Miscellaneous Papers

Table of Contents

1. “the Brethren” Their Origin, Progress, and Testimony
2. To the Children of God Take Heed What Ye Hear Mark 4:24
3. The Kingdom and the Church, Peter and Paul’s Ministry
4. The History of Satan; or, the Devil - His Origin
5. A Holy Day to the Lord
6. Marriage
7. The Advocate
8. The Advocate; or, the Accuser: Whose Side Do You Take?
9. Living Water
10. A Word on Sanctification
11. Christian Walk
12. God
13. Whosoever Believeth That Jesus Is the Christ, Is Born of God
14. God’s Two Gifts
15. The Difference Between the Washing of Regeneration and the Renewing of the Holy Ghost (Titus 3:5)

“the Brethren” Their Origin, Progress, and Testimony

BRETHREN,
Suffer a word of exhortation! The Lord has a controversy with us! At the very moment when we are calling ourselves “The Brethren,” and speaking of our origin, progress, and testimony, the Lord is shaking us to our very center. I am afraid many of us have no higher thought, corporately, than that we belong to the Brethren, who began fifty years ago, and when we compare such a thought with Scripture we cannot find it, except as 1 Cor. 1 shows it to be, a wretched sectarian thought — human wisdom which needs to be judged by the cross. In our conversation together we talk lightly of the sectarian name, Plymouth Brethren, put upon us, and soon, I am afraid, we shall go further and accept it, as a matter of little consequence — it is only a name! Suffice it to say that 1 Cor. 1 utterly condemns it; it strikes at the root of the fundamentals of Christianity, and is a copy of the human wisdom of the Greek philosophers (see chaps. 1 and 2 of 1st Corinthians). It strikes at the root of the true nature of the Church as shown forth in ch. 3. Of God we are in Christ Jesus, who of Him is made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption (1 Cor.1:30). We do not belong to a teacher or a company of teachers, however blessed, but we belong to the Temple of God, and the Holy Spirit of God dwells in it. We are not “The Brethren” (called Plymouth Brethren by sectarians and the world in reproach) who had their origin fifty years ago; but we are “Brethren” amongst the many brethren of God’s large family which existed before; who, by God’s grace, have been delivered from the Church’s Babylonish captivity of many years, and have returned to the original ground, seated in heavenly places in Christ, to confess the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ as the source of unity, the God and Father of the whole family of God scattered or gathered (Eph. 1:1-18); to confess Christ as the Head of His body (Eph. 1:19-23; 2:1-18); and to confess the Holy Ghost as the Builder and Inhabitant of the house of God (Eph 2:19-22). Our origin is not of teachers, however blessed and owned of God, who were used mightily of Him fifty years ago to revive truths long buried amidst the rubbish of the professing Church, but of the God who called Peter, Andrew, and John by His sovereign grace (John 1); who delivered Christ up to death for our offences, and raised Him for our justification (Rom. 4:25); and who afterwards called Saul of Tarsus from the glory, delivered him out of the Jewish and Gentile world which had rejected Christ, and sent him forth from the glory as one united to Christ, to bear witness of His glory and of the union of the saints with Him as His body and bride. Our position is not in a body that had its origin fifty years ago, but in the Christ who, after telling Mary the new relationship formed in the words,
I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God (John 20:17-20),
came into the midst of His assembled brethren, and breathed the peace upon them which He had made for them when He died on the cross, and of which He gave a proof to them in His wounded hands and side. We are in the Christ who breathed peace the second time upon them, as the Son sent from the Father, breathing into them His own life of resurrection, thus connecting them with Himself as the risen Head of the new creation. We are in the Christ who, after this, ascended up on High as man, and sent down the Holy Ghost, as the promise of the Father, to dwell in them. So that now the new fully-established family of God could each, individually and mutually, cry, “Abba, Father!” (John 20:19-22; Acts1:4).
At the same time the Holy Ghost baptized them all into one body, and builded them together to be His habitation on earth. Such is our origin, such is our position! To this family, and to this body, and to this house alone do we belong, and to this we are called to bear testimony, as well as to the One who is the God and Father of it. Oh, noble origin! oh, high descent! Brethren, forget it not; let no man take your crown!
The progress of the Church of God I trust you know well, I need not dwell on it. It spread wonderfully, but, alas! as it spread it declined. Zealous about putting away evil, alas! it left its first love, and the candlestick was threatened to be removed. The evil, stayed for awhile by persecution, broke out afresh in the Church getting joined to the world, by the hired leaders of Christendom. An evil system then sprang up in the very midst of the House of God, teaching idolatry — Babylonish captivity spread over the Church. The truth of the real unity of the body of Christ, and the coming of the Lord, was lost, and all was midnight darkness. The cry of the Reformation sounded and there was a partial coming out, but again lapsing into a name to live and moral death reigning over the profession. Then the Holy and True One’s voice was heard, and a remnant of the sheep followed, and returned to Christ alone. But, brethren, remember, it was a remnant coming back, and not the whole. We are “brethren,” a returned remnant come back to Christ, but not “the brethren,” much less “Plymouth Brethren,” as a new body. Such has been the sad history of “the brethren” and of the House of God. And remember that there is a sad future before the house of God. Laodicean lukewarmness is to follow, and to run on parallel with, Philadelphian trueheartedness to Christ, till He comes. What is the great distinguishing mark between the two circles? It is thus with Philadelphians; Christ is all, and His Word; with Laodiceans, “the brethren” are all, as they say,
I am rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing {Rev. 3:17}.
There is such a thing as an ugly corporate I, which needs judging by 1 Cor. 1, as well as the individual I, the old man of Romans.
Oh, then, let your testimony be simply Christ and His Word, leaving nothing out, not neglecting Peter’s testimony about the rejected Jesus, now exalted, and going to sit on David’s throne, made Lord and Christ, in the meantime, giving salvation and remission of sins (see Acts 2:30-38; 4:10-12; 5:30-32); and thus establishing the kingdom of heaven in its present shape : holding fast Paul’s testimony, as blessedly many of you do, proclaiming an opened heaven, the second man seated there, righteousness and the Spirit ministered from thence, and the Holy Ghost come down uniting believers to Christ in heaven, and to one another on earth, with the blessed hope of the return of the Son of God from heaven, the Bridegroom of His Church, to introduce her into the Father’s house before the judgments, and then to return with Him to reign over the restored earth. Brethren, let its not talk of, our testimony, but proclaim it as the testimony of God, and we shall continue to have the Holy and the True One’s smile. The love of the brethren, Philadelphia, will reign really in our midst, and towards all the scattered brethren; we shall continue to get the open door which no man can shut, and we shall be the only circle of people that, as a corporate thing, will escape the judgments. Philadelphia will cease to exist on the earth when the Lord Jesus Christ returns (see Rev. 3:10). Oh! hold fast the name of Christ; don’t let a false, presumptuous name be put upon you. The beautiful name of Christ the Holy One and True is sufficient, who is not ashamed to call us “His brethren”—but, remember! amongst many other scattered ones, as much “brethren” as ourselves, though not manifesting it together. Again I say, suffer the word of exhortation, and may the faithful God lift up the light of His countenance who hath called us unto the fellowship of His Son. Such is our origin, which, if we are a true witness, we shall bear witness to; such has been the progress of the Church to which we belong, and such is its testimony. But we are only “brethren” (amongst many others who are scattered) who have returned to Christ, to bear testimony to the grace that has called us back, and bears with the whole, and that will bring every brother, scattered or gathered, “the brethren,” to glory.

To the Children of God Take Heed What Ye Hear Mark 4:24

Never were words more needed than the above — at this present time. When on the one hand the claims of a clergy to be exclusively heard meet us, and on the other hand man’s will runs rampant, and anybody and everybody claims to be heard; it is well to get away for a while from the Babel of tongues heard in Christendom, and take our seat at the feet of Jesus, and listen to what He would say to us as to the course we should take in the midst of it all, so as to be able to discern His voice and His messengers, from the voice of a stranger. At His feet once, His own dear disciples were warned,
Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees (Matt. 16:6).
In Mark, He adds,
The leaven of Herod (Mark. 8:15).
This leaven is explained to be the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. The Pharisees may be said to have been the exponents of correct Jewish Ritualism, which was in truth a religion composed of rites and ceremonies ordained of God, till the heavenly things themselves came in, of which the former were a type. The Pharisees, said the Lord, sit in Moses’ seat (Matt. 23:2). They claimed to be the correct exponents of Moses’ law, adding, however, to it a number of their own traditions, and so (as the Lord said) making the Word of God of none effect by their tradition. (See Mark 7:9-13.) The Sadducees, on the other hand, denied resurrection, angels, and spirits (Acts 23:8). The Herodians were the followers of a Gentile worldly king who reigned in the land. Here we have, I have no doubt, the three principles at work in the present day. On the one side, we have a clergy claiming direct descent from the apostles, and standing up for what they call the correct idea of the Church, possessing apostolic succession, clergy and sacraments; at the same time, adding a multitude of traditions and rules to be observed, which practically take the place of, and set aside God’s Word. On the other, we are surrounded by a Rationalism which would take just as much of the Word of God as it likes, and make it bow to human reason. And in the third place, we have worldliness running rampant, a letting Pharisees and Sadducees settle their own disputes, and men giving themselves up to worldly grandeur, ease and luxury. Alas, also, amongst the narrower circle of the real people of God, we are sensible too of men arising, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them (Acts 20:30). In the midst of it all, we have the Lord also speaking, by His own messengers, sent by Himself. How blessed to learn at His feet whom and what we are to hear! From Him, and from Him alone, can we learn how to make our way amid this Babel of tongues.
If we turn to the Word of God, we find two kinds of ministry in the Church of God, namely, “Gift” and “Office.” I quote two scriptures to make this plain.
When He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men, . . . And He gave some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ; till we all come, in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ (Eph. 4:8, 11).
Now, here we find that the gifts of ministry have their Source in an ascended Christ; who, after He was exalted on high, sent down the Holy Ghost, and believers were all baptized into one body. The gifts were for the edifying of that body till it grew up into a perfect man when Christ came again. Thus the gifts of ministry, composed of evangelists, pastors and teachers, (for the apostles and prophets were the foundations,) were to continue for the edifying of the Church till Christ came.
On the other hand, there were the offices of bishop and deacon, mentioned in Timothy and Titus.
This is a faithful saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work (1 Tim. 3:1).
For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree (1 Tim. 3:13).
These were appointed by apostles (Acts 14:23), or by Titus and Timothy, who were sent out by the apostles to do this work. (See Titus 1:5, 7.) The bishops and elders were one and the same (Acts 20:17, 28). Thus the gifts went out direct from Christ, the Head of His body, and were to continue to the end. The official elders and deacons were appointed by apostles or their delegates, ordinarily accompanied by the laying on of hands. The clergy claim their title to be exclusively heard from the latter position. They claim, (at least the Episcopalians,) to have a direct descent from the apostles; that the line descended from Paul or Peter through Timothy and Titus, who sent out others, and so on, the right of appointing elders and deacons being vested in the present bishop. Well, supposing we allow them their claim, let us now look into the Word of God, and see with which order of ministers the truth of God remains.
We turn to the epistle to the Galatians, and what do we find there? An apostle speaks, who claims to be an apostle not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ (Gal. 1:1). He holds his commission as sent out from a glorified Christ, who had died out of the world, and had been raised from the dead by the glory of the Father. And this too in opposition to Judaizing teachers who were claiming connection with the twelve apostles at Jerusalem, and by it, pressing the law of Moses as binding on the Christians. On whose side was the truth? On the side of the minister who claimed to be not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, the glorified Man and Son of God: and what does he insist on? Why, that justification was by faith, without the deeds of the law; that Abraham’s example proved it (Gal. 3:6, 7). That the law did not come in till 430 years after the promise of Christ made to Abraham, and that it could not annul this promise (ver. 17). It was not given for that purpose. It could give neither life nor righteousness, but only the knowledge of sin (ver. 21, 22). It was thus only a schoolmaster till Christ came, and then came the dispensation of faith setting it aside (ver. 23, 25). We are sons of God by faith in Christ, adopted out of the family of Adam, into the family of God; besides God had sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts crying, Abba Father (Gal. 4:4-6). Thus, justification, life, sonship and the seal of the Spirit are all shown to be received by grace through faith. The Christians (Gal. 5) were exhorted to stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ had made them free, walking by faith, and being led of the Spirit (Gal. 5:5, 6, 16). If they did so they were not under the law. Thus he insists on the blessed truths of justification by faith, life in Christ, adoption, and the seal of the Spirit, as well as a walk by faith, and in the Spirit (Gal. chapters 3, 4, 5), against the claims of these Judaizing teachers; and thus links all the blessed foundation truths we have in Christianity with a ministry that is not of man, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ.
We turn now to the Epistle to the Ephesians, and there we have all the counsels of God unveiled to us in regard to Christ, the Second Man, and our place in Him; 1st, as members of the family of God; 2ndly, as the body of Christ; and 3rdly, as the habitation of God through the Spirit (Eph. 1, 2). The Christians were to walk worthy of that vocation (Eph. 4:l), and were to be strengthened in their walk, by the supply of gifts from the Head, apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers (4:11). Here again we have the blessed fact of the highest truths ever unveiled to man, connected for their maintenance with a ministry not of man, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, for the gifts came direct from Him. And let me ask any candid reader whether this is not a fact in the present day, that the highest truths of God revealed in His Word are kept and held dear amongst the people that own such a ministry, who receive all the gifts Christ the Head sends, and who refuse to bear the assumptions of a man-ordained clergy, who although they claim descent from the apostles, cannot find any scripture to establish their claim.
This at once clears the ground from numbers who would claim us to go and hear them. We have seen that all the most blessed truths of Christianity as to justification, life in Christ, the presence of the Holy Ghost, and our position as members of the body of Christ, with the walk resulting therefrom, are connected with the gifts of ministry and not with the offices. In the Epistles to Timothy and Titus, the great subject treated of is the order and government of the house of God. The offices of elders and deacons are connected with this; the position which the clergy claim. But the highest truths brought out in these Epistles, are those of salvation having its Source in a Saviour-God (1 Tim. 1:1), and acting through one Mediator between God and man, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all (1 Tim. 2:3-6), and applied by the Holy Ghost (Titus 3:4-7). Thus the order and government of the Church are founded on grace and flow from God as its source. There was no house of God, no church but for this. Elders and deacons, were not channels for this grace to flow down, but for the maintenance of order in the Church in regard to its government. Thus the clergy, in taking the position of elders and deacons, are totally wrong in making themselves the channels of grace to the people, for these officials were not appointed for this at all, but for order and government in the Church, which indeed the clergy are always talking about, and which is necessary, but not in any way to be substituted for the foundation truths of Christianity.
We will turn back now for a moment to the Epistle to the Galatians (ch. 1:6, 7). There the Christians are warned against the teachers who would press upon them any other gospel than that which Paul preached. If a preacher were to press the law as binding on Christians, either for justification, deliverance from the power of sin, or walk, it is not the gospel of Paul, and the man who preached it was accursed. Let him come with what claims he likes, he is anathema. (Cp. ch. 1:8, 9, with 3:11, 21, 22; 5:5, 6, 16, 18.) Surely the Saviour’s word,
Take heed what you hear {Mark 4:24},
would come in here!
Again (Rom. 16:17), we are to beware of those that cause divisions and contentions contrary to the doctrine we have learnt, and avoid them. What was the doctrine? Why, the good old doctrine that Jew and Gentile were all under sin, but that now the righteousness of God by faith of Jesus dead, risen and glorified was declared for their justification, and that apart from law (Rom. 3:9, 21, 22). That on their reception of Him by faith they were justified from all their sins (Rom. 4:19-25), reconciled to God (Rom. 5:11); delivered from the dominion of sin (Rom. 6), and their Adam condition, getting a new place in Him (Rom. 8:1) before God, who was their righteousness, peace (Rom. 5:1, 17, 18) and eternal life (Rom. 6:23); and the immediate seal of the Holy Ghost (Rom. 8:l6), who bore witness with their spirit that they were sons of God; and on that ground they were to present their bodies a living sacrifice to God (Rom. 12:1). The law, on the other hand, could neither justify, nor deliver from sin’s power: it could only prove guilty (Rom. 3), and give the knowledge of sin (Rom. 7). Now what do we find in Christendom generally? The utmost truth held is justification by faith, and that only from sins (Rom. 3, 4), and the law brought in afterwards, as binding, either to make perfect, or as a rule of life, instead of Christians seeing their place in Christ, (Rom. 8:1), they having died to sin, and having been made alive to God in Him (6:11). Thus by the word are we made to take heed again what we hear.
In Col. 2:8, the Christians were warned lest any man should spoil them through philosophy and vain deceit, after the traditions of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. Gentile philosophy, with its claims to superior knowledge, and which expressed itself in a voluntary humility and worshiping of angels (Col. 2:18), and Jewish Ritualism, with its meats and drinks, and observances of days, were making inroads amongst them. But the Christians were shown their place as dead and risen with Christ, and as being complete in Him who was the Head of the assembly, as well as of all things; so that why was it, if they had died with Christ out of the world, that they were subject to these ordinances as though they were living in it? There were none of these strange doctrines and rites and ceremonies in heaven, and if they were risen with Christ, they were to seek those things which were above where Christ sat at the right hand of God (Col. 2:20; 3:1, 2). How blessedly simply it is, dear believers, to see that the death of Christ has delivered us from this Babel of strange tongues, and that by His resurrection, ascension, and the descent of the Holy Ghost, we are introduced into a scene where Christ reigns supreme, the Head and Center of a new creation, supplying us with the gifts of ministry He sends for our edification.
In 1 Tim. 6:3-5, we have a warning on the other hand when everybody claims to be a teacher:
If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according, to godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh evil, strife, railings, evil surmisings; perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness; from such withdraw thyself.
This no doubt is in connection with the truth brought out in the Epistle. Timothy had been left at Ephesus to charge certain people to hold no other doctrine than that Paul had taught (1 Tim. 1:3). The end of the charge was, 1ove out of a pure heart and a good conscience and faith unfeigned (ver. 5). Some were turning away from this to Judaism, desiring to be teachers of the law ( ver. 6, 7). The true use of the law is then given, as it may be used always, even now that Christianity has been introduced, showing it was not made for a righteous man, but for the ungodly, etc., and contrasting it with grace, of which the apostle was an example ( ver. 8-17). Timothy was to hold fast faith and a good conscience, and then the charge is developed. Intercessions were to be made for all men, for kings and those in authority, on the ground that God was the Saviour-God, willing that all should be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2:1-7). God’s dealings with the world were on the basis of pure grace, but this was also the foundation for the order of the house of God which is now taken up. The man and the woman were to keep their proper place (ver. 8-15). The qualifications for bishops and deacons are shown. Timothy was thus to know how to behave himself in the house of God, the pillar and ground of the truth. Christ was the Center of all this, and of the truth according to godliness (l Tim. 3). There would be departure from this faith in the latter days (1 Tim. 4), fables and genealogies would come in, but Timothy was to hold fast this godliness, or piety, which was profitable for this life as well as for the next. If anybody speaks without regard to the doctrine which is according to godliness, as brought out in this Epistle, he is in danger of coming under the warning of ch. 6:3-5, by subverting the order of the house of God.
In regard to those causing sects and divisions, we have the rule in Titus 3:10: A man that is an heretic (or a man making sects, or a party in the Assembly), after the first and second admonition reject, knowing that he that is such is subverted and sinneth, being condemned of himself.
In 2 Pet. 2:1, we are warned likewise against false teachers who privily would bring in damnable sects, even denying the Lord that bought them. This is evidenced around us, in men pressing a certain amount of truth perhaps as to the Lord’s coming, and then connecting their victims with the damnable doctrines of the denial of the everlasting punishment of the wicked, universal salvation, as well as the denial of the adorable Lord’s Person, either as to His deity or manhood or work of atonement. Fire is not fire, such men say; everlasting does not mean everlasting! Thus the evil begins. But as to these we have the comfort of knowing that the Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptation and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished (ver. 9). The two great marks of evil in connection with such teachers are, walking in uncleanness and despising government, rule, and authority (ver. 10).
The apostle John also warns the little children against the many antichrists who had already appeared; who either denied the Person of Christ according to the Jewish form of unbelief which denied that Jesus was the Christ, i.e. the Anointed (Prophet, Priest and King); or the Gentile form which denied the Father and the Son, who as God was the revealer of God in this character (1 John 2:22, 23), or else they denied Him in His manhood (1 John 4:3). A woman was forbidden to receive any one not bringing the doctrine of the Christ into her house. If she did she was partaker with him of his evil deeds (2 John 10-13). Gaius on the other hand is commended for receiving the brethren who preached the truth, and who went forth receiving nothing of the Gentiles, whilst the clerical claims of Diotrephes who would hot receive them and would cast such out of the Assembly (3 John 5-10) are disallowed.
Lastly, the Christians are found fault with in Rev. 2:14, for allowing those who held the doctrine of Balaam to be amongst them, as well as that of the Nicolaitanes. Balaam was a prophet who was hired for pay by Balak, a worldly king, to curse the people of God, and failing in that (God turning the curse into a blessing), he taught the king how to mix up Israel and Midian together; which in principle is joining the world and the Assembly together. This is called spiritual fornication, by God; for she who was espoused as a chaste virgin to Christ has been taught by her teachers that it is no sin for the Assembly and the world to be joined together in its worship and ordinances. (Cp. Num. 22–25 and 31:1-8.) The doctrine of the Nicolaitanes was most likely the turning the grace of God into lasciviousness. If any one makes use of the grace of God to give him license to sin, he is denying the only Master and Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, as Jude says (ver. 4). So the Assembly in Thyatira (Rev. 2:18) are found fault with, for suffering that woman Jezebel who called herself a prophetess to teach and seduce God’s servants to commit fornication and to eat things offered to idols. Jezebel was a foreign queen, daughter of the king of Sidon, whom Ahab, king of Israel, took to wife, and was led with the priests, by her influence, into the idolatrous worship of Baal. (See 1 Kings 16:30-33.) This is mostly exhibited in the Roman Catholic system.
Thus, beloved, we have been sitting at the feet of Jesus for a while, and do not let any one say it has been waste of time. Our path by it has doubtless been much narrowed, but if it be to draw us closer to our Head, and to make us satisfied with His care for His members, we shall not have got harm. I don’t forget the danger of narrow sectarianism, which under plea of Christ’s honour would drive us only to receive some of Christ’s gifts, as was evidenced in the Corinthian church, and against which Paul speaks in 1 Cor. 3. No, I have no fear of putting before the saints, with the Word of God in their hands,
all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, etc., all things are yours, and ye are Christ’s and Christ is God’s (1 Cor. 3:21-23);
but on the other hand if those gifts would connect us with, or draw us into a position which is contrary to God’s Word, and bring us under any such teaching of which we are to beware, we, for Christ’s honour, are bound to beware; and to remember the simple rule given us in Jeremiah who walked in the midst of the ruin of Israel;
Let them return unto thee, but return not thou unto them (Jer. 15:19).
And now in conclusion let me remind the saints in a few words of the glorious truth which belongs to them. There are three chief points I would press: first, Christ’s redemptive work, His death and resurrection. Secondly, His place at the right hand of God, and the descent of the Holy Ghost. Thirdly, His coming again. Beloved have you made good in your own souls, such a Christ? First, as called of God, do you know the value of Christ’s death and resurrection for you? Are you justified? Have you peace with God? (Rom. 5:1, 2.) Have you at any time of your life seen yourself to be nothing but a guilty sinner? And then, having been brought face to face with God’s justice, have you found that that righteousness was for you as displayed in the glorified Christ, justifying you freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Him (Rom. 3:19-24). Have you seen how you are justified on your side by simple faith in His Person and work, and consequently not by the works of the law (ver. 27, 28), so that now you are among the blessed ones whose iniquities are forgiven, whose sins are covered, and amongst those to whom the Lord will not impute sin (Rom. 4:6, 8). Yes, dear believers, Christ was delivered up to death for our offences and was raised for our justification. If the righteous Judge has cleared our Substitute from all charge, of course we are cleared through Him, and the result is peace, access into a new place in the risen Christ, and we boast in hope of the glory of God (Rom. 4:25; 5:1, 2).
Secondly, do you know the value of Christ’s ascension as man to the right hand of God, given you from thence as God’s gift of righteousness and eternal life, and of the descent of the Holy Ghost, which on the one hand gives you a positive righteousness before God, and on the other hand unites you in a new nature (given to you when first called to God,) to Him who is gone up there, so that you are in Christ, and Christ in you by the Holy Ghost? (Rom. 8:1, 2, 9; Eph. 2.) Three chief blessings result from this. First, Christ is in you, and you are not in the flesh (Rom. 8:9, 10). Secondly, the Holy Ghost gives you the knowledge of the Father and of the Son, and of your place in Him, He being the promise of the Father (cp. Acts 1:4; Rom. 8:16). Thirdly, He baptizes all believers into one body, so that they are members of Christ and of nothing less (1 Cor. 12:12; compare with Acts 1:5; 2:1-3). Oh, believers, let me repeat the question, Do you know that God has given you another gift besides the gift of His Son, and that the gift of the Holy Ghost? The one, His Son, entirely outside you; the second inside you, and making good in your very soul all the blessings that you have by faith in the other gift. Yes, believer, if you have received Christ in glory, you are not only cleared from all guilt and have peace with God through His dying for your sins and rising for your justification, but you have a positive present heavenly place in Him, whom God has glorified as man; and the Holy Ghost having come down from heaven, you are united to Christ; you are not only in Christ, but Christ is in you; you are dead and risen with Him (for that ascended Christ brought into your soul by the Holy Ghost is the dead and risen One); you have the knowledge of all things freely given to you of God (1 Cor. 2:12); of sins having been put away forever (Heb. 10:15, 17); sonship, adoption (Rom. 8:15, 16), besides, He makes you a member of the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:12). You walk by faith on the Son of God (Gal. 2:20); and by the Spirit you are led (Gal. 5:18), who gives you power also to mortify the deeds of the flesh, which still remains in you, though now you reckon it dead (Rom. 8:13, 14); besides, the same Spirit is the sure earnest to you that you will have a raised body like the Lord Jesus, for He dwelt in Him as man, and now dwells in you to raise you up should you die as He raised Christ up. (See Rom. 8:11.) Oh, may God give every dear believer to see his union with Christ by the Holy Ghost!
There is an additional point of truth which is important in connection with the Son of God’s glorified place at the right hand of God; and that is our sanctification as seen in the Epistle to the Hebrews. He in that new place sets aside the claim of angels, who were the dispensers of the law, and of every other man; and communicating His resurrection Life, gives the believers the place of sanctfied brethren, having delivered them by His death from the power of Satan, and made propitiation for their sins (Heb. 1, 2). He is then displayed as their Heavenly Captain leading them across this world to the heavenly rest of God; their High Priest acting for them by His Word, sympathy, and intercession (Heb. 3, 5); as High Priest after the order of Melchisedec  setting aside the Aaronic priesthood (Heb. 5–7); ministering in the heavenly sanctuary, and so setting aside the earthly one. From thence He displays the ministry and blessings of the new testament in spirit, on the ground of the blood of His one sacrifice which has once and for ever taken away our sins, perfected the conscience of all who believe, of which the Holy Ghost is the witness (Heb. 8–10). Thus Christians are sanctified priests, set apart from the earthly priesthood, earthly sanctuary, the law and its sacrifices, which could not take away sins nor perfect the conscience of believers. Our path as the result is to walk in practical sanctification as children of the Father, going to Christ outside the camp of Judaism, bearing His reproach (Heb. 12–13).
Thirdly, Christ is coming again.
There are three chief points I would press in regard to it. First, it is a personal coming. Jesus Himself the Son of God, as the Bright and Morning Star, is coming (Rev. 22:7, 12, 16; 1 Thess. 1:10). Secondly, the resurrection of the body of the saints then takes place (1 Thess. 4:16), but it is a resurrection from amongst the dead, as Christ’s was; the rest of the dead (the wicked) are left behind in their tombs (1 Cor. 15:20, 23; Phil. 3:11 ). Thirdly, it is a resurrection of life and not of judgment (John 5:24, 29), of salvation and not of damnation (1 Thess. 5:9), so that when we appear before the judgment seat of Christ, which will take place afterwards, to receive our rewards or to suffer loss (1 Cor. 3:15), we shall be as perfect as Christ is perfect (2 Cor. 5:1-10). Christian, this is your glorious hope! (Titus 2:13). Yes, Christ is coming again! Then the dead saints shall be raised, the living shall changed, and we shall be all caught up together to meet the Lord in the air, and so be for ever with the Lord (1 Thess. 4:14-18), to return with Him to judge the world. (Cp. 1 Thess. 5:1-9, with 1 Cor. 6:2, 3.) Oh, dear believers, think of it! Christ, a real Person, the same Jesus who lived down here and died, who rose and went up on high, is coming again. I verily believe many saints have no idea that Christ is a real Man at the right hand of God, and coming again! A Christian said to me the other day, that he only thought of the risen Christ as a spirit! Oh, the darkness that is abroad! May God wake the saints up and make them take heed what they hear! Yes, dear saints, Jesus is coming, and coming as the Saviour of the body for every saint. No judgment for us. That is all settled at the cross. Unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation. I Jesus am the Bright and Morning star, and the Spirit and the bride say, Come (Rev. 22:16, 17). May the Lord lead His dear saints fully to accept such a Christ, and to test those they hear more by the doctrine they bring, and less by a position in the Church given them by man.

