace, we should become heirs according to hope of life eternal. Faithful [is] the saying and as to these things I would have thee insist that those that have believed God be mindful to maintain comely works. These things are comely and profitable to men; but foolish questions and genealogies and strifes and legal contentions shun, for they are unprofitable and vain. An heretical man after a first and a second admonition avoid, knowing that such a one is perverted and sinneth, being self-condemned” (vers. 1-11). It is sect-making, heterodox or not.
How mighty and worthy of admiration is the goodness and the special affection of our Savior God that appeared in Christ! What a constrast with man's philanthropy, which might be in Jew, Heathen, or Islamite, and either gives a little out of its abundance, or compounds for sins by a superstitious and self-righteous poverty to enrich the priesthood! The Christian was proved in himself utterly evil and ruined, when God's love wrought in saving goodness according to His mere and sovereign mercy: wherein He saved us through washing of regeneration, which totally changed our state from that of fallen Adam to the risen Christ, and renewal of Holy Spirit, not only in a sinless life given which loves holiness, but in the Spirit's power which He poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior. But thus it could not be till He wrought redemption and was glorified; and thus it was that, being justified by His grace as well as purified, we should be heirs according to hope of life eternal. “Hope” it is, for that life has not its full consummation till the body is as instinct with it at Christ's coming as the inner man is already by faith; and only thus has hope its glorious fruition. The apostle would have Titus occupied with these things, which deliver from evil and give us communion not only in the good and comely ways of divine mercy, but with God Himself. The conscience too is exercised that there might be moral conformity in good or comely works, the fruit of love, shunning the idle and barren speculations of Gnostic philosophy and legalist battles, where peace with God is unknown.
But there is another evil to be avoided, not only “heresy,” as a split from the unity of the Spirit is called (see also 1 Cor. 11:19, Gal. 5:20), but any sanction of him who is self-condemned in leaving the church of God. “When I shall send Artemas or Tychicus unto thee, be diligent to come unto me at Nicopolis, for there I have decided to winter. Zenas the lawyer and Apollos zealously forward, that nothing be lacking to them; and let ours also learn to maintain comely works for necessary wants, that they be not unfruitful. All that are with me salute thee. Salute those that love us in faith. Grace [be] with you all” (verses 12-15). Paul desired the presence of Titus, but not at the expense of the saints and the work in Crete whither he was sending his fellow-laborers, Artemas or Tychicus. But jealousy of other workmen not so connected was alien to his heart; nay, he would have all learn to maintain comely works to help on this and other fruitful ways for the necessary wants. He gives the salutation of all, and wishes it to those who dearly loved them if in faith, and that grace should be with all, which all needed.

The Inspiration of the Scriptures: Philemon

Chap. V. Divine Design. 44. the Epistle to Philemon
Here we have a letter of marked distinctiveness, placed after the pastoral Epistles though clearly written about the time when the great communications were made to the saints in Philippi, Ephesus, and Colosse. Its occasion was the return of Onesimus, a runaway slave, now a Christian brother, to his master Philemon; which calls out by the Spirit the most admirable application of grace and truth in Christ. It stands in full contrast with law, and exemplifies the gospel in its practical power and effect, turning a once worthless man's wrong into the exercise of divine affections in consonance with redemption, the holy fellowship of the faithful, and the deep and delicate proprieties withal of their social relations.
“Paul, prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timotheus the brother, to Philemon the beloved and our fellow-workman, and to the sister Apphia and to Archippus our fellow-soldier, and to the assembly at thy house. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and [the] Lord Jesus Christ” (verses 1-3). Each word and the entire scope alike express grace, not official authority. It is as Christ's prisoner Paul introduces himself, as farther on he appeals. Timothy figures simply as “the brother.” Philemon is addressed as “the beloved” according to his known character (ver. 1), and honored as a fellow-laborer in the Lord's work. And what is most unusual, his wife is associated in the address, not “the beloved” as in the A.V. and the later copies, but “the sister” as in the ancient and best MSS. That she should be addressed was most fitting in the circumstances, and the mode is no less becoming. Next is Archippus, designated as “fellow-soldier” in sharing the conflicts of the truth, and lastly the church at Philemon's, which the apostle includes in the address to fill up the communion his heart desired with the usual benediction.
From verse 4 he lays the ground for his appeal with thanksgiving. “I thank my God, always making mention of thee at my prayers, hearing of thy love and the faith which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus and unto all the saints, so that thy fellowship in the faith may become effective in acknowledgment of every good work that is in us Christward. For I had [the true reading] much joy and encouragement over thy love, because the bowels of the saints have been refreshed through thee, brother.” He puts forward Philemon's love, but in no way omits to add his faith, so that his sharing in the faith might work every good, “not in you,” which though true is commonplace and feeble, but “in us” according to the best authorities, that is, in other Christians from Paul to Onesimus as regards Christ, owning his joy and cheer in what Philemon had been shown to be in refreshing the affections of the saints.
Then in the body of his letter (8-20) he tenderly presses his suit. “Wherefore, having much boldness in Christ to enjoin on thee what is fitting, for love's sake I rather exhort, being such a one as Paul, aged and now too prisoner of Jesus Christ, I exhort thee for my child whom I begot in my bonds, Onesimus, that was once of no use to thee, but now of use to thee and to me, whom I send back to thee in person, that is, mine own bowels; whom I would have kept with me, that for thee he might minister to me in the bonds of the gospel. But apart from thy mind I wished to do nothing, that thy good might not be as of necessity but of willingness. For perhaps for this reason he parted for a time, that thou mightest have him back forever, no longer as a bondman, but above a bondman, a brother beloved, specially by me, but how much more by thee, both in flesh and in the Lord. If then thou holdest me as partner, receive him as me; but if aught he wronged thee or oweth, put this to mine account. I Paul write with mine own hand, I will repay: that I say not that thou owest me besides even thyself. Yea, brother, I would have profit of thee in the Lord: refresh my bowels in Christ. Being confident of thine obedience I write to thee, knowing that thou wilt do even more than I say.”
“But withal prepare me also a lodging, for I hope that through your prayers I shall be granted to you Epaphras, my fellow-prisoner in Christ Jesus, saluteth thee; Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, Luke, my fellow-workmen. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ [be] with your spirit.”
The apostle in no way denies or forgets his position, but he prefers to exhort for love's sake, on one side as Paul the aged and now also prisoner of Christ, on the other for his child begotten in his bonds, Onesimus. Grant that he was once a useless slave to Philemon, was he not now of good use to both Philemon and Paul, and sent back to his master himself, as it were Paul's very heart, though he would have kept him with himself to do him service on Philemon's behalf in the bonds of the gospel? Only apart from Philemon's mind he would do nothing, that his good might be of free will, not of constraint. And how beautiful the turn that grace gives! “Perhaps for this reason he was parted for a time, that thou mightest have him back forever, no longer as a bondman, but above a bondman, a brother beloved, specially by me, but how much more by thee, both in flesh and in the Lord.” So simply is it urged in all its power that one can but repeat rather than explain. Then follows the point of fellowship. “If then thou holdest me a partner, receive him as me; but if aught he wronged thee or oweth, put this to mine account. I Paul write with mine own hand, I will repay: that I say not to thee, that thou owest me besides even thyself.” For it would seem that Philemon too was indebted to the apostle for receiving the truth.
“Yea, brother, I would have profit of thee in the Lord,” he says, referring to the name of Onesimus, “refresh my bowels in Christ.” Would he refuse to Paul what he had done hitherto to the saints in general, as in verse 7, “Being confident of thine obedience I write to thee, knowing that thou wilt do even more than I say”? Who can doubt that Philemon would receive Onesimus lovingly and set him free to the joy of all? But it is on no ground of human rights, or natural benevolence, but showing him “the kindness of God,” the grace of Christ, the fellowship of the faith. It is the counterpart of the riband of blue on the fringe of the garment, the heavenly ornament in our character on earth, grace governing in our relationships here below, as it reigns in God's dealings with us for eternity.

Scripture Query and Answer: Genesis 12:1

Q.-Gen. 12:1. The A.V. renders this, “Now the LORD had said to Abram,” &c.; the R.V. has “Now the LORD said,” &c. The difference involved is great. Which is correct? A DISCIPLE.
A.-No doubt if we merely look at the Hebrew, there is room for discussion, for its tenses were modified by the context; and in fact versions ancient and modern differ. But happily for all who are humble enough to value a divinely furnished aid, we have Stephen in Acts 7:2, 3 making it certain that the appearing of Jehovah, when the call was given in the words cited, was not in Haran but in Mesopotamia. Here the call came, which was only partially verified in Abram while Terah lived; for the latter was quite content to dwell in Haran. But after his death the power of Jehovah's call revived in Abram's heart. “So Abram departed as the LORD had spoken unto him.” “And they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.” The spiritual mind will feel that the difference between the A.V. and the R.V. is that between truth and error; and that the error is due to confidence in the bare view of the letter, which slights not only what the context implies but the invaluable help of the inspired N.T. interpretation. But this is decisive for believers, while it furnishes fresh fuel for skeptical criticism.

Jacob: 4. Leah and Her Four Sons

The righteous government of Jehovah is clearly seen here also. Jacob was grossly wronged by Laban in what must deeply touch a man's heart, and Leah was beyond doubt a consenting party to the cheating breach of the marriage compact as to Rachel. She might and ought to have told Jacob the unworthy trick her father was playing by her means. But God would have His servant Jacob learn more deeply in his own wounded affections the vileness of self-seeking deceit; and hence He permitted what He would use for chastening and good in the end.
“And when Jehovah saw that Leah [was] hated, he opened her womb; but Rachel [was] barren. And Leah conceived, and bore a son, and called his name Reuben (See! a son); for she said, Because Jehovah hath looked upon my affliction; for now my husband will love me. And she again conceived, and bore a son, and said, Because Jehovah hath heard that I [am] hated, he hath therefore given me this one also; and she called his name Simeon (Hearing). And she again conceived, and bore a son, and said, Now this time will my husband be united to me, for I have borne him three sons; therefore was his name called Levi (United). And she again conceived, and bore a son, and said, This time will I praise Jehovah; therefore she called his name Judah (Praise). And she ceased from bearing” (vers. 31-35).
It will be observed that it is not Elohim here, but Jehovah, God in special relationship and moral dealing. He looked on the sorrowful and despised wife, and gave not to Rachel but to Leah, the comparatively “hated,” the consolation of a son. Rachel happy in her husband's love was left barren! We can notice how the firstborn loomed in the mother's eyes, and how much she counted on the call to Jacob's heart. But Jacob was slow to forget the wrong done him about Rachel, or to feel his own wrong to Leah. Nor was it only that Jehovah looked tenderly on her aggrieved spirit, but she acknowledged Jehovah's compassion in the matter. Jehovah, said she, hath looked upon my affliction; for now my husband will love me. This seems premature: we hear as yet not a sound of it on his part.
Again however she has a son, and says, Because Jehovah hath heard that I am hated, He hath therefore given me this one also. The even stronger expression of her husband's alienation does not weaken but renew her sense of the favor Jehovah was showing her; and as with Reuben, so now the naming of her second son bespeaks it: Jehovah heard as well as saw. We do not learn of any relaxation on the offended man's part: he had his Rachel. And again she bore him a third son, and said, Now this time will my husband be united to me; for I have borne him three sons. Therefore was his name called Levi. It is not as before that she called it. All seems more vague and in a lower key here; and Jehovah is not named. But He never fails; and again she bore a son, and said, Now this time will I praise Jehovah; therefore she called his name Judah. Never do we hear of her soul rising so high; the sorrow-stricken woman breaks forth into praise of Jehovah; and her fourth son bears it in the name she gave him that day. Yes, of Judah came according to flesh the Christ, Who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.
There can hardly be a plainer warning of the danger to which even pious men are exposed in treating of types than that of the excellent Dr. J. Lightfoot with his vast Rabbinical learning. His knowledge of divine truth was too slender to warrant it. Like others in that day and in almost every other, he was superficial in gospel truth, ignored the Spirit's presence and the church's union with Christ on high, and His coming again to consummate God's counsels for heaven, earth, and all creation, being also utterly wrong as to the restoration of Israel in that consummation. Hence he held that “Leah and Rachel are figures of the two churches; the church of the Jews under the law, and the church of the Gentiles under the gospel: the younger the more beautiful, and more in the thoughts of Christ, when he came in the form of a servant; but the other, like Leah, first embraced and taken to wife."
A deeper acquaintance with scripture would have avoided such mistakes. For Rachel represents Israel, Messiah's first object of love on earth. But this fails by no fault on His part. And He has Leah, who thus, represents the intervening call of the Gentiles during Jacob's servant state and mighty sorrows, when “more are the children of the desolate than of the married wife, saith Jehovah” (Isa. 54:4, cf. Gal. 4). In due time the barren one bears Joseph who typifies Christ rejected and exalted, but making Himself known to His brethren at last; and also Benjamin, the only one born in the land, son of his mother's sorrow but of his father's right-hand, bringing millennial power before us, as Joseph does its blessing.

Priesthood: 30. Leprosy Summed Up

The subject concludes with a general summary. “This [is] the law for every sore of leprosy, and for the scall; and for leprosy of raiment, and for houses; and for a rising and for a scab, and for a bright spot, to teach in the day of uncleanness, and in the day of cleanness; this [is] the law of leprosy” (vers. 54-57).
God is intimating to us thereby how sin permeates the person, the immediate environment, and the collective or corporate responsibility. It is not only destructive but defiling, so that no earthly cleanness can avail: only Himself according to His word, and through Christ's holy sacrifice. We who believe are bound to spare it not in any degree or in any respect. There is a divine provision of grace to which He calls us to conform. Our own opinion or that of other men is nothing. Having a great High Priest, passed as He hath through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, we are therefore to hold fast our confession. For we have not a high-priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but one that hath been in all points tempted likewise, sin excepted. Let us therefore approach with boldness unto the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy, and find grace for seasonable help. But more too, where sin has wrought its evil way, and not infirmities only, there is not only a Savior of the lost; the believer has, we have, an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
Hence it is unwise as well as unholy and unbelieving to shrink from the humbling truth. For God commends His love to us, in that when we were still sinners Christ died for us. If upright by grace, let us not deceive ourselves, but submit to the light of God in which the true character of all things is exposed: for that which makes everything manifest is light.
But we must not be hasty, nor trust our own thoughts. We have to do with the most accessible of priests. Neither Aaron nor any other was comparable to our Lord Jesus. If willing to judge ourselves thoroughly according to His word, we are all wrong to despair or exaggerate. If there be a common danger of self-love and shirking full self-judgment, there may be an occasional tendency to exaggeration which is not the truth. We need Christ to secure it; and so grace has given Him. And it is ours, whether about ourselves or about others, to confide in the unerring judgment which He knows how to make us feel. For He is not dead but alive again forever more, and ever lives to intercede for us in our weakness. It may not be any sore of leprosy, but the scall. We may err too as to raiment or the house. It may not be more than a rising in the flesh that alarms us, or a scab, or a bright spot; for to judge according to the reality we are not competent without Christ. And if we trusted to our judgment, it might soon prove not only hasty but unrighteous. He works in us by His word and Spirit; so that we can, if dependent on the Lord, look for His grace in the day of uncleanness and in the day of cleanness. The two conditions are found now in the evil day. We still wait for the good day of His manifested presence and power for the world to come, the habitable earth; when at least the dweller in the land shall not say, I am sick: the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity. Righteousness shall then reign.

The Day of Atonement: 15. Concluding Remarks

So as sacrifice for sin He was sent, but therefore simply in the likeness, not in the reality, of flesh of sin; though as really man born of woman as He was God. It was in that likeness, because He was born of a woman who, though a virgin of David's house, not less than any other human being had flesh of sin. How then was the difficulty to be solved? By divine grace and power, through His conception by the Holy Spirit, our blessed Lord was, though as truly a man as any other, the sharer neither of human taint, nor, if one may so call it, of that attainder which had fallen on the race through sin. This was effected, as Luke 1 lets us know, by the power of the Highest overshadowing the virgin Mary; wherefore her Son was called the Son of God. Indeed it was absolutely essential. He must derive His flesh and blood really from His mother; but, by that miraculous power which wholly exempted His humanity from all spot or motion of evil, He in the truth of our nature was made like unto us in all things, sin only excepted from which He was clearly void both in His flesh and in His spirit. From that moment when the virgin was declared to be about to conceive and in due time become the mother of our Lord, a total immunity from sin was secured for Him: “A body didst Thou prepare for Me” (Heb. 10). Otherwise the sin-offering could not have been worthy of God, or efficacious for man. “It is most holy,” was the voice even of the law respecting it: how much more was this true of Christ? Still He was in the likeness of flesh of sin, because His mother was certainly of sinful race like others, unless you prefer tradition or superstition to God's word.
Thus is seen how impious is the heterodoxy introduced of late, the so-called immaculate nature of the virgin. Rome predicates of her what is only true of Him, the natural result of the idolatry of the mother so much more prominent and popular, in fact, than worship even of the Father and of the Son, from Whom they stand at a distance and in dread. It is the Bona Dea of heathenism in a christened shape, which exactly suits those who know not God, if not those also who obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. To the simple Christian the enemy there betrays his hand. But the Lord Jesus did take blood and flesh, as it behooved Him, when He became a man, in all things made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation (or atonement) for the sins of the people. Clearly this was by His death. What other way could be than by the shedding of His blood? Consequently to suppose that a fresh and subsequent work was in heaven, after death and before resurrection, is to depart from God's word, and expose yourself to danger as well as delusion. Whatever be the ordinary place of the high-priest, it is not so when expiation is made in the raiment of linen. According to its force, it very suitably described our Lord as the Holy Offerer and offering for sin.
Very differently is our Lord viewed when in heaven He was crowned with glory and honor. Aaron exceptionally wore the holy garments of linen in the most holy place. The reason is that propitiation had to be effected on the only day when he could enter the holiest of all; and when he did so enter, he wore the unusual garb that indicated his undertaking the work of atonement, whether for his own family or for the children of Israel generally. Is not the difficulty some find in the verse happily anticipated by the type? Beware of the one-sidedness that will not hear of our Lord as High Priest in any sense or exceptional purpose, until He went on high for His proper function before God. You must however allow this latitude, unless indeed you deny propitiation on the cross.
Whilst the N. T. is clear that propitiation was by the High-Priest, it excludes all supposition that it was only to be accomplished by our Lord's going to heaven, The work was done and finished, when He was “lifted up.” This may not have been strictly on the earth, but it was before He went to heaven. It was when He was crucified, when man poured on Him the deepest scorn and hatred. Then did God give Him to accomplish that work whereby, from all eternity, His grace had designed to save the guiltiest, making it the ground of His righteousness. Without this sacrifice God must have simply destroyed, or in saving forfeited, His character and word. By the cross of Christ He can love, as He has judged, to the uttermost, and thus maintained all—yea, won a fresh and everlasting glory. For what else could God do for sinners? Or how preserve His rights intact, if He without the cross of Christ simply, forgave sins?
If God had acted on our sins, it could only have been as Judge, and He must have destroyed all the sinners. On the other hand, if God had only acted according to the love of His nature, it must have been giving up that equally in His nature which detests and must punish sin. Thus but for Christ and His cross all had been ruin, and confusion, and dishonor. Without it God's moral glory had been totally undermined, and the salvation of the lost impossible. But in Christ God would neither destroy the sinner nor make light of the sins. Hence He gave His Son to be a propitiation. This propitiation was through His death and blood-shedding. This alone suited either God or lost man. This alone accounts for the prevalence of sacrifice—no doubt debased and corrupted among the heathen; but in itself it pointed to “A sacrifice of nobler name, And richer blood than they.” This Satan endeavored too successfully to falsify, as he loves to seize everything for evil. The meaning of it, however, was never seen fully till the Lord came and died on the cross, wherein was not the mere shadow but the very image. Directly the Lord died atoningly, it was the true propitiation which God had prefigured, and thenceforward has before Him as an accomplished fact in all its value.
After the peculiar work of the day was done, Aaron divests himself of the garments of holiness, puts on his ordinary clothing, and going forth offers his burnt-offering and that for the people. These might have been offered by others on any other day: but on that day the high-priest was, in all that was of moment, the actor exclusively, though it might be no longer a specially characterized offering. It represented the Lord Jesus by the eternal Spirit offering Himself, without spot, unto God. The two Burnt-offerings were for himself as well as for the people (ver. 24). From Lev. 1 as well as here, we find the Burnt-offering was to make atonement; but this of course only in a general way. It did not express the peculiar solemnity of the great Day of Atonement. When an Israelite brought the offering in the fullness of his heart, to express his sense of dependence on the goodness of God, it always had an atoning character. God could not accept an offering without blood to make atonement. Neither faith nor the true God slurs over sin. Hence, where all went up to God, acceptably, as it was invariably offered on the brazen altar—the first point of approach between God and man, the Burnt-offering had an atoning character.
There is another notable fact here: “The fat of the sin-offering shall he burn upon the altar” (ver. 25). This was reserved for the altar of God, though the slain goat and the bullock were offered for sin, The fat of the Sin-offering was not consumed with the carcass outside. The blood, we have seen, was carried into the holiest. What could be a more remarkable indication? It witnessed to the perfect acceptance of Him Who deigned to be a Sin-offering, however cast out by man and judged by God. If the Antitype, the One Whose love identified Himself with bearing our sins, must experience in His person death and judgment—like the goat and the bullock burnt outside the camp—the fat (which, had there been any intrinsic defilement would have been the first to show it) was burnt upon the altar of acceptance. How strikingly this testifies to the inward purity of our Lord Jesus He was altogether righteous and holy, not in acts only but in nature. Then, after mentioning that he who let the goat go must wash his clothes and bathe his flesh in water before returning to the camp (ver. 26), it is laid down that the bullock and the goat, whose blood had been brought into the sanctuary for atonement, were to be carried forth, and burnt in the fire, skin, flesh, and dung, without the camp (ver. 27), whilst he that burnt them must wash his clothes and bathe before coming into the camp (ver. 28). Here we are not left to our conjectures about the meaning. In the Epistle to the Heb. 13:11-13 the apostle gives us invaluable light. “For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high-priest for sin, are burned without the camp.” There can be no question that under this shadow lies a weighty principle and practice too for us. What is the connection with Christ? “Wherefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach.” The application is as sure as the duty; for there is no call so near the Christian's heart as association with Christ practically.
The Jews were God's chosen people within “the camp,” the ground-plan of the Epistle being the wilderness, and not the holy land. This position characterized them in contrast with the Gentiles, from whom they were separated. What access they had to the sanctuary was merely through the priests and the high-priest: and we have often seen how distant, occasional, and precarious this was; for the law made nothing perfect. Yet they, and they alone had on the earth the title of God's people. This was in the wilderness marked by their having a camp, wherein was the tabernacle where God dwelt in the holiest. But the law kept the people rigorously outside that sanctuary. The way into the holiest was not yet made manifest; now it is by Christ and His work for us, for the veil is rent.

Gospel Words: Treasures on Earth or in Heaven?

Christ beyond all others knew all men, and needed not that any should testify of man, for He Himself knew what was in man. He seeks treasures on the earth. It may not be gold or property. It may be pleasure or power or position. Some set their heart on fame in letters or learning, in science or art. Some court poetry, oratory, or philosophy. The bar and the bench, the army or the navy, civil government or politics, philanthropy or even the pulpit ordinarily, fire the ambition of others. These objects and all akin which attract the heart of man are treasures on the earth, and beneath the faith to which the Christian is called—faith in God unseen and eternal. “Love not the world,” wrote His inspired servant,” nor the things that are in the world. If any one loveth the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the vain-glory of life, is not of the Father but is of the world, And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof; but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever” (1 John 2:15-17). Listen to the Savior's words on the more prevailing snare “Lay not up for you treasures on the earth where moth and rust consume, and where thieves dig through and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven where neither moth nor rust corrupteth, and where thieves dig not through nor steal. For where thy treasure is, there will be thy heart also.” The treasures in heaven are the things that are above, where Christ is seated on the right hand of God. On these things we are to set our mind, not on things that are on the earth. For we died with Christ from its best things, the rudiments of the world which Israel had as their religion; and our life is hid with Christ in God. His cross closed all such shadows and ordinances; and therefore is the world crucified to the Christian, and he to the world. If he is truly Christ's, he is heavenly as united to Christ, though he is still on earth, and bears the image of Adam the earthy till He comes. Be not moved by the unbelieving sneers of those who try to lower as other-worldliness your true objects. These are far above the world, or the habitable earth to come, blessed as it will be when Christ and His saints reign over it. Our proper portion is in heaven and with Christ there. Be not cheated out of that which is revealed to you by the Holy Spirit sent forth from heaven, on which the Epistles enlarge beyond what the disciples could bear when their Master was here, as. He Himself tells us (John 16:12). The wisest of mankind is no judge of what God wills for His children now. The New Testament is as clear as possible that He would have His own not of the world; indeed our Lord declares that they are not, even as He is not. And as it is written, Things which eye saw not, and ear heard not, and which entered not into the heart of man, whatever things God prepared for those that love Him: them God revealed to us through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. These are treasures which the Lord calls us to lay up for us in heaven. And nothing can harm them, like earthly treasures by corruption or violence. Do not say that such an aim is beyond the believer. It would be assuredly, if there were not the grace of God to enable. But we have Christ as Head above, from Whom all the body, ministered to and united together by the joints and bands, increases with the increase of God. His grace suffices one in the most crushing circumstances. And if we have such an Advocate on high, we have One no less divine to work in us here below that we may be strengthened in the inner man. Thus could one of old boast of weaknesses, never of sins, that the power of Christ might tabernacle upon him.
If you urge that you have doubts about your soul, how can you pass this day without settling that question before God? He sent His Son for you, that you might live through Him, and that He, the Lord Jesus, might die for you—yea, for your sins. Let it be your need, your guilt, your ruin, looking to God in the name of the crucified Savior. Jesus never said Nay to one that, feeling his sins, appealed to Him. God the Father would have you thus honor the Son, who declares solemnly: Verily, Verily, I say to 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. Verily, verily, I say to you, The hour is coming and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that heard shall live.” Be not faithless then, but believing; trust His grace that all else you lack, as you surely do, will be given in the like love. It is His joy to bless the believer.

The Responsibility of Disciples

It is to be remarked that in this part of the Gospel of John we have, not the sovereignty of grace toward us which saves, but our individual responsibility consequent on our known relationship with the Father as we walk in this place. Christ is looking for their walk as disciples consequent on their position as clean by reason of His words. “He that hath my commandments, he it is that loveth me; and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father; and I will love him and will manifest myself unto him.” This is the order. It is not, “We love Him because He first loved us;” but “He that loveth me shall be loved.” He first puts us in a place of favor, and then follows the consequent responsibility.
There is not of course any question of uncertainty as to salvation; but He has put us into a certain position as saved, in which through grace we are to glorify Him. The path in which He enjoyed His Father's love was a path of unclouded joy, and it was a path of undivided obedience. He here shows His disciples, if they are to walk in the light and favor of His countenance, they must walk in the same path as He did Himself. We should so walk that we should have Christ's joy fulfilled in us.
To one or two details connected with this I wish to refer. When I speak of an unclouded joy belonging to my place in heaven, it is another thing. We are simply perfect if looked at in Christ in heavenly places. Here He looks at Himself on earth, and we are also seen on earth; and it is as here below that He would have His joy remain, and our joy full.
Christ here takes the place of the true vine in which Israel had totally failed. His disciples were the branches, and He looks at them to bear fruit down here. All through the chapter He puts our responsibility first. He says, “He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit.” He calls on them to abide in Him, in order that He may abide in them. If we look at chap. 17, the order is reversed. There it is “I in them” first. It is not here a question of safety or of God's keeping them to the end, but entirely one of fruit-bearing. We are called in the active reverence of our hearts to stay continually with Christ; to abide in Him; to draw continually from Him in active diligence of heart. In this passage the words “I in you” are the consequence of our first abiding in Him. “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself except it abide in the vine, no more can ye except ye abide in me.” “He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit.” That we may bear fruit is what He is thinking of here, and so be truly His disciples. “Herein is my Father glorified that ye bear much fruit.”
“If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” By abiding in Christ I get guidance of heart; for then the words of Christ direct all my thoughts. Here I also get the power of abiding. Completely depending on Christ, and His words abiding in me, I can ask what I will, for it will be what He wills; and it shall be done. In this there is such dependence on Christ and living with Him, that my mind and will and thoughts are formed by Christ's words; and I have full power to ask what I will. He was constantly looking to and living on account of His Father; and with Him it was always perfect fruit-bearing; and we are His disciples if we follow Him in the same path.
“As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you.” It is not here simply the eternal love of the Father to the Son, but divine love to one walking in this world, whose word was, “I do always those things that please him.” This was a love that took up the disciples as walking down here. He could put them in the same relation to Himself that He was in to His Father. “Continue ye in my love.” They were walking here on earth in that blessed relationship which He Himself had known. He wants us not only to abide in Him and get strength, so as to bear fruit to His and the Father's glory, but that we may abide in the continual uninterrupted sense and enjoyment of His love. He gives Himself as our example; “as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in His love.” Need I say how He abode in it? “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love:” it is still our responsibility—obedience to Christ's words. It is not here a question of the Father loving the Son, as from eternity the Beloved One; but He is seen walking in this world in a path of perfect obedience, and abiding in Him. If there is in us a spirit of simple obedience to Him, we abide in His love. If we do a thing because He said it, we abide in His love.
“These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain (abide) in you.” He had no joy from the world; He had perfect joy in the Father. His joy was in bringing forth fruit to the Father's glory. He thus shows us how in fruit-bearing we can have joy and blessedness down here. “That your joy may be full “: this is what He wants us to have—fullness of joy. It is not from the world, but the kind of joy He had. It is His desire that we should have His own joy: “that my joy should remain in you, and that your joy should be full.” So it is to the heart that walks with and abides in Him. If we have joy, it is His joy; if reproach, it is His reproach. It. is His, whatever it be, to him that walks in the blessed consciousness of being in the same path that He had here. Nothing else will do for the devoted heart. We ought not to be content without it—without the sense that we are abiding in His love, keeping His commandments and walking like Him, in the fullest enjoyment of the Father's love, taking His words as our guide; and abiding thus in Him He puts this confidence in us. But it is all connected with responsibility.
“This is my commandment that ye love one another as I have loved you.” If we look at the love of Christ for them, we see that it was above all the wretchedness of the poor disciples—above their every failure. When I am not above a thing, it acts on myself; but when entirely above it, I can think for it all as well as with it. The Lord, being above all the failure and wretchedness, could, if a right feeling, feel with His disciples; if an infirmity, He could feel for them. He can enter into it all in a divine way, because He is above it all. His word to us is, “Love one another, as I have loved you.” By clinging close to Christ, and learning of Him, we can love in the same kind of way in which He loved; and in this way we can recognize anything good and of Him in our brethren, and learn to esteem others better than ourselves. This is what He looks for in us: it is impossible unless we abide with Christ. What a path was His here! There was no such an isolated man as Christ; and yet never was one who felt for others as He did.
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends; ye are my friends if ye do whatsoever I command you.” He does not speak of His being the friend of sinners here; He speaks of their being His friends if they did what He commanded. It is still our responsibility; and He treats them with perfect confidence. The true disciples He treats with the confidence of being His friends; otherwise it was betraying the confidence of His Father in telling His secrets. If I go to a person on a matter of business, I merely tell him my business, and have done with him; but if I go to a friend, I can tell him all that is on my own mind, even about what does not concern him at all, having full confidence in his love and his interest in what concerns me. “Henceforth I call you not servants but friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.” Whatever I have had in my heart I have told you. What a place He sets us in! How we ought to hate ourselves for the constant way in which self hinders us from this blessed place of enjoyment! But what a comfort to the restored soul it is to find that, when we have learned totally to distrust ourselves, Christ strengthens and trusts us! Consider those three questions to Peter, Lovest thou Me? When Peter replies, Thou knowest, Lord, that I love Thee, He puts confidence in him and says, Feed My sheep, My lambs. But until all that is in us is humbled, He cannot confide in us. How could He, when we cannot trust ourselves?
“If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love its own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” Here we have the source of the world's hatred. Not only is it our walk for which the world dislikes us, but for the place Christ has chosen for us, “out of the world,” that we might be His own, a people for His own possession. It is because the disciples are Christ's that the world cannot bear them. We should let our light shine forth, our confession of Christ be so distinct, that the world might know to whom they are to reckon the good works—that we belong to Christ. We must take that place as thus confessing Christ here. He takes us to be His disciples, and we walk upon that ground. Of course there must be consistency on it. He looks for this; and so does the world! Whatever would not suit Christ does not suit the Christian. We should not take that name to dishonor it. He has called us out to go with Him. How far are our hearts prepared to take our place before all the world and say, I am Christ's; I belong only to Him? If in reply they ask you what right you have to take that place, and say, We too belong to Christ, you can ask them to come and take their place with Him: else how could you own them as His?
What we desire and look for is to abide in Christ, and to bear fruit to His glory and the Father's. It is a lowly but blessed place; one of entire dependence upon Him, for apart from Him we can do nothing. May we know its exceeding blessedness for His name's sake. Amen.
J. N. D.

1 Peter 2:25

The need for the healing given to believers here recurs— “For ye were going astray as sheep, but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls” (ver. 25).
The description admirably suits those who from among the Jews repented and believed the gospel. It is substantially true of sinners like ourselves from among the nations. For as the Good Shepherd said, Other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall be one flock, one Shepherd. Such were the means which sovereign grace employed and made effectual for gathering to Christ.
Few indeed are the Epistles which do not present our previously lost condition. Rom. 1 in its latter half is an awful but exact picture of the Gentile world under Greek letters and Roman polity. The heathen remains, in poets, in dramatic and other classic writings, demonstrate it in its actual and unconscious vileness, which the apostle but touches with a holy hand. Rom. 3 brings the moral ruin home to the Jews from their own law, psalms, and prophets: that every mouth might be stopped, and all the world become as it was under judgment to God. And hence, as man universally had no righteousness for God, the absolute need of God's righteousness for man if any were to be saved. The redemption that is in Christ Jesus by grace laid the ground for this justifying righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ, as it is written, toward all, and upon all those that believe. For there is no difference: all sinned; and God is showing His righteousness at the present time of the gospel, that He should be just Himself and justify him that has faith in Jesus.
In 1 Cor. 1 Jewish pretension to signs of power and Greek to wisdom are alike crushed by Christ crucified; who is to those called, both Jews and Greeks, God's power and God's wisdom. Man as he is cannot inherit God's kingdom. The Corinthians ought to have been the last to forget their shameless depravity. And these things, sad to name, were some of the saints, as the apostle reminded them; but ye were washed, but ye were sanctified, but ye were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in (or, by) the Spirit of our God. 2 Cor. 5 might furnish a bright testimony of the same grace to the morally dead and the unreconciled; and other apostolical writings are full of like mercy to sinners. But those records suffice to prove the activity of divine love in Christ toward a guilty world. The sad fact is as true of Gentiles as the Lord told the Jews, “Ye will not come unto me that ye might have life” (John 5:40). All the evil is on man's side; the goodness is wholly with God, as the Lord Jesus fully shows. “Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37).
The straying sheep returned unto the Shepherd and Overseer of their souls. They were His, the Father's gift to Him. The Son loved them and proved His love to them at all cost to Himself: and the Father loved them as He loved the Son: a love beyond the creature's conception, yet assured by Him who is the Truth.
They did well to return to Him whose love is beyond all other love. Glory will prove and display it before the wondering world, as the Lord told them (John 17:22, 23); and the apostle attests it also for that day as a matter of retributive righteousness (2 Thess. 1:10). But His love is as fully set on them and made known to them now for the joy of faith and the strengthening of their souls; only unbelief can doubt it, a great dishonor to Him and loss to us. O what a Shepherd and Overseer is Jesus!
Who can measure the descent, if the sheep are content to return, not to the divine Shepherd Whose the sheep are, but to the church even were it ever so true according to God's word, to articles or symbols however sound, or to pious devices to fan the embers of faith and love in their souls? No, we have Him given us of our God and Father, Who once died for our sins, and is now alive again to tend and watch over our souls in His undying love, with all authority given to Him in heaven and upon earth; that we may please Him in a world of darkness as
He always did the things that were pleasing to the Father. Nor does He for a moment fail if the sheep should fail, as they will surely do if they be not dependent and obedient. Yet all are sanctified by the Spirit unto His obedience, not to that of a Jew under law, but to that of Jesus, conscious of the Father's love. For this is our portion. Yet if negligent or worse, let us not doubt His grace, but humble our hearts and sit in self-judgment on ourselves. “He restoreth my soul; He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake.”

Life Eternal Denied: 4

“THE Kingdom as connected with the Church” (Plainfield), beginning at p. 305, betrays the usual desertion of scripture for human imagination, and is fundamentally erroneous. The truth is reversed in the remark, “if you make much of the assembly you make much of Christ.” The assembly wholly depends on Him. Facts too sadly prove that the church may be cried up extravagantly and sinfully to the disparagement of Christ. She answers to the true Eve of the Last and heavenly Adam; she owes all to union with Him. It is a precious truth to know this as our portion in God's sovereign grace; but the one safeguard is to cherish that Christ is “all,” the all: without this, that He is “in all” is often a danger. Those who ignore the assembly are quite wrong, dishonor God and His Son, overlook and misapply a large part of scripture, losing their full joy in the love of Christ a relationship so wondrously near and glorious. But those who teach the error that the mystery is the assembly, instead of the truth that it is CHRIST and the assembly, are inexcusably disloyal, ungrateful, and vain. All she is or has is from His love; and to make Christ the all is God's way to keep her from pride and shipwreck. The actual state of the church is its undeniable proof; and such will be the issue of those who make much of her to exalt Him. She thus becomes an idol. “Children, keep yourselves from idols.”
In the next page we are told that “the institution of the Kingdom of necessity brings in the assembly,” of course without a word of scripture. But scripture is explicit that it is false. The Kingdom, as our Lord speaks of it, is the Kingdom prepared from the world's foundation (Matt. 25:34); but those who were to compose the assembly God chose in Christ before it.
And this is no casual feature, but an essential difference. Neither the Kingdom nor any other institution necessitates the assembly, which is a part though but a secondary part of the mystery, not told to men but hid in God, which the Kingdom was not but just the contrary. The O.T. saints as a whole anticipated the Kingdom exultingly; but not one knew the purpose of God for Christ's glory as Head over all things to the assembly. The thought is a return to the old lack of intelligence from which the truth better known was blessed to saints fallen asleep, and to some who still survive and await the coming of the Lord.
Then what can we expect from one who, being asked in p. 307 what are “the elements of the assembly,” answers, “the Spirit in this chapter [1 Cor. 12]. In the next chapter it is love, which is the heart of the assembly; and in chapter 14 the important point is the mind!” Is this meant for a climax? It is an anti-climax and seems a woefully inadequate summary: and if “mind” be so important, how strange that so poor a specimen should be presented! But leaving this we have in pp. 308, 9 the strange quotation of Col. 1:27 for “the great importance of the church.” Surely any simple saint might rather have said, the all importance of “Christ in us, the hope of glory;” this is not to depreciate the assembly, but it maintains the homage to Christ which is His due, and ought to be our chief joy.
Indeed throughout this page the misuse of scripture is remarkable, as generally throughout the volume. How is this? What has brought about so marked a change? What struck me near sixty years ago was the spiritual intelligence of unlettered souls in the just application of God's word. Here almost all is random and vague, if not erroneous. Think of citing 1 Cor. 12:3 to show that the Spirit “came here to effectuate the Kingdom”! and John 14:17 to make one body! It is certain that the former is a guard against evil spirits; and that John, even in treating of unity, speaks of its family character, never of the body.
The rest of the colloquy is so trivial or such a repetition of errors already pointed out that we may turn to p. 321 where it is taught that “the Holy Ghost never comes where there is not light “; and Eph. 1:13 is quoted as the basis of scripture for it. This led one to suggest that “faith is light,” which was assented to. It is the old story; not a word about life, though our Lord Himself so often assures that “he that believeth hath everlasting life.” Now “light” is equivocal. The apostates in Heb. 6 had been once “enlightened” and had tasted of the heavenly gift, yea had been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, tasted the good word of God and powers of the coming age, yet fell away. They were not born of the Spirit; they had not life eternal. Anything short of this comes to naught; and this is the aim of a passage so solemn. It was not Paul's function to dwell on life now, but given to John; yet he does fully show in this very connection the necessity of believing, not only in Christ's person but in His work, in order to receive the Holy Spirit. One must have heard the gospel of salvation. It is after this the believer is sealed. The unction follows the blood on the cleansed leper, as in the type here alluded to. But life is ignored, which precedes peace by the blood. Thus as to the great truth of a new and eternal life now communicated, all is confusion and error. Here as ever is the evasion or denial of eternal life as a present possession by the faith of Christ, and known through the Spirit. Again, “Peter was sent to enlighten Cornelius.” Why is scripture so systematically ignored? Peter never speaks of mere enlightenment in the case, when challenged by the Christian Jews of Jerusalem; he says in Acts 11:14, that he was to tell Cornelius “words whereby he and all his house should be saved.” This goes beyond light or even life to salvation assured, and is based on Christ's death and resurrection. Cornelius was not a natural man, nor were his prayers and his alms a lifeless form but acceptable to God. He was already born anew, a dependent, God-fearing, and pious man, like Job or other O. T. saints. But he needed to hear the word of truth, the gospel of his salvation; and this went forth on the accomplishment of Christ's work. Then God's salvation came, instead of being “near to come” (Isa. 56:1), and His righteousness was revealed, as it is now and not before. Without this, as the fruit of Christ's work, the Holy Spirit could not be given; but as Cornelius and the rest were hearing, the heart-knowing God bore them witness; and they received the Holy Spirit as the Jewish saints at Pentecost. The work as well as the life of Christ are the due basis for the gift of the Spirit. “They were enlightened first, and then the Holy Ghost was poured out” is superficial and unsound, leaving out our essential life in Christ, and His work received by faith.
To F.L. it was admitted that “the divine work of new birth is always there first": but it is one of the incongruities of the system to allow it, and to deny life eternal. What life but this is communicated when one is begotten or born of God (1 John 5:1-4)? Not but that in John 3 wisdom shone, in the language of vers. 3 and 5 as compared with verse 15; but it is folly and error to deny life to one born anew, and to doubt that it is life in Christ, life eternal. Think too of one so unenlightened as to say (p. 322) that the blood of Christ is “light, because it is the blood of Christ that reveals God to you!” Where does scripture say anything of the sort? What it teaches is that “the life (not His blood) is the light of men” (John 1). “The true light was that which, coming into the world, sheddeth light on every man;” it is Christ Himself. But the title to become children of God required much more, even to believe on His Name, on God's revelation of the Lord Jesus. His blood lays the basis for showing forth God's righteousness, which is quite another question.
Here too are the old vagaries about the Kingdom and the covenant (323), and the false statement, “that John 3:16 is not the beginning of the gospel;” though the Lord declared it to Nicodemus before His Galilean ministry commenced. It was not merely “in view of eternal life,” but that the believer should have it. Eternal life will be the great blessing in the day of the Lord; but the wonder of Christ dead, come, risen, and glorified, is that the Christian has it now, and knows it both objectively and consciously. Its denial as a present thing is one of F.E.R.'s fatal errors, the denial so far of Christianity.
When one not fully poisoned said (in the same page) “the blessing is heavenly,” F.E.R. boldly answered, “No, I think the blessing refers to earth,” qualified afterward “by the introduction of heavenly things upon earth.” But what confusion! especially when 1 Cor. 12 is mixed up with it. For when the time here spoken of does come, the manifested blessing will be in the highest degree heavenly, and in a rich but incomplete degree on earth.
Pp. 324, 325 tell us that “Christ has not taken David's throne, but He is at the right hand of God.” But this is flatly to contradict what was taught in p. 32, “then David's throne is really the throne of God. You could not understand this well from the Old Testament, but in the New find that David's throne is God's throne.” The truth is that the N.T. really refutes any such confusion, as we have seen already. So too in p. 155 it was false to say, “He has received the Kingdom,” and still more to quote for it, “We see Jesus crowned with glory and honor.” This is the present exaltation of our Lord in heaven; yet where does one word of scripture warrant the rash error that “He has received the Kingdom,” but has not yet returned? On the contrary Daniel predicts in his chap. vii. the uprising of the Beast and the blasphemies of the last horn which domineers it, before he tells us of dominion and power and glory and a Kingdom over all peoples, etc.; given to the Son of Man. Again Rev. 11 is explicit that not till the seventh Trumpet sounded could it be said that He took His great power and reigned.
What sad ignorance, if it was not still more lamentable opposition to what has been heretofore fully believed among brethren of any intelligence! What means this retrogradism? And why such unwonted toleration of error? Here too the fundamental error reappears, “In the coming age eternal life comes in,” which is thus made only dispensational. Dead silence on what Christ gave when here and still gives in richer power, eternal life now the believer's portion for his soul, which he falsely says “you can only touch (!) in association with Christ; the fact is not yet brought to pass.” Alas! the fact really is, that F.E.R. contradicts not only the apostle John but our Lord and Savior, the Son of God, and His present known gift of life eternal, which is beyond all dispensations, and promised before time began.
Next we have Reconciliation as connected with the church (326-345). “In many minds the idea connected with it is extremely indefinite,” says he; and his “idea” follows, that “where distance was there is complacency.” Is this definite? Complacency really was with Christ, where no distance was. Reconciliation has quite another force. It is that change, not in God but in us, when we are brought by Christ's atoning death into God's perfect favor and settled therein.
The grace and truth came in Christ. God was in Christ reconciling the world. Man would not be reconciled, but crucified Him; and God therein made sin Him who knew no sin, that we might become God's righteousness in Him. Thus was reconciliation made effectual for all who believe. But it is untrue that its principle (p. 330) is “No longer I, but Christ living in me.” Life in the Son of God, as living it now by the faith of Him, is in no way reconciliation, though both are our accompanying privileges. That it is the same in principle is truly and “extremely indefinite,” and false too; and to say that “you are reconciled by being removed” is not the truth but new barbarian theology. God reconciled us in the body of Christ's flesh through death.
It is puerile and vain exposition to say (331), “You can understand how Christ is the beginning in that connection.” Not so; in Col. 1 Christ is the beginning, first-born from out of the dead, as adding a second first-born. He was firstborn of all creation; and to be the suited head of the church, He was firstborn out of the dead (15-18). Then we have the two reconciliations; not only the purposed reconciliation of the universe, but the already effected reconciliation of Christian saints (20-22). The order here stated is only confusion. Here is repeated the old mistake, so profoundly wrong, of simply presenting the world to come, the habitable earth really then, instead of (what scripture so plainly says) “all things, whether the things on the earth or the things in the heavens.” Can there be a grosser fault in a teacher than leaving out what is there revealed and bringing in what is not? Again is it not poor work to drag in here Aaron and his house from another part of the Epistle to the Hebrews, in order to illustrate Christ's relation to the saints in Colosse where He is set before us as Head of the body? And again what has the ministry or minister of the sanctuary to do with the truth revealed to the saints in Colosse? It is the crudest perversion of the Lord's right paths that I ever remember to have seen; and it is habitual.
Then in p. 354 comes fresh speculation without scripture: “I don't think we shall address one another in heaven.” What is the value of such fancies as these? Souls want the truth God has revealed. But admitting the need of viewing things in spirit as in heaven, it is remarkable that the chapter before us looks at the saints on earth, as its distinction from Eph. 1. It is not you in Christ on high and in the glory, but “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Thus these notes of readings meddle presumptuously with what one has not seen (Col. 2:18), and muddle what God has given for all His saints to profit by.
But we may omit such like thoughts; and come to the serious slight of God's word apparent in page 340. “Suppose I am thinking of the scripture, ' Holy and without blame before Him in love,' I cannot enter into it by accepting a statement; I can only enter into it by being it.” The words of men are “statements,” and if only such they are powerless. But consider what it means so to estimate the word of God, which faith appropriates. It is the more grave here, because he thinks that being reconciled, and presented “holy, unblamable, and unreprovable” before God go together. Yet the one is God's reconciliation of us through Christ's death, and the other is our being thus holy and blameless in love. What more incongruous, or more suited both to build up presumption in the self-confident, and to destroy the peace of the self-judging? Is it only in virtue of our new and divine nature that we could be thus spoken of, we in Christ and Christ in us? If this was intended, it should have been explained. Here all is in the air. But we who believe are to enjoy the wondrous truth God gives us of our place now in Christ, soon to share its glorious result. We are saints according to God's own nature; we are sons according to the good pleasure of His will, who reveals Himself to us as the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and blessed us in Him. His word is no barren “statement,” but the means of His grace through faith in Christ to introduce us into every blessing.
With F.E.R. contrariwise it is love that appropriates the Head, instead of His love in all its unfailing fullness appropriating us (Eph. 5). What cloudland! yet no Christian would minimize our love created by love in Christ. First and last this scheme is mischievous. According to it one may have the faith of eternal life, but not the thing; one may have a “statement” of the blessed place in Christ grace gives to faith, but this does not make you to be what is said. Faith, like the word, is powerless, as if the Father, the Son, and the Spirit took no part. “You must be the thing itself in order to be before God according to that,” whatever this ambiguous oracle may mean. It seems mere self-righteousness, like the Pharisee standing and praying thus to himself, “God, I thank thee that I am not as the rest of men.” Who thinks we enter into Christian blessedness “by accepting a statement”? Who doubts of any door so good and sure as through Him Who is the way, the truth, and the life? His words are spirit and are life.

