Present Testimony: Volume 1, 1849

Table of Contents

1. Inquiry as to the Antichrist of Prophecy
2. The Apostolical Doxologies
3. By Faith Ye Stand
4. The Church, the Habitation of God
5. Comparison of Epistles
6. Connection by the Spirit
7. Remarks on a Part of Daniel
8. Divine Titles and Their Meanings
9. The Dwelling of God and Man Together
10. Remarks on Failure*
11. Fragment: Burdens
12. Gather Up the Fragments
13. On Principles and Practice in Gathering
14. Genesis
15. On the Greek Article
16. On the Heavenly Calling and the Mystery
17. The House of the Lord
18. Jacob's Recall to Bethel
19. Jeroboam: a Kingdom Gained and a Kingdom Lost
20. Remarks on the Living God and His Church
21. The Lord's Last Promise
22. Reflections on Ministry in Connection With the Legation of Moses
23. The Mother of Moses and the Reward of Faith
24. The Name of Jesus
25. The Names "Jesus, Saviour, Lord and God" as Found in One
26. The Promise of the Father
27. Proper Names in Hebrew
28. The Difficulties and Dangers of Prophetic Study
29. Psalm 32
30. Outline of the Revelation
31. Righteousness Without Works
32. Outline of the Epistle to the Romans
33. Remarks on the Seven Churches
34. The Sin of Zipporah
35. A Song for the Wilderness
36. What Are the Meanings of the Hebrew Words in the Book of Psalms, Which Are Not Translated Into English?
37. What Is the Church?*
38. Ziklag

Inquiry as to the Antichrist of Prophecy

My Dear Brother:-I beg to send you a series of remarks, which have gradually been assuming importance in my mind for now three or four years, though I still present them only in the shape of inquiry, and shall be glad and thankful to receive the communication of any remarks, or the suggestion of any difficulties-many having, presented themselves to myself in the period I speak of. All who look for a personal Anti-Christ have been accustomed to assume that He is the head of the Roman empire, in whose hand imperial power will be and the throne of the world. Of this I much doubt. I have no doubt that there will be this blasphemous power, the object of universal admiration. The Scriptures seem to me to contain a plain revelation of this. The belief of it, therefore, remains of course unshaken in my mind. The question is: Is this power the Anti-Christ? The outline of the state of things, I would remark, therefore remains unaltered; and I am glad to add this, because it is important that while open to correction on account of our imperfection, ascertained truth should maintain its weight and authority: as a moral state of the soul this is important. I have often seen " the putting, always, everything in question", presented as sincerity and the love of truth. -Whereas it is merely the haughtiest pretension of the human mind, which would hold its unshackled despotism to displace everything at pleasure, and make its own thoughts creatures of its will; whereas love of truth is seen in holding and being subject to known truth in which we are taught of God, and, as subject to it, not departing from it. But, of course, even where known, we may be imperfect in our apprehension of it. I repeat, then, I see nothing to change in general, though, doubtless, much to learn in the belief of this blasphemous imperial power which will act under or have the throne of Satan in the last days. The question with me is, if the saints have not lost sight of another power, of which the Scriptures speak more even than of the great public blasphemous government; and that the consideration of this power is necessary to the filling up of the scene according to Scripture: and I further question, whether this power be not properly the Anti-Christ, though there may have been many morally.
I proceed to consider the passages, and present the thoughts which have occurred to me. Anti-Christ is not spoken of nominally, that I am aware of, elsewhere than in the Epistle of John. There, it is needless to say, his character is wholly religious,-an heretical and apostate activity against the person and glory of Christ and the essential doctrines of truth as connected with Him, and of which Christianity is formed. " They went out from us," thus manifested " that they were not all of us." The apostle then directed the attention of the younger saints who had heard that there would be an Anti-Christ to this, as giving his character and marking the last times. Further, he denies the Father and the Son-the revelation proper to and constituting Christianity. He does not confess Jesus Christ come in flesh -the other great cardinal basis of the truth. We may add, not as in contrast with Christianity, but as generally characteristic," Who is a liar but he that denies that Jesus is the Christ?" This would be the first point to which godly Jews would be brought, without speaking of the doctrines of Christianity. When this was really owned, a man could be recognized as born of God. When the Christ formed the subject of religious belief and expectation, to own Jesus to be it, implied a proper work of God. An apostate and heretical character is given then as the mark of Anti-Christ, and further, as of Satan (" who is a liar?"). He does not own (which seems to me more Jewish in its connection and evil) Jesus to be the Christ. Who was the Christ, not what He was, is the subject of interest, and that is an answer to Jewish expectation, and the test of Jewish incredulity-(" If ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins"); and he who is a liar denies that the blessed Jesus is.
It is evident that the presenting Himself as the Son made the Jews reject Him as the Christ-because thus, they were-man was-morally put to the test; and it must have been so to be according to truth, and also in order not to present an object to human passions in a religious form, but the truth and glory and Son of God -God himself morally, and the manifestations of the Father in grace, to the heart and conscience of men (see John 8:14-24). Still the two things are distinct, though impossible to separate, as both are united in His person. I may add here, that the translation, " this is that [spirit] of Anti-Christ," is hardly warranted, that is, the insertion of the word " spirit"; but I do not feel need to say more. In general it is evident, that what the Spirit of God designates as characterizing this Anti-Christ are religious qualities or energies of evil. He is occupied with religious subjects, and characterized by that occupation, and in connection with Christianity- and Judaism. This is not, perhaps, all his character; but it is characteristic: this is the το του Αντιχριστου. This is evidently of great importance. There is an energizing spirit of this character. We have then the fact, as to the history of the latter day, that there are two beasts or manifestations of power united in their operations, but at the same time very distinct; each of them amazingly important in the place it holds, though one be distinctively on the throne of the prince of this world, the other not. Whatever title they may hold, those are the two. I speak of this, because, in some passages, and in our minds in reflecting on the spirit of the age, the general character may be presented, and we readily forget that there are certainly historically two vessels of evil power; one having the public authority and a certain character; the other, in whom is the energy which acts and produces the effect on men, in subservience to that throne and public power. I shall consider first this second beast in whom the energy of seduction is found. It will hardly be questioned that the Anti-Christ, whatever system of interpretation is adopted, is found in one or other of these two vessels of evil power. First, then, the second is a beast. That is, there is an analogy in the nature of their existence. Now beasts are a well-known figure; and I am not aware of any case in which they are not a temporal power; so that we have here a temporal power subsisting along with the great general power who had Satan's throne. This is nothing surprising, as we know horns or kings will so subsist who give their power to the beast. This is different, it is true, but it is a temporal power. It had two horns lamb-like. The Lamb is not Christianity but Christ. This beast, then, in the form of its power resembled Christ, but its language was the full character and pretension of Satan: its speech dragon-like. This is evidently a remarkable character, a form of power like Christ, a language like Satan, not in deceit merely, but in public pretension. It is not as a serpent but a dragon -a royal Christ-like power with Satan-like language. But the power of this beast is exceeding great, though that of Satan: he exercises all the power of the first beast before him; he does not take it away at all from the former, far from it; but he exercises it all-the essential energy of evil is in him, though the other may be clothed with it. He makes the earth and its inhabitants worship him who was publicly on Satan's throne, whose deadly wound was healed. But his energy of evil was not only in the exercise or administration of another's power: he acts in intrinsic power as a prophet. We shall see another character of this power in a moment; but I confine myself to this passage now. The character of the display of this power is frightful. What the prophets of Baal could not do, and what Elias did, as a contrasting proof that Jehovah alone was the true God, this beast does, at least in the eyes of men, besides other great signs. He seduces and deceives the inhabitants of the earth through the signs he was given to do before the beast. The beast would be content enough to have such an energy to sustain and support his throne, and exalt and adorn his authority in the eyes of men-authority which rested only in deceit and delusion of mind or persecution. This seducing prophet and power leads them on to idolatry also, and gives breath to the image of the beast so as to speak, and have those killed who did not worship it. Thus, while sustaining the throne of Satan in the world, this second beast, while Satanic in his language, speaking like the dragon, has the form of royalty and prophecy established by signs, and such signs to the eyes of men as had erst sufficed to establish Jehovah's sole name and authority in the mind of Israel to the destruction of an incapable Baal. The aim, however, of all is the recognition of Satan's authority in him whom he has placed on his throne; but the energy which produces the effect in the minds of men is in the second beast. While exercising power and bearing its form, a beast with horns, still religious seduction, and properly such as connects itself with ancient Jehovah-testimony, is what characterizes this second beast: he is spoken of (Rev. 19) as the false prophet. The first beast is evidently the great imperial Gentile power, to whom the empire is given in the accustomed terms of Scripture; but with its healed head, in its last blasphemous state, admired and owned by all not kept of God in sovereign grace, and hating and blaspheming them who had their tabernacle in heaven. His rise, as that of other beasts had been, is out of the general mass of men-the Gentile world at large-out of the sea, as it is expressed. Besides this, we have inhabiters of heaven. What, then, is Earth out of which the second beast rises? There is no longer any pretension to heavenly association: all that is blasphemed. This religio-prophetic influence will have its character and origin within the system and order of what subsists where Satan is and yet rules, this earth-but such position and relationship, when assuming a religious character, however blasphemous or seditious, is Jewish. It is the religion of the earth, and, viewed as rejecting Christ, must be false. Such, I apprehend, is the character of the seduction of the second beast-heavenly neither in reality nor pretension, but an exhibition of present power, here in the sphere to which Satan is now limited. He is the proper present energy of Satan, to lead the world to recognize the throne which he has been able to set up here in the first beast, which had its origin providentially in the world like other previous beasts. The second beast is earthy and Jewish in its character. But it is by present power, signs, and delusions (not, as is evident, by the law and the testimony) that he acts. I would now turn to another passage, where the last form of evil is spoken of, and see what is its character there (2 Thess. 2). Here we can hardly doubt, on reading the 9th verse, that there is a connection with the false prophet. But the question may arise, if it is not merely to characterize the time and reign of the beast, or if " whose coming " means that he himself is known by these signs. That is, is it generally characteristic, the first beast or the second?
But let us examine the passage. There is a falling away down here, as there is a gathering together in heaven, on the other hand, to Christ of the Saints. The heavenly Church takes its own place as gathered up to its Head; and the falling away or apostasy takes place upon earth. The result is the manifestation of the man of sin, the son of perdition. The removal of the Church and the Apostasy give room to this. In this chapter it cannot be questioned, that a religious character also is displayed, however wicked and audacious. Secular power is not spoken of, but first its impious and then its seductive character. He is characterized as the Man of Sin, and the Wicked One whom a mystery of iniquity has preceded. It does not appear to me that verse 4 gives another idea, or that of secular power; it is moral opposition to God and insult to him. It is true that the beast of Rev. 17 goes into perdition; but this does not alter the character here given: the two (Rev. 19) perish together. The falling away, it is evident, refers to that which had the name of Christianity, though it goes much further than its mere rejection. There is an active energizing personage bearing the title of Judas, who resists, opposes, and exalts himself against all called God or which is an object of veneration. He is an ardent antagonist of Divine authority, and sets up as Adam to be God, and more, he wills our ruin.
I think I see, then, in the third and fourth verses, the moral character of this wicked power acting upon others, and showing the energy of his will in hostility, and setting aside of God, rather than the object of deference or honor on the throne. He is what fills the scene morally when the apostasy takes place—the active energy which works in man. It is the Man of Sin-man against God, and pretending to be, or showing himself as though he were God upon earth: the contrast of Christ, who was so, but was the man of obedience, righteousness, and humiliation, submitting to everything when it was not disobedience to God His Father. This man was a thing to be revealed. Meanwhile a certain mystery of iniquity was at work-the principles of lawlessness-of the independence of man, and the acting of his will, but in mystery only; there was a restrainer until it should be taken out of the way, and then the lawless one would be revealed. But if he were the lawless self-exaltation of man's will, that was not all. His presence or coming was according to the energy of Satan; and if we have found in the second beast the terrible analogy with the case of Elias in deception, here we have perhaps the yet more frightful one with Christ. The terms by which are expressed what he does in falsehood, are the same as those by which, in the Acts, Christ has been shown a man approved of God (Acts 2:22); and as Christ was in truth of righteousness, he in deceit of unrighteousness to the ἀπολλυμένοις who were given up to be lost, as Christ was to the σωζομένοις, to such as should be saved, The true Christ will come from heaven, a heavenly man: this an earthly man, with all the pretensions which could belong to, and the proofs, to those given up to judgment, which would demonstrate his title to glory, but in an entirely earthly way and self-exaltation. God sends an energy of error that they should believe a lie. It is evident that the point of departure is Christendom naturally as writing to Christians, but the manifestation not connected with it, because, though no date be given for that, the saints are viewed as gathered up, the rest as apostate. This, though the character be blasphemous, man, would throw it, in its deceptions most especially, among the Jews, though it is here as man, and as to men who have not received the love of the truth when it was there, but have had pleasure in iniquity;-whatever partial moral accomplishment (for there were even early many Anti-Christs) this may have had in Christendom, taking the apostasy in its full sense, the temple of God acquires a character quite evident.
We may now turn to other passages. Let us consider Daniel 11: " The king shall do according to his will." We find a king in the land (uninformed whence he came, for though it is a continuation of the history of the king of the North as being found in that territory, yet the previous verses had carried us on to the time of the end), lawless, self-exalting, magnifying himself above every god; yet this (which might seem to have put a contrast between the characters of 2 Thess. and the second beast) does not hinder, after all, his setting up idolatry-that unclean spirit now gone out of the Jews, but to enter in with seven others worse. " The God of his fathers," as strong a claim on nature as we know, and owned in Judaism" nor the desire of women," that posterity naturally wished for, but of which Christ was the center of hope among the Jews, for in this verse it evidently refers to religio-traditional objects and influence-none of these things have any influence over him; he uses idolatry only for his convenience, and divides the land as recompence, causing them (his followers I suppose) to rule over the mass of the Jewish people. Here we have, then, a royal power in Palestine doing as he pleases there, having, as to self-exaltation and blasphemy, fully the character of 2 Thess. 2:3,4, and disposing of the Jewish people, while rejecting his traditional God, and blaspheming the God of gods-the dragon-voice and character,-I judge. I may say here, that the anti-Christian power will not be imitation of Christ, save as being king and prophet, but opposition to Christ; for to a Jew, having form of Jewish holiness, blasphemies could not recommend: but they are given up to delusion, and the dragon-language is taken with the rest, as is idolatry, which will clearly take place. The Lord characterizes it as one coming in his own name. This is the Jewish part of his history in connection with the territorial limits of the Grecian empire. You may find "the king" again Isa. 57:9, and 30:33, where read " for the king also it is prepared."
I now turn to another passage where we have a power clearly distinguished from the beast, and which nevertheless stamps it with his character, and is peculiarly connected at the same time at the end with the Jewish people, though hating what was heavenly. I refer to Dan. 7, where a distinct horn rises after all the others, different from them, subduing three-a horn always as such distinct from the beast, but which brings judgment on it, and whose actings at the end make it morally the grand affair. Here we have many characteristics of the first beast's actings, attributed to him in Rev. 13 We see the horn to be the active agent here, for the horn is looked at as part of the beast here, his general secular or Gentile totality being the point of view in which it is considered. Still the little horn is evidently a distinct agent. If it be thought that the horn is really, though locally only, possessing the territory of three, the virtual head of the whole empire as a chief, besides his own territory, and hence that he would correspond rather to the first beast of Rev. 13, where the general character of the beast itself only is given, I should have nothing that I am aware of to object. The other point would remain untouched. The moral points of union are evident: the two beasts play into each other's hands; one, as we have seen, holding the public authority and throne, the other exercising the energy of Satan. It had even occurred to me that 2 Thess. 2:3,4, and 8, might distinctively denote them; but I pursue the study of the passage. This horn had the intelligence and foresight of thought and purpose, which was more than power and conquest, design and consideration, place and haughty pretensions avowed: he brings judgment on the beast. Three things are attributed to him, " speaking great words against the Most High",-this is more than the Ancient of days; it is the supremacy of God as above all; he wears out the saints of the high places, and he thinks to change times and laws, Jewish order and ordinances, and they are delivered into his hand: so that we find atheistical pretensions, a persecution of any saints who are connected with heaven, and a perversion of the order of Jewish polity as outward ordinances. This lasts for three years and a half; he is directly, therefore, in connection with the Jewish order of things. If there are saints who look to higher blessings, he wears them out. That there will be those there who shall have a heavenly position in the reign, Rev. 15 and 20 assure us: his dominion is taken away in connection with the final judgment on earth. It is the horn who is here considered, who wields it in Palestine (though the beast be destroyed, as is noted in the general history before the explanations). Here then is a distinct power acting in Palestine and subverting Jewish order and ordinances, the beast being distinct, yet judged because of what this power spoke. The pretensions of Isa. 14:12-14. have this same character. Reigning in Zion is here one of his pretensions.
I would now turn to the first beast. The first thing I would remark is, that it is characterized by the royalty of the ten horns; they are crowned. This is characteristic historically: three fall, but it is, as far as unity subsists, a federate power. The beast implies corporate unity in some measure, as the Roman empire was (whatever its state) a certain known thing, whatever its head, heads, or form of government; and this corporate existence is the meaning of a beast, -a bond which enables it to be spoken of as one in relation to those outside it. There is a wounded and healed head, but it is not in any prominence here, save that it is after this that the wondering takes place. It is the beast which is in prominence, and in its general corporate state is characterized by its blasphemy and war with the saints. It is well to remember that the, devil is cast out of heaven, and that the heavens and the dwellers there now rejoice; and the dwellers upon earth, and earth itself, are the scene of his power. The healing of the head is all that is noticed; it is the beast itself which is in scene. Satan, as god of this world, gives him his throne and his power; and its man is thus set up, while he turns to act, as we have seen, in sustaining it in the second beast. A woman may ride this beast; but it is the kings who commit fornication with her: but, I suppose, whether from 13 or 17, there will be some uniting form of government; but it is the corporate or common existence which gives its life and character to the beast. The kings make war; the kings hate the whore and the beast, not any head. If the comparison of Dan. 7, and the light thrown on that passage show that the little horn is the same as the head, of which I should feel doubtful, I have nothing to object. It is not my subject at this moment; what I question is, the civil head of empire being the Anti-Christ, which seems to me to have a much more religious character-a consideration which has much importance in the study of scripture. There are several difficulties and questions which present themselves in connection with this; as, for example, the placing or displacing of the influence of Babylon, in xvii., and the second beast of xiii., which I leave for further inquiry. But I cannot doubt that there will be a civil-religious power in Palestine having the energy of Satan, and exercising the power of the beast, to whom Satan has given his authority; and this, I much suspect, is much more properly the Anti-Christ, though there be many. But 1 present this, specifically and avowedly as a subject of inquiry for the saints, and those content to learn and follow any increasing light our God in His goodness may see good to give; and certainly He will give all that may be truly profitable to His church. D.

The Apostolical Doxologies

" All Thy works shall praise Thee, O Lord, and thy saints shall bless Thee." This is an end most worthy of God; and it relieves the mind from many an anxious exercise to keep steadily in view that self-manifestation is the end of all God's action; or, in other words, His own glory. What may be needed in order that God may display Himself, can alone be known to God; but it is well to lay down this as an axiom, that all the works of God-all His dealings with men in His various dispensations-are necessary unto His own great end, the making Himself known. This will be fully brought out in that final dispensation, when " God is all in all." The unintelligent creation shall praise God. All intelligent beings, whether created or redeemed, shall praise Him-even angels who have not tasted redemption themselves, do yet praise God for redemption, as that which most distinctively and prominently makes Him known. Angels own with admiration the worth of the Lamb. He is the object of their admiration as well as of their adoration. (Rev. 5, Heb. 1:6.) " Bless the Lord, ye His angels, that excel in strength, that do His commandments, hearkening unto the voice of His word. Bless ye the Lord, all ye His hosts; ye ministers of His that do His pleasure. Bless the Lord, all His works in all places of His dominion. Bless the Lord, O my soul."
Praise is silent for God in Zion, for Israel is blinded unto this day: and as for creation, it "groaneth and travaileth together in pain until now;" so that there can be no expression of praise either from Israel or creation. But the Church can now praise-yea, the saints can now bless. The essential elements of the Church's praise are fervency of affection, depth of intelligence, admiration and adoration. It is praise of the highest character. She can "Sing praises with understanding." Praise is the proper element of the Church. " By Him, therefore, let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name." But praise cannot be forced; it must be spontaneous: it is in vain for those that wasted Israel to say to Israel, " Sing us one of the songs of Zion." They could not " sing the Lord's song in a strange land." The heart must be suitably attuned to praise. Melody must be made in the heart to the Lord ere it is intelligently expressed with the lips in praise. Hence, the heart established in grace and occupied with Jesus, marking the thoughts and ways of God as they are manifested, alone understands the comeliness of praise. In marking the apostolical doxologies, we can hardly fail of perceiving that they are the expressions of an overflowing heart, filled with wonder and admiration, on account of the grace and wisdom which God Himself is discovering to the spiritual understanding. Sometimes a didactic discourse is interrupted by a burst of intelligent praise. Sometimes the soul bursts out into rapture, in contemplating the specialty of the relation of Jesus to itself. Alas for our hearts! so " slow to believe." How little intelligent praise do we find among Christians. It is indeed recognized as part of the worship of Christians. The doxology-" Gloria Patri"- is of ancient date, even earlier than the Nicene Council, and is a valuable testimony to the faith of the Church; yet in its prescribed use how little are the affections called out; how hearty as well as intelligent is the simple "Amen" of the Apostle in Rom. 1:25. It interrupts indeed the course of his argument, but he could not announce the Creator " blessed forever," without adding his " Amen."
The first formal doxology is found at the close of the eleventh chapter of St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans. It is very brief-" To Him be glory forever. Amen." But brevity is here becoming; for the doxology is the utterance of a soul absorbed in admiration both of the wisdom and knowledge of God. The Apostle had rapidly glanced at Israel's past history, his soul yearned in tenderness over their present blindness; again it warmed with joy at the thought of the Deliverer coming out of Zion to turn away ungodliness from Jacob. What deep instruction did the survey unfold to his soul! The purpose of God in election and calling so fully vindicated. Legal righteousness unattained, but righteousness by faith in Christ fully established. The failure of that which had been outwardly dispensed, and the security of a remnant. The diminishing of Israel, the riches of the Gentiles. Gentile high-mindedness warned by what had happened to Israel. Israel enemies for the Gospel's sake, and yet beloved for their fathers' sake. Israel's actual blindness subserving the great end of bringing mercy and truth together, since they are to be received even as sinners of the Gentiles on the ground of mercy, and on that ground alone God ful- filling to them all his promises-not because of their worth, or their righteousness, but because of His mercy and His truth. How different is inspiration from a mere didactic style. The Holy Ghost in informing the spiritual mind calls out spiritual affections. Man often regards the Gospel as a theory, as a plan of salvation; but the Holy Ghost. deals with the conscience and affections of men. The Apostle, under his guidance, could not dismiss this subject without an expression of his admiration-"O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom- and knowledge of-God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!" And who is the expositor of these ways but God himself-not only as revealing them, but as being himself the Originator, Cause, and End of all things. "For of, Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things." This solves many a perplexity. That which is hidden from the wise and prudent, because they attempt to master infinity by that which is finite, is plain to the babe. He recognizes God, and the difficulty is solved; and. then how suitable the brevity of the doxology-"To Him be glory forever. Amen." Everything is lost sight of but God; and God himself manifested most blessedly, even through the folly, weakness, ignorance and sin itself of the creature.
The next doxology in order is found Rom. 16:25-27. It is one of a class most interesting for our study, because it concerns the manifestation of the perfections of God in relation to ourselves. It shows the ability of God to do that for us which we, cannot do for ourselves. We find similar admiration of the power of God expressed in the doxology Eph. 3:20,21, and also in Jude 24,25. The Epistle to the Romans might well close with the fifteenth chapter. In the latter part of that chapter the apostle had to write of that which personally concerned himself, and especially of his desire and intention of visiting Rome; and closes with the brief yet complete benediction, " Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen." The sixteenth chapter is like a postscript, commending Phoebe to their notice, and distinctively saluting individuals by name. It is in such notices that we derive instruction which could hardly be conveyed by systematic teaching. It is the expression of the mind of Christ in the apostle. What a readiness there is to link others to himself. The acknowledgment of oneness in Christ, one body hut many members, was a deeply practical truth in the soul of the apostle, and he never missed the occasion of manifesting his delight when oneness in Christ had been the means of specially associating him with individuals. It is often so in family relationship; brothers and sisters are, by circumstances, thrown as it were into pairs, and this tends to heighten the closeness of their actual relationship. So the apostle, in the house of God, the church of the living God, delighting in common sonship and common heirship, found the common tie strengthened by being able to regard individuals as fellow-helpers, fellow-prisoners, fellow-soldiers, yoke-fellows; fellow-travelers. There was a power in the thought of fellowship which greatly enlarged his heart. After these salutations, the epistle again closes with the benediction, "The grace. of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen." The benediction is repeated after the salutations of several individuals to the saints at Rome. Then all is closed with the doxology, "Now to Him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, but now is made
Manifest and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: to God only wise be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen. In all this there are marks of divine skill. It has pleased the Holy Ghost to convey his doctrinal teaching in the epistolary form. In this form there is abundant room for the flowing forth of the affections. In the former doxology the apostle seemed lost in the contemplation of the discoveries which he was the channel of communicating to others; now his thoughts turn, may we not say anxiously turn, to those before whom the great outline of the marvelous and gracious dealings of God with man had been so clearly laid down in his gospel. He well knew that, not the blessedness of the truth so revealed, not the wonder of its being preached to Gentiles, not its suitability to their necessities in its great leading truth of righteousness without works, connected as it is with the hope of glory, not authoritative apostolic ministry, could establish their souls according to his gospel, when an evil and deceitful heart within, the power of circumstances without, and the wiles of a spiritual adversary were all in combination against that gospel. Their souls must be practically linked with God. Faith in the power and wisdom of God could alone establish them. How delicately were the saints at Rome thus instructed. He hands them over to God for safe keeping. He could have no confidence in their stability; but be had all confidence in the power and wisdom of God to establish them for his own glory. How easy to say, that "God is Omnipotent," or "God is All-wise," yet how hard to apply the truth. The ascribing Omnipotence to God is the denial of power to the creature. If God be "the only wise God," "the blessed and only Potentate." then have we neither wisdom to guide nor strength to keep ourselves. "All things are possible to him that believeth," because faith is in God, to whom all things are possible. " The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom," because faith looks to the Lord as the only one capable of guiding through a deceitful and perplexing path. God can do it, God will do it. ".He will keep the feet of his saints," getting himself the honor due unto his name, in taking up that which is weak and foolish in itself, keeping and establishing such in the truth, whilst the wise and prudent stumble and fall. It is a wonderful thing that any of us are kept according to the gospel which the apostle preached. The history of Christendom is but the proof of departure from that gospel which the apostle so emphatically calls " my gospel." Human authority and human wisdom have reduced the gospel to articles of faith and a system of ordinances. The very thought that the omnipotent and only wise God can alone keep the soul established in the faith is abandoned. The gospel of Paul, in its riches of grace and its riches of glory, has been reduced by men to the least possible minimum of truth necessary for salvation. The display of the glory of God in the salvation of a sinner; through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, is well-nigh forgotten. Arid the great present end of the gospel, in giving the soul happy confidence in the presence of God is done away with. That God is of power to keep and establish may be admitted as an abstract truth; but that He does this so as to make known his wisdom to other intelligences, in keeping the weakest of creatures, opposed by the strongest of enemies, from being overthrown-in keeping the most fickle in stability-in giving to ignorance itself real wisdom-is only apprehended by faith. And faith gives the glory where it is due. "To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen."
Although formal doxology has no place in the Epistles to the Corinthians, yet there is a very peculiar character of praise found in the first chapter of the second epistle. The utterance of the lips is from an overflowing heart. The deep anxiety of the soul of the apostle, in dealing with the Corinthians, was compensated by his practically learning what the mercies and comforts were which God had in store for him. He would never so have learned this lesson, but for the sorrow and trial into which his service to the saints at Corinth had brought him. But if these mercies call forth gratitude, his soul rises higher than the mercies-to the Source of them. " Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort." It was not the subject matter of that which he had to communicate to the Corinthians, but his own experience of God which called out this overflowing of a grateful heart.
In the Epistle to the Galatians, the address of the epistle closes with a brief doxology. But the address itself contains deep doctrinal truth-the very truth which met the special error of the Galatian Churches. In the third verse we find the usual for a of the apostle's benedictory address. But under the circumstances of his writing, the very mention of the name of our Lord Jesus Christ seemed to bring before the mind of the apostle the shame and dishonor cast on the perfect work of Christ by these fickle Galatians. They were in reality turning back to the course of this present evil age, to deliver us out of which Christ had given "himself for our sins, according to the will of God and our Father." How the recognition of the one amazing truth of "The Cross" served, to the soul of the apostle, as the answer to every argument for the law. The law could never deliver from this present evil age. But after knowing deliverance from this evil age, on which the judgment of God was about to come, to go back to it again must be the most fearful infatuation. And it could only arise from losing sight of the Cross of Christ, in which the apostle saw the glory of God so illustriously displayed. And therefore he closes this most brief, but most comprehensive statement of doctrine with the doxology, " To whom be glory forever and ever. Amen."
In the Epistle to the Ephesians, the apostle's object is not to correct error, but to make known to them, and through them to the church at large, those rich revelations of its heavenly blessings in Christ-its union with Christ and its position in heavenly places in Christ. The apostle closes his doctrinal teaching with that magnificent doxology in the end of the third chapter, so strictly in keeping with the wonderful doctrine of the previous part of the epistle, " Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us. Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages world without end. Amen." The real force and practical power of this doxology is sometimes lost by using part of it as an abstract proposition-that " God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think." This is undoubtedly true; and in perplexities, when not knowing which way to turn, it is well to remember, that " with God all things are possible." But such a use of these words will be found-to divert the mind from the full and blessed thought contained in them as uttered by the apostle. His soul retraces the communications made to him of the previously hidden mystery, and which by him was now to be made known to the sons of men. He is rapt in admiring love, and his heart finds vent in this burst of praise. Let us retrace with him the wondrous things unfolded. At the outset, we find that his heart overflowed with thankfulness at the vastness of the subject which he had to communicate. He could not speak of it in, a mere cold didactic manner; it is an utterance from the heart. In reading the first -fourteen verses of the epistle, we see that the Holy Ghost does not• bind: down the tongue which he uses as his pen to the rules of human rhetoric; yet whose heart has not warmed, and his soul beamed With fresh intelligence, as he reads from time-to time this passage? How different from reading the same truths in systematic theology. The subject imparts grandeur to the language in. which it is con-. vexed; and such dignity, such blessedness, is alone resolved into that which is in God himself, " according-to. the good pleasure of his will according to the riches of His grace "-" according to his good pleasure which he hath proposed in himself "-" according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will." Why are we so little intelligent in the things of God? Is it not that we come to be taught as " wise and prudent," instead of being as babes who look to God to give them the spirit of wisdom and revelation? Is it not that we often practically forget our only standing, namely, sinners saved by grace: sinners to whom God can make known what He can do for His own glory-for " the praise of the glory of His grace"-for " the praise of His glory "?
In all this, we find the heart of the Apostle " inditing a good matter." Then follows a prayer that the saints might know what their blessings really are, and especially what was the character of that power of God which, had reached to them and wrought in them. This is described as "the exceeding greatness of the power of God." It has no parallel in creation or in destructive judgment. It is the triumph of God over every obstacle. In one instance alone has it been fully exemplified-in the resurrection, ascension, and present session of Christ at the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens. This is the character of power by which God, " to whom all things are possible," is alone working unto real blessing. It has wrought in us who believe, and it is still the power with which faith has to do. " Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you that God should raise the dead?" He has raised Jesus from the dead and set Him at His own right hand in heavenly places. He still acts " according to the working of His mighty power." Yes, poor trembling believer, it has wrought in you, and it yet remains to Co publicly manifested that it has wrought in you. Let it not surprise you that you are unable to give to others more convincing evidence that such power has wrought in you. Others may see a change of character and ascribe the change to many an influence; but a power has opened your eyes to see a blessed object you never saw before; a power has unstopped your ears to hear the very words which have been uttered as to the deaf a hundred times before; a power has given you new sensibilities, new fears, new affections. To the eyes of others you are a changed man-in your own soul's inmost apprehension you are a new man-so really a new man as to be able to judge yourself. " Old things are passed away-behold all things are become new." Various moral influences, and various circumstances may alter the character (yet no truly converted person ever can feel confidence from his own change of character); but it is one power alone which turns a man from himself, to see, delight in, and live on an object outside himself-even Christ-in the glory of His person-Christ in the perfectness of His work, and that power is the same which God wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead. The power is manifested to be the power of God by being without effort. It is not perceivable to sense in its actual working. It works silently and secretly, yet how mightily. The fact exhibitory of the exceeding greatness of the power of God-the resurrection of Christ-caused little noise in a world, the field for the display of the energies of man. It was to the world a mere question of Jewish superstition, " concerning one which was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive." And so now the mighty power of God in quickening a soul is unheeded. It goes on silently and secretly, and will alone be palpably demonstrated in the glorious resurrection of the saints. But faith is the result of, and has to do with, this power, and carries it on to its blessed results. Has it wrought in Christ-raised Him from the dead-seated Him in heaven; so also has it wrought in us-dead in trespasses and sins-and has made us alive in and with Christ-raised us up, too, with Him, and has seated us together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. We dare not say that anything short of this is our portion, if the same power which has wrought in Christ has also wrought in us. And it is interesting to mark the very difficulty of defining with any degree of precision where the prayer of the Apostle in the first chapter closes. It would almost seem as if the Holy Ghost led the Apostle from prayer to holy musing, and thus brings out the deep instruction as to our portion, in chapter 2:1-10. The double action of the cross of Christ, no less manifested in bringing into happy accord the most separated classes of men, than in bringing man as a sinner separated from God, into nearness to God; the wondrous " one new man"-his privilege of access to the
Father by the one Spirit through Jesus-the new Temple still rearing-yet even now the habitation of God by the Spirit. The Apostle goes on to application; but here there is another interruption, for the practical application is resumed at the first verse of chapter iv. He is (surely the Holy Ghost so leading) turning aside to speak of the special grace given to him as the Apostle of the Gentiles; of his deep understanding in the now revealed mystery, and of the Church itself being now used as the means of instruction to principalities and powers in heavenly places, and all this according to the eternal purpose of God which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Highly favored Church! highly honored Church! but still subordinate to that which is higher-her own Lord-her own Head. Never has the Church so deeply fallen as when occupied with her own glory and beauty, her highness and dignity. She has regarded herself instead of Christ as the end of God. She is indeed called according to the purpose of God, but that " purpose is in Christ Jesus our Lord." What confidence of access does this give to us. And how truly is the Church exalted when her one absorbing thought is the honor of her Lord and Head. Then follows another prayer-blessed mode of instruction -very different from the prayer in chapter 1. It is a prayer for the present power and enjoyment of our own blessings-strength "by the Spirit in the inner man "-" Christ dwelling in the heart by faith"-the blessed anticipation of His receiving us to Himself, and being with Him where He is. It is a prayer for us to take our place in the love in which we are set, and thence to survey what that love really is; and this prayer closes with the doxology above noticed. Can we not trace the mind of the Spirit in this doxology? That we may know the order and character of the power according to which God is acting unto blessing, is one subject of the prayer in the first chapter. It is the poorer which has reached to us-and is in present exercise toward us. Difficulties and perplexities there will be in seeking to maintain a Church position and Church privileges; difficulties the greater the more we apprehend the real dignity of our calling; difficulties again enhanced by the known fact of the unchangeable evil of the flesh, for it is said to those seated in heavenly places in Christ: " Let him that stole steal no more." " Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth." The Holy Ghost is the Spirit of Truth. He no less regards our actual condition in the flesh, than He reveals to us and leads us into the enjoyment of that which we are and which we have in Christ. Difficulties there will be to maintain " the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace," when there is at one and the same time to be found in every one of us naturally, principles and dispositions alike attractive, repulsive and divisive-difficulties surely greater than ever, when our habits, thoughts, and feelings have all been formed on the actual state of the Church in its divided and scattered condition, so that the very term "Catholic" has been well-nigh synonymous with corruption. But what difficulties are insuperable to that power which is toward us, which has already triumphed over more signal difficulties-raised up Christ from the dishonor of the grave, after he had "borne our sins in his own body on the tree," and set him in the highest place in heaven; that power also which has quickened us who were dead in trespasses and sins; that power which has so broken down by the Cross and Resurrection all that which separated the two most opposite of men, Jew and Gentile, as to lead them " with one mind and one mouth to glorify God." All natural and moral impossibilities have been overcome by this power, and that power is still illustriously displayed in guiding the poor weak and worthless creatures that we are in ourselves, in circumstances so perplexing that human wisdom and prudence are utterly at fault. It is not thus, in one sense, that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places is made known by the Church the manifold wisdom of God. " Have faith in God." Here is our great defect; nothing can make up for loss of faith in God. The wisest rules and the most honest admiration of them must fail to meet the ever-growing difficulties in the path of the Church. But God "is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh, in vs." How tenderly are we thus committed to him who is of this ability. Does it not speak to our hearts, more pointedly than the most solemn warning? That which is so wonderful in its revelation, so blessed even in its feeblest apprehension, is alone safe, whilst we hang by faith not only on God's power for us; but on God as actually exercising the very power in us which raised up Christ, and has quickened us. Surely we can say, " The Lord hath triumphed gloriously." Let us seek to say with intelligence-" O my soul thou hast trodden down strength." His alone is the power and glory, whether he triumphs for us or in us. And it is well to notice by the way, that in this the Saints have, under all circumstances, their alone title and security for power of action, according as the Church should act. There is God-the living and true God-and whatever be their weakness, He " is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us." " Lord, increase our faith." All may appear in ruin, disappointment in the fondest expectations be bitterly tasted; death written against ourselves, and on everything-but " God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think."
And all the most humbling discipline may be turned to account in this way-that we trust not in ourselves, but in God who raiseth the dead. " Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages; world without end. Amen."
The suitable brevity of the doxology, Phil. 4.20, will be readily acknowledged. The apostle had reckoned largely and confidently on his God. " But my God shall supply all your need, according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." The apostle was very closely bound up with the Philippians in the fellowship of the gospel. They alone of all the churches planted by him had communicated to his temporal necessities. He in return makes over to them, in the above bold words, that blessing of the Lord which maketh rich, and with which no sorrow is added. Fellowship in the gospel, branching out into various kindly communications between himself and the Philippians, leads his soul to the primary source from which it all came, and to which, as an end, he would have it all directed-even the parental love of God. "Now unto God and our Father be glory forever and ever. Amen."
The next in order is the very sublime doxology, 1 Tim. 1:17, " Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen." The soul of the apostle was filled with the thought of " the glorious gospel of the blessed God." He seemed to himself to be the special instance of the glory of the gospel of the grace of God. It could meet his case, who was before a blasphemer and persecutor, and injurer. And what a blessed God He must be whose grace could not only abound over all this sin, but cause that the very one who had been so conspicuous as a persecutor and blasphemer, should now be more conspicuous for faith and love which is in Christ Jesus! And 0 what a blessed God, not only thus to triumph in his grace; but to entrust him with the ministry of this so glorious gospel! There is not only a heart overflowing with thankfulness-" And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord "-but the heart also is filled with admiration, and finds vent in this doxology. The glory of such grace will be forever attributed " to the King eternal, immortal, invisible." The apostle rendered it now with the deepest personal feeling indeed, yet still regarding himself as a pattern and specimen of those who should hereafter believe on Jesus unto eternal life. Such attribution of glory would spring forth from all the redeemed as with one mind and one mouth. It is no passing doxology; it is addressed to " the • King eternal," etc.-addressed to Him as such by the apostle on earth, but to be continued with deeper intelligence in heaven. But what a crowd of thoughts do we find here-" the King eternal "-the one who had ordered every age and every dispensation that he might fully manifest himself; " immortal" (or "incorruptible," as in Rom. 1:23), untainted by all defilement, even in communicating with defiled sinners in a defiled world- unsullied in His own perfections in dealing with them in the riches of His grace-and able too in His mighty power to raise that which is sown in corruption in incorruption. " Invisible," although all things visible declare His " eternal power and Godhead;" " invisible" to human search in that which displays His highest glory, and yet fully seen in " the only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of, the Father." "The only wise God," as only able to make Himself known; wise as only able to make the creature happy; wise in His glorious gospel which so harmonizes the knowledge of the blessed God with the blessing of a ruined sinner; " the only wise God" as using the fittest instruments for the accomplishment of the purposes of his grace, even the blasphemer and persecutor, to tell out to others the riches of the grace and the riches of the glory of the gospel. " To the only wise God be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen." As " the glorious gospel of the blessed God" has illustriously brought out the distinction of the persons in the Godhead; for it is impossible to see redemption aright without very particularly apprehending and duly appreciating the doctrine of the Trinity. The doxology appears especially addressed to the Godhead-the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. And the context is remarkable-" The glorious gospel of the blessed God"- and " I thank Christ Jesus our Lord" -" and the grace of our Lord"-" that in me first Christ Jesus might spew forth all longsuffering." The deity of Christ, the glory of the Person of the Son, the Image of the Invisible God, and the Sender of the Holy Ghost, appears to have been before the soul of the apostle. In other passages, Christ as Mediator may be more prominent; but in this the glory of His Person, on which all redemption is suspended, is more conspicuous. Thus in the previous doxology (Rom. 16), we have, " To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever." Here it would seem that the apostle was, for his own soul's joy, regarding Jesus Christ, in His own proper glory as the great Center of everything. Seeing the Godhead displayed by Him-" the fullness of the Godhead dwelling in Him bodily"-he bursts forth into this blessed utterance. And so far as it is possible for us to know God, and delight in Him, it will be in Christ Jesus and through Christ Jesus, forever and ever.
There is a brief doxology in the last chapter of this same Epistle to Timothy, verses 15, 16, brief, yet full of interest. The contrast in the apostle's mind was "gain," or the present advantages which one might have as a Christian, especially its mitigation of the hardships of the slave, and eternal life without present advantage. The one was appreciable by the senses, the other only by faith. The one would be acquired by that to which, alas, the glorious gospel of the blessed God in our corrupt use has led-even contention for the rights of man, the other would only be grasped by fighting "the good fight of faith." The one was visible, palpable, and present; the other unseen and not present, but only the subject of a confession which seethed contradicted by appearance. It is this confession which the apostle exhorts Timothy to keep in its integrity, till the need of confession would cease in the full display of the subject of confession, whether it be the glory of Jesus Himself, or that of His saints in Him and with Him. " I give thee charge in the sight God, who quickened' all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; that thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: which in His times He shall show, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords, who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen or can see; to whom be honor and power everlasting: Amen."
Abraham stood before God as the Quickener of the dead, so that the things that were not became to Abraham as though they were. In this passage God is described as quickening all things., The confession of Timothy appeared to some as though it were unto a nonentity, but God gave vitality and existence unto it. Jesus Christ Himself had witnessed to the truth of His own kingship in the midst of circumstances which appeared entirely to contradict it. But the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ would clear up every doubt and difficulty, and this appearing would be in the time of God, the proper suitable time; even as there was a fullness of time in the divine counsel for the incarnation, the suitability of which even we ourselves can in some sort discern, and a set hour for the Cross; which no man could hasten, so is there also a fullness of time for the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, of which God is alone the judge, but His times are the right and proper times. " Him [Jesus] God raised up the third day and showed Him openly: not to all the people, but to chosen witnesses"—but "in His times" God will show publicly, to all, the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ. No trace of doubt shall rest on the mind of any of His intelligent creatures as to the glory of His person, or as to this Glorious One being Jesus the crucified. If we may reverently speak, without intruding into things which we have not seen, " His times " will be, after there has been the full display of human energy and its sorrowful failure to secure human happiness. "Behold, it is not of the Lord of hosts that the people shall labor in the very fire, and the people shall weary themselves for very vanity." And then shall God, as the BLESSED and ONLY POTENTATE, display Himself in this character, and all the attributes which follow, in showing the appearing of Jesus. To Him the Spirit in the apostle ascribes " honor and power everlasting." That which man has arrogated to himself will then be publicly ascribed to God. But the church tarries not for the future; that which is eternal is to her as now, and therefore the denial of honor and power to God alone by men's asserting both to themselves is, by the church, now attributed to God. " To Him be honor and power everlasting. Amen."
The doxology, brief as it is, 2 Tim. 4:18, shows us how readily the heart of the apostle turned everything to the account of showing forth His praise who had called him out of darkness into His marvelous light. The apostle had, in his ministerial sufferings', drank deeply into the cup of his once-rejected but now glorified Lord. Desertion was the Master's portion in His hour of trial-" all His disciples forsook Him and fled." And when his faithful servant and witness stood before Caesar to answer for himself, " no man stood with him, but all forsook him." " Be it not [says he] laid to their charge."- " But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that my preaching might be fully known, and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion." In his case tribulation had wrought "patience, and patience experience, and experience hope." And such confident hope! " And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto His heavenly kingdom." It is to the Lord, to Jesus, to whom he attributes the glory of his present deliverance, standing by him when others had forsaken him, and rescuing him from the very mouth of the lion. It is to the same Jesus he looks for future deliverance, and for certain keeping unto his heavenly kingdom. His heart must utter-" to Him be glory forever. Amen."
O what hair-breadth escapes! O what prompt deliverances will the saints in glory be able to retrace, when they shall fully know the care of their Shepherd Lord! How wise to train the heart to mark such deliverances now, and to ascribe the praise to Him. Surely, " He that is our God is the God of salvation."
We find a brief doxology to the Lord Jesus, Heb. 13:21, having reference to Him in one of His ancient characters as Shepherd of Israel. " Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and His arm shall rule for Him: behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him. He shall feed His flock like a shepherd: He shall gather the lambs with His arm and carry them in His bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young." But what deep interest is given to these words when we apply them to Jesus; the Good Shepherd, who had laid down His life for the sheep and set up a new fold for them in heaven, into which He Himself is the door, and where the sheep find safety, freedom, and pasture. The smitten Shepherd was brought again from the dead. What grace was shown in this: how illustriously is God displayed as the God of peace. "Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen." To Him, the still-rejected One of Israel, but exalted by God, and owned by every believer, as the substance of every Jewish ordinance and office-" To Him," says the admiring soul of the apostle, " be glory forever and ever. Amen."
How appropriately the doxology in 1 Peter 4:11 is introduced, we can justly estimate from sorrowful experience of failure in the end proposed by the apostle as to the use of gifts. The ministry of the manifold grace of God should be unselfish and mutual, under direct responsibility to God, so that the grace and power of God might be seen in the gift, and that man should not arrogate to himself either glory or power from the possession of a gift. What readiness do we find in our own hearts to leave out God himself as the end of all lie does in saving us, and of all the grace He confers on us. It is God, known and seen in Christ Jesus, and acting through Him, "to whom," says the apostle, " be praise and dominion forever and ever. Amen."
From the circumstance of the same doxology being found in the next chapter, we might judge that there is a leading thought in the mind of the apostle. " Kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation," most suitably comes from Him who had known by bitter experience the broken reed of self-confidence. But after that bitterness he had deeply known the power of restoring grace-" when thou art converted strengthen thy brethren." With what intensity of meaning do these words come from the fallen and restored Simon. " But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory, by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered awhile, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen." It is the apostle who had been so strong in fleshly confidence, who says, " kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation." It is the same apostle who said, " Lo, we have left all and followed thee; what shall we have therefore "-who says, " be sober, and hope to the end for the grace to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ." He is now occupied with the God of grace and His ability to keep. Had Peter stood steadfast in his fleshly confidence, the glory and power might be claimed by Peter. But, knowing the wonderful power of restoring grace, glory and dominion are ascribed to God " forever and ever. Amen."
The close of the Second Epistle is with a doxology, following a precept:-" But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever. Amen." This Epistle treats largely of disastrous times-" false teachers bringing in damnable heresies, so that the truth itself shall be evil spoken of." Doctrinal pravity is shown in its connection with moral pravity, and a return to the pollution of the world. Where then is security? The occupation of the heart and soul with grace, and the deeper study of the Lord Jesus Christ. Two things scarcely separable; for unless the heart be established with grace it cannot well study the Lord Jesus Christ as an object of the deepest interest. The habit of the soul to give Him glory now, is but anticipation of what will be the effect of the deeper knowledge, both of grace and of the Lord Jesus Christ, which the saints will have in glory. " To Him be glory both now and forever. Amen. '
The Epistle of Jude opens to us a very special feature of the corruption of the faith once delivered to the Saints. That the grace of God should be perverted into the rights of man„ is, at first sight, monstrous, yet is capable of being historically traced. Such a corruption is nearly allied to another form marked by the Apostle Paul: " Men shall be lovers of their own selves." Thus inverting the leading practical feature of the gospel, by putting self-seeking in the place of self-denial. These cognate forms of corruption have sprung from the early attempt of putting the new piece to the old garment, by men using the precepts of the gospel, so far as they would conduce to present advantage-" considering gain to be godliness." The assertion of the rights of conscience contains the important truth, that God has never entrusted to any one dominion over the conscience of his fellowman. But still if it be only so far stated, it is but partial truth, which necessarily leads to erroneous consequences. There needs to be the positive Statement as well as the negative-that is, that God, and God alone, has dominion over the conscience, and requires it to be exercised before Him by each individual. And it will be found to make a very material difference in the state of the soul, whether the right of God to be obeyed be asserted or the right of conscience. How readily, under the plea of conscience, will self-will find a shelter; whereas when the authority of God is recognized, the alternative ever is, "We must obey God rather than men." But when the Gospel of the grace of God is so perverted as to be made the sanction for self-will, it is regarded by God as the denial of the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ; and as a necessary consequence, the contempt of dominion (lordship of every kind) and speaking evil of dignities. The avowed denial of the Lordship of Jesus, brings out the climax of evil; for it is, in fact, the denial of the Christian profession; " If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus;" " Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Men say" Our tongues are our own, who is lord over us!" The answer of faith is: "The Lord cometh with ten thousand of His saints to execute judgment." They are very evil days indeed, when the grace of God is avowedly made the shelter for human willfulness; then the duty of the saints is twofold, to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints; " and to build themselves up on their most holy faith." In every corruption of the faith, there has been the tendency in the saints to remedy it by human arrangement, but the Apostle leads the soul back to the original principles of the dispensation, both to show the greatness of the departure from the Divine original, and the remedy by returning to God Himself. However conscious we may be that the sanctity of Christians is very low indeed, we do not readily trace the defect to some unsoundness, practical unsoundness, in the faith. The Lordship of Jesus is the only sanction to any act of the Church on earth; so far as that act is recognized in heaven. It is thus the Warrant runs:-"Irt the name of our LORD JESUS CHRIST, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit with the power of our LORD JESUS CHRIST." Or again, in private walk, " Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus." Soundness in the faith has to do with the sanctity and discipline of the Church. But in evil days, the heart is necessarily much discouraged in contending for the faith once delivered to the saints, and is readily disposed even to compromise the faith for the sake of peace and quiet.
It is when the greatness of the corruption of the faith is in measure discovered (for what portion of the faith once delivered to the saints has escaped untainted?) when the very grace of God has been made the shelter of human willfulness, and the Divinity and Lordship of Jesus so denied, that men own no constituted authority at all, that the heart becomes ready to sink, and to give up all as lost, and to consider it as utterly vain to attempt to stern the general current which is carrying all along with it. But there is one, and ever the same resource to faith, and that is God Himself. And how blessedly does the Apostle, who has so graphically portrayed the corruption, and pointed out to the saints their duty in the midst of it, close his Epistle with this magnificent doxology:" Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling."
One alone is able to keep us faithful in the midst of unfaithfulness-to cause us to know the grace of God as teaching us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts-to make the practical acknowledgment of the Lordship of Jesus, the basis of the acknowledgment of all lawful authority; and He is the only God, but He is also a Savior-God. But not only is He able to keep us in the faith, but to present us faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy. Alas, the very feasts of charity had here been tainted by intruders, and the saints might well be fearful of contamination; but the only God and Savior was,, able so to keep, as to present them blameless in the presence of His own glory. This is indeed a surprising thought. The very glory in which He would be revealed to execute judgment on the ungodly was, that before which He would present His saints. But when it is added " with exceeding joy," surely the soul can only admire and adore. Does the Leper say, "Lord, if thou wilt thou canst make me clean;" the answer is ready: " I will; be thou clean." Does the soul of the saint, awakened to an alarming sense of all that is against it, and the prevalence of corruption on every side, say, "Keep me, and I shall be kept; hold me up, and I shall be safe." The answer is, not only that He is able to keep and to present faultless before His own glory; but that it is His exceeding joy to do so. (See Zeph. 3:17.) How have we, even after the great fact of the Incarnation, gone back to the abstract idea of God, instead of beholding in " God manifested in the flesh " the love as well as the power of God, interested in our security. God has "the river of His own pleasures "-" He delighteth in mercy," and makes this known to us for our joy and comfort. There appears great propriety in the attribution of the praise to God as the only God our Savior, as well as in that which is here specially attributed to Him. It is to God, in the character in which He was denied-God in Christ-" the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ," that the glory is here attributed. It is in this that the value of the faith once delivered to the saints is perceived. An abstract idea of the unity of the Godhead, necessarily cuts off all intercourse between man and God, because man is a sinner, and holiness without intercourse with God is impossible. But when Jehovah says, " There is no God else beside me: a just God and a Savior: there is none beside me." The very idea brings God into contact with man. And when this became manifested in the Incarnation and the Cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, the denial of the real proper Divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ necessarily deprived 'salvation of its groundwork, and faith of its sanctity. It is to God in Christ-God as a Savior-God, that the Holy Ghost by the Apostle attributes that which was denied to Him by man. They denied Lordship, and spoke evil of dignities; he ascribes "glory and majesty, dominion and power, to Him;" and this glory, this majesty, this dominion, this power, would be especially manifested in keeping the saints from stumbling in evil days, and in presenting them faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy; so that whatever further display there might be in future ages of the glory, majesty, dominion and power of Jesus Christ, the only Lord God and our Lord, the saints themselves would be the most blessed illustration of it, and occupied both in exhibiting it and acknowledging it forever and ever.
The latest Apostolical doxology is one of peculiar interest and instructiveness. The opening benediction of the Apostle John to the seven Churches of Asia is markedly distinct from similar benedictions in the Epistles. But although the Lord Jesus is mentioned under titles not used on any such occasion in the Epistles, namely, as "the faithful witness, the first-begotten from the dead, and Prince of the kings of the earth," the Spirit in the Apostle gives utterance to the expression of the feelings of his own heart on the mention of the name of Jesus Christ, and attaches to it in its own and our name, that most touching doxology: "To Him that loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father-to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen." And is there a scene opened to us in this wonderful book, where the soul will not be led to remember this doxology for its repose? It is the characteristic utterance of the Church, just as in the closing chapter we have the characteristic response of the. Church to the Lord's own announcement: " Surely I come quickly-Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus." The doxology here, if the expression may be used, springs from personal feeling. Spontaneousness and intelligence are alike conspicuous in it. It is not what Jesus Christ is as revealed in the Revelation, but that which He is to her to whom the Revelation is given. When every knee shall bow at the name of Jesus, of things in heaven, and things on earth, and things under the earth, and every tongue confess to the Lordship of Jesus-those associated with Him in heaven, His own bride, whilst gladly owning all which others own, shall specially mention that which He is to her, and that too when arrayed in royal and priestly majesty. That very majesty shall testify to the preciousness of His blood; and instead of attempting to rival or eclipse His glory, will be the very occasion of most entirely ascribing all glory and dominion to Him. Happy Church-so happily saved, as to find her highest joy and dignity in ascribing all glory to Him. Happy Church, to be forever in dependance., and inheriting all things; to be continually ascribing the right and title she alone has to such an inheritance, to the same blood by which her sins have been washed and she presented by Jesus to Himself without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, and presented by Jesus to God and His Father as kings and priests. "To Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen."
Presbutes.

By Faith Ye Stand

In the first recorded intercourse between the Lord and Moses, after Moses had pitched the tabernacle outside the camp, when " the Lord spake with him face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend," Moses was emboldened to ask, " Show me now thy way." Surely, as Moses himself afterward testifies, " His work is perfect, for all His ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is He;" yet His way of dealing with His people after their failure, is strongly contrasted with man's way, and proves that " His way is higher than our way," and blessed in proportion to its highness. This way of God is remarkably carried out by the Apostle Paul in his conduct to the saints of Corinth. The manner in which the Apostle addresses himself to deal with them, distracted as they were by divisions, debating even the fundamental doctrine of the resurrection, and conniving at a gross outrage on moral decency, is replete with instruction. Before he utters one word of direct reproof, he seeks to establish their souls in the faithful grace of God. He thanks God for the grace given to them by Christ Jesus. He acknowledges their many gifts; needed indeed for the time, but not essential; because there would be no need of such gifts at the coming (or, revelation, limy.) of our Lord Jesus Christ. He leads their souls to him to confirm them blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ, and reminds them of the faithfulness of God who had called them into the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ. Surely this is the divine way. It is ever the way of man to reason from himself Godward, but the way of God is the reverse. He acts from himself and for himself. Christians are very apt to use the way of man, by reasoning from man to God-because the constitutional disease of Christians is unbelief. They are ready enough to doubt their own saintship; and when others would press on them their failures as a proof that they are not saints at all, they are thrown off their stability; and reproof and correction entirely lose their power.
In this Epistle, although we find the absence of direct reproof at the outset, it is remarkable, that in the very act of establishing their souls, there is indirect reproof. The Apostle, under the guidance of the Spirit, could at a glance survey their condition, and whilst he thanks God for the grace and gifts bestowed on them-there is a silent rebuke of their short-corning in the grace, and misuse of the gifts. The Apostle could not say to them as to the Philippians; " I thank God for every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all, making request with joy, for your fellowship in the Gospel from the first day until now." He found cause indeed for thanksgiving in the grace of God to the Corinthians, but none for their fellowship in the Gospel. They lacked the stability in the grace of the Gospel which characterized the Philippians. Pride of knowledge and pride of gifts, made them forget that knowledge (at best but in part), and gifts of the highest order would cease at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. It was Christ himself, and not his gifts, which would confirm them blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ; and it was the fidelity of God who had called them to which they had to look, and not to the acquirements of their teachers.
After this (1 Cor. 1:10) the Apostle plainly tells them of the report which had reached him of the disorder among them but he makes no direct mention of authority-till the end of the fourth chapter. " Now some are puffed up, as though 1 would not come to you. But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will know, not the speech of them which are puffed up, but the power. For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. What will ye? Shall I come unto you with a rod; or in love, and in the spirit of meekness?" Instead of using direct Apostolical authority, He addresses himself to their consciences pointedly and yet delicately. Thus, in the case of the incestuous person, he mentions the crime which they were tolerating as unheard of even among the Heathen. They were puffed up instead mourning. He would have them act in concert with him-but he does not disturb them from their standing, as being unleavened. In the matter of going to law before the heathen tribunals, he shames them that 'they could not find a wise man among themselves to settle their disputes, and that they had forgotten their high destiny of judging the world; and then very justly indeed insinuates that there was defect in their apprehension of grace. Wearied almost, at the low tone of their questions, he interrupts his replies in the seventh chapter by the solemn and weighty sentence, ver. 29-32. The liberty resulting from knowledge he denies not, but he contrasts it with the thoughtfulness resulting from love, chap. 8. To the question raised as to his Apostleship, he appeals to their saintship as the seal of it, chap. 9. To guard them against the danger of relying on outward ordinances, chap. 10, he refers to the conduct of Israel, with the delicate introduction.... " I would not have you ignorant, brethren." Again, after the admonition, " Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall"-with what address does he allude to their special danger of becoming involved in idolatry by the desire of social intercourse. " I speak as unto wise men, judge ye what I say." In noticing irregularities in their assemblies for worship, chap. 11, he praises them, first, for their general attention to his directions (ver. 2); and when he has to advert to their gross disorder with respect to the Lord's supper, he commences thus: " Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not." In treating of spiritual gifts, where their very folly had marred their very end and use-he commences, " I would not have you ignorant" (chap. 12); and in correcting their grievous ignorance of the resurrection, he introduces his discourse with the declaration of the Gospel he had preached unto them.
Thus, where there was the fullest consciousness of authority, so that he might have carried it with a high hand, using the rod, there was the patient exercise of grace. His object was not the assertion of his authority, but the awakening of their conscience, and the calling out their faith into exercise. The immediate presence of the apostle at Corinth would doubtless have had the effect of silencing faction. He might have authoritatively ruled the many points in discussion, some bowing through real respect, others through fear; but this would have defeated his object. His authority, and with it himself; would have come in between their consciences and God; and thus he would have habituated them to bow to some present authority, and to feel it as a positive need, so that conscience and faith would never be exercised at all. The apostle, with unquestionable authority, and the full consciousness of the possession of it, saw the danger of this and avoided it. The history of the Church has too plainly proved the reality of the danger, by Christians doing that which the apostle avoided. They have themselves constituted an authority to which they bow, but by the acknowledgment of which they effectually hinder the exercise of faith and conscience. Is there an ordered and regulated society of Christians to be found which has not interposed its own authority, where the apostle would not introduce his, and in which personal influence is not extensively used? If personal influence ever could be safely used, it surely might have been by the apostle; but he acted in a manner even to lose it, because his object was Christ and the real blessing of saints,-not himself and a party of Christians. The presence and influence of the apostle had kept the Galatian Churches from allowing the introduction of the judaizing error. " It is good to be zealously affected, always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you." It was his presence, and not faith and conscience, which had kept out the evil; so that when he was gone, there was no real barrier against the evil. In the Philippians, we find the happy contrast to this: " Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God which worketh in you, both to will and to do of His good pleasure." Here we find faith and conscience in exercise before God. It was not Paul, but God who worked in them. Happy the condition of saints when thus their souls are kept by faith in immediate contact with God. They will then readily own any authority, and profit by any ministry which is of God; but they will not allow either the one or the other to displace God.
The delay of the Apostle in carrying into execution his promised visit (1. Cor. 4:18-21), had laid him open to the suspicion of fickleness (2 Cor. 1:17), of being bold when away, cowardly when present, and of trying to terrify them by letters (2 Cor. 10:1, 10, 11; 12:14; 13:1, 2). In the second epistle, he explains his conduct; it was regulated "not by fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God." He had to wait upon God and to do the work of God, in God's way and God's time. He might indeed apparently compromise his character for steadfastness in his purpose, but the grace of God and the well-being of Saints were more in his estimation than his own character. His intention was to have visited them before this, that they might have "a second benefit "-and what hindered? Nothing positive-as when Satan had hindered his intention of visiting the Thessalonians (1 Thess. 2:17,18); but God " waiteth to be gracious," and he had to wait. Doubtless there was wholesome discipline in all this to the Apostle. His letter appeared to have had no effect in arousing the consciences of the Corinthians. It had been written out of much distress of soul (2 Cor. 2:4); and as he had received no tidings from Corinth as to how it had been received—this led to deeper anxiety-so as to make the Apostle for a moment to regret that he had written as he had done (2 Cor. 7:8). It was thus that he who had the fullest confidence, that he was "nothing behind the very chiefest of the Apostles," was made to feel in himself, that he was " nothing." But how amply was his painful experience repaid by proving the God with whom he had to do, to be " the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;" and as the " God who comforteth them that are cast down." Had he either acted at the outset authoritatively, or had his letter produced an immediate effect, the burst of adoring gratitude, in the commencement of the second epistle had never had a place. He must needs learn his own personal unworthiness, and then he would be able to use his authority not only powerfully but also discriminatingly, " having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled."
How admirably does the apostle meet the charge of fickleness by urging that neither with him nor any man was "Yea" and "Nay." That was with God alone-" with Hint there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning" -but man is properly dependent-it is his blessing and strength to be so-and for him to arrogate "Yea" and "Nay" to himself, would be mere obstinacy. And how many a man has persisted in his purpose when he has found it wrong, in order that he might appear consistent; but not so the apostle. The Corinthians might think him fickle, but there was no uncertainty in his testimony, in that which he preached to them. " But God is true: our word toward you was not Yea and Nay-for the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you was not Yea and Nay, but in Him was Yea." It was not the authority he had as an apostle which established him, but God; and the same God could alone establish them. He sought to lead their souls to God, and not to come in between their souls and God. " Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God." How readily will saints rest on derived authority, even when such an authority is only pretended; but it would be dangerous to rest on it, even supposing it to be real. God is a Rock, the only Rock, the only one who can establish. It was to this Rock the apostle would lead the Corinthians. He solemnly calls God to witness that it was to spare them he had not yet come to Corinth. There is patience with God; but there is severity also. What patience had God shown towards Israel during the long period of prophetic ministry, " rising early and sending" to them, " till there was no remedy," and then came "severity"-God showed himself in judgment. The apostle had authority; but once and again he asserts that it was given to him "of God for edification and not for their destruction." It was of God, and therefore not to be questioned. Had he gone immediately to Corinth, he must have silenced every gainsayer by the direct exercise of his power, which would thus have been used for their destruction. On the other hand, the apostle dared not lord it over their faith. Submission to him personally, might have hindered the exercise of faith in God. He would indeed help their joy by leading their souls to God-but he dared not to come in between their souls and God, for " they stood by faith." There is no place for faith in God, where derived authority occupies the supreme place which of right belongs to God alone. In his preaching, the apostle guarded against the danger of the faith of his hearers resting " in the wisdom of man" instead of " in the power of God"-and the like danger he sought to avoid in his conduct. Orthodox confessions of faith, and even valuable ministry have often taken Christians off the ground "of standing by faith"-which can never be ordered or ruled, although it may be greatly helped. An apostle could infallibly denounce error and proclaim truth-he could also authoritatively correct irregularities in the Church-but he could not command faith. In order to lead the disciples to stand by faith, he acts in a parental character by seeking to get their souls into contact with God, and not to be awed into submission by the presence of apostolical authority. It is here we discern the divine way and order. God who alone is Omnipotent, declares his name to be "gracious and long-suffering "-however despised his name so declared might be. The apostle, in the consciousness of power derived from God, could even allow his power to be questioned, and himself to be insulted, rather than use his power "for destruction," when God had entrusted him with it " for edification." Where there is power in the Church pretended to be of God, but really humanly derived, it is ever accompanied with the impatience of personal feeling-so as to require immediate bowing to its authority. Such humanly derived ecclesiastical power has for the most part been exercised against Christ not for him, for destruction and not for edification. Those who claim it take the very place which the apostle dared not take, as lords over the faith of the saints, so as to render it impossible for them to stand by faith, by this interposing their presumed authority. But this does not lessen the great sin of the professing body, in allowing the claims of derived authority to supersede the authority of God himself, over their consciences.
"By faith ye stand." Faith in a present God, able to meet the actual need of the soul, can alone produce healthful action in the saints. The exercise of Apostolical authority to punish the refractory, infallibly to declare the truth, or to correct irregularities, was most legitimate: but if this was all-if contumacy was silenced, truth acknowledged, and decorum restored, by the actual presence of the Apostle, this would afford no ground for their continuance in a healthy condition. When the authority which had produced the reformation ceased to be present, a relapse was almost certain to follow—or else (what has actually taken place in the Church generally) the establishment of an authoritative ministry. Christians have themselves settled that which the Apostle so anxiously sought to avoid, a formally ordered and recognized ministry, in order to produce the end which faith in God alone could produce. The Apostle used his authority for edification. He had gained his point when he had led their souls up to God, so as to act in the acknowledgment of the rightful supremacy of God over their consciences. Be dared not put his authority in the place of their faith. He dared not transact that for them, which he would gladly do in concert with them. He would gladly "help their joy." Many among the Corinthians would readily allow him "to have dominion over their faith." This is what the saints have in all ages desired. They desire to be led by men, men of God indeed, but they desire to be led, and this when the higher leading of the Spirit of God is the privilege of each individual saint. There is no faith in attaching oneself to a gifted teacher, but there must be faith in order to be led by the Spirit. The Apostle knew 'full well the readiness with which saints cling to the lesser and forego the higher blessing; and he desired so to use his authority for their edification as to lead them to their higher blessing—to stand by faith in God. He hesitated not to depreciate (if the expression be allowable) ministers; where the Corinthians were so ready to " glory in man." " These things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that ye might learn in us not to think above that which is written." Where there was authority unquestionably from God, and service the most devoted to God, the Apostle could see the danger of man displacing God, to the great damage of the souls of saints; "for," says he, "ye stand by faith."
"The man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaoh's servants, and in the sight of the people." It was fitting that it should be so, because it corresponded with his ministry, his glorious ministry. But when the excelling glory of the new ministry was introduced, it was the ministry itself that claimed regard, not the minister. The glory of the ministry was of that order that it could only be in safe keeping in earthy. vessels, " that the excellency of the power may be of God," and not of the vessel. When the ministry exalts the person of the minister, the ground of faith is lost-the man is admired rather than " the righteousness", and "the spirit," of which he is the minister. It is on the ground of that righteousness and that spirit that we have direct intercourse with God, and we " stand by faith." This is the great practical point. No present authority however legitimate, no creed however orthodox, no regulations however wise, can supply the place of standing by faith, which is the ground of all healthy action in the Church.
The Apostle gained his object with the Corinthians; he had so used his power that it was for their edification; but it was at the expense of deep exercise of soul, and at the risk of personal character in the very point where a. man is most sensitive, so that nothing short of the consciousness of acting before God could have sustained him. The Corinthians, aroused as to their consciences, were turned to judging themselves before God. Their sorrow was godly, and it wrought so in them (2 Cor. 7:11 ad fin.), that the apostle could write to them on the subject of a contribution for the poor saints (2 Cor. 8, 9.). The last four chapters of the Second Epistle to the Corinthians are very peculiar, but still bearing on the apostle's own conduct, which appeared to some so questionable as to lead them to speak most disrespectfully of him (2 Cor. 10:1). His weapons were "not carnal," such as human wisdom, eloquence, power, influence, but "mighty through God;" and as he had wielded them effectually to the restoration of many to the simplicity of faith, so, when the time came, these weapons would be found effectual " to revenge all disobedience." In this we discover an important "way" of our God. When faction and dissension have come in among Christians, accompanied by strife and personalities, they 'often seek redress among themselves-but this is not the way of God. He waits for a while, obedience to Him is thereby proved -and when the soul is brought into its right place before Him, the time is arrived for dealing with refractory or disorderly individuals. We must set ourselves right with God, before God will set us right one with the other. This is the way of God, hard to us, indeed, because of our readiness to view personal offense in a much stronger light, than that of the heart's departure from God.
Rare are the occasions in which a Christian can venture to answer a fool according to his folly—yet on the fitting occasion the Apostle turned "the carnal weapons" (for irony the most delicate must so be reckoned) with overwhelming power against those who had assailed him. What strange beings we are, readily succumbing to usurped authority which has no credentials from God, and at the same time questioning or fretting against that power which carries its own credentials as of God with it. -What is it? Man hates to be brought into direct contact with God. This can only be done through faith in Jesus Christ-or else God comes into contact with men in judgment. How readily might the Apostle have vindicated himself from every ground of charge against him. He might have demanded maintenance, but he would not forego his privilege of preaching the Gospel freely. He might have appealed to the fruit of his ministerial labors, but he had rather glory in his infirmities. He might) have broken silence as to the marvelous revelation vouchsafed to him, but he brings into prominence the messenger of Satan to buffet him. He might have gone to Corinth at once, to prove the steadfastness of his purpose; instead of writing. "Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you. This is the third time I am coming to you. I told you before and foretell you, as if I were present, the second time." He might have given them sensible proof of his power by its exercise in terrible discipline on themselves, but he had far rather that they should do "that which was honest," so that he needed not to exercise his power, although it left the question of his power unsettled. None but one conscious of divine power could have afforded to act in such a manner. None but one reckless of his own character among men, and yet conscious of acting before God, could have marked out such a way for himself. None but one having as a single and supreme object, the glory of Christ in the saints, in other words their edification, could have been content to leave himself and his authority in so questionable a position.
It is written of the Lord Jesus himself-" In his humiliation his judgment was taken away." Satan and Pharisees, tempting Him, alike demanded proofs of his Sonship and Christhood, which it was not consistent for Him in having humbled himself, then to afford. "His brethren " also (John 7) would have him publicly spew himself to the world-little thinking if He had done so, it could only have been in judgment. But Jesus waited-and still waits (and his appeal, with what full credentials! is still to the conscience of sinners), ere he appears in the irresistible glory of his own person in judgment. He, conscious of his own essential glory, did not need external proof for his own satisfaction. He could allow all his pretensions to be questioned by others, because of that which He really was. He left his claims unvindicated, save to faith and conscience, because He knew there was a set time in the counsels of Eternity for the public vindication both of his own essential glory and of every claim which He had preferred. Thus con-scions, " He was crucified through weakness." Faith indeed looks to Him where He now is; Faith now owns the glory of his person, Faith rests on the value of his work-Faith owns his worth as the Lamb slain-Faith owns now that all power in heaven and earth is given unto Him as the glorified man; Faith bows now in the fullest acknowledgment of the name of Jesus., But Jesus himself is yet long-suffering, even though his long-suffering causes his own name to remain unvindicated, and his saints to continue in sorrow and trial. His long-suffering is to be accounted salvation. How marvelous, yet how gracious is thy way, Lord Jesus! and Thy "chosen vessel" did, according to his measure, follow Thee in this thy way! He was conscious of the authority which the Lord himself had given to him; and on the ground of this consciousness he could allow his authority to be questioned. He too was " weak" with his Master, leaving the demonstration of his power to the fitting time and season. He, too, knew of a demonstration to the soul far beyond that produced by the mightiest external proofs. " He that believeth on the Son hath the witness in himself;" and the apostle could appeal to such a kind of testimony. " Since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, which to you-ward is not weak, but is mighty in you....examine yourselves whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not that Jesus Christ is in you except ye be reprobates;" without proof answering to their seeking " a proof." The apostle appeals to their own consciences, if his authority was not commended there, the only resource must be in judgment. Were they in the faith? Was Jesus Christ in them, by revelation of the Holy Ghost? Then their own faith; the very consciousness of Christ in their souls, was the irrefragable proof of his apostleship-as he had before said. " The seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord." It was by the manifestation of the truth that he had commended himself to their consciences; and he could do nothing against the truth, but for the truth. God had once dealt with men by signs and wonders, with the most marked demonstration of his power; but conviction resulting from such evidence (such is man), lasted only so long as the demonstration itself of the power of God was before their eyes. " He saved them from the hand of him that hated them, and redeemed them from the hand of the enemy; and the waters covered their enemies, there was not one of them left. Then believed they his words—they sang his praise. They soon forgat his works; they waited not for his counsel." So again, he visited them in after-time, and with the like result. The Israel at the time the Day-spring from on high visited them, Jehovah Jesus, proved themselves to be the like faithless and perverse generation as their fathers in the wilderness. To this He speedily testified. Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them; " for he knew all men and needed not that any should testify of man, for he knew what was in man." He left them indeed without excuse, because they rejected Him, coining as he did with all the credentials of Messiah. But there was deeper condemnation than this, " they had seem Him and believed not." " They had both seen and hated both Him and his Father." God has left man without excuse-He has appealed to their senses-He has appealed to their understanding. He now makes his last appeal in the Gospel of his grace to the consciences and affections of men-and if this is rejected, one solemn fact alone solves the phenomenon. " The God of this world hath blinded the minds of those who believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine into them." Jesus, knowing His own essential glory, and the fullness that was in Himself, desired to be received on His own testimony rather than on the demonstration of His miracles. " Believe me, that I am in the Father and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very work's sake." Jesus presents himself and is presented in the gospel to our conscience and affections, and this on the ground of his own essential being. If this claim does not commend Him to us; in vain would be the outward attestation of his works. So his servant, Paul, conscious of the power given to him of the Lord, not anxious to prove it by judgment on others, sought to rouse the conscience of the Corinthian saints; and this being effected, he was content to leave his own pretensions in question, save that he was ready, in obedience to the Lord, to " use sharpness" when the time came. In this we find the real value of ministerial authority, it appeals to the conscience: the outward demonstration by the most convincing signs was quite a secondary thought in the mind of the apostle. When the conscience of the most disorderly saint is reached, what happy and gracious results follow; and when the consciences of many are so exercised as to prove them " clear in any matter," the weight of their sentences, apart from outward demonstration of power, will be felt by the disobedient and refractory-for it is sanctioned by the Lord himself.
There are two great hindrances to healthful action in the Church of God-assumption of authority, and leaning on authority. These are connected; but, whether united or separate, effectually hinder "standing by faith." Pretension to authority in the Church is generally found great, in proportion as it is lacking in divine credentials to the conscience. It never appeals to the conscience; it aims at domination over faith-it is used not for edification, but for destruction. Of this character is the authority claimed by Romanists and Anglicans for a presumed sacerdotal standing. It professes to be of God -it boasts of wonders-it is loud, authoritative, terrifying. It appeals to itself, not to conscience. That they are of God is the point of faith, and not faith recognizing divine power, commending itself to the conscience by manifestation of the truth. But there is a charm in this usurped authority-men, and men of superior mind and of high moral worth, will " suffer if a man thus exalt himself." Whence this phenomenon! It tends to lull all exercise of conscience towards God. It keeps man in his natural element of distance from God, while persuading him that he is honoring God. We have seen, at Corinth, authority most unquestionably of God refused, and usurped power acknowledged. The one appealed to the conscience to lead it into exercise before God; the other claimed subjection to itself and prevailed; and thus interposed itself between God and the conscience. Such usurped authority carries with it a strong conventional claim. Deference to it was early inculcated, and has grown with our growth, so as to become a settled habit. What if the holder of this presumed authority did not commend himself to our moral judgment? still there was a sacredness attached to his office. In many instances men who have had discernment to see through the hollowness of the claim, have been too impatient to satisfy themselves as to the truth, too busily occupied with the world to step out of their vocation to investigate, as they judge, a mere matter of opinion, dreading the alternative of infidelity if they rejected such venerable authority, and have tacitly allowed the claim on the ground of decent usage and legal acknowledgment, which they thoroughly despised in their hearts. " They put away a good conscience and make shipwreck of the faith "-for such is the force of educational prejudice, that, in the minds of the majority, the claims of the authorized minister and the claims of Scripture rest on the same basis; so that to undermine the one would be to jeopardize the authority of the other. And when from time to time an independent mind, disgusted by assumption of authority, has carried out its own thoughts, it has only found in skepticism relief from domination over faith. Alas-that it should be so, but of whom shall the blood of such be demanded? They, indeed, are in awful condemnation; for God holds every one responsible to himself to hear what He says. But God will not hold those guiltless who have, by means of their system, hindered the direct exercise of conscience before God. It was a serious charge the Lord had to make against Judah. " In thy skirts is found the blood of the souls of the poor innocents. I have not found it by secret search, hut by all these." And it is a very solemn thought, that the great professing body has used authority so effectually to hinder the exercise of faith and conscience, as to leave apparently no alternative between submission to its authority and skepticism. However definite may be the interpretation, the principle applies to the great professing body -" In her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth."
Real Christians need serious warning as to the danger of allowing their faith to rest in the wisdom of man, instead of in the power of God. There may be large dominion over the faith tacitly allowed by Christians, even when such dominion is neither sought nor asserted by their teachers. Man is impatient under the sense of responsibility. He would persuade himself that he can do things by proxy, and thus relieve himself from care. The Solicitor cares for his worldly interests; the Physician for his health; and the Minister takes charge of his spiritual concerns. The Lord, in his ministry, and his servant subsequently warned against this tendency. We have the double warning-" Be not ye called Rabbi." "Call no man your father on earth "-and the direct acknowledgment of Christ Himself as Master of all, both of teachers and of taught, and confidential intercourse with the Father is the alone preservative. "One is your Master, even Christ, and all ye are brethren." "One is your Father, which is in heaven." "By faith ye stand." Relinquishing traditional authority, need not land us in skepticism. We assert the authority of God with whom we have to do; and if we claim independence from human authority, it is in order to be dependent on God. This is the point. On the one side, we find all that is merely conventional tottering; on the other, men promising themselves great things from the emancipation of man's will from the tradition of ages. The very shaking of conventional authority has given occasion for the assertion of authority (as of God) over the consciences of men in a more undisguised manner in this land, than at any period since the Reformation; and the very fact of its not being politically asserted, gives more validity to its pretensions. On the other hand, a philanthropical theory is attempting, vainly attempting, to control the emancipated will of man, in order to produce "peace on earth," and "good-will among men," but entirely disregarding the essentials of Christianity. Between these two sections-the "little flock" of God, to whom it is His good pleasure to give the kingdom, will be lost sight of: Happy for them, if, in the midst of the disruption of everything, they seek not unto visible authority, as the basis of their faith, but " build themselves up on their most holy faith." Happy for them, if when the mind of man, emancipated from traditional authority, is running again its wayward course to folly, in the vain profession of wisdom, they be found with their consciences exercised before God, standing by faith in Him, and holding to the unshaken, eternal, and invisible realities, which the Holy Ghost Himself reveals to them. PRESBUTES.