The Kingdom and the Church, Peter and Paul’s Ministry

A kingdom is a circle of country and people that own a king as their head of government, such as Great Britain, Italy, &c. The kingdom of Israel in David’s day was the people of Israel, who submitted themselves to David’s rule. He was their king. The kingdom of the heavens, then, signifies a circle of people on earth who own heaven’s rule; the kingdom of God, God’s rule. The former being more objective, the latter subjective; that is, the one rather connected with the King, who is in heaven, the latter with the presence of God on the earth. These are the two general titles given to the kingdom in the gospels.
When the throne of the Lord was moved away from Jerusalem, owing to the departure of Israel from Jehovah into idolatry, the government of the earth was handed over to Gentile rule, of which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon was the first and best type. To him the God of heaven gave power, and rule, and authority; but not His presence, like He did by the Shechinah {the glory- cloud} in Jerusalem. He calls Himself the God of heaven; not the God of the earth, like He did when Joshua’s triumphant hosts were crossing the Jordan. But the Gentile rulers — as is always the case with man — perverted the authority God gave them; they have practically acted like wild beasts, as we see later on in Daniel they are likened to, and would act like that till Christ came again, then they would know that the heavens ruled.
Thus we have three forms the kingdom took in Old Testament Scripture, as seen in the books of Kings and Chronicles and Daniel. First, the kingdom of the Lord in the hands of David, Solomon, and their successors till the Babylonish captivity. Secondly, the kingdom, as handed over to Gentile rule, and carried on by four successive empires, the Babylonish, Medo-Persian, Grecian, and Roman empires. Thirdly, the God of heaven at the end setting up a kingdom that never should be destroyed; that is, the millennial kingdom, when Christ comes back again to reign.
But before the king could come to reign, He must come the first time, as Jehovah-Savior, to suffer, as Matthew’s gospel clearly brings out. He came in due time, according to prophecy, the true Son of David, and Son of Abraham, the heir of the throne of Jerusalem, and of the promises made to Israel as a nation (see Matt. 1:1), but was rejected by Israel. The kingdom was therefore put off, and took a new shape consequent on His rejection by Israel; the keys were committed to Peter as the great administrator of it; it took a mysterious form on account of the rejected king being in heaven and away from it, and was to go out to all nations. Jew, Samaritan, Gentile, who submitted to the claims of the King in baptism, became its subjects; it has grown up to what Christendom is now; but by-and-by, after the church is gathered out, which by the way is going on at this same time, there will be a purging process, all wickedness will be purged out, judgment will be poured out, Israel will be restored, the King will come again, and set up the kingdom in power, and reign with His church for a thousand years.
After this, when all power, and authority, and rule are put down that are contrary to Christ, the wicked dead will be raised and judged and put into the lake of fire; and the Son will then deliver up His kingdom to God and the Father, that God may be all in all. This is the eternal state. It will be still the kingdom of God, not the kingdom of heaven. This is a brief sketch of the whole, so that my reader may enter into the plan of my paper.
Dan. 2:44. The God of heaven, then, according to prophecy, was going to set up a kingdom in the time of the fourth empire’s rule which should never be destroyed. This is no doubt the Messianic kingdom, which will succeed the Roman empire in its last form divided into ten kingdoms.
But, as I said, before the King could come to reign, He must come the first time as Jesus to suffer. A virgin must conceive and bear a son, and they should call His name Emmanuel, that is, God with us. This is the grand subject of the Gospel of Matthew, which its first chapter introduces to us. Man was also fully to be tested, so as to bring out all the more the necessity for the death and resurrection of Messiah to come in, as the basis on which the kingdom in power was to be set up.
Tried without law, under the light of creation and conscience, man had been found lawless (Rom. 1:18, and 2:1-16). Tried under law in the Jew, he had broken it (Rom. 2:16, to the end). Now that the King had come in grace and presented Himself as the Son of Abraham, the Son of David, to fulfill the promises made to Israel, would the nation accept or reject Him? He is born in Bethlehem, according to the prophecy in Isaiah. Gentiles come to His light, and kings to the brightness of His rising from the east; but alas! an apostate Edomite king reigns in the land, who seeks to kill the new-born King, and thus fulfils Jeremiah’s prophecy (Matt. 2:17, 18). He flees into Egypt, begins anew the history of Israel, according to the prophecy in Hosea:
Out of Egypt have I called my Son {Matt. 2:15, see Hos. 11:1}.
The nation is not ready for Him either; John the Baptist is sent as His messenger to prepare His way; Repent, he says to the people, for the kingdom of the heavens is at hand. The result is that a number take the place of death and judgment in Jordan, by the baptism of repentance, and thus wait for the King’s approach. The Pharisees reject John’s baptism. Suddenly the King appears, but as Jesus, that is, the God of Israel become a man to die for His people’s sins, and fulfilling all righteousness, meets the repentant remnant in the place of death, comes out again, and heaven salutes Him as God’s Beloved Son, whilst the Holy Ghost anoints Him for His office.
He is now led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil; He refuses to satisfy His own hunger by a miracle, to prove Himself Messiah to the Jews in the same way, by casting Himself down from the pinnacle of the temple, and to take the kingdoms of the world from the devil’s hands, before the time. Satan flees, and the Anointed One returns in the power of the Spirit into Galilee to call the people to repentance, and to preach His own kingdom. He announces its righteous principles in Matt. 5, 6, and 7; gives proofs of His being the Anointed in Matt. 8 and 9; sends out others to preach the same thing in Matt. 10; but is rejected, Matt. 11 and 12, and pronounces woes on the cities that rejected Him. The empty house out of which the unclean spirit had departed would not receive the King, a greater than Jonas and Solomon, consequently would have a greater judgment. All natural relationship is now disowned. The disciples only were His brothers, sisters, and mother.
We have a clear division here in our gospel. The King has offered Himself to His own nation and is practically rejected. Matt. 13 introduces a new phase of the kingdom.
A sower goes forth to sow. He sows in a field, which further down is interpreted as the world. A new thing is begun, and in a new sphere. Chapter 13 gives us what are called the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. It is the form the kingdom takes consequent on the King being rejected by the Jewish nation. Under seven parables its progress and aspects during the present time are seen, beginning with the parable of the sower, as introductory. The kingdom of heaven, then, in its present form is produced by the sowing of the word in the hearts of men. In the parable of the wheat and tares is shown its establishment in the world, of which the field is the type, and the opposition of the enemy in sowing tares. This closes with judgment and purging at the end of the age. The evil example of the professed servant of Christ using the civil power to root the tares out of the world, that is, put the heretics to death, is here spoken against. This has nothing to do with putting evil persons out of the church. This is clearly the church’s duty as shown in 1 Cor. 5. Here it is rooting heretics out of the world, that is, putting them to death, as the pope and others in power often have done against the Lord’s word. Both are to remain together till the harvest, at the end of the age, when the angels will come forth and sever the wicked from amongst the just, the righteous, that is, the saved during the present dispensation, wilt then shine forth in the heavenly part of the kingdom, that of their Father, and the Son of man would take the earthly part.
The third parable, or that of the mustard seed, shows the outward growth of the kingdom in the world from a very small beginning; and the fowls of the air, type of unclean things, lodging in its branches.
The parable of the leaven shows the hidden working of leaven, or evil mixed with the pure meal — pure meal a type of the word of God. A mixture of false doctrine with the true, leavening the mass.
In the two following parables, spoken to the disciples alone in the house, we have an inner view of the kingdom as shown in the treasure and pearl. Christ, for the sake of the treasure, hid in the world, gives up all He had to buy that field — seeking goodly pearls and finding one of great price, He sells all that He had to purchase it. Oh, what love this brings out in Christ to the church, hidden and beautiful in the midst of the world. May we realize at what a cost He has bought us!
Lastly, the kingdom net takes out of the sea, that is, the nations, a multitude of fish, bad and good. It is drawn to shore, the good are put into vessels, the bad are cast away. The explanation of the parable gives pretty much the same result as took place in that of the wheat and tares, the angels come and separate the bad from the good, and the latter are left for the millennial earth. We must always remember that these are similitudes of the kingdom and not of the church, which will be translated to heaven before. Thus Matt. 13 gives a general sketch of the kingdom of heaven since the Savior’s day. It began with the sowing of the word, it was then established in the world; owing to unwatchfulness, it then partook of a mixed character, tares being sown in. Outwardly it became a great tree, but hidden corruption leavened the mass. There was, however, a hidden reality in its midst, as pictured by the treasure and pearl. Even outwardly it was but a gathering out of the nations, not universal, before Christ’s second coming, and finally a separation between bad and good.
In Matt. 16 the Lord refuses to give the Pharisees any sign but that of Jonas the prophet, that is, himself thrown overboard by the world, but raised by the power of God. He then warns His own disciples against the evil doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees, which He likens to leaven, and draws attention to Himself, first, by asking His disciples men’s opinion of Him; and then, secondly, by asking whom they said He was? Peter confesses Him as God’s Anointed, the Son of the living God, upon which the Lord commends him, and gives for the first time the revelation of the church to be built on this confession of Peter, against which the gates of Hades should not prevail. He also hands over to Peter the keys, that is, the administration of the kingdom of heaven, in the new form it was to take consequent on Christ’s rejection, as we have seen pictured in Matt. 13, and commands the disciples not to give any further testimony to the Jews that He was the Anointed. He then goes on to speak of the cross, as necessary to come in, before the church and kingdom could be set up; the path to the kingdom in glory, which is introduced at the end of the chapter, must be by the practical denial of self, the taking up of the cross and following Him. Then the kingdom in power would be set up, as we see figured in the scene in the mount of transfiguration.
Thus the assembly of Christ, and the kingdom of heaven under Peter’s administration, were to replace Israel on the earth; both founded on Christ crucified by the world, but raised by the power of God. The kingdom in power and glory would come in its time, but the present way to it was by identification with Christ in His rejection, taking up the cross and following Him.
The church, then, as Christ builds it, holds a secret and inner place in the kingdom of heaven. Christ builds it and keeps it in His own hands. The stones are attracted to Him as the foundation, and are built upon His dead, risen, and ascended Person, a spiritual house. Only real Christians belong to it in this aspect. (See 1 Pet. 2:4, 5.) Christ builds it and keeps it in His own hands. The power of the devil is exerted in vain to destroy it. The foundation was the rejected Messiah of Israel, raised to glory, and there revealed as the Son of the living God, communicating eternal life to all who believed, and bringing them into the family of God, as well as revealing the Father.
The scene of the mount of transfiguration gives us the third aspect of the kingdom in picture, namely, as set up in power and glory upon the return of the Messiah in glory and majesty.
Jesus takes up Peter, James, and John into a mountain apart, and is transfigured before them. His face shines as the sun, His raiment is white as the light. Moses, the representation of the law, and Elias of the prophets, shine as His attendants in the glory of the kingdom. The disciples stood with Jesus on the mount. So the Old Testament saints and the New, as raised from the dead, or translated to heaven without dying, will have their place in the heavenly part of the kingdom. Other saints will form the earthly part, with Jesus and His heavenly saints reigning over them. That this is no fancied picture may be known from 2 Pet. 1:16-18:
We have not followed cunningly devised fables,
he says,
when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eye witnesses of his majesty, for he received from the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, and this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.
Thus Peter in this epistle confirms the Lord’s word, that the mount of the transfiguration gives a picture of the kingdom set up in power, on the return of the Son of man from heaven. Psa. 8 had prophesied that into the hands of the Son of man would be committed universal dominion, and here is the picture of it.
To sum up, then, what has been brought forward, Matt. 1 to 12 gives us the kingdom of heaven offered to the Jewish nation and rejected. Matt. 13 gives a sketch of the form it has taken consequent on Messiah’s rejection, showing that at the close the angels would come forth, and purge out of His kingdom all things that offend, and separate between the good and evil, removing the latter out of the scene by judgment. Matt. 16 shows that the church of Christ would be built and gathered out at the same time, which was an inner circle of reality, against which the gates of Hades should not prevail, at the same time to Peter is committed the keys or administration, of the kingdom of heaven. Matt. 17 shows us, by the scene on the mount of transfiguration the power and second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, attended by His raised and translated saints, Himself reigning with them over His earthly ones. This last aspect will be introduced by the return of the Son of man. All this is the kingdom of heaven, first offered and rejected, then set up in mystery during the present time, whilst the King is in heaven; lastly set up in power over the earth upon His return.
Matt. 18, 19, and 20 give us present principles as to it, consequent on the rejection of the King, whose rejection is again mentioned in Matt. 17:22, 23. To enter into it there must be conversion, and becoming as a little child, to be greatest in it was to be most like a child. This spirit would be tested. The one that received a child in the name of Christ received Him, and the one that stumbled one of the youngest that believed in Jesus, it were better for him that a millstone were hung about his neck and he cast into the sea. The Son of man had come to save the lost, even children, thus they had a place in the kingdom of heaven, which is confirmed in Matt. 19:13, 14. In the middle of the chapter, the assembly is again referred to as the final place of reference in regard to the disputes between brethren in the kingdom; and to the assembly was committed the power of discipline, of binding and loosing. Where two or three were gathered together to the Lord Jesus Christ’s name, there He was in the midst {Matt. 18:20}. The spirit of a little child, the spirit of grace and of forgiveness was to characterize the professed subjects of the kingdom now. Thus the assembly is again seen as an inner circle in the midst of the kingdom of heaven.
The original order of creation was also to be preserved in respect to marriage; the principle was, God had joined the man and woman together, and so the marriage tie was never to be dissolved except for fornication. As to riches, the law permitted them, and they were a sign of blessing to a godly Jew; but now the King was rejected, riches were to be left and the King followed. This was the way into eternal life; the way into the kingdom set up in power at the end.
Matt. 21 to 23 give the final presentation of the King and His rejection. He is betrayed, crucified, buried, and on the third day raised front the dead. He appears amongst His poor remnant in Galilee, whom He is not now ashamed to call His brethren; and as the One to whom all power is committed in heaven and earth. He sends them forth from Galilee to disciple all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, which has been the grand formulary of baptism in connection with the kingdom of heaven ever since, and will continue till the King’s return.
The Acts of the Apostles give us the establishment of the kingdom of heaven, and of the church amongst Jew and Gentile, consequent on rejection of the King by the Jews. The Lord in answer to the question put to Him by His disciples, as to whether this was the time when He would restore the kingdom of Israel, answered that it was not for them to know the times and the seasons, which the Father had put in His own power. But they should receive power after that the Holy Ghost should come upon them, and they should be witnesses unto Christ, both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth. He thus intimated that the presence of the Holy Ghost on earth was for an interval to replace Judaism, and that it would not be till after that interval that the kingdom would be restored to Israel, and set up in power.
The Lord then ascended to heaven, and upon the intimation by the angels that He would in like manner return, the disciples return to Jerusalem and await in prayer the promise of the Father. Acts 2 gives us the account of the descent of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost, and the formation of the church of God. Peter, as the great administrator of the kingdom, is prominent in the testimony. He preaches a marvelous discourse on the three names, Jesus, Christ, the Lord, as setting forth the glories of the Person he was speaking of, and charging home on the Jews the sin of having rejected Jesus, he declares that God had made Him Lord according to Psalm 110, and Christ from Psa. 16. He was the same Person David thus spoke of, raised from the dead to sit on David’s throne: and sitting at the right hand of God till His enemies were made His footstool. Pricked in their heart, numbers say, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Repent, says Peter, of your awful sin of having rejected God’s Anointed, and be baptized unto the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, for the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. The result of this appeal was that three thousand received the word and were baptized unto the name of God’s rejected King, thus owning likewise His lordship. By His death and resurrection they were brought on new ground, having thus saved themselves from the Jewish nation as a whole. The kingdom of heaven was set up in a new form, and all who in baptism bowed to the claims of Him whom God had made Lord and Christ, became the professed subjects of the rejected King. The children of the believers had their part in it. The Holy Ghost came as a consequent thing on those who had repented and were baptized; introducing them into the church, the body of Christ. In chapter 3 Peter adds to the testimony, that if the Jewish nation repented, God would send Jesus again, and set up the kingdom in power over Israel, raising the dead bodies of His saints at the same time. This testimony was rejected, and ended with Stephen’s martyrdom.
I would now press on my reader the importance of well distinguishing between the kingdom of heaven, set up and administered through Peter’s ministry, and the church composed, as we saw in Matt. 16, only of those whom Christ built in, living stones, and composed of those baptized by the Holy Ghost. It is the confounding of the kingdom and the church, as Christ builds it, that has led to the enormities of Rome, which church, pressing Peter’s administration of the kingdom and applying it exclusively to herself, at the same time says she is the body of Christ, and all outside her are damned. All these professed Christians, in order to reconcile matters, say that in baptism all are regenerated, that is, born again, and become members of Christ. Now going through the Acts we shall see that baptism is always connected with the administration of the kingdom, not with admission in the church. It is the baptism of the Holy Ghost that admits into the latter. (See 1 Cor. 12:13; Acts 2:4.) Ananias and Sapphira were at best doubtful members of Christ, but there is no doubt that by baptism they had been brought into the kingdom.
