Bible Treasury: Volume N6

Table of Contents

1. Christian Worship: Continued
2. Who Are We?
3. The Feasts in Deuteronomy 16: Part 1, The Passover
4. The Atonement: Part 6
5. Israel Sets Out and God Speaks in the Night Vision
6. Exodus: Moses Born Under Interdict
7. Proverbs 26:17-22
8. Great Joy
9. 2 Peter 3:1-2
10. The Higher Criticism: Part 1
11. Cain: 1. His World and His Worship
12. Fragment: Acts of Affection
13. Published
14. Joseph: 20. Names of Jacob's Sons Who Came Into Egypt
15. Exodus: Moses Quits Egypt and Flees to Midian
16. Proverbs 26:23-28
17. The Church and Churches: Part 1
18. Within the Holiest and Without the Camp
19. 2 Peter 3:3-4
20. The Higher Criticism: Part 2
21. Chair of St. Peter
22. Scripture Queries and Answers: The Woman at Sychar
23. Scripture Queries and Answers: The Apostles and Baptism
24. Scripture Queries and Answers: The Judgment Seat
25. Scripture Queries and Answers: Gifts
26. Scripture Queries and Answers: The Place of the Lord and the Saints in the Millennium
27. Scripture Queries and Answers: Relation Between Purging and the Government of the "Great House"
28. Scripture Queries and Answers: Revelation 3:9
29. Scripture Query and Answer: Seventh-Day Adventists
30. Advertisement
31. Published
32. Joseph: 21. Meets Jacob
33. Exodus: the Burning but Unconsumed Bramble
34. Proverbs 27:1-6
35. Thoughts on Luke 7:36-50
36. The Last Hour
37. The Church and Churches: Part 2
38. 2 Peter 3:5-6
39. The Higher Criticism: Part 3
40. Scripture Queries and Answers: Genesis 1
41. Scripture Queries and Answers: 2 Corinthians 5:15
42. Scripture Queries and Answers: 1 Timothy 3:15-16
43. Published
44. Joseph: 22. Presents His Father
45. Cain: 2. His World and His Worship
46. Exodus: the Divine Commission to Moses
47. Wilderness Grace: Part 1
48. Proverbs 27:7-13
49. Gathering or Scattering
50. 2 Peter 3:7
51. Self-Abnegation
52. Oneness and Union
53. Advertisement
54. Published
55. Cain: 3. His World and His Worship
56. The Red Sea: Part 1
57. Wilderness Grace: Part 2
58. The Broken State of Christendom
59. The Purpose of God for His Sons and Heirs: Part 1
60. A Man of God
61. To Our Readers
62. Advertisement
63. Published
64. The Red Sea: Part 2
65. Red Sea and Jordan
66. Wilderness Grace: Part 3
67. The Feasts in Deuteronomy: 2. The Feast of Weeks
68. After All This
69. We Must All Be Manifested: Part 1
70. The Lord Jesus in Humiliation and Service: Part 1
71. Advertisement
72. Published
73. Social Intercourse
74. The Purpose of God for His Sons and Heirs: Part 2
75. The Feasts in Deuteronomy: 3. The Feast of Weeks
76. The Jordan: Part 1
77. Inspiration of Daniel and His Book: Part 1
78. We Must All Be Manifested: Part 2
79. The Purpose of God for His Sons and Heirs: Part 3
80. The Lord Jesus in Humiliation and Service: Part 2
81. Advertisement
82. Published
83. The Feasts in Deuteronomy: 4.
84. The Jordan: Part 2
85. Self-Judgment
86. Inspiration of Daniel and His Book: Part 2
87. What Is a Christian - Now and Hereafter? Part 1
88. We Must All Be Manifested: Part 3
89. The Purpose of God for His Sons and Heirs: Part 4
90. The Ark and Its Contents
91. Advertisement
92. Published
93. The Feasts in Deuteronomy: 5.
94. The Vatican and the Criticism of the Pentateuch
95. Seventy Weeks of Daniel
96. What Is a Christian - Now and Hereafter? Part 2
97. Discipline and Unity of the Assembly: Part 1
98. The Purpose of God for His Sons and Heirs: Part 5
99. Notes of an Address Hebrews 1:1-4
100. The Ark and Its Contents: Manna
101. Walking in the Light
102. Erratum
103. Published
104. Balaam Hired of Balak and Used of God
105. Seventy Weeks of Daniel
106. The Vision: and the Just Shall Live by Faith: Part 1
107. Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh
108. The Ark and Its Contents
109. Sinai and Its Terrors: Part 1
110. Discipline and Unity of the Assembly: Part 2
111. Advertisement
112. Published
113. Church in the Wilderness in the Vision of God
114. Belshazzar's Feast and the Day of the Lord: Part 1
115. The Vision: and the Just Shall Live by Faith: Part 2
116. The Ark and Its Contents: Aaron's Rod
117. Sinai and Its Terrors: Part 2
118. Grace and Peace
119. Divine Intimacy
120. Scripture Query and Answer: Revelation 19:20 and Daniel 7:11
121. Advertisement
122. Advertisement
123. Belshazzar's Feast and the Day of the Lord: Part 2
124. Notes of an Address on Matthew 11:26
125. Pool of Bethesda
126. The Ark and Its Contents: Tables of the Law
127. The Testimony and Walk of Faith: Part 1
128. The Authoritative Word of God
129. Advertisement
130. Published
131. Samson's Riddle
132. Thoughts on John 16:8-11
133. The Testimony and Walk of Faith: Part 2
134. Jude Introduction
135. Letters on Bethesda
136. Advertisement
137. Published
138. The Church - What Is It?
139. The Gospel of the Glory of Christ: Part 2
140. The Ark and Its Contents
141. Jude Preliminary Remarks
142. Jude 1
143. Fragment: Having God as Our Father
144. Fragment: "And I Know Them"
145. Errata
146. Advertisement
147. Published
148. Genesis 3-5
149. The Atonement: Part 1
150. The Gospel of the Glory of Christ: Part 3
151. The Ark and Its Contents: Ark of God
152. 1 John 1:1-4
153. Jude 2-3
154. Advertisement
155. Published
156. The Saviour and the Sinner
157. The Atonement: Part 2
158. Our Standing in Grace
159. Jude 3
160. Christ for the Saint and Christ for the Sinner: Part 1
161. Errata
162. Advertisement
163. Published
164. The Atonement: Part 3
165. Purchase and Redemption (Duplicate): Part 1
166. Jude 4-5
167. Christ for the Saint and Christ for the Sinner: Part 2
168. Scripture Query and Answer: Worship
169. Advertisement
170. Published
171. Genesis 22-24
172. The Atonement: Part 4
173. Purchase and Redemption: Part 2
174. Jude 6-8
175. Grace Be With You
176. Review
177. Advertisement
178. Published
179. The Poor Brother: Part 1
180. In Safeguard
181. The Atonement: Part 5
182. The Moral Glory of the Lord Jesus
183. Jottings of a Bible Reading Colossians 1:12-20
184. Jude 6-8
185. Christ for the Saint and Christ for the Sinner: Part 3
186. Beginning
187. Advertisement
188. Published
189. The Ministry of Elisha: No. 1
190. By Faith of the Son of God
191. Jude 9
192. Brief Remarks on Revelation 1-11
193. Advertisement
194. Published
195. The Poor Brother: Part 2
196. Zion's King and His Co-Heirs: No. 1
197. Emmanuel: Part 1
198. Brief Notes on Ephesians 5:25-33
199. The Lord's Supper
200. Jude 9
201. Advertisement
202. Errata
203. Published
204. The Ministry of Elisha: Part 1
205. Zion's King and His Co-Heirs: No. 2
206. Emmanuel: Part 2
207. Brief Notes on Scripture
208. Jude 10-13
209. Worship of the Lord Jesus and of the Father
210. Christ, Not Opinion, the Center of Union
211. Advertisement
212. Published
213. The Ministry of Elisha: Part 2
214. Zion's King and His Co-Heirs: No. 3
215. The Word Made Flesh
216. Brief Notes on Passages of Scripture
217. Jude 10-13
218. Letter on Immortality
219. Published
220. The Ministry of Elisha: Part 3
221. The Sufferings of Christ
222. Brief Notes on Passages of Scripture
223. Jude 14-15
224. Advertisement
225. Published

Christian Worship: Continued

TΗΕ two grand elements of Christian worship are the presence of the Holy Spirit and the remembrance of the sacrifice of Christ, which is commemorated in the supper.
But in this worship the affections which are cοnnected with all our relationships with God are developed. God, in His majesty, is adored. The gifts even of His providence are recognized. He who is a Spirit is worshipped in spirit and in truth. We present to God, as our Father—the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ—the expression of the holy affections which He has produced in us; for He sought us when we were afar off, and has brought us near to Himself, as His beloved children, giving us the spirit of adoption, and associating us (wondrous grace!) with His well-beloved Son. We adore our Saviour-God, who has purged us from our sins, and placed us in His presence without spot, His holiness and His righteousness, which have been so marvelously displayed in our redemption, being to us a source of joy which passes not away ; for, through the perfect work of Christ, we are in the light as He Himself is in the light. It is the Holy Spirit Himself who reveals to us these heavenly things, and the glory which is to come, and who works in us so as to produce affections suitable to such blessed relationships with God. He it is who is the bond of union between the heart and these things. But in thus drawing out our souls, He makes us feel that we are children of the same family, and members of the same body; uniting us in this worship by means of mutual affections and feelings common to all towards Him who is the object of our worship. Jesus Himself is present in our midst, according to His promise. In fine, worship is exercised in connection with the very sweetest recollection of His love, whether we regard His work upon the cross, or whether we recall the thought of His ever fresh and tender affection for us. He desires our remembrance of Him Sweet and precious thought! Oh! how joyous to our souls, and yet, at the same time, bow solemn ought such worship to be! What sort of life should we be careful to lead in order to render it! How watchful over our own spirits! How sensitive as to evil! With what earnestness should we seek the presence and guidance of the Holy Spirit, in order to render such worship suitably! Yet it should be very simple and truthful; for true affection is always simple, and at the same time devout, for the sense of such interests imparts devoutness. The majesty of Him whom we adore, and the greatness of His love, give solemnity to every act in which we draw near to Him. With what deep affections and thankfulness should we at such times think of the Savior, when we recall all His love for us—abiding through Him in the presence of God, far removed from all evil, in the foretaste of our eternal blessing!
These two great subjects about which Christian worship is occupied (namely, the love of God our Father, and the love of the Lord Jesus, in His work, and as Head of His body the church) afford slight changes in the character of the worship, according to the state of those who render it. At times, the Lord Jesus will be more specially before the mind; at times, thoughts of the Father will be more present. The Holy Spirit alone can guide us in this; but the truthfulness and spirituality of worship will depend upon the state of those who compose the assembly. Effort in such things has no place. He, who is the channel of worship, let it be observed, should not present that which is proper and peculiar to himself, but that which is truly the exercise through the Spirit of the hearts of those who compose the assembly. This will make us feel our entire dependence upon the Comforter—the Spirit of truth—for truthful service to God in communion. Nothing, however, is more simple or more evident than the truth, that the worship which is rendered should be the worship of all. J.N.D.
(Continued from p. 256)

Who Are We?

This, with a special emphasis on the “who,” is a question sometimes raised by persons who dislike the isolation of a separate path, which the Lord's claims impose on such as would walk in obedience to His holy word; and to avoid which it is pretended they are laying claim to a greater sanctity than others who are not treading the same narrow pathway. My fellow believer, I would beseech you earnestly Co brush aside this question and substitute for it Paul's questions in the Acts (22:8-10), “Who art Thou, Lord?” and “What shall I do, Lord” as infinitely more profitable than a self-occupation which would lead to a denial of His rights, either individually, or in association, and of our duty in relation thereto.
As to “who are we?” Well, we “are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours” (1 Cor. 1:2). Nothing can be more inclusive for every true believer, for all time, and everywhere, now and until they are called to meet the Lord in the air; and remember, as Peter says in his First Epistle, we are “elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ” (1:2). This then is the character of our obedience, not mere law servitude, but His who could say “I delight to do thy will, O my God.”
Dark and trying times can furnish no excuse God-ward for the absence of such obedience, but on the contrary are the very seasons which call for its display, and this we shall find ever to have been the case, whether we turn for an illustration to the Old or to the New Testament. In the Old, we read in Deuteronomy (25:17-19), “Remember what Amalek did unto thee by the way when ye were come forth out of Egypt; how he met thee by the way, and smote the hindmost of thee, [even] all [that were] feeble behind thee, when thou [wast] faint and weary; and he feared not God. Therefore it shall be when Jehovah thy God hath given thee rest from all thine enemies round about, in the land which Jehovah thy God giveth thee [for] an inheritance to possess it, [that] thou shalt blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven: thou shalt not forget.” Now when Saul is inducted into the kingdom, Samuel, speaking in the name of Jehovah of hosts, says to him, “Go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass” (1 Sam. 15:3). What follows? “Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all [that was] good, and would not utterly destroy them; but everything [that was] vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly” (ver. 9). Who are we? Saul might have said; and he did say to Samuel, “the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto Jehovah thy God.” As king, of course, he ought not to have allowed it, and hence he is told, “Jehovah hath rejected thee from being king over Israel.” “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams” (ver. 22). Has this no voice to us, beloved? Was not the elect lady warned against an evil association thus, “Look to yourselves that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward;” and “if there come any unto you and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed; for he that biddeth him God speed, is partaker of his evil deeds” (2 John 8-11). How weak such a question, “who are we?” appears, in view of loss so personal, and a fellowship of evil so profound!
It is refreshing, however, to turn to the dark days of Esther, when it might have been pleaded that they were not in the land, but only poor captives under a foreign despot, and in an alien clime; and that consequently the injunction of the last few verses of Deuteronomy no longer applied! We read however (Esther 3:1, 2), “After these things did king Ahasuerus promote Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, and advanced him, and set his seat above all the princes that [were] with him. And all the king's servants that [were] in the king's gate bowed and reverenced Haman: for the king had so commanded concerning him: but Mordecai bowed not, nor did [him] reverence.” And this exile who would carry out God's word, as far as he was able, and would not compromise His truth by a bow of the head, was enabled through his faithfulness to execute His word altogether, and to hang Haman and his ten sons. Thus according to his times was Mordecai's blessing. He did not stop to ask “who are we?” but knowing there was a vast difference between a true child of Abraham however poor, and a descendant of the royal house of Amalek however exalted, he acted in a simple-hearted faith that was pleasing to God.
Come we now to the New Testament, and we find the apostle Paul speaking of himself as “the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God” (1 Cor. xv. 9). And again,” who am less than the least of all saints” (Eph. 3:8). Further, in 2 Cor. 12:11 he says, “though I be nothing.” “Who are we?” indeed! He evidently did not think much of himself. But did this true lowliness, which we may seek to cultivate, hinder him from standing up for the rights of the Lord in relation to the gospel? Look at the same man in Gal. 2 and you will find no want of firmness there, nor of true love either, which ever seeks the good of its object. “To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.” And again, “But of those who seemed to be somewhat, whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me; God accepteth no man's person.” How truly refreshing God brought in; the instrument forgotten; save to carry out this truth; and of others justly valued as “seeming to be pillars,” one, the chief “apostle of the circumcision,” afterward withstood to the face, “because he was to be blamed!”
The Lord give us grace then (apart from all questions of “who are we?”), since the days are so bad, “to earnestly contend for the faith once for all delivered to the saints,” and which, despite all length of time, has not lost its virtue; and “building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life (Jude 3, 20, 21); We are told to “buy the truth and sell it not” (Prov. 23:23).
(Concluded from p. 140)

The Feasts in Deuteronomy 16: Part 1, The Passover

The three great feasts of Jehovah here specified were instituted by Him for the express purpose of filling the hearts of His people with the enjoyment of Himself revealed in distinct blessings. If it was so in the letter for Israel, what is taught and conveyed to us, who have the substance of these earthly shadows! For all that God wrought or gave in the times that are past is but a little thing, compared with what the incarnate Son of God presented to Him in His person, and accomplished in His death, resurrection, and ascension, that the Holy Spirit might testify to the believer a blessedness worthy of the Father and the Son. Yet who could deny that these feasts were full of rich remembrance and rich promise of mercy? What a magnificent putting forth of divine power it was to bring Israel, a then nation of slaves, from under the greatest power at the time ruling on the earth! Nor in that deliverance was it merely power. There was a far deeper question before God. Israel, no less than the Egyptians, were a sinful race. How could God make light of their sins? Against all the gods of Egypt Jehovah was about to execute judgment. Pharaoh, who denied His title to claim Israel, must be publicly humbled and punished. But withal what about the sins of Israel? Therefore, while closing His preliminary blows upon guilty Egypt, God directed the last of them to fall on the firstborn sons of the Egyptians, from the king's down to the maid's behind the mill. How then was it with His people? Were they not as real sinners as the Egyptians? And would God make light of sin because they were His own? Is not Jehovah sanctified in those that are near Him? Does it not add immensely to the horribleness of sins in His sight when they break out in one that He chooses to Himself. He had favored and blessed their fathers, marking them out clearly for hundreds of years while growing up to be such a people as they then became.
Accordingly He instituted the Passover, and made it the more striking, for a new reckoning commenced from that fact as a foundation for Israel. Abib was the seventh month of the civil year; “for in the month of Abib, Jehovah thy God brought thee forth out of Egypt by night” (ver. 1). It now began the holy year. Jehovah was dealing judicially beyond all that had gone before; and the lamb's blood alone could shelter guilty Israel. It was a whole people confessing their sins and His righteousness in the same solemn sacrifice applied to every household and every soul who entered that night the blood-sprinkled doors. So we read in Ex. 12. Only observe that in Deut. 16 it is simply the passover sacrificed. Nothing is said here of the blood put upon the door-posts. “And thou shalt sacrifice the passover unto Jehovah thy God, of the flock and the herd” (ver. 2).
The reason is plain. The use of the blood as on that first celebration was made but once. This intimates a great deal for the effectual reality, as well as in its typical significance, as we may read, over and over again, in the Epistle to the Hebrews. How much on the other hand among men depends on repetition! Only thus it is that ordinarily, they attain an approach to what they consider worthy. With God Who cannot fail, any more than lie, it is quite another thing. Repetition in His institutions imposed on man means that the end is not reached. But there was only one paschal sprinkling of blood on the door-posts; nor was there failure in the then result. It was not repeated at any subsequent observance of the feast. Attention was thereby drawn to the unity of the blood-sprinkling when judgment was proceeding as never again in Israel's history. But “sacrifice” must always be, as it is, the ground of righteousness for man as he is. And whose righteousness was it? Not man's certainly but God's righteousness. So in the cross of Christ God would lay such a foundation that He might not only judge the evil, but justify the ungodly who had wrought nothing to deserve protection. It was grace therefore, but God's righteousness according to His word. It is His appreciation of Christ's work on behalf of those whose works were only evil.
All are aware that the Passover was before the law. The attempt therefore to bring in the law is plainly and absolutely excluded. Had that feast only come in after the law, there might have seemed some little ground for such an inference. Men are ready enough to catch at this or that appearance in order to lay down what pleases them. And the reason why the law pleases is because it necessarily is addressed to man himself and his works. He therefore likes it; man is somebody, and can do something. Yet the law was God's claim on man; but what He taught by it was the impossibility of pleasing God on any such ground. Here too He was showing by the passover, before the law was, His way of sheltering from judgment a guilty people by the blood He directed them to put on their door-posts. Be it that they were Israel; but their sins He could not ignore, as if they were nothing; or must be borne with, because they were the sins of His people. No, He found a way of righteousness, His own righteousness in the lamb that was slain; and only once was the lamb's blood put (yet in a way that brought the ground of their exemption from judgment home to each Israelite,) on the entrance to every house. No one that was there could enter save under the lamb's blood which was put not within, but outside the house.
And what could show so clearly that it was for Jehovah's eye, not for man as a matter of sense, or mind? It was put on the two side-posts, and on the lintel for his faith simply, but all the more for the profoundest feelings of his heart. Had it been inside, it would have naturally awakened the suggestion that they were to gaze at the lamb's blood, to which they owed their security. But there was nothing of the kind, the lamb's blood was put outside; within they eat the flesh roast with fire. What makes the force of that which has been said the more evident is the fact that it was “night.” There was no natural light to enable the blood to be seen of men. Only the divine eye could see the blood on the door-posts. And He was the One concerned; sins refer to His judgment. He might work by a destroyer; but it was Jehovah Who smote Egypt, man, beast, and gods; it was Jehovah Who saw the blood, and passed over Israel sheltered by it. There was the blood for the eye of Jehovah Himself to discern. “When I see the blood, I will pass over you.” Thus and thus only could the people be screened from the destroyer.
This was the foundation of all Man had lived upon the earth long before; he had tried his own way in every possible form. Jehovah's people too had shown what they were; as His own fidelity and goodness had failed in no way. But never before had anything for His people been wrought as a righteous groundwork till the Passover.
Here however we see in this chapter as the people were about to enter the land of promise, the same blessed truth is recalled to mind when Jehovah gathered Israel round Himself. If the application of the blood to the door-posts, so striking and instructive on the original occasion, is left out here, even this is quite appropriate to Israel then and to the believer now. No doubt when a man is first awakened and receives the glad tidings of redemption in Christ Jesus through the shedding of His blood, imminent danger from the wrath to come clearly appeals to the soul. But after he has bowed to the truth, he is no longer filled with alarm, still less in the same degree or way. Is it that Christ's work is valued less? A great deal more. When souls wake up at Christ's word from moral death, when they justly feel their sins in the sight of God, there are deep and vehement heart searchings and painful pressure of guilt on the conscience; and the grace of Christ administers truly divine relief. Afterward, as the soul submits to the righteousness of God, does the value of Christ and His work diminish? It acquires a far deepening character, as faith is exercised by the word.
May I observe that there are not a few hymns tending to make people think that the first joy of looking to the Lord Jesus as the Savior is so bright and full, that all afterward here below becomes comparatively pale. But is this really consistent with the truth? Does scripture justify our looking back on that early and indelible hour of contrition, when the Savior's welcome was tasted, as the fullness of blessing for ourselves? I believe that for such as do so, the heart has feebly entered into “the riches of His grace,” little, if at all, into what the apostle calls “the glory of His grace.” Great as that mercy was, we are all entitled to “receive of His fullness,” and to know experimentally depths of His grace in Himself and His work far beyond.
It is the abiding blessing of Christ in His work of redemption that is here presented. Many circumstances of the first burst of the truth on the people of God are left out, the wondrous sacrifice in itself is recalled in its simple majesty, without any particular reference to the form in which it applied in the first instance. The Spirit of God is here anticipating the way in which the passover should be kept in the land of God. Now it is precisely because the grace is anticipated of Jehovah bringing in Israel there, that no lack of care is tolerable, that the deepest call is made on their spiritual affections. It is no more leaving Egypt, nor yet the wilderness through which they passed, but Jehovah putting forth His power in new and, if possible, richer ways in bringing His people into the full accomplishment of the blessing. Does not this mark Israel entering into and dwelling in the “good” land where His eyes rest continually? So when we are first awakened, the pressure of our sense of danger is great, the urgent necessity of being screened by Christ's work from judgment because of our iniquities; but surely He and that work lead us on to appreciate far deeper things. So now we have the calm and peaceful enjoyment of a work in itself intrinsically the same, and infinite in its value. This seems to be what Jehovah would have His people enjoy in the passover kept in the land. “Thou shalt therefore sacrifice the passover unto Jehovah thy God, of the flock and the herd, in the place which Jehovah shall choose to cause His name to dwell there” (ver. 2). But while the peculiar circumstances of its first celebration disappear, there is no difference as to the unleavened bread. It may be presumed that all know that the purity which must follow “the sacrifice,” means the total denial of all ungodliness and corruption, however palatable to fallen nature. In the glorious land as Daniel calls it, could there be any relaxation of purity? Here we have the unleavened bread particularly enjoined; “Thou shalt eat no leavened bread with it; seven days shalt thou eat unleavened bread therewith, [even] the bread of affliction; for thou earnest forth out of the land of Egypt in haste; that thou mayest remember the day when thou earnest forth out of the land of Egypt all the days of thy life.” So it was then, but there is no haste now. So there was and must have been on the first occasion; they are merely reminded of this in looking back: “that thou mayest remember the day... all the days of thy life.” It personally concerned each one. When Israel come to know Who He is that was sacrificed for them, on Whose blood hung their entire shelter, what incomparably deeper thoughts and affections will arise God-ward! No wonder will it appear then that “there shall be no leaven seen with thee in all thy borders seven days.” Our entrance into its force is revealed in 1 Cor. 5:7, 8. The vail done away in Christ, lies upon their heart, because they reject Him; but whensoever it shall turn to the Lord, the vail is taken away. We, not Israel, are here below keeping the feast with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. They will keep it when Messiah appears to their joy. They too are to eat the flesh of the lamb of which we have partaken in faith, while they are unbelieving. Mark the deepest reverence here for the sacrifice with full liberty to eat of it. “Neither shall any of the flesh which thou sacrificest the first day at even remain all night until the morning.” The lamb's flesh must never be treated as common food. What was not then eaten must be burnt, not kept for ordinary use; it was a sacrifice to God, as well as a holy communion.
The grand secret of Christianity, I do not say of Christendom, the everlasting and peculiar blessing that we boast before our God, is Christ Himself. Oh, what a joy to have one word that contains all that we delight in, and, what is far more important, all that God delights in, the same object, God's delight and our delight, in Him who unites Godhead and manhood in His own person! But more than that—There was a particular time that, even for God, drew out what Christ expressed in that fact, as before prophetically, which never was before and never can be again. With reverence be it spoken, I believe that as on the one hand God never felt before as He did at the cross of Christ; so on the other hand the Lord Jesus never felt as He did save at the cross. As His Spirit predicted it through David; so did He in the garden anticipate it; and oh, what a grief and weight of conflict for His Spirit! But anticipation is not accomplishment. It was on the cross there came from Christ that expression of it, so familiar, yet so solemn, to all our souls, “My God, my God, why didst thou forsake me?” There is the wondrous basis of all blessing. It is Christ forsaken of God after all the perfection of a life of obedience incomparable here below; Christ rejected and atoning for sin. What an unfathomable truth! What creature on earth or in heaven would ever have looked for it? For who was Christ? Was He not the eternal life with the Father before ever there was a creature? Was He not the Creator? Yet here He lay in death: and what a death! How did such a consummation come to pass? It was for sin; for our sins borne in His own body on the tree. This we know too well, yet alas! far too little. He, the Son, became man; man as truly as He was and is God. And God made sin for us Him Who knew no sin. Here therefore we rest on that foundation which can have no equal. God never saw aught but perfection in the Son of His love throughout eternity. When the Word became flesh and tabernacled among men, in a world of sin, that perfection was unfolded in such forms of moral beauty and grace, as were never before seen, and only in measure predicted. Truly He was the Second man and last Adam. Never did love and obedience, meekness, zeal and suffering, reach their acme till the cross. Never was God or God's Son, the Son of man, so glorified as therein. And every child of God in this hall knows it, and has, in his measure responded to it in faith. But the more we weigh it, the greatness of that work rises before our souls. The ground of righteousness is only found in that word so terrible to man's conscience—in death; and wondrous to say, in His death, which was our sin (for He was rejected of men), yet on God's part a sacrifice to God. Here then dawns on us this first feast—the Passover; and more truly ours, by faith, than Israel's. They had, no doubt, their lamb; and they were entitled to enjoy the remembrance of God's deliverance of their nation from the land of Egypt. But what is that compared to God judging sin in Christ? This is what we read in the cross of our Lord Jesus. What infinite things for our souls have we not in “the Lord's death!” What words could be put together speaking with the same power revealing a divine ground of righteousness for sin comparably with “the Lord's death?”
(To be continued.)

The Atonement: Part 6

In his remarks on Hebrews, Dr. W. omits to notice the real point of the case: the “perfecting” is “as pertaining to the conscience,” and by the blood carried in. Through Christ presenting Himself, and then entering in “not without blood,” the conscience was purged. And this alone is the purging spoken of, so that we have “no more conscience of sins”; not consciousness of sin, but conscience of sins, sins on the conscience, because Christ has borne them and gone within, “not without blood.” It is not our state, but the state of our conscience before God; we as to this are “perfected forever” (εἰς τὸ διηνεκές), always and perpetually, because Christ is always now (ἐις τὸ διηνεκές) sitting at the right hand of God; not like the Jewish priests standing, renewing a work which was never done. No cleansing of our state is spoken of, but of our conscience by Christ's offering, which is gone in not without blood. Dr. W. does not state what scripture states here. It is false that no other import of Christ's sacrifice for God is spoken of than that it was a consequence of God's unchanging love. It hides Christ's forsaking of God and drinking the dreadful cup, and His standing as Son of man who must be lifted up.
Dr. W. says “God so loved the fallen world that He gave it the offering to restore it. And as there is nothing else said about it in scripture,” &c. There is something else said about it in scripture. Christ “offered himself without spot to God through the eternal Spirit,” and “the Son of man must be lifted up.” Dr. W. will say, “that whosoever believeth might not perish.” No doubt; but why must He be “lifted up” on the cross as “Son of man” that they might not? And this is said, as well as that “God so loved”; but Dr. W. always passes it over.
It is not true that scripture says that God never had any anger against him (the sinner). It is expressly said, “indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish,” will be rendered “to every soul of man that doeth evil,” and “wrath from heaven is now revealed.” “Now is the accepted time, the day of salvation”; but those who despise the grace of it are “treasuring up for themselves wrath against the day of wrath, and revelation of the righteous judgment of God.” Wrath from God, therefore, rests on and is executed against men; yet God does not change. Vengeance belongs to Him. “Is God unrighteous who taketh vengeance?”
But Dr. W. is all out of the way as to reconciling. I do not return to what I have already insisted on, that scripture never says the world is reconciled any more than God. Christians are, and Christians only; but there is no foundation for what he says as to the force of the word. כּפד is a difficult word, at least with על (see Lev. 16); but Num. 25:13 shows Dr. W. cannot make good his statements. But into this I will enter no farther, because it is perfectly plain that in the New Testament reconciling does mean reconciling the people, changing their disposition; and we have no need of turning to nice discussions on words, and their use in the LXX. It is somewhat more than changing the disposition, because it includes a relative object as to which that change takes place—one is reconciled to some person or thing. This being by an offering or the like, the meaning of the word is extended; but it is not merely cleansing, or anything of the kind. In Rom. 5 we have, “If, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more,” &c. Now this is changing the disposition when one was an enemy, and thus bringing back the mind to God. So Col. 1:21, “And you that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled.” That it is by an offering which cleanses and purges the conscience, is true, and what I should insist on. The heart could not return really, if the conscience were not purged, nor this unless the sins were purged; but this was by Christ's suffering the agony of the cross, forsaken of God, God's infinite love to us bringing back the renewed heart to Him thereby. The end of 2 Cor. 5 fully confirms this. Reconciling is bringing into happy relationship with another when we have been out of it, as Matt. 5:24; and to speak of καταλλαγή, διαλλάγηθι as equivalent to ἱλασμόν and ἱλάσκεσθαι, is unfounded; as making such words as דעה, or נחד or חטּא, or היחחטא, or נצתד and כפד the same, is falsifying the sense of words; so יוס כפדים; so in Num. 16:46 (Heb. 15:11), wrath, pap was gone out from the presence of Jehovah, and Aaron was לכפּד; nor was it to reconcile the people, but to stay the plague, to stop the wrath that was gone out.
And it is an unhappy thing, because the effect of atonement (when wrath would justly come out against us) is to cleanse and reconcile us, to weaken the truth of that righteous wrath, and its being righteously arrested by the precious blood presented to God, and that bearing of sins, which makes it righteous in God to justify the ungodly and forgive their sins. Appeasing God, ἱλάσκομαι, let the word be what it may, is not changing God, but glorifying and satisfying God's righteous judgment; so that He may say, when “I see the blood, I will pass over.”
Scripture does know the expression of the anger or “wrath of God.” What Dr. W. says of it is not true. “God's wrath is revealed from heaven,” and, if we do not believe, abides upon us (John 3:31). And it is written, “Thou wast angry, but thine anger is turned away” (Isa. 12:1). And the passages are very numerous too which speak of it. I do not know Swedish; but Dr. W. will know that “sühnen” and “versöhnen” are different things, though like the Greek, the meanings run into one another as cause and effect; but they are essentially different: one does apply to God; the other does not. And “we have the propitiation” is an abuse of the word. Dr. W.'s statements on this are most unequivocally unscriptural.
Dr. W. reverts to the statement already often noticed to give it a particular application, saying, “The forgiveness of sins is nothing but an application to the individual sinner of the taking away the sins of the whole world, which took place in Christ.” Every part of this statement is unscriptural. It did not take place in Christ. There is no such thought in scripture; indeed if there were, there could be nothing to judge them for. And further, no such application would be needed, for the sins would be already taken away. The forgiveness of sins and the imputation of righteousness is by faith (Rom. 4).
Eph. 1:7, Col. 1:14, Heb. 10:18, cited by Dr. W., do not say one word of what Dr. W. says. But further, redemption from a state is the commonest use in scripture and in modern speech of the word “redeem.” We say “redeemed from captivity,” from destruction, from death; so that all the discussion about Anselm and the fathers is to no purpose. We are delivered from the wrath and the curse by Christ's being made a curse for us. From whence did His suffering come? “He hath put him to grief.” Debt is used as a figure; but by the Lord. It was not restitution of money; of course it is a mere figure; but it was not to remove the sin of man, that is, from man (which indeed is in every sense an unscriptural way of putting it, and will not be found in scripture), but by bearing our sins for us; and if scripture speaks of putting away sin, it is putting it as a state and condition out of God's sight, and that even of heaven and earth, not of forgiveness. He condemned sin in the flesh. But, as for faith we died, were crucified with Christ, we are freed from its law. When we are brought in, then it is Christ who knew no sin was made sin for us; that is, it was what was done for us, outside of us, not our state, though that state (righteousness of God, note, not of man, though the believer stands in it) be the purpose of it, yet not an actual righteous state in us, but we made the righteousness of God in Christ. (See Rom. 8:3; 2 Cor. 5:21.) Dr. W. has evidently not taken into consideration this part of the truth.
I turn to the conclusion: “No change was effected by the fall of Adam in God, or in his disposition, but what was effected was that we fell into sin, and by sin into eternal death. In the work of Christ there was no change in God or in His disposition, but we gained righteousness, and thereby eternal life. And behind this work of Christ scripture only recognizes one thing, God so loved the world.” Now though save the last phrases I recognize in general the truth of this, yet the statement is fundamentally false, because it suppresses a mass of scriptural truth of the most solemn character, and in the last phrase denies it. Is wrath not spoken of in scripture? It was no change in God Himself, yet we are not merely fallen into something: God drove out the man, and not only so but shut up the way back to the tree of life, previously free to him; and man must get life some other way. It is the gift of God, and, save in the sense of man's ultimate state in glory, righteousness is not the way of regaining it. Man must be born again when he is a sinner.
Dr. W. speaks of wrath against sin elsewhere; but why, in order to systematize, is so immensely an important thing left out here? It is no change in God; it is righteousness dealing justly with evil. Man fell under wrath by sinning, God's wrath. It is the wrath of God which abides upon him if he does not believe; he is a child of wrath, Jew or Gentile alike; and it is part of the truth which came in by Christianity though not in itself of the grace, that the wrath of God is revealed from heaven. Something does remain “behind,” besides “God so loved,” that is, “the wrath of God.” Already God's driving man out of paradise was an execution of judgment, and the flood was righteous judgment. But it was not fully “revealed from heaven,” nor judgment pronounced on man till he had rejected Christ, because another question was to be tried in God's ways: could the first man be restored? He was tried without law, and the flood had to come in; he was tried under the law and broke it (the flesh was not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be; so that they that are in the flesh cannot please God), tried by the patient goodness that sent the prophets till there was no remedy. Then God said, I have yet my Son, my well-beloved, it may be they will reverence my Son. And when they saw Him, they said, This is the heir; come, let us kill Him, and the inheritance shall be ours. Man has both seen and hated both Him and His Father. Then the Lord pronounced the sentence “Now is the judgment of this world.” Except death were gone through, and the curse borne by another, the “corn of wheat” remained alone.
The wrath of God was “revealed from heaven,” but by the sin that work wrought which cleanses the believer for God according to God's own perfectness in light, and man took his place in heaven, according to the righteousness of God, in Christ. He came to seek and to save that which was lost—now proved so. No doubt faith rested on prophecies before the Lord came: but now all came out: the mind of the flesh was “enmity against God,” but the veil rent, and heaven opened. The answer to the spear, which made sure that the Son of God, come in love, was gotten rid of from the earth, was the blood and water which cleanses and saves every one that believes, that comes to God by Him. Love was revealed; for hereby know we love, that He laid down His life for us; but wrath was “revealed from heaven.” And “if God so loved the world that He gave His Son,” so was it equally true that “the Son of man must be lifted up,” or we should have perished under just wrath. And it is not true that Christ was only God's representative to take away our sins; He was man's representative and made sin for us, bearing our sins so that it pleased Jehovah to bruise Him, He put Him to grief when He made His soul an offering for sin, having offered Himself “through the eternal Spirit without spot to God.”
I have nothing to do with the traditions of theologians and do not notice them, but with what the word of God brings before us. I have spoken of this at the beginning as to principles; but Dr. W. brings it all again forward here, and it is the kernel of the question. I agree with him, reconciling God is not spoken of; but he is one-sided in hiding a mass of truth which scripture puts clearly forward. All that is said as to God being what He is in His revelation of Himself is delusion. God is love, God is light. But God could not act in wrath to man innocent (for man was neither righteous nor holy, as theologians say)—He would not have been righteous—and wrath was not revealed nor judgment, but, solely, the consequence of disobedience that man would die. All that Dr. W. takes up, and all that was said when man was judged in paradise. But God did act in wrath when he had sinned, and turned him out of paradise, and shut the way of the tree of life; but it was not revealed before, and surely not executed, nor was love revealed as it was in redemption. Christ was God's representative on earth, the image of the invisible God. But whose representative was He when made sin, and what was the consequence to Him? With the theories Dr. W. opposes I have nothing to do. He joins with his adversaries in holding that God reconciled the world to Himself; and from this common error one draws his theological consequences, which I refuse, as they are not in scripture, and the other hides other plain scriptural statements and falls into denying them.
“Incidit in Scyllam, cupiens vitare Charybdim.”
Here, in this section (X.), Dr. W., as I have already said he did, speaks of wrath. But then how can he say, “Nothing remains besides and behind but God so loved the world”? Because the momentous fact of wrath remains. Perhaps he will tell us, Yes, but the world was reconciled, which is totally unscriptural, and how reconciled so that there is no wrath, if the wrath of God abides upon them, as scripture says and Dr. W. admits, and Christ is our deliverer from the wrath to come? Yea, they are “heaping up unto themselves wrath against the day of wrath, and revelation of the righteous judgment of God.” Dr. W. says this reconciliation is “not a change of disposition, but of relative position, placing in another relation to a person”; but how in another relative position when the wrath of God abides on him? That wrath is not executed now (save in chastisement for our good in love, called “wrath” in scripture, Job 36), and that it is the accepted time, the day of salvation, is true: the wrath is “to come”; but “he that believeth not is condemned already,” the “wrath of God abideth upon him.” Dr. W. tells us God cannot be angry and love at the same time. If so, there is no wrath abiding on the unbeliever, as he admits it is, or he is not loved.
All this error flows from one-sided reasoning and the utterly unscriptural notion that the world is reconciled, because it is the time of the exercise of grace founded on Christ's death, as the apostle states. I do not comment on the fallacious arguments of Dr. W.'s opponents. He and they have both started from a false tradition.
I have only to remark, again, that Dr. W. avoids the question; namely, that saying the object of the atonement was to justify the sinner (which all will admit was one object) does not touch the real question: What was done there in order to justify him? What were the stripes with which we are healed? Herein we find again the utterly anti-scriptural doctrine: “The race of Adam was herein justified.” We are justified by faith, not without it, though it be through the atonement. The saved are righteous in Christ, but “salvation only for the righteous” is as unscriptural as possibly can be. Christ came to save sinners “not to call the righteous, but sinners.” God justifies “the ungodly.” Christ came “to seek and to save that which was lost.” This is another fundamental fallacy of Dr. W., that we are justified by being made personally righteous.
Dr. W.'s argument as to demons is sadly sophistical. The necessity of appeasing God as alleged was, if people were to be saved. If the devil and evil spirits were to be saved, according to God's justice an atonement would be needed; but Christ did not die for them, nor undertake their cause. This is poor sophistry.
“Community of love” is not sovereign love to sinners. All this too is sad confusion of mind. God commends His love to us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. The power of tradition is curious enough here, where Dr. W. says such a passage as “God reconciled the world unto Himself,” when there is absolutely no such passage in scripture, just where he is insisting, quite rightly, on seeing how scripture does speak. The conflict of theologians I leave with Dr. W., thoroughly decided with him to know only what scripture says.
It is quite true that justice is not wrath or judgment. But as far as men go, we may justly say we turned God into a judge by sin, not assuredly into a righteous Being. When He had created Adam innocent, there was nothing to judge. It would have been judging His own workmanship. But righteousness becomes wrath (not hatred) when evil is in the presence of judicial authority exercised in righteousness. The righteous Lord loveth righteousness; but God is a righteous judge, and God is angry every day. And now wrath is revealed from heaven as surely as infinite love is. In sovereign grace He rises above the sin, and loves without a motive, save what is in His own nature and part of His glory. Man must have a motive for loving. God has none but in Himself, and “commendeth His love to us” (and the “His” is emphatic as to this very point), in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us: the best thing in heaven that could be given for the vilest, defiled, and guilty sinners. Dr. W. seems to me to lower and depreciate the love of God quite as much as His justice and His righteous wrath.
There is one other point to which, though I have noticed it, I return, as of vital importance. Dr. W. holds that Christ represented God before men, not men before God. The first part is most blessedly true, but even that not to the extent of the inferences Dr. W. would draw from it, that there must be identity of operation. The Son did not send the Father, nor not spare Him but deliver Him up for us. The thought would be utterly anti-Christian. He accepted His part of the work of grace. “Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God”; and, a body being prepared for Him, He took upon Him the form of a servant, and was found in the likeness of men. I may return to this point elsewhere; I merely take note of it now, and turn to the question of representing God to men and man to God. Now, in His life down here, he that had seen Him had seen the Father, a most precious and sanctifying truth. John 14 is express in stating it, as the whole life of Jesus is the verification and illustration of it. He is, moreover, in His person the image of the invisible God, the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His being, His hypostasis. As to this, scripture is plain; and I have no controversy with Dr. W. Further, that He was true God, and true man, united in one person, is not in question either; it is believed by both of us. The question is, Did He stand for men before God as well as for God before men? That He does in heaven is quite clear. He is gone into heaven now to appear in the presence of God for us (Heb. 9:24). But was all His life down here only a manifestation of God to men? when He took His place with the godly remnant in Israel, being baptized with John's baptism, assuredly not confessing sins as they did, but fulfilling righteousness, having emptied Himself and taken the form of a servant and entered upon the path of obedience, ἐν σχήματι εὑρεθεὶς ὡς ἄνθρωπος, saying to John, “thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness”? When He was led of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil, did He represent God to men? Was it not, as the first man was tempted and fell, the Second man held fast and overcame? Did He not overcome saying, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God? and overcome by refusing to go out of the place of a servant which He had taken, though challenged by Satan to do so as being Son of God? Did He not hold the place of man when He said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God? Did He not, when He dismissed Satan, saying, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve? He was always the obedient man before God, as Adam was the disobedient one; and though he abode alone till redemption was accomplished, the corn of wheat falling into the ground and dying, yet He stood in this world as man before God, as well as God before man—Who was the obedient man, did always such things as pleased His Father, pleaded in Gethsemane when His hour was come in the days of His flesh, with strong crying and tears made His supplication unto Him that was able to save Him from death, and was heard in that He feared ἀπὸ τῆς εὐλαβείας! Was this representing man or God?
That He was alone till redemption was accomplished I fully recognize, but alone, as the sinless man amongst men, to accomplish what was called for from man for God. If He tasted death for every man, was that as representing God to men or standing for men before God? When God laid our iniquity on Him, was it representing God before men? When it became Him, for whom are all things, to make the Captain, ἀρχηγόν, of our salvation perfect through sufferings, whom did He represent? When He cried in deep agony, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me,” did He represent God to man? That He must have been God to be fit and able to do it is most true. Yet He was not representing God before men, but drinking the cup given to Him. When He was made sin, for whom was He made sin? Did He represent God to man then, or stand for men before God when He took up the cause of man (Heb. 2)? He did not represent God to men, but it is written in a certain place, “What is man that Thou art mindful of him, or the Son of man that Thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels, Thou crownedst him with glory and honor.” He was the Second man, the last Adam. He was the ἀρχηγός of our salvation, the obedient, sinless, suffering Man who overcame Satan as man for men, was made sin for us, died for our sins, that is, represented us before God, our iniquity being laid upon Him, and drank that dreadful cup, taking it from His Father's hand, “the curse of wrath.” Was suffering the curse of wrath representing God to men, or man as made sin under the righteous judgment of God?
I add that, though the priesthood of Christ be now in heaven where He appears in the presence of God for us, yet all His life was in every sense a preparation for it. He had so taken up man that it became God to make Him perfect in that heavenly place through sufferings. He was tempted, suffering being tempted, that He might succor them that are tempted. Not only so, but He was made like to His brethren in all things, that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. And so in chapter 5 of the same epistle, comparing Him with the Jewish high priest, though shelving the difference. And it is clear that the priest represented the people before God, confessed their sins on the scapegoat, and went into the sanctuary for them, as Christ has done in the true sanctuary for us. The priesthood of Christ is no doubt for believers; but to deny that He represented men, stood there as man for them before God, and that on the cross (as in Heb. 2:17) as man, alone indeed but for men, is ruinous error.
J. N. D.
(Concluded from p. 296).

Israel Sets Out and God Speaks in the Night Vision

Jacob had seen more changes than any of his fathers, and is especially in contrast with Isaac, who never left the land of promise; yet it was a great surprise and effort to one who after so many vicissitudes expected to die in Canaan. And if he remembered the word of Jehovah to Abram in Gen. 15, he might well hesitate, however great his longing to look once more on his beloved Joseph.
“And Israel took his journey with all that he had, and came to Beer-Sheba, and offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. And God spoke to Israel in the night visions and said, Jacob, Jacob 1 And he said, Here [am] I. And he said, I [am] God, the God of thy father: fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there make of thee a great nation. I will go down with thee into Egypt, and I will also certainly bring thee up [again]; and Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes. And Jacob rose up from Beer-sheba; and the sons of Israel carried Jacob their father, and their little ones, and their wives, on the wagons which Pharaoh had sent to carry him. And they took their cattle and their goods which they had acquired in the land of Canaan, and came into Egypt, Jacob and all his seed with him, his sons and his sons' sons with him, his daughters and his sons' daughters, and all his seed he brought with him into Egypt” (vers. 1-7).
Beer-sheba was a memorable spot to Isaac, who built an altar there, and called upon the name of Jehovah who had there appeared to him, some time after he had been forbidden, even under the stress of famine, to go down into Egypt, as Abraham had faultily done. But now God spoke to Israel in the vision of the night, after he had offered sacrifices to his father's God who called him by his name of natural weakness, and bade him fearlessly go down into Egypt. There in the land already pointed out as a furnace of affliction they were to sojourn, yet to come out with great substance and multiplied numbers. Till then their increase had been slow. Such were God's ways with His people, as well as with the peoples they were to dispossess; for the iniquity of the Amorites was not yet full. Jacob was not to hesitate. “I will go down with thee into Egypt, and I will certainly bring thee up again; and Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes.” God entered into the anxieties of his feeble servant and knew how to strengthen his tried heart.
“And Jacob rose up from Beer-sheba; and the sons of Israel carried Jacob their father, and their little ones, and their wives, on the wagons that Pharaoh had sent to carry him.” But they took their live stock also and their goods which they had acquired in Canaan, and came into Egypt. Jacob and his sons had no idea of entering that land as mere dependents on its prince, whatever his desire to show all honor to Joseph, and the promise that the good of all the land of Egypt should be theirs. They therefore took their “stuff” along with them and came into Egypt, Jacob and all his seed with him; “his sons and his sons' sons with him, his daughters and his sons' daughters, and all his seed, he brought with him into Egypt.”
It was a sorry spectacle to the eye of sense, not more than a troop of Gitanos in the estimate of Spaniards. Yet there was the nucleus of a people, to sojourn in a land not their own for a while, but to return and take possession of Canaan. Alas! first they accepted conditions of law, wherein they utterly broke down and suffered the penalty of their presumptuous unbelief in idolatry, as in the rejection of the Messiah later. At length they shall be restored on the ground of pure mercy, under the new covenant, with repentance and faith in the returning Messiah, who will set them at the head of all nations, when He will reign over all the earth in righteousness, power and glory. Never till then shall there be the days of heaven upon earth. Even Pentecost was no fulfillment, but the strong pledge of it to come. Compare Acts 3:19-21.

Exodus: Moses Born Under Interdict

MAN proposes, God disposes. It appears from the facts stated, that, just after Pharaoh's edict for exterminating the sons of Israel, God ordered the birth of their deliverer. For Aaron was born three years before Moses, and was untouched, Miriam being several years his senior, as the history even here implies.
“And a man of the house of Levi went and took a daughter of Levi. And the woman conceived and bore a son. And she saw him that he was fair, and hid him three months. And when she could no longer hide him, she took for him an ark of paper reeds, and cemented it with bitumen and pitch, and put the child in it, and laid [it] in the sedge, on the bank of the river. And his sister stood afar off to see what would happen to him. And the daughter of Pharaoh went down to bathe in the river; and her maids walked along by the river side. And she saw the ark in the midst of the sedge, and sent her hand-maid to fetch it. And she opened [it] and saw the child, and, behold, the boy wept. And she had compassion on him, and said, This is [one] of the Hebrews' children. And his sister said to Pharaoh's daughter, Shall I go and call thee a wet-nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee? And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, Go. And the damsel went and called the child's mother. And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, Take this child away and nurse it for me, and I will give [thee] thy wages. And the woman took the child and nursed it. And when the child was grown, she brought him to Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses and said, Because I drew him out of the water” (vers. 1-10).
The mother's heart regarded the beauty of the babe as a sign from God to preserve him from the murderous fate intended by the king. But there was more than natural feeling. “By faith” Moses when born was hid three months by his parents, because they saw the child fair; and they did not fear the injunction of the king (Heb. 11:23). A deliverer was ever before those who believed, not only the woman's Seed, but Abraham's Seed also. To have taken absolutely that life was a Satanic attack on God's counsels. At the risk of life perhaps they preserved their child three months. We are not told more of the circumstances, why it was impossible to hide the child longer. But obviously he who devised the death of every male child would use means too for due inquisition to ascertain from time to time that his decree was carried out. It is legitimate to infer that the moment was at hand when their concealment could last no longer, the child must be committed to the Nile, and themselves punished also for their contumacy.
Hence the mother was led by a wisdom above her own to commit the baby to an ark of papyrus reeds, well plastered with bitumen and pitch, and to await divine interference. The sister, who was afterward known as not Miriam only but the “prophetess,” watched at a distance, but near enough to see how her little brother would fare on the bank of the river. And who should be the first to come down to bathe near the ark but Pharaoh's daughter, she and her maids? She in God's providence saw the ark, and sent her handmaid to fetch it, and opened it and saw the child. Here again God wrought; for, “behold, the babe wept.” His tears, to say nothing of his beauty, touched the heart of the princess. “She had compassion on him, and said, This is one of the Hebrews' children.”
Miriam had now joined herself at the critical moment to the group; and with wit quickened by affection availed herself of the evident compassion to say to Pharaoh's daughter, “Shall I go and call thee a nurse of the Hebrews, that she may suckle the child for thee?” What could the princess say to so sensible and timely a suggestion, but “Go."? “And the damsel went and fetched the child's mother [her own too]; and Pharaoh's daughter said to her, Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give [thee] thy wages.”
This was no miracle, any more than the preservation of the child. But it was the living God's working in the various persons concerned, to rescue from a watery grave the one who was to rescue His people from a bondage to many more bitter than death in the Nile: the type of the Deliverer from sin and wrath, not for Israel but for every believer; the prophet too and mediator of God's law, like but beyond other men, though immeasurably inferior to Him through Whom grace and truth came, the manifestation of God's light and love as none but Himself.
“And the woman took the child and nursed it.” Say not, believe not, that God gives the believer divine life only, to feel his sins, or pardon through His mercy in forgiving them. Here it was not yet the divine Savior. But what a joy to the parents to have the doom so simply and surely set aside! and the child brought up where it ought to be rather than anywhere else in the world. Even then it was capable of forming impressions which grace would strengthen and deepen another day, to fortify against the unholy influence of a heathen court, whatever the kindness personally of the princess. “And the child grew, and she (the mother) brought him to Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses, and said, “Because I drew him out of the water.” How vain to faith what cavilers say in this day or any other! This was the childhood of him whom God inspired in due time, among other great things, to write the Pentateuch, greater than all his great deeds for God and for man. And it abides as a divine monument in face of all the vain efforts of unbelieving detractors, who really possess no more weight than noisy boys blowing against a mountain; but they cannot shake off the guilt of unbelief.

Proverbs 26:17-22

Sluggishness is not the only fault to be shunned. There may be activity to dread of a still more mischievous sort; and it is graphically set out in the next verses. We have to beware of being meddlesome, or in sympathy with such ways.
“He that passingly vexes himself with strife not [belonging] to him is one that taketh a dog by the ears.
As a madman who casteth fire-brands, arrows and death;
So the man [that] deceiveth his neighbor and saith, Am not I in sport?
Where no wood is, the fire goeth out, and where no whisperer, the strife ceaseth.
[As] coals to hot embers, and wood to fire, so a contentious man to kindle strife.
A whisperer's words [are] as dainty morsels, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly” (vers. 17-22.).
The N.T. reveals Christ for the lost soul's salvation by faith, for the heavenly privileges of the Christian, and for the communion with God and His Son that we are called to, as well as the walk on earth befitting those who are so blessed. But there is the utmost care to urge vigilance against busybodiness; that working quietly we may eat our own bread, and be diligent too so as to help others also. But to trouble ourselves with other people's quarrels where no duty of ours lies is like taking a dog by the ears, which either threatens a bite when he is loosed, or keeps us indefinitely to avoid it. And who is to blame?
Such uncalled for activity grows, the more it is indulged in, and is likely to end in playing the madman casting combustibles and causes of wound and even death; while he deceives his neighbor by the pretense that he meant no more than jest.
But there is a very insidious form of the evil and if possible more mischievous still, where the harm is done slyly by evilly affecting others. What worse than the whisperer or tale-bearer, here compared to the wood that acts as fuel to the fire? So we are told, where no wood is, the fire goes out, and where is no whisperer, strife ceaseth.
On the other hand, coals to hot embers, and wood to fire, is a contentious man to inflame strife. How often have we not known it to our pain! Happy is he who hates it so as to shun its beginning by dwelling in love!
For such is the flesh even in believers, as to make the whisperer's insinuations too easy and welcome; and once received, instead of being rejected, they go down and take possession of our souls to the innermost. It is a grievous danger when the guard sleeps at wisdom's gate; and our very simplicity exposes us to be misled cruelly.

Great Joy

Luke 2:10
Joy is as characteristic of God's people, as its absence is marked in human systems. Oriental reveries, platonic dialogs, and in short all philosophies, ancient or modern, know nothing of this coveted emotion. Yet moderns know less of it than ancients. This would be but natural, seeing that now there is a turning away from the One True Light; whereas of old there was but the warning of conscience, and that often dimmed. Vain then to turn to ancient literature for holy overflowing joy, although much of sweet and pathetic is to be found, clad too with a perfection of form that few moderns have attained, and none have surpassed. So likewise may there not be somewhat of sweetness to be found in literature of our day, such as hovers on the border-land of night and day, beautiful twilight lines, when it is open to the weavers of these fancies to emerge into the clear light of Christian truth? But, however it be as to this, by positive statement as to scripture, as by negative inference from non-Christian writers, there is abundant ground for saying that joy is a distinctive mark of Christianity, as it will be of restored Israel. Do we not often forget this?
“Great joy” —How fittingly these words are found thus early in this most delightful Gospel wherein the thoughts of so many hearts stand revealed, thoughts gladdened and renewed by holy joy. How different the experience of Anna and Simeon, of the woman that was a sinner, of the prodigal (though doubtless the joy of the father “exceeded”), of the converted robber on the cross, of the two favored ones, with whom the Lord companied on the wonderful journey to Emmaus—how different the experience of each and all of these from the sad misgivings and perplexities and confessions of heathen sages! I speak with some little knowledge, and am bold to say nothing any of them ever said could comfort the heart, let alone give such joy. How could they? For divine comfort and joy we must go to the word of God, to the Psalms of David pre-eminently in the O.T., to the N.T. generally. Nor anywhere in the later oracles shall we find more gladness than in this exquisite Evangel, which a brilliant writer of the last century, but an apostate from the Faith, called “the most beautiful book in existence."
Are we not too much afraid of joy? There is much to sadden in life, our failures as believers, the state of the world, the confusion of the church, the comparative fewness of believers, the myriads who are indifferent—all this should be deeply felt. Then there is the necessary solemnity when we dwell on the sufferings of the Savior, and seek to form, however inadequately, as it cannot but be, some conception of what it must have been to a Being of infinite holiness to be “made sin,” and to bear the wrath of God against our own sins: all this is not only becoming but indispensable. Still the angel's words abide and proclaim “great joy to all the people.” Let Christians more blessed not begrudge it, for here it is the joy of the Messiah for the Jewish people. “For unto you is born this day.”
In truth what satisfies the heart must of necessity be fraught with joy. Such is Christ and Christianity. Everything else now is a mere will-of-the-wisp, be it coarse or refined. But the believer joins even here, along with faith and hope and love, the peace of God; he joys or boasts in God, and if the joy be too fitful here, it is lasting beyond the veil. R. B.

2 Peter 3:1-2

From the humbling and awful indictment of false teachers in chap. ii. beginning to play their corrupting part in Christendom, as the false prophets had wrought the ruin of Israel in the past, the apostle turns to speak of this Second Epistle, and its aim in the grace of God. But even so, as we shall soon see, he has to warn of another daring snare to be, and a wholly different class of adversaries.
“This already a second epistle, beloved, I write to you, in both which I stir up your pure mind by putting in remembrance, that ye be mindful of the words spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of the Lord and Savior [by] your apostles” (vers. 1, 2).
The apostle of the circumcision here presents scripture, both O. and N.T., as the grand safeguard, just as the apostle to the nations in his second Epistle to Timothy. Neither has the least thought of apostolic succession; which, if really given of the Lord, might well be regarded as no small stay for beleaguered saints exposed to the worst of perils from misled leaders, and these at work within. But the truth is that the mystery of lawlessness was actively at work from early days, as 2 Thess. 2 informs us. It was restrained by the power of the Spirit, and especially by apostolic energy. But, as the apostle Paul let the Ephesian overseers know (Acts 20:29, 30), his own decease would be the signal for fresh and successful efforts of the enemy. “I know that after my departure there will come in grievous wolves not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves shall rise up men speaking perverted things to draw away the disciples after them". What then was the resource? “And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all that are sanctified.” Not a hint of a successor, but the assurance to faith of God and the word of His grace.
Just so here our apostle, in view of the danger, and horrors of the false teachers carrying on their nefarious work, casts the Christians from among the dispersed Jews on the words that were spoken before by the holy prophets, and on the commandment of the Lord and Savior by your apostles. Both the prophets and the apostles were inspired to write as they did; for only by the faith of divine communications are those who believe brought into living relationship with God. Thus His word separates the soul to God, and by the revelation of Christ is the source of their joy and the formative power of obedience. In this faith the elders from Abel downwards obtained witness, whatever the dislike of the world, which was not worthy of them and awaits sure judgment from God. Still the O.T. at best was predictive, and could not make known as the N.T. does the infinite glory and grace of the Savior, nor the God-glorifying efficacy of His work for our souls, before the salvation of our bodies at His coming again. Known eternal life and accomplished redemption give the believers now to walk in the light, as could not be given before Christ came the first time, and renders him as a worshipper once purged to have no more conscience of sins, yea to have the Holy Ghost sealing him, and the earnest of coming glory with Christ as a joint-heir.
These privileges of the believer are the outcome of His actual advent and of the atoning work done and accepted by God, so that His love has been and is shed abroad in our hearts through the Holy Spirit given to us. The First Epistle of Peter makes much known, the Epistles of Paul much more, which could neither be known nor enjoyed as they are since redemption. Thus the commandment of the Lord and Savior by “your apostles,” while it fulfills the spiritual promises of the Ο.T., goes far beyond it in the revelation of blessings in and through and with Christ in the heavenly places. Hence Paul refers to the mystery or secret which was kept silent in times everlasting, but now manifested according to the eternal God's commandment for obedience of faith to all the nations. For, after the cross (which entailed the setting aside of the Jew meanwhile), God set up the rejected Christ above as the Supreme Chief over all things heavenly and earthly, and makes us who now believe (Jew or Greek), His body and bride, to share all glory with Him at His coming. This glory of the Head and the body over all things is far higher, wider and deeper, than anything in O.T. prophecy; it is the secret now revealed, however little it may be apprehended.
How horrified both the apostles would have been to witness the deadly undermining of the Bible, which, begun by free-thinking men more than a hundred years ago has become a naturalized epidemic, not only in Germany, France and Holland, but now in the English-speaking regions of the earth; growing self-confident, impudent and arrogant beyond measure, not knowing that God has forewarned of this turning away their ears from the truth and readiness of mind for fables. Take their treatment of the Pentateuch in particular, and of such prophets as Isaiah and Daniel. The infinite fact of a divine Person become flesh as truly as He is God is (with very few exceptions, to whom God may give deliverance) as nothing in their eyes, though of infinite value to those who believe and love as they know His love, God's love, to them.
Christ and His apostles declare that Moses wrote these books. He and they treat the Law, the Psalms, and the Prophets, not only as genuine and authentic, but as of divine authority. Most are not ashamed to be so intoxicated with the poisonous wine of neo-criticism as to deny the certainty of Christ's knowledge, and to regard Him and the inspired writings as under the ignorant prejudice of their age, just like themselves at the present time, impiously claiming for themselves superiority of intelligence ranging over the whole Bible.
Their success, with the youth chiefly of a mocking and scoffing generation, emboldens them to shut their eyes to the iniquity of sitting in judgment, not on copyists who introduced some errata, but on His word which shall judge them. They believe not that the Judge stands before the doors; nor that the secret of lawlessness is in all this working more fatally than in the priestly party who glorify themselves and their leaders with their self-aggrandizing legends. For those give God's written word the lie, and accept as a settled fact that, instead of Moses writing e.g. Genesis, it was really written by a large number of unknown men, fragments interwoven by a compiler, separated by hundreds of years, with perhaps traditionary words of Moses, a priestly document and another quite different and opposed, and only published many centuries after Moses and his successor Joshua. Now even if we do not notice the monstrous perversion of the discovery of the neglected book of the law in Josiah's day, as if it were a concoction then first palmed on the king and the people, how could such a hodge-podge as all this be the word of God? How blot out the fullest historical proof that Moses wrote as God spoke to him? How get rid of the inspired men from his own day till the O.T. Canon closed?
Were these holy men all impostors? Were they, the inspired, more ignorant of divine things, than these infidel reformers?
The faith of saints in all ages fully accepts the O.T. So the Lord taught His disciples, and His hearers generally, as God's testimony, written by those who claim it and by adequate evidence communicated it. Nor does the expression on which stands the modern fable of the Elohists and Jehovists and the many redactors afford the most slender proof. It is simply the reverie of one who was too ignorant and unbelieving to see the depth of truth in the words for “God (Elohim)” sovereign and historical, and “Jehovah” for His reference to relationship. It is a distinction as real as important, which is lost to such as build on the absurd fancy that it springs from different documents or legends. But infidelity took it up to discredit and destroy God's authority, as it must if received, as well as deny those whom we have sound evidence to believe really wrote the various books as they stand, with few and brief editorial notes at a later day added by similar divine authority.
But here, as in 2 Tim. 3, we read how the last words of the two apostles call on the saints to cherish what God has given them, things old and new. Be the corruptions as they may, and however veiled by those who are deceived and deceive by them, we have the inspired word to stir up the “pure mind.” How different from the unbelief that denies real inspiration, and fancies the most incredible tissue of authorship to set aside God's word searching the reins and hearts What more blessed than to have such in remembrance? What could we call to mind for profit and comfort compared with the prophets and the apostles as our teachers? It is not those of old only, but “your apostles.” For as one of these wrote, “We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth us not. From this we know the Spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.” Solemn word for conscience! “They (that judge the word of God, the skeptics) are of the world; for this reason they speak[as] of the world, and the world hmi eth them.” O how true is the apostolic word Even that of old is not enough now without “your apostles.” If the O.T. be slighted, the N.T. will ere long share the same lot. How awful to become an apostate! Yet the danger is most imminent in our day.