The Church, the Habitation of God

God, in " the old dispensation," was displaying himself, in the government of his people Israel, as the Most High God. The devil had made it appear to the world (which had become an idolatrous world), that he was the alone source of that good and evil Which was felt to result from man's conduct here: he had caused men to worship other gods. That a testimony might be raised against this, and an opportunity afforded in the midst of it for the display of his providential government, God took up one nation and separated them from the peoples of the earth to himself. But to this end, the separation must needs be a manifest one. An external character, distinctive in the eyes of the heathen, must be given them; and therefore ceremonial observances were enjoined which effectually separated them, and marked them off as a people distinct from all others; and this separate character being preserved, the surrounding nations were henceforward dealt with in judgment or otherwise, according to the manner in which they acted towards the Jews. Hence resulted the judgments upon Edom, Moab, Babylon, etc. " Sin was imputed."
But whilst they were thus called to be a witness for God against the idolatry of the world, and to be the medium for the display of His character, as the Most High God, towards the nations, the responsibilities which were laid upon them, together with the conditional blessings or curses annexed to their fulfillment or neglect, gave occasion for the constant display of his government' amongst themselves. They were to be blessed in earthly things if obedient, and to be visited with curses if not (see Dent. xxviii).
But they failed: and, instead of having rest and blessing in the land, and the first place among the nations, Nebuchadnezzar, was permitted to carry them away as captives into Babylon.
But when Christ came and displayed all the goodness and grace-in a word, all the moral glory of God; and when, the Jewish witness being displaced, another had now to be raised up, the character of this witness must, of necessity, be altogether new. The providential government of God was now no longer to 'be the special subject of the testimony; but that light of the knowledge of the glory which God had given in the face of Jesus Christ had now to be reflected. Indeed, Jesus Himself being in the heavens and His glory invisible, the saints in their path here on earth were to represent Him, and to be the witness of His glory. They were to take His place here-in a word, they were to be Christ's epistle of commendation to the world (2 Cor. 3). Evidently, therefore, the character and relations of this new witness, unlike those of Israel before, must needs be heavenly., But perhaps there is nothing in which the difference is more strikingly seen, than in the hope which is set before, us; for, although it is true we do replace Israel on the earth, yet it is in " the ends of the world" we stand (1 Cor. 10). We are in the last times (1 John 2:18); and so true is this, that nothing is revealed as of necessity intervening between us and the glory. The glory is before us as our immediate hope: it is to this heavenly glory we are called. Thus our calling is identical with our hope: but with those of old it was far otherwise.
The present calling and the eternal hope was with them distinct; so that it was not merely that intervening events were revealed, but intervening objects of hope were presented to their faith.. Thus a Jew was called into separation from the Gentiles to the enjoyment of present blessings in the land; and although doubtless individual faith reached out beyond the proper calling of the dispensation, and laid hold of what was eternal; and although in the ministry of the prophets (a ministry which was introduced in grace because of the failure), the better hopes of a resurrection state were more clearly opened to the view of faith, that the souls of those faithful ones who felt the present ruin might be sustained; yet these were at best only indistinctly seen, and were ever, as it were, in the distance. It was only through a lengthened vista that they viewed them; for " life and immortality were brought to light through the Gospel" (2 Tim. 1:10). Abraham, for example, looked for a " city which hath foundations, and so dwelt as a sojourner in the land of promise" (Heb. 11:9); but it was only through a lengthened vista that Abraham viewed the city; for it was revealed to him that he was to be buried in a good old age-the iniquity of the Amorites was yet to come to the full, and his seed was to be afflicted -four hundred years in a land that was not theirs. But in this dispensation the present call and the eternal hope are one and the same. We are called into the immediate hope and expectancy of that glory into which Jesus, with whom we stand in present association, has already entered.
We are now by the Holy Ghost made conversant with our eternal blessings, no longer indistinctly seen in the distance; but "brought to light," so as to become objects of present delight and enjoyment. The glory is immediately before us, and we press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. God grant that we might each be able to say with the Apostle, " This one thing I do."
There is, however, still a very simple and definite sense in which the saints of the present dispensation may be regarded as replacing Israel on the earth, without in any way detracting from their high and heavenly standing as members of Christ's body. It is evident that we replace them now (just as they will us again in the Millennium), as heirs of promise on the earth, and this is the subject which the Apostle considers in Rom. 11. But we must remember that here we descend into the region of the kingdom•' indeed, we get entirely on earthly ground, for the Apostle is here treating of the administration on earth of those promises which naturally belonged to Israel.
It is important to observe, that the olive-tree itself retains its place throughout the past, the present, and the future dispensations: some changes indeed are made as regards the branches; but the stock, and some of the branches, retain the same place throughout, without any change whatever. Now the Jews are here represented by the natural branches of the olive-tree, that is, they stood on the earth as the heirs of the promises to Abraham; but on the setting aside of that dispensation, some of the branches, i.e., the unbelieving' portion of the Jews, were broken off; and we, who were sinners of the Gentiles, being graffed in, partake with the branches that were left of the root and fatness of the olive-tree: in other words, we, together with the remnant according to the election of grace out of Israel, now stand in Israel's place, as the only present inheritors here on earth of these same Abrahamic promises and blessings-a place which the Jews will again themselves fill in the next dispensation; for then the natural branches shall be again grafted into their own olive-tree (Rom. 11:24-26).
But our participation during our sojourn here on earth of the fatness of this olive-tree, cannot for a moment be understood to imply that all our privileges and blessings are derived from it. The fact is, that the proper distinctive privileges and blessings of the Church are in no way whatever connected with it. The arrangements of Heaven do not come within the statements of the Apostle in this chapter at all: he merely speaks of what takes place on earth. All indeed that is stated as to the present position of the saints is simply this, that whereas the Jews were the depositaries of the promises of God on earth in the former dispensation, we (inasmuch as we are actually on earth for the present) have become the depositaries of promise now: a place in which we shall, in our turn, be succeeded by the Jews again in the Millennium. That responsibilities are, of course, connected with this position is sufficiently plain from the same passage,-responsibilities too upon the fulfillment of which our very continuance in the enjoyment of the privileges in question is made to depend; for it is said, " If God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God; on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness; otherwise thou also shalt be cut off." Nor does anything which is here said about the responsibilities and conditional privileges of the saints as replacing the Jews on earth, in the slightest degree interfere with the heavenly character and privileges of the Church as taught elsewhere. Let us suppose the case of a householder who, having conferred certain privileges on his servants, afterward chooses to break up his establishment, and dismiss them all for a time; but during the interval he allows his sons to enjoy the privileges and perquisites which had previously belonged to his servants. Would any one for a moment suppose that they would of necessity lose thereby their place and character as children, and be reduced to the mere condition of servants?
Nothing, indeed, can be more plain, than that the apostle, in this 11th of Romans, simply speaks of the transfer of certain privileges and responsibilities here on earth from one body to another, without in any, way touching upon the character and condition of that body to whom they are thus transferred. But it is at the same time most important, that we should very distinctly recognize the position in which the saints are presented in this chapter; for it is as standing in this place, that we fill up the gap in the earthly dealings of God, and partake of the character of an earthly dispensation. And it is because the saints have entirely failed in fulfilling the responsibilities belonging to them in this position, that we speak of the failure and ruin of the church. It must be plain to all, that she has not fulfilled the conditions of the 11th of Romans.
Surely no one can read the early chapters of the Acts of the Apostles, and compare the state of things there described with that which now exists around us, without seeing that the most sorrowful failure has undoubtedly taken place. We have not " continued in the goodness of God"; and the unavoidable sentence of excision therefore hangs over us-" otherwise thou also shalt be cut off." Nor does Scripture hold out any hope whatever, of our regaining that dispensational standing and privilege which, through the apostasy, has been lost. But although it is evident that the Church, looked at as a system left on earth to witness to the things which are above, has entirely failed and is to be "cut off"; this, of course, in no way whatever affects her in the enjoyment of those eternal blessings and privileges, which belong to her as united to the Lord Jesus Christ in heavenly places. As seated with Him in the heavenly places, she is above dispensation, and therefore is not subject to failure; she is now associated with God in His thoughts about the dispensations, rather than being herself the subject of them; and it is in this high and blessed place we have the Church presented to us in Scripture. But in order to have any distinct thoughts as to her privileges and blessings, it is most necessary for us first to ascertain what the Church, properly so called, really is.
Now, whilst God, by the Old Testament prophets, had distinctly revealed the place, character and history, of his earthly people, there was yet a "Mystery" which he never had revealed (Col. 1:25,26). He had purposed, even from before the foundation of the world, to have a people before Him who should be made worthy of Himself (Eph. 1:4); "According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love." And this people was to be made a medium suitable for the display of the exceeding riches of his grace in the ages to come. We are said to be quickened and raised up together, and made to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, "that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus." Now this purpose had been "kept secret since the world began" (Rom. 16.25). It had been "hid from ages and from generations" (Col. 1.26); and was only revealed by the preaching of the Apostle Paul after the Lord had taken his place as the risen man in the glory. It is, therefore, in vain for us to search in the Old Testament Scriptures for the blessings and privileges of the Church. The Church is never spoken of there at all. It is in the New Testament, and, I believe, especially in the Epistle to the Ephesians, that we must look for the doctrine of the Church. Now, it was when the flesh had been fully tested, and when, too, the world having rejected and crucified the Lord of Glory, had been left by God as in hopeless ruin for judgment, and all the earthly dealings with Israel had been thereon suspended, and when moreover the Lord Jesus, upon the accomplishment of his work on the cross, had taken his place as the risen man in the glory, that the Holy Ghost came down to gather and form the body of Christ-the " new man," of which the apostle speaks in the Ephesians, and which he there distinctively calls the Church: and it is, important to observe, that the body thus formed, being in its Head rejected from the world, even before it was itself called into existence, could not possibly have had any place upon the earth at all. It was formed for the heavens, to be the associate of Him there who has been rejected and crucified by the world. And it is plainly said to be formed out of those two classes of men into which the world had been heretofore divided. The Jew was taken out of his place, and the Gentile out of his; and so of the twain the one new man was made (Eph. 2.15). It was not that Gentiles were introduced into the standing and privileges which Jews had enjoyed before; but sinners, gathered indiscriminately from among Jews or Gentiles, were introduced into a place in which none had ever yet stood-into new and unthought-of privileges; for it is written, "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit" (1 Cor. 2:9,10). That God would bless sinners-that they were the blessed objects of his counsels-was revealed from the beginning; but that sinners should ever share the blessing of His Son, and should even whilst here be brought into living union and present realized association with Jesus, so that, instead of being merely the objects of his counsels, they should even have the mind of Christ, and thus be of one counsel with him, was surely to those of old an unheard-of and unthought-of thing.
Moreover it was evidently necessary that Christ should die upon the cross, before this " new man" could be formed; for it was by the cross that the enmity between Jew and Gentile was slain, and that both were reconciled unto God in one body" (Eph. 2.16). Since therefore this body had no existence until the present dispensation, the Old Testament saints evidently could not have belonged to it. That they will have a common place with us in the glory, is not hereby questioned; but they clearly form no part of what is termed in the Ephesians the " new man," " the body," or " the Church."
The Church is a body which began to be formed at Pentecost; and which will be completed when Jesus its head returns again in glory. It is, indeed, evident also, from the very nature of the unity of this body, that none can be included in it but the saints of the present dispensation. We have been accustomed perhaps most of us to think of the unity spoken of in the Epistles as consisting in the common possession of divine life. Now that every quickened soul must possess divine life, and therefore the same life, and that there is therefore a unity which will take in every saint from the beginning to the end of time, I suppose no one will deny. This indeed may he called invisible unity in Heaven; but this is not the unity of the body; it is not the unity of which the Apostle Paul speaks. He speaks of a present unity on earth (see Eph. 4)-of a unity which hangs not upon the common possession of divine life, but which is in virtue of the presence of Him, who having formed the body at Pentecost, continues to dwell in it as its living power of unity. Thus it is a unity which never existed at all until the middle wall of partition between Jew and Gentile had been broken down, and the law of commandments contained in ordinances had been abolished: " For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; and that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross."
Now, the body, thus gathered and formed, is now the " habitation of God through the Spirit" (Eph. 2:22). It is the temple in which God still dwells on earth. "For. ye are the temple of the living God" (2 Cor. 6.16). And again, " Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are" (1 Cor. 3.16, 17). Now, the truth contained in these passages is of the utmost importance. It is not the indwelling of the Holy Ghost in individuals which is spoken of in them; but the presence of the Holy Ghost, in abiding living power in the Church. He first forms the body, He sets the different members in their several places in it, " 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 been all " made to drink into one Spirit" (1 Cor. 12.13). And He then dwells there in present living power, to minister to it, and to guide and direct all the movements of its members afterward. " But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will" (1 Cor. 12:11). Nor is this presence of the Holy Ghost of which these passages speak, a presence merely in the assemblies of the saints; for although, doubtless, there will be an especial manifestation of it there, yet the assembly is not the church, and Scripture speaks of his presence in the church, where, indeed, he will still continue to dwell, even if there should be no assemblies of the saints at all. " Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." Nor, indeed, are the actings of the Holy Ghost in the body confined to the assembly, or necessarily connected with it.
The Church again, be it remembered, not the assembly, is the "habitation of God"; and although many of His actings are especially seen and developed in the assembly, yet He is seen acting where there is no assembly at all. It is evident that neither the gifts of healing, nor the discerning of spirits, nor the working of miracles, were to be exercised merely in the assembly, nor indeed perhaps in the assembly at all. Indeed the full power and bearing of this doctrine of the presence of the Holy Ghost in the Church has, I believe, been often lost sight of, even by those who have held it to be true; for it has surely been too often regarded amongst us as bearing merely upon the meeting of saints at the Lord's Table or on other occasions for worship; and whilst it has thus been used as a doctrine which proves a title to what is called " liberty of ministry," and has been often enough applied as a lever to overturn the religious systems of the day, the display of the sovereignty of the Holy Ghost in the Church out. side of the assembly has often been but too little recognized or thought of. And it is important ever to remember, that although it is the same Holy Ghost who dwells in the saints individually and who dwells in the Church corporately, yet Scripture carefully distinguishes between the two; and, I believe, marks His operations as dwelling in the individual, as distinct from His operations as dwelling in the Church. Thus, as dwelling in each saint, He makes us to know the Father (Gal. 4). He is the power of individual communion and worship (John 4); and He is to our souls the blessed earnest of the coming glory, enabling us even here to enjoy the blessings we anticipate (2 Cor.). But as dwelling in the Church He is the Witness of the Lordship of Jesus, and asserts, in and through the Church in which He dwells, the title and power of Christ as Lord. He is the immediate agent in all the work of God on earth. In this we see Him acting by individuals of course, but still by them as members of the body in which He dwells. He bestows on them their gifts, and thus sets them in their various spheres of service as servants of Christ the Lord. But then He not only bestows the gifts, and thus gives faculty and power for service, but as dwelling in the Church He is ever there as the present and abiding source of power for the varied use and exercise of these gifts. This, I doubt not, is the meaning of the. Apostle, when he says, " but all these worketh that one and the self-same Spirit dividing to every man severally as He will" (1 Cor. 12:11). He had, in the previous verses, stated the sovereignty of the Holy Ghost in bestowing the gifts on whom He pleases; but here he adds, that the self-same Spirit who had bestowed them is ever present as the animating energy to them. He works them all, and apportions too, from time to time, to each who has the gift, the occasion and opportunity for its exercise. It is evident too, as it has been already observed, that as the exercise of these gifts was never intended to be confined to the assemblies of. the saints, so it is plain that the sovereignty of the Holy Ghost in the Church may be displayed in guiding the evangelist or the teacher in their more individualized labors, quite as much as in moving one and another to speak in the assembly of the saints..
And surely we have often failed in power and blessing, because this truth has not been sufficiently kept before us. It is of little use for us to own the sovereignty of the Holy Ghost in bestowing the gift on whom he pleases, if it be supposed that the gift is afterward to be used according to the will of him on whom it is bestowed. This, indeed, would only open a wider door for the exercise of self-will. But on the other hand, we may equally err in suffering ourselves to be controlled in its exercise by the church, or indeed, by any man, or set of men whatever. The attempt in them is the greatest sin. It is on their parts the assumption of that authority over Christ's servants which belongs alone to Him; and in those who yield to it, it amounts to a denial of Christ's title over them, and is the most positive unfaithfulness to Him. By the possession, of the gift, I am Christ's servant, and am responsible immediately, and only to Him, for the measure and manner of its exercise; and we be to me if I yield that subjection to another, which is due only and exclusively to Christ himself! Surely if gift is bestowed, it is that it may be used in subjection to Him who gave it. And happy is it for us when this subjection is fully and practically owned; we shall then feel ourselves to be just as dependent upon Him, to make the opportunity, and give us the occasion for the exercise of the gift, as for power to use it right when the occasion comes.
Now whilst we must remember the importance to our souls of apprehending what the Church will be in the Glory; for this indeed is the bright and blessed hope which cheers us on whilst laboring in the midst of the present hopeless ruin and apostasy: it is, I believe, of far greater moment than we think, that we should have before our souls a very distinct view of what the Church is now. Just as the Spirit of God by Balaam not only contemplates the future condition of the people of God, when the star shall come out of Jacob and a scepter shall rise out of Israel; but taking also a present view of what they then were in the wilderness, says, How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, and thy tabernacles, O Israel! As the valleys are they spread forth, as gardens by the river side, as the trees of lign-aloes which the Lord hath planted, and as cedar-trees beside the waters": so does it become us to take as it were this present wilderness-view of the Church, to have God's idea of the Church distinctly before our souls- to have a very clear apprehension of the place which it has in Christ's affections as His espoused, and what it is as the present habitation of God on earth through the Spirit. This, as we have in part seen, is the character of the teaching in the Epistle to the Ephesians. The Apostle does not speak there of what the Church will be in glory, but of what it is now; and this was a few years ago laid upon the hearts of many-great blessing and joy was felt in the apprehension of it, and an important movement amongst the saints of God has been the result. But I believe we have found a constant tendency amongst us again to let it slip; and certainly the weight and importance of it has been in a great measure lost sight of: nor indeed is this greatly to be wondered at for I believe we always find that whenever the display of the energy and power of the Spirit of God in the Church has become feeble, that the saints have been usually content to fall back upon those truths which constitute the ground of individual salvation. These, such as justification by faith, the security of the saints in Christ, etc., they have still perhaps continued to hold firmly; but they have at the same time been content with the lowest possible amount of truth which could entitle them to be ranked amongst orthodox Christians, and have neither realized in their souls now, nor looked for in hope much beyond that which has been the common portion of the redeemed in all dispensations. The commonly received orthodox belief of Christians contains indeed little or nothing beyond this. It just leaves out those very truths by which God acts upon the affections of his people. All the peculiar and characteristic blessings of the Church-all that which characterizes the teaching of the Apostle Paul, which he specially includes in the term " my Gospel," is quite left out. Now it is by these very truths—truths which reveal the blessings which belong exclusively and peculiarly to the saints in the present dispensation-that God acts upon our hearts, and touches the springs of hope in our souls: nor can there be fullness of joy, nor energy,—and well-directed devotedness in service, unless these are recognized and held.
It has been truly observed by another, that the life and spiritual energy of a saint depend on his faith in what is proper to his own dispensation; that is, it depends exactly on those very truths which in the commonly received orthodox belief are just left out, and which are therefore now often regarded amongst Christians as dangerous novelties, or at least are classed among things very unessential and unimportant.
If therefore the display of the energy and power of the Holy Ghost has become more feeble of late amongst us, surely it cannot be wondered at that we, too, have in a measure lost our sense of the importance and blessedness of those truths through the apprehension of which so much blessing was once wrought. But if this be so, it surely becomes us to seek to trace the source and origin of the failure, that in humiliation and confession before our God we seek a renewal of blessings from Him. Now I would ask, may it not be traced to the coming in of the world, and its influence amongst us? Has not this greatly tended to sap and undermine the original power and blessing?-Those who in our day first gathered themselves around the table of the Lord, simply as His saints, understood, in some measure at least, what the Church is as the habitation of God through the Spirit.- They saw its heavenly standing and calling as the Bride of Christ. They went forth outside the camp, and the world was left behind. Their souls fully compassed the truths which in much exercise of heart and conscience they had learned. There was the consciousness of weakness. They assumed to be nothing more than the representatives of the present weakness of the Church. In their meetings there was simple dependence upon God. No stimulant in the way of fine or acceptable teaching was then needed. The sweet fragrance of the name of Jesus was there, and they were intent to enjoy Christ together. Much real spiritual power and blessing was the result. God made them a testimony, and others gathered round; but as time went on, many came from various motives-some out of a real desire to partake of the blessing which they saw; but although attracted by the blessing, they had not faith to tread the same path of devotedness and self-denial through which the others had been led into it; instead of leaving their importance and respectability behind them in the world, they often brought it with them, and thus attached it to the gatherings to which they came. This soon caused a serious hindrance to the blessing; it was a deadening weight, the depressing power of which could only have been resisted by a correspondingly increasing energy of faith on the part of those who saw the evil. G. P.
If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 1 John 2:15.
The friendship of the world is enmity with God. Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world, is the enemy of God. James 4:4.

Comparison of Epistles

The comparison of certain epistles illustrates with much interest and instruction, the path of the Christian. I send you the thoughts which have suggested the remark. I refer particularly to the Epistles of Peter, Colossians, and Ephesians.
In Peter we have Christ risen, having accomplished redemption; then his own actings, in that resurrection, of that power of life which is the spring of all our hope, and sets it in lively exercise towards its end, which is in heaven, and hence makes a man, and even a Jew (who once had other thoughts), a stranger and a pilgrim here. We will examine this in the statements of the Epistles.
But to make my meaning more clear, I will first refer to the Ephesians. There the saints are seen sitting in heaven; there already-not on the way there: their conflicts and position in general flow from this. Hence they are seen risen with Christ, seated in heavenly places in Him; and this, through union with their Head, by the Holy Ghost sent down; on which last great fact their earthly position also depends.
The Epistle to the Colossians is based indeed on the same principle; but there they were in danger of not holding the Head. Hence they are addressed on somewhat lower ground, and urged up to the point which should have been the spring from which their thoughts and feelings flowed.
To turn now to the Epistles themselves. Remark, in Peter, the ground on which the Spirit of God places the saints, the sojourners of the dispersion, that is, the believing Jews scattered through the provinces. They are " begotten again to a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." It is not that they are not risen with Him. Of course they were; but they are not viewed under this aspect; but as redeemed with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish, and without spot; traveling through the wilderness towards Canaan-not seated in the land eating of the old corn of it (whatever conflicts were before them there)-but through the efficacy of redemption made strangers and pilgrims in the desert. It is the Christian's place here below-not the privilege and joy of faith, but the life of faith; and hence, all through which he passes here become not distractions for his heart, whether painful or pleasant, but trials of his faith. This is exceedingly gracious and loving of our God (and what is not?), and the consequences, in many respects, exceedingly precious.
In the Ephesians, we have, however, the Christian in another point of view. Heaven is not presented as a hope the Christian is there. It is not that the resurrection of Christ has begotten him to such a hope; the same power which raised Christ, and set him at the right hand of God, far above all principality and power, has wrought in him; and he is raised up together with him, quickened together, and sitting in heavenly places in Him. Thus he is viewed as in heaven, in Christ the head; not as hoping to arrive there. Peter views him as toiling along the road, being redeemed by the precious blood of Christ-as Israel in the desert, with Canaan before them: the Ephesians, as sitting there in his head, Christ. Hence neither is the coming of Christ presented as a hope in the Ephesians. What is set before us in the way of hope in the form of intelligence communicated of God, is the gathering together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth-in Him in whom we have received an inheritance. The power which has wrought in Christ, has wrought in the believer, God having given Christ to be "the head over all things to the Church, which is his body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all." God of His great love wherewith He has loved us, has, when we were all together children of wrath, quickened us together with Him, and made us sit, raised up together, in heavenly places in Him.
In Colossians, at first sight, we seem to have lost this position. But the epistle does, but serve to bring out more distinctly the great and precious truth. The Apostle is obliged to bring out heaven prominently before them. They needed this; and we have, as in Peter, " the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before." Why this difference where, nevertheless, Christ is put forward as the head of the body? They were beginning, alas, to be beguiled, and to be subject to ordinances, not holding the Head. But the Apostle urges them, as it were, back to the point from which they were slipping away. He presses on them their resurrection with Christ; once dead in trespasses and sins, but buried in baptism with him; and raised through faith in the operation of God who hath raised Him. If dead with Christ, how could they, as, alive, be subject to what related to flesh and perished with it? And then he draws the conclusion, which associates the two practically: "If ye be risen with Christ, seek the things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God. Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth; for ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God." This was their real position. They were indeed in danger of slipping away from it; but he urges them upward to their privilege and place in Christ. As regards the coming of the Lord,-this is also introduced in a way which remarkably confirms this character of instruction. They were not taught to wait for Him as if they were on earth, and he to appear. Nor is it omitted in order to contemplate their association with Him in heaven. His appearance is spoken of, but then their association with Him in a life which is with Him now hidden in God, is pressed upon them, by this remarkable truth, that when He appears, so identified were they with Him, that they would appear with Him. Their hearts and affections, then are urged upwards, but it was to lay hold on the consciousness that they were one with Him that was there. Their life was hid with Him there, but they were not holding the Head as they ought. I do not go further here; perhaps I may, at another time, notice the different way the Lord's coming is spoken of connected with this.

Connection by the Spirit

The rent veil of the flesh of Jesus (Heb. 10:20), is the way opened of God to man, and for man to God. God, and all that He is, is free in this way to meet the sinner, and the sinner (without a veil on his heart) is free to meet God. This way of access (and this way only) measures perfectly what sin, in God's sight, is.... while it proclaims peace to the sinner, upon the ground of the penalty having been met. Grace reigns through righteousness; and we know it.
But our connection with the Blessed One, who, once dead, now lives, is solely through faith and by the Spirit. And thus God's estimate of sin and righteousness are made our own; and then vital union with the Head leads, by the Holy Ghost, to self judgment: the divine nature given to us leads to the same thing, and the church-habitation of God, through the Spirit, enforces the same. If we fail to walk in the Spirit, and get into the flesh, the moral government of God, in his family, conies in to prevent our sinking down into the world's judgment: and we are judged of the Lord, and chastened, that we may not be condemned with the world. G. W.

Remarks on a Part of Daniel

My Dear Brother:-I send you some remarks on an interesting part of prophecy,-including some principles long ago remarked, and recalled by recent study of some parts of Dan. 1 shall be short. My object being to throw out the grounds of judgment rather than to reason on them. It has been long my conviction that there are two very distinct parties engaged in the trials of Jerusalem in the latter day. The alliance of Jerusalem with the one is the chief occasion of the desolation brought on by the other. This other is habitually termed the Assyrian in Isa. 1 now proceed to give you the elements of certain passages which seem to me to throw light on these points, and to facilitate the understanding of Daniel. First, the indignation (see Isa. 10), we have the revelation that the rod in the hand of the Assyrian is the Lord's indignation. This indignation is to cease in the destruction of the Assyrian. The characteristic term for this closing period is the indignation of Jehovah against the nation. We find, in Dan. 8:19, the expositor, who tells Daniel that he will make him know what is in the last end of the indignation, for at the time appointed the end shall be. The willful king prospers till this indignation is filled up. When the overflowing scourge (Isa. 28), which is a flood and a treading down (compare Dan. 9:27 and 8:13) comes through Ephraim (that is from the north)-the scornful men which dwell at Jerusalem have made a covenant with Death and are at agreement with Hell, and hence hope to escape the overflowing scourge; but, as there is a foundation-stone for faith, so judgment is laid to the line, and the overflowing scourge passes through and they are trodden down by it. We have then the period of the indignation and the special instrument of it (this attack of the Assyrian being repeatedly referred to in Isaiah, compare Psa. 83). We have also the fact, that, when the scourge of desolation passes through, the rulers at Jerusalem had made an agreement with Death and Hell to avoid it; but the overflowing scourge sweeps on. The distinction we have at the close of 30, where it seems to me the king is a distinct personage (גַּםחוּא לַמּלֶדּ Gam hoo lammelek). It is prepared for the king too. These passages lead me to another expression of importance in this respect, and which also links together Daniel and these passages in Isaiah (כׇלָח ונֶחֱדָצֶח chalah veneheratsa). The consumption decreed. You will find this Isa. 10:23 (and something like it, v. 22), in connection with the indignation, and the Assyrian and a very small remnant left of Israel from the judgment, but a determined one of God. In Isa. 28 the judgment is clearly on Israel, coming, as I have said, as to its progress through Ephraim, it finds the rulers of Jerusalem in league with death; and they are warned (v. 22) not to be mockers, because (כׇלָח ונֶחֱדָצֶח chalah veneheratsa), a consumption is determined on the whole earth (land). In Dan. 9:27, we find the same expression translated the consummation, and that determined. I apprehend the force is for the over-spreading of abominations (the protection of idols, which makes the great charge against the Jews of the latter day) מְשמֵם (m' shomehm). There shall be a desolator until the consumption decreed be poured on the desolate; that is, the עֵל בְּנִף שקּוּצׅים (al c'naph shikkutsim), whatever that may be taken to be, is the cause why the consumption decreed is poured on the desolate; some take it as a fact, or prefer the margin. As I take the sense of the English translation to be just, I venture on Hebrew ground, but only to put questions. I suppose עֵל may mean because, or for, as in English. Next, is it not certain, according to the points, that בְּנִף (c'naph) is in regimen with nTN) (shikkutsim), both from letters and accents, and that it is because of the protection of idols; and that the idols of the desolator is not the connection in the Hebrew. The best translation I have access to concurs in this. If so, the sense, as it seems to me to be, is clear, namely, " because of the protection of idols, [there shall be] a desolator until the consumption decreed; this appointed measure of wrath [against Israel "]. I think the reading of the passages quoted in Isaiah shows plainly that the decreed consuming or accomplishment of judgment applies to Israel, and such a statement accords with the whole testimony of God's word on the subject. This confirms the English translation " on the desolate." And here again I appeal to my Hebrew friends: the usual sense of שָמֵם (shamehnz) and מְשמֵם (shomehm) is, I apprehend, " to be desolate." מְשמֵם (shomehm), the word used here, is several times used for Jerusalem desolate, by Jeremiah in Lamentations, and in other parts of Scripture, as to it and other subjects. No case of the active use is alleged by Gesenius; but this passage, which proves of course nothing, and Dan. 12:11, which rests on a similar basis, and viii. 13, all involve the question to be decided. For either of the two last cases, desolate or desolating gives a sense according to truth; but would in any case מְשמֵם (shomehm) be causing others to desolate. However, of this in a moment; the use of an unusual form (Ezek. 36:3) is the only other authority. Bagster's Lexicon, by W. 0-, jun., does not give this sense. However this may be, there is no doubt that the common use of the word elsewhere is desolate, and that the other expressions are usually applied to Jerusalem. The consumption decreed is poured upon the desolate. Until then there will be a desolator. Thus, we should have the declaration that He (the Prince to come) confirms covenant with the many (the body of the Jews) one week; and in the midst of the week He will cause sacrifice and offering to cease; and because of the over-spreading or protection of idols, there will be a desolator until the consumption decreed be poured on the desolate -until God has filled up his judgment.
Now, a few words on the question of the desolate, 11:31. It is a different word, the abomination of מְשמֵם (m'shomehm) the word translated, 9:27, "he shall make it desolate "—rather, a desolator; they shall plant the abomination of the desolator. This seems admitted by the common authorities I have recourse to. It inclines me much to think that this passage refers much more distinctly to Antiochus than to the latter days (v. 32.) " Do exploits" does not seem to me to characterize that epoch. As to 8:13, I leave this question, whether it is not the transgression of the desolate; when the transgressors are come to the full, transgression against the daily. It is clear in either case, that that causes desolation, so that I have nothing to oppose; but I would arrive at the force of the word. It is not, at any rate, an active desolator, I should think, in a positive way-as מְשמֵם (m' shomem). The existence of the latter word in 11:31 makes 12:11 more interesting. There, and there alone, we have שִקּוּץ שמֵם (shikkuts shomem); and to that, I apprehend, the Lord's solemn words specially refer as to the last days. I can hardly think that the Spirit uses, in 9:27, the two words as he does, to mean the same thing. If the difference in 11:31 and 12:11 be just, it throws vast light on the interpretation of the whole passage. Whatever may be the result as to the critical point, the connection of the two chapters of Isaiah (and others bear on it, particularly all from xxviii. to the end of 35.) throw much light on the solemn scenes of the history of Israel and the world in the last days.
I just add here, that besides the evident division at the end of the sixth chapter of Daniel, between the historic scenes or dreams of others interpreted by Daniel, and the communications made to Daniel himself, there is a distinction to be made between chaps. 7 and 8, (which have a common character), and chap. 9, to the end. Chaps. 7 and 8 are communications made to Daniel of certain events during the power of evil-the Jews being in no way delivered-and give us the two horns, and their bearing on the history of those beloved of God, whatever their condition. But all this is seen as a picture, though a picture explained—a picture of the power of evil. In the four last chapters, which date subsequent to the overthrow of Babylon, Daniel, according to the mind of God, is brought forward as intercessionally interested in Israel, and he pleads for guilty Israel as Moses of old; differently as to tone, but presenting, by faith in God's own thoughts, the people as His people, whatever their state may have been; and that is the character of faith, while fully (for the very same reason) owning and confessing the sin. The result is remarkably analogous as to this. The Angel who speaks on the Lord's behalf calls Israel Daniel's people, and the city his city, as the Lord did to Moses. Daniel sees no vision here of historical wonders, but of the glory of the person interested in Israel, who communicates to him Israel's history in reply to his faith in God and love to Israel, as the man greatly beloved. Chapter 9 seems to me to refer rather to chap. 7, and chaps. 10 and 11 and 12 to chap. 8; the former to the Western, and the latter to the Eastern subjects of prophecy. I believe these considerations will assist in the intelligence of the book, the latter remarks opening considerably the bearing of the two subdivisions. The explanation of the seventh is not in terms con fined to the end of the indignation, as that of the eighth, though the special actings of the little horn are identified with the periods of chapter 12.

Divine Titles and Their Meanings

It has pleased God to instruct man concerning Himself, by the record put into man's hand of things done, or being done, or to be done by God. God thus presents Himself, as it were, in action before man-that man, standing in the position of subjection and dependence, may learn and know the God that made, upholds, blesses, and redeems. The way, I am persuaded, in which we ought to study the Divine titles, is by studying the Scriptures of truth, which present God in the various actings and glories proper to those titles. The simplest saint might thus learn to profit, and learn with certainty. The wisest would learn with humility and deference, for God would be his study. Man likes not a way so open to all, so calculated to humble and abase himself. We accordingly find, that most works on the Divine names and titles are founded upon the etymological meanings of these titles and names; the learned -differ upon these; the mass make no pretension to the learning which can enable them to tread that field, or form a judgment even upon the gleanings of their more erudite brethren. I propose, God willing, to say a little upon this most interesting subject, and would speak first on the title, Elohim-God.
Y.

The Dwelling of God and Man Together

Gen. 9:27 וישכז באחלי־שם -"And He [the LORD God of Shem, v. 26] shall dwell [or shechinah it] in the tents of Shem." As the LXX. ὁ θεος...κατοικησατω ἐν τοις οἰκοις του Σημ. Is there not, here, a noticeable prophetic allusion to the Shechinah of God's manifested presence between the Cherubim in the Tabernacle (con. Ex. 25:8; 29:43-46)? How many are the blessed and gracious thoughts which are connected, in Scripture, with the dwelling of God and man together and how various!
G. W.

Remarks on Failure*

The leading subject of the Epistle to the Galatians, as is manifest, is the correction by God's Spirit, of the first form of error by which the doctrine of Christ began to be corrupted; and, it may be observed, there is a severity of expression in its terms of reprobation, both of the propagators of the error, and of the error itself, that has no parallel in any other of the Apostolic Epistles. This fact, bearing in mind, that error in doctrine rather than evil in practice is the subject of the Spirit's censure-is very strikingly in contrast with our ordinary thoughts; and most especially opposed to the latitudinarian sentiments of the present day.
The principle of this is plain. Nature can take its measure of human conduct; but Faith only can estimate the importance of the truth of God. And perhaps there is nothing that more strikingly displays the low spiritual condition of the church, and its utter incompetency to judge of things according to the mind of God, than that laxity of feeling which prevails with regard to doctrine, in comparison with the moral walk.
It could never be imagined that God had placed the two in opposition -for, indeed, the doctrine of the gospel is " the doctrine according to godliness;"-but the tendency of the natural mind, as to their relative importance, is always to reverse the judgment of the word of God. The spiritual mind, however, which makes God and not self its center, will at once discern that the sinking of the foundation is incomparably more fraught with danger than a fracture in the edifice; and the corruption of the truth, which creates and sanctifies the church, is infinitely more fatal than a lapse in the walk, which is but the external witness of the power of the truth within. The church may be recovered while the truth of Christ remains; but if Christ be gone, nothing but hopeless corruption must ensue.
This is plainly the ground on which that unparalleled severity of rebuke, which pervades this Epistle rests. For example, he says, " I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that we have preached unto you, LET HIM BE ACCURSED. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, LET HIM BE ACCURSED."
Here, in the outset, the Apostle, by the Spirit, enters his solemn protest, not against others only, but against himself, if he should ever swerve from the purity of that gospel he had preached. If man or angel, or himself; should ever become a perverter of the grace which he was empowered of Christ especially to proclaim, he invokes upon either a solemn curse; and thus raises a barrier against the possibility of his own, or others, turning back from the full position of grace and acceptance before God, into which the wondrous work of Christ introduces a sinner!
No authority must for a moment be allowed to cast a shadow over the full grace of the gospel; or question the divine truth of that declaration, "If any man be in Christ he is a new creature, (or a new creation), old things are passed away; behold all things are become new. And ALL THINGS ARE OF GOD, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ." A man may be warned how he builds upon this foundation,-and the word of the Spirit is express, " Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity"-but, " other foundation can no man lay, than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ." "Let GOD be true, but every man a liar." This is "the shield of faith;" and is the merited rebuke of the least perversion of the "true grace of God, wherein we stand."
Unquestionably the church is the place of holiness" the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are"-but it is so, practically, only as it answers to the description, "the pillar and ground of THE TRUTH "-the wondrous vessel of that which the Apostle thus denominates. For he directly adds, " without controversy great is the mystery of godliness, God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up to glory."
This is " the truth," of which the church of the living God is to be the pillar and ground. It is both formative of its character and is the basis of its walk:-" He that saith he abideth in him, ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked."
Laxity of walk, or worldly principles and habits, may be corrected by bringing in the light to manifest the darkness-for we are to " walk in the light as he is in the light"-but when the truth is corrupted, the light becomes darkness, and the very instrument by which God is pleased to work is destroyed.
But our moral sense is outraged by flagrant conduct. Self is touched, in our associations, at least, when it is a question of walk. But it is only the spiritual sense that rightly estimates the danger of an inroad on the truth; and it requires the sensitiveness of the spirit to turn us from seeking our own, and "not the things that are Jesus Christ's."
Still, nothing is more important, than to heed the moral association of things in the mind of God. For example, in Philippians, 3:19, those "who mind earthly things" are in the position of "the enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame!" This is God's moral connection of things; and the true contrast of this, is to have "our conversation in heaven, from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ."
So again, in a matter of more ordinary note, in 1 Tim. 6:9, "They that will be rich, fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil; which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows." This is God's moral association, and what in his mind is knit up with the commonest of all desires-the desire to be rich! And his path of escape is this, "Having food and raiment, let us be therewith content."
Also in Rom. 16:17, 18. "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned, and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple." There is no middle course between serving the Lord Jesus Christ and one's own belly! And once more, in 1 Cor. 15:32; If the dead rise not-let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die;" just as in the corresponding truth our Lord associates the expression, " My Lord delayeth his coming," with the servant's beginning to smite his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken.
Now it is this Divine moral association of things, that accounts for the severity of expression, noticed, as pervading this epistle, whose object is to correct the very mildest-in our thought-and most universal form of error by which the grace of the gospel is perverted. For what is so common in the forms of Christianity around us, as the grafting of the law and Judaism on the gospel. But, it is this, which in this epistle calls forth the stern rebuke, " Behold, I Paul, say unto you that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing...
.. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace." " But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised: and that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage-' to whom we gave place by subjection no, not for an hour: that the truth of the gospel might continue with you." " Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labor in vain. I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you." " When Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision ...  ... Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation ... O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth crucified? This only would I learn of you, received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? are ye so foolish, having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? Ye did run well: who did hinder you, that ye should not obey the truth And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offense of the cross ceased. I would they were even cut off, which trouble you!"
Now though there was manifest corruption and worldliness in the church of Corinth, and they were " carnal and walked as men," yet is their evil not rebuked in any degree with the sternness that pervades this epistle. It is true he says, "your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump:"-a universal principle, applied in Galatians to doctrine, as here to practice. And again in 2 Cor. 12:20, 21. " I fear lest when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall not be found unto you such as ye would: lest there be debatings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults; and lest when I come again my God will humble me among you, and that I shall bewail many which have sinned already, and have not repented of the uncleanness, and fornication, and lasciviousness which they have committed." In visiting those who had so sinned, he says, "I will not spare." But he does not once say, " I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labor in vain"-" I stand in doubt of you"-" Ye are fallen from grace"-" I would they were even cut off who trouble you"-" Christ shall profit you nothing"-" Christ is become of no effect unto you."
Alas! it is forgotten, that, if the Church is to be the epistle of Christ, it is Christ known and valued, and all things else esteemed as dung and dross, in comparison, that can alone make her that epistle. " We have this treasure in earthen vessels." And in vain is the cleanliness of the vessel and its external polish regarded, if the treasure which is alone of value be extracted!
Christ crucified and risen, and we risen in Him, is the church's morality. " Let us hold fast grace whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear."
Whenever grace is questioned, and a legal standing sought, there is introduced the wholesale principle of the corruption of the church's morals-" walking in the light, as he is in the light:" and 66 walking as he walked." For in the first place, conscience will stop at the lowest point at which it can be satisfied; and in the next place, the law deals with the flesh of man, in which grace teaches us " there dwells no good thing." But grace leads to holiness, through a new nature, which is born of God, and the subduing of the flesh. Never therefore is holiness, in its true character, so much in danger as when it is sought to be established apart from grace-which in its grossest form, is the Puseyism of the present day. And often the assumption of an ascetic sanctity, where the gospel prevails, sinks into moral debasement, that shocks even the natural conscience.
In the opening of the epistle-" Paul, an Apostle not of man neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father who raised him from the dead "-we get a principle that characterizes indeed, but extends much farther than the apostleship of Paul, and teaches us that nothing which is " of man" as its source, or " by man" as its authority, can be acknowledged in the church of God. It must be, " by Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised him from the dead." Hence he says, " I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ." Neither man's ordinances, nor man's authority, nor man's obedience, can reach up to Him whom God hath "set at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come; and hath put all things under his feet, and gave HIM to be head over all things to the Church, which is His body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all." The grace of the gospel is a thing altogether beyond man's power, and independent of man's authority; and is thus wonderfully expressed by the Apostle,-" I, through the law, am dead to the law "-I have been killed by it outright-" that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the SON OF GOD, who loved me and gave himself for me! " And this is the Christ, and this is the grace, that is to be guarded against all that is " of man " and " by man"! For, whatever is "of man" or "by man," necessarily subverts this grace, which flows alone from its divine fountain-"Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead." Can anything for a moment that is " of man " be borne with, by the heart that has learned this truth, " the SON OF GOD hath loved me and given himself for me F" or that which is so akin to it in Heb. 1 " Who being the brightness of his glory and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on High." It is on this ground, that the Apostle says, in 2 Cor. 5:16, " Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh; yea, though we had known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more." And, as already quoted, it follows, " Therefore if any man be in Christ he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new. And all things are of God."
Now, in Colossians the warning is, " Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men after the rudiments of the world and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, and ye are complete in him." What madness to attempt a supplement from man and his philosophy to the fullness of Him "in whom dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily!" But here it is by the introduction of the law and circumcision. " Tell me ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law." And "Behold I, Paul, say unto you, if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify to every man that is circumcised that he is a debtor to do the whole law." Whatever man, in his wretched blindness may attempt, the two things-grace and law-cannot before God stand together. In grace, "all things are of God:" but the law, addresses itself to man: it requires something of man, which he, in his ignorance of his own condition, attempts to meet: although. " by the law is the knowledge of sin." "And as many as are OF the works of the law are under a curse." If law is his principle, then he is only under a curse. " For it is written, Cursed' is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them."
The adding of "circumcision," which was the point at which this severely reprobated error touched the Galatians, was not in the least intended as an ostensible setting aside of the gospel, by the substitution of the law. But though they were deceived, the principle can receive no quarter. It may be only the addition of circumcision; but there is a principle involved in it which subverts the whole standing of grace-" If ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing Ye are fallen from grace!"
And yet this is the most natural condition into which the heart sinks that does not see-or has perhaps lost the perception of-the brightness of grace: and this on the most simple ground. For Judaism was God's own institution-his earthly institution-for maintaining intercourse with himself, on a lower ground than that of the vail being taken away. Judaism was the religion of a people at a distance from God; who, however near their priest might come, which their necessity required, had a vail between themselves and God. And whenever the heart practically loses its sense of that nearness to God to which his grace has introduced us through the eternally precious work of Christ, we naturally lapse into Judaism. Not that there may be a formal adoption of it as a system, but there is a natural adaptation in it to the heart that feels it right to be occupied about the things of God, but is not in the brightness of intercourse with God himself.
Hence the Apostle says, " When we were children we were in bondage under the elements of the world, but when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying "Abba, Father." This was their place::this their altered' position, through accomplished redemption, to be in communication and intercourse with God, as children with a father. And he therefore asks, " Now, after ye have known GOD; or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?" It was the sweeping away of the whole position into which the redemption of the Son of God had brought them, to assume again the place of distance that belonged to those who were kept under the law shut up unto the faith which should afterward be revealed.
" Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labor in vain." This was Judaism, no doubt; but then Judaism, it is but little imagined, was itself composed of " the rudiments (or elements) of the world." " The first covenant bad ordinances of divine service and a worldly sanctuary;" and the whole of the Jewish institution was arranged after the rudiments of the world. God had a righteous claim upon the people in the midst of this, but their religious institutions were arranged to meet their natural feelings as men. There was the beauty of the tabernacle and the costliness of the temple..-the gold and silver and precious stones; the silver trumpets on their feast days, and the magnificent garments of their priests, all which are now maintained by royalty and are to be found in palaces and courts, while their festive periods of commemoration are still found in the anniversaries of the world.
And it is this which gives it such a hold on our nature, and accounts for the universality of its prevalence, in conjunction with the profession of Christianity. It puts God at a distance, while it occupies the mind with religion, and sanctions the principles and elements of the world. " The way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest while as the first tabernacle was yet standing." God's presence could not then be reached. The vail was untaken away; and all that could be said of this array of services was, that they were carnal ordinances imposed on them until the time of reformation. And hence the severity of that word, " After that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements to which ye desire again to be in bondage?" " If ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why as though living in the world are ye subject to ordinances? " The cross leaves no place for the elements of the world! " If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God. Death and resurrection, in Christ, alike leave Judaism and Gentilism amongst the "rudiments of the world;" while they introduce into the blessed knowledge and presence of God, and leave nothing to be rejoiced in, or to be desired, but " the hope of the glory of God."
Many other things in this epistle are worthy of note, but my object is not to give an exposition. In verse 15, 16, of chapter 1, " When it pleased God who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen: immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood," we get the whole principle of the Apostle's course and ministry. And this it was that also led him to say, " of those who seemed to be somewhat, whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man's person." His only object and concern, was, " that the truth of the gospel might continue with them." And if the course of Peter even is opposed to this, he meets an uncourtly and open rebuke; and his, and Barnabas's dissimulation is as plainly censured, as when he says to his own converts, "O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth! "
It is this which fired him at the attempt to remove them " from the grace of Christ, into another gospel," and makes him say "I would they were even cut off who trouble you;" and at the close of the epistle to expose the hollowness of the wretched teaching of those principles, the destructiveness of which he had through the epistle so solemnly denounced-" as many as desire to make a fair show in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. For neither they, themselves, who are circumcised, keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh."- " But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. For in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature "-a new creation! If the cross brings inside the vail,-which it does, it at the same time, puts outside the world. God's " new creation " can combine with none of the elements of the old. The blood of the sin-offering, which brought the High-Priest within the vail, left the victim to be burnt outside the camp. " Jesus, that he might sanctify the people, suffered without the gate." The very thing which brings nigh to God, is that which entirely separates from the world!
Would that against all these attempts of the enemy to subvert the grace of the gospel, we had the faith to say, "From henceforth let no man trouble me; for I bear in my body the marks (οτιγματα) of the Lord Jesus!" But alas! where is now the sensibility of heart to Christ, which causes the blush to mantle on the cheek, and the soul to be filled with indignation, at any attempted admixture of law and grace, which is but the subversion of the gospel. Where is to be found the exhibition of that word-" the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up? "
Alas! in a day when faith is low, large scope is left for the reasonings of the natural mind; and often the surest resting-places of the soul are treated as points of debate. What is divinely taught is firmly held; but even the truth of God, gathered by human deduction, never rises to the point of faith. The ground of so many questionings amongst God's children, is, that there is so little faith. Faith settles the soul in the truth, and keeps it in the presence of God. And the reason why known truth is so feebly held, is, that there is so little faith, and consequently so little of God. The certainty of faith seems like dogmatism to the man of reason; and appears like the claim to a special revelation to the Christian whose habit is to gather his conclusions by a rational process, instead of by the teaching of the Holy Ghost. We allow a license to the " lusts of the mind," which we should not dare to do in the " lusts of the flesh." But it is not the actions only, but every thought that should be brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. D.

Fragment: Burdens

'Tis a very great privilege to have burdens to bear while here; so thought our Lord.
Trouble and distress sometimes make a blaze of prayer COME out of two or three little coals of faith.
The light that came out of the cloud to Israel, must have had something of a very rich and soft character to a believing Israelite. How gentle was its touch to those whose fears and anxieties were healed by it!

Gather Up the Fragments

My Dear Brother.-When our Master had fed the multitudes, He said to His disciples, " Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost" (John 6:12). And they gathered together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto the five thousand that had eaten!
I think I have the mind of the Lord, both in endeavoring to gather up the waste scraps of present teachings by the Spirit, whether in conversations, readings, musings, etc., and in offering them, under the above title, to you. The fragmentary character of the offering may encourage some to cast in their widow's mite to the general stock, and help others to remember, that "he that gathered much had nothing over, as he that gathered little had no lack." When God orders the measure, or gives the increase, the results proclaim His praise, as well as refresh the people of His choice.-Yours. G. W.