But Acts 8 brings out the matter still clearer. We read that after Stephen’s death, all the assembly at Jerusalem were scattered except the apostles. Philip went down to Samaria, and preached the Anointed to them.  My reader may remember that the Lord had borne witness to the woman of Samaria, that He was the Anointed, in John 4, though chiefly in the character of Prophet and Priest, that is, the Prophet come down to reveal to her God’s mind as to salvation, and God’s Priest come to change the order of worship. But Philip’s testimony, no doubt, was to Him as God’s King rejected by the world, but exalted in heaven and coming again to reign. He preached the Christ unto them. The people gave heed, amongst them Simon Magus the sorcerer. And when they believed Philip preaching the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized both men and women. They were thus brought into the kingdom by faith and baptism. But in ver. 16 we read that the Holy Ghost had not as yet fallen on any of them, only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. They bowed to His name as Christ and Lord, in baptism, but had not yet received the Holy Ghost. Afterwards they received it through the laying on of the hands of the apostles, Peter and John. Simon Magus was brought into the kingdom but not into the church.
Thus here we have evidently an outer circle of privilege and responsibility, where Jesus was owned as the Anointed and Lord; but those in it needed another baptism, that is, that of the Holy Ghost, before they were brought into the church of God. And here I would add, that many Christians revolting from the high church claims of the Roman, Anglican, and Greek churches, have gone to the other extreme, they have accepted the truth of the church as the real body of Christ, but have denied the outer circle of the kingdom, and of the house of God. Baptism by water is connected by these Christians with the formation of the real body of Christ on earth; that is, they make them members of the church by baptism; or else the milder ones make it a profession of faith, only to be practiced by believers, and after they are saved. They seem to have a ground for this in Acts 10, where Peter, as the administrator of the kingdom, opens the door of the kingdom to Cornelius, the first Gentile. In this case, he and his family were baptized by the Holy Ghost, before they were baptized by water; hence they say this is the right order. But I would submit to my reader, whether this was not a special case and out of order, in order to break through Peter’s prejudice of receiving Gentiles into the kingdom as well as Jews. He had to have a special vision to make him go down at all; perhaps if the Holy Ghost had not sealed Cornelius and his family on the reception of the word, he would have been still doubtful as to baptizing them with water, but seeing what God had wrought, he said,
Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? {Acts 10:47}.
Then commanded he that they should be baptized in the name of the Lord.
In every other case, except that of Paul’s, which is doubtful, baptism preceded the gift of the Holy Ghost; I do not say faith, with which in the case of adults, the new birth would go. We see after this the utter failure of the twelve apostles to carry out further the commission of the kingdom received in Matt. 28. Saul, who is Paul, was therefore raised up as God’s special messenger, and he, not neglecting to preach the rejected King, as we see in his discourses at Thessalonica and Corinth, and seeing that the converts were brought into the kingdom by baptism, at the same time was made the great minister of the church in its double aspect of the house of God and the body of Christ.
With him it was not only that the Gentiles were admitted by baptism into the kingdom of heaven on earth, but that they had common privileges and a common part with Jewish believers, as fellow-heirs, members of Christ’s body, and partakers of His promise in Christ by the gospel. He was the great administrator of the church, the body of Christ. See Eph. 3. This is developed in the Epistle to the Ephesians. The saints are seen in three relationships there:
1st, to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who makes known in the first chapter all His counsels and purposes in regard to His Son and the heavenly family (Eph. 1:1-15). 2nd, to Christ the Head of His body (Eph. 1:19-23). 3rd, to the Holy Ghost who builds and inhabits the house of God on earth (Eph. 2:19-22). Now these are counsels and purposes hidden in other ages from the sons of men, but now revealed unto His apostles and prophets by the Spirit (Eph. 3). That the Gentiles should have blessings in the kingdom was not a subject unknown to the prophets. It is again and again mentioned, even in reference to the present dispensation: but here Israel was to be the great central nation in blessing, and the Gentiles second to them. But here is another thing unveiled to us: our God and Father is calling out a heavenly family, between the time of the Anointed’s rejection and His return to reign. These He had chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blame before Him in love. These He had predestinated to the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will. These He had accepted in the Beloved, in whom they had redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. He makes known to these His will and purpose, that in the dispensation of the fullness of times, that is, the age to come, He would gather round His Son all things in heaven and earth, even in Him, and in Him these had already found their inheritance, as the fruit of God’s will and purpose, and fellow-heirs with Christ in all that glory. They had already been sealed by the Spirit, who was the blessed pledge in their hearts, of being brought into this glory, of whom God’s Son was the center. At the end of the chapter, feeling how little the saints had entered into these glorious prospects, the apostle prays that they may understand all about this wonderful God of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory; what was the hope of His calling, the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what was the exceeding greatness of His power to those who believed, to bring them into the inheritance, as witnessed by His raising His Christ, as man, and setting Him above the highest archangel in the heavenly places, and giving Him to be Head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all, and also quickening the saints {sinners} who were dead in trespasses and sins.
Now this is an additional glory, and mystery unveiled, and which only took place as an accomplished fact on the day of Pentecost. We find, indeed, the scattered children of God gathered into one, for whom Jesus died after His resurrection; He proclaimed peace to them on the ground of His blood, He showed them His hands and His side. He had breathed on them, saying,
Receive ye the Holy Ghost {John 20:22},
bringing them into His own blessed position and state. He had declared to them the Father’s name (see John 14), but as we see in Acts 1, the Holy Ghost had not yet come, they were not yet baptized into one body. But Jesus having gone up on high, the Holy Ghost came down on the day of Pentecost, and afterwards on the Samaritans and Gentiles, and all those believers, were baptized by the Spirit into one body, builded together on earth to be God’s habitation through the Spirit. The middle wall of partition was broken down by the cross, one new man was formed in union with Christ the Head, raised to God’s right hand by the power of God, and Gentile and Jewish believers were put on an absolute basis of equality, as members of the body of Christ.
They were also made joint partakers of God’s promise in Christ by the gospel. They had one nature, one life, one Spirit, and one blessed heavenly hope. Now of this Paul was the minister. He was the administrator of the mystery. This family and body was to be seen in the world; Christ as Head was to dwell in the saints’ hearts by faith, and the angels of God were to be the wondering spectators of the wisdom of God as seen in it.
I may add that this assembly is also shown to be the bride of the heavenly Bridegroom (see Eph. 5), espoused now as a chaste virgin to Christ, being prepared by His word to be presented to Him in the heavenly glory as His bride, co-partner with Him in all His heavenly and earthly glories. Of this Adam and Eve are shown to be the type.
Now in this inner circle of blessing, baptism has no place. It is mentioned in the epistle to the Ephesians, but not in connection with the one body but in connection with the Lordship of Christ, as we have seen already in Acts 2. There are three circles in Ephesians 4: 1st, one body, one Spirit, one hope;
2nd, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, the outside circle of profession; 3rd, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in all Christians. God is the Father, of whom every family in heaven and earth is named. (See ch. 3.) This is the widest circle.
As to baptism, Christ sent not Paul to baptize, but to preach the gospel. The 1st Corinthians brings out the church as administered by Paul in a double aspect, as the temple of God (ch. 3), and the body of Christ (ch. 12). The epistle to the Ephesians shows the privileges of the church as the object of the counsels of God; 1 Corinthians, her responsibility.
In Solomon’s day, in whom the wisdom of God was manifested in the earthly sphere of the kingdom of Israel, there were three circles — the kingdom, the temple, and the bride, so I believe there are now. Peter having the administration of the kingdom, Paul that of the church. Peter and the twelve were sent to baptize, to disciple all nations; Paul was not sent to baptize, but to preach the gospel. He preached a Christ crucified, rejected by the world, and glorified by God; so far he agreed with Peter, but he went beyond him, for in contrast to the saints saying, I am of Paul, I of Apollos, I of Cephas, he said, Of God are ye in Christ Jesus. (See 1 Cor. 1.) Christ glorified was preached to the saints, and an introduction into the heavenly sphere of things. In the second chapter, the Holy Ghost is shewn as making known this Christ, and the heavenly secrets of which Old Testament prophets said,
Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive, the things that God hath prepared for them that love him {1 Cor. 2:9, see also Isa. 64:4}.
They were now revealed by the Spirit, and communicated in words, the inspired words of New Testament scripture, so that the saints had the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2).
Now the church, as the temple of God, was built on this Christ, whom the Holy Ghost had made known: other foundation could no man lay than was laid, that is Christ Jesus {see 1 Cor. 3:11}.
Paul was the master-builder laying the foundation, other Christian builders built up the walls, the Holy Ghost dwelt in the house (1 Cor. 3). The great thing here is the true foundation. Whatever does not confess a true Christ in profession, cannot be built on it. I am not now speaking of salvation, I am speaking of the outward profession of a true Christ, whether they are real Christians, or mere nominal professors, figured by gold, silver, or precious stones, or by wood, hay, stubble. Such form the temple of God in the world. There the Holy Ghost dwells. It is not confined to locality, though there is an exhibition of it in each locality, but growing up in the world till it gets figured by a great house in 2 Timothy 2, the foundation standing sure; but now the word is to the professing Christians,
let every one that nameth the name of Christ, depart from iniquity {2 Tim. 2:19}.
The great point for the saints here is to see its true nature, in contrast to sectarianism, which says I am of Baptists, Methodists, &c; it is the temple of God, and built upon the true foundation, Christ. To act up to its true nature, is for saints then to depart from all that denies it, namely, sectarianism, world and church joined together, and false ideas of Christ, and to gather on the ground of Christ rejected by the world exalted to heaven, the true foundation and chief corner stone, and recognizing the presence of the Holy Ghost in the assembly, as He who dwells in it to regulate its affairs. Consequently in 1 Cor. 5, we find the local assembly at Corinth, which expressed it in the place, gathering on that ground unto the name of the Lord Jesus for discipline. They had the power of the Lord Jesus Christ in their midst to put evil away. They were to keep a feast, too. A table was set up in the midst of the house, where a memorial of redemption was kept up, and from which all evil, figured by leaven, was to be put away, just as much as Israel kept the feast of the Passover and unleavened bread, putting away leaven from their houses. The saints were to recognize that the assembly was the place where judgment was executed under the government of the Lord, and were to have confidence in their brethren, it might be in two or three wise ones, to settle their differences, and never carry their differences before the world’s law courts (1 Cor. 6). All this has to do with the circle of profession, which is built on a true Christ, and has the presence of the Holy Ghost in its midst. The temple of God is His, the Holy Ghost is His representative in it, regulating its affairs, and the name of Christ the true foundation, the gathering point.
Various instructions as to this outward circle continue up to 1 Cor. 11; then we come to instructions as to the assembly as the body of Christ, composed only of those who are baptized by the Holy Ghost into it. The Lord’s table is shown, however, in 1 Cor. 10, to be the place where the true communion of the saints with their altar, that is, the death of Christ and the unity of the body is expressed, and this in contrast with the circles of Judaism and heathendom. It was impossible then for the saints to have communion either with that system which crucified the Lord, or with that which worshiped devils. It was the Lord’s table where Christ was present as Lord who invited them there, to remember His death, and have communion with it, which separated them from every other corporate system in existence, and to Himself. Thus, whilst baptism introduced into the kingdom, the outside circle of profession, at the Lord’s table the saints expressed the unity of the body.
1 Cor. 11 commences Paul’s instructions about the church as the body of Christ, and its workings. But before commencing, the true order of creation is taken up (Vers. 1-16). Christ has come into it, and the assembly was the place where its true order was to be recognized. Outside in houses, in the sphere of creation, the women might pray and prophesy, yet recognizing her place under the man, by having her head covered. Inside the assembly she was to be silent (see ch. 14), still recognizing her place under the man. The ordinance of the Lord’s supper is regulated, which the saints had turned into a feast of drunkenness. They were to learn to judge themselves, so as to eat in a worthy manner.
The positive instruction as to the assembly, as the body of Christ, is seen in 1 Cor. 12. Its true constitution is that it is formed like a body. As the body is one and hath many members, and all the members of that one body are one body, so also is the Christ, for by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free, and have all been made to drink into one Spirit (Ver. 12, 13). Thus the baptism of the Holy Ghost formed the body of Christ on the day of Pentecost (see Acts 1:5), and its unity was constituted. Christ was the Head, the Holy Ghost united believers on earth to Him and to one another wherever they are. Vers. 14-26 shew its workings in two great points. First, it is not one member, but many. The Holy Ghost as the Spirit of the Head works in many members, not in one. This is the correction to one man’s, ministerial or priestly authority over the church. Then, secondly, the foot cannot say of the hand, because I am not the hand I am not of the body. This is the correction to independency. For instance, if saints have been gathered to the Lord’s name in a place, on the ground of the unity of the body, and the Lord’s table has been set up in a place as the exhibition of it, then if for some minor thing, some saints leave that table, and thus split the testimony, it is to create schism in the body. It is for the foot to say of the hand, I have no need of thee. Perhaps two leading brothers have quarreled, and the thing is taken up personally and saints take sides, so that they cannot break bread together; the table in one brother’s house is left, and the saints set up a table elsewhere before the assembly has decided that the former is not the Lord’s table, it is to act contrary to the spirit of this Scripture, and to create division. This is in principle what the sects have done. They have separated from one another on some minor questions, such as baptism, independent churches, Wesley’s doctrine, and have made many bodies in the church. The true principle is many members, yet but one body. Thus both the evils of clerisy and independency in the church are corrected.
What, then, is the great corrective power to all evil in the church, to all independent or clerical workings there? Why, love, as shown in 1 Cor. 13. All eloquence, gifts, knowledge, faith, almsgiving and devotedness unto death were of no avail if this principle were lacking. It suffered long and was kind, it envied not, it vaunted not itself, was not puffed up, it behaved not itself unseemly, sought not her own, was not easily provoked, thought no evil, rejoiced not in iniquity, but rejoiced in the truth, bore all things, believed all things, hoped all things, and endured all things. This was the character of Christ and the Spirit, whose nature and spirit had been communicated to them, and without it all else was nothing. This was the way practically to maintain the unity of the Spirit.
I do not enter further into the subject. There is connected with it the subject of ministry, which I do not enter into now, except to mention that it is divided into two parts, namely, the gifts of ministry, and the local offices; the latter mentioned in Timothy and Titus.
We have seen that the kingdom of heaven embraces, during its present aspect, all those who professedly subject themselves to Christ, the Anointed, during the time of His rejection. That Peter was the administrator of it, and together with the twelve were to disciple all nations, baptizing in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. That he opened the door to the Jews who repented, and to Cornelius the Gentile afterwards, and they were admitted by baptism; Philip did the same thing to the Samaritan, and Paul recognized it at Thessalonica and Corinth and other places, though he was not the minister of it. Children and households of believers also were the subjects of it.
The church, as the sphere of Paul’s ministry, was a circle inside the kingdom at present, but finally to be taken out of it, when the Lord comes again. Jew and Gentile believers were fellow-heirs, members of one body, partakers of God’s promise in Christ by the gospel. In this sphere baptism had no place, Christ sent not Paul to baptize (He did Peter and the twelve); but to preach the gospel. There was also an outer sphere of the church founded by Paul, namely, the temple or house of God, composed of all who on the profession of a true Christ were built upon the foundation. This has now grown up to be like a great house, full of vessels, some to honour, some to dishonor. The word to every true Christian now is,
Let every one that nameth the name of Christ, depart from iniquity {2 Tim. 2:19}.
Whilst, therefore, evil in the kingdom is not now to be taken out, but to be left to the time when the Son of man is to gather out of His kingdom all things that offend; the saints are responsible to depart from iniquity, to gather on the true ground of the church, to the name of Christ alone, recognizing the presence of the Holy Ghost in the assembly, to exercise discipline, to put away evil from their midst if it comes in, to express communion with their altar, with Christ and with one another, as members of His one body at the Lord’s table, and to break bread in remembrance of Him.
The great world bodies of Christendom then are all wrong in confounding the kingdom and the church together, and making them one and the same, and Baptists on the other hand are all wrong in putting baptism out of its place, connecting it with the membership of the true church, and thus forming a wall of untempered mortar to divide Christians, and not recognizing, the kingdom of heaven and Peter’s ministry in connection with it, water baptism bringing into its circle out of the circle of Jews and heathen.