The Inspiration of the Scriptures: Hebrews

Chap. V. Divine Design. 45. the Epistle to the Hebrews
The distinctive character of this Epistle is at least as plain and as important as that of any other. It is expressly anonymous; for he who wrote it, though himself an apostle, did so as a teacher, resting its authority on the Old Testament, supplemented by the Son of God come, and deigning to be Apostle in the highest sense and rank. This gives a divine and heavenly character to the communications, which were to Israel, represented now by a believing remnant, and sanctified for glory with Him on high, till the new age arrive, when the then remnant shall become a strong nation, and the new covenant formally and fully comes into force with the two houses of Israel as such. Then the Lord Jesus, Who was Apostle and Prophet on earth, and is the Great Priest in the heavens and above them, shall reign as King not only in Zion but over all the habitable earth. It may be observed that even this Epistle, like the rest, says nothing of that royal position so amply revealed by the Old Testament Prophets. It dwells on the present and intermediate place of Christ above, and thence passes to the heavenly calling of the saints.
Chapter 1 opens with His personal glory as Son of God, abundantly attested by the Psalms and the Prophets; as chapter 2:5 and onward follows with His glory as Son of Man, according to Psa. 8, in answer to His work of redemption, qualifying Him to be a merciful and faithful High-Priest as none else could be. Hence in chapter 3 the believers, addressed as holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling out of the chosen nation, are exhorted to consider Jesus the Apostle and High-Priest of our confession, before Whose worth, dignity, and power, Moses and Aaron were but shadows. The saints, like Israel, are passing through a wilderness of temptation and danger. Profession may be only profession, and thus many not only slip but fall and perish. Living dependence on God is essential; and the beginning of confidence to be held fast firmly unto the end. Unbelief is the great snare. Chapter 4 pursues this: we, who have believed are not in God's rest of glory but going on to it. Adam did not enter, though God sanctified the sabbath as its sign: Joshua did not lead into it, but only into a Canaan that typified it; for long after David spoke of it as still future. Meanwhile we have to fear even seeming to come short; and we need to give diligence, for the time still calls for this. The rest remains. And God has provided two invaluable means to bring us through: His word (answering to the apostleship), and Jesus the Son of God, a great High-Priest before God as He went through the heavens. Thus we may approach the throne of grace with boldness, that we may receive mercy and find grace for seasonable help.
In chapter v. the Aaronic priesthood is compared to show the incontestable superiority of Christ's. He Who erst commanded learned obedience, not only as man, but in suffering beyond all. Perfected through death and resurrection, He is addressed or saluted of God as High-Priest after the order of Melchizedek. The danger for the saints here is of remaining babes, instead of growing to full age (perfection) by receiving the solid food of Christ. Chapter vi. solemnly warns against not pressing on to this status of majority, lest, even after great privileges were known, the mere elements expose to falling away and irretrievable ruin. But the writer was persuaded better things of those who had shown life in love, as he desired for them full assurance of hope, for God had laid indefectible ground for strong consolation. Then chapter vii. expands the surpassing excellence of Christ's office as Melchizedek priest, not in exercise (this is set forth as Aaronic), as it will be, but in its order; for He answers fully and now to what His prototype was in figure, His being one sole intransmissible priesthood in contrast with Aaron's order.
Chapter 8 gives a summary of the aforesaid, and adds the greater excellency of Christ's ministry as Mediator of a covenant better than the Mosaic; not man's failing to obey, but God's effectual work in grace, the very title of “new” writing death on the old. In the earlier verses of chapter 9 is shown that under the law the way into the holies was not yet manifested: man could not go in, as God had not come out. Christ has verified both. In Him God came out, in Him man is gone in. How transcendent is the Christian's blessedness who reaps the fruit of both by His sacrifice and priesthood! In this chapter the fact of a testator and “testament” is turned to good account (vers. 16, 17); everywhere else it is “covenant,” as the context proves. Christianity is not man tested, but God who has wrought for His own glory in saving grace toward man. Chapter 10 applies the blessing fully to those who believe, and this on the basis of Christ's one perfecting sacrifice. Hence He sat down in perpetuity at God's right hand as He has perfected in perpetuity the sanctified. Why wonder? It is God's will, Christ's work, and the Holy Spirit's witness. The believers, with whom the inspired writer joins himself, are exhorted to act now on these precious privileges in verses 19-25, and warned of the peril of apostasy in slighting or abusing Christ's sacrifice by sinning willfully, as they were in chapter 6 of not going on to full growth. But they are again reminded of better things, and told not to cast away their confidence, though they had need of endurance. It is not all the truth that the unjust are justified by faith (Rom. 4:5); for “the just shall live by faith.”
Hence in chapter 11 we have the roll of faith differently but invariably displayed in God's noble army of confessors long before Israel, of whom the Lord Jesus is the Leader and Completer (chapter xii. 2). As to chastening, they were neither to despise it nor to faint under it. The danger here is failing from, or lacking, the grace of God (i.e., losing confidence) through unbelief in His love; and Esau's profanity stands as a beacon. Then we have a grand contrast of what Israel came to at Sinai, with our having come by faith to the entire scene of blessing flowing out of Christ and His redemption: first Zion the highest point of royal grace on earth; then the heavenly city, not the old but new Jerusalem; next the indigenous dwellers on high, myriads of angels, all their assemblage; further the assembly of firstborns enregistered in heaven; and God Himself Judge of all; then we come down to the spirits of just men made perfect (the Old Testament saints), and to Jesus with fullest mercy and joy for the earth as Mediator of a covenant that is not only “new” but as “fresh” as ever; and lastly to the blood of sprinkling in contrast with Abel, whose blood brought curse, this Christ's everlasting blessing. He changes even a warning into a promise to faith. But let us have grace by which to serve God acceptably with reverence and awe. For our God is a consuming fire.
Chapter 13 closes the Epistle with urging that brotherly affection abide, hospitality, and kindness to sufferers; that marriage be honorable in all (or, every way), and conduct be free from love of money. Next, departed guides are to be remembered; but if they were gone, Jesus is the same yesterday, and to-day, and forever. Hence they were to be set against various and strange doctrines. Grace confirms the heart, not meats which profit not devotees even. Jesus that suffered without the gate, Whose blood avails within the holiest, is the key of the Christian position. “Therefore let us go forth to Him without the camp, bearing His reproach.” The middle place, beloved of Judaisers and philosophers, is the place of apostate Jews, and now of effete Christendom. “By Him, therefore, let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually;” yet sacrifices in doing good have also their real place. Next, living guides are to be obeyed. This is their use, to lead others who might not readily see the path of Christ. They shall give account, not of the souls led, but of how they led them. No one valued the prayer of saints more than he who here asks it, after his first imprisonment and before the second. With Timothy set at liberty he hoped to see them again. How suited is the prayer in verses 20, 21, not only to them and the writer, but to this Epistle! It seems to be beyond just question what Peter in his second Epistle refers to (3:15), as written by Paul to Christian Jews, to whom Peter addressed both of his (1 Peter 1:1, and 2 Peter 3:1).

Scripture Queries and Answers: The Five Wise Virgins

Q.-Matt. 25:1-13. Since believers are the bride, whom do the five wise virgins represent? They went in to the marriage feast as guests only. When the bridegroom came, was he not accompanied by his bride? was he not taking her to his home at the end of the feast given at her father's house? S. de G.
A.-The Lord in this parable presents not the church as such in its unity, but Christians as an aggregate going out to meet Him in figure; and hence He depicts them as the nuptial cortege. “The bride” would not have answered His purpose at all, but the maidens, foolish and prudent, so as to be emblematic of professors through Christendom's state and at His advent. The possession of the Holy Spirit is the crucial test. All had gone asleep; but at midnight grace sent forth an awakening cry, which wrought, even on the foolish, to arise and trim their lamps. But when the Bridegroom came, only those ready could enter in; for they alone had the unction from the Holy One which could fit any to have their portion with Him. The object here was not to fix attention on the bride, but on the individual responsibility of the Christian to await Christ's coming duly. Mere profession gives no title to go in with Him to the feast. There must be oil in their vessels; and the foolish, active as they were (“earnest” as men say), had none. The bride is nowhere in this scene.

Scripture Queries and Answers: The Flesh in Us

Q.-Why in the Feb. B. T. the censure on saying “the old man is gone in the death of Christ?” C.
A.-Because of so speaking as to ignore the flesh still in us. This is a very real danger, because it oversteps the truth; especially as most confound “the old man” and “the flesh.” And we know that, however delivered and blessed the saint may be here, the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh (Gal. 5:17). The more precious the truth (and it is precious to know that our old man has been crucified with Christ, that the body of sin might be annulled), the more important not to go beyond the word. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves.” The terms “gone,” “removed,” &c., are liable to convey what is unscriptural and misleading, and in particular where no careful guard accompanies the term. “They that are of Christ Jesus crucified the flesh with its passions and its lusts.”

Scripture Queries and Answers: Acts 26:22-23

Q.-Acts 26:22, 23. This text is urged to set aside the apostle's distinct assertion of a mystery hidden from the ages, and not in other generations made known to the sons of men, as it hath now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets (clearly and exclusively those of the N.T. so called, Eph. 2:20). Kindly explain: on the face of it such an allegation arrays one scripture against another, which must be of the enemy. What then did the apostle mean before Agrippa? Surely not to contradict what he wrote to Ephesian saints? X.
A.-The context of each proves that both declarations are perfectly true, and therefore in divine harmony. For in the Acts he defends his public testimony in preaching the gospel and the kingdom of God, both of which rested on the basis of Christ's death and resurrection, and, as he said of the righteousness of God now manifested, “witnessed by the law and the prophets” (Rom. 3:21). But to the Ephesian and the Colossian saints the time was come to open out the mystery of Christ in His exaltation to the heavenlies, God summing up the created universe, all things in the Christ, the things in the heavens and the things on the earth; and the saints, now called (Jewish and Gentile naturally), united to this heavenly Head as His one body. As he tells us in 1 Cor. 2:6-10, he did not preach this wondrous truth to the Jews any more than Gentiles, nor even to immature saints. God's hidden wisdom in a mystery he spoke only to the perfect or full-grown, which was then and is now far from being true of all believers. Hence, as the Jews arraigned him for his public appeals to themselves or others, the passage in the Acts in no way clashes with what he avowedly taught only to full-grown saints, of which they knew nothing and to which the apostle made no reference. The inference, confidently drawn to deny that he taught the new revelation characteristic of the N.T., is entirely at fault, and betrays fundamental ignorance of what every full-grown Christian ought humbly to learn.

Scripture Queries and Answers: The Temple Described in Ezekiel

Q.-Will the temple described by Ezekiel have a veil? W.F.
A.-It was a slip in the Jan. B.T., p. 11, to say so. The future temple will have double-leaved doors, instead of a screen and a veil then renewed. Yet the sons of Israel and even the prince have no entry into the house—only the priests. There is no question of going within. Still the differences are marked and instructive. There will then be no evening lamp; for Jehovah their light is forever risen upon Zion. No candlestick is needed more, but the altar within is Jehovah's table; and no high-priest ministers. There is no Pentecost more; for is already consummated in the church. There is no feast of trumpets; for the people have been already summoned and gathered; and there is no atonement-day longer; for the work was done, and they had truly afflicted their souls when they looked to Him whom they pierced. The Red Heifer disappears. But the Passover abides the memorial of redemption, and the Tabernacles will mark their place and blessing. The altar of holocausts has an absolutely central place, though of course outside the sanctuary; for seven days atonement is made for it; and on the eighth onward the priests offer Israel's burnt-offerings and peace-offerings. Sabbaths and new moons are still celebrated as witnesses of rest come, and Israel's regaining their place. No table with the twelve loaves is seen, for Israel were themselves before Him; no candlestick, for the True Light was seen. In the Holiest is no sign, no ark needed: Jehovah fills it alone. Outside is no laver to cleanse for entry; but from within the sanctuary issues a river, not merely to gladden the city of God, but to go without, dividing when there to east and west with life-giving fertilizing power, expressly naming the east or Dead Sea, and the west or Mediterranean, but not yet absolute blessing; for an exception is kept up in the marshes given to salt. Still the city's name is Jehovah-Shammah, Jehovah there; yet the millennium is not eternity.

Scripture Queries and Answers: Gathered to the Lord's Name

Q.-If gathered to the Lord's name, on what principle in the present disorder and ruin of God's house should we receive a Christian from a denomination or sect though he were desirous of abiding there? R.M.
A.-The principle is, “as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.” If there be a known cause of sin and shame, we ought to refuse: not so did Christ receive us. Even when we had much to learn of the truth in detail, (50, 60 or more years ago), a firm stand was made by faithful men against such as trifled with fundamental truth. I remember in those days a fervent Wesleyan, who had learned “the blessed hope” and was morally driven out of that society by their opposition to that truth; yet was he rejected in his wish for communion in the Lord's supper, because he denied the personality of the Holy Spirit, too common even then. But it is of comparatively late years that the fatal tidal wave of heterodoxy has been overflowing Christendom, as to Christ's person on both sides, everlasting punishment of the lost, and God's inspiration of scripture. This actual and growing condition compels all who fear God to reject such as either hold these grievous errors or, what is if possible worse, make light of these evils and insist on their title to go on where these destructive lies are taught. No matter what they plead, they disqualify themselves for true communion of saints, if they also claim indifference practically to such God-dishonoring errors. It is awful to think that some who were at least associated long with men faithful to Christ are now looser than the loose. For they faithlessly swamp the truth and holiness of God to receive Christians so called, no matter how defiled now. All of these may not be equally bold and careless; but there is no path so dangerous as, under heat for some and opposition to others, departing from known and cherished truth, and slighting those servants of God to whom they owe no small debt of love. Ere long, if grace do not deliver, they will hate their testimony more and more, and the light in them will become darkness; and then how great the darkness!
Where it is a known saint in an orthodox though sectarian position, yet in no way exercised about it, it appears to me still our privilege as of old to receive such an one in the Lord's name, who desires to remember Him with us in the breaking of bread. But he needs adequate testimony and comes under discipline like others. Of course bargaining on either side would be intolerable. How many simple ones of spiritual feeling, though far from intelligent, having once enjoyed His presence thus, have inquired and learned His will, and never returned to man's devices! The easygoing are such as retrograde, and so do the stiff and narrow; when they come to see that Christ is not therein, reaction may ensue.


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Jacob: 5. The Wives and Their Maids

Though revelation of and from God is the essential difference of scripture from all other writings, there is much more of the utmost value. We have man as he is, as nowhere else: the truth is told us that we may know ourselves as well as God. Hence the interest and importance of inspired light in what the proud selfishness of man's mind is prone to despise as mere domestic jars. To the believer they not only are full of salutary instruction but suggest the witness of divine concern and compassion, in what must all be manifested before His holy eyes to Whom we shall give account of the things done in the body whether good or evil, yea of the hidden things of darkness and the counsels of hearts. Assuredly no flesh shall glory; and it is well and wise to learn it now, that according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
“And when Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and she said to Jacob, Give me children, or else I die. And Jacob's anger was kindled against Rachel; and he said, [Am] I in God's stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb? And she said, Behold, my maid Bilhah; go in to her, that she may bear on my knees, and I may also be built up by her. And she gave him Bilhah her bondmaid as wife; and Jacob went in to her. And Bilhah conceived and bore Jacob a son. And Rachel said, God hath judged me, and also heard my voice, and given me a son: therefore she called his name Dan (Judge). And Bilhah Rachel's bondmaid again conceived and bore Jacob a second son. And Rachel said, Wrestlings of God have I wrestled with my sister, and have prevailed; and she called his name Naphtali (my Wrestling). When Leah saw that she had ceased to bear, she took Zilpah her bond-maid, and gave her to Jacob as wife. And Zilpah Leah's bondmaid bore Jacob a son. And Leah said, What fortune! and she called his name Gad (Fortune). And Zilpah Leah's bondmaid bore Jacob a second son. And Leah said, With my happiness; for the daughters will call me happy I and she called his name Asher (Happy)” (chap. 30:1-13).
One understands too well, too sadly, why Rachel should view her own childlessness and her sister rich in children with chagrin. Self wrought and blinded her to her sister's lack of Jacob's heart of which she had the monopoly. It was envy, that base feeling which cannot endure another, even a sister's, having what she had not; and this broke out in unreasonable and impious repining to her husband, as if her barrenness were his fault. No wonder that his anger resented her unworthy state in his rejoinder, Am I in God's stead Who has withheld from thee the fruit of the womb? But he yielded to her proposal, and takes Bilhah that she might obtain children by her maid. Had not honored Sarah done the like? Yes, but through Ishmael its fruit did it not issue in the expulsion of both Hagar and Ishmael? Was this encouraging? How different from Hannah the sorrowful under Peninnah's provocations, or even the high-priest's misjudgment! She broke out into no unseemly murmurs against her husband, but wept and prayed and vowed to Jehovah, and was heard of the God of Israel.
It is the striking difference of the N. T. from the Old that perfection was only established when God spoke, and wrought also, in the Son. The law made nothing perfect, though a divine witness to what was coming and the measure too of human righteousness on earth. And the Lord was able to vindicate on Jehovah's part that, if Moses in view of the people's hardheartedness allowed them even to put away their wives, from the beginning it was not thus. Male and female made He them. Christ alone represented God adequately, and as Son the Father; and this in man, God and man in one Person. This is all to God the Father's glory.
But of old God permitted what was far from His mind, as we see here, till He makes all things new. Jacob was not Jesus, nor was any other, though a man of faith. Jesus is Himself, not a man only, though this He was completely and perfectly, but true God, no less than the Father.
The names Rachel gave the sons of Bilhah expressed the state of her soul, and toward her sister. Dan and Naphtali do not tell us of grace, but of satisfaction in gaining points of strife on her own part. Leah was drawn into the snare and through Zilpah would equal that advantage. And the names she gave Zilpah's sons, Gad and Asher, though not reflecting the contention which governed Rachel's spirit, by no means rose to the level of faith she had shown in naming her own sons. But it is the prerogative of God, while every wrong has its effect among men and its judgment before Himself, to cause all things to work together for good to them that love Him, the called according to purpose. He at least is good and does good, whatever man has to mourn.

Priesthood: 31. Flux in Men and Its Defilement

In 2 Thess. 1:8, when the Lord appears in vengeance on guilty living men, the Gentiles are distinguished as those that know not God, the Jews as those that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus. It was the privilege of Jews to have God in the world entering into every need and difficulty, every responsibility and danger, as the Gentiles had not. They had even the visible sign of His glory in the tabernacle till their apostasy. Hence they had Him enjoining what was due to His presence in their midst, although in a way altogether inferior to that enjoyed by the Christian and in the church.
But earthly and temporal as it was, it accounts for such requirements as we read here and elsewhere. We have had its application to human birth (in chap. 12) and (in chap. 13) to sin in the life, as a deadly and defiling thing, a living death, which necessitated exclusion from tent, camp, and worship, and (in 14) the striking means required for cleansing him when cured without telling us how cure could be. Here we have other and lesser sources of defilement on which we may say a little. They indicate the sad and shameful effects of sin.
The principle is a great one. All is judged, even for fallen man, according to His presence who deigned to dwell there. A human standard, if indeed any pretended to have it, was well enough for a heathen. An Israelite was to submit to the God of Israel regulating the entire life, public and private, of His earthly people. Impossible, if Jehovah were their God and they His people, to evade those terms. Piety would welcome them with heart and soul.
So it will be finally under Messiah and the new covenant when He will write His law in their heart; and they shall know Him from the least to the greatest, for He will forgive their iniquity and remember their sin no more. Alas! they, ignorant of their sin, had at Sinai forgotten to plead His promise, and even taken their stand on their own obedience; so that ruin soon befell them, and all went on worse and worse, till there was “no remedy” on that footing. Then came the rejection of their only hope. A brighter day awaits them when their heart turns to the Lord (2 Cor. 3), and He will save them with a divine salvation.
“1 And Jehovah spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, 2 Speak to the children of Israel and say to them, If any man hath a flux from his flesh because of his flux, he [is] unclean. 3 And this shall be his uncleanness in his flux: whether his flesh run with his flux, or his flesh be closed from his flux, it [is] his uncleanness. 4 Every bed whereon he that hath the flux lieth shall be unclean; and everything whereon he sitteth shall be unclean. 5 And whosoever toucheth his bed shall wash his raiment, and bathe [himself] in water, and be unclean until the even. 6 And he that sitteth on [anything] whereon he that hath the flux sat shall wash his raiment, and bathe [himself] in water, and be unclean until the even. 7 And he that toucheth the flesh of him that hath the flux shall wash his raiment, and bathe [himself] in water, and be unclean until the even. 8 And if he that hath the flux spit upon him that is clean, then he shall wash his raiment, and bathe [himself] in water, and be unclean until the even. 9 And what carriage (or saddle) soever he that hath the flux rideth upon shall be unclean. 10 And whosoever toucheth anything that was under him shall be unclean until the even; and he that beareth those things shall wash his raiment, and bathe [himself] in water, and be unclean until the even. 11 And whomsoever he that hath the flux toucheth without having rinsed his hands in water, he shall wash his raiment, and bathe [himself] in water, and be unclean until the even. 12 And the earthen vessel that he that hath the flux toucheth shall be broken; and every vessel of wood shall be rinsed in water” (vers. 1-12).
Man is not as God created him; he is fallen: and here we read how God instructed the Israelite of old to judge his state. It was not nature, but nature ruined and unclean; so are its unclean emotions. They are tainted and defile. So Jehovah spoke to Moses and Aaron. The physical uncleanness speaks to us of a deeper evil. So the Lord taught even the multitude: “Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth the man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth the man” (Matt. 15:11). And when Peter, feeling Pharisaic opposition, asked more, the Lord replied, “Do not ye understand that all that entereth into the mouth goeth into the belly and is cast out into a sewer? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth out from the heart; and those things defile the man. For out of the heart come forth evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornication, theft, false witnessing, blasphemies: these are the things which defile the man.” The outside satisfies those who have not faith and count God as themselves. But God will have us take account of the humiliating truth, if the uncleanness flow out, or even if suppressed within by night or by day (3, 4) as to things or persons (5-12). Every case demanded purifying. To the Jew it was water; to us the washing of water by the word, the water that flowed from Christ in death, to which the apostle who saw bears record in Gospel and Epistle.
Our word of confession is due to God; but Christ's word has virtue in it through the Spirit and His own advocacy. Thus is communion maintained. To be born again and forgiven is not enough. We are brought into divine fellowship, and all that is unsuitable in us God will have us to judge. It would be hard if He had not provided all that sustains or restores. It is careless or unholy, now that He is at all the charge for our blessing, if we avail not ourselves of it conscientiously. Vigilance as well as dependence on Him and the heart's submission to His word with confidence of His love in Christ are ever needed. Weak, exposed with such a nature, and a subtle foe to take advantage, we are only kept by God's power through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

The Day of Atonement: 16. Concluding Remarks

The cross of Christ brought in a complete contrast with these two most marked circumstances in the position of Israel. On the one hand the Christian is invited and emboldened, as sprinkled by blood from an evil conscience and washed with pure water, to draw near into the holiest of all; on the other, the Christian is equally exhorted to go forth unto Christ without the camp, bearing His reproach. The two extremes now meet in the believer—I do not mean as Christians walk, or as they say; but as Christians ought to believe. The meeting is solemn. If you are a Christian in deed and in truth, you are washed or loosed from your sins in the blood of Christ. You will not be one whit cleaner in the eyes of God when you reach heaven than now; for Christ is dead, risen, and glorified. This is a matter of unsophisticated faith; there is nothing which can possibly add to what Christ has done and God has accepted on your behalf. If you look at this or that brother, you may see your own faults, exaggerated perhaps in your eyes. This ought not to be so; we ought rather to count them better than ourselves. But alas! the same flesh, which makes us indulgent to our own faults, makes us sharp on the faults of our dear brethren: so little do we walk in the power of grace by faith. Falsehood we are bound to abhor.
If God's word governs our thoughts, we find ourselves, in this Epistle, among the holy brethren partakers of a heavenly calling. We are of the true house of God, the family of the High Priest, and later on are invited to draw near into the holiest of all. On what ground could any soul possibly enter within, if his sins were not completely gone? If they are not so now, what is to blot them out another day? Christ would not take His seat on high till all was settled for everyone who should believe (1:3). From this the apostle reasons and appeals. If repetition were needed, Christ must often have suffered: whereas the whole force of the doctrine is His work and death once for all. Indeed the same emphasis appears in the First Epistle of Peter. He “suffered once for sins” (chap. 3:18). Nor is it only that He once for all suffered, but that we are cleansed once for all. We are purified in conscience according to the power of that one sacrifice, by which He dedicated a new and living way through the veil. The unity of the sacrifice is true only for us in Christ. I speak of such alone now, of those who draw not back to perdition but believe to the saving of the soul.
But along with the drawing near into the holiest goes the call to go forth to Christ without the camp. Let us seek no place of honor on this earth, no means of reputation, no seat of ease, no outward distinction. The Jews might fairly once have looked for all these; through unfaithfulness they have lost all. But Christians, instead of being promoted in their stead, are called to join Him Who suffered without the gate. They were not called to take the place of “the camp” when the Jews forfeited their standing. Before the Jews lost their place and nation openly, those of them who by grace became Christians were exhorted to draw near within, even if they had been Jews; and now, being sanctified by Christ's blood which makes them free of the sanctuary, they are also called to go without the camp. His reproach is glorious.
The Christian is a man who is not of the world; he is of Christ for heaven, now called to draw near where He is. The two truths flow together; and what God has thus joined, let no man sunder. What right is there given to any one of access into the holiest of all, unless along with it there be God's call to follow Jesus Who suffered without the gate? If you value your title to draw near within the sanctuary, shrink not from going forth to Him without the camp. Is it not in both respects your place, and your only right place, with Him? Let us be in our faith with Christ, both inside the veil and outside the camp.
Christendom has reversed all this. In theological eyes it is rank presumption to draw near into the holiest while we are here on earth. Is not this really the unbelief of Christendom? But Christ gives us entrance into the sanctuary as the common privilege of His own. It is open to every Christian whether Calvinist, Arminian, or Episcopalian, if orthodox. Yet it is well to avoid all such parties, for they lead their votaries into shortsighted views of God; and there is precious truth which in these disputes is apt to be overlooked. The word of God looks far beyond man's disputations. We may well be suspicious of ecclesiastical cliques, no matter what or where they are; and my experience is that those who know much are no better in their spirit and objects, if not worse, than those who know less. Surely, brethren, we ought to be above quarrels, if we have got the truth of God. And have we not Christ so known as to put shame on such manners? He that hath an ear, let him hear. Let Christ's honor and will be our “one thing.”
Let us seek earnestly and humbly and as before God to profit by all this, and guard against every snare by cleaving to Christ and the truth in a spirit of grace. If any prefer controversy and self, let them. One may be grieved thereby; but, as all know, there is nothing so powerful as a good example. As I have often said to some that found us narrow, faulty, or what not, Why do not you by your fidelity show us a more excellent way in carrying out God's truth? Nobody will say that it is acceptable to Him for any merely to criticize, while going on with what is known to be wrong. If we have walked so very poorly, why not do better yourselves? Why not help instead of carping? Be thou faithful.
Certainly these are great realities—access into the holiest, and companionship with Christ outside the camp, while we are still on earth. If we own these both to be God's call to us, are we to join in language or conduct which denies them? Are we to be dragged down by custom into Levitical worship which leaves the worshipper outside? Are we free before God to forget and forego the truth of Christ every time we worship? Do you ask who do so? Forgive my saying that I should like to see the Christians who do not “serve the tabernacle,” as this Epistle calls it, instead of making good in faith their own proper privileges.
The fault does not only belong to this or that particular denomination; does it not attach to all? I do not wish to be personal; but is it not really the kindest service possible to urge weighing what we say in worship with what God teaches? If you receive His word about it (and it is as plain as it is deep and comforting), cleave to the truth with all your heart. Is this too much to ask of a believer? Why should you, my beloved friends, be playing at see-saw between truth and error, between what you know to be acceptable to God and what people in Christendom have slipped into? Every one naturally likes the camp. To the natural man “the holiest” is one extreme, and “without the camp” is another. To be in the camp, with a priest for the sanctuary, is the via media so pleasant to the eye and to the mind. They are thus in the acceptable place of the world, the religious world, not of course the merely profane. Such was just the position the Jews occupied of old. It was out of this middle place that the apostle called the Christians, not only to draw within the rent veil, but to go forth without the camp; and both apply now as ever since the call was made.
Again, let me ask you, was the cross of Christ a respectable thing? Was it really so regarded when He suffered without the gate? One might rather ask, if ever there were greater scorn put upon anyone. The two robbers that were hanged had far greater consideration than the Lord of all. Ah! beloved of God, your place on earth is this place of scorn. If you truly enjoy the nearness of the sanctuary, it is the obligation of faith to go forth to Christ without the camp. When the blood was brought into the holiest, the bodies were burned without the camp. This is a distinct connection of divine truth. The deduction is that we should have communion with our Savior in both ways. Have Him now for your joy in heaven; where you are to be with Him in eternal joy. Therefore the little while that we are on this earth, be not ashamed of His rejection. Shrink not from the call to be with Christ outside. There is the doctrine, and the practice follows. I do not dwell at greater length on it now, because there are other moral principles of great value to lay before you from this fruitful chapter; and time fails for all.
The next thing that the Spirit of God brings before us is, “And this shall be an everlasting statute unto you (34).” We do not hear this about any subordinate matter. The Day of Atonement stands thus distinctly to itself and separate in dignity from all others; “In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, ye shall afflict your souls and do no work at all, whether it be one of your own country, or the stranger that sojourneth among you (29).” The first point insisted on, and most evidently, is the affliction of the soul. Atonement was not to be a matter of mere joy lest it should degenerate into lightness. Where is an act of God so searching.
As we are considering this, let me show you how readily man slips into these errors. In Acts 2:41, we have all read, as the effect of the truth which the apostle was preaching, “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized.” It may be new to some though to many of you more familiar, that the word “gladly” has no sufficient authority to stand there. Reflect for a moment what it means for one newly converted “gladly” to receive the message. Such a word has not the appropriate link with an occasion so solemn as souls brought to God out of darkness. Do not conceive for a moment that there is any wish to cloud the joy of the believer; but our Lord instructs us that it is a bad sign when the first effect of the truth entering the soul is gladness. Deep self-search and humiliation are incomparably better proofs of a true work of God there. Compare Luke 8:13.

Proverbs 15:18-25

GOD is the God of peace, and Christ will be Prince of peace when He shall have taken His great power and reigned. Meanwhile He has made peace through the blood of His cross, that the believer should have peace with God, and walk in the spirit of peace, whatever the turmoil of man. Nor need one wonder that man, in the misery and selfishness of sin unjudged and unforgiven, should be swift to speak and swift to wrath.
“A furious man stirreth up contention; but one slow to anger appeaseth strife.
The way of the sluggard is as a hedge of thorns; but the path of the upright is made a causeway.
A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish man depiseth his mother.
Folly is joy to him that is void of heart; but a man of understanding maketh his walk straight.
Without counsel purposes are disappointed; but in the multitude of counselors they are established.
A man hath joy in the answer of his mouth, and a word in season, how good it is!
The path of life [is] upward for the wise, that he may depart from Sheol beneath.
Jehovah plucketh up the house of the proud, but He establisheth the border of the widow” (verses 18-25).
Whence come wars and whence fightings among you? asks James the Just. Is it not thence—from your pleasures which war in your members? Ye lust and have not; ye kill and are full of envy, and cannot obtain; ye fight and war; ye have not because ye ask not. Ye ask and receive not because ye ask amiss that ye may spend it in your pleasures. How truly a furious man stirreth up contentions! Whereas one slow to anger not only gives no occasion to strife, but appeases it. Peacemaking begins in the heart bowing to God in Christ through grace, and characterizes the spirit and walk.
The slothful fear a painful obstacle in their way, put off their duty, and seek not grace for seasonable help, if it were even a real difficulty or trial. The upright see a plain road, because the eye is single in obedience.
So in family life a father's heart is gladdened by a son who begins and goes on in the fear of the Lord. A foolish one shows what he is by despising her who bore him and watched over his years of weakness, who wastes his strength on himself or what is no better.
Again, how sad yet certain it is that folly is joy to the senseless heart! Not even a brute lives so despicably. A man of understanding looks up and walks straight with purpose in his heart.
Hence the importance of counsel (22), for where there is none purposes are disappointed. It is wise to be swift to hear; for in the multitude of counselors purposes are established. Self-confidence is a sorry guide.
Thus too one learns to help others, when speech is well considered, timely, and sought for. “A man hath joy (not pride) in the answer of his mouth.” Others too reap the profit, as he desires; for “a word in season, how good is it!”
Nor does the good end in this life; for “the path of life is upward for the wise, that he may depart from Sheol beneath.” The end is life everlasting, as all saints knew, though none could forecast that life now quickening the soul here below. This Christ revealed as clearly as a future hour when the body shall be instinct with the same life at His coming.
Jehovah is righteous and good in His ways; for He will pluck up the house of the proud who scorn Him, and will establish the border of the widow whom He compassionates in her sorrow and defends in her weakness and exposure.

Gospel Words: Christ Came to Fulfill

From the outset of His ministry our Lord was careful to affirm that He came not to dissolve but to make good divine authority in the law or the prophets. In both He was predicted as the One on whom all blessing depended. He only could deliver sinful and seduced man. He was to be the sacrifice which would justify all previous offerings to God, and render their just interpretation, and furnish their efficacy. Fulfillment of a prophecy is the same word; but the context here points to a larger scope.
The law and the prophets testified to man's, unrighteousness and to God's righteousness (Rom. 3:21). But they could not do more. Christ came, not to enfeeble or undo them as His blind enemies thought, but to make good that divine testimony which left the sinner without excuse and gave what God only in His grace could supply. It was far more than even pious men conceived, a mere making up, by His obedience of the law, what men failed in. This had merely been man's righteousness accomplished by Him for the unrighteous. Here too He has done incomparably more and better. He laid the basis in His obedience unto death. for God's righteousness, that God might be just and justify him that believes on Jesus. For He who knew no sin glorified God in being made sin for us, that we might become God's righteousness in Him. Hence God's grace is enhanced, not frustrated; for if righteousness is through law, then Christ died gratuitously. But it is not so: never was anything else contemplated or revealed but that the believers rest their hope on His death.
God took care therefore that promise should long precede and exist independently of it, as the apostle argues in Gal. 3. This at Sinai Israel in their self-confidence overlooked. Instead of asking for the unconditional promise of grace they undertook to stand on their own obedience. As no sinful man can subsist on such a condition, the law written on stones, even when brought down a second time with types of mercy accompanying, could not but be a ministry of death and condemnation (2 Cor. 3:7-9). For them it is said in the reading of the old covenant the veil remains unremoved; and the veil is more than on the face, being upon their heart. They did and do not look to Christ, law's end for righteousness to everyone that believes. They strove to stand on a mixture of law and grace, which only adds to the sinner's condemnation, because the added grace increases his guilt if disobedient. But we look on the glory of the Lord with unveiled face and are transformed to the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Lord the Spirit, Who testifies to Him in the glory of God as the fruit not only of His person but of His work. And so the apostle preached the gospel of God's grace and of Christ's glory, as he had been converted.
The Epistle to the Hebrews told the Christian Jews that the “new” covenant of which Jeremiah bore witness held out under Christ a better covenant. It did not, like the old at Sinai, depend on Israel as the party on whose fidelity blessing depended. All hung for the new covenant on the Lord's sovereign grace. “Because this is the covenant that I will covenant for the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord: giving my laws into their mind, I will also inscribe them on their hearts; and I will be to them for God, and they shall be to me for people. And they shall in no wise teach, each his fellow-citizen and each his brother, saying, Know the Lord; because all shall consciously know from little of them unto great of them; because I will be merciful to their unrighteousnesses and their sins, and their lawlessnesses I will remember no more” (Heb. 8:10-12).
This was no real way to set aside the law and the prophets, but to fulfill them to God's glory and for man's salvation and blessing. Christ filled up the gap between God and the sinner for him who believes on Him. The law pointed to Him as the coming One who alone could restore the balance which the creature's evil had disturbed by weight overwhelming to all but the Savior. He alone could by redemption win and give the blessing which God's nature loved to bestow and God's counsels assured in due time. But all this and more Christ was by His word and Spirit bringing in a new and divine life by faith into the soul, before the day arrives when He will transform our body of humiliation into conformity with His body of glory according to the working of His power even to subdue all things to Himself. It was not mere addition, as if the law and the prophets were not intrinsically complete and perfect for the end God proposed; but He is throughout assumed and predicted as essential to give the blessed result. “For verily I say to you, Till the heaven and the earth pass, one iota or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law till all come to pass” (vers. 18).
So even the N. T. speaks of filling up the gap otherwise left in it by the revelation of the mystery of Christ's headship on high and the church united to Him as His body. And the apostle in Col. 1:25 tells us of the stewardship of God given Him thereby to complete His word. For this was a secret hidden from ages and generations, and quite distinct from the kingdom, the new covenant, or the inheritance of Abraham's promise. It was a promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel and God's eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord (Eph. 3:6, 10).
O dear reader, look you by faith to Jesus, the sole accomplisher of what you most want and of infinitely more—what glorifies God and gives the believer a wondrous part in it all. Look not to yourself save to condemn yourself; look to Him who secures from all condemnation which you must otherwise dread. May your heart learn how truly Christ is all. This no man is willing to do, until he is brought to the decided conviction before God, that he is lost, and that in him (that is, in his flesh) good does not dwell.

1 Peter 3:1-6

The apostle does not exhort the masters, as we find in the Epistles to the Ephesian and the Colossian saints; but he addresses wives and husbands in the next place, without speaking in particular to children and parents. The relation of wives, as of domestics; was one of subjection.
“Likewise, ye wives, [be] subject to your own husbands, that even if any are disobedient to the word, they may be gained without word through the behavior of the wives, having beheld your chaste behavior in fear; whose adornment let it not be the outward one of plaiting the hair, and of wearing gold, or of putting on apparel, but the hidden man of the heart, in the incorruptible of the meek and quiet spirit which is in the sight of God very precious. For thus also heretofore the holy women that hoped in God adorned themselves, being subject to their own husbands; as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose children ye became, doing good and not being afraid of any dismay” (vers. 1-6).
It is easy to understand, that, as with servants, so with wives, Christians who stand in the subject place might and must find frequent difficulty with heathen or Jewish superiors to whom they were so near. For the mind of the flesh is enmity against God; and it is provoked by what is of the Spirit in those whom they command. A Christian wife cannot give up a conscience toward God in matters of right and wrong; again she has objects of faith dearer to her soul than life which claim her allegiance and observance, in public as well as private ways utterly repugnant to unbelievers of every sort.
All the more is it incumbent on such believing wives as are bound to unbelieving husbands, that they should be truly and sedulously subject to their own husbands, wherever it is compatible with doing the will of God. Even in the O. T., where such unions existed, the wife was under obligation before God to be subject; whatever the rigor that the law required, whatever the horror inspired by idolatry. The eyes of Jehovah, they knew, were toward the righteous and His ears open to their cry. The face of Jehovah was against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
But the N. T, greatly strengthens the believer's heart by the then revelation of the grace of Christ far beyond what could act of old. Not only does it fortify to suffer both for righteousness and His Name; it encourages faith by the sovereign grace which saved ourselves to look to our God and Father on behalf of others who need it no less than we once did. And if He sought and saved me, a lost sinner, may I not the more from standing in so close a relationship pray for my husband dark and dead as he is?
Here too the apostle gives a wise caution. The less spiritual Christian is too apt to forget the ways of divine grace in bringing ourselves to God, and to regard conversion as the simple effect of the truth, overlooking the various workings of the Spirit to give the word a root in the heart. The unbeliever as such slights the word and has no conception of its power when by the Spirit Christ is thereby revealed to the soul. The practical bearing has immense weight with one ignorant of God and of himself. But his conscience can value greatly, gentleness, lowliness, patience, obedience in another and especially that other his wife. He is well aware how unreasonable and unkind he has often been to her; yet she has borne it, and never complained, never reproached, but been as loving and dutiful as ever. He is forced to feel that there must be something that makes the difference in her faith which he often mocked. Hence is pressed “that even if any are disobedient to the word, they may be gained without word through the behavior of the wives, having beheld their chaste [or, pure] behavior in fear.”
It is not meant that one can be begotten of God without the word: 1 Peter 1:23 forbids such a thought as decidedly as James 1:18 and many other scriptures. But the moral weight and the gracious way of the wife tell on the hard husband; and he is won to hear, so much the more because she does not preach to him, as he calls it. How many have been thus gained to hear the gospel the day will declare. The modest purity he knows and values much, and this in fear, not boldness or self-confidence, but tempered by the dread of offending God or her husband. For here it seems put with all generality.
Next he turns to the external habits of a Christian wife, and urges the avoidance of frivolous and sumptuous ornaments. Some may deride this: but it is their carnality or worldliness which governs. Has not the Christian to please Christ and do all things in His Name? Our bodies are to be presented a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God; and we are not to be conformed to this age with its changing fashions of luxury and splendor, whatever station may be ours naturally. Christ is dearer, nearer, and more than all. And the Christian wives are not exempt. Their adornment is not the outward one of dressing hair, nor wearing gold things, or putting on dress, which are alien from Christ and a shame to saints. The real ornament is the hidden man of the heart which He sees, in the incorruption (for outside all is corruptible) of a meek and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is of much price. None of these showy objects is so, nor could all Ophir buy it.
Therefore Peter was led to speak of ancients witnessing for God in this respect. “For thus also heretofore the holy women that were hoping in God adorned themselves accordingly, being subject to their own husbands; as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose children ye became, doing good and not being afraid with any dismay.” On God their hope rested, not on themselves. Sarah stood at the head of these pious matrons of Israel; but though not alone (for there were not a few saints of like spirit), she was far from forgetting the true ornaments that became saints.
Favored as Christians were by Christ and redemption come, the wives now ought not to fall short either in moral adorning or in subjection. Sarah obeyed her husband and reverently addressed him (Gen. 18:12); she was not carried away by the common ground for vanity, though she had beauty more than most. Her children such wives now became as were doers of good and not frightened by any scare from propriety. Why should they be who know that Christ's Father is their Father, and Christ's God is theirs? Why be perturbed since He sent His servants to comfort them with the same peace He gave them? The enemy works by fear; God by His love in Christ against every source of alarm.
Hence as another wrote, even before love was fully manifested, when it was simply hoped for with confidence, souls “from weakness were strengthened, became mighty in war, made armies of aliens give way. Women received their dead by a resurrection; and others were tortured, not having accepted deliverance that they might obtain a better resurrection” (Heb. 11:34, 35).

Life Eternal Denied: 5

Not the unbelief and heterodoxy alone of the novel school, but its folly stands plainly in “Divine Teaching and its End” (pp. 346-356). “Risen with Christ is God's mind in regard to believers,” and so I might go on. “Eternal life is the expression of His pleasure in Christ risen,” etc. But how is this in a system which wholly denies life eternal to believers as an existing fact of His grace? Risen with Christ, it is said, we are; but how could this be if believers have not even life in the Son now? Is “in God's mind” a loophole to escape the acknowledgment that it is already a real thing in the spiritual realm? If F.E.R. means so, simple souls are deceived into thinking that the error is exaggerated, and that he is really orthodox in this; if he does not mean it, it only adds error to error, as if life more abundantly could be in Him risen without life eternal being possessed in Him even before His resurrection.
But “risen with Christ” goes beyond having life eternal, as the Lord told the believer he had when He was here below. It is a fresh privilege which none could have till He was raised from the dead. For this is the way the apostle Paul was inspired to reveal it. Christ is seen as dead and raised up from out of the dead and set at God's right hand: not Christ quickening now, and raising by-and-by, true as this is; but God raising Him by His mighty power, and ourselves who believe quickened and raised together with Him by the same power. If we possess not now eternal life in Him, still less can we be said to be quickened with Him, raised up together, and made to sit down together in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus. The system betrays its absurdity inherent and evident. The two truths, eternal life now given and ourselves risen with Christ, coalesce in the Christian, but are set aside by this destructive error: and “the consciousness of eternal life” (p. 347) cannot be unless you have it now. The consciousness is false unless we have it in our souls in the most real sense.
The Epistle of John begins with eternal life in the Word of life, that we may have through the apostles' witness that fellowship with the Father and with the Son which they had. This is left out in any real sense here as elsewhere. F.E.R. says it begins with “Christian fellowship,” meaning the fellowship we have one with another in ver. 6. But this leaves out the foundation and fullness of grace conveyed in vers. 1-4, on which depends our true relationship to the Father and the Son. It starts with the holy tests due to God and His nature, which follow in vers. 510, after which comes the resource of grace, if the enjoyment of our proper place and blessed fellowship be interrupted by sin. Hence even here the “Father” reappears (ii. 1), whereas it was “God” in the interval. How shocking the blindness which wholly omits our fellowship with the Father and with His Son, reducing our privilege to “fellowship one with another”!
There is nothing deeper or higher in all the Epistle, instead of its beginning with an elementary stage, whence it rises all through to the climax of “He is the true God, and eternal life” in chap. v. 20. It is a wretched fallacy, a real disorder, a flat untruth. For it is the same true God and eternal life at the end as the Word of life at the beginning, the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to the apostles. But therein is, what is not in any part of chap. 5 nor indeed elsewhere in the Epistle, such a fullness of love expressed as our sharing with the apostles the fellowship with the Father and with His Son. This is altogether and systematically explained away. To what spirit can we attribute this? Not surely to God's Spirit, but to “the spirit of error,” of whose working the Epistle so solemnly warns us.
Undoubtedly there is immense force in the impressive close which the Spirit gives to the Epistle in chap. 5:18-21. But the notion of steps leading up from a lowly start to the greatest height of blessing is a complete misconception, even where the truth may be clearly seen. But, true to the unfailing character of this book, falsehood surreptitiously takes its place: and all that the system allows is “carrying us into the scene and sphere where Christ is Who is the true God and. eternal life” (p. 356). For, even then it is not eternal life possessed, only looked forward to in hope. Yet the Lord had declared that He gives (not “shall give” merely) life eternal to the believer, who has it, distinct from but ending in the resurrection at last, not objectively only but subjectively as “our life,” and consciously too as in John 5:13. What monstrous unbelief to doubt such ample testimony.
The same blind insubjection to scripture is seen in “What marks the fathers” (p. 348). F.E.R. says it “is that they had judged the world systems in the death of Christ.” No doubt they had; but that is what is rather attributed to the “young men” distinctively. Wholly different is what the apostle himself says (ii. 13): “I write to you, fathers, because ye have known Him that is from the beginning,” that is as manifested here; and this is simply repeated in ver. 14; whereas he enlarges on the “babes” and the “young men.” It is not a truth, but a Divine Person Incarnate showing the Father and declaring God; not His giving life merely, but Himself (the eternal life before time) come as man among men, exercised and displayed in every matter small or great, in word and deed. It is not the world judged in His death, but Himself, the True God, yet also a living man in all lowliness, and obedience, and with all love and holiness, yet in all the inscrutability of the Son. “From the beginning” (ἀπ'ἀρχῆς) is contradistinguished from the outset (ἄνωθεν) in Luke 1:2, 3, and should not be confounded; but why notice such mistakes? F.E.R. has a fatality of error, and seems raised up to contradict, undermine, and destroy as far as he can, what God-taught men labored to instill into the faithful for much more than a half-century before. “The consciousness of eternal life” (p. 150), if you have it not, is absurd and self-contradictory; the steps of progress are a fiction of his mind.
Turn we now to another chapter of blatant crudities, “Eternal Life in connection with the church” (357-375). There is the old reiteration of the only order “morally possible” (1), the Kingdom, new covenant, reconciliation, and life eternal, all falsely said to be in Rom. 5 which speaks only of the last two, here misrepresented. For even the last is but eternal life at the end, here and throughout abused to exclude eternal life at the beginning, though it be one of the most distinctive truths and important boons of the Christian as a known present possession.
P. 359 says that “the Church brings us to the truth of eternal life.” What does this mean? It is so vague that it might bear many explanations, not one of them consonant with scripture, either in the final sense which the O. T. recognizes as well as the N., or in that present sense on which Christ insists as His gift now, as He too will effect the other at His appearing. In both cases it is Christ, and not the church. F.E.R. says the church, where God's word points to Christ alone, whether at the first advent or the second. There is not an effort to cite scripture, as indeed not one word bears it out. Are not such baseless assertions from Satan? John's Gospel and First Epistle are the inspired authority for the truth of eternal life as a present gift to the believer; and neither even once speaks of “the Church.”
Here at any rate the present is in view, for “quickened with Him” is referred to; and “the whole body is, in that sense, in the life of Christ; He is the Spirit of it.” How unscriptural the language! and this to avoid and deny that the believer has life eternal! The truth is that “quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses,” is another way of regarding God's work of grace: not the Son quickening dead souls by giving them life eternal on faith, but God raising Christ out of the dead, and quickening and raising those who believe with Him. This is an advance on John 6 which teaches life eternal given in the days of His flesh, but emphatically in His death: here it is in resurrection power with Him. The error is that this is allowed according to Col. 2 but the life is denied to be eternal life according to John 6. What other life does Christ give believers? How quickened with Him, if not life eternal? It is really saying and unsaying. He adds in the same page, “Eternal life does not take you off the earth,” though admitting that “the truth in Eph. sets the saints in heaven.” Did they lose life eternal when seated there? Was there ever a more absurd scheme? It is a mania of contradicting what scripture teaches, and what brethren have hitherto believed and taught without a dissentient voice. And now—?
It is flat opposition to our Lord's plain assurance in John 5:24, 25; 6:35-40, that “you cannot get to eternal life except either by resurrection or the setting aside of death” (whatever this last means).
If God sets death aside, as in the millennium, then eternal life comes in.” Not a word of Christ giving it to the believer when He was here (to say nothing of believers previously), though no doubt to none without His death whenever it came, as it was before God for all His own when unknown. “On the other hand, we reach eternal life by reaching resurrection.” What does “reaching” eternal life signify? Not having it: for this is wholly denied. And it is for those who accept the oracle to find out. It is one of the numerous ambiguities throughout these Notes; so that weak persons are deceived to think F.E.R. does not deny the present gift and possession of life eternal, and the strong who know better shut their ears and hold their tongues. Do they flatter themselves that they thereby escape responsibility? Where is their faith working by love?
Passing over questionable and false assertions of no less moment, we hear again (362), “I don't see any meaning in its [eternal life's] application to heaven.” What an egregious statement to one who weighs 1 John 1 to 5:20! We have it communicated to us here: else we do not belong to Him at all; and by the Spirit as power we enjoy. So too are we transformed by beholding God's glory in His face on high, and await His coming to have the same life completely, even for the body, when He will take us up to the Father's house. Christ is eternal life, and on receiving Him we receive eternal life, but only receive it in full when conformed to Him for glory. No doubt it is superior to death, and the believer on Christ, though dead, shall live; but so little has it “to say to death” in itself, that everyone who lives and believes on Him shall never die (John 11:25, 26). For we shall not all sleep, but we shall be all changed. So universally false is every detail. When we go from this earth, eternal life cease or have no longer force (363)! If these men were Jews, one could comprehend. As to it all F.E.R. judaizes, and renounces the special Christian truth, not only of life eternal now but of its only completeness at Christ's coming for and in heavenly glory. A more shocking delusion and antagonism to plain scripture, who can find?
Leaving lesser thoughts, we take up what is said of 1 John 1:2. Every true-hearted person accepts the simple but momentous truth that the life eternal was with the Father before it was manifested to the chosen witnesses here below. There was the source and the home proper to it; and there is that life eternal now. And if we have that life, we have it in Him above. This gave the true meaning of “the sphere.” Life eternal is hers said to be with the Father before the manifestation on earth. It was in its own eternal sphere. Now we have it truly, but in a wholly different sphere; but we await His coming to have it completely where He was and now is. “The world to come” will only know it in a partial and imperfect way, where righteousness reigns, and power suppresses evil; yet there evil is and will break out openly when the wicked one is let loose to call it forth. But this error-loving book lowers the being and gift of the life eternal with the Father to “a moral statement,” which is false; and “an abstract way” applicable to us ("true in Him and in us”), which is also false, for this becomes only true in us “after He rose from the dead.” And again, “in the assembly you are risen with Christ.” What fumbling in the dark! And when one asked “the significance of the term, you touch eternal life” (not the terms of scripture where it is unknown, but a nonsensical invention), the answer of gloom came forth— “Your soul comes into contact with what is outside of death, that is, Christ Himself and the saints looked at as risen with Him; we are called to priestly service and that is where I understand the soul touches the reality of eternal life.” Q. Cannot we touch eternal life outside of the assembly, individually, I mean?” F.E.R. “I don't think so!”
Can there be a more melancholy exhibition of departure from the divine faith of a Christian? F.E.R. owns some sort of a life, but not eternal life. Not only is the individual believer denied, though our Lord affirms it of him, but “in the assembly you are risen with Christ” (a rare utterance of folly), you have not life eternal—not even those on whom the Lord breathed His risen life in the Spirit; you only “touch” its reality And the reason why so little is known about eternal life is “because so little is known about the assembly!!!” Can aught be a more shameless slight of the Son of God? Is it not the voice of Babylon? And J.S.A. asked, “If he is going to die, how can he say he has actually got eternal life?” F.E.R. “It is an enigma to me” (p. 374). Has the enemy cheated these men, not only of divine truth, but of common sense? Did not Christ die, Who was and is the eternal life? Why should one's having life eternal in the soul preserve one from death of the body? So of 1 John 5:13 F.E.R. says, “You are conscious of it—but not as a possession(!).” Can there be a stranger or falser notion? One might have a thing and not be conscious of it; but how be conscious that you have eternal life, and not possess it? It is indeed a delusion.
The last reading (376-396) and the last address (397-406) call for few remarks, though full of the same or kindred errors as we have noticed. But as we have seen the utmost violence done to the truth in leveling down eternal life for the Christian to a Jewish measure, and hence denying its present reception, so here we have Abraham's blessing leveled up to the height of life eternal, as indeed it appeared earlier. Naturally the usual vagueness prevails; yet there is no thought of Abraham having life eternal: but “I think the blessing of Abraham will be eternal life... You get it, I think, in Psa. 133; There the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.'“ How simple divine revelation would be, if one could solve deep questions so easily! Because Jehovah promised, “In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed “: and the Psalm speaks of the blessing, even life for evermore, therefore it is the same thing! Q.E.D.
Rash assertions are repeated on the scriptures, especially “It is no good sending out Bibles if, there are not preachers.” Is this from God's Spirit or from another? 1 John 4:1. Again in regard to certain things which have come out in this country as to eternal life, “the difficulty was that the limit of scripture was transgressed: the moment you get beyond the limit of scripture you are a transgressor.” Pretty bold this from F.E.R. Had all brethren transgressed scripture in affirming, on the word of the Lord, that the believer has life eternal, till all was set right by the audacious denial that any believer possesses it now? And how are those who know he is a transgressor, not only in this but almost every Christian truth, content to wink at the evil?
This declension, this high-minded departure from what once characterized, is of a piece with the denial of life eternal, not in the Jewish future form, but in its incomparably higher Christian privilege.
That will be when Messiah comes to reign. This was when the Son came, all the fullness of the Godhead dwelling in Him bodily. No one doubts the blessing then, life evermore for Israel and the nations. But O! what blindness to the True God and eternal life, not only in the person of Christ when on earth, but shining out more brightly still when He died and rose! And this in giving eternal life to the believer now, so that he has it, and comes not into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. Apostasy from this essential Christian truth is a horror. Christ's words in John's Gospel are so clear that one can only impute their rejection to the deceiving power of the old serpent.
It is the distinctive character of the N.T. to reveal in Christ God come down to earth, and later Man in Him ascended up to heaven. The O.T. in its brightest aspect is predictive in type and shadow, in promise and prophecy. The N.T. starts with the Promised One come (Matt. 1) and in Luke 4 proclaiming, To-day is this scripture [Isa. 61, as far as He read] fulfilled in your ears. His death in rejection led to the Light shining brighter far in His resurrection. It was life abundantly to those who had it already, bound to tell others of life eternal. But the Holy Spirit, both in His action on believers and in oral teaching as well as the inspired writings which followed, wrought as the Spirit not merely of prophecy but of present communion, a fountain within springing up, and rivers of living water flowing out. As He sealed the Son of man, He sealed the believers; and this not merely as having life and light but in virtue of Christ's work. In Him is the Yea; wherefore through Him is the Amen for glory to God by us. But it is the unbelieving rejection of this present power and fullness of blessing in Christ, which alike denies the actual possession of life eternal and the unspeakable value of the scriptures, especially of the N.T. so called. It is accomplishment we have now, not merely “promise “; it is the thing promised before the world began, brought to light by the gospel and enjoyed in the power of the Spirit.
This is in keeping with the slighting of the “living oracles” in p. 125. Like rationalists, J.C. said, “the word of God is in the scriptures;” like Quakers, F.E.R. evasively replies, “Christ is the word of God;” but he too can scarcely be unaware that what he added is just the unbelieving phrase of higher criticism at home and abroad. “The scriptures are more the record of it, than the thing itself.” Every word proceeds out of the mouth of God. They are spirit and life to man sin-sick and indeed dead. They feed the soul as well as quicken it by ministering Christ through the Spirit. They cleanse our feet when defiled, in answer to Christ's advocacy. Time would fail to tell the manifold blessings, which the scriptures confer, though surely not apart from Christ and the Holy Spirit. This unworthy belittling is the precise opposite of what pleases God, or what Christ exemplified.
It is nothing to the purpose that when Paul spoke to the elders in Acts 20, the New Testament was not yet written. Those whom God inspired to write it in due time communicated in the Spirit the same truth from Pentecost which was afterward written by the same Spirit. If we have not the living apostles and prophets, faith is beyond expression grateful for the written word. This, even in a partial shape, our Lord teaches us to set before His oral testimony because of its divinely given permanency: “If ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe My words?” It is all the more sad that such thankless unbelief should emanate from companions of men of God conspicuous for Bible love and scriptural intelligence and self-sacrificing devotedness beyond any of whom we read since post-apostolic times. O how fallen, fallen, such followers!
Let two remarks on the address suffice. “Those who minded earthly things” does not mean the grossness of “unsubdued flesh” (404), but rather flesh religious, seeking its own things, without living association with Christ on high. Alas! it is and has been ever since the religion of the day. They are enemies, not exactly of Christ, but of His cross. It is a fair show in the flesh, not its corrupt or violent working.
Equally 1 John 3:2 is turned upside down. “It is not that I see Him to be like Him, but I am made like Him in order that I might see Him” (408). Faithful to his mission F.E.R. seems to have no pleasure so prized, or so frequent, as contradicting scripture. The apostle says just the reverse. “We shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is.” To be made like Him first is to have no cause, or at least not the divinely assigned cause for it. What fatality and perversity of contradicting scripture!