On Principles and Practice in Gathering

"The questions are: 1st, Can the renewed soul, led by the Spirit, be satisfied with any turning point of conduct for itself in which it does not find the presence of God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who quickened it; and, 2dly, Was it gathered (by the Holy Ghost) according to what He is, as Father gathering the adopted in the name of Christ for his own house in heaven, or merely to a corruptible testimony entrusted to man's hand."
The descent of Noah's Ark upon Mount Ararat is a remarkable fact. In such a deluge it might have floated, sport of the elements, any where. Faith, most surely, would have recognized the place of its descent, wheresoever that had been, as the right place, because it was the choice of Him without whom not one sparrow falleth to the ground; but they whose faith is accompanied with intelligence, from the word, as to the divine counsel and plans concerning the earth, can see something of the reason of the place which was selected. Again, no one, I think, that has passed any time by the sea-shore, and beheld " also the ships, which though so great, and driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth,"- and, amid them, observed one vessel continuously maintaining one and the same position, spite of various currents and the veering of the wind round and round the compass,-but what must have felt that there was a cause why such vessel drifted not, neither changed its place. Its carrying lights, to warn of reefs, etc., might, indeed, proclaim the object of its being there, but there are also PRINCIPLES by which its position is maintained.
Surely the so easily led human mind will never be able to maintain any definite, much less a God-honoring, position, amid circumstances in which God shakes around us all that can be shaken-that is, if it is left to itself. In speaking of shaking now, I do not advert to the mere mutability and versatile wantonness of human will-or to the quicksand character of everything in man's day- or even to those awful periods in the human history, as the great French revolution, which (through the mercy of God) are more rare than are the phenomena of the earthquake, hurricane and volcanic eruption in nature; occurrences, in which (the usual restraints imposed by God on the injurious elements being for a time suspended) man is allowed to witness what bearing the world of his pride would have upon himself, if it were left of God in the hand of the usurping adversary (whether that world be in nature or society.) But besides versatility and changeableness being stamped on man, on the world (set up in Cain's family, Gen. 3 as a place for the flesh to be happy in, out of God's presence), and on scenes subject to Satan,-there is altogether another element of change, when God speaks of His judging, trying, changing or shaking, etc. And this is the grand leading feature of the scenes on which my mind was resting, when I asked, " How shall a definite position be maintained?"
Turn for a moment to the deluge and its attendant circumstances; to the Exodus and its scenes; to the history of the transit of the apostles from Judaism to Christianity; and say, " Who led and kept, save He that formed the people of His choice?" I ask not about the state of feeling, intelligence, or hope of the saved, but, Who kept themselves? God, and God alone, was their keeper. Stability is not a creature-quality; there is but One that changes not—that knows not the shadow of a turn-and He will have mercy on whom He will have mercy, and will have compassion on whom He will have compassion. It is meet that He should; it becomes Him: higher we cannot go in accounting for why He acts as He does. As to the saved-they " found grace in His sight"; He " remembered his covenant" with Abraham and with Isaac and with Jacob; and the songs of Mary, of Zacharias and of Simeon-all ascribe the mercy found unto His grace and to that alone.
But the saved people had also the Lord's marks upon them;-the word of the Lord (though known to them as being above them, " magnified above all His name") was precious in their sight; and they were desirous to be implicitly subject to it and to His Spirit. I am persuaded that amid the tryings, judgings, changings and shakings by the Lord of all things-none will stand save those that find grace in His sight: the rest will be found self-sold and self-bound, by the folly of their own hearts, to Satan; though it may be, that many a soul which should have been, as it were, improved by the trial, will be only re-made in it. If a haughty or self-confident, or self-complacent, or even an unbroken spirit is in us,-or if policy and expediency have been our strength,-I am persuaded that, saints though we be, the presence of the Lord will show concerning us, both to ourselves and to others perhaps, around us, that in His presence "all flesh is grass; the grass withereth, the flower thereof fadeth away, be- cause the Spirit of the Lord bloweth thereon." Job's history is a solemn one.
The very nearness of the Lord is the abasement of the pride of the flesh. While at the same we shall prove that policy and expediency (vain against Satan and even man), will never stand in the presence of God, or be owned by the Lord. He could not own them:-they came in at the fall, when man learned to blend his own circumstances, and used them as the cover wherewith to deceive a guilty conscience as to God's all-seeing eye; they had their allowed field marked out for them in the family of Cain, the murderer of his brother,-driven out from the presence of the Lord; they were the ruin of Saul, etc.; and are utterly incompatible with faith. For they are always the expression of present subjection to a power which seeks its own because it loves not and owns not dependance upon God, as being the alone fountain of every good gift. The door open for self is open for Satan too. Policy and expediency and human plannings will, in God's presence, I am persuaded, be found to be inconsistent with present obedience and dependance-and to be practical independence (compare Isa. 2:10-22). Jacob's experience when his name was changed illustrates this.
They cannot stop Satan, silence conscience, or meet necessity: to subject self to the counsels of God about Christ is never really their aim. The grand principle of faith is, that we trust in God that raiseth the dead-having the sentence of death in ourselves that we should not trust in ourselves. This surely is a GREAT principle; not as some speak of principles, as though principles could accomplish themselves; or as though they that have the principles, could act them out in their own energy, or use God's energy to do so. To trust in God that raiseth the dead-gives no room for my energy or plannings-. any more than does the having the sentence of death in myself, that I should not trust in myself. It is not that there will not be action, or that I shall not act,-but it is this: my own will and objects being crossed and judged, I have to wait on God, subjecting myself to His will, and taking up His objects—to suffer His will and receive blessing. And again: Faith, though it has a large stock to draw from in God, has nopurse or scrip in man wherein to carry about the expenses of the journey. " Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." Faith is present dependance upon a present God-it cannot live out of his presence; for it is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen; -in his presence God and Christ alone are exalted. He wakeneth morning by morning, " He wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned"; " the Lord God hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back"; and " now the just shall live by faith." If the Lord is our portion we must go out of His presence, ere we can say, " I lack."
And since some confound principles with power; let me just recall the oft-repeated truth-" A law cannot enforce itself." Every successive government, for the last sixty years, in Paris, has stamped paper notes,-but they cannot pay themselves or their holders. Those of preceding governments are now on sale as waste paper. The laws for Ireland cannot execute themselves: and if the government has power to enforce any act, and sends thither those who shall do so,-such bring not their own power, or will, or objects, but that of another; and are thus dependent upon those that sent them, for the means to accomplish their will. Still, the commissioned officer has the government behind him:-else his acts would constitute him a rebel and a traitor. But no act can enforce itself.
I wish attention could be roused to this question" Have you any principles? and if you have, are they Divine, and such as will make good for you, if you are consistent with them, a steady position when all things are shaking round you." Clearly they who are walking with God, as did Enoch, can say, " Through grace I have such; for the great leading circumstance to me is God, who, nearer to me than my own self, never changes, and if I am kept true to Him, when He has overruled things for Himself, the same grace which keeps me now by steady adherence to Him, who is the same yesterday, to day, and forever, will cause it to appear before all in His own day to the praise of His own grace. God keeps His saints; and when He displays His glory He will not forget His keeping of the saints, or the saints of His keeping. The poor broken sinner's rest is habitually here, " God cannot deny Himself." This is the obedient soul's shelter-He cannot deny Himself. I may be ignorant-misinformed and everything else; but humbleness of heart which seeks to leave all and sacrifice self to God can say, He will not deny Himself-" for if any man will do His will, he shall know", and " I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified."
God the Holy Ghost, as the Quickener, Expositor, and Applier: the written word of God's grace-mirror, in which the beauty of the Person and work of the Lord Jesus is presented to faith; exposition, too, as it is at once of the riches in wisdom and grace of God and the Father, and of the poverty of what we are in ourselves: and an obedient frame of heart and mind; these are our great securities here below.
" My principles, then [mine, inasmuch as God keeps me by making faith in them to be indwelling in me], are, if I speak for eternity, IN HEAVEN—God, even the Father, with the Son of Man returned from the works He did on earth, resting in the glory which He had with Him before the world was, until the children of the Father's love are made ready for the House of the Father; and the counsels about Him: and ON EARTH God the Holy Ghost, and the Word of Its grace." The presence of God with the church is the alone dwelling of God on earth now since Jerusalem was broken up; and if the Holy Ghost is not here, though there may be the actings of Providence over the earth from the throne above (as surely there are), direct personal connection or intercourse between God and earth there is none: for the throne of the Providence of the Creator is in Heaven, and is served by ministering spirits. But the Holy Ghost is here, and He Himself, because He is God, is the connecting link between those that know Him, and the present display in Heaven of the Father and the Son, as well as the earnest of what is to come. On the other hand, our nothingness in ourselves, and the sufficiency of God, notwithstanding all, is shown in that the mode of His dealing is simply the Word....of faith; for " the Word of the Lord endureth forever."
If I come to speak as to my principles FOR TIME-it is not that they are, therefore, human, or that they cease (because for time) to be divine: quite the contrary, but necessarily then, as so connected (viz. with time), the character and mode of God's actings in time then become a question, and a very important question; and so dispensational truth has to be considered: and this is one of the very solemn evils connected with despising dispensational truth, ... which is not (as some think), mere notions of the human mind-fancies of the imagination -but that truth of God's sober, solemn word, which describes God's present path and conduct. Without dispensational truth, there can, in detail, be no consistent intelligent walk with God now in time. Here arises the
It is not my thought to enter here either into truth as universally true (by which I mean that, inasmuch as wherever God acts, He must act worthily of Himself, and because of His being one God, there are certain grand leading truths which will be found wherever he is found, characteristics of Himself), or into truth as dispensationally given. By truth as dispensationally given, I mean the varieties of expressions God may have been pleased to make of Himself in various scenes: as, for instance, in forming one scene, in which He would make a display suited to the name of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost;' and another scene suited to the display of Jehovah as involving (I judge) the titles Lord God, Messiah, and the Spirit, etc. etc. etc. If people think they can cramp up infinite glory, or infinite grace, which has stooped to make various finite circles for itself in connection with man, to one place or to a given limit, they are mistaken, and only show us their own folly and short-sightedness.
I shall take it for granted that my reader understands what is distinctively peculiar to the church, or, at least, has some idea thereof; for who of us has more? And that the Heavenly Calling, the mystery (or vital union of the members in one body,-of which Christ is head,-which is His bride,-the vessel of glory in which He will be admired), the baptism of the Holy Ghost, etc., are, in measure, known and admitted as distinctively peculiar: I shall suppose this is granted. This conceded, I ask, as to my principles for time, so far as they are connected with congregationalism of the members of that body (and beyond this, I shall not here essay to go) What are they?
I have been asked whether " gathering to good", or "gathering from evil" is the principle to act on. I understand what ought to be meant when the two propositions are thus put antithetically, as characteristic of two opposite principles of gathering; though I judge the statement is defective, if not erroneous. I say so, because clearly, they whose ensign now is " gathering to good", would not deny, but insist upon it, that they gather from evil also. And on the other hand, they who profess to " gather from evil" admit that in one sense they " gather to good". Also, on the other hand, what is meant, and its force is plain enough, because each term is put distinctively, and that makes it clear; as if when one said, " my salvation is due to the mercy of God"; and another said, " and mine to the righteousness of God",-the propositions taken separately, as each distinctively characteristic of the state of a soul would be quite intelligible. One would be the language of a poor sinner saved by grace; the other of one who thanked God that He was not as other men! but if joined together as the expression of one and the same person, the one would so far modify the other as that both of them might be true. For he whom mercy found as a sinner and adopted into the family, righteousness preserves for the sake of Him whose is the family. But when it is asked whether " gathering to good" or " gathering from evil" is the proper principle, clearly there are two modes of gathering supposed; two characteristic features in the modes pursued by two parties; and they are contrasted the one with the other, so that you may take your choice of which of them you will adopt; and this shows that they are contrasted, for if you take one you leave the other.
The question is deeply interesting if fairly considered. " He that gathereth not with me, scattereth abroad", was the word of One who spake as never man spake. His mode of gathering was as God's. If ours is as was His, how blessed! If otherwise, we scatter abroad. But I believe a deeper question even than any of these is involved; for the mode of God's conduct always flows out of the Who and What He Himself is; and this makes the question of the very deepest possible moment to the true worshipper.
I doubt whether any will see their way through this subject, unless they have a somewhat simple faith as to God, and some measure of clearness as to redemption, and also can keep " the church triumphant" (as yet to be displayed as a whole in the glory of God) distinct from, and yet in connection of thought with, the discovery of the various members of that whole in the progressive history of " the church militant "; and they also should see the standing, falling and fallen subdivisions of that history.
And, first, I may remark, that to those who have intelligence exercised in Divine things-I doubt not-holiness is more distinctively characteristic of God, than is aught else. Holy, Holy, Holy! is the cry distinctive to His presence: and if one enters in thought upon what He is in Himself, which is clearly deeper and fuller than that which may shine forth from Him, -He is that He is: His essential character, and the indescribable peculiarity in the very thought of supreme Deity, plainly put Him, apart from all else—in Himself,—and as the origin, center and end of everything, and so as to us. And this is just the separativeness of Divine holiness.
There is no contradiction in God most surely; and yet there may be, and there are different characteristics, and some may be higher than others. To one party He may be merciful in goodness, to another righteous in wrath-in both cases He is holy.
Another has remarked, in commenting on the evils of the day, that people talk of charity and love; and when they think this or that action is inconsistent with either of them, say it must be inconsistent also with God's pleasure, for " God is love"; entirely forgetting that it is said, " GOD is love", i.e. the characteristic of love does not set aside Himself, or what He is.
I have spoken above of holiness as more characteristic of God than is aught else. It is peculiarly so. LOVE may be of various kinds; damnation in John 3 is the reward of loving darkness more than light; so may LIGHT, 2 Cor. 11:14, Satan is an angel of light, and Matt. 6:23, " if the light that is in thee be darkness," etc.; so may LIFE, as may be seen by the foolishness of those who argue against eternal misery, because eternal life is promised only to the believer. If Love, Light, and Life are used characteristically at times of God, they are not GOD himself. But as proceeding from God, have to be thought of as connected with God, and what He is, and His holiness.
And it must not be forgotten that Redemption is distinct from Creation. Redemption is the bringing back from out of the hand of the adversary by purchase and power. There could be no Redemption where there was no fall- no people redeemed save those who were under the power, through the fall, of the adversary. The power was of God, and the ransom was of God; but it was in behalf of a people from under the adversary's hand. By creation they were God's-in their actual state, through the fall, they were sold under sin, and though still in many cases partakers now of the goodness of God's providence in time, they had nothing but participation m Hell in prospect from themselves. Redemption brings them back to God-to God in the portion he may assign them, and that we know now is one marvelously connected with His own self, children in the Father's House.
In the church, triumphant in glory, all that the power or wisdom of God in His beneficence can put forth in display as the token of His delight in the Man Christ Jesus will, I cannot doubt, be displayed; and. no good thing will He withhold.
In the church militant, as first set up, there was a foreshadowing of the good which is to come in the day of glory, so far as the circumstances would admit of it. Thus it will be the scene of the display of the glory of God and the Lamb (Rev. 21, 22); and will be dedicated to Divine and Heavenly purposes, the court of all earthly plans and glory; will have special connections with the Son, and be the vessel in which He will be glorified by the then unrestrained power of the Spirit. All these things and others had their commencement in display at Pentecost; hereafter it will be in the heavenlies literally, in the glory of God and the Lamb; it was in time the place on which, when Heaven was opened, the rays of the light of the Son upon the Father's throne, and of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ were known, by faith, to play. It will be the place of display of the Spirit in unrestricted power; it was the place of His residence, but self-restrictively (John 16:13-15), amid earthen vessels, acting through faith chiefly, acting as a means to an end. There were the powers of the world to come, shown too, in man, and a sort of first-fruits of the blessing man will have hereafter: the confusion of tongues remedied by the gift of tongues; sickness, by gifts of healing, etc.; and the impress of a moral character of unselfish love put upon the company gathered, which was beautiful and excellent.
While, from what I have said as to our adorable God and redemption, it will be seen I have precluded myself from the possibility of admitting, that " gathering to good" was ever the distinctive mark of gathering, yet in the subordinate and second sense (the one from which one is precluded by the contrast supposed between the two principles stated), I of course own that there was a manifested good to which, in apostolic days men knew believers were gathered. For there was once a God-honoring, undefiled temple habitation of God through the Spirit, with the company who (because true to God and the trust committed to them) had, as the church, the tokens of gracious power and moral character which spake among men for God; "great grace was upon them all, and they had favor with all the people" (see Acts 2 and iv). But this I should press, that in those days, and never indeed while the church stood, did believers in it look upon it as other than as means to an end. To the mind of the Spirit, it might be the fold, for the time being, of those with whom he was dealing for eternity; and the great practical point of the believer that he was there as one separated as a living member of Christ's body from all around it incompatible with His glory and its life; but the deposit was in man's hand, and therefore there was the need of watching, for the place had no fixity of goodness attached to it, but was open to every inroad of the adversary.
And, further, while responsibility rested on man, that no evil should be allowed or sanctioned there, for the place was holy, -the epistles, if compared one with another, show, as to the peculiarities of the place, that if the light of Heaven shined on the church below, and if all that God and Christ have done were proclaimed to faith as somehow or other its portion, that the enjoyment of these things now is in various measures and degrees, and is affected by state and circumstances; and so also the enjoyment of the blessed Spirit, for he may be honored, or grieved, and quenched, or perhaps even resisted. And it must never be forgotten, that being committed in dispensation to man, failure was sure and prophesied of too, failure of a worse kind than ever had preceded. And as to the people in the scene who had found an eternal portion there, they surely could not—we surely cannot-but mark as to the Spirit's own self the peculiarities of His presence. The Ruler and Comforter, as God personally, the good One in all perfectness of Divine goodness, yet the abiding of His presence hung, and hangs in his gracious condescension toward us, upon His understanding of the intrinsic worth of the counsels of God, and of the worthiness of the Lamb. On the ground of this, he tarries in long-suffering heedful of the new nature given, amid the poor earthen, and soft sin-stained, and alas! sometimes sin-sanctioning people. Though the sin-sanctioning saint's portion is " a wounded conscience, who can bear," for the grieved Spirit is a griever; and the quenched Spirit can quench all joy; and the resisted Spirit is a resister.
Compassion, and mercy, and long-suffering, are learned by us to be in God, in means to an end, whether as characterizing his taking hold of brands in the burning, and translating them from the hearth to His temple; or as marking him while not only in Egypt, but while speeding through the wilderness, amid the poor failing ones. But in His own Canaan—in the end, whether we look to the Father's house on high, or to the wide spread fields of glory and blessedness below.... will there be a need in us to which compassion, and mercy, and long-suffering can then still flow? I judge not. But the lesson as well learned then, as well taught now, of mercy, compassion, and long-suffering in God shall be known in the fixedness and fullness and power worthy of the Spirit in the presence of the glory of God and the Lamb. Feeble quivering lips, in the earthly house of this tabernacle, shall no longer lisp these sounds, in uncertain continuity, with many an interval and pause between; but he who groaned and sighed here below, once, as never mere mortal did, shall then, anointed with the oil of joy and gladness above his fellows, in the midst of the church sing praise to GOD. And who will refuse to join in that song-song of praise for the deliverance which Jehovah's Prophet, Priest, and King found, when as a poor and needy one, forsaken as a worm, and no man, he cried unto God, and was heard, Psa. 22.
Unselfish, then, without one sorrow left, the God of mercy and compassion will be our glory. There are two things one has to remember as a learner in the school of God. One is, that God, the Holy Ghost, never unteaches what Himself has taught; the other is, that by our misapprehensions of, or additions to, what He has taught, our minds are often hindered from further progress. I would avoid by any question shaking any mind as to any truth He has taught it; but I would not desire to avoid, even by questions, raising reverently in His presence the inquiry, " How far have I really apprehended in its full scope His thought upon this or that topic, the which I am persuaded He Himself has taught me?" The difference between these two things is immense. If Hezekiah had not assumed that himself had learned the lessons God was teaching, in Isa. 38, he would not have failed as he did, in chapter xxxix. Now when I get to the point of the failing subdivision in the church's history, or the history of its failing as on earth, I confess a crowd of thoughts come before my own mind; index surely of my unfitness to pretend to teach, but not with my brethren to inquire.
My remarks may be desultory, but let them be weighed,
and received or rejected as they are found when placed in the balance of the sanctuary. And, first, it seems to me, that judging by the end many minds have overlooked the differences of things which are found in the church. For instance;-if I compare Rev. 19:1-9, with chapter 20:1-6, I find in the one place the marriage of the Lamb, and His bride; and in the other place I find thrones and a kingdom. So in chapter 21 and 22, there is what the city is in itself; the new Jerusalem, city of our God, bride adorned for her husband, and there is the use made of it in a dispensational display from chapter 21:9, onward over the earth. Now the kingdom and the display (i.e. the second subject in both cases), is dispensational, it lasts for a thousand years, when Christ gives up the kingdom "to God, even the Father (1 Cor. 15:24), having put all enemies under his feet... that God may be all in all." The kingdom clearly is over the earth, and as clearly God was all in all in the court of it, the new Jerusalem, at the beginning as at the end. For there the Son. has said to his Father, "Behold me and the children committed to me"-they have been in the Father's house, and heard and joined their elder brother in His song of praise in their midst: and as to the displayed glory of the city of their abode, there was no temple there (no stringent restriction on adoration), for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb (whose glory was all pervading without a veil) was the temple: the medium through which all was seen, how blessed 1 The glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb was the light thereof: the Lamb's book of life, the enrollment of its citizens, and the throne of God and the Lamb there. Not so on earth -the millennial display there had only showed the competency of the Son of man to wield power, as everything else, for God even in a scene still open to inroads of the adversary, still having unreconciled inhabitants. God could not come in there apart from offices and works, sustained still in the person of the mediator as such, and there a temple was blessing; for, if restrictive as to worship, it proclaimed the presence there of the Lord. Now I would suggest, whether at the beginning (in the Acts, say) 'there is not a double testimony of a kingdom and of truth, about a bride with a most striking difference too flowing, perhaps, out of the difference I have referred to-that the kingdom is held dispensationally only by the blessed Lord, as many other things, by which God had tried man, and found man fail in, will then be seen to be held by the Lord, and God honored by him; but that at the commencement of that kingdom in its court above, another state of things is found standing in the full fruition of redemption, and God there already all in all. The difference I suggest, further I go not, is that there was a kingdom formed among men, but that there was only the testimony of the bride delivered (by Paul). There was no bride committed to man's hand, neither was the thing put forth into man's hand; it hung on Christ as the head above. Separate members there might be, and were, but the thing itself' never was in dispensation at all, only the doctrine about it—of nothing on earth could it be said, " The bride of the Lord," as it could be said, " The kingdom." I write freely, because I write suggestively, and desire that what I write may be judged, and rejected if not sustained by Scripture. And I would just observe that there is no question, to me at least, whether the same persons may be in both-or whether the principle of faith might, of God, be placed as the spring in the heart of fellowship with both."
One more point I would advert to as being connected with what is inside of this subject; and that is, as to the ministrations of the Spirit. How far did our blessed God, in forming and recording them, so order them, as that He, in reformation or renewal of blessing, could act within the precincts of those ministrations as of Apostles, Prophets, and Evangelists, or not?
As to that which lies connected with what is on the outside, I still feel that (though this more properly comes under the question of the closing in of judgment) all the things which were found at the beginning in the scene-Jews, Gentiles, and the church of God-have to be kept before the mind as three co-existing separate bodies, while the present period lasts. And it is the losing sight (as I judge) of the divine dealings with the Jews, with the image of Daniel, and with the extern nations, as such, which has tended to confuse the minds of many as to the church. They have made separate threads of each of the three first named, so far as it got blessing from the church, and somehow or the other, dropped all the distinctively peculiar characteristics of the church, and made an anomalous fourfold cord, which has no existence in Scripture. As to the fact of the failing, my own mind has no doubt whatever, and I am only astounded to find people deny that man has forfeited altogether everything under this disposition which God had put into his band. I have sometimes feared whether some (who speak boldly enough about man's entire failure in everything always, and yet seem inclined to cavil at testimony to man's failure since Pentecost) really know what they themselves have taught, and the uncompromising holiness of God which cannot pass by sin, though he can lift the sinner above the place on which judgment is coming. I only add, that the question is not at all as to whether the obedience of faith may not realize greater blessedness, or more beauty, or more power of testimony: be it that it may, this would not undo the failure of the dispensation as such.
I have noticed these things, because they seem to me elements involved in the question, if it is fully entered into, " What constituted the forfeiture by many, of the divinely made deposit at the commencement of this period we live under?" The question clearly is not of individual salvation, but of the witness, as a whole, which God raised for Himself on earth, when Judaism ceased to be a witness. No witness which He ever set in the world was ever removed by outside adversaries, or by Himself, until it was self-betrayed. When self-betrayed, mercy might long wait ere judgment came in; but judgment in the end always came, and when the witness, or its wreck, was removed, the faithfulness of God to Himself, in his own in it, was only made the more manifest, because of the judgment of the outside-failed witness.
The witness self-betrayed, and the forfeiture of blessing apparent, not only might the obedience of faith still be acted upon by the faithful toward God, and the whole of His word of grace, but He may be found manifesting His own faithfulness amid the failure, and vindicating His name and His grace by a preserved and chosen people. Such, 1 suppose, we own and acknowledge to be the case-the door of our present mercy. The apostasy, or ruin, when perfected, is not simply the corruption of one thing. In it, I judge, will be found the ripened fruits of many evils among the Jews, Gentiles, and nominal church. I press this, because the magnitude of the common ending in wickedness (the anomalous fourfold cord referred to), if seen, will humble the heart to seek the Lord's guidance and light as to varieties of evils now present at work among us.
To what good visible thing could Luther, or did we (when we began to gather) gather. I am sure I know not. "Cease to do evil, learn to do well:" "herein do I exercise myself to have a conscience void of offense both toward God and man." These and such like words: as " to keep one's self unspotted from the world", and " Come out of her, my people, and be not partaker of her sins"; " Come out from among them, and touch not the unclean thing." Such words, I say, plowed up my soul twenty-one years ago, and forced me out I knew not whither; and the only bright thing I knew before me, was to meet the Lord. God and his holiness brake in upon my soul as the sun rising in a clear morn. It was God, though it might be God for me; and Christ in God, one whom the world, as being under Satan, had allowed no place to upon earth -that perfect One, in the presence of whose perfectness, the contrast of all that I was to Him, made me loathe myself: it was the solemnizing presence of God, though that perfectness of His Christ might have been the ground of His work on the cross for me; and though it might speak liberty of approach as being ever before God, and be the pattern to which I was predestinated to be conformed;-yet this Christ and I, how unlike now! and thus every act of real separation from, and renunciation of the world, the flesh, or Satan, became an act really of self-abasement, and of honoring of God, and the expression of personal attachment to the Lord. Abba's love and the unchanging presence of the Holy Ghost, and the sweetness of communion of saints may, since, have been tasted,-good things to which God, who knew what he was doing, knew were in store for us; blessed things though tasted in the wilderness; but so far as what one knew, in one's own mind, when one came forth, they had no place in my mind. And if we talk of gathering now, let your faith be a thousand times brighter and clearer than mine as to What and how precious God's estimate of His people is (and may it be so!); see and glory too in God in our midst; and sing, amid failure and crash around, the triumphant song of all things working together for good to them that love God; yet let me put it to your conscience, whether of a truth, as in His Presence to whom every heart is bare, you can turn your back on Egypt and your face to Canaan-the waste-howling wilderness around-God trying our hearts and teaching us to know what we are as well as who He is-the people murmuring-His presence questioned-the dance and idol-worship, and merriment presaging judgment-heresy within the camp -outside all, amid the crash and confusion of the day: and then, I say, (if indeed you realize what is due to Christ), I thank God that you can find that God'(and not yourself) " gathering to good" is the principle acted upon. To faith it surely is true; but not, as was said before, as by contrast with gathering from evil.
If these are my principles, and if, by acting upon them they once made a serene calm around, because they brought God into the scene, and if worship was then and there tasted, which man could enjoy, they are not that serene calm itself. Cause and effect are separable, as root and fruit. If my own folly, or the uninstructedness of those who owned the blessedness of the effects, without a due knowledge of the cause, or if the malice of Satan's snares to us has led God to allow my heart to be challenged as to whether I will cleave to him and give up the quietness of fellowship and worship which yesterday's honoring Him produced, I have no difficulty in seeing what is the right answer. To honor God and retain an unspotted conscience are of more worth than intercourse with good men-communion of saints I will not say, for that can never be found apart from his honor and a pure conscience, without which being maintained in the conscience of the individuals, it is mere intercourse of good men, if not confederacy; but is never to be called communion of saints. God is a better portion than any present effects which honoring Him may produce. Moreover, the calm is broken, the serenity is of yesterday; to turn back to where it is not will only be weakness. He, if honored, can, and in His own time, will return, the blessing, and greater still. Arise, this is not your rest; it is polluted.
In Israel the pillar of fire and cloud was the central point till Israel made the calf-but when Moses had pitched the tabernacle outside the camp-thither moved the pillar, and there the people who were called and obeyed the call to separate themselves unto the Lord went forth, and there they found the Lord and the mediator in converse together. Gilgal was but a repetition of this in principle; for there they had to separate themselves afresh from their own evil to the Lord by circumcision. And when in Judges, chapter 2, the angel of the Lord went up from Gilgal to Bocchim, His first word was one of rebuke, that they had lost their practical separateness from the evil of the world around them.
It may be, that while the church stood in the integrity of its primitive state, there was no such observable separableness to the individual soul of his principles as for eternity and as for time; for the God of eternity was honored by man in the position He in time had taken up; and while failure was going on, the distinction adverted to might not be so felt as it ought to be, now that the failure has been made fully manifest. And here I would observe what the Book of Judges fully establishes, that help from the Lord to a failed people always comes in a way to rebuke the failure, and make it to be seen by all, that though gracious amid failure, God is no sanctioner of the failure. Yea, the aid so comes, that you cannot get it without the admission of failure. I doubt not, that the preserved in Jesus Christ and called, of Jude's epistle, are as well the token of the failure of the whole from which they are separated, and of those that need " compassion" (verse 22); and of those that are pulled " out of the fire," as of God's faithfulness; and is not their very work one which avows failure. To those who look for numbers to their party with something that can be seen, and of weight in it, I say I would rather be among the
300 who, unlike men, lapped of the water with the tongue as a dog lappeth.... chosen of the Lord in their unconsciousness, as the deliverers of Israel, than of the 22,000, or the 9,700, who, like worshippers and men, bowed down on the knee to drink, whom the Lord sent away.
To attempt to make good, in display, the unity of the body on earth, when God has been dishonored, is really to turn back from the tabernacle of testimony outside the camp (where is the Lord, and the mediator and the avenger of his dishonor), to honor the place out of which he has been driven by the golden calf and its worship.
God is God, and will be God alone, even unto the end. Christ is the one, who in His presence is the all-governing and first object. If you have found Him, or been found of Him, abide near Him, and then the church will ever be in your sight in its right place too as dear to Him, and subject here below to the Holy Ghost. The notion of the church out of the presence of God and of Christ is Romanism; and that is not the care, or subject of care, of the Holy Ghost at all.
" Thou shalt call his name JESUS for he shall save his people from their sins." Matt. 1:1.
"Thy name is as ointment poured forth, etc." Sol. 1:3..
Thy name we love, Lord Jesus!
And lowly how before Thee;
And while we live,
To Thee we'll give,
All blessing, worship, glory;
We'll sing aloud thy praises,
Thy beauty 's all transcending,
For thou alone,
We worthy own,
Our hearts and voices blending.
Thy name we love, Lord Jesus;
It tells thy love unbounded,
To ruined man,
Ere time began,
Or heaven and earth were founded;
Thine was a love eternal,
That found in us a pleasure,
That brought Thee low,
To bear our woe,
And make us thine own treasure.
Thy name we love, Lord Jesus; It tells thy birth so lowly,
Thy patience, grace,
Thy gentleness,
Thy lonely path, so holy;
Thou wast the " man of sorrows,"
Our grief, too, Thou did'st bear it,
The bitter cup,
Thou drankest up;
The thorny crown,-did'st wear it.
Thy name we love, Lord Jesus;
God's Lamb-Thou wast ordained,
To bear our sin,
(Thyself so clean),
And Nast our guilt sustained;
We see Thee crowned in glory,
Above the heavens now seated,
The victory won,
Thy work well done,
Our righteousness completed.
Thy name we love, Lord Jesus;
For though thy travail's ended,
Thy tender heart
Still feels the smart,
Of those thy grace befriended.
Thy sympathy how precious!
Thou succourest in sorrow,
And bid'st us cheer,
While pilgrims here,
And haste the hopeful morrow.
Thy name we love, Lord Jesus;
* For service unremitting,
Within the veil,
To countervail,
And us for worship fitting;
Encompassed here, with failure,
Each earthly refuge fails us;
Without, within,
Beset with sin-
Thy name alone avails us.
Thy name we love, Lord Jesus;
And wait thy revelation,
In sweeter song
To join the throng,
Of the redeemed creation;
Soon shall the bright archangel
Call forth thy saints to meet thee;
Our only Lord
Alone adored,
Well then with gladness greet thee.
Thy name we love, Lord Jesus;
We long to see Thy glory,
To know as known
And fully own
Thy graces, all before Thee;
We plead thy parting promise,
" Come quickly" to release us,
And endless praise
Our souls shall raise,
For love like thine, Lord Jesus.
(* Or, query,
Each soul for worship fitting,
Within the veil
Thou dost prevail,
In service unremitting.)
Anonymous.

Genesis

My Dear Brother:—I propose sending you a short synopsis of the principal subjects of each book of the Bible, to aid in the study of this precious volume that our God has given to us. I do not at all pretend to give the full contents of each book, but only (as God shall grant to me) a sort of index of the subjects, the divisions of the books by subjects, and (as far as I am enabled) the object of the Spirit of God in each part, hoping that it may aid others in reading the Book of God. The Bible is a whole, which presents to us God coming forth from His essential fullness to manifest all that He is, and to bring back into the enjoyment of this fullness with Himself those who, having been made -partakers of His nature, have become capable of comprehending and loving His counsels and Himself. The creation has served as sphere to this manifestation of God; but as a manifestation it would have been altogether imperfect, though in a measure it declared His glory. Sin, moreover, having entered, the state of the creation and the effects of Providence, which regulated its order and details, tended, in the state in which man was, to give a false idea of God. For if he referred this creation and this government to God, while seeing a power which belonged to Him alone, there existed evil which overthrew every idea he could form of powerful goodness. The mind of man was lost in the effort to explain it, and superstitions and philosophy came in to complete the confusion in which he found himself. On one hand, superstitions made falser still the false ideas that man had formed for himself of God; and on the other hand, philosophy, by the efforts which his natural intelligence made to get rid of the difficulty, plunged him into such obscurity and such uncertainty, that he finished by rejecting every idea of God whatever, save the need which had made him seek one.
These superstitions were, in truth, nothing more than that Satan had possessed himself of the idea of God in the heart, in order to nourish with it its lusts, and degrade it in consecrating them by the name of a god who was in truth a demon; and philosophy was but the useless efforts of the mind of man to rise to the idea of God-a height which he was incapable of attaining, and which in consequence he abandoned, making it a subject of pride to do without it. The law even of God, while declaring the responsibility of man to God, and thus asserting His authority, only revealed Him in the exercise of judgment, requiring from man what he ought to be without revealing what God was, save in justice; and in no way revealed Him in relationship with the scene of misery and ignorance which sin had brought upon the human race; did not show what He was in the midst of that, nor could do so; for its office was to require from man a certain line of conduct, of which the Legislator constituted Himself judge, at the end of the career of him who was subjected to it. But the Son of God is God Himself in the midst of all this scene, the faithful Witness of all that He is in His relationship with it. In a word, it is the Son of God who reveals God Himself, and who becomes thus necessarily the center of all His counsels, and of all the manifestation of His glory, as well as the object of all His ways. We shall find then three great subjects in the Bible-the Creation (now subject to the fall); the Law, which gave to man a rule, to man in the midst of this creation, to see if he could live there according to God, and be there blessed; and the Son of God. The two first, namely the Creation and the Law, are bound up with the responsibility of the creature. We shall find all that is connected with these two either guilty or corrupted. The Son, on the contrary, the manifestation of the glory of the Father, the expression of His love, the express image of the subsistence of God, we shall see suffering in love in the midst of this fallen creation and the contradictions of a rebellious people, or accomplishing all the counsels of God, in uniting all things in blessing by His power and under His authority; those even who with hatred have rejected Him being forced to own Him Lord, to the glory of God the Father; and at last, when. He shall have subjected all things, giving up to God the Father the kingdom of His glory as Son of Man, that God may be all in all. Besides all this, there is in the counsels of God a people which is to enjoy eternally with God his favor and blessing, with which the God whom we know in Jesus surrounds Himself; and further, in the purpose of God, before the world was, but hidden until the fit moment when, its redemption being accomplished, the Holy Spirit could, by dwelling in it, reveal to it all the efficacy of its redemption and the whole extent of its blessing, there was a Church chosen in Christ, His bride, which was to share His glory with Him and the blessedness which He was to inherit as Son of God and Faithful Witness of His glory.
Hence we shall find, not only the Creation, the Law, and the Son of God, but the ways by which He has prepared the way for and led men to expect His manifestation; the development of all the principles on which He entered into relationship with men; the consequences of the violation of the law; and lastly, in its place, the manifestation of this Church upon the earth, and the directions He has given to it, with the course of events which are connected with its existence and its unfaithfulness on the earth, as well as with that of the earthly people of God, and of man himself responsible to God and clothed with authority by Him on the earth: the whole closing with the glory of Jesus, Son of Man, maintaining the blessing and union of all things under the reign of God; and, in fine, God all in all. The history of Jesus; the position granted to the Church in glory according to the counsels of God, the mystery hidden from the ages; her participation in the sufferings of Jesus and her _union with Him; and in general the testimony of the Holy Ghost given from on high, are clearly revealed in the New Testament. That of which we have spoken previously forms the course of ages. The Church forms no part of them.
This separates the Bible naturally into two parts:-that which speaks of the two first subjects, the Creation and Man in his relationship with God without law,-and His people under law; and that which speaks of the Son come upon the earth, and all that relates to the Church and its glory: that is, in general, the Old and New Testament.
We shall see, however, that, in the Old, promise and prophecy referred always to the Son-eternal object of the counsels of God: as, in the New, the rejection of the Son gave occasion to the presence of the Holy Spirit on earth-a fact which modified the whole state of the people of God, and introduced special subjects which depended on this presence. For there is this peculiar in the historical part of the New, that the Son was presented first to the world and to the people under the law, to put them anew to the test. The bearing of His coming at first was not the accomplishment of the counsels of God, but to present to man, still placed under the old order of things, the faithful testimony of what God was, if the heart of man had any capacity to receive it, or to discern Him who returned in grace into the midst of a fallen creation, and that even in the form and nature of him in whom the fall had taken place, as well as presenting to the Jews, if they had been willing to receive Him, the Lord of glory, the object of all the prophecies and of all the promises, and in fine to accomplish (the world not having known Him, and His own not having received Him) the Sacrifice, which could lay the foundation of a new world before God and place the redeemed in joy before the face of His Father, heirs of all that was established in Him the second Adam.
From all that we have said, it results also that the Old Testament contains two very distinct parts-often united, it is true, in the same book and even in a single passage -still, distinct in their nature The history of man as he was, and God's way with him, or the historical part, whether before the law or under the law; and the revelation of the thoughts and intentions of God as to the future, which are always connected with Christ. This revelation sometimes takes the character of a positive prophecy, sometimes the form of a typical event, which pre-figures what God would afterward accomplish. I may cite, as an example of this last way of expressing the thoughts of God, the sacrifice of Isaac. Evidently there is an historical instruction of the utmost importance in the touching example of Abraham's obedience; but every one easily recognizes in it the type of a sacrifice, for which God prepared for Himself a Lamb, of which Isaac, the beloved of his father, was but a feeble figure; and where resurrection, not in figure but in power, is the source of life and hope to every believer.
But, perhaps, I anticipate too much the details. Let us proceed to the general character of the books of Scripture. Genesis has a peculiar one; and, as the beginning of the Holy Book, presents to us all the great elementary principles which find their development in the history of the relationships of God with man, which is recorded in the following books. The germ of each of these principles will be found here, unless we except the law. There was, however, a law given to Adam in his innocence; and Hagar, we know, pre-figures at least Sinai. There is scarce anything afterward accomplished, of which the expression is not found in this book in one form or another. There is found also in it, though the sad history of man's fall be there, a freshness in the relationship of men with God, which is scarce met with afterward in men accustomed to abuse it. But whether it be the creation, sin, the power of Satan, the promises, the call of God, his judgment of the world, redemption, the covenants, the separation of the people of God, their condition of strangers on the earth, the resurrection, the establishment of Israel in the land of Canaan, the blessing of the nations, the seed of promise, the exaltation of a rejected Lord to the throne of the world-all are found here in fact or in figure.
Let us examine, then, the contents of this book in order: First, we have the Creation-creation in which man is found placed as center and head. We have, first, the work of God, and then the rest of God: at the close of this work, rest from labor, without presenting the idea that any one participated in it. God Himself rested from His work. Man comes in to take his place then in happiness as its head. But here certain points deserve attention. This revelation from God is not a history by Him of all that He has done, but what has been given to man-to communicate all that regards his own relationship with God. In connection with the second Adam, he will know as he is known; and already, by means of the work of Christ, he has that unction of the Holy One by which he knows all things. But, historically, the revelation is partial. It communicates what is for the conscience and spiritual affections of man. What is here said, is true of the whole Bible. Here it is evident in this, that nothing is said of the creation; but what places man in the position which God had made for him in the creation itself, or presents this sphere to him as being the work of God. Thus, no mention is made of any heavenly beings. Nothing is said of their creation. We find them as soon as they are in relationship with men; although afterward, as a truth, it is fully recognized of course that they are so. Thus also, nothing is said, except the fact of creation, of anything more than of the present form of it. " In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." What may have taken place between that time, and the moment when it was without form and void is left in entire obscurity. This earth, being thus prepared and furnished, Man, made after the image of God, is placed there as lord of all that was in it. Its fruits are given him for food; and God rests from His work, and distinguishes with His blessing the day which saw His labors closed. Man enjoyed the fruit of His work rather than entered into the rest; for in nothing had he taken part in the work.
EN 2In Gen. 2 we have the special relationship of man with God, with his wife, with the creation (type of Christ and his church), and the two great principles from which everything flows as regards man established in the garden, where man was placed in blessing; namely, responsibility in obedience and a sovereign source of life. In these two things, in conciliating these two, lies the lot of every man. It is what is developed in the law, and in grace in Christ. For the law put life as the result of the perfect obedience of him who knew good and evil. Christ, having undergone the consequence of man's having failed, becomes, in the power of a life which had gained the victory over death which was the consequence of that disobedience, a source of life eternal that evil could not reach. His priesthood applies to the details of its development in the midst of evil. In the garden, the knowledge of good and evil did not yet exist; obedience alone constituted the test. The condition of man, in contrast with every other creature here below, found its source in this, that instead of springing from the earth or water by the sole word of God, as a living being, man was formed and fashioned from the dust, and God places him in immediate relationship as a living being with Himself; inasmuch as he becomes a living being, in that God himself has breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. It is important to consider this chapter as laying down in a special manner all the principles of the relationship of man, whether with God, with his wife, or with the inferior creation. Out of this garden, where he was placed by the hand of God as sovereign of the world, flowed rivers which watered and characterized the world without. Upon Adam reposed the duty of obedience.
EN 3In chapter 3 we find-what, alas! has always happened-disobedience and failure;—the subtlety of the hidden enemy of our souls, the distrust of God which he inspires, lusts, disobedience, utter dishonor done to God, whether as regards His truth or His love, the power of natural affections over man, the consciousness of being naked and powerless; effort to hide it from oneself; terror of God, seeking to hide from Him; self-justification, which seeks to cast upon another, and even upon God, that of which we have been guilty. After that we have not the blessing or restoration of man, nor promises made to him, but the judgment pronounced upon the serpent, and, in that, the promise made to the second Adam, the victorious man, but who, in grace, has his birth-place where the weakness and the fall was. It is, the seed of the woman who bruises the serpent's head.
What follows is the present result as to the government of God, the temporal sentence pronounced on Adam and his wife until death, under the power of which he was fallen, seized him. God, however, clothes them with a garment which covers their nakedness, a garment which had its origin in death (the death of another), which had come in, but which hid the effects of the sin which had introduced it. Man was no longer naked, neither in his own eyes nor in the eyes of them who saw him. Adam recognizes that life still subsists, and that Eve is the mother of all living-a testimony it seems to me (obscure, it is true, but real), of his faith. But he is justly driven out of the garden, that he may not perpetuate here below a life of disaster and of misery. The way of the tree of life was henceforth inaccessible to man.
Hereon follows the separation of the families of God and of the enemy,-of the world and of faith. Abel comes setting the death of another between him and God, recognizes the judgment of sin-has faith in expiation. Cain, externally worshipper of the true God, has not the conscience of sin; he brings the fruits which are signs of the curse, proof of the complete blinding of the heart and hardening the conscience. He supposes that all is well: why should not God receive him? Thus is brought in not only sin against God, but against one's very neighbor, as it has been displayed in the case of Jesus; and Cain himself is a striking type of the state of the Jews. Driven from the presence of God, he seeks, in the importance of his family, in the arts and the enjoyments of life, temporal consolation, and tries to render the world, where God has sent him forth as a vagabond, as agreeable an abode as possible, far from God. Sin has here the character of forgetfulness of all that had passed in the history of man; hatred against grace and against him who was the object of it; pride and indifference; and then despair, which seeks comfort in worldliness. We have also the man of grace (type of Christ and them that are his), rejected and left without heritage. Man, his enemy, judged and abandoned to himself, and another the object of the counsels of God, who becomes heir of the world on the part of God. We must remember, however, that they are only figures of these things, and that in the antitype, the man rejected is the same as He who had been put to death.
EN 5In chap. 5, we have the family of God upon the earth, subject to death but depositary of the counsels and of the testimony of God. Here we may remark Enoch, who has his portion in heaven, and who bears witness to the coming of Jesus; and Noah, who preaches righteousness and judgment, and who passes through the judgments to begin a new world. Finally, we find power and force here below, the result of the sons of God not keeping their first estate-of apostasy—and God executes judgment instead of pleading with men by the testimony of His Spirit in grace, which has its allotted term. The judgment of God is accomplished; but he remembers His mercy. He blesses the earth more than before; and the sweet savor of the sacrifice assures the world that a universal deluge will never recur. God makes a covenant with the creation to this effect. Government is established in the hand of Man, and Death begins to furnish him with nourishment. It does not appear to me, that before this, there had been either government or idolatry. There had been sin against God, violence without restraint against one another, and corruption.. The government confided to Noah loses immediately its honor. The earth, relieved (as Lamech had announced) by agricultural care, becomes in its fruits a snare to Noah, who becomes intoxicated, and his own son dishonors him, on whose race consequently the curse falls.
Chapters 10 and 11, give us the world as it was peopled and established after the deluge. The posterity of Noah out of which, from the race of Ham, arises the first power which rules by its own force and founds an empire; and then we have the universal association of men to exalt themselves against God, and make to themselves a name independently of Him, an effort stamped on God's part with the name of Babel, and which ends in judgment and in the dispersion of the race, thenceforth jealous of and hostile to one another. Lastly, we have the genealogy of the race by which God was pleased to name Himself; for God is the Lord God of Shen. But here we change entirely the whole system and order of thought; and a principle, in exercise without doubt from the beginning, but not manifested in the order of things, declares itself and comes into evidence in the history of the earth. Abraham is called, chosen, and made personally the depositary of the promises. Here, although it be not mentioned in Genesis, in order that this great principle may be preserved in its own purity as an act of God, there is a fact which it is well to remark-that the history of the Bible furnishes us with elsewhere; namely, that idolatry had at this time gained a footing in the family of Shem himself. " Your fathers," says Joshua (24:2), dwelt in old time beyond the flood," Terah the father of Abraham and father of Nahor: and they served other gods." Now these gods were devils (1 Cor. 10:20, it is a citation of Deut. 32:17). That is, that (now that God had interfered in judgment and in power) these demons had possessed themselves of this position in the spirit of man, and taken the place in his mind of the sources of this authority and blessing, and of the authors of those judgments which drew forth the worship, the gratitude, and the terror of the natural heart of corrupted man, according to the principles on which he was in relationship with those superior beings, to whom he attributed the power to answer his desires or to avert the things which he feared. It was not merely man corrupted and in rebellion against God, it was his religion itself which corrupted him; and he made of his corruption a religion. The demons had taken the place of God in his mind, and having the ascendancy over his conscience, hardened or misled it. He was religiously bad; and there is no degradation like that. What a state! What folly! How long, O Lord? But if the human race plunges thus into darkness, taking demons for their God, and, incapable of self-sustainment, substitute for their own rebellion against God-servitude to what is more elevated in rebellion, placing themselves in miserable dependence upon it, God raises and lifts us up above all this evil, and by His calling introduces us into His own thoughts-thoughts far more precious than the restoration of what was fallen. He separates a people to hopes which suit the majesty and the love of Him who calls them, and places them in a position of proximity to Himself, which the blessing of the world under His government would never have given them. He is their God. He communicates with them in a way which is in accord with this intimacy, and we hear speak for the first time of faith (xv. 6) based on these communications and these direct testimonies of God.
(* Flood; or river גחר)
From the 12th chapter there is developed a new order of events, which refer to the call of God, to His covenants, to His promises, to the manifestation of His people, to the counsels of God. Before the deluge, it was man such as he was-fallen before God. Afterward, God having interposed in judgment, it was the government of the world and its consequences; but, the nations being established and having submitted themselves to the power of demons, the call of God, His people (seed of the depositary of the promises) rise up to our view.
In the outset, Abram still held to his family; or at least if it held to him he did not break with it: and though he quitted his country on the call of God, he stops as far from the land of promise as before. In fine, he sets out as God had said to him. We have then Abram called by the manifestation of the glory of God (comp. Acts 7) for the journey of faith. The promises are given to him, whether of a numerous posterity or of the blessing of all the families of the earth, in him. He sets out-he arrives. There are not many experiences in a path which is purely of faith; power is there. In the history of Jacob we have many. Arrived in Canaan, he enters into possession of nothing. Such is our own ease. But the Lord reveals Himself to him in communion, speaks with him, unfolds to him how the promise will be accomplished, and Abraham thereon worships Him. He has in the land his tent and his altar. The rest of the chapter is the history of his want of faith. Pressed by circumstances, he does not consult God, finds himself in the presence of the world, and denies his true relationship with his wife, is cherished by the world, which God at last judges, sending Abraham again out from it. During this period, and until he was returned to the place from which he started, he had no altar. What a warning for Christians as to the relationship of the Church with Christ! I would recall here a remark made elsewhere, that the woman in types presents the position in which those prefigured are placed-the man, the conduct faithful or unfaithful of those who are there. After this, we have the disinterestedness and self-renunciation of true faith, and, on the other hand, him, who, though a believer, had as regards the walk of faith only followed that of another, put to the test by circumstances which arise: he chooses the world fair in appearance, but the scene soon after and object of what did not appear-the sure judgments of God. The self-renunciation of Abraham is the occasion of a much clearer knowledge of the extent, and a still firmer assurance of the certainty, of the promise. In a word, we have the believer of the heavenly calling-the faithful believer and the worldly-minded, believer. This last suffers from the iniquity by which he is surrounded, and undergoes the ravages of the power of the world, of which Abraham is victor, and of which he will receive nothing to enrich himself. These last circumstances are the occasion of the manifestation of the kingly Priest, King of Righteousness, and King of Peace, i.e. Christ, Millennial King of the world, blessing victorious Abraham; and on Abraham's behalf, the Most High God, who had delivered his enemies into his hand.
EN 15Chapter 15 We have the detailed instruction of the Lord to Abram regarding the earthly seed and the land given to him, the whole confirmed by a covenant where God, as light to guide and furnace to try, deigns to bind Himself to the accomplishment of the whole. Death makes it sure. Jehovah confirms thus the covenant in going through it; Abram, heir of the promises, undergoes the terror and shadow of it. It is not here precisely expiation, but what belonged to the confirmation of the promises by the only thing which could establish them in favor of man a sinner. Abram seeking to anticipate the will of God and the accomplishment of the promise in its time,-we have the covenant of the law in Hagar, the source of distress and disquietude. God, however, takes care of the seed according to the flesh.
EN 17Chapter 17 We have the manifestation of Jehovah to Abram, who, exhorting him to walk before his face and to be perfect, establishes him father of many nations, with the promise to multiply him greatly; and makes a covenant with him to this effect-to be a God to him and to his seed after him, and to give to him and to his seed after him the land Wherein he was a stranger; and institutes circumcision as the distinctive sign of the covenant. But he recognized the seed of promise as alone having part in the covenant (compare Rom. 4:10-13). All these promises are without condition. The immediate promise of the arrival of the seed is given. Abraham enjoys the most intimate communion with Jehovah, who reveals His counsels to him as to his friend. Intercession is the fruit of this revelation (compare Isa. 6). Judgment falls on the world; and whilst Abraham, on the top of the mountain, communes with God of the judgment which was to fall upon the world below where he was not, Lot, who had taken his place there, is saved so as by fire. Righteousness which walks with the world puts itself in the position of judge, and is at the same time useless and intolerable. Abraham escapes all judgment, and sees it from on high. Lot is saved from the judgment which falls upon the world in which he found himself the place where Abraham enjoyed God is for him a place of sterility and fear; he is forced to take refuge there in the end, because he is afraid to be anywhere else. Abraham denies his relationship with his wife, and is reproved by the world itself, who knows better than he what she should be. God, however, guards the promises in His faithfulness, and judges that which meddles with her who has to say to them. The heir of promise is born; and the heir according to the flesh, son of the bondwoman or of the law, is entirely rejected. Now Abraham reproves the powerful of the earth, before whom he had previously denied his relationship with his wife.
A new scene now opens. The heir of the promise is sacrificed and raised again in figure, and the promise is resumed to the seed. The ancient depositary or form of the covenant (even that of promise) mother of the heir, disappears. For the risen heir, Abraham sends Eleazar the steward of his house, to seek a wife-for his only son Isaac -in the country whither Isaac was not to return;-in the world, such as it is: beautiful figure of the mission of the Holy Spirit, who, fulfilling His office with the elect of God, the Lamb's wife in the counsels of God, conducts her across the desert to her heavenly bridegroom, already adorned with His gifts, but waiting the moment when she shall see Him who is heir of all things that belong to His Father. The walk of the Spirit in man is depicted in the most instructive manner in the details of this history. We have also the election of God, which now sets apart the earthly people Jacob. Jacob values the promises of God; but if Lot was attracted by the well-watered plain, the unbelief of Jacob was manifested in the use of carnal means to obtain them, instead of waiting upon God. Thus his years were " few and evil; " and he was continually the object of similar deceit too. But if in Isaac we have a risen Christ, bridegroom of the Church which the Holy Ghost is descended to seek here below for Him who is on high, in Jacob we have Israel driven out of the land of promise, kept of God to enjoy it afterward. I believe, however, that in his marriages we have the Lord, who, loving Israel, has first received the Gentiles or the Church, and then the Jews.
The wanderings of Abraham were in the land of promise; those of Jacob, out of it; two things very different one from another. God indeed was with Jacob, and never left him; but Abraham walked with God: in the realization of His presence he built his altar. Jacob had none. For such a path takes us out of communion. Although God in His faithfulness be with us, we are not with Him. At the return of Jacob, the hosts of God came to meet him. This does not remove his terror. God, in order not to leave him in the hands of Esau, deals with him Himself. He wrestles with him, sustaining at the same time his faith in the wrestling, and, after making him feel his weakness, and that for all his life, gives him in weakness the place and part of victor. He is a prince with God, and prevails with God and with men. This, however, is not the calm communion of Abraham with Jehovah; he intercedes for others instead of wrestling for himself. So also God does not reveal to Jacob His name, as He had done to Abraham. Jacob still employs his deceitful ways, for he had no thought of going to Seir, as he said, and at last establishes himself at Shechem, buying lands where he ought to have remained a stranger. God removes him out of it. Here, however, he was able to build an altar, using the name which exalted his own position, which took the ground of the blessing which had been granted to him; an act of faith, it is true, but which confined itself to the blessing, instead of rising up to the Blesser. This, indeed, he was not properly able to do yet. However, God led him onward, and now tells him to go up to the place whence he had set out, and there build an altar, where he had entered into covenant with God, the faithful God, who had been with him all the way in which he went. But what a discovery is made here. He must now meet God. He remembers, he knew it well, although he paid no attention to it until he had to meet God,-there were false gods in his family. Meeting God Himself, not in secret and mysterious struggle, but face to face, so to speak, brings all to light. He purifies himself and goes up to Bethel. There God reveals Himself openly to him, in making known His name to him as to Abraham, and confers upon him anew the name of Israel, as if lie had not received it before. Rachel gives birth to him who, child of his mother's sorrow, is the son of his father's right hand, remarkable type of Christ the Lord. The apostate world establishes itself in power, while the heirs of promise are still poor pilgrims upon earth.
What follows from chapter 36 is the interesting history of Joseph, to which even children ever yield a ready ear, although ignorant of all the beauties which the believer finds who knows Jesus, and recognizes his being prefigured there; for there is an intrinsic beauty there, where the heart is not yet hardened, in all that reveals Him. Joseph is heir, in the counsels of God, of the glory, and chief of all the family. His brothers are jealous of this; so much the more, that he is the beloved of his father. He is sold to the Gentiles by his brethren, and, in the figure (that being not possible), instead of being put to death as the Jews did to the true Joseph, is passed for dead. Meanwhile Judah falls into every kind of shame and sin, which does not deprive him, however, of the royal genealogy. Joseph is brought low among the Gentiles; through false accusations put in prison, and " his feet made fast in the stocks"; " the iron enters into his soul" till the time came that his cause was known-the word of the Lord tried him. Rising out of his humiliation, he is elevated, unknown now of his brethren, to the right hand of the throne, and the administration of all power over the Gentiles committed to him. In his humiliation, interpreter of the thoughts and counsels of God; in his elevation, he administers with power according to this same wisdom, and reduces all under the immediate authority of him who was seated on the throne. At the same time, another scene presents itself. His brethren, who had rejected him, forced by the famine, are brought by the path of repentance and humiliation to own him at length in glory whom they had once rejected. Benjamin, type of the power of the Lord upon earth among the Jews, is united to him who, unknown, had the power of the throne among the Gentiles; that is, Christ unites these two characters. Finally, Jacob and his family are placed as a people apart, in the most favored country of all that was under the power of the throne of the great King. Nothing can be more touching than the conduct of Joseph towards his brethren; but I must leave these reflections to the hearts of my readers, placing them, as far as my hearty desires can, under the precious influence of the Spirit of God. It is touching to remark, when Jacob is presented to Pharaoh, though acknowledging that, compared with those of his fathers, his life had been a sad one, he can bless the monarch of all the country, himself a despised shepherd; and " without contradiction the less is blessed of the greater"; the least and most faltering of God's children has the superiority, and is conscious of it in presence of the most elevated men of the world.
One cannot fail to see, in the history of Joseph, one of the most remarkable types of the Lord Jesus, and that in many details of the ways of God in regard to the Jews and Gentiles. Lastly, in chapter 48, we see him heir; the double portion (marks of the eldest heir of the father among the Jews) being given to him (see 1 Chron. 5:1,2). We have then the lot of the children of Jacob, and two facts given as a certain pledge of the re-establishment of Israel, left, according to what had been said to Abraham, and in appearance abandoned, in a strange country, whilst the patience of God bore yet with the iniquity of the Amorites, a patience which strikes only when it is impossible to bear the evil any longer.
It seems to me that there is this difference between the prophecies of Jacob and Moses as to the tribes. Here, the prophecy refers to the responsibility of the first parent-source of the tribe, as Reuben, Simeon, Levi; to the counsels of God, which put forward Judah (stock from which the Lord sprung as regards the royalty), and Joseph, type of Christ as Nazarene, separated from his brethren, and afterward exalted. The rest, if we except Benjamin who ravages with power, gives the general characters of the position and conduct of Israel; Dan, of his wickedness and even of his character of traitor. Moses gives rather the history of the people as entering into the country on leaving the wilderness; and we find the priesthood and people, the two points brought into prominence, although power and a special blessing be given to Judah. Remark the beauty of the grace in Joseph (45:7, 8, and 50:17, 19, 20).
(* The word Genesis (Γένεσις) occurs in the Greek New Testament, and is rendered in Matt. 1:1. "Generation;" derived (Greenfield) from Γίνομαι ... to come into existence, be created, exist by creation." The Book of GENESIS would thus be the same as the Book of Creation. It is the name used in the Septuagint for this first book in the Bible-called in the Hebrew Bible בראשיח (at first, or in beginning), which is the first word in the book. I prefer the Hebrew name of the book to the Greek, as being more expressive of dependance upon the text, and in itself more guarded and comprehensive too.-Ed.