The History of Satan; or, the Devil - His Origin

As for the old dragon, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan (Rev. 12:9), there was a time when he was in the truth, but he abode not in the truth (John 8:44). He was then full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. He was in Eden, the garden of God. Every precious stone was his covering: the sardius, topaz, and the diamond; the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper; the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle; and gold: the workmanship of his tabrets and of his pipes was prepared in him in the day that he was created. He was the anointed cherub that covered, and God had set him so. His place was upon the holy mountain of God, and he walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. He was perfect in his ways from the day that he was created till iniquity was found in him. His heart was lifted up because of his beauty, and he corrupted his wisdom on account of his brightness. He said in his heart, I will ascend into heaven; I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like unto the Most High. Therefore God purposed to cast him as profane out of the mountain of God, and to destroy this cherub from the midst of the stones of fire. All in that day shall speak and say, How art thou fallen
Most of original pages 2 & 3 are missing !
Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And He said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: and 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 (Gen. 3).
So that old serpent, the devil, was
The Murderer of Man,
And the word of God began to he fulfilled which He had said to man, In the day that thou eatest thereof dying thou shalt die (Gen. 2:17).
So it happened, that by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and death passed upon all men, for all have sinned. And all these henceforth were dead in trespasses and sins, and walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience (Rom. 5:12; Eph. 2:1-2).
Cain the Child of Satan
And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain. And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground (Gen. 4:1, 2).
But Cain was of that wicked one, and slew his brother, because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother (1 John 3:8, 10, 12).
There are many of those who call themselves Christians who have followed the way of Cain. Woe unto them (Jude 11).
The Devil and Job
There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil. And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters. His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east. And his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and drink with them. And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.
Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.
And there was a day when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house: and there came a messenger unto Job, and said, The oxen were plowing, and the asses feeding beside them: and the Sabeans fell upon them, and took them away; yea, they have slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee. While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The fire of God is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee. While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The Chaldeans made out three bands, and fell upon the camels, and have carried them away, yea, and slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee. While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, Thy Sons and thy daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house: and, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee. Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshiped, and said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.
Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD. And the LORD said unto Satan, From whence comest thou? And Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause. And Satan answered the LORD, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face. And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life.
So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown. And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes.
Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die. But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips (Job 1, 2).
Satan and Moses
And when Moses died, Michael the archangel disputed with the devil about his body, but he did not dare to bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee (Jude 9). And the LORD buried the body of Moses (Deut. 34:6).
Satan and David
And Satan stood up against Israel in the days of David, and provoked him to number Israel. And God was displeased with this thing; therefore he smote Israel. So the LORD sent pestilence upon Israel: and there fell of Israel seventy thousand men. And God sent an angel unto Jerusalem to destroy it: and as he was destroying, the Lord beheld, and he repented Him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed, It is enough, stay now thine hand. And the angel of the LORD stood by the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. And David lifted up his eyes, and saw the angel of the LORD stand between the earth and the heaven, having a drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders of Israel, who were clothed in sackcloth fell upon their faces. And David said unto God, Is it not I that commanded the people to be numbered? even I it is that have sinned and done evil indeed; but as for these sheep, what have they done? let thine hand, I pray thee, O LORD my God, be on me, and on my father’s house; but not on thy people, that they should be plagued.
Then the angel of the LORD commanded Gad to say to David, that David should go up, and set up an altar unto the LORD in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite. And David went up at the saying of Gad, which he spake in the name of the LORD. And Ornan turned back, and saw the angel; and his four sons with him hid themselves. Now Ornan was threshing wheat. And as David came to Ornan, Ornan looked and saw David, and went out of the threshingfloor, and bowed himself to David with his face to the ground. Then David said to Ornan, Grant me the place of this threshingfloor, that I may build an altar therein unto the LORD: thou shalt grant it to me for the full price: that the plague stay be stayed from the people. And Ornan said unto David, Take it to thee, and let my lord the king do that which is good in his eyes: lo, I give thee the oxen also for burnt offerings, and the threshing instruments for wood, and the wheat for the meat offering; I give it all. And king David said to Ornan, Nay; but I will verily buy it for the full price: for I will not take that which is thine for the LORD, nor offer burnt offerings without cost. So David gave to Ornan for the place six hundred shekels of gold by weight. And David built there an altar unto the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings, and called upon the LORD; and He answered him from heaven by fire upon the altar of burnt offering. And the LORD commanded the angel; and he put up his sword again into the sheath thereof (1 Chron. 21).
Satan and Joshua the High Priest
Now in the days of Joshua the high priest, after the return of the residue of Israel to Jerusalem from Babylon, the prophet Zechariah saw Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. And the LORD said unto Satan, the LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the LORD stood by (Zech.3:1-5).
Satan and the Lord Jesus
And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: and she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron.
Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judæa in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is He that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen His star in the east, and are come to worship Him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judæa: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found Him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship Him also. When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto Him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way. And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and His mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy Him. When he arose, he took the young child and His mother by night, and departed into Egypt; and was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my Son.
Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men (Rev. 12:1-5; Matt. 2).
Jesus Binds the Devil
And Jesus began to be about thirty years old, and when He had been baptized of John, the heaven was opened to Him; and the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.
Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He was afterward an hungered. And when the tempter came to Him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But He answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Then the devil taketh Him up into the holy city, and setteth Him on a pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto Him, If Thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give His angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Again, the devil taketh Him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth Him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; and saith unto Him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve. And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from Him for a season (Matt. 4:1-11; Luke 3:21-23, 4:13).
Jesus Spoils His House
Thus Jesus commenced to bind the strong man; and then he proceeded to spoil his goods, for there was brought unto Him one possessed with a devil, blind and dumb: and He healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw. And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the Son of David? But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils. And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: and if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges. But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you. Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house. He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.
And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself. And when Jesus saw her, He called her to Him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity. And He laid His hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God. And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the Sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day. The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering? And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath hound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day? And when He had said these things, all His adversaries were ashamed: and all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by Him.
Thus 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 (Matt. 12:22-30; Luke 13:11-17; Acts 10:38).
Satan and the Jewish Nation
But the Jews called the Master of the house Beelzebub; so Jesus spake to them a parable to show them their state, saying, When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out. And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be with this wicked generation (Matt. 12:43-45; Luke 11:24-26).
Satan Acts in Peter
From that time forth began Jesus to show unto His disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took Him, and began to rebuke Him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But He turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men (Matt. 16:21-23).
Satan and Judas
Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover. And the chief priests and scribes sought how they might kill Him; for they feared the people.
Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve. And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray Him unto them. And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money. And he promised, and sought opportunity to betray Him unto them in the absence of the multitude.
And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the passover. Now when the even was come, He sat down with the twelve. And as they did eat, He said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto Him, Lord, is it I?
Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when He had dipped the sop, He gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly. Now no man at the table knew for what intent He spake this unto him. For some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him, Buy those things that we have need of against the feast; or, that he should give something to the poor. He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night (Luke 22; John 13:26-30).
The Lord also said unto Peter, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. And he said unto Him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. And He said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me (Luke 22:31-34).
He said also to His disciples, Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I. And now I have told you, before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe. Hereafter I will not talk much with you:
For the Prince of This World Cometh,
And hath nothing in me. But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence (John 14:28-31).
And He came out, and went, as He was wont, to the mount of Olives; and His disciples also followed Him. And when He was at the place, He said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation. And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down and prayed, saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto Him from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in an agony He prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. And when He rose up from prayer, and was come to His disciples, He found them sleeping for sorrow, and said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.
And while He yet spake, behold a multitude, and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and drew near unto Jesus to kiss Him. But Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss? when they which were about Him saw what would follow, they said unto Him, Lord, shall we smite with the sword?
And one of them smote the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear. And Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far. And He touched his ear, and healed him. Then Jesus said unto the chief priests, and captains of the temple, and the elders, which were come to Him, Be ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and staves? When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hands against me:
But This Is Your Hour, and the Power of Darkness
Then took they Him, and led Him, and brought Him into the high priest’s house. And Peter followed afar off. And he denied Jesus (Luke 22:39-54, 57).
And they all condemned Him to be guilty of death. And some began to spit on Him, and to cover His face, and to buffet Him, and to say unto Him, Prophesy: and the servants did strike Him with the palms of their hands.
Then Judas, which had betrayed Him, when he saw that He was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself (Matt. 27:3-5).
And straightway in the morning the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council, and bound Jesus, and carried Him away, and delivered Him to Pilate.
And there was one named Barabbas, which lay bound with them that had made insurrection with him, who had committed murder in the insurrection. And the multitude crying aloud began to desire him to do as he had ever done unto them. But Pilate answered them, saying, Will ye that I release unto you the King of the Jews? for he knew that the chief priests had delivered Him for envy. But the chief priests moved the people, that he should rather release Barabbas unto them. And Pilate answered and said again unto them, What will ye then that I shall do unto Him whom ye call the King of the Jews? And they cried out again, Crucify Him. Then Pilate said unto them, Why, what evil hath He done? And they cried out the more exceedingly, Crucify Him.
And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged Him, to be crucified.
And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull, —
They gave Him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when He had tasted thereof, He would not drink. And they crucified Him, and parted His garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots. And sitting down they watched Him there; and set up over His head His accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS. Then were there two thieves crucified with Him, one on the right hand, and another on the left.
Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias. And straightway one of them ran, and took a spunge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave Him to drink. The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save Him.
Jesus, when He had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after His resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.
And one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and forthwith came there out blood and water (Matt. 27; John 19:34).
Behold now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. But forasmuch as the children were partakers of flesh and blood, Jesus also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage (John 12:31, 32; Heb. 2:14, 15). And He having been lifted up from the earth will draw all men unto Him. So was the Scripture fulfilled which said, It shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel (Gen. 3:15). And Joseph of Arimathæa took the body of Jesus, and wrapt it in a clean cloth, and put it in his sepulchre. And the enemies went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch (Matt. 27:59, 60, 66).
The Victory Gained
Thus having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in the cross (Col. 2:15).
For in the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: and for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for He is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead; and, behold, He goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see Him; lo, 1 have told you. And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring His disciples word.
Afterward He appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen Him after He was risen. And He said unto them, Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these are the signs that shall accompany those who believe; They shall cast out devils in my name: they shall take up serpents, and if they have taken any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. The Lord had also told them before His death; I beheld Satan, as lightning fall from heaven. Behold I give unto you power to tread on serpents, and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing shall by any means hurt you. And after the Lord had spoken unto them, He was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And having ascended up on high, He led captivity captive (Matt. 28:1-6; Mark 16:14-19; Luke 10:18, 19; Eph. 4:8).
Satan and the Church
And it came to pass that after that the Holy Ghost came down from heaven, and formed the assembly of God on the day of Pentecost, He began to convince the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. Of sin, because it had not believed in Jesus. Of righteousness, because He had gone unto the Father. Of judgment, because the prince of this world was judged. But Satan worked continually in the children of disobedience; for a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, and kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things. And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him. And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in. And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much. Then Peter said into her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out. Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband. And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things (Acts 5:1-5).
And it came to pass that the devil put some of the apostles into prison (Apoc. 2:10; Acts 4, 5). For about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.) And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people. Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him. But an angel of the Lord delivered him, and Herod was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost (Acts 12).
The Devil and Paul
The devil also resisted Paul and Barnarbas in Elymas the sorcerer, who sought to turn away the deputy Sergius Paulus, from the faith.
Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him, and said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord? And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand. Then the deputy, when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord. (Acts 13:5-12).
After that, Paul having gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, after that he had passed by Mysia, he came down to Troas. From thence he crossed over to Macedonia, and arrived at Philippi, and they were in that city abiding certain days.
And it came to pass, as they then went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of Python [Gr.] met them, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying: the same followed Paul and those with him, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way salvation. And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.
And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers, and brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city, and teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans. And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them. And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.
And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed. And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, and brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house (Acts 16).
After this Paul and Silas having gone through Amphipolis and Apollonia came to Thessalonica. From thence they went to Berea, and Paul having left, some brethren conducted him to Athens. From thence he went to Corinth. Whilst there he wrote back to the Thessalonians that he would have come unto them once or twice, but Satan hindered him (1 Thess. 2:18). Paul had also several visions and revelations of the Lord; but he tells us, And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me (2 Cor. 12:1-6).
He tells us also in his epistles, as regards Satan, that he is the author of divisions amongst the children of God (Rom. 16:20); that as to the discipline of the church of God, a man under that discipline by the apostolic power is handed over to Satan, as in effect he had handed over Hymenæus and Alexander, in order that they might learn not to blaspheme (1 Cor. 5:5; 1 Tim. 1:20). He tells us that Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light, and that it is necessary to be armed with the whole armor of God in order to stand against the wiles of the devil. He warns us to beware of the snares of the devil (2 Cor. 11:14; Eph. 6:11; 1 Tim.3:7; 2 Tim. 2:26).
The apostle Peter also warns us. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. The apostle James tells us also, Resist the devil, and he shall flee from you. John also warns us, in reference to the present time: Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he (the Holy Ghost) that is in you, than he (Satan) that is in the world. Now we know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not. And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in the wicked one (1 Peter 5:8, 9; James 4:7; 1 John 4:4, 5:18, 19).
The Devil and Christendom
Thus Jesus having sown the good seed in His field, the devil, whilst men slept, came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.
The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; the enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age [Gr.]; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this age [Gr.]. The Son of man shall send forth His angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father (Matt. 13).
For the Child Was Caught up Unto God, and to His Throne
And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world (Rev. 12:7-9).
Satan Cast Out Into the Earth
He was cast out into the earth and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time (Rev. 12:9-12).
Satan and the Jewish Nation
at the End of the Age
And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.
And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which kept the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ (Rev. 12:13-17).
Satan and the Two Beasts
And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshiped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshiped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If any man have an ear, let him hear. He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints. And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six (Rev. 13).
Satan and Christendom at the End of the Age
Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming: even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness (2 Thess. 2).
The Trinity of Evil
Then three unclean spirits like frogs came out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth, and of the whole world to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon (Rev. 16:13-16).
The Second Appearing of the Lord Jesus
And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns; and He had a name written, that no man knew, but He Himself. And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of His mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations: and He shall rule them with a rod of iron: and He treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written,
King of Kings, and Lord of Lords
And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; that ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him that sat on the horse, and against His army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshiped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of Him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of His mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh (Rev. 19).
Satan Bound, and Cast Into the Bottomless
Pit for One Thousand Years
And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
Christ Reigns With His Saints
One Thousand Years
And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshiped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished.
This Is the First Resurrection
Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years (Rev. 20:1-6).
Christ Judges the Living Nations at
the Beginning of the Thousand Years
When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory: and before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: and He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer Him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Then shall He say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, Ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer Him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall He answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal (Matt. 25:31-46).
Satan at the End of the Thousand Years
And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.
The Devil Cast Into the Lake of Fire
And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
The Judgment of the Dead at the End of the Thousand Years
And I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
The End
And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:7-15).
Reader, is your name written in the book of life? Do you belong to Satan or to God?
I leave you to the word of God. I pray you, judge whether there is not a real Person, a real evil spirit existing, who goes about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Do not, I pray you, cast away this little book with the thought, Oh, these are only old wives’ fables! nursery rhymes to frighten children with, &c.! Reader, they are not. These are the true sayings of God in reference to your great adversary and mine. Reader, if you are unconverted, you are at this moment under his power (Eph. 2:2). Oh, may you wake up, and believe it! To be asleep when robbers are in the house is a dangerous thing! See from the word of God that Satan is a reality, that judgment is a reality, that eternal hell is a reality. Reader, thank God there is a way of escape. But it is now. Now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation! The Son of God has met the devil on his own ground, and conquered him. He, who knew no sin, was made sin for us. He said, It is finished. He has abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light by the gospel. He is risen. Reader, accept the Son of God as your Savior, and you partake of His victory. Reject Him, and you are doubly guilty; you choose the devil after salvation has been offered, and hell therefore shall be your portion through your own choice. He that believeth is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed on the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil (John 3:18, 19).