The Higher Criticism: Part 1

Now no system, Patristic, Papal, or Protestant, however short of what scripture contemplates, is so directly opposed to this purpose of God in the written word as that of modern criticism; for it is essentially infidel. God's word is incompatible with the assumption of human growth or patchwork. Disbelieving in any real unity given to all scripture by the inspiring Spirit, they exclude the governing counsel of God in its every part, and thus lose every true conception of His mind, and only deceive themselves in calling their motley aggregate “a message from God.” The liberation claimed is from divine authority, which leaves no room for man's wisdom and will; the deepening is but in external research which swamps all seeking for and delight in the Christ of scripture; the strengthening is in value for the dust and dry bones of heathen history. The effect is departure from the fullness of God in Christ so richly revealed as to leave no room for development, save in the imagination of those who say that they see; whose sin therefore remains.
How far the school is from believing that “the one” —not— “far off divine event” —the establishment of His kingdom, over the world and all the universe, must be preceded by the day of the Lord in unsparing judgment not only of Israel and the nations but of Christendom yet more sternly because of its greater privilege, as man will share the apostasy, to which skeptical criticism of scripture is one of the guiltiest incentives and ingredients.
But let us turn to what Dr. Driver says as to this. He is most jubilant over the spirit of the age and its successes. “A great intellectual awakening” he claims for it, as well as “great discoveries”; sciences new, yet “arrived at a vigorous and independent manhood”; and the older branches worked as never before by better methods “to startling and unexpected results.” It is not so that their best living representative, Lord Kelvin, spoke at his jubilee in Glasgow a short time ago. And as he is neither pessimist nor optimist but known for his sobriety, no less than his depth and extent, for his own discoveries as well as his practical power in turning them to every day use, such a testimony on what has been the most ardent and distinguished work of his life outweighs a host of men comparatively in no way his equals. “One word characterizes the most strenuous of the efforts for the advancement of science that I have made perseveringly for fifty-five years, and that word is—failure. I know no more of electric and magnetic force, or of the relation between either electricity and ponderable matter, or of chemical affinity, than I knew fifty years ago.”
But if the progress in natural and experimental science were ever so immense (and I should not wonder at it where God is forgotten or made light of), what is the worth of any or all such knowledge morally even? God's revelation stands on wholly different ground, has a character necessarily peculiar to itself, and is for the end of His glory in the spiritual blessing of the soul, with an eternity of bliss or of woe, the issue for every child of man who believes or who does not. This must differentiate scripture from all else that is written or spoken, or in any way appeals to man. The inspired word of God, first in trying man by a commandment and then by His law and every help of ordinance, and priest, etc. in the O.T.; next by revealing Himself in His Son in the N.T., with the Holy Spirit given to the believer as never before, with suited words to explain and yield power and enjoyment as well as an answer to every other want. To argue from the natural to the supernatural, from man to God, is not only false but unbelieving to the last degree. Though it is sought to conceal the impiety of putting in question the written word of God, by the plea that it is only the exterior that is challenged on literary grounds, and historic investigation, or the like, no book has ever been subjected as the Bible to such extravagance of imagination as to its construction. Where is one solid fact to countenance such a manipulation in denial of the writings and writers accepted by faith, and with blindness to the effect of obliterating all its just claim to be God's word, inspired by Him, and possessing His authority no less than if He addressed each as from heaven?
There is another awful consequence of this baseless pride of knowledge, that it involves the destruction of confidence in the Son of God and of His inspired servants, who are beyond doubt and to the highest committed to the honor and certainty of scripture, both Ο. and N.T. So radical is the opposition of the skeptical criticism that its more open advocates do not hesitate to say, as the necessary inference, that they know the growth of the Bible as did neither the Lord nor His apostles! Such daring unbelief and irreverence ought to alarm the feeblest saint as every intelligent Christian must abhor it as the exhalation of the bottomless pit. The last writer of the N.T. is he who insists most on this safe-guard in the last hour of many antichrists, “Let that therefore abide in you which ye heard from the beginning” (1 John 2:29).
From the beginning our Lord decided beforehand against the modern imposture, which is quite independent of Hebrew or Greek erudition, and springs out of real ignorance of the truth of God. It is due to reckless fancy in perverting the divine names and the accompanying difference of thought and expressions, into supposed difference of legends, compiled very late, they say, and in times really unsuitable to the O.T. as it now appears. Confessedly the Lord and the apostles sustain the faith in scripture which all the saints and martyrs of early Christian times confessed, and leave no room for the wild insinuation of Astruc, which modern Germans have sought to swell into the most gigantic of fables. The believer's safety and joy is to depend on Christ, who came at the interval when the old things came to an end, and the new had to be ushered in on divine authority. And He has taught us with divine authority that the scriptures even of the O.T. are to be received as they then existed with absolute trust. So more than one apostle vouched no less for the N.T. Thus “the light of to-day” in its presumptuous unbelief was anticipatively condemned and excluded. The modern theory by their own showing was unknown as having the smallest credit “from the beginning”; but room was left for it as a “fable,” which men love who are weary of the truth, and delight in the fruit of man's ingenuity.
Thus in p. 20 says Dr. Driver. “I may assume on the part of those who hear me a general familiarity with the new light in which, to those who do not refuse to open their eyes, the Old Testament appears to-day. The historical books are now seen to be not, as was once supposed, the works (for instance) of Moses, or Joshua, or Samuel.” Not a few who read the new brochure have examined for half a century the new criticism, and are assured that it is the darkness of the natural mind, yielding to speculative fancy on the surface of the scriptures, and destitute of the Holy Spirit's guidance, because they evade and despise the authority of Christ who pronounces against them, root and branch. He and His apostles accepted the scriptures as written by Moses, David, Isaiah, Daniel, and others, as Christians have held for many centuries, and leave no room for this development of skepticism. “Have ye not read (said He) in the book of Moses,” etc. (Mark 12:26)? “And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Isaiah; and when he had opened the book, he found the place (chap. 61) where it was written, The Spirit,” etc. (Luke 4:17). To Luke these men dare to give the lie, pretending the writer to be unknown. “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them” (Luke 16:29). “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead” (ib. 31). “Behold we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning (not an “ideal” sufferer, but) the Son of man shall be accomplished” (18:31). “David himself saith in the book of Psalms,” etc. (20:42). “Had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me; for he wrote of me” (John 5:46). “The scripture cannot be broken” (10:35). So in chap. 12:38-41, Isaiah is quoted as such from chap. 53:1 no less than from 6:9, etc.
How is it then that these critics reject the positive testimony of the Lord and His apostles? If believed, it overthrows their system. But they far prefer their own thoughts to scripture. Alas! they do not believe the Lord. To them applies as to skeptics in His day, “Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures nor the power of God” (Matt. 22:29). Nor does anything strike one more than, with indefatigable research on external appearances easily misapplied, they seem wholly insensible to God's mind, and thus sink into the ready service of the enemy for defaming and seeking to destroy divine revelation, though they think the contrary.
For there is scarce anything in which the new critics more generally agree than in finding not a few Elohists and Jehovists in the Pentateuch and elsewhere. Now this depends mainly on the repeated occurrence of one or other of the O.T. divine names of God with a corresponding difference of words and subjects, out of which they invented the notion of different documents. This was mere ignorance flowing out of unbelief. For the names have respectively an exact propriety, which demands their usage for the different truths intended, and moreover requires other thoughts and words suitable for each. Elohim is God in the history, and in His sovereign operations, as in creation Jehovah is His name in relationship and moral dealings. So it is in the Psalms, and Prophets, where differing writers would be out of the question. But, these critics trust themselves and do not trust God or His word, and hence are of all schools the most pretentious and the most superficial; as all must be who fail to see one divine mind, which amidst, wonderful variety impresses a general design on the scriptures as a whole, and on each particular as contributing its special design in its own part. But their system ignores and denies both a general and a special design, quite above the understanding of the writers generally if not universally. It is a dream no better than of a fortuitous concourse of atoms which others imagined for the universe. The reality of God actually moving in every part of this spiritual creation is foreign to their minds and incompatible with their reveries. Theirs is the characteristic principle of infidelity; and they even call the product of so many cobblers inspiration, scripture, and God's word! Does this improve matters? It enables them to retain their chairs, canonries, etc.
Hence one must deny, not of course different groups of laws in the Pentateuch, but that there is the least solid basis for insinuating different strata at widely different periods of the national life. The attempt to vilify Deuteronomy as an invention of Josiah's day, instead of being the closing book of Moses, is in itself a fraud of which no mind could be capable but of an enemy to God and His word. It is remarkable as the book which our blessed Lord honored at each of His temptations by Satan; and even this was as due to that inspired book of Moses as to His own position when tempted. Of both this system incapacitates for seeing, because devoid of faith it cannot please God or know His word.
“The Old Testament in the Light of To-day” is the title of Dr. Driver's First Paper. It shows clearly enough where the new school is. Their eyes are turned away from the light of God, from Christ the true Light to the darkness of man to-day, the darkness of “this present evil age” which He is soon coming to judge and punish. “If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is the darkness!”
When God spoke in His Son, what the believer knows to be the Light shone not only on the O.T. but on every person. Indeed everything was thus manifested as it is. He is the truth objectively, as the Holy Spirit is in power for the believer (1 John 5:6), who therefore becomes light in the Lord. Never does scripture treat man's thoughts or discoveries as anything of the kind; still less to allow the least comparison with Him that speaks from heaven (Heb. 12:25) and will speak “once” more in a judgment which will shake not only the earth but also the heavens. Hence for the Christian all is out in the light of God through His word. Flaws there are through man's weakness or wrong, both in text and in translation, and intelligence may be at fault. But the truth is completely revealed as to both God and man, and this right on to “the day of God, by reason of which heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and elements shall melt with fervent heat. But according to His promise we await new heavens and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness” (2 Peter 3:12, 13).
Where is Dr. Driver's faith of God's elect and knowledge of truth which is according to godliness? Far from me to judge him personally. His heart one leaves to the blessed God. We would speak only of his testimony as to revealed truth. What we have throughout his paper is but glorying in man, and especially the men of this day. They if modest and wise must see their nothingness, and measureless need of God's pity and grace, instead of repeating the old folly which Job reproved in his friends, “No doubt ye are the people, and wisdom shall die with you.” Alas! indeed men now look for indefinite progress. But what a shock to Christian conscience, when scholars bearing the Lord's name, and in the position of clergymen as eminent and influential as they could well attain in great seats of learning, boast of things, compared with the grace and truth of Christ, as the advances in our experimental science, and their dependent mechanical arts, in Anthropology, Archeology and other such sciences, as with other branches of human knowledge! These investigations may well be left, like the hewing of wood or the drawing of water to those who enjoy not the title of entrance into the holies; but they are beneath those who by grace are made kings and priests to God.
I do not think the slight of the A.V. as compared with the Revision in our day justified. It is true that there were singular mistakes and shortcomings in the old version, and more correctness in some respects in the oldest English translation of W. Tyndale. But there are not a few errors of such deep import in the Revision that one can only thank God that as yet so great a failure has not gained general acceptance. At any rate crying up our own day in this respect seems strangely uncalled for. Even Bishop Lightfoot to whom Dr. Driver refers, great scholar as he was, proves that a deeper knowledge of Christian truth than he possessed is essential to guard from e.g. the evident and serious blunder he made, followed by the Revisers in 2 Cor. 5:14, 15. For he translates it so as to favor a sense not only false in itself but contrary to its own context; for it contrasts the universal death of man outside Christ, for whom He died, with those who live to Him who also rose to this end. It is therefore the death of all in their sins, not death with Christ which is the portion only of those who live to Him, as they live in Him, which “all” are very far from.
Take further if we only glance at the beginning of Luke, such plain error as the Revisers adopted in ch. 2:14; and their failure to see that the true parenthesis in 3:23 is “being the son as was supposed of Joseph,” leaving the genealogy to begin with “of Eli” (etc.) whom even the Talmud admits to have been father of Mary. This line is here given, not Joseph's in the Solomonic branch which Matt. 1 requires, each suiting its own Gospel according to that specific divine design which the books of Scripture possess by inspiration.
Again what ignorance and presumption to omit the amply supported “second-first” in vi. 1! No doubt its singularity made it unintelligible to most, and led to its omission in some MSS. and versions. But it has an important sense, if any intimate with that season would feel for Jewish hearts subject to the law. It is unaccountable unless genuine. Again in ver. 35 can one conceive anything more beneath scripture than their rendering “never despairing”? May it remain alone in its shame among all versions, good, bad and indifferent! In some of these and many more, such as Rom. 3:22, in the Epistles, the Revisers have changed the more correct readings and renderings of the A.V. for the worse. The vaunt of present-day exactitude is unbecoming.
It is hardly necessary to say that one regards with horror what is said in p. 23, that “the tablets brought from the library of Asshur-banipal have disclosed to us the source of the material elements upon which the Biblical narratives of the Creation and the Deluge have been constructed.” That the Gentiles had widely spread traditions about the earth's origin and man's, and of the deluge, is true and long known, but withal corrupted everywhere with their false gods to whom they were adapted. But that fabulous traditions, such as Asshur-banipal's tablets represent, disclose the source of the Biblical account is a slander of which infidelity is alone capable. The fact is that as far as I am aware not one Gentile first or last can be proved to have believed that “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” It is a truth which faith alone receives; and I fear that the new school no more believe it than Asshur-banipal did; for it is avowed that the doctrine of development goes along with the new literary method. It is an abuse of language for a Darwinian to speak of crediting creation, as it is for the new critic to say that he believes in inspiration. In both cases it is a growth, not God's work.
It is painful in the extreme to read the words of professed teachers of revealed truth; a glorying in man which is natural to an unbeliever who lauds the progress of the age and claims for the present generation an advance beyond parallel. “It may have been most conspicuous and brilliant in the physical sciences, and in the great mechanical arts based upon them; but it has been not less real in many other branches of knowledge, in language, in history, in archeology, in anthropology. How much, in all these departments of knowledge is known now, which a century ago was unknown, and even unsuspected!... But the same spirit of scientific study and research which has inspired new life into so many other departments of knowledge, and even in some instances created them altogether, has also pervaded Biblical and Oriental learning; and there is hardly any branch of these subjects, whether language, or literature, or antiquities, or history, in which the stimulus of the nineteenth century has not made itself felt, and in which improved methods of investigation have not conducted to new and important results” (pp. 18-20). Are not we to-day the world's wonders?
Is this the mind of one delivered from the power of darkness and translated into the kingdom of the Son of God's love? Could one consciously so blessed put these accessions of human knowledge, supposing it ever so real and great, side by side with that of scripture imparted by the operation of the Holy Spirit? Yet who in it cries up the letter that kills? is it not the Spirit that quickens? The world's knowledge which the natural man can acquire leaves sin unremoved and judgment with its dread issue awaiting its votaries. Did not God in the cross of Christ make foolish the wisdom of this world? “For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom knew not God, it was God's good pleasure through the foolishness of the preaching to save those that believe” (1 Cor. 1:21).
To lump, after this fashion, the Bible with such acquisitions is blindness to the truth of God, and a heinous offense against grace and truth. It is well to have the word in its integrity and freed from accretion; but the incomparably more momentous thing is to have and enjoy the fruit, which all this external activity does not enable a single soul to taste. “For who of men knoweth the things of man, save the spirit of the man which is in him? even so the things of God none knoweth save the Spirit of God. But we received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit that is of God; that we might know the things granted to us by God” (1 Cor. 2:11, 12). As a dog, no matter how sagacious, cannot understand a watch, which as a human work a man can; so a man is incapable of entering into revealed truth save by the Spirit of God; not only born anew, and redeemed, but needing and having received the Holy Spirit to this end. Not all the possible human progress in profane or sacred departments avails. One must be “taught of God” wholly above man, as the Lord declared according to the prophets.
Nor can there be a more superficial or unbelieving inference than what is drawn in p. 22: “The net results of these discoveries is that the ancient Hebrews are taken out of the isolation in which, as a nation, they formerly seemed to stand; and it is seen now that many of their institutions and beliefs were not peculiar to themselves; they existed in more or less similar form among their neighbors; they were only in Israel developed in special directions, subordinated to special ends, and made the vehicle of special ideas.” Even Balaam, wicked man and false prophet as he was, uttered under the compulsion of God's Spirit the truth which flatly contradicts such Gentile pride. “Lo, a people that shall dwell alone and shall not be reckoned among the nations” (Numb. 23:9). Nor is God's thought about Israel only separateness to Himself, but in ver. 21 their justification in sovereign grace, in 24:5-7 their given beauty, and in 17-49 their glory when the Star out of Jacob shines in power. Doubtless this seems strange, as the O.T. is the history of their failure under the law. But they are kept for Messiah and the new covenant, when the Unchanging One, to whom they are still blind, shall change all things in their favor. And the mind of God regularly looks on to that day in His love for His people.
Alas! the next p. 23 is daring infidelity. “The monuments of Egypt and Babylon combine to establish the presence of man upon the earth, and the existence of entirely distinct languages, as periods considerably more ancient than is allowed for by the figures in the Book of Genesis; and the tablets brought from the library of Asshur-banipal have disclosed to us the source (!) of the material elements upon which the Biblical narratives of the Creation (!) and the Deluge have been constructed”!! Thus openly does the Hebrew Professor of Oxford dare to avow that he believes the vain monuments of men, and gives the lie to God's testimony. The Confusion of Tongues, as well as the accounts of Creation and the Deluge, are fables constructed out of the heathen tablets of the noble Asnapper's library! What French or German has defamed scripture more daringly?
It is an assumption without the smallest proof save of and no indication whatever “that in the early chapters of Genesis we are not reading literal history.” The Lord and the apostles have decided otherwise, and as Christians we believe them, not in the least degree the Higher Critics, whom we can only regard as infatuated enemies of revelation.
So also we regard the speculation on the poetical books and prophets, as abandoning light for darkness in all spiritual respects. The divine who defined prophecy as “the history of events before they come to pass” was celebrated for his metaphysical power and his evidential prowess against Deism, in no way for his knowledge of scripture, which gives a larger and deeper thought of prophecy, and was so recognized by intelligent students quite apart from the neologian school. Indeed it is evident not only in the O.T. but also in the N.T. So the Samaritan at Sychar when she told the Lord, who had then said not a word about the future, “I perceive that thou art a prophet.” Yet immediately He told her of the profound change which no man on earth knew, when Jerusalem and its national worship of Jehovah should pass for the incomparable blessedness of Christianity, and the true worshippers to worship the Father in spirit and truth. Crasser ignorance spiritually cannot be than to learn that “the materials afforded by the inscriptions of Assyria and Babylonia,” whatever their trifling use externally, yielded one ray of light on the prophets. The prophets' writings are the only and the full proof that they dealt morally with their own generations on God's behalf, but with the richest certainty of the future, when His intervention by the Son of man, the rejected Messiah, shall put down all evil and enemies, establish His righteous reign, and fill all the earth with His glory. The first intimation is announced in Num. 14:21, quite as clearly as in the varied forms of Isa. 11:9, and of Hab. 2:14. Not one sprang out of the circumstances of the then age, but out of God's purpose, whatever might be the occasion: it is worthy of God, in contrast with all those varying times of evil, and suited, but no natural reason.
Hence the Jews, dark as they were, were not so depraved as these modern pretenders, and justly called the writers of the O.T. historical books “the early prophets,” as distinguished from the later where there is little or no history. Again the prophetic element is still more manifest in the poetical books; but they all have the predictive in plain words, in type, or expressive figures, with its glorious issue, wholly independent of anything then visible or at work, and only possible for God to declare and insure. Nothing more opposed to the empty ideas of the new school, whose knowledge is human and sets up nature, not God and His word.
It is plain too that the apostle designates the Epistles in Rom. 16:26 as “prophetic scriptures,” not “the scriptures of the prophets,” which is the strange and certain blunder of the Revisers no less than of the A. V. The context is no less incompatible than the phrase itself. For a mystery or secret is in question which “had been kept silent, but was now manifested and by prophetic scriptures made known, according to the eternal God's commandment, for obedience of faith unto all the nations.” This was done pre-eminently afterward in the Epistles to the Ephesians and the Colossians. It clearly gives “prophetic scriptures” a wider and deeper scope than is usually seen. Now the mystery of Christ and the church is inseparable from the exaltation of Christ and His joint-heirs over all the universe in the day of glory. It includes the bright future according to God's own grace and power.
But the error comes out plainly in the discussion of “inspiration” that follows from p. 26. The Oxford Professor could count on a pretty cordial appreciation of his own unbelief from his congregational audience. It is not true that among believers there is any haze on that essential truth. Explanation of literary structure is academic guess; prying into the manner of God's communication is irreverent, even if possible beyond the inspired. Faith is demanded to the exclusion of theory. But there is the divine dictum: “every scripture [is] God-breathed,” or “being God-breathed [is]...profitable” etc.: in the first rendering asserted; in the second, assumed; so that the main truth remain intact either way.
This too is confirmed by the facts of its own statement throughout. That the inspired drew their narrative from the heathen, out of whom they were separated at all costs as the first of duties to Jehovah their God, is an abominable and baseless slander; that the heathen had traditions of Creation and the Deluge which they clothed with their idolatries, is true. But take the law and its stages in Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers, and the equivalent in Deuteronomy. The constant word generally is, “And Jehovah said to Moses.” To deny its possibility is clearly infidel and irrational. Is it true or false? Take again what David says (2 Sam. 23:2), “The Spirit of Jehovah spoke by me, and His word was on my tongue. The God of Israel said, the rock of Israel spoke to me,” etc. Law or Psalm, it was God's word, and scripture; and this is what inspiration means, and what the faithful believe. Is it necessary for every writer to present himself as in the opening of a play of Euripides? Would this suit the simple dignity of God's messengers to His people? “Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth; for Jehovah hath spoken,” says one of the greatest of prophets. “Thus speaketh Jehovah of hosts” says Haggai, one of the least, as the very last opens with the “Burden of the word of Jehovah.” Was all this a flourish, a literary fiction, or the solemn truth of God? It is a theory, and a theory of unbelief, that God inspired His servants, and withal left them like other men, to write mistakes, instead of its resulting essence to be the perfect communication of His mind If God's Spirit moved in the work, was it to effectuate God's will? or to leave it after all imperfect and misleading? The human element was in individual style; not in error, which could only frustrate the express aim and object of scripture. There had, better be no inspiration than to give divine authority to what was man's erring word, not God's. The scripture, and every scripture, is God-breathed authenticity and authority as His word.
So in what follows in p. 25 on the Prophets and the Psalms, the effect is to reduce to man's mind and circumstances, and exclude the supernatural energy of the Holy Spirit. No one denies that there was, or may have been, a present experience, as the occasion. As the rule, it was Israel's growing wickedness and ruin. This the prophet was raised up to judge, but also to disclose both God's final dealing and a partial one nearer then, the pledge of the complete, when the glorious hope of Messiah's Kingdom will be realized without a word of exaggeration “in that day.” No doubt the Fathers, the Romanists, the Reformers, the Puritans, and the divines of Christendom who followed, Nationalist and Dissenting, have applied to themselves what really awaits repentant Israel at the end of the age. This the new school in a slight measure see. But do any of them truly believe in the revealed purpose of God to set the Lord Jesus as Head over all things heavenly and earthly, with the glorified saints on high, and Israel here below with all the nations in subjection and peace with universal joy even for the long groaning creation? They write vaguely if such be their living and assured hope, perhaps unwilling to wound the great mass of their incredulous associates who believe in prophecy no more than in miracles, seemingly little more than dead men. An ideal vision is not a real prophecy. Many were the true and even minute predictions of Christ's first advent; very many more and on the largest scale await His second. Do they frankly believe this? So at least say the scriptures.
The question is then raised, (1) How do the facts bear on the inspiration of the O.T.? (2) How do they affect our estimate of its moral and doctrinal value? (3) What practical conclusions may be deduced? 1 But to my mind, they are not facts but flimsy speculations on the surface of scripture, and total lack of God's teaching by it. The effect is to lose, in contrast with the first man, Christ the object of the Spirit throughout. The practical result, is to turn from the light of God's word to fill souls with the darkness and vanity of man's records, as if these shed light on scripture. Even when they cannot but fully confirm the revealed word, how can one call this “light”? It may prove the folly of unbelief, and silence an objector. But Christ only, the word of God, the truth, sheds divine light.
Before his own answers, Dr. D. emphasizes a double element in scripture, a human not less than a divine. No intelligent Christian denies but recognizes it. Only he means the human element left to, its weakness and mistakes, instead of the divine sustaining it against error. As it was in Christ's person, so it is in scripture. Nothing short would have weight with a believing soul. But these critics lower Christ as much as the scriptures; for they regard Him as knowing no better than the scribes, or, if He did, accommodating Himself to the ignorance of His day! He cites in a note 2 Tim. 3:16, 17, not from the A.V. but the R.V. which is far from being accepted as the true construction. What unbounded presumption in themselves! What blind confidence in petty knowledge of any in what is not God's word! “The use of the word will not guide us; for it occurs only in the passage referred to. Clearly the only course open to us [i.e. granting the misconstruction] is to examine, patiently and carefully, the book which is termed inspired, and ascertain what characters attach to it.” (p. 28). Now inspiration, though equally divine, did not always assume the same form, though we are told little, and perhaps could not learn more, about it. Why should we? Let us hear then the scriptures.
If we take the central book of the Pentateuch, what does it distinctly claim? “And Jehovah called unto Moses, and spoke unto him” &c. “Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When any man” &c. And so, with slight historic exceptions the book of Leviticus attaches to itself the character of direct dictation from Jehovah throughout. But these critics flatly refuse to believe. Faithful men accept it as literal truth, the law given through Moses. This is surely inspiration; and He who revealed it empowered the human medium to communicate it, not only piecemeal by the way, but written as a whole.
Would it not be an eminently human way to expect every or any book of scripture to open with “I am inspired” or its equivalent? No creature witnessed creation. None but God could vouch for it. Adam and his sons were called into being long after. Legends could but guess unless God made it known, as He assuredly did to Moses, if we believe our Lord. Was this so wonderful as to give him to write of Christ? The first of his books presents the far simpler and nobler words, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”: a truth which had been utterly forgotten and denied long before the days of Moses. Where is its truth in one of those boasted monuments of Babylon, Nineveh, or Egypt, which professing Christians, and Christian teachers in the highest position, are not ashamed to allege against the word and authority of scripture? They of the monuments, one and all, worshipped idols or strange gods; and so the error was not secondary but fundamental. Their religion was based on a deadly falsehood which vitiates all possible reliance on them for truth or holiness. What can one think of men so infatuated as to impute the Bible to heathen trash? Is not this what all neo-critics do without a blush? Can it be denied with the least appearance of candor? Now who could speak as Moses writes authoritatively, of creation but the Creator? That Babylonians and others borrowed and corrupted the tradition is the homage that lies pay to the truth. Wickedness alone would make their forgeries the source of scripture.
But even Genesis is full of prophecy from the beginning, not only in direct terms (partly fulfilled, more to be so, and not to faith only but manifested to every eye), and indirectly yet more largely in its types throughout, save to blind eyes. Who but God could have thus revealed? Where is its reality outside scripture? Here most of these critics are as sceptically depraved as D. Hume and E. Gibbon, or as frivolous as J. J. Rousseau and A. de Voltaire.
Next Exodus attests stupendous miracles on which the monuments are as dumb, as they ignore and defy the Ten Words, and the judgments of God on Egypt's king and people; and the annexed copies of the things in the heavens shown to Moses inspired for communication to Israel for their worship and our still deeper instruction. Here the records of all the monuments are silent; but these critics grow bolder in their unbelief. For they dare to speculate, on the simple finding (after much disorder and idolatry) the long-neglected book of the law in Josiah's day, that it must be a fabrication then got up, pretending to a Tabernacle after the Exodus, if ever there was an Exodus. Can they believe that the true God gave no better revelation to Israel than a bundle of lies, which contradict each other? or that Israel (yea—the Lord) had to wait for German skeptics to find it out?
Then in Leviticus, which is almost entirely characterized by the words, “And Jehovah spoke to Moses,” and ends with “These are the commandments which Jehovah commanded Moses for the children of Israel in Mount Sinai,” how daring is the impiety which allows a doubt! Here they have not the plea of heathen writers for confirmation, whom they venerate as they distrust the scriptures. It is the love of doubt which they confound with the love of truth, the assurance of systematic self-will and independent speculation, and not the faith of God's Son and God's word.
Numbers seems to be equally impossible to be attributed to any other than Moses, making allowance for an inspired editor's slight additions. For it presents the circumstances of the march through the wilderness with the suited commandments of Jehovah. It has (if we believe the apostle in 1 Cor. 10) a spiritual bearing on the Christian pilgrim which only divine wisdom could have combined, yet characteristic of the prophets, indeed one only inferior to the highest, who had ample leisure and conferred power to indite as God enjoined, with love for Israel and yet more for Jehovah. This spared neither the people nor the misleaders, neither Aaron nor Miriam nor himself. Is not this as edifying as it contrasts with any pretended sacred book of man?
Deuteronomy closes the law, and is so self-evidently Mosaic with its personal pathos, that one may wonder that any man of spiritual perception could fail to recognize that none but the saintly legislator could have written it, as he intimates himself with death immediately in view, yet with undismayed spirit, and natural force unabated, and all his profound affections for Israel just about to enter the land of promise from which he was debarred. This and more necessarily gave a peculiar solemnity, adapted to the new generation who had not personally shared the departure from Egypt, the law imposed at Sinai, and but little of God's discipline through the wilderness, which form its wondrous rehearsal for instruction, encouragement, and warning quite unexampled in the O.T.
(Continued from Vol. 5 p. 378).

Cain: 1. His World and His Worship

His World, and His Worship. Gen. 4
It is a terrible history of man's hopelessness—the history God has given us in His word. I say history, because we have a setting forth of his sins and failures from the beginning; but then the blessed grace of God is shown forth in it, because it tells of Christ to come.
It is simply that man's heart is evil. This is true; but it has been proved evil in the presence of everything which ought to have restrained its evil. God has given us the history of man's ways, and of His dealings with man (not merely stated dogmas); and in whatever way He has dealt with man, we find the evil of man's heart breaking out, and following its course, spite of all.
Man, having sinned against God, is turned out of paradise (Gen. 3). The next thing we read of is the outrageous wickedness of man against his brother: Cain, Adam's first-born, slaying Abel (Gen. 4). Then comes the flood sweeping away a whole generation of evil-doers (Gen. 7). Mercy is shown to Noah, he and his house saved through judgment; yet immediately afterward we find him drunk in his tent, and Ham his son mocking and dishonoring him (Gen. 9).
God speaks to Israel at Sinai, thundering with His voice His righteous demands on man: yet awful as the presence of God is (and even Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake), before Moses comes down from the mount the people have made the golden calf, and broken the first link that binds them to the service of Jehovah (Ex. 32), In the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ we see God visiting the Jew, and dealing with sinners in grace in the person of His Son: Him they slay and hang on a tree (Acts 5:30). Israel's history (man's under the most favorable circumstances) is one scene of violence and evil all the way through; so that Stephen (in testifying to them after their rejection of Christ and the descent of the Holy Ghost in witness of Christ's glory) says they were but doing as their fathers had ever done. “Ye stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye” (Acts 7:51).
Notwithstanding all the dealings of God with man—the voice of God and the judgments of Godman is so hopelessly bad, that the nearer he is brought to God, the more culture there is bestowed upon him by God, only the more is manifested, and that in darker characters, the sin and desperate wickedness of his heart, working spite of all in sight even of God's judgments.
In the sin in the garden we see the character of man's evil as against God; Cain's sin is sin against a neighbor. Of course both are sins against God (all sin being against God); but whilst in the sin of Adam and Eve we see lust and disobedience, in Cain's there is something more—it is sin as exhibited against a neighbor.
Man, as to his actual condition, is a sinner cast out of paradise, already out of the presence of God; and he ought to have the consciousness of being out, and that the only way of getting back to God is through His Son.
We are not in paradise. We have got out of it some way or other; and we are in a world which is under judgment, and where death is staring us in the face. Adam had just been driven out of paradise, and Cain must have had (through Adam) the remembrance that there was a time when man was not out of paradise, when he heard God's voice in the garden without fear, when he had not a bad conscience, and when he was without toil. Saints or sinners (in our own eyes), we have been driven out of Eden, and we are in the wilderness utterly excluded from God's presence. We ought to have the consciousness of being out, and of the misery of our condition. But alas! we have lost all remembrance of the place in which we once were, and have become familiarized to the ruin and desolation consequent upon sin. Still it is true, and we cannot deny it, that we have got out of paradise, and are in a world constantly under sentence. We may try to make the best of the world; but we must all feel that something has come to pass, something that has brought in death and judgment. Happiness cannot be associated with sin, any more than sin can he associated with God. As for man, though he seeks to buoy himself up with his sins, and to delude himself with the lie of Satan, sink he must, sooner or later, under the power of the sin and death already come in. He is just spending his energies to make the world pleasant without God, and himself comfortable and rich in it, to die out of it.
The world he cannot keep. He may build a city for himself, as Cain did (ver. 17), and call it after his own name (Cain called his city after the name of his son); but it will be with him as David speaks, “Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue forever, and their dwelling-places to all generations; they call their lands after their own names. Nevertheless man being in honor abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish. This their way is their folly; yet their posterity approve their sayings. Like sheep they are laid in the grave; death shall feed on them” (Psa. 49).
Cain did not like the sense of the wrath of God lying upon him. Gone out from the presence of Jehovah (ver. 16), he had become so great in the earth that he could build a city. Man never likes to be in the truth of his condition. Cain shrinks from being “a fugitive and a vagabond,” and he tries to build a city, and he does build a city, in the endeavor to make the world as pleasant as he can without God. It might be said, “What harm was there in building a city?” In the first place there would never have been the necessity for this in paradise. Moreover it was proof of insensibility as to his sin against God; it showed quiet contentment under the effect of that punishment which at first he had felt was greater than he could bear; it was the last expression of total alienation of heart and affection from God.
Driven out from the presence of God, he sets about to establish himself. He seeks for himself a home, not with God in heaven, but on the earth, from which God had pronounced him “cursed.” He makes himself master of a city, where God had made him “a vagabond.”
(To be continued).

Fragment: Acts of Affection

She who anointed the Lord's feet in Simon's house showed more real love and more intelligence in divine truth than they who brought their hundred pounds' weight of sweet spices to His vacant tomb. The homage of their love was mistimed then, for He was not there, but risen; and no corruption was there to need the masking odors of rich perfume. “Storied urn and animated bust” will be of nothing worth to our beloved and revered who are put to sleep by Jesus, and await His coming to change the body of our humiliation into conformity with the body of His glory. But little acts of affection done for them to-day, while they are still with us, are really valuable, since they may perchance cheer their hearts in discouraging times with gentle reminders of loving sympathy and bright hope. EMETH.


T. WESTON, Publisher, 53, Paternoster Row.
Published Monthly.

Joseph: 20. Names of Jacob's Sons Who Came Into Egypt

If we honestly wish to avoid serious mistakes and rightly understand Scripture, it is important to read the genealogies according to their aim, and not modern ideas. And it is plain on their face that they present difficulties, which no forger nor compiler would have left but have avoided with all care. The writer, on the other hand, knowing details which we might not, expresses simply what he knows to be true without stopping to clear them up. Special motives govern each case; and if this be under the direction of the Holy Spirit, as a Christian is bound to believe, the mistake must be in judging according to his own mind and method, not after the divine design.
“And these [are] the names of the sons of Israel who came into Egypt, Jacob and his sons: Jacob's first-born, Reuben; and the sons of Reuben, Enoch and Phallu and Hezron and Carmi; and the sons of Simeon, Jemuel and Jamin and Ohad and Jachin and Zohar and Saul son of a Canaanitish woman. And the sons of Levi, Gershon, Kohath and Merari; and the sons of Judah, Er and Onan and Shelab, and Pherez and Zarah; but Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan; and the sons of Pherez were Hezron and Hamul. And the sons of Issachar, Tola and Puah, and Job and Shimron; and the sons of Zebulun, Sered and Elon and Jahleel. These [are] the sons of Leah whom she bore to Jacob in Padan-Aram, and his daughter Dinah: all the souls of his sons and daughters [were] thirty-three.
“And the sons of Gad, Ziphion and Haggi, Shuni and Ezbon, Eri and Arodi and Areli; and the sons of Asher, Jimnah and Ishvah and Ishvi and Beriah, and Serah their sister, and the sons of Beriah, Heber and Malchiel. These [are] the sons of Zilpah, whom Laban gave to Leah his daughter; and she bore these to Jacob: sixteen souls.
“The sons of Rachel, Jacob's wife, Joseph and Benjamin. And to Joseph in the land of Egypt were born Manasseh and Ephraim, whom Asenath bore to him, daughter of Potiphera, priest in On; and the sons of Benjamin, Belah and Becher and Ashbel, Gera and Naaman, Ehi and Rosh, Muppim and Huppim and And. These [are] the sons of Rachel who were born to Jacob: all the souls [were] fourteen.
“And the sons of Dan, Hushim; and the sons of Naphtali, Jahzeel and Guni and Jezer and Shillem. These [are] the sons of Bilhah, whom Laban gave to Rachel his daughter, and she bore these to Jacob: all the souls [were] seven.
“All the souls belonging to Jacob that came into Egypt, that came out of his loins, besides Jacob's sons' wives: all the souls [were] sixty-six. And the sons of Joseph who were born to him in Egypt [were] two souls. All the souls of the house of Jacob which came into Egypt, [were] seventy” (vers. 8-27).
It is God's register of Jacob and his house, “seventy” souls including Jacob, and Joseph with his two sons, “sixty-six” without these. The Sept. cited by Stephen speaks of seventy-five, because it adds Manasseh's son Machir and grandson Gilead, and Ephraim's two sons, Shuthelah and Tahan with Shuthelah's son, Eran or Edom. The time approached when they should exchange the life of a family, already in Genesis enlarged into twelve families, for that of a people; and their growth is one of the initiatory facts of Exodus, the second book of the Pentateuch. Scripture reveals the interest God took in recording things little in man's eyes. Nature revels in what it counts great in its own eyes and before the world.
The fact is that the sons of Jacob were even less than would be reckoned in a modern census. For the principle stated in Heb. 7:9, 10 seems to have been here applied to Judah's offspring, and to Benjamin's also, as we may gather from the previous history, but inserted here as the heads of future families, as we see confirmed by the list in Num. 26 of independent families of the tribes of Israel in the day when Moses and Eleazar were directed to take the sum of the whole assembly of Israel's sons from twenty years old and upward. This is a solution suggested by these versed in such genealogies; and it is but one of several. It was no mistake, but intentional, however outside ordinary thought. Thus the immense increase during the sojourn in Egypt became all the more marked, notwithstanding the cruel and murderous oppression which characterized its latter part, and gave the occasion for Jehovah their God to show Himself greater than all gods; for in the thing in which they acted haughtily He was above them.

Exodus: Moses Quits Egypt and Flees to Midian

We have seen faith blessed in the saving of Moses, and providence at work in the king's daughter, who made his own mother his nurse, and adopted him as her son and had him instructed, as Stephen said, in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, mighty as he was too in his deeds and words.
Now we are about to hear of his own faith, rising above the elevation which providence gave him at the court of Pharaoh, and enabling him to sacrifice all to God's glory and His promises to Israel in their most despised and distressful circumstances.
“And it came to pass in those days when Moses was grown, that he went out to his brethren and looked on their burdens; and he saw an Egyptian smiting a Hebrew, one of his brethren. And he turned this way and that way, and when he saw that [there was] no man, he smote the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. And he went out the second day, and, behold, two Hebrew men were quarreling; and he said to him that was in the wrong, Why art thou smiting thy neighbor? And he said, Who made thee ruler and judge over us? Dost thou intend [say] to kill me, as thou killedst the Egyptian? And Moses feared and said, Surely the matter is known. And Pharaoh heard of this matter and sought to slay Moses. But Moses fled from before Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian. And he sat by the well. And the priest of Midian had seven daughters; and they came and drew [water], and filled the troughs to water their father's flock. And the shepherds came and drove them away; but Moses rose and helped them, and watered their flock. And when they came to Reuel their father, he said, Why are ye come so soon to-day? And they said, An Egyptian delivered us out of the hand of the shepherds, and also drew abundantly for us, and watered the flock. And he said to his daughters, And where [is] he? Why then have ye left the man behind? Call him that he may eat bread. And Moses consented to stay with the man; and he gave Moses Zipporah his daughter. And she bore a son, and he called his name Gershom [a sojourner there]; for he said, I have been a sojourner in a foreign land.
“And it came to pass during these many days, that the king of Egypt died. And the children of Israel sighed because of the bondage, and cried; and their cry came up to God because of the bondage. And God heard their groaning; and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God took notice” (vers. 11-25.).
It was characteristic of Moses' faith, that he believed God's love to His people because they were His, however deplorable their state through their unbelief and the world's oppression and contempt. The providential circumstances which had lifted him above the low estate of his parents and set him, distinguished by his abilities, his acquirements, and his character in the nearest position to the royal family, gave him the stronger reason to treat all as naught compared with identifying himself with down-trodden Israel. Natural gratitude might plead her claim who had under God's hand delivered him from death. Reason would not fail to argue the prudence of using his nearness at court to gain and seize opportunities for its favor toward his suffering kinsfolk. In the face of all adverse appearances the faith of Moses rested on two immutable things in which it was impossible for God to lie, His promise and His oath to the father of the faithful, that of Abraham's seed He would make a great nation, and that in his Seed should all the nations of the earth be blessed.
Moses was no enthusiastic stripling, but then, as Stephen lets us know, a man about forty years of age. His words, his deeds, his mind, his affection, all point him out as one of the leading spirits for all time. But by faith he deliberately turned his back on Egypt's ease, power, and honor, to take his place among the chosen people of Jehovah, slaves though they then were and strangers in a land not their own. He knew from what we read in Gen. 15 that the end of their affliction must come ere long; for had not Jehovah said hundreds of years before, that He would judge the nation after it had reduced them to servitude and was not the fourth generation arrived, when they should quit their oppression for the land of promise? “By faith Moses, when he had become great, refused to be called son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, esteeming the reproach of the Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt, for he had respect to the recompence” (Heb. 11:24-26.).
The history gives the facts as they occurred. His brethren under their burdens lay on the heart of Moses; and as he looked, he saw an Egyptian smite one of them. Roused to indignation, “he looked this way and that way,” and seeing no witness, he took the law into his hand and slew the offender, hiding the body in the sand. The love to his brethren was a right and holy feeling; but his inflicting death on the Egyptian was unjustifiable, and led to his long exile to escape the king's resentment. He acted on the impulse of his heart, and in no way as consulting God or obeying Him. Had he looked to Him, he would not have “looked this way or that way.” He tarnished his testimony for God by his efforts to escape, any witness of the deed or of his concealing the corpse, and the consequences.
The very day after, he had to bear the keen wound inflicted not by an Egyptian nor the king but by an unworthy brother. For when he reproved the sad quarreling of Hebrew with Hebrew, he that did the wrong was the one to raise the insulting cry, “Who made thee a ruler and a judge"? and to clench it with the stab, “Intendest thou to kill me as thou killedst the Egyptian yesterday?” The conscience of Moses was bad: “surely the matter is known.” The king too was roused by his act; and Moses fled from his vengeance into the land of Midian. Moses was not brought to nothingness in his own eyes. He was playing the hero rather than the saint who waits on God, not only for the revealed end, but for each step of the way. Hence we walk by faith, not by sight. It is a path of constant dependence on God, guided by His word. And Moses had as it were to unlearn for as many years in Midian as he had been learning the wisdom of the Egyptians. What a change from the court of Pharaoh to lead Reuel or Jethro's sheep “in the back end of the desert,” not far from “the mount of God.” To this discipline the solitude of the wilderness and the lowly life of a shepherd gave the needed sphere, that his impetuous spirit might be broken down, and himself become “very meek, above all men that were upon the face of the earth.”
As he sat by the well, came the seven daughters of Reuel with their father's flock. But the shepherds drove them away from the troughs they sought to fill for watering the sheep. Moses interposed, and so helped the maidens that they returned soon enough to excite their father's inquiry how it came to pass, and a message sent that the stranger should partake of his hospitality. The gift of his daughter as wife followed, and the birth in due time of a son; whose name expressed the father's sense of strangership in a foreign land, in striking contrast with Joseph's forgetfulness of all his toil and all his father's house, under similar circumstances.
During those “many days” died the king of Egypt. But no relaxation of the cruel strain as yet appeared for the sons of Israel. Their bondage drew out sighs and cries. But their cry, as we are told with touching simplicity “came up to God because of the bondage; and God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob; and God looked upon the children of Israel, and God took notice.” O ye that boast of Herodotus and Thucydides, of Livy and Tacitus, produce any sentence from those classic historians, or from any since down to our day, for words approaching these for tenderness, soon to be rendered into undying facts, now for everlasting principles of truth and righteousness in earthly things which test the soul whether we care for the living God or are in heart His enemies!

Proverbs 26:23-28

To the end of the chapter are denunciations of like mischief under the guise of fair speech and flattery. It is deceit in various forms, against which we are energetically put on our guard: a needful caution in this evil age, especially for the Christian who walks in grace and refuses to avenge himself.
“Ardent lips, and a wicked heart [are] an earthen vessel overlaid with silver dross.
He that hateth dissembleth with his lips, but he layeth up deceit within him
When his voice is gracious, believe him not, for [there are] seven abominations in his heart.
Though hatred is covered by dissimulation, his wickedness shall be made manifest in the congregation.
Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein; and he that rolleth a stone, it shall return upon him.
A lying tongue hateth the injured by it, and a flattering mouth worketh ruin” (vers. 23-28).
There is no real difficulty, no sufficient reason to doubt the force of the opening words of ver. 23. They do not in the least imply in this connection the heat of wrath, which might well go with “a wicked heart” ordinarily.; but here is meant the extraordinary combination of expressing ardent affection with the desire to do evil. This, not that, is fitly compared to an earthen vessel overlaid not with silver but its “dross.”
So the hatred (24) which is eminently dangerous is not what explodes in violent words, but would work out unawares, and therefore dissembles with the lips. The benevolent words only conceal the deceit within the man.
Therefore (ver. 25) when such a one's voice is gracious, there is the strongest reason not to believe; for there is no sure faith, save in a testimony altogether reliable. Hence the blesssedness to a Christian that his faith and hope too are in the God Who cannot lie, Who has spoken to us in His Son, come in love as sure as the truth. But as to fallen man, how different! “for there are seven abominations in his heart.” It is filled with every evil of corruption no less than violence, as the Savior testified. Jehovah did not fail to make hidden evil manifest in the most public way.
“Dissimulations (ver. 26) may succeed among men for a season; but even before the kingdom of God appears in displayed power, He knows how to check Satan and expose malicious craft during the evil day. Thus from time to time is the covering stript from hatred, and “wickedness made manifest in the congregation.”
Again, when mischievous man (ver. 27) digs a pit for others, therein he is caused to fall; and where he rolls a stone for the head of his neighbor, it recoils on himself. Even the heathen expressed their sense of such retribution here below, though they knew not God.
The last verse tells us of the extreme wickedness of fallen man, that is not con tent with deceiving: “a lying tongue hateth those injured by it;” and “a flattering mouth worketh ruin” for subject as well as object. “Let the righteous smite me, it is kindness; and let him reprove me, it is an excellent oil which my head shall not refuse.” This is to humble oneself under God's mighty hand and be exalted in due time.

The Church and Churches: Part 1

A tract has been sent me of a departed Christian (A. J. Holiday), which it is far from my wish to criticize. As I told his friends who desired a judgment, though I should greatly prefer their judging his doctrine by God's word, I do not refuse to help as far as I am enabled.
Two points in particular seem to be the great aim: the necessity for the Christian, the member of Christ's body, to join himself to a company of disciples, a local assembly or church; and the oversight of elders as the necessary means of the due keeping of the flock.
No sober Christian doubts that in no long time after Pentecost there were local assemblies, not only in Judea and Galilee and Samaria, but among the Gentiles east and west, north and south. And the members of Christ from one local assembly were received in any other, only their identification needing letters commendatory. But all was grounded on their accredited relation to Christ as of His body. This was the foundation on which they originally had their place. Their brethren received them, because there was adequate testimony to their consciences and hearts that the Lord had been adding them together (ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτὸ) (Acts 2:47). He was building up His church; and these were living stones, members of the one body, even if the phrase “the church” only first occurs in chap. v. 11. None did then pretend to any other membership. Others too bowed to Him only, even when all the twelve were there to rule with apostolic authority.
There are two divinely appointed symbols, which mark, one the individual Christian, the other the fellowship of the body the Church as in due time was clearly explained in 1 Cor. 10.
Both necessarily take place locally; but both are based on Christ the Lord. The baptism is not to the local representative but to Christ the Lord; and if we seek the details of the formula, “unto the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Just so with the church symbol; it is the communion of the body of Christ, not of any local body, though observed locally; “because we, the many, are one loaf, one body; for we, the whole of us, partake of the one loaf.” There is no word or thought here or in any other scriptures to countenance a local source. The word of God speaks of no membership save of Christ's own body; just as not a word admits of any Headship of the church but His exclusively. The same act of divine grace which makes us members of Christ makes us also members one of another. Any other membership is human tradition, which, as the Lord taught and we may readily verify, never fails to make void the word, though men may think it a good, wise, and needed supplement.
Membership of a church is the vast error of Christendom. Rome, I presume, was mother of it, as of so much else incompatible with the truth of the church as God has revealed, though its Greek rival was no less keen for the same special member ship: a thing totally unknown to the apostolic day when all the Christians on earth enjoyed but one communion. Hence when the apostle would correct local evils in one place, he wrote “to the church of God that is in Corinth, sanctified [ones] in Christ Jesus, saints called [or, by call], with all that in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both theirs and ours:” a remarkable and emphatic guard against the principle of ecclesiastical independency. With this agree his words against schisms in chap. 1; “everywhere in every assembly,” chap. iv.; his call to judge those “within” (not a but the church), as the “without” was everywhere also; his words “thus I ordain in all the assemblies” in chap. vii. Compare also chap. 14:36, 37.
The Reformation, though a blessed work for delivering from Rome's servitude, and giving back the Bible in our mother-tongue frankly, in no due way attested the church, but fell back on the State to resist the Papacy, and Babylon the corruption of the church, and the denial of its Head. As this was clearly unscriptural, the system of accredited sects followed to our day, the ignoring and negation of the one body on earth united to its heavenly Head by the Spirit's baptism (1 Cor. 12:13).
So also the apostle teaches in the same chap. that there are distinctions of operations, but the same God that operates all things in all; that to each the manifestations of the Spirit are given for profit, and that whatever the different kinds, the one and the same Spirit operates all these, dividing to each in particular as He pleases. “For even as the body is one and hath many members, but all the members of the body, being many, are one body, so also is the Christ. For also in the power of [or by] one Spirit we all were baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free, and were all given to drink of one Spirit.” People talk of Christ's mystical body where the scripture account does not apply to present practice. But it is plain as words can make it, that here is given the principle and way of the Spirit's action in the body on earth, not for heaven or a future time. Only unbelief can argue that it is obsolete, and not obligatory so far as God deigns to give power in the present scattered state of the saints so lacking in faith, undevoted, and worldly-minded. Further, we are told that as the case is, “God set the members each one of them in the body even as it pleased Him,” surely not in a mere local body but rather in the body as a whole. Ver. 27 in no way weakens this truth, but applies it to the Corinthian saints as its local representative, to enforce their responsibility according to privilege, the very reverse of claiming independency. Again, he says, “God set certain in the church, firstly apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly teachers, then powers” [or miracles], etc., putting lower down what carnal levity at Corinth raised to the highest. But without doubt all this energy of the Spirit was in the church now and here; and there remains in divine faithfulness all that is for His glory and our need in the day when the church was stript of her ornaments.
Eph. 4 gives us the selfsame principle, not as a contrast of the one Spirit with the many, instruments of Satan's evil work, but in view of Christ's glory on high and love to His body the church on earth. There too apostles and prophets share the first and the second rank; but we have also the evangelists to gather to Christ out of the world, and the pastors (or, shepherds) and teachers to tend and instruct the saints for their perfecting, unto ministerial work, unto edifying of His body. This was on earth, though for heaven where such working never was nor will be, but in His body here; and it was then the body visible, as the saints were responsible to continue. If it too soon became invisible, it was the church's sin in departure from its place as Christ's one body, its privileges, worship, walk, and ways in general, through unfaithfulness to God.
Is, or is not, the church responsible by grace to maintain this position, not merely “endeavoring” but giving diligence to keep the unity of the Spirit? Internal divisions (σχίσματα) practically opposed and misrepresented that unity; “sects” (αἱρέσεις) or external splits of self will were its open denial in principle. If we believe in the one body of Christ as the spiritual fact on the earth, we are bound to judge its anomalous state since the apostles departed, as an ever-increasing offense against grace and truth, judging as the Head does by the word, and humbling ourselves. So holy Daniel did for the similar departure of Israel, instead of pleading God's providence and excusing the change. If we are taught by God of the church's unity on earth, bound up with Christ's love and honor, the present ruin is felt as deep shame and sorrow; and all the more, because of the Holy Spirit sent forth, not only to form but to sustain this divine unity in the saints, as He surely would, if they had not allowed the flesh and the world to darken and turn aside and set up other unities incompatible with that of the Spirit, which can only be in faith, love, and holiness according to God's word.
Now one of the first, and widest, subtlest and most permanent contributing causes is the assertion of a local church membership, or of the largest possible federation of churches, in opposition to the only membership known to scripture, the membership of Christ by the gift and sealing of the Holy Spirit. For it is not the new birth or faith in Christ (however essential preliminarily) which constitutes one a member of His body, but the gift of the Spirit. Compare Acts 1:4, 5; 2:38; 11:16, 17; 1 Cor. 12:13. At Pentecost it began; and so according to scripture the Spirit abides, as for other ends, to effectuate the one body of Christ now on earth, not a mere mystical union on high, any more than membership of a church on earth. If the unity had been mystical only, the scattered children of God needed not to be gathered together into one. It was to be here and now since Pentecost, not for heaven only where was no difficulty or danger, “a unity” as the tract says “which none can ever break.” Here it was to be as a testimony “that the world might believe” (John 17:21), excluding Augustine's invention of an invisible church, though it will only be “perfected into one” in the day of displayed glory “that the world may know” (vers. 22, 23).
Of this unity, whether of God's family as with John, or of Christ's body as with Paul, the Christian forms part. The Lord adds each to the church; and the church is bound to His act when ascertained suitably; but there was no thought of the believer being brought into its assembly “by his own act and the act of the assembly also.” It was an act of God's supreme grace, above man's acts, though faith owned it in all concerned. A supplemental or sectional member is not only unscriptural but anti-scriptural, the parent error of no end of errors, and leading ultimately to congregationalism or independent churches, the antitheses of God's church here as Christ's one body.
On the other hand, the remedy of professing to be the church of God now, in the departed and broken state of Christendom is in principle as bad as the disease, a mere and false pretension. For in fact the members are here, there, and anywhere. Yea even if all the Christians in a given place were to re-assemble, they would belie the truth in claiming to be “the” church of God, while there is scattering over all the earth. But they are bound to give up every false unity, yet through mercy free to meet on the one divine principle, gathered to Christ's name its ever true center, and having Him in their midst, were they but two or three, as the Lord anticipated in Matt. 18:20, and the Holy Spirit enjoins in 2 Tim. 2:19-22. It is the resource for those faithful to the Lord in the difficult times of last days.
(to be continued).

Within the Holiest and Without the Camp

The accomplished work of Christ brings the believer as near as Himself to God; but it also entails our sharing His place without the camp. As a Christian I am now in Him before God, as He is in me before men; and the Holy Spirit is now given as power to enjoy the new privilege and to make good the new responsibility. He bears witness that Christ, having borne my sins in His own body on the tree, is now glorified and thus secures the same glory to the faithful as Forerunner for us who share meanwhile His reproach here below.
In neither way would God have it be a form of words but a living reality. We can hardly avoid apprehending, if we read scripture with the eye of the heart, how carefully our bright heavenly portion by and in Christ is assured before we are exhorted to take the fellowship of His sufferings as far as these can be shared. So we find in the Epistles to the Romans, and to the Corinthians; so to the Galatians, the Ephesians, the Colossians, the Philippians, as well as in the earlier letters to the Thessalonians. The Pastorals only confirm the same order; nor is it otherwise with the Epistle to the Hebrews or any other word of truth. For it flows necessarily from the glad tidings of salvation; and the grace of God in Christ forbids any different order. Redemption implies and enforces it. By grace were and are we saved through faith; but we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which were before-prepared that we should walk in them. And next to worship, the best service of Christ is to follow Him humbly and loyally in His rejection here below. “If any one serve Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there also shall be My servant: if any one serve Me, him shall the Father honor” (John 12:26). “Verily, verily I say to you, The bondman is not greater than his lord, nor the sent greater than he who sent him. If ye know these things, blessed are ye if ye do them” (John 13:16, 17).
What can do greater spiritual mischief to the Christian than to regard these things as counsels of perfection, instead of the common portion of faith and life to God's glory, our own joy, and the help of others, especially in this day of levity and ease, of free intellectualism, or of sanctimonious form, only another form of unbelief?
Read how it is in the Epistle before us, though from the aim in hand not so elevated as those to the Ephesians and to the Colossians, etc. The Holy Spirit takes the utmost pains to mark our blessedness as Christians. God spoke to us in the Son, in all the fullness and finality of that divine Person, as compared with His many piecemeal communications to the fathers in the prophets. For the Son is Heir of all things, as He made the worlds and upholds all things by the word of His [the Son's] power (Heb. 1). Now the Son only set Himself down on the right hand of the Majesty on high after making the purification of the sins, otherwise irreparable, now cleansed by His blood. His personal glory is the strongest assurance of His perfect work, backed up by His present position at God's right hand, after He undertook their expiation. What a permanent and glorious proof to the believer of his purification!
So in chap. 2, as by the grace of God He tasted death for everything and will restore the universe by-and-by, in bringing many sons to glory it became God to perfect the leader of their salvation through sufferings, to annul the enemy that had the power of death, and thus set free from that fear; to make propitiation; and to help the tempted as One who Himself suffered being tempted. What care to show the fullness of blessing in our present weakness and exposure! And so it might be shown throughout.
But let us turn to chaps. 9, & 10. In chap. 9:12 it is declared that by His own blood He entered once for all the Holies, having found an everlasting redemption; and in chap. 10:10-14 this is applied in all its value to the Christian. “By which will (God's) we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” Compare vers. 11-14. Hence all brethren in the Lord are invited, as having boldness to enter in spirit where He is, both by His work and His priesthood to approach through the rent veil with a true heart and in full assurance of faith. But we are also exhorted in chap 13 to go forth to Him without the camp, bearing His reproach.
Christianity denies the “via media,” which Israel took, inside the camp and outside the sanctuary. We are called like Christ to the extremes of blessing in heaven and of contempt on earth, to approach within the sanctuary and to go forth without the camp. Is this our faith, and our enjoyed privilege, and our happy experience? If not, what and where are we? With the Lord before us faith cannot think to make the best of both worlds, as some say. If we have Him for association with Himself even now on high, we are now also called to go forth to Him without the camp, bearing His reproach. Christians judaize sadly.

2 Peter 3:3-4

A special reason for heeding the prophets and the apostles follows, which gives urgency to the warning as to those who despise the word of God. For do we not recognize that to-day is a day of prevalent and growing mockery in Christendom among philosophers and those influenced by their speculations?
“Knowing this first, that in the last of the days mockers shall come with mockery walking according to their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming (or presence)? for from the [day] that the fathers fell asleep, all things continue thus (or, as they were) from beginning of creation” (vers. 3, 4).
The apostle first introduced the formula “Knowing this first” when insisting on the divine source and character, with the certainty and value, of prophecy, even while intimating the still more intimate and elevated nature of the heavenly light and hope of Christianity. “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of scripture is (or rather is made to be) of its own interpretation.” It is not an isolated thing, but part of a vast plan for God's glory in the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Its true and full interpretation cannot be apart from His future kingdom in displayed glory. As the Father's counsels look onward to nothing short of this, so the Holy Spirit has moved in the inspiration of the word to this end. Man of himself is quite beneath such ability. Like the gracious power of good which alone could set aside all the evils under which man groaned, and especially the awful weight of Satanic possession, as a testimony before the age to come will enjoy it fully; so prophecy of scripture anticipatively fills the heart and mind of the believer with the mighty beneficence of that day, and His grace and His glory through it come to pass with everlasting Hallelujahs to God. It was therefore in neither case the working or effect of man's will. Those who wrought the wondrous deeds, or who wrote the no less wondrous words, did so by the power and love of God Who alone could qualify them in honor of His Son, the Lamb of God.
So here the repetition of “Knowing this first” marks the importance of the truth. It might have seemed that the proclamation of the gospel to all the creation must have disarmed the hostile spirit, even of those who did not believe through pride, pleasure, and lusts of all kinds, to the saving of their souls. But the mind of the flesh is enmity against God. And our Lord Himself had prepared us for unbelief and self-seeking and defiance of God and His word, as in Israel, so as bad or worse in Christendom, “As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They ate, they drank, they married, they were given in marriage, till the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came and destroyed all. And in like manner as took place in the days of Lot: they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom, it rained fire and sulfur from heaven, and destroyed all: after this manner shall it be in the day that the Son of man is revealed.” The subject is wound up in His closing figure “Where the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together” (Luke 17). Divine judgment will find its object.
The apostle Paul was given to reveal that lawlessness should come out openly, as even from the early days of the gospel it was at work secretly, till (the great Hinderer being removed,) it should culminate in the man of sin, the express opposite of the Man of righteousness, the Savior from perdition instead of its son; “whose coming is according to the working of Satan in all power and signs and wonders of falsehood, and in all deceit of unrighteousness to them that perish, because they received not the love of the truth that they might be saved. And for this cause God sendeth to them a working of error, that they should believe the falsehood, that all might be judged who believed not the truth but found pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thess. 2).
No less plain is 2 Tim. 2; 3, and iv., on the growth of haughty unbelief and unrestrained disregard of God in word and deed in the last days, while having a form of piety before even this is finally cast off. The Epistle of James lays bare, as the beginning of evil, the unjudged creedism which life in Christ was not, and works quite dead and worthless, and instead of love, wordliness, selfishness, and injustice prevailing. 1 Peter 4 affirmed the end of all things drawn nigh, and the season for the judgment beginning from or at the house of God, a principle to which He adheres; for as His privileges are there, so also is the special responsibility of those who claim them, though every one shall bear his own burden in God's moral government. But it is here in the second Epistle and in that of Jude and in the Revelation of John that the marked form of evil professors at the close is fully defined. It is a return to that materialism which abounded in the heathen that knew not God. Here it comes out in the naked infidelity of scoffers who sit in the seat of the scornful.
Scoffing was an evil sign in pagan Greece and Rome. Yet none can wonder that mockers should rise up like Lucian of Samosata when paganism was exposed in its falsehood, emptiness and demoralization under the revealed light of God. Again, when the Bible got read at the time of the Reformation, we are not surprised that natural men treated Catholic legends and traditions, and the decrees of the Popes with contempt, any more than that the unhallowed ribaldry broke out before, during, and since the French Revolution, against truth as well as error and fable in divine things. But here we are apprised of a dense dark cloud, far more widely spread, which would shut out the light of heaven, not merely on the gross licentious ways of evil men who taught for gain as in chap. ii., but on others of philosophic mind, who might be generally correct in moral ways, but were beguiled into such an abandonment of truth, as we have already in Agnosticism, Positivism, and the like. They stand on phenomena, on things seen, on matter. God is in none of their thoughts as a living reality, His word (if His word) of no account. Things continue as ever. This is the fixed law. All else is idea. God is, for such, an unknown God.
These do not openly hate the name of the Lord Jesus, but like other incredulous men have no words too lofty to express their admiration of His life and ministry and death, quite apart from God's testimony to their own guilt and dire need to find redemption through His blood. But their dream of human progress is so judged and cut short by His return to judge the quick, that they all unite with open mouth to refuse and decry His return to judge the habitable earth. Hence their description here, as “proceeding according to their lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of His coming? for from the day that the fathers fell asleep, all things continue thus from beginning of creation.”
This therefore is a distinct and solemn part of Christian testimony: not only the judgment of the wicked dead at the end of the world-kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, but that which will fall suddenly on men “as a thief by night” at the end of the age, while they cry, Peace and safety. The yet more awful judgment of the dead is comparatively distant; and men with little effort but extreme peril can put off all thought till a more convenient season. But for flesh and blood, it is intolerable to hear also of a judgment unsparing and universal to arrest the every-day interests of mankind, when sudden destruction comes upon them, as travail upon her that is with child. And He comes with the clouds, and every eye shall see Him, and they which pierced Him, and all the tribes of the earth shall wail because of Him. Where then will be the rook, the dust, to hide man from Jehovah? For “man's lofty looks shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men bowed down, and Jehovah alone shall be exalted in that day. And the idols shall utterly pass away.... In that day men shall cast away their idols of silver and their idols of gold, which they made [each] for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats; to go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the fissures of the cliffs, from before the terror of Jehovah, and from the glory of His majesty, when He shall arise to terrify the earth” (Isa. 2).
The corruption of the best is the worst corruption. It was an abomination in Israel. It is the apostasy in Christendom. The counsel of the ungodly in a moment comes to naught. The way of sinners is seen to be everlasting ruin. And what will it be to the seat of the mockers when their mocking is confronted with the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with angels of His power? For He will appear in flaming fire taking vengeance on those that know not God, and those that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. As they shall pay the penalty of everlasting destruction from the Lord's presence, and from the glory of His might, so He shall have come to be glorified in His saints and to be wondered at in all that believed in that day (2 Thess. 2).
Not only for these the heavenly saints will it be glory with Christ, but times of refreshing, for those who repent and are converted, both in Israel and in the nations on earth, will surely come from the Lord's presence who sends the Anointed Jesus, Who was fore-ordained for His people but now in heaven; but there are times of restoring all things of which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets since time began. So the apostle preached in Acts 3 It is clear therefore that this word leaves no room for expecting the Holy Spirit as now working to bring in those times. The Spirit had just come for the gospel and the church; and He was in no way grieved and hindered and denied as He soon began to be. But ever increasing woes have been since the apostles. But even then the apostle explicitly looks to God's sending the Lord Jesus again to bring in the day of earth's blessedness, and the nations rejoicing with Israel, no longer deaf and dumb, but the loudest in that united and continuous chorus of divine praise. Yet the sword, as we have seen, must inevitably clear the earth before Jehovah. Jah the Savior “shall be king over all the earth; in that day shall there be one Jehovah, and His name one.”
Then too shall all the universe be put into divine harmony, according to Eph. 1:10-12. For it will then be the administration of the fullness of the fit times: to sum, or head up, all things in the Christ, the things in the heavens and the things upon the earth: in Him in whom too we were given inheritance, being marked out beforehand according to the counsel of His own will, that we should be unto praise of His glory.

The Higher Criticism: Part 2

1. “GOD-BREATHED,” then, is ample to convey the source, character and authority of scripture to a: believing soul. As to the manner in which the Divine will was communicated to the writers, the Church, as it could say nothing reliable, was still less authorized to speculate presumptuously. And what more inconsistent with reverence than to propound “a theory” on “its literary structure”? or the stages by which historically inspiration proceeded? But the same apostle long before his last Epistle had given light from God, which it is seasonable to recall. 1 Cor. 2 lets us into much of the deepest interest and importance, which the Higher Critics gloss over, in impressing on the lightminded Corinthians the fullness and variety of the Holy Spirit's operation in this respect and in others for the blessing of the faithful. Even what Isaiah confessed to be hidden from man's eye, ear, and heart, is now revealed to the Christian since Christ's redemption, and the Spirit's descent (vers. 9-12); “which things also we speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, communicating (or expounding) spiritual things by spiritual” [words] For it is evident to any who inspect with care that the apostle is here treating of the further stage of communicating the revelation in ver. 13, before carrying it on to the reception of the inspired words in vers. 14, 15; where the reception by the Christian is declared to be by the same Holy Spirit in contrast with the inability of the natural man. “Comparing” therefore, though quite right in the different context of 2 Cor. 10:12, does not give the sense of συγκρίνοντες here as the intermediate act. Nor does “combining” which is here without any intelligible force, but “interpreting” as in the Revisers' margin, though the simpler “communicating” seems in so peculiar a connection the fittest of all.
This being the apostle's pronouncement, how can any professing Christian doubt “that an inspired writing must be absolutely consistent in all its parts, and free from all discrepancy or error”? The Bible both makes and satisfies these requirements. This is inspiration's account of inspiration.! The “words” are Spirit-taught no less than the ideas. But the gift of the Spirit is essential to receive them. The lack of the Spirit is the true reason for insubjection to the truth, and the invention of such terms as “Bibliolatry,” “verbal” inspiration or other such slurs. No intelligent believer denies but asserts individuality of style: what he abhors is that God's Spirit sanctions or allows error. There is nothing in the plea that it is “man's word,” with which the apostle contrasts it expressly in 1 Thess. 2:13: “when ye received from us God's word of message (or, report), ye accepted not men's word but even as it is truly God's word which also worketh in you that believe.” But these critics do not so believe God's revelation. They believe in themselves and their unbelieving leaders; and so continuing they “shall both fall into a pit.”
It is false therefore that “the inerrancy of Scripture... is a principle which is nowhere asserted or claimed in Scripture itself” (p. 31). “Theologians” on the contrary, as the rule, are habitually weak from the beginning, like Origen, the most learned of the Greeks, who read allegory, and not history in the fall of Adam and the primitive state.
It is no question of a priori any more than a posteriori, but of faith. Before Scripture and doctrine claimed to be in Spirit-taught words, no one put such honor on it as the Lord of all when He set it as authoritative testimony (John v. 47) above His own oral words, though they were of life eternal, spirit and life as He Himself asserted. And what means His declaration in John 10:35 that “the Scripture cannot be broken”? Does this imply that man's infirmity could enter to vitiate it? or does it not mean that the Holy Spirit wrought to make it absolutely true? Nor is it so, as the Prof. says that “it is the facts which force upon us the necessity of a revision of current theories of inspiration”; for as to “current theories of it, a Christian is entitled to disregard them all. The age is full of unbelief, and therefore abounds in fables on this head and almost every other. But the very passage in 2 Tim. 3 which these men seek to weaken is the great safeguard in the grievous times of the last days, against those who deceive and are deceived; and therefore the effort to annul its weight and meaning! The neo-critical principle is not only arbitrary, unbelieving, and excessively artificial, but at direct issue with the Lord and His apostles, and scripture itself, which all join to prove that the foundations of faith are undermined by the blasphemy that God's word contains error in its Spirit-taught words.
2. To say that “the vital truths declared in the Bible appear... wholly unaffected by critical inquiries or critical conclusions” may seem natural to their zealous propagandist, but it is egregious to a believer. If the words are God's, as they so often claim to be in the O. T., if the greatest apostle in the N.T. declares that they and not the thoughts only are Spirit-taught, do they not compose “the external form.... in which these truths appear”? It is not sense to say that “the truths themselves lie beyond its range.” The apostle as we have seen asserts that the Spirit of God is the true author of both. How can the truth be untouched if you touch the form? And what presumption for any man to meddle with the Spirit-taught words! Dr. D. is obliged to admit that some of the leading spirits are plainly unbelievers (avowed Unitarians, &c.), but covers such infidelity as “some anterior philosophical principles.” No wonder that “evil communications (or, company) corrupt good manners.” Ought not others if they fear God to awake up righteously? If they believe with heart, why join arms in divine things with such as have no knowledge of God? As to “different degrees” of inspiration (p. 33) it is unknown to scripture, which does state difference in form.
But “every scripture” is asserted or assumed to be God-breathed. The revelation of God in His word differs essentially from the testimony of nature fallen as it is. As we own in Christ a “human element” as well as the “Divine”; but as he who abuses this union to lower the perfection of Christ's person is fundamentally heterodox, so is he, if only in a less degree, who thus degrades God's written word (p. 34). It is a Psalm of David (19) which declares that the law (the O.T. word) of Jehovah is perfect, converting or restoring the soul as nothing else can do; His testimony trustworthy, giving wisdom to the simple (what else does?); His precepts upright, rejoicing the heart; His commandment pure, giving light [spiritually] to the eyes. Yet the law, as Heb. 7 says, perfected nothing. This was from no defect in God's word, but because the Lord had not yet come to give life eternal and to accomplish everlasting redemption for such as believe; who thereon are anointed of God and receive the earnest of the Spirit in their hearts. Even Dr. D. is obliged to own “some special charisma of supernatural insight into the ways of God” granted to the O.T. religious teachers (p. 36). Scripture claims immeasurably more.
3. On the practical suggestions of pp. 37-43 I would say little, as one cannot doubt that his first is sound: that a first-hand knowledge of the Bible itself is the basis for a Biblical scholar. But that the young should be impregnated with the critical notions against the text of scripture is an advice which comes only from one who knows not the scriptures as taught of God, but as perverted by incredulity. What he calls “a natural consequence of the condition under which the authors [of the O.T.] wrote” (p. 43) flows from his unbelief in the power of the Holy Spirit, the true author of all scripture. This is the first and last requisite.
But his error, the ordinary false assumption as to Luke, calls for a more particular notice. “No historical writer ever claims to derive the materials for his narrative from a supernatural source (cf. St. Luke 1:1-4); and so far as we are aware, it has not pleased God in this respect to correct, where they existed, the imperfections attaching to the natural position of the writer” (p. 44). This passage was long the refuge of open infidels in Germany, England, &c., to make believe that a so-called inspired Evangelist disclaims anything supernatural in writing his Gospel, and that he founded it like any other literary man from eye-witnesses in all care and diligence for its accuracy. The Oxford Reg. Prof. of Hebrew uses it for the self-same purpose, as others much less carried away, like the late Dean Alford and many more.
This however is not to read Scripture aright, but slovenly misinterpretation through evil influence. Let us heed what is written. Of the Four, the third is the one inspired to present the Son of God as man in the walk of every day, surrounded by all sorts and conditions of men, the perfect manifestation of grace, finding utter weakness and alienation, with enmity from those who trusting in themselves despised others and hated the Holy One of God. He gives all that exercises the conscience, purges the heart by faith, and strengthens disciples in a walk of love, patience and holiness without anxiety, blessed in being found watching for Christ's coming, and also working for Him as His faithful bondmen. Accordingly Luke alone tells from the outset John the Baptist's birth, and Christ's earliest and youthful days in this aspect; alone tells of the Lord's genealogy up to Adam, of the initiatory scene in the synagogue at Nazareth, of Simon searched yet drawn by faith at the lake, of the widow's only son raised again at Nain, of the sinful woman forgiven and sent away in peace, of the seventy and their final message, of the good Samaritan, of Martha and Mary discriminated, and, to cut short the list, of the prodigal and his father's love, and of the robber following the Lord from the cross to Paradise the same day. He is the great moralist but in a divine way, as beseemed such a life of Jesus; man's heart detected, God's heart revealed in grace. He alone with the same divine design writes a preface with his motives to a fellow-saint. And this furnishes the occasion for free-thinking malice to deny his inspiration, of which divine power the book itself is the best witness, like the other three, though not one presents it, as Luke does.
Hence at the start our Evangelist shows his heart drawn out to one begotten of God that needed the truth fully, a Gentile of rank if not actually a governor, with “his excellency” dropt in Acts 1:1, as no doubt he would prefer when more matured. This marked personal dealing would appeal all the more to other hearts, Jews as well as Gentiles. “Whereas many undertook to draw up a narrative concerning the matters fully assured among us, even as they that from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having closely followed up from the outset all things accurately, to write to thee in regular order, most excellent Theophilus, that thou mightest fully know the certainty concerning accounts (words, or things), wherein thou wast instructed.” These words distinguish the statements of many, though founded on what eye-witnesses and ministers of the word delivered to us. For instead of referring Theophilus to what they had drawn up, he tells us that it seemed good to him also, as having followed closely all things from the very first (ἄνωθεν) and thus having thorough acquaintance of all, to write accurately to him in regular order, that he might fully know the certainty concerning accounts in which he was instructed. He does not, like a literary man, explain his sources or authorities. Far from saying that he compiled his Gospel from eyewitnesses as others had done, he simply avers his own careful perfect acquaintance with all from the outset, and his writing accurately and in order that the one addressed might fully know the certainty respecting the accounts wherein he was instructed. The narratives he refers to might be correct and interesting. But they could not give God's mind and specially as his who was inspired. Only instead of asserting inspiration, he like the other three leaves this to prove itself by its character. But unlike them he adds the loving desire of his heart to help his brother young in the truth in accordance with the spirit of his Gospel pre-eminently.
Many who had taken it in hand did not satisfy him; and therefore he wrote to supply the lack. But he goes into no details of his own work, unless to affirm its thoroughness and accuracy more than any did. Hypothesis is vain here. Far from apologizing for “imperfection,” all he says is to inspire perfect confidence, for which nothing can account to a believer but “a supernatural source.”
It is admitted that God did employ eye-witnesses, as for instance two such in Matthew and John as to their Gospels. But He employed two who were not, Mark and Luke; and who can deny that they are minute and graphic? Yet even in the case of the apostles themselves we find Him rising above eye-sight by divine power, according to the design He impressed on the particular writer or the book written, which quite overthrows the unbelieving theory. Take John 18 as the proof. John alone recounts the Lord's answer to the armed band that came to arrest Him, “I am [he];” which caused them to go backward and fall to the ground. Yet Matthew who beheld it says about so striking an event no more than Mark or Luke. It did not come within God's design for their Gospels, but distinctly for John, who accordingly attests it. On the other hand, John is totally silent on the same occasion as to the agony in Gethsemane, on which the other three dwell, though he alone was of the favored three whom the Lord took apart from the rest to be comparatively near in that hour of deep sorrow and bloody sweat. Yet it was given to Matthew, and even to Mark and Luke to record it, as dwelling not on His deity but His human sufferings in accordance with the design in each of their Gospels. But God is not really in the thoughts of these critics, but man; which incapacitates them from seeing the truth, as the Christian is entitled to do.
Then is repeated the wholly fanciful notion of “two writers” in the opening chapters of Genesis, and the absurd assumption that “the Hebrews” thus pictured the beginning of the world and the early history of man: a task immeasurably above the Higher Critics or any that ever lived without God's inspiration most absolutely; and the shameless invention that, even as to this, “borrowing their materials in some cases from popular tradition or belief, in others, directly or indirectly, from the distant East, they had breathed into them a new spirit, and constructed with their aid narratives replete with noble and deep truths respecting God and man;” etc., etc. How any with the fear of God could thus speak is past comprehension if one did not bear in mind the blinding, defiling, and deadly influence of skepticism. No doubt the history of Israel is rife with their readiness to depart from Jehovah and to adopt the loathsome idolatries of the nations, which the true prophets resisted till there was no remedy. But that the Bible denounces any such importations as the worst sin against the One True God is as plain as words can speak from Genesis to Malachi. In pp. 44-46 is nothing but human fancy and indifference to God's majesty and truth in the O.T. Nor can one conceive less moral feeling than to impute to the inspired word His breathing a new spirit of holiness and truth on narratives drawn from the lying productions from wicked and rebellious heathens and the unclean spirits which misled them. Compare Deut. 4; 7; 8; 12; 13; 15; 17; 29
“These things hast thou done, and I kept silence: thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes” (Ps. 1. 23).
(Continued from p. 15.)

