Notes of a Reading at Bournemouth on May 3rd, 1882

Ephesians 3; John 20:30-31; 1 John 1:1-4
HYMN 186-" Jesus of Thee we ne'er would tire "-was given out by C. S.
C. E. S. then prayed.
C. McA. suggested looking at the scriptures that showed the truth referred to by Mr. Darby in his last letter to his brethren, i.e., Paul's ministry, as giving "the dispensation in which the display is," and John's ministry, as giving "that which is displayed."
C. McA. remarked, that Eph. 3 gives us, perhaps more concisely than any other scripture, the peculiar ministry of Paul, one part being the grace that flowed forth to the Gentiles; the other, the truth of the church. The retirement of the Lord Jesus into heaven opened the way for the grace to flow out, besides opening a way for us to go into heaven. Had the Lord stayed on earth, judgment must have come upon those on it. John's ministry is really seen in the first four verses of his first Epistle, and he gives us the reason why he writes it: 1 John 1:44And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. (1 John 1:4), "These things write I unto you that your joy may be full;" 1 John 1:1313Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:13), " These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God," &c. In his gospel he also says (John 20:3131But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. (John 20:31)), "These are written that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing ye might have life in his name." John's ministry brings out what is eternal.
R. E.: Does not John speak especially of what is in the believer? He speaks of love in them, hope in them, witness in them, &c. Paul would explain how it was arrived at; John does not say how, but the fact that it is in you.
C. S.: John also tells us what God is: "God is light," "God is love." Paul tells us of our being in Christ, John of our abiding in Him.
R. E.: John shows that a Christian "keepeth himself;” each soul has that which is of God.
H. H. S.: In looking at the two ministries, we find each contemplate the last days and the evil coming in;—Paul especially in 2 Timothy; and John refers to the Antichrist; and both insist on practical righteousness.
C. McA.: Paul gives us the ways of God displayed in Christ, and John gives us Christ Himself down here. The latter begins in his gospel and epistle with Christ, and we have unfolded the full display of His life in this world, that life that is to be exhibited in the saints on earth. John gives us the manifestation of the divine life, and the joy that Christ had in carrying out the mind of God.
H. H. S.: In Paul we get the counsels of God unfolded, in John what is becoming in those who hold the truth.
R. E.: The first verse of the first chapter of the Epistle gives the Christian's standing from John's point of view.
C. McA.: While the first four verses of the Epistle give us a kind of synopsis of the Epistle itself, in the remaining part he takes up the subject in detail. That eternal life itself which had been manifested, he insists upon being the One he had seen on earth-he had seen, heard, and handled Him-his head had been laid upon that breast; then comes his object in writing, namely, "that your joy may be full." What follows is what is consequent upon that; what that eternal life is, possessed by the believer and manifested in him, as it was in the person of the blessed Lord Himself. John does not give God in Christ, as Paul does, but the Father seen in Christ, and the characteristics displayed in Him are truth, light, love and righteousness; and these characteristics are to be displayed in the saints; if we speak of the father, it refers to the affections of a child. If of God, we think of the Creator. The seventh verse brings God before us as light, and in that light is our place. If we have any sense of what we are in ourselves, we say, how can I be there? The blood gives the answer. Then if I am in the light, and others are in the light, we have fellowship.
T. R.: In John 17 we find the Lord Jesus revealing the Father to His disciples, and showing how He was outside all dispensations. Then He prays, "Holy Father, keep in [not through] thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one as we are." Here the unity is applied to those then on the earth; then, afterward, John 17:20-2120Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; 21That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. (John 17:20‑21), the unity is applied not only to those then on the earth, but to those who should believe on Him through their word. We may connect the Epistle with this. In 1 John 1:33That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. (1 John 1:3), John speaks of the apostle, and those associated with him, as in fellowship with the Father and the Son, and he writes that the disciples to whom he addresses himself may be brought into the same fellowship. In the Epistle John shows that fellowship with the Father was not dependent on the dispensational relationship, as taught by Paul. In Rom. 8 Paul brings out our relationship, individually, with God. John shows how we are to display that relationship. In Eph. 1 Paul speaks of our being graced in "the beloved," and shows our relationship as children; and in Eph. 3:66That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: (Ephesians 3:6), he states that the Gentiles should be (with the Jews) joint heirs, and a joint body, and joint partakers of His promise in Christ Jesus by the Gospel.
E. C.: Does not Paul's ministry give our place before God in Christ in heaven? In John it is not eternal life in heaven, but the display of eternal life in a man on earth, and Christ in us down here. In John 6:5656He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. (John 6:56), we read, "He that eats my flesh and drinks my blood, dwells in me and I in him," i.e., whoso accepts Him as a dead Christ. If I accept this Person I am brought into the most wonderful relationship, i.e., Christ dwells in me and I in Him. I have often thought, whether in dwelling on what we are in Christ in heaven, we have not omitted to dwell enough on what we should be in our walk, as having Him in us on earth.
C. S.: You must have Paul's ministry first, unfolding what we are in Christ in heaven, before we can be what we should be down here on earth.
R. E.: In Ephesians, Paul says, "Awake, thou that sleepest, arise from the dead," &c. John never speaks in that way, he says, "He that is born of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not."
C. McA.: John is always absolute and abstract.
C. E. S.: John speaks of the Object, and how that is to be displayed in us. Paul gives Christ on high, and he describes what God is, as displayed in Christ.
T. R.: John also presents Christ as the object before the believer.
C. McA.: Various things have their life, beasts, birds, fishes, man, and so on; and so the Christian has his life, and is expected to display that life. The point to start with is, Have you that eternal life? Then you are not merely bound by certain rules. In animals, especially the young, how we see the positive enjoyment of life, and the freshness and vigor in which it is displayed; so with us, there is the positive enjoyment of life, and the exposition of it-the carrying out of this divine life, and this brings its testimony and confirms the truth. We should ever ask ourselves, Am I doing this or that in the divine life?
A Brother: Many Christians come to this Epistle to learn whether they have eternal life or not.
C. E. S.: 1 John 5:1313These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. (1 John 5:13) makes it plain that we have it. "These things have I written to you that ye may know that ye have eternal life, who believe on the Son of God." It is important to read this verse in this way, as it is the true rendering; John speaks distinctly in the present tense.
H. H. S.: Does not John, in his Epistle, give three tests as to the possession of this eternal life-love, obedience, and righteousness?
C. E. S.: These were all perfectly displayed in the Lord Jesus Christ.
H. S.: "Christ dwelling in the heart by faith," is not that it?
I. P.: Mr. Darby pressed this on us at the last reading meeting he was able to be present at. The subject before us was this latter part of Eph. 3.
C. E. S.: "That Christ may dwell," i.e., as if He were living there, like a person living in a house. "Abiding" has a different sense.
C. McA.: Christ dwelling in the heart by faith; that being so, the apostle's prayer is that we may spread out into all the fullness of God.
C. E. S.: Yes; Christ being the Center of all God's thoughts and counsels, you become instructed in His will and mind.
C. McA.: The coming of the Lord is presented in the ministry of Paul, as well as in that of John. The former treats more largely of it than the latter. John says, "Every man that hath this hope in him (i.e., in Christ) purifieth himself even as he (Christ) is pure."
R. E.: John, in Revelation, presents Christ as "the Morning Star," and as the One to rule over the nations; in his Gospel he refers to His universal reign-"As thou hast given him power over all things."
C. McA.: You don't get the coming of Christ in Ephesians, because we are already in heavenly places. Paul says, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies in Christ." T. R.