F.E.R. Heterodox on the Person of the Christ

IN F.E.R.'s Notes of Readings in America little said on the Person of Christ demands animadversion: But as deep unsoundness thereon has elsewhere appeared, tainting all else as it must, a brief notice is here given.
Like B.W.N. he does not deny the true deity or the perfect humanity of Christ. But the mind of man readily overthrows the truth of His Person otherwise. So Mr. N. did by his teaching that distance in Christ's relation to God was involved in His birth of woman. Still more boldly does F.E.R. assail the common faith of God's elect. This he knows quite well; for he denies that its truth “consists in the union in Him of God and Man.” I am content to denounce his own form of denial as a lie against the truth. He has trusted his mind in trying to explain the very point of the Son's inscrutability. The question is not simply of the divine and eternal personality of the Word, but of Him incarnate. The truth no less clearly revealed is that He became flesh, Christ Jesus Man henceforward, as surely as also God from everlasting to everlasting.
It is to the unity of the two natures in His Person that he objects, and in very revolting and contemptuous terms, where reverence and self-distrust were pre-eminently called for. Yet he knew that he was not only opposing but striving to put shame on the confession of every saint who has written on it, as far as is known through all the church of God, to say nothing of every teacher esteemed among Brethren. Here are his words (7 Dec. 1893)— “Where the idea of unity of a person is got from I know not. It seems to me perfect nonsense. The idea of person does not bring in the thought of either parts or unity. A person is that person in every variety of relations he may enter. No one would accuse me of dividing the person of the Queen because I said that in her home life she was seen distinct and apart from what she is as Queen. It is two totally distinct ideas coalesced in one person, but which can be separately presented and apprehended.”
Now who does not know that a person among men consists of both parts and unity? There are spirit and soul and body; and yet they constitute the person. There may be temporary dissolution of the outer tie by death; there will surely be their unity in one person for eternity. But for the true believer Christ's Person is distinguished from every other by the infinite fact of God and man united thus. These are in Him forever indissoluble, though no saint doubts that He is Son of God and Son of man. Whatever His profound emotion in spirit, whatever the conflict when He prayed more earnestly, and His sweat became as great drops of blood, that Man was inseparably God; and as from His conception, so fully in His death and resurrection. Thus had His every word, work, thought, and suffering divine value. It is not the Son alone, but “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to-day, and forever.” The man Christ Jesus is not only the one Mediator, but the true God and eternal life; the sent Servant, and the “I am"; Christ of the fathers as according to flesh, yet He that is over all, God blessed for evermore. Amen.
Deny the unity of His person, of the Word become flesh; and all the truth of His life and death dissolves, His atoning work thus being utterly subverted; on which depends not only man's salvation, the reconciling of the creature, and the new heavens and earth, but the moral glory of God in view of sin, His counsels of grace as to Christ and the church, and His triumphant rest in men for all eternity. Think of the Queen or any other human being adduced to solve the great mystery of godliness! What have various relations or differing conditions to do with the divine and the human united in one sole Person, the Christ of God, the knot which man's wicked wit and will dare to judge, and essay to untie to his own destruction? Truly “fools rush in where angels fear to tread,” where saints love to believe, prostrate themselves, and adore. To F.E.R. IT SEEMS PERFECT NONSENSE!
Brethren, have you ever heard of a Christian who did not thus confess Christ? Hare is one called a brother, and claiming to teach, who utters his scornful unbelief of Christ's Person in terms which must have insured his expulsion with horror from all fellowship of saints in former days. Who has a doubt that then it would have raised an impassable barrier? Only of the Lord Jesus could such a unity be predicated, for in Him alone were the two natures forever united. F.E.R. talks of the Queen! and “two totally different ideas coalesced in one person!” Yes, it is not truth, but “ideas” for F.E.R. Is this to “abide in the doctrine of the Christ”?
It is to join Apollinarius of Antioch (the son). He too made the Logos simply form Christ's Person, as F.E.R. does, and was therefore justly branded as an antichrist; so Nestorius was for dividing the Person; and Eutyches for confusing it: all of them, strict Trinitarians. For if the Logos had not been united to the soul as to spirit and body in the Christ, Christ was not and is not very Man as well as very God. Without that union there must have been two distinct personalities, the divine and the human. It is the union of both in one Person which alone secures the truth according to scripture. F.E.R. with shameless self-confidence vaunts his idea, which is plain heterodoxy. He does not “bring the doctrine” of Christ. The Son did not change His Person, but took up manhood into unity, and this in soul as in body.
In some such way deadly false doctrine befalls such as venture to pry into what is only known to the Father and immeasurably above man's ken. The Apollinarian heterodoxy prevails largely at present; as the error which led to it is a relic of heathen philosophy, accepted by early Fathers such as Clement of Alexandria, and exceedingly common among “thinkers” now as at all times. It pervades Franz Delitzsch's Psychology and its English analogue, The Tripartite Nature of Man. They (and F.E.R. follows them) make the self-conscious “I” or individuality to reside in man's spirit. But scripture abundantly proves its seat to be in the soul. The spirit is inner capacity as to which man is responsible to God; but the soul is that in which he is so; and the body is the outer vessel which displays the result, whether by grace for God's will or by self-will in Satan's service. To the soul belongs the working of the will, and now also since the fall the instinctive knowledge of good and evil; so that one is enticed into fleshly lusts which degrade man, as well as into reasonings of the spirit and every high thing that lifts itself up against the knowledge of God. Hence we read of soul-salvation or “salvation of souls.”
The error falsifies the truth in human things and yet more in divine. F.E.R. has fallen into Satan's trap in the most solemn of all truths through morbid self-confidence, and the mania of correcting every body by the standard of his fanciful ideas. He has imagined for the Christ a being, Who, if God, is certainly not complete man. For in his theory the soul does not enter Christ's personality which is exclusively the Logos. Thus he bans that unity of the two natures which every saint hitherto confessed to be in Christ's Person. He was already wrong as to man's person; for like the philosophers he follows the error of the heathen, and ignores the teaching of scripture which points to “the soul” by many plain and irrefragable proofs. But the awful weight of the falsehood lies in his audacious rising up against faith's mystery of Him Who was manifested in flesh (the body prepared for God's Son), not taken up as a condition but united with Himself indivisibly to all eternity for God's work, ways, and counsels. If we rightly say condition, it is that of humanity sustained by Deity in the Person of the Christ.
Beyond doubt the union of God and man in one Person is the wondrous and unfathomable One revealed, not for our comprehension, but for unquestioning faith, love, and honor as we honor the Father. He is thus at once the weary man and the only-begotten Son that is (not “was” merely) in the Father's bosom; the Son of man here below that is in heaven, and the “I am” on earth threatened by the Jews with stoning because He told them the truth. He must have been the Logos to have been what He was here as man. His soul was united to the Logos: else the Person had been doubled or severed, and He could not be true and complete man. He cried, Let this cup pass from me; nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt. There was His holy will; and it was right to lay it before His Father, but in entire submissiveness to His will and glory; of which none but a divine Person was capable. It was not therefore the Logos superseding the spirit, still less the soul, but perfectly associated with the soul in His one Person. He was true man and true God in the same indivisible Person. In Him dwelt and dwells the fullness of the Godhead bodily.
Yet it is deep pain to feel compelled to speak out plainly, on such a theme not only before others liable to stumble, but in the sense of one's own danger of offending against God's word in defense of what is dearer than life, and far beyond man's thought. Indeed some may be surprised to learn that it was most distasteful to say anything more. A warning I did give in 1890, and a brief leaflet, when the Weston-super-mare Notes disclosed the impious libel against the Lord, that, “Becoming a man, He becomes the Logos.” Many hoped that it might be but a slip; but if so, why was it not confessed in sackcloth and ashes? Understanding that it has been defended since, what must one fear? At any rate when the volume unasked for was sent me, not a page was read for years. At length having dipt into it, I perceived an astounding progress of unabashed evil. Even then I intended no more than a short paper on “Life Eternal,” and another on its denial as a present gift. As one read on, it seemed a duty to expose unsparingly the system of error in general. This may account for a lack of due order through enlarging the original design.

Scripture Queries and Answers: Sheol

Q.-How are we to understand Sheol in the O. T. as in Jonah 2:2? also Num. 16:33? If a place of punishment, how is it in Psa. 16:10?—Earnest Inquirer.
A.-There is vagueness as to the unseen in the O.T. The gospel only has brought to light life and incorruption. But we never do find Sheol or Hades associated with joy or blessing like Abraham's bosom or paradise. Consistently therewith Psa. 16:10 teaches that Jehovah would not leave Messiah's soul unto Hades, any more than His body to see corruption. To leave in seems the force of neither Hebrew nor Greek in the correct text; and early superstition made much of the error, revived widely in our day. The Revisers are right in Psa. 16:10, wrong in Acts 2:27, 31.

Scripture Queries and Answers: Reconciled to God

Q.-Do Luke 14:17, Rom. 10:9, and 2 Cor. 5:20 refer to the gospel? Do saints need to be reconciled to God? and what is the bearing of Matt. 18:20? J. H. K.
A.-The three texts cited together are unequivocally the glad tidings for those not yet saved, though no doubt in inspired writings addressed to saints. For they need a standard that the message of grace be kept intact and unclogged. The notion that saints, and especially of the church of God, require to be reconciled is an outrage against the truth, and a virtual denial of the gospel. Whoever teaches thus is an impostor. As to the last text, the Lord puts His presence in the midst of those gathered unto His name as the general principle, whether for discipline in ver. 17, binding or loosing in 18, prayer in 19; and in 20 it might be for any legitimate purpose wider still, even if there were but two or three thus gathered to the only true and gracious center.

Scripture Queries and Answers: Greek Words for Eternal

Q.-What is the difference between ἀΐδιος (in Rom. 1:20 and Jude 6) and αἰώνιος, the much more frequent word for “eternal”? The learned authorities seem to have nothing to say. B.
A.-Though both are derived from «el (the latter strengthened, as the Stagirite tells us, by the participle of being, e.;y), the usage of the N. T. helps us to discern. These are the only two inspired occurrences of the former; and they are external, as compared with the deeper associations of the latter. The passage in Romans does not rise above what the natural mind might and ought to know, His invisible things apprehended through the things that are made, both His everlasting power and divinity (not His Godhead properly, which dwelt and dwells in Christ), so as to make them inexcusable if they turn to idols. The second of the two words is applied to the eternal God who reveals Himself in Christ and through the gospel as well as the church, as e.g. in chap. xvi. 26 of the same Epistle. But again the “everlasting chains,” in which He has kept and keeps the apostate angels under gloomy darkness, points to the judicial action of His power, not to His nature or His gracious counsels which befit or require the other word.


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Jacob: 6. Leah and Rachel Again

There is a twofold lesson in these divine sketches, which eludes the erudite unbelief which sits in judgment only to despise, and remains in really self-satisfied ignorance. For they present, to the life, the humbling history of the ancestor of a people destined to be God's possession for the earth by His own choice, spite of these petty ways. They also let us into the secret of that grace in God which rose above all that was immeasurably detestable to His nature in light and love, and even looked on to Him who was to come of this very family, the Christ that is over all, God blessed forever, as truly God as His Father. It may well be doubted if such glorious hopes were then before the two wives, as the pious Bishop Patrick credits them with; but we are assured that such halo as this did faith give to many a Hebrew matron, grounded on the promises to their fathers, and stretching on to Him who should appear to make them all good. Besides, was there not food for reflection in that Moses was inspired to write these things down imperishably for their children throughout ages and generations, too sorrowfully like those from whom they sprang? And for us who come in on their downfall and before their restoration, for us who inherit better blessings as joint-heirs with Him who is glorified in heaven, and is coming to take us into the same glory on high, is there not abundant profit for our souls? The flesh never changes for good: in it good does not dwell. If we live, it is by the faith of the Son of God: and Christ it is, not the old self dead to God, that lives in each Christian.
“And Reuben went out in the days of wheat harvest, and found mandrakes in the field; and he brought them to his mother Leah. And Rachel said to Leah, Give me, I pray thee, of thy son's mandrakes. And she said to her, Is it little that thou hast taken my husband, that thou wilt take my son's mandrakes also? And Rachel said, Therefore he shall lie with thee to-night for thy son's mandrakes. And when Jacob came from the field in the evening, Leah went out to meet him and said, Thou must come in to me, for indeed I have hired thee with my son's mandrakes. And he lay with her that night. And God hearkened to Leah; and she bore Jacob a fifth son. And Leah said, God hath given me my hire, because I gave my bond-maid to my husband; and she called his name Issachar (There is hire). And Leah again conceived, and bore Jacob a sixth son; and Leah said, God hath endowed me with a good dowry; this time will my husband dwell with me, because I have borne him six sons. And she called his name Zebulun (Dwelling). Afterward she bore a daughter and called her name Dinah (Judged). And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb. And she conceived and bore a son, and said, God hath taken away my reproach. And she called his name Joseph (He will add); and said, Jehovah will add to me another son” (vers. 14-24).
No veil is cast over their deplorable unbelief and self-seeking, no excuse for their superstitious trust in the efficacy of love-apples, just like other Syrian women given only to the vanities of the heathen. It is clear that Rachel profited nothing by the child Reuben's discovery; but that God pitied Leah who sought to share her husband's affection, and bore him now a fifth son and a sixth, besides a daughter. But how strangely low Leah's state in regarding Issachar as her hire from God, because she gave her bondmaid to Jacob; and in calling Zebulun from her fond hope that her husband's love would prove abiding. Nor did the daughter's name indicate any higher view, being akin to that of Dan.
Rachel at length, as we read here, becomes the occasion of refreshment for the heart in the considerate tenderness of God's ways; Who, after her long humiliation because of her unworthy self-seeking, was pleased to pity her and give her a son so earnestly desired. Then she said, God hath taken away my reproach; for notwithstanding her lofty bearing she was sensible that she was under chastening. The name she gave her firstborn is striking; for Joseph means He will add. As she said, Jehovah will add to me another. Her faith saw in Joseph the promise of Benjamin. Never before had she reached this level of expectation. For the mouth tells the secret or certainly the abundance of the heart. God—Jehovah—was now before her. Yet how little she knew that Benjamin would be Benoni, of his father's right hand, of his mother's sorrow; for his birth must prove her death. How much better to confide in unfailing love and wisdom than to set the heart on any object!
When Messiah takes up repentant Israel for everlasting joy and blessing under the new covenant in the last days, how will not the children ponder these early annals of their progenitors, so long reproduced in their own history of painful failure under the law How sweet to their hearts to recognize that their blessing and glory, under Him whom alas! they long despised blindly, are all and only of divine mercy.

Priesthood: 32. The Atonement for Flux

It is of great importance and instruction to see how Israel were taught to regard these loathsome experiences according to their relationship with Jehovah. Other nations were occupied with second causes. They were taught that, as God had to do with them in these marks of humiliation, so had they to do with Him. And He condescended to signify His sense of their defiled condition by entering into every little detail of their movements by day and of rest by night, so as to impress them with what sin had brought on the guilty. Their wisdom was to heed these lessons, if strangers to Him despised His word and them also for submission to it.
When the day of Jehovah comes, how will they not rejoice in what grace will give them! Israel will then sing, “Bless Jehovah, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits; Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; Who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; Who crowneth thee with loving kindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things, so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's.” As His earthly people they will enjoy the reversal of their old uncleanness, and infirmities, along with soul blessing and external power. As heavenly, the Christian is called to suffer now, yet knowing himself one spirit with the Lord, and awaiting His coming to be with Him in the mansions of the Father's house, as well as to share His exaltation over all things. The contrast is great: God has provided concerning us some better thing, not only than Israel's millennial place, but even than the elders who receive the promise in that day, though they will be perfected together in that day of blessing on all sides.
“"And when he that hath a flux is cleansed of his flux, then he shall count seven days for his cleansing, and wash his raiment, and bathe his flesh in living water, and he shall be clean. “And on the eighth day he shall take two turtle-doves or two young pigeons, and come before Jehovah unto the entrance of the tent of meeting, and give them unto the priest. “And the priest shall offer them, one as a sin-offering and the other as a burnt offering; and the priest shall make atonement for him before Jehovah for his flux” (vers. 13-15).
Still more distinctly does the recognition of Jehovah rise when the flux ceased. A complete term ensued for his cleansing. His clothes were washed, and his flesh bathed in running water. Thus only did he become truly clean. Then on the eighth day he took an offering, expressly in other cases adapted to the poor in Israel, but here for all alike, when any were to be cleared from this defilement. He took to him two turtle-doves or two young pigeons, and came before Jehovah unto the entrance of the tent of meeting, and gave them to the priest. And the priest was directed to offer them, small as they were with all due reverence, the one as a Sin-offering, and the other as a Burnt-offering. Nor was the offerer to doubt of the issue: the priest shall make atonement for him before Jehovah for his flux.
How fitting that the day of resurrection should be the epoch of deliverance! Thenceforward the defilement was a thing of the past. If we need to feel the days of shame over uncleanness, God would have him who rests on Christ both for his own sin and for Christ's acceptance to enter into the joyful assurance that all is clear. But on the face of the ordinance while we have what typifies the washing of water by the word, which only the Holy Spirit makes effectual by recalling Christ to us, nothing avails without the one great sacrifice. And this is both to efface the evil and to impart full acceptance in all the worth of Christ. What grace is in God to turn what is so humiliating into a deepening sense of what His work secures to faith!

The Day of Atonement: 17. Concluding Remarks

Hence one cannot but feel that the modern fashion of singing the gospel, in an elaborate solo or perhaps a very lively “service of song,” seems singularly unapostolic and a dangerous innovation. The levity of it is most opposed to the whole spirit of the Day of Atonement which suggests the remark. What is the soul being brought to God by the gospel, but the present application of that great Day to such a one? Look at the contrast between the word of God and the prevalent style in our day. Perhaps it may be hitting rather hard some who are near and valued for their work's sake. While wishing to be as far from personality as possible, I yet mean to set aside unsparingly anything which is contrary to God's word; and if brethren complain of not being let alone, surely so much the worse for them. After all it is much better to try all by the word, lest the truth of God be sacrificed to human zeal and popular ways. How will it stand at the latter end? Surely it is a great boon to be delivered from mistake that we may do the will of God.
The history of this word “gladly” really is that it comes from another part of the Acts of the Apostles (21:17). It is a word occurring but this once in the N. T. and rightly applied to receiving beloved servants of the Lord. This curiously illustrates how a word, sometimes a clause, gets occasionally where it ought not. We can understand how brethren who saw the apostle with other servants of the Lord would gladly receive them. One feels how proper this was for men who were at rest and peace with God. But in Acts 2 souls were first brought face to face with their sins, and this in the presence of God. Did not solemnity become them at the most important epoch of their lives? It is not questioned that, whatever may be the difficulties, the result will be joy and peace; but we are speaking now of the process, and of the proper, legitimate, and desirable effect of the word of God in dealing with souls submitting to it and for the first time taking their stand as confessors of Christ as individuals in the light.
Further, one may notice how one part of the scriptures tallies with another. When the Israelites, with the blood sprinkled on their doors, were eating the body of the lamb, was it with the blowing of trumpets or the striking of cymbals? Do not fancy that they did not sing at other times. Only two chapters afterward we find the song of Moses, and of Miriam, &c., with their timbrels. They sang on the Arabian bank of the Red Sea, but we hear of no song when they first celebrated the Paschal night. They ate the body of the lamb “with bitter herbs.” What does this mean? Certainly not “gladly” receiving His word. They did indeed receive His word, but with deep solemnity and self-judgment. It was in the due sense of their sins; and sin is not a matter to sing, smile, or talk lightly about. No wonder that the fruits of the work, on our modern lines, are so unlike apostolic simplicity and depth.
It seems dangerous to invite souls to gladness not merely for the unconverted, but those ostensibly under conviction of sin and in the process of conversion, souls that you seriously charge to receive God's word. Is it not true then that what answers to one type or another, as well as the plain account of scripture, is the need of solemn dealing with the conscience? For one must be inwardly cleared before God, in order that the heart in due time may go out with freedom of affection. Until the soul is set at large by faith in the work of Christ, it is not rightly fitted for sharing the expression of joy. Still less is it advisable to reason or persuade souls into believing prematurely that they are saved. Thus is the conscience injured, as well as the grace of the Lord. It would make internal dealing quite superfluous, and substitute a call to the affections, instead of ministering Christ's work of atonement to the burdened spirit. The proper thing is that the conscience first be awakened and cleared: then the affections have their suited work and expression afterward.
Thus exactly was the way of the Lord with the woman of Samaria, who was at first without self-judgment. Christ knew that she had no husband, and by His word her sin was laid upon her conscience, and in this way she was truly brought before God. It was the same with the prodigal. There was no gladness till after he met his father, though enough hope in his mercy to draw him on. Not that there was not misery, but conscience was made to work within him. Therefore it may be fittingly pressed, as an urgent duty, that care be taken, not only in preaching but in the service one sanctions, that there be no departure from the plainly revealed will of God. It is for Christians to carry truth out, not merely in this or in that, but in everything. With the atonement God's word insists on the afflicting of the soul. Not that doubt or distrust can be ever right or tolerable. Anything of the kind differs wholly from humiliation before God. To cherish questions or fears is rather to hinder than to help on the afflicting of the soul, which should surely be real; and of this there can scarce be too much where the heart is looking to Christ and His atonement. The more this is rested on, the more can you praise God for the truth which humbles, and for His grace in that precious blood which cleanses from all sin. The name of Jesus for saving the soul ill consorts with levity of spirit or fleshly excitement; and the expression of joy does not surely befit the moment when God is bringing His all-searching word to bear on the heart as well as the life in His sight.
But this is not all. There was another thing which was particularly bound up with the Day of Atonement: not only “ye shall afflict your souls,” put also “do no work at all.” Is not this injunction remarkable at such a time? It was not a question whether it was the usual sabbath or not. The Day of Atonement peremptorily excluded man's works in that connection. It is impossible to deny that work is a most weighty part of a Christian's duty. Our Lord was always doing the work that the Father gave Him to do; as every Christian is called to do the good works which God afore prepared that he should walk in them. The Christian is not made to be only a meditative being with heart and mind pondering the truth. This is all-important in its place; but he is called to dependence yet diligence, to obedience and even energy in serving the Lord. But the energy should always follow the meditation. Let the activity flow out of that which passes between himself and God. It is a dangerous thing, when God is showing the evil of sin and His atonement by Christ for all who believe Him to turn aside into merriness of heart. The soul at such a moment should be afflicted, instead of being transported by music and singing, by a solo, or a choir, or any form whatever of exhilaration.
When one can rest in faith, rejoicing cannot but be. The singing of saints is quite another matter. What more proper when filled with the Spirit than to speak to one another in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs? This wholly differs from introducing music to soothe or stimulate; the soul whom the Spirit would exercise in self-judgment. Among happy saints it is a question perfectly settled: the outbursts of thanksgiving and praise may well fill up the ordinary life of the Christian. But the first injunction to which God calls in the presence of the Day of Atonement is grief of heart because of our sins, though God is covering them with the blood of propitiation.
Connected with this is this second call to no work of man on that day. Had our works been as good as alas we had to own them bad, how suitable for us to rest before the infinite work of the Savior in atoning for sinners! “Lo, I come, to do Thy will, O God.” “By which will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” What has God's will not done? In the perfection of His sacrifice it has not only blotted out our sins, but set us apart to God as a settled fact. Sacrifice and offering, holocaust and sacrifice for sin, are all swallowed up in that one offering. By one offering He has perfected forever them that are sanctified. What more is needed by man? What more could God do rightly for us in our present pilgrimage on earth? Therefore, as the just mark of recognizing that it was all His work, unmixed with anything on our part, His people, and even the stranger sojourning among them, were forbidden all manner of work on that day. “It is a sabbath of solemn rest among you, and ye shall afflict your souls; it is a sabbath forever” (ver. 31). No levity of heart on the one hand, and on the other no presumptuous adding of their works to the great atoning work which was then wrought and made known to the people of God.
Look at the apostle Paul. There we have a man who afflicted his soul, and eschewed all merit on his part, though found blameless as to righteousness that is in law. His was a case of deeply wrought conversion; he was so, absorbed that he neither ate nor drank for three days and nights; so filled was he with the sense of utter sinfulness as well as with the truth of God's atonement in Christ. Blinded with excess of light, he had no room for another person or other works. Self was profoundly judged. He was completely shut up to Christ's glorious Person and the triumph of grace reigning through righteousness, which God had revealed to his once proud but now afflicted soul.
It is allowed that conversion may be real where every trait is feebler. The jailor in the prison at Philippi was one who soon emerged from his overwhelming horror after he received the Lord Jesus. We may hope he got well through the perils of the wilderness, and have no reason to doubt it. But still his was a case very different from the apostle's; and it is not hard to discern a considerable difference in the way in which people are brought to God, as a general rule. There was affliction, but ere long rejoicing on the jailor's part and his whole house. Not that he did not truly repent, for we may be sure he did. In every true case there is the afflicting of the soul; but if there be not a deep searching of heart, the affliction soon passes. Ordinarily the heart rebounds, and one gets ere long occupied far more with the joy of the good things grace has given. A deeper self-judgment casts one on Christ, yet more than on the deliverance from evil, however truly this may be felt before God.
Passingly we may notice that some are charged with not enough valuing the Old Testament; but assuredly this can scarcely apply to such as give it the importance we here claim and enforce. We believe it to be of God, no less divinely inspired than the New. It is true you have in the Levitical institutions only the shadows, but also most instructive dealings of God, promises, and prophecies, besides examples for good and warnings of evil, all fruitful indeed. You cannot safely and profitably read Exodus or Leviticus without the full light of the New Testament; but the believer accepts the word as a whole. The sacred letters (2 Tim. 3:15) throughout were written by the Holy Ghost. Thankfully, humbly, one accepts all as good for teaching, for conviction, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, as also for comfort and admonition. So what has been brought before us at this time is not without holy and serious import, as in an important way it bears on the habits growing up during this degenerate day in Christendom.

Proverbs 15:26-33

Outward as was the life of an Israelite compared with that of a Christian, which had its first pattern and fullness in Christ Himself, God did not leave His people without the light of deeper things. So we find here in the first maxim, and not less may we discern elsewhere on fitting occasion.
“Evil thoughts [or, devices are] an abomination to Jehovah; but pure words [are] pleasant.
He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house; but he that hateth gifts shall live.
The heart of the righteous studieth to answer; but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things.
Jehovah [is] far from the wicked; but he heareth the prayer of the righteous.
That which enlighteneth the eyes rejoiceth the heart; good tidings make the bones fat.
The ear that heareth the reproof of life shall abide among the wise.
He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul; but he that heareth reproof getteth heart [or, sense].
The fear of Jehovah [is] the instruction of wisdom; and before honor [goeth] humility” (vers. 26-33).
It is sad enough when evil appears, and we cannot but recognize it. But evil thoughts without a ground for them are the deepest offense to Him before Whom all is manifest, and Who would have His people simple concerning it, and confiding in Himself. Pure words contrariwise are pleasant not to Him only but to all save the wicked.
Greed of gain troubles every one with whom it comes in contact, and especially those nearest him that indulges it, his own house. He that hates gifts, instead of looking out for them, has chosen the good part. It is the path of faith, pleases God, and awaits another, a better, day.
Our answers need divine wisdom, for around us is an evil world; and neither Law, Psalms, nor Prophets failed to warn of a nature prone to evil, though only the gospel pronounces us lost. Hence the need for the righteous that the heart should study to answer, lest a wrong or deceitful word should provoke a hasty word or elicit no better. Where fear of God controls not, from the mouth of the wicked flows a stream of evil things.
As the wicked has no thought of Jehovah, so is He far from such; but how precious and sure is His ear in listening to the prayers of the righteous!
Even before as well as after this, how much, how constantly, He supplies words of goodness to cheer and guide! Thus are the eyes enlightened from above and the heart rejoiced: good tidings make the bones fat, as is said here, without any counterpart of evil to warn.
And so it is in the next adage. Very great is the blessing to the love that welcomes, instead of disdaining, the reproof of life; it ensures abiding among the wise. Otherwise it is an easy thing to turn, and turn again, to folly.
On the other hand, great is the danger and the sin of refusing instruction; but he that hears it even in the painful form of reproof acquires heart, which is surely better than silver and gold.
Then the fear of Jehovah is the instruction of wisdom. What can exceed or equal its gain? With it goes humility, and from it honor; as we read in the instructive trial of Job who had to unlearn every good thought of himself, and in the humiliation of his friends who trusted in their evil thoughts, based on appearances, and unrighteous. Thus let him that glories glory in the Lord.

Garments White and Head Anointed

We take these words spiritually, as an exhortation to personal holiness, and to personal joy. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness but unto holiness (1 Thess. 4:7). Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord (Heb. 12:14). They are not for such as are yet in their sins of scarlet and crimson (Isa. 1:18), but for those who, once in that guilty condition, have accepted the invitation there given, and are now white as snow. They have heard the Savior's voice (Matt. 11:28), and have laid their heavy burden down, “down at Jesus' feet,” and now rest in Him by faith through His all-atoning work. “And such were some of you; but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor. 6:11). For both He that sanctifieth, and they who are sanctified, are all of one; for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren (Heb. 2:11).
The great apostle says, For to me to live is Christ (Phil. 1:21). Alas! the inconsistency of many professing Christians has been since his day a cause of scorn and stumbling. Those outside read our daily lives, and are influenced more thereby than by what we say. The apostle could always point to himself: take an example among others from Phil. 4:9, Those things, which ye hath both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do; and the God of peace shall be with you. Weak as we are, by continually looking to Jesus, we may be strong. “My grace is sufficient.” Otherwise we walk as men, careless, thoughtless, watchless, prayerless, selfish, and worldly. Thus we defile our garments. Like “little children weak,” we often fall down. Is it not so? “And let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed, lest he fall.”
May the desire of all God's children then be for garments always white. White is an emblem of purity. Pure religion, and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, to keep himself unspotted from the world (James 1:27). Let us hate even the garment spotted by the flesh (Jude 23). Spots are plain on a white garment. Hence the Lord counsels us “to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment that thou mayest be clothed” (Rev. 3:18). Blessed is he that watcheth and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame (Rev. 16:15).
Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to Thy word (Psa. 119:9).
The Lord not only washed all believers from their sins in His blood (Rev. 1:5), but He lives for us as our High Priest on high where He is also Advocate for one, if he sin. In John 13 we see Him rising from supper laying aside His garments, taking the towel and the basin, girding Himself, and washing the disciples' feet. What an act of humility and condescension on His part! But this is not all: “Know ye what I have done unto you?” His prayer to the Father was, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” “And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth” (John 17:17-19). He that is washed (or bathed) needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit. Washed from our sins in His blood once for all, we continually need the word applied by the Spirit to our walk and ways. For Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that He might present the church to Himself glorious, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish (Eph. 5:25-27). By the Holy Ghost He brings home to every attentive believer His word, whereby we are led to confess the sins of our walk, when we fail in communion; and we obtain forgiveness of God our Father in His government of our souls day by day (Matt. 6:15, John 15:2, 1 Peter 1:17). So 1 John 1:9 is good for both saint and sinner. “Little children, these things write I unto you that ye sin not. And if any one sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the whole world” (1 John 2:1, 2). Let thy garments be always white.
II. Let thy head lack no ointment.
Ointment, or oil, in the O. T. is typical of the Holy Ghost in the New. Kings and priests were anointed with oil: both are fulfilled in Christ. Such is the order in the N. T.: first quickening, then salvation, and with it the sealing and indwelling of the Holy Ghost. “After that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise” (Eph. 1:13). “Ye also as living stones are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ “; yea more “Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation” (1 Peter 2:5-9). What true and constant cause for holy joy! Even in fasting the Lord says, Thou, when thou fastest, anoint thy head, and wash thy face etc. (Matt. 6:16).
Salvation then through the accepted work of our Lord Jesus Christ is meant to fill us with joy from above. “For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” For how long? Is it less settled and lasting than for restored Israel in the coming day? “And the work of righteousness shall be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness, and assurance forever.” “These things I speak in the world, that they (His own) might have my joy fulfilled in themselves” (John 17:13). Was it for the apostles only to enjoy? The last was given to say to God's family, “these things write we unto you that your joy may be full” (1 John 1:4); as another had written long before when a prisoner in Rome, “Rejoice in the Lord alway, and again I say Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be not anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:4-7).
Let thy garments be always white for His sake.
Let thy head lack no oil for our own portion in His grace.
May God bless these words of His more fully to the writer, and to all readers. T.

Grace in the Wilderness

Jer. 31:2
We are all familiar with the third verse of Jer. 31 with its precious assurance of the everlasting love of our God, but is there not a wonderful depth of meaning in the preceding verse, which will well repay searching out in our small measure?
“Thus saith Jehovah, The people left of the sword found grace in the wilderness: even Israel, when I went to cause him to rest.”
In that night of terror when Jehovah passed through the land of Egypt to smite the first-born of the Egyptians, His own people were spared on account of the blood of the lamb sprinkled on their doorposts. “When I see the blood, I will pass over you” was Jehovah's promise and the sword of the destroyer was not allowed to fall upon one of them: the weakest and the worst were as safe as the strongest and the best, because they were under the shelter of the blood which typified that of the “Lamb without blemish and without spot.”
They were a “people left of the sword” of divine judgment.
Again, when Jehovah had led them out of the house of bondage, and brought them to the shore of the Red Sea, and when, on looking back, they saw the host of Pharaoh behind them, and cried out in faithless fear, He did not forsake them. He divided the sea before them, so that its dreaded waters were “a wall unto them,” and they marched through dryshod. Their enemies were overwhelmed in the depths of the sea; but God's people stood on the further shore, and sung a song of deliverance. Pharaoh in his arrogance had boasted, “I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them,” yet the same God, Who had saved them from the sword of divine judgment, saved them also from that of the enemy.
But the wilderness lay before them now. One phase of God's dealings with His people was ended: they were “left of the sword “; they were “saved” (Ex. 14:30); but what about their future? Would He leave them to their own resources now that He had delivered them from judgment and from the power of the enemy? Alas, for Israel, if He had done so! No, praised be His name!” The people that were left of the sword found grace in the wilderness.” Moses tells us that “He (Jehovah) found him (Jacob) in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness” (Deut. 32:10). What was to become of poor Jacob there (for it is by the name of weak and erring Jacob that he is called in this connection, not by the princely name of Israel)? Jehovah had planted Jacob on the resurrection side of death and judgment, but He had not forgotten that he had the wilderness to go through with its trials and its needs; and accordingly “He found him there.” As the blessed Savior in a later day “found” the man whom He had healed of his blindness, and revealed Himself to him, thus meeting his spiritual as well as his bodily need, so Jehovah “found” the people whom He had delivered, and proved Himself to be sufficient for their every need till they reached the promised rest. We read that, having found Jacob in the desert land, “He led (or, compassed) him about, He instructed him, He kept him as the apple of His eye.”
O what grace did not God's people find in the wilderness! Psa. 105, which tells of His mighty deeds in delivering them from their enemies, tells also how in the wilderness “the people asked, and he brought quails, and satisfied them with the bread of heaven. He opened the rock, and the waters gushed out; they ran in dry places like a river.”
Until they so readily took upon themselves the responsibilities of law-keeping, Jehovah dealt with them in pure grace. They murmured at Marah, when the water was bitter; in the wilderness of Sin they longed for the bread and the flesh-pots of Egypt; and at Rephidim also, when they had no water, He gave it out of the smitten rock, but passed over the disobedience of such as went to gather manna in vain on the sabbath.
In each case He satisfied their desires, reproving them indeed, but inflicting not the slightest punishment, rebellious though their conduct had been. After the law was given, there was a change in His dealings with them. Manna and quails and water were given as before in response to their complaints; but Jehovah manifested His displeasure by fire and plagues and fiery serpents, which destroyed their thousands. Psa. 106 tells us that God “gave them their request, but sent leanness into their souls,” and Psa. 78 that “Jehovah heard this (i.e. their murmurings), and was wroth; so a fire was kindled against Jacob, and anger also came up against Israel “; also that, “while their meat was yet in their mouths, the wrath of God came upon them, and slew the fattest of them, and smote down the chosen men of Israel.”
Still grace was mixed with law (as shown in Ex. 34:6, 7, and elsewhere), or not one of them could have entered the promised land. Surely Joshua and Caleb, the only two of the older generation who attained the goal of their journeyings, would gladly have owned that, though the former was the faithful leader of the armies of Jehovah, and the latter could truthfully speak of having “wholly followed Jehovah his God,” yet but for His sustaining and pardoning grace, they must have fallen in the wilderness like the rest.
And so it was a tale of grace from first to last: grace that delivered them from the sword, grace that sustained them in the wilderness, and grace that brought them safely into the promised rest at the end. For though they had plenty of hard fighting to do before they could settle down in the land of their inheritance, it was, after all, not their own efforts, but the grace of their God that brought them into rest: “When I went to cause him to rest,” and “Jehovah gave them rest round about” (Josh. 21:44).
Are not the three beautiful statements of our verse true of us also, and in a still more blessed way than of Israel? Our past, present, and future are all covered by the same unbounded, matchless, grace.
We have indeed been “left of the sword.” Grace has delivered us from the power of Satan, and from all fear of judgment to come, so that we can triumphantly sing:
“There is no condemnation,
There is no hell for me:
The torment and the fire
These eyes shall never see.”
Praise God that our souls are saved once and forever! And the rest lies before us, “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.” When our beloved Lord and Savior comes to take us home to Himself, then we shall be saved completely, body as well as soul, and conformed to His own glorious image.
But meanwhile there is the wilderness. God might have taken us home to the promised rest as soon as He had saved our souls, but He has not seen fit to do so. Meanwhile He is saving us all the journey through, our great High Priest being “able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Heb. 7:25).
Do we not indeed “find grace in the wilderness” —grace for seasonable help. It is not grace mixed with law, as in Israel's wanderings from Sinai onward; “for ye are not under law, but under grace” (Rom. 6:14). It far transcends even the grace shown to Israel before the law was given; for it is grace founded upon that infinite Sacrifice of which the paschal lamb was but a feeble type.
Grace first provided the Sacrifice (foreknown before the world's foundation); and now in consequence of that Sacrifice, it can freely flow out to the vilest of sinners and the most needy of saints. It is grace too ensured to us by relationship; for “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God” (1 John 3:1). Surely as “children” we can the more count upon grace for every step of the way till we reach our Father's house.
The path is often steep and rugged, and the desert sands hard to plod through; but do not let us be tempted to leave them for a smoother path and pleasant lawns. It is “in the wilderness” we shall “find grace “; it is not promised us for “Bypath Meadow.” There are resources in our God to meet every difficulty. Nay, the greater the trial the greater the grace ready for us. “He giveth more grace” or, as the margin of the R.V. reads, “a greater grace” (James 4:6).
“In the desert God will teach thee
What the God Whom thou hast found,
Patient, gracious, powerful, holy;
All His grace shall there abound.”

Gospel Words: Thy Father in Secret

Here is a Christian principle, which our Lord puts in contrast with acting so as to be seen. What so suited to exercise and strengthen faith day by day, or to guard from that hypocrisy to which man is prone?
He first lays down the general principle, it would seem, in verse 1, and then applies it to alms in 2-4; to prayer in 5-15; and lastly to fasting in 16-18. Some ancients and moderns have been disposed to regard “righteousness” in verse 1, as equivalent to “alms,” as Rabbis and others were prone to do. But the better text and sense point to retaining the inclusive term “righteousness” in verse 1, under which fall the three duties that follow. For if applied there to “alms,” it is hard to conceive why the proper term for “alms” should be given in 2, 3, and 4. The different word in verse 1 points to the more comprehensive sense of “righteousness” or consistency in practice with our relationship. This is then shown to embrace three varied forms in which the disciple is called to do the Father's will in the pious course of life here below. Dan. 4:27 distinguishes mercy to the poor from righteousness; and I am not aware of any confusion of the two in scripture.
Verse 1 calls the disciple to righteousness surpassing that of the scribes and Pharisees, without which none can enter into the Kingdom of the heavens. “Take heed that ye do not your righteousness before men to be seen of them; otherwise ye have no reward with your Father that is in the heavens.” Here is the large principle for Christian practice. Knowing Him as Christ has revealed Him to us, all acceptable service refers to Him. He is a living and true God whom we serve, and He refuses to share His glory with others. We walk by faith, not by sight. Can anything be more opposite to the ways of Christendom?
1. “When therefore thou doest alms, sound not a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be glorified by men: Verily I say to you, They do get their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right doeth, that thine alms may be in secret, and thy Father that seeth in secret will repay to thee” (2-4). If men walk in a vain show religiously quite as much as in the world, the Lord calls His own to shun publicity, and not merely this, but in His vigorous figure, that our own left hand may not know what the right does. The simple and essential aim is to do what we do to Him and His glory.
2. So it is with the prayer here enjoined. “And when ye pray, ye shall not be as the hypocrites; for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they should appear to men. Verily I say to you, They do get their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy chamber, and having shut thy door, pray to thy Father that is in secret, and thy Father that seeth in secret will repay to thee. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions as those of the nations; for they think they shall be heard through their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like them; for your Father knoweth of what things ye have need before ye beg of him.... For if ye forgive men their offenses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you [yours]; but if ye forgive not men their offenses, neither will your Father forgive your offenses” (5-15).
Here the same show before men in prayer is reprehended; nor this only, but the heathen folly of vain repetitions, and of much speaking. Lastly the Lord warns that an unforgiving spirit cannot hope to have its own offenses forgiven.
3. “And when ye fast, be not as the hypocrites, downcast in countenance; for they disfigure their faces that they may appear fasting to men. Verily I say to you, They do get their reward. But thou, when fasting, anoint thy head and wash thy face, that thou mayest not appear fasting to men, but to thy Father that is in secret; and thy Father that seeth in secret shalt repay thee” (16-18).
In fasting there is even more sedulous care to guard from any display of that self-humiliation before God which forms so great a part of it. The Lord would form in His own a spirit of living faith in having to do with their Father. Fasting is for His eyes, just like their prayer and their alms. Faith in Him that is in secret is thus in each way exercised. What a contrast with all that hitherto characterized a Jew!

1 Peter 3:5-6

Thus the apostle cites examples; and this from the earliest days of dealing with the called out pilgrims, which would have great weight with the Christian remnant of Jews.
Exhortation had been already given against all vanity and worldly show, but with due care that the outward apparel should express “the hidden man of the heart.” No doubt the open man of his house, the predominant partner, might enjoin and be entitled to her wearing jewels or other costly array in his sphere. But here women do not usually need a husband's command. Here the word is for their own conscience. For it is not only that God, in contrast with man, looks on the heart: His wondrous light into which He called us gives the Christian woman the highest standard, and thereby enables her by grace to judge all inconsistencies in the incorruptibility of a meek and quiet spirit. This, however foreign to human nature, would not be lost even on a hard and exacting husband, Jew or Greek; for such might be the lot of those addressed, and of course the former most frequently, either of them on the watch too often to spy the faults of a Christian. But under any circumstances such a lowly spirit, seen in all its perfection in Christ, is of much price in the sight of God; and this is of all things most consolatory to the tried if faithful.
Changes many and great have passed over the world. But this fidelity led in olden days when Israel's great progenitors dwelt in tents. Yet Sarah knew to her husband's shame that her beauty commended her to a court and a King's palace for a while, and royal gifts were lavished on him whose selfish fear exposed her to dishonor but for their Almighty protector. But thus aforetime also the holy women adorned themselves as became those whose hope was in God, instead of following the fashion of the world that fleets away. Sarah is singled out as obedient to Abraham, and paying him marked honor, notwithstanding the familiarity of wedded life, which too often has a contrary effect. This example is here set impressively before Christian wives.
But the terms employed are notable: “Whose children ye became, doing good and not being afraid of any dismay.” They were far from this in their unrenewed state. The Lord Jesus does not find, but makes, us what pleases God. Selfwill reigns in those afar from Him, with ready resentment of all wrongs that may be inflicted, and submission induced through fear, self-interest, or amiability at best. What a change is wrought by the faith of God's grace in Christ! Sanctification of the Spirit, setting apart to God in a new life now given, effects obedience, not legal but after the pattern of Jesus, and faith in the sprinkling of His blood. Thus did those Jewish matrons become Sarah's children in obeying and honoring, each her own husband. It was a divine duty imprinted on the heart by their Savior. Becoming Christians, they became Sarah's children in deed and in truth. They were not merely lineal descendants, like the unbelieving Jews whom the Lord in John 8 reproached as being Abraham's seed, not his children; else they would do the works of Abraham. They became Sarah's children, “doing good and not afraid of any dismay.” On this side is woman apt to be weak.
Is there a gentle hint here of the occasion when Sarah laughed incredulously, as she covertly heard Jehovah promise she should have a son (Gen. 18:10-15)? How graciously the Spirit speaks openly of her comely bearing at that same time toward her husband! Yet did He not spare her then, when she even denied her derision. Here He only records her good conduct, and calls her children to remember it: “doing good and being not afraid with any alarm,” as frequent a cause as any other of untruth. For sudden perturbation of any kind is unfaithfulness in women professing godliness. Failing in dependence on God and communion, they fear to own the truth under such pressure. Is not the caution here given therefore seasonable and salutary?