Chair of St. Peter

Not a few of our readers, at all versed in Ecclesiastical History, will be gratified with this interesting brochure. It has all the more point, because it is confined to tracing the alleged chair of the apostle Peter, through its development from post-apostolic times, and the evidence of the catacombs, the change of its associations under Constantine the Great, its rise all the more on the fall of the Empire, its medimval ambition, till its impious claim of infallibility for the Pope in 1870. There is a very constant and copious illustration of striking photogravures, with befitting comment which draws out the scriptural proof that the Romanist symbolism unwittingly tells the tale of its own deepening departure from, and antagonism to, the word of God. Yet it appears from scripture that the end of the apostasy will exhibit the Beast, as, not the high-priest, but, as head of the revived Roman empire, and the False Prophet as the soidisant religious colleague reigning in the “glorious land,” both to be cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. It also appears from other scriptures that a wholly differing and opposed potentate the king of the North, or the Assyrian of the latter day, is destined to the same awful fate at a somewhat later epoch. See Isa. x. 12, xiv. 24-27, 30-33, Dan. 8:23-25; 11:40-45.

Scripture Queries and Answers: The Woman at Sychar

Q.-John 4 Was the woman at Sychar born again only? Is not this true of all saints from Abel downwards? Did she receive any living (ver. 10) source of refreshment for the heart beyond O.T. saints? W. H. T.
A.-She was born anew the day she met and believed on Christ, Who told her of the living power of the Holy Spirit to be given to her in due time. This nobody received till after redemption was accomplished, and Jesus was glorified on high.

Scripture Queries and Answers: The Apostles and Baptism

Q.-Why do we not read of the apostles being baptized with Christian baptism?
4.-It would be hazardous to undertake explaining why the apostles were not baptized with Christian baptism, though some or all may have had John's baptism; which Acts 19 proves not to be equivalent. But we can gather from it what a comfort the fact is to such as from a variety of circumstances had not been baptized duly, and did not feel it well or wise to go through the form after enjoying church fellowship forever so many years, when the initiatory sign of a Christian would have lost its meaning or conveyed a false one.

Scripture Queries and Answers: The Judgment Seat

Q.-Could you please inform me if there is a scripture which tells us exactly when and where the judgment seat will be? (2 Cor. 5:10)
A.-The great importance of the Bema of Christ is that every one in his own time and place shall be manifested and give account of the things done in the body. But saint or sinner will make a difference of moment. It appears to me that for the heavenly saints it will be above, just before the Marriage-supper of the Lamb, long after we are translated to heaven in sovereign grace, and just before we are manifested with Christ in glory. What else can be meant by the bride making herself ready? See Rev. 19:7, 8. Thus is the place of each determined for the Lord's appearing in His kingdom. Only in this passage is there such an apparent reference. And very beautiful and touching it is that it should only be then. For the wicked it will be before the great white throne in Rev. 20. This is judgment.

Scripture Queries and Answers: Gifts

Q.-Would you say the “gifts” (in Ephesians at least) are certain characteristics of Christ, to be displayed here on earth? X. Y. Z.
A.-Certainly, but from Him ascended on high, as the citation from Psa. 68 shows. This falls in with the character of the Epistle, not so much operations of the Spirit's power in the way of signs to man, as the gifts to the church of Christ's love who is in the heavenly places.

Scripture Queries and Answers: The Place of the Lord and the Saints in the Millennium

Q.-1 Thess. 4:17. What will be the actual place of the Lord and His heavenly saints during the Millennium? W. B.
A.-Without doubt, in the heavenlies, where even now we are blessed in Christ. But this does not hinder reigning over the earth in general, nor the striking fact of His standing on the Mount of Olives. The rent of the mountain, still undivided and a standing witness to what awaits fulfillment, will be part of His rescue of His people when hard pressed. But His standing again on the mount of Olives, whence He ascended to heaven, will be the clear witness of His peacefully possessing Himself de facto of all the earth, as the prophet tells us.

Scripture Queries and Answers: Relation Between Purging and the Government of the "Great House"

Q.-2 Tim. 2:21. What is the relation between the purging here mentioned, and the government of the “great house”? Were the vessels to honor to go out, refuse any longer to obey the rulers, and set up a government of their own? C. B. St. G.
A.-The evil predicted for the last days is such that the apostle speaks not of saints but of “men,” “having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof” (2 Tim. 3); and his direction to the faithful is, “from such turn away.” This was not to “go out” from the house of God but to be separate from the evil done in the Lord's name. It is in no way to leave God's house but due to Him; it is to depart from evil, but not to forsake the Christian profession. They were to have nothing to do with wicked rulers or wicked ruled. These alike were vessels to dishonor, and one is bound by the inspired word to purge oneself out from them (2 Tim. 2:21). If so, and not otherwise, one shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the Master's use, prepared for every good work. But there is to be no slight of fellowship: one is called to court and cleave to it with all that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
Thus indeed we are under all circumstances to obey God, certainly not to obey the rulers who disobey God. We are never to “set up a government of our own” (which is what almost all Christendom does, though in different ways), but fall back on that organization and rule which God established wand His word makes plain, as far as it is still existent. For it is clear that apostles were not permanent, though then inspired; and that they personally chose elders in every church, but left no provision for perpetuating them. But if we have not apostolic authority to choose regularly, we know what their desired qualities should be, and are bound to own such as are so far fit. Again, we have gifts, evangelists, pastors and teachers, which never depended on ordination, but only on Christ and His unfailing love for the church. So that there is no real ground for discouragement, though we need living faith.
To act on this scripture is the very reverse of schism; for schism means splitting what God sanctions. But God does not sanction going on with known vessels to dishonor in evil or error. On the contrary it is He who directs and sanctions our purging ourselves out, after that all right means fail, tried in vain to purge out those unworthy vessels. This is His answer to that difficulty, and as plain as it is righteous and orderly. His church is the last place to make a refuge for iniquity; and the Fathers proved their iniquity in making it so. It is not a direction to a Timothy or a Titus only. It is incumbent on every faithful soul who is sure of the dishonor done to God: ἐὰν οὖν τις, “if any one therefore purge,” etc. This is surely unanswerably certain.
We are still bound to own the one body, and disown the denominations of men. And as the Lord makes the duty obligatory to quit a fellowship where evil is allowed and refused to be dealt with according to God's word, so He has given in Matt. 18:20 the precious resource in the constitutive principle with which the church began: “where two or three are gathered together unto (εἰς) My Name,” (not Episcopalianism, Presbyterianism, Congregationalism, or any other sectarian system) “there I am in the midst.” And this precious principle assures us of the same sufficient and all-worthy and efficacious center for all saints to the end. He is worthy, the one Head of the one body, whatever the members may do; and the one Spirit abides to give it living power where there is faith to act on the word of His grace. To remain in the evil condemned is to rebel against God's word, and set one part of His word against another. Is not this evident?

Scripture Queries and Answers: Revelation 3:9

Q.-Rev. 3:9. What is meant by “those who say that they are Jews, and are not but do lie?” and what by their homage before the representative of the church in Philadelphia?” S. Y.
A.-It is a synagogue of Satan, as we are told here and in chap. 2:9. The existence of a party among the professors of Christ, who abandon walking in the Spirit, and take the judaized position of antiquity, historical continuance, saving ordinances, and priestly order. As a matter of fact this was openly advanced in the second and third centuries when heathen persecutions also raged; and it broke out afresh in the nineteenth century not only for Great Britain and her Colonies but the United States of America, Germany, Holland, &c. It was Satan's effort, when it began; and it was realized afresh when God's grace was recalling the faithful to Christianity and the Church in their true and heavenly character as in the Spirit. But even those so misled are compelled to feel and own that, as far as man can judge, the love of Christ rests on those who utterly deny this retrogradisin from heavenly relationships to “the weak and beggarly elements” which dominate them. The grace and truth which came through Christ are as far as possible from fine buildings, fine music, and fine sermons. For we are not of the world, but above it, and go along with His reproach. How far and in what way the adversaries shall come to do homage, it is not for us to say. Even now the most prejudiced feel in their conscience who they are that have His word and His love abiding in them.

Scripture Query and Answer: Seventh-Day Adventists

Q.- What is the chief error (or errors) of the Seventh Day Adventists? I believe they teach annihilation of souls. A. Y,
A.-They used to be called Millerites, the leader being bold enough to set a certain day for the Lord's coming in 1844, which of course was untrue. Now, if numerous, they are in various portions, rejecters of all the truth of Christianity. Their new name proclaims this really for them all. For as the sabbath or seventh day was under the law a sign between Jehovah and Israel, and the memorial of the old creation, the Lord's day or first day is characteristic of grace and the new creation. They are therefore stamped on their own profession as men that say they are Jews, and are not, but lie. Turning their back on the faith, they make themselves debtors to the law which condemns all that fail, and especially apostates from Christianity. No wonder that they deny the heavenly hope, hold the soul's sleep or its extinction, and look for resurrection (if at all) for the earth, when only eternal life is given, with no more than a promise now. But many deny the Lord's deity, etc. They are not entitled to the name of Christians in any real sense. The Salvation Army are beyond the line of destruction, but only borderers. To leave them for the S. D. A. is an awful step backward.


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Joseph: 21. Meets Jacob

Gen. 46:28-34
Now then the father was to meet the cherished but long-separated son; and his brethren also were to be settled in Egypt through the loving care of him whom they in their hatred had sold to be carried there. Not one of them probably had ever till now expected to meet there, not even Joseph. But God had spoken long before what was just beginning to be accomplished, with much to follow, which may before have not engaged their attention. It was a prophecy, all the more vaguely remembered because it was not yet written as in Gen. 15: a great favor to be spoken at all, a greater still to be read in the written word long after it was uttered in God's grace.
“And he sent Judah before him to Joseph, to give notice before he came to Goshen. And they came into the land of Goshen. Then Joseph got ready (yoked) his chariot and went up to meet Israel his father, to Goshen; and he presented himself to him, and he fell on his neck, and wept on his neck a good while. And Israel said to Joseph, This time let me die, since I have seen thy face, that thou livest. And Joseph said to his brethren and to his father's house, I will go up and tell Pharaoh and say to him, My brethren and my father's house, who [were] in the land of Canaan, are come to me; and the men [are] shepherds, for they are men of cattle; and they have brought their sheep and their cattle, and all that they have. And it shall come to pass that when Pharaoh shall call you and say, What [is] your occupation? then ye shall say, Thy servants are men of cattle from our youth even till now, both we and our fathers; in order that ye may dwell in the land of Goshen, for every shepherd is an abomination to the Egyptians” (vers. 28-34).
Civilization was not what characterized the fathers, as it did the line of Cain in the antediluvian earth, and Egypt and Asshur and Babylon, to say nothing of others, after the deluge. But there was a dignity that accompanies the fear of God which is far better than any such worldly gloss, however pleasant to fallen nature. We see the pious sense of propriety as in Abraham and Isaac, here too of Jacob in sending Judah before him to Joseph to give good notice of his own coming to Goshen. Again, we may notice the faith and wisdom of Joseph who had already in chap. 45:10 sent the message as to Goshen, before he had said a word to Pharaoh. It was the outlying part of Egypt, where they could retain their old occupation best, and were least exposed to the idolatrous and moral corruptions of that land. Into Goshen accordingly they came. And Joseph on his part got ready his chariot and went there to meet Israel his father; and on presenting himself he fell on his neck and wept on it a good while. The affection was great on both sides, and Israel said to Joseph, Now (or, This time) let me die, since I have seen thy face, because thou yet livest. Worldly splendor had not weakened that love which knit father and son together in the promised land.
But we also may remark the prudent administrator in his words to his brethren, “I will go up and tell Pharaoh, and say to him, My brethren and my father's house, who [were] in the land of Canaan, are come to me. And the men [are] shepherds, for they are men of cattle; and they have brought their sheep and their cattle, and all that they have. And it shall come to pass when Pharaoh shall call you and shall say, What is your occupation? then ye shall say, Thy servants are men of cattle from our youth even till now, both we and our fathers; in order that ye may dwell in the land of Goshen.” Two things made this advice acceptable to the king, and even his people. For Pharaoh had already, as is stated in chap. 45 declared his wish to give them the good of the land of Egypt, that they might eat the fat of the land (vers. 18-20). And as “every shepherd [is] an abomination to the Egyptians,” there would not be the least objection to Israel's settling to this occupation on land most favorable to it, and from its site one farthest off from meeting their eyes day by day. Thus Joseph was enabled to advise his brethren from the start, so as to live where it was best for them, and least offensive to the Egyptians.

Exodus: the Burning but Unconsumed Bramble

Ex. 3:1-5
The moment so long desired by Moses came. The term, however considerable, of learning the wisdom of the Egyptians did not accomplish it; and an equal length in the desert for unlearning must as it were run out before God gave him the effectual call.
“And Moses tended the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock behind the wilderness, and came to the mountain of God, to Horeb. And the Angel of Jehovah appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bramble; and he looked and behold, the bramble burned with fire, and the bramble was not consumed. And Moses said, Let me now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bramble is not burnt. And Jehovah saw that he turned aside to see, and God called to him out of the midst of the bramble, and said, Moses, Moses! And he said, here [am] I. And he said, Draw not nigh hither; loose thy sandals from off thy feet; for the place, whereon thou standest is holy ground” (vers. 1-5).
There had been significant tokens of the divine ways at great crises vouchsafed by God from the beginning. What more solemn than that which closed paradise to the disobedient pair, from whom the fallen race was to spring? A bad conscience led them to hide themselves from Him who had surrounded them with nothing but good, before He “drove out the man”; and the race thenceforward is by nature in exile from the garden of delights. Cherubim proclaimed God's rights and made re-entrance into Adam's paradise impossible. Innocence once gone is irreparable. Yet God's grace cannot fail in the Second man, the bruised Bruiser of the old serpent, held out to all that believe even before the guilty were expelled.
Again, when the post-diluvian earth began, and Noah offered to Jehovah his burnt-offerings of every clean beast and every clean fowl, so that all should stand on sacrifice, God (Elohim), for this was the right word in each case, set His bow in the cloud, as the token that a deluge of such destruction should never again destroy all flesh.
Further, when Jehovah pledged Himself to childless Abram in Gen. 15 to make his seed numberless as the stars, not only were special sacrifices prescribed, but a deep sleep and horror of darkness fell on the patriarch, and at sunset a smoking furnace and a burning lamp passed to his vision between the divided animals as they lay slain: the sign of affliction and service to befall his seed before they should enter the promised land.
It was fitting that there should be given now to Moses with his commission a suited sign. And can any be conceived so meet for the deliverer to see as this great sight when he led the flock of Jethro behind an intervening wilderness, and came to what is significantly called “the mountain of God.” It was the precisely significant mark of Israel under the covenant of law, utterly failing yet not destroyed. “For I am Jehovah, I change not: therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed” (Mal. 3:6). The law given through Moses they presumed to obey, forgetting God's promises to the fathers, which Jehovah never forgot. Spite of their self-confidence, the bramble-bush went on burning, but unconsumed, because He, the Eternal, had promised. And they remain still insensible to their real state and its cause. For they in every way broke the first covenant and added to that sin, for which they were led captive to Babylon, the still worse sin of the returned remnant in rejecting the Messiah, even to the death of the cross, and were scattered by the Romans as they remain to this day, as indicated by Isaiah the prophet.
Even when there shall be a future righteous remnant repenting of all their sins and unbelief, the mass or “the many” as Daniel calls the apostate Jews, by compact with the Roman Beast will strive to set up the nation as Jehovah's people and their lawless king in the land (Dan. 11:36, etc.). But Jehovah will come, as Isaiah says (66:15, 16), “with fire and with his chariots like a whirlwind to render his anger with fury and his rebuke with flames of fire. For by fire and by his sword will Jehovah plead with all flesh, and the slain of Jehovah shall be many.” Such will be the return of the Lord Jesus when He takes up again His ancient people, and deals with the enemies, Jewish or Gentile. Hence it essentially differs from what Moses saw to encourage him then, though there is the common principle that God's judgment of evil is ever unsparing; and privilege is vainly pleaded, either by Judaism or by Christendom, on behalf of their iniquities.
Here Jehovah manifests Himself as judge of evil in Israel who shall be sustained because of what He is to them, and in no way for their deserts: a greater fact than its wondrous sign. “And God,” the Supreme, “called to Moses out of the midst of the bramble, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here [am] I. And he said, Draw not nigh hither; loose thy sandals from off thy feet; for the place whereon thou standest [is] holy ground.” His presence is the true power of sanctification. Forms He could and did use under the law, in tabernacle and temple. But He Himself is more than any or all. What a support for Moses in going in to Pharaoh, and in leading His people out, and bearing their frowardness in the wilderness where all perished save the two witnesses, Joshua and Caleb, yet Israel remained unconsumed to enter the land in the generation to come.

Proverbs 27:1-6

The group of counsels before us is leveled at self-confidence, which takes the place of dependence on God, the first principle of the life of faith which the enemy seeks to annul whether for earth, in Messiah's kingdom by and by, or for heaven as with Christians. Yet we need also to be on guard against folly and ill feeling, and to welcome the plain truth as real kindness.
“Boast not thyself of to-morrow, for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.
Let another praise thee and not thine own mouth, a stranger and not thine own lips.
A stone [is] heavy and the sand weighty; but a fool's vexation [is] heavier than them both.
Wrath [is] cruel, and anger outrageous; but who [is] able to stand before jealousy?
Open rebuke [is] better than hidden love. Faithful [are] a friend's wounds; but an enemy's kisses are profuse” (vers. 1-6).
Very vivid is the word in James 4:13-16 in its appeal to beware of similar boasting. “Go to now ye that say, To-day and to-morrow we will go into this city and spend a year there, and trade and make gain, ye that know not what [shall be] on the morrow. What [is] your life? For ye are a vapor, appearing for a little while, and then vanishing away; instead of your saying, If the Lord will, and we live, we shall also do this or that. But now ye glory in your boastings: all such glorying is evil.” In these moral matters both the O.T. and the N. bring in the Lord to judge and displace self.
Then again the O.T. saint knew quite enough of his failure and of his need of sovereign grace to banish high thoughts of himself, and to attribute every right word to God. How inconsistent to sound his own praise! how becoming to be silent as to any good on his part. If a stranger praised him, it was more than he deserved. Here too the N.T. reveals the truth more deeply in Christ for lowliness of mind, esteeming one another as more excellent than ourselves, not as a sentiment but as a living truth of faith.
There is however the other side to try our hearts. We can not, ought not to regard “a fool's vexation” with complacency, but feel its grievous impropriety. “A stone is heavy, and the sand weighty,” little as its particles be. But that, groundless as it is, exceeds both in its dead weight and intolerable unbecomingness.
Nor has one to face before God such frivolous complaints only, but also the cruelty of wrath and the outrageousness of anger; for surely the sun ought not to set on either outburst or reserve in this way. But there is another evil feeling still more unworthy and dangerous: “Who is able to stand before jealousy?” Let us look up for grace to value anything good in another, and the more if conscious that we claim not that particular good ourselves. To allow jealousy in ourselves, or to let others insinuate it, is to give room to the great enemy.
It is the property of real love, to prove its activity: if it abide hidden when called to speak or work according to the heart, it betrays self rather than true affection. Even if there be a faultiness, love is bound to give “open rebuke.” Indifference passes for much in this world, but it is the reverse of love, and cares for self, when it hides to spare danger and yet pretends affection.
A friend's wounds, on the contrary, are faithful, for God's will is thus done, even though misunderstood and resented for a while. An enemy betrays himself by the very profuseness of his kisses. God is not in such a display, but too often no more than partizanship in a human cause.

Thoughts on Luke 7:36-50

ONE hardly expects to say anything new in meditating on this most touching incident. As so often in this Gospel, and as the aged Simeon predicted (2:35), the thoughts of many hearts are revealed here, as they come in contact with Him who was set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel. We mark the contrition and devotion of the woman that was a sinner, the supercilious insolence of Simon, the coarse unbelief of his guests. But the believer marks the grave and gracious attitude of the Savior; His thoughts too, thoughts of love and pity, are revealed as He reveals God and man. And how vividly the whole picture stands out, characterized as it is by matchless simplicity and directness. Every word tells, none is superfluous. It was such trials as these, so numerous in this Gospel, that led the apostate French professor to call it (in words I have recently quoted, but may be pardoned for quoting again) “the most beautiful book in existence.” He should have asked himself, how it came about, if this book was written by man's mind and skill, that it so transcends all that was ever written by the greatest masters of style. Other learned critics have been similarly eulogistic over the Epistle to Philemon. How comes it, that, judged thereby as a noble specimen of epistolary composition, this letter is placed by men with no bias in favor of Christianity above all that the Platos and Ciceros Plinys and Senecas ever wrote? The Christian has a ready and satisfactory answer. The Gospel of Luke and the Epistle to Philemon were written by men, not only born of God, as are all true believers, and bringing forth the “fruit of the Spirit;” but they were (how precisely brought about man does not comprehend—the fact is the great thing) guided and controlled by the Holy Ghost. It was so with the O. T. Scriptures; (2 Peter 1:21), surely not less with the N. T. And we may rest assured that there was a gracious guidance as to what should be received into, what excluded from, the sacred canon. Hence the spiritual mind feels no surprise—at least not in this sense, though we may well be filled with praise, when we contemplate the grace of the Son of God. For no less was He whom the proud Pharisee had received so churlishly, giving him no water for His feet, no oil for His head, nor the kiss that in those days was the token of cordial welcome.
And the Lord, at the due moment, does not fail to bring home to Simon his gross incivility. The thrice repeated contrast that He draws between the Pharisee's neglect and the woman's loving service is strikingly emphasized by the “but she,” “but this woman” (twice said) of the Savior's dignified and searching reply. No making light of what she had been; nay, the Lord speaks of “her sins, her many sins” (for such is the more literal rendering). But she loved much, because she repented deeply, and so she hears the precious words of absolute forgiveness. O highly favored woman, thou also, to whom was granted to hear such comfortable words from the lips of the Incarnate God the True Light! Yet all who believe without seeing are still more blessed.
Remark next that the Lord does not add, as elsewhere He did the warning,” Go and sin no more,”
In the case of her who ventured into Simon's house the work in her soul was real and profound. Hence contrariwise she is bidden to “go in peace.” We can recollect other cases, where there was little or no spiritual exercise, when the word of warning was needed. How suitable to the occasion ever were the words of our Lord! Now the Spirit of Jehovah was upon Him to heal the brokenhearted; but what of Simon? He was not even of those who love little. Self-satisfied and self-righteous, he doubtless regarded himself as having little or nothing to confess—certainly nothing to the Teacher from despised Galilee, whom for some fancy of his own he had patronizingly desired to eat with him. We can imagine the loathing with which he would shrink from the woman who had been such a disreputable character—he who, like his fraternity, affected to regard all women with contempt. No, he did not love even a little; but probably hated a great deal. True it is that every repentant soul should love much, and will love in proportion to the sense of God's holiness and his own sins. No doubt that sense is deeper in some than in others; perhaps deeper in ardent natures that have gone far astray; but which, realizing their terrible guilt, love with more fervent and passionate love. But deepest of all in such a one as Saul of Tarsus, so conscientious whilst unconverted, so deeply self-judging and devoted when he heard the Lord's voice, saw His glory and believed in His grace.
Yet, self-satisfied and proud and dark as he was, Simon, we may note, uses the courteous appellative “Master,” or rather “Teacher.” There must have been something in our Lord's manner that compelled respect, and that from the indifferent as well as from His friends. Compare “The Master is come, and calleth for thee” (John 11:28). It is not necessary with Jerome to suppose that there was “something starry” in the blessed Lord's aspect, but still less do I sympathize with those, who, giving a too external meaning to certain passages in the prophets, would infer there was something—the reverse. But that indefinable effluence that men habitually feel in the presence of such as are not spiritually, but even intellectually and morally (I say not intellectually alone) above the mass, must, a fortiori, have been found in the Savior. And so we learn that while Simon used the term “Teacher,” Christ addresses him as “Simon.” To address people by their simple name, indeed was the universal custom even between men of diverse social position; even slaves so addressed their masters. People were more simple then in many ways. At any rate Simon's outward courtesy in this respect (though in this only) is noticeable.
I suppose few now would contend for an identification of this scene with that recorded in Matt. 26, Mark 14, and John 12. The fact is, that while there are close points of resemblance, others are quite incompatible with identity; that this incident in Luke 7 took place early in the Lord's ministry is corroborated by the probability that later on no Pharisee would have cared to incur the censure of his fellows by inviting One against whom they had become so bitter. Also on the latter occasion our Lord was evidently among friends; here He was in the presence of thinly disguised hostility in all, save the woman in whom the Holy Spirit had so wonderfully wrought. And, as has been well said, the same grace that saved her drew a veil over her name. It was enough to record that one who had sinned greatly had been made a signal monument of God's grace.
R. B.

The Last Hour

It is important for our souls to have sound and scriptural judgment of the time through which we are passing. We can have no hesitation in taking up the apostle's word and saying with renewed emphasis, “It is the (or, a) last time (hour).” It was so in principle then; it is immensely developed since, nothing less but a vast deal more. Now one peculiar feature of the evil with which we have to do, and through the midst of which we are passing is that the fairest forms are thrown as a veil over the foulest evil. This it is that deceives even true children of God. Babylon has not only the purple robe and the golden cup in her hand; she is also arrayed in fine linen. There is the appearance if not the reality of the righteousnesses of saints. No doubt she wears also gaudy splendor of the world; in these she revels, these alone she values. Practical righteousness here or there is but an accident of grace, and used as a decoy for those who are foolish pared the way by inciting good men to sanction evil things. The prevalence of “many antichrists” shows that His name was, even in apostolic times, made the cloak for thoughts and ways the most opposed to Himself. The devil could do nothing to destroy Christianity without attaching the Lord's name to his evil plans.
Even before the apostles disappeared how marked the change! Worldliness and the world, under the name of the Lord Christ! This laxity became a great snare for both Christians and the world. Christian professors were already too easily beguiled to countenance plausible lies of the enemy: for deadly heterodoxy may outwardly sound very like blessed truth. Thus sincere believers are often misled for a while, and those who have only a mental acquaintance with the truth are drawn away to take license from such sanction as theirs.
The Lord grant that we may feel deeply what a solemn importance attaches to Christ and the truth! What will the world think of you who profess to know better? What pleasure can Christ find in you, if you relax your protest and grudge your separation to Himself? if you grow careless and begin to allow evil you once felt in this or that? May grace make us lowly, yet earnest, not in a spirit of bondage or of petty fault-finding with others but in being true to the Lord Jesus who has been so true to us. We are told here that Antichrist is coming, but at the same time “even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last hour.” We must beware therefore of evils on every side, and of evil particularly done under the name of Christ—that is antichrist. It may be utterly to destroy the Christ of God, but an antichrist can do nothing but oppose the name of Him.
Finally we are told in what consists the great evil of the latter days: it is in this—a denial of all revealed truth of Christ. “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ?” But this is not the full character of Antichrist. It was what the Old Testament prepared us for; it pointed to the promised One Jesus, and showed that He was the true Messiah, the Anointed of God. But the New Testament shows that He was not only the Messiah but the Son revealing the Father. That Jesus is the Christ is the great answer to all Jewish expectations, such as the Old Testament would form. But that Jesus is not only the Christ but the Son of the Father is the grand truth of the New Testament. Whatever tends to supplant and overthrow the truth of the New Testament will assuredly bring in antichrist. “He is antichrist that denieth the Father and the Son.”
And this is what things are rapidly hastening to. It comes now to be a sanctioned thing that men may teach doctrine that undermines both Old and New Testaments. Even those who are in the highest position ecclesiastically lay it down that there is nothing in such speculations contrary to sound doctrine! What then since this Epistle was written can be more calculated to fill one with concern than that which is now avowed by those accredited as Christian men to speak with authority?
Truly do we need to be “kept by God's power, through faith.” Let us own that these are solemn words to ourselves; for this extreme evil is a thing floating in the air. Doubt of God and confidence in man prevail. It is not confined to a few individuals here and there; “even now are there many antichrists.” It is by their frequency that we know it is the “last hour” however long its continuance from the apostle's day.
The Lord keep us, not so much occupied with the evil, but cleaving to the good in Himself, entering more and more into the truth that God has revealed in Him. This is the surest preservative where it is coupled with a good conscience and a devoted heart. “As for you, let that abide in you which ye heard from the beginning. If that which ye heard from the beginning abide in you, ye also shall abide in the Son and in the Father.”

The Church and Churches: Part 2

Let us see the effect of this membership of a church, not in the Babel of sects great and small, but upon one so earnest and confident of his fidelity to scripture as Mr. H., shared by his associates now as from their beginning. “Joining oneself to a company of disciples called a church” is unknown to God's word, and purely human. He connects responsibility with this false membership, because man has to do with it, instead of the far deeper responsibility of our relationship to God and His Son, all the more as it was sovereign grace in its highest form. Now it is vain to talk about grace, if we offend against immutable morality. But even if fairly right here, scripture insists on what is due from us according to the grace given and our new relationship both as Christians and in the church of God as a whole. Nothing is more ruinous than to overlook or enfeeble our responsibility in this large and lofty respect, because the privileges are so transcendent.
Take his treatment of Matt. 18 (pp. 10-12). The action is in a local assembly, but it, if done in obedience, is not a binding or loosing there only: heaven itself sanctions this issue. Could any thought or word lift it more above mere locality? Yet the utmost violence is offered to dislocate the context in ver. 19 into a parenthesis, instead of the plain and sure fact that the Lord welds together, not only discipline but prayer, under the comprehensive assurance of His presence in the midst of but “two or three” if gathered together unto His name. The prayer of the agreeing has this invaluable privilege as truly as the rest, but even this is frittered away into individuality. When he says that “two of you” is the same word (or, construction) as in 7:9, and can only be fully expressed by “from among,” he is directly opposed to the truth; for this depends on ἐκ in the earlier chapter, which is wholly wanting in the later text. Either he did not consult the Greek Testament or he was quite ignorant of the language. Certainly the statement is inexcusably wrong.
In 1 Cor. 12:27 “body of Christ” means Christ's body representatively, but not separately from the church, just answering to the opening words of chap i. and demolishing the error of an independent assembly (p. 13).
The true rendering in Acts 20:28 is also important, not “over which” but “wherein” or “in which,” a quite different sense.
A perversion of the true text in Acts 9:31 (p. 32) is due to the impossibility of squaring a local church membership with scripture, “the church throughout all Judaea, and Galilee, and Samaria.” This he makes out to be “the Church of Jerusalem!” preserving its local character even when scattered far away. But it is also quite an error that joining himself to the disciples in Jerusalem was Saul's wish to “join a church.” They did not yet know that he was “a disciple.”
It was simply that Barnabas removed a false impression.
The church was God's organization and prevailed everywhere in apostolic days. Churches afterward organized in opposition to Him and to each other. Those who cleave to God's way eschew man's instead of “forming a federation,” as with some who do not believe in the one body here below, any departure from which is independency.
It is true however that the anomalous state of Christ's members leads too often to anomalies of expression. The welcome, as things are, of a godly believer to partake of the Lord's Supper (the special sign of church fellowship) involves the discipline proper to God's house, and should not be extended to any who opposed the teaching or fellowship of the apostles, simple as it was at Pentecost, or the prayers. The rules afterward added, when faith was no longer living in the Holy Spirit's presence and free action in the assembly, and in ministry were as unknown as joining a church. Further, it is quite true that “putting out” in scripture means removing the wicked person not only from the Lord's Table or Supper but “from among yourselves,” and this because they were Christ's representatively, and valid as done in His name, wherever the church existed.
The last of these wrestings of scripture at which we look, flowing from the error of reception into a church, is the misuse of 1 Tim. 3:14, 15 (pp. 46, 47). It seems incredible that any simple-hearted Christian could construe such words of the apostle into the narrow circle of a local assembly. The absence of the article on which he relies in no way warrants such an inference, but is required being a predicate, though applied to the church wherever it may be. No one questions that every true assembly represents it locally. But here the church is viewed in its unity as a whole, and the exhortation applies to Ephesus no more than to any other place, subject to and witnessing the revelation of God. Narrowing such words to a local assembly is the natural result of being carried away by a human idea which has no countenance in scripture, and is occupied with its own little sphere, instead of reading our obligations in all the light and height and breadth of God's mind.
But we must also point out the effect of the same system as to Elders or overseers. Now the apostles had a function of authority specially attached to their position as we can see in both the Acts and the Epistles. They could locally appoint, not only deacons for outward service, but elders in a particular church or city. See Acts 6:3; 14:23. They were competent to act indirectly by a delegate, where they could not themselves go, as we see in Titus 1:5. Never was this left to the church; nor could any one undertake the task save as definitely prescribed by an apostle. Hence the marked difference between “the gifts” for exercise in the body of Christ, wherever it might be, and those local charges, which required to be established by an apostle or his delegates for the occasion. As neither did or could go everywhere, scripture provides an invaluable resource for days in which we have neither apostle nor his definitely commissioned delegate; Rom. 12:8, 9; 1 Cor. 16:15, 16; 1 Thess. 5:12, 13; Heb. 13:17. These were not said to be elders; but they were important men who had qualities fitting for eldership; and they were to be obeyed, and highly esteemed for their work's sake. This fully applies when there exists not the legitimate authority to nominate officially, as soon and now.
But unbelief is perverse, and calls for elders when their full title fails, while it dishonors gifts which the grace of the Lord does not fail to give. All true ministry is the exercise of gift. But as the truth of the church's unity on earth is no less lost and denied, we cannot wonder that so it is as to both gifts and elders. Mr. H. assumes eldership like the rest of Christendom where all is confusion, with the utmost pretension of being rich and having need of nothing, where it is wrecked as a living witness even of grace and truth, as well as of unity and order, as He set it up. Nor could any Christian show his lack of discernment more than this tract exposes in p. 7, that while most believers of intelligence know what the church, Christ's body, means, there seems to be the utmost confusion in regard to “the churches"! The reason why Christians are wrong as to the churches is because they and Mr. H. are utterly wrong as to the church, and make it compatible with independent churches. No doubt he is right enough in pointing out the spuriousness of the denominational language, as indicating ignorance of both the church and the churches; but he never suspects his own errors.
None that holds the church doubts of local churches. It is a necessity for men living, but only a circumstantial necessity. But the essential truth lies in “the” church. One is welcomed locally as being of God's church. Its unity was manifested wherever saints were gathered to Christ's name. It was a true church as truly representing the Church. “But now God set the members each one in the body.” No such thing is said of a local church.
No possible terms could more subvert the truth of the church than those Mr. H. employs in p. 7 “They had joined themselves to a company of disciples, called a church, and that church had received them to form part of itself. They had not made themselves a part of the whole church of God. God had done that when He saved them. Neither had the whole church of God received them; but the church that they had joined themselves to had received them, and all the privileges and responsibilities of that God-ordained fellowship became theirs.”
This is at bottom the general error of Christendom, not only of the larger corporations of Romanists and Greeks, but of Presbyterians, Congregationalists (Independents and Baptists), and Methodists. One joins a company called a church, to form part of itself. But this is wholly unknown to scripture, which knows nothing of a local church membership, but solely of the church, Christ's body. By receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit, sealing us as believers in the gospel of salvation, we become members of Christ and one of another, members of the one body. Romanism had darkened all the truth; and the Reformation was no recovery of the church, but of the Bible to learn how to be justified, and to escape the yoke of a human priesthood and perverted ordinances. Afterward, not only bad men broke more freely into delusions, but good men into ever increasing denominations of their own members, their own doctrines, alas! too, of their own politics.
What we have learned from God is that we ought to feel deeply the church's ruin as God's witness, shattered as it is, and in every way in departure from God's mind, glorying in man instead of being in the dust as to ourselves. The truth of the church taught of God would have kept us from the least pretension to set the church up again, or to imitate what the apostles alone did. But if we have sought to humble ourselves as having taken part ignorantly in this scene of ruin and owning our responsibility before God for the dishonor of His name, we have found that His word provides for this very state of disorder, as for instance in 2 Tim. 2; 3; 4 When leaven is allowed and covered up, when evil, doctrinal or practical, is sanctioned under the Lord's name, and scripture is perverted to excuse error, what is to be done?
God did not leave it to the saint's heart and conscience only, He revealed His own remedy. If after all godly effort to purge it is vain, I must at all cost purge myself out. Thus He arms the soul which might have trembled under fear of schism, or charge of pride, or of despising the excellent. But the Lord is nearer and far more than all, and the word is, “Let every one that nameth the Lord's name depart from iniquity.” Now if assured that I am bound up as I am with irremediable iniquity, am I not to obey? It is all the worse if it be in the house of God: why it should be thus bound, and why saints are not troubled by it, one can leave to the Lord who knows them that are His; but I cannot shirk my own obligation in His name to depart from iniquity.
But this is far from all. He instructs us that “in a great house are not only gold and silver vessels, but also wooden and earthen, and some to honor and some to dishonor.” To a state so contrasted with the primitive church things were coming! What then is one called to do? “If therefore one purge himself from these (“the vessels to dishonor”), he shall be a vessel to honor, sanctified, meet for the Master's use, prepared for every good work.” What an encouragement to cherish a good conscience in the face of fears and frowns!
Am I to dread being left isolated and shut out from the blessed privileges of Christ's body? I am told to flee, like the one addressed, youthful lusts (for Timothy even was comparatively young), and to pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace “with those that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” We are entitled to expect fellowship according to God, if we have faith for His glory.
(Continued from p. 23).

2 Peter 3:5-6

WE have seen that the Holy Spirit lets us know one special trait of philosophic unbelief at the end of the days of nominal Christianity. Mockers with mocking, proceeding according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of his coming? for from the day that the fathers fell asleep all things continue thus from creation's beginning.”
It is not true. “For this escapeth their notice willingly, that by the word of God heavens were of old, and an earth having its subsistence out of water and through water; by which [waters] the then world being overflowed with water perished” (vers. 5, 6). It is barefaced materialism which the light of Christ ought to have dispelled. Rather did the proclamation of grace encourage these unbelieving speculators to deny that judgment is imminent for living man upon the earth. The Jews were much less incredulous as to it than the nations, and themselves secured as being the seed of Abraham. Blind to their own sins, their prejudices conspired to read clearly what the Prophets wrote on the downfall of the world in general. Yet the Lord had already reversed all thought of immunity for the ungodly, whether Jew or Gentile. He had declared the universality of the judgment which He Himself would inflict on the quick. For it is quite distinct from the judgment which awaits all the unbelieving dead whom He will raise for the purpose at the end of His world-kingdom. But the imminence of the judgment on the quick Christendom has ever been too ready to put off, if not disbelieve, whatever the common creeds may say: what we wish, not we readily forget.
The Lord had done more. In His great prophetic discourse on the Mount of Olives He had compared this very judgment of the quick to the days of the deluge.
“Watch therefore; for ye know not on what day your Lord doth come.” It may be urged that He has the judgment of the Jews particularly before Him in these words, which manifestly apply not to the Roman siege of Jerusalem any more than to the judgment of the wicked in Rev. 19. But in Luke 17:29, and following verses, He refers to the days of Lot also, and thus gives it a bearing on the Gentiles too. Again in Luke 21:25-35 He directly refers to the Gentiles also. For which reason He speaks not only of “the fig-tree” but of “all the trees,” and declares that “as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.”
The stability of the earth therefore is a vain defense, even according to their own acquaintance with the known geologic facts from the time that the earth was first brought into being. There is abundant evidence to prove that it has passed through many phases of destruction, followed by renewal in the wise ways of God before man existed, and, in general, progressive in character. But when the earth was made in due time the suited sphere for Adam and his race, moral considerations entered. Not only did the earth become corrupt and filled with violence, but a new violation of all order was perpetrated as in Gen. 6:1, 2, most abhorrent to God and deeper than any natural depravation, which was the immediate occasion of the deluge. Did these men, wise in their own eyes, never hear of the deluge? Hardly a country on earth but has traditions, more or less true, of that solemn dealing with the whole habitable earth, while God preserved in an ark Noah and his family, as well as of the lower creatures which otherwise had perished in the waters. They are therefore without excuse, for what else than the fact could give rise to a tradition so universal among the races of mankind, North, South, East and West? On their own ground it is irrational to pay no heed to an historical tradition which, though different in shape, was alike in substance over the world, that all things did not remain thus from creation's beginning. Yet those who find pleasure in slighting God's word are generally apt to respect relics of the past which have prevailed everywhere.
How then can we account for this slight of so general a report among all the races of men? It is willful ignorance. “For this willingly escapeth their notice that heavens were of old and an earth having its subsistence out of water and through water by the word of God; by means of which [waters] the then world being overflowed with water perished.” Here we have inspired scripture to set every doubt at rest for those that fear God. The stupendous fact is briefly attested to, the universal destruction of guilty man by the deluge, and this stripped of any local vanity, or of other human accessories; the moral fact is left in all its solemnity. In 1 Peter 3 much is made of the exceptional salvation effected by the ark which Noah was prophetically instructed to make; and this is also referred to in 2 Peter 2:5. Here too the catastrophe is cited to overthrow the alleged stability of nature.
But the passage before us is by some applied only to the earth's primeval constitution, by others to the deluge. It is plain enough that the apostle looks successively at each. The All-wise God had so constituted it in case of need; and as the apostasy of the race required the drastic remedy, He applied it to destroy the old world. Could unbelief be more suicidal than to presume on its impossibility?
Notice the stress laid on the word of God here. The natural system must bend to His will. The fixed laws which even His enemies set up to block Him out of sight and hearing have over and over again bowed to His word, not only in a small sphere but on the largest scale. It may repent Him of His work, when it rebels against Him and He interferes to reprove, punish and destroy. But His word He exalts above all His name. It is the expression of His mind, purpose and love, as well as His majesty in judgment.

The Higher Criticism: Part 3

III. The Permanent Religious Value of The O.T.
(Continued from p. 29).
THE closing paper is, like the second, by Prof. Driver, D.D.
The less may here be said because it has been already reviewed briefly when it appeared in the Interpreter for January, 1905.
In pp. 51-56 Dr. D. lays down that the “first and primary claim, then, to permanent and religious value which the O. T. possesses, consists in the surprisingly lofty and elevated conceptions of God which prevail in it,” more than can “be found in any other literature, save only in that of the N. T.” But no such elevated conceptions can long bear the strain put upon the O. T. if it fails in real truth, and is only “an accommodation to the immature stage of religious belief,” coloring the narratives and even the prophecies with “particularistic features” unworthy of God. Here he begins with the “imperfect” and even “false” (!) science of Genesis. How can godly souls regard such an unholy alliance as emanating from God Himself? Where science might come in for describing the great geologic successions, there is silence. God left this to man to find out as he has done, in a general way at least. In the first two verses we have the principle of God creating, and then of a chaos that followed. Some of the best informed experts have given excellent reasons for inferring that these changes in the crust of the earth have recurred some twenty-nine or thirty times, of great moment for the race that was to be, and demanding great differences as well as almost equally indispensable destructions, from which man was to derive profit as he discovered the rich provision made for him, and more or less laid bare by the violent upheavals which occurred from time to time. In these two verses we have only the principle. Had details been given it would have been science taught by scripture; but this is exactly what the Bible avoids. Nevertheless room is here left for all those great changes which followed the primary creation of the earth.
Verse 3 opens the work of God after the geologic ages, and dwells upon what God created with a direct view to man, account of whom also is given within the six days. But it is revelation and not science given us in the verses that follow to the end of the chapter: the earth formed for the immediate appearance and dwelling of man upon it. This is what scripture supplies for our instruction. It has moral roots which could not be where the work was purely material. God would have every man to understand in a general way that form of creation of which he is the head.
Is it not striking that mere scientists and philosophers who are avowed rationalists are more intelligent as to this question than the new critical divines? I refer again to two eminent philosophers who do not pretend to derive anything from scripture, but allow and even insist on that which overthrows this first example which the new critics of all lands pervert to disparage the Bible.
John S. Mill and Herbert Spencer little knew or even suspected that they laid their ax to the root of theological skepticism as far as Oren. i. is concerned. They and others who differ from them acknowledge boldly that science can give no account of permanent and primary causes of the universe as it is. Science begins where creation ends. Science can investigate the effects of creation but can give no account of the wonderful powers which wrought in creating. Science is the discovery of the movements, the cause of which it knows not, from the facts before man's eyes; however governed by general laws—fixed laws as they call them. But it acknowledges that it can give no account of these primeval causes. So Mill declares in words already cited; and Herbert Spencer (of a distinct school of philosophy) cites his words with approval and adds that the only thing science can do is to conduct its students to a blind wall, on the other side of which lies the solution wholly outside science. This it is which, not science but, the Bible reveals with a simplicity and majesty and truth peculiar to God's revelation.
How strange that these scholarly divines seem so unacquainted with that which the philosophers admit of the limits of science, and its essential inability to explain what God's word makes plain to every believer. Of creative power and ways they confess that science knows nothing and can say nothing. They confess that there must have been such powers, to produce the facts which, carefully observed and adequately generalized, are the fixed laws, so called, of science. These necessarily only began to exist, long after that to be adequately generalized into various departments of physical science.
But even the most extreme materialist sage acknowledges that science knows nothing of that creating of which Gen. 1 treats. Yet here we have these learned divines boasting of what science wholly ignores and cannot possibly reach. For on the assumption that true science does know better than Gen. 1, they manifest their own lack of acquaintance with the confessed ignorance of science, and venture to ground on that ignorance the charge of false science on God's word. They are therefore guilty of setting up science against scripture which the experts of science admit to be unfounded. The higher criticism was too eager to impute mistake even to the first chapter of the Bible. Nor does it require science to see that these theologians are less candid and less intelligent than the experts of rationalistic philosophy. It is false that “the science of this chapter is antiquated.” There is no science in the chapter. There is divine light on God's work which must precede all science. This the scientists themselves however skeptical confess as a necessary principle. It is the divines in their hurry to disparage scripture who assume that science explains creation differently from the Bible. Whereas the fact is that science confesses its total ignorance, because it lacks the faith to believe the word of God. How sad that these professedly Christian teachers should assume a triumph for science which worldly rationalists admit to be absolutely non-existent!
The truth however, is that these men explain away the second and third chapters of the same book as an allegory rather than a history, and talk of anthropomorphism, instead of seeing the beautiful simplicity in describing God's ways where His special interest in man is thus expressed, however real the facts.
We need not follow Dr. D. to the inspired prophecies. He is obliged to confess that Amos, Hosea and Isaiah represent the God of Israel (however long suffering to the people of His choice) as the God of all the families of the earth, the contrast of Jewish narrowness, and looking onward to the day when He must expel Israel from the land because of their iniquity, and open wide the day of grace to the Gentile; who in their turn shall forfeit His favor, for the full and final restoration of penitent and believing Israel. Then also He will bless all the nations of the earth when Messiah shall reign over it and fill it with blessing and glory.
Dr. D. claims for the O.T. permanent value on account of the clearness and emphasis with which it proclaims the duty of man both toward God and toward his fellow-man. Here again if the Bible be not the truth of God, a clear statement of duty will never preserve its authority over the conscience.
Any religious sanction of the more general duties also must fail for the same reason.
How can examples of high character in the O. T., which is candid as to their failures also, sustain absolute authority over the conscience, if the word of God be stained, as these divines insist, with mistakes and falsehoods attributed to God Himself?
The same remark applies to the devotional portions like the Psalms, etc. Wonderfully as they may express the heart's feelings in distress, confession, supplication, confidence and faith, as well as thanksgiving and praise, to set scripture against scripture is the work of the enemy and still more to insinuate falsehood against the God of truth, as represented by the O.T.
Still less can the great idea of human life and society in the O.T. redeem itself and the God who speaks throughout it from the libels endorsed by the higher critics. No doubt the grosser pollutions of heathenism are, since Christ, ashamed to be seen in the light, and retreat into congenial darkness. But as to real advance for the world, the N.T. does not flatter any more than the O.T. Both show that the end of this age will be profoundly wicked and utterly godless save for little remnants of Jews and Gentiles; and divine judgment will surely be executed upon the whole earth, on Jerusalem especially, on the Beast and the False Prophet, as well as on the N.T. Babylon. It will be the apostasy and the man of sin, the lawless Beast of Rev. 13 and his religious associate the antichrist, or all civil and religious iniquity. This is the consummation which both Testaments announce by the holy Prophets. It is direct contradiction of scripture that human endeavor shall ever realize the restitution of all things; for it is reserved only for the one Man, the glorified Son of man, to make good the kingdom of God in manifest power and glory. All others have failed and have been saved wholly of grace. He only is the worthy One, the power and the wisdom of God. For Him at His coming again is this glory here below reserved, and then as now in the heavens. Only there do we see power exercised and glory displayed. Man as such is to be brought low and judgment on the quick take place before the times of refreshing shall come from God through our Lord Jesus for the long guilty, weary and misled earth.
The stress laid upon a pure and spiritual religion did not avail of old any more than the gospel now to make good the glory of God here below. No believer doubts its reality and especially in that which Christ introduced for the N. T. when the hour came for Jerusalem and Samaria alike to disappear, and the worship of the Father in spirit and truth was revealed. It is man that fails, the first man. The grand change awaits the Second Man to judge the first as living on the earth and to maintain God's glory in the highest and peace on earth. This He will surely accomplish. But even His kingdom on earth will be followed by an uprising of rebellion which God will destroy by fire from heaven. Then will come His judgment on the great white throne, when all the wicked dead since the world began shall be judged, and eternity issues with a new heaven and a new earth in the fullest sense, as well as the lake of fire for all the cowardly, unbelieving, false, corrupt, and wicked. No qualities can condone lack of truth.

Scripture Queries and Answers: Genesis 1

Q.-Gen. 1 Which do you believe to be the true interpretation of this chapter? And why is no other view so satisfactory as the one you favor?
M. A.
A.-In a general way it may be said that three different modes of understanding have prevailed.
1. What may be called the oldest known exegesis among Jewish and Christian commentators was the very vague notion that “In the beginning” (vers. 1, 2) was practically very near if not actually at the same time, as that which is detailed in “the six days” beginning with ver. 3 and following to the end of the chapter. There may be some slight difference among the early fathers as among Rabbis. But the general impression which they convey was the conviction that the creation of heaven and earth almost immediately was followed by that of our first parents. The second verse presented no small difficulty. Heathen ideas would have inclined many to have reversed the order of vers. 1 and 2. Others could not admit such a change possible, and would have seen that as this was disloyalty to scripture, so it would have involved a difficulty as great as it removed. Hence the disposition to leave the two verses altogether a general summary, and details of creation to begin with ver. 3. To some Israelites “the six days” had to be explained away, and long geologic ages since the beginning and preceding man did not occur to those who thought of it as a vast single result of God's will. But waiving this, no tradition more widely ruled men, and Christendom in particular, and the Puritans as much as the Fathers.
The popular idea, since evangelical geologists looked for a scriptural support of the long ages of change after the “beginning,” and before Adam or the race, was to look for them in “the six days,” so extended as to cover the immense periods required. An Irish barrister, Dr. D. McCausland, eminently fitted by his ability and his scientific attainments to examine the question, urged this solution in his “Sermons in Stones”; as it was also taken up warmly by many scientists in Great Britain, America, etc.
There remains the third, and as I believe, the really sound meaning of the chapter: in that it leaves room for all that God wrought, however protracted the time that elapsed between the “beginning” and the “six days” in successive acts of God in construction and catastrophe: cognizable by men of science, and left for their discovery in due time, but entirely outside the scope of revelation. The first two verses give the principle of creation and of chaos for the earth, the one as necessary as the other for man when created, not only to learn the facts from the earth's crust but to use the results according to God's beneficent provision. Thus scripture departs not from its supreme design and character, nor encumbers itself with teaching science which is man's pride. But it is untrue that it commits itself to “false science” or unreliable history, or any other insinuation of infidels. Hence, as in a scripture not poetic in any way but the simplest prose attributed to God by as true a saint as ever lived, there is no ground to doubt that the “six days” are literal, as “the evening and the morning” seems expressly meant to convey.
Indeed there is great moral beauty in “days” having no place in the part which commences with “In the beginning” and ends with “the Spirit of God was brooding over the face of the waters.” It was well that we should know that the great divine agent, who in Israel deigned to give His all-powerful energy for making the vessels of the Sanctuary, and later, came down to make Christians individually and the church collectively God's temple by His indwelling, took so suited a relation to the last work which God was preparing for man to inhabit long after. It was no mighty tempest, but His suited brooding over the waters. But when the “six days” begin which man crowns before they closed, how in keeping a measurement of time so important for the race, and in relation to God above all! Then we first bear of them, Moral dealings then begin, with the wondrous proof of God's deep interest in man, and the corresponding responsibility of man to God, to the race, and to the lower creation. Then too we first read “And God said,” and the deep privilege of reading and the solemn call to believe. This too confirms that the six days had nothing to do with the many acts of creating creatures, inanimate and animated, who could not understand Him; but His speaking definitely of all that formed the environment of the race was as precious as instructive for His vicegerent here below. Still more blessed when we look on by faith to the Second man and last Adam, the antitype and contrast of him that brought in sin and death, as Rom. 5:14 lets us know, the Conqueror of Satan, the holy Sufferer for our sins, that the believer should reign with Him, and the world itself be blessed under His reign to God's glory. His word as to both Adams is not science but revelation, as indeed all the Bible is.

Scripture Queries and Answers: 2 Corinthians 5:15

Q.-2 Cor. 5:15. The brevity of the remark on the late Bp. Lightfoot's view of these verses, followed by the Revisers', may account for my difficulty in apprehending the evidence and argument against it. May I ask for further clearing of the point? F.
A.-Not having the Bp.'s book at hand, I quote the R.V. which conveys his mind! “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that one died for all, therefore all died; and he died for all, that they which live should no longer live unto themselves, but unto him who for their sakes died and rose again.” Every reflecting believer, I think, must feel that the critical text sounds harsh and inconsequent for want of the εί (if) of the vulgar text. And every one used to various readings can see that the εί was peculiarly liable here to be dropt, because of the ι immediately preceding and the είς immediately following. But accepting the text preferred, wherein does the consequence lie that, because one died for all, therefore they all died, in the sense of dying with Him to sin, the marked privilege of all Christians? This very assumption misled Dean Alford unconsciously into misrepresenting the apostles, when he says that He died for all, that all should live to Him. But this is to change what the apostle wrote in contrasting “all dead” with “those that live.” “The all” are men universally; “they that live,” are only such as by faith have life in Christ. And this distinction is fundamental and everywhere sustained by the scriptures. The sense therefore is, for “all,” death through sin and their sins, for whom nevertheless Christ died as the witness of love toward them in their sad and sinful state. The judgment of love is not merely this but that He died for all, that they that live by faith in Him, which assuredly “all” do not, should no longer be as once when dead, but live to Him who for them died and was raised. For the Savior whom the Christian owns is not a mere Jewish Messiah ruling Israel and the nations in righteousness peace and happiness on the earth, but a dead and risen Lord with whom we are associated, rejected by the earth but glorified on high, and we in obedient devotedness sharing His sufferings here and waiting to join Him there.
Thus what we are taught is not that all men have the Christian privilege of having died with Christ to sin, but that their being all dead as sinners was the motive for Christ to die on behalf of all. Where sin brought them without exception, love sent and brought Him. Yet this, however glorifying God's nature and proving Christ's love, were vain to save them unless by faith in Christ they received life in Him to live to Him. Thanks be to God this is verified by His grace in “those that live” (as contradistinguished from “all dead),” whom Christ's love constrains to live to Him who for them died and was raised. Accordingly the apostle shows that not only the evil but the old things at their best are passed away to Christian faith, and for any one in Christ (not surely for man unbelieving and outside Him) “a new creation, and all things of the God that reconciled us to Himself by Christ.”
The perversion to death in Christ to sin, which can apply to none but believers, dissolves the reasoning; for how could this prove the love of Christ dying for all mankind? Whereas no Christian but sees His love for all in dying for all. And what follows is decisive against such a meaning as the Bp. put on it, for it is a part and not “all,” but only “they that live” who enjoy the privilege, and accept the responsibility of Christians. As these learned men give the sentence, “We thus judge, that one died for all, therefore [illatively] all died,” it stands rather unintelligible, and is refuted by the context that follows. Text and translation, if right, lead to no such result.

Scripture Queries and Answers: 1 Timothy 3:15-16

Q.-1 Tim. 3:15, 16. Is there any good ground from a critical point of view for the following reading of this passage?
“But if I delay, in order that thou mayest know how one ought to conduct oneself in God's house, which is a living God's assembly".
“Pillar and base of the truth and confessedly great is the mystery of godliness, the which was manifested in flesh, was justified in [the] Spirit, was seen of angels, was preached among Gentiles, was believed on in [the] world, was received up in glory.” [The rendering has been made more exact to avoid repetition and discussion, save at the beginning of ver. 16. Ed. B.T.].
It is contended by the adherents to this new rendering that the history of the church has proved that it has not abode in the truth, much less can it be said to be the pillar and base of the truth I and that it is a relief to find that the scripture does not say it is, as has been universally supposed.
Then, that all critics now agree that Ss, “he who,” is the correct reading (instead of “God” and that therefore the mystery of godliness, Christ and the church, is the pillar and ground of the truth—not Christ in incarnation. This removes the difficulty that many feel in understanding how Christ personally could be said to have been “justified in [the] Spirit”; and also that it is this mystery which was preached among the nations (Eph. 3:9; Rom. 16:25, 26) and believed on in the world, which Christ could not be truly said to have been before He was received up in glory.
Th. R.
A.-It is a mistake to consider this clumsy, crooked and wholly unjustifiable form of taking the first clause of ver. 16 as a “new rendering”; for so understood several Protestants, for the most part of dubious faith, as Er. Schmid, Limborch, Le Clerc, Schottgen, Rosenm. (the elder), Heinrich, etc., etc. I do not wonder at Dean Alford's saying “if any one imagines St. Paul... able to have indited such a sentence,” it were useless to argue with him. “To say nothing of its abruptness and harshness, beyond all example even in these Epistles, how palpably does it betray the botching of modern conjectural arrangement in the wretched anticlimax... If a sentence like this occurred in the Epistle, I should feel it a weightier argument against its genuineness than any which its opponents have yet adduced.”
Only less untenable is the absurdity of understanding Timothy (and behind him Paul and the other apostles) as “pillar and basement of the truth.”
There is no real difficulty in referring it to God's church, which is not the truth, but pillar and basement of the truth responsibly on the earth. Christ is the truth engraven as it were on that pillar here below. Where is or was any other before men after Christ's brief appearing and His ascension? If Israel with His law was a witness as His chosen people among the nations, how much more since God's new house was a living God's assembly, witness of grace and truth in Christ But it is the Second Epistle, not the First, which instructs the faithful what to do when disorder and departure from the truth, and sanction of evil and error, gave a false witness.
Still less difficulty is there in applying the mystery of godliness to Christ's concrete person, who was manifested in flesh, justified by the Spirit in resurrection, then seen of angels instead of mankind, preached to Gentiles instead of reigning over Israel in Zion, believed on in the world instead of ruling the nations with rod of iron, received up in glory on high instead of displaying it over all the earth, as the Prophets had testified for the world-kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ. The last was reserved, it would seem, to contrast with the great declension of mixing Him up with the sordid and earthly character of Christendom, and its delusions. So far is the notion of making the church part of the “mystery of godliness” that it would import wholesale and deadly error. It is “who,” not “which” as the church is.


T. WESTON Publisher, 53, Paternoster Row
Published Monthly.

Joseph: 22. Presents His Father

As yet however the king had not seen the kindred of Joseph. This now follows.
“And Joseph went in and told Pharaoh and said, My father and my brethren, and their sheep and their cattle and all that they have, are come out of the land of Canaan; and behold they are in the land of Goshen. And from among his brethren he took five men and presented them to Pharaoh. And Pharaoh said to his brethren, What is your occupation? And they said to Pharaoh, Thy servants are shepherds, both we and our fathers. And they said to Pharaoh, To sojourn in the land are we come; for there is no pasture for thy servants' flocks; for the famine is sore in the land of Canaan: now therefore we pray thee, let thy servants dwell in the land of Goshen. And Pharaoh spoke to Joseph saying, Thy father and thy brethren are come to thee: the land of Egypt is before thee; in the best of the land make thy father and thy brethren dwell; in the land of Goshen let them dwell. And if thou knowest any men of activity among them, then make them rulers over my cattle. And Joseph brought in Jacob his father and set him before Pharaoh. And Pharaoh said to Jacob, How many are the days of the years of thy life? And Jacob said to Pharaoh, The days of the years of my pilgrimage are a hundred-and-thirty years: few and evil have been the days of the years of my life, and they have not attained to the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage. And Jacob blessed Pharaoh and went out from the presence of Pharaoh. And Joseph placed his father and his brethren, and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had commanded. And Joseph nourished his father, and his brethren, and all his father's household with bread, according to their families.” (vers. 1-12).
We read of Joseph's becoming attitude towards Pharaoh. On every point of view Goshen was the land most appropriate for his father and his brethren. The land lay nearest for sojourners in Egypt, for those who were destined by God to enter Canaan as the land He had promised long before when their father had not even one son (Gen. 15). Again, it was near Joseph, and the king also; and further, it was the least frequented by the people of the land, to whom herdsmen, shepherds and the like, were an abomination, as Joseph let them know. Even apart from this, we were already informed of their general objection to eat bread with foreigners (43:32). Such was the severity of caste among the Egyptians, as we know it is among strict Hindus. But it was of moment that the king should come to the same conclusion as his minister of state, and decree freely without any pressure from one so near to the sons of Israel. The presenting of an adequate number of his brethren was ordered wisely. When they plainly stated their occupation, as handed down from their fathers, the king not only fell in with Goshen as the most fitting place for their dwelling, but gave hearty welcome. He also laid it on Joseph that he should set capable men from among them to undertake the charge over his own cattle there.
But another deeply interesting interview is next brought before us. “Joseph brought in Jacob his father and set him before Pharaoh.” The aged patriarch was in no way abashed in presence of the world's most exalted monarch. “Jacob blessed Pharaoh.” Never had the king of Egypt stood so high. Through his God-instructed administrator, he had been led to wise and equitable measures, which during years of super-abundant plenty provided for the years no less of famine, relieved the poor amply, enriched the sovereign beyond example, supplied the wants of adjacent lands, and especially for the chosen people, and brought them where they were to multiply, arouse the wicked hostility of their neighbors, and in due time furnish a wondrous spectacle of a deliverance from Jehovah, to declare His name throughout all the earth in plaguing the proud king of that day and vanquishing his false gods, as conspicuous as His mighty hand and outstretched arm on behalf of Jacob's peed in their most feeble and abject state.
“And Pharaoh said to Jacob, How many are the days of the years of thy life? And Jacob said to Pharaoh, The days of the years of my pilgrimage are a hundred and thirty years: few and evil have been the days of the years of my life, and they have not attained to the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage” (vers. 8-9).
“And Joseph placed his father and his brethren, and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had commanded. And Joseph nourished his father, and his brethren, and all his father's household with bread according to [the mouths of] their little ones “(vers. 11, 12).
The humbled heart of Jacob felt justly in comparison with Abraham and Isaac, but rose up without question of pride to bless the king. God was before his faith, and he could bless Pharaoh simply, out of a full heart. “And beyond all gainsaying, the less is blessed by the better” (Heb. 7:7).