A Holy Day to the Lord

Nehemiah 8:8-12
So they read in the book, in the law of God, distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading. And Nehemiah, which is the Tirshatha, and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, This day is holy unto the LORD your God; MOURN NOT, NOR WEEP. For all the people wept when they heard the words of the law. Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength. So the Levites stilled all the people, saying, Hold your peace, for the day is holy; neither be ye grieved. And all the people went their way, to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words that were declared unto them.
How sweetly, yet rebukingly, does this lesson come to us from the pages of the Old Testament. It is not the “gospel,” and yet how much gospel is there in it too, which it would be well if we of a brighter and happier day had fully learnt.
The “gospel” is “good news”: or, good news “of God” (Rom. 1:1); that which comes to us from the heart of the Good and Blessed God, at the witness of what He delights in. It is the preaching of gladness; and what is the reception of it unto the soul but the reception of gladness? News there is from Him, of such a nature and character that the mere believing listening to it is the one and effectual remedy for all the care and sorrow which oppress us naturally, and are our heritage indeed as children of men. Reader, have you apprehended that? And good news, let me add, which God publishes for his own joy and glory, so that we may know and understand Him in the message He has sent.
Well He knows, moreover, the people among whom He publishes this good news. It is just because they are what they are, His gospel becomes so sweet a declaration of what He is. And He bids it to be preached to every one of them in all the world, and makes it simple obedience, the first point of duty to Himself, to “obey the gospel” with the “obedience of faith.” In other words, to believe and to rejoice!
This is the blessedness of this scene in Israel in the time of Nehemiah. Good cause had they, if any ever had, to weep when they heard the words of the law {Neh. 8:9}.
They might claim, if any, amid the ruins of their broken city, and listening to the thunders of that terrible law, which, through their breach of it, had brought in such desolation, that they did well to weep. Would it have been anything but hardness of heart on their part to have refused their tears to the misery of their condition, and the sin against their God which had introduced the misery?
Yet one voice had title to be heard surely even there. If He, against whom they had sinned, spoke, surely they were to listen. If He, even now, could preach gladness to them, surely they were to be glad! and glad the more in Him who could make their sin and misery the suited time to display His goodness and His grace. It was not “joy” simply they were called to: it was “the joy of the Lord.” If it were hardness in the first instance then, not to feel their sin and misery, would it not be greater hardness not to feel His grace now and to rejoice in Him?
And this is what God is calling men to universally, beloved reader, by that gospel which he has sent out every where, to be preached to “every creature under heaven.” He is bearing witness to Himself. Has He not title to be heard and to be believed? If He call to “obedience of faith” in this good news, is it humble or good to go on mourning as if He had not spoken? Is it good or wise not to be confident in the love He has in His heart toward us?
And what a precious thought is this of a holy day kept to the Lord, excluding sorrow, of necessity, as profanation of its holiness! Is it not the very echo of that thought of the apostle:
And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly {1 Thess. 5:23}?
or, of that word which assures us that among the foremost “fruits of the Spirit” are “joy” and “peace”?
Dear fellow-believer in the Lord Jesus, will you let me say to you, in the presence of these blessed scriptures, that unhappiness is unholiness? that “the joy of the Lord” is alone your “strength,” whether for walk or service?
You may ask me, “Do you know who I am? Do you know my failures, my sins, my backslidings, the dishonour I have done to the name of Jesus?” I reply, I am sure you will do nothing but still dishonour it, if you refuse God’s way of help against such dishonour. “God is for us,” beloved. Is that because we are for Him, or because of what Jesus is in His presence for us? Could we be nearer to Him by any effort or right-living of our own, than we are at this moment as “accepted in the Beloved”? This acceptance, this favor, this delight of God in His own Son, rests upon us spite of all we are. To know it, believe it, enter into it, live in it, is restoration, blessing, power for the soul.
You say, “My feet are defiled; how can I walk with God?” I ask again, know you not who it is, who, having come from God, and, going back to God, stooped in the full consciousness of that, to wash the feet of His own, that they might have “part with Him”? Was that cleansing their work then, or His? Was He at a distance from them when He did it, or near at hand? Did the uncleanliness of their feet do aught but make Him serve them in more lowly fashion? If you would be clean now, you must sit still now and let Him serve you.
“Washing of water” is “by the word.” You must sit, and listen, and believe. And as he puts before you all the greatness and fullness of His love, and all that love has done for security of blessing to you, you will hear him say,
Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you {John 15:3}.
That which no law, no ordinance, no striving will effect for you, a few moments in His presence will accomplish. You will learn that there is mercy with Him, that He may be feared {see Psa. 130:4};
and that in returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength {Isa. 30:15}.
Yea, the very God of peace shall sanctify you wholly {1 Thess. 5:23}.
And, reader, you who have never yet tasted of this love of His, let me assure you “to you” also “is the word of this salvation sent.” There is “gospel” for you: the superscription of my message is, “to every creature.” To you, surrounded with as sad evidences of your guilt as ever had Israel, the word of God’s grace is still, “believe the gospel,” “obey the gospel.” It is the “God of peace” sanctifies. It is the grace of God which bringeth salvation unto all men {see Titus 2:11}, which teaches us and alone teaches us, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, to live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world {see Titus 2:12}.
Therefore, to you, as you are, is “the gospel of salvation” preached. You can be nothing, do nothing, save as it teaches you, even the “grace that bringeth salvation.” Will you listen to it? Will you believe it? For, as surely as Christ “died for sinners,” that death of His is God’s great treasury of blessing for all such. Every cheque upon this must be signed with that name, that one name of “SINNER,” which proves your title to the wealth laid up there.
To you, then, a holy day to the Lord is proclaimed: “an accepted time, a day of salvation.” God, against whom your sins have been, who alone has title to come in with a message of joy into the midst of the ruin and misery of the fall, has come in with the “good news” of “peace” made by the blood of the cross of Jesus, and preached to every creature for the obedience of faith. To believe and obey that gospel is to listen to and rejoice in what He is declaring to us.
Reader, will you be as those of whom it is written here: “And all the people went their way, to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth, because they had UNDERSTOOD the words that were declared unto them.”
From Helps by the Way, 1:281-285, 1873.