The Inspiration of the Scriptures: James

Chap. V. Divine Design. 46. the Epistle of James
The peculiarity of the Epistle before us is evident. The address marks it plainly and indelibly, “to the twelve tribes that are in dispersion.” The entire breadth of the chosen people is brought before us, and this in the largest spirit of faith; for in fact there was no such people since the Assyrians executed judgment on the idolatrous ten tribes, first rent away from Rehoboam. Faith did not give it up, as we see in the O. T. when Elijah testified for Jehovah against Baal (1 Kings 18:31; also 2 Chron. 30:1; and Dan. 9:7); and so we see in the apostle Paul (Acts 26:7). Here only it is the direct address of an inspired Epistle. It is expressly far wider than the apostle Peter's word inscribed to the “elect sojourners of the dispersion,” not only because these were limited to a part of Asia Minor, “Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia [proconsular], and Bithynia,” but still more deeply and restrictedly by the spiritual character notified, which excludes all but Christians like those contemplated in the great Epistle to the Hebrews.
Here it is not so, though such as had the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ are distinctly recognized (2:1); and the writer describes himself from the beginning as “bondman of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ” (1:1). But the peculiar condition that still obtained in Jerusalem is here supposed—at any rate till the Epistle to the Hebrews was written. The synagogue was frequented as yet (2:2), and the haughty bearing is not overlooked of the rich toward the poor: rich in a faith which they had not. Oppressive themselves were in a worldly sort, nay also disposed to blaspheme the excellent Name that was called on the heirs of the Kingdom.
Hence we see already the plain traces of an unreal profession of faith, which in the apostle John's much later Epistle appears in a yet more solemn guise. But James takes up its earlier shape when faith was becoming a creed, intellectual and traditional. So it naturally would where Christians abounded in close connection with their unbelieving brethren, not only in social but religious life also. For there seemed no such urgent reason to require separation as idolatry necessitated for the Gentile confessors among the heathen.
This goes far to explain the denunciations in chaps. 4, 5. The Epistle from its nature according to its address deals directly with open fleshly and worldly wickedness in a way unexampled among the other apostolic writings. Here it is in keeping with the direction of the writer; which is as singular in the N. T. as the book of Jonah in the Old. Both are exceptional, for the latter has for its object the testimony and mercy of God to a Gentile power in a circle of holy writ pre-eminently if not exclusively occupied with Israel; as the former is God's testimony still to the twelve tribes in a volume which opens and goes through with the incredulous Jews stumbling at the Stumbling-stone, and His message of grace sent meanwhile to the Gentiles who were to hear. Yet the end of the Lord is that He is full of pity and merciful; so that, as Old and New Testaments bear witness, all Israel shall be saved at His purging judgment, and the nations shall rejoice with His people, when the rejected Christ shall arise to rule as Jehovah, King over all the earth, as the like never was, nor shall ever follow, though absolute rest and righteousness will be the worthy result for all eternity.
Chap. 1 after greeting those in view calls them to count it all joy when they fall into various temptations or trials. This presumes faith practically, looks for patience or endurance as the fruit, and exhorts that it have a perfect work, that they might be perfect and complete, lacking in naught. But if any of them lack wisdom, let him. ask of God, who gives to all freely (or, liberally) and upbraids not, as He well might; and it shall be given to him. Hence he is told to ask in faith, as this is due to God, nothing in doubt. For the doubter is like surge of the sea wind-driven and tossed (for let not that man think that he shall receive anything from the Lord), a double-minded man unstable in all his ways (vers. 1-8).
In Christ alone here as everywhere else we see the perfection of patience and of communion with God. Present circumstances are of such small account, that the brother of low degree is to glory in his elevation by grace, and the rich in his humiliation, as passing away like flower of grass. No sooner did the sun rise with its scorching, than it withered the grass, and its flower fell, and the comeliness of its look perished: so also shall the rich fade in his ways. Emphatically therefore is it added, Blessed the man (not that stands high in the world but) that endureth temptation; for, having been proved, he shall receive the crown of life which He promised to those that love Him (9-12). Worldly feeling is in no way spared. We are called by glory and virtue.
Next, we are warned of a wholly different temptation from within. “Let none say when tempted, I am tempted of (or, from) God. For God cannot be tempted by evils, and himself tempteth none. But each is tempted when drawn away and enticed by his own lust; then lust having conceived beareth sin; and sin when completed bringeth death. Err not, my beloved brethren. Every good giving and every perfect gift is from above, cometh down from the Father of lights with whom can be [or, is] no variation nor shadow of turning. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a certain first-fruits of his creatures” (13-18). It is not redemption which is here applied, but the new life by divine and sovereign grace; and suitable practice is demanded earnestly.
Confidence in our Father is inculcated as well as dependence, no less than distrust in self; consistency too as now having by grace a new and divine nature, and watchfulness against our own lusts. Hence the word from 19 to the end of chap. 1. “Ye know [it], my beloved brethren; but let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath, for man's wrath worketh not God's righteousness. Wherefore, putting away all filthiness and abundance of wickedness, receive in meekness the implanted word that is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word and not hearers only, beguiling yourselves: because if one is a word-hearer and not a doer, he is like a man considering his natural [or, birth] face in a mirror; for he considered himself and hath departed and immediately forgot what he was like. But he that looked into the perfect law of liberty and remained there, being not a forgetful hearer but a work-doer, he shall be blessed in his doing. If one think to be religious while not bridling his tongue but deceiving his heart, his religion is vain. Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this, to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, to keep oneself unspotted from the world.”
Who could possibly set forth more plainly truth so clear, pithy, and needed day by day? We want readiness in receiving from God, vigilance against haste of speech and the high spirit, to be consistent with our relationship to Him. Self-judgment greatly helps us to profit by the word which, meekly received, enters in power, and reproduces itself in action. Where it is merely hearing, all is forgotten speedily, instead of being blessed in one's doing. But where by grace the word fixes the heart's heed, it is a perfect law of liberty, and God's will is loved for its own sake and His. The tongue is bridled because it is ours; and its license is just the opposite of pure and undefiled service whether in active care for the sorrow-stricken, orphans and widows, or in true and holy separateness from the world which seeks self and slew the Savior.
Chap. 2 confronts the faith of our Lord—Lord of glory, with respect of persons. A graphic sketch of their synagogue, where the grandee was as honored as the lowly was despised, convicts them of partiality with evil thoughts (1-4). What a contrast between God's choice and promise, and the natural effect of wealth toward God and man (5-7)! The royal law was thus set at naught by such transgressions, yea, the whole law compromised; for whatever may be in this way, thus to offend in one point is to be guilty of all. And the law of liberty (the renewed soul going heartily as he was bidden) is alike right, given to enjoy mercy, while the judging spirit will meet the judgment it measures out (8-13).
This introduces the withering exposure (in 14-26) of faith boasting without moral reality. Such faith condemns a man instead of saving him. In vain are kind words without corresponding ways. If one say, Thou hast faith, and I have works, the answer is, Show me thy faith without works, and I from my works will show thee my faith! Need it be pointed out that Rom. 3-4 expounds how the ungodly is justified before God? Here it is the fruitless confessor condemned before man. The true point is, Show me. The demons believe; but there is no life, only ruin. Faith without works is idle; whereas the cases of Abraham and Rahab were works so truly of faith that without living faith they were evil. For at God's word one was ready to sacrifice his son, the other to betray king and country: faith quickened and transfigured them. From opposite sides, how blessedly the two scriptures agree!
In chap. 3:1-12 is a full warning against speech without dependence on God or His grace; and first in public teaching. “Be not many teachers, my brethren, knowing that we shall receive greater judgment. For we all often offend. If one offend not in word, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body too.” Bits in horses' mouths, rudders of ships, are small but of great power: so yet more with the tongue, more untameable than any animal of land, air, or sea. It is apt to be, not inconsistent only, but hypocritical.
Instead of things so unworthy, the exhortation is to show out of a good course of life one's works in meekness of wisdom, the reverse of bitter emulation and strife with the result of disorder and every other evil. But the wisdom from above (and what else is of moment?) is first pure, then peaceful, gentle, yielding, full of mercy and good fruits, uncontentious, unfeigned. And righteousness's fruit in peace is sown for those that make peace (13-18).
The contrast of wars and fightings is traced in chap. iv. to the self-pleasing and lust of the natural heart, and the corruption which flows from that friendship with the world which is enmity with God. “Think ye that the scripture speaketh in vain? Doth the Spirit that abode in us desire enviously?” Rather “He giveth more grace; wherefore he saith, God setteth himself against haughty ones and giveth grace to lowly.” Submission to God is urged, and resistance of the devil who will flee, but drawing near to God: all as settled things. Then we have the remarkable call to “sinners” for cleansed hands and purified hearts in humiliation before the Lord with true mourning and heaviness for His lifting up (1-10).
Evil-speaking one of another is next (11, 12) reprehended as judging the law and the law-giver; to judge it is not to be its doer, but setting up against God Himself. Like self-will appears in forgetting our entire dependence on God from day to day, and in the affairs of this life (13-17). The simple yet divine motto closes, “To him therefore that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” The law no doubt is generally characterized by what is negative, as Thou shalt not do this or that. Christianity, just as manifestly, by the positive exercise of doing good, the life of God in man. Here it is insisted on.
Chap. 5 brings in the coming of the Lord to warn the rich oppressors, and to comfort the suffering Jewish remnant that believed. The laborer awaiting harvest is made a homily of patience; and the prophets and Job still more (1-11).
Profanity is denounced, prayer prescribed to the evil-entreated, singing to the happy. Again, we see how the elders intervened where any fell under a sickness inflicted governmentally, and the sick one confessed such sins and was forgiven. Indeed the general principle is pressed of confessing one to another (not a word about this to elders even while there); and the value of fervent supplication of which Elijah was so signal an example. We also learn the privilege of restoring those who err from the truth or the right ways of the Lord, leaving it to shallow, hard, and proud men to pique themselves on putting away (12-20).

Scripture Queries and Answers: Matthew 18:20 Translation of Greek

Q.-Matt. 18:20. It has been recently stated that men like Mr. J. N. Darby sought to help out their interpretation [of this scripture] “by a quite unwarrantable change in the translation of the words εἰς τὸ ἐμὸν ὄνομα, which they rendered unto my name, and took to import a gathering to Christ's Name as a rallying point.” Is there any doubt of the right version? or any warrant for so evil an imputation? Μαθητής.
A.-None whatever for either: no true scholar could have weighed the usage and given such an opinion. The evidence is decisively for the change. The aim for opposing it is to set aside the ecclesiastical character of the context, on which the Lord has impressed it so indelibly, that almost all the jarring parties of Christendom recognize that character, though they naturally overlook a word which none of them heeds, and which does mean a living and exclusive center. Its denial is a very bold exegetical error; for any serious inspection of the Lord's words suffices to prove that the ease adduced had passed out of individual dealing to “the church” or assembly (not the synagogue). Then the Lord (18) strengthens this with His solemn averment of heaven's sanction of their binding and loosing (not the keys), and His gracious assurance of His Father's answer to the united petition of even two, Then He closes with the general principle for the worst of times (20) that He is in the midst, where two or three are gathered unto His name. The last promise is an invaluable guard against party work, as well as unbelief and the world. It speaks little to hearts which never had, or have lost, faith in His word or presence.
As to usage, the case in question quite differs from ἐπὶ τῷ ὀν. in ver. 5, where His name is made the motive, condition, or ground for receiving a little child, and εἰς would have been out of place. It is therefore strictly “on,” not “in “; and so in Acts 2:38 Peter bade repentant Jews be baptized, each of them on (ἐπὶ) the name of Jesus Christ for remission of sins; and they should receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. If they had repented, they were already born of the Spirit, as where real is invariably the case. Compare Matt. 24:5, Mark 9:37, 39; 12:6, 9. In Luke 1:5, 9 it shades into “after.” In Acts 10:48 the same Peter commanded the Gentile believers to be baptized in (ἐν) the Lord's name. See Mark 16:17; Luke 10:17; John 5:43 &c. It would have been just as possible and true to have said “on “; but it is not the same thought or expression as in virtue (or, in the power) of His name. In Acts 11:16 Peter speaks of the Holy Spirit's baptism, contrasted with John's, as ἐν Πν. ἁγ in the Holy Spirit, where ἐπὶ, on, would have failed, for ἐν means in the power of the Spirit Himself. In Acts 19:5 as in 8:16 the object proposed in baptism occurs, and here it is neither “in” nor “on,” but “unto,” Eig. The Revisers correct the faulty “in” of the A. V. but say “into” which is refuted by their own rendering of 1 Cor. 10:2 (where “into” would be improper), and by the A. V. of Acts 19:3. The Greek admits of either “unto,” or “into” according to context, which here requires the former. Water baptism does not imply more than “to” or “unto.” It is profession only; and the very aim of the apostle in 1 Cor. 10 is to insist that it might be without life. So in our Lord's commission in Matt. 28:19 it is baptizing “to” or “unto” the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. It was baptism with water, and could not itself carry deeper. But the baptism of the Spirit has quite a different power, and effects incorporation, not “unto” merely as profession, but “into” one body, Christ's body. Dean Alford gave up “in” but argued for “into” invalidly, his views being uncertain here as too often.
In Matt. 10:41, 42 we have indeed the peculiar phrase of receiving a prophet, a righteous man, and a disciple, “unto” (εἰς) each's respective name, or as such. Here it is perhaps hard to avoid in English saying “in the prophet's name “; but it really means as aforesaid, and not what would have been imported by iv, in the power or authority of each, as in Christ's name or even without any preposition as in Matt. 7:22. But Meyer thinks that here “by” Thy name is preferable; and this may well be the just sense of a Greek phrase which differs from the rest, the instrumental dative.
Again, such forms as,ἕνεκν τοῦ or διὰ τὸ (or, ὑπὲρ τοῦ) ὀν. are indisputably “for thy Name's sake,” so that we need not say more.
In the A. V., &o. Phil. 2:10 is, we all know, rendered “at” the name of Jesus, a rendering on which a well known and pervading practice of superstition was founded. The Revisers here say “in” (ἐν). If right, it means as usual in virtue of His name all creatures shall bow.
In 1 Cor. 5:4-13 where putting out for wickedness is laid down peremptorily and perspicuously, it is in (ἐν) the Lord's name that the assembled saints were charged to act. It was ordered of God that the written word should enjoin excommunication, when no apostle was actually there, nor apostolic delegate like Titus, and no elders had yet been appointed. This abides as the inalienable duty, as does the divine warrant for the assembly's act, whenever the sorrowful need calls for this last resort. The Corinthian saints were light in various ways and had shirked or ignored what was due to the Lord, not even mourning that one so guilty should be taken away from them. The apostle insisted on purging the leaven out, in accordance with the sacrifice of Christ our passover; and the Spirit took care that as Christendom would show special disregard of this Epistle, it should be more impressively addressed than in any other, not to that assembly only, but coupling with it “all that call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ in every place, both theirs and ours.” Slight is therefore verily inexcusable.
As a matter of fact too, it was not till long after the Christians referred to had gathered, not as belonging to denominations, but simply as members of Christ, recognizing the one body and one Spirit according to the word, that the precise force of the Lord's word in Matt. 18:20 struck any. Believing in the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit since Pentecost, they had learned the immense value of every inspired word. Tradition had no place in their eyes. Since they accepted every scripture as God-breathed and profitable, they sought entire subjection to it as a living word, while declining either to claim more than they had or to substitute human devices in lieu of what they had not. Any scholar who looks into the text in question must allow that, unless there were an obstacle from our idiom in this particular case, “unto” must be the exact force; for “into” would be absurd, and 4 properly, not εἰς, means “in.” But, far from a difficulty, the context here favors nothing so much as the proper import of εἰς, gathered “unto” My Name as the central presence on which they all depend and confide.
It was thus and only then perceived to be a confirmation of their position, already founded on the revealed principles of God's assembly, modified as this must be by the ruin not less carefully fore-shown in the later Epistles and the Revelation, of which we are bound to take account, if we avoid that assumption which is so unworthy of Christ and so unbecoming in all that are His. How blessed to know that Christ remains as ever the center for even two or three gathered to His Name!
But it was received as certain truth, on the evidence of scripture better understood and independently of any ground other than the precise and full meaning of our Savior's words. Just so for many other truths of moment we have learned since: we acted on the little that we first knew to be from God and of God; for we need the Spirit as well as the word. “To him that hath shall be given; but from him that hath not, even that which he hath shall be taken from him.” Nothing more perilous to man, nothing more dishonoring to God, than to give up what we once confessed and enjoyed as divine. Who can tell where departure once begun may end?

Scripture Queries and Answers: The Crucifixion in Mark and John

Q.-Mark gives for the Crucifixion the 3rd, 6th, and 9th hours of the Jewish day (our 9, 12, and 3); but how then are we to understand the sixth hour in John 19:14, and John 4:6, &c.?—T. H. L.
A.-Clearly in the same way throughout his Gospel, which looks on Jewish things as closed. Hence in ch. 1:39 the tenth hour would mean from the same hour of the morning as we count. In chap. 4:6 it was the usual time for women to draw water, as the seventh hour (52) would be the same time as with us of the preceding evening or possibly morning. So in John 18:28 it was early morn when the mockery of our Lord's trial went on; and no reason forbids Pilate's judging at our 6 a.m. (19:14). The actual 'crucifixion began, after all mockeries and preparations were done (including perhaps the trial of the two robbers) at the 3rd Jewish hour, as Mark (15:25) alone specifies, i.e. our 9 o'clock a.m. of Friday; the supernatural darkness at the 6th Jewish hour, at our 12 or noon; and the Lord died at the 9th Jewish hour and time, or our 3 p.m.
Pliny (H. Nat. ii. 77), Plut. (Quaest. Rom. 84), A. Gell. (Noct. Att. iii. 2), Censor. (de Die Nat. xxiii.), and Macrob. (Saturn. i. 3) clearly prove that the Romans computed the civil day as we do from midnight, and as John did. So Dr. Townson argues for a similar reckoning in Asia Minor. Rev. 1:10 shows a kindred departure from Jewish phraseology.

Fragment on Romans 5:21

Not only was it impossible that God could do anything that “sin” may abound, but if He had said where “the offense” abounded, grace did also abound, it would have confined it to those under the Law. But He was showing the contrary: that Christ's work reached out beyond to Adam's [race] in aspect and efficacy. Grace overrode the whole, though it might be rejected. J.N.D.

Is the Flesh Really Gone?

If they hold this, then indeed it is a mischievous error. I should not have to “reckon,” were I really dead; and the context makes it clear. “Reckon” (Rom. 6:11) is the estimate I form according to faith of my condition and standing, the estimate of my faith, not a statement as to the state I am in; and this is equally true as to “alive.” But the statement here is not that I have life, but that I so account of myself. But when he says, “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body that ye should obey it,” it is a plain testimony that it is not gone, or it would be a very poor conclusion. Besides are other passages, as that “the flesh lusteth against the Spirit,” and that, “if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves.” J. N.D.

Jacob: 7. Jacob and Laban

We need not dwell on the incident that next claims our notice. As the marriage life of Isaac and Rebekah was very different from that of Jacob with his wives and their maids, so does the bearing of Abram toward Lot present a strongly marked contrast with that of Jacob and Laban. We are now in a far more cloudy atmosphere, though in the main Jacob was a faithful servant, and Laban deceitful and selfish. But God is not mocked, even in the day when evil is allowed to work its dark way till judgment return to righteousness.
“And it came to pass when Rachel had borne Joseph, that Jacob said to Laban, Send me away, that I may go to mine own place and to my country. Give [me] my wives for whom I have served thee, and my children, that I may go away, for thou knowest my service which I have served thee. And Laban said to him, I pray thee, if I have found favor in thine eyes: I have discovered that Jehovah hath blessed me for thy sake. And he said, Appoint me thy hire, and I will give it. And he said unto him, Thou knowest how I have served thee, and what thy cattle hath become with me. For it was little thou hadst before I came, and it hath increased into a multitude; and Jehovah hath blessed thee as I turned [lit. at my feet]; and now how shall I also provide for mine own house? And he said, What shall I give thee? And Jacob said, Thou shall not give me aught. If thou doest this thing for me, I will again feed and keep thy flock. I will pass through all thy flock to-day, removing thence every spotted and speckled one, and every black one among the sheep, and the spotted and speckled among the goats; and [such] shall be my hire. And my righteousness shall answer for me hereafter, when thou comest about my hire before thy face: every one that is not speckled and spotted among the goats, and black among the sheep, let that be stolen with me. And Laban said, Behold, let it be according to thy word. And he removed that day the he-goats that were ringstraked and spotted, and all the she-goats that were speckled and spotted, every one that had white in it, and all the black among the sheep, and gave [them] into the hands of his sons; and he set three days journey between himself and Jacob. And Jacob fed the rest of Laban's flocks. And Jacob took him fresh rods of white poplar, almond, and maple, and peeled white stripes in them, uncovering the white which was on the rods. And he set the rods which he had peeled before the flock in the gutters at the watering-places where the flock came to drink; and they were ardent when they came to drink. And the flock was ardent before the rods; and the flock brought forth ringstraked, speckled, and spotted. And Jacob separated the lambs, and set the faces of the flock toward the ringstraked and all the black in the flock of Laban; and he made himself separate flocks and put them not with Laban's flock. And it came to pass whensoever the strong cattle were ardent, that Jacob laid the rods before the eyes of the flock in the gutters, that they might become ardent among the rods; but when the flock were feeble, he put them not in: so the feeble were Laban's and the stronger were Jacob's. And the man increased exceedingly, and had much cattle, and bondwomen, and bondmen, and camels and asses” (vers. 25-43).
Jacob was a man of faith, but failed in spirituality, and comes under the Lord's discipline that he might bear more fruit and better. As he had cheated at home, he suffered abroad, and at the hands of his mother's brother most of all. His patience under Laban's hardhearted wrongs testifies that he bowed to God. He could now bear to be lifted up by slow degrees. And the story of divine retribution here recorded is the turning-point.
Rahab's faith too was real and has the Spirit's attestation in the N.T. quite as distinctly as in the Old. But it is evident that, energetic as it was and in the face of the utmost peril, there was the manifest alloy of her old self which accompanied the precious metal. She did not hesitate to mislead. So here, whatever the gracious intervention of God for His injured servant, we could not conceive either his father or his grandfather adopting such an expedient as Jacob employed to acquire the fruit of his long and patient service that was due. Yet God condescended to use what without His power had been, if not in vain, but very partial.
Laban's covetous desire to profit by Jacob's strange bargain turned to the impoverishing of the self-seeking master, and the new and growing affluence of the long defrauded servant. Neither compunction appears on Laban's part for the advantage he had taken of his nephew, nor the least considerate affection for his daughters or their children. It was a righteous thing, as far as it could go in its way, to requite the evil-doer and recompense the sufferer. Nor can one fail to observe, at least as here it is pointed out, how peculiarly appropriate such a divine dealing was toward that one of the patriarchs who, more than any other, sets forth the chosen people. They derived their corporate name from him; their ups and downs were like his endless vicissitudes, failures, humiliations, to be turned at the end through divine mercy into everlasting blessing at the feet of their long rejected but then how endeared Messiah. They too become wrestlers with God and men, and prevail. Great indeed shall be the day of Jezreel. But it will be a greatness due to God's grace and mercy, and deserved only by Him Who died for them, as for us and all others, when they at their worst proved themselves His bitterest foes. Thus shall no flesh glory; but he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord,

Priesthood: 33. Other Impurities

There remains a still larger portion of these uncleannesses which divine wisdom did not scruple to notice, however humbling to men and women; for as we have had the one sex, so now follows the other. Jehovah would compel His people to feel that He takes account, not merely of sin as typified in its most destructive shape as well as in the very ushering into the world of a child, male or female, but of such impurities as are of a more ordinary nature and frequent recurrence, proceeding from men and women as they are, and connected with that which is lawful and necessary. If the latter was for the earthly people, Christians are entitled to read these outward ordinances in the spirit. To the pure all things are pure; but to the defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but both their mind and their conscience are defiled.
“16 And if any man's seed of copulation pass from him, then he shall bathe his whole flesh in water, and be unclean until the even. 17 And all raiment and every skin, wherein the seed of copulation shall be, shall be washed with water, and be unclean until the even. 18 And a woman with whom a man lieth with seed of copulation, they shall bathe in water, and be unclean until the even.
19 And if a woman hath a flux, and her flux in her flesh be blood, she shall be seven days in her separation, and whoever toucheth her shall be unclean until the even. 20 And everything that she lieth upon in her separation shall be unclean; and everything that she sitteth upon shall be unclean.
21 And whoever toucheth her bed shall wash his raiment, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even. 22 And whoever toucheth anything that she sitteth upon shall wash his raiment, and bathe in water, and be unclean until the even. 23 And if it be on the bed or on anything on which she sitteth, when he toucheth it, he shall be unclean until the even. 24 And if a man lie with her at all, and the uncleanness of her separation come upon him, he shall be unclean seven days; and every bed whereon he lieth shall be unclean. 25 And if a woman have her flux of blood many days out of the time of her separation, or if she have the flux beyond the time of her separation, all the days of the flux of her uncleanness shall be as the days of her separation: she is unclean. 26 Every bed whereon she lieth all the days of her flux shall be to her as the bed of her separation; and everything on which she sitteth shall be unclean, according to the uncleanness of her separation. 27 And whoever toucheth these things shall be unclean, and shall wash his raiment, and bathe in water, and be unclean until the even.
28 And if she be cleansed of her flux, then she shall count seven days, and after that she shall be clean. 29 And on the eighth day she shall take to her two turtledoves, or two young pigeons, and bring them to the priest, to the door of the tent of meeting. 30 And the priest shall offer the one as a sin-offering and the other as a burnt-offering; and the priest shall make atonement for her before Jehovah for the flux of her uncleanness.
31 Ye shall separate the children of Israel from their uncleanness, that they die not in their uncleanness, when they defile my tabernacle that is in their midst.
32This is the law of him that hath a flux, and of him whose seed of copulation goeth from him, whereby he is defiled; 33 and of her who is sick in separation, and of him that hath a flux; of the man and of the woman, and of him that lieth with her that is unclean” (vers. 16-33).
Through law is knowledge, right knowledge, of sin (Rom. 3:20), though Christ and the cross gave us it, as all else, still more and perfectly. And this was intended for Israel's good. No other people had God taking pains to show them where the race is through sin. No doubt it was a burdensome yoke: how could it be otherwise till a Savior was given to save from sins? Those who confided in God, feeling their utter defilement, voluntary and involuntary, looked according to His word for Him who should come, defeat at all cost the enemy, atone for sin before God, and bring in everlasting righteousness. Those meanwhile were objects of His mercy and gracious care. Such as felt only the present and saw no more than their uncleannesses, with sacrifices through the priest, rose not above the purifying of the flesh.
But the profit abides for those who through faith read Christ in what without Him are but ordinances of flesh (Heb. 9:9, 10). They can pity and deplore the unbelief which is shocked that a divine revelation should lay bare Jehovah's notice of the vile and offensive workings of our fallen nature. But here was at least a testimony, though by no means a complete and final one, to man's innate evil. Israel stood in a relationship to Jehovah which required the serious acknowledgment of the sad facts, but with a provision of His direction which cleansed them for the then present time, till grace and truth came in perfection.
How infinite His love and work who bore our sins in His body on the tree! His death has for faith completely effaced the evil and cleared the conscience; and His resurrection has given us a new life and place into which evil cannot come, which the Holy Ghost strengthens as we lean on Christ to walk as He walked, judging as flesh (to which we died with Him) every working of the old nature.

The Day of Atonement: 18. Concluding Remarks

But do not overlook danger from legality on the other side. Far am I from meaning that it was not an evil day in Christendom when people first sang, “That day of wrath, that dreadful day,” which the thought of Christ's return then awoke. Was this genuine affliction of the soul? It was little better than a frightful scare: God was unknown. There is a great difference between repentance and dread. Abject terror of soul may have exactly characterized mediaeval Christendom. High and low were frightened, and in their terror they gave up their acres or their labor in order to propitiate the God before Whose judgments they trembled in view of the day of the Lord. It was out of that spirit that many a grand cathedral arose with its truly dim religious light. It was not merely the great lords as well as crowned heads who contributed from their wealth or their spoils, but the poor workmen freely gave their skill and labor: a standing and striking testimony to the power of alarm in unenlightened people's souls. It had been the main weapon of heathenism, the sole moral element in which dark deceit was dread. So it was and is now alas! in fallen Christendom.
Not that one would exclude pious fear from that which works in those that hear God's word. It is right and fitting that the guilty should be alarmed when they hear of their sins, and of God's justice and sure judgment. How blessed to know that after the sins, and before the judgment, God did come down from heaven in the person of His own Son to work His unfailing atonement! Certainly there could have been no perfection in the work, if Christ had not been a divine person. It is all-important that our. Lord Jesus be acknowledged as God unreservedly. If the Word had not been God, if the Son not one with the Father, the Savior must have been incompetent for the work He undertook. But the Son came; the work was done and accepted; and all is changed. Before our Lord became the sacrifice, the righteousness of God might well fill the soul with deep anxiety: judgment must then take its course. But through Christ's blood, God is just and justifies the believer. How blessed that God justifies us!
That God was to judge the world, every Jew acknowledged. This could give no peace to the guilty. There must be resurrection of the dead, both of just and unjust. After judgment the lake of fire awaited the lost. The second death is not ceasing to exist. Indeed death itself is but the severance of soul from body. For the believer it is “to depart and be with Christ.” Even when a wicked man dies, he is in no way annihilated: his soul is severed from the body, and this is death. “All live to God,” if not to men. But when the second death comes, the wicked exist forever not only in soul but in body. Resurrection is not temporal being, like living in the world that now is; it ushers in what is final and unchanging.
This brings out the deep importance of the true atonement. Let me ask, Are your souls now resting on Christ and His sacrifice? In the gospel God is announcing to you Christ as the propitiation for the whole world. How awful for your own soul and body if you slight His message! Receive it from God, and may this be without the presumption of your works, but with true affliction of soul. If Christ thus suffered for sins, why doubt God's love, guilty though you are? The fact that He reveals Christ's atonement is the fullest testimony to God's mercy as well as justice. Is it not for sinners in their sins, in their transgressions, and in their iniquities? Do not these words of His cover all you have done? Does not Christ's work meet the worst that can be alleged against you? The Atonement-day was Jehovah's doing away man's evil for those that bowed to Him. Make no excuses more.
Rest your soul on the Savior and His propitiation; for there is none other holy, true, or efficacious. It is not merely that He has done the work, but He is the propitiation. John takes particular care thus to identify Him and the work. “He is the propitiation for our sins;” and therefore should we look to Him only for it. God forbid that you should look to yourself or to others! For what can others avail you for sin? What can the Virgin, the angels, or the saints, do for you in this stress? Were the church of God here below in its pristine unity, were the staff Beauty and the staff Bands unbroken (if one may apply figures from Israel), what could all the saints avail for saving your soul? God's church, if not man's, would tell you, by the lips of its members, what His grace in Christ did for each and all of them. But God tells you the truth in His word better than any of the uninspired saints ever preached. His word is intended to give you the sole unfailing decision any can now have on the matter. Here you have all you require in this single chapter, read in the light of Christ. It is admitted that none could make much of it without the New Testament. But have we not both Old Testament and New? Have we not divine light shining on the shadows of the past, so that the truth rises to view in all its unity and holiness, grandeur, simplicity, and with absolute certainty?
What about yourselves, who now hear the truth? May God bring you to Himself and fasten His own blessed word on your conscience. May you acknowledge the folly of your heart and the wickedness of your life. Is there anything really more evil in His sight than, with the scriptures read and heard continually, to be practically living without God and in despite of Christ? Begin then at once to hear God for eternity. Do not put it off for another day. If you never believed in Christ and His salvation before, may God give you to believe in Him that you may be saved now. Remember that with atonement goes true affliction of the soul; but no work of yours can be connected with that which He has wrought. When your soul's deep want is settled with God, there will be ample room and loud call for you to work, and unfailing joy to express. But the atonement is too holy and too solemn for man to be other than abased and prostrate before the God Who sent His Son to suffer for you. Bow to God then with affliction of your soul; and abhor the presumption of adding to it by work on your part. “They shall come, and shall declare His righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that He hath done (it).”
The words just cited are the end of Psa. 22. First Christ most distinctively undergoes the sufferings of atonement, wherein He appeals to God at His necessary desertion, with the blessed results in the latter half. Its opening cry is so applied in the New Testament, as already pointed out. Every other thought deprives it of grace, not to say of meaning, and is altogether unworthy of the suffering Man Who was God. Psa. 40 is more mingled; but beyond dispute, in the light of Heb. 10, it puts forth Christ setting aside, not only sacrifice and offering but burnt-offering and offering for sin, by the oblation of His body once for all on the cross. His willing obedience unto death is the central truth, though in so doing God's will He graciously feels as His own the sins of the ungodly men whose substitute He is. Psa. 69 again points to Messiah on the cross, but in the aspect of His rejection by man, and by the ungodly Jews particularly, with the result of judgment on them, whatever the blessing for Zion. Psa. 88 again indicates Messiah's spirit identified with elect Israel, righteously feeling in grace all the power of darkness and death, yet crying to Jehovah day and night. Psa. 102 is Christ identified with the misery of Zion, and referring to Jehovah, Who owns the humbled One as Jehovah, no less eternal and unchangeable than Himself. Psa. 109 closes these marvelous oracles with Christ suffering from the treachery of the Jews, headed by Judas, and looking on to the son of perdition in the last days, when Jews and Gentiles again unite against Him to their everlasting shame, but the needy shall rejoice in Him forever.
Nor are the Prophets silent, any more than the Law and the Psalm though one need not now go beyond the clear, and deep, and full testimony of Isa. 52, 53. Even the rationalistic Gesenius, though he contends here for the prophetic body personified and rejected by Israel, confesses as the truth, both from the language employed and the habitual thought, not of that nation only but of all others, that an expiatory work runs through it. Yet while allowing the New Testament teaching to be based on it, he (poor man, wise in his own conceit) preferred the expiation should be by the suffering prophets for Israel's deliverance! But if expiation is admitted, none but an unbeliever can fail to see it in Christ alone. The Righteous Servant of Jehovah, Whom the Jews esteemed smitten of God, was really wounded for their transgressions, bruised for their iniquities: the chastisement of their peace was upon Him; and by His stripes are they healed. Jehovah laid on Him the iniquity of them all. For the transgression of His people was He stricken. He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth. “Yet it pleased Jehovah to bruise Him. He hath put Him to grief: when Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of Jehovah shall prosper in His hand. He shall see of the travail of His soul and shall be satisfied. By His knowledge shall My Righteous Servant justify many (or rather, instruct the many in righteousness, cf. Dan. 12:3), and He shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong, because He poured out His soul unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors; and He bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” Argument or even exposition is superfluous: save for men insensible to sin and indifferent to God, the truth of the Holy Sufferer is transparent throughout. It is “Jesus only.” We have seen His sufferings; but His glories are not visible as yet, however great some are in the heavens. The visible are to follow, as they surely will “in that day.”

Proverbs 16:1-8

The maxims here brought together fitly follow up the fear of Jehovah as the discipline of wisdom, and the path of humility before honor. Heart and ways are alike affected thereby.
“The preparations (or plans) of the heart [are] of man, but the answer of the tongue [is] from Jehovah.
All the ways of a man [are] clean in his own eyes; but Jehovah weigheth the spirits.
Commit thy works to Jehovah, and thy thoughts shall be established.
Jehovah hath wrought everything for his (or, its) own end; yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.
Every proud heart [is] an abomination to Jehovah; hand in (or, for) hand (or, certainly) he shall not be held innocent (or, go unpunished).
By mercy and truth iniquity is purged; and by the fear of Jehovah they depart from evil.
When a man's ways please Jehovah, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.
Better [is] a little with righteousness than great revenues without righteousness” (vers. 1-8).
Too well we know how readily the heart devises this way or that, and how constantly this fails to meet the difficulty. Happy he that waits on Him Who sees the end from the beginning, and deigns to guide aright when the need arises. Then one can speak the right words in peace, and humbly: but the answer of the tongue is from Jehovah.
The same reference to Him delivers from the bias that regards all the ways of a man as clean in his own eyes. Jehovah weighs the spirit: who but He? Dependence on Him and confidence in Him are indispensable to judge, as for all else.
What a comfort that it is He who bids one to commit his works to Himself (literally, roll them upon Him), “and thy thoughts (not merely thy works) shall be established” His goodness answers to our trusting Him with what is outward, and graciously establishes our “thoughts,” so apt to vacillate and pass away. How slow are even His own to learn the loving interest He takes in those that confide in Him!
Next is set before us the solemn truth, easily overlooked in the busy world of man, that Jehovah has wrought everything for His, or its, own end. Yet is anything more certain? It is not His reign, for evil abounds and the righteous suffer. Still His moral government is unfailing, whatever appearance may promise for awhile. The day will declare all. This is so true that He can add, “yea even the wicked for the day of evil.” How manifest all this will be in the coming judgment!
But even now He would have His people feel how offensive “every proud heart” is to Him; “an abomination,” and nothing less, to Jehovah.
Yet how common pride is, and how little do men believe that God hates it, and will judge accordingly? The Highest despises not any. Hence, whatever the seeming support or the delay, beyond doubt one who so lives shall not be held innocent.
The next word is striking as only to be understood aright when a brighter light shone. Even before then no believer would have allowed that the mercy and truth were on man's part to atone for his sins. It is in Christ and especially in His cross that they meet for the purging of the guilty and defiled. Anywhere else they are irreconcilable. Men plead “mercy” to escape the condemnation of “truth"; but if truth pronounce the just judgment of the wicked, what can mercy do to arrest the execution? The Lord Jesus alone bore the curse in all its truth, that the iniquities might be blotted out in the richest mercy. The grace of God appeared in Christ that His merciful remission of our sins might be His righteousness now manifested in the gospel. Truly by the fear of Him is departure from evil.
This it is which, by a new nature as well as redemption, teaches those who believe to walk so as to please God, worthily of His calling and kingdom. In spite of natural enmity, the fruit of righteousness tells on conscience, so that even adversaries are made to be at peace with them.
Plain it is then that even here “better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right.” Much more when the veil was lifted by Christ to let in the light of the eternal day on the present scene of flesh and world, alike enmity against God.

Gospel Words: Lamp of the Body Is the Eye

That Christ is the Light, and the True Light, is a truth dear to every Christian. He coming into the world manifests every man. Rich or poor, simple or sage, false or faithful, not one escapes His all-searching light. Nor is there the least circumstance in the course of every day, any more than in what pertains to God, and truth, and morals, not for this life only but for eternity, that He does not set in the light of God. Only through Him do we see fully what God is, Satan, man, the sinner, the saint, heaven, hell, everything.
The disciples, as the Lord told them in Matt. 5:14, are the light of the world, as they are also the salt of the earth (13). They could be neither apart from Christ. It is He who thus assimilates them to Himself; the latter in His character of righteousness, the former in the quality of His grace, as already explained in Series xi. 4. In receiving Him by faith they receive a new nature, being born of God; hence there is both righteousness and love in their ways.
But here there is a further though connected truth of great value.
“The lamp of the body is the eye; if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body will be light; but if thine eye be wicked, thy whole body will be dark. If therefore the light that is in thee is darkness, how great the darkness”
It is a question not of the light, which is perfect but of “the eye.” Spiritual condition has an immense deal to do with the disciples seeing aright. Our recipiency and discernment, our actual judgment and our practice, depend on the state of our affections. The Lord presents the ready and effectual test. “If therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body will be light; but if thine eye be wicked, thy whole body will be dark.”
Christ truly the object before one gives singleness of eye; and where He is simply and exclusively the “one thing” before the soul, the whole body is light. Difficulties vanish. The will of God becomes quite clear. I am surprised and ashamed to have had doubts here and uncertainty there. I recognize to my humiliation that I had been asleep in my ways and had to rise up from among the dead, and then only have Christ shining upon me.
Prayer alone does not ensure singleness of eye, nor yet suffices searching the word accompanied by prayer. There may be a fleshly film that dims the eye. We are too apt to think ourselves of importance for God when it is all of grace that He uses us in this way or that. We fail to appreciate our Lord's waiting on His Father, without taking a single step till He gets the word. Yet it is to His obedience that we are sanctified by the Spirit.
We are not like Jews with every point great or small religiously and in ordinary life, in peace or in war, personal, domestic, or social, all ruled by the statutes and ordinances, prohibitions and injunctions of law. Christ brought in the fuller and deeper obedience of a Son, and makes it by grace the believer's by the gift of life eternal and eternal redemption, with the Holy Spirit indwelling as power and personally also in us. But though thus blessed, there are still the three great enemies, the flesh, the world, and the devil, in the face of which we are responsible to please God as His children. We need therefore to pray, as the apostle did for the Colossians, to be filled with the right knowledge of His will, in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, to walk worthily of the Lord unto all well-pleasing, bearing fruit in every good work, and growing by the right knowledge of God (Col. 1:9, 10).
For this we need the eye single and the whole body light. How is this to be? The Lord tells us in John 15:7: “If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done to you.” Habitual dependence on Him with confidence in His love is to abide in Him: without this all else is vain. But where we abide by grace, His words are needed to direct: for who is sufficient otherwise? and His Spirit is given to guide us thus. Only thus are we sure that we have His mind; for thus the eye is single and the whole body light. Then when we ask, we have our petition. O that so it may be and that we may be content with nothing less!
What is the issue, where other objects are allowed? The alternative is, “If thine eye be wicked, thy whole body will be dark.” How solemn the sentence, and how true! “If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great the darkness!” O look to God that it be not so with you, a disciple of the Lord!
See too the impossibility of the Light yours, of the eye single, save by genuine repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus. Doubt yourself, not God; and receive Him who in His grace came to receive you by faith, if you have not already done so.

1 Peter 3:7

The address to husbands is much shorter, as we can readily see and understand. Yet is there not a little for our instruction.
“Ye husbands, likewise, dwelling with [them] according to knowledge, awarding honor as to a weaker vessel, the female, as also fellow-heirs of the grace of life, that your prayers be not hindered” (ver. 7).
As the wife is called to subjection to her own husband, so is the husband to dwell with her “according to knowledge.” Thus the apostle reminds the Corinthian saints “we all have knowledge” (1 Cor. 8:1). It is characteristic of Christ to give spiritual intelligence which is far more. We do not await the day of the Lord to have divine light. We walk in the light as following Him who is the Light of life; we are already, all Christians, sons of light and sons of day; we are not, as we were, of night and of darkness. The Son of God is come and hath given us an understanding that we may know Him that is true. Loved of Him we are to walk in the same love; light in the Lord, to walk as children of light, for the fruit of the light is in all goodness and righteousness and truth. On the one hand we are to prove what is well-pleasing to the Lord; on the other, to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness but rather also reprove them, exposed as they all are by the light, for that which makes everything manifest is light.
Favored as the Jew of old was, compared with the heathen (no matter how civilized or refined as in Greece and Rome), Christianity gave an immense advance. But as one apostle, who had inwardly all knowledge beyond such as boasted, insisted that if he had not love, he was nothing, so here our apostle implies its necessity for the husband's “dwelling together” with his wife. Hence to love their wives has the first and great place in the Epistles to the Ephesians and the Colossians. To fail in such love is a breach of the relationship, and unworthy of a Christian. Alienation is a practical denial of the husband's place. Faults there may be, haste, forgetfulness, shortcomings; but love as elsewhere, so here in a position so near and tender and peculiar, should have long patience and be kind; be not emulous any more than insolent and rash, nor be puffed up, nor behave in an unseemly way, neither quickly provoked nor imputing evil, and rejoice not at iniquity but rather with the truth. Love does not change nor weary; but we need not here say more. Only we must bear in mind, in thus “dwelling together,” the need that it be “according to knowledge.” The vanity of our knowing, which puffs up, is contrasted with love which builds up.
And what a source of instruction is scripture for the difficulties of the home as well as of the way! Christ Himself, as the other apostle pointed out, is the Standard.
But a few words follow which deserve every attention. The husband, as having the place of authority, is exposed to the danger of presumption and lack of consideration. Hence the force here of “awarding honor as to a weaker vessel, the female.” The very fact that such is her nature as compared with his own is the ground of the Spirit's appeal to him who is given to be her protector. Has he never learned his own weakness before God, and proved that in the sense of it by faith is his power through the grace of Christ? His therefore it is, never to despise, but to guide and cherish her and this in no suspicious spirit but the watchfulness of love, and the grace that pays her honor. But to apply this definitely to “allotting an honorable subsistence” to the wife, as Dr. Doddridge contended, has no more claim to be God's mind than his similar use of 1 Tim. 5:17 for the elders.
Another consideration consists of a still higher plea— “as also fellow-heirs of the grace of life, that your prayers be not hindered.” Though the married estate is essentially of the earth, yet those here in view were the redeemed of God, His children. “And if children, heirs also; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.” Husband and wife, being Christians, are appealed to as in a relationship by grace which shall never pass away. When Christ our life shall be manifested, then shall they exchange the present exposure to sorrow and suffering in which we give God thanks, for that exceeding weight of glory, into which Christ has entered as our fore-runner, whilst we are waiting for Him. O dear brethren, recognize your blessedness, and count the heaviest trial but light affliction and momentary. Look not at the things that are seen but at the things that are not seen; for the things that are seen are for a time, but those that are not seen eternal.

Free Will: Part 1

The notion of it ministers to the pretension of the natural man not to be entirely lost; for this is just what it amounts to. All who have never been deeply convinced of sins, all those with whom this conviction is based on gross and outward sins, believe more or less in free-will. It is the dogma of the Arminian, of all reasoners, of philosophers; but it completely changes the whole idea of Christ and entirely perverts it.
If Christ came to save that which is lost, freewill has no more place. Not that God prevents man from receiving Christ, far from it. But even when God employs all possible motives—every one that is capable of exerting influence over the heart of a man, it only serves to prove that man will have none of Him. His heart is so corrupt, and his will so determined not to submit to God (however much it may be of the devil who encourages him in sin), that nothing can induce him to receive the Lord, and to forsake sin.
If, by liberty of man, they mean that no one forces him to reject the Lord, this liberty exists in full. But if it is implied that, on account of the dominion of sin of which he is the slave, and that voluntarily, he cannot escape from his condition and choose the good (even while acknowledging it to be good and approving it), then he has no liberty whatever. He is not subject to the law, neither indeed can be; so that they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
This is where we mostly touch upon the root in question. Is it the old man that is changed, instructed, and sanctified? or do we, in order to be saved, receive a new nature? The universal character of the unbelief of the present day is this: not formally rejecting Christianity as in former times, or rejecting Christ openly; but receiving Him as a Person (they will even say divine, inspired, but as a matter of dogma), who re-establishes man in his position as a child of God. The Wesleyans, as far as taught of God, do not say so: faith makes them feel that without Christ they are lost, and that it is a question of salvation. Only their fear with regard to pure grace, their desire to gain men, a mixture of charity and of the spirit of man, in a word their confidence in their own strength, makes confusion in their teaching, and leads them not to recognize the total ruin of man.
As for me, I see in the word, and I recognize in myself, the total ruin of man. I see the cross is the end of all the means that God had employed to gain the heart of man, and consequently that it proves the thing to be impossible. God has exhausted all His resources; man has shown that he is wicked, past recovery; the cross of Christ condemns man—sin in flesh. But this condemnation having been expressed in that Another has undergone it, it is the absolute salvation of those who believe; for condemnation, the judgment of sin, is behind us: life came out of it in resurrection. We died to sin, and are alive to God, in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Redemption, the very word, loses its force when we entertain those ideas of the old man. It becomes an amelioration, a practical deliverance from a moral state, and not a redeeming by the finished work of another. Christianity teaches the death of the old man and his just condemnation, then redemption accomplished by Christ, and a new life, life eternal, come down from heaven in His Person and communicated to us when Christ enters into us by the word. Arminianism, or rather Pelagianism, pretends that man can choose, and that thus the old man is ameliorated by the thing it has accepted. The first is made without grace; and it is the first step which truly costs in this.
I believe that we ought to keep to the word; but, philosophically and morally speaking, free-will is a false and absurd theory. Free-will is a state of sin. Man ought not to have to choose, as being outside of good. Why is he in this state? He ought not to have a will or any choice to make; he ought to obey, and enjoy it in peace. If he has to choose good, then he has not got it yet. He is without that which is good in himself, at any rate since he is not decided. But in fact man is disposed to follow that which is evil. What cruelty to propose a duty to man who is already turned to evil! Moreover, philosophically speaking, he must be indifferent: otherwise he has already chosen as to his will. He must then be absolutely indifferent. Now if he is absolutely indifferent, what is to decide his choice? A creature must have a motive: but he has none, since he is indifferent; if he is not, he has chosen.
But in fact it is not so. Man has a conscience; but he has a will and lusts, and they lead him. Man was free in paradise, but then he was in the enjoyment of good. He made use of his free-will, and consequently he is a sinner. To leave him to his free-will, now that he is disposed to do evil, would be cruelty. God has presented to him the choice; but it was to convince the conscience of the fact. In any case, man would have neither good nor God. That people should believe that God loves the world is all right; but that they should not believe that man is himself wicked beyond remedy (and notwithstanding the remedy) is very bad. They know not themselves, and they know not God.
Usually, when we speak of “free” and “can,” the absence of compulsion and the presence of power are confounded. Take a plain case to show what is meant. I say, “Everyone can come to the meeting,” meaning it is open to all: and I am told “It is not true for such a one has broken his leg and cannot come.” Thus when the Lord says, No one can come to Me, except the Father who sent Me draw him, it is not that God prohibits or hinders, but that man is so wicked in will and corrupt, that, unless a power outside himself act on him, he cannot come. He is never morally so disposed. Man is perfectly free to come now, so far as God is concerned, and invited to come—yea besought; and the precious blood of Christ is then on the mercy-seat, so that moral difficulty is removed by God's own grace as regards the Holy One receiving a sinner. In this sense he is perfectly free to come.
But then there is the other side, man's own will and state. There is no will to come, but the opposite. Life was there in Christ; but “ye will not come that ye might have life.” “All things are ready: come to the marriage “; but “they all with one consent began to make excuse.” Man does not wish to be with God. “There is none that understandeth; there is none that seeketh after God.” “Wherefore, when I came, was there no man? When I called, was there none to answer?” “The carnal mind is enmity against God.” The crucifixion of the Lord is the proof that man would not have God when come in mercy and relieving even every present misery. “For my love I had hatred.” “They hated me without a cause.” “Now they have both seen and hated both Me and My Father.” And the Lord gives the reason: whatever the love (and it was infinite and perfect), God is light as well as love, “and men loved darkness rather than light.” They reject a love that humbles their pride as they detest a light which awakens their conscience. Therefore we find, “As many as received Him, to them gave He right to become children of God, even to them that believe on His name; who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
It is simple nonsense to talk of freedom when applied to man's actual condition, if he is already inclined to evil, admitting him more than free to come, invited and besought by every motive, all made ready—but that which he will not, and no motive induces him. I have yet one Son says God; but this is over. To say, he is not inclined to evil is to deny all scripture and all fact. To make him free to choose, he must be as yet indifferent to, having no preference for, good and evil; which is not true, for evil lusts and self-will are there, the two great elements of sin; and, if it were true, it would be perfectly horrible. But there is more; when he (being converted) does will good, evil is present with him. How to perform that which is good he finds not. There is a law in his members bringing him into captivity to the law of sin which is in his members. No doubt (thank God) there is deliverance, deliverance in Another. But deliverance is not freedom, but what is effected and granted by Another, because I have learned by experience under divine teaching that I am not free and cannot free myself.
Hence in Rom. 6., where this question is treated in its roots, we are set free by having died with Christ, the Adam nature crucified with Him. Then he can say but not before, “yield yourselves “: a blessed and true principle when I reckon myself dead to sin and alive to God, not in Adam, but in Jesus Christ our Lord. This is resumed in chap. 8:2, 3. “The law of the Spirit of life.... made me free from the law of sin and death “; so that I was not free before I had Christ. And He adds, “For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.” Freedom is the fruit of deliverance by Christ. First in His death the old man, sin in the flesh, is dead for faith. I am crucified with Him, yet I have life by the power of the Spirit in Christ, and then I am free.
But the facts of man's state, and the scriptural history of his responsibility, put this matter on another ground altogether. That history will bring out more clearly the facts of his state. The purpose of God was always in the Second man, not in the first. The first promise also was to the Seed of the woman, not to Adam who was not that. The Seed of the woman was to destroy Satan's power, as Adam had succumbed to it. All promises are made to Christ, to Israel as a chosen people or to Abraham and to his Seed, none to man as such. But God began with responsibility, first in the first Adam, not with a purpose or promise.
This responsibility was fully dealt with in every way, after the fall, without law, under law, and after the prophets by Christ's coming in grace according to the word. “Having therefore one Son, His well-beloved, He sent Him also last unto them.” Thus man's responsibility was fully dealt with; and the Lord says, “Now is the judgment of this world.” Stephen sums this up, saying (Acts 7), “ye have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted and slain, who testified beforehand of the Just One, of Whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers? Ye do always resist the Holy Ghost; as your fathers, so do ye.” And he, full of the Holy Ghost, thereon goes to heaven; and earth's tale is told.
(To be continued).