On the Greek Article

The doctrine which, for nearly thirty years, has satisfied my own mind on the subject of the use of the Greek article is so simple, and at the same time (as being merely the intelligent application of a universally well-known principle of Greek grammar) so readily appreciable, that I have been surprised no one has stated and developed it. Nothing but my own habits, the conviction of how little I could pretend to critical scholarship, and the pressure of other service, has hindered my giving it publicity. But as it is a material help to the study of Scripture, I venture to do so.
The rule is simply this-illustrated in the known form of a proposition in Greek, that whenever a word presents an OBJECT about which the mind is occupied, as objectively present to it, the article is used; whenever a word is merely characteristic, it is not.
In most simple cases, this will be self-evident. It will confirm, also, many subordinate rules given in treatises on the subject; as, for example, those relating to abstract nouns, previous references, and the like. In some cases it will leave a choice of using or not using the article, so far as the sense is concerned, and merely affect vigor of style: in some it will require the power of abstraction, a power absolutely demanded for the critical study of the Greek Testament. But it will explain all, and give the special force of a vast number otherwise left uncertain. This last reason, and the more perfect understanding of Scripture connected with it, is what leads me thus to give it publicity.
The metaphysical reasons may be subordinately interesting, and confirm the rule. It may cause the article to retain its name of "definite", though I should perhaps prefer "objective." It may explain its early Homeric pronominal use. It may show, that in translating Greek into English, "a," or "the," or neither, may be required; for that depends on the genius of English; our inquiry, on the genius of Greek. Our great point will be the truth of the fact.
If I say ὁ ἄνθρωπος ἐστὶ ζωὸν λογικὸν, the object before my mind to be described is ὁ ἄνθρωπος. Ζωὸν λογικὸν is the description-that which characterizes, in an explanatory way, the object about which I am occupied: it is not an object, but the character given to an object. The object is ἄνθρωπος. It may be the archetypal idea of the race (that is, an ideal object), or an actual individual previously spoken of; but it is the object before my mind to be spoken of; ὁ designates it; ἄνθρωπος names the thing designated. The anarthrous word describes, or attaches a descriptive idea to, the designated object. Hence, though the usage was subsequently lost, we can easily conceive that where some one had been named, it stood alone as a pronoun, answering to " he;" and in many phrases is rightly rendered "this," or "that," when in English the reference is specific, though equally well in general "the."
Hence, too, the well-known usage in reciprocal propositions-that both nouns have it. That is, they are coextensively predicable, one of the other; or, rather they both name or designate one identical object. This will only be the case as to the terms themselves, when the two words stand alone. When one is limited by the annexation of a governed noun or otherwise, it will only be true, of course, within that limit; i.e., of the terms so modified. Thus, in n ἡ ἁμαρτία ἐστὶν ἡἀνομία, the terms are reciprocal, because both are taken in the abstract totality of the things in their nature. But ἡ ζωὴ ἠν τὸ φῶς τῶν ἀνθρώπων necessarily limits the reciprocity to the historical, facts by the verb, and to a certain sphere of fact by the genitive following τὸ φῶς. That is, the article, as presenting an object, presents the whole thing named. If it be abstract, it is the whole thing in its nature, as ἡ ἁμαρτία, ἡ ἀνομία; and in this case the terms are properly reciprocal. If not, it affirms it as a fact within the limits given in the sentence. It requires some close attention of mind to see that limited propositions are reciprocal; but they are really so. In practice and in translations it is little attended to. The mind generally makes an ordinary proposition of it, and has all that is really important; but it would not have become me to pass over the case, as explaining the use of the article. The doctrine that an article to each noun makes the proposition reciprocal, is one universally admitted; so that it does not affect my idea of the article. It was the limited case which had to be explained.
And now to open a little more the metaphysical order hi the mind. The mind is ignorant; that is, has to receive, and be directed to, an object whose existence is assumed, or recognized: it has to be informed about that object. Ὁ turns its attention to an object (designates it, as an intellectual finger-post), supposed, I suspect, in all cases to be before the mind, named or unnamed; and next, what accompanies gives the object its name, as ἄνθρωπος. The predicate informs the mind about the object. Now, in a reciprocal proposition, both are names attached to the same object. Hence both are objective, and both descriptive. Ἡ ἀνομία ἐσὶν ἡ ἁμαρτία. Ἀνομία, lawlessness, is the object before my mind-that is, sin. So also sin is ἀνομία is. They are different titles of the same object. But ζωὸν λογικὸν is not an object at all. It is a descriptive idea, to enlarge so far my idea of my object, ἄνθρωπος. It may be applied, perhaps, to other objects.
Hence, too, the effort of the ancient logicians to define by the genus and essential difference; because one gave the general race or character of being, and the other that.which distinguished the object from all other classes, and thereby made it one to itself. It was really classification, and so far well, but no more. Locke's attempt to give, instead of that, all the qualities, informed more but was not a remedy: first, because many of those qualities were common, and not distinctive; secondly, because some might be individual. Hence the various efforts at classification in different branches of natural history by collections of distinctive marks sufficiently generalized.
EXEMPLA.
To take, now, various examples, as they present themselves in a chapter of the New Testament (John 1):- θεὸς ην ὁ λόγος, the question is not at all if θεὸς is supreme; it is something affirmed of λογος. Were it ὁ θεὸς, it would exclude from Deity the Father and the Spirit, and confine the unity of the Deity to the Word.
Ὁ λόγος ην is the object before my mind. It existed in the beginning.
Ἠν πρὸς τὸν θρόν. Here again God is an objective being to my mind, with whom the Word was. It has been supposed that there can no rule be given for prepositions. I believe, though, the cases require more power of abstraction and apprehension of the relation of ideas, the one rule holds.
Θεὸς ην ὁ λόγος. Here the same word characterizes λόγος. We have again πρὸς τὸν for the above reason (verse 2).
The passage now leads us to another case-the use of the article with a verb substantive. This is generally left as optional. It is true, the noun accompanying such verb is used with and without an article; but the meaning is not the same. Ἐν αὐτῶ ζωὴ ην. Is it not evident here that the possession of "con characterizes the person or being spoken of? And ζωὴ becomes a noun characteristic of the existence affirmed. Hence constantly with verbs substantive, when the thing is generally affirmed, the article is wanting. A thing which could be called life was found in him: that name characterized the existing thing. It might in many other cases too, and hence it is only-characteristic of the existence implied in the verb substantive. The existence is before the mind, and hence the verb is called substantive. There was.... what? Life. This will be entered into fully further on, for it is true of all impersonal verbs, there "was," "fell," etc. Had it been ἡ ζωὴ, there would have been no life anywhere else, for the whole thing designated by ζωὴ would have been in Him.
Next we have ἡ ζωή. Now it becomes the object before my mind. This life (life as in Him) was τὸ φῶς τῶν ἀνθρώπων: a reciprocal proposition. But it is directly affected by the use of ην instead of ἐστί. Ἠν confines the reciprocity to the time, place, and circumstances of which it speaks. It amounts to a revelation, that life, as in the Word, gave itself up to be exclusively that in the circumstances historically spoken of by the word ην. The light of men and the life in the Word, then and there, are names of one identical object. It is evident, that the addition "of men" gives it a particular application. It gives it exclusive application there, as does the ην. There is no other light of men: man is darkness. If I find light in man, true light, it is the life in the Word. In man himself was death and darkness. Christ alone was light there, whether it shines on or shines in, for both may be true. Nor was life, as here spoken of, light to others than men. But it does not state it in the whole extent of ζωὴ, as being an equivalent term in itself to φῶς, because τῶν ἀνθρώπων gives a specific application, and takes it out of the nature of the thing; nor is it life abstractedly, but life in the Word, under given circumstances; that is, it ceases to be purely abstract. Ἠ ζωη ἐστὶ τὸ φῶς would have made life and light names of the same object. The word ην, as we have seen, confirms this; it is historical, not affirmative of the constant nature of the thing like ἐστι. It supposes there may be ζωὴ in some other circumstances, and says nothing of it; i.e., it is historically, or in that fact, not abstractedly, though exclusively true. So of φῶς.
In the following words we have another case: τὸ φῶς Here it is the object still; abstractedly, I believe; but as there is none other than the one mentioned, the abstraction and the individual object previously mentioned coincide. Which, therefore, is specially meant, is a question of mental intelligence. It is the whole object represented by φὼς. If that has been recently mentioned in such a manner as that it should be the object before the mind, the mind recurs to it. If not, it is the abstract, mental idea.
Ἐν τη σκοτία. Here again it is abstract, that is, an ideal object, and presents no difficulty, only adding a clear example of a principle. This is common in cases of contrast, where, by the contrast, two objects are put definitely before the mind.
Ἐγένετο ἄνθρωπος ἀπεσταλμένος παρὰ θεοῦ. Here we have examples of the absence of the article, which at once raises a question. Were it ὁ Ἰωάννης, the object would be evident, and the mind would wait for this. This is evident; for if there were merely ἐγένετο ἄνθρωπος απεσταλμένος παρὰ θεοῦ, the mind asks, Who? What man? The answer is, ὁ Ἰωάννης. The previous phrase then would be characteristic of John-his description. He was a man sent from GOD-so as to be sent from GOD. It was characteristic of John. A man sent from GOD was what he was. Man in mission from God was the thing that described him. Παρὰ τοῦ θεοῦ, would have been true, but it would not have been merely descriptive of John, but introduced the Being, God himself, as an object before the mind. This would have explained all had it been ὁ Ἰωάννης. But, as it stands at present, another form of the principle is introduced; one, however, familiar, though perhaps undefined to the English reader-the impersonal use of verbs without any object; existence, or the event described by the verb, being itself the object. " There was," " there fell," "there lived," etc., the being, falling, living, first occupies the mind, and then the thing spoken of comes in as a descriptive circumstance; the anarthrous word in either case answering the question What? Ὁ ἄνθρωπος ἐστὶ,... What? Ἐγένετο....What? In English: Man is... What? There was... What? the answer to "what" being the predicate, and therefore without the article. A verb substantive would not have the article after it, unless for some reason connected with other parts of the sentence or context, save in a reciprocal proposition, because the word following is a predicate. But the rule is wider; and every impersonally used verb contains within itself its object, and what follows is predicated of that. Hence we have a new phrase in the case before us-ὄνομα αὐτω Ἰωάννης. So again, εἰς μαρτυρίαν (for witness, i.e., not himself to be an object of faith) is characteristic of what he came for. The use of the article with φῶς has already been spoken of.
In verse 9, we have another case-that of an adjective -which is a common one, and will thus explain many others. The article here continues the designation of the object to the adjective, as that without which the real complete object would not be before the mind, φῶς, and ἀληθινὸν, making one idea in such a phrase. But though one idea, φῶς is presented as the primary substantive object, it must be corrected, or limited, by an ἀληθινὸν, or rather really by ὄ φωτίζει, κ. τ. λ.. The mind is in suspense till then, and hence the need of another article. The difference is this: τὸ φῶς , κ. τ. λ., makes me think of light as that which I am to pay attention to, as the thing importantly in question, and is thus my object. But it would not be true alone in this case, and I limit it by designating another thing, ὄ φωτίξει = τὸ φώτιζον. In τὸ ἀληθινὸν φῶς, I assume φῶς as the known subject, and give a characteristic word, τὸ ἀληθινὸν, to designate the particular kind. φῶς is added to avoid mistake where needed; but is assumed in the mind of the speaker, not presented as an object to which he calls attention. If in the mind of the hearer too, it is not mentioned. This, then, is the difference between τὸ ἀληθινὸν and τὸ φῶς τὸ ἀληθινόν. The first gives ἀληθινὸν as a contrast, or at any rate distinctive (as a contrast with ψεῦδος, or any pretended light), and makes it the leading idea, φῶς being assumed as the subject. The idea comprised in the adjective and substantive together is one, marked by τὸ but its truthfulness is the thing referred to. Hence τὸ ἀληθινὸν τὸ φῶς would give two objects (for ἀληθινὸν would refer to something else, of which, qualified by ἀληθινὸν, φῶς would be declared to be truly the name); or it would be the idea of truthfulness and the abstract idea of light; τὸ ἀληθινόν having fixed the mind already on an object much more abstract than light. τὸ φῶς ἀληθινόν is not usual Greek; for the object really before the mind is the truthfulness of the light. Light is of course needed to characterize the truthfulness before the mind.*
(** Τὸ φῶς has fixed it on an idea complete in itself, that is light and then ἀληθινὸν qualifies it as a quality, which is a sort of mental contradiction. When τὸ ἀληθινὸν is used, it gives the true light as alone the object-not light, but true light. Τὸ ἀληθινὸν φῶς is equally one object, and of which the adjective qualifying character is put first. There are, perhaps, cases of the usage above; but, if real, they must be taken from peculiar circumstances, as mentally one word: as ἡ ζωὴ αἰώνιος, (1 John 5.20); but the reading is questionable.)
In τὸ φῶς τὸ ἀληθινόν, φῶς is presented as the object; but in itself it would not be sufficient: it would be distinctively the light as contrasted with all other objects, and therefore the mind has to resume its exercise, and to fix it on a particular light; i.e., the true light. But the real mental, or logical order of the phrase we are considering is the following: τὸ φῶς ὄ φωτίζει, κ.τ.λ., ἐστὶ τὸ ἀληθινον (φῶς). Here the general abstract idea or object is φῶς, τὸ to φῶς; but there is an added object of the mind to which attention is substantively drawn: ὄ φωτίζει πάντα ἄνθρωπον, equivalent to τὸ φώτιζον, of which it is affirmed, not that it is ἀληθινὸν (a mere character in that case), but τὸ ἀληθινὸν φῶς, distinctly and definitely that one particular light. It is a reciprocal proposition. The last word, φῶς, comes in merely as repeated, to secure from mistake, as the subject-matter of the truthfulness contended for. Its being the true one, is the object of affirmation. This merely amounts to the mental phenomenon, that the mind can have not only existences for an object, but acts or qualities; that is the article can be used with verbs, or participles and characteristics (i. e., adjectives), as objects, the substantive being assumed, or expressed for clearness' sake. Were this not so, the mind could only have actual existences, and not actings or characters for its object; but that is not true. This designation by the article in the case of infinitives, participles, and adjectives, by making objects, makes, in fact, nouns of them in the mind. Thus, 1 John 5:20, γινῶσκομεν τὸν ἀληθινὸν, where the person is absolutely designated by having that quality. So, in a bolder form, Mark 9:23, τὸ εἰ δύνασαι πιστεῦσαι, the question of power lies in believing, the man having said to Jesus, εἴ τι δύνασαι. Ἐστὶ being understood, gives πιστεῦσαι without any article; otherwise it would make believing absolutely identical with power as a reciprocal term. The verb-substantive constantly, indeed, takes away the article, as we shall see. In the same verse, we have the article with a participle, τῶ πιστεπυοντι, not exactly equivalent to " a believer" (though for most purposes it is), because it supposes the act, and not merely the abiding quality.
The next case which requires remark in the chapter of John we are examining, is ἔδωκεν αὐτοῖς ἐξουσιάν. Now, δίδωμι, will regularly have a noun without an article, unless some other principle introduces one as being united to a possessive genitive, or reference to previous mention of the subject, or the like; so that it is the designation to the mind of a specific object for that reason. Otherwise the phrase is a general one, and the thing given comes in merely as characterizing the giver and the gift. This will apply to every ordinary case of a simply active verb, because the word governed is merely the complement, or explanation of the idea in the sentence, though many other rules may introduce it as a specifically designated object to the mind. It is merely the kind of thing given; i.e., characteristic. Were it a known object, it would' have it. Δέδωκε ξωὴν, "he gave life," τὴν ζωὴν, if a particular life before mentioned was already before the mind.
We next come, after obvious cases, to the cases in verse 13,-ἐκ without an article. This signifies the mode or manner of something else (which something else is the object), here, of being born. Hence all are without it. An important instance of this is ἐκ πίστεως (Rom. 1:17), the manner or principle of the revelation; εἰς πίστιν, the thing revealed to, still characterizing the manner of the revelation. Ἐκ πλιστεως again (Rom. 3:30), on the principle of faith, for they had sought it ἐξ ἔργνω νόμου by law-works; the Gentiles διὰ τὴς πίστεως, because here it is presented as the actual faith they had. Hence, inasmuch as it was ἐκ πίστεως, and not in virtue of being a Jew, they could be justified too. So διὰ τοῦτο ἐκ πίστεως ἴνα κατὰ χάριν(Rom. 4:16); so verse 14, of οἱ ἐκ νόμου a little after (verse 16), τω ἐκ τοῦ νόμου, i. e., the law; Jews, οἱ ἐκ νόμου, those who claimed it by law, on that principle. Then we have τω ἐκ πίστεως Ἀβραὰμ, a remarkable case, meaning " of Abraham-faith"; not by Abraham's faith, but on the same principle, that kind of thing. These may afford a clue to many passages, and skew how little also the prepositions are out of the rule. But it is so important a principle in Paul's writings, that we may consider it further hereafter.
To return:-ὁ λόγος σὰρξ ἐγένετοneeds no remark, unless that ἐγένετο makes a proposition like ἐστι. Τὴν δόξαν αὐτοῦ;- αὐτοῦ gives the article as designating necessarily that glory as a specific object: δόξαν ὡς, "glory as of," evidently only characterizes the subject. Consequently, μονογενοῦς παρὰ πατρὸς characterizes the glory. The glory is assumed to be before GOD, or it would not be true glory; but it was glory of an only-begotten from his Father. So χάριτος καὶ ἀληθείας characterize his habitation here. It might have been said, τῆς σάριτος καὶ τῆς ἀληθείας, and stated the fact of these two things. But the whole passage is characteristic of the Word made flesh, and not relating facts, though of course the facts must have existed to make the character true. Of ὁ ἐρχόμενος, and ἐλάωομεν, καὶ χάριν, κ.τ.λ., the principle has been already given. Χάριτος cannot receive here the article; it would destroy the sense, because τῆς χάριτος would be the whole abstract thing, χάρις; and no other χάρις could be ἀντι that. It is some grace, some other grace or other. Hence, when it is used as an abstract idea, contrasted with ὁ νόμος given by Moses, we have ἡ χάρις, and ἡ ἀλήθεια.I am disposed to think that there is no article before Μωσέως and Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, not because they have not been mentioned, but as being the means and manner of the coming of law and grace. But we will consider proper names apart.
We come then, to a difficult case, but one which attaches to the nature of the word; speaking of that which is so little within the limit of human thought, and especially in the expressions of one whom the Holy Ghost employed to speak more profoundly than all but one on these subjects. Still the gracious Lord meant us to understand as far as it is conveyed, and as it is; and I judge, that while the application is special, it confirms the principle which we seek to use in the explanation of the word: I refer to θεὸν οὐδεὶς ἑώρακε πώποτε. I believe this absolute negative purposely sets aside objective personality here. If it had been τὸν θεὸν, it would have been a designated object, and hard to speak thus of; or inconsistently, as one seen by faith. But the object here was to keep him in the unseen, unseeable majesty of His being; it was not ὁ, that being pointed out to the mind, but one dwelling in the light unapproachable. And this is exceedingly confirmed by the absence of αὐτὸν after ἐξηγήσατο. If that had been there, it should have been τὸν, for He would have been an objective person known. It may perhaps partially confirm this, that in Matt. 5:8, we have αὐτοὶ τὸν θεὸν ὄψονται. There He is the object of creature-vision as a person or being, in whose presence they are, as far as that can be.
In verse 19, ἡ μαρτυρια has it from τοῦ Ἰωάννου Αὔτη is the predicate, and is in fact ἡ αὔτη.
This leads me to a controverted passage, Luke 2:2: the natural rendering would be, " The enrollment itself first took place, Cyrenius ruling Syria." Otherwise the regular structure would have been αὔτη ἡ ἀπογραφὴ ἡ πρώτη, " this first enrollment", supposing others, and designating that one as the one in question; or, if not supposing others, supposing their previous possibility, and emphatically designating that there had been none before: as we say, " This is the first time he did so", though I might say as characteristic, " This is a first fault."
Αὔτη, however, constantly takes an article with the noun following. The difference of meaning when the order is different, though it be not sometimes more than a difference of style, will best explain the use of it.
Οὔτος ὁ τελώνης. (Luke 18:11). The publican had been spoken of before, thence he was a designated object, ὁ τελώνης. Οὔτος designates more emphatically, often so as to be contemptuous, specially where alone (given in the word " fellow' in the English version), the individual there. Οὔτος ὁ τελώνης designates, first, the individual and then designates him by his character; but the person being supposed, the character becomes the object, as we have seen in the case of the adjective, as τὸ φῶς τὀ ἀληθινόν. If ιὤν were there, it would not have the article: it would be merely characteristic, οὔτος τελώνης ὤν. The whole object is evidently οὔτος. Ὤν is a kind of copulative participle, giving τελώνης as a predicate, as σὺ ἄνθρωπος ὤν, κ.τ.λ. (John 10:33).
Both these forms continually occur. I cite sufficient to show the use.
Αὔτη ἡ ἀσθένεια. John 11:4.
Τοὐτο τὸ γένος. Mark 9:29.
Τοὐτου τ[ου ἄρτου. John 6:51.
Οὔτος ὁ λαός. Mark 7:6.
Οὔτος ὁ ἄνθρωπος.John 7:46.
Ταύτην ἐπςἰητε τὴω ἀρχήν. John 2:11.
In all these cases we have something mentioned immediately before, emphatically designated by οὔτος-this before our eyes or mind; this just spoken of, but requiring (or clearer by having) the name of what the object designated was, the added word sometimes giving special force, as ἀρχὴν, γἐνος, or enlarging, or peculiarly characterizing the particular object. The οὔτος is complete and emphatic-this, whether thing or person. And the noun with the article presents the object, the word οὔτος necessarily specifying one.
I add instances of the other use:-
Ὁ λόγος οὔτος. Luke 7:17.
Ὁ ἄνθρωπος οὔτος. Acts 28:4.
Ὁ ἀλλογενὴς οὔτος. Luke 17:18.
Ὁ μακαρισμὸς. Rom. 4:9.
Ὁ ἄνθρωπος οὔτος. Mark 15:39.
Ὁ λόγος οὔτος. Rom. 9:9.
Ὁ λαδς οὔτος. Matt. 15:8.
In all these latter cases, the object is simply given first in the usual form, and then particularly recognized as an object already under consideration. These cases, and those previously mentioned, are examples of the general rule, that the mind naturally first mentions the object which occupies it. When οὔτος precedes, it is the individual case; when the descriptive adjective or noun, it is the designation of the object by its name found in the individual case.
Now, of these in the first three, the emphasis is particularly on the word to which οὔτος is joined; the other form would have weakened and made it unnatural in point of style, though the sense is the same as a fact, but not in mental apprehension. No English can mark the difference well. The first two are so distinctly thus, that " the rumor of this" and " the stranger from among all these" would have been nearly equivalent. Matt. 15:8 deserves notice, because it is parallel with Mark 7:6. It is evident here the sense must be the same. I should say the passage in Matthew was the most energetic, as designating formally the Jewish people in their iniquity (represented by the Pharisees addressed). It is so in the LXX. Mark's is more historically given, contrasting them with other people. It is plain this is a mere question of style. Οὔτος so used has often in itself a contemptuous force; but I should doubt that in this case. The Lord was referring to them. He cared for this people. Others did not so draw nigh. In Matthew it is the character of the people. The whole people did so. It was their common guilt.
I would make the same remark on Acts 28:4, and Rom. 4:9. The subject of the sentence is more present in the mind of the writer than the history of the fact referred to. Οὔτος is almost supplementary. Rom. 9:9 requires another remark. The translation should be, " For this word is of promise." Ἐπαγγελίας without the article characterizes the λόγος. Τῆς ἐπαγγελίας had preceded-" the promise;" and then the Apostle declares that promise characterizes the word he is going to quote about it. Further, the preceding remark is confirmed.
To continue our original chapter- ἱερεἴς καὶ Λευίτας is the character of the persons who went. Had it been said τοὺς, it would have held up the priests before the mind, and would have meant all of them.
Then ὁ προφήτης, the prophet, as has been remarked by others, before the mind of John and of the speakers, who should come. That Christian faith recognizes that the prophet spoken of by Moses was the Christ proves nothing to lead us to suppose any inconsistency in the ill-informed inquiry and expectation of those who went out.
We have another instance of the example already explained in ἀπόκρισιν. Ἐγὼ φωνὴ κ.τ.λ., requires more remark. It is a quotation, varying in some words, from the LXX., and a sort of public, prophetic title affixed by the Lord on John-" I am that passage," not merely that thing. Hence it is stronger than saying ἐγώ εἰμι ἡ φωνή. It is an oracle recited attached to εγω. Εἰμι (understood) does not indeed require the article, unless it is specifically reciprocal-i.e., exclusive of all others: as ἐγώ εἰμι ἡ ἄμπελος ἡ ἀληθινὴ, ἐγώ είμι ὁ ἄρτος τῆς ζωῆς, ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ ἄρτος ὁ καταβὰς ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ.
Κυρίου comes under the question of proper names, not meaning a title of Jesus, save as He is Jehovah.
Ἐν ὔδατι-the character of the baptism.
Ἔρχεται ἀνήρ. Here we have no article, because it is not any particular man designated as an object to the mind, nor the whole class as an ideal object, which, indeed, would be rather ἄνθρωπος, save used as husband. It is a man. It characterizes, or gives the quality of man to him of whom all this is said. 'Ο ἀνὴρ would have quite another sense. Ἐρχεται ἀνὴρ is, a being comes, he is not any other thing, he is a man: that is the quality of the comer. It is really impersonal, and comes under that rule.
In verse 26, John specifically characterized his baptism. Here (in verse 31), though many authorities have not the τω I judge it is well retained, because he is speaking of the fact that actually occupied him. He therefore does not refer to the manner merely, but to the fact, and the ὔδατι is referred to as the known matter employed. Hence, when he is again contrasting the character or nature of it, we have ἐν ὔδατι and ἐν Πνεύματι ἁγίω where, remark, therefore, the absence of the article does not touch the question of what πνεῦμα is meant. It is not there, because it only characterizes the baptism.
Verse 34-ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ is evidently a specific title, and complete ideal object in itself.
Τῆ ἐπαύριον was one particular to-morrow, i. e. of the day previously spoken of.
Ὁ ἀμνὸς, one particular lamb, the Lamb of GOD. A genitive following necessarily involves in such a case the article as designating a specific object. A Christian would understand ὁυἱὸς, or Ὁ ἀμνὸς, from his previous knowledge, as a reference to one particular known Son and known Lamb. But here it follows-the designation -by a subsequent genitive, which confines it to a designated object. Here we have also τῶν μαθητῶν- the whole body of them so called as an object, and δύο, some two of them, but specifically designated:-afterward οἱ τύο, because now we have them as such designated two, though unknown.
Verse 40-ἐκείνην coming after, necessarily makes a specific day as an object before the mind.
"Ωρα requires more attention. It is indeed an exception to general rules. It never receives an article with a noun of number, unless some other reason makes it an especial object, as previous mention, as a particular hour, or the like. Such idioms as to time are found in all languages. It is the haste of familiar style, being an accompaniment to any act in general, sheaving when anything was done.
There is one apparent exception to this, Matt. 20:3; but the article there is rejected by all the editors. On the other hand, when the mind is to be directed to a particular hour as a point of time, as being a remarkable or definite one, the article is there, but attached to the numeral as the leading idea (Matt. 20:6). This exception remarkably confirms the rule. It is to be remembered that Spa did not mean " hour" in Greek till very late in the history of the language. When it is used in the original way as a word, it follows the usual rules in connection with numerals marking the hour of the day. It has become a kind of name, as a known thing every day, and the article is never used-the same when used for a portion of the day in general; as if " time" had become in English the name for an hour. We should speak of spring-time winter-time, etc., and also it was at seventh-time, eighth-time, which would show it then meant hour, and attach as to time a character to the act done. But when in Greek a specific point of time is meant, then Spa with the numeral takes the article. The cases of absence are too numerous to quote. We have περὶ τρίτην ὤραν, περί ἔκτην ὤραν, περὶ ἐννάτην ὤραν, κ.τ.λ. So ἔως ὤρας ἐννάτης. So we have when it merely means much of the day- ἤδη ὤρας πολλῆς, ἤδη ὤρα πολλὴ, (Mark 6:35). But then we have, when noticed as a critical point of time, Matt. 27:46, περὶ δὲ τὴν ἐννάτην ὤραν-20:6, περὶ δὲ τὴν ἑνδεκάτην ὤραν, and so 20:9. So Mark 15:34, καὶ τῆ ὤρα τῆ ἐννάτη. Τῆ ὤρα τοῦ θυμιάματος and such cases are common and the word follows the usual rules. So John 12:23, ἐλήλυθεν ἡ ὤρα -Acts 3:1, ἐπὶ τὴν ὤραν τὴς προσευχῆς τὴν ἐννάτην. So Acts 10:30, ταὐτης τῆς ὤρας..καὶ τὴν ἐννάτην ὤραν.
Thus its exceptional use, when used as a name of the hours of the day, does not affect the general rule. Nor is this confined to the word ὤρα: in expressions relative to time we have ἀφ'ἡμερῶν ἀρχαίων, ἀπὸ πέρυσι, ἀπὸ τετάρτης ἡμέρας (Acts 10:30). In this last the ellipse or irregularity of construction is much greater than relates merely to the article; as indeed in the first also. The last means " four days ago" i.e. κατὰ τετάρτην ἡμέραν, ἀπὸ τετάρης ἡμέρας. It is contracted, and ἀπὸ attracts the government to itself. As regards these idiomatic expressions as to time, we are familiar with them in English. We say "last year," "next month"; whereas we must say " the next king that reigns," " the last that reigned." They are merely idiomatic habits when a word is very frequently used, and lead to no mistake or uncertainty of grammar.
I have owed this to the reader to show that ὤρα is no such exception as in the smallest degree to set aside the rule: being merely an idiom found in other languages where the general grammar is certain. The truth is, from the peculiar circumstances in such a case as the hours of the day, the number becomes the designating power to the mind as the article in other cases.
One other case remains in this chapter important to notice-δόλος οὐκ ἔστι (ver. 38). Two reasons might seem to deprive δόλος of the article here. First, the verb ἔστι,; because, unless in the case of a reciprocal proposition, ἔστι makes what follows is a character of the subject. And this is so much the case that when another verb is such as to make the following noun characteristic, it has not the article. So τίνος αὐτῶν ἔσται γυνη; Γυνὴ characterizes the relationship-" Shall she be wife?"-bear that character. Ἡ γυνὴ would have fixed the mind on the person in that relationship (Mark 12:23). So, in the same verse, ἔσχον...γυναἴκα, " to wife," as wife. Again, as, μόνος ἔχων ἀθανασίαν (1 Tim. 6:16); ἔχοντες χρείαν very frequently; ἔχοντες ἐξουσίαν. This was the condition or state of the persons spoken of, of God himself. The anarthrous nouns are attributes or conditions of something. Yet grimy will have the article after it, whenever the word is not merely characteristic, but positively fixing the mind on a definite object. Ἐν ῶ ἔχομεν τὴν ἀπολύτρωσιν (Eph. 1:7). Redemption is more than a characteristic of us. It is a positive object marked out to the mind. So Phil. 1:23, τὴν ἐπιθυμίαν ἔχων. The same principle very plainly applies to Eph. 3:12, ἐν ῶ ἔχομεν τὴν παρρησίαν. Now this might seem rather a contradiction, but if examined, illustrates remarkably the principle. It is not here a quality in Paul, but a special designated goodness to which he refers:-τὴν παρρησίαν καὶ τὴν προσαγωγὴν ἐν πεποιθήσει διὰ τῆς πίστεως αὐτοῦ, that boldness and confidence of access which we have before God through Him. Where παρρησίαν is used as a quality or state of the person, it has not the article as Heb. 10:19; 1 John 2:28;3. 21.
But to return to δόλος οὐκ ἔστι -δόλος is not a predicate here, nor exactly characteristic of Nathanael. The negative modifies the sentence. It is not merely that the complete abstract idea-guile-is not in him, but there is none of it. To put it in another shape; you cannot make an object as existing before the mind of what is denied to exist. Hence we have δόλος οὐκ ἔστι, rightly translated "no guile." So in 1 John 3:5, ἐν αὐτῶ ἁμαρτία οὐκ ἔστι, " in Him is no sin." The same holds with ἔχει used in a similar way, as John 4:44, τιμὴν οὐκ ἔχει. We have a confirmation of this by seeing that where it is a positive object- about which something is denied, and not the denial of the existence of the thing, οὐκ does not alter the common rule; thus: οὐκ ἔστι ὁ θεὸς, νεκρῶν (Matt. 22:32). It is not, " God is not." God is presented as the object, and He is denied to be Θεὸς νεκρῶν. Whereas in (LXX. Psa. 13:1, and 52:1), we have οὐκ ἔστι θεὸς, there is no God. In Mark 12:27, on the contrary, we have the idea in a different shape -οὐκ ἔστι ὁ Θεὸς νεκρῶν. If this be not elliptical, and if so, identical with Matthew, the sense is different, and ὁ θεὸς becomes a proper object of the mind based on what has been said, and is a term of relationship, as ὁ Θεὸς Ἀβραὰμ, κ.τ.λ. He is not the God of dead persons, as called their God. If this be so, the article as designating a positive object is positively necessary. It is a question of spiritual intelligence which is the meaning here. The grammatical rule is maintained equally by either. I incline to the latter. The cases of οὐκ ἔστι and similar forms without an article are too numerous to mention.
An English expression here may assist the reader. In "similar forms without an article," an article', is merely characteristic of form.' It is a form without an article. The article would fix my mind on the article itself as the subject of inquiry, or, if recently mentioned, refer to it as so mentioned; only that English is neither as accurate nor consequently as uniform, nor as universal in application of the principle.
This leads me to another principle-application, that is, of our principle: if a noun singular be taken distributively, or a noun plural partially, which is the same thing at bottom, there will not be an article; if the singular as already spoken of in totality, i.e. abstractedly, or the plural universally, there will. It is merely a case of the non-existence of the definite object pointed out to the mind. This connects itself with the employment of prepositions also. A singular noun is taken distributively when it is not an abstract complete idea, but as applied to any given existences of the case. Δόλος οὐκ ἔστι comes under this, and has led me to it. It is not merely that the abstract thing δόλος is not, but that nothing coming under that title is there. So of all the cases given above with οὐκ. Other cases are very numerous. (Mark 12:19,20, 21). Ἐαν τινος ἀδελφὸς...καταλίπη γυναῖκα. Ἔλαβε γυναῖκα...Οὐδὲ αὐτὸς ἀφῆκε σπέρμα. So in the plural ἑπτὰ ἀδελφοὶ ἤσαν. Ὁ θεὸς νεκρῶν. Ὄταν γὰρ ἐκ νεκρῶν ἀναστῶσιν, dead people, that condition,- not as an object before the mind-all the dead. So ἀνάστασις νεκρῶν frequently, but Luke 14:14. Τῆ ἀνάστασει τῶν δικαίων because all would rise as a definite object—these persons. So εἰδότες τὰς γραφὰς, all these writings so designated. So εἰς χεῖρας ἀνθρώπων men's hands. It is characteristic. Instances of the converse are found in every page: οἱ μαθηταὶ, οἱ ἀδελφοί. So ὄλος involves the article, τινὰς excludes it. Hence we know vas with an article following has not the meaning it has with a noun without it. In the last case it is distributive-" every": in the former not, but means " the whole." Πᾶσα ἡ γῆ " the whole earth." Πᾶσα φυτεία, " every plant." Hence, note Eph. 3:15; πᾶσα πατριὰ " every family" (where ἐν οὐρανοῖς καὶ ἐπι γῆς γῆς characterizes the families and therefore have not the article); that is, as Jehovah knew only Israel of all the families of the earth (Amos 3:2), the rest being not called by His name (Isa. 63:19). All the families-every heavenly, or earthly family, was ranged under the name and authority of the GOD and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I will now go through several difficult cases in which, from the extreme exuberance of matter and the narrowness of the barium language to meet it; and yet the need of accuracy in Divine things, the certainty of it in revelation; we shall find the principle most severely tested, but most fully proved. And here I shall particularly take notice of prepositions which come as fully under the rule as every other case.
Eph. 1:1. ἀπόστολος, characteristic of Paul. Διὰ θελήματος θεοῦ; the same thing. He was an apostle by Divine will.
2. χάρις καὶ ἐιρήνη are used distributively with ἔστω understood. It is not the abstract word pointed out as an object, but that these things may be with-characterize-the condition and state of the people. The apostle did not wish grace and peace in their abstract totality to be so, but that their state might be characterized by these qualities. Ἀπὸ θεοῦ κ.τ.λ. gives the character of the grace and peace, that kind. It is not a wish that it should come from Him, but that grace and peace thence might be with them.
3. In this verse we have the article, for θεὸς κ.τ.λ. is presented as a personal object. I will revert to this as an instance of an important point. Τοἴς, before ἐπουρανίοις, shows where they were, or had the blessing. It was not the blessing merely characterized by that place.
Eph. 1:4. Πρὸ καταβολής κόσμου characterizes the election by the date; does not relate the fact by a date: that is, it is not given as a specific date to which attention is drawn, but that which preceded, or the infinity preceding that, characterized the election. It renders it much stronger. " Ere a mountain was formed," or " a foundation of the world laid," would not give a date but contrast a period in character.
5. So ἐν άγάπη characterizes the saints, εἰς υἰεθεσίαν their predestination. It was predestination to adoption; but it was not κατ'εὐδοκίαν merely. The good pleasure of His will is made the object before the mind of the source from which it flowed.
6. We now come to some more difficult cases, because complicated, where they have in part, in part not, the article; but it flows from what we have been seeing we are to be; our whole state, and the work which has brought us there, εἰς ἔπαινον δόξης. That is to characterize the matter. But the grace is a positive designated object, which is thus glorified and praised, or gloriously praised. Hence we have τῆς (called for, indeed, by αὑτοῦ). His grace is set before us as praised and glorified. This apparent anomaly is therefore at once made easy by this simple 'principle.
7. I have noticed this already. We have all these as God's part, noticed as positive objects of
8. our soul (save σοφία καὶ φρωνήσει, which characterize the grace). So verse 9.
10. But εἰς οἰκονομίαν. It was a will, or purpose of, or for administering this will or purpose was such. This gave its character and quality to the will or purpose; but the fullness of times was a positive object before the mind. It did not characterize the administration. It is a direct subject of thought. We have seen before ἐν οὐρανοἴς καὶ ἐπὶ γῆς characterise every family. Here they are designated as places where the things are pointed out as such, and they have the article.
11. Again we have the unusual form κατὰ πρόθεσιν τοῦ. But κατὰ πρόθεσιν denotes the nature of the predestination, and connects itself with predestinated. We are predestinated according to purpose (not the particular purpose), of Him who, etc. And then we have again the article associated with this work in God where it has its source, and it is presented as a positive object of the mind. We are merely characterized, and our predestination by purpose. Our predestination was not δἰ ἔργ, but κατὰ πρόθεσιν, and that of Him who, etc.
Eph. 1:12. It was to praise. The τῆς, though disputed, is, I judge, rightly maintained. We are to praise as according to purpose, but it is of His glory, presented again as the direct object of the mind. We have then several with the article, evidently presenting positive objects, till we come to
14. ἀῤῥαβὼν, characterizing merely in this case the Holy Ghost. Ἐστὶν and ἡμῶν account grammatically for this, according to the principles previously stated. But the words which receive the article here are spiritually full of the most perfect interest and weight of instruction. Ὁ ἀῤῥαβὼν would be pretty much a reciprocal proposition: here it is a predicate of an ordinary proposition. The inheritance, again, is an object presented. Εἰς ἀπολύτρωσιν characterizes ἀῤῥαβὼν, as εἰς οἰκονομίαν previously did the purpose, κατὰ τὴν εὐδοκἰαν αὑτοῦ.
15. Τὴν ἀγάπην τὴν, I notice as merely a new form of the principle, the second τὴν necessarily making the first objective.
17. Ὁ πατὴρ τὴς δόξης is not the same as ὁ πατὴρ δόξης, or πατὴρ δόξης. He is the author, source, and head of glory; the glory that is actually to be, as Father, as GOD of our Lord Jesus Christ. Πνεῦμα σοφίας καὶ ἀποκαλύψεως characterized what was given to them. It was not τὸ, i.e. the whole of it abstractedly to them. It may be the Holy Ghost; but what is stated here from ὑμῖν to αὐτοῦ is the character of the thing given. I should translate "the Spirit." It is surely by the Holy Ghost, and the form of His presence and power in the mind; but it is that form of it which is spoken of here.
18. We get a succession of positive objects resented to the mind as so known.
20. So here, where we have only to remark the resurrection of Christ: it is not ἀνάστασις ἐκ τὼν νέκρων, that is, not from designated persons, but a state. It characterised the resurrection, and did not point out persons. It is ἀ. ἐκ νέκρων, that is, from that condition.
Eph. 1:22. Κεφαλὴν, as head.
2: 2. In this verse, note, we have the evil system presented, not as characterizing the walk merely, but as a positive subsisting system, according to which they walked. And so all through till we get our resulting character. Τἐκνα φύσει ὀργῆς, this characterized us.
5. χάριτι, the principle which characterized the way of salvation, Then,
6. it was by goodness to us that He sheaved the positive things spoken of Him, that goodness (χρηστὸτης) characterized it.
8. We have τῆ γὰρ χάριτί ἐστε σεσωσμένοι διὰ τῆς πίστεως. Because it is a positive assertion about this thing presented directly to the soul-by that thing and by faith, existing faith: not merely as characterizing the salvation, but by these things, so set before our minds.
10, Ποίημα characterizes us; so ἐπὶ ἔργοις ἀγαθοἴς characterises the condition of the creation: ἐν σαρκὶ, the manner again.
11. Τὰ ἔθνη. He speaks of them as the whole class. It was not some having such a character, but living actual beings as such, taking in, in principle, the whole body of them not ἔθνη, in character from among τῶν ἔθων. You were " the Gentiles." Λεγόμενοι gives ἀκροβυστία the force of character evidently. I have only to remark repeated instances of the noun after an active verb being without the article, as giving the character of the result of activity. Where this is not the case it has the article. Ἀποκαταλλάξε τοὺς ἀμφοτέρους (verse 16), necessarily an object; but ποιῶν εἰρήνην (verse 15), εὐηγγελίσατο εἰρήνην (verse 17), this characterized the making and preaching. There are two classes of accusatives after an active verb: one the subject, the other the fruit of the action. Τήν ἔχθραν, the enmity, specially known and mentioned: first, assumed as a known object, and then referred to. It was not enmity that was to characterize the act, but a particular enmity, which was before their minds, that is referred to. Εἰς and κατὰ very often have anarthrous nouns (not always) simply because, from their meaning, they speak of what characterizes something else.
One point remains, of which this chapter gives two examples, and of which we may therefore speak here. I mean the use of one article with two nouns of different meaning, and even necessarily sometimes distinct. Thus we have ὁ θεὸς Πατὴρ (chap. 1.), τούς ἀποστόλους καὶ προφήτας (chap. 1, 3), and in chapter 4, τοὺς ποιμένας καί διδασκάλους. Now, our rule here is still the same, and much facilitates the apprehension of these cases. The article directs the mind to an object in view; or a whole class seen together in the speaker's mind, as one for the purpose for which he is speaking, as a unity, or as a whole. Thus, in the first, calls my attention to an object: two names are given to this object-GOD and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Again, τούς calls my attention to a whole class complete in itself, forming as one company the foundation, united in this, apostles and prophets. So shepherding and feeding with the word, present themselves as in one class of persons in the apostle's mind. They may be elsewhere separate ideas, but they are united in one class of persons here. So Matt. 16:21, the Lord Jesus should suffer many things ἀπὸ τῶν πρεσβυτέρων καὶ ἀρχιερέων καὶ γραμματέων. They were a joint common band of enemies, and so spoken of as present to the mind of the speaker.
I now turn to an important instance of this, Titus 2:13. First we have τήν μακαρίαν ἐλπίδα δαὶ ἐπιφάνειαν τῆς δόξης. Δόξης is the governing idea here. Grace had appeared (verse 11). They were waiting for glory: that was their hope (i.e. object of hope, so used elsewhere), and it would appear hence, the object of hope and the apparition were identical, namely, the glory. Hence, τὴν marks both. But what glory? That is the question. Τοῦ μεγάλου θεοῦ καὶ σωτήρος ἡμὼν Ἰησοῦ Δόξης still governs the sentence, and GOD and our Lord Jesus Christ are identified-were in the apostle's mind in the Spirit, in the glory which was to appear. Hence, it was the glory of God and of our Lord Jesus Christ, viewed as perfectly one in glory. They are not the least separated in the mind of the apostle, when speaking of that glory. It is certain, that in saying Θεοῦ καὶ σωτῆρος, the apostle had but one object in his mind presented by the Holy Ghost. But I do not myself believe μεγάλου Θεοῦ and Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ are here names of one person, I have not the smallest doubt that Jesus is the true God-Jehovah; and I do not believe that this sentence could have been written, had not the glory of the Great God been ascribable to Him: but I do not see that this statement amounts to His being the same person as the great God (though I do not see how it could be true, were He not).
There are many other examples:-1 Thess. 3:11, 13; 2 Cor. 11:31; Rom. 15:6. We have 2 Peter 1:1, 6, ἐν δικαιοσύνη τοῦ Θεοῦ ἡμῶν καὶ σωτῆρος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ. Here the same remark applies, I judge, as to the passage in Titus. The righteousness is one, as the glory there, and both are identified in it-which could not be said unless Jesus were God. But this last is not the statement of the passage. The righteousness here spoken of is, I judge, spoken of as the righteousness which has secured their having the faith, not the object of it. We have a phrase exactly similar, 2 Peter 2:20, ἐν 'πιγνώσει τοῦ Κυρίου καὶ σωτῆρος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ. Now here the mind acknowledges the identity of person at once: but I judge the mind recognizes it in the words Κυρίου καὶ σωτῆρος. So in 2 Peter 1:11, εἰς τὴν αἰώνιον βασιλείαν τοῦ Κυρίου ἡμῶν καὶ σωτῆρος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ. So we have (verse 16) τὴν τοῦ Κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ δύωαμιν καὶ παρουσίαν. The power and presence are in one scene, or one object before the mind. Compare Rom. 1:20.
In two of the above passages, ἐπιγνώσειand δικαιοσύνη have not the article, because by ἐν they designate the manner or principle on which the main subject is received or escaped. So, verse 10 of 2 Peter 1 we have βεβαίαν...τὴν κλῆσιν καὶ ὲκλογὴν...ποιεῖσθαι. The two are identified as a common object to the mind, assured together; but they are not one thing, though united in one idea by τήν. And note the singular adjective. In French, where two ideas are sufficiently near to make one only an explanation of another, a similar idiom may be observed. " Sa tranquillite, son calme a", not " ont": because I have only one idea, which my first word imperfectly expressed. With that one idea in the mind, the verb agrees.
Note in Eph. 2:22, κατοικητήριον characterizes the building in its use; but τοῦ Θεοῦ because you have God as a personal object there, not merely characterizing the house: ἐν Πνεύματι because this characterizes the manner of God's presence, and though it be a person, does not speak of the person of the Holy Ghost, but of the manner of God's presence. A multitude of examples show the fallacy of any conclusion that it is not the Holy Ghost personally, because of the absence of τω.
It is, I think, plain from the examination of a number of passages, that in cases where one article is used with several nouns, while the grammatical agreement of the article is by attraction, and the usual analogy partially with the nouns which follow, the object designated by the article is mentally another, to which all the nouns used apply, or with which they associate themselves. Where each is made a distinct definite object of, each will have the article. That mental object may be a person, who unites in himself the various names or titles. It may be association in a common object, or common circumstance. In a word, the nouns are united in some common fact which the mind has before it, so as to group them together. This may be expressed or understood from the context. Thus it is expressed in the following:-Titus 2:13; Eph. 5:5; 2 Thess. 1:12; 2 Peter 1:1. In 1 Tim. 5:21, it is contained in the preposition ἐνώπιον, which gives the idea of "the presence of"-the one idea which governs the mind. This may be a person, as Matt. 12:22; 13:23; Mark 16:16. In Luke 11:28, we have the plural class.—-Heb. 3:1 is a very plain and express case.-In Phil. 1:7, it is the work in which the Philippians sympathized with Paul, which consisted in these two things: ;'απολογία καὶ βεβαιώσει. So in Rom. 15:6. It is readily understood from the context. In a word, there is always one definite object before the mind, of which the various nouns come in, not merely descriptively, but as together, forming the completeness of that object. The grammar follows the noun, as the relative pronoun does, in its case, that to which it is related.
I shall now give some cases in which it evidently is not one person, and in which the common idea is not expressed in the passage.
I will here recall the principle I have laid down, as we are at one of the most important and difficult applications of it, The article points to some definite object of the mind. The noun following gives the name to this object. In some cases, where this is sufficiently certain by specific contrast, the name is not even added, as ὁ μὲν ὁ δὲ. Earlier in the language, this was more extensively the case, and hence became a pronoun, as in Homer. The object is assumed to be one we have before us, and known as an object, though we add a name (but a name known as designating that object), and much perhaps else about it.
Now in the cases we are about to mention, the object is not named, but the nouns used combinedly make it up. The article supposes the common object in which they are united.
To proceed to the cases:- Phil. 1:7, τῆ βεβαιώσει καὶ ἀπολογία. It is evident that Paul is speaking of one single, common work which could only be expressed by using both words-confirming and defending: but he had but one object in his mind. So in a passage already quoted, 2 Peter 1:10, βεβαίαν...τὴν κλῆσιν καὶ ἐκλογὴν...ποιεῖσθαι, calling and election are united in the one thing to be secured, in the security they sought. They could not secure one without the other. They formed one object in the Apostle's mind in the diligence he recommended. God had chosen: God had called them. Being so chosen and called, they were to have this a settled and not uncertain thing in their minds, through the diligence recommended.
A still more remarkable case is where there are several decidedly distinct and independent persons, but who all form one object before the mind. Matt. 17 παραλαμβάνει ὁ Ἰησοῦς τὸν {΄ετρον καὶ Ἰάκωβον καὶ Ἰωάννην. Acts 3:11. Κρατοῦντος δὲ αὐτοῦ τον Πέτρον καὶ Ἰωάννην. Acts 4:19. Ὁ δὲ Πέτρος καὶ Ἰωάννης. In the plural the same thing, Acts 14:5, ὁρμη τῶν ἐθνῶν τε καὶ Ἰουδαίων. This last would come under the class also of cases where the uniting idea is expressed. They were joined in one body in the assault. Gentiles and Jews made only one body, one object in the Apostle's mind, In 2 Cor. 13:11, we have an example where the peace he desired the Corinthian disciples to be in, as a means of enjoying the presence of God, at once introduces, as thus speaking of God's presence, that love which necessarily accompanied it, and made one thought with the peace. Love and peace were together one idea of the blessed power and sweetness of the Divine presence.
There are many other examples in Scripture, but these sufficiently explain the principle, and, by this much debated point, confirm its soundness in the fullest way. Reference to Middleton, Green, etc. will furnish examples. I have examined them, and confine myself to having satisfied my mind that the same principle alike explains them all. Quotations from profane authors will be found there, equally proving the same general principle. Contrasted cases, where the object of the author was to make two separate objects before the mind, confirm also the doctrine. Thus Heb. 11:20, εὐλόγησε...τὸν Ἰακὼβ καὶ τὸν Ἐσαῦ, where it is evident they were to be kept in mind as distinct objects. There is another text, which I will notice as presenting an interesting question of interpretation-2 Thess. 1:8, διδόντος ἐκδίκησιν τοῖς μὴ σἰδόσι Θεὸν, καὶ τοῖς μὴ ὑπακούουσι τω εὐαγγελίω, κ.τ.λ. Here the Apostle, rather the Holy Ghost, designates two classes or forms of guilt, which may be in the same persons. Openly hostile heathens and idolatrous enemies certainly are supposed, for they were the then persecutors; Jews who could not be said exactly not to know God, but who were disobedient to the Gospel. There were those who professed to obey the Gospel, yet did not really know God. There were these two moral classes designated by the Holy Ghost as objects of judgment: a description which must both have been applicable then, and be so at the return of the Lord to judgment.
Acts 15 furnishes notable instances of the introduction and omission of the article. Τενομένης οῦν στάσεως κα συζητήσεως οὐκ 'λίγης τω Παύλω καὶ τω ΒαρναΒα πρὸς αὐτούς. Here, they were the Paul and Barnabas whose history we have had in what precedes. ἔταξαν ἀναβαίνειν Παῦλον καὶ Βαρναβᾶν καί τινας ἄλλους. Here they are presented with several others as persons now chosen for the first time to go on this errand. Then we have τοὺς ἀποστόλους καὶ πρεσβυτέρους, apostles and elders being one company here (verse 2). Again (verse 12), ἤκουον Βαρναβᾶ καὶ Παύλου. Here again we have the relator of the facts brought for the first time before the assembl: in this character. Then (verse 22), ἐκλεξαμένους ἄνδρας ἐξ αὐτῶν πέμψαι εἰς Ἀντιόχειαν σὺν τῷ Παύλῳ καὶ Βαρναβᾷ. Here they were jointly concerned as representatives in this matter, and one article is used to both. They were associated in one objective idea in the mind of the writer. Paul and Barnabas have an article being known as already engaged in it; Judas and Silas are new persons, and hence their names are without the article.
I may remark, in passing; the evident sense of 2 Peter 1:19, is we have the prophetic word confirmed-namely by the vision of Christ's glory. And this passage lead me to remark, that when a word is characteristic of the action of the verb, it does not claim an article. ἡμέρα διαυγάσῃ, not the day, but day. It is the day-light. So φωσφόρος. It is the character of the rising in the heart.
The examples we have had afford sufficient to clea up the use of the article after prepositions, which indeed to the full as simple as any other part of th subject. We shall meet with others.
I will now proceed to notice-
A Few Idiomatic Cases.
In such cases as τὸ ὄρος, I judge it is idiomatic; from the locality being objectively contrasted with τὸ πεδίον. It is the same in French: " Il est a la montagne" is no particular mountain, but they go in summer there from the plain. We say it as to the plain. It is the whole tract in contrast with the plain. Τὸ πλοῖον-I believe also that is aboard. Middleton's reference to a ship which was to attend him would be good grammatically. Τὸν ἄρτον is occasionally used technically for the bread at the Lord's Supper, when the subject is spoken of, though in Matt. 26:26, TO,: limy means the loaf on the table for the supper. These are questions of usage, not of grammar. Who would ask what particular loaf was meant, or what emphasis, if in a history of a family I should say, "The child said at the end of supper,' Give me the loaf or the bread.'" The only emphasis is that it is the one they had to eat. That made, it a particular object. So we should all feel the difference, if I said, " he spoke at breaking of bread," or " at the breaking of the bread." One refers to a common usage. The other gives a particular objective act. The Lord took bread, ἄτρον; or τὸν ἄρτον; the bread that was there. "Κλάσας is the fact given: τῆ κλάσει τοῦ ἄρτον is the specific act of the Lord's Supper (Acts 2:42,46). Ἐν τῆ ἐπιστολῆ (1 Cor. 5) is clearly some letter known to them, to which he refers. The rest is matter of interpretation, whether the letter he was writing which would perfectly answer, or another letter, of which the Spirit of God has only preserved this. I apprehend τω ἐκτρώματι (1 Cor. 15:8), means the ἐκτρώμαof the set-like one in comparison with them, and then the article is required. We say the foot (as being of a body), the eye. He was τὸ ἐκτρώμαof those mentioned. In John 8:7, τὸν λίθον is the stone supposed in the stoning spoken of. Ὁ διδάσκαλος (John 3:10), is equally simple. It is teacher in contrast with scholar. We should say, as thus laying emphasis, " Are you the teacher of Israel, and yet do not know that?" Such a contrast always leaves out any other individuals who teach, or absorbs them all into one. In the expression, " The foot cannot say", it would be feeble to say, " a foot," and yet equally good grammar: a mere proposition to state, and not an idea which ought to be evident to the hearer, and hence emphasis laid on what gives weight to that idea. It is viewed as a part of a particular body; and hence, as in every such instance, is a positive object distinguished from another.
The Case of Proper Names.
I will now examine a little the case of proper names; and then, for profitable use and further evidence, take some of the more important cases to which the doctrine can be applied in the Epistle to the Rom. 1 recur to John 1:6, ὄνομα αὐτω Ἰωάννης. Here it is evidently something referable to αὐτῶ. Εγένετο, as a verb of existence, gave the rest of the phrase the form of attributes of what existed: this, its name.
We might expect to find some apparent anomaly here, inasmuch as a name itself designates. But if this be carried in mind, we shall find the usual principles, viz., that where it has become an object (being named) in the sentence it will take the article: where it has not, it will take none. Verse 15, he is named. Here he is not an object; he has his name as the one bearing witness: so verse 17, Moses is a description of the giver of the law; Jesus Christ, of him by whom grace and truth came. Verse 12, we have an objective person introduced in a certain position before the Jews: he is the subject of the mind in the sentence. Ἠλίας points out the person, naming him for the first time here (verse 21). Ὁ Χριστὸς is not properly a name-it is the long expected Messiah the Anointed (verse 20). Ἠραίας (verse 23) designates the person again simply; whereas ὁ Ἠσαίας, would designate Isaiah himself the object, not the mere name of a person who did something. Verse 26, Ἰωάννης again becomes a distinctive object already known: in contrast with the others, and in respect of his conduct he is the subject of thought. Verse 28, Bethabara is just a name. Ἰορδάνουtakes the article, as designating the river specially as an object: it is an idiom of all languages from the nature of the thing-an object, not a mere name. We say "the Thames," "across the Thames," though we say "across London"; so in French: the division of the country by a river, and the continuity of it requiring an identification of the object, lead to this. I go forty miles, but it is still the same river, it is the Thames-the Jordan. The "the," or the article, gives unity or completeness as an object, to the whole course of that which would otherwise lose its identity to the mind in separate parts. This may be traced in many such objects, as oceans, tracts of country treated as one district. Ἰωάννης loses the article here: it is his name as acting merely, the acting itself being the object. Verse 29, Jesus is introduced as the positive object of the mind, so evidently is τώ Israel, verse 31. In verses 35, 36, both John and Jesus are so introduced; so verse 38. In verse 41, Ἀνδρέας is just a name, as Σίμωνος; so now again: John as having spoken, and Σίμωνα; again sheaving that recent mention does not annex the article when merely historical mention and not a definite object of the mind. It gives merely the name of this brother. Verse 43, Jesus is twice the object of the mind distinctly. The other names are evidently given as such characteristically. Verse 45, Philip becomes the object. It was the same Philip; and the evangelist proceeds to give an account about him who had been just mentioned; but in the next verse, historically mentioned, he loses it; so Moses, so Jesus. Joseph has it as particularly marked to designate who Jesus was, and τὸν ἀπὸ Ναξαρὲθ marks this distinctly. Ναξαρὲθ, as a mere name, has it not. Ναθαναὴλ is the only one peculiar here (verse 46). Who is he? Why is he thus designated as a special object? Not because he has been mentioned before, according to the ordinary rule; for he has not. As historically mentioned several times in the succeeding verses, he has it not. But it is to be remarked, the article is designative. It is first in the mind of the speaker. It points out an object of thought to the hearer. Hence when anything is such, it is used; though why it is, only comes out afterward. Hence it is used anticipatively. So here, Nathaniel is the subject specially of what follows, and whenever spoken of has the article, though not when mentioned historically. Galilee (2:1) is a district on the same principle as Ἰορδάνου: it gives unity to it as a whole. So Matt. 3:5.
This, which many minds might overlook (I mean as to names), has made the readings sometimes uncertain, and the presence or absence of the article is with the name a delicacy of thought, of which, as far as I know, Greek alone is susceptible. But though in some cases, a careless or inattentive mind, not bred in Greek thought, may scarcely see it, and the historical substance of the passage be no way altered by it, I think enough has been given to spew that while a name designating a person is, so to speak, an article;-yet that when it becomes an object of thought, it comes completely under the usual rule, and singularly confirms it. A. name is evidently in itself either the designation of a person, or a mere attribute or character; that is, when I say:"John said"-it points one to a person itself. If I say, "His name was John", I attribute to him something characteristic. In neither case would there be an article. If I talk about John, as a subject in the sentence, this comes under the common rule of the objective article. In a rapid conversation, I apprehend, the names might have it, having practically the force of ὁ μὲν ὁ δὲ, that is, replying one to another animatedly, they would be kept up as objects before the mind. When it returned to the historical account, they would drop it again. Such distinctions as these would evidently demand entering into the spirit of the author; but they form good writing and style. The presence of the article constantly with the name of Jesus, would stand most clearly and evidently accounted for, on the principle here spoken of: he may be named historically, of course, but he was constantly the subject and object before the inspired historian's mind-the central and chief leading figure in the scene, on which the eye was, and was meant to be fixed. I suspect it will be found that Κυρίος is often a name, when used in the New Testament. Jehovah, as Luke 1;16, ἐπὶ Κύριον τὸν Θεὸν αὐτὤν. I doubt that it is simply conversion to the Lord, as characterizing conversion, but to Jehovah. But this would be a subject for inquiry in each case, so ἑτοιμάσαι Κυρίω λαόν. It may be questioned whether it be ever otherwise than a name, when used by itself, and not coupled with the name of Jesus, or the like, so as to ascribe Lordship to Him. If the first chapter of Luke be referred to, where there are many names, abundant confirmation will be found of the general principle.
Before noticing the peculiar cases in the Romans, I will state certain applications of the principle, one of which may, to many minds, bring out the principle itself more clearly. We have seen that the article, giving the object of the mind, necessarily gives the definite totality. This is true even of the plural, only that there the entire object is composed of parts, as of οἱ μαθηταὶ, is all the disciples, as one whole, but made up of many members. Now the evident consequence of this is, that when a noun does not embrace the totality, but means only some, it cannot be such an object. It gives these some, as characteristic of a class, so as fully to come under, and verify the principle. The use of nouns after active verbs, comes really under this head. When a nominative characterizes the action, it will be true of it, as of the accusative. Under this the historically used names, and characteristic plurals come. Ποιήσατε ἑαυτοῖς φίλους (Luke 16:9), ἐκβάλλω δαιμόνια (12:32). But when it is a complete object, it has, ἐπέθηκε τὰς χεῖρας. So in singular, δοῦναι ὑμῖν τὴν βασιλείαν, but δότε ἐλεημοσύνην: so προςῆλθον αὐτῶ Σαδδουκαίοι. On the other hand, συνηγμένων δὲ τῶν φαρισαίων (Matt. 22.41), as a complete body of people in the mind, though, of course, all the individuals were not there. So ὄτι τὸ ἔν μέρος ἐστὶ Σαδδουκαίων, τὸ δὲ ἔτερον Φαρισαίων then στάσις τῶν Φαρισαίων καὶ τῶν Σαδδουκαίων the body of them there. Σαδδουκαῖοι μὲν γὰρ... φαρισαἴοι δὲ, that kind of persons (Acts 23:6,7,8).
The same rule holds with the singular, where it requires more abstraction to see its force, because—(these differences, however, English fully represents)—every one could understand the difference of " Sadducees hold so and so," and " Pharisees so and so," i.e. that kind of persons. It is characteristic of any of a class. " The Sadducees" and " the Pharisees" affirm it as a fact of a whole class. I now give instances of the singular when used as a nominative, which is the more difficult case. Περιτομὴ ὠφελεῖ ἡ περιτομὴ giving an actual object, would be either the fact of circumcision physically, or, by a figure, the whole class. But it means neither, but the state of circumcision -that condition, or character; so καὶ περιτομὴ καρδίας ν πνεύματι.
Another remarkable example of this, δικαοσύνη γὰρ Θεοῦ ἀποκαλύπτεται...ἀποκαλύπτεται γὰρ ὀργὴ Θεοῦ, a righteousness which is of God, a wrath which is of God. Another case important to remark, is a time which is characterized, and not given as a date, as ἡμέρα κρίσεως. It is not the day of judgment, that is specifying a time, nor a day, as if there were many; but, in judgment-day, as contrasted in character with men going on their own way without judgment (Matt. 11:22,24, etc).
I turn to the Romans:-
Examples in Romans.
OM 1Rom. 1:1-7. I do not know that this passage needs other notice, than the remarkable confirmation it gives to the rule laid down:-First, a series of anarthrous words, attached as characters of the name of Paul;-Christ as an object, περὶ τοπυ Υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ. Υἱοῦ θεοῦ verse 4, characteristic, has it not.
14. This kind of persons, not the body of persons themselves as an object.
17. is important. It is not the righteousness of God, as a known theological object presented to the mind, but righteousness which is of God. That is what man wants, and makes the Gospel a subject of boast, not shame. It is not man's presented, or claimed, but God's revealed.
18. The same remark on ὀργὴ θεοῦ. Wrath from God; this characterizes the revelation. It will often be found, that when a second noun is the most important, and is characteristic, it gives its characteristic form to the other, and forms one characteristic idea. Here the whole expression, ὀργὴ θεοῦ, δικαιοσύνη θεοῦ, characterizes the revelation; but when it is ἡ ὀργὴ, it must be τοῦ θεοῦ; properly, that particular kind of wrath which belongs to that being. The wrath is a wrath designated as an object, and then is of that being-Himself an object therefore too. But if wrath characterizes the revelation, I add, as characterizing the wrath, θεοῦ. Τοῦ θεοῦ, would suppose some wrath (or other thing) objectively known, which was of that being. θεοῦ gives a character merely to some instance of the thing. A wrath (a kind of wrath) which is of God, was revealed.
OM 2Rom. 2:4. Εἰς μετάνοιαν. The character of the leading: actually, it did not lead εἰς τὴν μετανοιαν.
5. τὴν σκλγρότητά σου καὶ 'μετανόητον καρδίαν:-σου gives, as in every case of a personal pronoun, the article; but I notice it as another case of the article with two nouns, completing the description of the one mental object, which accounts for ἀμετανόητον καρδίαν. ἐν ἡμέρα ὀρῆς κ.τ.λ.: the case already spoken of, a noun of time characteristic, not a date.
7. All the nouns characterize the seekers, or the search. Ζωὴν αἰώνιον, the gift as heretofore noticed.
8. τοῖς δὲ ἐξ ἐριθείας, καὶ ἀπειθοῦσι μὲν τῆ ἀληθεία, πειθομένοις δὲ κ.τ.λ.: several ideas completing the character of τοῖς, as verse 5.
There is a change of grammatical structure from ἀποδώσει to ἔσται.
9. τοῦ κατεργαζομένου, is attracted to ἀνθρώπου, but really governed by πᾶσαν ψυχὴν, as παντὶ τῶ ἐργαζομένω (verse 10).
12. ἐν νόμω, characteristic, evidently answering to ἄνομας; so διὰ νόμου.
13. τοῦ νόμου, the law.
14. ἔθνη, characteristic, Gentiles; not the Gentiles: such persons as they. They have no law, no such thing. τοῦ νόμου, the law, known well to a Jew.
15. Note here, the work, not the law, is written in the heart.
16. ὄτε κρινεῖstill only characterizes.
17. τῶ νόμω, presented as an object to designate the Jewish, law. Εν θέω, characterizes the boast.
Rom. 2:18. Τὸ θέλημα is remarkable as that will, namely of God, known only to a Jew; τοῦ νόμου. The Jewish known law.
19, 20, are plain; they characterize what the man is.
23. In law, in having law. Thou breakest the law.
25. περιτομὴ has been noticed; νόμον, a law-keeper, a law-transgressor, characterizes the parties: ἡ περιτομὴ, the thing; σοῦ also necessitates this.
26. ἡ ἀκροβυστία, the class: ἡ ἀκροβυστία αὐτοῦ, the actual state of such an one.
27. διὰ γράμματος καὶ περιτομῆς, character. δ.γ.κ.π. παραβάτην νόμου, is all characteristic of τόν. I notice this, for it takes the article from νόμου, which otherwise would have it.
OM 33: 5. ἡ ἀδικιά ἠμῶν θεοῦ δικαιοσύνην. This is a remarkable case. The first part is very simple; but the second, which seems the same grammatically, is changed by the sense. Our unrighteousness is a definite objective thing. Divine righteousness is characteristically opposed, not a defined object: τὴν ὀργὴν, the wrath implied in it. Whereas, verse 3, it is τὴν πίστιν τοῦ θεοῦ, because there it is not an opposed characteristic quality, but the actual faithfulness already known and shown, the faithfulness of God-Divine righteousness.
9. Jews and Greeks as characteristic classes, not τοὺς, the members of them.
11. οὐδὲ εἷς (verse 10) gives the ὁ to συνιῶν, and ἐκζητῶν τὸν θεόν. Not that one who, if there had been one, could have been pointed out objectively. As we say in English, there is not" the man living who could do it." This is a matter of style, and stronger than "a man," or συνιῶν, though both would be right. Hence we have (verse 12), οὐκ ἔστι ποιῶν, which must be used here, because it is added, οὐκ στιν ἔ ω ς ἑ ν ό ς. ὁ ποιῶν with this would have been out of place, for ἔως ἑνὸς was said in that form already. Hence we have δίκαιος αὐδὲ εῖς, and ὁ ἐκζητῶν.
17. ὁδὸν, any way.
19. ὁ νόμος...τῶ νομῶ, the known Jewish law.
20. διὰ νόμου, by law is knowledge of Win; ἐξ ἔργων νόμου, by law-works.
21. Without law, any law, not the Jewish: τοῦ νόμου, that particular known law. Also we have another example of a righteousness of GOD, of that character.
Rom. 3:22. It is added that it is by faith of Jesus: that is the manner of it. ἐπὶ πάντας, still characteristic, being of GOD. It is towards all in character: ἐπὶ τοὺς πιστεύοντας, actually on them objectively considered.
25. The question of τῆς before πίστεως amounts to this. Is it the character or manner of being a mercy-seat? or is it the faith in the person who comes? Both would be true. εἰς ἔνδειξιν is the character of the thing. Αὐτοῦ gives the article to δικαιοσύνης. Διὰ τὴν πάρεσιν was an actual overlooking.
26. πρὸς not here εἰς, as it was not the immediate simple object or aim, but merely a collateral particular form, or circumstance, of the object marked in ἐν τῶ νῦν καιρῶ (compare Eph. 4:12), included in the completion of that aim. Τὀν ἐκ πίστεως Ἰησοῦ, one so characterized.
27. Διὰ ποίου cannot have the article, for it inquires what is the law? Τῶν ἔργων makes it precise and objective: τοὺ νόμου τῶν ἐργῶν, is it that of works? The article disappears in διὰ νόμου πίστεως. It was excluded in that manner-a faith-law. There was no particular known law of this kind to refer to; it was the character of the excluding power: so 28, law-works; πίστει, in that manner.
29. Of Jews only: that character of persons, not " the Jews"; so Gentiles.
30. More remarkably in περιτονὴν, that state, not the Jews called ἡ περιτομὴ, though they are the people alluded to; but the apostle refers to the condition and character, not the people. Hence ἐκ πίστεως, in that manner-ἀκροβυστίαν διὰ τῆς πίστεως, because being in that manner, the uncircumcision having actually faith would be justified: hence faith, their faith, becomes a positive object to the mind.
Law, and again, law- not "the law." He did not establish that as a system; but he gave its full authority to law, in all its extent and requirement by the doctrine of faith.
OM 44: 2. ἐξ ἔργων in that manner.
5. τὸν δικαιοῦντα, a person known and supposed as an object, before the mind
11. offers a peculiar construction: more naturally it would seem to be περιτομὴν. Τὸ σημείου τῆς would not do, as σημεὶαν of anything, would specially mean what indicated that thing, not the thing's being a sign; σημεῖον regularly has not the article after ἔλαβε, as we have heretofore remarked. This, too, takes it away before περιτομὴν: δικαιοσύνης gets it from the following words, which make it a positive objective thing. Περιτομὴς is the character of the sign; but δικαιοςύ is a particular righteousness, characterized by the words which follow it.
4:12. Πατέρα περιτομὴς, his character; τοῖς ἐκ περιτομῆς, one class so characterized; τοῖς στοιχοῦσι τοῖς ἴχνεσι another class so characterized, namely believing Gentiles; τῆ ἀκροβυστία, that condition already spoken of.
13. διὰ νόμου, "not by law, but by faith-righteousness,' or "righteousness [which is] of faith."
14. οἱ ἐκ νόμου, those who adopt the principle.
16. τῶ ἐκ τοῦ νόμου, as a fact, the Jews under the law; τζ ἐκ πίστεως Ἀβραὰμ., of Abraham-faith, noticed before not of the faith which he had, but of that kind of faith.
OM 55:2. Τὴν προσαγωγὴν. The difficulty of this phrase is as to which reason is the true one for the use of τὴν. It might be that particular access there was by faith but I suspect, from its use in the three places it is found in, that it is a technical word for admission into some favored place; as we say, "those who have the entree," ἐπ' ἐλπίδι τῆς δόξης, and, verse 5, διὰ Πνεύματος ἁγίου τοῦ δοθέντος. These examples shows that a preposition, with an anarthrous noun, can be used characteristically, though there be added that which depends on it as a positive object. Ἐπ'ἐλπίδι characterized the joy, but τοῦ θεοῦ necessarily makes ἁγίοι a positive objective glory. So Πνεύματος ἁγίοι was the manner of the pouring forth in the heart, but when spoken of as given, the objective person must be marked.
6. κατὰ καιρὸν, seasonably: ὑπὲρ ἀσεβῶν, for such characters: so
7. ὑπὲρ δικαίου, not for all the persons, but for such a character; whereas τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ, points out in a special manner, a remarkable person; as in English, "for the goodman."
13. δμαρτία. There was sin: δμαρτία δὲ οὐκ ἐλλογεῖται is more obscure, but the obscurity arises only in an English mind. It is not reckoned (the real force ἐλλογεῖται, Philem. 1:18), as sin, μὴ ὄντος νόμου, is clear. Indeed, the οὐκ more naturally takes the article away, as in general it does not admit an existing object, never in a general proposition.
Rom. 5:15. Οἱ πολλοὶ is in contrast with ὁ εῖς: the fault does not rest in the individual doer, but involves the body connected with him.
16. εἰς κατάκριμα, the characteristic tendency or bearing of it: so εἰς δικαίωμα.
18. rather by one offense—towards all for condemnation, having that character and bearing; so by one accomplished righteousness towards all for justification of life. It was the bearing that characterizes this
accomplished righteousness. Life-justification expressed the bearing of this δικαίωμα.
19. οἱ πολλοὶ again contrasted with the ὁ εῖς, with which it is connected.
20. But law, not the law. " There entered"...What? "Law,"
21. ἐν τῶ θανάτω, in that actually well-known present thing. Διὰ δικαιοσύνης εἰς ζωὴν αἰώνιον, the bearing of the reign of grace.
OM 66: 4. θάνατον takes the article, because it is an actual known thing about which they were speaking, into which they were baptized. In verse 3, αὐτοὔ; gives it necessarily.
[Up to this point it may be remarked, that Χριστὸς and Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς never have the article, being used historically as the name of a person, not a proper subject of theological teaching].
13. ὄπλα ἀδικίας...ὄπλα δικαιοσύνης, affirmed about τὰ μέλη. "As," in English, often best renders the anarthrous noun.
9, 14. Θἀνατος and ἁμαρτία are taken as Names, by reason of κυριεύω.
14,15. "Under law...under grace;" the state they were in, not the law.
16. All these words are characteristic, dependent on ἑαυτοὺς already spoken of.
17. τῆς ἁμαρτίας, the plain moral fact; and note δοῦλοι, characteristic of the persons spoken of in ῆτε: τῆς ἁμαρτίας, that which the discussion had already introduced.
19. εἰς τὴν ἀνομίαν, because ἀνομία had been already mentioned, and it ended in that very ἀνομία. The first, with ἀκαθαρσία, are abstract nouns in their moral totality; εἰς ἁγιασμὸν, the characterizing tendency of the δικαιοσύνη to which they served. The remaining cases are easy, from the principles stated.
OM 7Rom. 7:1. " who know what law is,"-not the law. Ὁ νόμος is put abstractedly here from the evident necessity of the argument; this thing, law, that we are speaking of. Τοῦ ἀνθρώπου, the man we suppose to be under it, whom κυριεύει.
2. "is legally bound." 3. Τοῦ νόμου, the law we ate speaking of.
4. τῶ νόμω. The Jewish law, or law abstractedly: which, is a question of spiritual interpretation. Further, we have here, for the first time, τοῦ Χριστοῦ; whence I judge that ὁ νόμος means the Jewish law, and that that well-known. subject of Jewish theology, the Messiah, is contrasted with the law. There was the law and the Messiah, both well known, and having their proper respective αἰὼν: hence ὁ νόμος and ὁ Χριστὸς. It is not merely an historical person.
ἑτέρω τῶ, rightly translated, even to him"; τῶ ἑτέρω τῶ would be " to the other who"; but it is another than the law—" Whom? Him who," etc.
6. I judge ἀποθανόντες, compare 4.
7. "but by law." 8. " for without law;"ἁμαρτία is, I apprehend, used as a name, exactly from its use in a pithy proverbial saying, as in other exact languages, as French; a short affirmation about a principle which does not stop to put an object before the mind. So indeed, in German. See note on proverbial sayings at the end.
21. τὸν νόμον...ὄτι. This, or the law that.
25. νόμω θεοῦ νόμω ἁμαρτίας, is special, like δικαιοσύνη ὀργὴ θεοῦ. It characterizes the service-it is service to God-law, i.e. Divine law, or sin-law, that is the state of the mind of me myself It was not presenting one or other as a definite object, but explaining the state of the mind serving. It is a mind that serves GOD'S law, a mind that serves sin's law.
OM 88: 3. We may notice the character of Christ's mission. Περὶ ἁμαρτίας is not affirming that it was about certain sin but that his mission was such, and, by a well-known phraseology, that this characterized his sacrifice.
4, 5. Κατὰ σάρκα...κατὰ πνεῦμα, their character, and principle of life and being. I notice this, as chewing that it does not raise the question of what Spirit, which the following words fully show to be the Hoy Spirit Himself. So verse 9, ἐν σάρκι ἀλλ'ἐν Πνεύματι, their state.
'We will examine all the texts before going further:-
SPIRIT.
Matt. 3:16. Clearly a definite object, even of sight.
10:20. So here one speaking-not they.
12:28. The manner of casting out.
Luke 1:17. Not the Spirit of GOD, but manner " according to."
4:18. A quotation of a prophetic title. It is the constant form of prophetic announcement. See Matt. 2:18;3. 3.
John 14:17. A personal object-one who was to remain with them. 15:26. The same evidently.
Acts 5:9. The Spirit of the LORD is a definite person presented. Κυρίου., I take to be a name; otherwise it would be used, as the name of GOD may be, to characterize an object.
8:39. first calls for special remark. And here I doubt not it is designed, in rapidity and abruptness, and intentionally, to drop the idea of the person. It is not as if the Holy Ghost as a person came and took him. He was rapt, not by man, nor by human means, but by the sovereign power of the Holy Spirit. This was the character and manner of his rapture. He was rapt in spirit from the Eunuch's sight; hence it is only said he was found at Azotus. The article is intentionally and expressly excluded. I do not think when it is Πνεῦμα θεοῦ, or Κυρίου, God's spirit, Jehovah's spirit, that the object is to present a person, but a power or agent emanating thence, as the spirit of a man.
16:16. is on usual principles.
Rom. 1: 4. Evidently characteristic of how.
8: 2. The grammar is regular and ordinary as to sense. Though doubtless the Holy Ghost is really the power of it, the object is not to present Him as a Divine person, but like Christ breathing that communication of life from Him which they had by and from a present Spirit. It was the power of life by the Spirit. Hence John 22:22, there is no article. Πνεῦμα ἄγιον, the Holy Ghost, I doubt not was there, but it was as more abundant life, and the power of it. It was not the Comforter sent. He that is joined, to the Lord is one spirit. This comes out more importantly in verse-
Rom. 8: 9. (compare verse 10), where, though doubtless personally the Holy Spirit, it is spoken characteristically of the state. You are ἐν πνεύματι, in that state, if such a spirit dwell in you, namely, GOD'S. If any man have not Christ's, he is none of His. So Χριστός: ὁ Χριστὸς would be his person as an object: here he is a life characteristic of the person, and we get σῶμα and πνεῦμα, two contrasted definite objects. The body is not the spring of living movement; it is a corpse: the Spirit is to such a one.
On the other hand, in verse 11, we find this Spirit brought forward (necessarily) as a definite personal object, for it is on account of His being there that we are raised; so τὸν Χριστὸν. It is Christ who was personally raised; so our bodies, because of the Spirit of Him who raised him dwelling in us. He could not, if such a one (even the Spirit of that life-giving Power or Being who raised the Head, Jesus) dwelt in us, leave us under death who were the members. Could the Spirit remain thus? It would belie His nature as the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus. But this is not characteristic. It is a living being.
14. characterizes the leading.
15. Πνεῦμα δουλείας is evidently characteristic, and a common case; so πνεῦμα υἱοθεσίας.
15:19. The character of Christ's working.
1 Cor. 2:10. Here it is evidently a personal object, one acting. In verse 11, τὸ πνεῦμα ἀνθρώπου is marked out definitely as an object, and indeed personified. Τὸ πνεῦμα τοῦ θεοῦ, is clear. In verse 12, τὸ πνεῦμα τοῦ κόσμου, it follows the ordinary rule, that when a genitive follows, it commonly marks out that particular case of the first noun, and hence is necessarily a definite object of the mind-not spirit, or any spirit, but the spirit of the world: so τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἐκ τοὺ θεοῦ.
3:16. He is the personal inhabitant, and definitely presented as such, not characterizing a man, but one dwelling in a temple.
1 Cor. 4:21. Clearly the character of His coming. 12:10. is plain. It is the manner of speaking; so
2 Cor. 3:3. The manner of writing.
17. οῦ δὲ τὸ Πνεῦμα Κυρίου. The Holy Ghost Himself personally. Κυρίου, I suppose here, is a name; or else it is used to characterize Πνεῦμα, τὸ πνεῦμα Κυρίου being as one word: in verse 16. Πρὸς Κυρίου, the direction in which it turns. But the Lord in question was actually the spiritual revelation of Him by the Holy Ghost, called τὸ πνεῦμα, verse 17: for there is not a setting aside of the person of the Holy Ghost, but often an introduction of Him into that in which He works. "The words I speak are spirit and life." " The letter killeth, the Spirit giveth life." But He is there, and there is liberty. Ὁ δὲ Κύριος τὸ πνεῦμά ἐστιν, is then-that the Lord (Jesus) is the thought and mind of the Spirit referred to (verse 6), actually known in Christ, revealed by a present Holy Ghost; so verse 8.
Matt. 1:18. Evident manner with ἐκ.
20. Ditto. 3:11. Ditto
1. Person objectively.
3. Their spirit as men; rightly, in English, 'In spirit." Ἐν πνεύματι would have much rather referred to the Spirit of God, as 22:43. (See 26:41).
12:31, 32. The person as an object.
22:43. The manner of his speaking. (Compare Mark 12:36).
26:41. Their spirit as men.
27:50. His spirit as a man.
28:19. A person objectively.
Mar. 1: 8. The character of the baptism.
10. The spirit objectively. 12. Ditto.
3:29. Ditto.
12:36. Ditto. (Compare Matt. 22:43).
These cases are important as to the article with πνεῦμα, and confirm the doctrine as to the force of the article, the presence of which is no proof of its application to the Holy Ghost. As to that or man's spirit, it follows the usual rule.
Luke 1:15 characterizes the condition of John; so verse 41, of Elisabeth.
Luke 1:17 gives us another example of a preposition with a mere characterizing anarthrous noun, followed by a specific genitive, which gives its force to the anarthrous characteristic.
41. "Filled with the Holy Ghost" could hardly be used with an article, for the Holy Ghost would characterize this filling. Ile could hardly, as a person, be limited to a man's fullness. If used with an article, it would be rather the filling power, than that which filled. Of this there is but one example, viz. Acts 4:31; and then it is τοῦ ἁγίου πνεύματος, not πνεύματος ἁγίου, the force resting specially on ἀγόυ, the Holy Spirit having filled them; and this gives it personal objectiveness. The expression, " filled, or full of the Holy Ghost," is found only in Luke's portion of the Scriptures (Gospel and Acts). Eph. 5:18 is ἐν πνεύματι (see Acts 4:31**). I believe if we are to read, with some, τ.α.π., the difference will be easily found. It is not merely the state of the persons which is in question, hut that the Holy Child, or Servant, Jesus, whom God had anointed, being owned when dishonored by the opposition of kings and rulers, the Holy Ghost comes to fill and bear testimony with those who suffered according to their prayer in testimony to the name of GOD'S holy servant Jesus; and they do speak the word with boldness, so that we have the holy Child (Servant) Jesus, God's word, and the Holy Ghost filling and enabling the servants of Him who made heaven and earth, to bear the testimony. Hence we have the person of the Holy Ghost objectively brought forward.
(** All this is based on the fact -that I was using Tischendorf. All the other editors give ε.α.π.α., and it comes under the common term.)
Note here, the remarkable difference of the millennial consequences and address of Psa. 2, and that founded on it here in connection with the presence of the Holy Ghost.
The following are the passages where the phrase is used:-
15. καὶ Πνεύματος ἁγίου πλησθήσεται.
41. καὶ ἐπλήσθη Πνεύματος ἁγίου. Tischendorf reads τ.α.π.
67. Ἰησοὺς δὲ Πνεύματος ἁγίου πλήρης.
Acts 2:4. Καὶ ἐπλήσθησαν ἄπαντες Πνεύματος ἁγίου.
4: 8. Πέτρος πλησθεὶς Πνεύματος ἁγίου.
31. Καὶ ἐπλήσθησαν ἄπαντες Πνεύματος ἁγίου. See Tischendorf.
6:3. ἑπτὰ, πλήρεις Πνεύματος ἁγίου καὶ σοφίας.
5. ἄνδρα πλήρη πίστεως καὶ Πνεύματος ἁγίου.
7:55. Πλήρης Πνεύματος ἁγίου.
9: 17. Καὶ πλησθῆς Πνεύματος ἁγίου.
11: 24. Καὶ πλήρης Πνεύματος ἁγίου καὶ πίστεως.
13: 9. Πλησθεὶς Πνεύματος ἁγίου.
52. ἐπληροῦντο...Πνεύματος ἁγίου.
Eph. 5:18. ἀλλὰ πληροῦσθε ἐν Πνεύματι.
This last, " by the power of." Were it their spirit as a man, it would be, I am satisfied, τῶ πνεύματι. The man's spirit, as an object, contrasted with the body.
So Matt. 26:41; 27. 50; John 19:30; Matt. 5:3. So Mark 8:12 (with ἁγίου, however). So Mark 14:38. (I have no doubt also Luke 10:21; some editions add τῶ ἁγίω). John 11:33; 13:21; Acts 18:5, " pressed in spirit" (i.e., his, for I have no doubt of the ordinary reading). Acts 19:21, "in his mind;" 20:22, "in his spirit within him." Hence Rom. 8:15, 16, the sense is plain: " We have not received a spirit of bondage, but of adoption, crying Abba Father. The Spirit itself, or Himself, beareth witness with our spirit." We have the nature, or character, of our spiritual condition; then the Holy Ghost; then our spirit, or inner man. Note, such statements may suppose (but do not touch the question of) the renewal of our natures, that it should be so. See 1 Thess. 5:23, where the use of τὸ πνεῦμα for the spirit of a man, contrasted with mere soul and body, is evident. See 1 Cor. 14:14, seq.; we have the man's spirit distinct from his intelligence; the vessel of the action, or power of the Holy Ghost.
Note also, in connection with θεοῦ Χριστοῦ, Κυρίου, there is an absence of the article, which is worthy of note. We have δικαιοσύνη θεοῦ, ὀργὴ θεοῦ, πνεῦμα θεοῦ, πνεῦμα Κυρίου, πνεῦμα Χριστοῦ: but in all these cases it is characteristic power, righteousness, etc., not an objective thing, separately considered from God, but the nature of the person characterizing something else; a refinement of language which English hardly bears; though it does by using divine in some cases-" for wrath divine is revealed," " divine righteousness." In the case of spirit, it does not. Θεοῦ; attached to πνεῦμα, evidently characterizes the man's state contrasted with flesh.
2 Cor. 3:18. Τὴν δόξαν Κυρίου, I notice as again an instance of the remark above.
ἀπὸ Κυρίου Πνεύματος is, as regards our rule, the manner of the change. As to the passage, I should rather translate "the Lord the Spirit," perhaps more nearly conveyed in English by i the Lord in Spirit."
Moses looked at the Lord and was changed. We look at our Moses and see the glory of the Lord unveiled. We are changed into it thus as by the Lord. But it is only in spirit, that is, the Lord is to us known in the spiritual revelation of Him. It is really and solely (and indeed much more excellently) the revelation of the Spirit, whose presence and power is there; but as revealing, by which we know or see, the Lord. Compare verse 3.
Gal. 4:6. It is one crying,—a proper personal object.
6: 1. is the manner, and indeed, means also disposition.
Eph. 1:17. A case already spoken of, δώη. It was not the whole person of the Holy Ghost as an object, was given. What was given was a spirit of wisdom; doubtless the power of this was the Holy Ghost.
4:23. requires no remark.
Phil. 1:19. Here the Spirit objectively as a person, or at any rate as a power, working in him. The remarkable point as to the article in this case is, one article with the request and reply for its common subject,—τῆς ὑμῶν δεήσεως καὶ ἐπιχορηγίας. These two made up the means of its turning to salvation; they could not be separated in the apostle's thought.
2 Thess. 2:8. calls for no remark. It is an allusion to Isaiah, governed by ordinary rules.
Heb. 10:29. does not either. The Spirit is specially set up as an object. The sin was worse by His being the spirit of grace.
1 Peter 1:11. It was a personal Spirit working in them as an object, not of the Christ as a mystic head, but of that person as a name.
4:14. calls for no lei-nark, but that it skews that it is not merely a state, but one who is pointed out who rested on them. Further, it distinguishes the Holy Ghost as the Spirit of Glory and power on them, and the Spirit of God, or at any rate of Glory. The Spirit of Glory and the Spirit of God; not two spirits. but distinct objects in the mind. If we read δυνάμεως, δόξης and δυνάρεως are the united character connected with the object; θεοῦ, a distinct one. This reading, adopted by Scholz and Griesbach, I prefer.
1 John 4:2. calls for no remark. We see, what has been remarked before, that the Holy Ghost is spoken of in that in which he acted. The doctrine as to this is fully taught in 1 Cor. 12 -the one Spirit that is in these various gifts. I say this, because of πᾶν πνεῦμα, where it is taken as it stands, as a πνεῦμα, in the man. Further, πᾶν cannot have the article, because τὸ giving, as we have seen, the object in its entirety, πᾶν τὸ πνεῦμα would be all the spirit, and the distributive πᾶν, every, cannot have the article. No passage in the Revelation calls for notice, as far as I am aware, unless 10:11, where it follows the case which gave rise to this examination. This was what characterized what entered, to set them on their feet,-a Spirit of life. It was not to present the Spirit as an object, but what characterized this sudden event in its source.
It would have been going too far to say, τὸ πνεῦμα τῆς ζωῆς: that would have amounted to a declaration that the Holy Ghost came and dwelt in them; but this was not the object, but, merely, that, of God, this living power changed the whole state of things. It is not a spirit, as- if there were many, nor the Spirit, as if it marked specifically the Holy Ghost. A spirit of life, or the spirit of life, may either be used in English; the latter giving emphasis to life only, and so making it characteristic, and a leaving indefinitely, with its force in life. Neither represents the extreme and perfect accuracy of the Greek, specially from a in English being a special sign of distributive unity. It was a man, not a woman; or, it was a man, not two men.' But we can hardly say, "spirit of life from God." So Luke 24:39. Here we have πνεῦμα, "spirit hath not," a thing of that nature: τὸ πνεῦμα would have been evidently quite another sense, either from habit of Scripture- thought, the Holy Ghost, or else the abstract idea-spirit (hardly, from the ordinary use of πνεῦμα, a legitimate expression); but the abstract idea would he quite out of place to affirm anything about. Hence "a spirit," or "spirits," is the nearest in English.
Luke 1:35. We have a remarkable case of the absence of the article; but I judge, though no other than the Holy Ghost is meant, yet it is looked at as power characteristic of the act. So δύναμις, as we have seen, δικαιοσύνη, ὀργὴ, and other cases. We have seen another case in the rapture of Philip (Acts 8:39; compare Acts 5.9), where the. Spirit is personally presented. So-
2: 25. We have the principle of what characterizes, in power, the man; whereas, in verse 26, it is a revealing person: So in 27, ἐν πνεύματι would have merely been his state when he came in: ἐν τῶ πνεύματι, he came, led by the Spirit there, as I judge. So in 4:2.
11:13 is the already noticed case of characterizing the gift. So John 1:33, the baptism. So Acts 11:16. So John 3:5, the birth: 4:24, the character of the worship; but that was by the Holy Ghost: in 7:39, it depends evidently on οὔπω ῆν, on principles already stated as to a negative. There was no Holy Ghost yet; not therefore an object, its presence being denied. 11:33; 13:21; 19:30, have been already noticed-His Spirit as a living man.
We have, then, an important passage in John 20.22. Here it was not the Holy Ghost, come down as a distinct person, as on the day of Pentecost, or in 1 Cor. 12, distributing to every man severally as He will; but the communication of living power, in connection with Jesus, which would act in them (in manner) as it acted in Him. It is not that it was any other than by the Holy Spirit; but as God breathed into Adam's nostrils the πνεῦμα ζωῆς, and he became a living soul, so the second Adam, who is the Lord from heaven, and a quickening Spirit, breathes into them, so that there should be communion of life, and they have life and spiritual energy through Him. Τὸ ἄγιον πνεῦμα would have been, if we may so speak, the whole Holy Ghost in person; but then He would have been in such sort communicated and received. Sent He was afterward, and come He did; but then it was personally acting, and willing.
Acts 1:2,5 require no comment: it is the manner of the giving commandments, and of the baptism.
5: 9. Here the Holy Ghost is presented as a person to whom the lie was really addressed, and who was tempted (i.e., wickedly put to the test), as if he could be deceived. For what was Peter? The Lord, or one Spirit of the Lord, was there. Πνεῦμα Κυρίου is taken as one title, Κυρίου being really the name of Jehovah. It was not man's spirit they had essayed to deceive, but Jehovah, the Lord's. This often gives an adjectival force to the words GOD, LORD, etc., seeing they give the whole bearing to the nature of the thing they are thus affixed to, in a way which nothing else could.
1 Cor. 2:4. The whole passage is evidently characteristic of the preaching, and therefore no article is in it; and yet it is evidently the Spirit of God which is in question, in contrast with man.
10, 11, 12 present a collection of cases, which, as very simple on the principles presented, require no remark, though confirmatory of them. We may notice τὸ πνεῦμα τοῦ κόσμου as presenting the case of the genitive following, as usually presenting a precise object, and showing that TD does not involve a person, but the way in which the word is used.
13. Here we have again most clearly the Holy Ghost in person, and yet there is no article, because the whole phrase is merely characteristic of these speaking.
5: 3. Τῶ σώματι, τῶ πνεύματι, objectively presented as in contrast, but not going beyond himself, as is confirmed by the next verse. So vii. 34, where it has not the article, because it only characterizes the extent of the holiness.
7: 40 is a remarkable case, but instructive. The apostle did not mean to say that he possessed the Holy Ghost objectively spoken of. So Acts 19:2. We have seen always that such an accusative characterizes the possession, or receiving. There more especially, as in this case, this possession of the Holy Ghost was characteristic of the judgment he had given. I notice
12:3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 10, only to remark the former as manner; the latter as evidently the Spirit as a person objectively, the force being otherwise the same. Compare also verse 11, where the personality of the Blessed Spirit is so plainly and peculiarly stated, with verse 13, where the same spirit is, without controversy, meant, but there is no article as being characteristic of the baptism.'
Another remarkable case is found 14:14, 16, if we receive the reading of many ancient manuscripts. The first is already noticed; he is speaking of his spirit under the power of the Holy Ghost, in contrast with his mind; but this contrast existing no longer, he uses ἐν πνεύματι, as characteristic of the blessing spoken of. This reading, however, is not adopted by Griesbach nor Scholz.
2 Cor. 3:3. is a strong case of what characterizes ἐπιστολὴ ἐγγεγραμμένη. So verse
6. The character of the ministry; and τὸ πνεῦμα is not the Holy Ghost as a person, but the πνεῦμα he is speaking of, as an objective abstraction contrasted with γράμμα.
17. The same; but in the close of the verse he changes to the power which gives it that character.
6: 6. Rightly, I judge, translated "by the Holy Ghost." It has no article, as being the manner of approving himself as a minister of God.
2 Cor. 7:1. is evidently the manner of defilement,-not contrast as objects, but two ways of doing it. Μολυσμοῦ is distributive, "every defilement," and so cannot have the article.
Gal. 3:2. demands notice, because after ἐλάβετε it has τὸ, which we have seen often wanting; but here it is not merely the characteristic of the gift, and a possession marking their state. It became important to mark out a well-known and all-distinctive object which was then amongst them, and therefore τὸ πνεῦμα alone could be properly used. Verse 3 we have πνεύματι, characteristic of the manner of their beginning. Verse 5 is governed by the evident reason already given. Verse 14, it is a given promise of this Spirit,-not receive " a promise," but " the promise" already made. So Eph. 1:13.
4:29. follows the common rule. Chapter 5:17,18, afford illustrations which confirm the proofs already given. Verse 25, "in the Spirit," hardly renders it.
Eph. 1:17. The condition of the man characterizes the gift.
2:22. ἐν πνεύματι, the manner of God's dwelling there; but it is the Holy Ghost himself; as iii. 5.
4:3. Rightly, "the unity of the Spirit," not "of Spirit." Verse 4 is really an impersonal use of the verb substantive.
Phil. 2:1. Rightly, I believe, "of the Spirit." Εῖ τις necessarily precludes the article pointing to an object.
Col. 2:5. I should translate "in Spirit;" the article contrasts it with σαρκί.
1 Thess. 1:5. Rightly " the Holy Ghost." It is the manner of the
Gospel's presence. So verse 6, of the joy.
4:8. Here πνεῦμα ἄγιον has the article, however connected with δόντα, both as linked with αὑτοῦ, and as necessarily presented in the argument as an object as personally there, showing the gravity of the fault referred to.
1 Tim. 3:16. "In the Spirit" is difficult to understand: ἐν πνεύματι, the manner or character of the justification. ἐν has constantly the force of the virtue, efficacy, power of; and ἐν πνεύματι would be the power of the Holy Ghost.
Heb. 1:7. The, translation is clearly right: τοὺς ἀγγέλους is in sense equivalent to a subject; and " being made spirits" is affirmed about them.
2:4. Is a clear case of the manner of witness.
6:4. Μετόχους πνεύματος ἁγίου. Here, too, I judge it characterizes their condition, like the cases of " filled with the Spirit;" not the directing the mind to the person of the Holy Ghost as a complete object. In passing, we may note here another noticeable case in this verse, γευσαμένους with the genitive has the article τῆς. The heavenly gift being to be tasted of, is necessarily presented as a definite object in itself; and this was the object of the apostle, contrasting the heavenly gift with what the Jews had had as such. It is not merely of such a thing, but of this as contrasted with the earthly. Whereas, when in the subsequent words, they are nouns, qualifying with the verb their actual condition, they have it not, as γευσαμένους καλὸν θεοῦ ῥῆμα.
1 Peter 3:4. We have two adjectives with an article, as forming on character of spirit. The τοῦ is at any rate necessary from the ὄ ἀστιν which follows.
18. I doubt not the reading which omits τῶ; is the right. Σαρκ and πνεύματι are not two distinct parts of one being, contrasted, as σῶμα and πνεῦμα, but the manner respectively of putting to death and being quickened, that in respect of, or as to, which it so took place. Were the τῶ πνεύματι to be read, it would then speak of the person of the Holy Ghost, as the one by whom the resurrection took place. It is, at any rate, the Holy Ghost; but without the article it is the manner of the quickening, and does not draw attention to the personal power. Were it τῆ σαρκὶ, τῶ πνεῦματι, I should look at it as the Spirit of Christ as a man which was quickened, which is quite foreign to the testimony of God: σαρκὶ, τῶ πνευματι would have looked at the Holy Ghost as an extrinsic agent; σαρκὶ, πνεύματι are flesh and spirit, as we have said, as the character of the two acts; although the divine character of the latter is undoubted in its power. Compare 4:6.
2 Peter 1:21. It is evidently the manner of their being borne along, though we know it to be the Holy Ghost.
1 John 4:6. I notice merely, as giving an example of the transition (from undoubted example of the Holy Ghost and evil spirits personally) to the general idea of its effect or power in operation. Yet we have τὸ πνεῦμα induced by the definiteness afforded by the genitives added, forming definite distinctive contrast.
And yet when the Spirit is spoken of by itself, then the article points out the Holy Ghost, because it is to the mind the well-known" object, whose presence in power distinguished the saints. So v. 6, where I apprehend the try is added to Own and dawn, not as reference to these words previously used without it as the manner of the coming, but in an abstract sense, as definitely presenting the thing in its nature to the mind. This 6th verse also shows how completely the Spirit so spoken of—if a multitude of other passages had not shown it to us -is in the mind of the church, then -the Spirit known, dwelling and acting among them down on earth. Thus, it can be said, the Spirit is truth. No flesh, or fleshly communication, or wisdom, ever was such,-only what the Spirit said or did. Truth and It were absolutely coincident terms. So John 7, " The Holy Spirit was not yet (given), because that Jesus was not yet glorified." And Acts 19, "We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost, or whether the Holy Spirit is."
I have now noticed every case, having only not cited those evidently based on the principles explained and confirmed by other examples. I felt it worth while, on a point so important, and where the article so eminently affects the interpretation, to go through all the cases in the New Testament. The Revelations afford us no case which presents a difficulty, unless 11:11, where it is not τὸ πνεῦμα τῆς ζωῆς, as if it was some particular or well-known thing, but merely that which was such had this character in its work in them (not exactly a spirit of life, which would imply there were several, nor the, though that is better), "from God" giving it in English a general character: a certain power so to be characterized, acting in them from God. I return to examine the cases occurring in the Epistle to the Romans.
OM 8Rom. 8:23. υίοθεσίαν characterizes their expectation; ἀπολύτρωσιν the definite object fulfilled then; ἡμῶν makes this even necessary.
24. ἐλπὶς βλεπομένη is the kind of hope, or characterizes such a hope as is no hope. It is one of many kinds, and thus characterizes the abstract idea. This is often the effect of an adjective or participle.
33. Against such as are this-ἐκλεκτῶν.
35. θλίψις, etc., any of this kind of things, such things as these; ὡς, as in 36, makes this use constantly very plain.
OM 99:4. All these are well-known particular things, presented as objects.
5. I do not doubt θεὸς applies to Christ.
8. ταῦτα τέκνα. τέκνα is a regular predicate; τοῦ θεοῦ is a personal Being, and an object contrasted with σαρκός.
I have already remarked that this should be, "for this word is of promise."
24. "Not only of Jews" (such kind of persons); so, " of Gentiles."
30. "Gentiles," not "the Gentiles."
31. "A law of righteousness;" such a thing; not "the." So they did not attain to any.
32. "The stumbling-stone," not " that."
OM 1010:4. All this is descriptive of Christ; Χριστὸς all through is an historical name.
OM 11Rom. 11:12, 13. Τοὶς ἔθνεσι, ἐθνῶν; the first, the actual people; the second characterizes the apostleship.
19. κλάδοι, "branches," not οἱ, which would have been all or some mentioned before; κατὰ φύσιν, itself characteristic, marks these particular ones out, as objects, with τῶν (verse 21),
22. χρηστότητα καὶ ἀποτομίαν, not abstractedly these qualities, but cases of it; divine goodness and severity; τῆ χηστότητι, the goodness spoken of.
24. τῆς κατὰ φύσιν...ἀγριελαίου; here again κατὰ φύσιν leads to the pointing out that olive tree, which, according to nature, was graffed into καλλιέλαιον, a good olive; παρὰ φύσιν being here connected with ἐνεκεντρἰσθης.
33. Ὠ βἀθος I judge to be spoken of this example not abstractedly, though the Ὠ may affect it. Τὰ κρίματα...αἱ ὁδοὶ "all his judgments and ways."
OM 1212:8. If τῆ παρακλήσει, that spoken of in παρακαλῶν, ἐν ἁπλότητι the manner of giving. Verse 7 explains this clearly in δ. and δ δ.
17. κακόν, any evil act, such a thing.
21. ὑπὸ τοῦ κακοῦ, the abstract thing; evil as contrasted with τῶ ἀγαθπω.
OM 1313:1 ἐξουσίαις, things of this character, higher powers, not the higher.
3. οἱ ἄρχοντες, these rulers, whose existence he now supposes, so that he can point them out, or all rulers.
4. εἰς ὀργὴν, "for wrath;" this character of dealing; but δία τὴν ὀργὴν, just spoken of (verse 5).
5. διὰ τὴν συνείδησιν, an express object here, because in contrast with τὴν ὀργὴν.
8. νόμον πεπλήρωκε, " has accomplished law", i.e. whatever law can demand.
10. πλὴρωμα νόμου is a regular predicate; τὸ πλήρωμα would have made it reciprocal.
12. τὰ /ργα τοῦ σκότους, all the works which belong to the darkness which the night implies. Rather it is abstract, as opposed to φωτὸς here, and not to be taken alone.
OM 1414:9. "Both of dead and living;" these two kinds of persons. I note in passing, that I little doubt 16:25, 26, 27, come in at the end of this chapter.
OM 1515:2. Εἰς τὸ ἀγαθὸν, is emphatic as contrasted with mere self-pleasing, and specially set before the mind as an object; for good, ἀγαθὸν, being abstract, οἰκοδοωὴν, merely characterizes the conduct by the actual thing sought: that which was good was in his mind; he should act for edification. Compare Eph. 4:12.
7. εἰς δόξαν θεοῦ, the manner of reception.
Rom. 15:8. Περιτομῆς, not of the Jewish people as a body, but on this principle.
12. ἐθνῶν, ἐθνῆ, are remarkable; but it is over this class of
persons, not Jews. It is a quotation from the LXX.
18. Gives a notable example of anarthrous words, describing the manner of Paul's work.
16:1. Τὴν ἀδελφὴν ἡμῶν, points out the person, and is objective. They would not know which Phoebe else; in every analogous case, it points her out as contrasted with other Phoebes: the οῦσαν itself gives a mere quality to διάκονον, but τὴν διάκονον, if indeed admissible, or τὸν διάκονον, would distinguish her by this quality from others at Cenchrea, and make her the only διάκονον there; οῦσαν διάκονον is
.a quality and character she had (there might be others), and hence has no article. So verse 3, τοὺς συνεργούς μου.
7. We have τοὺς συγγενεῖς μου καὶ συναιχμαλώτους μου, two common qualifications of these persons which marked them out. Hence the first has the article, as in every other case, the second not, according to the rule amply discussed, as making up with the other the complete amount.
17. τὰς διχοστασίας καὶ τὰ σκάνδαλα, all the divisions and offenses that might be. The article gives completeness and extent to the idea. Without the article, it would have merely characterized. The men cause divisions; any, be they what they may.
26. διά τε γραφῶν προφητικῶν, "by prophetic writings." That character of writings was the means of making it known, not "the Scriptures of the prophets."
Here I close. Enough has now been given to show the use and application, which is in itself perfectly simple. To my mind it is fully confirmed and proved. I trust it may be the means of throwing light upon, and giving the full force and character to many passages of the blessed word. The subject of the Spirit, and specialty of that case, will render the full examination of every instance, I hope, useful.
Proverbial Expressions.
There is a class of expressions to which it may be well to allude-short, pithy, or proverbial sayings, which, in many languages, make exception to ordinary grammar, and only claim a metaphysical explanation. It would be said. in French, "Chat echaude craint leau froide;" " force lui fut;" in German, Unvieffenheit und Unichuldigfeit find Shwefiern. It is not merely, I judge, the rapidity of expression which gives occasion to it, or not always, but a peculiar state of mind which takes up the thought characteristically, and neither abstractedly nor objectively and it becomes, though an appellative noun, a kind o proper name. It is a stronger way of putting it than a mere descriptive statement. The object is so present to the mind that it does not require an article of any kind. Hence in prophetic oracles we have it φωνὴ βοῶντος. As in English, if the Queen were coming, the cry would be, " Queen! Queen!" it characterizes what produces the impression, gives a reason for the effect produced or intended to be produced; so 1 Thess. 2:5, Θεὸς μάρτυς, which stated historically, Phil. 1:8, is μάρτυς γάρ μου ἐστὶν ὁ Θεὸς. This is not perceived so much in English. All abstract nouns are without the article in whatever way they are used, and names never have it. The definite article is always allusive or distinctive.