Marriage

Marriage is founded on the fact that God created man, male and female (Matt. 19:4; Mark 10:6). It was not founded merely on the requirements of man’s nature, but on the will of God, in regard to the creation of man, and His will in regard to man’s replenishing the earth with his race (Gen. 1:27-28). There was also another thing in regard to it, where we enter into the purposes of God, before the foundation of the world, that His Son should have a Bride; and the actual creation of the man and wife was the glorious figure and type of this marvelous event that was coming, that God’s Son, who was the Heir, and to be the real Lord of the creation was to have a partner with Himself in His glorious dominion, and that His Bride, the Church (see Eph. 5: 31-32). We see this beautifully figured in Gen. 2:18-24: ver. 18, God’s thought and purpose; ver. 19, 20, creation and Christ’s manhood coming in meanwhile; ver. 21, Christ’s death and hiding away in the glory, during which time the Bride is being formed and gathered out; ver. 23, 24, The final marriage taking place after this present dispensation.
But to return. God saw that it was not good that man should be alone, He therefore made him a helpmeet. The woman was formed out of Adam, bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh, therefore was she called Woman! Her original place was that of an helpmeet, a companion with Adam in his dominion over the lower creation. He held the first place, the man was not of the woman, but the woman of the man (1 Cor. 11:8), neither was he created for the woman, but the woman for the man (ver. 9). But it was not till after the fall that she fell into the place of utter subjection, and that her husband ruled over her (Gen. 3:16).
Marriage is the highest natural relationship there is. The original institution of God was, that He made Adam and Eve male and female; therefore shall a man leave father and mother and cleave unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. Thus before there were fathers and mothers and children, here were the man and his wife joined together.
Adam’s word (Gen. 2:23, 24) gives the human sanction to God’s institution, and he speaks God’s word, Therefore (because man was created male and female, and God hath joined them together) shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they shall be one flesh. Thus God’s original institution was monogamy, or for a man to have one wife; God Himself joined them together, and Adam owned God’s government by his words.
After the fall the governmental punishment fell upon the woman to have painful travail in childbirth, and to be in subjection to her husband, yet with the joyful promise given in the future, that the Messiah, who was to be born of the woman, should bruise the serpent’s head (Gen. 3:15, 16).
In Gen. 4, we have the first departure from God’s original institution. Cain, the murderer of Abel, having gone forth from the presence of the Lord, with his wife, bears a son who builds a city; one of his descendants, Lamech, marries two wives. Polygamy thus begins. But in connection with it, increased lawlessness and murders. In Gen. 6 there is still further degeneracy; the sons of God of Seth’s line (who had kept distinct from Cain’s descendants up to this time), married the daughters of men, most likely of Cain’s line, taking to them wives whom they chose. It was not only the evil intermingling of the family of God with that of men, but man’s choice of his wife taking the place of God’s will in the matter. They took unto them wives whom they chose. 
The result of this brought on a crisis in God’s dealings with men. Increased violence and corruption succeeded, and the judgment of the deluge followed. Alas, what are we then to expect, in some countries of to-day, where God is more than ever disowned, and marriage laws are on the loosest basis, men marrying whom they like, and dissolving the marriage tie almost when they like! Is not this one of the sad signs of the times, and of the sure speedy approach of Christ in judgment?
Noah and his sons seem to have set a good example, in having each but one wife (Gen. 7:7-13), but wickedness spread rapidly after the flood, and polygamy seems to have been common in Abraham’s day, when we find that he — God’s man of the day — had more than one wife; Jacob also. Marriage at that time was sanctioned with near relatives, which was forbidden afterwards by the law. On account of the religious necessity of the seed of God being kept separate from the heathen nations, God allowed this (see Gen. 24:3, 4; 28:1, 2; 26:34, 35); and it was not till the time of Moses that there were prohibitions made to being married to near relations. Amram’s marriage with Jochebed, his aunt, might seem to go contrary to this thought, but the thing had not yet been forbidden as evil, and so God was forbearing with the thing till the law was given. Fornication and adultery even at this early day were considered sins, as we see in the case of Dinah, Reuben and Joseph (Gen. 34:7; 35:22; 39:9), as a breach against God’s original institution.
After the law was instituted, special laws were instituted as to marriage; adultery and fornication were distinctly forbidden. Polygamy was still allowed as we see from Deut. 21:15-17. Marriage with those near of kin was also forbidden, and a list in Lev. 18:6-20, and 20:11-21, is given of the relationships forbidden in marriage {“prohibited degrees”}. I give the scriptural list: —
A father with a daughter; A son with a mother;
A step-son with a step-mother;
A brother with a sister — whether on the father’s side or mother’s side;
whether born at home or abroad.
A grand-father with a grand-daughter; A son with a step-sister;
A nephew with an aunt on the father’s side (a father’s sister);
A nephew with an aunt on the mother’s side (a mother’s sister); A nephew with a father’s brother’s wife;
An uncle with his niece;
A father-in-law with his daughter-in-law; A brother-in-law with his sister-in-law;
A husband with his wife’s mother (mother-in-law), Deut. 27:23; A husband with his wife’s daughter (step-daughter);
A husband with his wife’s grand-daughter (step-grand-daughter); Finally, between a brother and his wife’s sister during her life-time.
Jacob and Rachel and Leah serve us as an example of a marriage of this kind.
The general prohibition is against marriages betwixt those near of kin, literally “flesh of his flesh.” There is no prohibition, for instance, of marriages between a grandson and grandmother, etc., but godly souls would judge that the spirit of the word of God was against any marriages betwixt those near of kin, though the letter of the Word might not forbid them.
Marriage with a brother’s wife was forbidden, except in the case of the husband dying childless; then there was a special law for the brother to marry his deceased brother’s wife, to raise up seed unto his brother. We see a case of this kind first in Gen. 38:8, where Judah bid his son Onan marry his deceased brother’s wife, to raise up seed to his brother, which was hindered, by his son committing the awful sin of self-abuse, and in consequence being slain by the Lord. False modesty might say, keep this back, but experience has taught me such a thing needs exposing, as a thing, I believe, most common amongst boys in schools, it having confronted me in the first school I was at. The Levitical law confirmed this exceptional allowance of marriages with a brother’s wife to preserve the Israelite’s name from being put out of Israel (see Deut. 25:5-10)
{Levirate marriage}. It is on this general ground, that though there is no prohibition against marriage with a deceased wife’s sister, I should say that the general spirit of the Word was against it, and when the laws of a country are against such marriages, and where the persons about to be married have to swear, or say that there is no lawful impediment against such marriages, they commit a distinct sin in doing so, which would bring them under the governmental judgment of the Lord, unless confessed and owned.
Marriages with Canaanites were absolutely forbidden an Israelite (Ex. 34:16; Deut. 7:3-11). Marriages with Ammonites and Moabites had the ban put upon them, of not being allowed to enter the congregation of Jehovah till the tenth generation. In the case of an Edomite or Egyptian, the children could enter the congregation of Jehovah in the third generation. In the case of Mahlon marrying Ruth the Moabitess, she got into the line of blessing through her marriage with Boaz, who became the kinsman to raise up seed to his deceased kinsman’s house (see Ruth). The general prohibition to marry with the heathen around them was evidently to keep them a holy people unto Jehovah, and to keep them from the sin of idolatry. This was pressed on them again in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah (see Ezra 9; Neh. 13:1-3).
In the case of marriage betwixt two of different races amongst the Gentiles, there is no prohibition in scripture. Moses married an Ethiopian, and God sanctioned it as a thing of the past, done before he took his stand as a leader of God’s people, and stood for him against his objectors; but wisdom, remembering God’s governmental dealing in dividing men into nations, after the tower of Babel, might advise not; but there is no prohibition. In the case where the laws of a country forbid it, such as a marriage between a white and a black, a Christian would submit to the powers that be, for the Lord’s sake, though as a Christian he has perfect liberty; or else leave the country for another where the laws give such liberty.
Polygamy was allowed under the Jewish law, as we see in Deut. 21:15-17. Divorce was also allowed for minor things than that of fornication (cp. Deut. 24:1-4 with Matt. 19:7-8). The husband could give the wife a bill of divorcement and send her away; she might in such a case, after being sent out of the house, marry again; but if her latter husband hated her, and gave her a bill of divorcement, and sent her away, or if he died, she might not be married again to her former husband.
In contrast with this are the principles of the kingdom of heaven, which the Lord introduced, during His life on the earth. In answer to the Pharisees who asked Him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? He answered, Have ye not read that He that made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and cleave to his wife; and they two shall be one flesh. The Lord goes back to the terms of God’s original institution: He says, Therefore they are no longer two but one flesh; and concludes with the injunction; What God therefore hath joined together, let no man put asunder. The Pharisees then brought up Moses’ law, and asked why He allowed wives to be put away, after giving them a writing of divorcement. He said to them, Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, gave you this precept, but at the beginning it was not so. Whosoever, therefore, shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her which is put away, committeth adultery. Only, therefore, for one cause was divorce sanctioned, and that for the sin of fornication. Marriage was also forbidden with a divorced woman (Matt. 5:32; 19:3-9), and polygamy set aside.
Now this gives great light as to how far we ought to follow human laws on the subject of marriage. If they sanction sin, and divorce for anything less than fornication, the Christian and the Assembly are not to own such acts, as of God, though the divorce is legal. It was legal for a Jew to put away his wife for less causes than fornication, but the Lord’s authority comes in, and pronounces such acts to be sin, and as causing the woman to commit fornication. However, a Christian is bound to submit himself to the powers that be, and whenever the laws of the land are not subversive of the authority of the Lord, they are to be obeyed. The magistrates are God’s ministers to dispense justice (Rom. 13:1, etc.).
As Adam’s word gave the civil sanction to the original institution of marriage, so it is now. God owns the civil sanction of the laws of the land to His institution, though not to subvert it. The Assembly stands, I believe, as God’s witness in the matter on His behalf, and represents Him as the One who really joins the man and woman together! Whatsoever therefore, as ruled by the Word of God, it binds on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever it shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Rome has perverted this power to exalt herself, and to act contrary to the Word of God, but the truth of God remains, and the Word of God must ever have a higher authority than the laws of men.
Now if this was all it would be an absolute sin to despise God’s ordinances, and not to marry; and, indeed, wherever human regulations have come in, they have always been subversive of moral order, witness the disgraceful state of the convents and nunneries in the middle ages (which were often mere brothels for the priests who had taken the vows of celibacy). We cannot, my reader, despise God’s institution of marriage without suffering or running into sin!
Notwithstanding this, however, Christianity has introduced a heavenly life, which, when communicated to the believer, lifts him above the actual necessity of marrying; only even here there needs a special gift of faith to lay hold of the power. It is the life of the heavenly Christ introduced into the believer by the Spirit of God. The believer, therefore, is not only a forgiven and justified man, through believing on Christ who died for his sins and rose for his justification, but, being accounted righteous, and having the life of the risen ascended Christ breathed into him, he has died to sin, and is alive to God in a new condition; he is not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be the Spirit of God dwells in him. He is therefore privileged to go forth in the power of this new life, to manifest nothing but Christ, holding the flesh that remains in him as dead by the power of Christ’s death.
Now Christ went through this scene unmarried: He now is clearly above this scene of nature. So we, having Himself as our life, and that life communicated by the Holy Ghost, have power given us to walk like Him. Nevertheless, all have not this particular gift (1 Cor. 7:7).
This is why the apostle says, in 1 Cor. 7:1-10, that it is good for a man not to touch a woman, nevertheless to avoid fornication, if a man cannot contain, let every man have his own wife! He says again, I would that all were even as myself; but every one hath his proper gift of God. The apostle’s advice, then, to the unmarried, and to the widows, was, it is good for them if they abide unmarried, but if they cannot contain, it is better to marry than to burn with lust.
In regard to the married, the wife was not to depart from her husband; if she did, she was to remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband. In the case of marriage with heathens, before conversion, if the unbelieving wife was pleased to dwell with her husband, he was not to put her away; and if a woman had a husband who did not believe, and he was pleased to dwell with her, she was not to leave him. The unbelieving husband was sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife by the husband, else were the children unclean, but now are they holy. They are set apart for the privileges of Christianity, just like Hebrew children circumcised had the privileges of Judaism. But if the unbelieving husband or wife departed, let them depart. In such a case there was no bondage. Besides, there was the question of the salvation of the unbelieving husband or wife, which was to be considered (1 Cor. 7:10-17).
Those that were married, likewise, would have trouble in the flesh, particularly in times of necessity or persecution. There was a danger, too, of being occupied with worldly things, and of pleasing the wife rather than the Lord (1 Cor. 7:26-28). The apostle gives full liberty; if the young unmarried woman remained unmarried, it was good, she did not sin. Later on in the Epistles (1 Tim. 5:14) he advises young widows to marry. In either case, man or woman, if they judged it a reproach to their virginity to remain unmarried, it was no sin, let them marry. But if a man stands steadfast in his heart, not having necessity, and has power over his own will, to keep his state of virginity, he does better. He therefore that marries does well. He that does not marry does better.
A wife was bound by the law to her husband as long as he lived. If her husband died, she was free to marry again, only in the Lord. Unequal yokes of all sorts, whether in marriage, business partnerships, or, above all, in matters of worship and God’s house, were strictly forbidden (see 2 Cor. 6:14-16). The general thought then is, that the original order of creation is owned, as to marriage, now that Christianity is introduced; only put on the ground of redemption. Still, beyond and above this, a heavenly life has been brought into the world, and has risen out of death, and above all this scene of nature. This blessed heavenly life — the life of God in Christ — is communicated to the believer by the Holy Ghost, who is its power and energy. This is able to lift the believing man above the requirements of nature. The teaching of the apostle Paul (in 1 Cor. 7) is founded on this. Marriage is honorable to all, and the bed undefiled (Heb. 13:4). It is in no way to be despised; nevertheless, it is good if a man has power to live above the necessity.
In the case of marriage, the will of God is the supreme matter. Is the wife or husband given me by the Lord’s will, or is it my own choice? In the case of the person sought being unconverted, the path is plain: marriage is only sanctioned in the Lord. But the will of the Lord goes beyond this: is the Christian I marry the partner God would have me take, or is he or she the object of my own will or choice? The future path in happiness or misery of the married must greatly depend on this. May the Lord increasingly be glorified in his saints by His will being sought in these matters!
As to the actual character suitable to the married ones, submission is the great mark for the wife, love for the husband (see Eph. 5:22-25; Col. 3:18, 19). No doubt wives are reciprocally to love their husbands, as we see in the injunction of Titus 2:4; but who loved first, Christ or the Church?
The honorable place that marriage has in the thoughts of God, is that in Eph. 5:22, 23, it is put as an illustration of the union existing between Christ the Head of the Church and His Bride. Christ holds a double relationship towards His Church: 1st, He is the Head; 2nd, He is the Savior of the body. As the Church, then, is subject to Christ, so should wives be to their own husbands.
The pattern for husbands, as to love, is the Christ’s love to the Assembly. He 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. Blessed example for husbands! There is first the giving up Himself in love for His Bride, then the daily care of her, setting her apart and cleansing her by the Word, then the final object of doing so. If such a pattern as this was followed, what blessed households should we have! The Word of God would characterize such households. We should not come into houses and find everything turned upside down, no family prayers, wives perhaps ruling the house, the children unsubject, the husband distracted. Thank God for what He has wrought in many families; but is there not room for a vast improvement in the households of many Christians? Is not Abraham’s example to be studied, as the first example we have of family religion in olden days; wherever he went, his household altar of worship was set up, and the Almighty God, his God, was called on.
But not only is the love of husbands towards their wives measured by the standard of the Christ’s love to the Church, but by that of man’s love to themselves. We love and cherish our own bodies; no man hated his own flesh, so likewise as the man and wife are one flesh, so a man should love his own wife. But even this is connected with the thought of Christ’s love to the Church; the Church is His body, we are members of His body, of His flesh, of His bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined to his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery, but Paul spake concerning Christ and the Church. Oh, how marriage is sanctified by being brought into connection with such a mystery!
And, beloved reader, where this truth is owned and acted on (viz., Christ owned as Head of His body, and His Church one with Him by the Holy Ghost), is not this the place where Christ manifests His presence in the midst of the Assembly? The Assembly is Christ’s body. Redemption having been accomplished, and the Christ having taken His seat at the right hand of God, the Holy Ghost has been sent down, baptizing all believers into one body, and building them together to be God’s habitation. Ought not Christians, then, to be gathered on this simple ground, bearing witness to the Christ, who is thus forming and gathering out the Church to be His bride, when He takes the kingdom on His return. When thus gathered they have the power and presence of the Lord in the midst, to bind and loose {Matt. 18:15-20}. Ought not such a position to be owned by Christians seeking the marriage relationship? Ought they not to seek the Assembly’s prayers on their future married life?
I would just add a word, that obedience is the part of the child, just as submission to the husband is the part of the wife, and love that of the husband. But it is obedience in the Lord, thus showing that all these relationships are put on redemption ground. It is not merely because the fifth commandment said so, though that has its governmental blessing. Obedience flows out from the new place into which Christian children are put, as well as their parents. By baptism into Christ they are put externally on Christian ground; this of course applies to all children of professing Christian parents, whether converted or not.
There is a governmental blessing attached to married couples, continuing in faith, and holiness and sobriety as to the woman in child-birth (1 Tim. 2:15). Supposing a wife had an unbelieving husband, who would not obey the Word (1 Pet. 3:1-6), the Word shows a way how he might be won without the Word, by the general deportment of the wife, whilst the husband beheld her chaste conversation coupled with fear. Dress, or plaiting of the hair, was not the way to win them; the hidden man of the heart, in that which was not corruptible; the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which was in the sight of God of so great a price; this was what would leave its mark. The example of Sarah with Abraham is brought forward in connection with this, who called him lord. Peter likewise exhorts the husbands to dwell with their wives, according to knowledge, giving them honor, as unto the weaker vessels, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that their prayers be not hindered. Thus prayer and the Word are evidently to mark the relationship going on between husband and wife.
The examples of Noah and his family saved, figuratively, through the baptism of the deluge (Gen. 7:l — cp. with 1 Pet. 3:20), and that of the Israelitish households, each being sheltered by the blood of the lamb, and thus set apart from the Egyptian households, have a voice to us to-day as to the position of privilege and blessing Christian parents have, in connection with their children, in separation from the world (Ex. 12). Moses insisted on the wives and children of the Israelites taking the three days’ journey into the wilderness, through the Red Sea, as well as the men, when Pharaoh wanted to keep the former behind (Ex. 10:8-10; 15). Abraham and Joshua are likewise fine examples of parents taking their proper places in regard to their children, and bringing them up for the Lord; as Joshua said, As for me and my house we will serve the Lord (Gen. 18:17-19; Josh. 24:15). Abraham had his family altar of worship in Canaan wherever he went!
In the case of Isaac and Rebekah we have an example of the wisdom of getting, first, the consent of the parents in regard to a marriage. In their after life we see the evil of partiality towards children, Isaac loving Esau, and Rebekah Jacob (Gen. 24, 25:28). In the case of the mothers of the kings of Judah being mentioned, we have an example of the importance of a mother’s godliness, and the influence they have in the bringing up of their children (see 2 Kings 14:2; 15:2, 33; 18:2).
On the other hand, we have sad examples of the evils of polygamy, as seen in Jacob’s family, and David’s, and Solomon’s. Sad examples of the evil of unequal yokes, in Judah’s family (Gen. 37), and later on in Jehoshaphat’s family (2 Chron. 18:1; 19:1-3; 21:1-6); also in the cases of Mahlon and Chilion, the sons of Naomi (see Ruth 1).
May the Lord use this little paper to give a ray of light on this important subject of marriage. More important as the spirit of lawlessness increases, especially so in lands where the law allows divorce for the slightest occasions. The consequence is that all true scriptural government, whether in the nation or family, is turned upside down.
I send this paper out, not as exhausting this subject, but as believing in its importance specially for my younger brethren and fellow-labourers, and not being without encouragement in the sense that the Lord led me to write it, and of having His approval. In days of increasing corruption it is important to have God’s principles of truth before us, so that we who are His may be kept from the downward stream of lawlessness and corruption that are setting in on every side.

The Advocate

The Advocate does two things: He pleads with the Father for us; He applies the word to us. The one maintains our cause if we sin, before the Father, against the accuser; the other brings up our practical state to our standing, which is always maintained without sin by the righteous Advocate, who has made propitiation. The failure in our practical state, is from the fact of our having two natures in one person.
With the mind I myself serve the law of God, with the flesh the law of sin (Rom. 7:25).
And though by faith, and in spirit, we are no longer in the flesh, yet actually it is in us (though by faith we reckon it dead), hence the failure. There is no excuse, but the fact is, we fail. Our standing as children ever remains the same, even though we sin, owing to the righteous Advocate who has made propitiation.
If any man sin, we have an advocate {1 John 2:1}.
But we have failed in our practical state — we are defiled. Our bodies are washed with pure water, that is true (Heb. 10:22); we have had once the washing of regeneration (Titus 3:5); we are born again (John 3:3); we need not then be put into the bath over again.
But we have sinned, we have got our feet defiled, as it were, in passing through this sin-defiling world. This will not do for the Father’s presence. What does the Advocate do? He applies the word to us, washes our feet, and leads us to confession and self judgment. The remembrance of our Advocate, who made propitiation, leads us back on our knees to our Father, who forgives us, and cleanses us from all our unrighteousness. We are cleansed according to what He is as the righteous One in the Father’s presence. This is cleansing by the water of the word, not by blood, which is never repeated. It is the application of the death of Christ, through the word, to moral defilement, from the root of sin. Thus the blessed work of the Advocate is, on the one hand, to plead for the children before the Father if they sin; on the other hand, to wash their feet with the word, to bring their practical walk and state up to their standing before Him.
How happy for us to be associated with the blessed Advocate! On the one hand pleading for our brethren if they sin; on the other hand carrying the word to them and washing their feet. May the Lord grant increasingly this grace, so that the saints may see their blessed privilege of love to cover sins (Prov. 10:12), plead for their brethren if they sin, and act in faithfulness to them, in carrying the word to them, washing their feet, so that they may be cleansed from the defilement; these last, overcoming the accuser by the blood of the Lamb, on the one hand, if they sin, and on the other hand, openly resisting him by the word of their testimony, like the blessed Lord Jesus Himself. He answered the devil when tempting Him to sin, by, “t is written.” So should we. If we sin, thank God we can always answer Him by the blood of the Lamb, which is the balm for every wound.
The blood of the Lamb and the word, the sword of the Spirit, are our instruments against the devil down here, whilst the Advocate maintains our cause before the Father up in heaven. Thus in every case we are maintained, and are overcomers,
more than conquerors through him that loved us {Rom. 8:37}.
Words of Faith, 1882, p. 41-42.

The Advocate; or, the Accuser: Whose Side Do You Take?

This is a practical question for Christians in these days. It is not a question of whether we are Christians or not, though it may often test the fact. Happily, simple faith in the Person of the Son of God and His work settles that question.
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved (Acts 16:31). He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life (John 3:86).
We are justified by his blood (see Rom. 5:9),
as well as numberless other passages. But the question is, as professedly saved ones, Do we take sides with the Advocate, or with the accuser of the brethren?
The advocacy of Christ is founded on His righteous person, and His perfect work. (See 1 John 2:1, 2.) His blessed work clears us from all the guilt of our sins, and in His blessed person we have entire deliverance from our Adam state, He Himself — the dead, risen, and ascended One — being our righteousness before God. It is on this ground that He intercedes, and does the work of an Advocate. If we sin (after our relationship with the Father, as children to Himself according to the good pleasure of His will, has been settled), then the advocacy of Christ applies.
My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we [children] have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the propitiation for our sins (1 John 2:1, 2).
The office of the Advocate, then, is not to get righteousness for us, nor to put away our sins, nor to make us God’s children. This is all settled, in virtue of Christ’s death and resurrection, by faith in Him.
But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins, for ever sat down on the right hand of God, from henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool; for by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified (Heb. 10:12-14).
He is Advocate to maintain us as children before the Father without sin, in face of the accuser of the brethren. (See Rev. 12:10.) When a child of God sins, communion is interrupted; the relationship remains, but the Father has no fellowship with the sin of His child. The Advocate pleads against Satan who accuses. The Father hears the pleadings of the Advocate, who thereon applies the word to our walk (John 13:4, 5), brings us to the confession of the sin, upon which the Father is faithful to the righteous Advocate, and just to the Advocate who made propitiation, to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). Thus communion  is restored, and the child of God walks in the joy and light of his Father’s countenance. Thus the Advocate is literally the Manager of our affairs in our Father’s court, and has reference to His government of His children in this world. It reconciles the fact of a naughty child and of a holy Father.
The Advocate does two things. He pleads with the Father for us; He applies the word to us. The one maintains our cause, if we sin before the Father, against the accuser; the other brings up our practical state to our standing, which is always maintained without sin by the righteous Advocate who has made propitiation. The failure in our practical state is from the fact of our having the flesh still in us. Our actual state is that of having two natures in one person.
With the mind I myself serve the law of God, with the flesh the law of sin (Rom. 7:25).
By faith, and in Spirit, we are no longer in the flesh, yet actually flesh is in us (though by faith we reckon ourselves dead); hence failure when we are careless, and let flesh act. There is no excuse, but the fact is that we do fail through unwatchfulness. Our standing as children ever remains the same (even though we may have sinned), owing to the righteous Advocate who has made propitiation.
If any man sin, we have an Advocate {1 John 2:1}.
But we have failed in our practical state, we are defiled. That our bodies are washed with pure water remains true (Heb. 10:22); we have had once the washing of regeneration (Titus 3:5), we are born again (John 3:3), we need not then to be put into the bath over again.  But we have sinned, we have got our feet defiled in passing through this sin-defiling world. This will not do for the Father’s presence. What does the Advocate then? He applies the word to us, washing our feet; the word judges us, leading us to confession and self-judgment. The remembrance of our Advocate who made propitiation brings us back on our knees to our Father who forgives us, and cleanses us front all unrighteousness. Thus the blessed work of the Advocate is, on the one hand, to plead for the children before the Father, if they sin; on the other hand, to wash their feet with the word, bringing their practical walk and state up to their standing before Him.
Satan, on the other hand, is the accuser of the brethren. He accuses them before God day and night (Rev. 12:10). He is the author of divisions between the children of God, by accusing them one to the other (Rom. 16:17-20). He would hire Balaam to curse the people of God, and, failing in that, he would use the same prophet to teach Balak to mix them up with the nations around, and partake of their sinful practices. He would excite Jehovah to try Job, speaking bad things of him before Jehovah’s face (Job 1, 2). He would tempt David to sin in numbering the people of Israel (1 Chron. 21:1), and move Jehovah against Israel to destroy them (2 Sam. 24:1). He would resist Joshua the high priest, and seek to prevent his filthy rugs being taken from him, and his being clothed in new raiment (Zech. 3:1). This is the accuser’s wretched work. Those that follow him are called false accusers, slanderers [literally devils, because doing the devil’s work]. He whispers in the ear of a minister’s wife (1 Tim. 3:11) a false story about some brother or sister in Christ. She spreads it about, and so the evil spreads, which perhaps may end in an assembly being broken up. Some aged sister sits leisurely at home (Titus 2:3), and, not having much to do, is ready to hear stories perhaps from some worldly person about some child of God. She spreads them about to others who come to see her. It is a slander, a lie, and so the devil does his work; and perhaps some child of God gets a wound, or is hindered in the work of the Lord for years.
I would solemnly ask every child of God who reads this paper, On whose side are you working? When some slander is uttered about a child of God, do you plead for him, go home and pray for him? If you know he has failed, do you go in love and humility, and take the word to him, and wash his feet? (John 13:14.) This is the blessed work of the Advocate. Or do you listen to the story, go and spread it lightly to some one else, without knowing whether it is a fact or not? And if you are hurt by some brother, do you go in a pet to God, or pray in anger at him at prayer-meetings (1 Tim. 2:8), and so accuse him. This is to do the devil’s work.
But how happy is it for us to be associated with the blessed Advocate; on the one hand pleading for our brethren if they sin, and on the other, carrying the word to them, and washing their feet! May the Lord grant His people increasingly this grace, so that the saints may see their blessed privilege of love to cover sins (Prov. 10:12), plead for their brethren if they sin, and act in faithfulness to them, in carrying the word to them, washing their feet, so that they might be cleansed from the defilement; these last, overcoming the accuser by the blood of the Lamb, on the one hand, if they sin, and, on the other hand, openly resisting him by the word of their testimony, like the blessed Lord Jesus Himself! He answered the devil, when tempting Him to sin, by “It is written”; and so should we. If we sin, thank God we can always answer Him by the blood of the Lamb, which is the balm for every wound. Thus the blood of the Lamb and the word, the sword of the Spirit, are our instruments against the devil down here; whilst the Advocate maintains our cause before the Father up in heaven. Here in every case we are maintained, and are overcomers, nay,
more than conquerors through him that loved us {Rom. 8:37}.
The Bible Treasury, vol. 11, p. 326-327.