The Inspiration of the Scriptures: 1 Peter

Chap. V. Divine Design. 47. the First Epistle of Peter
As the address in the Epistle of James differs from that of Peter, whose two Epistles are directed to the same Christian Jews, elect sojourners of the dispersion, in part of Asia Minor, so the character of both is most distinct, as may be now seen in the first of the two. They were as he says “elect according to God the Father's foreknowledge in [virtue of] sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience and blood-sprinkling of Jesus Christ.” Thus does the apostle contrast their standing with Israel, who had only a fleshly and external separation to Jehovah, and were bound to obey the law under the sanction of the sprinkled blood of victims which kept death before them as the sure penalty in case of their disobedience.
The opening is like that of the Epistle to the Ephesians, yet with a marked difference from the first and throughout. Here it is not “with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ, according as He chose us in Him before the world's foundation that we should be holy and blameless before Him in love,” etc. It is, “Who according to His much mercy begot us again unto a living hope through resurrection of Jesus Christ out of the dead, unto an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and unfading, reserved in the heavens for you that are guarded by God's power through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1:3-5). It is not “the mystery,” but the “heavenly calling,” for saints who pass through the wilderness and await their heavenly inheritance at Christ's appearing; it thus far resembles the Epistle to the Hebrews. Exultation meanwhile should be, as grief for a little through varied trials which terminate at His revelation. But we love Him, though we never saw Him; and though we do not see Him, we rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory, in distinctive contrast with Israel's faith and hope. We receive soul-salvation and wait for that of our bodies. The prophets predicted; the Holy Ghost now witnesses in the gospel; the Lord will be revealed to crown all in glory. Thus between the two room is made for the gospel and Christianity. We therefore, cheered by what is accomplished, gird up our loins in the Spirit, and hope perfectly for the grace to be soon brought (6-13).
Hence as obedient children, conforming not yourselves to the former lusts in your ignorance, but according to the holy One that called you, may ye be holy in all respects; because it is written, Be ye holy, because I am holy. And if ye invoke as Father Him that impartially judges according to the work of each, pass the time of your pilgrimage in fear, (not because ye doubt your deliverance, but) knowing that not with corruptibles, silver or gold, ye were redeemed from your vain course of life handed down from fathers, but with Christ's precious blood as an unblemished and spotless lamb, foreknown before the world's foundation, but manifested at the end of times for you that through Him believe in God that raised Him out of the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God (14-21).
The chapter closes with pointing out that having purified their souls by obedience to the truth to unfeigned brotherly love, they were out of a pure heart to love one another fervently, being born again not of corruptible seed but incorruptible through God's living and abiding word. It was not now a question of Israel's sons, but of God's. And as the new relationship was through His word received in faith, it was on the ground of His sovereign grace in presence of the total failure of His ancient people. Because all flesh is as grass, and all its glory as grass and its flower; but the Lord's word abides forever. And this is the word which was preached unto them. Relationships to each other among believers follow these to God and Christ; they are most excellent, intimate, and enduring (22-25). They might suffer but ought to be of good cheer.
II. Hence they were, putting away all malice, guile, hypocrisies, envies, and slanders to long for the pure milk of the word as new-born babes, that they might grow thereby to salvation, if indeed they had tasted that the Lord is good, without which all was vain. As we see, salvation here as elsewhere is viewed as only complete when glory comes; but as by God's word we were born again, so are we nourished. He is the Living Stone, rejected by men but with God elect, precious; and they coming to Him as living stones were being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Isa. 28:16 is cited; for the work of grace in Zion by-and-by is no less true for the believers now, to whom the preciousness belongs, while the nation stumbles in disobedience; whereas the faithful gain to the highest degree and are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for a possession, to set forth the excellencies of Him that called them out of darkness into His wonderful light. What Israel are to have when they believe is forestalled, and much more now (6-10). Christians as such are the sole priests whom the Lord now recognizes.
As pilgrims and sojourners they are besought to abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, with their behavior seemly among the Gentiles, that wherein they slander them as evil-doers, they might, as witnesses, out of their good works glorify God in a day of visitation (11, 12). Christians are meant to be separate to the Lord, and ever waiting for Him and glory above, instead of being sown to Jehovah in the land, for great is the day of Jezreel.
Then he lays down submission to the powers that be, closing with a pregnant summary: Honor all, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king (13-17).
Domestics are next exhorted to subjection with all fear of their masters; and the Christian principle is enjoined, “If doing good and suffering ye shall endure, this is grace with God. Hence Christ in suffering every way and perfectly is set as model to us, who had gone far astray but now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of our souls” (18-25).
III. Then wives and husbands are exhorted in the same strain of grace as objects of God's government at work morally (1-7). Finally, all were to be of like mind in sympathy, brotherly love, tenderness, and humility, not returning evil in deed or word, but contrariwise blessing in the sense that such is our calling and hope. The Psalms are freely used to confirm it, warning against self and assuring us of the Lord's care, even if we should suffer for righteousness. How blessed! We need not fear or be troubled, but should sanctify Christ as Lord in our hearts, always ready to answer everyone that asketh a reason about the hope that is in us with meekness and fear, having a good conscience that, wherein they slander us a evil-doers, those may be put to shame that calumniate our good behavior in Christ (8-16).
Next he urges the manifest truth that it is better, if the will of God will it, to suffer well-doing than evil doing; for Christ also once suffered for sins, Just for unjust, that He might bring us to God, put to death indeed in flesh but quickened in Spirit, in [virtue of] which [ Spirit] also He went and preached to the imprisoned spirits, heretofore disobedient when the longsuffering of God waited in Noah's days while the ark was a preparing, wherein few (that is, eight) souls were saved through water; which figure also now saves us, baptism, not putting away of filth of flesh, but demand of a good conscience Godward, through Jesus Christ's resurrection, Who is at God's right-hand, having gone into heaven, angels and authorities and powers being subjected to Him (17-22). The notion of Christ's descent to Hades after death and there preaching to saints, sinners, or angels, is a mere dream, not only without scripture but contrary to it, and irreconcilable with revealed truth. The passage refers solely to His Spirit preaching to the antediluvians through Noah. As they then disobeyed the word, they are in prison, awaiting the still more solemn judgment for eternity, so those must who refuse the gospel now preached.
IV. Christ suffering for us in flesh is here pressed on us, who also need it the more because of our having lusts, which He had not. The past surely should suffice those who are now renewed, and have lived with the unrestraint to which Gentile surroundings exposed. If now reviled, because they refused such vileness, those who did so should give account to Him that is ready to judge quick and dead. For therefore were glad tidings preached to dead also [of course while alive], that they might be judged according to men in flesh, but live according to God in Spirit. If they submitted to that judgment of themselves as guilty men, they emerged by faith with a new life whereby they lived according to God in Spirit. It is the other side of what the antediluvians experienced who disobeyed Noah's preaching of righteousness (1-6). They were dead men, who by faith bowed to the judgment of their condition and also laid hold of the promises to a life Godward.
This bringing before the apostle the end of all things as drawn nigh, he called the saints to be sober and watch unto prayers; to cherish before all things fervent love among themselves, because love, instead of bruiting abroad, covers a multitude of sins; to be hospitable one toward another without murmurings. Even as such received a gift, they were to minister it to each other, as good stewards of God's manifold grace: if one speak, as God's oracles; if one minister, as of strength which God supplies; that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, Whose is the glory and the might unto the ages of the ages. Amen (7-11).
In verses 12-19 the word is not to take as strange the fire among them that cometh for their trial, as though a strange thing happened to them; but in communion with Christ's sufferings to “rejoice; that at the revelation of His glory also ye may rejoice exultingly. If ye are reproached in Christ's name, blessed [are ye], because the [Spirit] of glory and the Spirit of God rests on you. This is the highest suffering in God's sight, not merely for righteousness, but for Christ. Let none of you suffer, he proceeds, as murderer or thief or evil-doer or as overseer of other's affairs; but if as a Christian, let him not be ashamed but glorify God in this name. Because (it is) the time for the judgment to begin from the house of God; and if first from us, what [is] the end of those disobedient to the gospel of God? And if the righteous is with difficulty saved, where shall the ungodly and sinful appear? Wherefore also let those that suffer according to the will of God commit their souls in well-doing to a faithful Creator.
V. The last chapter opens with exhorting the elders among them, himself a fellow-elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, who was also partaker of the glory about to be revealed, in exact keeping with the Epistle. Feed, says he, the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight not by necessity but willingly, nor yet for base gain but readily, not as lording over your allotments but being models of the flock. And when the Chie Shepherd is manifested, ye shall receive the unfading crown of glory. How every word shines with the light and love of God, yet how forgotten in Christendom! (1-4.)
The younger he bids be subject to elders, and to bind on humility toward one another; for God sets Himself against proud ones, but gives grace to the lowly. “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God that he may exalt you in season, having cast all your anxiety upon him, for he careth for you” (5-7). Again he says, Watch, be wakeful: your adversary the devil as a roaring lion walketh about seeking whom he may devour. It is not the wiles of a serpent here, still less the ruler of the authorities of the air, but the wilderness enemy. “Whom resist, steadfast in faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brotherhood in the world. But the God of all grace that called you to His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, after suffering a little, himself shall make perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle: to him [be] the glory for the ages of the ages. Amen.” Did not the apostle remember and apply Luke 22:32? No doubt he was carrying out his charge over the circumcision that believed in the sphere where Paul labored so much. And it is full of interest to note that the faithful Silvanus, the companion of the one, now conveyed this Epistle of the other, wherein he exhorts and testifies that this is the true grace of God “wherein ye stand, (or, in which stand).” Again “Mark my son” is now Peter's companion, quite restored to the confidence of the other apostle who had blamed him of old. “She that is joint-elect” appears to be the true force; but whether Peter's wife or another in Babylon whence he writes, we cannot say. He asks for a warm and holy greeting and peace too mutually, to “you all that are in Christ.”

Scripture Queries and Answers: Luke 23:43

Q.-Luke 23:43. In “Things to Come” for May, which I send, you will find a very dangerous paper on this text, practically undoing, as far as it goes, its testimony to Christ's work. If the robber's spirit did not go that day to Paradise, where did it go? The error opens the door to Purgatory or anything but the truth. O.P.
A.-It is a bold man who ventures to set aside on this text, not only the Authorized and Revised Versions, but every translation, ancient or modern, hitherto regarded as reliable; and for this to set aside the conviction of the great mass of the godly orthodox, not only in other churches so-called, but in his own English Establishment. For it is mere claptrap and party spirit to attack in particular those he calls Plymouth Brethren, because the O.B. Witness rejected his own “strange doctrine.” His notion is that Paradise “is never used in any other sense than that of an earthly place of beauty and delight.” Never but an earthly place! and this in full view of Rev. 21-22! And he dares to say that for “the intermediate state,” and Paradise as a part of it, “they have not a shred of scripture warrant! nothing but a mixture of Heathen and Jewish Tradition handed down and further corrupted by Pagans and Papists!”
Let us weigh his two arguments. 1. If the Lord had intended to separate “to-day” from the introductory clause, either the particle ὅτι would have been prefixed, as in Mark 14:30, or the passage would have been differently constructed, as in Luke 9:21, 22; 19:9. But this is decisively overthrown by the fact that, with the formula of our verse, in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke there is nearly an equal number where ὅτι is omitted as inserted, various readings causing a slight uncertainty. In that of John who uses the twofold “verily,” the ὅτι occurs for about half the cases which omit it. Clearly therefore there is no such rule as is alleged, and the deduction as to its absence in Luke 23 is unfounded. There is a similar usage in Hebrew and our own tongue, where “that” is often dropped, instead of being formally expressed.
2. Thirty-eight examples are pointed out in the book of Deuteronomy to justify taking “to-day” with “Verily I say unto thee.” Now not one of these has the smallest analogy with our verse. They are all due to the exceptional nature of Moses' pathetic charge “this day,” and of Israel about to cross the Jordan which was forbidden him What has that to do with the case before us? The resemblance is only in the word, not the least in the sense or context. It is not “a common Hebrew idiom used to emphasize and mark the solemnity of what was said,” &c. It is the peculiarity of Deuteronomy and owing to the then circumstances. On the contrary the Lord is replying to the earnest prayer of the robber, then repentant and believing: Remember me, when Thou comest in Thy kingdom. The testimony of His enemies in derision had through our Lord's words and bearing penetrated; but he knew that he would have to wait for the coming in His kingdom. The whole force of the answer of grace and truth is that “To-day thou shalt be with Me in Paradise “; and putting “to-day” in the first place gave it marked emphasis. What case in Deuteronomy ever approaches even a parallel? To talk of such dictionary or concordance work as this settling the question is more than ordinary illusion.
The aim of the enemy is to defraud the departing saint of his joy in looking for immediate entrance into heavenly blessedness with Christ, as the fruit of redemption. The very gospel of God is thus enfeebled and darkened. Meetness for sharing the portion of the saints in light is what the Father confers on His children, delivered from the authority of darkness, and peace made through the blood of Christ's cross. The worshippers, once purged, have no more conscience of sins. The basis of holiness too is shaken, and the growth of saints hindered. The poor robber's spirit went just as the martyred Stephen's: Christ's blood has the same perfect value for all that are His. Both slept to be with Christ. Lord Jesus, receive my spirit, cried the servant, as the Master said, Father, into Thy hands I commend my Spirit.
So Phil. 1:23 lays down departure and being with Christ as being very much better than remaining here, even though exulting with joy unspeakable and full of glory. It is not of God to let the hope of glory lessen this, because it would dishonor Christ and His work. If we fall asleep, we go to be with Christ; and where is He? He is not only in heaven, but in its brightest part. As Adam's Paradise was the brightest spot on earth, so this so-called Paradise; it is the Father's house in John 14. They are both figures, but figures of divine truth. To literalize either is folly. It is the blessed scene on high where God in love glorified His Son on accomplishing His work on the cross; and there the saints are with Him, they, it is true, waiting for the redemption of their bodies when He comes. But no joy or glory on earth will equal that which they will there have, then in their best form of being with Him, that they may behold His glory, entirely above the world, as He was loved by the Father before it was founded. This is far above the kingdom which the world will see “in that day.”
2 Cor. 5 tells us no less clearly of the condition of the Christian's soul after his death. “Now he that wrought us for this very thing (i.e., to be swallowed up of life) [is] God who gave us the earnest of the Spirit. Therefore being always of good courage, and knowing that, while at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord (for we walk by faith, not by sight), we are indeed of good courage, and well-pleased to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.” This is not as Jews or Tradition-mongers conceived. But it is “the intermediate state,” the state between death and resurrection. It is a human term like the Trinity, and the thing in both cases, if not the word, is a clear truth of God. How unwise and unworthy to cavil at the expression! Why should any object, unless the sleep of souls or some worse error be held which jars with the truth? But if they live to God, after death and before resurrection, what is this but “the intermediate state” which the paper treats with unbelief and contempt. Is there a single sound Anglican who excuses him?
Then comes 2 Cor. 12 which explodes his delusion as to Paradise. For the apostle in verse 2 alludes to his rapture to “third heaven,” before he speaks of Paradise (ver. 4). Surely this is a supplied help to bind them together. It is no question, as he absurdly supposes, of “Paul caught away to that blessed time when this earth restored shall become again the paradise of God” (a sentence bristling with evident error), but of Paul caught up to third heaven and Paradise then. There Christ's Spirit went after death; there is He glorified now; there go spirits of departed saints, as the robber's did, and Stephen's, and whither we go if we depart this life.
But Rev. 2:7 completes our knowledge; for there shall we when glorified eat of the tree of life in the Paradise of God. The lost paradise of man is not restored. Grace always gives a better thing than what was lost; and the new and heavenly scene of glory is rightly distinguished as the Paradise of God. Rightly is its future aspect symbolized in Rev. 21:9-22:5. Think of imagining that the holy Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, is the earthly capital of Israel! Righteousness reigns in the Jewish city.; and the nation and kingdom that will not serve it, as Isa. 60 tells us, shall perish. But the heavenly city will be characterized by grace; and if the unfailing fruits of the tree of life in figure refresh the glorified, its leaves are for the healing, not wasting, of the nations. For that day will look on all things put under Christ's headship, the glorified on high and reigning with Christ, Israel and the nations on the earth reigned over and blessed under the King of kings and Lord of lords, when we shall reign with Him. It is the Father's kingdom for all above; and the Son of man's kingdom for the long rebellious earth, cleared by judgments, before righteousness reigns here below, when His will is done on earth as in heaven.
Alas! the writer so profoundly judaizes that he denies the heavenly Paradise of God as a falsehood, and will have it as the restoration of the paradise of Gen. 2 on earth. It is to renounce the Christian hope, and to mistake the Jewish one; for the words restrain glory to their land and holy mountain, instead of the vague dream of “this earth” becoming again the Paradise of God. It was never so.
The still worse improprieties near the beginning and at the end we can leave in silence and shame.

Scripture Queries and Answers: 1 Corinthians 9:27

Q.-1 Cor. 9:27. Is there any sufficient reason to lower the last clause, as Calvin does, by excluding the issue of ruin before God, and looking rather at failure in the fruit of service among men? In other words, does the apostle mean, not a “castaway” or reprobate, but merely disapproved for his work and disappointed of a special prize? Q.
A.-There ought to be no doubt that in the text, as in the context, the most searching and solemn warning is intended. Very great levity at that time prevailed in the Corinthian assembly: parties attaching themselves to favorite teachers, just as outside to the rival schools of philosophy; indifference to gross wickedness in their midst; keenness for their alleged rights carried into worldly law-courts; boasting of liberty in partaking of food which had been offered to idols; women forward in speaking; men turning the assembly into license for their speech; and questions raised, not only as to the marriage tie but such a truth as the resurrection of the body. They were too unspiritual to feel the dishonor done to the Lord by all this laxity. Hence it is that the apostle insists, not on preaching only but on our living to God soberly, justly, and piously as he enjoins in writing later to Titus. To make it the more impressive, without being personal, he applies the case to himself. “I therefore thus run, as not uncertainly; I so combat as not beating the air. But I buffet my body, and lead it captive, lest having preached to others I should be myself reprobate.” It is not service or fruit failing, but himself rejected by God. The use of the word is the same as in 2 Cor. 13:5-7. It has no other sense in the N.T. Even if softened down to disapproved, it means everywhere the total and final disapprobation of God. It is really lack of faith, fearing to face the plain and certain truth that an unholy liver, no matter how he preaches or what the resulting fruit, will assuredly be lost. Paul was as decided for devotedness of life as for sovereign grace in justifying the ungodly. Nor is there a greater danger for man and dishonor to God than to be zealous in preaching and loose in practice. This he follows up for Christians generally (not preachers only) in 1 Cor. 10 where he adduces the ruin of multitudes in Israel, as a warning to presumptuous professors of Christianity

Scripture Queries and Answers: 1 John 5:16-17

Q.-1 John 5:16, 17. Does this refer to blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, as in Matt. 12:31, 32, Mark 3:29, Luke 12:10? or does the apostle speak of sin incurring the chastening of death without going farther? Q.
A.-Here is what he lays down— “If any one see his brother sinning a sin not unto death, he shall ask, and He shall give him life for those that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: not about that do I say that he should make request. Every unrighteousness is sin; and there is a sin not unto death.”
The apostle had just spoken of the boldness or confidence to which grace entitles the children of God who walk in obedience and dependence on Him, as having life eternal in His Son. It is so real and great that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us; and if we know that He hears us whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions which we have asked of Him. Nor is it only in what concerns ourselves. His love would have us divinely interested in our brethren as His children, and cherishing like confidence in Him touching them. But there is a caution. He carries on a holy discipline; and where a lack in self-judgment is, He may not only send sickness but death as a chastening. We read in 1 Cor. 11:29-32 the plain fact, and the principle. Many at Corinth were falling asleep, because they did not judge their deplorable ways. This was a sin unto death in ever so many cases. Where the Lord is thus dealing, it would be lack of communion with Him to pray that such souls should live. When so judged, says the apostle Paul, we are chastened, or disciplined, by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world (which of course would be everlasting perdition). It is therefore as far as can be from the unforgivable sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. It is the Lord's dealing with a soul guilty of what He cannot allow to go on, and therefore calls him away, but with mercy assured, although there be withal chastening righteousness. It is a sin unto death; and we bow to God, instead of interceding. It does not seem some peculiarly heinous sin which brings destruction from God, but a sin of such special dishonor in its circumstances that He thus visits it. Such seems to have been the lying of Ananias and Sapphira in a day of great grace.


F.E.R. Heterodox on Life Eternal, other Divine Truths, and above all Christ's Person, paper, lOd., limp cloth, 1/-.


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Jacob: 8. Flight From Haran

Here we are in quite another atmosphere from that of Abraham or even Isaac. Kindred blood surrounds Jacob; yet what selfishness and deceit in the uncle, and at least planning to protect himself in the injured nephew! But God thwarted the covetous man and helped the long-suffering one. The result was abundance on this side and decay on that, which touched Laban and his sons to the quick: and their connection with Jacob soon came to a close, to his heart's relief. But how Weak the faith!
“And he heard the words of Laban's sons, saying, Jacob hath taken all that [was] our father's; and of what [was] our father's hath he acquired all this glory. And Jacob saw the countenance of Laban and, behold, it [wast not toward him as beforetime. And Jehovah said to Jacob, Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred, and I will be with thee. And Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to the field unto his flock, and said to them, I see your father's countenance, that it [is] not toward me as beforetime: but the God of my father hath been with me. And ye know that with all my power I have served your father. And your father hath mocked me and changed my wages ten times; but God suffered him not to hurt me. If he said thus, The speckled shall be thy wages, then all the flock bare speckled; and if he said thus, The ringstraked shall be thy wages, then all the flock bare ringstraked. Thus God hath taken away the cattle of your father, and hath given [them] to me. And it came to pass at the time of the ardor of the flock, that I lifted up mine eyes and saw in a dream, and, behold, the rams that leaped upon the flock [were] ringstraked, speckled, and spotted. And the angel of God said to me, in a dream, Jacob; and I said, Here [am] I. And he said, Lift up now thine eyes and see: all the rams that leap upon the flock [are] ringstraked, speckled, and spotted: for I have seen all that Laban doth to thee. I [am] the God of Bethel where thou anointedst the pillar, where thou vowedst a vow to me. Now arise, depart out of this land, and return to the land of thy kindred. And Rachel and Leah answered and said to him, [Is there] yet any portion or inheritance for us in our father's house? Are we not reckoned of him strangers? for he hath sold us, and hath also quite devoured our money. For all the wealth that God hath taken from our father [is] ours and our children's: and now what God hath said to thee, do it. And Jacob rose up and set his sons and his wives upon camels; and he carried away all his cattle, and all his substance that he had acquired, the cattle of his possession that he had acquired in Padan-Aram, to go to Isaac his father in the land of Canaan. Now Laban was gone to shear his sheep. And Rachel stole the teraphim that [were] her father's. And Jacob deceived (or, stole the heart of) Laban the Syrian, in that he told him not that he fled. And he fled with all that he had; and he rose up and passed over the river [the Euphrates] and set his face [toward] the mountain of Gilead” (vers. 1-21).
Truly Jehovah is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and plenteous in loving-kindness. For when the words of Laban's sons and the looks of Laban himself disclosed their discontent (and no wonder), Jehovah told Jacob to return to the land of his fathers and to his kindred. Divine providence paid Jacob in some five or six years the wages of which Laban had defrauded him for twenty years. They really wanted to get rid of Jacob, but shrank from saying so: for after all what was Laban's substance before Jacob appeared on the scene? Jacob also was too timid to act openly, but, encouraged from above, calls Rachel and Leah into conference. He could truly say that if Laban showed the God of his father was with him; and that if he had sought to cheat him, God did not suffer his hurt. He refers to the recognition of Jehovah as became him, and recalls how God took away Laban's cattle and gave them to himself. Even Jacob was too like Lot, and far from Abraham's superiority to earthly gain. But He that had wrought to repay the servant his kinsman's injustice recalled Bethel to forgetful Jacob, bidding him depart and return to the land of his kindred. The two wives quite fell in. Their father had lost all hope of either love or respect on their part; so that they, low as their thoughts were, encouraged their husband to do as God directed. The moment was opportune. Laban was shearing his sheep, when Jacob without delay set wives and children on their camels, and stole away in hot haste with all his cattle and substance to go to his father's house in Canaan. Jehovah's compassion was clear and wondrous; but how mingled is not the other side? It is a lesson wholesome for us all, and will be so specially for Israel in the coming day.
How affecting is the mention of Rachel's theft! “And Rachel stole the teraphim that were her father's.” It lets us into the secret root of Laban's iniquity. The fear of God was not there. Personal and family idolatry is disclosed which so often accompanied the profession of the true God. But what can be more offensive to God than to make him a senior or a sleeping partner in a partnership of the gods? Think too of Rachel's stealing at all from her father's goods! It is a queer note of the good Non-conformist, Matthew Henry, that “we are willing to hope (with Bishop Patrick) that she did not take them away as being covetous of the rich metal they were made of, much less for her own use, or out of any superstitious fears lest Laban, by consulting his teraphim, might know which way they were gone. Jacob, no doubt dwelt with his wives as a man of knowledge, and they were better than so; but she might design hereby to convince her father of the folly of his regard to those as gods, who could not secure themselves, Isa. 46:1, 2.” This is all amiable but unwise. For we may gather the true reason from Israel, just after the solemnities of Sinai, bowing down to the golden calf “they made, which Aaron made,” and from Israel's history down to the captivity in Babylon. We are bound to believe the profane and evil infatuation of man's heart instead of imagining other things. Jacob was deceived at the time; but Gen. 35:2 proves that his house was not right with God in this respect, and that he too became aware of it.

Day of Atonement Appendix: 19. The Scapegoat and Modern Views Subversive of the Atonement

Appendix.-I. the Scapegoat
It is generally known that the Hebrew word so translated in the Authorized Version, but left by the Revisers untranslated, has been the occasion of keen debate among men of learning, Jews as well as Christians, though chiefly rationalists. Symrnachus gives ἀπερχόμενος, and Aquila ἀπολυὀμενος (or, as Montfaucon reads, ἀπολελυμένος); and the Vulgate follows, as did Luther in his day. Theodoret in his comment on the passage seems to have had no question but that the Seventy meant ἀποπομπαῖος as ἀποπεμπόμενος. But the learned S. Bochart (Hieroz. II. liv.) objected that their rendering is by a term in classical authors appropriated to the active sense of averting or turning away evils, answering to the Latin averruncus, though he for his part suggests quite a different version of the Hebrew. One of his arguments repeated by moderns, that “ez” is a she goat, not a male, Gesenius confesses is not so certain. Indeed the remark in the Thesaurus, as anyone may verify from Hebrew usage, is “prius caprum quam capram significasse videtur.” It is really an epicene, and so capable of application to either sex. Besides, Azazel is a compound, or which the more general designation sufficed with another word to define. This allowed, the natural formation of the word is obvious: Azazel means goat of departure. Nor is there real difficulty in identifying the people's lot with it: as the slain goat was for Jehovah, so the living one for a scapegoat. This is the express distinction of scripture in each case.
People are easily stumbled who for such reasons abandon the intrinsically simple, suitable, and holy sense, for alternatives of the most equivocal nature, if not absurd and profane. Thus not a few suggest that it is the name of a place, of which nobody ever heard; whereas the context supposes a meaning which all could understand at once. This is true only of the ancient and commonly held view. The advocates for place cannot settle among themselves whether Azazel signifies a precipitous mountain, to which the goat is supposed to be led, or a lonely valley which Deut. 21 probably suggested, though the case was wholly different. Besides, we have the place of consignment already and distinctly specified in ver. 10, which puts this sense of Azazel out of court as intolerable tautology; so Gesenius rightly argues on the latter supposition. “To a desert place, into the desert,” cannot stand; any more than the former supposition of casting the goat down a precipice, instead of letting him go free as ver. 22 requires. Tholuck, Winer, &c., contended for such a manipulation of Azazel as would mean “for a complete removal.” which Gesenius condemned very properly, both for its rigid character and for its incoherence with ver. 8; and therefore he preferred with many others the abominable sense of a demon or Satan! Hence the Septuagint has been cited as if ὁ ἀποπομταῖος must mean some evil genius of the wilderness, who had to be propitiated by the sacrifice of the dismissed goat! One can understand the apostate emperor Julian so sneering at scripture; but Cyril of Alexandria found no difficulty in understanding the Greek translation, as the plain English reader does the A.V.
For on the face of the chapter the two goats were taken “for a sin-offering” (ver. 5); and Aaron presented not one only but both before Jehovah at the door of the tabernacle (ver. 7); and lots were cast (ver. 8) that the whole disposal of each might be of Jehovah. Is it not blasphemy then to find such sentiments insinuated as would involve an unholy compact between Jehovah and Satan, not merely in the face of the entire law which forbade giving His sacred honor to His adversary, but this on the most solemn day of sacrifice and confession of sins in the Jewish year? Now ver. 10 is conclusive proof that the Seventy had no such profanity in their minds, any more than they convey it in their words. For though the word in heathen mouths had no better connection, the LXX show that they simply employed it to mean the God-appointed dismisser of the sins charged on its head by varying the rendering in ver. 10. There, instead of saying τὸν ἀποπομπαῖον, as would have been the natural form after their translation of ver. 8, they seem to go out of their way to guard themselves and the scripture in hand by changing the phrase to αὐτὸν εἰς τὴν ἀποπιητήν, “to send away for the dismissal” (not “the dismisser”). Symmaclius has here εἰς τράγον ἀφιέμενον (Origenis Hexapla, Field, ii. 194). It is certain from this comparison that the Seventy meant by ὀ ἁποπομπαῖος the goat that was sent away; which demonstrates therefore, notwithstanding their use of the word, that the notion of a caco-daemon did not even occur to their thoughts. To crown the evidence, weigh their version of ver. 26, “And he that sends forth the goat that has been set apart to be let go,” as Sir L. C. L. Brenton translates τὸν χίμαρον τὸν διεσταλμένον. Who can doubt that there was no unworthy superstition of an Averruncus, but just simply the second goat of departure? It may be added that Mr. Chas. Thompson, the American Translator (Philad. 1808), did not differ as to this from Brenton, save in being less correct, “And he that letteth go the he-goat which was sent away to be set at liberty,” &c., as he had rendered 1-azazel in vers. 8, 10, simply “for escape.” Neither of them allows the idea of the heathen daemon in any case.
The notion of Witsius, &c., is less offensive, as might be expected in pious men. It was that the goat sent away to the Averter indicated Christ's relation to the devil, whom He, however tried, did overcome. And Henstenberg sought to purge it so as to express in symbol that he whom God forgives is freed from the devil's power. But it is all an inexcusable departure from the simple truth of the type by an attempt to christen a heathen idea, which has no ground whatever in the original, and only a semblance in the LXX corrected almost immediately by the context. “When He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive.” Such is the noble way in which was displayed, completely and forever, Christ triumphing over the evil powers, which had before seemed to triumph for a while: they were really vanquished and despoiled in His cross.
It may be helpful to notice briefly some prevalent speculations of our day which work banefully against the truth, and to the injury of souls.
We need not dwell on the virtual Socinianism which reduces the death of Christ to an example of love, or to a fidelity which stopped not short of martyrdom. His suffering for us was as unique as His person. Many have lived in devoted love, many have died martyrs, and on a cross too. How comes it that not one suffered as Christ, that He alone is an object of faith or means of peace? Because He, and He only, suffered for our sins. Quite as low do they go who make His death only a necessary step to His resurrection for assuring men of a future life and fresh pardon, either on God's prerogative, or on man's repentance, or on both. It is clear that, for vindicating God and the conscience, any theory of the kind scarce goes beyond heathenism. Such men neglect the true light which now shines with fullness of love in Christ. Righteousness and grace are alike lost by these thoughts; and Christ, far from being “all,” is reduced comparatively, and really indeed, to nothing for atonement.
(1) Beyond these in appearance is the scheme that, as our Lord ever went about doing good in grace and mercy, so His sufferings were endured up to death as a perfect manifestation of God in man. So Mr. Maurice on “Sacrifice,” who regarded the Son of God as the ideal man, the true root and eternal anti-type of humanity. But this is no more than philosophizing on Christ. As it obliterates the guilt and ruin of fallen man, so it accounts in no true sense or divine way for the sufferings of Christ at the hand of God. Guilt on the one hand is ignored, and God the Judge of sin on the other. Hence the infinite work of Christ is viewed merely on the side of love and self-surrender, not at all in the light of His suffering once for sins, that He might bring the believer to God. Thus the cross is regarded in its most superficial aspect. The judgment of God therein is wholly absent from the theory, no less than the deliverance and new status of the believer as identified with Christ risen from the dead, and seated at God's right hand in heaven.
It is true that Christ felt the sins of men with that anguish, with which only a perfectly pure and holy One could feel the sins of others, along with perfect grace toward themselves in His heart. But sympathy is not what is wanted with sins, or even with sinners as such. Suffering for sins can alone avail, and that by One Who is adequate to meet God in all His holy feeling and righteous dealing about sin. Sinners need a sufficient Savior, and a divinely acceptable salvation.
Again, union does not mean Christ becoming partaker of man's nature, though this was essential to save souls. The faithful now are united by and in the Spirit to Him glorified on high. The union of mankind as such with Christ is a fiction destructive of truth and holiness.
(2) The late Dr. J. McLeod Campbell, in his book on “The Nature of the Atonement,” betrays the like ruinous departure from revealed truth. He contends for Christ's “condemnation of sin in His own Spirit” as atoning, not His blood-shedding. Scriptural atonement is given up for one of purely holy and loving sentiment, altogether short of, and differing from, what the cross really means. For Christ is supposed to have atoned for men by offering up to God a perfect confession for their sins, and an adequate repentance! for them, with which divine justice is satisfied! as a full expiation made for human guilt! “Fatherliness in God originating our salvation: the Son of God accomplishing that salvation by the revelation of the Father.”
Here again, Christ suffering for sins, the Just for the unjust, has no true place, any more than the righteousness of God in answer to Christ's infinite suffering. It is a strange and vague substitution of Christ making a confession, “Which must, in its own nature, have been a perfect amen in humanity to the judgment of God on the sin of man.” It thus evidently leaves out God arrayed against our sins laid on Jesus. All admit the love which brought Him down and carried Him through to the uttermost. But what was the meaning of the cup which His Father gave Him to drink? What of His praying in agony that, if it were possible, this cup might pass from Him? What, still more, of the cry on the cross, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” These were no merely sympathetic woes, which last He never prayed should pass from Him, but His unutterable suffering—yea, beyond all our thoughts—at God's hand, when His necessary hatred and judgment of sin broke forth even on His own Son made sin for us. Nothing but vicarious suffering for us from God can account for the profound feelings and language of our Lord when delivered for our offenses, and bearing our sins in His own body on the tree. It is allowed also that Christ in grace took up our sins and confessed them as His own, in His heart substitution for us. But to say that all the elements of a perfect contrition and repentance except! the personal consciousness of sin (the very element essential to repentance and contrition) were in Him, is to mistake the word of God, and foist in a fable.
As contrary to scripture is it to say that thus was accorded to divine justice that which is its due, and which could alone satisfy it. Was it not immeasurably more to be forsaken of God? This Christ suffered for us, if we believe Himself, on the cross. He poured out His soul an offering for sin. Isaiah says nothing short of this could satisfy divine justice, nor an adequate expiation be, unless our guilt were righteously borne as it was in His cross. Here again is the same swamping of necessary truth which characterizes the theory of Mr. Maurice. Like his it also blots out the essential difference which faith creates, Substitution is wholly gone in these efforts to show nothing but divine love to everybody. If in these solutions there were any adequate answer to the first goat, there is no recognition whatever of what the second conveys; but even as to the first, how poor is the notion of sympathy in the presence of God's judgment of sin in Christ's cross!
(3) Another human key has been offered whereby to escape the offense of the cross. The late Mr. Robertson (of Brighton) labored to make out that “Christ simply came into collision with the world's evil and bare the penalty of that daring. He approached the whirling wheel, and was torn in pieces. He laid His hand on the cockatrice's den, and its fangs pierced Him. Such is the law which governs the conflict with evil. It can be crushed only by suffering from it. The Son of Man, who puts His naked foot on the serpent's head, crushed it; but the fang goes into His heel.” Here again the same irreparable want appears. God is in none of these thoughts. It is not suffering for sins, but suffering from sinners only. The judgment of God is left out, sin being unjudged; and the grace of God does not appeal to or for sinners. How irreverent also to think and speak of Christ bearing the penalty of His “daring”! How grievous the lowering and the loss of truth which reduces all in Christ to “law"! It is a mere victim overcome of evil, instead of a divine sacrifice for us which overcame it with good, but at infinite cost to Himself even from God. Jehovah bruising Him becomes a mere figure, instead of being the deepest reality. Scripture is plain that His sacrifice on the cross was not merely by God's foreknowledge, but by His determinate counsel. Whatever part the Jews played in heart, whatever the lawless hands of Gentiles did, after all it was that which God's hand and God's counsel determined before to be done. “Jehovah laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.” Such was the baptism with which He must be baptized; such the cup His Father had given Him to drink. Thus only can we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins; as God set Him forth a propitiation through faith in His blood to declare His righteousness. Thereby is God just and the justifier of him that believes in Jesus.
In his Expository Lectures on the Epistles to the Corinthians, Mr. R. joins others of the school in basing all on the Incarnation, as if God then reconciled the world unto Himself and Himself to man. “Consequently everyone is to be looked at now, not merely as a man, but as a brother in Christ!” The passage on the contrary declares that, whatever God's loving attitude and overtures in the Incarnate Word, man was so evil and hostile that there was no way to bring him to God, short of His making Christ sin for us that we might become His righteousness in Him (2 Cor. 5).
(4) Hence all the efforts of such men as Dr. Young in the “Life and Light of Men” are vain. “The Jews sacrificed Christ—sacrificed Him to their vile passions; but as certainly (!) He did not mean to atone for their sins (!!), or to tender satisfaction to divine justice (!!!).” It is not a question of Jews or Gentiles, but of God's purposes and means. All scripture from beginning to end reveals the way of sacrifice to be not Abel's only, but divine. Of all that was done in faith the foundation lay before God only in the atoning death of the Lord Jesus. His inward sufferings were as perfect as real; but it is sheer unbelief to abuse them to the denial that God made Christ, Who knew no sin, to be sin for us. How false and bold then to say that “a true salvation is not escape from the consequence of sin, present or remote”! Undoubtedly salvation by Christ is far fuller; but it is rebellion against God to deny that remission of sins is included. “Without shedding of blood is no remission:” so says the N. T., as well as the Old.
Similar remarks apply to Dr. Bushnell's treatise on “Vicarious Sacrifice,” and “Forgiveness and Law.” His is another variety of atonement by moral power. What can be worse than to say that, in Christ made a curse for us, “the meaning of the expression is exhausted, when Christ is said simply to come into the corporate state of evil, and to bear it with us—faithful unto death for our recovery”? Is this to give “His life a ransom for many”? “He gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” “The chastisement of our peace was upon Him.” He bore the penalty of our sin, and by His blood purged our conscience to serve the living God. It is to reverse the truth, if His aim and way were, as Dr. B. says, “to bring us out of our sins themselves, and so out of their penalties.” Vitally needful was the vicariousness of His suffering for us, and not love only. Indeed love is incomparably more proved therein. Otherwise we have no more left than goodness and martyrdom, an example for us to imitate and reciprocate. “Hereby know we love, because He laid down His life for us.” “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as propitiation for our sins.” This is excluded by all these unbelieving theories. “God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved through His life.”
Prof. B. Jowett, in his “Epistles of Paul” as elsewhere, has committed himself to rash and irrelevant utterances on this most sacred and momentous subject. His distinct tendency if not effort is to undermine divine authority and certainty in scripture; which if accepted would dissolve the truth of atonement as indeed of everything else.
Thus he writes in his second Vol. p. 549: “The Old Testament is not on all points the same with the New, for, Moses allowed some things for the hardness of their hearts '; nor the law with the prophets, for there were proverbs in the house of Israel ' that were reversed; nor does the gospel, which is simple and universal, in all respects agree with the epistles, which have reference to the particular state of the first converts; nor is the teaching of James, who admits works as a co-efficient with faith in the justification of man, absolutely identical with that of Paul, who asserts justification by faith only; nor is the character of all the Epistles of Paul precisely the same; nor does he himself claim an equal authority for all his precepts.” How grave the fault to avail oneself of points more or less true to upset the truth! And what can we think of his statement farther on— “Christ Himself hardly uses, even in a figure, the word sacrifice; never with the least reference to His own life or death.” And this, in the face, not only of Matt. 20:28, but of chap. 26:28! And what is the meaning of His giving His flesh for the life of the world? of His laying down His life for the sheep? of the corn of wheat dying and bringing forth much fruit? of His being lifted up from the earth and drawing all men unto Him? From the transfiguration we hear Him setting His death constantly before His disciples.
In his Essay on the Atonement which follows his Exposition, Mr. J. strives to get rid of the Levitical types of Christ's death on the ground of no such interpretation accompanying them. Now this really means, that, if true, we should have had the N.T. side by side with the Old: a notion which would blot out God's wisdom and will in various dispensations. 1 Peter 1:12 is in principle the inspired answer. Christ's coming and death for us, followed by the gift of the Spirit on His ascension, was the right time and way of plainly teaching all, which had been wrapt up in figure but not in uncertainty. When declared and seen to be the divine intention after 1500 years, the truth comes out only the more impressively as of God. And unbelief is proved to be not only blind but irreverent as well as absurd, in presence of such facts when Mr. J. adds, “It would seem ridiculous, to assume a spiritual meaning in the Homeric (I) rites and sacrifices; and although they may be different in other respects, have we any more reason for inferring such a meaning in the Mosaic (11)?” One might have hoped that even pre-occupation with Plato's reveries, diversified with relaxation over the Iliad and Odyssey, might leave room even in the most prejudiced mind to remember that the scriptures claim to be inspired of God; so that, even though they consist of two very distinct collections in wholly different tongues, for an earthly people and for Christ's heavenly body, there cannot but be one mind of God in all, either preparing for Christ, or at length revealed in Him fully by the one Spirit sent down from heaven. Now Christ's presence on earth was the stumbling-stone of the one, as the O.T. prophets declared beforehand; and His death of shame, yet in God's hand of eternal redemption, introduces the others. This also explains why He Who was the rejected Messiah, and the glorified Head of the church, did not Himself bring out His death, resurrection, and ascension glory, but left it to the Holy Spirit by the apostles and prophets of the N.T. Yet He said enough to prove that all was known perfectly: only the disciples could not bear to hear all whilst He was here, and the atoning work not yet accomplished. How then must one estimate Mr. J.'s words, “It is hard to imagine that there can be any truer expression of the gospel than the words of the Lord Jesus, or that any truth omitted by Him can be essential to the gospel” (Exp. ii. p. 555)? Had it been true that His death for our sins was absolutely left till it was in fact fulfilled and for the Holy Spirit to testify, how childish the reasoning! Alas! it is much worse: “A deceived heart have turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand?”
(To be continued).

Israel Holy to Jehovah: 1

The great day of atonement occupies the entire chap. xvi. of this book. We see its relation to the feasts of Jehovah in chap. 23:26-32. But it also claims a distinct place, as Jehovah gave a special revelation with ample detail because of its independent importance, not more central in the book of Leviticus than in the ways of God, as shadowing that work of Christ on which, for a lost world as well as a people, all blessing depends, for Jews or Greeks or the church of God, for earth and heaven, for time and eternity.
Having already sought to expound that chapter by itself, however imperfectly but at least with simplicity and for practical use, I may now turn to the scriptures which follow, up to chap. 23., which may well call for a separate but briefer treatment. Each of these six chapters is devoted to divinely given regulations, to preserve the priests and the people of Israel from defilements to which they were exposed. It is not the offerings, as in Lev. 1-7, nor the priests duly established and failing (Lev. 8-10), or discharging their duties as to food, and the natural defilements and purification (xi.-xv.), ending with the day of atonement (xvi.). Here it is to guard priests and people from other defilements.
Let us now look into the portion before us.
“1And Jehovah spoke to Moses, saying, 2 Speak to Aaron, and to his sons, and to all the children of Israel and say to them, This [is] the thing which Jehovah hath commanded, saying, 3 Every one of the house of Israel that slaughtereth an ox or sheep or goat in the camp, or that slaughtereth [it] out of the camp, 4 and doth not bring it to the entrance of the tent of meeting, to offer [it] as an oblation to Jehovah before the tabernacle of Jehovah, blood shall be reckoned to that man: he hath shed blood; and that man shall be cut off from among his people, 5 to the end that the children of Israel bring their sacrifices which they sacrifice in the open field, that they bring them to Jehovah, to the entrance of the tent of meeting, to the priest, and sacrifice them as sacrifices of peace-offerings to Jehovah. 6 And the priest shall sprinkle the blood upon the altar of Jehovah, at the entrance of the tent of meeting, and burn the fat for a sweet savor to Jehovah. 7 And they shall no more sacrifice their sacrifices to demons (or hairy ones, satyrs) after whom they go a whoring. This shall be an everlasting statute to them for their generations. 8 And thou shalt say to them, Every one of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among them, that offereth a burnt offering or sacrifice, 9 and bringeth it not to the entrance of the tent of meeting, to offer it to Jehovah; that man shall be out off from his peoples” (vers. 1-9).
When God set the world that now is after the flood on the new condition of responsible government in man's hand, it was preceded by sacrifice; and the sweet savor was so acceptable, that Jehovah said in His heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake, for the thought of man's heart is evil from his youth. The very evil of man is the occasion of grace shown by Him, the unchanging God, Who used man's evil to bring out what He is in Himself, and is therefore incomprehensible save to faith. God thereon laid down that life belonged to God, and that man was bound to own His claim by not eating the blood. This principle was acknowledged by the apostles, elders, and brethren in Jerusalem, at the very assembly which vindicated the liberty of Gentile believers, but insisted on the restriction under Noah.
Here however it is not God dealing with man, but Jehovah instructing His priests and people in their peculiar relationship to Himself. It is the thing which Jehovah commanded every man of the house of Israel and no others; and it is here imposed on their wilderness estate. Whoever there slaughtered an animal for food without the camp must bring it to the entrance of the tent of meeting to offer it as an offering to Jehovah before His tabernacle. If not, blood was imputed to him; and because he shed blood without thus acknowledging Jehovah, his own life was forfeited: “that man shall be cut off from his people.” It was an abandonment of Jehovah, and a denial of the ground on which he stood before Him. If he partook of animal food, he was bound to own, what the Gentiles that know not God had forgotten, that life belonged to Jehovah; He demanded the confession of the truth every time one took an animal's flesh for his food. Nor this only; but as He enjoined, solemnly before His tabernacle. Though for food, it was their duty to bring such to Jehovah and the priest as sacrifices; not of course as a sin-offering, but as expressive of communion with Him, sacrifices of peace-offerings to Jehovah.
Nor was the priest to fail on his side, but to sprinkle the blood upon the altar of Jehovah at the appointed place, and burn the fat for a sweet savor to Jehovah. Hence the profane and selfish wickedness of Eli's sons at a later day in the land, not only morally but in contempt of the law, even in the formal sacrifices and that which was exclusively Jehovah's right (1 Sam. 2:12-25). As the people were not to count their part irksome but a privilege as Jehovah's people, so the priests were called cheerfully to sprinkle the blood and burn the fat on the altar. How due to Him! how happy and good for His people
It was a needed safe-guard against idolatry too. For so inveterate a snare for man is it to turn aside to strange gods, that even here Jehovah deigns to notice the danger for His erring people. “And they shall no more sacrifice their sacrifices to the goats (or, satyrs), after whom they go a whoring. This shall be a statute forever to them throughout their generations.” So now that we as Christians rest on the one perfecting offering of Christ, it is our place and joy, whether we eat or drink or whatsoever we do, to do all to God's glory, to do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to the Father through Him. It is not only in offering up a sacrifice of praise to God, but as not forgetting to do good and communicate (i.e., to share our goods with others); for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
Verses 8 and 9 take in also the strangers that sojourned among the Israelites and denounce the evil of offering a Burnt Offering or a sacrifice except at the one divinely assigned meeting-place with Jehovah. How sad for any in professing to own Jehovah with an offering to disregard His goodness in giving a place, and but one place, of outward access to Himself How active and wily is the unseen foe in everything, and not least in the ostensible worship of God to put scorn on the good and acceptable and perfect will of God! So it was in Israel then: so it has ever been, and with not less dismal success, in the church from near the first till our day.