On the Heavenly Calling and the Mystery

1. What is meant by "The Heavenly Calling;" and what is its practical bearing upon the Walk and Worship of Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ?
2. What is meant by "The Mystery;" and what connection is there between it and "The Heavenly Calling?"
The knowledge of that infinite grace which has brought us, as redeemed sinners, nigh to God, through the precious blood of Christ, is the strongest appeal to our souls to render obedience unto Him who has shown such wonderful love to us. And in proportion as our hearts are touched with a sense of this love, shall we love in return; "We love Him because He first loved us."
Love will ever produce a fervent desire to please and meet the mind of the object of its affections.
" If ye love me, keep my commandments," said our blessed Lord. But however true and sincere the heart may be, yet if there be ignorance as to the commands of the Lord, there must be failure in obedience. Love is not sufficient to enable us to walk so as to glorify God. A true heart and right desires are not enough. A true heart is of vital importance; but an instructed mind as to what the will of God is, is needed to regulate and guide the warmest heart: the want of this often leaves the Lord's people open to much sorrow, when really seeking to serve Him.
Mary's heart was true and warm enough-but she passed through much sorrow, because she " knew not the Scripture, that he must rise again from the dead" (John 20:9).
We are not only called into fellowship with the Father and the Son, in the joy and peace of the Holy Ghost, but also to " be filled with the knowledge of His will, in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that we might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing" (Col. 1:9); and that " love may abound more and more in knowledge, and in all judgment" (Phil. 1:9).
Knowledge without charity, we are taught, "puffeth up"; but knowledge and love must be combined and work together, or we shall fail in rendering real service unto God.
It may be said, that God often leads His children far beyond their spiritual intelligence. This is true (and happy for us that He does so) but are we to make this an excuse for our foolishness and ignorance, because His grace and goodness abound? It is not what we have any right to expect or reckon upon; for this reason, that He has given a full revelation of His mind and will, and His Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth, that we might know His will.
The word is the instrument by which He accomplishes His gracious purposes in us.
We are begotten by the word of truth (James 1.18). We are born of the word (1 Peter 1.23).
By the word we grow (1 Peter 2:2).
By the word we are cleansed (John 15:3 -Eph. 5.26).
By the word we are kept undefiled in the way, and from the paths of the destroyer (Psa. 17:4-119:9).
By the word-" the sword of the Spirit"-we are able to stand against the wiles of Satan (Eph. 6.17).
It is by the word, known in the power of the Spirit, that our practical sanctification is carried on. " Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth," was the prayer of Jesus for His disciples (John 17:17).
The written word, then, contains full and ample instruction whereby we may, in all things, have a sure guide, and learn from it how to glorify God-how greatly we need rightly to divide it, and understand what the will of the Lord is; not merely with reference to our personal walk, as individuals, but according to the design of God concerning the Church, and the character of its testimony, as well as position in the world.
There are certain characteristics of God's people, common to them in all ages, and under all dispensations; such as Faith, Hope, Love, Obedience.
But the form and manner in which obedience is to be manifested vary, according to the character of the calling, at different periods.
" Be ye holy, for I am holy," is a word of universal application, addressed alike to the Jew and to the Christian; for " without holiness no man shall see the Lord." But a Christian would walk very far below his vocation, if he were to walk like a Jew, however great his attainments in holiness and godliness.
What would be obedience in one, would be ignorance, and oft disobedience in the other, and for this reason:-God has been displaying his own character and ways at different times, and in different manners. His dealings with His people have varied according to his design and purpose respecting them. The Israelites were called to serve God in the enjoyment and abundance of all earthly blessings; Christians are called to be content with food and raiment, to be poor and despised, but blessed with all spiritual blessings:-the one was set in a dispensation of righteous government, the other in a dispensation of grace.
Hence, it is evident, that the saints need the clearest understanding as to the purpose of God concerning them (the grace in which they are set), and as to the character of their blessings and promises, or they will be unable to walk so as to meet the mind of God. Ignorance of those principles which correspond to the character of their calling will lead them to confound God's arrangements; and, mistaking His mind, they will be found acting upon principles, which at one time and under different circumstances were lawful, but are now condemned: a simple illustration of this is presented in Matt. 5:21, etc.
How often this is the case with dear children of God! Many who have great peace, zeal, and devotedness, and who are indeed a sweet savor of Jesus, are yet so ignorant of the character of their calling, that they are systematically found in fellowship with an evil world, drawn into its course, acting upon its principles, seeking its patronage, and helping on its delusions and false expectations: thus marring their testimony, while they bring weakness, sorrow, perplexity, and disappointment upon their own souls.
The Lord has of late years taught many of His saints to see this, and has opened from His own blessed word much truth concerning " the Heavenly Calling" of the Church; and while there is doubtless much more to be learned, the practical power and blessing from that which has been seen have been extensively felt.
In considering the subject of the Heavenly Calling, I have felt the need there is to keep before the mind, not only its prominent truths and varied features in detail, but also its scope and character as a whole.
A partial view of "the Heavenly Calling'', will lead only to partial results, and, it may be, to an opposite line of conduct in two saints.
For instance, one person sees that the Church is called to a heavenly hope, and consequently. that earthly rest and establishment are not now to be desired, but stranger-ship and separation from the course of this world.
Another sees how all the types and shadows of the law, ordinances of divine service, priestly services, and formal ceremonies, have been fulfilled and taken up in Christ; and this delivers him from confounding law and gospel, and from all formal worship.
But while the walk of one and the worship of the other have been set right, the limited view each has of "the Heavenly Calling," may leave both to pursue a line of conduct altogether at variance with it, and yet each suppose that his ways are regulated by its principles. Hence the importance of understanding what the scope of the truth is, and what it really embraces.
I will endeavor to point out the form which this truth assumes in my own mind. Further I cannot go.
1. What Is Meant by " the Heavenly Calling"; and What Is Its Practical Bearing Upon the Walk and Worship of Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ?
"The Heavenly Calling" of the Church will be better understood as it is compared with the earthly calling of Israel;-the contrast between the two, and the distinguishing character of the blessings, promises, and worship, each serves to mark more definitely what is involved in this truth.
Converts from among the Hebrews were the most suitable persons to address upon the subject. Their history, and all the appointments under the old Covenant, furnish so many materials for explaining their new position. The scriptures, at once, could be referred to; which could not be the case when addressing Gentiles, who might not though converted, be so familiar with the scriptures as to make that mode of conveying instruction the most expressive to them.
The expression, " the Heavenly Calling," occurs only once in scripture (in Heb. 3:1); but the whole argument of that Epistle refers to it.
The subject appears to me to bear practically upon two positions of believers.
1st. That which refers to their Walk, in the world. 2ndly. That which refers to their Worship before God.
1st. Our Walk.—A brief consideration of Israel's history, keeping before the mind the calling, hopes, habits, and associations of that people, from whom the parties addressed were converted, will enable us to perceive the force of the arguments of this Epistle, and the light which the Heavenly Calling casts upon our walk.
Passing over the call of Abraham, and their bondage in Egypt, it will suffice to take them up at Mount Sinai. They were there acknowledged by God, as His peculiar people—a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation (Ex. 19.5, 6).
He promised to bring them into a place which he had prepared for them, and to bless them there with everything that gives delight and happiness to the natural desires and affections of the heart of man (Ex. 23:20-26, etc.; Deut. 28:1-13).
He sought for rest and refreshment in them, of which the Sabbath was the sign (Ex. 31:17). His rest in Creation had been broken by the sin of man; it was proved a second time, by Noah's failure, that there was no rest yet for God in the earth; but, again seeking it in Israel, the renewal of the Sabbath was appropriate and expressive of the earthly character of their dispensation.
They were then a redeemed people journeying through the wilderness, but with every provision made by God for them by the way-the visible token of His presence, and the most complete directions relative to His will and worship given to them. They had, too, the promise of a rich inheritance and rest, to animate and cheer their hearts amidst the weariness, conflicts, and perils of the wilderness.
The faithful, full of confidence and rejoicing in hope, spurned the thought of rest in the desert, and were content to be pilgrims and strangers till they possessed the land. The unbelieving and distrustful became fearful of heart, and were ready to return to Egypt, despising the glorious prospects God had set before them.
Israel's position in the wilderness then answers to the position of Christianity in the world. Redeemed to God, called to count the world in which they are as a wilderness, and to be strangers and pilgrims in it, but with a blessed and glorious hope before them.
The difference is this-that Israel was called to earthly blessings and an earthly hope; Christians are called to spiritual blessings and a heavenly hope. But the Hope separated their hearts from all around-gave the character to their walk and position in the wilderness; and thus, where faith was in exercise, they serve as a pattern and example to the saints now; or their unbelief serves as a warning lest any should fall, and so come short of God's rest.
Seeing then, as believers in the Lord Jesus, as "partakers of the heavenly calling," what kind of hope is given 'to us, we are taught that our place is "without the camp bearing His reproach" (xiii. 13). The principles of our calling will surely lead to separation from this evil world, not merely from its ungodliness, excess, and folly, but from its 'whole course and current, its schemes, politics, and glory, knowing that all is soon to be dissolved, and that our kingdom is one that cannot be moved.
We learn from this Epistle what power this heavenly hope had over the lives and conversation of these early Christians; they " endured a great fight of afflictions ... were made a gazing-stock, both by reproaches and afflictions... took joyfully the spoiling of their goods, knowing" that they had "in heaven a better and an enduring substance" (10:32-34.)
The Lord brought Israel into the Promised Land, and blessed them in it, notwithstanding their forfeiture of every blessing by making the calf, and their subsequent rebellions; but for all that, it was not "His rest," nor Could it be upon the terms and covenant they agreed to take it, conditional upon their obedience; for He can find rest alone in the provisions of His own grace. This rest of God in them and the Land is yet future, and cannot be till Israel is restored, and all the promises made to Abraham are fulfilled, through the blood of the Mediator of the New Covenant.
This is yet future, as well as the heavenly inheritance of Christians, so that it can be said to us, " There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God."
But of Israel it might be asked, Had they not rest when brought into Canaan. They had in measure; but it was not God's rest; "For if Joshua had given them rest, then would he [David] not have spoken of another day" iv. 8; and this was spoken by David at least four hundred years after Joshua had brought them into the Land, proving that God looked upon the rest as yet future. So David himself felt at the close of his career:-" For we are strangers before Thee, and sojourners as were all our fathers: our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding" (1 Chron. 29:15). And the faith of many of the saints from Abraham onwards seemed to have looked beyond the dispensational and national promises to Israel to a heavenly hope, " a better country, that is, a heavenly"-" a city which hash foundations"-" a better resurrection," and so walked individually as pilgrims and strangers, suffering from the world, despising its pleasures and glory, and thus become a more direct example to us; but if these are not enough, let us "consider Him," even Jesus, the Prince of faith, who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
We have then to bear in mind, " that this is not our rest, it is polluted," and Walk accordingly, not in self-enjoyment and establishment, but basting through the world, thankful for the rest our souls have now by faith in Christ, but still waiting for the rest of God.)
2ndly. Our Worship.- The second division of the subject leads to the consideration of the bearing which the truth of " the Heavenly Calling" has upon our Worship..
Here again we must remember the prominent features of Israel's worships and the very strong hold which all the offices and ordinances connected with it had over their minds and affections. We can well understand this:—
First. Because they were of Divine appointment, and so sacred in their eyes.
Secondly. They were the tokens of God's special favor to them as His nation and people.
Thirdly. They were associated with every domestic and social thought and feeling from infancy.
Fourthly. From the strong hold which outward ordinances have over the natural mind-the tendency of the human heart, when at all exercised in conscience, to seek satisfaction and relief in that which is obvious to sense. And this is often the case, even after the soul has been long exercised, and found, through bitter experience, that it is not by works of righteousness that man can be made meet for the presence of a Just and Holy God; yet the poor heart, clinging to everything but simple faith, will turn and seek to find its rest and meetness for God in ordinances. Such was the case in the early Church. Circumcision was maintained by some to be necessary to salvation; and in our day Baptism and the Lord's Supper are declared to be as necessary-the mind of the Lord in these institutions being mistaken altogether.
Remembering, then, this tendency of the flesh, and the former habits and associations, of these Hebrews, at once we see the danger they were in, if faith declined, to turn again to those shadows and beggarly elements as they are called, and to forget how they were fulfilled and taken up by Christ in His Person, Sacrifice, and Offices.
That there were symptoms of this declension is very evident from the whole character of the Epistle, and from the solemn warnings and searching exhortations given unto them; but the Apostle does more; he takes the greatest pains to enlighten their understanding, and to give a right direction to their deep-rooted associations in all those points connected with their consciences and service.
It will be well to notice what these points were, which were so essential and absolutely necessary for conducting the worship according to the order of the tabernacle established by God.
They Were as follows, though the first and indeed the last were not immediately requisite in the routine of the worship, part of the Priest's service being to inquire of the Lord.
1. A Prophet who communicated the word of the Lord to them.
2. A High Priest who appeared before the Lord for them-the priests who ministered subordinately.
3. A Tabernacle wherein the priests ministered and wherein the Lord appeared.
4. The Sacrifice and Blood, the ground of the priest's appearing before God for them.
5. The Altar which sanctified every sacrifice and gift.
6. A Mediator, the Securer of all their hopes and blessings.
Now the Apostle does not weaken one of these associations in connection with the worship and service of God-all would be lifeless and powerless without them;-but he explains and points out to them how the sacrifice had been met by Christ, that He had become their Great High Priest, and that the place of his ministration for them was' not in the earthly tabernacle, but in heaven where they must now by faith draw nigh and worship God through Him.
This will be more clearly seen by following the argument of the Apostle upon each of these points.
1. Prophet or Apostle. God had in times past spoken by the Prophets: in these last days He had spoken by His Son.
He, who was the brightness of God's glory, the Creator, Sustainer and Heir of all things, came from Heaven to declare the "great salvation." He was God's Apostle: hence the increased responsibility believers are under 'to give heed to what is spoken, and the force of the exhortation, "Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the Heavenly Calling," consider the Apostle... of our profession Christ Jesus."
God had communicated His Will from the Earth, but now from Heaven; so much sorer the punishment shall those be thought worthy of who turn away from such grace and condescension.
" See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on Earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from Him that speaketh from Heaven" (Heb. 12.25). God speaking from Heaven by His Son as Apostle, is the first truth of " the Heavenly Calling."
He may still be considered as speaking from Heaven; for that which He first spoke by the Lord was confirmed by those who heard Him, "God also bearing them witness both with signs and wonders and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost" (Heb. 2:3, 4).
2. High Priest. A clear understanding of what Priesthood really is, is deeply necessary for our souls' daily experience.
The communication of the word of the Lord by a Prophet or Apostle is one thing; but the worship and intercourse between the people and the Lord is another: this was effected through the Priest.
The Prophet speaks to man from God -the Priest speaks to God for man-the Prophet had oft to plead for God with man; but the Priest had to plead for man with God.
But the most simple definition of Priesthood is given in Heb. 5:1, 2. A Priest is one " taken from among men and ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins, who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity."
A few more passages cast additional light upon this office:-
" Take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister to me in the Priest's office.... And they shall make holy garments for Aaron thy brother, and his sons"
(Ex. 28:1, 4). " Aaron shall bear their [the children of Israel's] names before the Lord upon his two shoulders for a memorial" (ver. 12) also he " shall bear the names of the children of Israel in the breastplate of judgment upon his heart when he goeth in to the Holy place, for a memorial before the Lord continually"(ver. 29). The plate of gold upon the miter " shall be upon Aaron's forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the Holy things, which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts; and it shall be always upon his forehead, that they may be accepted before the Lord (ver. 38).
And the Lord said unto Aaron, " Thou and thy sons with thee shall minister before the Tabernacle of Witness" (Num. 18:2).
" Thou and thy sons with thee shall keep your priest's office for everything of the altar, and within the vail; and ye shall serve:... and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death" (ver. 7).
Those only "whom he hath chosen will he cause to come near unto him" (Num. 16:5). "No stranger which is not of the seed of Aaron [shall] come near to offer incense before the Lord" (ver. 40). "Neither must the children of Israel henceforth come nigh the tabernacle of the congregation" (Num. 18:22).
While all the priests had constant access into the Tabernacle, the High Priest alone entered within the vail where the Lord appeared in the cloud upon the mercy-seat; and that only once every year, when reconciliation was made, "because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel" (Lev. 16).
These will suffice to show us that the priests were a favored class of the people; they had nearer access to God, than the people; they made reconciliation for them, presented their gifts. The High Priest bore their burdens, carried them on his heart before the Lord, hallowed their holy gifts; that they might be accepted-decided who were clean (Lev. 13 and 14); pronounced the blessing upon them (Lev. 9:22, and Num. 6:22-27); in fact, was the one through whom their worship and service were presented to God, and who stood as their representative before God. No wonder, then, that an Israelite should so look for and lean upon the service of the Priest. The Apostle would not weaken this dependance; but leads their minds to Christ their High Priest in the Heavens; and shows them how it is no earthly priesthood now they have to do with, " For if he were on earth he should not be a Priest." The believer, delivered now from the law, knows of no priest or order of men between him and God; or that he stands in need of any one service being performed for him.
How forcible then the exhortation, " Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly Calling, consider the... High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus."
A few words as to his qualifications for this office: they are well calculated to meet the feelings, and to give confidence and comfort to the souls of believers; especially to Hebrew converts.
The Son laid aside his Glory and became a man to be an Apostle. This was also needful to fit him to be a Priest; for a priest is one "taken from among men." He has gone back into Glory, still a man, to be a Priest.
Having passed through all the circumstances of suffering which sin had entailed upon man, " made flesh and blood," " encompassed with infirmity" and weakness; " tempted though without sin," " tasted death," "having learned obedience by the things which he suffered," known what it was to " offer up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears"; he is in every respect personally qualified for his office, for "he can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way"; and thus in all things " made like unto his brethren", can be reckoned on as a merciful and faithful High Priest.
An Israelite could have had no confidence in a priest not "called of God." "So also Christ glorified not himself to be made a High Priest." ... but was "called of God an High Priest after the order of Melchisedec" (Heb. 5:10). There was much in this high order of Priesthood to give more confidence and security to the believer than in Aaron's.
In the first place, it was of higher order; for Melchizedec was greater than Abraham. He was both King and Priest-it was an unchangeable Priesthood-therefore able to save to the end, "ever living to make intercession":-made "after the power of an endless life" by the Oath of God (7)-the surety also of a better covenant than that of the Law.
The poor weak failing or defiled Israelite had oft to turn to the Priest, to be cleansed and fitted to resume his place in the camp, or his service before the Tabernacle; and oft indeed has the believer in Jesus to turn to him, his High Priest in the heavens, for sympathy and grace to help, for healing and restoration of soul, and renewed communion with God.
The heavenly Priesthood of Christ is the second prominent truth of "the Heavenly Calling."
Tabernacle.-But where does Jesus exercise this service of Priesthood? Not upon earth: " for if he were on earth he should not be a Priest" (8:4); but " on the right hand of the throne of' the Majesty in the Heavens; a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man" (8:1,2); " he is passed into the heavens" (iv. 14).,The Lord no longer appears in the cloud in the earthly tabernacle (Ex. 25:22; 29:43-45; 40:34-38; Lev. 16:2). His Glory has been withdrawn from thence, where he was wont to meet his people (Ezek. 1 and x.); and now the only meeting-place is in heaven, where in Faith the worshipper through Jesus must draw nigh.
The Sacrifice and Blood.-But there is now an essential point to be considered in connection with this office. What was his title to stand in the presence of God for others? The proof that their sin was put away. The 16th of Lev. explains all this in type; and the 9th of Heb. is the application of that chapter to Christ and his work.
The High Priest under the Law had every year to make atonement for the sins of the people; and he could only appear within the vail before the Lord with blood, which he sprinkled upon the Mercy-seat: but Christ entered in once by his own blood, having obtained redemption, not for a year, but eternal redemption for us.
" Once in the end of the world hath he appeared, to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself."
Jesus the Son of God, in virtue of his own righteousness, had ever free access into Heaven and the throne of God; but if he is to appear there as the representative of others, he must produce the proof of their sins being put away, that the sacred Holiness of God may be maintained while he thus deals in mercy with the sinner. Hence the need of atonement and the accomplished redemption of the people, before the priest could appear in the presence of God for them.
Jesus' own blood is his full and perfect title to exercise this position and service for his people before God; and by it He will also reconcile the heavens and the earth (Heb. 9:23; Col. 1:20).
There is still another point that the soul of the worshipper needs to be set at rest about. He may be satisfied as to the perfect qualifications of Christ for the office-that he was duly " called of God" to it-of its high order, dignity, and peculiar power-of his full title to execute it; but what is all this to one who is in any uncertainty about his own personal condition before God. This was felt under the law: the conscience had not rest, neither of priest nor people, "it could not make him that did the service perfect as pertaining to the conscience" (Heb. 9:9). They never made "the corners thereunto perfect, because, if once purged, [they] should have had no more conscience of sin" (Heb. 10:1,2).
Now, how is, this met? We learn from Acts 26 who the sanctified are, " sanctified by faith that is in me." Whenever there is faith in Jesus, that person is sanctified. By the will of God " we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all," and forever. " For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified" (Heb. 10:10,14).
Here we learn who are sanctified-those who believe in Jesus; through what means they are sanctified-the offering of His body; and then, lest a fear might arise as to the loss of this blessing, it is written, "perfected forever." The conscience purged, and the testimony of the Holy Ghost, "their sins and iniquities will I remember no more."
Then these two things are provided for the worshipper. The blood of Jesus as his personal confidence to enter; and Jesus Himself, with all the proof that He has put away sin, standing there ready to receive him. Oh then the force of the word, "Let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed in pure water." Let us as duly consecrated priests, enter even within the veil, and, through our great High Priest, worship our God with reverence and godly fear.
The Altar.—Every sacrifice and gift, under the law, was brought to the altar. It was there the blood was shed, and from thence the sweet savor ascended. It sanctified every gift-Whatsoever toucheth it shall be holy (Ex. 29:37; Matt. 23).
Now the Apostle skews, that those who serve the Tabernacle have no right to the Altar, which the believer in Jesus has communion with. That He might sanctify the people by His own blood, He suffered without the gate. Jesus Himself is the altar now; and He it is that sanctifies us, and every gift that is presented to God. No worship or service of any amount is accepted but through Him and His work. His is the true altar: " By Him, therefore, let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually; that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name; but to do good and to communicate forget not, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased" (Heb. 13.10-16).
Mediator.—A few brief remarks before closings upon the Mediatorship of Christ.
We read that a change in the order of the priesthood necessarily made a change of the law; that there was a disannulling of it, because it made nothing perfect; but then there was the bringing-in of a better hope (Heb. 7.12, 18, 19). This is secured in Jesus-a Priest after the order of Melchisedec-who has entered within the veil, and is made the surety of a better covenant.
The Jews ought to have been expecting this new covenant: for, if a new was spoken of, they should have been prepared for the passing away of the old (Heb. 8.6).
This covenant was strictly made with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah (Heb. 8.8); and in whatever measure Christians may share some of its blessings, it applies to Israel, and will be confirmed to them upon their restoration, " when the Redeemer shall come to Zion." The Apostle appears to refer to it here to draw the minds of the Jewish converts away from the old covenant and its ordinances, and to lead them to see that Jesus is the Mediator of the new covenant; " and that, by means of death [His death] for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first covenant, they who are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance."
I have now gone through what appears to me to be the prominent characteristics of " the heavenly calling," and have endeavored to show its practical bearing both upon the walk and worship of believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.
How entirely this truth grounds our souls in grace! We are exhorted to hold fast grace, and encouraged to put confidence in God as the God of grace, under all afflictions, contradiction of sinners, and chastenings of his loving hand; and to remember that we are not come unto the mount where He was displaying Himself as a consuming fire, and in all the tokens of terrible majesty; but that we are come "unto Mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem," etc.
It gives, then, the character to our supports and consolations under affliction and suffering-furnishes us with clear principles to regulate our walk; and while it forbids us to think of rest or settlement in the world, and points out our path as pilgrims and strangers in it, without the camp, bearing Christ's reproach, it presents to us, as our hope, a kingdom which cannot be moved-a heavenly inheritance.
We are called, then, to walk by faith, and to worship God in faith. When this is understood, there will be no attempt to frame the worship after the pattern of Jewish observances.
Those who minister the word, will neither wish to take, or be forced into the position of the priests of old, and form a distinct class, or order of men between the congregation and God; but all worship together in the privilege of that universal priesthood and liberty, alike common to all believers.
The feeling of veneration towards the building which affords convenience to the assembly, will vanish along with its usual appellation, " the house of God;" and the thoughts will be carried upward, within the veil, to the building not made with hands-even heaven itself, the throne of the Majesty on high. No visible altar will be needed. Christ within the veil hallows the worship; and by Him we offer praise and thanksgiving and good works, the only sacrifices which we know are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
Many of the Lord's people do not see the injurious tendency of these external things; but I am satisfied they tend to weaken faith in invisible objects. They may assist the imagination, and produce feelings of veneration, but will not quicken the conscience in the presence of God. Without them, the worship will doubtless be less imposing and attractive to the natural mind, but will be more " in spirit and in truth."
The Heavenly Calling overturns them all, by presenting to our faith the Object to which they point.
If this blessed truth is clearly understood, the perfect acceptance and everlasting security of the believer are known, for the priesthood of Christ involves them; also, full deliverance from the law, whether as to justification, or as a rule of life-Christ being, not only our Savior, but perfect pattern and example. May we know more of him, and what it is to be " partakers of the Heavenly Calling!"
2. What Is Meant by " the Mystery"; and What Connection Is There Between It and " the Heavenly Calling"?
From the remarks which have already been made, it, has been shown that the calling of God's people derives its character from the nature of their blessings, and from the nature of the hope set before them.
The earthly blessings and promises given to the Israelites, made theirs an earthly calling.
The spiritual blessings in heavenly places, and the heavenly hope of believers in the Lord Jesus, make theirs a heavenly calling.
But there is a truth relating to the Church, and its relationship with Christ, and standing before God in Him, of a very special character, opening out privileges and blessings of even a higher order than are spoken of in the Epistle to the Hebrews. These also necessarily make the calling of the Church heavenly, though that precise term is not found in those scriptures which refer to it.
It is called " the Mystery"; and I am perfectly satisfied that the true character of the Church cannot be known if there be not a clear perception of the distinctive truths involved in this term.
I will endeavor briefly to point out, under different heads, what appears to me of deep, practical importance to observe relative to " the Mystery.'
1st. The character and high standing of the Church are involved in it.
2ndly. The highest motives to a holy and spiritual walk are drawn from it.
3rdly. Worship and Ministry are set in their true light by it.
4thly. The interpretation, and right application of scripture, depend upon attention to its distinct features.
The Epistles to the Ephesians and Colossians contain the fullest and most direct statements concerning the mystery, though it is also referred to in other scriptures.
The truths embraced by it I would now consider.
In Eph. 1:8, etc., we read that God " hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; having made known unto us the mystery of his will."
What this is, is explained in the tenth verse, viz.: " That in the dispensation of the fullness of times, he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are in earth; even in him.
Thus, "the mystery of his will" embraces God's complete purpose of blessing in both of these spheres.
But the apostle speaks, after this, of Christ and the Church, and says "this is a great mystery" (Eph. 5:32); and throughout these Epistles, and other scriptures where he uses this term, it is with reference to those truths immediately connected with the Church. Let us examine this:-
1st. The character and high standing of the Church are involved in it.
These Epistles declare, in common with other scriptures, the redemption, reconciliation, forgiveness of sins through the blood of the cross, and heavenly hope of believers in Christ, but upon peculiar and distinct ground-not merely that Christ died for us, but that we died with him, and are risen with him.
" Buried with him in baptism, wherein ye are also risen with him (Col. 2:12).
" If ye then be risen with Christ ... For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear" (Col. 3:1, 3, 4).
God " hath quickened us together with Christ; ... and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (Eph. 2:5, 6; see also Col. 2:13, 20).
We learn from these scriptures, that the Church is spoken of as having died with Christ, risen with him, and made to sit in heavenly places in him-made alive with him, yea, that he is our life. This is the essential and prominent feature of the mystery. Life in Christ-one with our risen Lord.
" We are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones... They two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the Church" (Eph. 5:30-32).
"He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit"(1 Cor. 6.17). The blessings of the Church are spiritual, her portion is in heavenly places in Christ" (Eph. 1:3).
She is a witness of the manifold wisdom of God, to principalities and powers in heavenly places" (Eph. 3:10).
Her spiritual conflicts are with wicked spirits in heavenly places (see margin Eph. 6:12). These mark her heavenly character; but there are other privileges to notice:-
The church was chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world-before time commenced its course (Eph. 1.4; see also 2 Tim. 1:9; Titus 1:2): not merely an elect body, but her election traced to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus" (Eph. 3:11).
" Predestinated unto the adoption of children" (Eph. 1:6). Before God in all the perfectness and love of Christ. " Complete in him" (Col. 2:10). " Accepted in the beloved" (Eph. 1:6).
" Sealed with the holy Spirit of promise, unto the day redemption" (Eph. 1:13, and iv. 30).
" Builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit" (Eph. 2:22).
These are the wonderful privileges of the Church, opened to us by the revelation of the mystery. Christ is presented in the Epistle to the Hebrews, as having been partaker with us, his brethren, in all our circumstances of weakness and sorrow down here; or ministering for us in heaven above, while we are passing through the wilderness; but, by the revelation of the mystery, we learn we are one with Christ in life and blessing, and set in him in heaven above; this, while a fact, is known to us by -faith.
Paul was the chosen instrument to make known this "Mystery" to the Church. To him was committed this dispensation of the grace of God, as the following passages declare:-
" Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfill the word- of God; even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints" (Col. 1:25,26).
Again, (Eph. 3:2-5) " If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: how that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery... which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit."
He was to make all men see what was the " fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God."
But there is another feature of the mystery, which the apostle takes special pains to make clear, and which, if overlooked, would leave us with a defective apprehension of the character of the Church, and of the scope of the mystery.
It is this:-Who are the parties which constitute this body, brought into union with the Lord Jesus Christ?
And to answer this satisfactorily, we must consider the past and future purposes of God with reference to Israel; for it is by the strong contrast between Israel's order of blessing and the Church's, that the distinct character of the latter stands out in its prominence before the mind.
It was clearly revealed, that Israel was to be the center of all God's dealings and arrangements with the Earth, (Deut. 32:8). We have seen how they were acknowledged by God as His peculiar people (Ex. 19:5,6);- of the dominion promised them over other nations, and the earthly character of their blessings (Deut. 28:1-13).
And though now they are " Lo Ammi," and scattered over the world, it is distinctly revealed they shall be restored, forgiven, and every promise made to them fulfilled. " The Redeemer shall come to Zion, and turn away ungodliness from Jacob" (Isa. 59:20,21). Israel shall then stand in pre-eminence of glory as a nation, the Gentiles shall bow down before them, and serve them, and the nation that will not serve them shall perish" (lx. 12). Jerusalem shall also be the center of true worship. " And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths; for out of Zion shall go forth the Law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem" (Isa. 2:3).
My tabernacle also shall be with them, yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And the heathen shall 'know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore" (Ezek. 37:27,28). Pre-eminent in national greatness and glory, pre-eminent in religious privileges, they will still remain a distinct people, while the truth and blessing flows from Jerusalem, and " the Earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea,"-" And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious" (Isa. 11:10).
I need not multiply passages, as this is a truth extensively acknowledged. Christ is the source of all this blessing both to Israel and the Gentiles. " He is the Redeemer of Israel," the Mediator of the New Covenant to them; but He is also given to be " a light to the Gentiles," and God's salvation to the ends of the Earth (Isa. 49:6,7).
The Prophets of old speak expressly upon these two points. This is the order of the future blessing-the distinction still existing amidst the universal blessing, and ever maintained between Jew and Gentile.
Now the peculiar character of " the Mystery" sets all this aside during the dispensation of the Mystery.
Israel, having rejected Christ, is cast down from her high privilege for a season, and stands upon the common level of all sinners.
The Preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the Mystery" addresses all, Jew and Gentile, as lost sinners; and gathers from both parties a body of believers, who are brought into the same privileges, partakers of the same Life, of the same promises in Christ, of the same body, and are all alike fellow-heirs. Those who were afar off [Gentiles], and those who were. near [Jews], have now equal access through Christ " by one Spirit unto the Father": He "hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition... for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace: and that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: and came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them which were nigh," etc. (Eph. 2:14-17). " Now therefore ye [Gentiles] are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God."
Not brought into Jewish privileges, but both now fellow-citizens in those new blessings just before described.
All this was strange to the ears of the Jewish believers, ah, even at first to the Apostles; it was so contrary to the order of blessing they looked for.
They were slow to carry the Gospel to the Gentiles at all. Peter was led to do it by the vision of the sheet and his interview with Cornelius, and was afterward called to an account for it by the Church at Jerusalem, though subsequently they rejoiced "that God had also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life" (Acts 11:18).
This makes it additionally clear that the Mystery was not known to the early pentecostal Church. The Gospel declaring the death and resurrection of Jesus, and His exaltation as Lord and Christ, salvation through His name, forgiveness of sins, and the promise of the Holy. Ghost to all who believed, was preached; but it was reserved for Paul, after Jerusalem had rejected the testimony presented to her, to unfold the high and peculiar privileges into which believers were now brought.
The prominent features of the Mystery, then, which constitute the real character of the Church are:-Partakers of the Resurrection-life of Christ, risen with Him, seated in heavenly places in Him, blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Him, witness to those in heavenly places; conflict with wicked spirits in heavenly places; the Hope of heavenly Glory; the distinction between Jew and Gentile gone, both of one body, and that body the dwelling-place of the Holy Ghost.
These are points which cannot be neglected without impairing the integrity of " the Mystery."
Most blessed is the truth taught us in the Epistle to the Hebrews; in many respects more necessary for our daily experience than any other part of Scripture, yet the full privileges and peculiar character of the church are not taught there: for instance, while it treats so largely of " the Heavenly Calling," not one principle or truth connected with it would be affected or weakened, had no Gentile been brought into its blessings.
But the Gentiles form one of the constituent parts of " the Mystery," and the place they occupy in it must be marked, to enter into its character.
2ndly. The higher motives to a holy and spiritual walk are drawn from it.
Because we learn by it, that we are dead and risen men, -that we are one with Christ-" blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ"; that we possess a life, a new nature, which can find fellowship alone with him " who is our life." We are called then to walk as heavenly men, yet upon earth. How forcible is the Scripture upon this point.
" If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, set your affections upon things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God... Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth" (Col. 3:1-5; see also Rom. 6).
If the apostle exhorts us not to lie one to another, it is upon the ground of the nature of the new life and of the oneness of the body-" seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him" (Col. 3:9,10).... "which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore put away lying for we are members one of another". (Eph. 4:24,25).
Again, Christ's love to the church and his oneness with it as his body, is the blessed motive urged upon the husband to love and cherish his wife as his own flesh. The submission of the church to Christ, is the pattern presented to the wife of subjection to her husband (Eph. 5:22, etc.)
The church being the habitation of God through the Spirit and our bodies the temple of the Holy. Ghost, what a motive to glorify God in our body and spirit, and with what care and godly fear should we walk lest we grieve the Holy Spirit whereby we are sealed unto the day of redemption (1 Cor. 6:18,19; Eph. 4:30).
We learn specially by "the Mystery" the sovereign grace of our God. We are brought into its blessings " to the praise of the glory of his grace.... according to the riches of his grace... By grace ye are saved." Consequently the principles of grace are to regulate our walk here—praying for our enemies, doing good to them who hate us, resisting not evil, forgiving injuries, "even as God for Christ's sake has forgiven" us.
From what has been advanced, it will be seen how this truth bears. upon our walk in every respect. What a separative power there is in it, if we have learned by the principles of " the Heavenly Calling," that our path in the world is that of pilgrims and strangers, that we can take no part in its politics and schemes, how much more when we learn we are dead to the world and are heavenly men though in it.
It does not take us out of the relationship in which God has set us, or teach us to be recluses and not perform the duties assigned us, but to act upon God's principles in doing them. It is true that we shall not be able to carry his principles into fellowship with the world; the men of this world will not care for us if we were to attempt it: we could not unite with them without lowering the holy standard given to us; but, standing apart from its course and energy and baseless expectations, our minds will be kept free from its confusion and distractions, and be better able to express Christ in all our ways, Christ being ours in " the High Calling of God," therefore condemns earthly-mindedness, sensual enjoyments, and teaches us to have our conversation in heaven; from whence we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ (Phil. 3:14).
It is "a Holy Calling" (2 Tim. 1:9). God hath not
called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness" (1 Thess. 4:7).
It is a calling to glory -" whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Thess. 2:14).-" Walk worthy of God who has called you into his kingdom and glory" (1 Thess. 2:12).
3rdly. Worship and Ministry are set in their true light by it.
In the Epistle to the Hebrews, the worshippers arc called to draw nigh to the Living God, as purged from in, having boldness through the blood of Jesus, the One who has made reconciliation for them, and is not ashamed to call them brethren, standing in the presence of God for them as their High Priest.
Wonderful and blessed is this, the creature brought nigh to the Living God, his Maker.
But we draw nigh in a still more blessed character and relationship as taught by "the Mystery"; as children we have access to God as our Father. " Accepted in the beloved" (Eph. 1:6), "in whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him" (3:12). " What manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us that we should be called the sons of God" (1 John 3:1). Thus, while we should draw nigh in the spirit of adoption in child-like confidence, our hearts alive to all the happy affections and thoughts associated in that relationship, yet with reverence and awe, never forgetting that while sons we are still creatures in the presence of Him who is glorious in holiness, fearful in praises-the Eternal God!
The Holy Ghost is the power of our worship. " For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father" (Eph. 2:18). " Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit" (6:18).
Praying in the Holy Ghost (Jude 19). We can discern now, by the light of the Mystery, the drift of the
Lord's conversation to the woman of Samaria, when he was speaking of the true character of worship and the gift of the Spirit.
But the basis of all worship is reconciliation and peace with God. How fully this is established by " the Mystery." If one with Christ, quickened and risen with him, then the question about acceptance is forever settled. When faith has not apprehended this, and the finished work of Christ is not seen, the flesh will work and seek to find something else to rest in.
It would appear the Colossians needed to be warned against any who might beguile them with enticing words; and he shows how the truth of "the Mystery" overthrows all their reasoning.
He had great conflict for them, that their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the Mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ."
" Beware lest any man' spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ" (Col. 2:2,8).
We may consider this warning under four distinct heads.
1. Philosophy, or human wisdom and reasoning.
2. Vain deceit-Superstition.
3. Tradition, or the commandments of men.
4. Rudiments of the world-Ordinances.
1. Philosophy would determine what is or is not pleasing to God by human reasoning, instead of receiving in humble faith what God has revealed. It seeks to exalt the powers of man's mind, and in pride of heart would hide from itself the corruption of human nature and the miserable ruined condition into which sin has plunged him.
2. Vain deceit. Superstition admits perhaps the ruin; but devises a way of its own to remedy the evil. Philosophy tends to infidelity, though it may end in superstition, if conscience becomes alarmed.
" Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind."
This is the way superstition works-great apparent humility-veneration for angels. God says, He is the only One to be worshipped. Christ is the only Mediator; and of Him it was said, " Let all the angels of God worship him;" but superstition, vainly puffed up by its fleshly mind, turns to worship and seek the aid of those who are said to be "ministering spirits"; and in worshipping them would fain persuade itself it is exhibiting humility-but Christ is slighted in 'it all. Another form superstition assumes, neglecting or punishing the body; but enough has been said to mark its character and workings; it is altogether intruding into things not seen-it has a show of wisdom in will-worship, but springs from the depraved heart " to the satisfying of the flesh" (Col. 2:18-23).
The advocates of such a system may appear to be of deep sanctity, and the severity of their discipline and self-denial, and their solemn and imposing worship, calculated to produce an effect and excite the veneration of the natural mind; but the spiritual man discerns its true character " the flesh," and knows that it is all in 'the place of Christ and His work, and the absence of simple faith in Him and His precious blood.
3. Tradition, or the " commandments of men," may either enforce what God once appointed, the ordinances of the Law; or seek to make that binding for which there is no authority in Scripture. The Lord gives its character and results in Mark 7.
Let anything of man become authority, and binding upon the conscience; however simple and harmless it may appear, that moment it takes the place God and His Word should have in the soul, and becomes vain worship, weakens the authority of God's Word, and prepares the mind for laying it aside, and for formality (Mark 7:1-8). But mark the next stage that tradition leads to. Having put the commands of men upon a level with the commands of God, it soon lays aside the latter, and ends in establishing something which is in direct contradiction to God's Word, making it of none effect, and rejecting the commandment of God, that the commandments of man may be observed. The two come into collision. God commands children to honor their father and mother: tradition says, " No, we are free to help them or not" (Mark 7:1-13).
4. Rudiments of the world, ordinances.-Enough has been said before to show the strong tendency of the heart, and the reason it so cleaves to ordinances.
The Apostle appears to have before his mind a statement very prevalent in those days:-" Unless ye be circumcised and keep the Law ye cannot be saved" (Acts 15.1). Mark how the truth of the Mystery at once delivers the soul from such teaching. Why, "Ye are circumcised ... by the circumcision of Christ.. buried with Him... risen with Him.. quickened together with Him, having forgiven, you all trespasses. Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances... and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross" (Col. 2:11-14). 'What a triumphant answer to such teachers! Meats, drinks, holy-days, new moon, or sabbaths, all disposed of by the same truth; they are the shadows of things to come; but the body is of Christ. " Ye are complete in Him," He is the great ordinance, and " If ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances" (Col. 2:20)?
In considering the light which the Mystery casts upon Ministry, there are two things to be borne in mind.
The fullness of Christ, the Head of the body the Church.
And that the Church is the habitation of God through the Spirit.
Christ is not only Head of the Church, but Head over all things to the Church. Having triumphed over all powers, He is the Head of all principality and power, and " in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily" (Eph. 1:21,22; Col. 2:9,10).
" When He ascended up on high He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men." He " ascended up far above all heavens, that He might fill all things, and He gave... Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers, for the perfecting of the saints," etc., for their preservation from seducers, and for their growth up to Him in all things, who is the Head. " From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which. every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body to the edifying of itself in love" (Eph. 4:8-16).
The same in Col. 2:19, we see how everything for the nourishment and unity of the body and for its increase with the increase of God, flows from Christ the Head. When this is not known, or as soon as faith becomes weak, human power, wisdom, and qualifications are exalted; and instead of faith in the fullness of the Head, men lean upon them.
There is one body and one Spirit.-The Holy Ghost dwells in the body; and it is from His energy and operations, " dividing to every man severally as he will," by His immediate and direct action, that all ministries flow.
The operations of the Spirit are more fully taught in 1 Cor. 12; while in the Epistles to the Ephesians and Colossians we are led to see more of the fullness of the Head.
The basis of all ministry then, is: the fullness of the Head, and the development of the operations of the Holy Ghost dwelling in the body.
There is such an intimate connection between the real character of the Church and Ministry, that defective views of the one would be very likely to lead to imperfect views of the other.
4thly. The interpretation and right application of Scripture depend upon attention to its distinct features.
It cannot be denied, that the Scriptures give us the history of a holy faithful people, suffering for righteousness' sake, who cannot be standing in the privileges of the Church. If it were said, These Scriptures refer to the exercise of some of God's people previous to Christ; well, mark their distinct character:-They feel God's hand is heavy upon them, that they are suffering for their iniquities (though now most true in heart to. God); they call upon Him not to cast them off forever, no longer to hide his face, but to purge them from their sins; clearly they are not standing in the position or knowledge of reconciliation and acceptance. At once, then, we see..how unsuitable such language would be in the lips of those who stand in union with Christ, and in all the favor and acceptance which the Mystery teaches us we are set in. While we may derive much instruction and profit, and learn much of God and his ways in them, if our experience answered to theirs, we should have got off the ground of grace altogether. Hence the necessity of holding fast the principles of our calling, that we do not misapply such scriptures to the injury of souls.
Further:-They pray for vengeance upon their enemies -call down God's righteous judgment upon them. All this is the very opposite to the state of heart of those who know God's grace, and are commanded even to act in grace to all, and to pray for their enemies.
Their hopes are earthly-the fulfillment of God's promises made to the Fathers. These are not what sustain our souls in affliction, but the Heavenly Hope set before us. We see what the expectations of a godly Jew were in Zechariah's praise, and what he looked for by the truth of Christ (Luke 1:68-79). We look for his coming again to receive us' unto himself, to enter the Father's mansions.. While he tarries, 'tis the time of tribulation: it may vary as to intensity; but the characteristic portion of the Church as to earth is tribulation. " In the world ye shall have tribulation."
Now if what I have said concerning certain Scriptures in their application to saints of old, if they describe the experience of saints who are yet to use them previous to the appearing in glory of the Lord Jesus Christ, and who find deliverance and acceptance at his coming-how careful we must be not to confound them with the Church, nor conclude because of their faith and devotedness that they are one with the Church. I allude specially to the Prophets and Psalms, though there are other scriptures that these remarks apply to, which will be readily discerned by those exercised upon these points. I have now gone through what appears to me to be necessary to note and keep before our minds in relation to the Heavenly Calling and the Mystery. By the light of the latter, we see what was in the Lord's mind in his conversation with his disciples, as recorded by John, and the additional instruction, specially chapters 14-16 concerning the presence and office of the Holy Ghost in the Church, which we need well to consider in connection with worship and ministry.
The first epistle of John is all in harmony with this subject, leading us to the spring of all our blessings, God's Love; and the knowledge of it, and our oneness in Christ, the power and spring of the new commandment in us.
The Lord guide us into all truth, and make our love abound one to another!
See how within the holiest
The blessed Savior stands;
There He prepares for us a place,
With incense from His hands.
Brethren! His glory all is ours,
His fellowship with God,
Yes, there we sit in Christ the Lord,
Fruit of His precious blood.
(Hymn, 368.-Poor of the Flock)

The House of the Lord

How sweet it is to look to the end of our weary way-and what an end-"the house of the Lord"! and that " forever"! Surely "goodness and mercy shall follow me all the clays of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Can anything be sweeter, goodness and mercy now, the house of the Lord hereafter?-D.

Jacob's Recall to Bethel

In the four chief biographies of Genesis, we have unfolded and illustrated four great principles of God's dealing with His people in grace; besides the individuals themselves being in many instances distinct types.
In Abram is presented God's principle of election and grace-" I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy," -the foundation of everything in His ways to poor sinners. In Isaac, Sonship and Heirship,-" if Children then Heirs." In Jacob, discipline,-" What Son is he whom the Father chasteneth not?" In Joseph, suffering and glory,- " if we suffer we shall also reign with Him." Other truths have their place in each; but this is the leading thought. It is interesting to look at Bethel in connection both with Abraham and Jacob, the man of faith, and the man of experience. Bethel, and the God of Bethel, are the same; but there is an aspect peculiar to each. Bethel was Abram's meeting-place with God, as well as Jacob's, and the place of his altar too (Gen. 12:7,8)-but he had known him as the "God of glory" before this in Ur of the Chaldees; and this was the foundation of the call which the man of faith had obeyed. Faith had brought Abram as a stranger and a pilgrim to Bethel: circumstances first brought Jacob there; and accordingly, after declension in Abram as the man of faith, there is a much speedier restoration to Bethel than Jacob found (Gen. 13:3,4). But Jacob is our subject. In Gen. 28:10,22, we learn the circumstances in which Jacob first became acquainted with Bethel. His subtlety in seeking to obtain the blessing which was his, according to the sure promise of God, " the elder shall serve the younger " (Gen. 25:23), but which his natural character, could not leave in the hands of the Lord to accomplish, had now made him an exile from his father's house, and a fugitive from an injured brother's rage. He was a supplanter; and the natural character in Jacob presented no traits of loveliness, while in Esau there were the characteristics of a generous spirit. But Jacob, with all his obliquities and feebleness of character, was connected with God, while Esau was " a profane man who despised his birthright;" and with every trait of generous frankness, was but the man of sense, and seeking nothing beyond this world.
It was to this " worm Jacob," when he was a homeless pilgrim, a wandering forlorn man, with the heavens only for his canopy, and a staff for his companion, and the stone for his pillow, that the God of Bethel appeared.; and there, from the top of the "ladder that reached to heavers," and on which the " angels of God were ascending and descending," He reveals Himself as the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac, and enters into an unchangeable relationship and connection with Jacob.
Jacob never had a fuller revelation of God as the God of promise and grace, nor blessings larger and fuller sealed to him, nor a surer pledge of God's watchful care over him, than Bethel presented, and that too when every external circumstance was most contrary. Grace penetrates his heart, while the vision of it is fresh before him, and he " vowed a vow saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and raiment to put on, so that I come to my father's house in peace, then shall the Lord be my God; and this stone which I have set for a pillar shall be God's house." But this is not the strong grasp of faith-staggering not at the promise through unbelief, but the feeble hesitancy of the soul, that must, through many sorrows, learn its own weakness, before it will take God only for its strength. But God is the God of Bethel; and under the power of this revelation of himself to Jacob, did he call upon him to walk and act in the scenes that lay before him. His subsequent history, before we hear again of Bethel, is marked by the unprincipled retributive conduct of Laban, and by the hard and unrewarded service with which he made him serve. And it seems that Jacob's bearing under this rigorous service, and changing of wages, was but little in accordance with the suited character of one who had known the revelations and the sure presence with Him, and help of the God of Bethel. But in the midst of this scene of trial, God recalls his mind to Bethel, and the vow he had made there in other days. If Jacob, in the midst of worldly scenes, had forgotten his purpose of faithful profession of Jehovah for his God, and the service he had vowed to render, God had not forgotten the promise of His grace, " Behold I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou guest, and will briny thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of." And now He says (Chapter 31:13) "I am the God of Bethel, where thou anointedst the pillar, and where thou vowedst a vow unto me: now arise, get thee out of this land and return unto thy kindred."
This fresh call of " the God of Bethel " breaks the link of Jacob's bondage in Padan Aram, and puts the "Syrian [that was], ready to perish," again with his "staff" to recross the Jordan with his " two bands." But, pilgrim as he is again, and on his journey back under the hand of God, there is many an exercise of heart in the presence of God yet lies between him and Bethel. There are the seven days' hot pursuit of Laban, after the man that had " stolen away unawares," though he left at the bidding, and under the protection, of the God of Bethel! But there is God's pillar between Jacob and Laban, as there was afterward between the trembling Israelites and Pharaoh's pursuing hosts. But another trial awaits him, which brings to remembrance the sins of other days, and leads to deeper exercises before the God of Bethel still. "Deliver me" (says the trembling man) " from the hand of Esau, for I fear him, lest he come and smite me, and the mother with the children, And Thou saidst, I will surely do thee good [this was the remembrance of Bethel], and make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitudes." And now comes the last effort of his wisdom in his arrangements to meet the trying hour; and then he is "left alone" with God! Apart from every circumstance, and every tie, he [is " left alone" with God. But it is not in the calm worship by the altar of Bethel, but to know a night of wrestling with Him, who, because He meant to bless, must needs resist the ways and cripple the energy that had neither been subdued by the presence of grace, nor subjected to God by the power of faith! " There wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint." His flesh was touched 1 [I speak only morally of this scene, and not of its typical bearing on Israel's history in a future day]. " He had power over the angel and prevailed;" but it was with the distress of the wrestler-dreading lest the blessing should escape-" that he wept and made supplication to Him." He had found God and obtained the blessing; but "Peniel" is not " Bethel." The poor crippled man lets us into the secret of his thoughts through that night of weeping and wrestling, when he calls " the " name of the place Peniel; for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved 1" But this is not worshipping by the anointed pillar, under the opened heavens, with the bright visions of glory, and in the sweet confidence of an eternal connection with the God of Bethel. It is God at Peniel; and, in the strength that was given there, he meets his brother Esau, and he finds how God, to whom he cried, had bowed his brother's heart, without the presents that were meant by poor Jacob to bribe his love! " Esau said, I have enough, my brother, keep that thou hast unto thyself." " And Jacob came to Shalem (Gen. 33:18), a city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan... And he bought a parcel of a field, where he had spread his tent, at the hand of the children of Timor Shechem's father, for an hundred pieces of money. And he erected there an altar, and called it El-elohe-Israel." He is now a worshipper of " God the God of Israel;" his " altar," with its inscription, tells whose worshipper lie is. But God in " Shechem " is not God at " Bethel," as Jacob has to learn. Why does he linger here, and purchase the piece of ground, as if he would have a possession among the Canaanites, when God had called him to Bethel, and showed him there his title to all the land as his inheritance? Alas! this fresh attempt of the pilgrim-man to stop a little short. of the place to which God had called him, ministers still further to his experience. But experience is a sad teacher, unless it be when faith points her lessons, and God is the subject of her study. If her father has purchased a possession here, why may not Dinah his daughter " go out to see the daughters of the land?" Alas, her corruption follows, as the fruit of this; and Simeon and Levi's treachery and terrible revenge, soon destroy the poor pilgrim's " green spot in the desert;" and all that he can say in the bitterness of his heart is, " Ye have troubled me to make me to stink among the inhabitants of the land.... and I being few in number, they shall gather themselves together against me, and slay me; and I shall be destroyed, and my house. And they said, Should he deal with our sister as with an harlot?" Small comfort to allay his agony and distress! But God appears (what grace I) -to call him forth again, that from the midst of these circumstances, he should know him fully as the God of Bethel. " And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Beth-el, and DWELL there; and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother. And Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away th strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments: and let us arise, and go up to Beth-el; and f will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went. And they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which were in their hands, and all their ear-rings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem. And they journeyed: and the terror of God was upon the cities that were round about them, and they did not pursue after the sons of Jacob." God made them feel in all the wretched circumstances of this man and his family-though their hatred burned against him-and his own fears could picture nothing but destruction, until God had reminded him again of Beth-el,-that they must not intermeddle with them, because God was in a living connection with them!
But what had Jacob's experience, in all his vicissitudes, taught him of God, beyond what was revealed to his faith-if he had had the faith to receive it-in the very outset of his course at Bethel? It is no fresh revelation of God that now puts him upon seeking a moral conformity to the character and relationship in which he stands toward him. The answer of his heart, when he first met " the God of Beth-el," was, " Jehovah shall be my God; and this stone which I have set for a pillar shall be God's house." But there had been little remembrance of this "vow" at a distance from the scenes in which the wondrous revelations of grace and glory first drew it forth. But God remembered His part, and was with him in all places whither he went (though little regarded), for he had said I will not leave thee until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of "! But when Bethel is again reached or journeyed toward under God's last call, after all this trial, then suddenly and for the first time, breaks upon Jacob's thought, that the things of idolatry, and the ornaments of the flesh, that had gathered around him in Padan Aram, must not be associated with a return to Bethel, where as a houseless pilgrim, with nothing but a staff in his hand, " a Syrian ready to perish "-he first found the God of Bethel, in all His grace, and took Him in the gladness of His heart, and in the solemn vow of His lips, to be his God-his full, his blessed, his only portion! The false gods, and the ear-rings, and the filthy garments may remain without rebuke in Syria under Laban's hard service; nay, they may still be untouched, when God at Peniel is striving with us and when we have seen Him face to face and our life has been preserved; nay, they may be connected with the altar at Shechem; and all the terror of the presence of an adversary that none but God can deliver us from, may fail to lead us to an inquisition for what so divides the confidence of the heart with God, and is so unfit for His presence! But when the God of Bethel-the God of the poor pilgrim-recalls us to the brightness of His grace, and the unchangeable connection in which that grace has set us with Himself, then the " false gods," the gods of the heart, can no longer be retained; " the ear-rings," the ornaments of the flesh which go along with a divided heart, must be put away; and the stained garments of the world can no longer be borne. In the thought of "Bethel," the gods and the earrings must find their place under the oak at Shechem. Perhaps the "purchased field," which promised a little rest and enjoyment at a distance from Bethel, is only used as furnishing a hole of burial for the things that cannot remain a moment in the presence of the grace and the God of Bethel. But Jacob at length is back again in blessed fellowship with Bethel and the God of Bethel; and how freely does the fountain of grace, and love, and faithfulness, pour forth its streams to refresh his weary heart! It is the God of Bethel still, in spite of all his forgetfulness and wanderings. " And God appeared unto Jacob again, when he came out of Padan-aram, and blessed him. And God said unto him, Thy name is Jacob: thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name: and he called his name Israel. And God said unto him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins; and the land which I gave Abraham and Isaac, to thee I will give it, and to thy seed after thee will I give the land. And God went up from him in the place where he talked with him. And Jacob set up a pillar in the place where he talked with him, even a pillar of stone: and he poured a drink offering thereon, and he poured oil thereon. And Jacob called the name of the place where God spake with him, Beth-el."
Such, and so different, is the effect of the truth of God, known and believed, it may be, as a revelation; and the same truth held in living fellowship with God and in moral conformity to him whose revelation it is!
How shall JACOB supplant and become ISRAEL, a Prince with God?
With Saint-for what can human means avail?
His God unowned, resources always fail:
Dependent supplicants alone prevail.-Ed.