Cain: 2. His World and His Worship

His World, and His Worship. Gen. 4
And mark further the faculty man has of making himself happy in his estrangement from God. We find amongst the family of Cain not only “the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle” (ver. 20), but “the father of such as handle the harp and the organ” (ver. 21), and “the instructor of every artificer in brass and iron” (ver. 22). Now there is nothing wrong in working brass and iron; neither is there any harm in sweet sounds (we read in the book of Revelation of harpers in heaven); but what Cain was doing was this he was making the world pleasant without God.
These are the efforts of man, who has settled himself down in a world where judgment has placed him, and who is trying to make himself as happy, and the world as pleasant, as he can without God, till death and judgment overtake him. If I saw a man, who had committed some wicked crime against his father, the next day playing on musical instruments, should I say there was no harm in that? Such was Cain's world.
And is it not like your world? Is there any difference between your world and Cain's world? Is it a better world because God's Son has been crucified in it? Has that act on the part of man made it more acceptable to God? (because that has happened since the days of Cain.) Where is the difference? They had their “harps and organs;” and so have you. They had their “artificers in brass and in iron;” and so have you. It was Cain's world then away from God; and it is Cain's world still. The like tree produces like fruit. Man is carrying on the world by himself, and for himself, endeavoring to keep God out of sight, as much as possible to do without Him, lest He should get at his conscience and make him miserable.
Can you find any difference between Cain's world without God and your world without God?
You may object that you are not without God, that you are called by the name of Christ—are Christians, and have a “religion” also. Cain had a “religion.” He was a religious man, as religious as Abel. But he had no love to God; he had no faith. He was a religious man, but not a godly man.
It is a strange introduction to this picture, the setting forth of Cain as a worshipper, and a worshipper moreover of the true God. We read, “And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in process of time it came to pass that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto Jehovah” (vers. 2, 3).
There is no mention made of false gods before the flood. Cain was a worshipper of the one living and true God. Soon after the flood there were idolaters; and then God called out a separate people as witnesses of His character to make good His name and grace. But there is not any mention made of false gods before Joshua 24:6-8, “Your fathers worshipped other gods:” a fresh crime, a fresh snare of the enemy, which called for new measures on the part of God. Satan had come and slipped himself in between man and God, and was the one that was really worshipped though under the name of gods; and the call of Abram was the call and witness of “the most high God.”
Your “artificers in brass and iron” are worshippers of the true God. So was Cain.
And he took some pains too. He offered that which he had been toiling for in “the sweat of his brow.” He was a “tiller of the ground,” and he “brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto Jehovah.” He did not bring that which cost him nothing (2 Sam. 24:24); nay, his worship cost more of toil than that of Abel. He came in the way of nature, offering the fruit of his toil and labor; and you have done the same. This is ever the character of false worship. Religiousness does not take a man out of the character of Cain; it the rather brings him into it. So that you have not got one step in that way out of the character God has marked as that of Cain.
Observe, I do not charge you with being hypocrites, for I do not say that Cain was not sincere. There is no doubt indeed of his sincerity; but then his sincerity only evidenced the hardness of his heart. Human sincerity means nothing; it is often but the greatest proof of the desperate darkness in which a man is. Those were sincere of whom Christ said, “He that killeth you will think he doeth God service.” Saul of Tarsus was thoroughly sincere when he thought he “ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.” He consulted moreover the chief priests and elders, the religious authorities of the day. He was zealous for his religion, and thoroughly sincere as a man, but totally blind as to God and the things of Christ, thinking to do God service by fighting against and slaying His saints. Cain in his sincerity brought to the Lord that which cost him something, that which was the fruit of his toil. He came to God as a worshipper, and in so doing offered to God that which he had brought honestly as a man, but which proved him to be ignorant of his state as a sinner.
“What then is man to hope for?” you will say. He is to hope for nothing. Did he not get out of paradise because of sin? what possible ground can he have as a sinner for hoping to get into heaven?
What ground had Cain for hoping that God would accept either himself or his offering? God had driven man out of paradise because of sin: what ground had he to expect by the works of his hands to get back into the presence of God? You may say, “It was not the works of his hands, but the fruits of God's creation.” —But what would you think of the man who was hoping to get into heaven by offering his corn and his wine to God, supposing like Simon Magus (Acts 8), that the gift of God may be bought? Why, it would show that his conscience was as hard as the nether millstone, utterly insensible to the condition he was in, as well as to the character of God. The very worship of Cain proved the desperate utter insensibility of his heart to the judgment of God against sin, and to those mighty things which had just happened, the effects and consequences of which he was now experiencing.
How came man to be toiling there in the sweat of his brow? Their very toil told the tale of the curse. They had been driven out of Eden for sin. But in Cain we see utter recklessness to the judgment of God. He had forgotten the very nature and being of that God who had set man perfectly happy in the garden at the first, to keep it and to enjoy its fruits (fruits yielded to his hand without toil or labor); and supposed that by toil and labor (the judicial consequences of sin) he could produce something that God would accept. There was utter desperate recklessness to the judgment of God.
Cain's worship was the worst thing he did. It was in fact the denying that he had sinned; such blindness to what he had been, such hardness of conscience in supposing that he could get into the presence of God in his sins as if nothing at all had happened! such wretched assumption that because he was a “tiller of the ground,” tilling of the ground was all right! But how came it to be all right? Because God had cursed the ground. He, a defiled sinner driven out of paradise, brings “of the fruit of the ground” which Jehovah had cursed, “an offering unto Jehovah;” that is, he brings into the presence of God the sign and seal of the sin that had driven him out from God!
And how comes a man to be going Sunday after Sunday, as he says, to “worship God?” What is all this toil? To make “peace with God?” God is “the God of peace;” He “preaches peace” —a made peace through “the blood of the cross;” yet man goes on seeking to carry something into God's presence as “a duty,” “to make peace” without once asking about God's way of peace.
Cain was a worshipper of God; but there was no faith in Cain. There was no faith to recognize his own ruin and sin, no faith to apprehend the judgment of God against sin: he had no presence of God as he was, no title to be a worshipper of God. He had not a bit of faith to recognize his own condition as driven out of paradise, his sin and estrangement from God, or, that blood—death—was necessary, in order for him to approach God.
This is just the world's worship; and are you any the better for it? Are you any the nearer to God?
Tell me, dear friends, what if God does not receive your worship? Suppose that, after all your well doing and toil for God, God rejects it, for that is what Cain's toiling met with from God— “unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect” (ver. 5), would you be content?
How was it with Cain? “Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.” And it is ever thus. The moment God puts man on the true ground of his condition before Him, the enmity of the natural heart breaks out against God. Cain was “very wroth,” exceedingly angry; and why? Because his heart was opposed to grace. He had not owned the first principle of sin in the presence of God.
And you, when the sovereign grace of the gospel comes to you, are “very wroth.” “What! a man do his best,” you exclaim, “and not be accepted!” So thought Cain. And so thinks every man naturally; that is, he thinks that God must accept him just as well as he accepts God, bringing down God to his on n measure of holiness. And then the wrath of man breaks out, and he rejects the righteousness that God holds out to him; he will not have His Son.
There is not a principle in Cain that is not found in you. There is no evil in brass and iron, nor is there any harm in sweet sounds; the evil and the sin is in this, that men are using these things to hide God from them. If you are worshippers of the true God, so was Cain. We may put a terrible name on that which we see in Cain, and yet approve of the very same thing in ourselves; the light tells us that was sin in Cain which the spirit of self-love tells us is not sin in our own case. What difference is there between you and Cain? Take the Bible and see if you can make out any difference. The only real difference is this, that you have a further and more developed knowledge of the Seed of “the woman” (Christ), and therefore that of the two you are the more guilty.
Having sinned against God, abused His goodness, and refused His Son, man turns to please himself as if nothing had happened. It is more terrible to a spiritual eye to see insensibility after sin has been committed, it is a far deeper shade of sin, than even the commission of the crime. The returning of a soul to God, is just in the being awakened to a sense of the awfulness of this state.
(Continued from p. 16)

Exodus: the Divine Commission to Moses

Ex. 3:6-22
BUT definite words were added to the sight.
“And he said, I [am] the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God. And Jehovah said, Seeing (or, Surely) I have seen the affliction of my people that [are] in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; and I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good and large land, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Amorite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite. And now, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me, and I have seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them. Come now therefore, I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt. And Moses said unto God, Who [am] I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt? And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this [shall be] the token to thee that I have sent thee: when thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain. And Moses said to God, Behold [when] I come to the children of Israel, and shall say to them, The God of your fathers hath sent me to you; and they shall say to me, What [is] his name? what shall I say to them? And God said to Moses, I AM WHAT I AM; and he said, Thus shalt thou say to the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me to you. And God said moreover to Moses, Thus shalt thou say to the children of Israel, Jehovah, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me to you; this [is] my name forever, and this my memorial to all generations. Go and gather the elders of Israel together, and say to them, Jehovah, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, hath appeared to me, saying, Visiting (or, Surely) I have visited you and [seen] that which is done to you in Egypt; and I have said, I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Amorite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite, to a land flowing with milk and honey. And they shall hearken to thy voice; and thou shalt come, thou and the elders of Israel, to the king of Egypt, and ye shall say to him, Jehovah, the God of the Hebrews, hath met with us; and now let us go, we pray thee, three days' journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to Jehovah our God. And I know that the king of Egypt will not give you leave to go, no, not by a. mighty hand. And I will put forth my hand, and smite Egypt with all my wonders which I will do in the midst thereof; and after that he will let you go. And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and it shall come to pass, that, when ye go, ye shall not go empty; but every woman shall ask her neighbor, and of her that sojourneth in her house, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment; and ye shall put [them] upon your sons, and upon your daughters; and ye shall spoil the Egyptians” (vers. 6-22).
It was a blessed intervention of Jehovah on behalf of His enslaved and cruelly oppressed people. The name He gave Himself was not new in the sense of never having been heard before. Now He was about to act on its reality and present value. There was to be accomplishment up to a certain and evident point, and not promise only. Hence stress is laid on “the God of thy fathers,” and this expounded as “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Moses realized the fact and hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God. Most reassuring were the words, “And Jehovah said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people that are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows: and I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land into a land good and large, into a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Amorite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite. And now behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me; and I have seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them. Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt” (vers. 7-10).
Yet would it be partial and temporary; for what could be more that depended on the first man, a people in the flesh? The fulfillment for everlasting can only be when man truly renounces self, owns his ruin before God, and has Christ, the Second man, as the present and abiding ground of blessing. There was to be shortly a typical redemption; and a typical entrance into the land of abundance, not of corn and fruit only, but flowing with milk and honey. Nothing abides forever but God, and God now has wrought for sinful man in the gift of life eternal and everlasting redemption. So it will be really for Israel when they have their own Messiah present and reigning over them. Till then it could be no more than provisional for Israel, who must learn what it is, after sowing to the flesh, to reap corruption.
Moses is as distrustful now, as he was confident in Egypt; he asks “Who am I” to go unto Pharaoh and bring out Israel? But Jehovah vouchsafes His presence and gives the token of serving God “on this mountain.” Then, to Moses asking a specific name of His presence, He says, “I AM WHAT I AM,” His essential and abiding being; and bids Moses say to Israel, “I AM hath sent me to you.” All else was but creature. He was the only and ever existing One. But he was also to say, The Jehovah God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, had sent him to them. “This is my name forever, and this is my memorial to all generations.” A wondrous declaration to be infallibly verified, when the Lord Jesus vindicates His every word.
God therefore calls on Moses (ver. 16) to “Go, and gather the elders of Israel together, and say unto them, Jehovah, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, hath appeared unto me saying, I have surely visited you and seen that which is done to you in Egypt: and I have said, I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt unto the land of the Canaanite and the Hittite, and the Amorite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite, to a land flowing with milk and honey. And they shall hearken to thy voice; and thou shalt come, thou and the elders of Israel, unto the king of Egypt, and ye shall say to him, Jehovah, the God of the Hebrews, hath met with us: and now let us go, we pray thee, three days' journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to Jehovah our God. And I know that the king of Egypt will not give you leave to go, no, not by a mighty hand. And I will put forth my hand, and smite Egypt with all my wonders which I will do in the midst thereof: and after that he will let you go. And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians: and it shall come to pass, that, when ye go, ye shall not go empty: but every woman shall ask her neighbor, and of her that sojourneth in her house, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: and ye shall put [them] upon your sons, and upon your daughters; and ye shall spoil the Egyptians” (vers. 16-22).
He was to ask at first leave to go “three days' journey into the wilderness,” but would ask more as the obduracy of the king appeared, and God lets Moses know the king's sure defiance, tells of His wonders to be done in reproof, and directs His people not to go empty after their long unrequited labor, and that every woman should (not, borrow, but) ask for jewels of silver and of gold, and thus spoil them, as it was righteous retribution. The word “borrow” is only a secondary sense, and here misappropriate. “Ask” is the direct and primary sense, and therefore right to be preserved.

Wilderness Grace: Part 1

Ex. 17
Those who are familiar with the study of this part of scripture will remember that the history of Israel from the Red Sea to Sinai (that is, from the time of their deliverance out of Egypt until they placed themselves under law) contains an exceedingly remarkable testimony to the grace of God.
At Sinai Israel took up the promises of God on the condition of their own obedience, and then their entire failure was manifested. But up to that moment all God's dealings with them had been in grace. Though there was continual murmuring and unbelief and disobedience, He did not chasten for these things as afterward when they had taken a stand before Him on the ground of obedience. It was an immense transition in their history.
The law “came in” as it were (though of course it was perfect in itself) “by the by,” between the promises and the accomplishment of the promises to show what the condition of man would be if he stood on his own ground before God. The law was not before the promises, the apostle argues (Gal. 3) “that it should make the promise of none effect.” Promise was given first. And He to whom “the promises were made” came after the law. Meanwhile the law entered in order to manifest what man was, and the effect that would be produced on man when placed on the ground of obedience to the known will of God.
It was needful to do this, because of the constant tendency of the heart to put itself under law, in spite of repeated failures; not that God's promises of grace were not simple and clear, but because of this natural tendency of the heart of man. Supposing my conscience to be awakened, I must know that it is my duty (that I ought) to please and obey God. The effect of this naturally is that I expect God would accept me on this condition. Till a man is brought to feel his really lost state, this is very natural. It is quite too late to talk of pleasing and obeying God when we know ourselves to be lost sinners.
Now God, who is wonderfully painstaking with us for our blessing, sent the law, in order that this tendency of man's heart, and his utter worthlessness, might be shown out, and proved to man. But before He did this, He had made known abounding grace, pure grace, flowing from His own thoughts and purposes, without any reference to the feelings of man about Him, or any condition of man's obedience.
So that those whose hearts were opened to believe the promises could rest in peace upon them all the while they were learning more of their own sinfulness through the law. The very starting point of all God's dealings with us is pure grace suitable to sinners, whose state He knows, and therefore knows how to meet.
There was no promise given to Adam before he fell. He needed none; he was happy in his innocence and then present condition. And after he had sinned, the promise given was not made to rest on anything in him. The Lord came down to the garden, saying, “Adam, where art thou?” that he might be made to feel what the condition was into which sin had plunged him: and he answered, “I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” The Lord did not give a promise to Adam (for He could not, in the state of sin in which he was, without dealing lightly with sin; neither could He leave Adam without promise, unless He cast him into remediless despair). What God does is to bring in “the Seed of the woman” —the last Adam. There was not a word of promise to Adam personally: the promise was made to the “seed of the woman” in pronouncing the curse on the serpent— “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed: it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” This was a promise for Adam, one on which his soul might rest, one faith could lay hold of—no promise to Adam in his sin, but a promise of blessing in and to Christ. And it appears that through grace Adam did rest on this interference of God, for he afterward speaks of Eve as “the mother of all living.”
This was developed onwards and onwards till we come to the history of Abraham; where it is revealed still more definitely: “In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” Isaac was only the type of Christ. “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many: but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.” Thus Christ was the Seed to whom the promise was made (Gal. 3). “All the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen,” and we, through grace, can now add, “unto the glory of God by us.”
The promises were not only made to Abraham (Gen. 12) and to his seed, but confirmed to the seed through resurrection (Gen. 22). This was shown in Abraham's being commanded to offer up Isaac, and his receiving of him again from the dead “in a figure” as the apostle speaks (Heb. 11). Christ takes the promises, not as on earth incarnate, but as risen from the dead. Without His death and resurrection we could have had no part in them, for God cannot bless people in sin. “What concord hath Christ with Belial?” It is impossible that there could be communion between God and the sinner in his sins. If the Lord Jesus had not died and become the source of a new life to the sinner, we could have had no portion with Him in these promises. After the resurrection of Isaac, there was a confirmation to the seed of the promises made to Abraham. “By myself have I sworn, saith Jehovah; for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only [son]: that in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” This is referred to by the Spirit in the Epistle to the Galatians.

Proverbs 27:7-13

The group now before us pursues the warning against dangers from our own selves as well as from without.
“The full soul trampleth on (or, loatheth) a honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.
As a bird that wandereth from her nest, so [is] a man that wandereth from his place.
Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart; so the sweetness of a man's friend from hearty counsel.
Thine own friend, and thy father's friend, forsake not; and go not to thy brother's house in the day of thy calamity: better [is] a neighbor near than a brother far off.
My son, be wise, and make my heart glad, that I may answer him that reproacheth me.
A prudent [man] seeth the evil [and] hideth himself; the simple pass on [and] suffer for it.
Take his garment that is surety for a stranger, and hold him in pledge [that is surety] for a strange woman” (vers. 7-13).
Whatever be the means of one that fears God, self-indulgence is unworthy of one who now lives in a scene where we have the poor always with us, with many and sudden reverses to call forth special compassion. What a lesson for the Christian when on the two occasions the Lord fed the multitude miraculously, it was on barley loaves and small fishes. How far from show or appetizing! And the prayer taught the disciples to ask for “sufficient bread.” The full soul is unworthy of His name; and the honeycomb he loathes convicts him of following the Lord of glory afar off. It is happy when one is hungry enough to relish every bitter thing put before us by our God and Father.
When God pronounced Cain a fugitive and a vagabond because he slew his righteous and accepted brother, well for him to have heeded the word of the Lord, but there is no such call for one ordinarily. The family is the place appointed as the rule in the world as it is. Even the bird owns the attraction of her nest. Wandering from either is a picture of wretchedness.
God has constituted the earth and man, that the very desert does not refuse to produce unguent and perfume, which singularly refresh the heart when depressed, not merely there but in lands where abundance reigns. But no less sweet is the hearty counsel from one's friend.
Yet more should one make of one's own friend, of one's father's friend also, in a world of forgetfulness. Nevertheless, in the day of one's calamity, it is unwise to rush for sympathy, even to one's brother. A neighbor near one is apt to prove better than a brother far off. Claim irritates; love is free and holy.
When a son walks wisely, what joy to a parent's heart It is the best answer to the reproach which watchfulness must expect from such as are lax.
Prudence sees evil beforehand and hides from it; the simple is blind, goes forward and suffers.
None should become surety unless he be prepared to lose; and this, true in case of a man, is still more dangerous for a strange woman.

Gathering or Scattering

“HE that is not with me is against me and he that gathereth not with me scattereth.” It is always an important question for the servant of Christ to put to himself, if not next to others, Am I doing the will of my Master? The first manifestation of the divine life in the heart of Saul of Tarsus, was to put him in the place of obedience through faith in Christ, and to subject the once stern self-righteous Pharisee to the will of another. Hitherto his own thoughts had been a sufficient guide to him for persecuting the disciples of the Lord Jesus. He verily thought that he was doing God service; as Naaman had been governed by his own thoughts in regard to his desired cleansing from his leprosy (2 Kings 5:11). Now it was, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” And the answer, “It shall be told thee,” left no room for the exercise of his own will in service to his new Master.
As neutrality is impossible in the things of God, so independence cannot be allowed in the servant of Christ. It necessarily follows that a spiritual discernment of the Lord's mind is of the last importance. To have an understanding of the divine objects brings increased responsibility to the one who knows and a heavier judgment if disobedient; while a faithful exercise of the gift bestowed brings increased blessing. “To him that hath shall more be given.” If we could divest ourselves of conventionalism and of the natural and traditional thoughts of men about God and Christianity, or what men call religion, we should find it far easier to understand the teaching of the Lord Jesus in the Gospel of Luke than we do. It is God Himself visiting His people in grace, and Christ the minister of grace to us in the spirit of lowliness and constant dependence upon God, which so well becomes a true man of God. A multitude of the heavenly host are presented to us, giving expression to their unbounded delight in the hearing of the shepherds (chap. 2:8-14), as the world can find no room for the First-born Son of God and Son of Man; while Imperialism only takes official record of the child's birth as of any other. The world's ignorance of, and complete indifference to, the purposes of God are thus fully manifested. Thus it is made clear that man is guilty, lost, and dead, yet all the while religious; and this last condition prevents him from profiting by grace, as Luke 15 demonstrates. The Lord Jesus, God's faithful Messenger of grace, finds difficulties accumulate in His pathway, so casting Him upon God in prayer, as in the beginning of this chapter. For man's religious position cannot be acknowledged; it is a false one for a sinner till born of God.
Even the disciples themselves confess their ignorance as to the right and suitable way of approach to God, and the Lord graciously instructs them; for they at least by grace believed and were upright (vers. 1-14). But this is not all: we may not stop at the supply of our own need; we are encouraged to go to God about others. The prayer “Give us” has been answered, one's personal need has been satisfied, but the circumstances of “a friend of mine in his journey” together with my own poverty and incapacity to help him, are pressing heavily upon my spirit, inducing earnestness, importunity, continuing instant in prayer, and the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man is answered. There may be apparent indifference, as Elijah experienced on Mount Carmel (“Go again seven times”); but it is only apparent. Human friendship may indeed break down when too much strain is put upon it. God is honored when thus counted upon, although indeed in infinite wisdom far beyond that of any earthly parent (vers. 9-13). But in truth a dumb spirit has taken possession of the heart of man: he has no voice for God either for prayer or praise (ver.14). God was in Christ in power for man's deliverance from bondage to the “strong man armed,” as well as in a fullness of grace which could bless abundantly. But pride and hatred closed up every avenue to the heart of man that he might not receive the love which Christ brought, and sealed his lips against the confession of need or praise for good received. It was here that the religious man showed how fully he was under the power of Satan by openly blaspheming the Holy Ghost, for, then as now, manifestly the Spirit was the only power which could make the grace of God effectual for man's blessing.
The Lord Jesus in His ministry used every argument calculated to impress sinners with a sense of the reality of that grace of which He was the fullness and channel; and to move them by faith to profit by it, telling them that “they ought always to pray and not to faint.” There was the fullest encouragement to do so; but man was disinclined for this, and would rather take the place of a worshipper, however false, thanking God for something as to his condition which was really a denial of the truth (“God, I thank Thee that I am not as other men”). Such being the case, Christ's real work was gathering saints and not dispensing the blessings of grace that man might continue to claim them in his natural condition.
Many have thought and said that if only they had sufficient wealth, and authority, they could make the world a paradise and every creature happy, by dealing with the circumstances which are the fruit of sin. But this would leave God's nature, His holiness, His righteousness, and His love, unknown, the conscience untouched and unpurged, and would not truly draw the sinner to God. Had the fullness of the Father's house only been intellectually conveyed to the prodigal in the far country, he would never have thought of returning. Of course man has lost much, everything in fact; but God has concerned Himself about His own loss of the world, and especially of man in it. Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; and He will, with the necessarily awful but revealed exception of the lake of fire, eventually re-establish God's authority and judgment of evil, “that God may be all in all.”
What He is doing in the meantime is calling and receiving sinners and by His Spirit gathering to His name. This is far better than effecting an outward reformation, yet leaving the sinner in his old place of distance in the far country. The Lord Jesus was “minister of circumcision,” sent unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel, that they might be gathered; as it had been the object of prophetic testimony in the O. T. dispensation. The presentation of Christ to the people and His utter rejection proved that unbelieving Israel would not be gathered (“How often would I have gathered thy children together... and ye would not” (Matt. 23:37)! The failure of Messiah's mission God foreknew; and it is fully acknowledged from Isa. 49:4, and onward. But Jehovah's answer discloses those counsels and purposes which are having their full accomplishment in the calling out from Jews and Gentiles into the church in this acceptable time; only for this, the heavenly glory of Christ is necessary. “Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of Jehovah.” This remarkable prophecy shows us the exact order of events as recorded in the N.T. i.e. the temporary failure of Christ's mission to Israel; a suffering and rejected Messiah, received and glorified in heaven, made to be God's salvation unto the ends of the earth. Here then is the divine center for all. “I, if I be lifted up (rejected) from the earth, will draw all unto Me” (John 12:32).
We see this gathering to Christ Himself in many places in the four Gospels, but especially in the Gospel of John where the necessary presentation of Christ to the earthly people is shown to be a failure from the first. “He came unto His own things and His own people received Him not.” But from the time that Christ took His seat at the right hand of the Majesty on high, the Holy Spirit was given to effectuate this. There is nothing else in the mind of God as to blessing for man, but this gathering to Christ. If He were not God, it would derogate from God; yet is He man also there, as here, in wondrous grace and truth. He alone is God's center of unity, Head to the church over all things. The Holy Spirit sent by the Father and the Son is now occupying Himself upon earth, not only for the gospel, but to accomplish the Father's purpose for the glory of the Son; viz., “that for the dispensation of the fullness of the seasons He might gather together in one all things in the Christ” (Eph. 1:10). At His coming it will be in displayed glory before all creation; now it is only He exalted above as “head over all things to the church,” and here known only to faith.
In a day of religious activity, when many schemes are afloat for the promotion of revivals and the awakening of religious enthusiasm, this divine purpose may be easily lost sight of, and Christian workers may become quite satisfied with creature blessing, for spiritual and social reformation, On the other hand where the truth is known and professed and its importance recognized, there may be a sad and inexcusable deficiency of love to Christ and to those that are His, as well as of evangelistic zeal, so that the privilege attaching to the servant of gathering with Christ is grievously if not idly surrendered. True knowledge of revealed truth may degenerate into doctrinal pride and self-complacency nauseous to Christ (Rev. 3:16), while zeal without knowledge will make the sinner's blessing the end and object of our service instead of Christ's glory. No company of Christians, however gifted and intelligent, could rightly say “He that gathereth not with us scattereth” —which was John's thought in Luke 9:49, 50. But this word of the Lord Jesus challenges every one of His servants to-day, “He that gathereth not with Me scattereth.”

2 Peter 3:7

With the deluge in the past there is analogy as well as contrast in the future. God is not mocked either way; but abuse of greater privilege will infallibly destroy the proud unbelief of the ungodly in the surest way.
“But the now heavens and the earth by the same word have been stored with fire, being kept for a day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men” (ver. 7).
The gospel is a question of faith, not only in the Son, but in the word of God, beyond whatever was in patriarchal days, or during the law, as well as in coming ages.
The displayed kingdom which the Lord Jesus will establish to His glory for a period longer than man ever attained when he lived longest, or even Christianity in practice, can only be in power where each is sanctified by the Father's word, which is His word fully and finally revealed. Yet tradition, the great enemy of the word, never wrought in Israel so insidiously and widely and systematically as in Christendom to darken, undermine and pervert God's word; and that in face of the Lord's own denunciation in the Gospels of Matt. (15) and Mark (7), or by the words of Isaiah in a more burning indignation as became him.
But now there is a new school of deeper pride which disdains ancient tradition, deifies itself, and idolizes the working of man's mind in history and science, so foreign to the will of God and so dear to the world, even to the length of making it the judge of His written word. A worse or more dangerous form of infidelity there is not nor ever was; it directly leads into the “apostasy” which the apostle of the Gentiles declares must be before the day of the Lord comes in judgment of living mankind. Its success among professors of Christianity intoxicates its votaries so that they are encouraged by its popularity to essay even more daring skepticism.
Here we see that the destruction of the early population of the earth was effected by the vast store of water God provided above and below to overwhelm man and beast save those preserved in the ark with Noah by His command. To this exceeding overflow the language of Gen. 7:11 points: “all the fountains of the great deep were broken up,” “and the windows (or, the flood gates) of heaven opened;” as on the other hand that of Gen. 8:2, when the assuagement set in.
Dealing with the outrageous depravity of that ago was just when ignorance was as great. But as since the law, Christ's coming, and the gospel to every creature, have made the responsibility of man immensely greater, so is his sin in rejection of the truth, and professing science, or ideas, that ignore sin as well as grace, and flatter pride in the progress of the first man whilst forgetting his guilt against the Second. How much sorer a doom awaits man, especially the Jew, and most of all Christendom, when treading under foot the Son of God, and treating the blood of the covenant as vain and unclean, and thus insulting the Spirit of grace! Such guilt beyond measure, through rejecting the only and absolutely righteous One and His propitiation, and the full revelation of grace and truth in Him who was true God and perfect man in one person, will have to face God's extreme punishment by fire. And this is made known in the words of the scripture before us, looking back on man visited of old by a deluge of water. “But the now heavens and the earth by the same word have been stored with fire, being kept for a day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.”
God has not left Himself without witness on a small scale of what He intends for the punishment of the ungodly who are willingly ignorant of His warning, and of their awful wickedness against His Son and the wondrous proclamation throughout all the world of life eternal and the forgiveness of their sins, through His death on the cross. The very hook of Genesis (19) records, not very long after the deluge, the destruction of the cities of the plain because of their enormous impurity, contrary to fallen nature itself. “Then Jehovah rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah, brimstone and fire from Jehovah out of heaven; and overthrew those cities and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities and that which grew upon the ground” (vers. 24, 25).
Again, in Lev. 10 when Nadab and Abihu, sons of Aaron, were so heedless of the favor shown by the coming of fire out from before Jehovah to consume the burnt offering, and slighted it in the service of their own inauguration to the service of the sanctuary by putting common fire for burning the incense, “there went out fire from Jehovah and devoured them, and they died before Jehovah” (ver. 2). Jehovah will be sanctified in those who come nigh Him, and before all the people will He be glorified, as Moses told Aaron; “and Aaron held his peace.” It was not only the ungodly outside who must be shown that He is the witness and the Judge of evil, but those who approach Him cannot trifle with His sanctity save to their cost.
In Num. 11:1, when the people complained instead of acknowledging His justice, He was displeased and the fire of Jehovah burnt among them in the uttermost parts of the camp; and the people cried to Moses who prayed not in vain, and the fire was quenched. But they renewed their murmuring; and Jehovah, though He gave the flesh they lusted after, smote the people with a very great plague. It is chap. 16 which sets forth this solemn dealing with the gainsaying of Korah, which the epistle of Jude lets us know as the last and worst of the sinful developments reproduced in Christendom. “Woe to them! because they proceeded in the way of Cain, and were devoted to the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Korah.” For here it was ministry usurping the priesthood, and hence rebellion against the efficacious priesthood, as well as denying the Christian title of nearness to God. And what befell them? “And it came to pass as he had made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground slave asunder that was under them; and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained to Korah and all their goods. They and all that was theirs went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them; and they perished from among the congregation. And all Israel that were round about them fled at the cry of them, for they said, Lest the earth swallow us up. And there came out a fire from Jehovah, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense.” This is by no means all that the O.T. offers on the subject, but it is ample for the proof that from the beginning a still more tremendous destruction by fire in a day both at its opening and at its close is plainly revealed as the way in which the wrath of God will be against the ungodly before the great white throne, and the resurrection for judgment described in Rev. 20:2-15. Isa. 9:5 and 66:15, 16, are as clear proofs as 2 Thess. 1:8, that the day of the Lord will open with fury and destruction on the wicked, discriminatingly and not as a providential judgment.
The phrase “the new heavens and the new earth” is borrowed from Isa. 65:17; 66:22. But there, it is the principle as applied to Jerusalem and the land in the future kingdom, rather than its full character which follows. This is clear from the prophet's explanation which indicates its realization in the chosen land and people, “But be ye glad and rejoice forever in what I create; for behold I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy, and I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people; and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying. There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days; for the child shall die a hundred years old; but the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed. And they shall build houses and inhabit [them], and they shall plant vineyards and eat the fruit of them. They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat; for as the days of a tree [are] the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labor in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they [are] the seed of the blessed of Jehovah, and their offspring with them. And it shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer, and while they are yet speaking, I will hear. The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock; and dust [shall be] the serpent's meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith Jehovah.”
It is plain that the prophet sees in the vast change when Messiah reigns in power, the introduction and sure pledge of the new heavens and earth, rather than the absolute fulfillment. Rev. 21:1-8 makes this evident and certain; for there is no more an earthly Jerusalem nor a people in flesh such as Isaiah describes; no infant of days to die, no more curse to be executed. Neither will building take place, nor planting; nor again labor however blessed, nor bringing forth for joy any more than trouble. In the eternal scene all will be praise and worship at God's counsels fulfilled to the utmost, and for the defiance of God its righteous punishment forever. It is in the future kingdom over the earth that the wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and there the lion shall eat straw like the bullock, and there that dust shall be the serpent's meat as the solitary mark of degradation. But in the full and eternal sense of the new heavens and new earth these creatures are found no more: only the holy city, new Jerusalem, prepared as a bride for her husband, as before the kingdom in power, so after it to all eternity, and outside it redeemed men with it shall tabernacle when God shall tabernacle with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, their God.
These are the two extreme points of view, the prophet of Israel though giving the glorious prospect, dwelling only on its initiatory application to Jerusalem and the land and the people.
Equally seasonable is the beloved disciple's vision, at the end even of the wondrous age and world to come, of the end in its full sense when even a dispensation of glory with the Son of God and Son of man reigning over the universe closes the proof that such a reign fails, as did His coming in the grace of all humiliation among men to God's glory, as man left to do his will showed. But He really and everywhere triumphed over the enemy and the race which distrusted God and was misled to everlasting ruin in despising Christ. And the teaching of Peter holds a wide way as became the chief apostle of the circumcision writing to Christians who had been Jews. For he embraces the beginning and the ending of the day of Jehovah as the transition link between Isaiah and John. That such a view is according to the spirit of scripture may be made plain by “new creation” as applied by the apostle Paul in 2 Cor. 5:17: “so if any one [be] in Christ, [there is] a new creation.” Yet it is but the risen life in his soul. Only when they are changed into conformity to the body of Christ's glory will it be fulfilled in its entirety.


IN all things Jesus was perfect, and in nothing more than this—that He, knowing all things, the end from the beginning, came down into a scene where He tasted rejection at every step—rejection not merely as a babe when He was carried away into Egypt, but rejection all through a life of the most blameless yet divinely ordered obscurity; then through a ministry which excited growing hatred on man's part. There is nothing a man more dreads than to be nothing at all. Even to be spoken against is not so dreadful to the poor proud spirit of man as to be absolutely unnoticed; and yet the very much greater part of the life of Jesus was spent in this entire obscurity. We have but a single incident recorded of Jesus from His earliest years until He emerges for the ministry of the word of God and the gospel of the kingdom. But then He lived in Nazareth, proverbially the lowest of poor despised Galilee—so much so that even a godly Galilean slighted and wondered if any good thing could come out of Nazareth. Such was Jesus; but more than this. When He did enter on the publicity of divine testimony, there too He meets opposition, though at first there was a welcome which would have gratified most men, yea servants of God. But He the Son, the divine person who was pleased to serve in this world, saw through that which would have been sweet to others when they, astonished and attracted, hung on the gracious words that fell from His lips. And how soon a dark cloud passed over it! For even that self-same day in which men heard such words as had never fallen on the ears of man, miserable and infatuated they could not endure the grace of God, and had they been left to themselves, would have cast. Him down headlong from the precipice outside their city. Such man was and is. How truly all that was fair was but as the morning cloud and early dew. But Jesus, we see, accepts a ministry of which He knew from the first the character, course, and results, perfectly aware that the more divine grace and truth were brought out by Him, the sterner rejection He should meet with among men.
God deals very tenderly with us in this respect. He does not fail to send somewhat to cheer and lift up the heart of the workman in praise to Himself; and only just so far as there is faith to bear it does He put on him a heavier burden. But as to the Lord Jesus, there was no burden that He was spared; and if none in His life. what shall we say of His death? There indeed a deeper question was raised, on which we need not enter now.
So too in the apostle Paul, a man, not only of flesh and blood but, of like passions as we. Who ever suffered like him the afflictions of the gospel? Who with burning love to Israel so spent himself in untiring labors among the Gentiles—labors too so unrequited then, that among the Gentiles themselves who believed, he so often knew what it is to be less loved the more abundantly he loved?
On the other hand Jesus had no sin. Although perfectly man, every thought, feeling, and inward motion was holy in Jesus: not only not a flaw in His ways was ever seen, but not a stain in His nature. Whatever men reason or dream, He was as pure humanly as divinely; and this may serve to spew us the all-importance of holding fast what men call orthodoxy as to His person. I shall yield to none in jealousy for it, and loyally maintain that it is of the substance and essence of the faith of God's elect that we should confess the immaculate purity of His humanity just as much as the reality of His assumption of our nature. Assuredly He did take the proper manhood of His mother, but He never took manhood in the state of His mother, but as the body prepared for Him by the Holy Ghost, who expelled every taint of otherwise transmitted evil. In His mother that nature was under the taint of sin; she was fallen, as were all others naturally begotten and born in Adam's line. In Him it was not so; and in order that it should not be so, we learn in God's word that He was not begotten in a merely natural generation, which would have perpetuated the corruption of the nature and have linked Jesus with the fall; but by the power of the Holy Ghost He and He alone was born of woman without a human father. Consequently as the Son was necessarily pure, as pure as the Father, in His own proper divine nature, so also in the human nature which He thus received from His mother: both the divine and the human were found forever afterward joined in that one and the same person—the Word made flesh.

Oneness and Union

The Lord Jesus is the true pattern of the “union” of man with God, God and man in one person. It is a common mistake to speak of union with God in the case of us His children. Scripture never uses language of the kind; it is the error of theology. The Christian never has union with God, which would really be, and only is in, the Incarnation. We are said to be one with Christ, “one spirit with the Lord” “one body,” one again as the Father and the Son; but these are evidently and totally different truths. “Oneness” would suppose identification of relationship, which is true of us as the members and body of our exalted Head. But we could not be said to be one with God as such without confounding the Creator and the creature and insinuating a kind of Buddhistic absorption into deity, which is contrary to all truth or even sense. The phrase therefore is a great blunder, which not only has got nothing whatever to warrant it from the Spirit, but there is the most careful exclusion of the thought in every part of the divine word.
And here it may be of interest to say a few words of explanation as to our partaking of the divine nature, of which Peter speaks at the beginning of his Second Epistle (1:4). It does not seem to be the same as oneness with Christ, which in scripture is always founded on the Spirit of God making us one with the Lord after He rose from the dead. Christ, when He was here below, compared Himself to a corn of wheat that was alone: if it died, it would bring forth much fruit. Though the Son of God was already the life of believers from the beginning, He promises more, thus indicating that union is a different thing. They must never he confounded. They are both true of the Christian; but union in the full sense of the word was that which could not be till Christ had died to put away before God our sins, yea to give us our very nature judged, so that we might stand in an entirely new position and relationship, made one by the Spirit with Christ glorified on high. This I believe to be the doctrine of scripture. Along with this, observe that the only one who brings out the body of Christ asserted dogmatically in the New Testament is the apostle Paul. Our spiritual oneness is referred to frequently in the seventeenth chapter of the Gospel of John; but this is not exactly the same thing as being one with Christ according to the figure of the head and the body, which is the proper type of oneness in scripture. Now it is by the apostle Paul alone that the Spirit sets before us the body with its head; and this it is which figures the true notion according to God of our oneness with Christ.
To be one with, or have life in, Him is not the same thing. This may be clearly illustrated by the well-known instance of Abel and Cain. They had the same life as Adam; but they were not one with Adam as Eve was. She only was one with Adam. They had his life no less than their mother. Thus the two things are never the same and need not be in the same persons. Oneness is the nearest possible relationship, which may or may not be conjoined with the possession of life. Both are in the Christian. The pattern of oneness or its proper scriptural model is found under that of the head and the body which is the more admirably expressive as the head clearly and of right directs all the movements of, the body. In a man of sound mind and body there is not a single thing done by the extremity of the foot which is not directed by the head. Such exactly is the pattern spiritually. The Spirit of God animates the assembly, the body of Christ. The Holy Spirit is the true bond of oneness between the members on earth and Christ in heaven. By and by, when we go on high, it will be represented by another figure equally apt, though also anticipatively applied while we are on the earth. We never hear of the head and the body in the day of glory, but of the Bridegroom and the bride. So we read in Rev. 19 that the marriage of the Lamb is then come. This takes place in heaven after the translation of the saints, and before the day of Christ's appearing. Scripture avoids speaking of the marriage until the work of God is complete in His assembly, so that those who are baptized of the Spirit into that one body may be caught up to Christ together. These, between the two advents of the Lord, are all in one common position. But those before Christ came were surely quickened of Him; sons of God, they were partakers of the divine nature. So are Christians now; so will be the saints when the millennial kingdom is set up under the reign of Christ manifest to every eye. But to be one with Christ, members of His body, is only true now that He is in heaven as the glorified Man, and that the Spirit is sent down to baptize us into this new body on the earth. That one body is now being formed and perpetuated as long as the church remains on earth. The marriage of the Lamb (of course a figure of consummated union and joy) will only take place when the whole church is complete, not before, whatever may be the language inspired by hope ere then.
As to the difficulty of some minds whether Christ partook of our nature as it is here, or we partake of Him as He is in heaven, the answer seems to be that both are true; but they are not the same truth. Christ partook of human nature, but not in the condition in which we have it. This, as explained elsewhere, is essential not only to the gospel but to the Christ of God. The man who denies this denies Christ's person; he wholly overlooks the meaning of the supernatural operation of the Holy Ghost. Such was the fatal blot of Irvingism—a far deeper mischief than the folly about tongues, or the pretensions to prophesying, or the presumption of restoring the church and its ministries, or even its gross Judaizing. It made null and void the Holy Ghost's operation, which is acknowledged in the commonest creeds of both Romanists and Protestants. These all so far confess the truth; for I hold that as to this, Romanists and Protestants are sound but the Irvingites are not, although in other matters they may say a great deal that is true enough. Certainly Edward Irving saw and taught not a little neglected truth. Notwithstanding, they were, and I believe still are, fundamentally unsound in holding the human nature of Christ to be fallen and peccable through the taint of the fall, thus setting aside the object and fruit of the miraculous conception by the power of the Highest.
Hence then our being partakers of the divine nature is one thing, the gift of the Holy Ghost quite another. Both we have now. The first is the new nature that pertains to us as believers, and this in a substantial sense has been true of all believers from the beginning. But besides this there is the peculiar privilege of oneness with Christ through the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven. Clearly this could not be until the Holy Ghost was given to baptize the disciples of Christ into one body; as again the Holy Ghost could not be given to produce this oneness till Jesus by His blood had put away our sins and been glorified at God's right hand (Heb. 1; John 1; 7). Those who should be saved had been in every kind of impurity, and they must be washed from their sins before they could be righteously set in that position of nearness and relationship as “one new man.” Esther was chosen and called to a high position; still, according to the habits due to the great king, there must needs be a great preparation before the actual consummation. I grant you this was but a natural place; still it is the type of a spiritual relationship; so that we may use it to illustrate God's mind. It is not consistent with His ways or His holiness that any should be taken out of the old things and put into the wonderful position of oneness with Christ until the work of redemption completely abolished our old state before God and brought us into a new one in Christ. Such is the order of scripture.
But there is more to come. For although we have already the Holy Ghost as well as the new nature, there is a third requisite which the glory of Christ demands for us: we shall be changed. That is, we Christians, who have now not only humanity, but this fallen, are destined at Christ's coming again for us to be changed. Christ had human nature, but not fallen. In His case alone was humanity holy, free from every blemish and taint, and pure according to God. It was not only not fallen, but fit without blood to be the temple of God. This is far more than could be said about Adam in his pristine innocency. When Adam came from the hand of God, good as he was, it could not be said that he was holy. There was absolute absence of all evil. God made the man upright before he sought inventions. There was untainted innocence; but holiness and righteousness are more than creation goodness and innocency. Holiness implies the intrinsic power that rejects evil in separation to God: and righteousness means consistency with the relationship in which one is set. Both these qualities we see, not in Adam but, in Jesus even as to His humanity. “That holy thing that shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” He was “the Holy one of God,” “Jesus Christ the righteous.” Indeed He was the only one of whom it was or could be said of His human nature that it was holy; as it clearly is of humanity in His person that the expression “that holy thing” is used. The divine nature was not born of the virgin; and it was little needed to call that holy. There was the highest interest and moment in knowing the character of His humanity. Scripture as to this is most explicit. His humanity was holy from the very first, spite of being born of a fallen race.
And this agrees with all other truth. Thus, had the human nature of Christ been tainted by the fall', how could He have been the “most holy” sin-offering for sinners? There was no instance about which there was so much scrupulosity of care as the meal-offering and the sin-offering. These two are remarkable, and remarkably opposed, types of Christ: the one of His life, the other of His death.
But we shall have much more in the way of power and glory by and by. When Christ comes, human nature in us will participate in the victory of the Second Man, the last Adam, as it now shares in the weakness and ruin of the first man. Then indeed is the time when human nature will be promoted to a good degree; that is to say, it will be raised out of all the consequences of the fall of the first man, and will be placed in all the power and incorruption and glory of the Second Man as He is now in the presence of God. Never shall we be made God: this could not be, and ought not to be. It is impossible that the creature can overpass the bounds that separate the Creator from it. And more than that, the renewed creature is the very one which would most abhor the thought. No matter what the church's blessedness and glory may be, it never forgets its creature obligations to God and the reverence due to Him. For this very reason he that knows God would never desire that He should be less God than He is, and could not indulge or tolerate the self-exalting folly which the miserable illusion of Buddhism cherishes, along with many kinds of philosophy which are afloat now as of old in the west as well as the east—the dream of a final absorption into deity. This is altogether false and irreverent. All approach to such thoughts we see excluded in the word of God. In heaven the lowliness of those whom the sovereign grace of God made partakers of the divine nature will be even more perfect than now while we are on the earth. Human nature under sin is as selfish as proud. Fallen humanity always seeks its own things and glory; but the new nature, the perfection of which is seen in Christ, (that is to say, the life given to the believer, what we receive in Christ even now, and by and by when everything is conformed to it) will only make perfect without a single flaw or hindrance that which we now are in Christ Jesus our Lord.


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Cain: 3. His World and His Worship

His World, and His Worship
There is yet another feature in the Cain character—open hostility to those who know God's principle of grace to those whom God does accept. See what follows: “And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him” (ver. 8). Abel as a poor helpless man should have demanded Cain's sympathy, but Cain hates the one whom God delights in.
And so it is now. Why is it that you are so angry at a fault in a Christian which you readily excuse in a man of the world, if it be not hatred to the name he bears? If it ought to produce better fruits in him, why not adopt it yourselves? If you are expecting better from him than from the world, why not follow that which you profess to believe will produce the better fruit?
But you have not merely hated the name of Christ, you have been guilty of hating that which God has established in Christ. And here is the same principle that crucified Christ, the desperate recklessness of sin.
You cannot deny that the world has crucified Christ. God's Son is not now in the world. He has been in the world. He became a man amongst men (“the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,” John 1:14)—our neighbor. Man saw and hated Him, and summed up his evil in killing Him. I ask you therefore, Has God no such question with you as he had with Cain, “Where is thy brother?” (ver. 9.) Christ has become man's “brother” (it is not the question of God's purpose and counsel here); and is not God demanding of the world, “Where is Christ?” Cain replied, “I know not: am I my brother's keeper?”
Here is a much worse character of sin than Adam's. It is the haughtiness and recklessness of sin. “Am I my brother's keeper?” Not only has there been sin against God, sin that has exiled man from Eden and separated him from the presence of God in peace, but there has been sin also that has led to the hatred and destruction of a brother (blessed and perfect in His ways) whom man has seen. Your disclaiming this displays, and is the proof of, the recklessness of your hearts. “If I had not come and spoken unto them,” said Jesus, “they had not had sin; but now they have no cloak for their sin. He that hateth me hateth my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause” (John 15:22-25).
The coming of the Son of God into the world has shown the real state it is in.
Why was Christ rejected by man, except that man hated God? That was the only reason that Christ was slain in this world. They hated God, and therefore they hated Him. They hated the light— “Every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest that they are wrought in God” (John 3:20, 21). “They loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil;” and this is their sin, that they have put the Light out of the world. Like Cain, they were “of that wicked one,” and slew their brother (1 John 3:12). Like him too in the motive— “And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous.” “Which of you convinceth me of sin?” (John 8:46.) Even Pilate said, “I find no fault in him” (John 18:38; 19:4, 6). The world has sinned against God in crucifying and slaying Jesus. They hated God, and therefore turned God's Son out of the world, when sent to it in love.
But there is another thing. It is not simply a question of man's having killed the Lord Jesus Christ: the world has now to answer for its resistance of the Holy Ghost. “Ye do always resist the Holy Ghost,” &c. The testimony of the Holy Ghost, present in the world as witness of the glory of Christ, is a conviction of the world of sin (John 16:7-15). He has been sent down because Christ has been killed. The necessary testimony of His very presence in the world is this: He would not have been here on earth if Christ had not been killed. He is come in condemnation of the whole world before God. ‘I am here,' He says, as it were, ‘because you have killed your Abel.' It is not a question about particular sins; you have killed God's Son, you are a sinner because you have not believed on Him.
Well then, dear friends, are you the daily companions of those who have rejected Christ, who have killed Christ? Are you of that world, and found with that world in its pleasures and profits, its religion and its lusts, which has done this, and which is still against God and against His Christ, vainly trying to make yourselves pleasant without God? Or have you taken your stand with those who are “of God,” who have God with them and God for them, though the whole world that lieth in the wicked one be against them? The efforts that are being made merely to improve the world are but the sign of the insensibility of Cain. The Spirit of God is come into the world to awaken us to a sense of what has happened in the world, and of the truth of our condition as men.
How came poor Abel to be an accepted worshipper? “And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And Jehovah had respect unto Abel and to his offering; but unto Cain,” &c. (ver. 4). He was accepted by blood. There was this testimony in his offering: I cannot go to God as I am; I am driven out of paradise, sin has come in between me and God, and death, “the wages of sin,” must come in between me and God, or I cannot go to God—I cannot go as I am. He took the place of a sinner, and put between himself and God in faith the blood of a victim that had been slain. Unless in his going to God he had owned his necessity that he could not get into the presence of God at all but by blood, he would not have been accepted any more than Cain. But he knew and owned that he could not get to God without blood; he was of faith, and faith ever sees that “without shedding of blood there is no remission” (Heb. 9:22). He put death—judicially inflicted death (by slaying the victim)—between himself and God, and then he comes into the presence of God as an accepted worshipper. “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh” (Heb. 11:4).
But further, Abel suffered with Christ. Having owned that he could not come into the presence of God without the blood of the lamb slain, he takes his place and portion with Christ in rejection. He is a sufferer from the wicked of the world. That is how it must end. That is all that the Christian is to expect at the hands of a world departed from God. “Marvel not if the world hate you” (1 John 3:13).
“Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest,” says the Apostle, “by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; and having a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near,” &c. (Heb. 10:19, 22.) All who come not through Him are rejected, because they do not know that they are so utterly sinful that they cannot come into God's presence except through the blood of His Son. And on the other hand, all who say, I cannot go up except through blood, see that it is the perfectness of love—God's own perfect blessed love—that to meet man's need spared nothing, not even His only-begotten Son. “He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Cor. 5:21). This is the language of faith. He is the only God, who, when I was the chief of sinners, gave His Son to die for me. I know of no God but a God of perfect love, bringing me out of all my vileness, hanging on my neck in my vileness, as did the father to the returning prodigal (Luke 15), and bringing me into His house to rejoice with Him in the exceeding riches of His grace.
We get perfect blessed peace through the blood of Christ, without one pang of conscience left. “The worshipper once purged has no more conscience of sins” (Heb. 10). The apostle does not say that he is not a sinner, that he is not vile; but that God has so loved the vile and sinful as to give His Son unto death to wash away their vileness and their sins. J.N.D.
Concluded from p. 52.

The Red Sea: Part 1

Ex. 14
We are all too apt to settle down with that which merely stays the craving of the conscience, and satisfies our own sense of what our sins deserve from God's hand; and this to the great impairing, not only of His glory, but also of our peace, instead of endeavoring to rise to the enjoyment of the full portion we have given us in the gospel.
This appears always in every part of the truth of God, and it will be made manifest here, I trust clearly, to the children of God, by that which certainly ought to be the known portion of all belonging to Christ. For I am not now going to speak of what might be safely unknown by any Christian. I am only going to treat of the common heritage of all that belong to Christ. I propose to speak, not of the whole even that by grace pertains to us from the very starting-place of our career, but of that part of our blessing which God has given us in redemption, by the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Christians are too apt to settle down with this—that they have been awakened and feel their sins, and that they have found a blessed refuge and resource in the blood of Christ.
They are quite right as far as they go. God forbid that one should enfeeble the sense of the preciousness of His blood. To enter into our full portion enhances the value of His blood, and brings out the grace of God in its own fullness, not in any way shadowing even that which souls are apt to make their goal, but giving them to enjoy it richly, which they are too apt to content themselves without.
In general you will find that what souls are content to rest in is the answer in the New Testament to the type of the Passover.
No soul that is awakened of the Holy Ghost could find the smallest possible hope for his guilty soul save in the blood of the Lord Jesus. To Him pointed, as we know, the Passover lamb that was killed, the blood of which was sprinkled on the doorposts of Israel in the land of Egypt. It is plain that all God's children must necessarily be sooner or later driven to find their shelter within the blood-sprinkled doors; there alone they are safely sheltered from judgment.
But they are apt to satisfy themselves with something short of what God has given. The paschal lamb's blood is not really all that God has given to us, even from the starting-place of the Christian.
The children of Israel, as you may see by the historical circumstances, were not yet redeemed out of Egypt, even after the blood was sprinkled. There was another need and a different action of God, following the first up, no doubt, but still another dealing of grace necessary to show the deliverance that Christ has really secured for the believer.
The truth of death and resurrection alone gives the believer the measure of the blessing which Christ has really procured; just as in the circumstances here, the Red Sea itself was necessary to give the Israelite his deliverance from the house of bondage.
The New Testament fully teaches this. Take for instance, the First Epistle of Peter. There we find that we “are redeemed, not with corruptible things, as silver and gold,.... but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot”; but that is not all. The Spirit of God shows that by Him we believe in God, who raised Him up from the dead, and gave Him glory, that our faith and hope might be in God.
There you have our Red Sea. The death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus—the putting the people through the Red Sea answering to it as the type in the Old Testament was necessary to complete the deliverance which God pledged the blood of the lamb to perform.
And so you find it also in the Epistle to the Romans. In chapter 3 we have the blood of Jesus; in chapter iv. we have the death and resurrection: the Red Sea being the type of the latter, as the Passover is of the former. We have Jesus shedding His blood in chapter 3.; Jesus raised again for our justification in chapter iv.; and then in the commencement of chapter v., we read— “Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The Holy Ghost does not say we have peace until we have the result of the death and resurrection of Christ, as well as of His blood, applied to our souls. I am not in the least denying that a soul may be filled with great joy without such knowledge. The attractive grace of Christ continually wins souls, leading them to rejoice before God; but joy and peace are very different things.
You never can have solid peace without knowing that all that is against you is judged of God. He would have me to look at what I have done and to feel what I am; nay, He would use means to bring a due sense of sin, and not only of my sins, before my soul to judge self both in what I have done, and in what I am.
In the face of all, then, have you perfect peace? What could give you this? Not merely the blood of Christ. Without that precious blood there could be no peace; but the blood of Christ, whilst of infinite price, does not give the full measure of the blessing into which your soul is brought, even as a groundwork before God. He has made peace through the blood of His cross, no doubt; but still the way He brings me into the enjoyment of it is by showing Himself raised from the dead for our justification; and more than this, by showing us ourselves, dead unto sin, but alive unto God, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Accordingly, then, we have this fully discussed in the Epistle to the Romans, and upon this I must dwell for a little.
(To be continued).

Wilderness Grace: Part 2

Ex. 17
As to blessing, unless we speak of the presumption of our own thoughts about sin, we must look to Christ in reference to it. All the blessing is Christ's: it belongs to Him; and to us only as having our portion in and with Him. It all rests on promise, without any reference to the state of man. Our strength and comfort is in seeing this, that it flows down from God as the expression of His thoughts toward us. Just as water reaching a thirsty man, the water has only to do with the thirsty man as it regards quenching his thirst; it does not come from, but merely to, him.
There was then the sentence of punishment pronounced on the serpent, and the promise given to the Seed. All is of grace, and in Christ.
The Lord having settled this great basis of truth, that all is of grace in Christ, and established in resurrection, He began to manifest His ways more in detail; and that first, amongst His own people Israel, the seed of Abraham after the flesh. He began to show, not merely His grace in giving His promises to the Seed, on which faith might lay hold, but His own considerate love in caring for the need and sorrows of His people. When once it was completely settled that the promises came simply from God and from His love, then He shows that He can consider all the need of His people, and take every possible thought about them and their sorrows, saying to Moses (chap. 3), “I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; and I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites. Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them,” &c. He took notice of every circumstance of their trouble and sorrow.
Having sent this message to them by the hand of Moses, that He knew their sorrows and, having touched their heart in this way, giving them confidence in His love in spite of their sinfulness, so that “the people believed, and bowed their head and worshipped,” He does not pass over their sin. He cannot help seeing their evil; and if He is to have them in communion with Himself He must take notice of their condition towards Himself as well as towards Pharaoh; that is to say, that of being sinners. God and sin must be always at variance: we ourselves feel it to be so. When quickened and convinced of sin, the first expression of our hearts, like that of Peter's, is, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” We see at once, as he did, that God's holiness cannot, and ought not to, allow of sin. There is always great ignorance in us when we say this, though it is a very true feeling; for it is as though we thought that the Lord did not know a great deal more of what is in our hearts than we do ourselves. A moment's consideration in the case of Peter would have made him feel, The Lord knew that I was a sinful man before He came into my ship; and yet He came: surely then I need not shrink from Him.
The Lord gives us confidence in Himself by taking the start of us about the knowledge of our sinfulness. Jesus said to Peter, “Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men” —planting him at once in confidence in Himself, because showing him that though He knew quite well he was a sinner, yet His purpose was to make him the means of saving sinners. It was as much as to say, 'You need not shrink from Me; for if I could not meet you in grace and put away your sin, I could not of course make use of you to save others.'
In bringing Israel into direct fellowship with Himself, God showed, by putting the blood on their doorposts (chap. 12.), that when He executed judgment on Egypt He secured deliverance from it to His people. And just so in God's dealings with us; the judgment that has passed on Christ because of sin is the security of the church (of every believer) against judgment. When the soul apprehends the Lord Jesus as the one offering for sin, it has confidence in God; and that on the very ground of His knowing thoroughly our sinfulness. It is impossible that God should pass over the blood of the Lord Jesus, and impute to sinners those sins which He has washed away. He cannot impute sin to a believer without condemning the value of His blood-shedding, and virtually denying the efficacy of it. And if that be true when He judges men by and by, it must be true now. Faith knows that death is God's own sentence against sin, and that it has been executed on Christ in the sinner's stead. Faith “sets to its seal that God is true,” and receives His thoughts who has said about the blood-shedding of Jesus, “When I see the blood, I will pass over.”
But there is another thing: it is not merely that God says, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people, I know their sorrows,” &c.; there must be also His power put forth in delivering. This is shown in the passage of the Israelites through the Red Sea (chap. 14), and to us in the Lord Jesus having “through death destroyed him that had the power of death” (Heb. 2:14). In the cross Satan put forth all his power and energy against the Prince of life; and he did it successfully, arraying both Jew and Gentile against Him (it was “your hour and the power of darkness” Luke 22:53); but in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus the mightiest power of Satan was destroyed forever. And so with Israel: God has taken up the cause of His people. It was not merely that He had given them peace through the blood sprinkled on their door-posts, but He Himself had entered into conflict with their enemies, and Satan's power in enslaving them was completely gone. We may have been brought to see the sinfulness and evil of our condition before God, and the power of the blood of Jesus in satisfying the holiness of God; but we do not know liberty till we see God for us in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.
What was the effect of deliverance to Israel? and what is the effect of our deliverance from the bondage of Pharaoh (Satan looked at as such)? To bring into the wilderness, and not at once into Canaan. Being in the wilderness implies all sorts of trials. It may seem strange to sight, that they who had just been singing the song of triumph and deliverance (chap. 15) should be allowed to be three days in the wilderness without water; and then, when they came to water, should find it so bitter that they could not drink of it. But God permits these trials, in order that we may see our own need and prove His faithfulness. From the Red Sea to Sinai Israel proved the grace which belongs to us now. Let us ever remember, when speaking of the wilderness, that though there is trial in it, and plenty of trial, it is the place of the ministration of grace. The Lord's previous dealings were, as I may say, preliminary: He brought Israel into the wilderness in order to have them quite alone with Himself, that he might teach them what He was; as He said afterward, “Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself.” (chap. 19:4.) He lets us pass through these trials that we may thoroughly understand that all is from God there. The eagle's wing never tires or fails. It is either the most blessed triumph, security, and victory, that we enjoy, or it is nothing. It is wonderful how our hearts cling, not only to the thought of our own righteousness, but to the practical denial of our not having any strength in ourselves. Many have peace in Jesus, who do not see so entirely that they have no strength, either for service or conflict. Well, they learn it in the wilderness. Our journey through the wilderness is the weaning us from trusting in ourselves, in order that we may trust only in God.
The first thing God taught Israel in the wilderness was, that they could not get a drop of water except He gave it to them. They were kept without it three days; and when they came to water at last (when there was something within reach that man seemed able to grasp), they could not drink of it, it was so bitter; until the Lord showed Moses a tree to cast into the waters, which made them sweet. The Lord causes that which was death to become the means of life, as Hezekiah says, “O Lord, by these things men live, and in all these things is the life of my spirit.” (Isa. 38) In death to the flesh there is life to the spirit.
In chapter 16 the Israelites want bread and begin to murmur again. The Lord deals with them in grace and gives them bread. But it was such bread as showed them, morning by morning, that they must depend on Him. Had He withheld the manna one day, they would have had nothing to eat, for they could not keep it till the morrow; “it bred worms, and stank.” The Lord will not allow us to lay up anything (no, not even grace) in store that would tend to lead us into independence of Himself: it will turn to evil if we do. He showed His people perpetual grace in His dealings towards them; but He never took them, nor can He ever take us, out of the condition of dependence on Himself.
The manna was the type of Christ; as the water was of the Spirit.
Soon after (chapter 17), in journeying from the wilderness of Sin, we find the Israelites murmuring again because they had no water. “Wherefore the people did chide with Moses, and said, Give us water that we may drink.” But new murmurings only bring out fresh grace (for they had not yet come to Sinai): God gave them water. His grace abounded where their sin abounded. The more they murmured, the more in one sense they got.
(To be continued).

The Broken State of Christendom

There is no greater danger than forgetting the spirit that becomes those to whom God has shown His mercy in giving true understanding of what suits Him in the actual and broken state of Christendom. Is it not one of the things we need most to look to that the tone in which we use the truth should be becoming? The more we learn of God, the more we should cultivate lowliness of mind. This does not imply that you should have indecision in your convictions, but that along with this you have a just sense of your own weakness, and that you are broken in spirit, remembering how the glory of the Lord has suffered by the failure of His people. We feel how far the church has fallen and whence also, but we ought not to be discouraged. There is no element of Christ in despair or distrust. The Holy Ghost never produces doubt. As there is sometimes a difficulty in minds about what is called the ruin of the church, a few words may be well on the present broken state of things among those who call on the Lord's name.
We must bear in mind the church in two points of view—the church or assembly as built by Christ; and as built by man, that is, by His servants. The assembly as built by Christ never fails. “The gates of hades shall not prevail against it.” But that which has been built by the servants of the Lord is always liable to be injured by elements more or less worthless if not worse. It may suffer through worldliness, haste, carelessness, fleshly feeling, a thousand things according to nature allowed to act without being judged, and so leave results to shame and the Lord's dishonor. Hence we find among the Corinthians there were materials of which the apostle speaks in tones of grave admonition. They had let in what was not unprofitable only, but even corrupting: “wood, hay, and stubble.” Yet also there might be a power of defilement with the hand of destruction there. He who built what was worthless might be saved while his work perished, but the man who defiled, or destroyed, the house of God, would himself be destroyed by the judgment of God. All this is where men are the builders. Thus we see the two aspects justified. There is that in the assembly of God here below which is built of Christ, and so never fails, the stones of which are living, and in no case dead ones. On the other hand there is the bad workmanship, more or less careless service, as the case may be—either bad men doing what is according to themselves, or good men who are not in everything guided of God; and consequently there is an accretion of inferior material having no value for God, which sullies His temple, and so far incurs the charge of confusion, disorder, and weakness. It is in the last point of view that we see the springs of the ruin which soon overspread the church. These perishable things, “wood, hay, and stubble,” mean, I think, ill-put or light doctrine generating persons akin. It might thus easily mean both; it is in the first instance doctrines palatable to the flesh, and therefore attractive to persons in a fleshly state, perhaps unconverted or natural men.
Some no doubt think it a hard saying to speak of the church in ruins; but why so? There is no impeachment of God but only of man. God called Israel out of Egypt; yet Israel became a ruin. Why then should we wonder that the Gentile has not continued in His goodness? Compare Rom. 11, where we may see how little the apostle could be surprised at such an issue. The principle runs through every dealing of God with man. The creature always fails, but all turns to God's glory. No doubt the church, like Israel, exists, but in a ruined state. Does not the Protestant own it when he thinks of Popery? the Romanist when he looks on Protestantism? Upright and spiritual men own it without reserve.
All these are but cases of a still more general truth. The first man fell and is fallen universally. But there is another great fact—the Second man is risen from the dead, and has begun a new creation which will never perish or even fail. Thus the same principle applies far and wide, as always; as far as we touch on the responsibility of man, we behold ruin and confusion. Everybody feels it; every godly intelligent person owns it, even though he might not be used to the expression, and so feel difficulty, fearing it might compromise the grace and faithfulness of God. Impossible to love Christ and the church without groaning. Doubtless I could easily name a well-known high-church leader who, occupying a zone ecclesiastically far removed from that of many, as a pious man, mourned over the present state of the church. Yet as we cannot doubt of real godliness there, so also a heart that loves Christ and those that are Christ's. Now it is impossible to have these divine affections of the new nature without feeling that the present state of things is contrary to Christ's glory. I confess that I have incomparably more sympathy with the groaning of such a man than with others who trumpet the onward progress of Christianity in the nineteenth and present centuries, and look for the triumphs of the millennium as the fruit of the church's labors. How can one sympathize with such insensibility to the actual dishonor done to the Lord? It is really though unconsciously, playing into the hands of Satan. W.K.