Proverbs 16:9-16

Here is given a fresh cluster of apothegms, in which we start with Jehovah as the sole power of directing the Israelite's steps, and of maintaining equity in daily life. But there is next withal a striking enforcement of the honor due to the king.
“The heart of man deviseth his way, but Jehovah directeth his steps.
An oracle is on the lips of the king; his mouth will not err in judgment.
The just balance and scales [are] of Jehovah; all the weights of the bag [are] his work.
[It is] an abomination to kings to commit wickedness; for the throne is established by righteousness.
Righteous lips [are] the delight of kings; and they love him that speaketh aright.
The fury of a king [is as] messengers of death; but a wise man will pacify it.
In the light of the king's countenance [is] life, and his favor [is] as a cloud of the latter rain.” (9-15).
The heart of man away from God is lawless; and, shaking off the restraint of Him to whom he belongs and must give account, is fruitful of devices. As he loves his own way, so he changes it according to the object before him, or, it may be, some passing fancy. Jehovah alone can direct his steps: but this supposes dependence on Him and obedience of His word, when it is His way, and not the man's own. So Moses (Ex. 33:13), when Israel forsook Him and bowed down to the golden calf, prays, Show me thy way.
Jehovah would have His people honor the king, especially in Israel; and to look for a wise and righteous decision. “An oracle is on the lips of a king.” It was no less a remembrancer to the king, that it should be said of him, his mouth will not err in judgment. How often alas! both king and people failed utterly. But a morning comes without clouds, When One of that very house shall rule over men righteously and in the fear of God; for man He is, though infinitely more. But David's house was not so with God, either when he lived, or after his death when succeeded even by the favored son who wrote these words. Judgment must act as well as sovereign grace, before Jehovah will make it grow. All honor to Him Who once for all suffered for sins, and has given us life eternal, and will reign righteously.
Properly subjoined is that equity in the least things which Jehovah will have. “The just balance and scales are of Jehovah; all the weights of the bag are His work.” If Jehovah showed His interest in instructing man aright, when it was even the details of the fitches and the cumin, of the barley and the wheat, and not in the sowing only but in their due treatment at the harvest, so did He feel for the constant administration of every day's exchange among men, to ensure right and guard against wrong. How much more does He feel their readiness to overlook sin and judgment for eternity?
Again would he set before all that to commit wickedness is an abomination not to Himself only but to kings. What a standing rebuke if the throne were not established by righteousness! What an exposure if the king indulged in wickedness himself, instead of abhorring it in others! It is throughout here assumed that the king recognizes his place before Jehovah as His anointed.
Further we hear that kings take pleasure in those who in their speech vindicate what is right. “Righteous lips are the delight of kings; and they love him that speaketh right.” Flattery is natural at court, but contemptible to him that rules in the fear of God. Righteous lips may not always speak agreeably; but righteous kings appreciate the man who cleaves to justice and sound principle.
Just as terrible is the wrath of a king. He holdeth not the sword in vain. That he is incensed “as messengers of death,” especially to such as have reason to fear. “But a wise man will pacify it. So we see in both Jonathan and David, who appealed not in vain to the monarch even though unjust in his anger.
On the other hand no less powerful is the effect of the king's favor after alienation. “In the light of the king's countenance is life, and his favor is as the cloud of the latter rain.” But what is any such privilege to compare with the place of stable nearness and grace which the believer even now enjoys through the Savior and looks on in assured hope of His glory! “Being therefore justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; through whom also we have had the access by faith into this grace wherein we stand; and we boast in hope of the glory of God” (Rom. 5:1, 2).

Gospel Words: Be Not Anxious

As the Lord charges His own to lay up for themselves treasures, not on earth, but in heaven, so does He forbid anxiety about their life here below, as His servant did about anything. He lifts our eyes above the seen present to the things unseen and eternal, whence He came and whither He was going, as He is coming to take us shortly. Here He deals with the believer's heart, and the snare of seeking to serve God and mammon which He pronounces morally impossible.
“For this reason I say to you, Be not anxious for your life what ye should eat and what ye should drink, nor yet for your body what ye should put on. Is not the life more than the food, and the body more than the raiment? Look at the birds of the heavens, that they sow not, nor reap, nor gather into barns, and your heavenly Father nourisheth them. Are ye not more excellent than they? And which of you by anxiety can add to his stature one cubit? And why are ye anxious about raiment? Consider the lilies of the field how they grow: they toil not, nor yet spin; yet I say to you, that not even Solomon in all his glory put on like one of these. But if God doth so clothe the grass of the field, being to-day and tomorrow cast into the oven, how much more you, O ye of little faith? Be not therefore anxious, saying, What shall we eat? or what shall we drink? or what shall we put on? For all these things the Gentiles seek after; for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things” (vi. 25-32).
Anxiety as to the things which the present life needs is natural. All these things the nations of the earth seek after. In God they have no faith, as the Jews professed loudly, but in works denied. But the disciples had the heavenly Father's name now set before them as the One who is perfect in grace, making His sun shine on evil and good, and sending rain on just and unjust. How true this is! Yet who had affirmed it as a living principle but the Lord on earth, who also set it forth as a model for His own practically, that they might be sons indeed: an astonishing doctrine, especially for those, as they were, trained up in the legal ideas of the Jews. So their righteousness was to be, whether alms, prayer, and fasting, not before men but to their Father that sees in secret.
The name of their Father made anxiety about earthly and bodily wants a painful incongruity, and in particular about what kind the supply should be. From Himself the birds read them one lesson, and the lilies another. He nourishes each fleeting creature, He gives the passing flower its beauty. How much more did He care for His children? It was a touching appeal and carrying with it to every believer the conviction of irresistible truth. They were, they are, called to believe in His sustaining goodness. He never fails in His love: they ought not to fail in resting and counting on it day by day. If tried as to it, let them not doubt that it is for their good. It is impossible for God to lie. Are they to doubt His love Whom the Lord reveals as their Father? He who embraces the least objects of His care will act worthily of His love to the nearest.
Nor does the Lord spare them the humbling proof how little the anxiety of man avails. “Which of you by anxiety can add to his stature one cubit?” It was a very small thing if some would count it a very great addition. Yet even for this how powerless is man! Why then be anxious about a garment? The herbage of the field rebukes the vanity of a child of God; for as the Lord called their attention to the lilies, he pointed the moral by the plain fact that God clothed even these transient creatures, lower in the scale than the birds, with a beauty far beyond Solomon's array in all his glory.
Be not therefore anxious, saying, What shall we eat? or what shall we drink? or what shall we put on? Here the Lord urges two considerations which we do well to heed. One is to guard us against sharing the unbelief of those who do not even know God, How compromising to share the thoughts and feelings of the Gentiles! “For all these things the nations seek after.” The other is to assure the doubting heart. “For your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.” Not one sparrow falls to the ground without Him: but of you even the hairs of the head are all numbered” (Matt. 10:29, 30).
Now are you, who read these words, a child of God by grace? Believe not such as say that all mankind are so. They deny the fall; they ignore sin; they oppose the solemn testimony of scripture, that, however favored by privileges, we are by nature children of wrath, even as others (Eph. 2:3). Believe not others who say that baptism quickens those dead in trespasses and sins. Christ quickens by faith of His word and the working of the Spirit. He is the Life, as He is the Way and the Truth. You have His words, not merely to instruct His own, but to show how the dead may live, yea have eternal life; for this it is He gives to those who believe. “Verily, verily, I say to you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life” (John 6:47). Why wonder? Is He not the Son, the I am? “He that believeth on the Son hath life eternal (or, everlasting): and he that is unsubject to the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:36). O sinner, beware lest this be your portion,

Free Will: Part 2

But it will be said, Yes, but the death of Christ has laid a new ground of responsibility. So it has, but by placing man on the ground that man is already lost; and that, when we were yet without strength, Christ died for the ungodly. There is none to will, none to understand, none to answer. We cannot give divine life to ourselves, nor beget ourselves to God. I am not questioning the door being freely open, nor the blood on the mercy-seat; but this is the final proof that man will not come when he can as regards God, and God has proved that no motives suffice to induce him. He must be born again, wholly afresh. The history of scripture is of God's using all means and motives, the result being the rejection of His Son, and judgment.
The case of Adam was somewhat different, because lust and self-will were not yet there. Man was not then a captive to a law of sin in his members. Sin was not there, nor was deliverance required. He was with God in innocence. Clearly God put no restraint on Him to leave Him and disobey. His obedience was tested. It was not a question of coming to God when he was already evil. The prohibition was a pure test of obedience, and the act was innocent if it had not been forbidden. There was as yet no conscience in the sense of knowing the difference of good and evil for oneself. He had only to stay where he was, and not disobey. There was nothing in him, nor of course in God, to hinder him; in this he was free. His fall proved that, not the creature was bad, but if left to himself, he could not stand firm. In this state so far from choice and freedom of choice being what he had to go right, the moment he had choice and will there was sin. Obedience simply was his place; if a question arose whether he should obey, sin was there. Choice is not obedience. The moment he felt free to choose, he had left the place of simple obedience.
Think of a child who takes the ground of being free to choose whether he shall obey, even if he chooses right! I deny that morality depends on freedom of choice. Man was created in a given relationship with God: morality consisted in walking in that relationship. But that relationship was obedience. There he was to continue simple, and happy, not to set himself free from God.
Christ abode in obedience. He took the form of a servant and came to do God's will. Satan in the temptation in the wilderness sought to get Him to leave this, to be free and do His will, only in eating when He was hungry. What harm was there in that? It was freedom and man's own will. But His answer is that man shall live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. There was no movement of His heart but from or by the will of God; and this is perfection. It is not a rule checking self-will which we alas! often need, but God's will the motive of action—of the action of our will. This is what is called in 1 Peter 1:2 the obedience of Jesus Christ, to which we are sanctified.
Man has therefore in one sense made himself free, but it is free from God, and thus he is in moral apostasy, and the slave of sin. From this Christ wholly delivers, and sanctifies us to obedience, having borne the penalty of the fruits of our free-will. How came I to have to choose? If I have, I have no good yet, and what is to make me choose it? The exercise of will or choosing was just man's sin, obedience is his place with God. He was created in good, and had not to choose it; now he loves sin, and has to be delivered from it. The principle that responsibility depends on the power of the responsible person is false, save so far as the alleged responsible person is in his nature such as to negative the claim. A stone cannot be responsible, nor even a beast, for moral conduct; because neither is in the relationship to which responsibility can attach. But obligation flows from relationship; and where the relationship exists which constitutes it, the obligation subsists: the power to fulfill it has nothing to do with it. The obligation gives a claim to the person to whom the obliged is responsible. I put the case—a man owes a thousand pounds; he is a spendthrift and has not a penny. He really has not power to pay: have I therefore no claim, and he no responsibility? This will not do. So Romans cut off their thumbs, and could not hold a spear, to avoid military service: were they not held responsible?
Man takes another ground of reasoning against God—that God put him into this place, or he was born in it; and therefore he is not responsible. This raises another point, that moral responsibility attaches to will, and not to power. We do what our own consciences condemn, because we like it. My child refuses to come when I call him to go with me. I am going to punish him because he would not. He pleads that he was tied or could not open the door. But I punish him, because he refused as to his will to yield to the obligation. I had a knife ready to cut what bound him, or a key to open the door. He by his will refused the claim. In a word responsibility flows from the claim on us arising from the relationship in which we stand. There is not a man in the city that would allow that he had no claim on a person who owed him a thousands pounds, because he had no ability to pay it. It has nothing to do with responsibility. Alas! we may lightly treat God so; as Adam said, “The woman that Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.” If he pleads his sin as his excuse, God says, “Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, Thou shall not eat of it: saying, cursed is the ground for thy sake,” &c. J. N. D.

The Inspiration of the Scriptures: 2 Peter

Chap. V. Divine Design. 48. the Second Epistle of Peter
Not less characteristic of the great apostle of the circumcision is his Second Epistle. They are both occupied with God's moral government; but the former is in view of saints now suffering for righteousness, and for Christ, waiting for His appearing; the latter in view of false and corrupt teachers (chap. ii.), and of scornful philosophic adversaries (chap. iii.), alike unrighteous, who shall not fail to meet His judgment in that day. Both are eminently practical and hortative, redemption and new risen life being the basis in the one case, as Christ's purchase aggravates the wickedness in the other.
I. “Symeon Peter, bondman and apostle of Jesus Christ to those that obtained like precious faith with us by (or, in) righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.” These cited words of address are notable, distinctive, and instructive. He does not speak of their being reckoned righteous “through faith,” as many misunderstand, but attributes their receiving faith such as the apostle had to God's faithfulness to His promise. For there is always a remnant of grace among Abraham's seed, and of none other. So it had been in the guilty history of Israel; and so it was then, after the Jews rejected their own Messiah. And the dispersed share like precious faith with those who by grace followed Him intimately. If the blesser here, “our God,” became our “Savior Jesus Christ,” it is the more impressive; as undoubtedly He was not Messiah only but the Jehovah God of Israel. To “Grace and peace be multiplied to you,” he now adds “in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” The increasing stress called for it then and since.
Grace had already done so wondrously for them that he looks for growth accordingly and spiritual power (3-11). “As His divine power hath given us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that called us by (or, by His own) glory and virtue, through which He hath given us the greatest and precious promises, that through these ye may become partakers of a divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world by lust. Even for this very reason too bringing in besides all diligence, in your faith furnish virtue, Ain virtue knowledge, in knowledge temperateness, in temperateness endurance, in endurance godliness, in godliness brotherly kindness, in brotherly kindness love. For if these things be and abound in you, they make [you] neither idle nor unfruitful as respects the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ; for he with whom these things are not is blind, shortsighted, having forgotten the purging of his old sins. Wherefore, brethren, give the more diligence to make your calling and election sure, for doing these things ye shall never stumble; for thus shall the entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ be richly furnished to you.” In the full provision of grace he would confirm their souls, but this in order to earnest diligence and the supply of all deficiency; that instead of questions through habitual negligence and short-coming, they should enjoy an unclouded sense of their election and calling, and their anticipated entrance into Christ's everlasting kingdom be supplied along the way.
But, glorious as the kingdom will be, Christianity has higher things in Christ to which our apostle but alludes. In view of speedily departing he casts on no apostle to succeed, still less on an imagined apostolic succession as men say, nor any safeguard but the word of God, as did Paul also. No cunningly devised fable do we follow to make known the power and coming of our Lord, but were sanctioned witnesses (not αὐτόπται only but ἐπόπται) of His majesty, and heard the Father's voice utter His delight in His beloved Son. This made the prophetic word more sure, to which those addressed did well to take heed, “as to a lamp shining in a squalid place, until day dawn and the morning star arise in your hearts.” They were not to slight prophecy with which they were more or less familiar as Jews. But Christ now known by the gospel yields better and brighter things to which he encourages them; and he would have alive in their heart the heavenly light of the day of grace, and of Christ Himself the Star of Morning, the Christian hope before the day of Jehovah. Here they might be weak, as most have been even though not Jews previously. Prophecy is truly about the earth: our proper portion is with Christ in heaven. But they must not take prophecy of scripture as being of its own (or, isolated) interpretation. This might suit man's limitation; but God gave it as a whole converging on Christ and His glory. “For never by man's will was prophecy brought, but men spoke from God borne on (or, moved) by the Holy Spirit” (12-21).
II. Here the apostle sets out the ruin of the Christian confession by false teachers, as before it had been for Israel by false prophets. He allows no illusive hopes. Far from getting all the nations to the banner of Christ, there should be the “falling away,” the apostasy, and worse still (as we read in 2 Thess. 2). “They shall bring in destructive sects, denying even the Sovereign Master that bought them, bringing on themselves swift destruction” (1). The Lord Jesus bought, not the hidden treasure only, but the entire field, the world. He tasted death for every one. All are His not only by divine right of creation but by His death that purchased all with the utmost solemnity. This however does not mean redemption, which delivers the captive from the enemy, but simply that they are purchased. Believers are both bought and redeemed; all the rest are bought only, and among them those corrupters of whom the apostle speaks unsparingly as bringing the way of truth into disrepute. Their sure and exemplary judgment he confirms by varied instances.
“And many shall follow their licentiousnesses, because of whom the way of truth shall be blasphemed. And in covetousness with feigned words they will make gain of you; for whom the judgment from of old is not idle, and their destruction slumbereth not” (2, 3). The first witness of coming judgment he draws from sinning angels that were left till the Lord judges Satan at a later day; but God has already consigned them to pits of deepest gloom for that judgment. The next is the old world of ungodly on whom He brought a flood when He preserved Noah a preacher of righteousness. The third is the overthrow that consumed ungodly Sodom and Gomorrha when He delivered righteous Lot. Thus the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of trial and keep unjust men for punishment in judgment day, but chiefly those that go after flesh in lust of uncleanness and despising lordship (4-10).
A most energetic moral denunciation follows (1117) of their audacity and self-will, corruption, luxury and wanton licentiousness ensnaring unstable souls, and yet more. Forsaking the right way, theirs is the path of Balaam with no less folly; and for them the gloom of darkness is reserved. The plain proof is given from ver. 18 to the end of the chapter. Their high-flown words of vanity only allured and ensnared others into their own slavery of corruption, however they might promise liberty. Their last state of return to evil was all the worse for a knowledge that gave a temporary escape from the world's pollution. It was as a dog turning back to its own vomit, and a washed sow to rolling in mud.
III. This deals rather with scoffing unbelief of closing days against the promise of the Lord's coming. Peter would have them remember the words spoken before by the prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through “your apostles.” It was all foretold. Materialism would prevail, what is now called Positivism; not hypocritical corruption as in chap. ii., but philosophical or infidel materialism as the only truth and certainty (1-4). The apostle refutes it first by the inspired account of the deluge: things have not continued as they are from creation's start. The antediluvian world perished in the flood whilst the now heaven and earth by His word were stored up, kept for fire unto a day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men (5-7). He intimates what is no small thing for understanding the coming day of the Lord, that one day is with Him as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day; though accomplishing immense change at once, it also extends through a long period. And it is His grace in now saving, not slackness, that defers it. But it will come unexpectedly as a thief; in which (day) the heavens shall pass away with rushing noise, and elements with fervent heat shall be dissolved, and earth and the works that are therein shall be burnt up (8-10). It is still the day, its evening as it were, when this catastrophe shall come.
Hence his appeal to the saints. “All these things being thus to be dissolved, of what sort ought ye to be in holy ways and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, by reason of which (day) heavens being on fire shall be dissolved and elements in fervent heat shall melt? But according to his promise we wait for new heavens and new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, as ye wait for these things, use diligence, spotless and blameless to be found by Him in peace; and count the long-suffering of our Lord salvation, even as our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given to him, as also in all epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which (epistles) some things are hard to understand, which the untaught and unestablished wrest, as also the rest of the scriptures, to their own destruction” (11-16).
How weighty the application to holy and pious and devoted service! and how interesting in more ways than one the reference to “our beloved brother Paul,” who, while he mightily explained the prophets, went so far beyond as to divine counsels, hard to Jews especially, which the ignorant and unstable distorted to their ruin. It is clear that inspired Peter calls his epistles “scriptures,” all of which were so misused. And more than that; he speaks of Paul's having written to the Christian Jews, as Peter also in both his Epistles. What can this be, but the Epistle to the Hebrews? Compare Heb. 12:26, 27: the one apostle referring to the morning, the other to the evening, of the same day of the Lord.
“Ye therefore, beloved, knowing beforehand, be on your guard lest, led away along with the error of the wicked, ye fall from your own steadfastness. But grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ: to Him the glory both now and unto day of eternity. Amen.” All over it is Peter's fervor, but aged and mature, waiting for that death by which he should glorify God.

Responsibility and Grace

From the beginning man, trusting the enemy rather than God, was alienated from God; and the two questions, Where art thou? (Gen. 3) and What hast thou done? (Gen. 4) showed where man was as the consequence. Responsibility put fully to the test up to the rejection of Christ. Then, God glorified in righteousness, His love, and the counsels of His grace from before the foundation of the world have been manifested. This puts the gospel in a very special place, and then shows the connection of responsibility and sovereign grace with great distinctiveness.
Moreover there is no longer any veil over the glory of God. His wrath is revealed from heaven; but also the glory of God is revealed in the face of Jesus Christ, witness that all the sins of those who behold it exist no longer before God. All that God is morally is fully revealed and established. We know Him according to that glory, and our relationships with God our standing before Him are founded on it. We are transformed from glory to glory according to that image, for we can look upon it. It is the proof of our redemption, and that our sins no longer subsist before God. We are also renewed in knowledge after the image of Him who created us; we are created according to God in righteousness and holiness of the truth; for according to that glory He shined in our hearts in order to show out the glory of Christ in the world. We are like a lantern: the light is within, but it is to shine without: dull glass (the flesh in us interferes) will prevent the light from shining as it should. Thus that which is given us becomes inward exercise. The treasure is in an earthen vessel; and it is necessary this latter be only a vessel—that we should be dead, in order that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh.
It is not only a communication of what is in Christ, as knowledge; but if it is real, we drink of that which makes the river. It is a communication of that which exercises the soul, makes it grow, and judges the flesh in everything, in order that we may not mar the testimony which is thus committed to us. In Christ Himself the life was the light of men; and the light that we receive must become life in us, the formation of Christ in us, and the flesh be subjected to death. “Death worketh in us” says Paul, “but life in you.”
This is the history of ministry, of true ministry. What we communicate is our own; it enlightens us, but works in us morally. The glory of Christ is realized in us; and all that does not suit Him is judged. Now flesh never suits Him. The death of Christ put an end to all that was Paul. Thus the life of Christ acted from him in others, and nothing but that. This is saying a great deal. In this respect there may he progress. For as to my position before God, I reckon that I am dead; in order to live, death works in me. There is the vessel, but it must be only a vessel, and the life of Christ acting in it and by it. If the vessel acts, it spoils all. In reality we live; but we must always bear about death, in order that the glory of Christ, the image of God, may shine for others. But all the glory of God is revealed; there is no longer any veil over it on God's side, if it be veiled, the veil is on man's heart through unbelief. Truth of all importance! Under the law man could not go in; nor did God come out. Now He has come out, but humbling Himself to bring grace. Then, the work of redemption accomplished, He has gone in, and there is no veil over the glory.
Responsibility there must be and always ought to be. But the first man was the responsible man, and his story ended at the cross, though each has to learn it personally. Our standing is in the second, Who charged Himself with our failures in responsibility (Himself perfect in every trial in it), but laid the ground of perfect acceptance before God. Lost on the ground of the first, we are before God on the ground of the finished work of the second man; not children of Adam as to our place, but children of God, and made the righteousness of God in Christ. Before the cross and up to it, responsibility was developed; after it righteousness was revealed, and the original purpose of God, which was in the last Adam, could then be brought out. This opens what was purely of God, which we have mainly in Ephesians, though elsewhere: and conduct is the display of the divine nature as in Christ. This last is a blessed part of it. The study of what He is, is surely the food of the soul: His Person, His work, may carry us deeper in the apprehension of what God is, for it was met there; and we worship and praise. But with Him we can walk, and know and learn that none is so gracious as He. What will it not be to see Him as He is. J. N. D.

Scripture Query and Answer: Mystery

Q.-Rom. 16:25-27. Does this mean that the “mystery” in question had been already revealed in the prophets of the O. T., though only now understood? or that it was absolutely “hid in God” (Eph. 3:9), not in the scriptures? It is all-important to have the truth clear.—INQUIRER.
A.-There is no question of various readings for the critic, or of disputed grammar for the scholar. All are agreed on the text and the construction. Faith, with an eye single to Christ, and self-will judged before God, alone can decide what the apostle intended. It is clear that the apostle does not mean to unfold the “mystery” here, but looks to an only wise God to establish the saints according to his gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ according to revelation of a mystery, as to which silence had been kept in everlasting times. But now it was manifested, and by prophetic scriptures made known according, to the eternal God's command, for obedience of faith unto all the Gentiles. It was written in due time by the apostle.
To gather the true sense, we have to take heed to a quite new phrase, never employed when “the prophets” are certainly referred to Next, he declares that “a mystery had been kept in silence,” σεσιγημένου. How can this last term bear the interpretation that it had been of old expressed in what God wrote through the prophets? If it had been then revealed in the scriptures, silence had not been kept about it, or as the A.V. has it “kept secret,” which is substantially right. God had never as yet spoken or written of it to man. So, as the query points out, the apostle affirms in Eph. 3 that it had been hidden in God, in evident contrast with being of old revealed in His word. Hence the stress laid, both to the Romans, to the Ephesians, and to the Colossians, that it was Now made manifest to His saints. Indeed Eph. 3 adds that through the church (which was part of it) was now made known to the principalities, &c. in the heavenlies the manifold wisdom of God.
There is therefore an insuperable contradiction in applying “prophetic scriptures” to the O.T. prophets; none at all in understanding it of such scriptures as the apostles and prophets were now to write. For they are the joint foundation; not prophets of the O. T. and apostles of the N. T., but “the apostles and prophets” of the N. T. On these are built those Jewish and Gentile saints who are brought into a union where their differences were abolished, as they were both reconciled to God in one body through the cross. This was a new thing counseled by God before the world's foundation; wrought by Christ, Who died, rose, and ascended; and brought home by the Holy Spirit sent down from heaven, quite incompatible with all known relations in the O.T. times.
Accordingly there is no article with “prophetic scriptures,” as would be correct if “the prophets” had been meant; whereas the anarthrous form was requisite, if new scriptures were intended, written by those who had prophetic gift, whether by apostles who had that gift also or by such as Mark and Luke, who were prophets inspired to write though not apostles.
Deut. 29:29 is an interesting oracle and may help: “The secret things belong to Jehovah our God; but the things that are revealed belong to us and our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” This was a great privilege and duty for the sons of Israel. The downfall of the favored Jews that returned from Babylon when they rejected their own Messiah gave occasion, in the interval before their restoration, for God to exalt the Lord Jesus in glory on high as Head over all things heavenly and earthly to the church, which is His body. It is a “secret” or “mystery,” and a great one, only now possible, and a fact divulged through “prophetic writings” to the divine glory for the edifying of the church as we find elsewhere; only now made known in accord with the eternal God's command for faith-obedience unto all the nations.
What can be more according to Paul's gospel, which treats alike the Jews and the Gentiles in sin and in salvation, than that fullness of grace which now unites the believers from both in the same known nearness to the God and Father of our Lord Who made both one? It is a unity which will not be in the millennial earth, any more than revealed by the O. T. prophets, blessedly associated as the nations will be with the then un-jealous Israel, in marked contrast with the ages and generations which preceded the cross. Hence the apostle speaks of himself emphatically (Col. 1:26), as minister according to the stewardship given to him for such Gentiles, “to fill up the word of God.” This hidden mystery fills the blank left for it in God's wisdom unto the display (not of law but) of sovereign grace on earth, and for heavenly glory forever. A new revelation was hence necessary; yet it only enhances the Christian's value for the Ο.T., whilst itself has its own distinctive character of the profoundest worth and interest. And great is the loss of all who fail to learn of God a truth most sanctifying. The unbelief that refuses the evidence which the word affords tends ever to earthly-mindedness and judaizing, as we see not only in Christendom generally but in many dear Christians, who least suspect it of themselves.
In 2 Peter 1 we read of τὸν προφητικὸν λόγον, the prophetic word, the known body of predictive truth, confirmed by the vision of God's kingdom beheld on the holy mount of transfiguration. And the fact that both προφητεία and γραφῆς are anarthrous is strictly necessary in order to exclude every part of prophecy in God's word from being its own solution. The article with either would have been anomalous. Peter was guided perfectly, even in this, by the Holy Spirit. Every part of that word forms part of the great scheme for revealing Christ's future glory, which the Holy Spirit carries out in men speaking from God as He alone was able to make good.


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Jacob: 9. Laban and Jacob in Covenant

JEHOVAH was faithful and gracious, Jacob a fugitive. Laban soon pursued in hot haste with no friendly intent, but was compelled at the last to bow to God's protecting Jacob.
“And it was told Laban the third day that Jacob had fled. And he took his brethren with him and pursued after him a seven days' journey, and overtook him on mount Gilead. And God came to Laban the Syrian in a dream by night, and said to him, Take care that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad. And Laban came up with Jacob; and Jacob had pitched his tent on the mountain; Laban also with his brethren pitched on mount Gilead. And Laban said to Jacob, What hast thou done that thou hast deceived me, and hast carried away my daughters as captives of sword? Why didst thou flee away covertly and steal away from me; and didst not tell me that I might have sent thee away with mirth and with songs, with tambor and with harp, and hast not suffered me to kiss my sons and my daughters? Now thou hast acted foolishly. My hand is as God to do you hurt; but the God of your father last night spake to me, saying, Take care that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad. And now thou must needs be gone, because thou greatly longedst after thy father's house, why hast thou stolen my gods? And Jacob answered and said to Laban, I was afraid for I said, Lest thou shouldest take by force thy daughters from me. With whomsoever thou findest thy gods, let him not live: before our brethren discern what [is] thine with me, and take [it] for thee. For Jacob knew not that Rachel had stolen them. And Laban went into Jacob's tent, and into Leah's tent, and into the two handmaids' tents, and found nothing, and he went out of Leah's tent into Rachel's tent. Now Rachel had taken the teraphim, and put them under the camel's saddle, and she sat upon them. And Laban felt about all the tent and found them not. And she said to her father, Let there be no kindling in my lord's eyes that I cannot rise up before thee; for the manner of women is upon me. And he closely searched, but found not the teraphim. And Jacob was kindled, and chode with Laban: and Jacob answered and said to Laban, What [is] my trespass, what my sin, that thou hast so hotly pursued after me? Whereas thou hast felt all about my stuff, what hast thou found of all thy household stuff? Set [it] here before my brethren and thy brethren, and let them decide between us both. These twenty years I [have been] with thee: thy ewes and thy she-goats have not cast their young, and rams of thy flock I have not eaten. What was torn I have not brought to thee; I bore the loss of it: of my hand didst thou require it, stolen by day or stolen by night. [Thus] I was; in the day drought consumed me, and frost by night; and my sleep fled from mine eyes. These twenty years I [have been] in thy house; I served thee fourteen years for thy two daughters, and six years for thy flock; and thou hast changed my wages ten times. Had not my father's God, the God of Abraham and the fear of Isaac, been with me, surely empty now thou hadst sent me away. God hath seen mine affliction and the labor of my hands, and rebuked [thee] last night. And Laban answered and said to Jacob, The daughters [are] my daughters, and the sons my sons, and the flock my flock, and all that thou seest [is] mine; and what can I do this day to these my daughters or to their sons whom they have borne? And now come, let us make a covenant, I and thou; and let it be for witness between me and thee. And Jacob took a stone and set it up as a pillar. And Jacob said to his brethren, Gather stones; and they took stones and made a heap and ate there on the heap. And Laban called it Jagar-sahadutha (Heap of Witness), and Jacob called it Galeed. And Laban said, This heap is witness between me and thee this day. Therefore is its name called Galeed and Mizpah (Watchtower); for he said, Watch, Jehovah, between me and thee, when we are hidden one from another. If thou afflict my daughters, and if thou shalt take wives besides my daughters, no man is with us; see, God [is] witness between me and thee. And Laban said to Jacob, Behold this heap, and behold the pillar which I have set up between me and thee. This heap [be] witness and the pillar [be] witness, that I pass not over this heap to thee, and that thou pass not over this heap and this pillar to me for harm. The God of Abraham and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge between us. And Jacob swore by the fear of his father Isaac. And Jacob offered a sacrifice upon the mountain, and invited his brethren to eat bread: and they ate bread and lodged upon the mountain. And Laban rose early in the morning, and kissed his sons and his daughters, and blessed them; and Laban went and returned to his place” (22-55).
The state of both comes out so plainly that no words can give any help when speaking of them. Here all is set in the light; and Laban brings on himself the proofs of his selfishness and dishonesty. Jacob was under no bond to stay. Laban and his sons gave ample signs how distasteful to them were his growth and their decay. He wanted a word from God Who gave it to him. His wives were of one mind with his own. He therefore seized the first opportunity, which Laban's shearing furnished, to be gone. Now that Laban with all the clan overtook Jacob on mount Gilead, what righteous objection could be urged? Undoubtedly the warning God gave Laban alarmed his guilty conscience, though no true fear of God was there, no sense of his injustice, even if Jacob had been no more than a faithful servant. Still on both sides, what a contrast with the day when Rebekah left the same roof-tree, it seems not with mirth and songs, nor with tambor and harp, but with love and honor and the fear of God and the assurance of His blessing, which had much fled from that homestead. If he dreaded spoliation or violence, he complained of his stolen gods. These he prized next to his gains, with no shame for his avowal of heathenism; for where this is, Satan has already brought in darkness and death.
How little Jacob knew that Rachel had really stolen Laban's teraphim, to her own shame! Jacob's house too was not so with God as to make it hateful to her in every way. She had already shown herself the prey of low and vile superstition, which paves the way for idolatry in secret. But Jacob had no suspicion that his beloved was really guilty: else he had not been so quick to propose that such a one should not live. And she that had played false to God little scrupled to deceive her father as well as to rob him. Jacob, ignorant of it, broke into unwonted anger with Laban, whose greed and lack of all justice, to say nothing of affection, he exposes unsparingly, and could well say, that but for God's over-ruling he had now been sent empty away. What could Laban reply but that all were his, wives, children, flock? God was in none of his thoughts, any more than love for his daughters, or their children, or his son-in-law. But he tries to put a good face on the matter, and asks for a covenant between himself and Jacob; who leaves all the terms to Laban, and his wretched thoughts and fears, but solemnly gives execution to it, as well as the name that stood. Not only did he swear by the Fear of Isaac, but he offered peace-offerings; and they ate bread together.
It is a sorry spectacle to the eye of faith; retribution for Laban, rescue for Jacob and his house through God's overruling hand and goodness: but within the chosen family idolatrous images stolen by the wife and unknown to the husband, who, instead of being crushed by Laban, is besought for a covenant with himself. For, as he feared not God, he had no confidence in his own nearest connection. But what had not Jacob to learn, as he weighed his old self-seeking and scheming before Jehovah?

The Day of Atonement: 20. Appendix

(7) Another departure from the faith of God's elect is that of Canon J. P. Norris in his “Rudiments of Theology,” which may be noticed briefly as a warning to souls. It is admitted in the letter that Christ bore our sins; but the spirit is neutralized by the distinct denial that He bore the penalty of our sins. For this is the true force of His having borne them in His own body on the tree, of His having suffered for them once (ἅπαξ). Even the prophet is explicit that “He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of (or punishment for) our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” Jehovah “hath made to light on him the iniquity of us all.” “For the transgressions of my people was he stricken.” It is bold to say that this is not a vicarious punishment for sin. No doubt there was also a dying to sin; but this is also a further N. T. privilege beyond the old and new and everlasting truth that He died judicially, or penalty suffered, for our sins, as was expressed even in the types which could give but the surface and semblance, not the very image and fullness, of the truth. Redeeming from all iniquity, saving from our sins, is unquestionably scriptural; but it could not be righteously without Christ's enduring the penalty at God's hand that we might not. In the face of scripture to deny this, as the Canon does (p. 49), is extravagantly false and evil.
Dying unto sin, as any one can see in Rom. 6 &c., is that the believer dead with Christ may live to God; it has really no direct connection with “enabling God to forgive the sinner.” Sin in the flesh as such is “condemned” by God in Christ as sacrifice for sin (Rom. 8:3), not forgiven as sins are. The doctrine is shallow and anti-scriptural. Our death with Christ to sin is entirely distinct from His dying for our sins. The last alone is what scripture treats as propitiation or atonement. “For I delivered unto you first of all that which also I received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures.” This is the vital truth of the gospel which the apostle preached and wrote, and by which also believers are saved.
That He died to sin is a blessed and instructive sequel, as taught from Rom. 5:12 to chap 8, no less true, and most necessary for deliverance and practical holiness. But it is ruinous to confound the two truths, as is here done, for it really excludes the basis of all righteous blessing in Christ's propitiatory suffering for sins, and renders powerless our death with Him. It exposes also to perilous heterodoxy. Think of a person teaching that Christ “gathered up into His own person all mankind, laden as they were with sin; and with the consciousness of sin upon His heart consummated that dying unto sin which they were in themselves powerless to effect” (p. 56)! Expiation thus vanishes, and a kind of Irvingite universalism remains in Mr. N.'s crucible.
This fundamental error as to Christ's Person appears with no less certainty in a later page (282), and no doubt is his real, perhaps unwitting, doctrine: “He could not redeem us without taking our nature, and He could not take our nature without drawing upon Himself the curse in which sin has involved it.” This is to destroy His holy Person, and to deny His grace in suffering for sins, Just for unjust. It was by no fatal necessity of our nature but by the grace of God that He tasted death ὑπὲρ παντος. It was in the holy liberty of divine love that He laid down His life for us. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a grain of wheat fall into the earth and die, it abideth by itself alone; but if it die, it beareth much fruit.”
In this only, and for this, lay the inevitable need of His death. It was sacrificial in the strictest sense and the deepest way. To say that it was in itself a Roman military execution, and the bloodshed by a soldier's pilum, is to set external circumstances against the revealed mind and purpose of God in what ought to be beyond all dear to the believer's heart and conscience. God's judgment of sin in the cross, and Christ's infinite suffering for our sins there, are ignored and set aside for another truth, distinct yet inseparable, which has no ground-work or application apart from what is denied. There may have been many an Israelite with no thought beyond “There goes my sin in the victim's death “; but that God meant no penalty by the shadow, or in the substance, is mere infidelity as to propitiation for sins. Undoubtedly God's mercy appeared in permitting, enjoining, and accepting, the sacrifice; but there was penal suffering in that sacrifice, which prefigured grace reigning through righteousness.
This profound error is the parent of others; as for instance (p. 234), that “the blood of Christ is uniformly spoken of as a most living thing, now communicable,” as also in pp. 212, 223, 224. Life eternal in the Son, which we have by faith even now, is thus confounded most grossly with His death and blood as a propitiation for our sins. These truths, every spiritual man ought to see, are wholly distinct, though the Christian knows both: (1) that God has sent His Son that we might live through Him; (2) that He sent Him as propitiation for our sins—in both the manifestation of God's love. Mr. N. utterly confuses the blessed φυχὴ (given up in His death and blood-shedding for our sins) with His ξςὴ αἰώνιος in which we live also, and forever, in infinite grace. The old errors and worse re-appear in p. 309; but enough.
(8) The last aberration, which we may notice here, consists of a slight on Christ's work on the cross in two opposite directions. One writer will have it that Christ only completed His vicarious suffering after death and before resurrection in hades, and even the punishment of damnation; the other insists on propitiation being made by Christ's entering heaven, after death and before resurrection. I understand both of them to hold that the work was not finished in the blood and death of Christ on the cross, but the propitiation effectively depends on a further action of Christ (whether in heaven or in hades) in the disembodied state. Each of these appears to be a fable as to a foundation truth.
It is of moment to disarm the adversary by avoiding a mistaken application or sense of scripture. The truth is enfeebled by anxiety to press texts misunderstood, like John 1:29, and 1 Peter 2:24.
Thus it is notorious how good and learned men have labored in vain over Isa. 53:4, because they have not taken heed to the Holy Spirit's use of it in Matt. 8:17. There it is applied to the grace with which He used His power in the removal of infirmities and sicknesses in His ministry among the Jews. Partly through the idea that the prophecy must be solely about the atonement and its consequences, partly through the language of the LXX, many will have it that the verse includes the lesser troubles of the body in the larger thought of man's deepest need. But God is wiser than men, even the most faithful; and subjection to His word is the best, holiest, and surest corrective. If Isa. 4 were any where applied by an inspired authority to the atonement, this would be decisive. It is only applied to Christ's ministry or at least miracles. When His dying for our sins is meant, the Spirit (in 1 Peter 2:24, Heb. 9:28) refers to Isa. 53:11, 12. The wisdom of inspiration shines conspicuously here; for the Septuagintal Version is avoided when incorrect or equivocal, and employed only when exact; and this by Peter who had no erudition to fall back on. God is the only absolutely wise guide; and here we may see it, if we be not blind.
But again, ver. 11 has two parts, which cannot be confounded without loss. “By His knowledge shall My righteous servant instruct many (rather, the many) in righteousness; and He shall bear their iniquities.” Dan. 12:3 serves to prove the true force of the verb translated “justify.” Translate it as it should be here, and the sense of both clauses is plain and consistent. Take it as it is done ordinarily, and violence ensues at once with error as the result.

Israel Holy to Jehovah: 2. Eating Blood Prohibited

What we have just had before us applies in its fullness only to the wilderness and the tabernacle there, in part even to the strangers that sojourned among them, wholly to the children of Israel as Jehovah's people of possession. The main prohibition of the closing verses (10-16) has a far wider bearing as the N. T. proves.
“10 And every one of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who sojourn among them, that eateth any manner of blood—I will set my face against the soul that eateth the blood, and I will cut him off from among his people, 11 for the life (or, soul) of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you upon the altar to atone for your souls, for it is the blood that maketh atonement for the soul. 12 Therefore have I said to the children of Israel, No soul of you shall eat blood, neither shall the stranger who sojourneth among you eat blood. 13 And every one of the children of Israel, and of the strangers that sojourn among them, that catcheth in the hunt a beast or fowl which may be eaten, he shall pour out the blood thereof, and cover it with earth; 14 for as to the life of all flesh, its blood is the life in it (or, for its life): and I have said to the children of Israel, Of the blood of no manner of flesh shall ye eat, for the life of all flesh is its blood: whosoever eateth it shall be cut off. 15 And every soul that eateth that which died [of itself] or that which was torn [by beasts, whether he be] home-born or a stranger, shall both wash his clothes, and bathe in water, and be unclean until the even; then he shall be clean. 16 But if he wash them not nor bathe his flesh, he shall also bear his iniquity” (vers. 10-16).
Thus did Jehovah impress on the heedless heart of man, that as human life was forfeited to God through sin, so He forbids the profane levity of turning the blood which is the natural life of earthly creatures into food. So had He enjoined after the deluge when liberty was first given to partake of flesh. The blood was strictly reserved for Himself. Even with natural animals, born to be taken and destroyed, and suitable for food, the claims of God must be maintained. This was long before the law, or even the fathers who had the promises. It was for those rescued from destruction, and standing on what Jehovah saw in the holocaust Noah offered on the altar. But when God thereon blessed Noah and his sons, who began the world that now is, while every moving thing that lived was now given for food as the green herb previously, “flesh with the life, or blood, ye shall not eat.” Man's life has a value attached to it never before declared; and the more because now for the first time it was for government responsible to God to vindicate. “And surely your blood, [the blood] of your lives, will I require.” Even if a mere animal with no reasonable soul slew a human creature, this was no reason to pass it by. “At the hand of every animal will I require it; at the hand of man, even at the hand of every man's brother, will I require the life of man. Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed, for in the image of God made He man” (Gen. 9:3-6).
These Noahic precepts were carried out further for the children in the law; but they were divinely made known for the post-diluvian world. And when the judaizing party in the early days of the church strove to bring the Gentiles under the law, God took care to maintain liberty from the law of Moses for such. The effort was made at Antioch, where the very name of Christian was first heard, by certain men who came down from Judea, and taught that none could be saved, unless circumcised. Paul and Barnabas after no small discussion failed to settle the question, which was carried to the source of the dispute; and all came out before the apostles and elders in Jerusalem. There Peter, giving a witness with no uncertain sound, asks why they tempted God by putting a yoke on the disciples “which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear. But we believe that through the grace of the Lord we shall be saved in like manner as they also,” not merely shall they be saved even as we. Then Barnabas and Paul rehearsed what signs and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them; and James summed up that which became the decree of the apostles and the elders with the whole assembly, nay of the Holy Spirit Himself, to lay upon the Gentile confessors no other burden than these necessary things “that ye abstain from things sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication; from which, if ye keep yourselves, it shall be well with you” (Acts 15:28, 29).
It surprises not a few that non-complicity with idols, and personal purity should be set with abstaining from eating blood and things strangled. The apostles did not reason on the ground of man's conscience; for grave a monitor as it is, it was then and it might be at any time darkened by public opinion and habits, which among Gentiles made as little of idolatry and personal purity as of using blood and strangled things for food. The revealed will of God is absolute for the believer; and as a fact His face was set against all these indulgences, entirely apart from the peculiar institutions of Israel. They have the full weight of apostolic authority as “necessary things “: what can abrogate this expressly for those of the Gentiles that believe? and in pointed distinction from Levitical ordinances? God's honor is inviolate, and His sanction of marriage, not of fornication. God insists on the recognition that life belongs to Himself; so that, as He gives to eat of flesh, He reserves the blood and forbids eating of things strangled similarly; and the Christian is in no way to be indifferent even to these last injunctions, but bound to honor Him in both.
In Israel, as we see in these verses, to eat blood was to provoke Jehovah's jealousy to the cutting off of the offender: Israelites or strangers sojourning among them made no difference. It denied man's obligation to own the forfeit of life to God: for God was to be owned solemnly, if not on the altar, at least by pouring out the blood on the earth as due to Him, instead of appropriating it to one's own gratification. Death was a serious thing; and Jehovah would not have it slighted, even when He allowed His people to partake of flesh that had been killed for their food. But He would have them, on penalty of their own death, honor His claim of the blood as the sign of life given up to God, and in no way for man to make his food.
Yet there is marked distinction as ver. 15 shows between eating that which died of itself, or what was torn by beasts, “Whether he be home-born or a stranger, he shall both wash his clothes and bathe in water, and be unclean till even; then he shall be clean.” Here it was not the defiance of Jehovah's rights, as in deliberately planning to eat the blood which was forbidden; yet was it a want of zeal for God's word, and of adequate sense of relationship to Him, and uncleanness was incurred, with the command to purge oneself and one's surroundings before Him in the manner prescribed. If the defiled soul was indifferent to these mild terms of humiliation in the ease, Jehovah was not mocked, and the soul which so despised Him, “shall bear his iniquity.”
Who that weighs these words can wonder at the shock given to Jewish feeling by our Lord's words in John 6:28? “Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, ye have no life in yourselves. He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath life eternal; and I will raise him up at the last day; for my flesh is truly food and my blood is truly drink.” Granted, that His words were symbolical, as so often in this Gospel. Yet what symbol could be more startling? His person, His work, is the key to the truth. To eat blood under the law was to rebel against one's forfeited place, and to deal with the life that reverts and only belongs to God. But God now gives eternal life in His Son to every believer, and sent Him to die as propitiation for our sins. Grace changes all; and we despise the truth too, if we do not appropriate His death as the food of faith for our souls. But this in no way abrogates the fact that, in the full blaze of the N. T., the apostles under the Spirit's guidance call us to respect the outward token that life given up belongs to God.

Proverbs 16:17-24

The precepts and warning next impressed are of a wider range and a more general moral character. The upright, the humble, the heedful, the wise, the pleasant of speech are pointed out and encouraged, with grave admonition to those who are otherwise.
“The highway of the upright [is] to depart from evil: he that taketh heed to his way keepeth his soul.
Pride [goeth] before destruction; and a haughty spirit before a fall.
Better [is it to be] a humble spirit with the poor [or, meek], than to divide the spoil with the strong (or, proud).
He that giveth heed to the word shall find good; and whoso confideth in Jehovah, happy [is] he.
The wise in heart is called intelligent (or, prudent), and the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning.
Wisdom [is] a fountain of life for him that hath it; but the instruction of fools [is] folly.
The heart of the wise instructeth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips.
Pleasant words [are as] a honey-comb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones” (vers. 17-24).
In a world of evil and the multitude following evil, it is no small thing to depart from evil. For the believer was once like the rest; and it is the grace of God which acts on conscience through Christ, in Whom was no sin, and Who died for us and, our sins, that we might be forgiven and delivered. It is indeed the highway of the upright to depart from evil: but there is the positive side too: he that taketh heed to his way (and Christ is the way to the Christian) keepeth his soul.
Pride on the other hand is most offensive to Jehovah and dangerous, yea destruction, to man; and he is apt to be most lifted up when the blow falls; as we may see throughout scripture, a haughty spirit before a fall. So Nebuchadnezzar, where mercy interceded: so Haman, where was only judgment.
Next we have the good portion of the humble spirit with the meek; just as the Lord pronounced such souls blessed whether for the kingdom of the heavens, or inheriting the earth when the Heir of all things takes it, even He then sharing with the great, and dividing spoil with the strong. For it is the inauguration of the King reigning in righteousness, in contrast with this evil age.
Then we have a fine climax. He that gives heed to the word beyond a doubt shall find good; but if he also confide in Jehovah, which is better still, happy is he.
The wise in heart is called intelligent; and so he is, and inspires confidence. It differs much from what men call a long head, feared rather than trusted. And the sweetness of lips which accompanies that wisdom increases learning all round.
Wisdom is truly a fountain of life to him that has it, as he begrudges not its waters for those that have it not. The instruction of fools can be nothing but folly, and is fully exposed, because of the vain assumption to teach.
How different when the heart of the wise instructs his mouth, as it does; and adds learning to his lips! For there is not only profit but growth.
Such are indeed “pleasant words,” and they are as a honey-comb, sweet inwardly, and strengthening outwardly.

Gospel Words: the Kingdom of God

The kingdom of the heavens is an expression derived apparently from Dan. 4:26. Its inauguration also is foreshewn in Dan. 7:13, 14; in 22 not only the Heir of all but the heavenly joint-heirs, and in 27 the “people” under the whole heaven to whom the chief dominion is given. Such will be the manifested kingdom when the Son of man comes with power and glory; and there will be earthly things and heavenly (John 3:12). But He came first as the great moral test in humiliation; and His rejection and cross brought out higher than earth through redemption therein accomplished. This too, refused by the unbelieving people, left the door open for the mystery of that kingdom and its mysteries while the rejected King is on high, and the gospel of indiscriminate grace, till the church is complete. Then all Israel shall be saved on their repentance, and the blessing of all the nations as such shall fully come.
Plainly, “the kingdom of the heavens” is a dispensational phrase peculiar to the first Gospel, as in contrast with the incredulity of the Jews who looked only for an earthly one. Mark and Luke use “the kingdom of God” for it, and in a general sense; John exclusively for what is real. But Matthew, for that very reason, when he does say “the kingdom of God,” does not mean the dispensational view, either in future manifestation or in present mystery, but the power of God ruling in Christ when here, or now in the Spirit's action morally in those that are His. Hence the same term which is so comprehensive elsewhere has here this force all the more marked because of Matthew's general employment of the dispensational phrase.
Here occurs the first instance; the others are 12:28, 19:24, 21:31, 43, of which this is not the place to speak more particularly.
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Be not careful (or, anxious) for the morrow for the morrow will be careful about itself: sufficient for the day is the evil thereof.”
Throughout the discourses on the Mount the Lord is not preaching the glad tidings to the lost but instructing His disciples who already believed. Earthly care is a great bane and unworthy of faith. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.” Where could they find that kingdom and righteousness most truly, plainly, and fully set out before their souls? Surely nowhere as in Himself. It was even more wondrously by God's Spirit in His moral power than by His casting out demons. “Lo, I am come to do thy will, O God,” was far beyond all the miracles together that ever had been wrought. Who but He was the “man that lived by every word of God” unswervingly?
Nor is it too much to ask of such as were born of God. Indeed the principle was always true. Jehovah's people were to be holy because He is holy. And this applies all the more strongly now that we have the relationship of sons, with redemption through Christ's blood, and the gift of the Spirit. For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking; nor yet abstinence from flesh or wine; but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Making God's kingdom and righteousness our first concern, we are entitled to expect that all the things needful and good will be added to us. For our God and Father never overlooks our wants. If faithful in the greatest and deepest things, He loves that we should confide in Him as to our least things. Do we believe the Lord, that “all these things [about which unbelief worries] shall be added unto us?” Let us not forget the condition: “seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.” What can be more due to God, or more comely for us as His sons? The Lord's yoke is easy, and His burden is light.
It is unbelief, accompanied by loving the world or the things in the world, which produces anxiety, darkness, and doubt, as in the Gentiles who knew not God. If we know Him, and the blessedness of His kingdom, and the perfection of His righteousness, why be careful for the morrow? For the morrow, says the Lord, shall be careful for itself. Has He failed us to-day, or in the past? What evil has He ever done us, what good thing withheld from us? Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof. Even if the hardest trials come, do we not know that all things work together for good to those that love God, to those called according to purpose?
Do you, my reader, say that you love Him not, but dread Him because of your sins? Then why do you not flee for refuge to Him that stretches out to you His strong and gracious arms? Come unto Me, He cries, all ye that labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. “Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.” He is full of grace and truth. Is not this the only Savior for a sinner? What does “grace” mean but unmerited favor? You are justly condemned if you refuse to come at God's word.