Jeroboam: a Kingdom Gained and a Kingdom Lost

THE Word of God deals in facts, not theories. Man has been put upon trial in every possible way. The result of these trials has been constant failure. " Whatsoever things were written aforetime, were written for our learning." The scriptures are the testimony of God as to what is in man, and His testimony to what He is in Himself. Scripture is also given for our admonition. Paul writing to the Corinthians, 1st Epistle, chap. 10, so uses the Old Testament,-drawing examples and warning from the records of the past, as also instruction and stimulus for faith to day. The actions of men, and the state of the Heart which led to them, is put prominently before us. Sometimes we glean from the actions themselves, the whereabouts of a man's thoughts; at other times the Holy Ghost more explicitly declares the condition of soul. Thus we have a "sure word of prophecy, unto which we do well to take heed." " By the word of thy lips, I have kept me from the path of the destroyer." " Thy word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path." We need faith, not experience. The latter is imperatively given to us in Scripture-God's testimony of what was in man, brought out in given circumstances, but existing in man before its development. It is also God's testimony of what is in us. Circumstances may develop this also. But where Faith is in exercise and the scriptures accredited, we do not require to be put upon trial, or to learn by our failure the knowledge of our weakness. Faith accredits God's testimony. We have in the Bible the record of our weakness. Every failure in man related there confirms it. We have also the source of strength in dependance or faith in God. The knowledge of the former works humility and trembling, and in a healthy state of soul knits us closer to God; and, conscious of our weakness, we roll ourselves upon Him.
" His soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: hut the just shall live by his faith" (Habakkuk 2:4).
Thus facts, not theories, are revealed in the word of God. Now the subject before us is pregnant with meaning. A kingdom was given to Jeroboam by the appointment and power of God, and was lost by his own efforts to retain it. The call to the kingdom was of God, and the power to sustain in it, His also. God in His gifts has calculated for circumstances. He may use them to prove whether man will confide in Him; but to be swayed in our judgment by them, is to put circumstances above God, and thus to forget that He is Almighty. Unbelief in his power and Godhead does not end in departure from Him only, but to follow another; as in the case of Israel, " Up, make us gods to go before us." So in the case of Jeroboam, " he set up calves in Dan and Bethel." But let us look to the narrative. The chapter opens with the account of Solomon's idolatry: "For it came to pass when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods; and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father. For. Solomon went after Ashtaroth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcolm the abomination of the Ammonites. And Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, etc. etc." (ver. 9.) " The Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the Lord God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice." In ver. 14, we read, "the Lord stirred up an adversary unto Solomon, Hadad the Edomite: he was of the king's seed in Edom." In ver. 23, we read, " God stirred up another adversary, Rezon, the son of Eliadah," etc. And again, in ver. 26-40:-
"And Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, an Ephrathite of Zereda, Solomon's servant, whose mother's name was Zeruah, a widow woman, even he lifted up his hand against the king. And this was the cause that he lifted up his hand against the king: Solomon built Millo, and repaired the breaches of the city of David his father. And the man Jeroboam was a mighty man of valor: and Solomon seeing the young man that he was industrious, he made him ruler over all the charge of the house of Joseph. And it came to pass at that time when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, that the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him in the way; and he had clad himself with a new garment; and they two were alone in the field: and Ahijah caught the new garment that was on him, and rent it in twelve pieces: and \he said to Jeroboam, Take thee ten pieces: for thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel. Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee: (but he shall have one tribe for my servant David's sake, and for Jerusalem's sake, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel:) because that they have forsaken me, and have worshipped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the children of Ammon, and have not walked in my ways, to do that which is as right in mine eyes, and to keep my statutes and my judgments, as did David his father. Howbeit I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand: but I will make him prince all the days of his life for David my servant's sake, whom [ chose, because he kept my commandments and my statutes: but, I will take the kingdom out of his son's hand, and will give it unto thee, even ten tribes. And unto his son will I give one tribe, that David my servant may have alight alway before me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen me to put my name there. And I will take thee, and thou shalt reign according to all that thy soul desireth, and shalt be king over Israel. And it shall be, if thou wilt hearken unto all that I command thee, and wilt walk in my ways, and do that is right in my sight, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did; that I will be with thee, and build thee a sure house, as I built for David, and will give Israel unto thee. And I will for this afflict the seed of David, but not forever. Solomon sought therefore to kill Jeroboam. And Jeroboam arose, and fled into Egypt, unto Shishak king of Egypt, and was in Egypt until the death of Solomon.
An absolute promise of God is given to Jeroboam in the 31st verse, " I will give ten tribes to thee." The ground of God's judgment upon Solomon in the 33rd verse, viz., his idolatry, the condition of blessing to Jeroboam in the 38th verse, viz., God acknowledged in the kingdom. For God to promise and to perform is one. "Hath he said, and shall he not do it?"
Rehoboam, left to the unrestrained exercise of his own will, provokes the people to rebellion. In chapter 12, verse 15, we read, " The king hearkened not unto the people, for the cause was from the Lord, that He might perform the saying which the Lord spake by Ahijah the Shilonite unto Jeroboam the son of Nebat" verses 16, 17, 18, 19. In verse 20, " It came to pass when all Israel heard that Jeroboam was come again, that they sent and called him unto the congregation, and made him king over all Israel." " There was none that followed the house of David but the tribe of Judah only."
Thus the word of the Lord was fulfilled. Jeroboam reigned over the ten tribes of Israel. They unanimously elect him. God forbids the king of Judah to fight against him, commands every man to return to his house, saying, " For this thing is from me." If Jeroboam reflected on his elevation and the manner of it, nothing could be more manifestly of God, and, because of God, the maintenance of his position secured. What cause for gratitude and thanksgiving, what ground of confidence! Yet it is exactly when in the most favorable position, when there is no excuse for unbelief, that which is in the heart of man is betrayed. Happy for us that, in Christ, " God can be just and yet the justifier of the ungodly."
" Then Jeroboam built Shechem in Mount Ephraim and dwelt therein; and went out from thence and built Penuel. And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David; if this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah." Now this reasoning of Jeroboam would have been consistent in a man, whose advancement had been the result of his own wisdom and strength. Forethought is eminently useful in worldly matters. What a man can attain unto, he may be deprived of; and he is justified in weighing his affairs well over. When we say "justified," we mean there is consistency in such conduct, with the avowed principles of the carnal heart. But it was otherwise with Jeroboam, he owed his kingdom to God. He was chosen of God, called of God, and set up in it by the mighty power of God, and the absolute possession of the throne secured to him, and his seed after him, so long as he walked in the fear of God.
But what manifest unbelief we have in verses 26 and 27,-" And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall this kingdom return to the house of David. If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord," etc. Circumstances touching his security harass his mind. The thoughts of his heart take the place of the testimony of God by the prophet. He reasons about matters which were only intelligible to faith, and the result is blind infidelity. When he said, "Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David," he boldly impugns God's faithfulness; in fact, what was it but to say incredulously, " Doth God know? and is there knowledge in the Most High?"
His place and his throne were from God, and the security depended upon God also. Circumstances, propitious or otherwise, had nothing to do with God's promise. The gift was absolute, conditional only as to Jeroboam's conduct when in possession. God had said, in verse 38 of the 11th chapter, "I will be with thee, and build thee a sure house as I built for David, and will give Israel unto thee." Jeroboam sees the kingdom in danger, then his life also-" They shall kill me;" his eye looking at circumstances, and his heart overwhelmed. Neglecting God, he takes counsel of others "and made two calves of gold." His ruin is accomplished by the very means he took to secure his safety. Lacking faith in God for the present, leads to the denial of his power in the past. Momentous warning! "Behold thy gods, 0 Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt; and he set the one in Bethel, and the other put he in Dan. And this thing became a sin." But his iniquity does not end here. He imitates the order of worship as practiced in Judah, observing feasts and ordaining priests of the lowest of the people. And he offered upon the altar which he had made in Bethel, the 15th day of the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised of his own heart. What a terrible picture is this of the baseness of man: Jeroboam disowns God's care and perverts His worship. The prophet, in the 13th chapter, denounces judgment on the altar, and that by a branch of the house of David. This works no repentance in Jeroboam. In verses 33 and 34, we have presented to us his downward career in sin and apostasy. Chapter 14 verses 1 to 16, open out the domestic judgment upon him in the death of his child (yet removed in the grace of God, "because in him there was found some good thing toward the Lord God of Israel in the house of Jeroboam"), and closes with the awful threatenings of the dispersion of Israel for the sin of Jeroboam; " And he shall give Israel up, because of the sin of Jeroboam, who did sin, and who made Israel to sin."
" The word of God is quick and powerful." The lapse of ages does not impair its efficacy, nor the force of circumstances obscure its adaptation. The living God by His Spirit applies it in power to the hearts of his children to-day, and when reading the records of the past, we seem but to deal with the present. They that worship God now, must worship Him in spirit and in truth-the worshippers, poor sinners in themselves, yet in Christ kings and priests unto God and His Father and our Father, because His. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ." Thus, believers in Jesus are called to a kingdom, as in Heb. 12:28, "Wherefore we, receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear." The position of God's people on earth must needs answer to their destinies in heaven. Fellowship with God the Father, and the Lord Jesus, sustained by the power and presence of the Holy Ghost in their midst, " a peculiar people, a chosen generation, to show forth the praises of Him who had called them out of darkness into marvelous light" (1 Peter 2:10).
There is no other access to God but through Jesus. No medium of intercourse but by the Holy Ghost. Wherever two or three are gathered together in His name, the Lord is there. His Spirit remaineth with us always. Nothing more monstrous than in the face of such direct testimony to introduce man's will into the scene; no greater delusion than human arrangements. To restrain the outbreaks of the flesh by order in the flesh, is but to restrain one sin by setting up another. And strange it is that man dare to " intrude into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind." The efficacy of ordinances does not consist in themselves, but in that they are given of God. The virtue of them arises from their being His. He meets his people in his own appointed way; and faith apprehends his presence. When saints are gathered together in the name of Jesus, and in dependence upon the Holy Ghost, they are in the way of God's appointment and consequently of blessing. To the eye of the carnal reasoner, such an assembly, without ostensible bonds of union or outward guarantees for order and decorum, is held together by a rope of sand. Their work is regarded as fugitive and ephemeral. The most favorable opinion is, that it may continue for a generation, but die out with it. But such arguments surely avail nothing. It is our duty to serve God to-day. The generation to come is safe in his hands. But we find it easier to affect care for the future, than to do right in the present, and to satisfy conscience by trusting God afar off, than when he is nigh.
Now, ostensibly, the position we are called to occupy, answers to the kingdom given to Jeroboam-the title to it similar-chosen of God, and called and exhorted to have faith in Him. The danger we have to guard against answers also to the one Jeroboam fell into-looking into circumstances apart from God, and striving by our own devices to maintain our standing-we say ostensibly: for the object of God in having a people in the world was to show forth his praise "that hath called us to glory and virtue." The weakness of man and the subtlety of Satan might hinder the manifestation of this; but the gifts and calling of God being without repentance, nothing can separate us from His love in Christ. But this very security brings corresponding responsibilities. We are saved to glorify God. The knowledge of our salvation is given to us, that whilst here we may act to His Glory, and testify to His Grace; we own doctrinally it is of Him, and by Him, and through Him are all things, yet practically we engage to do much for ourselves. We are in danger also of confining the sense of our privileges to individual blessing, instead of seeing them also in their corporate character. The safety of the individual believer, is based on God's covenant with Christ, upon which he relies: but the blessing of the saints assembled together, is equally so. Believers "are builded together for a habitation of God, through the Spirit; " " one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all and in you all." No promises are more secure for the individual believer, than those for the blessing of saints assembled together in the name of Jesus. As in the individual there are many changes, so also in the gatherings of the saints. There needs daily purging of heart, and application of the promises to the soul of the individual: there may be more difficulty, but there is equal occasion for soul-discipline in the assembly. We are not wearied so readily in looking to ourselves, we break down in the care of others; and unless our souls are fortified by the word of God and prayer, we sink from the pressure of trial, into indifference; or, wearied with combating the wills of others, determine on the unrestrained exercise of our own. But God has written confusion on man's efforts. And even men of God have wandered furthest from his thoughts, when they have sought to provide for emergencies in the church before they have appeared, or to obviate their manifestation by discipline of their own. The chaos around us in the Religious World, the very vanity and vexation of all things, are God's warnings to us, to "cease from man;" man would not trust God for His Church, and has sought to restrain disorder by bonds of his own. How utterly has this exercise of will proved abortive, and brought in confusion which nothing can remedy, the end of which is revealed to be judgment.
" Separation from evil is God's principle of unity." Such a step taken, necessarily isolates from systems around, and throws the soul upon God. The subtlety of Satan has acted upon man, to develop arrangements prohibiting blessing to the saints. The eyes of His people are opening to this, and the question is forced -upon us, Whither shall we go for aid? Blessed be God fp'. His Grace! His Spirit remaineth with us always. Jesus is the same yesterday, to-day, and forever. Wherever two or three are gathered together in His name, his presence is vouchsafed. Manifest blessing has resulted from restored confidence in the basis of the Church, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner-stone. Believers have been blessed, and made a blessing to others-the realized presence of God;-giving fullness of joy. The inheritance is discovered-the position taken-Almighty God pledged to sustain us in the blessing He Himself has provided. The times are at hand when the elect shall scarcely be saved. That they may be secured, God, by His Spirit, is opening their eyes to the danger; and, conscious of weakness, they are thrown necessarily upon him. Blessed necessity! The abounding evil around giving occasion for the super abounding grace of God. Let us beware that the thoughts of our heart do not take the place of the testimony of God. Appearances may be against us-circumstances daily arise to embarrass us-but they are permitted of God for the development of faith in Himself to the praise of his glory. " No weapon formed against thee shall prosper." Our manifold failures are so palpable, that our enemies already rejoice in our discomfiture, and account that the revival of truth which has blessed us was but a delusion: yet even this shall but serve to increase our dependance upon God. We have the elements of destruction in ourselves, but the energy of life in God. He identifies Himself with His people. He has raised the desire in our hearts to be identified with Him. When Pharaoh purposed the destruction of the children of Israel, God ordered them to encamp between Migdol and the sea, over against Baal-zephon. The enemy found them-God's eye was there too, and their deliverance is accomplished. So now the enemy is triumphing in our weakness, and purposing the injury of the body of Christ. But God orders us into the citadel, " the name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous runneth into it and are safe." There is danger! let us flee unto God to hide us. Let us not lean to devices of our own, nor write in our folly the sentence of death on our position and privilege instead of upon ourselves. " For we have the sentence of Death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God that raiseth the dead." What may we not expect from his mercy?
The Body, The Church.
Jesus had shed his blood, was risen, and by the right hand of God exalted. If God had been glorified in him, He also glorified Him in Himself, and that straightway. The Son of Man ascended up where He was before. He was glorified with the Father's own self, with the glory which he had with the Father before the world was.
Nor was his glorification without result to others. If on earth the Son of David could not disown the higher glories of his person, but rather led on the faith of a poor woman of Canaan to that infinite source of grace beyond, which, while it brought down to a real sense of the depth of degradation and woe, abounded but the more in streams of healing mercy: if on earth, "lie could not be hid," what was the suited blessing that flowed down from the God-exalted Man, crowned with glory and honor in heaven? Were those He loved to taste no savor of His joy above? Was there to be no peculiar, no present power of fellowship with Him, and worthy of Him, who was set at God's right hand " in the heavenly places far above all principality and power, and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world but also in that which is to come.
On the contrary, it is precisely in this interval between his session on his Father's throne, and his coming to take his seat on his own throne, that the great mystery of Christ and the Church finds its place, development, and revelation. God, whose earthly purposes had been seemingly frustrated but really secured, though for a time in abeyance, uses the cross meanwhile as the basis of other and higher counsels (settled in His mind before the world was, but until now hidden in Himself), and thereupon exalts the crucified Lord of Glory, and sends down the Holy Ghost, not only as the one and Divine witness of what and where Christ was, but as the gatherer, by his own presence here below, of an assembly from among Jews and Gentiles, brought into the participation of the heavenly glory of Christ-in a word, as the formative agent of the Church, which is Christ's body, "the fullness of Him that filleth all in all."
Beyond just question, it is in reference to this new and heavenly assembly that scripture speaks of the closest identification with Christ, of oneness with him as his body. By such a oneness, it is not merely meant that persons here and there, few or many, had been and are objects of the love and quickening power of the Son of God. Life is not, nor does it produce this oneness; abstractedly, it finds and leaves the recipients of it individuals still. Life did not set aside for this world, for those who possessed it, the remarkable characteristic and divinely sanctioned separation of Jews from Gentiles: much less did it sever externally believing Jews from their unbelieving kinsmen according to the flesh, whatever the mutual sympathies, hopes and conferences one with another, of them that feared the Lord. If there were devout Gentiles, and there is little reason to doubt that God in his mercy raised up such (witness Cornelius), before the gospel of His grace could righteously be preached, they served Him, worshipped Him, but as Gentiles nevertheless. There was no fusion of these with the godly Jews. The faith of one might be admirable in the eyes of the blessed Lord himself-"so great faith he had not found, no, not in Israel." Still it did not hinder his remaining a Gentile. Faith in itself did not, and could not, alter that, as regards this life. It was reserved not for the gift but for the Giver of faith to work a strange, unlooked-for and total reversal of the ancient order. So as to the Jews, though they had the gifts and calling of God, if any believed, the faith of individuals wrought without doubt a moral separation, and sufferings were the consequences; and the new life has affections as proper to it as are depraved lusts to the old life; yet were not the faithful Jews formed into a manifested holy company here below, they lived as Jews, they died as Jews. It would have been sin in them to have relinquished their prerogatives and standing as Jews. Even in the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus, the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, was not abolished. It existed still-nay, had his sanction, when he forbade those commissioned in the days of his flesh to go into the way of the Gentiles, or to enter into any city of the Samaritans.
Now the doctrine of the epistle to the Ephesians, chaps. 2, 3, is that consequent upon the cross, an entirely novel and different work of God commenced: a work which, belonging to, and awaiting its perfect display in the heavenly places, has an actual existence on earth, and most momentous effects in this present time. The point is not Christ dying for the Jewish nation, nor God thereby reconciling all things to himself. It is not His death for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, nor for the blessing of any Gentiles who may be saved during His future reign; none of which things perhaps would be questioned by a scribe instructed unto the kingdom of heaven. But the doctrine there enforced is that God founded upon the cross and accomplished by the Holy Ghost thereon given, a platform and structure wholly without parallel in the millennial age, when the old outstanding differences will be resumed, as abundantly appears from the Psalms and Prophets. Ephesians, chap. 2:11-18 thus contrasts it with their previously existing relations, the one dispensationally nigh, and the other afar off.
" Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; that at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: but now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; and that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: and came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father."
That is, in and for the Church, such fleshly distinctions are done away. Beyond a doubt, in the Church's glory accomplished on high, they will be unknown. But the Apostle goes further, and particularly insists that they are, and ought to be, unknown now. No man, not even Christ known after the flesh, is the key-note of the Church: " yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more." The Church can rest on nothing short of death and resurrection. She rejoices in her head glorified in heaven, and knows herself even now one with him there. Consequently she is raised alike above the high estate of the Jew, as above the low estate of the Gentile. " For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ." If the mass of those gathered into the Church were dark, outcast Gentiles: if they could not say, We are " Israelites, to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises, whose are the fathers, and of whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, God blessed forever"-they received a better adoption and a more surpassing glory; not merely covenants connected with earthly things and presented by a Messiah (whatever His own personal dignity), as minister of the circumcision, for the truth of God to confirm the promises made unto the fathers, but the unsearchable riches of Christ freely given, which it was meet for the God of grace and glory to bestow upon the far-off penury and wretchedness of those who possessed nothing!
This was "the mystery" which was specially entrusted to the Apostle Paul, made known unto him by revelation, " as I wrote afore in few words, whereby when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ; which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; that the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the Gospel." In previous ages the Spirit had quickened souls: there was nothing strange in that. "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work," said the Son of God, not yet lifted up. The extraordinary thing was, that, when the Jews perverted their singular endowments to sin and insult the most aggravated against God, not aiding only, but provoking and inciting the Gentiles to, the crucifixion of their own Messiah, occasion was taken of the breach thus of necessity made between God and a guilty world, to introduce a secret hitherto undisclosed, but now unveiled. The elect nation had consummated their corruption and violence. God's name was blasphemed among the heathen through those who were separated to be the grand depositary of His oracles and the witness of His character on earth. What remained, if thus the earth and its choicest people were in rebellion? HEAVEN; and so, in the depths of divine compassion, and wisdom, and love, God began to assemble a body neither Jewish nor gentile properly, though chosen out of either, both made one, both reconciled in one body, destined for a sphere as alien from the most exalted as from the most debased of earth.
" God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us," say the Jewish saints in Psa. 67, " that thy way may be made known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations God shall bless us; and all the ends of the earth shall fear him." Such is the order of blessing in the world to come: the Jews in the inner circle, and in the outer the Gentiles through them glad and singing for joy, for God governs in righteousness. The blessing of the nations was an ancient and reiterated truth; proclaimed to Abraham (Gen. 12:3), renewed to the seed (22:18), repeated to Isaac (26:4), and to Jacob (28:14). It was bound up in terms with the promises so well known and cherished, which guaranteed the highest seat on earth to the seed of Abraham. Is a most certain and familiar pledge of Gentile blessing in the promised seed-is this, so often and not obscurely referred to in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the Psalms, the mystery which has been " hid from ages and from generations, but is now made manifest to the saints"? Can that with propriety be said specially and absolutely to be hid, which was among the simplest and most frequently recurring household-words of the people of God, from the time of the first promise to the patriarchs? There is no secret nor silence about that which was published from are to age, and declared from generation to generation. What was made known to the fathers, and indeed to all Israel, cannot be, for this very reason, the mystery of Christ—that peculiar mystery, " which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the spirit."
Some, I am aware, through unbelief and a consequent lack of spiritual intelligence and heed to human tradition, have unwittingly sought to neutralize the specialty, and thereby the nature and being of " the mystery," by the assumption that it had been revealed from the beginning, and that it was always, though dimly, understood by the Old Testament saints. The answer is plain and direct: the Apostle Paul says positively that "it is now revealed." From the beginning of the world it was hid in God (Eph. 3:9). To the apostles and prophets it was now revealed, and to none previously- ὡς νῦν ἀπεκαλύφθη τοῖς ἁγίοις ἀποστόλοις αὐτοῦ καὶ προφήταις ἐν πνεύματι. Certainly it is not to the apostles at the present and to the prophets at a former time. It is now revealed, and that to persons joined together as a common class to which the revelation was then made;-as the structure of the words necessarily implies to any competent to judge of such a question, shutting out, therefore, the idea of any prophets being referred to before the Pentecostal mission of the Spirit. The prophets alluded to in the text, were of the present economy as much as the apostles were; and therefore the words, far from weakening, tend directly to strengthen the distinctive character of " the mystery," as a thing wholly unrevealed in former times.
The character, also, of the Abrahamic blessing of the Gentiles, is totally different from that of " the mystery." "In blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea-shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed," etc. (Gen. 22). All the nations are to be blessed in the seed; but they are, and are here regarded as being, distinct from it. They are no more to be confounded with the seed, so as to form one common body, than are the enemies whose gate is to be the possession of the seed. It and the nations are assuredly to inherit a blessing. But if it be the same blessing, will. any one maintain that it is after the same mode or in the same measure? If it be so-if the seed and all the nations of the earth are blessed indiscriminately and alike, where is the marked and characteristic prerogative of the seed of Abraham? Or is there, in truth, no peculiar privilege for his seed after all? If, on the other hand, it be not so, and the seed is to have its own proper promised place by divine favor, higher than all the nations who are blessed in it, then is the oath to Abraham most clearly distinguished from " the mystery " wherein no such differences exist, but the Gentiles are fellow-heirs, and of the same body, and joint-partakers of His promise in Christ by the gospel.
Let it be repeated, that Eph. 2;3 do not teach the permanent and illimited setting aside of Jewish exaltation above the Gentile. To such a superiority in this world the Jews had a lawful title, until Christ, rejected, ascended into heaven; and such a superiority will be theirs when He returns again. But there is the abolition of everything of the sort for that which spans the interim; in other words, for the intermediate calling of the church; because the church is not a mere aggregate of units-of believing persons throughout all ages, but a special body gathered, by virtue of the Holy Ghost actually present and dwelling in them as a temple, for association with the heavenly glory of Christ, as the redeemed Jews in the millennium will be the nearest and most favored objects of his earthly rule.
It was, then, the personal presence of the Holy Ghost, descended from heaven, which was the power of the unity established here below in the church; a unity not merely of life-of doctrine-of services, but of the Spirit; the unity formed and perpetuated by the Holy Ghost Himself (Eph. 4:3). The disciples, like saints before them, were believers before Pentecost; but they were then, and not before, united to Christ in heavenly places as His body. That which unites to Christ, constituting us members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones, is not the faith which the Spirit communicates as He has ever done, but the Spirit Himself personally given, as was the case at Pentecost.
Observe, it is not " unity of spirit." That is the theme pressed upon the Philippians (1:27): " Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ; that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind, striving together for the faith of the gospel;" and compare chap. 3:16. Nor has the apostle forgotten elsewhere to pray for the saints at Rome, that the God of patience and consolation would grant them to be like-minded one toward another, according to Christ Jesus, that they might with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Grace as this is, the exhortation in Eph. 4 is of a higher order. It is not so much the spirit of themselves, or of one another that they were to think of, but the Spirit of God, the unity of the Spirit. Moreover, the apostle does not tell them to form a society by community of object, agreement of opinion, or likeness of manners. Certainly it was not an optional alliance which they were called upon to frame. The Spirit of God makes the unity. Their business is, "endeavoring to keep it (or, observe, τηρεῖν) in the bond of peace." How humbling to man and exalting to God: how encouraging, wholesome, and strengthening to His saints! To one who has entered, howsoever little, into the divine estimate of what the church is, and will be, in the counsels of God, or even of what the church originally was when, gazing into the heavenly face of Him who loved her, she reflected by the Spirit somewhat of the light of God's glory which she had seen there; to the heart of such a one, grieving over the wreck of the deposit that was committed to the frail and treacherous hands of man, and humbled at his puny and ineffectual and proud efforts to repair the ruin which he can no longer disguise-to such, I say, O what a relief to know and feel that even here in the desert it is not "my flock," nor "our church," but the church of God, the body of Christ, the unity of the Spirit! These are the living realities with which we have to do; and at all cost to repudiate in ourselves, or in others, corporately and individually, all that denies them. That single-eyed unflinching allegiance to the wideness of God's heart about His people must, in a time of general departure from Him, lead into an isolated path, I do not doubt, however paradoxical it may seem. That it may appear to be a severe exclusive narrowness to those who are not weaned from the worldliness and unbelief of essays on a grand scale, is possible; but for the faithful there is no choice. "Let us go forth, therefore, unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach."
None of course would deny that, as men, as sinners, as Jews and Gentiles, there are certain things possessed in common with others. There is a unity of mankind, as such or fallen, as under law and without law. There is a continuity in the administration of the promises, dispensationally, on earth, according to which Rom. 11 views, first, the Jews as the natural branches of the olive-tree; then, some of them broken off because of unbelief, and the Gentiles, or wild olive-tree, graffed among them; and afterward, upon the Gentiles not continuing in the goodness of God, the Jews graffed again into their own olive-tree. Again, there is a unity which dates higher up than the olive-tree of earthly witness-that of all the faithful, who, in the acknowledgment of common sin, look to a common Savior, as there will be a blessed and holy communion of such as have part in the first resurrection. But all these unities are demonstrably distinct from "the unity of the Spirit." With the redeemed, it is true, the Spirit had to do, inasmuch as He it is who had given souls to believe God's salvation in Christ. That, therefore, was not, whereas the unity of the Spirit is, a new thing; for never before had He come to abide in redeemed sinners, and thus to make them one with Christ glorified on high and one with each other here below. Satan had his union of Jews and Gentiles in the cross of the Son of God; and in that cross the foundation was laid for God's union, effected by the presence and indwelling of the Spirit in those who enjoy the exceeding riches of the grace of Gad in his kindness towards them through Christ Jesus. "There is one body and one Spirit."
Another remark, connecting itself with the foregoing, needs to be made. Those who form the Church, whatever may be their distinctive endowments, share many blessings with all saints who ever have been and ever may be. Election, redemption, faith, saintship and heirship in the kingdom are doubtless our privileges, but they are not the exclusive property of the Church. They are common to all believers. So true is this, that they may be traced in the spared and blessed Gentiles, in the striking scene described in Matt. 25:31-46. There the Son of man is supposed to be already come and seated upon the throne of his glory, and he separates, among all the Gentiles (πάντα τὰ ἔθνη) gathered before him, the sheep from the goats. The gospel of the kingdom had been preached, it may be observed, for a witness to all those Gentiles (πᾶσι τοῖς ἔθνεσι) before the end came; and the ground of the sentence is laid in the reception or rejection of those whom Jesus, as the. King, (for his royal rights are now enforced, displayed and acknowledged), designates as his brethren, a class evidently distinct from, though coming in contact with the sheep and goats. To the sheep, set at his right hand, the King says, " Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you, from the foundation of the world." That these are believing saints, redeemed by the blood of Christ, none perhaps would dispute; and the passage affirms that the kingdom which they inherit was prepared for them from the foundation of the world: terms, which differ indeed from those in Eph. 1 (which show how the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ chose us in him before the foundation of the world) but sufficiently decisive of the fact that God prepared a special inheritance for these living Gentiles, whatever might be the small amount of their spiritual intelligence.
But if there are blessings common to all believers of every age, the Holy Ghost, on the other hand, could not personally come down, and abide in men on earth, according to the scriptural figure springing up in them as well as flowing out, until Jesus was glorified in heaven. But when he took his seat there as the exalted head, the Holy Ghost was sent down for the purpose of gathering a body for Christ. This and this only is called in Scripture "the Church of God," and its unity hinging upon the baptism of the Holy Ghost, is, as we have seen " the unity of the Spirit." Matt. 16:18, is the first occurrence of the word " Church " i.e. assembly, in the New Testament. It is important to observe that there it is spoken of as a thing not merely unmanifested, and unordered, but as not yet existing. It- was not built, nor building yet: " upon this rock I will build my Church." Secondly, the promise that the gates of Fades shall not prevail against it, cannot allude to the indefectibility, much less to the infallibility of the Church on earth. Thirdly, Christ's Church is mentioned as altogether distinct from the kingdom of heaven, the keys of which (not of his Church) the Lord promises to give to Peter.
The unity of the Church as Christ's body will surely be displayed perfectly in the dispensation of the fullness of times, when God will gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth. But does not this Scripture teach, that the Church, if for the time on earth, to itself as the heavenly witness of the grace of God, will then form part of a common system? I answer, that the passage seems, on the contrary, to keep distinct the Church in her own peculiar and pre-eminent seat of the affection and glory of Christ. For, first, the apostle speaks of the heavenly things and the earthly things being headed up in Christ, which is deduced in Colossians 1:15,16, from His claims as Creator, though asserted by Him as the firstborn of every creature; in which latter text we have affirmed his supremacy by right of creation over all things that are in heaven and that are in earth. Next, it is added,-" In whom [Christ] also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will; that we should be to the praise of His glory who first trusted in Christ: in whom ye also," etc. Just so, after the statement of His headship over all things, the Epistle to the Colossians turns to another headship,-" And He is the head of the body, the Church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the pre-eminence." Neither heavenly things nor earthly things are the Church, though they may be the inheritance of her who is co-heir with Christ. God " hath put all things under His feet, and given him to be head over all things to the Church, which is His body." Instead of being included in " all things under His feet," she enjoys and participates in His supremacy over all, in virtue of being one with Him. Sealed with the holy Spirit of promise, she looks for an inheritance such as becomes Him who has purchased it, and Him who is its earnest; such as becomes, may we not add, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, " to whom be glory in the Church throughout all ages, world without end. Amen."
But although it is in " the dispensation of the fullness of times" that the glory of Christ, shared by the Church as His bride, will be revealed, so that the world itself shall know it, yet was there a testimony to it, produced and manifested by the power of the Holy Ghost in the one body on earth. When the apostle spoke of the saints being "builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit," was this unity a thing ideal, future, and only to be achieved in heaven? Or was it not an actual, present fact, made good here below by the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven? Is it not true that "now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places is known, by the Church, the manifold wisdom of God? " And the unity of the Spirit, which the saints should endeavor to keep, where was it if not on earth? Will the saints in heaven be endeavoring to keep it there? And the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers given of Christ, Himself ascended up far above all heavens,-where were they, and where still are the gifts of Christ? Where and to what end is exercised the grace given according to the measure of the gift of Christ? Does the perfecting (καταρτισμός) of the saints, does the work of the ministry, does the edifying of the body of Christ find their sphere in heaven? Is it there that we are in danger of being tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine? Or is it on earth that we meet with " sleight of men and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive "? and there that we "grow up into Him in all things, which is the Head, even Christ; from whom the whole body fitly joined together, and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part maketh increase of the body into the edifying of itself in love" (Eph. 4)? It was here, in the Church, that each joint of supply wrought, contributing nourishment to the whsle: it was here, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, that the body made increase. It is in this world, and in this world only, that " all the body, by joints and bands having nourishment administered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God," as it is assuredly here that the Spirit would have the peace of Christ to rule in our hearts, to the which also we are called in one body (Col. 2, 3).
In writing to the saints at Rome (ch. 12), hitherto never seen by the apostle, and therefore in man's judgment at least, connected in no peculiar way with him, as was the case with regard to the Colossians, it is just the same: " As we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office; so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another." Evidently, it is not a tie which was going to be established, but a relationship then and really existent. Membership is not with a local church, but with the body of Christ; though, on the other hand, if one be not in fellowship with the assembly of the members of Christ where one resides, there can be for such no fellowship with them anywhere else.
Nor can language be more explicit than that of 1 Cor. 12,-" But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. For as the body is one and hath many members, and all the members of that one body being many are one body; so also is 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 been all made to drink into one Spirit." The composition of that one body depends upon the baptism of the Holy Ghost. By Him are baptized into the body of Christ, Jews, Gentiles, bond or free; it matters not. The great fact is, that Jesus exercises His heavenly rights. He baptizes with the Holy Ghost; and they who are thus baptized become the immediate and the especial field of His presence and operations, the body of Christ,-the body subsisting on earth, and acted on by the Spirit when the apostle wrote. The diversities of gifts, of administrations and of operations, will not be in heaven. Their province is the Church on earth. It is here that the manifestation is given to every man (i.e., in the Church) to profit withal. If any reasonable doubt could be harbored about the word of wisdom to one, the word of knowledge to another, and faith to a third, there can be no question in the believer's mind, that the gifts of healing, the working of miracles, divers kinds of tongues, and their interpretation, are not prospectively for heaven, but for earth now. It is the one and self-same Spirit who energized all these, distributing to each. For the many members constitute but one body-" by one spirit are we all baptized into one body." The importance of these last words will be better estimated, on comparing with them Acts 1:4,5; and particularly the clause, " Ye shalt be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence." At the time the disciples were believers. They had life, and life more abundantly, we may say. Jesus, the quickening Spirit, had breathed upon them, and said, " Receive ye the Holy Ghost," etc. He had also opened their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures. But none of these things is the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Pentecost first beheld the accomplishment of the promise of the Father. Then, and not before, were believers baptized with the Spirit. But it is this baptism which introduces into, and forms, the one body-it is the Spirit, thus present and baptizing, who began, organizes, and recruits the body of Christ. Hence is it, that coincident with the baptism of the Holy Ghost, we first hear, in the Word of God, of this new body, and of membership therein. Whatever the privileges (and there were many) which existed before, that which is distinctively called in the Bible the church of God, appeared here below, as the consequence of the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven, dwelling in the disciples, and baptizing them, Jews or Gentiles, into one body.
" But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary; and those members of the body, which we think to be less honorable, upon these we bestow more abundant honor; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honor to that part which lacked; that there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular." 1 Cor. 12:18-27.
When the members are together in heaven-when our vile body is changed, fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself, will any " seem to be more feeble?" Shall we think any to be" less honorable" there, and "upon these bestow more abundant honor?" That this is a present care flowing out of the sense God gives us of the exigencies and of the preciousness of Christ's body here below, is exactly what I am contending for. Does any one believe that such will be our employment when Christ presents us to himself a. glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing? But if not, these members are members of the body then on earth, for God hath tempered the body together, " having given more abundant honor to that part which lacked: that there should be no schism in the body (in heaven there is no danger of schism); but that the members should have the same care one for another." "And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it: or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it," clearly not in heaven, but on earth. "Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular:" where and when is this?
"And God hath set some in the Church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healing, helps in governments, diversities of tongues." Manifestly, these are gifts in the Church, the whole Church on earth. The apostle addresses, no doubt, the Church of God that was at Corinth; and it is very clear that the New Testament frequently speaks of assemblies in this or that locality: that is, Churches (compare Rom. 15:1, 5; Gal. 1:2, 22; Col. 4:15, 16; 1 Thess. 1:1; 2:14, etc. But, besides this, which is not disputed, as well as the application of the term in Heb. 12:23, to the congregation of the firstborn which are written in heaven, viewed as a completed thing, however anticipative Faith might say, " Ye are come" to it, even as to the other components of the glory; besides, in short, the local and future senses, 1 Cor. 12:28 is an instance of another sense of the most important bearing, as may be seen in the Epistles of Paul; the Church, as a body here below, in a breadth as extensive as the baptism of the Spirit. That entire society, or corporation, wherein He dwelt and wrought, was the Church in which God set apostles, prophets, teachers, etc. Certainly it was impossible to say that He had set all these in the Corinthian assembly, nor will it be maintained that He is to set them in the Church universal gathered on high. There is, then, a third and large sense of "the Church," in which unity is predicated of all the members of Christ existing at one time in the world, whatever might be the distance separating their bodies; and that in virtue of one Spirit baptizing them into one body. The body of Christ, like the natural, is susceptible of increase, as Scripture plainly indicates; but, as in the natural body, the identity subsists when the old particles have given place to new, so the body of Christ is the body still, whatever the changes in the members in particular. He who, by His presence, imparted unity at its beginning, conserves unity by His own faithful presence. He was given to abide with the disciples forever.
In fine, by " the Church " is meant not a junction of various co-ordinate, much less conflicting societies, but a body, the one body of Christ, possessing the same privileges, and calling and responsibility on earth, and looking for the same glory in heaven as the Bride of Christ. If a man was baptized by the Spirit, he was thereby constituted a member of the Church; if he had a gift, it was to be exercised according to the proportion of faith for the good of the whole; not ministry, not membership pertaining to a Church, but to the Church; each joint belonging to the entire body, and the entire body to each joint (Rom. 12; 1 Cor. 3, 12, 14; Eph. 1-4; Col. 2; 1 Tim. 3:15; Rev. 22:17).

Remarks on the Living God and His Church

" House of God, which is the church of the Living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."-" If the Foundations be destroyed, what can the Righteous do?"
Brethren Beloved,-We were "turned from idols, to serve the living and true God; and to wait for His Son from heaven." Mark it, serve; surely subjection to, and accordance of conduct with, the mind of the party served is involved in that word " serve." And, while (blessed be His name!) He has given us in the Scripture the alone perfect standard of His will-still it is the Living God we serve. The Book guides us, or would guide us, if read and understood, not to the fulfillment merely of certain duties and things, as in our own circumstances down here; but it would lift up _our heads as serving Him, the living and true God, and waiting for His Son from heaven.
The Bible is not its own power; neither does its power Consist in its suitability merely to convict the thoughts and affections of man-for in the long night of Romanism there was the Bible; and in Protestant schools the Bible is learned by rote; and what the benefit as to salvation or obedience? None; without the power of the Spirit, through faith in Christ Jesus. Romanist and Protestant' may alike have had the oracles of God committed to them-and the one may have buried it in a napkin; and the other have exposed it to sale in the emporium of the world's merchandize. Both were the channel through which Scripture came down to the present day: they differed not as to being preservers of it, though they differed in the use made of it. The one used it as too sacred a thing for man's eye-in fact, saying God had no right to be heard in the streets of this world's city; or at best, that it was not His pleasure His word should be heard by, all. This was Satan's act. For God's title and pleasure is to speak before all men now-that which will be the ground of all men's judgment at the great white throne. And, moreover, this same word is the instrument of life to them that believe-the detector of the usurpation by Satan in God's world, and the keen test of flesh and worldliness. Still, there the word was; and whether in the Vatican, or on the shelves of the monastery, its unsoiled neglected pages, had no more tongue to speak the burden, joyous or awful, which they contained, than its soiled pages-frequented where fables of the virgin and the saints were traced upon, and illumined its once fair face-present to the eye of man what God had written.
The Reformation was not the gift by God to man of Scripture or its contents; that existed with all its suitability to man before. The Reformation was the Lord moving, in the great grace of God, by His Spirit, through the word on the conscience. The movement was from above:-neither from below, as the Romanist thought, nor from on earth, as too many of us have unbelievingly admitted. The living God gave fresh power, in vindication of His own name and grace. And the Spirit-testifying still to Jesus, Lord of all-gave its tongue and voice to the word. God was with it, in the vessels He had afore prepared for the work; and whether in quickening, throwing light upon the path to glory, and upon those that traveled in it; or convicting, and discovering Satan, with his slaves on their downward march of rebellion towards hell-it was the Holy Ghost who was the power of understanding, and proclamation, and application of the word.
It is one thing to be blessed-another to define what the blessing is, and how it comes. I believe (let others judge what I say) that Protestantism, as such, had for its distinctive peculiarity, not the preservation of the scripture (others were before it in that, and it only took, with them, its place), but what was in it distinctive-was more the recognition of the object of the divine mind in giving scripture-that he had not given a book to be wrapped up in a napkin, but given one to be read, marked, and learned as inseparably connected with His own glory and with the destinies of Satan, earth, and man; of man whether looked at corporately as Jew, Gentile, or the church of God-or individually, as one's own little self. Many Protestant axioms seem altogether wrong-thus, objectively, " The Bible, the whole Bible, and nothing but the Bible" (true, if used with regard to the question of a standard) is most false if it would make " the Bible its own interpreter," and shut out thereby the blessed Spirit: and again, subjectively, "the right of private judgment," which is the Protestant parent of the Nonconformist'` liberty of conscience," is not true. Parent and child are both spotted with spots of self-will and human right. Now, I say, I know of no right I have as a private individual, save to a place in hell-fire-no liberty, as such, save to go thither. I do not mean to condemn those who, in their inaccuracy, may use these phrases to express better things-' but they are bad raiment good as the things meant to be clothed in them may be-" God is pleased and has a right to speak, and man is bound, at the peril of damnation or (if already saved, of) favor, to listen," is the more correct wording of the thought meant to be conveyed.
Scripture in hand-diligent in study-what is my safeguard as to understanding it? My own competency? Its suitability to what is in me and around, which is most divinely true? 0 no. For if it were so I should, instead a the sincere milk of the word, find in its best parts gall. As no one knoweth the things of a man save the spirit of a man which is in him, so no man knoweth the things of God save the Spirit of God. Let man humbly take the place of subjection, and God will not deny Him- self-the Spirit never fails to honor the Lord Jesus; and it is written,. If any man will do His will, He shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God. Blessed ground this for one's soul to rest upon in contrast with the neologian or infidel ground of human competency and human diligence. To the spirit of obedience and subjection all is sure.
One thing more I would advert to here, and that is, that obedience to the word is sometimes made (where the presence of the Spirit and the objective presence of God as the one, served are not seen) something rather which separates us from God than unites us in living fellowship, with him; and something, too, which limits obedience.
Many look merely at the letter of the word, and see a quantity of things to be done and to be abstained from; and they go to work truthfully; but they will find that the task rather leads them into their circumstances than to God, and that there are in their circumstances a thousand things daily to which they can apply, no " It is written" as their clue; besides the ten thousand things in which they equally need direction as to the when, how, where, how far, etc., the word applies. A common solution has been of this difficulty, when felt, to bring in either expediency or the habits of saints around us. The true solution is, " to serve in the spirit, not in the letter;" and instead of " doing many things," "to serve the living and true God." " I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way thou shalt go; I will guide thee with mine eye," is not a promise which presents the mariner looking at his chart merely, conversant it may be with the exact position of his vessel and everything else about her, but puts the soul saved by grace before God as walking under his immediate guidance. Now this is what I understand by serving the living and true God. I am a son of Him who is not only Abba, but God likewise, whose actions and whose claims are connected not only with redemption, but providence also; and I need a present guidance from Him who, above the pit where I may be, knows what he is about to do as well as what his word directs. Now if I limit my obedience to the letter of the word, and I walk not with Him as a son that serves Him as the living God, I find that-good as this is, so far as it goes-in fixed circumstances of domestic or ecclesiastical nature, there are ten thousand things daily in which I am either perplexed or have to guess at his will or else to take my own; for expediency and the saints' will around me is too far steeped in worldliness to be accepted as a guide. And if so while in fixed circumstances as a private individual, how much more when all is afloat, and when, as a converted Jew or Roman Catholic, I have, for the Lord's sake, been cast out of all my domestic circumstances; or when amid the wreck of what the world calls the church, which has lost its landmarks, swept away in the rising deluge of infidelity:' or if I as an evangelist have to go where the Lord is willing to work, or as a pastor have to see the bearing of his mind upon the souls of others. Who is sufficient for these things? The living God will guide His servant. And moreover to serve in the letter is both the destruction of our affection as sons, and an entire disparagement to his grace who, as the Father has said, " Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us that we should be called the sons of God. Beloved, now are we the sons of GOD." What grace to set us thus with Him that has called us brethren It is not sobriety, as a Christian, to overlook or to deny the present direct guidance, by the Lord, through His spirit, of His disciples, as being something over and above the written word: slow as we may be to understand it. To do so, is really to shut God out of the conscience.
But now-as to the point with which I set out-We were, beloved brethren, "turned from dumb idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven."
To serve Him as individuals most surely has each of us been called:-but still we are looked at as a group; WE. And every title of Him whom we serve, every blessing we enjoy at His hand, our redemption, privileges, hopes-all remind us of a fellowship with others equally called as ourselves to serve Him. The little flock looked at as the kingdom, or as "the Church which is His body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all," may present fellowship in. different aspects and of various kinds,- yet every title presents fellowship. And poor indeed must his thoughts of the Divine Word be, who, in serving the living and true God, has not, in measure at least, realized the wondrous truth of the unity of the Church as a whole. It is not my thought to enter upon that question, "What is the Church?" now: blessed as the subject is! Neither would. I attempt here to examine how far that which is gathered on the earth as such, and boasts of being such, really has the Divine sanction. My subject is narrower far, viz.: How individuals serving the living and true God are to associate together?
Fellowship of saints one with the other, while in the wilderness, is surely looked at in the word, as a means to an end-not an end itself-refreshing as it was to God and the Father, to the Lord Jesus and the Church, while she stood normally in dispensational perfectness; or as it is realized in its heavenly and eternal connections. As in dispensation, man has failed as to the deposit entrusted to him at Pentecost, as much as in every other previous deposit. But as every dispensational deposit which failed in fallen man's hand will be displayed in abiding power around Christ in the day of His glory, so also will Christ make good in his day a kingdom among his heavenly brethren. And though man may have failed, and has failed, in the second great truth, so far as realizing what it is to be and to live as part of the chaste Virgin espoused to Christ-the spring and security of this blessing never rested in our hands; it hung on Christ-Head of the body the Church-members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones. In glory He will present the Bride to Himself (an expression indicative of His own power), a glorious Church, perfect in all its parts. Part of that Bride are we, and precious as our place is as such (because we are only a part and not the whole), it can not be an end, for the whole, in Glory, is the end,-so far as being the body of Christ is an end: perfect means it is, perfect expression of His ineffable grace; but nothing short of the Church as a whole is this. We need to remember this for our present blessing, and more than for our blessing-for if we forget it and rest in present fellowship as an end, or as if having attained it we have reached our goal, we are not like-minded with Christ, and the manna gathered in our vessels will breed worms and stink. I do believe many of us have confession to make on this score-I am sure we have. The sweet comfort through the Spirit's power of the Lord's company with a few of us in the way, has made us, like some of old, constrain Him to continue the refreshment all night; but with the attempt at rest the sense of His presence fled. And our souls had to return through the night, whence we should not have wandered, and in search of our whole company.-Luke 24:28-33.
Alas! it is worse, when not merely from want of faith we thus wander; but when in pride of heart (Himself absent, unmourned) a little company (fiction of our own minds!) is gloried in. Surely, they who say, or think, " The temple of the Lord are we"- must see their idol pulled to pieces, if the Lord come in spiritual power now; as they would if He came in person on the clouds.
The importance of the question of the principles involved in gathering is immense; because it really involves the whole question of the Church as a whole, and therein, of the grace of Christ. To ourselves, also, there is involved the question of the present pleasing or dishonoring of Christ, in our act of association with others. For one, I cannot consent to let our conduct say "Christ has and is to have no church."
A strange thought in some minds, that ecclesiastical ground cannot be held by the Saint now, but only the ground of the family. Now, if on the ground of the ruin of the Church (as some speak), I deny the competency of any to re-organize or to ordain; much more, upon the same ground do I deny the competency of any to set up a new thing, something different from what Scripture presents, as having been at the commencement what was set up. To give new scriptures, or add out of one's own heart to those given, is not less evil than to assume we have powers which once existed, but now are not. Scripture remains to the end, the alone perfect standard. The obedience of faith will find its path with the Living God as much now as ever, wrecked as all around may be. If I could not have Scripture communion, I would not dare have any.)
What is the Church of Christ-with which the Spirit is? is one question; and How is she bound to act in the gathering together for worship? is another question. The Spirit is with the Church as a whole, from the Pentecost to the rapture; consequently, He is with each part of it in the successive displays of its parts in every age, from Pentecost to the rapture. And when the Church, or any of its parts, meets as the Church, it must be in such a way as to own the Lordship of Jesus its head, and the presence of His Spirit with it. I speak not now of the teaching or preaching of the Gospel, though of course therein also, without the Spirit's witness to Jesus in those that speak and in those that hear, there will be no blessing; but I speak of saints met as the Church.
A Christian is one whom God has separated to himself from an evil world; having snatched him from Satan and delivered him from the judgment due to the flesh. It is the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, once dead, but now alive again in the glory of the Father, by, which the deliverance was accomplished; and it is by the Spirit, acting through the testimony of the gospel, that the new nature has been given to him, and the anointing or christening. The Church is the company of such; which is gathered in the name of the Lord Jesus, while He, rejected on earth, sits as the Son upon His Father's throne.
To the individual then the distinctive characteristic of salvation is separation from everything naturally in and around us,-to the church, it is a separation twice told, fox, while the individual can learn his own separation from coming doom, apart from the knowledge of the corporate glory, it is in the church's glory with Christ,- as the Heavenly Son of Man, that the positive blessedness of he separate glory, reserved for Him and her alone, is known.
It is not so much as to the difficulties of individual walk with God, that my soul groans or gets searched. His shepherd's love leads, along (how gently!) restoring the soul, and leading in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake. But what is the Lord doing now in England-in Europe? Partly by testimony of the word, energized by the Spirit, and partly by providential actings, which no understanding of the prophetic word, apart from instruction from the living God, can read aright, He is developing, as I judge, on earth, in living men, the church's principles and the world's. Now, when I have looked at " What is," say in England, " ecclesiastical," and thought, What, if the Lord really is gathering out His saints to be ready to meet Him, can it be that this can be accomplished without the overturning of much and the snapping of many tender ties of kindly intercourse. The Lord is worthy; and if he please to do it, I would not, if I could, say Him nay.
The living God seems to me to be distinctly forcing out into relief the two questions, What is the church? What is the world? in grace to His own people. Vindicating, it may be, the divine honor, in the midst of human failure.
The Church and the World.-Into the Testimony of Scripture Upon These Two Grand Points, I Would Desire at Some Future Time to Enter. at Present, Writing More Immediately With Practice in View, I Desire to Say a Few Words Only With Regard to Some Things Connected With Their Entire Contrasts the One to the Other, and the Perfect Impossibility of an Amalgamation of Them. the Solemnity of the Topic Is Great, As Thus Looked at in Connection With the Present Actings of Divine Power-With the Question How Far Are We Intelligent in Mind and Zealous in Heart to Leave All and Follow in. His Wake-and With the Deep Personal Interest One Has; for When God Is Separating, One Is Sure to Find Oneself Set Either With the World or With His Church, According As the Principles We Are Acting Upon Are to His Mind, Not Ours, Either Those of the World or Those of the Church.
And now, as to the question, How can His saints gather, so as to be owned by Him therein? The question is one which has its real answer in the present application, through divine power of redemption, to living souls: still the word gives us its testimony hereon. Let us look to this then.
" Where Two or Three Are Gathered Together in My Name-There Am I in the Midst of Them."
These are the words of the charter of our meetings together. It is not simply that Christians chance to meet together; but they " are gathered-apart-and in his name." The presence of the Lord, in the sense referred to above, is not promised in this verse apart from the question of object of gathering, and power by which, gathered; and holiness characterizes both.
If they that fear the Lord speak often, in the evil day, one to the other-much more will innate life surely draw those that have it together. But something more than this is referred to here: -In His name, marks OBJECT; and gathered together, marks POWER: and the place is HOLY. The accidental meeting of any number of godly Christians, then, for a benevolent purpose, would not have the blessing promised; neither would a meeting which was religious in its object, but produced by any accident (as the want of a teacher), though it might be only of dear simple Christians as such; neither is the meeting of saints merely from brotherly love all that is referred to. " By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one toward another.... we know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren.... he that loveth him that begat, loveth him also that is begotten," etc., are passages which show that, as in this world like loveth like, so there is a natural congruity and affinity in the children of God one toward the other. But, besides these spiritual, heavenly affinities, we have to consider the mode and way in which the living God acts upon them, to form the church for the fellowship of Christ's, sufferings now, as hereafter of his glory.
For communion of saints may be looked at subjectively, or objectively.
Many portions are there which look' at the communion of saints subjectively, according to what is in the saints, and their circumstances-but this looks at it objectively, according to the power, and objects, and presence of God in accomplishing the intercourse-His working through the life given.
" He prophesied that Jesus should die that he should gather together in one, the children of God which were scattered abroad." The Lord Jesus will present the church to himself-" a glorious church, without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing" hereafter, in fulfillment of this promise. His deed, that will be, whether working upon them that sleep, or upon us that are alive and remain to His coming-His innate power alone, whereby he is able to subdue all things to himself, will accomplish that. In that hour no vile flesh shall remain, for he shall have changed our vile bodies, and fashioned them like unto his own glorious body;-and, gathered round Himself, the scene shall be laid in courts where Satan or his angels cannot come;-distinct and separate from the world, not only in its present moral evil (of joy without God), but above the world as to locality, in the heaven- lies. Here the object, the motive power, and characteristic separateness will be plain enough. Is this blessed truth merely in prospect before us-a matter of hope? It is so, surely: but it is ours also now, as having the earnest of the Spirit: so that (looking up to where the Lord Jesus now is) the Holy Ghost gives to our souls, as individuals, the present taste and enjoyment of these things. For the same Jesus, who, on the cross, cried "It is finished" -as to the work of atonement, has this double glory his; now, Quickener of the soul,-and hereafter, Quickener of the body. And the same Spirit, who, in that day, will be in the church complete in glory, is now, by his testimony to the person of Him who is the center of all God's counsels, is now, I say, forming and gathering together in the wilderness, in the name of Jesus, those who shall be in the glory.
And here, the same object, motive power, and characteristic separateness are seen, though the moral is left in weakness now, as hereafter it shall be innate with power in glory. And it is this, really, by which the character of a Christian, as an individual is formed. " Member of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones... one spirit with the Lord":-and this, now true, gives me my individuality of blessing, and my church position as on earth. I am a member in particular-a member of Christ. Who can interfere between me and Christ? He has a body; and He, or His many members, can neither do without me, nor I without Him, or them;-but still, it is simply as members of Christ that the subordinate members want the one the other. Until, as a whole, it is perfected in glory-the church militant, through grace, realizes, in its displayed parts, now, this blessedness-though it be in a Satan-usurped world, in bodies of sin and death. Now, this puts, to my mind at least, very simply, the proper answer to many a question of our own day. For that which does not answer to this description, is not Christ's church-let its pretensions be ever so accredited, or its claims ever so high.
Are you not a member of Christ's body-one spirit with the Lord? Then you are no member of the Church. You may be a member of Christ's body and through ignorance not know it, and then you cannot confess Him as the One whose you are and whom you serve; but if you really are not a member of Christ, why, you are not a member of Christ, and no part of the Church, which is His body, " the fullness of Him that filleth all in all"-the object, and power, and separation, come in here also. Afloat on the ocean, of perdition is he that knows them not-blessed with everlasting blessing the soul which is subjected to them. And if you are that in yourself, and yet are associated in fellowship with that which is professedly not so, then your fellowship here is not with the Church of Christ at all; and your ecclesiastical circumstances and your soul will, if there be liveliness of faith, be in conflict: and the same will be the case if those with whom you are gathered are Christian, and yet not gathered in the name of Christ, and by His Spirit. The individual and the body corporate should have identity in object, in power, and in separateness.
And here remark, that all and everything, the allowance of which would be a denial of this, must be ejected, or the FOUNDATION of the Church is denied. This is often questioned; but really it is too simple a thing to admit that any society has power to neutralize the conditions or terms of its own being, and still exist as the same thing. And be it remembered, to us, now, since the day of Pentecost the foundations of individual salvation and of the Church as a body, are not really separable. The thought involves in the particular case, a very wicked assumption of a power not possessed-for the Church is not a self-formed society, neither has power over itself, as we shall see-and it is morally and intellectually foolish. But there is no need to argue the case, for what God does not count His, none can make His•' and all the meaning which there is in the assertion of being a part of Christ's Church, when the elementary principles of His Church and His mind have been denied, is simply this, -we are deceiving ourselves.
I would say a few words on the application of this in detail.' And first, as to doctrine or truth. My corporate worship is the result of a common apprehension, by the Spirit, of the Father's grace through the Son -but I have it, first in my own soul as connected with individual salvation-and if the doctrine of Father, Son, or Holy Ghost is touched, not only is the ground of communion destroyed, but my individual salvation is called in question. Am I a saved man then? It is this which makes so sad the calmness with which one sees some either handle rudely, or bear quietly and unmovedly, assaults upon these foundations. I never can help thinking, Does he know he has a soul to be saved? If any one asked me to join in prayer or praise I should count myself happy of the occasion; but if, as we kneeled down, he said, " But remember, you must not use any expression which recognizes Jesus as the Eternal Son, or His perfect purity as man, if you would not grieve me." Could I pray with that man? He has destroyed the ground on which we were about to meet; and I could as soon kneel upon an imaginary line of air, six inches from the floor, as really unite with that man. We might kneel together, but there would, there could, be no prayer in common. Or, again, if he said, " But remember, I do not believe the Holy Ghost to be God Himself"-could I pray with that man? He has neutralized the power of my competency to join with him more than if he bid me pray aloud in perfect silence; and the same if he said, " But remember, I do not own God, even the Father, as the source." Soul-sickness and revulsion, and sorrowful pity-and not fellowship in the expression of dependence to Abba would, on my part, be the real character of our relationship one to the other. I am not supposing a case of mere puzzledness of mind, nor of one who, in addition to his own soul-sick state, was trying to spread the error as an open heretic, but of one who in decision of judgment, yet candid (though self-preserving) confidence, so spoke, or who was assuredly known to myself so to think. I have no fellowship with such a one, and, please God, I will not so sin against his soul or Christ, as to deceive him as though I had. Moreover, his statement not only dishonors God and discredits himself, but rouses my soul in indignation, by its value for its own foundations in the grace of God. The same might be said where any foundation-doctrine, not connected with the person only, but with any of the works of the Lord, or of redemption, was concerned.
But if true of one's soul in its individuality, how much more are these things true of the Church as such. Time was, and time will be, when, to a quickened soul, the revelation of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost was and will not be the name taught on earth. To patriarchs and to Jews other names of divine glory presented the correlative of their position, and so it will be hereafter. But the very being of the Church is inseparably connected with this name of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Ere that name was revealed, the Church was never spoken of; and when hereafter other names of God give in various places their distinctively peculiar glories, the Church will have her fair and proper scene in courts above, with the Son, in the house of the Father-itself the body, in which there is to the Spirit, as I judge, a most peculiar place. Look at the recorded origin in the divine genealogy of the Church, and you will find the name of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost peculiarly involved; Father, Son, and Holy Ghost together and severally there. Look at the wondrous development of the plan:- at the formation-at the Being—fortunes—destiny—hopes of the Church-and say whether the personality or distinctive peculiarities connected with Father Son, or Holy Ghost could be touched, and the Church not destroyed.
So far as to the truth of the God with whom we have to do, into whose family, as sons and daughters, each of us is brought.
But the mode in which we are blessed involves a good deal likewise as to what is lower than this, viz.-what is in, around, and against us-as the flesh, the world, and Satan.
Let us look at these, Satan, whether I am looked at as an individual or as a member of Christ's body, Satan and I have the same relative position. To bear with his assaults and resist him in every way, with the word of our testimony and the blood of the Lamb—one knows that one is called to. Can I as an individual be at peace with him? Surely not; but what if it were proposed by any company to make a compact with him, or to allow him the place of government, which in the Church belongs to the Lord alone, am I to submit to this? And when I have done my all to prevent it, if others will, must I, would I dare to remain? What! a devil owned for direction, as in Irvingism, instead of the Holy Ghost? Not I most surely! God helping me. What fellowship has Christ with Belial? The question is not, Are those thus beguiled Christian or not? But has a false spirit, a devil, had the Holy Ghost's place allowed to him by them? If he has, come out from among them, and touch not the unclean thing: and come with the more zeal, according as you believe those left are Christians; it is your best hope of saving them-to get out thence whence prayer will not ascend-where, if you stay, you cannot help them. How strongly does John 16 show that the Church's very being is the testimony of Satan being conquered-" Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged." Inside the fold of Christ he has no allowed place.
A deliberate sanction of worldliness would be just the same. " We are not of the world, as Christ is not of the world;" and " He gave himself for our sins that He might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father." The church was left to be a widow till her lord's return; and the widow that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth. The contrast of this is, " I sit as a queen and shall see no sorrow." It may require much self-judgment, and most surely will require direct guidance from the Lord Jesus Christ himself ere we can tell correctly, either as to ourselves or others, how far this or that thing of the world is as the withered leaf of the by-gone year, which will, if left alone, drop off of itself when the fresh sap flows, or as the spring bud of the new year about to develop itself; but the Lord Jesus Christ has his eyes of fire still, and in holiness He does discern, and while His gentleness will surely be shown in guiding aright those that will do His will, the individual soul which has no power by which to discern the world (little as any of us know how to use what discernment we have) is not a
Christian at all; nor is the body, which has no power to judge of robes defiled by the world, the church of Christ, or owned as such by Him. Who can read John of the Ephesians, etc., and not see that the very being 17 or church is the emphatic testimony of this world's rejection and the introduction of a better one to come.
Emphatically we start as Christians with an end of the flesh (our flesh) through the death of Christ, and with a commencement of the spirit (His spirit) in ascension. Whether freedom from the lot of Adam the first, or standing, privilege, hope, calling or walk, are concerned; see Rom. 6 vii. viii. And, as in his body, one spirit with the Lord is our blessing. Flesh is flesh, whether it be trained in the court, sensitive, pathetic, delicate; or wild in the wood, rough, rude and grasping. And flesh is not to be owned or allowed in the church. How hard to walk in the power of the cross daily. How compassionate the Lord amid our failures! But, as a matter of principle, flesh is judged in the individuality of the Christian's standing, and in the body in which he has His position, and clearly it must be put down. The law was a system which measured man; but by the gospel is I measured into the church (the end of flesh having been found in the cross). " All spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus."
I would repeat here, too, a thought which (common, I conceive, in Protestant Luther's day) is too much forgotten now. As, "no hurdle, no fold," so, "no discipline, no church." And this may be seen as a point at which the common adversary is driving in many ways. Where the spirit of the Lord is, there must be judgment and discipline, as we see in 1 Cor. 11 by the individual, or the body, or the Lord. And the fact that there is no such judgment exercised here or there, in what may call itself by the name of the Lord, only shows that he does not own it as His. Discipline which goes upon that which is common to the church as a whole, bringing it to bear upon the individual, is surely not sectarianism.
If the table of the Lord does receive one saying "I desire to break bread because the Lord has enjoined it to His disciples, and I am one"-it is quite clear that the last clause, "and I am a disciple," would be the ground of future conduct or discipline.
If theoretically one did not see that discipleship is in the word much more a matter of subjection to certain influences from above, and has more to do with a nature, objects; motives, positions, hopes, &c., than, with the adoption of any set of notions; yet surely we have seen practically, that so it is. A Jew, a Turk, a Socinian, a Romanist, etc., etc., if each were being drawn by the Spirit to God, through Christ, would find a sympathy the one with the other, and more than this, if they compared motives, objects, hopes, etc., they would feel that there was in them what corresponded. I say not that at first they would be able to rise so far above themselves as to see either the common power above, or the common portion within, to do that correctly might require either much power of the Spirit, or gift.
It is evident enough a man may get into a place upon the ground which is the opposite of that upon which he remains there. I was taken into the favor and peace of God upon the alone grounds of mercy in Him, and sin in me. My remaining in favor and peace are upon very different grounds, viz.: holiness in Him, and a new nature, through grace given to me. Save Christ, none but those who were sinners will be in glory; but no sin shall be there, nor murderer, nor liar, etc., nor anything that defileth. The cross, if the expression of pity to the sinner, damns his sins; it is simple faith, as being a poor sinner, in the Lord Jesus alone Which gives salvation and Church membership. But this is not without the Holy Spirit, and it gives a new nature. And if grace save him, does grace destroy itself in so doing? Has the Father's heart and house no appeal to him, no lesson to teach beyond this,-" Thou shalt not die." Is Christ not a living person, who drew' him and to whom he is drawn? Is he merely the Quickener of dead souls-in his title of Second Adam, Life-giving Spirit? Is he not also the Changer into His own image, from glory to glory-the Judge of works (where we fail to judge), as well as the Shepherd and Bishop of Souls-and is not the Church the House of God, "the habitation of God through the Spirit."
Some walking in the flesh would make the scriptural directions for us into a sort of "Act of uniformity"; others again, would so far hinder their having force (on the ground, either of the church's ruin, or of their own uninstructedness) as to state that every one may do that which is right in his own eyes, provided he is honest. Both these are wrong, and lead to lawlessness.
If you ask what is the guide in discipline, I answer:-Christ's honor; and the science of the Divine nature in man (2 Peter).
Now, while scriptures contain the theory of this, they are neither their own power, nor the intelligence by which they are understood. And they teach us that living souls on earth have a living Shepherd in heaven, one who is the fountain and sustainer of life. Directly you begin to deal with the soul of a saint, you get to that which Christ is keeping and training; and unless you are guided to act in unison with Him, you cannot see what ought to be done. This is a solemn truth, as also that in 1 Cor. 11, that the conduct of the individual Christian, of the saints collectively, and of the Lord, are all linked together.
Practical holiness may not be trampled under foot. Chief of sinners as I am, yet, saved through grace, I would rather walk to the end of days alone, than be the manifest sanctioner of sin. If I fail, let me confess; if not, let the saints judge me; and, if not, may God in His mercy not say, "Let him alone." Let God have glory, even in my failures, by confession, and let Satan have the blame, why should I carry it. Such a union is Romanism in its worst features; and be it remembered, that a work of the flesh like fornication, is not worse than spiritual wickedness-than filthiness of the spirit. Some sins are sins in the very nature ' of things-as lying. God cannot lie; Satan is the father of lies. Some things would be sin at one time and not sin at another. To kill a man, when divinely commanded to do so, was not murder.
And, moreover, the word of the Lord is plain: discipline in the Church, even to exclusion, goes upon the ground, not that a man is not, but is a Christian-delivered to Satan for the destruction of the flesh-that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.
The delusion referred to would make the table the place where God was dishonored in the worst form: it separates between Christ and the Holy Ghost entirely; and lends the sanction of the Lord's name on earth to every evil thing.)
I have not spoken, and do not propose doing so now, upon the question of daily separating the daily growth of evil, and of the training and purging of one's soul and those of others from the daily defilements of the world. But only of such an allowance and sanction to elements of evil-in the world, the flesh, and the devil; whose judgments are presupposed in the church's very existence. As to the other, I would only remark, what was spoken of at the commencement, that the personal presence of the Lord and our walking with Him as a living person, will be found of paramount importance in this; because, having the mind of Christ, as a matter of privilege, it is alone by communion with Himself that we get the proper understanding of His thoughts, affections, and desires. And sure I am that the soul which knows and lives in his presence, will neither allow evil in itself nor in others around it, whom it will see and know as in His presence, one with Him and it, and whom it will suppose to be sharing with it the sympathies, thoughts, and affections of its risen Lord. Preposterous is the thought of sustaining communion with the Lord in allowed evil in any form round about us. It cannot be. In the light of Him, risen and returning, every spot will be detected. We know Him who has said, and every man that " hath this hope in him, purifieth himself even as He is pure."
Is the house of the Lord-the family of God, the habitation of God through the Spirit-to sanction evil in doctrine, morals or practice, which no individual Christian as such would dare to do?
And, note here, that the church is called to " walk worthy of the Lord unto all well-pleasing." It is not merely morality, but spirituality of walk. " Ye walk as men" was Paul's rebuke-not bad men; but, as men. The saint, as partaker of the divine nature, most surely has his tastes, and perceptions, and inward assurances, which, while accordant to the word, will often take the lead in guidance; and which cannot may not be neglected or despised, if he would have a conscience void of offense. A mere servant can measure his doings by the written compact; but a son has the honor of the Father and His family upon his heart. Moreover, as having the mind of Christ, and serving the living and true God, guided by His Spirit,-it is not evidences, such as the carnal natural mind can weigh, which alone weigh with him. My soul may be assured that God is moving, or removing, in a way of which no evidence tangible to sense can be found. Surely I am responsible to walk in that way.
Where is the spiritual wisdom in saying " God is evidently in much power among that gathering of saints-but, I wait for an evidence, such as I could show to man, ere joining myself to them;" or again, "God has gone out from the midst of that people, or they are utterly given up by God;" and yet, to say " I remain with them till I have an evidence of this, I can show to others." Nothing could lower the grace in which we stand more than this. For, in the abstract principle of such a thought, either redemption is not upon a higher ground than creation; or else, at best, the renewed nature is all which it recognizes, and God himself is shut out as the origin, sustainer, and end of that nature. Surely if any such awful conviction were justified-if justified in saying such a word of any gathering-some action is incumbent upon me. The distinctive characteristic of faith, as seen in James 2, is, that it is energetic.
God does not require me to convince the conscience of others, though he may require me to testify to them. He knows I cannot give conscience to any, though bound to keep my own unspotted.
The. Church is a habitation of God through the Spirit. Alas, for me, if I adhere to the place where He is not, upon the foolish thought, that what is called by me, or man, the church, must have the Spirit-there will be no fruit therein. It is Romanism. And, while sad, indeed, the thought of turning one's back upon any company where He is, assuredly I am bound to expect, and to realize, that His presence, in sustainment and government is there, where I go-and to cease going where he is not. Let all human weaknesses be allowed for in me and in others, still God is God; and the soul that has known the realizings of faith in conversion, can, and will, in humbleness, know the self-same testimony to it, of the reality of the presence of the Holy Ghost, when it finds itself in that which the Lord Jesus owns, as corporately part of God's church in the wilderness.
For the Bride-chosen companion of the Lord, is the one, whose hope is the Bridegroom's self-and Him alone. O for more understanding of the wondrous grace in Him, who now condescends to open his heart and mind to the chaste virgin that is espoused to Him. We are for Himself, and He is for us-as those wonderful words, "Bridegroom" and "Bride" teach. What grace has our God, to have such a title and such a glad honor for His Son, and for us. Both titles tell of joy-His speaks of power; hers, of beauty. But they answer the one to the other, as none other of our correlative titles do; and the savor of either one is more peculiarly for the other; and the other, more immediately only. Be the company in whose presence they shall be seen divine, as the Father's whose house is theirs; or below them both, as of angels; or of the world, seeing His love making the display that she is loved even as He is loved-still they have a joy in one another's love. Each needs the other; and both are perfected alone, when together. What means that title, "Bridegroom" without a Bride? or who is the Bride apart from the Bridegroom? What joy such as of the Bridegroom and the Bride? What glory, brighter witness, either of the worthiness of the Lamb, whose wife she is-or of the rich, divine grace of the Father's heart. May we remember whose we are, and serve him with a whole heart.
W.
P.S. Let the children of God weigh this paper. The writer prays-that wherein it is defective (much more, if in any matter it is wrong) in PRINCIPLE or unguarded in STATEMENT,-they may detect and object; and only receive what is of the Lord. Of the general value and correctness he has no doubt whatsoever in his own mind.
The Headship of Jesus to His church, and his being Lord of all, closely connected as they are, are quite distinguishable. The distinction hangs upon the difference, not of "relative positions," so much as of "subsisting relationships."
The saint knows his headship now, as a member of the body of which Christ is head, and as a servant in the kingdom in which He is Lord. This paper, though in principle applying to both, treats more of the former than of the latter. I notice this, because "profession and responsibility arising thence" are little treated of here, as more pertaining to the kingdom. Moreover, my object being to keep the elements of first principles, and their development before the mind,-I have intentionally avoided entering into any details of properties connected with these elements. What I mean is this, God separates me to Himself from the world, the flesh, and the devil. This is my subject. Whenever He acts, he acts worthily of himself; this gives what characterizes his acts. In redemption, how richly does the savor and fragrance of it fill all things, and rest upon the saint. This, though most precious, is not my subject, and is therefore little entered upon.