Living Water

Why not of that living fountain, John 7:37
Flowing from the heart of God,
Should the thirsty sinner tasting
Drink, and leave sin’s heavy load? Isaiah 53:6

Rise, poor heart! the fountain’s open, Rev. 21:6
Christ hath died upon the tree,
All the powers of hell are shaken,
Grace flows down from God to thee.

God Himself the Source, the Fountain, John 4:10
Christ the Way the waters flow,
By the Spirit down from heaven,
To the thirsty heart below. John 4:14

Now’s the time, the time accepted,2 Cor. 6:2
Now to thee God’s light hath shone,2 Cor. 4:4-6
Christ God’s love hath manifested,2 Cor. 5:18-21
He the finished work hath done.

By one righteousness completed, Rom. 5:18
Adam’s life receives its doom; Rom. 6:6.
Jesus Christ, in glory seated, Rom. 5:17, 18
Everlasting life hath won. Rom. 5:21

Rise, poor heart! the river’s flowing, Rev. 21:6
Haste! delay not! yet there’s room; Luke 14:22-23
Hear the Word of God beseeching,
“Whosoever thirsts may come.” Rev. 22:17
From Helps by the Way, 1:280, 1873.

A Word on Sanctification

Sanctification is by God the Father as to its source. He who in Himself is set apart and separate from evil, is the source of our being set apart from evil to Himself. Thus it is by His blessed will that we are sanctified (Jude 1; Heb 10:10.) His will is the very spring of our new being. Christ’s work is the ground of our sanctification; it is through His one offering, that we are set apart to be God’s priests, worshipers of Himself (Heb. 10:10). Christ’s Person is the measure of our sanctification; for He is made unto us sanctification (1 Cor. 1:30). He is the Holy Vessel in God’s presence set apart from the world to Himself, and we are sanctified in Him. The Holy Ghost is the power of our sanctification in its application to the man here, so that the whole man (spirit, soul, and body) is practically set apart to God. Peter expresses it,
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 Pet. 1: 2).
Paul says to the Thessalonians,
The very God of peace sanctify you wholly (or entirely to the end), and I pray God that your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless, unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thess. 5:23).
Lastly, the word is the instrument of our sanctification in this latter aspect, according to our Lord’s own words,
Sanctify them through thy truth. Thy word is truth (John 17)!
This last likewise has a purifying effect on the man; leading him to self-judgment by the light, which the death, resurrection, and glory of Christ bring into him. The heart is purified by faith, the soul likewise, through obedience to the truth; the man is morally changed; besides a new life is imparted, a distinct life from and in connection with Christ in glory, who is God’s gift of eternal life to the believer. He is born of water and of the Spirit; not of water only, nor of the Spirit only, but by water and the Spirit, so that the same person, morally purified, and having new life imparted, lives to God.
This however does not mean that sin is eradicated or purified out of the man. No, my reader, it remains there in all its deformity, as every real Christian having the truth in him will own; but the man, spirit, soul, and body, is morally purified from it, and set apart to God, through the death of Christ morally applied, henceforth to live for His glory. I fear that many of us in combating with error, and finding how little the new man in Christ Jesus is known, have gone to the other extreme, and practically deny (not in word, perhaps), the being born of water, that is the moral purifying of the heart and soul from sin. Sin is confounded with the man, or made the root of his being, instead of realizing that man is God’s creature, and sin is a distinct thing introduced at the fall, and defiling and corrupting all his component parts, spirit, soul, and body, but from which it is God’s will he should be purified and set apart to Himself.
I unhesitatingly deny that sin is the source of man’s being. God is. He formed the spirit of man that is in him. Sin is transmitted from Adam to his descendants, has its seat in the heart, defiling the very spring of man’s being, so that evil thoughts, &c., come forth from thence. He is thus a ruined creature, spirit, soul, and body defiled, guilty for his sins, an enemy of God, and born in sin; but justified, reconciled, and delivered the moment he believes in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. He is also without strength to deliver himself, even when purification and sanctification have begun in his soul, as the end of Rom. 7 shows us. He would do good, but evil is present with him, he delights in the law of God after the inward man; with the mind, he serves the law of God. Thus the will, mind, and inner man are on the right side, but sin and the flesh on the other side are too strong. This brings out the cry, Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? and he finds the answer in God, through Christ outside of himself.
Thus sanctification by the Spirit is the moral setting apart of the man to God from sin and the flesh, which still remains in him. Sin cannot be eradicated or purified, nor the flesh, but the man morally is purified as to his heart, mind, will, soul, and inner man, and set apart to God. The body, even though in its present condition unfit for heaven, is God’s set apart vessel, as indwelt by His Spirit to be used in His service.
In this sense sanctification, and with it washing by the word, as to regeneration, come before justification and sprinkling by blood. (See 1 Cor. 6:11; 1 Pet. 1:2.) The latter are only received on the reception of the gospel. The ancient priests, under the law, as to the type, were first washed with water, then sprinkled with blood, and anointed with oil. So in Cornelius’s case, the first Gentile convert to Christianity, we have all the fruits of the new birth manifested at the beginning of chapter 10, but it was not till Peter had preached the gospel to him, and it was received by faith, that he got the remission of sins, and in consequence got the Holy Ghost. (See same chapter to the end).
May the Lord bless these few thoughts to my reader, and use them to minister increased clearness in our way of putting forth the truth.
I would note that sin is always looked at as a distinct thing from the man, in Rom. 5, 6, 7 whether in his unconverted or new born state. The washing of the word of life flows to us out of Christ’s death on the cross, as the blood also.
Things New and Old, vol. –, pp. 39-43.

Christian Walk

My Dear Brother in the Lord,
It might be well in these sad days, when so much positive evil is being everywhere manifested, to write a few short remarks on the principles of Christian walk; rather with the view of leading the saints who read your periodical to search the Scriptures on that subject, than anything else. I have jotted down a few thoughts, which I now convey to you, trusting they may be of use to those who read your periodical.
The Christian’s walk through this world is founded on his position in Christ. Christian responsibility never begins till the saint is established in his position. As a child of Adam he was responsible, and the law was the perfect measure of his responsibility. He was to love God with all his heart, etc., and his neighbor as himself; but in that condition he was utterly lost. Now through redemption he is forgiven and justified as a sinner, but not only that — he is entirely delivered from his state and condition as a child of Adam, and brought into the family of God; the Father’s name is revealed to him, he is sealed by the Spirit and cries. “Abba Father.” In that new position he is responsible, no longer as a child of Adam, but as a child of God. As a child he is responsible to obey his Father; as a member of Christ he has a common responsibility with the other members of Christ to hold the Head. To illustrate my meaning more clearly — all responsibility in this life is founded on a relationship already formed; such as a wife’s to her husband, a child’s to a father, a servant’s to a master. The responsibility must be formed before the responsibility commences. It would be preposterous to tell a strange boy in the street to walk as my child, he would not understand his responsibility to do so; but let him be adopted into my family, and then teach him his responsibility, he will understand the meaning of it.
It is on account of not seeing this principle clearly, that much of the doubt and darkness which pervades Christendom is caused, as well as the failure in the walk of Christians.
Now there are three great parts of the individual Christian’s position, from which his responsibility flows: 1st. He is born of God. 2nd. Christ in glory is the object of his faith. 3rd. The Holy Ghost dwells in his body, as a temple.
I begin with the first as that most commonly known amongst Christians, though it comes last in order in the Epistles, that is, that the Christian is born of God. This is a state which he has in common with all Old Testament saints, and connects itself with the government of God, a principle which is especially taught in Old Testament Scripture, Israel being the center of God’s government on the earth. Christians are under the government of the Father as children born in a family, and are responsible to obey Him. Obedience is founded on life. Commandments are addressed to that life as its rule. The law was the rule to the flesh or old man, the Father’s commandments and the law of liberty to the new man. See 1 John 1, 2; James 1:17-25; 1 Pet. 2:3-17. The Christian, born of God, and thus addressed, does righteousness and loves the brethren (1 John 3), but the general principles of government are the same at all times, modified by the revelation of the Father’s name, and refer only to this life and the new-born soul’s walk through this world. James and Peter, in this view, give a very wholesome connection with Old Testament Scripture, teaching that the man born of God needs a rule, which he finds in the Word of God, which is profitable for reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness, so that the man of God might be thoroughly furnished to every good work (2 Tim. 3:16). Here Paul was alluding specially to Old Testament Scripture, in the knowledge of which Timothy had been brought up as a child.
We now come to the other two parts of the Christian’s position, which may be said to be those properly Christian, that is, not belonging to the saint in Old Testament times. 1st. That a glorified Christ is set before him as the object of faith, the righteousness of God by faith is revealed to him. Founded on this,
the just shall live by faith (Rom. 1:17).
2ndly. The Holy Ghost dwells in his body as a temple, and he is called to walk in the Spirit.
As to the first, the righteousness of God as now manifested in Christ in glory, is seen to be in the believer’s favor consequent on redemption having been accomplished (Rom. 3:21, 22). The Christian believes; his sins are forgiven through Christ’s blood, and Christ is made unto him righteousness. He is justified, reckoned righteous by faith in Him, a Person outside Himself, who has wrought out his redemption; and given him deliverance from sin’s power. Founded on this position the walk comes in; the just shall live by faith; as dead and risen he is to yield himself to God (Rom. 6:13); having put off the old man, and put on the new, he is to put off the fruits daily of the former, and to put on the fruits of the latter (Eph. 4:20-29; Col. 3:8-14). He waits by faith for the hope of righteousness, that faith working by love (Gal. 5:5, 6).
But the second great work of Christianity is that the Holy Ghost has come down from heaven, consequent on the exaltation of Christ as man, and has sealed the believer, giving him the knowledge of his sonship, and of all the things freely given to him of God, so that his body is the temple of the Holy Ghost (John 14:20; Rom. 8:15, 16; 1 Cor. 2:12, 6:19). God dwells in him. Now he has positive power; it is no longer a simple yielding himself up to God (Rom. 6:13), but by the Spirit he mortifies or puts to death the deeds of the flesh (Rom. 8:13, 14; Col. 3:4). Walking in the Spirit, he does not fulfill the lusts of the flesh (Gal. 5:16). He is called to be an imitator of God as a dear child (Eph. 5:1), forgiving as God forgives, showing his character as light and love. It is no longer simple dependence on an object outside you, and set before you at as an object of faith, but power come inside you, upon which indeed there is also need of dependence, but it is power acting on the flesh from within, as also manifesting the life of God in the soul. God works in the Christian both to will and to do of His good pleasure. This principle also is in direct contrast to legal obedience. Led of the Spirit the Christian is not under the law (Gal. 5); and yet as not under it and dead to it, and walking after the Spirit, he fulfills its righteousness (Rom. 7:4, 8:4). I think if the saint kept these three different parts of the Christian position apart in his mind, and connected them with three different parts of the Christian walk, much difficulty would vanish. It is true the parts blend together in the Christian, but they are distinct in themselves, and need to be seen distinct in the mind so as to understand our proper position and walk.
Your affectionate brother in Christ, A. P. C.

God

Sinner, do you know God? This ought to be the question of questions to you, for this is life eternal, that they might know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent (John 17:3). The gospel is the gospel of God (Rom. 1:1). It is the glad tidings of the revelation of what God is! God was never revealed in what He is, His nature and character, till Jesus came. The only-begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him!
He was revealed as the good, beneficent Creator, with all power in creation. (See Gen 1:31; Rom. 1:14.) Even since the fall man was not left without witness as to His goodness, in giving him food and fruitful seasons, &c. (Acts 17). But all was dark as to the future.
He revealed Himself as the Governor of Israel, and His will (as far as to shew what man ought to be for Him), in the law. That so far showed Him to be a righteous God, requiring man to love Him with all his heart, and his neighbour as himself. But it did not tell what God was in love, and it also left man greatly in the dark as to the future existence, though there was enough to shew it, as the Lord told the Sadducees, who denied the resurrection, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God! But in Christ He is revealed in His fullness. His full nature is shewn, and that in grace. God is light! God is love!
Who is God then? He is Spirit (John 4:24); light (1 John 1:5); love (1 John 4:8).
First, God is Spirit, the very source of thine immortal nature, sinner! Man is said to be God’s offspring (Acts 17:29), and to have been created in the image of God! (Gen. 1:27). Sinner, you have a spirit within you, then, with as endless a life as God has! God, who is Spirit, not only created the heavens and the earth, but formed the spirit of man which is in him (Zech. 14:1; Isa. 42:5). God is the God of the spirits of all flesh (Num. 16:22). He is the source of their immortality, having breathed into man’s nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul (Gen. 2:7). Who are you, then, responsible to but to God, who formed you, and who will be your Judge, either to place you in eternal bliss for ever, or in everlasting woe, in the lake of fire? Oh, sinner, think of this! Your spirit must soon return to God who gave it! Are you ready for this change? God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:24).
But, secondly, God is light (1 John 1:5). Light searches, light manifests. Bring a light into a dark room; it manifests all that is in the room, its state of order or disorder. Sinner, have you ever been made sensible that God is light? What does the light reveal? A heart deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked (Jer. 17:9). Oh, can you bear to think about it?
It reveals that all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). It reveals that in you, that is in your flesh, dwells no good thing. It reveals that man is the enemy of God — yea, worse, that he is dead in trespasses and sins (Rom. 5:10, 7:18; Eph. 2:1-3).
But, blessed be God, it also reveals Christ on the cross, meeting all those conditions. Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures (1 Cor. 15:3). When we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son (Rom. 5:10). By one righteousness the free gift went out to all men unto justification of life (Rom. 5:18).
Sinner, hear the glad tidings of the glory of Christ. Christ has been raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father. He sits on the throne of God in glory. Gaze by faith at the Man there. A Man in whom the whole glory of God shines is there. God is light, and that Light shines in the face of the Man Christ Jesus. He is the Man justified. He is the Man at peace. He is the Man in whom eternal life is. He is the second Man, substituted for the first. Oh, sinner, do not you see Him with the eye of faith? Alas, if you do not, it is because you are lost! The god of this world hath blinded the minds of those that believe not, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them (2 Cor. 4:3, 4).
Thirdly, God is love. It is His nature to love sinners. When a test of four thousand years had brought out the fact as to what man was, as a lawless being and a law-breaker, and that he could give to God no righteousness; then God became a Man in the Person of His Son, took the name of Jesus (meaning Jehovah-Saviour), and became a man, to die to save His people from their sins. (Matt. 1:21). God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them (2 Cor. 5:19). The light had revealed man as a guilty criminal, under sentence of death, an enemy of God by wicked works, and a slave of sin. The love gave His dear Son to die, to meet that threefold condition. And Jesus did meet it to the full; He died for the sins of the guilty criminal, and rose for his justification. (Rom. 4:25). He made peace for His enemy, and has brought him nigh to God in Himself (Eph. 2:13; Col. 1:20). He has so entirely condemned the sin in the flesh that held the poor slave under its dominion, and paid its wages (Rom. 6:23, 8:3), that the believer is completely delivered by His death and resurrection being applied to him. The believer has died to sin, and is alive to God in Christ Jesus. Oh, blessed good news about God! for God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life! (John 3:16).
And still this is not all. God in love gives us Christ, where He is in glory. He is our new standing in righteousness, peace, and eternal life. We are quickened together with Him, raised up together, and made to sit together in heavenly places in Christ (Eph. 2:5, 6). When He comes again He will descend into the air; the dead in Christ will be raised, the living be changed, and all believers caught up to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we be for ever with the Lord (1 Thess. 4:16, 17).
And is this God? somebody says. Yes, my friend. He that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who hath given us in the meantime the earnest of the Spirit (2 Cor. 5:5).
“Then, surely, if this be so, I may know I am saved,” says the now believing man. Yes, assuredly, my friend; and that is just the effect of knowing God, as Eliphaz said to Job, Acquaint now thyself with God, and be at peace (Job 22:21).
Things New and Old, vol. 25, 1882.

