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7. "An Anxious Inquirer," Wincanton. If you compare Matt. 12:31, 3231Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. 32And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come. (Matthew 12:31‑32), with Mark 3:29, 3029But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation: 30Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit. (Mark 3:29‑30) you will clearly see that the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, spoken of by our Lord, was the wickedness of the scribes in charging Him with casting out devils by Satanic power, instead of by the Holy Ghost—u Because they said, he hath an unclean spirit." We know that He was so pure and perfect as Man, that the Holy Ghost came down and abode upon Him, while the voice from the glory was heard, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." Again, in Peter's memorable sermon at Caesarea, he said that "God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power; who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him."
8. " B.," Hunstanton. When Paul speaks of "a castaway," in 1 Cor. 9:2727But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. (1 Corinthians 9:27), he had no uncertainty as to his own personal and eternal safety; for he says immediately before, " I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air." But because he was born of God, and had received the Holy Ghost, he kept his body not for the unbridled lusts of the flesh, but brought it into subjection to God by His truth. Were all this wanting, would preaching to others save him? If, with all his preaching to others, there were the entire absence of vital and practical Christianity, what could save him? Would it not show that he had not been born of God, and had not received the Spirit of God? It is an important point; for some, because they have preached to others, think they will be saved on that account. Far be the thought! For preacher and hearer there is no Savior but Jesus the Son of God; no title to glory for anyone but His precious blood. We are told that some so rely on their doings and preachings, that when consciously shut out from the blessed, many will say to Jesus in that day, "Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils, and in thy name have done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity." (Matt. 7:22, 2322Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Matthew 7:22‑23).)
With regard to the second point in your letter., if you wait on the Lord only, and seek to do His will according to His word, as taught by the Holy Ghost, you will assuredly find clear and certain guidance.
9. "H. D.," Walham. We understand the hymn containing the verse -
"Joyful now the new creation
Rests in undisturb'd repose,
Blest in Jesu's full salvation,
Sorrow now nor thraldom knows"
to be a hymn of joyful anticipation of that eternal scene of undisturbed repose, when " there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." Yes, when "the first heaven and the first earth shall have passed away." The word "now" must be understood as applying to the eternal rest, in contrast with the present now, in which we are indeed passing through sorrow and conflict—harassed by the enemy, in a world of darkness, cruelty, sin, and death. Oh, how blessed, in every sense, the rest that remaineth to the people of God!
10. "Μ. W.," London. We cannot understand why there should be any difficulty in obtaining letters of commendation. If these were needed in apostolic times, how much more so now, when the last days are upon us! There should surely be no carelessness in doing the Lord's will, as revealed in scripture: neither can any right-minded Christian think it a trouble to do that blessed will. We should deprecate departure from Acts 18:2727And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace: (Acts 18:27); Rom. 16:11I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea: (Romans 16:1), 2 Cor. 3:11Do we begin again to commend ourselves? or need we, as some others, epistles of commendation to you, or letters of commendation from you? (2 Corinthians 3:1), by the substitution of any other means. We need to watch against mere expediency. The Lord keep us close to His blessed word.
11. " H.," Detroit, Michigan, U.S. Your kind letter and paper, enclosed, have been received with thanks. May the Lord continue to bless His word to the saving of many souls, and delivering many of His saints from what is contrary to His own truth in the United States! We most heartily thank God for what He has done of late.
12. " T. R. R.," Chelsea. We should be careful not to lower the truth of scripture to a mere book of rules. No doubt God looks for exercise of soul before Him over His word, in dependence on the Holy Ghost, with the view of ascertaining His will, and of doing it in His way. For a Christian to assure his life seems to us not compatible with a life of faith and dependence on God; but it is often an unbelieving contrivance to be independent of God. Sometimes the office fails, and the assurers lose all they have invested. God never fails those who trust in Him. However, about this and similar matters, let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.
In Luke 16:1-121And he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods. 2And he called him, and said unto him, How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest be no longer steward. 3Then the steward said within himself, What shall I do? for my lord taketh away from me the stewardship: I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed. 4I am resolved what to do, that, when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses. 5So he called every one of his lord's debtors unto him, and said unto the first, How much owest thou unto my lord? 6And he said, An hundred measures of oil. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty. 7Then said he to another, And how much owest thou? And he said, An hundred measures of wheat. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and write fourscore. 8And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light. 9And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations. 10He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. 11If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? 12And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own? (Luke 16:1‑12) we see a man of the world acting dishonestly, but wisely, and with reference to possession for the future. It is on the wisdom of these sinful men which our Lord remarks, and admonishes us so wisely to use our substance now for His glory, as to have future reward.
13. " Ε. B.," Castres, (France). We see no reason for questioning the idea of certain angels having special work of guardianship assigned to them, as the words you quote, " their angels," and " his angel," in Matt. 18; Acts 12 The ministry of angels holds an important place in scripture, and we hope, if the Lord will, to call attention to it at another time.
14. "B. S.," Burton. No doubt the marriage of the Lamb will take place before the Jewish remnant receive their Messiah, and the literal application of Luke 12:36, 3736And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. 37Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. (Luke 12:36‑37) maybe so understood; but our Lord's reply to Peter's question of verse 41 gives authority for applying the moral principles of this chapter to ourselves, and they are of the utmost importance.
With regard to the bride, in Rev. 21:22And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (Revelation 21:2), she is looked at in her eternal state; but in the vision which follows from verse 9, she is seen in her millennial state. We must never forget that the language of Revelation is, for the most part, symbolical, and the different sections of this most blessed book passed before the apostle's eye as visions. Waiting on the Lord, to be taught by the Holy Ghost, is the true way of receiving scripture for profit.