The Lord's Last Promise

John 14:16-18; and 16:7; and Acts 1:4,5, and 2:1-4, and 4:31-35.
Most precious were those parting words
Of our Almighty Friend,
Who loved his own while in the world,
And loved them to the end.
" I leave you not as orphans here,
The Comforter shall come
And fill your hearts with joy and peace,
Till I shall fetch you home."
And soon upon that watching band
The Heavenly Stranger came;
And, like a rushing mighty wind,
Thrill'd thro' each trembling frame.
Like a vast flood, he buried deep,
Pain, grief, and worldly care;
In Resurrection-Life, they breathed
Heaven's own fresh vital air.
Dead to the world thro' Jesus' love,
Nothing their own would call;
With power they preached their risen Lord;
Great Grace was on them all.
Like ointment pour'd on Aaron's head
That down his garments flow'd,
Was that rich oil of grace and joy
From Christ, our Head, bestow'd
Great Smitten Rock! From thee flow'd forth
A stream so full and free.
Each desert heart that drinks the flood,
Shall soon like Eden be.
Well may we ask, "Will God indeed
Descend to dwell in clay?"
We marvel at such wondrous grace
And well indeed we may.
As once the pleased Rebecca trod
A desert, long and drear,
While Abraham's wealth, and Isaac's love,
Rang in her raptured ear: -
So, in this howling wilderness,
The Holy Ghost makes known
The Father's House, the Son's rich love,
And all he has, our own.
Blest thought! Our hearts are with him there.
We see our glorious home
Made ready for our bridal joys -
Come Jesus—quickly come!

Reflections on Ministry in Connection With the Legation of Moses

To those who, through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, have, attained peace for their consciences; and, further, have been gathered in the power and energy of the Spirit into a position of fellowship one with another, no question can possess more commanding interest than that of ministry; at least, so far as their well-being as in association here is concerned.
My reason for considering this important subject in connection with the history of that honored instrument whose name stands at the head of this paper is, that I find in that history many principles calculated to give us a more enlarged view of the subject of ministry generally.
Before, however, proceeding to the detailed exposition of the Scriptures which shall come under our notice, I would offer a few remarks on ministry in a general way.
There is considerable comfort for the Christian in the remembrance that ministry is a settled institution in the Church of God, which the Great Head of the Church has pledged Himself to maintain "until 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. 4:13).
Here we get the true source of ministry in the Church of God, the power by which it is to be maintained, and the end for which it is designed; and, of course, we are perfectly safe in asserting that, " until" that great end be accomplished, the resurrection-gifts of the Head of the Church will remain with us.
be observed that the Spirit is very concise in His enumeration of gifts in this important passage. For example, He omits the "gifts of tongues" and "gifts of healing" (χαριστματα ιαματων). He merely mentions "Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers," thus omitting several of the gifts which characterized, the Pentecostal times.
It will, of course, be admitted that we see not now Apostles in the Church; and this may awaken in the minds of some the inquiry, "How, then, can the gifts be said to continue with us?" I reply, the Divine purpose in giving Apostles was answered in what was effected through the instrumentality of those vessels 'during their stay upon earth, and also by their writings, as handed down to us (see 2 Peter 1:12-15). It is not necessary, in order to maintain the idea of the continuance of gift, that the Apostles should remain with us "until " etc. When it is said "He gave some Apostles, etc., for the perfecting of the saints, until," etc., it matters not whether those Apostles were designed to act by their personal presence or by their writings. Then, again, as regards prophets, evangelists, etc., taking the former to mean, not merely persons who could predict future events, but those who could unfold the mind of God as contained in Scriptures not previously opened out, I see no difficulty in recognizing such at present in the Church. Thus, we have " some Apostles "-in their writings-" some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers," actually and personally present with us; and, moreover, we may count upon having such "until we all come to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ."
The gifts of healing and tongues were more designed as a testimony to Israel, as it is written, " With men of other tongues will I speak unto this people." They cannot, therefore, be looked at as bearing exactly on "the edifying of the body of Christ." And ' indeed, in the 68th Psalm, to which the Apostle refers in Eph. 4, there seems to be a manifest distinction set forth as regards gifts: " Thou hast ascended on high, thou hest led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men-yea, for the rebellious also" (απειθουντες). From this passage, there would seem to be a distinction between the gifts, some being designed "for men," and some " for the rebellious also;" at least, they were designed to act upon the rebellious, meaning thereby Israel Now, the Apostle does not allude to the gifts as bearing upon "the rebellious;" he merely looks at those which were designed for the edifying of the body of Christ, and, as such, to continue " until we all come," etc.
And now, one word upon the question as to how the gifts remain with us. The answer is-they are treasured up in Christ. He, as another has well observed, is the great reservoir of spiritual gift for His body the Church; from Him she must draw them; and it is in proportion as the Church walks in communion with and in faithfulness to Him, that she will abound in gift, which, by the way, proves that we are not by any means to judge of the question of the continuance of gift by the fact of its not being developed, for the question may still be asked, Why is it not developed?" Because the Church is not faithful. But shall the unfaithfulness of the Church hinder the Lord Jesus from being the grand depository of gift? Surely not. He holds the gifts, let the Church be ever so unfaithful. If the Church will not make use of them, that does not affect the principle in the least. Why does she not? Where is the hindrance? The church was not constituted the depository of gift, but Christ, her Head, was, for to Him it was said, "Thou hast received gifts" (ελαβες δοματα). He, therefore, is the receiver and the holder of gifts, and it may he safely asserted that whatever the Head holds is available for the body.
Hence, we see the absolute necessity of avoiding every barrier to the outflow of ministerial gift or grace, for the Lord Jesus will shed it forth according to his own sovereign will.
I would the rather press this point, seeing it has been asserted by some that we have not those gifts; and if we have them not, it is only folly to calculate upon them; yea, to do so, is but to leave an opening for the very worst confusion, even the exhibition of the lawless spirit of the flesh under the most solemn circumstances. If this be a correct view of the matter, I see not how we can stop short of the imposing doctrine of Apostolical succession, in which, if it be but folly to count upon the Spirit's presence in the Church, it would be well at once to take refuge. However, I doubt not that the statement above referred to will be found to have originated in a habit of judging of things as they are, rather than of things as they should be: in other words, that the doctrine of the Spirit's presence in the Church for ministerial gifts and every other necessity, has been tested rather by the actings of those who maintain it, than by the simple standard of the Word; and, if this be the case, we need not wonder that the blessed doctrine has been pronounced a mere delusion; for, by a similar mode of reasoning, the great doctrine of justification by faith might be pronounced a delusion also.
We need not stop to point out the manifest unsoundness of such a mode of trying the genuineness of any principle. No reasonable man would hold a principle upon the grounds of other men's conduct, neither would he reject it upon the grounds of their misconduct; his reason for' holding or rejecting it would be its being established or rejected by the Word. If this be not our habit of deciding questions involving principle, there will be no safeguard, no criterion, no unerring standard to which to appeal; and, truly, it would be most unsatisfactory to depend, in such things, upon the ever-varying conduct of persons holding principles ever so sound. As well might the children of Israel of old have depended for guidance upon the footmarks in the sand, which might be filled up or altered by every breath of wind. No: the only guide for them was the cloud or pillar above, which moved on in all that unerring steadiness which resulted from entire independence upon things beneath; and the only guide for us is the Word of our God, in which alone we can find pure truth.
Now, it is well worthy of remark, that in the memorable passage above quoted, it is not stated that " He gave some apostles, etc., etc., until the Church fail," and that then they should cease. Had this been stated, it would have established beyond a doubt the statement, that we have no right to expect the fulfillment of the Divine purpose in ministry now; at least, as we have it put forward in the passage immediately before us. But, seeing that no such thing is stated, but the very reverse, namely, that it is "until we all come.... to a perfect man," we are constrained to infer that " until " we do come, we shall possess those gifts that are needful for " perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ;" and further, that we cannot refuse to acknowledge the permanency of those gifts without, at the same time, denying the plain and simple testimony of the Word of God.
Now, if those gifts remain with us we must look for their manifestation according to divine appointment; which appointment we find, by reference to another passage of Scripture, to be as follows; "Now, there are diversities of gifts but the same spirit. And there are differences of administrations but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another divers kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But all these worketh that one and the self-same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He (1 Cor. 12:4-11.)
Here then is God's own order in ministry, as gathered from these two important passages. The Lord Jesus, having been raised from the dead, sent down the Holy Ghost to make ample provision for, ministry in the Church of God, nor can we set up any order or arrangement of our own without interfering with God's order, and thus, in place of "feeding the Church of God," we must seriously injure her, and, so far as we are concerned, hinder her progress toward " the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ."
And do we not see in this divine order of ministry the expression of God's gracious character? Is it not in keeping with all the divine actings to allow His varied grace to flow through the varied channels which the passage just quoted presents to us? Yes; it is in keeping with all the divine actings; it is like God thus to order the ministry of His Church. To send his manifold grace through various channels, is just as expressive of the grace of God, as to confine it to one or any limited number is of the selfishness of man. And, indeed, the striking figure by which this important subject is illustrated in the New Testament would most fully exhibit the same gracious principle, as also the sad results of the opposite system. Read, for example, 1 Cor. 12:12-31. " The body is not one member, but many" (verse 14). Here the ' one" and the " many" are put in contrast. God would have the growth and progress of the body effected by the vigorous and healthy action of every member in its proper place, and according to its proper measure, or, as we have it in the epistle to the Ephesians, " according to the effectual working in the measure of every part" (chap. 4:16). Now, there are
two things which would entirely hinder this happy result from being realized, viz. an inordinate use of any one member to the exclusion of another, for example, use one hand or one foot to the exclusion of the other and see the result, and the same may be said of any other member of the body. The effect, as we -very well know, would be most pernicious, and we therefore, while in possession of our reasoning powers, never attempt such an experiment. Again, the imposition of any unnatural bandage or article of dress by which the members of the body would be hindered in their healthy action would lead to the same painful and unhappy result, a strained or deformed appearance of the body which all are naturally anxious to avoid as much as possible.
But, while men would be quick in observing the evils of such experiments with reference to the natural body, they have not hesitated to attempt them in the church of God-the body- of Christ; and, as might be expected, the necessary results have followed. The ministerial grace-designed to flow down from the Head through all the members has been hindered-the members of the body have ceased to realize in power their mutual relationship and dependence-division has taken place-different members have been led to gather round and depend upon one member, whereas all should gather round and depend upon the Head, who alone should occupy the pre-eminent place in the hearts of all the members. These and numerous other evil results have followed. So that, as far as man was able to do anything in the matter, he has hindered the body from attaining its due and proper progress. I say, as far as man was able; for we know to our comfort that the body of Christ-His church, which He has purchased with His own blood-shall surely come " to a perfect man" notwithstanding all man's efforts to hinder it.
The above reflections, however, should lead us to recognize the evil of all human interference in the divine ordinance of ministry in the church of God. Anything that would oppose a barrier to the Spirit's " dividing to every man severally as he will," and further, to the outflow of that which He has so distributed, must be carnal, must be evil-must be avoided, if we would be obedient to Christ our Lord the Head of the Church.
We shall now proceed to view this great question in connection with some leading points in the history of Moses, the minister of God. I felt it needful to say thus much by way of introduction, in order that we may the more clearly understand the ground upon which we tread.
The first Scripture to which I would refer is Exod. where we have an account of the birth and wonderful preservation of this honored instrument. " And there went a man of the house of Levi, and took to wife a daughter of Levi. And the woman conceived and bare a son; and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months. And when she could no longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein, and she hid it in the flags by the river's brink" (v. 1-3).
We need not marvel to find Satan always on the alert in endeavoring to frustrate the gracious purposes of God. It has ever been his object so to do; and as one of these objects is very apparent in the birth of Moses, so we find the enemy at work to put this " vessel," which " the Master" was about to use largely, out of the way. However, I do not stop to dwell upon this particular point, a point so largely developed in Scripture, but would direct the attention of the reader to the extraordinary circumstances in which we here find one who afterward occupied a position of more than ordinary elevation. We find Moses, in the above passage, in type, laid in circumstances of death, and this, moreover, as the grand preliminary to his after-course of ministry.
God's principle, since the day that Adam forfeited his title to life, has been DEATH AND RESURRECTION. Nor could it be otherwise; for man's natural energies had been brought under the power of death, and " God is not the God of the dead, but of the living." He could not use anything over which death had any claim and, consequently, if the ever Blessed One had no life to impart
beyond the life imparted in creation, there was an end of all human instrumentality.
Now, we shall find this principle carried out in every instance in which the Lord has taken up any special vessel for his use. Every such vessel has been made to enter experimentally into the meaning of death and resurrection. Thus, to take a remarkable example from the New Testament, in the case of Paul, the Apostle, whose experience on this point we get in these words, " We had the sentence of death in ourselves that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God, which raiseth the dead" (2 Cor. 1:9). If it be asked, when did Paul the Apostle commence his course?-the ninth of Acts furnishes the answer. There it is, that, down in the very dust of the earth, we get at once the shattered fragments of Saul the persecutor, and the elements of the future laborious and honored Apostle. " And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus, and suddenly there shined round about him a light from Heaven, and he fell to the earth" (Acts 9:3,4). Here we find "the light from Heaven" which alone can reveal the true character of things of earth (22:6-9)-the appearance of the surpassing moral glory of the risen and glorified Son of Man, at once withering up all the natural powers of Saul—those powers by which he had hitherto acted in mad hostility to Christ and His saints; and bestowing upon the future Apostle those wondrous spiritual powers by which he so largely contributed to the building up of that Church which he had before labored to pull down. I feel that it is by no means easy to conceive the depth and power of those words, " he fell to the earth." There is a depth and power in them amounting to the very highest degree of intensity. How wonderful! How real! To see this great man-this previous zealot-this man who was " profiting in the Jews' religion" above many of his own equals-the Pharisee, the Hebrew, the learned religionist;-in a word, all the attractions of "the flesh and of the mind" personified, in one moment leveled to the ground, a striking commentary upon the prophetic announcement that " all flesh is grass, and the goodliness thereof as the flower of the field."
In Moses we observe the same thing. If we want to find the elements of the great deliverer of Israel, we must repair to " the flags by the river's brink," and there hearken to the cries of the helpless babe, lying in circumstances of death through the power of the enemy. However, Moses was " drawn out " of this place of death, for God is the Quickener of the dead; and what is remarkable is, that the instrument made use of to draw him out is one of Pharaoh's own household. The Lord can cause Satan to be divided against himself, in order that his kingdom may not stand. So was it exactly with the Church's great deliverer, " which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power (αν δυναμιν) according to the Spirit of Holiness BY THE RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD " (Rom. 1:3,4).
Upon all this we are incited to found the following important principle, namely, that, short of resurrection there can be no ministry in the Church of God. Any ministry which, in the principles on which it is based, and in the elements of its constitution stops short of this great point, leaves us dependent upon " the flesh" which is but as grass " in God's view. Indeed, when we remember that it is written, " the things of God knoweth no man but the Spirit of God; and again, " the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God • for they are foolishness to him, neither can he know them because they are spiritually discerned " (1 Cor. 2:11,14), It should set the matter at rest as regards man's competency to minister in the Church of God; for what does the term " natural man" imply? Simply man in his natural state-man as born of Adam-man without divine life in his soul; nor is it to be lost sight of here that the incompetency upon man's part " to know or receive the things of the Spirit of God is not attributed, in the above passage, to any grossly evil propensities-no-the Apostle does not require to enter any further into the question than merely to determine the fact of his being a natural man; and on this fact he founds the inference that he cannot know or receive the things of the Spirit of God. From this it follows, that if a natural man attempts to minister in the Church of God he cannot, by any possibility, be giving out the things of the Spirit of God, for he himself, by reason of his actual condition, is unable to receive them or know them; so that let him be ever so eloquent-ever so learned-ever so moral and amiable in private life, in a word, let his talents and acquirements be what they may, yet is the solemn fact demonstrated that he cannot be ministering the things of the Spirit of God; for how could he minister what he himself has neither received nor known. A man may speak a great deal of truth-Balaam or Judas might have done that-but he cannot speak " the things of the Spirit of God."
But, although Moses, in his circumstances " at the river's brink," was made to illustrate, as has been observed, the principle of death, and afterward, in being " drawn out," that of resurrection, yet had he much to learn ere he could enter upon the work designed for him. He had to learn that " it is not by might nor by power but by my Spirit "-a lesson always most difficult indeed to learn, but one which fully rewards all the trouble encountered in learning it. " And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brethren and looked on their burdens; and he spied an Egyptian smiting a Hebrew, one of his brethren. And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand " (Ex. 2:11,12).
There can be no more certain evidence of haste and untimeliness in a man's service than his being occupied about human thoughts as to the rightness of his acting in any particular thing. Whenever a man acts without the assurance that the Lord would have him to do that special act, he is sure to be embarrassed-he will exhibit no calmness-no self-possession-he will be open to the assaults of the enemy in the matter of his service every time he enters upon it; and thus there will be no result save the confusion and uncertainty of his own mind. Moses seems to have suffered not a little of all this embarrassment and uncertainty, and that too both before and after his service. " He looked this way and that way."
No words could more aptly convey the idea of uncertainty. Why did he "look this way and that way?" Because he was not sure of what he was doing-he lacked the comfortable assurance and confidence of soul which can only spring from faith in the great and important fact that " the Lord hath sent me." When this is realized we shall not " look this way and that way," but, in obedience to the Spirit's precept, we shall " let our eyes look right on, and let our eyelids look straight before us " (Prov. 4:25).
Then again, after he had done the deed, how was he terrified at the result of his acting. " Moses feared, and said, Surely this thing is known." Had he felt persuaded in his own mind that God had been with him in what he had done, there would have been none of this fear at all. He would have felt the sweet assurance that he had not acted of himself in the matter. Thus was it at all times with the great model of a minister, the Lord Jesus Christ. He never had occasion to look this way and that way" in anything He did. He spake and acted at all times "as one having authority:" and why? Because He was ever ready to say " My doctrine is not mine but His that sent me "-" The works that the Father hath given me to do they bear witness of me "-" I am not come in mine own name "-" I am come in my Father's name." In all this, we have at once the secret of His calmness and power through all the scenes of His ministry as Son of Man. He acted not in the mere energy of nature-He put not forth the resources of man in anything; and, although He too was " grown," being "thirty years of age," yet went he not forth to his work until, anointed from above, He could go and return " in the power of the Spirit" (comp. Luke 3:23;4. 13, 14).
But there is another lesson to be learned from this circumstance in the life of Moses. We learn that nature, even in its full-grown energy and vigor, will not suit for the Lord's work, be that work what it may. "Moses was grown," i.e. he had attained his maturity in natural strength and energy, and, therefore, if nature could at all be made available for the divine purpose in ministry, Moses might have counted upon success in his mission; but no; God cannot make use of nature, be it ever so strong-ever so highly cultivated. " A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven." It is not within the compass of earth to prepare an instrument for heavenly work. Moses forms a striking exemplification of this. He was not only " grown," but he was "learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds" (Acts 7:22).
All this is of course admitted, nor can any one be more disposed than I am to give full weight to an argument drawn from analogy; nevertheless, I cannot admit that the above argument possesses any force in directing whether Moses was right or wrong in slaying the Egyptian. I think it seems plain that he was premature in the matter, and that he began to act ere he had received his commission to do so. God had not sent him at all as yet-he went himself, and although the Spirit in Stephen tells us that "he supposed" his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them, yet he tells us nothing as to the time at which God would deliver them, nor whether Moses had not gone before that, time, which is the very thing I contend for.
Furthermore, a little attention to the special object which the Spirit had in view, when delivering the address in which He alludes to this subject, will show us that it would have been quite out of place to have entered upon the question of the rightness of the conduct of Moses. The purpose of the Holy Ghost was to bring the whole history of the Jewish nation to bear upon the conscience of the council at Jerusalem, and he therefore charges them with having rejected Moses, although he was the one by whose hand God delivered them ultimately. But can we have any difficulty in reconciling their responsibility with the fact of Moses being premature in his acting 4 Not the least. Do we not see the same thing every day How many are at this moment lying under the heavy responsibility of rejecting God's message heard from the lips of men perhaps not sent at all, or, at all events, not in right circumstances. Thus, while the instrument • may have "to look this way and that way," those who were the objects of his ministrations may be held responsible.
What a combination of advantages! Grown-learned powerful in word and deed-and yet, notwithstanding all these, "he looked this way and that way," and "feared" when he thought that people knew what he had done.
Now, in all this confusion, uncertainty, and disappointment under which Moses suffered, we observe the Lord graciously conducting him on to a most important stage in his education. It was observed above, that although Moses, when at "the river's brink," shadowed forth those circumstances of death through which every one must pass ere he begins to live or act for God, yet he needed to be led into an experimental' knowledge of it in his own person-he needed to be 'taught, by painful experience, that " all flesh is grass," and that it " profiteth nothing; " and this was the very thing which he was now about to learn. God was about to teach Moses a deep and wondrous lesson about flesh and its worthlessness; and, in order to do this, He must have him alone in the desert. " Then fled Moses at this saying, and was a stranger in the land of Midian" (Acts 7:29). The Lord would thus lead Moses apart from every one and everything that would act as an obstacle to him in learning the divine lesson about flesh. He would have him away from the excitement of intercourse with his brethren-He would, for a time, turn his eyes from their burdens and the cruelty of Pharaoh and his task-masters, in order to show him "a great sight," which would make him tremble and bring him to the ground in self-abasement. And surely we can say, there is no more valuable moment in our entire history than that in which we find ourselves alone with God. Then it is that we can view everything in its true and proper light-our works-our words-our thoughts-ourselves-all that we are-all that we have and all that we do stand before us weighed in the unerring balance of the sanctuary. No one that has moved much in intercourse with others can possibly fail to see how much 'he is in danger of forming a false estimate of himself and his services. The excitement of constant engagements—constant preaching-constant visiting-constant talking -all this tends, in an eminent degree, to raise a kind of unhealthy mist around our soul's vision, which is sure to hinder a calm and sober view of our real condition as before God. There is considerable power in the following words of a recent writer: "'Lord, I will preach, run, visit, wrestle,' said I. No; thou shalt lie in thy bed and suffer,' said the Lord." How often may it be said of us, "he supposed" that sinners would have been converted by his ministry-" he supposed " that Christians would have been greatly edified and comforted by his means, when, at the same time, we had learned comparatively nothing of the very first lesson which the Lord would teach us, namely, our own utter nothingness and weakness. And where is this to be learned? Surely not in the bustle of constant engagements-not in the public assembly, although we get at times a humbling view of ourselves even there-not in running from house to house, or from city to city. No; if we would learn what we really are, and not only learn it, but walk in the abiding remembrance of it, we must be much "at the backside of the desert." There it is that, " alone with God," we learn to " put off our shoes" in self-renunciation, and cry out without effort or affectation "Woe is me! " Go and ask Moses, at the foot of Horeb ,why his brethren had rejected him. What is his answer? Losing sight for the moment of their responsibility-" How could they hearken unto me who am of uncircumcised lips? " 0 for more of the holy solitude of the desert, where the presence of God is realized by the soul Would that we could dwell more " in the secret place of the Most High " I Then would we know ourselves-know our place-and know our service. Then there would be no running without being sent-no unholy intrusion of flesh into the sacred Service of God-no speaking when we ought to be silent-no acting when we ought to be still. Every member would know his proper place in the body, and working effectually therein, the body would be edified.
Nor is it only as regards ministry that one needs to taste somewhat of the holy solitude of " the backside of the desert," it is also essential as regards our view of things around us-the estimate which we form of the world and its engagements. When one gets alone with God, it is wonderful how the world and the lust thereof sink in his estimation. He sees all the busy pursuits of men in their own proper nothingness-the strife of the politician-the feverish anxiety of the aspirant after literary fame-the toil and ceaseless perplexity of the man in trade-all the cares of life and all its pleasures are esteemed by us as the small dust of the balance when we find ourselves alone with God. There is no room for worldliness in the presence of God-a worldly spirit cannot exist " at the backside of the desert; " and if we knew more of what it was to be there, we should be far less worldly and carnal than we are.
But the desert is pre-eminently the school in which a man is educated for the ministry. The Lord Jesus, when on earth, was wont to bring His disciples whom He was educating for the ministry into " the desert-place apart." There He calmed their excited spirits-subdued their inordinate elation of mind—removed from beneath them the false props on which they were prone to rest their rejoicings-showed them a little of their own hearts; in a word, led them into many things essential for them to know, but which they never could have learned in the halls of an academy where the flesh is nourished rather than subdued. The flesh is a great hindrance to a man's usefulness in the church; consequently, if the flesh be ministered to by any particular course of education, it must be rendered a more efficient hindrance.
What we want, on the contrary, is to have the flesh crushed and kept under. " We had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God, which raiseth the dead."
The only thing that can ever break down the flesh, is to have it always under the power of the light of God's presence. There it was that " Moses trembled and durst not behold "-there it was that " he hid his face," and "put off his shoes," in the deep sense of his own nothingness.
Now, it was just to this point that the Lord was conducting Moses, although He might in His wisdom overrule the precipitancy of His servant for the purpose of shadowing forth some important truth; but with this we have nothing to do at present; it is with Moses personally we are occupied; and it seems plain to me that until he was taught to hide his face, and put off his shoes, he was not in a fit moral condition to be used by God in ministry. Nothing seems to prove this more fully than the fact, that when Moses was really brought to view himself in the presence of God, he was most unwilling to go upon that very mission on which he had been so hasty to go unsent. He saw his own littleness-He felt how unable he was to do anything of himself-the burning bush had taught him a wondrous lesson about himself; hence, when the Lord said unto him "Come now, therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt," his reply was, " Who am I that I should go Unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?" How was it that Moses could ask such a question after having of his own accord assayed to deliver the children of Israel? Because he-had now arrived at a knowledge of himself which he possessed not previously; and not only so, but the total failure of his previous attempt must have weighed with him when thinking of again presenting himself before his brethren. This will ever be the case. Where we do anything in haste or where we go out of our proper sphere of service, it is sure to have the unhappy effect of weakening us and rendering us unfit for that which properly belongs to us. We can never do anything, no matter how trivial, save as we are realizing the sentence of death written upon everything in ourselves, and also the quickening power of Christ. " It is the Spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I say unto you, they are spirit and they are life" (John 6:63). It is important that we should not only not go out of our place or sphere of service, but also that we should work effectually therein. "For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith" (Rom. 12:3). Whenever we move out of our place, if we would only examine our hearts, We should find that we have been thinking of ourselves " more highly than we ought to think;" and, on the other hand, whenever we work not effectually in our place, it is because we are not thinking " soberly according has God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith."
Moses, then, is most unwilling to go, although the Lord had said, "I will send thee;" and again, "certainly I will be with thee." Surely such assurances ought to have sufficed to confirm his soul. But no; Moses had felt something like what Jacob felt when the hollow of his thigh had been touched-when he felt himself a poor, weak, withered thing in the presence of God, who had been wrestling with him for the purpose of breaking down his nature. Moses had at first run into an extreme, and here we perceive a violent reaction-here he runs into the very opposite extreme; and one is disposed to ask, Carr he be the same man who sought to deliver Israel forty years before, who now says, " Send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send" (Ex. 4.13). O how difficult it is to combine deep humility with 'full confidence in God-how difficult to blend a " Woe is me!" with " Here am I, send me!" We all need to pray for this more and more. There can be no service -no real service for Christ either in the church or in the world except where the character of the servant partakes of these two elements. Nothing so hinders our usefulness as pride and self-sufficiency. God cannot use a proud man, because such would not give all the glory to Him. " The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me " (Judg. 7:2). Had the Lord owned Moses' first mission, it would have been an allowance of man's full-grown energy, or of the learning and wisdom of the Egyptians, and thus man would not have been ever so willing to confess " it is the finger of God."
But how does God act, in order to show Moses the vanity of all human attainment unaccompanied by divine energy? He inquires, " What is that in thine hand?" And what was it? "A rod." He does not direct his thoughts at all to his own natural powers, nor yet to his learning and wisdom, but rather to the very humblest thing he had about him, " a rod," the very instrument with which he had tended Jethro's sheep in the wilderness. The Lord would show Moses that he must act in public by the very same power that he had acted in secret; or rather, that he had been brought into the secret place for the purpose of qualifying him for public work. So was it, long afterward, with David. He brought no other power to bear upon the giant in public than that by which he had slain the lion and the bear in secret. This is very important. Moses might have thought it a very simple thing to serve the Lord in the desert, and that it was only in Egypt he would need anything like eloquence; but the Lord sheaved him very plainly that He regarded not any such thing; and further, that whether it were in the sheepfold or in the congregation, in public or in secret, it was divine power alone that could enable him to do any work for God or His people. The Lord's work must ever be regarded as being beyond man's reach; and it matters not what the character of the work may be, it is all alike beyond the power of man to accomplish. It requires the same character of power to slay a bear in the desert as to slay a giant in the view of contending armies-to drop the glad tidings in the ears of a pauper by the roadside, as to proclaim it before a crowded assembly in London-to pay a visit at the other end of the street as to go to Africa as a missionary. I say, the same quality of power-for the power must be divine, if the thing be done to the Lord-the measure may differ.
All this is taught us in the fact, that when the Lord called Moses into the ministry, He did not take up his learning, which had doubtless lain dormant during his forty years' sojourn in the wilderness, but He took up " the rod " with which he was actually engaged tending the sheep. " Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where are the disputers of this world? Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that, in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe" (1 Cor. 1:20,21).
And may we not ask ourselves, Why is there so little work done for the Lord? Why are there so few conversions? Why is there so little fellowship and true cooperation in the spirit? Is it not because we are not sufficiently simple in our way of working? Do we not lack more unaffected energy? Do we not often imagine that the Lord's work lies there, when in reality it lies here? Are we not often vaguely looking for something like eloquence, when the Lord would make use of " the rod"? i. e., of whatever might be within our reach. I have no doubt of the real importance of such questions as the above. We cannot look around us, and see the poor condition of things as regards testimony and work for the Lord, without confessing that " we are straitened in ourselves."
But Moses is at length prevailed upon to go upon the mission in the strength of the Lord alone; he is at length satisfied to " take the rod of God in his hand," and, although he was not eloquent, yet, seeing the Lord was to be with him, he would go forth in dependance upon Him:-" Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit." When a man really knows this, in the power of it he can move above his own strength, as well as above his own weakness.
And now let us see the triumph that marks every step of his course. From the moment that Moses became satisfied to work with " the rod of God," all was peace-all was victory. Success attends every step-every action has weight and power in it, and every word tells. There is no more "looking this way and that way," no more uncertainty or painful trepidation. No; everything he does exhibits the evidence of his divine training in the desert. He had been alone, with God, and that was enough; he had put off his shoes before the burning bush; he had stood in that place where alone flesh is made to sink into its own proper nothingness, even the presence of Jehovah; he could therefore act as a mere " earthen vessel," confessing, in all things, " that the excellency of the power was of God, and not of him." Hence we find, in tracing him through a few following chapters, that he receives token after token of the fact that the Lord was with him; and, as a consequence, that he was "a mighty man of valor." Aaron went forth to meet him at the Mount of God, and kissed him (Ex. 4:27). This was a happy and an encouraging token. Again, " Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel; and Aaron spake all the words which the Lord had 'spoken unto Moses, and did the signs in the sight of the people. And the people believed then they bowed their heads and worshipped" (verses 29, 30). How different is this from his former reception! " Who made thee a prince and a. judge over us? Intendest thou to kill me as thou killedst the Egyptian yesterday?" Pharaoh, too, and his land, are made to groan under the successive strokes of the rod of God; and even the magicians are constrained to acknowledge "the finger of God." in a word, all combine to bear testimony to the divine power in one who had been trained in the desert, under the immediate eye of Jehovah.
It is truly marvelous to see how a man is carried through his services when he is able to say, " The Lord hath sent me." This it is that gives power, real moral power, without the faintest tinge of assumption or affectation. The reason of this is, that nothing is undertaken which there is not power to meet. Nothing, ever causes confusion or strained exertion but the assuming of things beyond our measure. God will always supply the needed strength for any work to which He sends us; but, if we will run unsent, we can only expect to be left to the sad and humiliating results of our own reckless folly. Now, as the true power of ministry, both as regards its origin and its continued exercise, consists in the full acknowledgment of God, and the disallowance of all human competency in the matter; so failure in ministry consists in reversing this order, i.e. in shutting out God by refusing to acknowledge Him, and in setting up man by not disallowing his pretensions. Thus was it with Moses. So long as he was enabled to move on in company with God, using the rod as the divinely appointed badge of his legation, he went on triumphantly. The Lord owned the work of Moses because Moses acknowledged the hand of the Lord. But the twentieth chapter of Numbers unfolds to us something which cannot fail to exert a solemnizing influence upon the minds of all who occupy a position of ministry in the church of God. "The Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Take the rod and gather thou the assembly together, thou and Aaron thy brother, and speak unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock; so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink. And Moses took the rod from before the Lord as He commanded him. And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels, must we fetch you water out of the rock? And d Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice" (ver. 7-11). The true object of ministry is to lead, the souls of those ministered to directly to God Himself', and not to the ministry. When the latter occurs, God is disowned and all is failure. True, souls may receive refreshment, but God judges the vessel. The congregation enjoyed the refreshing stream gushing forth from the smitten rock, but Moses went not over Jordan.
It is exceedingly solemn to find Moses, the meekest man in all the earth, failing in this particular point; it shows us very plainly the great danger of all those who minister in any way amongst us. Whenever the ministry is used to procure a measure of influence for the man, God must come in in judgment, and lay the vessel aside. It is not at all a question of personal acceptance. Paul could say, " Nothing can separate us;" and, at the same time, "lest I become a cast-away" (αδοκιμος.). In one sense it was better for Moses to be quietly laid aside, and not to see the lamentable evils that were to befall the people; or even had there been no such evils, it was better to be taken up in company with the Lord to Pisgah's top, and from thence see the land, than to go over to possess it; yet, it was because of his having failed duly to acknowledge God in his ministry to the congregation that he was prevented from going over into the land; and if the blessed God brought a superior blessing to him out of his failure, all that can be said, is, " Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound."
I believe there is nothing that calls for so much watchfulness and prayer on the part of those engaged in public ministry as the liability, through the infirmity of the flesh, to become the object of the thoughts of those ministered to. It is an exceedingly solemn thing -dangerous in the extreme; so much so that nothing but the firm and deeply rooted conviction that the Lord has sent a man, should ever induce him to take a place of ministry in the church. It is not being able to speak on the word with fluency-it is not the possession of knowledge, though both are indispensable. O no; it is the holy consciousness that the Lord hath sent us out-that we are speaking for the Lord, or, as the apostle Peter has it, " as the oracles of God."
Gideon too failed in this matter. " The Lord had looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might," etc., and so long as he did go in that might he went happily -so long as he was satisfied to work with the instrumentality of "the lamp and pitcher," and to say " the sword of the Lord and of Gideon," his work was owned as was Moses' while he worked in company with the rod of God. But Gideon seemed, for a moment, to forget that " the treasure was in earthen vessels"-he was tempted to think of himself. " I would desire a request of you," said he, " that ye would give me every man the ear-rings of his prey." He would not be a lord over God's heritage-he refused to rule over the people-but he would look for a pledge of love from those to whom he had ministered, and having got it, he made a god of it, and thus ruined his house, and gave rise to the sad and humbling train of circumstances which, as we know, led Jotham to deliver the parable of " the bramble king."
Our constant effort should be to lead those to whom we minister into the immediate presence of God; and then it will not be, " must we bring you instruction out of this book," nor, shall we be led, at any time, to ask for a pledge 'of love from the people of God:-no; we shall remember that " a man can receive nothing except it be given him from heaven;" and, further, that we have nothing that " we have not received."
O that the Lord would ever keep these things in the remembrance of the thoughts of our hearts, that so the stone out of the brook might not lift itself up, nor the sling magnify itself against the hand that has used it! I doubt not that David felt he had as little to do with the slaying of the giant as the stone which he had taken out of the brook, or the sling which he held in his hand; and Moses should have felt-that he had as little to do with the refreshing stream that gushed from the rock as had the rod with which he had smitten it. Just so should it be with the man that ministers in the word; he should feel-abidingly feel-that he has as little to do with the conversion of sinners or the edification of the Lord's people, as the book which he holds in his band or the pen with which he writes. If this were more fully realized amongst us, there would be far more fruit for our labor than there is. We have little idea of how many impure motives creep in to spoil our work and hinder results. God can only own that work which is done with a single eye to Him, and in the energy of His Spirit. " We had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God which raiseth the dead."
The correctness of some of its statements (bearing, however, merely upon the application to individual cases) of general principles, I question in this paper.-ED.

The Mother of Moses and the Reward of Faith

What a volume of instruction the Holy Ghost presents to us in few words! The crowded events of a life are compressed in the compass of a few verses, and when most concise, so beautifully distinct that the soul, in communion by the power of the Holy Ghost, has the picture delineated as vividly before him as if an eyewitness of all that occurred. The portion of the Word under consideration is a striking illustration of this. A mother's cares and a mother's joys, her faith in God and the reward of her faith, are presented to us-" Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him." " And there went a man of the house of Levi, and took to wife a daughter of Levi. And the woman conceived and bare a son. And when she saw him that he was a proper child, she hid him three months." We read in Heb. 11, " By faith, Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw that he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king's commandment." In the book of Acts (7:20) we read, " In which time Moses was born, and was exceeding (margin, to God) fair, and nourished up in his father's house three months." The judgment passed upon Satan in the garden, that the "seed of the woman should bruise the head of the serpent," became at the same time the promise of God to our first parents, upon which they founded their hopes. The commandment of Pharaoh to the midwives, that, if a son was born, " they should kill him," directly subverted the purpose of God in the promised seed. The hearts of the faithful expected a Deliverer; and each mother in Israel might be the channel of blessing in giving birth to Messiah. Faith in the parents of Moses appreciated the promise; and apart from the instinctive desire for the preservation of their offspring, we read, it was " by faith " they were urged to conceal the birth of Moses.
Scripture is silent as to any direct revelation to them, that Moses should be a deliverer. We have the clue to their conduct in the knowledge " that the seed of the woman should bruise the head of the serpent." To destroy their children would be a death-blow to their hopes, and frustrate the grace of God to them. Doubtless this stimulated their faith in His present help. Their love to their child and the promise of God were blended together. And He whose tenderness is developed in Jesus, did not withhold His blessing from those whose natural instinct was his own precious gift, and who hoped in His mercy. The Scriptures abound with testimony to His surpassing grace. Creation bears witness to His love: The birds of the air, the fishes in the sea, and the wild beasts of the desert. The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their meat from God; "not a sparrow falls to the ground without His notice." "Consider the ravens; for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have store-house nor barn; and God feedeth them." But it is not as the God of creation alone we have to contemplate Jehovah. We know Him as the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. We measure His gifts by the gift of His Son-" God so loved the world, that He gave his only-begotten Son into the world." God commended His love in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. We know that neither height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Jesus was the Brightness of God's glory, the express Image of His person-" In Him alone dwelt the fullness of the Godhead bodily." The perfect knowledge of God is in the f tee of Christ; yet, in the revelation of His ways, as in the Old Testament, how distinct the features of His grace, how discernible the traces of His character—the God of all grace! The care of Jehovah for the mother of Moses furnishes a blessed subject for meditation. His grace in awakening her faith in His love; His grace in meeting the confidence He had awakened. The eye of Jehovah rests upon the fond wishes of the mother; the heart of the mother unburdens her sorrows to Him.
The child is born-she. " had gotten a man from the Lord." Yet at what a time was her lot cast-a king had arisen " over Egypt that knew not Joseph." ". And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigor: and they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in mortar, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigor." But this was not all. The king of Egypt had issued an edict for the destruction of every male child that should be born of the Hebrews. And at such a time Moses is given to his parents. "And when she saw him, that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months." Alas, what a time for a mother! the delight of her eyes must be hid in the darkness, the affection of a full heart must be stifled. The charms of her infant forgotten in solicitude for its existence, "she hid her child." How difficult her task, is apparent from the nature of her avocation. The daily toil imposed upon her, her relative duties, the diligent search of the destroyers, the suspicions aroused about her, all added to the difficulty of the concealment of her babe. And then for its nourishment. How stealthy her tread to the spot, how vigilant her eye! What searching before, what looking behind; how wildly her poor heart throbbed! She has reached it; and the God of her fathers has preserved the babe from the reptiles; which abounded in Egypt. Her eye is lifted up in gratitude to Him, her bosom is open for her child. Flow eager the infant; how hard to hush its cry of delight. What fear lest its noise should attract; lest the evidence of its life, such joy to her heart, should prove the occasion of its death. And the young sister mentioned in the fourth verse would be the mother's confidant in this. It might be, on the watch, peradventure an enemy was near. The heart of the mother was around her child; the sister's affection aroused for her baby-brother. And in this scene of emotion, this tumult of affection, confidence in God was as oil on the troubled waters. In the morning they cried unto Him; in the evening commended the babe unto Him. Blessed picture of God, the center of attraction, where alone the pangs of humanity could unburden themselves. The parents believed in His love; His love solaced the parents. All was hostile around them. Evil passions had snapped the chords of affection betwixt man and man. The ties of nature were severed, its sympathies obliterated. The mother of Moses reposed her heart on the love of her God-and she hid her child three months. But the enemy has discovered it; "she could no longer hide him." What agony of soul! Still it is but for a moment. She cannot trust man, she will then confide in her God. The poor babe, unconscious of the agonies it gave birth to, is removed. She made an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein, and she laid it in the flags by the river's brink. What confidence of faith. The wickedness upon earth forbade her to nourish her own. Cruel world; conduct answerable to that in after-years, when the tenderest of hearts, the truest love was repaid with ignominy, scorn, and the cross. Her child, exposed to the dangers of the Nile, was safer than in the abode of humanity. The offspring God had given her she could no longer sustain. Faith commits it to His care. Dead indeed were the earthly hopes of the poor mother; fit coffin for them was the ark of bulrushes; fitter emblem still the water, the waters of death. But faith saw beyond things around. " It is the evidence of things not seen, the substance of things hoped for." Help below there was none; God alone could help her, and on His arm she relied. His ear is ever open to the cry of His children. Almighty God interests himself in the sorrows of His creatures. He who would one day manifest Himself in the flesh and be born of a woman, how perfectly could He sympathize with the sorrows of the heart of one. The three months' trial of her faith was before him. Her steady confidence in His love, her maternal solicitude, the anxious cares, all were known to Him (Psa. 139:1,2). And this last confiding act, this casting of her burthen on the Lord, would he not meet it? He loves to be relied upon. His object in creating us was to rejoice in His love to us, and in our love to Him. He who gave us sympathies, which even in the degradation of our fallen nature ever and anon gleam of heaven, could best appreciate them when aroused. It is not enough for the God of' all grace to dispense of His bounty, wondrous grace though it be; He seeks beyond that, the confidence of children in the love which dictates it. "And his sister stood afar off to wit what would be done to him." And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself in the river. " A man's heart deviseth his way, but the Lord directeth his steps." Surely this truth was fulfilled in the direction of the daughter of Pharaoh. Her maidens walked along by the river's side, and when she saw the ark among the flags, she sent her maid to fetch it; and when she had opened it, she saw the child, and behold the babe wept, and she had compassion on him and said, " This is one of the Hebrews' children " " Who is a God like unto our God," gracious and full of compassion. The child was entrusted to Him, and he ensures its safety. The prayers of the mother were heard of the God of Abraham. He had sent deliverance, and after such manner as became him. The little outcast from earth and from home, found a welcome, by the providence of God, in the heart of the princess. The edict of her father had doomed it to death. The compassion of his daughter decrees its life. The sympathies of nature were kindled in her breast for one of a despised people. " The babe wept;" she had compassion on him, and said " This is one of the Hebrews' children." How wonderful the ways of God; how rich the possessor of His " favor which is life, and his loving-kindness better than life." Every circumstance on earth was opposed to the poor Hebrew mother. God in heaven was for her. She gave up her child to His keeping. He will skew himself worthy of the trust. Happy the people whose God is the Lord! The sister was no unmoved spectator of this scene. The mother was pouring out her heart in prayer-the answer was ready at the door. The sister, with discernment, doubtless of God, had read in the face of the princess, beaming with compassion, the safety of her brother. "Shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women that she may nurse the child for thee? And Pharaoh's daughter said, Go; and the maid went and called the child's mother." Surely her cup overflowed t Whilst she was praying, before the thoughts of her heart found words for expression, her child is re-restored, and in such a manner!-The palace of the foe to her race, should be the sanctuary of, her babe, and she, happy mother, should nourish her own I "And Pharaoh's daughter said unto her, Take the child away and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages. And the woman took the child and nursed it, and the child grew; and she brought him unto Pharaoh's daughter. And she called his name Moses, and she said because I drew him out of the WATER. In poverty and trial the babe was born; in fear and dread it had been nourished. But now how altered the circumstances! The mother had wages from the daughter of Pharaoh for nursing her own. The protection of his power secured its life. There existed no occasion for concealment. She could embrace her child in her arms, she could clasp it openly to her bosom. How her heart would rejoice in the God of her salvation, her child's salvation. " He giveth liberally." They had trusted him with their child-see how their faith is rewarded. Surely she received him back as from the dead, God's gift to her in resurrection. " He was dead and is alive again, he was lost and is found.", What stimulus to confidence in God is here. Well might our Lord say, " Have faith in God." Well does our God deserve our confidence. "My soul shall make her boast in the Lord; the humble shall hear thereof and be glad." W.

The Name of Jesus

Among the crowd of interesting thoughts awakened in the soul by the name of Jesus, two present themselves most prominently-Savior and. Lord. Savior and Lord are almost inseparable, and we find them associated, almost necessarily associated, in the preaching of the Apostles. We find them also linked together in our own proper confession. The sanctity of the faith is preserved by maintaining them in unison; lawlessness in the Church leading to lawlessness in the world is the fearful result of the practical severance of Savior and Lord.
The name of Jesus was given on earth and again in heaven. " And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called Jesus, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb." But this name so given on earth, is ratified in heaven, as supreme there, after his humiliation even to the death of the cross. " Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow-of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." But the name of Jesus, with all its associated titles, depends for its efficacy on a name not given, but essential. " The only begotten Son" is no given name, it is essential. "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him." " He that believeth him is not condemned; but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."
When this essential name was revealed by the Father to Peter, the Lord Jesus not only pronounced Peter blessed in the confession of it, but also pronounced Himself, thus confessed, as " the living stone" on which the Church was founded. The Church, therefore, is set for the confession of the essential glory of the Person of the Son, as well as for the confession of all his given names, titles and glories.
He who by his essential name Jehovah made Himself known to Israel in delivering them out of Egypt, and had made it the special covenant-name in relation to them as a people, now appears again among them, in all lowliness and grace, yet making it known that it was the same "arm of the Lord" which had " cut Rahab and wounded the Dragon;" " which had dried the sea, and the waters of the great deep, and made the depths of the sea a way for the ransomed to pass over." Thus Jesus visited Israel, but " Israel would none of Him." How often would he have gathered them, as a hen gathereth her chickens, rising up early and sending them prophets; but now, even his own most gracious overtures are rejected.-He Himself was visible among them, yet they believed Him not.-He forgave their sins and healed their infirmities, yet they blessed Him not.-They would not have Him to reign over them.-They saw and hated both Him and His Father.
Israel could accept of no Savior short of Jehovah himself. Was the Jesus then whom Peter preached, and whom Saul blasphemed, the very One who thus speaks:- " Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the Lord? and there is no God beside me; a just God and a Savior; there is none beside me. Look unto me and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth, for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness and shall not return, that unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. Surely shall one say, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength; even to Him shall men come, and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed. In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified and shall glory."
Saul, the Pharisee, had once denied this name as belonging to Jesus, and this denial constituted him "a blasphemer." But the Lord of glory appeared to him by the way-and he preached the faith which once he destroyed.
It was the rejected Lord-Jesus of Nazareth-whose name in saving power and rightful Lordship, even as the glorified man, the Apostles preached. " Let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God hath made that same Jesus whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ." This is properly mediatorial glory; but none could " bear this glory," or even put himself in the condition of acquiring it, but he who had glory essentially belonging to him-even "He who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God." Israel had rejected "God manifested in the flesh." They discerned mot the glory of His humiliation. Jesus is glorified" the second man, the Lord from heaven," is now owned as the Lord in heaven; and the time shall come when Israel shall thus hail Jesus:-" Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us; this is the Lord, we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation." Even as Thomas, the type of Israel in the latter day, who will believe only when they see " my Lord and my God."
It was an ancient oracle to Israel, that there was a day coming, great and terrible, and only one way of escape. " Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Joel 2:32; Acts 2:21). The testimony of Peter after Pentecost, was to identify that name with Jesus; to prove the power of the name of Jesus as Savior and Lord-Savior, because He was the Lord Savior to all who acknowledged Him as Lord once crucified, but now glorified; this was the great point at issue between Peter and the Jewish rulers. Thus in Acts 3 " Silver and gold" (says Peter) " have I none; but such as I have, give I thee: in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk." The multitude might indeed ignorantly gaze on the instruments of such beneficent power, but only to bring out more fully the name of Jesus. " Why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk!... His name, through faith in His name, hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know." This testimony to the name of Jesus gives offense-the Apostles are arraigned before " the rulers, and elders and scribes", and asked, " By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?" Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, replies" Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead;... neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." The rulers could not deny the miracle wrought on the impotent man at the beautiful gate of the temple: but they " commanded the Apostles not to speak at all, nor to teach in the name of Jesus." But the Apostles were set for the confession of the saving power of that name, and they cry to the Lord " for boldness to speak thy word, by stretching forth thine hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus." This controversy as to the present power of the name of Jesus between the Apostles and Jewish rulers, is continued throughout the fourth and fifth chapters of the Acts of the Apostles. " The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Savior, for to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins; and we are His witnesses of these things; and so also is the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey Him." This double witness the Lord had spoken of during His ministry. " But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of me: and ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning." The Apostles were unimpeachable witnesses of the facts of the cross and resurrection of Jesus, and of His ascension-witnesses also in their own souls' experience, and by the very acts of which they were the instruments, to the present power of His name as Savior and Lord; and the Holy Ghost come down from heaven was witness also of the exaltation of the name of Jesus in heaven as Savior and Lord.
Before the calling out of the great Apostle of the Gentiles, that which characterized the disciples, was that they called upon the name of the Lord. The name " Christian" was not as yet known. A certain class of Jews in Judea and Jerusalem, and in distant cities, were separated from their brethren by acknowledging Jesus as Lord, and rendering to Him worship, by calling on His name. This distinguished them. This saved them " from the untoward generation." " Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he 'lath done to thy saints at Jerusalem, and here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name." And when Ananias goes to Saul, he thus addresses him:-" The Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou earnest, has sent me." " But Barnabas took him (Saul) and brought him to the Apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to Him, and how He had preached boldly in the name of Jesus." When the Apostle Paul speaks of himself it is as separated unto the Gospel of God, concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, by whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for His name. When he writes to others, it runs thus:-" Unto the Church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be Saints, with all that, in every place, call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours."
These Scriptures sufficiently show the inseparable connection between Savior and Lord in the testimony of the Apostles to Jesus. Our confession runs thus:-" If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation for the Scripture saith, " Whosoever believed]. in Him shall not be ashamed... for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him-for whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."
Our confession is unto the Lordship of Jesus, as well as unto salvation in his name. It is our present blessing, being made willing by his grace to own Jesus as Savior and Lord-and what misery is in store for unbelievers, to have the unwilling confession extorted from them that " Jesus Christ is Lord," when the acknowledgment is only to hear sentence of judgment from his lips. Jesus is Lord of all; but there is a specialty of Lordship in which the church owns him, when she owns him as "our Lord Jesus Christ." It is the acknowledgment of the endearing, claim he has upon her as having saved her. He has " bought her with a price." This is His new claim of Lordship.-The Church owns Him as Lord of all; but she also owns him as Her Lord-the Lord who hath bought her, and thus confesses that she is not her own but his. He is her Lord, and she worships him. It is on this plea, besides his rightful title to universal obedience, that He claims her obedience.-" If ye love me, keep my commandments." What blessed harmony do we thus find in the name of Jesus between Savior and. Lord.
The severance of salvation from Lordship is the introduction of the worst form of evil. When Jude had to write of " the common salvation," and to exhort the disciples earnestly to contend for the faith " once delivered unto the saints," the principle of corruption is stated as being in the separation of Salvation from Lordship-,-a form of evil exactly suiting the corrupt selfishness of man. " The grace of our God was turned into lasciviousness," and the deity and Lordship of our Lord Jesus Christ was denied; and in this way contempt of all authority was introduced even into the world..
The confession of the Church unto Jesus as Savior and Lord, is most happily illustrated in the disciples coming together in one place to eat the Lord's supper. The Church acknowledges Jesus as a present Savior, as a present Lord; and this exactly answers to the very constitution of the Church, for it is the Lord who adds to the Church such as are saved. He saves, and as Lord He adds to the Church; for He is Lord of the Church and in the Church. He is " Lord of all," although the world knows Him not; but the Church acknowledges, that " all power in heaven and earth is given unto Him." The title for "the saved" to meet together is the name of Jesus-the same name is the title for them to act, and when they so act they practically acknowledge that all power on earth, as well as in heaven, is given to him. They act as thus associated in this name as truly as the judge and magistrate act in the name of the sovereign who has delegated to them his power.
The idea of meeting together " simply as Christians," is often very bare and defective, and almost appears to make a party of Christians socially assembled to stand on the same ground as the Church in her most solemn public acts. It has pleased the Lord, for his name is " gracious," to allow us liberty in many respects. He will not exact, for he " loveth a cheerful giver," and is pleased to say to us-" Whilst it remained, was it not thine own?" He has not put a rigid restriction on us as to social intercourse, because he would leave room for the exercise of spiritual sense and charity. If any of them that believe not bid you, and ye be disposed to go." It was one disciple only that "leaned on the bosom of Jesus," thus showing by his own example that we are permitted to have our Christian intimacies and friendships. The social principle is indeed very prominent in the Church, but it is balanced by two others, one of equal and the other of paramount importance, namely, liberty and conscience, so that there may be direct individual responsibility to the Lord. When man forms an association, it is his object to centralize everything, so that liberty and conscience are alike disregarded. If such a human element is brought into the Church, it necessarily renders the Church irresponsible. But the social principle in the Church necessarily implies both corporate and individual responsibility to the Lord, because her association and her acts are in the name of the Lord. When disciples come together to break bread, it is around the Lord's table they are gathered-they eat together the supper of the Lord-they show forth the Lord's death till he come. That we are of the blood-bought family is our title; but then the Lord's title is to be acknowledged. It is the Lord who bids the guests, spreads the table, and orders the feast. This 'is not left in the power of the guests; and this we have very specially to acknowledge, for it is written for our instruction, that on the failure of the Saints to maintain the order of the table, the Lord sheaved himself in chastening judgment (1 Cor. 11). To meet together for the Lord's supper on our title of being saved by the blood of the Lamb, without owning the title of Jesus to be obeyed as Lord, would at once place us on the verge of the precipice so fearfully portrayed in Jude, and the neglect of discipline in the Church would thus lead the way to lawlessness in the world.
The Lord has been pleased to constitute the Church His court, as that in which He now presides in judgment. The church is the only present sphere in which judgment is exercised. Those " within" become amenable to judgment, whilst as to the world, its judgment is yet future. The saints now gathered together, those who have made a covenant with God by sacrifice, are those among whom He at present acts judicially. " God is judge Himself" (Psa. 1.) " The Lord adds to the church the saved." And when the Church, not infallibly as the Lord, but according to the measure of her spiritual mind, accredits one as saved by the grace of the Lord Jesus, she receives him, because Christ has received him; whatever his previous life may have been. There may be hesitation, as there was in the case of Saul at Jerusalem, they believed not that he was a disciple; " But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the Apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way; and He was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem." In this respect the Church responds to the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, by acting simply in grace. But the act of grace which has brought from the world (" without") to the church (" within"), at once set the person, so brought, in the place where he is amenable to judgment. So that when one went from one city to another, he would have so to speak to carry his credentials with him. " And when he (Apollos) was disposed to pass (from Ephesus) into Achaia, the brethren wrote exhorting the disciples to receive him." It was thus happily that the unity of the body was preserved. A Jew, a native of
Alexandria, in Africa, receiving the first rudiments of the knowledge of Christ by the baptism of John,-comes to Ephesus, in Asia, and is there more perfectly instructed in " the way of the Lord" by a private Christian and his wife, and then passes into Achaia, in Europe, and there " helped them much which had believed through grace."
Circumstances of themselves would have forbidden intercourse, rather would have nullified the very thought of it, but there was a power in activity above circumstances-for "unity of the Spirit" is independent of' circumstances, and is based on, and maintained by, that which is essential. "One Body and one Spirit, one hope of our calling, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of all." We need not wonder at the difficulties in the way of preserving a unity to which all circumstances are adverse, and which can only be maintained by living faith in that which is unseen. The sources of discord in the early church were both of Jewish and Gentile origin. But the Apostle designates both these forms of error under one term-" rudiments or elements of the world" (see Gal. 4.3-4; Col. 2:8-20). The same sources of discord have marked the whole history of the church. There has ever been the tendency to revert to the Law in its principle as the regulator both of the morals and worship of the saints, and to make human wisdom the exponent of divine revelation. Both, in a variety of forms, have been found subversive of the unity of the Spirit; for unity of the Spirit can alone be maintained by a holy jealousy for essentials instead of eager contention about circumstantials. That which leads into the last form of wickedness, which brings oh the swift judgment of God, is the denial of " our most holy faith.' One peculiar Characteristic of Apostolic teaching is the notice given of the danger of the faith being corrupted from many quarters. It was a great thing for one Apostle to be able to say, " I have fought the good fight. I have kept the faith."
It must have occurred to almost every reflecting Christian the increased difficulty of walking as becometh saints, now that a great professing body, arrogating to itself all the claims of the church of God, is settled and acknowledged. This body has been formed by the church receiving into herself " the elements of the world," and by the world using for its own ends anything which availed in the church, "considering that gain is godliness." The result is, that the very idea of what the church essentially is has been lost, and that the world has been raised in its moral tone; and thus conventional righteousness, in other words public opinion, has immense and unsuspected influence in forming our thoughts and judgments. It may easily be conceived, that in every revival in the church, in other words, when at any time by the special action of the Holy Ghost a few, in the midst of general declension, have been led back to the essential principles of the church, that they must necessarily have discovered the immense difference between the conventional standard of the professing body, and " righteousness and true holiness." Such righteousness and holiness is according to the knowledge of the truth, and will be found not only immeasurably above the conventional standard, but often to traverse it, so that those who assert it will be regarded as troublers of Israel. Such has been the estimate of the few by the many in every instance in which God, by the energy of His Spirit, has in any wise disturbed the order of the world, even though it be the religious world. The interference of God Himself, with anything which man has arranged, is never tolerated.
Whenever by the power of truth received into the soul through the teaching of the Spirit, Christians have been led " to live soberly, godly, and righteously in this present world," there has always been the danger of antagonism to formal religion taking the place of faith; and thus room made for carnal weapons: or, on the other hand, freedom from the restraint of opinion being asserted as a principle, instead of resulting from present faith in God. This is sure to lead into inconsistencies and improprieties which cause the truth to be evil spoken of, so that the saints are again turned back to the maintenance of their own character, and the very power which brought the blessing is thus lost sight of altogether. It is no longer faith exercised on essentials which are in Christ Jesus, leading into a heavenly path and gracious separation from the world, but saints occupied about their own character and credit in the eyes of men; and thus unconsciously reduced again to the conventional standard of righteousness. It is the old error beginning " in the spirit, but seeking to be made perfect by the flesh." This alone accounts for the constant tendency in the minds of Christians to separate faith and morals; and having so separated them, although in truth not separable, to be more anxious for the purity of morals than for the purity of the faith. There is an accredited standard of morals in the professing body, but the standard of the sanctuary, where everything is seen according to God, is only known by those who have the Spirit. In the sanctuary we learn both the cause of, and the remedy for, the declension. And judged there, declension in morals will be found to have originated in some departure from the faith; and the remedy is to lead hack the soul to the Lord Himself. It is the giving to Him his due place, and the assertion of His honor wherein He has been dishonored, which is the spring of godly conduct. Whenever the saints themselves become their own object, so that their own character becomes their anxiety, it will invariably be found that all things are measured by the conventional standard; and thus insidiously the way is prepared for the very worst form of evil, the unity of Christians among themselves, even at the expense of the honor of the Lord Jesus Christ. We have seen in the past history of the Church the result, in a unity, apart from every essential of unity of the Spirit—a unity in form, not in power; a unity in death, not in life; a unity which the confession of Christ as only Savior and only Lord, the fountain of all grace and the head of all power, necessarily invaded. The Church is properly " the pillar and ground of the truth"; she is founded on the truth, and set for confession to the truth; and her confession is to Jesus as " the truth," and to Him very especially as Savior and Lord.
But the question may arise, Is it possible for Christians to act on Church principles, torn as the Church is by divisions within, and identified as she is with the world?
Can Christians attempt to act otherwise than in individual faithfulness? Must not the attempt to exercise godly discipline, however desirable, be abandoned as hopeless, because Christians are, by the overwhelming power of circumstances, unable to act corporately, unless they act sectarianly? Are these things so?
We know that Christians do meet together. Is, then, such a meeting merely a voluntary association on their parts, or is it in the name of the Lord? They are not prepared to abandon the Lord's Supper, which by its very nature is a social act. The Lord has spread a table not for an individual saint, but for saints collectively. " And as they were eating, Jesus took bread and blessed it, and brake it and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take—eat; this is my body. And He took the cup and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of this, for this is my blood of the New Testament which is shed for many for the remission. of sins." " And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread." That many a believer has received blessing to his own soul by using the Lord's Supper as a means of his individual communion is most true; but this is no valid argument against the social character of the institution. Now, unless Christians are prepared to say that, when they come together into one place, it is not to eat the Lord's Supper, but merely a comely regulation of their own, they must, by so doing, allow that they act in so meeting together with the full sanction of the name and authority of the Lord Jesus Christ; and the Church, in its best times, and under far more healthy circumstances, had only the same power and authority for their meeting together. And meeting together in that name, they could act also in that name.
Blessed be God for His pitiful grace, that we are not left to the alternative either of surrendering our blessings as saints, or of acting " Every man as it seemeth good in his eyes." " All things are possible to him that believeth." Circumstances may alter, but our essential blessings remain untouched, because not left in our own keeping. We have the same Lord; and if He has receded farther from the Camp, faith is able to find. Him. It is true that when corruption has set in, the word is addressed to us individually-" He that hath an ear, let him hear." This indeed nullifies the expectation of corporate reformation, and sets faith in individuals in activity, without waiting, for associates. But individual obedience speedily and necessarily leads to union, because the individuals are led to the same object. If Moses, by faith, discovered that the Lord could no longer be in the Camp, where the calf had been made and worshipped, and therefore " pitched the Tabernacle without the Camp, afar off from the Camp" -not only did Moses there find special intercourse with Jehovah, but " Every one which sought the Lord went out unto the Tabernacle of the congregation, which was without the Camp." It was indeed the Tabernacle of the congregation-the place where each faithful Israelite sought the Lord, and the place where the faithful met each other.
A common object necessarily associates; and if the object be the Lord Jesus Christ, association around Him will be a holy association. If it be confession unto His name, the owning Him in the glory of His Person, and in every title which was denied to Him in the days of His flesh, and the practical acknowledgment of Him in all that which is now virtually denied to Him by corrupted Christianity; if such confession leads into association, then is that association formed on the very same basis as that on which the Church is constituted. Such an association is therefore in a capacity to act as the Church at large should act. Faith in the name of Jesus was the alone power and warrant of action in the Church, undivided and in unity, and faith in the same name is the warrant and power of action for the feeblest possible minority in the midst of declension and corruption.
We recognize the competency of the Church of Corinth to act, but this was the only validity of their commission to act. " In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my Spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ." They might not act in their own name, they might not act simply as believers associated together, but as believers associated together in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. They did not require the presence of the Apostle to give validity to their action. He was present with them in spirit, on the same common ground as any other believer, because of the unity of the Spirit. It is very possible that the case is recorded to illustrate the character of the order and discipline of the house of God. The Apostle did tell them authoritatively to maintain the order of the house of God, but the action was not to be his, but theirs in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. So also when he had to stir up their pity to the penitent offender, as lie had previously to kindle their indignation against such grievous sin, he says, " Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many, so that contrariwise ye ought to forgive him and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. Wherefore, I beseech you, that ye would confirm your love towards Him. For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things. To whom ye forgive anything, I forgive also: for if I forgave anything to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ, lest Satan should get an advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices." Here the action of the Apostle followed the action of the Church of Corinth. They acted and he ratified their act in the person of Christ, thus illustrating the order of the Lord in the Church-that the binding and loosing in heaven should follow on the binding and loosing on earth. The spring of the action of the Church on earth must flow from the grace, really, though secretly, supplied from the fullness of the Head of the Church in heaven, but the action itself of discipline, is first in the Church on earth, and then ratified in heaven. It was neither the authority of an Apostle, nor any contingency of present judgment on the offender, which gave validity to the act, but the name of Him in whom the act was done. If in the case of the incestuous Corinthian, the sentence of the Church was followed by grievous bodily sickness, which was removed on the reversal of the sentence, it is no more a proof that such a sentence must be followed by such consequences, than that the quickening power of the Holy Ghost giving faith now to a palsied man, should necessarily be followed by vitality communicated to his limbs. Our blessedness is to see not and yet believe.
The present Lordship of Jesus, disowned of the world, is that which the Holy Ghost enables us to own-for no one can call Jesus Lord but by the Holy Ghost. Jesus is present in the Church by the Holy Ghost, the other Comforter. If believers then use the promise of the Lord, in the present sense of weakness, as their only title to pray unitedly, and to warrant an expectation of answer to their prayers-if it be not the outward manifestation of power, but the life communicated from their living Head, and the prevailing power of that name in which their prayers are offered, which gives them confidence;-if the hearts of the feeblest few are warmed and encouraged by the gracious promise, " Again I say unto you, that if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in Heaven; for where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them:" if this promise can be brought to bear at the very point where individuality ends, and association begins-for thus low has the gracious Lord brought it-then has the Church of the living God still the power of discipline; because its action is valid on the very ground that united prayer is acceptable and answered. " Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." To deny the power of discipline, because the Church is broken and disjointed, without either manifested power or unity, is to deny ourselves for the like reason the privilege of united worship. But, blessed be God, the name of Jesus is of the same efficacy as ever. We, by His grace, look to that name alone for salvation; that name both sanctions and gladdens any assembly of saints, be it large or small; surely, then, faith in the same name will enable the saints so to act as to preserve the purity of the faith once delivered to the saints, and the holiness which becometh the house of the Lord. It is not the thought of authority, but the liveliness of conscience for the honor of Christ, which leads to discipline. Association has a natural tendency to blunt conscience, and the Apostle had to awaken the sleeping conscience of the Corinthians; when that was done, discipline was but the healthiness of spiritual life. They were more angry with themselves for their insensibility to the honor of the Lord, than with the offender (2 Cor. 7:11).
The recognition of the Lordship of Jesus, acting in present power by the Holy Ghost in the Church, can alone set an assembly of Christians practically on the ground of Church action. So far as they are assembled in truthfulness of confession unto Him, so far in principle do they occupy the place of " pillar and ground of the truth;' and one sure characteristic is a holy jealousy to maintain sound doctrine (1 Tim. 3:15-16; 4:1).
Christians may come together by voluntary compact, even though it be in one place and for the Lord's Supper; yet the word may apply-" When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's Supper." They came together without any due regard to -Jesus as the provider of the supper, and the regulator of the order of His table. If Solomon could regulate every department of his household, so that when his illustrious visitor saw " the meat of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance Of his ministers.... there was no more spirit in her," surely He who is greater than Solomon is to be acknowledged as alone competent to arrange the order of His own table. We meet together at " the Lord's table" to eat " the Lord's Supper," and to tell forth to one another, and to strangers who may look on, " the Lord's death till He come."
The connection of ministry with the name of Jesus may be very suitably noticed. " There are differences of administrations, but the same Lord." Every gift of the Spirit necessarily implies direct responsibility to the Lord for its use, because it is a gift of ministry-putting the recipient in the place of a servant to a common Lord-and in grace also (that is, by no right or title of theirs) to the saints, and even to the world. "We preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake." " Though I be free from all, yet have I made myself the servant of all." How important is the recognition of the Lordship of Jesus in ministry may be gathered from his own instructions. When He left this world, the care and order of His house was in great measure entrusted to His servants, but His servants expecting at any hour His return. The character of His servant was to be "faithful" to him, and "wise" in giving to His household the portion of meat in due season. The danger to the servants was entertaining the thought that the Lord might not come at any hour, and so to treat the household as being lords over it themselves. The history of Christendom in clerical usurpation and domination is the too faithful verification of the picture drawn by the Lord of the evil servant. How did " the faithful and wise servants," Peter and Paul, testify against such usurpation-" not as being lords over God's heritage"-" not that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy, for by faith ye stand." It was thus that " the faithful servant" never interposed his authority so as to take the saint off the ground of direct responsibility to the Lord himself.
In the assignment of the different talents to the servants " according to their several ability," the account is rendered to the Lord himself on his return. " Lord, thou deliveredst to me five talents." They are his talents, to be traded with for his use. The servant was neither master of the household, nor the servant of the household; if he had acted in either of these characters he would not have been a faithful and responsible servant to the Lord himself of the household. He must own the Lord of the household in the household itself, in carrying out the directions of the Lord in it; and hence the servant entrusted with a talent becomes amenable to the Lord, in the same way as any other member of the household. No ministry, of whatever order, is above the name of the Lord himself, in which He empowers the Church to act collectively. While no one, therefore, as a servant of the Lord, derives his authority from the Church, but from the Lord himself, by which he is placed in immediate and direct responsibility to the Lord-still he, must own the title of the Lord in the Church gathered together in His name, since his special service in the household gives him no exemption from the common order of the household, over which the Lord himself is supreme.
The acknowledgment of the Lordship of Jesus with regard to ministry, is not only the safeguard against clerical domination, but against the equal danger of leaning on human authority. The Lord Jesus himself was challenged as to the authority by which he acted. He had no human credentials to produce; but his works, words and ways alike attested his divine mission. The Lord answered their challenge by an appeal to their own consciences as to the baptism of John. Divine authority carries its attestation to the conscience. He who is in conscious possession of divine authority will not allow it to be backed by human authority, because the admission of such an authority necessarily implies a responsibility to it, and thus would directly interfere with the use of the talent as being the Lord's talent. If two sources of authority be regarded as co-ordinate-the one from God and the other from man-experience has proved, as in the case of Scripture and tradition, a spiritual gift and human appointment, that the authority of man has superseded that of God, and hence the Lordship of Jesus has been virtually set aside. The principle of not being the servants of men, is most opposite to that of each one doing what is right in his own eyes. " Ye are bought with a price"-ye belong to another Master, even the Lord Jesus-therefore " be ye not servants of men."
Again, the recognition of the Lordship of Jesus in ministry is the safeguard against trading with the talent, for the advantage of the individual entrusted with it, instead of seeking therewith to promote the honor of the Lord. " The Spirit is given to every man to profit withal"-not for his individual profit, neither for his personal elevation, but for common profit. It is the Lord's talent. "In a steward it is required that he should be found faithful." High as an Apostle was officially, and accredited by signs as an Apostle, yet in reference to ministry, he could only take the ground of a responsible servant using the talent entrusted to him. When others regarded him or others as authoritative or irresponsible, he asks-" Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave" to each of them? The Lord used both Paul and Apollos in different ways indeed, but under common responsibility to himself; and they were used by the Lord in that which must have been regarded by them both as of far more importance than themselves individually. " We are laborers together with God: ye are God's husbandry [or tillage] ye are God's building." Their highest honor as fellow-laborers was to be employed in cultivating or building that which peculiarly belonged to God. Their highest honor as individuals was to be themselves part of the tillage, part of the building of God. If Saints, individually or collectively, only thought of magnifying the name of the Lord, what numberless difficulties would be avoided! In the name of Jesus we find salvation; in the same name we find power of action. This name alone keeps us from self-will. The name of Jesus will make the most timid and retiring bold and energetic, when confident of acting only in that name. It can restrain the forward and self-willed who would substitute human influence for divine authority. Surely we can say, " The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble, and he knoweth them that trust in him."
Presbutes.