The Purpose of God for His Sons and Heirs: Part 1

The Old Testament makes it clear that God, even in His aspect of Jehovah, the God of Israel, never limited Himself to Israel. He made them His particular people. He made known His name, His will for a people on earth to Israel only. He abounded in every kind of privilege that could be to a people in the flesh. Israel as naturally, were the chosen people who belonged to Him here below. They were objects of favor and goodness and mercy in a way that no other nation received, except the people in the land of Palestine.
But even before that, God had His blessed intention to set up a kingdom that would in no way be confined to Israel. This we find explicitly from the Gospel of Matthew in the last section of the great prophecy on the Mount of Olives; at the end of this age will be the accomplishment of these last words. Not only will the godly remnant be formed out of the Jews as in chap. 24 down to ver. 44, and the heavenly saints, or the Christian company, which forms the central part from ver. 45 to 25:30, but lastly there will be the future sheep. or living believers, of all the nations brought into marked blessing and favor. The King bids them, not reign with Him like the heavenly saints, but “inherit the kingdom prepared for” them “from the foundation of the world.” It is well to have this clearly, as a preliminary principle. Had we only this single prophecy, it is a plain proof that others are to be blessed, in their several places on earth under the reign of the Lord Jesus, whilst the risen saints reign over it with Him. It is a mere delusion that to the church belongs every elect soul from the beginning to the end, and that God has not varied companies, both for heaven and for earth, destined to be objects of His grace for His glory.
Far from me to deny that there is on earth now, the church, Christ's body, gathered out of Jews and Gentiles, wherein all earthly distinctions disappear. But those Gentile sheep at the consummation of the age are not the church. Scripture proves that God is so full of goodness toward man that He means to bless Israel after all their long unbelief and manifold iniquity; and that He will send the gospel of the kingdom among all the nations for a blessing to many before the end comes. The church will be glorified on high. Remnants from both Israel and the nations are about to be blessed on the earth in that day. The sheep of Matt. 25:32 are by no means all the sheep of God.
The popular divinity, if you believe it, says that there is nothing else but these sheep, and that they compose His church. Why? Because the church is assumed to be the one and only object of divine grace throughout all time. They have got their ideas out of tradition, following not the scriptures, but men no wiser than themselves. Do you ask if we pretend to any wisdom of our own? God forbid. What we confess is that God is true; and what we do is to be subject simply and solely to the word of God. Is it not the only right way?
The fact is, there will be, if we heed scripture, different companies of the blessed in heaven, as well as on the earth. It is mere traditional prejudice to conceive a single multitudinous throng. On the contrary there will be marked varieties both above and below, blessed with or by Christ. Nor can we know the glorious future for heaven and earth, but by the word of God; which is the one authority for all truth, past, present, or future. In the verses with which the Epistle to the Ephesians opens, we have a wondrous unfolding of divine grace at its very highest, and coming down to the lowest possible. The time too made it all the more striking, though eminently suitable as it must be for such a disclosure. Not a word had been divulged about it in the Old Testament as we are distinctly told in a subsequent part of this Epistle. It was a secret kept hid in God from all previous ages and generations. Indeed it would then have been quite incompatible, whether in the earlier generation, or after the law was given to Israel by Moses.
When was it that God chose to bring out this, the highest, the deepest, and the most wonderful of His purposes? It was when Jew and Gentile, the world, had united in greater sin than it had ever before committed. Need one tell you what that awful sin was? Too well—alas! too little, men know it. To your souls that believe, it has been brought home by the Holy Spirit of God. That tremendous sin is the rejection, even to the cross, of the Lord Jesus. Yet such is His unbounded grace that the otherwise hopeless sin can be forgiven though it be the hating of the Father and of the Son without a cause (John 15:22-25). The worst of man, and the best of God, never came clearly out till the crucifixion of the Savior. The cross of the Lord Jesus was morally the end of probation. The whole of the Old Testament had been given long before that, people who alone were familiar with Law, Psalms and Prophets were indifferent learners of the New Testament. They liked the Old better. They said the old wine was good; and they stuck to it, as the Lord told them when their refusal of Himself came out more and more. It was very late when the Epistle to the Hebrews was written to set those of them who believed on their proper ground intelligently. They had been but partially on Christian ground, pretty much as most professing Christians are now. They had only vague notions about the gospel, Christian walk, worship, and hope. All was indistinct, not to say incorrect; and that is the state not only of Christendom, but of the children of God in it. Believers from among the Jews ought to have been teachers when Paul wrote to them his great Epistle. They had to learn better the very elements, “the word of the beginning of Christ.” They had not arrived at “perfection” or full growth, the due and definite truth of Christianity. There was not only a shortcoming, but a veritable muddle in their minds; consequently their conduct as Christians was mixed and vacillating.
Among those who are upright, how much depends upon their real hold of what scripture actually teaches! The Christian Hebrews feebly understood anything distinctive. Without denying that Christ died, rose, and went to heaven, the great truths that came out consequently were not developed as they should be, so characteristically different from what the Old Testament led people to expect. With Christ confessed they looked for everything grand, honored, prosperous, and delightful here below. But how did the cross of Christ and His going away to heaven consist with the expectation of Israel being now at the head of the nations and in the enjoyment of earthly glory? Even believers had that idea still. You will recollect that when the risen Lord was about to go to heaven from the Mount of Olives, they asked, Wilt thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel? They had little idea of the thorough break with Israel; still less that God was bringing in a wholly distinct purpose, and associations new and heavenly. This is what we find very fully in the Epistle to the Ephesians and elsewhere: an absolutely fresh revelation. The believers in Jerusalem were slow to learn. Nor does the Epistle to the Hebrews rise to the mystery concerning Christ and concerning the church. Even the heavenly calling therein treated was imperfectly known. Yet it was written late, though somewhat before the destruction of Jerusalem. It speaks of Mosaic covenant, ritual, system, tabernacle, altar, priest and offering, superseded by what was far better, earthly shadows by the heavenly realities. This was strange not only to the unbelieving Jews but to the Christian remnant. They thought that the old forms were rather to be filled with new power, and that grace would be given to make them living. They had not realized that the old divine service must pass away, and be succeeded by entirely heavenly things in accordance with Christ seated at the right hand of God on high. He is the truth, and must be brought not only into the heart by faith as He is now exalted, but wrought into the worship of God and into the practice of men that believe as a living reality here and now. To this and nothing less is the Christian called. He is, and ought to know from God through Christ that he is, a heavenly man, while here on earth. He has to act out this association with Christ above whilst he lives here below. The consequence is that the Christian seems, if faithful, the greatest fool going. That is what the world thinks of out and out fidelity to Christ. They can understand a Papist or a Protestant, an Anglican, a Presbyterian, a Methodist, a Baptist or the like. If you are ever so inconsistent with Christ, it may be excellent in men's eyes. Accordingly they scourged, imprisoned, stoned and slew the faithful witnesses of Christ; and Rome at length tortured them in every cruel way to kill or cure them of the truth, which seemed to them nothing but the most chimerical ideas. Do the children of God feel how far they have slipped away? It is to recall them to a better grasp of Christianity that I am speaking to you to-night. It were not much to talk about. what you know well enough yourselves My duty is to show in my measure some things you are but little acquainted with. Think me not proud or pretentious if I thus speak and earnestly urge. God forbid! He that would be true to Christ's name and word, and true to the church of God of which he is a member, ought assuredly and with all his heart to speak of the fruit of Christ in heaven brought by the Spirit to men on earth; for, if we believe it, we are called to speak it and by grace to live it. What indeed is the good of truth if you do not humbly seek to carry it out? Better not to hear and know it, than to have on your lips what condemns all your life and your worship. The truth now made known in the N.T. would not have been understood by Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, nor by Isaiah, Jeremiah and Daniel. None of them could have so much as guessed what is now revealed. It all hangs upon Christ come down in reconciling love, yet utterly rejected not merely by the Gentile world but by the Jew most of all. Him God has received up into heavenly glory, and by the. Spirit associates us with Himself there and now. Of Him and this, we are called to bear witness, in our walk, service, and worship. We care not to confess it boldly, if we shirk it practically; it is only our greater condemnation. Assuredly this is as true as it is solemn.
I cannot but believe God raised up brethren to recall themselves and their fellows to these truths, in all their necessary consequences practically; it is also my sad conviction that some lifted up with pride have brought these very truths into all kinds of confusion. Does any such reaction disprove the truth? Not for a moment. It proves how easily grace may be divorced from truth which then degenerates into knowledge that puffs up. The truth never got really into their heart, for one does not suppose they depart from what they know to be true. When grace does not direct and strengthen, it becomes a great danger for every one of us of losing whatever truth we have. All really turns upon Christ, and Christ now in heaven, who also brings out the now revealed character of God. For He does now assume a new character according to the position of Christ who died and rose. When Christ receives the earth, He takes up the Jewish people, and all the nations; and Jehovah shall be king over all the earth, one Jehovah and His name one. God will act in accordance with it in power and majesty. For the world-kingdom of our Lord and His Christ shall then have come, and He shall reign forever and ever (Rev. 11:15). The Spirit of God will make effectual what is then in hand, as He always does. “Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” In past history who can recall a single thing in which the Gentiles and the Jews agreed except to crucify the Lord Jesus? Otherwise they hated each other with mortal enmity. Yet they joined for once to cast the Lord out of the earth as unfit to live. Nevertheless the Lord is gone up into supreme glory on high, far above all principality and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in that which is to come. And all things being made subject, He is given as Head over all things to the church, which is His body—He that stooped to all ignominy in the cross. We cannot be Christians in faith without both. To Him in all depths we go as lost sinners to he saved; and when we have redemption through His blood, we that were far off are brought nigh in the closest association with Christ at the right hand of God.
Is it not a strange and humbling and prevalent fact that so few Christians should understand their own Christianity? Yet it is true that there are many brethren in the Lord who know more about the Jews than they do about their own Christianity. Pay close heed to this, lest it be your own case. It is always the truth most important for us, that the devil tries to hide away from us, and turn us bitterly from it. Nor is it only the bad things that he perverts, to hinder our blessing. For many true believers are kept back because they refuse to look for more than the forgiveness of their sins through the gospel. Now therein is God's righteousness revealed by and to faith; therein the sinner. owns the riches of God's grace to his soul: but to stop there is altogether unworthy. And so many saints of God fall into this snare at the present moment, that it is well to see to it that we ourselves escape it. What is the good of occupying ourselves with what does not promote God's glory? Let us seek in all integrity to judge ourselves. Let us zealously seek to be taught of God. Let our eyes be fixed on the Lord that we may be filled with fervor of spirit, and purpose of heart, simple and thorough going. The question for our faith and practice is the attitude that God assumes toward us, and our relation to Him while Christ is above on His own right hand. How is the answer to this great truth to be carried out on the earth in the heart and ways of those who believe? Must it not be through faith working by love?
“Blessed be the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us.” It was His God and Father that raised the Lord Jesus from the dead, and gave Him glory, that our faith and hope should be in God, His Father and our Father, His God and our God. As in the rest of the N.T. it is not the God of Abraham, etc.; but here “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” It is no longer the revelation of the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob; you naturally become more or less of a Jew in this case; and your heart cannot then rise higher than the promises made to the fathers. Hence so many believers now, like the Puritans in former days, talk of grasping the promises. This is to ignore and lower the privileges of the gospel and of the church. It loses sight of Christ in heavenly glory after redemption. Every Christian ought to appreciate the difference. At any rate, the foundation of Christianity is that the most wondrous of all promises is already accomplished. It is no longer the righteousness of God as near to come, or His salvation to be revealed (Isa. 56:1), but His righteousness is come, and His salvation is revealed. This supposes the Lord Himself come, and His work done for our sins, with an entirely new state of things. And this is the new creation in Christ which each believer gets by grace in the gospel. Therein is revealed the righteousness of God, and thereby salvation is no longer a hope, save for the body, but a reality now also brought into the soul. This reminds me of a text much misunderstood in the Acts of the Apostles (11:14). Cornelius in Caesarea was to send for Peter at Joppa, who should tell him words whereby he and all his house should be “saved.” It was not merely nor at all words by which he should be “converted.” Cornelius already was as much converted as you. He was as truly born again as anyone in Jerusalem. The chapter before describes him as devout and God-fearing, as a man that gave much alms, and praying to God always. Well for you and me to be in these respects, his match, if not his superiors. It is a total error to regard Cornelius then as a self-righteous person. This is the effect of ordinary Evangelicalism, Calvinistic no less than Arminian; because they alike confound conversion with the soul's salvation. It is theology, not the gospel. The N.T. makes the difference known.
The words of Peter were to tell how they were to be “saved,” which goes far beyond conversion, and is the actual privilege of the gospel through redemption. Ignorance of this leads preachers to pervert the force of this scripture, and of the truth in question. It destroys for converted souls in our day what grace was giving Cornelius to learn through the apostle then. Cornelius like the O.T. saints was already born of God. He was, as we are told in Acts 10:37, not at all ignorant of the word published throughout all Judea, and sent to the children of Israel. What he wanted to learn authoritatively was that God intended the same word of His grace to himself a Gentile and others like him, in all the freeness and the fullness of the gospel.
He did not dare to take it without divine sanction. He saw it clearly enough for Israel whom he honored as the old and chosen people of God. He believed that Messiah had come for their blessing; but he was not one of God's people Israel. He needed to have the assurance for a poor Gentile. For soul-salvation means the knowledge of being saved now. When people do not know this as their present portion, they are in substance like Cornelius. They too need to hear words whereby they shall be saved. It is really to be brought personally into “the word of truth, the gospel of their salvation.” Many converted persons do not know on the word of God, that all is clear between themselves and God, now and forever. This is soul-salvation. It is not only that a good many of our Methodist friends need to be saved in that way. Their system allows them but a scanty salvation, because they think it depends so much on themselves from day to day. Consequently if ever so happy to-day, they dread losing it to-morrow. This is not the salvation of God, but rather of man, or more particularly of John Wesley; who nevertheless did believe on Christ, and had the blessing far beyond his own scheme. For who can doubt that John Wesley is with the Lord, a blessed man as he really was, with short and imperfect views of salvation. I hope no Methodists here will be offended. Why should they be, because they are told plainly the truth? It is not mine, save that I believe it, but what God reveals in His word. It may soften matters, but is a sorry comfort, that we are all liable to mistake. Brethren, so called, are just as liable as others, especially if high-minded. Nothing keeps them or any others but God's word and Spirit. Thank God, in His rich grace, we Christians have both; and therefore should we be glad to prove more and more how perfect the blessedness is for our souls and to His glory.
(To be continued).

A Man of God

2 Tim. 3:17
In the New Testament “the man of God” supposes one faithful in the service of souls; but the term is by no means confined to Christianity, being rather in itself a familiar Old Testament expression.
By it we may understand a believer who has the moral courage and the spiritual power to identify himself with the Lord's interests, and to maintain the good fight of faith in the midst of perils and obstacles of every sort. Such a testimony is incompatible with yielding to human principles and the spirit of the age.
We must not suppose however that fidelity in such a day as ours wears an imposing garb. An appearance of strength is out of course when declension has come in and judgment is approaching. God will have a state of ruin felt, and His testimony must be in keeping. When He calls to sackcloth and ashes, He does not give such a character of power as has price in the world's eyes. Thus one of the truest signs of practical communion with the Lord is that at such a moment one is heartily content to be little. This is reality, but it is only a little strength. It is according to the mind of God. But that which attracts the world must please and pander to the self-importance of man. The world itself is a vain show, and likes its own. Consequently there is nothing which so carries the mass of men along with it as that which flatters the vanity of the human mind. It may assume the lowliest air, but sinful man seeks his own honor and present exaltation. But when a servant of God is thus drawn into the spirit of men, he naturally shrinks back from fairly facing the solemn call of God addressed to His own, loses his bright confidence, and gets either hardened or stands in dread of the judgment of God. When Christians lose the power and reproach of the cross, philanthropy has been taken up, which gives influence among men, and general activity in what men call doing good replaces the life of faith with the vain hope of staving off the evil day in their time at any rate. One need not deny zeal and earnest pursuit of what is good morally; self-denial too one sees in spending for purposes religious or benevolent; but the man of God, now that ruin has entered the field of Christ's confession, is more urgently than ever called to be true to a crucified Christ. And as surely as He is soon coming to take us on high, He will in due time appear for the judgment of every high thought and the fairest looking enterprises of men which will all be swallowed up in the yawning gulf of the apostasy.

To Our Readers

It is with very deep regret that we have to inform the many readers of The Bible Treasury of the great loss to them and us, of the beloved Editor, Mr. W KELLY, who fell asleep on the 27th March last, in the eighty-fifth year of his age. Yet should we be more than thankful for his long and unremitting labors in the Master's vineyard, and for the nearly fifty years of able and unbroken Editorship of this Magazine, as also for the many invaluable papers so regularly contributed by him to its pages. The Bible Treasury was commenced in June 1856 under the Editorship of Professor WALLACE who gave it its title, but his connection with the periodical ceased with the close of that year; and from January 1857 henceforth, Mr. WILLIAM KELLY became sole Editor. Under ordinary circumstances therefore The Bible Treasury might fitly have closed the 50 years of its existence with the present issue; but as it was the expressed wish of the late Editor, only a few days before he passed away, that, if possible, the Magazine should be continued, it is proposed that for the time being this should be done, as there are in the writer's possession, manuscript notes of addresses, which were taken down in shorthand, besides also a considerable quantity of other matter never yet published in this paper, which we feel sure will prove of real interest and profit to our readers. If any of our friends should have notes of addresses by Mr. KELLY which have not yet seen the light, and would kindly forward them to E. B. T. c/o T. Weston, 53, Paternoster Row, the writer would be very grateful for same, as also for any letters of interest from the late Editor's voluminous pen. Moreover, it is hoped that, as hitherto, helpful papers from other writers may continue to find a place in this serial, as may be contributed from time to time. We earnestly ask the prayers of all God's children for His gracious guidance and blessing, and that this Monthly may still, in its measure, contribute to the establishment and growth of souls in the grace and truth that came by Jesus Christ.


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The Red Sea: Part 2

Ex. 14
First of all the apostle looks at our guilt in the sight of God—our actual sins; and, after this has been fully discussed, the other question which so often troubles the believer is taken up. I have been pardoned, and may be happy in redemption. I am enabled to look to God with a certainty that I am reconciled to Him; but there remains this that so shocks me—to find that, in spite of all, I have pride, foolishness, carnality, self-will, and a continual tendency to turn away from Him. All this surprises me so much the more that God has shown me such exceeding favor. Is there nothing to meet it? What is God's way of dealing with this sense of evil within, that we feel the more deeply because we are brought to God? Are we merely to comfort ourselves with the thought of Christ's love, or that He shed His blood? Nay, there is more. Accordingly the apostle Paul deals with this more particularly in chapters 6, 7, 8. of Romans.
In chapter vi. the point is sin and our continuing in sin. Now he shows that this is altogether judged and met by the nature of the blessing that God has brought us into. It is not merely that I am to be consistent, or that I have got a motive in either the love or the blood of Christ. That is not all. What he says is, “How shall we that died to sin live any longer therein?” It is not “How shall we that are living now?” or “How shall we that have been brought to believe in Christ?” Not so. Quite another thought. Neither is it because we are washed with His blood, but “How shall we that died to sin live any longer therein?”
There is many a soul in this world striving to be dead to sin, and there is hardly anything that more tries Christian people. They are not surprised, before they are converted to God, that they should have sin; but, after they have been brought to Him, to feel within them the workings of sin alarms them indeed.
He does not meet this by turning them back to look at the cross, and by showing them the blood of Christ that was shed for them. The blood of Christ effaces the sins, but it does not meet the question of sin that is working in the believer after he is brought to God. What does? You died to sin, with Christ; and you ought to know and act on it.
There are a great many who do not know this; and an immense loss it is to them, because the effect of one's not knowing this is, that he strives to become dead, instead of believing that he is.
This is at the bottom of all the legal efforts you find yourself and so many making. Ignorance of it led to nunneries, monasteries, and other similar devices in early days as now. But the same thing is found among Protestants. I do not mean they use these precise methods, but efforts to the same end. This led to all the schools of mystics and pietists, because the same condition is found amongst all until they get hold of the great truth that the Christian is dead with Christ.
Don't you know your baptism? he says (in Romans 6). Don't you know what God gave you at the beginning of your career? Don't you know what was meant in that first rite? Of course it is not the sign that could give a real blessing. Now, baptism with water is not at all the sign of the bloodshedding of Christ; therefore we hear nothing about it in chapter 3. It means a great deal more than bloodshedding. It sets forth our death to sin, and not merely that Christ died for our sins. In short, it sets forth the Red Sea, and not the Passover. That is, it shows me Christ's death applied to my nature—a condition that is so often the stumbling-block to the children of God, and the means of harassing them. Satan knows well how to work by it for the purpose of producing despair on the one hand, or of tempting to license on the other.
Christianity denies both. It dispels despair and delivers from license. It is the application of what God has wrought in the Lord Jesus to all of us—not merely to our sins, but to our sin, to that root of evil within; and just as He has shown me the blood blotting out my sins, so He brings me to see that I am dead to sin. If He had not given me this, I were equally lost. It was true from the first, and accordingly in the very baptism of a Christian the Scripture sets forth this great fact. “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized unto Jesus Christ were baptized unto his death?”
Such is what baptism signifies. It is not the sign of life-giving, but of death-giving, so to speak—that is to say, it brings the believer into this place of death with Christ. It is the outward expression that if I have got Christ at all, the Christ I have is a Christ that died and rose again; and when I am baptized, I am “baptized unto his death.”
This is immense comfort. “So many of us as were baptized unto Christ Jesus were baptized unto his death. Therefore we are buried with him by baptism unto death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also [in the likeness] of [his] resurrection.”
Now the reason why we look onward to this is, because we know “that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.” Why? “For he that died is freed (or, “justified,” as the margin says,) from sin.” It is not a question of being justified from sins, but from sin. It means that you in that very act confessed what has brought you out of your condition, out of that death where you lay as a sinful child of Adam. “He that died is justified from sin.”
Then we have the present consequence: “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God, in (or, through) Christ Jesus.", And then comes a practical consequence, “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body.” That is, the sin is supposed to be there, but it is not to reign: and the reason is, because I am dead to sin. To every Christian, to every person to whom his baptism is a sign of a great reality by and with Christ, this is so.
It is not therefore a question of striving to be different, or seeking to feel this or that, but of believing what God has done for me in the death of the Lord Jesus Christ. If we look at the Red Sea, we can understand how this applies.
After the Passover the children of Israel came into the greatest pressure of trouble. All they felt in Egypt was a little thing compared with what stared them in the face. They had left that land after the blood of the paschal lamb was sprinkled on their doors, but so hard pressed were they that there was nothing but death before their eyes. They had never, so far as their feelings were concerned, been so shut up to death as then.
On all sides there were obstacles they could not surmount. Behind them the army of their foes, and before them only more certain death. But that which seemed to them merely the waters of death was precisely what God was about to make the path of life; and Moses, at the word of God, lifted up his rod—that same rod of God which had brought judgment upon the Egyptians, which had plagued them often before. That rod was lifted up over the sea, and at once the waters of death rise up on either side as walls, and the children of Israel passed through protected; so much the more because it was evident that God was for them.
Not so on the night of the Passover. God, no doubt, did not permit the destroyer to touch them, but the blood of the lamb, instead of showing God for them, was merely a protection that God should not be against them.
It was not yet God for them. There was no communion. He was outside of where they were. The blood interposed between Him and them. How could a soul be at ease and peace with God when that is the case? What I want is to be able to look up into the face of my God. What I want is that He should be with me, and that I should rest in His presence. But merely to have that which comes between myself and God would never give me solid comfort before God, and, indeed, it ought not. Accordingly, the subsequent circumstances proved the condition into which the children of Israel had fallen—a condition of anxiety, and dread, and danger, worse than they had ever known before.
And it is frequently so with the Christian. After the soul has been directed to Christ, there is often a coming into deeper waters than ever, and a deeper realization of one's own sinfulness than ever. The sense of sin after we have looked to Christ is far more acute and intense than when we fled for refuge at the beginning. There was then a path of life through death. God was for them; but that was not all, He was against the Egyptians. And so when the Israelites had passed over, the Red Sea closes upon their enemies and all are dead; then Israel was saved, and it is, remarkable that here for the first time God uses the term salvation. He does not say salvation on the night of the paschal lamb, but when they have passed through the sea. Salvation is a great deal more than being kept safe. Salvation means that complete clearance from all our foes—that bringing us out of the house of bondage, and setting us free and clean before God, to be His manifest people in the world, It was only pronounced when God brought them out of Egypt into the wilderness; it was when their foes were completely judged, and when they were so saved as never to pass under that kind of dread again.
Is it so with the Christian? Yes, surely. For what was the question then? The point then was, the prince of this world seeking to use and to turn God's righteous judgment against His own people—the prince of this world seeking to retain the people of God because of their sins; and what God shows is the complete judgment of their enemies—the destruction that fell upon all claim as against the people of God. God Himself publicly espoused their cause and acted on their behalf, so that they never returned to the house of bondage.
At the Red Sea it was the rod of judgment that was lifted up over the waters—it was that rod that smote the Egyptians with all plagues. So it is in the Epistle to the Romans. It is always righteousness. It is a question of turning righteousness against the people of God; but Christ has come, and by His blood He has cleansed them, and by death and resurrection He has brought them out of the place over which judgment hung—completely outside. There is no judgment any more. They see their sin, as well as their sins, completely gone in consequence of Christ's having undergone God's judgment. Therefore chapter vi. of Romans is the first place where sin in our walk is discussed; and in dealing with this question the apostle shows that we died to sin, and that the gift of God now is eternal life. Sin cannot touch the believer, for he is dead to it.
The next point is law. That, he shows, cannot touch the believer either, and for this reason, that I have “been made dead to the law.” So in chapter 7, “we have been made dead to the law by the body of Christ.” It is not some fresh means, but it is the application of that which is true already, to the law, even supposing I had been a Jew. That is, it is the death of Christ, applied to both sin and law, that gives the believer his clearance. And now we are “married to another, even to Him who is raised from the dead.” So it is as wrong for a believer still to have a thought of being “under the law” as for a woman to have two husbands at once. We are dead to the law that we should belong to another.
In chapter 8 we have it very fully. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.” And he explains this in two ways. How could you condemn them? “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” How could you condemn what is perfectly good? That which God has given me is the Spirit of life in Christ. But there is another reason. God has condemned sin already. There is a reason founded upon the character of the new life, that God will never condemn what is good. But, moreover, God has condemned the bad life already: “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.” He has already judged my nature. It is not a question of forgiveness. I do not want my nature to be forgiven; I do not forgive it myself.
It is a great comfort that God in the Lord Jesus Christ has dealt with sin in the flesh. It was not enough that Christ by His own perfect purity condemned sin in the flesh, for that would have made me worse than ever; but after Christ in His life showed me a pattern of all purity, He became a sacrifice for sin, and then God condemned sin in the flesh—this nature that troubled me. Accordingly, if God has given me a new nature found in Christ risen from the dead, and also has condemned my old nature, it is very evident there can be no condemnation to those in Christ. You see in every point of view there is no condemnation to those in Christ Jesus. Their walking after the Spirit is the consequence—the effect—of it; and the more I know I am delivered, the more happy my soul will be, and the stronger I will be in walking after the Spirit.
Although the believer is supposed to be perfectly brought out of his state of condemnation—out of the evil condition in which he was—yet for all that, he is in the wilderness; and so truly is this the case, that in this 8th Romans, however happy, he is groaning, he is only “saved in hope.” He is still in the wilderness, and so completely is this the case, that the Holy Ghost becomes the power of his groaning in the wilderness. So the analogy is perfect between the Christian and the Israelites, who were brought out of Egypt, but who never returned to it.
After they came out, they raise the song of triumph. There is no singing in Egypt. Here we find them singing on the other side of the Red Sea; but for all that, they are traveling through the wilderness—they are only going on to the rest of God—they are still toiling through a scene of trial, where, if there is not dependence on God, they perish. I speak now, of course, not in application to the Christian as a question of eternal life, but of practical experience. The wilderness is the place where flesh dies, and where all hangs on the simplicity of dependence on the love of God.
(Continued From P. 68.)

Red Sea and Jordan

In the Red Sea, it is what we are brought out of; in the Jordan, what we are brought into.

Wilderness Grace: Part 3

Ex. 17
I would just remark in passing, that it is sin not to have confidence in the Lord, not to be quite sure that He will help us, whatever the need may be when we are walking in His ways. It is recorded of the children of Israel as sin, that they tempted the Lord in that which they said here, “Is Jehovah among us, or not” (ver. 7)? When we are going on wickedly and willfully, and say, “Is not the Lord among us? no evil can come upon us,” (Mic. 11) this is quite a different thing. Our God will indeed be with us, if His children, even then; but to chasten us. Whenever there is real need in the wilderness, it is sin to doubt whether God will help us or not. If we are not as sure of water in the midst of the sandy desert as though we saw rivers of water running through the country, we are tempting God.
This is the force of that expression of our Lord to Satan, It is written, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” Satan wanted Jesus to try by an experiment whether God would be as good as His word. Had He done so, it would have implied a doubt. His answer was, “It is written, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” Tempting the Lord is doubting the supply of His goodness in giving us all that we need.
The supply of water and of manna to the Israelites did not take them out of trouble. They drank and were refreshed: there was the gathering up a little strength, and then Amalek comes and fights against them. It was but the preparation for conflict. So those who feed on Christ as the manna, and have in their souls the well of water springing up into everlasting life, have still the wilderness and conflict with Amalek.
In that sense we have to do with Satan, though we are entirely delivered from his bondage. We are never more under the power of Satan, as Israel was under the power of Pharaoh. (If Israel binds itself to Amalek, it is its own fault.) It is said to us, “Sin shall not have the dominion over you; for ye are not under law, but under grace” (Rom. 6:14). But we have to fight with Amalek though delivered from Pharaoh. When we have been brought into the wilderness, and fed and refreshed through this grace, Christian conflict begins. We are called, like the Lord Jesus, never to doubt the Father's love; but was He out of conflict? No, it was just the very thing that set Him in it. The being delivered from the bondage of Satan, and the being ranged on the Lord's side, is that which brings us into conflict; and in this the Lord never lets us be taken out of dependence on Himself. The moment we forget this we shall be overcome. Satan can never make us his slaves again, but we may be beaten and wounded by him. In every detail of our lives there is no blessing but in dependence on God. Whenever self-dependence comes in, whenever our own wills are working, there is failure. If, in speaking to you now, I were to cease from depending on the Lord in doing it, all blessing to my own soul would cease. “Without me ye can do nothing.” (John 15:5.) Neither can I speak, nor you hear, to profit, without dependence on Him. If a Christian gets out of dependence on the Lord, he will be beaten by Satan in conflict. Yet we ought not merely not to be beaten by Satan, but ever to be gaining ground upon him. Whether it be in winning souls to Christ, or whether it be in making progress truly ourselves in knowledge, or in holiness or in love, we are gaining ground on Satan's possessions. We have been delivered from the power of darkness, and translated into the kingdom of God's dear Son. As Satan takes possession of my heart by ignorance, then every step I make in the knowledge of God is gain on the possessions of Satan. He uses our flesh too; so that to mortify and keep the flesh in death is gaining ground upon him. But every inch must be won, every bit of knowledge gained, by conflict. In this conflict we are directly and hourly cast in dependence upon God.
God did not put Amalek out of the way of Israel—they must fight with him: and it is just so with us. “And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek; to-morrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand” (ver. 9). This is very different from what we get in chapter 14, “Jehovah shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.”
See what the Lord had said to Moses concerning Israel (chap. 3:8); that He would “bring them up out of the land of Egypt unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey.”
Now where are they brought? Into the wilderness, to thirst for water, and to fight with Amalek. They had not reckoned on this (ver. 3). And thus it is often with the saints of God; when they have had joy, and have sung the song of triumph, in being delivered from the power of Satan, they are afterward astonished on finding themselves not in Canaan but in the wilderness. Jeremiah found the Lord's word the joy and rejoicing of his heart (Jer. 15:16), yet afterward he was so discouraged that he says, “O Jehovah thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived:” of course this is only a strong expression of sorrow, “thou art stronger than I, and hast prevailed: I am in derision daily, every one mocketh me. For since I spake, I cried out, I cried violence and spoil: because the word of Jehovah was made a reproach unto me, and a derision, daily. Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name,” &c. (Jer. 20). When the saint finds what the road is, he is apt to forget the end, where there will be fullness of joy and blessing. The Lord desires to purge out that which would hinder our blessing and keep us from having our hearts and hopes set upon the end, and to humble us.
Moses, Aaron, and Hur go up to the top of the hill, and Israel under Joshua fights in the plain below with Amalek (ver. 10). They fought the Lord's battle: but it is not sufficient even to be fighting the Lord's battle unless the Lord stretches forth His hand to help them. Otherwise “Amalek prevailed.” Israel might have reasoned on the manner of their fighting, on the strength of the enemy, and on ten thousand things; but after all their success depended on Moses' hands being stretched out. It is very hard for us to see ourselves and Satan to be as nothing, and God to be everything. The moment we get out of dependence on God, we find out our own weakness; though we have this comfort, that under whatever circumstances, through the priesthood and the righteousness of the Lord Jesus, our blessing is substantially maintained for us, and this unto the going down of the sun. “And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses' hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side, and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun” (vers. 11, 12).
Enemies were as nothing when Israel had the power of God with them. The day is won “Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword” (ver. 13).
“And Jehovah said unto Moses, Write this for a Memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven. And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovah-nissi (i.e., Jehovah my banner): for he said, Because Jah hath sworn that Jehovah will have war with Amalek from generation to generation” (vers. 14-16). I dare say many of us have thought, when we have seen the necessity of dependence on the Lord, that one good battle with Satan, and all will be over; but no such thing, we have security and the certainty of victory, but no promise of cessation from conflict whilst in the wilderness. God has promised that He “will bruise Satan under our feet shortly;” as He did to Israel that He would “utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven;” but still “Jehovah will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.” Till Christ comes, and Satan be bound, when we shall have the full result of victory, we must reckon on conflict (not on slavery to Pharaoh, but on war with Amalek), but with the comfort of knowing that it is Jehovah who makes war, though it is through Israel, and Israel therefore has to fight. It is the Lord's battle against Satan—there is our comfort, but still a battle which we have to carry on; hence we are kept in an unceasing state of dependence. The moment it was not so, Israel were put to the worse.
As it regards the accusations of Satan, the blood on the door-posts is the eternal answer to them.
As to slavery to Satan, the Lord Jesus has delivered us from that; we have stood, the living ones, on the other side of the Red Sea; and we “shall see” Pharaoh and his host “no more again forever.”
What we find in the desert is, grace, conflict, and Jehovah having war with Amalek from generation to generation.
We are to be kept, moment by moment, in a state of dependence, yet reckoning on the constant grace and help of God. There is not blessing and joy and comfort where there is not dependence on the Lord exercised. It is not enough for victory that in the battle we have ranged ourselves on the Lord's side. You will find the tendency of the flesh, whether in praying or preaching or anything else, is to get out of dependence on God. We may be saying true things in prayer or in testimony; but if we are not realizing our dependence on the Lord, we shall not have His strength in the battle; and the Lord must make us learn our dependence on Him, through weakness, and failure, and defeat, because we have refused to learn it in the joy and confidence of communion with Himself.
Victory is turned to worship in the scene before us. “And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovah-nissi (Jehovah is my banner).” When victory does not tend to worship, we and God part company as soon as the victory is achieved. How sad to see victory often leading to mere joy, instead of still greater dependence on, and delight in, God!
May we trace out, in all these paths of His wondrous ways, still more and more of the depths of His divine love!
J. N. D.
(Concluded from p. 70).

The Feasts in Deuteronomy: 2. The Feast of Weeks

Consequently, there we have it before us, we have it through the infinite mercy of our God habitually and particularly on the resurrection day. There is something remarkably sweet in that, that we have His death on the day of resurrection, for it is never meant that we should be so absorbed in death as to forget the joy of resurrection. I would only now notice the words of verse 5, “Thou mayest not sacrifice the passover within any of thy gates.” There was to be but one place henceforth, many were allowed before. It had been taken in Egypt, house by house, and in the wilderness only at first. But now in the land where it might have seemed any place would do, because it was the holy land, Jehovah chose one sole place. He would take the matter of His blessing and of Israel's enjoyment of it entirely out of their bands, to bless them all the more because of binding it up with His presence. Jehovah chose one place and one only for the celebration of the passover; it was where He Himself dwelt. There He commanded the blessing, even life for evermore. This, He said, is my resting-place forever. Here will I dwell; for I have desired it. Such was the place that Jehovah chose for His people's eating of the passover. Thus may be seen from those early days God manifesting, particularly in the way in which it is presented in the last book of Moses, the celebration of the passover in the land, which typifies our connection with heaven. Jehovah chose, for the purpose of our enjoying His interest in, us as to that which is deepest for our souls. And what goes down into such depths as the passover, especially in the light and association of heaven where He is to whom we are united by the Holy Spirit, one spirit with the Lord.
But remark, although they took it “at the place which Jehovah thy God shall choose to cause His name to dwell in, thou shalt sacrifice the passover at even, at the going down of the sun, at the season that thou tamest forth out of Egypt. Thou shalt roast and eat it in the place which Jehovah thy God shall choose; and thou shalt turn in the morning and go unto thy tents” (vers. 5-7). For Israel at least there was a return to their own things. It was not such peaceful communion with Jehovah as to detach them from all things in principle to Himself. They turn and go into their tents in the morning after eating the passover. They eat unleavened bread with the bread of affliction. It was far from being all that Jehovah designed and gave in the feasts to follow in due time. More was needed to impart full enjoyment of Jehovah's blessing in His chosen place. Only to the passover are these words appended; they are dropped, not only for the Feast of Tabernacles, but also for the Feast of Weeks.
Ver. 8 repeats the obligation to eat unleavened bread six days. On the seventh was a solemn assembly to Jehovah the God of Israel, and no work to be done. His work they celebrated and rested in. Only in this feast is work here forbidden to be done.
Then comes quite a different feast—the Feast of Weeks. What does this rest on or spring from?
Christ not in death but risen again. Not the life before He died but the life of Christ triumphing over death. That is intimated by the wave-sheaf in due time followed by the two wave loaves brought before us in the Feast of Weeks. Not only are we told (ver. 9) that Christ was the first-fruits, but that the loaves at the Feast of Weeks were also first-fruits (Lev. 23:17). They alike receive the same name. There was nothing like this in the passover nor is there anything like it in the Feast of Tabernacles. There is a union with Christ when we come to the Feast of Weeks, found no where else. The reason is plain. We are united to Christ risen and ascended. The living Christ stood alone, was heard and followed by faith; but union there could not be before His death. “Except the corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” Yet are we not united to Christ dead. We have all the virtue of the death of Christ and can thus more than ever enjoy all the benefits of the life and the example of the Living One; and they are both of the richest value for the believer. Indeed we must begin with our sins, which were in His cross met once for all. It would have been a dangerous thing to have spoken of the example of Christ before our sins are dealt with. What do we find in the disciples who followed Him every day? Did they manifest Christ? They manifested tolerably decent Jews, sometimes pious, not infrequently prejudiced, and preoccupied with themselves. Now and then appeared a good deal of self-righteousness, besides too, ambition and jealousy; but at what time did not self work? There never was a truth that Christ brought out to which their souls fully answered. He was always misunderstood, and even when it was a very grave misunderstanding the Lord says, “what thou knowest not now thou shalt know hereafter.” But that was what was so blessed in our Lord—His love to them always the same, His patience whatever their incapacity—spiritual incapacity. And why was this? And why spiritual incapacity? Because there never can be spiritual power till in the death of Christ I have faced my sins. No life of Christ will ever do alone, no example of Christ.
(Continued from p. 74).
(To be continued).

After All This

“So all the service of Jehovah was prepared the same day, to keep the passover, and to offer burnt offerings upon the altar of king Josiah. And the children of Israel that were found kept the passover at that time, and the feast of unleavened bread, seven days. And there was no passover like to that kept in Israel from the days of Samuel the prophet; neither did any of the kings of Israel keep such a passover as Josiah kept, and the priests, and the Levites, and all Judah and Israel that were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. In the eighteenth year of the reign of Josiah was this passover kept. After all this, when Josiah had prepared the temple, Necho, king of Egypt, came up to fight against Charemish by Euphrates; and Josiah went out against him.” (2 Chron 35:16-20)
There was an interval of thirteen years, between the passover which Josiah kept and this closing incident of his life, passed over in absolute silence in the divine record of his life and service for God; yet the two events are brought together and set in moral contrast by the words, “after all this” we may well inquire the reason. The great reforming work which he was born to accomplish (see 1 Kings 13:2) and which reached its highest point of success in the eighteenth year of his reign, seems to have been overshadowed, if not counteracted, by the disaster which closed his life, an, still worse, lead to gentile interference with the kingdom of Judah. God had nothing but unqualified approbation for the one who, while he was yet a child, began to seek after the Lord God of his father David, and who yielded himself to do all that was required of him in his position as leader of God's people. But it is evident that his attack upon the king of Egypt was far from meeting with the divine approval. His previous history had been marked by simple unhesitating obedience to the written word of God—not only to the law of Moses, but also to him of equal authority as being sanctioned by God in connection with the building and consecration of the temple now in place of the tabernacle in the Wilderness.; with the result that the observance of the passover associated with Josiah's name was a more complete recovery for the nation than any previously recorded.
The passover which, ninety years before, Hezekiah king of Judah had been able to keep (2 Chron. 30) as the result of the gracious invitations sent out to all that remained of the larger kingdom of Israel after the Assyrian captivity, did indeed recall for such as responded, the blessing and joy of the days of “Solomon the son of David.” But here the recovery was more complete still, and those who were gathered together at Jerusalem on the fourteenth day of the first month (not as in the former case in the second month, as graciously, in need, allowed of God for His people when they were pilgrims liable to failure and defilement—see Num. 9:11,) were made to realize for the moment the blessing of the times of Samuel the prophet when, the priestly government having broken down and been judged—the kingdom not yet introduced—they found Jehovah when sought to be still, as ever, a Savior God (1 Sam. 12).
The work of reformation under Josiah had been steady and progressive (2 Chron. 34:3, 8) in contrast to Hezekiah's good work which was done suddenly (chap. 29:36). The king of Judah must have been greatly strengthened in heart and encouraged by the discovery that God had spoken of him by name 350 years before and had ordained him to carry out that particular work with which he was occupied (2 Kings 23:17). His soul was thereby established in the confidence that he was God's servant with his work planned out for him; and he may well have taken it as a message from God saying to him, “Let thine eyes look right on.” When the book of the law was found in the temple Josiah was more deeply affected than any man in the kingdom, for he rightly judged himself to be responsible before God for the moral condition of the nation at the time. He wept and chastened his soul and sought the Lord afresh as at the beginning. God had respect unto the man who trembled at His word (2 Chronicles 34:23, Isa. 66:2, 5). But no amount of personal piety and devotedness even in the king could turn away the fierce wrath of God from the guilty nation fast hastening to its doom.
The great value of the feast of the passover was that it brought the people to the city of solemnities, in the acknowledgment of the truth of their relationship to God on the basis of redemption when God was passing through the land of Egypt as judge. The blood of the lamb provided a shelter from judgment and this should have been sufficient. The recovery of such a truth brought with it no guarantee or encouragement as to recovery of territory lost to Israel through the People's sin. The ark had been restored to its proper dwelling place from whence it had been so unaccountably removed (probably by Manasseh); the mercy seat had been re-established in Israel, but God was not going to lead them in triumph through the land as in the time of Joshua. Yet was there everything to encourage, the king of Judah to go on quietly in faith and dependence upon God. No doubt Pharaoh Necho was invading territory which should have been in Israel's occupation according to the original gift of Jehovah (Josh. 1:4); but from the very beginning they had failed in energy of appropriation, and that which had been in unbelief and cowardice surrendered to the enemy could never be regained by pride and presumption.
Genuine faith is based upon the knowledge of God Himself and His word, and acts on its authority; it may not travel beyond. Josiah might have thought he was but following the example of David and Solomon, but times had changed, though God had not. Surely he had forgotten the solemn warning of Huldah the prophetess; he had departed from the path of faith and was inspired by the pride and haughtiness of spirit which precedes a fall. Even though his natives were pure and unselfish, that was not enough. True obedience is set in motion by the commandment; in the absence of that, faith must wait upon God: had Josiah done this he would have been preserved from destruction, and for the blessing of his people. No doubt it was a specious snare of the enemy and he fell into it (Lam. 4:20).
It is worthy of notice that the man of God win came from Judah to Bethel (1 Kings 13) exposed himself to the judgment of God even unto death, by an exactly similar departure from simple obedience; and, we may remark in closing, as “whatsoever things were written aforetime,” are also “for our admonition unto whom the ends of the ages have reached,” so we should do well to consider how far we have really profited by the great recovery of truth made by the Holy Ghost to the saints, and in what spirit we are using it and maintaining a testimony for the Lord in these days of ruin and declension. The Lord Jesus looks to us to keep His word and not deny His name, although it be in weakness. “Thou hast little strength.” But “him that overcometh will I make a pillar” (Rev. 3:8, 12). G.S.B.

We Must All Be Manifested: Part 1

Judgment is never properly understood in its real depth, as well as its comprehensiveness, unless salvation be also rightly apprehended. A great effort of the enemy, working on the unbelief of man, is to confound these two things. The object is evident. Man in flesh, i. e., in his natural state, never trusts God, who on His part, it is clear, cannot trust man. The gospel calls upon man to confess that his condition is such that God cannot trust him; it claims in the name of the Lord Jesus, because of God's love displayed in giving Him, and by virtue of the efficacious work He has accomplished, that man should trust God—in a word, that he should repent and believe the gospel, that he should believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved. There is immense force in the words, “be saved.” There are many even of God's children who have most imperfect thoughts about salvation. Were we, instead of this expression, to insert the words, “be pardoned,” or “reconciled to God,” I apprehend that the mass of Christians at the present moment would see but little difference; but salvation includes a great deal more than pardon, precious as it is. Salvation takes in the whole scope and result of Christ's work; and whether you look at salvation in its complete sense and heavenly light, as shown us in Ephesians, or add to the work of Christ His priesthood and coming again in glory, either goes far beyond forgiveness of sins, and both are certain and scriptural. The mass of God's children at present on the earth have not only scant but dim perceptions about it, which is proved by the fact that they are under the impression that those saved must be judged like man in general—that all men, saints or sinners, must equally pass through the judgment, the eternal judgment of God. This prevails even in the minds of premillennialists, who suppose the saints before, and sinners after, the millennium. If they asserted that all men, saints or sinners, must alike be made manifest before the judgment-seat of Christ; if they maintained that every one, without exception, must surely give an account of the things done by the body; if they held and taught that God will magnify Himself, not only in the judgment of those that have despised Christ, but in the distinct appraisal of the character and conduct of every saint, just as much as of every sinner, they would assert nothing more than in my judgment the word of God most clearly propounds. To me, I confess, it seems an evidence, not of strength but of weakness of faith, where real Christians shrink from the truth of being manifested before the judgment-seat of Christ, and vote it a strange doctrine and virtually a raising of questions as to personal acceptance again. But not so; Scripture is most explicit as to, present and eternal acceptance, and as to our future manifestation before the Lord Jesus. Let none, then, imagine that the doctrine I trust now to prove, surely and plainly, from God's words, weakens the manifestation of every soul, at some time and for one object or another, before our Lord.
In 2 Cor. 5 we have a weighty, full and unambiguous statement of God's mind upon this matter. Here the apostle, when bringing out the rich blessing of the Christian in the power of the life of Christ communicated to the soul, shows that this life is such in its own character that Christ, the source of it, has only to come, and at once every vestige of mortality in the believer is swallowed up of life. Hence there is the strongest expression possible of assurance; but in this the apostle puts himself on common ground with all other saints, and acknowledges, as a matter of common Christian knowledge, that “if the earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” At the same time he shows that what the believer earnestly desires is not to be “unclothed,” that is, to pass through the article of death, as if death were a necessary step in the way of the saint to glory. It is not so at all. “Earnestly desiring to be clothed upon” is the word, the very reverse of being unclothed. When the saint dies, he quits the bodily tenement, he is unclothed, he departs to join Christ. Instead of waiting in the body till Christ comes for him, he goes to be with Him. In this ease there is no such thing as mortality being “swallowed up of life.” He is “absent,” as it is said, “from the body, present with the Lord.” But let the Lord come, and instantly there answers to His call and presence the life that He gave to all the Christians upon the earth, and not only to those then found alive, but to such as are dead—to those that slept in Christ. “The dead in Christ shall rise first;” but, more than that, in the case of the living, “mortality is swallowed up of life.” These not only do not, necessarily die, but death can have no possible dominion over them. Even now and till then mortality is in them; but for such saints as live till Christ comes, there is no death at all. A tendency to death, of course, there is now in the natural body of the believer, like anyone else; but in him, until the, actual act of death if he die, it is only mortality. Christ comes, and at once every trace of mortality is swallowed up of life. This, then, so far above natural thoughts, was what the apostle speaks of all earnestly desiring then. “For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being, burdened; not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.”
Lower down he insists that “we must all, appear before the judgment-seat of Christ.” And here I would point out that there is a slight difference in the form but important enough in the sense, which shows that “we all,” in the tenth verse, of 2 Cor. 5 differs essentially from “we all” in the eighteenth verse of chapter 3. In the third chapter; “We all (ἡμεῖς δὲ πάντες), with open face beholding, as in a glass, the glory of the Lord,” means all Christians, and Christians exclusively. But in the fifth chapter there is a specific difference (τοὺς γὰρ πάντις ἡμᾶς) which has not been noticed, as far as I am aware, proving that a larger thought is in the mild of the Holy Ghost, and that while Christians, of course, are included, the expression embraces mire. than Christians, in fact, all men without exception. It seems to me there need be no hesitation whatever in affirming this; it is, at any rate, my conviction. It is well known that some have restricted 2 Cor. 5:10 to Christians; but they have overlooked, in my judgment, the comprehensive character of the passage that follows, which they are obliged to pare down and even alter unwarrantably, even then presenting a lame and impotent conclusion, and failing to give value to the distinct phrase alluded to, which appears to me expressly calculated, and, indeed, framed to intimate a different truth. For it is not the way of the Spirit of God to vary the language after this manner, unless He have some different sense to convey by it. In 2 Cor. 5 the Greek article, thus inserted, gives all possible breadth— “the whole of us;” whereas in 2 Cor. 3 it is simply “we all.” What confirms this is, as was said, the effect produced and stated immediately after in verse 11, which shows that the apostle had more in his mind than believers and their portion. “We must all be manifested before the judgment-seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in [by] his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”
Now, this is clearly applicable either to a believer or an unbeliever. An unbeliever has nothing but what is bad; and when God enters into judgment with him, all will be made manifest, whatever may have been his own thoughts, or those of others, in this world: he is judged and cast into the lake of fire. There had been no love for the will of God, but hatred to it: there had been no faith in God's testimony to his soul, but willful rejection of it; there had been no clinging to mercy in the person of Christ, but on the contrary all was scorned, or at least done without. Judgment takes its course. There had been nothing but unmingled evil, as will be proved before the judgment-seat of Christ, whose name and precious blood had been despised. In the believer the crop has a mingled character: there is good and there is bad. The Lord will fully own and reward whatever has been the fruit of the Holy Ghost working in the believer's soul and in his ways; but as to the bad, it will be his own deep and thankful satisfaction, while himself owning it all fully, not merely to know it blotted out as a matter of guilt against his soul, but to find himself brought into perfect communion with the Lord about it; he will thoroughly see and judge according to God respecting it all. If there were a single thing offensive to God that self-love or haste or will had blinded him to in this life, he will then know it even as he is known. So far from causing a single waver in his Affections, so far from raising any doubt or question of God's perfect grace to his soul, it would be positive loss if the believer were not thus brought into oneness with God's mind and judgment about all that he has here done. Even in this life we know something analogous. Who that has passed any time in the Lord's paths has not experienced what it is to be laid aside for a season—to have the Lord speaking to him and calling up before his soul that which he had too lightly thought of, or wholly passed by? Much, it may be, in the very energy of his service had been easily forgotten, when carried along with delight in the work of God, though I am supposing there was also what is sweet and of God in the midst of all. But still, surely there is not a little of nature, not a little of unjudged and unsuspected nature, in the ways and testimony of those that love the Lord.
Now, would it be for the Lord's glory if these mistakes, and even wrongs, were noticed by Him at no time? Even in this life He does often send circumstances of sorrow, want, sickness, disappointment, it may be a prison, shutting out from the activity of work, to raise needed questions for the soul's health—not as to God's saving grace nor as to the believer's standing. To doubt either is inexcusable: no trial will ever rightly lead to it. Nothing questions God's grace or faithfulness but flesh, and flesh acted upon by Satan. The truth is, there is not in all God's word a single ground, or even excuse, given to a believer for doubting divine grace or his own blessing in Christ. But assuredly one is convicted of feebly holding God's grace, if one regards this perfect manifestation before Christ's judgment-seat as the smallest contradiction, or even the least possible difficulty. In the end it is a part of God's necessary ways with His children; its principle is true of them even now: for we are expressly told by the apostle Peter that the Father judges now. Is this opposed to His love? Surely not! Neither will it be so then. Perfect love will have brought us into that place; for in what condition shall we stand there? Before we are manifested at the judgment-seat of Christ, He will have come for us, and presented, us in His Father's house in pure, simple, absolute grace. We shall appear there already glorified: our bodies being like that of Christ, we shall be incapable of that natural shame which might be a pain to us here in this life. We shall then feel entirely with Christ, and consequently be thoroughly above that which will be disclosed there. All will justify His ways, though it be humbling to us; but we shall only rejoice in, only exalt, Him. And I see no ground at all to doubt that not merely what we have been as believers, but the whole life from first to last, will be brought out. And what will be the effect of it? An infinitely deep appreciation of the grace of God; profound delight in all His ways and ends, and above all in Himself; and an equally deep sense of what the creature, and we ourselves, have been, in every form or degree in which self wrought here below. God forbid that any one should count such a manifestation a loss, grief or danger to be dreaded. Even here the, measure of it we know is gain: what will it be then and there?
Further, it appears to me that this is the reason why the Spirit of God uses the remarkable language found here; for there is nothing expressed about being judged in the passage. It would not be true, as may be proved by other Scriptures, to say, “we must all be judged before the judgment-seat of Christ.” None but the unjust, the unbeliever, will ever come into judgment; but every soul, good or bad, believer or unbeliever, must be equally and perfectly manifested before His judgment-seat. And what makes this still more evident is not only the choice of the language, “we must all appear,” or “be manifested;” and then again that which follows— “knowing therefore the terror of the Lord” (which there is no ground whatever to weaken)— “knowing therefore the terror of the, Lord we persuade men.” This is the strongest possible proof of the large scope of the preceding verse 10, because we are here shown the effect of that future final manifestation upon the spirit as regards not ourselves but others. Thus, properly understood, this portion of Scripture supposes the fullest rest in the grace of God, even when we contemplate solemnly the judgment-seat of Christ. There is no question of perturbation about our own souls; but it fills us with anxiety about “men” as such. Why about men rather than about saints? Evidently and only because the judgment-seat of Christ will not in the smallest degree jeopard the safety of a single saint. The language is therefore changed, and instead of adopting the word “we,” or continuing the former phrase “us all,” or anything that would either present the believer alone, or the believer with the unbeliever to a certain extent, we have the word changed— “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.” That is, we go forth animated with the deep feeling of what that judgment-seat must be to the unbeliever. We know that it is a solemn, though a most blessed, thought to a believer. We know nothing but the mighty grace of God in Christ could have made it to be a happy prospect for us. But the deeper and more solid the conviction, that only His grace gives us stable peace in presence of the judgment-seat, the more in proportion do we feel what that judgment-seat will be to those who have not Christ.
Hence, then, the apostle proceeds to speak of it as the common feeling of himself and other Christians, from the awful import of the judgment-seat to the unbeliever, to “persuade men,” as he calls it; i.e. to seek to bring them to the knowledge, of Christ. “But we are made manifest to God,” he carefully adds here. In other words, even now the spirit of the judgment-seat is true of the believer; not that he will not appear there by and by, but that now also we are made manifest unto God. This is most true, and important too. “We are made manifest unto God, and, I trust, also are made manifest in your consciences.” He could speak in an absolute manner of being. Made manifest to God; he could speak but in a hopeful way of being manifested to the consciences of believers, because there might be disturbing influences in their case. After all, this could only be a comparative thing, while to God, I repeat, they were already made manifest absolutely. Thus the passage contains the most weighty truth, fully asserting the present manifestation of the believer to God, while it also insists on what is future and perfect before the judgment-seat of Christ for the believer by and by, and intimates the effect of, grace on his heart do seek unbelievers, knowing, as we do, the terror of the Lord for them by and by; for we shall all be made manifest there; not only the unbeliever, but the believer. He presumes in the strongest manner the peace of the believer, even in contemplating the judgment-seat. On him the effect of this disclosure is to awaken not a single alarm as to himself or his brethren. What a witness of a full, and a present, and eternal salvation! All his soul's energies are thrown out in behalf of men who are living for the present and for the earth, little thinking that they must stand before Christ's judgment-seat, ignorant of its real character, and heedless of its issues.
(To be continued).

The Lord Jesus in Humiliation and Service: Part 1

I felt, beloved friends, that it would be happy to have the Lord Himself before our minds this evening as the object of our thoughts. The Christian is so completely brought to God, that he goes out from God to show the character of God to the world. The subject of this Epistle is Christian Experience. And you get this experience in the power of the Spirit of God so completely, that you never get sin mentioned in the Epistle from beginning to end, nor the flesh, looked at as bad flesh, save to say he didn't trust in it. Paul here does not know which to do—die or live. ‘If I die, I am with the Lord; that's better; but I can't work for His saints. If I live, there is the activity of love for them, and so he does not know which to choose. There is utter absence of self in that, and power. Then, he says, It is more needful for the church that I stay, and so I know that I shall be acquitted; deciding his own case. It is all power, the power of the Spirit of God leading a person out of the reach of sin. If you look at the detail in verses 15, 16 you will find his exhortation to others is an exact picture of what the life of Christ really was— “blameless and harmless,” that is what Christ was— “children of God without rebuke in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation;” such was Jesus, the Son of God— “among whom ye shine as lights in the world; “when He was in the world He was the light of the world— “holding forth the word of life;” He was that word of life. The detail is precisely the same power of the Spirit of God, and the exhortation is just the detail of Christ's life in the world.
In this Epistle there are two great principles of Christian life (the last chapter is, he is superior to all cares and all circumstances). In the third chapter, it is the energy that carries a man on, so that everything else is dross and dung—that is Christ, in glory. He has seen Him up there, and he says, ‘I must get that.' ‘There are hindrances in the way.' ‘I'll throw them aside,' he says. ‘You'll lose everything.' ‘Can't help it; I must get Him.' ‘Oh, but you'll die.' ‘No matter; that's All the more like Him; I must get on to Him, the One up there in the glory, whom I have seen.' “If by any means;” that is, whatever it may cost me, even life itself. “Resurrection from among the dead,” that is the character of Christ's resurrection. The resurrection of the saints has nothing in common with the resurrection of sinners. Christ is the firstfruits, then those that are Christ's at His coming. He is not the firstfruits of sinners to be judged. Not a hint in scripture of saints and sinners being raised together. “That I may attain unto the resurrection from among the dead” (the apostle uses a rare and emphatic word to explain his meaning)—what is there to attain to, if the wickedest man in the world goes up at the same time and in the same way? “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection.” What's the good of that, if all rise together? The character of Christ's resurrection was the positive seal of God's approval on Him and His work, and so is ours. As regards justification His resurrection is of all importance, for it is the seal of God on the excellency and perfectness of the work of Christ. He was taken out from among the dead as a perfect seal upon His work and Person, and everything else; and so is our resurrection the seal of our acceptance. Because God delights in us, we are taken out from among the dead, as Christ was. So he continues his running till he gets that. You have Christ in glory, and all is dross and dung except that. He wants Christ instead of Paul, and all he gets by the way is nothing—if he gets even death, it is all the more like Him.
In chapter 2 you don't get Christ in glory as the one he is running after; not Christ gone up, but Christ coming down. One whom I am to be like in this, the graciousness of the walk that He displayed, and that is, always going down—going from the form of Godhead down to death. Where do I find what God is, fully displayed? Righteousness and love perfectly displayed? In death! It is a wonderful riddle that has come out, the Holy One going down—the Prince of Life going into death. We never completely learn, till we see it there—the things that the angels desire to look into. No one knows the Son but the Father. We know the Father, but no one knows the Son; the divinity of Christ is maintained by the inscrutability of the Incarnation: God becoming a man!—that is unfathomable! and the meekest, lowliest man that ever walked this earth. Paul is taking up the truth of lowliness, &c., but the moment he begins he must bring out Christ. The motive of all exhortations is nothing less than the whole scope of Christianity: God come down and bringing salvation, and gone back again as man. Take the commonest exhortations, the spring and motive is nothing short of obedience to the word of God Himself. Eating and drinking even is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. I am merely eating like a beast if it isn't. He exhorts them to walk in lowliness and love (there had been some little squabbling, I suppose, among them). These Philippians had been sending help to the apostle from a long way off, and he won't reproach them, but says, ‘Now I see how you love me; I see how you care for me and my being happy. Now, if you want to make me perfectly happy, walk in love among yourselves.' It is a reproach so delicately brought in that their hearts could not resist it. “And let each esteem other better than themselves.” It sounds unpractical and impossible; but if I think of myself with the mind of God, I see the evil, the sin in myself. If I think of another, and I am full of Christ, I shall see all the value of Christ upon him, I shall see with Christ's heart, and I can esteem him better than myself, for I see evil in myself, and I see Christ in him. “Let this mind be in you,” &c., i.e., the spirit in which Christ was, always going down; first, being in the form of Godhead, and in the glory, He takes the place of a man, and then He humbles Himself, even to death. He is the first grand example of “He that humbleth himself shall be exalted,” and that is what we have to do—go down. Here we get the principle of Christ's whole personal course, and we get not only what He was, but the delight He took in us. He took us up. His interest is in us, and the expression of this delight was not simply His acting graciously towards men, but He Himself becomes one of them. He went down to death! We go down to death by sin, He by grace; we by disobedience, He by obedience. So He gets by obedience and grace what we get by disobedience and sin. From the first step that we go He takes us up till He has us where He is. Speaking in a general way, I cannot look at Christ in His life and walk, till my soul is at peace and settled.
If a soul has not settled peace, you will find it wants the Epistles first, not the Gospels, because the Epistles are the reasonings of the Holy Ghost on the value of Christ's work. John's writings bring God down here in grace to sinners. Paul takes man up there in righteousness to God. Paul takes man up to God in the light; John brings God down to man. You get in the Gospel of John, God brought down to us in our need, get Him talking to the woman at the Well, and His disciples wondering, and she finds that in this tired man at the well she has been speaking to the Lord of glory. ‘I thought,' she said, ‘He was a poor tired Jew, who wanted a drink of water.' ‘Oh,' He says, ‘if you knew how that God had come so low as to be dependent on you for a drink of water, you would have confidence in Him at once.'
(To be continued).


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Published Monthly,

Social Intercourse

The meeting of Moses and his father-in-law, recorded in Ex. 18 is all the more interesting and of moment to the believer now, inasmuch as it was an event which took place before Israel had so foolishly placed, themselves under law; and is a fine exposition of the injunction in 1 Peter 3:8, “love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous."
If “The man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaoh's servants, and in the sight of the people,” his greatness could in no way have been diminished by the magnificent manner in which Jehovah had used him to carry the people through the Red Sea; and it was no wonder that his father-in-law, when they were journeying in the wilderness, should seek to come to him, and bring also Moses' wife and two sons, as he had heard of all that God had done for Moses, and for Israel His people. That Moses, encamped at the mount of God, greater than any prophet, “faithful in all God's house with whom Jehovah would speak mouth to mouth, apparently, and not in dark speeches” —should not remain in his tent, but go out to meet one so much inferior to him, though his father-in-law, and do obeisance too, was lovely; and that he should kiss Jethro and they ask each other of their welfare, and then come to rest in the tent, is a wilderness scene that the heart can linger over.
It is to be noted that in speaking to Jethro, Moses leaves out all mention of himself (an example that we may covet to follow); and using the name of relationship in which God stood to Israel, simply “told his father-in-law all that Jehovah had done unto Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Israel's sake, and all the travail that had come upon them by the way, and how Jehovah delivered them.” Blessed it is for believers now, when what their God and Father has wrought in His beloved Son, and the mercy that delivered from so great a death and does deliver, form the topic of their conversation and their praise when they meet. It is beautiful to observe that Moses' narrative caused his father-in-law to rejoice and bless Jehovah, and brought him really into the spirit of the song recorded in. Ex. 15 where Moses and Israel had sung, “Who is like unto Thee, O Jehovah, among the gods? Who is like Thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?” for Jethro adds, “Now I know that Jehovah is greater than all gods: for in the thing wherein they dealt proudly He was above them.” This was followed by his taking a burnt offering and sacrifices for God: and the party, increased by the coming of Aaron and all the elders of Israel, did “eat bread with Moses' father-in-law before. God.” Beloved, it is well for us “to use hospitality one to another without grudging” (1 Peter 4:9); and to remember that, for us, God links His glory even with a social meal; “whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (Rom. 10:31).
One does not dwell on Jethro's tender solicitude for his son-in-law, but merely note that he speaks of him and all this people going to” their place in peace.”
In Luke 24 we have the two distressed ones journeying to Emmaus, joined by the One of whom they had been speaking, and Who lead out their hearts to tell Him what had been the subject of their converse, whilst in faithful love He had to reprove them; nevertheless, “beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures, the things concerning Himself.” No wonder that reaching the place whither they went (it was only a village), they should constrain Him to stay with them, though He had made as though He would have gone further. And that He should yield was like Himself; but oh, the grace that would deign to partake of their meal! for “He took bread, and blessed, and brake, and gave to them,” and (what a moment of joy, but all too short!) “their eyes were opened, and they knew Him, and He vanished out of their sight.”
The good tidings they could not keep to themselves; and so, returning forthwith to Jerusalem, they communicate to the eleven and to the others there with them the glad news now confirmed by the presence of the Lord Himself, who shows them His hands and His feet; and so brings Calvary before them, and the victory He has obtained. But their joy is too much for them; their faith is not in exercise, and He will partake of a meal in order to bring Himself before them; for in response to His inquiry “Have ye here any meat?” “they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and of an honeycomb; and He took it, and did eat before them.” After this, in due course, He instructs and commissions them, “Ye are witnesses of these things.” Then, while at Bethany, in the act of blessing them, He is “parted from them and carried up into heaven.” To adopt the words of Jethro, we may say, He went to His place; and “this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11), and shall take us there, too. Are we looking for Him, and, meanwhile, do we heed the exhortation, “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares” (Heb. 13:2)?
W. N. T.

The Purpose of God for His Sons and Heirs: Part 2

The relation He gives us is not only beyond all that had ever been known, but the highest and nearest that could be given. For what could equal Himself as the Lord knew Him, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ? The Lord said the same So on this resurrection day the Lord gave the message to Mary of Magdala, “Go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend to my Father and your Father, and my God and your God.” There is the revelation of the divine Name according to this knowledge, and the relation that His own beloved Son enjoyed. There is necessarily the difference, that God was the Father of the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, in a way ineffable and inscrutable, because of Godhead where He could not but be the eternal Father of His eternal Son. If people do not like the word eternal in this connection, so much the worse for them; for doubt here is peculiarly dangerous. If the Word was not the eternal Son, He is not God. You cannot bring time into the Godhead, because its nature being essentially eternal, what is not so can have no subsistence in Godhead. The Word became flesh, the man Christ Jesus, inasmuch as He was born of the Virgin Mary; He was truly man in virtue of His mother, yet in no way to the loss of His divine nature. Yet the Son, the Word, was God; and when born of woman, the Holy thing born was still the Son of God. He took nature into His person, but was still eternal as God. Before Abraham came into being (if we render it in its full force), “I AM.” There never was a beginning to that “I AM.” Going back before the world's foundation, He could then say as He said to the Jews, “I AM.” The eternity of His divine being could not be more distinctly expressed than in “I AM:” It is granted that you cannot prove it by reason; because man argues according to his reason from his own experience. It is legitimate enough to reason from yourself in what is subject to man's sense or mind; but to reason from yourself about God is presumptuous folly. How then are we to learn divine things? We learn by receiving what He says in His word. How else could we learn the truth about Himself or His Son? But also as to what grace gives the believer, the new place was taken by God the Father when Christ, accomplished redemption for the soul though not yet for the body. Both Jew and Gentile had done their worst work when God did His best work.
The meeting place of man was at the cross of Christ; which was the immutable basis for God. There was this foundation for His judgment of our sins and for uniting the otherwise irreconcilable. Thence was the new and everlasting building to rise, God's habitation in the Spirit even now, to grow into a holy temple in the Lord; the church of God, to be the bride of Christ through all eternity. But it is remarkable that the apostle in unfolding this great mystery in the two Epistles devoted to this end carefully begins with the individual soul. When any learn of the church before they learn themselves they invariably make a very bad use of it. Does the Romanist say, “I believe what the Church believes?” Alas, my friend, you believe nothing as you ought. This is no genuine, no acceptable belief. It is merely believing what other men say. The true ground of faith is believing what God says. To be right before Him I must individually come out of my own thoughts or yours to what God says. You and I must begin with this; and what does God say to us at the start? He says that I am dead in sins, an utterly lost sinner. In Christendom they furnish the babe with an ordinance for giving life. Not in Christ by the hearing of faith is one quickened, but in the christening of one as duly ordained! The Eucharist sustains or renews it! Both are portentous and pernicious lies of Babylon: Baptism is to Christ's death, and never gave life since the church began. The Lord's Supper is the memorial of Christ's love unto death, and the symbol of His one body to the many members. Baptism is individual confession of His death, as the Lord's Supper expresses the communion of His body and blood. This makes all the difference possible. Christ died because all were dead; and this the believer owns to his life and salvation. He came down as the sacrifice to God for me by His death, and brings me not only life eternal, but propitiation for my sins. Christ is the only life and salvation for the sinner who believes. Baptism and the Eucharist are His institutions, the one individual, the other corporate, but simply signs, however precious for His sake, and holy, which it would be sinful and even rebellious to refuse. I once knew a Jewish Rabbi who could not understand English any more than a Greek monk, but both able to understand French. So we had a little meeting for them and others to read the Epistle to the Hebrews. The monk was already converted; and the Rabbi confessed at length that Jesus was the Son of God. He was told of course to get baptized. But from this he shrank, saying, “If I were baptized, I should be counted a dead man.” He was told that this was exactly what the Lord meant by it, namely: passing out of the scene of death into the blessedness of the Christian salvation. If I meet God without Christ, it can only be ripening for hell fire; but if I receive Christ from God, He is life and quickens me. That is why He says nothing at first about union; it is God's purpose about us individually. Blessed be God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who not only honored Him, but blessed us with every spiritual blessing. The Jews had every sort of carnal blessings. Our blessing is distinctively of a spiritual, nature, not on earth, but in. heavenly places where Christ is. The meaning of this should not be dubious.
Of course as to the body we are all on the earth; but now that I am in Christ, I belong to the heavenly land. The Christian is no longer of this or that country. Heaven is meant to supersede his old boast in England, or Ireland, or Scotland, or anywhere else here below. To be “in Christ” is meant to take him out of earthly places. I know some friends who are still so enamored of Devonshire that it spells danger to talk of anything that reflects ever so little on the things or the men of Devonshire. What is Devonshire compared with the heavenly places? What is any other country here below? The Lord takes all the vanity or pride out of us for our native land by giving us an incomparably better. To the child playing with poisonous fruit the mother says wisely, “Here is an orange, dear, much better than those berries.” The child gladly drops the danger and grasps the orange. O that we may be won in heart to heavenly things! He blessed us “with every spiritual blessing"; and not only the best blessings, but in the highest or “heavenly places"; and also “in Christ,” the best possible security. We see that the highest blessing; His purpose follows in vers. 4-6; and then in ver. 7 the redemption in Christ “through His blood, the forgiveness of trespasses,” —for the soul, not yet for the body. God confounded the worst wickedness of man by bringing out His secret and best blessing to the glory of His grace, when Satan succeeded in drawing all mankind in principle to their united and worst daring rebellion against Himself and His Son. Is not this grace God's grace beyond mistake? Who need despair, if he bow in faith to such a God—the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ? Be not dull of hearing, nor hard of heart, like the Jews. You have not the danger or excuse which they had. They as a people had promises beyond all others. They sprang from Abraham the friend of God. They had a religion and city laid down by Him who was their God. The Messiah came of their stock supernaturally, long after the manifestation of divine glory was forced to depart. Was it not very hard for a nation thus favored to forget such favors and own their need of grace, like sinners of the Gentiles? Compared with such antecedents as Israel possessed, what are we? Our ancestors ran about in the wilds and woods with stains of blue on their bodies instead of clothes, and burnt their children in order to appease their demon gods. It is easy enough to understand how the Jews in unbelief, proud and stiff-necked, resisted the truth which pronounced them children of wrath like others.
(Continued from p. 79).
(To be continued.)