Whosoever Believeth That Jesus Is the Christ, Is Born of God

Professing Christian, have you believed that Jesus is the Christ? Do not tell me you have been baptized, and confirmed, and have gone to the sacrament, and have been doing your best, and no one can accuse you of an immoral life! I dare say all that is true; but all this is not believing that Jesus is the Christ! You may be a good Churchman, a high ritualist, and yet be as ignorant of the reality of Jesus being the Christ as an infidel; and I hope, if you will bear with me, and have patience to read this, that I shall be able to prove it to you.
Messiah is the Hebrew word for the Christ, which is the Greek word for the Anointed. It is not always marked in our English Bibles, but whenever, or generally when the definite article is prefixed to the word Christ, it does not merely mean a name, but is the official title of the Lord, just as we say the official title of the eldest son of Her Majesty is the Prince of Wales. It means, then, in simple words, the Anointed. A Jew would have told you at once, who lived in those days, that the Christ signified the Anointed Prophet, Priest, and King who was coming, of whom the Jewish prophets, priests, and kings were types. Elisha was anointed as prophet. Aaron was anointed as priest. David was anointed as king. Oil was poured on their heads, and they were set apart for their office in that way. So Jesus, after His baptism by John, was anointed and sealed by the Holy Ghost, set apart in that way for His threefold office as Prophet, Priest, and King. The Jew also ought to have known, from Isa. 6:1, 5, and Psa. 2, that the Messiah was Jehovah, and Son of God, as also from Jer. 23:6. Now, reader, perhaps you will be interested to read a little longer, and to see whether you really do believe in Him — for remember, if you do not, it is fatal!
First, He is the Anointed Prophet, who came down to give a new testimony from God, which had never been given before — that is, of grace — God no longer requiring men to fulfill certain commandments or laws, but God giving His Son! He said to the Samaritan woman — who presently confessed Him a Prophet —
If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith unto thee, Give me to drink, thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water (John 4:10)!
Reader, God hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, the Anointed Prophet. He has been down to the earth to tell us God’s mind, that we, who are already proved guilty sinners, under sentence of death by the law, may now, by hearing His voice, receive grace and pardon for all our sins — yea, eternal life — through simply believing in His name. Therefore it is as clear as noon-day, that if you are trusting in the law, or in your good works, for salvation, you are not believing the Anointed Prophet’s voice, and God says,
How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation? (Heb. 1:2; 2:3).
But, secondly, He is the Anointed Priest! Every priest, we are told, is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices. Therefore a priest and a sacrifice go together. Aaron and his sons offered the daily sacrifices on the brazen altar before the tabernacle; Christ, through the eternal Spirit, offered Himself without spot to God. (See Heb. 5:1; 9:14.) He is therefore both Priest, Altar, and Sacrifice. Why did He offer Himself? Because the law sacrifices were insufficient to take away the sins, and God wanted sin to be put away, and for sanctified worshipers, saved out of the world, to be in His presence (see Heb. 10:1-10). We read that in the tabernacle service the priests always stood, and offered continual sacrifices that could never take away sins; but that this Man, when He had offered one sacrifice for sins, for ever sat down on the right hand of God! (Vers. 11, 12). If a man stands, it is generally to do some kind of work; the priests under law always stood, because the work was never done, the sacrifices were being continually offered, and they never put away sins; but if a man sits down after having done his work, it is a clear case that the work he was about is done — he has sat down. So it was with the Anointed Priest. When He had done the work of putting away our sins, He for ever sat down at the right hand of God, for by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified! What is the use, then, of ritualist priests offering fresh sacrifices on new altars put up? Why, it is as clear as noon-day that they do not believe in the Anointed Priest, and in the eternal efficacy of His one sacrifice. My reader, beware of following such priests. There is one Priest at the right hand of God, who has sat down after having completely put away every believer’s sins, and that is the Christ. Do you believe in Him? The only other priesthood now is that of all believers (1 Pet. 2:5; Rev. 1:6).
Thirdly, He is the Anointed King. He was the Heir to Jerusalem’s throne, the true Son of David; but the Jewish nation rejected and crucified Him. He now, therefore, sits as the rejected King on the Father’s throne in heaven, and is coming presently to sit on His own throne, when He comes again to restore Israel, and to judge this world in righteousness. (See Acts 2:30-36; Rev. 3:21.) My reader, we are living in the interval between His rejection and His return to reign. He claims now the subjection of our hearts to His sceptre.
Have you submitted to the authority of the King during the time of His rejection? Woe betide you if you have not! Substitute law for grace, for salvation; it shows you do not believe in Him as God’s own Anointed Prophet. Substitute eucharistic altars and sacrifices, and man-appointed priests, for God’s one Priest, one altar, and one sacrifice, and it shows you do not believe in Him as God’s Anointed Priest; and if you have any other authority to rule your life, be it church authority or human authority of any kind, except the word of God, it shows that you have not believed in Him as God’s Anointed King; and he that believeth not shall be damned (Mark 16:16)!
One word more.
Whosoever abideth not in the doctrine of the Christ, hath not God, we are told in 2 John 9. Christian, test those who teach by this doctrine. If they bring it not, receive not such in your house, nor bid them God speed (2 John 10, 11). The Anointed Prophet now speaks from heaven the word of grace, in contrast to the one who spoke on earth, from Mount Sinai, the law! Hear Him, I beseech you! (Heb. 12:25, 26). The Anointed Priest has sat down as the great Center of Christian worship, having opened the way of access to God by His one sacrifice! Get absolution, I beseech you, from no other priest, nor have any other center of worship. The Anointed King is about to come to reign! Are you ready for Him? Have you bowed to His word?
Things New and Old, vol. –, pp. 217-221.

God’s Two Gifts

The glory of this dispensation is that God is revealed to us as a giver. The New Testament fully makes this known to us, and this is the glory of the Christian life, that having received eternal life from God, we should go forth and show His grace and His free gifts to others. We should be imitators of God as dear children (Eph. 5:1-2), walking in love as Christ has loved us and has given Himself for us, an offering and sacrifice to God as a sweet-smelling savor.
In John 3:16 and 4:10 we have God revealed to us in this blessed way. He is the giver of two gifts: first, the giver of His Son; second, the giver of the Holy Spirit. The first gift is a gift to the whole world of sinners, God’s only begotten Son! He who was ever in this relationship with the Father became a man, lived among them, died for them, rose again and now sits on high as the object of faith for any poor sinner who will accept Him. The second gift is only given to those who have accepted the first gift; it is God’s gift to His own who have believed on His Son.
The Lord Jesus had to ascend on high and receive from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, before He could be sent down on the hundred and twenty disciples who had already believed in Christ. These had already been born again, by hearing the Son’s word, and had already become possessors of eternal life in Him by the reception of the first gift. But now they were united to Him by the gift of the Holy Spirit sent down from heaven, made members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. (See Acts 2; compare with Acts 1:4-5;1 Cor. 12:13; Eph. 5:30.) Still this second gift is not too high a thing for a sinner to desire it and, when quickened, to ask for it, as we see in the striking instance in John 4. The great mark of it is that it is a gift, and God is therein revealed as a giver, which is the great revelation of the gospel.
Let us consider God as the giver of His Son. If the Jew had received the law as God intended him to receive it, the law would have taught him the lesson that he was nothing but a sinner. And instead of thinking of being justified by it, he would have fallen down on his face and cried like the poor leper who was put outside the camp of Israel,
Unclean, unclean (Lev. 13:45)!
For the law not only forbade the bad things he had done, so that he was proved to be a transgressor and guilty in this way, but it was given to unveil the very root of sin. It was to give the knowledge that deep down in the heart there was an evil spring which was continually vomiting forth filth and pollution, and which displayed itself outwardly in the various acts of sin that men commit (Rom. 3:19-20; 8:7). Thus, if the Jew had learned the real lessons taught him by this wonderful schoolmaster, he would have been thoroughly humbled and broken, confessing himself to be nothing but a lost sinner.
But whether the Jew learned this lesson or not, this was what was proved by God during more than a thousand years of test and trial. When this had been fully made known and man was proved to be guilty as well as a poor creature under the power and dominion of sin which ruled over him like a tyrant, then God began to work from Himself. If the very spring of man’s heart was evil, God must begin from Himself, outside of man in order to save him. And this is the blessedness of the gospel and the blessedness of John 3:16. We begin with God — God so loved the world!
God was revealed in His only begotten Son. He had been walking about
Jerusalem and had been in the temple, and many, we are told,
If the very spring of man’s heart was evil, God must begin from Himself outside of man in order to save him.
believed in Him when they saw the miracles that He did.
But Jesus did not commit Himself unto them, because He knew all men (John 2:24).
In the presence of God’s Son on earth, man was tested afresh, and, as before, he failed under it. Man will believe on Jesus for the miracles. Anything for excitement! If any make a profession, he will follow the leader, but God looks not on the outward appearance; He looks on the heart.
There was no proper response in the hearts of this multitude to Him. The faith produced by the miracles as well as the works of man are utterly worthless. He is lost! He must be born again! There may be some, like educated and refined Nicodemus, who believe in a religious way on Jesus, because of the outward signs of power around, and who thus judge and rightly too that Jesus must have been the Christ. But still the verdict goes forth to all,
Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God {John 3:3}.
Not only the fruit is bad, but the tree is bad. Man, as man, is utterly lost.
If, then, man is to be saved, of necessity God must be a giver. That God working in man by the Spirit was not sufficient to save was shown by all the history of the Old Testament saints up to that time. We see this specially in the instance of Job who, though conscious of inward uprightness, and that, too, testified of by God’s own word, found it insufficient for righteousness when brought into the presence of God at the end of his trial. Yet it is necessary to be born again to enter the kingdom of the Messiah, the highest blessing for which a Jew was looking. God must therefore give His Son! The Son of Man must be lifted up that whosoever believeth in Him might have eternal life (John 3:14-15). There must be a Person given from outside of man, who, in a holy nature, might take upon Himself the penalty due to sin. This Person must be One who would fully glorify God in every quality of His nature as righteousness, love and light.
God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son (1 John 5:11). God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son {John 3:16}.
There was the secret of Jesus walking about this world and showing nothing but love to all around. His birth in the manger, His life of patient toil, even before the crowning act of His death, proclaimed that
God is love {1 John 4:8, 16}.
His righteousness demanded death as a ransom, therefore the Son of Man had to die. Thus God was fully glorified in His righteousness and in His love. Christ risen from the dead is God’s gift of eternal life offered to the whole world.
God’s Second Gift
Now consider God’s second gift: the gift of the Holy Spirit. There are two necessary things to have in order to get it (see John 4:10). First is to have the knowledge of God as a giver:
If thou knewest the gift of God.
Second is to know the person of God’s Son; in other words, to believe on Him. The Lord said,
If thou knewest . . . who it is that saith to thee, Give Me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of Him, and He would have given thee living water (John 4:10).
(Also see John 7:38, 39.) As the blessed Lord talked to this poor, fallen woman about the living water, her heart was opened to desire it and she said in John 4:15,
Sir, give me this water.
Not that she understood, but it was the first desire that came from her heart! The Lord, in answer, revealed Himself to her as the anointed One, and indeed He was the first gift, so that when the time came for the second gift to be given, she was ready to receive it, having believed in Jesus!
We read in John 7:39 that this second gift could not be given till Jesus was glorified. He must die and rise again and go up on high before the Holy Spirit could come down and take up His abode in any believer.
It is simple to see in the four gospels the history of the gift of God’s Son.
The anointed One of God was offered to man and rejected by the world. But He was received by His own, and whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have eternal life. This life was given in the power of resurrection after He rose from the dead.
Then in the Acts we read of His exaltation to the right hand of God and of the descent of the Holy Spirit, the second gift of God by which those who had received the gift of God’s Son were united to Christ and to one another. Thus they had the knowledge given them that He was in the Father, and they in Him, and He in them, and that they had been made members of His body. See John 14:20 and 1 Cor. 12:12-13.
Receiving the Holy Spirit
Now I would ask in all love, every soul who professes to have believed in Christ, but who is still trembling and fearing, not knowing whether he is certainly saved or not, Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed? We have seen that He is certainly a distinct person from the Son and a distinct gift. The Son came into this world at the incarnation; the Holy Spirit came on the day of Pentecost! Both, of course, are divine persons existing from eternity!
Perhaps you answer me, I always thought that both gifts were received at once. Well, let us look at one or two scriptures in the Acts and see. In Acts 2:37, we do not see the Holy Spirit given when they first believed that Jesus was the Christ. But they were convicted divinely and said,
Men and brethren, what shall we do?
The Holy Spirit was given after repentance, and after they were baptized unto
His name and received remission of sins.
In Acts 8, Philip preached in Samaria that Jesus was the Christ, and they believed and were baptized. Yet we read in ver. 16 that as yet the Holy Spirit was fallen on none of them, only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus! The Holy Spirit was given when the apostles laid their hands on them.
Acts 9 gives us a remarkable account of Paul’s conversion. He was converted to God through the revelation to him from the glory of His Son, Jesus. From that time he owned Him as his Lord, and yet for three days was without sight and could neither eat nor drink. It was not till
Can you have God dwelling in you and you not know it?
Impossible!
Ananias, a simple Jewish Christian, came and brought back to his mind the name of the person who had spoken to him and had put his hands on him that he received his sight and was filled with the Holy Spirit.
In Acts 10 we have the remarkable account of Cornelius’s conversion, the first Gentile. Here was a man evidently
born of God {John 1:13; 1 John 3:9, 4:7, 5:1, 4, 18},
a devout man, one that feared God with all his house, and yet Peter had to go and tell him words whereby he and all his house should be saved (Acts 11:14). Peter went and preached the gospel of the remission of sins through the Christ crucified by men, but raised from the dead by God. Also He was coming to be the judge of the living and the dead, and Peter testified that to Him give all the prophets witness, that through His name whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins.
This testimony of the gospel he received and was sealed with the Holy Spirit (Acts 36-44).
Then in Acts 19:1-6 the Apostle actually finds some believers at Ephesus who had received John the Baptist’s ministry through Apollos, testifying of a coming kingdom and a coming Messiah. They had no idea that He had already come! So Paul asked them the very question I am asking you,
Have you received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?
They had not even heard of Him. He then put before them the fact that the Christ had already come and died and was risen again and glorified. Then they were baptized unto His name and received the Holy Spirit.
Now we find some believers today in a state somewhat similar to some of these cases. They have never heard a full gospel! Many look upon salvation as a promise in the future, and have had no idea of a present Christ as a gift to be received and possessed consciously as their own. So we have to say to them, “Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?”
“How am I to know?” they say. My friend, if I came into your house, how would you know I was there? Would it not be by my actual presence? And how are you to know that God dwells in you? My answer would be that it is by His actual presence there! Can you have God dwelling in you and you not know it? Impossible!
But you say, “What am I to believe to receive it?” What did they believe on the day of Pentecost? What did Paul believe? What did Cornelius believe? They believed in the testimony of the remission of sins preached to them in the name of a dead, risen and glorified Christ whose name was Jesus, or Jehovah Savior! They believed not merely in His person as the Christ or even as the Son of God, but in the efficacy of His finished work and in God’s acceptance of it and His glory. Immediately when they believed the gospel, they were sealed with the Holy Spirit!
Thus the Holy Spirit is carefully shown in the Acts to be a distinct person, and a gift distinct from that of the Son, generally, if not always, given at a distinct time. That is, first the sinner believed that Jesus was the Anointed, through hearing the word in his soul. Afterwards, on the reception of the gospel, the Holy Spirit sealed him. This we have in Eph. 1:13,
In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.
So God is in every way a giver, no longer a requirer as under the law. He gave His Son and He gave the Holy Spirit. What has any poor, needy creature to do but to receive what God has given, to appropriate all to himself and to thank God for it all? Having the Son, we have eternal life and glory, and it is ours by simple faith. Having the Holy Spirit, we are actually, in spirit, heavenly men. Receiving the gospel, we are in Christ. Receiving the Holy Spirit, Christ is in us.
Ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you {Rom. 8:9}.
And if Christ be in us, all that is of Adam in us we may treat as dead, having received the Christ that died. All we wait for is for our bodies to be raised up or changed when the Lord returns. See Rom. 8:1, 9-11.
God is in every way a giver.
What has any poor, needy creature to do but to receive what God has given,
to appropriate all to himself and to thank God or it all?
Thus we are not only forgiven and justified from our sins, but we are in Christ and Christ is in us. Having died with Him and risen again with the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, we know our place as sons while we wait for the redemption of our bodies. Glorious news, glorious portion!
O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 15:55-57).
Christian Treasury, August 1995, pp.202-211.

The Difference Between the Washing of Regeneration and the Renewing of the Holy Ghost (Titus 3:5)

The Savior God saves us by the washing of regeneration. Water came out of the dead side of Christ, figure of the Word of life. The word cleanses, but it is by death. The sentence of death is written upon the flesh, morally purifying the man from sin, and cleansing his faculties; and hearing the voice of the Son of God the man lives of a new life. Not life that was in Adam, but life that is in the Son of God. This is the washing of regeneration. It is the word of the Son that came out of His dead side for every creature under heaven, that makes itself heard in the soul, and produces life there; but a life that purifies the man and his faculties, through the death of Christ, from the sin that is in him, and thus acts in leading him to repentance, for he is sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ made once (Heb. 10:10).
But this alone does not save the Christian, or make him a Christian as distinct from a believer of the Old Testament, or from a millennial saint. There is the renewing of the Holy Ghost, which God hath shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior. This takes out of the sphere of earth altogether, and makes the Christian a heavenly man. An Old Testament saint was born again, but remained (as to his standing) in the flesh, and an earthly man, as waiting for the Messiah. Consequently, Moses, Joshua, David, etc., though born again, remained Jews. New birth did not take them out of Judaism. Their ordinary title was that of “just men.” A millennial saint besides having new birth, will stand as sanctified through the offering of Jesus Christ, but still in an earthly state, and for an earthly position, having the benefits of Christ’s sacrifice applied to him, but for earthly blessing. But a Christian besides having this PALINGENESIAN (regeneration, cp. Matt. 19:28) applied to him, possesses the ANAKAINOSIN i.e. RENEWAL OF THE HOLY GHOST: compare John 20:22.
This is a renewal that takes him out of the earthly sphere of things altogether, and makes him one with Christ and the Son in heaven. It is an ANAKAINOSIS; not only a new nature, but a taking the man out from the earthly order of things altogether, that is in Spirit. He is no longer in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be the Spirit of God dwell in him. As to the fullness of the life, he is quickened together with Christ, (though I have no doubt this takes in also the PALINGENESIAN (regeneration,) he is raised up together, and made to sit together in heavenly places in Christ. He is created anew in Christ Jesus (not merely born) unto good works which God hath before ordained that he should walk in them. The Holy Ghost, besides this, dwells in the believer as a distinct Person; gives him the knowledge of his place of oneness and position with the Son; bears witness with his spirit that he is a child of God (Rom. 8); gives him the knowledge of the things freely given to him of God (1 Cor. 2:12); and his body becomes the temple of the Holy Ghost (1 Cor. 6:19). There is liberty now, no longer bondage; the knowledge of salvation, not hoping to get it (Rom. 8:16, 2 Cor.3:17). But this gift comes through its proper channel, that is through Jesus Christ our Savior, God’s glorified Man at the right hand of God. He had shed His blood, which the believer accepts and rests upon, and which as a result purges his conscience, so that he has boldness and access for and into the holiest.
He is justified by God’s grace; the death, resurrection and glorification of Christ is applied to him in all its value in the reckoning of God. He is cleared from his sins, dead to sin and alive unto God in Jesus Christ the Lord; made the righteousness of God in Him; in the full position too of a son, an heir of God and a joint heir with Christ according to the hope of eternal life, which will be applied to his body at the period of the first resurrection when Christ comes again.