1 Peter 3:8-12

More general exhortation succeeds.
“Finally [be] all likeminded, sympathetic, brother-loving, tender-hearted, humble-minded; not rendering evil for evil, or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, because hereunto ye were called, that ye should inherit blessing. For he that will love life and see good days, let him stop his tongue from evil and his lips that they speak no guile; and let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it; because [the] Lord's eyes [are] on the righteous and his ears unto their supplication; but [the] Lord's face is against evil-doers” (vers. 8-12).
It is Christ alone who makes these desires possible in those who are His. But less than this could not satisfy the apostle ever in the presence of weakness and contrariety. They were called out of sin and ruin and misery to blessing, and were therefore to be the witnesses and channels of grace in a world and a race which had fallen under curse. They were already begotten again according to the much mercy of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ through His resurrection from the dead unto a living hope, unto an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and unfading, reserved in heaven for them; and they were blessed with other privileges of love, and holiness, and dignity in the highest degree, as we have seen, according to the fullness of Christ. For He that spared not His own Son but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?
Thus it is plain that our duties flow from our relationships conferred by sovereign grace in Christ according to the glory of His Person and the efficacy of His redeeming work. They are therefore not only beyond all price but unchanging; and they are the ground of our new responsibilities. Christ by His death met and closed our old responsibilities, in which we were lost; and by His resurrection He has ushered us who believe into an entirely new standing of soul-salvation and blessing, whilst here below, and waiting for the completion of His grace as to our bodies also and in heavenly glory. We can therefore without affectation and in the Spirit bless God, and are a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For He ever liveth to make intercession for His own. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? He that bore our sins in His body on the tree, lost and dead as we were in evil, lives also to make the fruit of our lives, our praises, acceptable to God. What that issues by the Spirit from our hearts and lips can have a place, so high and momentous as our worship of God and the Lamb? No doubt love works here and downwards by the same Spirit; but we, if rightly feeling cannot but own that God has the first and nearest claim.
And if this be so, will not His working be all the mightier and purer when we consider our relations to one another, to say nothing of the claim of compassionate love toward a perishing world? The apostle calls all who believe to be “likeminded.” Rivalry, self-seeking, liking to differ or even thwart, is not Christ, but of the first and fallen Adam. When the eye of faith rests on all, Himself and those He loves, there is no difficulty. Naturally we see others' faults and overlook our own; but this is the old man; it is the reverse of Christ, Who is our new life and Whom we are called to live. Members one of another, members of Christ, how unworthy not to be “like-minded?” If nature is opinionative, what does the one indwelling Spirit aim at and effect? If we live in Spirit, in Spirit also let us walk, not vain-glorious, provocative, or envious.
Being in such a scene of wretchedness as the world and with bodies not yet redeemed in which we groan, we are exhorted to be also “sympathetic.” Surely we may and ought to rejoice with those that rejoice, but far more frequent is the demand on our sharing the grief that abounds, and especially for righteousness or Christ's sake. It is our common portion as Christians to suffer with Him, even if we may not have the experience of suffering for Him. In any case sympathy in these holy sorrows is sweet and strengthening.
“Brother-loving” is a plain call, as belonging to the same family of God. Are we not to love them personally beyond our affection to our natural kin, as the bond is deeper and of divine nature and everlasting? Assuredly the enemy strives continually to bring in contention and misunderstanding, and every other means of hindrance; but the duty is as incontestable as the relation. How it is to be exercised depends on each case, for which we need the word and Spirit of God. For as John clearly shows, it is no mere human impulse and must not clash with the truth of God or with obedience.
“Tender-hearted” suitably follows. There is no worth in God's eyes if we love but in word or tongue, and not in deed and truth. We are to learn of Him who never relieved by power only, but His spirit entered into and bore up before God the infirmities and the diseases which He removed.
Nor is “humble-minded” the least though last in these qualities which the apostle sought to be in exercise. And where can we find its perfection but in the same Lord and Savior? Nor could the days of His flesh be recalled without the vivid and humiliating remembrance of the sad contrast even in the honored Twelve, so often and to the last disputing which of them should be accounted greatest. “I am meek and lowly in heart,” said He, and it was ever true. Man's ambition was wholly alien. “Ye shall not be so; but let the greater among you be as the younger, and the chief as he that serveth.”
Again the apostle charges the saints not to return evil for evil, or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary to bless, “because for this thing were ye called that ye might inherit blessing,” So marked is the contrast of the Christian with Israel when they undertook to earn blessing by keeping the law; as the apostle Paul set before the saints in Galatia, who had made the same sad mistake. “For as many as are of works of law are under curse” (Gal. 3:10): not as many as broke law, but as many as are pledged to that principle.
It is by grace alone, that we, Christians, are saved, or any can be; and it is through faith, not of works. Called also to an inheritance of glary, are we not witnesses of blessing? We know that one of our own poets expresses what nearly all felt as unbelievingly as himself: “Man never is, but always, to be blest.” Christianity is the standing proof that they knew not the truth. It was the less wonderful in A. Pope, as he never rose out of superstition and dead form even to apprehend the gospel of God's grace.
But grace gives the Christian to understand and make good the moral government God carries on with His children. The apostle in vers. 10-12 cites Psa. 34 for this even now; though Israel must await another day when their heart turns to Him whom they rejected in their unbelief. Evil and guile wholly misbecome the life of believers. If they dishonor their Lord like the Corinthians, they fall under His chastening; and this may take the shape of sickness and death. Nor is it only words that are warned against. He urges from that scripture that they should turn away from evil and do good, seek peace in practice, and this earnestly, because Jehovah's eyes are on the righteous, and His ears to their supplication, whereas His face is against evil-doers. Now the mind of the saint is as truly to please God, as the carnal mind is not nor can be. The believer is in living relationship with Christ, the duty follows, and the Holy Spirit works in power.

The Christian's Special Relationship and Privileges

The New Testament clearly shows that since the Lord Jesus came, truths have been made known in distinctive reality as to the heavenly family and the church of God. During the Lord's life He spoke unmistakably of both, outside anything previously revealed, though the fullness of its blessedness was even farther reserved, until He was risen and glorified, and the Holy Spirit given as the power to make it good. The heavenly family we have fully declared, in holy life and relationship, in both the Gospel and the Epistle of John. Indeed its special nature and character awaited its relation in the person of the Lord God, of whom John speaks as the Only-begotten Son that is in the bosom of the Father: “He hath declared Him.” No wonder therefore, that divine life and relationship depended upon Him, as it is written “To as many as received Him to them gave He power (title) to become children of God.”
These realities are further unfolded in John 17 by the Son of God Himself, where love's eternal purpose is touchingly breathed forth in communion with His Father, that may well call forth everlasting praise and worship. Though He came into the world in grace, and presented Himself to be received, neither the world nor His own people recognized Him, but rather rejected and cast Him out. Thus, so to speak, all was lost as to His rights and glories, and He was without a throne and people, having no home in the world He created, to which He came in light and love, as a giver and a Savior. All was of no avail, as far as the heart of man was concerned; yet it was then sovereign grace and purpose shone, with the fullness and blessedness of special relationship and privilege, respecting the heavenly family. On the threshold of the glory from which the Lord Jesus came, He turned upward from this dark world to His Father, expressing precious words as to a new set of people of whom He could say “Not of the world as I am not.” Indeed the many loving utterances of John 17 surpass anything revealed in the past or even coming blessing for Israel, in the day of their Messiah's established kingdom, in power and glory, when the now rejected Lord will have the nations for His inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for His possession.
The recipients of such grace, and objects of so glorious a purpose of relationship and blessing, have but to accept and adore, not only for the place given, but for the wondrous work, its basis. Therein all the will of God was accomplished, as the Son Himself said, “I have glorified thee on the earth; I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” In the inexhaustible and unfathomable depth of such a fact, it is not to be wondered at, that its outcome should surpass all gone before, and that the Son Who, having nothing in the world but the cross, should have those given to Him by the Father, to Whom He would manifest the Father's name. Yea He declares the reality of eternal life, by the knowledge of God now revealed. “And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent.” Thus eternal life and relationship are blended by Him, Who put the Father's name upon those given to Him out of the world, and of whom as the risen one He speaks (after redemption was accomplished), “I ascend unto My Father and your Father,” &c.
Distinctive is the relationship, which is now fully known by the indwelling Spirit, Who bears witness to believers of being children of God, according to the manner of the Father's love, and purpose. Moreover it is formed and established in a world knowing not the Son, nor those belonging to the Father, who are nevertheless destined to shine in the likeness of, and share glory with, the Son, Who declared, “The glory Thou hast given me I have given them.” Precious holy destiny! that justly calls forth the worship of the heavenly family, and keeps them in true separation from a world knowing them not, and hating both the Father and the Son. He prayed for them saying, “All Mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine, and I am glorified in them.” Such the marvelous oneness of the heavenly family, as again stated by the Son, “That they all may be one, as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in us.”
Truly such language exceeds anything past or future of earthly privilege, or as known to the disciples when following their Lord down here; Who begets the testimony to the world, that the Father sent the Son. By-and-by, when all the heavenly ones are in the same glory as the Son, will the world know the Son, as the sent One of the Father; also that saints unknown are equally loved with the Son. Weighty realities, for every member of the heaven-born family to ponder! Whilst admitting so special a relationship with its many privileges, the truth should assuredly have its sanctifying effect; for the Lord has bound up present sanctification, with Himself the standard and object of it. “For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.” Let us be mindful too of this present sanctification, coupled with the Lord's parting promise, “I will come again and receive you unto Myself that, where I am, ye may be also.” Every child of God by the Holy Spirit may well desire to have a deepening sense of these holy privileges and responsibilities, crowned with his experience of what the Son said to the Father, “That the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them and I in them.”
The truth of the church of God is equally, if not more, distinct and special, than of the heavenly family; though the term “church” is to many very vague, particularly in these days of human thought and judgment. But for this there is no ground, when we turn to the unerring scriptures about the church of God founded upon Christ, the Son of the living God. Indeed in such a day as the present, when in the true moral ruin and nearing end of all in the professing church and the world, with judgment at the door, it is most important to learn what God is doing for its abiding blessedness. It is not only in saving precious souls, and by the death of His Son bringing them to Himself, in holiness, righteousness, and peace, but giving such a place in His church.
That the Lord Jesus did indeed come to seek and to save the lost is surely a truth to be sounded forth far and wide. But rarely is the blessed fact rightly declared, that Christ is building His church, against which the gates of Hades can never prevail. This important fact was reserved for the Lord Himself to declare, as He does in Matt. 16, when as the rejected Messiah He speaks of Himself as the Son of Man. Asking men's judgment as to who He was, He finally puts the same question to His disciples; and Peter replies, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Then for the first time the Lord states His intention of building His church on the immoveable rock of His blessed Person; and assuredly the material of the newly declared structure would be in character with it. Whatever aspect the building may assume, all would be worthy of Himself and His death.
We can all see that Peter, being a stone for the building, was the first servant by the power of the Spirit of God to preach Christ risen and glorified; and by the same power were sinners saved, and added to the new assembly. How plain that the building was formed of souls saved by sovereign grace, who became part of God's church, which the apostle in his Epistle designates as a spiritual house in contrast with the Jews' material temple, or Jehovah's house. Moreover those forming it were a holy priesthood; so that, instead of Aaron and his sons, all believers now are priests, belonging to the spiritual house, with holy liberty to offer up spiritual sacrifices by Jesus Christ. This truth was more fully made known, not indeed by the apostle of the circumcision, but by the apostle to the Gentiles, who also unfolded the church as in the mind of God before time began, or world was founded. The same Paul speaks of it in many aspects as the one new man; a holy temple; the habitation of God; and, not least, as the body of Christ.
All this the Epistle of divine purpose (to the Ephesians) clearly sets forth, together with the signal truth of the mystery hid in God but now blessedly revealed, as to its origin, nature, character, and glorious destiny. Alas! how rarely these truths of abiding reality, with the work of the Spirit of God in reference to them, are spoken of and dwelt upon even by true believers. A cry is often seriously raised, Where is the pure gospel of Christ, and the needed atonement preached? To this may be added, where is the further truth of the church inquired after, even in its least form? Who seeks to know, what the new man does mean; or the holy temple growing to completion and heavenly glory? where are those that desire to know and own, with holy consistency, the habitation of God by the Spirit? Conversion we mercifully know and hear of; but it is usually followed by joining one of the varied denominations, each having its own claim to the slighting of the only church of God for all believers. Not this only but the same Spirit who quickens the sinner and seals the believer is He Who forms all believers into the one body; as it is written, “For by one Spirit were we all baptized into one body;” “God set the members every one of them in the body, as it pleased him” (1 Cor. 12:13-18).
Thus Christ's body, with its membership, leaves no place for human thought or will. It is for each believer to receive these God-formed relationships, and act upon the divinely appointed communion proper to it. The truth is clearly laid down in 1 Cor. 10, 11, where the breaking of bread is set forth, the one loaf, the true and only outward expression of the one body of Christ. No less is the remembrance of the Lord in His death enjoined as the saint's holy privilege on the first day of the week, until He come.
Yet, it is largely said in these days of ruin and indifference, that the truth of the fellowship of the one body cannot now be acted upon for reception and discipline. Were it so, the breaking of bread would only be to individually remember the Lord in His death, without any expression of the one loaf or one body according to 1 Cor. 10:16, 17. Thus would privilege of the highest order be sacrificed for practice; and the truth of God's workmanship, forming the church in union with Christ its living Head, be completely lost in its intended responsibility for the choicest collective fellowship of all the members. Nevertheless, if obedience sadly lacks, God's side of the truth cannot fail, whether as to the church as Christ's body, the holy temple growing, or the habitation of God by the Spirit. Indeed that which is the object of the Lord's special affection must and will have its corresponding answer, when “He shall see of the travail of his soul and be satisfied.” Blessed indeed for faith to look away from failure and ruin (save to judge responsibility as to it) and dwell in holy meditation on the unceasing love of Christ, in its past, present, and future, as declared in Eph. 5:25-27.
Having given Himself for the church, it is not surprising that He should sanctify and cleanse it, which He is now doing, as He will assuredly present the church to Himself glorious, without spot, wrinkle, or blemish. This then is the crowning point of the true church for Christ who, for nearly nineteen centuries, has been waiting on high for the moment to receive her to Himself. Isaac welcomed Rebecca to his tent in Canaan. Christ will call us up on the cloud in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, and receive us to Himself; He will have the church as His bride for the glorious marriage in heaven. Till then, surely, the precious truth of the heavenly family and the church of God is what the abiding Spirit would have all believers know and enjoy. Assuredly the Holy Spirit has not given up His purpose and action, any more than His present testimony and work in the gospel. He is ever true to the Father and Son Who sent Him. However complete be the ruin, His purpose goes on in spite of the many names and parties, humbling and appalling as this may be. The Spirit still gathers to the Name and Person of Christ, the unfailing Head of the church; so that even the twos and threes, obediently responding to His action, may prove the value of His promise in Matt. 18:20: “For where two or three are gathered together to my name, there am I in the midst of them.” How important therefore to keep His word and not deny His name The Lord Himself, Who says He is coming quickly, create, exercise, and establish His own in grace and truth, in obedience responsive to His will and word, for His name' sake. G.G.

The Inspiration of the Scriptures: 1 John

Chap. V. Divine Design. 49. the First Epistle of John
The unique character of the Epistle before us cannot but impress every intelligent Christian, one might say any attentive disciple. Like that to the Hebrews, it has no formal address: like that of Jude, it is meant for, as that was addressed to, all saints everywhere, both too in view of the deepest evil among professing Christians; Jude, apostates who had crept in; John, many antichrists who had gone out.
But our Epistle is distinguished by the fullest development of the life eternal in Him who lived among men, in the closest intimacy with His own here below, the same life which was with the Father before He was manifested on earth.
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we gazed on, and our hands handled, concerning the Word of life (and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and report to you the life eternal, the which was with the Father, and was manifested to us): that which we have seen and heard we report to you that ye also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship too is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ; and these things we write that your joy may be filled full” (vers. 1-4). This introduction is based on the grand one to the Gospel in John 1:1-18; but with the marked difference that there it was the Word in the beginning, God with God before creature came into being; here it is “that which was from the beginning,” the Word of life become flesh, that tabernacled among us in the most familiar love; that the chosen witnesses, and we who believe their report and like them have life eternal in Him, might have the same blessed fellowship, fellowship with the Father and with His Son in the fullest joy now and evermore. No higher joy than this fellowship will be in heaven; and it is our unbelief if it be not ours now on earth.
Then comes the divine nature, testing our reality in vers. 5-10; it is “the message” that follows the manifestation.
“And this is the message which we have heard from Him, and declare to you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him and walk in darkness, we lie and do not the truth; but if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us; if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we sinned not, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”
Thus having had the love of the Father and the Son, we must face God as light, as every converted soul proves. One following Christ walks no more in darkness but has the light of life. The question here is where we walk, not how. We are brought to God Who is light and therein walk henceforth, poorly as we may walk; but if this be so, we have fellowship one with another, all so walking (and no longer in the dark of an unknown God), with the assurance that the blood of Jesus cleanses us from every sin. Its efficiency is as great to purge as God's light to detect all sin, and this we now share with every saint. We confess, and God forgives and purifies. But if we pretend to walk in the light while still in the dark, our life is but a lie; if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves: else the truth would lay it bare. If we say that we did not sin, we go farther still and make God a liar, for His word attests the contrary.
Verses 1,2 of chap. ii supply the resource if one should sin. “My little children, these things I write to you that ye sin not. And if one sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the propitiation for our sins and not for ours only, but for the whole world.” His Person and His work abide in unchanging value; but He meets our inconsistencies by His advocacy on our behalf on high. And we have “Father” here as in the introduction, not “God” as in the testing of our nature and ways by His light between the two.
The question is then raised how to know that there is true knowledge of God. The first proof is obedience in 3-6, keeping His commandments, and yet more His word. All profession without obedience is false; while he that speaks of abiding in Him ought himself also so to walk as He walked. The second proof is love in 7-11. It was an old commandment without power when our Lord was here with His disciples; it became a new one when He died and rose. Always true in Him, it was then and thus “true in him and in you, because the darkness is quite passing, and the true light already shineth.” Here too, claim to be in the light, while hating one's brother, proves that one is in nothing but the darkness of fallen nature. Christ must be our life, either to obey or to love.
Next we have the family of God, all having their sins forgiven for Christ's name (ver. 12), distinguished as fathers, young men, and babes (παιδία) in ver. 13, and repeated with enlargement, save for the fathers, in vers. 14-27, closed by ver. 28 which unites them again as “little children” (τεκνία) by the call to abide in Him, that when He shall be manifested, we (John, &c., not “ye") may have boldness, and not be put to shame from before Him at His coming. The great principles and the details of this parenthesis are full of weight, beauty, and interest: the fathers characterized by knowing Christ as here, to which the apostle adds nothing; the young men by vigor in overcoming Satan and loving the Father, not the world; and the babes warned against the many antichrists, but knowing all as having unction from the Holy One, and as it abode in them, so were they to abide in Him.
Practical righteousness is touched in the last ver. of chap. 2 as flowing from being born of God, when the apostle turns to another parenthesis in 3:1-3, where the Father's love, our present relationship as children, and the hope of Christ's manifestation are richly brought out in a few words. For indeed we need all grace to practice righteousness, which depends on the divine nature; but the hope too has purifying power. He then contrasts the sinner with Christ in Whom was no sin and Himself manifested to take away our sins: as every one that practices sin practices also lawlessness; for sin is a deeper and wider thing than transgressing the law. So whoever abides in Him sins not; whoever sins has not seen nor known Him. Thereon the family of God are warned against deceivers; and righteousness is insisted on, and the devil and the Son of God confronted as are the children of God with those of the devil, ver. 10 being the transition to love, and Cain the ensample of hatred and unrighteousness. Thus they were not to wonder if they were hated by the world which remains in unremoved death. We on the contrary know that we have passed out of death because we love the brethren; whereas hatred is in principle murder, and no murderer has life eternal abiding in him. But love must be real, not in the tongue only, from its utmost self-sacrifice down to little deeds of every day. And we must beware of a bad conscience, so as to have boldness toward God, and receive what we ask, in an obedient spirit, believing on the name of His Son and loving one another. “And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him; and hereby we know that he abideth in us by the Spirit which he gave us.”
This leads into the unfolding of the Spirit in chap. 4 as to truth and love. “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but prove the spirits if they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesseth Jesus Christ come in flesh is of God; an i every spirit that confesseth not Jesus [Christ come in flesh] is not of God; and this is the [spirit] of the antichrist whereof ye have heard that it cometh, and now it is already in the world” (1-4). Ye are of God, says he to the little children, and have overcome them; they are of the world, their all; we (the inspired like himself) are of God, as perfectly giving His word: a momentous thing then and ever since. “Hereby know we the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” When the truth is thus clear and settled, we can freely speak of love.
“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth hath been begotten (or, is born) of God, and knoweth God; he that loveth not knew not God, because God is love.” It is not standing here by faith, as Paul urges and it is also true, but participation in the divine by Christ as our life. “Herein was manifested the love of God in our case, because God hath sent his Only-begotten Son into the world that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son as propitiation for our sins.” Ought we not then to love one another? No one has ever beheld God; our love should now attest Him, as Christ when here declared Him (compare John 1:18). “Herein we know that we abide in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.” For His Spirit is the power of all communion. Yet is the apostle careful to allege the surest fact, lest we should get lost in feeling. “And we have beheld and do testify that the Father sent the Son as Savior of the world.”
Hence the simplicity and the directness and the breadth of Christian truth. “Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God abideth in him, and he in God.” How it strengthens the weak, and reproves the careless! Does it allow of doubt? “And we have known and believed the love which God hath in our case, God is love, and he that abideth in love abideth in God and God in him” Nor is this all: “Herein hath love been perfected with us, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casteth out fear; because fear hath torment, and he that feareth hath not been made perfect in love. We love, because he first loved us.” Unreality is thus exposed. If one say, I love God, and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he that loves not his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment have we from Him, that he who loves God love also his brother.
With this chap. 5 connects itself. Who is my brother? “Everyone that believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born (or, begotten) of God; and every one that loveth him that begot loveth him also that is begotten of him.” But John will not allow love apart from obedience: “Herein 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; and his commandments are not grievous.” They unite in a new nature, life eternal, the substratum of the entire Epistle. “For all that is begotten of God overcometh the world; and this is the victory that overcometh the world, our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?”
Then he adds the work, or rather the Person characterized by it. “This is he that came through (διὰ) water and blood, Jesus Christ; not by (έν) the water only, but by the water and the blood. And it is the Spirit that witnesseth because the Spirit is the truth. Because there are three that bear witness, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood; and the three are to the one (end).” Life is not in the first man, but in the Second, Who also atones and purifies. So blood and water came out of His pierced heart when dead; and the Spirit bore witness through John who saw and knew its truth, that we might believe: three witnesses, and one testimony. Full salvation is in Christ and in Him alone. On this the apostle reasons and appeals in 10-12. It is God's testimony about His Son; and he that believes on Him has the testimony in himself, if all else failed, for the life is in Him “He that hath the Son hath life; he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” Very weighty is the sum here: “These things wrote (or, write, ep. aor.) I to you that ye may know (εἰδ) that ye have life eternal, ye that believe on the name of the Son of God.” Then he urges confidence in prayer, and specifies it on behalf of a brother not sinning to death; if so, one should refrain. The threefold “we know” in 18-20 grandly concludes the Epistle. Day of the worst evil as it was, what can match the calm confidence of victory over sin and Satan, of belonging to God and His nature above a lost world, of a spiritual understanding to know Him that is true, and to be in Him that is true, in His Son Jesus Christ! “This is the true God and eternal life. Little children, guard yourselves from idols.”

Daniel 9:27

Q.-Dan. 9:27. Is it true that the translation of the heavenly saints to the mansions on high synchronizes with the arrival of Daniel's last week? or does it suppose a partial restoration of Jews in unbelief, the acceptance of antichrist as king, a rebuilt temple, and re-established sacrifices? How then, since none of these has taken place, or can occur in the next 24 hours, can it be taught that if the rapture were to be to-day, the man of sin would reign to-morrow? And if the Lord may come any hour, and the church be removed at the beginning of the tribulation seven years long, how can this be in view of the four events already mentioned? O.
A.-There have been and are men of marked spiritual intelligence who look for (not the last week but) its latter half. I see no sufficient reason for just seven years, still less the half. The seven Seals of Rev. 6 have no apparent connection with Daniel's last week. Their nature, especially of the first four, seems to imply a considerable time for each to stamp its own space with the predicted character; and all the more because it is a general sort, instead of anything more definite and extraordinary in divine providence. So does the persecution of the fifth Seal; and surely also the immense catastrophe to befall high and low in the sixth. We may see some traces coming into evidence of the West and East for the latter day in the later Trumpets; but we do not hear of the Beast till the parenthesis before the last or Seventh in Rev. 11. Does not all this indicate a longer lapse of time than enquirers generally conceive? Is there not implied a series of judgments before the last week begins? There is no solid ground in scripture for conceiving that, when the rapture to heaven takes place, the Roman prince of the future forthwith confirms a covenant with the unbelieving mass of the Jews as to their reconstituted worship and temple service. The week remains to be fulfilled; yet there is nothing but assumption or theory for closing up all so sharply. Enough has been said to show that scripture involves preparatory circumstances of great moment, which leave ample sphere for a considerable settlement of unbelieving Jews in the land, and for all the other connected events. Indeed there is nothing to hinder much while the Bridegroom tarries. But scripture is clear that His coming to receive His own for heaven is wholly independent of any such changes on earth. Therefore does it remain the same for us now as for the saints in apostolic days: so that the one hope might have its heavenly power, and all have the blessing of waiting for Him in holy separateness and bridal affection, sure that He is coming, with nothing to enfeeble our constant expectancy. Thus it is of all moment to keep the lamp of prophecy as distinct as the written word makes it from the Christian hope, and to know that this is heavenly and rests on Christ's love and truth, and never there mixed up with the earthly things which prophecy unveils. Even now it is our privilege to have day dawning and Christ as daystar arising in our hearts, whilst we look for its actual fruition at His coming. Nor is there a greater hindrance to the power of the truth in our souls, our communion, our walk, and service, and worship, than confounding our proper hope with prophecy, as is done in the query here answered.

The Life Is the Light of Men

It is an essential difference between man's thoughts and God's, that man who makes himself the center would have light, as he says, even divine light, to have life. God's way is all the opposite: “The life was the light of men.” Life, the Person of the Lord Jesus, comes first; and that is right, because it, and it alone, puts God in His place. Nor could the law do this; it was given to man as man.
As man was made in the image of God after His likeness, so Christ was in nature the light of men (not of angels as such): He is the image of the invisible God. But we are born of God, and “he that hath the Son hath life,” God having given to us eternal life—quite a different thing from simply being immortal. It is the possession of that divine life, which in Christ never had a beginning, that eternal life which was with the Father, and was manifested to us, and of which in its moral qualities it is said, “which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing and the true light already shineth.” Hence it is said of us, “Ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord.” But even this partaking of the divine life or nature is dependent as it is derivative. And though it is a nature which in itself does not sin and delights in God, as the eye in light, yet we have to walk in the light. We have fellowship with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ in that life which is from them (and that through the Holy Ghost). But then God is light, and fellowship with Him out of the light is impossible.
It is not, If we walk according to the light. This is the practical consequence in the world, even when we are not directly enjoying communion; but we walk in the light, when we walk with God fully revealed to soul and conscience. It is a real thing in life: we walk, but more than walking according to light. It is a walking in the presence of a fully revealed God, the conscience and spiritual judgment and apprehension being in the light as He is: what God is perfectly seen, and everything by it, and all clear as it is in light and for the soul. If we walk thus with God inwardly, all is judged inwardly; and our life is only the expression of the working of God in power in the life which we have of Him, of Christ in us (wisdom and power). J.N.D.


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Jacob: 10. Jacob in Distress and Praying

Laban went and returned to his place, as we have seen. Of him we hear no more.
“And Jacob went on his way; and the angels of God met him. And when Jacob saw them, he said, This [is] the camp of God. And he called the name of that place Mahanaim (two camps). And Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother into the land of Seir, the field of Edom. And he commanded them, saying, Thus shall ye speak to my lord, to Esau: Thy servant Jacob speaketh thus. With Laban I have sojourned and tarried until now; and I have oxen, and asses, sheep, and bondmen and bondwomen; and I have sent to tell my lord, that I may find grace in thy sight. And the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, We came to thy brother, to Esau; and he also cometh to meet thee, and four hundred men with him. Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed; and he divided the people that [was] with him, and the sheep and the herds and the camels, into two companies (camps). And he said, If Esau come to the one company and smite it, then the company which is left shall escape. And Jacob said, O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, Jehovah, who saidst to me, Return to thy country and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee; I am less than all the mercies and all the truth that thou hast shown unto thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan, and now I am become two companies. Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother, from Esau's hand; for I fear him, lest he come and smite me, [and] the mother with the children. And thou saidst, I will certainly deal well with thee, and make thy seed as sand of the sea which cannot be numbered for multitude” (1-12).
When a lonely fugitive from his father's house Jacob beheld in a dream on his way to Haran a ladder from earth to heaven, with angels of God ascending and descending on it, but above it Jehovah promising His presence and eventual blessing. Here again him, a fugitive, angels of God met, so that, when he saw them, he recognized the gracious aim, This is God's host, and named the place accordingly. But neither the dream nor the sight of angels sufficed for Jacob's need. The fear of Laban was soon followed by his sorry terror of Esau. So it must be, just because Jacob was born of God, but with an unpurged conscience and a heart not at rest to enjoy the only object that satisfies. Even visions in this case are of little power and would soon be forgotten.
We see the lesson of faith feebly learned. Again he has recourse to his plans, and sends messengers to his brother in Seir, with words skilfully framed to conciliate “my lord Esau,” and “thy servant Jacob.” Esau was not to fear that Jacob needed to encroach on a brother or a father; he had ample resources of his own, and only sought grace in his sight. But no answer from Esau filled Jacob with alarm and distress; especially as the messengers told him that Esau was coming to meet him with four hundred men. Why, but to overwhelm him? It was unbelief of Him who cannot forget His promise but can control and turn the most alien spirit.
Again, he betakes himself to his devices, dividing the people and the stock into two companies, saying, If Esau come to the one and smite it, then shall the other escape. How short and sad is man's prudence! He that arrested Laban in his hostile intentions and made him depart with a kiss all round, could he not bring Esau to Jacob with an embrace and not without tears? It is his state that the Holy Spirit here recounts for everlasting profit, that we be not anxious for the morrow, but cast all upon the God of all grace, because He cares for us. Jacob had as yet a bad conscience, and never yet faced it all out in God's presence. Yet God was faithful to him, not he to God.
After the trembling man had made his plan, he betakes himself to God, and we may trace the work slowly going on in his soul. He reminds Jehovah the God of his fathers Abraham and Isaac, that it was at His bidding he was returning to his country and kindred. He owns his unworthiness of the least of all His mercies and of all His truth. He compares his destitution when he first crossed the Jordan with his two companies at present. He earnestly entreats his deliverance from the hand of his brother Esau, whom he dreaded both for himself and for the mother with the children. Then finally he reminds Him of His promise of a surety to do him good, and make his posterity as sand of the sea innumerable. We can readily perceive that it was faith, but as yet mingled with human expedients. Hence was he far from peaceful reckoning on God, and even in abject terror of Esau.
The fact is that he was dissatisfied with himself, and feels the need of drawing near to God in a way he had never yet known. The interesting details of this we find in the next page of the divine story, a very important epoch in Jacob's experience. His plans did nothing toward softening Esau, any more than relieving himself from his dread. But he was now to be alone with God who took him up in a way worthy of Himself, and laid the basis for the deepening work in his soul ever after, and a blessing which at length shone in Jacob's declining years beyond his father or even his grandfather. But in his then low estate spiritually grace was about to meet him that very night, little as his troubled soul looked for it, and in a manner foreign to all natural thoughts.

Israel Holy to Jehovah: 3. Israel's Duty in Natural Relations

Here Aaron and his sons appear. Jehovah communicated to Moses what he was to charge on the people in general. They had left the house of bondage behind with its idols and impurities; they were to enter Canaan where and when the cup of the iniquity of the Amorites was full. They were a people redeemed externally at least, sheltered from divine judgment even in Egypt by the blood of the paschal lamb, and delivered by divine power through the Red Sea which swallowed up the world's adverse power. Yet were they meanwhile in the wilderness, but with Jehovah their leader on march, and dwelling in their midst where-ever they sojourned.
His dealings up to Sinai were in pure grace (spite of constant unbelief and complaint). If they murmured at the bitter water, after three days of thirst, Jehovah smote none but showed Moses that which made them sweet. When they murmured for hunger, Jehovah gave them bread from heaven and in double measure on the sixth day to mark the sabbath of rest. When again they murmured for water, Moses at Jehovah's call struck the rock on Horeb, and water flowed abundantly. Then Amalek came and Joshua fought, but Israel, however assured, prevailed only while the hands of Moses were held up. The beautiful pledge of the Kingdom closes in righteous order. All changes in Ex. 19; for Israel, instead of owning their utter weakness and pleading the promises of grace, boldly undertake to stand on their obedience of the law, i.e. on their own righteousness, the sure proof that they knew aright neither God nor themselves, the sad token of ruin ever to grow worse and worse.
Still there they were His people as no other nation was. His choice and their redemption were as plain facts as the judgment He had executed for their deliverance on the greatest of the then kingdoms of the earth. As such Jehovah had brought Israel to Himself; but confiding in themselves; they had accepted the condition of keeping His covenant for their standing and blessing. This became the basis of their obligations. They were in relationship with Him as His people on earth, with His law as the rule which bound them in all respects. Obedience is a duty; but to rest life or blessing on it was fatal. Law thus became for sinful man a ministry of death and condemnation.
“1 And Jehovah spoke to Moses, saying, 2 Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them, I [am] Jehovah your God. 3 After the doings of the land of Egypt wherein ye dwelt, ye shall not do; and after the doings of the land of Canaan whither I bring you, ye shall not do; neither shall ye walk in their customs. 4 Mine ordinances shall ye do and my statutes shall ye observe to walk therein: I [am] Jehovah your God. 5 And ye shall observe my statutes and my judgments, by which the man that doeth them shall live: I [am] Jehovah” (vers. 1-5).
It is of all moment to apprehend that on this ground no sinner can live: he needs to be justified by faith in Jesus the only Savior. For this reason the apostle in Gal. 3:11, 12 quotes the last of these verses to set the position under law in contrast with faith. “But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident; for the just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith; but he that doeth them shall live by (or, in virtue of) them.” Indeed he had already in ver. 10 laid down the still more sweeping sentence that “as many as are by (or, on the principle of) works of law are under curse,” founding it on Deut. 27:26. Let the reader weigh the striking fact here recorded. Silence is kept as to the blessings declared on mount Gerizim: all these were in vain. But the curses on mount Ebal stand in all their solemnity.
The law was given, not for sinful man to gain life thereby, but to learn that in such a way it was impossible. Law can only curse sinners, and sinners Israel and all men are. By faith the elders, like ourselves, obtained witness of being righteous; for faith ever rests, not on self but Christ, as Abel did and every saint that followed him. Before the law God gave promises of unconditional favor to the fathers; but the children forgot them, and boldly undertook to live by obeying the law, and so, when they transgressed and rebelled as they did, increasingly incurred the curse. Such as looked on to the coming Messiah, renouncing self-confidence, and owning their sins, were justified by God's grace, even as the fathers. For when man fell, God revealed the Seed of woman as Satan's destroyer, the resource and object of faith.
The law was as absolutely right, as man and favored Israel were thoroughly wrong. On the ground of law sinful man could only meet with death and condemnation. But man is blind both as to God and as to himself, and having no confidence in His grace, willingly accepts earning life by his well-doing. As he did not believe, he must learn to his cost that in the things of God he is as weak as he is ungodly (Rom. 5:9). Through law is not acquirement of righteousness but knowledge of sin (Rom. 3:20). The law also works out wrath, and thereby the offense abounds. As the sting of death is the law, so is the law the power of sin. But Christ only is the Savior whom God made sin for us in His atoning death; which glorified God even as to sin, and left him free to display His grace to the uttermost for all that believe on His Son.
Hence the Christian rests in a new righteousness, not man's as Israel pretended to and are now suffering the consequence of their failure, and yet more for rejecting their own Messiah. It is now God's righteousness apart from law that is manifested, God's righteousness through faith of Jesus Christ unto all (Gentile no less than Jew), and upon all that believe (whoever they be and whatever they may have been); for there is no difference, let the unbelieving pride of man conceive what it will on its own behalf. For all sinned and do come short of God's glory: being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus whom God set forth a propitiatory through faith in His blood, unto showing forth His righteousness because of the passing over (or, praetermission of) the sins that had been before in His forbearance; for showing His righteousness in the present time that He might be just and justifier of him that is of faith in Jesus (Rom. 3:21-26). Thus was boasting excluded. The Christian confesses his ruin by sin and his own sins, but has faith in Him Who suffered once for sins that He might bring us to God (1 Peter 3:18).
Hence too Christian responsibility is not less real than the Israelite's, but is wholly different. He has life eternal in Christ Who gives it to him; he comes not into judgment which Christ bore for him; and he has passed from death into life. The blood of Christ has cleansed him from every sin, so that he knows himself white as snow in God's sight. He is God's son through faith in Christ Jesus, and sealed with the Holy Spirit given to him, crying, Abba, Father. He is a member of Christ's body in union with the heavenly Head. All this and more create a responsibility not only altogether distinct from that of Israel, but far beyond what the saints had before Christ's redemption and the gift of the indwelling Spirit. For duties, depend on relationship; and as the Christian is by grace brought into an entirely new place in Christ, so are we expressly regarded (Eph. 2:10) as created in Him for good works, prepared before that we should walk in them. The measure and character of Israel's place, excellent as it was, is wholly short of and quite different from ours.
But we may notice in the prefatory words of our chapter how Israel were warned against the doings of both Egypt and Canaan. Jehovah's ordinances and statutes they were to observe and walk in: the man that did these should live. That in fact they turned away in disobedience of those both the evil ways was their utter ruin.

Proverbs 16:25-33

The first of these apothegms we have had before in chap. 14:12. The repetition indicates its importance, and our aptness to forget it. We may therefore consider it again.
“There is a way that seemeth right to a man, but the end thereof [is] the ways of death.
The appetite (or, soul) of the laboring man laboureth for him, for his mouth urgeth him on.
A man of Belial diggeth evil, and on his lips [is] as a scorching fire.
A froward (or, false) man soweth contention: and a talebearer separateth chief friends.
A violent man enticeth his neighbor, and leadeth him a way [that is] not good.
He that shutteth his eyes, [it is] to devise froward things; he that biteth his lips bringeth evil to pass.
The hoary head [is] a crown of glory; it is found in the way of righteousness.
The slow to anger [is] better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.
The lot is cast into the lap, but the decision [is] of Jehovah” (vers. 25-33).
Self-love and self-will lead into self-deception, whatever be the honesty that would oppose a conscious wrong. We need therefore to look to Him who is greater than our heart, that we be guided by a wisdom above ourselves. How terrible to have trusted what one should have judged, lest, to one following a way that seemed right, its end should be only a way of death! He that hears and knows and follows the voice of Jesus finds Him not only the way but the truth and the life. Nor can one be too simple in listening to His words open to all. This is the Christian highway; and therefore is peace and joy, whatever the suffering and danger.
Humanly speaking, as idleness is a peril and misery, labor is good for man as he is. He that is a truly working man has a need that impels him on his course of daily toil. His soul (appetite, or life) has wants that call for supply, or, as it is here put, “his mouth urgeth him on.” Others understand that “the soul of him that is troublesome shall suffer trouble; for his mouth turneth it on him.”
Ver. 27 vividly sketches the ungodly. Not content with what appears on the surface, a man of Belial diggeth up evil, and on his lips is as a scorching fire. As James says of the tongue, it sets on fire all the course of nature, and is itself inflamed by hell. What can one think of the comment by a learned Romanist expositor (Maldonat), which Bishop Patrick cites?— “This is apparent by the example of the Spanish Inquisition, whereby he who speaks anything rashly against the faith is deservedly delivered to the fire, which I wish were done everywhere.” Romanism ignores and reverses Christianity.
The next form of mischief is a perverse or froward man sowing contention; and a tale-bearer separating chief friends. May we have grace not only to refuse such a spirit, but to reprove it, whenever it betrays its injurious and often insinuating way.
The violent man may not be so insidious; but the openness of his course, with apparent honesty, may entice his neighbor, and lead him into a way that is not good, possibly beyond his misleader.
The picture in ver. 30 describes one of those that shut the eyes in their evil work; but it is to devise froward things: and one biting his lips, that he may bring evil to pass.
Nor must one be deceived by age, though it claims reverence. But how deplorable if it help on evil! “The hoary head is a crown of glory; it is (or, if it be) found in the way of righteousness.”
What a testimony to the patient and the self-restrained in ver. 32! If we walk in the light, as every Christian does, even more than this should flow freely. Yet slowness to anger and self-control are admirable in their place.
The Jew resorted to the lot (ver. 33), till the Spirit was given the believer in the gospel. But he was reminded that Jehovah directed. Christianity in this as in all things shows God providing some “better thing,” faithful though God was of old, and is still, now that in Christ He is far more intimately revealed and known.

Gospel Words: Judge Not That Ye Be Not Judged

There ought to be no question of the Lord's meaning here. No fault was more prevalent then or now. Censoriousness is not only the habitual bane of religious professors, but the snare to which true disciples are too prone. Gracious men who set their face in general against detraction are often bitter against what they themselves dislike, and thus slip into judging motives wrongly like others. He who is Judge of quick and dead discerns every heart, and enjoins what is comely and just on His followers. For this sin tends to hypocrisy; and what saint would regard such a thing lightly?
“Judge not that ye be not judged; for with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye measure, it shall be measured to you. And why lookest thou on the mote that [is] in the eye of thy brother, but observest not the beam in thine eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote from thine eye; and, behold, the beam [is] in thine eye? Hypocrite, pull out first the beam out of thine eye, and then wilt thou see clearly to pull out the mote out of the eye of thy brother.”
The indulgence in a hasty, severe, and suspicious spirit provokes reprisals, and such as wantonly impute evil to others in ignorance or unkindness do not fail to bring on themselves unsparing imputation. For here the Lord turns from the lack of confiding in our Father's care and love, and warns of our danger from many an unkind impression and expression. To surmise wrong motives is itself a wrong. It is natural for such as live in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another; and such once were we ourselves. But since the kindness and love to man of our Savior God appeared (no premium for our deserts), but according to His own mercy He saved us through washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, which He poured on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, are we not bound by the family character, the new life relationship as children of God, sons of such a Father? Since redemption and the gift of the Spirit, more can be added now to what the Lord uttered then.
But He reminds us of what we easily forget. If others are a trial to us, are not we a trial to them? Are we not, unless walking according to the light, as dull to see our own faults as we are sharp to notice, and even imagine, wrongs in our brethren? How pungently the Lord puts the case that we may loathe ourselves! “And why lookest thou on the mote in the eye of thy brother, but observest not the beam in thine eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote from thine eye, and, behold, the beam is in thine eye?” The Shepherd and Bishop of our souls thus holily strips us of the mask which failure in self-judgment puts on. For if before God we discern not our own grievous shortcomings and sins, we do not know our brethren with anything like the same certainty and clearness. Love therefore and the fear of God call us each to deem others better than ourselves, judging ourselves for what we do know instead of others for what we know not and ought not to think. “Hypocrite,” says the Lord with severe reproof, “pull out first the beam out of thine eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote out of thy brother's eye.”
Yet it is well to beware of the too common misuse of our Lord's warning. How often pious persons thereby deprecate any censure of their own position and any care against false doctrine, or evil associations, or responsibility for such discipline as scripture requires! But this is to fail in godliness; which assuredly covers not only personal conduct, but also public walk as members of Christ. The Corinthians were careless in this way and others, which grace has turned to the profit, not only of them, but of “all that in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both theirs and ours.” The apostle allows no excuse for carelessness congregationally any more than individually. There is no call to exercise discipline on the evildoers of the world; but Christians have the obligation of dealing with offenders in God's assembly. Paul, though absent, could not but judge that the wicked person should be excluded. It was due to Christ and His sacrifice. God must be vindicated Whose is the assembly. The saints were bound to clear themselves in the matter, taking up the offender's sin as their own; yet even here his ultimate good was sought, “that the spirit might be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” “Do not ye judge those that are within? But those without God judgeth. Put away the wicked [man] from among yourselves” (1 Cor. 5:3-13). Here we are commanded to judge.
The selfsame principle expressly applies to sins far less gross. Our thoughts and reasonings are to be discarded on the one hand; and on the other God's authority to be recognized and conclusive. Scripture too is plain, that, important as is right judgment of moral evil, the truth is yet more momentous; and this both because to slight and oppose it offends against the Giver, and it ruins those who thus err, whilst they have a fair appearance, instead of shocking men like immorality or unrighteousness.
Express injunction is also laid down, when the evil is of a more general and public character, as in 2 Tim. 2 “Howbeit the firm foundation of God standeth, having this seal, The Lord knoweth those that are his; and, Let everyone that nameth the Lord's name depart from unrighteousness. Now in a great house are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some for honor and some for dishonor. If one therefore purge himself out from these, he shall be a vessel for honor, sanctified, serviceable to the Master, prepared for every good work.” There is thus no license to join in what God disapproves and demands us to judge. Conscience, a purged conscience, is exercised, and the heart all the more free to love fervently according to God.
But how is it with you, dear reader? If you are of the world and only bear the outward badge of Christianity, take the place of truth for your soul in God's sight. Jesus is the all-sufficient Savior of sinners, and He, the Lord of all, is rich and near to all that call upon Him. For whosoever shall call on the Lord's name shall be saved. Righteousness and salvation are the portion assured by God to each that believes and confesses Him. If you received Christ, say not that you cannot tell who are His. How then can you love God's children, as Christ charged you to do? Even the unconverted know in a general way who are His, and who are not; how much more does every sober believer? He owns that, till born anew and brought to God by Christ's work, he was as evil as anyone; and, without pretending to judge the heart, he accepts those who confess the Lord and follow Him, as he himself does. Such is the judgment of true charity, not the indifference of unbelief which is of Satan.
The verse that follows itself shows whom we ought to judge. For we are to prove all things, holding fast the right. “Dogs” and “Swine” we are bound to discern and disown. “Give not the holy thing to the dogs, nor cast your pearls before the swine lest they trample them with their feet, and turn and rend you.” Nabal's family is not extinct, sons of Belial with whom a disciple cannot speak with impunity. Shamelessness and filth plainly tell what they are, and the folly of treating them as sheep of God's pasture. No doubt the grace of God can save such: but in all this discourse is not a word about redemption or saving sinners. All throughout consists of the characters which suit God, and must really be for His Kingdom. This is its design: and it is worthy of Christ, as the gospel is where this was the question.