The Names "Jesus, Saviour, Lord and God" as Found in One

Jesus the Saviour! Lord and God!
How great! How glorious Thou!
With head uncovered—foot unshod,
Before Thy feet I bow.
As Son of God thou'rt known -
Fully as God art own'd;
The Father's Son—Rest of His Love -
As God the Son enthron'd.
There worship, due to God, is Thine -
'Tis freely, gladly giv'n;
The throne, the glory—all divine,
Are owned as thine in heaven.
Maker of all! Upholding all!
Redeemer! Who but Thou?
And—Empire Thine! Spite the fall,
To Thee each knee shall bow.
As King of kings, and Lord of lords!
In the bright coming day,
The word of God to Thee accords
A universal sway.
Saviour! How sweet that precious name,
Precious to God and faith -
The God-Man proves in us His claim
O'er Satan, sin and death.
His blood and righteousness suffice
To smooth the way of grace:
God can be gracious, we can rise
And meet Him face to face.
The Lamb on high, the veil within,
Presents Himself to view;
Banner of God! that pardons sin,
Our peace and pardon too.
The " Savior Jah" (Jesus) declares
The who and what Thou art:
The Spirit moves, and faith prepares
The love-note of each heart.
Thou lowest me, Lord! how pleasant 'tis
To lisp of love to Thee.
Thy love to us! 'tis perfect bliss
And shall forever be.
Thy name and works and self concur
To speak redeeming grace;
To God they bring the sinner near,
And songs of gladness raise.
-C.M.

The Promise of the Father

When the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son. Never had intercourse been so fraught with healing and joy to publicans and sinners. The Son of man had power on earth to forgive sins. He was come to save, what was lost. Never had saints of God listened to such words of sweetness whereby was disclosed to them the bosom of His Father, which He, the only begotten Son, knew so well. " The Word was made flesh," one of them could say, " and dwelt among us (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth." In the simple tale of the Gospels, we have the blessedness of the disciples in the presence of the Lord. There is no distance nor reserve. He speaks to them face to face; He calls them and treats them as His friends. And O what a friend was He! Blessed pattern of all meekness, of lowliness unknown, of patience that could not be wearied, of grace that flowed out the more, the more He was wounded in the house of His friends, like a sweet herb that breathes fragrance when trodden by the heedless foot of man! It was true that this presence rendered more conspicuous the infirmities, the dangers, the sins, and the enemies of God's people. But never did murmur break from His lips who had undertaken their cause-God's cause. Notwithstanding their unbelief, their pride, their insensibility, and their perverseness,- never did He complain, " Wherefore hast thou afflicted thy servant? Wherefore have I not found favor in thy sight, that thou layest the burden of all this people upon me?" Instead of saying-" Have I conceived all this people? Have I begotten them, that thou shouldest say unto me, Carry them in thy bosom, as a nursing father beareth the sucking child, unto the land which thou swarest unto their fathers?"-Jesus, the good shepherd, looks onward through the vista of His sufferings to the day when He could say, " Behold I and the children which God hath given me." Instead of saying-" Whence should I have flesh to give unto all this people?"-He, and He alone, could say, " The bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."
It was, indeed, a crisis when Jesus appeared. God had given His law, but holy, just and good, as the commandment was, it could not better, and was not meant to better, the heart of man. It detected and condemned what issued thence, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. Prophets, too, had been sent by the Lord God of their fathers. But what could they avail save to show the importunate love of Him who rose up betimes and sent them, because he had compassion on His people and on His dwelling-place? They mocked and misused His prophets " until the wrath of the Lord arose against His people, till there was no remedy." In this state of things He appeared. Truly we may say that in the person of Jesus, God brought himself nigh to the sinner. But in vain. Jesus must suffer for sins; the just for the unjust. He must bring us to God. All might bear Him witness and wonder at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth; and surely had there been one pure thought in the heart of man, one feeling undepraved by sin, Jesus must have drawn it forth. But there was none-nothing Godward. His presence, therefore, could but demonstrate that the carnal mind is enmity against God. " If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin; but now they have no cloak for their sin. He that hateth Me hateth my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both Me and my Father."
" Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken and by wicked hands have crucified and slain; whom God hath raised up." The grand basis of blessing was laid. God's righteousness was declared not only at this time, but for the passing over of sins that were past in His forbearance.
Still, while in that death, all the past dealings of God were divinely vindicated, Christ himself, in anticipating.
the anointing oil being the well-known symbol of the unction from the Holy One. Thus Jesus was first anointed Himself with the Holy Ghost (Acts 10:38); afterward being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, " He hath shed forth this which ye now see and hear" (Acts 2:33). Having borne the wrath of God, and having annulled by death him that had its power, and so removed every obstacle, He was enabled to send the Holy Ghost to dwell in the believers, so that the apostle could appeal to them, " Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? (1 Cor. 3:16).
Plainly also the miraculous conception of Jesus is totally distinct from His anointing, though both were of the Holy Ghost. As man born of the virgin, He was the Son of God. But besides this, the Holy Ghost descends upon Jesus baptized and entering upon His public service: in other words, He was anointed with the Holy Ghost and with power. Analogously, we find that as to believers, their life and relationship to God, and their anointing by the Holy Ghost are quite distinct. When Jesus arose, He could say, " Go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father; and to my God and your God." But they were not yet anointed with the Holy Ghost and with power. Subsequently to His resurrection, He says, " Behold, I send the promise of the Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high." Waiting, they found the sure promise of the Father. The Holy Ghost was given. They were anointed then and not before. Nor was this anointing, I need hardly add, a boon conferred there and then only; for the apostle in addressing the Corinthians writes, " Now He which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; who hath sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts." These are assuredly not signs and wonders wrought by the hand or tongue, but the blessed presence and actings of the Spirit in the heart. Compare also 1 John 2:20-27.
In principle, then, the coming of the promised Spirit was contingent on the departure of Jesus; and in fact, it was when He took His seat, as the glorified man, in heaven, that the Spirit was sent down. Assembled together with the disciples previous to his ascension, He " commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith He, ye have heard of me: for John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost, not many days hence" (Acts 1:4,5). The next chapter records the accomplishment of the promise on the day of Pentecost. The Comforter was given. Now IN them was He, who was promised to abide with them FOR EVER (John 14); the third person of the Trinity being now, and permanently, present in them, as truly as the second person had been with them before He ascended to heaven. The Holy Ghost was the grand witness, as His presence in the disciples was the new and wondrous fruit, of the glorification of Jesus in heaven.
Are the operations of the Spirit of God from the beginning denied? In nowise. Creation, providence and redemption, all speak of Him. His energy is to be traced in every sphere of God's dealings. Who moved upon the face of the waters -strove with man before the deluge-filled Bezaleel with understanding and all manner of workmanship-enabled Moses to bear the burden of Israel, or others to share it? By whom wrought Samson? By whom prophesied Saul? It was by the Spirit of the Lord. And as in their early national history, His good Spirit instructed the people, even so could the prophet assure the poor returned remnant, " According to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my Spirit remained' among you." Were any regenerate? They were born of the Spirit; and the blessed and holy actings of faith in the elders who obtained a good report were, beyond controversy, the results of His influence. So far, the way of God is still and necessarily the same. Jesus set not aside in the least the need of the Spirit's intervention. He proclaimed its necessity as a fixed, irreversible truth-" Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God." Far from weakening its place, He rather gave it a prominence never so clearly enunciated before, though, of course, always true.
Life, peace and sonship (while all are communicated and known by the effectual working of the Holy Ghost), are in no sense the presence of the Comforter. We have seen that the disciples possessed these privileges before the Lord Jesus ascended. They are therefore entirely distinct from the promise of the Father, which the disciples did not possess, and which none ever did or could possess till Jesus was glorified. The presence of the Comforter is clearly the distinctive blessing since Pentecost. It was never enjoyed before, though the Spirit had wrought, and wrought ravingly as regards believers at all times.
The communication of life through faith (as common to all the redeemed); of the power of intelligence (Luke 24:45, compare Acts 1:15-26, 1 John 2:20-27);-of life more abundantly, as: connected with the risen second Adam (life-giving Spirit, John 20:22), which indeed was needful as the basis of sympathy with all his future services; -of the Holy Ghost personally, at once the power of testimony-the seal (the Spirit of adoption?)-the Earnest (according to the subject, connected with the Lord of glory, which He in-wrought in the believer) is the outline which another has suggested. While the liberty of filial and fraternal love leaves the heart free to communicate the result of its researches, the Divine fullness of the written word creates (no wonder!) differences of thought and makes accurate classification next to impossible with those who know but in part.-ED.
Proper Names of the Old Testament.
Observe: They had, each of them, a meaning,-which, for the most part, is traceable. In some cases the cause of the selection of the name is obvious: thus, Gen. 2:7, " the Lord God formed man [אדם Adam] of the dust of the ground [אדמה Adanzah]"; " and Adam called his wife's name Eve [חוח Havah] because she was the mother of all living [חי , Hay]"; 4:l," she bare Cain [pp gotten], and said, I have gotten [קגיחי gotten] a man from the Lord"; 4:2, " his brother Abel [חבל Hebei]" a breath (as was his life); 4:25, " called his name Seth [re] for God.... hath appointed me [שח Sheth] another seed instead of Abel whom Cain slew."

Proper Names in Hebrew

It is hard to read, in Hebrew, some passages in which a series of proper names occurs, without being struck with the sense produced, if the words are looked at, not as proper names, but expressive of meanings, and then strung together.
Thus, 1 Chron. 1:1-4. The ten first names- אדם שח אגוש קיגן מחללאל ירד חגוך מחזשלח למך ךח
has thus been translated:-
Adam man, Sheth having become, or being appointed or constituted, Enosh wretched, Kenan mourner, Mahalaleel the blessed-God, Jered came down, Henoch consecrated, Methuselah his death -to send, Lamech to the poor, Noah comfort.
Man [being] placed as a wretched mourner, the blessed God came down:-[when] consecrated, his death sent comfort to the poor. M.

The Difficulties and Dangers of Prophetic Study

It is hardly possible not to feel interested in the present revived attention to prophecy. Whether this has arisen from the stirring events of the world, or from the awakening of the Church to a sense of her own proper glory, still, as a matter of fact, the numerous late publications show that the attention of many is now being turned to Prophecy. If passing events have given this impulse to prophetic study, it will in all probability be merely ephemeral, ending in an attempt to make the present era an important one in the prophetic chart; and if there should be anything like re-settlement in the nations of Europe, the study of prophecy will, by the many, be dropped. If, on the other hand, the Church is being awakened to a sense of her own proper glory, and the high prize of her calling, we may expect, from the known love of the good and great Shepherd of the sheep, that He is about to open to them their own proper hope, to make them see this hope more distinctly and vividly, so as to act influentially on them; and by this very means, perhaps, to unfold to the Church what is written in the Scripture of Truth, concerning the closing scene of this present evil age. I must confess that it is not without much anxiety that I look at this revival of the study of prophecy among Christians. In the space of twenty years, I have witnessed the formation of two prophetic schools, each issuing in fundamental error, respecting the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. I speak only of what has fallen under my own limited sphere of observation. It just twenty years, this very month, since I took from Nisbet's counter the first number of the "Morning Watch," and read it with much interest. But how soon as this interest disturbed by the growing intellectual character of the work, its dogmatism and antagonism, its attempt to unsettle the mind on every truth commonly received among Christians; till, at last, speculations on the person of Christ, soon ended in the heresy now known as " Irvingism." I doubt not that the book did its work; and for myself, I can say, that painful as was the process of the Irvingite controversy, I am thankful for the result of it on my own mind, as it taught me the important truth, that the person of the Lord was set before us, not as the subject of speculation, but as the object of faith. And from that day to the present, I have felt the safeguard of the canon-" No man knoweth the Son but the Father." But besides this, although ending in false pretensions and a system of ordinances, yet attention was called, by means of the Irvingite controversy, to what the Church really is in her privileges and endowments; to the specialty of the relation of the Holy Ghost to the Church, and His distinct gifts of ministry; subjects well nigh forgotten even by real Christians. It is indeed a sorrowful "needs be," yet those who have learned the truth of God by means of it can understand the Apostle's
words: " There must needs be also heresies, that they which are approved may be made manifest." God has not given His truth to minister to our self-conceit. In this way, truth might indeed be " sweet in the mouth as honey." But if, by fault of spirituality or faithfulness, we have so trifled with the truth of God as not to be able to digest it, and thus find it " bitter to the belly," He will make it to become so by another process, even by " heresies." Divisions will spring up, a party will be formed in support of some erroneous dogma, and in separating truth from error, the truth will be found " bitter to the belly."
Within the last few years another prophetic theory has been formed, which was almost stamped with infallibility; and this also has been discovered to be connected with fundamental error respecting the relation of Christ to God by Incarnation, an error as dishonoring to the person of the Son, and as subversive of the Gospel as Irvingism itself.
Now, with such experience before me, I feel convinced that there are dangers and difficulties specially connected with prophetic study, which have proved a great hindrance in the way of the sincere inquirer, and probably a stumbling-block in the way of some, to their pursuing the inquiry at all. Some of the dangers and difficulties appear almost on the surface; others may not so readily be seen. I desire to set down such of the difficulties and dangers as have presented themselves to me.
Besides the natural curiosity in all men's hearts to pry into the future, prophecy presents itself as a proper field for the exercise of human learning. It has been connected with antiquity, history, and chronology, and can reckon among its students some of the greatest names. I fully admit that we are greatly indebted to some learned men for their researches; but the point now before my mind is, the exceeding facility with which the study of prophecy may become a merely intellectual study. I mean, without any deep tone of spirituality, without bringing out anything which might tend to establish or feed the souls of the poor of the flock.
Now, that which is true as regards persons of great learning, may be true also among those whose range of information is exceedingly limited. Prophecy itself is their learning-that is, an accurate acquaintance (or what in their own judgment they deem to be such) with the future eventful crisis. In such minds the study of the prophetic Scripture is nothing more than a mental exercise; which is, I believe, always more dangerous where there is shallowness, than where there is real learning; because the very truth of God becomes the subject on which the mind is at work, instead of the mind being itself subject to the truth of God. It is one special office of the Holy Ghost to " guide into all truth," and to " show things to come." And this He does as the One who glorifies Jesus. Never, in his teaching, does the Blessed Spirit divert the soul from the person and work of the Lord; never does He guide onward in truth so as to disturb the soul from that to which it has, under His own teaching, already attained. And when He shows things to come, He shows them as vivid realities: if they be blessings, He presents them so as to give them a present subsistence to the soul; if they be judgments, so as to enable us to read the present in the light of the future. But the future which the Holy Ghost shows is God's future. Man has his own future as a creature of time and circumstances; but man's future is not the future about which the Holy Ghost informs us. He informs us of the future according to the purpose of God, whether in relation to the Church, to Israel, or to the nations of the world. Prophetic study is liable to the danger of becoming a mere mental exercise, and one of its greatest difficulties is true subjection to the patient but safe guidance of the Holy Ghost. In this respect, I fear we have all greatly grieved and dishonored the Spirit. We have become impatient of the place of inquirers, and then relieved ourselves from this irksomeness by becoming theorists. For it is very remarkable how readily the mind, when once interested in prophecy, forms a theory of interpretation. I hold it as one of the most important pre-requisites for prophetic interpretation, that the special and characteristic relation of the Holy Ghost to the Church be practically acknowledged. The divinity and personality of the Holy Ghost, His indwelling in the Church as a body, and in the members individually, when really recognized, becomes a safeguard against a speculating habit of mind, " intruding into that which it ought not," even the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Another danger is that " of private interpretation." We find in the Scripture, that when the value of prophecy is insisted on as " a light that shineth in a dark place," there the caution is given -" Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation; for the prophecy came not in the old time by the will of man; but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." It is this caution which makes me hesitate in my own mind as to the result of the present revival of attention to prophecy. Christian men attempt to solve the extraordinary aspect of political events by prophecy. Now the Holy Ghost, who inspired, is the alone One who can interpret; and His interpretation is not found to be an isolated fact, but that which connects things with the glory of Christ and the purpose of God.
Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world." This is a principle of the deepest
importance. Man regards passing events, and seeks to make them the interpreter of prophecy; but he who
is led of the Spirit seeks to ascertain how everything is connected with the revealed purposes of God. God, in announcing His purposes, has always allowed Himself (if the expression may be used) room for action. We are quite incompetent to judge what is needful for His glory in evolving that which He has proposed. The first announced purpose of God has been gradually evolved, and yet awaits its final accomplishment. We should never have thought that a world destroyed by the flood- the call of Abraham-the introduction of the law-the ministry of the Prophets-the giving power to the Gentiles—the Incarnation of the Son, His Cross and Resurrection-the coming down of the Holy Ghost-the preaching to the Gentiles-the gathering the Church, were all included between the announcement, and even primary actual accomplishment of the purpose announced: for it is not the shutting-up of Satan in the bottomless
pit, but his eventual consignment to the lake of fire, which constitutes the full " bruising of his head." Not
only were all these events to intervene, but the one great object of the divine intention-viz., the bringing out the several glories of God and His Christ-could not otherwise be answered. It is thus that we are able to regard the purpose of God, either retrospectively or prospectively. " In whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace, wherein He hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He has purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of times, He might gather together in one all things IN CHRIST, both which are in heaven and which
are on earth." It is important for us to keep the revealed purposes of God steadfastly in view. God is steadily pursuing His course towards their accomplishment. In the meanwhile, men are acting as though God had no definite object before Him, and thus they become the unconscious agents of accomplishing what He has foretold. " And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers; but those things which God before had showed by the mouth of all His prophets, that Christ should suffer, He hath so fulfilled." Again-" Of a truth against Thy holy child Jesus, whom Thou hast anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together, for to do whatsoever Thy hand and Thy counsel determined before to be done." Thus, we see that the most wonderful of all events is here viewed in connection with the counsel of God. The responsibility, as well as the unconsciousness of the agents ("howbeit in his heart he thinketh not so"), is fully stated, yet all in subserviency to the purpose of God. " Him being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain." I believe " private interpretation" to be the regarding any event marked in prophecy, apart from its connection with the counsel of God; the event itself will then be more regarded than the counsel of God in the event. When God has made some further communication of His mind to man, and thereby set him under a new and distinct responsibility, He has indeed thereby disturbed man's thoughts and plans, but He has never disturbed His own purpose. And it is the peculiar blessing of those " upon whom the ends of the world are come," to have the comment of the Holy Ghost himself on the past history which he himself has written. Those who were under the law regarded the law as superseding the promise of God. " Is the law then against the promises?" By no means; but it had a use in subserviency to the purpose of God, in order to bring out the promises of God in more prominent relief. The need of man, which promise alone could meet, and the faithfulness of God in fulfilling His promises were, by means of the law, most fully illustrated.
Again, the calling of Gentiles to be " fellow-heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ by the Gospel," appeared to disturb the constantly repeated declarations of Israel's distinctive glory, and the bringing in of the Gentiles under the shadow of their wing. But not so. The earthly glory of Israel was still the destined order of God, interrupted and deferred, but not set aside. God had allowed himself room to act in blessing whilst Lo-ammi was written on Israel, and this interruption of God's purpose towards Israel furnished the occasion for the revelation of that mystery " which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men," and " which, from the beginning of the world, had been hid in God." This, however it disturbed the cherished thoughts of Israel, did not disturb the purpose of God in supremely blessing Israel on the earth, and the Gentiles through them. The Apostle James, by the Holy Ghost, was enabled to see this " new thing" in perfect harmony with the old; and although for awhile, as to real blessing, the distinction between Jew and Gentile would be lost in the wonder of the " one new man" in Christ, yet after the accomplishment of this newly revealed purpose of God, -which was first in order in the divine mind, though last in its revelation,-God would " return, and build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down;... that the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things." God had known from the beginning that which He was about to do, and here the important truth is fully recognized by the Apostle James; and it is still most important for us to recognize it. From this time it may be said that the Holy Ghost, who had moved Prophets to speak, now takes his place in special relation to the present purpose of God. Those who are now called are called according to a distinct purpose. " Unto me," says the Apostle, " who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: to the intent that now, unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places, might be known by the Church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord." The recognition of the present special relationship of the Holy Ghost to the Church, is, I believe, a necessary preliminary to prophetic study; and the lack of this recognition may account for much of the difficulty and danger in that study. The Holy Ghost, by the Prophets, had testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow. He was to them, as He is to us, the Spirit of Truth; but until the purpose of God was distinctly revealed. He could not guide into all truth; until Jesus was glorified, He could not come from heaven to glorify Him; He could not take of His things to show unto us; He could not show us the things freely given to us of God, or become Himself the earnest of our inheritance. He still shows in " things to come," but makes them also a present reality unto the soul. Now I believe, when under the guidance of the Holy Ghost, the study of prophecy which He Himself dictated will never disturb our apprehension of His special relation to the Church, or of those blessings which are special and peculiar to the Church.
I would in all humility, and yet in a great measure of confidence, suggest to the saint, whether the difficulty and danger connected with the study of prophecy does not, in great measure, arise from a vague apprehension of what " The Church" really is, What the calling of the Church is-what its privileges-what its present endowment, and what its destiny, according to the eternal purpose of God. This is the present great subject of the Holy Ghost; it does not at all nullify or supersede, or even disturb the previously announced purposes of God-it affirms them; but yet there is a special subject of interest to God, hidden from the wise and prudent, revealed unto babes. What eye hath not seen, what ear hath not heard, what hath not entered into the heart of man to conceive, God hath revealed to us by His Spirit. Now I fully believe, that the past and future history of the nations, the past history of Israel, as well as its future destiny, may become subjects of deep and interesting study to Christians, apart from any just appreciation of what the Church of God really is. And if such a study become absorbing, I can well understand that it might lead to a depreciating view of the person of the Lord Jesus Christ; because these things appear to be more immediately connected with Him in his human and earthly relationships. We find Paul, immediately after his conversion, "preaching Christ in the synagogues that he is the Son of God." That He was the Son of David, was the truth uppermost in the thoughts of a Jew. And the solving of the Lord's question will alone set the Jews right-how David's Son is David's Lord. It is as Son of Man that he takes the kingdom; but the essential glory of his Person was revealed to Peter. " Whom do men say that I the Son of Man am "? "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." On this revelation of the glory of his Person to Peter by the Father, the Lord immediately adds, " this Rock will I build my Church." And when the Church was actually formed, and set up on earth by the coming down of the Holy Ghost from heaven, the glory of the Person of the Son, the living rock on which the Church was founded, becomes one great subject referred to in apostolical teaching. We have no reference to the title Son of Man in the Epistles.* The Apostle Paul, in writing to the Romans, contrasts the true title " Son of David," so familiar to Jews, with that of" Son of God with power." So our Lord himself, in his own teaching in the third chapter of John, speaks of " the Son of Man in heaven," " the Son of Man lifted up," and then brings out the proper glory of his person -" for God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son." Are we reconciled to God? it is by the death of His Son. Are we to enlarge our expectations from God? " He that spared not his own Son, but gave him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things"? Is the life communicated by the Spirit to be nurtured? it is written, " The life I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." Are we in our proper posture of hope? we have turned to God, and wait for his Son from heaven." So long as the Church is mindful of her calling and destiny -so long must the person of the Son be, of necessity, kept before her remembrance. I believe it to be impossible to have an accurate idea of what the Church is, without recognizing the glory of the Person of Christ its living foundation. And if the soul has not entered into the idea of the Church, I believe that prophetic study must be attended with danger; and if in any measure it becomes an exclusive study, the danger will be great. I do not say that much of the truth of God, as to the future, may not be taught and maintained; but if the higher truth of " the Church," which forms the special present testimony of the Holy Ghost, be not apprehended, the very truth of God will, by thus handling it, become disproportioned and disjointed, and tend to unsettle rather than establish the soul. It is well known, that there is a system of the doctrine of the second advent, very extensively held and taught by persons most unsound on the fundamental truths of the gospel. Amongst such, so far as my own observation goes, there is no just idea of " the Church of God." The prophecies of Daniel relating to the kingdom, appear to be the basis of the system. To many also it is known, that very minute prophetic statements touching the coining glories of Christ have been made, where the personality and deity of the Holy Ghost is denied. It is impossible that the idea of the Church can be entertained by such, because that which forms the Church, the presence of the Holy Ghost, is denied. The danger and difficulty of prophetic study, I believe therefore to arise, even among the really orthodox, from not regarding the truth of God in its just proportion.
It is a work of patience, and an exercise of soul before God, to see the truth of God in its just proportion. Now, if that which is the present special testimony of God, viz.: "the Church" and its future destiny, is less engaging to our thoughts than the future dealings of God with Israel and the earth, we do not see things in their just proportion. The Apostle Paul speaks to the Colossians of "the hope of the Gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven, whereof I Paul am made a minister": and afterward he speaks of " the body" of Christ, " which is the Church; whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfill [or fully to preach] the word of God; even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: to whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory." I do most assuredly believe, that these two ministries of the Apostle were quite distinct, and yet perfectly harmonize; but they came into exercise under very different circumstances. In his life of busy activity, St. Paul was exercising the first; his imprisonment at Rome was cheered by bringing out the other into exercise. He had gone from Jerusalem to Illyricum, and fully preached the gospel of God. He had gone about preaching the kingdom of God; but in prison he had fully to tell out the previously hidden mystery in all the riches of its glory. It is all-important to look out at the future from a Church-position. The position in which we actually stand, cannot fail of influencing our judgment in contemplating the future. How readily would the Christian patriot see in prophecy " a sealed nation." There are Protestants who regard Protestantism simply as protest against error, and that nationally (and God has honored such national protest); yet, even in their view, the destiny of the nation will be the more prominent thought than that of the Church. The nonconformists, who know happy deliverance from the galling yoke under which their fathers groaned, may easily read the glowing descriptions of coming blessing on the earth, as expressive of civil and religious liberty. And so influential is present position on our interpretation of prophecy, that when the Babylon of the Revelations was pressed by Protestants as prefiguring Rome, some of the most learned Papists invented theories of interpretation to turn aside this application.
Church-position, practically recognized, is in my judgment the only place from whence we can calmly and unselfishly survey the future. Deeply interesting and wonderful as that future is, according to the revelation of God, yet nothing can be more wonderful than the riches of grace already made known by the Holy Ghost-himself a present possession in the heart as " the earnest." The Church when delivered from trial, at rest, and in glory, will be occupied in beholding the glory of Him who has "presented her to himself a glorious Church, without spot or wrinkle." But the Church even now, under the guidance of the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, seeking advancement in the knowledge of Christ, is led by the same Spirit to see that next to Him, her foundation and head, nothing is so wonderful a study as her own standing, portion and destiny. It is indeed humbling to be writing about the Church, instead of consciously enjoying the " riches of glory" of which the Apostle speaks; such enjoyment can only be "joy in the Holy Ghost." Paul, as an Apostle, had his fellow Apostles, though not a whit behind the chiefest of them. As an Evangelist, Timothy had the same ministry as St. Paul. As a Prophet, others of the Apostles have left on record their predictions. But as " a Minister of the Church," St. Paul evidently claims a distinctness and specialty; " To fulfill the word of God "- " whereby when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ"-" that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; and to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God." Such expressions imply a distinctness and specialty of ministry entrusted to St. Paul. No one really caring for Christ's sheep, would lead a young convert not established in peace of soul to prophecy as a suitable study; because the soul in such a state is likely to be disturbed by connecting coming glory either with devotedness or service. The need of such is to have the heart established with grace; and when this is the case, the apprehension of glory is not accompanied with that amazement which unsettles the soul. So also I believe the most important pre-requisite for prophetic study, to be a practical apprehension of what the Church is, according to the tenor of the prayers of the Apostle in the first and third chapters of the Epistle to the Ephesians. The first prayer being for the knowledge of our own special blessings; the second, for the real present power of those blessings. The Church has its own proper hope—" the one hope of our calling." We find great indistinctness in the minds of Saints as to their own proper hope. The "personal coming of Christ," " the personal reign of Christ," and similar expressions, will generally be found to merge in vagueness the proper hope of the Church. The coming of Christ for the Saints to meet Him in the air, and the coming of Christ with the Saints to order the world in blessing, so that the will of God shall be done on earth as it is done in heaven; are very distinct. " I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am there ye may also be," is an announcement as gracious and blessed, as it is distinct from Christ's coming to bring in " the restitution of all things," the great burthen of prophetic testimony. We wait for " the Son of God from heaven"; while we, actually, are in an evil world and a groaning creation; " and ourselves also who have the first-fruits of the Spirit groan within ourselves"; but, in position, by faith, we are in heaven- " we sit down in heavenly places in Christ"; or, as it is written, " Our conversation is in heaven, from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the mighty working whereby he is able to subdue all things unto himself." There is one specialty of the Church's hope by reason of the Holy Ghost being the earnest of the inheritance, and that is, that the Church even now knows, tastes, and enjoys her own blessings. They are actually accomplished blessings. All spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ are already her portion, although not palpable to sight-" for what a man seeth why Both he yet hope for; but if we see them not, then do we with patience wait for them." And the Church is waiting to have her own blessings manifested, and to enjoy those blessings where sorrow and trial cannot enter; even where the wretched selfishness of our hearts can no longer hinder our full apprehension and enjoyment of the Person and work of the Lord Jesus -the Son of God and the Lamb of God. It is now the portion of the Church, while she cannot actually see Jesus, yet believing in Him, to rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory; what then must it be to see Him as he is, and to be like him? That which the Church knows, she enjoys even now, by the special relation of the Holy Ghost as the earnest. Her hope is to enjoy what she knows and tastes already, in the Lord's immediate presence, where there shall be no slow heart or dull mind. Israel waits for glory and blessing in their own land; but still being in blindness and unbelief and in a strange land, Israel has no foretaste of the joys which await them; their harps must hang upon the willows; they cannot sing the song of Zion. Creation too awaits its jubilee; the groaning creation earnestly expects deliverance from the bondage of corruption; but it has no foretaste of that deliverance. May we not say that the hope of Israel is as unintelligent as that of Creation itself, the blessed agent by whom the blessing is to be accomplished, and the mighty work on which that accomplishment hangs being unknown; and the hope itself, as revealed in the Scripture of truth, is only seen at the end of the dark vista of the wrath of God. But God's future to the Church is all bright and glorious. " The sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to be revealed in us." The tribulations are manifold," "now" and "for a season": out from these tribulations the Church looks for her rest and glory. There is a real present manifestation of Christ to the Church now that he is unseen by the world.. This is the wondrous problem-Christ manifested to the Church, unmanifested to the world. The hope of the Church is, so to speak, unselfish; she knows accomplished redemption; she knows present deliverance; she looks for the Savior, to see him and be satisfied. Now, I believe unless the Church be true to her own proper hope, there will be danger and difficulty in the study of prophecy. But when she looks at the future, from her own proper position, realizing, however it be in feebleness, her present portion, and looking to her own proper hope, both danger and difficulty are in great measure removed; because she can unselfishly connect everything with her own risen Head.
God uses the Church now as his instrument to make known to other intelligences, principalities and powers in heavenly places, his "manifold wisdom." And that which she now displays to others, ought to be the subject of her own study. She has capacity for it, for she has " the mind of Christ"; she is in the right position for learning it, for she is admitted into present deep intimacy with God through redemption; she is not without a guide or a rule, for she has the Holy Ghost and the Scriptures. And I am fully convinced that the soul even of an unlettered Saint, instructed in his Church standing and Church destiny, would, from such a position, be quite able solidly to grasp the great prophetic outline. And it would indeed be a marvelous instance of the abounding grace of our God, if he were pleased to retrieve the study of prophecy from being, as is too often the case, merely a mental exercise to the refined or intellectual Saint, so that it might minister to the spiritual nurture of the mass of Saints. To such, Prophecy can only be presented on the ground that they are spiritual, and thereby capable of testing what they hear. They have eternal life. They know the Father, and Jesus Christ whom he has sent; and therefore they know already that which is the deepest truth-a knowledge in which they are to grow forever. They have a standard, therefore, by which to measure things; and by such, prophecy can only be valued, as it unfolds to them the glories of Christ, the grace of God, and the peculiar privileges of their own standing. They will not receive it if it lowers the dignity of their Lord, or the dignity of their own standing. Happy indeed would it be, if prophetic teaching ceased to be peculiar teaching, and was felt to be food of which the whole Church has need; because it is the exponent of the manifold wisdom of God. How interesting to the Church in contemplating all the future revealed glories-to be instructed in them, and to share in them, as knowing something deeper than all revealed glory; even that she is loved of the Father, as Jesus himself is loved of Him. How interesting to trace the common elements in all blessing; and yet for the Church to see what is distinct and peculiar to herself. How it illustrates the grace of God! how it manifests the value of the Cross, thus to regard what it has pleased God to reveal! But how deeply important to the Church to know the Holy Ghost -the eternal Spirit-the one who has quickened in every dispensation, in his own special relation to herself, "the earnest"-" the other Comforter"-" the one Spirit" animating that " one Body" which has a place here, whilst-its risen and glorified Head is in heaven. I believe, therefore, that the study of prophecy from a Church position will not only be safe, but remove many difficulties which present themselves to the spiritual mind, even at the outset.
I would lastly advert to that which is a very practical difficulty in the way of profitable study, I mean the want of a mind so disciplined, as to enable us to enter on it in a right spirit, even the spirit of Him who wept over Jerusalem, when contemplating its fixed and settled doom. The closure of this present evil age, out of which we have been rescued by Jesus giving himself for our sins, according to the will of God and our Father, is fearfully portrayed in the scripture of truth. To study this profitably, there is a needed preparation of soul. Exclusiveness of study of the final development of evil-often tends to self-complacency, harshness of judgment or legality. The great professing body of Christendom is to be cut off, because it has not continued in the goodness of God. The safeguard of Christians, therefore, is continuance in the goodness of God. Then they are able to exercise spiritual discernment as to the principles of evil, and to find that there is nothing manifested in the close, the beginning of which is not marked by the Holy Ghost as already working, when there was apostolic power both to discern the evil and to provide the safeguard. When the Apostle Paul opens to Timothy the perils of the last days-he solemnly charges him before God and the Lord Jesus Christ-" preach the word," " do the work of an Evangelist." The Apostle Peter closes the exposure of the awful ungodliness of the last days, with this safeguard " Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior. Jesus Christ." And Jude, testifying of the fearful manifestation of evil in turning the grace of God into lasciviousness, thus guards the saints: -But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life." Now, all these forms of evil are viewed by the Holy. Ghost from the place of that blessed grace in which God had set the Church, and therefore to see them aright we must get into that place, and then we shall be able to detect in many more trivial evils the same principles working. the fruit of which will be fully ripened in the actual close.
The Prophets of old were faithful protesters against the corruptions of their day; but we see from the sacred word they needed previous discipline of God in their own souls, lest they should protest with any measure of self-complacency; also that they might fully justify God in his judgment on the evil. The vision of the glory of Jesus to Isaiah, made the prophet feel that he himself was a man of unclean lips, as well as that he dwelt in the midst of a people of unclean lips. He would not have been a suited instrument to go and blind his countrymen, had he felt himself better than they were. The Prophet must feel that he, himself, was simply spared by the grace of God, and as deserving of the judgment as his countrymen. It was needed, for Daniel the "greatly beloved," to have his comeliness turned into corruption," that he might understand what should befall his people in the latter day." Ezekiel and Hosea had to go through most painful and revolting discipline, in order to lead them into a realization of the baseness into which Israel had sunk in the estimation of God. It may, indeed, now be God's method to discipline his servants by special circumstances, in order to train them to study the future aright. But the special peculiar training, is a conscience exercised before God. It is the habit of the soul which leads it into the presence of God to judge things there. " The spiritual man judgeth all things." And however fearful may be the crisis of evil, the soul exercised before God can discern in itself principles which, if unrestrained by the grace of God, would lead to it. Hence the soul becomes more rooted in grace, experiences more consciously what a debtor it is to grace. And, in this manner, the firmest protest against evil becomes linked with personal lowliness. And whilst there is increasing thankfulness for the promise of being kept from the hour, of temptation, which is to try all that dwell upon the earth,-there is real self-judgment of the evil principles which are to be manifested in the crisis, and sympathy and intercession for those who are blindly helping it on. I believe the way of God to enable us to meet the growing evil of the last days, is practically to unfold to us the deeper resources of his grace, because the study of evil by itself is most injurious to the soul. The recognition of the faithfulness of God-of the abiding presence of the Holy Ghost in the Church, and. of the untouched blessings of the Church, in Christ, notwithstanding all which has failed here, will lead us farther outside the camp to Jesus, bearing his reproach. And thus shall we be in principle, in position, and in spirit, enabled to take our place in " the Wilderness," and from thence to learn " THE MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH," and at the same time to take our place on " the great and high mountain"—thence to survey the graces and glories " of the Bride, the Lamb's Wife."
Presbutes.

Psalm 32

SA 32Psalm of David, Maschil.
1 BLESSED is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
2 Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.
3 When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long.
4 For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah.
5 I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said,
I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.
6 For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him.
7 Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah.
8 I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.
9 Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee.
10 Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusteth in the Lord, mercy shall compass him about.
11 Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.

Outline of the Revelation

IT is important to remark, first of al], that The Revelation is a book of judgment: judgment on the earth-(in the interval between the church and an owned state on earth, the secret springs are shown in heaven, where alone the earthly acts could be understood)-first, of the professing church as a system on the earth, where it is responsible to maintain the truth and testimony of God- and then, of the world. In the latter case, the Church is no longer at all in question; the only places in which the Church is seen in its Christian affections and position, is in the beginning and at the end of the book, before the subject of it is opened and after it is closed: in the first case it is seen in its members, in the last as a whole. (I refer to i. 6, and xxii. 17.) Further, it is important to remark, that the character in which Christ reveals Himself in the opening of the book is wholly earthly-heaven is excluded. He is the faithful Witness, the First-begotten from the dead, and the Prince of the kings of the earth. The Church knows him in all these characters, and is associated with the two last. She ought to have replaced the first; but she is never seen here in that position. John does not even set himself on the ground of the Church's witness and heavenly place; he is in the tribulation, kingdom and patient expectation of Christ. The first time the Church is addressed, it is with warnings and threatenings, as being already fallen. If seen in her own character, it is only to look for Jesus. Christ judges divinely, though, as Son of man (a name of judgment and government), also in the midst of the Church seen on earth and responsible to bear light there. He is eternal, searching in judgment and consuming, in firmness of power, having in His own hand the symbolical representatives of the Churches or states of the professing Church which he addresses. The word of sharp judgment proceeded out of His mouth. Sovereign authority shone in His visage. However, He had the power of life (and that out of death) to him that bowed to Him: and John therefore was to write what he saw; not merely to be confounded by it, but to make known this character of judgment to the Churches-" the things that are," for that was now the real relationship of Christ to the body here below standing in the position of testimony-and the things that were to happen after them; for only after these Christ and the Church would take their place in manifestation of glory and testimony. Hence the rapture of the Church, unless it be in mystery, is not known here, because this is testimony on the earth, or that which governs the earth both secretly and publicly; and so judgments there: and the Church's taking up to heaven form no part of this. That is its portion in its own relationship to Christ of privilege and affection. We see testimony looked for in its earthly state at the beginning, and what is needed for its public manifestation at the end. In the first it had already failed; but the second (blessed be God!) cannot; for it is accomplished by divine power. The former first presents itself-there is no promise of inward grace, no supply of strength. Motives, promises, encouragements, warnings, threatenings and judgments announced all these the Son of Man holds out, but never an inward supply of grace, never one word such as-" my grace is sufficient for thee"- " my strength is made perfect in weakness." He was dealing with the responsibility of the Church as a profession in the earth-as a position to be maintained, not in His affections for his beloved saints, nor for His bride the Church. This, it is evident, gives a very important character to these addresses, and is easily verified by the reader; we are on earth with a Judge, not in heaven, nor in communion with a Savior. Not a mere judge-that is for the world-but One who rebukes and chastens because He loves, still that is in a certain sense judicial-one who is patient, gracious, painstaking, vigilant to warn and show the failure and the path to follow the sentiments that become the state which those He addresses Himself to are in, but who can spew out of his mouth that which, after all the pains taken, does not answer what he has a right to, and must expect and require. This is not the church of His elect, though they may be there. It is the body which has a public responsibility to maintain its testimony in the earth. The Churches then present Christ's judgment on and. dealings with the professing body, or at least those who have ears to hear when their first decay attracts His vigilant and bounden care, till they are utterly rejected as a witness on the earth. Patient but judicial in its character, and failing in no one warning which if listened to might have led to the avoidance of the judgment, and adding every promise which could encourage and sustain faith. It is not the Spirit in the Church acting for the preservation of the body, by maintaining in the conscience and in the heart the testimony of, and dependance on, Christ; putting away the evil and drawing down the good, but the Spirit from without addressing itself to the Churches or professing body in its various states, and informing it of Christ's judgment of that state-an entirely different thing. To the world, as we shall see, all is simple judgment; till the time of glory, graduated judgment, but only judgment, though a remnant may be preserved through it. What we have previously enlarged upon, constitute "the things that are." The characteristic state of the church, with Christ's judgment upon it while it continues a public, the public, witness on Christ's behalf in the world. Various and even contemporaneous elements may enter into this; but together they prove the judicial history of what the Church has been as a professing witness from beginning to end. I may perhaps enter into some details further on. These " things which are " close, however. God no longer recognizes the professing Church as a public witness, even a blamable one; the moment is not stated nor the manner. He ceases to speak (for his words are the warning of, not the execution of, judgment), when he has said, " I am about (μελλω) to spue thee out of my mouth." It may continue to the eyes of man, when every saint of the true Church being gone, it is no longer in any way the object of Christ's care, even judicial, and may be left to Satan to make any use he pleases of it. Perhaps some awhile drag on in self-delusion their association with its existence. I say this is not to lead to speculation on what may be, but to arrest conclusions as to what is not; i.e. the accomplishment of the act of cutting off; there is no candlestick which God owns, nor light at all. The carcass may be there which hindered and corrupted: the soul is fled. After these things another order of events begins. There is nothing which God owns in the earth as a corporate testimony. God, dealing with the earth itself, begins His government of it. And the prophet sees a door open above; and the voice like a trumpet which had previously led him to turn round and see the candlesticks on the earth, now calls him up to heaven, where he sees the scene and throne of power which is to begin to act on the earth-a God manifested as Jehovah the Creator on the throne, in the characteristics in general in which he had carried on the government of the earth, and more particularly among the Jews upon the earth: the covenant with them, which, if it had failed on earth on their part, was maintained intact in nature and purpose in heaven, was not yet referred to, but would be further on; but the sovereign pledge which secured the blessings of creation till the earth should be no more, was plainly seen; of this the rainbow was the sign: and, further on, the cherubic throne, the temple, and the ark of the covenant were the expressions of the one; and the well-known rainbow was the assurance of the infallibility of the other. But the features with which John saw the throne surrounded require more special mention; for none of those attached to the covenant with the Jews (unless we consider the cherubim such) were the first associations of it. It is only at the close of chap. 11 (i.e. of the whole of the first series of visions, and of the succession of events to the end, viewed in their general history), or more properly at the beginning of chap. xii., that the temple and the ark of the covenant are introduced. We find typical parts of the temple used as being in heaven with the scene suitably attached to them, and the multitude worship in this temple; but the temple itself is not brought into view. The idea is a throne in heaven, center and source of the government of the world, and One who was there, whatever man might think, to exercise it. There was a Sitter on it: that is we have:-First, the state of the professing church, or what God noticed as the specially' responsible and characterizing part of it. Secondly, after that, when that was out of view; God having no longer anything to say to it on earth, we have the throne of government in heaven, and God declaring or recalling His pledge of the blessing and security of creation, whatever chasten- lugs and judgments there might be. It was still a mystery of God; for to none but faith was it known that all the terrible things which were coming in were the direct and detailed effect of a government of God, which was not yet manifested, though it acted on the earth. This continues to the end of chapter xi., except the little open book. Thirdly, we have then the sign of the covenant and government of Israel on earth again brought to view, not in public acknowledged result, but that God held it good in heaven, though he could not yet publicly give its place on earth, but there was with Him an object of covenant on earth, an object on earth in respect of which, not merely on which, He acted.
What were the features which characterized the throne? First, divine glory-the manifestation of the divine character. After this (which was His intrinsic character and manifestation), we have the bright and early sign of his covenant with creation; but the Lord' had associated other thrones with His: this was the third feature. I say associated thrones, for there was nothing which entered into connection with the first throne itself: but it was equally remarkable that there were other thrones besides the central one. They have a position given to them apart from, though associated with, the throne of the Lord, endowed with wisdom from, and experience of, the ways of God, for government according to their knowledge of Christ and God's thoughts and ways in Him. They were clothed in the raiment of righteousness as personally worthy; or clothed. with Christ in their knowledge of righteousness; and the crown of righteousness made good through conflict was upon their head-God had placed them there. Such was their character, intelligent, holy-confided authority: but the manifestation of the terror of God's power, flowed forth from the throne itself. In presence of it was the manifestation of the various and searching, yea, consuming perfections of the Eternal Spirit, through which it could be reached, if man could. And who could abide them?, The established purity, unalterable in character, was there. It was not that which washed filth, but which implied its absence; and the standing there was where there was none. This was what characterized the throne in the way up to it; in fine, we have this heavenly throne thus doubly characterized. It was a manifestation of the invisible God-there was a Sitter on it-God in manifestation and government; next it was in the manifestation of that glory which though fully divine, is communicable-the city had the glory of God, as we rejoice in hope of the glory of God; but this was in its light, its wall, its first foundations, jasper: that is what He who here sat on the throne was in manifestation, together with the last of the foundations, as we have seen, completing what the city was founded on. It was the millennial glory: the manifestation of God in power, evil being put away, or in that moral character which resulted from, or was displayed in, its being put away, after all manner of moral exercise displayed while it existed, whether in the patience of power, or the forming a character intelligent of God, thus displayed. Next it was the security of the blessing of creation on that day. And further, there were the associated thrones of conferred power in the maturity of intelligence, and an administration, not of mere sovereign royalty, though thrones they were, but of interest, intelligent interest, and care over, as associated with, on God's behalf, those whom the Lord would bless. But then, besides this, the present character of the throne, not as connected with the elders, was Sinai-terror and power. The consuming power of the perfections of the Spirit, and the immitigable requirement of unchangeable purity. This is not a throne of grace. And connected with this were four living creatures, not on conferred thrones; but entering, so to speak, into the composition of the throne itself, the power, firmness, intelligent nature, and rapidity of action necessary • in the judgments of Him who governed in a world which had ceased to heed Him, and where what He could recognize in testimony, in grace, so as to deal with in patient moral display of what He was, subsisted no longer. These ways of God in judgment were swift and rapid in their power, and saw, not in outward appearance, but with the perfections of internal discernment; and glorify not as Jesus, the Father, but the Lord God Almighty, Jehovah Elohim Shaddai. When the Eternal God is thus glorified, the four-and-twenty elders worship Him they know on the throne; and recognize the Eternal in Him, the God of Providence and Creation; for they have understanding in the character and reasons why glory can be given to God, and to suit their praises to the character in which He is manifested. The others manifest His attributes. These knew Him that has them, what His rights and worthiness are-His sovereign title to dispose of the creation, the creature of His will. There is intelligent adoring of Him who has associated them with His glory. Such is the power in exercise here; we have now the knowledge of that in which it was to be exercised. The book fully written out, but as yet absolutely sealed; God's ways with the Church are ways of revelation, full, gracious, holy communications to act morally on those intelligent by the new Mature and the Spirit. Now we have the unrolling, as an. object of intelligence, of His judicial dealings with that with which He was not in this- relationship, communicated to the Church prophetically, not in communion about itself. Who could do this? Of these purposes of God there was no moral intelligence founded on principle merely. He who could wield the title and power of judgment-who, having suffered perfectly for God's glory, and gained the title to the inheritance, when tried to the uttermost, God's power in holiness and judgment being in exercise.... He could-and this the elders understood; for intelligence is theirs. The Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, had prevailed to open the book;- He who was to wield divine power in the house chosen of God on earth, to sit on the throne of the Lord, as is said of Solomon; He who was even the source of all this power and promise-He had prevailed to open it; but it was by perfectly glorifying God in suffering-it was redemption-glory. Also, He has hence much wider glory then Judaic or David even, as the strength and source of it.; for there is a double character of the Lamb, as there was of the throne. The millennial glory on earth should be His in the title of His person; but, having His place in the power of divine government, encircled by the glory, invested with the power, and characterized by it, which belonged to the present power of the throne and the intelligence of God's ways in conferred glory-the result of the moral ways and dealings of God in the midst of the throne, the beasts and the elders-a lamb standing as slain, with full perfect power and intelligence in all their forms, and that in the exercise of them in God's ways upon earth in government. "And He came and took the book." So that we have the twofold character of the Lamb also, what He will be in the millennium, what He is in the present character of His power-this last connected with His sufferings and death. On His taking the book, a new song begins; joy belongs to the whole, beasts and elders, and another element discloses itself. There are yet saints on the earth in whom heaven is interested; a new song is sung in heaven, based on redemption-not merely power and holy title to glory, but all the dealings of God in power, in creation, as well as the joint heirs of glory, are interested in this; all things in heaven and earth are the subjects of reconciliation, as well as the Church. Hence, though I doubt not that the. elders are particularly in question here, still all could sing "us." The difference of us and them is not a difficulty here, because, as the singers recognize their being subjects of redemption as all the rest, so the assurance that the suffering saints whose prayers they presented would reign and be a kingdom of kings and priests was of the highest interest and utmost propriety. Just what was important to be brought out here, the grand point to result, after Christ's glory, from all the scenes of this book, for the church scene we have seen closed; but there were saints in connection with the government and providence of God, with the eyes of the Lamb running through the earth, in the scene of the judgments on a heedless world, which this book was to unfold, whose lot it was all-important to point out. Round the throne and the beasts and elders, who gave it its character, the heavenly host praise Him that sits on the throne and the Lamb, and all creation echoes it, with the "Amen" of the living creatures. This embraces the subjects of the first two chapters; and the four-and-twenty elders worship. The living creatures do not worship. They render testimony to the glory of Him on the throne, and to the redemption by the Lamb, but they do not worship. This belongs to the elders-precious privilege! We now enter on the scene in which those saints are placed who had learned to look up to heaven, according to the character of God here displayed; not the Church, as we have seen, but yet heavenly in the source of their hopes. It is precious to know that whatever may be the terrible progress of the divine judgments, not only are we of the Church hid in the hollow of His hand, and, if we keep the word of His patience, kept from the hour of temptation, and an open door, meanwhile (what grace for such!) set before us; but it is the Lamb who opens the course of judgments to which men themselves are exposed; so that for the saints found there, there is a sure warrant of guardian care through the trial. I do not enter into details of the four first seals; they are the historic progress of God's dealings with the world which has not known Him in grace. Favor shown to the wicked has been of no avail. Will the lifting up of God's hand produce any effect? But all this seems nothing more than the ordinary course of events, only that the hand of God waxes heavier and heavier in judgment; war of conquest, mutual destruction, famine, and sword famine and pestilence and the beasts of the earth, God's four sore providential plagues. (See Ezek. 16:21.) Hence we find that the four living creatures with the voice of God's power call the prophet to come and see. These temporal providential judgments are thus complete. And this is the subject of the book; but we have seen suggested the existence of recognized saints, but in no formally recognized place as regards the Church, because the known things were the saints reigning in heaven-the world judged on earth, because we have left the Church as a witness on earth; and here we find there have been some of them put to death offered up as burnt offerings to God: and the cry proceeds from under the altar, which demands the execution of the judgment directly on the inhabitants of the earth. This is not the Church's cry, but of those that are in relationship with judgment and the throne, and have their thoughts associated with it-a necessary consequence of their position; for it is their only refuge. "Despot Master, holy and true," is the title they appeal to. They are clothed with the fruits of their sorrow and faithfulness; but for judgment they must wait, till another body of sufferers have filled up the number which requires the judgment of God. But this forms a moral epoch, and the demand is followed by an utter convulsion of all existing institutions and ordinances, so that the kings of the earth, rich and poor, great and small, think that the day of judgment is come, though it be not really so. And thus things were ripened up for what was more truly final; for the previous judgments had been but a beginning of throes. Hitherto it was more like the ordinary circumstances of trial, though with increasing aggravation, and till the cry for judgment arose against a persecuting and unrepenting world; but the more direct judgments of God were soon now to begin to blow upon the earth, and those owned of God must be sealed. And immediately on this, Israel reappears on the scene as the object of God's sure and unceasing care. "Say that they are Jews, and are not," is all that could be said of Judaism while the Church was on the scene: now they are noted and numbered, as the people of God, not delivered indeed, but marked. He who saw from heaven could see it as the mission of the four horses, though in earth nothing of it appeared. This closed this portion of the vision. But a new scene bursts on the prophet's sight-a vast multitude in a position as yet unseen. This crowd had no place in the scene in the beginning. It is now first, and in special manner, introduced in the scene; but the chapter itself, it is to be remarked, is not the course of historical events, but an interruption, to let us into certain purposes of the divine counsel. The former part seals in the earth the election of the earthly people. In this we have a present assemblage of a multitude from among the Gentiles who stand before the throne and the Lamb as the victors brought into the fruits of their toil. The God that they knew of, to whom they ascribe salvation along with the Lamb, is God, as we see Him displayed in this book, not as He was known to the church, the Father and the Son in communion by the Spirit, but One who, on the throne, had been their Savior. Historically the Church had only seen Him exercising His righteous judgments in the earth, because He could own nothing at this period in the earth: still here there is found a vast multitude who had been saved through and out of all this, and who were found and owned before the throne that had saved them. They were not indeed in such a position as sitting on thrones crowned, nor did they celebrate the merits and title to glory of the Lamb that they knew, but they could speak of a salvation which had been granted them, ascribing it to God and the Lamb, accomplished in the midst of the fire. Note the beasts and elders are excluded here: these saved ones could not stand around them and ascribe salvation. Though the angels may be in this position, when it is only a question of place and honor. But the Elder interests himself in them, and would have John to know, and draws his attention to them. John refers back to him, for the elders are ever they that have understanding. These are they who have come out of the great tribulation. Now I do not believe that it is the time of trouble of Matt. 24 which applies more particularly to Judea and the Jews, the time of Jacob's trouble. This is far more extensive in its sphere, and precedes it in time; for that takes place on the setting up the abomination of desolation in the holy place, that is the last three years and a half. But there is a time of temptation which is to come upon all the world to try them which dwell on earth, from which the true Church had been preserved, but from which these had not. This is, I apprehend, " the great tribulation," from the midst of which these have been saved. Thyatira had been threatened that Jezebel should be cast into great tribulation. It is very likely this also is the same. I judge that it refers rather to what follows than to what precedes, up to the time of the rising of the Beast out of the bottomless pit when the scene changes; and we have another set of subjects. They have profited fully by the purifying efficacy of the blood of Christ, so as to stand before God. They ey worship in His temple. They are relieved by His presence from every sorrow and sufferance, but they are not with Him and the Lamb in intelligent glory as the crowned elders on the thrones. They are the subject of their interest, and their explanations-touching witnesses of His tenderness and patience, but not of intelligent association in His glory, as far as that may be to creatures. These once set in their place as manifesting the securing power Of God's love, the history is resumed. This will not require here much detail. The last seal is opened; and after a short delay in the action of heaven, the seven angels prepare to sound. The first four give rise to the smiting the earth in the four great sources of its riches. The earth (properly speaking), the sea, the rivers, and the sun, moon and stars. This was not by apparently natural causes, as the famines and the wars of the earliest judgments, but by what made them evidently. judgments or plagues, only we have to remark here that these judgments broke forth as the result of offering up the prayers of saints. The censer which the great High Priest had offered up his incense in, was filled with fire from the altar—God's consuming judgment-and then cast on the earth. But these plagues in the earth cease, only to give way to bitterer woes on the inhabitants of this hardened world. The first is the letting loose the locusts which came out of the smoke of the bottomless pit, a Satanic darkening of human understanding, the taking away the light of the natural path of man, the shutting out divine and heavenly influence. Out of this darkness go forth those whose business and power is to pass through, pervade, and destroy, not now mere prosperity, but all peace and rest of spirit-to torment men, so that they should desire death. It is not an outward plague which touches prosperity, the means of enjoyment-nor life, the loss of which, if it closes pleasure, makes pain cease as to this world. The springs of joy were poisoned in the heart, in the life left there, by this Satanic mischief; but it was the portion of those only not marked by God. The next plague is more outward chastisement-the killing by the power of the Euphratean horsemen. Still Satanic power goes forth out of their mouth, and in their tails lies and poison were found. But men repented not, neither of their sins nor of their idolatry; such, thus far, were the effects of the sounding these terrible trumpets. Diabolical principles and human energy, imbued however with what was Satanic, succeed each other in the desolation of those who have chosen this earth. as their portion. But now a new publication of the last importance comes forth from Heaven. The messenger of God's power-clothed with a cloud, the sign of His presence of old among His people, the rainbow (pledge to the creation) on His head and His feet-in consuming judgment, having an open book in his hand, puts his feet, one on the sea the other on the land, thus claiming all the earth in judgment. When He cried, the whole utterance of divine power gave forth its voice; but the details were not revealed.. However, there was to be no longer any delay but in the days of the seventh trumpet, when it should just now sound, the mystery of God would be complete; afterward it would be open manifest government or revealed glory. The prophecy was to re-commence. The book here is open, it was the dealing and ways of God Himself with a known object, and on known and revealed principles for a short period also, and on a confined scale. Accordingly we find ourselves evidently at once on Jewish ground, and direct reference to the historical records of their conduct, another immense difference appears, too-here, the whole character of the scene changes. It is no longer mysterious agents inflicting on carnal men the judgments of God, the question of witness in the world being entirely withdrawn.: on the contrary, we are on the earth with witnesses to the God of the earth; and, on the other hand, plain definitely characterized wickedness, rising up to destroy the true witnesses whom God avowedly owns, and up to a certain time maintains untouched by their enemies. The nature of the scene is thus wholly changed, the book is effectually an open one. First, we had the Church on earth; then, dealing in judgment by providential power, and nothing measured by God; now we have renewed objects of his dealings on earth. He resumes His ways with the Jews during forty-two months; then the city and outward court of the temple are given up to the Gentiles, but there are true worshippers in the temple and at the altar of God-worshippers on a Jewish ground of hope by faith, not, I judge, marked merely literally by the temple and altar, but those who really understood approach to God, as priests might who were within, while the general mass were given up to be trodden down with everything holy in the nation by the Gentiles. But, besides the priests' reserved worship, there was the power of prophecy, guarded by such power as had Moses and Elias; and with reason, for they had the difficulties of both-the hostility of Gentiles to whom the people were captive, and the apostasy of the people given up to idolatry who had sold themselves to them; but with the forty-two months, the time of their mission closed; and the beast, ascending out of the bottomless pit, kills them, and their bodies remain unburied in the great street of the city called Sodom and Egypt, where our Lord was crucified-in principle, and probably in physical reality, Jerusalem-but, revived by the spirit of life from God, they stand up and go up in a cloud in the sight of their enemies. Judgment and convulsion accompanied this; and a full class of men were killed; for 7000 is a complete set destined to that. The city may be still naturally supposed Jerusalem; but if taken in a wider sense I do not object, as "the city" is so used. This part gives a definite place to these prophecies.
have no doubt this was the first half week. This is necessarily introduced to give it its place in the general history, and connects the two. We have then the second woe closing with the closing of the first half week. It would appear probable, I am inclined to suppose, beginning also within it, but this I leave. The seventh trumpet is the signal of closing all, as had been said, but the events are not related under it, no more than on the opening of the seventh seal; all, in which God would, on to the end, display His power, is celebrated as now to take place. And now, before the history is continued, the thoughts of God in the denouement of it all, and Satan's opposition, are brought into view, and then the history as the way towards it. Still all flows now on intelligible Jewish ground of interpretation. The blessing is not yet manifested on earth, but it is secured in heaven. Hence the temple is opened in heaven; and the prophet sees the ark of the covenant, God's sign of unchangeable purpose of blessing, and the voice of His power in judgment accompanies the vision. The counsels of God then appear themselves in connection with the Jewish people. They are to be clothed with supreme glory to bring forth Messiah to reign over the nations in power. In God's view, the old covenant-glory, or mere Mosaic estate, is to be under their feet; and, clothed with the supreme authority, the perfection of human administrative authority crowns their head. But in the bringing forth of the reigning strong man, there was (if not as to the fact, at least as to the accomplishments of the purpose) an interruption. Satan in direct hostile power (his form the Roman government) seeks to destroy this Jewish king of iron scepter. He is caught up to God and his throne, hidden for the time, and Israel's place is of God in the desert, seen and acted on in the remnant according to God in the latter day; meanwhile, as I doubt not, the church is associated with the male child. (Compare the promise to Thyatira.) There is war in heaven, Satan is cast out, and then persecutes the Jews as objects of promise, and the woman flees into the desert where God takes care of her. This casting out of Satan is the beginning of the active energy of Christ's kingdom, and God's power in it. Heaven was forever freed from the accuser, to the joy of those who dwelt there, and rejoiced in the deliverance thus accomplished of their brethren who had been in conflict. Their combat is now closed-they have overcome. Blessed those who dwell in heaven! but woe to earth and sea, because of the wrath of him who knows that his remaining time is short! This important event, the casting down forever of Satan from heaven, where he shall no longer be the adversary of the Saints, introduces the last three years and. a half, the peculiar character of which is his power, and working, and rage upon earth in consequence. The Saints not merely of the church long since out of view, hut the Saints in conflict in the immediately preceding epoch, are out of his reach. They have overcome, suffered, and their victory is celebrated; but if God had not shortened the days, no flesh would be saved of those subject to his violence on earth. The woman (the Jews as objects of God's purpose) and her seed are the great objects of his malice; but the woman is secured, and he makes war with the remnant of her seed, characterized as having the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus, that is, as being faithful in obedience, of which the commandment of God, the law, was the measure, and walking by the light and spirit of prophecy; for the spirit of prophecy is the testimony of Jesus.
Satan's plans in that terrible time are then unfolded; a beast rises, as to its providential existence, out of the mass and confusion of the nations; its form was that of ten kingdoms, distinct governments, yet. a corporate body which had had itself seven forms of government, and embraced the qualities of power of all the previous empires, and to which Satan gives his throne and power. He blasphemes against God, his tabernacle (I suppose his heavenly one in the church), and against those that dwell in heaven. It is an essentially earthly beast exalting man and what is seen, and filled with hatred of all that was above him and that was heaven. Save the elect, he has empire given him; and those who have their portion on earth worship him. He had one of his forms of existence wounded to de