The Feasts in Deuteronomy: 3. The Feast of Weeks

No life of Christ will ever do alone, no example of Christ, except to show how unlike to Him we are. And so it is that there is far too light dealing with our state, and a total incapacity of estimating the immense distance between the Son of God and every saint that loves Him.
But now it is another thing. The state of believers in the time of our Lord was not Christian. They were saints; but a Christian is a great deal more than a saint. A Christian is a saint since redemption; a Christian is a saint that is united to Christ. A Christian is a saint that rests upon the death and precious blood of Christ in all its virtue before God, which has changed everything from that moment. Now starts a new reckoning of time altogether. There is a manifest progress from what was, to what God has now given us in our Lord Jesus. What a comfort it is that every question that could arise between our souls and. God is now settled! There are many saints at the present time who lose incalculably; they stop short at getting Christ for the forgiveness of their sins, if, indeed, they know this as a truth always abiding. In general, they think that the forgiveness of sins is a great privilege that is being dribbled out day by day; and that one is forgiven to-day, wanting more to-morrow, and more and more all the time one is here below. But this is not the way in which scripture puts the mighty work of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Here we have a death that meets sins completely; nor is it merely our sins, but sin. I admit that this is beyond what we have any type for, for the types were the types of the law, and the Passover was taken up when the law was given, although it was instituted before. So also the Sabbath in the same way; the Sabbath was long before the law but nevertheless it was embodied in the law.
But “that which the law could not do” God did. And how? “Sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh.” It could not have been in the reality of sinful flesh. In that case He could not have been a sacrifice for sin at all. If there had been an atom of the reality of sinful flesh, if there had been a single taint, it would have destroyed the sin offering. Of the “meal-offering” which represents the life of Christ, and of the “sin” (and “trespass”) Offering which brings before us His death—of both these offerings are we alike told that “it is most holy.” No, the Lord Jesus looked like another, therefore is it said, “in the likeness.” There was nothing outwardly to distinguish the Lord, as far as His body was concerned, from another man.
Mind, I am not speculating upon the Lord's appearance—I abhor all such speculations, but, at the same time, I am bound to believe from what Scripture says, that He was like any other man. Truly a man, as truly as we are, there was nothing in our Lord's outer man to indicate the essential difference, nothing to indicate that infinite difference that there is between Him and every other.
Therefore is it said, “in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin,” or as the meaning is, “a sacrifice for sin.”
Well, this is what God did, He sent His Son “in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin.” He “condemned sin in the flesh.” This is what God did. He executed sentence on the Lord Jesus at the cross. He had shown Him in the likeness of sinful flesh during His life, and there wasn't a sin nor the appearance of one. “In Him is no sin.” And now there is another work, His death as “a sacrifice for sin.” He condemned—not only the sins—He forgave the sins—but He condemned “sin”; He executed sentence of death on the sin—not upon the sinner, which would have been his everlasting ruin—but on Christ. Assuredly, as “a sacrifice for sin” that we might be, not only forgiven, but that we might know the old nature completely and forever dealt with for every believer. That is the reason why we are no longer “tied and bound with the chain of our sins,” as many excellent people say that they are: some of the best in Christendom. Really true saints believe that they are tied and bound by the chain of their sins. Many very earnest indeed in their way among our own nation. Others speaking our own tongue elsewhere, I must say, have shown more care for the truth of God as a general thing. But still there is that terrible lack, they don't know how God has met sin in the flesh. But this is exactly what God has said: “What the law could not do” the impossibility of the law God has done perfectly. He has executed sentence of condemnation, and the consequence is there is no condemnation for us. Not only that there is no condemnation for what we did, or have done, but there is no condemnation for the sin in our nature. That is the point of the apostle Paul in the beginning of the eighth of Romans. Then comes another thing; that is, the positive place into which we are brought. We have not to go looking for it elsewhere. And what do people substitute for that? They either fall back on the example of Christ, or they take up the law. They say, we know we could not keep the law or follow its example before we were converted, but now we are converted that is what we can do, and the Spirit will help us. But the Spirit of God will do nothing of the kind. What! the Spirit of God help people to keep the law as their rule of life! No. That the righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled in the Christian, I admit; and I understand the righteousness of the law consists of the two great parts—the love of God, and love to our neighbor. If a Christian does not love God and his neighbor, nobody does. There is not a single Christian in the main that is not really true. No Christian but what his heart goes out to God when he knows His love. I am supposing now a man who believes the gospel. “We love Him, because He first loved us.” And what about our neighbor? I think the poorest Christian in the world is deeply anxious about the salvation of others. No doubt we are not like Christ. There is no need to say that; there is no need of crying up what a Christian is. But the new nature shows itself in every child of God by the desire for the blessing of people, with cost to itself, and further also I affirm that there is still more unqualifiedly the love of the God that has so blessed him.
But that all is not all that we find here. We have a great deal more. We have God's way of presenting it, and that is, that the believer now according to the Feast of Weeks has Christ risen from the dead, not only Christ down here as the manna, but Christ risen from the dead as his food. We see elsewhere in scripture that the heavenly food is Christ risen; Christ in heaven is the food of the believer now, and he requires it. The manna is not all, but there is Christ thus in the presence of God to feed on. There is another thing here, and that is, that “as He (Christ) is, so are we in this world.” That is a wonderful thing to say. I ask this of you. If you hadn't these words in the First Epistle of John would you have believed them? If they were not written out in the Bible I should like any man in this room to say that he could have thought them? I don't believe a word of it. You are only cheating yourself if you think you could have dared to say these words. I say it again, As Christ is—not as He was, but now, in the presence of God, in all His glory there, the glorified man— “As He is, so are we in this world.” So are we—not, so we shall be in the next world, but—in this world. Why, if these words were not the words of Scripture, it would be the most fearful presumption that ever passed through the heart of man to say them. But they are God's words; and they are God's words because they are His truth. They are the rich blessing He has given you and me at this very time, and, thank God, not to us only. There is no Christian here, in England, in the world but what has these words said of him, and they are meant of him and for him to take them home to his heart and live on them—at any rate upon the One into whose nearness of relationship we are now brought, into that wonderful place of union with Christ. If it were not the life of Christ that is given to us it could not be true. It is in virtue of that that we are one with Christ—that it can be said, “as He is, so are we in this world” (1 John 4:17).
If I look at myself or you, would that warrant such language? How is it then? Why, because our oneness with Christ is not with Christ come down to take part of our nature, but with Him risen from the dead and gone to heaven. On what does this depend? On the Holy Spirit sent down in consequence of Christ's exaltation. And you see how perfectly the word read to-night suits it. The Feast of Weeks was the day of Pentecost—the day when the Holy Ghost was given. It could not have been true a day before. It is always true after.
(Continued from p. 87)
(To be continued)

The Jordan: Part 1

It is evident that the Jordan is a type similar in its character to that of the Red Sea. I need not say that, whether in the type of the Red Sea or the Jordan, it is what grace has given the believer.
But then there is a most sensible difference. At the Jordan there is no such thing as a rod. It is another symbol altogether. The ark of the covenant of Jehovah, borne by the priests, goes right down into the Jordan; and from the moment the priests' feet approach the water, the waters fail on one side and rise up in a heap on the other; and so, while the ark remains in the bed of the river, the children of Israel pass clean over.
And when all is done, we find another remarkable point; that is to say, we have a memorial. It is not Egyptians destroyed. There is no question of judgment. The point is neither the justification of the people of God on the one hand, nor the judgment of enemies on the other. This is the great question of the Red Sea. At the Jordan God was bringing forth His people into His own land. Accordingly it sets forth One, a divine Person, who goes down into the waters of death, and there alone stayed the proud waters till thus the people are brought through.
How does this apply to Christ? I answer, The Jordan finds its counterpart not in Romans but in Ephesians. In Ephesians, accordingly, there is no discussion of justification. Search it through and through, and you will fail to find in it the righteousness of God. If God accomplishes the great work that was before His mind (even before there was a world to be spoiled), if He intended to have a people who should have a nature capable of communion with Himself, a nature that never could be satisfied without being in heaven, that delights in His mind and love; if God intended, I say, to have such a people, and to have them, too, in the nearest possible relation to Himself, to have them as His own children in His own presence, how could justifying come in there? It is evident God does not need to justify such a work as this? I can understand when a person has got wrong, or when we think of the ungodly, that this should be told us. It is an infinite mercy that God has His own blessed way of justifying the ungodly; but there is no notion of justifying that which is perfectly according to God.
Hence in the Epistle to the Ephesians we never have the subject of justification. It is not that the apostle does not look into the state into which those that are the objects of God's mercy had got; for the second chapter is as plain as Romans 3 about the dreadful condition of those that were brought into that relationship. But in Romans we have, in the fullest manner, their sins proved and brought home to the conscience. We have their evil ways all traced fully, and yet God justifies, We have also their evil condition; and yet God takes them out of that condition, and gives them a new place. In Ephesians it is another aspect. The first thought the apostle dwells on is the purpose of God.
It is God's righteousness that justifies, as in Romans; not His mercy. There is not the smallest hint, therefore, of straining a point.
We know a king may, in order to forgive, pardon a person altogether guilty. I do not say the temper of the world would admit it, still less do. I say that man is capable of using such a prerogative as God's grace. But it remains equally true, that it is not merely mercy, but righteousness which justifies, and the believer is the only one that owns his unworthiness and feels his sins according to God.
But in Ephesians another thing appears; God is there purposing from Himself and for Himself; it is God that delights in His own counsel. He means not to be alone in heaven. He means to surround Himself with men thoroughly happy. He means to give them that which would be capable of answering to His own mind and ways, and accordingly in a relationship suitable to it. This is what He does. But what, after all, is their state, when taken up by grace? Dead in trespasses and sins. And this makes it the more remarkable, that there is not a word about justification. But Christ goes down into that death where they lay, goes down underneath their condition, so to speak; and this is the only way in which it is handled in Ephesians. He by grace went down there, and God raised Him up, and set Him at His own right hand in heavenly places. The point in Jordan is, not bringing the people out of slavery, but bringing them into the land, “into heavenly places in Christ.”
Will you say, That is when we die? When Israel crossed the Jordan, they entered on a scene of conflict. I ask, When we die and go to heaven, shall we have to fight there? No. Well then, if so, it is wrong to make it our dying and going to heaven. The passing of the Jordan means, the bringing the believer into “heavenly places” in such a way that he shall fight and win the victory too. This is the meaning of it. How can a Christian be brought into heavenly places while here? This is what the Epistle to the Ephesians tells us.
You will see how different this is from what was found in crossing the Red Sea. Hence the style of doctrine in Ephesians is different from that of Romans; that is the reason why in Ephesians, it is “heavenly places” that are spoken of. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ.”
Yet all this is true to faith now. Of course when we actually go to heaven we shall not lose this place of blessing, but the point that Paul insists on is, that God has already blessed us thus and there in Christ.
The end of the first chapter shows that God raised up Christ from the dead, and set Him in heavenly places; and the beginning of the second chapter shows that in doing this God laid the foundation for our being put in the very same place before God. “God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us even when we were dead in trespasses, quickened us together with Christ,.... and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus.” We have already then crossed the Jordan. It is not that we are to cross it, but that we have crossed it now.
Is Christ “in the heavenly places”? Am I united to Christ now, or am I only going to be united when I die? Am I now in this very place before God, raised up together with Christ, and so “in the heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus?” It is quite evident that the doctrine of the Epistle to the Ephesians is, that we are so; it is notorious that the doctrine of most Christians is, that we cannot be so till we die.
Now, why is it that people do not enter into this truth? The reason is, you cannot be both a prosperous earthly man, entering into that which occupies men here below, and a heavenly man too; but the natural mind would like to make the best of this world, and the best of the next too. The truth is, I must cross the Jordan now as a Christian; nay, I have crossed it in Christ, if I am a Christian. So you will observe I am not going to point out to you what you have to do, but I wish to make plain what God has done for you, if you are Christians. How blessed it is that Christianity does not hold out what I must attain to in order to be saved, but is a revelation of what God has given me in Christ!
God gives me, and you that believe, a salvation so full, that it not only means that we have been brought across the Red Sea (thus made pilgrims and strangers), but that we have been brought across the Jordan into heavenly places, and blessed with all spiritual blessings there. You say, perhaps, it is mysticism. No such thing. It is the very negation of mysticism. For this turns the eye to Christ, and God's work in Christ; whereas mysticis occupies the heart with its feelings about Him. If Christ is my life, and Christ is seated there, it is evident that I have, by the Spirit of God who dwells in me, and who has been sent by that Christ, a divine link with Him who has entered in there. It is thus that God speaks of us according to that which is true of Christ. That is, Christ being there and He being the life of the believer, and the Holy Spirit the power of that life, we are spoken of according to the place that Christ has entered.
The grand point of the Red Sea is what Christ brings us out of, and that of the Jordan is what Christ brings us into. It is quite evident that what God sets forth by this type is the sweet and blessed truth, that Christ having entered into the very place where God means the Christian to be, God would form us according to Him in that which is to be our true home. Our proper home is not this world, nay, not even in the millennial state. Our hope is not any change that will ever take place in this world, but the “Father's house,” where Christ is dwelling. God means that where He is we shall be. It is not merely that Christ will come and bless us where we are (like Israel by and by), but that He will come and take us to where He is; this is what we are waiting for; but meanwhile we are viewed and treated as one with Him to whom we are united there.
(To be continued)

Inspiration of Daniel and His Book: Part 1

I am sorry to hear that your faith in the inspiration of the Book of the prophet Daniel should be in any way shaken by the pernicious efforts of men who profess to uphold the integrity of the whole Book of God of which they are teachers; but who are dealing deceitfully with and corrupting it. And this they do to their own (we pray, not eternal) shame, and to the unsettling of those who follow their unhappy teaching. It remains true, however, that God declares He has magnified His word above all His name. You and I can rest assured, therefore, that in spite of the combined assaults of wicked men led by Satan with the object of undermining its veracity, when heaven and earth shall have passed away, God's word will remain, stable as His eternal throne.
This much the Lord Jesus surely meant when He said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away but my words shall not pass away” —an utterance which is calculated to convey great comfort to our hearts, since it is the word of the Son of God Himself; and the written word is equal in authority, surely, to His spoken word.
Your letter, however, is more particularly occupied with Daniel and the book of his prophecy, and your questions deal more with its authenticity. “Was Daniel the author?” You ask, was the book written in the sixth century B.C. or “circa 100 B.C.?” “Are its historical parts all true or mixed up with very much of fable?” “As it is claimed that the so-called prophetic parts were written after the events they describe, what proof have you that they were written before?” The above seem to be the most important of your questions, but as I cannot undertake to answer them all at present, I will confine myself in this letter especially to the prophetic parts of the book. And of the prophecies, that of the Seventy Weeks (chap. 9.) will answer our purpose as well as any other. For if this can be proved to have been written before the events therein mentioned took place, we may reasonably conclude that the remaining prophecies are equally authentic, and that the higher critics have, as usual, made a mistake.
This prophecy of seventy weeks Dean Farrar was pleased to call “a chronological prophecy.” He also asserted that the prophecies of Daniel were the only ones in the Bible of this class, and that “this fact tells overwhelmingly against its inspiration.”
Now this is a most extraordinary statement, and one that is not at all correct. Compare; for instance, the prediction by Jeremiah of the seventy years' captivity (29:10); the prediction given by Isaiah that within sixty-five years Ephraim should be broken, and not be a people (7:8); and the prediction through the prophet Ezekiel respecting the desolation of the land of Egypt for forty years (29:11, 12). These are surely plain instances of chronological prophecy, and show that, however, learned the higher critics may profess to be, they certainly do not seem to display a very intimate acquaintance with the letter of the word any more than with its spirit.
Now let us turn to the prophecy. “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city to finish transgression.... and to bring in everlasting righteousness.... and to anoint the most holy” (Dan. 9:24-27). Here is a general statement of the leading events of the period mentioned in the prophecy. And we find that everlasting righteousness is to be brought in before it closes, and the most holy place prepared for the worship of God. It is evident, therefore, that the end of the seventy weeks will usher in the thousand years of blessing.
The next verse gives details as to the starting point, and the divisions of the weeks. There can be no reasonable doubt, it would seem, that the seventy weeks began in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes' reign. In that year Nehemiah was commissioned to restore and build Jerusalem (Neh. 2), which is what we find in this chapter (9:25).
The decree to Ezra referred to the temple and had nothing to say to the city (Ezra 7). From the twentieth year, then, of this Persian monarch's reign, we have seven weeks marked off, or forty-nine years, in which the street and the wall of the city should be built in troublous times. The account of these times may be read in the book of Nehemiah.
The next division consists of sixty-two weeks, and these added to the previous seven weeks make in all sixty-nine weeks, and reach up to Messiah, the Prince. Thus we have sixty-nine weeks or 483 years, separated from the full term of seventy weeks or 490 years, of the prophecy. These begin, as we have seen, with Artaxerxes, and end with the Messiah as come in the flesh. Such being the case it becomes of paramount importance to ascertain when Artaxerxes ascended the throne of Persia, in order that the twentieth year of his reign may be accurately fixed upon.
Now the date given in our Bibles for the latter period is B.C. 446, which would make the commencement of his reign about B.C. 465. But according to a nearly contemporary historian, this event took place much earlier. Thucydides relates that the accession of Artaxerxes had taken place before the flight of Themistocles from Greece to. the Persians, and, though he gives no date for the event, he incidentally mentions that it was during the siege of Naxos by the Athenian Fleet.
Thucydides' statement is that Themistocles' purpose was to go to the king (of Persia), and finding a ship at Pydna, bound for Ionia, he embarked and was carried by foul weather upon the fleet of the Athenians that was blockading Naxos...after lying out at sea a day and a night, he arrived afterward at Ephesus. And Themistocles.... took his journey upwards in company of a certain Persian of the low countries, and sent letters to Artaxerxes the son of Xerxes, lately come to the kingdom; wherein was written to this purpose, “I, Themistocles, am coming to thee, who, of all. the Grecians, as long as I was forced to resist thy father who had attacked me, have done your house the most harm,” &c. (i. 137). Thus it may be seen both from the testimony of Thucydides, and the letter from Themistocles, that Xerxes had died, and his son was reigning in his stead.
Again, Plutarch, speaking of the flight to Persia, says, “Thucydides, and Charon of Lampsacus ... relate that Xerxes was then dead, and that it was to his son Artaxerxes that Themistocles addressed himself... The opinion of Thucydides seems most agreeable to chronology, though it is not perfectly well settled.” (Life of Thenaist.) Still it is well to remember that Thucydides and Charon were both nearly contemporary with the times of Artaxerxes, and their testimony more to be depended on, therefore, than that of much later historians who assert that the flight took place while Xerxes was still reigning.
It is unfortunate, however, that Thucydides gives no dates to guide us in our search, but there are other historians who do this. Diodorus places the flight of Themistocles in the second year of the 77th Olympiad (B.C. 471). The same date is given in the Armenian Chronicle of Eusebius; but in Jerome's Eusebius, Olym. 76. 4 is the date given, and this answers to B.C. 473. “Having then this point to start with, that the flight of Themistocles to the Persian court occurred during the year B. C. 473 when Artaxerxes was already, according to Thucydides, on the throne, we are warranted in supposing that his reign commenced before the time of the Passover of that year, from which the Jews were accustomed to date the beginning of the year. Consequently, the Passover of B.C. 473 would commence the second year of Artaxerxes' reign and B.C. 455, the twentieth year, when, as we learn from Nehemiah (Chap. 2.), he received his commission in the month Nisan (the time of the Passover) from the king, “to build up the broken down walls of Jerusalem.”

We Must All Be Manifested: Part 2

This will be sufficient, I trust, to convince any Christian open to conviction, that, far from denying, I think we cannot too strongly insist on, the extent as well as the certainty of the manifestation of every man, believer or not, before the judgment-seat of Christ. But then, observe well, it is their manifestation. The moment we come to speak of judgment, the Lord has decided for the Christian already. In John 5 will be found clear, unmistakeable evidence, which proves the separation, even in this world, between believer and unbeliever, through the Lord Jesus. This real present separation is simply by faith, but it is not the less according to the eternal truth of God. I do not speak, of course, of external circumstances. The Lord introduces it thus in verse 21: “For as the Father raiseth up the dead and quickeneth, even so the Son quickeneth whom He will: for the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son; that all men should honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father that sent him.” Hence, it is evident that as two glories meet in Christ, so two actions are attributed to Him. One of them is in communion with the Father; the other is confined to Himself alone. In communion with the Father, He quickens or gives life. The reason is manifest. The communication of life
flows from His deity. None but a divine person can quicken the dead. The Father raises the dead: so the Son quickens not only those whom the Father will, but whom He will. He is sovereign, therefore, as being the Son, equal with God. Whatever may be the language of His lowliness as man, He never abrogated, though He might hold for a season in abeyance, His full rights as a divine person, one with the Father. But then the Father does not judge. How is this? The Son judges, and He alone. No doubt it is the judgment of God, but it is His judgment administered by the Son. The Father has committed all judgment unto the Son. Wherefore this difference as set forth in so marked a change of language? Why, in the one case, the quickening whom He will, and in the other, the judging by that authority that is given Him of the Father? Because the Lord Jesus here lets us know that His judgment is in the closest connection with His assumption of human nature.
The moral ground is evident. Why do men despise the Son, who ostensibly pay homage to God the Father? They take advantage of the humiliation of the Son, because He was pleased to empty Himself, to take the form of a servant, to be made of a woman, to become man. Wretched man, led of Satan, dared to spit in the face of the Lord of glory, and to crucify Him between robbers. His matchless and all-lowly love gave the opportunity to man, who was too madly base to lose it. The unbelieving way of every soul demonstrates the same sad truth. It is the history of the race from the beginning, and will be so to the end. God notices and will avenge it, when He makes inquisition for blood. But, besides, He commits all judgment to the Son. In that very nature in which He was set at naught He will judge. He will judge not merely as God, though He is God, but as Man, once thoroughly despised and rejected, because, though the Son, He deigned to partake of flesh and blood, and thus become Son of man. Man will be judged by the Man he hated unto death. Man, will stand and tremble before the exalted Man, the Lord Jesus Christ. And so it is treated here: “The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son; that all [men] may honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He that honoureth not the Son, honoureth not the Father that sent him. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word and believeth him that sent me hath everlasting life, and cometh not into judgment but is passed from death into life” (vers. 22-24).
The believer, of course, does not require judgment to compel him to honor the Son. There is nothing, first of all, that so honors the Son as faith; therefore, in hearing Christ's word and believing Him who sent Christ, the believer does honor the Son in that sort which is so sweet to Himself, and most acceptable to the Father, who refuses all homage at His expense. He bows to Him as Savior; he owns his sins, seriously and truthfully; he receives life and propitiation in Him and through Him. He confesses Him as Lord; acknowledges Him to be his Lord and his God. He does not need, therefore, the judicial pressure of Christ to make him unite the Son with the Father in coequal divine honor. Well he knows that none but a divine person, one with the Father, could give him that life which he has received in the Son of God. “He that heareth my word,” as He says, “and believeth him that sent me, hath everlasting life.” Even now to the believer the Son of God gives life, and the highest form of it—eternal life. How can he then but bow down and bless the Lord Jesus? The consequence is that he needs nothing to enforce it, as the unbeliever does, who rejects Him, does without His cross, denies therefore His word and His work, and therefore has to be forced to honor Him in some other way, if he with all men must honor the Son, even as they honor the Father.
It is said here further for his comfort, not only that he “hath eternal life,” but that “he shall not come into judgment.” It is well known, and must be insisted on, that this word κρἰσις means judgment, and not “condemnation.” There is no Greek scholar who does not know that there is another word (κατάκριμα) whose function it is to express “condemnation.” Remarkably enough, it stands correctly represented in the common Popish version, though we all know the Roman Catholic version is too often inaccurate, and otherwise faulty, because it follows the common text of the Vulgate, even in its blunders not a few; yet for all that, the Vulgate being right as to this particular passage, the Romish version is therefore much nearer the truth of God in this chapter than the Authorized version of our Protestant Bible, though now given correctly by the Revisers of 1881. The Roman Catholic version, faithful to the Latin, which is here faithful to the Greek, allows and maintains throughout the whole context that there are two dealings in opposition one to the other, life-giving and judging. This contrast is kept up in every case. The Son has life because He is God; the Son judges because He is man. Being the only person in the Godhead who became man, but still in no way forfeiting His rights as God, He is ordained of God the judge of quick and dead. His resurrection proved what God thought of Him and means to do by Him, and what is the character, position; and doom of the world which put Him to death. The Son—the Son of man—will judge man. On the other hand, the believer owns Him, not only as the Son of man, but as God, on, and according to, His word; he consequently receives life eternal through honoring the divine glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. The unbeliever, stumbling more particularly over His deity, refuses Himself, rejects, as we know, His work in atonement, or manifests a guilty indifference about it, even if he do not openly deny it—has no real sense of his sins, and consequently no fear of God, nor appreciation of His eternal judgment. In one or other form, men, unbelievers, slight, if not oppose, and in all cases do without, the Son of God, and, as far as they can in this world, dishonor the Father in thus dishonoring Him. And how, then, are they to honor the Son? They must be judged by Him. They have disclaimed eternal life, because they received not the Son of God. Now, they may avoid stooping to the humbled Son of man; but they must stand before Him as the glorious Judge, to be condemned forever. But as for those who in this world received Him, followed Him, adored Him, through faith in His name, they have everlasting life now, and therefore they need not to come into judgment. In truth, He was judged in their stead on the cross.
Let me repeat that it is not merely life and condemnation which are contrasted, but life and judgment. The word used here throughout means simply “judgment.” Unquestionably” the effect of judgment is condemnation. But this very result, which is otherwise scripturally certain, necessarily excludes the believer! Herein lies the importance of the truth before us. It crushes the vain hope of unbelief; it demonstrates the absolute need of grace. No guilty soul can enter into the judgment of God without being laid bare in his sins. Impossible that God should not deal with them according to, His own holiness. No matter who it is the man may be, if he be judged he is judged for what he has done and is; he is put on his trial for his sins; and if it be so, what is more certain than that he must be lost? In vain, then, to talk about God's mercy! His mercy is now manifested and proclaimed in Christ, who is the Savior Son of God, but will shortly prove that He is also the Judge of men. You cannot mingle the two things. The unbeliever has avowedly no part in Christ's salvation; he believes not, he ridicules or loathes the testimony of life eternal in the Son of God. On the other hand, and equally, the believer has no part in the judgment which the glorified Son of man will then execute. The two things are kept perfectly distinct. There is no mingling them in the smallest degree. W.K.
(Continued from p. 93)

The Purpose of God for His Sons and Heirs: Part 3

But at a time of utter evil it suited God to divulge the secret of His purpose. From before the foundation of the world He chose us Christians, in Christ, that we should be holy and blameless before Him in love. He would surround Himself above with beings like Himself: holy in nature, blameless in ways, and love, their animating principle as it is His own. Such we shall be when His purpose takes full effect. We are sadly short now, yet is it verified in principle as to His elect. But God's purpose cannot fail; and Christ will make every word good when He comes to receive us to Himself and like Himself for the Father's house. Not as though we had already attained, or were already perfect; but we follow after; and God's purpose shall surely be fulfilled then. He that, knows what the Christian is destined to, judges any present measure in the Christian race and knows that he will have a more humbling yet blessed account to give the Lord in glory than any one's experience in a Methodist class meeting. Those who have entered more deeply into God's mind in His word are better aware what our manifestation to Him will prove. The faith of it has already brought down their high thoughts and imaginations, and shown us how weak and unworthy we are as saints, that no flesh should glory in His presence; and “that, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”
But God will surround Himself, not merely in heaven, but in its nearest circle of His own, with those capable of holding communion with Him. about everything that concerns His nature, counsels, and ways. Can anything be more wonderful than the place He designs for Christians? We ought to be therefore in course of, spiritual education for it now; but till we are like Christ at His coming, none can have yet arrived as a matter of fact at the fulfilled purpose of God. But then we shall be absolutely holy before God, and not a single thing to blame in us, according to the working whereby Christ is able to subdue all things to Himself. Instead of vanity or pride, there will be love that delights in God and His goodness without alloy. Even now are our hearts won to all this by divine grace, in partaking of a divine nature; but we justly feel bow poor is our manifestation of it now, and how comforting is the purpose, that every son of God will be absolutely thus according to God's nature. So it is to be according to the fourth verse.
The fifth verse takes up another side of the truth. Predestination. is not quite the same thing as election, and here we have the Scripture account of it. We do well to stand clear of human exaggeration here. Election is. to fitness for His presence in a nature like His own. Predestination is to a relationship, as like as possible to His Son's. But scripture carefully excludes any such human inference as God's predestination to hell fire. It is clearly revealed that such must be the unending end of the wicked. When the everlasting judgment comes, and they are judged, each according to their works, the book of life has none of their names written there, and they are cast into the lake of fire. But there is no predestinating decree of God in the case. Their own sins fitted those vessels of wrath to destruction.
Notice that pious and learned men have made the mistake of confounding “son” and “child” in the Scriptures. But they, however closely connected, are not the same thing. To identify them is really to take no small liberty with the word of truth. Not that one means to deny that the child of God may be also called a son of God; but the N.T. shows plainly that the two words express different things. It is the apostle John that particularly dwells on our being “children” of God. “Why?” Because we are born into the family of God. Born of the Spirit, we are thereby children of God, children of His family. “Sons” is wrong in the A.V. of John 1:12 and of 1 John 3:1, 2. Beyond question it should be “children” as in 1 John 3:10, and v. 2. But when it is a question of being “sons,” it is predestination that puts us into this place of relation. This was overlooked in the A.V. of Gal. 3:26, which should be, not “children,” but, “sons,” as in chap. 4:5-7. And so it should be in our ver. 5 of Eph. 1, where the word requires the adoption of “sons,” not “children.” There is never the adoption of children, but of sons. One must be by new birth a “child” of God. But God also predestined to adopt the Christian into the position of a “son” by Christ Jesus to Himself. All the Old Testament saints were “children,” as we who now believe are also. But they were not the adopted “sons,” as we may read in the argument that opens Gal. 4. On the other hand, we are all His sons now, whether Jew or Greek, and receive the Spirit of His Son. Every Christian is brought into that place of sonship. It is one of the new privileges of the gospel. The King and Queen do not consider the, highest nobles in the land to be in any such dignity. They may by courtesy be their trusty cousins; but they are not their sons. We Christians are adopted into the place of sons, and have the Spirit of God's Son sent into our hearts, crying Abba, Father. How wondrous, yet true! We are sons of an infinitely greater personage than the king, or any other that ever was on the earth. Such is the Christian by faith in Christ Jesus. It is not spiritual necessity as in ver. 4, but “according to the good pleasure of His will.” God might have predestined to a much lower place; He was pleased to give us, for His own delight, the highest possible for a creature, “to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He made us Objects of favor (far beyond the one act of “acceptance”) in the Beloved.” This explains all. Thus only could we be thus blessed (ver. 6), whether in new nature or new relationship.
Yet the apostle comes down in ver. 7 to our need even in communicating this roll of privilege:” In whom (Christ) we have (a present thing) redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of trespasses.” This is indispensable for the soul now. Otherwise we should be burdened and wretched, and unfit for the gracious working of the Spirit, or the enjoyment of Christ, or communion with God.
vers. 8-12
The earlier verses presented to us God's purpose about His sons, His heirs. This, I need scarce say, is the highest of all; for therein we are viewed. as perfectly brought into communion with His mind. This goes far beyond the inheritance, and we are before Himself. The inheritance is what we are set above in His grace. But the purpose of God about His sons directly concerns us in the nearest way, because it concerns Himself too. As men He has given us a soul and spirit by which we are distinguished, yet thoroughly responsible to Him. But as His sons we have now a new blessedness and a new responsibility. The old responsibility, we know too well, ended in total ruin. Man fell, and this practically led to, and means, every evil in nature and ways, because all is involved in sin, and flows from it. But now in grace He has taken us entirely out of ourselves (so to speak) as sons of Adam, and set us in Christ. God found none in heaven, still less in any other part of the universe, comparable with His Son the Lord Jesus. On the contrary, Satan led the world to the rejection and slaying of Christ; as the setting up of the antichrist will be his worst work at the end of the age. Impossible to conceive anything so evil, hateful, and rebellious as the antichrist. Even now are there many antichrists that prepare the way, who are all the worse because they once confessed His name. Of course, as the apostle says “they were not of us”: had they been, “they would have continued with us.” Their departure proved that none had part or lot with Christ. They abandoned their natural place in professing His name, and they became His greatest enemies, in direct antagonism to the One that God delights to honor, and loves supremely.
Already are believers given to know that they are set in Christ, associated in this ineffable way with Him to whom we belong. We may, however, be in the presence of God in spirit now. By and by we are to be there, in the very likeness of Christ, according to whose glory we are now called in every way by God. First, the heirs are brought out very distinctly; next, comes the inheritance. God, as to the heirs, had that purpose before the foundation of the world. But He purposed the inheritance also. It was not an afterthought. It was not after the ruin, but before the creation. It was immeasurably in eternity. Quite different was the call of Abraham. His was merely in time, but the call of the Christian was before time began. The very first purpose that God formed in His own eternal mind was to surround himself with beings of a totally different destiny from those that were to follow; beings that could know himself, and appreciate grace and truth; beings that needed it all, but at the same time whom He needed in order to gratify His own love, and share with them His thoughts and affections. And a wondrous fact too is, that He would have them to enter into that purpose of His now by faith. They were His secrets before redemption, but are here revealed in due time. It is what the apostle is now occupying us with in this Epistle.
It is observable in ver. 8 that His grace abounded toward us in all wisdom and intelligence, that such a communion should not be in vain. We do not hear about His rich supply in the earlier verses. There it is rather to tell us that we should be holy and blameless in love. But He would have us understand the inheritance, immense as it will be. Before, it was the imparting of divine nature, as 2 Peter 1 calls it, an answer to His own in holiness and blamelessness and love; for what else was suited to His presence? Not only so; but the new relationship must be just as fully in accordance with Christ. Nothing would satisfy His love but that which was after His pattern. The Son, the Only Begotten, was God, and of course therefore eternal. These were necessarily creatures, taken out of all ordinary conditions, but put into the immediately nearest relationship that God could vouchsafe. It was an adoption, a sonship through Jesus Christ to Himself according to the good pleasure of His will. Assuredly, it concerns every true Christian to know what his new nature and relationship are. God forbid we should ever neglect or forget these things. Can anything make one feel more deeply that all is ruin at the present time and how deeply we are fallen from our true estate? It is not meant that the purpose of God can be frustrated in the end; but where, among those that bear the Lord's name, can be found any adequate approach to what is here revealed to the saints? The rarest thing to find in Christendom is any answer to the description God gives of the Christian. Is it not so? What can we say to such a fact? At best we are only learning what it is.
So again this future and immense inheritance is so illimitable as to embrace all heavenly and earthly creation, all that is to be put under Christ and consequently under those who are united to Christ. Do Christians realize that they are to share it all with Him? Hence the form His grace takes in view of the glory of Christ. He would have us capacitated to apprehend it in all wisdom and intelligence. This last word is in the A. and the R. Versions called “prudence,” an excellent thing in practical things. But in the present case it is a very insufficient word. What has prudence to do for understanding Christ's future glory. Clearly it stands here for “intelligence.” God would have us even now acquaint ourselves with this purpose also. We need to know our personal blessing first; but next, what we shall share with Christ when He takes the inheritance of all things. Spiritual understanding is requisite but is also abundantly given for this express purpose.
We may be helped in this if we look at the first Adam. When God made the first man and put him into the brightest part of the earth, or paradise as it is called, everything was “very good” (Gen. 1); but the very best were collected by Jehovah Elohim in His power for the head of mankind. So He planted the garden for Adam with special provision, not for every use only, but for delight and enjoyment also. And as Adam was constituted the lord of the lower creation here on earth, he was enabled in God's goodness, through the wisdom and intelligence conferred upon him, to give the proper names to all cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field; for all these were subjected to him. This is the more important, because it is the appropriate sign of the dominion given him. In Adam there was no question of sin. Adam herein assumed nothing in pride: it was the Lord God that brought to him the animals to see what he would call them; and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, it had His sanction. As master by divine appointment, the right or title was recognized, as he had the wisdom and intelligence for that function. Divine goodness had pleasure in it.
It is of the more interest to remark this, because, as we generally know, men of speculative mind have dared to question that man was thus endowed from the first. But philosophers deny everything of divine grace and power. They assume that Adam, if he ever existed, was a kind of barbarian. They lack faith and its discernment to enter into the real difference of Gen. 1 and 2, being carried away by the nonsense of the Astruc guess growing into the pretentious theories of German skeptics. In Gen. 2 is the relationship of the creature, and, in particular, man's responsibility founded on the place in which God was pleased to put him. So Adam gave these names, and God recognized them. Very far greater are the things God has done in Christ for us.
A fair and beauteous scene it was with every creature in it that God subjected to Adam. But what is that compared with the whole universe of God; and every creature above and below, after all the ruin, gathered into united blessedness under Christ's headship, and ourselves associated with Christ in that place of honor over all things? God therefore caused grace to abound toward us “in all wisdom and intelligence” that we might be capable even now of entering with spiritual understanding into a scene so boundless.
Even real Christians count it wisdom and prudence to disclaim all definite thought about the future glory. And no wonder. For the mixture of law and gospel destroys the right use of both, and reduces revealed truth to uncertainty. To souls in this state these purposes of God are, and must be, unknown. They need to receive previously the word of truth, the gospel of their salvation. Were they at home in God's grace and truth, even in that respect, they would yearn after more, and the Spirit would lead them into all the truth, and show them things to come for Christ's glory. Surely God looks for this, that we should understand the grace He has lavished on us. Here He has made known “the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure which he purposed in himself for the administration of the fullness of the times” or, seasons (vers. 9-10). The importance of the word “mystery” is that it means, not something unintelligible as in vulgar usage, but, a secret that was never revealed in the Old Testament. Mysteries are entirely peculiar to what is called the New Testament, wherein they are made known from the Gospel of Matthew to the Revelation of John.
Hence the purpose of God about us, or about the inheritance, was nowhere revealed in the Hebrew Scriptures. It is well to recall the last verse of Deut. 29, “The secret things belong to Jehovah our God, but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” Now, God is pleased to reveal what He then reserved to Himself. The time was fully come; and these purposes of His are some of His great secrets. You will find for that reason that the Lord speaks about the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. In the Old Testament that kingdom was revealed, but not the mysteries of which the Lord spoke in Matt. 13, which turned on His rejection by the Jews, which forms the theme of chaps. 11 and 12 especially. Thereon follows the peculiar aspect of the kingdom of the heavens when the Rejected of men would go on high; and there it is that we know Him now by faith. The kingdom of the heavens assumed this new form when Christ took His seat on the Father's throne. And we may note that when He rose from the dead and was glorified, then more and more the disciples were brought into the understanding of the mysteries of God; and of those mysteries the apostle Paul was an eminent steward, as John also was.
All these were entirely outside the Old Testament; but they could be understood like other truths when revealed. For this we need, and we have, the Holy Spirit given to us. None of them could have been anticipated; but now that God has revealed them, they are for us to search into by the Spirit,
(Continued from p. 79)

The Lord Jesus in Humiliation and Service: Part 2

This poor, tired man was the Lord of life and glory, who not only could lay all her life bare before her in its sin and shame, but could fully meet her heart, meet her need: and attract her to Himself, so that she loses all her sense of fear and shame in her anxiety to bring others to Him too. When our consciences are awakened, we want then to know how a sinner can be just with God, and so we turn to Romans and the reasonings of the Epistles; but when the heart knows I am a child, and that the same favor rests on me as on Jesus, I turn back to the Gospels and say, ‘I must look at Jesus—what a Savior He is!' I want Him close, close to me then! brought close to my eye. Then I look back to the Gospel of John and see God come down in Him. I get in Him one, who instead of driving the one who had the defilement away, drives away the defilement, and leaves the poor leper clean, and near Him. Where do we find the blessed Lord going as soon as He is called out to His public ministry? To the baptism of repentance. Why does He go there? ‘Oh,' He says, ‘these poor people going there are those in whom God is working. They are taking the first step in the right direction, and I must go with them.' I find this perfectness and love in Him. ‘I cannot leave them to go alone,' He says, ‘I must go with them.' I need not say He needed no repentance, but it was the first right step of that poor remnant, and He will be associated with them. ‘This is not your place,' says John. ‘Yes,' He says, but “suffer it to be so now, for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness.” He does not haughtily say— “becometh me,” but “becometh us.” He takes His place in grace along with us (here it was with the Jew), and the heaven is opened for Him and the Holy Ghost descends upon Him, and the Father's voice proclaims Him Son; the model of our place in grace through redemption.
I get heaven opened four times. At His baptism, when the Holy Ghost comes down on Him. Then heaven is opened, and the angels of God ascend and descend on the Son of Man, that is, the highest angels become his servants.
Again, heaven is opened, and He comes out on the White horse to judge. And between these two I get heaven opened for Stephen to see Him. The heaven was opened to Stephen as to Christ. But mark how the glory of His Person is always maintained. When heaven is opened to Stephen, it is that he may look in and see Jesus; but when at Christ's baptism heaven was opened, it is for heaven to look at Him. He was not looking at an object in heaven. Heaven was looking at Him. Heaven was never opened for heaven to look down on anything in this earth till that divine blessed One is there. The fullness of the Godhead is in Him, but He is sealed as a man. The Father says, All my delight is there. What is most despised on earth is the One heaven can't but be opened to, and the Father can't keep silence about Him. A man is the delight of God. Heaven is opened to Him, the Holy Ghost comes down upon Him, and the Father's voice proclaims Him His Son. And it is of profound interest to see that here is the whole Trinity first fully revealed, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
First, then, His place as the manifestation of accepted man is settled. As soon as that is settled, ‘Yes,' He says, ‘but these people are in conflict and difficulty, and have got this tyrant over them, I must go and meet him for them.' He meets the devil—overcomes him, of course. The devil wants Him to go out of His course, to keep not His first estate; he would have Him leave the place of obedience and a servant on the plea of His being a Son. The written word was sufficient to conquer the devil, and enough for the Son of God to use. All possible salvation depended on His victory; all that victory depended on the written word of God. Never, save at His death, was there such a solemn moment. What He held for enough, and what Satan held for enough, was the written word of God. He bound the strong man by that means, and set about spoiling his goods. There is one man who knows the truth because He is the truth, who is satisfied with the written word, and that is the Lord. There is no craft of Satan that the word of God is not sufficient to meet. There was One as a Man wielding a power that was sufficient to deliver man from all the effects of sin. If sick, they were healed—healing all that were oppressed of the devil, for God was with Him—power working in goodness, And what is the effect? They would not have Him! The Lord on earth had power to remove the effects of Satan's power, but behind those was man's heart, which could ask Him to depart. Where there is a legion of demons, and He sends them off into the herd of swine, man prayed Him to depart out of their coasts—didn't want Him. The quiet devil that influenced their hearts was worse than all the legion of devils that ran noisily down the steep place into the sea.
Satan says, ‘If you take this people up, you take them up at your cost. I have got the power of death over them.' But He goes on. Presently Satan, prince of this world, raises all the world against Him. The disciples are afraid, and leave Him; one betrays Him, another denies Him, and the rest run away. ‘Well, then,' He says, ‘since this hatred is so great, I must give up my life to redeem them out of it’ — “through death, destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”
They ask Peter, “Does not your master pay tribute?” Peter comes to Jesus, and He manifests He is God by showing that He knows what is in Peter's heart, and says, “Of whom do the kings of the earth take... tribute? of their own children or of strangers?” “Of strangers,” Peter says. “Then are the children free.” He was the Son of the Great King of the temple, and free; and so was Peter. He puts Himself with Peter. “Notwithstanding, lest we offend” (puts Himself with Peter again); then shows He is God over all, and Lord of creation, by disposing of creation, commanding the fish of the sea to yield up the tribute money, “that give for thee and me” —puts Peter and Himself both together again. How lovely!
While He was God in everything, He was the humblest, most affable man that ever walked this earth. In death only is He alone. He looked for compassion and found none. “Tarry ye here and watch with me.” In His sore trial He looked in Gethsemane for them to watch with Him—they could not, and an angel from heaven comes to strengthen Him. Will He ever give up being a servant? Never? That form of servant He will never give up. Selfishness likes to be served. Love likes to serve. That is just what we find in Christ.
No intellect knows God, We only know God by our wants. Infidels say you can't have more than the power of man's mind. If I see a decrepit old woman leaning on the arm of a strong man, and supported by his strength, it is not in herself that she knows what strength is—and that is how we know God. No man can know God by “knowing;” he would not be man if he did, and God would not be God at all. It is conscience that knows the way God meets us. It is a want in me. Look at Simon the Pharisee and the woman. What did he know of Christ? He felt no need of Him; thought he was putting honor upon Him in asking Him, though in curiosity, to his house, and does not show Him the courtesy even as to a guest, and Christ is not inattentive to neglect. He knows and feels it. If I am cold and indifferent to Him, He knows and feels it all; it touches His heart. God's essential names are Light and Love. Look at the woman, the light made her know herself, and the love made her know Christ and trust Him. Christ thoroughly knew her heart, and she thoroughly knew Christ's heart. While Simon had thought Him unworthy of the common courtesies of life, she found a fullness of grace, and of light, and love, that could meet all her need. Her sins, which are many (He knew them all), are all forgiven, for she loved much. God's heart and man's heart, through grace, met in blessedness where the Pharisee was an utter stranger.
I learn this lesson here, that the Person of the Lord Jesus may have full power in my heart before I know the fact of forgiveness. The essential names of God, Light and Love, I find both brought out in Christ. The light that reveals everything in me, and the love that puts it all away. When the light comes and manifests me before God, I find myself in the presence of love, that has done everything for me. If I had the light without the love, I must run away and hide myself. If I had the love without the light, it would not do at all. It could not be. I get both in Christ—the divine light that discovers all, and the divine love that makes me know that all is put away. When light comes in, the conscience is honest. Take the robber, and hear him— “We indeed justly” —light had discovered that to him— “but this man has done nothing amiss.” How did he know? By divine teaching. Would not our hearts all say, “He has done nothing amiss?” Then, again, “Lord,” he says—that is divine teaching as to His Person. All His disciples had run away: he alone owns His Lordship there on the cross—comforts His heart in that hour. And what does he ask? Is it relief from his pain? No. Suffering all that terrible agony on the cross, does he ask the One hanging by his side, whose power he owned, to lessen the suffering? No; but to be remembered by Him in His kingdom; and the effect of this is, “To-day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” Oh, here was a heart that had found out what He was. A Pharisee is a Pharisee, and a whited sepulcher, but a broken heart is suited to a heart-healing God.
Is He a servant in the glory? ‘Oh, yes,' He says, ‘indeed I am.' He says to His disciples, ‘I am going to the Father; I can't be your companion any more on earth; but I'm not going to give you up. What's to be done; I must fit you to be with me; give you “a part with me.” You are clean, but you will be picking up dirt in your walk in this world, and this won't do to be associated with me in glory; I must wash your feet.' And that is what He is doing now. He is a servant to wash our feet now. He sets Himself to that service. We do not cease to be clean, looked at as to our standing before God, but we walk through the world and pick up dirt, and Christ is our Servant to wash it away. In Luke 12 we find He will be our Servant in the glory. “He will gird Himself, and come forth and serve them.” It is divine love unspeakably blessed. He will never give up being a man. “Let your loins be girded, and your lights burning.” I must have a full profession of Christ, that is, lights burning. ‘Have your loins well tucked up for service, while I am away; when I come again I shall have my own way, and you shall sit down, and I will serve you.'
Shall I ever forget the humiliation of Christ? Shall I ever forget His manhood in that way, giving Himself for me, and then taking me up there to be with Himself, where He is remaining a Man for me through all eternity; shall I forget? Never! never! through all eternity. I shall never forget His humiliation on earth. While seeing Him in glory animates the soul to run after Him; what feeds the soul is the bread that came down. That produces a spirit that thinks of everything but itself. I need not go into detail, but you get in the rest of Phil. 2 all the delicacy of feeling brought out which flows from absence of self, and love to others, because the soul has got imbued with Christ and is feeding upon Him, till unconsciously it grows to be like Him. I must have chapter 2 as well as chapter 3 of Philippians; all the energy you like, but then go and study Him, and live by Him, and you will come out in His likeness, in all His grace, and gentleness, and loveliness. Oh, what a place, redeemed by Him, going to be with Him in glory, and set meanwhile to manifest Him on earth!
The Lord give us to be so occupied with Him who was so full of love, so full of gentleness, so full of lowliness, that we shall manifest the same! The first sin of the world was losing confidence in God. He comes back to us in all these sins of ours and says, ‘Now you may trust Me.' It is God winning back the confidence of your heart, unbounded confidence in unbounded love—and that not by exhortations from heaven, but by His presence on earth. ‘If you are a poor woman, not fit to face any of your fellow-creatures, come to Me; I'll have you, trust Me; if you are hanging on a cross for your crimes, you shall go up to-day with Me to paradise. My blood is enough to put your crimes away, My heart is open to receive you.'
The Lord give us to know more of that One, who when He put forth His own sheep went before them—met the lion for them, and delivered them! The Lord give us to realize what He was!
(Concluded from p. 96)


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The Feasts in Deuteronomy: 4.

We may observe that this feast differs from others in that in it we have not only our individual responsibility brought before us, as in the passover for instance, but also our privilege. In the passover we have the solemn responsibility of practical holiness being maintained, also of our life being holy—all grounded upon Christ, the Lamb slain.
But here we have another thing, not our responsibility but our privilege. Now we have this new privilege that could not be in the least degree entered into by a Jew at that time. Now we can read, and are bound to read, these Jewish forms in a light that they did not possess or enjoy. The heavenly light shines upon us because Christ is in heaven. He is that light. That is the meaning of the day dawning and day star arising in the heart, of which Peter speaks in his Second Epistle (chap. i.). “And we have the prophetic word confirmed, to which we do well to take heed (as to a lamp shining in a. dark place);” it is more than dark, it is squalid as well as dark. Look at all the prophecies, the terrible state of man which they show; for prophecy came in when things were in a state of ruin. That however is not. Christianity. The blessedness of Christianity came when Christ came, when Christ died, when Christ arose and went up to heaven still more. This is the day dawn.
Now then here we have the rising to a height that cannot be exceeded, and it is all in Christ. How precious! Not only that we have all the blessedness of judgment stayed, of sins gone, and sin itself judged in that same death of Christ—all His mighty work in our favor to draw out the sense of God's love and to produce love to God as well, as nothing else could, but now it is the enjoyment of this wondrous place of Christ, a new place even for Him. Great is the mystery of godliness “God has been” or “He who has been manifested in flesh... received up in glory.” What is the mystery of godliness? People might have thought that it is something we can do, something the Holy Spirit would work in us, but no, the mystery of godliness is Christ Himself, it is bound up with Christ.
This is what we find in these three Feasts, Christ in the Passover—Christ in the Feast of Weeks—the Spirit of God come down; but He was not the new corn of the land—the corn of wheat that had fallen into the ground and died, but is now risen. No, Christ is that, and we are part of the same stock. We have the same nature—made “partakers of a divine nature.” Christ is risen and He is our life, we have not only the life but we have also the Holy Ghost to give divine power of enjoyment of the life, which can never be unless the heart surrenders itself to the death of Christ. People stop short of that, they don't know the power of His resurrection till the power of His death is known. And that is what makes a full gospel of such grand importance for the saint. There is a great difference between a free and a full gospel. A free gospel is the finest thing possible for the sinner. A full gospel is not for the sinner but rather for the saint. I might say Peter preached a free gospel, and three thousand were converted on the first occasion. Paul preached a full gospel. There is this difference that the preaching of Paul was most rich and profound and of the greatest possible blessing where it was entered into. It is all there for us and we ought not to come short of it, and if it is for us to know it is for us to preach. But the grand point for us is to take it into our souls. When that is done there is full blessing now. It is the for evermore, where death can never enter, where sin never did enter. Yow there is delivering power and that is the power that works in us. That is our portion by the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven, for that blessed. Person is always at any rate faithful to Christ, and to Christ not merely dead, but risen from the dead. He never stops short at the death of Christ—He would have that death entered into in all its sweetness—and in many respects there is nothing like it, but still there is this power in resurrection that we do well not to lose, and the Holy Ghost would have us follow Christ in faith where He is, and to know that our portion is in Himself there.
His death! It was for us, but now in His resurrection and. His present place in heaven we are there in Him. As Christ is, so are we in this world. Connected with this I would just add one word. It is remarkable that the day of Pentecost was...the day when the law was given. The law was given on the first Pentecost—not yet called Pentecost in the same way as now, but still it was fifty days after the wave sheaf and there was the law, and oh! what weakness, what death, and what misery, just because the law was good and we bad, because Christ was not there. But now that Christ has come, everything is turned into blessing. The judgment of God! Yes, because it fell on Him, it was due to us but it fell on Him, and surely it is an immense thing to know that; and can anything show more clearly where these dear evangelical people are than the fact that this great truth of the gospel is not believed. The wonderful thing is that they are so good practically with so little truth to be their foundation. It is a vital truth of the gospel that the believer shall not come into judgment.
I lost a most valued friend years ago by insisting upon that great truth—a lady of remarkable spiritual power, more so than most women I have ever met. She never came into communion. There were great difficulties. Her family dependent upon her being faithful to what they called their own mother the church, and there she was—much to be felt for. She had been a Roman Catholic and had married a High Churchman who died and whose children were bound very strictly indeed. She however could not get over that difficulty in her mind. I have found few persons that more appreciated the truth as far as she knew. But when she heard this wondrous truth of the gospel, she thought it peculiar and something out of the common rut—this rich wondrous truth which has been so fully brought out of late years. But no, my dear friends, this truth is bound up with the gospel. It is a full gospel.
There is nothing more wonderful than a full gospel—the gospel as Paul preached it. As the Lord said in John 5 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that hears my word,” not the word of Moses or the prophets now, “and believes him,” not believes on Him, that is, about it, but “believes him that sent me.” The essence of faith is that I believe God, that I believe what God says. He that, through hearing Christ's word, believes God that sent Him “hath life eternal, and cometh not into judgment,” not merely “condemnation.” Our translators of 1611 changed it to that, and I have never met with one of these evangelical, pious, people—even the most intelligent, that believed that he should not come into judgment. They think that the believer will come into it, but be kept and brought through it. But, let me tell you, if the believer goes into the judgment he would not, could not, get through it because he is not guiltless. Even David felt this when he said “Enter not into judgment with thy servant: for in thy sight shall no man living be justified” (Psa. 143:2). And the judgment is a real thing. It is a foolish thing to go into a judgment that is unreal, and the idea of God s sparing anyone is an impossibility. This idea of the believer going into judgment undoes the effect of Christ's redemption. It is true that they think that the blood of Christ will speak in the day of judgment. But no, no one will speak in the day of judgment but the Judge. There are the books, and they are opened, and the books speak of the guilt of the man and the guilt is undeniable, and so there can be no issue from judgment but to be cast into the lake of fire. There is no soul but a sinful soul that passes through the judgment. The believer's judgment is past, that has been borne by Christ for all who believe. We shall not stand before the great white throne. We shall tell all out, or, “be manifested before the judgment seat of Christ;” we shall confess everything there, but that is a totally different thing to being “judged.” Being judged means that I suffer for what I have done, and if that is so what could it be but everlasting ruin! But it is not so. It would be a total denial of, a total inconsistency with, life eternal. Impossible that a person who has life eternal could be judged! A man who has life eternal, judged! such a judgment would be a mockery. The whole thing is a jumble of mistake. However, this dear friend presented my letter setting out the truth on the subject to the then Bishop of Carlisle, and he was horrified.
I mention this to show that nothing startles these people more than a full gospel. A free gospel presents rather what we are delivered from. It is a mercy to have got thus far, but I do believe that those I am addressing to-night are peculiarly responsible to God, that if they have got the truth fully for themselves, and I don't deny that they have, they are responsible to make it known to those who may not have had such opportunities. I don't deny that they ought to break it up into the smallest pieces to suit palates and the weakest stomachs. It is right to think of the state of souls, but we should seek to lead them on, little by little, and not to leave them where they are.
That is the danger of too great quickness in receiving into fellow ship. Souls should be led on to know the gospel—a full gospel, otherwise they remain where they are in their souls. We are all to blame. Instead of teaching them about the antichrist and Babylon and the woman of the seven hills (all very interesting and profitable, in its proper place), let us seek that souls should hear and believe the word of truth, the gospel of our salvation. For what are all these things compared with a sound and full gospel as a foundation for the soul—to know that all the evil is cleared away in the death of Christ now, that we are in the unclouded favor of God, and that Christ's place is ours? No doubt, it is entirely through Him and His death. It is not merely that we look back but we look up to where He is now, we know that we are one with Him who is there. That is the grand truth of this Feast of Weeks.
“Thou shalt keep the feast of weeks unto the Lord thy God with a tribute of a free will offering of thine hand.” Well, undoubtedly, this free will offering of the hand is a bright testimony in its own way. The free will offering of the hand is supposed to represent the heart, and so it does. It is one who is delighting in Christ, for we are delivered from all unreality, from all appearances, and it is the saddest disgrace for a Christian if the heart is not behind all that the hand does. “Which thou shalt give unto Jehovah according as Jehovah thy God hath blessed thee.” The essence of Christianity is our personal blessedness now. We are not only a forgiven people, but a people blessed; and how far? “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ.” Well, that is just the Feast of Weeks, and as there is this blessing—the richest possible for God even for us now on the earth—mark the effect (ver. 11), “Thou shalt rejoice before the Lord thy God, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter,” but it does not end there, “and thy manservant, and thy maidservant.” The blessing is to be felt by those that serve in the humblest position. Is it for those in the houses only? No, “and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are among you” —the specimens of the various classes of sorrow and need that are in this poor world. There we have the opening of the heart to all. Truly this is divine love, that if we are thus blessed the heart opens in love both Godward and man ward too, and wherever there is most distress, there it goes out the most actively.
“And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in Egypt” (ver. 12). This is not a man tied and bound with the chain of his sins. No, he remembers that he Was a bondman. It is the denial of that. It is not that you get the denial of it simply in the eighth of Romans, but, here you have it in the type of Deut. 16. The apostle presents it thus— “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death” (Rom. 8:12). So, manifestly, I am no longer in bondage, but delivered. It is “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.” Had it been the law of Moses, I would be under bondage, and that is the reason really why these pious people are tied and bound with the chain of their sins. The law is continually before their eyes. When we are looking at Christ, we do fulfill what is according to the law; Christ in that case fills the heart. “Thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in Egypt; and thou shalt observe, and do these statutes.” That is, the spirit of obedience is strengthened in the soul in the highest degree by, the sense of this complete deliverance and this blessed union with Christ.
(Continued from page 100.)
(To be continued).

The Jordan: Part 2

I do not mean that we can do without the Epistle to the Romans. The Christian who gets so full of Ephesian truth that he can do without Romans (or, I would add, Hebrews), is on dangerous ground; while he that thinks he can do without Ephesians is flying in the face of God, and the glory of His grace. If He has given us a full cup of blessing in Christ, our wisdom is to—seek to understand what—our portion is; and the great practical business of the, Christian is to live according to the place wherein he is set by God.
If. God has brought me out of the house of bondage, He has also put me in heavenly places in Christ. It is not a question of what I see or feel. It is all very well we should appreciate what we are, but we must believe first; and when we take in the completeness of the deliverance out of Egypt, then we see in type what we are delivered from; and. when we believe our portion in heavenly places, what can we do but bless Him who has so blessed us?
The First Epistle to the Corinthians, though by no means so full of this as that to the Ephesians, brings before us the principle of this truth: “As is the heavenly such are they also that are heavenly; and as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall...also bear the image of the heavenly.” The first thought is, that we are heavenly now; and the second is, that though we are heavenly; we do not yet bear the image of the heavenly, but we shall. What a deliverance from mysticism! Mysticism is merely the craving of the heart to feel within what it would desire to have; but faith avoids this occupation with self, and enters into the truth of God. It may be a mystery; but it is one unveiled, and which God, makes to be most real and intelligible by the power of the Holy Ghost, for God, of His own grace, has counseled, done, and given it all to us in Christ.
Thus you see the passage of the Jordan differs essentially from the crossing of the Red Sea. Even for the children of Israel at the Red Sea there was the rod, the judicial rod of power; which for the Egyptians brought destruction. Besides, there was no lasting memorial set up. When you come to the Jordan, there was a double memorial. Twelve stones were placed in the bed of the river, where the feet of the priests rested; and other twelve were taken out of it and were brought to Gilgal.
This reminds me of another fact that gives us a beautiful link with the Epistle to the Colossians. When Israel passed through the Red Sea, circumcision was not practiced—there was no sign of the mortification of the flesh—but when they passed through the Jordan they submitted to it. Circumcision means the mortification of the flesh. This furnishes another reason why the common doctrine on this point cannot be true; for when we are dead and gone to heaven there is no flesh to be mortified. Alas! it explains also why self-judgment is so feeble in the mass of those who love the Lord. They know the Lamb and His sprinkled blood; they freely realize their deliverance from Egypt into the wilderness, but not at all their position in Him above, nor consequently do they know Gilgal, where the reproach of Egypt was rolled away from the circumcised.
When the children of Israel crossed the Jordan they placed two memorials—one of death and one of resurrection, showing that in every sense death is gone. But more than that, flesh now is mortified. And there is nothing that gives the soul the sense of the end of the flesh, its being judged thoroughly, and the comfort of it, so much as the consciousness of death and resurrection as bringing us into our true place before God.
Hence, in Colossians, the Holy Ghost speaks not only of a baptism, but also says, “in whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands in the putting off of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ” (2:11).
In the next chapter we read “Mortify, therefore, your members which are on the earth.” So there is this double application. According to the book of Joshua they were first circumcised; and, let them move where they might, they come back to Gilgal. This is a call to continual mortification of the flesh, on the ground that we have been once for all circumcised ... Our circumcision was God's dealing with our nature in the death of Christ; but on the ground of this we have to mortify our members. If God has already judged the flesh, what I as a Christian am called to do is to take God's side against my own evil nature. I am called to cherish direct communion with God in condemning any and everything that is unlike Him. This type, you see, is full of direct instruction to the soul, and so far from being a mere theory is eminently practical. I have no doubt this is the reason why people shrink from the types of both the Red Sea and the Jordan. Many would like to know that they shall be protected from judgment, but God would put them in association with His own objects. He gives me a heavenly title that I should have my mind set on things above; for He would have my mind formed by these new and heavenly objects that are where Christ is.
And oh, beloved brethren, what a relief it is that in the common business of this world one can have one's mind and heart set upon what will never perish Let us have our hearts occupied with what is precious in God's eyes. We can take up other things as matters of duty; but the moment we make them objects, we altogether miss the mind of God. It does not matter what the thing may be. Suppose a person at any business; it makes all the difference possible whether he is simply doing it to God as that which He has given him to do, or whether it is what he likes and takes pleasure in, his object being to be great or rich by it. Where this is the case, I am practically making this world to be the scene of my enjoyment. I am not even treating it as a wilderness, still less am I acting as associated with Christ in heavenly places. On the other hand, if I hold firmly, as from God, that even now I am a heavenly man, still, if God has given me anything to do, I do it—no matter what it may be.
Accordingly, in Eph. 5, 6, you find all these earthly ties which may rightly be the relationships of heavenly men and women and children; but the only true power of walking well on earth is to remember that I am a heavenly man. It is not only that I am a delivered man, but I am put in present association with heavenly associations in Christ; and unless I bear this in mind, how can I behave myself suitably to the position I am in?
Suppose you take the case of a member of the royal family that for a time goes incognito to some other country. Though he hides his glory, he carries the sense of it in his heart. The King of England might travel on the continent by the title of the Earl of Chester, yet would he have the secret consciousness that he was Sovereign of an empire on which the sun never sets. So with the Christian: the world does not know his title. The world would think it downright fanaticism to be talking about heavenly persons when here below; but we know not merely this, but that the world is under the judgment of the Lord, and it is only the breath of His mouth that is between it and everlasting judgment. We know that the Lord Jesus Christ is ready to judge the living and the dead.
Oh, on what a hair hangs the judgment of this world l but as to us who believe, judgment has passed forever—I mean judgment as against us on God's part. I do not mean that we shall not have all our ways manifested before the judgment-seat of Christ. We shall all appear, but shall never appear as criminals there. If Christ has brought us now into the favor of God we are not going to lose it when we are risen and glorified.
I beseech of you to hold fast this precious truth. You have passed across the Jordan as truly as you have marched through the Red Sea. You are not only to remember that you are pilgrims, but that you have a living link with heaven; be sure you regard it as your own proper home. The wilderness is merely a place of sojourn, but the heavenly places are our only abiding place. God's purpose to have us in heaven was made before the world was. The world has become sinful, and so has become a wilderness, for there would be no wilderness if there was not sin; but God has delivered us in grace from our sins, and has also brought us in spirit through the wilderness. As a matter of fact, indeed, we have sin, and are passing through the wilderness; but in title, and as united to Christ, we are clear from both. May God in His grace give us to enter more into this truth, and to live in the power of it!
(Concluded from page 102.)


Self-judgment, how due to grace! which blots out our wretched past, and declares that, as He is, so are we in this world: an impossibility, but for His advocacy. This is a need, no less than His propitiation.

Inspiration of Daniel and His Book: Part 2

Assuming then, that this is the correct date, we turn again to the prophecy and we find, as previously noticed, that the sixty-nine weeks terminate with Messiah the Prince. The Hebrew word “Nageed” properly means a “leader,” a “prince.” It is also used absolutely to denote a prince of a people—anyone of royal dignity. And the word is applied to the Messiah beyond all question in Isa. 55:4, “Behold I have given him for a witness to the peoples, a ruler and commander to the peoples.” Thus there seems to be no excuse for applying the prophecy to some other prince—Cyrus for instance—as is sometimes done. If, then, the Lord Jesus is referred to in the words “unto Messiah the prince,” to what period of His earthly sojourn does the word “unto” apply? Now there seems to be no occasion in the Lord's ministry when He was owned and saluted by the people, as their King, except at the time of His last entry into Jerusalem (John 12:12-15). He was born “King of the Jews,” but was only publicly owned as such at the time above mentioned. For the word declares “He came to His own (world) and His own (people) received Him not.” Thus then it seems we may safely conclude that the word “unto” refers to a period six days before the Lord's death, when the King being owned, the sixty-nine weeks ended. Hence follow the words “After the threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off and have nothing,” signifying that He should have nothing of all that belonged to him as King. This has no reference to the effect of His work on the cross, but to His rights and possessions as David's Heir. At that time an usurper occupied the throne of David, and, moreover, murdered the true Heir.
The next step then, is to seek to ascertain the exact date of the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus. Now, most chronologists are agreed that His birth took place at least four years earlier than our common era, A.D., and that His death occurred in the month Nisan, A.D. 29. This, indeed, is contrary to the prevailing custom of dating the crucifixion A.D. 33, but it is the conclusion arrived at by Clinton, Lardner, Adam Clarke, and Canon H. Browne in his “Ordo Sæclorum” —all men of learning and ability.
Further evidence as to this may be gathered from early writers. Tertullian, in the second century, says— “In the fifteenth year of his reign [Tiberius], Christ suffered,... whose sufferings were completed within the time of the seventy hebdomads, under Tiberius Caesar, Rubellius Geminus and Rufus Geminus being consuls, in the month of March at the time of the Passover” (Adv. Judaeos, c. viii.) Lactantius, at the beginning of the fourth century, writes: “Who [Herod] was under the empire of Tiberius Caesar; in the fifteenth year of whose reign, that is, during the consulship of the two Gemini;.. the Jews affixed Christ to the cross” (Instit. iv. 10). Augustine also, writing in the fourth century, says— “Christ died in the consulship of the Gemini” (De. Civ. Dei. 18. 54).
Thus may be seen that the Fathers (so called) seem agreed respecting the names of the consuls at the time of the crucifixion. In fact, so nearly unanimous were they in this, that one writer remarks— “Nowhere in the first five centuries do we find any other consular date of the death of Christ than the year of the two Gemini, except in the Greek writer, Epiphanius.” Now, with such strong evidence before us it seems we may safely conclude that our Lord suffered in the fifteenth year of Tiberius' reign (A.D. 29), when two persons bearing the same surname—the two Gemini—were consuls of Rome. This latter circumstance is said to be unprecedented in the annals of that city. It gives, therefore, additional proof to the accuracy of the above date.
Assuming then, that this date is the correct one, we have, reckoning from the month Nisan, B.C. 455, to the same month, A.D. 29, (deducting one year for adjusting the eras) exactly 483 years, the very time required by the 69 weeks of the prophecy.
Perhaps, however, you, like others, may object that the date here given for the twentieth year of the Persian monarch's reign does not agree with that placed in the margin of our Bibles. True, but these dates have rather a curious history. About two hundred years ago, “Bishop Lloyd undertook to affix the dates of Archbishop Usslier's scheme of chronology to our English Bibles; but in this instance he made a considerable alteration, and substituted another date of his own, so as to adapt the reign of Artaxerxes to his own theory.” Had he followed Ussher there would have been no difficulty, for he gives 454 B.C. as the date in question. Dates differing from the above are given by other chronologists, but it is not a little remarkable that the difference in any case is not more than ten years.
Such being the case, the question arises—How comes it, that there is such approximate agreement between this prophecy and profane history? Supposing, for instance, the Book of Daniel were written circa B.C. 100, would that account for it? Is a person more competent to tell what will happen fifty years hence than five hundred? Scarcely. The impugners of the book saw this, hundreds of years ago, and in order to evade its force, declared the writer must have lived after the occurrence of the events he described so accurately. And the higher critics have followed in their wake. For is it not significant that they have produced nothing new?
But this subterfuge will not meet all the requirements of the case. The cutting off of the Messiah, for instance, is the central event of this prophecy (Dan. 9:24-27), but I have not yet met anyone bold enough to affirm that the book was written after the Lord's death. If then it were in existence before He assumed human form, how comes it that His death, and even the very nature of it, is so minutely described? The Hebrew word translated, “cut, off,” when applied to death, is said never to mean a natural, but always a violent, death, either by the hand of God or by man—a death for guilt (cf. Num. 15:30 et passim). Does not this show that the writer had a full and correct knowledge of the subject about which he was writing. By what means, then, did he obtain this intimate acquaintance with the future? Surely it must be clear to any simple mind that a man does not, and cannot, know intuitively what preceded his existence here on earth, or what will follow the moment actually present. It is only by a divine communication the future can be known.
It follows, therefore, that the Spirit of God was as much needed to dictate the prophecy a hundred years, as five hundred, before-hand. God alone can see the end from the beginning; and He only can describe future events and the exact time when they will happen. Further, since “a day with the Lord is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day,” it is evident He is in nowise restricted by length of time. The future, as well as the past, lies open before Him, and He is fully cognizant of all the intended developments of His sovereign will.
Now in conclusion. You will have seen, I trust, (a) that this “chronological prophecy” is not wrong after all, in its computation of time, as the critics would have us believe; (b) that, even, by lessening the age of the prophecy four hundred years, all the predictions are not thereby accounted for, the most important one being left out, and thus the argument based upon the supposition that the book of Daniel was written after the events, is not sound. It is clear, therefore, that when taken on their own ground these learned men are not infallible. What a comfort to know this, and to rest assured that we can still cling to the “old-fashioned notion” that the Spirit of God was needed to unfold the future, and that it was He who dictated the whole Bible (2 Tim. 3:15)! And may our hearts and actions be molded and guided by it till the Lord comes! W.T.H.