Lord's Prophecy on Olivet in Matthew 24-25: 1. The Jewish Disciples

In this discourse the Lord unfolds, first, the future of the Jewish disciples; secondly, that of the Christian profession; and thirdly, that of all the nations tested by the gospel of the Kingdom before the end comes, and He Himself reigns. Such are the simple divisions of the two chapters; and so it was or will be in fact. The discourse grew in His wisdom out of their directing His attention to the splendor of the buildings, from which their hearts were not yet weaned. They believed that Jesus was the Christ; they were born of God; but they had as yet their hearts associated with Israel's hopes, yea, even till the day that He ascended to heaven (Acts 1:6-11), though theirs was no small advance when He rose from the dead.
The Lord therefore begins with His disciples as they then were, who fittingly also represent those who are to succeed in the latter day, when the work of gathering out the Christian company for heavenly glory is complete, and God begins to prepare His people on earth for the reign of the returning Son of man. It is also the order of fact. No other division of the subject matter could be so satisfactory. In this connection were the disciples viewed not only generally throughout the Gospel, but evidently when He sent forth the twelve in chap. 10. “Depart not into a way of Gentiles, and into a city of Samaritans enter ye not; but go rather unto the lost sheep of Israel's house. And as ye go preach, saying, The kingdom of the heavens hath drawn nigh.” That this was superseded by the Christian testimony, as we shall see still more markedly in the discourse on Olivet, is true; but it is plain from ver. 23 that this Jewish mission will go forth again before the end: “for verily I say to you, Ye shall not have finished the cities of Israel until the Son of man be come.” Christianity is a parenthesis.
Again, in the chapter (23) immediately preceding, the Lord says to the crowds and to His disciples, “The scribes and Pharisees sat in Moses' seat: all things therefore whatever they tell you, do and keep; but do not after their works, for they say and do not.” The disciples clearly are here viewed, not as Christians, but as Jews; and this is confirmed by the pointed language of ver. 34 to the end of the chapter. For sad as the retribution must be, a change should come to the people before His return. “Behold, your house is left unto you desolate; for I say unto you, Ye shall in no wise see me henceforth until ye say, Blessed be he that cometh in Jehovah's name.” Thus the repentance of a remnant will pave the way for His return; some suffering to death for His name, others preserved to welcome the Son of Man when He comes. Of both we hear much in the Psalms and the Prophets, as well as in the Revelation.
The first part of the discourse with its various sections suitably follows in chap. 24:1-44.
“And Jesus went out, and was going forth from the temple, and his disciples came to [him] to show him the buildings of the temple. But he answered and said to them, See ye not all these things?
Verily I say to you, Not a stone shall in anywise be left here on a stone, which shall not be thrown down” (1, 2). The rejected Messiah pronounces sentence: most solemn to hear for believing Jews who justly regarded the temple as the great external and public witness of the one true God and His worship on earth. It had been destroyed before, after the reigning son of David apostatized and made it the seat of Gentile idols. But had not there been a gracious return (not of Israel, it is true, but) of a Jewish remnant from Babylon to rebuild city and temple and to await Messiah? Alas! now, He whom they believed to be the anointed Son of David doomed it to another demolition which should not linger, when not the first but the last Gentile world-power should execute it; not because of idols, but because the Jews were first to refuse and then by Gentiles crucify their own Jehovah-Messiah: the two impeachments which Isaiah so long ago had predicted against the chosen people (40-48 and 49-57.).
“And as he was sitting upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, Tell us when shall these things be? and what [is] the sign of thy coming, and of the completion of the age? And Jesus answering said to them, See that no one mislead you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am the Christ, and they shall mislead many. And ye shall be about to hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled; for they must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be famines and pestilences and earthquakes in places. But all these [are the] beginning of travails. Then shall they give you up to tribulation and shall kill you; and ye shall be hated by all the nations for my name's sake. And then shall many be stumbled, and give up one another, and hate one another: and many false prophets shall arise, and shall mislead many. And because lawlessness shall be multiplied the love of the many shall grow cool. But he that endured to [the] end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole habitable [earth] for a witness to all the nations, and then shall the end come” (vers. 3-14).
From Mark 13:3 we learn that Peter, James, John, and Andrew were those who thus inquired, When shall these things be? i.e. the temple's destruction; and what the sign of His coming and of the consummation of the age? In the Gospel of Luke we find the first of these questions fully answered, and the overthrow of the city involving that of the temple, and Jerusalem trodden down by Gentiles till their times be fulfilled, running on still since the sack of Titus, and very distinctly severed from the Son of Man's coming when the redemption of the godly Jews draws nigh. Here the answer as to the impending ruin, already given in the parable of the marriage feast (Matt. 22:7) is passed by; and the Lord passes on to the second question, which rightly enough brings together the sign of His coming and of the completion of the age.
It is important to note the inexcusable error, in both the A. V. and the Revision, of confounding the end of “the age” with that of “the world.” There is not a shadow of ground for it; for the coming age of a thousand years and more is after the age that still is, and before the eternal scene. Even disciples, as yet preoccupied with Jewish hopes and prejudices, and wholly unintelligent of the new and large and heavenly associations of Christianity, knew better. They did not say rot' KOrrilov (“of the world”) but rov arovos (“of the age”); and the Lord in Matt. 13:38, 40 had amply guarded against such a confusion. The field or sowing place was “the world"; the judgment on the darnel and the display of the wheat should be at the close of “the age.” The new age will be characterized by the King reigning in righteousness, when the Father's kingdom is come on high, and the Son of Man's here below when His will is to be done on earth as in heaven.
The Lord gives first a general sketch of the ruin about to ensue. Moral amelioration, truth prevalent, peace for mankind, as yet were misleading dreams against which they should be on their guard. The rejection of Himself would open the door to many false claimants to lead astray many wars and their rumors should be heard. Only when He takes His great power and reigns could it be otherwise, as Isaiah predicts. His disciples were not to be disturbed any more than deceived. Such evil things must be, as the King was rejected; and the end is not yet. For instead of learning war no more as when He comes in His kingdom, nation shall rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom; nor this only but providential inflictions such as famines and pestilences and earthquakes in places. Yet all these are a beginning of birth throes. At this time should His disciples be objects of persecution, betrayed, and even killed by all the Gentiles because of His name. Worse still, stumbling should befall many; and mutual treachery and hatred among themselves. Many false prophets should rise and mislead many; and because of the lawlessness that should abound the love of the many would wax cold. But he that endured to the end should be saved.
The Lord in these verses is contemplating souls with Jewish expectations, and tried by Jewish opposition and unbelief with the hatred of all the nations; but the one that endured is specially assured. The Deliverer will come in due time; but not a word about the church, nor yet the gospel in its depth. Yet “this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the habitable earth for a testimony to all the nations, and then shall come the end.” It is a testimony and not without fruit everywhere, without a word of effect farther. The change for dead and for living, for heaven and for earth, is reserved for Him Who is worthy, at His coming—the rejected Christ.
Now the remarkable and evident fact is that the Lord has here before Him Jewish disciples in early days with their counterpart before the end, but without reference to the Christian light and privilege which would come in. And we have plain enough proof in the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistle of James, that in Jerusalem there was pertinacity in this respect that has often struck Christian readers as strange, not only after the great Pentecost was fulfilled, but to the eve of the subversion of the city and sanctuary. The Epistle to the Hebrews a little before gave God's final warning and proof, that for the Christian the Jewish system was now null and void. In this way one can apprehend how the Lord provides instruction for Jewish disciples before the end is come. Still thus far all is general; but from ver. 15 we are given much that is precise, He Himself referring to the last chapter of Daniel.
“When therefore ye shall see the abomination of desolation that was spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in [the] holy place (let the reader understand), then let those in Judea flee unto the mountains; let not him that is upon the house come down to take the things out of the house; and let not him that is in the field return back to take his cloak. But woe to those with child and to them that suckle in those days! But pray that your flight be not in winter nor sabbath. For then shall be great tribulation, such as hath not been from world's beginning until now, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days had been cut short, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake those days shall be cut short. Then if any one say to you, Behold, here [is] the Christ, or there, believe [him] not; for there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall give great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. Behold, I have told you before. If therefore they say to you, Behold, [he is] in the desert, go not forth; Behold [he is] in the inner chambers, believe not. For as the lightning cometh forth from the east and appeareth unto the west, so shall be the coming of the Son of man. Wherever the carcass is, there will be gathered the eagles. But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken. And then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven; and then shall all the tribes of the land mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with great sound of trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from [one] end of heavens to the other” (vers. 15-31).
Here we learn the awful mark of Jewish wickedness in guilty and fatal alliance with the Gentiles, as Daniel warned. It needs the more attention; for this too had been done by the order of Antiochus Epiphanes long before Messiah's first advent. An idol was then set up in the holy place which brought desolation on all who acted or submitted, as it also drew out the uncompromising opposition of the Maccabees. This was predicted fully and plainly in Dan. 11:31, as the pious heroism that rejected the abomination follows. For this reason it is the more distinguishable from the future of like and even more portentous apostasy. For all has been accomplished up to ver. 35, where a blank is without doubt implied leading to the “time of the end,” which we have here also in the Gospel. Then “the king” of the last time appears, not “of the north” as Antiochus Epiphanes had been in his day, still less “of the south,” but demonstrably distinct from both. For at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him; and the king of the north shall come against him, (Dan. 11:40). He is thus the object of hostility to both, and has for his sphere “the goodly land” between those two powers of the future on either side of him.
But he is also more widely the great religious enemy of Jehovah and His Christ; for reigning over the land of Israel, he will set himself forth as God in the temple of God. For this is the man of sin whom the apostle portrays in 2 Thess. 2., citing or applying Daniel's words. And to this future abomination of desolation the Lord refers in Dan. 12:11, with which is connected a date of 1290 days, and a supplement of 45 more, before the blessed time comes which the then faith of Israel awaits. Then the prophet himself shall rest and stand in his lot; and better still the Son of Man reign over not Israel only but all peoples, nations, and tongues: His dominion an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.
This public act of apostasy the Lord makes the signal for immediate flight. That some ancients and moderns have interpreted it of Cestius Gallus or of Titus is familiarly known; but either is really out of the question. For neither the one nor the other set up an idol in the holy place; and as the one gave ample time to flee without the precipitancy here enjoined, so the other afforded none. For the city was surrounded and sacked; and the victor (far from setting up an idol) sought in vain to spare the temple from the flames of utter ruin. The error arose from not seeing that the divine design was to present us with the Roman capture of Jerusalem and its results in Luke 21:20-24. But here the Lord passes these over in the corresponding place of the Gospels of Matthew and Mark, and dwells only on the unequaled wickedness and tribulation of the future days, expressly said to be followed immediately by His own coming in clouds with great power and glory, closing man's evil age and opening the long-desired day of Jehovah. Luke omits that awful crisis.
As the sign for flight is unmistakable, so are those disciples contemplated by the Lord: “then let those in Judea flee to the mountains.” This in our future could not be for Christians, who, as we know from other scriptures, had been ere that translated to heaven. But God, on their disappearance, works in souls by His word and Spirit, to have an earthly people also, but first and especially among the Jews, the mass of whom are then deceived by the Antichrist. The godly Jewish remnant are thus therefore in question; and the Lord here points out that their danger is so immediate that there is no space to come down from the house-top for going into the house and taking their property out: they must flee at once. If one is in the field on the other hand, let him not turn back even to secure his cloak. It touched the Lord to think of women at such a crisis impeded personally or by their babes. And He urges prayer that the flight might not be in the rigor of winter or to the dishonor of sabbath. Can any intelligent Christian fail to see how godly Jews are here in view? From “the holy place” in ver. 15 to “sabbath” in 20, all point to disciples in that form of relationship, at that future epoch, and in that limited area.
So is the tribulation that comes next (21, 22). “In the world ye have tribulation” applies to the Christian in principle: hut no specific one is ever held out for him; he should expect it always. All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But the tribulation beyond parallel even for Israel is during the last three-and-a-half years from the setting up of the abomination of desolation in the sanctuary.
It is a judicial dealing of God through their enemies because of their audacious apostasy, and has no point of contact with the Christian, save that merely nominal Christians fully share it. The Gentiles as such play their part in it; so we read in Rev. 7 of '' the great tribulation “; out of which come a crowd of faithful ones who washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. For the Jews and the Gentiles in the latter day will be thus visited in their respective measures, when the Christians are no longer here but in heaven with Christ. But those days are cut short for the elect's sake: otherwise no flesh should be saved: for here the Lord speaks of Jewish disciples preserved on earth for His kingdom, not of Christians that endure suffering, and reign with Him when changed at His coming, which is not even supposed in this question.
Not less clear are the intimations in 23-26. They suppose Jewish dangers and deceits of the most trying kind, but not at all such as Christians are exposed to. For we know that when the Lord Jesus comes for us, we shall be changed, dead or living, and be caught up to meet Him in the air. This is so definitely revealed in the very first Epistle written to correct the mistake in the assembly of Thessalonians, just gathered unto the Lord's name, that it is hard to conceive a Christian that is not now apprised of it. Hence were any to tell him that the Christ was here or there, in Rome or in London, he would reject it, and treat the alleged as a false Christ, and the herald as a false prophet; nor would great signs and prodigies weigh in support of so glaring a contradiction of the word of the Lord. But Jewish believers who have no such a promise did and will need the Lord's fore-warning to keep them from the snare. Whether therefore they say, He is in the desert or in the inner chambers, they were to believe neither. “For as the lightning cometh out of the east and appeareth unto the west, so shall be the coming of the Son of Man.” Not so does the apostle John put His coming to receive us to Himself, but as the Bridegroom for the bride. But the lightning flash appositely describes His judicial presence for the Jewish disciples beset with Jewish and Gentile enemies animated with Satanic rage and hatred. And this is fully confirmed by the figure attached: “wherever the carcass is, there shall be gathered the eagles,” the swift instruments of divine vengeance on the dead prey which ought to have been a living witness for God. What a contrast with His coming and our gathering together unto Him! the blessed motive to deliver the deceived Thessalonians from being troubled by the false assertion that His day was there (as in 2 Thess. 2:1, 2).
Then the Lord states that “immediately after the tribulation of those days” there should be a total subversion of governmental order above, the sun, the moon, the stars, “and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken,” signs physically of the great change in progress for the earth. “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in the heavens.” His appearing there on high is the sign of His coming to set up His kingdom and judge the quick. “And then shall all the tribes of the land” (for the context seems to favor this rendering, rather than “of the earth:” the word means either) lament: a result never expressed with His coming to translate us. “For they see Him coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” But He acts on and by more than men. He has His angels; and these “He shall send with a great sound of trumpet; and they shall gather His elect,” meaning here those of Israel as well as of Judah who are written in the book, “from one end of the heavens to the other.” We may compare with the many references in the Psalms and the Prophets, Isaiah especially.
To interpret scripture we need a power and wisdom above our own. We cannot understand by forcing the lock: the key is wanted, and grace gives it in Christ as taught by the word and Spirit of God. If you have Christ by faith, you have already the key. In faith apply Him to the Bible, and the Holy Spirit enables you to understand it. It is not a question of a superior mind or of great learning—for many learned men have been most foolish in their mistakes. The simple saint who knows not beyond the mother-tongue may understand the Bible, if he with true simplicity submits himself to the Lord and has confidence in His love. This is produced by the Spirit of God: this, and only this, makes men humble, giving withal confidence in God and in His word, by taking away objects which darken, misdirect, or overpower his own mind.
Take the advice of a friend; read the scriptures carefully but believingly, and you will understand what is infinitely better than anything found in the various schemes of man. It is just the same as regards the interpretation of prophecy as in doctrine. No man should convince a Christian that one part of the word of God is sealed up and the other open. Once on a time it was so. When Daniel of old received those very communications to which the Lord directs the reader, he was told to seal up the book; when John was called to have the same communications and yet greater ones, he was told not to seal up the book. Perhaps you have seen the difference, and the reason of it. The principle lay here: Jewish saints could not enter into the true and full meaning of the future till Christ came, at least until the end comes. For then indeed, when the last days of this age are come, the godly remnant will understand. The wicked shall not understand. You cannot separate moral condition from real intelligence of God's word. But the Christian already has, not Christ only, but the Spirit in virtue of redemption; and hence he is called and qualified to search all things, yea the deep things of God. They are now revealed fully and finally.
When the grace of God gives faith and the desire to do the will of God, then souls become able to understand both doctrine and prophecy. They learn that all the revealed mind of God centers in Christ, not in the first man. When you are not bent on finding in prophecy, England or America, the cholera, the potato disease, or your own time; when you are delivered by grace from all such prepossession, then with Him as the object of the soul you have a fit moral condition; because such absorbing ideas of men no longer govern and blind you. Hence the only way to understand any part of the Bible is just by grace to give up our own will and desires, for Christ; then we can face anything. We are no longer afraid of what God has to reveal; nor do we try to read anything of our own into the Bible, being then content to gather God's meaning from it. May this be truly the temper and endeavor of our souls now.
Has it not been clearly shown that thus far the Lord Jesus speaks of disciples connected with the temple, and Judea, and Jerusalem, but not of Christians? Take these further proofs of it. He says, “And pray that your flight be not in the winter nor on a sabbath day.” The Lord's day is our day, the first day of the week. The Jew rightly and properly keeps Jehovah's sabbaths. As to this, there are languages in Europe more correct than what we hear more commonly spoken around us. The Pope's tongue, the Italian, keeps up the right distinction; it always speaks of Saturday as the sabbath day, and Sunday as the Lord's day. How curious that it should be so, where such gross darkness reigns on almost everything else!
In our own land and for a long time has been a great deal of confusion as to the sabbath and the Lord's day. Let none be offended at the remark; for its truth is certain and of importance. The Lord's day differs from the sabbath, not by a lower but by a higher degree of sanctity, not by leaving Christians free to do their own will on that day, but by calling them to do the Lord's will always in a complete separation to His glory, the holy services of divine praise in works of faith and in labors of love. In short, the Lord's day differs essentially from the sabbath day in that it is the day of grace, not of law, and the day of new creation, not of the old. The consequence of seeing this will be very important differences indeed in heart and practice.
Suppose a Christian had the strength to walk 20 miles on the Lord's day, and to preach the gospel six or seven times, would he be guilty of transgressing God's will? It is to be hoped that not a single person perhaps in this place would venture to think so; yet if really under the sabbath law, what can absolve from the obligations of that day? All under the law are bound within defined limits. Are Jews free to use the sabbath in indefinite labor even for what you know to be the active purposes of goodness? We must obey in our relationship.
Granted that the Son of man is Lord of the sabbath; but are the Jewish disciples also lords of the sabbath? You cannot do freely what you count ever so good: Jews are under stringent regulations as to that day. If the sabbath were your day, you are required to keep it as such. As you, a Christian, have to do with the Lord's day, seek to understand its meaning, and be true to it. Without question the Lord's day is a day of consecration to the worship and to the work of the Lord. It is not the last day of a laborious week, a day of rest that you share with your ox or your ass. It is a day that is devoted to the Lord Jesus, especially to communion with His own in the world. Nor is there sin in the most strenuous labor for souls then; on the contrary such labor in the Lord is good and blessed wherever it is found, if He guide in it, (and we need this).
But the Jewish disciples contemplated here are told to pray that the time for their precipitate flight should not be in the winter nor on a sabbath-day; for the one would seriously impede from its inclemency, and on the other they could not go farther than a sabbath-day's journey. But how could this affect us as Christians? Even if once Jews, we are no longer under such restrictions. The Lord is speaking not of Christians but of future Jewish disciples, subject to the law and its ritual, and animated by Jewish hopes.
Further, it is said, “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not even from the beginning of the world until now, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days had been shortened, no flesh would be saved.” All this is plain enough. It is not a question of heavenly things but of His Kingdom. They sought to live here and be the subjects of the blessed reign and glory when the Lord comes. It is glory on earth, not in heaven. “But for the elect's sake those days should be shortened.”
“Then, if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is the Christ, or there, believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, so as if possible to mislead even the elect. Behold, I have told you beforehand. Therefore, if they say to you, Behold, [he is] in the desert, go not forth: Behold, [he is] in the inner chambers, believe [it] not.” It is clear and certain that the elect here are Jewish. Improbable for a Christian to be deceived by such rumors for an instant. But it is the fact that the Lord Jesus supposes considerable danger for such disciples as are here. In fact, being Jewish (not Christian), they might be deceived by the cry that He was here or there on earth; whereas no Christian could be in danger, who awaits the Son of God from heaven. Yet the Jewish disciples were exposed to it. For looking as they were for the Lord's coming to the earth, they knew that the Lord's feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives. They might thus be taken in by deceits. Not so the Christian. He knows that he is to be with the Lord in the heavens, being for this taken up out of this world into the air to meet the Lord on high. But the deceits in question are addressed to such only as expect to meet the Lord on the earth. The whole of the scene thus far consists of the Lord's instructions to disciples connected with Jerusalem and Judwa, and has nothing at all to do with the Christians looking to join the Lord above.
Here again is the reason why even Jewish disciples should not listen. “For as the lightning cometh forth from the east and is seen even unto the west, so shall the coming of the Son of Man be.” Commentators have applied all this to the Roman conquest. But the army of Titus did not come out of the east, as the lightning is said to do here, nor did it shine unto the west: the very reverse would be a more apt figure, had the Romans been meant. So distinctly has the Lord Jesus guarded against the misinterpretations of men. The Son of man's coming will be quite different and surprise men like the lightning. It will be no question of going hither and thither to seek Him.
The Lord then has given these firm standing points, these landmarks as it were, in the prophecy, which hinder us from being carried away by every wind of theory. We may see clearly what the Spirit has set before us. Nor has there been knowingly passed over anything material, or any violence done to a word. No wish is there to give aught but a clear, distinct, and positive impression of the mind of the Lord as conveyed in His own words. The disciples furnish occasion for others in the main like themselves in Judea at the close of the age.

The Inspiration of the Scriptures: 2 John

Chap. V. Divine Design. 50. the Second and Third Epistles of John
These two lesser Epistles of the beloved disciple could yield no such large or minute testimony to Christ as the first and longer one; but they are no less admirably suited to fulfill the work given him to do on our behalf, who face the dangers and difficulties of the last time. Each has from God its own special object. The Second Epistle is mainly to warn and direct where the doctrine of Christ was not brought; as the Third is to cheer and confirm those who zealously helped the true witnesses of Christ, and none the less but the more if self-seeking men sought to exclude and malign them. As in the First Epistle, the truth, even Christ, is insisted on as of all moment.
But the evident peculiarity of the Second is that the Holy Spirit addresses this inspired letter to “an elect lady and her children.” This is so novel as to indicate an extraordinary crisis which called for it. And the crisis is that “even now are many antichrists.” The lady and her children were exposed to danger in this respect: which is so great in itself, and aggravated by the absence of a Christian head of the family, that it pleased the Lord to send them a solemn caution, and indeed a peremptory command. Nor do we hear of any assembly near at hand. We can easily understand that the antichristian may have been a friend, perhaps in former days used to preach and teach Christ, nay possibly to their conversion. In any case it seemed no small self-denial to close their door. Was she not a woman, and as such forbidden to teach, or to exercise authority over a man? Hers was but a private household. Why should she and her children be required to discharge so stern a duty? The apostle meets such excuses.
“The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth; and not I only, but also all who have known the truth, for the truth's sake which abideth in us and shall be with us forever. Grace shall be with us (or, you), mercy, peace from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love. I rejoiced exceedingly that I have found of thy children walking in truth, according as we received commandment from the Father. And now I beseech thee, lady, not as writing to thee a new commandment but that which we had from the beginning, that we should love one another. And this is love that we should walk according to his commandments. This is the commandment, according as ye heard from the beginning that ye should walk in it. Because many deceivers went out into the world, those that confess not Jesus Christ coming in flesh: this is the deceiver and the antichrist. Look to yourselves, that we lose not what we wrought but receive a full recompence. Whosoever goeth forward and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ hath not God: he that abideth in the doctrine, he hath both the Father and the Son. If any one come unto you and bring not this doctrine, receive him not at home, and give him no greeting; for he that biddeth him greeting partaketh in his wicked works. Having many things to write to you, I would not with paper and ink, but hope to come unto you, and to speak mouth to mouth that our joy may be filled full. The children of thine elect sister salute thee” (vers. 1-13).
All heterodoxy is evil; but not to bring the doctrine of the Christ, perfect man and true God in one Person, is fatal and admits of no compromise.
Neither a mother nor her children can plead innocence if they yield. It is high treason to admit friendly terms, if we own Christian ground. The lady might be ever so orthodox: but to welcome to the house one who, claiming to be a Christian teacher, denied Christ's deity or humanity (i.e. their union in one Person), is to give up the foundation implicitly; and he or she who receives out of courtesy, liberal feeling, or any other human motive, becomes partaker of “his wicked works,” even if the evil doctrine be declined. The truth of Christ admits of no neutrality. Truth, love, and obedience must be in those who, believing in Christ, have life eternal and the Holy Spirit. We go right as Christians only as the eye, the heart, is true to Christ. Not “transgressing” but going forward, instead of abiding in the doctrine, loses all. “Transgressing” is spurious: it was development rather, which cannot consist with the truth.
The Third Epistle deals with the good side in the evil day. We are entitled to have and enjoy it in the worst of times. As the lady and her children were appropriately warned not to yield through fear of being counted narrow, bigoted, and uncharitable, with no less fitness the apostle writes to the gracious Gains that he might persevere in his loving care for all faithful servants of Christ, whatever be the party or personal opposition of any. John here too insists that it be love in truth and walking in it. One must have the truth clear before we can speak of love or exercise it: else we may be helping Satan against Christ under the name of charity. Even here truth has the first place; how indeed could it be otherwise?
“The elder to the beloved Gaius whom I love in truth. Beloved, I desire that in all things thou mayest prosper and be in health according as thy soul prospereth. For I rejoiced exceedingly when brethren came and testified to thy truth according as thou walkest in truth. Greater joy I have not than these things, that I hear of my children walking in (or, in the) truth. Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest toward the brethren, and this strangers, who testified to thy love before the assembly; in sending forward whom worthily of God, thou wilt do well; for they went out for the Name, taking nothing from the Gentiles. We therefore ought to receive such, that we may be fellow-workers with the truth. I wrote to the assembly; but Diotrephes that loveth the first place among them accepteth us not. For this reason when I come, I will bring to remembrance his works which he doeth, prating against us with wicked words; and not content with these, neither himself accepteth the brethren, and those that would he forbiddeth and casteth out of the assembly. Beloved, imitate not what is evil but what is good. He that doeth good is of God: he that doeth evil hath not seen God. Demetrius hath been testified to by all and by the truth itself; and we also testify; and thou knowest that our testimony is true. I had many things to write to thee, but I am unwilling with ink and pen to be writing to thee; but I hope soon to see thee, and we will speak mouth to mouth. Peace to thee: the friends salute thee. Salute the friends by name” (vers. 1-14).
The hearty love of the apostle goes forth to Gains, because his love was governed by truth. The right rendering corrects making his prosperity to be the prime desire, but that about all things it might be, and even his health too, as his soul was prospering. For how often when the soul gets lax, God uses trial and sickness for good. His exceeding joy was brethren's testimony to Gaius' cleaving to the truth and walking in it; as be had no greater joy than to hear of this in his children. Nor does he fail to name Gaius' fidelity toward those laboring in the word, though strangers, not only in hospitality on the spot, but in setting them forward “worthily of God.” And these laborers were worthy, for the Name was their motive; and they declined the world's favors: even the apostle was glad to range himself as a fellow-worker with them and the truth.
But his writing to the assembly provoked the pride of Diotrephes who disliked these earnest witnesses for Christ, so as not to accept his words, and to go the length of babbling wickedly against the apostle. How soon the ruin came, and how audacious! Nor was it in word only, but in hostility to the stranger brethren and to those who honored them for their work's sake. We discern here the spirit of the evil house-servant who beat his fellow-servants, and may be assured that Diotrephes was not (like John, Gaius, and these visitors) longing and looking for Christ; to him it would be an enthusiasm if not a delusion. For the Lord traced such misconduct to this cause, to the heart saying, My Lord delayeth to come. But his evil way should not be forgotten when the apostle came: for the church is holy ground. Gaius was to imitate not the evil but the good; so to do is of God.
Then he speaks of Demetrius as one testified by the truth itself and his own testimony, which he knew would have the greatest weight with Gaius. It was a green spot in the midst of ruin. If we have seen much of Diotrephes that cannot be overlooked to our sorrow and shame, let us make so much the more of a Demetrius and a Gaius. All turns on the truth. Diotrephes no doubt assumed to respect order, but had no heart for the truth: else he had valued the working of the joints and bands in furthering and spreading it. His notion of order proved itself unsound, because of his indifference to the truth; for not content with opposing the visiting brethren, he ventured to despise the apostle's word on their behalf and ill-treated such as walked in truth and love. But be the declension ever so real and painful, the truth abides to walk in, and the love that is of God is its sure accompaniment. Such is the consolation in this the last Epistle of our apostle.

Christ's Witness Not Alone, but if Alone, Divine

The hasty reader might think there was a contradiction between these two statements, and the pious reader might be perplexed; for they seem at the first blush to contradict one another. In John 5 the Lord disclaims bearing witness of Himself; in John 8 He insists on His divine right to do so. Indeed the language, in both passages, is the strongest possible. “If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true,” says our Lord in John 5 “Though I bear witness of myself, yet is my witness true “: thus run the words in chap. viii. “Record” in the A. V. of the latter passage is really the same Greek word in the original, changed from “witness,” possibly to suit the whim of a pedant. For, as is generally known, King James desired the translators to vary their English rendering of Greek words.
Now one can imagine cavilers objecting: at least if the two statements were found in two different Gospels, they might say that such contradiction was natural, and to be expected from conflicting minds. But not so. Both statements are found in the fourth Gospel. Needless to say, they are both profoundly true. Clearly also forgers would not require excessive caution to avoid such an apparent discrepancy; for they naturally fear an exposure of their subterfuge. And the truth!—what has it to fear? Nay, ours should be the care to heed that word which is indeed as much God's as if orally heard from heaven.
Writing on “No one knoweth the Son but the Father,” I was proceeding to say that this statement was made by the Lord concerning Himself, and that His witness was true, though He bore witness of Himself. But, on turning to John 5:31 for verification, my eye met the seeming opposite of what one wanted to enforce. “If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.” Had memory played me false? Was my doctrine unsound? A pause and a re-perusal of John 8 convinced me that it might be profitable to call attention to these two sayings of our Lord. Other pens may unfold at greater length the deep and far-reaching meaning of both the lessons to be learned from these two, not conflicting or antagonistic, but, if I may so call them, complementary truths.
What then is the solution of the seeming discrepancy? It seems this—in John 5 He speaks not only as Son but as become flesh, and doeth nothing of Himself but what He seeth the Father doing. Our Lord's argument is that if He was the only one to bear witness of Himself, His witness would not be true. He thus graciously though searchingly meets the contention of the Jews that if a man bare witness of himself, his witness could not be true. Two witnesses there must be, three were better, more than adequate, according to Jewish law. So Christ says, “If I (alone) bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.” It could not be that His should be the solitary testimony concerning Himself. He had first John the Baptist bearing Him witness; next, the testimony of the works given Him to do; and thirdly that of the Father's voice. It was superabundant. If only on their one technical ground the Jews were bound to heed it.
Nay, there were the scriptures likewise. Such is the force of the passage in John 5 He is the perfect and dependent Man, Who referred His adversaries to the fourfold witness of John His herald, His own works, the Father's witness, and the scriptures. Yet is He “Light of the world,” “the Truth", “the Son,” the “I Am” (John 8). So, far from there being discrepancy in the statements of one and the same Evangelist, there is the most absolute agreement between him who wrote mainly for the Jews (S. Matthew), and the “disciple whom Jesus loved.” He who said “I am the Light of the world” could also say, “No man knoweth the Son but the Father.” Such a One only could be so great a light. A mere man would becomingly shrink from bearing testimony concerning himself. He, Who when Thomas addressed Him as “My Lord and my God,” accepted the homage, might indeed say, “Though I bear record of myself, yet is My record true.” Even here he adds “I am not alone, but I and the Father who sent me. And in your law it is written that the testimony of two men is true. I am one that beareth witness concerning myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness concerning me.” If two men were to be believed, how much more the witness of the Son and of the Father?
So it is with all scripture. What seems at first a difficulty, a discrepancy, to our imperfect vision, is ever found to be fraught with some blessed meaning that had hitherto escaped us. The Holy Spirit alone can illuminate; but He does teach those who are subject to the written word, surely not apart from it.
R. B.

2 Timothy 4:1

Q.-2 Tim. 4:1. What is the true text and the right version of this solemn scripture? The explanation even of the wisest seems unsatisfactory in consequence. ENQUIRER.
A.-Almost all agree that the οὖν ἐγὼ, (“I therefore”) of the Text. Rec. is uncalled for accretion, and “the Lord” too before “Jesus Christ” or rather Christ Jesus. The present κρίνειν expresses the long continuity of the judgment, instead of the brief act on the great white throne to which κρίναι would tend to confine the process. But the great defect is not only the allowance of Kara “at” (E K L P, 37, 47, and the Syrr.), but the failure to take the accusatives with καὶ repeated as the direct and simple object of the verb. The older Latin copies have no “per,” but say loosely “adventum” for ἐπίφάνειαν. “I testify earnestly, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus that is about to judge living and dead, both his appearing and his kingdom.” It is a fresh charge in which the apostle urges this twofold, however closely connected, object as the special ground of responsibility for Christian walk and service. Then will shine forth not only the Lord but those that are His, each in the position awarded by the righteous Judge according to the things done in (or, through) the body (2 Cor. 5:10). It is not simply His coming, His παρουσία, to receive us to Himself for the Father's house, which is sovereign grace, but when He appraises the fruit of each one's reward according to his own labor (1 Cor. 3:8). This the apostle earnestly testified, that Timothy too might believe and act on it in preaching urgently, with every duty of ministry, looking for the glorious result, as one who also loved Christ's appearing when righteousness shall reign and therefore His Kingdom. But the grace which gives us Christ now in all its fullness and will receive us to Himself (not heaven only but the deepest joy and bliss with Him) for the Father's house is far more, and the means too of bracing and strengthening us to fulfill our part in responsibility. Such grace gives us to enter into His will and interests both intelligently and with devoted affection; so that, instead of shirking present duty and suffering for Him and the truth, we love His appearing and His reign when Satan will be powerless, evil put down everywhere both at once and infallibly, and the Lord exalted over all the earth as well as in the heavens. Then indeed will “Thy (the Father's) Kingdom” have come; and His will be done too, not only on high, but on the earth even as in heaven. Everybody is familiar with the words: how few seem to enter into their blessed force Yet men boast of theology, colleges, school-boards, Sunday schools, societies and sermons without end. Is not the reality humbling? The words are plain.


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Jacob: 11. Wrestling With God

The vision of two bands of angels did not deliver Jacob from fear for himself and his two bands. He was not at ease with God, though a believer. All that hindered communion was not yet judged; and hence his abject dread of Esau, of whose change of feeling toward himself he had no idea. Making his own plan of defense, he then prayed for Jehovah's blessing for deliverance from Esau. Further details are given in vers. 13-21; and the rest follows, where God takes in hand Jacob.
“And he lodged there that night; and took of what came to his hands a gift for Esau his brother; two hundred she-goats, and twenty he-goats; two hundred ewes, and twenty rams; thirty milch camels with their colts: forty kine, and ten bulls; twenty she-asses, and ten young asses. And he delivered [them] into the hand of his servants, every drove by itself: and he said to his servants, Go on before me, and put a space between drove and drove. And he commanded the foremost, saying, When Esau my brother meets thee, and asks thee, saying, Whose art thou? and whither goest thou? and whose are these before thee? then shalt thou say, Thy servant Jacob's, it is a gift sent to my lord Esau; and, behold, he also is behind us.
And so commanded he the second, and the third, and all that followed the droves, saying, According to this word shall ye speak to Esau when ye find him. And ye shall say moreover, Behold, thy servant Jacob is behind us. For he said, I will propitiate him with the gift that goeth before me, and afterward I will see his face: perhaps he will accept me. And the gift went over before him; and he himself lodged that night in the camp (or, band).”
Next we come to God's dealing with him that he might be blessed more abundantly.
“And he rose up that night, and took his two wives, and his two maidservants, and his eleven sons, and passed over the ford of Jabbok; and he took them and led them over the stream, and sent over what he had. And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the rising of the dawn. And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh: and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was strained as he wrestled with him. And he said, Let me go, for the dawn ariseth. And he said, I will not let thee go except thou bless me. And he said to him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. And he said, Not Jacob shall be called henceforth thy name, but Israel; for thou hast wrestled with God and with men, and hast prevailed. And Jacob asked and said, Tell, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore askest thou after my name? And he blessed him there. And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved. And the sun rose upon him as he passed over Penuel, and he halted upon his thigh. Therefore the children of Israel eat not the sinew that shrank, which [is] upon the hollow of the thigh, unto this day: because he touched the hollow of Jacob's thigh in the sinew of the hip (or, that shrank)” (vers. 22-32).
Jacob must be alone with God. He was not yet at Bethel, but had a needed meeting meanwhile in the dark. Not so much as men say, Jacob wrestling with God, true as this may be in its measure, but yet more God wrestling with Jacob. “There wrestled a man with him until the rise of the dawn.” It was grace that gave him perseverance and to prevail, but in a way contrary to man's thoughts; not in any degree Jacob's goodness, wisdom, and power, but God's faithful mercy. Hence He touched the hollow or socket of Jacob's thigh, so that it became out of joint. This would render powerless the strongest; but it was not so here. His grace enabled Jacob to hold on. He deigns then to say to Jacob, Let me go, for the dawn ariseth: as Jacob answers, I will not let thee go except thou bless me. Thereon Jacob gets his new name, no more the supplanter but a prince of God—Israel, “for thou hast wrestled with God and with men, and hast prevailed.” So wrought divine mercy while withering natural strength; but there is no revelation of His name as to Abraham; and instead of drawing out his intercession for others, God wrestles with himself. Prevail he must in order to be blessed; but there is no communion. The name is undivulged as later to Manoah, before the man of overcoming strength was born, who wrought heroic wonders, yet with surprisingly little moral power. And so it is here with Jacob in his way, who called the name of the place Peniel; “for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” Think of the totally different issue when Jehovah appeared to Abraham both in Gen. 17 and Gen. 18 Then “He went away as soon as He had left communing with Abraham.” The wife of Manoah understood God better than her husband.
Thenceforth Jacob halted upon his thigh. God would have him permanently learn the lesson of His strength displayed in human weakness. So the sun rose on his halting as he passed Penuel; and therefore the children of Israel eat not the sinew that shrank which is upon the hollow of the thigh, to this day. Would to God that they read its meaning in the light, instead of going about to establish their own righteousness and refusing to submit to His righteousness! Nor is it Jews only that need to learn this great truth; for it is ever fading more and more away from Christendom, where flesh is increasingly gloried in, and superstition and rationalism contend for the mastery against God and His Christ.

Israel Holy to Jehovah: 4. Abhorrent Mixtures of Relation

The divine prohibition in this portion of our chapter refers to near relations and rests simply on the divine will and authority: “I am Jehovah.” Marriage was not, save at the beginning, to unite “one's own flesh,” naturally united or near already.
“6 None of you shall approach to all (or, any) flesh of his flesh to uncover nakedness: I [am] Jehovah. 7 The nakedness of thy father, and the nakedness of thy mother, shalt thou not uncover (she [is] thy mother); thou shalt not uncover her nakedness. 8 The nakedness of thy father's wife shalt thou not uncover: it [is] thy father's nakedness. 9 The nakedness of thy sister, daughter of thy father, or daughter of thy mother, born at home or born abroad, their nakedness thou shalt not uncover. 10 The nakedness of thy son's daughter or of thy daughter's daughter, their nakedness thou shalt not uncover; for theirs [is] thy nakedness. 11 The nakedness of thy father's wife's daughter, begotten of thy father (she [is] thy sister), thou shalt not uncover her nakedness. 12 The nakedness of thy father's sister shalt thou not uncover; she [is] thy father's own flesh. 13 The nakedness of thy mother's sister shalt thou not uncover; for she [is] thy mother's own flesh. 14 The nakedness of thy father's brother shalt thou not uncover; thou shalt not approach his wife: she [is] thine aunt. 15 The nakedness of thy daughter-in-law shalt thou not uncover (she [is] thy son's wife); thou shalt not uncover her nakedness. 16 The nakedness of thy brother's wife shalt thou not uncover; it [is] thy brother's nakedness. 17 The nakedness of a woman and her daughter shalt thou not uncover; thou shalt not take her son's daughter, nor her daughter's daughter, to uncover her nakedness (they [are] her own flesh): it [is] wickedness. 18 And thou shalt not take a wife to her sister, to vex [her] (or, be a rival), to uncover her nakedness, beside her during her life” (vers. 6-18).
The opening is singularly emphatic, “Man, man, &c.” This the Septuagint follows closely. Man's attention is called for. Marriage is only honorable where God's will is observed. Heb. 13:4 in no way sanctions or sanctifies a forbidden union. The true rendering is, Let marriage be honorable (not “among all” as the Revisers say, but) “in all things,” and the bed be undefiled. The construction is alike before and after. It is an injunction, not an affirmation as in the A.V. with Wiclif, Cranmer, and the Geneva translators. The Rhemish is an ungrammatical evasion, meant to correspond with the Vulgate, which would seem to take the Greek like the Peschito, Wiclif, &c. Tyndale alone was right. Against unions or licenses, such as are here indicated, Jehovah sets His face. His name from beginning to end of the chapter is the solemn warrant against them all. If an Israelite allowed passion to carry him away, it was rebellion against Jehovah and at his own peril.
But in these near relationships marriage was unnatural and dishonorable in the measure of the nearness. And that intercourse which was proper to the married tie, forbidden in every case outside it, was here sinful and shameful in the highest degree, whether in the superior place of father or mother, and the nearest on either side, or in the equal one of sister howsoever born, or in the inferior one of daughter-in-law. And who would be bold enough to deny that the corresponding ones, not here specified, are not really implied? It is the man who is here prohibited: surely the woman is so no less. Further, the prohibition goes beyond blood-relations and extends in like degree to those by marriage connection. Of great moment it was to cultivate the warmest affection between all that stood together in near kin or connection. But still more was it essential that their mutual love should be ordered in all purity.
There was a marked exception requisite to keep up tribal inheritance in Israel, which though existing elsewhere applied to no other people as to them, still less to a Christian; a Levirate or brother-in-law marriage. It was when a man died childless, and his brother or next of kin was called to raise up seed to the deceased, the aim being to bind up the family line and the inheritance; so much this, that if the nearer kinsman refused, the widow was entitled publicly to loose his shoe and spit in his face.
Verse 17 shows that the prohibition goes beyond this to the incongruous and unnatural intercourse with a woman and her daughter, or her son's daughter or her daughter's daughter, though all strangers to him. And verse 18 forbids an Israelite to have two sisters together, for the reason assigned. Christianity goes to the root of the matter by recalling, as our Lord did, to what was at the beginning when God made one man and one woman.

Proverbs 17:1-7

The blessing of quietness at home, the value of wisdom there and elsewhere, the hearts tried by Jehovah, the evil-doer's heeding wicked lips, and falsehood listening to mischief, the reproach done to the Maker by mocking the poor, the mutual honor of parents and children in their due place, and the congruity of speech with those who speak, are here severally dealt with.
“Better [is] a piece of dry bread and quietness therewith than a house full of the sacrifices of strife.
A servant that dealeth wisely shall have rule over a son that causeth shame, and shall have part in the inheritance among the brethren.
The crucible [is] for silver and the furnace for gold; but Jehovah trieth the hearts.
An evil-doer heedeth iniquitous lips; falsehood listeneth to a mischievous tongue.
Whoso mocketh a poor [man] reproacheth his Maker; he that is glad at calamity shall not be held innocent.
Children's children [are] the crown of old men; and the glory of children [are] their fathers.
Excellent speech becometh not a fool: much less do lying lips a prince!” (vers. 1-7).
The opening word contrasts the immense superiority of a peaceful household with hard fare, over one where plenty is found, embittered by contention, or, as is here energetically said, “full of the sacrifices of strife.” Love and peace may abound through Christ where is little else; only unhappiness abides where He is unknown, were all there that wealth can supply.
Then again, who has not known one from the lowliest place promoted for his wisdom over a son that bringeth shame, and even to share the inheritance of the family? A son crushes the family with his disgrace; a wise servant, especially in such circumstances, acquires love, respect, and honor with his full share.
But there is a moral government ever carried on by Him who is alone capable of trying the hearts, with a goodness and wisdom and patience, not wanted for refining silver and gold, which man can do. For the Christian it is as Father; for the Jew it was and will be Jehovah, the one true God.
There is also no small trial from those who wish and do evil; and we are here shown how close is the connection between malice and falsehood. If an evil-doer heeds false and unjust lips, falsehood listens to a mischievous tongue. Such is mankind without God, each in his own way, but all astray and malicious.
Nor is Jehovah indifferent to the pride that mocks the poor out of an overweening value for the passing advantages of this life. It is to reproach, if not blaspheme, his Maker. There is another ill-feeling hateful to God, gladness at calamities not our own. He that indulges in such heartlessness shall not remain unpunished.
Quite different from these is what follows: where family relations are maintained as Jehovah intended. “Childrens's children are the crown of old men, and the glory of children are their fathers.” How blessed when the aged feel their descendants an honor, and they no less delight in their parents!
The last of these verses glances at a twofold moral incongruity: when a fool (in the serious light of that word according to scripture) utters “excellent speech” out of all harmony with his character and life; and when a prince or noble, instead of being a pattern of probity in his exalted position, gives himself up to shameless deception. Yet such stumbling-blocks occur in this evil day. What a contrast with Christ who is the truth, and came to do the will of God!

Gospel Words: Confidence in Our Father's Giving

Our Lord here encourages His disciples to count on the goodness of their Father for every want consistent with His will.
“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. For every one that asketh receiveth, and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, who, if his son shall ask of him for a loaf, will give him a stone; and if he ask for a fish, will give him a serpent? If therefore ye, being wicked, know to give good gifts to your children, how much rather shall your Father that is in the heavens give good things to those that ask him? Therefore all things whatsoever ye desire that men should do to you, thus do ye also to them; for this is the law and the prophets” (Matt. 7:7-12).
It is not a shiner needing life and forgiveness of his sins, but saints directed to appeal to God and assured of their Father's answer of love, whatever their wants be. The Lord had already taught them to pray in chap. 6 as with alms and fasting, parts of saintly righteousness and due to His name and glory. Here He enforces it as the way in which all they need from above is to be given them. Hence perseverance and earnestness are incumbent. Asking will ensure receiving, yea to every one that asks; seeking will not be fruitless but shall find; and to the still more importunate the door will be opened, which is but shut to exercise faith. For there may be a matter of importance for the applicant to learn before the request can be granted, as with the Syrophenician woman, so earnest in supplicating the Lord to have pity on her, whose daughter was grievously possessed by a demon. Yet at first the Lord answered her not a word. She pleaded like a lost sheep of Israel's house; whereas she was a Greek, and had no right of promise with the Messiah; indeed she was a Canaanite, and thus under the curse. But when she drops His title as Son of David, and gathered from His answer to the disciples wherein her mistake lay, she did Him homage, saying, Lord, help me. On this He speaks out, It is not good to take the bread of the children, and cast it to the whelps. This did help her soul, for it led her to the secret of sovereign grace on which she at once threw herself, saying, Yea, Lord; for even the whelps eat of the crumbs which fall from the table of their masters. Then Jesus answering said to her, O woman, great is thy faith; be it done to thee as thou wilt. The door opened to her knock. She was deepened and cleared in her faith, as her daughter was healed from that hour.
The Lord also encourages His disciples through the affection which is implanted in a parent's heart. If their Father makes His sun rise on evil and good, and sends rain on just and unjust, how does He feel toward His sons? His love surely goes out to them in every request that is for their good, and withholds only what their foolishness asked that must do them harm. Hence He says, Or what man of you, whom his son shall ask for a loaf, will he give him a stone? and if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? Who would not repudiate such mockery of a son's hunger? Thence He draws the conclusive words for their hearts, If ye then, being wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father that is in the heavens give good things to those that ask Him?
The last verse goes into that which becomes the disciple with men, and lays down the simple but evidently sound principle, to do to others as we would have others do to us; and this too on no ground of human rights or natural benevolence, but of consistency with God's revealed will. “All things therefore whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, thus also do ye to them; for this is the law and the prophets.”
Now let me ask you, dear reader, if you have not by faith the Son of God as your Savior, are you not conscious that these words are altogether beyond you? What is your state then now, and what must the end be? I call on you in the Lord's name that you perish not in your sins. The same Lord, who thus cheers His disciples and bids them ask freely, warns you that he who disbelieves (who is unsubject to) the Son, shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides upon him. Go to God as you are, a poor sinner, in the Savior's name, and own your ruin and His grace, that you may be saved, and know it to your exceeding and everlasting joy; and then serve Him as your Lord, awaiting Him from heaven, for He is coming.

The Lord's Prophecy on Olivet in Matthew 24-25: 2. The Jewish Disciples

THEN it is said, “Wheresoever the carcass is, there will be gathered together the eagles” (ver. 28).
Apply this to the church or to the Christian, and what can you make of it? Is the church “the carcass”? We have heard something still more dreadful. Men have not been wanting who say that the Lord is! Such are the results of attempting to interpret the prophecy on false ground. From early days Greek and Latin Fathers taught these strange and even profane ideas; and many down to modern time have followed in their wake. These crudities ought surely to be judged irreverent as well as grossly mistaken. Can any intelligent Christian deny it to be a rash and unworthy interpretation, no matter how (according to this scheme) they take “the carcass,” whether applying it to the church or to the Lord? The church united to Christ by the Holy Spirit is His body (σῶμα): it is a wondrous privilege and a blessed truth; but is the church a carcass (πτῶμα)? Surely not; it is His living body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all. Nor is the Lord regarded as a body dead or merely alive, but as the risen and glorified Head. The Lord a carcass! What were, or are, they dreaming about?
The whole effort is on false ground. There is no getting a consistent meaning out of the passage when interpreted of the church. The moment you refer it to the Jewish people, it becomes strikingly true. For the mass of the Jews will then be apostate; and the eagles or vultures who come together are figures of the divine judgments executed on the guilty people by the hostile nations of the earth. Whatever may be the instruments, they are judgments of God executed at this time. If the Christians were the carcass, they must be the object of the judgment, for there the eagles, figures of those that execute judgment, are gathered together. But this is not at all the relation of the Lord's coming to the Christian. Nor can any Christians be the eagles or instruments of divine vengeance, any more than the carcass, without abandoning all the truth and character of their calling. The changed saints undoubtedly will go up to meet the Lord; but is He then to be the carcass, and are the church the eagles? In such a scheme, there is only the choice of one evil less or greater than another; and it is generally so with an erroneous interpretation. Apply it to the object the Lord had in view, and harshness disappears. This is the test of scriptural truth: whenever men press a false interpretation, the general testimony of scripture is confused and dislocated or contradicted thereby.
Then the Lord adds, “But immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give its light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken” (ver. 29).
Here it is that the popular view advocated by Dean Alford and others places the Lord's beginning to speak of His return personally. This however is not only to destroy the force of “Immediately after the tribulation of those days” with which the verse opens, but it breaks the connection with the true transition to the last days in ver. 15, which introduces precise details of that epoch in their order; and it would seem, synchronizing with the preaching of the gospel of the Kingdom in all the habitable earth as a witness to all the nations in the general history, “and then shall the end come.” Thence forward it is, what happens in the temple, Judaea, and strictly Jewish concerns at the end of the age. This is shown clearly by the reference to Dan. 12:11. For the prophet there tells us that “from the time that the continual [holocaust] shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolation set up, [there shall be] a thousand, two hundred, and ninety days,” with a supplement in ver. 12 of “forty-five days” more to complete the incoming of the blessed time. Now count as men like from the siege of Titus, 1335 years for days bring in nothing of the sort.
The starting-point is wrong, and all modes of rectification are vain. It is really the last future crisis in and round Jerusalem, though it seems the gospel of the Kingdom goes on by godly Jews outside over the earth about the same time, the days in the prophet being literal days as here in ver. 22. What has misled most is confounding the very different language and truth in Matt. 24:15 etc. and Mark 13:14 etc. (who both give us what is entirely future) with that of Luke 21:20-24, which is entirely past, save the treading down of Jerusalem by Gentiles while Gentile times last, &c. Here it is unequivocally and exclusively the Roman sack and its consequences to this day; while Luke's future reference commences with ver. 25 and onward. It is an error to Mix up this Roman episode in the third Gospel with the pointedly different description in the first and second Gospels which omit this, and then converge on the future only. They speak of the abomination of desolation, and of the unequaled tribulation, on which Luke is silent. But Luke tells of the Romans investing Jerusalem, and their desolation, of which Matthew and Mark say not a word; as he does not about the tribulation without parallel, but only of days of vengeance, and great distress upon the land and wrath to this people. The other Evangelists are wholly silent on the extreme slaughter by the Roman arms, and their captivity into all the nations; with the notable prolonged fact that Jerusalem should be trodden down by Gentiles till their times are over, as they are not yet. All this is as carefully presented by Luke in exact consistency with the Spirit's design in his Gospel, as the other two omit it, and are devoted to the unprecedented horrors of the future which Luke omits.
But all three take up the closing scene, Luke not saying “Immediately after the tribulation etc.,” as in fact he had not alluded to it in the least, but joining the other two about signs in sun, moon, and stars though as usual noticing moral state beyond the others. Next all speak of the Son of man coming, as he puts it in a cloud with power and great glory; and he alone adds, “But when these things begin to come to pass, look up and lift up your heads; because your redemption draweth nigh.” Can any Christian be so prejudiced as not to see that not the heavenly saints are here in view? For we already have in Him redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our offenses; whereas those here represented have yet to enjoy it in His Kingdom.
Luke's presentation is of the more value as settling the true force of “this generation shall in no wise pass till all things have taken place” among them, the end of Gentile supremacy over Israel and Jerusalem. The desire to limit “this generation,” as here employed, to the destruction of their city by the Romans is thus certainly precluded. Further, at the consummation of the age the revived Roman Empire will not be against the apostate Jews, but rather on the side of the Antichrist or willful king of Palestine, when the King of the North at the time of the end shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots and with horsemen and with many ships. But each shall perish successively and horribly under the Lord of Lords and King of Kings. The future (and these verses beyond just question strikingly speak of the future,) still more conclusively proves, for any acquainted with the prophets, the impossibility of interpreting the eagles of the Roman armies in the past, or any still more childish fancy of their symbolizing the church or Christians in the future, or the result (yet more offensive involved) of the carcass as figuring the Lord of glory.
“And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven; and then shall the tribes of the earth mourn (ver. 30).” The Son of Man appearing in heaven is, I presume, the sign of His coming to enforce His claim on earth. It is not here the believers with joy going up to meet the Lord, but the tribes of the earth or at least of the land mourning when the sign appears. “And they shall see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send forth his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other (ver. 31).” Here too light is given of all moment to decide that the coming of the Son of man is in view of the land, the Jews (or mankind in general), and not at all to receive the heavenly ones for association with Himself in the Father's house.
For beyond controversy He is seen coming on the clouds of heaven before He