What Is a Christian - Now and Hereafter? Part 1

IT is rather a solemn thing to say what a Christian is, especially when we think of what it is that made him one. God is acting so as to glorify Himself. It is a solemn thing to be a revelation of that of which Christ is worthy—of the result of Christ's work; as it is said, “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied” (Isa. 53:11). It does us good to think of this, because it makes us judge ourselves, to see how far we are really that. Not that we ever shall be the perfect display of it until we are “like Him” (1 John 3:2), until we see Him as He is, and are conformed unto His image in glory. Still, if we bear Christ's name, we should seek to present a fitting result of His work in the world.
That is what a Christian is. Hence it becomes a solemn thing to say what he is. Still, whilst it is a solemn question, it is a matter of grace. There is such a comfort in this thought! Whilst most solemn, it is always happy, because it is of grace the free, full, and sovereign grace of God. This all helps us a little.
With regard to the question itself, there is a great difference between what a Christian is “now,” and what he will be “hereafter.” Not as regards the spring of life, redemption, &c., but now a Christian is the expression of the power of God in the midst of evil; hereafter he will be the expression of the result of that power which has put away the evil, when all the evil is put away.
Take us at our best estate now—a Christian is the expression of the power of God in the midst of the prevalence of evil. A Christian will not be that exactly hereafter; he will then be the expression of the result of God's power, in the highest sense, when the evil is put away.
As to the foundation in Christ's blood, and the power of His resurrection, and the love of God, this as much belongs to his state hereafter as it is the basis of what he is now. God's love in Christ will be the spring of my joy then as it is now.
One thing that gives such settledness of peace (as it regards his own soul's peace) to the Christian is, that it does not depend upon what he is now, or will be then, but upon that which is common to both states. The ground of it is the same now that it will be in heaven. The thing displayed may differ; But the ground of confidence is the same now as hereafter. As to the source and spring of it in the love of God, His love is as true, and as perfect, and as complete, and as much manifested towards me now, as it will be when I am in glory; He cannot in His divine love go beyond the gift of His Son.
The life also that I have now is not a different life from that I shall have then. No doubt the body hinders It. Its manifestation will be different; but the life is the same.
And the ground of peace changes not. That upon which I rest for eternity is just as much now as it will be then. The blood of Christ has been shed and has been carried into the holiest (Heb. 9, 10). Whatever our conflicts, our conflicts (properly speaking) spring from that ground being entirely settled. Whoever is in conflict as to that has not got to God, or otherwise has not understood the ground of his standing Unsettlement of soul may arise from a man's not having seen the gospel simply; but as to the ground of his standing, it is just as much accepted now as it will, be then. There is not another Christ to die—no fresh blood to be shed. Nor is there another revelation to be made. There is not a love to spring up in the heart of God that has not been told out. There may be a fuller apprehension of that Which has been accomplished, but there is nothing new either to be accomplished or revealed.
Whoever has not got upon that ground (has not had that question settled in his soul) has not got as yet upon simple Christian ground. God may be working in his soul; but I do not call having life the getting upon simple Christian ground. There may be life without the knowledge of what God is as for us, of the perfectness of His love towards us, and of what He has done for us in Christ. Life may make me anxious, and hope, and have desires after God, and long to be assured of His favor, and the like; but, when we speak of a “Christian,” we speak of what a Christian is in scripture, and scripture always speaks of him—of a believer in any state—as to his standing. It is very necessary to see this.
We must not confound the exercises of a Christian with the standing of a Christian. The ground of his standing is God's work: In his exercises there comes in himself; his flesh, his ignorance, and many other things, alas! may be working. But it is entirely according to God's thoughts, and not according to my thoughts, that my standing is to be judged of. Moreover the exercises of my own soul are never the same as God's judgment about them.
When I am thinking of these, it is my actual state that occupies me; but were God to take notice of my actual state, He must condemn me. What He has regard to is the work of Christ for me, and my union with Him, not in this respect nay actual state at all; It is always important to recollect that, because my own judgment of myself ought to be as to my actual state.
Whatever his exercises, however these may vary, the Christian, in one sense, is just the same, because he is in God's sight as Christ. Christ being the perfectly accepted man at God's right hand, the Christian is looked at by God in the same position (Eph. 2:6), sitting in heavenly places “in Christ.” In that sense there cannot be any difference; and the ground of our acceptance cannot ever be imperfect. I repeat, we must not confound the movements of life with the ground of our acceptance. We can never have this too simple and clear. It does not make one despise the first actings of life, its first movings and breathings, however feeble and imperfect: I do not despise my child because he is not a man.
In the Ephesians (where what a Christian is, is fully brought out), men are viewed as the “children of wrath” in their very nature (necessarily heirs of wrath, because God is what He is, and man is what he is). Every other distinction is lost sight of, because, in his character of a sinner, man is brought fully into the light of God. But having thus told us what man is, the apostle does not stop with man; he turns round and begins at the other end; he now tells us what God is, that He is “rich in mercy,” and (as the effect of this) that He has set us in heavenly places in Christ.
But when we come a little more to detail, I would recall the distinction which I made at first—that a Christian is now the expression of the power of divine life and the divine presence (divine life, I mean, aided by the power of God), in the midst of evil that he knows; but hereafter he will be the blessed expression of the result of God's power when evil is put away. So with Christ (there was no evil of course in Him; yet, speaking abstractly, it was the same thing; in Him it was perfect) when here; He was what He was in the midst of evil. There cannot be any increase in it, in itself; but the manifestation of divine power in us is capable of an indefinite increase.
Redemption however, precedes everything else (I do not mean by this that it precedes the counsels of God). First, Christ “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 it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:25-27). Redemption precedes the washing. Washing may go on, but it comes after redemption. He makes her His, before He sets about making her what He would have her to be. There may not be a clear thought as to it; but the thing is done nevertheless.
Redemption being accomplished, the Lord sets about producing in us the effects and fruits of His, grace in conformity to Himself.
The first effect of divine life in the midst of evil is not merely to see, but to have the conscience exercised about, certain things. The moment life begins to work, we get the consciousness of evil inside as well as of evil outside; that is, it gives the judgment of evil in ourselves. Not that the instant Christ is presented to the soul in grace, the soul sees the evil plainly; it may see the grace and blessing, knowing evil in a general way, without being exercised about it through any definite application of what Christ is to the man within; there may be rather the loveliness of Christ attracting than any deep work in the conscience. I can quite understand that. But then, before we get into a properly Christian state (the process may be longer or shorter), the necessary effect of life working is to give us the judgment of what man is, in the main bearing of his present condition, as looked at by the Holy Ghost. It brings in the consciousness of what we are in the presence of what Christ is. Then we get the man brought down into the distinct consciousness that it is all over with him. And it is all over with him. I mean by this, not merely that he has sinned and there is condemnation, but that he has no right, or title, or claim, to anything now that he has, either to the promises of God or to anything else. Now that is the place the soul has to be brought to (so hard to come to), to find out what it is in God's presence. He may hope to get out of the scrape if he thinks he has any right to the promises, because these may help him; but it is no use talking of God's promises when God is talking of what I am, and of judgment. If I am thinking about what I may be some time or other, promises have their place, they come in most beautifully; but if it is what I am, promises do not touch that. The Syrophcenician woman (Matt. 15) will serve as an illustration. No promise could meet her condition; for as a Gentile she had not any claim to the promises. The Lord says, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” If you come to me as an Israelite, I may do something for you; otherwise “it is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it unto dogs.” But when she replies, “Truth, Lord, yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table,” she in effect says, God is rich in mercy; and Christ cannot say He is not—that there is nothing in God for a poor sinner.
I do not believe that a person gets upon right Christian ground (one has to make allowance for ignorance, but there is no true, no solid ground, as to simple and abiding peace), until the soul has been brought to the consciousness that it has no claim whatever or title to promise.
Having been brought down to this by what goes on within, there may be attraction; but the first full effect is that the man is judged, he sees what he is, and becomes entirely hopeless as to what he is, and is turned over entirely to the thought of what God is. We have only to say, “What hath God wrought!”
I am now upon new ground, namely, upon that of what God is towards a sinner who is altogether vile. If the sinner is perfectly vile, God is perfectly good. Further, I come to see what He has done because He is so. It is not that He has taken him out of the world. “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world,” &c. He will do that by and by.
The first thing in this new life, inasmuch as it is all. in Christ, is, that He is raised from the dead. We have to look at what God has done in Christ. I find. Christ dead because of sins (our sins); and then I find the quickening life-giving power of God coming in and raising Him from the dead. I should separate this entirely from the heavenly standing of the saints. We have all been too much accustomed to confound these two things, resurrection-life and heavenly standing. What I see as the effect of resurrection-life is this—a man quickened and raised in Christ becomes a pilgrim down here. This is not all that a Christian. is. But it is the power of divine life in the new creature moving in a world that does not belong to him, and to which he does not belong. The Christian begotten by the resurrection of Christ is a distinct thing to consider from a Christian sitting in the heavenly places in Christ. Though the same individual is both, they are distinct things to consider.
In 1 Peter 1 we read, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his abundant mercy hath [not, “blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ,” as in the Ephesians; but] begotten us again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time” —(vers. 3-5). I find here persons begotten unto a living hope, and what is their hope? are they sitting in heaven? No, they are hoping for it. Therefore the apostle says (chap. 2:11), “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.” It is the Christian on his pilgrimage that is contemplated. He is a stranger here. He has an inheritance in heaven; when he is in his inheritance, he. will be no stranger; but he is not there, he is going towards heaven. He is a resurrection-man on earth, walking through the world with new affections and feelings, going on towards his inheritance, but he is not there; an Israelite in the wilderness, redeemed from Egypt, and a stranger, but not in Canaan. And there comes in the trial of faith. The apostle goes on to say, “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (vers. 6, 7).
To be continued.

We Must All Be Manifested: Part 3

THEREFORE, we may note, the statement of the Lord Jesus is the strongest the language He employed could afford: and where is the tongue more admirably accurate than the Greek? and by whom is it wielded with such precision as by the writers of the New Testament? The Lord's words here recorded show that it is decided forever between the believer and the unbeliever. The truth is, that for man all turns upon Christ. Do I make light of Him? Then I give the lie to the testimony of God. I insult the grace and truth which came by Jesus Christ, and prove myself to be at war with God. This I cannot do, save to my eternal judgment: “He that believeth not is judged (κέκριται) already, because he hath not believed on the name of the only begotten Son of God;... shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:18, 36). If I receive Him by faith, I have eternal life in Him on the warrant of the living word of God: “He that heareth my word and believeth him that sent me hath everlasting life, and cometh not into judgment” (κρίσιν). It is a verbal noun formed from, and alluding to, the same word that was rightly translated “judge” in verse 22. It is essential to the context that the same sense should be preserved intact throughout. Weigh what comes afterward: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live.” Manifestly we have life again as the effect of hearing His voice—and this, too, going on now. The dead, the spiritually dead, are being awakened to hear the voice of the Lord Jesus Christ, then heard when the great salvation began to be spoken by Him, but still continued “by them that have preached the gospel unto you by the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven.” And they that hear shall live—as He said. Such is the declared effect: He that believes “hath everlasting life:” “For as the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself.” The reason why the Father is said to give this to the Son is, I apprehend, because Christ the Son so completely takes the place here of a sent One in humanity upon the earth, though even He does not so speak till He had betrayed, as it were, His own intrinsic glory, as One personally entitled to quicken whom He would. Here, however, true to the place He had been pleased to accept, as man in subjection to God the Father, whose glory He upheld above all things, He only speaks of the Father as having given to the Son to have life in Himself. It is part of His perfection as man, that He did not claim as a present thing all or any of the rights attached to His essential dignity, but that He entered fully into the humiliation by which alone God could be retrieved in His moral glory here below, by which alone the counsels of grace to the lost could be made holily efficacious.
Hence the Lord says that the Father hath “given to the Son to have life in himself, and hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.” Life is in Him; He also is the appointed Judge. Then we have the final result: “Marvel not at this; for the hour is coming in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth.” Here it is an hour, not “that now is,” but wholly future; and it is no question of faith called for, or unbelief proved, but “all that are in the graves shall hear his voice.”
Before, the only part expressly treated was the believer with his blessing; dead indeed as to his state by nature, but quickened by hearing the voice of the Son of God. It was an individual personal thing for the soul; but when we come to this future hearing of His voice, there is no question of faith any longer. It is the mighty power of the Son of God that is put forth absolutely and universally. Therefore, “all that are in their graves,” it is said, “shall hear his voice, and shall come forth.” Does this mean all at the same moment, so that they all form a common class? Not only is there no such doctrine anywhere else in the Bible, but this passage, rightly understood, excludes it. Popular as it may be, the idea of a general resurrection is wholly without foundation—nay, contrary to all Scripture. No doubt two or three passages in the word of God have been construed to speak of an indiscriminate rising from the dead, and none more commonly or more constantly than the verses before us. Yet it is not merely a mistake as to the force of the text, but a fundamental error, which will be found to obscure and weaken salvation by grace; for it confounds the ways of God, and blots out that present difference which it is God's manifest desire to render specially distinct now to faith, as it will be by and by in fact, when confusion is no longer possible.
They were not, then, to wonder that even now dead souls receive life in hearing Christ; for a more manifest wonder was coming when the voice of the Son of God sounds forth in a day that is future. Then, “all that are in the graves,” (that is, not the dead morally, but all literally dead,) “shall hear His voice, and shall come forth.” These are thereon not viewed as a common category, which as lying in the graves they were, but are by resurrection divided into two distinct classes— “They, that have done good unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of [not 'damnation,' but] judgment” —the very same word throughout. It cannot be denied. It is in vain for learned or unlearned to attempt glosses, clever or clumsy, over the expression. The word of God is too strong for man to bend it. No doubt, the truth is too bright for those that uphold the error of the A.V. in this particular case. This or other reasons may have influenced the English translators from Tyndale: the motive I do not pretend to judge; but the fact is plain. And I affirm that “condemnation” or “damnation” is a wrong rendering of κρίσις, for which there is no tenable ground. The verb means, and is rightly translated, “judge” (verses 22-30); the substantive means, “judgment,” or “the act of judging,” and should have been so translated throughout, as is now done by the Revisers of 1881. (Vers. 22, 24, 27, 29, 30).
But this makes the distinction of the two classes that are raised from their graves manifest and complete. As to the first, they are those that have practiced good (for they are no longer characterized as believers only); it is a life-resurrection. As bowing to Christ in this world, they had life in Him, the Son; their resurrection is simply the consummation of the life. For the body will be quickened as well as the soul. It is Christ, as the Son of God, who gave them life through faith, even now and in this world; it is Christ who will shortly call them out of their graves; and the power of the life they possessed in Him will be then manifest forever.
As to unbelievers, they contemned the Son of God. They saw not His glory; they felt not His grace. They consequently lived, or rather they lay, in unremoved death, moral or spiritual death before God. They had no life even while they lived, because they had not the Son of God; and the consequence is that they, summoned from their graves, know not a resurrection of life according to the mold of Christ's own, but simply rise to be judged. They come forth in due time (solemn thought!) that they may be compelled in judgment to honor that Son whom here they spurned to their own everlasting shame and ruin—to honor Him who, when they were alive, met them with gracious words of life, had they but hearkened to His voice of quickening grace. But, alas! He was definitively rejected. They had done nothing but evil or worthless things here; they are called up by Christ's power. It is a judgment-resurrection.
Thus, beyond all controversy, there remains the patent fact that we have two resurrections distinguished here by their character—resurrections, not merely separated by time (which is stated expressly elsewhere, but after all it is quite a subordinate question), but in their own nature and issues as different as can possibly be. A difference of character is a far more important feature than a difference in point of time. For my own part, so far from thinking so much of the long space between them, I believe that were it but a minute which separated the resurrection of life and the resurrection of judgment, the eternal and essential features would remain; that the one is a resurrection of life which is given by the grace of God in His Son, and always distinguishes those who have received Him here; the other is a resurrection of judgment for those who would not have Him in this world, but are finally compelled by divine power, when His voice is heard in glory, to honor the Son even as the Father.

The Purpose of God for His Sons and Heirs: Part 4

Here it is first the truth as to the Christian; then we begin to hear it as to the church, each in due time. All is revealed in view of the new creation that God was bringing in. It is far beyond the kingdom of the heavens in ever so new a way. The church of God is explained which had never been revealed, but kept hid in God. The mystery hid from ages and generations was now revealed to the holy apostles, and by Paul. The new building, the church of God, rests upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets. It is not said, or true, upon the prophets and the apostles. Great care is taken to put the apostles before the prophets as both of the N.T., and a common class for this work of God, when Israel was finally set aside for the present. Their writings are an entirely new volume; and in order to make it plain and certain, they were written in a different language, in Greek, as those who compose the church were to be chiefly from among the Gentiles.
God made known this mystery of His will according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself; and, to render it effectual, conferred the needed wisdom of understanding. It is therefore now no longer a secret. His purpose is for administration of the fullness of the seasons, to gather together (or head up) the universe in the Christ, the things in the heavens and the things on the earth (ver. 10).
This is a wholly different thing from gathering together into one the scattered children of God for which He died (John 11:52). The latter is the unity which He asked of His Father in John 17:20-23. The former is not yet begun till He appears in glory and delivers the whole creation. The heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ must be revealed before the inheritance can be set free; and its earnest expectation awaits the revelation of the sons of God. For we know that though grace has already freed the heirs, their mortal bodies are not yet changed into the likeness of His glorious body, and that till they appear with Him in glory, all the creation groans together till now.
Hardly a phrase in scripture seems less understood than Eph. 1:10. Though this is not the fit occasion to lay bare the strange variety of opinions—learned and unlearned the fact is as certain as inexcusable. The language of the apostle is plain, save that the word for summing, or heading up, rises necessarily to a sense never thought of among heathens but given its fullest and highest force in this apostolic revelation: an immense elevation shared with other Greek words in N.T. usage. The question here is not what men conceive who do not adequately weigh both the word and the context; but what these both fairly compel us to accept as the mind of God here conveyed.
Most have been misled by the supposed analogy of Gal. 4:4. But the phraseology is as different as the time and circumstance and aim. “The fullness of time,” now past, simply means the time fulfilled for God's sending His Son to redeem or buy out from under the law to the adoption of sons, and to impart the Holy Spirit. “The fullness of the seasons,” still future, means the completion of those seasons when God instituted dealings of varied character: human government from Noah's day; call to separation and promise given to Abraham; law from Sinai with other supplements in Israel; world-power, on Israel's failure, in the four great empires; to say nothing of the fall of man and creation long before, and the gospel, last of all, consequent on redemption.
God has left all these to run their course, as testing human responsibility in so many ways. And it is unquestionable that none of them is ended, as all must be when the Lord of all comes in judgment of the quick: a judgment practically forgotten in Christendom, though the creeds, so little heeded or even understood, testify to it. There will be seen in all solemnity the total failure of man, in all these respects; but most flagrantly in that the world, Jew and Gentile, rulers and people, crucified the Lord of glory. God will then call to account how men treated each of these institutions which He established and man violated. Take government on the earth. It never was till after the deluge; and it continues still. Hence in the N.T. we read, “Let every soul be subject to the higher powers: for there is no power but of God; and those that be are ordained of God. Therefore he that resisteth the power withstandeth the ordinance of God: and they that withstand shall receive to themselves judgment” —not “damnation” which is an execrable exaggeration, and blunder of translation as in Rom. 14:23, 1 Cor. 11:29, and in too many other passages that refer to temporal judgment only. The Christian is to be subject to the law, or, if God's truth be at stake, bear the consequences quietly. Yet not one word warrants the Christian to exercise civil authority: many scriptures call for his subjection to such authority, but never to exercise it. We are not of the world, as Christ is not. He declined even to arbitrate, and has set us an example that we should follow His steps. It is ours to obey, always God, if not always man, and then to suffer, not to rebel. We are sanctified by the Spirit to the obedience of Christ, to obey as He obeyed. What a help it is to a Christian to be content to pass as nothing at all in this world but in the spirit of obedience as the Lord ever did. Further, he can afford to respect others, and can do so freely, learning of Him who was meek and humble in heart. Especially does he need grace when it is a duty to find fault with another. Then have we most reason to be lowly, and vigilant. We have to watch against ourselves lest, by a hasty word or way, we should only make bad worse. But to return, God has not yet called the world to account for misgovernment. He surely will, as we may read in Psa. 82; and the One who will be invested with the administration is the Lord Jesus. But quite another dealing of His began with the first of “the fathers,” (Rom. 9:5; 11:28), Abraham. It was the separating to God from idolatry which came in after the deluge and overspread even the line of Shem, as we read in Josh. 24.
Israel as a people then followed and undertook to keep His covenant. But what did Israel become at Sinai itself? and where are they now? Scattered to the winds of heaven. Where is a nation in the world so dispersed as Israel? Yet had they walked rightly, God would have made them stand unmoved as a mountain. In everyway they totally failed. Take any detail of theirs, as, for instance, the priesthood. It was set up, as nowhere else. Aaron made the golden calf to please the people, and before consecration was complete, two were cut off, and the other two only spared by intercession.
Then, take the judges that God raised up in their distress. What failure even in the judges! What can one say of Samson? Even Samuel who shone among them, through his sons' fault lost the confidence of Israel, who would have a king like others. And how did Saul turn out? or even David, the man after God's heart? or Solomon, with his father, typifying the Lord, each in a different way? The nation consequently broke up in Solomon's son, the proof of general sin, till each of the kingdoms in turn had to be swept out of the land by the just judgment of God.
Then came the Gentile world-powers. They were entrusted with universal empire. The head of gold, Babylon, soon set up an idol forced on all the nations at the penalty of death. Such was the first: what was to be the conduct of the last? It crucified the Lord Jesus; and on its rise again, will oppose the same Lord when He returns in power and glory. Man broke down in every one of the empires; but the last was to be. the guiltiest of all.
Thus all these seasons will close when Christ comes in the clouds of heaven. The Lord will bring in an entirely new administration; in which besides judging each of these broken trusts, He will establish them in. His own person and power to the praise and glory of God. Everything in which man failed will be taken up by Him who never failed in His humiliation; nor will He in that day of manifested blessing and glory. He will not only stand. Himself, but He will maintain a glorious kingdom over Israel, and empire over all nations and tongues. The on earth righteous men will live throughout a period of a thousand years. Of course one does not ask the doctors what they think about that. They, judging by present appearance, must regard such an expectation as mad, They are no worse than the divines, who deny miracle and prophecy, and are giving up genuine inspiration from Genesis to Revelation. These men of knowledge falsely so called know not the scriptures nor the power of God. Methuselah fell short of a millennium; whereas in the future, everyone on earth who is not rebellious against God, is to live the thousand years throughout. Believers will be transferred from the old earth to the new without passing through death. So it will be on earth when the seasons spoken of are fully out, and the time come for the Lord to take His world-kingdom (Rev. 11:15). The future administration will be in His hands when the seasons of man's responsibility have come to nothing but utter sin and ruin. Then will all the universe, inclusive of the things in the heavens, and the things on the earth, be summed up under the headship of the Lord. It is not the eternal state, but the kingdom in its largest possible sense, when the Heir of all things takes and holds the inheritance to God's glory.
The heavens, as we too well know, are now severed from the earth; and the things on earth are in opposition, each to each; and confusion reigns through sin. Spiritual wickedness is still in the heavenly places; Satan is still the accuser before God, as he is the arch-deceiver of the whole inhabited earth. And what a field of self-will, vanity, pride, covetousness, lust, violence, falsehood, corruption, lying, unrighteousness, and ungodliness is that of man here below.
Even in what is called Christendom, where is Christ all? Where is scripture only, and all, obeyed? Where has the Holy Spirit His due place individually and corporately? But the time hastens when the Lord will come in His kingdom and the heavens and the earth be in perfect harmony; when everything in the heavens above and on the earth, shall be subjected by divine power to Christ, gathered or headed up in Christ as a universal and united system. All know too well that there is not the smallest approach to such a call as this now, nor has it ever been so. But in this day of the Lord that is to dawn, there will be unfailing righteousness, peace, and joy. In an exceptional case of rebellion, death will demand its victim. But it will not be the rule as now. It will be normal to live through the millennial day. But Christ will then have complete and universal sway manifestly. He will bear up the pillars, and chase away want and suffering. If the tiniest insect that flits in the sun's light, if a single blade of grass on which we tread, were not brought under the power of Christ's reconciliation and blessing, it would be a victory for the enemy over Him. But God's purpose will stand, not only for His heirs, but for the inheritance in all its vast extent and to the minutest detail. The reason is plain. As He created, He will restore, all things, though assuredly not all persons, for the mass live and die His implacable enemies. He died to reconcile all things to Himself. H He is declared to be the Heir of all things. Everything above, and everything below, the universe will be put under Christ. This is God's purpose, but not the fact as yet now. It is only God's counsel still, while the heirs are being called; it is not accomplished yet, but surely will be. The Lord is waiting for it. He is not reigning in any such sense as prophecy requires. Rejected by Jew and Gentile He is accepted on high, and He sits on the Father's throne above. There beyond doubt He is crowned with glory and honor, but He has not taken His great power to reign openly and put down every foe.
(Continued from p. 109)
(To be continued).

The Ark and Its Contents

“The ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was a golden pot that had the manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; and above it cherubim of glory, overshadowing the mercy-seat” (Heb. 9:4, 5). “And when Moses went into the tent of meeting to speak with him [God], then he heard the voice speaking unto him from above the mercy-seat that was upon the ark of the testimony” (Num. 7:89).
The first of these scriptures presents in a figurative way God dwelling in the midst of His redeemed people, at a time when they were pilgrims in the wilderness, on their way to the promised rest. The second points to the readiness with which He hastened to avail Himself—when all had been finished according to His own word—of the opportunity thus afforded of getting access to His people, and of communicating to them, in the manner here described, the intimations of His will for their comfort and blessing, as also for their light and guidance. The way into the holiest was not yet made manifest; so the people could not come near to Him, but He would draw nigh in grace to them and occupy Himself with all the details of the wilderness journey.
The many references to the sanctuary and worship of God in Israel, in the Epistle to the Hebrews, are all to the wilderness period, and not once to the more imposing ritual and choral service of Solomon's temple; so that the analogy between the Book of Numbers and this Epistle is very close, although with this great difference, that whereas, amongst Israel, Moses alone was privileged to speak with God face to face (Num. 12:8), and. Aaron alone to represent the people officially (Lev. 16), the Epistle exhorts even the weakest believer to draw nigh both for worship and to obtain all that he stands in need of. There cannot be the smallest doubt that the ark in a very special way typifies Christ in all the rich resources of His grace: whether as the witness for God, represented by the tables of the covenant within, or as the One who was fully able to meet all the needs of the people, typified by the golden pot that had the manna, and Aaron's rod that budded. Again, the blood sprinkled mercy-seat pointed onward to His death, in virtue of which alone—righteousness being established before God in heaven—God Himself, now glorified by that death of which the blood was witness, could meet man, and have to do with him, without at all raising the question of sin, as this had been met and forever settled according to the character of the divine glory, at the brazen altar, by the sacrifice.
The mercy-seat then, in the Epistle to the Hebrews, is not there presented as the meeting place for God and the sinner, but as the meeting place for God and the saint, or the accepted worshipper. It is well to observe this, simple and obvious as it is, Those addressed in the Epistle were such as had received and bowed to the divine testimony as to forgiveness of sins and justification, because of God's having raised up from the place of death, and glorified at His right hand, the One who had undertaken and accomplished the work of atonement and redemption for God's glory and man's blessing. The starting point then, is Christ set down on High, Whose work of purification of sins has been accepted by God, and Whom the believing Hebrews are directed to consider as the Apostle and High Priest of their, and our, confession. Believers in Him (we as well as they) are holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, not seen as yet in heaven, but on their way thither. Meanwhile God was speaking to them by His Son, instructing them as to all these great and precious truths, and encouraging them to make full use of their privileges as purged and accepted worshippers. The doctrine of the new birth is not here developed (although we who know it may find it assumed or emprisoned in certain passages as chap. 2:10, 13:6, etc.), yet before their conversion to Christianity they had stood in a privileged place of nearness to God (different to other nations), but there is the setting aside of every other man that “this Man” may stand forth as the expression of all that is perfect and excellent, and perfectly suitable to represent us before God, while meeting us in all our weakness and need. His perfect work necessitates the passing away of all that is imperfect and faulty. There shall even be a “new covenant” yet to be established with an earthly people. Those who believe in Christ are sanctified by the blood of the new covenant are qualified to draw near to God in the holiest of all for worship, and to find grace, etc.
The privileges of such as are represented by the High Priest who has passed through the heavens, are of a more exalted character than will be the portion of God's ancient people. However blessed and glorious they may be in their own land in the millennial days, yet will it be a worldly, and not a heavenly, sanctuary. The throne of grace (Heb. 4:16) is now for a heavenly people who enjoy the favor and right of access to God within the vail, exactly that which it was intended the mercy-seat in Israel should have been for an earthly people to whom the way into the holiest was not yet made manifest. They were, indeed, represented by the high priest, but in consequence of the grave failure of the two sons of Aaron, this was limited to the tenth day of the seventh month.
To be continued.


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The Feasts in Deuteronomy: 5.

Can there then be more blessing than this? There is a third Feast. How truly is it written that “all things are ours”! If one were a Jew and not a Christian, he could only keep one at a time. One he was bound to observe, the Passover, first and alone; then as the others came, each could only be kept separately. Indeed the Feast of Tabernacles points to a new and future state of blessedness. But “all things are ours”; and we are meant to have all these joys, once tasted; together in our hearts and to have them always, if we are given to know them from God.
Here we read in verse 13, “Thou shalt observe the Feast of Tabernacles seven days.” The day of Pentecost, if only one day, brings us pre-eminently into the anticipated joy of what is heavenly, eternal. It is based on the wave-sheaf exhibited in the wave loaves. A course of time here below is not marked in it as in the Passover on the one hand, nor on the other in the Feast of Tabernacles. Seven days, are an earthly period. There is no such thing in the Feast of Weeks. In a certain sense Pentecost, although a day marked off from all others, is the emblem of that which has no end. As one with Christ we enter into the things above and unseen which are eternal. There will never be a time when we shall lose the Spirit of God, not even in heaven. So our Lord gave commandments to the apostles through the Holy Spirit after He rose from the dead (Acts 1:2). He received the Spirit at His baptism (Luke 3), and again in heaven, as the Father's promise, to shed forth on us (Acts 2:33). For in virtue of redemption we have the Spirit too. We shall not lose the Spirit when we rise. It would be an irreparable blank if we had the Spirit no more when in heaven. But there it will no longer be His gracious condescension in working in us that we may judge ourselves and correct our faults. Alas! what a great part of His work now is not only ministering to us the blessedness of Christ but dealing with our short comings; in heaven it will be so no more: every affection will rise in worship, or go forth in service. He will have nothing to correct. All will go out in power and sweet savor to God. But here we have this Feast of Tabernacles seven days. How comes it to pass and when do the seven days of glory—seven days of grace crowned by that which does not end at all—Pentecost—come on?
We enter into the power of the resurrection at the same time that we rest upon the foundation of His death. But now here we have another thing. We have Christ in heaven and we have Christ coming again, so that all our blessing is bound up with Christ, and so we read “after that thou hast gathered in thy corn and thy wine.” Now I think that none can have any doubt as to the meaning of the gathering in of the corn and the wine. You are all familiar with the gathering in of the corn—the harvest. The harvest is typical not only of the Lord's coming, but coming to judge; and farther, you know that there is another type—the vintage—still more tremendous. In the harvest, there is the gathering out of the good as well as the execution on the bad; but in the vintage there is nothing but the trampling down of that which is most hateful to God; and what is that? It is the religion of the world. When God is dealing simply with the world some will be gathered in, for of some, although just like the rest, grace will make a difference. But God has no measure of His abhorrence of the religion of the world. The vine of the earth, that which is of the earth, earthy—taking the place of the true Vine, after the true Vine had been here; but how horrible in the sight of God! how hateful to God! and accordingly there is nothing but trampling down in His fury. The Lord Himself will do it. After that the Feast of Tabernacles will come. And what is after the Lord's accomplishment of His judgment on the earth? Well, it is the day of glory. The earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea; therefore, as I have said, there will be a stated and full time of glory—seven days. Just as there was a stated and full time of grace, so here there is a stated and full time of glory. But we are not waiting for that time in order to enter into the joy of glory. We see the glory, in its best case and highest power, in our Lord Jesus Christ, and consequently it is said not only that the Spirit of God rests upon you, that is Pentecost; but the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. So we are entitled to keep the Feast of Tabernacles too.
And what belongs to the Feast of Tabernacles? “Thou shalt rejoice in thy feast, thou, and thy son and thy daughter,” —practically the same thing as before. “Seven days shalt thou keep a solemn feast unto Jehovah thy God in the place which Jehovah shall choose: because Jehovah thy God shall bless thee in all thine increase, and in all the works of thine hands.” There is not a word of this said before. That will mark the day of glory, not only personal blessing, that is really now for all that are Christ's; but what will be then, “bless thee in all thine Increase, and in all the works of thine hands.” That is not the case now. There is many a saint now with whom all things go wrong, people are tried in every way, the apostles were the very off-scouring of all things, set forth the last, set forth as a spectacle to the world; that is not a blessing on the increase of the works of the hands! And where, on the contrary, people flourish in the things of this world the Lord intimates that it is hard, not impossible but hard, for such to enter into the kingdom of God. It is a difficulty but not an impossibility; but then there will be no difficulty. The time is coming to bless everything, not only persons, separated from all the rest of the world; that is now where the blessing comes on souls high or low they are called out from the world, they are Galled not to go with the world in the slightest degree, as the Lord said, “They are not of the world, as I am not of the world” (John 17:16).
Whereas in that day the world is to be blessed. Then will be the time when the Lord will ask for the world. He does not pray for it now. “I pray not for the world, but for those whom thou hast given me: for they are thine.” That is what came in at Pentecost; but in the future He will ask for the world, and He will have it, and more than that, Jehovah will have it full of blessing every where. That is the Feast of Tabernacles. The universal blessing—all but universal blessing. There will be exceptions even in that time, just to show it is net the eternal state although the spirit of that day will have come.
“Because Jehovah thy God shall bless thee in all thine increase, and in all the works of thine hands, therefore thou shalt surely rejoice. Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before Jehovah thy God in the place which he shall choose” (vers. 15, 16).
Here we have a blessed setting out of our portion. May the Lord grant that our unfeigned confidence may be in Himself, that our joy and delight may be, above all, in that Christ that covers everything.
If I look at the dark side, there is death that covers it now; the blood is before God; not our folly not our death. His death! That has changed all for us. If I look up, there He is in all the glory and perfection of His person, according to the counsels of God and I am placed there in Him. And so you are, so are you; and this is the portion of all that are His. As Christ is, so are we in this world. And if we look forward, there is nothing to fear in looking forward, there is all the fullness of blessing in all the increase of the works of the hands in that day. For the time will then have come for the day of blessing—the Melchisedec Priesthood—not merely the principle of it, but the exercise of it, and not only according to the order of Melchisedec as now. Then will be the true Melchisedec bringing forth the bread and the wine, that it may not be simply meeting the necessary wants of the body, but everything that can cheat the heart of God's people here below. W.K.
(Concluded from p. 116)

The Vatican and the Criticism of the Pentateuch

The Papal Commission appointed to consider what shall be the attitude of the hierarchy towards the critics' treatment of the Books of Moses has issued its Report, which lists been confirmed by Pius X.
The commission is of opinion that—
1. The arguments of modern critics in derogation of the Mosaic authority of the Pentateuch are not of such weight as to set aside the internal evidence of the sacred books themselves, which supports the constant conviction of the Jewish people and uninterrupted Church tradition. These books have Moses for their author and have not been put together from sources for the most part of later date than his time.
2. Moses did not write everything in the Pentateuch with his own hand, or dictate the whole to secretaries. But to such he entrusted the editing of his work, and they gave faithful expression to his thought, without addition or omission. After obtaining Moses' approval of it they published in his name the work so framed by them.
3. Moses in composing his work made use of sources—written documents or oral traditions—under Divine inspiration, and conformably to the purpose which he had in view, so as either to adopt the wording or only the sense, abridging or amplifying as required.
4. In the long course of centuries—the Pentateuch has undergone some modifications, such as additions by an inspired author—or glosses and explanations interpolated, or words and forms converted from an older into a later style, besides faulty readings due to unskillful scribes. It is for criticism to use the rules of its art to ascertain and determine such modifications.
From this it will be seen that the Romanist “authorities” are in line with the views which prevail in conservative Protestant circles in this country, and encouragement may be derived from this announcement is view of the known wish of the present Pope to promote the study of the Bible, which so far does not seem to have become effective, as far as execution of it by the priests is concerned. Does not the above Report give the blush to action taken by English “Fathers in God,” or the Boards of Study in the Universities, to promote acquaintance with the critical dissection of the Old Testament and negative treatment of its contents?

Seventy Weeks of Daniel

We have seen the Seventy Weeks are divided by the Spirit of God into three parts. We have also seen that the first two divisions reach up to “Messiah the Prince,” who was cut off after the sixty nine weeks. This, the majority of chronologers are agreed, took place in the year A.D. 29, or early in 30. Our reference Bibles, however, give A.D. 33, which reckoning from B.C. 4, would make our Lord's age thirty-six instead of thirty-three years as usually supposed. But Bengel says respecting this, “The year 33 is too late and is refuted by all the opinions of the ancient church.” He maintained that A.D. 30 was the correct date of our Lord's death.
Now seeing we have, as already shown, abundant evidence respecting the death of the Messiah, and the time when it happened, but not so strong perhaps for the 20th year of Artaxerxes, when the decree was issued, we can take the former event as our starting point and reckon back sixty nine weeks, and we are brought to 454 B. C, as the date required. Thus the demands of the prophecy are met, which is the important thing to consider. For God must be true, and profane chronology must agree with His or it cannot be true. Upon this every Christian should rest satisfied.
There is yet another division remaining, however, to complete the prophecy, and the seventy weeks as well. One week of the seventy, or seven years, have still to be accounted for. But there are certain events mentioned in Dan. 9:26, which could not possibly take place within this last week, seeing it does not allow sufficient time for their accomplishment. Take, for instance, the first clause, after the death of the Messiah and His reward is described. The verse continues, “and the people of the prince who shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.” Now the city here mentioned can be no other than Jerusalem; and the sanctuary, the temple that Herod built. “The people of the prince” were the Romans under Titus who destroyed the city and set the temple on fire, so that it was destroyed. And this took place in the year A.D. 69 or 70 which was forty years after the crucifixion. It is clear then that the seventieth week does not follow the sixty-ninth in uninterrupted sequence of time; because, if such were the case, all the terms of the prophecy could not be met (for seven years added to 29 would only reach A.D. 36). But every jot and tittle of ver. 26 must be fulfilled. How, then, is this to be done? Only by supposing a long interval of time to elapse, between the end of the sixty-ninth week, and the beginning of the seventieth.
The prophecy begins with “Seventy weeks are determined,” or rather “divided.” As here a different Hebrew word is used for “determined” from that in vers. 26, 27, so “divided,” as Dr. Tregelles translates, seems to suit the 24th verse best, And this rendering strongly supports the view that the whole seventy weeks do not necessarily imply a continuous period of 490 years. That a prophecy apparently continuous, may contain an interval of considerable length is strikingly evident from our Lord's use in Luke 4:18-21 of “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor... to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” Here the Lord Jesus, in quoting the prophet finishes with “the acceptable year of the Lord,” saying “this day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.” He had come to introduce this, and not yet “the day of vengeance of our God,” which awaits His second advent. We have then between two clauses of this prophecy an interval of more than 1,800 years, during which “the acceptable year of the Lord” has continued. Why then may not a period of similar length be found in ver. 26 of Daniel's prophecy? Such I believe to be the case and confirmed by the New Testament.
But in order to enter intelligently into its teaching regarding this matter, it is well first to inquire as to the present place the Jews occupy in God's government of the world.
Now we find in the prophet Hosea (chap. 1:9), “Then said [God], Call his name Lo-ammi: for ye [are] not my people, and I will not be your [God].” From this scripture we learn, that a time was coming when God would disown His ancient people the Jews, and cast them off. And this took place at the death of their Messiah. Then the dread sentence “Lo-ammi” took effect morally, and they are no longer owned by God as His people. This suspension of relationship is clearly taught in Matt. 23:38, 39, where the Lord in His solemn denunciation of the Jews concludes by saying, “Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed [is] he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” They had slighted all the Lord's overtures of mercy to them, and persistently refused to accept Him. Now they were cast off until the time when they would be prepared to receive Him as their Messiah and the hope of Israel. The Jews being thus rejected, room was left for the gathering in of the Gentiles. And this will continue until “the fullness of the Gentiles be come in” (Rom. 11:25). This must not be confounded, however, with another term used in Luke 21:24, 25, “until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” Here we have mentioned Gentile rule in the earth; in the other case (Rom. 11:25), the gathering in of the last member of Christ's body is referred to by the Spirit.
Politically, the Jews had at one time the chief place amongst the nations of the world; but they lost it through their disobedience. It was then transferred to the Gentiles in the person of Nebuchadnezzar. To him the prophet declared by the Spirit, “Thou, O king, art a king of kings, for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory.” And the Gentile holds this rule up to the present. This he will continue to do until the Lord shall come to judge the rulers of the earth (cf. Psa. 82.) and restore to the Jews the place they once occupied as the chief amongst the nations. Then will be fulfilled “the times of the Gentiles.”
Religiously, however, the Jews continued to retain their place as God's people until the Lord came. But they rejected and crucified Him. Then God no longer confined Himself to one nation only, but went out in grace to all men. For in Christ Jesus there is neither Jew nor Greek, bond nor free, but all on one common level (Eph. 2). From this we may gather, surely, that at present God does not own an earthly people as witnesses for Himself upon the earth, but is, on the contrary, gathering out from all nations a people, “partakers of a heavenly calling,” who shall constitute the bride, the Lamb's wife.
Again, the same truth is brought out in Rom. 11. There the rejected nation of the Jews is compared to the broken off branches of an olive tree, and the Gentiles are grafted in their place. But they are cautioned against boasting, because through unbelief the Jews were rejected, and they stood by faith. They were not to be high-minded, however, but fear; for God would most assuredly bestow upon the Jews all their former privileges and blessings. For His “gifts and calling are without repentance.” Here we have further proof of the same order of events as before. The Jews cast off, the Gentiles brought in—God gathering out of them a people for His name (Acts 15:14); afterward the Jews reinstated into their former blessings and relationship with God. The Gentiles will then fall back into a subordinate place, and receive all their blessings through and by the Jew. (Comp. Zech. 8:22, 23; 14:9-21.)
With this convincing evidence before us, gathered from the New Testament, we may surely conclude, that the manner of God's dealings with the Jews as described in Rom. 11, is precisely that foretold by Dan. 9:24-27 long before; and it is also clear that ver. 26 forms a sort of parenthesis. The events mentioned in it, although forming part of the prophecy, do not come within its time limit; but are enacted in a period of undefined duration coming between the sixty-ninth and seventieth weeks, but not connected with either.
Now, before proceeding further with the prophecy, it might not be out of place to inquire how history agrees with it thus far. It is well known, indeed, that history is the standard by which the word of God is judged by the critics; and not, history by the word, the alone infallible standard of truth. According to history then, the Messiah was crucified, at, or about, the time appointed, as we have already seen. Forty years after, the Romans came and besieged Jerusalem, which they took after a protracted siege, during which the inhabitants passed through indescribable sufferings. At the capture of the city multitudes were slain in cold blood, and many thousands carried away captive. The Temple, which was the pride of every Jew's heart and his religious rallying point, was burnt to the ground. Thus the Jews as a nation were swept out of existence. Since that time this people have been more or less the objects of hatred and oppression by the nations whither they have been scattered. The last part of vers. 26 informs us of the continuous desolation which was to befall their city and race, and this subsequent to the death of the Messiah. This is exactly where Israel are now. They have been turned out of that city and sanctuary, and have never had either since. It is true they have made a remarkable footing for themselves in most countries of the earth—their influence extends into every court and cabinet of the world: but they have never, until lately, obtained the smallest power in their own land and city. And there we see these desolations going on. Thus has been, and is being, fulfilled, the word by the prophet Hosea (chap. 3:4), “For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and Teraphim.” “Clearly,” says one, “this describes the present condition of Israel—the most anomalous spectacle the world has ever seen—a people who go on age after age without any of those elements which are supposed to be essential for keeping a people in existence. For they have lost their king, and prince, they have neither God nor an idol. They are not able to present a sacrifice, having nobody that they know to be a prince. Partly since Babylon carried them into captivity, entirely since Titus destroyed Jerusalem they are literally without those genealogies, which the priests must possess and produce in order to prove their title to minister in the holy place. Whatever their pretentions they can prove nothing, and yet they are upheld by God.” How wonderful that the Prophet should have given this exceedingly accurate description of the present condition of the Jews so patent to every thinking person. Yet the book of Hosea was written many years before “the events.” Is it not very strange that our critics do not see the finger of God here? But it seems indeed true that the person who will not see is the blindest of men. So with regard to our 26th verse, history has confirmed certain facts mentioned there. The prophecy however was written before “the events” took place. The history came in its right place “after the events.” How comes it, then, that these events are so minutely detailed so long before they happened? Could it have been the result of forethought or instinct, or whatever else one likes to call it? Was there any apparent data given by which the writer could arrive at a correct judgment in these matters? There was nothing to assist him in whatever date he assigned to the prophecy. And such being the case, the writer could only have obtained his information from the Spirit of God. Thus far, then, we have not been able to do without inspiration with which many persons deal so profanely, and mention in such a scoffing manner.

What Is a Christian - Now and Hereafter? Part 2

Where do I find the Christian in Ephesians?
Not going a journey at all; he is sitting down; and where? “In heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” That is what I am doing now; I am sitting in heaven, settled there. And, Christ being Heir of “all things,” the inheritance is not heaven. The inheritance of Ephesians is different from that in Peter; it is all that Christ possesses, and therefore earth comes in. The inheritance of “all things'' is the heavenly man's hope; but heaven is his home, his position. In Peter, heaven is his hope: he is going towards heaven as his home, and towards his inheritance which is in heaven. There I get a very different condition.
Both these things are true of the same person—both are true of the Christian. It is good to have the trial of faith, it supposes faith to be there; it is good to sit down with Christ where no trial is, and it is good to come down into trial. But these are different conditions. The place of Christ on the mount, when with Moses and Elias (Luke 9), was different in the midst of the excellent glory from that in which He stood when he came down from the mount, and had to meet the crowd, and then cast out the demon. My true position as a heavenly man is to sit in heavenly places in Christ; but on the other hand, as begotten to a new hope by the resurrection of Christ, it is simply going through the world, but it is through the world that I am going. Here I am, a new creature, quickened and raised up with Christ; and what a world am I in! So with regard to Christ's coming; if walking on earth, I am waiting for Christ, the hope of the coming of Christ, and His appearing to set things right here; but if sitting in heaven, I am there in Christ, and wait to be there with Christ actually, and there enjoy Christ fully. The Lord's coming is not spoken of in the Ephesians; the saints are viewed as sitting in heavenly places.
I get these two elements of a Christian's position; and in one sense I do not call one more important than the other. I may look at the Christian at the springhead of peace, in full enjoyment of heavenly places, and in settled peace with God, and fighting for Him in conflict with Satan. But I cannot have him fighting for God in Canaan till I get him into Canaan; I may have him in Egypt under the enemy's power, but that is not conflict with him. He needs redemption by God. But this places him in the wilderness, a second element of his Christian life.
A person acting under the consciousness, and in terror, of Satan's power, fearing he may be lost if left there, is sometimes more in earnest than when he has got peace; but I do not trust this energy. He has not learned what the flesh is, though he may have learned what Satan's tyranny is. It is when he has to say to God that he will find out what the flesh is. A man will always go fast enough if he finds Satan behind him. The Israelites traveled faster when Pharaoh was at their back, than they did afterward in their stages in the wilderness. There was no. murmuring because of the way when Pharaoh was behind them; but then it was afterward, in the wilderness, that they were put to the test. Then came the question, Is Christ sufficient, or is the manna “light food?” If a man is not spiritual, he must get something to satisfy his craving. All this is put to the test; put to the test, not when a man is flying from Pharaoh, but when he is walking with God.
And there comes in the mediation of Christ. In this wilderness state I get Christ between me and God— “if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;” but this is not union with Christ: I am looked at in myself; we get individualized. A man may be floundering about, through not having his eye simply fixed on Christ, not knowing how to get to the end; but he finds a thread let down from heaven to bring him to the place exactly where he ought to be, while he is only thinking of the mud, or judging himself for not having valued Christ enough. There are a thousand thoughts and feelings and affections brought out, and into play, as the result of our having resurrection-life. We get the constant loving care and tenderness of Christ brought home to the soul; and there is a necessary character of intercourse with Christ which heaven itself will not give.
This is one part of a Christian. He is a pilgrim and a stranger in the power of resurrection-life, with the mediation of Christ carried on, not to procure for him life, but to maintain him in intercourse and communion with God in the light on the footing of what Christ is there. On the footing of that, himself imperfect, he is maintained in intercourse with a perfect God. Everything that the heart of man can be exercised about is met by the fullness of God through the mediation of Him who is both God and man.
The other thing is this (where there is no question or trial at all), the Christian sitting in heavenly places. And there, let me say, it is not yet the church, though in touching on it we touch the church's position. As resurrection-life did not take a man into heaven, so taking him into heaven does not in itself put him into the church. That is, it may be viewed as an individual thing. When I get into heaven, I am getting wonderfully close to the truth of the union of the church with Christ; still I may look at myself as a single individual in heaven, without at all taking in the unity of the body which is the church. I can speak of the “children of God,” and of “joint-heirs,” without bringing in the idea of “the body.” I take the Christian sitting in heavenly places. As an individual Christian I have done with conflicts when I get there; it is no longer the journey in exercise of heart. I shall still have conflicts with Satin, but these are for God. I may too have daily to judge my flesh in these conflicts; but judging the flesh is not conflict for God; it is a different thing to have conflict for God; and to be judging the flesh as hindering. When in heaven I am in the result of God's work.
In the Book of Joshua, before a single conflict, there was a table spread, and they had done with the manna. God had spread a table for them in the presence of their enemies. (chap. 5.) When they got across the Jordan, they sat down and ate the “old corn of the land.” The manna (the provision for the wilderness) had ceased, and they were eating the old corn of the land;” they had Christ looked at as the natural growth of heaven. It is not for my wants that I have Christ in heaven; I have no wants there, I have Him there to enjoy Him, to sit down at God's table and feed with everlasting delight upon what God delights in. It is the “old corn of the land” that I sit down to there. And mark the difference as regards the passover. They did not eat it with the good upon the door-posts, as in Egypt; they were there enjoying the results of redemption in the consciousness of the quiet security of the land. The aspect of the blood in Egypt was that of keeping God away as a judge. They were sitting down too in the plains of Jericho, in the presence of that great city, the type of all the power of the enemy; and there they ate the “old corn of the land” (Jericho's land in a certain sense), before one bit of conflict began. So with the Christian.
And here comes in the connection between our sitting in heavenly places and our passage through the world. I should be manifesting distinctly what is heavenly here, and thus be practically a heavenly man in the midst of worldly men. I should be a heavenly man, as one that is there and at home there, sheaving out what I have learned and enjoyed there. Christ was, while walking and acting on earth, “the Son of man which is in heaven.” He manifested towards the world the blessedness of the spirit and tone and character of heaven. He could not be Messiah for the Jews without being the Son of God for men.
If a Christian man is not walking in the Spirit, if the flesh is not subdued, he cannot display to the world the temper and spirit and character of heaven—he is manifesting something else. But the conflicts of the heavenly places (Eph. 6:12), are not merely conflicts in the subduing of our flesh; they are conflicts carried on in realizing and laying hold of the things in Canaan that belong to ourselves and others. If Joshua and the Israelites took cities in Canaan, it was because they were in Canaan. Our enemies are there, and there it is we should meet them. There are things in which we have to be, faithful on earth; but there are also things that belong to us because we are sitting together in heavenly places in Christ. A man may be consistent in the one, without displaying the heavenly man. You may see seine tolerably consistent on earth, whose souls are not seeking to realize what is theirs in Christ: Satan's effort is ever to hinder our doing that. We cannot carry the flesh into the heavenly conflict. If my flesh is not mortified, I cannot wield the weapons of that warfare. The flesh always brings in Satan's power, who has got a title against it; and God can never act with, the flesh, or display His power for us against our enemies, where it is allowed. if we were walking as born of God, and as having on the whole armor of God, the flesh being habitually mortified, he could have no effect; we should be able to go on in the simplicity of our own service and he could not come in with his wiles, as in the case of Achan (Josh. 7), and of the Gibeonites (Josh. 9). The moment we get upon heavenly ground, as soon as ever Joshua is in Canaan, I see the Lord's sword drawn, and the question is “Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?” So with us, there is the drawn sword. The moment we get into heavenly places, the Canaanites are against us. The church of God should be seeking to realize by faith whilst down here all that belongs to it as sitting there in Christ. As soon as Joshua crossed the Jordan, it was Canaan; but Canaan and conflict.
All this has the character of the power of God brought in where evil is.
As Christians we have to be pilgrims in consistency with our condition in the wilderness. The Lord may give us palm-trees and wells of water (Ex. 15:27); the ark may go before us to search out a resting place (Num. 10:33); but if we are not prepared to go with the cloud whenever it moves, we are not pilgrims and strangers, and we in heart go back to Egypt. But the heavenly man, besides his being a man with resurrection-life and the pilgrim of faith, is to be the manifestation down-here in the world of that which is heavenly. It may be in the power of hope, but the thing which he presents is that which is his now. He shows plainly and distinctly that he is in Canaan, and acts upon the ground of being there. If the land was not as yet cleared of its inhabitants, whose abominations defiled it, still Joshua knew what was suited to it; and therefore, when he had taken the kings and hanged them, he did not leave them there after the sun went down (Josh. 10). He could not allow God's land to be defiled.
As to what the Christian is “hereafter,” it may be said he is a risen man still, a heavenly man still. Hereafter, as an individual, he will be the perfect result of the power of God, not in the midst of evil, but of the power of God that has put aside time evil: There shall be no more curse; but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: and they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads' (Rev. 22:3, 4). It is not another man, but the same man, in the perfect enjoyment of blessedness: in the midst of good.
There are many points of view in which who and what is a Christian now and hereafter might be taken up. The question is far from being exhausted.
One branch of the subject, not touched upon as yet, divides itself into two parts—heirship, and reigning with Christ. He is an heir, as well as a child, an “heir of God” and a “joint-heir with Christ” (Rom. 8:17). Again, he will reign with Christ; and it may be of use to see what part in our life here is corresponding to that of reigning. The inheritance is connected with our being children, “if children, then heirs,” &c. The moment a person is in the position of a child, there is an heir, The reigning part we find connected with suffering: “If we suffer with him, we shall also reign with him.” Both these things are no doubt spoken of the Christian; still this is the principle, “if we stiffer with him,” &c.
Again, there is another character which this statement suggests to the mind, and this is his priestly character. I but refer to this now. We are kings and priests unto God. In taking up this it would be interesting for us to see the present intercessional character of priesthood; for in reigning by and by it will be as a royal priesthood, rather than intercessional.
(Concluded from p. 122)

Discipline and Unity of the Assembly: Part 1

Two principles seem to be at work at the present moment which it may be well to notice. We are living in a time when all things are in question, and principles of every kind are abroad. If there are such as seem to destroy the very position of the saints as a testimony in the midst of Christendom—a conscious and intelligent testimony—it is not amiss that attention should be drawn to them. The two principles I refer to are—
First, the denial of the obligation of a Christian assembly to maintain purity in order to be owned as such, or rather, the denying that if it allow evil within itself, it becomes defiled; and
Secondly, the denial of the unity of the body as regards the church here on earth.
I have heard in such various quarters, both as to morals and doctrine, that no assembly of Christians can be defiled by any evil in it, and even that it has to go on and leave it to the Lord to lay His hand upon the evil and put it out, that I must suppose it to be a principle generally admitted. And what has been often alleged in individual argument on the second point noticed above is now maintained in a tract which has been sent me.
It has been openly contended that, if fornication be allowed in a body of Christians, it is no ground of separating from it. This has been met by others; indeed exposing it in daylight was the best way of meeting it. To say that the Christians were to separate from the world, to detach themselves from the great body of the professing church because of ecclesiastical evils, and then to affirm that positive immorality did not defile their community, but that, supposing it was allowed, saints should still own such a meeting all the same, was a proposition so monstrous, such a preference of ecclesiastical notions to the unalterable morality of God in the gospel, that one can only wonder how it was possible any Christians could have got into such a state of moral darkness. It was a solemn witness of the effect of false principles. With the individuals or their meeting we have of course nothing to do, save as the charity of Christ demands. We speak of principles; and let us see where these would lead. Those who are inside such a meeting of Christians are not allowed to break with them. They are bound to accept the companionship of sin, bound to accept disobedience to the apostle's rule, “Put out from among yourselves that wicked person.” They must live in constant communion with evil, and constantly in the most solemn act of Christianity affirm the fellowship of light and darkness.
But this is not all. In such kind of meetings a meeting in one place receives, as did the scriptural churches, those in communion in another, and, when formally done, by letters of commendation. Suppose the fornicator, or even those who have maintained his continuing in the meeting (another allowance thus of sin), to be commended, or to come in communion from the supposed meeting; and if they receive him deliberately at home, they must of course give him, so far as they are concerned, the same title abroad, and he is received elsewhere; and thus the deliberate wickedness of a majority of the meeting to which he belongs, or of the whole, if you please, obliges thus every Christian meeting, and, when the church of God was in order, every church of God in the world, to put its seal on communion with sin and evil, and say that sin could be freely admitted at the table of the Lord, and Christ and Belial get on perfectly well together; or break with the meeting or church, that is, disown its being such at all. But if they ought, those who have any conscience in the meeting itself ought.
The national Establishment is incomparably better than this. There, there is no pretension to discipline; each one is pious for himself. Here, sin, and communion with sin at the Lord's table, is sanctioned on principle. And if it is admitted that it ought not to be allowed, it is declared, that if it is deliberately allowed, every one must acquiesce in it, the meeting is not defiled, and the disobedient sinners have a right to force the whole church of God to accept it, if not in principle, in practice, and deny their principles. It is the church of God securing as such, and by its special privilege and title, the rights of sin against Christ. How it would be possible to conceive anything worse I cannot imagine; it really seems to me the most wicked principle that possibly can be thought of. And it is not merely the habits of a particular class of Christians which lead to this; the scriptural order of the church of God, as shown in the scriptures, involves this sanction of sin if the theory be true.
No person can deny that saints passed from one assembly to another, and, if belonging to one, were received in another. It was not an organization of churches, such as Presbyterianism or Episcopacy, which I name here only to be understood, but it was a full recognition of them as expressions of the unity of the body of Christ. We see the saints going from one, and received as such in another, and that in virtue of letters commendatory. It was because each assembly was owned as representing the body of Christ in its locality that others were bound to receive those who belonged to it as being members of that body. Each local assembly was responsible within itself to maintain the order and godliness suited to the assembly of God, and was to be trusted in it; it is not disputing the competency of the local assembly, but owning it, when I receive a person because he belongs to it. If I do not receive a person who belongs to it, I deny its being a competent witness of the unity of the body of Christ.
Now it is exactly in, this place the Spirit of God puts the local assembly at Corinth; not denying the unity of all saints on earth in one body, but owning the local assembly as so far representing it. “Ye are the body of Christ, and members one of another.” Now if I own the assembly at Corinth or anywhere else to hold that place, surely I must receive a person belonging to it as a member of the body of Christ—other membership I do not own. I quite agree that scripture owns no other; but for that very reason, when the apostle says, “Ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular,” and “we are all one body, for we are all partakers of that one loaf,” I am bound to own the assembly as representing the body, and those who partake of the one loaf as members of the body. If I do not, I fall into the principle of a mere voluntary association, which makes rules for itself, and does what it pleases. Am I then to recognize, as representing the unity of the body, and acting by the Spirit with the Lord's authority, an assembly which sanctions sin, and says it is not defiled by it?
On the other hand, suppose such an assembly, say at Corinth, had put out from themselves the wicked person, and another assembly received him, the latter thereby denies that the other has acted in the character of an assembly of God, representing there the body of Christ. It denies the action of the Holy Ghost in the assembly, or that what has been bound on earth has been bound in heaven. It is a mere sophism to suppose that, because an organization formed of assemblies is disowned, the responsibility of each assembly to the Lord is disowned, and its competent action by the Holy Ghost in the matters of the church of God. If a person were put out at Corinth and received at Ephesus, the action of the Holy Ghost in the body at Corinth was denied, or Ephesus refused the action and denied the authority of the Holy Ghost and of Christ; that is, the assemblies were owned because each did in its locality act under the Lord and by the Holy Ghost. No doubt they might fail; Corinth would have failed but for the intervention of the Spirit by the apostle. But such is the scriptural principle, and that which we have to, look for in an assembly; and the assembly is owned because it acts by the Holy Ghost under the authority of the Lord.
This point being cleared (and 1 Corinthians seems to me not to leave a trace of doubt on it), would turn to another—the consequent responsibility of the Christians who compose it. They are to act for Christ by the Holy Ghost. “Put out from among yourselves that wicked person.” Paul forces it on the assembly; so in the case of wrong it is finally told to the assembly, and the “without” and “within” refer to it; that is, I get the body responsible as well as competent. The Lord, who knew all the coming history of His church, has extended this in His grace to two or three gathered to His name, and connects this with discipline and being heard. Where two or three are gathered to His name, there is He in the midst of them. Thus, while fully admitting that all the saints in a locality constitute properly the one assembly in a place, if they will not unite, the responsibility and the presence of the Lord are found with those who do, and their acts, if really done as met in His name, have His authority; that is, another such assembly must own the assembly and their acts, or disown their connection with the Lord.
I do not mean that, if they fail in any particular case, they may not be remonstrated with, entreated and so on; but in a regular way, one assembly owns the action of the other, according to the promise of the Lord's presence, because if it be a true assembly it owns the Lord's own action in it, its own Lord's action and the assembly as His. It is not a voluntary church, but a scriptural, divine assembly; if they are not so gathered, and do not own the unity of the body, the power and presence of the Holy Ghost, and the presence of Jesus as so gathered together to His name only, I do not own the assembly, though I may the saints who compose it. In the other case I am bound to do so.
But, further, we find that the assembly at Corinth did not put out the wicked person, and the apostle set about to correct this, and, indeed, would not go there while they were in this state, unless it were to exercise rigorous severity. His words, in speaking of it in the Second Epistle, show the thought that they were involved in the evil by allowing it— “Ye have proved yourselves clear in this matter.” His complaint was that there was sin, leaven—not merely a sinner, but sin among them; and, ignorant as yet of discipline, they had not grieved so as that God should have removed the evil-doer from their midst; and he tells them to purge out the old leaven (not merely to put the person out, which was his practical direction) that they might be anew lump as they were unleavened. They, acquiescing in the sin, were involved in it; they were viewed in. Christ and their true standing as unleavened; but they were to put out the old leaven that they might be a new lump, that their actual condition and standing might agree: otherwise they, the assembly, were not a new lump. Hence, in the Second Epistle, when the first had produced its effect, the apostle says “that they had proved themselves clear in this matter;” but, if acquiescing in it, they were not clear. The assembly was not a new lump, and the members of it were not clear, if they accepted the principle of allowing sin in their midst. To use the title of our standing as a sanction for acquiescing in sin in fact in the assembly, saying it cannot be defiled, is a most evil and pestilential doctrine: and that persons in it, not guilty of the sin in act, are clear though they acquiesce in it, is a thoroughly wicked principle, and directly contrary to scripture.
But more, an assembly which admits such a principle has forfeited its title to be owned in the way I have spoken of above. We have seen it is a common point agreed upon, that the particular assembly gathered to the Lord's name represents the body of Christ, and Christ is to be looked for in their midst. But I cannot own an assembly which admits or acquiesces in sin, which takes this ground that sin does not defile it, to represent the body of Christ or to be gathered to Christ's name. It is to make Christ acquiesce in the sin— “a minister of sin.” God forbid! Christ's body (and we declare by “the one loaf” that we are one body) is a holy body. I cannot say I am one body with sinners. That a sinner or hypocrite may have slipped in, we all admit; but I do not own him. But if a body admit or acquiesce in sinners being there, it ceases to have the character of Christ's body altogether, or Christ's body is compatible with known sin; that is, the Holy Ghost and Christ present admit and allow the sin. This doctrine (of the assembly not being defiled by known sin being there) is a direct denial of the presence of the Holy Ghost making them one, and of the authority of, a present Lord.
Does He accept sin in the members of the body? If not, those who do are acting as a voluntary meeting, acting on their own rules, not admitting the animating power of the Spirit of Christ; for it is blasphemy to say He admits sin in those who belong to Him; an assembly which has this doctrine is not an assembly of God at all. Carelessness there may be—it should be corrected; but he, who as a principle, owns the existence of sin in the assembly, and denies it is defiled, denies its unity and the Lord's presence; that is, it is not an assembly gathered to His name at all. What I think, essential in this matter is the promised presence of the Lord, and the activity of the Spirit of God. If this be so, if I own the Lord, I must own the assembly and its acts; if it has a principle contrary to the presence of the Lord and the action of the Holy Ghost, I cannot own it as His.
(To be continued).

The Purpose of God for His Sons and Heirs: Part 5

The Jews rejected Him as their King, and the Gentiles crucified Him. But God the Father raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory; and we are meanwhile being called, His friends, His brethren, and His joint-heirs. When the last one is called, the Father will give the word, and the Lord, after receiving them to Himself, will descend in flaming fire on all His foes and tread them down. After that He will inaugurate the reign of peace; and the spared, who submit, will be the willing subjects of the King of kings and Lord of lords. Every creature on the earth will share the blessing in peace; for the nations will learn war no more. Such will be the administration of the fullness of the seasons. What an absurdity to fancy that the time or state is yet come! “The whole creation groaneth together.” Why does it groan? Because it is not under Christ, revealed in power and glory. It is, travailing in pain together until now. Weakness, failure, and death are stamped upon every creature that has any kind of life. And things that have not life are habitually turned to a selfish purpose. Take gold and silver, precious stones, pearls, etc., what crimes do they not cause?
Think of the pride and vanity and misery to which the lust after these things leads! There is a time coming when everything will join in a chorus of praise to the glory of the Lord Jesus. O what a righteous, holy and beneficent change! He will bring it about: nothing but His coming in power, who once came to suffer for sins will avail. He who has preyed upon man ever since the fall in the garden of Eden, Satan, will be for a thousand years shut up. He will not be consigned to the lake of fire till after the millennium: but during the Lord's reign he is not allowed to deceive the nations. Now he is also the accuser of God's saints above. Now he does all possible mischief there and here. All that will cease during the millennium. Idolatry and evil in general will cease, righteousness will flourish during the reign of our Lord over the earth; and the new Jerusalem, metropolis of the universe, will be intimately connected with, but above, the rejoicing earth. The Jews will be the head, not only of Israel saved by God's mercy, but, of all the nations. It does not matter what the anti-Semites say. Israel is kept of God for this blessed time— “the restitution of all things whereof God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets since time began.” They will be the lowly and faithful servants of the Messiah in that day of gladness. But the Gentiles will also abandon their self-sufficiency and joyfully acknowledge their folly and God's goodness, and this glory of Jehovah will fill the earth as now the waters the bed of the sea. That is the unforced and explicit revelation of God. More than that, the very beasts of the earth will lay aside their fury that followed man's departure from God. Whatever may have existed before man, I speak only of the time since man was created. In contrast with the first man's fall, God means to honor the Second man. He is worthy to bring all creation, and the brutes as part of it, to the true center in the power which subdues all things to Christ. Bow universal and profound the evil when man fell! Reconciliation of all things prepares for the transfer to the risen Man who is also True God as truly as is the Father, to Christ the one Head of all things in the heavens no less than of all things on the earth. Then will Christ have come forth publicly, with all His glorified saints following Him; then will He take up the dispensation of the fullness of the seasons, establishing all the divinely given institutions which had broken down in man's feeble and faulty hand. But the saints are carefully distinguished from the inheritance. If the inheritance be given to us, we are the heirs, not the inheritance; and so it is distinctly stated in ver. 11, “in whom [Christ] we were also allotted, fore-determined according to purpose of him that works all things according to the counsel of his own will.” The heavenly Bridegroom shares His inheritance unreservedly with these who are constituted His bride; just as Eve the earthly bride shared all that Adam her bridegroom possessed as the gift of the Lord God to him.
In Christ's case, it was not only in virtue of creating all (John 1:3). Another ground far more precious and unfailing was laid in His death. “Because all the fullness was pleased in him to dwell, and through him to reconcile all things unto him, having made peace through the blood of his cross—through him, whether the things on the earth, or the things in the heavens.” (Col. 1:19, 20). Here too the saints, the heirs, are beyond doubt discriminated, as in the counterpart Epistle, from the “all things,” the inheritance in versa 21, 22. “You” He reconciled now. Creation has to be reconciled by power as well as blood, and that will be when He is manifested in glory. But the saints already are reconciled, not by incarnation as is falsely held but, in the body of His flesh through death.
The church is neither all things in the heavens nor all things on the earth, still less both, which is a most egregious error, but believers out of both Jews and Gentiles, baptized by one Spirit into on body, Christ's body, from which all earthly distinction is blotted out. Impossible to fairly maintain the current traditional view, or to deny the truth, that the gathering of all the universe is the future stewardship for Christ's manifestation.
Christ's death is the ground for the saints now reconciled; but the reconciliation of the universe as a matter of fact awaits His appearing in power and glory. It is already applied to those who believe the gospel; and they are the heirs. But the deliverance of creation from the bondage of corruption will be into the liberty of the glory of the children of God (Rom. 8:21), and cannot be before those already delivered by grace through faith are revealed to every eye as His sons in glory, What is here said, is but a simple reflection of God's— word. It declares with all plainness of speech that the heirs are reconciled; as the inheritance will be at Christ's manifestation. The heirs are those reconciled through the blood of Christ, as all creation also. But they believe the gospel of grace; with which the rest of creation, animate or inanimate has nothing to do. But they will answer fully to the revelation of Christ's power and glory. We must never confound the Christian's portion with Israel's. The chosen people were Jehovah's especial inheritance. We are united to Christ by the Spirit, not in any sense His inheritance, but heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ. If Christ is to have all things above and below we too by grace shall share all things.
Let us consider seriously a purpose so immense. The God and Father of the Lord Jesus was pleased so to purpose, and also to reveal it clearly to the faithful in Christ Jesus. Was it not to exercise a direct and intimate bearing on our souls? to lift our hearts to Christ in the heavenly places, as united to Him who is there for entirely like glory with Him? It is not only the bad things of the flesh and the world that present danger, the best things are perverted and falsified by spiritual wickedness in heavenly places to rob us of our highest privileges. We belong to Christ, for and in heaven; He is the, way, the truth and the life. If we give not, as a constant principle and practice, to Christ the first, place, we grievously wrong Him and to our own; irreparable loss as Christians. It is our privilege and our duty to make Christ the prime object?, of our souls in every question that comes before us. Satan ensnares by our own interests. We are only kept and guided aright by Christ's dwelling in our hearts through faith. What quiet comfort and confidence, if you are content to tell the Lord about it and are subject to His will and word! He gives entire deliverance from every wile of the enemy. His love entitles one to consult Him about little matters—nothing, it has been well said, is too great for us, nothing too small for Him, in His grace. Who that believes need wonder that, when dead in our offenses and sins, God quickened, us together with the Christ, and raised us together, and seated us together in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus. We are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works which God before prepared that we should walk in them.
The efficacious work is offered and accepted on high for all things in the heavens and on the earth. Yet spiritual wickedness is not even yet dislodged from the heavenlies. Still less is the field of the world cleared of all scandals and those that practice. lawlessness. Yes, the serpent's trail is still above; and those associated with in the heavenlies have brought deep dishonor on Him by their unbelief and worldliness, tampering on this side with superstition, on that with rationalism; bad enough in mere professors, far worse in members of His body. The heavenly things therefore needed to be purged by better sacrifices than Israel or any man ever offered. The inheritance, heavenly and earthly, remains yet to be delivered according to the energy of His power even to subdue the universe to Himself; and we shall share His most worthy exaltation, in that day for which we wait, suffering with Him and it may be for Him by grace meanwhile.
(Concluded from p. 127)

Notes of an Address Hebrews 1:1-4

It is no doubt the calm, measured, stately, almost rhetorical, style of the Epistle to the Hebrews, that has led many to conceive that it cannot be the work of the great apostle of the Gentiles. They compare the balanced sentences of this Epistle with the rugged and impetuous language so characteristic of the Pauline writings. But even on this ground the argument is by no means convincing. For what can be more measured and stately than the fifteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians or than the eleventh chapter of the same Epistle. The fact is that a great writer adapts his style to his subject-matter, quite apart from the question whether he is inspired or not. As one, J.N.D., has beautifully said, the same divine water, is in every vessel, be it a Paul, a Peter, or a John, but it takes the shape of the vessel through which it flows. And, we may add, the shape may vary in the same writer with the occasion. There is the tumultuous fervor of indignant upbraiding; there is the calm and ordered flow of eloquent exposition. Hence they are evidently right who judge that Paul, and no other (spite of those who ascribe it to the eloquent Apollos), is the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews. And this opinion is powerfully buttressed by the words of Peter in his Second Epistle (3:15, 16).
Now there is no more majestic statement even in this Epistle, or indeed in the whole of the Bible, than is contained in the wonderfully balanced sentence with which this treatise (for such it strictly is, rather than a letter) opens. For you will see that it really is one sentence only from ver. 1-4 inclusive. And the part of it most emphasized is the main part. “God hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son.” Other truths, of equal, possibly of greater, moment (one most certainly is so, where the Son is spoken of as being the brightness of God's glory), are grouped around it, adding strikingly to the grandeur of the whole, but yet subservient to the point that the apostle is pressing, viz. that “God has spoken in His Son.” He reminds his readers how God spake of old by the prophets (here no doubt a general term and taking in all the O. T. writers); but that now it was no longer a question of hearing prophets however venerable, lawgivers however sage and discerning, nor psalmists however tuneful. It was imperative to recognize, what was not so obvious to them as Hebrews, as it happily is to us, that the final messenger had come, and that he that is of God would hear Him (John 8:47). Each prophet had contributed his quota to the grand total, and the apostle in no way seeks to weaken the weight of their testimony. Quite the contrary. Just as the Lord Jesus, on a memorable occasion, actually placed Moses' writings as testimony above His own spoken words (John 5:47), so the writer urges that their acceptance of the sublime truths that were now being unfolded would be the proof that the Hebrews really held and understood and believed all that lawgiver and psalmist and prophet had written of old. If they believed that God had spoken in His Son, this would show that theirs was no merely national and patriotic clinging to their ancient oracles. They would own the Crucified as both Lord and Christ.
God had spoken. This is the only book of Holy Scripture that commences with the sacred name, so august, so comprehensive and incomprehensible. How easy to utter it! How often it is taken in vain by profane men! How lightly even Christians may use the word! Everything is wrapped in it, so to speak. It is God, the Son, as we read in this very passage, who upholds all things by the word of His power. And by Him were all things created (Col. 1:16). The mind may proceed to lose itself forthwith in mazes of perplexity, as we contemplate the immensity of creation, and the insignificance physically of this tiny earth, which faith knows, on God's sure warrant, to have been the scene of nothing less stupendous than the Incarnation. For here “the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us and,” says John, “we beheld His glory, the glory as of the Only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). Here the believer rests, while he who trusts to his own keenness of perception is baffled and dismayed. But it is the fool who says in his heart, There is no God. Yet there are but few after all who do not acknowledge His eternal power and divinity (Rom. 1:20.). But how sad if we stop there or, as has been so pathetically described, be as one who could only “beat his ineffectual wings against the void;” or, as another has said, be conscious only of this, that “man is a being with just sufficient conscience to know he is vile, and just sufficient intelligence to know that he is insignificant!” Nay, believers know much more, nor do I mean to insinuate that the clever writer who so described man, meant that that was all, we can know. He was simply referring to what we know apart from revelation. We know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding (1 John 5:20). We know that God has spoken unto us in His Son. There are difficulties in the Bible, things that must be left and taken on trust. Not such the knowledge of God's love in Christ, which makes known God's righteousness unto all, and upon all them that believe. This is the true God and eternal life.

The Ark and Its Contents: Manna

The manna was the provision of God's grace for a wilderness people, just as the paschal lamb had been his provision for a guilty people, providing a shelter from wrath to which otherwise they must have been exposed. Both pointed to Christ as the Sent One of God, meeting the need of the earthly people as God knew it, and not according to their sense of it. Israel did not ask for either one or the other; the blood of the lamb provided a safe shelter that they might in peaceful enjoyment feed upon the lamb itself. God's glory was secured by Christ's obedience unto death, and faith appropriates such a Savior who becomes the life of the soul. “He that eateth me, even he shall live because of me.” The sinner saved feeds upon the grace which brought Him to the place of death for his deliverance—bows to the divine testimony (that of the Judge Himself) “When I see the blood I will pass over you”; and the immense relief and satisfaction obtained thereby sustain the heart and shut out for a time all idea of any other necessity.
It was a full month before the Israelites realized that although they had escaped the judgment, they had lost all Egypt's resources and its pleasures. The world becomes a barren desert to the believer in Christ, the wilderness is before him and he has yet to learn, with the Psalmist, that all his springs are in God: this discovery is painful and humiliating, He humbled thee and proved thee (Deut. 8:2, 3). God in infinite love provided for the need of His people by giving them bread from heaven, but in doing so He put them to the proof; they were on their way to the promised rest, but the rest itself must be ever kept before them; hence the manna must not be looked upon as a thing permanent and lasting, but as a temporary provision for exceptional circumstances and closely connected from its very beginning with the sabbath which was to be a permanent institution and an outward sign, a witness to the whole world that they belonged to God and were to be obedient to Jehovah Who had redeemed them.
This test of obedience was not, as in the passover, to be satisfied by one act of faith once for all (“through faith he kept the passover and the I sprinkling of blood” (Heb. 11:28) with results immediately made good in the soul, so that the questions of deliverance and acceptance need never again be opened up) but was also a protracted and continuous one as long as they were passing through the wilderness.
From the first, Israel failed to appreciate angels' food; their tastes, desires and inclinations were gross and impure; the yearning of their hearts was for the fleshpots of Egypt, and, in the last year of their pilgrimage they made the awful admission without shame, “our soul loatheth this light bread” (Num. 21:5).
It is just the same now with the children of God on their journey to the rest that remaineth for the people of God.
God has found His delight in His beloved Son, and will look to no other; the voice from the excellent glory bore witness to this, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, hear ye him.” We are put to the proof by this just as Israel was by the manna. Israel was set to learn the lesson “that man doth not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of Jehovah doth man live.” This, the nation as a whole never learned, though there were bright exceptions, such as Moses, Joshua, and Caleb, etc., To have knowledge, understanding, and enjoyment of the most advanced truth touching Christ's present position, and our relationship to Him as members of His body, the coming rapture of the saints and such like subjects, precious as these are, will not compensate for the want of appetite for the Manna. Perhaps the lessons of the wilderness are never fully learned until the close of the journey. God might have supplied the needs of His people in other ways, but the way He chose, certainly called for the daily exercise of faith, obedience, diligence, and constant dependence upon Himself. If we read carefully Ex. 16 we shall not only he instructed in God's gracious way of nourishing His earthly people, but also as to the way in which our spiritual wants are anticipated in His word, the regular and dilligent study of which will supply us with that divine food, Christ Himself, which our souls so much need. But the manna was after all a temporary provision. Intended only to continue for a year or so, Israel's unbelief and refusal to go into the promised land, had the effect of adding to their pilgrimage eight and thirty years, and God graciously continued this wonderful provision for their daily need. His care over them was shown out in the minutest details, so that their raiment waxed not old, nor did their feet swell; circumstances which may have passed unnoticed by many at the time. One remarkable thing remains to be noticed; whether much or little was gathered, everyone was satisfied, and the need of each soul was met, “and when they did mete it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lank; they gathered every man according to his eating” (Ex. 16:18). No doubt there are degrees of spiritual appetite amongst the Lord's people and different capacities for the reception, and understanding, of the truth of God, but that is not the precise point here, but rather that in coming to Christ every one finds his need fully met and nothing superfluous. Whatever may be our heart's need, we find it all met by Christ, and as we make progress in the divine life and discover new glories and fresh graces and excellencies in our Lord Jesus Christ under the teaching of the Spirit, we can say that we need them all, we cannot do without one of them.
(Continued from p. 128).
(To be continued.)

Walking in the Light

In 1 John 1:7 we have the three parts of our Christian condition, looked at as men walking down here.
First, we walk in the light as God is in the light, everything judged according to Him with Whom we have fellowship.
Next, what the world does not know anything of, “we have fellowship one with another.” That is, I have the same divine nature with every Christian—the same Holy Ghost dwells in me; so that there must be fellowship. I inset a perfect stranger traveling, and there may be more communion with him than with one whom I have known all my life, just because the divine life is there. It is a natural thing to the new creature; there is fellowship.
But besides these, I am cleansed— “the blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanseth us from all sin.”
We are in the light as God is in the light; we have fellowship together; and we are cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ.


Page 117, column 2, last line but one. For “This is a need,” read “This we need.”


T. WESTON, Publisher, 53,:Paternoster Row. Published Monthly.

Balaam Hired of Balak and Used of God

Numbers 22-24
It is a wonderful thing to see the way in which, through the overruling power of God, the efforts of Satan against the people of God only bring them out the more distinctly in their own place of blessing.
We find in these chapters the connection of the name of God with the power of Satan. Some of the instruments which he uses may be, and some of them may not be, conscious that it is Satan's power which actuates them. Nothing could be greater confusion than that which here passes between Balaam and Balak.
Balaam, we know, was a thoroughly wicked man. (See Rev. 2:14; 2 Peter 2:15, 16; Jude 11.) Nothing could exceed the wickedness and perverseness of his ways. And yet he is called a prophet; as it is said, “Who loved the wages of unrighteousness, but was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man's voice forbade the madness of the prophet.” We know that he was acquainted with and used enchantments (chap. 24:1): and yet, when he comes to Balak, he says, “Lo, I am come unto thee: have I now any power at all to say anything? the word that God putteth in my mouth, that shall I speak” (chap. 22:38). Balak was looking for the power of evil against the children of Israel, God's people; and yet looking for it from God (chap. 23:27). There was a sort of looking to the power and intervention of God, although God was not known; and thus all was confusion.
And so in the world; even where Satan is working, and where in those who are intelligent in evil he is looked to as working, there is often a certain vague looking to God. Thus there is complete confusion—man's will being Satan's will, and yet with a certain owning of God.
Chapter 22:1-6. We see the enmity of the world against the people of God brought out, and especially against the power of the people of God. God's power was with His people, and this drew out the enmity of Satan. When the Son of God came into the world, the whole energy of Satan's power and enmity was directed against Him; so afterward against the apostles, those who had “turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6). But God's power was with and for His people. See the song of Moses (Ex. 15:14-16). God had redeemed His people with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm from the power and bondage of Satan, and had brought them to Himself (Ex. 19:4). When this is the case, Satan seeks to force others into an open opposition to the people of God. Their presence becomes intolerable to their enemies. But the effect of it all is, to bring out God's people as being under His eye and care. The very wish that God should curse Israel only brought out the more His distinct blessing upon them. “And he [Balaam] took up his parable, and said, Balak the king of Moab hath brought me from Aram, out of the mountains of the east, saying, Come, curse me Jacob, and come, defy Israel. How shall I curse, whom God hath not cursed? or how shall I defy, whom Jehovah hath not defied? For from the tops of the rocks I see him, and from the hills I behold him: lo, the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations” (chap. 23:7-9). Here we find the effect of Satan's opposition we to bring out into the clearest manifestation that they were not of the world.
So long as Israel were living in Egypt, there was nothing at all that drew out the thoughts and feelings of Balak and Balaam against them, or that made them intolerable to the world; but the chief point of the testimony to their blessing is that they were a peculiar people, separated from all other peoples unto God, according to the word, “Jehovah hath avouched thee this day to be his peculiar people” (Deut. 26:18).
Verse 11 and onward: Balaam, at the suggestion of Balak, seeks to curse Israel from “another place.” He tells Balak, “Stand here by thy burnt offering, while I go and meet yonder.” He does not seem to know whom he was going to meet. It is all the most thorough and perfect confusion. He says, “While I go and meet yonder.” But there Jehovah meets him, and puts a word in his mouth proving the firmness of God's purpose concerning His people. “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? Behold, I have received commandment to bless.” Balaam would gladly have altered this testimony of God; but he says, “He hath blessed, and I cannot reverse it.”
Then comes the testimony to the completeness of God's justification of His people: “He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel.” This is not a mere abstract statement of truth. Israel had acted so failingly and unbelievingly during their wilderness journey, as to bring out from Moses, the meekest man upon the face of the earth, the expression, “Ye have been rebellious against Jehovah from the day that I knew you” (Deut. 9:24). The result of the judgment of the man of God about them after forty years' experience was, that they were a stiff-necked and rebellious people; but the judgment of God in reference to their justification was altogether opposite to his judgment of the moral condition of the people.
It is most important in applying this to ourselves to draw the distinction clearly between these two things; the judgment of the Spirit of God within me as to what we are practically, as to the evil of the flesh, &c., and the testimony of the Spirit as to what God's judgment is in reference to us in Christ. We often find the soul forming through the Spirit of God a righteous judgment about itself, and forgetting that the ground on which it stands before God, the resting-place of faith, is what He has wrought for us in the Lord Jesus. The Spirit of God judges sin in me by virtue of its character as seen in the light of the holiness of God, but it makes me know that I am not judged for it, because Christ has borne the judgment for me. It is no question of examining the details of either good or evil that we find in ourselves; it is altogether a question of the efficacy and value of Christ's work, and of His acceptance. We either stand under the broad condemnation of God, sinners dead in trespasses and sins, or are “accepted in the Beloved.” Although it is most important that we should judge ourselves, as it is said “If we would judge ourselves we should not be judged,” &c. (1 Cor. 11:31, 32); yet this is quite a distinct thing from the judgment which God forms about us through the work of Christ. At the end of a long course of failure in the children of Israel, after their perverseness has been fully proved, God “hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel.” Where the soul of a believer confounds the judgment of the Spirit within and about Himself with the judgment of God through the work of Christ for him, there can be no peace.
“Jehovah his God is with him, and the shout of a king is among them.” The distinguishing mark of the people of God is, that He is in them and among them (See 1 Cor. 14:25). The utter feebleness of the saints is shown wherever this is not the case. It is a blessed truth, that God has forever saved and justified His children; but this is in order that He may “dwell among them” (Ex. 29:45, 46).
“God brought them out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn.” I dare not meddle with them, Balaam says; I have too much understanding of what they are, to do so; they are connected with God, with His strength and power.
“Surely there is no enchantment against Jacob, neither is there any divination against Israel: according to this time it shall be said of Jacob, and Of Israel, What hath God wrought!” According to what time? The time when Israel was faint and weak, discouraged by reason of the length of the way, and none of their enemies on the other side of Jordan conquered. Their enemies were much mightier than they (Deut. 7:1, &c.), and yet he says, “What hath God wrought! Behold, the people shall rise up as a great lion, and lift up himself as a young lion: he shall not lie down until he eat of the prey, and drink the blood of the slain.” The moment he sees them under the eye of God he says that.
“And Balak said unto Balaam, Neither curse them at all, nor bless them at all. But Balaam answered and said unto Balak, Told not I thee, saying, All that Jehovah speaketh, that I must do? And Balak said unto Balaam, Come, I pray thee, I will bring thee unto another place: peradventure it will please God that thou mayest curse me them from thence. And Balak brought Balaam unto the top of Peor, that looketh toward Jeshimon,” &c.
“And when Balaam saw that it pleased Jehovah to bless Israel, he went not, as at other times, to seek for enchantments, but he set his face towards the wilderness. And Balaam lifted up his eyes, and he saw Israel abiding in his tents according to their tribes; and the Spirit of God came upon him. And he took up his parable, and said,” &c. (chap. 24:1-9). He now begins to look at the people of God themselves, and sees Israel abiding in their tents in their own proper loveliness. The sight of the fairness of God's people thus is the occasion of the Spirit of God speaking as He does (ver. 5. and onwards), “How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, and thy tabernacles, O Israel! As the valleys are they spread forth,” &c. He looks at the people of God themselves, and sees their beauty in the vision of the Almighty.
There were Israel occupied with their own foolish thoughts below; and this scene was going on above.
So is it with us, beloved friends: we are occupied with our own (ofttimes) foolish thoughts; the accuser is speaking against us; and yet nothing can prevail, because God works for us. I am not now speaking of God justifying us, but of much more; and that is, the beauty of the order, and the never-failing source of refreshment of God's people— “all my springs are in thee.” God brings this out most fully through the evil desire of Balak and Balaam.
We see in these chapters, man working according to Satan's will, and yet looking to the power and the intervention of God. Hence all is confusion: and it will ever be so. But the moment the children of God get into their right place before God, there is no confusion, no perplexity: the path is as simple as possible.
May the Holy Spirit enable us to realize as our own that peculiar feature of the church of God, and that which is the power of their holiness, and of their comfort too: “The Lord their God is with them, and the shout of a king is among them,”

Seventy Weeks of Daniel

Having ascertained this much we proceed now to the last division of this remarkable prophecy. In ver. 27. we read “and he shall confirm a covenant with the many for one week.” It is not “the covenant” but “a covenant.” If “the” is inserted here we might infer that “the prince” means the Messiah and the covenant His. But this is not so. What we have is a person introduced most abruptly who makes a compact with the many, or the mass of the Jews. That he is a person of some importance we may safely conclude. But who is he? Expositors seem very much at a loss to answer this question. Hence, we need not be surprised that many wild theories have been propounded. The one most prevalent however, is that as he is said to be the prince “who is to come!” and the Lord Jesus is spoken of in ver. 25 as “Messiah the prince,” therefore He must be the person mentioned by the prophet in ver. 27.
But if this scripture be carefully examined (vers. 24-27), we shall find but few points of agreement between the two. We are informed in ver. 26, that the people of a coming prince shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Now the Jews are Jehovah's people after the flesh, but, as we have already seen, it was not the Jews who laid waste their own Zion. The Romans accomplished that work. Further, this prince is said to make a covenant with “the many,” or mass of the Jews, for one week i.e. seven years. We do not read, however, that the Messiah will make a covenant with the Jews for that period. His covenant will be an everlasting one ordered in all things and sure. It cannot therefore be the Prince Messiah that is introduced in ver. 27 but a Roman prince who shall come before the Lord is revealed from heaven. This person will be at that time the head of the federated European nations. But before the last week commences, certain events not mentioned here must take place. The Jews will be brought back again to Palestine, and they will set up a king over themselves there. In chap. 11:36, 37, this person is most abruptly introduced to our notice. His arrogant manner is described, and his infidel character delineated, in few words, by the Spirit of God. Mention is also made of him in some of the other prophets. In Zech. 11 he is called “the idol shepherd that leaveth the flock,” and in Isa. 30:33 “the king” — “for the king also it (Tophet) is prepared.” When the true Messiah came He had nothing; when this man comes the Jews will receive him and exalt him to regal dignity, and leadership. The temple will be re-built and its ritual performed, as aforetime. From what follows it seems clear that all the above mentioned events must take place before the last week begins. As we have seen, the first act of importance mentioned in connection with the last weeks of seven years is that the Roman prince will enter into covenant with the mass of the Jews. This could not be done if they were not already in the land of Palestine. These covenants are not formed with a nation without some recognized leaders, Be that there is every probability “the king” will be there also. Further, this seven years' contract has to do with religious services, as well as other matters. Hence it is said of the Roman prince that in the midst of the week “he will cause sacrifice and oblation to cease.” The broken agreement includes the temple service, therefore, at the time of its formation. Thus, we may safely conclude, Jewish worship will be established before the contract is signed. But this prince will not only interfere with their religious ceremonies, he will also set up “the abomination of desolation,” in the temple. That is, some form of idolatry will be introduced to the Jews as their code of religion. “The king” in the land will be his faithful ally and coadjutor in forcing this idol-worship upon the nation for the remainder of the week. Many will embrace this and bow down to the image set up, but there will be some who will refuse to do so. These will be subjected to the most trying persecution. Some of them, obeying the Lord's words, will flee into the wilderness to a place prepared of God for them (see Matt. 24:15-18; Rev. 12:6). Others will be slain by the sword. A remnant will pass through the siege of Jerusalem, and at the last extremity, they will be delivered by the Lord in person, when He comes to the earth for judgment (Zech. 14:4, 5).
Of this Roman prince, and his dealings with the Jews, we may obtain confirmatory evidence from other parts of the word. In chap. 7:25 of this prophet, the “little horn,” who is undoubtedly the same person, is said to “wear out the saints of the high places, and think (or purpose) to change times and laws; and they (i.e. the times and laws) shall be given unto his hand, until a time and times and the dividing of time.” Now, a “time” is said to have been the term used by the Jews to express the period from one yearly sacrifice or festival to another. It came to be used, therefore, for a year of 360 days. “Times” would represent two years; and the “dividing of time” would be a half-year. Thus then, we have three and a, half years during which this little horn shall have his way in putting a stop to all Jewish worship. And this agrees with the latter half of the week. Again this chapter informs us when these things will take place. In vers. 21, 22 we read, “I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them, until the Ancient of days came and judgment was given to the saints of the high places; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.” This seems clearly to refer to the future, and links itself up with the coming of the Lord in judgment. Other scriptures may be consulted in the New Testament which present the last three and a half years of the seven in a somewhat different manner, but, nevertheless, the same three and a half years, whether, as in the Revelation for example, as “a time, and times, and half a time” (12:14), or as “forty-two months” (11:2, 13:5), or again, as “a thousand, two hundred threescore days” (12:3, 12:6). It is possible, however, that the 1260 days of these last two scriptures may refer to the first half of the last week.
For this covenant with the Roman prince compare also Isa. 28:15-18, where the Holy Spirit describes it as a “covenant with death” and an “agreement with hell,” though not so recognized by the Jews themselves alas!
Now, in conclusion, we learn from the foregoing scriptures that the last week is yet future. Then, that a Roman prince will seem at first to favor the Jews and make an agreement with them; but after a time he will cause their sacrifices to cease and set up idolatry in their temple. Because of this a “desolator” will be sent against Jerusalem in the shape of the “king of the north” who will bring desolation upon the “desolate” city (Dan. 9:27) and its inhabitants. Since, then, all this is future, it follows, as already noticed, that there must be a division between the weeks, covering a long period of time not taken into account by the prophet. This being so, we may fairly conclude that no other form of interpretation will agree so well with the requirements of the prophecy. The force of this is made strikingly manifest when the current modern expositions of “the seventy weeks” are compared with the above. For one feels in most cases that the writer is laboring hard to make the scripture support his special theory or preconceived notions; instead of allowing the prophet to speak for himself, and our taking the word as it is, without doubt or question. This the critics have not done. On the contrary they have by their learned manipulation blunted the edge of the chronological testimony through finding a terminus for the seventy weeks anywhere but in the place assigned to it by the Spirit of God.
But perhaps it may he objected that the present view is modern as well as the others. By no means. For Hippolytus, as early as the third century, in his commentary on Daniel writes, “when therefore the sixty two heptads (or, weeks) have been fulfilled and Christ has come, and the gospel has been preached in every place, the times having been accomplished, one heptads (or, week) the last, shall remain, in which Elijah and Enoch shall appear; and in the half of it the abomination of desolation shall be manifested, by Antichrist announcing desolation to the world” (S. Hippol. Martyr's Interpret. in Dan. 22). This speaks for itself and shows that although the writer was not clear as to the difference between the Roman prince and the Antichrist, yet in the main his exposition is so far correct.
Again, we have seen that “times” and dates belong to the Jews. The Christian has nothing to do with either dispensationally. For when the Lord comes for His own we shall go up to meet Him. The time of this coming, however, is kept secret. Thus we see the presumption of those who pretend to give precise dates for the Lord's coming. When the last half of the last week has begun, then the faithful among the Jews will know that their time of “redemption draweth nigh.” But nothing more definite with regard to the matter seems revealed. The church will have passed away long ere this. Much might be said further, respecting the persons and circumstances mentioned in the prophecy, but I have dealt more particularly with the chronological part as was my desire.
Now in conclusion I commend you to God and to the word of His grace to keep and help and direct in the way that is well pleasing to Him. Cling to the word as His unfailing word of truth. Heed not the teaching of those who seek to undermine its inspiration or inerrancy. May the Lord thus keep all His own. W.T.H.
(Concluded from p. 134)

The Vision: and the Just Shall Live by Faith: Part 1

“JEHOVAH answered me, and said, Write the vision and make [it] plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision [is] yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry” (vers. 2, 3). It is well known that the apostle Paul applies this to the very center of the vision, and of all visions, to Jesus Christ the Lord coming back to glory. In Hebrews 10 we are told that “He that shall come will come, and will not tarry.” Such is the way in which the Spirit displays His admirable use of Old Testament scripture. Already had the Lord Jesus personally come the first time, and been rejected by the Jews to their own ruin. The apostle's use of it gives the words a much more personal force; yet, we can see, not departing from, but only adding to, the evident issue contemplated in Heb. 2:3, which can have no greater fulfillment short of that crowning event.
But then there is another remark to be made here. The prophet lets us know that the vision of God is written so that a man does not require, I know not what, accessories in order to understand it. It was to be made plain on tablets, distinctly set out in large impressive characters. But it is not said, as the common view assumes, that the runner may read, but rather that the reader may run, and thus, it would seem, spread the joyful intelligence one to another. It has been suggested that we should compare Dan. 12:4; but this, I think, carries out the idea of running to and fro, and increasing knowledge thus among such as have an ear to hear. The passage then holds out no premium to the careless reader, but shows how the reader of the vision will be stimulated thereby to earnest spread of the truth he receives.
It is granted, however, that scripture does meet and bless those who take but a scanty draft from the waters of life to which it points in Christ the Lord. At the same time they only enter into its depths who believe in its divine fullness, and have confidence that the Spirit, who made it the word of God in all the emphasis of that expression, delights to lead the believer into the understanding of all the truth.
Thus, while the power of the vision is shown in ver. 2, the sureness of it in ver. 3, whatever may be the delay meanwhile, from ver. 4 we learn another thing, that is, the all importance of faith to make it good for the soul before it comes. The result is not yet come; but this is no reason we should not gather the profit by that faith which is the substance of things hoped for. It cannot be denied that this is an immensely important principle; and more particularly in prophecy. The common notion is that prophecy never does people good unless it treat directly of the times and circumstances in which they themselves are found. There can be no greater fallacy. Abraham got more good from the prophecy about Sodom and Gomorrah, than Lot did; yet it clearly was not because Abraham was there, for he was not in Sodom, while Lot was, who barely escaped and with little honor as we soon sorrowfully learn. But the Spirit teaches us by these two cases in the first book of the Bible His mind as to this question. I grant entirely that when the fulfillment of prophecy in all its details comes, there will be persons to glean the most express directions. But I am persuaded that the deepest value of prophecy is for those who are occupied with Christ, and who will be in heaven along with Christ, just as Abraham was with Jehovah, instead of being like Lot in the midst of the guilty Sodomites. If this be so, the book of Revelation ought to be of far richer blessing to us now who enjoy by grace heavenly associations with Christ, and are members of His body, though we shall be on high when the hour of temptation comes on those that dwell on the earth.
It is freely allowed that the Revelation will be an amazing comfort and help to the saints who may be on the earth during the time of which it speaks. But this is no reason why it should not be a still greater blessing now to those who will be caught up to Christ before that hour. The fact is, that both are true: only it is a higher and more intimate privilege to be with the Lord in the communion of His own love and mind before the things come to pass, though comfort will be given, when they come, to those that are immersed in them. Consequently we see in the Revelation (chaps. 4, 5, 6), already with the Lord the glorified saints of the Old and New Testament who were taken up to meet Him, including those to whom the prophecy was primarily given. Afterward we see the judgments come in gradual succession; but when they take place, there are saints who evidently witness for God on earth, some suffering unto death, others preserved to be a blessed earthly people. To such undoubtedly the prophetic visions will be of value when the actual events arrive; but the most admirable value always is to faith before the events confirm the truth of the word. This is an invariable principle as to the prophetic word and indeed in divine truth generally.
Here we have faith and its ground thus stated: “For the vision [is] yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry. Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith” (vers. 3, 4). I suppose the proud soul particularly refers to the Chaldean. He was absolutely blind; but the principle of it is just as true of the unrighteous Jew or of any man who hardens himself against the divine word. For certainly the wrath of God is against all ungodliness, and indeed, if there be any difference, against those most of all who hold the truth ever so fast in unrighteousness. It does not matter how orthodox they may be; but if men cleave to the truth in unrighteousness, so much the worse the sin. The truth in this case only condemns the more peremptorily. They may tenaciously hold the truth; yet truth was never given to make righteousness a light matter, but urgently due to God in the relations that pertain to us.
The object of all truth is to put us in communion with God and in obedience. But the man whose soul is lifted up is not upright, as is plain. The invariable way of God is this, “He that humbleth himself shall be exalted;” and faith alone gives humiliation of self. It may he here observed that there are two forms of it: the happiest of all is to be humble; the next best thing is to be humbled. It is better to be humble than to be humbled, but there is no comparison between being humbled and being lifted up. Humility is the effect of grace; humiliation, rather of God's righteous government where we are not humble. This is what He did with His saints of old and outwardly with His ancient people. It is what is too often needful for ourselves. The best place of all is to be so realizing what the grace and glory of the Lord are that we are nothing before Him. Humility is the effect not so much of a moral process with ourselves, but of occupation with Him. Humbling is the effect of the Lord dealing with our souls when He sees the need of breaking us down, it may be to use us, certainly for further blessing. We could not so deal with ourselves. Judgment must come instead of humbling, but in every case anything is better than to have our soul lifted up: where is the uprightness there?
“The just,” it is said, “shall live by faith.” This is used repeatedly in the New Testament.
There are three well-known quotations in the Epistles, on which a few words may be desirable before we leave the subject. It is the apostle Paul who uses this text on all these several occasions. In writing to the Roman saints (1:17) he tells them that in the gospel the righteousness of God is “revealed from faith to faith.” Such is the only way and direction of the blessing. The righteousness of God is necessarily outside the reach of any unless it be revealed; but being revealed it is revealed “out of faith” (ἐκ πίστεως,) and in no other way, and consequently “unto faith” wherever faith might be. It could not be in the way of law: not even the Jew could suppose this, for the law claims man's righteousness, and does not say a word about the righteousness of God. The fact is that the law simply convicts man of inability to produce the righteousness which it claims; for though it demand it in God's name, there is only the answer of unrighteousness. According to the law a man ought to be righteous; but he is not. This is what the law proves, wherever a man fairly confronts it—that he is not righteous according to the divine requirement.
This state of ruin Christ has met by redemption; and consequently the gospel is entirely a question of God revealing His righteousness, though so many real Christians misunderstand it through their tradition. The meaning of the phrase is that God acts consistently with what is due to Christ, who has in redemption perfectly glorified God. He glorified Him as Father during His life; yet this could not have put away sin. But He glorified Him as God, when it was expressly a question of our sins, by His atoning death on the cross. Thenceforward God reveals His righteousness in view of that all-efficacious sacrifice; not only vindicating His forbearance in past times, but in the present time justifying the believer freely and fully in consequence of that mighty work. The first effect of God's righteousness, though not referred to in the Epistle to the Romans, is that God sets Christ at His own right hand on high. The next result (and this is the one spoken of there) is, that God justifies the believer accordingly. Rom. 1 no doubt treats of His righteousness in the most abstract terms. The manner of it is not described till we come to chapters 3, 4, 5. But even in the first statement we have the broad principle that in the gospel there is the revelation of divine righteousness from faith (not from law), and consequently to faith wherever it be found. Such I believe to be the force of the preposition. Probably the chief difficulty to most minds is the expression “from faith.” It means on that principle, not in the way of obedience to law, which must be the rule of human righteousness. Habits of misinterpretation make the difficulty. Faith alone can be the principle if it be a revelation of divine righteousness; and consequently it is “to faith,” wherever faith may be.
It is purposely put in abstract style, because the Spirit has not yet begun to set out how it can be and is. It would be anticipating the doctrine that He was afterward to expound. For manifestly the work of Christ has not yet been brought in; and hence the consequences could not be explained consistently with any true order. It is mere ignorance to assume that scripture is irregular; for in fact there is the deepest order in what man's haughty spirit presumes thus to censure. It is entirely due to the haste which leads men naturally to admire only the order of man. As to the difficulty of the expression “from faith to faith,” it is quite admitted that the idea is put in a very pithy and compressed form; so that to men who are apt to be wordy in the usual style, of course such compactness does sound peculiar.
This it is that answers to the expression of the prophet, “The just shall live by his faith.” Success had great weight with the Jewish mind. They wondered at the prosperous career of the Gentile. But the prophet is explaining the enigma as Isaiah had done before. He insists that the only righteous man is the believer. It is not the justified but “the just;” and this in order to keep up the link between doctrine and practice, as it seems to me. “The righteous shall live by his faith.” It is the combination of the two points, that faith is inseparable from righteousness, and a righteous man from believing. The Chaldean saw not God, and had no thought of His purpose or His way. The Israelite would find his blessing in subjection to His word and confidence in Himself. “Behold the proud! his soul is not right within him; but the just shall live by his faith.” The expression then does not say the justified, but it is implied; from it. What preachers ordinarily mean is in itself true. We are justified by faith; but we do not require to draw out more than is in the prophecy; nor is justification explicitly developed in Rom. 1 but rather in chapters 3, 5. Let every scripture teach its own appropriate lesson.
(To be continued.)

Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh

Matt. 2:11
The fulfillment of the promise that had been awaited by the expectant angels around God's throne through the long, sad years of human sinfulness, was at last accomplished. Through high heaven the commandment had gone forth that the holy Babe of Bethlehem, just then brought into the world, was to receive the adoration of all the angelic host. No inferior worship was to be His; for to Him they were to sing, led by the angelic messenger of His coming, the great Hallelujah chorus of “Glory to God in the highest;” and around the humble hostelry where was His manger-bed, they celebrated His worthy praise. There had been no need for such command when the eternal Son from all eternity had adorned the throne of infinite majesty. No need for heavenly host to be commanded to worship Him then; for it had ever been their ceaseless joy to sound forth His hallowed name. Still less such need when He entered paradise and there received the poor thief, the first trophy of His cross, and earliest follower on that way. He had been seen of angels during all His self-sacrificing life; and in Gethsemane's garden, prior to the cross with all its ineffable agony of all-atoning worth. They had been spectators of the awful conflict, and of the conclusive and irreversible victory; and heaven's gates had been high uplifted to let the King of glory, the Vanquisher of Satan and all his legions, enter in everlasting triumph over all. But the angels might have hesitated to adore the lowly Babe, for whom earth, sinful earth, had no welcome and no room at all. No reception, but from the first, rejection, rejection, and still rejection, right on to His cross of shame; and He is still the rejected One, and still the despised. So, therefore, it stands written, “When He bringeth in and there is no real righteousness in practice apart the First-begotten into the world, He smith, Let all God's angels worship Him;” and since neither the ambient heavens above Bethlehem, nor the fragrant meadows around, could contain the innumerable multitude of worshipping spirits, a glorious deputation sang unto the lovely Infant, God's eternal Son, heaven's highest praise. Then came the Magi from afar, seeking Him Who was born King of the Jews—their wisdom plainly manifest; they were seeking for Jesus. Led by their starry guide, by Bethlehem's manger their weary quest terminated, for there they found Him, blessed Object of their long search. So it has ever been from that bright hour until this very day. No one has ever sought for Him aright and failed to find heavenly guidance, and sure success at length or speedily. Entering the house, they saw the young Child and His mother—Christ first, Christ preeminent then and always—and falling down before Him, Him they worshipped, Him only. No sort of reverence, nor even one poor gift to the virgin mother, for they did not approach Him by her mediation. Firstly, they gave themselves to Him in humble adoration, and so their presents became acceptable. Then, next, they offered gold—their tribute to His kingly majesty. Then, the frankincense, as to God manifest in flesh. Not incense, but one of its two chief ingredients; for pone but Aaron might compound the sacred perfume, which, in its fullness, symbolized the perfection of Christ Himself. Lastly, came the offering of myrrh, prophetic of His death as the victim, when wine mingled with myrrh was given to dull the keen anguish of His pain. He tasted, but He would not drink. Tasted to show His appreciation of the sole kindly deed; but refused, because He had chosen the appalling cup His Father had given Him to drink, and He would drink this with all its bitterness of wrath and fierce indignation against Him; then, and then only, bearing the sins of His people. Myrrh, too, as associated with the burial rites of the nobler families of Israel; and also as showing forth His high-priestly glory as the one anointed with the holy oil, typical of the Holy Spirit to be given without measure, and that descended from His head even unto the hem of His garment; thus baptizing all His own, as at Pentecost, into one mystic body, Himself, the one, only, all glorious Head, ever living in the power of His own endless life.

The Ark and Its Contents

“Wherein was a golden pot that had the manna,” God's daily provision for the need of His people passing through the wilderness; the manna which came from heaven day by day gathered and appropriated by the people in their natural state and condition. Believers and unbelievers alike ate of it and proved its sustaining qualities. Where faith was in exercise as with Caleb, it was a daily expression of the gracious interest God took in the life and circumstances of His people; to such it was a real link which grace had formed between the God of glory who dwelt in heaven, and the needy pilgrim on his way to the promised rest. Caleb's testimony before all Israel and to Joshua, was a striking witness of the faithfulness of Jehovah which should have been the experience and testimony of the whole nation (Josh. 14:6-15). Jehovah had kept him alive “these forty and five years,” and that too with undiminished strength and enthusiasm. It had been by means of the manna, but if not thus it would have been by some other means, for the word and honor of God were pledged to it. The children of Israel had wandered in the wilderness, but he had lived, nor do we read of his death; his links with God had been daily renewed, faith strengthened, and experience of God's faithfulness extended and deepened. Every case of death of rebels, who were also his brethren, confirmed the truth of Jehovah's word to his soul, while the hope set before him as time rolled on (and he knew the precise period of the wanderings of the children of Israel), became clearer and more stimulating than ever.
How well did his life's history illustrate the truth that “this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith!” And how intensely individual is the path of faith in the day of provocation in the wilderness Joshua and Caleb stilled the people. Now in the day of triumph, Caleb recalls “the thing that Jehovah said unto Moses the man of God concerning me and thee in Kadesh-barnea.” The fellowship of those two faithful servants had not widened out. They knew how to keep a secret, and when to declare it and to claim the prize.
We are not to suppose that there was any potent charm or mysterious virtue in the manna; it was no “elixir of life” to prolong the life of the body indefinitely. The Lord Jesus told His hearers in John 6, “Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and died,” and again, “Not Moses has given you the bread out of heaven.” It was very distinctly a type of Christ sent from heaven, “that a man may eat thereof and not die” which necessitates faith in His person and a real acceptance and appreciation of the grace that brought Him into this world, and which was continually in evidence in His daily life and ministry up to the cross where He then became the Antitype of the paschal lamb. But just as God ordained that an omer of manna should be laid up before the testimony for a witness to succeeding generations, so has God the Spirit, in the four Gospels, given us a divine record of the words and ways of our Lord Jesus Christ as He trod this earth the constant manifestation of grace and truth, which alone meets the real need of our souls now passing through a wilderness. There will come a time when we shall need this no longer. It came to an end when Israel reached the land of promise, “The manna ceased... neither had the children of Israel manna any more” (Josh. 5:12). And as for us, when the journey has come to a close, faith shall change to sight and we shall know as known. It will then be our experience to have gathered up the manna to prove the sympathies and grace of Christ and His strength made perfect in weakness. The circumstances of grief, weakness and poverty will then be no longer existing for us, but it is here that the “hidden manna” comes into use. It was the memorial before God of that which had been so efficacious in the past for the blessing of the people of Israel. The golden pot containing it speaks of divine excellence and particularly of divine righteousness. If the people had laid it up for themselves for future use, it would have become nauseous (Ex. 16:20), but Aaron the divinely appointed high priest was commanded to lay it up before the testimony (the ark was not then made). It was therefore a priestly act intended for the instruction and edification of future generations, and pointing to the wondrous truth that He who came down from heaven full of grace and truth, and was here upon earth for a time in all lowliness, despised, unknown and rejected (as thus it was with the manna), has gone into heaven in righteousness. The once humbled Man is now the glorified Man. He came down from heaven in grace. He is gone back in righteousness.
The scripture before us is the only one which speaks of the manna being in the ark; and the divine purpose in placing it there seems never to have been realized because of the inability of the Israelites to draw nigh to God in the holiest; so the garments “for glory and for beauty” intended [?] for Aaron's use in the most holy place were never worn there (compare Ex. 28:29, 35 with Lev. 16:4, 32), and yet again, the proposal that Israel should be unto Jehovah “A kingdom of priests, a holy nation” was not fulfilled under the law which made nothing perfect, but was made good to the remnant according to the election of grace who believed on the risen Christ (1 Peter 2:9). Yet such a one as David, found in the ark and its contents that which spoke of Jehovah's presence in holiness and grace amongst His people, so that faith was strengthened and spiritual affections nourished (1 Chron. 15). It is only the overcomer who escapes the corruption of the world through lust and rising to the height of the heavenly calling, that is enabled to feed upon Christ by faith and to realize that all that grace which was so blessedly manifested in Christ here on earth is the present portion of the believer, now that He is gone into heaven. It were easy perhaps to overcome the spirit of the world in its own proper place, but it has to be withstood and overcome amongst the saints, and the Lord's promise to the overcomer in the church at Pergamos appeals with peculiar distinctness to His saints to-day when all the characteristics of that assembly are so clearly marked. “To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna” (Rev. 2:17).
(Continued From P. 144)
(To be continued).

Sinai and Its Terrors: Part 1

From the triumph at the Red Sea was a succession of divine dealings in nothing but grace to Israel, the Gentile at the end, bringing to Moses his wife and sons, and, after offerings and sacrifice, eating bread with Moses and Aaron and all the elders before God.
The words just read which describe its distinctive character with all vividness, were addressed to confessors of Christ. They had been Jews, and still were exceedingly attached to what they called, and what might reasonably seem to be, the covenant. All know that ancestral religion with any show of coming from God, must have no small fascination for the natural heart. Men assume that what God Himself introduced with the utmost solemnity must be the right thing for man to receive and retain at all cost. But this scripture is expressly far otherwise. God was here giving the plainest warning that although His sovereign grace had brought His people out of Egypt, and they had promised to keep His covenant as the condition of being His peculiar people, it could issue in nothing but failure and ruin. None could live by the commandment holy and just and good, because they were all sinners.
How could sinful man be saved by the law? It was not given to save sinners. It was meant to convince such as seriously tried to obey it, that none could stand on that ground before God. Life is of His grace to the believer. We are saved by grace through faith. He that breaks the law must surely die. Hence no matter what helps may later accompany the law, it is said in 2 Cor. 3 to be the ministry of death and of condemnation. Its real aim is to overwhelm the guilty, that they might turn from self and law to the Savior.
Accordingly when man fell in Eden, the divine resource was made known. The bruised Seed of the woman was to. crush Satan's power. It was Christ, not only before the law, but long even before the promises to the fathers. It was the due time to reveal it when the first pair sinned and became outcasts from paradise.
Long after, Israel undertook to obey Jehovah's voice, and keep His covenant. “All that Jehovah hath spoken we will do” (Ex. 19:8). They trusted themselves; they forgot all the solemn witness of the past; they pleaded not the promises to their fathers, still less the everlasting gospel for a lost paradise. On the contrary they made promises to God which sinful man never keeps, and only pretends to in an outward form and with lip homage. There is no reality in it. A groundless hope may buoy up, along with a fearful looking for of judgment. It is terror that rests on men's consciences, and terror is not the way to God or His salvation.
That is what the Epistle to the Hebrews here portrays. The reference is to Ex. 19, & 20, the unmistakable evidence of what all Israel then felt, nay, of what Moses could not but share, and was inspired to state for all time to all that heed the word of God. Such was the inevitable character of God's law-giving at Sinai. It is in vain for men to forget the facts and to imagine a fond dream for religious pride out of what was spoken, seen, and heard at Sinai. God displayed His awful majesty there and then to Israel in a way that was never known in this world before or since. Therefore the Jews boasted of such a beginning of their religion as unparalleled. Only their fathers stood round that Mount of God: but were they not there in abject fear and excessive trembling? Where was there shown the least real knowledge of God? where any true sense of their own state in His sight? What a contrast with him who said, “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear; but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself in dust and ashes” (Job 42:5, 6). How little they owned that they were guilty sinners, and that there could be no approach to God until their sins were judged and blotted out from them!
What the scene at Sinai presented was the certainty of God's judgment of sin; of this the passage I have read is a simple, clear, and solemn declaration. Least of all ought Israel to forget that Jehovah is God armed against sin, a jealous God that visits the fathers' iniquity on the children unto the third and fourth generation of those that hate Him, and shows mercy to thousands of them that love Him and keep His commandments. But how could the sinner appear before God arrayed with such terrors? How was he to get rid of his sins to stand before Him? Not a word to this effect appeared in the ten words God spoke that day. It was but little indeed that He did then say, but every word was beyond doubt tremendous and fatal to the guilty. It was meant to fill the heart of man with terror because of his sins. But it is the goodness of God that leads to repentance; it is faith in our Lord Jesus that gives assurance of salvation.
But alas! it is the sad fact and incurable malady of man's heart as he is naturally, that he thinks, feels, and does everything wrong. The gospel he scouts because it is sovereign and divine righteousness. The law he perverts to make out his own righteousness, though it only pronounces death and condemnation on him. His conscience trembles every now and then before the law of God; but he renews his sins ere long. For if there be nothing more but such a dread of God, after the lightnings and thunders pass man returns to his vomit or to wallowing in the mire; so it is that he perishes.
Hence, even in the early days, when the gospel of grace was first sent out by God, there was a constant tendency among both Jews and Gentiles that confessed Christ, to hanker after the law in one shape or another. So the apostle had to seek the recovery of the Galatian saints, and here was led by the Spirit to set forth to the Jews that professed Christ the true character of the law, and its entire difference from the gospel. It was not merely the unconverted who were in danger but those who had begun well. There is the same peril now.
How often where a man is entirely unexercised about his sins, he is occupied with the sins of others! Thank God, I am not “a swearer,” nor “a drunkard,” nor “a whore-monger,” nor “an usurer.” And because he can acquit himself of the more glaring transgressions of the law, whereof he sees others guilty, he flatters himself that he is in a position by no means bad. If he be also rigid about the Sabbath, paying his debts to the Levite! remembering what is due to the priest, and making an offering to the Temple of God, is he not a good and religious man? There are not a few like this now. The Lord puts that very case into the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax-gatherer. The Pharisee stood and prayed with himself. Here was one thanking God that He was not as other men, extortioners, unclean, unjust, or even as “this tax-gatherer.” Therefore he believed he was righteous and despised others. But the Tax-gatherer, standing afar off would not lift so much as his eyes to heaven, but smote on his breast, saying, God be merciful to me, not merely a sinner, as one of the crowd, but the sinner, who has not a word to say for himself.
How fatal to turn the law, which God gave to prove how man fails, into a means of pretending to righteousness before Him! How blessed to own the truth as to ourselves, and yet to rest upon the mercy that provides a Savior!
Then again, there is another danger. In returning to the law since Christ came and died and rose, it is to abandon the great reality of grace and truth to take up a mere shadow. At that time when the apostle wrote, confessing Jews still brought their sacrifices and offerings and such like ordinances of the law. God had forborne since Pentecost, but He would have these shadows to cease before He swept away temple, city and people from the land, which was really but Aceldama, Blood-field. And the apostle lets them know here that when God pronounced the law at Sinai He showed its death-bringing character. The lesson really inculcated at Sinai was that as a man in the flesh, that is in my natural state, there is nothing for me from the law but wrath. It is quite certain that I cannot live before God save in Him to whom God pointed as Savior from the beginning. “It was for Him that all believers waited. They counted, not on themselves but on the Christ. Yet they accordingly offered sacrifices as a witness and they walked before God, as they worshipped Him, before that Moses was raised up to introduce the Levitical system with all its multiplicity of types and shadows. These were things that they honored as provisional and preparatory to the One whom they awaited.
But God also looked onward to His own Son becoming flesh, and replacing that system by His work on the cross. It was He who was to be incarnate that appeared to tell of grace in the judgment of Satan before Adam's expulsion from the garden of Eden. Directly man transgressed against God, He came there, and spoke to them of another that should take up the cause of man; of another that should be bruised, but should also and completely bruise the old serpent, the devil.
The Deliverer of man, the Seed of the woman, was to be therefore a person far above man, however truly He might become man through the woman, to do His work righteously and suitably to God's glory.
A believing man is rightly called to resist the devil when he tempts! but how can any man apart from Christ bruise the devil under his feet? Only a divine person could really effect that. Hence one is sure that He Who was spoken of when Adam and Eve fell in the garden was none other than the divine person Who deigned to come of woman, and will bruise Satan shortly under our feet.
Very touching it is to know that none other was He who was first Himself to be bruised. Whether He appeared as angel of Jehovah to Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob, it was He that we own now as the Son of God before all that He wrought and suffered in the fullness of time. He became man because in Him alone were the elements of His person united that could adequately meet the exegencies of both God and man. He must be able adequately and perfectly to present man to God, as well as God to man.
Further, He must be man to sympathize with man, no less than to die for him He must be absolutely without sin if He were to become a, sacrifice for sin. He must be the propitiation or atonement for our sins if we are to be righteously forgiven. None of this could come to pass, save in the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross.
(To be continued).

Discipline and Unity of the Assembly: Part 2

The other question to which I adverted at the commencement is the recognition of Christ's body on earth.
The first place the assembly is spoken of is in Matt. 16, “On this rock I will build my assembly, and the gates of hell [hades] shall not prevail against it.” Now building the assembly is not even a mystical union of individuals with the Head in heaven. It supposes a system established on earth—a building—one assembly. The end of the clause is the plainest proof of this: a promise that the gates of hades should not prevail against mystical union with Christ in heaven, to the exclusion of the conditions of a church on earth, is an interpretation which condemns itself. The gates of hades have nothing to say to individual mystical union with Christ in heaven.
In Matt. 18, as we have seen, for the administrative authority of discipline, two or three gathered to Christ's name are sufficient.
I turn to the Acts. Here we see how the assembly was formed. As yet there was no difference between the assembly and assemblies. The Lord had declared He would build His assembly, and He was doing it, There was no idea of the duty of joining a man's self to a community of disciples. A Jew, or a heathen, as soon as Cornelius was called, was converted to have share in the promises and calling of God. He was introduced (I raise here no special questions on the subject) by baptism, most certainly not into any particular assembly. Into what then? Into THE assembly. He was publicly admitted among Christians. And now mark how it is as to the work itself spoken of: “The Lord added daily [to the assembly] such as should be saved.” The Lord added. It was His work, and He added to the assembly. That is what He did with the remnant, preserved according to the election of grace. He did not restore Israel; He added them to the assembly, the nation being about to he cut off. They were put upon earth into this new position; also it was evident that the assembly was upon earth. It was according to the saying, “He died to gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.” Now, if the unity were only the mystical one, if they were believers, they had no need of being gathered into one. They could not be scattered; their unity, as the tract tells us, was constant and unchangeable. Yet Jesus gave Himself to gather them together in one. The fact of baptism being the means of public admission makes the idea of joining a church impossible. The church had put its public sanction on them, and received them; and they had a place, and were bound to take it, wherever they went, in God's assembly.
We may now turn to the church's dealings with them when they were within. The First Epistle to the Corinthians will here afford us divine light.
In the First of Corinthians it is of moment to remark, because it is the epistle in which a local assembly is spoken of as practically in certain respects representing the whole assembly of God, that the epistle is addressed to all believers everywhere—all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. We get a church-character, but the apostle in his address is careful to associate all Christians with those at Corinth. Hence, if one was put out as a wicked person by the assembly at Corinth, he was “without,” that is, outside the whole church of God (not of the body of Christ vitally, but the assembly on earth). Nor can you indeed read the entire epistle without seeing that what was said by the apostle; and consequently done by the assembly at Corinth, was an et valid for the whole body—of saints on earth; that they are viewed as involved in it, as indeed they are expressly mentioned. To say he was only outside the particular assembly, when he was put out of it, is a monstrous and mischievous perversion. When the apostle says “them within,” and “them that are without,” to say that he only means within or without a particular body (“do ye not judge them that are within? them that are without God judgeth"); it is clearly “within,” or. “without,” on earth; and it is clearly not within or without a particular assembly; the difference is between Christians and men of the world. Within and without, that is, applies to the whole assembly of Christ on earth; they were the fornicators of this world, or one called a brother. In Corinth, to be of the assembly they must be of the local assembly, unless in schism; but if called “a brother,” they were of the assembly, not because they had joined that particular body, but because they were Christians not excluded by just discipline.
I now turn to chapter 12., which will make the matter as clear as possible; and, while it shows that a local assembly, viewed in association with all Christians everywhere on earth, practically represents and acts for all saints with the Lord's authority if gathered to His name, yet it shows that the apostle has in mind THE assembly, not an assembly. “But all these worketh one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will; for as the body is one, and there are many members, and all the members of that body being many are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we have all been baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether bond or free, and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.”
The subject of the chapter is spiritual gifts, and the figure of the body is not used in view of mere personal union with Christ (important, yea, yet more important, as that doctrine surely is), but of the Holy Ghost come down from heaven. The church universal is not viewed as in heaven in its Head, but as on earth in its members; they have all been baptized with that one Spirit to make one body: the members are the gifts.
All are members, and the Holy Ghost distributes as He will. Where are these gifts exercised, and to what do they belong? They are exercised, on earth, that is a clear case; there is no evangelizing nor healing of the sick in heaven. But they do not belong to a particular assembly, but to the assembly; and God hath set some in the assembly: first, apostles; secondarily, prophets; thirdly, teachers; after that miracles, then gifts of healing, &c. Now nothing can be plainer or more positive than this. These gifts are exercised on earth; they are set in the assembly; they were not even all exercised in an assembly, as apostles might be preaching to the world. Miracles might be wrought in the world, or healing take place; but they were members of the body who wrought; they were set in the assembly.
This chapter shows in the distinctest manner possible that, while scripture clearly owns local assemblies whose responsibilities and acts we have already considered, the action of the Holy Ghost is viewed as forming and acting in one assembly on the earth, and is viewed only as on earth—to the exclusion of what it will be in heaven, as is evident from the exercise of the gifts, and their nature. The whole scriptural view of the Holy Ghost's operation is denied by the teaching of the tract, as indeed the true nature of a local assembly is also. If Apollos taught at Ephesus, he taught when he went to Corinth. He was a Christian, and thereby necessarily belonged to the assembly of Christians at Corinth, because it was the assembly of the Christians who were there. This does not hinder discipline, but makes the discipline valid as to the whole assembly of God.
If I turn to the Ephesians, more especially consecrated to the instruction of Christians in the highest privileges of individual saints, or of the church, I find the same truth. “Ye are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit;” that is, Jews and Gentiles were reconciled in one body to God by the cross. It was growing to its full result, but there was on earth a habitation of God through the Holy Ghost. Here unity is a great point—one body, one Spirit, one hope. But where is this? On earth. Gifts are given to every one according to the measure of the gift of Christ. When ascended, Christ gave gifts to men—apostles, prophets; evangelists, pastors and teachers, till we all come, &c.
Thus, again, the future heavenly state is excluded. Yet we are to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, for there is one Spirit and one body. The Head being ascended, He has given gifts—not in a church; apostles and evangelists exercised their ministry, the first partly, the latter exclusively, in the world, and the apostles as such clearly belonged to no particular assembly. The idea of the members of an assembly is wholly unknown to scripture. It is used as a figure, and in reference to the human body. We are likened to a body, but that body is the body of Christ; an assembly is not His body, though it may locally represent it. I read, “The assembly, which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all.”
Now, that predicted confusion has come in I certainly am the last to deny; a confusion which makes one feel doubly the comfort of the promise, “Where two or three are gathered together to my name, there am I in the midst of them.” But this becomes a mere self-regulated voluntary association whenever the unity of the body on earth is not owned. They cannot take the scriptures for their guide; they have begun by denying them in the point which established their own position. We are God's husbandry, God's building. Alas! wood and hay and stubble have been built upon the foundation, and perverse men have crept in, and wolves have come, ordinances and legalism have perverted Christendom; but that does not alter God's truth. God has forseen all and provided the path of obedience in the word, and grace for it. And when we deny a scriptural truth, we may be sincere Christians, and do so from prejudice and ignorance; but we deprive ourselves of the blessing and character of sanctification attached to that truth. So where the unity of the assembly on earth is denied, the blessings attached to it are lost, as far as our personal profit goes, and these benefits are nothing less than the action of the Holy Ghost on earth, uniting us as members to Christ, and acting as He sees right in the members down here. To deny the defilement of the assembly by the allowance of sin, and the unity of the body on earth by the presence of the Holy Ghost, is to destroy all the responsibility of the one, and all the blessing of the other, and in these points to make void the word of God. J.N.D.


Memories of the life and last days of William Kelly,
by Heyman Wreford. Svo. Cloth, t. e. g. 1/6 Net.


LONDON: T. WESTON, Publisher, 63, Paternoster Row
Published Monthly

Church in the Wilderness in the Vision of God

ALL this statement of Balaam is of what God would do with His people. Behind Israel's failure God takes up His own thoughts, and acts in His own ways, about them.
First, They are a peculiar people, separate from all other nations unto God (chap. 23:9). “The gifts and calling of God are without repentance.”
Secondly, God will see no evil in them (ver. 21). In the end, Israel will be the testimony that “His mercy endureth forever.”
Thirdly, We have the way in which their beauty and comeliness are seen, as looked at in “the vision of the Almighty” (24:5-9). It is not man's sight of them, but God's.
Fourthly, Speaking of the glory of Israel in connection with Christ in the latter days (vers. 15-25), Balaam says, “I shall see him but not now; I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Scepter shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth. And Edom shall be a possession: Seir also shall be a possession for his enemies: and Israel shall do valiantly. Out of Jacob shall come he that shall have dominion, and shall destroy him that remaineth of the city.” Then he looks at the nations and says, “Amalek was the first of the nations, but his latter end shall be that he perish forever.” Of the Kenites, “Strong is thy dwelling-place, and thou puttest thy nest in a rock; nevertheless, the Kenite shall be wasted until Asshur shall carry thee away captive Alas! who shall live when God doeth this?” The whole power, pride, and energy of the Gentiles are smitten. The “Star,” the “Scepter,” arises, and delivers Israel. The pride of man is brought down, and Christ is set up. And there is the world's history. The great truth of all history is in its connection with God. His people being brought out before the Gentiles, He shows, in the great result, that His gifts and calling are without repentance (Rom. 11). Though He may not interfere for a long time, yet in the end it will be seen that He has taken notice of all that the nations have done; and Christ, in whom His glory and purposes center, shall be set up as King upon His holy hill of Zion (Psa. 2).
In chapter 24 we get out of the region of conflict and questioning into the place where God can look upon His people in their loveliness and beauty: to us the beauty of the church in all Christ's perfectness. The preceding chapter gives us their separation and justification.
As looked at by God (and therefore by faith), the church is dead and risen with Christ. We are quickened together with Him (He having borne all our sins), as out of the grave, where our sins were left. But where the fullness and the finishedness of acceptance in Christ is not known, anxiety and despondency result in the heart of the saint, on the discovery of sin within, and he questions whether he is such. He does see iniquity—he is conscious from the teaching of God that iniquity is in his heart. It is not merely a natural consciousness of sins: the Spirit of God gives him a divine understanding of sin, and of what it is. The power of God's holiness is set up as a throne in the conscience, and he judges himself, as though he were himself to be judged for it. We constantly find souls in this state, miserable, distressed, and anxious, questioning whether they are saved; whether they are in the faith. Now how is this to be disposed of? Clearly not by the taking away of the Spirit, whose work has produced this discovery of sin, but by the eye being directed elsewhere entirely; that is, to the work of Christ for him. It is not by the pulling down of the throne set up within that nearly drove him to despair. By looking to the work of Christ the standard of holiness is exalted, but he sees that he is made the righteousness of God in Christ, and he gets rest. The nearer he is to God, the less will he get rest otherwise, so long as God is God. He is taught to look entirely out of himself, and to understand that the righteousness of God is his by faith in Jesus Christ. When man is manifested to himself, he sees that he is wretched (Rom. 7:24), but man being proved to be bad, this gives way to God's righteousness, &c. The last Adam takes the place of the first in respect of life and judgment. In everything this is true. It will be fully realized in the glory by and by; but faith does not wait for that. Faith does not take even conscience's view of the matter, but God's view, and rests there. The church is seen in God's presence and in God's sight; as here He “has not seen iniquity in Jacob, nor perverseness in Israel.”
Paul, looked at in himself, was “chief” of sinners (1 Tim. 1:15.).
Israel had gone through the wilderness with constant failure, but at the end of the forty years' journey, when Satan resists their entrance into Canaan, God does not see iniquity in them. Moses had said of them in these very plains of Moab, “Ye have been rebellious against Jehovah from the day that I knew you?” But God sees no iniquity; He sees no perverseness.
Experience is not faith. You cannot know an object of faith by experience, you may know yourself by experience. But the experience of what passes in my soul is not faith. I want faith for that which is revealed (that is, in the revelation of God) and not a revelation. No doubt it is felt experimentally, it is not merely a matter of theory. Many a one who had by faith got peace, when he sees his sins again, loses peace. He may have received the grace of the gospel very sincerely; yet, in, measure, his knowledge of it is superficial. He does not see it is applicable to his state. Faith looks not at itself but at God's righteousness in Christ: His grace has judged the whole condition of the sinner; and, resting in His revelation, the soul stands in the consciousness of redemption.
Has God planted us in this condition merely to say, “I am safe?” Is this the end of God? Surely not! But this peace is the basis on which all happy intercourse with God goes on. He cannot have such intercourse with me while He is judging me. Take, by way of example, the parent dealing with a naughty child—there is no intercourse in that; nor can there be any until the child is restored. Correction is not communion. The Holy Ghost's thoughts and revelations are founded on the righteousness God has set the church in in Christ. God has redeemed her” brought her out of Egypt “—charged Himself with the question of her sins. It is not that we should work up to a certain righteousness: there is not a question of righteousness to be allowed. God's side of the matter begins there. We may know terrors first, and it may be well that we should; but God begins with having the church.
See Eph. 5:25-27: “Husbands, love your wives, even as 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 it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” He has loved it, and given Himself for it, that He might work in and about it what He would like to have it. He presents it to Himself, not merely as purified, but more, “a glorious church.”
Well now, our souls ought to follow this; we should start from the point whence God starts—His determination to bless, as it is said, “And when Balaam saw that it pleased Jehovah to bless Israel.” This foils Satan.
To return. Balaam goes not now as at other times to seek for enchantments. He finds himself in the presence of God, and Satan and Balaam can do nothing “There is no enchantment against Jacob, neither is there any divination against Israel.”
So in our case; when it is manifest that God has the church, Satan can do nothing. It is a settled thing. The church is to be a blessed church, and the Holy Ghost can take His stand there, and occupy Himself with her portion, and set before the soul her beauty and glory which are of God.
But Balaam set his face “towards the wilderness” —why? Because the children of Israel were yet in the wilderness. The wilderness was not Canaan, but Israel was there. The world is not heaven nor the glory, but the church is there now; and while the church is in the wilderness, the Spirit of God can take up the parable and show what that church is in God's eye. So here, Balaam is not walking through the tents of Israel, or he would have heard the murmurings and discontent of Israel. He is not in the camp, he is gone up to the top of the hill, and, looking at them with God's eye, what does he see? Israel abiding in their tents according to their tribes. The Spirit of God comes upon him, and he takes up his parable and says, “Balaam, the son of Beor, hath said, and the man whose eyes are open hath said: he hath said, which heard the words of God, which saw the vision of the Almighty, falling into a trance, but having his eyes open: How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, [and] thy tabernacles, O Israel,” &c.
We have to look at God's thoughts about the church. The Holy Ghost speaks of the church, as to what it is to God; and God's thoughts are not merely of the glory of the church in the world to come, but of the beauty, in His mind, of the people in the wilderness.
Would we have happy thoughts about the saints? we must rise up to what the church of God really is to God. We must get “the vision of the Almighty” (the knowledge of the beauty and comeliness of the church in all Christ's perfectness), in order to have our souls soft and tender and humble about what passes around. If we do not see this, we shall not be able to maintain the sense of Christ's love. And, further, unless by the power of the Spirit we get away from circumstances, so as to see the church, and the saints individually, as Christ sees them, instead of seeking to nourish and cherish them as Christ does, we shall be disappointed. This often makes us angry; it should not, but it does. We shall either lower our standard and be content with conformity to the world in the saints, or become discontented and judicial, angry and bitter against them, the flesh being disappointed and vexed. Faith assumes the acceptance of the saints in Christ, while it seeks in the exercise of godly and gracious discipline that they should be maintained and bloom in the fragrance of Christ's grace.
“As the valleys are they spread forth, as gardens by the river's side, as the trees of lign aloes which Jehovah loath planted, and as cedar trees beside the waters.” What a most blessed picture! And could we be happy in seeing them stunted, dishonoring the Lord? The glory of Christ is concerned: He gets His character from us. Paul says to the saints at Corinth (not, “Ye ought to be,” but), Ye are “the epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God.” No, I must grieve when I find in them that which is contrary to their beauty in Christ. They are “as trees of lign aloes,” and “as cedar trees.” It is not merely that God has not seen iniquity in them—He has seen beauty.
Israel were in the wilderness, their enemies all around; but for all that, the table is spread for them in the presence of their enemies; and here are God's thoughts about them, thoughts of comeliness and goodliness; they were “as gardens by the river's side, as the trees of lign aloes.... as cedar trees beside the waters.” “Thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures” (Psa. 36:8). What an unlikely place, the wilderness, in which to look 'or rivers of waters': “He shall pour the water out of his buckets, and his seed [shall be] in many waters, and his king shall be higher than Agag, and his kingdom shall be exalted.”
Balaam was in the very presence of Balak, who would have done anything to bring a curse on the people; and he says, “God brought him forth out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn: he shall eat up the nations his enemies, and shall break their bones, and pierce [them] through with his arrows. He couched, he lay down as a lion, and as a great lion: who shall stir him up? Blessed [is] he that blesseth thee, and cursed [is] he that curseth thee.”
And this is what we have to see in the church, spite of Satan. Though in the wilderness, and in the presence of its enemies, a table is spread for it there. Spite of all the power of Satan, the beauty of the church is this—not in the glory, because there it is not in the presence of Satan; not in the rest, but now—the display of the efficacy of the calling and of the power of God in the presence of Satan, in the very place where Satan rules. The church is set in the efficacy of the fullness of Christ's work. It has failed. But, unless the soul has the consciousness of redemption—the fullness of redemption in Christ, it cannot see this.
We should know that we are the Lord's “garden;” we should have in the wilderness the consciousness of being planted as God's “trees,” and not merely of being saved. God has set rivers of water to flow there—not thence, but there—that though in a dry place, the church should bear testimony to the perfectness of Christ's work, to the infiniteness of the efficacy of Christ's death. What a marvelous miracle of grace is the acceptance of the church! Yes, such is its efficacy, that in this dry and barren land, this land where no water is, the waters of God flow; and God's people have rivers of waters around them to refresh them through it. That a poor wretched creature such as I am should have the Holy Ghost dwelling in me, and be a tree of the Lord's planting, is as great a miracle as bringing me to glory. “Greater is he that is in us, than he that is in the world.” God has put a wall, an unseen wall of grace, around us; and while Satan is deceiving and blinding the eyes of the world, these waters of God supply the saints, watering the plants of His planting inside the fence of God. What a manifestation of divine power and grace!
O beloved, our souls need to see the church, and the saints individually, thus in God's vision, with our eyes open, in the Spirit: otherwise we shall not get into the power of God's thoughts. We do not want “the vision of the Almighty” in order to see that a saint is a saint; neither do we want “open” eyes to discover inconsistencies in the walk of our brethren. We want to rise up and have our eyes open to see, as God sees, this beauty and glory of the church. God is in possession of us.
And remember this was said in the very presence of Balak. It is blessed we should have the certainty of these things in the midst of Satan's power.
What does David say? (Psa. 23). “Thou preparest a table bef